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Musings on Dead Cats and Sick Parrots

Written By: - Date published: 10:35 am, January 24th, 2016 - 100 comments
Categories: crosby textor, Media, Politics, spin - Tags: , , ,

Tory spinners have a tactic called “the dead cat (h/t for the link to RedLogix). It’s a monumental derail of the nation-wide conversation as soon as your opponent shows signs of gaining momentum, especially if that momentum is largely on the back of a single issue. In the UK case Labour was gaining momentum by cracking down on non-resident tax avoiders (sound familiar?). In NZ, for example, Labour was confronting government inaction on Australia’s abuse of NZ citizens (even if some of them are “citizens” in paperwork only) when Key literally yelled that Labour supported rapists. The objective is to derail the conversation into a general expression of outrage at the dead cat.

That works effectively on polls and changing the strategic narrative, but it seems to me that the tactic has been adapted for use in social and conventional media.

The dead cat is, in its essence, a bullshit argument: the user doesn’t care whether the argument is true, false, or even relevant to the argument. The objective is to get people arguing about the cat, and if someone accuses the cat-thrower of being disingenuous then the next move is to complain about personal abuse.

Consider r0b’s recent post on how media is following the standard capitalist gameplan to slow public reaction to the harm their profitable exploitation is causing – deny it exists then stall about definitions, measurements, projections, and so on. But a modern tweak on the behaviours of tobacco producers, asbestos mine owners, and slave traders is that the prevarications aren’t “lies”, because truth is irrelevant to their activities. It’s not so much a”dead cat” as a “sick parrot”. That’s why jamie whyte cut&paste plagiarises himself: whether his decade-old bullshit on the UK applies to NZ today is irrelevant. It resets the argument for some into “does poverty even exist?”, and provides a quick “sick parrot” for other bullshitters to distract other debates.

Sick parrots are more subtle than dead cats. Passers-by might not know that this is the fiftieth variation on the same bullshit this week, so can’t understand why the recipient is getting shirty. But the responses are limited:

a) let the bullshit lie – but then it sets like concrete and the bullshitter claims victory from the jaws of chronic boredom.
b) clean up each instance of bullshit, which is basically what the bullshitters want because their supply is practically eternal.
c) try to focus on the original point, or relate the sickness of the parrot to the original point while you give medical treatment. But it still just leaves the bullshitter able to throw another sick parrot onto the table.
d) Call the bullshitter out on why they have such a supply of sick parrots – but then the bullshitter who previously couldn’t manage basic math suddenly breaks out the thesaurus and complains about personal abuse.

So does anyone have any ideas on how to deal with dead cats and sick parrots? Otherwise I fear we’ll be stuck with each bullshitter until they jump the shark and pick up a ban.

Note: this post is about dead cats and dealing with bullshitters. It’s not about the existence of poverty or any other derail. Keep a tight focus on this one, folks, and I’ll try to do the same.

McFlock

100 comments on “Musings on Dead Cats and Sick Parrots ”

  1. Descendant Of Sssmith 1

    The one that’s recently started populating here is on my mental pop-up blocker. I don’t ever see his/her acerbic postings.

    Pop-up blockers work well for my PC they work just as well for my brain.

    • McFlock 1.1

      lol the trouble is that sick parrots try to sneak through the popup blocker.

      Everyone can see a dead cat: any argument that it is in fact alive quickly becomes derivative of Monty Python.

      But how sick is a parrot? Is it a type of parrot, or is it another type of bird? At face value, the parrot is reasonable, plausible and maybe even relevant. It’s only after you examine it that you realise that it is none of those things, that all someone did was cut and paste some bullshit.

      And the most recent one is only the most obvious example, because it releases unmitigated bullshit all the time. Look at how the first comments on r0b’s post about Labour’s proposal to reduce tertiary student fees: staff/student ratios and allegations of fat in university expenditure. Slighty relevant to the post, but ignores the research function of universities and quickly devolves into whether IT support departments are needed. But if the initial comment had been left to stand, the problems with it would never have been exposed.

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 1.1.1

        I get that but in this particular case I didn’t feel there was anything to be gained in spending energy.

        There’s always been a certain type of individual, both in real life and in trolling, where feeding them (usually a him) re-inforces the behaviour.

        Not engaging with those people isn’t defeatist – it’s a positive step. It’s a decision I made with some thought.

        • weka 1.1.1.1

          I agree tht not engaging is a positive step, but on its own it doesn’t work for anyone other than the person doing the ignoring (and sometimes not even then). Because if ten other people in the thread keep on engaging then that’s where the energy of the conversation goes. Many of us have tried not engaging with various derailments here and find that we end up talking to ourselves.

          Having said that, there are enough of us here now that are sick of the derailments that if we made an effort to go have a proper conversation with the other people around who are also not engaging it would probably change things quite a bit. I try and do this, and I still think that something needs to be done about the people still engaging.

          • McFlock 1.1.1.1.1

            I tend towards the opinion that exhaustive engagement is better than ignoring. It’s not just about trying to nail a final resolution in that debate, but it also includes learning the parrot-thrower’s skillset.

            In that way I tend to believe that a lot of initial work prevents longer-term annoyance. Although others differ.

            • marty mars 1.1.1.1.1.1

              +1 yep exhaustive engagement is better than ignoring imo2. Perhaps the only answer is to learn their little wee tricky tricks, their wee ways, their flaws and point them out so the glare obviously.

          • Pat 1.1.1.1.2

            how about a moderator added tag…….say a stylised cat or parrot….extra work for them i know

        • McFlock 1.1.1.2

          fair enough

  2. Pat 2

    if it is this forum only you are talking about then the only option is not to engage……if its the wider community then Id suggest the likely ultimate response is a version of the guillotine.

    that it is a very effective strategy is why it is used….but requires those using it to have no ethics or morals.

    it also can’t be effective without a compliant MSM…and that angle is well and truly covered

    • McFlock 2.1

      Refusal to engage with comments that are, on the surface, plausible and even relevant is just as bad as arguing, IMO. And there has to be a less defeatist response than to just let them sow their bullshit.

      Sanders seems to be pretty good at calling them on it – I must watch more footage of him.

      • Pat 2.1.1

        the suggestion of refusing to engage is on here and take your point about a surface plausibility…but once said animal identified it is time to go.

        in the wider public sphere is a different story….the target for the cat or parrot is the relatively disengaged busy middle voter who gets their position from the MSM (we could debate the sense or prevalence of that)…..how it can be countered there without support from the MSM is a sticky problem indeed

        • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.1

          I take inspiration from the fact that Fox News’ behaviour is illegal in Canada.

    • Tautuhi 2.2

      … or the boil up pots?

    • McFlock 2.3

      Right, can we leave off the machismo now? We’re talking about jerks. Pots and blades aren’t needed. We can use our natural wordiness.

      • Pat 2.3.1

        Pots and blades aren’t needed. We can use our natural wordiness.

        was not advocating ,merely noting where things lead when there is no recourse

        • McFlock 2.3.1.1

          That’s what the best extortionists say – subtle threats as statements of fact.
          Wee bit butch for a duscussion on debating tactics, in my opinion.

          • Pat 2.3.1.1.1

            at the risk of being off topic…a. it was hardly subtle….and b. nor was it a threat.

            are you seriously suggesting that a dismissal of a significant segment of society will elicit nothing but placid response? …history would show otherwise.

            People don’t react well when they find they’ve been taken for fools, some react worse than others

            http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jan/23/mps-need-help-against-violent-public

            • McFlock 2.3.1.1.1.1

              All that’s as maybe.

              But I’m not sure that NZ is anywhere close to bloody revolution just yet. I just wanted to know people’s thoughts on how to deal with people who “debate” in bad faith. Going to guillotines seems just a bit… much.

              • Pat

                I may have been mistaken, but took the parent post to be an exploration of the tactic both here on TS and in its wider application in politics….obviously my guillotine reference was in relation to the later.

                • McFlock

                  Still seems a bit much for debates in the House: Key says Labour supports rapists, so there’s a riot and half of Cabinet is decapitated.

                  I can’t help but think there’s a midpoint between violence and doing nothing when it comes to an argument.

                  • Pat

                    the point I was attempting to make with my Guillotine reference was if you remove the traditional avenues of redress and don’t replace them, then those who feel aggrieved will see no other alternative…the CT dead cat tactic facilitates the removal of our democratic institutions by keeping the incumbents in the power.

  3. Ad 3

    These tools are just as open to any other political party.
    The left just lack practice.

    • McFlock 3.1

      These are not weapons anyone should be using. It’s a perversion of democracy.

      What we need are defences against those weapons, not expertise in using them.

      • marty mars 3.1.1

        + 1 yep fuck dropping down to their underground levels just to win

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.3

        Yeah – this is what people like Lusk want, since it leads directly to electoral cynicism and disengagement.

        • weka 3.1.3.1

          And it lends truth to the accusations that the left do it too.

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.3.1.1

            I don’t get it, honestly.

            Hasn’t Jeremy Corbyn showed all of us that there is popular support and indeed serious electoral thirst, for an honest exposition of principled, original Labour values.

            Despite the UK MSM slamming him at every turn, including the ostensibly left wing Guardian.

            Of course, if NZ Labour can’t pull together an authentic exposition of principled, original Labour values, then they will have to resort to stupid MSM/PR tricks, memes and soundbytes.

            • McFlock 3.1.3.1.1.1

              Yes dear.
              Now, how was that relevant to my post?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                😆

              • Colonial Viper

                Re relevancy – if Labour was authentic in expressing its original values, it wouldn’t have to stoop to kowtowing to a hostile media and the cheap PR tactics you outline.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Diversionary troll deploys flamebait, hasn’t quite figured out the “sick parrot” routine yet.

                • McFlock

                  So, basically, the relevance of your comment is thinly based solely on a subjective assertion (Labour “kowtowing”) that would require an extensive off-topic argument to resolve. That’s the “sick” bit.

                  Of course, the “if Labour was authentic in expressing its original values” (as you see them) it would get elected routine is a constant hypothetical assertion by yourself. That’s the “parrot” bit.

                  So, take your sick parrot and fuck off. You’re obviously incapable of addressing the topic of the post. Go away.

                • Tautuhi

                  You have to have John Keys permission to use MSM?

            • Tautuhi 3.1.3.1.1.2

              Trouble is MSM is controlled by the Tories so the message will not be heard?

              • McFlock

                This post is about defeating sick parrots here, and in the street, and in the media, and in parliament.

                It’s not about whether Labour would gain support if its policy manifesto consisted of what CV wants.

        • Tautuhi 3.1.3.2

          Where is Simon Lusk?

  4. Lanthanide 4

    It’s not sick, it’s just pining for the fjords.

  5. tough one this – any engagement with them just bolsters them, any lack of engagement encourages them

    a repository of previous bullshit might be nice or a colour code on their name for shit technique users

    as for real time – just ban the bastards – no one is obligated to be nice to dead cat lovers and when really looked at, they reduce the debate, never add anything to it – they waste all our energy and time

    big ups to those who fight them – I appreciate your efforts

    • Pat 5.1

      does it really matter on here if you let their bullshit stand unengaged?…….the people on here (non cat throwers) have the inclination to seek out information for themselves and will likely appraise it on its merits….i suspect most trolling on here is a practice exercise to ascertain likely counters …..and the usual troll mentality of because it amuses them.

      • McFlock 5.1.1

        Interesting point about it being a training exercise. Beware staring into the abyss, and all that 🙂

        • Pat 5.1.1.1

          lol…think most of the obvious cat throwers on here have had the abyss stare back at them past the point of no return already

        • weka 5.1.1.2

          My experience from here and other online spaces that have debate culture is that mostly people just like the arguing. So the energy and momentum is going to be in the conversations that have that charge to them. Plus the entertainment factor. So the problem isn’t just the trolls, it’s the troll warriors as well.

          However I have hung out in places with better debate culture than here, and that’s largely down to different moderation policy. Trolling and abuse is much less tolerated and this raises the standard of debate because people can’t just get sucked into the clever bickering as much any more.

          I think trolling and dropping Sick Parrots aren’t the same thing and we should differentiate between them. A Sick Parrot might be utilised by someone trolling, or it might be utilised by someone engaging in Dirty Politics, or someone just wanting to fuck with the debate. They’re not the same thing.

        • Pat 5.1.1.3

          it assumes of course that some, at least of the serial cat throwers are professional in nature…given CTs known MO it seems reasonable to expect co-opted research and trialling

    • McFlock 5.2

      cheers

      I suspect a general bullshit repository (“shittipedia”?) would quickly mirror the size of the interwebz, but I think there are one or two focussed on the climate change “debate”. But then one gets into linkwars with the little blighters.

      One thing that seems to move things on slightly is to be very precise and clear about where the disagreement lies, and how it relates to the original point. Avoid pronouns like the plague. That minimises the “pffft, your counterexample relates to Irene, I’m talking about Irena” pivots by the parroter.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2.1

        then one gets into linkwars with the little blighters.

        I suspect such lists are of equal value to debunkers and parrots alike, assuming the parrot is willfully dishonest.

  6. madtom 6

    “Passers-by might not know”

    I’ve seen these tactics in action, but never knew they had established names.

    I see no way to go through an explanation every time, as those who most need to be reached won’t bother with the (for them) lengthy thought processes required.

    So the best tactic I can think of is to start to use these terms, loudly, whenever appropriate. Use them as if they are decisive and unarguable epithets. I hear the opposition benches rhythmically chanting “dead cat” in unison.

    Sooner or later, more people will take the time to learn the meaning of “dead cat” and “sick parrot”, as they are heard more often. The meme will get chunked into one lump of meaning, not requiring any lengthy explanation, and providing a mental shortcut by short-circuiting the tactic. One hopes. I also hope that someone else has a better idea.

    • weka 6.1

      That’s what I’m thinking too. Just commented below, that I think the naming it is a learned skill, and that here on ts we need to define really clearly what a Sick Parrot is (Dead Cat seems pretty well defined already).

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2

      Another such term is “zombie argument”, and yes, I agree with you and Weka: naming it is a good idea.

  7. weka 7

    In terms of online behaviour, esp here in ts, I think one useful tactic is name the behaviour (without abuse or putting in your own hooks) and then move on. Don’t engage on their terms. Learning how to name the behaviour takes time. The not engaging is the harder thing to do, because sometimes you have to keep naming the behaviour. Not engaging on its own doesn’t work, not least because other people just keep engaging.

    In naming the behaviour I think it’s important to be specific, and to resist the temptation to lump all annoying behaviour under the same banner (eg calling all derailments trolling). Having the term Sick Parrot is going to be a boon, and we’ll need time to establish what it means esp here on ts.

    So the gold standard example of the Dead Cat tactic is Key’s “you support rapists” attack. It’s very specific and clearly demonstrates what the dynamic is. I assume the one for the Sick Parrot is pointed to in r0b’s thread on poverty denialism, but it’s not as clear.

    The other tactic would be for moderators to simply move such comments to Open Mike (and name them for what they are). Kind of like a sin bin (not that that’s what OM should be). But I think the commenters still need to take responsibility for how the conversation goes where it happens.

    Good post McFlock, and a conversation that really needs to be had here.

  8. Keith 8

    The oppostion must set the agenda but realise it has a life of less than a week or about as long as it takes David Farrar and his helpers to focus group and poll. Then the opposition must move on to something e;se. Key is basically fucked without Farrar etc writing the script and giving paint by number directions.

    Last week the “Dead Cat” award had to go to regular awardee Paula Bennett for her fuckwittery and musings of transferring Auckland state house dwelling Samoans and Tongans to South Island small towns. By the end of that day it transpired that neither suggested town had any spare state housing stock, which Paula must have known. But by then whatever else was troubling National was forgotten and therefore her effort was a wonderful little distration.

    God forbd we ever, ever get the truth from the National Party!

    • Pat 8.1

      yes but the MSM coverage hasn’t yet asked why or how a Minister could make such an unworkable proposition given the resources available to her….at least not in any of the coverage I’ve seen/heard…surely this raises questions of competence that need to be asked?

    • McFlock 8.2

      I tend to agree, but it’s off topic.

  9. Tautuhi 9

    Red Herrings is what they used to call them, National and Crosby Textor are masters at throwing out red herrings, I heard through a colleague how one Government Department was panicking about some bad news and was desperate to find some other story to distract the public?

  10. fisiani 10

    Here’s a possible cat. What if the Labour government of 2007 is the last ever Labour government in NZ. Surely not implausible when we look at history.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      My take is slightly less negative, Fis: that there will be one more one term Labour Government down the track, but that’ll be it for Labour.

    • Tautuhi 10.2

      Fisi good idea 45% go to the Greens, 45% to NZF and the old Neoliberals can go over to National or ACT, and some of the maori MP’s can go over to Mana as Hone Harawira at least is genuinely pro Maori ?

    • McFlock 10.3

      Not a cat. Just completely off topic.
      Make your comments relevant or fuck off, fizberto.

    • Keith 10.4

      Heres a certainty, cat or no cat, home ownership should comfortably continue it’s decline into the 50% region or worse under National!

      • McFlock 10.4.1

        again, not a cat, just off topic.

        • Keith 10.4.1.1

          But that is what a dead cat is, an off topic inflammatory comment designed to divert attention away from the actual topic as Fisiani demonstrated. Counter the bullshit with facts and return to the base topic quickly! Or is it better to pretend the headline grabbing bullshit comment never existed?

          • McFlock 10.4.1.1.1

            I suppose the word at issue is “inflammatory”.

            Saying Labour was on the side of murderers and rapists provoked an immediate and visceral response of revulsion, as one would get if someone threw adead cat down onto the kitchen table.

            Percentages and rates don’t really have the same kick, in my opinion. Hence maybe parrot, but not cat. And maybe even relevant to fisi’s approach, so maybe not even sick.

  11. Don't worry. Be happy 11

    Liars need good memories and a coherent narrative. Bullshitters don’t bother with any of that energy sapping effort. John Key is a bullshitter. If bullshitting was an Olympic Sport he would be a Triple Gold Medallist. NZers used to be really good at spotting bullshit….what happened? Too much bullshitting coming from Labour?

  12. Tautuhi 12

    Fisi always try to use red herring for flamebait, best bait for PI’s.

  13. McFlock 13

    OK, just for a couple of people yet to geta handle of these things:

    A “dead cat” is not necessarily irrelevant, it’s outrageous. It’s not coming to a post abour debating tactics and talking about how bad Labour is – that’s just irrelevant. A dead cat is where you don’t like the way the discussion is going, so you say something like “you sucked off a horse“.

    A sick parrot looks like a plausible comment that strikes a blow for the person who presented it, but upon closer inspection and unpacking its relevance is at best tangential and its truth is unimportant. The key is that any refutation or discussion of the parrot necessarily diverts the discussion from the topic at hand. It’s also generally rewalking the same tired ground from previous discussions, and is generally unimaginative or unoriginal – but it requires legwork to disprove and debate.

  14. Incognito 14

    [pun alert] No two dead cats are the same; some have died peacefully, some have been squashed on the road by a rubbish truck, and some have been carefully prepared by a taxidermist. [end of pun alert]

    I refrain from engaging in/on matters of personal opinion and taste and prefer calling out people on matters of fact and logical reasoning & interpretation. In this way, I don’t ‘invest’ personally and avoid getting emotionally attached, which leads to endless ‘suffering’ and not just for me.

    IMO, too many derailments & diversions here on TS and elsewhere are typical of subjective ‘he-says-she-says’ interactions. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to ‘win’ an argument but there are many other things in life that are a lot more rewarding than scoring a point over another person whom I’ll ever only ‘know’ by his/her nom the plume.

  15. gsays 15

    cheers mcflock, good post.
    after reading it through, i have gone from an ignore the troll position, to engage with them but in a respectful way.
    no name calling, ‘play the ball not the man, and stick to the subject.

    i have seen here that for every comment, there are 10 people reading and not commenting.
    in the past when discussing politics with real people, i have found it easier to engage with them in a constructive way, by repeating or paraphrasing other commenters on ts.

    it seems that the dead cats and ill parrots are another way of reframing a discussion/debate, which is the key to winning a debate.

    i do agree with keith at 8 with the idea of quickly moving on before that polling is done, a possible way to keep them on the back foot.

    • weka 15.1

      I wish there was a way to make the readers more visible. Often times it seems we’re oblivious to the fact that there are whole bunch of other people here who just aren’t saying anything (although we don’t know how many peopel read the comments, that would be interesting to know). I comment as much for the readers as for the commenters and I see the readers as just as important as anything else that happens here.

      • gsays 15.1.1

        rest assured i take a lot from the commenters here, especially yourself.

        unfortunately like a lot of things in life, we dont necessarily see the results of our actions.

        keep up yr good work.

  16. vto 16

    I have an occasional technique for business when someone does or says something outrageous which may be useful under some circumstances – that technique is to up the ante bigtime straight back at them.

    With John Key’s “labour backs rapists” bs I would yell back “Max Key raped his cat yesterday, see it on youtube”. (have something ready on youtube). You must go big.

    The shock works after the initial absolute silence. Bully boys can’t take their own medicine you see. But you need to be confident of your own position and prepared to call bluffs.

    In other words take the dead cat, pull its guts out and wipe it over Key’s face.

    Transferring this to the political arena would be interesting, but it would concentrate the shite big time and isn’t there a saying that there is no such thing as bad publicity? Winston knows about this.

    • Muttonbird 16.1

      Didn’t know Max Key was a cat person.

    • McFlock 16.2

      Temporarily satisfying, but voter turnout goes down to 50%.

      • vto 16.2.1

        Well yes, when this technique is used people certainly get turned off. Temporarily. But the dead cat never appears again. Never. Things then steadily revert to normality.

        It is a very real technique that works.

        Choose a pollie with little to lose to carry it out.

        Use alongside other tools.

        • McFlock 16.2.1.1

          I’m not so sure about “temporarily”.

          The idea that the dead cat will never appear again is predicated on the idea that degrading the discussion isn’t playing directly into the cat-thrower’s hands.

          Yes, there is often a role for a dedicated caucus “attack dog” – mutt to the caucus leader’s jeff. But if jeff has a rabid mutt, then jeff is an irresponsible dog owner responsible for the savage attack.

  17. Thinking Right 17

    So who gets to judge if a comment is a ‘dead cat’ or ‘sick parrot’?

    How do you keep a diversity of opinion if alternative comments are sniffed at as dead cats etc.?

    Does this not create a ‘fabled’ echo chamber?

    In relation to the topic of the post isn’t it really aimed at masochistic right wingers (like myself )who dare to come to The Standard and offer a contrary view point on topics?

    It has been my experience (and the same for most others of the right wing) that most if not all comments coming from a right wing point of view are met with a fair number of regulars (attempting to) who love nothing more than to get stuck into a hapless tory when they come across one.

    I don’t mind this – tis only natural to expect a reaction when you poke a wasp nest, however it would be a shame if all right wing comment was completely banned.

    (Cat bounce comment coming up) If you ban/ignore all opinion coming from a right wing point of view do you not create a closed circle/incestuous pool of like-minded commentators?

    Would not welcoming a number of ‘tory’ comments and then have the satisfaction of ripping them to pieces be better for creating unity amongst the leftist brethren than allowing only the most ‘pure’ to comment and then having arguments about who is the most pure of all?

    And no I don’t get paid for commenting on line sadly – would be a great little earner – maybe I should email John Key…….

    • BlueSky 17.1

      You do need commentators that disagree providing it informs the debate.

      Dead cats should be treated as such. Bury them and ask the deliver of said cat to refrain or be ejected.

      Sick parrots are a little more difficult. There is a little life in the poor beast. It might be possible to save them but identifying the illness takes a bit more time.
      It might well be terminal so treating them with compassion and honesty is probably the best policy until determining if parrot is actually a troll in feathers.

    • McFlock 17.2

      Nothing to do with right-wingers, other than the worst cat-throwers tend to be tories. some non-tories also have one or two topics they tubthump over ad nauseum, bringing them into completely unrelated debates. I told CV to go away upthread for that exact reason.

      There is a balance between cracking down on sick parrots and stifling wide-ranging discussion. I’d be uncomfortable if someone picked up a ban for sick parrots in open mike, for example. But if an author writes a post on Labour’s student loans policy and it immediately goes into a debate about whetheruniversities are run inefficiently, that’s running close to distraction from the topic at hand.

      Also, a sick parrot only counts if it pretends to be relevant to the debate – a clearly flagged tangential observation can be ignored by others because it’s not part of the main discussion.

      In a forum like this, moderators can intervene. But in any forum people can call something for what it is – look at the people who bring up Godwin’s law, for example.

      In the case of calling it a sick cat, then the alleged cat-thrower can clarify the relevance.

  18. JonL 18

    I prefer to just go straight into the personal abuse of the dead cat purveyor…it’s where it ends up so you may as well save the angst of the argument and go straight fir the jugular!

  19. reason 19

    I’ve engaged with tr0lls and their parrot lies for years on the internet and here’s some of my observations and advice …………. I sometimes fail my own advice though 🙂

    Tr0lls are nasty things that do cause damage and shut down discussions ….. For instance NoRightTurn stopped his comment section because Nact trolls were both lowering the tone of his blog and causing him a heap of extra work ……

    So it’s not like they stick to their natural home in the ugly red neck sewers of head Parrots Farrar and Slater…………… They seep out and pollute the internet like fecal matter and nitrates into Canterbury ecan water……….. It’s easy to be disgusted and get angry about such things ………. but trolls unlike faecal bacteria like provoking anger and division…….. so I take enormous pleasure from the fact that right wingers generally seem unhappy with fear and anger driving some kind of bigotry just below their surface ….. I know its mean of me to take enjoyment from their personality defects and bad characters but I suspect they are angry because greed is ugly …. and they know we see them as repulsive…..they know history will too .

    They want respect for their greed ….which more people are recognizing as just planet fucking ugly…………. They could never understand that a man like jose mujica is far richer and has far more wisdom than our pathological greedy low class John Key http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/8-reasons-why-well-miss-jose-mujica-uruguays-maverick-president–e1t_MupEpl

    National would sign trade deals with the type of people who locked up and tortured Jose Mujica ….. the national party and NZ rugby union supporting apartheid South Africa when Mandela was locked up as a “terrorist “ is just one example of them doing this.

    And Just like National putting huge resources into dirty dairy they have done the same with Dirty politics and their tr0ll army ……. leaders like Farrar, Hooten, Slater, tv3, The herald, the prime minister and his office, etc etc etc all play different roles in Nationals attack politics.

    So there is a huge ugly disinformation and smear effort going on …… but more and more people are seeing or experiencing the vast gulf between this governments spin machine and the reality of their merchant banker Serco style way of ruling.

    But back to the purpose of the discussion ……………which is more solution orientated .

    Different types of tr0ll’s although parroting the same bullshit & falsehoods use different methods …………….. the trick is to try and stay on topic and not engage with their diversion………… stick with the subject and use your responses against the troll/parrots posts to expand upon the truth of your own argument for other readers.

    Try not to engage with emotion/anger to their tr0ll bait ………. stick to the topic and use it to educate further on the subject of the thread ………. Speak to the OTHER readers of the thread with your posts. …………. A humorous insult to the tr0ll at the end of your post is the best …………. as other readers may get a laugh and you’ve been expanding your argument and educating them in a reasonable way before the troll dismissal.

    There’s a small number of tr0ll parrots here at the standard which provide good examples of their different methods and personas ……….. and some suggested personal countermeasures.

    First of remember that all of our trolls are malevolent towards The Standard/left and none of them are genuine in what they post* …….. Do not get upset by any of their criticism as they would insult Jesus Christ himself if he was a ‘leftie’……. remember it’s not personal …… they are just tr0lls.

    Fisiani: Fisi used to be a hit and run diversion specialist who would drop some obvious inflammatory bullshit into a thread and then not return … people would spend effort and time insulting him.
    Fisi wants to bring that faecal kiwi blog flavour here so he can sing the ‘angry leftie’ or “just the same as whale oil” tr0ll meme ,,,,anger in the replys to him works in his favor…. One of his famous parrot lines was ” honest john key” which eventually caused some internet research 🙂 ……………recently two herald reader polls involving tens of thousands voters showed only 6% believed Keys statements in one poll regarding the GCSB and Hagars revelations ………..The other seemed to be a general trust one … with less than one quarter of people believing Key .
    Fairfax-Ipsos August 2013 Leader Trust
    Fully believe John Key ? Yes 24%, No 59%
    So when Fisi next spouts this parrot lie I’d recommend posting up the simple short fact that less than one quarter of people believe Key…………… the fisi parrot does not want knowledge of Keys dishonesty rating becoming too common so he will drop that line because his tr0lling would then be hurting Keys image……. So you can modify some parrot lines with a clear simple example of facts….. With luck this makes the troll angry and they display their true nature.

    BM plays a different tr0ll role than fisi and sometimes even seems reasonable ….. but remember he is not genuine and his advice is malevolent. ……. his purpose is to create further divisions, like with his “the greens should go with the nats” garbage …. or his other patently bad advice of which funnily enough always aligns with national party interests……….. I suggest gently ridiculing this arsehole with humor …………. and posting up facts and links showing the true effects of nationals mismanagement ………….. Lynch mob whale oil and kiwi blog types like BM hate being laughed at and they hate the true facts about Nationals mismanagement getting heard and being understood. …………

    Acrophobic is the volume troll and he does take up a lot of other posters time and effort responding to his obsessional amount of dribble…………… Acrophob comes across as positively stalky in his behavior here at the standard and seems to be the only one unaware of what a nutty dick-whacker he’s making himself look like with his screeds of often contradicting bat-shit ……………To be fair he would still look like dick with a fraction of the posts he makes though …….. Despite his bad faith arguing and fanatical post count The Standard lets him continue…….. It’s probably saving a solo mum from being stalked by him in the real world …… I recommend humor to highlight and contrast his horrible national nature….His bad smell sticks to what he is arguing for.

    Puckish rogue:….. from what I can gather he is a little warmonger who likes his booze ……………..I’m really waiting for him to totally blow his own credibility by getting pissed and posting up something like “collateral damage isn’t real children getting killed maimed and burned because they are Muslim future terrorists ” ….With Puck I try and use his obsession with defending Alcohol abuse and his squawking of Alcohol industry parrot lines to put out information that the Alcohol drug industry would rather people are ignorant off. ………tr0lls can be used as tools of education ……….and the tools do not like it.

    But really with tr0lls the first step is realizing they are not genuine so not worth getting angry with…or engaging on a personal level …as simply wasting your time is a success for them…… lowering the tone of a blog with anger and emotional based abuse is a double win for them.

    They are obnoxious people with bad intentions turning up where they are not wanted…..so THERE IS something the matter with them…. take pride in the fact they are an ugly minority and the huge majority of people in New Zealand, or the world for that matter, are not like them.

    They hate humour being used against them….and they fear the real facts explaining what national are really doing gaining traction and becoming clear……

    Try and write for the other reasonable readers is my main advice ………. It works out better for all the normal people.

    After all nobody likes a tr0ll ………………………

    • Doogs 19.1

      This is possibly the most truthful and ‘reason’ed post I have read on this site.

      People really don’t recognise the stirrers, do they. So they waste time returning outrage to the nasty-mongerers. I’ve done it. No more. I really love the advice about confounding them with snippets of truth.

      It’s kind of like ISIS. First there is the ugly, menacing, focused and all-destructive machine, which here is the executive power and their managed bloggers (Farrar, Slater et al). Then there are the rogue adherents like the muslim cleric who shot up the cafe in Sydney last year. They are the ones who sit up in trees and snipe, using vehicles like The Standard to throw their red herrings across the trails of reasoned debate.

      I really like the way you have identified these speed bumps and called them out for what they are.

      This post, which mused delightfully on right wing tactics which confound and derail opposition, was thoughtful and amusing. What happened? The mugwumps dragged their nasty fetid smells across the argument. It’s like (not dead) cats spraying to mark territory. They are the taggers of the internet. All they want to do is wee on the walls of intellect to create outrage and disgust. It’s all diversionary.

      Thank you reason, and also others like Weka who keep the wheels of reasoned debate alive and well.

    • marty mars 19.2

      Thanks reason – some good advice there

      • reason 19.2.1

        Thanks Doogs, marty mars and also McFlock for starting this thread….. it was amazingly timely as the trolls seemed to be annoying me more on here …… and obviously others too.

        I enjoy The Standard for it’s generally very high quality authors posts, the robust but informative debate and the quality of the links from Authors and posters…. I’d been thinking on sanitation methods to disinfect nationals dirty parrots…. and try to help them fly away home

        Some other ideas, concepts and practices I left out which people could try in their own ways and styles …………… and I fully respect other peoples approaches to tr0lls with my only golden rule being not to post in anger to tr0ll bait ….. controlled aggression is better with combined with short easy to understand biting facts.

        When on the net I now keep a couple of word documents open,….. if I read something well written or containing information on things that interest me I copy and paste it with the url……..this is basically a readily available time saving tool for me……

        A simple question to the tr0ll that they will never answer because it takes the topic to a National failing can be a good ending to a post …..Don’t even talk to them up to that point ….. inform and educate the reasonable readers with the first part of your post.

        It should be easy to keep it relevant to the thread as there are so many failings from the nats ….. The questions can be serious, ironic, humorous, rhetorical or what-ever you feel like ………. From climate change to education rankings there are hundreds examples of National taking us backwards and lowering our standards ……. they have to lie and divert …. So frame it back to the reality they don’t want talk about.

        Short and sweet unless you have a talent for writing is often best …… I may be breaking that advice right now……… but it’s the best way with tr0lls as they want to waste your time…………. A Fisi quick question could be along the lines ” Do you think that less than a quarter of voters now believing John Key is honest had anything to do with his total lack of impact in Northland and the brutal hiding Winston gave him up there?” ( note my hyperbole, tr0lls use it a lot but sometimes get enraged when it’s turned back on them ). This could make him debate the lack of honesty ratings that Key has earned himself ………… A definite ‘dont talk the fuck about that in public’ topic for Keys image makers and PR army.

        If a tr0ll like acrophob is getting owned and made a fool of in a climate thread or some other I keep out of it because I couldn’t add anything ………. I suppose I could run a sweep stake on how many posts Acro will make in a new global warming thread for humor and entertainment purposes …… but he would cheat to win it.

        Otherwise just keep up the exchange of good information and robust opinion on this site, it’s a large diverse group that has the usual personality clashes and flare ups that happens with humans …… But its moderated very well with good clear explanations of offenses ….. I should also thank Lyn who has never banned me.

        He gave me a stern warning recently which caused me to re-read the sites policy rules ……….. If he checks my logs and claims it was my first visit to that page ………. I’ll simply claim Keyzheimers and say I have no recollection of not being there before. 🙂

  20. shorts 20

    I assume the navy trains their personal as to the best defence against being broadsided

    the opposition needs to do this too – or more like do it more effectively, they know a barrage of dead cats, parrots and every other animal will be thrown at them, best have a defence prepared and use it immediately rather than play catch up when the entire country bar a few highly engaged political watchers have moved on

    To beat the national clobbering machine you’ve got to better it

    • One Anonymous Bloke 20.1

      Inventing lies takes a lot less time than rebutting them, because you can’t know what they’ll be in advance.

      • shorts 20.1.1

        this is of course true – but moaning about the fact that lies, lies and more damn lies will be thrown at you and the media will happily reinforce the national parties lines hasn’t done much to help the opposition to date, so best to find a better strategy

        we know national will say what ever pops into keys head – so little and co need prepared attack lines to counter to shift the dialog to favourable territory

        its not like there isn’t so many thing to take the govt to task on… you just have to do it right (e.g. don’t use race as an attack card in the auckland housing crisis)

        • One Anonymous Bloke 20.1.1.1

          “Moaning”.

          There’s a big difference between “moaning” and pointing out that there’s an established pattern. The fact of the Prime Minister’s relentless mendacity need not be off-limits for comment. It has to be done well, it mustn’t dominate the response, and there’s still a place for it.

          • shorts 20.1.1.1.1

            you are of course right – now for Labour to do as you suggest, because all too often they are in the eyes of the public simply moaning

            And in my eyes it happens a little too often – sometimes their response is justified and understandable but it always costs them, never national even if (as is often the case) they win the actual argument, they still lose

        • McFlock 20.1.1.2

          Shift the dialogue from where?

          National will say whatever pops into key’s head.
          What pops into Key’s head is whatever seems useful in the moment.
          Whatever is useful in the moment varies according to which questions journalists ask and what events happen in the country.

          Preparing contingency response lines for everything that national might say in any given moment therefore quickly becomes an intractable problem.

          What’s needed is a tactically-relevant response, not a situationally-specific response. Labour have tried being outraged, ignoring, explaining, but none of that seems to work. And the corrupt speaker wouldn’t allow out bullshitting pm to be called a bullshitter in the House, is my suspicion.

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