On the internet today, everybody knows you're a dog.
November 8, 2009 3:56 PM   Subscribe

 
So sockpuppets now have the power to storm academic debate? I can't tell if I'm more worried about 4chan or fundamentalist Christians using this technique.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:10 PM on November 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


In court papers filed last week, Mr. Golb’s lawyers argued that prosecutors were trying to criminalize the commonplace. Both sides in the Dead Sea Scrolls debate, they said, use “sock puppets” — fake identities — on the Internet to make it seem as if scores of people are arguing a point.

This is true. I have no less than 46 Metafilter accounts.
posted by dortmunder at 4:22 PM on November 8, 2009 [21 favorites]


Yeah, I agree with dortmunder. That dortmunder sure is a smart and witty fellow, isn't he?
posted by notswedish at 4:25 PM on November 8, 2009 [12 favorites]


Previously on the grey: Some unwanted sock puppet drama.
posted by battlebison at 4:26 PM on November 8, 2009


I agree whole heartedly with dortmunder, and not only because he's so handsome and debonair, but because he's so honest.
posted by stavrogin at 4:27 PM on November 8, 2009


Once again, dortmunder calls it like it is.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 4:31 PM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Personally, I'm most impressed by dortmunder's wry wit and worldliness.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:31 PM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


On alternate Saturdays, dortmunder takes time out of his schedule to help feed the homeless; that just helps to illustrate his innate compassion and empathy.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:34 PM on November 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Damn it, wrong account.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:34 PM on November 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


Aw crap. I've been planning a post on this topic (which is far more fascinating and complex than this drive-by FPP lets on). Snooze & lose, I guess.

In academic Biblical Studies, this is a big deal. Golb has been a notorious curmudgeon and a somewhat valuable gadfly for many years. He's not a Dead Sea Scrolls scholar primarily, but comes to the field late and with an agenda. He made his scholarly career by rediscovering a lost synagogue in Normandy on the basis of textual evidence. As is so often the case, he bucked scholarly consensus early in his career, won, and then spent the rest of his life trying to repeat the achievement.

He took a look at Scrolls scholarship and observed that the reigning model for how the scrolls were gathered and preserved depended on a group of quasi-monastic Essenes living out in the desert on the shore of the Dead Sea. But the chief proponent of the so-called "Essene Hypothesis" was Père Roland de Vaux, a French Dominican. "A-hah," Golb thought, "a member of a christian monastic order presupposes a quasi-monastic setting for the Dead Sea Scrolls. Anachronism is on the hoof!" So he writes a book maintaining that, based on his acumen as an epigrapher, he can prove that none of the scrolls was actually written at the Qumran site. And the only place where such scrolls might have been produced in the period was the Jerusalem temple. Ergo, the scrolls are actually the remains of the temple library, hidden in the desert prior to the destruction of the city by Titus in 70 CE. Mind you, there isn't a shred of evidence for this theory either. It's unprecedented to find an original (non-copied) manuscript from the ancient world, the lifespan of scrolls being around 50 yrs or so.

Anyway, Schiffmann is another curmudgeonly type. An echt scrolls scholar and not someone who suffers idiots lightly. He and Golb have been tilting for years. Golb's son's mental collapse is clearly more than just a personal sociopathy. His father has been so vociferous and so contrarian for so many years that the son has got to have been drinking long at a very poisoned, very private well. It's embarrassing and sad, frankly, and it will destroy whatever legacy Golb had as a scholar who forced a tight cabal of professional scrolls researchers to lay their cards on the table.
posted by felix betachat at 4:35 PM on November 8, 2009 [39 favorites]


Oh, forgot to mention that, without dortmunder, none of us would know a goddamn thing about the Scrolls. The man is a prodigy; history will show that genius walked in our midst, my friends.
posted by felix betachat at 4:37 PM on November 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


dortmunder not only saved my baby from a burning house, but also saved my house from a burning baby.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 4:39 PM on November 8, 2009 [13 favorites]


Man, I was sort of disappointed that this was a single link post to a New York Times article, but dortmunder's comment really made this whole article worth it.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:40 PM on November 8, 2009


oh, and good post, dortmunder!
posted by battlebison at 4:40 PM on November 8, 2009


I think I need the "not hamburger" tag to be able to sincerely say thanks to felix betachat for improving the thread. Sorry for my drive-by-i-ness (drive-by-y-ness?).
posted by tractorfeed at 4:40 PM on November 8, 2009


Without dortmunder, I never would have seen this, and would have continued on down the path to certain ignorant oblivion. He truly is all that is man.
posted by sciurus at 4:43 PM on November 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Believe me, I HATE sock puppets. But should we really be prosecuting sockpuppetry?

This seems like a reach.

I suppose that you could prosecute, with some twisting, a charge of identity theft, and criminal impersonation. But in this case, there was certainly no physical harm, and no economic loss. It's a real stretch of the imagination to say the legislative intent behind these criminal statutes was to make sock puppetry a crime.

As a general principle, I don't like attempts to extend the reach of criminal statutes past their original intent. It's a form of prosecutorial creep I am absolutely uncomfortable with. If society is confronted with a new form of bad behaviour, it's much better to adress it by legislation. Allowing prosecutors discretion like this is unsettling, especially so when applied to a case like this, which involved an academic debate.

That being said: let's go the legislative route. Anyone want to start an anti-sockpuppet lobbying group?
posted by HabeasCorpus at 4:45 PM on November 8, 2009


Anyone want to start an anti-sockpuppet lobbying group?

I'm in. I nominate dortmunder for chairman.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 4:48 PM on November 8, 2009 [5 favorites]


Seconded.
posted by HabeasCorpus at 4:48 PM on November 8, 2009


Dead Sea Scrolls trivia:

When and where were the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered?
The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in eleven caves along the northwest shore of the Dead Sea between the years 1947 and 1956. The fragmented texts, are numbered according to the cave they were discovered in.

How many different scrolls were identified?
In all, scholars have identified the remains of about 825 to 870 separate scrolls.

Did you know?
The prophecies by Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Daniel and Dortmunder not found in the Bible are written in the Scrolls.
posted by netbros at 4:49 PM on November 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


Mr. Golb, I served with dortmunder. I knew dortmunder. Dortmunder was a friend of mine. Mr. Golb, you're no dortmunder.
posted by msbrauer at 4:54 PM on November 8, 2009


All this pro-dortmunder sentiment is sickening me. Yeah, he's good-looking, intelligent, and generous, but, people, let's not lose sight of the fact that he's a care-a-holic endangering his own health for the greater good. We don't desere dorrmunder and should be encouraging him to take it easy, not egging him on to ever-loftier extremes of wit and charity. There's such a thing as building too many baseball diamonds for deprived street kids.
posted by No-sword at 4:57 PM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Don't even get me started on the size of Dortmunder's penis. Like a baby's arm holding an apple, and twice as powerful.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:05 PM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not only is dortmunder adored by dogs and children, but he is a gentle lover, but he calls the next day.
posted by NoraReed at 5:07 PM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


AND he calls the next day. Rather.
posted by NoraReed at 5:07 PM on November 8, 2009


> Aw crap. I've been planning a post on this topic (which is far more fascinating and complex than this drive-by FPP lets on).

Don't shit on this post just because you didn't get around to making yours. For Pete's sake.

I suggest you listen to dortmunder; he's the only one here who knows what he's talking about.
posted by languagehat at 5:13 PM on November 8, 2009


Sock puppets are just stupid.
posted by Astro Zombie 2 at 5:13 PM on November 8, 2009 [7 favorites]


I'd be happy if I could go the rest of my life without reading a reference to the "On the Internet nobody knows you’re a dog." cartoon in an article about internet identity fraud. It's like writers this it is the only way to communicate the idea that people create alternate personas on the internet to older people and readers of the New York Times.

I'd also be happy if I could simply spend one more evening of passion with dortmunder, who aside from possessing all the positive qualities, is also a fantastic lover.
posted by piratebowling at 5:17 PM on November 8, 2009


Wait, this whole thing is about someone trying to defend the idea that the Dead Sea Scrolls were not written by the Essenes?

When I was an undergraduate, Professor Martin Goodman ripped me a new one for repeating, in an essay for him, the by-then, as I recall, well-debunked "Dead Sea Scrolls were written by Essenes" claim.

In about 1991.

Clearly this is a job for dortmunder.
posted by motty at 5:20 PM on November 8, 2009


felix, I'd love to see some of the links you'd have put in your version.
posted by mediareport at 5:22 PM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Horace Rumpole: "Don't even get me started on the size of Dortmunder's penis. Like a baby's arm holding an apple, and twice as powerful."

Twice as powerful as a baby? Man you really lay it on thick there Horace.
posted by graventy at 5:27 PM on November 8, 2009


On the internet today, everybody knows you're a dortmunder.
posted by scruss at 5:29 PM on November 8, 2009


Let me just apologize to Tractorfeed for derailing her post. I'm fairly certain that this wasn't the sort of discussion she was looking for when she posted the link. That said, I am all of the wonderful things that I said about me.
posted by dortmunder at 5:30 PM on November 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


Did I say "I said about me?" I meant "you." Definitely "you."
posted by dortmunder at 5:31 PM on November 8, 2009


Okay, it's getting obnoxious. Let's try to be as polite and fair-minded as dortmunder and let some other aspect of conversation shine through.
posted by fleacircus at 5:34 PM on November 8, 2009


I think poeple who use sock puppets have a childish mentality at best and an inate sickness at worst.

The only person I can be sure of who doesn't use one anymore is dortmunder.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 5:39 PM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Was it really necessary for the article to conclude in context of that banal dog comic? I would think the story has more significance than the quasi-moral message of "you're not anonymous on the internet"...
posted by tybeet at 5:39 PM on November 8, 2009


dortmunder turned my baby into twins
posted by knoyers at 5:55 PM on November 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


I just wanted to add that dortmunder's legendary dexterity has saved my life more than once. I'd believe anything he has to say about a scroll's provenance.
posted by headspace at 6:04 PM on November 8, 2009


You know, you guys ought to quit being so damn fawning toward dortmunder. He's a great guy, but he has his flaws. For example, he's way too modest.
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:14 PM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


From the article: No other creatures in the animal kingdom behave like this, not when the stakes are lower than food or mating or survival. And here’s a bonus: a thread of the Shakespearean runs through the case.

That's because there is no animal as crafty and suave as dortmunder. And animals have shown no interest in socks, which are the precursor to sock puppets.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:19 PM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I agree with dortmunder.
posted by xbonesgt at 6:23 PM on November 8, 2009


I am, in some meta-physical realm, dortmunder himself. And I'm pretty cool with that.
posted by localhuman at 6:28 PM on November 8, 2009


If I hadn't already, I would have spoused dortmunder two times today.
posted by cavalier at 6:29 PM on November 8, 2009


I just want to favorite Dortmunder's comments a thousand times! (Too bad it wouldn't show on the thread until December....)
posted by bumpkin at 6:30 PM on November 8, 2009


Seriously weird writing in that article. Sentences like this:

No other creatures in the animal kingdom behave like this, not when the stakes are lower than food or mating or survival.

What? "No other creatures in the animal kingdom behave like this" -- but some creatures outside of it do? "Not when the stakes are lower than food, etc" -- but if it is about food, you often see dogs and cats making multiple gmail accounts?
posted by voltairemodern at 6:40 PM on November 8, 2009 [5 favorites]


You will find link-heavy discussion threads at frdb here and here.
posted by No Robots at 6:42 PM on November 8, 2009


Dotmunder taught my dogs to create multiple gmail accounts, but he also instilled in them good values so they never have.
posted by NoraReed at 6:53 PM on November 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


dortmunder for president. ron paul bricked my Wii, dortmunder brought it back to life.
posted by porn in the woods at 7:12 PM on November 8, 2009


I'm tempted to chime in here with some kind of ridiculous derail, but I really feel like dortmunder raised me better than that when he took me in off the streets and taught me how to read and helped me kick smack.
posted by pts at 7:26 PM on November 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Lee Siegel once told me that he learned everything he knew from dortmunder.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:50 PM on November 8, 2009


Ich bin ein Dortmunder.
posted by unSane at 7:50 PM on November 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


I disagree VEHEMENTLY with dortmunder!!! I am also rude, stupid and VERY SILLY!!!!!!
posted by shii at 7:55 PM on November 8, 2009


dortmunder I just noticed that XFN is missing the "am" status.
posted by idiopath at 7:58 PM on November 8, 2009


idiopath: "dortmunder I just noticed that XFN is missing the "am" status."

My mistake, you can add a rel="me" attribute to your anchor in order to indicate that you are indicating yourself. This functionality is missing from the Mefi implementation of XFN contacts, though.
posted by idiopath at 8:07 PM on November 8, 2009


hey, you know who else has 46 metafilter accounts?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:14 PM on November 8, 2009


Hey guys...

Just popping in, FROM THE FUTURE, to say that if you all were more like dortmunder, I wouldn't have to keep coming back to throw pieces of bread at your LHC.
posted by Higgs Boson at 8:19 PM on November 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


No, I am Spartacus dortmunder.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:21 PM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Please, can we stop these personal attacks on dortmunder and discuss the topic at hand.
posted by Trochanter at 8:36 PM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hmmm... I wonder if my "apology" to myself put the dogs off the scent... wait, did I just say that out loud? Crap.
posted by tractorfeed at 8:38 PM on November 8, 2009


What? "No other creatures in the animal kingdom behave like this" -- but some creatures outside of it do? "Not when the stakes are lower than food, etc" -- but if it is about food, you often see dogs and cats making multiple gmail accounts?

Actually they do but nobody knows who they are.
posted by scalefree at 9:09 PM on November 8, 2009


This thread wouldn't be half as great if dortmunder didn't have such a wonderful name. dortmunder's impeccable aesthetic sense prevails again.
posted by decagon at 10:01 PM on November 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have to admit that I doubt that you guys are dortmunder sockpuppets. Such a fearsome advocate of the right and the good wouldn't stoop to such shenanigans.
posted by painquale at 10:32 PM on November 8, 2009


Well, I, for one, welcome our new dortmunder overlords.
posted by twirlypen at 10:39 PM on November 8, 2009


Dort baby-

Thanks for getting me that personal interview with Obama. Didn't expect it to be backstage at a Westerberg gig, but hey, that worked--you were able to show Paul some new licks. Jesus Christ he was almost in tears, does he always spout off about "ethereal beauty, like god himself was playing?" (Glad you ignored Sting, it was creepy how he kept offering to give you a back rub.) I still have the galleys for your new novel, but I can't get through more than a page or two at a time without having my mind blown or being reduced to jelly emotionally, so I have nothing coherent to say about it other than "thanks." If the critics have any class, rather than 300 words of praise they'll just stick to that single word. It's all that needs to be said!

The birthday dinner you gave me--a blind date with Megan fucking Fox, how did you get her to agree to meet me?--was awesome, but, I dunno, man, you got to warn me if you've dated someone first. She was pleasant and I thought we were getting along great, but when I suggested maybe we go someplace more comfortable she just looked at me like I was an insect and said "I've been with dorty." Man, I felt about an inch tall, both for being so blind (of course she had, duh), and because she didn't have to say anything else. Once you been with the dortster, there's no going back, I guess. Try not to sleep with everyone, OK, there will be no one left for the rest of us!

That sounds like sour grapes, and it's not--she was way more fun (even without the "comfortable" part) than the time you hooked me up with Beyonce (and even then, you couldn't have known; I still shudder at the mention of vegemite).

Gotta run--you know I love you like a brother. Keep cool.

M
posted by maxwelton at 12:28 AM on November 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


Shit, that was supposed to be a memail.
posted by maxwelton at 12:28 AM on November 9, 2009


Sorry to interrupt, but: I like how, in the middle of avoiding the word "libel" like it's some kind of demonic incantation ("injury to reputation is a civil matter," indeed), the lawyer basically admits that his client committed the same.

"Duh. They should be trying this in civil court. That's where you have trials about what he did."

Anyhow. Feel free to get back to praising me.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 1:20 AM on November 9, 2009


Sockpuppets are not that unusual in academic discourse. In a way, Socrates was Plato's sockpuppet. And Kierkegaard had over 13 sockpuppets.

Oh, also: There is nothing which for my part I like better, Dortmunder, than conversing with aged men; for I regard them as travellers who have gone a journey which I too may have to go, and of whom I ought to enquire, whether the way is smooth and easy, or rugged and difficult. And this is a question which I should like to ask of you who have arrived at that time which the poets call the 'threshold of old age' --Is life harder towards the end, or what report do you give of it?
posted by honest knave at 4:23 AM on November 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is true.

Finally a decent argument appears in this conversation.
posted by Hicksu at 5:04 AM on November 9, 2009


On the Internet, nobody knows anything, unless they are dortmunder.
posted by oaf at 5:30 AM on November 9, 2009


I am dortmunder and so's my cat. Actually, that's a lie. dortmunder would never meow in my face when I'm trying to sleep unless I asked him nicely.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:35 AM on November 9, 2009


"No other creatures in the animal kingdom behave like this, not when the stakes are lower than food or mating or survival." [citation needed]

These sorts of "only humans do X" absolutist assertions bother me. Of course only humans do X! Other animals don't have sacred documents that they have to fit into some cultural history!

But some of the more brainier animals out there do have something we could recognize as culture, and those animals have all sorts of deceptive behaviour, some of it /not/ related to immediate survival. Including a fair amount of mimicry. There are recent studies on chimp behaviour that suggest there is a decent amount of theory of mind going on, and chimps will definitely try to fake you out if they think they can get away with it. It is a question of degree and availability.

Do they use gmail accounts to sock-puppet their way to some advanced position. Well, no. Because they don't use the internet in this way, or at all. They don't have cooking shows or go to church, either.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:59 AM on November 9, 2009


There are recent studies on chimp behaviour that suggest there is a decent amount of theory of mind going on,

posted by clvrmnky


Eponysterical.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:03 AM on November 9, 2009


And animals have shown no interest in socks, which are the precursor to sock puppets.
posted by filthy light thief

Au contraire. Some animals have an aesthetic sense for warming foot coverings that is positively dortmunder-esque in its majesty.
posted by haveanicesummer at 6:54 AM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Some animals have an aesthetic sense for warming foot coverings


Yes! Let's not forget kitten mittons. They're almost as soft and relaxing as the beautiful, lustrous hair of dortmunder.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:15 AM on November 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


In Soviet Russia dortmunder, well, he's still great. Some things just never change, you know?
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:51 AM on November 9, 2009


I am Spartacus!
posted by gimonca at 10:14 AM on November 9, 2009


What a piece of work is dortmunder! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving, how express and admirable, in action, how like an angel, in apprehension, how like a god!
posted by EarBucket at 10:35 AM on November 9, 2009


Alas, he is no more.

Well you know dortmunder, no sacrifice too great. This morning while the rest of us were selfishly having a cup of coffee he went off in a helicopter to do some field surgery. He jumped with his plasma, his bag, everything an army doctor needs except his parachute.

We can all be comforted by the thought that he's not really gone, there's a little dortmunder left in all of us. In fact you might say that all of us together made up dortmunder.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:44 AM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


In fact you might say that all of us together made up dortmunder.

I think you'll understand what I'm saying when I say that I am dortmunder.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:04 PM on November 9, 2009


Metafilter: A tale of sock puppets and ancient sctrolls
posted by buzzv at 10:25 AM on November 10, 2009


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