Tom Foss takes a look at Tim Farley’s long-delayed response to objections to his very long post about the Block Bot. Wait. That’s so meta it’s confusing.
People had criticisms of it. I was one of those people. Tom was another. Tim Farley made many objections to the criticisms, none of which addressed the actual criticisms that were made. It was frustrating and irritating, especially since Farley’s objections included rebukes for addressing a small part of the post instead of the whole of it. Now he has addressed the criticisms, and Tom has addressed his response. It’s part of a video hangout, which is a very odd way to address written criticisms of a written piece. I haven’t watched it, because frankly I don’t like watching videos. But Tom has.
Farley talks repeatedly about people being rude to him. I’m sure I’m in that group, though I don’t think I displayed any “rudeness” until he came into my comment thread with tired myths (“They are simply people that (some, all?) Atheism+ people disagree with on some topics”) and deflections. But then, Farley’s idea of rudeness seems to be that peculiar one that prevails in parts of skepticism, where it only ever works one way, and mostly appears to mean “using swear words” or “not being sufficiently deferential to your betters.” Jumping to an absurd conclusion and writing 4,300 words about it without bothering to check with the people involved? Not rude. Buying into a malicious myth that certain groups just can’t brook disagreement when you can’t find immediate evidence that they acted reasonably? Not rude.
Buying into that malicious myth at all is very unskeptical.
I’m tired of that nonsense. I think it’s far worse to argue in bad faith than to use naughty words. I don’t think anyone in this movement has earned exemption from criticism or has shown that they are incapable of bad behavior. I think being dismissive can be far ruder than being aggressive. And I think yet another outsider thinking they can wander into a conflict that’s been raging for years, do a casual scan of the environment, and make authoritative pronouncements about what people’s motivations are, is pretty damn disrespectful.
And, frankly, tribal.
Getting to the meat of people’s disagreements with the post, Farley says:
And I knew that I did not want to get into, and we said this in the comments of this post, of this YouTube, I did not want to get into who’s on the Block Bot, who’s not on the Block Bot, why is this person blocked, because that is a rat hole. I just wanted to talk about how it works, how is it administrated, are there bugs in the code, does it do what it’s supposed to do. And I needed a way to bring up the issue of, “hey look, this guy’s on here, and this woman’s on here, why are they on here?”
Emphasis mine. So here, I think (being charitable), is a limitation of speech-vs.-writing. Someone who wrote those two bolded phrases so close together would, I hope, notice the obvious contradiction between them, but that’s harder to do with off-the-cuff speech. As someone who does a lot of off-the-cuff speech for a living, I understand how that can happen.
Yes but he did the same thing in the post itself and in responding to objections – although not quite as visibly as that.
He does explain his point in the end. It was that the people he listed were not obviously harassers so evidence should be added, so that users will see why they’re blocked.
I don’t see why he couldn’t have just said that. It’s one sentence. It would have been easy to say it. No need for all this “I’ll write a post next week” – just give the explanation, instead.