Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Why Do We Collect User Profiles?

It occurs to me that even though Matt and I have been analyzing individual users on the Huffington Post for the purposes of demonstrating their anti-Semitic comments, we have never explained why we do so. I'm going to do that now. There are three reasons, but before we get to them I want to make one thing clear: Most of the user profiles that we collect are probably not anti-Semites themselves. Only on a very rare occasion would I make that judgment. What these users are are people who have made many anti-Semitic comments across many different threads and across time. Whether they know the implications of what they are saying or not, I could not pretend to guess.

However, I am of the opinion that when you have a person who demonstrates a clear hate for Israel, surpassing all rational thought and legitimate criticism, that sooner or later he or she will make an anti-Semitic comment. Unfortunately, for most of the users we have looked at this has turned out to be correct. Now then, onto the reasons:

1. This is done to show that among certain users on the HP, it is not simply an occasional anti-Semitic comment. The comments may be spread out, but certain users make the same offensive and abusive remarks again and again and again. Although there are many different individuals on the HP, the most anti-Semitic comments are restricted to a relative minority, as opposed to everyone on the HP making one or two.

2. This is done to demonstrate some of the inadequacies of the moderating system on the HP. These individual users make anti-Semitic comments over and over, and yet their accounts remain and they continue to do so, even though the comments themselves might be removed. Even though abusive profiles are supposed to be removed, many of these commentators have been preaching anti-Semitism for months.

3. Finally, this is done for the benefits of the pro-Israel talkbackers when they get into conversations with some of these users. If one of these users claims that he or she has never made an anti-Semitic comment, reference the list and find a good one. This was particularly useful in the case of user "MarcusT" who posted a link to a Holocaust denial website, user "ray01" who linked to a neo-Nazi homepage, and user "CigarGod" who posted a Holocaust revisionism theory.

I hope this clears things up.

2 comments:

  1. Whatever the reason, thank you for the service! I am a Christian who happens to also be a Zionist (and not in any way shape or form a "Zionist Christian" who wants to start some sort of holy war so Jesus can come back...) and I use these user profiles just so I can better understand the people I'm debating. I post as "Talossa" on the Huffington Post.

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  2. Thank you. Without these I wouldn't be ably to distinguish between anti-Israeli and anti-Semetic. It's very difficult to know who to hate.

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