On Covid reporting

So I have a legit question because I’m uncertain what is and is not okay. It’s been since the start of the covid situation that a rule of “Don’t root for the virus” has been in place. That is, don’t celebrate the virus winning.

But as omicron is about to rip through the US (and yes, I know, the argument is it is already… but schools just started back up in person on January 3rd, so we’re about two weeks out from all the kids who had christmas with all the family sharing what their families had with pretty much entire counties at a burst), and we’re already seeing posts rooting for the virus on Boing Boing proper. As this gets worse, and more people who are antivax or republican or just assholes get sick and die of this, I suspect more of the Boing Boing writers will write posts rooting for the virus and cheering it on as leopards eat faces.

So will those corresponding threads on the forum have the “don’t root for the virus” rules lifted? It’d be kind of hard to talk about it if we’re not able to share the same opinions publicly as the author of the posts.

And I mean just for those threads.

I’m not, personally, a root for the virus kind of person no matter who gets it. But I also can see how someone saying something like, “Yeah, I agree with the blog post!” could realistically get moderated , and that seems kind of weird.

For example?


Could you please provide links to the front-page posts in question? I’ve seen ones mocking various Herman Cain Award winners and gasping aspirants like DeSantis, but that’s a different thing from rooting for the virus in general.

I can see a point where the Authors start acknowledging that COVID has become endemic and shrugging off the mild outcomes for the vaccinated and the deaths of those who continue to go unvaccinated, but that’s also not “rooting for the virus”.


I’m speaking of the various herman cain award winning posts, and the gasping deSantis post. And there will be more as this continues , this wave is going to dwarf the others just because of sheer infection rates and hospital capacity issues.

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I consider it rooting for the virus when people are mocking herman cain award winners, because without the virus winning, there wouldn’t be a herman cain award or a herman cain award winner.


Does laughing about the DeVos family being grifted for $100 million put me on “Team Theranos?” I’d like to think not.


I’d have to disagree there. I consider it “rooting for the virus” if someone (as many right-wingers have) advocates for letting it roam free and unchecked on a societal level, burning itself out at the cost of many more human lives that have been saved by vaccination and masking and other public health measures. That’s a quasi-Malthusian/ecofascist argument that no Author has made here and won’t when the virus becomes endemic.

Posts mocking Herman Cain Award winners, in contrast, are just a more serious variation of the “play stupid games, win stupid prizes” articles like the ones about the truck drivers who challenge the 11’8" bridge. Proscriptions on victim-blaming do not apply to idiots who are on an empirical level the authors of their own misfortune and who put effort into getting others to follow their dangerous idiocy.

That’s just my opinion, though. I’ll await the response of @orenwolf.


I think what we are seeing is not rooting for the virus, but compassion fatigue combined with justified anger and frustration. Not a flattering look, but understandable.
The ppl up for the “Herman Cain award” are the ones who have actively undermined sensible pandemic response and are directly responsible for countless deaths and permanent disabilities as well as the hell our medical professionals have lived for 2 years. Noting, or even celebrating, these people receiving their karmic due isn’t rooting for the virus.
In other words, specific people played stupid games with other people’s lives and now have been given the appropriate reward. Rooting for the virus would be more like what the trump administration and Texas gov did when they consciously decided to allow the virus to rage because the populations suffering were POC, left-leaning, and/or old.

ETA @gracchus got there first. I think I owe you a coke or something


It is not rooting for the virus to share that the people intentionally, willfully, and aggressively spreading the virus suffer for it when we have all lost family or friends who did not need to die of this, many whom contracted the disease after vaccines were widely available and worse-than-declined.

It is rooting against the virus.


Oh, I totally get that, and I share it.

My question is basically this: I’m tired of this shit and I’m nearing that point of compassion fatigue. And I imagine a lot of the writers of BoingBoing are too. Right now we’re talking about desantis sucking wind, and playing stupid games and winning stupid prizes. As this gets worse, and it will, If there’s a post that is like, “So and so fasicst sucks ass and died sucking wind” style post, and I post “Yeah, another one for the leopards, get’m” , is that going to be breaking the rules or not?

My vote personally is no, it shouldn’t be, as the thread is following the tone and tenor of the post it’s based on.


Excellent. Thanks @jlw, that’s what I was looking for! Appreciated!


WATCH: A fascist suck-ass suck ass and die


Disparaging the perps who enabled so many deaths isn’t rooting for all those other deaths.

It’s accountability.


That part.

I don’t feel bad for anyone who reaps what they willingly sowed;
I feel bad for their innocent victims who were compromised by mere proximity.


DeSantis is clearly on Team Virus. Rooting for him is rooting for COVID.


As someone pointed out with regard to a similar situation, DeSantis isn’t battling the virus; it’s friendly fire.


Keep in mind that there is a big difference between schadenfreude for something that has already happened and rooting for something to happen in the future. I still think that posts to the effect of “I hope he gets COVID and dies” are in very poor taste, but something that has happened, well, has happened.


There is a subtle distinction between “I hope they all die” and “I’m glad they’re all dead,” … but it is a distinction


There is also a difference between the fate of an individual and the pandemic in general. However, this is ethically difficult, and I personally have to jump through some hoops to justify it for myself.

This is a slippery slope for me as an individual, and I think for the OP as well. And as we are using someone’s platform to write about it, that’s also a difficulty for the owners and curators of the platform.

Publicly endorsing Malthusian population control with SARS-CoV-2: definitely not ok.

Publicly wishing for a group of people to die: definitely not ok.

Publicly wishing for a specific person to die: not ok, but can I personally justify some exceptions…?

Publicly showing some satisfaction that a person died from COVID-19: … erm… that is getting complicated when considering the person, and their actions, especially considering their influence on the pandemic in general and on thousands, even millions, possibly even billions of individuals?

And there we are, having this question, individually and as a group. What is “rooting” for the virus, and what is not? What is ok to publicly state in this community , and what is not?

Speaking for myself, I cannot completely suppress the feeling of Schadenfreude when reading that particular assholes died, but righteousness feels different. This is a question also of morality, not only ethics. And the moral of this has been stated over and over. Do not play stupid games, and especially not with the lives of others.
(Disclaimer: I still do make a stronger distinction between ethics and morality than most people, and I stand by it. Morality, for me, is a (sub)group-specific standard, while ethics are near-to-universal principles.)


I get that, but pretend COVID isn’t a thing (I mean, it’s a thought experiment, it definitely is a thing.)

Donald Trump is not long for this world off his dietary habits. If COVID wasn’t a thing and he died from that, or cancer, would we be okay celebrating his death? More importantly , since my question really is focused on the response from moderation teams here, is it okay to celebrate the death of people if you can justify it here? Is it okay to kind of… pre-celebrate? Before it happens? If you can justify it.

Now I’ll say this, I wasn’t JAQing around here. I really just wanted to know if asshole a dies of covid and the boing boing post was something like “Fuck that guy , glad he’s dead, hope his friends who thought like him are next, and anyone else who supported him too” ,and I said “Yeah, I agree”, that I wasn’t breaking some rule. I got my answer, and that’s all I really was after. I’m not judging that answer, I’m not judging people’s moralities (that’s between them and… whatever they believe in I suppose?) , I’m just asking a question for something I think might be an inevitability when you look at Awarded… posthumously. or covidactnow.org .

I wanted to make sure I didn’t slip up and get moderated.