Sunday, July 02, 2006

Maybe this is why wingnut traffic is down

I've bitched recently about how the comments section on my Coulter piece at Raw Sotry has been befouled by a wingnut troll and the foolish lefties who so willingly followed him into the gutter.

This morning I noticed that Glenn Greenwald, who normally has some pretty high-level discussions in his comments section, is now being heavily trolled, too.

Also noted yesterday was the fact that traffic in the wingnutosphere has been falling.

Perhaps there is more than coincidence here.

The blogosphere has served very different functions for left and right. For the right, it has generally amplified messages that originated elswhere -- White House talking points, Fox News, etc. The Killian memo snafu may have been a notable exception, but overall the right has many broadcast arrows in its quiver that are more central to its game plan than blogs are. Its centralized, top-down message is easier to transmit anyway.

For the left (and not-so-left libertarians as well), the blogosphere has been far more important. It has been virtually the only place to confirm facts, to find sustenance, to find and indeed create the messages, and to fight the Bush-Cheney juggernaut that has cowed the mainstream media into following the party line.

Against that background, if you were able to command the 101st Keyboarders, how would you deploy them? Would you continue to duplicate existing secure lines of communication, or would you send them out on sorties to disrupt the vital lines of your enemy?

I strongly suspect that the recent influx we are seeing is no accident. If the signal to noise ratio in our blogs is sufficiently degraded, they can make the web as useless as a tool of protest as a CB radio. At the very least, of they can force us all to shut down comments, they significantly reduce the collaborative nature of our work, and probably reduce our significance as a movement. If we respond by banning and/or deleting troll marks, we can be sure the New Republic and the New York Times will accuse us of violating the very principles we espouse. From a right wing perspective, there does no seem to be a downside to the strategy.

After the right pulled stunts like the phone-jamming thing in New Hampshire in 2002, no one can dispute their willingness to deploy such tactics. I have no evidence that such an order went out in this case, of course, but circumstantial evidence does support the hypothesis.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think one of the main reasons why DailyKos has become so successful is because of the "Trusted User" function which allows some users to troll-rate comments and make them disappear. It keeps the signal-to-noise ratio at an acceptable level. Not that lefties and liberals aren't capable of making their own "noise," but theirs doesn't derail the discussions quite as much.

10:33 AM  

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