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Thunderf00t’s unethical breach of our privacy

If you read any other blog on Freethought Blogs, by now you’ve probably heard of Thunderf00t’s despicable actions. FtB has a private email listserv where we discuss boring technical problems (“My YouTube video isn’t embedding properly!”), ask for feedback or discuss certain topics, promote posts or causes we care about, and talk about cats (or how much they suck, depending on what side you’re on). But we also frequently discuss things that are very private in nature, like what’s going on in our personal life, where we live and work, our medical conditions, gender transitioning, rape, abuse, and (for pseudonymous bloggers) our real identities. We do this in agreement that nothing will leave the list, and there’s a disclaimer at the bottom of every email:

“All emails sent to this list are confidential and private. Revealing information contained in any email sent to the list to anyone not on the list without permission of the author is strictly prohibited.”

Well, Thunderf00t has violated that confidentiality. Now, I was on a different continent with limited internet access when the original Thunderf00t drama went down, so I don’t even want to get into that. But being removed from the network was apparently enough motivation for Thunderf00t to breach our privacy. Ed summarizes what happened:

On August 2, a close friend informed me that a mutual acquaintance of ours had been forwarded messages from that private mailing list by Thunderfoot. A few hours later, I received an email from a longtime commenter on the site telling me that “your email distribution list is not secure. Take the time to verify that only the people who are supposed to be on the list are actually members, as messages have been leaked.” Prompted by those messages, I went into the admin panel of our mailing list software, did some checking and discovered that Thunderfoot had somehow managed to get back on the mailing list after he was removed from it on July 1, when the decision was made to close his blog and remove him from the network. I double checked to make sure that he had been removed from the list at that time and he was (I have email confirmation from the system at the time). I then had our site tech do some digging into the database and he discovered that Thunderfoot had used a security loophole (now fixed) to regain admission to the list only a few minutes after he was removed from it on July 1 and had been receiving all of the email traffic between everyone else from that moment forward, without our knowledge. When that fact was discovered, he was, of course, removed from the list a second time and the settings were changed to close the loophole in our security that allowed him that access; over the next half hour he tried multiple times to get back on the list again but failed.

Jason has the technical details, including logs for evidence, in case you want them. Thunderf00t has confessed to breaching our privacy, but of course he’s trying to spin everything to make himself look like some sort of Wikileaks hero against the Big Bad Evil FtB Bullies. He insists that he doesn’t “doc drop,” even though in that very post he releases private statements from the mailing list. And we already have outside confirmation of people receiving mailing list emails through him. Keep diggin’ that hole!

What’s incredibly ironic is that not even a year ago, Thunderf00t was threatened by Muslims that they would release his private information, including his real name. He blasted them for this violation of privacy and “doc dropping”…which is exactly what he’s doing right now. What a hypocrite.

Greta emphasizes why this violation of privacy is so serious:

There’s a reason these conversations are private. Among other things:

People — especially anonymous and pseudonymous bloggers — reveal private information that could jeopardize their jobs if it were made public.
People — especially anonymous and pseudonymous bloggers — reveal private information that could jeopardize their physical safety if it were made public.
People brainstorm ideas that they later decide are bad ideas, and don’t want to be held to.
People discuss private medical matters and personal family issues, which could hurt both themselves and others if they became public.
People hash out differences of opinion that they don’t want to turn into a giant public debate.
People talk about personal, emotional stuff that they don’t want to share with the entire Internet.

If you have ever said anything privately that you wouldn’t want made public — because you were thinking out loud, because you knew the people you were talking with would understand the context but the general public wouldn’t, because you were mad and said things you didn’t really mean, because you don’t want everyone on the Internet to have your home address and phone number, because some things are just private and you bloody well have the right to decide who to tell them to — then you almost certainly understand exactly how important this is, and what a terrible violation it is, and why. People need to be able to talk freely among their friends and colleagues, without parsing every word for public consumption. People need this — and they have a right to have it. That’s a no-brainer.

But if you want to hear from someone who’s privacy is probably on the line the most, read this post by Natalie Reed. Thunderf00t had previously threatened her with releasing private backchannel information before he… actually started doing it:

Natalie Reed is not my “real name”. I use a different name for “real life”… for employment, for housing, for everything I don’t necessarily want connected to my being out as a transsexual, atheist blogger. There is a huge amount of highly personal, highly stigmatized issues I discuss on this blog, or in other venues under the name Natalie Reed. Transsexuality and transgenderism, my heroin addiction, stories from my life and past, my being a survivor of multiple rapes…I’ve even mentioned my being an incest survivor, an issue that’s incredibly, deeply painful for me. Most of these things I never, ever would have felt able to write about without feeling protected by this name.

It also protects my ability to pursue housing and employment without the threat of being outed as trans, a recovering addict, an atheist and so on by a simple five minute google search. It protects the possibility of my someday choosing to go “stealth” if I ever feel the desire or need, in which I could finally live as just a woman instead of always as a trans woman. It keeps me further removed from my birth name and images of my former self, and the life I led before transition. It protects my physical safetyfrom those who feel the need to enforce their beliefs and feelings about gender through violence. It protects me from the countless rad-fems and HBSers who consistently out or dox trans women, often with the deliberate, explicit intent of exposing them to harassment, discrimination and violence.

Natalie Reed is my safety net.

The e-mail address I had been using on the FTB list was not under this name. It was under my real one.

So, yeah. Thunderf00t scared me. A lot.

Thankfully I’m not in the same situation as Natalie – I don’t believe I have any personal information I shared on the backchannel that could really damage me. But I care about my fellow bloggers, and I care about Thunderf00t’s severe ethical violations and potentially illegal actions. He is a vile hypocrite who has lost whatever shred of credibility he may have had left. And honestly, it’s just fucking sad. How are you that obsessed with taking down a freaking blog network because you disagree with the fucking no-brainer of having sexual harassment policies that you’re willing to cost innocent people their jobs and safety? How is destroying lives of your atheist allies your priority over combating creationism in the classroom, faith healing, the Religious Right, and homophobia?

Just fucking sad.

Comments

  1. kurt1 says

    The troll needs feeding. Like a little child crying for attention. And when he does not get any, he burns down the house.

  2. says

    I think this incident demonstrate that having such a mailing list is probably a very bad idea. Bloggers come and go, who knows what fall out might happen next and who will leave FtB. That person will have this private information as well. The network of bloggers on FtB is so large that it would be naive to trust each and every one. I think the bloggers themselves need to be as careful about sharing sensitive personal information with their fellow bloggers as with the public at large.

  3. Hurricaneagle says

    This absolutely scares and infuriates me. I’ve only finally come to accept after over a decade that I’m likely transgender. I’m trying to find a job so that I can get started on the process but the amount of people I let know is very tight. Not even my family, one of whom is trangender herself knows yet because I’ve been opening up about this so slowly. That someone could do this to someone. I haven’t been through what Natalie went through, but I understand the fears and the worries it causes. Worried about what things you have crashing down around you and that someone could be so callous about this. I’m glad that FtB have removed him from the community.

  4. says

    By this standard no one should trust anyone with anything.

    FTB has remedied the issue with security. It’s not so much about sharing what he already knows, though that is absolutely terrible, especially for the ones unsing pseudonyms, but that he dishonestly came into possession of other e-mails that he should haver have had access to.

    Victim blaming takes focus off the one doing the harm and places the responsibility onto the victim. It’s counter productive and does nothing to address the real issue: What TF did was wrong and if he moves forward with his threats he’s even more wrong, he’s repugnant.

  5. abadidea says

    As a computer security professional, I find it very sad to see my daily twitter feed of compromises suddenly overlap with the atheist bloggers I follow. Exploiting a security problem to re-add yourself to a private list you were removed from is unconscionable and also, depending on the nature of the “security loophole”, possibly illegal. (I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, yadda yadda, but it sounds like it could be a case of unauthorized use of a private computer system. If the “security loophole” was just that they forgot to remove him as an admin user, then probably not. In that case, the lesson to take from this is that removing a user’s admin privileges everywhere in the system, or outright nuking the account when possible, should always be the first step.)

  6. Bullies... says

    Here’s some free legal advice:

    If, and that’s a big IF, Thunderf00t re-clicked on the authorization link in his FTB WELCOME e-mail and the FTB server put him back on the mailing list, we can agree he was re-submitting a request to re-join the mailing list.

    The fact that it was permitted without oversight by the FTB admin’s and against their intentions is entirely their fault. He followed a LEGITIMATE process to become a member of the mailing list. He is under no obligation to obtain any further approval. PERIOD.

    To ‘hack’ is to obtain access via a deceptive or illegitimite route. I would assume he used his own name and e-mail address right?

    Time to grow up people…

  7. says

    Shockingly we received the complete opposite legal advice from the various (neutral) lawyers we consulted. I am so intrigued why a random internet commenter who has bought into the FtBullies shit would say the opposite. Completely befuddled.

  8. abadidea says

    I meant if being an administrator of the web interface where people can be added to the mailing list and being a member of the list are two different things, which in many setups they would be.

  9. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Josh’s advice from Jason’s thread seems relevant:

    From someone with experience, and who cares about FtB:

    Friendly advice to FtB bloggers—Do not discuss or even speculate about legal action you may or may not take. Everything you write would be discoverable and would be used against you by the opposing side. Resist the temptation to engage with commenters who go on about this that or the other applicable/inapplicable law.

    Friendly advice to FtB commenters—Do not badger bloggers about whether they’re going to take legal action or insist that they answer your questions. No party considering legal action will talk about it or lay out their cards in public unless they’re utterly foolish and disregarding legal advice. Please understand this and please don’t do it. Contemplating legal action is stressful enough and the good folks here don’t need more.

    And, yeah, some people will not acknowledge that a wrong is anything they should do anything about if there’s anything, anything at all, reasonable or not, that people could in principle have done to mitigate it. These people are scum. They are actually evil.

  10. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    By the way, I wonder if “Bullies…” is actually a lawyer. Pretending to offer legal advice without being admitted to the bar is illegal, as I understand it….

  11. tanoro says

    As a web programmer myself, I have much experience in writing online security systems and I am familiar with the laws surrounding them. Jen is correct. If TF found a security hole to re-insert his access to the mailing list without going through instructed channels, he is illegally accessing a private network, which is something that would have the FBI pounding on your door. TF may not know the can of worms he has opened.

  12. Hurricaneagle says

    First of all whether he got back on the mailing list through deceptive means or not doesn’t matter. At the bottom of each email it says that the information cannot be released without the authors expressed consent. So even if he got back on the mailing list legally, there is still at least a possible civil suit due to harm done by the release of these e-mails.

    Furthermore, by previously threatening Natalie with releasing her information if she presumably didn’t do what he wanted to its Extortion/Blackmail and conspiracy.

  13. Brian says

    I don’t think you can make it as black-and-white as that.

    Imaginary scenario:

    My girlfriend (now ex-girlfriend) and I get into a huge fight and she throws me out of her apartment and tells me to never come back.

    The next day I show up at the apartment building. The doorman recognizes me and lets me in. (My ex was going to tell him to not let me in, but she hasn’t had the chance yet.)

    Does the fact that the doorman permitted me to enter give me the right to ignore my ex’s injunction?

    (Even if does on a legal level, I would hope most people would have an ethical objection to doing so.)

    Of course, to complete the analogy, I would then have to surreptitiously listen in on conversations between my ex and her friends, and then share that information with other people as proof that my ex treated me unfairly.

  14. says

    The mailing list is necessary for a network like FTB. Sometimes, people who share an audience online need to communicate behind the scenes. They need to have a coherent means to do that. Hell, I was on a mini-list for moderators of an invite-only Harry Potter comm on LJ, because sometimes we needed to talk business where the members couldn’t see.

    Additionally, participation in the list is voluntary, and not all FTBloggers are on it.

  15. Hurricaneagle says

    Please note I am not a lawyer, but at least in the first instance, cases have gone to Civil Court for less.

  16. SherryH says

    Wooowww. What an ass. In his eyes, apparently, FtB was mean to him, so any action he takes to stick a finger in their collective eyes is justified.

    No.

    That is not how the world works. That’s the MO of a petulant bully. And it seems that any attempt to point that out leads to accusations that you all are maligning or bullying HIM.

    I’m so sorry you all are having to go through this.

  17. says

    Yeah, they should all just “grow up” about having their emails shared with third parties. If they don’t want confidential communications made public, they just shouldn’t tell anyone anything sensitive, ever. Right.

  18. says

    By this standard no one should trust anyone with anything.

    Well no, by this standard you shouldn’t trust someone just because they are on the same blog network as you.

    FTB has remedied the issue with security. It’s not so much about sharing what he already knows, though that is absolutely terrible, especially for the ones unsing pseudonyms, but that he dishonestly came into possession of other e-mails that he should haver have had access to.

    The biggest concern seems to the possibility that he might expose the private identities of bloggers through the publication of their private email addresses. If these private email addresses are known to everyone on the mailing list then this problem extends beyond simply thunderf00t.

    There are various ways that one can protect themselves from this while still facilitating praticpation in things like mailing lists. For example you can set up a proxy email account (eg wicknight@gmail.com) that your private email account (eg William.H.Gates@gmail.com) then pulls from. All the emails end up in the same place but no one has to know your private friends/family only email address unless you want them to.

    Victim blaming takes focus off the one doing the harm and places the responsibility onto the victim.

    Victim blaming?? Please! My apartment got robbed 2 years ago and a friend of mine who works in security told me to get a better alarm system. I didn’t start on about him that he should be blaming the robber not me!!!

    It is not counter productive at all to point out potential security issues and possible solutions to them. By all means state away about how bad what thunderf00t did was (I’ve already added my condemnation of him to the comment section of his blog), but don’t try and shut down discussion of how to improve security to prevent this happening again with that “victim blaming” nonsense.

  19. Disclaimer? says

    Did Greg Ladens give permission to FTB mailing list members to publish his private e-mails? I didn’t think so.

  20. real horrorshow says

    Well, since you have rock-solid evidence that he “hacked” the e-mail list.
    And you have rock-solid evidence that he threatened to pass Natalie Reed’s real name, home phone number and address to a person or persons eager to kill her.
    And you have advice from “neutral” lawyers that this is all criminal and/or actionable.
    Then it’s easy. Call the cops. Unleash your layers. Have him thrown in jail. And sue him into penury.
    You do have evidence don’t you? I mean, 5 or 6 FTB bloggers aren’t accusing this man, in front of the whole world, of serious criminal and civil law offences without rock-solid evidence are they?
    Because that, would be really, really foolish.

  21. says

    I’m not suggesting you get rid of the mailing list. I’m suggestion you take steps to secure the private email addresses of those who use the mailing list. It shouldn’t be necessary that anyone on the mailing list has to see the private email address of anyone else on the mailing list.

  22. says

    The evidence has been presented. Thunderf00t published some of the stolen e-mail contents on his blog. Why in anyone obligated to aly out in detail what legal avenues they are pursuing?

  23. says

    I think this incident demonstrate that having such a mailing list is probably a very bad idea.

    That is a quote of the very first thing you said on this topic.
    NOT “If you’re going to use an email list to communicate, maybe a good way to help prevent future… etc.”

    Nope, you just jumped right to saying that the conclusion is that people in a blog network communicating via mail list is a bad idea.

    Not an idea that needs to be implemented with precautions, or an idea that sad reality says might wisely be used with prophylactic measures in place.

    Just a bad idea. Whose bad idea? Thunderfoots? Nope. His victims.

    This incident “demonstrates” that the victims had a “very bad idea.”

    That’s not victim blaming? Sorry to have to correct you on this, but yes it sure the hell is, very clearly. That is precisely what it is.

  24. says

    Victim blaming?? Please! My apartment got robbed 2 years ago and a friend of mine who works in security told me to get a better alarm system. I didn’t start on about him that he should be blaming the robber not me!!!

    It is not counter productive at all to point out potential security issues and possible solutions to them. By all means state away about how bad what thunderf00t did was (I’ve already added my condemnation of him to the comment section of his blog), but don’t try and shut down discussion of how to improve security to prevent this happening again with that “victim blaming” nonsense.

    Please what? Please don’t point out that you’re telling people it’s their own fault if they have their lives ruined because they trusted someone who was added to a private mail list?

    You’re allowed to react however you like to your friend’s comment. The fact that you say “better” leaves me to believe you already had an alarm system and that your friend’s comment was telling you that you could have prevented the break in if you’d just had a better alarm.

    FTB has already addressed the issue and resolved it. You’re commenting on something that’s already been fixed. And while PZ Myers has no reason to fear the aftermath, Natalie Reed and others do and this kind of sentiment does nothing but grind salt into the wound.

  25. says

    Even if what Thundef00t did was legally OK, it is stil moraly reprehensible and anyone who tries to defend it, is bodily orifice with primary function of excreting metabolic vaste. i.e.: you.

  26. real horrorshow says

    No, no I wasn’t asking anyone to do that. It’s just that when I read about someone being accusing of “hacking” – which I know the US has very strict laws about – and of threatening to put someone’s life in danger.

    Well, these are very serious matters. No one would make public allegations of that sort unless they had really firm proof and had taken legal advice, would they?

    Will the FTB blogs let us all know if and when Thunderf00t is arrested or served or whatever?

  27. says

    Jaasn explained how the hack worked and how they knew Thunderf00t did it. Natalie explained why having the contents of the e-mails released, as Thunderf00t has threatened, could put her life in danger. What more info do you want?

  28. heliobates says

    Time to grow up people…

    Grownups (or people who are supposed to be behaving like them) tend to constrain their behaviours within ethical and moral boundaries.

    Grownups (or people who are supposed to be behaving like them) must necessarily call out people who do not constrain their behaviours within ethical and moral boundaries.

    It’s your demand that the aggrieved FTB bloggers change their tune, which is childish, not their justified outrage.

    He followed a LEGITIMATE process to become a member of the mailing list.

    No, he took advantage of a security vulnerability to gain access to a private listserve from which he had previously been excluded. He had to have been invited to join that listserve in the first place, and cannot credibly deny that he had been uninvited when he was kicked off FTB.

    Contributory negligence on the part of FTB technical staff might reduce any damages awarded in a civil proceeding, but does not in any way mitigate Thunderfoot’s reprehensible behaviour, and would not be relevant if Thunderfoot’s actions were criminal.

  29. real horrorshow says

    I wasn’t sure if Thunderf00t being able to re-use an invitation e-mail is actually a “hack,” in a legal sense. Rather than Ed not managing “configuration and security” properly, as Jason put it.
    Also, the threat that Thunderf00t made to Natalie, she has the e-mail where he did that? Maybe it wasn’t an e-mail, but she has proof of the threat?
    It’s just that when you wrote “the evidence has been presented”. It seemed like it might have been presented in court, to a judge.

  30. heliobates says

    It’s just that when you wrote “the evidence has been presented”. It seemed like it might have been presented in court, to a judge.

    Yes, because the appropriate response to Thunderfoot’s documented behaviour is to try to put FTB bloggers under a linguistic microscope.

    Then you’re safe in saying “who cares if Thunderfoot is an unethical and dangerous asshole? Those FTB femistasis dun called him a criminal!”

    Context: you’re doing it wrong. Probably on purpose.

  31. tigzy says

    @Adam G

    From the OP:

    Thunderf00t had previously threatened [Natalie] with releasing private backchannel information before he… actually started doing it:

    Oopsies!

  32. says

    I said “private information”, which he HAS done ON HIS OWN BLOG CONFESSING TO BREACHING THE LISTSERV. I did not say anything about threatening to “out” Natalie. Learn to read and/or stop being willfully ignorant, whichever is your problem.

  33. says

    I don’t see anything wrong in that quote. Thunderf00t said he was going to publish backchannel stuff. Natalie pointed out this would compromise her private info. Thunderf00t didn’t back off and did start publish some backchannel stuff. Nothing related to her thus far, but it’s not like we’ve been given a lot of reason to trust him. I’m not sure what all he forwarded to third parties, but some stuff has indeed been made public.

  34. says

    Yes, his comments were directed at her via twitter. He accused her of being a “liar” and said he’d reveal private backchannel information to prove it.

  35. says

    Please what? Please don’t point out that you’re telling people it’s their own fault if they have their lives ruined because they trusted someone who was added to a private mail list?

    Groan. The leap in logic that if you advise anyone about security you must be blaming them for all crime committed against them is so stupid I can only assume you are trolling or in desperate need to find something to be offended by. Either way I’ve no interest in continuing to entertain you.

  36. tigzy says

    @Jen

    Since when is attempting to back-up a claim about someone a threat? I admit, Natalie may well have felt threatened by this; but this is not the same as stating that Tfoot made a direct threat against her.

  37. says

    This was already explained. These emails would also compromise her personal info and he didn’t back off when this was pointed out. Even if they didn’t, he had an obligation not to publish confidential info.

  38. tigzy says

    @Ace

    He’s still not issuing a direct threat to her, though. He’s being as callous as hell, true; and I can see why Natalie felt threatened by it. But he’s not actually threatening her.

    Really, I’m just suggesting some caution here, given that legal advisors have been consulted. In case this does go to litigation, it might be wiser to say ‘Thunderfoot behaved in a way which Natalie felt was threatening,’ rather than ‘Thunderfoot threatened Natalie with…’

  39. says

    Good summary of the situation, I particularly liked this bit

    “You just checked your king just to take down a pawn.”

    That sums up my feelings exactly. Even if Thunderf00t had a case that he is exposing the unethical behaviour of some FtB bloggers, the way he obtained them and then published them was such unethical behaviour that destroys any moral high ground he is attempting to claim.

    Public comments by bloggers is fair game, though frankly this tit-for-tat he said this, no he said that debates between the blogs are very tedious.

    But private comments and behaviour is not fair game, no matter what you think about the comments or behaviour. Bloggers are not public officials, they are not companies. Their private behaviour is not in the public interest no matter what it is. Disagreeing with how some FtB bloggers behaved in private is not justification for publishing this.

    The defence that he is whistle blowing on unethical behaviour is null and void. He really has no defence left for this behaviour.

  40. Diego says

    Yikes! This pattern of behavior on Thunderf00t’s part is getting really disturbing, but it did give me the impetus/excuse I needed to decide to unsubscribe to his YouTube channel.

  41. Gideon says

    thundef00t always was a drama whoring trainwreck. He’s so inconsistent with what he says and incredibly hypocritical. He once appealed that “A house divided cannot stand” in reference to the atheist community. He seems to like going against his beliefs…

  42. PG says

    So let me get this straight: “Natalie Reed” (not her real name) claims that Thunderf00t (in her opinion) had “extremely unprofessional conduct behind the scenes …” and was the reason he was jousted from FTB, which prompted TF to call her a liar. He then said he would release confidential records from the (behind the scenes) private listserv to prove her wrong. Ok. What’s the problem?

    Did he actually say he would drop her docs? According to “Natalie” herself – he did not. So what is the actual problem? Because the private mailing list has her “real”, private email? But did TF actually say he would publish that? Again, according to “Natalie” herself – no. Does that mean that “Natalie” is bemoaning a hypothetical situation? In fact, have Thunderf00t explicitly said he’s gonna doc-drop the entire private mailing list? Holy vivid imagination, Batman? And where’s the evidence of the correspondence with her and TF proving he said these things? Are we taking things on face value here? In a community that calls itself FREETHOUGHT BLOGS? I mean, I’m not a fan of Thunderf00t — far from it — but jesus fucking christ!

    But according to “Natalie Reed”, Thunderf00t threatened to drop her real name and that was scary and creepy. Did “Natalie Reed” press charges? Did “Natalie Reed” call the cops? If “Natalie Reed” is truly concerned about being recognised in “real life” as a, in her words, “transexual, atheist blogger”, then why for good Gordon does she post pictures of herself again, and again, and again on her blog? Which is not saying she shouldn’t post her picture if she really wants to, but the cognitive dissonance is a mile away – it doesn’t add up!

  43. coyotenose says

    So if FtB was The University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit, then thunderfoot is the slimeballs who hacked their emails, lied about the content, and put researchers in actual danger from paranoid denialists to prove a point that doesn’t even exist.

    Great company he’s placed himself with there.

  44. says

    This reply is to wicknight, but there’s no “reply” button so I’m putting it here.

    I quoted your words. I’ll quote them AGAIN.
    You said that the victims had a “very bad idea” in using the mail list, that the fact that they were victimized “demonstrates” that the victims had a “very bad idea.”

    It takes NO leap of logic to read your words as you used them, double-check the context and see that your words AS READ not only blame the victims but that your implication in the context does also.

    You make NO attempt to defend or correct what are very clearly and explicitly victim-blaming words, you make the extreme claim that reading your words as you used them takes a “leap of logic” that is “so stupid” that it must be a troll, without making any argument whatsoever as to why that is the case or why your words should NOT be read as you typed them.

    You stalk of with a haughty snort as if to suggest that you’re above supporting your argument or refuting someone else’s or explaining why your words shouldn’t be read ad typed, as if you don’t NEED to support your argument.

    That’s fine, you actually DON’T need to defend or support what you said. Your words, clear as written, victim-blaming, will just sit there unsupported, uncorrected, undefended.

    Not surprising really.

  45. says

    Did “Natalie Reed” press charges? Did “Natalie Reed” call the cops?

    Hmmm.. wait a minute. That kind of argument sounds familiar.

    I could almost SWEAR I’ve heard it used at least once or several hundred times before.

  46. says

    In a community that calls itself FREETHOUGHT BLOGS?

    How is it that NOBODY a) knows what free though actually means/entails, and b) knows how infantile this rejoinder is? If we were called “We publish e-mails about stuff Blogs” then I guess you’d maybe have a point. But you don’t. So STFU.

    Incidentally, the reason that your Matlockery “doesn’t add up” is because you’re distorting the facts. Natalie said that her NAME is tied to personal stuff. If she broadcast her NAME over the internet then yes, it would be weird to complain that someone was at risk of exposing her. But that’s not what happened. So STFU.

    Also, what on EARTH makes you think “calling the cops” is a panacaea for everything? Which cops? The cops where Natalie lives? The cops where Thunderf00t lives? And what law are they going to arrest him for breaking? Remember how long it took anyone to do anything about Markuze? Yeah… that shit took MONTHS. If going to the police was likely to result in anything that would address her concerns, then you’d have the beginnings of a point. But it isn’t. So STFU.

  47. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    He’s still not issuing a direct threat to her, though.

    This is a distinction without a difference. It’s like insisting “I’m going to set your house on fire with you in it!” isn’t like saying “I’m going to try to kill you.”

  48. PG says

    Look. It’s pretty customary that when you think someone is wrong, you point out where they were wrong and why. Your comment does neither.

  49. hieropants says

    Nobody used the phrase ‘hack’ except the Bullies… poster who Jen and others are arguing against, so I don’t know why you’re fixating on the semantics of an allegation no one has made. The point is Thunderf00t did not have authorization to those emails and is violating the privacy terms explicitly laid out on every one of those emails. Natalie Reed‘s point is that she has legitimate concerns about the real-world consequences of Thunderf00t’s willingness to violate those terms of privacy.

    Does that clarify the argument for you?

  50. says

    This whole “you have to tell me why I’m wrong” thing is a major pet peeve of mine. Nobody is required to respond to your stupidity with their intelligence. If you say something stupid and someone writes you off in response, that’s not necessarily a reflection on THEM.

  51. says

    Nope, you just jumped right to saying that the conclusion is that people in a blog network communicating via mail list is a bad idea.

    No, as you just quoted me saying I jumped right in that a blog networking having “such a mailing list” is a bad idea, the “such a mailing list” being one where their private friends/family email address is used and is public to the rest of the email list.

    Again this is a bad idea because people you don’t necessarily trust are given your private email address as part of the correspondence on the mailing list.

    That’s not victim blaming?

    Are you being serious or are you just trolling (I’m not sure which is worse)

    No it is not “victim blaming”, the idea is bad. Some ideas are bad ideas. It is not a comment on the person who came up with the idea to point this out. That is such a moronic over reaction I’m genuinely amazed you actually had the balls to present it as a serious argument.

    Let me illustrate –

    – Dude, I’m thinking of taking the 9am train to Dublin tomorrow.
    – I don’t know dude, sounds like a bad idea it will probably be packed with early morning commuters.

    Normal response:
    Yeah good point dude, I want to get a seat, don’t want to be standing the whole way, that would suck. I’ll get the 11am train.

    Bat shit stupid response:
    How dare you!!! I had an idea and I tried my best and now you are blaming me and attacking me for it by saying it was a bad idea!!! I am so offended that you would choose to personally attack me by saying my idea was bad!!! How dare you!!

  52. PG says

    Her name, which is tied to a face. Her face. A very recognisable face. She also happens to be a household name within the feminist/skepchick/skeptic community. Nobody is going to make the connection? Nevermind.

    Back to Freethought. I know very well what it means, but from Wiki, freethought is:

    “… formed on the basis of logic, reason and science and not authority, tradition, or other dogmas.

    Hence the question … for taking things … at face value.

    As for the cops thing, well, if you allegedly had evidence of someone threatening to drop your docs, you wouldn’t alert the authorities, especially when you know his real goddamn name and address?

  53. PG says

    Well, you can think my argument is stupid, that’s fine with me.

    But if you don’t elaborate on the when and the why, there’s really no reason for me to listen to you. Sorry.

  54. Caliguy7281 says

    I’d never read anything written by TF before today. Hell I might not have even heard his name/handle before(I only really read McCreight’s musings). So I followed the “confession” link and boy was I surprised by the vitriol. Not just TF’s but that of his supporters as well.

    I am glad that I’ve never read his work(or supported him in any way). Jen and the bloggers of FtB, stick to your moral guns and ride the drama out. People see TF for what he is, and we also see you guys for who you are. And we appreciate you, your patience, and your strength.

  55. PG says

    Also, the only thing I’m supposed to “get straight” is how the controversy between “Natalie Reed” and Thunderf00t started. Which in “Natalie”‘s blog post is how I interpreted it. The rest, which I’m not supposed to “get straight”, are questions. By me. If so, can the person be any more vague when they say I’ve gotten the situation “far, far from straight?” I’d like to think I’m more mature than someone who says “you’re wrong” and then leaves it at that, as … oh.

  56. says

    You said that the victims had a “very bad idea” in using the mail list, that the fact that they were victimized “demonstrates” that the victims had a “very bad idea.”

    I didn’t say anything about what the victims did or didn’t have. I said the idea of an email list where sensitive private email addresses are shared was a bad idea. The idea was bad.

    It seems ridiculous to actually have to state this but there is a difference between saying an idea is bad and attacking a person.

    But then I’m pretty certain you already know that. Happy trolling mate, I’ll leave you to it.

  57. doubtthat says

    Yeah, I’m a lawyer. Ignore everything that goofball wrote. Legally, it really doesn’t matter how TF obtained access to the listserv, once it was made clear that he wasn’t welcome, he was violating the law.

    As way of analogy, I had a client who got into a great deal of trouble because her kid accidentally packed his father’s (her ex husband) iPad in his suitcase. The kid started playing with it, and my client snooped around, getting into the e-mail account that was open. She didn’t “hack” or even log in, it was open on the computer her kid turned on. No dice. The statutes don’t specify how you obtain access to information, you can’t fool around in confidential networks.

    Now that he’s admitting forwarding the stuff to third parties and actually published it on his blog…

  58. says

    She also happens to be a household name within the feminist/skepchick/skeptic community

    Are you THAT deluded that you think any of us are actual celebrities? Do you think the person who’s reading Natalie’s job and/or housing application is going to do a Google image search or say “wait a second, I recognize you from a semi-obscure blogging platform!” This community is fucking TIIIIINY. None of us are in any real danger of being recognized by anyone, especially if we’re using a pseudonym.

    Back to Freethought. I know very well what it means

    No, you clearly do not. Your bolded words, as convincing as you may find them, don’t actually support your argument at all. Nobody is believing Natalie’s story based on tradition, authority, or dogma. They believe her for the same reason that when your friend tells you “I just saw someone steal my bike” you don’t say “WHERE’S THE FUCKING PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE!?”

    And again, WHICH authorities do you go to? If you knew that the cops weren’t going to be able to help, how would going to them fix the problem? Also, what makes you think we have TF’s home address? As far as I know he’s kind of a nomad with no fixed address. And if you’re asking me what MY response would be if someone was going to go after me, I’d call a lawyer, not the cops.

    Here’s the reality: TF can hurt Natalie completely inadvertently. He can hurt any number of us without even the slightest malicious intent. None of us knows which piece of seemingly-irrelevant information is damaging to someone else. Hence why we made the agreement not to release ANYTHING from the backchannel. This whole thing about “you need to prove your claim to my satisfaction” is a red herring – it’s entirely irrelevant whether or not it happened; it is a thing that VERY WELL COULD happen (and, for what it’s worth, it did happen, so yeah… STFU)

  59. doubtthat says

    Look, there is an implicit threat directed at the entirety of FtB Thunderf00t even having those e-mails. If someone broke into your house, grabbed a stack of “sensitive” photos, then said, “don’t worry, I won’t give them to TMZ,” I would be willing to bet that you would worry.

    As long as he has that stuff, especially given how it was obtained, the situation is highly threatening. Not to mention there’s no way to know who he forwarded that stuff to, who they forwarded that stuff to…

  60. doubtthat says

    No, this is a bad analogy given the relevant statutes. Once it’s clear that he’s not allowed in, no matter how easily he obtains access, he knows he’s been restricted and has breached the law.

    It’s more like parties obtaining a mutual restraining order through a divorce. The doorman lets in the husband not knowing about the restraining order, but once in, even though he didn’t break in, he’s in violation of the order and can be dealt with accordingly.

  61. heliobates says

    Look. It’s pretty customary that when you think someone is wrong, you point out where they were wrong and why. Your comment does neither.

    You want a good faith discussion, enter into it in good faith.

  62. heliobates says

    Did he actually say he would drop her docs? According to “Natalie” herself – he did not.

    Did he actually gain access to a listserve from which he’d been excluded, actually copy emails intended as private communications between a restricted group of people and then, without permission release those emails to people outside that list?

    Has he done this in the aftermath of a very public and very acrimonious dispute with the FTB blogging network? Has he in any other way behaved disingenuously or uncharitably?

    I can’t imagine why Natalie wouldn’t take him at his word.

    And you’re not bothering to understand the issue well enough to even get it slanted, never mind straight.

  63. says

    He then said he would release confidential records from the (behind the scenes) private listserv to prove her wrong. Ok. What’s the problem?

    You sort of answered your own question there. These are confidential records. Thunderf00t has no right to make them public, whether he is publishing email addresses, doing a doc drop or simply publishing snippets of what was said. They are private, he doesn’t own them and he has no right to make them public.

  64. PG says

    Oh, good fucking grief. What a load of melodramatic nonsense. Thunderf00t can “hurt” you? Inadvertently? Are you fucking kidding me? Let’s stick to the confines of reality here, shall we? In reality, Thunderf00t has a) not doc-dropped anyone and b) not leaked any personal information. Personal information being real names, address, that sort of thing; email correspondence (with names crossed out) does not – fucking – count. Anything beyond that is condemning him for something he hasn’t even done. This is a sceptic community, isn’t it? Or have I entered the bizarro section of the community? Inadvertently?

    Freethought is — among other things — exactly that you shouldn’t take things someone say at face value, which is exactly what you’ve done with “Natalie Reed” and her accusations regarding Thunderf00t. And the bolded words? is the bloody definition provided by Wiki, genius. Yeah. As convincing as I find them. *smh*

    “Nobody is believing Natalie’s story based on tradition, authority, or dogma. They believe her for the same reason that when your friend tells you “I just saw someone steal my bike” you don’t say “WHERE’S THE FUCKING PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE!?””

    That is the textbook fucking definition of taking things at face value. “Natalie” says something and you believe it. Of course, this scenario and the bike theft is totally equivalent to eachother and have no caveats to consider. Like how slander is involved and something about accusing an actual person with a name and not just some random thief. But, hey. Details. Who gives a shit?

  65. PG says

    Confidential records where he was present, in which he said would only publish in order to clear his name. Whether it breaks a moral code to make those conversations public or not, I don’t see the problem. “Natalie” and others have made it clear they don’t care about the content being presented, so that’s not really the issue. The issue has been the alleged leaking of personal information.

    Which is the interesting part as it hasn’t actually happened. Yet.

  66. PG says

    Wasn’t he technically on the list legit for a few weeks before he was banned?

    “Has he done this in the aftermath of a very public and very acrimonious dispute with the FTB blogging network? Has he in any other way behaved disingenuously or uncharitably?

    I can’t imagine why Natalie wouldn’t take him at his word.”

    So – fucking – what?

    Peg him for something he has done, then. Seriously, what the hell?

  67. PG says

    He was already part of the listserv for weeks, was he not? I mean, I’m sure he gathered a lot more information in a few days than he did for a few weeks when he was on the listserv legitimately as a member.

    But to answer your question- yeah. Not that gaining illicit access to the listserv actually makes sense as a peg, but spreading contents around which hasn’t anything to do with himself or concerning him? Yeah.

  68. heliobates says

    Peg him for something he has done, then. Seriously, what the hell?

    He has demonstrated that he cannot be trusted.

    You don’t want to take Natalie’s word for why she feels threatened by him, but you want us to accept his “assurance” that he won’t release personal information? Seriously, what the hell?

    Congrats on your gold medal performance in 5,000m point-missing.

  69. heliobates says

    …I don’t see the problem…

    Yes, you’ve made that abundantly clear.

    When Thunderfoot, who has nothing at stake beyond his already trashed reputation, says he won’t misuse the information that he has, we should trust him, until he actually does what some people are worried he will do.

    When Natalie says explicitly what’s at stake for her if Thunderfoot makes this information public, and why she feels threatened by this, we should presume that she’s over-reacting.

    Gotcha.

    Details. Who gives a shit?

    You don’t. There’s a heap of important ones that you’re racing to ignore.

  70. CPS says

    Yeah…how lame to point out that ignorant thing you did. That totally reflects so badly on Jadehawk.

  71. heliobates says

    Just to make explicitly clear what you’ll elide over: when you read the various accounts from the FTB perspective of how this mess unfolded, it’s pretty clear that Thunderfoot has been escalating his behaviour.

    Look at the timing of the leaks and how Thunderfoot is positioning the information he’s leaking; look at how he responded first to being kicked off the listserve and then to being kicked off again.

    But of course, that shouldn’t be a cause for alarm, because he hasn’t actually done what some of us are worried he’s going to do.

    And of course, neither you nor I have anything at stake if he does [quoting you] “yet”[/quoting you].

  72. PG says

    …No. I explicitly said you shouldn’t take his word for it. But that was only a few comments ago, I can’t expect you to remember that far back.

  73. hieropants says

    Did you read Natalie’s post? She said:

    This led to something really creepy and scary when Thunderf00t began threatening to publish the confidential contents of FTB’s private listserv, to “prove” that I’d been “lying” about his behaviour. When I reminded him of the ethical problems with this, and hinted at the real danger it poses to me, he laughed and suggested that his treatment by PZ and FTB as a whole justified any actions he wanted to take.

    So yes, if TF intended to publish those emails with the goal of proving that Natalie was lying, and in the process revealed personal information about her that linked her real-world name with her online handle, he could inadvertently hurt her. Part of the reason people are condemning him is that she told him he could put her in danger and his response indicated that he didn’t really care.

    In reality, Thunderf00t has a) not doc-dropped anyone and b) not leaked any personal information.

    Thunderf00t purposefully gained unauthorized access to a private listserv, released information he had no business even reading, and reacted apathetically when the real-world danger of his actions was pointed out to him. Given his weird, obsessive, stalkery behavior toward the people who are part of FtB, it is not unreasonable that people are afraid he may be willing to commit more harmful acts in the future.

  74. PG says

    Freethought blogs – where people interpret your arguments for you.

    When you say you feel threatened for your life and someone asks “why?” and you say “because someone might maybe, probably, eventually, leak my personal information” then maybe they’d think you’d gone a bit loony. Or you’re Alex Jones.

    Again, are we really arguing about hypothetical situations?

  75. hieropants says

    Natalie Reed has explained why her anonymity is important in her post:

    There is a huge amount of highly personal, highly stigmatized issues I discuss on this blog, or in other venues under the name Natalie Reed. Transsexuality and transgenderism, my heroin addiction, stories from my life and past, my being a survivor of multiple rapes…I’ve even mentioned my being an incest survivor, an issue that’s incredibly, deeply painful for me. Most of these things I never, ever would have felt able to write about without feeling protected by this name.

    It also protects my ability to pursue housing and employment without the threat of being outed as trans, a recovering addict, an atheist and so on by a simple five minute google search. It protects the possibility of my someday choosing to go “stealth” if I ever feel the desire or need, in which I could finally live as just a woman instead of always as a trans woman. It keeps me further removed from my birth name and images of my former self, and the life I led before transition. It protects my physical safety from those who feel the need to enforce their beliefs and feelings about gender through violence. It protects me from the countless rad-fems and HBSers who consistently out or dox trans women, often with the deliberate, explicit intent of exposing them to harassment, discrimination and violence.

  76. says

    The level of ego that Thunderf00t is demonstrating is remarkable. Everything he’s done during this scandal is perfectly okay, because he’s been wronged! And you can’t let somebody that important be wronged, can you! Violating people’s privacy and using their personal information as a cudgel is nothing next to not recognizing how important Thunderf00t and his reputation is to the movement!

    What. An. Asshole.

  77. Drivebyposter says

    People have been pointing all sorts of things you’ve been wrong about. This is just another one of those things. Also, “grasping at straws” accusations is not a way to defend your actions. Which were wrong. But your desperate attempt to brush away criticism of your cissexist remarks as meaningless is noted. Please be less transphobic in the future.

  78. PG says

    Notice how in this discussion, I have not said anything transphobic or anything remotely close to transphobic, but if it comforts you to cling to this delusion of me, who am I to stop you?

    I referred to Natalie Reed in quotation marks simply because she made it clear it wasn’t her real name, it was a pseudonym and therefore Natalie is not Natalie. Thunderf00t is not a pseudonym.

  79. PG says

    Is it customary on Freethought blogs to accuse someone wholesale without any evidence to back it up, and without providing any logic or reason to support it?

    Once again, calling to question the name “Freethought” blogs?

  80. IslandBrewer says

    FUCK!

    It was bad enough that Tf acted like an ass first time around. And then, it was bad that the anti-harassment policy used him for their poster boy to whine and screech about teh ebil feminazi/femistasis.

    But pulling such a total fuckwadishly assinine stalkerish Markuzian move like this just makes me despise Phil, where previously I was merely disappointed.

    And then, having people come here and defend his actions? Really? I mean fucking really?

  81. cityzenjane says

    The lack of fluency in ethics among TF00t’s defenders comes as no surprise.

    Some very very basic gaps in understanding of what it means to BE an ethical person is evident both in him and in his fan base – starting with the way they treat people they disagree with in argument.

  82. cityzenjane says

    When an objectively untrustworthy man says “Trust me,” doing so would prove one irrational in the extreme.

  83. Chris Lawson says

    “Thunderf00t is not a pseudonym”??? Do you even know what words mean when you use them?

  84. Drivebyposter says

    Natalie is the name she goes by. Putting a trans person’s name in quotes is done ALL THE TIME by people mocking transfolks picking a name that isn’t their birth name or doesn’t match their “real” gender.

    You donned the costume of transphobia whether it was intentional or not. It’s not my fault that you did that. Stop playing the victim. You are not a victim. You are a douchebag.

  85. says

    Oh great, now I’m being stalked by trolls from Skepchick.

    Yes please do read the whole thread. Read where I post one thing and then receive a ton of hysterical responses that completely twist what I said (or some times just make it up) trying to find something, anything, that they can be faux offended by. And if you get a weird sense of deja vu you won’t be alone.

    Anyone that interested in knowing what I actually think about stuff they can find 10 years worth of commentary on issues over on http://www.boards.ie where I post under the handle of Zombrex. Needless to say my views are nothing like the faux offence zealots on Skepchick wish to make out.

    This is the last I’ll say on the matter. Apologies Jen for this nonsense derailing your thread, anyone else thinking of attacking me for things I haven’t said I will simply refer you back to this post and tell you to cop yourselves on.

  86. says

    Confidential records where he was present, in which he said would only publish in order to clear his name.

    Claiming to just be clearing his name is not a justification for this. These are private emails from private individuals. He has no more right to make them public then he does to start stealing PZ Myers snail mail or breaking into Ed Brayton house because he wants to clear his name.

    It is also deeply silly to attempt to clear your name by carrying out such an unethical and possibly illegal action that even if you did clear your name over the original accusations against you you have now utterly ruined your reputation far more than the original accusations against you ever would have.

    This discussion has gone from the question of whether Thunderf00t was or wasn’t too harsh on his FtB blog to a question of whether Thunderf00t carried out a ridiculously unethical breach of personal privacy. Personally I would much rather people were arguing about whether my blog was too harsh.

  87. alt+3 says

    You know, it’s terrible when you look up to someone, and think they’re superman, and then you find out he’s just a crazy person who wears a cape.

  88. Marta says

    I really wish he didn’t start shit with AndromedasWake. I loved that man and he scared him off. Prick.

  89. says

    This is grasping at straws. Putting quotation marks around a fake name, particularly when the fake name is in a similar style to a real name, is a common practice in English.

    I think PG has said enough disagreeable things that there is a discussion there worthy of having without the need to infer the worst from harmless practice just to find further things to be offended by.

  90. B-Lar says

    He couldnt stop. He needed to be part of something bigger than him, something important, so when they told him to stop he cpoied his key and kept it secretly.

    Every night he unlocked the box and looked at his treasure, glowing and growing, too afraid to touch it in case they discovered his deceit, but… So beautiful… A testament to his cunning, proof that he was better, so much cleverer than those pathetic know-it-alls. Each night he whispered to it confirmations of his affection and each night it whispered back new secrets.

    As the secrets grew, so did his pride, his arrogance. When the opportunity came to prove his cleverness he leapt without thinking, forgetting that the secret toy would no longer be his as soon as the secret was known. But he needed someone to know or what was the point in being the cleverest?

    Now it no longer glows and grows. He still has the memory of the feeling. He still has the words that they fear and that fear is what nourishes him now… Quietly in the dark… Waiting for his next chance for revenge on those who scorned him…

  91. Steinmaster says

    Gawd Dam, I love seeing Moral Relativists get all self righteous.

    And it frigging funny to see them cry like stuck pigs when all the nasty things they say about people are exposed.

    TF desevers a Medal!!!

  92. says

    A thought: Thunderf00t has turned himself into Schroedinger’s doc dropper. At this point, the only way anybody can actually know whether or not he will out Natalie or do something else similarly damaging to another FTB blogger is if he actually does it. It’s true that he’s made some very indignant protestations that of course he would never “drop docs”, and one could take him at his word on that. On the other hand, he’s already demonstrated a willingness to gleefully and self-righteously violate very clearly stated privacy boundaries in his anti-FTB crusade, which makes such protestations rather hard to believe.

    At this point, the sensible thing for the threatened FTB bloggers to do is the same as one would advise for any woman faced with a guy who claims to have noble intentions but has already started to wilfully trangress her boundaries: protect yourself first, and stop worrying about being charitable to someone who has the power to harm you and isn’t shy about letting you know it. And that’s what they’re doing. Trying to troll them into silence when they’re faced with this kind of threat is unconscionable.

  93. Chris Lawson says

    No, it isn’t common practice in English. I never see people writing about “Mark Twain”, “Madonna”, or “John Wayne.” The only time I see it in common use is when one writes someone’s nickname or preferred name inside their real name, as in Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain. None of this applied in the comment, and what’s more, in the same comment he chose not to put “Thunderf00t” in quotes, and then defended that with the ridiculous claim that Thunderf00t is not a pseudonym.

    I’m not saying he meant to be transphobic, but all he had to do was say “I didn’t know that it was a common transphobic thing to do, I didn’t mean to do it, and now that I know I won’t do it again.” Of course, he didn’t do that. He tried to pretend Thunderf00t was not a pseudonym instead. He’s arguing in bad faith, and whether you think this point is important or not, I don’t understand why you feel the need to step up and defend him for it.

  94. julian says

    You didn’t say anything of substance. It’s like you didn’t read anything anyone has been saying about TF’s conduct and why it’s problematic to say the least.

  95. says

    Wicknight, I ask you to accept the possibility that you are very poor at communication and may lack empathy for others. This is very much in evidence in the posts of yours that I have read in recent days. Whatever your intention, you have blundered about triggering all manner of responses from others with your apparent thoughtlessness.

    Just sayin’.

  96. says

    Yes, we have to take it on trust that TF will not out Natalie. However, there clearly isn’t a lot of trust for Thunderf00t’s integrity right now. Although he insists that he doesn’t ‘doc drop’ he has indeed done so. His behaviour is chilling, to say the least. I’m unsurprised that Natalie feels threatened.

  97. says

    I don’t understand why you feel the need to step up and defend him for it.

    Because it is very tiring to see people disrupting genuine discussion scrambling around for the most innocuous things to be offended by, particularly when there is plenty to actually be offended by. Does anyone here genuinely think PG was trying to insult transgender people by putting the name in quotes? He doesn’t even seem aware that this is an insult on transgender people, so how the heck could he be attempting to insult them.

    Oh he said “bad faith”! Doesn’t he know that in some South American countries “bad faith” is occasionally used as a reference to the devil and Satan worshipping. Clearly he is trying to make out that I’m a Satanist. And even if he isn’t he because he has no freaking clue what I’m talking about he should really apologise ’cause I’m deeply offended anyway.

    You can find offence in anything if you go looking hard enough. Really for the sake of the sanity of a discussion people should stick to what is the stated opinion of the person, not searching every word and syntax pattern for some hidden meaning so they can then be offended by it.

  98. William says

    “that obsessed with taking down a freaking blog network because you disagree with the fucking no-brainer of having sexual harassment policies that you’re willing to cost innocent people their jobs and safety?”

    Wow – Three strawmen in one sentence fragment.

  99. Chris Lawson says

    Sure, but he had the opportunity to say he didn’t know his words could be taken as transphobic and he chose to spout some bullshit about pseudonyms instead. It’s the bullshit, not the original statement that shows he’s not arguing in good faith.

  100. coyotenose says

    PG: TF was on FtB for far less time than he spent stalking the listserv after he was removed from the site. And he used that exploit to begin stalking the listserv less than ten minutes after he was removed from it, which makes it clear that he had already been thinking about ways to stalk and hurt the other bloggers before he was even told he would be removed.

    His maliciousness is incontrovertible, as is your desperation.

  101. says

    Yup. As I said, he’s already demonstrated a willingness to violate people’s trust over this. There’s no telling how much farther he’s willing to go, no matter how loudly he claims that of course he’s no doc dropper. This is why it’s absolutely reasonable for FTBers, especially Natalie, to take whatever action is necessary to protect themselves, regardless of whatever bullshit benefit of the doubt certain commenters might demand that Thunderf00t should receive.

  102. PG says

    ‘Strawmen’ is making up an argument the person you’re arguing with is not making and then refuting the made up argument.

    Like, for example,

    obsessed with taking down a freaking blog network

    strawman #1

    because you disagree with the fucking no-brainer of having sexual harassment policies

    strawman #2

    and

    willing to cost innocent people their jobs and safety?

    strawman #3

    This ‘I do not think this means what you think it means’ is a common happening on Freethoughtblogs, apparently, seeing as someone said the exact thing to me when I called into question the name ‘Freethought’ for taking someone else’s words at face value – not confusing it with free speech issues, and taking someone’s words at face value is the opposite of freethought – but it was still disputed. Bizarre.

    Here the word ‘strawman’ or ‘strawmen’ means exactly what the commenter think it means, yet it’s being called into question – but not elaborating why he’s wrong, which is also commonplace on Freethoughtblogs. Apparently.

  103. PG says

    The accusation was that I was a transphobic because I happened to refer to Natalie Reed in quotation marks. For your information, no, I was not aware that referring to someone by a pseudonym in quotation marks was a mark of a transphobic. My mistake. Furthermore, on Thunderfoot not being a pseudonym … er… not sure why I said that. In any case, it was a silly accusation and grasping at straws. Unnecessary.

  104. says

    Well, here’s the thing, PG. If someone claims a strawman you kinda have to show that it isn’t. Y’know, by reference to someone’s statements or position. Otherwise it’s not a strawman and is a valid claim.

  105. says

    Also, I just realized upon rereading that I need to clarify something: a lot of people use “doc drop” to refer very narrowly to outing an anonymous or pseudonymous person’s identity. By this narrow definition, technically Thunderf00t has not “doc dropped”. So far, he’s “just” massively violated people’s privacy, given them good reason to fear that even worse violations are on the way, and generally been an unbelievable asshole. He and his defenders are using the fact that he hasn’t actually outed anyone yet as a defense of his actions — in this tortured justification, not revealing pseuds is the line between being a “good person” and being a “bad person”, and since he hasn’t done it yet, his crusade remains righteous. And I was trying (clumsily, apparently) to point out that even within that interpretation, he’s still given people very good reason to feel threatened.

    But of course if he decides he’s been provoked enough, he’ll find a way to justify even the things he refers to as “doc dropping” — “Look at me, I’m a good person, these FTB people were so mean to me and I didn’t drop docs on them even though I could have, but they just wouldn’t stop persecuting me, so now I have to do it even though I don’t want to, just to defend myself.” It’s the classic justification scheme that certain pathological types use to work their way up to rape, “Oh, chill out, I just touched you [in a way that you found violating and uncomfortable], it’s not like I tried to rape you or anything. Jeezus, why are you such a bitch? And after I bought you dinner and everything too, you owe me a little more friendliness than this. [cue escalation]” And of course, implicit in such a justification scheme is a massive failure to realize that even the initial action (in this case, eavesdropping on the mailing list) was in and of itself a massive violation, even before one starts to ask whether the potential next step (“doc dropping”) would be acceptable behavior.

  106. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    “Freethought” doesn’t mean arbitrarily “I don’t believe you”ing everyone, or even everyone who challenges your assumptions. Stop being dense.

  107. Kels says

    I’d say he gets a bronze in security exploits, and gold in dishonesty, untrustworthiness, amorality and assholitude.

  108. Johnathon says

    You guys can’t exactly take the moral high ground here.

    There were people trying to get some guy fired for criticising the blog network.

    Pathetic. Keep on whining.

  109. says

    uh huh.

    You’ll be making the unsupported claim again though, I’m sure. With whichever spelling of whichever name you choose to troll under at that particular moment.

  110. Kels says

    For your information, no, I was not aware that referring to someone by a pseudonym in quotation marks was a mark of a transphobic.

    And yet once it was explained that it was a transphobic act, you kept trying to cover your poor ass rather than just say something as simple as “sorry, I fucked up”. Which you clearly did, and then tried to make excuses when called out, that doesn’t say a lot for your good faith.

    And I might as well toss out the P-bomb, it’s the very essence of cis privilege that you get to handwave this stuff away as “grasping at straws”. The fact is, part of what makes Thunderf00t’s unethical actions so bad is it puts at least one trans woman in real danger, relying only on the honour of someone who’s been proven to have very little of it.

    You’d think being a bit willing to learn about trans issues is necessary to a conversation like this, but so far you’ve given zero indication of it.

  111. says

    Erk. Now there’s a creepy thought, him doing it just as a way to keep the shit nicely stirred. It really makes me hope that legal action goes forward, because at this point that may well be the only way to get him to realize that he needs to stop what he’s doing.

  112. Sam N says

    PG, you said it because you have a sloppy thought process and are thoroughly a twit. Definitely ad hominem, but one that you earned.

  113. Sam N says

    Fair enough, Jonathon, and a responsible reply. I was concerned at the same point, which at least would have kept me considering Thunderfoot’s whistle-blowing defense, not that that would excuse all of his behavior. But closer examination revealed Thunderfoot’s defense as groundless, leaving me to conclude he is just a creep and slime-ball.

  114. Jonathon says

    Agreed, that would be the only justification I could think of for TF logging into the private emails.

    As it turns out this is not true so TF doesn’t have a leg to stand on…

  115. Jonathon says

    That last line was a joke, just thought I’d make it clear in case anyone gets offended.

  116. says

    Not sure why you’d call me a troll for admitting I didn’t have the evidence.

    You’re right. I am NOT sure why I’d call someone who stops by a blog with absurd and baseless accusations, calls the bloggers hypocrites for doing what that person alleges without any evidence, and when asked for evidence instead leaves a troll.

    Apart from that being typical troll behavior, of course.

  117. Jonathon says

    I do apologise, I was misinformed in my first comment.

    My definition of trolling is someone who purposely changes their views to annoy others.

    So I can see why you’d think I was however, the intent to troll was not there from me.

    I hope this concludes the matter.

  118. says

    You guys can’t exactly take the moral high ground here.

    People should probably focus less and who is better than who and more on the issues and problems this incident raises, how they can be addressed and prevented in the future.

    Not that a good old slagging match isn’t fun :-)

  119. says

    OK, yeah, it was the terseness of your ending the discussion without explanation or retraction or apology that tipped that “troll scale” that way to my mind.

    You have indeed cleared that up, thanks.

  120. PG says

    “Freethought” means you use reason and logic to come to a conclusion, and not believing everything anyone says — even a close friend — at face value. Which is what I said originally, someone called me not knowing what “freethought” entailed and then said, paraphrasing, “I believe Natalie in the same way I believe a friend who said his bike was just stolen.”

    In other words, the exact opposite of freethought. Moreover my opening statement was deemed stupid right off the bat, but didn’t give the courtesy to provide where it was stupid or why. Which isn’t freethought related – just moronic. Next someone saw fit to call me a transphobic because … well … that’s what people do here, apparently. Dense is as dense does.

  121. Chris Lawson says

    PG, thank you for saying this. For future reference, though, you might want to make this your *first* response.

  122. hieropants says

    In your original post, you claimed that since Thunderf00t did not directly threaten to out Natalie there was no problem. This is incorrect because he did threaten to publish emails that would have resulted in her name being compromised and continued to do so when he was informed that her name would be compromised if he published those emails. His total disregard for privacy rights and apparent apathy towards Natalie’s concern for her ability to obtain housing, employment, and physical safety is what everyone is reacting to here. This has been explained to you several times by multiple posters.

    You are also switching between claiming that Natalie’s stated concerns are invalid and claiming that Natalie’s statements are false. This is confusing because you have not specified what parts of her statements you are skeptical of and what reasons you have for disbelieving them. What exactly do you think we should be questioning: that Thunderf00t illicitly accessed private conversations? That he threatened to publish said private conversations? That he was dismissive when Natalie informed him of the danger that would expose her to?

    The rest of the responses here are just people reacting to you being a douchebag. The specific douchebaggery you engaged in here is very similar to the douchebaggery commonly exhibited by transphobic people, which is why people brought it up. You may or may not be personally transphobic but it isn’t really relevant to the incorrectness of your arguments.

  123. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    So the question is, would you disbelieve your friend if they told you their bike had been stolen? Why or why not?

  124. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    PG, you said it because you have a sloppy thought process and are thoroughly a twit. Definitely ad hominem, but one that you earned.

    Ad hominem is an insult attached to a premise. That’s just an insult.

  125. Beowulf says

    What Thunderf00t did by getting himself back into the mailing list was wrong, clearly. But it did reveal a few uncomfortable truths (or should I say, lies) about this all affair. So, it turns out that “Natalie Read” is not a real persona, even though we were made to believe it was. This cast serious doubts regarding the validity of other characteristics of this persona. The argument that she feared for her safety is bollocks. If that was so, she would use an explicitly fake persona, and not include there any personal information, like where she lived and stuff. But of course, that wouldn’t be credible, particularly bearing in mind all the fucked up things “Natalie Read” supposedly went through. Maybe the name is the only thing that has been changed, but this clearly undermines the credibility of this character, and of the whole FtB network, given that they knew about it and perpetuated the act. What else about FtB is not really true, even though it is made to believe it is?! It is also revealing that, even though Thunderf00t has never compared himself to wikileaks, you Jen jumped to make that association. Do you feel you or the network have something to hide? Sorry, stupid question, everyone already said they did. This whole affair is reminding me a lot about the whole “girl from damascus” blog affair (of which several people now of FtB were strong supporters as well). Is it the ends justify the means kind of thing? Just lamentable really!

  126. says

    Sorry, Beowulf, but your whole comment is based on a false premise. Natalie has been pretty clear all along that the name she uses here is a pseudonym. See, for example, this post:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed/2012/04/17/a-real-name/

    There was nothing new “revealed” here, except for the limits of Natalie’s willingness to tolerate bullshit like Thunderf00t’s, and the apparent limitlessness of Thunderf00t’s willingness to transgress any ethical norms whatsoever that his paranoia leads him to believe might possibly stand in the way of his insatiable need to chew on women’s legs.

  127. coyotenose says

    No need, the others took you down pretty handily.

    Ooohh, italics, you sure put me in my place!

  128. coyotenose says

    Goddamn but I love seeing a mysogynistic shithole pitch a fit and try to disguise it by whistling in the dark.

    Especially one stupid and filthy enough to support mail theft and threats to the safety of bystanders.

    That’s you by the way, Steinmaster. TF devotees aren’t very good at figuring out things, so I want to be clear. You’re the stupid, filthy, mysogynistic shithole who is pitching a fit and supporting hurting bystanders.

  129. Patrik says

    Very good summary of the situation and you pretty much nailed the hypocrisy of FtB with your posts, thank you!

  130. Patrik says

    Well FtB is more like Westboro Baptist church and Thunderf00t is, well, himself exposing the hypocrisy.

  131. Patrik says

    “[..]So far, he’s “just” massively violated people’s privacy,[..]”

    Threatening to expose lies is violating people’s privacy, really?

  132. John Phillips, FCD says

    I’ll ignore the idiocy that apparently you were the only one who didn’t know that Natalie Reed was a pseudonym. Even though it does question both your reading and comprehension skills, as well as any other points you make from then on.

    You know, I was going to write some more in reply to your post, but what’s the point, as far too many of you thunderfootinmouth supporters aren’t that bright it would largely be a waste of time.

  133. Sassafras says

    Wow. This is so ridiculous it’s stunning. Thunderf00t spies on a mailing list for a month, secretly distributing their conversations to other people, but you’re here trying to make Natalie look like a suspicious liar because she uses a pen name? How many numbers does her pseudonym need before it’s OK? N4t4l13 R33d?

  134. Sili says

    How is destroying lives of your atheist allies your priority over combating creationism in the classroom, faith healing, the Religious Right, and homophobia?

    Hint: He doesn’t consider you allies.

  135. Sili says

    So, it turns out that “Natalie Read” is not a real persona, even though we were made to believe it was.

    No. It turns out that “Natalie Reed” is not a real name. Or are you gonna argue that “Thunderfoot” is not a real persona either, since the name is obviously false?

  136. hieropants says

    I’m trying to imagine the massive amount of rationalization that must be going on in your head to defend illegitimately accessing private conversations and threatening to make those conversations public without the consent of the participants not a violation of privacy. I can only assume that you think the ends not only justify but completely negate the means.

    Well, the end you managed to come up with was an individual’s subjective impression of why another individual was removed from a blog network. Good job.

  137. Kels says

    It should also be noted for the record how Beowulf has picked up PG’s habit of putting scare quotes around Natalie Reed (and misspelling it to boot) but leaving Thunderf00t’s equally pseudonymous name alone. The fact that this follows a discussion of how the selective use of quotes is transphobic in nature pretty much puts the nail in the coffin for their credibility and good faith.

  138. Sili says

    No that it matters, but my quotation marks were meant as proper quotes, no scare intended for what little it’s worth.

  139. says

    What hypocrisy? What has Thunderf00t exposed?
    *He accessed the list ten minutes after being fired, and sat around silently, collecting ammunition.
    *The best he could find in a month of collecting dirt behind the scenes was that some bloggers (“30 emails!” is less impressive when the network has >30 bloggers) had a conversation about Michael Payton’s ignorant tweet, and the worst thing he could quote-mine from those e-mails was Zinnia Jones wondering if there was any reason she shouldn’t post about it before she posted about it.
    *Lacking anything substantial to actually expose, Thunderf00t mentions these e-mails and posts in connection to calls for Payton’s dismissal, despite the fact that the calls (by Thunderf00t’s own timeline) came before anyone at FtB posted about it. But by mentioning them in proximity to one another, he can allege a conspiracy.
    *Oh, and he quotes Ed Brayton hoping that Tf00t becomes a pariah. And by leaving out the fact that Ed said this in response to finding out about Tf00t’s unethical access of their private listserv, he can pretend that it’s because Tf00t ‘disagreed with their feminist dogma’ or somesuch, and not because he’s an unethical hack.

    All Thunderf00t has exposed so far is his own ass. The only question remaining is, when everyone stops looking at it, who’s he going to shit on so people pay attention again?

  140. julian says

    But by mentioning them in proximity to one another, he can allege a conspiracy.

    A timeless trick. You see it all the time in political ads, debates and other mock attempts at reason. Tf00t is a little more obvious about it than most (political ads, for example, will only say it and let you make the assumption yourself) but it’s the same thing.

  141. hypatiasdaughter says

    Heh, heh. The one point I always take away from the likes of Beowulf is that he knows how damn wrong this all is, so he has to slither around and avoid the obvious facts to find some other nit-picky issue to defend TF on. These guys are always playing a malignant mental game of Twister.

  142. says

    Patrik, let me grant for a moment your ridiculous contention that the FTB bloggers did indeed sit around being lying hypocrites behind Thunderf00t’s back in the privacy of their own little mailing list that they’d just kicked him off of. How *exactly* did Thunderf00t the noble whistleblower discover this terrifying truth? Oops, turns out that he sleazily (and potentially illegally) sneaked back onto the mailing list ten minutes after he was kicked off!

    In other words, the way he discovered all of the terrible terrible lies and hypocrisy that he’s now “exposing” was by smoothly and deliberately engaging in a massive violation of other people’s privacy. The FTB bloggers had a somewhat reasonable expectation, after he was booted from the mailing list, that they could have private discussions that he and other unauthorized persons wouldn’t be privy to. Thunderf00t decided that their privacy was his to intrude upon, well before he had any idea what they might choose to say in those private discussions. He didn’t know at the time of his intrusion that they would be saying anything that his distorted perceptions would convince him was actionable. All he could possibly have known is that they might be having conversations they didn’t want him to be privy to. He decided that his curiosity about the contents of those conversations was more important than the privacy rights of these people, just because he was angry that they didn’t want him posting on their website anymore.

    And this is what makes what he’s done so fucked up. This really shouldn’t be hard to understand — even a number of the most obnoxious slimepitters seem to have figured this out, so I don’t know why it seems to be so far beyond your grasp. Imagine this happening to you. Let’s say you get into an angry dispute with someone who was formerly a friend. Maybe it’s not even entirely their fault — you recognize that you’ve probably screwed up a bit too, but now you’re just sick of dealing with their shit. So you stop hanging out with them and unfriend them on Facebook and figure you’re done with them. Then, a month later, you discover that within ten minutes after you unfriended them, they found some sneaky way to silently re-add themselves as your friend and have been monitoring and recording your postings the whole time. They’ve forwarded the contents of some of those postings to other people they feel you have also slighted, and now they have even included what they consider to be particularly damning snippets from some of those postings in a recent blog post. This is stuff from your personal Facebook page, a place where you sometimes discuss insecurities, worries, hopes, dreams, and just stuff that you generally might not want to share with the whole world and, in particular, stuff you didn’t really want to share with this former friend of yours. Maybe, in your pique, you even really did say some pretty mean stuff about this former friend behind his back, stuff that you would never have wanted to say to his face, much less in front of the whole world, and now he’s trumpeting those comments as if they justify his slimy little hack. How would you feel if this happened to you?

  143. Beowulf says

    Hi, thanks for sending me that link. I went and read it but it doesn’t help I’m afraid, for a couple of reasons:

    1- That post talks about adopting a new name after changing sex. That’s a no brainer to me, and of course if somebody changes sex they’ll want to change their names, and it doesn’t surprise me if someone will want to adopt a completely new name, rather than just the gender opposite version of their birth given name. That’s all fine of course. But she is not saying in that post that this is not the name by which people around her know her by.

    2- The fact that in some post in the archive she mentions something about using a pseudonym is not enough. I read a few of her posts, but not all. And likewise for a lot of people I would guess. Missing that one post, means you miss that crucial piece of information.

    The problem though, is that all the content of the site is highly personalised. It’s all about coming out and openly talking about this issues from the perspective of someone to whom they are particularly relevant. So yes, the blog and its content were made in such a way that led readers (specially casual readers) to believe Natalie Read was person that anyone could identify, and it apparently is not. No, it might be true that this was the only “distortion” of reality, but it’s an unavoidable fact that her credibility has been greatly damaged to a lot of people, regardless of of you or anyone else thinks it’s unwarranted. In fact, this whole affair is affecting the reputation of a lot of people in FtB, hence such strong responses to something that could have been dealt in a much simpler way.

  144. Beowulf says

    Maybe I’m just stupid, or maybe I just missed the relevant posts, but in any case, the information was not sufficiently clear to allow everyone to understand this was not her real (legal if you prefer) name. Stupid people are also entitled to clarity in the texts they read, specially if they are of a non-technical nature, don’t you agree? Or maybe you think that only really smart people are entitled to read texts defending equal rights to LGBT people?

  145. Beowulf says

    It’s funny the amount of assumptions people here make about me from one comment. Quite interesting. I never read anything from Thunderf00t before seeing the link to it here no BlagHag. I’m no Thunderf00t supporter (or anyone’s supporter in fact), and I stated clearly that what he did with the getting into the mailing list from which he was banned was wrong. In fact, I think the whole way he dealt with this was wrong. Still doesn’t change the fact that some of the information that came out of it is also damaging to a number of people in FtB. As a good friend keeps telling me, “just because there are bigger jerks out there, doesn’t make you less of a jerk”.. so to speak of course. I don’t really like calling people jerks, this is just the way she says it to me!

  146. Kels says

    Well, you weren’t suggesting her entire blog was a lie based on her using a nom de plume, and put both names in quotes. So not really so bad. Probably unnecessary to use quotes, but not terrible in that case.

  147. Beowulf says

    No, Thunderf00t wasn’t a real persona. It was a trademark behind a set of youtube videos with a very specific style, even if made by a real person (how else could they have been made?). Thunderf00t became a real persona when his face, name (the real, or legal if you prefer, name), and some of his social habits were revealed. It became a real person when it became clear to all that Thunderf00t had a name that a lot of people could correctly identify with the person, even if they didn’t immediately know which name exactly it was.

    Likewise, Beowulf isn’t a real persona, it’s an alias I use to put on the filed titled “Name” on many internet forms. It’s not a persona at all, because I don’t assign to it any personal characteristics.

  148. stanmcd says

    I spent roughly 2 hours running through this topic of TF and FTB.

    I must say, I have rarely witnessed so much pseudo intellectual pouting, lack of evidence, false accusation, straw man silliness and foot stamping as I have with this mess.

  149. Beowulf says

    I’ve replied to this above. No, it’s not my real name, and if I was to come here and say that I’m a gay priest living in Burkina Faso, fighting for the rights of atheists, then no, you shouldn’t believe in it. Not unless I was able to provide any evidence that it was true. Of course, any compelling evidence would necessarily reveal my real name, allowing you to identify a real person. But I’m not stating facts about me, I’m giving opinions whose validity is (or should be) independent of whatever personal traits I have. That’s one of the reasons I don’t use my real name, and one of the reasons why i don’t add any personal traits to the mix.

  150. Beowulf says

    I’ve touched this above. I have no problem with transgender (or any person by the way) changing their name at some point in their lives. The point is, the blog led people to believe Natalie Read was a name that could be associated to a person with specific personal traits and whit a specific personal history, which is not true. And that, whether anyone likes it or not, undermines the blog credibility. But can I ask why did you immediately jumped to the conclusion that I was somehow being transphobic with this?

  151. hieropants says

    Still doesn’t change the fact that some of the information that came out of it is also damaging to a number of people in FtB.

    The only damaging information you’ve cited is that you personally were unaware Natalie Reed was a pseudonym, which you assume has greatly damaged her credibility with “a lot of people” whose existence and opinions you appear to have pulled out of thin air.

  152. Kels says

    The point is, the blog led people to believe Natalie Read was a name that could be associated to a person with specific personal traits and whit a specific personal history, which is not true.

    And it IS associated with that person. It’s a pen name, that’s how they work, it’s attached to an actual person’s body of work, and in this case nonfiction work largely drawn from her own life experiences. You are the outlier here, apparently unique in reading this as some sort of deception and cause to view her entire blog as a lie.

    It’s like throwing out everything Mark Twain ever wrote because that wasn’t his legal name. It’s ridiculous and insulting. And, as I said the quotes and suspicion around one name and not the other carries transphobic implications, whether you planned them there or not.

  153. Sassafras says

    Why are you even saying that in a reply to me? I didn’t make any assumptions about you, I addressed exactly what you posted. You tried to paint the use of a pseudonym as a heinous lie, even though no one who writes online is obligated to do so under their legal name anyway. You claimed it damages her credibility when that simply doesn’t make sense because many, many writers use perfectly normal-sounding pen names and no one cares.

  154. Beowulf says

    May of these authors write fiction, and never personalised their writtings. There’s a difference there.

  155. says

    Reed is even more explicit. It’s quite simply a play on the word “read”. It’s what I chose as the pseudonym under which I’d write non-fiction, essays, criticism, etc. since that kind of writing foregrounds my role as a reader, someone who takes things in and thinks about them. It was meant to contrast against Wright, the ‘nym I’d be using for my poetry and fiction and comics, which would in turn foreground my creative role. Sadly, I haven’t yet published any of that kind of stuff since transition, so Natalie Wright has yet to make her debut.

    Straight from that post you claim to have read. She even uses the word “pseudonym”. And the post was just the first example that I happened to recall off the top of my head of a place where she discussed that fact. She mentions it casually in passing there because it’s not something she was trying to hide, and because she considered it be an ordinary, well-known fact about herself. How big of a deal does she have to make of the fact that it’s a pseudonym before you’re willing to accept that she wasn’t trying to pass it off as her IRL name? Does she have to sign every post as, “Natalie Reed and by the way this is a pseudonym, not my real name, which is XXX” in order to satisfy you?

    Or are you going to tell me that Beowulf is actually your full IRL name, the one that’s on your government-issued photo ID? If not, why didn’t you put a big fucking disclaimer in front of it like you seem to be expecting Natalie to do? It’s really confusing for me. How can I trust anything you say if you don’t make it clear whether Beowulf is or isn’t your “real persona”?

    The name at the top of my comments is my IRL name, by the way. It’s the one my parents put on my birth certificate, and you could probably use it to track me down and hassle me if you like. Does that mean that I’m more credible than you now, since I’m using my “real persona” and you (by your own logic) are not?

  156. Beowulf says

    Just because someone doesn’t agree with you, or perceives something differently, doesn’t means they are biased. I could say the same thing, that the reason why you see this as unimportant, is because of your own bias. Does that make any sense?

  157. Sassafras says

    And that list also includes non-fiction writers, essayists, religious dissidents, critics, mathematicians, advice columnists, artists, poets (the last three types in particular create personalized works), who did not have their use of a pseudonym discredit them. There is nothing wrong or dishonest about using a pen name, not even if you’re writing about your life.

  158. says

    Stupid or no, you’re arguing disingenuously. Her pseudonymity was publicly available information, even if she didn’t make a huge enough deal about to get it through your own personal fog of obliviousness. So the fact that you suddenly became aware of her pseudonymity just now reveals absolutely nothing about her credibility, contra your absurd drama-llamaing above. However, it does reveal a lot about how willing you are to actually learn what the fuck you’re talking about before you go sliming people.

  159. says

    And it’s funny the way you assume that your position on the Thunderf00t bullshit is even remotely relevant to the fact that you just slimed all over Natalie claiming that it’s somehow her fault that you previously weren’t paying enough attention to her writings to realize that she’s forthrightly pseudonymous.

  160. says

    Likewise, Beowulf isn’t a real persona, it’s an alias I use to put on the filed titled “Name” on many internet forms. It’s not a persona at all, because I don’t assign to it any personal characteristics.

    Well, this really does reveal a few uncomfortable truths (or should I say, lies) about this all [sic] affair, doesn’t it? So, it turns out that “Beowulf” is not a real persona, even though we were made to believe it was. This cast serious doubts regarding the validity of other characteristics of this persona. This clearly undermines the credibility of this character. What else about “him” is not really true, even though it is [sic] made to believe it is?!

  161. Beowulf says

    I replied to this below. Funny I’m being accuse of not reading someone’s work before criticising, but then get the same done.

  162. Beowulf says

    Ok, fair enough. So you would agree that the implication that a earlier comment directed at me saying I was unable to understand a text, would have been insulting and xenophobic if directed to a non native English speaker ?

  163. says

    So, let me get this straight. In the World According to Beowulf, people are not allowed to say anything about themselves on the internet other than to express their disembodied and depersonalized opinions without any reference to their own real-life experiences attached, unless they are also willing to attach their real name to it in order to allow every douchbro harasser in the world to track them down and fuck up their real lives for it?

    That is the most ridiculous pile of bullshit I’ve heard since… okay, well, since I read Thunderf00t’s most recent post, which was only a few minutes ago. But the principle remains the same. Please go take your inane faux-skeptical inability to believe perfectly mundane things just because you don’t know the “real name” of the person who said them to some other universe, because it’s not welcome in this one.

  164. Beowulf says

    No, at this point, Thunderf00t’s value or worth as no relation to this issue at all. But several people here just reacted to my comment by assuming i was a Thunderf00t supporter, and by saying saying that Thunderf00t was much worse, and why was Natalie being attacked.

  165. says

    …says the pseudo-intellectual pouter who can’t handle the concept of people using pseudonyms when discussing incredibly personal things about their real lives on the internet.

  166. Beowulf says

    You seem to have become quite aggrieved by all this. I’m really sorry to have upset you, it wasn’t my intention, and I tried to be as civil as possible. In any case, if you don’t like my opinions, you can just ignore them. Otherwise, unless Jen herself bans me or asks me to stop commenting here (with which I would promptly comply if asked), I am entitled to my opinions as much as you are I’m afraid.

  167. says

    Yeah, it *would* be good if you had some meaningful justification for why you’re attacking Natalie here. ‘Cause given how ridiculous your attacks on her are, it’s hard to see what the motivation could possibly be, so it’s not terribly surprising that people might make certain speculations based on the context.

  168. says

    No, you’re being criticized for not reading the thing you fucking said you read, for being a disingenuous asshole, and for going after Natalie for no substantive reason whatsoever.

  169. says

    Gee, I wonder why I’m aggrieved. Maybe it’s because you’re acting like a complete asshat? Are you so new to the internet that nobody’s ever explained to you that being “civil” has nothing to do with whether or not you’re also simultaneously being a complete slimebag? Because, sure, you’ve been “civil” to me, but that was after you wandered in here specifically to make some pretty goddamn sleazy insinuations about Natalie.

    And, sure, you’re entitled to your opinions, but you’re also entitled to be informed that they’re pretty fucking stupid opinions, and that they’re not welcome among decent people. I’m not so stupid as to pretend that I’ve got any say whatsoever about whether or not you’re allowed to post here (and thanks, by the way, for insinuating that I really *am* that stupid). But *you* have say over whether and what you post, and what I *am* suggesting is that you exercise that discretion all by yourself and cut out this bullshit post-haste.

  170. hieropants says

    Dude, nobody cares about your tone. You came into a thread about privacy violation and focused your complaints on a blogger for using a pseudonym, which is neither hidden from you nor in any way abnormal or noteworthy. You are being ridiculous and people are telling you so rather than ignoring you because that is what a discussion thread is for. Stop hand-wringing about conflict.

  171. Beowulf says

    I are aware that people don’t become “assholes”, “asshats”, “slimebags” or any of the sort just because they have differing opinions from you? I’m not attacking Natalie, I just stated this whole episode, and they way it was handled affects her credibility. You might think it’s a silly thing to say, but if it’s so obviously silly, then why do you feel the need to destroy it so vehemently?

  172. says

    Yeah, yeah, you’re just *really* *really* *concerned* about Natalie’s credibility, and, now, also, about the way that I called you *shudder* Mean Names. I feel like there’s another mean name that internetizens tend to use for *concerned* people like yourself, and I’m really really tempted to apply it here, but I wouldn’t want to make you any more *concerned* than you already are, so I’ll just let you guess it for yourself.

    But I’m also *concerned* here. I’m *concerned* that letting people like you going around making completely unsubstantiated smears against Natalie’s reputation without any kind of rebuttal might harm her ability to do the good work she’s doing. And I really want her to keep doing that work. So I’m going to spell it out for you again, out of the bottomless goodness of my heart.

    Your obliviousness has absolutely zero impact on Natalie’s credibility. It does, however, have a rather substantial impact on yours. But what has an even more substantial impact on your credibility is the fact that, after being corrected on the fundamental misunderstanding at the root of your original comments, and after having it repeatedly explained to you how your reaction to learning about Natalie’s pseudonymity is wildly out of line, you have continued to double down on defending your ridiculous claim that not wanting to have her meatspace life damaged by association with the very personal things she talks about here somehow harms her credibility.

    What you should have done, and what can still do right now, if you want to begin to restore yourself to decent human being status, is to say, “You know what, now that I know that she *wasn’t* deliberately hiding the fact that she was pseudonymous, I really need to reconsider how I feel about learning that information. Maybe the fact that I have trouble letting go of this isn’t so much about *her* credibility as about feelings of my own which don’t necessarily have anything to do with her. I’m going to go away and think about this for a while before I comment on it again.” And then do just that.

    Believe it or not, if you take that tack, we won’t keep going after you, we’ll applaud you for stepping back and trying to reorient yourself toward a good faith approach. But if you keep going on the way you have been, don’t be surprised if your oh-so-civil attempts to marginalize Natalie get rather uncivil responses.

  173. hieropants says

    I’m not attacking Natalie, I just stated this whole episode, and they way it was handled affects her credibility

    That’s funny, I could have sworn that in your original post you straight-up called Natalie a liar for using a pseudonym, stated that her fears for her personal safety was “bollocks”, and claimed that the credibility of both Natalie and FtB in general was undermined because they “perpetuated the act [of using a pseudonym]“. That sure sounds like a personal attack to me!

    if it’s so obviously silly, then why do you feel the need to destroy it so vehemently?

    This is a new one. I admit I have never seen “If I’m wrong, then why do you feel the need to say I’m wrong?” as a serious argument before. Is this some kind of performance art?

  174. says

    This is a new one. I admit I have never seen “If I’m wrong, then why do you feel the need to say I’m wrong?” as a serious argument before. Is this some kind of performance art?

    Nice catch, hieropants. This Beowulf entity seems to think that when someone’s wrong, and harmfully so, you should just go along and not worry about it and let them keep doing their thing without any kind of correction or objection. Which I guess is great for everybody except the person being harmed. But it sure would be unpleasant if people were to actually object, especially if they were vehement or uncivil about it! Oh no!

  175. Beowulf says

    This is starting to amuse me. Where did I say I was concerned about whoever reputation/credibility?

  176. says

    Okay, now you’re just trolling. Here are your own words:

    Maybe the name is the only thing that has been changed, but this clearly undermines the credibility of this character, and of the whole FtB network, given that they knew about it and perpetuated the act.

    No, it might be true that this was the only “distortion” of reality, but it’s an unavoidable fact that her credibility has been greatly damaged to a lot of people, regardless of of you or anyone else thinks it’s unwarranted.

    And that, whether anyone likes it or not, undermines the blog credibility.

    I’m not attacking Natalie, I just stated this whole episode, and they way it was handled affects her credibility.

    Or are you trying to claim that because you didn’t actually specifically use the word “concerned”, it’s wrong for me to suggest that you’re acting like a concern troll (oops, it just slipped out, honest!)? In this case, if you’re not *actually* concerned about this issue, then why exactly *are* you so interested in spending dozens of comments trying to make the case that Natalie’s credibility and the credibility of the entire FtB network have been damaged by your failure to pay enough attention to realize before today that “Natalie Reed” is a pseudonym? Treating you as a concern troll is the *charitable* interpretation here. If you claim that you weren’t trying to paste a veneer of friendly concern over your sliming by pretending to care about Natalie’s and FtB’s reputations (oops, another word that’s not in your verbatim statements so I’m not allowed to use it in describing what you said!), then the only reasonable interpretation that’s left is that you’re so proud of being a slimer that you’re not even trying to pretend you’re not one. Is that where you really want to go with this?

    As I said before, you can still walk all this back by accepting that this was your fuckup, not Natalie’s or FtB’s, and then apologizing for misrepresenting them and going away for a while to reconsider your stance on this issue. Are you sure you don’t want to take up that offer?

  177. Beowulf says

    If you keep just reading in between the lines, you’ll always miss what’s actually written in the lines. Which leads me to a previous comment I made regarding the fact that I so blatantly missed the fact Natalie Reed was a pseudonym:

    “Stupid people are also entitled to clarity in the texts they read, specially if they are of a non-technical nature, don’t you agree? Or maybe you think that only really smart people are entitled to read texts defending equal rights to LGBT people?”

    Is that what you think? What about if someone isn’t a native English speaker, misses some nuances of sublime written English and thus misses the all important meaning hidden in the undertext. Wouldn’t then call him stupid and asshole and the sort, equal to a racist and xenophobic attitude, even if unintended? So someone writes some confused and ambiguous text, and if somebody misses the point that’s their fault? Do you think Jonah Lehrer would get away with that, saying that in his text there were some subtle hints that his Bob Dylan quotes were actually fake?

    I would honestly like some answers, but I feel I’m just going to get verbal abuse instead.

  178. says

    Two problems:
    1. You don’t have to read between the lines. She was quite explicit when she said it was a pen name. This is more like blaming Rob Reiner when you didn’t realize This Is Spinal Tap wasn’t really a documentary.
    2. Using a pen name is not the same as making up facts.

  179. hieropants says

    I would honestly like some answers, but I feel I’m just going to get verbal abuse instead.

    This is because you are not arguing in good faith. You just demanded to know where you you said you were concerned about credibility and you were given ample evidence of the multiple posts in which you said you were concerned about credibility. Now you are changing the subject again, because you were reminded that your assumption of intentional deception in Natalie’s use of a pseudonym was completely wrong and you want to shift the blame of your mistake from your own unfamiliarity with Natalie’s blog to Natalie’s not including a footnote with every post saying *NOT MY REAL NAME.

    But to answer your question, no I wouldn’t expect casual readers to immediately know Natalie Reed is a pseudonym unless they were reading posts which make it clear it is a pseudonym, because otherwise knowing that she is using a pseudonym is not critical to understanding the articles she writes. I would also not expect casual readers to assume enough familiarity with the blog to feel betrayed when they find out it is a pseudonym, because (1) they don’t have enough experience with the blog to feel lied to and (2) the fact that it is a pseudonym is not critical to understanding the articles she writes. The only reason I can think of that anyone would object to a pseudonym is that they’re desperately grasping at ways to see TF’s unwarranted violation as somehow a “Both sides do it!” kind of situation.

  180. says

    Beowulf, I’m not saying that your opinions are stupid and that you’re being an asshole (notice the subtle differences between what I actually said and your shitty paraphrase of my words — I know nothing about your intrinsic nature, all I know about is the quality of the opinions you’ve expressed and your behavior here) because you missed the fact that “Natalie Reed” is a pseudonym, I’m saying that your opinions are stupid and that you’re being an asshole because even after it was pointed out to you that her pseudonymity wasn’t exactly a secret, you continued to double down on your slimy nonsense about how your failure to realize that it was a pseudonym undermines her and FTB’s credibility in some mysterious way. Oh, and I’m also saying that your opinions are stupid and that you’re being an asshole because you keep missing this point so dramatically every single time that I make it that it’s becoming hard to believe that you aren’t just trolling.

    Also, what hieropants said. Why the fuck do you even care about this if you don’t read her blog enough to know that she’s pseudonymous, and if this isn’t about some “both sides” bullshit in re Thunderf00t’s asshattery?

  181. says

    Oh, and, yes, as long as you keep doubling down on your idiocy, you’re going to keep getting hostile responses. Try instead accepting that you fucked up, apologizing for your fuckup, and re-evaluating your stance on the issues in light of that fuckup, and I guarantee you, the responses you receive here will be pi radians different from what you’re experiencing right now.

  182. says

    Also also (and then I’m done for now I swear), I find it utterly hilarious that you *quote yourself* and then attempt to attribute that opinion to me. I mean, seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you?

  183. alecrezz says

    Yep. Thunderf00t is a detestable, underhanded cad for “hacking” into an email server he didn’t have permission to access, but PZ is a hero for “hacking” into a phone conference with a code he didn’t have permission to use. Makes perfect sense.

  184. says

    You’re an idiot. It was a public phone conference. PZ had permission to listen. *Everybody* who wanted to had permission to listen. The only thing the code let him do was ask a genuine question when the organizers were controlling the flow of questions and only letting softballs through, in order to continue to present a shiny happy PR image. Say what you want about whether or not PZ should’ve muscled his way onto the air when they didn’t want him there, but unlike Thunderf00t, he didn’t violate anybody’s privacy or threaten anybody’s safety in doing so. Now slime off back to whatever dank hole you crawled out of with this lying bullshit.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/03/28/i-always-aim-to-misbehave/

  185. alecrezz says

    You guys are so cute when you’re all indignant over being caught red-handed in your hypocrisy. Keep stomping your little feet and pounding your little fists. That will help heal the butthurt.

  186. Keenan Crow says

    //How is destroying lives of your atheist allies your priority over combating creationism in the classroom, faith healing, the Religious Right, and homophobia?//

    This sounds awfully familiar. I believe I once asked you the same question very politely, and received no response. It sucks when someone you consider an ally looks the other way. Certainly not the same situation (and of much less ethical gravity), but I think the statement is interesting none the less.

  187. aestheticsbear says

    Thunderfoot’s behaviour is nothing short of repulsive. Personally I’m an atheist because I don’t like how religion hurts innocent people. Clearly, Thunderfoot and his legion of slime sucking misogynists and transhaters have another reason.

  188. jackhuskey says

    If we all agree that violating privacy is bad, can we also agree that it was an unethical, unconsionable act when B. Hussien Obama was running for US Senate and had his opponets divorce records that were sealed for the sake of the children, unsealed. http://www.redstate.com/repair_man_jack/2012/08/10/barack-obama-proves-the-political-version-of-gresham%E2%80%99s-law/
    Cause if you’re going to get mad about somebody exposing someones secrets and hurting people, shouldn’t you get mad at everyone who is exposing someones secrets and hurting people?

  189. says

    The behavior of the FTB community repulses me. You try to get a guy fired just because he made one tweet saying that your site sucks? And now you’re making up bullshit conspiracies about how Thunderf00t is dropping your docs? Fuck you.

  190. hieropants says

    Not entertaining enough. The other trolls are twisting reality into pretzels to justify this – saying that unauthorized access is totally legitimate, that using a pseudonym is the same as lying, that disagreeing with a comment about the network is a serious offense – so if you’re going to take the make-shit-up approach, I expect there to be dinosaurs or flying monkeys involved. Show some imagination here!

  191. Beowulf says

    No I didn’t try to attribute my quote to you. I used the quote because I was making the same point as earlier, and the expanded on it (See, I could have just said you’re really stupid and don’t even read the posts right, but I didn’t. It’s not difficult really, you should try sometime).

  192. Beowulf says

    I see where the confusion is coming. I didn’t say I was concerned in the sense that I’m worried, which was what Anne was going on about (or so I understood from her nice guy comment). But of course it concerns me in the sense the it interests me. That’s what I meant when I asked where did I say I was concerned. So no, I’m not in bad faith. It’s pretty clear that I’m just stupid for missing the apparently very clear messages that Natalie sent about that not being her real/legal name. So this begs the question, does that mean that only smart people are worthy of being exposed to the message Natalie’s blog is trying to pass? Similarly, if someone isn’t a native English speaker and because of that misses something, is that person not worthy of getting the message? And also, given that I was called a transphobic just because I used quotation marks on Natalie’s name in a content not related to transgender, only because Natalie is a transgender, is calling me stupid for not getting some text xenophobic if I’m a non native English speaker? I know these are uncomfortable questions, otherwise I would have gotten an answer by now, but still I think it’s important that these are made, specially in a blog that is vocal about how the atheist community isn’t inclusive enough.

  193. Beowulf says

    Really?! Are you really trying to make the argument, that if I don’t read her blog enough, then I should just shut up? Are you really saying this? Are you really saying, that if someone doesn’t participate enough in something, then they should not make comments or criticisms? Are you absolutely sure you want to stand behind this one? Thread carefully on this one…

  194. says

    Now I don’t even know what you are talking about. Yes, peopel who don’t speak English can’t understand Natalie’s blog, which is written in English. People who don’t speak English well will understand it less well than people who do.

  195. says

    You definitely shouldn’t complain about how she doesn’t address things if you haven’t read enough to know where your complaint has any basis.

  196. hieropants says

    So this begs the question, does that mean that only smart people are worthy of being exposed to the message Natalie’s blog is trying to pass?

    The fact that Natalie is using a pseudonym is not critical to understanding the articles she writes.

    And also, given that I was called a transphobic just because I used quotation marks on Natalie’s name in a content not related to transgender, only because Natalie is a transgender, is calling me stupid for not getting some text xenophobic if I’m a non native English speaker?

    You were called transphobic because you used quotation marks on Natalie’s name after other posters had already explained that transphobic people use scare quotes on trans people’s names in order to implicate that their gender, and therefore name, isn’t real. They thought you had read that post and decided to use the scare quotes with the full knowledge of its transphobic connotation.

    I know these are uncomfortable questions, otherwise I would have gotten an answer by now

    We’re giving you answers. You’re not listening to them. That is why I said you were arguing in bad faith.

  197. Beowulf says

    I’ll rephrase the question. If you call somebody stupid because they misunderstood an English text, and it turns out that the person is not a native English speaker, will that make the comment xenophobic.

    And, so you’re saying I was wrongly called transphobic? Is that right? So maybe I just get an apology and admission that the person was wrong and jumped to a conclusion without reading what I wrote?

  198. hieropants says

    I’ll rephrase the question. If you call somebody stupid because they misunderstood an English text, and it turns out that the person is not a native English speaker, will that make the comment xenophobic.

    Depends on the context. If a person makes an incorrect statement based on a misunderstanding, and when informed of this misunderstanding apologizes and corrects their statement, I would not consider that person stupid because sometimes people just make mistakes. If a person makes an incorrect statement based on a misunderstanding, and when informed of this misunderstanding doubles down, attempts to place the blame on the other party, and refuses to correct their initial statement, I’m pretty comfortable calling that person stupid. English-speaker or no.

    And, so you’re saying I was wrongly called transphobic? Is that right? So maybe I just get an apology and admission that the person was wrong and jumped to a conclusion without reading what I wrote?

    It was not an unreasonable assumption that you had read the discussion thread prior to submitting your own post. When you walk into an ongoing conversation, you should know what’s already been said so that everyone else doesn’t have to start over. And when you make transphobic comments from a place of ignorance, it is on you to apologize and correct yourself.

  199. Kels says

    Thing is, you were NOT called transphobic in the first place.

    I was the one who brought up that your putting Natalie’s pen name in quotes while not putting Thunderf00t’s in similar quotes was a transphobic thing to do, and it is, but you personally could have done so through ignorance rather than outright transphobia. The descriptor was attached to what you did rather than who you are, if you’re capable of seeing that difference.

    Which, at this point, I seriously doubt.

  200. Beowulf says

    hieropants, you’re dodging the question, and your post together with kels is interesting because you’re answering my question with context, and kels is saying that it is transphobic irrespectively of context. So, what gives?

    kels, so for you context is not important. So, how would you answer the question I asked above?

  201. says

    So now Jen’s not allowed to write a post criticizing one privacy invasion unless she criticizes every single other privacy invasion by everyone ever in the same post? That seems like it might end up being kind of a long post.

    Nice derail attempt. Troll.

  202. says

    Who’s the “you” who tried to get “a guy” fired? Was it me? I guess I must’ve been pretty drunk, ’cause I don’t remember it. In fact, I must’ve been so drunk that I don’t even remember getting that drunk. Man, I’m really sorry I did that. That was an awful thing for me to do.

    But, wait, surely if you’re going to blame FTB for this supposed firing attempt you must actually have one in the bloggers in mind, right, not just some random unknown commenter? So maybe it was Jen who did this? Or PZ? Or Ed Brayton? Surely, if you’re going to make this accusation, you must have something to link this supposed firing attempt to one or more specific FTB bloggers. Surely you’re not just going on Thunderf00t’s vague report that some unknown person made these firing-attempt phone calls at around the same time that some FTB bloggers wrote posts about how annoying the guy’s tweet was? Surely you’re not just going around making wild accusations with essentially no evidence at all? Because if you were that wouldn’t be very skeptical, and I’m sure that, as a fan of Thunderf00t, you’re a very very skeptical person.

    As for doc-dropping, you do understand that Thunderf00t has already brazenly engaged in a massive privacy violation by eavesdropping on and recording emails on a mailing list which he had been told he was no longer permitted to access, right? And that he’s also brazenly engaged in a second massive privacy violation by sharing the contents of those emails with other unauthorized parties and publishing excerpts on his blog? Thunderf00t’s actions to date have already demonstrated that he has no respect for the clearly-established privacy boundaries of the FTB bloggers. He can scream until he’s blue in the face that of course he would never take the next step and out any pseudonymous bloggers (his narrow definition of “dropping docs”), but at this point the people he’s wronged have no good reason to trust him to be a responsible custodian of their private information any more. It’s not conspiracy theorizing to for them to point this out. (And it’s also not conspiracy theorizing even if they *didn’t* have any reason to believe he’d do it — a conspiracy generally requires more than one conpsirator, so unless you’re suggesting that Thunderf00t has multiple personalities, I’d recommend you find a more appropriate bit of hyperbole to apply here.)

    Anyway, the tl;dr version: As others have said before me, bugger off, troll.

  203. says

    I see in your other response to me above that you really do seem to have a flair for attempted mind-reading. But let’s just have a look at the particular instance referenced in this comment, shall we?

    “Stupid people are also entitled to clarity in the texts they read, specially if they are of a non-technical nature, don’t you agree? Or maybe you think that only really smart people are entitled to read texts defending equal rights to LGBT people?”

    Is that what you think?

    No.

    What about if someone isn’t a native English speaker, misses some nuances of sublime written English and thus misses the all important meaning hidden in the undertext. Wouldn’t then call him stupid and asshole and the sort, equal to a racist and xenophobic attitude, even if unintended?

    Trying to intepret around your major grammar fail and your subtle misrepresentation of my actions here, I think my answer to this one is also “No,” as in, “No, I would not think that someone had stupid opinions or was being an asshole if the only reason they failed to understand something was because they were not a native English speaker.”

    So someone writes some confused and ambiguous text, and if somebody misses the point that’s their fault?

    Aaah, wait, I already said “No” to your previous question! Now this doesn’t make any sense! M’aidez! M’aidez! Eject! Eject!

    Do you think Jonah Lehrer would get away with that, saying that in his text there were some subtle hints that his Bob Dylan quotes were actually fake?

    Oh god, the eject button’s not working! I’m going to die! Tell my cats I love them! Scatter my ashes by the sea! Aaaaaaaaaahhhhh…*fwoom*

    ———

    D00d, seriously. Grow up already. So you didn’t know that Natalie uses a pseudonym. So the fuck what?

  204. Beowulf says

    “If you call somebody stupid because they misunderstood an English text, and it turns out that the person is not a native English speaker, will that make the comment xenophobic.” ?

    You are right though, I did forget the question mark earlier.

  205. says

    No, I’m really trying to make the argument that if you can’t handle being told you’re wrong, you should shut up until you’ve actually done enough homework to be sure that you’re right.

    You could’ve avoided this particular little dispute either by actually doing your research on whether Natalie’s pseudonym was public before you started spinning your own ignorance about her nym into a hyperbolic whine about “credibility”, or by accepting our correction of your false premises and altering the rest of your understanding of the situation based on that correction. Instead, like every good Star Trek captain (Janeway and that douchebag on Enterprise not being counted as good captains), you found a third way out of the two-pronged dilemma, and pitched a massive shit fit while doubling down on your pre-existing idiocy. And now all the rest of us get to clean up the spattered feces. I guess you certainly do know how to boldly go, I’ll hand you that one.

  206. says

    Man, I thought I was being so clever subbing “pi radians” in for “180 degrees” here, and Beowulf didn’t even deign to respond. My hopes and dreams have been crushed forever.

  207. hieropants says

    I did answer you. It depends on the context.

    If you were aware that the person in question was not a native speaker, and the “stupid” comment was directed specifically at the ability of the person to speak or understand English, I would say that’s xenophobic.

    If you were not aware that the person in question was not a native speaker and the “stupid” comment was directed specifically at the ability of the person to speak or understand English, it might make you an asshole. There are many reasons why even native speakers trip up on speaking or interpreting words – people get tired, or stressed, or have disorders of all sorts that make it difficult to understand others or express themselves, or just plain make mistakes. I wouldn’t disparage someone on a single instance of misinterpreting something or misspeaking, because I’ve done that myself and I understand that it happens sometimes.

    If the “stupid” comment was directed at a person’s willful ignorance, on the other hand, that I am perfectly comfortable agreeing with.

    But since nobody here has called anyone else “stupid”, I confess I don’t see the relevance of the question you’re asking.

  208. says

    hieropants, to be fair, I *did* call Beowulf’s opinions stupid (although not him), and I stand by that until he retracts his hyperbolic whining about how his personal ignorance of Natalie’s pseudonymity affects her credibility.

    Not being aware that she uses a pseudonym wasn’t stupid, just ignorant. Insisting that his ignorance has any impact on her credibility is stupid, as is doubling down on that over and over and over no matter how many times it’s explained to him that he’s wrong. Another thing that’s stupid is getting hung up on this incredibly important question of who is stupid and how stupid they are rather than just *retracting his ignorant fucking bullshit* and apologizing for it.

    This could be over in seconds, and he could be back to being all not-stupid-opinioned and not-being-an-asshole like he was before he posted here, if only he’d just walk back the slimy things he said about Natalie and FTB. And he still can’t manage to do that, because he’d rather spend hours squirming around trying to find some way that he can be right even though he was completely fucking wrong, instead of spending five seconds accepting the correction and then moving on with his life.

  209. says

    Unfortunately, I can’t accept that. See, it turns out that “hieropants” is not a real persona, even though we were made to believe it was. This clearly undermines the credibility of this character, and of the entirety of trigonometry. What else about tau is not really true, even though it is made to believe it is?!

  210. says

    I see where the confusion is coming. I didn’t say I was concerned in the sense that I’m worried, which was what Anne was going on about (or so I understood from her nice guy comment). But of course it concerns me in the sense the it interests me. That’s what I meant when I asked where did I say I was concerned.

    You sure used a lot of exclamation points in your original comment for someone who is merely “interested”. But if you want to admit that you’re just here for the slime and aren’t even trying to *pretend* that you have friendly intentions, I’m perfectly willing to accept that admission. Thanks for letting us know where you stand.

    So no, I’m not in bad faith.

    Oh yes you are. Good faith means that when you’re shown to be wrong, you accept the correction and update your opinions to match. You have yet to show any evidence that you’re even *trying* to do this.

  211. says

    Nice reading comprehension, troll. In fact, the following was my initial, primary argument:

    It was a public phone conference. PZ had permission to listen. *Everybody* who wanted to had permission to listen. The only thing the code let him do was ask a genuine question when the organizers were controlling the flow of questions and only letting softballs through, in order to continue to present a shiny happy PR image. Say what you want about whether or not PZ should’ve muscled his way onto the air when they didn’t want him there, but unlike Thunderf00t, he didn’t violate anybody’s privacy or threaten anybody’s safety in doing so. Now slime off back to whatever dank hole you crawled out of with this lying bullshit.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/03/28/i-always-aim-to-misbehave/

    “You’re an idiot,” was just the cherry on top. Way to prove that it was completely and utterly warranted.

  212. Beowulf says

    Asking questions about the meaning of your writing is neither mind reading, nor misinterpreting your actions. It’s not interpreting at all actually, is seeking clarification. And that’s one of the problems of your tone, you get so sucked up in the verbal abuse part of your texts that you forget that they need to be clear. I’m assuming here of course, that you are trying to communicate, and not just… well… spouting verbal abuse at someone who disagrees with you.

    Anyway, most of the other people here are starting to understand what the problem with the general answer I got his, and they are taking a much more cautious stand (so kudos to them) but you seem to somewhat miss it. But I’ll wrap it up for you, as you seem to be loosing track of the bigger picture.

    So, I got disappointed because I realized that Natalie Reed is a pseudonym, and to me that undermines the credibility of this character because it turns out that this character isn’t actually someone willing to risk everything by coming out and openly talk about sensitive issues like transgender, drug abuse, and sexual abuse. It turns out though, that she had made this clear before, and was ridicularized for that. This unfortunately, makes a few unfortunate assumptions, that I’m only entitled to understand this fact if I read every single post in her blog (which I’m not), and that the fact that I didn’t means I’m not entitled to speak about it (which I am). I’m then given a text as proof that she made this fact clear, I read the text, and the text doesn’t help, because it is not a text saying, “no this is not my real name, so no, I’m not that brave and no I’m not risking that much by coming out”. The text does mention the word pseudonym but only to refer to the name “Natalie Wright” as the pseudonym she WOULD use, not one she IS using. Which inevitably raises the issue that, her texts are often confused and unclear, and in the case of that particular, this was done on purpose to highlight the ambiguity words (in this case, when used as given names) can have. It was an exercise on literary aesthetics, not an exercise of literary clarity. So, inevitably, what you’re saying is that only people who are in capacity of extraordinary literary comprehension skills are able to get an accurate picture of the blog. This means that people who for some reason lack some skills in interpreting text written in English are not entitled to understand what she writes, and that includes not only daft people (which would include me because we already concluded that I’m just stupid), but also non native English speakers (who can speak English but may miss some subtleties; you do realize there are more than just people who speak English, people who don’t, and people who speak badly don’t you?) people with some learning disabilities, etc.etc., are going to get the wrong message from that blog.

    So, with your rush to engage in verbal abuse and denigration of someone who made that point, without trying to understand what the point really was, you have just risked engaging yourself in discriminatory/phobic attitudes to someone you have no idea who they are. And no, I’m not obliged to disclose personal information to you to have to avoid this sort of abuse. I do not have to tell you I’m dyslexic to avoid being called stupid when trying to make the argument that a particular body of text is not clearly written. Other people here have realized this, and that’s why they re answered my question as, well depends if that was really the reason, and it depends if I knew about it. Because this person is now afraid that I’ll just hit back and say, well, I’m not a native English speaker. But I won’t, because I already said I do not personalise my arguments, so you are all safe there.

    You finished your last post with, so what? So what, is that your actions drive people away from the blog/cause. This is the same thing as a woman who has been to a couple of atheist conferences only, and never herself experienced harrassment, saying that she feels atheist conferences are not welcoming to women, and someone replying that if she doesn’t go to enough conferences an never experienced anything herself, then she should just shut up because she is just a stupid hysterical feminazi who wants to destroy the atheist movement. So, you just made a Thunderf00t style argument, directed at a number of other minority groups! You also assumed that I’m a white american male Thunderf00t supporter, and that I have a degree in a STEM field to which trigonometry is relevant, and that my failing to pick up on your piradius quote further highlights my stupidity.

    You know Anne, you remind me of the Sartre Hell quote, and yes I’ve phrased this vaguely as test to see how smart you really are. Have a nice life and enjoy the little elitist atheist/skeptic bubble you seem so keen on keeping just for yourself and your friends. An that’s the last you’ll hear from me, which is obviously what you want but reveals a lot about your character.

  213. Beowulf says

    Fair enough Anne, you didn’t call me sutpid. You said that I’m not being able to understand the text you sent me, and given that I’m not failing to understand it on purpose, then that must mean that I’m stupid. But you did directed verbal abuse at me, see here:

    “No, you’re being criticized… for being a disingenuous asshole”

    “…you’re also simultaneously being a complete slimebag”

    That sounds like a fairly clear personal statement right there. Or am I understanding the text wrong… again…

  214. Beowulf says

    kels, I didn’t use quotes because I was referring to her adopted name after changing sex. I used quotes because I was referring to the pseudonym she adopted in addition to her adopted name after changing sex. I didn’t use it on Thunderf00t because it’s clear from the name that that is not a real/legal name. The fact that Thunderf00t is not transgender and Natalie is, matter nothing, because I would have done the same thing if Thunderf00t was being adopted by a transgender also. If you still think this is transphobic even in spite of context, then you have to agree that calling a non native English speaker stupid for failing to understand an English text is xenophobic, and that person deserves an apology, even if that was due to ignorance.

  215. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Since you have exhibited your complete lack of reading comprehension, your gullibility and credulity, I must ask – why are you not at church? Since you believe anything Thunderdouche tells you, and you lack the ability to think for yourself or examine evidence, why are you not at church? Go back where you belong.

  216. says

    You know, you could’ve made all that a lot shorter. Next time try this:

    “Oops, I didn’t realize that Natalie wasn’t trying to pretend to not be pseudonymous. I guess this doesn’t have anything to do with her credibility after all. Sorry about that.”

    Anyway, glad to know you’re fucking off now like you should’ve twenty posts ago. You won’t be missed.

  217. says

    Beowulf says: August 14, 2012 at 2:59 AM
    [...]

    Wait a minute, does that mean that you were lying when you said this:

    Beowulf says: August 14, 2012 at 2:40 AM
    [...]

    An that’s the last you’ll hear from me, which is obviously what you want but reveals a lot about your character.

    This clearly undermines the credibility of this Beowulf character. What else about “him” is not really true, even though it is made to believe it is?!

  218. says

    So it isn’t worth reading unless she does nothing to minimize risk of some nut coming after her? Why should she have to put everything on the line?

  219. says

    “Since you have exhibited your complete lack of reading comprehension, your gullibility and credulity, I must ask – why are you not at church? Since you believe anything Thunderdouche tells you, and you lack the ability to think for yourself or examine evidence, why are you not at church? Go back where you belong.”

    What you said here is hilariously ironic considering how, when it comes to dealing with people who criticize and make fun of their website, the bloggers and users of Freethought Blogs act more like a cult instead of the community of enlightened individuals they claim to be. It appears that atheists, despite not believing in God, still have their own holy figures. If you dare to mock Pope PZ or his ilk, then his thuggish followers will bully you into oblivion. You accuse me of lacking the ability to think for myself, yet you gladly swallow any cracked-out bullshit the Freethought Bloggers write without giving it a second thought. Take a look in the mirror, you dumb fucks.

  220. hieropants says

    I do like the image of PZ in a Pope Hat, but I have to dock you points for your utter lack of originality – this Pope PZ meme has been run into the ground by now, and you really need a fresh approach here.

    In fact, your entire NO YOU ARE THE RELIGIOUS argument is completely devoid of context or meaning and has no actual relation to the discussion thread above. It reads like it was assembled by a bot that was fed on atheist forums and comment threads; you could copy-paste this post, substitute out “PZ” and “Freethought Blogs” for your target of choice, and throw it anywhere on the internet you wanted – it would read as exactly the same tired, banal ragepost that people glance at for a moment before registering it as content-free drivel and moving on to the next comment. The only thing missing is liberal use of the phrase “sheeple” and maybe a reference to Ayn Rand or two.

  221. says

    How does Freethought Blogs act like a cult? Let me count the ways: the secret email, the shunning of those who express ideas contrary to the status quo, the way they conspired to make TF “an outcast and pariah”, the disproportionate response to that one innocent tweet, the list goes on and on. Their actions in each of those cases could easily have been done by, say, the church of Scientology. It’s damned dirty and I don’t like it.

  222. Loqi says

    “The secret email?” Seriously? Having a listserv is like being a cult.? Holy shit, that means my IT department has hundreds of cults! I’m simultaneously in like 200 of them. Really, you’re on hundreds of “secret email” lists as well, whether you know it or not (I suspect not, since you obviously know nothing of email lists). Every organization has them, and every practically every email address ever created is on them. Saying that having a private listserv makes you cultish is like saying having a nose makes you cultish.

  223. oolon says

    One thing I would say in support of Thunderf00t is that his nested threads are a lot more readable than here… But if you changed it then you’d probably be damned for eternity for stealing his WordPress Theme.

  224. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    BreadGod:

    the shunning of those who express ideas contrary to the status quo,

    It sounds like you agree with Thunderf00t on a number of issues.
    Do you believe there is a problem with harassment at atheist/skeptic conventions?
    Do you think these conventions should adopt harassment policies?

    Personally, I’m going to trust that when women say they’ve been harassed, they’ve been harassed. I’m going to believe them when they say it’s unclear who they’re supposed to voice their concerns to.

    Thunderf00t’s ‘contrary’ ideas were:
    1-a dismissal of the very real problems of sexual harassment faced by women at Atheist/Skeptic conventions
    2-a refusal to admit that these conventions needed to adopt harassment policies.
    When you’re told that your position is wrong, and you’re provided with the evidence to show you’re wrong, don’t double down and insist that you’re right.
    That’s what Thunderf00t did.
    That’s why (well, one of the reasons why) he was shunned.
    Deservedly so.

  225. jackhuskey says

    Nope, What I am saying is that what TF did or might of did privacy wise pales in comparison to what our president did and nobody here seems very upset with that.

  226. says

    You know, if all you wanted to do was raise awareness of the issue you’re mentioning and/or suggest blogging topics to Jen, there are a hell of a lot better ways to do it than by jumping in on a post where she talks about something bad somebody did to her and her fellow bloggers and accusing her of being a hypocrite for not blogging about ALL THE THINGS.

    Also, way to be a creepy xenophobe by going out of your way to emphasize Obama’s middle name, as if it’s even remotely relevant to whatever political malfeasance he may or may not have committed.

    So I’m gonna go with, fuck off troll.

  227. jackhuskey says

    So, basicly… It is OK when our side does it but when someone does it to someone we like then it is wrong. Gotcha.

  228. jackhuskey says

    The right answer is “It was wrong when TF did it and it was wrong when B. Hussien Obama did it too.”

  229. says

    But, okay, for the people who aren’t disingenuous trolls who might see this discussion, the reason this troll is a troll is because, instead of actually making the case for hir viewpoint about hir pet issue in some appropriate location, ze’s just coming in here and using this issue as a bludgeon to try to silence people who are discussing a totally unrelated issue.

    In addition ze’s using xenophobic dogwhistles like writing Obama’s name in a way that emphasizes the part of the name that sounds Muslim to American ears. This is a common trick on the part of trolls and other assholes who want to make Obama seem alien and therefore easier to hate.

    In addition, ze is completely non-responsive to any comments directed to hir. All ze does is twist every response around into an excuse to repeat hir original attack.

    Conclusion: jackhuskey is commenting here only because ze thinks ze has found some slim excuse to slime all over Jen and her commenters, not because ze actually cares about either the issue in question here, or even the issue that ze is so excited about claiming is more important than the actual topic of discussion. After all, jackhuskey could probably make a lot more headway in raising consciousness about this obscure bit of news that ze is so stuck on if ze were to actually discuss the substance of that news instead of just railing about how terrible people are for not already talking about that instead of whatever their own concerns are, and if ze were to discuss that substance in a thread which is still substantially active and where this news is actually closer to being on topic.

    In fact, hey jack, I’ve got a suggestion for you, why not take this to PZ’s Thunderdome thread? Everything is on topic there, and you’ll have an audience too! If you make your case well enough, PZ might even take notice of your issue and do a post on it. So if you honestly care about getting the word out about whatever it is that Obama supposedly did, you’ll go there. If you just stick around here to throw around slime, then you’re making it clear that the slime is what you came here for to begin with. It’s up to you.

  230. says

    1. These problems are blown completely out of proportion. As is the case with school shootings and other bad things, harassment at atheist conventions is a rare occurrence. The reason why they get so much attention is because they happen so rarely.

    2. Laws. Good people don’t need them and bad people don’t obey them. When conferences start handing out sheets stating that they automatically assume you’re a potential rapist, people will start seeing you as a complete joke. My point is, these harassment policies won’t do jack shit. The men who have a clear intent to harass will completely ignore these policies and harass women anyway. Giving everyone a long and painfully obvious spiel about how harassing women is wrong is just a waste of time.

  231. jackhuskey says

    And it’s good to know that when you don’t have anything to refute an argument you go to ad-hominem and vulgarity. Maybe you should work on that? Folks might respect your arguments more if yo did.

  232. says

    So you’re too chicken to actually go somewhere where you might actually have to defend your ideas in front of an audience, and you get the vapors over naughty words, yet you think you represent “folks” who have opinions worth attending to? Good to know. Bye troll. See you in Thunderdome, if you ever decide to actually put on your big boy pants and make your case.

  233. strange gods before me ॐ says

    I don’t think Obama did anything you’re claiming, but even if it were true, it would not be worse than Thunderfoot. Politicians have what’s referred to as a “significantly diminished privacy interest” — i.e. they do not have the same right to privacy that private citizens do.

  234. Possum says

    Actually, the article specifically states that the permission set up on the mailing list made it so TF could re-add himself.

    Therefore, he didn’t hack anything, he HAD permission. You can’t use ignorance of a program you set up as an excuse to threaten legal action against someone you don’t want on the list, when your own set up allows them to get on it.

  235. says

    It doesn’t work that way. If you tell someone they aren’t allowed in your house anymore, and take their key, but forget to change the locks so they get back in with their back-up, that doesn’t mean they are justified.

  236. says

    Privacy violation does not require some kind of advanced technical |-|4XX0Ring. All it requires is accessing something that you do not have permission to access. Thunderf00t did not have permission to access the list after he was removed, even though (unknown to the list members and administrators) he apparently had the capability to do so. Therefore he engaged in a privacy violation. The means he used to do so are not relevant to this question.

  237. says

    And, to be clear, taking advantage of inadvertently set “permissions” on a computer system is not (morally or legally) the same as receiving the actual permission of the individual who owns the computer. If I walked up to an ATM and discovered that the money storage drawer had been inadvertently left unlocked, that wouldn’t mean that the bank was giving me permission to take the money in the drawer. It would mean that they made a mistake. Me taking the money would still be theft.

  238. Rumtopf says

    Oh no, some words with clear guidelines(tucked in with all those other rules and regulations that come with attending a private event, THE HORRORRR) with a procedure for reporting and dealing with harassment will be the death of this movement!

    Ignoring that, yanno, most every workplace and most conferences for other communities have harassment policies… Who cares if a harassment policy lets conference goers know that they’re safe IF something were to happen(I never did see anyone claim that harassment was more prevalent in the atheism/skeptic community, but oh what a bloody convenient position to attack!), who cares that harassers can be ejected and prevented from returning to further conferences?(What was that about good people not needing laws again?)
    Forget that, because some whiner might read the anti-sexual harassment policy and, instead of nodding, agreeing and moving along like a rational person who gives a shit about others, somefreakinghow assumes it’s an attack directed at them. WHY would you do that?! I don’t get that. Do you read the laws regarding murder and act all offended because you thought you had been accused of being a potential murderer?

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