|"I'm quite up for getting rid *before* he starts abusing people on grounds of race, gender or sexuality, especially if we're inviting people in." - Haus|
"A new poster who turns up out of the blue who acts like The Knowledge will be assumed to be The Knowledge and will be booted off unceremoniously, because *goddammit* we made that decision already a dozen times. And I'll keep doing it. For as long as it takes. - Tom Coates
"It seems wise to have a thread somewhere to dump and discuss the turbulence." - Xoc
Who is/was The Knowledge?
In real life, he's a Welshman, Andrew C***. Online, he uses a variety of pseudonyms, the first of which (on Barbelith) was 'The Knowledge'. He's Barbelith's most persistent and annoying troll. By 'troll', I mean he's a rather driven individual who utilises a variety of irritant, antisocial online behaviours in the apparent pursuit of attention (both positive and negative).
What did he do to piss you all off?
He's appeared in various guises on Barbelith, and been ejected at least six or seven times as a result of his obnoxiousness. Previous abusive behaviours to date includes spamming forums with pointless or obscene subject matter, mass-posting Private Messages, sending aggressive emails, impersonating other posters, and forwarding at least one unsolicited package to a poster's home address. We also suspect - but cannot be certain - that he has attempted to cajole or hack his way into other posters' usernames.
Is that so bad?
When it's happened at least half a dozen times, yes. He typically posts in a rather stereotypically faux-naif manner, suggesting that his misogynistic or racist comments are accidental or unintentional, "fictional" or a joke. When asked to moderate his comments he becomes defensive, aggressively accusing others of taking him too seriously or being overly 'PC'; he appears to thrive on the conflict this generates. Topics become derailed, posters gradually tire of him and some even leave the board. Boring, tiring and, in the end, damaging.
Why does he do it?
Who knows? Like most trolls, he seems to get off on being the focus of attention. Beyond that, we all have our theories: in the words of Haus, he enjoys "indulging in fantasies of sex, violence and sexual violence, dreaming of being a rebel, a misunderstood genius, a stud or a 'gangster'". He isn't, of course; he's limited, repetitive and dull.
Why don't you ban him from the board?
We've tried, several times, and he's always returned. Banning someone permanently is difficult, especially if they have access to several ISPs and a stored pool of usernames. We suspect he either generated a large number of usernames (using a variety of email addresses) in the past or, perhaps less likely, 'broke' into other people's unused usernames.
Why don't you make friends/reason with him?
Several of us have tried, and continue (against better judgment) to try. Unfortunately, he appears to be essentially untrustworthy, and dissembles freely and unashamedly. He frequently appears to engage with individuals, making them think he's 'redeemable' - but, inevitably, he returns to his previous abusive behaviour, leaving them angry and disillusioned. Bottom line is, he doesn't believe his behaviour is in any way wrong or open to valid criticism; he doesn't see any need to change.
Why don't you ignore him?
We do, up to a point - although perhaps less so than we used to. He remains a relatively obvious presence on the board in one guise or another; he's not too difficult to spot, and we generally tolerate him until his behaviour starts to become openly abusive - and, in the end, it always becomes abusive. It's as if he can't help gradually cranking up the obnoxiousness until posters start to object. When they do object, he whips things into a full-scale all-flaming shitstorm. Beyond a certain point, it becomes near-impossible to ignore him.
Why don't you just delete his posts?
Once he's begun acting in a thoroughly antisocial manner, we generally (and reluctantly) do. This can take a while, however (we don't have many active moderators at any given time), and he often reacts indignantly (he rarely admits to being Andrew C*** until after the event), multiply spamming and generally making a pest of himself. Being 'censored' seems to appeal to his sense of martyred self-importance.
Why don't you give him another chance?
Because, after thirty-odd different usernames and the same cycle of abuse each time, he ran out of 'last chances' long ago.
How do you know it's him?
Little things, jarring things. New posters (who typically claim to have been 'lurking for ages') asking 'innocently' after The Knowledge or expressing suspiciously well-informed pro-C*** sentiments straightoff are, more often than not, him. Then there's the intentionally casual ('joking') racism, misogyny, homophobia or just plain offhand rudeness. More than anything else, he's identifiable by the wearyingly predictable attack response when challenged.
What should I do?
Ignore him if you can (try using the built-in Ignore Poster option) or, if he's seriously pissing you off, Private Message one of the forum moderators with your concerns. Try not to become embroiled in an on-the-spot argument (he apparently loves argument) and remember that attempting to reason with him is ultimately futile. Try to avoid posting publicly about him. In the interests of maintaining focus, all C***-related posts or threads may be deleted without notice.
Isn't this thread feeding his need for attention?
Quite possibly, but it's something of a compromise. It's basically here as a summary of frequently-asked questions about Andrew C***, and a concerted attempt to confine related discussions to one part of the board.
Is all this really necessary?
Where can I read more about this?
In the interests of Policy streamlining (and minimising 'attention'), I'm planning to use this thread as an evolving index of other Andrew-related threads. Here are a few:
'The latest knowledge debacle'
'Other knowledge related stuff'
'Knowledge +1's pictures of cocks'
'"First they came for the Knowledge..."'
'Vandals at the gates'
'Big Brother is watching u! (So learn to become invisible).'
'Just what the fuck is going on here?'
'SECURITY WARNING: CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS'
'Is a troll someone who...'
'I'M IGGYING HAUS!!!'
'I'M IGGYING EVERYONE!'
'Knodge be doing things to the board...'
'The Barbelith Annual Report - FINAL LAST ONE WITH NO MISTAKES!'
'IMPORTANT! The future of Barbelith is being decided...'
'STEP BACK IN THIS MOTHERFUCKER JUST A-SWINGING MY HAIR!'
'Mumra/"Benny Hill"/Haus of Vengeance/Mr. Knodge/Andrew C***'
'"You've threatened respected members on the board..."'
'Andrew and PMs'
'Continuing on a different note (wrt the now locked thread "Andrew and PMs"). Or "I did this work and it's not going to be a waste of my time"'
(Many of Andrew's individual posts have been deleted, and several of these threads appear disjointed as a result.)