Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Just a quick comment on an internet phenomenon

If you follow atheist, skeptic, and science blogs, you will be aware of the concept of a Poe - a commenter named after Poe's Law "Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is utterly impossible to parody a Creationist in such a way that someone won't mistake for the genuine article". In other words, a commenter pretending to be a kook so well that it's impossible to tell the poster from the real thing.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I have come to detest Poes.

I can understand the fun for the poster pretending to be something else, and see how many people it fools, but for the rest of us, it just derails the conversation, and make people waste energy trying to convince someone about the errors of their positions.

Here I should probably make clear that I am only talking about Poes in the context of rational discussions. In other places, such as Conservapedia, Poes serve as a good tool for exposing the extreme views of the site. On rational sites, however, they just waste everybody's time - there are plenty of kooks out there which are willing to do that already, why add to them? It's just trolling, and we don't need more trolls.

OK, I am better now - just needed to get this off my chest. Just don't get me started on people who writes "first" in the comment sections.

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Blogger Andrew said...

Kristjan -
I completely agree. Stunts like these are a form of dishonesty. They fly in the face of rationality.
I feel the same way about a movement within the skeptical community to ambush/disrupt public paranormal events.
Free speech, yes. Free actions -- in the name of psyching people or because "I know better" -- I don't think so.

June 09, 2010 1:58 PM  
Blogger Sune K. said...

Apart from Conservapedia, these guys are also pretty funny:

August 19, 2010 10:52 AM  

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