Sunday, July 6, 2014

A couple of simple reminders and an request for advice

Dear friends,

I feel that I have to post the following few basic reminders:

1) If I post somebody else's article, it does not mean that I agree with it.  All it means is that I find it an interesting contribution to the analysis and discussion of the topic.
2) I never said that a disaster had happened, only that the fall of Slaviansk means that Russia must take action now.
3) I also said that Russia now has a serious image problem and that the fall of Slaviansk has now become the symbol of Russian inaction, especially for the defenders of Novorussia.

When I see the number of posters who accuse me of over-reacting, of having a panic attack, or being hysterical I am frankly baffled. For some reason, the following sentence appears to have been completely overlooked "Purely military arguments simply don't matter here and perceptions become everything. And the perception is clearly that Putin failed to deliver on his promise to protect Novorussia and that the defenders of Slaviansk fought and died in vain".  But when I raise the alarm over the risk that these perceptions can be turned against Putin, I get accused of turning against him.  Yet at the same time, I also get accused of being a Putin-groupie.

I have to admit that for the first time I am getting the feeling that this blog might really be the target of a deliberate and organized disinformation attack and I am not too sure as to what to do about it.  Some of you had warned me about possible Pentagon or hasbara attacks, but it seemed to me that this modest blog did not deserve that kind of attention.  Now I am reconsidering this.

Troll attacks?
I hope to announce some major good news about the future of this blog in the next couple of days (stay tuned!), but I still need to find a way to deal with the comment moderation problem.  Having more or less dealt with a first wave of neo-Nazis and "anti-anti-Semitic" trolls, I am now facing a second wave of anti-Putin trolls whose virulence is at least as rabid as the one of the first wave of trolls.  And if the first wave was more or less pathological, it was at least not organized.  This time around, it looks less crazy and far more deliberate.

So how do I respond? One option would be to limit comments to only registered users.  I frankly don't like this idea.

But I cannot deny any further that the level of trolling here has gone through the roof.  Maybe some did not quite get what I meant due to my poor writing skills and confused way of laying out my ideas, but not in that kind of numbers.  I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that some commentators are deliberately misrepresenting what I write in order to polarize the discussion and basically hijack the discussion in the comments.

For the time being, and just as a provisional measure, I think that I am going to toss out even more toxic comments than before.  I hate to do that, but I see no other option.  At the very least, I will toss out any hateful comments no matter at whom the hate is directed.

If you have any suggestions as to how to deal with such apparently organized and deliberate trolling attacks, I would be grateful if you could share them with me.

Kind regards and many thanks,

The Saker