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Sep 10 2012

A hassle

I’ve turned on comments registration for awhile. The trolls have stepped up their merry pranks, so it can’t be helped. Sorry for the inconvenience.

29 comments

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  1. 1
    ewanmacdonald

    Glad to hear it. The advertising thread was nigh-on unreadable.

  2. 2
    Gregory in Seattle

    Are you and Greta coordinating your policies? (Eyes you suspiciously)

  3. 3
    MFHeadcase

    Sorry it became necessary to take the step.

  4. 4
    Kausik Datta

    More pertinently, are you Greta in disguise – with a polymer face mask à la Mission Impossible? (Eyes you more suspiciously)

  5. 5
    johnthedrunkard

    Oh, that explains it.

    Waaah! I lost my capitalization and spaces.

  6. 6
    A Hermit

    “Are you and Greta coordinating your policies?”

    And Rebecca Watson put them up to it…O-o

    Brace for the outcry…”HIVEMINDGROUPTHINKFEMISTALINISTS ARE CENSORINGSILENCINGBULLYINGME”

  7. 7
    A Hermit

    Sorry, that probably doesn’t help…but I’ve running into that kind of thinking elsewhere and I think it’s caused some neural damage…

  8. 8
    catwhisperer

    Good call.

    On an unrelated note, has anyone else ever noticed this blog being called “Butterflies and Whee…” if you have multiple tabs open?

    Makes me chuckle every time.

  9. 9
    rq

    Depends on how many tabs are open, but yes. :)
    As for comment registration, well, that just means one more site that I’ll have open on permanent login.

  10. 10
    IslandBrewer

    Well crap.

  11. 11
    davidmc

    I’m pleased about that, I dont’t have time to wade through that amount of disingenuous blatherskitery.

  12. 12
    Ophelia Benson

    Gregory – it’s happening all over the network.

    I guess you were joking, or something, but what they’re doing isn’t really all that amusing.

  13. 13
    Argle Bargle

    The trolls are being quite pernicious these past couple of days.

  14. 14
    arthur

    I took a look at twitter recently, and it looked like at least two unidentifiable people were involved in hassling the parents of Jen McCreight and two others skeptics.

    The most active of these unidentifiable obsessives is the “Watson-Rodrigues ‏@ElevatorGATE” character. This person posts scores of text slurs a day on twitter describing McCreight, Rebecca Watson, Amy Davis Roth and others, including Ophelia Benson. The slurs are relentless.

    There are approximately ten other obsessives on Twitter acting in similar ways. These people post up to 50 posts a day attacking the aforementioned individuals.

  15. 15
    Ophelia Benson

    arthur – yup. I saw one of those slurs earlier today because Renee Hendricks retweeted it. She’s a more overtly nasty piece of work than I had realized.

    The tweet said, “McCreight’s dad can relax. I’d NEVER call his whiny, annoying, publicity-seeking daughter a slut.”

  16. 16
    arthur

    Reenee Hendricks is one of the ten or so “extreme tweeters”, who currently posts up to 50 posts a day attacking what she believes is “atheismplus”.

    Several days ago, Renee Hendricks made a number of extraordinary posts in close succession on the atheismplus hashtag, which were attacks on Jen McCreight and others in name, mixed with revelations of her own troubled past. As though she was blaming these wholly unrelated whom she has never met for her previous problems in life.

    These incoherent posts, and the relentless quantity of this person’s entire body of work on this matter, indicate that the person is undergoing some kind of trauma which is completely distorting behavior and causing irrational outbursts with no perspective.

    Very strange and quite sad.

  17. 17
    Pteryxx

    There are approximately ten other obsessives on Twitter acting in similar ways. These people post up to 50 posts a day attacking the aforementioned individuals.

    okay, I’ve heard Twitter’s almost hopeless about censuring for abuse, but surely this is rising to the level where reporting the obsessives should accomplish something?

  18. 18
    Gregory in Seattle

    @Ophelia Benson #12 – I agree, what these trollers are doing is reprehensible. I did not mean to sound like I was questioning why FtB writers are turning on registration.

    It’s just that, all to often, it comes down to either screaming or laughing. I prefer to laugh when I can.

  19. 19
    johnthedrunkard

    I have not had the misfortune to need to deal with Hendricks, or elevatorGATE for that matter. The nature of the interwebs can blur the difference between politics and pathology.

    I know it is a bit of a hobbyhorse with me, but I’ll chime in again: much of this avalance of hatred comes from crazies, not some sinister ‘protocols of the elders of male priviledge.’

    It doesn’t make it any less dreadful, or dangerous. Sort of John Hinkley versus Timothy McVeigh.

  20. 20
    Ophelia Benson

    That’s true – but – there are several non-crazies who retweet and otherwise make common cause with the crazies.

    I haven’t seen a single one of the former group say one word about this example of overt shameless vicious bullying. I know they know about it, because they’re always monitoring me – but not one word about this.

    It’s creepy.

  21. 21
    hyperdeath

    Johnthedrunkard, I agree. There definitely is a wider problem, but 99% of the hatred is coming from 1% of the people.

  22. 22
    Gordon Willis

    OK, I’m finally catching up. Only 62 B&W posts to go. So I’m beechnut for the forseeable future. That was an old Pharyngula name which seems to have made it to FtB. Well, I’ll try to put up with it.

    GordonWillis

  23. 23
    Ophelia Benson

    I tweaked your name, Gordon. See if that fixed it. (It’s because trolls were logging in as other commenters or as bloggers.)

  24. 24
    Gordon Willis

    I haven’t seen a single one of the former group say one word about this example of overt shameless vicious bullying. I know they know about it, because they’re always monitoring me – but not one word about this.

    It’s creepy.

    In fact it’s extremely peculiar. I have an idea that there’s something personal lurking at the bottom of it. Why do highly intelligent and subtle people suddenly start talking irrational nonsense? How can, e.g., Paula Kirby start telling us that she’s seen totalitarianism, and then not bother to explain what she sees as totalitarian in FtB? She simply uses an argument from authority (I’ve seen it, believe me). I’m sure she wouldn’t do that if she was thinking straight, so there must be something personal going on. On the other hand, taking exception and arguing forever with great heat and outrage about trivial things is very peculiar and a strong indicator of personal offence, or defensiveness, isn’t it? My tuppence-worth.

  25. 25
    Ophelia Benson

    Somebody was just saying the same thing on Stephanie’s recent post. There’s something more going on here. I think so too – but I have no idea what!

  26. 26
    Gordon Willis

    I thought at first that one problem was normal rational men suddenly finding that they weren’t perfect, that they could be justifiably accused of sexism, i.e. of selfishness with regard to women. Understandable — it’s bad, and they care more for their self-image than for putting themselves right with others. People can get very violent when trying to justify the unjustifiable and still wanting the unjustifiable, too. And there are always women who have invested in the package and don’t want their investment wasted. And it’s worse for someone who has made a stand on rationality and equated it with goodness, only to discover that they actually prefer the less good and the more selfish.

    Big problem. But quite understandable. People like Paula Kirby are harder to understand. It’s why I’ve been thinking recently about the ramifications of slave mentality: that the investment in the slave role is cultural, not merely individual, so it’s therefore something that belongs to one’s background or sense of identity. Slaves have their own hierarchies, and it’s easy to abuse the slaves who complain as inferiors who don’t measure up to the demands. But it’s possibly only a too-malleable idea, and maybe wrong.

    GordonWillis

    (Thank you, Ophelia. I haven’t bothered to log out and back in again yet. Maybe later).

  27. 27
    arthur

    Ophelia, I don’t know if you still monitor comments to old posts, so I don’t know if you’ll read this but… your concerns about there being “something going on” is exactly what has been plaguing me, also.

    I’ve been observing the Twitter antics of Steve Zara lately.

    Steve is one of the ‘non-crazies’. He was a Dawkins.net mainstay, who I read for years as a moderate and thoughtful figure. I remember his opposition to the rants of Pat Condell and admired it.

    But Steve has spent the last week he has been tweeting gibberish about “atheismplus”. Lots of hyperbole, misrepresentations and distortions. He makes no reference to the atheistplus forum/website itself, which indicates he hasn’t even read it, yet describes atheistplus as “parasitic” among other assertions that are not borne out by reality.

    A few of his other comments mentioning Dawkins may reveal a reason why Steve has become so agitated out of all proportion lately. I believe Steve (and Paula) saw the response from Jen and Rebecca to Dawkins’s remarks as a direct attack on their friend And in their fighting to defend their friend, they’ve lost all perspective.

    There has to be some reason why people like Steve Zara began posting irrational attacks, and why Paula Kirby started circulating childish photoshops designed to humiliate people. They’re reduced to the level of the ‘crazies’. And I’m not exaggerating – they’re actually retweeting these ‘crazies’ on a regular basis. A sad and pathetic downfall. A waste.

  28. 28
    Ophelia Benson

    Arthur, I do, so I did. (New comments on old posts show up just as new comments on new posts do, so I don’t miss them.)

    Funny you should mention it, because yesterday I was staggered to see a comment by Steve Zara on Wooly[sic] Bumblebee’s blog, saying “Keep up the good work.” This is a couple of days after all that disgusting bile she posted about Jen and her father.

    If you’re right, though – how absurd. Dawkins is Dawkins – how much can a couple of US bloggers damage him or bother him?

  29. 29
    Gordon Willis

    I believe Steve (and Paula) saw the response from Jen and Rebecca to Dawkins’s remarks as a direct attack on their friend And in their fighting to defend their friend, they’ve lost all perspective.

    That’s an intriguing idea, arthur. One thing that puzzles me, though, is that if one is defending a friend, one does it rationally, and to the best of one’s ability. One considers the charges, weighs the case and responds. It is difficult to understand why the response is in fact so irrational. Surely, if one felt that the critics had a case, one would put it to one’s friend that he or she is in the wrong. How could one claim to be a friend and yet abet someone putting themselves in the wrong? Unless we are talking about some sort of blind adulation — but that would not only be irrational but ultimately a disservice to Dawkins, who is in so many ways an admirable man and surely deserves better of his friends.

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