Archive for the ‘flame warriors’ Category


Are You Smarter Than A Lizardoid?

December 8, 2008

As a nice follow-up to my Thanksgiving Day post, LGF Gets Punked, I thought it’d be fun to play a little game.  For this contest, I’m going to post a question, and the first commenter to answer correctly is going to win a fabulous prize. First though, a little background…

In our first episode, I had gotten the Lizardoid’s undies in a bunch by rogering up the LGF Dictionary blog with a couple of cute little items, like a my own YouTube video, a short LGF bio on myself, and a vandalized header. Oh, and I also moved the dictionary itself over to the Chamber (I did give it back, just for the record).  Anyway, after a bit of drama in the Thanksgiving thread over on the main site, the blog key holder Zombie arrived to calm the horde, and blithely posted the following:

I heard a rumor the LGF Dictionary had been hacked, so I just went in 5 minutes ago and unhacked it.

if it gets hacked again, I’ll probably just take it offline.

Too many people knew the password, so it was floating around a little loose.

(Password changed, needless to say.)

At the moment, the dictionary itself is no longer there (just the blog); I may re-upload it, may not.

Wait and see what happens.

The fact that a blog has no “password” and that it wasn’t “hacked” notwithstanding, Zombie did manage to remove my mess (something that really took only a couple of clicks, no doubt), and the dictionary itself is now posted at LGF proper (why it wasn’t there all along, I’m not sure).  

But “wait and see” we did, and when you go to the blog now you can check out my little encore:


I’m going to take the liberty of utilizing the LGF Dictionary one last time and say….


But the question to my contestant field of LGFers past and present is a simple one:

How the heck did I do it?


Update: It took a few days, but the LGFers finally got word:


Ah yes, that’s the question.  But again, no “hack”.  Please, let’s review the facts:

1) On Thanksgiving, I was granted admin privileges to LGF-D by one of the handful of other admins on that blog

2) Once I was in, I performed a few actions, including booting the other admins (save Zombie), replacing the header, posting a new thread (”The Legend Of ChenZhen”), pasting my “you’ve been punked” youtube video in place of the dictionary page (and moving the dictionary text to my own, password-protected page), and grabbing a few screenshots along the way.  (nothing that couldn’t have been put back to normal without too much trouble)

3) I post the “LGF Gets Punked” thread here in the Chamber, displaying the screenshots and providing a forum for discussion

4) after sitting that way for a few hours, Zombie was eventually alerted, quickly moved in to erase all those things, booted me as the last remaining admin (leaving only herself), and posted her aforementioned comment on LGF

5) a few days ago, my encore appeared at LGF-D (and only remains posted because, presumably, Zombie hasn’t been alerted to it yet)

And with that, I give everyone a big…fat…HINT.  (Since no one had noticed, and the post is likely to be gone soon)

Update:  The blog is gone, as Zombie promised.  Time to reveal the answer.  Not too complicated…

Since I knew that it would be easy for Zombie to fix all those things I listed in #2 above, and that I’d be promptly blocked, I thought it might be fun to “schedule” an encore as long as I was in there.   For blogs, the scheduling part is easy to do from the post editor:

Scheduling a Post (Timestamp)

Scheduling a Post (Timestamp)

The problem was, any new thread that I penned would have shown up at the top of the list in the dashboard, (even if it hadn’t been published yet), meaning that it probably would have been caught when she was deleting the other stuff.   What I needed was something that would have been buried a little to avoid detection. 

Now, what many bloggers might not realize is that you can use the above interface to reschedule a post that has already been published.  So, all I did was look for an older post that I could use to drop in my video and set a new date.  And as luck would have it, Zombie unwittingly gave me a little gift over a year ago, ’cause I found a thread aptly titled “I’m Ba-a-a-a-a-ack”.   Destiny?  I dunno.   But I figured the chances of catching that were slim to none, and even the fact that I was subsequently blocked wouldn’t stop the post from appearing at the specified date and time.

In other words, what you saw here was a brave nomadic warrior’s voice from the blogospheric grave coming back to issue another punking, and certainly NOT another “hack”.


LGF Gets Punked

November 27, 2008

As a former member who was unceremoniously shown the door, there was quite a temptation to go with the nuclear option once I discovered that I had access to LGF’s precious dictionary.  But alas, I couldn’t bring myself to do something quite that assholish, so I decided to have some mercy and go for a simple prank instead. 

And since the enigmatic Zombie holds the primary key to the site, I know that my handiwork will only remain posted for so long.  So, I figure that I should probably document everything with a few screengrabs, just for chuckles:


click to watch vid

click to view text

click to view text

Banning netizens has a way of coming back and biting one in the ass, eh? 

So, I left the blog standing, but is anyone wondering where the dictionary itself went?  To the nervous lizardoid horde, I say not to worry, ’cause I kept it fully intact….here.

Update:  There are LGFers claiming that I “hacked” the dictionary.  Since I predicted that this might happen, I decided to snip another ‘grab while I was in there (email addys redacted):

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

See, I was a user with administrator status.  And anyone who knows anything about how a blog works can tell you that someone doesn’t become an administrator unless they’re invited

No hacking. Not my thing. Just thought I’d clear that up.

Update: Well, I thought perhaps CJ would let pride get in the way of saying anything about it, but here it is:

ChenZhen proved why he was banned in the first place, and showed the world that he’s a true creep who should never be trusted with anything.

“True Creep”?  C’mon Charles!  That hurts. 

Fair enough though, ’cause everyone is entitled to their opinion.   But speaking of opinions and “showing the world”, I couldn’t help but notice that 54% of CJ’s peers thought he’s worthy of the “Pro-Censorship Ass-Hat Award“.  This is an honor that, from a certain point of view, was “proved” to be deserved based on the fact that even the “trusted” guardians of the LGF Dictionary have turned on him, looked to a seasoned master of the fine art of the flame war, and allowed this punking to transpire.


Gimme A Break, Banned Again?

September 1, 2008

I know I can push bloggers’ buttons sometimes, and on a couple of occasions it has gotten me banished by the more sensitive types.  This one, however, is just plain ridiculous. 

Yesterday, like many bloggers, I was trying to get a handle on the rumor flying around that Bristol Palin was the mother of Trig, and somewhere along the lines I stumbled upon this post at the Wake Up America blog: Risks Of Reporting Rumor As News About Sarah Palin’s Baby Trig and Daughter Bristol

Long story made short, I noticed that the author (Susan) had posted pics of Sarah Palin that appeared to show her in later stages of pregnancy (as an attempt to debunk the rumor), so I figured that I’d chime in, announce that I was going to play devil’s advocate, and link to this:

You know, hey, someone outta mention it as a possibility, right?  Heck, even Ann Althouse mentioned it, and she had been putting more effort into debunking this rumor than just about anyone.  But it would appear that I had struck a nerve:

I highlight the “Edited By Siteowner” because, if you scroll through the comments section of the thread, you’ll notice that I wasn’t the only netizen who had a comment disappear.  In fact, when I came back to the thread later this evening, I counted at least a dozen of them that had been censored.   As to what the offensive material was, I guess I’ll never know, but judging by my standard, it could probably be assumed that it would have been any dissent (even that which was prefaced by the disclaimer “playing devil’s advocate”).  So, I scratched my head, thought for a second, and posted this:

Wow, my comment got deleted as well?

I’ve got to wonder, with half of the comments here going down the memory hole, why did you even bother with this thread? As you mention in the title, you “risk” participating in the nonsense just by posting it, but we’re to walk on eggshells simply discussing it here in the comments section? I’m confused.

The response to that comment didn’t take to long.   Or, I should say, the deletion of it didn’t take too long, followed by the, well…this:

Pretty weak, eh?  Especially when you consider the comments disclaimer over there:

Note from Wake Up America management: This section is for comments from Wake Up America Readers. Debate and disagreement are welcome, but Bush Bashing will be deleted. We can have discussion in a civilized manner and just because you cannot bash does not mean you cannot discuss and disagree or criticize. Anyone that does not know how to separate those things, shouldn’t be speaking anyway. STICK TO THE ISSUE OF THE POST you are commenting on. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our rules of commenting will lose their posting privilege.

I think it would go without saying…what a crock.  But oh well.  It’s Susan’s blog.  She can do whatever she wants to, just like this is the Chamber, and I can do whatever I want to.  So, I think I’ll just post this:


Wild PUMA’s On The Prowl

August 11, 2008

I’ve come across some pretty bitter netizens during my travels through the political web, but some of the disgruntled Clinton supporters who have dubbed themselves PUMA’s (Party Unity, My Ass) have to win some sort of award for their high concentration of focused and unhinged spite.

Back in April, I first noticed that the hub of this rancor appeared to be centered around Hillary supporter Larry Johnson’s No Quarter blog, represented by a flurry of posts accusing Obama of slyly giving Hillary an obscene gesture at a speech (see Chamber entry Obligatory “Obama Flipped Hillary The Bird” Post).   The premise was silly, and the theory subsequently debunked, but little did I know that this was just the beginning.   After all, in June, I used some space here to comment on the still unseen Michelle Obama “whitey” video, which, last I heard, Johnson is still insisting exists. 

Now fast-forward to yesterday, when I followed a few links to land on No Quarter groupie TexasDarlin’s site, and found this little nugget: Obama’s Dual Citizenship Disaster: an Overview

Now, I’d like to expand this by offering up a little excerpt of the content, but in the transparently desperate attempt to be taken seriously, TexasDarlin has included about a half dozen paragraphs of “disclaimers” and “copyrights” attached to both the post and the blog itself, so I sit here hoping that I won’t be served with legal papers for simply providing the link.  Well, I guess there’s the copyright thing, and the fact that the ‘Darlin appears to have an extreme paranoia with regards to being “outed’ by “stalkers”, but since “mocking” is a far cry from “stalking”, I’ll continue.  In short, this latest volley of undoubtedly sleep-depriving attempts at spreading disinformation alleges that Obama’s birth certificate is fake, that his real name is Barry Soetoro, and that he’s not eligible to be running for president.

Note to the rabid PUMA’s:  No one is taking you seriously*.  You can add all the disclaimers and copyright notices that you want, but that credibility check has been cashed months ago, and it’s been stamped NSF.  Forget the claims of being backed up by mysterious sources and anonymous “computer forensic experts”, at this point you’re just being laughed at.  Hillary lost, and concocting wild theories about Obama isn’t going to change that. 

Exit question for the PUMA’s:  If you asked Clinton to comment on all this, do you really think that the response would be anything other than a disapproving shake of her head?  I mean, really. Political Blogger Alliance

conspiracy.gifNote to Chamber readers:  Don’t bother commenting over at TexasDarlin’s blog if you plan on challenging any of that.  It won’t make it past her moderation.  You see, it’s much better for the propaganda if it appears that everyone agrees with you. 

For more fisking and play-by-play of TD’s antics, check out this site.

*I did wonder to myself for a moment why I should give any attention to this, as it would serve to add some sort of legitimacy based on perceived worthiness of comment, but the stupid assertions appear to have gone viral.

Update: More background on the origin and major players in the BO birth certificate myth by Patrick McKinnon at Taylor Marsh’s blog.

There seem to be a couple main sources for this constant myth. The biggest are the formerly sane “NoQuarter”, and the blog of PUMA “TexasDarlin”. “TexasDarlin” is the one who cross-posts the latest round of myths to “NoQuarter” as the old ones get busted. However, the Conservative blog “Atlas Shrugs” is another source, as well as the right-wing “Israel Insider” and one of the supposed “experts” that “TexasDarlin” uses is on

On the debunking side, you have “Koyaan” of Koyann’s Weblog, Dr. Neal Krawetz of “HackerFactor”, (and a widely recognized computer forensics and security expert). PUMA Joseph Cannon of “Cannonfire” has become a vocal critic of the people promoting this myth, (and feels they’re damaging PUMA’s cause). “AJ Strata” of the right-wing blog “Strata-Sphere” is where I got the term “Cult of the COLB” to start with.

So in a nutshell, you have a mix of some PUMA sites and some right-wing sites promoting the myth, and a mix of anti-PUMA, pro-PUMA, left-wing, and right-wing sites debunking it.

All I have to say is, when you’re a Hillary supporter looking for back-up from Atlas Shrugs, you might have issues.


Flame Warrior Profile: JammieWearingFool

August 2, 2008

I know its been a little while since my last FWP post, but I’m going to assure my readers that this one isn’t borne out of some need to include a token entry or create some drama out of nothing.   You see, after years of commenting on blogs and message boards and perusing the political web, I’ve posted thousands of comments on literally hundreds of sites.  And in all my travels, I’d only been banned from one site (LGF).  Well, now, that tally has risen to two, as last night I was apparently deemed unworthy of commenting on JammieWearingFool’s blog (a netizen, as it should be noted in the interest of full disclosure, who is also an active member of LGF). 

So, if I had to choose the Flame Warrior variant that best represents Mr. Fool (or JWF, as is commonly seen), it would probably be Xenophobe:

Xenophobe is usually a long-term discussion forum participant and he thinks of the forum as his private compound. Xenophobe regards new forum arrivals as mentally deficient and perhaps even having criminal tendencies, and they are invariably approached with suspicion and condescension. Xenophobe will mount a furious attack if a Newbie has the temerity to make critical observations about the forum’s social dynamics, or questions its prevailing opinions.

As I I take a few seconds to ponder further, however, I come to the conclusion that perhaps Xenophobe doesn’t accurately encapsulate JWF’s persona.   In fact, its more likely that Mr. Fool is just simply an absolute wuss, and unable to handle someone dissecting their logic.   Or, it could be that JWF felt predisposed to ban me all along (as a loyal LGF sycophant, which of course is also indicative of wussitude), and I had reached a last straw.  In any case, I’m banned, and it happened on this thread:

As you can see from the screencap, I’m no longer able to post on the site.  What the screencap doesn’t capture, however, is the fact that I had responded to Mr. Fool’s comment.   In other words, as far as any visitor to the site is concerned, JWF had the last word and there’s no indication that anything has been deleted.  But unfortunately for Mr. Fool, I use coComment, and it remembers everything:

Lost a battle of wits?  No problem!  Just ban and delete! 

No wonder the JWF site averages < 1 comment per thread.

Oh well, I’m going to take the banishment as a badge of honor and JWF’s concession of weakness and defeat, and take the liberty of awarding myself the Wonder Palm:

I pity the Fool.

(and BTW, if JWF feels the need to comment on this thread, you have my personal assurance that no bans will be handed down.   Not my style.)

Read the rest of this entry ?


Flame Warrior Profile: Reliapundit

March 21, 2008

Any political blogger who checks out the memeorandum page from time to time will probably recognize today’s featured netizen.  In fact, I’ve seen (on more than one occasion) the work of this blogger show up on the site’s “featured posts“, thereby sucking an unwitting passerby into clicking his/her way right into the den of unhinged right-wing rants of Reliapundit,  the not so gracious “host” of the group blog THE ASTUTE BLOGGERS.

At first, I went over there to do what I do when I visit just about any blog, which is to leave a comment that adds to the discussion or initiates an honest debate.  However, after being labeled a “troll”, “asshole”, or a “jerk” for my efforts, I’ll admit that lately I’ve been going over there mostly to push Reliapundit’s buttons.   As it turns out, this isn’t hard to do, since the poor guy appears to have a marginal grasp of deductive reasoning and (even) spelling.  Part of me feels kind of guilty;  almost as if I’m picking on the special-ed kid at recess.  On the other hand, there is a part of me is feels a sense of responsibility to take this guy down a notch (he did call me names, after all) and refute some of his wild assertions,  so maybe that makes it a wash. 

Anyway, most of what I read over there I find to be borderline comical from an ideological standpoint.  It’s like listening to Hannity.  But what really gives me the LOL’s,… is his rather unique blog syntax.  You see, Reliapundit’s unexplainable love affair with the use of excessive “bullet points” is funny enough, but the thing that earns him the recognition of a bona fide flame warrior variant is his true signature; a downright relentless deployment of ALL CAPS.


ALLCAPS attempts to compensate for his limited rhetorical weaponry through the extravagant use of capitalized words – something netizens refer to as SHOUTING. Sure, a sprinkling of capitalized words can add some zip to a thrust, but they should be used sparingly. Even worse from a tactical point of view, too much shouting alerts other Warriors to the opponent’s verbal WEAKNESS and emotional EXCITABILITY.

Of course, the best is the combo;


(Although, I think he got the hint when I called him out on the bullet points, cause I noticed that the latest post uses an ordered list instead.  )

Update:  Just as some more proof that this guy really doesn’t have any game in him, check out this childish move:



Flame Warrior Profile: Big Tent Democrat

February 17, 2008

Every once and awhile, I stumble upon a netizen that really makes me scratch my head and wonder.  Such a thing occurred when I came across the recent postings of former Kossack and current TalkLeft inhabitant Big Tent Democrat.  There’s just something about someone who is supposedly male passionately championing the cause of feminism, I guess, and it’s evidenced by a recent burst of blog entries:

1. Feminists For Clinton  (Elections 2008, All Topics)
posted by Big Tent Democrat on 02/16/2008 08:10:12 PM EST

2. Open Thread  (Blog Related, All Topics)
posted by Big Tent Democrat on 02/16/2008 02:30:22 PM EST

3. ABC Blog: Is Obama Using Sexist Language?  (Elections 2008, All Topics)
posted by Big Tent Democrat on 02/16/2008 01:35:20 PM EST

4. The Malign Acceptance of Sexism  (Blog Related, All Topics)
posted by Big Tent Democrat on 02/16/2008 12:20:34 PM EST

5. These Kinds Of Sexist Remarks Are Not What I Am Looking For  (Elections 2008, All Topics)
posted by Big Tent Democrat on 02/16/2008 09:30:52 AM EST

I suppose the open thread was thrown in there so that everyone over at TL could catch their breath, because you might have noticed that all those posts were published in a span of 12 hours.  What’s even more peculiar is the extreme hypersensitivity displayed with regard to the issue, as the “sexist” remarks being scorned in #5  amounted to this:

I understand that Senator Clinton, periodically when she’s feeling down, launches attacks as a way of trying to boost her appeal.

– Barack Obama, February 15, 2008

Can you see the rampant sexism?  Well, just in case you don’t, I gave you a hint.  Obama was clearly making a veiled reference to the woman’s menstruation cycle, right?  Well, Big Tent thought so, delivering an emphatic cyber finger wag (emphasis mine):

In a campaign marked by news coverage unrelenting in its sexism and misogyny, especially from NBC, the last thing we can afford is sexism from the frontrunning candidate. Barack Obama needs to apologize for this remark.

And, naturally, it didn’t take long for Mr. Tent to be deservedly mocked:

Pretending this is a sexist attack is as stupid as pretending that when Clinton called Obama a “kid” means he was calling him a “boy,” which of course means Clinton was actually calling Obama the n-bomb. That was stupid. This assertion is stupid. Not to mention, we know that the Hillary campaign, as a strategy, has decided to go negative and challenge Obama to debates in order to… boost Hillary’s appeal.

(I’d give that the Wonder Palm if I could.) 

Anyway, what might be happening here is some sort of phenomenon that has emerged in the form of a Clinton supporter’s irrational response to the Obama tidal wave; a sort of knee-jerk and intellectually dishonest reaction that might be confused with the sentiments of a bona-fide Weenie:


Chamber Showdown: Charlie Vs. Steph

February 11, 2008

In the spirit of open discussion and debate, I’ve decided to use the Chamber to serve as neutral ground in an attempt to exhaust a dispute that arose unexpectedly between Charlie180 and Steph in a previous thread . It should be noted that both of these netizens are bloggers, allowing each of them to track the discussion through their respective dashboards.


Notice:  As the impartial moderator for this discussion, I’m reserving the right to alter or delete comments that contain personal information (like IP addresses) or offensive/obscene material (like pr0n links).  Also, all Chamber emblems and Flame Warrior variants are in play here, and will be applied as I see fit, but I will not step in and use any sort of subversion other than previously described.


Righty Blog Of The Week: Sister Toldjah

February 9, 2008

Just getting something off my chest here, and it’s been a little while since I featured a “blog of the week” (perhaps I shouldn’t use that phrasing, but oh well), so here goes…

You know, I’ve posted thousands of comments on probably hundreds of blogs, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a comment of mine deleted.  That’s right.  Like…ZAP!.  Gone.  I managed to post 1600 comments on LGF (many of them high in snark value) without that happening*, and I swear that was one of Charles’ favorite things to do.  

Anyway, it happened yesterday (twice, in fact) on a blog called Sister Toldjah

Should be called Sister Delete-jah.

Lighten up Sister!

(just for the record, I had coComment turned off for the first post, but it caught the second one)

Update: Honorable mention: The Astute Blogger

Update 4/10/08:  Sister Toldjah responds.  If the comments were being deleted by mistake, I apologise for the jab. 


Flame Warrior Profile: Commentors

January 27, 2008

The home of “lol catz” macro images, I Can Has Cheezburger?, has become an immensely popular website.  In fact, on any given day, those of us who use can see that the site is listed at the #1 spot on the “top blogs” section of our main dashboard page, usually beating out the CNN Political Ticker (which is got to be saying something, given the fact that we’re in the peak of the political season). 

I find it pretty strange that a website that contains nothing more than silly pictures could become an internet sensation like this.  But if you want to see something really strange, just check out the comment section.  A sample:

Wud agree, sept eyem tinkin dat deez bootz wud bee gud bootz fur teh biskitmakin awlso. Mah kitteh nawt lyk two walk 2 mush, perfurs sleepin, butt iz gud at makin biskits on mah hed at siksoklok in teh mawnin wen he tinks iz brekfestime. Deez bootz kud mayk doze ekstrabig biskits yew get in kawfeeshopz.

It goes on and on, for hundreds of comments.  In trying to pin down the breed of netizens that I was encountering here, I was drawing a blank for quite a while.  Who are these people?  Then it dawned on me. …is Garble city hall.

Garble is a mystery: Is he a foreigner with only tenuous grasp of English? Is he on drugs? Does he suffer a serious mental debility? Is he typing wearing boxing gloves? Garble’s rampant typos, malapropisms and execrable grammar can’t be blamed solely on poor typing skills. garble.jpgGarble is all the more puzzling because if one manages to hack his way through the tangled muddle of his messages a discernable idea will often emerge. For example, in a forum discussion about a painting he might say, “Sorry the picchr the har is wrog. The culir. I liike the lips bot teh Paintng is sucs”. When someone refers to his random capitalization Garble might say something like, “oPS i HITTED THE CAPDLOCK”. Garble drives Grammarian and Nitpick absolutely nuts, but he disdains all efforts at correction, and if complaints persist he will indignantly sign exit saying, “yuor forum si stupef. bYE!” HINT: Garble may be Net Rat.


Kos Urges Michigan To Vote For Romney

January 12, 2008

There are reactions across political web to this: Let’s have some fun in Michigan

For Michigan Democrats, the Democratic primary is meaningless since the DNC stripped the state of all its delegates (at least temporarily) for violating partyrebelleader.jpg rules. Hillary Clinton is alone on the ballot.

But on the GOP side, this primary will be fiercely contested. John McCain is currently enjoying the afterglow of media love since his New Hamsphire victory, while Iowa winner Mike Huckabee is poised to do well in South Carolina.  

Meanwhile, poor Mitt Romney, who’s suffered back-to-back losses in the last week, desperately needs to win Michigan in order to keep his campaign afloat.  Bottom line, if Romney loses Michigan, he’s out. If he wins, he stays in.

And we want Romney in, because the more Republican candidates we have fighting it out, trashing each other with negative ads and spending tons of money, the better it is for us. We want Mitt to stay in the race, and to do that, we need him to win in Michigan.

Forget the ethical implications, the effect on Kos’ reputation, and the fact that it reveals a certain lack of confidence in one’s own candidates,  I’m not convinced that this tactic will work quite the way he’s hoping.  I don’t know if he can pull together such a movement in only a few days.

If it works?  This has come-back-to-bite-you-on-the-ass written all over it.   Suppose Mitt goes on to win the general election?  Kos would be the laughing stock of the blogophere.  It just seems like a risk that isn’t worth the potential reward.

I don’t live in Michigan, but even as an Obama supporter, I can’t endorse this sort of subversion.  I’m not so blinded by partisanship to believe that its worth tainting our democratic process.  The tactic sounds childish, and the fact that he believes that he can influence such a thing seems arrogant and egotistical.  Luckily, after 900+ comments in that Kos thread, the reaction is mixed.  Many believe as I do.  Others wonder if another candidate should be the target.  Currently, I think this idea will flop, but Kos will probably wind up with some egg on his face either way. 

I would hope that if you’re an independent or Democrat and decided to vote for a GOP candidate, it would be for the person most in-line with your political views.  Period.

Update:  There’s actually an ad now. (h/t Katie for the email) 

Hilarious? Political Blogger Alliance


Mr. Conspiracy

January 11, 2008

In popular culture and in the media, you’ll often see the phrase “conspiracy theorist” or “conspiracy theory” used with a sense of derision.  I like to keep in mind, however, that conspiracies do exist.  If they didn’t, there’d be no need for the legal concept, after all.  As for conspiracies of the more elaborate and outlandish brand, well, anyone can look to history to find evidence of real schemes, plots and cabals of significant scale.  What you’ll find disagreement on is how loosely the term “conspiracy” is used when describing such things, as the word could literally be applied to just about anything.  From wiki:

The term “conspiracy theory” is considered by different observers to be a neutral description for a conspiracy claim, a pejorative term used to dismiss such a claim without examination, and a term that can be positively embraced by proponents of such a claim. The term may be used by some for arguments they might not wholly believe but consider radical and exciting. The most widely accepted sense of the term is that which popular culture and academic usage share, certainly having negative implications for a narrative’s probable truth value.

Given this popular understanding of the term, it is conceivable that the term might be used illegitimately and inappropriately, as a means to dismiss what are in fact substantial and well-evidenced accusations. The legitimacy of each such usage will therefore be a matter of some controversy. Disinterested observers will compare an allegation’s features with those of the category listed above, in order to determine whether a given usage is legitimate or prejudicial.

That said…

I think there is something to the idea that certain people are predisposed to look for conspiracies around every corner; those who posses a world view that is cynical to the point of paranoia.  Whether this is a “nature vs. nurture” question, I’m not sure, but I’ve come across a few people in both my personal and internet life seem to fit this description.  In fact, one of my professors in college (mid-90’s) was none other than Dr. James H. Fetzer, founder of “Scholars for 9/11 Truth“.   It was well-known around campus that Dr. Fetzer had been intimately involved with theories on the JFK assassination (in fairness, the topic never came up in his course), and years later I see that he’s also published a theory on the death of Paul Wellstone.   The conclusion might be that he either has an amazing gift for seeing right through these complex plots, or he’s off his proverbial rocker; one of those people who assumes conspiracy and desperately digs up evidence to back up his hypothesis, no matter how improbable.

On the internet, I’ve seen plenty of this kind of thing.  Unlike Dr. Fetzer, however, these netizens don’t have their personal reputation and profession on the line when wild claims are thrown out there, so they are rarely backed up with sources or evidence.  Some have even visited me here in the Chamber, and recently I’ve even been accused of being involved in a conspiracy (of sorts). 

So, in the spirit of (and as a tribute to) all the Mr. Conspiracies out there in cyberspace, I hereby unveil the sixth Chamber emblem:


This icon is awarded whenever a poorly-sourced accusation or claim of a wild conspiratorial nature is made here in the Chamber. 


Introducing: Chamber Emblems

January 8, 2008

I’ve always been a big fan of avatars.  I consider them an easy way to clearly identify who’s posting what on a message board, and something that allows one to be unique and creative.  When it comes to blogs, we’re beginning to see more and more of them using avatars for the same reason.  Wherever I can, whenever I can, I’ll use the same one, as a matter of consistency and recognizability across the blogosphere.  Many of the sites that require registration will allow you to upload an image to be used as an avatar, and still others are compatible with Gravatar (including the Chamber).  Needless to say, I think that it’s pretty cool to see the purple throwing star all over the place.

Sadly, however, I’d say that the majority of netizens that cruise the blogs haven’t embraced this concept. All too often, Chamber visitors are left with the familiar and annoyingly generic  beside their posts.  Sometimes I just want to say “Get a damn avatar already!”  In fact, I was actually frustrated enough to so some research and see if there was a way to replace the  with something more interesting and Chamber-specific.  Alas, I discovered that there isn’t much I could do that doesn’t include manually entering the avatar in for each comment.  I can’t force people to take a few minutes and set themselves up.


The whole process of researching this got me thinking.  Maybe these little frustrations can spawn great ideas?  Perhaps I could use (or abuse, as it turns out) Gravatar and gmail to use the little icons a little more interactively?  After a little shootout with Tex (pardon the pun) in one of the previous threads, it finally dawned on me.  Chamber emblems!

The idea I’m running with here basically involves my selective use of avatars to assign Chamber commentors in certain situations.  Depending on the comment, they could be used as either “gold stars” or “demerits”.  Or, I could use them as some sort of Chamber Scarlett letter.  Now, this is still a work in progress, but here are a few examples:

 Straw Man–  Assigned to commentors who insist on laying out some crappy straw man argument.

 Ad Hominem– It’s been an unwritten (originally written) rule that the use of an Ad hominem argument was a concession of defeat here in the Chamber.  Hence, the white flag.

 Wonder Palm (aka Buddha Palm)  I often use kung fu metaphors around here, and anyone who has seen the movie Iron Monkey (video) could tell you that a well-placed strike with Wonder Palm will leave an opponent whimpering back home in humiliating defeat (not to mention sporting a fresh palm print on their body).  If kung fu was a metaphor for debate, well, I think you can figure it out (although I was leaning toward using the icon to acknowledge the giver of the blow, instead of the recipient).  In other words, this would be a good avatar to have by your comment.

I’m still working on more, and I’m certainly open to suggestions/ideas on this, so consider this an open thread for that purpose.  Or, if you think I’ve gone off the deep end, you can tell me that instead.  No big deal.

In the meantime, I’m going to test the feature here with a few comments…

Update:  I almost forgot.  I’ve going to have a table in the sidebar with the list of emblems, complete with page links to descriptions for each one (like a key).  The beta table is there now.

Update:  Here is the current table of emblems, as found in the sidebar:

Chamber Emblems
Straw Man
Ad Hominem
Wonder Palm
Blog Pimp

My Little Quack

January 2, 2008

I suppose I should take this as a compliment?  I’m not sure.  Imitation as flattery?  In any case, it appears that I’ve inspired some netizen out there to go around masquerading* as, well…me.


Whoever it is, this person is dumb enough to consistently misspell my nic (using “Chenzen”), but bright enough (or provocative enough) to link back to my blog when they post.  I’m not sure if this is the work of one person, but I got a hint from the first appearance that it might be someone who recognized me from my days at LGF.

So, whoever you are, if you’re reading this, congrats.  I’ve noticed you.  To everyone else, I realize that on the internet it would be hard to know for sure whether a post is made by the man or the impostor (assuming they got around to spelling the nic correctly), but not impossible.  Only I have the Blogger,, gravatar, coComment, technorati, TypeKey, Disqus,, Daily Kos, Digg, Wonkette, etc. accounts under the legitimate handle “ChenZhen”, along with the official seal:


Accept no substitutes.

P.S.  I was a little torn as to what to put in the title, but “quack” just stuck me as the most fitting from the selection.

*Update:  It looks like “Chenzen”‘s comments have been deleted over at the Ron Paul blog.

Update:  Another sighting.  This time on (and they spelled the nic correctly this time).

Update:  LOL! 

Chenzhen   January 4th, 2008 – 12:45 am

I do not take any drugs. I am a well known political blogger, perhaps you have heard of Daily Kos or Little Green Footballs? My Blog, ChenZhen’s Chamber is one of the most well thought of a most highly rated in the blogsphere. I support Hillary becuase she is the only candidate who will reverse the damage caused by man-made global warming. The only way to end it is for all of the Consumer class people (American Middle-class) to give up their large homes, their SUVs and pay their fair share of taxes to support President Clinton’s (see, I already know she’ll win) causes/

Go to my blog….I am right, i am always right


The next thread will really disappoint this loser.

Update:  Interesting to see that I’m not the exclusive victim of this tactic.  I guess it means that I’ve hit the big time!