Quantcast

«

»

Sep 18 2013

Look out! Fascists! Right there!

Dang but some people like to over-react to mostly-imaginary entities like “Atheism Plus” or “FTBullies”.

Like “the Denver Atheist” (there’s only the one?) for instance, in a post reasonably titled Atheism Plus Is A Fascist Movement Within The Atheist Community. Here’s how the one atheist in Denver arrives at that conclusion.

 Let’s define our terms up front, shall we? Here’s the definition of the word “fascism”:

Fascism: any movement, ideology, or attitude that favors dictatorial government, centralized control of private enterprise, repression of all opposition, and extreme nationalism

Here’s how I’m relating it to Atheism Plus:

Atheism Plus: a movement, ideology, and attitude that favors dictatorial organization, centralized control of atheism, repression of all opposition, and extreme loyalty to the movement, ideology, and attitude.

Yeah no. Dictatorial government is not the same as dictatorial organization. Fascists running a state is not the same thing as “fascists” posting on an online forum. (As far as I know there is no “Atheism Plus” apart from the forum. People don’t self-identify as Atheism Plus. It’s not a thing.)

And “centralized control of atheism”? What the hell? Where? How? What the hell? There is no centralized control of atheism.

There’s no “repression of all opposition,” either. There’s refusal to be tweeted at by harassers, but refusal to be tweeted at isn’t repression, and harassers aren’t the sum total of opposition, either.

And, to complete the ridiculous list, commitment to an idea is not the same thing as extreme nationalism. “Atheism Plus” (assuming for the sake of argument that it even exists) does not want to annex Poland.

What’s the matter with everyone? Jeez.

150 comments

1 ping

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    MrFancyPants

    Of course, these are people who consider being blocked on twitter to be censorship. If they can’t shout their abuse in your timeline, that’s exactly the same as oppression. *eyeroll*

  2. 2
    oolon

    It’s a shame as he backed down on the transphobic article he wrote … http://thedenveratheist.net/lets-talk-about-sex-baby/

    Actually retracted it, an amazing bit of actual skepticism, to admit he was wrong. But he didn’t like the reception he got for the article — ironically all because @aratina added him to the bot and it got some attention. A mix of @latsot/Matthew White in the comments and various trans* tweeps explained to him. But some “rude werdz” were used in between those explaining and that was apparently really bad. Not on for trans* ppl to be angry at him for being very wrong and throwing them under a bus as a result.

    So he then blamed all the bad reaction on A+, because of the block bot / random ppl being rude to him who may or may not have actually been A+ ppl. In fact its almost a certainty at the moment that if you are rude or call out bigotry to an atheist dude on Twitter atm you will be labelled an “A+’er”…. Gotta be good advertising?

  3. 3
    The Denver Atheist

    Why hello there! You can imagine my excitement when I saw the alert for a trackback in my WordPress dashboard! You can imagine it, right? No matter, the point is I was excited.

    I’ll just take a moment here. Excellent post, by the way.

    “Dictatorial government is not the same dictatorial organization”
    Well, yes, that’s true. But dictatorial is dictatorial, is it not? I think we can all agree that dictatorial attitudes are a bad thing no matter how they’re applied.

    “People don’t identify as Atheism+”
    They do in fact. Well, some do. I’ve seen plenty of Twitter profiles that mention Atheism+ and people calling themselves “Atheism Plussers”. I have no screen caps to prove this, as I didn’t take the time to grab any, so you could dismiss this as false – which is your prerogative I suppose.

    “There is no centralized control of Atheism!”
    Again, you make an astute observation. I didn’t say there was any, I asserted that it was trying to be created. You can see this pretty clearly in Carrier’s speech when he talks about the refusal to work with anyone who doesn’t support Atheism plus. Not supporting A+ was then defined as “disagreeing with our tenets” (I’m paraphrasing, don’t have the video up right at this moment).

    “There’s no repression of all opposition”
    That’s a fair point. No one is being thrown on a train and being taken to a camp … obviously. But when an attempt is made to shield people from opinions that the “authority” deems “aggressive” or “abusive” without letting those people decide that on their own .. that’s certainly the repression of opposition. I’m speaking of course of the block bot, but you know that.

    “Commitment to an idea … not the same as extreme nationalism”
    Meh. I disagree. Nationalism is blind love of your country and an unwillingness to listen to criticisms of it because no criticisms are relevant because your country is great. I think it’s fair to say Atheism Plussers won’t listen to criticism of their ideas because their ideas are “right” and “justice filled” or something like that.

    “Doesn’t want to annex Poland”
    Well, duh. But it does want to annex other Atheists who don’t support: gender equality, feminism, marriage equality, gay rights, or abortion (which are all things I support with my right to vote, by the way).

    Anyway, I think ultimately it’s a good discussion and I’m glad you’ve added something to it (not sarcasm). Please forgive any misspellings as I am posting this from my Windows phone and the text correction isn’t exactly amazing on a Nokia.

    Very Best,
    TDA

  4. 4
    Randomfactor

    What’s the matter with everyone?

    Blind spots.

  5. 5
    Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm

    Yeah I imagine the “favoring dictatorial organization” bit has something to do with a general refusal at the A+ forums to do the “let’s debate your basic humanity” song and dance.

  6. 6
    catof many faces

    I really think some people just have a need to be ‘persecuted’.

    They want some sort of thing to be fighting against that has wronged them. and they’ll make it up if need be.

  7. 7
    hjhornbeck

    As far as I know there is no “Atheism Plus” apart from the forum. People don’t self-identify as Atheism Plus. It’s not a thing.

    Oi! I identify as atheist plus! The term simply means “atheist plus feminist plus humanist,” and since I qualify for all three I am therefore atheist plus. It’s no different than saying “that person over there lacks a belief in a god, therefore they’re an atheist.” It implies no central authority, merely a shared understanding of what words mean.

    Which implies, I guess, that The Denver Atheist thinks language is fascist. If I were a nearby dictionary, I’d get the hell out of dodge.

  8. 8
    Ophelia Benson

    TDA -

    Well no, dictatorial isn’t dictatorial, if you mean emphatic insistence on egalitarian (or other) attitudes and behavior is the same kind of thing as absolute state power. No. Dictatorial isn’t the same as bossy.

    And inflating the language this way is in fact a rhetorical trick meant to whip up loathing.

    Ok; I stand corrected about people calling themselves Ath Plus. I’ve seen very little of that, but of course that proves nothing; maybe I just missed it.

    No, of course Carrier’s saying he refuses to work with people who don’t sign up to the tenets of A+ is not the same thing as centralized control of atheism. How could it be?! Carrier isn’t the center, and he has no powers of enforcement. No centralized, no control. You see?

    More hate-mongering inflation there.

    No, an app that blocks tweets for people who sign up to it is not the same as repression of opposition. (More inflation.)

    Not listening to criticism of one’s ideas is not nationalism. You mean dogmatism. That’s why wanting to annex Poland is not the same as wanting to enlist fellow atheists. Really not the same at all. Annexation not the same as enlistment.

    Yes I’m sure it’s fun to puff everything up this way, but it’s sloppy (at best), and it’s illiberal.

  9. 9
    Ophelia Benson

    hj – ok! Sorry!

    Sure, and so do I, provided I have the opportunity to stipulate what it means. But I don’t use the label, because of all the ridiculous nonsense people are throwing at it – like the one atheist in Denver’s post.

  10. 10
    SallyStrange

    Jebus, people really can’t handle the motherfucking block bot. And they call feminists hypersensitive.

  11. 11
    SallyStrange

    I notice that Denver Atheist doesn’t allow comments on hir post. Must be some sort of fascist, trying to shield hirself and hir readers from contradictory opinions.

  12. 12
    The Denver Atheist

    Ophelia,

    First, sorry for not calling you by your name in my first comment – I didn’t bother to look for who wrote the article, that was kind of rude.

    Secondly: just because you say something is “not true”, that doesn’t make what you’re saying any more right than would be without you saying so. That certainly applies to me as well. So you say “hate-mongering” and “inflation” and that’s fine, but that’s not the final word as to whether or not I’m a hate-mongering inflationary blogger. The readers decide that, right? I suspect that my readers would agree with me and yours would agree with you … both likely not to read the opinion of the opposition with too much interest … and that’s sort of what I’m getting at in concerns to the block bot.

    In a blog I can call you a liar, you can call me a thief, and we can both provide links to the others blog … we offer the reader the ability to then see what’s been said and come to their own conclusion(s). With the block bot, this isn’t possible. I take it on the word of “the authority”, the 12 admins who can block, that 1000 people are not worth listening to. I’m not given the opportunity to vet the list for myself … indeed I couldn’t even if I wanted to.

    My main issues with Atheism + are with the Block Bot and the hijacking of the term “Atheist” … that’s it. All the other stuff, the social justice stuff, I support it 100%. Like the idea, hate the implementation. You would know this if you read my blogs on the topics of … IDK, abortion for example.

    We’re on the same end of the philosophical spectrum, save these two issues. It worries me that Atheism+ and the Block Bot have come to be two things that can drive atheists who are otherwise in complete agreement, apart.

    That’s all. Anyway, have a good night Opehlia.

    Best,
    TDA

  13. 13
    Shatterface

    Atheists Doubleplus Ungood don’t actually exist – but if they did exist they would drown puppies and suck childrens’ brains out with a straw.

    The fact their behaviour is hypothetically so heinous trumps their non-existence and therefore discredits atheists as a whole.

    Making shit up is easy, isn’t it?

  14. 14
    The Denver Atheist

    Sally, I allow comments on my blog … why are you saying that I don’t?

  15. 15
    The Denver Atheist

    Sally: in fact, upon checking, there are two comments on it right now. Not sure why you’re not able to comment .. I welcome disagreement.

  16. 16
    leftwingfox

    This is doubly infuriating after having read David Neiwert’s discussion of the rise of ACTUAL fascism in russia

    http://dneiwert.blogspot.ca/2013/09/russias-gay-bashing-politics-look-like.html

    Here, we have the state passing scapegoat laws against gay people, skinheads violently assaulting gay people, priests endorsing the violence and regretting that they aren’t allowed to join in, and politicians blaming the victims for provoking the skinheads.

    Accusing the A+ crowd of “fascism” is like american christians whining about “persecution”. There is not enough mockery in the world for that level of self-absorbed martyrdom.

  17. 17
    Chaos Engineer

    But when an attempt is made to shield people from opinions that the “authority” deems “aggressive” or “abusive” without letting those people decide that on their own .. that’s certainly the repression of opposition. I’m speaking of course of the block bot, but you know that.

    OK, I see where you’re confused.

    The name “block bot” is misleading. It’s not a giant nuclear robot that rampages through the physical world pushing and shoving everything in its path. It’s a list of suggestions about the Internet, that people are free to accept or ignore as it pleases them.

    It fulfills kind of the same role as a movie reviewer: If you read a lot of different reviewers, then you might find one that you agree with almost all the time. And if that reviewer says, “This particular movie is just stupid and offensive and seeing it was a complete waste of my time”, then you might decide right then and there not to see the movie. But that doesn’t mean that you’re oppressed or repressed by the Robot Authority or whatever. You’re still free to get opinions from your friends or from other reviewers, or even to watch the movie yourself if you want to see if it’s as bad as all that. (But on the other hand – you already know that you agree with the reviewer most of the time. There are lots of good movies out there, so why wouldn’t you see one of those instead wasting time on something that you’ll almost certainly find stupid and offensive?)

    Do you remember who it was that told you that the “block bot” was a giant authoritarian mecha? It’s such a bizarre rumor that I’ve been wondering how it got started.

  18. 18
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    It’s obvious not much thought was put into it because it’s a simple case of finding something one doesn’t like and which has a negative connotation for most people (fascism) and trying to tar A+ with the label. In contrast, plenty of people of have criticised A+ without having to resort to such cheap, intellectually dishonest and lazy tactics.

  19. 19
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    With the block bot, this isn’t possible. I take it on the word of “the authority”, the 12 admins who can block, that 1000 people are not worth listening to. I’m not given the opportunity to vet the list for myself … indeed I couldn’t even if I wanted to.

    You know, people who aren’t interested in using the block bot… don’t use it.

    How do you feel about blocking offensive (to you) content, advertising, spam, and other unwanted electronic communications? Do you listen to every telemarketing call you receive? Are you going to buy something you don’t want to buy just because you listened to one more person talk about it?

  20. 20
    The Denver Atheist

    LeftWingFox,

    The same could be said for oppression of homeless people in the united states, couldn’t it? Couldn’t one posit that being homeless in America is a joke compared to being homeless in the third world and therefore calling it “destitution” or “poverty” is that same “self-absorbed martyrdom” you mentioned?

    Terms have varying degrees in their use, don’t they? Am I not free to say “I had the worst day ever” without someone saying “Well there are kids starving in Ethiopia so your bad day isn’t worth paying any mind to”?

    A fascist attitude is a fascist attitude, whether it results in the killing of millions of Jews or the flunking of all student of a certain race out of a history class. The framework is the same.

    If you disagree, that’s fine, but to dismiss my assertions without even considering their value (or any truth they may contain) by simply discussing them … that’s kind of irresponsible, don’t you think? As a skeptic, I mean. Which I assume you are.

    Best,
    TDA

  21. 21
    jodyp

    I initially couldn’t see anyplace to enter comments on your site either, TDA. The “post comment” button didn’t even appear.

  22. 22
    The Denver Atheist

    Sorry I didn’t mean “oppression of homeless people”, I meant “the homeless condition” – I have no idea why I wrote that. I think I started a thought then changed my mind half way through without backspacing … derp.

  23. 23
    Ophelia Benson

    Denver Atheist @12

    With the block bot, this isn’t possible. I take it on the word of “the authority”, the 12 admins who can block, that 1000 people are not worth listening to. I’m not given the opportunity to vet the list for myself … indeed I couldn’t even if I wanted to.

    FFS you do realize you sign up to it, right? It’s not imposed on anyone. If you don’t like it don’t sign up to it! I’m not signed up to it myself, because I’d rather choose for myself. Other people like the convenience.

    It’s not an “authority”; it’s an optional service that you can use or not. It’s like a spam filter. I get hundreds of spam comments every day. You know what? I don’t check them. I just throw those babies out unread. (If spammers didn’t exist we could skip the whole thing, and that would be nice.)

    Spam filters are not fascism. Mkay?

  24. 24
    Ophelia Benson

    Ah well, Chaos Engineer and F got there first; I should have saved myself the bother.

    Commenters here are like a reverse-block bot. They’re so good I can just stop commenting.

  25. 25
    jodyp

    “Spam filters are not fascism. Mkay?”

    Why it’s so difficult for some people to understand this is baffling.

  26. 26
    The Denver Atheist

    Ophelia,

    I’ll assume “FFS” means “For Fuck’s Sake” – I’m not very keen on the newer internet abbreviations as I’m from the days of lol, rofl, brb, and idk. Not quite cool any more.

    You make a fair point, people do choose. People see it and think “cool it’ll block really shitty people who are all awful, where do I sign up?” … but you know what? I’m on that list. I don’t think I’m a shitty person and I doubt anyone using the block bot would read my blog (or tweets) and think, “what a total scumbag, this person isn’t worth interacting with” and I suppose that’s where I take issue.

    Because they WON’T think for themselves and block on a person by person basis the tool shouldn’t exist. If blocking required you to read the 5 most recent tweets from everyone you were blocking, I’d be all for it. But let’s be honest: if that happened people would quit the sign up process five profiles in. Bad for membership, right?

    Best,
    TDA

  27. 27
    Ophelia Benson

    A fascist attitude is a fascist attitude, whether it results in the killing of millions of Jews or the flunking of all student of a certain race out of a history class. The framework is the same.

    [patiently] No – that’s not right. You’re confusing racism with fascism. They’re not the same.

    And by the way this blather about having the worst ever day is all very well but I think you know perfectly well that you’re inciting hatred of actual people – people who are tagged with “Atheism Plus” as well as people who identify as such – with all this bullshit about fascism, so it’s no good pretending you’re just talking about random metaphors.

  28. 28
    ewanmacdonald

    TDA, what do you want to see happen to the block bot and the people who use it? Do you disagree with the idea that people should be able to opt in to this service at all?

    Sincere questions, not rhetorical.

  29. 29
    Ophelia Benson

    Denver Atheist @26 – oh, so now you admit you’re just saying you don’t like being on the list yourself. Well you know something? That’s not quite the same thing as calling a bunch of people fascists.

    You’re a hate-monger, and you seem to be quite smug about it.

  30. 30
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    jodyp wrote:

    Why it’s so difficult for some people to understand this is baffling.

    Because to admit otherwise would be to take away the only avenue of criticism they have – and for these people having something to shout about is far more important than being honest.

    As I’ve said before, one of the unfortunate side-effects of the atheist community’s need to collect enough voices to be heard is that we convinced a whole bunch of people whose thinking can only be described as shallow that they were, in fact, far smarter than they are in order to get them to speak up. And telling them they were geniuses for working out gods don’t exist.

    We’re now experiencing the downside to that, with a lot of blowhards assuming that their reflexive responses to things are the result of critical thought when they most certainly aren’t.

  31. 31
    ewanmacdonald

    If blocking required you to read the 5 most recent tweets from everyone you were blocking, I’d be all for it.

    From what I’ve seen criticism of the block bot falls into two categories:

    1) People who think it’s mean
    2) People who think they have a right to be heard whether any given individual wants to listen to them or not.

    You have a right to speak. You don’t have a right to be listened to.

    I’m sure there’s a word to describe movements where people were compelled to attend propaganda meetings and listen to interminable dreck from self-righteous blowhards…

  32. 32
    The Denver Atheist

    Ophelia,

    I can see that the conversation has degraded. I won’t take the low road by pitching words like “hate-monger” back at you. I’m sorry that I’ve upset you I hope you’ll continue to allow me to answer questions in the comment stream. Have a good night.

    Best,
    TDA

  33. 33
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    TDA wrote:

    Bad for membership, right?

    Uh, you do realise they don’t make any money from the bot, don’t you?

  34. 34
    jodyp

    If you’re on the list, maybe you should think about what you said and why it got you there.

    Just sayin’.

  35. 35
    ewanmacdonald

    How dare Ophelia debase this conversation from its lofty origins of… calling people fascists.

  36. 36
    Ophelia Benson

    Dang, scooped again. I was going to say the same thing – oh yes the high road of calling people fascists.

  37. 37
    MyaR

    Hmmm, one would be hard-pressed to find a more scary-sounding-bad-ism than fascism. But what is it exactly? Convenient, when one chooses something that we all agree is bad, but (aside from, say, Golden Dawn, and the things they seem to have most in common with Nazis is thuggishness, xenophobia, and homophobia — pretty sure not even TDA is accusing A+ of those) is pretty hard to pin down a definition of that’s accurate enough to, say, build an extended metaphor on.

  38. 38
    ewanmacdonald

    Were it not for the relentless march across Eastern Europe of the block bot, you too could be enjoying such stellar Tweets as:

    “or the fact that the horse’s nostril looks like it was just fucked by a, wait for it, black guy.”
    “shut up you idiot.”
    “how about you fundraise yourself a fucking comb.”
    “If radical feminism continues unchecked, sex will be forever boring. This is my greatest fear”

  39. 39
    The Denver Atheist

    ewanmacdonald,

    Good question. I’d like to see the API be altered by Twitter to prevent the app from working. As far as its users my only thought would be … I don’t know really. I mean they’re just regular Twitter users like me who happen to have a different opinion of things. I don’t want anything to “happen” to them.

    Best,
    TDA

  40. 40
    ewanmacdonald

    ewanmacdonald,

    Good question. I’d like to see the API be altered by Twitter to prevent the app from working. As far as its users my only thought would be … I don’t know really. I mean they’re just regular Twitter users like me who happen to have a different opinion of things. I don’t want anything to “happen” to them.

    Best,
    TDA

    OK, so you want the free expression of software developers to be curtailed by a multinational corporation? And obviously something would happen to the users of the software – they wouldn’t be able to use it anymore!

    Think about what you’re advocating here. You are, in the name of free speech, denying programmers and internet users the right to install and use software. Do you not see the massive absurdity in your proposition here?

  41. 41
    jodyp

    So, to recap: people shouldn’t be allowed to voluntarily use apps that let them avoid seeing stuff they don’t want to see, because fascism.

  42. 42
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    TDA wrote:

    I’d like to see the API be altered by Twitter to prevent the app from working.

    Considering blocking people is a function of Twitter itself that seems…unlikely. Add to the fact that they (presumably) see it as a helpful tool to help people keep using their service rather than stop because of harassment, I’d be very surprised if they did that.

  43. 43
    The Denver Atheist

    Ewan,

    Hope you don’t mind the fact that I’m dropping the full username. Those tweets are mine, yes. I’ll address all 4:

    1. Was a reference to a Family Guy episode wherein Peter Griffin says that phrase to Lois during a pre-sex scene.

    2. This was said to a follower in gest. Relatively sure we both know that (he and I, I mean. You must not)

    3. This was said to @GammaAtheist because he’s doing a fundraiser for cancer by growing out his beard. It had become quite a mess and this was a joke. He’s aware of that.

    4. Ah, this was and attempt to bolster attention for a blog post I wrote about people forcing their ideas of decency in the bedrooms (sex lives) of others. You can read that blog here: http://thedenveratheist.net/lets-talk-about-fucking-shall-we/ there’s a very good chance you would agree with it.

    This is a good example of things being taken out of context and presented that way.

    Very Best,
    TDA

  44. 44
    MyaR

    Well, damn, my convoluted syntax caused a missed word to not be found and made it even harder to read. Shorter version: TDA’s definition of fascism is full of shit, his comparison of A+ to fascism is even more full of shit, and… I forgot my third point. Pretty sure it had to do with TDA being full of shit.

  45. 45
    Ace of Sevens

    Is that definition of fascism even correct? By that definition, the Soviet Union was fascist.

    The difference between a nation and an ideology is pretty important. Ideologies are made of actual ideas. Peopel follow them because they believe in these ideas. Countries are imaginary, effectively arbitrary lines where you get membership by blind luck. There’s a big difference between insisting an idea is right and insisting that some entity with no fixed values is right.

  46. 46
    ewanmacdonald

    This is why I don’t use Twitter anymore. There is no room for context or nuance unless you want to make an occupation out of reading every conversation, which I don’t really have the time or inclination to do. What I gathered from looking at your Twitter feed is that it’s witless and largely nonsensical. This doesn’t mean I’m going to block it – as I say, I barely use Twitter – but that, well, it sucks.

  47. 47
    The Denver Atheist

    All,

    I’m going to bow out now, in defeat I’m sure most everyone here will believe, as I feel the conversation is headed in a non-productive direction. I suppose that’s me being, as Ophelia put it, “smug”. I’ll take that title, I suppose, along with “arrogant” I suppose (it was only a matter of time before that word was used, I’m saving you the trouble).

    I do hope everyone has an excellent evening, thanks for allowing me to participate.

    Very Best,
    TDA

  48. 48
    tuibguy

    Just for the record, I have never gotten any letters, correspondence nor e-mails, no phone calls, no rocks through my window or anything on a comment thread in a blog post, no threats in forums telling me that I will be kicked out of the Atheist Central Movement if I don’t join in with Richard Carrier’s Atheism Movement, formally declare for Atheism +, kowtow to PZ, Greta, Ophelia, Stephanie, Jason, Jen or any of the “Freethought Bullies.”

    And here I am, living to tell the tale.

  49. 49
    MyaR

    …the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley’s broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else … Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathisers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.

    George Orwell, 1944

    As more backup on the idea that anyone trying to make serious comparisons between fascism and any group (with the exception of Golden Dawn and some other self-identifying actual political parties) is full of shit. (And yes, Ace of Sevens, that definition is… not even wrong.)

  50. 50
    SallyStrange

    LOLZ, way to miss the point, smart guy (I presume guy). Not allowing comments on blog posts is no more indicative of fascism than setting up or following a spam filtering bot on Twitter.

    Words mean things. Jonah Goldberg is not a worthy role model.

  51. 51
    ewanmacdonald

    Bye!

  52. 52
    MrFancyPants

    I had this exact conversation with some idiot on twitter who was angry at me for using the block bot. He was enraged that anyone (me, in this case) would trust oolon et al. to make decisions for me about who does or does not get blocked. When I explained that I had checked the feeds of a bunch of the blocked tweeters and found them all to be offensive, he refused to accept that because I hadn’t checked every single one.

    So here’s the thing, for all you people like Denver Atheist who have similar complaints:

    1. I trust julia & aratina & oolon et al.’s judgement because (1) I watch the people they block and see the reasons for it, and (2) I interact with them and have found them to be great people with very similar sensibilities to mine; and

    2. I believe that the random sample of blocked people that I checked (and found to be awful people) is representative of the kind of people on the entire list; and

    3. I have specifically *unblocked* some of the people on the bot list because I want to see them in all their awful glory (like Sara Mayhew) — YES YOU CAN DO THIS, THE BOT DOESN’T OVERRIDE YOU; and

    4. FFS, it’s a voluntary service and I’ve chosen to use it, so stop your moaning already, if you don’t like it then don’t use it.

  53. 53
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    I don’t use the bot myself – but the difference is that I can appreciate that other people might have a need for it, being so sick and tired of misogynist/racist/homophobic/transphobic abuse and rape/death threats that they might not want to bother individually blocking those people and have instead decided to trust the people who run the bot to act in a reasonable manner in adding people to it.

    But that involves realising that there are people who aren’t me and who might have different needs from mine. And that – what can only be described as a profound lack of empathy – seems to be a huge stumbling block for those attacking the block bot concept.

  54. 54
    FloraPoste

    Made the mistake of clicking through to the “Let’s Talk About Fucking” post to get the “context”. It begins:

    I don’t know how many of you mongoloid-faced, high minded, “ruin sex for everybody” types read this blog,

    I

    So yeah. I know enough about you from 2 minutes on your blog and reading your blog posts that I don’t want to have anything to do with you. That’s not fascism, honey, it’s my freedom to associate.

  55. 55
    Ophelia Benson

    Why is it the worst assholes who have to sign every comment, as if it were a letter? When their name or handle is already there for all to read, at the top of the post.

    Silly question, I guess. Because the worst assholes like to be passive-aggressive.

  56. 56
    ewanmacdonald

    … mongoloid-faced? What?

  57. 57
    SallyStrange

    Yeah seriously, Mongoloid? The 1950s called, they want their insults back.

  58. 58
    MyaR

    Oh, but see, he’s just not calling us/them/whomever/not going over there to look retarded, see? He’s come up with an ever-so-clever way to be… even more offensive. Asshole.

  59. 59
    MrFancyPants

    “You’re all mongoloid fascists, but have an excellent evening by golly”

  60. 60
    WithinThisMind

    A person who moderates comments on their blog is claiming that blocking people on twitter is ‘oppressive’.

  61. 61
    John-Henry Beck

    I’m not an expert on the block bot. But I do know these claims that keep popping up like this: ” I take it on the word of “the authority”, the 12 admins who can block, that 1000 people are not worth listening to. I’m not given the opportunity to vet the list for myself … indeed I couldn’t even if I wanted to.” And that just seems ridiculous. There’s nothing stopping users from looking up names themselves and overriding the bot. The bot doesn’t override follows even. Besides the fact that it’s limited to Twitter, which is hardly the best forum for nuanced discussion.

    I’m not a bot user or an active Atheism Plus type. But while I agree with that one atheist in Denver that A+ and anything it tries to say or do, including the ‘bot to protect people from abuse on Twitter, is really divisive, it seems to me blindingly obvious that the division is due to all that irrational, hyperbolic, and often outright delusional reaction to it.

    Like TDA repeated above, Carrier or others talking about support for the tenets, people like TDA go and call that silly things like demanding obedience or conflating atheism or whatnot even while at the same time claiming they agree with the tenets. They can’t seem to grasp the idea that agreeing with the tenets is all that’s being asked.

    I find it’s so very hard to have any kind of rational discussion about the subjects when the reaction is so full of vitriol and hyperbole and blatant mischaracterization.

  62. 62
    FloraPoste

    3. I have specifically *unblocked* some of the people on the bot list because I want to see them in all their awful glory (like Sara Mayhew) — YES YOU CAN DO THIS, THE BOT DOESN’T OVERRIDE YOU; and

    Hahahaha, really? No, I mean, how terrible and oppressive that people can skip the step of individually blocking people and instead subscribe to a list and then individually unblock people.

    You know who else screened his calls? HITLER!

  63. 63
    Rob

    Aceofsevens @ 45

    Is that definition of fascism even correct? By that definition, the Soviet Union was fascist.

    I had a very boring argument with someone a while back because they maintained the Nazi’s were communists. Because, you know, they were fascists and so was Stalin.

    facepalmdesk. Repeat till loss of consciousness occurs.

  64. 64
    hjhornbeck

    Benson @9:

    ok! Sorry!

    [snorts out one of those "darn tootin' you're sorry" looks]

    Sure, and so do I, provided I have the opportunity to stipulate what it means. But I don’t use the label, because of the ridiculous nonsense people are throwing at it – like the one atheist in Denver’s post.

    We criticise religious moderates for staying quiet when fundamentalists do mean shit, because their silence suggests acceptance. They are ceding the floor to those who speak the loudest, implicitly stating they define what it means to be religious. More times than not, that’s the more radical elements within or without.

    By staying silent, you are similarily making it easier for The Denver Atheist and others to spread lies and hatred over a simple label. You are making it tougher for people like me to overcome the prejudice against that label. Do you think your harassers cut you a break because you don’t label as atheist plus?

    Please reconsider your stance on this.

  65. 65
    WithinThisMind

    —I can see that the conversation has degraded. I won’t take the low road by pitching words like “hate-monger” back at you.—

    STOP OPPRESSING OPHELIA’S FREE SPEECH, YOU FASCIST

    Am I doing it right? Should I have misspelled Ophelia? I’m sorry, I’m just trying to wrap my mind around how these ‘standards’ of yours work.

  66. 66
    leftwingfox

    The same could be said for oppression of homeless people in the united states, couldn’t it? Couldn’t one posit that being homeless in America is a joke compared to being homeless in the third world and therefore calling it “destitution” or “poverty” is that same “self-absorbed martyrdom” you mentioned?

    Only if you’re being excessively weaselly in your terms.

    Poverty in America may not be _as bad_ as Poverty in Somalia, but lack of basic human needs like clean water, food, shelter, health care and physical safety don’t suddenly vanish because one has a cel phone.

    Christians in America are “persecuted” because they are losing unique privileges they had over other groups of people, not because basic rights are being denied to them. You are “persecuted” because people don’t agree with you, and occasionally ignore you or call you a mean name. Boo fucking Hoo.

    In the real world, people who are not you are ACTIVELY PURSUED by harassment, physical violence, sexual assault, legal discrimination and inequal application of the law. the fact that your opinions mean some people choose not to hear from you, engage you in conversation, or insult you when you show up, is NOT OPPRESSION.

    It is, in fact a step UP from many people who get ignored even before they open their mouths, just because they have tits or a tan.

    If you disagree, that’s fine, but to dismiss my assertions without even considering their value (or any truth they may contain) by simply discussing them … that’s kind of irresponsible, don’t you think? As a skeptic, I mean. Which I assume you are.

    You assume I did not consider your statements. I did.

    I simply determined it to be have value and truth contents roughly equal to Ray Comfort’s proclamations on Biology.

  67. 67
    WithinThisMind

    —I’m going to bow out now, in defeat I’m sure most everyone here will believe, as I feel the conversation is headed in a non-productive direction.—

    In other words, you can’t actually support your claims once they start being examined, so you are taking your ball and going home because the people you quiet rudely insulted with your little name-calling exercise aren’t meekly lying down and taking it.

  68. 68
    heliobates

    I won’t take the low road by pitching words like “hate-monger” back at you.

    Good point. TDA totes had the high road from the beginning by making up his own definition of “fascism” and attempting to use it to rally the troops against Atheism+.

    “Hate monger” at least has the virtue of a basis in fact.

  69. 69
    themann1086

    FASCISM DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY!

    Sorry for the capslock of rage, but fascism must be the most-incorrectly-used word besides “factoid”. Orwell’s description from 1944 was both descriptive and prophetic. Leftwingfox already linked to David Neiwert, who is a great writer on the subject. He tries to make people recognize the difference between authoritarians and fascists, and the difference between catering to fascist factions and being fascist. For a concise book on the subject, I recommend Robert Paxton’s The Anatomy of Fasicsm.

  70. 70
    AJ Milne

    You know who else screened his calls? HITLER!

    (Files under ‘cackle-inducing’…)

    … but I am a little disappointed to hear it isn’t, after all, a giant, rampaging nuclear robot…

    Oh, no harm, no foul. Obviously, I just didn’t read the brochure very closely. I guess it’s just there was so much fuss, and I just assumed…

    Anyhoo: if, say, someone were still looking for such a thing, where in this town could you actually get a proper rampaging fission-powered automaton? Like say (glances at watch) before the shops close?

    (/Well, time’s tight. Mostly just because I was hoping to make the standard extort-a-billion-dollars-from-the-UN call in the early evening, mind. Better long distance rates that way.)

  71. 71
    left0ver1under

    What’s the matter with everyone? Jeez.

    What I don’t get is why they can’t grasp rule #1 about being offended:

    If you don’t like the look of something, don’t look at it.

    It’s not hard to figure out. But the clowns in question go out of their way to see or getting involved in the very things they claim to hate, the same way gay-hating bigots troll LGBTQ forums.

  72. 72
    Rey Fox

    Why is it the worst assholes who have to sign every comment, as if it were a letter? When their name or handle is already there for all to read, at the top of the post.

    The sort of unwarranted feeling of tremendous importance that compels them to howl and moan about being blocked on Twitter. They simply MUST BE HEARD!

  73. 73
    Jafafa Hots

    but you know what? I’m on that list. I don’t think I’m a shitty person

    That is what it boils down to.
    When a horribly sexist and ableist person who constantly calls women “cunts” and makes disparaging remarks decided to “show me how the blockbot is wrong” and all of the things others claim, fascist, etc., they intentionally labelled me a “homophobe” over a tweet about frozen soup chickens.

    The message being “see, how do YOU like it?”
    And if I don’t like it, that means the blockbot is “censorship” and “fascist” etc.

    That’s why the blockbot is bad.
    Because some of the people on it might not like it. Some of them might DISAGREE.

    THAT is the crime. They disagree, so it’s not fair – you’re supposed to have to listen to them shout at you how much they disagree, you “cunt,” and not listening to them isn’t fair.

    Also funny are all of the things they falsely claim the blockbot does. Or claim that what it REALLY does is abuse of Twitter rules, when blocking is a twitter function.

    It’s all very pathetic.

  74. 74
    Jafafa Hots

    I’m going to bow out now, in defeat I’m sure most everyone here will believe, as I feel the conversation is headed in a non-productive direction. I suppose that’s me being, as Ophelia put it, “smug”.

    You’re leaving? By CHOICE? And not listening to us?

    FASCIST!

  75. 75
    SallyStrange

    LOL, I was corresponding with him and he was being cryptic so I was like, Do you just not want to talk about this? and he said, Check my most recent tweet.

    Here is his most recent tweet:

    About to give a big speech to a class of over 300 on the topic of ethics and morality. Did I mention I’m at a church? Rough crowd?

  76. 76
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    There’s also what I suppose can be referred to as the fetishization of argument; the idea that if we let these people present their rationale for using misogynistic slurs enough times, eventually we’re going to change our minds about how problematic they are – despite the fact that we’ve heard it all before.

    It’s a combination of ignorance and arrogance – ignorant that we’re already familiar with their assertions, and arrogant that they’re so much smarter than we are that they’re able to formulate an argument from those assertions that we can’t possibly have considered before.

    They refer to things like A+ as ‘religious in nature’, yet they’re the ones using the same kind of argument, only replacing ‘if you only chose to believe in God, he’d appear to you’ with ‘if you only chose not to be offended by my misogyinistic slur, you’d stop thinking unequal power in society existed’.

  77. 77
    splen

    Yeah, you must listen. You must take on board all of their important points. They’d have important points if it weren’t for you feminazis shutting them up all the time. Those important points would flow like golden mana from the skies. No! But you won’t let them, and you can’t because you’re afraid. Afraid of these points which they totally have. Wait, did I detect sarcasm in that previous sentence? That’s not allowed. Am I mocking these important points?

    Well then. If that’s my attitude then I guess I might as well call myself a cunt and feel fully justified in doing so. Nice job fascists. I’ve read one of the most popular fiction novels of the 20th century. Where is my blanky?

  78. 78
    Chaos Engineer

    Hope you don’t mind the fact that I’m dropping the full username. Those tweets are mine, yes. I’ll address all 4:

    OK. So the first three of those tweets are inside jokes intended for your friends. There’s nothing wrong with that, but of course strangers won’t know what you’re talking about.

    And the last is based on a silly misunderstanding about what radical feminists want. Radical feminists don’t disapprove of consensual sexual activity. (Well, in a world of six billion people there’s probably a few who do, but they’d be a fringe group with no political power.) If you’re so concerned about the criminalization of consensual sexual activity, then your enemies are groups like the “National Organization for Marriage” and “Focus on the Family” and the “Republican Party”. These are large organizations with multi-million dollar budgets and elected officials willing to push their agenda. Radical feminists would be your natural allies in the fight against them.

    Anyway, if your Twitter feed is intended for your personal friends, then the “block bot” won’t affect you. (Even if your friends use to the “block bot”, it won’t block people that they’ve chosen to follow.) If you’re trying to get a wider audience, then you should think about stepping up your game! Maybe you could have a private feed for inside jokes and nonsensical arguments, and a public feed where you say sensible things? Probably your public feed wouldn’t get blocked in that case.

  79. 79
    screechymonkey

    I’m not even on Twitter, so in a way, I’m blocking everyone!

    I’m the most fascistic of all!

  80. 80
    AJ Milne

    They refer to things like A+ as ‘religious in nature’, yet they’re the ones using the same kind of argument, only replacing ‘if you only chose to believe in God, he’d appear to you’ with ‘if you only chose not to be offended by my misogyinistic slur, you’d stop thinking unequal power in society existed’.

    Not to mention that whole ‘oh, obviously you just never heard what we had to say, that’s all it is, right… I mean, how could anyone hear our painfully ridiculous and poorly-thought-through position and not be sold’ over-the-top naiveté reminds me of any number of proselytizers for stunned monkey religions. And quite vividly.

    (/And re screechymonkey/#76, granted, you win. But as I technically do have a Twitter account, but post and read something like once per geological era, I’m hoping I’m at least a contender for runner-up. Almost as fascisty and the most fascistic of all, anyway.)

  81. 81
    doubtthat

    I’m not on Twitter either — nothing wrong with it, I just don’t use it (just clarifying to separate myself from those that smugly declare nonuse of things–”I don’t even have cable).

    I remember having similar arguments with the usual tedious suspects about some FtB blogger’s banning of some brave hero or another. I always ask them to quote me the most important, profound, interesting thought denied by FtB commenting policy. What was the great idea that we missed?

    Strangely, you never get a response to that.

    I offer a similar challenge to the anti-blockbot brigade: put up a webpage collecting the most interesting, thought provoking, carefully argued, profound tweets by persons on the block bot so I can see what I’m missing (or would be if I used Twitter and had a block bot).

    I’m sort of curious to see what they will hold up as essential.

  82. 82
    michaelnam

    Mongoloid? As a person of Asian descent, I probably wouldn’t want to pay much attention to what was said much after that either.

  83. 83
    David Jones

    ‘It’s a list of suggestions about the Internet,’

    No, it’s more than just ‘a list’. It’s a Twitter App that Twitter has now stopped because it contravened their terms of service. Its proponents claimed the purpose was to block abuse and harassment, which it did; but it was also used by blockbot admins to pursue petty Internet squabbles. Either use would have been acceptable – after all, it’s only replacing automatically what groups of people can agree to do manually – but the confusion of uses has been, I think, deliberate. This confusion of uses was a huge disservice to most BlockBot subscribers.

    Also: once a person’s Twitter account had been added to a BlockBot list the BlockBot added blocks to that account on every subscriber’s account acting, essentially, as the subscriber and was never able to remove them, ever. So if you were added ‘by mistake’ the blocks on others’ accounts against you would remain in place. This would have happened to Dave Silverman the other day (he was added to a BlockBot list) if the BlockBot hadn’t been stopped by Twitter.

  84. 84
    Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion

    @76 Screechymonkey –

    That’s a very good point, actually. Will people start demanding we sign up for twitter so they can be heard now?

    That rather makes me think: Are these people seriously using the argument that once you sign up for a service, you have consented to have all its content forced upon you?

    Awfully like the “If a woman consents to sex she consents to motherhood” and “if a person has consented to sex once they’re fair game and can’t be raped”. Consent once and you’ve consented to -everything-. If someone signs up to a web service, they have no obligation to view any content they find objectionable. If that includes you, then tough. Might want to look at -why- instead of forcing yourself upon other people.

  85. 85
    hjhornbeck

    The Denver Atheist @47:

    I’m going to bow out now, in defeat I’m sure most everyone here will believe, as I feel the conversation is headed in a non-productive direction.

    Indeed, the conversation is demonstrating just how vacuous your argument is. If your goal is preserving your world-view, hanging around is very counter-productive.

    I do hope everyone has an excellent evening, thanks for allowing me to participate.

    It’s been a wonderful evening, actually, now that I’ve fisked your argument via two comments on your blog. Thank you for being an excellent example of how blindly bigoted the opponents of A+ are!

  86. 86
    leebrimmicombe-wood

    Denver Atheist seems to be an eggshell armed with a hammer. He cheerfully goes all-in on calling A+ers fascists, which is a heavy-duty accusation, then scuttles off whining like a six year-old when someone points out he is full of shit.

    DA, you might not want to deal it out if you don’t have the hide thick enough to take it in return.

    Wotta toad.

  87. 87
    Dunc

    I don’t think I’m a shitty person

    Nobody ever does, and yet some people clearly are.

    I have no idea whether you’re a shitty person, but I do know that you haven’t the least clue what “fascism” is.

  88. 88
    pneumo

    Hang on.

    Dude writes a horrible blog post, gets on the blockbot list, then retracts the post with apologies.
    http://thedenveratheist.net/lets-talk-about-sex-baby/

    He is complaining of getting on a block list because of an article he himself retracted?

  89. 89
    sawells

    The irony deficiency is reaching critical levels with this one. “I am THE Denver Atheist, and I want to complain that A+ is hijacking the label of atheism. Also, you’re all mongoloid fascists, and you’re rude to me”.

    Are they really this oblivious, or is it some kind of performance?

  90. 90
    Xanthë, Amy of my threads

    Pneumo @ #84,

    A person whose Twitter account gets added to the block list is capable of getting it removed again – it has to do with Wil Wheaton’s dictum (which Phil Plait is also known for having echoed in sceptic circles). It’s also not the case that the admins of the block list are a hive mind of faceless individuals.

    It’s interesting that on Sunday a few of us had a short Twitter discussion on the merits of this particular blocking. I pointed out that the level 2 block seemed surplus to requirement in my opinion. At that point I had gone over to @DenverAtheist’s blog, and noticed he’d gotten some of the basic science wrong, which he was using to shit over LGBT people. I also concluded was that he was deliberately peppering his blog with controversy. The trouble with doing that is you have to be prepared to admit to your mistakes, not offer not-pologies. The failure mode of ‘clever’ is ‘asshole’.

    Anyway my suggestion (constrained by the customary 140 character limit) was ‘I’m not interested in educating him; if he works out what’s wrong and does something, then reconsider [unblocking him].’ And based on further reading, I stand by my opinion that the guy’s an opinionated asshole, and I’d probably be just as inclined to assign the block, but at the lesser level. It does nothing to prevent him from using Twitter, or from publicising his blog, or to censor him in any other form of on-line medium. If people use the block bot, then he might be selectively blocked at a certain level for some Twitter users. Big deal. Whatever it is, it’s not fascism.

  91. 91
    leebrimmicombe-wood

    I do know that you haven’t the least clue what “fascism” is.

    He’s defined it down to ‘people who choose to block me on twitter using the block bot, because that paints me as a bad person’. That’s not a definition of fascism. However, it speaks volumes about The Denver Atheist.

    I shall mark his card as someone to avoid.

  92. 92
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    I haven’t logged onto my Twitter account in MONTHS and I’ve never even bothered with the bot, though I fully support it.

    I’m going to log onto Twitter just long enough to block this guy specifically. Does that make me a fascist? Or a bully? A free speech-hating hive-mind drone, that I’ve decided for myself that the ‘mongoloid’ crack ALL BY ITSELF makes me never want to read another word he writes?

    *shrug*

  93. 93
    Eamon Knight

    Jebus. Despite being (by his own account) too old* to know what “FFS” means, TDA apparently isn’t old enough to remember Usenet and that horrible fascist invention, the kill-file, by which one could render one’s experience blissfully free of…well whomever one wanted. Also, that other horrible invention: the FAQ, in which “Read The Goddamn FAQ” was used a fascist silencing tactic against any clueless newby or ideologue making the same stupid argument that’s already been answered 500 times. And let’s not even get into that moral nadir of thought-control, the moderated newsgroup (shudder!).

    * Which is how old, exactly? I’m 56 and have been messing about on the internet since 1990. “FFS” isn’t that hard, FFS.

  94. 94
    sqlrob

    TDA @ 12:

    My main issues with Atheism + are with the Block Bot and the hijacking of the term “Atheist” … that’s it

    GMAFB. Hijacking? How? They are explicitly differentiating with another symbol. You’re just looking for things to complain about.

  95. 95
    Jeremy Shaffer

    TDA at 26:

    You make a fair point, people do choose. People see it and think “cool it’ll block really shitty people who are all awful, where do I sign up?” … but you know what? I’m on that list. I don’t think I’m a shitty person and I doubt anyone using the block bot would read my blog (or tweets) and think, “what a total scumbag, this person isn’t worth interacting with” and I suppose that’s where I take issue.

    I know you’ve already said that you’ve bowed out of this discussion but you may come back or still be reading so…

    I’m sure most people on the block list don’t think they’re shitty people either, and they may well not be, but that doesn’t exclude them from holding shitty attitudes and beliefs or engaging in shitty actions.

    That being said, when you first found out about being on the block bot, what did you do? Did you take another look at the instigating article of yours and consider it from another angle? Did you contact the admins in charge of the block bot and see if maybe there was a mistake? Did you just write another article accusing them of (your suspect definition of) fascism?

    If you tried the first two, or something similar, you may not, as you claim, be a shitty person but you probably still hold shitty opinions. However, if it was the third option then, yeah, you probably are a shitty person despite what you may think otherwise.

  96. 96
    Abdul Alhazred

    … mostly-imaginary entities like “Atheism Plus” …

    So now it’s “mostly-imaginary”?
    How long before it is discovered never to have existed at all?

  97. 97
    Raging Bee

    Why hello there! You can imagine my excitement when I saw the alert for a trackback in my WordPress dashboard! You can imagine it, right? No matter, the point is I was excited.

    Translation: “I’m so happy for whatever attention I can get!”

    But when an attempt is made to shield people from opinions that the “authority” deems “aggressive” or “abusive” without letting those people decide that on their own .. that’s certainly the repression of opposition.

    So when you hang up on a persistent obscene caller, and block all calls from his number, that’s “repression” too, right?

    I didn’t say there was any…

    So you’re admitting that your accusation of “centralized control” is bogus. Thanks for clearing that up.

    …I asserted that it was trying to be created.

    How can something that doesn’t exist “try to be created?” That assertion doesn’t even make sense.

    This lonely Denver atheist needs to get out more. He clearly has no idea what he’s talking about; and if he’s imagining that nonexistent things are trying to break through into the world of existence, that may be a sign of cabin fever as well. Or too much HP Lovecraft.

    About to give a big speech to a class of over 300 on the topic of ethics and morality. Did I mention I’m at a church? Rough crowd?

    For him? Not likely — his bigoted hateful anti-atheist lies will fit right in. Bone For Tuna, chump.

  98. 98
    Rey Fox

    There’s also what I suppose can be referred to as the fetishization of argument

    Oh ye gods, there is. “I demand a calm and bloodless tea-and-crumpets discussion every time I spout a load of ignorant bollocks loaded with unacknowledged insults! What? You don’t want to Roger’s White Colonizer Rules discuss this with me right now? MY FREEZE PEACH!”

  99. 99
    Eamon Knight

    @94: Indeed. Consider his @26: If blocking required you to read the 5 most recent tweets from everyone you were blocking, I’d be all for it.

    What, I have to read five tweets, or email, or Usenet posts, or whatever, before I’m allowed to decide some random internet person is (at best) a waste of my time and add them to the client-side filter for that medium?

    And ye gods, removing someone’s blog from my RSS subs is an act of unspeakable repression of their FREEZE PEACH.

  100. 100
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Next thing we know you femifascists will be marching on the Reichstag, Or killing the Czar or something.

    Whatever it will be I’m convinced it will be HORRIBLE for everyone.

  101. 101
    A Hermit

    When I see someone tossing around words like “fascist” and Mongoloid” to describe people who disagree with them I’m inclined to ignore them for being the ignorant fuckwads they are…

    Someone ignoring your persistent, whiny tweets is not “fascism” and “Mongoloid” is an outdated, insulting pejorative for people with Down’s Syndrome. Having spent a good part of my life working with such people that latter term is “fighting words” to me.

    This Denver atheist strikes me as someone who needs to learn how to think before he spews shit all over the internet.

  102. 102
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    I wonder if he’s against AdBlock too? Should I be required to look at 5 ads from every provider before I can enable that plug-in? Am I allowed to use spam filters on my websites without being labelled a fascist? Does he read every Nigerian scam and penis enlargement e-mail that lands in his inbox? My 71 year old mum has an answering machine to screen calls and only picks up when it’s someone she knows. Should I let her know she’s being just like Mussolini?

    I just don’t get the logic here.

  103. 103
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    I can see that the conversation has degraded. I won’t take the low road by pitching words like “hate-monger” back at you.—

    Translation: I can see that I’m wrong, but too chickenshit to admit it, so I’m going to run away and hide now.

  104. 104
    deepak shetty

    Atheism Plus Is A Fascist Movement Within The Atheist Community.
    This is so obviously wrong. Everyone knows Atheism Plus is a radical femistasi movement.

  105. 105
    Dan L.

    David Jones@83:

    Could you please quote the relevant part of the Twitter TOS? Thanks.

  106. 106
    Dan L.

    David Jones@83:

    t’s a Twitter App that Twitter has now stopped because it contravened their terms of service.

    Could you provide a link for this as well?

  107. 107
    changerofbits

    ZOMG, the evil dictatorship FTBollieA+ ate my ham sandwich, shoved the block bot up my ass and ran away with my testosterone leaving me impotent! I’m now incapable of any original thought that doesn’t involve howling against this abomination!

    Seriously, the privilege of thinking you have the right to make everyone listen to your sophomoric rants is, well, tragically pathetic.

  108. 108
    Raging Bee

    I’m going to bow out now, in defeat I’m sure most everyone here will believe, as I feel the conversation is headed in a non-productive direction.

    Translation: the conversation is only “productive” when it’s the Denver Atheist doing the talking.

  109. 109
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    What a ridiculous, fragile-egoed person. Showing up bawling about being oppressed by people he seems to actively dislike because they’re not listening to him, and he can’t force them to. Okay. I do like how he started off the discourse in a nice, lofty, civil way, by calling those who disagree with him dictatorial fascists, and proceeded to be shocked and terribly hurt when in response he was patiently but firmly told how he was wrong in his claims.

    That said, what little we see of his *ahem* profound, brilliant contributions, both here and linked, I don’t see why we’d especially *want* to read more, though, as was mentioned, the option to unblock and gaze into that particular abyss is there even for those who choose the terrible, oppressive… opt-in service.

    I’m also confused how exactly A+ is hijacking atheism. Regular old atheism is still there, and by the accounts of those who oppose A+, flourishing (except, apparently when they’re being hijacked or converted or something by A+. They really need to keep their story straight.) It’s the same thing plus another thing that people are free to decide upon themselves. I don’t hang out at the A+ forums, but I identify as pro-A+, which I think in the terminology of folks who complain about the Block Bot would make me a FemiStasi fellow traveler.

  110. 110
    leebrimmicombe-wood

    “I demand a calm and bloodless tea-and-crumpets discussion every time I spout a load of ignorant bollocks loaded with unacknowledged insults!”

    This.

    It’s baffling how folks like the Denver Atheist can throw out insults and then clutch their pearls when their targets hurl them back.

    Is this whole struggle with the antis not about their thin-skinnedness?

  111. 111
    Aratina Cage

    @David Jones #83

    No, it’s more than just ‘a list’. It’s a Twitter App that Twitter has now stopped because it contravened their terms of service.

    We actually followed Twitter’s terms of service as best we could. What they felt was that users weren’t getting a proper review of all the blocks that would be applied to their accounts after they sign up, and they were worried that it would start interfering with their spam triggers eventually (they did not say that it had, mind you).

    Its proponents claimed the purpose was to block abuse and harassment, which it did; but it was also used by blockbot admins to pursue petty Internet squabbles.

    Why does it have to have one purpose?

    Either use would have been acceptable – after all, it’s only replacing automatically what groups of people can agree to do manually – but the confusion of uses has been, I think, deliberate.

    Who is “pursuing petty Internet squabbles” again? Hmm?

    This confusion of uses was a huge disservice to most BlockBot subscribers.

    Said no subscriber ever (yet, of course–David Jones is not one).

    Also: once a person’s Twitter account had been added to a BlockBot list the BlockBot added blocks to that account on every subscriber’s account acting, essentially, as the subscriber and was never able to remove them, ever.

    Totally false. Currently, getting added to the list at any level does nothing since the part that blocks has been suspended pending Twitter’s approval. But what’s more, the old functioning bot had 3 levels one could subscribe to, and users could click “Unblock” and then “Follow” (two mouse clicks) on any account they wanted to follow and the bot would not reblock that account for the user. Furthermore, the old functioning bot had a control panel for users on the bot’s website that allowed them to see exactly who was being blocked by them; so, a user could stop using the bot and then go through and unblock all the applied blocks one-by-one (tedious, I know, but it still was a feature).

    So if you were added ‘by mistake’ the blocks on others’ accounts against you would remain in place. This would have happened to Dave Silverman the other day (he was added to a BlockBot list) if the BlockBot hadn’t been stopped by Twitter.

    They didn’t stop it because of that, but I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that if/when the new bot is rolled out, it will automatically unblock everyone it has blocked for you when you unsubscribe, and it will not reblock after you unblock a single account (so you won’t have to follow that account even).

  112. 112
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I won’t take the low road by pitching words like “hate-monger” back at you.

    This coming from somebody who calls people “fascists” broke my irony-metre

  113. 113
    David Jones

    @Aratina:

    Totally false. Currently, getting added to the list at any level does nothing since the part that blocks has been suspended pending

    You’re quite right. While the blockbot is not running because Twitter’s removed its API access the Bot does nothing

  114. 114
    Dan L.

    Wait, same guy said this:

    Atheism Plus Is A Fascist Movement Within The Atheist Community.

    and this:

    I won’t take the low road by pitching words like “hate-monger” back at you.

    ???

    AAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    Props to those who actually tried to reason with this person. The only response I can muster to this level of discourse is pointing and laughing.

  115. 115
    Al Dente

    My main issues with Atheism + are with the Block Bot and the hijacking of the term “Atheist” … that’s it

    A group of atheists are using the word atheism to describe themselves? The nerve of some people!

  116. 116
    otrame

    Wowbagger @53

    But that involves realising that there are people who aren’t me

    I think this is the fundamental problem with many people. They have only partially achieved what Piaget called the Concrete Operational Stage, which is usually achieved by age 12.

    ….They begin to realize that one’s own thoughts and feelings are unique and may not be shared by others or may not even be part of reality. Children also develop operational thinking — the ability to perform reversible mental actions.

    During this stage, however, most children still can’t tackle a problem with several variables in a systematic way

    ( Citation.)

  117. 117
    thephilosophicalprimate

    This is where I stopped reading this thread, because all is explained:

    People see it and think “cool it’ll block really shitty people who are all awful, where do I sign up?” … but you know what? I’m on that list. I don’t think I’m a shitty person…

    Let me translate: THIS IS ALLL ABOUT MEEEEEE!!! SOMEBODY HURT MY FEEEEEEELLLIIINGS!!

    As to the actual content of DA’s point… People who call people who they disagree with fascists? I think they are shitty people. Lots of people think the same. If someone called Denver Atheist a fascist, HE would probably think that was a shitty thing to do.

    But I would never call Denver Atheist a fascist.

    A self-involved, whiny, entitled jackass? Yes, absolutely. But not a fascist.

  118. 118
    Richard Carrier

    The Denver Atheist:

    “You can see this pretty clearly in Carrier’s speech when he talks about the refusal to work with anyone who doesn’t support Atheism plus.”

    Since I say exactly the opposite in that video (even go on at length how it doesn’t matter who identifies with it), I have a homework challenge for you: give the timestamp for where I say what you claim in that video.

    Warning: I will then post a transcript of the actual context of any remark you timestamp. And you will have to face that.

    I am pretty sure the part where I say anything about social punishment is far more specific than you are claiming and is such that it is obvious common sense that has nothing really to do with atheism plus but is just the way any society has to work to function.

    Such is my prediction.

    Now provide the timestamp.

    Evidence or GTFO.

  119. 119
    hjhornbeck

    Alas, he has probably gotten. Earlier today he said this to one of my comments:

    This was well-worded and proposes some good questions. It deserves an answer. I’ll make you a deal: if you can wait until this evening for me to respond, I promise I will put the time into answering the questions you raised in this comment.

    But this evening delivered this:

    Can you please do a quick 1, 2, 3 list of my logical flaws? I’m finding that my blog design is quite unaccommodating for going back and reading through comments … for whatever reason I’m having a hard time focusing on what you wrote. Could you please list as briefly as possible?

    I’ll get right on that. Promise.

  120. 120
    leebrimmicombe-wood

    So, a man who makes promises he does not keep? And he wonders why we do not take him seriously?

  121. 121
    Stacy

    I’ll assume “FFS” means “For Fuck’s Sake” – I’m not very keen on the newer internet abbreviations as I’m from the days of lol, rofl, brb, and idk

    When I read his posts (this one and the one about “sex determination”–you know, the post he wrote about a subject he admits he knew very little about?) I assumed the guy was in his teens. That’s how his reasoning and writing skills struck me.

    But the “lol” acronym goes all the way back to Usenet days, so does that mean he’s a grownup? Seriously?

    This fellow needs to drop back into obscurity where he belongs.

  122. 122
    Arnie's Fanclub

    Arnie would crush Cooper in a race.

    Oh, and yes, you are fascists.

  123. 123
    Aratina Cage

    Arnie would crush Cooper in a race.

    Something makes me think that is very unlikely. (A pit vs. a lab? I don’t even think it would be a race.)

    Oh, and yes, you are fascists.

    Trying to force your fantasy views onto reality is part of the beginnings of fascism. You should get a mirror.

  124. 124
    AJ Milne

    Interestingly, systematic, deliberate, repeated harassment, often with significant numbers focusing their harassment on deliberately isolated enemies, and in organized groups, actually was a tool of the fascists. They were pretty good at it, too. Learned to quell and terrify opposition with it. Keep them worried, keep them looking over their shoulders. It was a kind of psychological warfare, ultimately. And the whole ‘know your place/keep your head down if you don’t want your lights punched out” theme was pretty much right through the rhetoric they used, as this was part of the point. Keep the opposition isolated, make sure anyone thinking of offering support thought twice about it, unless they wanted in on the hurt.

    Why do I bring this up?

    Oh, no reason.

    More seriously, oh, no no no. I don’t at all think the online antifeminist hyperventilators are fascists. For one thing, this is giving them way too much credit. The fascists were quite terrifyingly good at it, and the worst of the slimers, while they’ve had their isolated victories, managed to make quite a few people miserable and chase them off the net, and created a seriously poisonous discourse around minority rights online, haven’t really been that successful at splintering and isolating their opposition. Dunno how organized they are, either, really; a lot of this may be about peculiar properties of the networks making the emergent mob a more common phenomenon. And in fairness, so far, while there’s been threats of violence around this stuff, there’s been precious little actual glass on the cobblestones, far as I’ve heard.

    But I figure those who play that ‘keep your head down/know your place thing’ should probably bear in mind who else sings from the same fakebook, seems to me. And at the very least, seems to me, they should start thinking about what the end result of their behaviour looks like. As noted, it’s a strange new world out here. Organized or not, a mob of people shouting ‘cunt’ at visible women speaking up for their rights is likely to have roughly the same effect.

  125. 125
    embertine

    Really, Arnie’s Fanclub? We’re still doing this? Does Abbie approve of your “her dog could totes kill your dog so nerrr” routine? I disagree with her profoundly on a lot of these issues but I can’t see her, or anyone else, thinking your little missives are anything but childish.

    OH, and BTW, my chibi mecha laser-eyed titanium-plated glow-in-the-dark spinosaur/ice cream maker/olinguito hybrid could absolutely annihilate Arnie in a fight. But wouldn’t because it loves puppies.

  126. 126
    A Hermit

    According to Robert Paxton one of the few things that come close to being a “universal fascist value” is the commitment to a “macho restoration of a threatened patriarchy.”

    http://w3.salemstate.edu/~cmauriello/pdfEuropean/Paxton_Five%20Stages%20of%20Fascism.pdf

    That would seem to be more descriptive of the people screaming “shut up bitch” at the A+er’s and feminists, wouldn’t it?

  127. 127
    Dan L.

    @122:

    Hahahhahaha, it just gets better and better! How better to demonstrate that your positions are a result of tribal affiliation rather than careful and rational analysis of the situation than to proudly declare something to the effect that: “The dog of a person who I don’t know personally but with whom I very strongly identify can beat the dog of some other person that I also don’t know but for whom I possess an irrational dislike in a race”?

    How can you even argue with people who discredit themselves with every utterance? These people are absurd.

  128. 128
    Ophelia Benson

    Right? And Cooper’s not even my dog – or he’s my dog only part-time. The latter is the more accurate, since for weeks at a time he is my dog, because I’m his only human and he depends on me etc.

    And like a good Retriever he’s very ball-dedicated, so when I chukkit, he runs. He runs so hard you can hear his paws slamming the ground.* He almost keeps pace with a ball thrown from a chukkit. He’s fast.

    *ETA: What I mean is, he sounds like a horse rather than a dog. It’s as if he had hard hooves pounding the ground, but he has only his – admittedly enormous – paws.

  129. 129
    Eamon Knight

    Well, if it’s to be an Arnie-vs-Cooper contest, let’s be sure to include an aquatic segment. Is there any breed a retriever *can’t* out-swim?

  130. 130
    Ophelia Benson

    And Cooper has ENORMOUS paws, so he probably swims better even than the average Lab.

  131. 131
    Donnie

    Is this going to devolve, or as it already, into “My ‘x’ can beat up your ‘x’”. I am almost 100% sure that Abby would not appreciate anyone advocating Arnie, who is a beautiful dog, be put up against anyone else’s dog, in any type of competition. You know, she does love dogs, especially pits, and the whole competition image thing is something that she is actively trying to eradicate with pit-bulls.

    But hey, she has allowed the fungus to grow, so if she lets these types of people speak on her behalf….”freeze speech” and all…but seriously, Ophelia, my Dad can beat up your Dad! (he is allowed to use his cane, right?)

  132. 132
    smhll

    1. Was a reference to a Family Guy episode wherein Peter Griffin says that phrase to Lois during a pre-sex scene.

    2. This was said to a follower in gest. Relatively sure we both know that (he and I, I mean. You must not)

    If you are an offensive jester, LOTS of people are going to prefer to never see your twitterfeed, or even individual tweets. Other people saying “Yuck” to your sense of humor is not facism. Many people banding together to reduce the Yuck level in their twitter stream is also not facism.

    A+ is composed of many individual atheists. They aren’t hijacking your A-word. And you might want to think of them as individuals rather than as a group with undesirable properties lest you become the kind of closed-minded something-ist that you disapprove of.

  133. 133
    wscott

    I can’t claim to speak for all atheists in Denver*, but speaking only for myself as a Denver atheist: TDA is an asshole who does not speak for me. I know you already knew that, but still.

    * One of the least-religious big cities in the US, BTW.

  134. 134
    w00dview

    According to Robert Paxton one of the few things that come close to being a “universal fascist value” is the commitment to a “macho restoration of a threatened patriarchy.”

    Which makes the term ‘feminazi’ even more sleazy and dishonest.

  135. 135
    Jackie

    Hey, fanclub

    If you were really that poor dog’s fan, you wouldn’t use him in this way.

    If he could speak I assume he’d say, “I’m really a very nice dog and don’t hang out with jerks like that jackass claiming to be my fan. Now, how’s about a cookie?”

    Interesting side note: I actually have a pit bull and a lab mix. From what I’ve seen from them and from watching my bully race around the dog park with other dogs, I think you’re wrong. Then again, my stubby little broad-headed friend is more of a lap dog than and athlete. The only competition she would be likely to win would be for “loudest snore” or “most drool”.

  136. 136
    Marcus Ranum

    Is that definition of fascism even correct? By that definition, the Soviet Union was fascist.

    They are vague labels; there is no objective test for either. For example, Americans chanting “USA! USA!” while an idiot aristicratic popinjay dances around in front of them may be fascistic, while the USA is not facist.

  137. 137
    Marcus Ranum

    PS – I know how to spell “aristocratic”! I blame drugs!

  138. 138
    Marcus Ranum

    And like a good Retriever he’s very ball-dedicated, so when I chukkit, he runs.

    My percheron used to gallop after balls thown with a chukkit. No, picture that!

  139. 139
    Al Dente

    You blame drugs for you knowing how to spell “aristocratic”? How does that work?

    I blame all my English teachers in grammar school who insisted I learn how to spell all sorts of hard words like “marmalade” and “tricycle”.

  140. 140
    David Jones

    So, a brief update for anyone still interested. I wrote:

    …once a person’s Twitter account had been added to a BlockBot list the BlockBot added blocks to that account on every subscriber’s account acting, essentially, as the subscriber and was never able to remove them, ever.

    And Aaratina replied that was totally false.

    Well, here’s a discussion on progress so far on the updates required to the Blockbot by Twitter before they’ll allow it to run again:

    Part of the requirements for getting the application unsuspended is a tool to unblock all the users added by the block bot.

    http://www.oolon.co.uk/?p=518#update

    I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about Aratina’s ‘totally false’ remark – and the possible reasons for his making it.

  141. 141
    John-Henry Beck

    No, David Jones, your claim is still misleading at best.

    Users could always unblock individuals manually. Besides the fact that it would override a follow in the first place.

    What’s being added is an automated way to remove blocks once the bot is no longer blocking.

    You implied, if not outright claimed, a permanent blocking that a bot subscriber could never undo. Which is still false. That the bot couldn’t undo blocks it had done is not some huge thing.

    All this rage against the bot still seems remarkably silly. And I have a very hard time taking any of these ‘critics’ seriously who are not at least twice as outraged as the awful, abusive behavior that caused the bot to be needed.

  142. 142
    David Jones

    Well no, I wrote:

    Also: once a person’s Twitter account had been added to a BlockBot list the BlockBot added blocks to that account on every subscriber’s account acting, essentially, as the subscriber and was never able to remove them, ever. So if you were added ‘by mistake’ the blocks on others’ accounts against you would remain in place

    And that’s perfectly true. I haven’t said a subscriber couldn’t trawl through their blocks, I said the BlockBot couldn’t unblock. You might not find that serious but it’s one of the reasons Twitter revoked the Bot’s authorisation. Twitter disagrees with you.

    Incidentally, how would you go about finding blocks to unblock, do you think? It isn’t functionality supported directly by Twitter…

    who are not at least twice as outraged as the awful, abusive behavior that caused the bot to be needed.

    The abuse of the blockbot by its admins has been a huge disservice to people who absolutely did need help to block abusers, yes; but when you have people adding and then removing, for example, Dave Silverman; or carrying on a squabble with Mayhew or Wachs from a fit of pique; then the usefulness of the Bot diminishes very quickly.

  143. 143
    Marcus Ranum

    You blame drugs for you knowing how to spell “aristocratic”? How does that work?

    I had consumed a great deal of wine, and was getting ready to head for bed and though, “I’ll just …” and dictator-like, Ophelia’s blog sucked me in and forced me to post, even though I was in no condition to do so.

  144. 144
    Marcus Ranum

    I never follow anyone in twitter and never read any replies or follow-ups to my postings. I’m dictatorial like that.

    Actually, it’s just because I think twitter is a terrible way of communicating. If you unsubscribe from it entirely, you’ll soon be thinking “Sarah Who?”

  145. 145
    oolon

    The abuse of the blockbot by its admins has been a huge disservice to people who absolutely did need help to block abusers

    No abuse you numptie, its a blocklist for a community and *no one* from that community has ever complained about EBW or anyone else being added. Well actually Dave Silverman’s addition did get the first bit of attention from subscribers…. Part of the reason he was removed, the *community using it* didn’t agree -> both blockers and users.

    This is exactly how a community block list should work, ignoring those that don’t use it and are on the list –> You Dave –> and listening to their community. The code was open sourced for this very reason, there is no way to make *THE* block bot unless it only blocks people no one has a quibble with. Given the Anon lulz trolls that were threatening CCP with raep for the fun of it were non-plussed at their addition the David Jones universal block bot would have no one on it at all.

  146. 146
    David Jones

    I’ll leave it then to you all to wonder why the BlockBot’s authorisation was revoked by Twitter and what changes need to be made before they’ll reauthorise it. Clue: one of the changes required is the ability to remove blocks.

  147. 147
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    @David Jones

    I can’t believe how much of a liar disingenuous ass you are.

    one of the changes required is the ability to remove blocks.

    You’re still implying that there is no ability for users of the Block Bot to remove blocks. Even though you admitted in a previous comment that this is not, and has never been, the case. Users have always been able to unblock those people auto-blocked by the Bot. Just like one can whitelist a site on your AdBlock or Ghostery plugin. What Twitter is requiring is the ability to auto unblock everyone on the block bot list: a “feature” that its actual users have never, as far as I know, requested. And honestly, given the purpose of the Block Bot, why anyone would think that this “feature” would be desirable in any way is baffling. Presumably, once you’ve decided that you don’t want your Twitter stream inundated with misogynist crap, you’re not going to suddenly change your mind. But whatever. I imagine that the PTB at Twitter have a blanket policy with these kinds of things: if you can opt in en masse you should be able to opt out the same way. As oolon says, No Biggie. The fact that you’re trying to make this out to be some sort of condemnation by Twitter of the Block Bot in principle is bizarre.

    P.S. I don’t use Twitter enough to have need of the Block Bot, but I support it.

  148. 148
    David Jones

    You’re still implying that there is no ability for users of the Block Bot to remove blocks.

    Nope, I’m not, and I never have. I’ve pointed out that the Blockbot couldn’t remove blocks.

    why anyone would think that this “feature” would be desirable in any way is baffling.

    Mystery, isn’t it? But that’s what Twitter wants. And given that it’s Twitter platform, Twitter’s API and Twitter’s rules, those are the rules you have to play by.

    some sort of condemnation by Twitter of the Block Bot

    i haven’t revoked the Blockbot’s API authorisation. Twitter has.

  149. 149
    Aratina Cage

    I’ll leave it then to you all to wonder why the BlockBot’s authorisation was revoked by Twitter and what changes need to be made before they’ll reauthorise it. Clue: one of the changes required is the ability to remove blocks.

    ^^ Funny, David. Did you know that Ophelia, Oolon, me, and many others can actually read the reasoning Twitter gave for suspending it? So, don’t try so hard to make things up and pass them off as reality.

  150. 150
    David Jones

    Yes of course you can, @aratina. That’s why Billingham’s adding an unblock facility that was missing previously:

    part of the requirements for getting the application unsuspended is a tool to unblock all the users added by the block bot.

    …and so can I.

  1. 151
    At Last, The Perfect Snark for the “Criticism Murderer Mah Freeze Peaches !” Contingent » En Tequila Es Verdad

    […] folk who whine and howl about how we killed their free speech with nasty criticism. There’s one such meltdown just this week, which promised to be at least mildly entertaining – until The Denver Atheist took his ball […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>