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Feb 12 2014

Sorry You Got Hacked, But You Did Ask For It

A lot of people are aware that we got hacked.on Saturday and there are a lot of ideas flip flopping about on who is responsible for this and why.

My blog is one of the smaller blogs here, so being hit by an outage actually affects me in different ways. I don’t actually get paid for my work, the blog is my only source of income. It’s however used for

1. Plane Tickets home

2. Luxuries

3. Stuff like clothes

Now to most people this boils down to “Luxuries” but to me it’s important to have these things. I don’t have luxuries in my life. You are already home, you live in places comfortable to you and have social lives.

I have not. I have not seen my girlfriend in nearly a year and I am looking forward to valentine’s day like “crazy”. I am going to HAVE a Valentine’s day. Valentine’s day never used to be depressing for me because to me there was no point crying over not being able to go home. I don’t get Birthdays or Christmas or New Year’s Eve. Hell, the biggest party my country threw in the Royal Wedding, The Jubilee Celebration and the Olympics? I didn’t see ANY OF IT. I have given up a lot.

So the 3 to 4 weeks of banality you consider normal life is bliss to me. Plane tickets to go somewhere new may seem like a luxury to you but the are tickets “HOME” for me.

Let’s look at luxuries. This year’s luxury for me is a new camera. Why do I need a new Camera? Well I took my Camera to the Indian Rape Riots last year and it “died when rain water got into it”. It took me a year to save up enough money from writing to replace it. I also got a new laptop last year since my ancient one died. I also like “playing games” and they do give me something to do in my downtime. It’s mainly F2P stuff (see me on League of Legends if you like!) but I do own a copy of Starcraft and a few old games on Steam and Dominions 4 that help me keep busy when I have nothing else to do.

You say “boo hoo”, but I point out you HAVE these luxuries as the norm for you. You can go out to a nice restaurant, you can go out to a bar, you can go clubbing, you can go spend time with your friends. I haven’t had a drink since May and I am looking foward to my stop over in Abu Dhabi where I get to eat a Big Mac and get a glass of scotch. I actually have an envelope with money set aside in May JUST for this.

I do need clothes, nude medicine sadly is not very hygenic. But I do need clothes, in light of my travel to Nepal it means a small expansion of my wardrobe to include some cold weather gear and new hiking boots and a day sack. In addition I am donating £300 to my OWN ASTI fundraiser.

The majority of this has been paid for by my writing with the exception being the laptop.

So it amazes me people would begrudge me these things simply because of where I write. In many of the cases the implication is that anti-FTB would stop targetting my blog since it’s “one of the few nice blogs here” and that if I have something to say that they wish to read that I should not charge them (or accept money for it). Which is news to me since I once never charged anything for what I write and no one read my blog then. The only difference is now I am known through association and it’s easy to simply to deride what I write on association. To me it says “I was never going to read your blog, but if you weren’t here i would have no reason to stop others reading too”.

Yes, I have seen it on Reddit where I know people downvote blogs hosted at FTB on r/Atheism solely because they are on r/Atheism. People gloat over lower viewing figures and it suprises me since my views have generally been stable at around the 1500 to 2000 mark.

This DDOS was not directed at me, I probably was not the target of it. Even if I was the person who did so would garner no sympathy. Being the equivalent of the man who fights injustice by kicking toddlers. And while the outage doesn’t hurt me monetarily in the same way that it hurts PZ Myers or Ed Brayton or the other large traffic blogs, it does hurt me more. £2 is a small amount but I don’t have any supplementary earnings.

And people suggested to me repeatedly that we got hacked because we were asking for it by limiting free speech, criticising others and generally saying things that make others unhappy.

The aftermath of the attack in my case is the blog with the most liberal comment policy on FTB was silenced. Let’s ignore the rest of the myriad blogs here and discuss MY blog. The others are ugly and mean enough to defend their own blogs and don’t need my help.

There are restrictions on free speech on my blog. If your post effectively boils down to a gigantic bigotted rant you will be banned. If you cannot respect posts with SPECIFIC warnings to tell people to stay on target and that these posts are indeed safe spaces then you are going to get your posts deleted and eventually banned if you cannot respect that simple rule. If you broke into an AA meeting with a bottle of Jack while drunk in order to taunt the people attending you would be kicked out too. Free speech has it’s limitations especially on private blogs. I run a policy according to my own beliefs rather than those of others.

The people I have criticised? Well no one had any qualms when my criticism was aimed at quacks even when discussing the Natural/Home Birth Movement. People liked it when I was arguing with animal lib and criticising their attacks on University of Florida biologists. No, I fear that people’s biggest complains was my stances against the MRA who weighed into the Delhi Bus Rape or the Steubenville Rape victim’s slut shaming or the hamfisted approach of the MRA to Afghanistan. Hell? I know people were rubbing their hands with glee when I wrote about why I didn’t agree with A+ over third world photography and I don’t think they hacked us.

I have spoken out about atheists too. Pat Condell and his pro UKIP stance repeatedly have gotten an airing especially in light of the UKIP’s open homophobia, racism and sexism. Thunderfoot got an outing too on here after his frankly hamfisted approach to Anita Sarkeesian (who also got DDOSed) and her Tropes vs. Women video. I don’t agree with some of her examples and I know a lot of the ideas are less due to focussed hatred of women but the unconscious bigotry that permeates any single gender system. I in fact disagreed with many of her fans and their stance on the new reboot of Tomb Raider. I can agree with Anita’s project and it’s goals without agreeing on the nuance. Just because we disagree doesn’t mean I hate her and want to see her attacked by piranha.

There are thirty five blogs here at Freethought blogs. It is a huge number and we do have different things we are interested in. In many cases my interests in videogames does not run in the same vein as what many of my readers like and I know when I write about games I am guaranteed to see very small numbers. I do so because “I like doing that”.

The only real commonality here is we are all atheists and secularists. That is really it. The perception that FTBullies are all feminists is because some of the big bloggers here call themselves that (I am no feminist, I just play one on the Internet) and it doesn’t matter what the others think to our critics.

What it boils down to is the three targets do have a feminist vibe to them. FTB deals with female issues, Skepchick is a female skeptic site and Feminist Frequency has feminism in the name. To those who perpetrated the attack, this would seem like “revenge”.

It’s not. I have allowed people to speak here. Yes, I saw the hilarious posts by people suggesting this is a conspiracy theory or it’s just coincidence that 3 different sites on different servers went down simultaneously or that people are banned from FTB outright.

I know for a fact that Sara Mayhew (who I vehemently disagree with and find to be a terribly irritating person after her anti-Avicenna Fundraiser Rants. Particularly since some of my fundraisers have been for… Christina at WWJTD’s Prosthetic Leg and Ed Brayton’s Nephew getting medical equipment to help with rehabilitation after major burns and for Indian floods and the Cyclone in the Philippines. Apparently it’s e-begging when the art is medicine but not if it’s manga?) was rather amused at our irritation that our blogs were DDOSed.

I know for a fact that if her livelihood and major business was targetted she would be complaining about it too. And no one would say “Relax, it’s just japanese comic books, it’s not like it’s a real job. Like medicine”.

The DDOS did affect me negatively in that I lost a rather large post written up about warfare in Central Africa and the religious sectarianism there and how we are heading towards a similar situation that caused the Rwandan genocide. I don’t have the time to rewrite it so it is a statement that will never get talked about.

The money lost is miniscule, the time lost is a lot and in effect I was yet again collateral damage in an argument that didn’t involve me. That free speech was “defended” by damaging it as much as possible is just shockingly bad.

If you dislike what we say then go find your own blog. If you don’t like what I do then beat me at my own game. You come and pick up my job and show me how much better you are at it. Because all I see is “Oh look, another instance where I am collateral damage for stupid drama. Lucky I had exams and wasn’t running the blog at it’s normal activity so my losses aren’t as big as they would normally be”.

You may accuse me of Drama Blogging, but I didn’t start this. I was writing about Africa. The people who hacked me started this fight and I don’t wish to walk away without calling these people out for being unbelievable wankers. Despite the detractors my readers have seen that I have encouraged them to give to OTHER causes more than mine. Even though I am running a fundraiser for my own charity, I have asked readers to donate to other more immediate causes since I have a year to hit my targets.

What’s more is that I know that people are reading what I write because of the fundraisers and the videos others have made for my fundraiser and I know that many of these people would not have been active in atheism or are not atheists and are looking at ourr DDOS and thinking “What The Fuck”.

If you tear down my blog just because you don’t like what I write then complain about free speech then you are not a champion of free speech. If you denigrate my miniscule earnings then realise this is stuff I write OUTSIDE of my day job and is indeed a SECOND job. And if you suggest that I deserved to be silenced because of my association with feminism then you clearly live in a fantasy world if you think women don’t need help with the sort of things I support. And if you call me slacktivist then I must ask the question.

“What good have you done that lets you denigrate my pointless achievements?”

The DDOS was a message to me, that I am acceptable collateral damage and that I should indeed leave FTB because as long as I stay here no one will listen to me.

To which I say this.

If you don’t read what I write because it’s here then you never really wanted to read what I write in the first place. You were never going to agree with me. None of the ideals I have are shared by you. At no point are you going to say “I completely agree with your stances on Female Genital Mutilation but will not support you because you use Windows 8 and Microsoft are anti-competition, buy a Mac”. At no point are you going to say that somehow you were ever going to read what I write and agree with it if it was on my old blog (Since no one read that there!) or if I had my own website. In fact people were reading it in the levels that Skepchick, the big hitters of FTB and FemFrequency, then there is a good chance my website would have been DDOSed too.

So all the “I am sure the hackers never meant to hit you” and “maybe you should leave FTB if you want to be taken seriously” and “If you left FTB you would be safer” statements really aren’t helping since my actual readership and the bulk of it is down to moving to FTB and I think the bigger issue is the fact that people are trying to curtail others from reading by simply spreading falshoods about what FTB is really like. I know for a fact that I probably will never have a large readership because I mainly deal with topics outside the monkeysphere of western politics particularly American Politics and I don’t have a real life presence at the various atheist conventions. And I don’t mind, however it is rather silly to be told that if I left here the people who disagree with my stances would somehow come around.

It’s clear the hackers stand for everything opposite to what I stand for. Free Speech, Women’s Rights, The rights of the poor, Anti-Racism, Anti-Sexism, Anti-homophobia, Skepticism, Atheism? None of these were defended by the DDOS.

So no, I think I will be staying on here for a fair while. I quite like the company and I have met new friends courtesy of all of this whose opinions I value and who indeed have taught me a lot/kept me company when I have been losing my mind.

And what I asked for is an opportunity to be heard. Freethought Blogs was willing to give me that opportunity, no one else was.

116 comments

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  1. 101
    ildi

    So, well, cheery-bye, oppressors.

    Oh, you tease, you. You know just can’t resist getting spanked now and again.

  2. 102
    johngreg

    Ah shucks; you’ve unearthed my dirty little secret.

    Geez, maybe I should contact Greta C and ask for a special mention in her next S&M/rape/unicorn sex fantasies book. Whaddya think?

  3. 103
    ildi

    You really can’t stay away, can you. I’m actually starting to feel sorry for you… sniff

  4. 104
    johngreg

    Too right, cupcake. But I gotta practice my Cainaji Flounce Manoeuvre™ somewhere.

  5. 105
    Steersman

    Holms (#99):

    Given that your first post in this thread involved commentary on the moderation of the ‘FftB/skepchick sphere’, I’m going to insist that yes, actually, your participation in this blog moderation conversation has also touched on the topic of blog moderation. I still don’t know why you object to the term ‘free speech’, when moderation is a subset of that topic.

    I did say, “many in the FftB/Skepchick sphere/ghetto” – do note the qualifier; you may wish to consider the implications of using those. But apart from that, you really might want to try wrapping your head around the idea that blog moderation is generally a separate concept from the principle of free speech, and that nowhere have I tried to deny the right of blog owners to restrict comments thereon – in spite of your apparent insistence that I have.

    But you might also want to consider the analogous case of The New York Times and The National Enquirer, and their differences: both exercise “moderation” and limit free speech as they see fit, but the former has quite a bit more credibility than the latter. If PZ and Company wish to be lumped in with the Enquirer then fine by me – but don’t be surprised if they take some flak for that. Although I will readily agree that DDoS attacks are beyond the pale.

    This is why FTB does not even ‘remotely approach’ hate speech – our attacks against you aren’t even in the right category.

    You really might want to read a little more closely before commenting – putting brain in gear before putting mouth in motion. Where did I say anything remotely like your implication that “all FTB attacks against the Pit” qualify as hate speech? PZ didn’t qualify the target of his rant (1) beyond “anonymous monsters on the internet who shriek affrontedly about women and feminists and moan that any feminist allies are ‘manginas’” – which qualifies as a pretty broad brush to be tarring a great many [note the qualifier] people with credible objections to some [another] “women and feminists”. And that virtually categorical condemnation – and with diddly squat in the way of evidence – is one example of something that looks awfully bloody close to hate speech directed at a rather broad target.

    Whether there are others cases to justify a general condemnation is probably moot, although “banned with extreme prejudice” directed at “Skep tickle” looks credible. But you might want to focus on specifics rather being deluded or brain-washed by vague generalities.

    —-
    1) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/12/06/never-forget/comment-page-3/#comments”;

  6. 106
    ildi

    Zzz…

  7. 107
    Holms

    I did say, “many in the FftB/Skepchick sphere/ghetto” – do note the qualifier; you may wish to consider the implications of using those. But apart from that, you really might want to try wrapping your head around the idea that blog moderation is generally a separate concept from the principle of free speech, and that nowhere have I tried to deny the right of blog owners to restrict comments thereon – in spite of your apparent insistence that I have.

    If you think that moderation is unrelated to freedom of expression, then you are just a petty idiot making an argument out of nothing. All for the sake of… pretending to be the target of some kind of smear campaign or something.

    “That guy accused me of talking about freedom of speech when really I was talking about blog moderation!” is the entire disagreement. Even if you are right to call them separate (you aren’t – the entire topic is simply the intersection between ‘your right to express yourself’ meets someone else’s ‘right to control their own venue’), it’s just a minor disagreement that you’ve turned into a production.

    You even used emotive language such as ‘accuse’ and ‘condemn’, as if to imply that I was impugning you somehow, which of course takes us right back to your habit of pretending to be the victim.

    So, you’re wrong that the topics are unrelated, and even if you were correct, you’re still being a betty whiny brat. Is it any wonder that you get banned frequently? They aren’t being draconian, they are simply tired of your derailments and ‘professional victim’ shit.

    But you might also want to consider the analogous case of The New York Times and The National Enquirer, and their differences: both exercise “moderation” and limit free speech as they see fit, but the former has quite a bit more credibility than the latter. If PZ and Company wish to be lumped in with the Enquirer then fine by me – but don’t be surprised if they take some flak for that. Although I will readily agree that DDoS attacks are beyond the pale.

    In which you admit that comment moderation and freedom of speech are related.

    Not to mention, ‘these two publications have differences (plural), but I conclude that any difference in their credibility is due to their moderation because I say so.’

    Where did I say anything remotely like your implication that “all FTB attacks against the Pit” qualify as hate speech?

    I can play this game too: where did I say that you said that? etc. etc.

    You didn’t even quote the bit where I explained why PZ’s post was not hate speech; no, ‘not even remotely’. It doesn’t matter how broad a brush he used. Did you read that definition of hate speech you quoted earlier? It mentions:
    - race
    - religion
    - gender
    - sexual orientation.
    Where in that post did he criticise people for any of those traits? Show me where he or another FTB / scepchick / etc. attacks you for those things and you may have a point.

  8. 108
    Steersman

    Holms (#107):

    If you think that moderation is unrelated to freedom of expression, then you are just a petty idiot making an argument out of nothing.

    Where did I say they were unrelated? I only said that “blog moderation is generally a separate concept from the principle of free speech”. Like two dots in a connect-the-dots puzzle that you join with a line to create a picture. But it still looks you’re harping on something that I’m not arguing against. I wonder why that might be?

    You even used emotive language such as ‘accuse’ and ‘condemn’, as if to imply that I was impugning you somehow, which of course takes us right back to your habit of pretending to be the victim.

    Insisting, as you’re apparently doing, that I said something that you haven’t proved that I’ve done looks like it qualifies as “impugning” – “To attack as false or questionable” – and “accusing” – “To charge with a shortcoming or error” – to me. Rather analogous – “Similar or alike in such a way as to permit the drawing of an analogy” – to an accusation of rape or other crimes. Probably not surprising given that many in benighted FTB-land seem to have a tenuous commitment to the principle of evidence.

    Not to mention, ‘these two publications have differences (plural), but I conclude that any difference in their credibility is due to their moderation because I say so.’

    True enough – there are no doubt other factors which influence their separate degrees of credibility. However, I expect it is a serious stretch, if not evidence of pig-headed hyperskepticism, to argue that the NYT isn’t more open to criticism than is the NE, and isn’t willing to publish articles and comments that express that criticism: rather different manifestations of moderation and adherence to the principle of free speech.

    Steersman: Where did I say anything remotely like your implication that “all FTB attacks against the Pit” qualify as hate speech?

    Holms: I can play this game too: where did I say that you said that? etc. etc.

    Yea, but if you want to “play that game” then you pretty well have to put your money where your mouth is – i.e., come up with the factual evidence to justify your claims. But to answer your question, you said:

    This is why FTB does not even ‘remotely approach’ hate speech – our attacks against you aren’t even in the right category.

    I only characterized that rather unhinged comment of Myers as “getting into the territory” of hate speech – I said absolutely dick-all about any of those supposed “attacks against the Pit”. More straw for that rather impressive straw-man you’re building? Which one might even characterize as shading into hate-speech itself.

    Did you read that definition of hate speech you quoted earlier? It mentions …. Where in that post did he criticise people for any of those traits?

    You might want to consider that “hate speech” has less to do with its target – it could be, for example, directed at all fedora-wearing dudebros – and more to do with the fact that the hate is directed at an entire class. Which kind of qualifies as stereotyping – you know, the stuff that apparently motivates many sexists and racists. Nice company you’re keeping.

  9. 109
    Holms

    Where did I say they were unrelated? I only said that “blog moderation is generally a separate concept from the principle of free speech”. Like two dots in a connect-the-dots puzzle that you join with a line to create a picture. But it still looks you’re harping on something that I’m not arguing against. I wonder why that might be?

    Oh hey, it’s that childish ploy yet again.

    You argued against my use of ‘free speech’ as a term to sum up this conversation by saying that they are separate concepts, and now you’re arguing against them being unrelated. Maybe another trip round the circle will fix it?

    Insisting, as you’re apparently doing, that I said something that you haven’t proved that I’ve done looks like it qualifies as “impugning”

    This just proves that you’ll argue against anything. Yes, you used those words, and yes those are some of the connotations associated with them, and yes I drew a conclusion suggested by your word choice. Are you related to Heddle by any chance?

    I only characterized that rather unhinged comment of Myers as “getting into the territory” of hate speech

    You keep repeating that, and it keeps on not being hate speech; nor does it ‘get into the territory’ (or whatever synonymous term you choose to split hairs over) of it.

  10. 110
    johngreg

    Holms said:

    You keep repeating that, and it keeps on not being hate speech; nor does it ‘get into the territory’ (or whatever synonymous term you choose to split hairs over) of it.

    That is simply a matter of opinion and perspective. There is no absolute right or wrong about whether PZ’s comments constitute hate speech or are drifting in that direction — remember, blogs and the opinions posted therein are not a court of law (rule #317-a/b FTB Stylee), so you cannot and must not (rule 43-c.3 FTB Stylee), if you’re so tempted, bring in legal definitions from law.

    C’mon Holms, admit it. You, as much as any of the more rabid and evidence-free FTB commentors, simply despise Pit people so much that it doesn’t really matter what any of us say; we could come in here and point out that the sky tends to look blue on a clear summer’s day, and you’d jump in and start defrazzling away trying to discredit the claim under some kind of neo-gnu-PoMo hoolliganery, or summat.

  11. 111
    Steersman

    Holms (#109):

    You argued against my use of ‘free speech’ as a term to sum up this conversation by saying that they are separate concepts, and now you’re arguing against them being unrelated.

    :roll: :shock:

    Christ in a sidecar; WTF does that mean? For one thing I wasn’t denying that some people – who look more like straw-men than not – seem to attack moderation policies because they supposedly contravene “free speech” principles; what I am objecting to is you apparently insisting that I am or have been doing so.

    And for another, things can in fact be separate but related – or maybe you think that you are identically equal to your parents.

    This just proves that you’ll argue against anything.

    What a fucking ignorant dickhead. Objecting to you saying that I’ve said something for which you are unable to provide any evidence is not, repeat not, just arguing for the sake of arguing. Since you seem a little unclear on that concept, maybe I should add something to the bottom of every comment I make in FftBlog-land, and to my Pit signature, maybe something along the line of “BTW, Holms said he blows goats” ….

  12. 112
    Holms

    There is no absolute right or wrong about whether PZ’s comments constitute hate speech or are drifting in that direction — remember, blogs and the opinions posted therein are not a court of law (rule #317-a/b FTB Stylee), so you cannot and must not (rule 43-c.3 FTB Stylee), if you’re so tempted, bring in legal definitions from law.

    “Blogs are courtrooms, therefore we can’t argue from definitions (even though steersman tried), therefore we can’t come to an objectively true judgement… therefore you can’t disagree with whatever horseshit accusations we make.”

    HAHAHA nice try, idiot.

    You, as much as any of the more rabid and evidence-free FTB commentors, simply despise Pit people so much that it doesn’t really matter what any of us say;

    Incorrect. We despise you because of what you choose to say.

    For one thing I wasn’t denying that some people … seem to attack moderation policies because they supposedly contravene “free speech” principles; what I am objecting to is you apparently insisting that I am or have been doing so.

    Except I never insisted any such thing. This entire (bizarre) disagreement stemmed purely from my statement that you misunderstand the concept of free speech in your utterly inept comparison between personal expression via blog and China’s suppression of reporting and internet freedom.

    The bizarre part comes from the fact that you took umbrage not from the fact that I laughed at your comparison, but at the suggestion that your statement may have relied on or used the concept of free speech. Which is just the strangest objection; so what if you specifically had that in mind or not when you made your comparison? Whether you did or didn’t is fairly inconsequential, but your taking it as if it were an attack on your character.

    This entire disagreement over such a trivial thing shows that you aren’t interested in a discussion so much as a desire to argue incessantly about minutia.

    What a fucking ignorant dickhead.

    Cool argument, dude!

  13. 113
    johngreg

    Holms said:

    Also, since you brought the topic up, NO IT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE OR EVEN REMOTELY APPROACH CONSTITUTING A HATE SITE. You idiot.

    If you think that moderation is unrelated to freedom of expression, then you are just a petty idiot making an argument out of nothing. All for the sake of… pretending to be the target of some kind of smear campaign or something.

    So, you’re wrong that the topics are unrelated, and even if you were correct, you’re still being a betty whiny brat.

    HAHAHA nice try, idiot.

    Cool arguments, dude!

  14. 114
    Holms

    ^
    I which you ignore the dozens of preceding posts highlighting his intellectual dishonesty.

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    Binh Thien An

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