Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trolly McTrollster

As most people reading this probably know, Gawker Media blogs are comment-moderated. What you may not know is that "commenter auditions" are held in a dark backroom of Gawker Media offices by a lovely young woman (who I won't name but you know from a certain Party) who spends day after day reading through thousands of comments without context from the post and mostly hits "approve." Times when she doesn't include: all caps; gratuitous swearing (and that's a high bar); race-baiting; general crazy; or insults about the looks of the editor.

Tuesday, shortly after this post about Ms. Editor Elaine Lafferty went up, I received the following email.

from: yertle72@aol.com
to: megan@j_bel.com
date: Tue, Oct 28, 2008 at 3:17 PM
subject: Nice

So since your little site only allows comments from Obama supporters I'm just going to copy your little screeds to my own blog with your email address. Turns out I can be infantile, lest you thought the democrats and Jezebel bloggers cornered that. I hope you prefer that to a little dissent. What was the matter with that by the way, are your beliefs so wafer thin they just can't hold up? Pretty pathetic. Dirty hag.
You can imagine, I get these all the time. Whooo, scary. Whatevs. Per some advice from my friend Michael, I decided to respond.

from: megan@j_bel.com
to: yertle72@aol.com
date: Tue, Oct 28, 2008 at 3:32 PM
subject: Re: Nice

Bring it. It's called a "spam filter."

And our comments are moderated from afar by someone who basically doesn't let people post anything when the content limited to "you're ugly." Are your beliefs so wafer thin that you can't be bothered to write a coherent argument? Oh, wait, yes they are otherwise you wouldn't be anonymously threatening me.

Usually, this is the end of things with these kinds of people, mostly because they expect that you aren't reading and whatever. Or, you know, not.

from: yertle72@aol.com
to: megan@j_bel.com
date: Tue, Oct 28, 2008 at 3:38 PM
subject: Re: Nice

Right. There were points made, you choosing to dismiss them doesn't mean they weren't there. You and your sites entire argument is that not voting for Obama is racism. That's just so enlightened. But hey, comfort yourself with that - all the Bush bashing on your site 4 years ago paid off too, right?

I just hope McCain hosts a dinner for Davod Dukes this week so I can learn about Obama's suits.

You can't stand a differing view. It's ok. I understand.

First off, as previously stated, I don't see comments that didn't make it through the moderation process. And, as stated, I have nothing to do with it and don't even have access in the new comment system to do anything about anyone or any comment. But, we're bringing a little more of the crazy with the lack of appropriate punctuation and the David Duke reference. Lame.

from: megan@j_bel.com
to: yertle72@aol.com
date: Tue, Oct 28, 2008 at 3:53 PM
subject: Re: Nice

Dude, in 2004 I was an industry lobbyist, not a writer, and the site wasn't even a gleam in its founder's eye. It was founded in 2007. FAIL.

Yawn. Have more posts to write about how awesome and perfect our future President Obama is to convince that many more people to vote for him instead of your butt-buddy John McCain. So Audi.
For the record, I was consistently replying to the tips line for the laughter of all the other editors, mine included. I did, however, choose to ignore the punctuation and spelling errors as well as the racist reference for the sake of being like, fuck off.

Later, however, theis wingnut took except to the "Reader Roundup," in which my colleague Jessica chooses the best and worst comments of the day. Unsurprisingly, having spent a decent part of this election season being attacked for her Jewish heritage -- by no less than Fox & Friends -- she had her eye trained on a post I did about a Jewish Republican judge who sent out an "Obama hates Jews!" email. In that post, someone called "Turtle Girl" made several inappropriate remarks about racism, Ayers, etc., fought with commenters, earned first a disemvoweling from Hortense, then a banning (and, at 4:40 ET, a Worstie) all at about 2:30 in the afternoon, or 40 minutes before I got my first email from "Yertle." The Turtle. And here I thought it was all about my Lafferty post and moderation, given that from about 11:30 to 2:59, that was all I worked on (it's sort of an opus) and didn't even remember the Jewish post. Like, at all. But this is what Yertle the Turtle Girl had to say about earning her worstie.

from: yertle72@aol.com
to: megan@j_bel.com
date: Tue, Oct 28, 2008 at 4:49 PM
subject: Re: Nice

Edward Said never said he hated Jews? Megan, you are as ugly inside as you are outside.
Now, again, I didn't even see the Besties/Worsties until Yertle emailed me, let alone the comment thread that earned her her banning because I spent 3.5 hours ripping Elaine Lafferty a new asshole -- including trying to get a comment from Eleanor Smeal. I was fried, and this shit is just fucking stupid.

from: megan@j_bel.com
to: yertle72@aol.com,
date: Tue, Oct 28, 2008 at 5:02 PM
subject: Re: Nice

First off, shit poke, learn to use the Interwebs and check the byline. You'll note that it's not my name. Also, dickweed, when it says "You say" that links to a commenter that said it, not me. And, FYI, cocksucker, the person that chose that comment to display is Jewish.

In finality, seriously, fuck off. Stop reading. We don't give a fuck. None of us, from Nick Denton on down. Go away. Enjoy your small, small little life. We all await the day your tiny, ill-informed head explodes.

Anna, notably, laughed so hard upon reading my missive that she snarfed her soda. One would think that this would scare someone off -- especially if she noticed that every other editor at Jezebel was reading it. But, nope, she goes straight back to calling me ugly and ups it to threatening me with violence.

from: yertle72@aol.com
to: megan@jezebel.com
date: Wed, Oct 29, 2008 at 10:37 AM
subject: Re: Nice

and in return; when the next 9/11 comes, I hope they find your ugly, ignorant ass first, you deserve nothing less - and yes, you are ugly. I saw you on Facebook. You have a face that could make a cat bark. No doubt that's why you are so pleasant.

Now, see, violence is where I get off the crazy train. Violence is where the police get notified, violence is where I note for her service provider's benefit that she's violating the terms of service and violence is where I go for the gusto.

And so, with that note I present to you, dear readers, Yertle The Turtle Girl, aka Erika James, who calls me "The Ugliest Girl That Ever Survived An Abortion" [since removed], aka Ari, or Ari, or Ari, aka Elana, 36, of Brooklyn, NY [now private, glad to know you're reading, Elana!]. On AIM, her profile lists one of her favorite quotes as:
Speak kindly and softly, tomorrow you may have to eat those words..

My lawyer and I will be checking into her more over the next few days, but, in the mean time, enjoy a selection of her MySpace photographs.








I mean, Elana, you told me to enjoy! And I did!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Food for thought

The following fortune cookie fortune, found while cleaning my place (likely eaten when I was not sober):

Behind an able man, there are always other able men.


I blame this on the delivery guy that stares at my tits and flirts with me.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Not My Friend

Earlier this month, I got in a bit of a Facebook back and forth with a guy who had been my intellectual rival in grade school. Yes, that involved math flash cards and spelling bees, so what? Anyway, he ended up not graduating with our class, losing his football scholarship and no one seemingly knew what happened to him at the last reunion. When I found him on Facebook in our class section, I was oddly excited. I've always been curious.

It turns out, he's a rabid Republican in Illinois. And by "rabid," I mean he responded to an item I posted on my Facebook page about racism among McCain supporters with comments about the Reverend Wright and whether it was safe to elect Obama President. We had 3 exchanges in which I was like, don't be an idiot. When I went back to show the conversation to someone else, I found his comments has disappeared and he had de-friended me. On the one hand, I was disappointed because I remember the kid he used to be that I really liked (and, naturally, had a crush on for a while) and, on the other, I'm not surprised.

That said, a lot of people I don't know friend me on Facebook. The below guy claimed he did so because we were friends with a lot of the same people -- all conservatives, and many former colleagues that don't speak to me anymore. I accepted the request because I pretty much always do. And then my news feed showed me this.
So much offensiveness, so little time. He's not my "friend" anymore, either.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

On the controversial stink

As anyone who was following Cynics Party noticed, I trailed off on posting there in about June. As anyone who has been following this blog, well, likewise. Part of this was due to a money crunch that hit in about that time that required that I pitch stories, work my ass off, please everyone,etc., and that left me little time to write more about politics (not that I had any desire to write anything else after a 12 or 13 hour day anyway). Part of that was a number of simultaneous personal crises and life requirements, including two family weddings and the illness and death of my grandmother which had me on the road for more than half of the summer and did little for my emotional well-being. I mostly felt like I was clawing for some sort of emotional balance and needed to take my head out of the web of electrons -- when I could -- and sit with real people who knew me and cared about me and didn't give a shit about some public persona.

All that is to say, despite the fact that my name remained on the masthead, having not written a word or engaged on the comment boards for a few months, I felt I had abdicated any responsibility for it. Moreover, that the feeling that I ought to write something became another sense of responsibility and foreboding that I couldn't really handle and that, as it became clear that the Jezebel thing was going to be full-time for the foreseeable future in addition to Glamocracy, I wasn't going to be able to have time for it anyway. So, I hadn't kept up.

When Hunter and Greg came to me a few weeks ago and said that they were in a position to write again, having stabilized their job situations to a degree, and that they wanted to try to grow the site, I was happy for them but expressed the sentiment that I'd been out of it for too long and wasn't going to have the time for it. One thing that they'd had issue with some time after we founded the site was the quality of the writing on it -- the typos, the grammar, the too-insidery humor that might turn off potential new readers. Having been then, as now, not in a position to edit anything let alone write a lot, I was loathe to do more than ask some of the writers to tone certain things down or make an effort in regards to quality control. What they told me is that, as we'd all tried to focus on our day jobs and despite the fact that ours were the only non-pseudonymous names on the masthead, the site had become a collection of short posts, many of which were not about national politics, lacked pictures, had similar grammatical problems or worse than before and made the site look like a cross between a personal tumblr and an effort to set up little more than discussions between long-time commenters. None of that was what we intended when we launched.

What they did was go to the person who had, in our absence, assumed much of the responsibility for the site's upkeep. Initially, he had offered to help with some of the backend stuff and I'd suggested to Greg that we take him up on it. When he asked to write here and there for it, I was happy to have him. They suggested to him that they wanted to try, again, to make the site more than just a message board for the regulars, to make an effort to have people post regularly but less prolifically so that everyone's posts could get attention and to make sure that they were commentary/newsy things about politics again, as we did when we started.

Around that time, the site went down again, and he told them he was working on it. Come to find out, he was actually working on starting a site of his own and farming the commenters to abandon the site that Greg, Hunter and I had founded because they had to audacity to suggest to him ways they wanted to work with him to make it more professional. And that's, in fact, what he did.

So, look, I've seen the invitations in the comment threads to join you guys. That's not going to happen, I'm sorry. Greg and Hunter are my friends, and they did nothing wrong. Also, frankly, the reason our site got founded at all was because of them and their efforts, and because they used it as a way to drag my incredibly depressed ass out of bed the week after I got fired from Wonkette and give me something productive to do besides drink and sleep. The fact that there have been posts on said rival site bashing on the integrity of my friends and their intentions does nothing to endear me to it. That there was a falling out between my friends and our commenters saddens me, and that said falling out means that people have been asked or have decided to take sides saddens me more. I have no doubt that each and every commenter makes time in their day to visit multiple websites, including the ones I write for to pay the bills, and could choose to visit both the new site and the old if there wasn't an effort to discourage you from doing the latter.

When Greg and Hunter managed to get our site back up, they made a change to the masthead at my request. I'm now the Cynic Emeritus. Given that most of my days start at 7:30 am writing for Glamour (for 3 more weeks at least) and end at 6:30 pm when I finish my last post for Jezebel (where I was just made an editor this week), I don't foresee having a lot of time or energy to write about politics elsewhere. But I know that if I do, Hunter and Greg will always welcome me back. I'm sure they feel the same way about our commenters.

Better Late Than Never

The HuffPo feed has been broken, but I'm not sure that means I won.

Also, I did BloggingHeads last with with Salon's Rebecca Traister (who is about as awesome as you think she would be from her writing).