Brief one-time return of documenting the harassment


Was there a rumor that the slime pit had gotten not so bad? Or did I imagine it? Anyway it’s not not so bad, that I can see. I normally don’t look at it, but it showed up in the stats again (as it does so often) and I was vaguely curious to see if they were raging at me for posting about the CFI Summit because whrblxqfxx. No, they’re raging at me for being so (physically, aesthetically, sexually) disgusting.

bb

Postby katamari Damassi » Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:44 pm  •  [Post 18619]

Cunning Punt wrote:Suddenly I want to fuck Service Dog.

Only because society has indoctrinated you that SD is sexy and that Ophie(par exemple) is not. Damn society!

bb2

by welch » Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:51 pm  •  [Post 18620]

katamari Damassi wrote:

Cunning Punt wrote:Suddenly I want to fuck Service Dog.

Only because society has indoctrinated you that SD is sexy and that Ophie(par exemple) is not. Damn society!

There is no method, neither in reality, nor the most fantastic imaginings of fiction, by which Ophie could become someone I’d be willing to stick it in, or frankly, even wish to think of in that manner. Given the choice between that and death by suffocation in a pit of spiders, I’d willingly commit my soul to countless numbers of the most foul creature to ever be part of Arachnida.
She dreams of a world in which her ugliness is only skin-deep.

Two and a half years later and John Welch (@bynkii on Twitter) is still at it. It’s bizarre. Why is my disgustingness relevant, and what’s it relevant to? It’s not as if I go around acting or talking as if I think I’m gorgeous and sexy. Why make a big point of how physically repellent I am? What’s it for? Just because on the internets you can get away with it? Who knows. I never understand it. I never will.

I once, as a child, shared with my mother my low opinion of an elderly guy’s necktie at a country auction. She hissed at me to be quiet – “he heard you.” I darted a look at his face and (the way I remember it at least) he did look mortified. I can’t begin to describe how horrible I felt – how I wished I could undo it, how I wished I hadn’t made him feel like that. I’ll never understand people who think it’s fun.

Comments

  1. says

    As long as people with serious self esteem issues like Welch decide to work them out by abusing others then I guess it will continue.

  2. chigau (違う) says

    Is there a word in English that combines shuddering disgust and pity?
    There must be a better hobby for them.

  3. Stacy says

    Obsessive hating on a target is (briefly) energizing, and provides a (brief) dose of pseudo-self esteem without all the hassle of actually having to, you know, do shit.

    I don’t think they’ve got the smarts or the self-awareness to let go of this little hobby of theirs, but I do think they’ve effectively marginalized themselves.

    They’re a punchline.

  4. Stacy says

    Ha, honest, I did not see chigau’s post when I used the word “hobby”! Jinx.

    That’s what it is. How icky is that?

  5. chigau (違う) says

    Stacy
    jinx, then.
    I favour rum.
    —-
    The slime seem to have lost their enthusiasm.
    Good.

  6. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    I don’t think they’ve got the smarts or the self-awareness to let go of this little hobby of theirs, but I do think they’ve effectively marginalized themselves.

    They’re a punchline.

    I wish so very much that this were true, but when I consistently see people who should know better insisting the ‘Pitters are allies who just disagree, I wonder just how marginalized they are.

  7. Silentbob says

    how I wished I hadn’t made him feel like that. I’ll never understand people who think it’s fun.

    Clearly you’re an enemy of free speech unable to cast off the shackles of such restrictive ideologies as showing a little bit of basic human decency.
    (/sarcasm)

  8. Anthony K says

    I just googled “Who would John C Welch fuck?” to see if autocomplete or Google itself could help me out.

    An imperfect measure, to be sure, but it appears humanity has yet to find a use for his opinion on such matters. I understand why he struggles so hard to be relevant.

  9. Anthony K says

    Shit. And now here I am, trying to make John C Welch feel bad.

    Instead, I’ll say how sorry I am that these people are so fixated on hurting you.

  10. ludicrous says

    He magically hopes to make make another have the bad feelings he can’t stand to experience himself. “I’m not a loser, you’re a loser”

    And it works for him, he believes the other will feel shamed, his belief makes it true.

  11. brive1987 says

    As a hasty generalisation the ‘pit is only unified by one thing – we do not accept the ideology underlying your SJ positions. That does not imply support for rape, sexism etc per other perhaps more commonly accepted definitions of the terms (ie outside the patriarchy model).

    My observations only: –

    Yes, it is a place to lampoon what are considered ridiculous intellectual constructs. There can be an exaggerated counter-reaction to what some see as the Orwellian themes on “this side of the fence”. There are “rude individuals” as well as very serious ones. There is strong debate as well as ribald and venting. There are people who feel burnt by FtB and are angry and people who simply disagree with your premise and dont like where its taking atheism and associated movements. And everything in between. I find it to be a mixed stream of consciousness.

    Cherry pick all you want, but don’t be ordinary in your criticism. I venture here because I enjoy challenging my pre-sets though i rarely post due to the ban-hammer. Why not test your ideas with some of the “opposition” now and then – not all bite, and no one gets banned at the ‘pit…. Oh and you can hide any commentator whose approach you find particularly galling, words are just words and quickly get replaced by interesting debate.

    Just a “suppressive” thought, unless of course your ideology is set in stone…. I am nervous of anyone whose world-view construction is beyond question, reproach or possible flaw..

  12. Gordon Willis says

    It’s because you aren’t a slave, Ophelia. It’s like not believing that Jesus is the Son of God and Allah is his prophet (well, whatever it is). How bad could that be? Well, bad, really, really bad, like bad, with real real badness. Won’t be a slave, therefore ugly, because how could they burn you if they thought you beautiful?

  13. Anthony K says

    What an appropriate time for your ass-covering weasel words, brive1987. Did you want to mention who you’d like to stick your dick into as well, just to, you know, give the impression you have something relevant to add?

    Christ, what a fucking asshole.

  14. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    Shorter brive:

    Please come to a place that frequently harasses you so that we may harass you some more.

    Umm, no?

  15. brive1987 says

    AnthonyK, you are right, the damaged trolls of each camp really are problematic for considered conversation.

  16. Gordon Willis says

    @13
    Please define “per”. I really would like to know what it includes and what it excludes, because it might just possibly make other things clear. For example, what are the other accepted definitions of “rape, sexism and etc”, and to which particular model of patriarchy do you refer (for example, the Greek Orthodox, the Roman Catholic, the Sunni Muslim, the Shia Muslim, the Al Queda, the Boku Haram, the Orthodox Jewish, the New Revised Atheist — I am assuming, as per — if that’s correct — the Slimepit orthodoxy)? Ah, yes, but I am being flippant. It’s so easy, you see. So let’s look at realities — I mean, of course, real ones, you know? Like all the people who have been burnt by FtB. Shocking, really. Words can’t express. But, who are they? I mean, where are they? Have they been burnt to ashes? Are they in hiding? After all, they must be somewhere — or at least, they must have been, at sometime, if you follow me. And if they have survived the skin-grafts and the intensive care (tricky nowadays, with all those religious medics worrying about whether god really wants to save you) they must surely be capable of some coherent protest. Alas! coherent protest is not to be had, it seems. Only incoherent mumblings and groans. All our fault, of course. We did the dreadful deed (psst, can anyone remember what it was?) and you are all reduced to barking lunacy in perpetuity. So sad, to see such self-acclaimed brilliant minds reduced to quivering imbecility. We are, of course, dreadfully sorry. Well, no, we are, only you wouldn’t like it if you knew how.

  17. says

    Ick. Brive1987 was banned from Pharyngula a while back for persistent asshattery, and is apparently also a member in good standing of the slymepit. The ‘pit is unified by another thing: the utter repugnance of its denizens.

  18. says

    Wow, this one’s got it down pat: the invocations of Orwell, no less (as if FtB/SJ atheists have [or even want!] any actual, tangible power over the Pit or anyone else, let alone absolute power), the legless, incoherent assertion that FtB/SJ atheists are “taking” atheism, as a whole, somewhere undesirable (as if all atheists are duty-bound to do whatever the SJ ones want – again, as if they had [or wanted] power over other atheists), invocation of the “banhammer” (as if innocently disagreeing with a post is a low enough bar to get banned here), an accusation of having a rigid ideology and a “world-view” incapable of being reassessed, even a “words are just words” trope and look! a bonus tu quoque invoking “damaged trolls of each camp”, as if the sustained campaign of hatred and harassment has been a mirror-image two-way street since that elevator thing.

    I’d play Slymepit Bingo with this (and the rest) but, if I’m honest, there’s enough here to make a Monopoly board.

  19. brive1987 says

    PZ , being banned by you during your grenade frenzy was nothing amazing. Asshattery for you = occasional and polite dissent. Meh. Don’t know why you want to address me now during a(nother) polite conversation on another’s blog? But you have.

    *sigh* I can cherry pick any number of hideous comments from your blog directed at specific individuals – but to what end? I assume you do not self-define as a site of “repugnance”. So your specific point there was . ……. ?

    Granted extreme cases of “rudeness” on both sides, I guarantee you there is more questioning and incisive debate on the ‘pit simply because of the plurality of views present – a real world plurality that has been ban-hammered and mod-alerted from your pages now for years.

    History (and common sense) suggests that facile stereotypes, such as the one made by you above, are not the hallmark of a vibrant intellectual environment. Here be “asshattery” indeed ;-)

  20. says

    That such things as the comments quoted in the OP are considered acceptable (and are in fact common as muck) at the implicitly “vibrant and intellectual” Pit suggests that the characterisation of the Pit as a hive of snickering, hateful, cerebrally pre-adolescent trolls is anything but a stereotype.

  21. says

    Further to my 24 and 20, I challenge any Pitter or Pit-sympathiser to produce evidence of a sustained campaign of blog/tweet/FB invective and photoshopped obscenity anything like the intensity and duration of that waged against FtB members, Skepchick members and SJ atheists in general by self-declared Pit members and their associates.

    Hell, just present me the SJ equivalent of noted misogynist-enabler and hate-wagon hopper S. Mayhew.

  22. Markita Lynda—threadrupt says

    Those people are lower than a snail’s backside, Ophelia! You are a lovely person and fascinating to talk with. As though anyone cared where they dipped their wick as long as they kept it to themselves and consensual! Yeuchhh! Please wash them out of your mind forever.

  23. says

    Just for the benefit of bystanders, I wanted to hightlight the fact that brive1987, in two comments, one clearly posted after reading multiple specific requests for examples of the “vibrant intellectual enviroment” of the pit, neglected to provide even one such example, either a quotation or a link.

    It’s not that this lack of specificity is *unique* to defenders of the pit (I’ve seen folks at FtB, and elsewhere do this, too), but it does seem to be quite common, and worth noting.

  24. brive1987 says

    “self-declared Pit members and their associates”.

    Now that’s a long bow by any definition. To borrow an FtB meme, “let me type slowly”. :-)

    Again I stress, my opinion only.

    The Pit is not an organisation organising campaigns, it is a meeting place for very different men and women (too binarist? If so apologies) uniformly united by a common rejection of your brand of SJ and its injection and take downs of popular atheism and related movements. Everything else varies by individual. Different lines are drawn everywhere – and there is healthy debate on these subjective values. The PIt doesn’t “do” anything collectively. And as it describes a spectrum, ‘Pitters is meaningless outside the bland label of ‘people who don’t agree with us and are vocal about it’ in a particular forum.

    Bringing Mayhew into this aktion collective is, what’s the term? “Not even wrong”. She may similarly find your side distasteful but has never, to my knowledge, been involved at the ‘pit.

    An ongoing contary view, well stated, at the ‘pit is no more likely to invoke abuse and banning than one made on (say) PZs blog. Wait that’s probably a bad analogy!

  25. Stacy says

    it is a place to lampoon what are considered ridiculous intellectual constructs.

    Sorry, Pitsters; we’ve dealt with y’all before. At length. We know the personalities involved. We’ve seen how you argue (poorly, when not dishonestly); we’ve seen how you talk about people (“cherry-picking” my ass); we’re familiar with what passes for “wit” and “humor” down there. We know the sort of self-aggrandizing piffle you tell yourselves and one another, but the truth is, nobody goes to the Pit for rational engagement.

    And speaking of ridiculousness–seriously, brive1987, do Pitfolk take you for a dazzling intellect? Take a hint: pretentious syntax and vocabulary don’t make you sound smarter. On the contrary; they make you sound like a stupid person who lacks the self-awareness to realize he’s making an ass of himself.

  26. says

    I’m with Stacy, even the “intelligent” ones from the pit reek of slimy smug based on nothing. Their only attempt at rational calm debate (supposedly the gold standard) resulted in them getting all emotional about Stephanie winning a minor point of order and stamping off with their tails between their legs. (AtheistSkepticDialogue.com) If ever a demonstration that they are not interested in rational debate was needed that proved it beyond a doubt.

    How can you be for rational debate when you define yourself by what you are against not what you are for. Brive admits to it here – they define themselves as being against FTB and “our” acceptance of, apparently, all SJ theories and their, apparent, rejection of it all. Ask them what they are for and it all falls apart. Ask them to debate it and they fail miserably. Hint to Brive and the Pitters, actually try being for something rather than just negative destructive child-like stamping of feet at what other people are for. Smug superiority based on being against something another stands for is built on shoddy foundations.

    The only vaguely positive thing I ever saw suggested there was that they should have an online conference as the FTBullies jet everywhere destroying the environment. Ironically it was Welch who either suggested it or was a big proponent of it, even had a talk ready/in the pipeline. What happened to that? Oh yeah, FTBCon happened and now the pitiful ones are probably against online conferences as well.

  27. brive1987 says

    Oh no I’ve done a “Carrier”. :-) But you should see Steersman in full flow!

    I don’t expect you to ‘like’ the ‘pit, appreciate the point of the ‘shops or keep up with the flow of ‘personalities’. The site is in opposition to the views here and people do enjoy identifying the inconsistencies, foibles and drama that are apparent in your brand of SJ. And people are rude, though that’s never been a problem conceptually at FtB – is it?

    But rolling out stereotypes and seeking to homogenise the ‘pit is weak sauce. Many of the debates are far more rational then what passes for discourse on some of these threads. Seriously, drop by someday and inject yourself into the enthusiastic consent discussion.

  28. The Beautiful Void says

    Seriously, drop by someday and inject yourself into the enthusiastic consent discussion.

    You know what? I may take you up on that. I hope that you’ll respect my frozen peaches when I stand up for my own (feminist, antiracist, progressive, large-government) opinions.

  29. thetalkingstove says

    The site is in opposition to the views here and people do enjoy identifying the inconsistencies, foibles and drama that are apparent in your brand of SJ. /blockquote>

    Most of the time, you types don’t even understand what’s being discussed. Don’t kid yourselves you’re identifying anything other than the results of your own bias.

    As Oolon noted, you’re a group defined by negativity and hate.

  30. brive1987 says

    Void, promise – no yelling from me. But watch out for Welch, he’s still breaking the crockery. ;-)

    Stacy, Thanks, but FtB is already a very low overhead supplier of “recruits”. I’m was only interested in dialog with a challenging alternative view, but whatever.

    Oolon, I defined what bound us in universal commonality. Of course there are a range of beliefs and ideas, much like the real world. Possibly this is alien in your environment. Your self professed trolling of the ‘pit may not have been the best control for your ‘research’.

    Thanks all for letting me visit ‘your patch’ in relative peace. Possibly to the relief of some/most I’ll retire back to the Slyme.

  31. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    One wonders what this useless herd of pissants would be doing with their time if they weren’t discussing such high-minded topics. And remember, these are the people who consider themselves ‘intellectuals’ and ‘skeptics’.

  32. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    One wonders what this useless herd of pissants would be doing with their time if they weren’t discussing such high-minded topics. And remember, these are the people who consider themselves ‘intellectuals’ and ‘skeptics’.

    They’d be patting themselves on the back about how much better than theists they are. It’s all about feeling superior for them.

  33. The Beautiful Void says

    On second thoughts, no, I probably won’t. There was a moment when I had a fantasy of descending to the depths, oxygen mask on, and talking people around to the right side; and then I came to my senses and realised that that fantasy was about as realistic as a Jack Chick comic.

    Ah well. Playing Victoria 2 is probably a more productive expenditure of my time anyway.

  34. deepak shetty says

    There is no method, neither in reality, nor the most fantastic imaginings of fiction, by which Ophie could become someone I’d be willing to stick it in, or frankly, even wish to think of in that manner.
    This person judges attractiveness as people he’d be willing to stick it in to? It’s morbidly fascinating to see how some people think(loosely speaking).

    @brive1987
    Whether the Pit is a collection of individuals with widely varying views is not in dispute. However one uniting factor seems to be that you can hurl the vilest abuse at some people like Ophelia and no one calls you out for it. Most of us would not tolerate such behavior targeted even towards the *common enemy* – religious fundamentalists. If we take say a Sarah Palin or an Ann Coulter would it be ok to fantasize about not sticking it into them because they are so ugly? – Photoshopping them into sexual acts – behavior that is condoned and encouraged.
    There are “rude individuals” as well as very serious ones.
    So who are these serious individuals? What have they said about the rude individuals?

  35. says

    Was there a rumor that the slime pit had gotten not so bad? Or did I imagine it? Anyway it’s not not so bad, that I can see.

    I’m very sorry if I had anything to do with that impression. I surrendered that as a possibility (that things changed) to someone on Twitter (or maybe here?) who was trying to tell me the slimepit isn’t all that bad. Might have been a conversation with Wachs. I actually went back and copied all 18 MB of the original slimepit and changed all RW references to someone else’s name to illustrate my point, and it was nasty. Sadly, I can’t post this eye-opening look at the pit’s beginnings to Blogger even with nearly all of the comments removed; there is just too much nastiness. But everyone can imagine what it looks like. Fairly similar to what you found there just the other day.

    And that is quite the misogynistic, dehumanizing mistreatment of you by Welch! I don’t understand it myself, but I was thinking that maybe people like him are so humor impaired and hateful that they have to ramp up everything to the extreme just to find a little happiness in their own lives.

  36. yahweh says

    I’m frequently confused during my occasional dips into this site – not able to tell whether people are talking about themselves or someone else, whether the irony is intentional or unwitting, getting lost in the “he said” “she said”s. And I can never remember who you all love and who you all hate (apart from Dawkins and Harris).

    Now Oolon says “How can you be for rational debate when you define yourself by what you are against not what you are for”. On an atheist web site.

    It’s just too hard.

  37. Anthony K says

    Hmm, as yahweh points out, we should put together some sort of welcome package, like the slymepit does (so everybody knows that Ophelia Benson and PZ Must Be Referred to as Ophie and Peezuz, respectively, for instance).

    And I can never remember who you all love and who you all hate

    Must be easier at the Slymepit. Everybody loves and hates the same people, I guess, so there’s no reason to worry about listening or differentiating between actual members and their varying opinions.

  38. Steersman says

    Aratina wrote (#42):

    And that is quite the misogynistic, dehumanizing mistreatment of you by Welch!

    I’ll agree that some of his comments were rather nasty, although he provides some evidence that suggests that they weren’t entirely uncalled for.

    However, your entirely discreditable and egregious use of “misogynistic” – as is rather typical in this rather benighted neck of the woods – actually suggests some justification for that response of his. More particularly, I see absolutely nothing in his statements that gives even the slightest hint of a hatred of all women – the essence of the definition, i.e., “Of or characterized by a hatred of women”. But, of course, many of you here on FTB – bit of a classic misnomer if the truth be known – and on fellow-traveler sites such as AtheismPlus and Skepchick tend to anathematize the use of dictionaries – Jennifer Philips on one of Ed Brayton’s posts insisted that recourse to one was sufficient cause to forfeit the argument. And in this case, you apparently wish to insist that the supposed hatred of one woman is ipso facto evidence of a hatred of all of them. While there is quite credible justification for deprecating and repudiating the latter position, it is a bit of a stretch, being charitable, to insist that there are absolutely no cases in which there might be some justification for the former one.

    But, more importantly, that specific case is, as mentioned, rather typical here, from PZ Myers attempt to redefine atheism to suit his highly questionable dogma, to AtheismPlus’ attempt to insist – in their “Glossary” which looks more like a catechism – that the “crimes” of sexism and racism simply can not be perpetrated by women and ethnic minorities. And, in the case of the latter – AtheismPlus, it is that “self-righteousness” that led Ophelia herself to assert “No wonder people hate Atheism plus if that’s a representative sample”; you might wish to familiarize yourself with additional comments along that line in her “virginity tested” post. And then reflect on the biblical aphorism about eyes, logs, and motes.

  39. Jesse W (not logged in) says

    Now brive1987 is up to 5 comments (including one flounce) still with zero examples. Odd, that.

  40. says

    I am also really interested in the ultimate purpose of comments of this nature. Let me try to define this in a useful way.

    *From the perspective of debating the facts of a disagreement over a thing in reality they are not useful. The level of emotionalism involved would push any pair of conversing agents towards logical biases and affect biases instead of away like any useful disagreement over social strategy should.

    *The quoted commentary consists almost entirely of deliberate connections between Ms. Benson and things that are as universally disgusting as possible at the level of our culture, and general disparaging comments about Ms. Benson that have nothing to do with the content of her ideas. There is nothing rationally connecting bestiality and any particular disagreement between ‘pitters and FTB supporters. There is nothing rationally connecting a persons perceived appearance and the content of their ideas.

    *Additionally the commentary connects not only FTB authors with such irrational and offensive things, it also connects perceived systems of thought on social justice to the distasteful things as well. Connections that again have absolutely no link to any actual disagreement about social justice issues or strategies.

    This just begs an explanation. Why? Why would people that are supposedly in rational disagreement with another group need to resort to literal untruths and base smears of disgusting things and assertions of disgust in order to socialize over disagreement? This is not part of “their attempts at disagreement”.

    I think that this is part of how their group bonding works. I think they NEED to do this because just discussing their disagreements is not enough. I think that without the “rituals of universal disgust” they would not have the emotional energy they needed to keep together as a group. For some reason (maybe lack of consistency with reality) it helps them to keep together.
    Farther, I hypothesize that the ‘pitters are not primarily organized around rational assessment of positions (I can hear your collective “DUH!”). It’s almost like this is a massive group doubling down after elevator-gate and they have to justify a disgust reaction at a person and arguments that they don’t like, and the disgust rituals are there to keep the emotional ball rolling. Having read through their boards on occasion I can see a definite difference in emotional tone and theme of comments between there and FTB. The fact that these comments don’t get banned or deleted is not really what bothers me. If they were true as a group to what they said about free-speech being the value, they would be calling out these sorts of comments as making them and their opinions look bad by association and letting the comments and the criticism stand as evidence. Instead these sorts of comments are I believe an integral and vital part of the culture.

    I wish I tried to go into social psychology instead of Molecular biology. This sort of thing fascinates me more and more.

  41. says

    @Yahweh is unintentionally correct, also rather lacking in knowledge of the site they are on – the place where atheismplus came from. Specifically as a declaration that defining yourself as just being against something with no “greater purpose” doesn’t make for good people. In fact I can say with certainty that having met a lot of the Twitter dictionary atheists there are a lot of similarities to the pitters. Theists are stupid, we are intelligent, theists need to be ridiculed as viciously and nastily as possible, all is permitted and every bigoted view is “just a different opinion”. You cannot criticise them as this is worse than the bigotry itself. Unbelievably thin skinned while calling everyone else “professional victims”, desperate for tu quoque and false equivalence. Could all come from the narcissistic Slymepit handbook. Define yourself by what you are against, be as unpleasant to those “others” that you are against as possible, lather, rinse … Slyme.

  42. says

    My problem with the depiction of the Pit as some kind of refuge from political over-correctness for misunderstood intellectuals (which just happens to contain a few rude, ribald characters) is this:

    The “best” of them enable the “worst” of them.

    The abusers, harassers, photoshoppers etc are not called out for abuse, harassment and obscenity. The abuse, harassment, tweetstalking, needlessly sexualised commentary as depicted above are tolerated and encouraged.

    The moderates enable the fanatics. Irrational bigotry is a feature of the Pit, not a bug.

  43. says

    Brony, yes, that sounds about right – shared disgust as a bonding device.

    It’s still odd though, since some of them seem to be not stupid enough to find that satisfying for more than a few minutes or at the most days. One would think the thought “childish” would creep in for the less dense among them.

  44. yahweh says

    Oolon, again I find your clarification head swimmingly confusing.

    One sentence starts from what I presume you see as the Twitter dictionary atheist’s position “atheists are stupid, we are intelligent, …” but switches disorientatingly to what must be your (critical) take on them “all is permitted and every bigoted view is just …”.

    Your pov continues with: “…You cannot criticise them” but half switches to theirs “…as this is worse than the bigotry itself” although ‘bigotry’ is your take, theirs is “just a different opinion”.

    “desperate for tu quoque and false equivalence” is again odd. It is they who are desperate but you who view their (presumed) comments as logical fallacies. They would surely call it hypocrisy. ( I don’t know btw, I never read them).

    You characterise the Slymepit as narcissistic yet you this inability to endure the other man’s perspective for as long as half a sentence is common in this blog. Of course, there are plenty of people in the world who’s perspective it is genuinely difficult to adopt, even as a thought experiment, but still…

  45. says

    yahweh –

    You characterise the Slymepit as narcissistic yet you this inability to endure the other man’s perspective for as long as half a sentence is common in this blog.

    Really? That’s a large claim. Can you elaborate at all?

  46. leni says

    What I don’t understand is why Welch thinks anyone wants to know anything about his dick, least of all where he’d like to put it on those unfortunate occasions when it is not safely out of sight and mind.

    TMFI, Mr. Welch. TMFI.

    To John Welch:

    Given the choice between that and death by suffocation in a pit of spiders, I’d willingly commit my soul to countless numbers of the most foul creature to ever be part of Arachnida.

    I know if I were the recipient of this intended insult, I’d be right there with you pal. I’d “commit your soul” to that pit of suffocation spiders dick-first before you even got the chance to make a choice. Hell, I might even give you a nudge before the creepy sex option came up.

    Imagine the wroth goddess Lolth towering over us, thoughtfully tapping her chin with one of her creepy spider legs, and then slowly turning you and saying “EITHER JUMP INTO TO THAT PIT OF SUFFOCATION SPIDERS OR…” and it would be game over. For you, anyway :) Your ass would be in that pit so fast you’d be cursing atheism plus through a mouthful of spiders.

    I LOVE thought experiments! Let’s do more!

    Perhaps we could dream up a wildly unbelievable universe in which John Welch’s dick isn’t nearly as interesting as he thinks it is. I know that’s crazy talk, but who cares? Thought experiment!

  47. says

    Steersman,

    Aratina wrote (#42):

    And that is quite the misogynistic, dehumanizing mistreatment of you by Welch!

    I’ll agree that some of his comments were rather nasty, although he provides some evidence that suggests that they weren’t entirely uncalled for.

    What does that even mean? What “evidence” could there be that would even “suggest” that comments that say nothing but “I would not want to stick it in her” are “not entirely uncalled for”? What is there, exactly, that would “call for” comments that say nothing but “I would not want to stick it in her”? What would evidence for that _______ look like? Where did Welch provide anything that resembles any kind of evidence for anything, let alone that comments that say nothing but “I would not want to stick it in her” are “not entirely uncalled for”?

  48. Forbidden Snowflake says

    Sure, Steersman, contemptuous indifference for any woman he doesn’t want to fuck is nothing like misogyny. In fact, anything other than literally stating “I really hate women” doesn’t count as misogyny. Your definition is very useful and applicable to real human interactions.

  49. Forbidden Snowflake says

    leni: Jebus, how can a picture of a half human-half spider be so… fanservicey?

  50. says

    Oh, not indifference, that’s not the right word. Indifference doesn’t talk about the object of indifference – it ignores it. It’s not indifference to take the trouble to say that you would RATHER BE EATEN TO DEATH BY OOZY GROSS SPIDERS than put it in this one woman who doesn’t know you and doesn’t want to know you. No no, that’s not indifference.

  51. Chaos Engineer says

    More particularly, I see absolutely nothing in his statements that gives even the slightest hint of a hatred of all women – the essence of the definition, i.e., “Of or characterized by a hatred of women”.

    This reminds me of the Klan rally I was at least week. One of the speakers (not me) got a little carried away and said, “They call us racists, but we’re not! We don’t hate all black people, just the uppity ones who don’t know their place! You can’t call someone a racist unless that person has met every single black person in the world and determined that he hates all of them as individuals.”

    Then I think he started listening to what he was saying, because he stopped with an embarrassed look on his face. The room was silent for a couple of heartbeats and then everyone started laughing hysterically, and pelted him with empty beer cups until he slunk off the stage. Even the Klan expects people to have some level of critical thinking skills.

    Anyway, does the slimepit accept that as the correct definition of racism? If you do, can I send that guy your way? He seems like he’d be a good fit.

  52. says

    Seriously. I mean, if you call just a few Jews a whole bunch of disparaging names, how can that possibly indicate that you’re anti-Semitic?! Good heavens no!

  53. Steersman says

    Ophelia,

    So, I suppose you’re now willing to concede that calling those guys on RDF “a bunch of pricks” is now evidence of misandry?

    Sauce for the goose and sauce for the gander.

    But I suppose you’ve now consigned me to your dungeon again – classy. But it was nice to see a bit of sunlight for a change – Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor will it be torn down in one.

  54. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    Now, now – I’m sure Steersman and his ‘pitter pals aren’t antisemitic. Why, I almost guarantee they would happily let Jews use their toilets.

  55. leni says

    leni: Jebus, how can a picture of a half human-half spider be so… fanservicey?

    It seemed appropriate >:D

  56. leni says

    Oh, not indifference, that’s not the right word.

    It really isn’t. I tried to imagine what would happen if you had posted about him what he wrote about you.

    I was of two minds. One wanted to repeat his bullshit with a few pronouns replaced and the other wanted to hurt myself for wanting to do that at all..

  57. brive1987 says

    Jesse, I “flounced” because there is a correlation between frequency of contrary posts, genral heat and (on some blogs) banning. I wanted to leave on a polite note.

    But you did ask for some examples.

    First the obvious disclaimers. The ‘tone’ I generally dislike here no doubt has a ‘pit equivalent. Also the structure of the ‘pit is such that multiple conversations follow in a stream – there aren’t really separate threads so you may find stuff you are ‘not interested in’ above and below a relevant post. This also makes it impossible to point anyone to “a” debate address or location.

    Naturally, given the ideological divide between us, the arguments made, conclusions reached and even the topics themselves may offend. But the objective here is look for examples of considered vigorous thought – to meet your demand for 1 example.

    Also I note your use of “vibrant intellectual environment”. I don’t believe I used this term(?), I suspect you have used it as a rhetorical device. My point was that a) the ‘pit is an extreme mix of messages, people and motives; there isn’t a common song book (let alone a ‘new member pack’!) so criticism which treats it as a monolith is both ignorant and wrong and b) where debate does occur, it matches and surpasses what happens here – again addressing the convenient myth of unified (un)thought and singular behaviour.

    OT – Ophelia, I have not addressed Welch’s comment directly as it was not mine to defend. FWIW obviously there is a back story behind the anger. The language that expressed that anger is atypical of civil society. But that’s not all is it? The comment was expressed in an environment where you are not expected to visit and therefore was not really directed “at you” like a tweet for instance would be. The comment was set against the context of ‘pit themes – so people “got” the meaning, rough as the expression was. The comment was also made to an audience who ‘understood’ Welch and again could translate. Your analogy to ‘neck tie man’ was not really on the mark.

    Regardless, the “polite clique” on the ‘pit took Welch to task. As they do. Does that immediate feedback happen much at FtB – when what many may regard or feel is abuse gets out of hand?

    Regardless, I assume its a similar in-group knowledge that does allow the FtB community to tolerate the more egregious examples of AnthonyK et al. But to some of the commentators above, ask yourself how is dogpiling and trussing newbies with language most foul before calling for the banhammer a moral gold standard? Anyway, I know. This is personal, it pressed buttons and my points do nothing to remove the hurt felt.

    For what it proves, here are some quick examples of some interesting convos recently on the ‘pit

    + Interminable discussions on Keynesian economics. :-(
    + Major on-going reviews on the Bora/Wilcox drama and debate on all aspects related to harassment
    + Strong discussions on “enthusiastic” consent and its practical legal application with input from a Swedish poster
    + The setting up of a “science wonder stories” video library by one of the more studious members
    + A female healthcare worker led discussion / debate on PV abortions
    + A generally critical discussion on postmodernism inspired by PZ (how’s that coiming on there?)
    + Bemused, nay horrified, analysis of the feminist “women as toilets” meme and its origin (really?)
    + Some of the female members also took exception to PZ’s conflating shaving with pede behaviour ..
    + Interesting music diversion (some great Debussy)
    .. and so on.

    Plus lots and lots of lampooning ‘shops, examples of SJW inconsistency and hypocrisy, grizzles, gripes, good natured ribbing of Vacula (and his real world, make some impact activism) and general lolz all round watching the greatest circus on earth. :-)

  58. thetalkingstove says

    Jeez, Steersman is a boring, pretentious ass.

    What is it with pitters and their refusal to recognise anything short of yelling “WOMEN! ARGH, I HATES ‘EM!'” as possibly misogynistic?

    And then there’s the predictable swipes at A+, which is nothing to do with Ophelia or the majority of people at FTB. So, so boring.

  59. says

    What is it with pitters and their refusal to recognise anything short of yelling “WOMEN! ARGH, I HATES ‘EM!’” as possibly misogynistic?

    It’s their only way of defending themselves from having to confront the reality of their position.

  60. says

    @ Ophelia Benson 50

    It’s still odd though, since some of them seem to be not stupid enough to find that satisfying for more than a few minutes or at the most days. One would think the thought “childish” would creep in for the less dense among them.

    My thought is that the more intelligent are not primarily there for that content. They are there for other things and the few of them that do find it distasteful are not willing to speak out against the rest. The remainder simply don’t have the empathy to care or actually like it.

    Though I don’t see why there would not be intelligent people out there that do find such satisfying. Is there a reason to think that they don’t exist? I mean if intelligence is not one thing like ideas such as Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences suggests, there could be a subset of emotional intelligence that revels in such base cruel things.

  61. says

    Steersman @ 61 – jesus god, how many times do I have to say this before it sinks in? That comment at RDF that went something like, “Sexist epithets are a bad thing, you pricks” – the contradiction was INTENTIONAL. I was making a self-deprecating JOKE.

    And yes, you’re right, I’m not interested in letting all your comments appear. That’s because they’re stupid and wrong, as well as verbose and affected. (Those ridiculous “footnotes” – you really should get over yourself.) Also you totally failed to answer the question I asked, and answered a different one instead.

  62. Anthony K says

    That’s because they’re stupid and wrong, as well as verbose and affected.

    Really. All those words just to say “‘Honky’ is just as bad as ‘Nigger! Tu quoque is rationalism at its finest!” Talk about affectation.

    If Steersman is indicative of the best of the ‘pit, then it really is a collection of idiots with a junior high schooler’s understanding of the world. I can see why brive1987 feels at home there.

  63. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    The ‘Pit is full of those annoying guys who sat in the back of class in college and tried to turn every class into a lecture on their pet topic. After graduation, they all congregated there.

  64. Anthony K says

    Ophelia @68: If they were capable of understanding complex constructions that use self-contradiction as a point of humour, it would be apparent in the kind of ‘satire’ they keep claiming they’re doing.

  65. says

    When I’m asked why I participate somewhere, I would highlight aspects I found interesting. When I am asked why I do not participate, I would point out why it isn’t worthwhile for me. Positive aspects and negative aspects may refer to completely different things, and then people talk past each other. This is categorical thinking which gets apparently overlooked.

    In practice, the things you feel are negative aren’t (necessarily) the things others find interesting. Regarding the Slymepit, I would place some high confidence that this the case for most people. You are quite correct, making crude comments about people isn’t motivating anyone for long. But if you know that already, why do you assume it is the case? If you aren’t understanding it, why do you search for extreme and extremer explanations, instead of the more likely ones?

    My observation is that on this side of the fence, there is an extremely distorted image of what that obscure forum is about. Don’t worry, I won’t praise it and have no ambition to recruit people, but you are, frankly, getting it mostly wrong. There is a grain of truth in your perception, but it is widely different than what you think it is.

    As a matter of fact, I don’t like these insults either. And I don’t have to. But I see that insults aren’t unusual in comment sections, and this is something I learned mainly from the tone on Pharyngula and FTB in general, which I always perceived as over the top extreme. I am one of those people who prefer less insults and don’t use them myself, certainly never used slurs. But you have a rationalisation scheme for that as well – it’s the dreaded “civility” faction that allegedly denies tormented souls their justified anger. Not only are your views typically widely inconsistent, they also don’t add up in the proper context.

    Using your very assumptions, I could pull out articles on – say Thunderf00t – from a year ago, half a year ago, and from recently and then maintain, as you do, that you folks were obsessed with Thunderf00t. Since the Slymepit is not an equivlanent of FOX news, but provides links and screenshots all the time, and not just distorted opinions, I know that you aren’t always occupied with Thunderf00t.

    When it comes to the type of insults, I’d rather have Welch’s insults levelled against me than get the type of comments Mr. “Die in a Fire” Wowbagger liked to use (this clearly morally superior individual posted here on 38). Likewise, when bloggers here open hunting season on someone, something you can be proud of having popularized, there are easily hundreds of comments of insults, mockery and expressions of hatred – apparently no problem. The only thing that works for you is that your place is more discrete by using article structures, whereas the Slymepit is one stream-of-conciousness meta comment thread (when they get too long and affect performance, a new one is opened and the old is closed). But if we would make it even and lump all the comments in one thread, I can already bet that you had a fairly similar result as you see on the Slymepit. There would be some other topics, interrupted by swearing and insults, discussion, a video that gets shared and so on. The Slymepit is just a lot more fun, by orders of magnitude, and more diverse.

    Much more could be said about the situation, and it is a bit of a shame that I know already that you actually don’t want to know, as you are more like religious people who are deeply afraid that your assumptions may be disturbed. Like the bollocks that the slymepit isn’t “for” something and there was an issue. Only logically challenged people and their claqueurs think that.

    For someone who dwells on FOX all the time, other sources of information must be terrifying. In case you want to understand the situation a little and you are too scared to ask, you may want to check out “Convergence Culture” by Henry Jenkins (2006) which contains a lot about bottom-up communities (such as the Slymepit), but in the context of media corporations and their struggle to keep control over their transmedia franchises. As a bonus, it’s worth the read for everyone who has an interest in pop culture. But it must be for you like asking Evangelicals to read the God Delusion.

    Finally, I actually not sure if it’s a good idea to tell you, but I wrote an article that also contains things on misogyny and anti-semitism (in context of witches), where you can check out how your fantastic claims on “us” Slymepitters hold up with reality (you’ll find the link if you want to).

  66. Gordon Willis says

    I think Brony made a very good point about group-bonding. What I cannot for the life of me understand is why they should bond around trying to hurt other people. Unless they want to hurt other people, of course. Perhaps they need to make sure that they are going to have support while they do it.

    Yahweh, at 52 you said “… this inability to endure the other man’s perspective for as long as half a sentence is common in this blog”. But you have also admitted that you have trouble getting from one end of a sentence to another. If you are unable to manage more than half a sentence without getting lost and confused it could well be you who lose the perspective. Well, that is a problem, and I am sorry for it, but would it not be wiser for you to look first to see if the problem is in yourself rather than in someone else? The Slimepit seems to have been created by people who can’t or won’t do that. Does this mean that hating people is easier than understanding them? Well, it would be when understanding others implies self-criticism, wouldn’t it? But surely it would be better to try to understand things and learn to be just than to involve yourself with the unjust merely to avoid what is “too hard” (43)?

  67. Anthony K says

    I found Aneris comment interesting, but I just want to deal with one specific aspect of it:

    When it comes to the type of insults, I’d rather have Welch’s insults levelled against me than get the type of comments Mr. “Die in a Fire” Wowbagger liked to use (this clearly morally superior individual posted here on 38).

    On Pharyngula, for instance, GDIAF is supposed to be unacceptable, and while I’ve used that and similar constructions in the past (as anyone familiar with my comment history can testify), I no longer do so as much as possible.

    Yet importantly, there is a qualitative difference in the kind of insults we’re talking about, and what it comes down to is that it’s not about you. Saying to someone, “Shut up, you goddamn Jew” or “What do you expect from such an ugly woman?” is different than saying “Go die in a fire.” What we eschew, as I understand, are insults that serve to further stigmatize entire groups that have been systemically stigmatized against. “Go die in a fire” is an assholish thing to say, but really, it’s a specific insult used against a specific person, not a whole class.

    Others can speak to this better than I can, but for fuck’s sake, this isn’t new. If you’re still failing to understand why we see a difference (as opposed to disagreeing that there is a difference), then “it is a bit of a shame that I know already that you actually don’t want to know” clearly applies to the ‘pit as well. It’s a hell of a shame, and it’s pretty much on of the main reasons that so few of the people at FtB want to have anything to do with the ‘pit. It’s not like this ground hasn’t been well trodden into hard-pack by now. Who wants to go over the same ol’ same ol’ again and again?

  68. says

    There is strong debate as well as ribald and venting…

    That’s a bit like saying there are some really nice people at KKK rallies. Even if it’s true, you have to get close to a lot of really vile people in order to pick out the good ones — and that’s just not worth the effort. If a truly nice person in the KKK or the Slymepit wants to talk to me, he’ll have to separate himself from his vile scumbag chums first. There’s no reason for me to go out of my way to meet him on hostile territory.

    If the ‘pittiful want to be respected, they can get rid of their less-respectable regulars. And if they really care about having honest intellectual discourse, they can get it by dumping the people who are either ignorant or dishonest. If they fail to do that, then they’re part of the problem and it doesn’t matter how nice or smart they are. Who wants to swim through raw sewage looking for the occasional alleged diamond that may or may not be there?

    These periodic little recruitment drives amuse me. Starved for validation, they must be.

    That’s exactly it: they know they’ve isolated themselves by their sheer concentrated vileness, and they know decent people are avoiding them in droves; so they feel a need to try to pop back into grownup conversations to offset their self-isolation.

    My observation is that on this side of the fence, there is an extremely distorted image of what that obscure forum is about.

    And how much real observation is that? Some of the regulars here have been watching the Slymepit for YEARS, so I’m sure they have a pretty good idea what’s going on there. Your attempt to call us ignorant is not convincing.

    But I see that insults aren’t unusual in comment sections, and this is something I learned mainly from the tone on Pharyngula and FTB in general, which I always perceived as over the top extreme.

    Look at the insults cited in this OP. Insults like that have been coming from the ‘pit for years, with no equivalent insults from any FtB. Take your stale old phony-equivalency argument and shove it back where it came from. Junior-high-school name-calling and body-part jokes are NOT the equal of, say, me calling you an idiot.

  69. Anthony K says

    I will note that when ‘pitters show up here to talk about insults, their argument is of course a verbose if not very cogent form of, “both sides do it”.

    When the topic of doxxing comes up, and it’s noted that the ‘pitters have also done that in the past (though now they’re steadfastly against it), the response is “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

    (See the ‘Open Dialog’ comments on Michael Nugent’s blog for examples of the latter.)

  70. Gordon Willis says

    Aneris, Ophelia is not talking about what insults she would rather have but what insults she actually has to endure. There is no possible justification for them and pointing out the hypocrisy of commenters on FTB or Pharyngula is neither here nor there. Stick with the “fun” you prefer, if you will, but don’t get self-righteous about it.

  71. abear says

    Raging Bee; Were you joking when you wrote this?

    Look at the insults cited in this OP. Insults like that have been coming from the ‘pit for years, with no equivalent insults from any FtB. Take your stale old phony-equivalency argument and shove it back where it came from. Junior-high-school name-calling and body-part jokes are NOT the equal of, say, me calling you an idiot.

    Calling people pricks. assholes, and Marc Lepines (hateful mass murderers) as PZ has done is so much more tasteful than calling someone ugly?
    I could give you plenty more examples and worse from the bloggers and commenters at FTB.

  72. brive1987 says

    Hello, Jesse at #46 took exception to my failure to supply examples of debate on the ‘pit. He/she drew obvious conclusions from this.

    I did actually provide such examples in a post held in moderation (your house your rules).

    I am happy for my post to be snipped if you would like to provide your reader with just the info they wanted – and clear up the inaccurate perception that currently stands.

    Thx.

  73. says

    Raging Bee @75:

    There is strong debate as well as ribald and venting…

    That’s a bit like saying there are some really nice people at KKK rallies. Even if it’s true, you have to get close to a lot of really vile people in order to pick out the good ones — and that’s just not worth the effort. If a truly nice person in the KKK or the Slymepit wants to talk to me, he’ll have to separate himself from his vile scumbag chums first. There’s no reason for me to go out of my way to meet him on hostile territory.

    This, precisely.

    The cost:benefit ratio of diving into the Pit simply isn’t worth it. The possibility of locating reasonable people who simply disagree with some social justice positions is outweighed by the near-certainty of encountering rank, unapologetic misogynists, ranging from those who foam at the mouth with haterage and pompous asses with a gossamer veil of civility (but, as is made clear by actually digesting their prose, whose hatred runs just as deep and thick as the ranting, one-handed-typing Welches of the world).

    And I must echo Anthony K disputing Aneris’ charge of “both sides engage in invective.” I mean, they do, of course – Pharyngula threads are infamous for it. However, the abuse and invective isn’t equivalent, either in severity or duration. A Horde member might well tell you to die in a fire or fuck yourself with a decaying porcupine or just call you an asshole, but show me how often they (let alone PZ or any other FtB writer/commenter) rate their opponents’ fuckability or make rape “jokes” or tolerate gendered insults (if they do so at all)? Show me a years-long campaign of tweetstalking, obscene photoshops, threatening emails and daily blog-trolling?

    Also, recall that FtB was set up by Ed Brayton after he left SciBlogs to provide a platform for secular/left/science bloggers to discuss their pet issues free from corporate restriction, while the Pit was set up specifically to provide a safe haven for those opposed to codifying acceptable behaviour in public places (and who for some reason objected wholesale to the suggestion that cheesy come-ons at 4am in enclosed spaces aren’t welcome). Subsequently it morphed into an all-purpose anti-A+, anti-Skepchick, anti-FtB, anti-feminism, anti-social justice community (and it frequently conflates all five of those issues into one giant two-minute hate) and has provided cover and support for the most stalkerish, obsessive and threatening behaviour the atheo-skeptic online world has to offer.

    Seriously, the notions that (a) both sides of the Deep Rift are in any way equivalent in terms of offensive behaviour and (b) the Pit is some wood-panelled intellectual gentleman’s club with a few urchins in the basement are patently, laughably false.

  74. Skeptical Atheist says

    Anthony K: #74
    “Saying to someone, “Shut up, you goddamn Jew” or “What do you expect from such an ugly woman?” is different than saying “Go die in a fire.” What we eschew, as I understand, are insults that serve to further stigmatize entire groups that have been systemically stigmatized against. “Go die in a fire” is an assholish thing to say, but really, it’s a specific insult used against a specific person, not a whole class.”

    “Shut up, you goddamn Jew”
    This insult is directed at Jewish people, collectively.

    “What do you expect from such an ugly woman?”
    This insult is directed at an individual. “an ugly woman”

    “Go die in a fire”
    Could be used against an individual or a group, depending on the wording.

  75. says

    Re @79 – be it noted, brive provided examples of “debate” – most of them including jibes of one kind or another, so no, I’m not going to approve that snippet.

  76. says

    Anthony @ 74 – I don’t agree about “go die in a fire.” I really don’t want anyone saying that here, and I don’t allow it. I yelled at someone for saying it to Miranda when all this started, and I haven’t changed my mind about it since then.

    Mind you, my brother used to tell me to go play in traffic when I was a snot-nosed kid and he was a college dude…but it was a joke. He didn’t say it when he was really mad at me.

    That kind of thing doesn’t work online. We’re not all each other’s siblings, we don’t know what’s a joke and what isn’t. And I absolutely don’t want any “go stab yourself/go kill yourself” or similar.

  77. says

    Aratina:

    I actually went back and copied all 18 MB of the original slimepit and changed all RW references to someone else’s name to illustrate my point, and it was nasty.

    Wow. I can imagine. What I remember is horrible, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten or blocked out some of the worst.

  78. says

    @ 81 – really? Interesting.

    “you goddamn Jew”: directed at Jews, collectively.

    “such an ugly woman”: directed at one woman who is ugly.

    How does that work, exactly? I fail to see any difference whatsoever.

    Does it work the same way if we reverse them?

    “you goddamn woman”

    “such an ugly Jew”

    Is the first collective while the second is still singular? Or not? What’s the distinction you’re relying on? The difference between “you goddam” and “such an”? Or the distinction between Jew and woman?

    Either way, why? Explain how the distinction gets you to your conclusion.

  79. Skeptical Atheist says

    Anthony K #76
    I will note that when ‘pitters show up here to talk about insults, their argument is of course a verbose if not very cogent form of, “both sides do it”.

    Your post #74 is comparing insults used by both sides. How is that not using the “both sides do it” argument?

  80. Anthony K says

    Ophelia, @83: I agree with you. I was not defending its use (though obviously that wasn’t clear) but noting that it is qualitatively different than racial or sexist slurs.

  81. Anthony K says

    Your post #74 is comparing insults used by both sides. How is that not using the “both sides do it” argument?

    You really wrote this (and 81) and expect an answer from a sentient, competent speaker of English?

    Fuck off.

  82. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    Hankstar [Antipodean Antagony Aunt] at #80

    Show me a years-long campaign of tweetstalking, obscene photoshops, threatening emails and daily blog-trolling?

    I have never seen one of the pit’s false equivalence crew attempt to do this. Hey pit defenders, do “both sides” partake in the above described behavior, or just your shitty group of haters?

    ________

    Skeptical Atheist at #81,

    “What do you expect from such an ugly woman?”
    This insult is directed at an individual. “an ugly woman”

    Huh? The insulter is using “woman” as a term of disparagement.

  83. Skeptical Atheist says

    Ophelia Benson #85

    “Is the first collective while the second is still singular? Or not? What’s the distinction you’re relying on? The difference between “you goddam” and “such an”? Or the distinction between Jew and woman?”

    I’m responding to what I wrote, not to your rewording of what I wrote.

    “Jew” can be singular or collective.

    “such an ugly woman”
    Refers to an individual. Do you think this is directed at all women?

  84. says

    Also, unless I’m misremembering or confusing Wowbagger with someone else, he retracted DIAF and publicly said he wouldn’t continue to use it a long time ago, repeating that every time he sees it (bizarrely) raised again in connection with his nym.

    I’m especially annoyed by the obsessive linking of his nym with this generic phrase since Wowbagger is one of the most creative and entertaining critics/insulters I’ve ever encountered.

  85. says

    Salty @94:

    Also, unless I’m misremembering or confusing Wowbagger with someone else, he retracted DIAF and publicly said he wouldn’t continue to use it a long time ago, repeating that every time he sees it (bizarrely) raised again in connection with his nym.

    I’m especially annoyed by the obsessive linking of his nym with this generic phrase since Wowbagger is one of the most creative and entertaining critics/insulters I’ve ever encountered.

    Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? It only takes one instance of a Pit-opponent doing something assholish for the Pitiful to tar the whole A+/SJ/FtB/SK enterprise as an evil fascistic Bralek Vagylon Cybermangina empire, even if said opponent apologises for their behaviour, recognises its problematic nature, retracts their statement and promises not to do it again. However, when numerous Pitters are on record as openly and regularly displaying hateful, ignorant & creepy behaviour & attitudes, this is elided and dismissed as “a few bad apples” or some kind of consequence of unfettered freeze peach.

    That situation, if granted for the sake of argument, might almost be understandable as some kind of blind spot (if not acceptable or excusable), but when those held in high regard by the Pitiful are among the shouty, obsessive, pompous, unapologetically sexist, cluelessly ignorant “apples” (Reap, Stefanelli, Phil Mason, Hembling, Mayhew, the AVFMan-children and the more infamous Pitiables as frequently visit FtB to disseminate precisely the myths I’ve described) as opposed to being among the nameless basement-dwellers, the hypocrisy and double standard jumps out at you in HD 3D.

    What’s more, saying “FtB do it too” is, while fallacious on its face, more or less a tacit admission that Pit behaviour is indeed deeply problematic, counterproductive and deliberately offensive. It smells like when creationists and fundies say “atheism is a religion too” or “evolution is a faith position too” – they know their position is indefensible and unreasonable; they just can’t admit it unless they also stick the same charge to their declared enemies.

    ____________________________

    Ophelia @90:

    Glad you liked it. Go ahead and keep it :)

  86. brive1987 says

    I guess this is just a note between you and I – but out of some limited form of curiosity I’d love to know by what measure ‘most of my list items contained jibes’ – and could therefore be mocked and disregarded? I suspect you simply deleted my first list and chose to create a new “convenient” public reality?

    Nb I was happy for you to snip any opinion paras you wanted from my original post.

    I set out here to be as polite and reasoned as I could while expressing my contrary opinion. It is a pity that even then this thread ran true to form and you ended up publishing what amounted to a lie.

    Why?

    …………………………………………………

    + an interminable discussion on Keynesian economics. :-(
    + a health worker led debate on PV abortion
    + the setting up of a science video library by one of the more studious members
    + full discussion of the Bora incident and all aspects of harassment
    + an aghast reaction to the feminist “women as toilets” meme (really?) + an analysis of origin
    + certain members, esp women, took exception to PZs linking of shaving to ped behaviour
    + a diversion into music (with some great Debussy)
    + full debate on how enthusiastic consent would work legally (with Swedish input)

  87. Steersman says

    I really love how y’all are calibrating which insults are acceptable and which ones aren’t. Largely self-serving horse manure. If you don’t want to be insulted then don’t insult; if you insult then expect to reap the whirl-wind.

  88. Anthony K says

    Of course, all this tit for tat tu quoque bullshit is just that.

    As anyone who knows how real skepticality™ works, it didn’t happen unless you go to the police. Like rape. So unless there are some criminal charges pressing against FtB members, we can safely (ie skeptically, according to pitters) conclude that FtB has never done anything to hurt the pit, or its members.

    Thus, pitters who bring up alleged ‘insults’ are just obsessed with drama.

  89. Anthony K says

    Holy shit. “Skeptical Atheist” can’t even read. That’s enough of that.

    Convicted in the Court of Public Opinon #socialistnazistalinism!

    Unlike #FtBullies, which has been adjudicated and validated by the state’s legal apparatchik,

    Skepticism is for CLAIMS!

  90. says

    brive – all right, I let your comments appear. The earlier one is @65.

    It’s “between you and me,” not “between you and I.”

    Steersman – ah so that’s how it’s done. X loses her temper and says something insulting, therefore it’s right and good to say much worse things to and about her every hour of every day after that. Interesting.

  91. Gordon Willis says

    Self-justification. What a total waste of time. As the Slimepit so absurdly proves, it’s impossible. So why do they bother? Because there’s so much anger. What about? About being called to account, about having to change, about — well, about the good old sin of pride. And it really is a deadly sin. The worst, the most corrupting, the most difficult to eradicate, almost like suicide. I think that the Slimepit will always be with us (and if it isn’t a site on the net called by that name it’s a place inside). Still, who belongs to it might change. This all started with “Guys, don’t do that”. QED, really.

  92. says

    Not even about that, really, because not really about anything. It’s just a thing. It’s a clubhouse, organized around hyped-up rage at six or seven bloggers. It could just as easily be about football or comics or UFOS. The point is the clubhouse.

  93. Gordon Willis says

    Well, all right, as Ophelia hints in 102, there’s also the simple desire to hurt. Does hurting people justify one’s own existence? Or confirm it (i.e. “I can hurt someone, so I must really exist”)? Is that “the sin of pride”? Not sure, but maybe not letting go of it is. I note that evidence, of a sort, is something Slimepitters go on about, even though they are not very forthcoming on their side: but they clearly feel that they possess it. Self-justification, then? to claim evidence and avoid producing it, till someone says anything that can be pounced on and used? But somewhere deep down there is “I’m right, how dare you suggest I’m not” and (perhaps) “I think I’m here, really, only I need to make sure, just to be on the safe side — you know how it is, can’t be too certain”.

  94. Gordon Willis says

    Well, even comics and UFOs are more than that. And the clubhouse is more than that, too. It’s not so simple. There’s so much about hiding and wanting somewhere to hide and justifying the fears, however reprehensible, or however immature. I’m no social scientist, but I do think these things, and my experience is that people do the most horrible things to each other for the most pitiable reasons. Religion might condemn, but I cannot. We’re all a mess, and the Slimepit is part of us.

  95. says

    This comment thread has been very fascinating. Does anyone want to play a game? I call it “spot the primitive primate troop tactics”.

    Ms. Benson’s thread starts with a reasonable desire to understand why someone might want to engage in utterly cruel mockery of persons ideas though totally irrational connections to disgusting things and assertions of disgust. I assert as fact that these are utterly indefensible actions with only one intent, juvenile bonding rituals of disgust. There is simply no defense for these things if anyone wants to pretend to respect rational disagreement of ideas are a part of any of this as the behavior is utterly incompatible with human discussion.

    At some point we see a set of responses from defenders of the social group to which the agents of these actions belong, and I don’t know about the rest of you but to me they take a series of forms that are essentially redirections of attention. We should not let that stand and at the least we should pin them on the wall in a dissection of social behavior. I find there is nothing quite like a vivisection of the behavior of another to remove many of the emotional complications that make dealing with them so difficult. I generally end up pitying people who let themselves be warped by their environment so badly. Here are my first couple:

    *”Oh yeah look at that bad thing over there!”
    There seems to be a total inability to just say that this is unacceptable and that there should be people in the pit willing to call out such. Defense of ego and in-group prevents it so there must be a redirection from the unacceptable behavior in Ms. Benson’s post to something irrelevant to how Ms. Benson is being treated. So they find some random example from a FTB commenter irrelevant to the subject [Ms. Benson being treated badly by specific pit commentors]. Their group loyalty simply renders them unable to stay on-topic.
    Other examples include when religious folks try to point out terrible atheists in history in an attempt to distract from the terrible deeds that they are connected to through group identity

    *”Don’t talk about what you want to talk about! Talk about what I want you to talk about!”
    This redirection attempt is more off-topic than the first example. My opinion of it is basically who the fuck cares what the pit has to offer in any other area? I don’t care and I reject any attempt to try to discuss anything else in the pit. The subject is this specific situation is [Ms. Benson being treated badly by specific pit commentors] and it’s basically utter cowardice to be unable to discuss that and to try to shove another subject into there.
    Other examples include when Catholics bring up all the good the church does when anyone else wants to talk about how to deal with the child abuse.

    Does anyone have any of their own?

  96. says

    Additionally I would like to point out that insults do indeed come in degrees and variations and it’s intellectual cowardice for any member of the pit to pretend other wise. I find it fascinating that for a group that wants to pretend that it likes to discuss just about anything that representatives would flee from the chance to compare insults. Just look at the variation! Each of these things produce different trills of anger, and feelings of simulated violation (that are just as real to us despite only being spoken due to fascinating things probably involving mirror-neurons).
    *Sex
    *Inclusion of other species
    *Involvement of body waste
    *Physical mutilation
    *Involvement of ones family / social structure / religion / political party / country / …
    *Involvement of personal characteristics.
    *And more because we are endlessly inventive (within definite psychological patterns) when it comes to inflicing negative feelings on each other deliberately.

    What I have seen of members of the pit have led me to conclude that they are mere pretenders when it comes to willingness to discuss everything. This encounter has not changed that opinion.

  97. says

    Gordon @ 107 – I don’t accept that last claim. I don’t accept that the Slimepit is part of [all of] us.

    That was the point of the necktie anecdote. It’s the point of the anecdote of the woman shouted at by the guy on the bus that I keep telling, and the point of mentioning the school bus monitor as I keep doing.

    The point is that I don’t even understand getting pleasure from that kind of shaming behavior, because to me it’s about as pleasurable as touching a red-hot stove burner. It makes me cringe even to imagine engaging in it. I don’t see it as some kind of illicit pleasure that we refrain from in order to stay respectable; I see it as no kind of pleasure at all. It’s not like secretly cornering all the brownies or something.

    I agree with Brony that this is an interesting subject. I am very curious about why some people do find it pleasurable to engage in shaming behavior.

  98. Gordon Willis says

    Ophelia @110 I’ve been ill for a long time and I am not up to date. Please point me to the necktie anecdote. Sorry, but I can’t help it.

  99. Gordon Willis says

    Oh, I see, it’s the one you mentioned above. I was assuming something else. Well, most people don’t like to be in the wrong. Sometimes, however, we like to feel justified, even at another person’s expense. I don’t think it’s that hard, really. Point-scoring is something most people seem to understand, and many even seem to accept it as proper behaviour. So however much we might individually feel that being openly rude is bad and embarrassing, there are also times when we feel justified. To some people, that sort of justification might even be a liberating experience., especially if they have a deep-seated desire to appear better than others. It’s not hard to understand, and that is why I think that the Slimepit is part of us. We all have these feelings from time to time. Sometimes they stick and feel important, and sometimes they don’t. It depends on what we feel is at stake.

  100. says

    I’m sorry to hear you’ve been ill for a long time, Gordon. [unhappy face]

    I still differ. The bus shouter did his shouting at a complete stranger. There’s a lot of this kind of thing around – web sites for rating people’s looks, web sites for shaming people who are ugly, lists of “ugliest former child stars” – and on and on. It’s a step (or several steps) beyond just being rude – it’s sadism – tormenting people as a form of pleasure. I’m sorry but to me it IS hard to understand. I DON’T have these feelings from time to time – not feelings in which I shame people for fun and it really is fun. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying I don’t have angry or vindictive feelings, of course I do, but that’s a separate question.

  101. Steersman says

    Brony (#109):

    What I have seen of members of the pit have led me to conclude that they are mere pretenders when it comes to willingness to discuss everything.

    Considering the highly selective – not to say “self-serving” – moderation policies on places like FTB, Skepchicks, and AtheismPlus, that has to be a real thigh-slapper. As a case in point, you might want to take a look at this post (1) of mine on AtheismPlus and ask yourself whether it qualifies as a bannable offense – which is what happened to me. Or whether it betrays – further – the dogmatism endemic there. Being charitable.

    But rather difficult to discuss much when people, in effect, go around with their fingers in their ears saying “Nyah, nyah; can’t hear you!”. Tell me, how many comments have you posted in the Pit? How often have you tried out your “rhetorical assassin” skills there as opposed to from behind Mama Myer’s skirts? Although, considering PZ’s predilection for banning people who even read there, I might understand your reluctance to answer that question.

    —-
    1) “_http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=5336”;

  102. says

    I’m going to come back and say more later but for now.

    @Ophelia Benson 113

    I DON’T have these feelings from time to time – not feelings in which I shame people for fun and it really is fun.

    I think I see part of the breakdown in conversation between the two of you, though either of you should feel free to let me know if I am wrong. Mr. Willis seems to be talking of universal human potential, and you are talking of what allows for our modern society to work best with respect to human dignity.

    In a sense Mr. Willis is quite right. Murder is natural and a part of “us” the group as well so I find that level of discussion a bit more boring because clearly we try to convince ourselves that murder is wrong as a group. The question is what other things do we make part of our society as culturally reinforced patterns of behavior beyond murder? In a negotiation if one side started going on about the other side being so unattractive that they would rather go have sex with a dog I do not believe that the negotiation would work out that well.

    I see two main styles of argumentation that occur between people, a willingness to “win” and a willingness to “be correct about reality”. For a given person those things are not mutually exclusive within the content of a individual paragraph as some items are more emotionally sensitive than others. I find that the pit is far more about winning than being correct about reality than many places.

  103. hjhornbeck says

    Benson @110:

    I agree with Brony that this is an interesting subject. I am very curious about why some people do find it pleasurable to engage in shaming behavior.

    I suspect it has a lot to do with conspiracy thinking. We are pattern seekers, because finding and exploiting a pattern could lead to evolutionary benefit over something or someone else. Our biology rewards us for this behavior, as those encouraged to seek patterns are more likely to find them and exploit them to their benefit.

    What if, however, those patterns aren’t really there? Our bodies don’t care, we still get the thrill of discovery the comfort of secret knowledge, and the joy of taking down someone higher on the social ladder. But by forming our beliefs around what isn’t there, we run the risk of reality slamming us in the face, wasting time (or worse) chasing down figments of our imaginations.

    But what if “exploiting” a false pattern results in little-to-no direct harm? No-one will attack you for saying 9/11 was an inside job (I hope), you will not be prosecuted or arrested for it, so when you spread this idea around you get all the benefits of stumbling on a pattern, but without risking the harms that come from believing a false pattern.

    This, in essence, is what drives the SlymePit. Railing against Myers/Benson/A+/feminism/etc. gives them the emotional boosts that come from stumbling on a pattern. They can do it 24/7 in an arena that’s been designed (primarily by accident) to cater to that. And because their targets are not people that have any influence over them, and because they themselves are generally (though not always) anonymous, this comes at very little personal cost. It’s tempting to call them addicts, but every human being receives these same social rewards.

    Some of us just happen to put a higher value on the truth.

  104. Gordon Willis says

    @Ophelia 113

    Well, I have very recent experience of people known and trusted for nearly 20 years who do behave like this, and not for any extraordinary reason but simply because of unthinking and unexamined selfishness which has led to a situation in which they must choose to admit their culpability or sacrifice the love and friendship they have fostered: and it is the latter course they have chosen. Why? I think because, to quote yahweh, the other is “too hard”. Too hard to make an effort, too hard to sacrifice one’s public image. Image is worth more than self-esteem. The desire to throw others under the bus when it serves our selfish purposes is not abnormal, it’s human, and it’s why we have the Slimepit, and why the Slimepit will always be there. Not admitting this is highly conducive to falling into it and never getting out again.

  105. Gordon Willis says

    Brony talks about “styles of argumentation”. I think that if we are contrasting a will to win with a desire to understand, then we are not talking about style, but about a fundamental difference in attitude. I have no doubt that members of the Slimepit, by and large, are trying to win, though I’m not sure what the prize is, and I suspect that they aren’t really sure either; and on the other hand I believe that at Butterflies and Wheels most of us are trying to understand how things really are and learn to live with that. My experience is that people trying to win assume as a matter of course that the people they oppose are also trying to win. They will even be quite clear as to their opponents’ objectives. And it will all be pie in the sky, but all attempts to “explain” will be a waste of time. This isn’t about style, but about objectives.

  106. Gordon Willis says

    Maybe what I am trying to say is that it is the littleness of our aims that prompts the big wrongs that we do. Oh never mind. I’m going to bed now. Maybe I’ll be saner tomorrow.

  107. says

    Gordon –

    The desire to throw others under the bus when it serves our selfish purposes is not abnormal, it’s human, and it’s why we have the Slimepit, and why the Slimepit will always be there. Not admitting this is highly conducive to falling into it and never getting out again.

    But that’s not what I’m not admitting. I’m not failing or refusing to admit that the desire to throw others under the bus when it serves our selfish purposes is normal; I agree that it is normal. I’m disagreeing that sadism for its own sake – not sadism that serves a selfish purpose [other than the sadism itself] is normal.

    I don’t think that ranting about how physically aesthetically sexually repellent I am serves anyone’s purposes (selfish or otherwise) except for the purpose of getting fun out of that. I don’t get the fun. I don’t think I have to agree that it’s fun to rant about how physically aesthetically sexually repellent particular people are in order to avoid falling into the Slimepit and never getting out again.

  108. Pteryxx says

    my 2c… it’s not as simple as ‘winning’ but more like ‘dominating’ or ‘controlling’. It’s perfectly possible to win a contest or a debate or even a fight and then be finished with it. You shake hands, pay dues or whatever and then graciously go on with your life. (Losers can lose gracefully, too.) But the characteristic pattern of entitled jerks being jerks is that they are never satisfied and can never just leave their victims be. Plenty of people are capable of being competitive and even holding grudges while still knowing more or less when to stop.

  109. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    aneris, a lying scumbag, wrote:

    When it comes to the type of insults, I’d rather have Welch’s insults levelled against me than get the type of comments Mr. “Die in a Fire” Wowbagger liked to use (this clearly morally superior individual posted here on 38).

    Oh, I ‘liked to use it’? That indicates a pattern – multiple instances. Please feel free to cite all the times I’ve used that expression. Go on, you worthless lying piece of shit, I dare you. I fucking double-dog dare you.

    While I know most of the posters here are aware of what a dishonest creep move aneris has pulled, there may be people who don’t; full disclosure: yes, in a moment on anger I told someone – someone who, if I remember correctly (since what we’re discussing too place over a year ago – something aneris and co. conveniently ignore), was laughing at the fact Jen McCreight had just been driven offline by the harassers. I was furious about that, and I lashed out.

    It was the wrong thing to do. I was an asshole for doing it. I was called out on it my multiple people – none of them slymepitters, incidentally – for doing it, and they were right to do so. I said as much within hours, in multiple comments, on numerous sites. What’s that, aneris? You didn’t think to mention that? Oh, gee, I’m stunned that lying scum like you would conveniently omit facts.

    That I admitted my fault, agreed to the wrongness of my action and – very significantly – have never made a comment of that kind ever since is yet another thing a lying turd like aneris and the other ‘pitters who’ve seized on this one incident won’t tell you. Can the same be said about (since he’s the paragon I’m being compared to) Steersman? Has he admitted what he’s done is wrong? Has he stopped doing anything he’s been called out on?

    There are many things that differentiate us from the ‘pitters. This kind of dishonesty is just one of them.

  110. says

    @ Wowbagger [124]: all that and a bag of chips.

    Part (by “part” I mean “quite a lot”) of the problem appears to be that the Pitiful wholeheartedly believe that they’re right; so right, in fact, that any shitful behaviour is justified in opposing their declared enemies. Dissembling, minimising (on the odd occasion when bad behaviour is even admitted to), projection, flat-out lying, tu quoques, false equivalencies, strawmanning, general hypocrisy, utter lack of honest introspection and self-awareness, persecution fantasies (free speeeech!) etc. – all these things are justified because they have the Truth. Remind you of anyone?

    That the self-declared Most Properly Skeptical Atheists Of All Time behave in such a dogmatic, fundamentalist, unapologetically dishonest, hypocritical manner in defence of their Truth has made more than one of my irony gauges explode.

    Having said that, one glaring difference between fundies and the assorted Pitters/MRAs/anti-SJ chumps jumps out at me: I can’t recall when a group of fundies has banded together to harass and hound an opponent off the internet, then cheered and gloated when it happened.

  111. says

    Oof. Sorry, Wowbagger – I didn’t remember any of it (I’m not sure I ever knew any of it) so failed to defend you or point out the omissions.

    Yes, that’s absolutely typical. Ugh.

  112. says

    Brony. I don’t do these insults. From my perspective, I have no horse in the insulting race. I don’t want some insults be acceptable and some others not acceptable. They are bad to me. I also don’t “bond” with such insults as you claim. Of course I have a sense of which I find worse. But as someone who was called a sub-human (and pointing it out was then, of course, “tone trolling”), who has seen much more in that ballpark, I have a lot of trouble to understand how you come to think you are somehow “better” and I mean regulars who defend a culture, not Ms Benson who has a valid concern. There is a big difference, if you address insults against yourself, or if some people step in and make this a matter of communities and cultures.

    A much more likely explanation is that you painted yourself into a corner. As a highly insulting, abusive culture, you desperately look for ways where you can simultaneously use insults, because they give you a sense of power, and be against insults when the need arises. Then you conjure up rationalisations that don’t add up, are part of an American Euphemism Threadmill and for the most part insult exegesis where you try to invent ideological reasons, just so you can cast these instances away as the Other, without having to deal with your own issues. You don’t even know your own sides collected colourful expressions. But I do. And I have no reason to rationalize them away. I also have no reason to excuse or condone the insults here, as they were made by other people in an open bottom-up community. But if this gets generalized, I have a reason to tell you that I disagree with your crude reasoning.

    And I mean, KKK? Anti-Semitism? Really? Coming from Americans who think “PoC” is the lastest in being progressive? Don’t get me started on American centrism and which role that plays. And good lord, the different communities aren’t equal. They are different in nearly every regard. Besides, I think it should be allowed to address falsehoods. The Slymepit is, by the way, mostly left-wing anti-authoritarian (we have polls and people posted political results one time), and I guess more euro- and non-American overall – i.e. probably more progessive overall.

    Wowbagger, I didn’t know that. As apparently Ms Benson didn’t either. I saw you name here, remembered your insult and found it curious and thus reasonable to bring it up. There is no trouble in giving other examples, but that isn’t the topic for it, isn’t it.

  113. says

    I’m going to post a link to a pair of papers that I have really been getting into more and more. The relevance is that I think that they give some more clues as to why these sorts of rituals work when you think of them in terms of bias creation at the community level. The papers are meant to discuss the idea of where cognitive biases come from with the goal of removal, but they have been much more useful to me than that in the sense of understanding better how our emotional engines work. After all we would not do these things if they were not somehow useful.

    http://www.improvediagnosis.org/blogpost/950784/170746/Cognitive-Debiasing
    The sections I’m thinking of are in the first paper. I’m going to look around and see if there is any more information that directly speaks to affective bias creation or our hard-wired heuristics. Because this is not just about looking for patterns and attaching meaning to them, this is about creating a pattern out of thin air for social purposes.

    I think when you see folks like the slymepitters doing things like this you are watching the creation of cognitive biases in action. It’s about creating emotional tones among community members for the sake of community unity, and coincidental personal enjoyment (it’s both things simultaneously). Sure it looks like they are having fun but every human social phenomena has a personal and a social use. We are simultaneously individuals and members of groups no matter how independent some of us may pretend to be.

    Every community that forms for a specific purpose has these sorts of rituals that are meant to evoke a feeling of camaraderie and bonding among members. In politics you have your rallies where lots of big simple powerful messages are spoken and attended to as a group. Schools have their mottos and songs. Churches have their singing and honestly in many ways the whole service is a big emotional tone setter. The slymepit has it’s disgust and shame sessions. I think it’s about manipulating our innate heuristics and affective biases in order to “freshen up” the passions of the community. The idea is to celebrate and keep the passions flowing.

    The fact that not every member does these things does not matter to me. When I meet people I let them show me what kind of person they are, and if they are not the kind of person that actively condemns things like what MS. Benson quotes, I don’t want to socialize with them. I will think they are bad human beings. It’s the same kind of thing as calling out racist behavior in public. On the contrary I want to encourage people to call out behavior like this. I want people to feel ashamed if they let things like this stand without comment. And the rest of the time I will try to avoid places where these things happen.

    @ Aneris

    Brony. I don’t do these insults.

    I don’t give a shit. What you do is not the topic at hand. Since I’m all about what other folks are doing you are still distracting from the topic at hand by pointing at you. I don’t care about you here. This will be my only reply to you on the issue of you since I want to talk about what Ms. Benson wants to talk about.

    From my perspective, I have no horse in the insulting race. I don’t want some insults be acceptable and some others not acceptable.

    Then call it out over there. Otherwise your words really don’t interest me and your morals seem convenient and situational to FTB.

    Unless you have a link to where you do call out this sort of behavior over in the pit.

    I also don’t “bond” with such insults as you claim.

    Please point to where I said that you bond with insults. That’s right I did not! In fact you can see that above I never once assumed that you are any other person in this thread were part of that sad display.

    But since every community can only be judged on what others see from the outside enjoy getting smeared with the feces your peers toss around. The slymepit exists as a group and that group can be defined by general themes and styles. People can discuss those. I will discuss those. Like it or not insults of that severity just don’t happen much here at FTB and when they do happen I actually see people call them out. Over there it’s par for the course.

    But as someone who was called a sub-human (and pointing it out was then, of course, “tone trolling”), who has seen much more in that ballpark, I have a lot of trouble to understand how you come to think you are somehow “better” and I mean regulars who defend a culture, not Ms Benson who has a valid concern.

    Completely irrelevant. The putative existence of bad behavior elsewhere does not excuse this. I do not support FTB because it is perfect, I support it because it is better. At no point did I say I was better at anything. This is another example of trying to distract from bad behavior.

    There is a big difference, if you address insults against yourself, or if some people step in and make this a matter of communities and cultures.

    I reject that. I choose to support moral standards that I like verbally and when I see others being treated badly. We are social primates fellow primate and this is what we do. I’ll not shirk my heritage for you. Besides, you are here commenting on social issues too. I smell some hypocrisy.

    And that is where I will stop because you don’t do a very good job of letting people know who you are talking about. Your paragraphs flow into things I never even addressed (KKK? Who the heck are you talking to now?) and eventually you are talking to Wowbagger.

  114. leni says

    I don’t know about others, but I don’t get joy from knowing I might have hurt someone. I am not a sadist. But I do enjoy slinging people’s shit right back at them.

    Turnabout is fair play, no? (I also used to play tennis and volleyball, so maybe it’s a just thing with me.)

    However, If I thought that I had really hurt someone, say John Welch for example, I might experience brief pleasure at discovering that his own shitty words being used against him caused him some mild discomfort. My pleasure, in those cases, comes from knowing the poo flinger basically threw their poo in their own face. And really, what’s not to love about that?

    But I would still cease and desist once I thought the point was made. It’s not about cruelty for the sake of cruelty, it’s about justice. Well, a very small and probably inconsequential instance of it, anyway.

    I enjoy turning people’s cruelty back on them, but I don’t really understand pointless acts of cruelty. I don’t understand seeking out someone to abuse or malign just because it’s Tuesday and I don’t particularly care for them.

    The people who do that, the John Welch’s of the world, I now think of those people as “bug squishers”. Someone here mentioned it once, I think. It’s in my craw forever now.

    And a second study revealed that, of the participants who rated high on one of the “dark” personality traits, only sadists chose to intensify blasts of white noise directed at an innocent opponent when they realized the opponent wouldn’t fight back. They were also the only ones willing to expend additional time and energy to be able to blast the innocent opponent with the noise.

    Together, these results suggest that sadists possess an intrinsic motivation to inflict suffering on innocent others, even at a personal cost — a motivation that is absent from the other dark personality traits.
    The researchers hope that these new findings will help to broaden people’s view of sadism as an aspect of personality that manifests in everyday life, helping to dispel the notion that sadism is limited to sexual deviants and criminals.

    Buckels and colleagues are continuing to investigate everyday sadism, including its role in online trolling behavior.
    “Trolling culture is unique in that it explicitly celebrates sadistic pleasure, or ‘lulz,’” says Buckels. “It is, perhaps, not surprising then that sadists gravitate toward those activities.”

    And they’re also exploring vicarious forms of sadism, such as enjoying cruelty in movies, video games, and sports.
    The researchers believe their findings have the potential to inform research and policy on domestic abuse, bullying, animal abuse, and cases of military and police brutality.

    “It is such situations that sadistic individuals may exploit for personal pleasure,” says Buckels. “Denying the dark side of personality will not help when managing people in these contexts.”

  115. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    Ophelia wrote:

    Oof. Sorry, Wowbagger – I didn’t remember any of it (I’m not sure I ever knew any of it) so failed to defend you or point out the omissions.

    No problem; given the volume of this sort of crap that comes across your screen I wouldn’t expect you to remember everything – and I don’t think it’s ever come up here before.

    aneris wrote:

    Wowbagger, I didn’t know that.

    So, without doing any fact-checking, you chose to come here and try and use it against me? That says a great deal about your character. In fact, it perfectly illustrates what people have been saying in this thread about the mindset of the typical Slymepitter.

    aneris wrote:

    I saw you name here, remembered your insult and found it curious and thus reasonable to bring it up.

    Really? What exactly about what I wrote made your bringing up that incident – without, as I’ve noted, bothering to check the facts – seemed ‘reasonable’? Because, given that there isn’t exactly a link between the two, it would seem far more likely you wanted to try and defend the Slymepit’s harassment of the pro-inclusivity/diversity segment of the atheist community by a good old-fashioned tu quoque.

    And you’ve been caught out in your dishonesty – and, in further illustration of your lack of character, you’ve failed to apologise to me for the misrepresentation or to the people here for your attempt to smear them with it as well.

    aneris wrote:

    There is no trouble in giving other examples, but that isn’t the topic for it, isn’t it.

    On the contrary, I would love it if you ‘gave other examples’. Because when you fail to it will only serve to remind us of exactly what a dishonest piece of shit you are.

    And, while we’re at it, stop referring to the core of the dispute being over ‘insults’ in order to justify your abuse; we’re familiar with this false equivalence. Because there’s no way to equate comments between individuals on blog posts – in my case, a pseudonymous commenter about whom I knew nothing – with the fact that your pals have taken to multiple forms of social media as part of a long-term, co-ordinated campaign to bully and harrass the people who, under their own names, oppose their treatment of women online into silence.

  116. yahweh says

    This may be the most unedifying atheist thread yet. A random sample:

    * There is no method .. by which Ophie could become someone I’d be willing to stick it in …
    * I don’t get joy from knowing I might have hurt someone … But I do enjoy slinging people’s shit right back at them
    * All those words just to say “‘Honky’ is just as bad as ‘Nigger!
    * Tu quoque is rationalism at its finest!” Talk about affectation.
    * Go on, you worthless lying piece of shit.
    * Yet importantly, there is a qualitative difference in the kind of insults we’re talking about …
    * “Go die in a fire” is not (or possibly is) worse than “Shut up, you goddamn Jew” or “What do you expect from such an ugly woman?”
    * Wowbagger ‘retracting’ his GDIAF

    Time for you lot to start talking about your feelings, I think.

  117. says

    Typical Slyme thread, they all go the same way. Pitters pop up and make complete fools of themselves by repeating the lies they repeat like mantras over at circle jerk central. When called out on it they refuse to retract or apologise because internally they’ve decided the truth doesn’t matter and those shits at FTBs/A+ deserve everything they get… For unspecified reasons.

    Although Aneris’s other claim that FTBs are/were obsessed with Thunderf00t is hilarious. One of the key features of that embarrassment was the Bunnyman vlogging/blogging furiously about feminists and FTBs. Check out his wordpress blog – mostly about A+/FTBs/Skepchick, the guy was seriously obsessed with getting his revenge at being spurned. Still whines on about feminism and exposes his abject stupidity. FTBs mostly ignores all but the most egregious examples of his shitty behaviour, such as the now infamous wasp/mountain lion rape prevention advice.

  118. spectator says

    Well thank you SC @95 for linking to that lovely notpology. This is how abusers typically wrap up an apology.

    Not to mention that it was, of course, nothing like a threat – particularly given that the comment was directed toward a pseudonymous commenter as opposed to a well-known, actual-name-using person like Ophelia or Rebecca or Surly Amy or any of the many other women johngreg and his cronies have engaged in co-ordinated (sic) campaigns of intimidation against – and it is a lie to claim that it was anything of the sort. But what’s truth to a slymepitter?

    Thanks for mansplaining to me that I was really just asking for it, Wowbagger! I was being a silly butthurt overly-sensitive woman right? No wait! I am not an actual human being unless I give my first and last name. I’m a nobody and that makes it all ok.
    The appalling things go on at the Slymepit has nothing to do with you and me. So johngreg or Welch said horrible things about Ophelia, and I should consider myself lucky? Do I need to grow a thicker skin like Dear Muslima? Hey, Mabus issued thousands of just one death threat ! Just one ought to be no big deal.
    Here’s the original quote and a link to the thread:

    Wowbagger | 05/09/2012 at 23:22 |
    spectator, no decent person wants to interact with someone like you. Go die in a fire. No, I’m not being hyperbolic. I actually mean I want you to die in a fire.

    http://furiouspurpose.me/must-be-all-those-femistasi-and-ftbullies

    You won’t find any apology in the thread. Instead Wowbagger calls me a worthless piece of $h!+. when he finds out I’m female. Just let that sink in because misogyny is apparently fine when Wowbagger does it. I’m not a member of his tribe, so it doesn’t really count as violence against women. The Slymepit got involved after Wowbagger’s death threat. So abusing me to retaliate against the 2 John’s at the Pit makes as much sense as kicking the dog because your boss yelled at you. Since the blogger, Martin, agreed with the violent imagery, The Slymepit came to support me AFTER the GDIAF threat.
    So yeah…Wowbagger has never apologized to me or in the thread.

  119. spectator says

    I started composing my comment yesterday and slept on it. Woke up and proofread, then posted. I’m shocked that Wowbagger showed up.
    I accept his apology.
    I wasn’t laughing at Jen. It was Martin’s pity party that he tweeted the link to. Jen intentionally pissed people off. The got butt hurt by the angry responses. Got Daddy to threaten violence. If you need quotes, I’ll provide them.

  120. spectator says

    You know what, let’s not rehash the drama that continued after Jen went on hiatus.
    Also, Ophelia you are not ugly! NOT ugly!
    Welch is pushing your buttons in the worst way possible.
    Go get a pedicure or something to feel pretty. Know that you are a beautiful human being who deserves to be treated with dignity.

  121. leni says

    So yeah…Wowbagger has never apologized to me or in the thread

    Says the woman* who wrote:

    Being “insulted” on Twitter is a 1st world, quality problem. Poor baby has electricity, internet service, her own blog on a high-traffic network, gets invited to bitch about her wounded pride to sympathetic fans who can afford to get away for a weekend, and an army of sycophants like you.
    She can sign into Twitter from a host of electronic toys at her finger tips voluntarily to read about how people don’t like her call-to-arms clique.
    Waaaaaa!!!! Send her some boxes of Kleenex and expensive fluffy teddy bears everyone!!!!

    If I thought for a moment that you were being even the tiniest bit sincere, I would encourage Wowbagger to apologize to you and do his part to make amends.

    However all you are doing here is feigning outrage for the lulz. And making a false equivalence between your experience and Ophelia’s, and lying about Wowbagger’s motivations for calling you a “piece of shit”. (He clearly thought that was the case before you claimed to be a woman, as did I.)

    So as things stand, and based on your behavior in the very thread you linked to (maybe not the best troll move, by the way), I think maybe I’ll just send you a single square of store brand toilet paper. And maybe a fluffy teddy bear, but only if I can find a very crappy one without having to look very hard or pay for it. And you pay for postage.

    * A claim I will provisionally accept despite the fact that you were trolling and had obvious reasons to lie about it. Also because it’s irrelevant.

  122. leni says

    Also, Ophelia you are not ugly! NOT ugly!
    Welch is pushing your buttons in the worst way possible.
    Go get a pedicure or something to feel pretty. Know that you are a beautiful human being who deserves to be treated with dignity.

    Oh now that’s interesting. This went up while I was writing mine. I still don’t think you’re sincere, but that’s just me.

    I wasn’t laughing at Jen. It was Martin’s pity party that he tweeted the link to. Jen intentionally pissed people off. The got butt hurt by the angry responses. Got Daddy to threaten violence. If you need quotes, I’ll provide them.

    I’ll go ahead and assume this negates any previously apology you might have made for your own shitty behavior.

  123. says

    Pussy Riot member and political prisoner Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, following her hunger strikes in protest of terrible conditions and abuse at her prison, is now allegedly being transferred to another prison but her husband and lawyer have not been able to make contact with her for two weeks. Comments at articles about the situation include multiple remarks about how pretty the commenter finds her or about how she deserves it because she’s a “skank.”

    It’s a sad commentary on our culture that people think their opinions about a woman’s attractiveness or sexuality are appropriate or worthwhile additions to discussions of human rights violations. There are a few limited contexts in which your (culturally shaped) personal views about what’s attractive in women are relevant. You can be pretty sure that most discussions of politics are not amongst them. We recognize that it’s a ploy to try to silence and control women by making it about judging them physically and sexually, or a pathetic failure to recognize that no one cares about your sexual interests.

    If you’re* discussing a woman online and feel the urge to share your opinion about her attractiveness, including what you see as a compliment, stop yourself and think: “Looked at honestly, does this remark contribute to any argument or position? What effects might it have on women reading it?”

    *This is intended for people who genuinely don’t wish to do harm, i.e., not those discussed in the OP.

  124. says

    Being “insulted” on Twitter is a 1st world, quality problem. Poor baby has electricity, internet service, her own blog on a high-traffic network, gets invited to bitch about her wounded pride to sympathetic fans who can afford to get away for a weekend, and an army of sycophants like you.
    She can sign into Twitter from a host of electronic toys at her finger tips voluntarily to read about how people don’t like her call-to-arms clique.
    Waaaaaa!!!! Send her some boxes of Kleenex and expensive fluffy teddy bears everyone!!!!

    Note that that was in response to this from Jen:

    There’s a group of people out there (google the ironic term FtBullies to find them) devoted to hating me, my friends, and even people I’m just vaguely associated with. I can no longer write anything without my words getting twisted, misrepresented, and quotemined. I wake up every morning to abusive comments, tweets, and emails about how I’m a slut, prude, ugly, fat, feminazi, retard, bitch, and cunt (just to name a few). If I block people who are twisting my words or sending verbal abuse, I receive an even larger wave of nonsensical hate about how I’m a slut, prude, feminazi, retard, bitch, cunt who hates freedom of speech (because the Constitution forces me to listen to people on Twitter). This morning I had to delete dozens of comments of people imitating my identity making graphic, lewd, degrading sexual comments about my personal life. In the past, multiple people have threatened to contact my employer with “evidence” that I’m a bad scientist (because I’m a feminist) to try to destroy my job. I’m constantly worried that the abuse will soon spread to my loved ones.

    I don’t believe that spectator thought Wowbagger’s comment was a death threat then or at any time since. If she has, it would be ridiculously hypocritical: she read Jen’s description and couldn’t even bring herself to characterize that harassment as being insulted – she had to use scare quotes around insulted. I think she was using the “death threat!!!” response to that comment, bad as it was, to try to ridicule feminists’ responses to being harassed and bullied and threatened. Insincere or hypocritical – I go with the former. In any case, a sad attempt to distract from the ongoing campaigns of harassment, bullying, and threats against feminists and allies.

  125. says

    Jen intentionally pissed people off. The got butt hurt by the angry responses.

    Go. Away.

    And while you’re away, try some self-reflection. Think about what your online comments in this context are adding to the world. Are you proud of them? Do you think that when you look back on your comments in the future you’ll think “Those were positive contributions to making people’s lives better – glad I posted them!”?

  126. spectator says

    leni how do I know you’re not a troll?
    I did not say that to Jen! I said it to the blogger who essentially pitying her.
    She started a flame war on Twitter

    Dear smug humanists: My critique of the atheist movement included you. Your groups are infamous for being mostly old, white, men— Jennifer McCreight (@jennifurret) August 21, 2012

    If I tweeted, ” Dear smug FTBullies….your group is infamous as a tool of the Patriarchy and the Aryan Nation because you’re mostly OLD WHITE MEN” would you all embrace my polarizing rhetoric and become Christians? No, you’d tell me to GDIAF, call me a worthless PoS, evolution-denying, tool of the theocracy, Tea Bagger, godbot, etc, tell me to go f myself, wouldn’t you? No one would have any sympathy for me what-so-ever. But when one of your tribe attacks an outside community without provocation, telling them of all things, that they’re so racist/sexist, you’re shocked when it doesn’t go over too well.
    I think she realized this on some level. But since nobody except WowBagger (because he was cornered) ever accepts life on its own terms and admits poor judgment, I don’t expect you start today. This was Twitter, not her blog where she enjoys preaching to the choir. No, she didn’t just chalk it up as a lesson learned. Instead of helping her understand that belittling and disparaging the intended recipients guaranteed hostility to the message. Actually laying low for awhile was a wise move.
    Wowbagger, Martin, and then later, Daddy, all jumped to go after those people who were mean to innocent poor little Jen. Poor little thing was just delivering those smug old white men the unvarnished truth. How could anyone be upset? I certainly didn’t feel one bit sorry for her. She wasn’t a target. She targeted others.

    Now this all happened over a year ago. Wowbagger apologized. Let’s be done with this like he wants. Thank you Mr WowBagger

    I meant what I said to Ophelia. I also would like to give her massive props for taking a stand against posting violent rhetoric and gendered insults on her blog. I don’t see her threatening to ban even people like you who make empty insults like you.

  127. spectator says

    Go. Away.

    And while you’re away, try some self-reflection. Think about what your online comments in this context are adding to the world. Are you proud of them? Do you think that when you look back on your comments in the future you’ll think “Those were positive contributions to making people’s lives better – glad I posted them!”?

    You go away!
    When have your comments ever been a positive contribution? That online harassment and bullying is a 2 way street. I haven’t abused ANY one. Thanks for keeping it going by trying to chase me off what you consider your little bit of internet turf.

  128. leni says

    leni how do I know you’re not a troll?

    If your own trollishness doesn’t bother you I don’t see why my potential troll status should.

    I haven’t abused ANY one.

    No, no of course not. You just shit-piled on other people’s abusive behavior by mocking the recipients of said abuse. And then lied about comments made to you in order to belittle those recipients even further.

    Totally different.

  129. says

    spectator –

    If I tweeted, ” Dear smug FTBullies….your group is infamous as a tool of the Patriarchy and the Aryan Nation because you’re mostly OLD WHITE MEN” would you all embrace my polarizing rhetoric and become Christians? No, you’d tell me to GDIAF, call me a worthless PoS, evolution-denying, tool of the theocracy, Tea Bagger, godbot, etc, tell me to go f myself, wouldn’t you?

    Stop that. You seem to think you’re commenting on some mythical blog called “FTBullies.” You’re not; you’re commenting on this blog.

  130. leni says

    …wouldn’t you?

    I’ve already said exactly what I would do.

    But just in case you’ve forgotten:

    I certainly don’t feel one bit sorry for you. You weren’t a target. you targeted others.

  131. says

    So I guess self-reflection is out of the question, then.

    If I tweeted, ” Dear smug FTBullies….your group is infamous as a tool of the Patriarchy and the Aryan Nation because you’re mostly OLD WHITE MEN”

    If you did (which is in no way equivalent to what Jen said – you continue to be dishonest – but that’s not relevant to this point), do you think the sort of campaign of harassment and abuse and threats Jen was subjected to, described in her post from which I quoted @ #140, would be a moral and acceptable response? Oh, that’s right – you would, as you showed in your response to her description of it and its effects on her and continue to show in your remarks here. You think you, like any other woman, would deserve that for “pissing people off” or “starting a flame war.” That it would be teaching you a needed lesson. Do you know what that says about you?

    Nor is it the case that we would collectively respond with such a campaign of harassment and abuse and threats, which is evident from the fact that as appalling as has been the behavior of the harassers, abusers, and threateners and their apologists, we have not engaged in any such campaigns. Which is why to try to make your tu quoque charge you have to seek out random comments or words to mischaracterize, ignoring the responses surrounding them and subsequent apologies, retractions, and acknowledgments. It’s why you have to resort to dishonest hypotheticals and then claim hypothetical reactions on our part. It’s dishonest and wrong.

    No one would have any sympathy for me what-so-ever.

    That isn’t true.

    I haven’t abused ANY one.

    You certainly have. You furthered the abuse of Jen by minimizing what happened to her and ridiculing her pain and fear.

  132. says

    Here’s the whole of spectator’s first comment on that post of Rorschach’s:

    http://furiouspurpose.me/must-be-all-those-femistasi-and-ftbullies/#comment-14161

    spectator | 05/09/2012 at 22:28 |

    Inviting someone to join you for coffee in his room is being “accosted?”

    And you don’t get why people find your crowd hysterical and over-the-top?

    The “Dear Muslima” reply would be a completely appropriate response to this drivel too.

    Being “insulted” on Twitter is a 1st world, quality problem. Poor baby has electricity, internet service, her own blog on a high-traffic network, gets invited to bitch about her wounded pride to sympathetic fans who can afford to get away for a weekend, and an army of sycophants like you.

    She can sign into Twitter from a host of electronic toys at her finger tips voluntarily to read about how people don’t like her call-to-arms clique.

    Waaaaaa!!!! Send her some boxes of Kleenex and expensive fluffy teddy bears everyone!!!!

  133. Stacy says

    Does that immediate feedback happen much at FtB – when what many may regard or feel is abuse gets out of hand

    Yes, it does. All the time. An example has been discussed in this thread.

    Y’all ought to read FtB sometime.

    Seriously. I mean it. Read FtB. Read Butterflies and Wheels.

    For fuck’s sake, you show up here with your tu quoque! and claim the pit is a worthwhile forum because look at all the interesting topics you discuss!

    Anybody can discuss anything. What matters is the quality of the thought going into the discussion.People who don’t understand how shaming women for their looks is misogynist, people who argue poorly and keep repeating bullshit that has been addressed over and over, are not people I’m interested in having a discussion with.

    There’s a whole big world of people to engage with, and the people on the ‘pit are among the least interesting, to me. But if you really, really want to engage with us, do what you’re encouraging us to do. Read FtB, and read the comment threads, and try engaging our arguments honestly. Not selectively, looking for something to sneer at.

  134. says

    No, she didn’t just chalk it up as a lesson learned. Instead of helping her understand that belittling and disparaging the intended recipients guaranteed hostility to the message. Actually laying low for awhile was a wise move.

    …I certainly didn’t feel one bit sorry for her.

    You know, I posted about Nadezhda Tolokonnikova above for a different reason, but it occurs to me that the reaction to Pussy Riot is relevant to this discussion – such as it is – in another way. The online responses to feminists are like a microcosm of authoritarian systems and how they deal with people who challenge the oppressive status quo. The idea that they’re bringing it on themselves and What did they expect? The grotesque exaggeration of their “crimes,” making them out to be violent aggressors. The attitude that they must be without flaws to deserve support. The attempts to trivialize their mistreatment. The attempts to justify their mistreatment. The attempts to naturalize their mistreatment. The attempts to silence them. The lack of basic compassion for people harassed, abused, and threatened for taking a political stand. The ridicule…. This is the basis of authoritarian cultures.

  135. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    Spectator, I will take this opportunity to apologise for what I did; no matter what you said/wrote, you did not deserve that – no-one does.

  136. Matt Cavanaugh says

    1) Although The Slymepit was originally created to ridicule the foibles of the A+ movement, and a good amount of bandwidth continues to be devoted to that end, the majority of content at the ‘Pit has little or nothing to do with A-plussers. Off the top of my head, I recall these topics being discussed:

    aircraft design
    ardent spirits
    basketball
    breastfeeding
    cinema & TV
    climate change
    copy editing
    copyright infringement
    cosplay
    culinary arts
    dialects
    embryology
    ethology
    evo psych
    evolution
    gardening
    gender dismorphia
    historicity of the gospels
    holocaust denial
    holocaust memorials
    horsemastership
    IT
    knitting
    music
    ontology
    overpopulation
    politics
    programming languages
    racism
    ramadan
    science fiction
    sex selection
    stand-up comedy
    string theory
    theater
    tort law
    video games

    The list could easily be expanded. While the antics of the A-plussers do prove droll, It is primarily for these stimulating subjects, and the intelligence & wit of the ‘Pitters, that I frequent The Slymepit;

    2) In response to the frequent query, ‘what is The Slymepit’s position on X': there is no ‘Slymepit Position.’ Aside from a commitment to skeptical inquiry (with a consequent rejection of the key tenets of A+), we do not march lockstep on a unified platform. We enjoy & actively seek out vibrant debate on all manner of subjects, often disagreeing heatedly (cf. George Zimmerman Verdict.) An ally on one topic may be an opponent on the next, with no grudges held. Note well that no one’s opinion is ever moderated or redacted, no one demonized for speaking their mind — a sharp contrast to the censorship and manichaean outlook evinced at FtB;

    3) The satire directed at A-plussers, however crude, does not constitute “harassment.” Ms. Benson, et al., by blogging, have chosen to become public figures. A certain amount of ridicule, mockery, and the occasional insult, comes with the territory. The wise course of action would be to ignore it. Instead, Benson, Svan, and a few others actively troll the Slymepit in search of comments to feign outrage over;

    4) Such behavior is to your rue. Whereas the only goal of the ‘Pitters is to have a little socializing and fun (sometimes at your expense), you all aim for nothing short of a cultural revolution. By expending energy and column-inches on petty squabbles with us, you are diverted from your goal, while we achieve ours. And, while you may succeed in making us look foolish, you make yourselves look equally foolish in the process. Again, we win and you lose. For, while we never gave a damn about our reputation, your success depended on yours.

  137. says

    Since I’m still interested in the original question and still insist on preventing opining ‘pitters from instinctively distracting us from the attention being paid to their comrades, I have found a few other things.

    “Empathy and Disgust Do Battle in the Brain”
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=empathy-and-disgust
    It seems that disgust may be a evolutionary means of suppressing empathy in order to prevent contamination through disease. What good could the manipulation of disgust have in a community? Well a long time ago it was life and death. With the advent of society and language we now worry about contamination from ideas, because we are monkeys badly evolved for modern living.

    The ‘pitters may be suppressing empathy. It’s fascinating how close this is to religious behavior. In fact I also found research connecting religiosity with disgust while looking this up.

    If anyone knows if any caveats that apply feel free to bring them up. Now how to unwire this sort of interaction and undermine it strategically?

  138. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Wow, Matt Cavanaugh! Really? All those subjects have come up? Cool.

    But what if I do not want to have to deal with photoshopped sex picture, sexist name calling, cries about feminazis and the occasional AVfM member?

  139. spectator says

    @155 Thank you very much, Wowbagger! If this ever comes up again, I will immediately point out that you gave me an authentic apology at B&W’s.

    I’m sorry for any additional pain my comments caused Jen.

    To everyone else, I read your comments and I’m going to resist the temptation.

    Ophelia, thank you for allowing me to participate in this discussion. I’m sorry the Internet Hate Machine has caused you ongoing pain.

  140. Stacy says

    @Matt Cavanaugh #156

    [list of topics discussed at the ‘pit] The list could easily be expanded. While the antics of the A-plussers do prove droll, It is primarily for these stimulating subjects, and the intelligence & wit of the ‘Pitters, that I frequent The Slymepit

    As I said at #151, in response to another list of Pit topics:

    “Anybody can discuss anything. What matters is the quality of the thought going into the discussion.People who don’t understand how shaming women for their looks is misogynist, people who argue poorly and keep repeating bullshit that has been addressed over and over, are not people I’m interested in having a discussion with.”

    Most of us here have read comments by a number of pitters, discussed, fought, and argued with pitters. Our opinions of the intellects there are based on experience. We realize you folks have high opinions of yourselves; that you think you’re paragons of intelligence and wit. We don’t agree.

    I suppose I’m putting too fine a point on it, but the pompous Pit self-aggrandizement on display in this thread is annoying as hell.

  141. says

    I think we’re supposed to be impressed by the long and varied list. Right, because blogs (for instance) don’t talk about long varied lists of things. This blog right here for instance doesn’t talk about a long varied list of things. Only the people at the slime pit can do that.

  142. Stacy says

    A certain amount of ridicule, mockery, and the occasional insult, comes with the territory.

    See, this sort of thing is why y’all have a reputation for being not very bright. As has been explained many times, the problem with the Pit is not “a certain amount of ridicule” and “the occasional insult.” The problem is that the ridicule, mockery, and insults, are 1) sexist, and 2) excessive and, in some cases, obsessive. I’m sure Ophelia, being human, hates being personally, verbally attacked, but if the attacks amounted to the occasional “That Benson is such an asshole! Did you see what she said about such-and-so?” followed by a rational critique, I don’t think she’d be criticizing Pit ethics or holding you up as object lessons in bigoted dumbassery.

  143. Arawhon, a Strawberry Margarita says

    Matt Cavanaugh #156 and any other Pitizens.

    The Pit actively engages in harassment. There is no question about this if you have any understanding of what actual harassment is. This Wikipedia link describes harassment by computer. Many from the Pit engage in everything listed within that link. So heres a nifty little idea, make a thread hashing out what on the Pit counts as harassment by the criteria of the law. If you come back saying that nothing is, we can pretty much dismiss you as irrational hatemongers.

  144. says

    In the phrase “a certain amount of ridicule, mockery, and the occasional insult”, the usage of “certain amount” implies that the ridicule &c. directed at the purported “public figures” who in general oppose sexism is in some way proportionate.

    If what’s been directed at Ophelia Benson et al over the past two+ years is in any way proportionate to what they’ve actually said and the positions they actually hold, then “proportionate’ has no meaning. The amount of abuse directed at them is in no way “certain”; it appears to have no quantitative limit or qualitative boundary to it whatsoever.

    As to the List of Other Topics at The Pit from comment 156: it doesn’t matter what else gets discussed at the Pit, the demonstrable and historical fact remains that the Pit is a safe (and enabling and encouraging) place for misogynists, harrassers, threateners and abusers – indeed, that safety appears to be the reason it was created in the first place (at least in part).

  145. says

    @Matt Cavanaugh, utter tripe, hilarious as well.

    the majority of content at the ‘Pit has little or nothing to do with A-plussers

    Of course not dear…
    “site:slymepit[dot]com atheismplus” … 184,000 results
    “site:atheismplus[dot]com slymepit” …. 223 results

    Let alone the references to “sallystrange”,”oolon”,”wowbagger”, “ophelia/ophie/etc”, “zvan/svan”, other FTB’ers.. We are heading into millions of results… Look up the references to Hoggle/Tuvok/Other pitstains here and on the A+ forum and they are tiny. No one want to talk about you lot except when you act up like the little children you are, otherwise you are happily ignored. Something you are seemingly incapable of doing in return.

    I love this definition from @HereticalHomo on Twitter, fits perfectly -> The pitters are so pressed they are two dimensional!

    [edit due to I assume hitting the spam filter on links to the pit!]

  146. says

    I really love how y’all are calibrating which insults are acceptable…

    I really love how you ‘pit-apologists are NEVER able to cite a single bit of decent factual content from your favorite place. Seriously, there’s THIRTY-FOUR FTBlogs, with lots of posts about a huge variety of interesting real-world topics, from US politics to loony-right antics to hatred of atheists all over the globe to gay marriage to LGBTQ issues to movies to science and science-denialism and more other stuff than I have time to list. And you pitters are talking about…what? Whatever it is, you don’t seem able to brag about it here.

  147. Stacy says

    For the bazillionth time, no, the problem is not with “insults” per se.

    The distinction we make is actually quite clear. You may disagree with it. If so, from an opponent capable of critical thought I’d expect to see arguments like, “slurs based on gender, sex or race don’t actually perpetuate bigotry in society,” or “all insults are equally harmful.” Of course, I wouldn’t expect anyone making the latter argument to indulge in the sort of casual cruelty the ‘pit revels in. But I was talking about people capable of rational argument.

    This isn’t rocket science. And it isn’t us trying to rationalize our own rudeness post hoc–that’s y’all’s schtick. An inability to grok the difference between the sorts of slurs we oppose and insults generally is evidence–as if more were needed–of rank stupidity.

  148. yahweh says

    Oolon, the numbers from google searches aren’t always so reliable. My first search for Ophie or Ophelia on returned 800,000 hits, which is prolific by anyone’s standards. When I went to the end, it turned out there were slightly under 250 (page 24 being the last).

    But this is not reliable either. The Slympit’s own search engine gives 6929 matches. It also gives 2081 for atheismplus but I could not determine a syntax for finding athiesm+.

    Still big enough numbers.

  149. John Morales says

    Matt Cavanaugh:

    4) Such behavior is to your rue. Whereas the only goal of the ‘Pitters is to have a little socializing and fun (sometimes at your expense), you all aim for nothing short of a cultural revolution. By expending energy and column-inches on petty squabbles with us, you are diverted from your goal, while we achieve ours. And, while you may succeed in making us look foolish, you make yourselves look equally foolish in the process. Again, we win and you lose. For, while we never gave a damn about our reputation, your success depended on yours.

    Heh.

    (A compliment is still a compliment, attempted reverse satire notwithstanding)

  150. Jesse W (not logged in) says

    brive1987 (and Ophelia) — Thanks for posting the attempt at examples (and thanks for letting the comment through moderation). Sorry for my delay in responding; I lost track of this thread for a while.

    The phrase “vibrant intellectual environment” was first used (in this thread) by brive1987, in their comment posted on October 30, 2013 at 8:57 pm (UTC -8), as could have been easily found with Ctrl-F. That is why I used it.

    brive1987 — could you provide timestamps for the examples you listed, so the rest of us (should we be inclined) could verify your descriptions? I’ll try and track some down myself, but it would be much easier if you (or one of the other regulars) could provide them.

    For avoidance of doubt, I do agree with (what I understand to be) Ophelia’s view that considerable, severe harassment has been supported and advocated for by the people who post at the Slymepit, and that this harassment is thoroughly, absolutely unacceptable and wrong.

  151. Jesse W (not logged in) says

    Here are my attempts at pinning down what actual posts brive1987 was attempting to refer to:

    “keynesian economics” — p=135884#p135884 ( Oct 14, 2013 4:03 am ) appears to be a minor side-topic in the 200+ page thread Ophelia already linked to.

    Bora/Wilcox drama — unable to identify specific posts; the topic appears to be one of the anti-FtB shibboleth topics rather than an example of a “vibrant intellectual enviroment” as was requested; if brive1987 wishes to claim otherwise, they will need to describe what they are claiming in more detail.

    “enthusiastic consent” — p=138948#p138948 ( Oct 30, 2013 8:28 am ) there does seem to be some discussion of the topic; I have not attempted to verify if it resembles a “strong discussion”; maybe brive1987 could clarify (maybe even with quotes) what they meant by that.

    “science wonder stories” — f=29&t=368 ( Oct 12, 2013 11:06 pm ) this does seem to be what brive1987 claimed it was. So far, it does not appear to have generated a great deal of interest from other regulars (one video suggestion posted, one supportive comment).

    “PV abortions” — unable to locate any posts (other than brive1987’s list) with that phrase; attempting to expand the acronym gives me “post-vaccination abortions” which also fails to produce any results; it would be helpful if additional detail was provided (i.e. timestamps).

    “postmodernism” — p=129419#p129419 ( Sep 13, 2013 12:13 pm ) appears to be an intermittent topic in the 200+ page thread; it is not clear what “strong discussion” is supposed to be occurring

    “women as toilets” — p=138036#p138036 ( Oct 24, 2013 12:14 pm ) appears to be another one of the anti-FtB shibboleth topics ; not clear where the “strong discussion” is.

    “shaving” “pedo” — unable to locate any posts with these words; it would be helpful if additional detail was provided (i.e. timestamps).

    “Debussy” — p=137317#p137317 ( Oct 20, 2013 3:12 pm ) appears to be as brive1987 described, a list of links to youtube videos of performances of Claude Debussy’s compositions

    FYI, here is brive1987’s post of their 2nd attempt to post their list of examples, which they copied on the slymepit in case it wasn’t posted: p=139432#p139432 ( Nov 01, 2013 9:16 pm ).

    All in all, it does not seem very convincing as evidence of the “vibrant intellectual enviroment” claimed.

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