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Oct 23 2012

Just Getting a Response

From Ophelia, I discover that Justin Vacula is still on his kick trying to suggest that what the slimepitters, et al. are doing is absolutely not stalking.

A lengthy post I authored months ago concerning what certain Freethought Bloggers are calling ‘stalking’ and ‘cyberstalking’ is below. This is especially relevant considering Ophelia Benson’s recent post “It’s all trolling, when you come right down to it” in which she claims that the “pro-misogyny crowd” stalks bloggers “day in and day out.”

TL;DR – criticism, even when it is excessive, isn’t stalking or cyberstalking. Public figures who make their controversial opinions known to the world will get responses. Reductio ad absurdum: Major cable news networks must be stalkers for their coverage of Obama and Romney.

So, let’s look at what kind of “reaction” the slimepit had to me yesterday, as just one of those days in and out.

Ah, it seems they have discovered the young woman who went to WisCon some years ago and posted surreptitiously taken photos from the event to Something Awful, along with a bunch of fat-shaming, transphobic and otherwise nasty comments.

You will be shocked, SHOCKED! to find out who was right there, leading the online harrassment campaign against the blogger for that post.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2008/05/28/wiscon-abuse/

I’m trying to figure out which one she is, in the original pictures!

None of those were me, just for the record. No profit in it for the woman involved. In 2008, I was in very good shape.

omfg you’re kidding.

That woman is toxic.

Am I now.

Once I saw that the story involved

1. Feminist science fiction……….check!

2. Located in Wisconsin (right beside Minnesota)……check!

and

3. A vicious campaign of threats and job targeting……check!…..check!…..check!…..check!…..check!…..check!…..check!…..check!

I knew she must be involved.

There are a few other comments, but they don’t amount to much more than trying to fat-shame me, trying to connect my feminism to New Age theology, and suggesting Greg and I must be having sex. There’s one person using insulting me as an introduction to the pit, and a post from Vacula on where he thinks he’s going with this:

I hope to author a blog post touching on conflation of criticism with abuse and responsibility and the internet (if you can’t take the heat, don’t engage in drama or cause conflict – but, you know, advocating for reasonable responsible action is ‘victim blaming’).

I’m all for separating criticism from abuse. It will be interesting to see whether Vacula can tell the difference. I doubt it. This is the man who referred to defamation law as a defense against stalking, and he apparently has no idea what a reaction is.

If you are responding to something, you aren’t starting it. Effects come after causes, not before. Someone who is going out of their way to find out what I did four years ago isn’t responding to me.

Neither, for that matter, is someone who makes up a story about what they found. That “leading the online harrassment [sic] campaign” I supposedly did? Here’s the full text of that post.

While WisCon is generally an accepting place, it always raises some anger. Not surprising. We’re talking about contentious issues tied closely to our identities. It’s hard to get through a con without realizing that we’ve taken something for granted that’s hurt someone else. We get defensive because we’ve put a lot of effort into being decent, thoughtful people and we really want to rest on that sometimes.

Then there’s Rachel Moss, whose motivations for coming to the con (twice) are, well, opaque despite her explanation. Angry Black Woman has a good summary of the debacle that started when Rachel Moss decided to post pictures of WisCon on Something Awful with something masquerading as commentary. Liz Henry starts an interesting conversation on balancing awareness of our enemies as human beings with holding them 100% responsible for their behavior. Lesley at Fatshionista simply and beautifully tells everyone creeping out of the woodwork to get at it already–do their worst.

After them, and the commenters at their blogs, all I’ve got to say is that I’m proud WisCon is my con and that these are my people. And no one making nasty comments is having as much fun as my people are in those pictures.

That’s it. I mentioned what had happened, praised a couple of people for taking positive steps that didn’t target Moss. From the post of Liz’s I linked:

I don’t want people’s justified anger at her to push her deeper into isolation. I hope she has friends who will stick with her and help her and that her boyfriend (who she says tries to stop her from throwing up) can help her figure out what to do.

I still feel angry with her but I feel infinitely sad also, I also feel that might be condescending of me, if so, I’m sorry.

This is an illustration of how the people who hate us often are us, and need our help.

Again, that’s it. That behavior somehow made me a toxic leader of a vicious campaign of threats and job targeting.

This isn’t a response. It isn’t reporting. It isn’t criticism. It is, however, the sort of thing that happens–yes, day in and day out–to this group of bloggers I happen to be part of. In other words, it’s pretty much exactly the opposite of what Vacula had to say about what we experience. Not only that, but it’s happening right under his nose, and he’s still pretending it doesn’t.

Let’s just say I don’t have high hopes for this next post of his.

56 comments

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  1. 1
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    In other words, it’s pretty much exactly the opposite of what Vacula had to say about what we experience. Not only that, but it’s happening right under his nose, and he’s still pretending it doesn’t.

    Let’s just say I don’t have high hopes for this next post of his.

    I’m sure he’s got some extra-sophisticated skeptheology to explain why you’re wrong.

  2. 2
    Ace of Sevens

    Is that supposed to be insulting to you or Greg? Having sex is supposed to be something cool people do, right?

  3. 3
    Ophelia Benson

    Vacula hopes “to author a blog post touching on conflation of criticism with abuse” – in other words he plans to keep repeating the Big Lie, over and over and over again.

  4. 4
    Stephanie Zvan

    Come on, Ace. Surely no man ever would ever be a feminist ever if it weren’t for all that hot, liberated sex that they get from those prude feminist womynz.

  5. 5
    BarfSimpson

    You omitted the joke -

    Q. How do you make love to Zwan?

    A. Jerk off in your hand and throw it at her

  6. 6
    Stephanie Zvan

    Oh, the cogent criticism to which I, time and again, fail to respond.

  7. 7
    Raging Bee

    Is that supposed to be insulting to you or Greg? Having sex is supposed to be something cool people do, right?

    And the uncool people compensate for their deficiencies by trying to trash the cool people any way they can. Whatever the cool “elite” people do is, ipso facto, bad. Why do you think the haters spent so much time harping on Bill Clinton’s sex life?

  8. 8
    Anthony K

    That’s it. I mentioned what had happened, praised a couple of people for taking positive steps that didn’t target Moss.

    I kept rereading your post about WisCom, trying to understand where their criticism comes from. It makes no sense whatsoever.

    Jerk off in your hand and throw it at her

    Okay, now I understand what the Slymepitters are doing. Thanks, Barf.

    So, you know that makes all you people Migs and Stephanie Zvan Clarice Starling?

  9. 9
    hyperdeath

    BarfSimpson says:

    You omitted the joke -

    Q. How do you make love to Zwan?

    A. Jerk off in your hand and throw it at her

    Can anybody else parse this? It’s a bit like trying to interpret Dennis Markuze. There’s definitely anger, and a desire to sexually humiliate, but I can’t see this “joke”.

  10. 10
    Anthony K

    There’s definitely anger, and a desire to sexually humiliate, but I can’t see this “joke”.

    That’s because there isn’t one there. Not a good joke, anyway.

    But what do I know about sex and jokes? According to them, I’m a virgin who needs a BJ.

    Perhaps from Greg?

  11. 11
    No Light

    Brownian. and Hyperdeath – I’m lost too, both on the nature of Stephanie’s “offence”, and that “joke”.

    Sadly I don’t speak Wazzock, and I can’t find a Wazzock-English translation app.

  12. 12
    oolon

    Oh dear, not Dick Strawkins again! I’m afraid I missed all that as I was too busy laughing at Justin Vacula. I do wonder if he thinks the Slymepit is all just a joke since he was there asking why on Ophelias post I was mentioning the ‘Hitler parody’ of him etc etc. Basically he thought this comment was serious!
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/10/public-figures-who-make-their-controversial-opinions-known-to-the-world/#comment-317562

    .. And Justin said:

    Where are these pictures of me as Hitler bringing SCA into the reich or whatever? …and comments about my appearance? I saw Greg Laden calling me creepy and that was about it

    Laughing at him didn’t go down well with the pitters, and they say they are in it for the lulz, pftt. Personally I nearly spat my tea over my laptop when I read it – he seriously thought Ophelia and FtBs fans were doing that! lol!

    I’m definitely going to have to re-instate my quote from Dick Strawkins on the Slymepit: “We must be the most inept bunch of haters ever”

  13. 13
    Anthony K

    Sadly I don’t speak Wazzock, and I can’t find a Wazzock-English translation app.

    I don’t claim to understand all the nuances of Slymepit communication either, but Barfy’s helpfully provided a bit of a Rosetta Stone.

    Well, a semen-covered rock, but that’s the closet thing to human-like speech we’re going to get from these grunters.

  14. 14
    oolon

    Oh and Stephanie your link to Dicks amazing revelation about you seems to have lost the #p22407.. So it just points to Tuvok wondering if I’m a type of tea.

    Should be – (And WordPress may strip it again)
    http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=73&start=20700#p22407

    Just to save people from having to wade through the posts on there to get to Dicks missive.

  15. 15
    Anthony K

    Just to save people from having to wade through the posts on there to get to Dicks missive.

    See, this is why I’m a virgin who’s never given a BJ. You have to wade through what before you get to the massive dicks?

  16. 16
    Forbidden Snowflake

    So, you know that makes all you people Migs and Stephanie Zvan Clarice Starling?

    Wait… Who’s Hannibal Lecter in all this?

  17. 17
    oolon

    BTW2, Barf is probably a Hoggle-sock. Not just because of the wanking reference being his MO – a slymepitter pointed out his ‘joke’ was an in-joke from the pit referring to an earlier Hoggle pun. Only he would think of making a reference like that to get points back at the clubhouse.

  18. 18
    Anthony K

    Don’t be fatuous, FS. Rebecca Watson is Hannibal Lecter (Stefanie McGraw is Jim Pembry), Vacula is Dr. Chilton, and Franc Hoggle is Buffalo Bill’s dog, Precious.

  19. 19
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Rebecca Watson is Hannibal Lecter

    OF COURSE! How silly of me.
    I vote Oolon for Frightened Inmate #2 :)

  20. 20
    thew

    Have any of you idiots tried clicking the link to the “Angry Black Woman” blog? I’d suggest you do so and decide for yourself whether or not it’s a “good summary” or recommends “positive steps” that didn’t target the person in question.

    Stephanies 2008 post only makes sense after you’ve read it.

  21. 21
    Stephanie Zvan

    Actually, that’s my second-most-clicked link today.

  22. 22
    Anthony K

    Have any of you idiots tried clicking the link to the “Angry Black Woman” blog?

    Yes. Presumably, you’re complaining about this:

    You can do some Googling and poke around her LJ to find out more, but if you do so you might miss her useless apology. You won’t miss her threatening to call the police because people have been making threats of violence against her person.
    Now I definitely am not down with physical threats. Especially not against female bloggers But if Rachel Moss feels scared, hurt, embattled, and like she can’t walk down the street without someone having something nasty to say about her, all I can say is: good. She deserves it. Because that’s a slice of what she did to others for no other reason than she thought it would be funny. I would not wish actual physical harm on her ever. But you know that feeling in the gut you get when you’re anxious and upset and freaked out? I hope she feels that every day for a year. It still wouldn’t be enough.

    I understand that none of you people have functioning neurons (presumably they’re all sitting in gooey little pools in the palms of your hand), but surely even the Slymepitters can appreciate that the entire purpose of the Slymepit is to do exactly this.

    So, what’s your problem? That ABW didn’t call Moss a cunt and laugh uproariously about how she’s too ugly to get harassed?

  23. 23
    thew

    Alright so you’ll have no problem defending it here or on the slime-pit then.

    “And though I know this is a horrible thing to say, I can’t help but think: How dare she complain about physical threats? You called a 9 year old boy a pussy you depraved sicko! You’re lucky no one knew enough to pop you in the mouth. It’s wrong, yes, but what more can you expect when you talk smack about someone’s child you don’t even know?”

    Still think that’s a “good summary”?

  24. 24
    Stephanie Zvan

    Funny how I’m already being quotemined here. Let’s see. What did I say about that post?

    Angry Black Woman has a good summary of the debacle that started when Rachel Moss decided to post pictures of WisCon on Something Awful with something masquerading as commentary.

    Notice that I call the events from the point that Moss posted the picture onward a “debacle”. In what way does Tempest’s post, including the piece you quoted, not describe a debacle?

  25. 25
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    Can anybody else parse this?

    What, don’t you understand criticism? That was a criticism. In some ineffable way. But criticism!

  26. 26
    thew

    You aren’t being quote mined Stephanie, don’t even try it. What you linked to their wasn’t just a description of a debacle, it was an expression of rage and it included recommendations for fellow bloggers, such as yourself – to continue with a google bomb campaign even after Zap had apologised.

    Which you then carried out.

  27. 27
    carlie

    criticism, even when it is excessive, isn’t stalking or cyberstalking.

    Oh, “criticism” is what they’re calling it? Interesting, I don’t see any actual criticism in that stupid spooge joke. Do they know what criticism means?

  28. 28
    Stephanie Zvan

    Oh, no! Not an expression of rage! No one anywhere ever should express any rage at all! Especially not when a friend’s 9-year-old kid is targeted for abuse!

    Do you read what you’ve written before you post it? I know you don’t look up terms, because you haven’t the first clue what a Google bomb is. Santorum? That’s a Google bomb. (Hint: It involves strategic linking.) Talking about someone using their real name is not a Google bomb. Am I consigned to Hell if I say, “Michael Brutsch ran /r/jailbait and a bunch of other nasty shit” too?

    As for me not being quotemined, (1) I already identified the quote mine, and (2) there’s also all that context you’re leaving out of me praising the people who are urging compassion and not letting the bastards get us down. So…nice try, I guess?

  29. 29
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    I’d suggest you do so and decide for yourself whether or not it’s a “good summary” or recommends “positive steps” that didn’t target the person in question.

    Seems like a good summary. How is it not? Dopes it recommend “positive steps”? Does it have to do so? Without targeting the person in question? No, the article certainly targets the offender by mentioning who they are and what they did. The problem with this is what?

    Still think that’s a “good summary”?

    No, that part doesn’t sound like a summary. Does the entire thing need to be summary? And saying the equivalent of, “You’re lucky someone didn’t deck you,” isn’t a threat, it’s noting a normal, if wrong, response to such obnoxious behavior – and how it didn’t happen.

    You do get the bit about how abw would never wish harm on someone, but that having a taste of one’s own medicine is hopefully a learning experience? No? I thought not. You just want to grab the merre mention of something, take it out of context, and pretend it is somehow bad while bigoted direct attacks against other people are some sort of valid criticism.

  30. 30
    thew

    Your pathetic attempts at minimising this really say it all. Yes, expressions of rage are fine. You however are whining that people have the temerity to call you nasty things and mock you while you have a history of supporting actual campaigns of harassment. I don’t think that you really knew how to google-bomb at the time, you did your best though. Including Zaps real name even when it was redundant to do so. Maybe you thought that would do it…

    I’ll ask again. Still think that was a fair summary? Or just following orders? Another question, do you think the response was proportional to what Zap did?

  31. 31
    Stephanie Zvan

    And thew, having demonstrated that me answering questions and providing evidence and reasoning will have no effect on their opinion of my behavior, is gone. Ta.

  32. 32
    thew1

    Ah, difficult questions. It’s not bullying when Stephanie does it. How dare anyone say otherwise.

  33. 33
    Stephanie Zvan

    I answered your questions. You just asked them over again. That’s an utter waste of both our time. Or at least it is if your purpose in asking questions is to get information.

  34. 34
    oolon

    So Stephanie supposedly bullied someone through an online campaign, and the pit thinks it is horrible, despicable etc. So for all eternity she deserves all the bullying she gets… Which is somehow not as horrible. The logic, even if they were right, doesn’t seem to add up.

    @Forbidden Snowflake, is it just ‘cos I’m sat here with all my clothes on not hoggling that I don’t get it?

  35. 35
    Stephanie Zvan

    Actually, Oolon, it goes like this:

    1. I note that Bad Things have happened.
    2. I praise the people who are headed the right direction.
    3. The pitters claim I did the opposite of what I really did so they can attempt to justify their own behavior.
    4. Vacula shows up to write apologetics.

  36. 36
    thew

    No Steph. Its actually a simple question and you haven’t answered it yet. Do you still think that was a “good summary”?

  37. 37
    Stephanie Zvan

    For fuck’s sake. I think it is “a good summary of the debacle that started when Rachel Moss decided to post pictures of WisCon on Something Awful with something masquerading as commentary.” I said so in the original post. I requoted it in this post. I requoted it in the comments. How the fuck have I not answered that question?

  38. 38
    Stephanie Zvan

    Let me explain this in excruciating detail. If you think I haven’t answered the question of whether it’s a “good summary” when I’ve restated the sentence multiple times, that’s because you’re quote mining. It’s because you think there is some real difference between saying what I said and answering your questions with a simple “yes” or “no”. That is quote mining.

    It’s also sleazy, dishonest, pathetic, and transparent.

  39. 39
    notthew

    A simple yes would have done Stephanie. You have no regrets. You purposefully attempted to meddle in another persons employment, you added to the hate and you gleefully participated in mob justice.

    How your regulars take you seriously as you whine about simple mockery is beyond me.

  40. 40
    Anthony K

    Alright so you’ll have no problem defending it here or on the slime-pit then.

    Do people like you actually not know how to think, or is it just the fact that you’re so lacking in integrity that you just don’t give a fuck who knows you’re lying filth?

    Let me make this abundantly clear:

    No matter what anyone else has done, the people of the Slyme are a despicable collection of rotten, sorry-ass excuses for people.

    I could shoot an orphan in the face for no good reason, and that would make me a terrible person. It might make me a more terrible person than the denizens of the Slymepit.

    It would not redeem them. They would still be sick, repulsive, despicable, sorry excuses for human beings.

    That’s on them. Nobody else’s actions will change that.

  41. 41
    Stephanie Zvan

    You purposefully attempted to meddle in another persons employment, you added to the hate and you gleefully participated in mob justice.

    Actually, no.

  42. 42
    Anthony K

    How your regulars take you seriously as you whine about simple mockery is beyond me.

    Claiming you’re too stupid to understand what’s happening isn’t a good argument, you stupid, sexist, bigot.

  43. 43
    Ben Zvan

    Methinks notthew does not know the difference between calling an apple an apple, and throwing an apple.

  44. 44
    yuiiflew

    Here comes Brownian. What’s he going to do? Tell me to stick “something large and sharp up my ass. Die whilst doing so, painfully if possible”. I don’t think I could cope with such wit.

    Actually never mind, he’ll take “actually no” in place of an argument and prove my point. Cheers Stephanie.

  45. 45
    Stephanie Zvan

    Just as with the question having been answered several times, the argument has already been made several times, once in the form of a numbered list for simplicity. The fact that you’re not willing to read it and understand it is not my problem. It is, in fact, the sort of thing this post was created to demonstrate.

  46. 46
    joojflew

    Sure. You accept that harassment campaigns are perfectly fine so long as you’re either participating in them or leading them. Got it.

  47. 47
    Anthony K

    Here comes Brownian. What’s he going to do? Tell me to stick “something large and sharp up my ass. Die whilst doing so, painfully if possible”. I don’t think I could cope with such wit.

    You didn’t get the joke? C’mon, that was hilarious. I thought people like you loved funny.

    You know what is hilarious? Vacula trying to fill out a job application, and trying to figure out how to put “is really good at calling women ‘cunts’” into the ‘Applicable skills’ box.

    Actually never mind, he’ll take “actually no” in place of an argument and prove my point.

    ‘Prove’ your point? Which one is that? That I’ve been writing comments on this thread since four hours ago, and the best you can come up with is something I’d written elsewhere?

    “Here comes Brownian…” says the new commenter.

    Good job, kid. You’re a real credit to literacy.

  48. 48
    Stephanie Zvan

    You say, “perfectly fine”. I say, “debacle”. Let’s all look at how dishonest you are.

  49. 49
    Forbidden Snowflake

    oolon:

    @Forbidden Snowflake, is it just ‘cos I’m sat here with all my clothes on not hoggling that I don’t get it?

    It was really more of a gratuitous Arrested Development reference than a dig at you. Sorry. I’ll be quiet now.

  50. 50
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    You however are whining that people have the temerity to call you nasty things and mock you while you have a history of supporting actual campaigns of harassment.

    You have a history of being full of shit. Your definitions of what are and what are not harassment campaigns are backward.

    Here comes Brownian. What’s he going to do? Tell me to stick “something large and sharp up my ass. Die whilst doing so, painfully if possible”.

    Could be. Your point?

  51. 51
    Anthony K

    Your point?

    That’s all DG has. He’s a bit of a simpleton. And a liar.

  52. 52
    Jafafa Hots

    troll trolls, film at 11:00

  53. 53
    oolon

    @Forbidden Snowflak,

    It was really more of a gratuitous Arrested Development reference than a dig at you. Sorry. I’ll be quiet now.

    That’s ok no dig assumed, I was referring to ‘frightened inmate no two’, Tobias, suffering from ‘never-nude syndrome’ hence my comment on hoggling :-) Abstruse references to arrested development obviously are not my strong point as I picked up on yours!

  54. 54
    ewanmacdonald

    This thread has encouraged me to follow my dreams and produce a movie, despite having no qualifications or talent in this area. If a critic calls my movie a debacle, I can just put “PERFECTLY FINE!” – CRITIC on the poster and it’ll mean the same thing. They’ll be queuing round the block!

  55. 55
    Justin Vacula

    Here you go, Stephanie.

    http://skepticink.com/justinvacula/2012/10/28/controversy-activism-and-the-internet/

    I await your response.

  56. 56
    NoxiousNan

    is thew that wooly bumble bee or do all slimepitters start their comments with, “have any of you idiots….”

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