Help Me Go to Women in Secularism 3?

Yes, despite the shenanigans at last year’s Women in Secularism conference, I very much want to attend this year’s. Why? Well, there are a few reasons.

  • Have you seen the lineup of speakers? It’s outstanding:Lauren Becker, Ophelia Benson, Lindsay Beyerstein, Soraya Chemaly, Heina Dadabhoy, Barbara Ehrenreich, Debbie Goddard, Rebecca Goldstein, Candace Gorham, Melody Hensley, Susan Jacoby, Sarah Jones, Zinnia Jones, Amanda Knief, Leighann Lord, Miri Mogilevsky, Taslima Nasreen, Katha Pollitt, Amy Davis Roth, Mandy Velez, Lindy West
  • There is no conference like Women in Secularism for the networking. Each year I’ve attended, I’ve met women doing outstanding work. We’ve forged relationships that have helped all of us accomplish more for the atheist movement and our individual atheist communities, as well as have support when we’ve needed someone outside our own communities to talk to.
  • CFI is hosting Secular Celebrant training in D.C. the day before the conference this year. Minnesota Atheists have already agreed to sponsor me for the training fee. Given our work right now to change the law in Minnesota, this training is important to me as education in the type of training other groups offer and as education for the role I’m seeking as a certified atheist wedding celebrant.

However, I’m still not working. I have an odd set of skills, and I’m very publicly an atheist activist. While I can’t be sure this last fact has been a factor, I have had odd things happen in my search, such as a recruiter who was very eager to talk to me, then didn’t return my call or email. Whatever the reason, I can’t afford this on my own this year. This is where you come in if you’d like to. I have a donation button in the side bar under “Support Almost Diamonds” and another at the bottom of this post. I’m not going through Indiegogo or one of those sites, I’m still happy to offer rewards for donations. Here are the ones that came to me off the top of my head. Please feel free to suggest others in the comments.

  • $1 donation level–You will receive my thanks in a post just before the start of the conference. If you choose this level, please use the ability to add a comment with your donation to let me know what name you want to be credited under.
  • $10 donation level–You’ll receive my thanks as above. I will also produce a blog post addressing the argument of your choice. This can be a bad argument you expect I’ll refute or a good argument you think I can do justice to so you can link to it later when the topic comes up again. While you control the topic, my take on the argument will be my own. This will be delivered before the conference as long as I receive the topic by April 1. You can also use the comment function to request this, or you can email me using the email button in my sidebar.
  • $25 donation level–You’ll receive my thanks as above. I will also produce a blog post addressing the scientific paper of your choice in psychology or related topics. This is limited by my ability to access the paper, but I do have resources for that. While you control the topic, my take on the paper will be my own (with help from experts if I need it). I anticipate these will be delivered at about the rate of one per week, but it will depend on how much I have to educate myself first. First come, first served. You can also use the comment function to request this, or you can email me using the email button in my sidebar.
  • $50 donation level–You’ll receive my thanks as above. I will also produce a blog post addressing the men’s rights, anti-feminist, theist, or politically right-wing article of your choice. In other words, this is your chance to try to make my head explode, which is why it costs more. While you control the topic, my take on the paper will be my own (with help from experts if I need it). I anticipate these will also be delivered at about the rate of one per week. First come, first served. You can also use the comment function to request this, or you can email me using the email button in my sidebar.

What else might you want for donating?





It Lives

Not long ago, I mentioned that we had an ad-free subscription service in the works for FtB as a whole. Testing is now complete, and the service has had a couple of days to shake out some of the stranger problems. So if you’re interested in reading FtB without ads and are willing to pay* us a small amount ($3 for 30 days, $8 for 90 days, or $30 for 365 days) for the privilege, now’s the time to sign up. If you have problems along the way, Jason is the person to talk to.

Sadly, for me, this means going back to seeing ads. I was testing the plug-in, but now I go back to seeing the ads so I can report them when we get problematic ones.

*Yes, I’m well aware there are other technological solutions that mean you don’t have to contribute anything to the writers you read regularly in order to avoid ads. Seeing people commenting to tell other writers, “Are you silly? I don’t have to pay you for your work”, baffles me to no end. If that’s what you want to do, fine. If you can’t afford a subscription, I’m happy you have other options. But at least contribute some consideration.

So You Want to Support Almost Diamonds

People have asked in the past how they can donate to support this blog. I’ve always told them to make the donation to FtB as a whole instead. I’ve told them I make a ridiculously good living. It’s time I stop doing that. I could really use the help.

I have made a good living doing what I do, and I have enjoyed the work and the people. However, the increasing frequency and duration of the migraines that I’ve experienced over the last couple of years has cut into the amount I can work. Being able to work less has contributed to work stresses that have probably in turn contributed to the frequency of the migraines. The situation I’ve experienced over the latter half of this summer with what appears to be a very rare side effect of my migraine medication, plus some knock-on effects requiring other medication changes, hasn’t helped any. I’m doing better now, but it’s been ugly.

It’s time for me to cut that job loose, build my general fitness level back up after the last few months, and get a new job. I’m not worried about being employable, but I am worried about the delays involved in the application and interview process. There’s not much left in the way of savings, and there are one or two big bills coming due. So it’s time to stop pretending things are as they ever were and let those of you who want to and can help, help. I’ve added donation and subscription buttons to the sidebar, but here they are as well.

 

One note about subscriptions. FtB is currently testing an ad-free subscription plug-in for the site. As much as I’d like to be able to extend the ad-free offer to anyone who supports me directly, that can’t happen without me cutting into the revenues of the other bloggers. So if you want your money to get you an ad-free FtB, you may want to hold off.

As always, I really appreciate the support you already show this blog by reading, commenting, and sharing what I write here. If you’re not in a position to donate, please don’t feel that these things you do don’t matter. They are what makes this blog. Thank you, everyone.

Blog of the Year

This is what I woke up to this morning:

Blog of the Year
Almost Diamonds
Stephanie Zvan makes her voice heard through her blog Almost Diamonds. Her writing is consistently incredible: insightful, thorough, on point, and funny (when appropriate). Everything she writes is from an atheist, secular, intersectional feminist, and social justice perspective. This year has certainly been a busy one for social justice in the secular community. Stephanie’s posts tackle issues from multiple perspectives deconstructing and analyzing varied subject matter; her methodological and precise writing is educational, informative, and engaging.

I’m tickled, particularly to be in the company I am in the Secular Woman Membership Awards. I don’t know what to say, except thank you to everyone who thought I earned this.

Invitation: A Week Away

Because work hasn’t been busy enough recently, I’m suddenly traveling for a project next week. It’s the kind of thing where I’ll either be seeing the inside of an office or the inside of my eyelids, which doesn’t leave me much time (any time) for blogging.

Normally if I knew I’m going to be this busy, I would schedule some reposts and some quick posts linking to other people’s work or opportunities to make the world a better place–the bits of what I do that involve less writing. As I was falling asleep last night, though, I had a different idea for this time around.

A lot of the people who comment here are bloggers, and even when I link to them, not nearly enough people click through. A lot of the people who comment here are thoughtful people with interesting perspectives who don’t want to deal with maintaining a blog. A lot of the people who comment here are involved in activism on local issues that could use a higher profile.

Are you one of those people? Do you want to use the eyeballs that come with being on a network while I’m up to my eyeballs in work? Use the mail icon in my sidebar and tell me what you’d like to share. It doesn’t have to be original for this. It just has to be something that should see a bigger audience.

Let’s put this “cat’s away” time to good use.

The Problem with Resisting Propaganda

…is that people get far too good at it.

Okay, so that’s a good thing for you. I know that. It’s even a good thing for me, in part. I’ve trained myself well enough that I hardly ever look at ads, much less get curious enough to click through. That saves me from a rather remarkable amount of nonsense.

What it doesn’t do is pay the bills of the sites I visit regularly.

And here’s the point where the people who are really good at resisting propaganda have already figured out what I’m saying next. Yes, I’m drawing your attention to the donation and subscription buttons over in the sidebar. What I’m not doing is telling you to give me a raise, not per se.

Money I make from writing here goes to organizations that do the ground-level work in the secular movement: Minnesota Atheists, American Atheists, Freedom from Religion Foundation, Center for Inquiry, Secular Student Alliance, Secular Woman. It also goes to support conferences where people can gather as nonbelievers and feel less alone. Skepticon is the one that comes to mind, but there were others this year. I just haven’t gathered all my receipts from the last year to figure out which ones. So if I get paid more, those organizations and conferences benefit. I don’t.

I get very little of my income from writing, however, and that isn’t true for everyone. For these people, both those already blogging here and those we approach to join us, the fact that our audience is very resistant to ads makes a difference. Their audiences are no less appreciative (see the response to Greta’s request for income to tide her through the aftermath of her surgery or Avicenna’s replacement for his dead computer), but the income stream is less automatic. FtB has an incredibly low return on page views.

So if you’re one of those people who doesn’t see ads or who does nothing but scoff at them, and you have it to spare, consider clicking on those buttons. I blog because not writing is not an option, and I would do it for free, but not everyone can. If you like what you get at this site, even if you never go anywhere but my blog (Hi, Mom!), consider directly supporting the network as a whole.

Because y’all seem to be too smart to do it through ads.

Update: Please don’t suggest clicking on ads to things you don’t want to see to support us. It can actually cause us to lose our ad service if it looks like we’re trying to game the system. It’s fine if you don’t have the means to support us directly. We’re here for you too.

Tomorrow’s Skeptics Today (Update)

It’s a good time to be a good young skeptic. We’re working to make some of them heard, but a number of blog networks/group blogs are coming together to give them a platform like they’ve never had.

I’ve linked to The Heresy Club before, lots of times on Twitter and Facebook, where I do much more linking (hint). They’re an impressive, diverse bunch who manage to hold positions that are both strong and nuanced while still remaining open to debate. This network has a strong atheist bent, but the inclusion of Hayley Stevens (ghost hunter) and Rhys Morgan (anti-homeopathy activist) means the skepticism here isn’t limited to religion.

Originally organized as a group blog with space for students to blog occasionally, Skeptic Freethought has recently reorganized as a blog network. It is still very much centered on students, and it is still eager for guest posts from students who have something to say but don’t necessarily want to start a blog to say it. You’ll see familiar writers there like Dave Muscato and Ellen Lundgren. I expect they’ll grow quickly as they find out how supportive a network can be.

The Young Australian Skeptics have been around for quite a while, but more recently, they’ve been the home of The Pseudoscientists podcast and not a lot more. They’ve just changed this, however, with their relaunch yesterday. You will once again find regular, written science and skeptical content on their site.

These bloggers are the future of our movements. Go pay them some nice attention.

Update: Heh. Following this blog post and some funny chatter on Twitter, representatives from all three of the networks featured here are doing a Google hangout to talk about the current skeptical and atheist communities and about being our future. Alex has the details at The Heresy Club.

A Taste of 2012

There was one fairly obvious theme on this blog in 2012. Anyone who’s been around for most of it knows I did an awful lot of feminist blogging. That started all the way back in January, when I interviewed Melody Hensley on Atheists Talk about the Women in Secularism conference. Feminism is always pretty overt at the ScienceOnline conferences in Raleigh as well.

Things really ramped up at the WiS conference, of course. My most-read post this year is the one I wrote during the conference and on the plane on the way home, when I realized an off-hand comment from Jen McCreight was going to be very big indeed. So I followed up quickly to put some of that energy to good use. I’m very happy to say it was successful, if not entirely easy going. [Read more...]

Spam Attack

Those of you subscribed to comment threads may have already noticed this. Hell, all of you may have noticed this because it’s been so pronounced, but either Akismet has glitched or someone has figured out how to get reams of spam past it.

I hate spam. I don’t want it on my blog. I don’t, however, want to feel that removing those comments requires my constant vigilance. For the duration, I’ve turned on first-comment-approval moderation. I don’t like that either, as it messes with the flow of discussion in comments, but…yeah, bleah all around.