Readers post comments on ‘worthless’ blogpost

Computer geeks, Doctor Who fanatics and Red Dwarf fans have been up in arms over an entry posted to the controversial ‘Free Thoughts Blog‘ website.

The website, known for its outspoken commentary, featured a blog-post with the title, “You are not a character worth associating with,” which attracted complaints and comments from over a dozen visitors to the website.

Paul X Myers is a radical atheist.
RADICAL: Paul X Myers is a radical atheist. Courtesy: Obtained from The Daily Banter.

The article showed graphic scenes of violence towards someone who wanted to build a snowman. The blog authors thought this was necessary to use the snowman symbol in ‘Unicode‘ (a character system used to display information on computer screens), to demonstrate that Dr Who’s use of snowmen was inappropriate, this upsetting computer geeks.

One user, known as Jon, was deeply offended by the post. “erm…. care to explain why the snowman, or those particular snowmen were not worth associating with Doctor Who?,” he said. “I thought it was a lovely Christmas episode.

Another commentator, known as ‘Isamaknight,‘  said the analysis was totally wrong. “Actually I feel I should point out that the snowmen and ‘The Intelligence’ guiding them are in fact an extremely long ranged callback to ‘The Great Intelligence’ and the Yeti’s that the Second Doctor encountered lo those many years ago,” they said. “Though most of the episodes from that serial are sadly missing. They might not be as iconic as the Daleks or the Cybermen but they are tied into the series’ past.

This is not the first time that the Free Thoughts Blog website has caused controversy. In 2008, a University of Minnesota Morris lecturer, Paul Z Myers, posted an article titled, “The Great Desecration,” In the article it showed how Paul Z Myers, who is an Atheist, had desecrated the Qu’ran. He explained: “I pierced it with a rusty nail (I hope Jesus’s tetanus shots are up to date). And then I simply threw it in the trash, followed by the classic, decorative items of trash cans everywhere, old coffee-grounds and a banana peel.” Rather disgustingly he then said, “My apologies to those who hoped for more, but the worst I can do is show my unconcerned contempt.

Defending Paul Z Myer’s apparent hate against Islam, Peh Ng, the Professor and Chair of the Division of Science and Mathematics at the University of Minnesota Morris, did nothing to curb Myers’s actions. “I have no jurisdiction over what Paul Myers wrote on his own personal blog,” they said. “Myers’ blog does NOT reside on university property and has no affiliation with the university.

This latest incident shows how the Free Thoughts Blogs website has complete disregard for those who exist beyond it. Police officers investigating complaints against Myers said there was “no chance” of the junior lecturer being charged for his abusive comments and actions.

South Wales Police under fire over ‘political harassment’

South Wales Police have come under attack from across the Internet for their raiding of a disability activist’s peaceful home because of her posts about the UK Government on Facebook.

The terrified woman spoke of the late night raid by overzealous coppers, “I’ve just had the police forcing their way into my flat near midnight and harassing me about my ‘criminal’ posts on Facebook about the DWP, accusing me of being ‘obstructive,’” she said. “They kept going on and on at me, it was horrifically stressful, and they only left after I started crying uncontrollably.

The news comes within weeks of a youth, Matthew Woods, was sent to prison for simply telling an offensive joke on his personal Facebook page, no more indecent than one might expect from TV comics.

The woman, now feels vulnerable in her own home. Internet trolling expert, Jonathan Bishop, recently had the police try to serve a harassment warning on him and knows where she is coming from, “For a number of weeks whenever a car pulled up outside I was afraid it was the coppers coming to harass me again,” he said. “Yet on another occasion where I reported American academic Paul Z Myers for trying to incite violence against me they said action against him is ‘never ever going to happen.’

Disability writer, Tom Pride, was equally disgusted. He said: “At best this is unprofessional behaviour on the part of South Wales Police, at worst it is political harassment of an individual worthy of a dictatorial state such as China or North Korea.” And Mike Sivier, who runs the Vox Political blog in Wales said: “Police intimidation of those who speak out against the injustices of the DWP and its Atos employees is not only an attack on free speech; it is an attack on the entire philosophy on which our society is based.

Trolling Muslims – Why do people do it?

Trolling, as you may know, is the posting of inflammatory or obnoxious messages intended to provoke a response others for humorous effect. The people who carry this out are in fact collectively known as ‘Trollers’ and not ‘Trolls’. The latter of these is simply a type of troller, which is one that takes part in trolling to entertain others and bring some entertainment to an online community.

Many people ask whether it is safe to make any light humour about Muslims, and in particular even mild critiques of their religion or faith. I went to university with Muslims and they can take a joke from a Troll as well as anybody. Any criticism of their religion is at present offensive, because the United States of America is supporting the holocaust of Muslims in ‘God’s Kingdom on Earth’, which the Muslims regard as Palestine, and which the American ‘Zionist Movement’ see as Israel, which was claimed to be promised to the Jews by God. Some Atheists are no better either, for example one Fundamentalist Atheist, Paul Z Myers, desecrated the Qu’ran for his entertainment. This should not be considered free speech, but something intolerable in a free society based on democracy.

Paul Myers Desecrated the Quran. The Trolling Academy condemns Myers for this act. Myers is a lecturer at the University of Minnesota, Morris (myersp@morris.umn.edu)

If you can imagine in the back of the mind of everyone in America is the deaths of Vietnam and the Cold War, and in the back of every British person’s mind is World War II, then in the back of a Muslim’s mind are the holocausts of Muslims that have gone on since the Middle Ages. This is called a ‘collective memory’ and can either united a nation or hold them back.

If one were to do a search on YouTube for the words ‘Israel’ and ‘Palestinian’ along with other words you might think about in relation to Vietnam, a Communist dictatorship or fascism such as the rise of the Nazis, then you will see what Muslims have to go through on a daily basis. An example is this search for Israel’s torture of children from Palestinian Territories.

So ask yourself whether if an influential figure were to mock someone who fought for America in Vietnam, or in World War II for Britain, would there be a public outcry? The answer is yes, and this is what happens in the Muslim world when attacks are made on their religion or home in the Palestine Territories some way. The extreme Muslims, called Ji’hads, who can’t take the abuse of their compatriots, let America and Britain know how they feel in the only way they think American can understand – through violence against innocent British and American Citizens because of their Government’s inaction in not condemning Israel. The bombings of 9/11,  7/7 and in Madrid (Madrid and London are Sister Cities of New York) were done to communicate this message to America and its Allies, meaning innocent lives have been lost because of the foreign policy of those innocent people’s governments.

TV personality speaks out over flame trolling

An Australasian TV personality has become one of the latest victims of flame trolling on Twitter.

Charlotte Dawson was targeted by anonymous flame trollers, known as cyber trolls in Australia and New Zealand and also Masked Snerts in academia.

The flame trollers set up on Dawson, with vile comments that she felt she could do nothing about. “It just triggered that feeling of helplessness when the trolls got to me,” she said, “They got the better of me and they won.”

Charlotte Dawson was on the verge of a tragic decision because of abuse from flame trollers

Jonathan Bishop, who is an Internet trolling expert and former politician said when one is in the public eye you quickly need to develop coping skills, “I had no end of things said about me when in public life,” he said. “You have to learn to enjoy the attention from trollers as much as they do, and then develop strategies.”

Bishop used to use an online community called Pontypridd Town, and statements like “is this man fit to be town councillor,” were even posted by other public figures, in this case Karen Roberts, who was the Chair of the Pontypridd Liberal Democrats.

Karen Roberts flame trolled Jonathan Bishop with personal attacks when he was a town councillor.

Dawson agrees, but still has reservations, “You do have to have a thick skin and you do understand that no matter what you do,” she said. “Even if you’re Mother Teresa, people are still going to hate you just because they think you’re ugly or they don’t like the sound of your voice,” she said.

Bishop says that while blocking can be effective at stopping abuse, one should consider “feeding the trolls” by playing them at their own game. “You are not going to catch out a troll calling you an idiot by flaming them back,” he said. “They only feel they have won by getting a rise out of you.”

Dawson and Bishop as public figures have regular bouts of helplessness and suicidal ideation, “If people are wanting you to kill yourself and you are somebody who has previously tried to end your life it’s very, very easy to feel like that’s exactly what you want to do,” Dawson said. Some hardened trolls like junior biology lecturer Paul Myers (also known as PZ Myers) actually encourage their website users to target those at risk of suicide, and often the victims of these sick miscreants are powerless to do anything. Bishop was once of Myers’s targets simply for calling himself a polymath.

Bishop currently runs a course on ‘Becoming a Better Troll’ and ‘Internet Safety Awareness’ at the Crocels Trolling Academy. The courses provide opportunities for people to develop strategies and tactics for both not “feeding the troll” to avoid conflict and also “feeding the troll” in order to get the upper hand. He has found that Twitter can be the best place to get the upper hand against trollers because the trolls can be replied to individually with different tactics in a way that forums or chatrooms don’t allow.

Domination Trolling – My friend John

The term ‘domination trolling’ has existed since the 1990s, but it not even in the vocabulary of most online community experts. Domination trolling is something that requires the most amount of effort to achieve.

Some of the worst examples are of people who set up websites to harass people. These people, such as junior lecturer Paul Myers at the University of Minnesota, will go to length to harass and harm others who do not share their worldview. For instance as you can see in the image below, Paul Myers set up a website to call for people to desecrate the Quran, and Paul Myers then recorded this on his website.

Paul Myers desecrated the Quran. Click image to see original. Courtesy: Paul Myers (myersp@morris.umd.edu)

This abuse of the Quran and others’ beliefs goes unchallenged, as even Paul Myers’ head of department, Professor Peh Ng, refused to discipline for his abusive conduct. Professor Per Ng said that the university could not take action because Paul Myers was doing it on a ‘personal website’. Is it right that our soldiers are dying in Afghanistan because of the way bigots like Paul Myers treat law abiding Muslims which then incites the fundamentalist Muslims – the Jihads – to exert more violence against innocent people in the West. Does Professor Peh Ng think this is justified?

There are many other examples around the Web, such where people, like Paul Myers go to huge extents to harass people, including making YouTube videos which target someone with spiteful comments for the whole world to see. And there are many people like Professor Peh Ng not willing to take action. But not all domination trolling is as filled with venom as that done by Paul Myers. If one were to take a look at the video below, one can see an example of friendly domination trolling, done by me about a friend called John Hopkinson.

John is a devout Eurosceptic, meaning he is against things like European integration and ‘approximation of laws’ (i.e. making laws across Europe the same). So you can see in this video I hit the heart of his conscientious objections to the EU.

I this video I show John calling up British Gas and being told he is paying higher gas bills because of EU Law. This is something popular in the Eurosceptic press, showing how those ‘in Brussels’ are doing this to damage our lives.

Once John was talking about mandatory school conduct and I said to him, to troll, that the children in assembly should have to sing the European anthem – Ode to Joy. He knew I was teasing him and did not take offence, so I knew making the ‘on-hold’ music for this clip Ode to Joy would be a good way to wind him up.

In the last part of the video you can see that Ode to Joy has been put on again while he is on-hold. Many of us are normally frustrated when we have waited this long for an answer, so I felt the playing of the anthem again would in reality have offended John, so the fact that I then played a ‘hang-up’ tone made it funny to him, because knows that would be what he would really do.

So we can see that not all trolling where one goes to an effort to do it – domination trolling – is harmful like that done by Paul Myers which goes unchallenged by those in authority like with Professor Peh Ng. Some of it can entertain the target, as with John, who might in a strange way like the way others recognise their different points of view, by highlighting them in a humorous way.

Crocels responds to Paul Z Myers allegations

Crocels, which is a multimedia education and community regeneration partnership based at the Institute of Life Sciences within Swansea University, has sought to clarify allegations made by notorious Internet abuser, Paul Z Myers, and his followers.

Mark Beech, who is Crocels’s Personnel, Strategy and Quality Officer, has said that the false allegations that Crocels has no associations with Swansea University have come about because of a misunderstanding of its relationship with the government-funded Institute of Life Sciences programmed it runs. “Crocels entered into a contract with Swansea University on 13 July 2010 to be part of its Institute of Life Sciences programme, with the intention we become resident there full time when our medical products are on the market,” he said. “The allegations of Paul Z Myers and his sick website followers who targeted our director, Jonathan Bishop, that he made up such an association because we are not on the Institute of Life Science’s website is totally false, as we will be on there when we become full tenants.

Beech sought to clarify difficulties Crocels was currently having with Swansea University. “Since our director, Jonathan Bishop, announced he will be standing for election against Mike Day, who is the commercial manager of the Institute of Life Sciences, we have had problems,” he said. “Most recently this occurred when Mike Day refused to let Jonathan Bishop, who is an Internet trolling expert, be interviewed by Sky News when the story of Swansea University student, Liam Stacey, broke.
Crocels has been running the Trolling Academy since 21 October 2011 and we have only had problems with Swansea University directly, and not just Cllr Mike Day, since the news broke.
We are currently in the process of taking legal advice, so it would be inappropriate to comment further other than to say we expect these issues to be resolved.

QU'RAN: Paul Z Myer's desecrated the Qu'ran and posted it online. COURTESY: Obtained from PZ Myer's website.
QU’RAN: Paul Z Myer’s desecrated the Qu’ran and posted it online. COURTESY: Obtained from PZ Myer’s website.

Paul Z Myers is a notorious abuser of people who share different beliefs to him. On one occasion he desecrated the Qu’ran and posted it to his website. Further details of this are on the Trolling Academy’s website at: http://trollingacademy.org/online-safety-sociability/750/paul-myers-hate-against-islam/

Peh Ng is a senior member of staff at the University of Minnesota Morris and defended Myers’s supposed right to allow false allegations to be made. “I have no jurisdiction over what Paul Myers wrote on his own personal blog,” they said. “Myers’ blog does NOT reside on university property and has no affiliation with the university.