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Mar 26 2013

Engaging in Dialog

Mick Nugent has announced today the start of his proposed dialog. This dialog will be hosted on its own site, with special rules both for the dialog itself and for commenting. More news will be coming about the commenting as the team of moderators works out their process. Comments on the dialog will be moderated.

As I proposed much of the structure for this dialog, it shouldn’t be too surprising that I’m taking part in it. A brief note on why: I am not advocating for everyone to hold hands and sing, “Kumbaya”. I don’t expect to heal any rifts, for a rather large number of reasons. I don’t expect to suddenly become the spokesperson for anyone but me, and I’ve tried to set this up to make agreement and disagreement very transparent for those who are willing to leave a quick comment. I don’t expect, in fact, to do anything terribly differently than I’ve done here on my blog.

I’ve written about these issues extensively, and I have responded in depth to arguments from “the other side”. The responses from them have generally either been to change the subject or to wander away as the background level of harassment ramps up. The structure of this dialog has been designed to minimize both of those.

Simply put, it’s time to hash all this out in public in a venue that won’t drive away that portion of the population that sees fighting over an issue and can’t see the issue for the fighting. It’s time to have the discussion that various sorts of disruptive behavior has made difficult, if not impossible.

This dialog will cover five topics:

1. How we can work together on core issues on which we broadly agree, including promoting reason, critical thinking, science, skepticism, atheism and secularism in the real world.

2. How we can balance the right to freedom of expression and robust debate about ideas and issues, with the desire to not unnecessarily hurt people who disagree with us about those ideas.

3. How and to what extent our various communities and groups should have ethical and equality and social justice issues on our internal and external agendas.

4. How we can each, as individuals, lead unilaterally by example by behaving reasonably and charitably and constructively, while others are not doing so.

5. Any other issues that people believe are important to address.

These will be discussed one at a time, starting with number 1 later this week. I expect this will take a while. I expect it will take a lot of work on my part, though I will also be asking for feedback from a fair number of interested parties. I will have threads here dedicated to the various parts of the dialog. Venting is fine in those threads. Feedback on bad arguments and links to solid refutations of bad ideas would be wonderful.

I can’t tell you how this is going to go. All I can say is that I’m going to give it its best chance possible.

105 comments

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  1. 1
    LeftSidePositive

    1) I don’t ever want to work with those people, on any topic, for any reason. I don’t care what good Justin Vacula or Abbie Smith could bring to a topic on which we happen to agree. The fact of the matter is that they are dishonest, toxic, abusive people and activism is a social endeavor, and I will not give them the cachet of being admired or respected in any field, I will not help them achieve legitimacy, and I won’t put myself or my colleagues in a position to be vulnerable to abuse or malicious misinformation if the should get on such people’s bad side. This is not negotiable.

    2) It depends what those ideas and issues are. If those issues are “it should be okay to harass people” or “women aren’t as good at critical thinking as men” or “bitchez should just lighten up about rape jokes,” those ideas will inherently be hurtful to others, even if they are phrased politely. Disagreements have content. Also, people are totally free to have a debate about these issues as much as they want, but that doesn’t mean that others can’t criticize their opinions and their lack of basic human decency if they think that things like autonomy are up for debate. There is such a thing as a settled question, for all practical intents and purposes. I don’t see people lining up to debate whether the moon is really made of green cheese, just because they love “playing the devil’s advocate” and “questioning deeply held assumptions” and “looking at things from all sides.” So why all of a sudden is my basic right to be free of harassment such a fascinating question, if it doesn’t reflect on what one actually accepts and values?

    3) This is a misrepresentation. The issue is not, nor has ever been, about “ethical issues, equality, and social justice being on our internal and external agendas.” If that were the case, Skeptics in the Pub would get roundly criticized for having alcohol on its internal and external agenda. George Hrab would be told not to discuss so much about movies, music, and being Ukrainian. And yet we don’t see this hand-wringing about “internal and external agendas” AT ALL unless it’s about ethics, equality, and social justice. This is because some people in atheism/skepticism are fundamentally opposed to equality and social justice, and they have laundered their opposition into false claims about movement purity.

    4) Who decides what reasonable is? Why is “charity” even a value at all? Someone can be unwittingly biased, exclusionary, privilege-blind, and hurtful without realizing it or meaning to. Addressing the fact that they are incorrect or did something wrong is not about reading them charitably, it’s about educating them and others about the unquestioned assumptions they hold and the harm that they do, and the issues don’t go away when people speak nicely to each other.

  2. 2
    sisu

    I’m wondering who the intended audience is for this dialog/debate. I suppose there may be some people on the fringes of the atheist/skeptic community who haven’t been paying attention, so perhaps this is aimed at them? But it seems like the people who’ve been reading along and paying attention have pretty much fallen into one camp or the other, and I’d be surprised to see very many defections.

  3. 3
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    sisu wrote:

    I’m wondering who the intended audience is for this dialog/debate.

    I’m not sure of that either. Perhaps Michael Nugent has some sort of plan to advertise it, but I don’t know how well it will work.

    What it is good for is refuting the Slymepit propaganda about their being the ones who want debate/dialogue but can’t get it from the FTB/Skepchick/A+ side, since this will burst that particularly dishonest bubble – though I can already predict they’ll claim it ‘doesn’t count’.

    Whether or not it will wind up revealing what their actual goals are – the ones they keep hiding behind walls-o-text and the pretence of being free speech campaigners and ‘equalists’, which is shutting down discussion of social justice issues by other atheist bloggers and forcing those who have banned/blocked them on blogs and Twitter to reverse that and listen to whatever nonsense and abuse they have to give.

    They want only to hear about how much better they are than religionists, and to have themselves and their opinions treated with reverence. Simple as that.

  4. 4
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    LeftSidePositive #1:

    This is because some people in atheism/skepticism are fundamentally opposed to equality and social justice, and they have laundered their opposition into false claims about movement purity.

    This, this, THIS. Not only that, but they also use — not necessarily explicitly, but it’s all over the place implicitly — ‘skeptic cred’ as though it suddenly makes bad arguments perfectly fine, right down to rhetorical appeals about ‘reason’ and ‘rationality’ in the face of actual arguments. The case is, literally, that we take radical right-wing libertarians seriously because they have a magazine entitled Reason.

    What’s more, libertarian-types’ entitlement to spaces affects everything they do. The radical Right demonstrates their willingness to silence and shut out reasonable opposing viewpoints every day with almost their every word. Radical Rightists have gone as far as intervening to overthrow foreign governments they don’t like and even outright exterminating their opposition. Hell, we see it with Congressional Republicans holding the US economy hostage over a black guy being in the White House. What we see on display from the Slymepit is just this on a smaller scale.

    I do not see what dialogue can be had. I only see a need to make it known that certain conduct is not acceptable and those engaging in said conduct need to find somewhere else to do so. Said conduct, in the skeptical community, includes not trying to prop up untenable positions. As such, our radical-Right contingent needs to shape up or ship out =/

  5. 5
    Kevin

    Well, I wish you luck, but I agree with absolutely everything Left Side Positive said in post 1.

    I cannot understand why you’re giving people whose ONLY ‘claim to fame’ is being immature jerks.

    I have long advocated and will continue to advocate for separation of jerks from non-jerks. The jerks can go their merry little-brained way. I for one will not miss them one tiny bit. And as far as “educating” them; they first have to be educable. As far as I can see, they’re not, and they’re proud of this.

    You cannot have “dialog” with bullies. Your only effective course of action is to distance yourself from them.

  6. 6
    PZ Myers

    I won’t be participating. No interest in having a dialog with harassing assholes at all.

  7. 7
    carlie

    Good luck – I understand your point, but I don’t know how much of a toll this might take on you.

    Can you ask for a cease fire during the debate, that the people participating a)not engage in attacks on anyone on the other side, b)not participate in any site where people do engage in such attacks, and c)actively decry such attacks?

  8. 8
    Aratina Cage

    Could I make a request, Stephanie? I am concerned with how several of the people on Gurdur’s side keep bringing people into these talks who are not participating in the talks themselves. It has all become way too personal for many people involved. I am trying to get the people on Gurdur’s side to agree to discontinue doing this, and it seemed to be something many of them could agree to on one of Michael Nugent’s threads I spoke up on. I’ve recently made the request there, again. So, with that concern for non-participants in mind, and not knowing what you will write or how you will write the opening statement, would it be possible to be careful to not bring up people’s names in the statement unless absolutely necessary? My apologies if you’ve already considered such a thing.

  9. 9
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    The ‘pitters have demonstrated how they react to not getting their way; who’s to say that even if we reach some accord (unlikely, given their demands) they won’t pull exactly the same stunt next time someone applies the right to ban someone from their personal blog, writes one too many posts about social justice, or says ‘guys, don’t do that’?

  10. 10
    A Hermit

    http://atheistskepticdialogue.com/purpose/

    This is a structured dialogue to move beyond the recent rifts in the atheist and skeptic communities…

    …It is aimed at those of us who want to move beyond the rifts and to build strong, inclusive, caring and supportive atheist and skeptic communities and groups, that promote robust and rational debate of issues while avoiding needlessly hurting people.

    It is not aimed at people who want to escalate the hostilities, or who want to continue to cause unnecessary hurt to other people.

    So the slymepitters will either have to stay out of it, thus voluntarily marginalizing themselves, or completely change their M.O.

  11. 11
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    A Hermit wrote:

    So the slymepitters will either have to stay out of it, thus voluntarily marginalizing themselves, or completely change their M.O.

    You might be right, but I’m slightly less optimistic; I suspect they’ll simply engage in more of the same meaning-twisting, obfuscation and rank dishonesty – there are times when I’m not sure if I’m reading a ‘pitter or a theologian, particularly when it’s Justicar at the wheel of his self-praising wall o’text snooze-mobile – that they’ve already pulled on more than a few occasions.

  12. 12
    Raging Bee

    What [this proposed dialogue] is good for is refuting the Slymepit propaganda about their being the ones who want debate/dialogue but can’t get it from the FTB/Skepchick/A+ side…

    Yeah, it’s good for that, until you reach a point where it becomes perfectly obvious that continued dialogue is useless, and you give up, and then the ‘pitters go right back to saying YOU’RE the one who broke off the dialogue, and all the time you spent trying to prove you were willing to engage in dialogue is wasted.

    This “dialogue” is based on a clearly false premise, stated in the second paragraph of the announcement, ferchrissake that the “sides” are “perceived” and not real. And the people on the other side have repeatedly proven, beyond even a shadow of doubt, that they not only don’t share any of our core values, but don’t even want to act like grownups. Others here may see something I don’t see, but I really don’t think there’s anything to be gained by this latest exercise.

    Remember that video about workplace bullying? The most important lesson we can apply from that video is:

    MEDIATION DOESN’T WORK!

    PS: Have any of these grand dialogues ever been proposed by women? Seems to me it’s all men trying to play the mature leaders and get the women to try to make nice with the bullies.)

  13. 13
    Raging Bee

    It is not aimed at people who want to escalate the hostilities, or who want to continue to cause unnecessary hurt to other people…

    If this dialogue is not aimed at them, can we expect it to change their behavior in any way?

  14. 14
    sueinnm

    You’re very brave, Stephanie, and I admire your courage, but I honestly believe this is going to turn out very badly.

  15. 15
    William Brinkman

    Good luck!

  16. 16
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    I think you’re on the wrong path here… but I still wish you good luck. You’re going to need it.

  17. 17
    Glendon Mellow

    Stephanie, I look forward to this. Since I started reading Almost Diamonds years ago, you’ve made me think over issues and clarified murky points in my thinking many times over.

    So whatever outcome there is from this debate, I anticipate I’m still going to learn something from your writing.

  18. 18
    reappaden

    I think Stephanie deserves some support on her choice to be a part of this effort. I think it is a very mature and reasonable approach. There has been plenty said and done on all sides that doesn’t mean no one should ever try to resolve differences. The attitude many of you have is simply like that of an immature teenager.
    I’m willing to wait and see what comes of this effort. I hope that everyone involved has an attitude closer to Stephanie’s than to some of the critics here. Folding our arms in defiance, looking at the ground, stomping our feet, and yelling “no!” is not the best way to deal with things, unless you are 6.
    Good luck Stephanie. I publicly apologize and take back offensive names I have called you in the past. It is your choice whether you accept , even if you decline to accept I will not be using those terms when I refer to you in the future.

  19. 19
    LeftSidePositive

    I think #18 was the final nail in the coffin for me to have any optimism of this ending well. This isn’t a dialogue. It’s a massive exercise in pretending that vile, unhinged, ranting misogynists like Reap Paden have something to add to the conversation, or that appeasing them will ever get to the festering mess of illogicality, rage, and threatened ids underneath. Having Reap Paden speak in complete sentences and pretend to lecture us on constructive behavior is not the kind of change I was hoping for.

    Sorry, Reap. Your behavior has simply been too egregious and too unhinged for too long. You can’t scream “fucking bitch” at people over and over (to say nothing of your stream-of-consciousness walls-of-hate you were blasting into comment sections here!), and then just act like you are a good, reasonable person when you hold off for ONE PERSON when they (incomprehensibly, in my view) acquiesce to some of your interests. Until you LEARN from what you did wrong, until you realize that it’s categorically wrong to use those kind of slurs for EVERYONE, and the hatred underneath it remains unacceptable even when you couch it in nicer terms, you are not a reasonable person, and you are not a valuable contributor to this movement. The only way that this difference can be resolved is if you completely change your ways, admit the multitudes of ways you screwed up, and behave in accordance with decent, equality-respecting values. Otherwise, we are perfectly happy to have nothing to do with you. It’s not being “an immature teenager” or a 6-year-old, it’s called having boundaries and insisting on accountability. It’s a refusal to be fooled twice.

    Bottom line: you screwed up, you need to make amends, YOU need to change your ways, and we do not owe any compromises to you. This is not negotiable, and I, for one, do not see your contributions to the atheist movement as anything I’d miss.

  20. 20
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    I think #18 was the final nail in the coffin for me to have any optimism of this ending well. This isn’t a dialogue. It’s a massive exercise in pretending that vile, unhinged, ranting misogynists like Reap Paden have something to add to the conversation, or that appeasing them will ever get to the festering mess of illogicality, rage, and threatened ids underneath.

    -big, flashing neon sign with an arrow pointing to LSP’s post below MOTHERFUCKING THIS-

    Which applies equally to the misogynists as it does to all the other freedom-fighter libertarian types who think that what we need is less of this anti-oppressive stuff, and just as equally to those who veil these rants in condescending sophisticated-theologian walls of text.

    I don’t see what good they do anyway; from my perspective, whether it’s a debate or ‘friendly socializing’ the libertarian white-dude types always try to come out on top and enforce hierarchy. It’s more like a behaviour than just a simple ideology — and if pushing out the self-inflation ideology cuts down on the associated boorish behaviour, I’m all for it.

  21. 21
    fwtbc

    What LeftSidePositive said, totally.

    I can foresee little change from the old behaviours of the past. That faction seem far more interested in playing gotcha games than making any real progress.

    “Hey, look at this link. [high profile person] once used the word moron. They’re ableist! Therefore, fuck all y’all!”

    The pathological obdurate clinging to past events is only made more sad by the fact that half of the links, upon closer examination won’t even support their accusations.

    I hope hope hope this goes well for you, Stephanie, but fuck me if I can be very optimistic about it.

  22. 22
    Thaumas Themelios

    Kudos, Stephanie! Looking forward to this. Cheers!

  23. 23
    oolon

    Gotta hand it to Stephanie I cannot imagine how hard it is to swallow some of the abuse taken and make this step. I wouldn’t be so charitable and I consider myself to have a thick skin. Don’t think anyone should expect you or any other target to take a step like this and talk. No one not joining in should be attacked or thought less of for it.

    I’ll echo what people say about doubting anything good will come of it, but that is no reason not to try. My reasons to think its worth trying at least …

    * Reap Paden apologised! Admittedly LSP’s comment is absolutely correct and there is no reason to think Reap has any more understanding of why Stephanie objected in the first place, so no one owes him anything in return, hopefully he knows this… But he apologised! The hyperbole and hostility ratchets down a little.

    * This, apologies and the dialogue, break a key SP narrative. The “FfTB’ers” and “Baboons” never even try and understand our point of view. They hate, obsess, envy and demonise us. Look at this kitten picture posted on the Slymepit, we are not all bad! But the “Baboons” are talking… The hyperbole and hostility ratchets down a little.

    * Maybe, just maybe, it will ratchet down enough for the Slymepit to see it is doing nothing productive. Maybe they will get enough “concessions” to realise that monitoring a blog and all the comments on it when you are supposedly not interested in it is just… weird. Maybe Michael will find some metaphorical crayons and colouring for them to engage in instead.

    On the flip side when I saw Gurdur is doing the other “statement” I laughed out loud. He was the epitome of what fwtbc calls “pathological obdurate clinging to past events” on Michaels blog. To the point that one instance of a transphobic slur from years ago and apologised for meant FtBs is rife with transphobia …. So worst case I think this will turn out like Rocko’s “petition” and make them look utter fools. This will be edited out by them and rewritten as the narrative that the “Baboons” didn’t try properly or cheated or in the case of the petition they didn’t really try and anyway Adam Lees one was sock puppeted. But it will stand as a useful reference for any arguments that “dialogue” hasn’t been tried.

  24. 24
    Kelseigh

    Given that the narrative started right from the first comment that the rep from the pro-harassment side (screw scare quotes, it is a side) doesn’t represent their side and thus any advances can be safely ignored, it’s extremely doubtful this will have any lasting effect whatsoever. When there’s an escape hatch already prepared, you can bet it’ll be used.

    For any of this to have any effect in the one positive change necessary, reducing/stopping the ongoing harassment, you have to break through the “I ain’t doin’ nuttin’!” attitude that most of these idiots have. Because that’s what lies at the heart of the other side of the rift. Not anything as “lofty” (comparatively speaking) as a dislike of equality or a love of Freeze Peach. It’s simply not wanting to change. Not wanting to make any effort. Not wanting to be criticized for not changing. That’s pretty much it, but it’s a powerful urge, especially when covered with so many layers of post-hoc rationalizations.

    Like most, I’ll wish you luck Stephanie. But I doubt luck is enough to do much in this case.

  25. 25
    Raging Bee

    I’m willing to wait and see what comes of this effort.

    Is Reap willing to do anything other than wait for someone else to come up with something he can approve or reject?

  26. 26
    Hunt

    “Sorry, Reap. Your behavior has simply been too egregious and too unhinged for too long.”

    “The pathological obdurate clinging to past events is only made more sad by the fact that half of the links, upon closer examination won’t even support their accusations.”

  27. 27
    stakkalee

    Michael Nugent’s whole schtick has been very grating (that “Discussions on Rape Prevention” thread was what really sealed the deal for me) but I look forward to reading your essay Stephanie. You wield words like a fisherman with a flensing knife – brutally matter-of-fact.

  28. 28
    A Hermit

    18
    reappaden

    Good luck Stephanie. I publicly apologize and take back offensive names I have called you in the past. It is your choice whether you accept , even if you decline to accept I will not be using those terms when I refer to you in the future.

    Good start Reap; now do this on your blog and your podcast and actually change your behaviour.

  29. 29
    Ben Zvan

    So whatever outcome there is from this debate, I anticipate I’m still going to learn something from your writing.

    I second that.

    Good start Reap; now do this on your blog and your podcast and actually change your behaviour.

    And also that.

  30. 30
    Ariel

    sisu #2

    I’m wondering who the intended audience is for this dialog/debate. I suppose there may be some people on the fringes of the atheist/skeptic community who haven’t been paying attention, so perhaps this is aimed at them? But it seems like the people who’ve been reading along and paying attention have pretty much fallen into one camp or the other, and I’d be surprised to see very many defections.

    This left me wondering how large part of atheist/skeptic community have been really paying attention. I’m one of those on the fringes; I admit that I haven’t been reading along, apart from occasional glimpses, and (maybe for this reason) I haven’t fallen into any camp. I can’t be sure of course, but I would suspect that many readers – perhaps primarily those silent ones – fall into this category. Perhaps also – as Stephanie wrote – we form indeed “the portion of the population that sees fighting over an issue and can’t see the issue for the fighting”. From our (if I may say so) point of view, the issue – if any – is buried so deep under tons of mutual nastiness, that getting to the bottom of it looks like a dull and revolting task. In effect we (or maybe I should speak only for myself?) are left with the feeling that we don’t want to touch it. Too long, too dull, too revolting. No definite opinion as to which side is more to blame, no impulse to take sides given the nastiness we see, no inner need to answer the question who has been more nasty (with the superficial impression that both sides are nasty enough to keep away from them in real life).

    I’m planning to follow the discussion, treating it as a chance to see something beyond the surface. Good luck to all who agreed to participate!

  31. 31
    thetalkingstove

    @Oolon

    Reap Paden apologised! Admittedly LSP’s comment is absolutely correct and there is no reason to think Reap has any more understanding of why Stephanie objected in the first place, so no one owes him anything in return, hopefully he knows this… But he apologised! The hyperbole and hostility ratchets down a little.

    Remember what Reap said before – that he only started using abusive language towards her “because she stopped listening to me”

    Now Stephanie appears to Reap to be listening, she gets an apology.

    So Reap isn’t actually sorry. He’s not regretful for the abuse he handed out. He’s just giving a reward cookie. This apology means nothing.

    Good luck Stephanie. I’d be amazed if the slymies can carry out any kind of debate without simply rolling through their usual list of bullshit complaints; “PZ called us all murderers! Greg Laden tried to get Abbie fired! Thunderf00t’s freedom of speech was destroyed!” and of course, the ultimate crime, “I was banned from a blog for no reason!”

  32. 32
    Raging Bee

    …the issue – if any – is buried so deep under tons of mutual nastiness…

    First, the mastiness is nowhere near “mutual.” And second, the nastiness IS the issue: some people who at least call themselves atheists or skeptics wanna be as nasty as they wanna be, and the rest of us would rather live and function in places where we’re not bothered by nastiness.

    Too long, too dull, too revolting. No definite opinion as to which side is more to blame, no impulse to take sides given the nastiness we see, no inner need to answer the question who has been more nasty (with the superficial impression that both sides are nasty enough to keep away from them in real life).

    In other words, you don’t care enough to read up on the issue, but you DO care enough to come here and announce your unwillingness to see a difference between the two sides of the issue you didn’t read up on. Your concern (or rather, your lack thereof) is noted.

  33. 33
    hoary puccoon

    It would be bad if nobody except the ‘pitters were willing to be part of the dialogue, so,Stephanie, I’m glad you are taking this on– as long as you’re not too emotionally invested and can unhook from the toxic waste already being dumped on the process. Stamping our feet like 6 year olds? Really, how was that comment on any way helpful? And then Hunt @26 jumping in with what he apparently imagines is a clever gotcha. That’s not dialogue. That’s the same-old-same-old.

    Note to Reap and Hunt: If you really want a resolution, leave the toxic waste out ENTIRELY for a while and find some common ground with the other side. Then and only then will you be in a position to put your complaints on the table. If you don’t want to do that, it’s your choice. But don’t blame other people if you’re not willing to take the first step to make the dialogue succeed.

  34. 34
    Ophelia Benson

    Why would it be bad if nobody except the ‘pitters were willing to be part of the dialogue?

    It’s not bad that nobody except the pitters is willing to be a pitter, so why would it be bad if only the pitters wanted to do the “dialogue”?

    The pitters have everything to gain from the “dialogue.” The people the pitters have been pitting have nothing to gain from it.

  35. 35
    sueinnm

    Thank you, Raging Bee, for saying what I about to say,. Nothing infuriated me more than people who sit on the sidelines and pretend both “sides” are equal because they haven’t bothered going back to the source. I think there may be a difference between stalking people, calling them “cunts” and “femistasis” and photoshopping their heads onto pigs because a couple of YEARS ago one woman suggested, very mildly, that one particular action by men might be reconsidered, and the response to said abuse by not wanting to be called “cunts,” “femistasis” and having their heads photoshopped onto pigs.

  36. 36
    sueinnm

    “The pathological obdurate clinging to past events is only made more sad by the fact that half of the links, upon closer examination won’t even support their accusations.”

    Oh. You mean like still reacting to the so-called “Elevatorgate” after a couple of years?

  37. 37
    sueinnm

    Sorry, I addressed that last comment inappropriately. I was adding to your observation, FWTBC.

  38. 38
    Ariel

    In other words, you don’t care enough to read up on the issue, but you DO care enough to come here and announce your unwillingness to see a difference between the two sides of the issue you didn’t read up on. Your concern (or rather, your lack thereof) is noted.

    Dear Raging Bee, your lack of reading skills is noted. My post was written in support of the discussion, as an answer to the doubt expressed by sisu in #2. The doubt was: what’s the intended audience for the discussion? My answer was: part of the audience will be formed by people like me – folks put off by the nastieness of previous discussions (too much raging, to little thinking, if you forgive me the pun), but willing to put some effort in understanding, given a neutral and moderated setting.

    If you don’t like that sort of an audience, that’s not my problem. I suspect the slimepitters won’t like it either. At least one issue on which both sides could perhaps agree :)

    See you there!

  39. 39
    Raging Bee

    Dear Raging Bee, your lack of reading skills is noted. My post was written in support of the discussion, as an answer to the doubt expressed by sisu in #2.

    Yes, and your comment showed ignorance of the subject, and unwillingness to see a difference that’s painfully bloody obvious to the rest of us, without having to wait for some guy to sponsor a dialogue.

  40. 40
    hoary puccoon

    Ophelia Benson @34–

    I think the *claim* that only the ‘pitters are interested in dialogue, that the “feminist” side is only interested in bullying, would be unfortunate. That was all I meant.

    Aside from that, I think the whole atheist/skeptic/whatever you want the call it movements would benefit from the ‘pitters engaging in honest dialogue with just about anyone, whether they identified as feminists or neutral. But from the statements made on this thread by Reap and Hunt on this thread, it looks like just more toxic waste. (Note to Reap– FYI, calling people 6 year olds does not further polite communication.)

    Of course, I also realize that I’m one of the people who won’t use my real name, and I don’t have a blog, so I have the luxury of dropping the discussion when the ‘pitters go after me, as they sometimes do. So I don’t think Stephanie should be putting too much stock in my opinion. I’m not the one in the line of fire.

  41. 41
    Ophelia Benson

    Well yes, of course that claim would be a bad thing – but that’s one big reason Nugent shouldn’t be doing this at all. It’s coercive. He’s coercing the wrong people. That’s bad.

  42. 42
    mythbri

    Stephanie, what you write is always worth reading. I look forward to what you have to say. But I do agree with LeftSidePositive’s comments here. My optimism only goes so far.

    ….

    Reap again demonstrates that he has no idea why he should have apologized, and that lessens the value of the one he gave here. As will his actions toward anyone else he disagrees with and decides to call vile, bigoted names.

  43. 43
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Bigot Paden thinks anyone who doesn’t yell “fucking bitch” into a microphone is acting like an immature teenager.

    And for some reason I’m supposed to want to dialoge and work with that dishonest, cowardly bigot? Why?

  44. 44
    Ariel

    Raging Bee #39

    Yes, and your comment showed ignorance of the subject

    To a large degree, yes. Not only “showed”, but stated it quite explicitly.

    and unwillingness to see a difference that’s painfully bloody obvious to the rest of us, without having to wait for some guy to sponsor a dialogue.

    Not “unwillingness to see”, but unwillingness to dig for it, in a situation where each layer contains more and more abuse and rage. You don’t understand a simple thing: for someone like me, it would be a huge work to form an opinion on the rift between you and the pit on the basis of previous discussions. You have lots of grievances, with plenty of sources on ftb; they have their lists on the pit, on phawrongula wiki and other places. (To make it even more attractive, both sides routinely accuse each other of strawmaning the opponent!) My impression is that sources from both sides are written with rage, malice, prejudice and disdain for the other side. Checking their reliability, establishing the validity of these mutual accusations, is not – contrary to what you say – something “bloody obvious”. To repeat: it’s a huge work. And it’s also far from “bloody obvious” why anybody should be expected to perform it.

    Seeing a moderated discussion could simplify things. You see, it’s like “show me your best”. I expect that in such a discussion both sides will mobilize (what they consider to be) their best arguments and state their most serious grievances. No need for digging, they will do the selection themselves. Both sides will have the chance to convince … probably not each other, but at least the people who for some reason preferred to distance themselves from your quarrels. And there may be many of them! The moderation should guarantee that the winning will not be by shouting and heaping abuse, which (from what I saw) could be against the habits of participants from both sides :) Obviously I may be overoptimistic here, but it sounds really interesting and I’m looking forward to it.

  45. 45
    Raging Bee

    Not “unwillingness to see”, but unwillingness to dig for it…

    What do you mean by “dig?” I was a regular reader of SciBlogs and FtB while this whole story started breaking (“starting” with the “Dear Muslima” fiasco); and I didn’t have to do any more “digging” than a couple of mouse-clicks away from my regular lurking-ground. I already knew that FtB and SciBlogs had reliable sources, so it wasn’t that hard to piece together a believable picture from the posts and comments there. And the few times I went to places expressing views opposite to those I saw at FtB and SB, I rather quickly saw they were unreliable sources, and stopped wasting my time with them.

    I’m sorry to sound disrespectful, but I really can’t find much sympathy for your complaints of how hard it is to “dig” for information, when huge chunks of it at a time are easily available for all to see.

    Seeing a moderated discussion could simplify things.

    No, it would not. By your reasoning, you’d have the same people saying the same things you had such a hard time verifying before, with the same animosity that turned you off earlier.

    I expect that in such a discussion both sides will mobilize (what they consider to be) their best arguments and state their most serious grievances.

    What would force them to, if they weren’t willing to do so before? Nugent’s forceful personality and charisma? Some magical property of his blog that FtB doesn’t have? Polygraphs?

    No need for digging, they will do the selection themselves.

    Not if they don’t feel they have to.

    The moderation should guarantee that the winning will not be by shouting and heaping abuse…

    It wouldn’t prevent lying.

    Seriously, following this debate will be no easier than bookmarking an FtB and checking the Recent Posts list regularly.

  46. 46
    Raging Bee

    My impression is that sources from both sides are written with rage, malice, prejudice and disdain for the other side.

    How much actual reading was that impression based on? Where did you go to find a place where people like Benson, Watson, Zvan, etc. were even half as hateful, dishonest, and pathologically babyish as the ‘pitters? It doesn’t take days of research and fact-checking to see, at the very least, how differently both sides argue here.

  47. 47
    LeftSidePositive

    I just had an epiphany–doesn’t it seem like what Reap Paden is doing is a textbook case of a cycle of abuse, that we would all recognize in an instant in a domestic violence case? He went on a tear being hateful, abusive, and intimidating, and now that he perceives he’s gotten some compliance he’s expressing remorse and promising never to do it again, and all the time he knows that his victims would have to walk on eggshells to avoid tipping him off. It’s just classic.

    Oh, and Ariel–show me EXACTLY where the anti-harassment side of this debate has made any rape and death threats. Show me all the fat-phobic, sex-negative, exploitive photoshops you think we must have done to be anywhere CLOSE to what the pit has done. Show me all the hateful slurs we apparently fling at people who disagree with us. Show me where our side has celebrated exacerbating others’ mental illness. Because it simply doesn’t exist and you know it. Until then, I’m going to have to presume you are actively trying not to see how badly behaved the pit is. You are actively trying to conflate speaking up against bad behavior with being irrationally hateful, all so you can tut-tut and be proud of yourself for not getting involved. I’m not buying it.

  48. 48
    Raging Bee

    I just had an epiphany–doesn’t it seem like what Reap Paden is doing is a textbook case of a cycle of abuse, that we would all recognize in an instant in a domestic violence case?

    Damn right he is, complete with the irresponsible bit about how he’s being nice to Stephanie because she chose to do what he wants, so it’s her choice to keep on “earning” his civility or not. (Which is a bit like how Christians justify Hell: it’s not God’s fault for creating Hell and putting people in it forever, it’s OUR fault for making the “choices” that piss God off.)

  49. 49
    Raging Bee

    Gee, don’t hold back, LS+, tell us how you REALLY feel. :-)

  50. 50
    Pteryxx

    I just had an epiphany–doesn’t it seem like what Reap Paden is doing is a textbook case of a cycle of abuse, that we would all recognize in an instant in a domestic violence case? He went on a tear being hateful, abusive, and intimidating, and now that he perceives he’s gotten some compliance he’s expressing remorse and promising never to do it again, and all the time he knows that his victims would have to walk on eggshells to avoid tipping him off. It’s just classic.

    Seconding this. It’s called the “honeymoon phase” of the cycle of abuse.

    Simple diagram

    Tension-building phase: criticism, yelling, coercion, anger
    Explosive phase: attacks and threats, emotional/physical/sexual abuse
    Honeymoon or reconciliation phase: apologies, promises, fault-finding (‘Here’s the problem *trivial fix* now everything’s fine’), gifts, appeasement, courtship

    Diagram with more explanation

    More info

    One of the ways abusers gaslight victims is by appearing reasonable and charming to anyone who hasn’t seen all the abuse. Outsiders see just one or two incidents, don’t take them seriously, and believe the abuser’s a decent person who’d never do such a thing, so there must have been some misunderstanding.

  51. 51
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Pteryxx #50:

    One of the ways abusers gaslight victims is by appearing reasonable and charming to anyone who hasn’t seen all the abuse. Outsiders see just one or two incidents, don’t take them seriously, and believe the abuser’s a decent person who’d never do such a thing, so there must have been some misunderstanding.

    This applies to at least half the ‘pit =/

    Ariel #44:

    Not “unwillingness to see”, but unwillingness to dig for it, in a situation where each layer contains more and more abuse and rage. You don’t understand a simple thing: for someone like me, it would be a huge work to form an opinion on the rift between you and the pit on the basis of previous discussions. You have lots of grievances, with plenty of sources on ftb; they have their lists on the pit, on phawrongula wiki and other places.

    ‘All sources are equal’ is classic — and lazy — false balance. No. They’re not. Some sources are indeed more equal than others, which is why you need to check them. Demanding that others check them for you, and presenting the debate as ‘balanced’ on the basis that no one has checked for you, obfuscates rather than promotes reality. This is not proper skepticism and you need to stop it now.

  52. 52
    smhll

    Threadrupt, but a big ditto to this comment.

    “Well, I wish you luck, but I agree with absolutely everything Left Side Positive said in post 1.”

  53. 53
    Argle Bargle

    I already know what the slymepitters want. They want people to stop contaminating atheism with social justice issues. They want women to stop insisting that half of the world’s population are as human as men. They demand the right to post whatever they want on any blog, FP page, etc. and denying them that right is denying them free speech. They want Rebecca Watson publicly denounced for saying “guys, don’t do that.”

    Atlantic writer Ta-Nehisi Coates has developed a brilliantly concise definition of an asshole: “A person who demands that all social interaction happen on their terms.”

    The ‘pitters insist on being assholes.

  54. 54
    Ariel

    Raging Bee

    What do you mean by “dig?”

    Find the accusations formulated by both sides (that’s the quickest part). Try to establish their hierarchy: which are more important and which are the minor ones. Read old, lengthy discussions, with an eye for devious interpretations, political interests, self-righteousness, and bullying. Try to separate the arguments from the emotions and insults. Try to guess the reasons behind the abuse (if any). Try not to be prejudiced in what you do. Lot of work. You have already done it? Good for you. I haven’t. I haven’t even decided whether I want to do it (at the moment the option “probably not” prevails).

    As for the rest of what you wrote, I will not quarrel. It may well be that you are right after all, that my hopes are too high and the debate will degenerate into the familiar pattern.

    LeftSidePositive

    Show me all the hateful slurs we apparently fling at people who disagree with us. show me EXACTLY where the anti-harassment side of this debate has made any rape and death threats. Show me all the fat-phobic, sex-negative, exploitive photoshops you think we must have done to be anywhere CLOSE to what the pit has done.

    LeftSide, you don’t understand. For me the question whether you are close to the pit or not is secondary. (You are not? Great. Just great.) The primary question … oh well. It is of the sort: would you like to spend time in their company (yours or the pitters)? Would you like to work with them? Party with them? Go to conferences with them? Support them in politics? Be in one room with them? You see, these are not comparative questions. It is possible to give an answer “no” in both cases, no matter who is better – if only both sides are bad enough. So … referring back to your questions. Would I like to party with the authors of those photoshops? Depends which ones – with some of them it could feel like being in high school again. Would I like to work with people making rape and death threats? No, too disgusting. Would I like to be in one room with those people who tried to smear EllenBeth Wachs on the ground? No, I would be too scared of them. Who of the last two is worse? I guess the first ones, but both groups are bad enough in my eyes to deserve a “no” answer. That’s my perspective and people like me will read your discussion with pitters with this in mind. It’s not an “either-or” story … thanks the Spaghetti Monster!

    Setár

    ‘All sources are equal’ is classic — and lazy — false balance. No. They’re not. Some sources are indeed more equal than others, which is why you need to check them. Demanding that others check them for you, and presenting the debate as ‘balanced’ on the basis that no one has checked for you, obfuscates rather than promotes reality. This is not proper skepticism and you need to stop it now.

    Of course it’s not true that all sources are equal. The idea that the debate is “balanced” because no one has checked the sources for me is really bizarre; I don’t know why you are attributing it to me. I was hoping rather that in the debate both sides will indicate both the sources and the arguments they consider most solid, for fear of being easily debunked otherwise. As for balance (a totally different topic), it will be also interesting to see how you deal with the situation of not having the advantage of sheer numbers.

    Good night to all of you.

  55. 55
    Hunt

    So maybe FtB has its special list of proscribed words and list of harassment techniques that are out of bounds. That doesn’t mean that techniques used on FtB can’t be classified as abuse, and there’s certainly plenty of rage to go around. Review the recent thread at Pharyngula about Adria Richards if there is any doubt about this. Historically, even harassment has been an accepted technique for activism. It all depends on its character and its target. What appears to be universal and timeless is that nobody likes being the harassed.

    Our (human) capacity to think our excrement smells sweeter than all those around us is a constant source of wonder. At the same time, it is true that two wrongs don’t make a right, tu quoque is an informal logical fallacy, etc. We’re almost always trying to agitate for and promote our own position, and almost always the “other side” vehemently dislikes what we’re doing.

    I think there are legitimate complaints against both “sides,” but these are subjects that can profit from open debate on a forum with very well-defined (which probably entails limited) moderation and without a capricious host hovering over the delete button. “Freeze peach” has been mocked here on FtB, but in order for effective debate, parties that know their positions are despised by other factions require assurance against censorship. Perhaps those on FtB have lost track of just what such a discourse is able to accomplish and the power it has to resolve matters. So, if you haven’t already guessed, I say…give peace a chance.

  56. 56
    Hunt

    They want women to stop insisting that half of the world’s population are as human as men.

    What this tells me is that you haven’t read anything at Slymepit.

    Atlantic writer Ta-Nehisi Coates has developed a brilliantly concise definition of an asshole: “A person who demands that all social interaction happen on their terms.

    But doesn’t this apply equally well to FtB?

  57. 57
    thetalkingstove

    That doesn’t mean that techniques used on FtB can’t be classified as abuse, and there’s certainly plenty of rage to go around. Review the recent thread at Pharyngula about Adria Richards if there is any doubt about this.

    The thread where new posters kept appearing and making the same points over and over as if they hadn’t been answered about 10 times? Continual clueless bullshitting and fact avoidance?

    Yeah, can’t imagine why that would make people angry.

    You’re comparing anger at sexism and misogyny with anger at calling out and challenging sexism and misogyny. These are not the same kind of thing.

  58. 58
    LeftSidePositive

    Ariel:

    LeftSide, you don’t understand.

    I understand perfectly. You’re this guy.

    For me the question whether you are close to the pit or not is secondary.

    So people are being viciously harassed and you don’t think that’s your primary focus? That doesn’t speak well to your character or your ethics.

    The primary question … oh well. It is of the sort: would you like to spend time in their company (yours or the pitters)?

    Yeah, maaaannnn…you’re just sooooo annoying when you talk about your right to be free of harassment!! I’d rather just not spend time with you because it inconveniences me sooo muuuuch to have to maintain a shred of social responsibility in my community!

    By the way, policing a victim’s reaction to abuse and harassment and withholding support unless they’re pleasant enough for you is victim-blaming. I suggest you cut that out.

    You see, these are not comparative questions. It is possible to give an answer “no” in both cases, no matter who is better – if only both sides are bad enough.

    I’m amused by your total inability thus far to even substantiate the claim that we are bad at all, and moreover, I’m simply amazed that you would see people flinging an avalanche of rape and death threats and think you should take seriously their attempt to vilify their targets! ProTip: abusers and people trying to maintain their privilege over a marginalized group ALWAYS attempt to vilify them, to justify and perpetuate their own abuse. This isn’t difficult, and if you are too dense to see this I seriously don’t know what to say.

    Who of the last two is worse? I guess the first ones, but both groups are bad enough in my eyes to deserve a “no” answer.

    So, you don’t bother to take seriously the fact that people are being harassed. You give equal weight to people you know to be harassers, and whom you know to derive social standing in their subgroup for demonizing and attacking a vulnerable group, when they demonize us. Now, you want us to drop everything and spell out for you exactly why harassing us is wrong, because you have steadfastly refused to take initiative and do this YET, after two years of this?! Yeah, I’m gonna say the benefit of reaching out to you (in the highly unlikely event you’re actually undecided or impartial, instead of just being a concern troll) is not worth the cost of giving these people legitimacy or pretending their hatred goes away when couched in pretty words.

  59. 59
    LeftSidePositive

    Hunt:

    So maybe FtB has its special list of proscribed words

    This is because words, you know, actually mean things. It’s also not the words that are out of bounds, it’s the hateful ideas that those words communicate.

    and list of harassment techniques that are out of bounds.

    Because we have some basic human decency?!

    That doesn’t mean that techniques used on FtB can’t be classified as abuse,

    Which techniques? List them. BE SPECIFIC. Provide links. Otherwise you have no argument.

    and there’s certainly plenty of rage to go around.

    Being angry at being mistreated is perfectly legitimate reaction, and an important tool for social justice. I suggest you read “Why Are You Atheists So Angry?” if you need a primer on this. Also, expressing oneself with anger does not equal harassment. Harassment involves some or all of intimidation, intrusion, threats, slurs, pursuit, targeting innocent people, etc. Telling someone to stop being hurtful (even if they don’t like being told off) is not harassment, it is accountability.

    Review the recent thread at Pharyngula about Adria Richards if there is any doubt about this.

    Provide quotes and links, and make an argument as to why you think they constitute harassment. Otherwise, admit that you’re grasping at false-equivalence straws.

    Historically, even harassment has been an accepted technique for activism.

    Oh, yeah, I forgot about all those brave civil rights activists who burned crosses on the KKK members’ lawns!!!

    And a letter-writing campaign to representatives is not “harassment” (since it’s their job to listen to their constituents/customers!) Public protest is not “harassment.” The only time I can think of harassment masquerading as protest is abortion-clinic protesters, and I do not consider that legitimate activism, or morally acceptable.

    Provide examples of what this means or admit you are deliberately obfuscating.

    What appears to be universal and timeless is that nobody likes being the harassed.

    No one likes being told they’re wrong, either. Or that they’re hurtful, or bigoted, or that their behavior is not welcome in a space. But enforcing these boundaries does not equal harassment.

    I think there are legitimate complaints against both “sides,”

    Then provide a legitimate complaint against this side. You have thus far failed to do so.

    but these are subjects that can profit from open debate on a forum with very well-defined (which probably entails limited) moderation

    No, this subject cannot profit from any more debate, any more than the question “Is the moon made out of green cheese?” would profit from open debate. Harassment is wrong. Appreciating the value of women is right. Women do not deserve to be treated like sex objects in the atheist movement. Being “intellectually active” is not “a guy thing.” These are settled questions to anyone who is not an asshole or a sociopath. I also don’t think creationism would profit from more open debate. It is simply, like the harassers’ views, a worldview that is totally lacking in merit that demands the rest of the world not move on.

    and without a capricious host hovering over the delete button.

    Translation: you want a forum to continue your abuse and compel your targets to listen.

    “Freeze peach” has been mocked here on FtB, but in order for effective debate, parties that know their positions are despised by other factions require assurance against censorship.

    Censorship, eh?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2y8Sx4B2Sk

    Furthermore, like creationists, we don’t have to listen to your positions “for effective debate.” Your positions are not just despised. They’ve been debunked. We’re moving on, whether or not you want to come with us. We have better things to talk about than “Why are there still monkeys?” or “How will I get laid if I can’t cold-proposition women at conferences?” and if you insist on cluttering up useful conversations, the proprietors of individual spaces are not the government and are under no obligation to give you a platform or to waste time dealing with your ill-considered, bigoted nonsense.

    Atlantic writer Ta-Nehisi Coates has developed a brilliantly concise definition of an asshole: “A person who demands that all social interaction happen on their terms.

    But doesn’t this apply equally well to FtB?

    Nice try, but no. Common decency and honesty are not “our” terms–they are a universal, fundamental standard for human interaction. It is also such a low bar I’m pretty amazed you keep tripping over it.

  60. 60
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    That doesn’t mean that techniques used on FtB can’t be classified as abuse, and there’s certainly plenty of rage to go around. Review the recent thread at Pharyngula about Adria Richards if there is any doubt about this.

    The first commandment of the Slymepit is ‘thou shalt commit false equivalence’, and this is a good example of its use.

    To even try to liken a single comment thread with a heated discussion between individuals – as well as conveniently forgotting the fact there were Pharyngula regulars on both sides of that particular divide – to the months of co-ordinated harassment and bullying across numerous blogs, Twitter, YouTube and meatspace is a shameless act of profound dishonesty.

    “Freeze peach” has been mocked here on FtB, but in order for effective debate, parties that know their positions are despised by other factions require assurance against censorship.

    Another dishonest claim. FTB isn’t the government and is therefore by definition incapable of censorship; ergo, if an individual blog owner doesn’t wish to make their personal space a platform for your ideas, that isn’t censorship. If you want to rant about how atheists shouldn’t talk about feminism there is no shortage of places you can go to do that.

    Heck, why not start your own blog where you’re free to ‘dissent’ as much as you see fit?

    Perhaps those on FtB have lost track of just what such a discourse is able to accomplish and the power it has to resolve matters.

    The KKK still exists, as does Stormfront, Spearhead, AVFM and the Westboro Baptist Church. Creationists like Ken Ham still teach people that the world is 6,000 years old. Do you think that no-one has tried ‘discourse’ with them?

    Paraphrasing Cool Hand Luke: “Some people you just can’t reach.”

  61. 61
    Argle Bargle

    Hunt @56

    What this tells me is that you haven’t read anything at Slymepit.

    What this tells me is your reading of the slymepit is very selective. There are a few pitters who hide their misogyny well enough that they seem almost like normal people. But you can not say that of Justin Vacula or Reap Paden (I watched him repeat the word “cunt” on his video over 20 times before I turned it off).

  62. 62
    Your Name's not Bruce?

    I wish you luck Stephanie! I think the other side wants something they never had and you can’t (and won’t/wouldn’t) give them: exclusive control of what they perceive to be the atheist “brand. I admire your tenacity. As far as facts and arguments go, I know you’ll mop the floor with them. Not that they’ll realize this or acknowledge it when it happens. Your most effective weapons will be their own words used against them. You’ll certainly have plenty from which to choose…

    LSP’s comparison of RP’s new-found politeness with the cycle of abusive behaviour is spot on. Unless and until people on the other side have exactly the same epiphany, recognize their part in and apologize for the abuse they have carried out, and turn their behaviour around, there is no chance of this ending. They have to want to be better people. I don’t think that is something that you can “make” someone want. I suppose if it’s possible to make the price of continuing to be assholes so high hat it’s no longer worth paying it, that might help. Do any of them have any idea just how vile their behaviour is?

    The ending of this vileness is entirely in their hands. I don’t really think Michael Nugent sees this at all.
    What looks I’ve had at Nugent’s space don’t give me a lot of hope that he’s going to be of much use in reining in the lies and distortions of the other side. It seems too much like some sort of academic exercise on his part, which it is because he hasn’t been a target of this abuse and harassment. Earlier on in this process I had somewhat higher hopes that he might have greater success in holding people to account, of getting them to exlain themselves and catch them up in their lies and double standards. Unfortunately Nugent seems to be “out of the room” missing a lot of crap, allowing a shitload of collateral damage and coming back with a misplaced even-handedness. He should be calling bullshit bullshit; otherwise his silence sounds a lot like agreement. If he wants to moderate and guide this process then he should be keeping up with it and correcting lies and distortions, keeping people honest. Otherwise it becomes another forum for vileness. Hell I’d be happy if you could get Nugent to wake up and smell the misogyny.

    Again, good luck! I know you’ll fight the good fight, but then you always have.

  63. 63
    Dave W

    Hunt @56:

    But doesn’t this apply equally well to FtB?

    As soon as you can document a dozen (minimum) instances of FtBers complaining that being blocked or banned on Twitter, Facebook and/or pitters’ blogs infringes on their Free Speech, your question will be answered in the affirmative.

  64. 64
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Ariel #54:

    Of course it’s not true that all sources are equal.

    Then why did you so strongly imply it? For the record, from comment #39:

    You have lots of grievances, with plenty of sources on ftb; they have their lists on the pit, on phawrongula wiki and other places.

    If your position isn’t that the sources are equal, don’t treat them equally. Simple.

    The idea that the debate is “balanced” because no one has checked the sources for me is really bizarre; I don’t know why you are attributing it to me.

    Because, um, you said it. Not in exact terms, but when you go on as though both sides have equal weight and that’s why we need this dialogue to hash things out, it’s certainly implied.

    Or is this one of those magical cases I run into from time to time where, despite how we all should have learned about writing and implications in school, implications suddenly don’t count because they happen to be inconvenient to the writer?

    I was hoping rather that in the debate both sides will indicate both the sources and the arguments they consider most solid, for fear of being easily debunked otherwise.

    They’ve had close to two years to come up with this already and haven’t done so. What makes you think this time will be any different?

    As for balance (a totally different topic), it will be also interesting to see how you deal with the situation of not having the advantage of sheer numbers.

    Bullshit. Numbers don’t make arguments wrong any more than they make arguments right. This debate has raged on for two years; if as you claim my advantage is only in numbers, you should be able to provide a position held by my side followed by a debunking of said position.

    Go on, then. I’ll wait here with my cocoa and cookies while you take up the same endeavour that has stymied the Slymepit for close to two years. Have fun!

  65. 65
    Hunt

    Which techniques? List them. BE SPECIFIC. Provide links. Otherwise you have no argument.

    Do you think it’s fair to compare Slymepit members to Marc Lapine? Do you consider that abuse?

  66. 66
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Hunt #64:

    Do you think it’s fair to compare Slymepit members to Marc Lapine? Do you consider that abuse?

    [citation needed]

  67. 67
    Hunt

    Oh come on. Okay, for those with Sudden Onset Google Alzheimer’s:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/12/06/never-forget/

  68. 68
    Argle Bargle

    Do you think it’s fair to compare Slymepit members to Marc Lapine? Do you consider that abuse?

    The difference between one specific misogynist and diverse group of misogynists is one of degree, not of basic philosophy. Or are you pretending the ‘pitters aren’t misogynists who don’t feel the urge to actually kill the objects of their hatred?

  69. 69
    Stephanie Zvan

    And these anonymous monsters on the internet who shriek affrontedly about women and feminists and moan that any feminist allies are ‘manginas’ — to me, every one of them has the name Marc Lépine, and is just hiding it in shame and fear and hatred and cowardice.

    Hunt, are you claiming that that description fits the pit members? They’re shrieking anonymous monsters affronted by women and feminists?

  70. 70
    Ariel

    LeftSidePositive #58

    So people are being viciously harassed and you don’t think that’s your primary focus? That doesn’t speak well to your character or your ethics

    LeftSide, in the context of the rift between you and the pit, the basic question for the people not already engaged is whom to support, whom to treat as an ally. And there are three basic possibilities: (a) you (b) the pit (c) neither. In particular, answer (c) is not tantamount to accepting harassment.

    Yeah, maaaannnn…you’re just sooooo annoying when you talk about your right to be free of harassment!! I’d rather just not spend time with you because it inconveniences me sooo muuuuch to have to maintain a shred of social responsibility in my community!

    You resemble those Christians who say that atheists don’t believe in God because religious belief is inconvenient, with any explanations directed to them hardly having any effect. I will try nevertheless. Earlier I gave you a link to the ugly “discussion” of the Pharyngulites with EllenBeth Wachs. With such people around me in real life I wouldn’t feel “inconvenient”. I would feel scared. There is also the question whether (in real life again) I would be able to find enough strength to oppose such a group. Since in real life I’m not brave, it’s a nasty and nagging question. But still, it exists.

    I’m amused by your total inability thus far to even substantiate the claim that we are bad at all

    If I ever engage in a detailed analysis of “conversations” like the one I linked, it will not be for your sake, LeftSide. I’m inclined to treat you as incorrigible. Imagine trying to convince a hongweibing that what he does is wrong. “We abuse her? But she is a counterrevolutionary! We cut her hair? But she harms the working class! We insult her in public? But she supports the capitalist oppressors!”. No one will ever be able to substantiate the claim that the hongweibing has been bad. Such attempts are futile, unless they are intended for the wider audience. For a wider public, I could. For you, no, since I’m not interested in futile exercises.

    I’m gonna say the benefit of reaching out to you (in the highly unlikely event you’re actually undecided or impartial, instead of just being a concern troll) is not worth the cost of giving these people legitimacy or pretending their hatred goes away when couched in pretty words.

    You convinced me. It is indeed pointless for you to engage in the debate with the pit.

    Setar #63
    So now we are moving into the realm of the surreal? Sure Setar, I’m with you, holding your hand.

    Of course it’s not true that all sources are equal.

    Then why did you so strongly imply it? For the record, from comment #39:

    You have lots of grievances, with plenty of sources on ftb; they have their lists on the pit, on phawrongula wiki and other places.

    If your position isn’t that the sources are equal, don’t treat them equally. Simple.

    Oh my. Oh my.

    Kid: Dad, Mom, or whoever you are, there are so many books here, I haven’t read them, just browsed, they put me off, I’m at a loss, I’m not even sure whether they are worth reading.
    Setar (with a fierce frown): Don’t you dare implying that all sources are equal! By not reading them carefully you treat them as equal! By saying they exist you treat them as equal! That’s how implication works! Don’t do that! Didn’t you learn about implication at school?!? This must stop at once!!!

    ROTFL, Setar, you made my day. I didn’t realize how much stuff I treat as equal in my life by not reading or analyzing it. You opened my eyes. Thank you for that. Yours truly servant forever.
    Oh, and more shitty arguments please, I will wait for them impatiently with my cocoa and cookies :)

    I was hoping rather that in the debate both sides will indicate both the sources and the arguments they consider most solid, for fear of being easily debunked otherwise.

    They’ve had close to two years to come up with this already and haven’t done so. What makes you think this time will be any different?

    In a direct debate? Well, I counted on something as ordinary as the fear of losing. But I agree that it may be naïve to count on that, especially given the approach of people like you and LeftPositive. At the moment I’m inclined to think that Ophelia is right (contrary to what I suggested at the start). You have indeed nothing to gain in the debate.

    As for balance (a totally different topic), it will be also interesting to see how you deal with the situation of not having the advantage of sheer numbers.

    Bullshit. Numbers don’t make arguments wrong any more than they make arguments right. This debate has raged on for two years; if as you claim my advantage is only in numbers, you should be able to provide a position held by my side followed by a debunking of said position.

    But numbers modify the behavior and that’s what I had in mind. They can make your opponent silent or more resentful, they can make you more sure of yourself, angrier or more prone to mistakes. Consider again the shitty argument you were able to produce. Even if the argument is worthless, it makes hell of a practical difference if you have (say) twenty pals ready to shout “dishonest!”, “Implications, yesss!!” “This!”, and your opponent is alone. (It didn’t happen here and I count myself as lucky.) For me it would be interesting to see how you (plural) behave in a different setting, especially with insults eliminated by moderation.

  71. 71
    Stephanie Zvan

    …answer (c) is not tantamount to accepting harassment.

    Actually, doing nothing to oppose harassment when it is happening is very much accepting it. You don’t have choices of accept, reject, and something squishy in the middle. Passivity in the face of others being mistreated is acceptance.

    For that matter, you’re not currently being passive. You’re arguing against how EllenBeth was treated. Rightfully so, but it’s not passivity.

  72. 72
    Bernard Bumner

    Will Nugent now commit to protecting those who aren’t part of the dialogue?

    The comments section of his own website has largely been subsumed by ‘pitters, many of whom are determined to use it as a forum from which to project harassing behaviour.

  73. 73
    Hunt

    Hunt, are you claiming that that description fits the pit members? They’re shrieking anonymous monsters affronted by women and feminists?

    What is salient is who is the target of the description, accurate or not. In fact, if it is not at all accurate, that merely compounds the complaint. The target is the pit (and ilk). I don’t think that can be contested. It takes about a 3rd grade level of reading between the lines to perceive exactly what PZ intended by that post. Did he really mean it? No, I don’t think he’s quite that divorced from reality, but that’s exactly why this is an example of one style of abuse. The oblique reference meant to stab the opponent.

    My intention isn’t to present the pit as some kind of paragon of virtue. It ain’t. I do have an agenda to move FtB toward a neutral discussion table, and whatever i can do to topple it off its high horse of moral infallibility is in service to that end.

  74. 74
    Stephanie Zvan

    Ah, reading the mind of your opponent for the sake of something to complain about. I see. No, I don’t think that flies. You’ve used up your chances to contribute something meaningful. You haven’t managed yet, so do go away.

  75. 75
    Raging Bee

    … there’s certainly plenty of rage to go around. Review the recent thread at Pharyngula about Adria Richards if there is any doubt about this.

    Yet another dumbass troll with yet another unsubstantiated false-equivalency argument. I was there too, boy, and there was mindless nitpicky victim-bashing on one side, and perfectly understandable anger at the victim-bashing on the other. “Plenty of rage to go around” is a simpleminded misrepresentation of the issue, and you know it.

    Historically, even harassment has been an accepted technique for activism.

    Yeah, remember how Martin Luther King used rape threats and potty-humor so effectively to break down white resistance to the Civil Rights Movement? Oh wait, he didn’t. Neither did Gandhi, Havel, Walesa, Aquino, Douglass, or the Occupy movement.

    Hunt, you’re a fucking moron.

  76. 76
    Ophelia Benson

    What Your Name’s not Bruce said @ 62.

    The ending of this vileness is entirely in their hands. I don’t really think Michael Nugent sees this at all.
    What looks I’ve had at Nugent’s space don’t give me a lot of hope that he’s going to be of much use in reining in the lies and distortions of the other side. It seems too much like some sort of academic exercise on his part, which it is because he hasn’t been a target of this abuse and harassment. Earlier on in this process I had somewhat higher hopes that he might have greater success in holding people to account, of getting them to exlain themselves and catch them up in their lies and double standards. Unfortunately Nugent seems to be “out of the room” missing a lot of crap, allowing a shitload of collateral damage and coming back with a misplaced even-handedness. He should be calling bullshit bullshit; otherwise his silence sounds a lot like agreement. If he wants to moderate and guide this process then he should be keeping up with it and correcting lies and distortions, keeping people honest. Otherwise it becomes another forum for vileness. Hell I’d be happy if you could get Nugent to wake up and smell the misogyny.

    Repeated for emphasis. That.

    Why did he start this if all he’s going to do is fling the doors open and then walk away?

  77. 77
    Raging Bee

    Ophelia: maybe he did it to reinforce his “leader” cred, by pretending to bring the factions together as one big happy family smiling warmly under the light of his maturity.

    Trouble is, leadership doesn’t always mean “bringing people together.” Sometimes it means laying down the law, kicking ass, and making it known that some basic arguments are SETTLED already, support the decision and follow the rules or quit. This is one of those times. Basic decency, equality of rights for all humans, and rational adult behavior, are no more “negotiable” than the shape of the Earth. Anyone still sniping over basic stuff like that can be cut off and ignored like an obscene phone call.

  78. 78
    Deen

    I don’t think it’s “leader cred”, as we see many people with the same urges who are well aware they aren’t anyone’s leaders. I think it’s more that people love to think of themselves as the Big Peace Maker/Diplomat/Mediator. And. of course, the temptation of the illusive “Reasonable Middle” is always there.

  79. 79
    smhll

    Earlier I gave you a link to the ugly “discussion” of the Pharyngulites with EllenBeth Wachs.

    There were 1501 comments on that thread when I clicked through yesterday, and searching the page didn’t yield a hit for “Ellen”. Would you give a comment number?

    I think in some of these conflicts between people who basically agree, it is possible to roll back and untangle the first misunderstanding and the first distortions, first insults, etc.

  80. 80
    Dave W

    Hunt @73 wrote:

    The target is the pit (and ilk). I don’t think that can be contested. It takes about a 3rd grade level of reading between the lines to perceive exactly what PZ intended by that post.

    Let’s see… The post before the one you cited was about Anita Sarkeesian. The next-earlier post about feminism was about Ross Douthat and child rearing. The one before that about date-rape-drug-detecting straws. Before that, Watson/Clint/EvoPsych. Before that, a PUA explaining why women are afraid of EvoPsych. Before that, Stangroom/Rybicki. Before that, Tony Harris and cosplayers. Before that, Savita Halappanavar. Etc.

    Seems like one has to go back to October 12 to find a mention of the slymepit in a PZ Myers post prior to the December 6 post you cite, but you think it’s uncontestable that the latter references only the former, and none of the other anti-feminists mentioned in between?

  81. 81
    Raging Bee

    Deen: agreed. I also think there’s a lot of people who have had it drummed into their heads that anger is always “bad,” and that people should never get into any kind of conflicts. So when something happens that causes anger and conflict, their #1 priority is to tamp down the anger and make the conflict go away — NOT to find an actual just or fair resolution of the conflict. So that leads to a desperate rush to get everyone to accept some sort of “compromise,” at the expense of honesty and basic fairness; because the language of therapists and “conlict resolution” has replaced actual substantive discussion of what’s going on. That’s my impression of what Nugent is doing, and it’s reinforced by the denialism implied in his reference to “apparent” “sides.”

  82. 82
    Pteryxx

    smhill: the thread now has 1983 comments and four pages (the comment counter tends to stall at 1501, 1001, etc on multipage threads). The discussion with EllenBeth started near the bottom of page 1 and went on into page 2. Her first comment is #284 and second at #341.

  83. 83
    smhll

    Thanks, Pteryxx, you are better than Google!

  84. 84
    Ariel

    smhill: as Pteryxx wrote, it starts with #284. Comments like #497 and #509, perhaps also #606, #696 and #740 are the highlights, but the whole of it is worth reading.

    You may want also to read the aftermath, starting with comment 1288.

    Stephanie #71: I will think about the first part of what you wrote. Thanks for the second part. I wish you well in the debate.

  85. 85
    smhll

    With all the rich benefits of hindsight, I can see that statement #284 by EllenBeth Wachs is going to start raising ire with it’s first sentence, although I think everything else in her post is justifiable.

    —>>>> “I have not seen one person saying Adria deserved the response she got.”

    The reason this might make readers see red is that it’s quite similar to the notion (paraphrased) “I don’t see any sexual harassment at atheist conferences.” It’s easy to believe it means that “if I don’t see it, it ain’t happening.” I do appreciate that she did express herself in the first person. And, logic, people don’t send threats and do denial of service attacks if they think they are ‘undeserved’.

    The statement just looks contrary to what other people were seeing.

    EBW’s first comment was nearly immediately followed by a similar statement from Matthew Best, in post #287 saying:

    >>>> “As for victim-bashing, get a fucking grip on yourself. The men were held accountable for their wrong actions and nobody is defending their behaviour. The world does not need to pussy foot around your sensibilities disclaiming every argument by pointing out all the other times people have been wrong if they were obviously in the wrong. They, both men, were obviously in the wrong. That’s not up for dispute, and your deranged obsession with it is as hilarious as it is alarming.”

    This much more inflammatory post, making a similar point to Ms. Wachs, threw a lot of fuel on the fire, and in the smoke, I would predict (with hindsight) that there could have been ire aimed at him that also singed her.

  86. 86
    LeftSidePositive

    Hunt, it was quite accurately pointed out that the Slymepitters and Marc Lepine have/had the same hatred of feminism. He, and you guys, want women out of their spaces and blame feminism for chipping away at what men are entitled to, including your presumed dominance in science and skepticism. They also use their hatred of women to justify violent and threatening behavior against them. The only difference is in degree. “Comparing to” is not the same as equating, and it is blatantly intellectually dishonest of you to pretend that it is.

    Another important point is that the saturation of hateful language and attitudes toward women, expressed on the Slymepit and in society in general, cultivates and rewards those outliers who take their anger to extremes. It makes them think their hatred is valid and accepted. The hatred of women expressed by someone like George Sodini, for instance, mirrors precisely what is commonly found on PUA websites and the general cultural sense of men’s entitlement to women and blaming women when they do not do as the men wish. Ideas spur people to action, and the Slymepit is not exempt from that (and–just because you’re so incredibly intellectually dishonest that you’ll pretend to misunderstand this–we’re not drawing equivalence nor are we suggesting the Slymepitters have shot or will shoot anyone, but threats, abusive behavior, harassment, etc., are also harmful actions, different only in degree).

    Being rightfully criticized for your vile behavior is not “abuse.” Showing the logical extension of your hateful views is not “abuse.” We are under no obligation to forget history for your sake. I’m sure it’s unpleasant to have to look in such a mirror and see yourself, but the fault is with the image you have made of yourselves, not those of us holding up the mirror. Just making you feel unpleasant is not the definition of “abuse.” Accountability can do very much the same thing and it’s high time you learned the difference.

  87. 87
    LeftSidePositive

    And another thing, Ariel. The tone of commentary on Pharyngula is indicative only of the tone of commentary on Pharyngula. There is nothing inherent to our worldview that must be expressed in those terms, and moreover, Pharyngulites are expressing good, ethical ideas in coarse, no-nonsense language. This is fundamentally different from the ‘pitters bigotry, denigration of others based on their identity, and marginalization of others’ autonomy.

    Now, if your argument is only, “I personally don’t enjoy hanging out on Pharyngula”…well, then, fine. Don’t hang out on Pharyngula. Who cares? But this has no bearing WHATSOEVER on whether or not you need a dialogue with the Slymepitters about whether or not conferences really need harassment policies. You can be unequivocally on the side of the feminists, and simply prefer to comment on Love, Joy, Feminism or on Greta Christina’s Blog, which have stricter comment policies. All of which is strictly a matter of your own personal taste and totally irrelevant to the issue of feminists and their allies being harassed and denigrated by many in the atheist and skeptical movement. Moreover, no honest person could possibly conflate their personal distaste with Pharyngula with a justification for being undecided on the basic issue of the role of social justice and feminism in the atheist movement.

  88. 88
    smhll

    I don’t think I’m ever going to reach the end of the Adria Richards thread at Pharyngula (referenced here).

    We’d kill fewer people with ‘friendly’ cross-fire if we were all armed with pea-shooters and not howitzers.

    (Yes, that is tone trolling on my part. :-p )

  89. 89
    Stephanie Zvan

    Also if the nasty commenters who don’t engage honestly were not allowed to hang around so long. It’s not as though they have no effect on a commentariat.

  90. 90
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    LeftSidePositive wrote:

    Moreover, no honest person could possibly conflate their personal distaste with Pharyngula with a justification for being undecided on the basic issue of the role of social justice and feminism in the atheist movement.

    Sadly, there is a small number of profoundly dishonest people who are doing exactly that. At least I hope it’s that; as much as it reveals serious character defects, it’s not as bad as being genuinely against social justice and feminism, since they may be able to get past it.

  91. 91
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    I see that Hunt is playing the “PZ Myers called Slymepitters ‘Mark LePine’!” gambit and, as proof, links to the thread.

    I will go one better. I will link to what was actually the point.

    This is not a case of Sudden Onset Google Alzheimer’s. It is a case of Hunt not being able to read for comprehension.

    And the Slymies wonders why many of us really do not want to engage them.

  92. 92
    rorschach

    What PZ said. Not interested at all. Someone said what I thought was very apt on twitter the other day, this “debate” a bit like trying to reunite a person with their cancer after it’s been removed.

    For me personally, I say let them have the atheism movement, Blackford and thunderf00t and the Hoggler and MK Gray and all the other charming persons that make up that pit. I don’t consider unbelief an intellectual achievement, and I’d rather use my spare time and money more for social justice issues in the future.

  93. 93
    sc_7fcd816dc7d5c9e72c65516e9f1f590e

    Not sure if my name will show up so I’ll do it myself in case the style doesn’t give me away
    [_] Reap Paden
    Well, it’s good too see who is reasonable and who is not. I should point out that my apology was directed at Stephanie Zvan. I am truly sorry that I used the words I did in reference to her. I won’t make excuses that I was ‘just mad’ or whatever. I should have used a different approach, period.
    Having said that I’d like to remind everyone else who want s to look down their nose at me to get over themselves. A hermit, with all DUE respect you can suck my ______ (<–Pick a word that doesn't offend you)
    I had already recorded a bit for my podcast about this and now thanks to you I need to record it again to make certain points clear for people like you. I am not in support of anyone changing what they believe. I am in support of changing the way they handle disagreement. I'm never going to agree (or disagree) with Stephanie on all points. In the future I will handle my disagreement in a more mature, productive manner. That's what I'm, going to do. The rest of you can continue to make believe you have psychic powers by claiming you know the objectives of myself or all 600 members of the slymepit if you wish but whenever you make such a claim accept the fact you are not being skeptical. If you don't agree with me then I suggest you ask James Randi about a challenge or better yet start helping parents find their lost children. Now, I assume the smart people will at least see my point and maybe even agree. The not so bright people will continue to demand certain behaviors from me, or tell me I haven't done enough to please them. Guess what? Too f n bad, my purpose in life is not to do what pleases you. The sooner you accept that fact the better off you'll be. Maybe worry about yourself instead or at least someone who disagrees with you about more important things than I do.

  94. 94
    Raging Bee

    …and now thanks to you I need to record it again…

    Someone responded to you so you “need” to shout some more? Yeah, thanks for acting so mature and disciplined.

    The rest of you can continue to make believe you have psychic powers by claiming you know the objectives of myself or all 600 members of the slymepit…

    Um…we draw conclusions about people’s objectives by observing what they say and do. Is that really “psychic powers” to these people? “You say something, we figure it’s what you mean. You can’t explain that!”

  95. 95
    Raging Bee

    Too f n bad, my purpose in life is not to do what pleases you.

    He wants us to join him in a dialogue, but when we talk back to him, he storms off in a huff? This would be fucking hilarious if the joke weren’t so old.

    What’s the fucking point of pretending to have a meaningful dialogue with people who act like this?

  96. 96
    arbor

    I don’t think we should interact with those people at all. Ever.

    I don’t want a bridge – I want a moat.

  97. 97
    Raging Bee

    …with all DUE respect you can suck my ______ (<–Pick a word that doesn't offend you)

    Bank account? I’d be happy to suck on that. No offense taken at all. When can I start?

  98. 98
    PatrickG

    @ Reap Paden:

    For years now (YEARS!) people have been asking you to learn what a paragraph break is. Here is a helpful link. Note points 5, 10, and 11 in particular.

    Your style of writing makes my eyes bleed, and obfuscates any point you’re trying to make. Which honestly, I’m not sure is anything but “you don’t like me? well i don’t like you!!11!1 imacalltheWAHBULANCE”

  99. 99
    Raging Bee

    See? His “point” isn’t that hard to read after all, is it?

    First-grade writing isn’t a problem when it’s only first-grade thoughts being written.

  100. 100
    A Hermit

    In the future I will handle my disagreement in a more mature, productive manner.

    And good for you, I’m happy to hear it. I was being quite sincere in my congratulations and my hop that your behaviour would change, Reap. I have not been speculating about your motives or your character, I have only ever commented on your nasty over-reaction and abusive approach to conversation.

    Now ask yourself if you’re handling your disagreement with me in a “more mature productive manner” by telling me to suck something of yours and making unfounded assumptions about MY motives…

    I think you mean well but son, you have some work to do.

  101. 101
    cubist

    So… Raep Paden thinks that it takes Superduper Mystical Powers of Psychicness to conclude that someone who screams BITCH CUNT WHORE BITCH CUNT WHORE BITCH CUNT WHORE is probably not a person that sane, mature adults would want to deal with.
    Hmm.

  102. 102
    Tom Foss

    Unless the 600 members of the Slymepit are constantly denouncing the harassment and misogyny that emanates from that forum, from it’s members in other spaces, and from the people they compliment and give kudos to, then it’s only reasonable to assume that they either don’t care about the vileness, or approve of it. Neither one is representative of people I want to have anywhere near me.

    And forgive me if I don’t trust Reap to keep to his pledge to greater maturity when it comes in the same comment as a “suck my” whatever. Further underscoring the point that he (like so many of the pitters) don’t understand that the problem isn’t with certain words, but with what ideas and intentions are communicated by those words and people’s willingness to use them. Reap reminds me of that common gag–”I’m giving up X forever!” [Does X] “Starting now!”

  103. 103
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Furthermore, re:Ellenbeth Wachs, the statements (in #284 on that thread):

    “I have not seen one person saying Adria deserved the response she got.”

    implies that she did not read the thread, such as posts #47 and #168, nor did she follow any of the links in the post, the comment sections of which were overflowing with people saying exactly that in so many words. She was justifiably jumped on for this, and she then went on to castigate Richards for the tweet while minimizing the harrassment she was receiving. For this, she was roundly criticized, and then chose to double down.

  104. 104
    mildlymagnificent

    Raging Bee

    So that leads to a desperate rush to get everyone to accept some sort of “compromise,” at the expense of honesty and basic fairness; because the language of therapists and “conlict resolution” has replaced actual substantive discussion of what’s going on.

    And this is exactly the approach used by far too many therapists, teachers and family members in their feeble responses to bullying – it’s mainly schoolyard, workplace and DV that I have in mind here. The idea that you must “settle” your differences enables bullies. Because the main difference between the bully and the other is that the bully wants to dominate, and hurt, other people. The only way to settle such a ‘difference’ is for the bully to abandon bullying.

    The far better approach is the one now starting in schools, too few so far, but it’s encouraging. “There’s no such thing as a bystander” is the right approach.

    When people see someone bullying another, the correct response is not to shrug your shoulders or to walk away or to ask how the bully was “provoked”. That enables bullies. The correct response is, always keeping yourself safe, to find a way to get the bully to stop. Sometimes it just takes a few members of a group to indicate displeasure – enough for the bully to realise that they’re not supported. Other times the best thing is to call the cops / senior teachers / other supporters to do what the concerned individual/s cannot do without backup.

    And in discussions like this, “no such thing as a bystander” means not looking for false “balance”. Not looking for provocation or each of you is as bad as the other or other “non-judgemental” approaches. It is right to make judgements about anti-social behaviours. This “dispute” (for want of a better word) is not about people eating with their mouths open or not shining their shoes thus offending the social mores of their group. This is about abuse and harassment. The easy solution is for the abusers and harassers to just stop.

  105. 105
    ewanmacdonald

    If anyone in any doubt as to who they’re supposed to be having an honest, intellectual, conciliatory dialog with, please check Michael Nugent’s website. Not the new one – his personal one. Look at the announcement thread and read the comments in it.

  1. 106
    How Many Fires Should the Arsonists be Allowed to Set? » En Tequila Es Verdad

    [...] almost always men?) have been doing. It happens in public with people like Lee Moore and Michael Nugent playing at being peace brokers; it happens in private, with friends and respected colleagues [...]

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