A couple of days ago, I noticed some friends having a nice little conversation on Twitter with someone who was quite familiar from the slimepit. They were chatting on the #scio13 hashtag, the tag for one of the most friendly, open, and well-run science-communication conferences out there.
I’d had enough “fun” at last year’s conference with this guy there. I mostly ignored his existence, which wasn’t always easy when he was talking to a friend in the same group I was in. Still, the conference wasn’t about the slimepit, so I didn’t raise any sort of fuss. I just ran my session and had fun where I found it, while keeping one wary eye out. That wary eye, as it turned out, wasn’t necessary. He never spoke to me.
Still, seeing his name repeatedly pop up in my Twitter stream, seeing it be tweeted by women I know are upset about the harassment that I’ve been dealing with for talking about harassment, knowing that it would likely keep coming up on the hashtag for a conference I consider “home”–it got to me. I tweeted:
The reply was predictable.
There were also people who wanted to know more about what I meant. Jason referred those people to this archived page. That’ll do, though I believe there’s more in other threads.
This post is an answer to Gurdur’s request for specifics. It is not a response quoting particular comments, because I’m talking about behavior that isn’t limited to an objectionable word or phrase.
This is also a response for people who saw the tweet, wanted more, but weren’t going to delve in 5,000 comments to find it. To those people, I hope you at least click the link and read some comments. It you’re not familiar with the slimepit and you’re feeling reasonably non-fragile today, start somewhere in the middle of the page and just read for a couple hundred comments. It’s really the only way to get a good sense of what the people who commented there were gathered to do. It can’t be summed up in a single comment or even two or three. That thread was literally intended by Abbie to be her “monument”. It has to be understood as such.
Now, my objections to Gurdur:
- I object to the fact that you found a thread dedicated to an obsessive hatred and tearing down of Rebecca Watson, PZ Myers, Ophelia Benson, and others including me a congenial place to hang out for a couple of months.
- I object to your not saying word one to suggest that months of hate is anything other than a productive way to spend one’s time.
- I object to you allowing your own hate for PZ to make you treat the behavior in that thread as normal.
- I object to you talking about slurs, lies, and harassment as just bad PR for your common cause with the other slimepitters.
- I object to your creating a list of female atheist speakers specifically to exclude outspokenly feminist atheists from that list.
- I object to your assertion that Abbie Smith and Scented Nectar, who apparently must resort to slurs and commentary on their opponents looks, and Bluharmony, who lies even when the contradictory evidence is staring her in the face, are among the best representatives of female atheism.
- I object to your treating these “equity feminists”, adherents to an ideology that is self-described as “non-empirical”, and holding them up as pillars of rational thought.
- I object to your congratulating Franc Hoggle on the creation of Phawrongula as though it were a good thing to create yet another site solely dedicated to his obsessive hatred.
- Most of all, in this particular circumstance, I object to you taking one of my “home” conventions, a place that is unabashedly feminist as part of its larger mission of inclusion, and pretending that you are sympathetic to its goals, even as you work to undermine feminism in another sphere.
- And I certainly object to you trying to blow these objections off as a “witch-hunt” and “guilt by association”.
Yes, that’ll do.