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Jun 05 2013

What next?

It gets crazier every day. You would think it couldn’t, but it does.

The new thing is to send open or closed letters to Michael Nugent, telling him a pack of lies about me (mixed with a small amount of truth) and demanding that he take a stand and denounce me.

The first was the work of Tim Skellett aka Gurdur, who took a violent dislike to me years ago – something to do with the closing down of the forum at the Dawkins Foundation, and my having the wrong attitude to it – and has occasionally posted nasty stuff about me ever since. His open letter is all about my criminal act of not sufficiently protecting the secrecy of people who drop in on my blog to harass or taunt me. He adds the story of Katie Graham and her tweet, and on that subject he tells the biggest lies in the whole post. Even Graham, who detests me, said the account is totally inaccurate and that I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s too bad she said it only on her blog (which she says no one reads) and not at the places where the inaccurate accounts are, but at least she said it.

So hey, this is a fun game, right? So others are joining in.

@ I'm going to scrap rewrite of my comment, and instead write something much longer re Benson/Zvan directly to AI/Nugent.
@Metaphoenix42
Metaphoenix42
@ @ As will I. Posting on his site or e-mail?
@SubManUSN
SubMan USN

“Sub man” posted his on his blog.

The blogs, as you know allow the author some revealing information merely by the person “logging in”. IP address, e-mail address, etc. How can women feel safe in voicing their opinion? Indeed, how can any of us who might suffer real life repercussions from having our atheism revealed to our bosses, clients, and social circles?

I hope you read that blog post as I (and many others) did, as the Nuremberg Race Law of 1935. It is the first step in declaring open war on those who do not walk in lockstep with the dogma. There will be casualties on both “sides” if this type of behavior is not met with harsh reprimands from conference organizers and leaders in the atheist community. You know the mood of this rift, both entrenched sides will declare ever more trivial “offenses” worthy of doxxing.

I am asking you, as a leader of a humanist organization to make a public stand denouncing this linked blog post and the consequences that any rational person can see for this type of threatening of and actual release of information which could cause real world harm to real world people on both “sides” of this rift.

Is this the type of “community” you want to be involved with? Please make a stand, sir.

Yours truly,

Submariner

And Michael Nugent tells them he will respond.

@ @ I am aware of the recent online open letters to me, and I will be replying to them.
@micknugent
Michael Nugent

So Nugent will respond, and no doubt he will “make a stand” and agree with Sub Man that my blog post about “Skep tickle” is like the Nuremberg Race Law of 1935. Either he will disinvite me from the conference, or I will be forced to withdraw, because the slime pit will do whatever it takes to hound me out.

Stephanie has some reflections on the slime pit. She includes a comment that represents their obsessive horror and disgust at my ancient dried-up genitalia.

Had Ophelia gone to the pit to check out the weirdness showing up in her comments, this is what she’d have seen:

Regarding Skep Tickle, I am too dense/do not read enough to have seen the alleged subtle outing of you already, but FUCK YEAH. EXPOSE THAT DRIED UP VAGINA TO THE WINDS OF TRUTH, AND WATCH THEM SCOUR AWAY THE DUST OF AGES.

Ahem. Or something.

I found a different one a few hours ago, when I looked for a sample to send to the president of Seattle Atheists, who had been pestering me about “Skep tickle.” It was on the page where “Skep tickle” incited them to rage by reporting my putative “doxxing.” She incited them all right.

Re: Jim the Pleb Made Me Do It

Postby Lsuoma » Mon May 27, 2013 9:12 pm • [Post 25431]

Skep tickle wrote:Okay, so let’s just say that Ophelia Benson emails me at an email address* that isn’t the one under which I posted at her site, one which I haven’t used it at FtB in many months (if not a year or so), and in that email addresses me by my professional title & last name, chastising me for my post(s) at her site today.

If that happened, would it be fair game for me to post the content of that email here? (With her email address, and mine, redacted. But without having sought, or gained, her permission to post it.)

*It’s also not the email address I use for communication about the Nugent site…but it IS the email I use for the Slyme pit. Hmmm…

Zebra tits, I could tell by her responses today – including the use of your first name – that she’s aching to out you. She’s going to almost moisten her panties as soon as she can post any pointer to your identity online or offline.

As soon as you do what you’re suggesting, the floosh from her vajayjay will be like a fricking tsunami of dust, so wear a mask, and also be prepared for ALL your details to be <*>accidentally<*> leaked to the webz.

But this is a place where you can post what you want…

That’s where “Skep tickle” feels at home.

So what’s next? They’ll report me to the FBI? Interpol? The ICC? The UN Human Rights Commission?

I don’t know. I can’t guess. It will continue to escalate, but I can’t predict how.

130 comments

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  1. 1
    Maureen Brian

    I can only offer you this to put in the other pan of the scales of justice! You may make all the assumptions you like about the expression on my face as I read it.

    “Tempest in a Bee Cup: TheWoolyBumblebee expelled from A Voice for Men for making angry men even angrier ” to be found at – http://manboobz.com/2013/06/04/tempest-in-a-bee-cup-thewoolybumblebee-expelled-from-a-voice-for-men-for-having-her-own-opinions/

    h/t SallyStrange

  2. 2
    oolon

    My they are pathetic, although I particularly like Katie’s stand against Gurdur/Tim Skellets lies. That’s all you can call it as if he is writing an open letter to Mick Nugent then he should at least get the basic information right. I’d say despite his protestations of “Not being a Slymepitter”, so he can distance himself from the worst of what they do and say, he regularly reads it and that was his source of “information”… Hence he ended up with a pack of lies.

  3. 3
    rorschach

    So Nugent will respond, and no doubt he will “make a stand” and agree with Sub Man that my blog post about “Skep tickle” is like the Nuremberg Race Law of 1935.

    I think that is very unlikely, and I trust that Mick will do no such thing. But it is indeed remarkable how the slimers fight for his soul, he is important to them because they feel that if they can get him on their side, it will be a blow for A+ and the non-regressives. I think they thoroughly misjudge the man. Well, at least I hope so.

  4. 4
    'dirigible

    That’s…

    I mean it’s mass hysteria. With a weirdly freudian slant.

    Do they read what they have written before posting it?

  5. 5
    Great American Satan

    That SkTkl is a gynecologist is obscene to me. Someone trusted to care for women has a horrible deficit of empathy and is specifically a misogynist. I can understand why some people don’t trust their doctors.

  6. 6
    hyperdeath

    I knew Gurdur was a vindictive and malicious liar, but that’s foul even by his standards. Note how he tries to imply that Ophelia is mentally ill, by exhibiting a single tweet, completely removed from context, as evidence of her “bizarre behaviour”.

  7. 7
    Ariel

    A small correction:

    He adds the story of Katie Graham and her tweet, and on that subject he tells the biggest lies in the whole post.

    As far as I can see, the first mention of Katie Graham’s tweet is in Eliza’s comment, not in Gurdur’s letter. Not that it’s something crucial; just saying.

    By the way: I realize that various views I expressed in my own comments on Gurdur’s site will be unacceptable to people on both sides. I had it from them; no big surprise if I have it here as well. If so, I can live with that and it’s not important. What matters more to me is the fact (as I think it is a fact) that I was ineffective and whatever I said will make no difference. Really sorry about that.

  8. 8
    atheist

    I’m sure you’re miles ahead of me here but… do you have a good lawyer ready, just in case they really do try to involve the law next? What a bunch of crazed lunatic slimeballs. I’m so sorry you have to go through this.

  9. 9
    magicthighs

    For the record, I too disagreed with you (and PZ, Zvan, Laden, etc) on the Dawkins forum closing issue. Which is fine, we can’t all agree all the time. The fact that a disagreement like that can lead to the behaviour exhibited by Gurdur and other ‘pitters astounds me, it shows a severe deficit in his moral reasoning.

  10. 10
    oolon

    Point 6. By Gurdur is ridiculous as while he uncritically accepts Elizas lies in his post that comment about Vacula being “a rape activist” was immediately called out by Ophelia as unhelpful hyperbole. No mention of this by Tim “charitable interpretation” Skellet. Who then goes onto to cite another commenter talking about “painting a butterfly” on their driveway… Again immediately called out by Ophelia as not acceptable.

    Tim: “I stress again that I am one of those who is calling for the cessation of all personal defamation and harrassment”
    –> Putting two quotes of people saying unpleasant and hyperbolic things on Ophelias blog while intimating she supports them is defamation. Even more so when you leave out the context of her *immediately* criticising *both* of the examples. So I call bullshit on Tims anti-defamation stance, he is happy to defame if he can get away with it.

  11. 11
    PZ Myers

    I’ve had the displeasure of encountering Gurdur on many a forum for at least 15 years. He’s always been a smug shit-stirring liar. Back when I was exploring various other atheist forums after iidb fractured, one of my criteria was no Gurdur…and when he inevitably showed up to levy smarmy “advice” on how to run things to the forum organizers, I knew they were about to die in acrimony and noise. Nasty little character.

  12. 12
    hyperdeath

    I first encountered him at Comment is Free. I was struck by the contrast between the high-minded principles he pompously advocated, and how vicious and dishonest he was in actuality.

  13. 13
    Rob L

    “So what’s next? They’ll report me to the FBI? Interpol? The ICC? The UN Human Rights Commission?”

    No, no one was going to do that, and this was never suggested. The issues here, as you know, are the biased censored discourse, the doxxing of skep tickle, and for all of the misleading deceitful actions that you have *chosen* to engage in over years, some of which are documented here. http://goo.gl/h59nL

    This statement is demonstrably false:

    “not sufficiently protecting the secrecy of people who drop in on my blog”

    . You didn’t do that. You deliberately let out that she was a member of an atheist organisation and deliberately hinted that you knew her location, occupation etc. You chose to doxx her, you chose to release that information, “sufficient protection” was not what this was about, and then you censored anyone that pointed that out (will this post also be censored for stating these facts?).

  14. 14
    Ophelia Benson

    Ariel @ 7 – that’s only because he ostentatiously avoids using her name, for no reason except perhaps to contrast himself with me (but it still makes no sense, because she doesn’t hide her name). A big chunk of the “open letter” is about her.

  15. 15
    sheila

    OK, so I suppose I’d better write to Michael Nugent and remind him that Skep tickle doxxed herself. I had other things to do, but this is rather important.

  16. 16
    Stangers

    Go home, pineapple.

    You got caught, Ophelia. Oolon got caught as well. You are both in the dock.

    Butterflies and Wheels is NOT a safe space for women.

    The mission to make the FTBullies persona non grata in the wider atheism/secular movement has been gaining momentum, and this latest incident will be another nail in the coffin.

    PS – Isn’t it amusing to see Zvan’s petty, spiteful “open letter” to CFI go down like a lead balloon!

    PPS – PZ Liars accusing others of lying got me howling with laughter. What a joke he is.

  17. 17
    tonyinbatavia

    Cha-ching! Monies have been added to the “You Hate, Ophelia Profits” fund on behalf of Rob L. The donation could have been given oh behalf of so many people — hell, I was tempted to just send Ophelia my debit card on behalf of everyone lying to Michael Nugent — but I decided for financial reasons to keep things contained to this blog entry.
    Rob L, your lies (see also: governments censor, bloggers do not; Skep-Tickle doxxed herself, Ophelia did not) have just put a little more cash in Ophelia’s pocket. Congratulations.

  18. 18
    Stephanie Zvan

    Rob, define “doxx” and explain how it is different from what Ophelia said. Eliza made an argument about her pseudonymity that required information about her identity to refute–information Eliza herself had made accessible to Ophelia. Explain why Ophelia was required to protect that secrecy when Eliza was trading on it to make a disingenuous argument.

  19. 19
    Pierce R. Butler

    Rob L @ # 13: You deliberately let out that she was a member of an atheist organisation and deliberately hinted that you knew her location, occupation etc. You chose to doxx her,

    I doubt that Merriam-Webster, or Funk, or Wagnall, or even the OED have settled on definitions for “doxx” yet, but highly-extrapolated, downright etiolated, usages such as this will muddy the meaning even further.

    Won’t someone please think of the lexicographers!

  20. 20
    Ace of Sevens

    Next, they’ll tell their moms on you.

  21. 21
    oolon

    I’ll help with a definition of dox for Rob to work from…

    Personal information about people on the Internet, often including real name, known aliases, address, phone number, SSN, credit card number, etc.

    So saying Eliza->Skeptixx->Skep Tickle->Skip Teckle was technically doxxing by that defn… As they are all known aliases, also known as sockpuppeting if the person morphing nym is not clear about it. Actually Eliza/Skep tickle was as she used the same gravatar which links them all as the same person. So by calling her Eliza/Skeptixx/Skeptickle you are using a known nym that she uses/has used. If she chooses to use her first name as a nym on blogs here then that bit is not particularly bad doxxing IMO. Unless discussing Hoggle’s army of nyms is also doxxing. If she had never posted as Eliza then fair enough… It would be revealing her name which she had not revealed herself.

    Her full name has only been mentioned in relation to the heathen hub post where it was revealed presumably with her knowledge. I assume Maxwell Smart wouldn’t have put her name on there unless he had permission from her. Or maybe because he had been told she was already “doxxed” and didn’t realise it was not common knowledge.

    I’ve not looked at the Slymepit but I’m sure they are denoucing me for some real doxxing here -> http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/06/saved-by-ratzinger/#comment-560902
    (They are oh so “consistent” and never hypocritical after all)

  22. 22
    Stephanie Zvan

    Oh, hey, Stangers/Tim Groc/CommanderTuvok. Would you care to put a date on the Rapture this time, or are you just going to keep saying it’s right around the corner?

  23. 23
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    The mission to make the FTBullies persona non grata in the wider atheism/secular movement has been gaining momentum

    Now, now, “because we’re gettin’ even more annoying and shitty over thar at the ‘Pit” isn’t proof of any momentum shift, but you keep telling yourself that if it helps you sleep at night.

  24. 24
    Aratina Cage

    against Gurdur/Tim Skellets lies. That’s all you can call it as if he is writing an open letter to Mick Nugent then he should at least get the basic information right.

    He didn’t even bother doing the bare minimum fact checking in his lies about me that he plastered to Nugent’s blog a few months ago. I never got an apology from him, either, for him getting it so horribly wrong; instead, I got more smears and anger and wailing from the man. I can’t recall a single instance where he got something massively wrong like that or like this (about Ophelia) and demonstrated compunction later when his gargantuan errors were pointed out to him.

  25. 25
    seraphymcrash

    It’s interesting to me that the slymepitters will drive by here and baldly assert certain “truths” such as the “success” of exiling FTB from the wider atheistic community and PZ’s “lies” with no evidence or links or examples.

    They seem to think that this is an effective counter to the actual examples and quotes and logical arguments presented here.

    It takes more than howling outrage to win an argument (at least on the internet). The strength of their feeling is not evidence that they are correct. I would feel pity for them if they weren’t so focused on harrassment.

  26. 26
    A Hermit

    Stangers = Tuvok(et al)?

    They do love their sock puppets, don;t they..

    The mission to make the FTBullies persona non grata in the wider atheism/secular movement has been gaining momentum,

    Thank you, whoever you are, for admitting that your goal is to silence the people speaking out for greater acceptance and participation by women and minorities in the skeptical community.

    Good luck with that…

  27. 27
    Sili

    That SkTkl is a gynecologist is obscene to me. Someone trusted to care for women has a horrible deficit of empathy and is specifically a misogynist. I can understand why some people don’t trust their doctors.

    Apropos

    http://notalwaysworking.com/badside-manners/30313

  28. 28
    Ophelia Benson

    “Stangers” is of course a sock, but it sounds exactly like all the other socks that pop in when things get hot to make frenzied delusional announcements like that, so yes, I think it’s Tuvok (who often makes frenzied delusional announcements like that under that name).

    I think “Stangers” is supposed to suggest Stangroom, i.e. Jeremy Stangroom. That would make a kind of sense, since he (JS) tweeted the petition a few hours ago, complete with my (faked) name on it. He must have known that was a fake, but he tweeted the thing anyway. Ew.

  29. 29
    oolon

    You got caught, Ophelia. Oolon got caught as well. You are both in the dock.

    LOL, missed “Stangers” missive… I got caught? Discussing someone’s identity without revealing it and if they should remain anonymous when they engage in harassment campaigns. Wow what a bunch of Hardy Boys you all are over at the Slymepit… Fancy “catching” me discussing something in public on an open forum! For shame!

    What’s your opinion on the doxxing of the Catholic “atheist convert”? That was definitely a dox given I found and exposed her previous name and the blogs/twitter account she deleted for her cover story? Slightly harder than finding Skep tickle given she didn’t try and hide her identity. Or is it ok when the person being doxxed does something wrong… Maybe they live by the sword when they harass lie?

  30. 30
    doubtthat

    Strategically, it has to be recognized that these goofballs are indistinguishable from the fake scandal mongers on the political right.

    That’s what this is. It’s the atheist community’s “Clinton shut down an airport for a haircut.”

    I hope folks beyond those directly involved are savvy enough to recognize the faux-outrage machine churning with a full tank of hyperbole.

  31. 31
    Rob L

    If anybody says anything contrary to the echo chamber then they are a “sockpuppet” or “a misogynist”, or a “misogynist sockpuppet” or “Tuvok”. The FTB rule is: never listen to the points, simply hurl ad hominem attacks. You say that factual statements above are “delusional announcements”, but according to you, if someone calls you “delusional” then you view that as harassment. That’s interesting.

    People just don’t like deceitful bullies. DJ Grothe has seen through this and others have woken up to the viciousness of your and Skepchick’s deceit. People want honesty, women’s rights, and human rights for all, and to discuss atheism and skepticism as free thinkers, but you stifle that with censorship and deceit. Ron Lindsay is not a “misogynist that must be removed from the CFI board of directors” and Harriet Hall is not a “gender traitor”, all comments allowed on FTB while facts are censored. Ron Lindsay’s speech was spot on, as proved by this and he was right to say it. Your censorship is no longer enough to maintain the house of cards and mountain of lies that you trade in. Women’s rights will be stronger in the community now that you have been exposed.

  32. 32
    screechymonkey

    You got caught, Ophelia. Oolon got caught as well. You are both in the dock.

    Ooh, you hear that? Kangaroo court is now in session!

    This just makes me think of all those wingnuts who get together and form “Citizens’ Grand Juries” and start issuing “indictments” against Obama.

  33. 33
    Stephanie Zvan

    Rob, this comment by Sara Mayhew is the only place where “gender traitor” comes up when anyone is discussing Harriet Hall. Are you suggesting that comment shouldn’t have been let through?

    Or are you just making up your “facts”?

  34. 34
    Ophelia Benson

    Exposed? How have I been “exposed”? What was I hiding? Unlike most of the harassers, I’ve always written under my real name. I don’t pretend to be a decent person under my real name while being a toxic creep under a fake one (or several). What you see is what you get. I’m sometimes hasty or irritable. I’ve been rude about some people I disagreed with in the past – but some of them are now friends, and some others are at least on friendly terms. Other than that – what? What has been “exposed”?

    (Hint – just ranting about the dust and cobwebs in my cunt doesn’t count.)

  35. 35
    Ophelia Benson

    Oh yes, and further to Stephanie’s point – what is that

    Ron Lindsay is not a “misogynist that must be removed from the CFI board of directors”

    ? What is it doing in quotation marks? That’s not something I’ve said.

  36. 36
    tonyinbatavia

    Rob L: One, give us your best definition of the word “censor”;’ I am pretty sure that word does not mean what you think it means. And, two, if we need to listen to “the points,” please, by all means, make at least two points that aren’t falsifiable by, you know, reality and that actually have, you know, a point. Thus far, your “points” can be summarized as “Skepchick and FTB is bad.”

  37. 37
    Stephanie Zvan

    Ophelia, not only is it not something you’ve said, it doesn’t return any hits on Google when searched alongside Lindsay’s name. More slimepit “facts”.

  38. 38
    Aratina Cage

    Ophelia, not only is it not something you’ve said, it doesn’t return any hits on Google when searched alongside Lindsay’s name. More slimepit “facts”.

    Wally Smith would be so jealous.

  39. 39
    hjhornbeck

    Rob L@31:

    Ron Lindsay is not a “misogynist that must be removed from the CFI board of directors” and Harriet Hall is not a “gender traitor”, all comments allowed on FTB while facts are censored.

    Wow, a summary of the Slyme Pit in one line! In order, we have a false accusations, misleading half-truths, and accusations without evidence.

    Take those away, and what’s left of the Slyme Pit? Racist hats, maybe? Oh, wait, no

  40. 40
    The very model of a modern armchair general

    So Nugent will respond, and no doubt he will “make a stand” and agree with Sub Man that my blog post about “Skep tickle” is like the Nuremberg Race Law of 1935. Either he will disinvite me from the conference, or I will be forced to withdraw, because the slime pit will do whatever it takes to hound me out.”

    I’m going to be cautiously optimistic, maybe naively so, and say that I think Nugent will take your side. I spoke to him about his “structured dialogue” project the other day, and he said that he agrees with the FtB side on all the substantive points. Maybe he has some disagreements about strategy and tone, but I wouldn’t expect him to disinvite you just for that.

  41. 41
    Anthony K

    So Nugent will respond, and no doubt he will “make a stand” and agree with Sub Man that my blog post about “Skep tickle” is like the Nuremberg Race Law of 1935.

    Remember when you and PZ said you wouldn’t appear at any conference that had Abbie Smith as a speaker, and that was considered the Nuremberg Race Law of 1935? ‘DE FACTO CENSORSHIP!’ they screamed! ‘YOu’re trying to destroy her career through your influence!’ they cried.

    But actually trying to have you removed as a speaker at conference?

    Why, that’s just doing right.

  42. 42
    Anthony K

    So, everyone pretty much sees that the Slymepit is just the GOP of skeptics and atheists, right?

    I mean, the lies, the distortions, the hypocrisy and the tu quoques, and the demands that their petty interests and quarrels be indulged at any price?

  43. 43
    oolon

    If anybody says anything contrary to the echo chamber then they are a “sockpuppet” or “a misogynist”, or a “misogynist sockpuppet” or “Tuvok”.

    OK so NonStampCollector had a few foaming anti-FTB’ers spouting the same crap word for word on youtube… Unfortunately Commander “End Times” Tuvok is not alone as Thunderf00t and John Loftus have all picked up on the “PZ is a poopyhead and his web stats are crashing” meme. As any fule kno PZ=FTB=Baaaad and if you are Thunderf00t or his fanboys then nothing is more important than “views” or “likes”.

    So I propose that the equivalent of a “godbot” that spouts the same tired old arguments would be a pitter in the Tuvok Slyme-mold doing the same thing … So a shorthand is to just call them a “Tuvok”, beats all the ableist insults that unfortunately come immediately to mind.

  44. 44
    Stephanie Zvan

    oolon, try cultivating a love for the words “ridiculous” and “nonsense”. They’re what we tend to really mean anyway where we’re trained toward ableist substitutes.

  45. 45
    Tom Foss

    Presumably Orac will be by any minute to tut-tut Submariner for his Godwinning.

    Any moment now.

  46. 46
    doubtthat

    @31 Ron L.

    Ron Lindsay is not a “misogynist that must be removed from the CFI board of directors”

    Before WiS2, no one would have argued with you. After WiS2, when people made thoughtful, clear criticisms of his behavior, no one was calling him a misogynist. After his bizarre, rambling, misguided haranguing of Rebecca Watson as she was prepared to speak at the conference, well, then the question could be legitimately raised.

    He does, however, have professional obligations and standards that are far more rigorous than free speech. People are questioning his ability to do his job, just like they questioned the CEO of Komen for the Cure when she made a very poor decision that significantly damaged the goals of the organization she represented. “Free speech” also acts to allow people to voice criticism, and that’s what’s happening.

    The FTB rule is: never listen to the points…

    What are your points? A series of transparent lies and hyperbolic fake-scandal mongering? Do you have an actual argument? After reading your nonsense, I cannot figure out what you’re upset about. This Skep tickle person posted with her real name on this blog. That’s a pretty damn silly way to try and maintain anonymity.

  47. 47
    MrFancyPants

    If anybody says anything contrary to the echo chamber

    Slymepitters bemoaning “echo chambers”. That’s rich.

  48. 48
    The very model of a modern armchair general

    So, everyone pretty much sees that the Slymepit is just the GOP of skeptics and atheists, right?

    Yes, and not just for their lies and asshole behaviour and absence of empathy. It’s their whole philosophy too, that pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps mentality. Recall Thatcher’s quote that there is no such thing as society, or any of the GOP blowhards who insist that the poor are to blame for their own situation. The pit’s former motto was something like “the radical idea that women are people AND adults”, while Girl Writes What’s blog is titled “Owning Your Shit”. It’s all same bullshitty Ayn Rand-esque cult of the individual.

  49. 49
    Kevin

    Two facts too much for you, Rob?

    How about one? One fact that has been “censored”…

    ….

    ….

    ….

    ….

    crickets….

    Drive by trolls will drive by.

  50. 50
    Great American Satan
    If anybody says anything contrary to the echo chamber”

    Slymepitters bemoaning “echo chambers”. That’s rich.

    My thoughts ex-freakin’-actly.

  51. 51
    oolon

    oolon, try cultivating a love for the words “ridiculous” and “nonsense”. They’re what we tend to really mean anyway where we’re trained toward ableist substitutes.

    I dunno those describe the “what” but more often than not people are drawn to the “why”… Enter the m-word etc. as a way to describe *why* they are spouting ridiculous nonsense and creating splash damage for innocent bystanders. There don’t seem to be words to express the why of a mix of confirmation bias and wilful ignorance. We need moar insults!

  52. 52
    Ophelia Benson

    Rob L wants it to be known that he’s twice tried to answer questions addressed to him and that I won’t approve his comments. That’s true. He also wants it to be known that [cue scary music]

    I’m saving this screenshot showing the rejected comments to parties that have expressed interest to me in how things operate on this site. You moderated and then deleted my last message (although it reasonably answered Stephanie’s question). I’m going to keep sending things here, and deliver to people who are now viewing this to show the censorship.

    No his last message did not “reasonably” answer anyone’s question; it was a rant full of typical slime pit talking points.

    This of course will all be part of the dossier his friends send to anyone who can disinvite me from a conference or otherwise fuck with my life. It can’t be helped. I’m not letting slimers take over my blog. They’re determined to trash my life by way of retaliation for choosing who can comment on my blog. I can’t stop them.

    However, don’t ask him any further questions, since (unless he radically improves his style and accuracy) I’m not going to let him reply.

  53. 53
    jose

    You have the duty to allow whatever I want to write in your blog. It’s my right as a… whatever. If I can’t write in this blog, that means my ability to speak at all has been irremediably crippled because this is the only website on the internet.

    Furthermore, I want to write posts, not just comments. So you will give me the password to your blog and I will be able to write posts in this blog, goddammit. FOR FREEDOM.

  54. 54
    rorschach

    I’m not letting slimers take over my blog.

    First lesson I learned after elevatorgate was that disabling comments on related posts was necessary, since these people firmly believe that they have a god-given right to piss on any blog owner’s rug, that letting them into my living room is somehow my obligation, and that refusal to do so constitutes “censorship”. Well, they are wrong.

    As to the calls for disinviting, I’m fairly confident that the people paying to attend these events would not view it kindly should speakers be disinvited because of fabricated anonymous missives from the internet. I know I wouldn’t. That such “letters” are being written now is a reflection of the malice and desperation of the regressive side, and should make it clear to anyone still on the fence on this that the regressives do not wish to contribute to our causes, but rather are out to haunt and bully a few persons they don’t like.

  55. 55
    Jadehawk

    The mission to make the FTBullies persona non grata in the wider atheism/secular movement has been gaining momentum

    if you’re going to try to make yourself sound smarter by using latin, at least put in the minimal effort involved in figuring out how to do so gramatically.

    the plural of persona non grata is personae non gratae

  56. 56
    Jadehawk

    It’s interesting to me that the slymepitters will drive by here and baldly assert certain “truths” such as the “success” of exiling FTB from the wider atheistic community and PZ’s “lies” with no evidence or links or examples.

    I believe they consider the current list of speakers at TAM to be evidence for success

  57. 57
    Stephanie Zvan

    Funny, Jadehawk, so do I. I don’t think they and I are talking about the same people’s success, though.

  58. 58
    MrFancyPants

    Jadehawk wins the first declension noun plural award for the day. Betcha didn’t know that existed!

  59. 59
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    I believe they consider the current list of speakers at TAM to be evidence for success

    I’ll be in a Mediterranean villa at the time, so it’ll be the last thing on my mind, but attendance evidently declined at TAM last year after a continued rise. Grothe was boasting in the previous year about both the continued growth and the diversity, but this past year? Nothing. First year for which there are no numbers on WP. I haven’t seen the preregistration figures. Of course, the core of supporters could lead the attendance to remain stable or rise, even for a few years, but I’m curious. Will they post the decline from last year? What are the figures for this year? Returning/new? Men/women?…

  60. 60
    hjhornbeck

    Benson @52:

    However, don’t ask him any further questions, since (unless he radically improves his style and accuracy) I’m not going to let him reply.

    Awww. Cheer up though, Rob L., because thanks to you I’ve made another donation to Benson’s cookie fund!

    Jadehawk @56:

    I believe they consider the current list of speakers at TAM to be evidence for success.

    No kidding, I’m sure we’re all happy Pamela Gay was passed over in favor of inviting Sara Mayhew back for the third year in a row.

  61. 61
    Funny Diva

    *hopping onto the “you hate, Ophelia profits” bandwagon*

    Cookies, or whatever you fancy, from me, too, Ophelia!

    I just…I don’t even…what the everloving fork is the MATTER with some people?! It’s some sort of weird, self-perpetuating, self-delusional positive feedback loop–where any ol’ thing is “positive feedback” such that everything escalates the slyme-tsunami.

  62. 62
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    People just don’t like deceitful bullies.

    Hm. Yeah. People tend not to like abusers, which just might be why the anti-feminist side is getting (rightfully) torn to shreds.

  63. 63
    Great American Satan

    I’d love to see hard evidence of consequences, like Dawkins book sales plummeting, or losing money on appearances that used to sell out, etc. Or TAM going into the shitter, declining diversity and attendance. Especially TAM. Skepchick helped them grow big time, then got a huge knife in the back.

    But I’m not counting on it, because if there’s one thing the Tea Party proves, extremely disturbing and dedicated haters wield outsized influence in the world. For them, TAM’s odious support of these shits is a selling point.

    I was thinking maybe Skepchick.org should finally rename itself. Keep the old URL with a redirect. Call themselves “2nd Wave Skepticism” and rock out like they’re the true heirs to the kingdom. Rebecca and her peeps certainly been better communicators and organizers in recent years than the JREF.

    Could they potentially eclipse the old guard completely someday, leaving them as sad dusty libertarian curmudgeons sucking cigars and wondering what happened to their spotlight? It’s a beautiful dream.

  64. 64
    StephanieLazarusBoff

    The COMMUNITY is RISING.

    Skeptic Women have just put another NAIL in the COFFIN of the FTBullies and their Baboon followers.

    Ophelia Benson has been EXPOSED as a doxxer.

    Stephanie Zvan’s letter to CFI has been LAUGHED AT and REJECTED by CFI.

    Oolon has been EXPOSED as an accomplice in doxxing, and is now seen as TROLL.

    The FTBullies have been HUMILIATED at TAM and other conferences.

    The SLYME PIT has gone from STRENGTH to STRENGTH.

    ARNIE has just had a bag of SCOOBY SNACKS and is now having his belly TICKLED.

    #winning

  65. 65
    Ophelia Benson

    Dang. He sounds more like Mabus every day, doesn’t he.

  66. 66
    rorschach

    ARNIE has just had a bag of SCOOBY SNACKS and is now having his belly TICKLED.

    Good ol’ Arnie. Having his belly TICKLED. I’m so glad to be informed of this.

    He sounds more like Mabus every day, doesn’t he.

    It is painfully obvious that some of these ‘pit characters could do with a psych evaluation. The comment @64 might as well have been composed by Mabus, the writer obviously resides in an alternate reality.

  67. 67
    tonyinbatavia

    Shorter StephanieLazarusBoff @64:

    If I capitalize certain WORDS, the dumbest among my supporters might actually think my words contain TRUTH.

    I have my head so far up my ASS that I can see out of the holes of my NIPPLE RING.

    All these PROCLAMATIONS are vapid and FULL OF SHIT.

    I am a total ASSHAT.

  68. 68
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    StephanieLazarusBoff forgot to link to a Depeche Mode video.

  69. 69
    Jackie

    Stephanielazarusboff,
    Yeah, sometimes I like to play make believe too. This one time I imagined I was a helicopter pilot and then I was like, “Screw that, I’ll imagine I’m the helicopter! Vroooom! ” It was great fun.

  70. 70
    seraphymcrash

    I just wanted to say that I approve of the “handling” of Rob L. Two comments full of deranged yelling are all this thread needed to get our fill. Instead of “Don’t Feed the Trolls” I much prefer “Don’t house the trolls”.

  71. 71
    Elly

    “It is painfully obvious that some of these ‘pit characters could do with a psych evaluation.”

    This.

    I mean, seriously: who thinks/writes like #64 about what’s essentially an “inside baseball” sort of conflict?

    I’ve been an atheist for as long as I can remember (thanks Mom & Dad!), but I’ve been only marginally involved in movement atheism (local, small-ish town groups). I keep an eye on various blogs (like this one) and comment occasionally, but that’s about it. I’ve never been to TAM or any other skeptic/atheist conference, and it’s highly likely that I never will.

    I don’t imagine I’m an outlier, either, if my circle of friends/acquaintances is representative of the broader range of skeptics/non-believers.

    Point being: “Pitters” like “StephanieLazarusBoff” appear to be living in their own alternate reality. If they think that they’re advancing atheism by trolling the blogs of their “enemies,” they couldn’t be more wrong. Certainly, when I see sentences like “The COMMUNITY is RISING” and “The SLYME PIT has gone from STRENGTH to STRENGTH,” my first thought is, “what the hell is wrong with you?” It reminds me of the “French taunting” scene in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” and I take it just about as seriously.

  72. 72
    oolon

    Oolon has been EXPOSED as an accomplice in doxxing, and is now seen as TROLL.

    Meh, what’s so good about being an accomplice? I was a doxxer on the Slymepit for mentioning Franc Hoggle is Devils TowelBoy is Barf Simpson is Felch Grogan is Victor Ivanoff… Also for pointing out Sacha is not an Ivanoff and was lying to protect him. Not at all sure I like being downgraded to a mere accomplice!

    Let alone… *Now* seen as a troll! WTF, I take exception to that! I was labelled a troll on the pit just for arguing in good faith that calling women you disagree with “dumb cunts” etc is misogyny. I claimed it was bigoted and if they didn’t believe in the power of “just words” why don’t they use other “just words” like nigger and faggot to describe PoC and gay people over here. When I got no coherent answer and wouldn’t give up I was “Mr Crazy Fuck” and “a troll” … I’ve been one ever since! This must be a Poe to deviate from that Slyme narrative.

  73. 73
    hyperdeath

    Does anyone remember Jack Rawlinson, who like Tuvok was very fond of Campingesque “your doom is nigh” prophecies? Could they be the same person?

  74. 74
    MrFancyPants

    when I see sentences like “The COMMUNITY is RISING” and “The SLYME PIT has gone from STRENGTH to STRENGTH,” my first thought is, “what the hell is wrong with you?” It reminds me of the “French taunting” scene in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” and I take it just about as seriously.

    That’s a perfect summary.

    What I find telling is that they are coming here to leave these ridiculous comments and to harass Ophelia, and at a fairly constant rate, but we’re not over on the ‘pit all day doing the converse. So basically the FtB readers just don’t care what they’re up to, beyond simply documenting the filth that they spew, whereas they’re absolutely obsessed with Ophelia, and Stephanie, and PZ (and of course Rebecca).

    Also, that’s why this is harassment, and not just simple “disagreement”. They’ve been asked over and over to just go away. However, it’s backfiring on them. There are at least three of us now who have been longtime lurking readers who are now commenting, specifically because we’ve had enough of the slimepitters. (See the comment thread over on Jason/lousycanuck’s latest.)

  75. 75
    Ophelia Benson

    It’s backfiring on them but also doing what they want. It’s doing both. They’re having a lot of success as well as a lot of failure. They’ve done a lot to taint Nugent’s conference, with (ironically) Nugent’s determined assistance. It’s up in the air whether or not they’ve gotten me ejected from Nugent’s conference – he said he would reply but he didn’t say when. Maybe it will be the day before the conference starts, when I’m on the plane and it’s too late to reply or withdraw. Or maybe it will be tomorrow, when he sends me a disinvitation and the world his reply, both at the same time. I just don’t know.

  76. 76
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Slightly off topic. But I think that the reason why Karla Porter’s invitation of the WBC went unnoticed for months by most of us is because most of us are not following their every move. I think this says a lot about motivation.

  77. 77
    Anthony K

    Meh, what’s so good about being an accomplice?

    Driving the getaway car.

    The getaway driver of the Stopwatch Gang, a once-notorious gang of Canadian bank robbers known for their politeness and precision during hold-ups, used to read psychology journals and do things like stick a bright orange motorcycle helmet in the rear window of the getaway car. Witnesses couldn’t remember the license plate, make, or model of the car, but they remembered the (easily hidden or disposed of) motorcycle helmet.

    (They would also wear masks of American presidents: the thieves in Point Break were loosely based on them.)

  78. 78
    Anthony K

    What I find telling is that they are coming here to leave these ridiculous comments and to harass Ophelia, and at a fairly constant rate, but we’re not over on the ‘pit all day doing the converse. So basically the FtB readers just don’t care what they’re up to, beyond simply documenting the filth that they spew, whereas they’re absolutely obsessed with Ophelia, and Stephanie, and PZ (and of course Rebecca).

    Slightly off topic. But I think that the reason why Karla Porter’s invitation of the WBC went unnoticed for months by most of us is because most of us are not following their every move. I think this says a lot about motivation.

    Yes. If it weren’t for their constant harassment, I’d have no idea who these people are at all.

  79. 79
    Funny Diva

    Is Michael Nugent _really_ the Sole Arbiter of Who Speaks at Empowering Women Through Secularism?
    He doesn’t have, like, a board or a committee he answers to at some level?

    Ophelia, if you get dis-invited or asked to withdraw or whatever, their PR person will have to spruce up the name of the conference if they care about truth in advertising…(not that I think they do, I just want to point out the irony of their conference title vs their behavio(u)r).

    Empowering Women (but only the ones who aren’t uppity and will be grateful for the bones we’re throwing them) Through Secularism (but only for our narrow definition of secularism which doesn’t include any sort of intellectual integrity, let alone icky feminist social-justice unless we SAY it can!).

    No, I guess it _doesn’t_ really roll off the tongue, does it? Sigh.

  80. 80
    Elly

    However, it’s backfiring on them. There are at least three of us now who have been longtime lurking readers who are now commenting, specifically because we’ve had enough of the slimepitters.

    S’truth. I really wonder if people like “Stangers,” “RobL” and “StephanieLazarusBoff” realize that their antics are being viewed by a much wider audience than Ophelia, PZ and their regular commenters.

    I get that disagreements happen. I get that people with common goals might nonetheless despise each other, personally. It happens. But I’m stunned by the Pitters’ apparently insatiable need to come here and vent over petty grievances, wallow in hyperbole and salivate over the (imagined) “defeat” of their ideological opponents. That’s pretty unhinged. If they don’t like Ophelia, fine… atheism’s a big tent. Why not put that energy into constructive alternatives?

    It’s backfiring on them but also doing what they want.

    I suppose, since all they seem to be interested in is short term “victories” to gloat over. But I doubt any rational person could look at – say – Stanger’s comment and think, “hmmm… maybe this person’s got a point.” I’m sure the Pitters will all be doing Snoopy dances if Nugent disinvites you; but if they want to peel readers like me away from FTB, they’re doing it wrong.

  81. 81
    Funny Diva

    So…wait. Has Dr Skeptickle retracted her dismissive crack about your “paranoia” yet?
    I do not think that word means what she and the slymies think it means when they use it about you.
    But they really are rather Humpty Dumpty-esque in their use of language, so I’m not actually expressing surprise. Merely pointing out yet another layer of the dishonesty. How very bullying! Shame on me!

  82. 82
    evilDoug-x

    When I read the comment about the Slyme Pit and “rising”, it made me think of phenomenon that sometimes occurs in certain similar pits. So I went a-lookin’ for a reference, and what should I find but a very recent post at Wonkette.

    Rise, Pitshits. Rise and be recognized.

  83. 83
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Anthony K wrote:

    Yes. If it weren’t for their constant harassment, I’d have no idea who these people are at all.

    You hadn’t heard of any of them before because – like most entitled people – they were happy to let people like Ophelia and Rebecca and PZ do the work (providing them with the reassurance they were better/smarter than those dumb ol’ religionists) for them.

    And you’re hearing from them now because they’re that particular kind of malcontent who appears only when something they feel they are entitled to gets taken away from them – you know, like a toddler with a room full of toys who’s forced to share just one of them with another kid who doesn’t have any.

  84. 84
    chrisho-stuart

    What I find troubling is the negative presumptions about Michael Nugent’s response.

    There’s a difference, to be sure, in tactics. Michael Nugent is in favour of dialogue and conciliation. Ophelia, and many others here at FtB, are in favour of confronting and isolating the perpetrators of harassment and abuse. There’s also a difference in how you both deal with the issue of “fellow travelers” and communities; the extent to which all members of some community or forum are responsible, or not, for abuse and harassment that flourishes in that forum though written by other individuals.

    it sure looks to me that this is a difference in tactics between people — Michael, and Ophelia — who are basically on the same side.

    There’s scope to disagree or even be angry about tactical choices. I get that. But I’d be amazed — and angry and betrayed — if Michael Nugent did in fact disinvite Ophelia at short notice. Nothing I have seen of the guy suggests to me that this is even remotely a possibility. It’s precisely the opposite of his style.

    Unless there’s something whole other side to Michael I have not seen, I really don’t get why you’re making what looks like presumptions that he’s likely to cave in to this nonsense. Unless I’m missing something, the legitimate anger at Gurdur and his ilk is overflowing unjustly and unfairly to assumptions about Michael that make no sense.

  85. 85
    Ophelia Benson

    He’s been letting the harassers post lies and distortions about me on his blog for many weeks. Hundreds and hundreds of them. Most of them are pseudonymous. That’s not “dialogue.” This “Open Letter” campaign is just more of the same (but with a demand for action) – it’s the same people, publishing the same kinds of lies and distortions about me. He takes their comments on his blog seriously, so why wouldn’t I think he takes their “Open Letters” equally seriously? He said publicly that he’ll reply to the “Open Letters.” Why would I think he’ll take then from the one he’s taken until now?

    There’s also the fact that he doesn’t reply to my emails.

    Apart from all that, you’re right, it’s all very promising.

  86. 86
    Ophelia Benson

    Or to put it another way, he’s already “caved in to this nonsense” by responding to it on Twitter and by saying he’ll reply to the open letters.

  87. 87
    chrisho-stuart

    Ophelia — I don’t see anything there at all which indicates caving into demands. There’s also a difference between allowing the blog to be open to people posting lies, and believing them. Michael strikes me — in this as in other matters — as being slow to judgement and open to hearing and listening to people he doesn’t agree with.

    I am pretty sure that Michael *will(* take the open letter seriously, and that this will not involve simply caving into its demands. It’s characteristic that he’s taking a bit of time with it. He seems to be someone who is really good at listening to views he doesn’t share, and thinking about responses. Was really interested in how he’s been dealing with the issues between secular groups in Ireland that’s blown up recently.

    So you’re right that he’s likely to take it seriously, and (IMO) completely wrong in thinking that this corresponds to just doing what they’d like. I’d be frankly amazed to see that. There’s a huge difference between taking something seriously and agreeing with it.

    It honestly looks to me that you are misreading him really badly. And — conversely — I’ll be shown to have misread him really badly if he caves into the harassers. He strikes me as someone who *will* take the letter seriously — but not by just becoming part of the problem.

    Anyhow, it bothered me that you seem to have assumed the worst. I suppose that’s easy for me to do… I can’t really put myself in your shoes, with all the crap you’ve had to deal with over the last couple of years. Obviously you really need to hear this from Michael himself … but for what it is worth I’m pretty confident that Michael won’t do what you apparently fear; and I do wish you all the best for a wonderful conference.

  88. 88
    tonyinbatavia

    chrisho-stuart @87, I sure hope you are right. I am so hoping Nugent doesn’t put a massive gust of wind into the sails of the haters by taking any of their lies seriously.

  89. 89
    SallyStrange

    Nugent isn’t returning your emails? What a shit.

  90. 90
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    Not that he has any reason to know me from a pile of bricks, but I tweeted at him the other day, asking nicely why exactly was he taking the Slymers seriously when they’ve proved their bad faith over and over… and got absolutely no response.

    *sigh* I really don’t get him. He’s disappointing me greatly.

  91. 91
    Anthony K

    There’s also a difference between allowing the blog to be open to people posting lies, and believing them.

    Well, that’s a relief.

    ‘No, no, I don’t believe the lies being spread about you; I’m just providing a forum for the spreading of them.’

    This business of consistently prioritising intent (what one desires to happen) over behaviour (how one actually affects the world) smacks of mind-body dualism.

  92. 92
    MrFancyPants

    chrishto-stuart:

    There’s a huge false-equivalency here that is being promoted by the slime pitters. And unfortunately Michael is playing into their game. We say all the time that there is no “controversy to teach” when people demand that creationism be taught alongside evolution, but Michael is basically saying “I will consider the creationism position and decide if it’s worth teaching”. (Just an analogy for this present kerfuffle, he obviously never said those literal words.)

    I can understand if he’s just not up to speed on this particular controversy. But he should decide it soon, because as Ophelia points out, she will lose a lot if disinvited from this conference.

    The fact is that the pitters have been harassing her right here, constantly. And through twitter. And in constant photoshops and hate posts on their forums. She hasn’t responded other than to document the hate. Nobody is swarming the slime pit, attacking them in return. They could end this today by just moving on and leaving her (and others!) alone. If they don’t want to engage in social issues (particularly feminism) as part of their atheism, then fine. Why must they attack and harass the bloggers here?

  93. 93
    chrisho-stuart

    Anthony says: “‘No, no, I don’t believe the lies being spread about you; I’m just providing a forum for the spreading of them.’”

    Come on! If it comes to sides on this issue, I am on the side of Ophelia, and WISC, and FtB and totally opposed to the harassment and abuse which has been directed against women people like Rebecca Watson and Jen McCreight and Surly Amy and others. There is a dead simple black and white when it comes to the violent rhetoric directed against Ophelia and others. That’s just wrong in every way; there’s no excuse for it.

    But the black and white approach you are adopting with that response quoted above is really alienating to me all the same. There isn’t a simple black and white when it comes to all the associated fallout without how to deal with things.

    Not every critic of FtB and Ophelia is an abuser (to state the obvious) — even if the criticisms don’t stand up under a fair critical examination.

    Michael Nugent has proposed a dialog. It was not ever (to the best of my attempt at fair reading) an attempt to dialog with outright crude harassers. Stephanie Svan stepped up to the plate to engage, and has done a fantastic job at it. Many others declined the attempt as not worth while. But surely that is a point on which reasonable people can disagree?

    The problem, of course — which is what you are indirectly alluding to — is that when you have a forum for a dialog with people who are critical of FtB or critical of the focus on feminism and women’s role in the movement, then that forum becomes an obvious target for the lowlife element. There’s no clear solution to that. And — to be blunt — it is deliberate dishonesty on your part to say that Michael’s dialog pages are there *for* the lies. I just don’t believe you actually think that’s what he’s doing; that would be profoundly idiotic.

    Such over the top responses contributes the “a plague on both your houses” feeling of a significant number in the secular community. (Hard to guess the actual proportion). I’m really hoping that we are going to see deep DEEP rifts within the secular community as people reject the abuse from the worst elements of the pitters. But if you try to make that into rejection of anyone with any association with the pit, or who has made any attempt at dialog, then I think this only ends up making into a fight between two groups with different ways of being unreasonable. It should not be that, please!

    Mr FancyPants: I mostly agree with you, I think… with the proviso that the “pitters” is not a monolithic group. There really is a difference between flatly crude violence of simple abuse, and the raising of criticisms of conduct — even when those criticisms don’t stand up to fair evaluation. Dialog in such cases is something I tend to support. Suffice to say IMO there *is* a place for dialog — though not with the individuals who are actually posting substance free violent abuse, I grant.

    Michael Nugent is not a pitter. His dialog proposal is a fair target for criticism, but it is not malevolent, and it is not some trick he’s using to foster abuse. I’m myself in two minds on this, to be honest. I’m glad to see Stephanie engaging it, because I think she’s really *really* good at being uncompromising and reasonable at the same time as appropriate. That’s not easy or common.

    I’m waiting with interest, and patience, on Michael’s response to the “open letter” from Gurdur, I’ll continue to leave my head on the chopping block, and say that the apparent presumption that Ophelia is likely to be disinvited is without any credible foundation and would be way *way* out of character for how Michael engages such things.

    And on a related matter: check all the different things he’s involved with, and the slow rate of his twitter involvement. Give a bit of time before deciding you’re all just being ignored.

  94. 94
  95. 95
    Anthony K

    But the black and white approach you are adopting with that response quoted above is really alienating to me all the same. There isn’t a simple black and white when it comes to all the associated fallout without how to deal with things.

    Such over the top responses contributes the “a plague on both your houses” feeling of a significant number in the secular community.

    Over the top? What are you talking about?

    There are two clauses to that sentence. One is probably true (‘No, no, I don’t believe the lies being spread about you’) and the other is observably, objectively true (‘I’m just providing a forum for the spreading of them.’).

    I don’t understand why that’s a problem for you.

  96. 96
    chrisho-stuart

    Anthony, I don’t understand or even particularly care why you don’t understand. Michael is definitely not providing a forum for the spreading of lies; and I’m content to leave that as a flat statement which ought to be blindingly obvious, but isn’t really a critical issue worth time for either of us if you don’t agree.

    On Michael’s response: one aspect (which strikes me as typical of the man) is this:

    I want to add to my understanding by talking to some of the people involved when they come to Dublin, because I think that face to face discussion can be more useful than online discussion.

    Ophelia, I would guess you would have to be in the front of his mind when writing this. I hope so.

    Also for you Ophelia: I’m really REALLY glad your fears of being disinvited did not come to pass. It was easy for me to be confident of this when I had no real stake in it. You were in the hot seat — and you have been for years. I cannot put myself in your shoes for dealing with the flood of crap that has come your way; and though it was easy for me to be critical of an apparent presumption of a much worse outcome, it’s not a big deal.

    Your invitation to the conference was well deserved and I hope you have a great time. I admire the work you are doing. I know you have some issues and differences with Michael… and I hope that when you meet up with him you’ll be able to talk about them.

  97. 97
    Forbidden Snowflake

    And — to be blunt — it is deliberate dishonesty on your part to say that Michael’s dialog pages are there *for* the lies.

    You’re doing that thing again where you prioritize intent over effect.

  98. 98
    Ophelia Benson

    chrisho-stuart – yes Nugent is providing a forum for the spreading of lies – not in the sense of “that’s why he’s doing it” but in the sense of “that’s what people are using it for and he is doing nothing whatever to deal with that.”

    And yes, of course there is “a difference between flatly crude violence of simple abuse, and the raising of criticisms of conduct” – but when both appear on the same page, the difference ceases to be a difference that matters. No reasonable person with reasoned criticisms and disagreements would post them on the same page or the same forum with rants about my ancient rotting dessicated dust-filled cobwebby cunt.

    Maybe you don’t agree, because it’s not your cunt that’s being ranted about. Well that’s part of the problem, isn’t it.

  99. 99
    screechymonkey

    Quite the underwhelming response by Nugent. Yes, he magnanimously decided not to disinvite speakers, and gave some thought but ultimately decided against having a session on the “disputes.” (“Hi, thanks for speaking at our conference. Would you like to come back on stage for a panel discussion on the cobwebbiness of your genitalia?”)

    And then this masterpiece of fence-sitting swill:

    Whenever I think I understand enough about the issues to be able to make a useful contribution to the substantive discussions, I will do so.

    “Gosh, a couple years of accusations and slurs and abuse aren’t enough, nor is the long-winded ‘dialogue’ I’ve hosted. I’m afraid I need to see some more photoshops of Ophelia before I can decide whether she deserves this harassment or not.”

  100. 100
    Ophelia Benson

    And of course the post is filling up with lies about me. “Eucliwood” has just insinuated that I signed that stupid petition and then said it was a fake to give “FTB a way to invalidate it” – which is a shameless lie. Thank you so much Michael Nugent.

  101. 101
    Bernard Bumner

    Nugent is still dancing around on the fence being mightily impartial, whilst the ‘pitters take this gymnastic display of contrived even-handedness to be some sort of cheer leading routine.

    Of course, he has the luxury of pausing the supposed dialogue, whilst Ophelia is forced to listen to the continued raving of the side that hasn’t bothered to stop shouting.

  102. 102
    gmcard

    No reasonable person with reasoned criticisms and disagreements would post them on the same page or the same forum with rants about my ancient rotting dessicated dust-filled cobwebby cunt.

    I disagree somewhat with that statement. While “freeze peach!” is tossed around here a lot–particularly at those who mistakenly believe they have a right to use your space for their speech–it’s possible to present a reasoned argument (though not one that I agree with) that censorship is more dangerous than sexism, harassment, or bullying. They would be perfectly capable of and willing to present reasoned criticisms and disagreements alongside the inane rants and obscene photoshops.

    However, you would expect these people to use their free speech to denounce the harassment occurring alongside their reasoned posts. Or, for those who follow the “ignore trolls” school, to remain silent on the topic. What reveals the facade of the Slymepit is that the people who present a mask of the noble free speech advocate are either actively participating in the harassment or encouraging those who do, joining in the laughter and egging on further bullying.

  103. 103
    Dave W

    Nugent’s suggestion that what you, Ophelia, and others deal with every damn day isn’t a part of “real life” is also a head-desker.

    Especially when your non-real-life harassers are showing up at real-life conferences.

    Such a minimization of the abuse may not itself be hate, but it certainly enables it. Of course, as you’ve pointed out, Nugent’s whole blog enables the harassers. Anyway, my response to Nugent’s post is ka-ching for you.

  104. 104
    Dave W

    Crud. Clicked the wrong donation button. Oh, well: FTB as a whole can be richer because of Michael Nugent, too.

  105. 105
    Anthony K

    chrisho-stuart – yes Nugent is providing a forum for the spreading of lies – not in the sense of “that’s why he’s doing it” but in the sense of “that’s what people are using it for and he is doing nothing whatever to deal with that.”

    Ex-fucking-actly.

    The problem, of course — which is what you are indirectly alluding to — is that when you have a forum for a dialog with people who are critical of FtB or critical of the focus on feminism and women’s role in the movement, then that forum becomes an obvious target for the lowlife element. There’s no clear solution to that.

    Yes there is, and it’s a similar solution to the one that allows for people to have fora on specific topics without every discussion being taken over by bots selling Russian dating sites and knock-off watches: moderation.

    And — to be blunt — it is deliberate dishonesty on your part to say that Michael’s dialog pages are there *for* the lies.

    S’okay. I spoke with my parish priest, confessed my intent, and my sins have thus been absolved.

    I just don’t believe you actually think that’s what he’s doing; that would be profoundly idiotic.

    Doing? That’s what’s happening. It’s indisputable.

    To put it another way, how would a victim of those lies differentiate a forum for (‘for the purpose of’) the spreading of lies from a forum for (‘serving as a platform for’) the spreading lies?

    And of course the post is filling up with lies about me. “Eucliwood” has just insinuated that I signed that stupid petition and then said it was a fake to give “FTB a way to invalidate it” – which is a shameless lie. Thank you so much Michael Nugent.

    This reminds me of something.

    ‘Is Michael Nugent willing to prevent lies being spread on his ‘forum’, but not able? Then he is not capable of running a forum. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh the lies being spread on his ‘forum’? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why defend him?’

  106. 106
    Anthony K

    And of course the post is filling up with lies about me. “Eucliwood” has just insinuated that I signed that stupid petition and then said it was a fake to give “FTB a way to invalidate it” – which is a shameless lie. Thank you so much Michael Nugent.

    Eucliwood who once defended ‘parody’ accounts of you because everyone can tell it’s not really you?

    Michael will surely have to sit down and do some real head-scratching for another year or two before he can objectively come out against such stupidity.

  107. 107
    A. Noyd

    Well, Ophelia isn’t disinvited, but holy fuck, Nugent is a fool. Not that that’s news. Some highlights (lowlights) from his reply:

    [I]t is likely that there are good people on all perceived ‘sides’ who are unfairly hurting other people because they or people close to them have themselves been unfairly hurt….

    I have had the pleasure of working with moderators and participants in the online dialogue who have been acting with integrity and reason despite unfair criticism of them from people opposed to dialogue.

    I think that face to face discussion can be more useful than online discussion.

    Please do not attribute malign motivations to any person who is attending the conference.

    Both sides. People opposed to dialog. Face to face discussion. Don’t attribute malign motives.

    Nugent can go suck a shit lolly.

  108. 108
    Anthony K

    Nugent can go suck a shit lolly.

    As he seems to be sans spine, he can curl right down and get one from the source.

  109. 109
    Ophelia Benson

    gmcard @ 102 –

    They would be perfectly capable of and willing to present reasoned criticisms and disagreements alongside the inane rants and obscene photoshops.

    Yes of course they would, but that’s not the issue. The issue is that that’s not a reasonable thing to do.

    What if it were racist rants and photoshops? (And some of it is. They went wild when Yemi joined FTB.) What if it were anti-Semitic rants? What if it were hosted by WBC?

    It’s just silly to pretend none of that matters. Of course it matters. If you post alongside vicious sexist shit, then that’s what you’re doing.

    Is that harder to see because you’re not in the photoshops? Can you try imagining yourself or a friend or relative in the photoshops? Does that make any difference? Would you post alongside that?

  110. 110
    Ophelia Benson

    A Noyd and Anthony, try not to edge into slime pit territory.

  111. 111
    Anthony K

    A Noyd and Anthony, try not to edge into slime pit territory.

    On this issue, Mick Nugent is about as spineless and obsessed with minimising the distance between head and ass as the majority of male atheist ‘leaders’.

  112. 112
    Bernard Bumner

    I have no idea why Nugent thinks people who can’t behave with consistent good faith should be allowed to take part in his dialogue.

    I certainly don’t see why he would allow that dialogue to degenerate into a persistent monologue concerning the virtues of a victimised party who wants nothing to do with that cosy chat with their tormentors.

    The idea that all parties have behaved badly at some point and that those outside of the dialogue cannot be protected is ironically similar to the notion of sin, which led Catholics to absolve child abusers as freely as shoplifters, but condemn apostates to eternal banishment and hell-fire.

  113. 113
    Elly

    I just took my first look at Nugent’s blog. I looked primarily for a comments policy, but didn’t see anything remotely like it.

    That bit alone says “naïveté” to me. Based on the overall look/feel of the site, I suspect he’s just clueless about what goes in to maintaining a blog, and the importance of consistent moderation.

    Prominently posting and enforcing reasonable rules for comments is not “censorship.” I liken my blog to my home: you’re welcome to visit and I’ll do my best to make you feel comfortable and welcomed. But that doesn’t mean that you have carte blanche to insult my cooking, kick my dog or take a steaming dump on the living room floor. Social interactions are facilitated when people understand and agree to abide by certain basic rules governing acceptable behavior – and a blog is no different.

  114. 114
    A. Noyd

    Sorry, I’m just really fucking mad at Nugent’s moral cowardice. I mean, I already hate it when people fetishize taking the middle ground. But the amount of equivocation and denial Nugent is indulging in to keep spouting his “both sides” rhetoric is infuriating. Fairness isn’t achieved by operating on the assumption that both sides are equal, especially not when faced with ample evidence to the contrary.

    That, and he’s yet another dude who, when faced with a chance to act on his stated principles of supporting atheist women, ends up doing the opposite.

  115. 115
    ewanmacdonald

    I have no idea why Nugent thinks people who can’t behave with consistent good faith should be allowed to take part in his dialogue.

    Does it matter why? What matters is that he’s doing it. Face-to-face meetings with harassers, indeed. What he’s doing is immoral, regardless of why he’s doing it.

  116. 116
    Ophelia Benson

    Thanks A Noyd. I assure you I’m very pissed off too! But I still want to keep us out of slime territory.

  117. 117
    Bernard Bumner

    Does it matter why? What matters is that he’s doing it…

    I think I’ve complained consistently about the fact that he is doing it, and I cautioned that it could happen even before the great Paused Dialogue fiasco was enacted.

    I was simply expressing incredulity and bafflement as to the thought process that leads someone who has otherwise acted well and shown every sign of understanding the problem to act so utterly miserably in this case.

    It matters only insofar as it remains an unanswered question.

  118. 118
    Ophelia Benson

    Face-to-face meetings with harassers, indeed.

    Did you see Renee Hendricks’s comment in that vein?

    At this point, I cannot see an amicable end to the bickering back and forth, short of putting us all in one room and letting us duke it out.

    Yeah. I really want to be forcibly “put” in a room with Renee Hendricks. And this forcible putting is exactly what I object to in Michael’s project.

  119. 119
    ewanmacdonald

    Well, the great accommodator Michael has made his preferred option clear. So he can have a nice photo op with Renee Hendricks and Justin Vacula, and he will wonder airily why the ‘other side’ has chosen not to attend, and he will be told what he wants to hear in this regard. And the lies will continue, and the world will keep turning.

    I really can’t begin to overstate how unimpressed I am with Nugent as a ‘moderator’ and a person.

  120. 120
    screechymonkey

    The fence-sitters like Nugent keep going on about how there are supposedly all these substantive disagreeements we could be discussing if only we just ignore the slurs and photoshops and nastiness. Of course that’s a rather big “if,” and easier for him (or anyone else who isn’t the target) to say. And yes, it’s not all slurs and photoshops and nastiness.

    But what few “substantive disagreements” I can see have either been discussed to death or are, by their nature, irreconcilable. I mean, what does Nugent have in mind here?

    1. Harassment policies at conventions? Seems to me that this one has basically been worked out. Most (all?) conventions have adopted policies, and while there will be some issues from time to time with enforcement or lack thereof, I don’t really see what’s left to discuss on this.

    2. The general merits, or lack thereof, of “feminism”? Well, maybe. But I see few signs that this discussion is ever taking place on any level other than the vaguest of generalities, loaded with all sorts of equivocating and strawmanning about what feminism is.

    3. How should people run their blogs or websites? I guess this is at least a substantive discussion of sorts (though it feels more “procedural” than substantive to me), but it seems rather played out. This is an argument that’s been going on at least as long as the internet’s been around, and I’m not sure there’s much more to say other than that bloggers and site owners each have their own goals and desires for their sites, they’re free to decide whether and how to moderate their sites, and while we’re all free to complain that we don’t like how someone runs his or her site, and vote with our feet, we have no right to dictate how they do it.

    4. Whether Person X is [a meanie, a poopyhead, a bad skeptic, a doxxer] This seems to be what 99% of the “substantive disagreements” are about. The scare quotes are because I think it’s a stretch to even call these substantive disagreements, but even if we do, is there really much hope for productive discussions on that point? Are we seriously supposed to have people sit down in a room together and politely and civilly discuss whether or not one (or both) of them is a bad person?

  121. 121
    gmcard

    Ophelia @ 109

    Can you try imagining yourself or a friend or relative in the photoshops? Does that make any difference? Would you post alongside that?

    I have been in that scenario. I met several friends in an “anything goes” forum. It was our hangout, and we stayed there for a long time even after the site became dominated by trolls attacking everyone in sight. For the most part, we just tuned them out. So I don’t see it as particularly unlikely to have reasoned debate in the same forum as useless troll noise, and so I imagine that argument won’t get much traction with Nugent in the push-back against the Slymepit.

    However, the Slymepit does not mirror my situation with an open but once productive forum that was overrun by trolls but maintains a small core of regular posters. Slymepit was created specifically to house harassers, and the “regular crowd” is active in the generation or propagation of harassment.. If Nugent can actually find some “good people” on the Slymepit side–people there solely for unhurtful conversation–fine. But I expect that for any name he comes up with we can find a Slymepit post of theirs that either contains ugly harassment or is cheering on harassment. That’s the argument against Slymepit that has power. Arguing that it’s fundamentally impossible for good people to post at Slymepit just gives something for the squishy undecideds to snap on for their “extremists on both sides” narrative.

  122. 122
    Sili

    One interesting remark. Nugent goes out of his way to say that this is not *his* conference.

    Has their been any attempt at outreach from the organisers proper then?

  123. 123
    Funny Diva

    Ophelia @110 and @116

    THIS. IS. WHY. I. HEART. YOUR. WORK.

    The integrity you show when, in the middle of a Category Bazillion Shit-Hurricane, you still police your own and keep your blog space within _your_ bounds.

    THAT, IMO, is the only kind of “taking the high road” that’s worthy of the name–walking the walk. And you walk the walk all the damn time. And that’s such a beautiful thing I hope you don’t mind if I just sit here being a bit awed for a bit.

  124. 124
    Ophelia Benson

    Funny Diva, no, be my guest. Can I bring you some tea?

    :D

  125. 125
    A. Noyd

    @Ophelia
    Well, I don’t think what I said is near slime territory, but I’m happy to do better at watching what I say here for the simple reason that it’s your blog and you asked. (At least I’d never say he could go eat a bag of Dick’s. Aside from the usual reasons, as a Seattlite, I save that for people I like. Mmm, Dick’s.)

  126. 126
    Anthony K

    Sorry for digging in back on #111, Ophelia.

    Like A. Noyd, I’ll be more careful too.

  127. 127
    Ophelia Benson

    No, not really near slime territory in either case, but…traveling in the same general direction. The kak direction. Scatology. I never liked it much in Pope, either. Unsubtle. What we want is the bit in Lucky Jim where Amis describes Ned Welch suppressing a fart while walking and talking with Jim Dixon, without actually saying that’s what he’s doing. Funniest thing ever.

  128. 128
    chrisho-stuart

    Forbidden Snowflake in #97 says to me:
    “You’re doing that thing again where you prioritize intent over effect.”

    Well… it was most certainly not my intent to have such an effect!

    I think that to have the best possible effects, we need to be *aware* of intent, because it makes us more effective!

    You are, quite reasonably, critical of the *effect* of Michael’s attempt to facilitate dialog. Phrasing that as if it was his intent is (IMO) ineffective (You didn’t do that; but it has shown up in the thread.) We don’t want to end up making criticisms that focus on intent and get it wrong, when the real issue is effect. It’s better to phrase criticisms accurately

    Another advantage is that when there is a positive intent, then no matter how bad the effect there are some additional avenues for progress in dealing with those effects. There’s a tactical advantage in being accurate and fair about intent, even especially when you are being critical of naivety in implementation and holding Michael responsible for the negative effects of his actions.

    Not only is it tactically sensible. It’s rational — and that is (or should be) one of our major strengths.

    And — by the way — I’m not just saying this here. I’ve also addressed Michael directly; and the major point I wanted to make to him is that what’s missing from his support of dialog is his own voice! He does not have the standing to set up dialog with others; but if he is in favour of dialog generally then he needs to speak up for himself on the matters.

    My major reason for joining in the thread here was a misreading of Michael. Ophelia was not disinvited to the conference; and I personally don’t think there’s been any good reason to think it was at all likely he’d do such a thing. That’s not a matter of excusing everything about how Michael has been involved in these disputes; but it (IMO) is a matter of understanding him better. You don’t have to stop being critical for that!

  129. 129
    rorschach

    Hm, so I just received an email from a known slymer that is claimed was “circulated to all panelists” of the Dublin conference (why did I get it then, I’m not a panelist?). I won’t blog about it or link to it, but let’s just say that it is a silly yet malignant attempt to smear PZ. The lows those people get down to for their petty vendettas is astonishing.

  130. 130
    Sili

    They’re not exactly known for their brains.

    They thought PZ was a part of WiS2 as well.

    You’re a big name atheist *man*, so of course you’re a panellist.

  1. 131
    The fight for Michael Nugent's soul

    [...] Nugent at the moment, because for some reason he has recently become the center of a bizarre campaign by a bunch of regressive atheists and Twitter bullies to win him over to their side. It probably [...]

  2. 132
    A response » Butterflies and Wheels

    [...] there’s Nugent’s response to the shamelessly dishonest “Open Letters” demanding that he denounce me for doing something I didn’t in fact do. Let’s take a quick look at [...]

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