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Scott Adams, plannedchaos
Note: I'm avoiding linking Scott Adams directly, to avoid helping his Google ranking.
In April 2011, Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, created an anonymous account at Metafilter, then proceeded to vigorously & furiously praise himself, and insult other commenters. It wasn't the first time he'd done this, but it was the first time he got caught.
Scott Adams has long made provocative blog posts, likely for the attention and publicity, which sometimes appear in contentious posts on Metafilter. Whether he's trolling, sarcastic, or just not writing clearly, it's probably best to not take anything he writes at all seriously, or at face value, or really, engage in conversation. For example blog posts, he compared women to children and the mentally challenged, and insulted men's rights fans in the same blog post, (deleted thread) deleted it, then trolled at various feminist blogs to keep the conversation running. He's written about how evolution sounds sketchy (refuted in detail by Phryngula), and that the linear view of time (past and future) is not true. He has since suggested that rape is a natural instinct for men. (deleted thread) Altogether, Metafilter's a tough crowd for Adams.
In April 2011, a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Scott Adams made the front page of Metafilter. The op-ed was not well-received. After the post was live for a couple of days, as a first comment, new user plannedchaos launched into a lengthy and spirited defense of Adams. Some back and forth ensued between plannedchaos and other members, including insults and his "clever" term "masturdebating," which means attacking a straw man.
The moderators have access to the payment information for the signup fee, and they had realized that plannedchaos was Scott Adams, and that while it shouldn't continue, they wouldn't out him. mathowie privately emailed him, telling him to come clean or stop commenting. A couple of hours later, cortex publically commented: "plannedchaos, please check your email." He shortly announced, "I am Scott Adams."
- Scott, if you wanted to sign up for Metafilter to defend your writing, that would have been fine. If you wanted to sign up for Metafilter and be incognito as just another user, that'd be fine too. Doing both simultaneously isn't; pretending to be a third party and high-fiving yourself by proxy is a pretty sketchy move and a serious violation of general community expectations about identity management around here.
- I'm sorry I peed in your cesspool.
- For what it's worth, the smart people were on to me after the first post. That made it funnier.
plannedchaos then wandered off without apology or getting banned.
benzenedream noted that similar self-adulation, under the same handle, had occurred on Reddit the previous year.
This thread spawned a Metatalk thread, which reached 1269 comments.
Adams wrote about the incident (indirect link, via the Metatalk thread). He wrote that he makes contrarian predictions as calculated bets that in the unlikely event they pan out, he would get credit. There's an "interview" between Adams and PlannedChaos. There's no remorse or apology, but he writes that we're doing exactly what he wants by being appalled at his sockpuppetry, because it distracts from and eclipses his prior dumbassery. His blog post received comments from our moderators, which in turn, received insults in reply from Adams - here's mathowie's comment and the response. There were positive comments on his blog post, but it is unknown how many of them were from Adams.
cortex clarifies the applicable "sockpuppet" definition:
- functionally speaking, a reductive use of "sockpuppet" for "using a bullshit identity to run interference" seems mostly to make sense to people.
- April 15, 2011 - Hollywood Reporter
- April 15, 2011 - Reddit - cortex posted as joshmillard
- April 16, 2011 - CNET
- April 16, 2011 - Fark
- April 18, 2011 - Mediabistro / Galleycat
- April 18, 2011 - The Atlantic Wire
- April 18, 2011 - Gawker
- April 19, 2011 - OC Weekly
- April 19, 2011 - Salon
- April 19, 2011 - Seattle Weekly
- April 19, 2011 - Yahoo! News
- April 19, 2011 - Mightygodking
- April 20, 2011 - Comics Alliance, with a relevant Dilbert comic
- April 22, 2011 - WNYC's On the Media - featuring cortex!