A few days ago Scott pointed out that Online Integrity is dead. Now, I think there's plenty of actual integrity online, so that's good. But the Online Integrity of the sort sponsored by our good friend Tacitus, aka Josh Trevino -- well, that's gone and buried, done and over. And that's even better.
As any number of people picked up on at the time, last May, the big problem with the "OI" project was that the person who was pushing it, this Trevino fellow, himself lacks integrity, in the same rather spectacular negative fashion that the Sun lacks ice cream. Oh, he talks about "honor" all the time, like he's Worf or something. But when he says "honor" he says it like you'd phonetically pronounce a word in a foreign language that you don't understand.
It was, and is, too rich: here was someone wanting to primarily define "integrity" as "respect for a person's right to anonymity online," who had been notorious for stunts like this. And the incident where he coquettishly let slip Billmon's last name. And other nonsense. The record shows that Tac sees anonymity or pseudonymity solely as an opportunity to whip out a cudgel against someone he doesn't like, because if you can "out" them, oh boy, you've got one over on them! What a mighty little fellow you are! Have a biscuit! Hence his addiction to using real names whenever he can, even when he knows full well that the other person is known online by a pseudonym. And even when it's pointless because the target doesn't really care. (The purpose is to insult, as in the infantile usage, "The Democrat Party." Bonus insulting points in that he doesn't say "fuck" so he's still one "civil" little Fauntleroy!)
So for Tac to start up an "Online Integrity" project where everyone would swear not to out people, well, that was like the Ted Haggard Crusade Against Meth n' Gay Hookers. Just too funny. So my initial response, once I heard it was him behind it all, was to make fun of it. And to complete the joke, the Online Blogintegrity site that began as a parody is still in existence, and indeed about to evolve (more on that soon).
Indeed, from our vantage point right now, it's pretty clear just what exactly Online Integrity always was: the bouquet of flowers the abuser buys in order to prove -- mostly to himself -- that he's... not an abuser. Witness Tac's behavior in this recent Sadly No thread. It's been going on for days now. (Scroll down to the end for the real fun, where Tac reveals the nickname of the sports teams at the CC where I teach, immediately after he has accused Scott Lemieux and HTML/Retardo of being "obsessives" because they read and criticize his blog posts.)
Integrity consists in holding to a principle because it's a principle. If you have respect for the legitimacy of anonymity or pseudonymity online, then you do not under any circumstances violate that principle.
So much for Tac's "principles." He's right now in the process of violating a principle he once launched a public campaign to champion.
I think that's super.
(Crossposted to BlogIntegrity)
Marble Boy does one of his patented passive-aggressive comments threads cameos here, appearing in a puff and a cloud bearing a thesaurus, a snootful of attitude, and a silly "argument." Let's play!
1. Skilled dredger of the Google Cache that he is, he resurrects the OI Statement of Principles from its sewagey grave, intoning "the issue of anonymity/pseudonymity was third out of four, and qualified, at that." Which it is! Of course, Number One reads:
Private persons are entitled to respect for their privacy regardless of their activities online. This includes respect for the non-public nature of their personal contact information, the inviolability of their homes, and the safety of their families. No information which might lead others to invade these spaces should be posted. The separateness of private persons’ professional lives should also be respected as much as is reasonable.
So much for that noise, then.
2. JT also says:
This Statement was a compromise document -- drafted by a left-wing majority -- and as such, does not reflect my own views on the subject, nor anyone else's, 100%.
Irrelevant. If you don't want other people to hold you "100%" to a statement of a principle, then don't publicly endorse that principle, much less publicly campaign for others to do likewise. There's this thing called "giving your word," a concept that seems to elude poor Tac.
This gets to precisely my issue with Tac. Full as he is of himself and full as his rhetoric is of high-minded platitudes, what he really wants to do is to is, well, what he wants to do. He sees a public statement of principles as a definition of a kind of a boundary: "aha, this tells me how far I can go, and hence anything I do up until that point is fair play!" Now, me, I see a statement of principles as an aspiration and a guide for behavior, and not as grounds for endless, twisty, knotty ethical negotiation and compromise. The weasel's twist, the weasel's tooth -- sign a pact with Tac, that's what you get.
For more of this sort of wingnut "ethics," see the wonderful "fake but accurate" right blogospheric formulation, as well as stuff like "the President wasn't technically lying when he said Saddam sought to get nuclear material from Africa." For the results of this sort of moral logic, see today's Iraq.
3. Tac says,
Respect for anonymity or pseudonymity online is at best a courtesy, as there is no generalized moral case for respecting another's preference for it.
See OI Number One, genius.
Not that this guff about "moral cases" is relevant, or that "courtesy" is "merely" anything. Tac seems to take this blogging crap a lot more seriously than I do. Blogs are a bunch of people talking -- like in a bar, or a living room, or whatnot. Sometimes things get heated. Tac is the jackass who always thinks he has a "right" to "take things outside," not so much to fight (Lord forbid), but to harass, to nurse grudges, to take down phone numbers, to follow you home so he knows where you live, to tell mommy on you when she gets home, to put sugar in your tank... in other words, to get revenge for slights in some other forum besides the one where he felt humiliated or beaten or otherwise pettily aggrieved.
Don't see any other way to interpret the obsessive behavior in the Sadly No thread, chief.
4. JT intones:
The remainder of your post, based as it is upon these false premises, is therefore discarded.
Not so. As is the case with my blog generally, this post is based upon licensed premises. And you still can't keep up.