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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Friday, January 16, 2004


focus on the media trolls

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, January 16, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
Rule 1: The idiots on the Internet outnumber the idiots everywhere else combined.

Rule 2: When quantity increases, quality declines.

Many of my fellow bloggers and commentors at Dean Nation have expressed to me their private concerns about recent onslaughts of trolls. It's worth keeping in mind that there rae very few technical solutions to the problem. Just like with the balance between National Security and civil liberties, we have to strike a balamce, and on the whole I think that the dynamic and stimulating discussions by the thousands of readers each day is too precious to risk (which is what enacting various measures like required registration and email verification would result).

Remember my two rules above - trolls are not worth your time. If you want to argue with a troll, write to a media Heather and explain to them in print the error of their ways (politely). You will have a greater impact with a letter to the editor of your local newspaper on the broader debate.

Trolls thrive on attention. They want to provoke a reaction from you - and ANY reaction is a victory (including this very post). Talking to them, replying to them, mentioning their antics in the third person, and even blogging about them works to their advantage, not yours, and not Dean's.

Don't feed the trolls. Feed the bat! and spend your energies on Dean Nation in real debate with the other fascinating people who flock here every day. The trolls will starve and move on, after an orgy of frantic abuse to try and provoke attention again. Stay the course! And we will remain. The edifice we have built out of civil debate and rational dialouge will always endure.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.