Oct 01 2012

Reasons Not to Sign a Petition

Update: Justin Vacula has resigned his position as co-chair. The petition to remove him is no longer necessary, and I congratulate him on making the right move for the Secular Coalition.

There are plenty of reasons not to sign a petition to have someone who has harassed and supported the harassment of feminists from a position of leadership. You could think, “Well, it’s been almost a month since he’s done anything egregious. Maybe he’s had a change of heart he hasn’t told anyone about.” You could feel it’s not your place to meddle in another state’s group. You could feel this guy is still the best possible choice out a bad lot.

Or you could be a troll.

@ and @ are lying through their teeth, again! And they wonder why the #FTBullies moniker took off! http://t.co/lTshOpKN
Richard Sanderson
DMCA and doc-dropping hypocrite @ is at it again: http://t.co/eJZKOjl8 #FTBullies
Richard Sanderson
Great news on the appointment @ the #atheismplus ftb crazies spew crap and attack anyone who isnt them. Most ppl know this
http://t.co/sy9BO697 Disgusting. @ earns a position & jealous #cunts rush to smear him. Is that @ in the comments?
Jack Rayner
@, @ has revealed herself to be a really despicable and hateful individual. Same goes for @. #FTBullies
Richard Sanderson
@ is rounding up the #FTBullies to have a go at @. They are very nasty people who should be condemned by all.
Richard Sanderson
Ironic that bully @ is arguing about @ when she "held a toast" to @. Laden was kicked off FTB for violent threats.
Richard Sanderson
@ @ Again? Didn't the Special Snowflakes screw with him just a week or so ago?? @
Renee Hendricks
I see the "FreeThought" bullies are playing judge, jury & executioner again. A tyrrany of little narcissists.
Jeremy Stangroom
So has @ contributed anything of value to any social movement? Seems like all she does is attack and insult others. Kind of a joke.
Ryan Grant Long
@ To answer simply, no. She’s the worst of the FtBullies.
Want notoriety in the freethought movement, but have nothing positive to contribute? Start pointless Internet drama! Ask @ for tips.
Ryan Grant Long
@ I have chronic depression and you attacked me, published screencaps of my private facebook page out of context. You're a hypocrite.
Ryan Grant Long
Going after someone’s job over a disagreement is the ultimate asshatery #atheismplus http://t.co/nXJYEdA1
A shameful collection of half-truths by Zvan: https://t.co/P1DMktH1. Particularly ironic since the same thing was done to me as to Roth.
Maria Maltseva
When you take active steps to damage careers and reputations while being dishonest, you've crossed the line. #FTBullies #AtheismPlus #Shame
Maria Maltseva

Yes, that’s this highly ironic Maria Maltseva.

@ Wow! I knew @ is fucking spiteful, but this petition takes it: https://t.co/wW9jLgSL. #atheismplus
@ I'd start a pro @ petition, but responding in kind to Zvan's petition is beneath everyone's dignity.
@ My take is that Zvan, Thibault, etc have to throw out some kind of "bait" every few weeks to maintain attention on themselves.
This is the young man Stephanie Zvan has targeted - http://t.co/b6tB2pKJ - #atheismplus Nobody is as bad as we are. We spite with might
@ the ugly little troll loves to meddle in others' affairs. Yes, i did say ugly. It's true. #piglet https://t.co/lKG8KkBn. #atheismplus
Secular Steve
The three stooges. Harry, Curly and Moe. #RebeccaWatson #Pzmyers #szvan #atheism parody known as #atheismplus. Slap, poke, nipple cripple.
Secular Steve
#szvan. You did not get nominated for the chapter position because you are immature, petty and unimportant. How's it feel to be mediocre?
Secular Steve
@ @ @ Good old fashioned burning heretics at the stake.
@ so, let me get this straight, Zvan wants Justin removed because he doesn't support #FTBullies #AtheismPlus ?
Justin Vacula cause irreparable damage to Amy’s feelings, that one time.So, let’s find the most productive way to destroy his career.
@ @ Svan contributes to every *other* social movement simply by not being there.
How could I have missed this. Stephanie Zvan's blog logo is a pair of *drama masks*: http://t.co/BDHNtdIi …. Fitting. #atheismplus
@ definition of harassment is people calling her a fuckwit. Can you be any more of a fuckwit? #a
Sign and ruin this petition like they did the Watson/SGU petition and upvote all the silly reasons http://t.co/o8NcldC2 #AtheismPlus
Jim Jesus
The SCA have hired a Suppressive Person™. Fortunately there's a petition to remove this Potential Trouble Source™. #atheismplus
Guess the petition #StephanieZvan made isn't quite going the way she had imagined http://t.co/emUGHsOU HaHa! #Atheismplus #Asshats #SCA

She’s referring to the person or people who are signing the petition just to be able to use it as another avenue of harassment (change.org has been cleaning up the comments, so these may or may not stay):

  • Signing online petitions makes me feel like an activist.
  • Because PZ, who has never done anything in his life that wasn’t self serving, doesn’t like the fact that Justin is involved helping disadvantaged people. What a jerk he must be. Why not put a woman in that position, may be one that knows how to steal people’s stuff from airplanes, now that shows self motivation.
  • Because REbitcha Twatson is a cunt. And Stefunny Zvan is too!

There are a couple of people who are trying to stay positive on Vacula, though. There’s this guy:

Send a message in support of @ of the SCA to combat the #FTBullies petition for his removal. http://t.co/p5lkXK4D

Who is also this guy:

Huh. Well, there’s this guy:

NEPA #15 - Women in the Secular Communtiy - #ftbullies - my support goes to @ : http://t.co/wRlu1JDs via @
Justin Templer

Who is also this guy:

Oh. How about this guy:

I support Justin Vacula against the #ftbullies latest storm in a teacup.
Tristan Croll

Who is also this guy:

“@: Good Lord, can PZ get any more odious and dishonest? http://t.co/PPQ5Waro #atheismplus” Dude... trigger warning next time.
Tristan Croll

Oof. This guy?

Secular Coalition for America: Support Justin Vacula as co-chair of the SCA http://t.co/5uxnOk0s via @ @ @
Christopher Camp

Also this guy:

Well, at least there are all of these guys:

#mensrights@ Justin Vacula, Contributor to AvfM, selected as the Leader of the new Sec... http://t.co/MYtsdPZ6 - - - - - - - - - -
mensrights reddit

So, yeah, there’s that.


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  1. 1
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Bluharmony is the worst liar ever.
    But otoh, her pals aren’t going to bother abut the truth anyway, so why should she?

  2. 2

    Geez, such confused ugliness is baffling. I signed. It was the right thing to do. Thank you, Stephanie for speaking out. I’m sorry this never-ending shit show seems so dedicated to their decision to lie and slander you and other good folks. It’s a shame.

  3. 3

    Nice summary – I don’t really see why it is impossible for ‘FtBs side’ to stand up and say they don’t like a person representing an important atheist movement. Especially given I’ve found a lot of people on the ‘other side’ who seem to justify their campaign and obsession with a belief that PZ, Ophelia, Stephanie etc are horrible representatives of ‘the atheist movement’. They apparently *have* to keep an obsessive watch on all they do and say and ridicule and call out whenever there is a mistake made. Presumably to maintain the purity of ‘the atheist movement’ in the eyes of some greater sceptical power…

    I didn’t see many on their side saying the ‘remove Rebecca from the SGU podcast’ was a low move and that is a part of her career not a volunteer position. I reckon they are free to protest, dislike or hate if they will and so is this ‘side’. I personally just happen to think this ‘side’ is probably right on this one. Justin Vacula came across as at best an idiot to me from this comment on – http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/07/what-amy-said/#comment-229775
    The AVfM article along with posting Amy’s address was the icing on the cake. Although a better metaphor might be the dressing on the turd sandwich.

  4. 4
    HJ Hornbeck

    Wow, that’s a lot of hate. I’m amazed at the sheer number of enemies that Skepchick and FtB have accumulated, simply by expressing progressive opinions on social issues. I never would have predicted this, all those years ago when I started reading Pharyngula. Back then, I was privileged to be surrounded by a bubble of people who knew about privilege.

  5. 5

    I have been talking about Schrodinger’s rapist with this christopher1977. I didn’t know he had a twitter. Went and looked.

    -_-U Looks like I’ve wasted my time. Mea culpa for not knowing who I’m talking with.

    By the way, it’s astonishing atheism+ and ftb are supposed to be the bullies when the twitter user “atheismplus” is taken by someone who opposes it and the hashtag #atheismplus is completely hijacked.

  6. 6

    @jose, Christopher Camp is one of the nutty haters imo as evidenced by the first time I saw him and his calm rational approach to dissecting LousyCanucks post on the number of misogynists in the community http://everybodylovesexpats.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/the-lousy-canuck/

    Quite an exercise in trying to not fall victim to ‘tone trolling’… Can you read it and see if he has any sort of point beyond hate and insult of all things FtBs?

  7. 7

    Jesus H. Christ. This is why I signed the petition but didn’t allow the site to publish my name. I want to be courageous and show support against real bullies, but I have my mental health to protect and this sort of reaction is not conducive to my self preservation.

  8. 8

    The hijacking of hashtags is annoying. How can people who support Atheismplus gather on twitter if any tag they use gets swamped with haters? Is there another method?

    The time and energy they put into hating is impressive. It’s a full time hobby for some, as far as I can tell.

    There was a note from PZ in his roundup that the person behind the twitter handle ElevatorGATE was kept out of a conference this weekend. Interesting to see effects of his online hating have RL consequences.

    I thought the same would happen to Justin Vacula–way to blow up a career, leaving evidence of your online trolling/harassment/support of openly misogynistic hate sites everywhere. Silly me, he’s being rewarded for it.

  9. 9

    I would just like to say Jeremy Stangroom fills me with absolute disgust. That he’d defend Vacula, belittle the people he’s gone after and dismiss the clear support he’s given for sites like A Voice for Men serves as a reminder for why I hate the atheist community.

    Seeing a lot of familiar names. Hendricks is back to applauding MRA’s and their hate sites. Katie is back dismissing the work the women she holds in contempt do (same troll that wanted to get Melody Hensley fired. I take back everything I said in defense of the people who proposed that.). And Ryan Long is back to defend posting the personal information of people he hates on hostile sites.

    Great group of people.

  10. 10

    I’m not fond of gratuitous name-calling. When Abbie Smith called Rebecca Watson a fucking bitch, I posted a comment saying I could not imagine anything worse in English, so things could only get better from then on, which I was glad about; I was scoffed at for my lack of imagination concerning excruciatingly insulting language. I still don’t think it helps anything.

    And I don’t like your going to the slyme pit to call FTB bloggers baboons and then coming over here to call them nutty haters.

  11. 11
    ikonografer (@ikonografer)

    dear Stefunny:

    I have said enormously vile things about you, and you quote that? that wasn’t nearly the most insulting thing i said about you. I totally trash you on my podcast. send some of those nasty little minions of yours my way, why don’t you? surely my insults carry more weight? still,

    thanks for the props


  12. 12


    And I don’t like your going to the slyme pit to call FTB bloggers baboons and then coming over here to call them nutty haters.

    I called no one a baboon except in parody. Given they see me as a ‘baboon’ I felt ok in using it in that way.

  13. 13

    Steffy – it’s called “pushback”.

  14. 14

    my mistake then, sorry. :)

  15. 15

    Steffy – it’s called “pushback”.

    No, it’s called a bunch of idiots acting like children. If you can’t call someone by their actual preferred name, direct comments to them that don’t involve sexist insults, or refrain from lying about what they’ve said and/or done…you are not expressing thoughtful disagreement You are behaving like a child, and have removed yourself from reasonable discussion. Nobody should give a damn what you have to say, any more than we should give a damn about the demands of any people who respond to speech they don’t like with tantrums.

    I don’t want to share skeptic and atheist movements with a bunch of five year olds, which is precisely why Atheism+ is so appealing. It’s a way to take part in those things while avoiding people like you.

  16. 16
    Forbidden Snowflake

    ikonografer is so adorable, yelping for attention and pimping his blog for all he’s got.

  17. 17

    Are any of these people…important? Like, are they in positions of power that we should be concerned about?

    I’m not saying that there’s something wrong with pointing out trolling. Just wondering if any of these trolls have anything more than their Twitter accounts as platforms.

  18. 18

    @jose, no problem. I also thought I should say I’ve said to the individuals that I see as nutty obsessive haters that I think they are nutty obsessive haters and why I think that. Admittedly I don’t think I’ve said it direct to Mr Camp so you have a point that I shouldn’t label him that way based on one blog post. I would not say *all* the slimepitters seem like nutty obsessive haters to me, some just seem obsessive and some seem to just hate [joke!].

  19. 19

    ikonografer is so adorable, yelping for attention and pimping his blog for all he’s got.

    Just listening to an atheist podcast and trolling came up where it was said that not feeding them does not work as they push and push until they get attention. Seems ikonografer’s post is textbook attention getting, almost pleading for some of the subset of the ‘Horde’ here to come to hir blog and troll… Please give me attention, even negative will do!

  20. 20
    Stephanie Zvan

    ikonographer has a podcast? Who knew?

  21. 21
    Ophelia Benson

    Urgh. What a noxious bouquet.

  22. 22
    Argle Bargle

    Stephanie Zvan #20

    ikonographer has a podcast? Who knew?

    Another question: Who cares?

  23. 23

    Thanks for sharing my tweets! Not that the petition would amount to anything, but most people who have seen FfTB for what it really is have unsubscribed and moved on to other conversations, so I don’t expect as much support for Justin Vacula, as we should have.

    Thanks for showing me the tweets of potential allies. I’m somewhat new to twitter, so I just “followed” them.

    And thanks for sharing my tweet with the video-reading of a blog about Jen McCreight’s hypocritical dad who wants people to be civil, yet wants to punch people in the face. The video has a link in the info to a blog which contains a CFI video, where some loon called Richard Dawkins a “super-star, white male atheist” who’ve “institutionalized a very narrow prescriptive, white supremacist, patriarchal version of atheism”, and where Rebecca Watson simply nods in agreement (since she’s batshit crazy).

    I will say this about my tweets, I don’t tag any of you FfTB bloggers because I am aware that you don’t like it. But since you don’t like tweets in criticism from others, perhaps make your twitter a private space. If it’s open to the public, you should expect criticism, especially since you’re in this blogging business, and especially after the last year of bullying people with blogs full of lies, misinformation, misconstruing, and reinforcing negative gender/race stereotypes.

    That being said, of course I support Justin Vacula. He spotted and challenged the bullying and dogma from FTB. He didn’t invade anyone’s private space, and he kept it clean. He dealt with threats of being smeared to his family and work, and stayed positive. Justin was accused of ONLY filing a counter-DMCA claim for Surly Amy’s address, which led to him proving that he didn’t have to file the claim for her address, because her address was already public. You see, you missed that context in your not-petition.

    And as far as I can tell, no one in the Slyme Pit wishes any harm to anyone, just as most atheists don’t wish any harm to Ray Comfort or Pat Robertson. Some of us merely called out the stupidity of Surly Amy and ridiculed/mocked her for wanting to censor others, and to ban t-shirts and jewelry which offended her (aww, boo hoo hoo). It’s the same thing us atheists always do to public figures who do/say something stupid or call for stupid actions. Atheists for the longest time have been saying that no one has the right to not be offended by t-shirts, bumper-stickers, etc. Hell, us atheists even ridiculed an atheist who wanted to sue people for anti-atheist bumper stickers.

    Steffy, why don’t you tell everyone about how you added Ryan Grant Long as a facebook friend with hopes of creating more drama? While Greta and her ditto-heads bullied and accused Ryan of being a misogynist and other non-sense, Ryan was also getting PMs which accused him of wanting to kick women in the cunt. It was an accusation that was inadvertently started by Ophelia Benson, which Greta’s ditto-heads didn’t read correctly. So when Ryan posted his sarcastic response on his own private wall, everyone knew what he was referring to at the time. Of course, you knew about it too, and you were just looking for something to blog about. I heard that Ophelia recently apologized to Ryan in private, which I personally think is a good thing.

    What you did is WAY worse than anything you accused Justin Vacula of allegedly doing. To add someone on facebook so that you can see their posts which is set to “friend’s only”, in hopes of finding something to blog about while applying your own context is very devious, dishonest, and disgusting.

    Oh, and I’m using an ad blocker, as many people suggested, so that you don’t get any revenue from me. Okay, nice chatting with you, Steffy. Carry on….

  24. 24
    Stephanie Zvan

    I have never been Facebook friends with Long. If he said I did, he lied. If someone else said I did, you might want to reconsider the trustworthiness of your sources.

    Also, I fully expect criticism. I simply expect it to be substantive. Too much for you?

  25. 25
    Kilian Hekhuis


    I’m failing to comprehend how anyone cannot see that using that term in the opening paragraph of a post immediately invalidates any and all arguments they might have?

  26. 26
    Ophelia Benson

    I didn’t generally apologize to Long. I did say it was a mistake to refer to the issue of thinking it’s fine to rant about kicking women in the cunt, without explaining the context, and that I would have done a follow-up comment to explain but he had already blocked me. (All this is on that thread on Facebook.) I apologized for that one item, I think – but I didn’t just give a blanket apology, because I don’t think he has one coming. There was no law of nature that said he simply HAD to bounce onto Greta’s thread to tell the world that he too hates Rebecca and why shouldn’t he say so dogmahypocritesideologyradfemsblargle. His opening move was a piece of intrusive malice. I didn’t apologize for responding accordingly.

  27. 27
    Ben Zvan

    Justin was accused of ONLY filing a counter-DMCA claim for Surly Amy’s address, which led to him proving that he didn’t have to file the claim for her address, because her address was already public.

    Uh…what? You might want to double-check your “facts.”

  28. 28

    masakari2012 @ 24

    And as far as I can tell, no one in the Slyme Pit wishes any harm to anyone, just as most atheists don’t wish any harm to Ray Comfort or Pat Robertson.

    No-one is calling them “baboons” or “baboollies,” though. That’s the part of the Slyme Pit that scares me the most. When you slap a blanket label on someone, you dehumanize them and remove empathy. This does not create a forum for useful criticism, but instead promotes an atmosphere of blind hate. That never ends well.

    What you did is WAY worse than anything you accused Justin Vacula of allegedly doing.

    “Allegedly” doing? Zvan linked to evidence of each event. There’s no alleging here.

    Jen McCreight’s hypocritical dad who wants people to be civil, yet wants to punch people in the face

    No, my dad shouldn’t have remarked that he wants to punch my abusers in the face. That’s wrong, even though I know he has never hurt anyone and was speaking out of anger because someone he loves is facing constant abuse. I don’t think he should have said such a thing because like I’ve said before, violence is never the answer. – Jen McCreight

    The video has a link in the info to a blog which contains a CFI video, where some loon called Richard Dawkins a “super-star, white male atheist” who’ve “institutionalized a very narrow prescriptive, white supremacist, patriarchal version of atheism”, and where Rebecca Watson simply nods in agreement (since she’s batshit crazy).

    Ah yes, the “The Intersection of Non-theism and Feminism” panel with Sikivu Hutchinson, at the 45 minute mark. I have to ask: is that it? Does your best evidence of Watson’s craziness consist of a time she didn’t immediately attack a fellow panelist who said something you disagree with? Why would she have to anyway, when Benson takes Hutchinson to task for saying that?

    The fact that you blow these two incidents way out of proportion suggests that the Slyme Pit really is hosting an atmosphere of blind hate. Please hang out a little more in areas where name calling isn’t considered the norm.

  1. 29
    Forgiveness and Abuse | Almost Diamonds

    [...] or wants to change. There is, however, evidence to the contrary. Yesterday, I posted some of the abuse posted on Twitter in response to the petition. If you take a look at the list of people Vacula follows on Twitter, [...]

  2. 30
    Petition Week: The Comments | Almost Diamonds

    [...] on the post about the Twitter reactions to the [...]

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