Richard Dawkins disappoints me yet again »« Responding to common misconceptions about Atheism+

Go check out the Atheism+ website & forum!

AtheismPlus.com is now (sort of) ready for your viewing pleasure. As you can see, it’s still pretty empty – expect more meat on the bones in the coming weeks. But what is ready is the Atheism+ Forum, which will be a safe, highly moderated space for discussion. You can read our proposed forum rules here and offer feedback on how to make them better – they’re only a first draft. There’s an Educational subforum with the following rules and purpose:

The Educational Forum is a place where people can ask basic/introductory/”101″ questions and have them answered in a civil way. Basic questions posted in other forums will be moved or redirected to here.

This is to avoid the problem of what’s known as “JAQing off” – or “Just Asking Questions.” Often trolls will try to derail conversations by repeating basic questions that have been addressed numerous times previously. This results in many veterans losing patience and attacking the person. However, this sometimes results in attacks on people who are sincerely asking questions and may become potential allies. The Educational Forum attempts to solve this problem by giving a safe space for people to ask questions and receive civil responses, while those who are not interested in responding to basic questions can continue advanced discussion in the Main Forum.

This is the only subforum where general tone will be moderated. Please assume good intentions, be nice, and minimize snark.

Check out the Main subforum if you want advanced discussion, or the General Discussion subforum if you want to talk about your cat.

As always, constructive criticism and suggestions are welcome (to clarify, insulting or mocking me isn’t exactly constructive criticism). I’m also looking for people who would be willing to be moderators. If you’re interested, email me (blaghagblog at gmail dot com) with 1. The forum(s) you’d be interested in moderating 2. Some sort of proof that you’re on board with A+ and not trying to “infiltrate” our site. If you’re a regular commenter here or elsewhere, your screen name will work. Otherwise, whatever you think will convince me.

Comments

  1. says

    Since anyone can post here under any name without even logging in,this screening is going to create work for you without creating any security, I think.

  2. says

    Actually, not that I think about it, it will keep out the lazy trolls who want to piss you off, but don’t want to spend five minutes laying the groundwork, which is probably the majority of them.

  3. machintelligence says

    OK why doesn’t WordPress recognize my blogonym or password?
    It works fine on FTB.

  4. Ryan says

    I like it. I am glad this is happening.

    Semi-related, since you original post I’ve been keeping a live Twitter search up for any mentions of your name. It’s draining and frustrating for me to read none of it is even directed at me, so I have no idea how you do it. So I just wanted to say thanks and that you are awesome and that this is awesome.

  5. jamessweet says

    I like how the first “+” is “humanism” — a nice nod to the humanists who have been saying, “Hey, this is what we’ve been about all along!” (I don’t entirely agree with them, or if I do agree with them, they can imagine this is just how we’ve decided to brand “Second wave humanism” or whatever) It really puts the olive branch out there, saying, “Hey, we’re not trying to do NOT humanism, we’re just trying to do humanism and also some other stuff.”

  6. jasonmyers says

    That is incorrect. Guests cannot comment or post in the forums without registration first.

    On the wordpress site comments are wholly and completely disabled, we want to keep the discussion in one place.

    I’m currently writing a bot that will watch the RSS feed from the main site and create a topic for new posts.

  7. says

    I kind of wish there were an animated “under construction” gif at the bottom as if it were 1997. But that would probably hurt credibility a bit.

  8. jamessweet says

    By the way, love the Educational Forum idea (though I’m worried how well it really work in practice, but we shall see). I’m past most of the 101 questions myself, but there are still some devil’s advocate questions and such that I haven’t been able to adequately figure out an answer to it, and it is would be cool if there really was a safe space to ask those types of questions without being mistaken for a JAQoff. (Crommunist Manifesto is already a relatively safe place to ask those types of questions, as Ian is just fantastic at discerning trolls from legitimate questioners, not to mention a man with a whole heapin’ helping of patience, but it would be cool to have a place that was explicitly okay to ask that sort of thing… assume it doesn’t get overruns by JAQoffs, of course…)

  9. Pteryxx says

    We shall see. Assuming many of the JAQoffs have as their purpose derailing the *main* conversations, the 101space should be less attractive to them, thus it should enrich for honest questioners… one hopes.

  10. says

    Thank goodness that typo was just in this blog post and wasn’t me being stupid while registering the domain, haha

  11. David Hart says

    It strikes me that you could amalgamate the + with the cross of the ‘t’, the lower half of which could be in black like the rest of the word?

  12. Tenebras says

    Yay. ‘Scuse me while I jump off the “Lifeboat” of RatSkep and climb aboard. And remake my avatar, since you guys want something that’s 10×10 pixels smaller. XP

  13. The Rose says

    “constructive criticism”

    Ever think of getting an actual name? instead of that grade school A+, C- sort of thing?
    I just don’t see how brandishing a bunch of crosses, or slapping a gold star next to your name is really going forward with anything.
    I know YOU say it means more than that, but shouldn’t it be self evident. Or, at least, cool sounding?
    A† Really? Aaarrrrgggh.

  14. Tyler says

    This results in many veterans losing patience and attacking the person. However, this sometimes results in attacks on people who are sincerely asking questions and may become potential allies.

    ^^^ This! Thank you! I hope this works as planned!

  15. segfaultvicta says

    Awesome and congratulations. :D I’ll be keeping an eye out and hopefully coming out of the woodwork to forums post. I’ve been meaning to delurk for a while and this seems like a good time.

  16. tekanji says

    Just a note, the acronym “GLBT” is alienating to some of us in the queer community. I know it’s the most mainstream word that explicitly includes queer people other than gay (men), but for people like me it just serves as a reminder of the hierarchy of privilege: gay men are on top, then lesbians, bisexuals (except that we don’t exist, or are confused, or really straight/really homosexual), and then trans people (when it’s convenient to remember them, otherwise the only people that matter are cis people), and then all those other people who don’t really count so they can be safely ignored, natch.

    More inclusive terms include the increasingly popular QUILTBAG and GSM (Gender and Sexual Minorities). It may seem nitpicky, but it’s something that can matter a lot to those of us who are marginalized even within the queer community.

  17. Randomfactor says

    Might be good to register the typo, too, to keep someone from squatting on it and ensnaring the fumble-fingered or spelling-impaired?

  18. says

    What I meant is anyone can em-mail her and say they are David Hart. They can even make some posts as him using their e-mail to give their claim credibility.

  19. says

    Jen – Have you thought about creating a “Support” forum? Not as in technical but rather social support. It could be for people interested giving/receiving support for marginalized people, illnesses, or even just activists experiencing burnout. Or perhaps just someone having a shitty day that needs a support system they may not have access to otherwise.

  20. says

    Are there any resources on what’s generally considered the most acceptable term? More than my usual joking justification that I like GBLT the best because it reminds me of a yummy sandwich?

  21. tekanji says

    Yeah, I personally think it’s better than any of the alphabet soup acronyms (even QUILTBAG). I’m also partial to GSSD (Gender, Sex and Sexuality Diverse) but it hasn’t really caught on so I didn’t think I should suggest it.

  22. tekanji says

    It’s possible, though I think putting the L before the G tends to be done more by queer groups, rather than groups that are allies to queer people (could be wrong, though). In either case, I see LGBT in more or less the same way as GLBT; the only major difference is that it’s pushing back against one axis of oppression (sexism).

  23. mcbender says

    I’ve registered an account there.

    I’ll email you regarding the moderator positions; I’m not sure whether or not I’d be a good candidate, but I’ll leave you to decide that. I’d be happy to volunteer if I am.

  24. tekanji says

    Unfortunately, there is no real definitive resource when it comes to the queer community. Part of the problem is that we are a huge umbrella group (and even then the boundaries of who to include aren’t set in stone).

    I rather like the tumblr blog Queer Dictionary as a general word reference. It can’t give you anything definitive, but it’s a good way to get an idea of how the social justice-oriented part of the queer community defines terms. As a whole it can probably also give a good picture of how we as a community work towards inclusiveness.

  25. says

    Very nice!

    The layout is similar to some other very active forums and I like that layout. How the moderation works, of course, is key, but given the thought going into it, I have high hopes.

    Nice start, Jen!

  26. Tideliar says

    I used hang out a lot on a martial arts forum. Their basic greeting/n00b forum was heavily moderated and trolling n00bs would result in a temp ban for even senior posters. It worked well.

  27. Lee says

    I’m still not totally convinced. It’s not that I disagree with your goals. It’s more that I’m not willing to concede any ground. My take is if you’re an atheist and you’re either ok with sexism, or not socially progressive, you’re not doing it right.
    Anyway keep up the good work.

  28. Maria Silvia Possas says

    That’s great. And reading the first comments and reading the linked sources, I’ve thought of another type of social injustice that I don’t remember reading about in your previous post about what Atheis+ should be – colonialism. Being from Brazil I’m sick and tired of how my country and my people are so often portrayed as if we were not as human as “First world” countries and people. People not only use sterotypes a lot. That wouldn’t bother me so much, because stereotypes are unavoidable, but what pisses me off is that people don’t even bother to use a Brazilian stereotype and expect Brazilians to behave like argentinians, look like Mexicans, dance like Caribbeans and what do I know. It is like we are so unimportant that they don’t even bother to get the stereotype right. I know more about Brazil, of course, but I’ve seen this happen a lot and that is not really racism, because the prejudice is against the people, regardless if they are white or brown.

  29. fwtbc says

    Just took a look and noticed a missing word right away.

    “Atheism+ is safe space”

    Think there should be an “a” in there too.

    Less importantly, I noticed the URLs are of the ugly variety. If you’re using wordpress (and probably even if you’re not), there’s an option to use nicer URLs, probably under the label of SEO-friendly URLs or similar. Not essential, but definitely worthwhile.

    I look forward to seeing how things go. It’s exciting.

  30. sambarge says

    Constructive criticism is criticism kindly meant that has a goal of improving some area of another’s person’s life or work. Often constructive criticism refers specifically to the critique of someone else’s written or artistic work, in perhaps a teacher/student setting, that would allow that person to further improve the work or to improve their approach to future endeavors.

    Psst… the Rose, I don’t think you’re doing this right. You may wish to make suggestions for improvement instead of simply making derisive and sarcastic comments.

  31. The Rose says

    You’re probably right – to a point.
    My suggestion for improvement, thank you very much, is to improve upon the name.
    When I first recognized that I wholeheartedly considered myself “an atheist”, several years ago, I was, of course everything we have here. In my life, I share the same philosophy that we all do here.
    Then, I discovered the term, “secular humanist”, and I though, “of course, that says a little more”. And I think we can all see why that might work a little better.
    But now your saying, go back to “atheist” and we’ll slap a little cross on there – good? And the cross is a representation of all these things.
    Well, I’m just not thrilled with that, and I’m trying to suggest a stand alone term that will knock it out of the ballpark.
    On my own, I tried to carpent some words together and this is all I got: I’m going for Pro-Human-Abent-God, and the word is Sapioprozandeist. I’m not in love, love, love with it – but I AM trying to be constructive. okay?

  32. The Rose says

    A† ain’t a word (see above)

    However; bacon, lettuce, tomato, guacamole & quince sandwiches are the best, yo!

  33. jayyoung says

    And regrettably, “What About Men’s Rights?” has already showed up as a topic, and the bitchassness is reaching a critical level.

  34. ewan says

    It really shouldn’t be hard to deal with the “What About Men’s Rights?” question. Surely the right answer is something like:

    “Sure, we care about men’s rights too, but there are a lot more problems that affect women specifically, so we spend a lot more time and effort on them.”

    Job done, easy. It’s only when people try to make out that sexism doesn’t affect men, or that it shouldn’t be discussed AT ALL, that you get the massive derail-y bunfight.

    There’s a nice piece on Greta Christina’s old blog about why caring about men’s rights is good for everyone – this really ought to be pretty safe A+ turf.

  35. ewan says

    Oh, and just to add to the acronym soup discussion, IME it’s almost always LGBT or LGBTQ. Having the ‘G’ first looks odd.

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