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Well, it's been 29 days, 9 hours, 17 minutes, and 32 seconds (but who's counting?) since I "snapped" and left the sub-community of the Counter-Jihad otherwise known as Jihad Watch comments. If the reader wants to know in more detail why I left, he or she should look at my two previous essays, which are linked in a recent essay Cold Turkey, written for Thanksgiving and, pun intended, describing my resolve to stop the habit "cold turkey" of going back there. I've been "clean and sober" all this time, taking one day at a time, sweet Jesus...
So far, this has been surprisingly easy for me. Perhaps I'm still in the early stage of "withdrawal denial" and I don't realize how bad I'll be jonesing for that old Jihad Watch comments fix soon enough. But I no longer miss it. And if I ever do feel a twitch of the old temptation, all I have to do is refresh my memory by looking at any one of scores of comments threads I've bookmarked (perhaps hundreds, if I spent the time plumbing through the sewage of the JW archives) in which JW regulars, Phillip Jihadski and Angemon, zoomed in to pester me, mock me and attacked me. And it's not just about me -- it's the fact that they bullied me so long in defense of a soft position on the problem of Islam.
And it's not so much the mere fact they did that (however annoying it turned out to be), but that no one else in that community ever came to my defense in any way other than once in a blue moon, and with a limp wrist and a wet noodle. Indeed, when others bothered to even take notice of what Jihadski and Angemon were doing, they would choose to chide me, not them.
Some of my readers may not know how deeply and intensely I participated in that sub-community of the Counter-Jihad -- year after year, month after month, week after week, day after day, for ten years from about 2005 to November 13, 2015. It became part of my daily routine for over a decade -- so much so, that the smell of coffee in the morning mingled with the civic duty I felt I was participating in, in my own humble way, as a concerned civilian trying to educate himself on this most pressing, and worrisomely worsening, problem.
As part of that, I would dive into the comments fields to rub elbows with everybody else and offer my two cents; and I kept hoping for some kind of a sense of community, where at least some people had your back and were sort of on the same page, even while others chose to mock and attack you -- and most of all, a wider community where people could feel free to criticize each other without incurring the wrath of tribalistic, high school cliques who swaggered around policing what was "acceptable" to write.
I finally saw that it's hopeless; there is no real community for me at Jihad Watch.
Just one example of my copiously intense participation at Jihad Watch comments -- typical of most of my ten years there -- may be gleaned from the fact that during one three-month slice of time in 2009, when comments were temporarily hosted by intensedebate, I logged 2,016 comments! (Unlike Jihad Watch, intensedebate allowed for archiving each commenter's total output; see this intensedebate archive page if you have a perverse inclination to waste a lot of time...)