Poop

For no reason I can fully explain, I found myself thinking of diaper changes today, and it occurred to me, “I sure dealt with a lot of poop.”

Mind, you I still do, because we have four cats, one of whom is very fuzzy and hygiene impaired, meaning twice a month he had to be held by two ruthless people while a third clips around the affected area with scissors, then finishes by bathing it.

If you’re flinching right now, let me say that this is something I couldn’t have imagined myself doing at twelve, or thirteen, or even sixteen.  I don’t know if that is – for everyone – a time of almost ritual cleanliness, but it was for me.  I remember washing things over and over, often with bleach, because someone I didn’t consider particularly clean had used them.  I think the idea of changing a diaper would have sent me running, gagging out of the room.

I don’t know when that changed.  Perhaps it was when I moved out on my own and realized there was no one else to do the nasty jobs.  If the shower drain stopped, I had to get down on my knees and clean it.  If the trap under the sink filled up, I had to remove it and clean it.

Compared to those, diapers are almost clean.

Where am I going with this?  Other than a terrible desire to mention poop?

Actually I don’t have a terrible desire to mention it.  I think a prurient interest in excretory functions are a mark of immaturity both in people and in writing.  I swear, every five years or so, some wag discovers again the bright idea that “characters never go to the bathroom.”  I remember the year Water World came out was one of those.   Every movie had the “obligatory p*ssing scene” which was supposed to make it “deep and real” or something, but since all of them had it, my husband and I would just roll our eyes and go “Obligatory p*ssing scene.”  (Of course, there was plenty more wrong with Water World than that.

And there was the story I got for the small press mag I edited, in which someone was reading in the toilet, while an alien erupted through the wall.  This was marginally improved by the grammatical mistake that made the sentence read “While sitting on the toilet, reading, the wall fell on Jack.”  I was so impressed with the wall’s literacy I continued reading, but once it became obvious it was just misstated, I sent the story back, possibly much to the writer’s shock.  I got the impression that by having the character in the bathroom, he’d made it “important” “relevant” and possibly even literary.

I’m not going to tell you my characters will never go to the bathroom.  In AFGM the fact that the poor man needs to use the facilities and his room is full of servants and retainers who patently have no intention of giving him ANY privacy — leads to a major temper explosion.  And often looking for a place to relieve themselves is why characters stray into the dragon’s lair.  Also my characters periodically… well, let’s say they fail to have clean underwear just before the monster eats them.

However, that is neither here nor there.  I’m neither fearful of poop nor do I embrace it with relish (ew) as the most important thing in life, or the grantor of sudden adulthood.

And – I told you this was relevant somehow, right?  Why didn’t you believe me? – this brings me to where trolls are like poop.  Or at least what they leave behind in the form of comments are like poop.

First of all let’s establish what trolling is: a) insults of the personal kind.  I might very well be a b*tch (heck, people call me that on occasion) but if all you did was skim a post of mine, you don’t know that.  You know I disagree with some tightly held opinion of yours, but you really are not well informed about me or my parentage to make that sort of judgement.  b) repeating ad-nauseum points that have been made by someone else before.  This includes, yes, repeating lines that you read in someone else’s “analysis” of a post.  c) engaging in picking apart minor points, particularly when they’re minor points you INFER the author meant, but which are not actually meant in the article.  d) engaging in the tu quoque type of argument.  Say I maintain that the sky is blue and you say “Well, yeah, but your side lied about the sky.  It used to be pink.  It did.”  (Actually that one combines c and d.)  e) calling everyone who agrees with the author camp followers and sycophants.  Believe it or not, at least in this blog, tons of people can disagree with the blogger all the time.  Few of us actually lead mini-cults.  Yeah, I have some friends who read here, but h*ll even my friends have their own opinions.  Trust me.  We argue all the time. If the majority of people commenting agree with me and not with you consider that JUST possibly it is because they happen to agree with me, not because of my awesome mind-control rays.

Anyway, all this boils down to trolls come by and instead of engaging in honest and informed discussion create a mass of comments that mean nothing, stink to high heaven and no one really wants to wade in.  For the troll going unanswered somehow means “they won” and being answered is never enough, so they “won” too.

I don’t know if the truth is they’re stuck in the juvenile age when the idea of excrement and touching it is sickening or in the juvenile age when they’re fascinated with their own poop and love flinging it around.

In either case, I’m sure poop is involved.   And it makes things very unpleasant for everyone reading and commenting.

In general I don’t respond to comments anyway, because I’ve found that it’s possible to nitpick a post to death without saying anything about the central thesis.  (Unless it’s a post on writing or something, when I like to wade in.  I also tend to respond to regular commenters who have become almost friends, and who DO NOT pick things to death, but discuss honestly.)  For instance where I say the sky is blue, you come by and explain no, no, it’s colorless and it just presents as blue to the human eye.  Then I chime in to say of course I know that, but it looks blue.  And then someone else pipes in to say, well, it often looks grey or magenta or…  And then someone else brings up sunsets.  Soon enough my thesis that the sky is blue – most of the time and barring weather systems – sounds fishy, even though everyone knows the sky is blue.  So I don’t respond, and let this kind of troll grumble himself into silence, like the mad man in the corner at a lecture insisting “but truly, the sky is rarely blue.”

Add to this any number of trolls screaming “poopyhead” and “your mom wears a logical fallacy” and I just want to go away from it all, and possibly wash my hands.

It occurred to me today that is the actual purpose of the trolling.  Not to convince anyone.  Not to discuss things.  Not even to make the comments on that post hard to read.

No, the purpose of the poo-flinging is to make the writer afraid of doing another such post.  To make the mind flinch before hand, like mothers do when thinking of giving baby stewed prunes.  (Or garlic.  TRUST me.  My son ate raw garlic while still in diapers.  Liked it.  No, trust me… if you have a baby, no matter how much he likes it… TRUST ME don’t give him raw garlic.)

What they want is the reaction any sane person has when faced with the idea of wadding through masses and masses of poop.  You go “it’s not worth my time.”

BUT you know what?  It is worth your time.  And my time.  And the time of every adult in the blogsphere.  It is worth our time, because otherwise we teach the infants – of any age – that flinging poop is the way to stop hearing things that disturb them.  We let them remain infants, forever, mired in their own dirty diapers.

Adults deal with poop, when poop needs to be dealt with.  They don’t like it.  They don’t relish it.  they don’t keep a diary of “my best poopies.”  But they deal with it and then wash their hands.

And as an adult blogger, I will do that.  Because the alternative is to let the poopy-heads control our discussions, and ultimately what the limits of permissible thought is.

Instead, I say we wash their mouths with soap.

72 responses to “Poop

  1. Thank you, and don’t let the turkeys get you down.

    I’d write more, but I wouldn’t trust myself to avoid a series of excretory puns just to pull your leg….

  2. ppaulshoward

    Now where did Mom put that soap that burned my mouth and tasted terrible? [Wink]

    Good post Sarah.

  3. Lifeboy …it had that curiosly minty aftertaste…

  4. derekchamberlain

    Great post Sarah. Couldn’t agree more.

  5. You and Dave are twins, separated at birth, right?

  6. Trolls is why I maintain a firm policy at BTB that MY taste rules. I will delete without prejudice or comment any post I don’t like and trolls can suck it. After a few of those, I don’t get many trolls, because not only don’t they get a reaction, they don’t even get a hearing.

    To bring it back around to writing: a character, an artificial person, in the first hours of corporeal life, with no experience of a body, suddenly realizes a sharp, burning pain in her lower abdomen. Her chaperone realizes that she needs to pee and wackiness ensues.

    M

    • masgramondou

      Deleting trolls and banning them (or their IP address) permanently is generally good IMO. Life is too short to bother with them. If they have an argument they can make it at their own blog.

      To bring it back around to writing: a character, an artificial person, in the first hours of corporeal life, with no experience of a body, suddenly realizes a sharp, burning pain in her lower abdomen. Her chaperone realizes that she needs to pee and wackiness ensues.
      I’m reminded of Feersum Enjin by Iain M Banks

  7. Another sneaky way of dealing with trolls is making their comments invisible to everyone but them. (there’s a Greasemonkey plugin that works with a lot of blogs, and some other settings for blog software that I’m not as familiar with) This truly messes with their tiny minds–they can see their glorious poopy comment, yet nobody responds AT ALL! They don’t even get the pleasure of knowing they’ve been deleted or banned (which proves them right, of course) since their comment is right there in view. Better living through technology.

    • Does it work with wordpress and do you have a link?

    • Brilliant, Sabrina! Hope it can be bent to wordpress!

    • That’s genius. It’s like a Twilight Zone episode, where no one sees the troll and he doesn’t know why.

    • Essentially it is an electronic form of shunning.

    • Susan Shepherd

      I wonder if there are any plugins that make troll-visibility optional. Because while I’m not certain of it, I strongly suspect that if a troll is made aware of the fact that he’s been added to the “unhelpful / insulting / poor reading comprehension” category of posters, it will tend to curb their behavior.

      The idea would be that when you read a blog’s comment section, you would have to toggle “See Trolls” to the ON position if you actually wanted to see those posts. This takes away the self-righteous bull they tell themselves about how they’ve been banned by the blogger, so they are morally right. If it’s clear that anyone could read their posts, but finds them so very much wastes of time that it isn’t worth the both, that might have a deterrent effect.

      Not that I have any hard evidence this would work. I think it’s more that I’m a retaliatory type of person when it comes to justice — if you punch me, I’ll try very hard to punch you back — and I would honestly rather give the troll the unpleasant knowledge that no one gives a damn what they said than make them invisible and let them carry on unaware that they came off as a jerk.

      • Yep, the script called “trollhammer” does just that. Each comment has a “ignore this user” link, and if clicked all the comments by that user get compactified to a line “idiot troll comment hidden” that is also a link. If you mouse over it you can then see the troll comment. I do *not* know if that script works in wordpress. I am not much of a javascript coder or I would try and put one together myself …

    • I work on an internet social hangout. (Technically, it’s a forum, but it has an electronic paper-dolls and virtual currency aspect, so…)

      My boss comes from a rather different forum pedigree than we are, so when we whined about certain users always “pooping” in threads and driving away our largely deer-like users (timid, apt to be flighty, move in herds…), he suggested a forum modification like that. All a moderator would have to do was put a user like that in the “Troll” usergroup and then sit back and watch the hilarity.

      I’d like to say we didn’t think about it longer than the time it took to formulate the word, “No.” but… xD

      For a blog, though…

  8. I just found your blog a few months ago so i am glad that you aren’t letting the trolls change your way of writing. It is interesting and illuminating. No mind control here. My family considers me too much of an independent.

    Cyn

  9. I’m just still shuddering from your bringing up the baby+garlic equation. I discovered that one with twins. My sanity has not yet fully recovered.

  10. Terrific post, Sarah! It also reminds me of dog urine – it doesn’t act as a stimulous (fertilizer) to growing a discussion. It leaves a circle of dead around everything it touches.

    I wouldn’t use soap, though. I’d make them clean up after themselves by ingestion. But then, I’m a horrible person 😉

  11. Well, speaking as someone of somewhat advanced years and with the hindsight gained by addressing my system’s unwillingness to process carbs above a certain level, there comes a time when your own poop becomes (not quite) interesting again. Because it is a signifier of how well your system’s fuel processor is working.

    The occurrence of trolls is, I suggest, an indicator of how well our culture’s intellectual fuel processing system is functioning. The frequency and virulence (stench) of trolls is a sign that we are no longer processing ideas/memes/tropes healthily and need to adjust the intellectual carburetor for a cleaner, hotter burn. To start with, anybody who ever asserts “The Science is settled” needs to be fricasseed in hot oil because, my dear, science is forever unsettled.

    In fairness, we all have our reflexes, those ideas to which our response amounts to “I don’t care what you say, I say/I> it’s spinach and I say the hell with it.” Sigh, one of the worst aspect of trolls is they tend to drag you down into the trenches. The question occurs: do the trolls even recognise what they’re doing?

  12. Yeah, I love “Rob Roy” except for the repeated peeing. I didn’t watch “Waterworld” long enough to encounter the peeing, what drove me mad about that one was that there is about ten acres of dry land left on earth (spoiler: it’s the top of Mount Everest) and yet the bad guys have a truly infinite supply of ammunition and tobacco.

  13. Martin L. Shoemaker

    On the introductory topic, I think Napoleon’s advice was profound: “Never pass up a chance to piss.” I think the real world works that way. But I’m not sure fiction has to, as a general case. An exception now and then is OK.

    On the topic of trolls: whack ’em!

    • Melvyn Barker

      Also the advice of the British Royal family who spend lots of time on official duties – meeting, greeting, opening places, and attending events, where it would not be possible to pop to the loo if caught short.

  14. No, the purpose of the poo-flinging is to make the writer afraid of doing another such post.

    Yes, yes, and again, yes! And occasionally they can convince someone they are right, because of repetition (I’ve seen it, and it scares me that it can happen).

  15. This post is curiously typo filled. I want to assure my readers I KNOW about subject verb concordance and also tenses. I’m coming down with the upper respiratory isgoingaround and it’s an effort to stay awake, so that probably accounts for it. (OR at least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.) Unfortunately if I try to fix it it’s likely to get worse, considering how head is working, so I’m going to make myself a cup of strong tea and perform surgery on a novel.

  16. OK, my first reaction also was: what was the wall reading while it sat?

    • Mine too. But turned out it was just his lack of writing ability. What would walls read if they read? An anatomy of bricks? Mortar times?

      • Hey, you are the one who writes SF/F, why ask me?

        So, I ask myself, self, ‘if a wall were sentient what would it read?’ Stand and Deliver maybe? Or possibly, if high minded, William Faulkner’s Snope’s trilogy, The Hamlet, The Town, and The Mansion?

        • A history of London. I SWEAR CACS (early and often) if you infect my subconscious with a sentient wall character, this will NOT end well.

          • The Daughter came through, read over sholder and said:
            It was probably reading Architectural Digest or the local building codes.

            • How sensible of her!

              • On being informed the Daughter shrugged her shoulders, thanks you, and also suggests that A.D. is probably the porn equivalent for walls.

                • Susan Shepherd

                  Not Home and Garden? All those columns with vines and ivy … those tastefully positioned bookcases …. the cherry wall paneling …

                  • What walls read for porn is stupefyingly obvious: Fine Homebuilding (they show pictures of walls nearly nekkid! Check out the studs on page 47 in the April issue. And check out the flying buttresses on the wall on page 127.)

                  • I’d think that ivy and such would be equivalent to tattoo and piercings and other body modifications – maybe more towards the “hardcore” side of it since eventually it can compromise the building.

                    So – certainly could be a little bit of a sexy fetish, for the right kind of sentient wall.

          • Something kept nagging at me, but no it is not that alls well. More of a dream on the twentyfirst of June.

            And thou, O Wall, O sweet, O lovely Wall,
            That stand’st between her father’s ground and mine.
            Thou Wall, O Wall, O sweet and lovely Wall,
            Show me thy chink to blink through with mine eyne!

            • Martin L. Shoemaker

              Oh, sure… CACS comes in with the highfalutin’ Shakespeare — Midsummer Freakin’ Night’s Dream, no less — and all I have is a tired cliche: “If these walls could talk…”

              • Ghosts. Haunted houses. Many maintain that such concepts have no place in our computerized twentieth century reality. But until man conquers death one inevitable question will always linger within the recesses of the human mind. What lies beyond?

                The Outer Limits, If These Walls Could Talk, July 30, 1995 – prologue

                Oh, I forgot. We don’t do prologues anymore…

          • Drawing a blank on title and author, but

            “…wizard who made a street speak. Well, not a whole street, an alley, really.”
            “What did it say?”
            We are not a mews.”

      • The handwriting on the opposite wall?

    • Well, for Nursery Rhymes, I’m sure Humpty Dumpty would be a favorite.

  17. A minor complaint about today’s title: With all the email arriving subject lined [New Comment] Poop I can’t shake the feeling I’m being spammed by Mr. Toad.

  18. pohjalainen

    Characters and bodily functions – it actually does bother me a bit if there are no hints of those for the length of a whole novel, at least if it’s that kind of story which otherwise sticks to the more realistic style. I’m fairly sure I don’t want to know that Princess Dejah Thoris of Helium needs to use the facilities, or might get soiled if she is chained to the wall somewhere for days (goes for her husband too), but if the story does tell of a heroine who worries about her car payments or finds something moldy in the fridge (or the fantasy or science fictional equivalents) then it’s also nice if there are some hints that she occasionally might feel the need to use the ladies room at an inopportune time, perhaps like when she is chasing or being chased by the bad guy, or that she might want to change some of her clothes after being scared to death.

    Also a great way to get the hero/heroine into trouble. She perhaps leaves the safety of her companions in the spooky forest in search of some privacy instead of going alone to check on that weird noise – but if she does meet the monster while looking for a concealing bush, then she should also suffer the realistically probably inevitable indignity when she has to run away from it before having had the chance to do her business. And squatting with his trousers down would leave even an otherwise invincible hero somewhat vulnerable.

    But that is definitely one thing where telling triumphs over showing.

    As for what walls might read – okay, no idea. Wouldn’t they make better observers? Or voyeurs?

    And now I think I’m going to feel exposed the next time I have to use the toilet. Thanks.

    • Had a similar discussion with an (unpublished) writer in a critique group I no longer attend. She had her mc out for a job, detailed how sweaty and dirt encrusted she was from running and having somebody take a swipe at her with a car – then she jogged home, changed her clothes, and left for huge fancy party. “What? No shower? No fixing hair?” unpubbed writer: “That certainly isn’t needed” (stuffy British/Canadian accent). All I could think of was “ewwww”

    • As for what walls might read – okay, no idea. Wouldn’t they make better observers? Or voyeurs? And now I think I’m going to feel exposed the next time I have to use the toilet.

      For that I am so sorry.

  19. Melvyn Barker

    The WWII slogan “Walls have ears” made me think we should be thankful they can’t talk. Then my imagination chimed in with a haunted house where the walls spoke by generating graffiti on themselves. So instead of the spooky noises the characters kept finding details or hints about their and each others guilty secrets scrawled on a wall, only for it to disappear or the message change when they looked again. Paranoia and violence ensue.

  20. My suggestion as to how to deal with trolls: post their IP addresses and, if possible, their names and addresses.

    • My boss did that once.

      The guy was spamming our forums and our users with messages about his own site, so my boss did a little bit of prodding and voila – posted.

      Our users immediately felt threatened – if he can get this information about him, why not about me? It was sort of a PR nightmare and I’m not sure how close to the line he skirted legally (certainly he would know – and knowing him, it was exactly as close to legal as it can get – but the average blogger would do better than to try it without knowledge of the law or deep pockets like my boss has in case he made an error).

      Overall, you’ll make your point if you try that tactic – but the negatives may not be as good as the positives. It took us weeks of hassle from the guy, who did his best to crash our site in retaliation, plus tossing all sorts of havoc to us via the forums. It took us roughly five times as long in hassles from our scared and innocent users that my boss was protecting in the first place.

      But, he said, the trade-off was worth it to him because we haven’t had that sort of mass-marketing attack since, because there was precedent of what our boss would do if someone tried it again. For the average blogger, I doubt they would find it worth it.

  21. I vaguely recall from somewhere that the British upper classes think or used to think there’s something vulgar and lower class about making a fuss about poo, or noticing it when it obviously would be there. What with the hunting dogs and all the stables to be mucked out, and assisting the vet when a horse comes down with potentially deadly colic, and needs to be helped to poop.

    • Why, yes, certainly. These parts of life must be dealt with, but there is certainly no need to dwell on it or make a fuss about it.

  22. “we have four cats, one of whom is very fuzzy and hygiene impaired, meaning twice a month he had to be held by two ruthless people while a third clips around the affected area with scissors, then finishes by bathing it.”

    Which cat?

    “I’m neither fearful of poop nor do I embrace it with relish (ew)[.]”

    …and I now have an image of a perfectly-formed length of human excrement on a hot-dog bun, topped with pickle relish….

    THANK YOU, GOD — THANK YOU SO BLOODY MUCH….

    “No, the purpose of the poo-flinging is to make the writer afraid of doing another such post.”

    At which point it is no longer the Writer’s Weblog — it is the Troll’s.

    “I don’t know if the truth is they’re stuck in the juvenile age when the idea of excrement and touching it is sickening or in the juvenile age when they’re fascinated with their own poop and love flinging it around.”

    Actually, as RES says: Human Males in particular are obsessed with their own excrement because every HM knows, deep down in places he doesn’t talk about at parties, one day he will find himself in a sterile white-painted room, sitting across from a person in a White Lab Coat. The person in the White lab Coat will then ask a series of question regarding the HM’s excrement — what color it is; what smell it gives off; what consistency it has.

    if any of the HM’s answers are deemed by the person in the White Lab Coat to be Incorrect, the HM will meet… THE GLOVE.

    Notice I do *not* say “he will *FACE* THE GLOVE. No — when THE GLOVE arrives, it invariably arrives from a direction which no Human Male can face….

    ” To make the mind flinch before hand, like mothers do when thinking of giving baby stewed prunes. (Or garlic. TRUST me. My son ate raw garlic while still in diapers. Liked it. No, trust me… if you have a baby, no matter how much he likes it… TRUST ME don’t give him raw garlic.)”

    “You don’t feed a baby *chili*!” [scene of house being evacuated]
    –_Mr. Mom_

  23. This article addresses what may be some part of the underlying reasons for the dung-flinging of the trolls:

    I can think of lots of reasons why The Closing of the American Mind deserves as many readers as it earned in the eighties; Bloom’s sly wit and the torrential energy of his prose are worth the price of admission, in my opinion. But this one carries a special urgency. As well as anyone then or now, he understood that the intellectual fashion of materialism — of explaining all life, human or animal, mental or otherwise, by means of physical processes alone — had led inescapably to a doctrinaire relativism that would prove to be a universal corrosive.

    The crisis was — is — a crisis of confidence in the principle that serves as the premise of liberal education: that reason, informed by learning and experience, can arrive at truth, and that one truth may be truer than another. This loss of faith had consequences and causes far beyond higher ed. Bloom was a believer in intellectual trickle-down theory, and it is the comprehensiveness of his thesis that may have attracted readers to him and his book. The coarsening of public manners, the decline in academic achievement, the general dumbing down of America — even Jerry Springer — had a long pedigree that Bloom was at pains to describe for a general reader.

    “The crisis of liberal education,” he wrote, “is a reflection of a crisis at the peaks of learning, an incoherence and incompatibility among the first principles with which we interpret the world, an intellectual crisis of the greatest magnitude, which constitutes the crisis of our civilization.”

    [SNIP]

    It’s no mystery why fewer and fewer students in higher education today bother with the liberal arts, preferring professional training in their place. Deprived of their traditional purpose in the pursuit of what’s true and good, the humanities could only founder. The study of literature, for example, was consumed in the trivialities of the deconstructionists and their successors. Philosophy curdled into positivism and word play. History became an inventory of political grievances.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/post/the-closing-of-the-the-liberal-lefts-mind/2012/04/01/gIQA8g6cpS_blog.html

    • IF it is all nothing more than materialism, then all the world is poop, because ultimately everything on this planet passes through SOMETHING’S digestive tract.

      Eliminate the sacred and all you’re left with is the profane.

  24. Jon & Lobo by Mark L. van Name almost has the walls talking. What would your internet connected, AI enhanced, fridge have to say about you? What about the dish washer or … clothes washer? Wouldn’t the CDC like to know if a clothes washer detected contagious diseases?

    • Clifford Simak had talking walls. But the type of wall made of bricks that could fall is fantasy stuff. And I suspect — this is your fault CACS — that I shall have that in Witchfinder now (groan.)

      • Maybe I should be running — told a friend about the sentence this morning. Thought the grammatical confusion would suit her sense of humor. Her question: What was the wall doing on the toilet?

        Perhaps it is all a case of mistaken identity, and Detritus was simply taking a moment to himself when he got bowled over.

  25. Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter

    Yep. The whole purpose to Trolling is to:

    1) Persuade the blogger not to blog.
    2) Persuade the commenters not to comment.

    If they can kill the community, they’ve won. A certain percentage of trolls actually get paid to do this. If a corporate interest has a stake in something, there’s a damned good chance that paid trolls will be employed by a Public Relations company to try and wipe out the “opposition,” or whatever they perceive to be the opposition.

    I know. I sound paranoid. Problem is that there is solid proof that a whole bunch of Fortune 500 companies have been represented by PR Company Trolls. In some cases, like with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, the company acted directly.

    Ain’t that just wonderful.

    Wayne

    • Obama campaign manager/adviser David Axelrod pretty much built his career on developing just those kinds of “astroturf” campaigns. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn there are companies providing such services to publishers, for example, putting up reviews on Amazon either strongly positive of a publisher’s book or strongly negative of another author (e.g., Ann Coulter’s books tend to get scads of 1* ratings before they even come off the presses.

      • Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter

        Actually I was thinking more of Publishers running a campaign against independent writers. I’ve already seen some rather suspicious comments on indie blogs, and there are some blogs which, well, they pretend to be indie, but they sure don’t post articles that look like what an Independent would write.

        Just like those comments that you can’t edit yourself. Sure you can. Hell, if you can’t edit yourself, you can’t write worth beans. Of course editors have a vested interest in making you believe that you can’t learn… Which doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get someone to check your work of course, just that you’d better not drink the publisher/editor Kool-Aid.

        Wayne

      • I found it very odd the number of trolls I got when I posted my rant on Frontiers Cluster F*ck of our trip to liberty con last year, and I think that is the only explanation.