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Jun 30 2012

That’s not a Godwin, that’s a Wollstonecraft

More deep rifts. Or the same quantity of rifts, but deeper. Or more, and deeper, rifts. Or rifts that are no deeper but spread out over a wider landscape. Or -

Stop it at once.

Wossa rift this time? It’s calling Freethought blogs totalitarian and comparable to both Nazis and the Stasi.

That’s a bit much, I think.

One reason for my judgment there is that Freethought blogs is not actually a secret police force. It’s not actually any kind of police force. It doesn’t have a police force. It doesn’t have state power. It doesn’t have any power, except the power of opinion.

There are other reasons, but that will do to be going on with.

The sad thing is that it’s Paula Kirby calling us that, on Twitter (and elsewhere, for all I know). I would dispute the claim with her on Twitter, but I can’t because she’s blocked me. I can’t dispute it with her on Facebook because she defriended me there last year, because we disagreed about elevators. I don’t have her email address. I have no way to dispute the claim with her except here, and I want to dispute it, because I think it’s wrong. I also think it’s a little skeevy to block people so that you can say vile things about them and they can’t see you do it. I’m surprised at Paula – I’d have thought she was better than that.

Paula’s a terrific writer. She was very nice to me at QED, despite the defriending last year. We were on a panel together, along with Maryam and (don’t laugh)…DJ Grothe. Adam Lappin was there. (He was also at my talk the day before, and took extensive notes.)

Alex Gabriel took a picture.

See? I’m next to Paula. Sad, isn’t it.

Paula said

Those who disagree are by definition strawmanning. That’s part of the Feminazi doctrine, isn’t it?

and

It’s still part of Feminazi doctrine! Pharyngula, Skepchick and B&W, by contrast, have of course been bastions of calm reason!

Someone asked her if she really wanted to sound like Rush Limbaugh, and she replied

No, just like me, thanks. I quite like Femistasi too. One form of totalitarian thought is, after all, much like another.

The response was

Really? Radical feminists are as bad as the people who butchered millions of Jews?

[Paging Orac! Paging Orac!]

Paula responded

The allusion is to totalitarian thought and no tolerance of dissent. FTB is currently awash with it.

The other

Regardless of the unpleasant atmosphere on FtB (and elsewhere), it’s a ridiculous equivalence and you know it.

Paula

I disagree. I see real strains of totalitarian thought over there. And I lived in a totalitarian state for 2 years.

So there you are. She seriously said, and repeated in response to incredulity, that she thinks Freethought blogs is like Nazi Germany [paging Orac! Paging Orac!] and East Germany. She lived in the latter, and she says she thinks FTB is like it.

I find that staggering. Really staggering.

270 comments

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  1. 1
    SAWells

    You know who else is totalitarian? Arithmetic teachers. They don’t tolerate any dissent from the party line that 2+2=4. Let’s call them the Addistasi. And geographers- totally intolerant of the Flat Earth Society, it’s terrible bigotry, let’s call them the Mapistasi. And…

  2. 2
    Sili

    That’s odd.

    Why hasn’t TF been disappeared yet, then?

    For a totalitarian state, you really are rank amateurs.

    May one ask when Kirby lived in East Germany? Post ’89 one would assume from her claims.

  3. 3
    Sili

    Well, the disciples of Pythagoras supposedly drowned the guy who proved that sqrt(2) is irrational. They really didn’t like being told there was more to life than fractions.

  4. 4
    EllenBeth Wachs

    She unfriended me about a month ago. I assume it was in preparation for her “skepchik-free zone” as I am friends with some skepchiks. Guilt by association. I guess we are using 6th grade tactics now.

  5. 5
    SAWells

    There seems to be some weird mutant strain of reasoning which goes:

    i) I have a right to my opinion and am stating it loudly…
    ii) you are disagreeing with me, arguing with me, and trying to change my mind…
    iii) that means you’re depriving me of my free speech and right to my own opinion…
    iv) therefore you are Nazis.

    I don’t know where this comes from, but it’s antithetical to reason itself.

  6. 6
    dianne

    I’ve disagreed with the author of this blog, sometimes heatedly, in the past. Yet I remain unbanned and not even disemvoweled. It’s almost like she tolerates dissent. Nah, couldn’t be.

  7. 7
    Ophelia Benson

    She even blocked Rhys Morgan on Twitter a few hours ago. He too is friends with some skepchicks – so away with him! I wonder if he’s a Stasi officer yet.

  8. 8
    Stacy

    She’s such an independent thinker, she has to block people who disagree with her? Wut?

  9. 9
    Bernard Hurley

    May one ask when Kirby lived in East Germany? Post ’89 one would assume from her claims.

    The sad thing is that it was a few years before that and she was treated incredibly badly by the Stasi so she ought to know better than to tweet what she did. Personally I find it hard to believe what she has been doing recently and am a bit concerned that something might be wrong. I can’t find out as she has de-friended me on facebook.

  10. 10
    Kausik Datta

    What exactly is the matter with this sudden and rather uncouth influx of unreason in the erstwhile bastion of reason, the skeptical blogosphere? Why suddenly? Why now? Why this utterly deplorable display of pathetic unreason and strangely idiotic behavior on part of those whom we, the mere mortals, used to hold to higher standards? Has there been a silent alien invasion that replaced people like Abbie, Paula, the TAM organizers, some male FtBloggers with their evil, unreasonable, moronic clones? Have these people suddenly embraced the Tea Party and its execrable (lack of) standards? Or, is it simply because these people suddenly find their deeply-held beliefs, including their glorified self-images as champions of ‘reason’, challenged in public because of their words and actions – and their abiding self-pity forces them to respond with virulent rhetoric?

    It’s a pity, whatever the reason. And all too human.

  11. 11
    Justicar

    “I have no way to dispute the claim with her except here, and I want to dispute it, because I think it’s wrong. I also think it’s a little skeevy to block people so that you can say vile things about them and they can’t see you do it.”

    It’s almost like being banned when you have something to say on a subject could be annoying, huh? Good thing you would never do that; it’s why you’re my favorite supporter of the free exchange of ideas, even if you don’t like the ideas.

    Oh wait. I can’t even type that with a straight face.

  12. 12
    Ophelia Benson

    No, Justicar, it’s not like that at all. I don’t call anyone “Twatson” or rant about kicking women in the cunt for shits and giggles. You’re banned because I won’t have people who do that on my blog.

  13. 13
    Hamilton Jacobi

    Does anyone know what Paula’s views on real pragmatic issues are? For example, does she think that all conference anti-harassment policies are bad in principle? Or does she only think that some anti-harassment policies are bad, while others are acceptable or possibly even good?

    If it’s the latter, what’s the point of all this demonizing of friends? Why not just have a discussion on what parts of the proposed policies should be kept and what parts should be jettisoned?

  14. 14
    Ophelia Benson

    Hamilton, no, I don’t know that specifically, but she does dislike feminism, I think…or she thinks the kind that resists misogyny and the like is too victim-y and that we should be building women up instead.

  15. 15
    julian

    @Hamilton Jacobi

    This doesn’t sound like it’s about harassment policies (Paula Kirby’s complaints go way beyond that) so I doubt hashing over what proposals everyone agrees with would do much.

  16. 16
    Stacy

    It’s almost like being banned when you have something to say on a subject could be annoying, huh?

    Uh, no. It’s like “it’s a little skeevy to block people so that you can say vile things about them and they can’t see you do it.” Wasn’t aware that being banned from commenting meant you can’t read the contents of a blog.

    I’d call your reading comprehension skills execrable, but it’s you, so who knows if you misunderstood or simply misrepresented what you read. And it’s you, so, who cares.

  17. 17
    'Tis Himself

    A couple of years ago I had an argument with PZ Myers. Somehow I’ve remained unbanned at Pharyngula. In fact, he invited me to participate in the Pharyngula Podcast™.* I’ve also disagreed with Stephanie Zvan, Jason Thibault, Greta Christina and Crommunist yet remain unbanned at their blogs.

    Come on, folks, you’re not being totalitarian enough. If you were like Paula Kirby, I’d be banned at FtB, unfriended on Facebook and blocked on Twitter by now.

    *I can’t engage in the podcast because I lack the necessary equipment.

  18. 18
    julian

    Justicar once again demonstrates his staggering inability to realize people have feelings and that, no, not everyone is only interested in hearing themselves talk.

  19. 19
    julian

    @Tis Himself

    If I remember right, you’ve gone past disagreement at times. You’ve said she (Stephanie Zvan) was whining, making mountains out of mole hills and alienating an ally.

    On FtB no less!!!

    I’m shocked you can still comment.

  20. 20
    Hamilton Jacobi

    I guess I am just wondering why such a sensible person (in most regards) is being so uncharitable toward her friends here. The whole issue seems to boil down to the following two statements:

    (1) Some women have reported harassment problems of varying degrees of severity.

    (2) To deal with these problems, it has been proposed that conference organizers should establish clear anti-harassment policies.

    As far as I can tell, item (2) is the only real-world practical response that has been suggested for item (1).

    Now even if you think the harassment in item (1) is not all that bad, why kick up such a fuss? Why not just say, okay, we’re all friends here, so I’m willing to give my friends a bit of latitude on issues that affect them directly (but not me), even if I think they overreacted? Why not just take a calm look at the details of the policies in item (2) and discuss which ones are reasonable and which ones might be problematic?

  21. 21
    MonsieurDupont

    (snicker)

    I also think it’s a little skeevy to block people so that you can say vile things about them and they can’t see you do it.

    Well, butthurt Ophelia is very skeevy then if this is the measure.

    She’s such an independent thinker, she has to block people who disagree with her? Wut?

    Wow! This on a blog that has banned and blocked hundreds. Ophelia has also banned and blocked hundreds on Twitter. Hypocrite.

    Paula’s a terrific writer.

    You can fuck that insincerity off.

    #FTBullies.

  22. 22
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Ophelia:
    Hamilton, no, I don’t know that specifically, but she does dislike feminism, I think…or she thinks the kind that resists misogyny and the like is too victim-y and that we should be building women up instead.

    I can’t understand why someone would dislike feminism. Especially a woman! I mean geez…actively seeking to improve the quality of life for women everywhere and strive for equality between the sexes…yeah, that’s something to dislike. Does she *enjoy* being regarded as a second class citizen?

  23. 23
    John Morales

    [meta]

    MonsieurDupont: I note that other than trying to insult and condescend to Ophelia, you have nothing to say about the truth of her claims.

    <snicker>

  24. 24
    julian

    You can fuck that insincerity off.

    She’s said so before. Many, many times.

    Be less of an idiot, please.

  25. 25
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    @21:
    ::SIGH::
    can you take your ridiculous strawmen elsewhere?
    We don’t need the rest of FtB infected with the slimepit mentality.
    If you can’t, then put up or shut up.
    1- Give an example of Ophelia blocking someone so she can say vile things about them.
    2- Point to the examples of the hundreds of people blocked on her site
    2a-Explain how banning people=banning people for disagreeing with her. Unless of course you have proof that Ophelia has banned hundreds of people specifically for disagreements. I’m sure she hasn’t banned a single person for using gender based insults, or trolling, or starting flame wars, or continually disrupting threads
    3- Explain how it is insincere for Ophelia to compliment Paula’s writing skills. Not sure how you’re going to do that, as it would take getting inside her head, but I guess you have psychic powers.

  26. 26
    Josh Slocum

    Does she *enjoy* being regarded as a second class citizen?

    She thinks she isn’t one and that no Western women are. I can’t recall precisely what she said, but it was something close to “I’ve never experienced sexist discrimination in my working life” a while back. So therefore no one has, and anyway it’s just words so why don’t you grow up and stop feeling powerless. Or something.

    She’s incredibly blinkered and is downright nasty on this issue. It’s always a bit breathtaking to see her do it because she really is a fabulous thinker and writer on atheist issues.

  27. 27
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    julian:
    Be less of an idiot, please.

    Yeah. That’s going to happen.
    More likely MonsieurDupont is going to be *more* of an idiot. Probably with more strawmen to come.

  28. 28
    Josh Slocum

    Tony, don’t bother. Really. These are people who lose the ability to make any ethical judgments when it’s people they don’t like. Because X complained about *gratuitous* blocking, then therefore all blocking is bad, and X is a totes hypocrite. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

  29. 29
    julian

    can you take your ridiculous strawmen elsewhere?

    This was something else that bothered Kirby. Apparently we’re no longer allowed to say strawman when someone misrepresents our position or outright lies about what our concerns are.

  30. 30
    Lou Doench

    Wow! This on a blog that has banned and blocked hundreds. Ophelia has also banned and blocked hundreds on Twitter. Hypocrite.

    That’s a pretty extraordinary claim. Hundreds you say.

    Prove it… no not that part, the part about how you can count to one hundred.

  31. 31
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    This is perilously akin to eighth grade social life, and I’m getting a tad peeved with the Nazi Stasi Kmer Rouge ZOMG rhetorical delusions. It’s disheartening to see how the struggle to define the secular community has devolved into a snarling mess centered on the completely innocuous suggestions that skepticism/atheism/freethought must logically address issues of social justice and that attendees at conferences should not have to deal with unwanted sexual advances.

    I think a bit paragraph in an old New York Times article explains it best – groups (and individuals) are fighting for market share (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/10/us/10atheist.html). I know I’m voting with my time and money – I don’t want to contribute to or be represented by organizations that cater to people who consider social justice issues and the effects of unwanted sexual advances to be irrelevant to their mission.

  32. 32
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    julian @29:
    another thing I’ve noticed is that some people think that the mere mention of privilege effectively shuts down an argument (presumably, these people don’t believe privilege exists and are tired of seeing it brought up)

  33. 33
    julian

    @Tony

    Aye.

    And then they run off yelling about how you won’t engage with the substance of their arguments and focus on the bad words instead.

    Annoying, frustrating and entirely counter productive to having a conversation.

    P.S. I’ve seen some decent arguments against privilege and it really isn’t the perfect way to express social dynamics but it’s a good way to encourage self examination and start thinking about all the little things we miss floating around in our own bubbles.

  34. 34
    Eristae

    Anyone who is going to equate “People saying things I don’t like on a blog that they pay for, and not paying for a site that lets me say whatever I want” to “Murdering millions of people, including (but not limited to) Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, the mentally ill/disabled, and political dissidents” has already lost the battle to keep a grip on reality.

  35. 35
    Ingdigo Jump

    Well done! She’s used the most vacuous of arguments of theists, yet like many a atheist who winds up doing the exact same bullshit as their theist cousins believes that somehow it’s ok if they do it because they’re rational! Sounds like another graduate of the “I figured out my imaginary friend is imaginary and thus crown myself King Shit of Fuck Mountain” school of activism.

  36. 36
    Ingdigo Jump

    So in your complaint that said group doesn’t allow enough free exchange you’re desperately trying to think up of a term to act as a silencing mechanism?

    Despite realizing that said person who termed the original term is repulsive (for exactly those reasons).

    It’s undeniable that FTB has a party line,

    I hear they also promote atheism and are against genocide and raping house pets as well. I’m sorry such dogmatic thinking is a problem for you.

  37. 37
    julian

    I’m sorry such dogmatic thinking is a problem for you.

    You had better be!

    We’re supposed to be skepics!

    We can’t have a shared sense of morals and priorities! That’s what believers have!

  38. 38
    Eristae

    I don’t like the term ‘feminazi’ because I don’t like anything associated with Limbaugh, but Paula’s right. Except I’d compare it more to Communism under Mao, with the cadres enforcing correct thought and the ‘reeducation’ of those deemed impure. It’s undeniable that FTB has a party line, and far from encouraging free and calm discussion between different views, those who are deemed toxic are hounded out of the community and banned. Which for the record makes the complaints by Ophelia that Paula banned her quite amusing.

    We need another term for modern academic feminism. Jack Chicks, perhaps? Anyone?

    I was not aware that the sum total of the Communism under Mao consisted of mocking and debunking people over the internet.

    Oh, American education, how you have failed me! I thought that Mao’s crimes involved doing things like torturing, mutilating, and killing! Alas, it seem his real crime was . . . disagreeing forcefully.

    *curls up in a ball and weeps*

  39. 39
    Greg Laden

    This may be of interest (review for most of you):

    http://youtu.be/W014KhaRtik

    I think it must have been shortly after this that Paula started using “skepchick free zone” as her facebook icon. So, she pretty much seems to define herself in relation to the conversation about sexism in atheism, in that she structures her identity to be “not that.”

  40. 40
    Marta

    @39 Seepage,

    Paula Kirby is not right. This not her finest moment, and that FemiStasi/Feminazi thing is going to come back in the future and bite her right on her ass. (Wouldn’t it be lovely if that big ‘ol hypocrite, Orac, went after Kirby’s crap as hard as went after Ophelia?)

    To the extent that FtB has a “party line”, that line would be full-throated support of women, and that would be why “those deemed toxic” to women are, indeed, hounded out of the community.

    Lucky for you, there is a temple to free speech and free thought, and I think it needs your contributions. Find it at ERV, home of the Slimepit.

    Au revoir, now.

  41. 41
    Eristae

    The wisdom of Ing, ladies and gentlemen. S/he thinks it absurd to compare FTB with Nazis, but s/he also thinks anyone who disagrees with the party line is in favor of genocide and bestiality. Truly a world-class mind. The Kirk Cameron of atheism.

    Hmm, is it

    A) Strawman
    B) Illiteracy
    C) General issues with comprehension.

    Ponder, ponder ponder.

  42. 42
    julian

    S/he thinks it absurd to compare FTB with Nazis, but s/he also thinks anyone who disagrees with the party line is in favor of genocide and bestiality.




    I’m literally unable to process how you could have misread what Ing wrote that spectacularly. You must be some kind of poe.

  43. 43
    Eristae

    Ah, but when comparing one thing to another, you are certainly implying that they are the same in some SIGNIFICANT way. The fact that people on FTB disagree with people like you does not make them like Nazis in any measurable way, not even in censorship, which I know you long to use as a measure to prove your imagined oppression. Because, you see, the people of FTB have made no effort to keep you from saying whatever you want in your own spaces. Yes, they mock you. Yes, they debunk you. But freedom of speech goes both ways; when you spew shit, we get to call it shit, even if you would prefer we call it lilac water.

  44. 44
    Eristae

    If you don’t want people to point out that your Nazi analogy is foolish beyond all words, perhaps you should consider not using it; if you use it, we get to respond to it, no matter how much you yearn for us to fall down before your imagined brilliance and weep.

  45. 45
    Eristae

    Ah, so you have no words of refutation. I am not surprised.

    How about this? PZ Myers is the Socrates of the atheist movement! What? You disagree? Pssh! I did not say they were IDENTICAL, so you have no right to dispute my statement! Oh! Or I could say that She of Infinite Seepage is like a pile of worm infested shit, and none can gainsay me, for I’m not saying they are EXACTLY the same!

    And in case you cannot understand this, I shall make my point clear: you are currently watering down metaphor and analogy to the point where they mean nothing. You are saying that so long as you assert that two things are alike, we must all nod our heads. This is foolishness. You cannot simply assert that two things are alike and have it be so. If I say you are like Hitler and that you must accept this because, hey, you are alike in some discernible way (You’re human! You breathe! You talk!) then I am speaking nonsense, just like you’re doing now.

  46. 46
    julian

    What else are you unable to process, I wonder?

    Lots really. Especially science.

    Still don’t know nearly enough cosmology to counter all the arguments I keep hearing. Mind you, I get they’re gibberish and based on very faulty reasoning (how I usually handle them) but it would be nice to actually map out how and why scientist have formulated the models they have.

    Anyway, what were we talking about?

    Oh yes. You were engaging in the worst bit of bad faith arguing I’ve seen this week. Continue, please. I’d hate to be an impediment.

  47. 47
    skeptifem

    pointing out hypocrisy

    define bullying. please.

  48. 48
    Eristae

    Ah, she continues on with saying whatever she feels like without actually having to make a point. I’m wrong! I’m vulgar! I’m stupid! Or . . . at least I’m as close enough to them that one could conceivably make up a metaphor about it, and then shriek, “It doesn’t matter that they’re not the same because I never said they were! They’re only kind of alike in some fuzzy way that doesn’t actually translate in real repercussions, but who cares?!”

  49. 49
    julian

    Bullshit. FTB has a track record of bullying women.

    Such as…?

  50. 50
    Marta

    @54 Hypocrisy:

    “FTB has a track record of bullying women.”
    [Citation needed]

    Oh, the BACKchannel. Why didn’t you say so? PZ, Greta, Ian, Ophelia, it’s like they’re connected belly-button to belly-button!

    Ophelia IS often at the forefront. That’s where you find leaders.

  51. 51
    Eristae

    But in all seriousness, the whole analogy seems to come down to, “The Nazis sent dissidents to concentrations camps and murdered them, and the people at FTB mock us and disagree with us, so the people at FTB are just like Nazis!”

    Here is a little hint: The problem with the Nazis is not that they did not agree with everyone. It is not that they viewed every single view point, no matter how stupid, with respect. It wasn’t that the Nazis didn’t use their own personal money to provide a platform for those they disagreed with. The problem is that they killed the people who disagreed with them.

    Amazingly enough, you are not owed respect. If you say stupid things (drinking water cures cancer! prayers will bring rain to stop wildfires! the earth was made 6000 years ago! FTB is like the Nazi party!) then no one is required to treat you as if you have done anything other than said something mind numbingly stupid. To conflate disagreeing with you to locking you away and killing you is minimizing what the Nazis did to an obscene degree. The only thing that amazes me is that you people can minimize the mass slaughter of countless innocent people by comparing it to people disagreeing with you over the internet. You should be ashamed. I fully expect that you will not be, or else you would not have been so incredibly insensitive to begin with. Instead, you will tut tut over my being “vulgar” while using the butchering of millions to try to scare people into not criticizing your words and actions. Because to you, saying “shit” is worse than acting like the holocaust had anything to do with your situation. It is disgusting.

  52. 52
    M. A. Melby

    What feminism means is extremely dependent on culture and generation, not to mention it is full of “camps”.

    For some reason, even though many of the goals are very similar, the house always seems to divide again and again.

    At some point we’ll all need to regroup, because even though we’ve won a lot of battles there are still many out there that still need to be fought.

    I just wish nobody (nobody) gets “regrouping” confused with “cleaning house”.

  53. 53
    Hank_Says

    Oh lord, not Paula Kirby too. Sheesh. Is it too much to ask that skeptics – to paraphrase Dr Henry Jones from “The Last Crusade” – read peoples’ arguments before burning them?

  54. 54
    Eristae

    Well, skeptifem, funny you should ask. Calling women “gender traitors” and “sister punishers” for a start. And thinking that’s really funny!!! Also, posting false allegations on this blog, and then bullying the woman who tried to respond to those false allegations. Stay classy, FTB.

    This is not a definition. It is a couple of examples of things that you view as bullying. It’s rather like you were asked for a definition of “vegetable” and you started listing of carrots, tomatoes, peanuts . . .

  55. 55
    skeptifem

    Well, skeptifem, funny you should ask. Calling women “gender traitors” and “sister punishers” for a start. And thinking that’s really funny!!! Also, posting false allegations on this blog, and then bullying the woman who tried to respond to those false allegations. Stay classy, FTB.

    I am asking for an actual definition, not just examples of what you think constitutes bullying. It is meaningless to discuss this with you if your definition of bullying is “anything I think is mean and do not like”. Any criticism can feel biting, it doesn’t make it into bullying.

  56. 56
    julian

    Also, posting false allegations on this blog, and then bullying the woman who tried to respond to those false allegations.

    Rule of thumb when clarifying. Don’t re use the expression, word or phase someone just asked you to explain as way of explanation to that person. If they knew what you meant they wouldn’t have asked for an explanation would they?

  57. 57
    skeptifem

    …oh also, “sister punishers”? Who the hell ever said that?

  58. 58
    Eristae

    If you can’t define “bullying” then just say so. Calling me names* and accusing me evasion doesn’t change the fact that you have no defined “bullying.”

    *So calling someone a “sister punisher” is bulling, but calling someone a “bull-enabler” is not? Is the key difference that you said the second while someone else said the first?

  59. 59
    skeptifem

    It originated here and was greeted with instant applause and acclaim.

    Bullies.

    explain how that is bullying. please.

  60. 60
    julian

    It originated here and was greeted with instant applause and acclaim.

    I think it originated at Greta’s and only one person (Salty Current) welcomed it. Everyone else largely ignored it until it was later brought up.

    And, I think some people are waiting for you to define bullying and explain why the behavior you listed is bullying.

  61. 61
    Alyson Miers

    Oh, what is that I don’t even.

    I agree that it’s shitty to ban/block someone on a social network and then talk trash about them. Even if you’re dealing with the biggest playground bully on the Internet (which you, Ophelia, are certainly not), it’s only fair to refrain from talking about those whom you will not allow to talk to you. Rights and responsibilities, taking what you dish out, and all that.

  62. 62
    skeptifem

    Erista, I just did define bullying

    no you did not. You gave examples. Examples are not definitions, they are examples. A definition should be an explanation that enables us all to define if a certain behavior is or is not bullying. Examples do not enable people to do so.

    Please post an actual definition, it doesn’t have to be official, just what makes you think a behavior counts as bullying.

  63. 63
    Eristae

    Erista, I just did define bullying.

    Bully-enabler is a term used to describe those who enable bullying, and that applies to at least 5-6 FTB blogs and their posters.

    I once argued with someone like you in high school. This girl was arguing with me about whether or not people in the third world should be allowed to use birth control (I felt they should, she felt they should not). In the middle of the argument, she switched over to a big rant about how I was arguing that women should be forced to have abortions. I fell for the bait and allowed her to switch the topic.

    I am older now. I am less likely to fall for this tactic.

    You did not define bullying. You listed a few things you considered to be bullying. This is no more a definition of bullying than (as I said before) listing “carrots, tomatoes, and peanuts” counts as defining “vegetable.”

  64. 64
    GMM

    @poHypocrite,
    Saying a woman should be kicked in her privates because she said something you disagree with, would that qualify as bullying to you?

    “Sister punisher” is bad, but not mangina, cunt, bitch, twat, etc.? What does sister punisher even mean?

  65. 65
    skeptifem

    skeptifem,

    Because you support and promote the use of gendered insults, and the use of those insults to slur women who Ophelia and her posters have decided to bully.

    Your entire argument rests on accusations of bullying, but you can’t explain to anyone *why* these actions qualify as bullying. Do you see the problem with that?

  66. 66
    Greg Laden

    The problem is that they killed the people who disagreed with them.

    Sorry to quibble and this is a bit OT, but that’s not really what they did. They killed people they regarded as subhuman or inferior racially, or that were otherwise inconvenient but using inferiority as an excuse. It is important to note simply because not only must we not forget, but we must not forget what it is we are not forgetting (unfettered racism leading to genocide).

  67. 67
    GMM

    And as a victim of bullying from K-12, I know what the fuck it is and you have some nerve misusing it to silence people who have dissenting opinions that you can’t handle.

  68. 68
    Eristae

    Have done, cowboy. Do keep up.

    Repeating a falsehood over and over again will not make it truth.

    Or perhaps you do not understand the meaning of the word “definition.” If this is the case, allow me provide you with a definition of “definition”.

    Definition

    [C] a statement that explains the meaning of a word or phrase
    a dictionary definition
    What is the definition of ‘mood’?

    [C] a description of the features and limits of something
    The legal definition of what is and what is not pornography is very unsatisfactory.

  69. 69
    aleph squared

    And, I think some people are waiting for you to define bullying and explain why the behavior you listed is bullying.

    Have done, cowboy. Do keep up.

    No you didn’t. Stop with this nonsense. You provided a couple examples for things you consider bullying, but a definition of x is something which provides an effective way of distinguishing something which is x from something which is not.

    From what you’ve said, I have no idea what you think bullying is, because it could be any commonality between those two examples unless you give more information.

  70. 70
    Eristae

    @Greg Laden

    They also killed political dissidents.

  71. 71
    Josh Slocum

    “Sister punisher” is not necessarily “bad”; it’s sometimes accurate. Just as it’s accurate to call Log Cabin Republicans who work against the interests of any queer not white and upper middle class Uncle Marys. Because they are.

    Who gives a shit if you don’t like being pushed back against when your friends actively feed misogyny, denigration of women’s experiences, and reap the rewards of Chill Girl approbation? Who fucking cares?

    Protesting your bullshit isn’t bullying. Calling your bullying what it is—bullying—isn’t bullying. Fuck you.

  72. 72
    Eristae

    Erista,

    Were you bullying that person in high school?

    And here you are trying to bait me into changing the topic yet again.

    I suppose you are both incapable of providing a definition for “bullying” and of admitting you cannot provide a definition of “bullying.” Ah, well.

  73. 73
    Josh Slocum

    Also, fuck you.

  74. 74
    MartinM
    Please post an actual definition, it doesn’t have to be official, just what makes you think a behavior counts as bullying.

    Posting false allegations and then bullying the woman who attempted to respond to them.

    I’d hate to see you define ‘recursion’.

  75. 75
    Josh Slocum

    Nope. They constitute bullying because they are specifically designed to target women, to harass them, and to organise a full-scale FTB campaign against them.

    You perverse, lying shit head.

  76. 76
    aleph squared
    Please post an actual definition, it doesn’t have to be official, just what makes you think a behavior counts as bullying.

    Posting false allegations and then bullying the woman who attempted to respond to them.

    No. You can’t define bullying recursively that way. All you’ve done is say “Bullying is false allegations and then bullying.”

    You have to use *other words* to define it.

  77. 77
    skeptifem

    Skeptifem: “Do you see the problem with that?”

    Nope. They constitute bullying because they are specifically designed to target women, to harass them, and to organise a full-scale FTB campaign against them.

    Nice try at evasion.

    How are they specifically designed for that?

  78. 78
    Josh Slocum

    Take it back to ERV and use some of that bile to hoggle with you asshole. People here aren’t going to put up with your shit. Deal.

  79. 79
    julian

    Would anyone be opposed to overly annoyed with me if I argued what’s-their-faces point for them? That expressions like sister-punisher, uncle tom and uncle mary constitute bullying? This isn’t going anywhere and if nothing else it’d fill the comment section with something other than pointless crap.

  80. 80
    skeptifem

    Josh Slocum – fuck off you bully.

    Did you get that?

    Just in case you didn’t – here it is again – FUCK OFF.

    Bully.

    because he called you a liar? really? or was it the cussing? how is he a bully for saying what he said?

  81. 81
    Josh Slocum

    There, there dearie.

  82. 82
    julian

    @skeptifem

    you can stop. PointingOutHypocrisy is never going to give a proper answer whatever iteration of “why is this bullying?” you use.

  83. 83
    aleph squared

    Here we see the common bully tactic of multiple bullies launching attacks.

    Quod erat demonstrandum

    I do not think that phrase means what you think it means.

    Then again, same goes for “bully” which you still haven’t defined.

  84. 84
    Eristae

    And PointingOutHypocrisy still hasn’t defined “bullying.” Ho hum.

    On an unrelated note, while I am not very familiar with the term “sister punisher,” I find it fascinating that it is assumed that the person doing the punishing is a female. After all, males have sisters, too.

  85. 85
    Josh Slocum

    Would anyone be opposed to overly annoyed with me if I argued what’s-their-faces point for them? That expressions like sister-punisher, uncle tom and uncle mary constitute bullying?

    Why bother? What benefit do you think we could get out of that? If you’re going to argue that it’s “bullying” to call a hypocrytical, cynical manipulator who increases his social cred at the expense of others like him. . .what do you expect will be the response?

  86. 86
    Josh Slocum

    Keep going POH. Come on, give it your best!

  87. 87
    skeptifem

    POH doesn’t have a definition, and can only seem to repeat themselves. It takes work to avoid direct questions that many times, I’ll quit asking/responding to POH.

    erista

    On an unrelated note, while I am not very familiar with the term “sister punisher,” I find it fascinating that it is assumed that the person doing the punishing is a female. After all, males have sisters, too.

    I was unaware of it before tonight as well. Using google I found some references to it on websites like feministe, and it was mentioned in the comments of a post on FTB (though not this blog, or pz’s) awhile back.

  88. 88
    Eristae

    For anyone who is reading and is not yet aware, this is a classic tactic in debating. Jim argues A, and Jane points out a hole in Jim’s argument. Jim is unable to refute Jane and plug the hole in his argument, so he ignores Jane’s point and begins accusing her in the hope that she will forget her point and go on the defensive. If successful, Jane will be so distracted by his sudden attack that she will instead turn to defending herself against whatever it is he is throwing at her rather than sticking to her guns and keeping Jim to the fact that there is a hole in his argument.

    I see it all the time. This particular instance is rather interesting in that PointingOutHypocrisy’s tactic for evading having to define “bullying” is to accuse everyone else of evasion.

  89. 89
    Josh Slocum

    Remember the Little Engine That Could? Say it with me, POH:

    “I THINK I can I THINK I can I THINK I can. . .”

    Toot-toot!

  90. 90
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    Comment by PointingOutHypocrisy blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]

    Does it have a definition yet?

  91. 91
    GMM

    Telling someone they’re misusing the term bullying is also bullying! LOL.

    Basically anything you type on a FTB is bullying to poeHypocrite.

    No argument = Bully!

  92. 92
    Gnumann+,with no bloody irony at all (just an anti-essentialist feminist with a shotgun)

    Ophelia Benson made a comparison of TAM with Nazi Germany not so long ago. Ophelia is quite fond of her Nazi analogies.

    No she didn’t.

    She compared some people’s (lack of) reactions to the TAM debacle to some people’s (lack of) reactions to the holocaust. Not the one I would have used, but it is apt (though a bit of hyperbole who I can halfway understand confuses small minds).

    Because you support and promote the use of gendered insults, and the use of those insults to slur women who Ophelia and her posters have decided to bully.

    Firstly, you misunderstand (quite possibly wilfully) the concept of gendered slurs. Secondly, the term isn’t necessarily gendered, thirdly I haven’t seen you around trying to correct any real hypocrisy or ever take offence at quite real gendered slurs elsewhere.

    Conclusion: You’re a small wasp-related annonying little wood-dweller. (Sorry Ophelia, I know you think apt description “lowers the tone” – but tone has pretty much been blasted by this little concern-troll anyway)

  93. 93
    Eristae

    @dysomniak, darwinian socialist
    No. I think it’s fair to say we won’t be getting one, either.

    @skeptifem
    Have you found a good definition of “sister punisher?” I’ve seen people talk about it, but it’s not something that I’ve really encountered enough to see how it’s used and what it means. I mean, clearly it has something to do with accusing someone of treating women poorly, but there seems to be a greater context than that.

  94. 94
    Josh Slocum

    Awww, who’s a widdle kutie? Come on, try again: Chug-a-chug-a-CHUG-a-chug-a-CHUG-a-chuga.

  95. 95
    skeptifem

    @120- I would assume its the same as chill girl (used here a lot) or gender traitor, which hasn’t caught on much outside of my own blog. its the female equivalent of an uncle tom, but one who is subservient to sexist people/ideals rather than racist ones. It sounds like a really old school term for the same thing, anyway.

    shorter 120 “blocking my comments is bullying”. we have come full circle.

  96. 96
    aleph squared

    It does. It has been pointed out. It has been pointed out online dictionaries are available.

    So link to the one which best satisfies your conception of the term, and justify why that applies to the myriad of things you call bullying.

    This shouldn’t be hard if you actually have a reasonable position here.

    Ha, who am I kidding.

  97. 97
    Josh Slocum

    SQUEEEEEEEE!!!! Now we have two adorable cuddly l’il thangs!

  98. 98
    Eristae

    @PointingOutHypocrisy

    And that’s still not a definition of “bullying.” I understand that you don’t want to have to define it, and that you simply want to be able to use it as a weapon to try to silence those who disagree with you, but I am not interested in playing your “Let’s distract them so I don’t have to face the hole in my argument” game. Thus, until you define bullying, all my responses to you will simply be a continued request for you to define bullying. You may call me names all you want (ah, the irony of raging against “sister punisher” by wielding “bully” and “bully enablers”) but none of that will change the fact that you still can’t seem to define what you are accusing everyone who disagrees with you of.

  99. 99
    Josh Slocum

    Which other targets have you got in mind now?

    Awwwwwwwwww. . . I have you in mind for a super-sweet treat! Who wants some skritches? Who wants ‘em? Come on over to your jack-booted Uncle Josh and git some luvvins:)))

  100. 100
    aleph squared

    Ah, I see where you are going wrong, Iamcuriousblue. You seem to think that FTB bloggers and commentariat form some kind of socialist political party.

    This is not in fact the case!

    See, all resolved.

  101. 101
    Eristae

    @skeptifem Ahh, I see.

    The funny thing about this is that the same people who are flipping out about “gender traitor,” “sister punisher,” and so forth are the same people flinging around “feminazi,” “Femistasi,” “bully” and “bully enabler.” When their opponents use words and names to say negative things about them, it’s horrible and evil and uncalled for, but when they use words and names to say negative things about their opponents, it’s perfectly justified and true! Irony irony.

  102. 102
    Josh Slocum

    Little nutkin is bringing out the dictionary. . . soooooo cute! Remember to get pictures; these are the moments that make cherished memories. Cute little dickens!

  103. 103
    skeptifem

    A point about those of us who are calling you authoritarian and totalitarian. Well, of course you don’t have the power to implement anything like that now. Neither does the Maoist International Movement or National Socialist Vanguard. Doesn’t mean I’d want them anywhere near political power. I pretty much feel the same way about you and yours, and I’m not the only one. It’s a big part of why your getting so much opposition from so many quarters.

    do you have any real example of totalitarian/authoritarian policies advocated by actual feminists (specifically ophelia)?

  104. 104
    Eristae

    @PointingOutHypocrisy

    If coming up with a definition of bullying is too difficult for you, you are certainly welcome to point to your dictionary of choice and explain why you think it’s definition is valid. That being said, I am not going to define bullying for you, if for no other reason than I cannot read your mind to see what you mean when you say “bullying,” so I can’t know if any given definition lines up with what you mean.

  105. 105
    Josh Slocum

    Seems I’ve exposed Josh Slowcum as a fascist.

    OMG guys, did you hear that? Out of the mouths of babes, I swear. Boy, they warm your heart when they try out being grown-up, don’t they? Little sweetie!!!!

  106. 106
    Alyson Miers

    Shorter POH: “You all disagree with me, so you’re all bullies! Waaaah!”

    Does that about cover it?

  107. 107
    skeptifem

    I gotta go for tonight, see you all in the AM. It will be interesting to see how the comments turn out…

  108. 108
    Gnumann+,with no bloody irony at all (just an anti-essentialist feminist with a shotgun)

    So, being intolerant against the idea that some people are not fully human is bad?

    Now, what political ideology would that equate to..?

  109. 109
    Josh Slocum

    Oh, nighty-nights for me too. Snuggle down all warm and fluffy:))

  110. 110
    Eristae

    Eris (discord)

    Oh, and given that my name has come up, I think I’ll elaborate on it a bit.

    Hesiod’s Works and Days

    There is not only one Discord, for on earth she is twofold:
    One of them nobody would find fault with on closer acquaintance;
    One you would deprecate, for they have totally different natures.
    Wickedly, one promotes all the evils of warfare and slaughter;
    No one of humankind likes her; out of necessity, at the
    Will of the blessed immortals, they treat grim Discord with honor.
    There is, moreover, another, the firstborn daughter of dark Night.
    Her did the high-throned scion of Cronus whose home is in heaven
    Place at the roots of the earth; she is certainly better for mankind.
    This is that Discord that stirs up even the helpless to hard work,
    Seeing a man gets eager to work on beholding a neighbor
    Who is exceedingly wealthy and makes haste plowing and sowing,
    Putting his household in order; so neighbor competing with neighbor
    Runs after riches, and therefore this Discord benefits mankind.
    Every potter begrudges another, and artists do likewise;
    Every beggarman envies a beggar, and poets are rivals.

    I chose it as a kind of reference to the sexual abuse I suffered as a child. I chose it to remind myself that not all strife, not all discord, not all problems would be soul crushing; I chose it to remind myself that I could use it in my life to help and understand others. Even the wild destructive power of a volcano can lead to lush growth as life establishes itself on the enriched earth. I can see those whose lives are not defined by childhood sexual abuse, abd pain I feel at not having such a life can help drive me towards achieving such a life. My yearning for such a life can help lead me to it.

    Perhaps it is a lie. I don’t know. But if it is a lie, then it is a comforting lie, and one I tell myself.

    Anyway, that’s off topic, so my apologies.

  111. 111
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    Well, pretty much your whole political program, Skeptifem. Need I ask what awaits “gender traitors” come the revolution? I’m sure it can’t be very pleasant.

    Why, wherever did you learn such big words, honey? Nevermind, you don’t need to worry your sweet little head about it. You just leave that for the grownups, and how about you come sit on the porch here. We’ll ask Martha to bring you a glass of lemonade.

  112. 112
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    IACB #127:

    Looks like the resistance is mounting.

    The ‘resistance’ you speak of has been brewing on ERV for a year now, and has done nothing but plug up the secular/atheist blogosphere with as much noise as it can. And hasn’t been too effective at that, seemingly.

    A point about those of us who are calling you authoritarian and totalitarian.

    Yeeeeeeeeeees? After all, you decided to go on my blog and start poisoning the well after you were banned at Greta’s place…

  113. 113
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Er, what the hell? How the fuck did that link to Freethought Blogs? That’s supposed to link to my blog!

    Here! This is what it should be!

  114. 114
    Gnumann+,with no bloody irony at all (just an anti-essentialist feminist with a shotgun)

    Well, pretty much your whole political program, Skeptifem. Need I ask what awaits “gender traitors” come the revolution? I’m sure it can’t be very pleasant.

    And so you choose to support Rush Limbaugh?

    Cute, very cute.

    Have it ever occurred to you that tolerance and respect is a dialectic process?

    I’d never use the term “gender traitor” since I don’t subscribe to the idea that you have allegiance to a particular view simply by ascribed or self-indentified gender.

    In fact, I disagree with Skeptifem (and Ophelia Benson) in a number of things and would most likely be in a three-way quarrel with them if it wasn’t for you lot.

    You’ve got it all wrong. It’s not a party line here, it’s your wrongness that’s uniting. So if you need to resort to the most uncharitable interpretatiton of shit Skeptifem occasionally says to make your point, you’re really not making it.

  115. 115
    Smhlle

    @63

    The phrase “gender traitor” is not a gendered slur. It does not identify the gender of the person being labelled, or degrade that gender.

    The phrase “sister punisher” (used by one person), does allude to one gender, but does not to the gender of the person being called out for being a “punisher”. A sister punisher ain’t necessarily a woman.

  116. 116
    Stacy

    Aw look, it’s iamcuriousblue. Hoggled all over Jason’s blog a few days ago. First ze claimed FtB is all mean an’ tribalistic an’ stuff. Faced with the obvious point that iacb is also tribalistic and xir tone-trolling was both hypocritical and unwelcome, ze revealed xir real beef (which is political) and called FtB totalitarian. Forced by Jason to come up with some evidence for that claim, ze dredged up some comment on Greta’s blog that rather ambiguously defended “censorship” of art. (It was unclear whether the commenter was actually talking about censorship as opposed to mere criticism, but, whatevs. A blogger can hardly be held responsible for every halfassed comment that gets posted to their blog.) Evidently Swedish Softcore considers one comment out of hundreds on one blog “evidence” that FtB is totalitarian.

    Yup, dumb as a box of rocks. I’m sure ze fits right in over at ERV.

  117. 117
    kosk11348

    I really, really don’t get what motivates the opposition. FTB is respects women and women’s viewpoints. This is somehow controversial? This is “groupthink” and bullying and just like fascism? What??? I just don’t even get the complaints. And then they come onto our blogs and spew venom without ever making a single point beyond “you guys suck.” That looks like groupthink to me. That looks like bullying. It’s like when Limbaugh’s Dittoheads yammer on about how bad the “looney liberals” are without being able to actually make any sensible point against liberalism. It’s just bizarre. I don’t understand how stupid people can defend their ignorance with such passion and hatred. Don’t they realize they would be better people if they could just listen instead of demonize? Is change really that scary?

    Even if FTB is alone in it’s opinions (which I’d don’t believe for a second) thank goodness for it. It’s a much needed island of sanity in an insane world.

  118. 118
    dogeared, spotted and foxed

    Well, pretty much your whole political program, Skeptifem. Need I ask what awaits “gender traitors” come the revolution? I’m sure it can’t be very pleasant.

    This is the funniest post in the thread. Yes, tell us! Whatever shall happen to those poor so-called gender traitors? Perhaps they’ll need to defend their position at a cocktail party! Or maybe they’ll choose to scrape their Rush Limbaugh bumper sticker off! Or maybe, just maybe, they be forced to go about their day still thinking that someone is wrong on the internet. Quelle horreur!

    Since the “revolution” is actually just the molasses-slow progress of social evolution, it’ll take loooong time. So they’ll most likely just sit around and reminisce about that time Penn Jillette patted them on the head for using the word “cunt” ironically. (“You probably don’t know who that is, dear, but in my day he was very influential!)

  119. 119
    Stacy
    “do you have any real example of totalitarian/authoritarian policies advocated by actual feminists?”

    Well, pretty much your whole political program, Skeptifem.

    This is the funniest post in the thread

    It is. It’s like when Sarah Palin was asked which newspapers and magazines she read, and she answered, “All of ‘em.”

  120. 120
    MadScientist

    That’s funny – I’ve always found the FTB blogs I check out to be the most honest. Even if the blogger doesn’t agree with people, folks aren’t banned for disagreeing. Now why do the real intolerant people always accuse the FTB bloggers of that sort of thing? I can’t stand those other blogs where people who disagree are banned or their posts mysteriously deleted because the bloggers have a fragile ego and treasure their delusion that everyone agrees with them. I swear, some blogs are like the Disneyland Blog or something – it’s all so pretentiously sweet you just know it isn’t right.

  121. 121
    Stacy

    so you hateful fuckheads are going to defend the term “gender traitor”

    Other than skeptifem, who pointed out that it hasn’t “caught on” outside her own blog, we’ve had one person distinguishing the term from a gendered slur, and one person saying they’d never use it.

    In iacb’s non-too-rigorous mind that counts as (an ideterminate number and/or all of us) “hateful fuckheads” defending the term.

    Even bigger irony that other feminists here take it up…

    See, that only happened in your head.

  122. 122
    Emptyell

    kosk11384 @154

    I don’t understand how stupid people can defend their ignorance with such passion and hatred.

    How else do you defend ignorance?

    I guess there’s “la la la la la, I can’t hear you”

    We’ve seen plenty of that too.

    I take exception to calling them stupid though. It takes intelligence and cleverness to be aggressively ignorant. (Arrogance too of course. It provides the blinders for the cognitive dissonance.)

    . . .

    What was up with all that POH nonsense anyway? Did anyone actually think there was any good faith argument behind the endless “bully” mantra? It struck me as a rare but rather boring example of a Classic Troll. I suppose that makes me a bully.

  123. 123
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    Wow, so you hateful fuckheads are going to defend the term “gender traitor”. Never mind that the term “gender traitor” is one that happens to be straight out of the The Handmaid’s Tale, as a description of the criminal charge the Republic of Gilead would use to throw lesbians in concentration camps. No small irony that one of the more extremist feminists on the fringes of the FTB crowd takes up this creepy term to use against women she doesn’t like. Even bigger irony that other feminists here take it up without any reflection on the problematic implications of the term. It speaks volumes about the shitty gender politics you people embrace. “Equality” my ass. Everything you people represent is fucking insult to that fine idea.

    Oh, darlin’, you really do need to sit on the porch and have that glass of lemonade to cool off. Why, you’ve got yourself all worked into a lather about grownup words you purely don’t understand. Blue honey, I can tell you’re real upset. Oh dear, I don’t mean to laugh, I’m not laughing at you, Blue honey, honest I’m not. I just can’t help myself. If only you could see the expression on your face, you’d laugh, too!

  124. 124
    John Morales

    Iamcuriousblue:

    The sad thing is, you people probably actually think your arguments are intelligent, and that the extreme positions you take are in some way helping to make the world a better place.

    Were I a nicer person, I’d think it sad that you think that, not just pitiful.

    It speaks volumes about the shitty gender politics you people embrace.

    I don’t embrace any gender politics, but that you characterise feminism as such speaks volumes about you — it’s gender politics much like atheism is theism.

  125. 125
    Rob

    Erista (aka Eris) @147

    Beautiful, glorious and uplifting. Worth reading a frustrating and pointless comment thread to find.

  126. 126
    Flewellyn

    It always strikes me as odd when people react to social opprobrium as though it were legal sanction, and equate the two. Being told “Hey, that’s shitty and you shouldn’t do it” is an expression of an opinion, which you are legally free to ignore. It is not equivalent to locking you in prison, or requiring you to pay a fine.

    And there are plenty of people who think things can be wrong, without wanting to make those things illegal. Saying “I don’t approve of this, I think it’s harmful” does not necessarily equate to “I think this should be banned”.

    I suspect that the people who do make such false equivalences are not arguing in good faith.

  127. 127
    Jafafa Hots

    Hi.

    I’m here to complain on this blog about how you’re suppressing my freedom of speech by stopping me from complaining on this blog about how you;re suppressing my freedom of speech.

    Which you haven’t done YET, but which you will certainly do just as soon as you see me complaining on this blog about how I can’t complain on this blog.

    I shall therefore await my ban. If, however, I am somehow not banned, I will repost my complaint that I am not allowed to post complaints, and if anyone criticizes me by pointing out that my comments were not banned, you’re proving me right by suppressing my freedom of speech by not agreeing.

    Which I damned well will be sure to point out in yet another comment to this blog. Or maybe two.

    Or perhaps several dozen over the course of a year.

    Also, Nazis were bad so you’re just like Nazis.

  128. 128
    dogeared, spotted and foxed

    Iamcuriousblue @157 – Oh you’re a treasure, you really are. The oh-so-terribly subtle charge of homophobia because of a Handmaid’s Tale reference? Brilliant!

    For the record, I’m not arguing with you. You would have to take an actual position first. I’m just riffin’ on your buzzword flow.

  129. 129
    OutlawPhilosopher

    Sigh. I suppose it’s too much to expect people who are rational (I opine!) with respect to the question of supernatural entities to be rational with respect to, say, gender politics or rhetoric. Still, one always hopes.

  130. 130
    1000 Needles

    Why are people like POH not banned after their 4th or 5th comment?

    Their constant accusations of ‘bullying’ can only be attempts to provoke and antagonize and make any reasonable discussion impossible.

    As someone who had experienced a fair share of actual bullying, POH’s comments are infuriating.

  131. 131
    Jafafa Hots

    I’m going to withhold judgement on the whole equality issue until I read a proper refutation of the opposing “I know you are, but what am I?” line of criticism.

  132. 132
    Flewellyn

    Right after JafafaHots posts about the “I know you are but what am I?” line of argument, IAmCuriouslyBrainless demonstrates with a handy example. Thank you for that.

    Do you have anything of substance to say? Such as how you could reasonably compare being told you are wrong with being thrown in jail?

    What am I saying? Of course you don’t. If you did, you wouldn’t be wanking here.

  133. 133
    Jafafa Hots

    You creeps, on the other hand, are actually proud to throw around language like that.

    Gosh, it’s almost like you don’t even bother to read people’s responses to your allegations.

  134. 134
    Flewellyn

    You fail to distinguish between “totalitarian state” and “nascent totalitarian movement”. You’re pretty harmless now, but I sure as hell wouldn’t want you or anybody with your general political sentiment anywhere near political power.

    Sorry, what? Totalitarian movement? Nonsense. Absolutely batshit.

    Did you miss the part where I pointed out that there’s a strong difference between social opprobrium and legal sanction? What we’re trying for here is social change towards greater equality, not totalitarian domination.

    Among other things, totalitarian governments tend to be very misogynist.

  135. 135
    maureen.brian

    Another historical footnote. The term “sister punisher” did not originate here in the last few weeks, any more than than “gender traitor” first appeared in The Handmaid’s Tale.

    Amanda Marcotte has long had the former phrase in her repertoire and used it a bit more frequently when Sarah Palin was about. From my memory it goes back to the 1960s or 1970s. It could well be earlier.

    As PointingOutHypocrisy cannot operate a dictionary and seems unable to understand what it might take to convince us, let’s try this. In order to accept that “sister punisher” was bullying we would need to know

    * who said it, where they said it and when – a link would do the trick
    * where that person stands within the larger argument
    * whether it was said in the heat of the moment or chosen in a considered manner to build a case

    Note that we do not need to know the gender or presumed gender of this person, their usual tribal loyalties or how tall they are. We merely wish to exercise our judgement as fully paid up human beings to examine the evidence and decide for ourselves – the very antithesis of groupthink.

    ——-

    I am forming the impression that POH and its little friends are being sent here and elsewhere in batches as some sort of forced labour programme – presumably to weed out the weaker ones. I mean! How totalitarian can you get?

    ——-

    Go on Gnumann, I dare you. Explain the concept of the dialectic to them. That should really blow the three remaining brain cells.

  136. 136
    Hank_Says

    Sweet flamin’ crikey, aren’t these persecution fantasists/gits-who-cry-bully adorable as all get-out? Here I was, thinking the most fun a bloke could have was to argue with a creationist thickneck (or watch one be demolished), but frig me sideways – turns out the funnest trolls ever belong to this curious little subset of dudebro/chillgirl skeptics who get their fee-fees hurt when someone disagrees with them or dares to point out their fatuous, inane bullshit (or their flat fucking lies) and who then shriek about being bullied, or bleat about being oppressed!

    Hell, there are even some who won’t answer a simple goddamned question like “How many people has Blogger X blocked?” or “what’s your definition of bullying?” When all you get is “look it up” or a bunch of evasions, it smells so much like a creationist telling you to “go read Creo Site #557 billion” or shifting their goalposts with every reply that I’d have trouble telling them apart in a dark room. No, douchebucket, you were asked for YOUR definition. You either don’t have one and are just jumping on the fucking Blackfordwagon of “bullying = mean words said to me in response to something fucking stupid I said”, like a good lil’ slimepitter, or you don’t want to choose one, lest you be pinned down on it and have it refuted by someone smarter than you, leaving you with one less rotten tomato in that sack you brought to the theatre.

    Bollocks to evolution threads and the attendant lackwitted creationist trolls, the real contenders are these epistemic white knights, fighting the good fight for the right to ignore anyone who claims to have been harrassed or threatened but doesn’t provide irrefutable cast-iron PROOF; waging the righteous war in the name of HARRASSMENT: IT’S NOT A PROBLEM; wading into the fray against those ghastly Freethought Feminazi Bullieeeeeees.

    I’m putting on some popcorn and sticking with FtB threads for my chuckles now.

  137. 137
    Stacy

    You creeps, on the other hand, are actually proud to throw around language like [gender traitor].

    Ahem. It has been pointed out that it is not true that “we” throw the term “gender traitor” around, proudly (?) or otherwise.

    (The thread is here to read. For anybody who doesn’t just want to take my word for it.)

    However much you really, really want it to be true, it isn’t true, Swedish Softcore. And we don’t all think the same, so you can’t take something someone on the thread says and assume everybody else agrees with it, however cozily that assumption fits your lazy “totalitarian” narrative.

  138. 138
    Emptyell

    Maureen.Brian @177

    I am forming the impression that POH and its little friends are being sent here and elsewhere in batches as some sort of forced labour programme – presumably to weed out the weaker ones.

    Now it makes sense. They are plants sent by the Great Pharyngulator to test our resolve and loyalty!

  139. 139
    Hank_Says

    Now it makes sense. They are plants sent by the Great Pharyngulator to test our resolve and loyalty!

    Such wisdom! Blessed be his inky discharge.

    To honour our tentacled Feminazi overlord, let us continue to BULLY these thralls with our horrid, pointy WORDS!

  140. 140
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    Actually, I’m characterizing the version of feminism popular around these parts as “shitty gender politics”. More thoughtful feminists, generally not the kind you would encounter in this cesspit, probably would back away from creepy terms like “gender traitor”. You creeps, on the other hand, are actually proud to throw around language like that.

    Blue, if you don’t stop using bad language like that, you’re going to get your mouth washed out with soap. And no ice cream for you after supper, either. Now go sit in the corner until you’re ready to apologize.

  141. 141
    Hank_Says

    Still, you are doing your damnedest to polarize the fuck out of the current skeptic/atheist community

    *explosion*

    Aw, shit. That’ll teach me to leave my Ironoscope 9000 switched on when Proper Skeptics(tm) are nearby.

  142. 142
    maureen.brian

    So, we should allow ourselves to be groped, patronised and talked over all for the greater good?

    Doesn’t sound like participatory democracy to me, more like Japanese comfort women.

  143. 143
    Flewellyn

    Iamcuriousblue, WHAT DO YOU WANT?

  144. 144
    Hank_Says

    Iamcuriousblue, WHAT DO YOU WANT?

    For these uppity womenfolk (and their mangina enablers) to STFU about wanting to be treated like human beings and start making the fucking sandwiches already?

    Or maybe just for people stop bullying and oppressing them. I mean, obviously Ophelia has forced this clown at gunpoint to come here and read this post and now continues to beat IACB with a stick so they’ll continue to comment, thus giving everyone else a chance to continue with the bullying and oppression.

  145. 145
    Flewellyn

    So, we should allow ourselves to be groped, patronised and talked over all for the greater good?

    Doesn’t sound like participatory democracy to me, more like Japanese comfort women.

    It’s very simple, actually. IAmCluelesslyBombastic is a libertarian, and as such has a young teenaged boy’s idea of freedom and morality. Basically, what this boils down to is “You’re not the boss of me!” and “I don’t wanna!” being the fundamental underpinnings of his moral and political philosophy. Oh, he and his compatriots dress it up with pretty words, stuff about liberty and leaving each other alone and never initiating force and all that stuff. But when it comes down to it, they tend to not quite see other people, especially female people, as really human. Their idea of liberty is “I get to do what I want, when I want, and nobody can tell me otherwise.”

    So telling him or his ilk that they can’t do something, even if that something is an action which the libertarian philosophy would supposedly oppose (like touching someone’s body or invading their space without permission), the reaction is “YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” And thus the screams of censorship, oppression, totalitarianism, and so on.

    You’re dealing with someone who has an adult’s power of intellect, but not an adult’s understand of empathy and relationships. It’s the equivalent of trying to explain patience to a two year old.

  146. 146
    Hank_Says

    IACB is an Internet Libertarian! Fuck, that explains it then.

    Everyone knows anyone who disagrees with a single thing an Internet Libertarian says, ever, is automatically and by definition a fascist oppressor and the embodiment of the antithesis of all-that-is-good-in-this-world. It’s also worth noting that Internet Libertarians, for all their guff and bluster about being strong, independent Ernest-fucking-Hemingways (or whoever they have on a pedestal at any given time) are notorious for their paper-thin skins and brittle, precious little feelings.

  147. 147
    heatherdalgleish

    What can I say except that I am saddened by this – but also that it is, unfortunately, quite predictable for Paula Kirby. When she’s calm and rational, she can be brilliant – but when she gets a whiff of a grudge, or, indeed, dissent, as it is – she can become INCREDIBLY self-righteous, passive-aggressive, defensive and frankly inscrutable to the point of being two-faced. 

    Indeed – during the forum blow-up on RD.net in 2010 – which some here may be familiar with – she allegedly requested that a forum administrator delete a forum user’s entire posting history. And when asked why, she simply stated: “This is WAR!” Yeah – that’s right – one of our movement’s apparent biggest fans of diplomacy and conflict management, damn well loves her some drama and clusterfucks, if she can get the opportunity to get her passive-aggressive spite in, without having to get any blood splatters on her her good shoes (which would of course be ‘bullying’).

    I have a great deal of respect for her – and I’m even sympathetic to some of her opinions in this case – but I will never warm to that side of her.

    I say this as someone else who found her amiable to me in person – and later found that she’d blocked me on Twitter, for an unknown offence. I emailed her about it just to say that I was sorry for whatever the offence was – and to this day she has said nothing. That is her MO when it comes to disputes it seems: block them and say nothing more – unless perhaps the opportunity arises to carp vaguely in their direction, or stick the boot in them from behind her anonymous moderator’s veil… Very petty and rather weird, if you ask me.

    Siiiiiiggggghhhh…

  148. 148
    earwig

    Still, you are doing your damnedest to polarize the fuck out of the current skeptic/atheist community. And if that’s the game you’re going to play, then I’m going to do my best to make sure it’s polarized *against the likes of you*.

    I see. That’s really helpful of you to show us where you really stand. What is it you dislike so much about social opprobrium of people who act like jerks towards other people?

  149. 149
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    So, we should allow ourselves to be groped, patronised and talked over all for the greater good?

    Doesn’t sound like participatory democracy to me, more like Japanese comfort women.

    Well, minus the being transported, held captive, and raped a dozen times a day, yeah.

    What it’s more like is Stokely’s answer to the position of women in the movement: “prone”.

    Blue is just a reincarnation of Stokely Carmichael or any of his pig brothers.

    Same ol’ same ol’.

    Blue doesn’t want participatory democracy any more than Mittens Romney does, for a similar reason. We’re living proof – we’ve got participatory democracy right here (in the sense that we’re voting with our voices on the issues, not in the sense that we’re electing actual representatives, of course) and Blue absolutely hates it. It’s driving him bugshit, stark raving bugshit, that women and women’s allies are choosing what to talk about – and getting heard! We’re winning the anti-harassment policy issue and regressive thugs like Blue are losing.

    How on earth is Blue going to live when he has to treat women just like people !

  150. 150
    jedgardee

    I’ve registered to comment just so I can tell you I’m off, the persecution complex on view at FtB for this Brit, much like for Paula and Thunderfoot by the sound of it, is too much to bear.

    When you folks have done I might come back and have another go at trying to learn something, find out how the anti-theocratic fight is getting along, etc etc. How long should I give it? 6 months? A year?

  151. 151
    earwig

    Aagh. Blockquote fail. Apologies. Second paragraph is mine.

  152. 152
    dogeared, spotted and foxed

    I see. So you’re just trying to put the Mark of Cain on anybody who disagrees with you in the slightest, not actually go after them legally. How sweet of you. And I’m sure that’s going to go a long way toward building an egalitarian, participatory democracy. :-P

    Oh noes! Not the Mark of Cain with random capitalization, insinuations and an emoticon!!!!

    Just what exactly will be the effect of having the dreaded mark of Cain? Seriously.

    Because you’re starting to sound like you actually fear a real-life feminist revolt complete with bra-burning in the streets and gynocentric laws. If that’s the case, I highly encourage you to expound further upon this incredibly humorous horrific scenario.

  153. 153
    Jafafa Hots

    I don’t like these new Libertarians. They should have stuck with the old name – “the terrible twos.”

  154. 154
    Stacy

    You’re dealing with someone who has an adult’s power of intellect….

    Assumes facts not in evidence, Flewellyn.

    I’m going to do my best to make sure it’s polarized *against the likes of you*.

    Aw. He has a fierce.

  155. 155
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    It’s very simple, actually. IAmCluelesslyBombastic is a libertarian, and as such has a young teenaged boy’s idea of freedom and morality. Basically, what this boils down to is “You’re not the boss of me!” and “I don’t wanna!” being the fundamental underpinnings of his moral and political philosophy.

    Yep, I’ve got a kid like that. It’s damaging to his adult future (whadda we know, we’re just mindless group-thinking family, neighbors, and teachers.) But the funny/sad part is it’s an obstacle to his own immediate fun.

    “Grab your towel, we’re going to the swim center and you can jump in the pool” “You can’t make me”

    “Now is a good time for us go for a practice drive, since you want to pass your driver’s test next week” “Why are you always trying to push me around”

    Sounds exactly like Tfoot and the slimepitters objections to anti-sexism policies.

    “When you make policies so women feel safe and respected, then more women will be happy to come to your conference and you’ll have fun hanging out with the happy women.” “I do what I want and you can’t stop me.”

    Funny/sad.

  156. 156
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Flewellyn, hotshoe, do you know that Iamcuriousblue is male, or are you just assuming it?

  157. 157
    Walton

    The wisdom of Ing, ladies and gentlemen. S/he thinks it absurd to compare FTB with Nazis, but s/he also thinks anyone who disagrees with the party line is in favor of genocide and bestiality. Truly a world-class mind. The Kirk Cameron of atheism.

    Er… that’s not at all what Ing said. Try reading for comprehension.

  158. 158
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    I’ve registered to comment just so I can tell you I’m off, the persecution complex on view at FtB for this Brit, much like for Paula and Thunderfoot by the sound of it, is too much to bear.

    You’re fucking kidding, right? What an unbelievable display of arrogant self-importance. You registered just to tell us you’re flouncing off ???

    Well, dear sir or madame as the case may be, here’s your hat, there’s the door. Do feel free to flounce and stay flounced.

    TTFE. Ta-ta for ever.

  159. 159
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    John –

    Flewellyn, hotshoe, do you know that Iamcuriousblue is male, or are you just assuming it?

    I don’t remember where I saw it, and Juno knows, even if I did remember, I could still be remembering wrong. But I decided I had enough confidence in my memory of Blue’s male identity to use “he” in reference.

    Certainly I’m ready to apologize if Blue objects to being referred to as “he”.

    Especially considering as I watched in amusement just two days ago as whatshisname, that macdonald idiot, got my gender pronoun wrong (once, I think) and then spent all night doubling down on the stupid about why he was right and we all were wrong. I’m not planning to be a macdonald-type idiot. And I don’t have any reason to worry that I am one.

  160. 160
    Stacy

    that’s a discussion to be had with somebody who’s actually arguing in good faith

    The cluelessness, it burns. The goggles do nothing.

  161. 161
    Gnumann+,with no bloody irony at all (just an anti-essentialist feminist with a shotgun)

    Go on Gnumann, I dare you. Explain the concept of the dialectic to them. That should really blow the three remaining brain cell

    No thanks. I know my limits: I’m a bad teacher of idiots. So they could arguably claim their lack of understanding was my fail.

    I prefer treating them with the level of respect they deserve, ie talking over their head like small, obnoxious children you have no reason to care for.

  162. 162
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    Oh, and as for the rest of you – have fun, children.

    Good night.

    Bless your little heart. Blue!

  163. 163
    jedgardee

    Hotshoe
    Arrogant self-importance, you’re fucking kidding ME aren’t you.

    I read these blogs just to find stuff out and don’t generally feel the need to tell the world my opinions, hence not being registered. I usually leave gobshites like you to play in the comments and only ventured here to register my frustration to Ophelia, as this is all getting way out of hand.

    I suppose I should have realised that knobheads like your good self would have chipped in. Naive of me I now realise. So you crack on like the first rate tosser you appear to be and I’ll find something else to read.

  164. 164
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    I’ll find something else to read.

    Good, so go.

  165. 165
    Matt Penfold

    I suppose I should have realised that knobheads like your good self would have chipped in. Naive of me I now realise. So you crack on like the first rate tosser you appear to be and I’ll find something else to read.

    So your initial post telling us you were off was in fact a lie.

  166. 166
    maureen.brian

    Don’t be precious, jedgardee.

    We could have had a five minute chat last year about why Rebecca Watson said, “Guys, don’t do that.”

    We could have had a three hours discussion this year on anti-harassment policies – an hour on are they a good idea and two hours on what should be in them if they are. That’s how many of us would have liked it had we not been assaulted on all sides by the massed ranks of armoured fee-fees shouting, Exterminate! Exterminate!

    However it may be conducted, this is not a fight you can get out of by claiming moral superiority – not unless you can also prove that you are not human and/or not living on planet Earth.

  167. 167
    Jafafa Hots

    …as this is all getting way out of hand.

    I know! Women… shit… aren’t they EVER satisfied?

  168. 168
    Gnumann+,with no bloody irony at all (just an anti-essentialist feminist with a shotgun)

    which, yes, are on the libertarian side of the libertarian/authoritarian divide, as if that were in any way a bad thing

    Yes it is.

    Siding with the privileged over the downtrodden is always a bad thing.

  169. 169
    Ophelia Benson

    Jeezis – and it’s not even 3:30 in the morning yet. Am I supposed to monitor this thing 24 hours a day or what?!

  170. 170
    hyperdeath

    Perhap Jedgardee, like Merlin, lives his life in reverse time. From our point of view, he starts off by flouncing, and then posts an embittered rant. If I am correct in this, he will go on to make a series of posts, gradually increasing in both calmness and coherence, before pompously announcing his arrival in a polite but utterly clueless post.

  171. 171
    Matt Penfold

    Jeezis – and it’s not even 3:30 in the morning yet. Am I supposed to monitor this thing 24 hours a day or what?!

    Well if you are up you could be making us all sammiches!

  172. 172
    jedgardee

    I’m not being precious Maureen, nor am I claiming moral superiority, but I’d have thought the ‘guys don’t do that’ and the rest would have indeed been enough. But it went mental and started a trend that has got increasingly nasty. Maybe it’s always been like this in the comments but I’ve only really noticed it since it spilled over into the main posts. I know these things are complex and people are rightly passionate about them but I just can’t be arsed with the he said, she said bollocks that is making enemies out of people who should be allies.

    Hyperdeath, Jefafa, Matt, dysomniac, well done all for proving my point. I’m sure you’re all nice people really. Cue more self-congratulatory bye-bye good riddance softy types posts, you keyboard warriors enjoy yourselves now…

  173. 173
    maureen.brian

    I think you need to be specific about exactly who “went mental” in the wake of Guys, don’t do that.

  174. 174
    julian

    I know these things are complex and people are rightly passionate about them but I just can’t be arsed with the he said, she said bollocks that is making enemies out of people who should be allies.

    I keep hearing this but it still doesn’t make sense to me. Why should all these people who obviously disagree on a fundamental level on how to handle harassment and what constitutes harassment be allies? Allies against the spread of religion, sure, that’s plain to see. But as far as social issues are concerned, with the incredibly different world views at play, how can they be expected to be allies?

    It was all tooth and nail just to get anti-harassment policies in the door (please don’t tell me no one is opposed to them. the first thing greeting the demand for them was accusations of being Talibanesque) and even that likely has more to do with a combination of conference organizers hoping to play peace keepers and general sympathy towards the claim conferences need their rules outlines and explained.

    How is everyone here supposed to be allies?

  175. 175
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    Yeah, Jedgardee, no thanks. I’d rather be “allies” with the religious feminist than with the misogynist atheist.

    My treatment as a full human and my right to bodily integrity and autonomy is just *that* important to me

    Priorities and whatnot.

  176. 176
    Daniel Schealler

    @kosk11348 #154

    I really, really don’t get what motivates the opposition…

    Out of interest… Would you like me to try and explain it?

    For context, it wasn’t really all that long ago that I used to think as they did. I can’t remember the exact topic or context, but one of my first encounters with Ophelia was being growled out for having said something stupid related to feminism and being incredibly embarrassed for myself afterwards.

    What I’m saying is that I can still remember what it is like to see the world in such a way that I would agree with all the detractors. I renounce it now – I like to think that I’ve learned a lot in the intervening years since then. But on some level I sort of get where they’re coming from, for all that I disagree with them.

    Would you like me to describe that sort of thing? I hesitate to offer because it could be read as somehow legitimizing or excusing the viewpoints involved, which isn’t something I want to do… And also because you might have just made the comment rhetorically.

    I’m heading to bed for the night and it’s likely I won’t see any response for a little while, but I’ll check back sometime in the next day or so to see if you wanted a follow up or not.

  177. 177
    Matt Penfold

    I’m not being precious Maureen, nor am I claiming moral superiority, but I’d have thought the ‘guys don’t do that’ and the rest would have indeed been enough.

    Well one would have thought so, but it seems that the misogynist element in the atheist/sceptic community is not only quite a bit larger than any of us thought, it was also considerably more nasty.

    Given that, I am at a loss as to why you are taking your ire out on Ophelia who has not been on the side of the misogynists.

    But it went mental and started a trend that has got increasingly nasty. Maybe it’s always been like this in the comments but I’ve only really noticed it since it spilled over into the main posts

    Again, I am not sure why you addressing your comments to us when you should be doing so somewhere like ERV. If you are concerned about nasty comments ERV is the place to take your concern.

    I know these things are complex and people are rightly passionate about them but I just can’t be arsed with the he said, she said bollocks that is making enemies out of people who should be allies.

    Sorry, but who do you think should be allies ? You obviously do not mean the misogynists, since why would we want to be allies with them ? They are are what we stand against.

    You seem very confused. And not a little stupid.

    Hyperdeath, Jefafa, Matt, dysomniac, well done all for proving my point. I’m sure you’re all nice people really. Cue more self-congratulatory bye-bye good riddance softy types posts, you keyboard warriors enjoy yourselves now…

    So no apology from you ? Not very polite of you! And let’s be honest, you did lie. Do you have some reason why you should not have been called out your lying.

    Still, given you think we should be allied with misogynists, given you confused this blog with ERV, and given your general lack of manners, I do not think you will be missed if you really are leaving.

  178. 178
    Flewellyn

    Flewellyn, hotshoe, do you know that Iamcuriousblue is male, or are you just assuming it?

    That’s a legit question. I do, in fact, know this for as close to a fact as can be known over the internet; when I clashed with him in the past, he made his sex and gender known.

  179. 179
    Corylus

    It doesn’t have any power, except the power of opinion.

    My goodness me, doesn’t it use that one well though?

    Ophelia, every time I see you having a disagreement with someone (thankfully not on facebook or twitter as I avoid both) I know that a post on B&W is soon to follow, with you seeking both a public release and reinforcement.

    You have – and do – use B&W for great things, not least highlighting religious abuse of women, quack medicine and fluffy epistemology. Fantastic. I have enjoyed your books as well.

    However, your constant use of your blog as a place in which to vent and fight personal battles does you no favours whatsoever. It makes you look petty and self-absorbed.

    It also, sadly, detracts from the good work mentioned above. This is a very great pity.

    -=-=-

    Now bullying. When does it become evident that bullying (of the emotional/mental variety) is occurring?

    I would say when it is easy to observe people others being socially ostracised, insulted and publicly ‘piled on’. When it is clear that any dissent will be shouted down immediately (with particular venom being saved for former ‘friends’). When one can read a dissenting comment and instead of thinking ‘Oh, I wonder how that will be addressed?’ you think instead, ‘Whoa, that person is so gonna get some!’ Furthermore, when you know this ‘some’ will not be dished out by one individual, but several : all at once. It is when you feel silenced as an observer for you don’t want to get ‘some’ either.

    I don’t do Godwinning so I make no comment on the Nazi aspect of this particular post – especially as I (sans FB and twitter) cannot check the context of Paula’s comments, but in relation to the question of whether or not there is a bullying culture currently present on some Free Thought Blogs…

    Well, yes. Obviously.

  180. 180
    Ace of Sevens

    Why won’t anyone oppress me? It would make me feel important and dangerous.

  181. 181
    julian

    However, your constant use of your blog as a place in which to vent and fight personal battles does you no favours whatsoever. It makes you look petty and self-absorbed.

    I’ve had this same feeling but can’t come up with a real reason why Ophelia shouldn’t make these blog posts (especially when they’re relevant to arguments being had within the skeptical community.) Was it wrong for her to post about the harassment Jessica Alqhuist received despite it having been (what Kirby would have to argue) petty trolling on FB and twitter?

    No. They were on a controversy going on related to the atheist community and captured problems with how women are treated when they are too outspoken or contrarian. They also helped dispel myths about who was doing the harassing and what Alqhuist had said.

    The same (arguably) applies here. So why should she blog about it?

    It is when you feel silenced as an observer for you don’t want to get ‘some’ either.

    ????

    That’s absurd. This is what arguments look like no matter the forum. X says something objectionable. Y and Z disagree and say so. Afterwards everyone chips in with their version of why X is right or Y is wrong or why X is right but Z makes an interesting observation.

    Is it the inclusion of words like misogynist or MRA?

    Suppose this blog had a large Muslim readership, woudn’t past posts and comments count as bullying towards them? Especially considering how readily many (myself included) would apply misogynist or morally depraved to certain actions?

  182. 182
    Pteryxx

    However, your constant use of your blog as a place in which to vent and fight personal battles does you no favours whatsoever.

    Because a blog owner *shouldn’t* use their own, personal blog to vent and fight personal battles in their own voice? Or just when they’re women venting about woman-stuff?

    The personal approach to blogging is not a flaw. If you don’t like it, don’t read. I ignore plenty of bloggers on FTB even because I’m not that interested in their posts about random stuff. Some folks like it.

    In this case, the personal attacks being levied against Ophelia and other women, specifically, because of their involvement in the harassment policy discussion, are directly relevant to the issue. This is typical silencing treatment meted out to uppity women, in proportion to their outspokenness. It’s rather difficult now to pretend it doesn’t exist; thus the fall-back position, that if someone’s receiving such personal attacks they must have contributed or deserved it somehow. Bull. Venting on a personal blog doesn’t merit getting trashed. Go snip at some of the male bloggers who do the same.

  183. 183
    skeptifem

    I would say when it is easy to observe people others being socially ostracised, insulted and publicly ‘piled on’. When it is clear that any dissent will be shouted down immediately (with particular venom being saved for former ‘friends’). When one can read a dissenting comment and instead of thinking ‘Oh, I wonder how that will be addressed?’ you think instead, ‘Whoa, that person is so gonna get some!’ Furthermore, when you know this ‘some’ will not be dished out by one individual, but several : all at once. It is when you feel silenced as an observer for you don’t want to get ‘some’ either.

    You’ve just described regular skeptic treatment of creationists, anti-vaxxers, aids denialists & homeopaths online. Also, isn’t this the kind of thing religious people have been claiming for years- that they automatically deserve respect because their beliefs are somehow off-limits?

    What is the “correct” way to communicate with people who espouse racist or homophobic points of view? To me it seems that we aren’t doing someone a favor when we pretend that they haven’t said something incredibly stupid when they have. If you pretend that there is some merit to such thoughts you are doling out respect to irrational ideas.

  184. 184
    Aquaria

    I really, really don’t get what motivates the opposition. FTB is respects women and women’s viewpoints. This is somehow controversial? This is “groupthink” and bullying and just like fascism?

    By their so-called logic, people who oppose murder and pedophilia are bullies and totalitarians, too.

    Where will it ever end if we don’t let the murderers and pedophiles be what they are without restriction!

    I wonder if it’s ever occurred to any of these woman-hating pigs?

    Probably not.

  185. 185
    julian

    If you don’t like it, don’t read. I ignore plenty of bloggers on FTB even because I’m not that interested in their posts about random stuff.

    Like JT Eberhart’s posts on football. Or Greta Christina’s posts on cats. Or anyone’s version of the Sunday funnies (they ain’t funny, folks). Or anti-Caturday posts. Or, hell, any retelling of why X argument for god is stupid (not to say these aren’t important. Just that I’ve heard enough).

  186. 186
    A Hermit

    So let me get this straight…saying ‘guys don’t do that’ is a crime against liberty but calling people “Feminazi” is rational discourse?

    WTF is wrong with these people?

  187. 187
    skeptifem

    However, your constant use of your blog as a place in which to vent and fight personal battles does you no favours whatsoever. It makes you look petty and self-absorbed.

    You are looking at this in a very one dimensional way. Blogging about sexism isn’t just about the individual it happens to.
    Most women understand that we could be ophelia if we get far and say the “wrong” thing. It matters to express disapproval for such behavior when its happening in your own community; the people within a community are the ones who stand a chance of accomplishing that. I don’t want anyone to be treated like ophelia is for saying what she has.

  188. 188
    A Hermit

    I guess the ACLU and the SPLC are totalitarian fascist organizations since they aren’t polite to racists and bigots…who knew?

  189. 189
    julian

    @Ptyrexx

    To be entirely fair, Corylus isn’t arguing that a blog can’t have personal/off topic stuff. Just that it’s petty to use a blog to hash out “personal” disagreements with others.

    And it’s a feeling I’ve had to. Just one I can’t find any real basis for. What exactly makes it petty?

  190. 190
    Pteryxx

    When one can read a dissenting comment and instead of thinking ‘Oh, I wonder how that will be addressed?’ you think instead, ‘Whoa, that person is so gonna get some!’

    Y’know, when someone’s dissent consists of ‘Why are there still monkeys?’ or ‘You didn’t see the rocks/fossils form – you weren’t there so you don’t really know, do you?’ then how that objection will be addressed really isn’t very interesting anymore. Especially for the dozenth or hundredth time. And the monkeys, rocks and fossils aren’t being personally attacked in those scenarios.

    The vast majority of the so-called dissent on harassment policies has been, and continues to be, blatantly ignorant and/or bad-faith arguments, addressed and answered a month previous.

  191. 191
    Ophelia Benson

    However, your constant use of your blog as a place in which to vent and fight personal battles does you no favours whatsoever. It makes you look petty and self-absorbed.

    They’re not personal battles though. You’re confused. They’re political and idea-based battles. Certainly many of them are with people I know in some sense, but they’re not personal in the sense of about private relational matters.

    It’s not my fault that a lot of people who were once friendly to me have become enraged about feminism or whatever it is they’re engraged about (I can’t figure that out, most of the time). It’s not my fault if people with thousands of followers on Twitter spend an astonishing amount of time blaming Freethought blogs for everything short of global warming.

    I can choose to ignore them, of course, but instead I reply. I don’t see why I shouldn’t.

  192. 192
    Ophelia Benson

    I overlooked something, Corylus –

    Ophelia, every time I see you having a disagreement with someone (thankfully not on facebook or twitter as I avoid both) I know that a post on B&W is soon to follow…

    What do you mean? Where do you see me having a disagreement with someone all these times you generalize about, if not on Facebook or Twitter or B&W?

  193. 193
    Pteryxx

    julian:

    To be entirely fair, Corylus isn’t arguing that a blog can’t have personal/off topic stuff. Just that it’s petty to use a blog to hash out “personal” disagreements with others.

    And it’s a feeling I’ve had to. Just one I can’t find any real basis for. What exactly makes it petty?

    Well, why wasn’t it petty for Thunderfoot to snark back at PZ on their blogs, or for Jason T. and Hallq to get into it? (caveat: for all I know, they might have been being petty, too.)

    As far as I can tell, the value judgment on whether a blogger ‘should’ blog about an argument has to do with HOW personal it is – i.e. whether the actual issue outweighs the personal aspect. But where women’s voices are concerned, they don’t GET the presumption of proper weighting of issue (sexism) versus personal stuff that would be better handled privately. I think the larger issue of women’s reasonable complaints being shamed far outweighs the presumption that this particular ‘femistasi’ comment, for instance, is merely personal and private. I don’t see that presumption being made nearly as much when male bloggers get into similar scuffles – and Jason calling DJ a douchebag wasn’t important at all compared to this ongoing harassment backlash.

  194. 194
    Ophelia Benson

    Jedgardee – you’ve made your point. You don’t like B&W, and you arrived to say you’re leaving. Got it.

  195. 195
    skeptifem

    Nothing wrong with disagreement and nothing to stop Ophelia from freely doing so as it is of course her blog. But Corylus is dead right in comment #80 and it is this that has started to wear of late and alienate me. Maybe that is a non-American thing, after all the 4 people copping the flack I listed above are 3 Brits and one Aussie and our make-up is a little different in that we don’t see the bogyman around every corner. I dunno and it doesn’t matter.

    no, its a dude thing, because when you see a woman being denigrated in a sexist way you think “personal problem”, when I see it I know that it could easily be me in the future, and that it has been me in the past (at jobs and social situations).

  196. 196
    Ophelia Benson

    I think the larger issue of women’s reasonable complaints being shamed far outweighs the presumption that this particular ‘femistasi’ comment, for instance, is merely personal and private.

    Plus if it’s on Twitter it isn’t private. Twitter isn’t the place to take “private” potshots at people or blog networks. Twitter is public. (You know how teenagers keep being reminded of this? That those sexy pictures of themselves are going to show up later? That future employers will be able to see what they’ve been doing online? That. Twitter is way public.)

  197. 197
    Corylus

    Julian

    I’ve had this same feeling but can’t come up with a real reason why Ophelia shouldn’t make these blog posts (especially when they’re relevant to arguments being had within the skeptical community.)

    Fair enough. I will give three reasons, one trivial and two that I think very important.

    a) First the trivial one. We are talking about an argument within facebook and twitter in this particular instance. These are not accessible to many and; for people like me who like to check quotes for context; frustrating and difficult to assess. It also makes me think of teenagers of my acquaintance when I hear “X said on facebook”. Now, yes, there might be an element of snobbishness on my part here. I may be guilty on this one :) However, my point on accessibility does stand.

    b)It is important to understand that self-regulating and checking your own opinions for error is a vital part of critical thinking. This great piece on critical thinking argues that the cognitive skills at the very core of of critical thinking are: interpretation, analysis, evaluation, inference, explanation, and selfregulation.

    In order to self regulate you have to:

    “self-consciously to monitor ones cognitive activities, the elements used in those activities, and the results educed, particularly by applying skills in analysis, and evaluation to ones own inferential judgements with a view towards questioning, confirming, validating or correcting either ones reasoning or ones result.”

    Getting angry and immediately posting about how you are right and others wrong is not a good way to self-regulate.

    c) It is also important to be sensible of unequal power relations. Ophelia is aware of how these work and is adept at explaining them. However, she does not seem to take these into account when dealing with people publicly – via her popular blog. She is often in a greater position of power than she appears to realise.

    It is when you feel silenced as an observer for you don’t want to get ‘some’ either.

    ????

    That’s absurd.

    This goes back to ‘c’. What you are doing above is dismissing someone who expresses the feeling that they are being silenced by the ‘group culture’ of a given environment. I am sure the argument of how this in inadvisable is not new to you. Now you may very well find my responses ‘absurd,’ or incomprehensible, or over-sensitive, or emotional – whatever. That’s fine, you are welcome to your opinion on that. Just please do not try to push your own emotional responses onto me. I am sure the argument of how this too is inadvisable is also not new to you.

    This is what arguments look like no matter the forum. X says something objectionable. Y and Z disagree and say so. Afterwards everyone chips in with their version of why X is right or Y is wrong or why X is right but Z makes an interesting observation.

    I do wish that were the case, but forums are not all like that! I am also afraid that this is not what is happening on (some) FTBs either. You instead see a pattern of someone saying something that some people might find objectionable (BTW please don’t beg the question by assuming said thing is in actuality ‘objectionable’) which is then followed by abuse, swearing, and content free shouting. Of course many people, can and do, make good points and discuss things, but resistance to the dubious practices I mention is much less evident than it should be.

    Is it the inclusion of words like misogynist or MRA?

    Well, that all rather balances on whether such terms are:

    a) descriptive enough to be useful and
    b) merited against the person to whom they are addressed.

    Suppose this blog had a large Muslim readership, woudn’t past posts and comments count as bullying towards them? Especially considering how readily many (myself included) would apply misogynist or morally depraved to certain actions?

    See above. Although, I would advise comments with more informational than abusive content in that environment as well.

    -=-=-
    P.S. Having trouble getting my link above to work in preview box, posting below in case of html fail.

    http://www.insightassessment.com/pdf_files/what&why2009.pdf

  198. 198
    julian

    Well, why wasn’t it petty for Thunderfoot to snark back at PZ on their blogs, or for Jason T. and Hallq to get into it?

    I don’t think they were (though I do consider TF to be petty but that’s because of his videos and youtube comments) and it’s why I’ve never said anything about not always responding well to some of Ophelia’s posts.

    Corylus tried to outline other aspects of the posts that supposedly make them petty but they all apply to just about any post made by anyone where another is called out. For example, Orac over at Respectful Insolence calling out Dr. Oz (or whatever his name is) and calling for more widespread condemnation of his show within the medical community.

    Really, I don’t see any reason to call this petty. If, Corylus has one (or several) they really should share them instead of just dropping a vacuous accusation. It’s like throwing gas on an open flame.

  199. 199
    julian

    nvm my last. I see that Corylus posted.

  200. 200
    Pteryxx

    Plus if it’s on Twitter it isn’t private. Twitter isn’t the place to take “private” potshots at people or blog networks. Twitter is public.

    Ophelia: she blocked you on Twitter so everyone EXCEPT you – the entire general public – could read these comments? Argh – I badly misunderstood “so they can’t see you do it”. I thought those were friends-only comments for some reason. My mistake. I apologize for the unjustified inference.

    Then there’s NO reason to call this a personal, private dispute. That’s attacking someone who’s blocked from defending themselves in the same venue. Blogging publicly is absolutely an appropriate response – in fact, there’s lots of precedent for blogging in response to public comments/tweets/FB posts, and all combinations thereof.

  201. 201
    Corylus

    Pteryxx

    Because a blog owner *shouldn’t* use their own, personal blog to vent and fight personal battles in their own voice? Or just when they’re women venting about woman-stuff?

    I would say that it is a matter or priorities – whether our own battles are more important than those of others. Of course, we are all human and it is hard not to concentrate on our own concerns, but there are only so many hours in the day.

    The personal approach to blogging is not a flaw. If you don’t like it, don’t read. I ignore plenty of bloggers on FTB even because I’m not that interested in their posts about random stuff. Some folks like it.

    Thank you. I have just twigged another reason why this makes me uncomfortable (this might be a reason for Julian’s response as well, but I will leave this up to him to decide).

    FTB is a collective not just a personal blog.

    This means that how individual bloggers act impacts upon all. I have no problems at all with the personal approach to blogging, but I do think responsibility should be shown.

  202. 202
    mikerattlesnake

    That is the strangest definition of “bullying” I’ve ever read. I experienced quite a bit growing up, and what you describe sounds nothing like bullying I’ve seen (as a teacher) and experienced. It’s almost as if you made up a definition specifically aimed at encompassing those you disagree with without any regard for whether it was consistent/universal or even accurate.

  203. 203
    Corylus

    Skeptifem

    When one can read a dissenting comment and instead of thinking ‘Oh, I wonder how that will be addressed?’ you think instead, ‘Whoa, that person is so gonna get some!’ Furthermore, when you know this ‘some’ will not be dished out by one individual, but several : all at once. It is when you feel silenced as an observer for you don’t want to get ‘some’ either.

    You’ve just described regular skeptic treatment of creationists, anti-vaxxers, aids denialists & homeopaths online. Also, isn’t this the kind of thing religious people have been claiming for years- that they automatically deserve respect because their beliefs are somehow off-limits?

    No, I have not just described ‘regular skeptic treatment’ in that I have described a change in the response to dissenting comments that is not also accompanied by a change in their type of content.

    Also, isn’t this the kind of thing religious people have been claiming for years- that they automatically deserve respect because their beliefs are somehow off-limits?

    No, as above. Also because I have not advocated beliefs being off limits – I have advocated reasonable responses being addressed towards them.

  204. 204
    Pteryxx

    Corylus: since the Twitter accusations were public, I now think “personal approach to blogging” is off-topic for this conversation. When the claim is public, the response should be public, too.

  205. 205
    Corylus

    Skeptifem #188.

    You are looking at this in a very one dimensional way. Blogging about sexism isn’t just about the individual it happens to.

    Is this post specifically about sexism?

    Most women understand that we could be ophelia if we get far and say the “wrong” thing. It matters to express disapproval for such behavior when its happening in your own community; the people within a community are the ones who stand a chance of accomplishing that. I don’t want anyone to be treated like ophelia is for saying what she has.

    It would help if you could link your first and second paragraphs more. Surely, you are not advocating posts about Paula as a preventative measure against sexism?

  206. 206
    Corylus

    Pteryxx 191.

    I answered this one in my response to Skeptifem in #205.

  207. 207
    Pteryxx

    Is this post specifically about sexism?

    As a matter of fact, it is. Or do you think the term “femistasi” has nothing to do with sexism?

  208. 208
    Eristae

    @Rob/126

    Why thank you. I’m glad you liked it.

  209. 209
    julian

    Firs off, it not my intention to dismiss your feelings of being silenced by any environment. I know it happens even in the most well meaning settings. I apologize for being dismissive.

    But I still don’t see how this is all a strike against B&W or why this should be considered petty.

    Take your a) (and I realize this isn’t a major part of your argument). Much of the harassment people like Jessica Alqhuist (and my apologies to her for using her so often in this argument) face is online on places like FB and twitter. That’s where she is belittled, insulted and called things like “a skanky little whore doing Satan’s bidding.” It is not wrong to discuss that form of harassment or intimidation on blogs especially considering how relevant it is to topics like sexism and how dominan religions respond to minorities.

    It may be frustrating to not always have a full context of what was said where and when but that’s always going to be the case for harassment. Most it happens away from places of easy documentation (most of it being person to person) so any discussion is going to contain hearsay.

    b) seems kinda besides the point. Ophelia does explain why she believes herself to be right and generally explains why she sees the other position as wrong. She usually also makes her point as part of a larger narrative or discussion (even when complaining about someone demanding she smile when walking past him).

    c)…well… no, no she isn’t. Not for any of the targets that come specifically to mind (Karen Armstrong, DJ Grothe …) Who exactly do you have in mind. Or do you mean that because this is her space she needs to pay particular mind to how she responds to people here?

    Well, that all rather balances on whether such terms are:

    a) descriptive enough to be useful and
    b) merited against the person to whom they are addressed.

    I don’t disagree.

  210. 210
    Corylus

    Ophelia #193

    I can choose to ignore them, of course, but instead I reply. I don’t see why I shouldn’t.

    I have given some reasons in response #199.

    Opheila #194

    Where do you see me having a disagreement with someone all these times you generalize about, if not on Facebook or Twitter or B&W?

    Other people’s blogs, rd.net.

  211. 211
    julian

    Well, well. I wonder what you are like when are actually in bullying mode?

    Much less measured, I am sure… Hmm, bit grumpier maybe.

    Aquaria has been told off for that here in the past (so have I) but I don’t read her as bullying. Aggressive and hostile definitely but not bullying.

  212. 212
    hyperdeath

    What happened to Iamcuriousblue’s posts?

  213. 213
    Pteryxx

    Corylus @210:

    Epithets used to describe me:

    I’m inclined to agree with all those epithets, with the possible exception of “just as bad” in #6. You’re tone-trolling about reasonable responses (by whose definition?) to someone who compared feminism to a murdering secret police squad.

    Re 205:

    No, I have not just described ‘regular skeptic treatment’ in that I have described a change in the response to dissenting comments that is not also accompanied by a change in their type of content.

    I actually agree that the response to dissenting comments has changed, where “dissenting comments” refers to comments dismissive of women’s claims. Over the past two years it has become blatantly obvious that such claims are not made in good faith and are not honestly asking for education; plus many regular commenters, such as myself, have learned much more about sexism and silencing tactics. Thus those comments aren’t accorded much if any good faith response anymore.

    I don’t agree that this is a problem requiring correction. If someone’s dissenting opinion consists of apologetics for sexism, they darn well SHOULD be wary of speaking them. There’s certainly no shortage of commenters who ARE willing to express those ideas, in any tone from polite to raving douchebaggery.

  214. 214
    julian

    someone who compared feminism to a murdering secret police squad.

    She (Paula Kirby) did not compare feminism to a murdering secret police squad. She compared the feminists at FtB to it and used it as a substitute for feminazi.

  215. 215
    Pteryxx

    julian: I’m not certain that distinction was clear as quoted, however, point taken. A specific subset of feminists at FTB definitely were compared to the Stasi.

  216. 216
    Corylus

    Julian #212.

    Firs off, it not my intention to dismiss your feelings of being silenced by any environment. I know it happens even in the most well meaning settings. I apologize for being dismissive.

    No problem whatsoever, thank you.

    Much of the harassment people like Jessica Alqhuist (and my apologies to her for using her so often in this argument) face is online on places like FB and twitter.

    I understand, and the conversation about whether social media and tweeting raises discourse or not remains to be had.

    It may be frustrating to not always have a full context of what was said where and when but that’s always going to be the case for harassment. Most it happens away from places of easy documentation (most of it being person to person) so any discussion is going to contain hearsay.

    It is not just frustrating – it makes honest assessment impossible. Reports on on private FB conversations should not be not used in evidence. These will often be hearsay and uncheckable, it is also often dubiously ethical to report private conversation publicly.

    b) seems kinda besides the point. Ophelia does explain why she believes herself to be right and generally explains why she sees the other position as wrong. She usually also makes her point as part of a larger narrative or discussion (even when complaining about someone demanding she smile when walking past him).

    OK, we will leave it up to Ophelia to say whether or not she posts response before have a chance to calm down and self regulation: she will be able to answer this best.

    c)…well… no, no she isn’t. Not for any of the targets that come specifically to mind (Karen Armstrong, DJ Grothe …) Who exactly do you have in mind.

    Paula. She doesn’t have a blog (that I know of anyway), she is definitely one of a collective of blogs.

    Or do you mean that because this is her space she needs to pay particular mind to how she responds to people here?

    Well, how she responds is up to her, but if I were part of a collective blog I would hope other members could maintain a certain standard. So that answer is a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’.

    I don’t disagree.

    Great – thank you for discussing this so calmly and productively.

  217. 217
    Ophelia Benson

    Corylus @ 213 – I’d like specifics please. “Every time” you see me disagree with someone at RDF or someone else’s blog, you “know that a post on B&W is soon to follow”? Please link to them.

  218. 218
    Ophelia Benson

    Pteryxx @ 202 – yes – she blocked me but the tweets were public. (I don’t think there is such a thing as private tweets. Messages, but not tweets.)

  219. 219
    Corylus

    Pteryxx

    Corylus @210:

    Epithets used to describe me:

    I’m inclined to agree with all those epithets, with the possible exception of “just as bad” in #6.

    I see, so I am “possibly” not “just as bad as anyone who would advocate for murder, slavery or pedophilia–because it shows the same utter disregard for individual agency and liberty”.

    Well, thank you for reserving judgement on that one at least. Remarkably sporting of you. (N.B. If you sense a certain amount of amusement in my tone here then you are correct. All that ludicrous straw from Aquaria elicited an unstoppable “choking with laugher” response in me).

    You’re tone-trolling about reasonable responses (by whose definition?) to someone who compared feminism to a murdering secret police squad.

    Someone who has done a huge amount of work for skepticism and has talked about the religious mistreatment of women and children while so doing. It is really so amazing that someone might just want more than a snippy ‘well she said‘ blog post to go on?? Someone who is not inclined to throw around terms like ‘lying hypocrite’, ‘moron’ and ‘repulsive scumbag’ about at the drop of a hat – or agree with them when used.

    I actually agree that the response to dissenting comments has changed, where “dissenting comments” refers to comments dismissive of women’s claims.

    I have mentioned the issue of ‘begging the question’ earlier in this thread – it appears I must do so yet again.

    Over the past two years it has become blatantly obvious that such claims are not made in good faith and are not honestly asking for education; plus many regular commenters, such as myself, have learned much more about sexism and silencing tactics. Thus those comments aren’t accorded much if any good faith response anymore.

    You know, there is an alternative explanation here. You might be seeing dissenting comments now (rather than way back) because the collective behaviour on (many) FTB has now become so very bad. It might be that you are not dealing with people who find women’s rights anathema but instead find self-absorbed, self-referential, insulting and content free blogging reprehensible.

    This is most certainly where I am coming from.

  220. 220
    hyperdeath

    Corylus, you’re forgetting the little matter of context.

    Firstly, you have no stake in this forum, you don’t need to be here, and there would be no repercussions if you left. Click that little “x” in the corner of your browser window, and your whole “bullying” problem will vanish instantly. This contrasts with victims of real bullying, who either have no option to leave, or can only leave by making unreasonable personal sacrifices.

    Secondly, just because someone does something that hurts or humiliates you, that doesn’t mean that what they did was wrong. You’re in a forum with survivors of rape and sexual harassment. If you say things which trivializes such experiences, you should expect to be bitten very hard. This contrasts with real bullying, where hurt and humiliation is an end in itself. Therefore, your context-free list of insults is meaningless.

    Thirdly, the power gradient is strongly in your favour. Do you have traumatic flashbacks relating to this subject? Exactly. This contrasts to real bullying, which is the strong against the weak.

  221. 221
    Ophelia Benson

    Corylus @ 217 – so you’re saying that I have more power via B&W than Paula has?

    That’s dubious. She writes regularly for the Washington Post blog. She has RDF.

    No, sorry, I don’t believe it.

    What you say about Freethought blogs is just silly. It’s not a unit.

    Why don’t you go drop in on Science blogs to tell Abbie Smith about her responsibility as part of a blog collective?

  222. 222
    Ophelia Benson

    Corylus @ 206 -

    It would help if you could link your first and second paragraphs more. Surely, you are not advocating posts about Paula as a preventative measure against sexism?

    These weren’t “posts about Paula.” The bit that was “about Paula” was complimentary. (Which is more than I can say for her, now – she announced on Twitter today [again, where I'm blocked] that she doesn’t respect me.) These were posts about things that Paula said.

  223. 223
    Corylus

    Ophelia

    Corylus @ 213 – I’d like specifics please. “Every time” you see me disagree with someone at RDF or someone else’s blog, you “know that a post on B&W is soon to follow”? Please link to them.

    Fair enough – An example

    A scrap:

    http://richarddawkins.net/articles/645604-dr-r-elisabeth-cornwell-and-many-other-leading-women-speaking-at-women-in-secularism-conference

    An immediate response.

    http://richarddawkins.net/articles/645604-dr-r-elisabeth-cornwell-and-many-other-leading-women-speaking-at-women-in-secularism-conference

    (N.B. Yes indeed, there was an arsehole on there and I understand the frustration in this instance, but a furious blog post for one obvious troll/wind up merchant seems like a waste of your valuable time to me).

    Sorry for the long ugly links – my html skills appear to have deserted me.

  224. 224
    julian

    Reports on on private FB conversations should not be not used in evidence. These will often be hearsay and uncheckable, it is also often dubiously ethical to report private conversation publicly.

    But what about personal accounts of this or that inappropriate behavior? For example, Ashley Miller’s account of what occurred at TAM between herself and that drunk man? We don’t have access to what happened and (not getting to into it) there’s no real record of what happened. It’s hearsay.

    Much like with discussions on social networking sites except that, for those with access, it’s possible to look and record (and later share) what happened/what was said. It strikes me as to limiting to omit those accounts and reports because they are needed if we’re going to try to address and better understand those issues.

    I’m not arguing we can learn everything about (or enough to have a thorough understanding of) conservative Christian behavior within the U.S. by how some respond to liberal/atheist women online but they do help paint a picture (one that isn’t wholly suspect) of what is to be expected and underlying issues within the community.

    Paula. She doesn’t have a blog (that I know of anyway), she is definitely one of a collective of blogs.

    I don’t see how this constitutes a power differential. I’m not someone who’s followed Paula Kirby but from what I understand she’s at least on par with Ophelia as far as standing within skeptic/atheist circles go. She currently has the support of several other prominent members of the community who agree with her assessment of Ophelia’s work and recent behavior.

    I just don’t see a power differential here.

    Great – thank you for discussing this so calmly and productively.

    It’s a fluke. Once the heat wave is over and I’m not to hot to be angry I’ll go back to swearing like Aquaria.

    But your welcome and thanks for assuming good faith on my part.

  225. 225
    Ophelia Benson

    Corylus – that’s only one example, and you said every time, emphasis yours. Of course that could mean one time, because you’ve only seen one – but then that would be a cheap trick. One example isn’t good enough for that emphatic every time.

  226. 226
    Ophelia Benson

    Addendum to what julian said in 225 – Paula has far more standing than I do. She runs RDF, ffs! I’m just a blogger.

  227. 227
    Ophelia Benson

    One more item – Corylus @ 202 -

    I would say that it is a matter or priorities – whether our own battles are more important than those of others. Of course, we are all human and it is hard not to concentrate on our own concerns, but there are only so many hours in the day.

    Yes but I get to decide what my priorities are. You don’t. It’s true that there are only so many hours in the day but the fact remains that I get to decide how to spend those hours, not you. It’s pretty officious to try to tell me how to allocate my hours.

    @ 224 -

    a furious blog post for one obvious troll/wind up merchant seems like a waste of your valuable time to me

    Same thing. It’s not your business how I spend my time.

  228. 228
    Corylus

    hyperdeath #221

    Corylus, you’re forgetting the little matter of context.

    Firstly, you have no stake in this forum, you don’t need to be here, and there would be no repercussions if you left. Click that little “x” in the corner of your browser window, and your whole “bullying” problem will vanish instantly.

    Oh, I see, I show just take a walk around the block while my partner interrogates the suspect with a rubber hose? What I don’t know won’t hurt me, right?

    You see? Strawmanning skilz : I can haz dem 2!

    This contrasts with victims of real bullying, who either have no option to leave, or can only leave by making unreasonable personal sacrifices.

    I am not saying I am a victim of bulling here – I am saying that I do not like seeing it and consider it a moral duty to speak up when I see it. Now you may not agree with my assessment of the situation, but I do hope you can understand my motivation.

    Secondly, just because someone does something that hurts or humiliates you, that doesn’t mean that what they did was wrong.

    Quite right. If I try to murder someone, and they instead conk me on the head with a bat, then I have only have myself to blame.

    You’re in a forum with survivors of rape and sexual harassment.

    Most fora are, I am afraid. These are common, hideous experiences. So here; as elsewhere; I am aware of this possibility and make sure never to do stupid things like ask people directly about their sexual history – or assume a certain type of experience. I also have way too much respect for individuals to see them through a focus of a past non-consensual experience(s). Some lowlife has cast them in the role of victim – I am in no way going to do the same.

    If you say things which trivializes such experiences, you should expect to be bitten very hard.

    Where have I done this?

    This contrasts with real bullying, where hurt and humiliation is an end in itself. Therefore, your context-free list of insults is meaningless.

    Did I try to hurt Aquaria in any way before she attacked me? Before she compared with with an apologist for paedophilia that is?

    Thirdly, the power gradient is strongly in your favour. Do you have traumatic flashbacks relating to this subject? Exactly.

    I see. You know nothing about me, yet you assume that the power gradient is strongly in my favour and you also assume that I do not have any traumatic instance in my past – all without knowing anything about me? Do you not see that you are being just as abusive as you accuse me of being?

    This contrasts to real bullying, which is the strong against the weak.

    Not always, bullies often tend to be weaklings at heart. Also you can get bullying by lots of average people acting in concert due to conformity effects.

  229. 229
    James Croft

    I just wanted to jump in to thank Corylus, particularly for posts #180 and #198. I had been wanting to respond to this thread with a similar view, but I had restrained myself precisely because I didn’t want to experience the “piling-on” and the content free insult-ridden responses I expected I might get (and that I have received before, repeatedly, when airing a differing view to the majority opinion on some of FTB’s blogs).

    I have no strong view on whether Ophelia should use this blog to pursue personal disagreements which arise on Facebook or Twitter: on occasion I have thought it petty and personal, but more frequently I think it’s a perfectly reasonable way to explore important ideas. But I have a very strong opinion regarding the use of slurs and insults, particularly those which imply a given individual is a traitor to an identity group. I think those, if they are to be used at all, should be reserved for extremely clear, repeated instances of genuinely harmful behavior – and even then I think they are suspect.

    My general view is that some comment threads on some of the less moderated blogs on FTB do become places where a form of bullying occurs. When multiple commenters gang up on an individual and, instead of or in addition to articulating a different point of view, sling at them insult after insult, some of them extremely personal, many very fierce, and then use any response they make to those insults grounds for further name-calling, it reads to me like a transcript of schoolyard bullying. As someone who experienced bullying as a child it makes me physically uncomfortable, even sick sometimes. It does nothing to advance the discourse or improve someone’s ideas: it is merely a way for one poster to assert dominance and superiority over another. And I think it ultimately can become dehumanizing.

    Of course, Kirby’s analogy is ridiculous and far too strong, and Ophelia rightly takes her to task for that. But there are strong signs of dogmatic thinking, forms of what I would term bullying, and even authoritarian uses of power on these blogs (and I’m certain many others). I myself am banned from two of the blogs here for no greater crime than disagreeing repeatedly with the owner. So it does happen.

    To me the question should be “what sort of online community do you wish FTB to be?” If it seems to you the best thing to allow posters to routinely denigrate and demean other people, then it is perfectly within your rights to create such a community. But don’t then be surprised if some people 1) choose to keep their thoughts to themselves (thus diminishing the quality of the discourse) and 2) call out certain objectionable aspects of that community. It is perfectly possible to create an environment which promotes genuinely critical discourse while honoring each person’s humanity and dignity. It would be wonderful were FTB to become, consistently, such a place.

    The choice is yours.

  230. 230
    Corylus

    Julian #225.

    But what about personal accounts of this or that inappropriate behavior? For example, Ashley Miller’s account of what occurred at TAM between herself and that drunk man? We don’t have access to what happened and (not getting to into it) there’s no real record of what happened. It’s hearsay.

    Yes, this is something that can be discussed, but this is not something that can be discussed helpfully without engaging the Principle of Charity for all protagonists. This will mean reserving judgement in many cases.

    It’s a fluke. Once the heat wave is over and I’m not to hot to be angry I’ll go back to swearing like Aquaria.

    Heh! I do understand many people are suffering with the heat at the moment. My sympathies.

    But your welcome and thanks for assuming good faith on my part.

    :)

  231. 231
    Corylus

    Ophelia #226

    Corylus – that’s only one example, and you said every time, emphasis yours. Of course that could mean one time, because you’ve only seen one – but then that would be a cheap trick. One example isn’t good enough for that emphatic every time.

    You want me trawl through the internet citing every instance of your getting grumpy and blogging afterwards? You asked for evidence, it was quickly found and I gave you it. Of course, what you could do in response to me is to post links of where you did get into a scrap, but decided to let it go.

    Ultimately, of course, you know your own history and it is for you to decide whether or not I am correct and whether or not you want to do anything about this.

    Ophelia #226

    Addendum to what julian said in 225 – Paula has far more standing than I do. She runs RDF, ffs! I’m just a blogger.

    You don’t think that, as a person with a salaried position, she is constrained by that fact? I could never imagine her posting an article on RDF about being blocked on twitter by someone. That would be hugely unprofessional.

    Ophelia #227

    It’s pretty officious to try to tell me how to allocate my hours.

    That was actually me attempting to cut down your stress levels, and giving you credit for the good use of your time you have made in the past, but if you read it as officious then I must, of course, apologise.

    Same thing. It’s not your business how I spend my time.

    No, but it is not something that I am banned from having a view on either.

  232. 232
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Last night, when putting the kids to bed, the older one complained that it was unfair that she had to got to bed now. I asked her why it was unfair and she said because she had to got to bed now. I said yes, I understand that you consider it unfair and that you don’t want to go to bed now, but why is it unfair? Give me a good reason why it is unfair that you have to go to bed and you can stay up a little more. She told me that it was unfair because she had to go to bed now.
    Her excuse is that she’s 5. What’s your excuse PoH?

    Corylus

    I would say that it is a matter or priorities – whether our own battles are more important than those of others. Of course, we are all human and it is hard not to concentrate on our own concerns, but there are only so many hours in the day.

    1. This is Ophelia’s blog, so she’s the only person who gets to decide how to use it. You’re not paying for a service, you have no right to complain. If you don’t like it, leave.

    2. That was fucking condescending towards all those of us who consider Ophelia’s posts and works vitally important because it is about our fucking lives. Sure, being groped and harassed might be not very important for you, but it sure is for me.

  233. 233
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters
    someone who compared feminism to a murdering secret police squad.

    She (Paula Kirby) did not compare feminism to a murdering secret police squad. She compared the feminists at FtB to it and used it as a substitute for feminazi.

    For fuck’s sake, Julian, what did you bother to say this for? Is it really any better [edit] Paula Kirby compared some specific feminists to a murdering secret police squad than if she compared feminism as a whole movement to a murdering secret police squad ?

    Aren’t you being a little disproportionate with your nit-picking here, and rather missing the actual point in the process ?

  234. 234
    julian

    But I have a very strong opinion regarding the use of slurs and insults, particularly those which imply a given individual is a traitor to an identity group.

    Do you mean Uncle Sally, Chill Girl and the like? I can’t speak for Uncle Sally but Chill Girl was a phrase coined by a woman on Pharyngula objecting to what she perceived as hysterical whining on the part of the women there. She said they should keep shouting so that guys wouldn’t confuse chill girlz like her with the feminazis.

    In any case, that’s more of a criticism of the commentors. I can’t think of a blogger who uses such phrases and those who have spoken about have said they don’t like them or appreciate them. (Crommunist, I think, was pretty forceful about that.)

    It does nothing to advance the discourse or improve someone’s ideas: it is merely a way for one poster to assert dominance and superiority over another. And I think it ultimately can become dehumanizing.

    It’s very hit and miss. You’re right to say it can become dehumanizing and it’s often frustrating to read a string of people misread or assume the worst about a post or argument. It (often) alienates the commentor and their sympathizers. But galvanization isn’t always wrong or a bad thing. It can lead to a group re evaluating their views on a topic or argument.

    That’s what happened to me over at Pharyngula.

    But there are strong signs of dogmatic thinking, forms of what I would term bullying, and even authoritarian uses of power on these blogs

    What do you mean by dogmatic thinking? I keep being told it’s here but I don’t see it.

    And blogs are authoritarian by nature as they are run by one person and that person has complete power. They can (not saying they should) anyone they please for whatever infraction they imagine. It’s true of every blog even if the blogger is very lenient towards commenting.

  235. 235
    dcg1

    To all FTB Bloggers: please find attached,FTB guide No1: First steps in totalitarianism.

    First: Select your victim/deviant/enemy of all decent free thinking people everywhere. This can be anyone whom you’ve had a minor public disagreement with, or is not singing from the little red FTB/American Atheist/Skepchick songbook.

    Second: Subject theenemy to public ridicule and humiliation. Post a blog detailing the deviant’s thought crime. Try to be as mendacious as you can about the victim’s motives,thoughts and opinions;Lay it on with a trowel; “Subhuman” is the effect we’re trying to achieve here.

    Third: Sit back and let the mindless faithful do your dirty work for you. Watch in amazement as your faithful followers demonstrate their vileness by insulting, bullying and abusing your selected victim; via the medium of your blog comments.

    Result!!!!.

    *Tips*

    1. A few comments regarding your concerns about the mental welfare/health of the “deviant”, will both demonstrate your compassion as a human being,whilst justifying further unpleasantness.

    2. Don’t try this in Europe they’ll either riducule you or kick your teeth down your throat; They’re a bit tetchy about this sort of sophistry and have long memories.

    Housekeeping:

    Whilst on the subject of bullying, abuse and intimidation, I think that whilst we at FTB have achieved great things (I think our greatest achievement so far, is to make that English twat Dawkins, look like a right mysogenistic cunt) We have yet to achieve our first “Suicide”.

    I’m sure that this is achievable. The briefest perusal of this post and other topics, demonstrates that a significant proportion of our followers are foul mouthed, abusive, moronic bullies. So pick a vulnerable victim and let your followers do their worst!!.

    We can’t let those spotty teenagers on facebook steal our march!!!.

    Regards

    Please address all comments to Douchebag/cupcake/sexist pig/ mysogenist.etc

  236. 236
    Ophelia Benson

    James – ok, point taken. Are you saying slurs and insults were used about Paula? (I just did a quick scan of a big fraction of them and didn’t find any.) Or that they’re used about commenters who dissent?

    I try occasionally to run a slightly tighter ship. Perhaps I should adjust the pegs.

  237. 237
    julian

    Aren’t you being a little disproportionate with your nit-picking here, and rather missing the actual point in the process ?

    I don’t think so. There’s a difference between thinking feminism itself is totalitarian in nature and considering certain strains or certain feminists to be totalitarian. Some of feminism is very transphobic or Euro-centric. Other bits almost shield non western misogynistic cultures from criticism. I think it important to remember who, what and which schools are being criticized in order to better deal with the criticism and rebuke unfair statements/assumptions.

  238. 238
    Ophelia Benson

    Ok, I’ve tightened the pegs! Leave off the epithets when discussing what Paula said. Tone them down when talking to each other. Thenk you.

  239. 239
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    Oops, sorry, Ophelia.

    I thought that was mild enough and plenty accurate and I certainly didn’t mean to cause you the extra work of editing my post.

    I won’t do it again.

  240. 240
    Ophelia Benson

    Corylus, no, I don’t want you to trawl through anything, but if you don’t actually know that you saw me do that every time (emphasis yours) then you could withdraw that particular claim.

    You’re not “banned” from having a view on how I spend my time, but it’s presumptuous to offer it, especially embedded in a long lecture (when I don’t know you from Adam).

    Maybe you’re right; maybe you have excellent points; but I don’t know you and you’re being awfully bossy given that I don’t know you.

  241. 241
    Forbidden Snowflake

    First: Select your victim/deviant/enemy of all decent free thinking people everywhere. This can be anyone whom you’ve had a minor public disagreement with, or is not singing from the little red FTB/American Atheist/Skepchick songbook.

    Or it can be some people trying to discuss a problem you don’t want to hear about.

    Second: Subject theenemy to public ridicule and humiliation. Post a blog detailing the deviant’s thought crime. Try to be as mendacious as you can about the victim’s motives,thoughts and opinions;Lay it on with a trowel; “Subhuman” is the effect we’re trying to achieve here.

    For instance, publish indignant hyperbolical comments comparing the opposition to totalitarian dictators keen to murder dissenters.

    Third: Sit back and let the mindless faithful do your dirty work for you. Watch in amazement as your faithful followers demonstrate their vileness by insulting, bullying and abusing your selected victim; via the medium of your blog comments.

    …or by going to the opposition’s blogs and shouting your hysterically hyperbolical party line over there.

    Tell me, dcg1, is a person with as little self-awareness as you have able to recognize her or himself in the mirror?

  242. 242
    Dcg1

    Ok, I’ve tightened the pegs! Leave off the epithets when discussing what Paula said. Tone them down when talking to each other. Thenk you

    or delete the post entirely if it contains criticism of FTB Bloggers? Where has mine dissapeared to?

  243. 243
    Corylus

    Arh – I see Aquaria’s attack on me has been removed. It would have been nice if that had been marked as such. I hope my numbering now works.

  244. 244
    Ophelia Benson

    That’s not the first time I’ve removed a comment by Aquaria. She…ah…overdoes the epithets.

  245. 245
    hyperdeath

    Corylus, I apologize. I mixed you up with someone far nastier, and what I wrote wasn’t intended as an attack on you. It was intended as an attack on the type of person who indeed belittles rape victims, before assuming the mantle of a tragic victim. Unfortunately such people exist, and some of them post on FTB.

  246. 246
    Ophelia Benson

    “Dcg” your comments are not “criticism.” Also, I’m not FTB, and this isn’t FTB.

    Your comments are trolling. “Totalitarian” is absurd. Go away.

  247. 247
    julian

    @hyperdeath

    Made the same mistake. Funny how nyms blend into each other after a while.

  248. 248
    Ophelia Benson

    Thanks hotshoe.

    James does have a point. I shouldn’t let the comments become a pile-on.

    (Though the sheer number makes them look like that, but ironically that’s mostly thanks to all the overnight trolls who filled it up and triggered replies.)

  249. 249
    James Croft

    Wow. I’m very impressed!

  250. 250
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters
    Aren’t you being a little disproportionate with your nit-picking here, and rather missing the actual point in the process ?

    I don’t think so. There’s a difference between thinking feminism itself is totalitarian in nature and considering certain strains or certain feminists to be totalitarian. Some of feminism is very transphobic or Euro-centric. Other bits almost shield non western misogynistic cultures from criticism. I think it important to remember who, what and which schools are being criticized in order to better deal with the criticism and rebuke unfair statements/assumptions.

    Okay, so you are missing the point. Got it. Now it looks like you are as far off base as Paula Kirby is. The point is that even if you are (legitimately at least in your own eyes) concerned about “totalitarian” strains in some types of feminism/feminists, even if you believe there are legitimate issues about free speech or criticism, you still don’t have a free pass to use such an unbelievably horrible slander as FemiNAZI or FemiSTASI.

    It’s such a horrible false equivalence, some feminist blogger on the internet having “no tolerance of dissent” [to quote one of Paula Kirby's evidenceless screeches] is in NO WAY EQUIVALENT to being a totalitarian state like the Nazis and Stasi. It’s not a reasonable analog, it’s not any kind of analog, it’s just vicious propaganda.

    Coining, or repeating such a coinage, should get you slammed hard. Paula Kirby is wrong. And to the extent that you think she’s fine for saying Femistasi, because, well, “I see real strains of totalitarian thought over there”, then you’ve just fallen for the thought-stopping slur she’s propagating.

    Whether she’s using it against feminism as a whole, or merely certain strains of feminism, or certain (nameless but specific) feminist bloggers, it’s just as illegitimate, and you trying to nitpick which she’s using does not make you look better.

  251. 251
    Corylus

    Ophelia #245

    I see. Thank you for clearing this up.

    “Overdoing” is a mild way of putting it, but as her comments were so off-the-wall bizarre that I responded with hilarity, I will say no more about this.

    Hyperdeath #246

    Corylus, I apologize. I mixed you up with someone far nastier, and what I wrote wasn’t intended as an attack on you.

    Thank you – I unreservedly accept your apology.

  252. 252
    julian

    Whether she’s using it against feminism as a whole, or merely certain strains of feminism, or certain (nameless but specific) feminist bloggers, it’s just as illegitimate,

    I agree. The list of people Paula Kirby could have legitimately made that criticism of is very small.

    But that doesn’t mean she targeted all of feminism and I don’t think it helpful to say she did when she didn’t. (In no small part because it makes the complaint so much more broad a rebuttal has to encapsulate a lot more and it begs other issues and problems to get thrown into the mix.)

  253. 253
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    Julian, I’d like to say we can reasonably agree now, but you’re still doing it. The list of people Paula Kirby could have “legitimately” mae that criticism of is not small, it’s non-existent.

    It’s not a legitimate criticism whatsoever. Not about any person. Never, unless you’re actually talking about the actual government with police powers to silence you and disappear you.

    A rebuttal to the use of FemiStasi doesn’t have to encapsulate anything except “Don’t say that staggering shit”. Which is pretty much all that Ophelia said to begin with. And which is exactly the point you’re still missing.

  254. 254
    Ophelia Benson

    Corylus – not going to withdraw the emphatic claim? Ok, I call bullshit. I think you made it up.

  255. 255
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Erista:
    I chose it as a kind of reference to the sexual abuse I suffered as a child. I chose it to remind myself that not all strife, not all discord, not all problems would be soul crushing; I chose it to remind myself that I could use it in my life to help and understand others. Even the wild destructive power of a volcano can lead to lush growth as life establishes itself on the enriched earth. I can see those whose lives are not defined by childhood sexual abuse, abd pain I feel at not having such a life can help drive me towards achieving such a life. My yearning for such a life can help lead me to it.
    Perhaps it is a lie. I don’t know. But if it is a lie, then it is a comforting lie, and one I tell myself. Anyway, that’s off topic, so my apologies.

    Thank you for sharing that. It is inspirational.

  256. 256
    Flewellyn

    What happened to Iamcuriousblue’s posts?

    I’m not sure, but I believe that they received all due consideration from Ophelia Benson, i.e., were deleted for being worthless.

  257. 257
    dirigible

    “Wossa rift this time? It’s calling Freethought blogs totalitarian and comparable to both Nazis and the Stasi.”

    Orac.

    Orac.

    Orac.

    Is this mirror broken?

  258. 258
    Corylus

    Ophelia,

    I posted a reply to you yesterday (twice in case of a computer glitch). It has not shown up yet. Feel free to delete the duplicate.

    I must assume you are having computer problems, having heard nothing to the contrary: you do have my email.

  259. 259
    Ophelia Benson

    Corylus – sorry – problems of some kind, apparently. I haven’t put you in moderation so I have no idea why your replies didn’t show up (and I emptied spam w/o looking a few minutes ago so that’s no help). Try again and also email it – contact address sends it to my email.

  260. 260
    Corylus

    #241

    Funny how nyms blend into each other after a while.

    Oh dear, do I have a similar one to someone else? The term “Corylus” is an in-joke to gardeners. It is actually my real name – just in Latin form.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corylus

    I can be read, and understood, below:

    http://richarddawkins.net/profiles/5462

    Here is a recent comment of me calling out sexism when I saw it:

    http://richarddawkins.net/videos/643921-sean-faircloth-naked-ladies-and-mormons/comments?page=1#comment_892118

    -=-=-

    Ophelia #255

    You can very easily disprove me by posting a counter-example:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter-example

    A time when you got into a good scrap and instead of posting on your blog decided to let it go.

    I believe I have shown my willingness to take on board new evidence.

  261. 261
    Flewellyn

    You can very easily disprove me by posting a counter-example:

    [condescending wiki link elided]

    A time when you got into a good scrap and instead of posting on your blog decided to let it go.

    I believe I have shown my willingness to take on board new evidence.

    Your willingness to set the standard of evidence unreasonably high, you mean. You have asked her to provide an example of where she did not do something, i.e., link to a lack of a post.

    How do you possibly think that could work? If she didn’t post about something, then there is nothing to link.

  262. 262
    Corylus

    Flewellyn

    I put lots of links in my posts (it seems this was the reason for the delay in my response showing: oh well!) not to be patronising, but to help those reading along.

    I appreciate it when others do this, as I cannot be au fait with everything. It is simply about engagement and mutuality. Conversations are interactive: you give and you take.

    You have asked her to provide an example of where she did not do something, i.e., link to a lack of a post.

    How do you possibly think that could work? If she didn’t post about something, then there is nothing to link.

    Well, she could post a link to an example of her with fists a’flying. (I am not saying this is intrinsically bad: I have been known to get vexed occasionally myself)… I would them look at the date, and look at the corresponding date on her blog. I find nothing then my proposition is falsified. Null hypothesis and all that.

  263. 263
    maureen.brian

    Hazel, dear, you are terribly boring and not nearly as clever as you would have us believe.

  264. 264
    Corylus

    Maureen,

    Thank you for clicking on one of my links – it shows I don’t do this in vain :)

    As for ‘would have you believe’ … well …

    I would have people believe that I am super-rich, super-genius, and super-hot with Brad Pitt lusting after mah furry little butt. Unfortunately, I can’t even believe that my myself…. Rats!

    Seriously, though, you will believe as you see fit I am quite sure. I am happy if people simply address what I say.

  265. 265
    maureen.brian

    Fucking narcissist!

  266. 266
    Corylus

    Fucking narcissist!

    Nope, that activity isn’t on the horizon anytime soon.

    Brad says ‘No’ :(

  267. 267
    Ophelia Benson

    Corylus @ 263 – the burden of proof is on you.

    I won’t bother including a link to Wikipedia on “burden of proof.” That would be insulting.

  268. 268
    Corylus

    Ophelia

    Corylus @ 263 – the burden of proof is on you.

    I won’t bother including a link to Wikipedia on “burden of proof.” That would be insulting.

    Then I won’t bother including a Stanford link on Popper. That would be a waste of my time. I have completely put myself on the line here tonight – willing to accept any correction.

    Sigh.

    Ophelia it is entirely up to your own conscience, and your own knowledge of your previous behaviour, to decide whether or not you have been abusing your power with your blog.

    I flagged it because I have enjoyed your books, think the fight against oppression of women worthwhile and actually, despite my levity in response to content free insults above (which is explained by my finding that laughing helps me control my filthy temper) really, truly do give a crap.

    Now, before I sign off, I must extend a public ‘thank you’ for privately explaining how my previous comments must have hit a spam filter. I did, and do, appreciate that. I hope you appreciated my willingness to extend the principle of charity to you in the same way.

  269. 269
    tigtog

    [meta]
    With respect to swarms of vexatious comments arriving while you’re asleep, Ophelia: it’s a fairly simple operation to put a wordPress blog into full moderation when you’re logged off for any reason. It takes just three clicks when you log out, and another three clicks when you log back in.

    i.e. before logout
    ====================
    1. Click on “Settings | Discussion Settings”
    2. Click checkbox on “Before a comment appears [x] An administrator must always approve the comment”
    3. Click on the “Save Changes” button at the foot of the page.
    ====================
    then after login, do the same but just remove the tick from the checkbox and then save the changes again.

    Might not be worth even that small bother, but the option is always there.
    [/meta]
    For the benefit of the terminally obtuse blatherers about the FtB collective/hivemind etc, if Ophelia did do that here on B&W, it would only affect B&W, because each blog on a WordPress multi-site network has its own separate admin pages.

    There is _no_ aggregate admin area for all the FTB bloggers to see what everybody else on the network is doing (just like a wordpress.com blogger or a blogspot.com blogger can’t see the nitty gritty of what everybody else on the network is doing – this network is just a smaller example of the same setup). Only whoever Ed Brayton has made a Network administrator can do that if they make a special effort to go to the Network Admin area (which they mostly would have no reason to do except for software upgrades).

    Whatever “backchannels” exist here at FtB will have been set up using other systems like a mailing list or whatever, just like any other group (whether they share a blogging network or not) might do. There’s nothing uniquely tentacular, totalitarian or sinister about that, surely?

  270. 270
    tab 5 kg

    I never thought about the subject in the way you do, it gives it all a new perspective that makes one wonder if there are more between heaven as well as earth that certain would think, thanks for the enter and keep them comming, I will watch and read each time for sure!

  1. 271
    Our terrible secret exposed! | Pharyngula

    [...] am dismayed. Freethoughtblogs has been accused of being a den of Feminazis, Femistasi, totalitarian thought, and being equivalent to a totalitarian state, by no less a person than Paula Kirby. This is terrible [...]

  2. 272
    Engaging Children In Science – Samantha Stein At The Sixth World … | Quantum POP

    [...] That’s not a Godwin, that’s a Wollstonecraft by Ophelia Benson [...]

  3. 273
    I love FreethoughtBlogs. (A fan letter.) | The Heresy Club

    [...] for being (in her words) totalitarian and intolerant of dissent. PZ and Ophelia mention it here, here and here. Following on from the Rebecca Watson business which the last few posts on this site [...]

  4. 274
    To Paula | The Heresy Club

    [...] referred to ‘the esteemed Paula Kirby’; Ophelia, on the idea FtB was totalitarian, said ‘the sad thing is that it’s Paula Kirby calling us that’. I typically make a point of not speaking for others, but I don’t think anyone on this side of [...]

  5. 275
    Another Alex speaks up | Butterflies and Wheels

    [...] referred to ‘the esteemed Paula Kirby’; Ophelia, on the idea FtB was totalitarian, said ‘the sad thing is that it’s Paula Kirby calling us that’. I typically make a point of not speaking for others, but I don’t think anyone on this side of [...]

  6. 276
    Atheism, therefore Feminism | Cognitive Revolution

    [...] there’s the campaign against skepchick Surly Amy . And the “feminazi” name calling aimed at freethoughtblogs and skepchick. And probably a whole bunch of other stuff that I [...]

  7. 277
    QED panel on god belief » Butterflies and Wheels

    [...] congenial, entertaining, interesting. That’s why I was so surprised when a few months later Paula Kirby called me a Feminazi and Femistasi. Watching that panel, she doesn’t seem like that kind of [...]

  8. 278
    To Paula Kirby: on ‘The Sisterhood of the Oppressed’ » Godlessness in Theory

    […] referred to ‘the esteemed Paula Kirby’; Ophelia, on the idea FtB was totalitarian, said ‘the sad thing is that it’s Paula Kirby calling us that’. I typically make a point of not speaking for others, but I don’t think anyone on this side of […]

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