Taxonomy of Trolls

So, yeah, I do realize I’ve been running a little hot lately, and am more likely to get false positives for trolls and react to that sense than before. Part of that is the times we live in. Being in the stupidest timeline, and two years of lockdowns haven’t helped anyone’s temper. Part of it is specific-to-me circumstances, like us trying to get house unpacked and set up. A situation that tries my patience daily, because well…. Look, I do realize I need to cut back on the sheer amount of possessions. Partly because it’s not like I’m hoarding gold and diamonds, okay? I have an unhealthy number of worn sheets and towels with holes, which I’ve trouble getting rid of because “they might come in handy.”

It’s not helped by the current situation, where the back of my mind tells me “but will that be available again?” when I try to get rid of something.

Anyway I’ve got to deal with that to de-stress, and until then I’ll be a little hot on the jump. Indulge me. OTOH I thought what might trigger my troll alarms, just so you know. I’m not saying “never do this” because I’m not going to unduly restrict your speech here. (Though coming in swearing at me and other commenters, when a total unknown, will still get you banned.) Anyway, here “what makes Sarah smell troll and why.”

So, here is what I will call “a taxonomy of trolls.”

THE INADVERTENT TROLL: I realize I can’t demand that you have read the last week of posts or much less all the comments, but seriously–

Coming up with a complete doom scenario particularly one debunked over and over in posts will get the back of my head screaming “troll.”

Coming into an old post and being weirdly aggressive as to why it’s not true and we’re all doooooomed. Gets my head screaming “troll.”

Now this can be inadvertent, and even well-intentioned, or someone in the depths of the black dog and reaching for anything, but seriously? It feels wrong, particularly if you’re new and I don’t know you.
This brings us to:

THE DOOM TROLL- comes in screaming doom doom doom, we’re all doomed. Vomits wall of text. Will take no argument, or leaves a drive-by.

As I said, this might be inadvertent. It might be accidental as I said, and heaven knows, we’re all functioning weirdly due to the lockdowns and stupid.

So, if you’re inclined to a doom troll what I have to ask is what I used to ask my sons: what are you expecting to accomplish?

Look, yeah, maybe everything will be doom and gloom and commie-land forever. (If you reality-test, you’ll realize how unlikely this is, both because forever is a very long time, and because frankly commies can’t keep themselves going. And if we hadn’t helped the USSR– Anyway–) BUT at best what going black-pill right now will achieve is throwing the game when not only we could win, but we have reality on our side.

Yeah, I know, people try to doom so they don’t feel “exposed” and to spare themselves pain, but again, the real world effect on others is terrible.

I also have reason to believe — though I can’t be absolutely sure, of course — that some of the doom trolls are paid/subsidized by the left/foreign interests. Because you know if Americans give up or break up, they win.

So, kindly try to limit the amounts of doom. Yes, I do get some of you are very, very depressed and convinced of doom. I get that. Notice I haven’t banned the regulars who feel like that.

BUT if you’re a newby and relentlessly doomy, you might be mistaken for a troll. Heck, you might even be one.

THE ACTUALLY TROLL – comes in and “corrects” a minor point in the post.

Note that I’m not infallible, and these are often written early morning or late night, with me in a state of semi-somnolence. I do make mistakes. And my commenters correct me often, on historical figures, language, or whatever.

However there is a level of “You mention forks in the fifteenth century, and actually in the fifteenth century, the hand whittled forks of Bavaria–” that is a troll, because it diverts discussion to totally unrelated/unproductive point.

It can be particularly annoying if the commenter is wrong or its debatable.

It climbs to troll if it’s a drive by, and an attempt to discredit the whole post on an incidental point.

The grammar/typo trolls fall into this. Notice I don’t include those of you who have way too much fun with my typos, but those that come in saying something like “For a professional writer, you have a lot of typos, so I can’t believe–“

THE NOTICE ME SEMPAI TROLL- These are bizarre, and the one I’m thinking of was the guy who was extremely annoying so I put him on “approve me before I show” watch. He then, without posting here, went around every right-side blog calling himself things like “SarahHoythatesme” for years. I had no clue who he was, and frankly had no idea why he was doing this. Then he left comments here going on about how he was going to sue me or hit me for “blocking” his comments and “not answering me.”

I have no clue how or why he expected me to answer him on blogs where I never comment and rarely read comments, but whatevs.

This is the “Notice me sempai” troll, and that guy was not the only one. There are a few that have got themselves hard-banned by doing things like bringing imaginary arguments they had with me on other blogs or to other blogs (imaginary, because they referred to me, but I wasn’t there/didn’t answer/had no time for that stuff.)

I have absolutely no clue why I’m so important to them, but hey — diddle diddle! — I apparently am. For those that aren’t actually paid, they need to take their meds and get a life. (PAID? Well, day before yesterday my hotmail was under HARD brute-force attack, trying to break into it. No, they didn’t manage. But like internet shenanigans in CO, there’s indications that I’m not entirely paranoid since someone is trying to get me. Heaven knows why. I’m just a chick with a relatively small blog. Shrug.)

THE INCOHERENT INSULT TROLL – You might be Clamps/Chlamydia. Though frankly, a lot of lefties fall under this. With rare exceptions, this just gets you banned, hard, straight off the gate.

I think that’s pretty much it for trolls. The “notice me sempai” ones are, without exception, the weirdest ones, and I have no idea what they think they’re doing, but then I don’t claim to understand any trolls.

That’s it for today. Stay frosty.

262 thoughts on “Taxonomy of Trolls

  1. Love it. Interesting to me is that, though we see them here in writing, they exist in day to day life. It is becoming more difficult daily to not block them out even face to face. Unintended consequences could be job loss and other discipline simply for losing patience for fools and other character defects.

    I now consider it a character defect to vote for these folks as it indicates an inability to discern reality.

    1. An elderly woman in the grocery store the other day started a conversation about impending cataract surgery (play for sympathy, I guess) and quickly segued into “So upset, can’t watch TV for 2 days and the Jan6 hearings are on, did you hear what Bill Barr said, I hate Trump so much!” And followed me up and down the aisles spouting this stuff, despite my polite “Good luck with your surgery, have a nice day.” Even if I grant her a +1 for presurgical stress and +2 for loneliness, who does this? The trolls are real and they are among us, my friends.

      1. “Sorry, are you talking about America’s greatest president, Trump?” woudl either have stopped her, or given her a heart attack. I’m now 9 years past 50. No more Mrs. nice gal.

        1. I’ll have to remember that one for the next Never-Trumper I run into.

          On the other hand, it’s amazing the number of people congratulating me on my KEEP AMERICA GREAT hat. We’re out there, and our numbers are growing as the pain inflicted by the idiots in power increases.

          1. There are things I love about Flyover County. The fact that the Toyota Pious wearing a Biden-Harris sticker was the first one I’ve seen here (last week!) is one of them. OTOH, this is the county where the Subarus are owned because they do well in the snow and ice, not for the virtue signaling.

  2. I don’t understand the doomsayers. I’ve read The Book. We win, they lose.

    And the Chinese have made a science out of trolling, as has been evident even to the Grauniad since 2015… Here’s a much more recent video:

  3. I do hope when you publish your book of blogs, you (or your editor) leave in your better typos. The ones where we’re wondering if it’s a typo or a pun. Or both. In a footnote would be fine.

    The rice guy probably counts as a mile version of the notice me troll, since every so often (it might be a year or two at this point) he’ll go off on his Facebook page talking about how you, ILOH, and a few other people, are always going off about him, and have been instructed be Baen to talk bad about him. And this was after you had had your break with Baen.

    Now, I’m not privy to everything, but he mentions you all far more than any of you mention him.

  4. I’ve always called The Actually Troll the Cliff Clavin Troll. Same energy.

    1. Actually…

      Diverting conversation in an unrelated/unproductive direction is fun, and helps build a sense of community.


    Well, actually, it’s spelled “senpai” . . . 😉 (runs away)

    All kidding aside, great post, Sarah.

    1. eh. Typing in a car with husband and son yelling at the top of their lungs. Sorry. Singing.
      And I tend to put m before P because Portuguese spelling rule.
      What is bred in the bone will come out in the flesh.

        1. Depends on the sea. The Sea of Drowned Stars is unreliable, as is the Sea of Rainbow Flying Fish. For the rest, you need to consult the cartography room. The aardvark put the map to it in the case in the room next to the rose garden.

      1. Yelling at each other lovingly in proper Portuguese fashion, debating finer points of software design, or idiot drivers?

    2. … I had no idea. I think I managed to write at least one semi short story with the ‘m’ spelling…

      That’s not quite as bad as the one where one of the characters had the wrong name. Fortunately I caught that 2/3rd the way through the first draft. Find/replace is quite nice.

    3. Apparently, sometimes the m/n transliteration can be debateable in Japanese to English.

      There’s a guy who posts some at MHN, and pointed out/claims that the Korean term hankook can sound a lot like hangook.

      1. Glad you mentioned this, since I was 90% sure that I’d seen m and n both used, and I know there’s a lot of squiggling as far as transliteration goes.

        1. Not really surprising when transliterating an ideograph written text to an alphabet one. Crap, we don’t even do that well within alphabet languages using similar alphabets! And IMHO it’s mostly differences in sound perception to blame, especially for the former.

          1. Ever see that video of the guy doing the “It’s not Qatar. It’s Qatar.”

            Could NOT hear a blessed difference no matter what the guy said.

            And then there’s Turin/Torino Olympics…..

            1. Yep. And try to correctly pronounce (and correctly represent in the Latin alphabet) “gnu”, the way it’s pronounced in Bantu. Good luck… 😉

            2. A lot of the problems with translations in Europe stem from the fact that the majority of them were done by Englishmen taking part in what the Late lamented Sir Terry rightly called “The Grand Sneer”. It takes a certain kind of snobby Brit to turn Fiorenza into Florence.

              1. Did it take the same kind of snobby Brit to turn London into Londres? Or the U.S.A. into Los Estados Unidos? Are you going to insist that everyone in the world call China ‘Zhongguo’, with the correct tones?

                Different languages render place names differently. The technical term for a person who finds this objectionable is ‘idiot’.

            3. “No. We have never met before, but Zathras very pleased to be meeting you.”

              “But, we have met!”

              “No… Oh! Oh, no, no, no, no. You did not meet Zathras. You met Zathras.”

              “Let’s try this again.”

              “As you wish.”

              “Zathras came with us to Babylon 4.”


              “Zathras stayed in the past with Valen. You’re Zathras!”


              “Therefore, you went into the past.”

              “No. That was not Zathras. That was Zathras.”


              “There are ten of us, all of family Zathras. Each one named Zathras. Slight differences in how you pronounce. Zathras…Zathras…Zathras. You are seeing now?”

              “There are ten of you?”

              “Yes! Well…nine, now.”

              “And, Zathras?”

              “Gone, now. Zathras warned Zathras, but, Zathras never listen to Zathras. Zathras was…quiet one, in family.”

              1. One of the better scenes in B5, along with “And they made a most satisfying THUMP when they hit the floor” And “Always boom tomorrow”. 🙂

                1. I should add that I don’t recall that specific exchange, but I recall enough “communications” involving Zathras that it sounds correct. 🙂

                    1. Thanks! Yep, it looked familiar as soon as I saw the beginning. My question is, how do they manage to keep from cracking up and rolling around on the floor before they get halfway through scenes like that? That applies to several of the episodes of SG1, too.

                    2. I’m sure that there were plenty of “takes” of that scene.

                      IE We didn’t see the times that the actors started laughing. 😉

              2. The moment I read Fox’s Qatar comment, I KNEW someone would bring up the Zathras scene.

                Clearly, I’ve been hanging around you people too long. 😛

            4. I used to have an English professor with a nice dog named Perdita (after a Shakespeare character). Every time I said her name he would complain that I was stressing the wrong syllable, but I couldn’t tell the difference when he emphasized it. It must have driven the poor guy up the wall.

          2. To be fair to the Japanese, they have an alphabet (… well, syllabary) in addition to the ideographs. Tnat almost helps with the transliteration.

            Fun fact! “Senpai” has four syllables!

            1. My sons discovered that “alphabet” was a very useful way to understand Japanese video game magazines 30 years ago. They memorized them, and were able to “read” Japanese. Most of the words were English in origin. This was the start for both learning Japanese, and getting jobs in the video game industry.

              1. Somewhere in the mess I call my house I have a wonderful book called HOME SWEET TOKYO, written by an expat American. It’s a collection of essays written for a Tokyo English language newspaper, and includes, among other gems, an essay on how to get through the day in Japan without actually speaking Japanese…just as the Japanese do.

                1. Don’t you know it is a pile for everything, and everything in its pile. The Heinlein pile, work pile, church pile, bill pile, things to sort pile. Important things, things to save, things to recycle, things to burn piles. God help the one who tries to make sense of the pile. What you are looking for is 1.7 inches down. If you try to organize, many things are lost forever. It is organized chaos.

        2. … I bet that “m” is used more in the middle of the word, and “n” is used more at the end of a word, transliteration-wise.

          I have nothing to support this except a vague feeling that “m” is going to sound better with most of the following consonants in English.

          1. Unless someone is trying to be obnoxious.

            …tell me that isn’t a major thing in transliteration. I won’t believe you. ^.^

          2. FWIW, I have been studying Japanese (albeit in a very desultory fashion) for about 15 months on Duolingo. The syllable “n” before a syllable starting with the “p” sound is usually pronounced as “m”. Example: “te n pu ra” or てんぷら, which is pronounced “tempura”. (Note: not sure if the hiragana syllables will actually display.) This is a feature of the language. From my experience listening to the native speakers in the lessons, this is not by any means the only such example of a syllable or even a word in context not being pronounced the way it would be standalone. 😉

            So transliteration to English from the hiragana characters could be different from transliteration of the spoken word, but either would be accurate.

            Picking on something like this does sound definitely troll-ish. As does claiming that a typo ex facie automatically invalidates an author’s post.

          1. Awesome.

            The English spelling is “awesome.”


            (I got the night nurse while 7th Son was in the hospital to nearly fall over giggling, because she said something about handing across during a night shift, and when I was ready to take him I said “switchuuuu!” — she passed him over, then registered what I’d said, and dang near died. 😀 )

      2. Yeah, I ran into that problem when I was stationed at Kunsan back in the early ’80s. One, I’m hearing impaired in both ears, and two, I was a full adult when I started learning Korean, so I didn’t get that early infancy imprinting for special sounds in a language. I compensate with the context of the conversation; but that does require paying attention to everything that’s said, and that can be exhausting over time.

    1. [Consults MHI Employee Handbook]

      $35k a head on average, but can range from $20k to $50k depending on size, age, aggressiveness, number of humans killed, number of websites corrupted, etc.

      1. And you get a nice bonus if you manage to trap a regenerating troll on a portable half, resulting in an ever regenerating stream of grease.

      2. (Re:The Handbook According to Bubba): I believe that causing projectile vomiting is in there somewhere; a 20% bonus, IIRC.

    2. Larry seemed amused when I mentioned this a little when I ran into him in the LibertyCon consuite.

  6. I’ll try to dial down the doom-and-gloom, or at least try to refrain from commenting when I’m having one of Those Days.

    1. I think of Sarah’s posts as therapeutic, a slap upside the gloomhead followed by “BUCK UP, DAMMIT!”. I tend toward pessimism and/or fatalism, as in a comment made by Travis McGee, “I could stand on the bamk and watch the whole thing go ‘Glub” and disappear and feel only a vague sense of regret”. Either is poisonous, and this is a good place to get an antidote. Besides, as a Marine-no-longer-on-active-duty (“MNLOAD”, (TM)) my first impulse isn’t toward passive acceptance, but at my age that’s a pipedream (“Hold my cane while I reload!”? Nah…).

      1. Her posts are definitely good for that and I tend towards the same things (a lot of bad training mainly), though the only military experience I have is getting the military treatment at home from my now-former stepdad (see bad training). I’m at least a little better than I was, though.

        1. My sympathy on the bad training; it seems there’s a certain percentage, thankfully small, of military and ex-military (and some never military at all!) who think raising children should be perennial boot camp. We refer to those as “idiots”, and note that the best thing for all concerned is for them to die old, bitter and alone, their children having disowned them as soon as they could. IOW, poetic justice.

  7. Someday, I’m going to invite my friend Harry here so he can deal with these internet trolls.

    He hates them because they give Real Trolls a Bad Name.

    Yes, Harry is a ten-foot tall Troll and he’s much better looking than the picture (at the top) that Sarah posted. [Very Very Big Dragon Grin]

  8. Chicagoboyz is refreshingly free of trollage, I have to admit. Although we have had run-ins with the screamingly insane – blocked, finally, when the insanity became too obvious. And a couple of regular commenters who are not too tightly wrapped. One of the most long-time and persistent trolls is tolerated because once in a hundred comments, he actually makes a good and valid point. Canadian, thoroughly proggie, anti-American, also somewhat of a fantasist. I’ve banned him from commenting on my posts, and put him as an obnoxious character in the Luna City series, but the other Boyz still tolerate him, for the sake of that one in a hundred relevant comment.

    And my other website/blogs hardly rate anything more than automated porn-spam.

      1. *snicker^ Yes, it was fun to make him into a character … the old author threat: “Look, if you don’t mind your peas and queues, I’m gonna put you into my next book!”

        1. I randomly stumbled over PnGn’s youtube channel a while back, where he posts hobby-drone video of the countryside. It was such an odd thing to see something of him outside the thick cloud of smug that obscures him on the ChicagoBoyz comments section.

          1. It’s an anti-searching baffle!

            (also, thank you, I knew who was being spoken of but couldn’t remember the name)

  9. John Ringo posted a listing of types of trolls on the Bar.

    From Bar Newbie FAQ 1b

    A Discussion on Trolling and Argument

    [Ed. Note: While the below addresses Ringo’s conference, what he says is generally applicable to the entire Bar.]

    From: John Ringo (Ringo’s Tavern)

    The first thing to understand is what a “troll” is.

    “Troll” is not the root in this case. The root is “trolling”, the noun in this case deriving from the verb. “Trolling” comes from the phrase “trolling for newbies.” This is a puerile sport popular on USENET in which a person finds a new poster, reads a couple of posts and then comments on one of the posts in a way to cause the newbie the maximum possible anger. The general term for this is “flames” and the intent is to start another USENET favorite, the “flamewar,” which consists of various insults.

    There are several types of trolls.

    Type 1: Immediately joins conversations and does everything possible to start and maintain a flamewar. Rarely has actual convictions. By and large just wants to make people angry. The equivalent of the kid in school that just had to moon people because he was desperately in need of attention and couldn’t get it any other way.

    Type 2: Starts out seeming reasonable but posts become more and more dogmatic and erratic until the person is in full blown flame mode. More a person of convictions but also likes to anger opponents rather than have truly rational discussions. Especially begins saying things to anger the “other” side when losing the argument.

    Type 3: Starts out reasonable and generally stays reasonable but so dogmatic in position (which is generally far out) that they are horribly annoying. They generally tend to refuse to drop a subject, even after it is beaten to death and return to it in virtually every posting. They also tend to follow people around from discussion to discussion attacking them for whatever reason they have. Sometimes those reasons have some validity. The attack dog method generally does not.

    Type 4: Very close to a Type 2 but in fact a Type 1. The person starts reasonable and often maintains reasonability but uses subtle passive aggressive attacks instead of direct attacks to anger their opponent. Often has large numbers of sympathetic supporters who “rally around” when someone points out that they are truly vile people.

    (There’s a very funny cartoon database of the various on-line personalities including the various forms of trolls: )

    End Quote

        1. Probably because you clicked the ‘Reply’ link under the last comment. To leave a top-level comment, go to the comment box at the end of the post and just start typing.
          Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!!

      1. I’ve been seeing that happen at a couple of different blogs– OK, actually, I’ve gotten utterly random responses at a couple of blogs, that from the content are obviously supposed to be to the original post, but I’ve noticed it!


    1. Type 3 these days is also known as a “sea lion”, after a webcomic involving one that won’t let a matter drop.

    2. The one I really loved would, as soon as the silliness of her argument was obvious even to her, start posting “Troll, troll,” or accuse of an ad hominem.

    3. If I’m understanding the Type 4s correctly, C.S. Lewis had their number 80 years ago:

      “A human saying things with the express purpose of offending and yet having a grievance when offense is taken.”

      –The Screwtape Letters, Chapter 3

      1. I believe Lewis just had access to screwtapes actual letters. I can understand the frustration of the devil, it is so much like the frustration of the left, or is it they spring from the same foul source?

    4. > “There’s a very funny cartoon database of the various on-line personalities including the various forms of trolls:”

      The link seems to be dead. Is there a copy anywhere?

  10. It would be so much fun to troll some folks… but the concept of peeing oneself in a dark suit comes to mind.
    I have hopefully cultivated (since the Compuserve days) a rep for facts and truth.
    I’m me here, there, and everywhere, and too stubborn (or lazy) to be anyone else even to harass the deserving.
    It’s fun; though, to see the REAL experts take pompous asshats down with a clever twist, a snide aside, or drowning them in the contrary comments of their own tribal leaders.
    One of the real on-line pleasures is watching Larry Correia take on the ISGs foolish enough to cross his path when he’s between FB Jail visits.

  11. I usually ignore your typos. Yes, I can be a grammar nazi, but everybody makes typos. I do love the ones that almost sound intentional or strike me as funny. Those are worth risking having to dodge a carp.

              1. I saw him on Discord and yes I believe he’s at LibertyCon.

  12. And for today’s off topic digression, it occured to me that the strength of the basic American Constitutional system is that the Barbarians have a seat at the table.

    Which means most barbarians who come out of the American culture aren’t going to be fighting to destroy the system, they’re going to be fighting to get their seat back at the table.

    The people who are working to burn the whole thing down are mostly from the folks who “made it” and are trying to pull up the ladders behind them. And that’s also the block most likely to be suffering from the effects of decadence.

    Add in that free markets are the most effective way to leverage human capital in a mechanised age, and I suspect even if everything goes crash, there will be at least one faction that starts from the US Constitution, maybe makes a few tweaks to it, and starts the thing up again. And they will likely also be the most successful faction, again because that’s currently the system best able to access the largest working capacity of people.

    I wonder how that translates into manufacturing? It seems like the trend would be decentralization for robustness, but certain things seem to need highly centralized systems to produce complex parts, like semiconductors or nuclear fuel? Or is it possible for a dozen or so specialists (I’m assuming concrete pourers and civil engineers are generally available) to start from raw materials and build a good working thorium reactor power plant?

    Basically, I wonder what the smallest scale we could build something at least as comfortable as modern civilization on?

    1. If one does away with the regulated bells and whistles, quite a small sale I think. No real reason computer chip shortage should halt manufacture of comfortable, dependable wheeled people transporters.

      1. you realize that they all run on computer chips, and that the entire dash is run by another chip, right?

          1. Given the way the world is going, I’ve given some thought to what to do in that circumstance. My conclusion is a universal 4 cylinder diesel engine married to a 4 speed auto transmission, both without electronics of any kind. Figure mounting adapters to drop them into multiple vehicles. The advantage of diesel is you can get it to run on a variety of fuel sources.

            1. I agree though I’d go with a manual tranny, but I’d also seriously consider a gas engine, as one could run it on wood (wood gasifier) as they did in WW II years.

            1. A co-worker was trying to swap the engine in his car from carburetor to fuel injection. That would have been simple compared to de-computerizing a modern engine. (Recalls the carb/emissions system in my 1984 Ranger. Pretty much mechanical everything. That was a nightmare every time I had to get smog-checked.)

          2. Internal combustion engines have a bunch of adjustable things that have to be configured with some sort of control system. Little valves that open and close, to put fuel in, let exhaust out, etc.

            Performance varies significantly, depending on how those are adjusted.

            Bad in the day, I understand that a lot of those were controlled mechanically.

            Though, gasoline engines use spark plugs, and those were always electrical.

            Anyway, one of the consequences of the emissions standards is that they have gone to electronic controls on the engine, run from the computer. And the computers are proprietary. That is why repair has gotten so specialized.

            There is not a common standard for the computers, and interfaces. Very limited ability to swap out, or substitute. And the documentation is apparently supplied with the fancy expensive diagnostic computer sold by the manufacturer to the mechanics and dealers.

            1. on the other hand, we also hardly ever have to have out ignition timing adjusted anymore, and the points don’t wear out.

              1. All I want:
                1) CAFE nullified somehow
                2) mass execution of folks behind CAFE
                3) industry wide adoption of open standards for the computery bits interfaces, with access to configuration files. I want the hobbyist to be able to pull out that self driving garbage, etc.

                1. There’s a fight going on over the “right to repair”. John Deere is on the proprietary side, with computer controls that can only be mucked with via JD tools. Such machines are well beyond my needs and finances, so I’m doing well with a simple diesel utility tractor with no computer and minimal electrics.

                  So, there’s a couple of competing trends for your point #3. I seem to recall some (state?) legislature types pushing Right to Repair bills. All this makes me want to acquire a Ford 8N as a second tractor. 6V system, mechanical everything but the starter and lights. I’m too old to want to mess with crank start and magnetos…

                    1. Which would tend to make having any EPA rules useless. They probably ARE useless, but giving people the right to ignore them via Right to Repair needs to be clear what is really proposed.

                2. Bob, your point 3 would of necessity require the total freedom from liability for the manufacturers, because if Joe Buckley can negate the safety parameters with the click of a key, he really can’t expect to hold the maker responsible….. and how do you prove Joe DIDN’T do it?

                  1. Pretty easy to prove that in the case of mechanical parts: a sticker that will be torn if you open the lid of the whatever, with “warranty void if opened” printed across it. Sticker intact? Proves Joe didn’t poke around in the delicate bits of the machine. For computer stuff, it’s actually not that much harder: just have an electronic signature on the original settings file. If it’s modified by the manufacturer or authorized dealer, they update the signature because they have a copy of the private key. Signature still matches the file contents? Then Joe didn’t poke around in the safety parameters. Signature out-of-sync? Someone changed it and manufacturer no longer liable. (Does require consumers understanding how this works, and requiring that the dealer show them that they updated the signature if they changed anything, so in practice it’s a lot harder than in theory. But the theory is totally straightforward to implement, using nothing but currently-existing tech. It’s the human side, not the tech side, that’s complicated.)

                    1. > “They use a flimsy sticker that will break on its own.”

                      That would be very easy to test for as there would be plenty of those stickers out there to check. They could then reasonably be charged with fraud for falsely making it appear that the consumer tampered with the engine.

                  2. There’s also the option of destroying the manufacturers for the malfeasance of being willing to be coerced into cooperating with the self driving crap and the fuel economy crap.

        1. Why yes I do, but I’m so old I remember when they didn’t. & yes, I am old enough that I’ve started a car by standing in front of it and cranking it, -but not often.

        2. It wasn’t always thus… of course only a madman would want to points and vacuum systems back instead of computer injection. Fuel efficiency was AWFUL and power/ displacement not so great. E.G. my best buddy’s dad had a 400 Cu(~6.0 L) 4 bbl carburetor in a Pontiac GTO. Specs say the engine yielded ~355 HP. Tuneup took forever, ignition points tended to burn out in 3-5k miles, carburetor was out of tune pretty much as soon as you drove the thing or weather changed. Modern 2.3 liter 4 in bottom of the line Mustang yields 310 Hp, 350 ft/lb of torque. That kicks ass and takes names on my 1989 5.0L Mustang which had crude injection(and a computer that had knock and O2 sensors and a bunch of other things) yielded 225 Hp /300 ft lb of torque, and trust me that got up and went. If you want something simple I bet the old 2 cycle engines (Trabant, SAAB 95 & 96 until they got the British Ford V4). Only trick is the transmission, it has to have a freewheel as 2 cycle engines don’t like being forced to a particular speed or so I’ve heard. Not a heck of a lot of power (45 hp I think for the 95 from the early 60’s) but bog simple. Either that or monkey copy the original VW beetle engine. Again not a lot of power, but Dr. Porsche made a tough engine that was air cooled.

    2. Not sure that recovery to “today’s level” is attainable. This is based on my (admittedly very limited) experience playing around with the ‘100 mile diet’. At least here (northern plains/aspen woodlands) there are few veggies and fruit that are not very short seasonal foods. Looking at where tools and construction materials come from around here, I don’t see a lot of raw product available locally. IMO, rebuilding will require at least some level of large regional economy.
      Sorry if I read too much into your post. As a retired civil engineer, I am all too sensitive to “so where can I get it…..”?

      1. Yeah, we wouldn’t have the same variety of stuff, but I wonder what the minimums are to keeping power going, mechanisms working, and everyone fed with decent medical care.

        Maybe another way to think of it is how much can be done with the minimum dependency on centralized systems?

        Things like TSMC and their 5nm nodes require such extreme expertise that there are only a handful of fabs in the world that can build them, and they require global support to function, but how much of the modern world requires that level of performance to function? Could the most useful parts be done on nodes old enough that a few specialists could set up a small scale fab to build them?

        I know you can basically set up a silk screening shop in a backyard, but can that produce fine enough features to build the controllers for efficient enough industrial machinery to keep stuff going?

        Sort of, what are the weak points and choke points of the world economy? And are the choke points because that lets us get 5% more efficiency out of it, or are they choke points because there is no known way of doing them in any other way?

        1. Semiconductors would be a challenge. There are lots of older 8″ fabs around capable of running useful nodes. But to complete the supply chain you need inputs (Si wafers correctly doped) and the materials the fab expends (gases etc) that require significant quality control even at nodes 2 orders of magnitude larger than current state of the art. And at the other end you need packaging capability and capacity. This is really hard since virtually all semiconductor packaging from the latest thing from TSMC to really old stuff happens overseas – not necessarily in China but not here. We long since lost the expertise to do almost any sort of semiconductor packaging and the only folks left in the US with any expertise are people such as myself who have retired from defense contractors. A couple of years before I retired we needed some advanced packaging (see interposer) for a DARPA program. We ended up getting a waiver to get what we needed from Japan because no one in this country could fab it. One of the major US suppliers we contacted was happy to make it in their mainland China facility but couldn’t in the US.

          1. Packaging might not be horrible. Stick the IC on a hybrid circuit substrate and wire bond it to pads. Use silicone or an epoxy to cover the chip and it’s fairly doable with modest technology.

            OTOH, doing leadframes for plastic chips isn’t rocket science, particularly for small runs and lower pincounts. (Roughly 40 pins max.)

        2. > “Maybe another way to think of it is how much can be done with the minimum dependency on centralized systems?”

          A guy named Sam Zeloof is having success making homebrew ICs in a garage fab. Quote: “Now we know that it’s possible to make really good transistors with impure chemicals, no cleanroom, and homemade equipment. Of course, yield and process repeatability are diminished.”

          Here’s a link:

      1. I think we could probably do better than that, even with 1960’s grade hardware, because we also have a larger knowledge base to implement things with.

        For example, I wonder if LCDs are more fab quality limited, or if it would be easier to stand up a small scale LCD fab than a CRT one?

        Or, what it would take to built the basic parts of an Apple II equivalent, and if, with our more current software design knowledge, we could get a lot more effective use out of that level of hardware?

        How much processing power does it really take to run a CnC mill? I gather a $60 ebook can do it now, but could we do it on a 8086? And what would it take to build an 8086 if you’re starting with no fabs at all?

        That sort of thing.

        1. See the Reader’s comments above on restarting semiconductors. We know the path now but need the 60’s to have the foundation. Keep in mind there were only primitive ICs in the 60’s, and most electronics were discrete transistors or vacuum tubes (The Reader fondly remembers his 5 transistor AM radio). It would be easy to run a CNC with the 6502 out of an Apple IIe but we need to fab and package it first.

          1. Setting the memory to circa 1974, you’re looking at 2-3″ wafers, geometries 1-5 microns. This could be done with negative photoresist and contact mask aligners. Doing this from scratch is going to be a challenge. The tools aren’t that hard (ish), but the high purity materials will be the puppy mother. I wonder if PoCl3 can be found anywhere, much less in the liter quantities to do a bipolar fab line. Similarly, Boron Nitride might not be easy to get, and Antimony Trioxide is going to be a negative. (Crosses fingers–I hated that process. OTOH, Arsine collector diffusions ain’t quite so bad, maybe.)

            OTOH, if you could get a bipolar and/or a MOS fab running with tolerable yields, mid-70s technology would get you to CNC control (not fast, not featured), and that would let you bootstrap to better and bigger technology.

            I’m in the midst of reading the Black Tide Rising books. As in those books, salvage is likely to be key. Probably not TSMC (reduced to radioactive ash or similar), but small scale prototype labs were in various university programs. That might get a head start on the pure materials.

          2. Thinking about it more, the big question is “How bad a crash?”. If it’s bad enough to take out all the big semi houses, is there going to be a transistor place still in operation? Doubt it. Is somebody going to have to reinvent the transistor processes? 12AX7s were being produced in Russia, but I don’t know any more.

            OTOH, if it’s a lesser crash, we might be able to cobble together a fab that could produce multi-megabyte memories and the simpler Pentia. Maybe. The 8080 was rolled out in the early 1970s, so if that level of technology could be assembled, it would be a start. Pentium? 1990 comes to mind.

            I’d hope it didn’t go back to recreating electronics as of the DeForest triode era…

              1. The local transfer station had an elderly electronic organ in the recycle shed. I dismantled an early transistorized one a dozen years ago, (not sure if the power transistors were silicon or germanium; the types didn’t show up in the databases I looked at), but this one had 7 or 9 pin tubes. My After Y2K “Tubes Rock” t-shirt has long since expired, but I stayed far, far away from that organ. (The mouse-nest was the finishing touch.)

                I was told it powered up, but no sound. Nope. Not gonna. (Salvaging stuff from the station is accepted locally. Got rid of a couple of old office chairs that way…)

                1. Sounds like the Baldwin Orgasonic my mother had in the late 60’s & 70’s. Lots of 12AU7 vacuum tubes. I had to change out several over the decade we had it.
                  For the era it was a pretty good instrument.

                  1. No idea of the brand; labels were missing. Might have been a half-dozen pairs of tubes sticking sideways out the back of the chassis.

            1. I would hope that a second time around, we could avoid the horrible mistake that was the POS 8086. Get it right and use the much superior 32-bit Motorola 68000. Or go straight to ARM, or RISC-5. ANYTHING but the 86en.

              If we have to go all the way back to 8 bits, the Motorola 6809 was by far the best 8/16-bit CPU.
              If you owe the bank $500 and can’t pay, you have a problem. If you owe the bank $500 million and can’t pay, the bank has a problem.

                1. It would also be pretty much useless. It was the first attempt, made before anybody knew anything about microcontrollers. Now we know how lame it was.

                  Hell, I’ve got a few dozen 8031 microcontrollers, and about a hundred 80C152’s lying around, along with hundreds of 27C256, 27C064 and 27C1024 EPROMs. I took a lot of scrap boards home from a former employer, and, well, I’m something of a pack rat…

                  Stripping parts off old boards could become a useful practice.

        2. It would also require a massive attitude change in software developers. One might be able to do “interesting” tasks with a 6502 or 8086, but the code would almost have to be written in assembler or C.

          Even I (my third programming language was 6502 assembly) wouldn’t want to go back to counting bytes. These days “it only allocates 6GB of RAM, it will be fine” is the norm. Multithreading would die. Mice and GUIs would die.

          My amazing 41″ curved monitor would be difficult to drive with a 16-bit processor (6502 and 8086 are only 8-bit). I’ve never done the math, so let’s see: 5120×1440 is 7,372,800 pixels. Assume 3 8-bit values per pixel (RGB or HSB, whatever) and that’s 22MB of RAM for the display buffer. Peanuts for my graphics card. (Nearly) impossible with 8-bits (talk about paging/framing address spaces!), difficult with 16-bits, but do-able – probably at about 10Hz, but what’s a bit of monitor flicker among friends?

        3. The larger problem with CNC is cutters. Where you going to get your solid carbide 1/2″ end mills? Where you going to get bearings for your ten thousand RPM router motor?

          1. You aren’t – but you can do the same thing with tool steel, you just go slower and use up a lot more cutters.

        4. I seem to recall someone running CNC on an Apple II in the distant past. Moving upward in capability, there is gpl software from running on Arduino – not something you would fab at home, but cheap enough to build two and store one in an EMP-safe container just in case. Highly capable gpl software is also available from, and I know of a few people running it on Raspberry Pi, but most folks run it on a pc. I have been following the project for years, but still haven’t done a CNC conversion.

    3. “I suspect even if everything goes crash, there will be at least one faction that starts from the US Constitution, maybe makes a few tweaks to it, and starts the thing up again. And they will likely also be the most successful faction”

      This exactly. At the risk of being considered a doom troll, I am afraid the US government is going to crash and go boom, sooner or later. I would rather it were repaired, but politically, I don’t think it can or will be. My best hope is that some group will take the Constitution and start over, practically from scratch.

      1. It’s not a crash and burn; its a murder committed with malice aforethought by Democrats and their RINO enablers.

        1. I am reminded of catastrophic failure modes of mechanical systems such as motors and engines. I once knew an engine that worked fine, with only the occasional grinding and sputtering noise, until it threw a connecting rod. It suddenly became a hot smoking piece of junk. I’m less concerned with assigning blame than in dealing with the probable consequences.

  13. Sarah: Sorry to leave this note on this thread but I’ve made fewer than 5 comments ever on any blog and I didn’t know how to get this message to you privately. I wanted to explain why I made the donation I just did. I’ve been reading you for years on Instapundit and I now get your email dispatches. Among the many hundreds of blogs, writers, commenters I’ve read, you are one of my favorites. I don’t join in comment threads (nor do I have a social media presence) because I spend vastly more time than I should lurking and reading and if I commented I know it would take over my revenue-producing hours. I donated a little while ago as you were moving. I immensely appreciate all you do and you are “right up my alley” in how you write. Perhaps I may become interactive.

  14. The thing to do with the towels and sheets with holes in them is, for the towels: to cut them down to the non holed portions, and hem them into smaller, actually-useful towels. The holey scraps can then either be thrown away or stored in a “rug-braiding/paper-makings/firestarter” box. For the sheets, similar, except they get cut into useable-size fabric chunks.

    … And we can call this one “good advice that kind of actually isn’t”, because “yet another project” is exactly what everyone needs when one is already over-whelmed with the projects one already has. ^_^

      1. A puppy wouldn’t mind a holy towel. Would tend to make it holeyer. “Lord, bless this pup. She needs it!”

  15. “For a professional writer, you have a lot of typos, so I can’t believe–“
    I have heard (from writers and editors) that many writers make lots of typos–and there are dyslexic writers whose manuscripts need serious editing to make publishable. So typos do not, in my mind, discredit a writer. I sometimes wonder how many of these typo trolls are under the impression that all good writers and scholars deliver perfect manuscripts.

      1. Oh, yeah. When I’m writing, e.g., proposals, writing and editing are two different mindsets/cognitive states. I don’t remember the study or where it was from, but there was one that affirmed that.

        It’s quite common for me to write two or three pages, and then turn around and throw 3/4 of it away.

        1. Horribly guilty of everything listed by: RFMan, jiminalaska, Paul, suburbanbanshee, and pst134 (if I left someone off, sorry). Better now with computers, now that I can semi-edit before posting, and even better if I can go back and edit. But in the days of write it out then type it, between what I didn’t catch in written and typo, I could take an A paper to an D in a heart beat. D only because content was good, but devalued because of misspelling and typos. Professors in question was brutal. (Can’t have profession in question perceived as illiterate.) I’d have done better turning in hand written (if allowed) because at least that could be perceived as “couldn’t read my handwriting”-ish (handwriting isn’t that bad).

    1. Much the same way, I suspect, as that mathematicians have a reputation for being bad at arithmetic.

    2. Speaking as a professional copy editor (who also picks up some income from writing), I have seen in many years of experience that no one can copy edit their own writing. The brain knows what it meant to say and sees that on the page. There are tricks for countering this tendency, but none are infallible.

      1. Which is why I always read aloud when proof-reading myself. I might mentally speed past an incorrect word. But hearing it stops me immediately.

      2. Software is the same. Hence “Rubber Duck” debugging (thanks to this blog for pointing out the concept actually had a name).

      3. Not infallible, I find that reading it backwards short-circuits the tendency to skip what’s there for what I know I intended.

      4. I worked at a couple of small newspapers 4 decades ago mostly as a photographer but wrote some, typeset some, did some layout.
        My editor wrote a book. We shared typesetting it. He proofread it all, then I proofread it all and found lots more errors. We had others check parts of it. Thought we had it pretty ready.
        Then we got a good proofreader who, after all the corrections we had already made, found approximately one error per page that all of us had missed. Now this was pre-spellcheck but it really drove home the point that we all make typos and that effective proofreading is definitely a special skill.

        That doesn’t stop me from making jokes when a particular typo invites some wordplay. 😉 but I’m not making fun of the fact there’s a typo.

      5. My brother recommends two tricks 1. Change the medium. If you wrote it on the screen, print it out. If you printed it out already, print it in a different font on a different color paper. And 2. Read each paragraph by itself starting at the end and working backwards. It is not as good as getting another person to proofread it, but it lets you catch a lot more things than you normally would if time or other circumstances prevent you from having another person proofread.

    3. I am dyslexic. My Calmer Half, product of much stricter Colonial British schooling, copyedits my rough drafts.
      I consider this a labour of love, and every story I publish a quietly done love letter to me.

    4. I think this is a misunderstanding of what it is that writers do. The thought process goes something like, “Well, writers write. And apparently they’re good at it because they get paid. Back when I was in school, I wrote things, and the primary thing that determined if they were good or bad was whether all the words were spelled right and if the grammar was correct. Thus, someone who is good at writing will put out something with perfect grammar and every word spelled right.”

      These are the same people who will ask the mathematician at the table if he can calculate the tip…

      1. Back when I was in school, I wrote things, and the primary thing that determined if they were good or bad was whether all the words were spelled right and if the grammar was correct

        ^^This^^ So I must be a crappy writer.

        I haven’t written a thing of fiction since I was constantly (hand) writing in middle school and HS. College beat it out of me.

        I know I can write, now, since a little thing called spell and grammar checker’s came along. I’ve written a lot of technical stuff explaining small custom software, or pieces of larger software (not full manuals, that would have absolutely driven me insane), and gotten a lot of compliments on them. But I haven’t visited writing fiction in almost 50 years.

      2. Sometimes it is /not/ more efficient to hand an arithmetic task to someone who knows that depending on what kind of number you are dealing with, you use different rules of arithmetic. And, what do you mean by number, anyway?

        Also a poor choice of human resource to pick the guy who thinks he has finished the problem after he has shown that scalar arithmetic rules are, or are not, appropriate.

        It can be shown that in certain circumstances that the optimal strategy is to speculate loudly and at great length about whether boring asshole numbers are the correct choice of numbers, until everyone else is driven by their bladders to address the problem without your help. The defining property of boring asshole numbers is that they might have whatever other properties you need in order to fully exhaust everyone else’s patience.

  16. Typos! My dear sweet niece of my heart makes typos?
    Heven forfend!
    You know I simply cannot resist teasing you, right?

      1. Mom makes themed t-shirt quilts for all the grandchildren (multiple) and now great-grand baby quilts.

        1. I have, or used to have (I’ve moved twice, which really encourages purging), a stack of holey jeans, as denim is so wonderfully easy to repurpose. I’ve made a number of purses/bags out of old pants. Got a pair I’m planning to make into arm-length welding gloves. Etc. I also have an old jeans quilt around here somewhere. The possibilities are endless.

  17. Oh, golly! I wish you and Cedar would get together and create an adult coloring book of all the different types of trolls. That would be so much fun! I am do depressed these days that I cannot read books, can’t even spin my mohair, but maybe I could color a book of trolls!

    1. I colored the first Olga Chickenova with green, blue, turquoise, and a bit of purple (going for iridescent and failing). Now I’m stuck trying to decide if I should stick with it or just pretend I don’t realize the same chicken appears later in the book. It’s not at the top of my problem resolution list, so I’ve stalled – but it was enough to make me read to the end before making any more color choices.

  18. Not my china shop, I’ve no skin in the ring nor a house in the race but I often enjoy reading the trolling. There used to be a multitude of Aussie phit sosters on the net that took trolling to a high art level. Don’t know what happened to them, probably all killed by Covid, but I kinda miss them.

    On the other hand, I just made extityext dollars in the last 3 minutes working from home on my computer and you can too!

    1. Whenever I think,of concern trolls I remember Don Quixote’s daughter (s?) In “Man of La Mancha,” singing, “I’m Only Thinking of Him.”
      Having actually read “Don Quixote,” in my youth, I don’t have a lot of use for the musical, but that song stuck with me.

      1. Niece and housekeeper, I believe, but yes.

        “Such a comfort, to be sure / That their motives are so pure / They’re only thinking and worrying about hiiiiim.”

  19. Why?

    You may be the most sane person on the interwebs. You almost certainly have the most reasoned and logical opposition to progressive madness on the net.

  20. Oh, golly! I wish you and Cedar would get together and create an adult coloring book of all the different types of trolls. That would be so much fun! I am do depressed these days that I cannot read books, can’t even spin my mohair, but maybe I coukd color a book of trolls!

  21. I have an unhealthy number of worn sheets and towels with holes, which I’ve trouble getting rid of because “they might come in handy.”

    Get big rubber totes, pack them with the stuff that isn’t good enough to mend, label it “crafting fabric” and tape the edges shut with duct tape.

    Label the sides of it as “crafting fabric.” So that when you are looking to make, oh, old-dead-sheets-into-kitty-toy-fish, you can find the correct box quickly.

    1. Grandma made quilts out of all the worn sheets and clothing cloth. No specific patterns, not those type of quilts. Not so much terry cloth from towels, etc. She did something else to recycle those.

      1. We have a whole stack of “go grab a towel, NOW!” towels– where it’s nice to have the option of just throwing them away when you’re done.

        1. We have those in the garage. Sometimes we’ll purge and the towels are dropped at the one local pet shelter or with rescues.

        2. My wife dismembers old t-shirts and towels for that “grab a towel” bag in the garage. Great disposible cloths for wiping down oily shop equipment after a project, or drying the car at the coin-op carwash.

  22. I must admit a genuine liking for that rarest of all trolls: the clever troll.
    You know, the one that is obviously messing with you, but does so in such a way that it becomes highly entertaining.

        1. Strong analytical gifts, developed from childhood, and evolution of some very unusual ways of sorting problem.

          I have a passion for figuring out what the group consensus is, then trying to find where we are not looking.

          I find that other people are very stimulating, and I need that. If nobody is asking questions, and nobody is saying things that sound ‘a bit off’ to me, I am much slower at figuring things out.

          I’ve also spent some years in a some difficult mental holes, and I’m pretty sure that this explains some of the ‘Bob is making so much sense now’ observations that folks have. When the world tries to put you in a mental hole, sometimes someone who has been in a similar hole, has gotten out, and does not want to go back may have some useful advice.

          Another aspect, these are problems that I am interested in, the canned answers have often been fiddled with, and I try to roll my own answers and not to rely on other humans when doing so. If the consensus is deeply meddled in, and the state space of the discussion is in lala land, then just about anyone who goes for extremes of independent thinking is going to have some good answers relative to that. You can have many terrible ideas, and still have a few ideas that are better than what the crowd does.

          1. “When the world tries to put you in a mental hole…”

            Bob! I really hate it when you make sense like that!

            That’s exactly what they’re doing. It isn’t subtle these days, which is probably why even I can see it.

            I’m like the one-eyed man in the Kingdom of 20-20 Vision. It has to be big, bold, right in the way and painted bright red before I can see it.

  23. THE ACTUALLY TROLL – comes in and “corrects” a minor point in the post.

    Note that I’m not infallible, and these are often written early morning or late night, with me in a state of semi-somnolence. I do make mistakes. And my commenters correct me often, on historical figures, language, or whatever.

    ::raises hand:: I argue with you HOW MUCH?!

    ….also, I now want a hand-whittled fork. Bavaria or otherwise. Wall-display sized is OK, my grandma had a giant wooden spoon for some reason and it was awesome….

    1. I’ve seen such hand-whittled implements for sale somewhere. A stray thought insists it could have been at the Amana Colony tourist trap stores along I-80. OTOH, it’s been at least 8 years since I’ve gone by that area.

    2. > “::raises hand:: I argue with you HOW MUCH?!”

      If I hadn’t given up trying to debate serious issues here, I suspect you and I would be having at LEAST one or two major rows a year…

  24. Are trolls lemmings too? I normally don’t bother with trollage because it’s too often rote and boring. At the same time, lemmings, and there are lots of them about, are pretentious but incapable of independent thought. Then, I wonder, who is the Pied Piper of the troll and lemming brigade? Who provides them their daily dose and fax message of orthodox leftist thought and agitprop? Who are the people behind the curtain?

  25. “Actually Troll”

    /raises hand

    Actually, it’s the “akshully troll”. The fact that you made such a basic error means that…

      1. It depends on where the troll is from. It’s a dialect thing. There are different forms depending on different factors about the author. For example, if the writer learned German before English, it’s “achtually”.

        However, careful studies that may or may not have cost millions and millions of taxpayer dollars have determined that “akshully” is the most common form of this.

  26. I’m posting this before reading the comments, but regarding the “notice me sempai troll”, it sounds like a case of extreme narcissism coupled with an ultimate entitlement mindset. And all wrapped up in a severe case of arrested development.

    If it were me on the receiving end, my first impulse would be to ignore the idiot, and if that didn’t work to apply the first rule of diplomacy, and say “Nice doggie” in a soothing voice while searching for a rock.

  27. My most irritating kind are the ‘shifting ground’ troll. They will inform you that x is wrong in your post. When you painstakingly point out X is not wrong, they will never acknowledge that, they just shift to Y being wrong in your argument. When you painstakingly point out that no Y is NOT wrong, they will (without admitting they were wrong, shift to accusing you of being wrong on Z. If you then establish that Z is also correct, they will claim A is incorrect… and so on. It’s an endless game of wack-a-mole where they never win, but waste a load of your time, temper and patience – and if you pursue it long enough they go full circle. Camel-turd was the classic example. They can’t win, but they ENJOY being a pain in the butt, and hope if they niggle long enough you’ll give them some ammunition to use on you elsewhere, out of context, to make you seem as unreasonable as possible.

    1. I’ve run into that quite a bit in Usenet groups. Since Agent has a killfile the problem is usually resolved fairly quickly.

    2. Have you heard the camel’s voice on that podcast? I instantly understood the whole camel package after hearing it speak. The light dawned, as they say, and I muttered “Oh. One of -those-.”

      I used to drop comments into his spam filter just to piss him off, but of late and especially since that podcast I realize there’s no point. None at all.

  28. I don’t usually push back against people, just ’cause it seems rude and I don’t like to be. However, one of my of my fondest memories of a certain really annoying co-worker was the time a very young chemistry teacher that our district had JUST hired right out of college came to my office for her computer and introduced herself to me saying, “Hello, I’m Ms. Jones but you can call me Senpai. ”

    To which I replied, “Your students may call you Senpai, I, however will NOT be calling you Senpai. I’m old enough to be your mother and you are not and cannot ever be my Senpai. Allow me to explain how you log into your computer on our network and here are your network credentials. I am available to assist you with any and all technical issues 24/7. Here is my emergency cellphone number. Please sign here for your equipment, take the staff technology handbook home, read the documentation and bring the signed back page saying you accept the terms of our employment.

    I am pretty sure she had No Idea whatever what Senpai actually meant but thought it sounded cool.

    She was the kind of troll who made a point of bringing her plain Spaghetti O’s to potlucks and heating them up in the microwave in front of us all and eating only that in very dramatic fashion because she was an ethical vegan and didn’t trust anyone to bring real vegan food to share. Which she would explain at loud volume to anyone who asked her. Or even when no one asked her.

    The vast majority of students couldn’t stand her. Staff was completely indifferent. But she moved back with her parents in another state a couple of years later.

    I really hope she eventually got over herself.

    1. Oh, man. How can somebody’s teacher be their senpai? Unless it was a high school alumni thing… And even then it would be rude….

      I have to say, it would be tempting to ratchet up formality levels higher and higher, up from sensei, until you were using imperial dialect. But that kind of person would not get the sarcasm.

  29. “So, if you’re inclined to a doom troll what I have to ask is what I used to ask my sons: what are you expecting to accomplish?”

    This is why I stopped discussing self defence issues with idiots on the interwebz. After years of quoting studies and such, I finally realized there’s no point. I was expecting Leftists to be responsive to logic, reason, observed truths, etc.

    But they’re not.

    They are the people who just spent 2020, 2021 and the first half of 2022 DEMANDING mandatory vaccines. Demanding! Rioting over it. The Leftist government of Canada invoked the War Measures Act* over it. People are still in jail from that.

    Literally weeks later, all we hear is “MY BODY MY CHOICE!!11!” and they’re rioting over that and burning shit down. In -Canada- they’re rioting over it.

    You can’t talk to that. They’re unreachable with speech.

    Yes, I know -aktchually- it isn’t called that anymore. I’m old, I remember the first time they did it.

    1. Can’t speak for Sarah, but she might not mind your singing BUT she doesn’t deserve to hear my singing. [Crazy Grin]

    2. Well… (…does this make me a troll since I seem to pounce on opportunities like this?)

  30. “So, if you’re inclined to a doom troll what I have to ask is what I used to ask my sons: what are you expecting to accomplish?”

    An excellent question to ask of anyone, or any group, that wants to do anything that impacts you, your family, your community, and your nation.

    Case in point for this morning. The first time I recall seeing this concept in writing was in one of David Weber’s Honor novels; where the first colonists of a planet with lethal amounts of heavy metals in the environment, had a doctor secretly engineer a cold virus to spread a modified form of cystic fibrosis genes throughout the population as a means for them to expel those metals from the body. (It worked, short and medium term, but eventually would have caused their entire extinction.) Who died and made NIH God?

    Point is, good intentions often short circuit careful analysis of long term consequences/detriments. Asking the question, “What are you expecting to accomplish?” does a nice job of slowing that headlong plunge into what looks like a wonderful situation, but might not be so.

    1. I recall from 2020 there was a highly placed immunologist (TED talk or some other such venue) who proposed that exact scenario. “Why don’t we just make the ‘vaccine’ contagious? Then it’ll spread itself. Yay!”

      There’s a bunch of pointy-head academics out there -SALIVATING- over this idea. Just drooling. They really, really want to do it.

        1. We’re watching it roll out in real time. The mad science genetic modification experiment they pleased to call a vaccine has a -lot- of side effects that the makers did not expect, and it does not even behave in the body in the way they expects. They really had no idea what was going to happen, and they frigging well did it anyway.

          All I have to do is imagine that vaxx being contagious, and the logical outcome is very easy to predict.


      1. I’ve seen reports of something similar; modifying the genetics of a common vegetable to get the mRNA in the body.

        I wonder what the overlap is between the anti-GMO crowd and those enthusiastic about the mRNA not-Vax. Would they even notice the contradiction?

        1. We already know that the “MY BODY MY CHOICE!!!!!” types went hard for mandatory vax. They see no contradiction, apparently. I think you’ll find the anti-GMO freaks also went hard for mandatory vax, despite it being literally a genetic modification experiment.

          1. The logic chain, such as it is, seems to be, ” If I make a choice it affects only me! Your not getting vaxxed endangers ME! How dare you endanger me? How can you be so selfish?”

            They are utterly blind to their own selfishness.

            1. It’s not inconsistent at all, from the “proper” perspective:
              “My body, my choice!”
              “Your body, my choice!”
              See? it’s all about “choice” for the only person who actually matters. And I only wish I were joking…

          2. You know, I wonder if this is the bio-technical means that “intelligent” species manage to kill themselves off, resulting in the Fermi paradox? Wiki article on it states, “Possible means of annihilation via major global issues, where global interconnectedness actually makes humanity more vulnerable than resilient,[77] are many,[78] including war, accidental environmental contamination or damage, the development of biotechnology ,[79] synthetic life like mirror life,[80] resource depletion, climate change,[81] or poorly-designed artificial intelligence. This general theme is explored both in fiction and in scientific hypothesizing.[82]”

            1. The appalling stupidity of funding “gain of function” experiments (not to mention in a TOTALITARIAN RIVAL NATION no less) would seem to be impossible. How could anyone be that stupid?

              And yet, here we are. Therefore, men of science being exactly that appallingly stupid is something to be considered going forward.

              Are there some things best left alone? For example, do we really want someone to invent a pocket sized black-hole generator? Or a virus that only affects a certain racial group? (That’s a bad one, because at the level viruses operate at, there are no races. Those things even cross species. Giving a politician a thing like that is worse than dropping a machinegun in the monkey cage.)

              These kinds of things also become cheaper. Once upon a time in the 1940s, only the USA had the resources to complete an atom bomb. Now, 2022, crappy middle eastern dictatorships like Iran can do it. Libya had two of them. Saturday Night Special black-hole generators, small -and- cheap.

              Answer to the Fermi Paradox? I certainly hope not.

            2. Other day, I was wondering if communism could be our version of generalized answer to the Fermi ‘paradox’.

              Two things that seem to be widely present in humans of the modern species are a) magical thinking b) social behavior.

              It doesn’t seem likely that there is a way to attack the nervous system such that a modern human could not or would not invent social behavior, and still have a population capable of raising the next generation to a viable breeding age.

              Magical thinking is kinda weird. I mean, what does it do? By observation we can see that it probably has something to do with the qualities that allow for survival in new situations, and that allow for the development of general technologies.

              But, religions, cultures, and flavors of magical thinking are not all the same.

              It seems like there are some religions, and some cultures, which allow for the systemic development of technologies. Perhaps due to constraints on magical thinking?

              Anyway, Judiaism clearly had the Right Stuff. But, it seems like the memeform is not virulent enough to spread widely?

              Christianity would be the memeforms with the mutations to spread virulently, while still being good for tech development.

              But, after some tech development, we had a harmful mutation to Christianity develop and spread widely. Communism. And Communism seems pretty bad for tech, and for many other things.

              What if magical thinking is inherent in species with the right kind of intelligence to create great amounts of technologies? What if they first have to invent a memeplex that does the really productive things with their magical thinking? What if after the first brush with industrialization, new and different memeplexes get generated, and some of them are pretty hostile to continuing tech development, and favorable to imploding?

              1. The flaws of communism do seem to be very common — not just in humans, either, the “if you have too obviously a good thing you’ll be killed so others can take it” thing is pretty common in animals, too.

                Magical thinking is kinda weird. I mean, what does it do?

                It supports beliefs that have sufficient predictive power for avoiding death that the associated costs of the false belief are not in themselves deadly.

                For example, Ritual Purity, especially taboos around the female cycle.
                ….blood is a biohazard for a reason. I’ll leave it at that. Well, no, I’ll actually add also that the timing of, uh, relations, can have detectable changes on the sex of the child that is produced. Female sperm is slower but lives longer, male sperm is faster but more easily damaged and thus dies faster. So, traditions that have a much longer ritual impurity no touchee tradition after the woman’s cycle are going to be slightly more likely to have male children, which is important when you don’t have modern healthcare to offset the higher rate of male child health issues. (Most babies in the NICU are male– please adjust your donations accordingly!)

                Anyway, Judiaism clearly had the Right Stuff. But, it seems like the memeform is not virulent enough to spread widely?

                Christianity would be the memeforms with the mutations to spread virulently, while still being good for tech development.

                Oh, oh— Judaism is the strength of family, besides all the very important moral and tradition tactics. It even could spread by adoption.
                What’s the single biggest change with Christianity? That adoption (into family-of-God) happens at baptism….
                I’d never thought of Godparents that way, I gotta use this in something.

                What if after the first brush with industrialization, new and different memeplexes get generated, and some of them are pretty hostile to continuing tech development, and favorable to imploding?

                The most effective predictor of Evil And Going To Fail that I can think of is “they tried to wipe out the Jews.”

                I’ll take that what-iff to the stars.

      2. So what, exactly, is the difference between a contagious vaccine and a contagious virus? How sick it makes you?

        1. In one of my books the Bad Guys had a contagious mind-control weapon. People infected would attack a specified target. The Good Guys had to run around delivering a cure to infected people, and they distributed a “vaccine” to immunize the general population against the weapon. The “vaccine” was a nanotech device/virus/machine delivered as a dust by airburst munitions and by little darts fired by insect-sized robots. Being fiction, of course it worked perfectly and everyone was happy. (That’s how you can tell it’s fiction, nothing in Real Life ever goes that smoothly.)

          That concept is what these dangerously insane cowboys are talking about using to fight COVID-19 and other viruses.

          Difference being that in my book (a work of fiction, let’s remember) the Good Guys (and the Bad Guys) are post-human artificial intelligence beings who can -make- a human body out of sewage and table scraps in under an hour. Their mastery of human biology is absolute.

          The Covid-Cowboys of the World Health Organization are guessing. They have no idea what would happen. None. But you know, they mean well. It’s for the children.

          So really, the difference between the “disease” and the “cure” will probably be intent and not much else. They meant the cure to be good for you, but because they suck at science it may easily be worse than the disease.

          Look for them to try this with Monkey Pox real soon. They’ll also try to get an mRNA ‘vaccine’ rolled out. Phantom prediction.

            1. On nanotech and unexpected results, such as a golden retriever the size of a polar bear:

              “An early effort?” she asked. “Nano can be funny that way. Sometimes it does what you meant instead of what you said. Your dog was important to you, so it made him big and strong.”

              But then we also have the bad example of AIs with nano creating Dyson spheres due to uncontrolled proliferation. Accident? Or weapon?

            2. If you haven’t read Koontz’s “Jane Hawk” quintology, it’s a look at a truly horrific scheme by a group of the self-designated “Elite” to ensure domination via mind control. No spoilers; good series (like most Koontz books).

    2. Regarding the idea that a few random deaths caused by the “vaccine” are preferable to a greater number of deaths if it’s not used, it seems to me that an analogy might get the point across (probably not, but still…). Since we have literally mountains of data regarding recidivism rates for violent criminals, including murderers, wouldn’t it be better to simply execute anyone who kills anyone, other than in defense of self or others? After all, the statistics clearly show that each such execution would save more than one life.

      (No, I’m not advocating that; it’s not that simple. But since the “VAX NOW AND FOREVER!” mob seems to like the idea…)

  31. Funny, I ran across this only a few days ago. Netflix making a movie about Trolls

    This blog is good but sometimes the comments are even better – come for the post on trolls, stay for the discussion of Japanese pronunciation, vaccines-as-a-virus, and ‘how to rebuild America from nothing’.

  32. I have an unhealthy number of worn sheets and towels with holes,
    which I’ve trouble getting rid of because “they might come in handy.”

    Look, you need to keep enough spare towels to sop up the blood from three bodies, and enough sheets to wrap the bodies (or parts of the bodies if you go all Crusader on them) in before you wrap the tarp around them. Anything more than that is hubris.

    1. I never thought of that (more for spilled motor oil or tranny fluid), but you make a cogent point… 🙂

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