Quantcast

«

»

Jul 03 2012

But You *Must* Talk About the Letter

There’s some commenting happening on Sunday’s post (though by how many actual people is an open question) to the tune of:

You can pretend this isn’t about bin Laden but it is quite strange that someone so finely attuned to “harassment” doesn’t have a Goddamn thing to say against her BFF who is threatening to “kick [someone's] fucking ass”.

This is kind of funny after the reaction to my comments on D.J. apology.

The “leaders” in this skeptical movement, the Rebecca’s and the DJs, would then do us all a favour if they counted to ten before firing off a blog post and picked up the phone to talk to each other.

I have hardly ever seen people work differences out through email, because it is so hard to do in writing. Get two people in a room or let them speak on a phone and usually they work out that either it was a misunderstanding or how they can resolve their differences.

Why don’t you people just talk to each other and leave us out of it?! Why don’t you people tell us your reactions to everything so we can pick them apart?!

I know an unwinnable situation when I see one, and they don’t get to dictate my behavior in any way. Peer pressure doesn’t work on me, even from people I consider my peers. Coming from people already trying to tear me down, it just makes me laugh.

My FtB colleagues know my reaction to the events leading up to Greg’s letter. They know my reaction to the letter. They know what I think of many of the events leading up to Justin publishing Greg’s letter. Justin knows what I think of the letter. Greg knows what I think of all of this too.

What do you need to know? Not one of the parties actually involved is calling for my head over any of it. That’s it. That’s also very close to as much as I can say without either violating other people’s privacy or giving a very skewed picture of events.

Will I blog about any of this? Aside from this post, I’ll probably blog about some of the tangential issues. They’re already topics I talk about, and there were some truth claims made about how the world works that may be worth examining. One of them even relates to a (non-troll-related) panel I’m on at SkepchickCon.

So, yes, you’ll probably hear me talking about related issues. You won’t, however, giving my opinion about the letter or the response to it–incidentally, just like I didn’t weigh in on the rightness or wrongness of Abbie’s threat against Greta. Deal.

45 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Xanthë, Amy of my threads

    I saw that the same “no one’s talking about the letter here” idea had popped up on Pharyngula as well.

  2. 2
    Stephanie Zvan

    Yep, and if anyone thinks PZ hasn’t made his feelings known to his colleagues…well, I don’t think they understand PZ very well.

  3. 3
    Remus

    What threat did Abbie make?

  4. 4
    Stephanie Zvan

    Remus, I would suggest you follow the link if you want more information. That’s what it’s there for.

  5. 5
    Jason Thibeault

    Everyone who matters already knows exactly what was condemned by whom and why. Everyone else demanding to know these reactions is playing gotcha. That simple.

  6. 6
    Remus

    I did, and apart from some comments on their appearance, I don’t see a threat.

    On topic, though, you can’t really take the ‘I’m staying out of it’ stance when pretty much the entire discussion is about harassment. Greg’s email was so insanely over the top in it’s vulgarity and threatening manner that it completely blows Elevatorgate and Ophelia’s odd email out of the water.

    If you condemn the behavior when on of you lot is the target, you should perhaps condemn it even stronger when one of you lot is the perpetrator. If not, you can’t be very surprised if people suspect double standards.

    Be totally honest here. If Abbie had sent a similar email to either you or Ophelia, everything else being the same, would the response from FTB’s side be the same? Would Skepchick ignore it entirely and invite Abbie to write their harassment policy and attend skepchickcon? Would P.Z. condemn you (or Benson) for publishing the email, in the same snarky way he did with Justin?

  7. 7
    Stephanie Zvan

    If Abbie had sent a similar email to either you or Ophelia, everything else being the same, would the response from FTB’s side be the same?

    I’m not sure what you think would be the same about Abbie’s position relative to me versus Greg’s, but she would have been kicked off the network. Definitely. Do you think she wouldn’t?

    As for the rest of your loaded questions, they assume equivalencies not in evidence, some of which I can’t talk about without breaching that privacy. But you know what? That doesn’t really matter. You came here with your mind made up. You’ll leave with your mind made up exactly the same way, and nothing I have to say here would change that.

    That would be why “peer pressure” from people who’ve already decided I’m not their peer is laughable.

  8. 8
    Remus

    Neither you nor Jason can actually read my mind, so perhaps you’re being a bit quick to judge, no?

    Anyway, obviously you don’t feel like discussing this, so.. err.. well, that’s that, then.

  9. 9
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    I have hardly ever seen people work differences out through email, because it is so hard to do in writing. Get two people in a room or let them speak on a phone and usually they work out that either it was a misunderstanding or how they can resolve their differences.

    Number one red flag for intellectual bullying: lionizing in-person debate. They no longer want to prove themselves, they just want the ability to shout you down and verbally browbeat you into backing off a bit. Of course, when you ask them their reasoning in text, they’ll give you some flowery language about ‘personal’ qualities…which really just means the aforementioned ability to tug on emotions and drown out opposing points.

    Of course, we’re talking about people who think that they can both live in glass houses and catapult boulders into the street…

  10. 10
    Stephanie Zvan

    Lionizing debate, yes. It can be very useful to talk through differences in person if you have the trust required to do so, though. It’s particularly good when you can’t quite figure out why you seem to be debating, or as I call it, agreeing at full volume.

  11. 11
    Remus

    Ugh, can’t stay away.

    See, again you are not being very consistent.

    If memory serves you defended Rebecca when she did this very thing. And that was as a speaker, calling out an audience member. Abbie said she would tackle (figure of speech!) Greta on equal footing. It’s called debate. How on earth can a community of skeptics be so opposed to this.
    And why wasn’t Rebecca chided for this? Or, if you stayed out of that one, why mention Abbie now?

    Surely you can see why, to an outsider, it appears you’re bending the rules to fit your purpose.

  12. 12
    Stephanie Zvan

    Abbie and Greta were not scheduled to debate at FreeOK. I don’t know where you get the idea that they were.

  13. 13
    Remus

    If both are attending, they are on equal footing, no? You consider Abbie’s intentions to be a threat. Whereas Rebecca actually followed through on exactly this, which was defended by many. And unlike Abbie, she did so from a position where she held all the power.

    I’m not telling off Rebecca here. I’m trying to point out that, again, it appears you don’t apply the same rules to your ‘allies’ as you to your ‘opponents’.

    To go back to my original point. Your silence on the Laden business is of course your choice. However, considering the frequency at which you mentioned far less serious threats made against you and those you consider your allies, you appear rather inconsistent. This seriously weakens your claims that you are merely trying to create a safe space, since a truly safe space would be safe for everyone, no? Including those who are targeted by a friend of yours, Greg.

    If you want to take a firm moral stance, far beyond where(mere) skepticism can take you, as FTB has undeniably done, you simply can’t appear to be this selective lest you come across as being opportunistic.

    Risky as it is, let me try an analogy. No, no, not nazis.

    The Catholic church, who claims to be one true source of all that is good and right and unicorns. (Straight unicorns, mind you.) Their utter failure in the recent child abuse scandal was only made ever so much worse -because- they claim to be an authority on all things moral. An organization like that has to be extremely harsh and vocal especially when one of their own screws up. The fact that they aren’t, and reserve their vitriol only for those who oppose them is what makes them such hypocrites.

    Similarly, FTB, which, along with Skepchick, has set itself up as the bastion of the anti-harassment cause, had amongst (is that word? squiggly lines…) it ranks the likes of Laden. Someone who has literally cyberstalked Abbie. Then he sent that incredibly obscene email to Justin. And yes, he was given the boot (even though claims otherwise). But the silence, the vitriol towards Justin, it all makes it appear as though you’re simply trying to sweep it under the rug. Hell, he’s even written the anti-harassment policy for Skepchick.

    If you truly want to take the position you have, you’d better make damned sure you’re beyond reproach in this area. You’re not. Not even close.

  14. 14
    Stephanie Zvan

    Remus, don’t work so hard for that froth. You’ll hurt yourself.

    I have been silent in public on quite a number of things, including whatever you seem to think it was clear Abbie was going to do at FreeOK. I am silent in public on this as well.

    Also, if you want an analogy, you might not want to go with the Catholic Church–where the problem is that they actively covered up for and held on to pedophile priests.

  15. 15
    Remus

    Froth-free, actually, you’re not very good at judging my state of mind. I’m not angry, I’m not ‘pressuring’ you, I’m not playing a ‘gotcha’. I am perhaps somewhat naive in typing all that and expecting your next reply to be different from the previous ones.

    p.s. yeah, ‘Catholic church child-rape’ is not much better than a nazi analogy. I think I made the point clear, though, that my analogy was attempting to highlight the similarities in terms of closing the ranks, protecting your own and reserving the harshest criticism for those perceived to be ‘not on of our own’. You’re not stupid, I think you can get the gist of my post. I’m not a native English speaker, but I think it’s fairly intelligible.

  16. 16
    Stephanie Zvan

    If I get the gist of your post, then you’re being quite dishonest in comparing things that aren’t comparable to get the effect you’re looking for. Greg doesn’t blog here anymore. What more do you want? Blood?

  17. 17
    Remus

    Well, to continue to Catholic church analogy, Greg’s been quietly relocated to another parish.

    What I would have expected was unambiguous support for Justin, rather than a snarky thread from P.Z. What I would have expected was some sort of collective expression of regret over the damage Greg has done to FTB’s reputation. What I would have expected was anything but silence. Certainly not this thread, where you explicitly state you just don’t want to talk about it. Because.

    Like I said, elevator guy and the person who sent Benson that email, neither of them even approached the level of harassment Greg has repeatedly shown to be capable of. And yet, whenever someone said they just didn’t feel like talking about it, they were slandered publicly by the very same persons who now refuse to unequivocally condemn Greg in equally strong words.

  18. 18
    Stephanie Zvan

    Another parish? FtB controls ScienceBlogs? Hang on while I go shut down the slimepit!

    *ahem*

    Not that you showed up here with your mind made up and were going to leave it with your mind made up or anything.

  19. 19
    Remus

    Well, I can’t very well change my mind if you refuse to reply to my points.

    Still, I have the time.

    How about this for an analogy;

    How is triggering a survivor of sexual assault really different from asking a soldier whether he’s ever killed another person or otherwise caused the death of another human being? they’re not the same, but both are experiences that can, and often are, deeply traumatic.

    Again, everyone here is very quick to condemn the first, and rightfully so, but remain rather silent when Laden does the second.

    Shouldn’t you be even more vocal in your condemnation when it’s being done by one within your own ranks? Shouldn’t you chide P.Z. as well, for his snarky behaviour towards Justin? Shouldn’t you publicly support Justin? That is, shouldn’t you do these things as loud and in full sight of the public as you possibly can if you want to present yourself as the champions of anti-harassment?

  20. 20
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    Well, to continue to Catholic church analogy, Greg’s been quietly relocated to another parish.

    No, Remus, he wasn’t. FtB doesn’t control other blog networks, especially not ScienceBlogs, which is owned by the National Geographic group, and where Greg Laden is still able to post, in addition to his own personal blog and other cyber-venues.

    If you aren’t aware of that, you’re ignorant about so many things that you should stop arguing and get remedial Internet 101, ASAP.

    I you are, then you are just being dishonest and we don’t owe you the time and mental energy it takes to parse your comments. Much less respect of your opinion.

  21. 21
    Wonderman

    Why the need for a toast to Greg on Sunday night?

  22. 22
    Remus

    @irenedelse

    I was actually referring to his involvement with Skepchicks, their upcoming con and his role in writing their harassment policy. In a sense, FTB and Skepchick could qualify as the ‘parish’ in the analogy, since they seem to operate side by side in this affair.

    Of course, every analogy falls short if you examine it too closely. It was also meant semi-tongue-in-cheek, just to continue on with the Catholic church line. Perhaps not the best move on a blog where people tend to be somewhat literal-minded at times. (As skeptics do -.-)

  23. 23
    Stephanie Zvan

    Wonderman, that’s also a private thing, but I can say it was a toast specifically to getting drunk.

  24. 24
    Wonderman

    Fair enough.

  25. 25
    Stephanie Zvan

    Remus, I still have zero reason to care what you think of me. If your concern is all for what other people will think of me, it’s been noted.

  26. 26
    smhll

    “If you truly want to take the position you have, you’d better make damned sure you’re beyond reproach in this area.”

    Ahhhh – bullshit! Nobody human is beyond reproach. Everyone has flaws. Yours might be how annoying and long winded you are.

  27. 27
    Remus

    Fair enough. It’s certainly a convenient way of dealing with criticism.

  28. 28
    Stephanie Zvan

    No, actually, holding my line on what I’m willing to talk about and what I’m not in this is hardly “convenient”. It means dealing with ahistorical sneers like yours. It does, however, respect the privacy I mention in the post.

  29. 29
    Remus

    Ahistorical? I don’t think I’ve gotten any of the facts wrong. Certainly not in my last post about the possible triggering effects of Laden’s email.

    You’re free not to reply if you just don’t feel like it, but let’s not shift the blame to me, as though I’m twisting the facts or trying to get you to violate someone’s privacy or otherwise being disingenuous.

  30. 30
    Stephanie Zvan

    When was the SkepchickCon harassment policy written? Yes, ahistorical.

  31. 31
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    All you FtB bloggers need to stop talking in public about the DEEP RIFTS!… now give me all the private details!

  32. 32
    Remus

    How is that even relevant? My point was that someone involved with writing up such a policy going off to harass someone in a spectacularly foul manner is not the best advertisement you want for your anti-harassment campaign, which as been the entire point I’ve been trying to convey here.

    Besides, he went after Abbie long before that, so it’s absolutely fair to say he’s been harassing people before and after writing said policy.

  33. 33
    Stephanie Zvan

    Ah, so I’m supposed to be responsible for what happened at Skepchick a month ago. Somehow. Uh-huh.

    No, Greg did not harass Abbie. He tried to have the slimepit shut down. I’m all for that.

    And you still totally didn’t come here with your mind all made up. Nope, not you.

  34. 34
    Remus

    Where, for example, is the campaign against Skepchick? After all, it seems they’ll be alongside Laden at their upcoming con.

    You judge people for posting at ERV. Justin got a ton of shit for saying something postive about her. you constantly play the guilt by association card. Yet now, Laden, who sent that disgusting email, seems to be getting along with Watson & co. Where’s the outrage?

    It’s private? Well, I guess that’s just tough shit, then. Maybe we should all just stop talking about until it goes away, eh? Like we did with Elevator Guy. With the infamous kick. With Ophelia’s email. With Kirby. With religion. With misogyny. With sexism. With racism. Because, hey, it’s private. And as for Justin, he should just shut up about it, too. Hush now. For the cause. Funny how it works when the victim is someone that isn’t you.

  35. 35
    Stephanie Zvan

    Remus, you want a march against Skepchick? Do we need pitchforks?

  36. 36
    Remus

    No, what I would like is if you leave pitchforks out of it completely, rather than just when it’s one of your own.

  37. 37
    Stephanie Zvan

    So you want me to shut up. That, too, is noted.

  38. 38
    Remus

    Right, someone else can have a go now.

  39. 39
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    Remus:

    @irenedelse

    I was actually referring to his involvement with Skepchicks, their upcoming con and his role in writing their harassment policy.

    Nope, not even close. Skepchick started years before FtB was created! Once again, the lack of historical awareness of the average sneering complainer is noted.

    In a sense, FTB and Skepchick could qualify as the ‘parish’ in the analogy, since they seem to operate side by side in this affair.

    Oh, right. Taking sides instead of understanding who’s right, who’s wrong, and why. So easy, I wonder why everyone who call themselves skeptics aren’t doing the same to. Oh, wait…

  40. 40
    Remus

    @irenedelse

    I didn’t say Laden started Skepchick. Or is even an official member (if such a thing is possible? Do they have cards?), instead I said he was involved with them, which he most certainly still is.

    http://events.skepchick.org/2011/03/28/join-us-at-skepchickcon-2011-and-help-humanists-in-kenya/

    Now. Not to get hung up on that Catholicism analogy, bu to keep with the point I’ve been trying to make.

    Skepchick, like FTB, has been making quite a bit of noise about harassment in the atheist/skeptic scene.

    Now, here they are. With Laden. Completely ignoring the fact that he has done exactly that they’ve been fighting. And not just harassment, mind you. Watson keeps bringing up the youtube trolls, Elevator Guy, whatnot. Fine, she can do whatever she likes. But none of these can hold a candle to the filth that Laden has spewed. After which, btw, he happily went along blaming Justin for confronting him with his own words. Harassment, stupendously triggering language and victim-blaming, all neatly packaged in a single individual. There seems to be a distinct lack of outrage from all the usual suspects.

  41. 41
    Remus

    Fail link is fail. That’s the 2011 one.

    http://skepchick.org/2012/05/get-ready-skepchickcon-2012-is-on/

  42. 42
    Stephanie Zvan

    I see, Remus. You want me to shut up, but not you. Does that mean you haven’t gone to the slimepit to tell them to clean up their act either? By the way, I can help you with that disengagement problem, since you’re taking a ridiculous advantage of me not being willing to talk about this. Come back when you start applying your rules to everyone. A link to that comment to the slimepitters will do.

  43. 43
    AndrewV69

    Stephanie Zvan says:
    July 3, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    I see, Remus. You want me to shut up, but not you. Does that mean you haven’t gone to the slimepit to tell them to clean up their act either? By the way, I can help you with that disengagement problem, since you’re taking a ridiculous advantage of me not being willing to talk about this. Come back when you start applying your rules to everyone. A link to that comment to the slimepitters will do.

    Actually we started having that conversation days ago. Scroll down and you see see one slimepitter annoyed with another about “cleaning up our act”. This was July 1st. and the conversation started before that.

    http://scienceblogs.com/erv/2011/11/26/periodic-table-of-swearing/comment-page-98/#comments

    So it is kind of late in the game for anyone else to come over and suggest it.

  44. 44
    julian

    I agree. It’s a little late in the game for ERV to pretend they feel any concern for others. By now we know better.

    Btw, what’s so difficult to accept about “but out. All relevant parties have already talked about this and it’s none of your business. Stop prying into our personal shit.”

  45. 45
    Corylus

    Dumbledore raised his hand. The room gradually fell silent.

    “There are all kinds of courage,’ said Dumbledore, smiling. ‘It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends. I therefore award ten points to Mr Neville Longbottom.’

    Someone standing outside the Great Hall might well have thought some sort of explosion had taken place, so loud was the explosion that erupted from the Gryffindor table. Harry, Ron and Hermione stood up to yell and cheer as Neville, white with shock, disappeared under a pile of people hugging him. He had never won so much as a point for Gryffindor before.

    I have to quote from a child’s book now. Sheesh.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite="" class=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>