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Thread: Niceness is evil, or why Dissensus is shit

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    South London

    Default Niceness is evil, or why Dissensus is shit

    The banning of Padraig marks the lowpoint of the board for me... lower even that Luke starting threads based on News of the World gossip, lower even than threads entitled 'what music does your girl like' (whose entirely justified assumptions about the mainly male heterosexual make-up of the board tells its own depressing story).

    What is most significant about this was not only the banning but the pathetic witch-hunt mounted by militantly complacent dope smoking dads which led up to it. Hang on, how can I attack Luke but defend Padraig, shouts the gliberal commonsensus? Well, because the problem with Luke was not his antagonism (antagonism is the lifeblood of any board worth its salt), but his trolling. Padraig is insulting, of that there is no doubt - but his posts are always serious and from a committed counter-commonsensical position. Luke's posts were solely and exclusively intended to provoke, which, surprise surprise, they duly did. Reading Luke over the past few months has been like reading the Sun: the same faux-ignorance and sim working class argot (those who don't know, btw, should be aware that both of Luke's parents went to university and that his sister is at Oxford), the same defence of a carefully cultivated ignorance and persecution of anything deemed to be different, especially if it is 'intellectual'. The fact that NO-ONE complained about good old salt of the earth wouldn't hurt a fly Luke but that there was a whole swathe of 'daddy daddy this man insulted me' tittle tattle in respect of Padraig demonstrates the current values of the board. The reason I haven't said much before is (1) that I haven't had the time and (2) that the quality of posting here has become so mediocre that I just don't care that much what happens any more.

    All worthwhile boards are to some degree intimidating: that was certainly the case on alt.movies.kubrick (on which Padraig and I cut our teeth) when it was good. It was intimidating in the same sense that I used to find the NME intimidating, when Penman and Morley wrote for it. Intimidating in that it demanded something of you, made you want to be more than what you were, made you want to be worthy of it. ILM is intimidating. My problem with ILM is, again, not antagonism, but smugness - the one-liner, one-upmanship culture of getting one over on someone else with no deeper project.

    But Dissensus, contrary to its name, has become like Cheers with marijuana instead of beer - you pop in, say something of no consequence or interest to anyone, don't even listen to what other people are saying, have your basic story about the world reinforced, blearily feel good about yourself, then wander out again. Padraig was right to rail against that. Politeness is the first line of defence for the existing order. Where I disagree with him is that there is much point bothering. The board is clearly set up for the likes of Wasteofspacenation and Confused to set a non-agenda of anything for a quietist life dreariness and kooky kalifornian drivel. The arrival of Gek Opel - is this one poster the saviour of Dissensus? - provides some grounds for hope, together with the continuning presence of some of the old UKDance crew. They have made the Burial thread such an unexpected success. Who knew? Serious, intelligent and evocative discourse about dubstep that actually makes you want to listen to it. (Part of the reason I have had limited interest in the genre has been the depressing delibidinizing association with some of the most relentlessly dull posters here.) So I am not going to cut off my nose to spite my face by saying that I won't post here any more. But I have little hope that the board can have its centre of gravity switched from lazy mediocrity.

    So, put the Tellytubbies on for the kids, light up your spliffs, get your slippers out, and carry on. The world is just great, and who can say any different?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    I can't agree with that at all. I don't know Luka, Padraig or Droyd and I've never been involved or moved to complain but I've seen several of their posts and the argument that they had. In general Padraig seems to have an incredible ability to argue with almost anyone, even those who broadly agree with him. His posts remind me of nothing so much as the violent eruptions of someone with Tourettes, completely disregarding or misunderstanding the previous posts and going off on meaningless tangents, all the while adding in capital letters and pointless pictures. The overall effect is of being shouted at by an unpleasant lunatic. At first I found this mildy amusing but after a while I began to seriously wonder about the state of his mental health. I dread to think what he is like in person, if he acts like that he must be utterly unbearable.
    In the case of Padraig's argument with Luka I agree that Luka did wind him up (slightly) but the reaction was completely out of all proportion. First Droyd and then Woebot tried to mediate but they simply received another torrent of abuse and unreasonable demands. In general I won't miss Padraig's posts, not because they were rude but because, more often than not, the content was also worthless.
    In general I disagree about the state of the board. As a relatively recent joiner I can't speak for how it used to be but I feel that I have learnt a lot from people who know more than I do about all of the various subjects and I have been steered towards loads of fascinating things with the Burial thread you mention being just one example of many worthwhile topics that have been debated.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    brixton, london


    Quote Originally Posted by k-punk
    But Dissensus, contrary to its name, has become like Cheers with marijuana instead of beer - you pop in, say something of no consequence or interest to anyone, don't even listen to what other people are saying, have your basic story about the world reinforced, blearily feel good about yourself, then wander out again. Padraig was right to rail against that. Politeness is the first line of defence for the existing order. Where I disagree with him is that there is much point bothering. The board is clearly set up for the likes of Wasteofspacenation and Confused to set a non-agenda of anything for a quietist life dreariness and kooky kalifornian drivel.
    well, this is an interesting theory mark, but as a matter of fact i was not one of those people mailing matt complaining about padraig. we certainly had our differences, but i'm not a snitch. if i have an issue with someone i'll raise it with them publicly and directly. i am not in favour of moderated boards, or banning of people.

    the problem i had with padraig was his assumptions on what he thinks i think. i believe you should at least find out what someones positions actually are before dismissing them.

    the fact is, my politics are at least as radical as padraigs. i went to a shitty comprehensive school in one of the poorest parts of the uk. my parents were working class radicals and i have a background in protest that partly stems from seeing my mates dads get their heads stoved in by the police during the skirmishes of the miners strike. i am as left wing as i have ever been. i protested against the iraq war and i am firmly against military action in iran.

    you are as bad as he is, for assuming much that has no basis in fact. its disapointing for me as someone who finds your writing both inspiring and thought provoking - are you honestly suggesting that the kind of moronic bar room slagging matches that drove many people away from the politics board are something that we should be striving for?

    i too cut my teeth on harsher boards than this (uk-dance for your information - and you'd better believe that i'm more than capable of standing my own in an argument with you or him, or both). the key difference these days is i can disagree without insulting someone.

    and since when did i become king of the board? i'm just an individual with my own opinions who people shot down in flames when i've moaned publicly about people being aggressive. in fact i've even changed my opinion after discussing it with stelfox on another thread.

    Last edited by bassnation; 21-05-2006 at 07:41 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    leigh on sea


    I think that the fact that Luka could post things that had humour in them has much to do with the reason why he didn't get the same flak as Padraig. I said the forum will miss Luka and i think it will. I won't miss the tabloid quality to some of his posts and i wish he would expand on his ideas cos i think he probably is far more intelligent than he wants us to think he is.

    Padraig became too truculent and quite unnecessarily aggressive - there was never any sense that he was listening to anybody else, even those who agreed with him. I was, however, sorry to see him go as i read nearly everything he wrote/ linked to. I am sorry his blog is currentlt suspended too.

    As someone who has mentioned his children from time to time i am interested in whether it is all fathers you are slagging off or just merely the pot smoking ones. If it is, why mention that they are dads, unless parenthood somehow makes you incapable of joining in the debate.

  5. #5
    droid Guest


    Just posting to draw a line under this sorry episode.

    I think its quite instructive that this farce is now being interpreted as some seismic victory for 'niceness' over incisive/abrasive/challenging intellectualism, a position which totally misses the point that this was nothing to do with content, and all about delivery.

    In my view Padraig has consistently gone out of his way to be as obnoxious, aggressive and confrontational as possible since he first started posting here. Sure he's fine as long as you agree with him, but the slightest murmurs of dissent against his opinions or manner have resulted in tirade after tirade of patronising misinterpretations and insults, one of the low points of which was his response to Omarrs request for a simple link to a source. This is all in sharp contrast to yourself (K-punk), and many of the other highbrow commentators here, who - to their credit, often go out of their way to explain themselves to us mere mortals without simultaneously expressing their contempt with every syllable.

    The ironic thing about this is that many of the people he's alienated (including myself), had sympathy for his views and found his posts interesting. There was no 'pathetic witch hunt' to oust him, afaik, there werent even that many complaints, and for my own part, I never once requested that Padraig be banned. Its also ludicrous to suggest there was some kind of campaign of harrasment against him - that he was passively 'wound up', and his behaviour was somehow justified. Luka and Oliver baited him, sure - and I challenged them about it myself. I took the piss out of him a few times, as did other Dissensians, but the general reaction to any confrontation with him was to slowly back away - not to escalate. I think those who actually took part in those discussions or anyone bored enough to take the time to read through them will come to roughly the same conclusion.

    Is there any point in also mentioning that a '20 year veteran' of the internet should have easily been able to handle a bit of mild verbal prodding without exploding into profanity and threats? That Padraig shouldve been able to take a fraction of the abuse he was dishing out? That his responses were wildly dispproportionate to the 'provocation' in question? That he was given a second chance (all credit to Woebot), but pissed it away?

    Regardless of all this, I find it very strange that the 'culture' of Dissensus is being criticised whilst the incident that brought all this to a head, and its effects on same culture is totally over-looked. Despite what Im sure some people believe, the reason I attempted to moderate Padraig was not down to some personal animus, but simply because he had crossed the line into pure personal abuse in his post to Luka. His response to me was arguably even more serious, as it crossed the line into actionable slander ('THIS psychotic, drug-pushing ("you should try them") fuck'), and something that could easily be interpreted as a threat. (Listen you fuck, I'm going to be doing MUCH MORE than keeping a close eye on you from now on ... You imagine we don't know who you are?). Is this acceptable in any context? Is this condusive to open discussion and debate? Would you accept this without complaint? Dont you realise that you could concieveably be prosecuted along with Padraig for allowing those comments to appear on this board? (dont worry - I could never afford it!)

    This is what bothers me most about your argument. Its a position which seems to value the inflated rhetoric of the 'counter-commonsensical position' over the most basic of social conventions (such as listening to the people youre talking to), that excuses unnecessary aggression and confrontation as long as it comes from a 'serious' commentator, that ignores rampant abuse and turns the tables so the abuser is absolved of any reponsibility for his own actions and becomes the victim of some invented 'anti-intellectual fratboy' culture - as long as it comes from someone judged to be serious/interesting/provocative etc...

    Are you aware that Padraig has almost certainly been signing me up to spam sites? (Ive recieved 30 or so emails since he was banned) That he's allegedly sending out hate mail to people? That I'm not 100% sure I wont find him waiting in the bushes outside my house some dark evening? That given his behaviour thus far, this post alone will probably generate even more virtual harrasment?

    How you can defend this behaviour whilst condemning the 'culture' of a forum that essentially ignored most of Padraig's transgressions baffles the mind. Im sure there some justification other than intellectual cronyism, but itd probably go over my sun reading, slipper wearing, 'pot' smoking, child rearing (I dont have any kids, but why ruin a perfectly crass generalisation?) head.
    Last edited by droid; 22-05-2006 at 09:55 AM. Reason: Some friendly legal advice

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005


    k-punk, the hostile personal emotional tone of this sort of thing makes me not want to post on this board or even read it that closely. It's not intimidating in any productive sense, just repellent.

    Maybe you all should make the Dissensus registration process much more selective than it is, or else post a detailed mandatory FAQ for the board that includes your criteria for what is and is not acceptable.
    Last edited by ice bat; 21-05-2006 at 08:29 PM.

  7. #7


    Any chance of a link to the thread in question? Thanks.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Reading (A rotten town)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    3323'S, 7047'W


    i agree with part of what you've said, k-punk, except where you single out individual posters, that was low. considering that when you did engage with the board it was in a chummy, closed-circle way that virtually excluded anyone else from participating (not very philosphical), perhaps you should do the inverse exercise and see what it is that you did that contributed to 'dissensus being shit'.

    i've made my fair contribution to it (being shit). in my case i have never cut my teeth on a board or indeed have written much in english, or written at all before this, so it's a personal challenge to slowly hone down my thoughts, refine my vocabulary and revise my very muddy personal history in the process. this concerns no one but myself but all i ask for is a bit of polite engagement, people willing to 'help a cripple' as it were, as well as nastiness and caustic opinion, and lunacy, all of which i think are healthy. so let's un-ban everyone and k-punk, why don't you join in instead of wasting your energy on this drivel?
    Last edited by bruno; 24-05-2006 at 11:33 PM.

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by gek-opel
    I know i'm a n00b here, but that shit is way out of line. Doesn't matter how 'committed counter-commonsensical' his positions were, or anything else.

    Droid, a 'Twisted Scumbag'? It would be laughable, if it wasn't delivered with such malice.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    NYC , Tokyo


    P's explosive rage shown on these threads , esp. towards the end and the last one to Woebot
    man you could feel the spit flying
    They were easily the most blindly angry posts i've read on any Board , ever.
    A real high point ...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2004


    Oh dear. I think Mark is having a go at me - a dope smoking dad who likes niceness. Even if it's not aimed directly at me, it's such a scatter gun approach that it might as well be. Oh well. FWIW, I don't agree with either Mark's premises or his conclusions. I think that Dissensus is in terrific form right now.

    AFAICT, the banning of Luka and the banning of Luka aren't equivalent since Luka asked Matt to ban him. I may be unaware of other machinations since I'm not a mod. But it sounds like a case of "Ask, and thou shalt receive". I didn't realise that Padraig had been banned but I thought his posts were getting a bit hysterical; I'm not surprised he went over the line and started attacking people. I don't think that's what Dissensus is about, or should be about; I doubt Mark thinks that either, given his experience with the comments boxes in his blog.

    However, Mark kinda seems to be suggesting that it's OK for people to attack each other on Dissensus. To suggest Padraig was not doing so strains credibility. I think it's worth quoting Matt's original manifesto for Dissensus; I feel that Mark's suggestion that Niceness is evil and is making Dissensus shit does not accord with the board's founding principles:

    "Absolutely everyone is welcome to go there, and I mean EVERYONE, with the caveat that if people don't treat others with a certain amount of respect they will be unceremoniously struck off the register; the software's ability to trace people's IP addresses will mean they'll be unable to sidle in with another avatar. If there's anything I'm dreading it's this. Hopefully the thing will run peaceably by itself and I wont have to bother playing god, cos it's not about me."
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2005


    k-punk is of course right.

    Dissensus should be solely used by miserable, mean-spirited bloggers with too much free time to spew forth pseudo-everything monologues at absurd lengths about their obsessions, under the delusion that they are facilitating the "paradigm shift", rather than the closer-to-truth of masturbating in self aggrandizing/congratulatory fashion in an online forum; desperately trying to compensate for their otherwise feeble existence in the world, and putting other people down to make themselves feel better - kindergarten bullies on a virtual play-ground.

    and the other, more casual users of the board? those who are content to shoot the proverbial shit, share some information and trade a few jokes; those who choose not to devote the majority of their life's energies to rigorously and endlessly go on about gravely serious matters such as Hauntology or Dubstep?

    well clearly they should all be banned.

  14. #14
    foret Guest


    hmm i pretty much agree with k-punk and confucius
    did anyone read omm yesterday? the girl on the front was fit, almost glibidinizingly so

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2005


    heh I been banned for less...'re right though some people take this net shit far too seriously. For instance

    seems Gutter took it upon himself to release hi bit mp3s of older dubstep tunes by the big players without asking them first and when pulled up on it at dubstepforum took his blog down... about taking your bat and ball and going home just cos you struck out once

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