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“Elevatorgate” Challenge #4

Let’s talk pseudonymity and anonymity.

To borrow a cliche, some of my best friends are pseudonymous. Really, truly. Scicurious, Bug Girl, Dana, Enmelishment–all fun people on- and off-line (I’m extrapolating for Dana since I haven’t met her yet, but she has promised me margaritas).

In most of these cases, I know their secret identity but I interact most with the pseudonym. I don’t even think about their “real” names unless I’m talking to them in the context in which they use them. I don’t want to. Those names get tucked away where they won’t accidentally pop out at inconvenient times. I’m a bit protective that way.

I’m even more protective of the “real” names of people I haven’t always gotten along with perfectly. I attended ScienceOnline in 2010 and managed to avoid reading Isis‘s name tag, and not because we weren’t in the same places. When I accidentally found out DrugMonkey‘s secret identity, I told him and offered up a small piece of leverage in return. It was silly, but I did it anyway.

I habitually protect pseudonymity. Except…

Several weeks ago, I posted a link to a woman talking about how she’d been harassed using Twitter by someone who claimed to want to talk about her work, then switched to wanting to talk about sex once the conversation was private. athyco noticed that one of my commenters, named Bryan, had the same identicon as the Bryan who decided this woman’s post was the perfect place to ask her out.

Because he used his real email address on the comment, I identified him as Bryan Pesta, who has generally used his full name commenting on my posts before. Given that he’s a professor, with a degree of authority over students, I felt quite justified in leaving comments in both places that attached his full name and university affiliation to his behavior and asked whether that was how he treated his students. Anybody looking for his name with the relevant key words (say, someone checking to see whether he has a reputation for this sort of thing) will find it very easily.

So I’m not entirely consistent. What do I see as the differences?

Pseudonymity is important, as is anonymity at times. Other people can tell you why better than I can, but they allow people to fight oppressive authority with (usually) less risk to themselves. They allow people to serve while avoiding the petty prejudices of the day. They allow people to speak their mind without worrying that the authority of their positions will make their opinions somehow unanswerable. And sometimes, they just let people be a version of themselves that is a little closer to the person they want to be. All worthy goals.

The problem is that pseudonymity can also turn many of those goals on their heads. The news media has been criticized for allowing anonymous sources “in the administration” to turn a press that is supposed to be adversarial into a tool of power. You’ve seen the drive-by comments that are nothing more than the spouting of prejudice. And, well, not everyone’s true self plays well with others, particularly when it comes to those same prejudices.

Pseudonymity and anonymity shift the balance of power in favor of those who are using it. When the balance of power is against them, this is a good thing. When the balance of power is already in their favor, pseudonymity and anonymity reinforce their advantages. Context matters.

Why do I mention all this as part of an “Elevatorgate” challenge? Because pseudonymity and anonymity are nothing like bullet-proof. I have the “secret identities” of three of the people who have been smearing me, Rebecca, and several others whom they view as being against them. And with that knowledge comes a decision. Or three.

One of those decisions is easy. I know who “pornalysis” is. I’ve met him, in fact. He’s local to me, but that’s all you’re going to find out from me about who he is unless I think someone’s safety depends on it. This is partly because he’s the only MRA I’ve seen actually engage in activism–for racial minorities rather than men who feel abused. It’s partly because he is actually a victim of a system that has real difficulty recognizing the abuse he’s received as abuse because the abuser was female. It’s partly because he’s displayed a very weird trust by talking shit about me knowing I knew who he was. It’s partly because I know someone who has access to protected information about him, and while pornalysis has provided me with information himself, I’m not willing for their to be any confusion about the source.

I also know who Munkhaus is. He’s an idiot about profile pictures, so when he engages in arguments under his real name in one form of social media and tries to protect his identity on Twitter, it’s as stupid as the comments he leaves everywhere on this topic. Stupid is about all Munkhaus is, though. He can’t follow an argument from comment to comment, even if he is insulting people in every comment. He’s a troll without much to lose, which means that the power he gains by keeping his name off his comments means very little. In my estimation, he’s too small to make outing him worthwhile.

The same cannot necessarily be said of Franc Hoggle, who runs the Grey Lining blog. He used to post somewhat sporadically about a variety of topics. Since July, his rate of posting has increased, and he’s been blogging (almost?) exclusively about Rebecca, PZ, Ophelia, Greg, and me. His blog has become a stream of anger aimed at us, sometimes combined with sex. He’s been whipping up the flames on the hate campaign, as well as producing months of his own hatred.

Now a meatspace acquaintance of his has found out what he’s been up and was not made any happier by the revelation. In fact, this person took Hoggle’s real name and gave it to Ophelia, one of the people Hoggle’s been particularly ugly in attacking. We’ve been discussing what to do with it. The location checks out with comments he’s left on Pharyngula, where he’s banned but morphing to leave Munkhaus-style comments. It’s also checks out with regionalisms on his blog. We’re confident of having the right guy. We just have to decide what to do about it.

The uses of pseudonymity have come up in the discussion, of course, and there is an argument to be made that the power is on the side of those of us making the decision. I’m the smallest of the bloggers Hoggle is attacking, and the traffic from him and his friends is a tiny trickle among my overall traffic flow. PZ is a behemoth. We’re all well-connected and respected.

Hoggle doesn’t even have a reputation he’s hiding behind that pseudonym. He’s nobody in particular. Aside from avoiding the ban at Pharyngula, he’s not gaining much by cheating. Connecting Hoggle’s real identity to his blog and his comments doesn’t change much for us.

On the other hand, the five of us (and any other target big enough to catch his attention whom I’ve missed) are in the position we are because other people have decided we speak at least somewhat for them. “Elevatorgate” blew up, not because some people attacked Rebecca, but because they attacked so many other women with the same complaints by proxy when they did. And while we may feel somewhat victimized by what has happened, those people who trust us to lend a voice to their concerns have even less protection than we do. Atheist women had been complaining about being hit on inappropriately at events long before Rebecca, but Rebecca’s comment was heard where theirs hadn’t been.

While the balance of power may be in our favor in dealing with the pseudonymous/anonymous Hoggle, it isn’t necessarily for anyone who deals with his secret identity. I know something about how he behaves when he thinks he can get away with it that they don’t. I know how obsessive he can be. I know how weirdly he can interpret things to put himself in the right. I know how angry he is about feminism. And I know that he’s capable of combining that anger with sexual release. What I don’t know is how that translates into his real life. I still know more than any woman from whom he’s hiding his blog.

So the challenge is this: Knowing what I know, having the information I do, give me a good reason why I’m not morally obligated to attach his real name to this kind of behavior as publicly as I can.

Comments

  1. jonathan swift says

    One reason to be anonymous would be to be a person with secret knowledge of the secret identity of some anonymous person whom you feel deserves to be outed. Then you could out them without taking any heat.

    That would be the pot knocking the kettle right off the stove.

  2. hotshoe says

    Huh, I can’t give you any reason – much less a good reason – to refrain from outing the real identity of a sexually-threatening entity like Hoggle.
    Anyone who meets him in life deserves the forewarning of what he’s been capable of – even if he’s kept the crazier self confined to words on the net (at least, so far as you know). If there are people who know that he’s “much nicer in person”, they can make whatever allowances they want for the net behavior Hoggle is linked to. If there are people who wonder why their creep meters ping when an ordinary-looking Hoggle walks through the office, getting a link to his secret creep identity will do them a real service.

  3. says

    The reason to not out him, as much as he may deserve it, is simple. There are people who need their pseudonymous according to you or me, but not according to someone else.

  4. Albatross says

    If a pseudonym is meant to protect an individual from actual abuse by others, including workplace retaliation or governmental intrusion, then a pseudonym is a justified defensive tool (although a poor one – security by obscurity and all that).

    If a pseudonym is being used to protect someone from the consequences of their abusive behavior towards others, then the pseudonym is NOT justifiable.

    These are the decisions for an ‘ordinary person,’ the ‘reasonable man’ of ethics discussions. However, if one considers oneself a journalist, then one ought to adhere to journalistic standards. One of these is to protect one’s sources, particularly those who have requested it, but even those who have not specifically done so.

    On the other hand, if a journalist uncovers the identity of a person who is NOT a source, that journalist can reasonably decide what to do with that information: expose it, reserve it, use it as leverage in negotiations, whatever.

    One can for instance contact the person and say “I know who you are, and if you don’t stop abusing people I will out you.” Then if they continue to act out, do so.

  5. says

    The main reason I can think of not to out Hoggle would be that he seems to be the kind of person who would take revenge by outing other pseudonymous bloggers. Hoggle’s socks are kind of obvious, too, aren’t they? And he’s not pitting his socks against each other or claiming to have witnessed a Gnu Atheist going off on a poor priest at some public outreach program AFAIK.

    How about taking a middle road? Tell the people Hoggle is libeling who he is in a confidential email message if they would like to know. Offer anyone who might be threatened by him the chance of knowing who he is, particularly if they might find themselves in physical proximity to him (like at a conference nearby his location), so they can avoid and/or watch out for him IRL.

  6. says

    I agree with Albatross.

    Another line of reasoning is that PZ and others have warnings that particular types of comments and emails will bring public outing. To me, that is fair warning that even if someone tries to anonymously post those kinds of comments, and their identity is found out, that the outing is morally justified. This line of reasoning would not hold simply for offensive comments posted on his/her own blog, it is the active posting of stuff where the posting of stuff has the warning of outing.

    If outing is justified, then very likely contacting the police and/or other legal authorities is likely justified too.

    Internet ethics are not a suicide pact. I am not familiar with any of the comments or postings, but if they are threatening or inciting any type of violence, in any way, then outing is justified. Internet ethics have to do with how ethical people act and behave on the internet. It seems like this person is not an ethical person and has instead (in effect) declared war on the ethical people of the internet.

  7. Daniel Schealler says

    If it were me I would be seriously ticked off and looking for some kind of revenge.

    On that basis, I think revealing the true identity would be an act of minor vengeance. Petty and mildly unethical.

    Which isn’t to say I wouldn’t do it. I’m nowhere near being so high or noble as to be above the occasional indulgence of petty vengeance.

    But I’d go into it with both eyes open as to why I was doing it.

    Now – my reasons for revealing the name are not your own, so I could well be projecting my own frustrations and attitudes onto yourself. Apologies in advance if that turns out to be the case.

  8. Marcel Kincaid says

    If the evidence supports the conclusion that outing Franc will prevent him from hurting others, then outing him is justified. If not, then outing him is being done to hurt him and is not justified.

    daedalus2u’s dehumanizing division of people into “ethical” and “not ethical” and his extreme right wing “… is not a suicide pact” meme are extremely dangerous … they are used to justify the most heinous treatment of people, such as torture and prison rape.

  9. Kiwi Sauce says

    I’m stuck on what is the best thing to do, given that pseudonymity is basically self-imposed name suppression.

    What would be your main reason for wanting to release his name? If anything similar to payback is up there, I suggest that releasing his name is not ethical. Also, what would releasing his name achieve in practice? He can always create a mock name when he goes out to meet new people (so the action won’t automatically protect women from him), however if he wanted to enter education or employment that could affect his future chances, and he has not been convicted of a crime.

    If he’s that serious a risk, I would go to the authorities and inform them. If safety is an issue, then that is the ethical thing to do.

    I do not condone the behaviour of people like him.

  10. hotshoe says

    Why does Hoggle’s desire to be hateful under the assumed protection of his false name deserve respect from Stephanie, or any of us ?

    It’s not his “right” to be hateful while being protected by a false anonymity from any kind of personal/social response.

    It’s a false dichotomy to say that Hoggle’s behavior is either bad enough to be a police matter or else it’s something that we ethically have to tolerate (in keeping separation of net life from real life).

    Ethically, we should NOT tolerate bullies and creeps, not on the internet anymore than in real life. In real life, if you don’t expose the bully, you’re enabling him/her to continue to make life hell for some other victim. It’s wrong to tell yourself that you shouldn’t intervene because that might “hurt” the bully, might give him a bad reputation, get him in trouble with future employers … and he hasn’t committed a “crime” … so keep yourself above “payback”. Bah.

    Counseling Stephanie to keep Hoggle’s name private is actually counseling her to enable the bully’s continuing hateful behavior. That’s immoral counsel.

  11. says

    I suggest “Hoggle” gets the same courtesy extended to him that every other pseudonymous person on the internet should get, in that their pseudonymity is respected and preserved. But I also suggest that we keep this person’s details ready, to hand them over to Federal Police should any real life threats to real people eventuate, or if his impersonations of real people or people’s internet nyms (like mine) get to the point of becoming a real life problem. I am saving every single comment “Hoggle” makes about me, and every single instance he uses my internet nym to post hateful shit. The moment he threatens me in any way, or his impersonations of my internet nym get out of hand, will be the moment his details get passed on to the AFP.

  12. D. C. Sessions says

    Pseudonymity is important, as is anonymity at times. Other people can tell you why better than I can, but they allow people to fight oppressive authority with (usually) less risk to themselves.

    One reason is that we’re all connected. It’s one thing for me to write here with my full legal name, and another for me to use the names of those I know offline (e.g. my children.) Like PAL and his daughter PALKid, it’s not difficult to figure out who these people are but it’s just rude for me to generate hits to their names.

    Likewise my employer. Not really hard to find out who I work for, but Company policy is to keep it out of any of our personal online activities. Which is quite reasonable.

    And finally there’s the snark factor. I have a few handles that I use to separate my snarkier and Colbert-ish content from my other writing for the same reason that Orac writes differently under his ‘nym than he does under his full medical academic identity: they’re different roles and he’s created a “brand” identity for each of them. Everyone knows how to find Orac’s actual lab, but we pretend that taking off the glasses keeps us from realizing that he’s really Clark Kent.

    One of the rights that we’re starting to recognize is self-definition. If the name you were born with doesn’t suit you, you should be able to change it. Likewise hair color. Maybe someday other traits will be more open to revision; we’re starting to recognize that gender is. And this is in our physical spaces.

    Online, self-definition is really mutable. Cyberpunk, anyone? But the rules that apply to meatspace pseudonymity are a good guide: I can use any name I like, as long as it’s not to harm anyone (e.g. fraud) or to hide from the consequences of harm that I’ve done. People have put a lot of thought into the ethics of pseudonymity over the years, and we might as well take advantage of those prior efforts.

  13. julian says

    My thinking is along Katherine Lorraine’s.

    It’s why my default is to let them keep their privacy and only send off a warning when they’re behavior starts to cross that line. Because Franc Hoggle has, as of yet, been able to do any damage and his harassment hasn’t (to my knowledge and I apologize if this is insensitive or rude) been anything so bad that couldn’t be remedied by a killfile or someone putting his comments into moderation.

    If it became more severe or his content got to be little more then rape and other threats of violence, then I would out him. Until then I’d respect his pseudonymity.

  14. spectator says

    Online bullying?

    The whole reason Elevatorgate went viral AFTER RW outed Steph McGrath in a PowerPoint presentation as an example of “standard parroting of misogynist thought.” Prior to her publicly shaming a female for expressing her opinion, who even watched “Don’t do that”? It was Rebecca’s bitch-move as the CFI keynote speaker that brought her self-righteousness under scrutiny. The world could give a damn about her self-centered annoyance at 4 am bar-fly mating rituals.
    There were only a few female bloggers made their different prespectives. They were the ones who were “abused” by Elevatorgate. Rebecca, OTOH, was elevated to heroine status which was frankly disgusting to normal people.
    Steph was not “parroting” anyone. Rather than react with annoyance, she appreciates being approached by men in her community. This wasn’t even criticism. Perhaps it was her way of not discouraging the possibilities for making her own personal connections. It was not an endorsement for dehumanizing treatment of women.
    What do you hope to accomplish by this shameless cyber-threat with all your big bad buddies on your side? It wasn’t enough to put him in the dungeon and coin a derogatory term.
    Yep, atheism is more dogmatic and punishing of dissent as any monarchy, dictatorship, or religion. I’ll stick with our Constitutional Right to freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression. Meanwhile, RW, Ophelia, and you can call for Franc’s head on a platter. He has the right to his blog and his opinion. If the offending comments appear on YOUR blog, delete them. This site is so full of the meanest, vile, and vicious hate speech found on the web. You are either naive or willfully ignorant to think he is the only one who is appalled by this bile being sold as the public face of secularism.
    Enjoy your witch-burning ritual!
    Before you even get around to humiliating those who disagree with this maddeness, why not make elevator guy the first one.
    He does exist, right? I know the story changes slightly everytime Becky retells it. So perhaps this is how myths are ge
    And this is called “Freethought.blogs?”
    What a total misnomer! Or is this purely satirical and I missed the joke. What do you Far Left Wingers call that, “a Poe?”
    Spare me the “abused by proxy!”

    Why don’t you post your extortion on his blog? Oh, that’s right! All your big bad friends will protect you here!
    I am female. You and your friends are embarrassing to normal women. But go ahead and cannibalize your little movement. You’ve already driven 100 women away for every 1 you might have gained with Rebecca as has appointed herself the superhero of feminism.

    [spectator is off-topic. Everyone else, please don't feed the troll. --SZ]

  15. says

    I’m with with Julian and Katherine Lorraine. Outing Hoggle could impact his job (if he has one) and family (if he has any).

    Of course, if he insists on being a creep, pass his name on to those people he is attacking. As Hotshoe said, we should not have to tolerate bullies and creeps.

  16. spectator says

    Yikes,
    Sorry about the typos and half sentences.
    I meant to click pre-view, first.
    English is not my best language. Hope you get the jist of what I mean.

  17. says

    spectator
    Go learn some English. “Outing” somebody isn’t the same as “calling out” Ms. McGraw chose to write stuff under her own name. That’s what pseudonyms are for: Disconneting the shit you write on the internet from your meatspace.
    So, if I write shit under the pseudonym Giliell and you mention that elsewhere on the internet, you’re not outing me.

    On the issue, I’m a bit torn. I value pseudonymity, I acknowledge that innocent people could be affected (like his family, if there is any), but on the other hand I dislike the idea of responsibility-free speech.
    Saying things has consequences in meatspace. Spouting hatefull shit has consequences. And those consequences have advanced our societies. Are we giving the ground back to the bullies, the racists, the misogynists by giving them more room on the internet than we are prepared to give them in meatspace.

    I don’t know.

  18. says

    swift, if I’m going to do this, I’ll do it as me.

    Greg, and others who are telling me that what he’s done online isn’t so bad, the point of this is not punishment. The point is that I have, in the past and again in this post, outed a pseudonym to protect others from being abused. So far, no one is commenting on that part of this post. I assume that if there were some kind of outrage over that, someone would tell me.

    Yes, linking this kind of obsessive, hateful behavior to someone’s real name could affect their employment. There’s a reason for that. Employers have an obligation (legal and ethical) to create a safe space for their employees to the reasonable best of their ability.

    Similarly, I have some ethical obligations by virtue of being in possession of limited knowledge. It sounds like some of you would like to suggest that this obligation is to follow Hoggle’s actions and pass the knowledge along in a limited fashion. I won’t do that. Moreover, I can’t. Hoggle isn’t someone I can watch in meatspace, where I think the bulk of my obligation lies. The people who encounter Hoggle there aren’t plugged into this little network that can pass information quietly. Do they deserve less warning than we have?

    Albatross and D. C., thank you. Those are particularly useful ways of looking at the issue. Also, Greg, Albatross is both already out and a proponent of allowing pseudonymity.

  19. julian says

    I am female. You and your friends are embarrassing to normal women.

    “You and your friends are embarrassing to normal women…”

    And it’s supposedly Rebecca Watson and that one accusation of gender traitor Salty Current made (and the next day apologized for) that’s been insulting to women.

    Never mind all the rape victims who’ve been speaking up, never mind all the women who’e complained about sexual harassment and thanked Ms. Watson for speaking up, they aren’t normal women. They’re fears and concerns aren’t normal. You can ignore them. Don’t worry, normal women well have your back.

  20. says

    On the other hand, whenever in the past something terrible has happened, be it a schoolshooting or a teen-suicide or an ex-husband murdering his wife, and people then point to the internet and say “well, that’s what they’ve been writing about for months*”, the usual reaction isn’t:
    “Yeah, but that doesn’t count, he wrote as “wifekiller”, not as Paul Smith”
    Usually people are asking why nobody did anything about it. Because there’s a hatefull real person out there and we know it.

    *To my knowledge, FH hasn’t yet openly threatened somebody, but his “if I were a girl I’d kick her in the cunt” was pretty close

  21. says

    Stephanie: Yes, I know albatross and his stand on these things.

    It is interesting to see the contrasting views over revealing someone’s identity vis-a-vis the possibility of harming the person. If a person is carrying out a certain amount of harassment and if you feel they should stop and revealing their identity is a goo way to do that, it is suggested that you would then check to see if it would hurt them. And, then, if it might hurt them, don’t do it.

    Thus, a pseudo could act extra sacrilegiously if they happen to be more vulnerable?

    No, the point of outing the person (and I’m ignoring the difference between revealing a person’s name and outing them because there isn’t one) is to harm them. One can not control the level of harm. That’s up to chance and the person’s situation. Like tackling someone who just stole a nice old lady’s purse: The robber may get a scuffed knee or a concussion. Would you take that range of variation into consideration and tell the Aunt Bea that she can’t have her purse back because the robber would be in danger? No. On the other and, if you are a gun carrier, you would probably not shoot the robber in the back, although in some states that mght be legal (but I digress).

  22. Matt Penfold says

    I’m with with Julian and Katherine Lorraine. Outing Hoggle could impact his job (if he has one) and family (if he has any).

    If will harm others in family then that is cause to think twice about revealing his real identity, although it should not be an absolute veto. If it is to protect his job, then I see less of a case for keeping his identity secret. If his job involves implementing equal opportunity policies then there is a very good reason for revealing his identity, since clearly he is not an appropriate person to be doing that.

  23. DrugMonkey says

    What Greg said. And when Greg and I agree you must conclude it is Truth. …that or the Apocalypse.

  24. says

    What Greg said. And when Greg and I agree you must conclude it is Truth. …that or the Apocalypse.

    That has pretty much been the case, yes!

  25. D. C. Sessions says

    No, the point of outing the person (and I’m ignoring the difference between revealing a person’s name and outing them because there isn’t one) is to harm them.

    Not necessarily. Please consider the case of our late saddle-burr, Markuze. He was so obviously deranged that the great majority of interest in citing his online activities to authorities was to get him the help he needed, and secondarily to head off the meltdown he was headed for with its potential for catastrophe.

    Admittedly, he might have seen that as “harm.” But that was not the point nor the intent.

    Markuze combines two additional justifications: prevention of harm to third parties (e.g. someone who might harm family members) and getting assistance to the poster hirself (e.g. someone in a severe depressive state.)

    That last, I hope, completely demolishes Greg’s categorical proposition.

  26. franchoggle says

    What a sack of chickenshits. “Out” me all you like. Just confirms your fondness of “smear”. The difference is that I don’t use “smear” as a first line of attack. I don’t hide behind insinuation. I show you up for the vulgar frauds you are. I have no character to be ashamed of – you do.

    This *is* the new Soviet. You must be so proud of yourselves.

  27. says

    I opposed outing Hoggle simply because he hasn’t done anything to warrant the possible real world consequences of revealing his identity. He’s a petty little man, obsessive, vulgar, nasty, and slimy…but he’s nobody, the blog where he vents is inconsequential and interesting, and he has a miniscule following of sad fucks.

    I’m not concerned about him going all Travis Bickle on us — he’s entirely ineffectual — but there is the possibility that he could go into Mabus mode. He’s already posted multiple times under different pseudonyms on my blog, and his peers have been encouraging the spamming of our blogs, and that’s something I’d have to take action to prevent, if it were serious enough. That’s the one reason it’s useful to have his real-world identity handy.

    He can whine and rant and bluster about me all he wants on his blog. He certainly has that privilege and I’m not going to oppose him no matter how dishonest his attacks get. It’s different if he starts spamming my blog. But I’m sure he’d never do that, right?

    I do agree with him that he has no character to be ashamed of. No character at all.

  28. D. C. Sessions says

    I think that settles the question.

    Oh no you don’t, Geiger. We’re having a perfectly lovely argument here and aren’t about to let someone with a ‘nym shut it down.

  29. says

    On a side note, I’d ber VERY careful how much trust you place in anything pornalysis says. He’s falsely accused me of advocating the rape of boys, and when confronted over that (unnecessary) falsehood, he’s neither backed up the charge nor retracted it. He’s shown himself to be an unhinged pathological liar enough times that nothing he says can be trusted. I know he claims to have suffered some horrible abuse; but after lying like he has, his story can’t be trusted. Save your sympathy for victims who at least try to be honest — there’s plenty of those.

    On a larger note, I’d have no problem outing people who routinely insult or threaten others, or who spread obvious lies and incite hatred. (DavidByron comes to mind.) IF you need anonymity to protect yourself from unjust retaliation, then you also need to conduct yourself honestly and at least somewhat respectfully, for the same purpose among others; and you should do anything that merits FAIR retaliation. I might be fired if some of my more left-wing opinions were linked to my real name; so one of the precautions I take is to at least try to sound intelligent, sane, and responsible; and to avoid making statements I can’t answer for if I’m ever confronted.

    Respecting anonymity is just one rule in an overall code of Web conduct. If someone seriously violates any such rules, then he/she should have no expectation of protection by other rules.

    (Note that I have no opinion in the case of Hoggle, simply because I don’t follow his comments enough to make a firm decision here.)

  30. franchoggle says

    This item actually highlights the true nature of the poison. This assumption of a fear lever and a willingness to use it. The human vileness has no mask. Absolute corruption and abjectness. Lovely. And this is your moral high ground?

    And Rorschash, the chickenshit king, I insist you take it to the feds. You are the blowhard weenie of all blowhard weenies here. You huff and puff and censor in the name of free speech. You are beyond simple imbecile. You are the bricks and mortar of Stazi. That is how things like that start.

    I insist, that beyond insinuation, you show me where I have ever made a threat, without selective editing. “This is the sound of silence”.

    You are all devoid of humanity. Just another lynch mob. No different to any other. Just with cooler t-shirts.

  31. says

    Well, now that Hoggle has given me more examples of his character, my current recommendation is that you just ban the little turd, and out him if he persists in trying to get past your security. All I see right now is an extremely babyish troll seeking attention while having nothing to say. And the only appropriate response, IMHO, is just to deny him the attention. Outing him probably wouldn’t do much, because if he has any real friends, they’re probably not the type who’d ostracise him for being an asshole on the Web.

  32. says

    Is English Hoggle’s second language, by chance?

    You’ll have every right to go on posting pictures of PZ Myers next to Aslan and suggesting that the fictional lion would eat PZ, once your words are associated with your real name. You’ll have every right to go on suggesting you’d kick Ophelia Benson “in the cunt”, once your words are associated with your real name. You’ll have every right to go on your one-man crusade against Rebecca Watson, once your words are associated with your real name. The only thing that’ll change is, when people want to see what you’re up to on the internet and Google your real name, there’s a slim chance that your more slimy attacks will actually come back to haunt your real life identity. You know, the way your actions online actually reflect on PZ Myers, Ophelia Benson and Rebecca Watson’s real life names.

    Why are you so afraid of attaching your real name to your actions? Why do you consider that “smearing”, unless you realize that your actions and words are slimy and you wouldn’t want to be associated with them? This “outing” should hold absolutely no fear for you if you didn’t consider your actions worth fearing as character assassination.

    I think what really has you rattled is the fact that one of your meatspace acquaintances outed you because they didn’t like your actions online. I think you’re worried that you’ll lose friends for being such a venomous little firehose of hate.

  33. says

    I sort of come down on the side that IF someone chooses to publish on the internet, they are taking the risk that they will be held accountable for their actions. This sucks in the case of people who are daring to speak out about important but unpopular issues, but it’s also an important part of how culture and societies work: if someone steps out of line, there can be pressure to force them back in line. Part of the battle (definitely part, not the whole) against racism and sexism is in making it unacceptable to be public with racist or sexist feelings. There’s a lot of nuance there, obviously.

    I’m not convinced by the “intent” arguments (eg, if you’re just doing this to hurt him, then you shouldn’t do it), because “intent” is a tricky thing (see also: “I didn’t mean it to be sexist/racist/homophobic!”), but I do like the arguments that, if there’s evidence to support the idea that outing him will have some ultimate, postive effect for the safety and well-being of other people, then it’s worth considering. (I have no idea where such evidence might be or what it might show).

    And again, I have to come back to the idea that anyone putting something on the internet and EXPECTING anonymity is being naive. I’m (generally) against the idea of rules that prevent anonymity or pseudonymity, but I’d also be suspicious of rules or standards that entirely protect someone’s anonymity, except for in well-delineated circumstances.

    I guess this doesn’t really help you to decide to do, though.

  34. says

    All right, fair enough Stephanie. How about this?

    Was there any good argument against associating David Mabus’ real name Dennis Markuze with him, when he launched his years-long campaign against atheists online, threatening and harassing and stalking them for as long as he had, before the cops finally stepped in and forced him to get psychiatric help? What about Hoggle is actually demonstrably different?

  35. says

    #36 – lay it all out on the table you turd.

    Really, you are a different species. I have a vileness deficiency. The difference between you clowns and me is that I know people that can trust me with their wallet. How can you live your lives being such treacherous shitsacks while wagging a Calvinist finger at me? How can you live with yourselves? Knowing you are such liars, frauds and backstabbers? You live in Dante’s 8th and 9th circle.

  36. says

    Hello, my name is Enmelishment. I’ve been anonymous for almost a year now. I started coming to Anonymous Anonymous so I could tell my stories and get support.

    Part of the culture of the internet is anonymity. People are asked to make up a name (username) for almost every site that requires registration. Does that mean people should be assholes? No. But it allows it.
    Write what you want, but always know you can always be outed.
    Anything put on any Internet connected machine, should be
    considered viewable by the public and assume if someone thinks they are smart enough to remain anonymous, then there is someone smart enough to figure out who they are.

  37. says

    Not necessarily. Please consider the case of our late saddle-burr, Markuze. He was so obviously deranged that the great majority of interest in citing his online activities to authorities was to get him the help he needed, and secondarily to head off the meltdown he was headed for with its potential for catastrophe.

    STill works for me. I have a broader definition of harm. Outing Markuze stopped him from continuing to carry out his plans. Well, actualy, id didn’t .. a few more straws needed to be added to the camels’ back first.

  38. says

    He’s shown himself to be an unhinged pathological liar enough times that nothing he says can be trusted.

    Funny thing is, he isn’t. He’s an act. As a person he’s not a liar.

    Which is the other element of pseudos that needs to be re-emphasized. Being anonymous and to a lesser extent using a pseudonym lets you be something you are not otherwise, for better or for worse.

  39. says

    Franc: This item actually highlights the true nature of the poison. This assumption of a fear lever and a willingness to use it. The human vileness has no mask. Absolute corruption and abjectness. Lovely. And this is your moral high ground?

    To whom are you speaking to? Because I’d like to note that Stephanie is NOT pulling a lever. That’s all in your head. I need to tell you, just so you now, you can’t have a moral high ground if you are as ungrounded as you are.

  40. says

    Franc: You are all devoid of humanity.

    Declaring a lack of humanity of those you fear or disagree with is the first step in a lot of very very bad scenarios. If you really think that the people you are complaining about are truly devoid of humanity, that makes you a bit of a dangerous person.

  41. says

    but it’s also an important part of how culture and societies work: if someone steps out of line, there can be pressure to force them back in line

    Exactly. And that is exactly why, no matter how much fun it would be to “out” this particular winged monkey, you can’t.

    One person’s out of line crazy is another person’s Julian Assange.

  42. Crommunist says

    Reading Boss Hoggle’s comments makes me wonder how anyone can look at what he’s writing and conclude that he’s anything other than a lunatic. Regardless of his stance or behaviour (I’ve never heard of the guy before now), he writes like someone with a couple screws loose. Assuming he is a functional adult in meatspace, how do you compartmentalize crazy like that?

  43. says

    If you really think that the people you are complaining about are truly devoid of humanity, that makes you a bit of a dangerous person.

    Well this is the point, isn’t it – this is the point about the whole cunting-bitching-mangina-ing slime-fest. It’s dehumanizing, and that’s what it’s for. That’s what degrading epithets do, and that’s why people who want to degrade others use them. “Hoggle” fantasized in public about kicking me in the cunt; that’s another first step; that too makes him a bit of a dangerous person.

  44. says

    My point, that I didn’t get to because I don’t know how to use my phone properly is:
    If the clown turns out to be John Wayne Gacy, then it’s okay to remove the makeup.

  45. says

    Greg: I think there’s a difference between an individual deciding to out someone and a powerful organisation or government outting someone, so your comparison doesn’t quite wash for me. But this is where I can see reasonable people disagreeing. I can think of situations where anonymity must be protected for the safety and wellbeing of the public, and I can think of situations where anonymity is harmful to the public. there isn’t a hard and fast rule, except that we should consider as much of the context as possible and do what seems to cause the least harm, right?

    That’s why I can only argue from the point of view of someone who posts on the internet: when I post something, I need to at least consider the fact that I could be outed and face consequences, and so if someone else is posting awful stuff and then gets upset when posting that awful stuff ruins their life, I don’t have very much sympathy. But as to whether or not someone -should- out someone, that really depends on the context, I guess, and I’d hesitate before agreeing to any sort of general rule.

  46. ildi says

    I think Markuze was a different kettle of fish. He was a serious spammer, made active threats, and showed up at a convention. Unless hoggle has a Dr. Jekyll presence in the secular community that people need to be aware of, then I say let him spout his venom in anonymity for now.

    Is his meatspace acquaintance outing him in meatspace? If not, why not?

  47. says

    Quietmarc: I agree with you. I just think that the only reasonable general rule is to not out people. On the other hand, if someone outed someone who was making statements of physical violence against them, I would not hold it against the outer. I would and have recommend against outing.

  48. says

    It could be the only reasonable general rule, but it isn’t one Greg has followed without modification. You can find full contact information for a yahoo who was leaving abusive, misogynistic comments on his Sb blog.

  49. Crommunist says

    Nobody’s telling him to “do what we say”, clown. They’re asking him to stop abusing and harassing them. Are you actually incapable of seeing the difference, or are you just pretending to be a shithead for the lulz?

  50. says

    I think “stop threatening physical violence under a pseudonym or we’ll link those threats to your real identity” is not blackmail. If it is, then the following would also be blackmail:

    “Stop punching me or I’ll tell Dad”
    “Stop slandering me or I’ll sue”
    “Stop doing things that are illegal or the cops will be informed”
    “Stop violating my rights or I’ll make it known that you’re doing so”
    “Stop being an ass to people while wearing a mask or I’ll take your mask off”

  51. says

    John C. Welch, you can’t get much more idiotic than you already have proven yourself to be, but this really does it. It isn’t blackmail to threaten to expose the identity of someone who is being abusive to others as a pseudonymous, sock-stuffed coward. In fact, blackmail generally entails that the person doing the blackmailing is the one who is being abusive or menacing or writing pseudonymous libel about their victim. “Do what we say”–well let’s look at what we say: Stop being an abusive menace to the women and men listed. Of course, you appear to have no qualms about what Hoggle has said or done, but regardless, no one is forcing Hoggle to do something harmful or something that is beyond his means. All they are asking is that he stop his abuse.

  52. says

    The thinking seems oddly circular. Such as “Outing Hoggle could impact his job (if he has one) and family (if he has any).”

    Why would it? Because they could discover that he spends a lot of time talking smack about real people under their real names.

    So we should protect his ability to talk smack about real people under their real names without being known to do so under his real name?

    Why? Why the asymmetry?

    People who post under their real names are inhibited from doing things they would be ashamed of. People who don’t post under their real names have no such inhibition. Why should that advantage be protected when it’s used to abuse and threaten people?

  53. Crommunist says

    @Ophelia – if there is a general rule to be applied to anonymity, “do not out” is reasonable because there can be serious danger to people if they get outed. That’s if we’re only allowed to write one rule to apply at all times. What we’re dealing with here is a grey area in which the rule “don’t out” comes into conflict with the fact that Hoggle is persistently abusive.

    The issue seems to be an unofficial contract written between members of the online community that we ought to protect each other and respect privacy so long as behaviour doesn’t cross a line. Once someone fails to show respect for the humanity of others, those others seem to be obviated of the responsibility of respecting that someone’s ‘rights’ (or privileges, depending on how you feel about anonymity). It’s like bar fights – it is generally understood that you shouldn’t kick the groin of someone else, even if you’re really angry. But, if it’s a matter of life and death, it’s open season on gonads.

  54. says

    One person’s out of line crazy is another person’s Julian Assange.

    Given that we’re talking about misogyny, that could be the same person [OT]

    Urgh, so the whole slime-pit has been let loose.

    John C. Welch
    Nobody has made any demands against Hoggle. Nobody asked his opinion.
    You know, if your beloved leader is afraid that people might associate his meatspace self with the shit he does online, it tells something about him and the shit he says.
    So, either he’s a coward who doesn’t play the fearless MRA in meantspace that he impersonates to well on the web, or he is aware that he’s talking shit on the net.
    Free speech, not consequence-free speech.
    It#s like those Republicans and christians who complain when people call them homophobes for the bile they spread.

  55. Matt Penfold says

    One way around this issue could be for those bloggers being subjected to abuse by Hoggle to make it clear that anonymous abusive comments on their blogs are not acceptable, and that should a person make such a comment the blogger reserves the right to identify the person. It might be appropriate in the first instance to issue a warning.

  56. Crommunist says

    To bring my comment back to the topic (because no asserted position should ever end on the word ‘gonads’), the question before the floor seems to be “does Hoggle’s behaviour qualify as harmful enough to warrant the harm his outing would cause?”

    Those on one side seem to be saying “the behaviour is not extreme enough to warrant it, because my threshold is drawn quite high.”

    Those on the other seem to be saying “the harm is minimal enough that the behaviour certainly warrants it.”

    It seems like a zero-sum game from a utilitarian standpoint (since the lines being drawn are questions of preference as opposed to empirical fact), and so we can apply the Ethic of Care. Do we care more about Ophelia than we do John Hoggle? Yes, undoubtedly. Her feeling of safety and our feeling of empathy toward our friend far outweigh our allegiance to a crass and unhinged troll.

  57. Crommunist says

    @Matt – there is a reasonable expectation in any human interaction that abuse and personal attacks are not appropriate. A warning is superfluous. Also, I am pretty sure that even given that fact, Hogge has been told explicitly, on several occasions, that his behaviour is unwelcome. Giving him a warning beforehand wouldn’t do anything to stop him; in fact given his trollishness it is more likely to embolden him.

  58. says

    Greg> I can’t agree that it is the only reasonable general rule. I can see there being arguments that it is better for truth and information to be out there and public, unless there are other considerations.

    Basically, I think that if -your- rule is to avoid outing people (with appropriate exceptions), and you can justify it (I’m sure you can), then it is a good rule. For you.

    To take your Julian Assange example….there are good arguments as to why he shouldn’t have been ratted out, BUT wikileaks itself is a venue for people being ratted out. Wikileaks employs a strategy to decide what is most effective for its purposes, but I don’t think they worry about outing people because outing people in and of itself is wrong.

  59. Matt Penfold says

    @Matt – there is a reasonable expectation in any human interaction that abuse and personal attacks are not appropriate. A warning is superfluous. Also, I am pretty sure that even given that fact, Hogge has been told explicitly, on several occasions, that his behaviour is unwelcome. Giving him a warning beforehand wouldn’t do anything to stop him; in fact given his trollishness it is more likely to embolden him.

    I won’t argue that Hoggle has not been warned, but I think in general if a policy of “outing” abusive commentators is put in place by a blogger then an initial warning, and I do think it need only be one, could help deflect criticism.

    One thing we do need to keep in mind is that if someone does make misogynistic (or comments that are abusive in another way) then any responsibility for the consequences of what happens following an “outing” rests solely with the person making the abusive comments.

  60. says

    I have not asked Hoggle to stop his abuse. Nor have I said that if the abuse stops now, after nearly four months, that I will keep his identity a secret.

    Once again, the point is not us relatively powerful bloggers. We aren’t invulnerable, but we are fairly well protected. The point is that information about what he is capable of is valuable to people who have a choice about whether to associate with him in real life. It probably keeps getting lost because we do have a real culture of silence on these matters, but that is the point.

  61. says

    Crommunist: either Welch really enjoys pretending to be an asshole for the lulz, or it’s not a pretense. This is the “tech geek” who pasted several megabytes of spam on Greg’s old blog, never acknowledged it, and then became a regular on ERV’s idiotic hate-fest. He spent shitloads of time repeatedly insisting that if someone calls you in insulting epithet, it’s your fault if you’re offended because everyone can choose what words mean, and you chose to take the word’s offensive meaning. He’s a consistently immature and obnoxious idiot, both on and off his own blog.

    Funny how the mere mention of anonymity issues brings the assholes out of the muck. Kinda implies a bit of insecurity on their part.

    Funny thing is, he isn’t. He’s an act. As a person he’s not a liar.

    If he’s a person at all, then as a person, he’s lying on the Web. If you find his act amusing, fine. But he’s still not credible.

  62. Matt Penfold says

    Once again, the point is not us relatively powerful bloggers. We aren’t invulnerable, but we are fairly well protected. The point is that information about what he is capable of is valuable to people who have a choice about whether to associate with him in real life. It probably keeps getting lost because we do have a real culture of silence on these matters, but that is the point.

    That is an important consideration. The difficulty comes in deciding when the line is crossed from just being an obnoxious arsehole into something more worrying. Personally I have little doubt Hoggle crosses that line a long time ago but I can see how others can quite reasonably disagree.

    In way though it is unfair to put the onus onto others to make the decision. People are being forced into a moral quandary by the actions of Hoggle and that in itself is not acceptable. Fi the question of whether someone has gone to far even arises, then I think it can be argued they already have gone to far.

  63. says

    Do we care more about Ophelia than we do John Hoggle? Yes, undoubtedly. Her feeling of safety and our feeling of empathy toward our friend far outweigh our allegiance to a crass and unhinged troll.

    Not to mention our desire for a blog forum where we can talk about important issues as grownups, without having to wade through a tedious swamp of raw sewage. That may not be cause to out an abusive troll, but it is good cause to ban him. (Yes, that’s “censorship” and “totalitarianism,” just like if someone didn’t invite you to his party because he thinks you’re an asshole.)

  64. says

    Matt, I’m not sure this is what you’re saying, but for clarity’s sake: If I were putting the onus on anyone else to decide, I’d have given them the same information I have.

  65. says

    Stephanie @74: So it’s not even about blackmail in the sense that I’ve rebutted John C. Welch. It’s about giving others the opportunity in real life to learn what his meatspace relation discovered and was disturbed by.

    Given that said real-life relation is disturbed by his actions and wanted Ophelia to know who he is so that his actions actually reflect on his person, and that said relation did not out him hirself (my understanding is due to fear that he’ll know he/she did it), it comes down to this:

    Does our (well, your — worst I’ve got is called a “creationist sockpuppet”) position as victims of Hoggle’s nonsense give us the right to try to protect his meatspace acquaintances who might not realize what a spiteful little man he is, with his petty vendettas against other members of the community to which he claims allegiance?

    My answer is contingent on whether or not he participates in this community under his real name, enjoying its benefits while still getting to tear down its members with impunity. Does he get to escape all the fallout of his actions?

  66. Matt Penfold says

    Matt, I’m not sure this is what you’re saying, but for clarity’s sake: If I were putting the onus on anyone else to decide, I’d have given them the same information I have.

    Yes, I don’t think I was very clear. What I was trying to say is that it is unacceptable for Hoggle to put you in the position of having to wrangle with this moral quandary, and that the fact he has done so mitigates against keeping his name secret.

  67. says

    That’s true Stephanie @81: other communities might suffer from his actions as well.

    Additionally, commentariat, I’m still waiting for differences between Hoggle and Mabus. The only one I can come up with is that Hoggle’s only been at his crusade against members of the skeptic community for four months.

  68. says

    Ophelia: “Why? Why is that the only reasonable general rule? What’s the reason?”

    Because it is the only rule that does not allow the risk of selective ethics.

    The thinking seems oddly circular. Such as “Outing Hoggle could impact his job (if he has one) and family (if he has any).”

    My position on this is that it should not matter. A decision to out someone should be independent of whatever consequences are defendant on the person’s particularization. You don’t even know a person’s pariculars, really. Deciding to take action would then be dependent on different levels of imperfection of information.

    Crommunist: @Ophelia – if there is a general rule to be applied to anonymity, “do not out” is reasonable because there can be serious danger to people if they get outed. That’s if we’re only allowed to write one rule to apply at all times. What we’re dealing with here is a grey area in which the rule “don’t out” comes into conflict with the fact that Hoggle is persistently abusive.

    A grey area indeed. Almost like a grey lining.

    “does Hoggle’s behaviour qualify as harmful enough to warrant the harm his outing would cause?”

    Those on one side seem to be saying “the behaviour is not extreme enough to warrant it, because my threshold is drawn quite high.”

    Those on the other seem to be saying “the harm is minimal enough that the behaviour certainly warrants it.”

    Initially, to me, the “harm” had nothing to do with Hoggle. The harm is to the people who use pseudonymous identity responsibly and need it to be able to do what they do. There are people who could not be blogging, and should be blogging, were they identified.

    Do we care more about Ophelia than we do John Hoggle? Yes, undoubtedly. Her feeling of safety and our feeling of empathy toward our friend far outweigh our allegiance to a crass and unhinged troll.

    For the record, I care a LOT more about Ophelia than about John Hoggle. And I care a LOT more about the others Hoggle has abused verbally.

    There really is only one reasonable outcome to all of this.

    Stephanie: I have not asked Hoggle to stop his abuse. Nor have I said that if the abuse stops now, after nearly four months, that I will keep his identity a secret.

    And in a way, you’ve kind of sacrificed your options by being the host of this thread, which is much appreciated.

  69. says

    I have not asked Hoggle to stop his abuse. Nor have I said that if the abuse stops now, after nearly four months, that I will keep his identity a secret. –Stephanie Zvan

    I thought I should have said it differently after I posted it, and I understand that to be your point. My point to John C.W. is that if one were to make any demands of Hoggle, that is what the demand would be, and you cannot call that blackmail without being disingenuous.

    About your point, though, I don’t remember Wally Smith with all his misogyny (and his was really bad, too, and personal) being outed to us readers to protect those who interact with him in real life. From what I remember, they gave him the option of ceasing his abuse, and when he took it up again, that’s when he was outed to us. To the people Wally Smith interacted with in real life, he was outed to them privately on a need-to-know basis until his compulsions and obsessions got the best of him again and he was outed to everyone. At least, that’s how I recall it happening.

    Shouldn’t the same standard apply to Hoggle? And Hoggle isn’t simulating a cacophony of socks agreeing with him AFAIK or fabulating the circumstances at some event; from what I can tell, Hoggle’s socks are all about breaking through commenting bans and mocking and defaming others, and his lies are transparent.

  70. hotshoe says

    People who post under their real names are inhibited from doing things they would be ashamed of. People who don’t post under their real names have no such inhibition. Why should that advantage be protected when it’s used to abuse and threaten people?

    Ophelia, you’re completely right.

    We are not morally required to place ourselves at a disadvantage to the uninhibited creeps. No one (Greg, I’m looking at you) should advocate for us to let trolls rampage with impunity, protected in their anonymity, while we paralyze ourselves with “netiquette” or “privacy rights” or whatever.

    Hoggle should have his real name associated with his virulent posts. If he still wants to spew, let him – free speech, after all – but if he’s going to attack real people with real names (like Stephanie Zvan, Ophelia Benson) then fairness requires that he do it within his own real identity.

    Right now, the situation is not fair, and bizarrely, half the responders think we’re somehow obligated to perpetuate the unfairness by keeping silent about Hoggle’s real name.

  71. Matt Penfold says

    Additionally, commentariat, I’m still waiting for differences between Hoggle and Mabus. The only one I can come up with is that Hoggle’s only been at his crusade against members of the skeptic community for four months.

    I think there is also the issue of volume. Mabus/Markuze sent literally thousands of emails, and made hundreds (if not thousands) to bloggers involved in atheism. The volume was simply staggering, and must have accounted for a good deal of his time everyday. As far as I am aware Hoggle so far has limited himself to vile blog postings and comments on other blogs.

  72. says

    Jason: I’m still waiting for differences between Hoggle and Mabus. The only one I can come up with is that Hoggle’s only been at his crusade against members of the skeptic community for four months.

    I can only guess, but I will: Mabus is probably harmless, but if he’s not he would be harmful in a spectacular way. Hoggle (omg, I almost typed his real name there!) is harmful … his present actions are harmful … but if he tried to be more harmful he would be impotent.

  73. says

    Crommunist @ 67

    if there is a general rule to be applied to anonymity, “do not out” is reasonable because there can be serious danger to people if they get outed.

    Right; and there can also be serious danger to people who get called ugly names thousands of times over a period of months. I think the potential for serious danger to Rebecca Watson has risen sharply thanks to a ton of anonymous name-calling, and less sharply for various other bystanders, including me.

    In other words “Hoggle” is engaged in what’s called “inciting hatred.” Inciting hatred is well known to have the potential to lead to violence. This fact presents all sorts of complications for free speech, which many countries and organizations struggle with. On the other hand pseudonymity is not nearly as much of a “right” as free speech is. I don’t think the bar for naming an inciter of hatred needs to be anywhere close to as high as the bar for messing with free speech.

  74. says

    hotshoe: No one (Greg, I’m looking at you) should advocate for us to let trolls rampage with impunity, protected in their anonymity, while we paralyze ourselves with “netiquette” or “privacy rights” or whatever.

    If I was a girl and he told me he was going to kick me in the cunt, I’d out him in five seconds. And my friends and colleagues would support me or they wouldn’t be my real friends.

  75. Matt Penfold says

    Because it is the only rule that does not allow the risk of selective ethics.

    I am a bit puzzled by this Greg. If we look at journalism, journalists are often making decisions about whether individuals should be named (and often shamed). Journalists are required to protect their sources, providing those sources do not deliberately mislead, but there is no obligation for them not to name others involved in stories. In the end they have to make a decision based on what the person had said and done.

  76. D. C. Sessions says

    Additionally, commentariat, I’m still waiting for differences between Hoggle and Mabus.

    I’ll answer that with a question: has Hoggle indicated that it’s anywhere near the same threat to itself or others that Mabus did?

  77. hotshoe says

    Do we care more about Ophelia than we do John Hoggle? Yes, undoubtedly. Her feeling of safety and our feeling of empathy toward our friend far outweigh our allegiance to a crass and unhinged troll.

    For the record, I care a LOT more about Ophelia than about John Hoggle. And I care a LOT more about the others Hoggle has abused verbally.

    There really is only one reasonable outcome to all of this.

    What one reasonable outcome, Greg ?

    … no matter how much fun it would be to “out” this particular winged monkey, you can’t.

    To protect your line in the sand, no-naming-names principle, you think it’s the “reasonable outcome” to continue to enable Hoggle to hurt your friend Ophelia, your other friends, as well as people Hoggle is also harming (whom we don’t know personally) ? Really ? That’s your one “reasonable outcome” ?

    Greg, with all due respect, you’re completely wrong here.

  78. says

    Additionally, commentariat, I’m still waiting for differences between Hoggle and Mabus.

    Outing Mabus did nothing to stop him. He even invited himself to a meeting of atheists and gave them the finger as he slinked by. The only thing that stopped him was his own mistake in sending death threats to people the police cared about. In the same way, outing Hoggle may not do a damn thing to protect the people he is cyberbullying. Hoggle may well have to hoggle himself to the clinic just like Mabus.

  79. says

    Matt: Excellent point!

    Of course, we are not journalists. And, journalists are inconsistent. They will not release the name of a minor, unless a tabloid or other unsavory let does first, then they will as though the rule did not matter.

    But still, that is a good point.

    I think it is wrong to hit someone. Back in my rowdy bar days as a youth, there were bar fights. But I was usually bigger, less drunk, and more observant than the other guys, so I still never had to hit anyone. I just needed to duck, push people away from me and occasionally pick up a bar stool or chair and use it lion-tamer style. But my smaller wiry tequila soaked buddy with whom I often drank had a different strategy: This is where the gonads come in. He also didn’t think it was right to hit someone, but that was not an occasion to practice passive resistance and let some drunk Marine take you out.

    Life is full of complexities and contradictions.

  80. D. C. Sessions says

    Because it is the only rule that does not allow the risk of selective ethics.

    Greg, despite the fact that discretion can be abused I’m extremely leery of ethical systems with no room for judgment. For examples why, consider how “zero tolerance” setups have worked out.

    In the end, it’s impossible to construct an ethical system which is both complete and consistent. Which does not absolve us of the obligation.

  81. says

    To protect your line in the sand, no-naming-names principle, you think it’s the “reasonable outcome” to continue to enable Hoggle to hurt your friend Ophelia, your other friends, as well as people Hoggle is also harming (whom we don’t know personally) ? Really ? That’s your one “reasonable outcome” ?

    I would be mad at me too if that was what I thought the only reasonable outcome is.

  82. says

    Aratina, I was responding more directly to Welch’s assumptions than to anything else. Sorry for being unclear.

    I consider Hoggle’s acquaintance’s responsibilities on this question–both parts of it–to be significantly less than mine, simply because this person doesn’t have the same kind of reach I do or the same protections I do.

  83. says

    DC:

    Greg, despite the fact that discretion can be abused I’m extremely leery of ethical systems with no room for judgment. For examples why, consider how “zero tolerance” setups have worked out.

    In the end, it’s impossible to construct an ethical system which is both complete and consistent. Which does not absolve us of the obligation.

    I agree completely.

  84. hotshoe says

    hotshoe: No one (Greg, I’m looking at you) should advocate for us to let trolls rampage with impunity, protected in their anonymity, while we paralyze ourselves with “netiquette” or “privacy rights” or whatever.

    If I was a girl and he told me he was going to kick me in the cunt, I’d out him in five seconds. And my friends and colleagues would support me or they wouldn’t be my real friends.

    Oh, wait, all of a sudden you’re in favor of naming names.

    How do you square this with your previous:

    … no matter how much fun it would be to “out” this particular winged monkey, you can’t.

    Hmm ?

  85. says

    I’m maybe a little unclear on this.
    Has Hoggle been conversing with his sockpuppets, or has he just posted under a different pseudonym in an effort to usurp a banishment? I’m of the opinion that the two are quite different- both shitty- one far worse than the other.

    To the pseudonym issue, I’m torn. I don’t think there is any good reason to “out” him. He’s just an angry guy with some very unhealthy attitudes toward women. I share an office with at least four guys just like him.
    At the same time, I don’t think that people necessarily have a right to anonymity on the internet- if you hold opinions that you voice in public you ought to be accountable to them. I also wonder, though, if being a gigantic dick is necessarily a good reason for public shaming- and whether we have any good reason to believe that someone who is just one step beyond a garden variety misogynist is really an “imminent danger” to anyone. Maybe he is dangerous, but maybe he is just another delusional powerless man trying to talk his way into feeling like he exemplifies his preordained gender role.
    I don’t think he has any reason to have his identity sheltered- and I don’t think there is a good reason to make it public, either.
    Honestly Steph- and know that I respect you more than just about any other blogger on the internet- I think you have made your point by merely writing this post. I wouldn’t fault you either way.

  86. says

    Greg said that was the rule on pseudonymity. That doesn’t keep it from coming into conflict with other rules, and it doesn’t mean that the conflict is always decided in favor of that particular rule.

    Back to the topic at hand?

  87. says

    SZ: Greg said that was the rule on pseudonymity. That doesn’t keep it from coming into conflict with other rules, and it doesn’t mean that the conflict is always decided in favor of that particular rule.

    true

    Back to the topic at hand?

    You better remind us what that is!

  88. D. C. Sessions says

    Back to the topic at hand?

    Stephanie, I think some of these side-topics reroute back to the topic at hand. Then again, I may have warped my perceptions by spending too much time with lawyers and Talmudic scholars.

  89. says

    While I don’t reveal my legal name, I also don’t consider myself pseudonymonous (I’ve been One Brow for 30 years in meatspace), and my legal name is available in one of my profiles. So, I tread the middle in anonymity.

    Jason@82: My unjderstanding of the Mabus scenario is that his threats were repeated, seemed genuinely deranged, and he actually showed up at a conference. To my understanding, Hoggle’s comment was singular. No one has referred to Hoggle as seeming deranged (as opposed to merely nasty, spiteful, etc.). No one has noticed Hoggle in meatspace. If you don’t challenge any of those assumption, does that not seem like a significant difference to you?

    I don’t think anyone Hoggle insults will be helped by outing Hoggle. As Stephanie Zvan has mentioned, this is primarily about the other people in Hoggle’s meatspace life. Based on that, I would say that if you were truly woried about his meatspace behavior, there would be a very narrow difference between alerting the authorities when you out him and simply outing him. If you are not even considering the former, why bother with the latter? People who know and like meatspace Hoggle probably won’t believe you anyhow, unless Hoggle confirms it.

  90. Matt Penfold says

    George W,

    You make good points, but I would argue Hoggle is past the just being an obnoxious arsehole stage. If we were to start outing people for being obnoxious arseholes we would be overwhelmed. I am pretty sure there are times when I would have qualifed as being an obnoxious arseholes, and there also times when I found a least one other commenting here to obnoxious arseholes as well. Mind you, I, and the other person do not use pseudonyms.

  91. hotshoe says

    To protect your line in the sand, no-naming-names principle, you think it’s the “reasonable outcome” to continue to enable Hoggle to hurt your friend Ophelia, your other friends, as well as people Hoggle is also harming (whom we don’t know personally) ? Really ? That’s your one “reasonable outcome” ?

    I would be mad at me too if that was what I thought the only reasonable outcome is.

    Well, then, spit it out. What, exactly, do you think is the “only reasonable outcome” ?

    You’ve already counseled, several times, that we can’t publish Hoggle’s real name. How do you think that continued secrecy is NOT going to lead to the outcome of continued harm to both your friends and others who encounter the Hoggle you’re protecting ?

  92. says

    Let me put it this way, the topic at hand is not “Should we be outraged at Greg?”.

    Actually, One Brow, people in meatspace are much more likely to be believed about other things if they have this to point to.

  93. says

    Since when do we get protection from being called names?

    Since we grew up and left the playground and entered the real world.

    Do people call you names in meatspace aka real life?

    We do get protection from being called names in real life, by all sorts of (useful) conventions and tacit rules.

  94. says

    Stepahnie Zvan,

    That’s a good point, if other poeple in meatspace are making complaints about Hoggle’s behavior in meatspace. Is that the case, or will that bge the case? If not, I’m not sure how relevant that point is.

    My personal opinion on anonymity is that we have no reasonable expectation of it, by the way. Morally, I see exposing Hoggle as “zero harm”; he had no right to expect privacy to begin with.

    However, it may entail a small sacrifice for yourself, in that your standing may be slightly diminished in the eyes of people who think such relevelations are wrong (and if you are among these people, in your own eyes). Weighing that against any potential benefit is something beyond my knowledge of the situation. Not that it likely matters much to you, but you’ll have my approval either way.

  95. says

    George, at some point when I’m not dealing with food poisoning or the effects of eating a cashew yesterday or whatever this is, I will happily prattle on at length about the culture of silence and the culture of disbelief and how they interact. In the meantime, I’ll just note that while not every misogynist ass is an abuser or rapist, virtually all abusers or rapists are misogynist asses, and that this gives the knowledge about who is a misogynist ass quite a bit of value.

  96. Munkhaus says

    Posted at ERV:

    I told Laden some time ago that I seriously thought Zvan had some sort of personality disorder. Her latest nonsense does nothing to disuade me from that view.

    Incredible. And hilarious. Of course the hypocrisy of Watson`s “scientology level” stalking to find my real name… which I purposely made easy by using the same profile pic for every bloody social media I`m on! I use munkhaus on posts because you used to have to sign in via twitter or something and, well everyone had a natty monkier when the internets started right? I take ownership of everything I say… even if it was an estupidez and I later change my mind. I don`t care who knows it was me, and would talk to any of those huevones en RL, on TV, down the pub, or in a hotel room with a nice cup of coffee. (or maybe Earl Grey and a brownie. Or Vanilla tea… quite partial to that these days)

    I even posted a link here to a google+ chat I had with Laden and Zvan… the one where he said everyone was more likely to be sexual abuser or somesuch… which account is under my real name. (oooh, his real name!! What about your secret identity! Mustn`t let anyone know you have had a opinion of your own!)

    Here`s my account… have a look at my lovely fotos!! Don`t forget to +1!!
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/117193081810922236287/posts

    It`s so strange to see myself put forward as someone who is at the forefront of some kind of smear campaign as Zvan says… it`s surreal. And that I`m trying to be all “secret identity” and shit. The irony is that I`ve posted at Benson’Zvan’Ladens blogs more than I have here, yet because I disagree with them, I`m assigned a badge and membership of their rival gang.
    I`m amazed at the childishness of these people. Zvan has a narcissism problem. I`m smearing *her* she says! For proposing out an alternative point of view. She only shows up on my radar as an attention seeking numbnut with a crap blog. What a waste of time it`s been trying to talk to these idiots rationally.

    Lots of luv `n hugs,

    Dan Baker,
    xxx
    Lago Gaitàn, Bogotà, Colombia. (It`s in South America if you`re reading this Stepfanny… no, not the south of America… it`s a seperate continent.)
    Come down and see us some time.

  97. hotshoe says

    … people in meatspace are much more likely to be believed about other things if they have this to point to

    Yes.

  98. says

    Ophelia Benson@112,

    Actually, they do from time to time. To be certain, not people who want to have a productive or friendly relationship with me. Not co-workers. Not close friends (in a mean-spirited fashion). Not students. However, that’s a function of the relationshikps I have with these people, and the conventions and tacit rules that govern those relationships. Outside of such relationships, I do indeed receive verbal abuse from time to time. I have no expectations that it will stop in my lifetime, and no desire to create a system that would stop others from saying such things.

  99. says

    Actucally, Dan, the comments I’ve made to you (mainly on G+) were not because I “disagree with you.” They were because you are an ass, you are wrong, and you are annoying.

  100. Crommunist says

    @Greg – How DARE you be more handsome than I! I challenge you to water pistols at dawn! Wear a thin white t-shirt.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I need some alone time to… prepare.

  101. says

    Just to throw out another point: When we had an atheist meeting in Montreal, there was legitimate concern that Mabus could be disruptive, and we definitely wanted the organizers to know that he’s persona non grata at the meeting.

    This spring, the Global Atheist Convention is being held in Melbourne. Hoggle is somewhere in Australia (I won’t say precisely where). Should I be notifying the GAC organizers that this loon is loose down there, and that he definitely could be disruptive if allowed to attend?

  102. says

    It`s so strange to see myself put forward as someone who is at the forefront of some kind of smear campaign as Zvan says… it`s surreal.

    Yeah, lots of things look “surreal” when you’re too stupid to understand what you’re reading.

  103. says

    One Brow @114:

    “Morally, I see exposing Hoggle as “zero harm”; he had no right to expect privacy to begin with.”

    I agree with you about no expectation of privacy, but re zero harm it just occured to me that if outing him contributes to an environment where no one can expect any level of privacy or anonymity, that -does- poison the well a bit for the people who are doing good work but rely on their pseudonyms to keep their jobs and other various privilages. These people are balancing their personal risk against their felt obligation to fight for justice (or what have you), and if they feel that even their allies have an “out all pseudonyms” policy, that could tip the scales against their blogging and participating in these discussions.

    I guess I’m comfortable with a “do not out” general policy, that can be disregarded if it conflicts with other general policies, on a case by case basis.

    Though I know from personal experience that I could not hold to this standard: if someone says something mean about someone I care about, these kind of ethics go out the window and I flip out…sometimes the consequences are good, sometimes not so good. I haven’t decided yet if this is something I should work on.

  104. Vicki says

    A couple of thoughts: the first is that there had been complaints about Mabus for a long time before the Surete Quebec took them seriously. (That may or may not affect the analogy here, but I think it’s relevant.)

    The second is that someone mentioned harm to hoggle’s family. If someone is harmed by knowing that their partner/parent/cousin/child spews sexist filth online, that harm is still the fault of the filth-spewer. I don’t feel an obligation to protect people from finding out (say, by googling) that someone they care about has done unsavory things.

    That leaves other forms of harm. I have no idea if hoggle has minor children or other dependents who might suffer if this information got out and cost him a job. And I’m not sure what the answer is here: once again, as Stephanie said, is it appropriate to tolerate more crap from people who have more to lose if they’re called out? In general, I don’t think so: I don’t think assault is magically less of a crime if the person throwing the punch is a millionaire, but I also don’t think it’s more of one for that reason. (That’s an ethical position, not a description of present reality: I do realize that law enforcement usually cuts the rich and famous more slack.)

    Yes, people have the right to associate with unsavory people, whether people they enjoy their company or feel a sense of obligation. I don’t think that gives them the right to not know that their associates are disreputable, nor to require everyone else to pretend it’s not true. I can’t stop someone from spending time with their racist in-laws: I can stop them from bringing said in-laws to my home.

  105. says

    Quietmarc@125,

    I agree that pseudonymity is valuable, but simply can’t see exposing a pseudonymous person as morally wrong, no matter how much more good they can do pseudonymously. That said, I think a general “do not out” policy is better.

    PZ Myers@122,

    Has Hoggle regularly posted threats, or was it a one-time thing? If this has escalated to the need to contact convention organizers, should you not also notify the local auythorities?

  106. says

    …but re zero harm it just occured to me that if outing him contributes to an environment where no one can expect any level of privacy or anonymity, that -does- poison the well a bit for the people who are doing good work but rely on their pseudonyms to keep their jobs and other various privilages.

    It wouldn’t be so harmful if the reasons for outing Hoggle were clearly stated: let’s face it, he’s CLEARLY more needlessly obnoxious than the overwhelming majority of people who post under ‘nyms, and huge numbers of people already know this. I’m sure that outing him would not cause a lot of fear among the web’s genpop.

  107. freemage says

    I find myself swayed (after initially being dubious of the concept) by the notion of ‘reasonable expectation’. If Hoggle were just posting his tripe in his own blog, he’d have somewhat more of a reason to have such an expectation. And even moreso, if his blog comments didn’t tie back to identifiable individuals.

    However, coming into someone else’s blog, or even just talking about them in public, makes you fair game for scrutiny. So yeah, lift up the rock and expose the vermin cowering in the dark beneath it. You’ll be doing the real people in his real life a favor.

  108. says

    Steph,
    If this were a question of breaking a culture of silence, you wouldn’t have asked for our opinions.
    That is, unless you were passive-aggressively trying to warn him- which you say you’re not and I take you at your word.

    I’ve thought about this every which way- and I can’t come to an easy answer. I went to hoggle’s blog, and I find what he has to say to be divorced from reality, childish, and designed to offend. I think he abuses his anonymity and I bet that he wouldn’t be so quick to attach his real identity to those ideas if he were asked to.

    I understand that his attitude is consistent with violent misogynists- but it is also consistent with men who talk big to conform to the gender role that increasingly fails them in our evolving society. It’s a sexism double-down.
    I don’t know how dangerous that is in the bigger picture, but anecdotally if even 5% of men I knew who personified this attitude turned out to escalate to a physical threat- well the statistics don’t bear that out.
    Would I want a prospective girlfriend or female colleague of hoggle’s to know what he thinks of women? Probably.
    Would I want him to be marked for life as a potential rapist lurking in the shadows? Not really.
    As I said to you already, I don’t have the answer to your question. I would support you either way- because I can understand both sides of the debate perfectly well.
    There is no right answer to this.

  109. says

    @131 Freemage:If Hoggle were just posting his tripe in his own blog, he’d have somewhat more of a reason to have such an expectation. And even moreso, if his blog comments didn’t tie back to identifiable individuals.

    Maybe the most important point made so far- and the best argument for removing his anonymity.

  110. abb3w says

    My foremost thought is that outing a pseudonym creates a precedent; one you’ll have to live with. And in the scary degree of Precedent, there’s also the question that such an outing would have on the status of bloggers-as-journalists. Consulting a Real Lawyer on that angle before taking action might be worthwhile; you don’t want to burn valuable bridges without careful planning. I’d THINK it would be safe, since he’s not formally a source, nor explicitly been accorded anonymity, but I-Am-Not-A-Lawyer.

    Less dire and less significant to the argument, it also makes it more likely that the precedent might be used as an example to “justify” a less carefully nuanced variant standard; it’s no more than a featherweight on the scales. More practically, doing so will signal to other evil pseudos that this is a non-trivial risk, and take more precautions to hide their trail — proxy servers, a different web-browser, a second free email, etc.

    Whether or not to out gets somewhat into why pseudo use is tolerated at all. The use of a pseudonym effectively encourages open expression of ideas and attitudes that might otherwise be socially sanctioned. On the one hand, there’s some social utility in getting a more accurate portrayal of attitudes that might otherwise be hidden. My impression is that more people will admit to racist tendencies in anonymous surveys than would in public; I suspect pseudonymity has a similar effect. Contrariwise, that more open expression may contribute to social reinforcement of others’ tendencies to such wretched attitudes. I’m not sure where the balance of harm is in that.

    At one extreme, obviously outing a randomly chosen pseudo simply because your car was cut off in traffic is pretty clearly on the black side of the grey; at the other, outing after subjectively credible threats of physical harm would seem pretty clearly on the white side of gray — though the police would be the place to start, but (given some precedents of police “meh” attitudes) might not be the place to stop.

    My inclination would be to meat-space outing a jerk sock-puppeting his way around bans, or one so foolish as to make a “go ahead, make my internet” type of remark; but I’ve no formal rationalization for why.

    @76, Matt Penfold:

    [If] the question of whether someone has gone to far even arises, then I think it can be argued they already have gone to far.

    Isn’t that going a bit too far? =)

  111. says

    I don’t believe for a second that it’s illegal in any case, not just this one. I don’t believe that even the legislature of Mississippi would pass that law.

  112. says

    The use of a pseudonym effectively encourages open expression of ideas and attitudes that might otherwise be socially sanctioned.

    Yes and that’s why the KKK wore sheets, too. Some of this stuff sounds like saying the KKK’s right to wear sheets must be protected.

  113. says

    Hmm. I post under a pseudo-pseudonym. My parents didn’t name me Big Ugly Jim, but most of the people I interact with would have a hard time telling you my last name. I’m a punk rocker who has been very publicly known as Big Ugly Jim for a long time. My facebook is my real name, and I’ve posted it before. My avatar on my blog is actually me giving the thumbs up over a flying spaghetti monster birthday cake work got me a few years ago. I have never protected my identity, but that is largely because I do not fear people. I’m a big guy, I can defend myself, and should some psycho choose to view anything I said as cause for violence, I would accept that in the face of standing up (or being beaten, or dying) for my right to think and speak as I choose.

    That said, I understand pseudonymonous posting. One of the main values in it has been all too obvious in light of Elevatorgate, all the disgusting cretins slithering about people… these are the last people that anyone would want to know their personal information.

    In this situation, I’d say out the pricks. You see, I very much agree that they have the right to privacy, but their sleaze has long since surpassed the simple “I don’t like what you said” crap and has elevated into something that is menacing and vile. Using their anonymity as a means to frighten and terrorize people is beyond unacceptable, and those who know them deserve to know who they really are.

    That’s my two cents, which is worth two cents in both the US and Canada, thanks to the exchange rate.

  114. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    I understand that his attitude is consistent with violent misogynists- but it is also consistent with men who talk big to conform to the gender role that increasingly fails them in our evolving society. It’s a sexism double-down. I don’t know how dangerous that is in the bigger picture, but anecdotally if even 5% of men I knew who personified this attitude turned out to escalate to a physical threat- well the statistics don’t bear that out.

    I think I might have bad news for you.

    Of her 1146 participants, 144, or 13%, admitted an attempted or completed rape — substantially higher than Lisak & Miller.

    Guys with rigid views of gender roles and an axe to grind against women in general are overrepresented among rapists. That won’t come as a surprise to most readers here, I expect. But it is important confirmation. Guys who seem to hate women … do. If they sound like they don’t like or respect women and see women as impediments to be overcome … they’re telling the truth. That’s what they think, and they will abuse if they think they can get away with it.

    Sorry to appear to derail, but I think this is actually relevant to the discussion.

  115. says

    Greg, you are wrong. The statistics DO bear that out.
    The basic reading for you is Meet the Predators. It’s a casual discussion on a blog, but is based on a couple of academic studies. Among students, about 5% ADMITTED to rape or attempted rape. As long as the act was described, and not classified with the R-word.

    And as to Hoggle: he’s in Australia!? And might be at GAC??? Eeep!! I want to know now so that I can avoid him. This is not an ethical argument, this is an emotional reaction – partly of disgust, and partly of fear for myself and others. I would certainly not want any woman to be left alone with him, and if we knew, we could help to protect each other.

    So now that we know that you know, it does rather raise questions about who you choose to protect. Are we supposed to expect that atheist meetups will shelter known virulent misogynists who utter threats of violence against women? That’s some deterrent!

    BTW, I’m very easily found, too, and so far no-one has outed me. But I’ve never threatened anyone on line(*), and I don’t think it would do me any harm.

    (*Well, except for Ye Olde Metaphorical Rusty Knife.)

  116. says

    Yes, he absolutely might be at GAC 2012; he was at GAC 2010.

    Alethea’s point is absolutely compelling. I was going to leave it for now, not at all on principle but solely out of my own disinclination to hear a lot of righteous indignation about the horrors of outing anyone for any reason ever. But if people are worried about encountering him, that’s a different thing.

  117. NSherrard says

    Um, it’s not crazy, you know, the idea of anonymous speech being protected. Of course, a private citizen “unmasking” another private citizen is probably fine. Typically a legal issue arises only if it’s the government requiring non-anonymity (try that one ten times fast). But yes, in essence, the KKK’s “right to wear sheets” is protected (in the metaphorical sense) precisely because, as abb3w rather eloquently put it, it “effectively encourages open expression of ideas and attitudes that might otherwise be socially sanctioned.” Many here are suggesting that anonymity is a good thing only for those whose speech is acceptable to one or another particular community. This, I think, is what Laden is concerned about when he raises the issue of “selective ethics.” As I said, in the realm of private individuals the question is more one of values than legality. But legal values can inform private values, to a degree. If we value free speech as individuals, it is not out of line to think in terms of legal principles. At least in the legal realm, some kind of “true threat” or other direct and demonstrable link between speech and harm is required before legal action can be taken or laws can be made. Anyway, here’s some food for thought:

    http://ilt.eff.org/index.php/Speech:_Anonymity

  118. D. C. Sessions says

    RE: Harm

    Just to get the de minimus part out of the way: People are entitled to their own preferences in a wide variety of issues. To pick a minor one, it’s quite possible that Our Gracious Hostess has a strong preference for being called “Stephanie” and not any of the other variants such as “Steph” or “Stevie.”

    In which case, every time someone calls her “Stephie” harms her somewhat. Certainly not in any seriously actionable way, but harm nonetheless. We should, as a rule, try not to make the world any worse for others if we can help it, even at the “just one more irritation in an otherwise annoying day” level.

    Which relatively trivial example, however, illustrates two things about outing a ‘nym :

    1) In general, don’t — the Silver Rule applies and none of us have standing to invalidate others’ idiosyncratic sensitivities.
    2) Which is not to say that we must be overruled in substantive ways by others’ quirks. Pseudonymity included.

  119. says

    Alethea H. Claw: I’ve been wrong before but I’m not wrong about that. Because I didn’t say that. I think.

    Are we supposed to expect that atheist meetups will shelter known virulent misogynists who utter threats of violence against women? That’s some deterrent!

    That’s a very good point.

  120. says

    @Greg: Classical and I refer to what you said here:

    I understand that his attitude is consistent with violent misogynists- but it is also consistent with men who talk big to conform to the gender role that increasingly fails them in our evolving society. It’s a sexism double-down.
    I don’t know how dangerous that is in the bigger picture, but anecdotally if even 5% of men I knew who personified this attitude turned out to escalate to a physical threat- well the statistics don’t bear that out.

    We have published academic statistics putting it at 6% of college students, some higher percentage (13% sometimes) for enlistees in the US Navy; and a strong indication that those who talk misogyny are more likely to be rapists than those who don’t. Statistics strongly suggest that 5-10% of men are rapists. So what do you mean by your claim that “statistics don’t bear that out” when applied to your circle of acquaintance?

  121. says

    @George: first, sorry for the confusion. I blame insufficient coffee. Second, I don’t mean to be on the attack, particularly.

    Your point about good men behaving as misogynists in certain situations, because of cultural pressures, is entirely valid. Only your final statistical assumption is not correct. You show us why we need to dismantle that culture. I think that we all want good men to become easier to tell apart from rapists. All of us except for rapists, of course, who like the cover.

  122. says

    Ophelia Benson@138,

    It should be protected, as long as they don’t break any laws. Can you imagine trying to distinguish beteen KKK masks and Halloween masks in legislation, or even in practice?

  123. says

    Alethea’s comment #141 really crystallized it for me. Up until then, I had been conflicted reading through this discussion, but I think I’m now firmly on the side of outing him.

    I’ve made the decision for myself to post under my real name these days, because I *want* my ideas to be associated with who I really am. However, I respect that others in different situations may not have the luxury of making this kind of decision and I think it’s incredibly important for those people to be protected as much as possible. So the argument that we don’t want to go down the road of weakening even informal agreements to respect privacy has a lot of resonance for me.

    But Alethea got me thinking about a couple nasty online discussions I’ve gotten into with pseuds, one of whom used his apparently single-use pseudonym to protect himself from any consequences while doing his damnedest to find out everything he could about me and distort what he thought he’d learned in the nastiest way possible. If the blogger on whose site this discussion took place had offered to let me know who this asshat was, I would’ve taken her up on it in a heartbeat, because I sure as hell would like to be able to recognize this guy if I ever meet him in person so that I could take appropriate self-protective measures. Hoggle hasn’t gone after me personally the way that guy did (unless he *was* that guy), but he does have a very similar modus operandi, and Alethea’s comment made me realize that I sure as hell want to be able to recognize him if I meet him face to face.

    I do not like the idea of a creep like that wandering around the atheist/secular/skeptic community where I might someday meet him accidentally and have to deal with his misogyny with no warning. I know he’s hardly the only misogynist in our ranks, but he’s an incredibly aggressive and vocal one, and I think that’s plenty of justification for giving all of us women likely to be within range of his nastiness the info we need to be prepared to defend ourselves from him.

  124. says

    Regarding misogyny and related asshatery and sexual assault: It is interesting that this be brought up, because it is at the center of the original controversy.

    To some extent, Rebecca Watson was making the point that there is a range of behaviors from being clueless (no crime, just annoying, guys don’t do that) to being exclusionary (girls, shut up please) to various degrees of misogyny with sexism, sexual assault, rape, etc arrayed along (probably multiple) spectra. Or at least, that’s what I got out of her talk.

    The Abbie Smith Winged Monkey Brigade has purposefully put forth, using willful ignorance to allow an utterly rancid argument to grow and fester, that Rebecca, me, others, have conflated asking a girl to have a cup of coffed with raping her.

    From this foundation, they have taken the argument to an (il)logical next step: Verbal abuse and misogyny (among other things) is perfectly OK because, they claim, actual “rape” (as if they knew what sexual assault and rape actually were) and being an aggressive offensive asshole are unconnected.

    Now, here’s the thing: There is a hypothesis here. The hypothesis is that sexual assault is more likely to be committed by a man who uses sexist, misogynist language such as Mr. Hoggle. So, we might expect numbers like this:

    Percentage of men who carry out sexual assault = A
    Percentage of misogynist asshat men who carry out sexual assault => A + p

    Where p is a value high enough that the diff is statistically significant.

    (I suspect that the data underlying any such relationship will look very different if you observe men on the internet, in lockerooms, in public, etc. But that’s a bit of a digression)

    Here’s the thing: It does not matter. It may or may not be true, and how we deal with these issues relates to the verity of this relatinship. But it does not matter.

    When Franc Hoggle told Ophelia Benson that he wanted to kick her in the cunt, that was assault. It was, actually, sexual assault. It was not violent penetrative rape by multiple men followed by shoving a gun barrel inside of her and pulling the trigger, as has happened to some of my friends in war torn Congo. Nobody is saying that these words are rape. (I will be accused of having said that of course, but that is neither here nor there). But it is assault.

    Fanc Hoggle is a despicable human being for the things he has said. It does not matter if there is a statistical connection between this kind of despicable behavior and some other kind of despicable behavior. Well, that matters for various reasons, but not to the point that he is an ass, who should not be trusted, who should be watched, who should be reported to organizations that might host an event he would go though.

    And, again, if it were me in Ophelia’s place, you all would already know his name.

  125. elaine says

    Report him to the police.

    With his real name and evidence of the threats he has been making.

    If the police fail to act, which is likely unfortunately, he needs to be outed to protect yourselves and other women.

  126. says

    And, again, if it were me in Ophelia’s place, you all would already know his name.

    Also, this.

    I believe very strongly in privacy rights, but if somebody whose real identity I knew had threatened me with assault after being incredibly verbally abusive towards me and others, even if it was only on the internet, I would share that information with everyone I knew who had even the slightest chance of interacting with this person. And, indeed, I have done so in the past.

    I have no idea how many bad outcomes for myself and others I’ve headed off by doing this, but I suspect the number is greater than zero.

  127. Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne says

    Ophelia wrote:

    Yes, he absolutely might be at GAC 2012; he was at GAC 2010.

    Oh, ick. To think I might have idly chatted to such a scumbag and not known it. Still, at least we’re aware that he might be there, and can keep an eye out for anyone acting in antisocial ways.

  128. says

    Are you kidding, Wowbagger? He might be fine, just fine, while wearing his public persona to everyone else. Maybe not to PZ, knowing that PZ is among those who know his real name.

  129. says

    When I first saw this, I wasn’t sure. I had an instinctive desire to protect pseudonymity, but just wasn’t sure.

    Now, I’m leaning strongly toward outing him, and I’ll explain why.

    People who post under their real names are inhibited from doing things they would be ashamed of. People who don’t post under their real names have no such inhibition.

    That’s from Ophelia, and it’s not a 100% rule (and I’m not suggesting she thinks it is). It’s a generalization, one that’s unfortunately probably true, but like every generalization, there’s exceptions. Not everyone who post under pseudonyms are going to lose the inhibitions they have in normal life, or if they used their real name – some because they have no inhibitions anyway, and others because they have a character that means they treat people properly because they treat people properly. It’s just the right thing to do (I would like to include myself under this: I used to post as LucienBlack, and don’t think my behavior then was any different from now).

    I strongly suspect that the behavior that comes out under the protection of a ‘nym is a truer reflection of that person’s internal character than the behavior seen when they lack such protection. This is similar to what we might see when someone believes they won’t or can’t get caught. If this is true, then what we’ve seen from Hoggle (who wasn’t on my radar prior to this post, though I have an unpleasant memory of the kicking Ophelia comment, and I looked at his blog after reading this post) is an indication of his true character: abusive, obsessive, hateful, prone to harassment, misogynistic, and capable of sexual release aided by anger. What will such a person do in meatspace if he thinks he can get away with it? I don’t know for sure, but there have been stats presented that support the idea that it won’t be anything good and positive with rainbows and candy.

    At this point, while I do think that protecting pseudonymity is important as a principle, the balance has shifted, and we have to worry about protecting others. This is not an arbitrary outing just because he’s an ass, or we don’t like or agree with him. It’s about safety, the safety of the people around him in real life that may not be aware of his character.

    Out him. That’s my position. Out him to all and sundry.

  130. says

    What it comes down to, for me, is safety. If “Jack” were posting online as, oh, “Ripper42″, and making rape-y/assault-y threats towards “Jill”, I would feel perfectly justified in warning “Jack” that I have his information, and warning him that the next rape-y comment would result in me disclosing his personal information to “Jill”. And, if he did continue publicly posting that shit — or even if “Jill” contacts me and says he took it to private communication (i.e. e-mail, instant messenger, private messages in a forum setting, etc) — I would have zero issue with giving her that personal information and instructions to “print out all of his communications with you, get a lawyer, and CALL THE COPS. NOW.”

    I don’t want to see a news report about “Jill” next week, telling how she was murdered by an internet stalker. I especially don’t want to see that and think, “I could have helped her, and I did nothing.”

    So, there’s my line in the sand. Nobody has to adhere to it, or anything, it’s just my personal line in the sand on the issue.

  131. says

    There are NO grounds for siccing the police on Hoggle — he hasn’t been making death threats ala Mabus. He shows signs of serious derangement, though — all you have to do is look at his blog with its insane rants and bizarre obsession with Rebecca Watson, me, and Ophelia Benson. I want nothing to do with him; I don’t want to associate with him in any way under any circumstances.

    His tiny group of freaks is doing their best to cause mischief on my blog, though. I’ve got a couple of them spamming the site under multiple aliases. That’s an effort to harrass, and it does move his gang into malicious territory.

    If he just wants to rave on his negligible blog, no problem. I’ll question his sanity for it, but it’s not the same kind of problem as he and his dim squad of winged monkeys spamming other blogs.

  132. ildi says

    Yes, he absolutely might be at GAC 2012; he was at GAC 2010.

    So he does have an active presence in the meatspace secular community. I think people should know about the existence of Mr. Hyde when they are interacting with Dr. Jekyll.

  133. Bryan says

    My post was an attempt at humor. Perhaps it was not funny. But, perhaps your reaction there and here were hypersensitive? Reasonable people disagree on things like these.

    I note the blog owner deleted comments in the masterpiece of detective work where you “outed” me (you got my name correct, but not my marital status). I think the last few times I’ve posted on FTB, I just used my first name (I’m sure you will now furiously search for a counter example). Through all our IQ debates, I never hid my identity.

    In all our interactions, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an instance where you (and greg– see his stupidly obnoxious posts re the non-hippie lady’s poster at OWS) conceded even a minor point. As a skeptic, I suspect it’s because you’re never wrong? We have much to learn from you, as long as we agree with it all.

    Your post here confuses me, as I don’t see how me as the lede relates to anything after (it’s either the blinders of privilege on my part, or hypersensitivity on your part).

    Bryan

  134. Jacob S. says

    I’m not sure what your situation is with Hoggle (I get the gist, but I prefer specifics before deciding upon the necessary action), so I can’t really give you a solid course of action. But I would argue that harming someone who has done nothing wrong (in a legal sense, I think the man is an ass) should face no repercussions. That is to say, unless he is doing something like threatening people, I don’t think he should be outed. I don’t think being hateful counts. Essentially, having a pseudonym is Hoggle’s right, and we should protect that right like we would for anyone else.

    Unfortunately, to say that he must verbally and clearly threaten somebody in order to count as threatening would be as stupid as saying that the moon is made of cheese. My problem with considering him a threatening individual is that there is no clear definition of such a person. It becomes a judgement call; I hate making those. Particularly, in this case, because I cannot judge what other people feel as threatening.* So I can’t really give you a clear answer. Just some parameters I think your eventual decision should comply with.

    All that being said, I think you should out the guy.**

    *Elevator Gate being a good example here. I cannot imagine being threatened by that scenario, barring extreme circumstances. That doesn’t mean women are overreacting when they feel threatened.
    ** All this typing may have been moot. If we can confirm that 33 is Franc Hoggle, we have permission. All steam ahead, I say.

  135. NSherrard says

    Mr. Laden, what do you mean when you say it is assault but not rape? It is not assault in any legal sense. Perhaps you mean it’s assault in a casual, common-sense, non-legal kind of way. In that case, call it rape if you like, it makes no difference.

    D.C. Sessions – yeah, the harm is not legally actionable, but it is arguably harm. The harm inflicted here could arguably justify “unmasking” in a private context although I’m not entirely convinced of that. But talking about banning him from events, calling the police, sexual assault, good grief. What is it someone was saying about going too far?

  136. D. C. Sessions says

    the harm is not legally actionable, but it is arguably harm.

    I wouldn’t even qualify “actionable.” That is, just not worth pursuing even outside of a legal context, because some things it’s just better to let go under the bridge.

    Which is not to say that we shouldn’t learn from them, which oddly enough gets back to the issue of “outing.” Someone who is frequently rude may not even be worth confronting over it, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t take it into account when choosing company. Likewise, when someone demonstrates their character [1] in their anonymous actions, it can be argued [2] that there is a public good in letting others know about that character so that they can make better choices.

    [1] the old standard: character is how you act if you’re confident it will never get back to you
    [2] e.g this discussion

  137. says

    I got to about comment 45, so apologies if this is untimely or whatever. I have a pseudonymous identity online. Wherever I go, I use the same name and pretty much the same avatar. But I don’t connect that identity with my real life name, primarily because the things I share on the internet are things I would have shared with friends and family in the old days, not things I necessarily want my clients or colleagues to have their noses in. They don’t need to know everything about my politics or what books I like or what my social life consists of, or stories I’ve told about my family etc. If I want to share pieces of that information, I’m free to do so without my entire life being an open book to everyone with Google as their home page. (Though I have no illusions that my real identity can’t be figured out fairly easily by someone putting in a bit of effort, it’s just not completely obvious to all and sundry.)

    I said all that as background because I’d be rather annoyed if I was outed. However, my position is that as long as someone is using a pseudonym (or other form of secrecy) as a shield, protecting themselves and harming no one, outing them is wrong. On the other hand, if they are using it as a sword, bring them down. Bullies, harassers, and abusers need to be brought out into the open and identified for the protection of their victims. To do otherwise is to give them support for further abuse.

  138. Pteryxx says

    I dunno… all I have to add is that giving Hoggle’s real name to the other bloggers he’s harassing, or to the organizers of GAC 2012 so he can be watched or removed as a meatspace threat, or even warning his employer/co-workers or reporting him to his local law enforcement or ISP, wouldn’t have the broad and uncontrolled implications of linking his real name to his pseudonym and to the person who outs him on the Internet forever. Don’t we give power and responsibility for enforcement to certain agencies or offices so that sanctioning can be more impersonal, and appear less like a vengeful response? Stalker-type personalities in particular will escalate if they perceive a response as their victim getting uppity or getting back at them. That’s how I read Hoggle’s “go ahead and out me” comment above… as an invite to escalation.

  139. says

    …primarily because the things I share on the internet are things I would have shared with friends and family in the old days, not things I necessarily want my clients or colleagues to have their noses in…

    Oh, and there’s a guy in my past who threatened to rape me, and though I doubt I’m in any danger whatsoever, I don’t really like the idea of him knowing where I am and what I’m thinking about if the notion should ever occur to him to look me up. Also, I live with my mother who also has certain privacy issues and I sometimes mention her (like now).

    Sorry if all of this is off-topic; like I said it’s just a way for me to explain where I’m coming from as a pseudo myself.

  140. says

    I think part of the question is about exactly how far one needs to go before most reasonable people will agree that outing is necessary. A counterfactual “If I were a girl, I’d commit a violent sexual attack on you” is not the same as “I am going to attack you”. But it’s really pushing hard at the boundaries.

    I’d suggest at very least warning the GAC organisers. And that the organisers should deliver a strong warning to all GAC attendees that sexual harrassment will not be tolerated, and provide a contact person to report any incidents.

  141. Pteryxx says

    That’s another thing… outing someone by real name involves their family and associates, whether THOSE people want to be involved or not.

    And every time I read something about how bullies and abusers NEED to be outed for their victims’ protection (nobody specific here) I keep hearing it in the voices of raging fundies trying to protect their flock from the ebil atheists/gays/feminists/whatever. Gotta out those pro-science teachers, those whistleblowers, those Occupy sympathizers! I don’t know. Do we need to convince ourselves of our rightness in order to breach someone’s pseudonymity? If we do, then what does it say about that course of action?

    Yes, I’m a pseudo. Sorry for vague thoughts.

  142. says

    Do we need to convince ourselves of our rightness in order to breach someone’s pseudonymity? If we do, then what does it say about that course of action?

    Only that the correct course of action is not instantly clear, like a great deal of other moral and ethical dilemmas.

  143. says

    And every time I read something about how bullies and abusers NEED to be outed for their victims’ protection (nobody specific here) I keep hearing it in the voices of raging fundies trying to protect their flock from the ebil atheists/gays/feminists/whatever.

    I guess I should respond to this, since I’m one of those who has taken this basic stance.

    My stance in this case is based on observable, documented behavior of an individual, not the nebulous claims of fundies that have no basis in reality, and tarnish an entire class of individuals with the same brush. I think that’s a fairly big difference. I’m not, and wouldn’t, advocate for outing every single pseudonymous person.

    That’s another thing… outing someone by real name involves their family and associates, whether THOSE people want to be involved or not.

    Unfortunately, they’re already involved with the character he possesses, whether they wish to be or not. Do they not deserve the information they need to make an informed decision about whether to continue associating with Hoggle? Seeing as his behavior indicates a risk of harm to them (as opposed to outing someone as gay, since there would be no risk of harm based on that info), I think they should have that information.

    It’s entirely possible that outing him would accomplish nothing. He may continue on as he’s been doing, perhaps not lose any friends in real life, and just not care. Or it might embolden someone in his personal life to speak up about his private behavior that shouldn’t be acceptable, but hey, who would believe this hypothetical person, right? It depends on whether he’s actually done such a thing in his offline life, whether affected individuals learned of this, etc.

    We don’t know, and can’t judge the action based on that. But we can certainly judge on risk.

  144. Pteryxx says

    Only that the correct course of action is not instantly clear, like a great deal of other moral and ethical dilemmas.

    If there’s a right answer to this, it should be what does the best job of addressing the problem, after considering all the aspects including our own flaws. But people can convince themselves of the rightness of anything; and that’s often the easier course.

  145. says

    If there’s a right answer to this, it should be what does the best job of addressing the problem, after considering all the aspects including our own flaws.

    Isn’t that what this whole discussion has been about? It’s not like there’s been a massive consensus, with one or two lonely voices speaking against it.

    But people can convince themselves of the rightness of anything; and that’s often the easier course.

    Agreed, and that’s why it’s good that you voiced your opinion, and why it’s good to always voice your opinion (maybe especially if you perceive it as dissenting). Keeps people like me honest. A discussion such as this thread has a good chance of helping to avoid simply taking the easy course because it’s easy (and wouldn’t “easy” involve not outing him in this case? perhaps not, since that’s fighting against retaliatory urges).

  146. Philip Legge says

    NSherrard at comment #166, IANAL but I think the legal definition for assault usually means criminal or tortious threats of harm, whether or not actual harm is done (not to confuse it with the legal definition of battery: check a legal dictionary if you need to).

    So in the case of Dennis Markuze, the well-documented uttering of death threats was a clear case of the criminal type of assault, since in the jurisdiction of Canada where Markuze was spamming and tweeting from, threatening to kill someone was an infraction under the criminal code (section 264).

    In the case of Hoggle’s threatening verbal bluster, his specific threats may fall short of criminality but instead are presumably at the lesser level of being a civil tort, so again, Greg’s use of the word assault would be entirely justified.

  147. says

    And every time I read something about how bullies and abusers NEED to be outed for their victims’ protection (nobody specific here) I keep hearing it in the voices of raging fundies trying to protect their flock from the ebil atheists/gays/feminists/whatever. Gotta out those pro-science teachers, those whistleblowers, those Occupy sympathizers! I don’t know. Do we need to convince ourselves of our rightness in order to breach someone’s pseudonymity? If we do, then what does it say about that course of action?

    Oh, go on, name names Pteryxx. ;-)

    Okay, but the ebil atheists/gays/feminists/whatever are not creating a culture where young teenagers are killing themselves, but bullies do. As has been pointed out above, though we can’t tell rapists from good guys by looking at them, hate speech against women is a good indicator that a person might actually be a rapist. Therefore, the male supremacists as a class pose a more significant risk to women in real life. And as someone else upthread mentioned (sorry whoever you are it’s too late at night to go searching), what *this individual* is doing is inciting hatred. This might lead to others committing real world violence, even if he doesn’t do it himself. In my world, this would be against the law*, but the least that can be done is to make him accountable socially in meatspace for what he says online. This isn’t about rightness on an issue, it’s about actual physical danger.


    *such incitement would be here in Canada [/IANAL] except for the fact that sex is not one of the protected classes

  148. becca says

    Wait, where’s my cool t-shirt?! I got kicked off the list because I’m an agnostic, didn’t I? *shakes fist*

    Anyway, I’m inclined to agree with Greg, which must mean that psudonyms are like sheep.
    One thing I’m not clear on… If someone involved is feeling threatened, and outing him can actually do something to reduce that, maybe I’d be more persuaded. Restorative justice and all that.

    I may feel this way because I think we can have an impact to foster a community of respect for psudeonomity on the internet. And that’s more important to me personally than the illusion of respect for women in the atheist community (i.e. even if Hoggle is banned from atheist conventions, people with equally creepy attitudes will still be there).

  149. says

    I may feel this way because I think we can have an impact to foster a community of respect for psudeonomity on the internet.

    Wouldn’t a community of respect also include dealing with it when someone abuses the pseudonymity? True, I wouldn’t encourage or desire that we should immediately deal with someone by outing them. Banning’s and other things seem to generally work out, even when sock puppetry comes into play (in the sense that we can limit their annoyance factor at least). But surely there’s a line, and without that line, I don’t think fostering a community of respect for ‘nyms is really possible. Before I outed myself to my family, I used a nym as well, so I would also like respect for those who feel a need to use a pseudonym. But I think the likes of Hoggle take away from that respect.

  150. says

    Yeah, Pteryxx, I gotta agree with Nathan. We’re not talking about outing a whole class of people just for existing, based on stereotypes of the whole class. We’re talking about outing one specific person who has engaged in personally abusive behavior against a number of others, in order to prevent this person from being able to continue to abuse others from the shadows.

    I generally think that even trolls have some right to anonymity, and I’ll defend trolls as a class from exposure, but abusive, obsessive, polymorphing trolls who wage long-term hate campaigns against specific individuals are another story entirely. I’m not necessarily going to say that every such troll should be instantly exposed as soon as their name is uncovered. Warnings to clean up their act or face outing might be appropriate, and I’d be reluctant to out somebody I knew was in a relatively powerless position, like a student, without very strong reasons.

    But I don’t think the mere unsubstantiated possibility that the troll or those they know might experience some vaguely conjectured negative consequences from the outing should be sufficient reason to let them continue their harmful behavior unchecked. People who are attacked do have some right to self-defense. In this case, I’d hope that at least Hoggle’s major targets have been notified of his real identity (if they want to know it), and I think there’s a strong case to be made that other skeptic women have a certain level of “right to know” here too, in order to allow us to protect ourselves from him.

    That said, outing somebody is a pretty serious decision, and I’m not going to claim that my right to know is strong enough that it should trump Stephanie or Ophelia’s ethics on privacy issues if they ultimately decide they’re just not comfortable with sharing this info. I’d personally prefer to find out who Hoggle is, but if that’s not possible we can still keep on doing what we’ve done so far to deal with him and his ilk, and it’s entirely possible he’ll eventually be outed via another channel anyway.

    So, *shrug*. It’ll probably come out right somehow. But all other things being equal, I’d still feel more comfortable knowing who he is.

  151. Pteryxx says

    Yes I’m slow and not very coherent tonight. so, this is sort of a three-stage post, my apologies.

    No there’s not a consensus, and I’m not sure of my own objections. It just bothers me that the case FOR outing him comes down to “he’s a nasty piece of work who deserves it and he’s probably more of a threat than most” while the case AGAINST outing him comes down to “outing is bad so we shouldn’t do it”. There’s got to be more to it than this.

    I hashed this over with my friend in chat just now, who says:

    What is outing him supposed to accomplish? Teach him a lesson? Make him shut up? You can’t shut up an idiot on the Internet, not without serious countermeasures. Every single blogger he’s harassed could file complaints with his local law enforcement. Alert the police that the man who’s threatened people is getting near them at a conference.

    What does releasing his name publicly accomplish? Gives people a way to harass HIM in real life? The people who know him in real life won’t be seeing these posts. His name getting released won’t protect anyone. It’ll just be ammo for a shitstorm of people digging up his private photos, his email, his home address, his family’s addresses. Release it if you want people to send him threatening letters and drive by his house screaming profanities. Dangling his possible outing like a piece of meat means you’ve already lost the moral high ground.

    That sounds harsh, but I have to admit, there’s no reason to assume everyone in our community would be virtuous about this knowledge. Much less everyone on the net in general.

    …And, I wonder, would folks be as willing to say “Yes this hypothetical harassing blogger should be outed” as they are to say “Yes this Hoggle whose hateful shit I’ve read should be outed”. I don’t even know if one view would be less valid than the other.

    Okay… the assumptions I’m seeing all through this thread are that outing Hoggle would make people IRL safer, make commentors *here* feel safer, and;or stop him harassing and threatening people online. That and some statements about pseudonymity in general.

    How exactly would outing Hoggle on the internet make people in his real life safer? How would outing him make commentors here safer? What would public outing accomplish that reporting him to police/ISP/other authorities would not? And how would outing him stop him harassing people online?

    I think it’s obvious that alerting the GAC organizers would directly reduce how much of a threat he could be to other attendees. That doesn’t speak to public outing in general, nor to his online behavior.

  152. says

    How exactly would outing Hoggle on the internet make people in his real life safer?

    To use a cliche, forewarned is forearmed. If you became aware of someone in your life behaving in ways similar to Hoggle, behavior that raises the possibility of violence or harassment, wouldn’t you take steps to protect yourself and those close to you? At the very least, limiting opportunities to be alone with him? Granted, this only works if the real life people are actually informed. That might be difficult.

    How would outing him make commentors here safer?

    Not being someone on his radar, I can’t answer that.

    What would public outing accomplish that reporting him to police/ISP/other authorities would not?

    Police and ISPs would have a limited ability to do anything in this case. By limited, I mean basically nothing. Maybe the police would ask him a few questions, which he could readily field, and that would be that. Without something criminal for them to work with, they got nothing. And if the police have nothing, the ISPs generally aren’t willing to do anything. As PZ himself said

    There are NO grounds for siccing the police on Hoggle — he hasn’t been making death threats ala Mabus.

    So, yea. Alerting the police is, at this time, pointless.

    And how would outing him stop him harassing people online?

    Maybe it won’t. Maybe he’ll just start using his real name to do it. Maybe we’d get lucky, and the censure in his real life(if there were any) would be sufficient distraction to get him off people’s backs (come to think of it, I guess this is one way his online targets would be safer). Maybe all it would do is act as a deterrent for one or two people in the future. Truly, I don’t know.

  153. Pteryxx says

    If you became aware of someone in your life behaving in ways similar to Hoggle, behavior that raises the possibility of violence or harassment, wouldn’t you take steps to protect yourself and those close to you?

    If I became aware of such, certainly. I haven’t done an internet search on each of my classmates though, much less the faculty or staff, even though I’m often in the building very late at night. Maybe I should?

    Police and ISPs would have a limited ability to do anything in this case. By limited, I mean basically nothing.

    Doesn’t making a complaint at all obligate the police to keep that complaint on file? So that if there are any other complaints against the same individual, they can have more information? We keep talking about raising awareness and speaking out, and what a shame it was that the police didn’t follow up complaints about Mabus sooner. Doesn’t that imply that we DO expect police to take complaints seriously?

    As for ISPs, some of them will ban blogs just for being controversial. Why assume this one would do nothing? Again, just making the complaints should at least provide a record.

    Besides, making complaints to authorities doesn’t preclude outing someone. I don’t see how “reporting won’t do any good” has anything to do with the supposed effectiveness of public outing.

  154. says

    I’m getting rather exhausted, so am going to have to give fuller responses to what you say tomorrow after work, Pteryxx, but I did want to give a couple of quick thoughts.

    Maybe I should?

    Maybe. Depends on your own sense of risk and paranoia. Perhaps a better question is: would you appreciate a warning, if someone had information suggesting danger about one of the faculty or other students you mention?

    Doesn’t making a complaint at all obligate the police to keep that complaint on file? So that if there are any other complaints against the same individual, they can have more information?

    Hmm… you might be right. Any lawyers? Or cops? Especially ones qualified to speak on Australian law?

    As for ISPs, some of them will ban blogs just for being controversial. Why assume this one would do nothing? Again, just making the complaints should at least provide a record.

    Ok, fair point. However, I’m not sure that I would actually want his ISP to do anything. I’m close to being an absolutist on free speech rights, and if it wasn’t for the harassment, abusive language, and elevated risk, I don’t think I’d be opting for outing him.

    Besides, making complaints to authorities doesn’t preclude outing someone. I don’t see how “reporting won’t do any good” has anything to do with the supposed effectiveness of public outing.

    The phrasing of your original question regarding police/ISP implied a dichotomy in the choice. I guess I just accepted that dichotomy without thinking. My bad, my apologies. Maybe I was already too tired for sense.

  155. says

    Harking waaaaaay back to the beginnings of elevatorgate, one of the issues was that atheist and skeptic communities do not attract many women. And that many women feel harassed and unsafe there.

    Now, why on earth would anyone want to support a community where the standard is that “I wanna kick that bitch in the cunt” is an acceptable thing to say to its female members?

    My agenda is:
    * my safety
    * my friends’ safety
    * my community members’ safety
    * making the community welcoming to other women

    I’m not entirely sure I want to know who he his, but I do want GAC to know, and I want there to be a firm statement from them that harassment is unacceptable.

  156. says

    Hello all!

    Yes, as you may well know, I am part of the ERV gang. do not let this worry you in the least, I’ve come quite a long way since the start of Egate. For instance, I tend to agree more and more about most of the points your “side” makes. I would in fact have applauded and commented on PZ’s latest post about rape, as I fully agree with everything in the quoted parts of the article (haven’t had the time to read it full yet). There are things from your side that I do not agree with, but these are more issues of tone trolling, censorship and hairtrigger baninations. But That’s another story. I’d also like to add that I still really enjoy the company of most of the posters at ERV’s, because they make for good, rational discussions (well, not always, but sometimes we get a bit pissed off).

    Now, as for outing Franc: you should probably try and weigh the amount of threat he represents IRL. I take his blog posts as funny and interesting rants, something not so far from, say, Stephen Colbert or Bill Hicks. That’s just my view. If some, or all of you are offended, just ban him from your blogs, and stop reading his. If you definitely think he can be a threat in real life, just report him to organizers and local authorities. Mind you, remember to attach the incriminating comments to your complains, so the institutions can assess the risks. I don’t think saying “he’s a nutjob misogynist” will do. I also don’t think he’s a misogynist. Again, another story, I’m not his lawyer.

    About the dangers of outing someone: it could very well lead to physical harm to him or his proxys. You have no idea if Franc maybe lives in a very conservative, fundamentalist area where atheists are not welcome. There are people far more dangerous than Franc in the real world. I wouldn’t like to hear about harm to either him, his family, or his friends just because you think, from his online writings, that he’s dangerous IRL. Take PZ, for instance. He can be a super-asshole, aggressive and deeply offending on the internet, yet in meatspace he’s a very kind, gentle person who would never threaten anyone. There is internet persona, and there is meatspace persona, wether anonymous or not.

    Last, as mentionned in a post upthread, this would create a precedent. Some people in the atheist community post under pseudonyms for VERY good reasons. Could be they live in the Bible Belt and could be ostracized, could be they work for a fundie atheists-hater boss…etc. What could stop a nutjob from starting outing them, when all he’d have to do to justify the outing is point out at this and say “see, you do it too”. You are offended by Franc, sure. How many fundies are offended by PZ and his commenters? I wouldn’t take that risk.

    Sorry if that was long, I just wanted to give my opinion.

    PS: Stephanie, have you received my Facebook PM?

    Cheers all, have a good day!

  157. says

    You have no idea if Franc maybe lives in a very conservative, fundamentalist area where atheists are not welcome.

    Non sequitur. And besides,he doesn’t.

    There are people far more dangerous than Franc in the real world.

    Women in the atheist or skeptic movement, especially those on the same continent with “Hoggle”, will hardly be reassured based on your assertion alone.

    Last, as mentionned in a post upthread, this would create a precedent. Some people in the atheist community post under pseudonyms for VERY good reasons.

    I completely agree. Which is why I say don’t out him, but have details of his internet conversations filed away, and his personal details handy. Just in case.

  158. Pteryxx says

    @Nathan, no need to apologize; I comment whenever I’m coherent enough, whatever time of day or night that happens to be. aaaand as it’s taking me far too long to be coherent, that’s a bad sign. But…

    Phil has a point (blech), it’s one I thought of also, and I didn’t post it because I thought I’d get flamed enough without that. Outing Hoggle means outing him as an atheist, and we know how well THAT works out sometimes. If his family turns on him or he loses his job, not for being a douchebag, but for being an atheist, would that make a difference to whether y’all think outing him would be justified?

  159. says

    It should be protected, as long as they don’t break any laws. Can you imagine trying to distinguish beteen KKK masks and Halloween masks in legislation, or even in practice?

    No, you’re conflating legal issues and moral issues.
    There’s a difference between the police forcing someone to remove a mask or forbidding them to wear it in the first place, and another citizen noticing shoes and trousers and shouting “Hey Michael Douchebag, I see you’re racist scum. I’ll stop doing business with you and I will encourage others to do so, too”.
    Or, talking about Halloween, complimenting little Daniel on his cool mask and did he make that himself?
    Yes, some things come with consequenes in meatspace. And for some of them, we approve. Calling somebody the N word comes with a social stigma and that is a good thing. And I wouldn’t be comfortable with such a person working in law enforcement or immigration services.
    What does that mean about Hoggle:
    By now people are really concerned about meeting him at the conference. Those are partially emotional concerns, partially safety concerns.
    Do we mean it when we say we want to make atheist conferences safe places for women? If yes I’d take action to make sure Hoggle isn’t there. That doesn’t imply a full outing.

  160. says

    Rorschach: “Non sequitur. And besides,he doesn’t.”

    Well, at least that’s good to know. But you never know how some people will react. What if he has, in his vicinity, somebody like, say, Valerie Solanas? Sure, these are all conjunctions, but you can never really know. Scrödinger’s Nuttjob, if I may. The benefits of outing him are far lower than the risks.

    “Women in the atheist or skeptic movement, especially those on the same continent with “Hoggle”, will hardly be reassured based on your assertion alone.”

    Er… I wasn’t trying to reassure anyone. The fact is, there are people far more dangerous than Franc, especially since you have no idea if Franc is actually dangerous at all.

    “I completely agree. Which is why I say don’t out him, but have details of his internet conversations filed away, and his personal details handy. Just in case.”

    We are, indeed, in agreement. And I surmiss that Franc is in agreement too, because so far, there is nothing in his writings that can be incriminating.

  161. says

    Outing Hoggle means outing him as an atheist, and we know how well THAT works out sometimes. If his family turns on him or he loses his job, not for being a douchebag, but for being an atheist, would that make a difference to whether y’all think outing him would be justified?

    Cultural question:
    Is that much of an issue in Australia?
    It wouldn’t concern me much in Germany (unless that person works for a catholic institution), but I know that it’s much bigger a problem in the States.

  162. says

    He lives in fucking Australia! You don’t find much in the way of atheist persecution here. Unless he works for the Catholic church, and even then it’s still not very likely to matter unless he does something scandalous like ordain a woman priest.

  163. says

    Alethea: “He lives in fucking Australia! You don’t find much in the way of atheist persecution here. Unless he works for the Catholic church, and even then it’s still not very likely to matter unless he does something scandalous like ordain a woman priest.”

    Ok, but what if, for exemple, his family is deeply religious and doesn’t know about his atheism? Is it worth it to out him?

    Again, that’s all guess work, but it’s a possibility. I don’t think the risk is worth the benefits.

  164. Darren says

    It has been mentioned a few times in this thread that Hoggle ha been harassing other bloggers… I only skimmed the thread, so sorry if I missed any specifics, but I would like to know:

    1) Which bloggers has Hoggle harassed and what is the nature of this harassment?

    and

    2) What is the evidence that the harassment originated from Franc and/or an associate?

    I mean, seriously… there is only so much an IP address will tell you.

  165. Arty Morty says

    One Brow, #119:
    “I do indeed receive verbal abuse [in real life] from time to time. I have no expectations that it will stop in my lifetime, and no desire to create a system that would stop others from saying such things.”

    This isn’t about “creating a system that would stop others from saying things,” it’s about bringing the terms and consequences of online harassment and abuse in line with the terms and consequences of real-world harassment and abuse—no more; no less.

    Obviously, online anonymity brings great benefits to the online community—to the atheosphere in particular. But we can’t obligate the victims of online harassment, threats and abuse to pay the price while the rest of us reap the benefits.

    If someone is using their anonymity as a weapon, a tool to personally attack people, free from the threat of personal consequences, the victims have the right to revoke it, and they shouldn’t face reproach by their friends and allies for doing so.

    It isn’t a breach of anyone’s fundamental civil rights if you find out what their online pseudonym is and say so publicly. Yes, in many cases, it’s unethical to do so; in others—such as with Hoggle—it isn’t: defending oneself against abuse is absolutely ethical. (Did Greg Laden even hint that it could be illegal? Come on, that’s just silly.) Outing Hoggle wouldn’t set any dangerous precedents either, counter to what PTERYXX suggested (#174):

    “And every time I read something about how bullies and abusers NEED to be outed for their victims’ protection (nobody specific here) I keep hearing it in the voices of raging fundies trying to protect their flock from the ebil atheists/gays/feminists/whatever.”

    Terrible comparison. It’s wrong of religious bigots to remove the anonymity of “atheists/gays/feminists/whatever” on the web because religious bigots could harm “atheists/gays/feminists/whatever” in real life. (That, of course, doesn’t stop fundies from doing just that anyways. Try pseudonymously getting into an online argument with a raging evangelical, then privately telling them your name, address and place of work. I doubt they’d anguish over the consequences of outing you.) By contrast, it’s wrong to uphold the anonymity of a mysogynist who harasses and threatens women online because he IS harming people online, and he could harm people in real life, too.

    Protecting the right of “atheists/gays/feminists/whatever” to be “atheists/gays/feminists/whatever” is not the same thing as protecting the “right” of mysogynist threat-makers to be mysogynist threat-makers. In the real world, this goes without saying and to conflate the two would raise hackles. Why, in the blogosphere, is such a basic idea so difficult to understand?

  166. says

    Arty: “mysogynist threat-makers”

    Uh, where? If “if I were a girl, I’d kick her in the crouch” is a threat, you should start sueing and outing the whole internet. As far as law and ethics are concerned, Franc never issued a threat (that I know of). As for misogyny, you’d have to provide evidence that Franc is a misogynist, as defined by the term in and of itself: “women hater”…

    And once again we derail! Mabuze is a threat-maker. Franc? Not so much. I’m not sure he’s ready to apply for a sex change just so he can fulfill his “threat”. It’s like me saying “if I were an alien from Ursa Minor, I’d zap her in the cunt”. Rude, yes. Provocative, yes. A threat? No.

  167. says

    *I know I will regret it, I know I will regret it, I know I will regret it*

    If “if I were a girl, I’d kick her in the crouch” is a threat, you should start sueing and outing the whole internet. As far as law and ethics are concerned, Franc never issued a threat (that I know of). As for misogyny, you’d have to provide evidence that Franc is a misogynist, as defined by the term in and of itself: “women hater”…

    First of all, he didn’t use crotch, he used the word c*nt.
    That’s a word with a history, a word to describe female genitalia as something bad, implicating that being in posession of one is a bad thing itself.
    Secondly, it’s a veiled threat. “If I were” is a disclaimer just like “I’m not a racist, but…”
    Thirdly, why should kicking another woman in the crotch be OK if one was female oneself?
    Fourthly, if the fact that somebody indulges in the idea of sexually assaulting a woman isn’t hatred of women, what is?

  168. Benign Greg says

    Bryan:

    So, like are you free tonight for coffee? Just asking since you’ve apparently broken up with this guy.

    SZ:

    Dr. Bryan [REDACTED], does your wife know you’re hitting on other women on the internet, and does [REDACTED] know you’re fine with doing so after a woman says she’s tired of people feeling “really goddamn entitled to your time/attention/sexuality, just ’cause”? Just asking since you’re doing it more anonymously than you usually comment.

    Given the context, I’d say Bryan attempted to be semi-funny, scoring about 2 out of 10. Even if it was 1/10 or 0/10, it remains the stuff of unremarkable banality.

    In contrast, SZ’s reaction looks pretty bizarre. She uses this ho-hum stuff as an opportunity to conquer immorality while showboating her righteousness. Anyone can get caught in this kind of mindset, and we all go through stages. It passes.

  169. Arty Morty says

    And Fifthly, what of harassment and abuse? Nothing special? Take it like a man? That sort of thing?

    And Sixthly, why would I “have to provide evidence” that this particular guy in this particular instance of online harassment is a misogynist (hey I spelled it right for once!) in order for my broad, general point about outing abusive people to stand?

  170. says

    Oh, of course. Well, it’s such a good thing you’re so far above the fray, Greg.

    Or it could just be that jokes require someone to hear them who will find them funny. If the person who is the target of your joke isn’t going to find it funny because, say, the “joke” looks exactly like all the other crap this person deals with, then, as with one-sided “flirting,” you’re in potential harassment territory. If that person has already said they don’t want to be treated that way, you’re harassing them.

    This isn’t difficult, you know, if you remember to think about the person on the receiving end.

  171. says

    Arty, if your point is general, then granted. By that, I mean granted I focused too much on Franc in your comment. I still think outing people for such minor offenses has more risk than benefit. In the case of Mabuse, he was escalating, both on the web and in meatspace. Something had to be done, and has been done to, shall I note, his own benefit. Turns out he has substance abuse problems that exacerbate his “psychotic” fits. Treatment and further assessments of his condition will most likely improve his way of life, and his interaction with others.

    I am still not convinced at all that Franc needs any of this. Saying “if I were a girl, I’d punch her in the cunt” is not even a veiled threat. Should the good old IRC meme “slaps X in the face with a large trout” be considered actual assault, or even a threat? There’s almost 20 years of internet culture to take into account.

    Now, these days I too object about the use of gender slurs (independant of gender). But I will not silence or out the ones using them. Their right, their prerogative.

    But if you think Franc has acted online in such a way that deserves scrutiny by organizers or loval authority, just go ahead, see where it leads.

    My guess would be “hahaha, trolled! U mad?”

  172. julian says

    In contrast, SZ’s reaction looks pretty bizarre.

    Because she called him out on his entirely inappropriate, insulting and rude behavior?

    Amazing how many people are willing to agree something is wrong but insist you’re the bad one for pointing it out.

    Anyone can get caught in this kind of mindset, and we all go through stages. It passes.

    Oh save it.

    He’s a grown man. No fucking excuses.

  173. julian says

    This isn’t difficult, you know, if you remember to think about the person on the receiving end.

    Obviously this is an example of you trying to guilt the pour soul into agreeing with you. How dare you demand people think of other people before adding to the harassment they’ve already endured. That’s emotional blackmail!

  174. Benign Greg says

    SZ, I found your reaction bizarre. You are free to discard that data point. Or you could examine that data point. Up to you.

    When you equated Bryan with “Who’s ready for the gang bang?” — which is a totally different comment delivered in a totally different context — that was a pretty cogent explanation for your bizarre reaction.

    I am going to guess your reaction to this comment: you’ll say the “gang bang” stuff is not a totally different comment and not a totally different context. But you equating those in your mind does not make it so. I will respect your right to equate them if you respect my right to say it’s wrong for you to equate them.

    I believe I have identified a cognitive bias which causes you to assess situations in an atypical manner. We all have our biases, and all of us are flawed. I’m just saying that I happened to have observed a bias of yours.

  175. Arty Morty says

    Philgiordana,

    I don’t think saying Hoggle’s name on a blog is some kind of epic act of retribution way out of proportion to the offense. No one’s suggesting sending a S.W.A.T. team to his house; only linking his real name to his abusive, harassing comments. Ophelia Benson, Stephanie Zven and others shouldn’t have to hold back defending themselves from his continued abuse for the sake of upholding the cleanliness of his Google record. Outing him doesn’t violate the Geneva Conventions and it won’t spell the end of the blogosphere as we know it. It will possibly-maybe make a major creep a little bit more accountable for his behaviour, and make a whole lotta people feel a whole lot safer when they gather in Melbourne. What’s so controversial about that?

  176. says

    Arty: It will most likely make some random anonymous and, so far, harmless blogger and poster from the internet a potential meatspace target of whatever crazy loon happens to really dislike his views. That’s the beginning and the end of it.

    I, for one, don’t want that.

  177. says

    I am still not convinced at all that Franc needs any of this. Saying “if I were a girl, I’d punch her in the cunt” is not even a veiled threat. Should the good old IRC meme “slaps X in the face with a large trout” be considered actual assault, or even a threat? There’s almost 20 years of internet culture to take into account.

    Phil, you didn’t come across as stupid when you were on Pharyngula, so, please stop pretending that those things are anywhere alike.
    Because, you know, outside of Asterix comics, people hardly ever get hit with fish. It’s not something with a historic precedence, something that happens way too often in real life, usually for punishing “uppity women”.
    You also neglect the context, where “slaps with a trout” is used in a humoristic way, because of the hilarity of the actual image.
    Hoggle, on the other hand, fantasizes about violence against women who he thinks need to be put back into their place. I whole behaviour about Rebecca Watson, Ophelia Benson, Stephanie Zwan, PZ Myers and Greg Laden is obsessive, there’s a linkback to his blog for almost every post by those bloggers dealing remotely with sexism.
    The whole picture together is rather scary.

  178. says

    See? This focus on whether or not Hoggle is a “true threat INL” has led to these comments by philgiordana fud which suggest that this …Hoggle’s liklihood of hurting someone or raping someone or whatever … is the issue.

    That is the same conflation of issues that the Abbie Smith Winged Monkey Brigade insists on. It is incorrect and stupid.

    Hoggle is an offensive person who verbally assaults people. That’s all he needs to be to earn disdain from normal people.

  179. says

    (Did Greg Laden even hint that it could be illegal? Come on, that’s just silly.)

    Ah .. no, I did not hint that. Not even a little. I’m sure it is not.

  180. Arty Morty says

    Yes, because the world is such a dangerous place for misogynists! Loons everywhere! If Hoggle doesn’t hide behind the anonymity of the web, feminist terrorists will find him and blow him up!

    And because he’s “so far harmless.” TO YOU, that is.

  181. says

    NSherrod:
    Mr. Laden, what do you mean when you say it is assault but not rape? It is not assault in any legal sense. Perhaps you mean it’s assault in a casual, common-sense, non-legal kind of way. In that case, call it rape if you like, it makes no difference.

    What? You don’t like my use of a word so you take the term and change it quite intentionally into what I explicitly said it did NOT mean? What is the point of doing that? Are you trying to make some point? Are you saying that “Imma kick you in the cunt” is an OK thing to say? Are you pretending that we are having this conversation in a law court? (we are not, btw. this is a cave in the rift wall overlooking the Dead Sea, as has already been established). Are you insisting that being an offensive insulting git and being a rapist are the same thing?

  182. Arty Morty says

    Greg,

    Oops, you’re right. It wasn’t you. But someone up there started on the lawyer talk. Apologies.

    (Upthread you mentioned it wouldn’t be illegal to out Hoggle in this case because he “invited his own outing”; I must have gotten confused and thought you were the one who brought up the legality business in the first place.)

  183. says

    “Phil, you didn’t come across as stupid when you were on Pharyngula, so, please stop pretending that those things are anywhere alike.
    Because, you know, outside of Asterix comics, people hardly ever get hit with fish. It’s not something with a historic precedence, something that happens way too often in real life, usually for punishing “uppity women”.”

    I agree it is not elegant, or even nice, or even remotely correct, but it is still not a threat. Hyperbolic, yes. A threat? No! This is the internet culture, grim as it may be.

    “You also neglect the context, where “slaps with a trout” is used in a humoristic way, because of the hilarity of the actual image.”

    Sadly, some people still think that “kick her in the cunt” is hilarious. Frat humour, maybe. I do not condon, but neither do I condemn. Not my place to do so.

    “Hoggle, on the other hand, fantasizes about violence against women who he thinks need to be put back into their place.”

    That would really need serious evidence, other than some guy venting out on the internet about his frustration with certain behaviours.

    “[His] whole behaviour about Rebecca Watson, Ophelia Benson, Stephanie Zwan, PZ Myers and Greg Laden is obsessive, there’s a linkback to his blog for almost every post by those bloggers dealing remotely with sexism.”

    I would venture (but might be wrong) that Franc is getting his “payback”. He doesn’t like some of the aforementionned bloggers’ attitudes, and expresses himself, sometimes with exemples that cannot be dismissed. Fine, that’s his gig. Let him have it. What about that Pharyngula Wikia page about me, or even PZ’s entry in his “Dungeon” about me? I’m not an MRA, totaly unfunded claim. Still, no outrage about that.

    “The whole picture together is rather scary.”

    Not really. Annoying, I would say, but not “scary”. Yet.

    Greg:

    “See? This focus on whether or not Hoggle is a “true threat INL” has led to these comments by philgiordana fud which suggest that this …Hoggle’s liklihood of hurting someone or raping someone or whatever … is the issue.

    That is the same conflation of issues that the Abbie Smith Winged Monkey Brigade insists on. It is incorrect and stupid.

    Hoggle is an offensive person who verbally assaults people. That’s all he needs to be to earn disdain from normal people.”

    Wait, what? So you saying this guy is dangerous and me saying “proofs” is tantamount to, well, rape-apologist or something? And disdain him all you want, no argument there from me, it’s your right.

    Just think about what the conscequences of outing him could be. That’s all I’m saying. If you guys can sleep at night knowing that you’ve made him a potential pariat or target, good for you. But then you’re not the kind of persons I’d like to hang out with or associate with (yes, I know no one would care to hang out with me around here, but still).

  184. says

    Arty: “Yes, because the world is such a dangerous place for misogynists! Loons everywhere! If Hoggle doesn’t hide behind the anonymity of the web, feminist terrorists will find him and blow him up!

    And because he’s “so far harmless.” TO YOU, that is.”

    Hyperbole much? Or are you very optimistic towards the human race?

  185. says

    Y’know, the great thing about having this conversation in public before doing any outing, and about Hoggle apparently being aware of it, is that if he’s really in line for serious consequences as a result of being outed he’s got the opportunity to say that, publicly or privately, to the people considering outing him.

    Assuming the person claiming to be him upthread really is him, I’d say the ball’s really in his court now. Despite the abusive way he’s talked about many people in the community, there’s still a strong strain of concern about the effects of outing on his wellbeing, strong enough that he could probably easily halt any possibility of outing by giving any indication whatsoever that that concern is justified.

    For my part, if he makes an even slightly convincing case (privately or publicly) that he really needs to remain a pseud, then I’ve got no problem with him keeping that. If he doesn’t care enough about it to defend himself, then there’s no reason to be so bizarrely fastidious about protecting his feelings of security given how little he seems to care about protecting anyone else’s feelings of security in the community.

    Go ahead, Franc, tell us, are these concerns that people have for you things you’re actually worried about for yourself?

  186. says

    It’s not just the insults (those are fine) or the threats (which are empty, and mainly used to express his contempt for women), but the obsession. If you look over Hoggle’s webpage, he’s got 20 entries over the last month. 16 of them are about me, personally, along with some combination of Rebecca Watson or Ophelia Benson; in a couple more he rants about Rebecca but leaves me out. The man is insanely focused and resentful. He seems to think that we few internet atheists are somehow leading all of atheism in lockstep towards some totalitarian future where we control the very nature of godless thought…rather than just a couple of popular speakers and writers.

    That’s what worries me. He’s an ineffectual little toad, but he’s been working up a frothing head of hatred for the past few months. This is his obsession.

    I was appalled a while back when he was proudly recounting a session where he masturbated in front of a sex worker and then angrily told off Rebecca Watson and PZ Myers — it’s the only time I’ve posted about him. He seems to think I was puritanically horrified that he paid for sex…but no, that didn’t bother me at all. What was disturbing was that he’s having sex and thinking about two people he clearly hates. That we’ve become an idée fixe to him, something that has wormed its way into his brain even in his most intimate moments.

    I also thought it was hilarious that he thought the brave way to strike out against his imagined oppressors was to blog about having a hate-wank over us. And then there were the posts where he seemed to think watching German scat porn was a bold statement against me and Rebecca Watson. Reason has come undone in his mind; maybe we should be warning the GAC organizers to be on the watch for a freaky little pseudoterrorist who’s going to attack us by smearing feces and splooge all over the public restrooms.

  187. D. C. Sessions says

    Now I get to redirect back to the main topic. We all change faces.

    Stephanie, I’d tip at least one of the conference organizers off. That way, if he shows up IRL they’re in position to introduce his meatspace self by his cyberspace ID — but only if he shows up.

  188. Philip Legge says

    How interesting that our visitor from ERV views a sustained four-month campaign of character assassination against various named persons as “harmless”. There’s been a lot of to-ing and fro-ing about legalisms in this thread, but I would be quite confident in saying that Hoggle’s rantings would not be viewed as harmless in either moral or ethical terms, or the more technical legal sense. (See above post for legal disclaimer.)

  189. says

    Phil,
    You gave your OK to the Wiki-page.
    If you’re not OK with it, let strange gods know and xie’ll take it down. It’s that easy.
    If you disagree with PZ Myers’ description, give him good reasons to change it. But I fear the fact that you’re a permanent resident of ERV’s isn’t a very convincing one.

    That would really need serious evidence, other than some guy venting out on the internet about his frustration with certain behaviours.

    You mean appart from his obsessive behaviour and his violent fantasies.
    Sorry, the “it’s just the internet” doesn’t win anything here.
    You know, Rebecca Watson simply made a remark on the internet. She’s getting the shit in real life and Hoggle is right in the centre of it. So he’s perfectly OK with taking things to meatspace as long as the consequences aren’t on him.

    Still, I’m done with the “oh poor Franc Hoggle, he’s just a bloke on the web” discussion. I knew I would regret it.

  190. says

    Philip: How interesting that everyone here and elsewhere view a sustained three-month campaign of character assassination against Abbie, Bluharmony or myself and others as “harmless”.

    As for legal and technical, there’s a case to be made from both sides. Not the subject here, though…

  191. ChasCPeterson says

    I do not condon, but neither do I condemn. Not my place to do so.

    Phil, not-condemning is the very definition of ‘condoning’.
    You could look it up.
    And why isn’t it your ‘place’ to express an opinion about Hoggle’s sick crap?
    You just don’t want to rock the Playhouse boat.

  192. says

    The GAC organizers have been informed of Hoggle’s identity, and have had his pages o’ hate shown to them. It’s their decision now.

    Phil: there has been no “sustained three-month campaign of character assassination against Abbie, Bluharmony” and yourself. Can you show us anything at all comparable to Hoggle’s Greylining or that embarrassing “monument” on Abbie’s blog? Those are places that are about nothing but how evil the Watson/Myers/Benson cabal is.

    You’ve got a brief mention on my dungeon page and on the wiki. No one has spent months shoring them up with post after post and comment after comment; I was done with you once I banned you. You get an occasional backhand when you start your whining on some other blog, nothing more.

    One of the annoying things about the MRA gang on their anti-Watson crusade is their complete lack of perspective. They’ve been riding their one-legged pony so hard and with such non-stop fervor that they think everyone else is addressing them with the same degree of derangement.

  193. says

    Giliell:

    “Phil,
    You gave your OK to the Wiki-page.”

    Hu, I did? Don’t remember that, except as sarcastic comments about it.

    “If you’re not OK with it, let strange gods know and xie’ll take it down. It’s that easy.”

    He knows, has knownw for some time, and basically responded “fuck you, hahaha!” (this actually was on the comments on the wikia page, now removed).

    “If you disagree with PZ Myers’ description, give him good reasons to change it. But I fear the fact that you’re a permanent resident of ERV’s isn’t a very convincing one.”

    Guilt by association? Nice! I would agree with his description of “don”t piss off the blog owner”, even if I think this is highly stupid and arrogant, but whatever happens, I am not a MRA. Note he never said “Likely another MRA”, which would reflect just his opinion, but “Likewise another MRA”, which ties me to the previous entry in his Dungeon.

    “You mean appart from his obsessive behaviour and his violent fantasies.”

    “Obsessive” behaviour in the frame of a debate is not something to be frown about. We all do it when we fight creationists and such. Why be different in this case? As for “violent fantasies”, except that “if I were a girl…” stuff that I totaly saw as a frustrated comment lead by anger, I don’t see what you are talking about.

    “Sorry, the “it’s just the internet” doesn’t win anything here.”

    But it does. I have somewhere a form for internet butthurt complains. Want it? No real arm was done.

    “You know, Rebecca Watson simply made a remark on the internet. She’s getting the shit in real life and Hoggle is right in the centre of it. So he’s perfectly OK with taking things to meatspace as long as the consequences aren’t on him.”

    I’ve said many times before that I don’t have a single problem with RW’s initial video. I agree with her right to feel unconfortable. This has nothing to do with my argument.

    “Still, I’m done with the “oh poor Franc Hoggle, he’s just a bloke on the web” discussion. I knew I would regret it.”

    Then if it also means you are done with the “oh poor Franc Hoggle, he’s just a bloke ” discussion, I think we are done. Not enough humanity for me.

    Note to everyone: I am not an enemy of any kind. I’m trying to resolve some issues and give my point of view about this “outing” business. Shall we agree to disagree?

  194. ChasCPeterson says

    a sustained three-month campaign of character assassination against Abbie, Bluharmony or myself and others as “harmless”

    LOL.
    Certain characters are merely given sufficient rope to self-assassinate.
    Seriously, Phil, if you can’t see the difference between what’s been said about Watson (even by you alone) and the sum total of everything everyone’s said about you, bluharmony, and Abbie, then you are deluded beyond reason.
    You’ve been denounced and mocked for things you’ve said. Period. Deal with it.
    In contrast, you and your compatriots think that cruelty is fun for its own sake. You suck. And Hoggle is emblematic.

  195. says

    Ok, people, let’s be clear:

    I am NOT defending Franc as an individual. I would do the same for anyone else. I’m defending an ethical principle, since this is the subject of this thread.

    I hope we are clear on this.

  196. says

    About the dangers of outing someone: it could very well lead to physical harm to him or his proxys.

    Tough shit — he should have thought of that before creating and reinforcing one of the most hateful, vindictive, persistent, and substance-free personas ever. Seriously, most sane adults, if they even think there’s haters out there who want to hurt him, would take at least some care not to fling gratuitous insults in all directions, or provoke more hate or make any more enemies than they already have, without very good cause. That’s a perfectly reasonable measure anyone can take for his/her own day-to-day protection; and if Hoggle is not taking it, why should anyone else be held responsible for him? There’s no point trying to protect someone who won’t protect himself.

    He can be a super-asshole, aggressive and deeply offending on the internet, yet in meatspace he’s a very kind, gentle person who would never threaten anyone.

    If he knows a certain behavior is wrong and doesn’t do him any good IRL, then he should have chosen to apply that understanding to his Web conduct. I’m more obnoxious on the Web than I am face to face, but the difference isn’t that huge, because I have a sense of shame, and because I believe most of the same basic rules of conduct apply in both spheres, for the same reasons. If Hoggle doesn’t apply that rule, it’s probably because he’s either insane (in which case he needs to be outed to a shrink or three); or a very childish loser abusing other people’s restraint just so he can verbally abuse others, for no purpose other than his own amusement, and get away with it (in which case outing him is a perfectly appropriate response, and MIGHT repeat MIGHT deter him and/or others from abusing a privilege that’s meant for better purposes).

    Last, as mentionned in a post upthread, this would create a precedent.

    What, this is the first time anyone’s ever considered outing an obnoxious moron who never had anything decent or worthwhile to say? I don’t think so.

    Bottom line, IMHO: outing Hoggle is a perfectly appropriate response to his behavior, and the decision to do so, or not, should probably be made by concensus of those most affected by his actions. I’m not in that group, so I’m not voting on it; but I’ll respect whatever decision that group makes, and I think others should too. My only qualification is to suggest that bloggers try banning him first, since that’s a more direct solution to the harm I’ve seen done; and since, in most cases, banning does seem to improve the quality of decent blogs, which is my own personal priority here, FWIW.

  197. says

    Actually, Phil, you’ve called Hoggle “harmless” and suggested he should be read as a joke, and you’ve done it at the same time you’ve told us to worry about the people who might be mean to him. You’re even differentially condoning.

  198. says

    Sustained harassment and even one threat of violence is harm. And don’t give us the BS line again that because he said “If I were a girl” in front of it, it’s not a threat. The person addressed is supposed to feel safer because the speaker’s *not* a girl? Yeah, right.

  199. says

    Sorry PZ, but when I see a page endorsed by such a prominent figure as yourself being left online, while misrepresenting the subjects of such, for several months, with public access to it, and without a single change despite requests and justifications, I consider it character assassination.

    Not the subject of this post, though. Sorry for derailling…

  200. says

    Stephanie:

    Truth is, I don’t know Franc through any other means that the internet interactions we’ve had. I have no factual way to know if he’s dangerous or not. For all I know, he could be the next John Wayne Gacy or Ed Gein. Just like you could be. I have no marbles in this game. All I’m saying is: are the benefits of outing him more than the risks?

    That is all (side-talk notwhistanding, of course)

  201. says

    Your entry on my dungeon page: “Likewise, another MRA. Also so self-absorbed that he ignored all my warnings…do not piss off the blog owner.”

    Completely accurate and well-earned. You got banned for being a persistent fuckwit who wouldn’t listen when told to drop a subject that you’d been harping on obsessively (that word is kind of a theme for you guys) for weeks. And here you are, again demonstrating your obtuse and oblivious nature for all to see.

    Having a rebuke and explanation posted on one web page, and being banned from my blog, is not a “campaign”. But again, you don’t see that, do you? That you can even compare what has been done to you to what YOU and your fellow morons have been doing to Rebecca Watson is one of the many ways you are earning public contempt.

  202. says

    Philgior: Wait, what? So you saying this guy is dangerous and me saying “proofs” is tantamount to, well, rape-apologist or something? And disdain him all you want, no argument there from me, it’s your right.

    I said that I don’t think he is dangerious. I don’t know what “saying ‘proofs’” means.

    Just think about what the conscequences of outing him could be. That’s all I’m saying.

    That does not matter one iota. He has engaged in behaviors that could have the consequence of associated his horrid rhestoric with his real identity. The consequences of that association are entirel, 100% his problem and his responsibility. Suggesting that the consequences to him are anyone else’s responsibility are absurd and even offensive.

    Anne: If he doesn’t care enough about it to defend himself,

    Actually, he’s explicitly stated that he does not care if he is outed.

  203. says

    C’mon PZ, I’ll admit anyday that I can be a fuckwit who won’t listen. That comes out of me trying to be indepedant and entertaining rational thoughts on everything. Being told to drop a subject is not my forte, when I’m invested in that subject. By the time I got banned, I think it was still lingering around my childhood rapes. I might be wrong, since a few of my posts were drunk-posting (never a good thing).

    Now, where in the fucking hell am I being obtuse and oblivious? I’m having a talk with rather pleasant and interesting people. I haven’t gone down to insults, and I’m trying to make my point.

    As for Rebecca: I’ve moved on. I don’t see any point in attacking her on anything anymore. Whatever grudge I had against her has been resolved in a way or another. She’s back to her former position in my universe of “video blogger I like to watch sometimes”. End of story.

    “That you can even compare what has been done to you to what YOU and your fellow morons have been doing to Rebecca Watson is one of the many ways you are earning public contempt.”

    Do you mean what has been done to us was “zero bad”? Careful where you thread, PZ.

  204. says

    Greg:

    “That does not matter one iota. He has engaged in behaviors that could have the consequence of associated his horrid rhestoric with his real identity. The consequences of that association are entirel, 100% his problem and his responsibility. Suggesting that the consequences to him are anyone else’s responsibility are absurd and even offensive. ”

    The fact that YOU, or anyone around here out him is going to be the responsability. You have his real name through meatspace informants, fine. It is now your choice to out him or not. What if it turns out he was a POE all along? You are not a mind reader, and you can’t know for sure. Until serious, physical threats of violence, you can’t assert anything.

    But as I said before, I am not his lawyer, so go ahead and out him if you want. But remember “hahaha, Trolled! U mad?” doesn’t look cool on a resume…

  205. says

    Phil, I don’t think you really want to equate “zero bad” to “the consequences of your own behavior.” Really. If you’re going to start arguing things because you just want to have an argument, go somewhere else.

  206. Benign Greg says

    SZ, as long as you’re aware that assessing one situation by equating it with another situation is a well-known psychological phenomenon which falls under the category of ‘substitution’. It’s not a healthy thing. Just sayin’.

    Your response will probably be to scorn me. However putting the focus on me won’t change the observed data.

  207. says

    Stephanie: Whatever the starter of said behavior has nothing to do with it. Or are you victim-shaming (yes, huuuge hyperbole right there).

    This is going OT again, but: Dawkins posted comments. He didn’t invite anyone for coffe in an elevator (as far as I know). But he’s been ostracized for his comments.

    So the condemning of Dawkins was his “actions” (comments). That he made in reply to other “actions” (Pharyngulite excalation in comments). One of these comments of his was that RW’s experience was “zero bad” (I strongly disagree with this statement now, but that’s another matter). And now, whatever mudding of any opponent has happened is zero-bad compared to what Rebecca has endured?

    Preposterous!

  208. says

    Actually, I’ll simply point out that, yes, that is a well-known phenomenon. However, that doesn’t mean that you’ve made any sort of case that (1) I have equated them beyond noting that they are both jokes in which a listener/reader is also the object of the joke in a way that is another well-known phenomenon and (2) the intent for something to be a joke does not mean it is not also something else, namely one of those other well-known phenomena, thus making the analogy entirely valid within the bounds of my argument.

    Citing fallacies without actually applying them to the realities of the situation ain’t so healthy either, at least not for your argument. Just sayin’.

  209. says

    Phil, PZ did not say that what happened to you was “zero bad.” He told you that consequences of an accurate description of your behavior were your own problem. Yes, you’re way off topic. Knock it off or go away.

  210. says

    Arty Morty@201,

    (Post numbers seem to have changed since last night).

    hotshoe@94 talked about not outing Hoggle in terms of enabling him to continue to hurl insults, thus hurting people. I responded @111 that we had no right to avoid being hurt by insults. Ophelia Benson@113 indicated that such things are left behind in the school yard, and adults should not be subject to them (as I understood her post). That led to my response currently @120. In brief, I disagree with that principle. This was more of a tangent than Stephanie Zvan would have liked, probably, and I’ll try to trim that in the future.

    In between, I also explicitly say @115 that I see exposing Hoggle as “zero harm”, and that we really have no proper expectation of privacy on the internet. So, I’m fully aware this is not about fundamental civil rights. I’m also of the opinion merely to getting Hoggle to stop insulting people is an insufficient motive for outing him, to me (but as a zero-harm action, I make no judgements about other people outing him for whatever reason). I just don’t take insults seriously enough to take an active approach to preventing them.

  211. says

    Giliell, the woman who said Good-bye to Kitty@194,

    I don’t think I was confusing the issues, although I did go off on a bit of a tangent. I do agree that contacting the conference organizers may indeed be an appropriate move.

  212. says

    Obtuse and oblivious all right.

    Do you mean what has been done to us was “zero bad”? Careful where you thread, PZ.

    No. You received a measured and appropriate rebuke. Your ‘punishment’ is that you are unwelcome at my blog (and may soon find yourself unwelcome here). I have not spent the last four months making every post on my blog about Phil Giordana and how evil he is.

    What if it turns out he was a POE all along?

    You have got to be kidding me.

    If you think that is even remotely likely, then it isn’t Greg who’s going to be going “D’OH!” when the subterfuge is unveiled — it’s you and the coterie of MRAs who have been worshipfully sucking up to him all this time.

  213. says

    Yeah, Phil would still rather argue about himself than talking about the topic at hand. Anybody want to give him space to do that somewhere else?

    One Brow, sorry about the comment renumbering. There was a comment from PZ I thought I’d already released from purgatory. Turns out I’d moved it to a different purgatory.

  214. Sophia says

    not one threat.

    not one email.

    not one stalking incident of any kind.

    not one phone call.

    not one incoherent rant.

    and not one incitement of violence of any kind.

    and for the baboons that make the strawman of threat and mention his
    if I were a girl, I’d kick her in the cunt”

    they may want to consider how many times women have said about a man they dislike “kick him in the balls” and laughed hysterically. Even on talk shows, reality teevee and sitcoms in the western world. Should the “authorities” be notified about them?

    What about all the US liberals devoting entire blogs to their hate of the tea party, using the most visable and vocal examples repeatedly. They have a constant stream of bile, even some of it libel and propaganda (yes, there is libel and propaganda on both sides) should they be reported?

    This is an attempt to frighten us, and a cowardly tactic (not a surprise). It is the equivalent of the bully threatening to beat up the smart kid after school.

    As I have said previously, you are bluffing. The transparency is palatable.

    Does anyone think for one minute that Rebecca Watson would not rush to make a video and dedicate her blog to tell the world who Franc is, if she knew?

    Franc has done nothing but disagree, and show all of you for the frauds, and puritans, and non-critical thinkers (who want special treatment, not equality) that you are, he has clearly proven that there is a serious problem in the atheist and skeptic communities and the most visible and vocal members of that group are used as perfect examples. He has done it with articulate, precise posts on his own blog.

    regardless it is free speech, something I thought you were all for, even if you disagree.

    There are many (far more than you can imagine) who not only agree with Franc, but are extremely happy that someone is exposing the fraud, the meme, and the players.

    You are a loud and vocal minority.

    It is an honor to be a gender traitor when this is the alternative.

    You are all a disgrace. Proof positive that Franc has been correct all along. Well done.

  215. says

    Sophia, speech isn’t free with Hoggle’s real name attached to it? Someone is using this as a threat to get him to stop anything? If Hoggle’s behavior is perfectly harmless, what harm does attaching his real name do to him? If those of us who already have his name are the problem, then what harm does it do to share the information with otehrs?

    Snap out of your little shared paranoid fantasy and start paying attention to the actual question at hand. Or don’t, if martyrdom suits you.

  216. says

    Sophia@255,

    He has done it with articulate, precise posts on his own blog.

    If Hoggle merely posted on his own blog, I don’t think anyone here would be considering outing him.

    If you’re frightened by the propect of outing, you shouldn’t be posting on the internet. Nothing on the internet is truly private. It’s not my doing; it’s plain reality. Any pretense at privacy is a social compact.

    Thak you for the humerous overreation and the distortion, though. I needed the chuckle.

  217. says

    Stephanie: “Sophia, speech isn’t free with Hoggle’s real name attached to it? Someone is using this as a threat to get him to stop anything? If Hoggle’s behavior is perfectly harmless, what harm does attaching his real name do to him? If those of us who already have his name are the problem, then what harm does it do to share the information with otehrs?”

    “Jesus is a fucking fag who takes it up the arse” is perfecly harmless, in and of itself. But what risk would it lend the speaker?

    A bit of thinking is really needed…

  218. says

    One Brow, see PZ’s comment at 226. That blog is plenty disturbing all on its own. Even if I were never mentioned in it, I would want to know if I ever had to deal with this guy, just on the basis of being one of those feminist atheists whom he hates for ruining the world.

  219. says

    Phil, this entire post and the vast majority of the comments on it involve thinking about these things. Showing up to tell us to “Think about this!!!11!” is…yeah.

  220. says

    C’mon PZ, I’ll admit anyday that I can be a fuckwit who won’t listen. That comes out of me trying to be indepedant and entertaining rational thoughts on everything. Being told to drop a subject is not my forte, when I’m invested in that subject.

    Your need to be independent and rational forces you to be a fuckwit and not listen to anyone else?

  221. says

    Stephanie: “Phil, this entire post and the vast majority of the comments on it involve thinking about these things. Showing up to tell us to “Think about this!!!11!” is…yeah.”

    Now you’re shitting me, right? I’ve been here for quite a few comments, and what I’ve said would take alot of work to be debunked.

    Not looking for a win, looking for an outcome!

    Raging Bee: /ignore

  222. says

    That’s funny, Sophia. Not one of the people targeted by Hoggle have talked about doing that (which is why it isn’t obvious to anyone but you). Those who have spoken on it at all have spoken against it. This is what happens when you comment based on the way your friends describe a conversation instead of reading it yourself.

  223. says

    What about all the US liberals devoting entire blogs to their hate of the tea party, using the most visable and vocal examples repeatedly. They have a constant stream of bile, even some of it libel and propaganda (yes, there is libel and propaganda on both sides) should they be reported?

    If you actually think our criticisms of the Tea Party are in any way comparable to Hoggle’s mindless insults, then you’re just too stupid to talk to. (Oh, and what parts of such criticism are “libel?” I bet you can’t give us even one significant example.)

    This is an attempt to frighten us…

    No, moron, it’s an attempt to discuss an issue and get feedback. Only a hardcore teatard would find that frightening. Go cry, emo kid.

  224. says

    Phil, Hoggle himself (yes, the IP on that comment has been verified as being consistent with his other comments) has said to go ahead and out him. I think that’s all the debunking needed for the idea that this would somehow put him in danger, and it happened before you ever brought up the idea. If the ethical debate here were actually about Hoggle, that would have solved the dilemma right there.

  225. says

    Phil Giordana

    About the dangers of outing someone: it could very well lead to physical harm to him or his proxys.

    And hoggle’s rants about me could very well lead to physical harm to me.

    But you never know how some people will react. What if he has, in his vicinity, somebody like, say, Valerie Solanas? Sure, these are all conjunctions, but you can never really know. Scrödinger’s Nuttjob, if I may. The benefits of outing him are far lower than the risks.

    What if I have, in my vicinity, somebody like that guy in Montreal? You can never really know, can you.

    It will most likely make some random anonymous and, so far, harmless blogger and poster from the internet a potential meatspace target of whatever crazy loon happens to really dislike his views. That’s the beginning and the end of it.

    I am already (and many times over) a potential meatspace target of whatever crazy loon happens to really dislike my views, my looks, my gender, my cunt, my feminism.

    Why doesn’t everything you say about hoggle apply times 10 to me? Why would saying what franc hoggle’s real name is make him any more of a target than he has already made me – and Rebecca and PZ and Greg and Stephanie?

  226. says

    Actually, he’s explicitly stated that he does not care if he is outed.

    Yeah, I saw that, Greg, but it sounded to me a little bit more like angry bravado than a carefully-considered opinion. It’s not that I see any need to stand on ceremony and get a formal, written statement of clear, non-sarcastic consent from him before outing him or nuthin’, but I would say that if, after a little more consideration, he publicly or privately indicated that he could be seriously harmed by outing, that might be worthy of some consideration.

    On the other hand, if he *doesn’t* seem to think he’s in any danger, I don’t know why the rest of us should waste our time agonizing about the vague hypothetical potential reputation harm an abusive troll might experience from having his real name linked to his online abuses. If he doesn’t care about it, why should we?

  227. says

    Furthermore, he didn’t worry about the safety of the real people he’s been maligning for months. He seems to have taken it for granted that real people whose real names are known are in no danger from mere online talk…so that should apply to him too, shouldn’t it? In other words why would he be more at risk than we are?

  228. says

    Oh, but, Ophelia, we’re Stazi, so whatever happens to us is just fine.

    Phil went into moderation. There are a number of comments in there telling me to just let him know if arguing out things with PZ here is a problem–after I told him to knock it off. *headdesk* Stuff on topic comes through, though.

  229. says

    I think it’s a question of “not stooping to their level”. If there is actual danger from this guy, he should be reported to the authorities, or those targeted by him should be notified about his identity too. After following the pseudonym debate ignited by Google+, I have come to realise that many people have many valid reasons for wanting to stay anonymous, and I think we should strive to honour this principle as long as certain limits are not overstepped.
    And I thought it might be a good idea to alert the GAC organisers of his identity, and this seems to have been what has happened.

    Just a short comment on the PharyngulaWiki: in a lengthy discussion on the endless thread, the consensus was that a page WILL NOT be taken down just because the person portrayed on it complains about it,in fact Phil Giordana was even the precedent for that decision IIRC. The pages about another ERV denizen and now Phil Giordana were taken down because they were deemed not NOTABLE (in the sense of Wiki notability) enough trolls to warrant their own pages. They remain on the list of known ERV trolls though.

  230. says

    Stepahnie Zvan,

    Thank you for pointing out @226.

    PZ Myers@226,

    While I would agree that Hoggle blogs obsessively about three specific people, and that the post you offer describes him as using his recent masturbation to try to refute something or other to do with sexual behavior, I think it is reading more into the post than is there to say he was thinking about you *while* he was masturbating. I agree that if he were doing that, it would be troubling.

  231. says

    Sophia@262,

    The query was in the initial post was concerning outing Franc Hoggle, not reporting him to the authorities. If you wanted to restrict your comments to a side issue, you should have been more clear.

  232. says

    Does anyone think for one minute that Rebecca Watson would not rush to make a video and dedicate her blog to tell the world who Franc is, if she knew?

    I know she wouldn’t. That kind of obsessive behavior is symptomatic of you and your peers, Sacha/Sophia. There’s a word for what you’re doing: projection.

    No one has dedicated their blog to smearing Hoggle even now; knowing his real name doesn’t suddenly inspire us to the kind of compulsive preoccupation you are all exhibiting.

    And what do you mean, not one incoherent rant? ALL of his blog entries are incoherent, angry, accusatory rants. Here’s just one set of tags he set for just one of his posts:

    puritanism, shrieking hysteria, great idiots of the world, yellow journalism, stupidity, hyperreality, fascism, misandry, new new atheism, nihilism, moral panic, pseudo-skepticism, toilet slaves, PZ, skepchick, Rebecca Watson, PZ Myers, cults, delusion, Pharyngula, Naked Emperor, freethoughtblogs, veronika moser, ophelia benson, baboon king, baboon board, pudgy pink princesses, selective reality

    Do you really see any sanity at all in that mess? And that was one of his milder posts, where he shows an old Warner Bros. cartoon and explains how it represents me and Rebecca.

    This is a guy who for the past several months has dedicated all of his online work to comparing Watson to Goebbels, calling us toilet slaves and gutter filth, basically doing his very best to dehumanize people he sees as enemies to his ideological psychopathy. And speaking of projection…here’s what he accuses Ophelia Benson of doing to Abbie Smith.

    It’s a production line. Ophelia doesn’t just want to hurt Abbie – she wants to destroy her. She wants to ruin her professionally by saturating google with these types of items. This is raw, woman hating malice. It’s what you do when you don’t have a penis to rape with.

    You will not find that Ophelia has been “saturating google” with anti-Abbie Smith propaganda. I just searched FtB, and there are precisely TWO articles in which Ophelia mentions Abbie; neither are particularly vitriolic. Ophelia just doesn’t get into vitriol.

    Apply Hoggle’s logic equally, though. If a couple of mentions on B&W represent raw malice and a desire to destroy someone, and is the equivalent of rape, then what exactly do we call Hoggle’s prolonged, frantic, truly vicious mania?

  233. says

    Well then Phil, please answer my question. What about the risk to all the real people who use their real names? Are you equally worried about them? I’ve certainly never seen you say a word about it. Have you ever posted at ERV or hoggle’s place about possible dangerous loons who might be inspired to violence against Rebecca or PZ or (pardon my obsessiveness) me?

  234. says

    Hadn’t seen PZ’s comment.

    Ditto about Rebecca. I haven’t even bothered to tell her about it, for the simple reason that I don’t think she’d be interested. She has lots of these stalkers, so I don’t think she would give a shit about one in particular.

  235. says

    philgiordana fcd says:

    Truth is, I don’t know Franc through any other means that the internet interactions we’ve had. I have no factual way to know if he’s dangerous or not. For all I know, he could be the next John Wayne Gacy or Ed Gein. Just like you could be. I have no marbles in this game. All I’m saying is: are the benefits of outing him more than the risks?

    Again: It does not matter if he is dangerous. One could argue that he’s stepped over a line that, once crossed, excuses anyone who would like to out him from doing so, especially since he’s said that would be fine with him. This is not about whether or not he is dangerous in real life. He is an unmitigated shit in cyberspace, and should be shoveled to the curb.

    And if by risks you mean risks to him, it does no matter what they are. His problem entirely.

  236. says

    The fact that YOU, or anyone around here out him is going to be the responsability. You have his real name through meatspace informants, fine. It is now your choice to out him or not.

    SO you think he should be outed, then? Interesting. Should it happen, the, you’d be in support of it. Personally, its not my call. I don’t think it is a good idea to out people.

    But remember “hahaha, Trolled! U mad?” doesn’t look cool on a resume…

    Again, you are speaking in riddles. What does this mean?

    Anne: Yeah, I saw that, Greg, but it sounded to me a little bit more like angry bravado than a carefully-considered opinion.

    Bravado is only empty if it is ignored! Hard to tell the dragon after the fact you were only kidding when you’ve tickled its tail.

    Sophia: Does anyone think for one minute that Rebecca Watson would not rush to make a video and dedicate her blog to tell the world who Franc is, if she knew?

    At this point, I’ve been informed of Franc Hoggle’s identity from more than one source. I would be very surprised if almost everyone commenting above does not know his identity. Don’t assume Rebecca doesn’t. I know Rebecca well enough to guess that she would likely not address Hoggle at all, even if she knew his identity. Your statement is foundationless.

    Having said that, if she did what you say (in the form of an accusation, which is inappropriate) then good for her. Serves him right.

  237. ChasCPeterson says

    I don’t think it is a good idea to out people.

    Except when you think it is, you disingenuous hypocrite. You did it–just that–to me, once.

  238. says

    Chas, see the discussion around comment 100. Responding to competing priorities is not necessarily disingenuous or hypocritical. Did you have something to say that was on topic?

  239. Def-Star says

    I say publish his name. It’ll be easier to get him committed, excuse me, the help he needs, once he goes full Mabus. Which should be soon.

  240. says

    Ophelia: you chose to post under your own name, like I did. You are accountable for your own words, and this is a very noble stance. It’s the reason why I myslef post under my real name.

    Franc does not post under his real name, thus I assume he must have his reasons for doing so. Again, does the benefit of outing him outweight the risks of outing him? The only reason it wouldn’t would be petty revenge. You yourself have a blog and a public voice. Destroye his internet persona if you like. Outing him, though? I don’t like that notion. But maybe it’s just me.

    “Well then Phil, please answer my question. What about the risk to all the real people who use their real names? Are you equally worried about them? I’ve certainly never seen you say a word about it. Have you ever posted at ERV or hoggle’s place about possible dangerous loons who might be inspired to violence against Rebecca or PZ or (pardon my obsessiveness) me?”

    Anyone posting under their real name are always responsible for their WORDS. I shall know, I am one of those. Personal choice, me sayz!

    And in fact I have talked about those potential loons only a few days ago. You can browse there, where I expressed my fears about such an event happening.

    Greg: “Again: It does not matter if he is dangerous. One could argue that he’s stepped over a line that, once crossed, excuses anyone who would like to out him from doing so, especially since he’s said that would be fine with him. This is not about whether or not he is dangerous in real life. He is an unmitigated shit in cyberspace, and should be shoveled to the curb.

    And if by risks you mean risks to him, it does no matter what they are. His problem entirely.”

    Oh, so he’s “fair game”? How skeptic of you. Well played!

    There is a certain amount of ugliness among some of the posters here that would better be adressed…

  241. says

    I’ve been here for quite a few comments, and what I’ve said would take alot of work to be debunked.

    …says he, AFTER my one-question debunking of his nonsense.

    Raging Bee: /ignore

    If you have to tell everyone you’re ignoring me, that pretty much proves you can’t.

  242. Pteryxx says

    I have to try again, coherence be damned:

    These arguments for outing Hoggle, which match the prevailing views, come down to: 1) outing Hoggle does him no harm, and 2) if it DOES do him harm, it should happen anyway. Because it doesn’t do him enough harm to be concerned about it, or he deserves it. Maybe he deserves it for harassing others, or for misusing anonymity, or for contributing to misogyny, but that’s what all these reasons come down to: outing is bad but THIS one deserves whatever happens as a result. Or, outing is harmless, at least to THIS person. Or outing is okay because his targets are acting in self-defense, or because he asked for it. Same difference.

    The practical argument for outing him, which I keep asking about, is that publicly outing him would accomplish something… either halting his harassment, protecting people from him, or both. I would LOVE for someone to give reasons to back this up, because I don’t see a way for A to lead to B, even though that would be the best damn reason ever to take action. Outing someone isn’t a magic “we win” button. It sounds like getting a restraining order and thinking “This’ll make him treat us right!”

    And that’s GIVEN the premise that he’s dangerous. Personally I think it’s possible, given his pattern of obsessive hating behavior focused on specific targets. Gavin de Becker calls these risk factors in a general crime context, and sex predator research notes they’re risk factors in a sexual-assault context. But I’m no expert and all I can do is guess. That said, I do think the GAC organizers should be warned, because they have both the right and the responsibility to provide security for their attendees. One of de Becker’s preventive strategies is to warn security about obsessive people who have NOT done anything illegal yet, so they can be forestalled – but he also suggests not threatening or humiliating these people, because that may cause them to escalate.

    So let’s say he’s been outed. How or by whom doesn’t matter; let’s say someone attending GAC accidentally lets it slip and the blogosphere picks up on it. What do you all do with his name that makes you safer, or helps you feel safer? What do you want to see happen as a result? What would make people in his real life safer?

    Would you want him banned from atheist events, or just watched wherever he goes? Would you want his blog taken down? Or a letter-writing campaign warning his employer? (Warning an employer privately is another of Gavin de Becker’s professional tactics.) Would you go looking for his personal info to see where he hangs out and who his friends are? Do you want to send warnings to his family members or his Facebook contacts or his local newspaper or volunteer organization or whatever? Do you want his real name and blog, atheism and all, just floating around the net so that any prospective employer, journalist, competitor or social contact can find it IF they look? (This came up with nursing-student Ben Cochran’s rant, though he outed himself.) Is it okay if someone ELSE does any of these things without consulting you? (Giving his name to other people privately still increases the odds that he gets outed by someone.)

    I’m honestly asking, because I’m not one of Hoggle’s targets, I’m not in Australia, and I’m still disturbed and triggered by his behavior. I don’t know what I would do in your place. If y’all who ARE his targets and have his name decide that outing him is the best response no matter the consequences, even if it accomplishes nothing but making a statement, so be it; but I don’t think it’s right to justify the action by imagining only the consequences we’d most like to see.

  243. says

    Phil, you find Hoggle’s ugliness aimed at people here amusing. You find his prescriptions for us amusing. Yet “He is an unmitigated shit in cyberspace, and should be shoveled to the curb” disturbs you. Interesting.

  244. says

    Pteryxx, I think all of those questions have been addressed here, although not everyone has answered the same way. Try thinking of it this way, however: Those of us who have the information are not just faced with a choice about making the information public. We are also faced with a choice about continuing to hide his behavior for him.

  245. says

    Def-Star has a good point: Hoggle is doing something pretty close to what M*bus did — mindless and persistent verbal abuse in many forums at once — so it’s a safe bet he’ll go the same direction as M*bus, simply by egging himself on with his own impotent insults and grinding hate, toward something more drastic than the mere words that will eventually cease to make him feel powerful enough. Both Hoggle and M*bus have absolutely zero impulse control; so, given their clearly stated impulses, it would be foolish to think that Hoggle will never become more threatening than he now seems.

  246. says

    Frothing Bee: then be content that some people know Franc’s real identity and can use it if needed.

    There’s no need to project anything as long as there’s no concrete sign of danger. Nothing in what he’s ever written leads to RL threats.

  247. says

    Stephanie: “Phil, you find Hoggle’s ugliness aimed at people here amusing. You find his prescriptions for us amusing. Yet “He is an unmitigated shit in cyberspace, and should be shoveled to the curb” disturbs you. Interesting.”

    Yes, because that’s a sign of thought-policing. Just that. He can be the greatest asshole in the world, it doesn’t justify such action. And again, this is just my opinion, as I defined it above in my posts.

  248. says

    No, Pteryxx, the reasons you paraphrased in your first paragraph are not the same; nor are they the same as the resaons WE actually cited. And, as Stephanie just said, your concerns have already been addresed, from practically all angles.

  249. Pteryxx says

    @Stephanie: as I see it, either choice (making the name public vs. enabling his behavior) still depends on the assumption that exposing his name would actually have any effect on the behavior. If outing him doesn’t shut him up, and isn’t expected to shut him up, then NOT outing him can’t practically be considered enabling. Is the only purpose to outing him to make a public statement ABOUT his behavior being unacceptable?

  250. Pteryxx says

    @Raging Bee, I did read the whole thread, repeatedly, and I’m unconvinced. If that’s just me, then I said all I can.

  251. says

    Is the only purpose to outing him to make a public statement ABOUT his behavior being unacceptable?

    I don’t see what’s wrong with such a statement.

    As for whether it will make anything better, it’s worth a shot. That sort of thing can’t always be predicted, and given the Hoggle-M*bus parallels, it might be best to err on the side of caution.

  252. says

    Phil: judging someone’s character by what we know of his actions is “thought-policing?” And taking reasonable protective action is never justified? Really? Are you TRYING to make yourself sound more ridiculous with each comment?

  253. says

    Stephanie: The only ethical move, based on evidence and reason, is to NOT out him.

    Please note I’m using this as a thought exercise. I couldn’t give a flying fuck if you outed him. Well, I would because it would create a precedent and eventualy be damning to any pseudonymous poster anywhere.

    I’m just giving my opinion, here.

  254. hotshoe says

    Do you want his real name and blog, atheism and all, just floating around the net so that any prospective employer, journalist, competitor or social contact can find it IF they look? (This came up with nursing-student Ben Cochran’s rant, though he outed himself.)

    Yes, this is exactly what should happen.

    The example of Ben Cochran is right on the money – current associates and future employers should be able to find out what Ben says where he thinks he can get away with it, so they can make an informed choice in real world spaces where Ben may be making a more-successful effort to hide what he really thinks. That is, IF they look.

    I’m not advocating that anyone start stalking Hoggle and harassing him, or contact his friends/relatives/employers with evidence that he’s an unhinged shit on the internet and therefore should be shunned in real life. I can hardly imagine why anyone would do that – there just is no reason to expect that anyone cares enough about Hoggle’s hatred to respond in kind with hateful behavior towards him. But the information should be made available for ordinary people – IF they look for it – to make better-informed choices about associating themselves with him, and just validating their intuitions that he seems like a bit of a creep …

    Those of us who have the information are not just faced with a choice about making the information public. We are also faced with a choice about continuing to hide his behavior for him.

    Right. That’s the choice.

    It’s generally not a good idea to hide bad behavior, even when it seems like there are reasons to do so (like being afraid that an online precedent of “outing” atheists might lead to harm to some outed).

    “I won’t tell if you don’t” sometimes works for kids games. Is this situation here a kids game ?

  255. says

    Phil Giordana, your reply to me is flippant, as if it’s simply obvious that I have nothing to worry about, yet you take the potential danger to hoggle with deadly seriousness. Excuse me but I think that’s 1) partisan and 2) bullshit.

    Yes I chose to post under my own name. Does it follow that I simply have to put up with non-stop smear campaigns from concealed aggressors?

    Franc does not post under his real name, thus I assume he must have his reasons for doing so. Again, does the benefit of outing him outweight the risks of outing him? The only reason it wouldn’t would be petty revenge.

    Nonsense. There are other reasons, which have been discussed. Do the risks of not outing him outweigh the benefit of not outing him? You’re just brushing that question off, because you really don’t give a flying fuck about it.

  256. says

    Yikes. I didn’t know Phil Giordana had actually said he doesn’t give a flying fuck when I said that he doesn’t give a flying fuck. I have psychic powers; who knew.

  257. says

    Ophelia: hehehe! :)

    Still, I am still not convinced Franc could be a risk to anyone, if judging by his internet writings alone. If you think differently, fine. Just take the next step and signal him to the organizers and local authority. Again, don’t forget to attach all the incriminating postings he’s done. Because, honestly, again: “hahaha, you got trolled! U mad?” doesn’t look good…

  258. says

    I think the best (e.g. most selfless) reasons people have proffered here outside of personal fear (which I do not discount) for outing Hoggle are that those people who meet him in real life should have the benefit of knowing how he feels about women in general and these atheists in the specific before deciding to associate with him at conventions — or in real life generally.

    When someone Googles Ophelia’s name, will they get her blog, or her blog as well as Franc’s rants? When someone Google’s Franc’s real name, will they get any indication that he’s an unhinged ranter with an idee fixe and an obsessive hatred of several people — to the point where he’s devoted four fucking months of his life building a blog dedicated to hating on these people?

    Nobody trolls for four months — if they do, they’re not trolling. They’re obsessed.

  259. says

    And another thing, to Ophelia’s point — why should the victims of his obsession feel obligated to protect his ability to continue attacking them without having to deal with any of the real-life repercussions that might attend to making your life’s mission an incitement to hatred of several people?

  260. hotshoe says

    Because, honestly, again: “hahaha, you got trolled! U mad?” doesn’t look good…

    Jayzuz, Phil, that’s dumb. As if anyone but you – and maybe Abbie – think this is about “U mad?”

    Your stupid repetition of that does not make it so.

  261. says

    “Nobody trolls for four months — if they do, they’re not trolling. They’re obsessed.”

    Er, skepticaly: quotes, proofs, evidence, or STFU. Sorry, this IS the internet.

    “And another thing, to Ophelia’s point — why should the victims of his obsession feel obligated to protect his ability to continue attacking them without having to deal with any of the real-life repercussions that might attend to making your life’s mission an incitement to hatred of several people?”

    Then attack Franc Hoggle! Not his meatspace alter-ego. He only attacks people that are already public. He didn’t go out of his way to “out” anyone (that I know of, please correct me if I’m wring). Play fair! Sometimes I would love to know who is Bloodninja (google is your friend)…

  262. munkhaus says

    “I have the “secret identities” of three of the people who have been smearing me, Rebecca, and several others”

    Zvan, we’ve established that my identity is not and was not “secret”; now back up that accusation that I’ve been smearing people or withdraw it. Try to do it without the infantile “he’s stupid! What an idiot!” playground taunts.

  263. says

    Er, skeptically, Phil, you’re telling people to prove a negative. You’re undercutting the “Oh, they’re such bad skeptics!” meme. You can make your case with a single counterexample of a troll who wasn’t obsessed trolling for four months.

    And stop telling people in my comment threads to STFU. Not your call.

  264. says

    One smear, one minute to find:

    Dodge and weave Steph, dodge and weave.
    No guy has felt demeaned… rather a blanket statement. Still, you would know I guess.
    Look, it’s painfully obvious that you thought Dawkins was being a “dick” and called him one in what you thought was a clever way. Why not have the self-respect to own it?
    I suspect the answer is that you know it shows you up as hypocritical for getting all tossy about “Twat”.(don’t worry, it’s in quotes. If I ever use it in future refer back to those quotes to see that it’s someone elses language that I’m er, using, er, so it’s alright or something)
    Dodge and weave…

    Did a lot of calling me a liar in that thread, Munkhaus, even as you uncovered evidence that I do what I say I do.

  265. says

    *sigh* Real quick before I head to my next client . . .

    Then attack Franc Hoggle! Not his meatspace alter-ego.

    Ridiculous. That’s like saying attack Batman, not Bruce Wayne. It would be stupid if you know Wayne is Batman to consider attacking only when he’s dressed up for the nightlife.

  266. says

    Stephanie: ok, my bad, it was bad form. Your mansion, your rules. I won’t do this again.

    Nathan: Well, in fact, it is exactly like saying attack Batman, not Bruce Wayne. That’s the whole point already. Bruce Wayne is a classy top society gentleman. Batman, on the other hand, is a thug. Thanks for the analogy! :)

  267. munkhaus says

    Steph. If that’s a smear… gawd help us.
    “even as you uncovered evidence that I do what I say I do.” – don’t know what that means?

    I didn’t actually call you a liar though (in the same way that Watson didn’t call for a boycott?)

    @Laden “Actucally, Dan, the comments I’ve made to you (mainly on G+) were not because I “disagree with you.” They were because you are an ass, you are wrong, and you are annoying.”
    I may well be an ass but you couldn’t show that I was wrong Greg, perhaps that was what annoyed you. Yet saying that McGraw is probably a rape apologist was fair play… now that’s a smear if ever I heard one! Incredible! The dissonance.

  268. says

    Munkhaus, that’s only because the comment in which you accused me of “baldfaced lying” is still in moderation. I could release it if you’d like to look at it. But there’s plenty already there.

    This would be part of why I call you stupid. Now, you’re going away again unless you’ve got something to contribute to the discussion of the ethics of this particular situation.

  269. says

    Actually, Munkhaus, you can come out of moderation if you can point to where Rebecca said Stef was “probably a rape apologist,” since you’re into that whole exact word thing. Otherwise, don’t bother.

  270. says

    I didn’t actually call you a liar though (in the same way that Watson didn’t call for a boycott?)

    Except you DID call her a liar in that moderated post, and Watson DIDN’T call for a boycott. Over at your laughable Phawrongula Wiki, where every article is in some way about Watson and/or the butthurt you’ve had regarding PZ smacking you down repeatedly, you have an article up claiming proof that Watson called for a boycott. And yet, the proof is that she said she wasn’t going to buy his stuff any more. I don’t think personally boycotting something is the same as calling for a boycott, in that the latter requires more than one person to participate.

  271. says

    And before we get into more squabbles;

    Stephanie, no comments should ever be held in moderation (except spam filters, and even then…). This is the anti-thesis of freethinking. No more, no less.

    There should be no moderation.

  272. says

    Wow. I sure wish the people who are advising Stephanie on ethical behavior, especially those who regularly chat with Hoggle at ERV and his blog, were so consistently interested in ethics that they’d ever advised Hoggle on what the decent thing to do was.

    It’s just weird how they come over all sober and serious and high-minded here, and then when they’re posting on ERV they’re all “Ha ha! Twatson! Cunts!”

  273. says

    Fine, except I won’t. I don’t care about blogging.

    But don’t call yourself Freethoughtblog if you’r gonna censor. Call yourself Thoughtblog, or Blog…

    Be honest.

  274. says

    Phil Giordana

    Still, I am still not convinced Franc could be a risk to anyone, if judging by his internet writings alone.

    That wasn’t the issue. You said mustn’t out him because of the risk to him. I said what about the risk to Rebecca, me, PZ, Stephanie, Greg? I didn’t say risk from hoggle; there could be risk from all this incitement of hatred. That’s at least as likely as risk to hoggle from being named as having done what he has in fact done.

    Don’t use smilies on me, ok? I don’t find you at all amusing. I find this maudlin concern for the safety of the bully at the expense of the bullied simply disgusting.

  275. says

    Yeah, PZ, it’s double standards all the way down. I’d really prefer turtles.

    Phil, I am honest about why and how I moderate. You were told why your comments went into moderation. So was Munkhaus. It’s funny, though, that all those people who want to talk about what a bad skeptic and freethinker I am have forgotten that little saying about not keeping your mind so open your brains fall out.

  276. says

    Munkhaus is accusing me of dirty tricks for continuing to have him in moderation after I told him he would be in moderation and Jason of bad skepticism for believing me about the moderated comment. Phil has not apparently realized that he’s been in moderation all this time, despite me mentioning it in the thread, and that all the comments about his poor, fragile reputation have not shown up here. Just in case anyone felt they were missing anything.

  277. says

    ChasCPeterson [280]

    I don’t recall that. Did you deserve it? Sounds like it.

    philgiordana [283]

    Oh, so he’s “fair game”? How skeptic of you. Well played!

    I don’t think this word “skeptic” means what you think it means.

    Pteryxx: 1) outing Hoggle does him no harm, and 2) if it DOES do him harm, it should happen anyway. Because it doesn’t do him enough harm to be concerned about it, or he deserves it.

    That may be the prevailing opinion (or not) but it certainly is not my opinion.

    Not that it matters a whole lot, but we already know that Hoggle lives in Australia. It’s not like he lives in Turkey or Iran or someplace where an atheist might be in serious trouble. Putting that aside, if Hoggle has been offensive enough as an online personality that those he has most offended who happen to know his identity out him, good for them bad for him (although since outing people is something one should really not do, the outers will have to consider that).

    The damage that could be done to him simply should not be considered. It is irrelevant to any considerations. If he is carrying out his obnoxious verbal assaults comfortably because of his pseduonymity, and his victims know who he is ans wish to stop him that way, so be it. Any risk or danger involved on his part is entirely his problem.

    This is not about danger to him being used as punishment. He is not being punished, he is simply being stopped as an anonymous troll by one or more people he has expended a fair amount of energy to harass.

    The practical argument for outing him, which I keep asking about, is that publicly outing him would accomplish something… either halting his harassment, protecting people from him, or both. I would LOVE for someone to give reasons to back this up,

    Good question. Its a judgement call. Personally, I don’t think it matters a lot either. I don’t think one has to put any more consideration into the effectiveness of outing him than he has put into the emotional harm his activities may have caused so far.

    And that’s GIVEN the premise that he’s dangerous.

    THAT. IS. NOT. RELEVANT.

    Well, if he happens to be a dangerous person than that matters, but there is ABSOLUTELY NO FUCKING CONNECTION between some determination that he is or is not dangerous in meat space and his victimization of people as a pseudotroll. NONE.

    That is a distraction, a red herring, an attempt to muddy the waters.

    , I do think the GAC organizers should be warned,

    They have been by now, I would think. This is the internet we are talking on.

    Would you want him banned from atheist events, or just watched wherever he goes? Would you want his blog taken down? Or a letter-writing campaign warning his employer? (Warning an employer privately is another of Gavin de Becker’s professional tactics.) Would you go looking for his personal info to see where he hangs out and who his friends are?

    Are you asking if he should be treated like the Abbie Smith Winged Monkeys treat Rebecca Watson, the answer is no. A simple missive giving the basic information on the off chance that that will shut him up is sufficient. If one wants to out him.

  278. says

    PZ [318] Wow. I sure wish the people who are advising Stephanie on ethical behavior, especially those who regularly chat with Hoggle at ERV and his blog, were so consistently interested in ethics that they’d ever advised Hoggle on what the decent thing to do was.

    Here here.

  279. says

    Any high-traffic blog must moderate comments. There’s commercial and porn spam that gets past the filters, and there are also people who like to disrupt the conversations. I’m at least totally transparent about who gets banned and why, and it’s not because they disagree with me … it’s because they bore and bait and turn discussions into tirades.

  280. says

    Tell you what Stephanie: I won’t take the time to screencap that shit you just pulled out. There was oportunity for a great discussion, and it was spoiled by your dogma.

    I now shall ignore you completely. Feel free to ignore my invitation to AtBC as well.

    Take care!

  281. says

    I’m skeptical that Munkhaus even exists, Stephanie @324. All we have are these comments on these blogs and that one Google Plus profile. How do we know they weren’t faked?

    Again with the “you have to be skeptical of mundane claims”. I’ll take Stephanie at her word that you’ve done exactly what she says you’ve done, because I know she would provide evidence if necessary. Frankly, it’s not necessary to know that you’re every bit as mendacious as you seemed in previous conversations. It, quite frankly, fits with your character. It’s therefore not an extraordinary claim.

  282. says

    I do wish people would learn what the word “dogma” means. “Skeptic,” “freethought,” and “censorship” too, for that matter. But yeah, there was nothing exciting in those comments.

  283. says

    It is not censorship to deny someone an unrestricted voice in a conversation in your own private space — it would be censorship if you were a government entity preventing said person from having their say *anywhere*. Moderating the off-topic nonsense and personal attacks is just trying to maintain the conversation. And I think these people have more than had their say in this conversation and have not added any nuance except to show just how fixated they are on how horrible and evil certain members of our community must be for daring to moderate them.

    None of this rises to the level of censorship. Especially if you’re trying to keep everyone on topic. And I’m decidedly not on topic at the moment.

  284. says

    I do wish people would learn what the word “dogma” means. “Skeptic,” “freethought,” and “censorship” too, for that matter. But yeah, there was nothing exciting in those comments.

    There you go trampling all over the First Amendment!

  285. says

    None of this rises to the level of censorship. Especially if you’re trying to keep everyone on topic. And I’m decidedly not on topic at the moment.

    And you too!!! Have you never even read the Constitution!!!11!!

  286. says

    But words mean what you want them to mean, and these guys want “dogma” to mean “stuff I don’t agree with”, “skeptic” to mean “people who believe nothing without signed affidavits and video evidence”, “freethought” to mean “free-for-all anarchy”, and “censorship” to mean “you didn’t let me poop on your rug.”

  287. says

    But your flippant response merely corroborates my point: you are a hypocrite who is sanctimoniously opposed to outing people except when you do it

    I honestly don’t remember you. I’m not being flippant. You are merely being insignificant. Regarding the possibility that I might out someone who prods me enough: Yes, do keep that in mind. It is not good to out people. There are a lot of things it is not good to do, but one does now and than anyway.

    Oh, by the way, you seem to have a name. Is that a pseudonym?

  288. says

    It’s also not good to fixate on someone for four months, posting one diatribe after another of incitement to hate, and speculate on lions eating them, or kicking them in their genitals, or call them names, or act generally sexist. But it seems that people in your circle are okay with doing all these things. So maybe revealing someone’s real name isn’t such a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Especially when the person involved invited that name to be revealed.

  289. bryan says

    #204, I think your assessment is fair. Not the first time I haven’t been funny.

    Harassment is well defined:

    The behavior must be subjectively offensive to the victim (she didn’t like it) and objectively offensive to a reasonable person in the same environment as the victim.

    The behavior must be sex based– implicitly or explicitly, and

    It must be so severe or pervasive it poisons the environment.

    One bad, non-explicitly sexual comment in a blog fails to reach the standard above.

    Framing a blog around my comment, therefore = hypersensitivity.

    B

  290. Rick Lazlo, an oldfan says

    Imagine you are writing a script, and someone gets lynched–and in the dialogue, you are trying to imagine what the words of the mob might be–how they can rationalize their mob status as ‘morally correct.’

    I am certain that the dialogue here would lead to a lynching if you just replaced the words “he said this or that” with” he looked at my woman too!”

    And ” He might/could/has done this or that!”

    Does that sound accurate to you? Or–how would a lynch mobs justifications differ?

  291. says

    Rick, Benign Greg has a word or two for you upthread on the subject of fallacious substitution. Sadly, because you’re on his “side,” he won’t say it directly to you. You’re going to have to go find it for yourself.

  292. says

    Bryan, first off, this blog talks about my behavior, not your comment. Don’t get a big head. Secondly, “in a blog” fails to describe the situation in several important ways. But if you feel a need to berate me now, take it back to the old thread. This one is, as I said, not about you.

  293. says

    Greg, I’m sorry, but your conversation with Chas, whom I suspect is Sven Whosis, is over. He’s been relegated to spam. If that causes him problems commenting elsewhere, oh, well. Anyone idiotic enough to come onto my blog to post off topic about how mean you were to him almost two years ago (with information you made go away when he said it wasn’t cool) and then to call me your sidekick, here, because I pointed out that he was ignoring the rest of the conversation can go rot in whatever hell he’s managed to make for himself in meatspace.

  294. says

    Yeah, Chas is Sven. He’s open about it. This isn’t a good place for discussing it, though.

    I’m glad to hear that the GAC organisers know about hoggle and his obsession.

  295. hotshoe says

    I’m glad to hear that the GAC organisers know about hoggle and his obsession

    Well, it’s a start …

  296. says

    @phil:

    Well, in fact, it is exactly like saying attack Batman, not Bruce Wayne. That’s the whole point already. Bruce Wayne is a classy top society gentleman. Batman, on the other hand, is a thug. Thanks for the analogy!

    Oy. Wrong. They’re the same damn person. But when dressed as Batman, Brucey has kevlar armor, fancy gadgets and weapons, and is generally very hard to kill. When dressed as a “classy top society gentleman,” he doesn’t have all that (probably carries some — he is paranoid). If I were the Joker, and I found out Batman’s daytime ID, I’d forget about attacking the Batman, and go straight for the Bruce Wayne alter-ego.

    The point of the analogy is not so much about attacking Hoggle or anyone else, it’s that saying

    Then attack Franc Hoggle! Not his meatspace alter-ego.

    is ridiculous. They are the same person. You can’t attack one, without attacking the other. But you can certainly choose to make your move when the armor/mask is off.

    Btw, I’m not advocating attacking Hoggle. I support outing him so that those who may not be aware of his character (because he acts differently when the armor/mask is on, again, just like Bruce/Batman) can be aware, and take the steps they feel warranted. I do see him as a potential threat, and –in disagreement with Greg Laden– think that’s relevant. Also, glad to see that GAC was alerted.

    I have my doubts that outing him will get him to stop or even mitigate his behavior online, in fact I think it unlikely, but I think the reason I’ve given is sufficient. There’s a line, and as far as I can see, he crossed it.

    @Pteryxx, I was going to respond more to you, but it seems like you’ve been answered a lot. Anything in particular you want my opinion on?

  297. says

    Point of order on the Batman analogy. Batman considers himself Batman, not Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne is Batman’s secret identity, not the other way around. This is extraordinarily salient with respect to Hoggle being a douchenozzle under his ‘nym, but possibly quite respectable under his legal name.

  298. says

    Point of order on the Batman analogy. . .

    Good catch. I knew about that aspect of Batman’s psyche, but didn’t think it relevant to the discussion. But you make an excellent point.

  299. says

    I do see him as a potential threat, and –in disagreement with Greg Laden– think that’s relevant. Also, glad to see that GAC was alerted.

    I don’t think we are in disagreement. Let me be clear: If he is a potential threat, that is relevant. It is important. Do something about it! (like alerting whomever)

    What I’m saying is that deciding whether or not Franc Hoggle, On Line Pseudo is a worthless piece of shit that is offensive and annoying and has verbally assaulted people, very badly, who don’t deserve it and that he should be made to stop somehow if possible, and that outing him could have at least a modest chance of doing that, than fine, consider it an option. Doesn’t matter what his off line deal is. Doesn’t matter if he’s a threat, doesn’t matter if he is threatened by being outed, if he’s crossed that line.

    If you want to decide whether or not his online offensive behavior is worse vs not as bad because of a percieved threat in meatspace, and thus, the benefits of outing him should be based on his meatspace threatiness, then that’s bullshit. We’re talking about Franc Hoggle here. He is an online pseudonymous entity. That entity has either crossed a particualr (subjective) line or not. Doesn’t matter what his off line threat level is, TO THAT DECISION.

    But yes, of course, if he’s a threat in real life too, do something about that. I happen to doubt that the correlation between asshatitute on line and physical threat in real life is very strong. And the assertion (by some who have asserted it, in my estimation) that he has to be proven to be a meat space threat to be considered a problem worth addressing on line is just a way of clouding the waters unnecessarily.

    This entire conversation is invalid, anyway.

  300. says

    Point of order on the Batman analogy. Batman considers himself Batman, not Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne is Batman’s secret identity, not the other way around. This is extraordinarily salient with respect to Hoggle being a douchenozzle under his ‘nym, but possibly quite respectable under his legal name.

    Very important point. He’s like me. I’m a total and rather dangerous asshole in person, but on line I’m a pussycat and a really sweet guy who just wants to make everybody happy.

  301. says

    Greg, we’re still in some disagreement -I think, maybe.

    If you want to decide whether or not his online offensive behavior is worse vs not as bad because of a percieved threat in meatspace, and thus, the benefits of outing him should be based on his meatspace threatiness, then that’s bullshit. We’re talking about Franc Hoggle here. He is an online pseudonymous entity. That entity has either crossed a particualr (subjective) line or not. Doesn’t matter what his off line threat level is, TO THAT DECISION.

    Not exactly what I’m doing. His online behavior is what it is, and is neither worse or better based on perceived threatiness in meatspace. But, I think it does correlate to an increased risk of threat in meatspace if he thinks he can get away with something. Acquaintance rape doesn’t generally happen when a rapist thinks he’ll pay the price, but only when they think they can get away with it (as an example, not an accusation).

    As a result, I consider having his real identity out there to be a good thing, worth violating the general rule about not outing pseudonyms (overall a good rule).

    As for your comments in the linked thread, if he’s outing himself anyway, let’s just go ahead and help him along with that. As you say, he said it’s ok.

  302. says

    But, I think it does correlate to an increased risk of threat in meatspace if he thinks he can get away with something. Acquaintance rape doesn’t generally happen when a rapist thinks he’ll pay the price, but only when they think they can get away with it (as an example, not an accusation).

    Good point. Outing him reduces that threat.

  303. says

    Nathan, I think this is one of those fractally wrong situations. Greg is saying that one level of wrong is sufficient for him and we shouldn’t let arguments about another level of wrong detract from that. Where your individual first level of wrong exists doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a disagreement.

    If that makes sense. It’s been a long week.

  304. says

    @Greg: About outing him. You’ve made multiple statements to the effect you don’t think he should be outed.

    @3: The reason to not out him, as much as he may deserve it, is simple. There are people who need their pseudonymous according to you or me, but not according to someone else.

    @54: no matter how much fun it would be to “out” this particular winged monkey, you can’t.

    @60: Quietmarc: I agree with you. I just think that the only reasonable general rule is to not out people. On the other hand, if someone outed someone who was making statements of physical violence against them, I would not hold it against the outer. I would and have recommend against outing.

  305. says

    @Stephanie: that sort of makes sense. Sort of. Actually, a little bit less now that I’ve looked up “fractally wrong” (a phrase I must remember).

    As far as I can tell, Greg does think there are lines that could be crossed which would justify outing a pseudonymous person — “competing priorities,” I think he called it. If I’m understanding him in his first response to me, @352, he’s saying that there are multiple possible lines, and it does no good to consider extraneous factors to each line (and other lines could be considered extraneous). If that’s what he’s saying, then with that I agree (hopefully I haven’t muddied the waters by discussing too many factors). Where we might differ is whether Hoggle has crossed any of those lines, and therefore if it’s justified to out him.

    I’m not sure how that makes either of us fractally wrong, but this is my first encounter with the term, so maybe I’m missing a subtlety or two to its use.

  306. says

    Yep, it’s been a long week. I meant that the Hoggle situation is fractally wrong, so that anywhere you stand and look at it, it’s still wrong. Given that, it’s not surprising that people standing in different places have different views of why it’s primarily wrong.

    In Greg’s case, he comes into this first with his valued colleagues having been abused. Additional considerations exist, but they aren’t necessarily needed to convince him that the compelling need to protect pseudonymity has been outweighed. If someone starts arguing against other forms of wrongness, it feels like a distraction.

    Any more clear?

  307. says

    Much more clear, thank you.

    I think the only reason I haven’t been able to properly consider it from that perspective, that “form of wrongness,” is that I’m having trouble putting myself in your, or Greg’s, shoes. I’ve been harassed before, but it’s never approached this level, and my imagination is failing me when trying to see what y’all must actually be feeling. For that, I’m sorry. What I do get of y’all’s* feelings might actually be enough to outweigh the need to protect pseudonyms. But I’m not sure, so I had to look at it another way.

    At this point though, I’m still not sure if Greg supports outing in this case or not.

    *it was either “y’all’s” which is awkward and not really a word, or “your guys,” and I didn’t feel like looking sexist.

  308. says

    You know Greg, your picture doesn’t really make you look that big.

    Since I’m a 5’6″ ectomorph, I would’ve been kicking gonads. :D

    At any rate, if you take that analogy, the bloggers in this case that Hoggle targets are big names. Does that mean they can just avoid him?

  309. Dan Baker says

    Laden “I think my analogy of the bar fight was brilliant. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”

    So is Laden talking about kicking people in the balls? Balls?
    No.

  310. Dan Baker says

    Wow, it’s nice seeing my secret identity up there… with no “your comment is in moderation” next to it.
    Will wonders never cease.

  311. says

    Heh, not so much love anymore? Song that song in karaoke once or twice. DJ actually complimented me (or was that for a different song . . .?)

  312. says

    I kid, somewhat. It’s not a bad song, and I’m a little nostalgic for the days when country music might actually be country (i.e., local folk traditions). I’ve just been lucky enough to know some really damned good fiddle players, like Josef Kessler.

  313. says

    Dan Baker (Munkhaus) is now calling -me- a twat at ERV’s. That’s the cyberbully who contacted me out of the blue to accuse me of talking like a creationist because I didn’t say what he wanted to hear about McGraw and who then accused me of Scientology-level snooping for looking at his Twitter profile and timeline.

    I wasn’t going to say anything when I read #307 here by Dan Baker (Munkhaus):

    now back up that accusation that I’ve been smearing people or withdraw it.

    But, now, the accusation obviously stands. The proof WAS being held in moderation here by Stephanie Zvan.

    Dan Baker has a pattern of accusing others of what he does. Why, the very next sentence in #307 says this:

    Try to do it without the infantile “he’s stupid! What an idiot!” playground taunts.

    Does Dan Baker (Munkhaus) really think we are to suppose that calling someone a twat is any better? I don’t think so. Go look in the mirror, Dan Baker.

  314. says

    I’m twitching a bit at the idea that it would be “fun” to out him. Not from my perspective. There’s no “fun” involved at all in wanting the information to be able to steer clear of a virulent misogynist. It’s entirely unpleasant.

  315. Pteryxx says

    @NathanDST, I would like to hear more of your viewpoint, but I don’t think I should ask here. Email or chat?

    for what it’s worth, I have been harassed before, and outed as part of the harassment, outed to facilitate harassment, and it bled into real life. It wasn’t parallel to this situation, but I would guess that’s why I’m upset about both sides.

    *and “y’all’s” is totally a word.

  316. says

    Nathan 365: People were smaller back then, so 6-1 and 190 lbs was big, plus I wore a really big hat.

    At any rate, if you take that analogy, the bloggers in this case that Hoggle targets are big names. Does that mean they can just avoid him?

    Notice that I’m not outing him? Notice that PZ is not outing him? Perhaps PZ and I bookend the (very large) range of size that can ignore him. In any event, it’s not my call to tell someone else they are too big to be offended.

    Pteryxx 375 for what it’s worth, I have been harassed before, and outed as part of the harassment, outed to facilitate harassment, and it bled into real life. It wasn’t parallel to this situation, but I would guess that’s why I’m upset about both sides.

    You should write about that. Guest post on my blog would be fine.

  317. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Greg Laden is an asshole who threatened to out me because I wrote two posts on his blog disagreeing with him. I wasn’t rude. I didn’t use crude language. I just disagreed with him. Now I see he’s not only an asshole but a hypocritical asshole. Why am I not surprised?

  318. Pteryxx says

    @Greg and Stephanie, I really appreciate the offers, but I don’t dare write more than I already have. The public summary is, I stood up for someone being bullied online and the aggressor outed me online in order to accuse me of favoritism toward a sex partner and destroy my credibility; and it worked. It bled into real life because the person I was defending talked too much.

    My interpretation is that outing someone online is the nuclear option. It can’t be taken back, it can’t be repaired, the consequences could be far-ranging and aren’t under anyone’s control, and the lack of alternatives may not justify using it (I’m willing to be convinced, but it’ll take a lot.) I don’t think the claim that online anonymity’s an illusion and one should expect to lose it, justifies actively breaking it. Self-identity is an illusion too, but that doesn’t justify calling someone by a pronoun they didn’t choose, just to name one example.

    I know this potentially puts me in the position of defending the indefensible. I just don’t know in which direction.

  319. says

    Pteryxx, as long as you acknowledge that there is a very strong competing ethical imperative (at least one), I would very much hope that no one would accuse you of defending the indefensible. I don’t know that most of the people here are very far off in how they feel about the ethics of this situation. A binary decision doesn’t equal a black-and-white worldview, however it’s decided.

  320. says

    ‘Tis himself, you were an asshole on my site and I said this: http://goo.gl/kW9wf … which is not even close to what you say it is.

    Following Stephanie’s suggestion to keep on topic here, go there and continue your whinging if you like.

    Pteryxx: I agree, it is like a nuclear option, but not quite as big of an explosion. These things can happen and then be forgotten about.

    It sounds like your case was especially, nasty, sorry that happened. Just goes to so: Never help anybody ever!!!

  321. Pteryxx says

    I would hope the defensibility of the position has nothing to do with me being the one espousing it. For instance, I’m not sure that the position that Hoggle should not be outed, equates to condoning or facilitating his harassing, obsessive behavior. Maybe condoning is an unwanted side effect. (which reminds me of arguments for Mississippi’s “personhood” amendment. Gaaah…)

    I don’t care if I’m wrong. I’d love to be proven wrong. It’d be great if things were really that simple. If Hoggle turns into another Mabus a few years down the road, THEN it’ll be obvious that outing him would be right and necessary, but that would mean people who I care about, who I’m talking to now, would have been harassed and threatened, or worse, for YEARS when they could have defended themselves (maybe). If anything I say here affects y’all’s decision, then I too bear responsibility for the consequences and I SHOULD be called out for it.

    It just doesn’t sit well with me to hear folks discussing outing someone as if it’s harmless, trivial or expected. It may turn out that way, but that can’t be assumed.

    Oh, @Stephanie: to quibble, it’s not necessarily a binary decision, either. IMHO, only making the name public would be binary… it’d be over, done, committed. Sharing the name privately with others increases the odds that someone somewhere reveals it, with good or bad intentions or by accident, as happened to me. Whoever gave y’all the name trusted your judgement.

  322. says

    Sharing the name privately with others increases the odds that someone somewhere reveals it, with good or bad intentions or by accident, as happened to me.

    As I understand it, Hoggle intentionally shared his identity with others. So yeah.

  323. says

    One Brow, “butthurt” is the inability to get over having your ass kicked, frequently compounded by the self-inflicted pain of shoving your head up there. Neither I (having been sexually assaulted) nor Jason (having been falsely accused of rape) jokes about rape.

  324. says

    What Stephanie and Greg said. I have never known the internet meme “butthurt” to mean anal rape, and if it had that meaning, I’d never have used it.

    Now, if you’re instead trying to BUILD that meaning, see my Humpty Dumpty post linked at 374.

  325. says

    1. An inappropriately strong negative emotional response from a perceived personal insult. Characterized by strong feelings of shame. Frequently associated with a cessation of communication and overt hostility towards the “aggressor.”
    Adam got butthurt when Mike stole his bitch

    2. Getting your feelings hurt, being offended or getting all bent out of shape because of something petty or stupid.
    Roney got butthurt when Drew did not help him clean Scat

    etc etc etc.

    (Urban Dictionary)

  326. John Greg says

    Would anyone care to post any actual quotable real-world threats that Franc has made?

    Would anyone care to actually present a logic-based, meaningful, and supportable argument for Franc actually being a physical threat to someone in the real world?

    Would anyone care to participate in real-world critical thinking in this thread and present supportable evidence of any kind whatsoever that Franc is in actual fact a threat to anyone?

    “Knowing what I know, having the information I do, give me a good reason why I’m not morally obligated to attach his real name to this kind of behavior as publicly as I can.”

    Anyone can claim to know anything, to have special information. Making such a claim certailny provides no support for that information being real, tangible, evidence of some kind of crime or profoundly incorrect behaviour.

    That’s to say that you are morally obligated to respect an individual’s stated wish for anonymity, should they so state, because up until said individual actually perpetrates some kind of real-world crime, and/or is demonstrabley and inarguabley a threat to someone, it is none of your business to out anyone.

    In my opinion the many pro-outing, anti-Franc posters are quite clearly confusing association with causation As far as I can recall, Franc has made no actual threats against anyone, and stating one’s anger at, or dislike or hatred of someone is neither a threat nor an actionable offense.

    Really, folks, some of you could truly benefit by re-reading Orwell’s 1984 and refreshing your memory as to what thought-crime is, and how dangerous it is for any of us to participate in supporting and rationalising any form of thought-police or thought-policing.

  327. spectator says

    I have an on-topic question for the Owner of this blog.
    Ahem….
    Is Stephanie Zvan a ‘nym? Or your actual name? ( the term “meatspace” doesn’t sit well with me, even if that’s what all the cool kids are saying)

    I assumed Franc Hoggle was his real name. Probably because it appears like a real name. So does yours.
    In the spirit of applying skepticism to my own preconceived ideas when presented with evidence (as you have provided me with your blog post), I would like to inquire.
    TIA-as they say on the web!

  328. says

    Yes, John. Anyone can claim special knowledge. I’ve seen you claim plenty of knowledge about, say, Rebecca’s motives. However, the only “special” knowledge I’m claiming here is Hoggle’s location. The rest is a simple description of the contents of his blog. Perhaps you’ve read it?

    You claim a moral obligation for me that only ends a law breaking. What basis do you have for making that the cutoff? It’s handy, but we recognize plenty of ethical obligations that aren’t legal obligations. Are you suggesting everyone should be able to do everything that is legal with no consequences whatsoever? And if you think that suggesting people should be able to know who they’re dealing with–and then make up their own minds about it–is Orwellian, perhaps you have some rereading to do.

  329. says

    I have not accused him of making threats.

    I have accused him of being rather deranged and divorced from reality, and that is legitimate grounds for concern. His website is a testimonial to his lunacy: I’ll just point you to his very latest post, where he says this of me:

    Yeah, I am now at the point where I cannot think of a more reprehensible specimen of humanity, and that includes folks like Kim Jong-il and Idi Amin.

    Seriously. The man is comparing me to a couple of megalomaniacal dictators responsible for the murder of millions. That is unreal. It’s insane. He’s worked himself up into a frothing mad delusion that no one — absolutely no one with the slightest lick of sense — could consider rational.

    Do you think I should consider myself safe if I were anywhere near this lunatic who thinks I’m evil personified? I can’t have any confidence that he’s going to react normally to anything I might do.

    And for that matter, the rest of your coterie of kooks who blithely swallow his bullshit? I don’t trust you either. You’re all nuts.

  330. spectator says

    @In my opinion the many pro-outing, anti-Franc posters are quite clearly confusing association with causation As far as I can recall, Franc has made no actual threats against anyone, and stating one’s anger at, or dislike or hatred of someone is neither a threat nor an actionable offense.

    Rut row!
    Your going to go to moderation for bringing that skepticism crap on HER blog.
    Maybe you’ll get off with a stern warning since it qualifies as on-topic.

    You know that would earn you porcupine on the “behemoth” FFTB!

    Anyway, see you in hell! Cause that’s where I’ll be sent now for this comment. I’ll tell Phil you said “hi!”

  331. spectator says

    Now I’ve gone and done it!

    I’ve outed myself as HTML illiterate :(

    But the bold sure looks cool!

  332. says

    Oh, I missed this lovely bon mot from Hoggle, again about me:

    I place him on around the same place on the moral scale as Charles Manson – ideologically deranged, blindly self-believing, and if it would hurt me in any way, quite happy to sell his mother for petty revenge.

    Manson, Idi Amin, Kim Jong-il…damn, pretty amazing work for an associate professor at a small liberal arts college.

  333. says

    Stephanie: i will reply to you over at my blog–let me think about your question. And, if you could, provide alink to your e-mail? Tx.

    Serious questions o any and all–I would appreciate feedback:

    I am writing a post about vindictiveness, and I need suggestions about ‘vindictive behaviors.’

    Suppose some asshole is in one my spaces and saying what I think are rude things about women. I decide he’s a belligerent, misogynisitc drunk, and a ‘threat.’

    I am wondering: if I think someone is a threat to others, do I have the right/obligation to take a glass that they sipped off of in a public place and lift DNA from it, and keep that DNA on file somewhere just in case? How about cigarette butts, or forks?

    Or how about fingerprints? Should I lift prints, and distribute them to the authorities to check my suspicions, or build a personal file on that person?

    Or–would it be fair for me to move down to the end of the bar, and whisper to a female friend ” hey I think that guy is a threat. You should call the doorman/the police/ etc.”

    And: if I build such a consensus amongst my associates that someone is a douche–we all ‘agree’, then is it also o.k. for me to begin to compile data about him, photographs of him in odd juxtapositions, and so forth? Call his employer?

    Then, does the same logic, and conditions apply if it’s a female that I think is a potential false rape allegation, a misandrist, or whatever?

  334. Pierce R. Butler says

    PZ Myers @ # 399: … Kim Jong-il and Idi Amin.
    … a couple of megalomaniacal dictators responsible for the murder of millions.

    Idi Amin: Kill tally: 100,000-500,000 (most sources say 300,000).

    Though he plainly has earned responsibility for some of the death toll by famine in North Korea, and more than a few arbitrary executions, Kim Jong Il doesn’t even rank in the well-populated gallery of direct mass murderers.

  335. hotshoe says

    …if it would hurt me in any way, quite happy to sell his mother for petty revenge.

    Hoggle’s real-life mom (if he’s got one) should be given the chance to find out that her son says those kind of things about other men and other men’s mothers.

    Gawd only knows what he’s saying and doing in real life that is giving his family undefined creepy feelings. Each of them thinking that they’re alone in picking up the creepy vibes, unsure whether they should trust their own perception, not knowing who else to ask …

    If one of them starts looking for more information, Hoggle’s internet mania should be connected with his real name. It’s important not to be like the Catholic Church, assuming that the “sanctity” of secrecy somehow matters and that we can handle this behind internet cloistered walls. As if there were any evidence of a wall separating Hoggle’s internet compartment from his reallife compartment.

    By continuing to withhold any mention of Hoggle’s real name, we’re essentially saying that his family don’t deserve our cooperation in their protection – that they’re on their own to discover for themselves with no help what we already know.

    It’s not as immoral as keeping secret that name of a known child molester. In fact, it’s not a close second. But it’s in the same ballpark.

  336. James K. says

    “Those of us who have the information are not just faced with a choice about making the information public. We are also faced with a choice about continuing to hide his behavior for him.”

    I think I know what the Catholic church would do…..

  337. says

    pornalysis, rude things once or twice? Or consistently for months, not just about one or two women, but about everyone who agrees with those people? Rude or calling them a threat to something he values and comparing them to mass murderers? The differences are important.

    The email is my first and last names, with a dot in between, at gmail.

  338. Pteryxx says

    If the connection between Hoggle’s real name and his obsessive hate-blogging weren’t made by “us” but by a professional counselor, one knowledgeable about rape culture and abuse, what would their obligation be?

  339. hotshoe says

    If the connection between Hoggle’s real name and his obsessive hate-blogging weren’t made by “us” but by a professional counselor, one knowledgeable about rape culture and abuse, what would their obligation be?

    A professional counselor has legal obligations which don’t apply here.

  340. cmv says

    In “meatspace”, hecklers thinks they can shout abuse at the person on stage because they are protected by the anonymity of the crowd. Sometimes, the spotlight (and in some cases the camera) is turned on them, and they lose the ability to shout abuse from the shadows. Does anyone have a problem with that, in “meatspace”? Could someone explain how it becomes different on the ‘Net? Why should anyone have the expectation that they can say hateful things on the Internet and not have it tie to them in real life?

    Greg Laden @3

    The reason to not out him, as much as he may deserve it, is simple. There are people who need their pseudonymous according to you or me, but not according to someone else.

    This is a slippery slope argument.

  341. Pteryxx says

    @cmv: Venues with stages also have security, and rules about removing disruptive audience members. (And blacklists, which were mentioned elsewhere, for severely or repeatedly disruptive persons.) The spotlight doesn’t put a copy of the heckler’s business card into the pocket of every person in the audience.

  342. cmv says

    @Pteryxx: That is true, about the business card, but I think the analogy still holds. You become identifiable to anyone who sees the broadcast and might recognise you.
    The point is that we don’t expect in real life to be able to shout things at people and pretend that it isn’t us. Using a ‘nym as a shield to abuse someone is no different than shouting abuse from the shadows; you can’t complain if someone turns the lights on.

    I recognise that some people need the ‘nym as a shield from abuse, which does make it difficult.

  343. Pteryxx says

    @cmv: I also think your analogy should be considered in that meatspace has more formal options than online. The audience members, or the performer onstage, don’t need to personally go grab the heckler and escort them out (with whatever degree of force or rage) because there are rules and designated enforcers for that kind of thing. Having rules and enforcers which are seen to be effective reduces both the hecklers’ will to act out, and the audience’s need to do the enforcing directly.

    As applied to this case, I think some are calling for outing because they perceive (rightly or wrongly) that ordinary channels of enforcement won’t work, AND that outing will.

  344. cmv says

    Yeah, it is definitely more difficult on the intertubes, as there is no enforcing authority (and nor should there be). In general, allowing the community to moderate things has seemed to work, with some exceptions.
    I think the thing that makes this OK is that it is not an authority that is proposing to strip pseudonymity from people, but members of the community saying “You can’t do that and expect to hide from your behaviour.”

  345. says

    I’m surprised Franc Hoggle turns out to be Australian. I had a sense he might be the same as Franc Tremblay, who is a notoriously unhinged anarchist who happens to be reasonably rational about anything not political in nature. Big blind spot, that.

  346. Pteryxx says

    cmv: unfortunately, much as I’d like to believe members of a community I belong to can be trusted, I know firsthand that isn’t the case. Exposure means all communities, not just ones presumed to be acting in good faith. And, outing isn’t necessarily enforcement… it just means exposing someone and hoping enforcement happens somewhere downstream.

  347. says

    Regarding Stephanie’s and Greg’s definitions of butthurt: that makes soooo much more sense. Thank you.

    @ Pteryxx: if you really want my thoughts in a private forum, that’s fine, but you might want to tell me what specific things you want my thoughts on (otherwise, I’ll ramble, and I can be longwinded). Easiest is probably email, nathandst at gmail dot com.

  348. Pteryxx says

    @Nathan, that was before Stephanie and Greg asked me to elaborate in this thread. That said I don’t mind rambling. Thanks.

  349. cmv says

    @Pteryxx – not enforcement so much as embarrassment. I wonder how many of the messages to Rebecca Watson would be sent if the senders were not safely ensconced behind pseudonyms.
    Clearly there are places where pseudonymity should be respected, as in where writers are putting themselves in danger by posting anything at all. It is not a right however, it is a privilege.
    I know only as much as you have posted above about your experience, but it reads as though it was not the outing that hurt you, but the libel (or slander, it’s hard to think of this as “publishing”) which accompanied that outing.

  350. Pteryxx says

    @cmv: I also wonder how much of the harassment really is anonymous/pseudonymous. The articles Ophelia linked on B&W keep conflating harassment with anonymity, but has anyone actually counted comments to see what percentage are *nymous, or correlated that percentage with harassment vs. ordinary discussion? (This would be a huge amount of work. Maybe we commentors could crowdsource it?)

    As for my case: well, like the saying goes, it’s not the falling that kills you, it’s the landing.

  351. cmv says

    @Pteryxx: I think that is an interesting question, and absolutely a huge amount of work. The biggest problem is, I think, exemplified in this thread; there are at least 2 people who have posted here under names which appear to be real, but are in fact pseudonyms. There are a couple of others which appear to be pseudonyms but are actually nicknames used in meatspace.
    Anecdotally from newspaper and other MSM reporting on the Problem With Comment Sections(TM), is that most of the abusive commentary comes from anonymous posters.

    I hope your landing isn’t harder than you can handle.

  352. Pteryxx says

    @cmv, exactly… there’s tons of anecdotes about most abuse, or the worst abuse, coming from *nymous sources, but I can’t remember a single actual citation… and this is an issue I follow. I think MSM tends to be biased against anonymity, as it is against gamers, geeks, and social outcasts in general.

    Anyway, it’s tangent to this particular discussion: as I understand it, the vast majority of misogynist harassers are drive-bys. I think this discussion thread is about whether outing is an appropriate response to someone who’s displaying obsessive, severe, and specific harassment. That’s beyond the usual troll, though sadly the stalker type seems to be common, too.

  353. cmv says

    As far as the discussion goes here, I think he should be exposed with his real name. If he believes that is unfair, then he should not have been attacking people.

    For citations, the various news services usually are talking about posting on their own boards.

  354. John Greg says

    “Yes, John. Anyone can claim special knowledge. I’ve seen you claim plenty of knowledge about, say, Rebecca’s motives.”

    No, I have not claimed special knowledge about Watson’s motives; I have stated my opinions regarding her motives.

    “You claim a moral obligation for me that only ends a law breaking.”

    No I did not. I answered your demand that we post reasons why you should not “out” Franc and included law breaking as one of more than one option defining “threat”.

    “What basis do you have for making that the cutoff?”

    Aside from the fact that that wasn’t the only “cutoff”, as you call it, I based it on my opinion.

    “It’s handy, but we recognize plenty of ethical obligations that aren’t legal obligations.”

    Bafflegab skirting the point.

    “Are you suggesting everyone should be able to do everything that is legal with no consequences whatsoever?”

    No. But I see no basis for you and the other anti-Franc folk presuming or assuming that Franc is an actual threat other than your wish to vilify those with whom you disagree, your theatrical paranoia and faux fear, and, as Franc calls it, your crisis manufacturing.

    “And if you think that suggesting people should be able to know who they’re dealing with–and then make up their own minds about it–is Orwellian, perhaps you have some rereading to do.”

    Yes, they should be allowed to make up their own minds, but that is not what this thread is really about. Sure, you and the other anti-Franc folk can pretend that this thread is about providing information to help them make up their own minds about the issue of “outing” Franc, but it’s really about crisis manufacturing, hysterical ranting, and crowd compliance. It is also about creating an atmosphere wherein without any meaningful defense and without any meaningful evidence Franc is labelled, for the satisifaction of a bunch of angry conservative sycophants, as a threat to an amorphous, nameless multitude. The fact that you are incapable of seeing how Orwellian is your approach speaks mostly to how deeply you are indoctrinated. Not to mention that when you start “moderating” people who are stating contrary opinions you then lose any and all claims to objective presentation of fact for assisting folks in making up their minds.

    And jesus, PeeZus, are you really so incapable of distinguishing hyperbole, sarcasm, irony, and exaggeration from derangement and lunacy? Or are you just playing cat and mouse ’cause you so love to stir it up and shit on people you don’t like. Christ, you make part of your living shitting on people you don’t like. You are not particularily burdened by ethics or a functional sense of objective social morality. You are also not in any way, shape, or form in a position to discuss rationality in online posting.

    I can’t help but notice that no one has as yet:

    1. Posted any actual quotable real-world threats that Franc has made?

    2. Presented a logic-based, meaningful, and supportable argument for Franc actually being a physical threat to someone in the real world?

    3. Participated in real-world critical thinking in this thread and present supportable evidence of any kind whatsoever that Franc is in actual fact a threat to anyone?

    C’mon, with all the raging blather here surely someone has some actual evidence?

  355. Tim Groc says

    Big Brother is watching you, or something like that.

    John Greg said:

    Posted any actual quotable real-world threats that Franc has made?

    I think it is his persistent stirring of the pot, and his ‘colourful’ insights and language that rankle many. A bit like Greg Laden and PZ.*

    Anyway, the term ‘butthurt’ has no connection with rape, as far as I’m aware. It just means to get your arse (or ass) completely kicked.

    *just joking, of course – their language is completely justified.

  356. says

    Actually, John, people being able to make up their own minds is entirely the point. It seems to have escaped you, though, that the people who should be able to make up their own minds are the ones encountering Hoggle in meatspace and figuring out whether they want to deal with the obsessive creep.

  357. julian says

    Ah it’s John Greg here to accuse everyone of starting pogroms and then complain about much milder and more accurate accusations of supporting misogyny, dismissing legitimate fears of harassment and being an obsessive creep. Hiya, Mr. Greg!

  358. John Greg says

    Zvan said:

    “Actually, John, people being able to make up their own minds is entirely the point. It seems to have escaped you….”

    Actually Zvan, I did in point of fact agree that people should be able to make up their own minds. Here you go:

    “Yes, they should be allowed to make up their own minds, but that is not what this thread is really about.”

    As I point out in that post, I feel it is disingenuous to claim that helping people to make up their minds about Franc is the primary, or even secondary purpose and/or theme of this thread.

    julian the brave said:

    “Ah it’s John Greg here to accuse everyone of starting pogroms and then complain about much milder and more accurate accusations of supporting misogyny, dismissing legitimate fears of harassment and being an obsessive creep.”

    Um, well, none of which I actually did, but whatever. Fact, accuracy, and truth have never exactly overloaded your fannypack julian.

  359. Pteryxx says

    Here’s some relevant info I’ve come across since yesterday, which I’m still incorporating… tl;dr at the bottom.

    Repeating my comment from B&W:

    Sure, there often are laws against harassment, stalking and threats, and the laws aren’t enforced, whether or not the offender’s known publicly. ERV’s full of examples; there’s also Watson’s commentary, Facebook, Penny Arcade and so on.

    Here’s another example of a known harasser:

    ‘I hope you get raped to death with a gorsebush,’ one email memorably began. I gave the letter writer some style points for creativity, but quickly deducted them when I noted he’d sent it from his work email, at a progressive organisation. I helpfully forwarded it to his supervisor, since I thought she might be interested to know what he was doing on company time. ‘Thanks,’ she wrote back, and I didn’t hear anything more about it. Several months later I attended a gala event the organisation was participating in and watched him sitting there on stage, confident and smug.
    (…)
    He’s still there, and people tell me I’m not the only one who has received alarmingly graphic communiques from him for speaking my mind.

    From Tigerbeatdown here: source (which incidentally is an excellent article, too.)

    So exposing a harasser is unlikely to result in their being censured or punished for their actions. I think this undermines the argument that outing someone would be effective, though it still might be worth trying. I still think harassers should be reported to ISPs or workplaces in hopes the reports raise awareness or help reach a critical mass, for instance.

    However, this research paper on online harassment of women adds factors that I hadn’t considered: PDF link, Citron 2009, Michigan Law Review

    Mainly, that anonymous threats can be more credible and more threatening simply because they’re anonymous. From p. 390:

    Women’s anxiety may be particularly acute as
    the posters’ anonymity eliminates cues—such as the identity or location of the person who made the threat or a joking tone of voice—that might diminish concerns about the threat.141

    I didn’t realize that harassers will pretend they’re stalking from close by specifically to make themselves as threatening as possible, or that they’ll pretend to be inside a victim’s community, when actually they’re only responding to information available online. But the persons targeted are in a Schrodinger’s stalker scenario where they can’t afford to assume a harasser is lying. So, anonymous harassers almost always will get taken more seriously than they actually deserve.

    I also didn’t realize that just knowing a harasser’s identity could be reassuring in and of itself. I’m still trying to understand that one. Maybe just being able to look them up makes them less of a scary apparition, or helps the target feel empowered, even if it never results in action? But that’s enough to be important in surviving a toxic environment.

    This might be obvious to y’all, in which case I owe you an apology for my insensitivity in thinking outing had to be of practical use to do any good. That also means that as someone pseudonymous myself, I may have to take extra care not to come across as more threatening than I intend.

    The whole Citron paper’s really worth reading – it’s 44 pages and I’m only halfway through it while looking for places where it specifically addresses the anonymity of harassers. It’s covered the similarity of online harassment to workplace chilly climates, systemic minimizing of women’s harassment as an issue, and how public harassment can hurt women’s careers by marking them as possible real-life targets, putting off employers. I think that’s too broad a discussion for here, though.

    tl;dr version: Outing someone is probably less effective, but more useful in other ways, than I realized.

  360. says

    Matt Penfold said:

    If will harm others in family then that is cause to think twice about revealing his real identity.

    I think that the benefit of letting people in his social life know what he’s really like goes double for his family. They might want to get away from him.

  361. Philip Legge says

    John Greg,

    perhaps you should look slightly further afield before condemning this discussion as a witch hunt, and the subject of on-line harassment as a moral panic. Recent articles in the Guardian and the New Statesman have documented the experiences of women bloggers and the threats and abuse they receive. Citron’s PDF (many thanks Pteryxx) cites the anonymous, sexualised harassment suffered by Kathy Sierra, which had a chilling effect: she canceled engagements, gave up blogging. The website haltabuse.org has collected statistics about on-line harassment for over a decade and quite unsurprisingly, the overwhelming majority of harassment seems to be directed at women.

    The types of misogynistic harassment aimed at these women form a wide spectrum of anti-social behaviour. Hoggle’s rantings – and that’s what they are, irrationally unhinged and obsessive venting on his blog – may not be threatening (aside from comments left elsewhere, fantasising about kicking Ophelia Benson in the cunt) but they are clearly offensive. They are not private either, because Hoggle usually ensures that they will come to the attention of his targets by leaving a pingback on various threads of theirs that touch on feminism, or on this campaign of abuse generally.

  362. John Greg says

    In reply to Philip Legge — I won’t call out a post number because Zvan’s, erm, editorial decisions can cause havoc in numeracy:

    I did not condemn the thread as a witch hunt. I described it as being disingenuous to claim it is primarily about helping people to make up their minds in regard to Franc, when, in my opinion, the thread is “really about crisis manufacturing, hysterical ranting, and crowd compliance.” I do not see anything there about witch hunts. Do you?

    As you and others have frequently implied that Franc is harrassing, threatening, and abusing people online, could you provide some proof?

    So far as I am aware, Franc has not in fact actually harrassed, threatened, or abused anyone online at any time. If you can prove otherwise, please do. And please do not point out the comment “If I were a woman I’d kick her….” That is neither a threat, nor abuse, nor harrassment, nor, as you call it, a fantasy. It is a somewhat hyperbolic imaginary hypothetical.

    I agree with you that some of Franc’s comments can be seen as being offensive. But it’s an offensive world we live in, and we are, I presume, all adults here. Aren’t we? Also, I thought that Pharyngula and the Pharyngulites frowned deeply upon Plaitt’s Don’t be a Dick stance? Is that not so?

    Philip, all in all, your post shows you to be something of an equestrian in the family Gish.

  363. julian says

    I do not see anything there about witch hunts. Do you?

    Ha!

    Oh boy, you, John Greg, are a self-righteous fuck who

    if I were to come across, I’d rock across the face.

  364. says

    In terms of suggestions to contact Hoggle’s work, family, or friends, and whether that should be part of the solution (if there actually is a solution), there are perhaps some considerations to think about.

    Would it it constitute a level of harassment of those other individuals to track them down and contact them? Nevermind how Hoggle feels about it, but how do those individuals feel about it? I think I asked somewhere up thread whether one would appreciate such a warning concerning a person they had in their lives (yes, there it is, responding to Pteryxx at what is currently 159). I personally think I would. Do I think everyone would? No, I think some would reject it out of hand (a close friend or loving family member being most likely), and some would do as I probably would, and try to verify the information given. I think however, they should be given that chance.

    But, if one has to go to effort to track down those people, perhaps that crosses some sort of line. I’m honestly not sure.

    However, even if that part doesn’t happen, simply having his name online associated with his pseudonym could still be beneficial. For example, I’ve heard that it’s becoming more common for people to google someone they’re about to start dating, precisely to learn if there’s information that would give them pause. Such a person could be benefited by him being outed online. Or, employers. It’s not unknown for employers to google applicants (in addition to traditional background checks) in order to get a better idea of who they’re dealing with, and whether they want to consider extending a job offer (this is one reason I hesitated a bit before coming out and using my real name). Again, such employers would probably find it useful to know what he’s like when he thinks he’s hidden.

    These are potential practical effects. But as Pteryxx is now pointing out, there are other considerations, very important considerations.

  365. Stacy says

    No. But I see no basis for you and the other anti-Franc folk presuming or assuming that Franc is an actual threat other than your wish to vilify those with whom you disagree, your theatrical paranoia and faux fear, and, as Franc calls it, your crisis manufacturing.

    Goalpost moving. The possibility that he, personally, could pose a physical threat has been discussed, but nobody has presumed or assumed any such thing.

    The reason for the concern was clearly expressed in the OP:

    I know something about how he behaves when he thinks he can get away with it that they don’t. I know how obsessive he can be. I know how weirdly he can interpret things to put himself in the right. I know how angry he is about feminism. And I know that he’s capable of combining that anger with sexual release.

    —–

    I described it as being disingenuous to claim it is primarily about helping people to make up their minds in regard to Franc, when, in my opinion, the thread is “really about crisis manufacturing, hysterical ranting, and crowd compliance.”

    Have you got any evidence for your opinion? The whole thread lies above; how ’bout a specific example of any one of those things. Given your defense of Hoggle, I’d love to see your idea of what counts as “hysterical ranting” on this thread.

    By the way, this:

    your wish to vilify those with whom you disagree

    is absolutely hilarious.

  366. Astro Nj says

    PZMyers@399:

    The man is comparing me to a couple of megalomaniacal dictators responsible for the murder of millions. That is unreal. It’s insane.

    When somebody is compared to Hitler in online conversations, is that how one responds? Are you a literalist? You probably misunderstand because you missed the entirety of what Franc said.

    Yeah, I am now at the point where I cannot think of a more reprehensible specimen of humanity, and that includes folks like Kim Jong-il and Idi Amin. Myers doesn’t walk in their shoes only through lack of opportunity – but he’d be there in a second given an amenable environment. He has no principles left he can sell.

    The point of the comparison is that you have very few principles left. Its a comparison. Not an equation. Its not going to be identical in every respect. Do I have to remind you of Patricks fallacy?
    Didnt you compare him to David Mabus, even though they are nowhere equal? I personally dont mind the comparison, but what you subsequently did is that you equated them, by taking it to the GAC. which is also ok.. who cares. you dig your own grave. (dont take that literally)

  367. julian says

    The point of the comparison is that you have very few principles left. Its a comparison.

    Actually it’s more than an accusation of lack of principles. Mr. Hoggle, in the very piece you quoted, stated outright Prof Myers would have committed acts on par with gentlemen like Kim Jung-Ill if he had their power.

  368. Stacy says

    I am now at the point where I cannot think of a more reprehensible specimen of humanity, and that includes folks like Kim Jong-il and Idi Amin.

    You’d almost think he wanted to vilify those with whom he disagrees. Which is perfectly OK, if you’re comparing people to mass murderers or discussing their genitals. That’s just free speech. Talk about whether or not an obsessed individual has or could step over a line into harassment–well, now you’re just going all totalitarian on everybody’s ass.

  369. Philip Legge says

    John Greg,

    in the distorted mirror-version of reality that is representative of most of the rants on Hoggle’s blog, his four-month campaign of character assassination against Rebecca Watson, PZ Myers, Ophelia Benson and others is frequently tagged with some combination of “hyperreality”, “moral panic”, “puritanism”, “shrieking hysteria”, etc. Please forgive those of us who have not swallowed his delusionary worldview for not seeing the actions of Watson et al. in quite the same way that he does: Hoggle gets up a fair head of steam while he is venting, but it would really be a lot more honest and fair if he applied tags like “shrieking hysteria” to his own efforts. Naturally, in the alternate-reality land he inhabits, it would be the pointing out of his obsessive, almost daily blog-o-hate that would be regarded as the “witch hunt”.

    For someone who asked people to re-read their Orwell, I can’t see why you haven’t noticed or pointed out the obvious: Hoggle would love to see himself as Emmanuel Goldstein, and his blog as “The Two Minute Hate”; PZ is presumably cast as Big Brother with his boot stamping on the face of humanity, Benson being the Minister for Truth or an officer of the Thought Police, and Rebecca Watson a member of the Junior Anti-Sex League. The tone of the blog routinely engages in totalitarian hyperbole: “PZ Myers Confession: Yes We Are Just A bunch Of Jackbooted Thugs” ; “Watson/Myers: The Psychopath And The Toilet Slave In USA Today” ; “Why Rebecca Watson Is A Criminal” ; “The Watson Circus – Their Kampf”. And in one recent episode (the first title I quoted above) Hoggle even went to the length of quoting Hitler to make his point, quote: “They are not freethinkers, not skeptics, not liberals, in fact they are nothing that is beneficial for our communities at all – they are just common as muck fascist thugs and you are not entitled to any say in the matter.”

    Well, fuck that noise.

    It is worth noting that most of the really gratuitous insults are to be found in the comments rather than the blog posts themselves, since the blog is acting as a “cyber-cesspool” for the rank offerings of lesser writers. I think Hoggle does actually take some care to put a veneer on his hatred in the posts themselves, but occasionally the veil slips, and he lets rip with unmasked vitriol:

    Lbh ner n shpxvat zvfbtlavfg phag Bcuryvn. Lbhe oenva vf n pna bs onyy ornevatf ba n cnvag funxre fcbhgvat tvoorevfu gb fhvg. Lbh fryy lbhe oenaq bs fpuvmbcueravp ungerq gb hf nf lbhe rcvfgrzvpnyyl eryngvivfg gehgu naq qrznaq gb or gnxra frevbhfyl.

    So John, please, don’t ask me to find more of this.

  370. julian says

    I just read a comment over at B&W by a Silver Lining that, when coupled with what porn just wrote, has me in stitches.

  371. Pteryxx says

    Nathan @439ish, sorry I didn’t respond sooner. I floated the ideas of warning people in Hoggle’s real life because that would be the most effective way, but that could very well constitute harassment in its own right. Family and friends often don’t want to know about abusive behavior, and won’t believe it or admit it even when they DO know. That’s one advantage to outing someone to the whole internet, I have to admit… only people who choose to search for information will find it, more or less, for whatever reason.

    The situation’s different with employers or law enforcement, however. They have legal obligations to protect the people in their care from each other, and they’re assumed to be impersonal and to have some expertise in judging how seriously to take potential threats. (In practice, they often don’t bother.)

    I keep going back to Gavin de Becker, author of “The Gift of Fear”. He’s a professional risk management consultant, so his role is impersonal, proactive, and takes risks seriously, where law enforcement usually acts after a crime’s been committed and has no interest at all in analyzing their failures. As long as we’re brainstorming, what we really need is someone or something to act as an impersonal specialist in online harassment, who could assist with risk management and who could report escalating threats to law enforcement and be taken seriously. That’s more or less what the community discussing harassment is trying to do, as a crowd.

  372. says

    The point of the comparison is that you have very few principles left. Its a comparison. Not an equation. Its not going to be identical in every respect.

    Well, yes. Did you imagine I thought he was accusing me of being both Korean and Ugandan? It was quite clear: he’s making a specific claim that I am the kind of amoral monster who would kill people en masse, all because I’ve pointed at his patent misogyny.

    He has no evidence of this, of course. It’s a rather nasty accusation.

    You know, pseudonymity has a purpose: to protect people who might suffer unwarranted penalties for nothing other than expressing themselves honestly. It’s to defend whistleblowers and those who are discriminated against, who might suffer unjust repercussions if their identity were revealed.

    Hoggle doesn’t qualify for any of that. He’s hiding behind a pseudonym so that he can freely slander. He’s not facing any threat, other than the embarrassment of having his name associated with the lunacy he posts on his blog…which he apparently believes is entirely rational and justified. So why hide?

    He can’t make the whistleblower excuse now, either. Those horrible people with vast powers and immense clout, like me and Rebecca Watson (hah!), already know his secret identity. He has no excuse for concealing his identity anymore.

    So why doesn’t he just defeat his critics by coming out in the open?

    Unless, of course, it is that he still has a vestige of shame.

  373. says

    Nathan @439ish, sorry I didn’t respond sooner

    Don’t be. It took me a while to respond as well.

    I floated the ideas of warning people in Hoggle’s real life because that would be the most effective way, but that could very well constitute harassment in its own right. Family and friends often don’t want to know about abusive behavior, and won’t believe it or admit it even when they DO know.

    Indeed. There’s a bit of a cliche about parents refusing to admit their child is a criminal, even with solid evidence against said child. But it became a cliche because there’s truth to it: denial is a powerful thing.

    The situation’s different with employers or law enforcement, however. They have legal obligations to protect the people in their care from each other, and they’re assumed to be impersonal and to have some expertise in judging how seriously to take potential threats. (In practice, they often don’t bother.)

    Well, I suppose that might be a good option then: inform his employer, and let them keep it on file to use in weighing any complaints they get from other employees. Hopefully, they would never have to use it (in the sense that hopefully he never does anything to warrant investigation, as that would mean someone else has been targeted by him). As to law enforcement, I doubt there’s sufficient grounds at this point. If there are any experts in Australian law, they could say more.

    As long as we’re brainstorming, what we really need is someone or something to act as an impersonal specialist in online harassment, who could assist with risk management and who could report escalating threats to law enforcement and be taken seriously.

    Does such a person even exist, or would we have to create one (by having someone take the time to study and become that expert)?

  374. Philip Legge says

    Nathan, it’s a direct obscenity levelled at one of the participants of this thread. You can “reveal” it by using the rot13 filter (e.g. rot13.com). Hover over the link if you need to know whom the target was.

  375. Pteryxx says

    Does such a person even exist, or would we have to create one (by having someone take the time to study and become that expert)?

    I don’t know. Gavin de Becker’s the prototype, and he founded his own consulting firm based partly on the (sometimes problematic) profiling techniques pioneered by the FBI. But they specialize in protection of public figures, some of whom may have dozens of obsessed fans stalking them at any one time. The only other experts I know of are Bruce Schneier, who specializes in security theater, and possibly danah boyd, who specializes in cyberbullying among teens. Unfortunately the cybersecurity and hacker cultures seem to be some of the most macho-dominated out there. Moderators of feminist spaces probably have the most hands-on experience.

    Right now, as far as I know there IS no group of any kind specializing in proactive assessment of internet harassers, except branches of government supposedly monitoring for terrorism. So, if I win the lottery <_< I'd try to found an internship program partaking of both de Becker's proactive threat assessment, and campus rape awareness programs.

    @Philip: Thanks for the rot13. I'm glad to not have to look at that right now.

  376. Astro Nj says

    @PZ 448:

    It was quite clear: he’s making a specific claim that I am the kind of amoral monster who would kill people en masse

    I dont read it literally, given the stage at which the “coversation” and polarization is. Funny that you had headlines like “Micheal De Dora is a witless wanker who peddles pablum” and that Michael Ruse is a “clueless gobshite” for situations that had not even escalated, and here you are taking literalist interpretations.

  377. julian says

    and here you are taking literalist interpretations.

    I was not aware saying someone would commit terrible acts of genocide if only they had the chance was a common insult on par with calling someone a stupid shit. You learn something new everyday!

  378. Pteryxx says

    Actually, I just remembered that Gavin de Becker has an online threat-assessment tool intended to help victims determine what factors to consider in their safety. It’s primarily designed for situations such as domestic violence and student threats, though. (And I erred in comparing his methods to profiling.)

    https://www.mosaicmethod.com/

  379. says

    Stephanie or whoever: Sorry I couldn’t be here for this monumental bitch session–I was busy building some real bridges this weekend–and these are my thoughts about the above:

    First–imagine we actually knew each other or had met? And then–suppose I was a protected political refugee, or in a certain gov’t program–or a? How about a rape victim? You would/have effectively laid a sign post at my door in your comments above; but one at your door as well.

    And really–you did do something like that, in the metaphorical sense.

    Second: Let me paint a picture of the world team ‘you people’ are calling for, with real world snapshots of me, and Franc Hoggle in it, despite yourselves:

    When you deal with unethical people, the rules essentially go out the window after the “three cheeks rule,” but sometimes, that doesn’t even apply; and there are games in the real world, full of grey area, that most of you above haven’t played yet, I am certain of it.

    What you attempted to do to Franc above is reprehensible, immature, and leveraging. Bringing me into it? You shit UNDER my bridge.

    And, someone up there replied that it is just ‘perfectly fine to pass along the legally obtained information ‘ on an imaginary internet enemy–someone who you disagree with, or label as a threat.

    Well….

    I know who and what I am dealing with the first day that I observe unethical behavior directed at me. I ‘hear things’ differently than many if not all of you, and I am at least 50 times less vain.

    But attacking a person for pure speech with tools other than speech is morally more reprehensible than being a fame whore, or a shit starter: it’s the beginning of all slippery slopes.

    And then, ritually sanctioning or condoning tarring and feathering, and then lynching? There’s a long history of that in America, and it wasn’t always about the Klan, or internet flame wars.

    Stephanie: let’s look at your words about “me” in another way. Imagine if what you had said above was “I know Big Black Buck–he’s basically o.k. But if he gets me or someone else all riled up…”

    From those early days forwards–where American pre-revolutionaries, newspaper editors, and uppity ‘colored’s’ were routinely harassed, lynched, burned out and T&F’d etc., our rights began to be enshrined. In those days, it was King George’s men, the pro-slavery people, and the ‘real cowboys’ doing that sort of ‘moral crusading,’ and ‘ethical debating.’

    But always it was the right wing.

    As soon as you brought me up in this fashion, I took that cue, and proactively examined legal rights and options just in case your group is anything near as humorless, petty, immature, and vindictive as I interpret them to be. And I regretted the manner in which you had chosen to view me, or highlight me; frame me as it were.

    So the point of my analogy above @404 is that your question about ethics–of all things–by silencing, shaming, or outing people–never was more than bullying, and inappropriate framing of names and faces into a somewhat unethical picture–snapped by you guys, like a nose picking, or ass digging photo.

    But @404:

    I do have the right to collect DNA samples from public places, and I can even sequence them, and publish the results. I can pass the swabs on to friends.

    I can go through an ‘enemies’ garbage, I can collect their finger prints, or bodily fluids, mine or sell their personal data, spider their web searches, collect, record, and publish statements by their students, photograph them and theirs in public places; I can do these things to others who do not reside in my country as well.

    Your actual privacy begins and ends at your doorstep, or your underwear–but keep your curtains closed, especially in a one party consent state/country! And I could do whatever else my purportedly ethical conscience tells me to do within that paradigm.

    Ethics, schmethics.

    The law is relatively clear on that: you give up your DNA, etc. when in public, and it becomes property of whoever collects it afterwards. You are not dealing with ethics–you are dealing with vengeance here.

    And in the U.S., it will remain that clear until another major case goes to SCOTUS.

    Is that really the world ‘you people’ want? Or that you want, Stephanie? But it is the world you, and your cronies of “higher learning” are arguing in favor of here. Shame on all of you.

    You are attacking the opinions, not actions, of a private person who has strong sentiments, and colorful language. And then, you are threatening ‘action’ against that person– the rather brilliant, well read, and well spoken–entirely coherent and often hilarious Franc Hoggle–who has made no claim of intent to harm anyone.

    As someone noted “how can five people be bullied by one?”

    Stephanie–you have joined a mob, that has nothing to do with ‘freethought’ and everything to do with dogma (yes, Thibeault, I DO know what dogma smells like when it gets stuck on my shoe); I know a little bit ( a fucking ton) about real life mobs–and I recognize that methodology at work here.

    In all common law, actions speak louder than words. When it comes to written words, and particularly fighting words? The founding fathers weren’t protected; but today, EVEN YOU, and THE KLAN are protected.

    Myers hiding behind the lil’ ol’ harmless perfesser routine in academia is no exception to being a mask of sorts, especially when you consider his bizarre, and deep hatred of all things ‘male’. He is an actual threat to families everywhere.

    And despite his own , and his ten or twenty psych patients, passive aggressives, and other OCD blog personalities with their bitter, cowardly and silencing attacks on others–these loons still have rights.

    His tweed suit, his unbridled misandry, and his massive projections of personal paranoia’s, fears and insecurities posited as ‘morality’ and spewed forth with calls to action against this or that person from his goat-headed Wiccan blog?

    Classic cult, by any definition–a definition further advanced by rhetorical calls for social violence against individuals.

    He has the same rights, no different than a KKK politicians right to a mask, and equally as destructive as that politicians responsibility for his/her followers “real” actions beyond mere opinions.

    I may despise such people’s bizarre fetishes and rhetorical cowardice, but it is their right regardless.

    Ophelia’s just petty, and shows herself to be just a relatively substance-less old fashioned and out of touch tone troll–off of her rocker if she wants anyone to give up that right of opinion as well–the valuable mask of expressing opinions from behind the nym’?? Priceless, if U.S. democracy is worth shit anymore.

    I would kick them in the bank account! –account! If they came after me, or a friend, personally, for speech and opinions. And I would exercise every right mentioned above, against them and theirs without remorse, and without fear of the cost, or the harm–and just for kicks!

    Because in your world, I should not have any second thoughts about private detectives rummaging through your/their e-mail lists, and connecting the dots of your web of internet associations; DNA harvesting is necessary, e-mail entrapment and Garbage collection as evidence collection are du jour—the list of grey area is literally endless.

    And it becomes necessary, a duty, to proactively protect oneself…

    And in your world, I would do as I chose with any information thus obtained afterwards, if I determined ( as self interestedly, and as disingenuously) that ‘they/them’ are a “threat.”

    And Greg wants to admonish so and so up there for the language of “othering” and dehumanization? He would out Franc if he was Ophelia? Welcome to your DNA online, with a full list of what goes on in your house according to what you throw away every day–because that’s the world YOU are arguing for too Greg.

    Or just grow up and get over the fact that other people have opinions that aren’t sock puppets of your own.

    So, in your guys world, I could give your DNA to others who also feel they ‘so and so’s are threats. And I could sequence the DNA, and publish the results as I see fit. I could dispose of it wherever else I decide to dispose of it, or think that it belongs(do you see where I am going here?)

    I could pass it along to agencies all over the country, the TSA, and pass it along to foreign agencies as well, if me and my maladapted ‘freethinking’ friends decide you are a threat.

    All that just for starters–and legally, because me and five or ten internet schizophrenics, narcissists, and sycophants social misfits, and blog bullies all agree.

    That’s the world you guys are building, and I/we need to protect ourselves proactively from it–and from you, if you condone such a vision of “protecting one’s rights” from hyperblow and self-serving sliding scales of what constitute ‘threats’ in PZ Myers insecure mind.

    Protection is proactive, not pre-emptive. Hey–here’s a box of matches,[\\\] and some tinder ****

    –I’m as revolutionary as the next Fabian….{*spark*}

    But ATEOTD? What all of you have participated in here is juvenile, blackmailing, coercive, academically fraudulent; and deceptive, self interested, and unenlightened.

    But you proved yourselves to ALL be liars in the least–because this shows you DO read Abbie Smiths blog religiously, despite your ‘months and months long protests’ to the contrary.

    All of our river’s run downhill–so don’t be surprised when in your world somebody dam’s your house over, re-routes your water pipes, redirects the flow of your freedom of speech, or decides to build a channel through your private spaces, and your sense of ethical debate too.

    “It’s [your] small world after all…” But I am here, in the real world, and well aware how your imaginary pseudo-academic worlds spill over.

  380. Philip Legge says

    But you proved yourselves to ALL be liars in the least–because this shows you DO read Abbie Smiths blog religiously, despite your ‘months and months long protests’ to the contrary.

    Read it religiously? Far from it. To paraphrase Dorothy Parker, “This is not a novel blog to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”

    But actually, most of the blog is good, save for the slimepit threads.

  381. hotshoe says

    I did not condemn the thread as a witch hunt. I described it as being disingenuous to claim it is primarily about helping people to make up their minds in regard to Franc, when, in my opinion, the thread is “really about crisis manufacturing, hysterical ranting, and crowd compliance.” I do not see anything there about witch hunts. Do you?

    How silly of anyone to have misread your raving “crisis manufacturing, hysterical ranting, and crowd compliance” to mean anything as straightforwardly understandable as “a witch hunt”.

    Way to deny the most commonsense meaning of your own words, John Greg, in favor of some hidden meaning only you could possibly see through the murk of what you wrote.

    Golly, you sure are smart. I wish I could talk out of both sides of my mouth at once like you do.

  382. hotshoe says

    But you proved yourselves to ALL be liars in the least–because this shows you DO read Abbie Smiths blog religiously, despite your ‘months and months long protests’ to the contrary.

    Read it religiously? Far from it. To paraphrase Dorothy Parker, “This is not a novel blog to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”

    But actually, most of the blog is good, save for the slimepit threads.

    I won’t read Abbie Smith for anything, not anything, not anymore. Too bad if she’s the best – or only – source of information for some stuff. It’s tainted beyond bearing.

    I think ERV is a good example of this thread’s point. Abbie Smith’s identity is known, and can be publicly associated with her slime by anyone who wants to expend effort googling her. That’s exactly how it should be. No one here is calling for Abbie’s teachers or employers or family to be tracked down and notified what kind of person she is. And that is also exactly how it should be. If there are real world consequences to her behavior, well, such is life, and if there aren’t (because no one googles her, or no one cares when they see the results) well, such is life also.

    Our situation is no different morally because Abbie Smith chose to have her real life identity available, compared to Franc Hoggle who up till now has chosen to have it hidden – because the problem is not about the perpetrator. It’s about the victims. The perpetrator always has a free choice, but the victims by definition, don’t.

    Now, knowing what I know, I have a choice not to associate with Abbie Smith anywhere, for anything. I don’t have to bump into her, unwarned, in real life and be harmed by hearing her putrid speech. The people who insist that because Franc Hoggle hasn’t committed any crimes, he retains a perfect right to perpetrate his sexual hatred, are insisting that I must remain a possible victim of whoever Franc Hoggle is in real life.

    That’s an immoral insistence. And the fact that Abbie Smith is still skating blithely through her life proves that it’s not only immoral, it’s stupidly unnecessary. Oh, poor Franc, what if something terrible happens to him when we reveal his identity. Yeah, just like something terrible happened to Abbie.

  383. says

    One point to the idea that people should wait until Hoggle, or others like him, commit an actual legal crime before taking steps: once that crime is committed, someone has suffered as the victim of that crime. Whether it was assault, vandalism, harassment that rises to legal levels, or whatever, someone had to be the victim. Someone had to suffer more than they might have had to if steps had been taken ahead of time.

  384. cmv says

    @Nathan – I now the thread has moved into the realm of actively notifying authorities/friends/relations/coworkers, etc, but that really isn’t the original question is it? The original proposition was whether or not to publicly name Hoggle, so that anyone who cares to look can see him for what he is. Stop the ability to hide behind a pseudonym.

    If ever there appears to be a real threat, having his name associated with the crap he writes online will help in making those threats recognisable to authorities then.

  385. says

    @cmv:

    The original proposition was whether or not to publicly name Hoggle, so that anyone who cares to look can see him for what he is. Stop the ability to hide behind a pseudonym.

    At a minimum, I think that’s what should happen. And informing GAC, which has already been done.

  386. Pteryxx says

    If I’ve learned anything personally earthshaking from this bloody mess, it’s how much of a big fat target a pseudonym is. I shouldn’t have to point out that obsessive creeps are evil gits who do real damage and need to be stopped, whether or not they have names. But anonymity’s something the evil git has, something that can be taken from him, and a real name’s something to toss out there in the quite honest and desperate hope that SOME good comes of it, even if it’s only as a gesture. I really thought, going into this discussion, that y’all who post and comment under your real names were braver by far than I; but it turns out the bravery’s more in what y’all say and who you take on than whether your nym lives in your wallet.

    (cc’d to Ophelia’s thread)

  387. says

    I really thought, going into this discussion, that y’all who post and comment under your real names were braver by far than I; but it turns out the bravery’s more in what y’all say and who you take on than whether your nym lives in your wallet.

    That’s a compliment, yes? I’m sorry if that’s obvious, but my head is not working properly right now, so I just want to be sure.

  388. Pteryxx says

    lawl… so much for my careful phrasing. It can be taken either way, intentionally, but yes I did mean it as a compliment. (Because misogyny, like rape, is pretty much safe to commit; but speaking up against it gets you trolled.)

  389. says

    Oh, phew, good. I thought so, based on your previous posts, but still. At any rate, I’m going to exempt myself from the compliment (I’m too small to deserve it), but second it for anyone taking on those battles, named or pseudonamed.

  390. Pteryxx says

    @Nathan, it’s a sliding scale. Everyone who participates in these discussions is increasing their risk of harassment; women far more than men, but still. Guys get stalkers, too, just usually not misogynist ones.

  391. says

    [ED: Piece of slapfight removed. --SZ]

    Lastly “no matter how many degrees someone has, they’re never divorced from the biases and often bigoted views of the society they grew up in.”

    Tell that to goat-head, would you julian?

    If you can get him out of his man-dungeon anyways…try starting with white female privilege–or are you too stunted to recognize why there are no “ppl of color” and especially, coveted, cost/benefit analysis worthy “women of color” in YOUR movement–or in goat-heads dungeon?

  392. says

    @474: Pterryx, that is THE first thing I EVER heard YOU say.

    Except the parts above where it is easily visible that you, too, squirm about being outed–see how ‘forced’ conformity works?

    The Judenrat collaborators struggled with that as well.

  393. says

    Pteryxx has done a hell of a lot more for this conversation than you have porn, and most assuredly did not start out conforming to anyone.

    And that is THE last thing I intend to EVER say to YOU.

  394. says

    Not all of us share the luxury of the “time” that the white middle class akadummicks–and especially white female akadicklicks have to spend doing nothing but yakking with ‘inturnuts’.

    Can somebody please call Tom Martin? We need somebody to explain to us how that’s not just raving misogyny but a rational, skeptical, evidence-based statement.

    But attacking a person for pure speech with tools other than speech is morally more reprehensible than being a fame whore, or a shit starter: it’s the beginning of all slippery slopes.

    And now I need some help.
    How is saying “Dick Hatewomen is a misogynist and has engaged in a months-long harrasment campaign against feminist bloggers under the name of Franc Hoggle” more than speech?
    Is it a physical action?
    Is it holding a wake in front of his house?
    Is it calling everybody in his hometown informing people about him?
    Is it violence or a threat thereof?

    But it’s the thing I said way up in comment 20 or so:
    It’s the difference between free speech and consequence-free speech. Pornalysis and Hoggle want the latter while people here take the former serious.
    The whle question of possible consequences to Hoggle is the one and only point of this discussion. That’s a courtesy Hoggle, pornalysis and their ilk have never extended to those they smear and attack.
    But how could anybody suggest that they should actually bear consequences, not for what other people say about them, but for what they say about others?
    Suddenly you become a tyrant.
    Just the same as the homophobes complain about when they’re called out

  395. says

    [Ed: A number of comments on both sides deleted for being insults that don't advance any argument. Congratulations on a highly successful trolling (of the fishing variety), pornalysis.]

  396. says

    Stephanie, Greg, and Jason @391-394,

    There are reasons “getting your ass kicked” refers to that particular piece of anatomy, as opposed to your face, chest, or leg getting kicked. It all comes from the tradition of mounting to show dominance. Now that I think of it, probably spanking does, as well. I’m not trying to change anything, just reconizing a reality. If any of you say that you never made that connection, I believe you. If you feel the connection is now so distant as to be irrelevant, I disagree, but reasonable people can disagree. I have no further comments to make on that subject.

  397. says

    John said [396]: Would anyone care to post any actual quotable real-world threats that Franc has madeWould anyone care to actually present a logic-based, meaningful, and supportable argument for Franc actually being a physical threat to someone in the real world??

    This is why I keep insisting that the “real world” vs. “on line” issues be separate. It is his online behavior that is being discussed in the main, though there have been reasonable arguments made that anyone who is so aggressive and nasty on line might not be trusted in real life either. But that is not the point, and the insistence that there be a real world threat is a distraction.

    In my opinion the many pro-outing, anti-Franc posters

    And here we have another purposeful conflation that I think is designed to distract from the real issue. The fact is that most people seem to be anti-outing, “anti-Franc” (though the term “anti” may not be the best one to use here).

  398. says

    PZ Myers [399]:

    Do you think I should consider myself safe if I were anywhere near this lunatic who thinks I’m evil personified? I can’t have any confidence that he’s going to react normally to anything I might do.

    I was thinking he wasn’t much of a real threat, but that’s a good point. We all look back in history and wish someone had pushed Hitler under a train. If he and his friends are as logical as they claim they are, and believe you are Kim Johg-il or Idi Amin, they should push you under a train. I guess I’d take that seriously.

  399. says

    cmv [412]: Laden: “The reason to not out him, as much as he may deserve it, is simple. There are people who need their pseudonymous according to you or me, but not according to someone else.”

    This is a slippery slope argument.

    I don’t think it’s a slippery slope argument. I think it is a slippery slope. About which we are arguing.

  400. says

    One Brow: Never made the connection, and I’m pretty sure it is irrelevant. I’d love to see your scholarly discourse connecting “getting your ass kicked” and “butthurt” to whatever it is exactly that you are connecting to (about which you may need to be more explicit).

    These things are researchable, and not merely pull-it-out-of-your-assable.

    Oh, look, there we are again!

  401. says

    If he and his friends are as logical as they claim they are, and believe you are Kim Johg-il or Idi Amin, they should push you under a train.

    You’re Not Helping.

    (note to self: avoid train stations.)

  402. says

    Wow, the MRAs are really getting defensive here. You’d think we were questioning some sacred privilege they’ve been taking for granted up to now. Oh wait, trashing and harassing women with absolute impunity IS a privilege they’ve been taking for granted.

  403. cmv says

    @Greg Laden: I think it is a slippery slope. About which we are arguing.

    Fair enough. I think there’s another argument to be made that the kind of people with whom we disagree are likely to out people they disagree with anyway (see the link to silverlining upthread). If we can argue (and I think it’s been done here to good effect) that no one should be able to site behind a pseudonym hurling insults and inciting hatred, I don’t think we give up the valid arguments against outting people for expressing political views (or whatever). People who go out of their way to hurt others are going to do just that, irrespective of any action this side may take.

    @porn – You really can’t see the difference in the quality of insults? Of course a lot of people he think you are a fuckwit. That is a equal opportunity insult, equally applicable to fuckwits around the world. The insults you choose to use are, almost without exception, homophobic and misogynist.

  404. says

    If we can argue (and I think it’s been done here to good effect) that no one should be able to site behind a pseudonym hurling insults and inciting hatred, I don’t think we give up the valid arguments against outting people for expressing political views (or whatever).

    I agree, cmv. As I said in the Butterflies and Wheels thread, we don’t act like IRL democracies imposing legal sanctions on vicious harassers are somehow giving justification to IRL totalitarian governments that arrest dissident reporters. What’s the source of this insistence that outing an online harasser for being a harasser would justify outing people who need their pseudonyms for free speech reasons?

    I just don’t see how this is really a meaningful slippery slope except in the sense that *everything* is a slippery slope if you measure it with a sufficiently sensitive level and then apply a lot of grease.

  405. says

    What’s the source of this insistence that outing an online harasser for being a harasser would justify outing people who need their pseudonyms for free speech reasons?

    The source is the harassers and their posse threatening to keep on doing what they were already doing.

  406. says

    Well, I take that back, I can see how it might have something to do with my question if you’re arguing that we shouldn’t out them because they might then turn around and start outing us. But if that’s the case, then what you’re essentially saying is that we should let them succeed in intimidating us, succeed at making our online communities unsafe spaces for women. I really don’t think that’s the direction we want things to go.

  407. John Greg says

    I see no one has yet:

    1. Posted any actual quotable real-world threats that Franc has made.

    2. Presented a logic-based, meaningful, and supportable argument for Franc actually being a physical threat to someone in the real world.

    3. Participated in real-world critical thinking in this thread and present supportable evidence of any kind whatsoever that Franc is in actual fact a threat to anyone.

    Or, to make Laden happy:

    1. Posted any actual quotable online threats that Franc has made.

    2. Presented a logic-based, meaningful, and supportable argument for Franc actually being a threat to someone online (that would be magical, wouldn’t it).

    3. Participated in online critical thinking in this thread and present supportable evidence of any kind whatsoever that Franc is in actual fact a threat to anyone online or otherwise (hmm, more magic here — and I know some have stated the issue is the “possibility” of Franc being a threat, but in terms of this argument and the kind of inflated shenanigans being posited here we can all be accused of that).

    C’mon all you proud world-savers, you mighty bastions of feminist thought, critical thinking, and rational and reasoned argument, you gleeful slayers of all things privileged, slap on your pointy hats and get down to it; we’re waiting.

  408. says

    John Greg:

    Presented a logic-based, meaningful, and supportable argument for Franc actually being a threat to someone online (that would be magical, wouldn’t it).

    He has not made an on line threat. He has made an on line offense.

  409. says

    Would anyone care to post any actual quotable real-world threats that Franc has made?

    Ah, yes, it’s just the internet.
    Things people say on the internet don’t count. If they are discovered afterwards, everybody engages in “but why didn’t anybody stop them?”.
    How is it ethical to wait until something happens and somebody has been gravely hurt?

  410. julian says

    Real world?

    Ah yes, that’s right. So long as it happens in cyber space it doesn’t count. After all, can’t be letting MySpace affect MeatSpace and what not. People have no right to old anyone accountable for mere words. Just ignore them. Just turn the other cheek. Just let them keep harassing you to their heart’s content.

    You don’t want to be against free speech, do you?

  411. says

    John, you come in here and tell us we must meet your standard. When asked how you support that standard, you say, “I based it on my opinion.” Don’t be surprised that no one is taking you seriously enough to frame the discussion around your standard. You’ve done is wandered in here and said, “Ha! None of you have made a valid argument as to why chocolate is left out of all the best ice creams! I win!!1!”

    Come up with a reason why that should be the standard that doesn’t involve “Because I said so,” or don’t expect anyone to bother with you.

  412. says

    1. No one has accused Hoggle of making a quotable threat.

    2. We have. You chose to ignore it. His obsessive hatred of several of us, his fanatical dedication to self-righteously accusing us of being great dangers to the atheist movement, and his outright claim that he seriously believes I have the morals of a mass murderer mean that he is so divorced from reality that he is a potential danger.

    3. This is the same question as #2. Does juggling the words to make 3 questions make you feel smarter?

    For that matter, why are you bothering to ask the questions if you’re going to intentionally ignore the answers?

    Of course, that we don’t trust his sanity only means that we should make a proportionate response. That means that if there is concern that he will blow up at an event, we would warn the event organizers. I know you’re martyr complex would appreciate it if we threatened to line him up against a wall and shoot him for being an idiot on the internet, but that’s not going to happen.

    He’s a kook with a special contempt for women. That’s not illegal. It just means he’s going to be a pariah.

  413. John Greg says

    julian and Giliell, please see the second half of the list. It refers specifically to online stuff.

    Giliell said:

    “How is it ethical to wait until something happens and somebody has been gravely hurt?”

    In this specific instance, i.e., regarding Franc, it is ethical because there appears to be no evidence whatsoever that Franc is a threat to anyone, other than perhaps himself. Pre-emptive strikes are generally indistinguishable from unwarranted offensive first strikes.

    Furthermore, the aligning/associating of Franc with the Montreal Madman (as PeeZus is having his gleeful fun doing), and in that way trying to legitimize some form of pre-emptive strike, is nothing short of ridiculous. Mr. Montreal made clear, precise, unmistakably hostile online threats directed at several specific individuals. Franc has done no such thing.

    Zvan said:

    “John, you come in here and tell us we must meet your standard.”

    Um, did I? I don’t think I did that actually– request, yes, demand, no. We live in a world where nuance works.

    Because several posters have claimed that Franc has threatened people (and supposedly continues to do so), that Franc is a threat, that Franc harrassed people (and continues to do so), and that Franc poses some hypothetical danger to some hypothetical people, I thought it would meet the criteria for skepticism and for critical thinking to request some evidence. If that is not the case, then so be it.

    But no, I am making no demands that anyone meet my standards. You can meet any standards you see fit. But I believe it is within my and every other posters right to criticize ill-met, or hypocritical, or ever-shifting standards, isn’t it?

    Essentially I am requesting, not demanding, that you and the other posters here meet their own frequently stated standards of well reasoned, rational argument, critical thinking, and skepticism.

    “Ha! None of you have made a valid argument as to why chocolate is left out of all the best ice creams! I win!!1!”

    That would be much more accurate and on-topic of it was:

    “Ha! None of you have made a valid argument or posted any supporting evidence as to why or how Franc is a threat, or showing Franc harrassing people, threatening them, and so on! Nobody wins.”

  414. says

    John, you know you can go back and read your previous statements, right? This:

    That’s to say that you are morally obligated to respect an individual’s stated wish for anonymity, should they so state, because up until said individual actually perpetrates some kind of real-world crime, and/or is demonstrabley and inarguabley a threat to someone, it is none of your business to out anyone.

    is not a request. And you haven’t bothered to criticize our standards beyond saying they’re not yours, and therefore, are worse. Well, you have, but it’s been more opinion–we’re enjoying ourselves; we’re acting as a mob (irony alert); etc.

    I do find it fascinating that you’re here counseling us against some kind of pre-emptive strike, though. Did you do the same for Hoggle before he started his four months campaign (to which, kindly note, we are reacting)?

  415. says

    John, either you never read what was written here, or you’re knowingly making shit up about what we said. The fact is, we’ve provided everything you just demanded, long before you demanded it. Denying the existence of what’s clearly still up there for all to see and verify is a sure sign of, well, a denialist.

  416. says

    Wait…a defender of Hoggle is arguing for nuance? Jebus.

    The Idi Amin/Kim Jong-il remark…was that an example of Hogglish nuance?

    I’ve already addressed your three bogus questions. I suspect you’ll just ignore the answers because they don’t fit your predetermined expectations.

  417. julian says

    I love how the right to face your accusers gets completely ignored by folks like Mr Greg. So selective of which rights they champion. And of who’s.

  418. says

    Steph: Very disappointing editing here, really. You delete julians, and Stacy’s comment but leave my response to it stand?

    I will remember this about you.

    You certainly do “frame” an issue interestingly–back to point 1 about trust. It’s more circular than this argument.

    But @444 should be deleted, and the other reply should stand, if you are any kind of editor at all.

  419. says

    pornalysis and Raging Bee, for the record, if you two start at it again, you’re both out of this thread for the duration, even if you do say something on-topic.

    pornalysis, if you’d put your points in separate comments from your insults, you’d make my editing life much easier.

  420. John Greg says

    Zvan, in your initial post that heads this thread you stated:

    “… give me a good reason why I’m not morally obligated to attach his real name to this kind of behavior as publicly as I can.”

    So, by my saying “That’s to say that you are morally obligated….” is answering your request. It is not an unrequested demand Zvan; it specifically answers your request.

    “I do find it fascinating that you’re here counseling us against some kind of pre-emptive strike, though. Did you do the same for Hoggle before he started his four months campaign (to which, kindly note, we are reacting)?”

    I am not condeming folks for raging against Franc — I am opposed to some aspects of the method, not the process itself — which would be the same type of thing Franc is doing toward PeeZus, Umbridge, et al. But what you are proposing to do, i.e., “outing” Franc is by no means the same thing that Franc is doing. And it is that “outing” that I refer to when I discuss pre-emptive strikes.

    Raging Bee, the comments on this thread provide opinions, feelings, and suppositions; they do not provide any evidence of Franc’s having threatened, harrassed anyone, or express evidence of being dangerous to anyone. If there has been actual evidence/links posted to evidence that I have overlooked, please point me in the right direction.

    PeeZus, I never said Franc was using nuance. So your comment regarding that is, I don’t know, irrelevant; non sequitor; false dichotomy; something like that. I’ve never pretended to have my head wrapped well around defining/describing logical fallacies. And upthread some folks, such as hotshoe, have stated that Franc threatens people.

    And I’ve not ignored your answers to my questions — I just disagree with them. And I disagree that those requests for evidence are in any way bogus. Obviously we’re going to disagree with that.

    julian, huh? What on earth are you talking about now? Who’s right to face which accusers is being ignored? Please clarify that a bit. And specifically how am I being selective of which rights to champion? Please clarify that too.

  421. says

    Ah, John, now I see. Every new action in an engagement is a “preemptive strike.” Right. And saying I have an obligation is not a demand. Right.

    Would somebody please find people who want to argue with me who actually know what words mean?

  422. John Greg says

    Zvan, You clearly implied that you felt morally obligated to “out” Franc.

    I answered your request by stating that I felt you were morally obligated to not “out” Franc.

    You asked to be told why you weren’t morally obligated to do something. I chose to frame my response to your request in the converse. I don’t understand why you seem unable to see that. How do those two things, i.e., your request/my response, not fit together hand and glove, and therefore do not require your misrepresentation of my actions?

    “Every new action in an engagement is a ‘preemptive strike.’”

    I honestly don’t know what you mean by that. I tried to clarify that my talk of pre-emptive strike was referring to the actions you wished to take in “outing” Franc. How is that “Every new action in an engagement”?

  423. says

    In this specific instance, i.e., regarding Franc, it is ethical because there appears to be no evidence whatsoever that Franc is a threat to anyone, other than perhaps himself.

    Except, of course, the evidence people have provided here

    Pre-emptive strikes are generally indistinguishable from unwarranted offensive first strikes.

    Whut?
    Is Stephanie trying to nuke him?
    How is it a pre-emptive strike to out somebody’s RL name after that person has carried out a months long harrasment campaign against several people that is having an effect IRL?

  424. says

    John, don’t use the words you’ve seen someone else use, even if you like the parallel construction, if you don’t know what they mean.

    “Every new action in an engagement is a ‘preemptive strike’” means that by your reasoning, it would be a “preemptive strike” to break out the halberds when you’re facing a cavalry charge. Besides, the “preemptive strike” bit is silly when all we’re considering doing is making someone wear their colors off the field.

    While we’re on the subject of words you don’t understand, learn the difference between “opinion” and “argument.” Opinion is that thing on which you based my “moral obligation.” You know, that thing where you shrug and say, “Just ’cause.”

    Argument is that thing that I’ve done where I say that other people have the right to know that someone is abusive when they think they can get away with it–so those people can make up their minds whether they want to get close enough for abuse to potentially affect them. It’s that thing Ibis3 has done in saying that allowing a shield to be turned into a sword makes that shield less available to others. It’s that thing Ophelia has done in noting that unchecked hate encourages others who hate, some of whom are definitely dangerous. It’s that thing she and Greg and PZ have done in noting that dehumanization is a common step toward violence.

    It’s also that thing Pteryxx has done in digging away at the arguments for outing. You’ll notice plenty of people have been making arguments on this blog. You need more than “I disagree” and “You haven’t done that yet” if you want to make any dent in those. You actually have to argue back.

    After all, isn’t that what a skeptic would do? Also, you’ve got one more comment in which to at least make an attempt.

  425. says

    SZ: First, I am requesting that you grant me a restraining order against the haranguing, maligning, and insults of the aforementioned character.

    And please refrain from “framing me” alongside people like that.
    (O.K. Stephanie? Because you remind me of Squeakie Fromm or Patty Hearst when you do that)

    Second: “if you’d put your points in separate comments from your insults, you’d make my editing life much easier.”

    There is no point in writing if one cannot creatively insult those dull hordes who insult you first; and most often, less creatively.

    But I will, for now, agree to parenthetical insults–those insults directed at people who insult me first, or with whom there is a history of insult.

    Lastly: why have you encouraged, allowed, incited, and instigated that citizen journalist Franc Hoggle be attacked here along the lines of a theoretical psychopathology, but you entertain and nurture a cult of narcissism, here?

    And why do you cater to P.Z. Myers most bizarre interior life full of insecurity and projected fears (one could easily imagine the guy is a late model bed-wetter); not to mention all of these other whackoes who come here to have their anxieties coddled?

    (Wow does the language, sentence structure, general rhythm and tone of the ‘normals’ sound fucking dull…I just re-read my comment–I start to sound like ‘one of them’. But I am working hard on getting ‘duller’,and almost as vapid, short winded and unreadable as many of those dried out empty casks up there, so bear with me.)

  426. John Greg says

    Zvan said:

    “Every new action in an engagement is a ‘preemptive strike’ means that by your reasoning, it would be a ‘preemptive strike’ to break out the halberds when you’re facing a cavalry charge.’”

    Ah, now I get it. Except, to be accurate in regard to Francs blog and your wish to “out” him, I would argue that Franc’s known actions, i.e., his blog posts should be equated with someone rattling their sabres at you rather than a actual cavalry charge. While rattling sabres might warrant an escalation of watchfullness, it doesn’t necessarily warrant action.

    “Besides, the “preemptive strike” bit is silly when all we’re considering doing is making someone wear their colors off the field.”

    Well, yes, perhaps. Though I choose to think of it as colourful rather than silly.

    “Argument is that thing that I’ve done where I say that other people have the right to know that someone is abusive when they think they can get away with it–so those people can make up their minds whether they want to get close enough for abuse to potentially affect them.”

    Yes, I understand that. My argument is that Franc has not done anything to realisticlly warrant such action, and that the general fear-mongering and extremist and groundless escalation of his “offensive” actions is problematic in the extreme, especially when you get stuff like PeeZus equating Franc with the Madman of Montreal, which is ludicrous.

    And for the record, I am not defending Franc so much as I am defending his right to post whatever he wants on his blog, at least up until the point of actually calling for a literal physical attack on some individual or group of people — which he has not demonstrably done.

  427. says

    pornalysis, don’t confuse “punditry” for journalism. All that sort of punditry is is trying to make everyone see things your way by making sure they see your interpretation first. It’s a common tool for protecting entrenched interests.

    Feel free to psychoanalyze me, though. Oh, wait. Wasn’t that how you started?

  428. says

    John (new comment to spare pornalysis’s feelings), no one is suggesting Hoggle can’t post. Don’t be so “fear-mongering and extremist and groundless.”

    Also, you still haven’t done anything to provide a counter-argument, just called names again. You’re gone until you can manage to address those arguments instead of trying to wave a magic wand over them. After all, I’ve been told this place needs to be more skeptical.

  429. cmv says

    John,

    Franc states that PZ is the moral equivalent of Kim Jong Il or Idi Amin, men who were responsible for mass murder. PZ compares Franc to the “Madman of Montreal”, a man who started off by writing angry, violent screed on the internet, attacking the character of the targets of his ire.

    Which is the more apt and reasonable comparison, in your opinion?

  430. says

    What cmv said.

    I stand by my comparison of Hoggle and Mabus: what they have in common is obsession.

    I also think Greg is weaseling away from dealing with my answers.

  431. hotshoe says

    PeeZus, I never said Franc was using nuance. So your comment regarding that is, I don’t know, irrelevant; non sequitor; false dichotomy; something like that. I’ve never pretended to have my head wrapped well around defining/describing logical fallacies. And upthread some folks, such as hotshoe, have stated that Franc threatens people.

    I don’t expect John Greg to be back soon to see this or respond to it – but nonetheless I want to reply … John Greg is claiming that I have stated that Franc threatens people. Not surprisingly, John Greg has his facts wrong again, as I did NOT do that. I have never accused Franc Hoggle of uttering a threat against any specific person(s).

    Maybe he has. Maybe his website is full of threats. I’m not going to wade into his pig shit to check. Maybe his emails to various bloggers are full of specific threats. How would I know ? Not my emails. I might suspect, but I don’t know, and I can’t imagine ever making such an accusation against Franc Hoggle based on something I don’t know.

    What I do know is that Hoggle’s words I have seen are abusive and sexually hateful. (Do I need to mention yet again that Franc Hoggle’s readers are real people in the real world with real minds that can be harmed by repeated exposure to toxic waste of Hoggle’s type?) Without worrying about actionable real world threats to persons, that’s plenty enough harm to pin a handle on him. There is no moral rule or law which requires any further justification than that for releasing his real name.

    I’m pretty sure someone else in his real world wants to know what Franc Hoggle does where he thinks he can get away with it, and we’re not on the moral side if we’re keeping Franc Hoggle’s sick little secret for him.

  432. says

    Raging Bee, the comments on this thread provide opinions, feelings, and suppositions; they do not provide any evidence of Franc’s having threatened, harrassed anyone, or express evidence of being dangerous to anyone.

    We also discussed the FACTS of Hoggle’s observed behavior. Your accusation above is a lie. And one of those facts is that Hoggle is acting a lot like Mabus, so it’s a pretty safe bet he’d continue acting like Mabus, who eventually became a threat worth the cops’ attention.

    And I’ve not ignored your answers to my questions — I just disagree with them.

    You didn’t say how or why you disagreed with our answers; you lied by implying that we never gave you any answers.

    But I will, for now, agree to parenthetical insults–those insults directed at people who insult me first, or with whom there is a history of insult.

    Coming from the incoherent wanker who falsely accused me of advocating the rape of boys, that bit of self-righteous self-pity is just fucking hilarious. It’s really no wonder you’re so bothered by all this talk of outing, porny-boy — you know damn well you’re in the same boat as Hoggle.

  433. says

    John, this is what you originally said: “I see no one has yet” posted what you think we should have posted. Not “I disagree with what others have posted….” You lied the first time, and now you’re lying again.

  434. Old Betty says

    All those posts responding to John… yet he won’t get the chance to answer them. Was he abusive? Rude even?
    No.
    But it’s safe here now, from differing opinions.

    {very slow hand clap}

    [ED: Oh, how nice. Based on IP, this is Munkhaus morphing some more because he can't stand to not comment here. Poor dear. --SZ]

  435. says

    Yeah, Old Betty, we’re all safe from those opinions he was just repeating again and again without supporting, even after he was told to do so. Good thing they don’t exist in multiple copies already in these comments.

  436. Ainuvande says

    “Hoggle should have his real name associated with his virulent posts. If he still wants to spew, let him – free speech, after all – but if he’s going to attack real people with real names (like Stephanie Zvan, Ophelia Benson) then fairness requires that he do it within his own real identity.

    Right now, the situation is not fair, and bizarrely, half the responders think we’re somehow obligated to perpetuate the unfairness by keeping silent about Hoggle’s real name.” (from comment 86)

    This. exactly. I feel like once he’s using real names, they might as well be used all around. If you can’t own your words, don’t say them.

  437. julian says

    And for the record, I am not defending Franc so much as I am defending his right to post whatever he wants on his blog

    Which I don’t see stopping after his ‘true identity’ is revealed. He will still be able to post whatever he pleases on his blog. We’ll just have a name and possibly a face to attach to it.

  438. says

    So the challenge is this: Knowing what I know, having the information I do, give me a good reason why I’m not morally obligated to attach his real name to this kind of behavior as publicly as I can.

    For it to be a real-world “challenge” (rather than a puffed-up juvenile self-important bit of trivial nonsense) one must define what one means by “good reason” up-front.
    Well: what is your definition of “good reason”? Or am I only permitted to know after you fail candidates, if even then?
    I’m waiting, but not with any form of actual hope.

  439. cmv says

    @Michael – In general, a “good reason” is one of those things where you know it when you hear it. If you know what exactly you mean by it “up-front”, there is no reason to ask the question. The implication behind the question posed is that the decision is already all-but-made, but if there are “good reasons” out there not to follow through, your interlocutor is willing to listen.
    Throughout this threat, Stephanie has conspicuously not failed any reasons. Other posters have, but she herself seems to be taking everything under advisement. I could be entirely wrong in my interpretation, but that’s how I’ve read her posts.

  440. says

    Umm… I still don’t have a firm opinion on this matter, but I think that if it will make the community better to out the assholes, douchebags, and MRA-types, do it.

    I have opinions. Strong opinions. And I’m not ashamed of them. Click my username — it’ll take you to my blog. My blog is linked to my facebook account. And anyone who knows me, either in cyberspace or meatspace, knows that I have Opinions on just about everything.

    If outing someone for malicious/antisocial/predatory behavior causes harm, so be it — it can’t be anything compared to the harm that allowing the behavior to continue would cause.

  441. says

    The anonymous “cmv” @523:
    I was requesting a solid response from the author of this blog.
    But I shall briefly de-construct your reply for didactic reasons:

    In general, a “good reason” is one of those things where you know it when you hear it.

    This is EXACTLY why *I* require a definition! As do others who may not share either Svan’s, nor your, specific upbringing, indoctrination, nor mind-set.
    You have revealed yourself as incompetent to respond to my enquiry with that bizarre admission that there is zero evidence with which to support the propositions. Or, at the very least: you do not possess such evidence.

    If you know what exactly you mean by it “up-front”, there is no reason to ask the question.

    What? Please read for comprehension.
    I did not claim to know what I meant by “up-front”, quite the reverse! That is why I am asking the quesation.

    The implication behind the question posed is that the decision is already all-but-made, but if there are “good reasons” out there not to follow through, your interlocutor is willing to listen.

    Mind-reader now, eh? You can quit that carney act right now.
    No: This was NOT the reason for the question AT ALL.
    I asked the question in the hope of actually obtaining a truthful answer.

    Throughout this threat

    What “threat”?

    Stephanie has conspicuously not failed any reasons.

    That made neither grammatical sense, nor any sort of sense that I am able to discern.
    Are you able to re-state it cogently, please?

    Other posters have, but she herself seems to be taking everything under advisement.

    Not my problem.

    I could be entirely wrong in my interpretation, but that’s how I’ve read her posts.

    What does that have to do with answering my enquiry, apart from a stumbling attempt to move the goal-posts?

    If you choose to respond, please try to make sure that you:
    1) Remain coherent.
    2) Remain on-topic.
    3) Answer the question(s).
    4) Do not resort to further logical fallacies.

  442. Stacy says

    Hoggle’s already as much as dared Stephanie to out him, and he’s had plenty of time to let her know if that would cause him problems.

    He’s not in danger of being persecuted for his ideas. He may possibly be in danger of being seen as a disturbed kook by people in his real life. If he’s a disturbed kook, the more people recognize that, or have access to evidence of it, the better for all. If he’s not, if some of us are mistaken in our assessment of him, let him stand behind his words.

  443. says

    Stephanie: So, let me get this straight–I ask you to just delete my comments, because your editorial ethics suck, and then you decide to ridicule me?

    You know–a man’s ‘feelings’ are like a woman’s thoughts about “her weight”: opposite metaphors, no doubt but apt reminders of social programming nonetheless….

    I asked that you not allow the type of behavior that is exhibited in @516, by Raping Butthertz, and you allow that behavior?

    Keep in mind: I asked once, and you allowed it. Your ethics reveal themselves by the comment.

    And it’s just derailing. Hmmm…what was the plate number on that silver Prius from Virginia? Oh yeah–it belongs to a tone troll with butthertz from sitting on its ass all day on 13th street…

    Listen–for any who wonder where my position on anonymity gets started,and what should make you concerned as well, look at 459. Anything else here is just bizarre, selective editing.

    And my thoughts about any of it pale next to what others could do if they played with your ethical vacuum–such an instrument designed with a flaw: that of presuming others hadn’t sucked you in first–a vacuum within a vacuum…

  444. Stacy says

    Michael, do you have a reason (of any sort) to offer?

    Have you any substantive comment to make? Or did you just come here to sneer? (Protip: sneering for its own sake tends to come across as puffed-up, juvenile, self-important, and trivial.)

  445. says

    Michael, can I help? I’m sure Stephanie will be along tomorrow to respond if she chooses, but for now, I’m up.

    First, her challenge:

    Knowing what I know, having the information I do, give me a good reason why I’m not morally obligated to attach his real name to this kind of behavior as publicly as I can.

    Then you:

    Well: what is your definition of “good reason”? Or am I only permitted to know after you fail candidates, if even then?

    So, let me try to help with your confusion, by referencing your response to cmv.

    In general, a “good reason” is one of those things where you know it when you hear it.

    This is EXACTLY why *I* require a definition! As do others who may not share either Svan’s, nor your, specific upbringing, indoctrination, nor mind-set.

    So far as I can tell, cmv is saying that Stephanie does not know what that “good reason” might be. It might be hard evidence that outing hoggle would do harm to him disproportionate to the harm he’s caused others; it might be a strong philosophical argument to the same effect; it might be a philosophical argument that there’s a right to a pseudonym that outweighs any potential benefit to outing him. It might be something else. But she doesn’t know, and cannot know, until that “good reason” is presented to her, and she gets it.

    If you know what exactly you mean by it “up-front”, there is no reason to ask the question.

    What? Please read for comprehension.
    I did not claim to know what I meant by “up-front”, quite the reverse! That is why I am asking the quesation.

    That’s a generic “you,” Michael, not a person-specific “you.” In other words, cmv wasn’t saying that you (Michael)have made any claim to knowledge, but rather that anyone in Stephanie’s position would not have, and could not have, known what would constitute a “good reason” “up-front.” If you need it to be person-specific, then just replace “you” with “Stephanie.”

    Throughout this threat

    What “threat”?

    Most likely a typo for “thread,” although I suppose it could be read as “threat [to out hoggle],” but I think that might be stretching it a bit.

    Stephanie has conspicuously not failed any reasons.

    That made neither grammatical sense, nor any sort of sense that I am able to discern.

    This refers to when you said

    Or am I only permitted to know after you fail candidates,

    In other words, cmv is saying that Stephanie has not come out and said that she’s flat out rejected, i.e. failed, any argument put forward for not outing hoggle — so far. In other words, she’s taking all arguments “under advisement.”

    I could be entirely wrong in my interpretation, but that’s how I’ve read her posts.

    What does that have to do with answering my enquiry, apart from a stumbling attempt to move the goal-posts?

    Nothing, and no goal-posts being shifted. cmv is simply acknowledging that s/he is not Stephanie, and may have been mistaken in how s/he read Stephanie.

  446. says

    The anonymous “Stacey” @S528:

    Michael, do you have a reason (of any sort) to offer?

    Another distraction from answering my relevant & specific question?
    I shall give my response when I am satisfied as to the exact rules of “the challenge”.
    For that is the gist of this thread.
    What is so difficult to understand about that?

  447. says

    The anonymous NathanDST @529:
    I thank you for your seemingly heartfelt attempts at clarification, but my request was directed at Ms. Svan, not thoise with no authority to respond as to the precise terms to her “challenge”.
    I am prepared to wait for her to respond, thanks for your concern.

  448. cmv says

    @Michael – cmv are my initials.

    1. A “good reason” is something you know when you hear. Almost by definition, if she had a good reason, she wouldn’t be asking for one. How is someone to define for you what is a good reason when that is what she is asking for?
    2. Instead of “if you know exactly what you mean by it up-front” I should have written “If one knows…” i.e. the person asking for a good reason, not you with the demands.
    3. “The implication…” I’m talking about the implication of asking for good reasons not to do something. I’m saying nothing about your questions. Nothing to do with carney acts, only to do with the usual use of the phrase “Give me a good reason…” Maybe you have heard this before, as in, “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t fire you.”
    4. “Threat” was a typo. It should have read “thread”, as in the series of 520-odd posts preceding this one.
    5. From you at 522

    Well: what is your definition of “good reason”? Or am I only permitted to know after you fail candidates, if even then?

    Do you still want to question my grammar? I used your fucking construction.
    6. Follows on your inability to comprehend your own constructions when quoted back to you, but let me rephrase such that you might follow: Other posters have declared reasons not to be good, but our hostess has not said very much, either pro or con, about any of the reasons proposed. She appears to be taking it all in.
    7. “I could be entirely wrong in my interpretation, but that’s how I’ve read her posts.” This is not moving goalposts, asshat, this is my acknowledging that I am no mind-reader, and I can’t actually say on Stephanie’s behalf that that is what she is doing. This is just how it looks to me.

    I hope this clears things up for you.

  449. cmv says

    Michael – 534 posts in, and you can’t figure out the rules? Maybe you should try reading for comprehension.

  450. cmv says

    Why on earth do you insist on prefacing everything with “anonymous”? For all anyone knows, Michael Kingsford Gray is the name of your cat, and you are actually Joanna McNichols.
    Talk about incivility!

  451. says

    @cmv — You’re welcome.
    ——————–

    The anonymous “cmv”:
    Your gross and unnecessary incivility has rendered you persona non grata to me.

    …….Wow. May I suggest, Michael, that you look back at your responses to cmv, and maybe ask yourself if perhaps you haven’t come across as being “gross and unnecessar[ily] [u]ncivil[]“?

  452. says

    oh come on people, you only need to look at the website of “Michael Kingsford Gray” to know whether they are a person worth taking seriously or not. And their pompous attitude adds to that impression too.

    BTW, after listening to what people had to say here and on other blogs, I think I’m now tending towards disclosing F.H.’s identity. Many women have made clear how harmful this kind of activity can actually be to them, and coupled with the fact how obsessed F.H. seems to be with certain people, it might be fully justified from a safety p.o.v. as well.

  453. hotshoe says

    Why on earth do you insist on prefacing everything with “anonymous”? For all anyone knows, Michael Kingsford Gray is the name of your cat, and you are actually Joanna McNichols.
    Talk about incivility!

    Oooh, Snap !

  454. says

    So, let me try to recap the arguments from Hoggle’s friends:

    -Calling PZ Myers worse than Kim Jong Il is perfectly acceptable, mentioning that Hoggle reminds them of the early stages of Mambus is absolutely inacceptable slander.

    -Saying that Ophelia Benson should be kicked in the c*nt is not a threat, discussing whether to out Hoggle or not is like holding a gun to his head.

    -A months long obsessive, 3 posts a day smear campaign against other bloggers is OK, it’s only the internet, thinking publicly about whether or not to out Hoggle is a witch hunt.

    -Writing stuff on the internet that, if published in a newspaper would lead to legal consequences is OK and Free Speech(TM)*, writing on the internet that Misogynist Scumbag writes shit under the name of Franc Hoggle is the end of the western world, probably.

    Sounds to me like an elaborate version of “boys will be boys” and if the girls demand that they stop pulling their hair they should get off the playing field and shut up.

    *not to confuse with real free speech

  455. says

    Michael, a reason is just that, an argument (see my note to John Greg above if you’re not sure what that means) based around my concerns or other concerns I may not have considered. Something like “You don’t have the moral authority to make this decision” is not a reason, given that I still have to make a decision, whatever my moral authority may be. Or not. A good reason would be one that outweighed my concerns about contributing to a culture of silence on these issues.

    Now, that being said, did you have a reason to contribute to the discussion, or are you just over here to poke around?

  456. says

    Giliell, it isn’t 3 posts a day, unless you’re counting them from somewhere other than the blog. The observation of obsessiveness comes from the stepped-up posting schedule and the fact that nothing else is posted about anymore.

  457. says

    OK, I admit to not reading his blog. I don’t have enough time reading the interesting blogs. The “3 posts a day” was, inded, I admit, a relatively arbitrary number that reflects solely my impression, which is that whenever there is a post on feminism on your blog, or B&W, Pharyngula, there’s a backlink to Hoggle with some bullshit in it.
    I’m sorry, I should have made that clearer.
    I admit to having been very polemic.

  458. says

    For it to be a real-world “challenge” (rather than a puffed-up juvenile self-important bit of trivial nonsense) one must define what one means by “good reason” up-front.

    No, she doesn’t have to do any such thing. Either you have something intelligent and helpful to say on this matter, or you don’t. And if you understand, and care, what we’re talking about here, then you don’t have to wait for someone to tell you what the phrase “good reason” means.

    This Michael guy is — to borrow his own words — using puffed-up juvenile self-important trivial nonsense to pretend he’s so far above us we have to earn the right to be treated as his equal. And the fact that he’d go so far out of his way to post here, then refuse to address the OT until we give him what he demands, proves he is — to go back to my words — a pompous self-important pseudo-aristocratic twit trolling for attention.

  459. says

    Now, Raging Bee, I’m perfectly happy to explain the challenge for anyone who can’t understand it. I am a little surprised it took him this long, though. He’s known about it for days.

  460. says

    Yes, but maybe it took him this long to think up an excuse to pretend he’s superior to all of us.

    Either that, or he’s part of the next wavelet of idiots arriving late, ignoring what’s gone before, and repeating the same pet peeves that have already been addressed. That’s what I noticed at many of the other blog posts dealing with “Elavatorgate.”

  461. says

    Could be, but I think we can comfortably point them to the answers already in the thread and let others figure out for themselves whether these people are interested in honest discussion based on how they respond.

  462. says

    And Raging Bee goes into moderation for the duration, having not listened to my warning. Seriously, folks, you’ll save me a great deal of time if you would keep some substance in your comments.

  463. Pteryxx says

    (cc’d this comment to B&W)

    I realized something else, after it nagged at me overnight like a thorn (just how intuition is SUPPOSED to work). And that was PZ’s comment on B&W:

    PZ Myers says:
    November 6, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    His style is highly questionable, but as far as I can tell he has given ZERO indication of being a Mabus-style wacko.

    Except for the four or five months of single-minded, obsessive hatred, and the absolute self-righteous certainty that he is the good guy opposed by an evil conspiracy.

    You may not know this, but I was a witness to Mabus’ descent into madness from the 1990s onward. Hoggle is a baby Mabus.

    and Ophelia’s follow-up:

    Ophelia Benson says:
    November 7, 2011 at 7:50 am

    And another thing, connected to what PZ said @ 21 – I took a deep breath and looked at hoggle’s blog yesterday: hoggle is (I mean this very literally) frighteningly obsessed with PZ. Not me; PZ. Dangerously obsessed.

    Everything I know about criminals with personal motives – every kind from stalkers, harassers, and partner abusers to serial bombers and assassins – says that obsession is the single defining characteristic. Someone who is obsessed won’t respond to reason, threats or risks to themselves. Their target just wants to be left alone, but to the aggressor, that is the same as losing – they have devoted themselves to a Cause. This manifests in domestic violence as the commonly held sentiment “If I can’t have you, then nobody can.” Also, to someone who is obsessed, winning doesn’t matter either – they MUST have a target, and if one target becomes unavailable, often they’ll readily switch to another. That’s one reason they become serial offenders.

    This also applies regardless of the aggressor’s supposed reason for the obsession. A stalker who spouts love for their target is just as much a risk as one who uses hate speech, or one who’s a conspiracy theorist. (They may use different tactics, but their words aren’t as important as the degree of obsession they show.)

    Now, not all obsessive types escalate to the point of real threat. Gavin de Becker cites cases who have happily sent threatening or lovelorn messages to his clients for DECADES without ever metastasizing into outright threats; but these people still have to be carefully monitored, because some of them WILL become more and more dangerous. They don’t become threatening in a vacuum, either. Often they respond to perceived threats or slights by escalating their own behavior – this is why, for example, an abuser is most likely to kill a woman when she tries to escape.

    I think that these discussions aren’t focusing enough on Hoggle’s obsession, rather than his misogyny. I woke up with the strong suspicion that for him, misogyny is functioning as a convenient smokescreen. Woman-hating doesn’t get taken seriously. I think because of that, Hoggle’s got a veneer of undeserved respectability that he wouldn’t have if he were devoting his blog to attacking only PZ. He’s attracting a cloud of misogynistic sycophants to feed on, but THEY aren’t the obsessed ones.

    Practically, this changes my viewpoint on outing him. Given that he’s made a personal crusade out of this, he’s likely to perceive outing him as a personal attack by his enemies. Most of us would perceive it as leveling the playing field, but an obsessed person is a crusader devoted to battle and righting perceived wrongs against him. To him, outing might be an insult that must be avenged, even if nothing whatsoever befalls him as a result. I think that shifts the risk-benefit ratio against outing him.

    However, his obsession makes him much more likely to be dangerous than the rank-and-file misogynists that encourage him. I would put much greater weight now on warning conference organizers and warning law enforcement about him. I would suggest finding a stalking specialist or security professional in his local area (the conference venues probably know of some) and reporting to them.

    I also suggest that PZ do the reporting, or at the very least that reports to professionals be framed around him, because galling as it is, he’ll probably be taken more seriously as a man (and Hoggle will be taken more seriously as a potential stalker of a male target).

    My references are Gavin de Becker’s “The Gift of Fear”, John Douglas’s “Obsession” and other books on profiling, and domestic violence materials on the cycle of abuse.

  464. says

    Pteryxx, the focus on PZ actually fits quite well with a general hatred of feminists and the concern that feminists are “ruining” atheism, both of which were visible on the blog long before July. PZ, being male and widely read, is considered the most damaging, so he gets the most attention. That doesn’t mean the same sort of vitriol isn’t there for other feminists, though. It doesn’t make me feel particularly safe to know that he’s spent more time and attention on someone else.

  465. says

    Here’s another purely psychological/emotional benefit to outing Hoggle: if the targets of his cyberbullying know who he is, and can assign a name, face and location to the entity causing their troubles on the Web, then that makes him less of a threat in his targets’ minds. Even if no one has the will or ability to act on their knowledge of who Hoggle really is, those who encounter him will be able to remind themselves “Oh yeah, that’s Joe Shmoe, just some loser in Atlanta [or wherever]…” and that will make him less of a boogeyman. You may say that’s a purely emotional remedy, but it’s people’s emotions — their peace of mind and ability to speak up without fear — that are under attack here. Emotional attack, emotional defense.

    If someone was gumming up my blog with hateful insulting comments, I’d be eager to tell my friends whatever I knew about him, both to explain his actions and to remind everyone, at the emotional level, that he’s just another person like us. I’d feel I owe that to my friends if I wanted them to stay on my blog. And if someone else gave me that information, I’d be very appreciative, regardless of what I planned to do with it. That knowledge itself is a powerful psychological defense, even if we don’t act on it, even if the attacker doesn’t care if we have it.

    A known ninja may not be a dead ninja, but he’s certainly a less effective ninja. Knowledge is power, and we owe ourselves that power.

  466. Pteryxx says

    Stephanie, I’ve got no idea how to parse the degree of Hoggle’s obsession towards one target versus another. I don’t think who he targets makes him less of a threat. His obsession’s notable enough that you, PZ, and Ophelia all recognize it; and that’s why I suggest as a purely practical matter that a professional look into this. I suggested using PZ as a focus solely as a tactic to get past the sexist bias that most professionals seem to hold, to increase the odds that someone in law enforcement takes his case seriously. I interpret his behavior as a strong danger signal that he’s likely to escalate towards somebody.

    I still consider the question of outing him largely peripheral to the practical question of defending against him as a potentially dangerous obsessive individual. Embarrassment can stop a trolling jackass who just wants attention, but it only makes a crusader more determined. Accountability can deter a reasonable person, but someone obsessive doesn’t care.

    Publicly outing this particular individual could very well help all of you feel safer, encourage less tolerance of harassment, make a powerful statement of solidarity, enable individuals in his real life to discover for themselves what he’s up to, and cause him to become more dangerous at the same time.

    I’m not trying to scare people as an excuse. This is a real consideration with obsessive aggressors, and I’m trying to say it might take a professional to determine whether this particular jackass is more likely to blow up than shut up if y’all make an example of him. Much like restraining orders aren’t guarantees of safety and in some cases do more harm than good. It isn’t fair or just, but the aggressors most likely to ignore a restraining order are the ones who were most dangerous to begin with. A restraining order is an emotional defense, and in most cases, that’s ALL it is.

  467. says

    I’m only considered the most potentially damaging because I’m a guy. It’s another symptom of reflexive sexism: the girls are just to be dumped on and treated like sexy vermin, but the real danger is the men who might actually give women power in the movement…which also has the ridiculous assumption that a guy like me has that power, and that it isn’t something women will take for themselves by virtue of their talents.

    It’s funny how they’ve fallen all over themselves assuming that I ratted Hoggle out to the GAC. I haven’t talked to the organizers in some time. The several people I know who have talked to the organizers were Australian women, who knew of him and were uncomfortable with the idea that this ratbag sexist louse was going to show up and either make a spectacle or a pest of himself.

    I did nothing and I’m getting all the “credit” and all that hatred — the people who had all the power and were using it to put him in his place were all women. I find that hilarious and entirely fitting.

  468. says

    Publicly outing this particular individual could very well help all of you feel safer, encourage less tolerance of harassment, make a powerful statement of solidarity, enable individuals in his real life to discover for themselves what he’s up to, and cause him to become more dangerous at the same time.

    Or he could become more dangerous on his own steam. This is probably the kind of guy who WANTS to be seen as dangerous, so like as not he’ll end up escalating the dangerous act anyway, regardless of what anyone else does.

  469. hotshoe says

    Stephanie, I’ve got no idea how to parse the degree of Hoggle’s obsession towards one target versus another. I don’t think who he targets makes him less of a threat. His obsession’s notable enough that you, PZ, and Ophelia all recognize it; and that’s why I suggest as a purely practical matter that a professional look into this.

    Sadly, ignoring the fact that it is NOT practical to have a “professional look into this”.

    What professional would be interested based on the info so far ? Okay, maybe by luck you’d find someone who wanted to write a paper on internet obsession and would be interested in examining Franc Hoggle’s case as an example. But then what ? What power does that “professional” opinion have ?

    Certainly not the power to protect anyone from the harm of being exposed to Hoggle’s creepy behavior in real life. You’re correct that if Hoggle is more obsessed than the average scumbag, he may be the nutcase who tips over into real violence when someone “makes an example of him”. But how will a profession opinion rendered over the internet help you be confident about whether that’s worth the risk, or not. I wouldn’t trust a professional opinion on that even if it were a pro who could interview Hoggle repeatedly in real life, would you ? That’s how women get dead, when experts testify some offender is no longer dangerous and can safely be released from custody. Sadly, it’s also how prisoners due for parole get consigned back to cells for life because no one can guarantee they’re now harmless. I’m sorry, it’s just not a useful metric to guide us in our decision based on what we know.

    We know we can’t prevent sexual harassment merely by making the men involved use their real names – or rather, we know that some men do such abuse under their real names, so while it might be a discourager for some, it’s not an absolute stop. But we also know that one of Hoggle’s real world family/friends(?) was disturbed enough about something he did in real life to put two and two together. The other persons in Hoggle’s real world orbit have a right to know – if they choose to look – the dirty secret which we are currently keeping for Hoggle.

  470. says

    SV @544:

    A good reason would be one that outweighed my concerns about contributing to a culture of silence on these issues.

    Thank you for your polite and measured response, which has mostly answered my simple question.
    I fear that calling it a “challenge” is to rather distort the meaning of the term, if you are to be the sole judge of whether one has met said “challenge”.

    Now, that being said, did you have a reason to contribute to the discussion, or are you just over here to poke around?

    I was trying to determine whether, in fact, I did have a reason to contribute to your supposed “challenge”, (for that is the title of this very post), not any “discussion”, and now that I find that it the challenge is not at all what it seems, you will be pleased to hear that I do not intend taking further part unless forced by circumstances.
    (Such as, say, one of your anonymous contributors executing a criminal libel upon my character.)

  471. Pteryxx says

    I said those of us who don’t have professional experience with risk assessment of obsessed internet stalkers cannot know how much of a threat Hoggle is. I don’t know if he’s more likely to escalate if outed than he is if left alone; and neither do you, Raging Bee. I don’t know if he’s one of those nutcases that might snap, and neither do you, hotshoe. I don’t even know if outing him to the whole Internet is more likely to protect random people in his real life who might come across it, or whether it might endanger people in his real life by provoking him to take it out on them instead of feminist bloggers. That’s my whole point, we cannot know. He’s Schroedinger’s stalker.

  472. says

    Definition of challenge:

    1a : a summons that is often threatening, provocative, stimulating, or inciting; specifically : a summons to a duel to answer an affront b : an invitation to compete in a sport
    2a : a calling to account or into question : protest b : an exception taken to a juror before the juror is sworn c : a sentry’s command to halt and prove identity d : a questioning of the right or validity of a vote or voter
    3: a stimulating task or problem
    4: the act or process of provoking or testing physiological activity by exposure to a specific substance; especially : a test of immunity by exposure to an antigen

    Try definition 3. Dictionaries are your friends.

  473. says

    Oh noes!!!!11! Is some anonymous commenter here going to execute a criminal libel on the character of Michael Kingsford Gray?!! Omigod that would be TERRIBLE!!

  474. hotshoe says

    I said those of us who don’t have professional experience with risk assessment of obsessed internet stalkers cannot know how much of a threat Hoggle is. I don’t know if he’s more likely to escalate if outed than he is if left alone; and neither do you, Raging Bee. I don’t know if he’s one of those nutcases that might snap, and neither do you, hotshoe. I don’t even know if outing him to the whole Internet is more likely to protect random people in his real life who might come across it, or whether it might endanger people in his real life by provoking him to take it out on them instead of feminist bloggers. That’s my whole point, we cannot know. He’s Schroedinger’s stalker.

    Yeah, Pteryxx, I totally get the point that we cannot know. I think Schroedinger’s stalker is a perfect way to describe this situation.

    What I don’t get is how you imagine there is help to be found in looking for “professional experience with risk assessment of obsessed internet stalkers”. I don’t think it is practical in the least, and even if you could engage such a person (who are they?), I wouldn’t trust his/her findings – over the internet, in a case where they cannot possibly meet and evaluate the real person of Franc Hoggle. Really ? Why would anyone, why would you, trust such “professional experience” ? As I tried to point out above, trusting such “professional experience” is the basis of tragic miscarriages of justice in the real world. I’m sorry, but such is no substitute for us taking (collective) responsibility for our decisions here. Our decisions are not and cannot ever be informed with certainty, but a decision “not to decide” is also a decision, so we’ll just have to muddle through somehow.

  475. hotshoe says

    Oh noes!!!!11! Is some anonymous commenter here going to execute a criminal libel on the character of Michael Kingsford Gray?!! Omigod that would be TERRIBLE!!

    I’ll volunteer to be the anonymous commenter, but I’ll have to be someone’s “sockpuppet” for it, since I can’t be arsed to invent a libel funny enough to make it worth it.

    If someone’s got a suggestion, let me know …

  476. Pteryxx says

    I said earlier that the only organization I know of with expertise in risk assessment of stalkers is Gavin de Becker’s security company. I also suggested that security organizations such as those hired by conference venues might be good contacts if the goal is to prevent Hoggle threatening anyone in real life. I think it’s shameful that there ISN’T so much as a set of stats we can reference to help online harassment victims decide what their best course of action is, much less organizations that could actually help without having to be educated about misogyny and rape culture first.

    If you actually read Gavin de Becker’s work that I keep citing, you’d find that he doesn’t advocate trusting a professional’s word over a person’s own danger signals. The role of a professional in risk assessment is to provide accurate information about potential risks, information that a potential victim can use to inform their OWN decisions. Much as I’m unfit to do so as a layperson, that’s all I’m trying to do here – point out that publicly humiliating an obsessed aggressor can be dangerous, and that having someone’s real name isn’t likely to stop them spewing hate-speech at women, however comforting and reassuring it might be to think otherwise.

  477. Pteryxx says

    …Extending my own thought process… if I’m going to advocate that the viewpoint of Hoggle as a potential threat might outweigh the viewpoint of him as merely a prominent misogynist harasser, then I should say that viewpoint calls for decisions about his victims’ best response to be reserved to the victims, not to any of us in the community to decide by committee. There’s a reason why it’s unethical to compel a domestic violence victim to file for a restraining order.

  478. says

    Raging Bee says:

    Here’s another purely psychological/emotional benefit to outing Hoggle: if the targets of his cyberbullying know who he is, and can assign a name, face and location to the entity causing their troubles on the Web, then that makes him less of a threat in his targets’ minds. Even if no one has the will or ability to act on their knowledge of who Hoggle really is, those who encounter him will be able to remind themselves “Oh yeah, that’s Joe Shmoe, just some loser in [edit: Melbourne]…” and that will make him less of a boogeyman.

    This is true. And even if you are in Melbourne, you won’t be wondering just which direction the threat might come from.

    And just for the giggles, how about this advantage for nice atheist men, who are interested in potential happy consensual sexytimes with a recently-met atheist woman? You will not be Schrodinger’s Hoggle. She’ll know for sure that you’re definitely NOT Hoggle! Your funny and clever pickup line at the bar has an improved chance of success! Huzzah!