My ladder doesn’t go that high »« Fat, ugly, desperate or a bitch who deserves to be slapped, hit or gang-raped

You come to expect the vitriol

Laurie Penny knows about misogynist abuse of writers who have the effrontery to be women.

You come to expect it, as a woman writer, particularly if you’re political. You
come to expect the vitriol, the insults, the death threats. After a while, the
emails and tweets and comments containing graphic fantasies of how and where and with what kitchen implements certain pseudonymous people would like to rape you cease to be shocking, and become merely a daily or weekly annoyance…

An opinion, it seems, is the short skirt of the internet. Having one and
flaunting it is somehow asking an amorphous mass of almost-entirely male
keyboard-bashers to tell you how they’d like to rape, kill and urinate on you.
This week, after a particularly ugly slew of threats, I decided to make just a
few of those messages public on Twitter, and the response I received was
overwhelming. Many could not believe the hate I received, and many more began to
share their own stories of harassment, intimidation and abuse.

Note to self: Follow Laurie Penny on Twitter.

Perhaps it should be comforting when calling a woman fat and ugly is the best
response to her arguments, but it’s a chill comfort, especially when one
realises, as I have come to realise over the past year, just how much time and
effort some vicious people are prepared to expend trying to punish and silence a
woman who dares to be ambitious, outspoken, or merely present in a public
space.

Quite. The time and effort create a very sinister impression of dedicated, indeed downright Spartan, rage and hatred. The lack of proportion is unnerving.

Many commentators, wondering aloud where all the strong female voices are,
close their eyes to how normal this sort of threat has become. Most mornings,
when I go to check my email, Twitter and Facebook accounts, I have to sift
through threats of violence, public speculations about my sexual preference and
the odour and capacity of my genitals, and attempts to write off challenging
ideas with the declaration that, since I and my friends are so very
unattractive, anything we have to say must be irrelevant.

And one starts to think it’s not worth it.

I’d like to say that none of this bothered me – to be one of those women who
are strong enough to brush off the abuse, which is always the advice given by
people who don’t believe bullies and bigots can be fought. Sometimes I feel that
speaking about the strength it takes just to turn on the computer, or how I’ve
been afraid to leave my house, is an admission of weakness. Fear that it’s
somehow your fault for not being strong enough is, of course, what allows
abusers to continue to abuse.

I believe the time for silence is over. If we want to build a truly fair and
vibrant community of political debate and social exchange, online and offline,
it’s not enough to ignore harassment of women, LGBT people or people of colour
who dare to have opinions. Free speech means being free to use technology and
participate in public life without fear of abuse – and if the only people who
can do so are white, straight men, the internet is not as free as we’d like to
believe.

Well then, the internet is not as free as we’d like to believe.

Comments

  1. Carlie says

    I’m very glad that bloggers are starting to be outspoken about this. It’s something that honestly, people who aren’t doing it don’t have a clue about. I was shocked when some of the blogs I read started occasionally doing “this is what I get in email every single day” posts with examples. The more this is brought out, the more people will see how big of an issue it is. And although I’m a huge proponent of pseudonymity, I think that every blog should have a policy that direct threats result in all identifying information the blogger has on the threatener being published.

  2. julian says

    Free speech means being free to use technology and
    participate in public life without fear of abuse

    Sadly this gets largely ignored by ‘FREE SPEECH!!!111!’ crowd. Hate speech, constant harassment, ect is just another means of censorship.

  3. Didaktylos says

    I think that the law should treat malicious blog comments exactly the same as “poison pen” letters.

  4. says

    Personally, I like PZ’s policy of posting full identifying information of anyone who threatens him with violence. I wonder what would happen if feminist bloggers adopted that to some extent.

    To anyone who thinks only women get this, head on over to Pharyngula, put “I get email” in the search bar, and have fun. It’s not just women, or even just people with inborn qualities. Positions — like feminism, and for that matter atheism — can also be marginalized.

    And the bullshit that is thrown up to intellectually marginalize the positions of feminism and atheism is honestly worse than the insults and threats, because the bullshit is people who aren’t insulting and threatening you defending the actions of those who are while trying to look good for not straight-out insulting or threatening you.

  5. says

    Julian #2:

    Sadly this gets largely ignored by ‘FREE SPEECH!!!111!’ crowd. Hate speech, constant harassment, ect is just another means of censorship.

    Indeed. Your right to your fist ends when it touches my face. Your freedom to speak does not give you the freedom to make others unable or unwilling to speak.

  6. David Leech says

    Sorry I have to disagree here as I can never avocate censorship in any form what so ever. I do accept that I can never understand what outspoken women have to put up with or even being a women in a world where you are second or third class citizens or not even a person at all, as some cultures of the world see it. Nor can I know what it is like to be a person who is non white or has an alternative sexuality. I am a white hetrosexual male and I make no apologies for it as I was born that way. I can only empathise not truly understand.

    But what would censorship of these vile opinions achieve? Shaming them into silence would be a short term solution. Though their thoughts will still exist in their minds, the resentment would still exist in their minds. These people who hold these views will still exist and their families will still be around and maybe they have no voice. Who will challenge their views if the cannot be heard outside their local. This bile must be seen, heard and read that way it can be challenge and opposed.

    Yes julian I’m defending free speech or FREE SPEECH as you put it and I’m not ashamed to do so. I’m no patriot as I consider myself to be a citizen of the world and I don’t care how pretentious that sounds. I have more in common with atheists, freethinkers and secularist than I have in common with the UK population who the majority are Tories and royalist. So there is not much I would give my one and only life for but free speech is one I would gladly die for as no society ever advanced by curtaining free speech.

  7. julian says

    @David Leech

    So how exactly does encouraging an atmosphere that marginalizing and limits the free speech of minorities and the disenfranchised protecting free speech?

  8. Josh Slocum says

    Fuck me. Another one who doesn’t understand that “free speech” is not equal to “you may say anything to anyone at any time in my living room no matter how hateful, abusive, or awful it may be. I may not encourage others to react negatively to your bile nor may I tell you that you are not allowed to insult my guests while in my home.”

    What’s wrong with you David Leech? Have you even thought that through beyond a millisecond? Do you honestly think YOU are required to put up with any utterance of any character whatsoever in your house, on your blog, and do nothing about it? Must you tolerate someone calling your wife a cocksucking whore? If you chastise that person are you engaging in censorship?

    Jesus Christ. Go back to remedial How to Think About Things class.

  9. Josh Slocum says

    So there is not much I would give my one and only life for but free speech is one I would gladly die for as no society ever advanced by curtaining free speech

    One’s blog is not “society.” Social disapproval is not equal to government censorship. Freedom of speech in Western democracies is a right to be free from government suppression of speech. It is not a right to be free from social shaming and societal consequences for your speech.

    Is that clear enough to you yet?

  10. Philip Legge says

    Repeating part of my comment of yesterday, this time in reply to the idiotic strawman raised by David Leech:

    I for one am sick and tired of seeing the inane “But, but… free speech! Censorship!” canard being thrown into play time after time when the issue comes up (as cited by Rosie at #11 [of the thread from yesterday]): misogyny is apparently viewed as a legitimate form of [hate] speech, rather than one that generally should have no place in civilised discourse. Bloggers should not have to put up with morally reprehensible bastards doing the on-line equivalent of defecating in their private space: to rule it out from one’s blog is most emphatically not inhibiting free speech or censorship, it is insisting on a civil level of discourse. The trolls will have to slope off to some other place on the Internet where they can get away with their desire to engage in unbridled hate speech.

  11. hotshoe says

    The trolls will have to slope off to some other place on the Internet where they can get away with their desire to engage in unbridled hate speech.

    And if it turns out, after a sufficiently sustained campaign to get sexual hate speech shunned off the net, that the only “other place” that trolls can get away with their desire is in the privacy of their own minds ? Great ! Wonderful !

    Decent society has always forbidden certain topics and choices of words, enforced not by government action, but by shared social disapproval and refusal to admit the transgressors into our spaces.

    It’s past time that sexually hateful speech is included in those disapproved and shunned choices.

  12. says

    Though their thoughts will still exist in their minds, the resentment would still exist in their minds.

    Well, keep it there. All of us have shitty thoughts at one time or another – what kind of crazy Romanticism says that we are supposed to voice them? In ordinary life we don’t do it because we’ll piss people off. Why should it be different on blogs?

    Though I do think you’re a [okay, it might be deleted], and I’m willing to say so.

    These people who hold these views will still exist and their families will still be around and maybe they have no voice. Who will challenge their views if the cannot be heard outside their local.

    Who gives a fuck, except for some poor sod who gets the unlucky seat next to him in the local? If he sits in the Dog and Duck and tells his neighbour, by the way that girlfriend of yours is a mouthy cow who really should be gang-raped, I hope he gets his face smacked in.

    This bile must be seen, heard and read that way it can be challenge and opposed.

    If someone says to me, you’re a fat ugly bitch who’s desperate for a shag I’m not going to give them any response-juice. They’re not looking for reasoned argument – they’re looking for attention. It’s like harassment in the street – show you’re angry, upset or what have you it’s all a big fucking laugh to the harasser.

  13. Pteryxx says

    The whole point of misogynistic hate speech is to silence women’s voices – intimidate them, punish their outspokenness, drive them out of discussion, and attack their credibility and reputations. Harassment is actually an attack on free speech.

    That’s why the MRA trolls, for instance, only bring up men’s issues when they can derail a discussion about women’s issues by doing so. I’d bet most of them wouldn’t bother ranting if they couldn’t victimize a woman in the process.

    And there’s no point in challenging hate speech, because it’s not a viewpoint, just a verbal assault. The way to counter an assault is to prevent it hitting the target. Put another way, the message sent by hate speech isn’t the verbal content; it’s the social message that the target isn’t worth protecting.

  14. Carlie says

    But what would censorship of these vile opinions achieve?

    It would show them, and everyone else, that those views are not tolerated in a decent society. It would show them, and everyone else, that there are ways to treat people and ways not to treat people, and it would create societal standards of the sort that help keep fistfights from breaking out all the time. Seriously, do you think that there was no reason to ever actively censor slurs like nigger and kike and wop? Do you think that they would have naturally gone away without any pressure from society?

  15. Philip Legge says

    hotshoe,

    it’s telling that the “Free speech! Censorship!” argument comes up almost every time. But I don’t imagine sexual hate speech could be banished from the Internet, even if it were almost universally shunned: there are plenty of male supremacist “cyber-cesspools” inhabited by trolls, and mocked by people like David Futrelle over at manboobz. The posting of a feminist thread on Pharyngula routinely acts as a signal for the trolls to leave their dank sewers in an attempt to colonise other spaces. To quote my favourite science-fiction show, to repulse these invaders is not censorship… “this is pest control”.

    The stronger counter-argument, where rights like free speech are concerned, is that the assertion of my rights come to an abrupt end when they come into conflict with the expression of yours, and what is needed is proper legal recognition that Internet harassment has consequences in the same way that hate speech directed at individuals and groups does in the real world. The Wild West meme that “it’s the Internet, guys, there are no laws here” is not at all persuasive that society should tolerate civil wrongs merely because they are expressed as words and images converted into binary digits and transmitted as electrical signals.

  16. Carlie says

    But I don’t imagine sexual hate speech could be banished from the Internet, even if it were almost universally shunned: there are plenty of male supremacist “cyber-cesspools” inhabited by trolls, and mocked by people like David Futrelle over at manboobz.

    That’s fine; the point is that people are free not to tolerate it in their own spaces. That can be done by moderating the posts that appear in their own blogs, it can be done by banning certain known assholes from commenting, it can be done by publishing all identifying details of people who make threats against them, it can be done by putting the threateners’ comments on a separate page and ruthlessly mocking them (such as the “Richard Dawkins reads his hate mail” videos). What doesn’t have to happen is for it to sit there like shit on the page unchallenged.

  17. says

    This bile must be seen, heard and read that way it can be challenge and opposed.

    Really not. Really really not. That’s maybe the silliest idea behind free speech absolutism – or maybe second only to “the truth always wins in the end.”

    Anti-semitic bile was seen heard and read freely in Nazi Germany; how did that work out? Racist bile was everyday discourse in the Jim Crow South; did that get it challenged and opposed? Lotsa anti-Bosnian bile in Serbia in the 90s; good outcome?

    Hate speech isn’t like Dracula, you know; it doesn’t wither the instant it’s exposed to daylight. Speech can work people up instead of prompting them to challenge and oppose the speech. There is no Magic Mechanism insuring that bile gets challenged and opposed every time it’s uttered.

    Anyway, even if it did – what would the goal of that be? Ulitmately to make it disappear, right? No point in challenging and opposing it if you want it to continue. Wull – that’s what we’re doing.

  18. David Leech says

    julian says:
    November 6, 2011 at 1:15 pm
    @David Leech
    So how exactly does encouraging an atmosphere that marginalizing and limits the free speech of minorities and the disenfranchised protecting free speech?

    It is the minorities and the disenfranchised is why free speech must be defended at all cost.

    Josh Slocum says:
    November 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm
    Fuck me. Another one who doesn’t understand that “free speech” is not equal to “you may say anything to anyone at any time in my living room no matter how hateful, abusive, or awful it may be. I may not encourage others to react negatively to your bile nor may I tell you that you are not allowed to insult my guests while in my home.”
    What’s wrong with you David Leech? Have you even thought that through beyond a millisecond? Do you honestly think YOU are required to put up with any utterance of any character whatsoever in your house, on your blog, and do nothing about it? Must you tolerate someone calling your wife a cocksucking whore? If you chastise that person are you engaging in censorship?
    Jesus Christ. Go back to remedial How to Think About Things class.

    Where did I ever say that their views should not be countered, that’s my whole point about free speech. You have to know someone views in order to counter them and tell then it is wrong and here’s why.

    Josh Slocum says:
    November 6, 2011 at 1:24 pm
    So there is not much I would give my one and only life for but free speech is one I would gladly die for as no society ever advanced by curtaining free speech
    One’s blog is not “society.” Social disapproval is not equal to government censorship. Freedom of speech in Western democracies is a right to be free from government suppression of speech. It is not a right to be free from social shaming and societal consequences for your speech.
    Is that clear enough to you yet?

    Please show me where I said their views should not be challenged.

    Philip Legge says:
    November 6, 2011 at 1:48 pm
    Repeating part of my comment of yesterday, this time in reply to the idiotic strawman raised by David Leech:
    I for one am sick and tired of seeing the inane “But, but… free speech! Censorship!” canard being thrown into play time after time when the issue comes up (as cited by Rosie at #11 [of the thread from yesterday]): misogyny is apparently viewed as a legitimate form of [hate] speech, rather than one that generally should have no place in civilised discourse. Bloggers should not have to put up with morally reprehensible bastards doing the on-line equivalent of defecating in their private space: to rule it out from one’s blog is most emphatically not inhibiting free speech or censorship, it is insisting on a civil level of discourse. The trolls will have to slope off to some other place on the Internet where they can get away with their desire to engage in unbridled hate speech.

    That is every bloggers right but you are not dealing with a problem by ignoring it or censoring it.

  19. David Leech says

    Sorry about the blockquote fail I’ll have to deal with this one on one.
    DL says
    “Though their thoughts will still exist in their minds, the resentment would still exist in their minds.”
    Rosie says
    “Well, keep it there. All of us have shitty thoughts at one time or another – what kind of crazy Romanticism says that we are supposed to voice them? In ordinary life we don’t do it because we’ll piss people off. Why should it be different on blogs?
    Though I do think you’re a [okay, it might be deleted], and I’m willing to say so.”
    DL says
    “No one has the right not to be offended, I thought this was the whole atheism argument, is the rules have changed please let me know.”
    DL also says
    “These people who hold these views will still exist and their families will still be around and maybe they have no voice. Who will challenge their views if the cannot be heard outside their local.”
    Rosie says
    “Who gives a fuck, except for some poor sod who gets the unlucky seat next to him in the local? If he sits in the Dog and Duck and tells his neighbour, by the way that girlfriend of yours is a mouthy cow who really should be gang-raped, I hope he gets his face smacked in.”
    DL says
    “Sorry my bad I was talking about local as in their local area and home not the local pub, sorry for not making that clear.”
    DL also says
    “This bile must be seen, heard and read that way it can be challenge and opposed.”
    Rosie says
    “If someone says to me, you’re a fat ugly bitch who’s desperate for a shag I’m not going to give them any response-juice. They’re not looking for reasoned argument – they’re looking for attention. It’s like harassment in the street – show you’re angry, upset or what have you it’s all a big fucking laugh to the harasser.”
    DL says
    “Still those opinions are out there, do you want to deal with them or do you want to brush them under the carpet and hope they go away?”

  20. julian says

    It is the minorities and the disenfranchised is why free speech must be defended at all cost.

    But as you’ve just seen, hate speech, threats of assault and sexual slurs and comments are very effective at keeping women from voicing their opinions. They, in fact, limit the free speech of women and create unnecessary burdens for women who want to get involved or voice their views on issues.

    Why then should we not try to censor and limit that sort of thing? If what you want is a more open market for ideas why encourage or tolerate behavior that has the exact opposite effect?

    You have to know someone views in order to counter them and tell then it is wrong and here’s why.

    Unless you think ‘you fat fucking whore. I hope someone rapes you up that fat ass’ is a view point that we should calmly explain is wrong I don’t see why the above matters.

    This is to limit harassment and hate speech and create a more accepting, less hostile atmosphere for women where they can feel safe expressing their views.

  21. Carlie says

    You have to know someone views in order to counter them and tell then it is wrong and here’s why.

    Which you can do by stating “I will not tolerate comments about x, and any will be deleted from my page.” You don’t need to address people on a one-by-one basis.

  22. hotshoe says

    David Leech – this quote’s for you, since you apparently skipped it:

    And there’s no point in challenging hate speech, because it’s not a viewpoint, just a verbal assault. The way to counter an assault is to prevent it hitting the target. Put another way, the message sent by hate speech isn’t the verbal content; it’s the social message that the target isn’t worth protecting.

    Boy, this is just not that hard to understand. Sexual hate speech is NOT an argument to be countered by “tell[ing] the[m] it is wrong and here’s why”. Sexual hate speech is an assault that needs to be countered by blocking it, the same way you want to block a physical punch some assailant throws toward you. Don’t tell me you’re going to be stupid enough to stand there and insist that the bully should get to throw his punch while all you’re allowed to do is “tell the[m] it is wrong and here’s why”. C’mon, I know you’re not that dumb.

    Decent human beings are under no obligation to handicap ourselves by requiring that we “tell the[m] it is wrong and here’s why” first, before we can protect ourselves and people we care for. It’s plenty sufficient that the social rules are WE DON”T TOLERATE THAT SHIT IN OUR HOUSE. Warning or no warning, if you’re dumb enough to break the house rules, out you go.

    I can hardly tell you how disappointed I am in you, that you have returned only to make it clear you continue to forbid women any effective means of countering attacks until they meet some mythical conditions – laid out by you and you only – of “challenging their [attackers] views – in a method of which you approve.

    You are not part of the solution. You are part of the problem. I don’t like you for being part of the problem. Please check you biases and join the humans who want to be part of the solution.

  23. Josh Slocum says

    Exactly, Carlie. Not that David deserved your answer. He evaded quite reasonable (if acidly expressed) questions put to him.

    Don’t answer charges that weren’t leveled at you, David. Please answer those that were. If you need a refresher, please read my posts above (extra credit hint: no one’s claiming that you claimed we shouldn’t challenge other peoples’ views. Mmmkay?)

  24. says

    David Leech –

    Still those opinions are out there, do you want to deal with them or do you want to brush them under the carpet and hope they go away?

    I want to push them out the door so that THEY WILL GO AWAY. I don’t want to “deal with them” – there’s nothing to “deal with.” They’re not “opinions” – don’t flatter them. They’re verbal weapons. No I do not want to “deal with” verbal weapons. I want intelligent discussion, not non-stop vulgar brawling.

    I don’t want to be rude but you’re thinking in cliches, here, and you’re seeing a false dichotomy: either “censorship” or “deal with” brainless sexist name-calling. Those aren’t the only two choices; there are more than two choices.

  25. David Leech says

    Carlie says:
    November 6, 2011 at 2:31 pm
    But what would censorship of these vile opinions achieve?
    It would show them, and everyone else, that those views are not tolerated in a decent society. It would show them, and everyone else, that there are ways to treat people and ways not to treat people, and it would create societal standards of the sort that help keep fistfights from breaking out all the time. Seriously, do you think that there was no reason to ever actively censor slurs like nigger and kike and wop? Do you think that they would have naturally gone away without any pressure from society?

    Of course they wouldn’t have gone away as they where part of society as it was, show me where the privilege elite have given anything away which hasn’t been torn form their hands. It’s wrong I know, It’s unfair I know, but just look at history to see if it has been any different. You have to fight for your rights and you should, you will be surprised of the support you will get when your cause is just which it is. Just don’t think it will be easy and don’t think censorship is the answer.

  26. hotshoe says

    DL says
    “Still those opinions are out there, do you want to deal with them or do you want to brush them under the carpet and hope they go away?”

    That’s a fallacy, David Leech.

    IF the opinions are locked unsaid in some asshole’s head then they are NOT “out there” in the manner in which those same opinions, expressed verbally, are “out there”. And it’s the real-world expression of those opinions which is causing real-world harm to real women, not some hypothetical opinion inside some hypothetical un-opposed, un-challenged but silent guy’s head.

    Does that asshole’s womanhating probably leak out a little around the edges even if he’s not assaulting women with his words directly ? Yeah, probably; that’s too bad; nothing I can do about that here and now. What are you suggesting, that because we can’t solve every problem, we should solve NO problems whatsoever. No, no, you’re wrong.

    And you’re objectively wrong about “brush[ing] them under the carpet”, too. This is in fact a perfect way to get bad opinions to – eventually – die out. When people’s extremely bad ideas are not reinforced by being expressed and echoed, they tend to gradually be extinguished, like any other bad habit. But first we have to get a social understanding that we will no longer tolerate men expressing that kind of shit in public. We don’t have to change the men’s internal mental state for them, we don’t have to convince them with our brilliant arguments, we just need to get them to shut up and stop assaulting women in public.

  27. Josh Slocum says

    I’m going to make this ultra simple for you David. At my blog, or in my living room, I don’t have to put up with being called a faggot. I don’t have to let my guests be called faggots, niggers, or dykes. Do you understand that?

  28. Pteryxx says

    @David: You’re still assuming (or insisting) that the literal message of hate speech is all there is to it. You’re wrong. Just reading misogynist comments on a blog tends to dissuade women from having any presence there at all, in case they get targeted next. Stereotype threat and chilly climate have effects just from witnessing harassment leveled against a member of one’s own group. This damage is significant and happens BEFORE any discussion at all takes place. You’re advocating for marginally effective damage control in lieu of prevention.

    Stereotype threat: Wired on girls and science

    Chilly climate: Ouellette – Is it cold in here

  29. hotshoe says

    Of course they wouldn’t have gone away as they where part of society as it was, show me where the privilege elite have given anything away which hasn’t been torn form their hands. It’s wrong I know, It’s unfair I know, but just look at history to see if it has been any different. You have to fight for your rights and you should, you will be surprised of the support you will get when your cause is just which it is. Just don’t think it will be easy and don’t think censorship is the answer.

    You’re not thinking straight, David Leech:

    “You have to fight for your rights”

    BUT

    “Don’t think censorship is the answer.”

    Sorry, David Leech, you’re pathetic in your worship of the false god Free Speech. I don’t believe in your little god. You have not given one scrap of reason to suppose it’s more important than the welfare of the living human women we’re talking about here, the same women you claim “have to fight for [their] rights”. But only if they don’t trample on free speech, god forbid !!

    Do you have anything empathetic or moral or human to add to this discussion ? If it’s just an abstract issue for you, maybe you should refrain from adding any further to the damage men like you have already caused.

  30. David Leech says

    Ophelia Benson says:
    November 6, 2011 at 3:22 pm
    This bile must be seen, heard and read that way it can be challenge and opposed.
    Really not. Really really not. That’s maybe the silliest idea behind free speech absolutism – or maybe second only to “the truth always wins in the end.”
    Anti-semitic bile was seen heard and read freely in Nazi Germany; how did that work out? Racist bile was everyday discourse in the Jim Crow South; did that get it challenged and opposed? Lotsa anti-Bosnian bile in Serbia in the 90s; good outcome?
    Hate speech isn’t like Dracula, you know; it doesn’t wither the instant it’s exposed to daylight. Speech can work people up instead of prompting them to challenge and oppose the speech. There is no Magic Mechanism insuring that bile gets challenged and opposed every time it’s uttered.
    Anyway, even if it did – what would the goal of that be? Ulitmately to make it disappear, right? No point in challenging and opposing it if you want it to continue. Wull – that’s what we’re doing.

    I think you are being a little defeatist here, I admit that there is a lot of conscious raising to be done, but that never held back the suffragettes. Expose these scumbags for what they are, post a ‘I get email’ a la P Z Myers. Seriously I hate it when people have such a low opinion of society that they think they are alone. Show the world what you are putting up with and you wont believe the support you will get and not just from feminists and atheists but from believers to (OK they believe in myths but on the whole they are decent people.) as where not all troglodytes. Censorship is not the answer.

  31. julian says

    Show the world what you are putting up with and you wont believe the support you will get and not just from feminists and atheists but from believers to

    Ha!

    Because that won’t be a giant signal in the sky for more assholes to come out.

    btw, Have you noticed that fear of even more sexist garbage is a reason some women try to suck it up?

  32. Pteryxx says

    Articles like those Ophelia’s posting about ARE publicizing the extent and severity of the abuse. They’re calling for it to be taken seriously and stopped. Display without censure constitutes acceptance; just look at youtube comments, which are shorthand now for “worthless bile-filled drivel”.

  33. Josh Slocum says

    I notice you’re still ignoring my criticisms of your misapprehension of what free speech is David. Is this deliberate? Because I haven’t forgotten.

    How about you spend less time lecturing Ophelia and the rest of us on Teh Proper Wai to Do It and more time listening to what the victims of this abuse are telling you?

    And how about you learn how to blockquote, too?

  34. David Leech says

    Ophelia Benson says:

    David Leech –
    Still those opinions are out there, do you want to deal with them or do you want to brush them under the carpet and hope they go away?
    I want to push them out the door so that THEY WILL GO AWAY. I don’t want to “deal with them” – there’s nothing to “deal with.” They’re not “opinions” – don’t flatter them. They’re verbal weapons. No I do not want to “deal with” verbal weapons. I want intelligent discussion, not non-stop vulgar brawling.
    I don’t want to be rude but you’re thinking in cliches, here, and you’re seeing a false dichotomy: either “censorship” or “deal with” brainless sexist name-calling. Those aren’t the only two choices; there are more than two choices.

    And if you don’t who will? Are you really going to let another women counter this? There is a reason why this is my favourite blog on the Internet and that is because you expose sexism (religious or otherwise) to the wider world. Your opponents have a house build on sand and the fact they are reduced to misogynist slurs is proof enough that you are winning the argument. It’s the last refuge of a scoundrel. Are you really going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when their stupidity is so easily exposed. Again censorship is not the answer.

  35. hotshoe says

    How about you spend less time lecturing Ophelia and the rest of us on Teh Proper Wai to Do It and more time listening to what the victims of this abuse are telling you?

    QFFT

  36. Pteryxx says

    …Dude, did you just frickin’ guilt-trip the author of your “favorite blog on the Internet”?

  37. julian says

    Again censorship is not the answer.

    The goal, unless I’m much mistaken, is to embolden more women to post publicly and frankly. The amount of sexism and harassment women face for being open, honest, frank and feminist keeps many women (in those known for their outspokenness) quiet. Would not censoring hate speech targettig women, the obscene amount of misogynistic slurs and comments and commentors who frequently make such comments help achieve the stated goal?

  38. Philip Legge says

    That’s fine; the point is that people are free not to tolerate it in their own spaces.

    Which is what I’d already said in my first post; I was replying to the commentary on my final statement therein, which was that the trolls should be evicted and forced to find other places to dwell. Pest control is tedious, but eventually I hope those who frequent the Internet will “get” why it’s necessary.

    David, still waiting to hear some cogent reasoning as to why hate speech merits some special conservation efforts by the curator of a blog so that they can be appreciated by the world at large, rather than being swept into the gutter: (imagine a Sir David Attenborough voice) “… and here, in the undergrowth of this website, we see clear evidence of the noisome droppings of Trollus misogynicus, which were deposited over the entire area and then uncritically flung about, during a recent pack invasion…”
    Since it really makes a blog attractive to have festering dung scattered all over the place. (Not.)

  39. David Leech says

    Josh Slocum says:
    November 6, 2011 at 4:45 pm
    I’m going to make this ultra simple for you David. At my blog, or in my living room, I don’t have to put up with being called a faggot. I don’t have to let my guests be called faggots, niggers, or dykes. Do you understand that?

    Yes and thanks for being so patronising, would you rather be happier if they held those opinions but didn’t express them so you are unable to counter them?

  40. hotshoe says

    Again censorship is not the answer.

    Again, the mindless supplication to the false little god Free Speech.

    Your religion is unappealing.

  41. ad hominum salvator says

    Of course they wouldn’t have gone away as they where part of society as it was, show me where the privilege elite have given anything away which hasn’t been torn form their hands. It’s wrong I know, It’s unfair I know, but just look at history to see if it has been any different. You have to fight for your rights and you should, you will be surprised of the support you will get when your cause is just which it is. Just don’t think it will be easy and don’t think censorship is the answer.

    I think David’s trying to say censorship is not sufficient; we need purges. :)

    Who’s serving cocktails?

  42. Carlie says

    Yes and thanks for being so patronising, would you rather be happier if they held those opinions but didn’t express them so you are unable to counter them?

    Again, saying “I will not tolerate that kind of talk here” IS COUNTERING THEM. Having them watch their comments vanish into the ether IS COUNTERING THEM. Having them get a little uncomfortable, looking around at all the blogs trying to find some comments that agree with them, looking for someone who has the same mindset they do and finding no one, starting to wonder if they might actually be in a minority for thinking that way, IS COUNTERING THEM.

  43. David Leech says

    You’re not thinking straight, David Leech:

    “You have to fight for your rights”

    BUT

    “Don’t think censorship is the answer.”

    Sorry, David Leech, you’re pathetic in your worship of the false god Free Speech. I don’t believe in your little god. You have not given one scrap of reason to suppose it’s more important than the welfare of the living human women we’re talking about here, the same women you claim “have to fight for [their] rights”. But only if they don’t trample on free speech, god forbid !!

    Do you have anything empathetic or moral or human to add to this discussion ? If it’s just an abstract issue for you, maybe you should refrain from adding any further to the damage men like you have already caused.

    I’ve already said I think it’s unfair etc, please at least read my posts before you jump to conclusions.If you know of a civilisation or society which grants rights before they have fought for them as that will make me very happy.

  44. David Leech says

    Pteryxx says:
    November 6, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    …Dude, did you just frickin’ guilt-trip the author of your “favorite blog on the Internet”?

    Why would the truth be a guild trip?

  45. hotshoe says

    David Leech

    Hotshoe ’23′ if you are going to attack me at least do it for something I posted.

    Don’t lie about me, David. I quoted exactly what you posted:
    “tell the[m] it is wrong and here’s why” etc etc.
    and I explained why you were wrong to say what you said then.

    If YOU can’t retract and apologize for your lie to me, then we’re through.

    I can understand if that’s how you want it, fine with me, there are plenty of other religious nuts I can argue with – here or elsewhere – I don’t have any need to argue with you. I’m just here to support Ophelia and the other human beings who are being mentally and physically harmed by your false god of Free Speech.

    P.S. LEARN TO BLOCKQUOTE, child.
    The fact that you haven’t bothered to do that little thing makes you look even more rude than you already are.

  46. Carlie says

    And to hammer on my own point again, one of the things that encourages bad comments is seeing other bad comments; it’s a broken-window effect combined with a herd mentality effect combined with feeling comfortable among comrades. If a bigot sees a bunch of bigoted comments, he’s going to think “hey, here’s a place I can express myself” and make some more bigoted comments. They breed themselves. So no, letting them crap all over your thread doesn’t expose them to knowledge, it invites in all the other riffraff and lets them reinforce each other.

  47. ad hominum salvator says

    would you rather be happier if they held those opinions but didn’t express them so you are unable to counter them?

    I might be happier with that.

    (I am prepared for you of the “more and better” school.)

    «An extensive literature addresses citizen ignorance, but very little research focuses on misperceptions. Can these false or unsubstantiated beliefs about politics be corrected? Previous studies have not tested the efficacy of corrections in a realistic format. We conducted four experiments in which subjects read mock news articles that included either a misleading claim from a politician, or a misleading claim and a correction. Results indicate that corrections frequently fail to reduce misperceptions among the targeted ideological group. We also document several instances of a ‘‘backfire effect’’ in which corrections actually increase misperceptions among the group in question.»

  48. hotshoe says

    I think David’s trying to say censorship is not sufficient; we need purges.

    Who’s serving cocktails?

    Dunno about cocktails, but I’ve got salted peanuts to spare ;)

  49. hotshoe says

    And to hammer on my own point again, one of the things that encourages bad comments is seeing other bad comments; it’s a broken-window effect combined with a herd mentality effect combined with feeling comfortable among comrades. If a bigot sees a bunch of bigoted comments, he’s going to think “hey, here’s a place I can express myself” and make some more bigoted comments. They breed themselves. So no, letting them crap all over your thread doesn’t expose them to knowledge, it invites in all the other riffraff and lets them reinforce each other.

    Thank you, Carlie !

  50. A. Noyd says

    David Leech (#35)

    Are you really going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when their stupidity is so easily exposed.

    Oh, for fuck’s sake, get over yourself. I’ve been on the internet for over a decade and a half, and if we’re on the verge of victory, I don’t want to see what losing is like.

    But here, let’s talk about censorship a sec, okay? This attack on ourselves as women is something special we women get to deal with whenever we’re outspoken. It happens in meatspace and it happens on the internet. It happens on the internet a lot. Are you seriously suggesting we women make the sacrifice of putting up with these attacks because you have a hard-on for free speech, one that’s taken way beyond its proper context within government? Are you asking women to pay a price–one that’s paid in our own diminished freedom of self-expression should we happen to value our personal safety and wellbeing more–a price that you’ll never have to worry about?

    Fine.

    I am a woman, and I am telling you to shut the fuck up and go away. Do it to prove to us that it’s possible to rid the world of sexist bullshit (and yes, what you’re saying is sexist) without resorting to censorship. If someone like you, who seems to think he’s on our side, can’t do that, then why should we ever believe the foaming-at-the-mouth misogynists who actually get off on making rape-y threats and putting women down will ever learn better?

    (And if you insist on sticking around, start putting what you’re quoting between these tags: <blockquote></blockquote>.)

  51. David Leech says

    hotshoe. ’27’

    These peoples opinions are shamed into not expressing them really, are they magically going to go away? They are voters are they not.

  52. hotshoe says

    We conducted four experiments in which subjects read mock news articles that included either a misleading claim from a politician, or a misleading claim and a correction. Results indicate that corrections frequently fail to reduce misperceptions among the targeted ideological group. We also document several instances of a ‘‘backfire effect’’ in which corrections actually increase misperceptions among the group in question.»

    Dayumn, there goes that worthless little idol, “more and better” Free Speech, right out the window.

  53. Carlie says

    hese peoples opinions are shamed into not expressing them really, are they magically going to go away?

    Perhaps not, but they will not be reinforced by seeing other people agreeing with them. They will see that their viewpoint is marginalized and not accepted by the majority. Do you not agree that has an effect?

  54. Pteryxx says

    They will see that their viewpoint is marginalized and not accepted by the majority. Do you not agree that has an effect?

    It certainly has an effect on women bloggers…

  55. hotshoe says

    I see I’m not the only one who noticed that Free-Speech worshipper David cannot seem to pay attention to the free-speech replies of anyone else ? That is, he can parrot them, but he can’t actually incorporate them, learn from them, respond to them appropriately.

    So much for his silly claim that we can talk to the slobbering misogynists and convince them of anything with more of our Free Speech. We can’t even convince David to listen to the speech of Ophelia, whom he supposedly luuuves …

  56. David Leech says

    A. Noyd says:
    November 6, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    David Leech (#35)

    Are you really going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when their stupidity is so easily exposed.

    Oh, for fuck’s sake, get over yourself. I’ve been on the internet for over a decade and a half, and if we’re on the verge of victory, I don’t want to see what losing is like.

    But here, let’s talk about censorship a sec, okay? This attack on ourselves as women is something special we women get to deal with whenever we’re outspoken. It happens in meatspace and it happens on the internet. It happens on the internet a lot. Are you seriously suggesting we women make the sacrifice of putting up with these attacks because you have a hard-on for free speech, one that’s taken way beyond its proper context within government? Are you asking women to pay a price–one that’s paid in our own diminished freedom of self-expression should we happen to value our personal safety and wellbeing more–a price that you’ll never have to worry about?

    Fine.

    I am a woman, and I am telling you to shut the fuck up and go away. Do it to prove to us that it’s possible to rid the world of sexist bullshit (and yes, what you’re saying is sexist) without resorting to censorship. If someone like you, who seems to think he’s on our side, can’t do that, then why should we ever believe the foaming-at-the-mouth misogynists who actually get off on making rape-y threats and putting women down will ever learn better?

    (And if you insist on sticking around, start putting what you’re quoting between these tags:

    .)

    I’m sorry you feel that way but I happen to believe that free speech has been a valuable ally against the forces of oppression. What happens if censorship is used (which it has been) against your fight, will you support it then, I think not. Free speech is none negotiable and should be protected by everybody.

  57. Carlie says

    I see David is very carefully ignoring everything he can’t twist into a straw man to blow over.

  58. Philip Legge says

    FFS David, hate speech is not protected as free speech.

    Have you got anything to say why blog owners should tolerate a pile of steaming fæces stinking up their websites? When my cats leave their deposits in the litter tray, I use some disinfectant to clean the air and scoop the ordure into the lavatory. The misogynist trolls are far less house-trained than my cats.

  59. ad hominum salvator says

    What happens if censorship is used (which it has been) against your fight, will you support it then, I think not.

    Stupid. I have been blocked from conservative blogs (usually during a rousing game of The Real Racists), and I still support their right to filter their comments. Being blocked is a mild annoyance at worst.

  60. David Leech says

    Carlie says:
    November 6, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    hese peoples opinions are shamed into not expressing them really, are they magically going to go away?

    Perhaps not, but they will not be reinforced by seeing other people agreeing with them. They will see that their viewpoint is marginalized and not accepted by the majority. Do you not agree that has an effect?

    Thanks for the quotemine BTW. They will still be expressed amongst like minded people and censorship adds an added value to such views as in the government or people don’t want you to know this. I have yet to see an argument were these views shouldn’t be out in the open and countered. There are no short cuts to freedom and equality as much as we would like them to be.

  61. Carlie says

    I have yet to see an argument were these views shouldn’t be out in the open and countered.

    They have their own sites. Really, it isn’t difficult to find those views at all. Do you think they’re an endangered species, who only express their views on feminist blogs? If anyone wants to dredge some up as examples in a piece about how stupid such views are, there’s plenty enough to choose from. You still don’t have to allow them on your own blog, in your own space. When you do, they drown out any conversation about anything else. Go check any thread anywhere about female genital mutilation. Now remove all of the misogynist comments that infest them from comment number one on, and think about how much different and more productive those discussions would have been. Tell me why those threads are somehow better than they would have been with moderation.

  62. says

    David Leech:

    Sorry I have to disagree here as I can never avocate censorship in any form what so ever.

    I think you mean ‘advocate’. ‘Avocate’ means to withdraw.

    I also think this is a ridiculous statement. Free speech is one thing…being free of any consequences for what you say is something else entirely.

    If people post abusive crap, they should be treated as abusers. Because that’s what they are. Abuse isn’t free speech – it is a malicious verbal attack on an opponent that attempts to deliver emotional harm.

    No one is under any obligation to lay back and take it if someone else is trying to hurt them.

  63. avocado census says

    David do you think you should be allowed to sneak into my house at night and scream in my bedroom?

  64. says

    David do you think you should be allowed to sneak into my house at night and scream in my bedroom?

    Or scream “Fire!” or “Bomb!” or “Gun!” in a public area?

    (Unless, of course, one of those hazards is actually present…)

  65. David Leech says

    Carlie says:
    November 6, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    I see David is very carefully ignoring everything he can’t twist into a straw man to blow over.

    Please have patience as I’m a bit overwhelmed at the moment as I am a slow typer and as fast as I reply to some another five responses come up. On evoluionistrue site i made a joking comment that freethoughtblogs was more like a church than free thought. Nothing that I have seen here makes my comment invalid. Is you think censorship is OK then why post under the banner of freethoughtblogs. Why not have the whole thing as It’smywayorthehighwayblogs. Free speech is the greatest enemy of oppressors anywhere and to sell it out for short term gains is pulling the rug from other oppressed people.

  66. David Leech says

    Philip Legge says:
    November 6, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    FFS David, hate speech is not protected as free speech.

    Have you got anything to say why blog owners should tolerate a pile of steaming fæces stinking up their websites? When my cats leave their deposits in the litter tray, I use some disinfectant to clean the air and scoop the ordure into the lavatory. The misogynist trolls are far less house-trained than my cats.

    No. There is no reason why blog owners should counter it and no one is asking them to. On the other hand is you think it is a problem then yes It should be countered otherwise who else will opposed it.

  67. David Leech says

    The Ys says:
    November 6, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    David do you think you should be allowed to sneak into my house at night and scream in my bedroom?

    Or scream “Fire!” or “Bomb!” or “Gun!” in a public area?

    (Unless, of course, one of those hazards is actually present…)

    WTF?

  68. David Leech says

    ad hominum salvator says:
    November 6, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    What happens if censorship is used (which it has been) against your fight, will you support it then, I think not.

    Stupid. I have been blocked from conservative blogs (usually during a rousing game of The Real Racists), and I still support their right to filter their comments. Being blocked is a mild annoyance at worst.

    So you were stopped from expressing your views then and you are OK with that because…?

  69. A. Noyd says

    David Leech (#60)

    What happens if censorship is used (which it has been) against your fight, will you support it then, I think not.

    What the fuck do you mean “if”!? How is it you’re missing what so many people here are telling you? ALL THIS HATE SPEECH AGAINST WOMEN IS BEING USED TO CENSOR US. It’s not hypothetical. We are made to choose between free expression and safety. Between sharing our opinions and being abused. It’s silencing us on certain topics or on any topic at all. We’re silenced everywhere. Compared to that, taking away the soapboxes from the misogynists on our own sites is nothing. Fuck you for suggesting otherwise. 

    Oh, and quit pretending to speak for “the oppressed,” you patronizing sack of crap. Don’t tell us to endure what you don’t have to endure. Don’t tell us how you know what’s in our best interests while ignoring what we say. Every single post is you make is an argument for why blacklisting misogynists is necessary. You’re just too wrapped up in dogmatism to appreciate that you’re harming your own cause. Now, shut the fuck up and go away. 

  70. says

    David:

    David do you think you should be allowed to sneak into my house at night and scream in my bedroom?

    Or scream “Fire!” or “Bomb!” or “Gun!” in a public area?

    (Unless, of course, one of those hazards is actually present…)

    WTF?

    You said you are in favour of free speech with no restrictions. Does that include screaming “FIRE!” or “BOMB!” in a crowded public space when no hazard is present?

    If you agree that people shouldn’t be allowed to get away with doing that, then you agree to at least some forms of censorship.

  71. Philip Legge says

    David Leech, learn how to use blockquote. Here’s an example:

    <blockquote>Quotation goes here</blockquote>

    And here’s the result:

    Quotation goes here

    Feel free to cut and paste, or copy by example.

  72. hotshoe says

    What the fuck do you mean “if”!? How is it you’re missing what so many people here are telling you? ALL THIS HATE SPEECH AGAINST WOMEN IS BEING USED TO CENSOR US. It’s not hypothetical. We are made to choose between free expression and safety. Between sharing our opinions and being abused. It’s silencing us on certain topics or on any topic at all. We’re silenced everywhere. Compared to that, taking away the soapboxes from the misogynists on our own sites is nothing. Fuck you for suggesting otherwise.

    Yep.

  73. David Leech says

    A. Noyd says:
    November 6, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    David Leech (#60)

    What happens if censorship is used (which it has been) against your fight, will you support it then, I think not.

    What the fuck do you mean “if”!? How is it you’re missing what so many people here are telling you? ALL THIS HATE SPEECH AGAINST WOMEN IS BEING USED TO CENSOR US. It’s not hypothetical. We are made to choose between free expression and safety. Between sharing our opinions and being abused. It’s silencing us on certain topics or on any topic at all. We’re silenced everywhere. Compared to that, taking away the soapboxes from the misogynists on our own sites is nothing. Fuck you for suggesting otherwise.

    Oh, and quit pretending to speak for “the oppressed,” you patronizing sack of crap. Don’t tell us to endure what you don’t have to endure. Don’t tell us how you know what’s in our best interests while ignoring what we say. Every single post is you make is an argument for why blacklisting misogynists is necessary. You’re just too wrapped up in dogmatism to appreciate that you’re harming your own cause. Now, shut the fuck up and go away.

    Again I’m sorry you feel that way as I said in my opening post I can only empathise, I cannot understand. Yes It must be annoying (and then some) that when you express your view that you get sick clowns threatening to rape you or kill you. But do you think that anybody who has fought for their rights haven’t gone through the same thing (OK the rape part is an added extra but intimidation is still the goal.) The fact that sick people use free speech cannot be used as a argument against it as their views will be shown in all its vileness. Would you really be any safer with people out there feeling these thoughts but not expressing them. How would you be able to feel safe in the presence of any man if sexist though was outlawed. Don’t throw free speech under a bus because you will never know when you need it.

  74. Josh Slocum says

    Ophelia, I’m loath to do this, but I’m begging you to force David Leech to learn blockquoting or keep him in moderation. It’s bad enough that he won’t engage directly and honestly, but I’m over the fuckin’ moon that he can’t at least make his posts mechanically readable.

  75. says

    Yes It must be annoying (and then some) that when you express your view that you get sick clowns threatening to rape you or kill you.

    Are you fucking kidding me?

    A man raped me. Three different men have stalked me. I’ve been sexually assaulted, and I’ve been sexually harassed. I’ve had strange men call my house in the middle of the night and threaten to break in and rape me. And you fucking think it’s just an ‘annoyance’ to have people threaten me like that?

    You are now a rape apologist. Congratulations.

    In the United States, 1 in 4 women will suffer a rape or an attempted rape. In the UK, the conviction rate for rape is now 6%. And you think we should let shit slide in the name of free speech when your idea of ‘free speech’ contributes to a toxic atmosphere that prevents women from seeing their attackers go to jail?

    But do you think that anybody who has fought for their rights haven’t gone through the same thing (OK the rape part is an added extra but intimidation is still the goal.)

    Yes, and part of the rights they gained were RIGHTS TO PROTECTION FROM HARASSMENT AND ABUSE.

    The fact that sick people use free speech cannot be used as a argument against it as their views will be shown in all its vileness. Would you really be any safer with people out there feeling these thoughts but not expressing them.

    Is this a joke? If it is, you need to work on your punchline.

  76. says

    @David Leech:

    I’ve just been watching this one, but

    Yes It must be annoying (and then some) that when you express your view that you get sick clowns threatening to rape you or kill you.

    Seriously? You know, when women actually trust you, you find out some rather horrifying things. For instance, I’ve found out just how many have been sexually assaulted and raped. I’m talking about the women I’ve talked to, who have trusted me enough to share that. Honestly, I have to wonder if the 1 in 4 stat isn’t a low estimate.

    Just try to imagine the helplessness that might you yourself might feel if you were violated, and every other emotion. Try to see it happening to yourself, and while you won’t actually get close to the reality, maybe, just maybe, you’ll get enough of a clue to avoid apologist statements like that.

    (I’m amazed my mother didn’t slap my teenage mouth when I once asked what the big deal with rape was, she just has to lie there. Thank goodness I grew up)

  77. David Leech says

    The Ys says:
    November 6, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    David:

    David do you think you should be allowed to sneak into my house at night and scream in my bedroom?

    Or scream “Fire!” or “Bomb!” or “Gun!” in a public area?

    (Unless, of course, one of those hazards is actually present…)

    WTF?

    You said you are in favour of free speech with no restrictions. Does that include screaming “FIRE!” or “BOMB!” in a crowded public space when no hazard is present?

    If you agree that people shouldn’t be allowed to get away with doing that, then you agree to at least some forms of censorship.

    Lets not get silly now, there is a difference between open discourse (how ever vile it may be) and deliberately causing chaos in a crowded theatre.

  78. says

    Lets not get silly now, there is a difference between open discourse (how ever vile it may be) and deliberately causing chaos in a crowded theatre.

    We’re no longer in ‘silly’, David…we got dragged down into ‘fucking ridiculous’ with the bullshit you’ve been spouting.

    Take your rape apologism and shove it.

  79. Josh Slocum says

    Fuck you Leech. Fuck you and your rape apologias, your dishonest argumentation, your smugness and your html illiteracy.

    FUCK. YOU.

    Get out of here.

  80. says

    I apologise as well – I should’ve put a trigger warning on my post. Ophelia, I don’t know if you can go in and put a warning at the top, but if you could that it would be much appreciated. I don’t want to compound David’s stupidity with my own. :/

  81. says

    Lets not get silly now, there is a difference between open discourse (how ever vile it may be) and deliberately causing chaos in a crowded theatre.

    You haven’t been defending open discourse Dave, you’ve been defending the setting of fires in the minds of women, and anyone else who might get abused like that.

  82. David Leech says

    A. Noyd says:
    November 6, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    @David Leech

    Shut the fuck up and go away.

    Just get the owners of freethoughtblogs to admit that there is no free thought allowed and it is a soviet dictat forum and I will be on my way.

  83. Josh Slocum says

    and I will be on my way.

    You’ll be on your way anyway you dishonest fuck. The only reason your posts keep appearing is because the proprietress is sleeping.

  84. says

    Just get the owners of freethoughtblogs to admit that there is no free thought allowed and it is a soviet dictat forum and I will be on my way.

    That’s the least intellectually dishonest thing he’s said so far as it shows that he’s not actually here to debate the issue…he just wants to be an ass.

  85. Philip Legge says

    Just get the owners of freethoughtblogs to admit that there is no free thought allowed and it is a soviet dictat forum and I will be on my way.

    Where’s that proof I asked for an hour ago, David?

    Bueller? Anyone?

  86. David Leech says

    So now I’m a rape apologist because I defend free speech? Is there a non sequitur that I have stumbled over by mistake. This is getting ridiculous, I have presented my arguments in good faith and I have seen nothing to counter them. If you feel that you have actually countered my arguments I recommend you take two spoons full of Dunning Kruger to help you. Anyone who is not if favour of free speech is part of the establishment and likes things as they are, thank you very much. Get back to me when you really do believe in free thought and not supporting any agenda that you have.

  87. David Leech says

    A. Noyd says:
    November 6, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    @David Leech

    Shut the fuck up and go away.

    What No.
    comment was that?

  88. says

    @David:

    So now I’m a rape apologist because I defend free speech?

    The line that has us calling you a rape apologist was quoted to you. It shows a clear dismissal and lack of care over the issue of rape threats. Mosquitoes are an “annoyance.” Rape threats are not.

  89. David Leech says

    The Ys says:
    November 6, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Translation: I can’t defend anything I said because I know it’s a crock of shit.

    I have defended everything I have said, at least be honest.

  90. David Leech says

    NathanDST says:
    November 6, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    @David:

    So now I’m a rape apologist because I defend free speech?

    The line that has us calling you a rape apologist was quoted to you. It shows a clear dismissal and lack of care over the issue of rape threats. Mosquitoes are an “annoyance.” Rape threats are not.

    Then show me where I have said rape threads were casual and shouldn’t be opposed.

  91. Pteryxx says

    I have defended everything I have said, at least be honest.

    If you really think saying “I see nothing” over and over constitutes a defense, no wonder you can’t tell the difference between abject hate speech and open discussion.

  92. Philip Legge says

    I have presented my arguments in good faith and I have seen nothing to counter them.

    Bullshit. That’s another dodge; you have been given arguments a-plenty, and the subject was also discussed by posters demonstrating far greater command of the subject and nuance of interpretation, when yesterday’s thread was similarly derailed.

    To get back on-topic: how is dealing with the chilling effects of hate speech benefitting the expression of free speech? Any thoughts on that?

  93. says

    I have defended everything I have said, at least be honest.

    We are being honest. You’re failing at being honest.

    That’s the difference.

  94. David Leech says

    A. Noyd says:
    November 6, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    @David Leech

    Shut the fuck up and go away.

    Shouldn’t you be posting on pharynula and not here.

  95. David Leech says

    The Ys says:
    November 6, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    I have defended everything I have said, at least be honest.

    We are being honest. You’re failing at being honest.

    That’s the difference.

    Care to show that?

  96. Josh Slocum says

    You’re just trolling, Leech. Everyone knows it. Deliberately refusing to blockquote. Avoiding questions. Making nasty cracks about Pharyngula.

    Seriously – do you really think we don’t see through you?

  97. David Leech says

    Philip Legge says:
    November 6, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    I have presented my arguments in good faith and I have seen nothing to counter them.

    Bullshit. That’s another dodge; you have been given arguments a-plenty, and the subject was also discussed by posters demonstrating far greater command of the subject and nuance of interpretation, when yesterday’s thread was similarly derailed.

    To get back on-topic: how is dealing with the chilling effects of hate speech benefitting the expression of free speech? Any thoughts on that?

    I have said over and again free speech allows hate speech so throwing the baby out with the bath water is good now.

  98. David Leech says

    Josh Slocum says:
    November 6, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    You’re just trolling, Leech. Everyone knows it. Deliberately refusing to blockquote. Avoiding questions. Making nasty cracks about Pharyngula.

    Seriously – do you really think we don’t see through you?

    I have been perfectly open in my views and you don’t need to go far back to see I think pharyngula is the cesspit of atheism.

  99. says

    (Damnit, why am I saying anything to him?)

    ***Possible Trigger Warning***

    Dave Leech, what you have apparently failed, utterly, to understand is that words have power. And can, quite literally, hurt.

    http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20100402/words-really-do-hurt

    The abuse, the language that women, LGBT, and various others suffer hurts. Not metaphorically. It hurts where it counts, right there, in your pain centers. Telling a woman “you’re ugly, and sex with you is out of pity,” or “get back in the kitchen where you belong, fucking bitch,” or . . . ah fuck, I really don’t want to come up with any more. Anyway, the point is that eliminating abuse like that is not censoring an open exchange of ideas, it’s censoring fucking abuse. It’s stopping someone from swinging their fist into your nose, in a very real way.

    Repeating things over and over to someone can have the effect of causing them to start internalizing it. Telling someone they belong on their back with legs spread, or in a kitchen getting the beer, and that their opinion is worthless over and over, like women bloggers are basically dealing with? That’s a damn good way to shut them up, even if they’re fighting not to believe such crap.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100125172940.htm

    Words. Have. Power.

    That’s why free speech is powerful, why we need it, and also why we can’t simply let misogynists/homophobes/racists and others abuse their speech without resisting.

  100. David Leech says

    The Ys says:
    November 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Care to show that?

    My dead cat could come up with a better rebuttal. Stop buying your material at Kmart.

    And yet you don’t do so, I wonder why?

  101. A. Noyd says

    @David Leech

    Shut the fuck up and go away.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    @Everyone who isn’t David Leech

    Don’t you have to wonder what’s the point in fetishizing free speech while overlooking speech’s primary purpose: to communicate? At least with direct censorship, there’s not this pretense one might be listened to at some point rather than having every single thing one says either ignored or misconstrued or lied about.

  102. Josh Slocum says

    Leech, you’re a shithead. Get your hoggles on now because your ass is going to get thrown out when Ophelia gets back. You’re taking notes for a new Hoggle Post (TM), I hope?

  103. Philip Legge says

    I have said over and again free speech allows hate speech so throwing the baby out with the bath water is good now.

    Free speech is already legislated to not allow certain types of hate speech. Why would blog owners be obliged to allow comments that if they aren’t in actual breach of the law, are nothing but intimidation? How are you going to solve the chilling effect that threats have in the real world?

  104. hotshoe says

    Well, I should have listened to myself when I told David back at post 23 “You are not part of the solution. You are part of the problem. I don’t like you for being part of the problem.”

    Rather than wasting even another word on him, only to see him sink lower and lower into rape apologism …

    What a waste of human cells that boy is.

    But a lot of the rest of the discussion has been helpful and energizing – thanks to everyone who are helping.

  105. Josh Slocum says

    And can we now please ignore it? Please? I’ll resolve to do so, but I’d love to have the rest of you on board too. It’s jerking off now with the deliberate lack of formatting, parroting terms like “cesspit,” etc. Don’t let’s help it get off?

  106. says

    And yet you don’t do so, I wonder why?

    Post #66. Post #82. You dodged them, cupcake.

    Good job ignoring stuff that you can’t answer without looking like even more of a jackass.

  107. says

    @Josh Slocum:

    Yea, sounds good. I’ll wait and see what Ophelia does, since it’s her place, and speak or not speak accordingly. If he’s gone when she reads it all, then that’s that.

  108. David Leech says

    NathanDST says:
    November 6, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    (Damnit, why am I saying anything to him?)

    ***Possible Trigger Warning***

    Dave Leech, what you have apparently failed, utterly, to understand is that words have power. And can, quite literally, hurt.

    http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20100402/words-really-do-hurt

    The abuse, the language that women, LGBT, and various others suffer hurts. Not metaphorically. It hurts where it counts, right there, in your pain centers. Telling a woman “you’re ugly, and sex with you is out of pity,” or “get back in the kitchen where you belong, fucking bitch,” or . . . ah fuck, I really don’t want to come up with any more. Anyway, the point is that eliminating abuse like that is not censoring an open exchange of ideas, it’s censoring fucking abuse. It’s stopping someone from swinging their fist into your nose, in a very real way.

    Repeating things over and over to someone can have the effect of causing them to start internalizing it. Telling someone they belong on their back with legs spread, or in a kitchen getting the beer, and that their opinion is worthless over and over, like women bloggers are basically dealing with? That’s a damn good way to shut them up, even if they’re fighting not to believe such crap.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100125172940.htm

    Words. Have. Power.

    That’s why free speech is powerful, why we need it, and also why we can’t simply let misogynists/homophobes/racists and others abuse their speech without resisting.

    Where have I opposed this view? Where have I said this view shouldn’t be countered? I don’t understand the hostility I am getting here, yes words have power and they should be countered. That doesn’t make free speech wrong. It shows wrong speech should be exposed for what it is, free speech is needed for a free society.

  109. A. Noyd says

    @Josh

    Eh, sure. It’s more convenient than coming up with ways to repeat myself while getting around the duplicate post filter. Of course, I have to read a few more pages of biochem and then hit the hay, anyway. Got a late start doing homework because I went to a counter-protest against the WBC who ended up doing a no-show. Which was good, but we sure got some funny looks from the folks attending Senator White’s memorial service.

  110. says

    Wax on, wax off. Good work, Grasshopper. :)

    You know the oddest thing? I’ve heard too much dismissive bullshit from too many people, and this drivel doesn’t faze me anymore…but I will call it out in the strongest terms possible because it IS utter crap and no one should have to deal with it.

  111. says

    Oops. Sleepiness prevailed.

    Meant to say: You know the oddest thing? I’ve heard too much dismissive bullshit from too many people, and this drivel doesn’t faze me anymore…and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I will call it out in the strongest possible terms, however, because it IS utter crap and no one should have to deal with it.

  112. says

    Are mixed references like mixed metaphors? For shame

    I am in dire need of sleep. *hangs head in shame*

    I’ll stick with Remo Williams quotes from now on! :D

  113. says

    I looked up Remo Williams, and while I suspect it’s really bad, I have a strange urge to see it.

    Oh, and have you thought about actually sleeping? I know I hardly ever do when I should, but I’m a masochist.

  114. Allienne Goddard says

    I don’t quite understand the argument here. What forms of censorship are being proposed? Moderating comments on blogs and other websites? That doesn’t infringe on free speech, since anyone may create their own website and say whatever they wish. Identifying commentators or email authors who refuse to stop sending messages? Refusing to leave a person alone seems like harassment, not a free speech issue, for the same reason. Is anyone making any other kind of proposal?

    Sorry, I have read through the thread, but it seems to be Leech-Everyone else flame-war, and I’m not sure what specific measures to answer the problem are at issue.

  115. Pteryxx says

    @Allienne: It’s been suggested that bloggers create blacklists of abusive commentors that other bloggers could subscribe to, so misogynist trolls could be moderated en masse instead of individually. That was mostly on the previous thread, though.

  116. says

    @Allienne: and yes, it’s been suggested that any form of blog moderation is censorship, including moderating to remove the harassing and abusive comments.

  117. Josh Slocum says

    Sorry, I have read through the thread, but it seems to be Leech-Everyone else flame-war,

    Then read through it again.

  118. Allienne Goddard says

    Pteryxx, that’s an interesting idea. That might contribute to group-think, I guess, if the system were abused and people got on the list for simply challenging a point. Still, though, the black-listed could set up their own website, so I don’t think it really calls into question free speech.

    I’m a bit of a free speech absolutist myself, but I worry about the government and media/internet companies controlling speech, not individuals or small groups.

  119. Allienne Goddard says

    Josh Slocum, could you clarify why that might be beneficial? The communication going on seemed very poor, and reading Leech’s eccentric quoting style was a particular chore.

  120. Allienne Goddard says

    NathanDST, that would be censorship. The good kind. I mean, I’ve seen some pretty disappointing bannings and comment deletions in my day, but as long as the speaker has another venue available, I don’t think it is a serious issue.

  121. says

    Nathan:

    Remo Williams is a moderately awful movie, but Chun makes the whole thing worthwhile. It’s good campy fun, much like Bruce Campbell movies.

    And yes, I intend on getting some sleep soon. I think this was stuck in my head: http://xkcd.com/386/

  122. says

    Allienne:

    The most important part of this – beyond the fact that the abuse is being made public – is that blog owners would share information on who harasses bloggers/commenters and who posts abusive material. Hopefully it’ll cut down on the amount of crap that each individual blog owner has to deal with.

  123. Allienne Goddard says

    NathanDST, okay then, I thought I must be missing something. Why a person’s free speech abilities would imply being able to force people to listen is beyond me, and I didn’t see Leech make that specific point. Since there was a few mentions of hate speech law, I wondered whether that was his issue. Anyway, carry on, and incidentally, I did see Remo Williams when it came out, and remember being entertained. I was also (and still am) a Big Trouble in Little China fan, though, so you know…

  124. hotshoe says

    Wax on, wax off. Good work, Grasshopper.

    Are mixed references like mixed metaphors? For shame

    Just goes to show how much I paid attention. Those sounded like they were from the same show to me.

    But now that I think about it, “Grasshopper” was from that David Carradine Kung Fu thing. I hate admitting that I’m old enough to have watched the original. Gawd, half the people on the planet hadn’t even been born yet.

  125. Allienne Goddard says

    The Ys, since people already put in the time to compile their own lists, I assume, it might help quite a bit to combine them. I imagine the recidivism rate is very high. It might cause some problems, I guess, but since the situation is so intolerable I would tend support it. I think the posting of examples of the shit people get is also a good thing, though there’s always the risk of giving the jackasses attention, I suppose.

  126. anfractuos says

    Seems to me Leech provided a brilliant example of why his proposal of countering the trolls with good arguments doesn’t work. No matter how many great arguments anyone here put forth, they never seemed to change anything Leech said/thought(?) from beginning to end. (Elevatorgate anyone?) And it went on for about 130 posts, after which I took a break.

    I’m glad to see that Leech has disappeared and now actual constructive ideas are being discussed. Huzzah to all who battled through to this point.

  127. Matt Penfold says

    I think the fact that Ophelia has let Leech spew his bilge here shows that contra his idiotic claims, free-speech is not being stifled here.

  128. Philip Legge says

    It’s also what happens when the blog owner can’t devote 24 hours a day to cleaning up after the ne’er-do-wells.

  129. Carlie says

    David, you are consistently ignoring arguments that
    a) free speech doesn’t apply to private areas and
    b) your method of allowing hate speech to stand to be confronted doesn’t work and
    c) societal pressure by way of shunning those who behave badly works quite effectively

    Please stop repeating “free speech free speech” like a scratched record and address those issues.

  130. Godless Heathen says

    I can’t handle reading all the new comments right now, so I’ll just say:

    You’re right to free speech only applies to GOVERNMENT CENSORSHIP. NOT to private individuals censoring you. And even your freedom from government censorship is limited.

    But the upshot is if I run a blog, I can block whoever I damn well please and it’s NOT CENSORSHIP because I AM NOT THE GOVERNMENT.

    SHEESH.

  131. Carlie says

    Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom of access. You have the right to say I’m a bitch who needs raped, but you have no right to walk into my house and say that to me.

    And if lots and lots of places start having policies that say “you have no right to walk in here and say anyone needs raped”, then isn’t that just the free market of ideas working? That idea of claiming people need raped isn’t getting any support, so it dies a natural death after being outcompeted by the idea that no, you don’t get to say that here.

  132. says

    Yeesh. Sorry. I wasn’t actually asleep at 9:30 last night but I was elsewhere. Yes, David Leech is going into moderation. At the very least he has to use blockquotes if he wants his comments to appear. But that’s at the very least – that stupid remark about leaving a “joking” comment at WEIT saying freethoughtblogsisn’tfreethoughtblahblah is just canned ERVia.

  133. says

    David Leech @ 69 –

    On evoluionistrue site i made a joking comment that freethoughtblogs was more like a church than free thought.

    Where? Could you provide the link please?

    I would also quite like to know why you made that “joking comment” and why, if you think that (despite the “joking”), you (claim to) like B&W. You do realize that some of the most energetic misogynists in hoggle’s gang comment frequently there, right? Specifically, Justicar and Michael Kingsford Gray. Were you engaging in jokey banter with them about the putative churchyness of Freethoughtblogs? If so you’re surely just bullshitting about liking B&W.

  134. says

    What a weird life the Leech leads.

    Wakes up in the morning and turns on his mobile phone. There are thirty messages, 23 with words like “faggots” “sucks” “dick” etc in them. He replies to each one, carefully trying to raise their consciousness, before he turns to those from his mother, girlfriend, and phone provider telling him he’s running out of credit.

    Turns on his email. There are 43 emails, 27 with words like “faggot”, “suck”, “dicks” and “in your rectum” in them, He replies to each one carefully, challenging their views in order to prevent them storing up their resentment. He also explains to a Nigerian chap who wants his bank account details how his communication is not constructive.

    Commutes to work. As he goes, various guys – mostly all larger and stronger than him – start shouting, “Nice arse,” , “Wouldn’t you want one up you?” etc. He stops by each guy and explains that this is not constructive and that he wants to challenge and oppose it.

    At work – his boss tells him he’s a toe-rag and his colleagues tell him he’s a shit – in fact they’ve got a big notice at the coffee point saying, “Leech is a shit and smells”. He doesn’t rip down the poster of course – it’s free speech – and nor does he complain to management when a firm email goes round says “Leech is a shit and smells” since he doesn’t want to practice censorship.

    Leech is a serious and political guy. He’s willing to pay $10,000 for a plate at a Democrat dinner. Hillary Clinton is the guest of honour, and she gives a short address about changes in American foreign policy and the frightening development of Iran’s nuclear capability but she is interrupted by guys in the audience shouting, “Lewinsky, Lewinsky,” or “You’re a dog compared to Monica” and other such remarks. She replies to each remark with her usual civility, carefully pointing out their bile is unconstructive though of course she would not dream of getting her security force to eject these hecklers – after all she wants to defend their freedom of speech.

    Leech goes home. I ring him up every three minutes and say, “Leech, you’re a stupid asshole.” He opposes my views politely, pointing out my errors and how I’m not being very constructiv3e.

    It’s 3am for him, but I’m on British time so it’s daytime for me. I can keep this going for a few hours yet, Leech.

  135. dirigible says

    What 149, 150 and 152 said.

    My earlier commend was hopelessly over-simplistic. Or “wrong” in non-weasel.

    A big, creepy, thank you to Mr. Leech for reminding me that hate speech, incitement, verbal assault, harassment and other forms of consequential speech are not “oh, you know, just” free speech, that censorship is a state matter not a private matter, and that freedom of association is another kinda important right.

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