If you’ve followed Perfect Duluth Day for any length of time you know one of the more prolific commenters is “Helmut Flaag,” who for a five-year stretch went under the handle “Herzog.” I’m often curious about whether people enjoy his contributions or find them annoying.
Personally, and as one of the moderators of PDD, I have mixed feelings. I often find Helmut/Herzog’s remarks to be well crafted and amusing, but they occasionally consist of a flurry of antagonistic threadjacks about how lumbersexuals are destroying rock and roll with their old-time banjo music.
So it’s time to start a thread specifically dedicated to our mysterious opinionated friend.
For the uninitiated among us, some background …
PDD is a community weblog that has morphed over the years from initially acting like a Duluth version of Facebook (before Facebook existed) to a bit of a news and culture website with a limited budget that combines the work of a few paid contributors with posts from random people in the community writing about subjects relevant to Duluth.
Prior to 2012, PDD did not require people to log in when commenting on posts, which meant there were numerous trolls posting anonymous garbage that moderators had to either delete or deal with, leading to the creation of the infamous PDD Troll Zone of 2010. The Herzog Zone is obviously patterned after that.
PDD has become a different beast in recent years. The log in requirement almost completely did away with spammers and trolls. Combined with the proliferation of Facebook, it also drove the overall number of comments down. Logging in is a hassle, after all. So a Herzog Zone on PDD isn’t likely to blow up the way the general Troll Zone did six years ago, but that’s no matter. The point is that Helmut/Herzog is a unique character who deserves examination. PDD moderators can’t let him threadjack and be a nuisance, but it’s not like he’s threatening death and mayhem and should be banned.
It should also be noted that Helmut/Herzog is not just a commentor on PDD. He has authored 25 posts to date, covering a broad range of relevant topics.
The problem is that he loves to chime in as often as possible to let us know he thinks Trampled by Turtles suck, etc. Sometimes the moderators think that’s fine, but when there’s a minor onslaught we tend to delete the comments. Below are examples from three recent comments, all removed from the posts they fell under.
Regarding Anna Tennis’s essay “To the Battlements, Wherever and Whatever They Are“
Ms. Tennis, to discover when how and why Americans went wrong, we need look no further than the Oh Brother Soundtrack- that monolithic metronome of mundanity for lumbersexuals which I categorically lay the blame on for sending us down Satan’s slippery path of copycat mediocrity, forever shit-staining what might have been visavis great rock and roll in the next millennium. Instead, sabotaging many a young musician’s sense of personal artistic freedom who now because of it, can’t rock their way out of a wet paper bag. So I beg of you young musician full of hope and dreams, tear asunder that soggy diaper of spiritual infertility, and let your inner rock god tear you a new one. Trade in that musty dulcimer and mandolin for a Flying V and a Sitar Pedal now, and let her buck. You have but one life to rock, and that old timey horse-shit on the ears stuff is no way to go out. Think of your grandkids.
I went to Duluth and all I got was Appalachia, post-metal, and moan-core.
Regarding the PDD Calendar Index, no doubt referring to a picture of Dave Simonett
God I love the stone wash and white T look. So biz caz. I’d own it myself but it’d be soiled by dawn. Twin Ports got Appalachia though. We should be moving into WWI-era tunes any moment now as Mitch McConnell bursts through my stomach lining and slithers across the bar singing ‘Hello my baby, hello my darling, hello my ragtime gal.”
Any of those comments might be fine by PDD moderators on their own, but as a campaign it’s just a bit too much.
At any rate, here’s a place for Helmut/Herzog to say what he wants, if he wants. It’s also a place for anyone to state their feelings about his commentary or his general internet existence. Do Helmut/Herzog’s remarks tend to enhance or sour your PDD experience? Here’s your chance to say so without hijacking a different thread.
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