Don’t Be A Bonehead

I’m still fighting Noah’s Boy, though actually I’m fighting the crud, which is trying to make a comeback.  Yesterday I worked full time and got 1k words between revision and writing.  For me, that’s a sign I’m running a high fever… and I was.

Before you get horribly worried, this seems to be a recursive virus, both from my friends, who keep coming down with it again and again and again, and from talking to the people at the con.  It seems to be one of those that comes back lighter and lighter, till it stops affecting us.

Some years in Colorado Springs, we get these even when the rest of the country doesn’t, though this year the rest of the country seems to be RIGHT THERE with us.  (Thanks guys, we do appreciate the solidarity.)

This time does seem to be lighter, and my guess is I wouldn’t have got it at all except for the con straining the system, and other than making me late on NB where I CAN’T afford to be later, I’m trying to take it easy.

It occurred to me that though I exercise high and low justice around here, and the privilege of the banning hammer, I never explained the rules whereof the justice comes, which is very unfair of me and also somewhat un-libertarian.  Of course, this blog is not a democratic republic, but an absolute monarchy, in that I own the space and can eject whomever I please, BUT I’d still like to have people know when they’re stepping over the line and also to do a post laying it out, so in the future, you can say to a newby “You’re being a bonehead” and link the post.

The term comes from the Baen fan/author conference, known as the bar, which Jim Baen said had only one rule “Don’t be a bonehead” – only he didn’t say BONE.

Instead of defining it clearly, Jim had moderators who had the gist of what made for a lively conference.  This is important, because in my online life I’ve seen perfectly good blogs either made unbearable or even subverted by boneheads who came in and squatted over the comments section like poisonous spiders, making life living hell for the regulars.

RES has explained this effect best when calling it “the drunken uncle at a wedding.”  I don’t know if other people have experience this.  Not everyone was blessed with my mom’s relatives, which gave me a wide panoply of life experience.  However, this was immediately understandable to me, having experienced it from about age six.

You know, everyone is having a great time and then uncle someone or other gets drunk, and starts loudly making inappropriate jokes to every female of all ages, and calling them prudish when they complain or following them when they try to move away.  Later, for added diversion and depending on how intellectual he is, he will try to argue politics with other men, and take the most extreme positions possible, and shift the goal posts all over, and preen himself on how smart he is.

No matter how much you like uncle someone or other and understand he’s been a little funny since the war/his wife left/that incident with the mating weasels, at some point you realize other people are excusing themselves, developing sudden headaches, remembering dental appointments, or whatever, and leaving a party that was otherwise great fun.

Wise hosts learned that when uncle so and so started to get what he called “fun” and “relaxed” you tried to lead him away to have a little nap, and if that were impossible, you drove him home.  And if he insisted on doing this EVERY TIME you stopped inviting him.

It took me a while to learn to do this to the drunken uncles of the blog world, because I had some odd idea that I should allow free speech.  Only, I’m NOT a public utility.  I pay for the blog.  It’s my living room.  And the regulars here have mostly become friends I don’t like seeing upset.

Mind you, I encourage and welcome newbies and first posters – as long as they aren’t boneheads.

I realize some people aren’t being boneheads on purpose.  At least one of the occasionally regular posters periodically goes off his meds and goes from helpful to “OMG, WHAT?”  Other people just have really bad social skills, particularly in the SF/F field.  So I’m going to try to give some helpful hints.


You might be acting like a bonehead if:

1 – You come in, a poster’s comment presses one of your hot buttons, and you decide whatever the comment casually referenced is the most important thing in the world.  You then proceed to:

a)      Comment on it by insulting the poster’s race/religion/sexual preference, which you can’t possibly know, but you’re SURE must be x y or z which you hate.  You do this completely unprovoked and it will seem to other commenters as though you’re coming out of the blue.  This is called “hitting.”

b)      Anyone else who comes in and even mentions this tangential point, in answer to you or not, you decide MUST be the original poster, even if they’re saying something different, so you immediately jump on it with “Ahah, I knew you’d concede.”

c)      Refuse to give up on your hobbyhorse, even when it becomes IN YOUR FACE OBVIOUS that you’re just upsetting people and not winning any converts to your cause.

d)     Refuse to give up on your hobbyhorse, even when it’s pointed out to you you’re filling the comments section with something that has nothing to do with the post and which unlike say hair dye or shoes, which have taken over comment threads before, is OFFENSIVE to a bunch of people who were enjoying themselves, and who have never done anything to you.  (I’m not saying my posts can’t offend people, nor that your comments can’t – I’m saying if it’s not related to the post and is going after people who’ve never hit you, you’re out of bounds.)

We all have hot buttons and most adults are at best walking wounded.  Most of us, though, learn not to attack total strangers who’ve never done anything to even lead us to believe they don’t like us.  The question here is “What exactly are you hoping to accomplish with this behavior?”  If you’re just making people upset – why do you want to continue?  It’s a wide and free internet.  Go somewhere else.

2 – You come in and define people’s religion/nationality/sexuality/political beliefs for them, even when they try to tell you that you’re wrong.  You then proceed to:

a)      Tell us how superior your nationality/religion/sexuality/political beliefs are to the ones expressed in the post or held by most posters. (And you often misinterpret these, or use reasons no one in his right mind would.)

b)      Tell us we’re stupid to be upset over a development in our own country, which you only know about from your country’s incredibly biased press.

c)      Act in the way my grandmother called “Having G-d in your belly” – i.e. someone gave you the sole ability to look into the hearts of everyone and you get to define everything.

Again, the question is “what do you hope to accomplish?”  If it’s to p*ss off people, don’t be astonished at the troll-hammering

3 – You come over to educate us in Marxist anything.  No.  This one doesn’t need aggravating behavior.  I don’t care what illogical beliefs you have, I had a bellyful of it and more in my schooling and I’m not going to give you a forum for a theory that has caused millions of dead and is looking to cause millions more.

An exception to this is if you are willing to listen and engage in honest discussion on why it’s wrong.

PRETENDING to engage in honest discussion and shifting goal posts brings on the troll hammer, because I don’t find this stuff amusing anymore.

4 – Another instant troll hammer is if you come in and preach at us — usually completely unprovoked — that some race/nationality/religion/sexual preference is inherently evil and needs to eliminated forthwith.

My favorite variant of these are the white supremacists, who might perhaps want to take a look at the blog owner’s photo before peddling their rotten fish.  (Some day I’ll share with you the gems in one of these blogs which I followed back, including the fact they thought Portugal had gone down the drain because the population had become “miscegenated” – to prove this, they used pictures of the Portuguese Royalty in the 18th and 19th centuries… who were, like everyone else, relatives of Queen Victoria and had nothing to do with the population in general.  If they’d gone back far enough, they’d have found Prince Henry the Navigator was swarthy and rather Jewish-looking [His mother was Phillipa of Lancaster, but his father was an illegitimate son of the king by a lady from a converso family.] and was also possibly the brightest star that Portugal has ever produced so while they can be amusing and their delusions “adorable” – I don’t have time to mock them as deserved every time and also they highjack threads.  So, instant troll hammer.)

5- Never had to use troll hammer for this, but came close to it one time – I don’t care how infelicitously someone expressed something.  Before you accuse a regular of being a troll and chase him/her all over the threads, PARTICULARLY when you’re a relative newby, kindly search for that commenter’s name and see how often they’ve commented and what kind of comments.

Persisting in harassing people who have been commenting here for years about an irrelevant point of linguistic expression AND ignoring the blog owner when she says “So and so is NOT a troll” will get you banned. (Getting offended at the owner saying “So and so is often a pain, but is not a troll” leads to self banning and puzzles the owner who thought most of the comments AIMED at being a pain — at least half the time, when it comes to odd puns and weird theories.)

Understand, I’m not saying you can’t have lively discussion or even – if you’re both regulars – tease each other.  I’m not saying even that comment threads must keep to the topic (Ah!  Like any of you could do that.)

I’m saying that unprovoked hitting – say making fun of someone’s religion which hasn’t even been mentioned before, then doubling down when the person is offended – and pursuing hobby horses that are upsetting everyone else, and making the comment thread all about your particular obsession even though EVERYONE else is getting upset at you is likely to get you banned.

In fact, think of it this way, if you’re behaving like a kindergartner and the discussion has devolved to “did not” and “did too” at some point I’ll come in and ban the one of you who is not a regular, or who has done this more than once.  (And yes, I totally know you guys are going to do this in the comments just to get my goat.  Behave.  Goat blood is a b*tch to get off the floor boards.)

Feel free to ask questions or suggest additional rules in comments.  BE AWARE that I can’t require the guys to all wear quilts and that some of the women are allergic to fishnet stockings.  I can’t enforce that kind of rule.  (Or even put the guys in fishnet stockings.)

And now excuse me, I have a novel to finish.

513 responses to “Don’t Be A Bonehead

  1. Mallet space is invaluable for holding the biggest Troll Hammer possible.
    I hope yours is bigger than most and sorry if in the future (or past, as the case may be) I get close to deserving it myself (I can be a touch grumpy from time to time … okay … always)(~_^)

    • Not that I’ve noticed particularly…

      • I’m sure if I hang about long enough …

        • Look… you’ve become a regular, and your icon is a cat. At most, I throw a dead fish at your head.

          • The question is, is it an edible dead fish?

            • Aren’t they all? A little butter, a hot skillet, and then some good, dry sake . . .

              • Well, I wouldn’t recommend that for a fish that’s been out in the sun for several weeks. :p

                I guess I was wondering if Sarah was going to be throwing fresh dead fish, or spoiled ones.

                • Uh… you’re putting down several national cuisines here. 🙂

                  • Oh, dear. Need I worry about the ban hammer for insulting national cuisines?

                    • Depends: do they deserve to be insulted?

                    • Depends. I DESPISE Mexican food.

                    • What? But … Mexican … huh?


                      Oo! Good word!

                    • Dan loves Mexican. This is a problem.

                    • One of my best friends is from Mexico and she knows the best Mexican places (little shacks on the outskirts of town) that have cooks who use family recipes. The other stuff is faux-Mexican (like those chain joints)– and don’t taste very good.

                    • The funniest tasting Mexican food was this little restaurant outside of Ramstein AFB (outside Kaiserslautern, Germany). The cooks were Chinese and the food tasted like Mexican-Asian cuisine.

                    • There’s a relatively new place in Reno called Los Quatros Vientos, and they serve primarily Guadalajaran food. They also have a salsa bar, that jumps from a mild cucumber salsa to scorching verdes y rojos. Their goat tacos are to die for. It’s near where Plumb crosses Virginia, for those in the area. For those not, you have my pity.

                    • Dave– I’m in Carson City– Sounds like you are in Reno– (or Sparks)– I go up there for my doctor visits about four (more sometimes) a year.

                    • Sure am. On the mainland for a few weeks while Mrs. Dave trains in the Bavarian Alps. *grouchyface* I’m enjoying the cool weather, general aridity and exercising my constitutional rights. And writing, which I have not done enough of today. Fiction, at least.

                    • Robin Roberts

                      As for funny tasting mexican food, when we were last in the Czech Republic the food fad there was at the time was their version of Mexican … Czech Mex.
                      For someone like me raised in California, that was a nightmare.

                    • “Depends. I DESPISE Mexican food.” Sarah Hoyt

                      You just caused my opinion of the value of your opinion, to drop several notches 😦

                      Cyn, I actually like Tex-Mex or the ‘faux Mexican’ food better than the traditional Mexican myself, but it takes a talented cook to ruin Mexican food IMO.

                    • I can’t stand cumin and it’s larded through everything Mexican. Also I don’t like avocado. And these days I can’t eat almost anything in a Mexican restaurant without the eczema kicking up because of excess carbs.

                      For a while there was a restaurant in town called Mazatlan which had fairly decent “home cooking” and I liked that.

                    • When I refused to eat a food after the mandatory tastes Daddy would remove it from my plate with a happy cry of, ‘O boy, more for me!’ So you can dislike cumin and avocado all you want, that leaves, ‘O boy, more for me!’

                      I had thought that Mexican would be an issue for you with the carbs.

                    • Bearcat– I have found that traditional food is best (usually — I like qualifiers) when it is cooked by a traditional cook except when I was Japan and had Chinese and Curry by Japanese cooks. On the other hand except for ramen, I really didn’t care much for Japanese food. I will eat it… 🙂

                      If I had a choice between steak & potatoes or Tex-Mex, I would go for the steak & potatoes. Next on my list is combination rice (just put everything in it plus the kitchen sink) Thai style, next is Italian with real Italians ;-). So sorry to be a disappointment– The worst food I ever tasted (bland, bland, bland) was Panamanian food. They like to boil the plantain and give it to you like that with no spices or even grilling.

                      I grew up on potatoes and I have a taste for them. I can tell the difference between russett, yellow, or reds. My mother is from Idaho–

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      On potatoes: I recently read an article on the history of potatoes (it was in Smithsonian magazine, while I was waiting for my wife to get done with PT), which also mentioned that any one farmer in the Andes mountains in South America may very easily have more varieties of potatoes planted than are available in all of the U.S. It claimed there were over 5000 varieties.

                    • Not surprised– I have tasted several varieties. I only mention the top three because those are the ones I can find in my little area–

                    • I’d believe it– but, having grown up around ag, I wouldn’t needfully call it a good thing.

                      If I remember right, before Europeans started selective breeding processes the potatoes had to freeze, be stomped so the dangerous levels of starch could run out, and then they could be gathered for eating.

                      Taking those and crossing them with the cultivated types will get a lot of varieties… most of which aren’t very good potatoes. Valuable for the future, because you never know when this crossed with that crossed with a third will be awesome, but more isn’t needfully better!

                      (also, if it was an older article, it won’t account for the intense breeding that’s been going on lately; they’ve even managed to get goldens that travel well! Not AS well as the old russets, but pretty good.)

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Actually, the article talked about how potatoes originally were toxic with alkaloids, and that people learned to eat them by watching wildlife, which would lick clay before eating the potatoes. The clay absorbed the toxins.

                      Freezing and squeezing was a storage technique developed long before Europeans came here. The lower moisture content would allow the potato to keep longer. And finally, the varieties were due to different strains growing better at different altitudes. The said the Andean farmers would sneer at our potatoes as tasteless and boring.

                    • It seems there’s a reason we don’t have “as many”— they don’t allow those with high levels of the alkaloid toxin to be introduced.

                      IIRC, folks finding less poisonous versions not as flavorful is not uncommon.

                    • My older son is allergic to fructose. We didn’t know this because the boy for whom Thai Hot is “mildly spicy” THOUGHT everyone tasted fruit (And chocolate, and anything with corn syrup) as hot.

                    • My hubby overtastes chlorophyll, so he hates most vegetables. I on the other hand, after many years of taking meds, and a consequent extreme case of GERD, can’t have anything spicy. On bad days I can’t eat ketchup. So I am fond of bland, especially sweet. Most days I’m okay with mild condiments such as dill, dried onion and salt.

                    • I can’t eat potatoes — too much carbs for my system.

                      I do find steak a delicious flavoring agent for peppers and onions, especially with fajita seasoning or ginger & garlic. And hot peppers of any sort are always tasty.

                    • I am not much into ginger— but ummmmmmmmm garlic- Watch out vampires. I give hot peppers to the hubby (I am trying to call him love muffin.)

                    • There’s a Mexican restaurant in Littleton called “Tortilla Flats” (I think it’s still there — the city and county have both been trying to throw them out for decades) that has authentic, high-quality Mexican food. The family that owns it used to have a ranch in Chihuahua, Mexico, where they grew their own ingredients. I’m not sure if they still do, with all the drug problems down there. A couple of the guys (from the family) worked with my father-in-law at Martin in the 1960’s and 1970’s. He used to insist we go there every time I came to Denver on leave.

                      The WORST Mexican food I’ve ever eaten was in Enid, Oklahoma, in the mid-1960’s. Jean was pregnant, and craved tacos. We ended up driving to Oklahoma City for tacos, because the two restaurants in Enid made such poor ones.

                    • I have always found traditional Mexican food to be too bland (of course I consider pickled jalepenos an excellent snack food) while Tex-Mex has more flavor to it. I like most Oriental food as long as it doesn’t have cilantro, I despise cilantro (and those that put it in Mexican food out to be drawn and quartered), my complaint with Oriental food is it never has enough meat in it.

                      Steak and potatoes I have all the time (quick and easy to fix) if I am going to a restaurant to buy a meal it is going to be something that I don’t have at home four or five nights a week.

                    • What was that about comment threads keeping to the topic?

                  • Susan Shepherd

                    Are you thinking of three-month fish, or lutefisk, or something along those lines?

                    I’ve heard three-month fish takes some getting used to, but is incomparable if you like the taste.

              • Depends how old it is…

          • And it is a cute cat at that. (OK, ok, just about every cat is cute…it is a cute picture of a cat…is that put better?)

          • The cats would like the fish. The now far older loon in the gravitar is known as (Animalus Insanius) Annie The Insane Animal. She acquired me by making a racket at the front door and my third try to see what was going on ran into the house. I’ve another I rescued from a tree and she has earned the name of Isabeau The Clumsy (and constantly demonstrates how she got stuck in that spot). She is a Tabby pointed Siamese mix.

            Man..I wander off to work and when I get back this convo went some odd places (okay, not so odd considering me and some of this group … errr … well … all of this group actually)

            • Cute cats to chinese food? That is a perfectly logical course, especially if someone is missing a cat.

              • I used to have a cat who got stuck with the name Tahvo. Now that is kinda legitimate Finnish male name, except it’s not used nowadays much since it has at some point also acquired the slang meaning ‘stupid’. The cat was female but Tahvo just fit her. I had four at the time, and she was the one all the others picked on, with some peeing issues possibly due to the fact that she was perhaps a bit scared of using the boxes as the others sometimes bullied her when she did so she would occasionally pee in the corners, or on all of my clothes which ended up on the floor (and she would drop them herself at times if I left them somewhere where she could easily pull them down) and all plastic bags which spend even little time on the floor. And she would periodically have to be rescued from on top of the book cases or my two clothes cupboards. Once she fell on top of my head from one of them, as I was putting something in. Managed to get a good grip of my scalp, hang there for a second or two and then jumped or fell the rest of the way – I’m afraid I wasn’t paying much attention to her at that point, beyond trying to get her off.

                • She sounds like Euclid. And LOL Tavo is my nephew Gustavo’s nickname. Pronounced like Tahvo. He is actually a genius, but (I know from #2 son) this often presents as “too dumb to live’ in everyday life.

    • … the biggest Troll Hammer possible.

      The picture that came into my head when I tried to imagine this was as follows:

      Imagine a croquet game. And no, that’s not a flamingo in your hand, it’s a real hammer. But now look down at the ball at your feet. It’s blue with white swirls, right? Look closer. See the brown-and-green bits hidden beneath the white? See how as you stare at them, they’re starting to look familiar — Europe, Africa, North America? Now look at the hammer you’re holding, and its size relative to that blue globe.

      … Yeah. That’s the size of Troll Hammer I was picturing. And sure, bigger hammers could conceivably exist — anything is possible once you crank the Improbability Drive up high enough — but heck, this one’s large enough to swat any trolls I’ve ever seen.

  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Nit, I don’t equate “bonehead” and “butthead” (what Jim Baen said). “Bonehead” IMO just implies stupidity while “butthead” IMO implies something more than just stupidity.

    Of course, at times I’ve been a “bonehead” as well as a “butthead”. [Sad Smile]

    • I was trying to be polite, Drak. But “Bonehead” CAN mean the other side of the er… body.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        “Being Polite”? There are times when I don’t know the meaning of that. [Sad Smile]

      • Specifically, the other side of the MALE body in an engorged state.

        (Boy am I glad that pedantic nitpicks aren’t on the list! Pedantry, thy name is Martin!)

      • That’s why I prefer “doofus.”

        It doesn’t mention any specific part of the anatomy, and it’s just fun to say!

        • Momma said she liked the word pebble. Some word are just fun to say. (Is this a good example of going off topic?)

          • I think we’re well off topic.

            So, let me spark a little more silly discussion here…

            What is the plural of doofus? Doofuses? Doofii?

            • I go for Doofuses. It is fun to say and they do tend to cause fusses.

            • I’ve seen “doofi” but that was on a South African expat’s blog, so Queen’s English may vary from US English. Sort like arguments over “Priuses” or “Prii.”

              • No, no. I learned early on that the plural of a word ending in us is i. It’s from the Latin. (Preens at how learn’ed she sounds.)

                • Fie, fie on thee vile doofi?

                  I think not; perhaps doofini, with its suggestion of doofus termination. Although I am now swerving hard into Ahnuld Schwarzenneger-ville with images of a doofus terminator.

                • Doofi just sounds too close to goofy.

                  Of course, now that I think about it… that might be appropriate!

                • You do know about the Fifth Declension… right?


                  • The Fifth Declension led to a professor and I debating how one would decline “Prius.” The other grad students stared at us like we were out of our ever-loving minds, except for the grad student who’d been an altar boy at a Catholic church that used the Tridentine Mass. He just muttered something in Iraqi Arabic about pedants (or so he later swore).

                  • I don’t know. Is it related to the prime directive? (Runs.)

                  • Wasn’t the Fifth Declension a Sixties pop group? Would you like to ride on my beautiful baboon …?

                • No, no. I learned early on that the plural of a word ending in us is i. It’s from the Latin. (Preens at how learn’ed she sounds.)

                  Has anyone mentioned that the ultra-correct plural of Octopus is Octopodes, since it’s Greek or something?

                  …it’s all greek to me, anyway.

                  (nd then there’s Seraph/Seraphim, Cherub/Cherubim, Ofanite/Ofanim… *beth inserts an in-joke only she will likely understand, and runs.*)

                  • You’re only trying to get me to finish WF by bringing up Seraphim and getting HIM to harass me.

                  • You can always tell a ESL speaker, they expect English to obey the rules. The English language is like an anarchist, it believes every rule is made to be broken.

                    /runs and ducks while holding a fishnet over his head/

                    • THIS is why I fell in love with English but German was… GAH. URGH. German and I don’t get along.

                    • One thing I liked about German is their frugal habit of pronouncing ALL the letters in a word, unlike certain other European countries who seem to insert useless and silent letters into their words as traps for the unwary.

                    • However, as I used to do scientific translation from German — meaning I’d spend the afternoon slogging through five hundred ingredients or test cases or whatever and had to wait for the last word of a page-long sentence to determine whether you cooked it all, froze it all or threw it all away — I p**d myself laughing when I read Mark Twain’s comment in Connecticut Yankee “And I realized I was in the godawful presence of the mother of the German language, who could submerge into the Atlantic at the beginning of a sentence, and emerge on the other continent with the verb in her mouth.” 🙂

                    • In defense of the language, you do find out who did it and to whom it was done, you just have to read to the end of the book to find out what it was that was done.

                      One reason I have never been able to read Hemingway is that my first attempt at him was after four semesters of German; I got a few paragraphs in and decided if I was going to put up with German sentences I would do it in German.

                      OTOH, I greatly enjoyed Drei Kameraden in its original language and there were a few terrific short stories in our reader. Done lost all that lingo now.

                    • Actually I enjoyed German– sometimes– It gave me the basics of my own language … Yea–I’m English-speaking… what do you think? lol

                  • the plural of cherub is cherubim because it’s hebrew and –im is a common plural ending.

              • Never trust anything from a South African. Especially when it comes to words. Ask me how I know this…

              • Would that be a reference to “doofi of the day”?

          • How about bilge water? I get a kick out of that one– and it is a satisfying swear–

          • Bubbles. I like the word bubbles and the word iridescent. Yeah, you go of topic, but it’s not like you’re saying anyone who uses the word iridescent is a poopy head. Now, people who write iridescent vampires have issues, poor things, but…

            • So when does your iridescent vampire book come out?

              And does it include bubbles, bilge water, poppycock, and pebbles?

              • This sounds like an excellent book for children of the age where the chewiness of the book’s corners is as important as the pictures on the pages.

                • er… uh… Robert… cut his teeth on Gibbons’ Rise and Fall. I mean that QUITE LITERALLY. He also tore, ate and otherwise mutilated his way through my Agatha Christie collection. When I told Mrs. Heinlein about this, she said something or other about a Dalai Lama test. She never explained. I got nothing.

                  • Possibly anyone who has their book collection mutilated in such a horrible fashion yet doesn’t retaliate is a candidate to be the Dalai Lama?

                    • It is part of the evolutionarily induced insanity of parenthood that such efforts more generally evoke the reaction: Well, at least he isn’t consuming trashy books.

                    • No, I suspect it was not a suggestion because the parent did not take revenge for the book mutilation (shiver), but rather looking at the boy because of the quality of his choice in reading matter to gum/munch upon as a tiny teething tot.

                      (Was Robert ever tiny?)

            • The Daughter has a theory that iridescent vampires was originally an adaption meant to attract food. The problem is now any self-respecting vampire (and most of those who have sunk quite low) would rather starve than sup on the quality of person that is attracted to the sparkle.

              • Wayne Blackburn

                The Daughter has a theory that iridescent vampires was originally an adaption meant to attract food

                That IS actually the way Twilight described it. The last part didn’t seem to matter to them.

                • The Daughter has refused to read Twilight or to see the movies. She was an early adopter of the Vampires Don’t Sparkle movement. Smolder maybe, sparkle never.

                  • Wayne Blackburn

                    I read the first one, just because younger son had it in the house. It was marginally painful, but I’ve read worse.

                    • My husband keeps buying them (used) because he “feels he should read them” since they were mega bestsellers. Then he doesn’t get around to it and loses them…

                    • The films are excellent fodder for a group MST3K/Rifftrax party. It can require a goodly amount of social lubricant, but sitting around making fun of sparkly vampires and too-pretty teens can make for a pleasant evening.

                  • I read one of them because I used to live in Forks. I was actually impressed with the quality of the authors research, I could tell where the characters were at any point in the book by the landmarks described, and never found any described inaccurately. The quality of writing was pretty good, the plot just wasn’t my cup of tea.

    • “Butthead” has the benefit of seeming a contraction of “butting heads” and accurately describes the boneheads doing their best effort to imitate rams in rut.

      In this case, that would be in rut to being hammered.

  3. I have to say, during those times you were unable to ban, this crowd does a wonderfully entertaining job of going after trolls. ^_^

  4. Some years ago on Baen’s Bar newbies were off times greeted with the admonition, “this isn’t the internet, we expect a modicum of civility” or words to that effect. All enforced by Jim Baen’s iron fist inside a velvet glove, that glove occasionally worn quite thin by the more persistent trollish types.
    Gods I miss him!
    The Bar FAQ section has a whole series of Newbie FAQs that go into considerable detail on precisely what gets one labeled a &*%$head, at least in Bar territory, and IMHO works pretty darned well when applied to social interactions in general.

    • I miss him too. Particularly the very odd emails that started with “This is your publisher’s voice from the ceiling” and usually asked me if I’d considered writing something or other because he’d read a thread in the diner… Those didn’t lead to stories (though they might have in time) but lead to VERY fun meandering email exchanges.

  5. It’s probably a measure of you fame and excellence in blogging that the troll-hammer-fodder come here in seeming droves. That doesn’t make it a bit easier to take. *hugs*

    Finish Noah’s Boy and then you’ll be able to rest better 🙂

    I am, however, a trifle bewildered by how you were able to share the Con Crud with me, when I didn’t get to the Con this year… Is it possible that Fastness Hoyt has perfected a matter transference device, but it only works on the bacterial level? /running away and giggling

  6. Wayne Blackburn



  7. I TRY to be civil, even to trolls. Sometimes, though, it’s just too hard. I usually come here because I’m not feeling well enough to write, and that, too, makes me cranky. I don’t think I’ve EVER gone “off the tracks”, but I know I can, and I know it upsets people, so I try not to do it. Like you said, this is YOUR living room, you set the rules (also the tone!).

    • Dorothy Grant

      I end up here a lot on lunch, when i’m trying to recover sanity in thirty minutes around food. I’m a little surprised I manage enough coherency that you don’t find me on the floor, conversing with the cats.

  8. Hmm. Let’s see…
    -You’re all wrong.
    -The voices in my head told me so.
    -And you can’t argue back because I’m a persecuted minority of one and had to live in Maine for a year when I am violently allergic to lobster (that bit is true, anyway) and I SUFFERED. Like, pain and stuff.
    -I SAID, you can’t argue back. Listen to the voices, they’ll tell you.
    -I’ve always been suspicious of penguins. They have shifty eyes. And who wears a tux these days?

    Now, kids, watch to see at which point the banhammer deploys, and you’ll have a useful value to paint the red line on the gauge!

    As bribe to Sarah to avoid actual banhammer, I *just* finished my WIP, and I have a few surviving braincells. Use them freely! (hands over neurons)

  9. Back when L.G.F. was still fun, the owner updated the comments section and added an exclamation mark to the options. This led to much discussion as to whether the gizmo was the ban hammer or the clue bat. IIRC it was actually to notify the moderator and/or owner so they could check the post for questionable content.

    Not that flagging things for questionable content would do any good here . . . *runs off to drown her frustration at a communication failure*

  10. ….Quilts or kilts?

    Preferably without the fishnets, though.

    • Kilts? Fishnets?

      You just love to mess with what’s left of my tiny mind, don’t you, Foxy?

      • Kilts? Fishnets?

        I’d be willing to attempt the fishnets with a kilt, but only if they’re handknit of Scottish wool. I’m told I have excellent legs, though I’m not shaving, so that might spoil the image . . .

      • Gui— er, I mean, I take the fifth!

        • Yes, but the fifth of what? I have some EXCELLENT Glenlivet of legal age downstairs waiting for me. Since you can’t have any, being in what grandma called a delicate condition, I’ll have yours too.

          • So long as you don’t end up feeling “delicate” in a different manner!

          • My wife found me some single malt that’s almost as old as I am. I don’t get to sample it until she returns from the Continent, however. In the meantime, I’m making do with bourbon. Though I may require a requisition run in the nearish future…

          • What’s this? Is there going to be a little Foxfier coming?

            • I’m almost moved to hope for a little TrueBlue, just so folks will stop telling me how much I want a boy instead of another girl, but yes! About Easter time. (Good holiday to aim for; good season, but moves around so you don’t always get the Party Blahs.)

              • You do want a boy. Speaking as a boy myself, they’re wonderful. 🙂

                • With eyes like my daughters’, we’ll be getting boys if I birth them or not!

                  • How many daughters, and what’s so special about their eyes?

                    • Two, so far, and they are blue. One like robin’s eggs, one like the sky in eclipse. (“Blue hazel” just doesn’t quite cut it– not just a proud momma speaking, it’s the first thing folks comment on.)

                      Both with long lashes, just rather attention-getting.

                    • Heh… so do you or your hubby have the blue eyes in the family? 😉

                    • Dear husband does; mine are more swampy hazel, and my mom has really amazing blue-green eyes I hope one of the kids copies!

                    • Invest in adolescent male repellant while you have the opportunity. One of the first things I plan to do with any potential suitor is take the young man (here I’m using the term rather advisedly) shooting. Just a friendly hanging out between two individuals of the male persuasion, doing things males like to do. Things I happen to be rather good at . . .

                    • Robin Roberts

                      Ah, reminds me of the time a friend of mine and I had his Garand disassembled on the living room table when his daughter came home with a date.
                      Boy, did we catch hell.

                  • my sons at this moment claim they’ll never get married (school, work, etc.) HOWEVER my younger son, I suspect girls will try to get to even if we hide him under a slab of concrete, particularly after he loses the baby fat. Which is likely since he and his brother are starting a fencing club at college.

                    • Fencing is a wonderful sport, physically and mentally demanding and very therapeutic. After a hard class pounding the calculus there is nothing quite like running somebody through with a yard of steel.

                      OTOH, spending a day on the strip wearing canvas and mesh can get more than a little exhausting, so it encourages good conditioning (nothing encourages maintaining good conditioning quite like the threat of getting run through with a yard of steel.)

                    • It’s a good mindset, that’s what got me hitched. Much easier to fall in love with a friend and marry than go looking for love.

                    • Personally I found catching myself on barbwire, digging postholes in rocky ground, and hitting my thumb with a hammer to be boring, unsporting, and not at all therapeutic. It can be physically demanding however, one out of four isn’t bad.

                    • My hubby and I started as friends too– still are friends– and have many of the same interests.

              • The rats! They conga for you! Seriously, cheers you very much! Easter is good. I’m an Epiphany baby, my ownself. Multifarious blessings upon you and your spawn! So let it be written, etc.

                Mrs. Dave and I have to wait until this tour is over to begin the Great Kilted Social Experiment, as her near-to-PCS-status would get completely kyboshed by the proverbial bun-inna-oven (VERY different than sausage-inna-bun). But once we move to the East Part in April, we’ll stop practicing and start procreating.

              • …man, I stop paying attention for a day or 2 and I miss all the good news! Congratulations, Foxfier!

          • Robin Roberts

            Somebody recently gave me a taste of a port that was to die for.

            • I can drink Port in satisfyingly small portions to avoid setting off my red wine migraines … and even if they do come to visit, Port is worth the pain.

              • Robin Roberts

                I was given a small portion and then told that I couldn’t get it here.

                It was a very cruel trick, I must say.

              • Um… where can we meet. I’ll bring WHITE port. 🙂

                • Beloved Spouse grumbles about how I detest travel, especially overnight. Twelve years working as a hotel night auditor while acquiring two Bachelor’s degrees has left me incapable of shaking the conviction that whenever I stay overnight in a hotel they should pay me.

                  Beloved Spouse likes travel. Given Beloved Spouse claims to like me I am loath to inquire too deeply into what other perversions my Beloved Spouse entertains, but the possibility of travelling overnight for, say, Libertycon, is not wholly repugnant; we could get there without overnight stay en route and without rude inspection by the TSA.

                  Now, if you ever get to Stellarcon, or even ConCarolinas …

                  Given that those twelve years working all night have left me so out of practice at drinking that one glass of Port puts me asleep, it is not much of an inducement, white or red. I am reaching a point where I even kinda sorta prefer conversing via keyboard … although I am nowhere near one-seventh of a ton, abhor yellow shirts and socks and am no gourmand … there is something to be said for maintaining a mysterious mien …

            • And if you come up for the con, you can have more. (She says in a siren voice.)

      • On the Bar-proper, The Lady Hoyt infamously committed an error concerning my gender which I hadn’t needed to deal with since second grade*; since then, there have been occasional jokes concerning guys wearing skirts in the Diner (Her Ladyship can explain the rest 😉 ). Fortunately, we now have a kilt-wearing raccoon to take up the slack.

        [*: Due to character-number limits in the software my school district used to create class roll-sheets, my first name was always rendered “Christophe” rather than “Christopher”; for some reason, this caused every teacher who didn’t already know who I was by reputation ( >;) ) to assume I was female. If you wonder at my open contempt for teachers — esp. substitute teachers — there you go.]

    • Did I write quilts? I really was having trouble this morning. Well… they’d look good in quilted kilts.

      • I think it works either way, honestly, and I got a great giggle out of picturing guys wrapped up in big fluffy patchworks……

        • Oh dear and I saw the skirts from the snow bound sequence from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and thought what a waste of good bedding.

      • How do you distinguish between quilted kilts and kilted quilts? And are suspenders allowed under them, or are we dependent on the socks clinging (now there is a reason to not shave the legs!)?

      • One of the staff at Nekocon regularly wears clan Ninja…

        It is rather strange, here we have a Japanese culture thing and a number of the guys wear kilts.

      • Let’s have it for quilled kilts! That would be both fitting of my personal ancestry, and amusing to see. Have to leave the back plain, or it would rapidly become a pain… (ducks and runs for the exits).

  11. I just lost my internet connect and did some swearing that reminded me of my Navy days. Turns out– No one knows why we lost the connect although I suspect that since it was only ten minutes down that someone reset a card in the switch. (My background) So what are we talking about now?

  12. Good rules, Miss Sarah. Bonehead works well for most folks. I tend to use much worse labels for people who troll, not language to be used in mixed company or around kids. Although, most teens today use much worse language. However, were I to replace bonehead with another word, it would be “asshat” or, if I were trying to be pithy, “buffoon.”

    @Dave, Odd is a good place to be. Better than average, normal, or boring by a long shot.

  13. I’m giggling a little to myself and assume that you knew you’d invited the madness in this post…

    I think I’ve only toed the line once on the, “Careful now…” bits, so that is reassuring. Everything (including the bit I toed the line on) is common sense, though, imho. But many people don’t seem to have that.

  14. This comment is for newbies to this blog or others:

    Note how the regulars act, and be more polite than them. At least on this blog reasoned arguements are fine (I don’t believe the no Marxism rule violates this, because there is no way to make a reasoned pro-Marxist arguement). The regulars have disagreements, but they tend to be friendly arguements or at worst civil. Calling someone an anachronistic, supersticious jackass because they don’t agree with you is generally not acceptable, and also fails the reasoned arguement rule.

    Argueing with or ignoring the Queen when she tells you to knock it off should bring down the hammer.

    If stating something controversial as fact, provide proof, or state that it is your opinion. Repeatedly stating something that a multitude of others believe is false as a fact, and ignoring requests for proof or references also could bring down the hammer (I don’t think it should on the first offense, but posters who ignore all dissenting arguements or requests for proof, while regurgitating the same claims repeatedly, really irritate me.)

  15. Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter

    Monarchy, Dictatorship, whatever you want to call it, it is a necessity.

    It is amazing the total and utter weirdos you run into (and yes, this is me saying this). One pleasant chap sent me an email wishing that I would “Die of Cancer” for blocking his comment attacking someone else. Another threatened to attack me physically (actually I kind of wish he had to guts to try – I may be old, but I’m a mean bastard, and I was furious at the time).

    Then of course there’s the spammers. Spamming is the only crime that should carry the Death Penalty in my opinion.


  16. I barely have enough time to be a regular reader(which is a must in my week, even if I have to catch up and read a week’s worth in one evening/morning), and am only sporadically comment. I never have enough time to read everything else people wrote, so never have any clue if I’m being redundant, or restarting someone else’s already disproved point. Hope that isn’t rude. I’ll try not to be rude otherwise. Promise. Emphasis on try.

    • Don’t worry, this wasn’t directed specifically at you. It was mostly caused by the guy Sarah just banned, who kept on hammering away at the same trivially disprovable point despite people repeatedly telling him it was wrong. (No, “straight” did NOT have the connotation of “heterosexual” when the Boy Scout oath was written in 1911.) Throw in some gratuitous attacks on religion, AND an IP address that looked suspiciously similar to a known (and previously banned) troll’s IP address, and the banhammer came down.

      Repeating, in ignorance, a point someone else had already made and/or refuted? That’ll rise to a level of “mildly annoying” at best; don’t worry too much about it. Though I’d encourage you to find the time to read the comments as well; the pun wars are usually awful, sometimes hilarious, and often both at once. 🙂

      • Don’t worry, I know him, and I’m reasonably sure that he wasn’t taking the post personally. 🙂

        On Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 7:09 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

        > ** > Robin Munn commented: “Don’t worry, this wasn’t directed specifically > at you. It was mostly caused by the guy Sarah just banned, who kept on > hammering away at the same trivially disprovable point despite people > repeatedly telling him it was wrong. (No, “straight” did NOT have t” >

        • Yes, as the beautiful Jasini said, I wasn’t taking the post personally. I was just using it as my own way to let everyone know I only deep read the blogs, and skim the comments, So my comments may be way out of context and off point (though I gather they get way off point without me).

    • Nah. Particularly when you start with “didn’t have time to read comments”

  17. *Runs in from breaking ice on driveway and sidewalk*
    *Runs back out*

    • YOu want to come up and plow mine (what I have to do as soon as I drag myself away from here), no ice, just close to a foot of snow that it is currently raining in.

  18. Well, at least I wipe my feet before I troll everyone.

  19. I feel your pain on being sick. I’ve been fighting with pneumonia for the last two weeks.

    • It is all on account of Global Warming. We have new and better technologies for defeating the flu but because of AGW the Flu Season arrives earlier, before the antiviral weapons are fully deployed.

      At least, that is what the headline and lede said — I saw no reason to read the actual article.

  20. OK, I have gone through just about the entire line and I have a question regarding all this talk about Troll bashing. This is a fictio-speciesist attitude if ever I saw one. Has no one ever thought were so many of our traditional stories would be without trolls? What would be the charm of Three Billy Goats Gruff? And poor old Detritus, what did he ever do to you?

    • Without trolls, Bilbo Baggins would not have acquired Sting in The Hobbit and consequently would almost surely been killed and eaten by Gollum, who would then have reclaimed his ring and remained hidden in his underground grotto, granting Sauron more time to consolidate his position, overwhelming Gondor and undermining Rohan, plunging Middle Earth into a disaster that would have rendered all into the Evil One’s hands.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        You saw what happened to the trolls in both The Three Billy Goats Gruff and The Lord of the Rings, right?

        • I blame bad environment and lack of opportunity due to anti-troll bigotry. There need to be affirmative action efforts to make trolls a valued and appreciated member of society. As it now stands they are relegated to low-status positions as union organizers and picketers and Democratic Party activists. Even former employent fields, such as strike-breakers and shoulder-strikers have been reduced, causing much job loss in the Trollish-American community.

          • Wayne Blackburn

            So – you’re saying SEIU thugs are Trolls?

            • YOu would think will all the troll job loss there would be a larger employment pool to pick from and they would be able to come up with a better quality troll, wouldn’t you? Wait, I forgot, SEIU stands for job security irregardless of job competence, nevermind.

          • Trolls turn ANY work environment into a hostile work environment. That’s why they’re only hired by the government to handle sensitive personnel documents. “You plan to start drawing social security next month? Our records show you’re only 29.”

    • Of all trolls, you ask of the good Sergeant? Detritus needs no defense. He’s been getting his own back for several books now, and raising the presumed worth of many a carbo-silicate lifeform in and about the environs of the greater Ankh-Morpork metropolitan area with his unique approach to maintaining the King’s peace. And what of Melvin, who – as chronicled by Larry Correia – was discovered to be a literal internet troll? He spends his days pushing spam, virii and infuriating madness. Is this behavior to defend? As to the Gruffs, anyone who would take on those brothers deserves what he gets. Greater fae are nothing at which to sneeze. Or blink, for that matter.

      • No. No. NO. DON”T BLINK! The weeping angels will get you for sure.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        I “loved” the Eldest Gruff. Anybody that Harry Dresden doesn’t even consider fighting has to be one tough dude even if he is shorter than the prior Gruff. [Wink]

        • Oh man, the bit with the doughnut* was hilarious!

          * Am I making this up, or was this really in the book? I’m not telling, except to say that the hilarity is real, and to explain how it really happened would probably ruin the effect. You’ll have to read Small Favor to find out how it actually went down.

        • I thought it was a heck of a complement to Harry’s ability to be a twit that the Eldest Gruff went along with the wish, without even twitching it.

          He is such a goat that the goatiest-Gruff of all was impressed.

          Much love!

    • Pretty sure that if Detritus had done anything to us, we wouldn’t be typing….

      That said, back when I was a Troll Priest in WoW I could calmly explain to people it was just a bad pun– we shouldn’t hold it against the humans that their language was so limited that “troller” as in “fisher” sounded and was spelled the same as their word for a clearly superior race.

      • This is just an example of how the prejudice against trolls go. Yes, Detritus is cute and lovable, a tame, if you would have it, a house troll, the ‘Step and Fetch It’ of trolldom. Therefore he becomes acceptable and we can point to this acceptance to assuage our guilt at our prejudice at trolls.

        Not one of you came up with a single other socially acceptable troll. Not one. No only your so-called terrible troglodyte trolls who suffered defeat at hands of cleaver creatures who then stole their hard won possessions and carried it off without the slightest bit of regret. Thou shalt not steal, except when it comes to trolls.

        OK, so you played a troll, went troll-face. Made jokes and thought it was funny didn’t you? Did you ever think about how the young trolls on line feel about such, did you?

        I bet none of you would let your daughters date one. And I am sure that none of you want one moving in next door. Oh yes, take their teeth and make pretty sparklies for you women folk, sure. But spend a night camping on one? Never!

        • Wayne Blackburn

          I just remembered, there’s also Gruesome, from Stasheff’s Witch Doctor. He started out as a murderous mountain of granite, but he wound up being dedicated to Saul, and came in very useful.

        • Well, I wouldn’t call Detritus cute, though he is lovable; Ruby might hurt me.
          I would most assuredly not insult Chrysophase or any of the other Breccia, even more than most trolls, but that’s…not the biggest argument for them being socially acceptable. (He tried to bribe Vimes!) Many other trolls suffer from simply not being socially acceptable. If you kill people and take their stuff, especially if you chew on them in the process, it makes folks angry.

          I’d worry if my daughters wanted to date, say, Brick– but that’s because Detritus can run mental rings around him, and I’d be worried they’d get hurt defending him, plus we know he has such a big problem with reality that Detritus is his anti-drug. If they could find a nice Warcraft troll who wasn’t involved in the Assassin’s Guild, had no cannibalistic relatives or close friends– basic risk management stuff– and who didn’t mind the girls’ dad being a half-elf and their mom obviously having some Hobbit ancestry, no problem.

        • I’d also like to point out that Vol’jin deserves much praise for being the only leader in Azeroth that hasn’t been hit on the head so much that they do totally moronic things, like 1) ignore the brat Orc leader murdering the head of another Horde faction and acting like a demon-tainted Orc with no excuse, or 2) unaccountably act like he’s a minor lieutenant in a supposedly equal alliance. Every. Single. Other. Leader– except Thrall, who did an quickie marriage to someone who appeared in a known demon-infested place claiming to be a member of a group that had not existed, or the place wouldn’t be demon infested and torn to shreds. Looks like some MAJOR old-god interference on a very deep level, and yet somehow Vol’jin escaped it.

          • (To folks going “what?”– this is an attempt to make really, really bad writing on part of game designers make sense; they dumped “plot” for “ooh, that looks AWESOME!”)

          • Sigh. How can I troll if you will take me seriously?

            The Spouse suggested it should be pretend to take me seriously…either way my new career is now in tatters.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Well CACS, you’re too nice of person to be a true internet troll. [Smile]

              On the other hand, while you did a fair job imitating a PC type who had “taken the side of the fantasy/folklore troll”, there is a valid point about *fantasy* characters who are “evil because of their species”.

              I’ve heard that Tolkien wished that he had left open the possibility of redemption for his Orcs.

              David Weber based his Hradani on fantasy Orcs (even though they’re better looking than most Orcs) but also made them able to become good guys. Mind you, the Hradani reputation was partially earned.

              Perhaps some author could do the same with Trolls (without making them PC victims).

              • Arguably Tom Kratman did much the same with John Ringo’s Posleen: going inside the “villain’s” culture and finding the way out to a common ground with men.

                • Another good example is what David Weber did with the hradani in the Bahzell books, although that was magic rather than tech.

                  • While I find strip-mining another author’s work, Gregory Maguire has done an apparently successful inversion of this sort in his Oz books, most notably Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.

              • David Weber based his Hradani on fantasy Orcs (even though they’re better looking than most Orcs) but also made them able to become good guys. Mind you, the Hradani reputation was partially earned.

                LOVE that!

                Especially since the way he did it is rather like a thousand years after the Lord of the Rings. Not a lot of attention is paid to the way that the Orcs were twisted elves– his theology is much different, but I don’t see why Tolkien couldn’t have had the damage done to the Orcs slowly changed over untold generations, if he’d ever had the idea.

                Dear Husband had an idea for a fantasy series where 1) everybody reincarnates, and 2) the “always evil” guys were races where their very…soul-material interaction matrix had been twisted by the evil gods who were the primary enemy. They were evil because they had been caused to be defective. (Came up with it after listening to some Fulton Sheen talks on youtube with me, IIRC; it’s a form of the “sin causes you to be isolated from God” idea.)

        • Mr. Shine, him diamond.

    • If it makes you feel better my “Happy Place” is filled with Trolls that bash Unicorns.