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Aug 01 2013

Then This Happened

I had other plans for writing today, but then this happened. It starts and ends in the slime pit, so let’s just put it under the fold, shall we?

It starts in its own little thread, titled “What is your favorite sex fantasy involving an FtB blogger?” They’re all terribly creative, if by “creative”, you mean “thinking Rebecca Watson blogs at FtB, where it’s so, so funny to insult the bloggers as being people we wouldn’t want to fuck except we maybe kinda would”. You know, creative for 10-year-olds who have just received a sex ed lecture and don’t know what to do with all their new feelz. Feel free to read for yourself.

You’ll discover surprising things, like that one of our PhD-candidate bloggers is actually underage or that the pit has gone back to thinking Photoshopping me as a way to say I’m fat is hilarious,  after previously realizing it made them look bad when I posted some of their previous creations. Wait. That last one isn’t a surprise, is it?

This link was passed around a bit on Facebook as a “no, really, the pit does shit like this” link and ended up on the wall of one of my friends as a public post. I happened across it shortly after Ryan Grant Long had commented there. I couldn’t see it immediately, since Long has blocked me, but I saw the response. I commented. Then pit people and those who support them commented in increasing numbers until they drowned out everyone else but me.

Since I’m frequently accused by pit people of trying to avoid arguing my point, I thought I’d save this for posterity. Text of the discussion is under the screen caps.

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Host: This is disgusting. [link]

Friend1: Cute. They think they’re being so kinky and subversive.

Mallorie Nasrallah: I am commenting so I will get notifications, I am interested in seeing the response to this.

[Comment about here from Ryan Grant Long that this reminds him of the Pharyngula comment section.]

Friend2: I’ve only heard of Slymepit described by its adjectives. The reality far surpasses the concept in terms how horrible it is.

Friend3: Tolkienish high fantasy is way cooler than sex fantasy anyway. In my fantasy, Dan is a Dwarven King, and uncivil discourse is punishable in his kingdom by exile.

Also, PZ Myers is a fire drake that puts Smaug to shame.

Travis Roy: Doing the same as Mallorie

Friend4: Absolutely disgusting.

Friend5: Thats pretty much as repulsive as anything i’ve read.

Ryan Grant Long, i realize you are just trolling, but i challenge you to find anything on pharyngula comments even half as repulsive as this that wasn’t shat there by a slymepitter. Since you can’t, i respectfully request you to drop the false equivalence nonsense, since no one is fooled by it anyway and you’re just doing it to be needlessly insulting

Friend6: Such wonderful people. Must invite them over for dinner. How can these people justify this to themselves?

Friend7: I can’t see any rational defense for this kind of behavior.

Friend8: This is disgusting, but totally unsurprising behavior from the Slymepit.

Friend9: Absolutely tasteless, which gets you three quarters of the way toward comedy. The obscurity of a couple of the references gets you the rest of the way. I’d give it a C. Maybe C+ if I was feeling charitable.

Me: Friend5, Ryan isn’t “just trolling”. “Pharyngula commenters are mean” is quite seriously used by him and others to prop this shit up. As are the people who sit back and refuse to take any kind of public stand on it.

DW Adams: So, I clicked the link expecting something vile and disgusting. What I found was some juvenile humor, half of which plays on things those persons listed have said in the past. Oh and LOL@ condemning the entire membership at the Slymepit because of half a dozen posters responded to the OP.

Friend10: ick

Me: Actually, DW, I condemn the entire membership of the Slymepit because this is what the pit was set up to do. It exists because the people there, including you posting as Skeeve, are united in hating a group of people and are willing to put up with things like this in order to see that hate reflected back at them.

DW Adams: keep repeating it, it may come true one day.

[Comment about here from Ryan Grant Long that I should conflate this with threats and call everyone MRAs.]

Me: You’re right, DW. That wasn’t quite accurate. I left out the fact that you’re actively defending this shit.

Me: Ryan, I don’t have to conflate anything with anything. This shit is unacceptable. Or do you disagree?

DW Adams: I think your hyperbole needs to be brought down a notch or two.

Friend11: Again, one of those moments where it’s more important to say “that’s disgusting” than to engage in comparisons. People who put together lists like this are acting like shits, regardless of what other people are or are not doing.

Liam Jones: Liam Jones

Friend12: I really wish it surprised me that there are people who defend the Slymepit.

Me: How exactly do you want to see my hyperbole “brought down a notch or two”, DW. Are postings like this on the Slymepit an appropriate way to do that?

Mallorie Nasrallah: Its rude, but I would be lying if I claimed it did not get a giggle out of me. I dont know these people, maybe that context would change things, but it seems pretty clearly to just be some topical humor that may or may not be particularly funny to you. At worst it seems rude.

Me: Mallorie, you do know who most of these people are. You’ve commented on their blogs. One of them helped you out when you were being targeted with harassment. But it’s very sweet of you to giggle at more than a year of abuse because you can’t be bothered to think of them as real people worth remembering and empathizing with.

Mallorie Nasrallah: um, they use screen names? I don’t visit that forum, I don’t know who is there or what their forum names are. Picturing someone literally fucking themselves was a little funny to me. I don’t think that is particularly horrible, it would have been funny if it had been anyone.

Edit: Ohhh I’m sorry I meant I didn’t know the people who posted the linked content. Not the people the content was about. Sorry if that was unclear.

Me: You know the bloggers who are targeted, including the one who helped you out, and you know they don’t want or need this. Your lack of empathy is noted.

Liam Jones: “Helped her out” You mean helped to undo some of the damage that he caused, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

Me: Liam, yes. Why? Does making things better once he knew there was a problem mean he deserves this?

Liam Jones: I didn’t say that, you did however characterise it as him simply doing a good deed, rather than taking ‘some’ steps to mitigate harm caused by him, and his inaccurate and sweeping statement about her.

Me: I talked about him as someone who showed her more empathy than she is showing here. Or do you disagree?

Liam Jones: I’m not going to comment on either of their states of mind regarding empathy or motivation. The situation here, I believe is very different in scope and magnitude.

Me: I didn’t ask about motivation. I asked about behavior that concretely spells out where they stand. The situation here, however, is certainly different in magnitude. We are into the third year of the slime pit and the kind of behavior that goes on there.

Liam Jones:The very real difference here is that one is acting as a passive observer, where in the other situation, one acted as the offender and cause of the harassment. It is also sad though not surprising to note that over a year after the incident, she still receives drive-by harassment from people who claim to be opposed to harassment.

I am going to stop here and let Mallorie speak for herself. I am not her representative.

Mallorie Nasrallah: Again, its rude. And yes its probably unpleasant to have these things said about you. I wouldn’t say these things, I dont participate in that forum. I have been very vocal about the fact that Jason attempted to nullify unintentional harm caused by his blog title. I thanked him then and ill state my thanks again now. But none of that is going to cause me to see some rude words on the internet as more than rude words. It does not make these people evil, context might, which I stated I do not have. But this alone, its just rude and yes, as far as I’m concerned, a little funny if lacking in taste.

Me: If Mallorie would like to reach out when she receives this harassment, I will do my damnedest to put to a stop to it, even as she continues to giggle after having been given the context that this shit has been going on for two years.

Mallorie Nasrallah: If someone said “Mallorie can go fuck herself” in a creative and kinda funny way, I would not mind if someone found it rude but funny. That is exactly the amount of empathy I feel I received, and I feel I’ve shown. It just doesn’t seem that bad to me. that might be a dig in my taste, but its not one on my humanity.

Me: Mallorie, empathy is not saying that other people deserve the treatment you want. Or the treatment you say you want until it happens to you. You may want to go look up the word.

Daniel Waddell: Stephanie are you just upset noone voted for you?

Phil Giordana Fcd: My comment there was: “I never vote. At anything. So I’ll take option *none*”. Hardly abusive, or harrassment, or whatever Zvan wants to make of it.

Me: Daniel, no one voted for anyone. The whole thing is an inept caricature. [Host], is this what you want to have be part of your discussion?

Me: Phil, it’s supportive of the original post. “Propping this shit up” is what I called it.

Mallorie Nasrallah: Im pretty sure imagining myself in a similar position and imagining my emotional state or a normal human one and following those emotions to their conclusions is a pretty fair way to empathize. If you want to be nasty to me and act like I dont care for people at all thats fine. But I’ve not said that here. I just haven’t agreed that your reaction is one that I think is particularly useful or reality based.

Me: No, Mallorie. That’s projection. It’s the opposite of empathy.

Friend13: This stuff is a lot easier to laugh at when you think of it as inconsequential people on the Internet pathetically trying to be funny. Some of the targets here have been harassed at cons or received threats, possibly from the same people, it’s hard to tell, which makes this way creepier.

Phil Giordana Fcd: No, it’s actual empathy. Putting yourself in the shoes of someone else is not projection.

Phil Giordana Fcd: On the other hand, YOU defining everyone else’s emotions is projection.

Steers Mann: So it’s rude and crude Stephanie. You’ve never used any of that type of humour or language?

But what’s next? Appointing yourself the head of the “Thought-free” Police?

Phil Giordana Fcd: [Friend13]: I’m going to make a Nerd of Redhead: citation needed!

Mallorie Nasrallah: Yeah and thats delusional. The best I have to work with us my own mind. I understand people being off put by this. I do not understand a stronger reaction. Its not a threat. its not violence. its mean spirited but not like wishing death on someone. I cant give this the same level of disgust and concern I can for someone getting punched for example. again, not reaching your conclusions about how bad this is does not make me incapable of empathy. further I understand that it probably feels reactionary to the people who wrote it, and from that vantage point it probably doesnt seem bad at all.

Steers Mann: [Host]:

So, that you think that particular thread is “disgusting” – without much in the way evidence or justification, I might add, apart from your own idiosyncratic “gut feel” – is sufficient for you, apparently, to condemn the entire site as that?

Doesn’t seem particularly skeptical, or suggestive of the rational and critical thought that one might have reason to expect of a philosopher.

Me: Steersman, you see that post up there where Ryan suggests that people shouldn’t conflate two very different things? If you have to do that with two things as disparate as my expressing an opinion and setting up some kind of governmental unit, you’re telling me you have nothing better. So, do you have a specific problem with my expressing my opinion that that behavior, and your defense of it, are shit?

Me: Phil and Mallorie, there’s a reason I suggested you look this up: http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/empathy

Phil Giordana Fcd: Yes, and that reason doesn’t bounce on your reasoning. Mallorie expressed empathy, which you conflated with projection.How are comments projecting projection instead of empathy? Please be torough.

Me: Empathy is understanding someone from *their* perspective rather than yours. Projection is “understanding” someone through *your* perspective rather than theirs. This isn’t hard.

Phil Giordana Fcd: Well, it’s a good start at least.

Me: [Host], I’m leaving this thread. I’ve got better things to do with my evening that explain to slime pit members and defenders what is in the the link I just gave them. By the way, in case you were wondering why there are so many of them now, DW/Skeeve pointed the forum at you. It’s what they do when they see me comment somewhere. http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=334&start=8400

Host: I’m too busy to moderate this as I’m [doing something important] so I am restricting access to “Close Friends”

Friend14: I don’t know which is more ridiculous, the content of the post or people defending it with “other people are mean, therefore” nonsense. The former is clearly more disgusting though.

And that’s what it looks like when someone does argue with them. Clarity on matters of import for all, no?

No? Oh, then maybe the pit really is just indefensible.

9 comments

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  1. 1
    John-Henry Beck

    Failure of empathy does seem to be a major factor in this ongoing ‘spat’ over what’s abuse and what’s ‘merely rude’. Me, I’m running out of empathy for the Pit and its defenders – while well aware I’m not a target or otherwise directly affected. And like this discussion shows, it seems to me they’re not any more productive than trying to argue with creationists. Well, the one bit I can do to try and make it better is to get around to occasionally challenging some of the nonsense I run across.

  2. 2
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    It’s a failure at ground level to think empathy means “It wouldn’t bother me, so it shouldn’t bother them.” Wow.

  3. 3
    Great American Satan

    I’m fortunate to not run into these dudes except when they shit in the places they aren’t banned around here. And on this turf, I can safely refrain from speaking in the expectation someone else will smack ‘em down for me. It’s really upsetting to see this kind of scumbaggery go unchallenged, which is why I don’t watch Fox news pundit shows.

    I’m tempted to go OT and slam on the real leaders of the movement that have turned a blind eye and all that, and their failures of empathy, but just… fuck it. I’ve been pretty frayed by my IRL alone lately. Not so plucky.

  4. 4
    Great American Satan

    I failed to mention the reason I brought up seeing this type of stuff unchallenged – It’s because I admire you a lot for getting into this fight. And didn’t mention, I realize that due to your involvement in the freethought community, this is your IRL and that sucks. Destroy all Slymies.

  5. 5
    Argle Bargle

    Nobody thinks of themselves as a villain. However when their villainy is shown then reasonably introspective people will recognize their actions as being unkind, unpleasant or even hateful. The slymepitters not only don’t recognize their actions as being villainy but rather think of themselves as “brave heroes” standing up against the forces of acceptance of women as human beings. How the ‘pitters view their opponents is not only not empathetic, it’s anti-empathetic. Which isn’t surprising, since the ‘pitters don’t recognize their opponents as being human.

  6. 6
    Raging Bee

    John-Henry: that’s not “failure” of empathy, that’s deliberate disabling of empathy.

  7. 7
    kaboobie

    It’s getting harder and harder not to tar all slymepitters with the same brush when they all continue to behave like sociopaths.

  8. 8
    R Johnston

    It’s easy to understand slymepitters and the like once one fully appreciates and embraces the truth about how libertarianism is just another incoherent radical religion, a device to enforce antiskeptical antiempirical rationalization of irrational prejudices and beliefs. Pitters are a subset of the shallow end of the libertarian pool, and the pool is a wading pool to begin with. They’re the libertarian atheists–i.e. antiskeptical unempathetic atheist bullies who proselytize blatant idiocy–whose sense of humor never developed and who think that fart jokes are the height of wit.

  9. 9
    cuervocuero

    Skepto-atheism/Atheo-skepticism has definitely brought to the fore the realization that it doesn’t take religion to make people behave badly when their privileges are challenged.

    It takes special creepycreepycreepy staying power to not only disagree with other adult age range people but make it a second career (maybe the only one) to not just shun people but actively insult/degrade/ruin/humiliate/attack people by fact free gossip, rumourmongering and dominatingly objectifying….for free.

    I’m sure some people will think I’m talking about Ms Zvan. Which I would think would be weapons grade projection.

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