|Someone is wrong on|
John Kwok is an unhinged professional troll who frequents sites he does not like and complains about their content non-stop. He follows prominent scientists and educators who have refuted creationist and intelligent design proponents' arguments, mostly to post complaints about what they blog. He causes problems at most places where he has accounts, sometimes even threatening people if they dare try to keep him from posting.
If you pay John Kwok any attention, he becomes very clingy and demands more of your time. And the more time of yours he gets, the more vengeful he will become when you eventually block him. If you find this troll on your site, it's best to remove him quickly, before he becomes too creepy.
Among his tactics are what fellow Stuyvesant alumni have termed "Kwok and awe" where he namedrops: a) his high school alma mater from decades ago, Stuyvesant High School in NYC, b) his favorite teacher from there, author Frank McCourt (who died rather than allow his name to be mentioned anymore by Kwok in his presence), and c) his nemeses. In addition, he is a known extorter, having tried on any number of occasions to upgrade his camera equipment for free in exchange for his silence (see example below under PZ Myers).
He has also sparked any number of puns on his name. In addition to the aforementioned "Kwok and awe," one will find internet references to the verbification of his name: to-wit, to Kwok. This means, variously, to fuck up, to annoy, to derail a thread on a niggling point, to call names but to take offense when trolled back in a similar fashion.
John Kwok targets popular internet bloggers and rational thinkers. Here are some of his targets:
PZ Myers is a prominent educator and scientist who hosts a blog on ScienceBlogs called Pharyngula. In March 2009, John Kwok became the subject of a parody game show on the blog called "Survivor Pharyngula," where problematic commenters were listed and other commenters voted to see who would be banned from posting ever again.
In the first round of voting, John Kwok did not get as many votes as the troll who earned the first ban of the game show. However, as with the game show, there was a chance to earn immunity through a simple question. The immunity challenge was:
“”In a comment that isn't longer than about 200 words, that is grammatically correct and logically coherent, and that does not cite the Bible or other religious authorities (and does not rely on tales about who you went to high school with, or tortured analogies involving necrophiliac pedophilic milkmen), explain how evolutionary biologists resolve the trivial conundrum represented by the common question, "If evolution is true, why are there still monkeys?" Remember, answer as a biologist or intelligent layman would, not like Pat Robertson or Ken Ham.
John Kwok's rise to the challenge was:
“”I am reposting this merely because I recognized two slight errors and am correcting them (I'm ignoring inane comments about my former friendship with Abbie Smith, my friendship with Ken Miller and my relationship to my famous high school creative writing teacher who shall remain nameless. Though I will note that his current wife is a great fan of evolutionary biology and keeps abreast as much as possible on current research.): "If evolution is true, why are still monkeys?" That's rather an easy question to answer IMHO. Although we - humanity - and monkeys are both primates - and thus are related relatively closely by common descent - we have undertaken our own separate evolutionary histories as different Primate clades utlizing vastly different ecological niches during the Cenozoic Era (If by monkeys, you are referring to South American and African/South and East Asian monkeys, then these two groups have also diverged due to reproductive isolation caused by the final separation of Gondwana in the early Cenozoic Era (primarily Paleogene Period)).
John Kwok then reposted his immunity challenge, more condensed this time, and ended it with a veiled threat:
“”@ PZ - If I am bounced off Pharyngula, then you may find yourself losing some friends over at Facebook.
Shortly after the comment was made there was a huge upswing in the Kwok vote.
On "Day Three," John Kwok again found his name on a short list of potential victims to the banhammer. The new immunity challenge was:
“”The challenge for the seven surviving candidates is to write a short comment, 200 words or less, that reveals that they actually understand why their attitudes and pattern of expression have so exasperated readers here, and explains what they will do to change their behavior in the future. This will be a tough one for this crowd, I'm sure. Let's see if they can wake up enough to do some honest self-assessment.
This time, John Kwok came out with guns blazing:
“”I apologize to all for name-dropping, and for mentioning my high school alma mater (which, on second thought should be mentioned since its current principal has banned the teaching of ID creationist there.).
Then proceeded to stick his foot farther into his mouth by continuing:
“”What you and others fail to understand is that the school's principal is a science teacher himself and teaches a rigorous freshmen-only introductory physics course to a select group of freshmen. The overall quality of American public secondary school science education would improve dramatically if other principals followed in his lead by pledging - and then ensuring - that no forms of creationism, including Intelligent Design, would be taught in their schools. Much to my amazement in early December 2007 I received an unsolicited e-mail from William Dembski. He was bragging how he knew scores of Texas high school principals who wanted Intelligent Design only - not including evolution - to be taught in their schools. When I told him about the pledge made during the Dover trial by my high school's current principal, he couldn't answer when I asked him how many of his Texas principals taught science too.
“”Others, not yours truly, have emphasized how important my high school alma mater is, by referring to it themselves in the past two days. If it hasn't sunk in yet, then take a look here:
It is the oldest "magnet" school of its kind in the country, and among the first - if not the very first - to emphasize the teaching of science, mathematics and engineering.Just think for a moment please. Wouldn't it make a lot of sense to remind opponents of evolution that a science teacher who is the head of America's premier science and mathematics-oriented high school has pledged that Intelligent Design creationism will never be taught there as long as he continues serving as the school's principal?
“”Shut the F**K up yourself.
I heard the school's principal make this pledge at an alumni gathering that was held while the 2005 Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District trial was in progress. Another alumnus asked him if Intelligent Design would ever be taught at the school. The school's principal gave a thoughtful response, and the only reasonable one he could give as a science teacher.P. S. I don't know him. I've spoken to him a few times at alumni meetings.
“”Only a delusional mind like yours would insist that I am patting myself in the back by stating how wonderful my high school alma mater is.
That's not what I have been saying, idiot. Instead, I have noted that the principal of America's premier high school of science, mathematics and technology has pledged that Intelligent Design creationism WILL NEVER BE TAUGHT at his school as long as he continues serving as its principal.
I don't care if the school is named "PZ Myers High School", "Charles Darwin High School", or, as is the case, "Stuyvesant High School".
Just get it into your thick skull. Repeat after me:The principal of America's best high school of science, mathematics and technology has pledged that Intelligent Design creationism will never be taught there while he serves as the school's principal. Maybe other high school principals should take the same pledge too. If they did, perhaps the overall quality of American science secondary school education would begin to improve.
“”@ T_U_T -
You're suffering from bad reading comprehension. I wasn't referring to my high school, jerk. I was expressing my desire that no NYC public school student should be subjected to intellectual child abuse from the Dishonesty Institute
@ Jim # 5Reluctantly, in light of these inane comments from those criticizing me, I must endorse your recommendation. I add that vote too, immediately after my vote for Silver Fox.
“”I'm probably going to voted off anyway, so I'll defend myself whenever I deem it necessary. As for mentioning that word, I'd rather not spell it out in full. PS You should read the novel "The Diviners". The author had a rather hilarious means of contending with a NYC-based critic - who was writing book reviews for my hometown's august newspaper - by lampooning him as a fictional character. I think I'll follow in that author's lead after I am finished revising a novel-in-progress.
Surprisingly, John Kwok did not earn the most votes to be banned. Dr. Myers instead made a special call:
“”Now, I had planned on doing one more round of voting to clear the blog of a total of three trouble-making pests, but in the end I've decided to cut it short right here. Something happened that compels me to simply ban one more person outright, and end the whole series. It seems that one of our contestants has been writing to a friend and asking him to use his powers of persuasion to compel me to a) LEAVE KEN MILLER ALONE!!! (should be read with a Chris Crocker-esque shriek, and with much running mascara) and b) grant the correspondent immediate, automatic immunity. He also threatened to complete his novel and include me as a character, ala Michael Crichton. Can you guess who it was? Somebody is taking this far too seriously, and I think it's time to cut off his little obsession. Goodbye, John Kwok. You won't be commenting here any more.
Being banned from the Pharyngula blog did not stop John Kwok from harassing Dr. Myers. He took his mission to email, now that he could not make his consternation public for all to enjoy:
“”Hey PZ -
Since Rick Moody lampooned a certain former "New York Times" book reviewer who had dubbed Rick, "the worst writer of my generation", in his novel "The Diviners", it looks like you're going to be honored twice. I already have an IRA terrorist whose persona is quite similar to yours (I told Greg that this was an accident.). Assuming that I sell this novel and write another, I'll be certain you'll appear in that one too.
BTW, Rick has since "kissed and made up" with the object of his affection. I haven't asked him about it, only because I know he's not one to talk about it (I'll let you guess how I know Rick. Hint: Look at my Facebook page.).I'm giving you a chance to change your mind. I think you ought to reconsider ASAP.
“”PZ, what comes around, goes around. Am looking forward to giving you the just dessert that you so richly deserve. And if you don't behave with the Muslims, I might do a "Pontius Pilate" act and give my cousin Jim and his CAIR buddies carte blanche to deal with you as they see fit.
Dr. Myers made a comical post soon after, parodying his grief with John Kwok as Kirk versus Khan.
Nearly a week after the last posting about John Kwok, Dr. Myers updates his followers on what has transpired in that time frame. John Kwok was busy emailing people about how he was being stalked. In emails to several of Dr. Myers' colleagues, John Kwok wrote:
“”Internet stalking by your colleague, Professor Paul Z. Myers
Dear Professor [redacted]:
While I am relieved that your colleague, Dr. Paul Z. "PZ" Myers, survived his automobile accident without any personal injuries, I must write to you and your colleague, Professor [redacted], as the senior members of your discipline, to complain about ridiculous, quite unnecessary, harassment and internet stalking which was done by Professor Myers and some of his acolytes and friends last week at both his blog, Pharyngula, and at Facebook.
I have filed complaints with both Facebook and Science Blogs, and Facebook seems to be taking seriously my complaint, since it is in the midst of an ongoing investigation.
Here are some representative examples of the harassment and internet stalking that I had to endure from Myers and others posting at Pharyngula:
Starting on Friday night I was subjected to further abuse, such as more harassment and internet stalking by Myers and some of his Facebook friends at Facebook.
When I noted on his wall that I felt compelled to contact the organizer of an April 8th talk at Saint Katherine's College that will be presented by my friend, Brown University professor of biology Kenneth R. Miller, in light of Myers' own bizarre behavior such as his "condemnation" of a Roman Catholic, and alert her to the possibility that Myers might be a disruptive person at Ken's talk, Myers wrote this:
Pz wrote on your Wall:
"Wait...you mean I might be standing in line for Ken Miller's talk, and the organizer might send a beefy security guard over to expel me?
Please, please, please make it so. That went so well last time it happened."
Myers's behavior would be deemed unacceptable by Dr. Ruth Simmons, President, Brown University. I strongly suspect that had he conducted himself in such a fashion as a Brown professor, she would have insisted upon his immediate resignation for conduct unworthy of a Brown professor.
I think it is worth noting how Myers is perceived over at Wikipedia:
His abysmal conduct stands in stark contrast to other, more prominent, critics of creationism like Drs. Eugenie Scott, Jerry Coyne and Kenneth R. Miller:
Regrettably, I have decided to demand from Myers some financial compensation for his egregious behavior. He will have to purchase on my behalf a used Leica M7 rangefinder camera body (The price will vary, but somewhere in the range of approximately $2200 to $2500.). I hope you and Professor [redacted] will persuade him to act favorably on my request.
Respectfully yours,John Kwok
And to Dr. Myers personally:
“”PS: Internet stalking by your colleague, Professor Paul Z. Myers
Dear PZ -
I'm not amused at all by your egregious conduct towards me. In fact, if you've been reading PT lately, I made a thinly-veiled reference to you yesterday, observing that you are a lunatic.
I fully expect you to comply with my request, which will be in lieu of an actual lawsuit. Moreover, I don't expect you to announce this at either Pharyngula or Facebook, since if you do, I'll be compelled to demand more compensation from you.
Will you please grow up and act your chronological age for once? I also expect you to refrain from criticizing religions, especially the Roman Catholic Church.
I have an old friend from whom you can purchase a used Leica M7. Once you are ready to contact me, I'll tell you how.
Respectfully yours,John Kwok
Plus, after seeing the posting of his emails, John Kwok quickly ups the ante:
“”Dear PZ -
You owe me now $5,000 worth of photo equipment. If you don't have it, then ask your pal Dawkins for a loan (Since he received a multi-million dollar advance from Simon and Schuster for his next book. Incidentally, Simon and Schuster publishes Michael Behe's and Frank McCourt's books.). Thanks for demonstrating that you are indeed an internet stalker:
I was hoping you would ignore me completely instead of yet another inane pontificiation of yours at Pharyngula. But instead, you've demonstrated why I believe Dr. Ruth Simmons, President of Brown University, would have demanded your resignation as a member of her university's faculty, simply for indulging in the kind of ridiculous, often lunatic, conduct that you so obviously relish.
Respectfully yours,John Kwok
Kwok has since said he was joking about demanding a camera. However, in July 2010 he wrote:
“”PZ I might reconsider treating as a “joke” my demand for expensive Leica rangefinder photographic equipment from you if you continue to insist on attacking Chris here. Have a tough time trying to ensure that one of the characters in a novel I am revising doesn’t come across as a literary clone of yourself. But after reading your latest examples of breathtaking inanity, I find it hard to resist such a temptation.
Abbie Smith, AKA ERV, posted a blog entry about William Dembski's new book. John Kwok weighed in with what he deemed as important information:
I asked their publisher for a review copy so I could write a review of it at Amazon.com, but he's had a change of heart. Guess he realized that I'd be writing a harsh condemnation of Dembski's latest example of mendacious intellectual pornography. Judging from the chapter headings provided in the only - and favorable - review posted so far at Amazon.com, I should have no problem reviewing it, whether I receive a copy or not.
Another commenter quickly points out the obvious:
“”Maybe he realized you had largely composed your review before reading the book, as you more or less just admitted. Nobody, not even Dembski, deserves that. As much as it grieves me to side with team Dembski, you were nailed to rights on that unprofessional practice in the past. (What was your lame explanation before?---something about checking it out of some unnamed library...even though no copies had been sent to a library... uh huh. Right.) I would rather read amusing reviews that trash the book from someone who takes time to read it. You have no credibility.
Which sets off John Kwok:
“”Enjoy your membership in the Discovery Institute IDiot Borg Collective. Dembski's publisher realized that mine would be negatively based on my other reviews of Dembski's mendacious intellectual pornography posted at Amazon.com. Anyway, I just posted my review of Dembski's latest mendacious intellectual pornography at Amazon.com, in which I do admit not having read the book, but stating my qualifications as someone trained in paleobiology and evolutionary ecology who could evaluate well at least some of it without having read it beforehand.
John Kwok got so annoying to ERV that she eventually outright banned him from her blog. When a user brings up John Kwok's posts at another blog about ERV, she simply responds:
“”Thanks, SLC. His comments at Jasons are an attempt to 'get my attention'. I will thank you in advance for ignoring him, as he feeds off attention like this. If you have specific questions about my posts Kwok refers to, please ask them, but I assure you Kwoks claims about my posts are idiotic... which you would know if you read my posts well *squint* :P
Kwok was temporarily banned from ERV 6 months ago for being a nuisance (derailing every goddamn post of mine with trolling and wildly O/T comments, sending me dozens of emails a day DEMANDING I delete others posts and ban Order of Molly/long-time posters, etc). I offered to reinstate his posting privileges if he opened his own blog. He chose to send me insane, threatening emails instead. Therefore, Kwok and his sock-puppets are now permanently banned from ERV.Thats all we are going to say about it.
Shortly before Kwok was banned from Pharyngula commenters there brought up the issue of him stalking Abbie Smith. John Kwok responded:
“”Depends what your definition of "stalking" is. I can assure you that my actions were honorable.
Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum
Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum run The Intersection, a blog that examines how culture and science interact. It also serves as a refuge for people who were banned from Pharyngula and want somewhere to whine about it. Kwok joined them after being plonked. Although he frequently agreed with the hosts, he often got himself into trouble. For instance, he once referred to a female commenter as a "bitch" and implied she had PMS (the comment was later deleted).
Eventually, Mooney and Kirshenbaum had enough:
“”We can’t tell you how heavily we have had to moderate John Kwok, for instance, and he often agrees with us–albeit usually unhelpfully. (Kwok was recently banned.)
John Kwok can be found at the following locations: