Stalking


Send Justin Vacula to Empowering Women Through Secularism conference in Dublin

Justin Vacula — Skeptic Ink Network writer, speaker, atheist and church/state activist, and host of Brave Hero Radio – seeks to attend conference in Dublin.

He’s raised more than enough already.

So this is how it’s to be. I can’t go anywhere now without being followed by a dedicated harasser.

 

 

Comments

  1. says

    I certainly hope that the leadership of the conference in Ireland has better sense than Ron Lindsay did in Washington, D.C. and that they handle things better than that.

  2. says

    The leadership of the Dublin conference think it’s a case of “both sides” – in fact some of them think our harassers are more right than we are.

  3. elyss says

    Could get an indiegogo page going to raise $15 to give to the boy-brat in exchange for his personal tweet denouncing the social injustice of stalking and harassing.

  4. Skep tickle says

    Please get some professional psychological help. I’m serious. Paranoia seems to be consuming you.

  5. says

    The leadership of the Dublin conference think it’s a case of “both sides” – in fact some of them think our harassers are more right than we are.

    If that’s the case, I think you and other feminists should withdraw as speakers.

  6. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    His contributors include Dean Esmay of the “Voice for Men” hate site.

    None of us can even pretend to be shocked by that.

  7. Jean says

    I think he found a way to get some free trips. And if it annoys people, that’s a bonus.

  8. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Didn’t he spend WIS sitting at the back of the room, looking slightly lost. Why do it again?

    So he can continue the narrative that the offensive and oppressive feminists refuses to converse with him even though he follows them like a lost puppy.

  9. LeftSidePositive says

    At some point these conferences need to grow a spine and ban him. No, not because he has different ideas, but because he has a history of targeting *INDIVIDUALS* within the movement and being particularly nasty. You make a big deal gloating over someone in our movement having a bout of depression? You mislead your audience about people getting threatening emails? You post the home address of someone with whom you disagree? You file a fraudulent DMCA? You write for a known hate site? Yeah, we reserve the right not to take your money.

    I think Women in Secularism was extremely misguided in this (of course, now that I see the attitudes of who’s at the top, I’m not surprised!). At a certain point orgs have to stand up and enforce basic boundaries. They don’t operate in this context-free zone where nothing that happens outside the conference affects anyone. Someone whose past reprehensible behavior will make people uncomfortable shouldn’t get to keep needling (by which I mean passive-aggressively harassing!) people just because they can manage to stay within the bounds of decent behavior for those particular three days. And, those who are going to claim they’re “persecuted” or “being shut out from debate” or whatever are going to lie no matter what. The point has long since passed to cut them loose and move forward.

    (And maybe Vacula’s just going to this conference because Lindsay stole his thunder at WiS!)

  10. Stacy says

    Justin Vacula writes for A Voice for Men. Man Boobz offers an illuminating glimpse into AVfM culture here:

    http://manboobz.com/2013/04/18/a-12-step-program-to-help-a-voice-for-men-cure-its-addiction-to-hate/

    Would the Dublin organizers welcome somebody who wrote for a white supremacist website? Maybe they would allow such a person to attend, but they would not welcome him. They would keep an eye on him. They would certainly make every effort to keep him away from speakers he’d harassed.

    I want everyone to know exactly who and what Justin Vacula is.

    By the way, Vacula’s also a liar and a coward. He denied writing for AVfM and claimed they just “picked up” an article of his, until somebody found a comment he’d made prior to the article’s publication in which he said he was working on a piece for them.

  11. says

    A Slymepitter fool and their money are easily parted. Seems Justin has found a way to be popular, being annoying to feminists. I didn’t see much of depth or insight from him in regard to the first conference so you have to assume the intent is clear…. Moar trolling!

    He did 2 podcasts from WIS2 which were presumably mostly him talking about people not ideas. (Am I wrong?) Then he did two posts about his interview with AVfMe at WIS2 and a post about his “interview” with Reap Paden. Given Reaps reasoning ability I cannot see much of depth was discussed there. Nothing so far directly about anything he learnt or was inspired to write in response to what he learnt, all posts about himself. Why do I think he learnt nothing beyond how to self promote within his community? (A Voice for Me is the perfect place for him)

  12. savagemutt says

    Just announce that you’re going to every conference you can find; science conferences, political conferences, engineering conferences, teaching conferences, business conferences, etc. Eventually, the entire Pit will bankrupt itself trying to send Vacula to them.

  13. Sili says

    Vacula is a student in mental health counselling. That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. What will happen if a patient annoys him? Will he post their personal details on the slymepit?

    I’ve heard it said that far too many people go in to psychiatry to heal themselves. Unsuccessfully.

    Please let us know if you withdraw. I’m still sorta hoping to go, exams, health, finance and cats permitting.

  14. atheist says

    WOW. It fuckin’ blows my mind that skeptic orgs are allowing him to do this, but I guess I must accept the reality.

  15. says

    @Stacy,

    By the way, Vacula’s also a liar and a coward. He denied writing for AVfM and claimed they just “picked up” an article of his, until somebody found a comment he’d made prior to the article’s publication in which he said he was working on a piece for them.

    He misled his fellow Slymepitters there as well as Renee repeated that it was picked up without his permission on the Reap podcast where I spoke to her. She asked the Wooly Bumblefuck about it and she tweeted me to say he was asked about that post being published there at the very least. He has given up all pretense at objectivity and not being a fan of AVfM now with his subsequent actions, I suppose he was at least sensible enough to be ashamed of it then. He has only gone downhill all the way since…

    Wooly: AVfM published an article he wrote for his own blog, with his permission.

    Also worth pointing out how Justin empowers women in the secular community, by trying to drive them away.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/01/22/drama-is-not-disagreement/

  16. says

    Seriously, what is it about misogyny that makes it all OK?
    Nobody would think twice about banning somebody who’s contributing to Stormfront from a Black Skeptics Convention. Nobody would blink an eye if a member of WBC were denied access to a LGBTQ conference.
    But Vacula at a conference about women in secularism? Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze be his Peaaaaaaaaaaaaaaach

    Ophelia
    Do you mind giving me your address (privacy guaranteed) and T-shirt size? I think you need a special one…

  17. Sili says

    And I’m glad you’ll [perhaps] be there, Sili!

    Thank you. But I think you’d better contain your joy until you’ve actually met me …

  18. says

    Yes, I would really like to know why the rules are so different for harassment of women.

    Giliell, how kind. Sure – shall I use your eem address on your log-in?

  19. says

    Please get some professional psychological help. I’m serious. Paranoia seems to be consuming you.

    Hell, it’s not paranoia getting freaked out by stalkers who are actually stalking you! We’ve seen enough evidence of what Vacula has been doing to know that Ophelia isn’t imagining it. If anyone needs psychological help it’s Vacula.

    On the other hand we don’t want things to get to the point where Ophelia does need psychological help.

    I’ll see if I can get to the conference as I have to be in Dublin in June in any case so its a matter of fitting it in with other things I have to do.

  20. Stacy says

    @oolon

    He misled his fellow Slymepitters there as well as Renee repeated that it was picked up without his permission on the Reap podcast where I spoke to her. She asked the Wooly Bumblefuck about it and she tweeted me to say he was asked about that post being published there at the very least.

    I seem to remember somebody on Pharyngula finding a comment of Vacula’s on the Slymepit, wherein he said he was writing a piece specifically for them. His comment predated the publication of the article.

    Unfortunately I didn’t save it, and I can’t find it now. Memory is faulty, so I could be wrong, and if I am, I’ll recant. But I think he actually wrote that piece for them.

    (oolon, if you’re on Facebook, you might friend me there if you take the notion. https://www.facebook.com/stakennedy?ref=tn_tnmn)

  21. Skep tickle says

    Hey “Skep tickle” @ 7 – that’s easy for you, isn’t it. You’re just “Skep tickle” – nobody knows how to follow you around.

    1) Why do you assume that a person who publicly makes plans to attend a conference is doing so “to follow you around”? I hope someone whose opinion you value can help explain that that appears either paranoid or self-centered. And yes I am aware of the online “history” between you two.

    2) “Dedicated harasser” who is following you around? Reality check: even if that were someone’s purpose, there are much less expensive ways to achieve that, than flying to Ireland.

    3) You’re a published author, a well-established blogger, and an invited speaker at conferences in atheism & secularism (& feminism) – of course you’re a public figure, under your own name. Of course there are going to be some people who express agreement & support, and others who express disagreement & criticism, some of which is going to be expressed calmly and some of which (the positive as well as the negative) is going to be expressed with vigor. Doesn’t it come with the territory, whether or not in an ideal world all interaction would be expressed politely (and agree with one’s own point of view, lol).

    4) Some people on both “sides” of “the rift” do know my RL name and where I live, for what that’s worth. I maintain semi-anonymity because of my job, as do many atheists, including (presumably) some of your regular commenters.

    5) The conference website describes the intended participants and topics:

    Religions and religiously-inspired laws discriminate against women. Secular activism can help to empower women. And, whether you are a woman or a man, you can help to shape the future of secular activism and women’s rights around the world by coming to Dublin this June.

    We will discuss how religion and religiously-influenced laws discriminate against women in areas from healthcare, sexuality and reproductive rights to education, careers and social policy, as well as how to combat violence against women and the history and future of women in atheist and secular activism.

    Justin Vacula is a young US atheist activist who has focused on separation of church and state. I see overlap between his interests & work and this conference, though I understand that many here may feel that’s a stretch. Who knows, he may also learn quite a bit about issues women face around the world because of religion. Unless you think he’s going to overshadow the whole conference, which is giving him power he really just doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have.

  22. says

    “The leadership of the Dublin conference think it’s a case of “both sides” – in fact some of them think our harassers are more right than we are.”

    Really? Eww…
    Well I don’t feel bad that I can’t afford to go to this one then. I hope everyone who does go has a good time regardless of the difficulties.

  23. Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty says

    Giliell, I don’t know if everyone in this community would stand up for people of color or LGBTQ people who were getting the same sort of treatment. I didn’t expect this anti-feminist backlash. So now I don’t assume anything. Besides that, I’m straight and white. So, I wouldn’t necessarily have direct experience with that kind of bigotry. I know when it was pointed out that WiS needed to work on reaching out to non-white folks, it seemed to me everyone agreed. But I’m still leery of thinking that the a/s community is above any kind of bigotry given the current climate toward women. If nothing else, it certainly seems like there isn’t much concern in some circles with bigotry aimed at people of color and LGBTQ folks if those folks happen to be women.

    Sorry to be a Debbie Downer.

  24. says

    “Skep Tickle” –

    1. I don’t. Yes, I put it that way in the post, but no, I did not literally mean that’s the only reason he’s doing this. It certainly is part of the reason though. And don’t patronize me. You’re not getting this kind of shit, and if you were it wouldn’t be aimed at your real public person under your real name. I don’t need advice from you.

    2. Are you stupid? It’s not expensive for him to fly to Ireland, is it! He’s getting it totally funded, so well funded that he can go in luxury. I’m not going in luxury. I’ll have a lot of out of pocket expenses, which as a freelance are actually expensive to me. (Yes I know, the pit thinks I should “get a job.” Freelancing is a crime, in their view.) Contrary to the myth, I do not get paid to do this. Not one penny.

    3. Fuck that shit. Yes I’m a blogger; no that does not mean I deserve a torrent of sexist bullshit flung at me every day.

    4. How nice for you. (I know your name and occupation and location too.) But you should have the minimal decency to recognize that other people don’t, and refrain from egging on people who throw torrents of sexist bullshit at women who have the audacity to blog under their own names.

    5. Just as he did weekend before last, right? No, not right. Do stop bullshitting.

  25. hjhornbeck says

    Stacy @29: I got your back:

    by justinvacula » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:32 pm

    Sorry for the lack of activity. My laptop is broken and I have now ordered a new one. I am using a really, really, really shitty computer now. My mobile phone also limits me. I hope to catch up on things soon. I see Stephanie’s post and may respond. Now, though, I am working on a guest post for AVoiceForMen on this shit computer.

  26. says

    Justin Vacula is a young US atheist activist who has focused on separation of church and state. I see overlap between his interests & work and this conference, though I understand that many here may feel that’s a stretch. Who knows, he may also learn quite a bit about issues women face around the world because of religion.

    Oh come on now. Do you seriously think Vacula’s reasons for attending are innocent and that he’s going to go there willing to learn?

  27. Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty says

    Skjepticle, your denial of reality has been noted.

    Vacula is an activist? Yeah, so are the people picketing funerals. He’s still a pompous, slimy, bigot who writes for a hate site.

  28. hjhornbeck says

    A while ago, Vacula mentioned in a blog post that he disagreed with some of AVfM. I asked for clarification; he provided none. Now, at long last, he’s provided some details:

    Within A Voice For Men, I find perspectives/sentiments I enjoy including the importance of finding value on one’s own terms rather than adhering to traditional gender role expectations, the importance of including men and boys in discussions of sexual violence victims, the repulsive nature of male circumcision [designated genital mutilation] forced upon children, and the importance of including concerns of men and boys in conversations of sexism [men, young boys, women, and young girls].

    On the other hand, I disagree with some perspectives and sentiments included within A Voice For Men including the treatment of feminism as a monolith [I believe various approaches to feminism exist and is is not accurate to ‘paint with a broad brush’], passionate rhetoric attacking individuals and name-calling, and their motto ‘Fuck Their Shit Up’ which may appear extremely adversarial and close doors to discussion. Additionally, it would be nice to see more concerning issues directly facing men and boys and less attention to opposition to feminism and feminists which may indirectly harm men and boys.

    One, I wonder if he’s ever hung out in feminist circles; they talk about those things too, y’know, and unlike MRAs have actually done things about it (ie. Canada’s gender-neutral sexual assault laws).

    Two, he doesn’t like “passionate rhetoric attacking individuals and name-calling?”

    Three, while elsewhere in that article he points out that the SPLC didn’t designate AVfM a hate site (technically true, I looked it up), he’s still posted an article, granted two interviews, and taken money from a site that has threatened to public photos, names, work phone numbers, and even routes to work of any woman that pisses them off; keeps a public registry supposedly devoted to people who make false rape convictions, but a quick glance reveals just names any woman that pissed someone off; and hosts a violent manifesto calling for the firebombing of police stations. He is under no obligation to answer the phone if they call, yet he gladly does. This suggests that either:

    A) He puts up a false front of disagreement, but behind the scenes is glad to have their support and willing to return the favour.
    B) He’ll take money from anyone, no matter how shady they are.
    C) Some combination of the above.

    I know where my vote is…

  29. says

    Jackie

    Giliell, I don’t know if everyone in this community would stand up for people of color or LGBTQ people who were getting the same sort of treatment.

    I think you’re right and I think the anti-crowd would be largly the same. But I do think that reaction especially of people who are considered “leaders” would be different.
    I don’t think that Lindsay would open an LGBTQ conference by pointing out that some gay men are flamboyant and that you need to recognize that some people find two men kiss ing in public gross and that we need to have an open debate about that whole marriage equality thingy…

  30. says

    @hjhornbeck, that quote from Vacula presumably makes a lie out of the statement on AVfMe that Vacula’s post was re-posted there to avoid feminist censorship!
    http://www.avoiceformen.com/author/justin-vacula/

    Censorship and stupidity from “free-thinking-feminists”
    Justin Vacula is an atheist blogger, student and proponent of rational thought and free speech, censored by free thinking feminists. His previously censored blog posting is reproduced on AVfM with thanks to him for writing it.

    Guess it makes it juicier if he was being oppressed by feminists. Or maybe they’ll say he rewrote just for them… Either way the lie that Stacy picked up is clearly designed to distance him from the site.

    BTW 2 free tickets to the conference for students… He had one free and they gave him another ->
    http://geoffsshorts.blogspot.ie/2013/05/free-ticket-to-empowering-women-through.html

  31. Skep tickle says

    @ Ophelia

    1. I don’t. Yes, I put it that way in the post, but no, I did not literally mean that’s the only reason he’s doing this.

    I’m glad to hear that. Thanks for the clarification. I was reading your words too literally, it appears.

    It certainly is part of the reason though. And don’t patronize me.

    Well, since it wasn’t his idea for him to go, it seems unlikely to have been all that high up on the list of reasons “he’s doing this”.

    2. Are you stupid? It’s not expensive for him to fly to Ireland, is it! He’s getting it totally funded, so well funded that he can go in luxury. I’m not going in luxury. I’ll have a lot of out of pocket expenses, which as a freelance are actually expensive to me. (Yes I know, the pit thinks I should “get a job.” Freelancing is a crime, in their view.) Contrary to the myth, I do not get paid to do this. Not one penny.

    Approaches that would cost less for his backers, then.

    The pit” doesn’t have any one opinion, that’s pretty much the point of the pit. Sure, some people keep saying stuff like “get a job”. Others don’t, and as you probably know quite a few people there comment positively on your books and on how much they used to enjoy reading your blog, before (they feel) the focus and content changed.

    While it’s undoubtedly not enough to live on, you do get donations, and the more traffic and sympathy the more donations, one would think. And I do hope that your airfare, conference fee, and hotel are covered for the Dublin conference (and other conferences at which you speak).

    3. … Yes I’m a blogger; no that does not mean I deserve a torrent of sexist bullshit flung at me every day.

    No, but it seems to be a feature of the internet, currently. It would be fabulous if no bullshit got flung on any basis & everyone could just share their ideas civilly, but there would be costs to that. Whose version of “civil speech” would be followed & enforced? Atheists could well be shut out if that were to occur.

    I’ll probably get flamed for this, but Ana Kasparian’s youtube videos on online harassment, including the one she posted today, seem to give useful advice on ignoring said online harassment & insults.

    4. How nice for you. (I know your name and occupation and location too.)

    Great, then some of that info may have helped explain my expression of concern in #7 above.

    But you should have the minimal decency to recognize that other people don’t, and refrain from egging on people who throw torrents of sexist bullshit at women who have the audacity to blog under their own names.

    I am not aware of “egging on people” who do that. I do participate in the Slyme Pit, and I don’t like some of what’s posted there, but the whole point is that it’s an essentially unmoderated forum where people in the A/S community can express themselves. I far prefer the free exchange of ideas, even if some of those “ideas” are repellant, to exchanges in which many of the participants seem to agree with one line of thinking and don’t seem to have looked into the details or from a different angle. (Cue taunting about “freeze peach”….)

    YMMV in fact it clearly does – that’s fine – but why do you read it? Why not just ignore it and instead focus on the positive, on offering your insights and focusing on carrying the movement forward? Even mentioning it/them detracts from your efficacy.

    5. Just as he did weekend before last, right? No, not right. Do stop bullshitting.

    Starting with the headline, this thread is about Justin Vacula. Vacula, Vacula, Vacula. Whether or not he “writes for” AVfM, versus wrote a guest post, etc, etc. Why? Why not just stop this discussion, put him aside, and focus on YOUR work, the ideas and observations YOU have to offer your readers and the atheist community.

    I’m not intending to be patronizing, and I’m sorry if my comments are coming across that way.

  32. Josie74 says

    I’m about to book my ticket for Dublin. This is the first such conference I can afford (I’m lucky to live in Belfast). The news that Vacula is attending is unpleasant as his motives are all too clear. On the other hand it makes me all the more determined to attend and support those women in the movement who have had to put up with this shit for so long.

  33. says

    Eliza, don’t tell me what to post, what to talk about, what to read, what to do. I’m not the one harassing people. Don’t tell me how great the slime pit is; I’m not interested. (And no, I don’t know that “quite a few people there” say unbad things about my books. I very seldom look at it, and then only for a specific purpose. Any time I have looked at it there has been no trace of unbad commentary on anything about me.) Don’t take this high moral tone when the pit is full of loathsome photoshops and expressions of visceral disgust at living human beings. In short, get lost.

  34. says

    Epic lack of self awareness from a “skeptic” at the pit…

    …focus on YOUR work, the ideas and observations YOU have to offer your readers and the atheist community

    Hehe all the pit has to “offer” the atheist community is massive obsession with A+/FTBs and Skepchick, usually over a bit of butthurt at being banned or their favourite “leader” of the community getting some flak. If only they’d take “Skep tickle’s” advice then there would be a lot less to object to.

    I wonder what percentage of this “free exchange” of ideas is about anything other than FtBs/A+/Skepchick, pathetic.

  35. Stacy says

    Approaches that would cost less for his backers, then.

    His backers clearly don’t care.

    He didn’t bother to register for WiS2 while the discounted student fees were offered. He could have saved his backers $150 off the Early Bird registration. $35 vs. $185 dollars (IIR the numbers C.)

    Didn’t hear a peep out of his backers about that; they didn’t seem to mind at all. I don’t suppose they mind paying for his vacation to Dublin.

    Just as long as he doesn’t buy any shoes, he’ll be fine.

  36. says

    Vacula is a student in mental health counselling. That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. What will happen if a patient annoys him? Will he post their personal details on the slymepit?

    To clarify: He’s a student studying mental health counselling.

  37. says

    @3:

    that’s horrible! I hope they keep an eye on him.

    If his behaviour in Dublin is anything like his behaviour at WiS2, he won’t engage with speakers or the bulk of attendees; rather, he’ll yuk it up with any like-minded pro-harassers and generally be invisible save for pissy tweets. He probably thought of himself as the fox in the hen-house – except he spent his time hiding behind haybales and snickering.

    There’s no actual point to this because he’s not learning anything – he’s as big a douchebro apologist today as he was before WiS2. I suspect going to these things is both an ammunition hunt for his next blog/interview with known MRA hate-group AVfM; it’s also passive-aggressive harassment that makes him look like a brave fucking hero to his fellow pit-stains. It’s disingenuous and adolescent in the extreme. And creepy as hell.

  38. Jane Davies says

    Ophelia – Did Justin’s presence affect your WiSCFI experience at all?

  39. smhll says

    I’m not intending to be patronizing, and I’m sorry if my comments are coming across that way.

    Do you dole out semi-patronizing advice on the discussion boards at Slymepit.com, or are you doing an especial favor for Ophelia? Do you believe she wants your advice? This is not pure snark. I don’t want to jump to conclusions absent data about your behavior, but I’d like you to take a minute to examine your posting behavior.

  40. says

    Eliza skeptickle’s whole schtick there is revolting. A wall of text of advice for me on how to deal with nonstop harassment, as if it were some unavoidable thing like an earthquake; no advice whatever to the nonstop harassers on not doing nonstop harassment. What a flaming creep.

  41. karmacat says

    I suspect that Vacula is somewhat a pawn in all this. People are encouraging him to go to conferences, harass certain people, so they don’t have to put their necks on the line, so to speak. He is still an asshole, but one who doesn’t realize how others may be using him. Poor asshole vacuole

  42. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    karmacat wrote:

    I suspect that Vacula is somewhat a pawn in all this. People are encouraging him to go to conferences, harass certain people, so they don’t have to put their necks on the line, so to speak. He is still an asshole, but one who doesn’t realize how others may be using him. Poor asshole vacuole

    Yeah, I’m of the same opinion. And once enough people have gotten sick of Vacula’s posturing and he’s made himself persona non grata amongst all the A/S circles, the smarter types behind him will find another muppet to use to keep their own hands from getting dirty.

    Plausible deniability and all that.

  43. Metalogic42 says

    @karmacat #55:

    Some people are encouraging him to go, but others (including myself) are encouraging him not to. There was recently several pages of discussion on the slymepit about this. JV is not a pawn by any means, the decision to go was his and his alone. And as far as I’m aware, no one is encouraging him to harass anyone. The most popular reason I’ve seen for wanting him to go is because people enjoy his event reporting.

  44. says

    karmacat:

    I suspect that Vacula is somewhat a pawn in all this.

    I doubt it. Some of those lower in the pecking order (e.g. that @ElevatorGATE clown) are being used by those who want to keep their hands clean, but I think Vacula knows what he’s doing.

  45. says

    Ophelia has quite clearly stated that she
    has asked Justin to leave her well alone
    Even if Justin is not acting deliberately to
    cause harassment he must respect this
    As having differences of opinion is never
    a valid reason for ever harassing anyone
    This is not some thing that is negotiable
    Everyone must be treated with the same
    degree of respect no matter who they are

  46. says

    Maybe, and I know this is crazy but hear me out, maybe it would look less like Justin Vacula was trying to stalk Ophelia and others in the feminist wing of the skeptical/atheist movement if he didn’t constantly tweet and talk about how much he wanted to talk to them and get him on his show and how they were cowards for not doing so. If he were to, I don’t know, drop the whole thing and not pretend like “leave me alone, I don’t want to talk to you” were some grand assault on his human rights, he (and others) might see the worrying that accompanies each of his e-begging conference fundraising sessions dry up somewhat.

    It’s not “paranoia” when someone repeatedly says in public that they’re out to get you, even if it’s just to get you onto their radio show–so they can exercise their god-given right to talk at you without the interference of the Twitter blocking function.

  47. Feline says

    Justin Vacula is a young US atheist activist who has focused on separation of church and state.

    I appreciate you bolding the bits that needs changing. So let me fix that bit of puerile bullshit for you.
    Justin Vacula is a young US rape activist who has focused on the harassment of women
    There we are. Accuracy matters.

  48. says

    56, Wowbagger:

    karmacat wrote:

    I suspect that Vacula is somewhat a pawn in all this. People are encouraging him to go to conferences, harass certain people, so they don’t have to put their necks on the line, so to speak. He is still an asshole, but one who doesn’t realize how others may be using him. Poor asshole vacuole

    Yeah, I’m of the same opinion. And once enough people have gotten sick of Vacula’s posturing and he’s made himself persona non grata amongst all the A/S circles, the smarter types behind him will find another muppet to use to keep their own hands from getting dirty.

    Plausible deniability and all that.

    So the hypothesis is that JV is the MRA’s George W Bush? He wishes he had that much attention.

    I’ll grant it’s plausible: JV seems weak-minded and attention/validation-hungry enough to be a pawn and I think it’s doubtful he’d do any of this if noone knew who he was. But it appears that he might just be a simple opportunist, happy to grab whatever notoriety he can and more than happy to take advantage of the support of the slime-clique while it’s there.

    60, Tom Foss

    Maybe, and I know this is crazy but hear me out, maybe it would look less like Justin Vacula was trying to stalk Ophelia and others in the feminist wing of the skeptical/atheist movement if he didn’t constantly tweet and talk about how much he wanted to talk to them and get him on his show and how they were cowards for not doing so. If he were to, I don’t know, drop the whole thing and not pretend like “leave me alone, I don’t want to talk to you” were some grand assault on his human rights, he (and others) might see the worrying that accompanies each of his e-begging conference fundraising sessions dry up somewhat.

    That^. Considering JV’s side of the “rift” kicked this whole two-year shitstorm off, I wonder if any of them would have the spine to take the “moral high ground” (I mean, they already claim it anyway so I’ll grant it for the sake of argument) and just shut the fuck up about all their declared enemies and get back to – whatever the hell it was they all talked about before? What exactly would they talk about if they weren’t constantly tweeting, blogging about and doing things designed to provoke?

    It’s funny how hard it is for some people to hear “Leave me alone” and just respect it. In meatspace, if you kept calling somebody or sending them letters or talking loudly about them within earshot or “coincidentally” showing up where they were or publicly demanding their attention after they’d made it explicit that they didn’t want anything to do with you, you’d start to wonder if you should change your locks.

  49. says

    A rape activist? No. Come on. Don’t stoop to their level. He is an atheist activist and he isn’t a rape activist. I don’t even know what that would be, but we can be pretty sure he isn’t it.

  50. says

    @ 60 and 62 – exactly. He could just leave me alone, but he won’t. I’ve told him to, and he just goes on tweeting and blogging (and no doubt Facebooking, but I blocked him so, happily, don’t know) about me (and others). They could all leave me alone, but they won’t.

  51. says

    They could all leave me alone, but they won’t.

    That’s it in a nutshell.

    Despite this extremely simple desire, it’s you who gets labelled an ftbully for daring to respond – for daring to not just shut up and take it. The irony is thicker than a London fog.

    Who is it that constantly claims persecution when they’re the ones most guilty of perpetrating it? Oh, that’s right: fundamentalists. Creationists. Hell, anyone who’s had the privilege of having things entirely their own way beyond living memory and suddenly has to make a little room for others tends to behave like a spoiled two year-old who’s suddenly asked to share their toys.

  52. says

    I would consider it disappointing should Vacula be allowed to attend this conference. I paid a lot of money to be there and support the cause and the speakers, and my experience there, like everyone else’s wo is there to contribute to the conference goals, will be diminished if known harasser trolls are present.

    And we all know that Vacula and his ilk do not attend these occasions to help making a conference a success, they go there to ruin it for everyone and keep the hate machine on twitter and their blogs going. Their attendance there serves no other purpose, and I hope more organisers of such conferences can come to realise that.

    Maybe the slymepit could hold a “Empowering men in secularism” conference instead? That might be a better fit.

  53. says

    AVfM? Oh, right, they’re the infamous MRA misogynist group that “just happened” to pick up that article by JV that he totally didn’t write especially for them because not only is he not an enabler of, apologist for and participant in harassment, he’s also not a lying misogynist sack of crud.

  54. latsot says

    I’ll be at the conference in Dublin. Maybe Justin could interview me. It’ll be fun for at least one of us.

  55. Metalogic42 says

    My thoughts on “leave me alone”:

    The internet is, for the most part, a public place. Anyone with internet access can read this blog if they want to. Now, blog owners have a right to control who writes on the blog itself, but they do not have a right to control who writes elsewhere, not even if that writing is about content on the blog. That’s the great thing about the internet – it’s immune to censorship.

    The tradeoff is that sometimes, some people will write things we don’t like, and that we can’t control. Some of these things might even be extremely offensive. While there are cases where someone is writing libel, there are laws to deal with that. But beyond that, the internet is free game, even if we don’t always like it.

    And of course, this also means that people have the right to write “Justin Vacula is a piece of shit”, etc. But he also has the right, in turn, to comment on this in his own writing, as well as anything else that’s publicly readable on the internet.

    If you don’t want someone to read and write about your content, that’s fine. But the solution is to make it private – set up a blog/forum/chat room that requires a password to read, and invite only those you wish. But if it’s public, it’s fair game, and that’s a good thing.

  56. A. Noyd says

    @Metalogic42
    Oh yes, whenever someone makes a request of me not to do something, I always check to see whether the internet allows me to continue doing that something and then decline to comply if it does.

    Wait, no I don’t, because that’s stupid. If I were to refuse to leave someone alone when asked, there would have to be an actual reason beyond “I can.”

  57. Metalogic42 says

    @A. Noyd #73:

    People can have bad reasons for commenting on writing available publicly, but it’s still their right to do so. The only point of my previous comment was that since JV has the right to comment as he does, asking him to refrain from doing so more than once probably isn’t productive (although you can if you want).

    ———

    @A Hermit #74:

    That’s not what I call it; I don’t call it anything – I wasn’t the one giving the reason. Although I assume that the people who were meant things such as his radio show live from the conference. If you don’t like the reasons people (not me – once again, I’m against him going!) give for wanting him to go, you’re welcome to take it up with them on the slymepit, their blogs, or twitter.

  58. A Hermit says

    The internet is, for the most part, a public place.

    So is the sidewalk outside my house. If someone kept hanging around out there telling everyone passing by how much they disliked me and demanding that I come out and talk to them that would be, well, creepy to say the least.

    The internet is not some sort of magic shield that makes that kind of obsessive behaviour not-creepy.

  59. Metalogic42 says

    @A hermit #76:

    Not a good analogy IMO. if anyone could instantly teleport to the sidewalk outside your house, and there was live audio/video feed of it available to the world, and people could check out other sidewalks to see what other sidewalk-standers were saying any time they wanted, and your sidewalk could be moved as far from or as close to your house as you wanted…then you might have a point.

  60. chrisho-stuart says

    Not intending to give advice here; but feedback. I generally take it that a blog article is open to feedback. So here goes:

    I don’t think attending the conference is “stalking”. His behaviour at the conference itself is not confrontational, from what I have heard of WISC, and banning him would play into his hands and have no positive result that I can see. The problem with Vacula is not that he is disruptive of the conference, but with his obsessive “reporting” and his enabling of the online abuse; which I am pretty sure would only get worse if he was actively banned from attending these conferences of which he is critical.

    I know how much crap you get on twitter and email and so on; the flood of harassment and abuse you receive is appalling. I’m wondering how David Silverman’s approach is going to work out.

  61. says

    Metalogic42,

    There’s tons of behavior that is legal, that still makes you a complete shithead. Your first post is a perfect example of it. You have a right to be a shithead within certain limits, but why do you and your shithead cronies think that’s a good or useful way to go through life?

  62. Metalogic42 says

    @Improbable Joe #79:

    I fail to see anything in my first post that would make me a complete shithead. Can you explain?

  63. A Hermit says

    77
    Metalogic42

    if anyone could instantly teleport to the sidewalk outside your house, and there was live audio/video feed of it available to the world, and people could check out other sidewalks to see what other sidewalk-standers were saying any time they wanted, and your sidewalk could be moved as far from or as close to your house as you wanted…then you might have a point.

    How does any of that make obsessively tracking and commenting about someone any less creepy? Just makes it easier to feed the obsessiveness…

  64. hjhornbeck says

    OK, now I’m a little weirded out.

    I could have sworn Paul “I’ll acquit all rapists” Elam used to post to the Slyme Pit. I remember spotting his name and avatar on the ‘Pit about a year ago, and feeling a chill. The two seemed like a perfect fit.

    But when I recently went back to the ‘Pit to dredge up some of Elam’s old comments…. nothing. Not an one. There is no mention of him before August of last year, and the ‘Pit as a whole seems quite opposed to the guy (with a few exceptions).

    Part of me thinks my memory is on the fritz, and I’m hoping for connections where there are none.

    Part of me wonders if this is evidence the ‘Pit will ban people, even though it claims not to.

    And part of me is kinda thankful that the ‘Pit has a limit to how far they’ll go.

  65. hjhornbeck says

    Aww, now I’ve got two posts in the ‘mod queue. This is what I get for being all link-happy… :(

  66. A. Noyd says

    @Metalogic42

    People can have bad reasons for commenting on writing available publicly, but it’s still their right to do so. The only point of my previous comment was that since JV has the right to comment as he does, asking him to refrain from doing so more than once probably isn’t productive

    You still haven’t connected the “right” to do something (which no one is disputing) with the necessity or the moral good or the logical basis of doing it. You don’t just get to hand-wave away those “bad reasons” as if they’re of no consequence. They’re of every consequence. Any “thoughts on” refusing to leave someone alone that ignore the reasons for refusing to leave someone alone are useless. Or, in your case, worse than useless, because no one here needs your patronizing wankery about how the internet works.

  67. says

    Metalogic42: “I fail to see” is the most useful and honest thing you’ve posted here. If you COULD or WOULD see, you’d be much less of a terrible person. Being a good person isn’t about figuring out the lines you can’t cross and then coming as close to them as possible without stepping over them. Good people leave other people alone when they ask. Shitty people like you play rules-lawyering games to show why it is OK to hurt people and violate their boundaries because there’s no law technically broken.

    It is sort of like if I parked myself and my guitar rig right outside your house 24/7, and bought a decibel-meter so that I could crank my playing up to exactly one decibel below the city ordinance level for noise pollution… and then told you that if you’re bothered by the sound then you can easily buy earplugs and/or soundproof your house. You’d understand that I was being an asshole, right?

  68. LeftSidePositive says

    Crisho-stuart, 78: see my post at #15. While I agree that there will be some short-term gnashing of teeth and ramping up the harassment if conferences drew a line, that’s just what these creeps always do when they’re threatened. I don’t think there is a way to cut all this dead weight loose without them trying to be as reactive as they can as the axe is falling. I think there is more than enough cause to consider outside behavior in banning from conferences, especially because this is (or is trying to be) a community and communities are networks of people not isolated events with atomized, interchangeable participants. Moreover, while you have a valid concern that the people who deserved to get banned will gripe on about how persecuted they are, when it comes right down to it they’re **looking** for ways to gripe about how persecuted they are, so I think an open, direct, “Here is the official statement from ($conference) as to why ($harasser) will be denied admission” with links will do a lot to make clear values and standards enforceable, and will provide a handy counter whenever they whine about their persecution.

  69. hjhornbeck says

    oolon @43:

    Hmmm, if memory serves the AVfM version of his original article was expanded, which doesn’t necessarily rule out censorship.

    However, Amy threw a DMCA claim at him because of a photo he used without permission; all he had to do was remove it, and everything would be kosher. The censorship line was bogus from the start, but that wouldn’t play as strongly to Vacula’s intended audience. So a lie was born.

  70. says

    Your donations will contribute toward my expenses including hotel, passport, airfare, transportation, food, and conference registration.

    With 3500.- as budget, he clearly plans to live well.

    Donors — starting at the $5 level — will receive twitter shoutouts, denouncements, personalized postcards from the conference, commercials on Brave Hero Radio, and dedicated blog posts. My live tweeting will allow supporters to ‘tune in’ to the conference and chat!

    Well we’re getting those for free already on a daily basis, aren’t we.

  71. says

    Metalogic
    As others have noted, you’Re conflating legal with ethical.
    WBC picketing funerals is legal, too. It’s still fucking wrong. Can you see the difference?

    +++
    No, I don’t think that JV is going there explicitly to harass Ophelia and others. It’s just a very welcome side effect. He knows he’s causing harm to people, he doesn’t care in the best case scenario, he’s happy about it in the worst case scenario.

  72. 'dirigible says

    “if anyone could instantly teleport to the sidewalk outside your house, and there was live audio/video feed of it available to the world, and people could check out other sidewalks to see what other sidewalk-standers were saying any time they wanted, and your sidewalk could be moved as far from or as close to your house as you wanted…then you might have a point.”

    You’re saying that in a globally broadcast, searchable, public space that doesn’t respect social borders they might have a point?

    And you’re presenting this as *disagreement*???

  73. says

    Giliell #88:

    WBC picketing funerals is legal, too.

    Um, several states have passed, or are trying to pass, laws banning protests at funerals. And I think some cities have passed ordinances in the same fashion.

    Jackie #34:

    But I’m still leery of thinking that the a/s community is above any kind of bigotry given the current climate toward women.

    they’re definitely not above ableism =/

  74. says

    Setar

    Um, several states have passed, or are trying to pass, laws banning protests at funerals. And I think some cities have passed ordinances in the same fashion.

    Legal and illegal aren’t monoliths, they change and they are usually always behind what’s actually considered moral and what not. But that’s besides the point. If you want to you can phrase it as “WBC in and on itself is legal but clearly not ethical or decent”

  75. Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty says

    Giliell,
    No, he wouldn’t do that and I’m glad.

    Setar,
    :(
    Can’t find the words…..

  76. daniellavine says

    @MetaLogic:

    The internet is, for the most part, a public place.

    Poor analogy. The internet is not a place at all.

    Anyone with internet access can read this blog if they want to. Now, blog owners have a right to control who writes on the blog itself, but they do not have a right to control who writes elsewhere, not even if that writing is about content on the blog. That’s the great thing about the internet – it’s immune to censorship.

    Yes, the great thing about the internet is that it allows people to steal money, stalk people, and trade in child pornography anonymously.

    These things are all consequences of the fact that the internet is “immune to censorship”. (Well, actually that’s a stupid way to put it but I’ll go with it for the sake of responding to you.)

    The tradeoff is that sometimes, some people will write things we don’t like, and that we can’t control. Some of these things might even be extremely offensive. While there are cases where someone is writing libel, there are laws to deal with that. But beyond that, the internet is free game, even if we don’t always like it.

    Of course, you’re leaving a bit out. We’re not talking about merely writing offensive things but deliberately targeting individuals.

    You speak of this as if it is a law of nature or something — like the weather. But it is not. It is individuals making the choice to target other individuals. This is ethically wrong. Can you identify any problem with noting that this is ethically wrong?

    Perhaps this is where you say “if you ignore it it will go away”. But that’s already been demonstrated to be false. Sometimes it will, sometimes it won’t, but in this case where it is not simply someone writing offensive things but a case of people deliberately targeting individuals this nostrum does not seem so effective.

    What do you mean by “free game” anyway? That it really is bad for Ophelia to point out that she is being deliberately targeted by some apparently obsessively angry people? That criticism should be immune from…criticism? You’re just not making much sense. Perhaps you really are “beyond logic” as your nym declares.

    And of course, this also means that people have the right to write “Justin Vacula is a piece of shit”, etc. But he also has the right, in turn, to comment on this in his own writing, as well as anything else that’s publicly readable on the internet.

    Is anyone complaining that Vacula comments on what people write about him on the internet? I have seen a lot of criticisms of Vacula but I don’t think I’ve seen anyone claim he shouldn’t be allowed to write about what he wants to write about. So how is this the least bit relevant?

    If you don’t want someone to read and write about your content, that’s fine. But the solution is to make it private – set up a blog/forum/chat room that requires a password to read, and invite only those you wish. But if it’s public, it’s fair game, and that’s a good thing.

    This would be a valid argument if Vacula was engaging in reasoned criticism of OB’s ideas. Of course, if that’s what Vacula was doing there wouldn’t be so much criticism of Vacula in the first place. I know I’d like to see Vacula actually engage with the ideas in question and come up with coherent responses. But I haven’t seen that yet.

    Vacula is essentially just a troll at this point. He heckles particular individuals instead of criticizing ideas. You’re free to defend this sort of behavior and we’re free to point out that whatever you have to say it’s pretty shitty behavior. (We’re also free to form opinions on you for trying to defend it in the first place.)

    As I’ve already pointed out it’s not an unalloyed “good thing” that the internet allows for the unlimited ability to stalk, harass, and otherwise make life miserable for other people. No one is trolling Vacula the way he’s trolling a few other individuals so trying to make a moral equivalence here is ludicrous and you look pretty stupid for trying.

    Not a good analogy IMO. if anyone could instantly teleport to the sidewalk outside your house, and there was live audio/video feed of it available to the world, and people could check out other sidewalks to see what other sidewalk-standers were saying any time they wanted, and your sidewalk could be moved as far from or as close to your house as you wanted…then you might have a point.

    Actually, it’s a fine analogy. Analogies are never perfect (as I demonstrated above with your analogy) but this one captures what’s relevant here.

    If you were to stand on the sidewalk outside someone’s house mumbling veiled threats at them every time they entered or exited eventually they might feel the need to restrict their trips out of the house. They might start to isolate themselves. They might have more difficulty doing all the things they would like to do. You would be changing their interactions with the world considerably for the worse — and this isn’t even getting into the psychological effects of stalking and harassment.

    This situation is actually quite similar. Not only this, many ‘pitters have made it very clear that their intention is to make use of the internet so unbearable for people with whom they disagree that they stop engaging entirely — much as in the analogy the person felt they had to stop leaving their home. A lot of ‘pitters positively crowed when this exact thing happened to Jen. ‘pitters are trying to drive people off the internet through harassment rather than engaging in a serious discussion of the ideas that they seem to dislike so very much. This is ethically wrong. You are ethically wrong to defend it.

  77. Donnie says

    #96 Setár, genderqueer Elf-Sheriff of Atheism+

    I was also surprised that there were no interpreters at WisII for any hearing-impaired guests, or some type of closed-caption. Also, your dog is very beautiful and at the next conference, can I hug, pet and play (rough house) with him or her – once he or she is off duty – that is?

  78. Feline says

    Yes, I was a complete asshole, and completely wrong. I apologise for maligning Justin Vacula, and I apologise to Ophelia for leaving malignancy on her blog.

  79. says

    I believe various approaches to feminism exist and is is not accurate to ‘paint with a broad brush’], passionate rhetoric attacking individuals and name-calling, and their motto ‘Fuck Their Shit Up’

    Did he just decide that “feminism” has a motto, and that it’s FTSU? Wow, the intellectual honest is absent in this one…

  80. says

    If you don’t want someone to read and write about your content, that’s fine. But the solution is to make it private

    Why don’t you just say “shut the fuck up”?? Do you lack the courage?

  81. athyco says

    Marcus Ranum, #101:

    Did he just decide that “feminism” has a motto, and that it’s FTSU?

    No, the motto for AVfM is FTSU. You fell victim to one of the classic blunders – The most famous of which is “never get involved in a land war in Asia” – but only slightly less well-known is this: don’t try to read Justin Vacula’s output as if it were written with more clarity than the average 8th grader’s shallowly researched first draft on an uninteresting topic.

    Really. I don’t read his stuff after a certain time of night; I’m less likely to grind my teeth in my sleep that way. It jumps out at me from the first paragraph of his blog posts that he consistently has transparent variations of “In this paper I shall discuss….” Why, look at the beginning of the post with the passage you’re responding to, entitled “Thoughts on A Voice for Men”:

    In my previous piece, I linked a video interview I had with Robert O’Hara of A Voice For Men. Some have wondered what my thoughts concerning A Voice For Men are. Following are those thoughts in reference to the posting of my video interview at Women in Secularism 2.

    I hope you’ll forgive me for exposing you to that, but I could no longer suffer alone.

  82. jenBPhillips says

    You fell victim to one of the classic blunders – The most famous of which is “never get involved in a land war in Asia” – but only slightly less well-known is this: don’t try to read Justin Vacula’s output as if it were written with more clarity than the average 8th grader’s shallowly researched first draft on an uninteresting topic.

    I LOL’d in appreciation. Articulate truth combined with a ‘Princess Bride’ reference. Could this day get any better?

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