That’s how a friend of mine sums up his moderating in trivia quizzes he runs for Mensa. If you want to know my policies for moderating comments, that sounds about right. I don’t have a set of rules — I’ve never really needed one as I get few comments — but I have no qualms about blocking if I think someone’s out of bounds.
Which is relevant because I blocked what I suspect was my first troll — particularly as after I blocked him, he found me on Twitter to continue haranguing me (I blocked him there too) What set him off was my post on Warren Farrell. As you can see in the comments, he corrected (and no, I don’t consider corrections to be trolling) my statement Warren Farrell said 90 percent of rape cases were fake. What he actually said was that anywhere from zero to 100 percent of rape accusations could be lies (I’ve ordered a used copy of one of Farrell’s books to confirm this is accurate). I corrected the post accordingly because saying 100 percent of rape accusations might be lies is just as damning.
Guess what, that didn’t suit the commenter either. He objected that Farrel is totally not saying all rape cases could be false. The guy simply means that we have no accurate data, absolutely none, on the rate of false accusations so we can’t say for certain. Which is a lie, because we do have data, though as it sets the rate low, Farrell may not believe it. And sorry commenter, saying we can’t be sure any rape accusations are true is saying that 100 percent could be false. Which is also a lie because we know that for a fact. We have confessions. We have videotapes. We have DNA evidence. We have convictions. It’s true innocent people are convicted of crimes they don’t commit, and that people have been coerced into false confessions, but that’s true of murder, assault and other crimes too. There’s no reason to assume it’s an issue with rape and no other crime, unless you object to rapists being punished.
Keep in mind Farrel’s not even talking about false convictions or imprisonment, only about accusations. It’s as if being falsely accused of rape is, in itself, a bigger problem than, say, being on death row when you’re innocent or being shot by a cop when you’re innocent (his website says the real issue with so many black men in prison isn’t racism but too many single-parent households). As I’ve written before, some people who shrug off most injustices in the legal system think false rape accusations are uniquely, horribly awful. Pundit Ron Hart, for instance, has written that worrying about putting innocent people to death is a “liberal knee-jerk reaction” but accusing an innocent man of rape is intolerable (he also lies about the details of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation).
My commenter also objected that when Farrell says that no means yes, he doesn’t mean all no’s are yeses. But I didn’t claim that he did, only that he has said if a woman’s French kissing while saying no to sex, maybe she doesn’t want you to respect her no. That’s horrifying enough. So is Farrell’s view that a woman who says no to a coworker wants him to keep harassing her. That Farrell doesn’t specifically say every single woman who says no means yes doesn’t mitigate his words.
I’ve argued with rape apologist trolls before on FB, and I have very little patience with them. Whatever I say, they deny or twist. And I either have to respond or leave someone’s excuses for rapists sitting unchallenged on my wall. So now I block rape apologists there (I’ve extended this to anti-Semites too). Same in this case. I’m quite sure we’d still be posting back and forth and he’d still be insisting I was besmearing the name of a good man.
I may have to develop a formal policy some day. But for now, I’m good with it.