Major Changes at Freethought Blogs


As many of you are no doubt aware, there’s been a lot of strife in this community lately. Some of it has been in public, some of it was in private and some of it may well go from being private to public as a result of all of this. So let me give you the news and clear the air:

We are parting company with two of our bloggers: Thunderf00t and Greg Laden. We wish them both the best but, unfortunately, their behavior towards other members of the community has made it impossible to keep them as part of our network. This is not a matter of a disagreement or difference of opinion, but of behavior that we cannot condone or support.

None of this is a reflection on the worth of the many contributions that both of these people have made to the atheist cause. I hope and am confident that they will both continue to offer a lot of good things to this community.

Other changes are in the works as well, mostly out of the view of the public — new rules, new policies, new ways to make decisions that I hope will avoid these kinds of unpleasant situations in the future. When I started this network, it was intended to be very “loosy-goosy,” where we would all make decisions together like a commune; it turns out that doesn’t work very well as we’ve grown in size and become more diverse, so we’re going to put some structure in place to help the network move forward in a more positive manner.

Comments

  1. Robert B. says

    Greg Laden? I think I must have missed something. I’m not a big fan of his writing, but my impression of his character has been steadily rising (from neutral) during this conflict, as opposed to Thunderf00t, for whom the opposite is true. If it’s any of my business, what did Greg do?

  2. Robert B. says

    @ derrickblanton:

    Nice reading comprehension.

    Ed said:

    This is not a matter of a disagreement or difference of opinion, but of behavior that we cannot condone or support.

    Also, I think you have FTB confused with TOTSE. This community is indeed opposed to some ideas. “Freethought” does not mean “think whatever you want.”

  3. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Robert:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/rockbeyondbelief/2012/07/01/the-pits/

    Also, for backstory, I posted this at PZ’s:

    Yeah. I’ve got to say Laden’s letter shocks but does not surprise me. Several of us here have had direct experience being very ill-treated (altering the contents of our comments without disclosing the editorial change, outing the real name and email of a commenter he didn’t like, vaguely threat-ish type things) by him. I don’t know what gets into sometimes but there’s some deep-seated vicious.

  4. Ze Madmax says

    derrickblanton @ #4:

    nothing says “free thought blog” by kicking out someone for thinking freely

    Ed writes:

    This is not a matter of a disagreement or difference of opinion, but of behavior that we cannot condone or support.

    Reading for comprehension, much?

    Also, when did “free thought” suddenly become “free-for-all mental wanking”? I mean, should FTB bring in some creationists, or holocaust deniers, or 9/11 truthers, or anti-vaxxers?

    I mean, those people think freely too! Otherwise you do not really represent free thought!

  5. says

    nothing says “free thought blog” by kicking out someone for thinking freely.

    Nothing says “thinking freely” like threatening to kick somebody’s ass, eh?

  6. says

    @Robert B

    I read that perfectly well and it is BS. Thunderf00t wrote something many didn’t agree with and other bloggers attacked him for it throwing around insults. He defends himself and they accuse him of acting improperly. PZ, Greta and Thunderf00t were all involved in this (and IMO PZ and Greta started the insults) yet they decide that the guy with the unpopular thoughts is the one who should be kicked out.

    Its clear “think exactly like us or eat the ban hammer.”

    Was Thunderf00t not thinking freely? He didn’t express his views in any closed minded way, he posted a perfectly acceptable blog (no matter if you agreed or not) and was attacked for it. When he defended himself he got the ban.

    Good to see us free thinkers are capable of using the same tactics as the theists when people say things we don’t exactly like.

  7. says

    when i saw tfoot on here, i was surprised, he has a rather confrontational style, leaning toward overreactionary, that doesn’t seem to fit here. he might fit in with amazing atheist, although tj’s mellowed a lot, if he could resist talking about his sex life he might actually fit here better.

  8. says

    As I stated on my own Facebook page regarding this issue:

    “…if the only thing a community has in common is atheism (however you define it) that is actually a shytty way to join ppl together because there are many, MANY other opinions, attitudes, and ideals that bloggers can fight over. I’m glad I was not even asked to join Freethought Blogs, let alone got sucked into that mess referred to in the blog entry.”

    (Waiting for stones to be thrown at me for daring to say that in public.)

  9. GibberishWord1 says

    I’ve seen Justin’s post describing what Greg Laden did to get the boot. What did Thunderf00t do?

  10. says

    @17. The only things all atheists in general have in common is atheism. That’s not true of FTB. Also, this sounds like sour grapes. Were you ever in danger of being invited?

  11. says

    I’m sure that lots of people will claim that TFoot was booted solely for disagreeing with others. I’m sure he will claim that himself. Everyone who already thought that will continue to think it. But of course, none of those people is privy to the in-group dynamic of the community or anything that was said in private, nor should they be. The only thing I really care about is keeping the FTB community a healthy one and that’s why I did what I did. Whatever other conclusions people might draw is up to them and not terribly relevant to me.

  12. says

    “Were you ever in danger of being invited?”

    I cannot say. I do know that if I were invited to join FTB now, I would refuse.

  13. kilane says

    You should reign in PZ while you’re at it. There was a time when his blog was interesting and not merely a cesspool of angry rants.

    He also sends his hateful minions to do his bidding constantly. It’s disgraceful.

  14. says

    @19. Thunderf00t did nothing with his blog except troll and straw-man the other bloggers. He wrote at a level you normally expect to see in comic sans around here, repeated all kinds of sexist memes and just kept at it post after post without bothering to learn anything about his topic.

  15. says

    Greg Laden? I think I must have missed something. I’m not a big fan of his writing, but my impression of his character has been steadily rising (from neutral) during this conflict, as opposed to Thunderf00t, for whom the opposite is true. If it’s any of my business, what did Greg do?

    despite what the trolls have been saying, this really wasn’t about which side in this dispute people were on. Greg is usually on the “right” side of many social justice arguments, but he’s had moments of… dehumanizing viciousness against both commenters and other bloggers (see the letter in Josh’s link). that’s likely the reason.

  16. says

    @23: I do take issue with PZ’s style (and the commenter culture he encourages) sometimes, but calling his blog “merely a cesspool of angry rants” is way off.

  17. says

    “I’m sure that lots of people will claim that TFoot was booted solely for disagreeing with others. I’m sure he will claim that himself. Everyone who already thought that will continue to think it.”

    Actually this is not the first time Thunderf00t has gotten into hot water over his arrogant attitude. He had a HUGE fight with other atheists, mostly women, on YouTube a while ago…..which YOU should have been aware of, Ed Brayton! Allowing him here was a mistake, booting him from here for being his typical privledged self only damaged the credibility of this community and made Thunderf00t look like a victim of censorship.

    A gram of prevention is worth a kilogram of cure!

  18. harold says

    I only read this blog. It’s a little late on big stories sometimes, but the coverage of the extreme religious right is very good. There are other excellent sources but Dispatches is a nice highlights reel.

    A little Googling to see what all the trouble in paradise is about, and I see the seismic rifts torn in the “atheist community” by 4 AM Elevator Coffee Suggestion Guy have broadened into yawning chasms with alligators swimming in moats at the bottom.

    Truly, his power exceeds even that of those paleolithic butterflies who set off so many catclysmic changes by flapping their wings.

    Before I get flamed (too late?), let me quickly state that I think the general idea that there should not be misogyny at atheist conventions is a really, obviously good one.

  19. GibberishWord1 says

    @24: I know that, but the post specifically said:
    “This is not a matter of a disagreement or difference of opinion, but of behavior that we cannot condone or support.”
    I assumed that straw-manning, repeating memes, and being loudly wrong fall on the side of difference of opinion, so I was wondering what the behavior in question was.

    If the behavior in question happened in private and the people involved do not want to share it, I completely understand that. All I want to know is whether there was in fact anything that happened other than the blog posts I can see.

  20. mudpuddles says

    @Josh, #7

    *eeep!* wow… I feel a bit numb after reading that… holy crap. Like… holy crap.

  21. Tony... therefore God says

    derrickblanton:
    Was Thunderf00t not thinking freely? He didn’t express his views in any closed minded way, he posted a perfectly acceptable blog (no matter if you agreed or not) and was attacked for it. When he defended himself he got the ban.

    Let’s make sure we’re on the same page here:

    Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freethought

    Freethought is *not* being ‘free to think whatever one wants’. Under your [wrong] interpretation of what freethought entails, the bloggers here should start asking theist bloggers to set up shot here.
    Now that we have a definition of ‘freethought’, can you understand now why Thunderf00t’s views do not fit at FtB?
    He has an opinion [about women’s rights] that doesn’t fit with FreeThoughtBlogs. He has expressed views that are the *opposite* of freethought. His dismissal of the sexual harassment faced by women is *not* based on science, logic and reason. It’s based on his limited, subjective, MALE experiences. Instead of listening to women and trying to understand their frustration and anger, he opened his mouth and ignorance poured out. From there, he double downed, triple downed, and even quadruple downed, rather than admit that he was wrong {just as you are wrong}. If he had shut the fuck up and listened, instead of posting rant after rant about how he was right and everyone opposed to him was wrong, he might still be here.

    Its clear “think exactly like us or eat the ban hammer.”

    No, it’s not clear, because it’s not true.
    What is clear is that you haven’t spent much time exploring the various blogs here at FtB. Yes, many of the bloggers here agree with one another. Yes, many of the commenters agree with one another. Yes, many of the commenters and bloggers agree with one another.
    How does that translate to ‘think exactly like us or eat the ban hammer’?
    Moreover, it wouldn’t take much searching to find disagreement between bloggers, between commenters and bloggers, or even between commenters.
    It’s flat-out wrong to assert that FtB is a groupthink mentality (and it’s laughable to boot coming from people that support Thunderf00t without even understanding the situation fully-supporting him shows you don’t understand or care about the sexual harassment of women and how to mitigate that problem).

    Good to see us free thinkers are capable of using the same tactics as the theists when people say things we don’t exactly like.

    If that were the case, you *might* have an argument.
    That’s not what happened though.
    You need to go educate yourself on the subject.

  22. johngreg says

    Josh, Official SpokesGay said (discussing Laden):

    “Several of us here have had direct experience being very ill-treated (altering the contents of our comments without disclosing the editorial change, outing the real name and email of a commenter he didn’t like, vaguely threat-ish type things) by him.”

    I have a serious and legitimate question for you, in regards your statement about Laden “altering the contents of our comments…. [etc.]”

    Why do you not complain and/or condemn the exact same editorial behaviours on, for three examples, Pharyngula, B&W, and Almost Diamonds?

  23. says

    “You should reign in PZ while you’re at it. There was a time when his blog was interesting and not merely a cesspool of angry rants.”

    In response to what Thunderfoot wrote, or other things? What makes a blog interesting, as opposed to merely angry rants? I happen to find some angry rants interesting at times, but that is merely a matter of opinion.

    Disagreements are fine within moderation. Hateful, bigoted remarks spat out in the midst of a disagreement are not cool.

    (These are general comments, not specifically referring to this issue. Take them or leave them.)

  24. Tony... therefore God says

    dalehusband:
    “…if the only thing a community has in common is atheism (however you define it) that is actually a shytty way to join ppl together because there are many, MANY other opinions, attitudes, and ideals that bloggers can fight over. I’m glad I was not even asked to join Freethought Blogs, let alone got sucked into that mess referred to in the blog entry.”

    What is your point here, other than coming across holier than thou? Also, why do you think it is *atheism* that joins the bloggers here? Looking at the name of the site, it says FREETHOUGHTBLOGS, not ATHEISTBLOGS. The freethinking mentality is what appears to unite the bloggers. Atheism happens to be a common thread between most (all?) of them, but it is not the uniting concept for the site you think it is (unless I’m mistaken; Ed?). Look upthread for links to the definition of freethought. Hint: it’s not ‘thinking whatever you want’.

  25. harold says

    I couldn’t get far enough to figure out if this guy is sexist, but this surely is one of the most pompous, condescending, and ironically-illogical-despite-pretension-of-logical-superiority things I have heard in a while. http://www.youtube.com/user/Thunderf00t

    And I was hoping to see a video of the baby rabbit doing something cute.

  26. says

    @32 johngreg

    Why do you not complain and/or condemn the exact same editorial behaviours on, for three examples, Pharyngula, B&W, and Almost Diamonds?

    no one on your list has done what josh was talking about.

    I remember the comment altering fiasco from long ago (I think it was back on scienceblogs?), greg had edited someones comment to say something totally different and made no indication of editing the comment himself. the commenter had no way to edit it or tell people that such an edit had been made.

  27. says

    “why do you think it is *atheism* that joins the bloggers here? Looking at the name of the site, it says FREETHOUGHTBLOGS, not ATHEISTBLOGS. The freethinking mentality is what appears to unite the bloggers.”

    Thank you for pointing that out! I’ll remember that next time some New Atheist claims to me that anyone who believes in any sort of god is a brainwashed idiot, or words to that effect. Crass stereotypes held by atheists about some of those who happen to be theists are the opposite of freethinking.

  28. Tony... therefore God says

    dalehusband:
    Allowing him here was a mistake, booting him from here for being his typical privledged self only damaged the credibility of this community and made Thunderf00t look like a victim of censorship.

    Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship

    Damaging the community, I can’t argue against (it’s your opinion informed by…not sure what). Making Thunderdud look like a victim of censorship?
    No way.
    His freedom of speech was not suppressed (it was disagreed with vehemently and criticized rightfully). He was and still is free to say what he wants when he wants (though he is not free from the consequences of what he says). He is just no longer able to blog here at FtB doing so. From my perspective, he was kicked out for not being a freethinker.

  29. says

    Why do you not complain and/or condemn the exact same editorial behaviours on, for three examples, Pharyngula, B&W, and Almost Diamonds?

    where on these three blogs have pseudonymous commenters had their real identity revealed by the blogger against their wishes, or had the content of their comments altered (not disemvoweled, but substantially altered) by the blogger?

  30. Tony... therefore God says

    dalehusband:
    Thank you for pointing that out! I’ll remember that next time some New Atheist claims to me that anyone who believes in any sort of god is a brainwashed idiot, or words to that effect. Crass stereotypes held by atheists about some of those who happen to be theists are the opposite of freethinking.

    Brainwashed, I can agree with. Children in cultures around the planet are indoctrinated into religious belief systems before they’re too young to critically evaluate all the ‘evidence’ and decide for themselves. Yeah, too many people are brainwashed, *and* too many children are robbed of their freedom to choose their belief (it’s hammered home so much from birth that it’s difficult for people to escape; though thankfully not impossible).
    I don’t agree with calling believers idiots for believing.

  31. Robert B. says

    Hey, guys, remember when Greta and Natalie had a conflict with Taslima about sex work? You might not, actually, because they debated it like skeptics and adults, even when they were angry and passionate about an issue that both sides had a personal stake in. As far as I know, Taslima still disagrees with every other FTBlogger I’ve seen speak on the issue. And Greta Christina is pretty influential around here – she’s a long-standing member with a lot of cred. (And Natalie’s been gaining ground quickly on sheer talent.) Last I heard, Greta and Taslima were taking the debate to email, where as far as I know they are still exchanging passionate points and counterpoints. Or maybe they’ve reached an impasse and acknowledged that neither is likely to convince the other. But either way, I haven’t seen the slightest sign (from the bloggers, that is; a few commenters have made noise) that Taslima is unwelcome or should not be part of FTB. See above re: adults and skeptics.

    I don’t doubt that there are some ideas that would get someone kicked out of here on their own – Biblical literalism comes to mind – but that line seems to be set pretty far out. Just disagreeing with the majority does not appear to earn one a banhammer.

  32. Robert B. says

    *facepalm* I ought to have opened that comment with “hey folks” or similar. I’ve been trying to stop using “guys” as a generic second-person plural, but it’s an old bad habit.

  33. harold says

    greg had edited someones comment to say something totally different and made no indication of editing the comment himself. the commenter had no way to edit it or tell people that such an edit had been made.

    That’s intensely unethical, but in addition to that, what would be the point of doing such a thing?

    had their real identity revealed by the blogger against their wishes

    That would generally be even more unethical. Rare exceptions might exist where the commenter is a powerful public figure behaving in a hypocritical way. Most of the time, that would just suggest that the blogger was deliberately setting up a commenter for harassment or worse. Extremely disturbing when one notes that a blog moderator would always have the option of simply not printing comments, printing them and replying with rebuttal, etc.

    Censorship

    Not only does my freedom of speech not amount to a compulsion on others to pay for my speech, promote my speech, present my speech in private venues, etc, but logically, it could not possibly. That would obviously violate their freedom of speech.

  34. says

    It used to be that I really liked Thunderf00t. I was really excited when I heard he was coming to FtB. I’ve been trying to keep up on that whole discussion for awhile, but honestly, I can’t. It’s got me so tired. I know where I stand, and I think the community is hurting because of it.

    I trust Ed’s decisions to manage the community.

  35. says

    Thank you for pointing that out! I’ll remember that next time some New Atheist claims to me that anyone who believes in any sort of god is a brainwashed idiot, or words to that effect. Crass stereotypes held by atheists about some of those who happen to be theists are the opposite of freethinking.

    I agree, but I don’t see what that has to do with the current situation. Thunderf00t is the only person I’m aware of who’s ever been given a platform here who’s known to make these sorts of arguments and he never actually did so here.

  36. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Why do you not complain and/or condemn the exact same editorial behaviours on, for three examples, Pharyngula, B&W, and Almost Diamonds?

    Because I honestly haven’t seen that behavior on those blogs. Please—this is important to understand.

    Yes, the authors of those blogs do sometimes edit comments. But in every instance I’ve seen they disclose the fact that they edited them. That’s the standard ethical practice.

    Greg did not. He inserted words into my post with no [edit] tag to make me appear to be saying something I didn’t say. Anyone who had’t seen the original would have thought I said that thing.

    That’s an important distinction. You can bet I’d complain if PZ, Stephanie, or Ophelia did that. But I don’t think they would.

  37. harold says

    Brainwashed, I can agree with. Children in cultures around the planet are indoctrinated into religious belief systems before they’re too young to critically evaluate all the ‘evidence’ and decide for themselves.

    I realize you meant “before they’re old enough”.

    I don’t disagree with the underlying meaning of your comment, but I do have a subtle disagreement about language.

    I’m merely pointing this out; if I don’t convince you, that’s fine, and hopefully not grounds for hostility of either of our parts.

    “Brainwash” is an informal term, but I still link it with terms like “delusion”. I don’t think such terms are appropriately applied to culturally sanctioned behaviors. Someone who is a Tibetan Buddhist because they grew up Tibetan is not “brainwashed”.

    “Indoctrinated” is obviously accurate, although still a bit harsh.

    This is kind of subtle, but the reason I make the point is because I am very wary of pathologizing normal behavior.

    I realize that wasn’t your intent and this is somewhat of a semantic quibble about the word “brainwash”, but still.

  38. says

    Greg did not. He inserted words into my post with no [edit] tag to make me appear to be saying something I didn’t say. Anyone who had’t seen the original would have thought I said that thing.

    That’s almost achieved meme status.

    I did in fact edit the comment. I thought I did so in a way that was obvious, but apparently there were those who thought not. I then made it more obvious. This accusation, however, continues to be made.

    Sorry for the misunderstanding. Not sure if the comment is still there … I may have later deleted it because I was annoyed.

    I see this accusation being made at every possible opportunity and I generally ignore it. This seems like a good moment to correct the record.

  39. sawells says

    I think the Greece thing may have been a breaking point re. Greg Laden’s blog; he completely altered an entire, inflammatory, post including its title, thus orphaning everything said by the first 200 or so commenters of their true context. Is not good.

  40. xtog42 says

    A Blast From the Past

    “xtog42 says:
    June 10, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    While having a mission statement is here nor there one thing that Ed and PZ might come up with are guidelines for including and excluding blogs.

    As a newcomer to blog posting it has been incredibly disappointing to see a number of blogs on FTB that either hardly ever post, or regularly post on things that have no real relevance to free-thought, or have comment moderators and blog authors who do nothing more than censor valid free-thinking and flame/verbally harass anyone who disagrees with them and their sycophants, particularly new commentators who are just now engaging with the free-thought movement.

    I’d be very curious to know,…what criteria is used to include a blog on FTB?

    Is there a review process to evaluate whether the activity of a blog is of the type of quality and quantity that the owners of FTB expect?

    And what guidelines are used to possibly end FTB’s association with a blog.”

    To this calm, rational post,…I received this in reply,…

    “Ed Brayton says:
    June 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    xtog42 wrote:

    While having a mission statement is here nor there one thing that Ed and PZ might come up with are guidelines for including and excluding blogs.

    PZ is no more involved in the running of the site than any other blogger. I own the network, all on my own, but as I thought I made pretty clear, we make most decisions by consensus. And yes, that includes deciding which bloggers to invite to join. There are no hard and fast rules for who may be invited, but we do have a few things we look for. The most obvious is good writing. We also prefer that they have a track record of consistent blogging, though we have made exceptions for that (Taslima Nasrin did not have a blog when she asked about joining the network, but we made an exception because of her rather amazing personal journey and standing in the international atheist community — and because she promised to blog regularly, which she has). Diversity is another big factor, especially as we begin to come close to the limit of how big I want the network to be. We do not want to be a network just for straight white men from the United States, we want people who can speak to the variety of experiences and perspectives under this very broad umbrella.

    I have to confess to being baffled by why anyone would care about this subject at all. We invite the people we want to invite. If you like them, keep reading them. If you don’t, then don’t read them and stick with the ones you like. If you don’t like any of them, go read blogs you do like. Even if we decided who to add by flipping coins or throwing darts at a board, that reality would not change.”

    THE KEY PHRASE HERE,….”I have to confess to being baffled by why anyone would care about this subject at all.”

    STILL BAFFLED ED?

  41. xtog42 says

    By the way,…here was my response.

    “xtog42 says:
    June 11, 2012 at 4:52 pm
    @Ed: “I have to confess to being baffled by why anyone would care about this subject at all.”

    Maybe because people who might want their blog to be included or who might want to start a blog that could get included would want to know how to make that happen?

    Or some readers might wonder how some of these blogs attained such a cool place to reside?

    Also, because being new to blogs and being a lifelong supporter of the atheism movement I would like to find out where I might best spend my precious amount of free time.

    If this site is just a free-for-all sort of thing with no connecting tissue and no terms for eliminating blogs that suppress free-thought then that would be less appealing to me as opposed to a site that actually has the purpose of promoting free-thinking/skepticism/atheism/etc. of which there are many others out there that do have a such a focus.

    Please be patient with me I am just surfing around trying to find out where I might spend what little free time I have, and this idea of not having any sort of direction/purpose is not a good selling point especially when you are using the term Free-Thought in your title which definitely does have specific connotations of which you are well aware.

    Not to be silly, but why not just call the site “Ed’s blogs” and not conflate what you are doing here with the Free-Thought movement so that people like me will understand why bloggers at a Free-Thought site are so quick to moderate and ban people who do are trying to express an opposite position.

    Look, it’s your site, you are going to do what you want and that’s fine, but from what you have said so far IMHO calling this place FREETHOUGHT BLOGS is false advertising, especially given the treatment of supporters of DJ Grothe that I have witnessed.”

  42. says

    It seemed plain from the start that Thunderf00t had shockingly little regard for the FreeThoughtBlogs community, which surprised me. I thought it was a signal honor for him to be invited to join, but that didn’t appear to be his sensibility.

    Instead, as PZ said, he seemed to have a chip on his shoulder right off the bat; it almost seemed like he waded into the discussion on sexism and conference conduct specifically in order to push it further toward conflict as opposed to discussion. That isn’t helpful anywhere, and it is particularly destructive of feelings of community.

    Plainly he didn’t want to be part of that community, and was being a divisive person within it. Based purely on what was publicly on view this was the right decision. I know too little about the Laden situation to feel comfortable commenting on the specifics, but I have seen enough of how Ed Brayton and PZ Myers operate to feel confident it wasn’t done capriciously or without regret.

    (On a lighter note: hey Ed, I hear there’s an opening or two…)

  43. Dennis N says

    (On a lighter note: hey Ed, I hear there’s an opening or two…)

    Give Michael Heath a blog. Don’t take no for an answer.

  44. kilane says

    @26 Ace of Sevens:

    I guess they aren’t always angry. They are often snide, sarcastic, one-sided, self-aggrandizing, condescending, preachy, hyperbolic etc. Of course, that just makes me a tone-troll.

    Granted, sometimes he’ll talk about science which is nice. He has nice pictures Mondays and Fridays. His “Why I’m an Atheist” was a good idea.

  45. regexp says

    You should reign in PZ while you’re at it. There was a time when his blog was interesting and not merely a cesspool of angry rants.

    I fixed this years ago. I removed PZ from my RSS feed. Is that really that hard to do?

  46. johngreg says

    Josh, Official SpokesGay said (… freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2012/07/01/major-changes-at-freethought-blogs/#comment-118396):

    “Because I honestly haven’t seen that behavior on those blogs. Please—this is important to understand.”

    That’s perfectly fair. I think I have seen those behaviours on some of those blogs. I am fairly certain that some time ago Ophelia made some unannounced editorial changes to a couple of comments by a woman poster she was disagreeing with, and no, I no longer remember what the thread was. There may be some link to it at the Phawrongula wiki, but I am not sure. For the record, I include disemvowelling as an unethical editorial action.

    “Yes, the authors of those blogs do sometimes edit comments. But in every instance I’ve seen they disclose the fact that they edited them. That’s the standard ethical practice.”

    I do not accept that editorial changes made to a commenter’s post by the blog host without prior consent from the commenter is anything but an unethical act.

    “Greg did not. He inserted words into my post with no [edit] tag to make me appear to be saying something I didn’t say. Anyone who had’t seen the original would have thought I said that thing.”

    As I say, I am fairly certain that Ophelia did precisely that on more than one occasion, but yes, as I also say, it was a long time ago, and no I cannot prove it. So I suppose we might as well call it neither proved nor disproved but moot. Also, we must keep in mind, when it comes to somone like me trying prove my claims of unethical editorial actions on FfTB, given the daily comment deletions that these blog hosts do, well, the trail vanishes pretty darn quick.

    “That’s an important distinction. You can bet I’d complain if PZ, Stephanie, or Ophelia did that. But I don’t think they would.”

    Well, I am unable to trust any of those people as far as I could throw them. Ophelia initially banned me before I even made a comment on her older B&W blog; Myers banned me because I agreed with a point about which he then changes his mind, so I was enDungeonated and all my comments deleted (which is also in my view an unethical editorial action; it creates false consensus). I forget why Stephanie banned me. Probably because I used one of my acronyms for her name, or something Earth-shattering like that.

    Anyway, thanks for answering the question.

  47. says

    (I hope that attempt at humor wasn’t overly insensitive. I meant it when I said that I appreciate how difficult this must have been.)

  48. Stilts says

    YouTube did it.

    No, like, really.

    When YouTube videos spawn arguments, they’re really really super easy to just ignore. (Do you really want to spend six hours of your life watching a back-and-forth between two minor celebrities about a subject upon which they’re probably never going to agree anyway?) These videos don’t get watched. They fall off the map. The conversations aren’t continued. And, eventually, the lack of attention from the public combined with the sheer amount of effort needed to produce videos brings an end to the whole affair.

    Blog postings are a horse of a completely different colour: they’re much easier to write and churn out, people are far more likely to follow them (and cheer the participants along, and troll their “opponents”, etc. etc. etc.), and the stakes are much, much higher. YouTube arguments grow stale and obscure very quickly; blog arguments get dragged out forever and ever and ever. This all becomes triply true when the people are in a single network. (The trolls are already registered on everyone’s blogs, the postings are impossible for the participants to ignore, the arguments spew all over the place [into unrelated posts, into whole other blogs, etc.] and it basically takes over the entire site.)

    The only way to avoid this fate is to keep your blog arguments civil and intellectual, and–when necessary–to recognize that the time has come to move on, or at least to move the matter to e-mail. This is a dignified exit and effectively puts the matter to rest.

    Thunderf00t, coming from a YouTube background, was displaying exactly that sort of behaviour: aggressive and pushy and demanding and insulting, with the presumptive expectation that, like a YouTube argument, the matter would soon grow stale and old and irrelevant. Bruised egos, but no real damage to either side.

    But this isn’t YouTube, and those tactics just make the anger and rage ratchet up and up and up until someone flounces. (Or, in this case, is shown out the door.)

  49. harold says

    Greg Laden –

    This seems like a good moment to correct the record.

    As a fairly unbiased observer who never heard of this before, let me suggest that you do so.

    You haven’t yet.

    Using accurate links or other credible mechanisms, show what the original comment was (in context), how it was edited, how responses from the person who originated the comment were handled, and what the resolution of the situation was.

    I may totally disagree with a comment, but if someone’s words are posted, the words they want representing their point of view should be what goes up.

    Yes, the authors of those blogs do sometimes edit comments. But in every instance I’ve seen they disclose the fact that they edited them.

    I’ve seen PZ Myers insert ridicule directly into comments. That’s something I have nothing against (this comment not remotely intended as an overall endorsement of Pharyngula). No-one could possible mistake the ridicule for the commenter’s own words.

    Most internet forums don’t censor for things like epithets or profanity, but rather, either print it or don’t, but in a blog with rules against that, something like [expletive deleted] might be acceptable. Again, no-one would mistake that for the original wording.

  50. xtog42 says

    And get a load of the response Ed gave to me,…filled with dismissiveness and avoiding the points I was making.

    “Ed Brayton says:
    June 11, 2012 at 10:47 pm
    Maybe because people who might want their blog to be included or who might want to start a blog that could get included would want to know how to make that happen?

    I’ve had requests from dozens of people to be considered. I’ve explained to each of them what the process is. Some of them have been accepted, some have not. I can’t imagine what the alternative might be.

    Or some readers might wonder how some of these blogs attained such a cool place to reside?

    I’ve explained it twice now. I suggest you accept it, since you have zero say in how it works.

    Also, because being new to blogs and being a lifelong supporter of the atheism movement I would like to find out where I might best spend my precious amount of free time.

    Silly me, I thought you might make that decision by reading the blogs and deciding whether you want to continue reading them. That would work perfectly not only for this network but for every other blog in the world. Doesn’t seem like a terribly difficult concept.

    If this site is just a free-for-all sort of thing with no connecting tissue and no terms for eliminating blogs that suppress free-thought then that would be less appealing to me as opposed to a site that actually has the purpose of promoting free-thinking/skepticism/atheism/etc. of which there are many others out there that do have a such a focus.

    I think it’s pretty obvious that the bloggers on this network generally do promote skepticism, atheism and freethought. I imagine you might like some better than others, so read the ones you like and don’t read the ones you don’t. But you don’t get to decide which ones should be here and which ones should not. And you really should get over it.

    Not to be silly, but why not just call the site “Ed’s blogs” and not conflate what you are doing here with the Free-Thought movement so that people like me will understand why bloggers at a Free-Thought site are so quick to moderate and ban people who do are trying to express an opposite position.

    Saying “not to be silly” when you are, in fact, going to be silly is a lot like saying “I don’t mean to be rude” — it’s almost inevitably followed by someone being rude. Everyone on this site promotes one or more aspects of atheism, skepticism and freethought. I’ll call the site whatever I want. Don’t like it? Go somewhere else and whine to your heart’s content.

    Look, it’s your site, you are going to do what you want and that’s fine, but from what you have said so far INHO calling this place FREETHOUGHT BLOGS is false advertising, especially given the treatment of supporters of DJ Grothe that I have witnessed.

    That’s even sillier. DJ is getting a good deal of criticism; I think he’s earned a lot of it. Some of the people supporting him are being complete assholes and some of those people have been shut down. I do not impose any restrictions on any of our bloggers’ comment policies. They are free to ban anyone they want for any reason. They’re free to say nasty things to them if they’d like. None of that has anything to do with whether the bloggers here advocate for atheism, skepticism or freethought (and no, calling it “freethought” does not mean that no one is ever going to get shouted down if they’re being assholes; that’s simply idiotic).”

    ****Ed your responses to me then are a perfect reason why you should remove the word FREETHOUGHT from your title. It is a misrepresentation. And the childishness of some of your responses is a perfect example of the level of discourse that occurs here. Rather than responding like an adult, you simply snarled at me like a 7th grader, and yet the points I made were pretty prophetic given the situation with TF.

    And by the way,…now that Greg Laden is gone,…you might want to review the work of the Lousy Canuck, if TF has to go, I honestly cannot understand how that dude stays.

    I’m assuming I’ll get banned for this reposting, but it is pretty relevant to the recent TF situation, that is the reason I posted this stuff, not just to take a shot at Ed, someone who I think has his heart in the right place,….I do wonder about PZ’s influence in the running of FTB though given PZ’s comments on TF.

  51. whiskeyjack says

    I was really looking forward to having Thunderf00t on here. It’s really disappointing that he lost the plot within, what, a week of being here.

  52. says

    One policy I’d like to see for FTB is that all bloggers maintain Dungeons, like Pharyngula does. That is, a list of all banned commenters and why they have been banned, including links to the offending posts. It both encourages honesty in the use of moderation, and helps to dispel some of the more outlandish claims of censorship.

  53. kilane says


    One could say the same about Thunderfoot.

    And there was a time when I enjoyed PZ’s articles. I’d like to enjoy them again.

  54. kilane says

    oops, 67 was replying to 59

    “I fixed this years ago. I removed PZ from my RSS feed. Is that really that hard to do?”

  55. says

    While I was crafting my first comment some came in above it that rather changed the context. Let me be absolutely clear that I am totally okay with the way Ed is doing things. (I know, many were given that day…)

  56. melody says

    I think Greg Laden is a good guy that made a horrible mistake. I hope he realizes his mistake and is able to redeem himself in the eyes of his fellow bloggers. I will miss his blog on FTBs. I consider him a friend.

    Ed, I hope you will slow down and have a more thorough and thoughtful approach to adding new bloggers.

  57. says

    I hate internet drama, so this will be all I say on this matter.

    I was disappointed when I saw that Thunderf00t was invited, since he does not play well with others. On YouTube he regularly creates pointless, tedious drama whenever he can. He loves creating internet drama, and PZ is a magnet for it (which is why I read his blog less and less as time goes on), so I’m not shocked at all to see that the two of them almost immediately went ballistic once they came into contact.

    Thunderf00t was mostly in the wrong, and pompous about it to boot. PZ was mostly in the right in terms of opinion, but also took on a sneering tone that escalated the conflict (which he almost always does). It reminds me of a mini-version of the “framing wars” from back in the SciBlogs days, with each side taking turns provoking the other into even more over-the-top, tedious, unreadable blog posts that accomplish very little and just lead to lots of bad blood, divided communities and poorly written, insulting drivel.

    PZ and Ed are the only FtB’s I read, so I don’t know anything about the Laden situation, nor do I give a shit.

    Anyways, that’s all I have to say on it. Fuck internet drama. Hopefully things will quiet down and PZ’s blog will go back to being readable soon.

  58. 'Tis Himself says

    Dale Husband sneered:

    I’m glad I was not even asked to join Freethought Blogs

    I’m glad as well. In fact, I’d wager many people who have seen Dale Husband in action are very glad he has not been asked to join FtB.

  59. simonsays says

    Overall, I think it is a good thing if what comes of this is a little more structure and formality on the back-end. It’s too bad that this happened, but sometimes that’s what it takes.

  60. smhll says

    As a newcomer to blog posting it has been incredibly disappointing to see a number of blogs on FTB that either hardly ever post, or regularly post on things that have no real relevance to free-thought, or have comment moderators and blog authors who do nothing more than censor valid free-thinking and flame/verbally harass anyone who disagrees with them and their sycophants, particularly new commentators who are just now engaging with the free-thought movement.

    As a newcomer, how the holy hell would you know who the ‘sycophants’ are?

  61. arthur says

    I was really surprised and sad to see that Thunderf00t had been invited here in the first place. Good riddance.

    I recommend you really look at that decision, because the lack of judgement was worrying.

    Everything Thunderf00t did here was in character. He might have started out on You Tube making decent debunking videos, but pretty soon he was all about negative drama, online bullying, and tiresome trolling while hiding behind his childish fake name.

    This should have been obvious.

    The great bloggers here never deserved to be associated with that asshat.

  62. xtog42 says

    @76 As a newcomer, how the holy hell would you know who the ‘sycophants’ are?

    1- It depends on your definition of ‘new’
    2- I read fast
    3- It doesn’t take long to see who supports who

    Care to respond to any of the points I made, or were you just trying to be clever?

  63. says

    I was expecting to see Justin Griffith kicked out after his strong defense of racists with the “they’re just trying to be funny” arguments. If Justin thought Greg’s email actually contained a genuine threat of physical violence, he obviously has yet to make it through sixth grade recess.

    But, you know Justin. People throwing around the worst racist insults and threats is just kids being kids, but insult Justin and he runs to his Uncle Ed for protection from those bad people who don’t like him! (Skirt-hiding is SO unbecoming of a soldier…)

    As for thunderf00t, I can only assume that everyone who voted him in only watched his videos and never read any of his commentary. His attitude really should not have come as a surprise to anyone. Maybe it was just a numbers grab. They knew thunderf00t would bring in lots of readership, which helps to stroke some big egos around here.

    I’ll really miss Greg, but will keep up with him at SB as well as anywhere else he goes (despite disagreeing with him on many gun issues).

  64. says

    xtog42, it would help if you had a point to make other than misunderstanding what Freethought is about. You seem to have conflated it with the freedom to be as big an asshole as you wish without ever being called on it.

    For example, I conclude that you’re hurt over having your concerns be noted and ignored. One imagines you’ll get over it.

  65. says

    I really need to stop posting before editing. Or just stop posting. That comment *should* include the line: “Freethought, as I understand it, is about coming to conclusions based on a rational assessment of the evidence.”

    And yes, it is appropriate to ban people who refuse to check their privilege and post solely to muddy the waters.

  66. Ze Madmax says

    smhll @ #76

    As a newcomer, how the holy hell would you know who the ‘sycophants’ are?

    Obviously, if someone agrees with the blogger, xe is a sycophant. If someone disagrees with the blogger (or with the aforementioned sycophants) then xe is a freethinker.

    Welcome to the Internet™: Where those who agree with me are paragons of intellectual prowess, and those who disagree are illiterate baboons that can be out-argued by moldy bread.

    /snark

  67. cholten99 says

    > Give Michael Heath a blog. Don’t take no for an answer.

    +1

    I’m still baffled as to why PhysioProf is still here unless he is someone’s batshit sockpuppet alter-ego.

    Anyway – I think we’re all for disagreement within our community if people can be civil about it. While it looks like Greg has had a seriously wobbly moment in that regard and does deserve to be removed Thunderf00t never made the slightest effort to try.

    Perhaps we can get back to discussing the reasons why we’re here rather than attacking each other.

  68. Daniel Schealler says

    Thunderf00t I understand. I still think he’s brilliant at science-outreach, but I’ve always had a dim opinion on his position and tactics regarding social issues.

    In my view Tf00t has fallen into the trap of believing that his indisputable expertise in the domain of science outreach translates to expertise in other areas in which he hasn’t got sufficiently advanced background knowledge to qualify. We’re all vulnerable to Dunning-Kruger when we shift outside our areas of expertise. No amount of intelligence, knowledge, or skeptical clout can make us immune.

    I also think that Tf00t makes better videos than blog posts, but that’s just a stylistic thing.

    End result: I’m sad to see Tf00t go. I think he’s been VERY wrong on the sexual-harassment issue. But I was hoping that he’d eventually get around to science outreach type stuff. I was looking forward to that, damn it! Tsk.

    —-

    But Greg Laden? That’s a bit of a surprise.

    Full disclosure: I am nursing a bit of a petty grudge against him over a comment exchange between us that went sour about a month ago on one of his posts about Nazism in Greece… But it’s an admittedly petty grudge and I’m neither proud of it nor entirely justified in holding onto it this long. Most of what I see from Greg is pretty good, so it’s a bit of a shock to see that he’ll be parting company.

    My petty grudge aside, I’ll be sad to see him go too.

    —-

    I’m curious to know more about the private-side of things, as I expect that this would clear things up quite a bit… But obviously, private is private for a reason, and I respect that even as I would like to know more.

  69. says

    This is the only blog in the group I read, and I only caught wind of the conflict, second hand, as a reader of Gretchen’s blog.

    I can only say that it wouldn’t be a group if there wasn’t at least some crazy now and again.

  70. demonhauntedworld says

    Besides the fact that he’s a horrible (and lazy) writer, something about Greg Laden always rubbed me the wrong way. Good to see that my intuition about him was correct.

  71. says

    “Give Michael Heath a blog. Don’t take no for an answer.”

    I’ve made plain to Michael Heath that if he does all of the work, I’ll be happy to take the credit and thus allow him to avoid dealing with time consuming replies to those who worship him*.

    “The only way to avoid this fate is to keep your blog arguments civil and intellectual…”

    I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO fucked.

    Re: The Thunderfoot (whose stuff I never read) and Greg Laden; all I wish to say on that matter is. two legs good, four legs bad!

    * I will not be replying either, but then I’m okay with being an insensitive prick.

  72. says

    I love the “how can you call this ‘freethought’ if you don’t let every asshole say anything he wants” idea. So fucking stupid. No, we’re not going to change the name of the network, no matter how much some fucking moron wants to whine about it.

  73. xtog42 says

    @michaelblayney: Pretty predicatable comment in that you make personal attacks at a stranger who you may agree with 99% of the time on other things and you ignore my point — that FTB should have a mission statement and published guidelines about how a blog is added and subtracted AND that without a mission statement he should remove the term FREETHOUGHT from the title, since this blog collective has no such connective material, in his own words this site is just a conglomerate of blogs with no necessary common goals.

    Clearly I had enough of a point to get a response from Ed, read again, I’d appreciate a question or comment about what I predicted and has now occurred. Save the snark and psychoanalysis though, as psych’s would say, your invective says more about you than it does about your target.

  74. xtog42 says

    Mature response Ed,…just like your previous ones.

    Bottom line is this is not a site about Freethought,…by your own words,…so why use the term? Especially given that the word Freethought actually has a meaning that is not “say anything you want to say.”

    “I love the “how can you call this ‘freethought’ if you don’t let every asshole say anything he wants” idea.”

    You know I am not saying this, but I hope it felt good for you to type it up as if I did. I might refer you to TF’s points on strawpeople.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freethought

    For someone who knows American history pretty well, I find it hard to believe you can say that. I am the one saying that Freethought has a specific meaning of which you disrespect by having no mission statement or guidelines about how you add/subtract blogs, you are the one presenting that term as “say anything you want.”

  75. says

    Mostly agree with Wes @ 73– except that unlike him I regularly read several blogs on FtB.

    This network is Ed’s to do with what he wants, and I’m glad for that because Ed is passionate about skepticism, social justice, and human rights without being prone to flying off the handle or being gratuitously cruel to people who disagree with him. Those are traits every blogger should have (in addition to the default of being a good writer), but sadly that isn’t always the case.

    I don’t want to go to someone’s blog and be faced with the latest installment in a petty, childish, personal battle he/she is having with someone else. I want to see him/her address an issue, and do so in a way that’s at least somewhat original and not simply a re-telling of a story that you could (and probably do) see everywhere else. It doesn’t have to be serious– people who blog on serious issues all of the time could do themselves and readers a favor by occasionally writing about what they do for fun– but it should make you trust the blogger. It should be clear, indicate at least a passing familiarity with whatever they’re writing about, and convey that what arguments are being made are made in good faith. It should also indicate an appreciation for the freedom of speech and contain no suggestion that the blogger (however strongly he/she may feel on a subject) would ever respond to someone’s ideas with violence or property damage, and it would never propose or imply that his/her readership should think differently.

    That’s what I want in a blog. Yeah, I know– why does it matter what I want? But the option to comment was available, so I’m commenting.

  76. Daniel Schealler says

    A door burst open down the street and there was the cracking noise of a quite large wine amphora being broken over someone’s head.

    A skinny old man in a toga picked himself up from the cobbles where he had landed, and glared at the doorway. “I’m telling you, listen, a finite intellect, right, cannot by means of comparison reach the absolute truth of things, because being by nature indivisible, truth excludes the concepts of “more” or “less” so that nothing but truth itself can be the exact measure of truth. You bastards,” he said.

    Someone from inside the building said, “Oh yeah? Sez you.”

    The old man ignored Brutha but, with great difficulty, pulled a cobblestone loose and hefted it in his hand. Then he dived back through the doorway. There was a distant scream of rage.

    “Ah. Philosophy,” said Om.

    Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

    Just a (hopefully) humorous reminder that a certain amount of in-fighting is to be expected when people with powerful opinions come together.

    I think it’s just part of the price to pay. We’re not dealing with a herd of little lambs, here.

    Just on the off chance that anyone might be thinking that the occasional eruptions like this constitute some kind of failure: I don’t see it that way. More grist for the mill please! More injection from outside the sphere! More new blood!

    Sure, it means occasionally a valve will blow and a spanner will get slipped between the occasional cog. It might be an unfortunate symptom in its immediate effects, but in my view it’s a symptom that things are going well. Growing pains, or something just a little bit like them roughly similar if that’s too pat as an actual analogy.

  77. melody says

    Freethought does not mean ‘anything goes’. I used to run a site called freethoughtblogs.org when there was only one other major site for atheists available to my knowledge. That’s how I got known by key players in the movement before I worked in organized secularism. We had the definition clearly spelled out when you joined. However, people would still scream censorship, because they they didn’t read what they were signing up for and thought it meant ‘think and say what ever you want’. Learn your history, people.

  78. Daniel Schealler says

    Damnit.

    Daniel Fincke. Fincke.

    I do know how to spell your surname, Daniel.

    My kingdom for an edit function. *mutters*

  79. says

    Different Robert B. than the one above…

    Thunderf00t plainly stepped out of his area of expertise and knowledge when he tried to take on the area of feminism and privilege. He made an ass of himself. If you don’t get it, don’t get into it.

    I think highly of Greg, his work and his writing. I think he went way overboard, but I understand why. It was a human reaction, which isn’t always a good thing.

    I can’t say that I disagree with your decision, Ed. This has been a rough time for the community.

  80. Daniel Schealler says

    @Robert B #99

    That was outstandingly concise. Damn.

    You’re spot on in your assessment too.

  81. sc_a5b2f6de152b882f2394f4b2ce00493f says

    Gregory Bin Laden hoisted by his own petard. Maybe ftb will suck a little bit less (present blog excluded).

    B

  82. jesse says

    late to this. i read the links. So tell me if I am missing the plot.

    Is Gred Laden being booted because of the physical threat? Is that basically it?

    I know, “Read the links, stupid.” I did. And the one I saw seems over the top, and I could see someone saying “wow, he threatened me” which is against the law.

    But, I’ve read Laden for a while. He seems pretty on point mostly, and honestly I haven’t seen the level of vitriol rise to what I see from even the commentariat on PZ’s blog. (I like PZ, but I find that even when he is on the right side of an issue I will disagree with the way he goes about it, cf. privilege issues and a lack of understanding of non-white, non-western people being the problem. But at least he knows there is one).

    Anyhow, as one who isn’t “in the know” I just want to make sure I understand the reasoning. The network is Ed’s — I’ll not dispute that he has a right to do what he wants. I jut want to be sure I understand what I am reading.

  83. xtog42 says

    Look,…this isn’t really about the name of FTB or the definition of the term really,…it is about what I had predicted to Ed earlier and was dismissed with personal attacks and it’s about how dissension is handled here at FTB.

    The sexism issue has highlighted how many FTB bloggers flame their own site and ban anyone who responds in kind or even responds with just opposing views calmly expressed.

    Ed’s responses to me both now and back when those other posts were written are perfect examples.

    I never once swore or called him names, I simply made my points and moved on and what happened,…..foul language, personal attacks and name calling.

    Richard Carrier knows how to moderate a blog to keep people civil, why the other FTB bloggers including Ed allow verbal assault is a valid question.

    The response to TF is no advertisement for the freethought movement or FTBlogs, in fact it displays just the sort of behavior we deride in our religious brothers and sisters.

    This is Ed’s show, he can of course do what he wants, including ignore me, but,… every day people stumble onto FTB looking for a place to contribute and you are losing these potential customers to sites that are more focused about their mission and goals.

    Be the change you want to see FTB — End the verbal assaults on your discussion posts even when they are perpetrated by those on your side of an argument and stop banning or cutting loose bloggers simply because you disagree with them.

  84. says

    xtog42,

    Here’s why you’re getting a bad reaction:

    1. Name-calling and cursing are not the end-all and be-all of bad behavior, and sometimes they’re not even bad behavior. It’s entirely possible to be useless and unhelpful or even an outright pain in the ass without using either method. People often use the word “tone troll” to refer to anyone who cares about keeping things civil, but a real tone troll is someone who cares less about what’s being said than the language used to say it.

    2. The eviction of bloggers and/or the banning of commenters does not in itself remotely contravene the label of “Freethought Blogs,” and people are sick of pointing this out to you.

    3. Ed has said repeatedly that he has no interest in policing the blogs to the extent of telling people what they may or may not post or who they may or may not ban from commenting. That might be more “free” than you like, but it’s his decision.

    4. You’re being more than a bit precious in continuing to appeal to Ed to regulate the speech of bloggers on this network to prevent “verbal assault” or else the term “freethought” doesn’t apply. Just stop participating in the blogs you find so objectionable. It’s that easy.

    5. People who are told “No means no” and yet keep pushing tend to find themselves on the receiving end of a more direct rejection. Those people really have no one to blame but themselves.

  85. otrame says

    Okay, let’s see if I have this right. Many commenters talking about how much they don’t like this blog or that blog or any and all FtBs or Pharyngula or whatever.

    Here is how to deal with that problem: Don’t read them.

    Easy-peasy

  86. otrame says

    xtog42:

    End the verbal assaults on your discussion posts even when they are perpetrated by those on your side of an argument and stop banning or cutting loose bloggers simply because you disagree with them.

    I’m sorry, but you know, how the other FtB bloggers in general and Ed in particular run this place is none of your fucking business. Guess what? Some of us like things the way things are on most the blogs here. Some bloggers on FtB have “civility” rules and enforce them. Some could not care less how many times the word fuckhead is used in a sentence (though most will object to gendered insults, or racist, homophobic, or ableist insults and in some cases ban the offenders).

    If you don’t like the way a blog or a group of blogs is run don’t read them. I, for instance, don’t read ERV.

    Also [citation needed] for any blogger on FtB who has banned a commenter just for disagreeing with them. “Just” disagreeing does not include gendered, racist, homophobic, or ableist insults. But for just disagreeing, even vociferously? I repeat [citation needed].

  87. johngreg says

    otrame said:

    “Also [citation needed] for any blogger on FtB who has banned a commenter just for disagreeing with them. “Just” disagreeing does not include gendered, racist, homophobic, or ableist insults. But for just disagreeing, even vociferously? I repeat [citation needed].”

    How does a banned blog commenter cite that they were banned simply for disagreeing with the blog host? Especially when some of them then had all of their posts deleted from the blog?

  88. says

    Are you saying that it’s SOP to ban someone with no note and disappear their posts? I’ve seen plenty of public bans with posts standing or getting disemvoweled. Who are you even talking about?

  89. otrame says

    @109
    You know, looking at the comments section of any blog here, I defy you to prove that commenters get banned for “simply disagreeing”. Name fucking names. Cite an actual incident.

  90. johngreg says

    Ace of Sevens said

    “Are you saying that it’s SOP to ban someone with no note and disappear their posts? I’ve seen plenty of public bans with posts standing or getting disemvoweled. Who are you even talking about?”

    Not SOP, but that it happens, and not for flaming, homophobic, sexist, or racist comments, or threats, but for having a fundamental disagreement with something stated by the bloghost.

    Me for one. But you know that. I’ve already pointed it out to you on another blog. I cannot speak for anyone else, but I am relatively certain that this has happened to several, and by several I mean over 6, ERV commenters who were banned without notification.

    Of all the FfTB bans I have, what’s the verb for that? undergone, I was informed about it after the fact in, I think, only two, maybe three instances. All posts completely deleted from at least two blogs (Pharyngula, The X-blog). And banned from at least four blogs (B&W, BlagHag, Almost Diamonds, Gret Christina) without any kind of notification (so far as I can recall — it’s been a while, and there’s not much reason to remember it with much accuracy at this distant remove).

    Considering the confusion in replies to nonexistent posts at B&W, I can only surmise that Ophelia is now habitually deleting all posts by posters she either does not like, or has banned.

  91. says

    People quote other comments and reply to them all the time. Moreover, a standard feature on these blogs that you can get an email record of every comment made. I do this all the time; if peremptory banning were so common it beggars belief that not one such bannee had done so. If it is happening on any regular basis there will be evidence of it, and I have seen none.

  92. johngreg says

    “You know, looking at the comments section of any blog here, I defy you to prove that commenters get banned for “simply disagreeing”. Name fucking names. Cite an actual incident.”

    How on Earth can I prove that? Especially when several FfTB blog hosts habitually delete posts, and make any number of misrepresentations to outright lies as to the supposed misbehaviour of the commenters they disappeared?

    I could list several of the blogs where I was banned for disagreement, but the blog host, in their raging hatred against all things ERV, would just trump up a list of reasons for how I had broken their invisible, unstated, yet ever-changing comment policy and so had earned the ban.

    Do you really not see the danger in the arbitrary room 101 behaviour of some of these blog hosts?

    As a so-called enemy of FfTB, I can see reason whatsoever to trust anything that the FC5 would say in regards to my being disappeared.

  93. says

    Mind you, I’m not saying it is impossible, just that I don’t believe it given my experiences, and I’ll want evidence before I consider accepting the assertion.

  94. says

    Unlike some of the others here, I have absolutely no problem banning anyone who pisses me off. I’ve only had to do it rarely, but when I do I make no apologies. And that now includes John Greg. After seeing the vile shit he’s said on other blogs about people I care about, he simply is not welcome here. And I don’t care how much he whines about how unfair it is. This is my house. You come into my house and shit on the rug or insult my friends, I throw you out.

  95. physioprof says

    I’m still baffled as to why PhysioProf is still here unless he is someone’s batshit sockpuppet alter-ego.

    I’m here to fucke baffle you, dumshitte! Itte’s my purpose in life! Baffling absurd fucken dickewaddes is my middle name!

  96. left0ver1under says

    I’ve had no interaction with either of them, having only read their posts occasionally. I’m glad I wasn’t involved with any of what’s transpired.

    I would sum them both up with a single politic word: unpleasant.

  97. smhll says

    I’ve made plain to Michael Heath that if he does all of the work, I’ll be happy to take the credit and thus allow him to avoid dealing with time consuming replies to those who worship him…

    Maybe we could promise him all sycophants and NO TROLLS! Surely he knows that the echo chamber here is troll proofed, and that criticism and straw-manning and name calling and contradiction will never, never happen if he stays on the true path.

    /snark

  98. karmakin says

    Physioprof is awesome. Geeez people take things FAR too seriously sometimes. And strangely enough it’s the people who claim that we take things too seriously.

  99. says

    Maybe we could promise him all sycophants and NO TROLLS! Surely he knows that the echo chamber here is troll proofed, and that criticism and straw-manning and name calling and contradiction will never, never happen if he stays on the true path.

    Michael Heath takes plenty of criticism here, and it’s quite clear that he’s not afraid of disagreement. I have noticed that if someone is an obvious dope he simply ignores them.

  100. mandrellian says

    Five posts and TF’s leaving? That’s got to be a record. Loftus lasted longer than that.

    Well, The Thunderous Ego won’t be missed. He belongs on youtube with his Very Important Melodrama and his totally unbiased polls.

  101. luther says

    Always been a big fan of you and PZ. Unless other information comes to light I cant help but assume that TF being kicked off is directly related to his disagreement with PZ. Your network you can do what you want but it damages your credibility my eyes.

  102. says

    luther —

    It’s not necessarily an unreasonable assumption. Unfortunately, we have a firm policy against revealing what is said in the backchannel so we can’t very well defend ourselves against it. I can only say that we have some very big disagreements among us, including ones in which one blogger is pretty much alone with everyone else disagreeing with them (Taslima Nasrin on prostitution and pornography are good examples) and there was never even a moment’s consideration to removing them, nor did anyone ever suggest it. I have no problem being disagreed with. But that wasn’t the problem here, I can assure you. I can’t force you to believe that, of course, but it’s still true.

  103. mandrellian says

    “why do you think it is *atheism* that joins the bloggers here? Looking at the name of the site, it says FREETHOUGHTBLOGS, not ATHEISTBLOGS. The freethinking mentality is what appears to unite the bloggers.”

    Thank you for pointing that out! I’ll remember that next time some New Atheist claims to me that anyone who believes in any sort of god is a brainwashed idiot, or words to that effect. Crass stereotypes held by atheists about some of those who happen to be theists are the opposite of freethinking.

    Totally different to your crass (not to mention predictably opportunistic and dull) stereotyping of atheists, of course. How incredibly self-unaware of you, Dale.

    I’m sure you regard your bigoted, wrong, unevidenced view of atheists (and blatant, intentional misunderstanding and misuse of the word “atheist”) is the very essence of “free thinking”. One wonders why you even visit here (unless it’s to check if someone’s invited you to join yet).

  104. says

    Knowing Thunderf00t, he’ll probably work the backchannel stuff into a video if you give him a few days so he can spin it into a story about how he was victimized for standing up for free speech. I think we’ll see some version of it soon enough.

  105. says

    Marcus Ranum:

    Other than those who are directly involved and butthurt, this will be all forgotten in 2 months.

    I will, no doubt, borrow that in the future.

  106. says

    Gretchen to xtog42:

    “5. People who are told “No means no” and yet keep pushing tend to find themselves on the receiving end of a more direct rejection.”

    And I have not even OPENED the ultimate piehole of doom, yet.

  107. jws1 says

    I am so glad that I missed out on what everybody’s talking about because it sounds like a gigantic mess that makes that Hatfield/McCoy thing look like a schoolyard spat.

  108. says

    Good post on a tough decision, Ed. Thanks for letting us readers know.

    Tangentially, I am amused by the assumption certain people seem to make that free thought is the exclusive property of a particular trend in official Skepticism. There are free thinkers questioning dogma and received wisdom in all walks of life, from the dreaded radical feminist movement to environmentalism to corporate management to coding to electoral politics to literature instruction. I’d wager the vast majority of FreeThinkersTM don’t care about Bigfoot or Uri Geller or even, for that matter, the complete absence of evidence of existence of a supreme being. We seem to manage to think freely anyway.

  109. hotshoe says

    Baffling absurd fucken dickewaddes is my middle name!

    That’s a goldurn long middle name you got there Prof.

    You think maybe we could spell it Baf’d for short?

  110. echidna says

    What was Thunderf00t thinking? He didn’t present a coherent argument, just thoughtless, inflammatory remarks. He didn’t do anything to build any kind of community. His intended audience seemed to be, what, people who don’t like FTB? Was he just gathering new material?

  111. shockna says

    I love Thunderf00ts videos, but you did the right thing Ed. I was expecting much better out of him =/

  112. says

    mandrellian said to me:
    “Totally different to your crass (not to mention predictably opportunistic and dull) stereotyping of atheists, of course. How incredibly self-unaware of you, Dale.

    I’m sure you regard your bigoted, wrong, unevidenced view of atheists (and blatant, intentional misunderstanding and misuse of the word “atheist”) is the very essence of “free thinking”. One wonders why you even visit here (unless it’s to check if someone’s invited you to join yet).”

    I’m not sure what you mean when you say my view of atheists is “bigoted, wrong, unevidenced” since I was referring to behavior I have seen from atheists on the internet with my own eyes over the past several years. And your claim that I have a ‘blatant, intentional misunderstanding and misuse of the word “atheist”’ is clearly an attempt at damage control. I have learned over the years to blindly trust no one, including atheists, because when motivated by ideology or ulterior motives, they will lie as blatantly as any religious bigot to get their way. I have been using the word “atheist” in only its original historical meaning (outright denial of the existence of any god) and the evidence for that definition is out there if you will just get your head out of the sand and LOOK for it.

  113. says

    I understand there are guidelines to follow , but to remove Thunderfoot just seems a tad too extreme. Oh well, it seems like Free thought blogs is the new Feminist Blog in town and not so much the “Free thinkers” safe heaven I was hoping to find.

  114. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    I understand there are guidelines to follow , but to remove Thunderfoot just seems a tad too extreme. Oh well, it seems like Free thought blogs is the new Feminist Blog in town and not so much the “Free thinkers” safe heaven I was hoping to find.

    I’m not sure which is fuckingstupider, the contrast between “feminist” and “free thinkers,” or the use of “freethinker” in a fashion that implies that it’s consistent with spouting off in a sneering, dismissive, substance-free manner, citing no sources and offering no argument except your own personal incredulity, about a problem that other people have been dealing with for decades and actually understand.

    What Thunderfoot – that was public and that we know about – did was no more defensible than Dawkins’ example of a person with a degree in philosophy smugly informing a professional historian of Rome that the Romans never existed, as a metaphor for Creationism. Thunderfoot, in particular, should know about this one. And he did it again after being called on it. Three more fucking times.

    This is the opposite of free thought.

  115. says

    Hey Ed, you love to point out “Wingnut on Wingnut crime”

    I wonder if you’re so enthusiastic to point out FTBer on FTBer crime. Not so much fun to see your own kind eat each other alive, eh?

    Don’t worry brother… we all have to awaken from our illusory bubbles at some point.

  116. says

    I’m not sure which is fuckingstupider, the contrast between “feminist” and “free thinkers,” or the use of “freethinker” in a fashion that implies that it’s consistent with spouting off in a sneering, dismissive, substance-free manner, citing no sources and offering no argument except your own personal incredulity, about a problem that other people have been dealing with for decades and actually understand.

    The answer is you’re an asshole.

    She’s a 20 year old naturalized American Citizen wife of a US Marine Officer who didn’t, until last week (literally), become aware of or interested in the online skeptic community and thought she’d offer her thoughts.

    But in true-to-FTB fashion, the very first comment she gets is a flame – EXACTLY what I told her she’d receive if she deigned to inject her opinion into this community. There was never any doubt in my mind that if she, in her absolute innocent attempt to see what it would be like to actually participate in the dialogue with this cesspool, would simply get flamed out right off the bat.

    And you delivered like clockwork. YOU are the reason outsiders stay outside. YOU are the reason that this entire community is nothing but an intellectually incestuous bag of shit.

    You take a person who only recently decided they don’t believe in god and wants to see what the skeptic community at large is really like, and you present them with the good folks commenting at FTB, and the result is exactly this – a complete disappointment.

    You suck. And I want to make sure you know it.

  117. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    What does any of that diarrheatribe have to do with my comment?

    Here is what she actually posted:

    I understand there are guidelines to follow , but to remove Thunderfoot just seems a tad too extreme. Oh well, it seems like Free thought blogs is the new Feminist Blog in town and not so much the “Free thinkers” safe heaven I was hoping to find.

    This is not “offering thoughts.” This is dismissive sneering of a completely cookie-cutter variety, much like Thunderfoot’s.

    She’s a 20 year old naturalized American Citizen wife of a US Marine Officer who didn’t, until last week (literally), become aware of or interested in the online skeptic community and thought she’d offer her thoughts.

    Nothing you stated in this paragraph excuses the arrogance-of-ignorance I called out in the comment I replied to. Or is even relevant. The rest of your comment is purely masturbatory.

  118. says

    “in a fashion that implies that it’s consistent with spouting off in a sneering, dismissive, substance-free manner, citing no sources and offering no argument except your own personal incredulity”

    Look I don’t have to cite anything, I came across this controversy and although I want to understand and know more about it , you’re creating an environment that makes it completely unappealing to do so. My comment is nothing but my personal perspective on the matter after reading through these blogs , Im not trying to get into a 2 page ramble about who’s right or wrong because I honestly have better things to do with my time.

  119. says

    Nothing you stated in this paragraph excuses the arrogance-of-ignorance I called out in the comment I replied to. Or is even relevant.

    Only those who who have been involved intimately with this issue for decades are allowed to express thoughts or opinions on it. If that is not explicitly your message, it is (at the very least) the message that comes across.

    And god help anyone else who tries attempts to introduce themselves to this community or these issues. God forbid they attempt to familiarize themselves with the ideas being expressed, because if they don’t fall in line with the prevailing winds here, they’ll be broken off immediately.

    And if you think THAT is masturbatory, lemme show you THIS…

  120. says

    kacyray #153:

    Only those who who have been involved intimately with this issue for decades are allowed to express thoughts or opinions on it. If that is not explicitly your message, it is (at the very least) the message that comes across.

    Explain.

    And god help anyone else who tries attempts to introduce themselves to this community or these issues. God forbid they attempt to familiarize themselves with the ideas being expressed, because if they don’t fall in line with the prevailing winds here, they’ll be broken off immediately.

    Show your evidence.

  121. says

    lilliray #152:

    Look I don’t have to cite anything, I came across this controversy and although I want to understand and know more about it , you’re creating an environment that makes it completely unappealing to do so. My comment is nothing but my personal perspective on the matter after reading through these blogs , Im not trying to get into a 2 page ramble about who’s right or wrong because I honestly have better things to do with my time.

    Then why are you wasting that precious time complaining about how you don’t want to waste your precious time backing up your claims? Why even make them in the first place? Why even comment, if it’s such a waste of time?

  122. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    It’s unfortunate that you aren’t smarter, because what I explicitly said was that arrogantly dismissing the positions and perspectives of people who could teach you, and then making an elaborate butthurt pretense of wanting to learn and why is everyone bing so MEAN, is risible. It’s also classic troll behavior….

  123. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    “in a fashion that implies that it’s consistent with spouting off in a sneering, dismissive, substance-free manner, citing no sources and offering no argument except your own personal incredulity”

    Look I don’t have to cite anything, I came across this controversy and although I want to understand and know more about it , you’re creating an environment that makes it completely unappealing to do so. My comment is nothing but my personal perspective on the matter after reading through these blogs , Im not trying to get into a 2 page ramble about who’s right or wrong because I honestly have better things to do with my time.

    I was actually talking about Thunderfoot, but that description also fits you better by the minute.

  124. says

    I was actually talking about Thunderfoot, but that description also fits you better by the minute.

    Considering your comments were made *immediately* following the blockquote citation of what she said, it was a pretty reasonable assumption on her part that your comments were directed at her.

    If they weren’t, then you’re not very good at communicating in this forum. Either way, the fact that your would fault her for assuming that your comments that following a blockquote citation of her comments were directed at her is yet another demonstration of my point.

  125. says

    @157 I don’t know what’s fuckingstupider…. blockquoting one person and then making comments directed at someone else, or criticizing someone for assuming that the comments made immediately following a citation of their comments was directed at them.

  126. says

    She’s a 20 year old naturalized American Citizen wife of a US Marine Officer […]

    What in the blue fuck does this have anything to do with anything? Should I respect you because you’re a “U.S. Marine Officer”? Does being a “U.S. Marine Officer” give you some special power of observation and wit that no one else has? Does it give you special authority in the forum?

    Does it somehow confer to her, as your wife, special privileges and rights beyond anyone else? Does she deserve special dispensation because she married a “U.S. Marine Officer”?

    Get the fuck off your high horse and stop fucking pretending that being a mercenary for a corporate owned Congress gives you any more right to respect than anyone esle.

    who didn’t, until last week (literally), become aware of or interested in the online skeptic community and thought she’d offer her thoughts.

    I don’t start reading a blog and make a dismissive comment (and yes, the comment was entirely dismissive and backed up with no actual substance) on the culture with little experience as to the backstory and not expect flames. I don’t go to the hot bath for the first time and blame the fucking hot tub for getting into hotter water than I expected.

    But in true-to-FTB fashion, the very first comment she gets is a flame – EXACTLY what I told her she’d receive if she deigned to inject her opinion into this community. There was never any doubt in my mind that if she, in her absolute innocent attempt to see what it would be like to actually participate in the dialogue with this cesspool, would simply get flamed out right off the bat.

    The very first comment she fucking made is a flame. What the fuck else do you expect?

    And you delivered like clockwork. YOU are the reason outsiders stay outside. YOU are the reason that this entire community is nothing but an intellectually incestuous bag of shit.

    Just because you aren’t getting jerked off by some of the bloggers here doesn’t make the blog a circle jerk.

    You take a person who only recently decided they don’t believe in god and wants to see what the skeptic community at large is really like, and you present them with the good folks commenting at FTB, and the result is exactly this – a complete disappointment.

    So she posts drivel and expects to be praised?

    You suck. And I want to make sure you know it.

    You’re an idiot. And I want to make sure you know it.

  127. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    @157 I don’t know what’s fuckingstupider…. blockquoting one person and then making comments directed at someone else, or criticizing someone for assuming that the comments made immediately following a citation of their comments was directed at them.

    She sneeringly implied that Thunderfoot had been rejected by FTB for exercising free thought. I pointed out that he hadn’t exercised free thought. Which part of this are you having difficulty with?

  128. says

    She sneeringly implied that Thunderfoot had been rejected by FTB for exercising free thought. I pointed out that he hadn’t exercised free thought. Which part of this are you having difficulty with?

    You didn’t handle his wife with kid gloves. She’s made of porcelain, you know.

  129. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    …isn’t being exposed to flame how porcelain is MADE?

  130. says

    @161 I stated her situation for the sake of context. It was an attempt to humanize her… precisely because the humanization is what I feel gets lost in these online conversations.

    But it’s lost anyway. I realize this group is beyond hope. You’re no exception.

    I saw the drama going on with TF… I saw the turmoil within FTB. I mentioned it… She found it interesting and decided to start looking into it. She had her own opinions on it based on what she read.

    I told her that if she she wanted to, she could join the conversation, but I warned her that the moment she deigned to voice an opinion here on this sewer, she was likely to get flamed the very first moment.

    And that’s exactly what happened. There’s no respect here, no acknowledgement of each other’s humanity, no normal decorum or human decency.

    So predictable. If I was geek enough to use bingo cards, I’d have been able to complete a few of them with just your comments alone.

  131. says

    @161 I stated her situation for the sake of context. It was an attempt to humanize her… precisely because the humanization is what I feel gets lost in these online conversations.

    What fucking context? That she’s a small little thing and now she needs her big strong Marine to put up his dukes for her? If her position has any defense then let her fucking defend it.

    But it’s lost anyway. I realize this group is beyond hope. You’re no exception.

    What, because an undefended opinion went challenged?

    I saw the drama going on with TF… I saw the turmoil within FTB. I mentioned it… She found it interesting and decided to start looking into it. She had her own opinions on it based on what she read.

    I told her that if she she wanted to, she could join the conversation, but I warned her that the moment she deigned to voice an opinion here on this sewer, she was likely to get flamed the very first moment.

    If she really read up on all of what was going on then she had no reason not to expect an unsupported comment to be challenged, and probably not in the nicest way imaginable.

    And that’s exactly what happened. There’s no respect here, no acknowledgement of each other’s humanity, no normal decorum or human decency.

    Give me a fucking break. You don’t get to expect politeness after sneering at someone.

    So predictable. If I was geek enough to use bingo cards, I’d have been able to complete a few of them with just your comments alone.

    Know what bingo card I would fill up?

    “Manly man who thinks shilling for defense contractors makes him special”‘

    See, I can ad hominem too.

  132. says

    “What in the blue fuck does this have anything to do with anything? Should I respect you because you’re a “U.S. Marine Officer”? Does being a “U.S. Marine Officer” give you some special power of observation and wit that no one else has? Does it give you special authority in the forum?”

    Holy cow, talk about being emotional. I guess this forum is fun after all.

  133. says

    @166

    Man, you got me. Such stinging and biting words.

    I guess I’ll just have to find a way to get to sleep tonight.

    ZZzzzzz…..

  134. says

    Holy cow, talk about being emotional.

    Says the woman who ran to “her man” to put up his dukes for her when she got called out.

    If you have better things to do with your time, go do it.

    If you want to voice your opinion, then back it up or don’t get in a huff when you get called out on it.

  135. says

    I was going to point out the substantive but well-handled disagreement between Talisma and Greta but #42 Robert B. already did. Talisma had just arrived and I thought; “Wow, she’s going to be freaked out by discovering disagreement in something she clearly felt comfortable presenting as universal”. But what happened instead is that many people disagreed with her, in an adult way, and she handled it in an adult way (even though she didn’t change her mind as far as I followed the discussion) and everyone was fine with the disagreement.

    So people don’t get booted for disagreement, QED.

    I was a little shocked by Greg’s backchannel communications. I have head his blog for years and while he’s gotten more extreme lately I wasn’t expecting this

  136. says

    “Says the woman who ran to “her man” to put up his dukes for her when she got called out”

    He frequents the blog and honestly I cant blame him for wanting to share his thoughts, after all isnt this what this blog is about?

    “If you want to voice your opinion, then back it up or don’t get in a huff when you get called out on it.”

    I voiced my opinion in a respectful manner, if someone took exception to it there’s not much I can do about it. However the minute disrespectful remarks were directed at me , any pretense of honest dialogue was lost.

  137. says

    Kilane: “I guess they aren’t always angry. They are often snide, sarcastic, one-sided, self-aggrandizing, condescending, preachy, hyperbolic etc. Of course, that just makes me a tone-troll.”

    I think that ‘tone troll’ is the free-thinkers equivalent of ‘It’s PC gone mad!’. Among right-wingers, no matter how racist or misogynistic a statement is, if you call someone out on it, the wing-nut thinks they just have to tell you you’re being ‘too PC’.

    On PZ’s blog, it doesn’t matter how rude someone is, any attempt to ask for a bit less hate gets you labelled a ‘tone troll’. When I said I thought this accusation was often used like the ‘PC’ label – as a way of shutting down debate – the poster replied “Only PZ can shut down debate as he’s the moderator”. Which missed the point.

    Recently I was told “PZ wants us to be rude, so who are you to bully us into stopping?’. This sounded unpleasantly similar to the religious homophobe line that it’s intolerant to point out other people’s intolerance. I see lots of other people getting piled on too. I think it’s bullying. Shoot first, ask questions later. I was literally told “Your pro-choice credentials have yet to be established”. Now I never bother reading comments on PZ’s blog, and it’s put me off checking up on the blog itself so much too.

  138. says

    I voiced my opinion in a respectful manner, if someone took exception to it there’s not much I can do about it. However the minute disrespectful remarks were directed at me , any pretense of honest dialogue was lost.

    Are we referencing the same comment? Let me refresh your memory here:

    Oh well, it seems like Free thought blogs is the new Feminist Blog in town and not so much the “Free thinkers” safe heaven I was hoping to find.

    This is not a “respectful” comment. This is what is called “sneering”, or being “dismissive”, or “talking down one’s nose”.

    This is your very first comment on this site.

    If that tone was unintentional then get the hell off your high horse and find a better way to say it. If you didn’t mean to come off as sneering or dismissive you need to bring evidence to support that instead of hiding behind “oh, ya’ll are just so MEAN to me”.

    If that tone was intentional then you have no business talking about the “pretense of honest dialogue” because there was no pretense in the first place.

    You are responsible for your message. If your message is misinterpreted it is your responsibility to fix. If you came off in a way you didn’t mean, then it is your job to clear the air. If people take exception to what you said, there are plenty of things you can do about it.

  139. says

    andrewryan #173:

    Recently I was told “PZ wants us to be rude, so who are you to bully us into stopping?’.

    What is with you Pharyngula haters and your lack of providing any sort of attribution or links? For all anyone knows you could have just made that up and stuck quotation marks around it =/

    I was literally told “Your pro-choice credentials have yet to be established”.

    So what line of argument were you defending, then?

    This reeks of quote mining. At best =/

  140. says

    “What is with you Pharyngula haters and your lack of providing any sort of attribution or links?”

    Well where’s your attribution and links to demonstrate that people other than myself have done this?!

    “For all anyone knows you could have just made that up and stuck quotation marks around it =/”

    I thought it was an obvious paraphrase, with me saying what the tone was. I don’t think anyone would think I was saying someone actually came out and said those exact words. But the exact quote wasn’t much better: “I suggest you lose all your bullying about our tone, as it isn’t your blog, and we are doing as PZ wants.”

    See post 151 for full context: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/06/20/why-everyone-should-be-pro-choice/

    “So what line of argument were you defending, then?”

    See for yourself, if you can be bothered. I’d barely say I got to defend any argument. But I certainly wasn’t making an anti-choice one and I quickly got accused of all sorts of stuff completely opposite to my views, or indeed anything I’d actually said. Suffice it to say, I’m strongly pro-choice.

    I only posted about it here because it seems other people share my opinion, making me less inclined to figure it was either a one-off, or simply my own fault. I’m not interested in continuing the same stupid argument on this thread.

  141. says

    @176

    I bit. I read the thread. And I noticed something funny.

    Know what the first hostile comment was in the thread you linked?

    I already explained my point in my first post, but you apparently didn’t understand it because you don’t know what ‘address’ means.

    I do hope you recall who said that, considering it was you.

  142. says

    Nathan, why is that any more hostile than the post I was directly responding to, post 57?

    I guess it depends on what you mean by ‘hostile’.

    I originally said we should address a specific argument. Someone replied that, effectively, I was wrong for saying we should address that argument, because in fact we should argue against it, not concede it. I politely pointed out that the two of us were in agreement – address means argue against it, it doesn’t mean concede. The conversation should really then have moved on.

    But the response was not ‘great we agree then’, or ‘OK, I see what you mean by address now’. Instead it was Well what’s your point then?

    It was then I said the post you quoted. I still wasn’t even sure at that point whether the other poster got what ‘address’ actually meant. As I said, it depends what you mean by hostile. You think the post you quoted, or anything else I said, is anything similar to the other poster’s comment: “you are a shit cupcake, covered in butt,fudge frosting, sprinkled with fresh, juicy dangleberries, and topped with a shiny chod-cherry.”

  143. says

    Ah, I remember that thread. Lessee…

    Comment #38:

    I’ve argued with anti-abortion people lots of times. Their argument comes down to “it’s a baby, a human being, from conception”. So if you want to offer an anti-abortionist any argument for being pro-choice, it needs to address this. Imagine how the argument would go down with YOU if you substituted ‘Had an abortion’ with ’caused a baby to be killed’. Unless you still think it’s a good argument given that substitution, then don’t expect it will sway them at all.

    Wait a second. -adjusts glasses- I remember that comment. I read it. And yes, the person who told you your pro-choice credentials weren’t established was correct. You’re giving us a Courtier’s Reply by proxy, telling us we have to accept the anti-choicers’ fundamental assumption in order to sway them.

    That’s bullshit. If their argument rests on a faulty premise that argument is unsound and the conclusion, while not invalid, is still wrong. You can’t tell pro-choicers to assume the premise that the fetus deserves special consideration (covered with the wording of “human being from conception”) in being able to use another’s body and argue from that framework any more than you can appeal to theology and tell atheists that they need to start from a framework that assumes the existence of god.

    Your complaint is unfounded. You were wrong, when told so you continued to be wrong, until you succeeded in pissing off the regulars. And now you’re in here complaining that the regulars are mean because you pissed them off by showing an amazing display of arrogant ignorance.

    You get nothing. You lose. Good day, sir.

  144. says

    I didn’t even know tf00t had joined this place until I came and saw this post announcing his ejection.

    But looking at his archives — all but the introductory post filled with drama about what’s been going on — perhaps it’s for the best. And I say that as a tf00t fan. I loved the video he did with PZ, doing that shtick in response to tf00t being “outed;” they were clearly getting along then.

    This is why I want to live on Vulcan.

    I recently had a debate with a creationist, and my character count was so low that I couldn’t insert my customary jabs and insults. And you know what? It was probably my most satisfying debate ever. Didn’t convince the creationist, but I came through in a logical, clear and cordial manner. I may not get many “ooh, good one!”s, but I can live with that.

  145. valhar2000 says

    Did anyone really think Thunderfoot could last when PZ was against him? I’m actually surprised it took this long for him to get excommunicated.

  146. says

    Setár: “You’re giving us a Courtier’s Reply by proxy, telling us we have to accept the anti-choicers’ fundamental assumption in order to sway them.”

    That’s the direct opposite to what I said. I said you had to ADDRESS that assumption, not accept or concede it. And I went on to clarify that point, in case anyone misunderstood it. Other posters then said “No, you need to argue against it, not concede it”. I then told them that they were agreeing with the very point I was making.

    “If their argument rests on a faulty premise that argument is unsound and the conclusion, while not invalid, is still wrong.”

    Quite. So if your argument rests on a premise that another person made one argument, whereas the reality is that they made a directly opposing argument, then your conclusion will be wrong.

  147. says

    “You’re giving us a Courtier’s Reply by proxy, telling us we have to accept the anti-choicers’ fundamental assumption in order to sway them.”

    No, I said you have to CHALLENGE those fundamental assumptions. My point was that you have to go directly to the point of disagreement. Other posters on the same thread even said the same thing, inbetween telling me how wrong I was!

  148. says

    No, I said you have to CHALLENGE those fundamental assumptions.

    Which is what pro-choicers already do, by telling anti-choicers to justify granting the fetus special treatment by allowing it to use another’s body without consent.

    Other posters on the same thread even said the same thing, inbetween telling me how wrong I was!

    Because you are wrong when you tell us we’re not doing exactly what we’re doing.

    It’s a “human being” from birth?

    Chellenge 1: It does not have the capability to sustain itself without being physically attached to another, which even an infant has, thus it cannot be equated to a person in any sense.

    Challenge 2: No person is allowed to use another person’s body without the second person’s consent in any case.

    The call for legal bans brings a further challenge in that abortion is a medical procedure, which should be regulated by best practices and standards of care as determined by physicians and enforced by medical authorities.

  149. says

    “Because you are wrong when you tell us we’re not doing exactly what we’re doing.”

    Can you quote me telling other people they’re not doing that?

    Anyway Setár, your criticism has already moved from a) telling me my argument is wrong, to b) telling me that my argument is right, but that it’s one everyone is already aware of. And there’s no concession from you that your criticism has changed, or that the initial one was based on accusing me of saying the opposite of what I actually said. Nice chatting to you. You’ve actually demonstrated my initial point rather well.

  150. says

    Ohhh, I see RacyKacy is back, despite his oft made assertion that this blog and its habitues are eeeeeeeeeevil, mean and notnice peoples who hurt on his fee-fees.

    I thought you wuz a FORMER marine; you’re active duty? I may have to do a little mining–nah, fuck it, it really doesn’t matter.

    You split your comments, about evenly, between complaining about people being mean to you and treating you like a thuggish tonetrolling asshole and BEING a thuggish tonetrolling asshole. If your wife wants to play in this arena and NOT be taken to task for typing inane, disingenuous comments then perhaps she needs another role model.

  151. coryat says

    I’ve been reading this thread, Thunderf00t’s blog posts, Justin’s post outing Laden and various other things for over 90 minutes trying to decide what I think.

    I found Thunderf00t’s leaving unusual. Although not a big fan of his blog it did seem Prima facie that he was leaving for being unpopular and defending his views with gusto; his tone didn’t seem markedly different than that adopted by the Lousy Canuck when addressing critics (e.g. The Incredible Halq). That said however it is Ed’s network and I can respect the integrity shown by Mr Brayton with comments such as this @ 128:

    “Unfortunately, we have a firm policy against revealing what is said in the backchannel so we can’t very well defend ourselves against it. ”

    It is a good thing not to break policy just to defend yourself when under attack.

    Laden’s departure I find more understandable. I have always been vary wary of his place (despite some good material). This is because a few years ago in a discussion about violence and sex he made a horrid internet tough guy threat in his own comments section involving ‘meatspace’, grabbing someone by the ears and whimpering in pain. I can’t find a link now and I’m only a dog on the internet so I’ll understand if this claim is treated with scepticism but that’s always made me uneasy with him and his work.

    All in all I have to concede that I am an outsider looking in without all the facts; I am left hoping that the cleaning will enable a better and stronger freethoughts blog.

  152. babanani says

    Thank you for putting some structure to how you handle this sort of conflict. I wager I not the only one who found the vile exchanges energy sapping and very much not what I came to read.

    There are reasons the much derided “Robert’s Rules of Order,” is so well known. Some structure to how a community works can be a pain in the ass, but much better than comment threads where people can post rubbish. Bit like I am doing now…

  153. says

    What little I read of Tfoot here showed him to be a dullard rehashing a lot of tired old empty rhetoric from previous MRA trolls, alternating with complaints about being equated with the MRAs whose rhetoric he was borrowing. The bit about how FTB isn’t as representative of atheists overall as YouTube was kind of amusing, but it also made me wonder how serious he was. So yeah, good riddance and why the Hell did anyone think it was a good idea to invite him here in the first place?

    The news about Greg Laden is sad and surprising. I liked his stuff at SciBlogs, but I was kinda disappointed when he came here and started posting less actual writing and more videos. Then he went way downhill freaking out about the rise of fascism in Greece; and the more recent insults and threats are just inexcusable and beneath him. Maybe there’s personal issues compromising the quality of his work? I hope he manages to fix whatever is wrong and come back.

    PS: I’m no big fan of PZ (I don’t find his posts all that useful or informative), but the complaints I hear about him are just plain laughable. He instructs his minions and dutiful sycophants to flood other blogs to do his bidding? Really?! What could PZ have done to cause anyone to make him the center of such laughable paranoid delusions? (Or have PZ’s haters just been watching too many episodes of “True Blood?”)

  154. disenchanted says

    Ed Brayton, this is probably too deep in to be read, but please fix FTB.

    A few weeks ago, I considered it a good resource (not the only, but a good one) for issues that related to me as an atheist and freethinker in america. I connected with some bloggers more than others, but appreciated the variety, and often found perspectives I hadn’t really given much thought to in those bloggers I don’t consider myself as connecting with.

    Now though, every other post is part of the flame war. I don’t consider the site even worth recommending or linking to, because I fear the flame war may tarnish your blogger’s otherwise good ideas in my readers’ eyes.

    I’ll come back to check FTB out in a few weeks. I hope in that time it’s back to normal.

  155. says

    “Or have PZ’s haters just been watching too many episodes of “True Blood?”

    Oh, sure, YOUUUUUUUUUUUUU lot have tellyvision!

    “Now though, every other post is part of the flame war. I don’t consider the site even worth recommending or linking to, because I fear the flame war may tarnish your blogger’s otherwise good ideas in my readers’ eyes.”

    Sorry, this didn’t pass the CT* scan. As has been noted by other commenters, nobody is forcing anybody to read the posts, the comments or anything else here. When I send people to a blog I like it’s not because I’m sure that they will like it too.

    * Concern Troll

  156. says

    “As has been noted by other commenters, nobody is forcing anybody to read the posts”

    Great reasoning; so apparently no-one else’s opinion on this is valid. Coming up next: “No-one’s forcing women to attend TAM”.

  157. disenchanted says

    LOL democommie. I don’t care why you send people to blogs. When I send them, I expect them to be intelligent and to read up on the bloggers, to investigate the value of the bloggers’ ideas.

    This flame war reflects badly on all involved. If I first introduced to FTB during this embarrassing time, I wouldn’t come back. I think Ed Brayton should know that.

  158. says

    Disenchanted, after your first post I almost replied “Cue people kicking Discenchanted for ‘tone trolling’, telling him/her not to let the door hit them on the way out etc”. Then I didn’t, because I didn’t believe anyone WOULD actually respond like that to such a mild post.

    But then, barely minutes later…

  159. jamessweet says

    Very interesting about Greg Laden… I am a little surprised, but not very. I like Greg for the most part, but I have written no less than three blog posts criticizing him for being way over the top or needlessly black-and-white in his thinking (although I only mentioned him by name in two of them). He’s on the “right side”, but his reasons for being so are not always completely solid, and as we’ve seen demonstrated most shockingly in his letter to Justin, his tactics are occasionally unacceptable. It’s a little sad, but perhaps it was for the best.

    As far as the footing of thunderb00t… er, um, I mean the booting of thunderf00t… I would actually oppose this pretty strongly if he’d actually written about anything else in his time at FtB. I think it’s okay that he disagrees, and although I only read the first two flamewar posts, I didn’t see anything in either that I felt like crossed a line in terms of treatment of other bloggers. He’s badly, badly wrong on this, of course, but there are plenty of FtBers who have exposed themselves as badly wrong on some issue or another. It’s just that the sum total of his contributions to FtB have been “Hi, I’m thunderf00t”, and “Let me vigorously stir this crock of shit with a flaming stick (and also be in the wrong).” I kept waiting for, uh, something else.

    I have to say I’m very disappointed that this is how thunderf00t’s debut at FtB turned out. I was pretty excited when he signed on, and I would have been totally willing to overlook his intransigence on the harassment issue if he, uh, ever blogged about anything else. Too bad…

  160. d cwilson says

    I really enjoyed Thunderfoot’s “Why do people laugh at creationists” videos on Youtube. He always did an excellent job of debunking nonsense. Many of his social commentary videos, not so much. Often times, he comes across as condescending and insulting, even when I agreed with the views he expressed.

    When he joined FtB, I had hoped he’d bring some interesting discussion to the table. Unfortunately, after reading a few of his blogs, I got the feeling he was more interested in picking fights with the other bloggers than contributing to the discussion. It’s a shame, but sometimes, a contributor’s personal style just isn’t a fit for a particular group.

  161. Marcus Hill (mysterious and nefarious) says

    coryat @188:

    It is a good thing not to break policy just to defend yourself when under attack.

    For confidentiality policy, that’s generally not true. It’s important to stick to promises of confidentiality unless not doing so would be actively harmful or protect illegal activity, or to defend oneself from legal action brought by the other party to the confidential communication. The purpose of a promise of confidentiality is to get honest discourse which might not happen in a public forum. If you regularly break this promise without compelling reasons, then the private channel becomes effectively public, and you lose its main benefit.

  162. says

    Disenchanted’s concerns are entirely reasonable. If I didn’t share those concerns, I wouldn’t have done what I did. That’s the whole point, to cut down on the drama and get back to talking about issues that matter instead of flame wars.

  163. dingojack says

    andrewryan (#193) – What what,what,what?!?
    Women are being forced to attend the Australian Museum (TAM), now? I’m shocked, shocked I tells ya!*
    Dingo
    —–
    * My advice, don’t use unnecessary acronyms, abbreviations or slang when posting. Sometimes it doesn’t translate well.

  164. jamessweet says

    Yeah, disenchanted is not wrong here. I’m weary of the flame war too. It was probably a conversation that needed to happen, but it’s getting so every other post on FtB is about this tedious shit.

    I don’t want to “fix it” by just saying, “Oh fine we’ll not have anti-harassment policies, we’ll just let sexism run unchecked,” etc. But OTOH, disenchanted is absolutely right that this prolonged flame war is hurting FtB. Let’s not shoot the messenger, ‘k?

  165. says

    I think another problem is the way anyone who makes a comment like disenchanted’s is immediately leapt on for ‘tone trolling’. Any criticism at all is swept away by many posters. They don’t argue against it – they immediately dismiss it out of hand. People can be wrong – if you explain why to them, they may change their mind.

    Dingo, is anyone genuinely likely to be perplexed on this blog by reference to ‘TAM’, given that most of the kerfuffle in this ongoing discussion has been about people’s reaction to harassment at sceptical conferences like The Amazing Meeting? Listen to The Atheist Experience and here how many times they bother saying the name of the event out in full. I used to work on a business magazine that wouldn’t like the acronym CEO – as if any of the readers might not know what it meant! But I’ll make a note of your advice, if only to save time in future.

  166. harold says

    LOL democommie. I don’t care why you send people to blogs. When I send them, I expect them to be intelligent and to read up on the bloggers, to investigate the value of the bloggers’ ideas.

    Maybe that’s your problem.

    You arbitrarily declared yourself the Ann Landers of the internet but nobody else gave a shit.

    Probably getting “disenchanted” from that concept and starting over is a good idea.

    Out of the millions of useless blogs, I find a few useful, including this one. This one efficiently provides information I can’t get as efficiently on my own. It’s a decent clearinghouse for what’s going on in the American extreme right. It’s highly selective, it’s not always completely up to date, and there are other blogs that do the same thing with varying advantages and disadvantages, but I don’t have time or the intestinal fortitude to read WND and listen to hate radio, etc, every day on my own, I do think it’s a good idea to know what’s going on in my society, and this is a decent spot for information.

    I don’t “send” anybody anywhere or “expect” anybody else to do anything. That helps prevent disenchantment.

    I don’t want to go to someone’s blog and be faced with the latest installment in a petty, childish, personal battle he/she is having with someone else.

    I really have to agree with that sentiment.

    PS: I’m no big fan of PZ (I don’t find his posts all that useful or informative), but the complaints I hear about him are just plain laughable. He instructs his minions and dutiful sycophants to flood other blogs to do his bidding?

    In fact, the only thing they flood, as far as I can tell, is the Pharyngula comments section.

  167. says

    I’m concerned about the fact that the topic of sexual harassment is what set off all of this nastiness. Bringing up sexism and things that make people uncomfortable sexually is a guaranteed way to bring the sexists and the people who don’t give a damn about anyone feeling sexually uncomfortable out of the woodwork, and yet the answer is not to just not talk about it.

    Probably everyone who blogs here– now– considers him/herself a feminist, or at least I hope they do, though it’s not a priority for everybody to blog about it. Entirely understandably it’s a priority for most of the female bloggers to write about it at least occasionally, and it would not be a good solution to the flame war for them to stop. It’s also not a good solution for everyone who disagrees with a blogger writing about feminism/sexism to be declared a sexist. You can be a feminist and just be wrong. Really, it’s true!

    I hope that the locus of most of the assholery is TAM’s sexual harassment policy specifically and all of the brouhaha surrounding that, and when that becomes old news so too will the trolling. Drama gets attention, certainly, but it doesn’t scream “I have integrity as a blogger!” to write on topics and in ways that are clearly intended to stir the pot. And you can talk about feminism and sexuality without stirring the pot. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say.

  168. says

    I don’t really understand the hate on PZ Myers and co.

    Every angry post from him, or Ophelia, or any of the others was trying to rebut an incredibly hostile attack from Thunderf00t.

    Then Justin Griffith came along and showed horrible foot-in-mouth disease. Not just once, but twice.

    Do I blame PZ for his response to Justin’s outing of Greg? No.

    But I do think part of the post’s harshness came from the fact that Justin chose exactly the wrong time for such horrible social awareness. And not just once, but twice.

    The problem with TF00t’s attacks was that he was making them on the very same blog network as everyone else. He made no attempt to be civil. His posts were full of disingenuity (is that a word?), non sequiturs, vitriol and personal attacks.

    On the “home turf”, so to speak. That’s what kept the “flames” going. That’s why (I think) his departure is unfortunately necessary.

    @Andrewryan

    The debate was going on perfectly fine. They just weren’t taking you as seriously as you wanted and you got pissy and made the first attack (saying they didn’t understand what “address” means when they did, and didn’t feel it had a bearing on what the argument). Any sense of “hostility” you felt before that probably had more to do with the fact that they weren’t giving you the attention you wanted.

    The problem is easily solved. You need to grow up and realize that sometimes people aren’t going to give your pet theory the attention you think it deserves.

  169. tomh says

    I would disagree with those who say that a so-called flame war is such a terrible thing and we need to get back to serious business. There’s a reason that a thread like this grows to several hundred comments, while a post on a court case might get a dozen or so. People enjoy this kind of thread – I know I do. You’ve got the simpleminded, righteous indignation of someone like kacyray, whiners like xtog42 who is sure everything is run wrong and besides, people call him names, dalehusband riding in on his favorite hobbyhorse insisting that everyone accept his wacko definition of atheism, the tone trolls, and, my personal favorite, the people who complain that there’s just too much complaining going on. It’s all just good, clean entertainment.

  170. coryat says

    Marcus Hill @198:

    Either you’re misreading me or vice versa. I said what I read you to be saying at #198, that it is a good thing not to break confidentiality.

  171. Who Knows? says

    I’m concerned about the fact that the topic of sexual harassment is what set off all of this nastiness.

    That is what I have been thinking as I sat and watched this all unfold.

  172. says

    ““As has been noted by other commenters, nobody is forcing anybody to read the posts”

    Great reasoning; so apparently no-one else’s opinion on this is valid. Coming up next: “No-one’s forcing women to attend TAM”.

    Oh, I’m sorry that your reading comprehension is nonexistent. I don’t recall saying anything remotely like:

    “no-one else’s opinion on this is valid.”

    As opinions in general are not valid or invalid but entirely subjective, it would be impossible to sort them. Assertions, otoh, are statements made BECAUSE the maker holds an opinion. When that assertion is supported by the facts in evidence then it certainly might be valid. When it’s not, it’s bullshit.

    Disenchanted’s comment at 191 contains someathatthere bullshit.

    “I think another problem is the way anyone who makes a comment like disenchanted’s is immediately leapt on for ‘tone trolling’. Any criticism at all is swept away by many posters. They don’t argue against it – they immediately dismiss it out of hand. People can be wrong – if you explain why to them, they may change their mind.”

    disenchanted’s original comment was either moronic or deliberately deceitful. I read this blog daily and have done so for a long time. Flame wars ARE a bug on this blog, but they are nothing like 10% of the totality of comments; they are basically 0% of the posts.

    I’m surprised that Mr. Michael Heath has not popped in to rebut this bit of nonsense as well as to remind you that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Here’s a free clue: saying something stupid and then, when someone else calls you to account for doing so, insisting that THEY are required to prove the opposite of your baseless assertion is transparently stupid.

  173. leonateo says

    Would it be possible to get a little more than “trust us, something shady happened, and anything Thunderf00t says about it will be misrepresentation”?

    How will we know to what degree TF’s assessment is accurate if I have nothing from FTB’s side besides outright dismissal before TF’s assessment even exists?

    It’s your blog, your collective, and your prerogative, but a little objectivity regarding his ouster would be welcome so we could make reasonable conclusions regarding the info we do get.

    Also, if more information is available and I’ve just missed it on someone’s blog or something, someone point me at it and call it a day.

  174. says

    https://twitter.com/#!/thunderf00t

    So far, he’s claiming that anyone who disagrees with PZ is wrong. Seeing as Justin Griffith and Daniel Fincke are still here (feel free to remind me of any other people who had disagreements with PZ), this clearly isn’t true. If you look back a bit, it’s also clear that he has no idea what the hell fair use is.

  175. Pierce R. Butler says

    dalehusband @ # 145: I have been using the word “atheist” in only its original historical meaning (outright denial of the existence of any god) …

    Etymological citation needed.

    The prefix “a-” denotes “without”. I know a lot of apolitical people, for example, none of whom denies the existence of politics. They just want to live without it.

    Consider how the early (pre-Constantine) christians in the Roman Empire were rioted against as “atheists” because they refused to pay tribute to the earthquake god (and were thus held responsible for Poseidon/Neptune shaking the ground), though all conceded they did believe in their omnigod.

    Or by “original historical meaning” did you mean the continuing tradition of denigration and misrepresentation of atheism which continues so energetically today?

  176. says

    And TF is doing the same context-scrubbing as the rest of the slimepitters: “Oh NOES!!! I was banned for having a different opinion! I was JUST thinking freely!”

  177. says

    leonateo-

    No. As I said, we have a firm policy against revealing what we say to each other on our mailing list and I’m not going to violate that. And I didn’t say that anything Thunderfoot says is a misrepresentation; I have no doubt that he truly believes that he was booted just for disagreeing. I’m content to allow him to say that without violating our policy in order to give my side of the story. Those who were already disposed to believe him will believe him; those who aren’t so disposed probably won’t. Ultimately, it just doesn’t matter that much. I did what I did solely out of concern for the health of this community, knowing full well that many people will jump to that conclusion or accept his side of the story on face value. But that’s just not a big concern to me. Not everyone is going to like us, support this decision or believe me when I say that it wasn’t about disagreement. I’m fine with that.

  178. brocasbrian says

    I was just posting over at pharyngula about how the flame war drama was tiring. Everybody freaked the fuck out. Accused me of being self centered and disregarding woman’s issues.

    Apparently interfering in a flame war is also one of the classic blunders.

  179. Quodlibet says

    To anyone who mistakenly assumes that PZ Myers arbitrarily and/or covertly bans people from commenting on Pharyngula, and to all who are making gross assumptions about how, when, why, and to what extent he bans or removes commenters, please read the “Standards and Practices” that are so very conveniently posted at Pharyngula. Once you have the facts you may want to adjust your thinking, and perhaps apologize to PZ for having used your assumptions as a basis for your accusations.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/08/01/pharyngula-standards-practices/

    This link may also be found at the “Dungeon” tab at Pharyngula, where you can peruse the list of banned commenters, with reasons for WHY they were banned, with links to the ban-worthy content.

    Please also read carefully the section “Bannable Offenses” – you will be enlightened. And read about the levels of response, so you can understand what actually happens, and how, and the fact that he warns people when they are in danger of being banned. Recently, some of those who have been banned from specific threads have been invited to transfer their conversations to other specified threads.

    (And remember that when Pharyngula moved from SB to FTB, all the existing dungeon denizens were given amnesty and an opportunity to participate again at FTB.)

    I’ve been a reader (and occasional commenter) at FTB, and previously at SB, for several years, almost entirely at Pharyngula and Dispatches. By paying attention, I was able to figure out how the Pharyngula community conducts itself. It’s really not too difficult – just pay attention and try to fit in to the community. (Same as you would in any social setting, right? … Right?)

    Is Pharyngula rude and crude? Yes. Don’t read it if you don’t like that. Disagreement, debate, and argument are essential elements in tearing down irrational thinking.

    Does it cover topics other than atheism and science? Yes. Don’t read those posts if they don’t interest you.

    Are there disagreements? Yes, and participating honestly and with a willingness to learn can yield good results. My experience there is that if you jump in without having taken time to assess the context of the thread, or without a good command of facts and history, or without being willing to check your privilege and presumptions at the door, then you may be in for a rough time. In many cases, new commenters who have taken quite a drubbing come back stronger and more honest with themselves (and others) about important issues (such as, oh, sexual harassment), and become valuable contributors.

    Is it intellectually honest? Yes, and that’s its best asset: weak arguments, presumptions, fallacies, etc., will be dismantled and handed back to you in a greasy paper bag. If you can’t carry on a coherent conversation, don’t bother participating. The people there like to engage in productive discussions that move forward toward better understanding and more rational thought. If you can’t participate productively, then don’t. Lurk, and read, and listen, and learn, and be willing to think differently.

    “Free thought” does not mean “say whatever you want without consequence” – it is not the same as what so many people erroneously call “free speech.”

    Finally – blogs are privately operated entities. We commenters participate by tacet invitationof the blog host. Read that last sentence again; it might help to dispel the sense of entitlement that comes through so strongly in some of the comments here that complain about not being able to express “free thoughts.” It is not our place, or our right, or our responsibility, to dictate to blog owners how they should manage their blogs, what standards should apply, etc. If that’s your desire, get your own blog. It’s free and easy to do.

  180. jamessweet says

    I just want to say that it’s shameful the reactionary response to “disenchanted” from certain people (To Ed’s credit, his response was exactly on target. Thank you, Ed.) Look. Nobody is denying that this was an important issue to tackle. But if you don’t think that the level of vitriol here is starting to get a little old, I’m not sure what to tell you. The solutions are not easy, because nobody wants to just surrender to the trolls and stop talking about feminism. OTOH, denying that there’s even a problem here… I dunno what to say to that.

    FtB is a lot less fun at this exact moment than it was a few months ago. I’m not the only one who feels that way. Now, I think it is a transient problem, and I think that, fun or not, it was important to have this conversation (fun is not everything, of course… but then again, blogs are, in the end, entertainment.. so if they are un-fun for too long, that’s going to be a problem). But to get all medieval on someone because they admit they don’t enjoy FtB as much right now? Please. You’re fucking blind if you don’t see that as a legitimate comment.

  181. sc_a5b2f6de152b882f2394f4b2ce00493f says

    Now that Laden is a known harasser, will he still be speaking at the Skepchick conference?

    Would be interesting to see if in-crowd harassers get a pass.

    B

  182. brocasbrian says

    Thanks James. That is what I was trying to say just now over at pharyngula. I didn’t say it that well though.

  183. says

    I agree completely with what James Sweet said. Hell yes, the flame wars are getting tiresome and I don’t think I’m tone trolling my own network. That’s why I did this, to turn down the heat. I hope it succeeds. That certainly does not mean that I and others will not continue to criticize others within the movement when we think they deserve it, and we sure as hell aren’t going to stop taking a strong stance for equality across the board. But I hope we can do that without all the drama in the future. I fully recognize that maybe I’m being naive.

  184. nooneinparticular says

    This episode is, sadly, not surprising. Although the “discussion” on FTB and beyond about harassment at TAM and other conferences was at times ugly, I think a significant amount of good came of it, primarily in the fact that consciousness about a real issue has been raised and steps are underway to address that.

    But there is no doubt the FTB brand has come out of this damaged. Despite being generally on the “right” side of the issue, some of the folks here on FTB have behaved in ways that have harmed the network in the eyes of those of us on the outside. This is NOT to say that people who disagreed with them have behaved well; many have not.

    Among the things that have damaged the reputation of this network is this silencing of dissent. It will do you (the ones who will throw poo at me for saying this) no good to deny it. Many, many times during the discussions people who’ve tried to address this issue with an insufficiently pure ideology, from the perspective of many on the commentariat, have been hounded out with vile and vicious insults. The hypocrisy of some here does not help. The legitimacy of complaints about people referring to others (apparently on a blog not within the network) as “cunts” is seriously undermined by repeatedly telling those you disagree with to be “anally penetrated by dead porcupines”.

    To make matters worse when others point this out they are immediately accused of “tone trolling”, a term that is laughably, though I’m quite sure unintentionally, ironic. Objecting to someone pointing out bad behavior is itself an objection to tone and “trolling” means something altogether different than the insinuation. This opprobrium is anyway, in many cases, really nothing more than a way to silence dissent. It is often a childish and transparent way of stomping your feet and saying “shut up, shut up, shut up!”

    As I said there is much good that came out of this “debate” and it is hoped that people will find conferences and meetings they attend in future to be safer spaces because of it. It is also hoped that FTB will do the work it needs to do to repair its reputation.

    I suspect, however, that for the most part and for some contributors, bloggers and regular commentators alike, there will be no introspection. They (you) will not see that even those who were wrong about the issue but complained about how it was argued may have had a point about the disconnect between what FTB claims they stand for and the reality on the ground. It seems clear to me that there is a kind of self-righteousness from many here that blinds them to the merits of any contrary position and which is the root cause of the effort to silence those who disagree with this or that point, minor or major. Like religious self-righteousness it cannot be dislodged from the minds of the righteous.

    On a more personal note, not that any care and one that I know will earn me a dead porcupine, I have until recently only lurked here, reading, learning and thinking. I have long thought highly of the blogs on this network (yours most of all, Ed). But I think the network has lost its way and has become, of all things, a place that does not value freedom of thought. Or at least a place that does not value diversity of thought. I may check in again in a few months after the dust settles. I wish you (all of you) well.

    Flouncing outta here…..

  185. rg57 says

    Goodbye FtB.

    Your groupthink and double standards are far more than I’m willing to tolerate.

  186. ArtK says

    Sadly, people raising issues of “tone” may have a legitimate point to make, or they may be using the issue of tone to try to stifle debate. The latter is what I would call a “tone troll,” not the former. I don’t think it’s wrong to say “your argument would work better with me if you weren’t screaming it with obscenities direct at me.” Saying “you’re all a bunch of meanies so I don’t have to listen to you” is tone-trolling (really, a form of ad hominem.)

    What’s equally sad is the use of the “tone troll” accusation to stifle a legitimate point as well. I agree with disenchanted, James Sweet and Ed that flame wars are tiresome and unnecessary.

    For me, a flame war isn’t simply a very heated argument. It’s one where reason and logic are being forced out and replaced by vitriol and emotion. I’m not averse to a little name calling and sarcastic cuts, but draw the line when these become more important than the ostensible subject of the discussion.

  187. Kalliope says

    ArtK,

    Maybe. Or maybe you don’t recognize logic and reason on some subject when it smacks you right in the head.

    Tell me, who is it that mostly resorts to vitriol or emotion? I’m curious, because that’s been a trope hurled at women since, oh, the ancient Greeks.

    And so it’s especially interesting — in a purely dispassionate and logical way, of course — when those particular accusations are leveled at women who are drawing very sensible boundaries about they will or will not be treated.

    But perhaps you’re talking about the likes to ThunderF00t, and not the women and their male allies who are crying foul?

    Because, really, what could be more rational than self protection?

  188. says

    Is Pharyngula rude and crude? Yes. Don’t read it if you don’t like that. Disagreement, debate, and argument are essential elements in tearing down irrational thinking.

    The inability to distinguish between rudeness/crudeness and disagreement, debate, and argument is not a good trait to have. If you think that in order to disagree, debate, or argue it’s legitimate or even necessary to be an asshole, I don’t want to do those things with you. On PZ’s blog simply saying this would be labeled tone trolling, which is why I don’t usually read his blog and comment there even less often.

  189. Kalliope says

    I wish I could retract my last reply. It wasn’t apropos to original post.

    This post was about the removal of two bloggers, not whether it is fun or important to discuss issues facing women in the skeptical community.

  190. says

    “But there is no doubt the FTB brand has come out of this damaged.”

    WTF? Do you seriously think of FTB as being a “brand”? Holy fucking shit, you need a reality check. This is a blog, not some organ of the state, the oligarchs or the revolutionaries. I have no idea why Ed blogs, unless it’s that he sees interesting things going on in areas that he’s concerned about and wants to share it. A “brand”? Not what I think of when I think of FTB.

    For those who are in agreement with disenchanted:

    I say he’s a tone troll, if for no other reason than never having seen him on a thread before. He says:

    “Now though, every other post is part of the flame war. I don’t consider the site even worth recommending or linking to, because I fear the flame war may tarnish your blogger’s otherwise good ideas in my readers’ eyes.”

    When I click on his screenname I get nada, no information. I would like to see HIS blog and see what HE’S saying about this or anything else.

    I’m leaning towards sock puppetry until I see something to convince me otherwise.

  191. 'Tis Himself says

    ArtK

    I don’t think it’s wrong to say “your argument would work better with me if you weren’t screaming it with obscenities direct at me.”

    It isn’t wrong. How effective it is may be a matter of conjecture. If you’re going out of your way to be obtuse or are ignoring all arguments which you don’t agree with, then people are going to get irritated at you. Irritated people may start using obscenities. Sorry if this disturbs you.

    And your concern is noted.

  192. jayyoung says

    I didn’t follow Greg Laden’s posts, so I won’t comment on his removal, but with Thunderfoot, good riddance. The guy stirred up a tempest in a teapot, and is a no-talent clown anyway.

  193. says

    But if you don’t think that the level of vitriol here is starting to get a little old, I’m not sure what to tell you.

    So find an FTB post that doesn’t have so much vitriol — or at least gets vitriolic about a different subject. There’s lots of bloggers here, and they’re not all talking about the same things; so you should be able to tune out the worst flame wars without dumping FTB altogether. Like, oh, I dunno, right here at Dispatches, where there’s rarely any mention of the sexism-in-the-atheist-community controversy at all?

    OTOH, denying that there’s even a problem here… I dunno what to say to that.

    Who has actually denied there’s a problem here?

    I don’t consider the site even worth recommending or linking to, because I fear the flame war may tarnish your blogger’s otherwise good ideas in my readers’ eyes.

    Funny how most of the pearl-clutching about FTB’s image or reputation seems to come from names I’ve never seen here before.

  194. says

    There’s lots of bloggers here, and they’re not all talking about the same things; so you should be able to tune out the worst flame wars without dumping FTB altogether. Like, oh, I dunno, right here at Dispatches, where there’s rarely any mention of the sexism-in-the-atheist-community controversy at all?

    If Ed has been ignoring the issue because of lack of interest, or because of a desire to avoid having some of those worst flame wars crop up on his own blog, I entirely understand. I still think it’s unfortunate, because a person wants to hear the voices she trusts and respects opine on the subjects that are important.

    Just to reiterate– there’s nothing wrong with the topic of sexism in the atheist community, or sexism anywhere. It should not be conflated with the attention-whoring or bigotry that some people find appropriate to voice whenever that topic is up for discussion.

  195. ArtK says

    @ ‘Tis Himself

    It isn’t wrong. How effective it is may be a matter of conjecture. If you’re going out of your way to be obtuse or are ignoring all arguments which you don’t agree with, then people are going to get irritated at you. Irritated people may start using obscenities. Sorry if this disturbs you.

    And your concern is noted.

    I could (and was trying to) make the counter-argument that there are times when the tone can get in the way of a good argument — that it’s just as ineffective. I fully recognize that irritated people are going to use obscenities. The use of obscenities doesn’t disturb me, but replacing argument with obscenities does.

    Your misplaced snark is duly noted as well.

    @Kalliope

    I must be very dense then, because I haven’t a clue as to what you said has anything to do with what I said. I was pointing out that arguments about “tone” and “tone trolling” both can be used to stifle discussion, but both may have legitimate points as well. Simply dismissing a position because it references tone is just as wrong as dismissing a position because it has (potentially offensive) tone.

    How that got turned into an issue about women, I’m really not sure. I don’t recall mentioning gender in my comment at all. I wasn’t talking about the specific argument between Thunderfoot and the rest, but about the meta-discussion about what tone trolling is.

    I hadn’t weighed in on the issue of harassment in the freethought/atheist community. For the record, I think that Thunderfoot is wrong, and came off sounding like an MRA apologist. It’s a major failing that anti-harassment policies are necessary, but they are necessary.

  196. says

    Gretchen #231:

    The inability to distinguish between rudeness/crudeness and disagreement, debate, and argument is not a good trait to have.

    Neither is the inability to look past a few unpleasent words and read for content.

    On PZ’s blog simply saying this would be labeled tone trolling,

    Because it is. You’re not attacking the content, you’re refusing to because you don’t like the look of the post.

    which is why I don’t usually read his blog
    Wait, you don’t like the commenters, so you don’t read the blog at all?

    That’s a bit hyperbolic. If I didn’t like a blog’s commenters, I wouldn’t read the comments, but that doesn’t make the blogger themselves any less. I don’t read the comments at The Nation or The New York Times but I still read Chris Hayes and Paul Krugman.

    and comment there even less often.

    Based on what I’m reading here that sounds like a good thing.

    democommie #233: Actually, if you’re looking for where nooneinparticular stuck his foot in it…

    Among the things that have damaged the reputation of this network is this silencing of dissent.

    …that would be it.

    Anyone still complaining about how ‘both sides’ are somehow at fault, you don’t know what the fuck’s going on, and it’s very arrogant of you walk in now complaining about all the ‘vitriol’ and talking about how FTB as a whole has somehow been damaged, people are being scared away, etc.

    The ‘vitriol’ from the anti-feminist side has come in the form of libel, threats, and even actions that could be legally considered cyberstalking. You have no right or ability to talk about ‘both sides’ until you buck up and show where the feminist side has done ANY OF THIS OR ANYTHING EVEN CLOSE. Umtil then, your calls for ‘civility’ have as much weight as “centrists” equating statements like “Second Amendment Solution” and “Don’t retreat, reload” to statements like “War On Women” and “voter suppression”.

    And I have really no idea how one can honestly equate obsessive and continuing threats and libel to reactions.

    Oh, wait, I can, it’s called sitting on the fence while one side brings you a constant supply of tea and cookies.

  197. says

    Setár of the ridiculous title, you decided that I was “objecting to a few unpleasant words.” I didn’t say anything of the sort. I said “being an asshole.” You and I might disagree about what constitutes being an asshole, but two important points remain:

    1. Objecting to someone being an asshole does not mean ignoring the content of what they’re saying. Tone trolling is focusing on how they’re saying something to the exclusion of what they’re saying.

    2. There is a point at which being an asshole becomes the content. When you’re just being a dick to someone because they disagree, and attempting to pound them into the dirt by using the most crushing words possible.

    I will pay attention to what assholes have to say sometimes, if it’s true and useful and relevant. I will not agree that having something true and useful and relevant to say justifies being an asshole, certainly not if the pursuit of assholery become more important than having anything true and useful and relevant to say.

  198. Kalliope says

    @ArtK —

    What flamewar were you referencing? Or was yours just a completely theoretical comment, apropos of nothing on FTB, whatsoever?

    To deny that the flamewar in question isn’t the one about gender issues is completely disingenuous.

  199. says

    Gretchen, I think you’re talking a lot of sense – clear points, concisely made, and you hit the nail on the head. The people arguing against you well illustrate the very points you’re making.

    The reactions of some here remind me of Thunderf00t’s misreading of the ‘don’t discriminate on the basis of religion’ as ‘you must not criticise religion’. Here it’s painted as if ‘tone trolls’ want to stop anyone disagreeing with each other.

    Another irony is people pointing out the paranoia of imagining that PZ is ‘sending out his minions to do his dirty work’, but then posters who make points they disagree with are suspected of being sock puppets. There’s got to be a conspiracy – it can’t just be someone with a valid opinion.

    And the people still saying these points have no legitimacy and still crying ‘tone troll’ – Ed Brayton’s already said Disenchanted had a point, he’s said there’s a problem. Are any of you going to just have the balls to call the site’s founder a ‘tone troll’?

  200. horacerumpole says

    The blog entry above says that this is not about disagreement or difference of opinion, but rather it is about “conduct” towards another member.

    The problem I have with that is that nothing Thunderf00t or Greg Laden did was anything other than a disagreement or difference of opinion. Moreover, outright abuse is tolerated here, as long as it is against certain groups – the religious, and the various “deniers,” for example. It’s fair game to call them names, and heap abuse upon them. Here, Thunderf00t and Laden merely took the opposite position, and argued vigorously.

    For that, they are banned? Abominable.

    I find the trend in the freethought/skeptic community over the last year to be really disturbing. Some portion of the community is going from freethinking to orthodoxy very quickly. We have speech and thought police relative to anything having to do with the hot potato topic of “sexism.”

    For some reason, disagreeing with an allegation of sexism, or opposing some movement by one group or another of so called feminists, brands one a troll. Such disagreement is not merely disagreement, it’s sexism itself. It’s misogyny. It’s considered “conduct” toward another member.

    This nonsense has to stop. It is infecting freethought to its very core and poisoning skepticism.

    To ban ThunderfOOt in this case is antithetical to freethought and skepticism. If anything, his view deserved more protection, because his was the braver, minority position to take. His was the unpopular view. His was the lone voice, standing against the tide of orthodoxy.

    If anyone’s voice was worth hearing here, it was his. And, you’ve effectively silenced him on this forum. That is, of course, your right. But, the fact remains that by doing so, you’ve violated every principle of freethought, open debate, free inquiry and skepticism.

    Shame on freethoughtblogs.

    Shame.

    Shame on all of you who applaud the banning of Thunderf00t and Greg Laden.

  201. jackrawlinson says

    Respect due for taking Laden out as well as Thunderf00t. Now when are you going to do something about the nest of vicious, hypocritical vipers that comment at Pharyngula?

    I won’t hold my breath.

  202. andyo says

    What the fuck these morons think PZ Myers is? Some kind of evil mind control wizard? There’s insults at Pharyngula, yes. There’s rudeness. But also there’s a reason why those are acceptable in the minds of the other bloggers and the overlord here. If you idiots can’t tell the difference between what the Pharyngula commenters are doing when insulting and what the tone trolls and MRAs do, it’s your own problem. Other, more argument and reason-oriented people can clearly see it, obviously. They may or may not agree with the rudeness, but they see the difference.

  203. andyo says

    horacerumpole, it’s a shame you wasted all those keystrokes when you might just have read the goddamn post.

  204. disenchanted says

    Democommie, I certainly don’t consider myself a “tone troll.” To troll, in my mind, is to post something whose sincerity is less important than the disruption the statement causes.

    I was sincere. You may believe me or not. Ed Brayton seems to have; in this context, that is all that is important (and the only reason I’ve been returning to this thread).

    As to the “evidence” I offered, you are treating a hyperbolic statement I made, something to the effect that every other blog is part of this flame war, as though I was offering it as scientific evidence. I’m sure you’re familiar with a “strawman”…that is what you create when you handwave away the accepted rhetorical technique of hyperbole, and attack me for not being scientific in my tabulation of posts. I never pretended to have done a study of the content of posts, and I didn’t mean for my hyperbolic statement to be taken literally.

  205. twincats says

    I have gotten quite a lot of entertainment and education from what some are decrying as awful and unecessary argument. I lurk and lurk and if it gets too much, I leave. Rather simple and elegant, no?

    I can tolerate quite a lot (I lurk extensively on Pharyngula) and the only sort of trolling that really wearies me is the xtog42 sort. Blogs are kind of like parties; if you’re not having a good time, you’re free to leave. Complaining to the host about the theme, guests, food, music, etc. is just stupid, not to mention bad form and seriously lacking in maturity.

    I totally understand that some people really dislike frat parties and others loathe stuffy cocktail parties, doesn’t mean no one should ever throw ‘em. If it’s not your thing, don’t go. But definitely don’t go and start yammering about what a bad party it is!

    I am so glad that I missed out on what everybody’s talking about because it sounds like a gigantic mess that makes that Hatfield/McCoy thing look like a schoolyard spat.

    I’m glad too because if you didn’t have some pearls and a fainting couch handy, it could have been ugly.*

    *shorter twincats: lolwut? Where were you during Elevatorgate??!!11?one

  206. lorn says

    insert the sound of sad/bitter/derisive/ironic laughter here –

    People are people. You either deal with them as they are, warts and all, or you don’t.

    I had no problems with Thunderfoot. I didn’t follow his posts carefully. I gathered that he was more concerned and careful with the Muslim/religion issue than sexism, about which he was relatively careless and sloppy. His style was sometimes harsh. Sometimes derisive. If you forget about being insulted, old school I’m quite used to being insulted, he made some good points. Used to old message boards I’m used to looking past what is posted to see what the person is try to say and rooting out pearls of wisdom in heaps of nonsense. IMO most people have something useful to say. But you may have to squint, and look past the nonsense, to see it. IMO too many people here are paying far too much attention to hurt feelings and wallowing in their pain but when your running your blog as a center for hand holding it is to be expected that rudeness would be seen as egregious.

    That said a civil tone should be observed and was not. Hurt feelings, ironically of the more hidebound posters, resulted in unfortunate use of insults. Nobody gets to avoid having their feelings hurt and/or sacred cows gored but there are limits.

    Harder to see what Laden may have done but I’ve always sensed he had a sharp tongue and little patience if cross-threaded.

    I will say that of those things posted on this forum I find the admonition to ‘shut up and listen’ to be the most offensive. Who the hell died and made you Pope. So you figure I need to just sit at your feet and drink in your sage advice? Well la … de … da.

    Demanding that everyone purify their souls of all traces, and thousands of years of, sexism and racism before they can comment is like the argument from presuppositional apologists where you have to concede the major points before you get to argue them. It is going to get mighty cold and lonely in your inner sanctum waiting for people to see things your way before they enter.

  207. ArtK says

    @ Kalliope,

    You seem to be reading things into my writing that I didn’t intend to put there; I’m sorry for any confusion. Two specific points:

    I’m not denying at all that my statement that I dislike flamewars was prompted by the most recent one. But it was and is a general statement. I find all flamewars to be tedious, no matter who is right or wrong in them.

    Second, and to me more troublesome, in your first reply to me you strongly implied that I was taking a position on this particular flame war. More to the point, that I was taking a position completely counter to the one I hold (but had not expressed.)

    But perhaps you’re talking about the likes to ThunderF00t, and not the women and their male allies who are crying foul?

    There’s no “perhaps” about it. Despite believing, strongly, that the women and their allies are right and ThunderF00t completely wrong, I still find flamewars to be tedious and unproductive. Was anyone’s mind changed? Were any new ideas brought forward that could help address the underlying problem of misogyny and the harassment that comes from it?

  208. sqlrob says

    Not SOP, but that it happens, and not for flaming, homophobic, sexist, or racist comments, or threats, but for having a fundamental disagreement with something stated by the bloghost.

    Are you perchance, this John Greg? Care to say what is wrong with this description?

    John Greg You don’t get to wallow gleefully in a cesspit of misogyny for months and months, bleating about ‘twats’ and ‘cunts’, and then show up here and gloat at the thought you’ve spotted a smudge.

  209. xtog42 says

    @twincats I am going other places to read and contribute, thanks to the abusive atmosphere on most of these FTB sites.

    I make the statement about the use of the term Freethought, because by Ed’s own admission this site is not about freethought as it is historically defined.

    From Ed,…”We invite the people we want to invite. If you like them, keep reading them. If you don’t, then don’t read them and stick with the ones you like. If you don’t like any of them, go read blogs you do like. Even if we decided who to add by flipping coins or throwing darts at a board, that reality would not change.”

    “I do not impose any restrictions on any of our bloggers’ comment policies. They are free to ban anyone they want for any reason. They’re free to say nasty things to them if they’d like. None of that has anything to do with whether the bloggers here advocate for atheism, skepticism or freethought”

  210. says

    @ArtK

    Was anyone’s mind changed?

    Mine was, on a couple of issues. I’ve seen at least a couple of dozen other people say that their minds were changed as well, to one degree or another over the past year or two. It happens, and not too infrequently.

  211. says

    xtog42: Except those quotes don’t say what you’re implying they do. You have incredibly poor reading comprehension, my friend.

  212. ArtK says

    @ Improbable Joe

    Fair enough. Was that earlier in the discussion or later, when the “tone” had started to slip? I certainly don’t believe that the discussion started out as an unproductive flame war,

  213. says

    xtog42 wrote:

    I am going other places to read and contribute, thanks to the abusive atmosphere on most of these FTB sites.

    Then go the fuck away. The sooner, the better.

  214. says

    @ArtK:

    Fair enough. Was that earlier in the discussion or later, when the “tone” had started to slip?

    All throughout, from before ElevatorGate to just last week. And the “tone slippage” was driven by misogynists and anti-feminists from as long as I remember, so let’s not pretend that there’s some sort of equality of flaming going on.

  215. says

    “As to the “evidence” I offered, you are treating a hyperbolic statement I made, something to the effect that every other blog is part of this flame war, as though I was offering it as scientific evidence. I’m sure you’re familiar with a “strawman”…that is what you create when you handwave away the accepted rhetorical technique of hyperbole, and attack me for not being scientific in my tabulation of posts. I never pretended to have done a study of the content of posts, and I didn’t mean for my hyperbolic statement to be taken literally.”

    IOW, you were lying. Color me unsurprised.

  216. disenchanted says

    democommie, apparently you do not understand hyperbole. That’s okay, we live in the information age. From wikipedia:

    “Hyperbole … is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech … to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, [bold] but is not meant to be taken literally[/bold].”

    Emphasis mine.

    If you need to continue beating your strawman, feel free. If you’re a sheldon cooper who lacks the ability to understand nuanced rhetoric (and, to be clear, I do not literally think you’re sheldon cooper from the big bang theory, nor do I think sheldon is a real person or even representative of a real person…) and believes everything said must be meant in a literal fashion, or if English isn’t your first language, I apologize.

  217. Porco Dio says

    here’s my tone-trolling for today:

    there have been several posts deleted (that I know of and probably many more dozens that I don’t) on TF’s blog all made by the most incendiary of the pharyngula mob.

    i’m assuming TF didn’t delete them (he’s not into censorship) and that probably left Ed and PZ the task of cleaning up after those idiots took a massive dump on the sofa.

    so guys, it seems it’s no longer permitted to leave a tirade of ad homs (yes, morons, an insult is an ad homimen – it’s in the latin, stupidz – try a better dictionary than wikipedia) whilst being totally devoid of anything approaching an argument or your posts will be deleted.

    superior powers of deductive reasoning lead me to believe, then, that this type of behaviour is considered not conducive to, well, anything at all by ftb management amirite?

  218. says

    “If you need to continue beating your strawman, feel free. If you’re a sheldon cooper who lacks the ability to understand nuanced rhetoric (and, to be clear, I do not literally think you’re sheldon cooper from the big bang theory,”

    And fuck you, too.

    You made a comment that was either stupendously ignorant or just a fucking lie. It was not hyperbole, douchebag.

    “disenchanted is the wrong “handle”, “dysfunctional” or “dishonest” certainly might be proper, though.

    Of course you could try just saying that you fucked up, instead of doubling down.

    BTW, where’s your blog? I want to see what YOU write for YOUR readers.

  219. ArtK says

    @ Porco Dio

    No, an insult is not the same thing as an ad hominem. An insult may contain a logical fallacy, but it isn’t one in and of itself.

    Insult: Your argument is bunk, therefore you’re an idiot.

    Ad hominem: You are an idiot, therefore your argument is bunk.

  220. Porco Dio says

    sorry ArtK,

    but how does an insult not fit into every dictionaries definition of ad hom?

    “appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect”

    basically, if you’re not sticking to the point, it’s an ad hom…

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ad%20hominem

    (p.s. no Ed, i’m from holland, we don’t do guns or violence here)

  221. scorinth says

    Just thought I’d drop in to say that I admire and appreciate your work, Ed. When I first heard that TF00t was coming to FtB, I was excited and looking forward to reading his blog because I really appreciated his “Why do people laugh at creationists?” series, but it looks like he was more interested in pissing in people’s cereal than he was in being constructive. The trouble is, from where I sit, PZ is just as bad sometimes and seeing TF00t booted really made me wonder if maybe he was kicked for disagreeing with the hive.

    But you know what? Fuck that. I’ve been around here for a while, and while I don’t read all of the blogs, I’ve read enough to know that the FtB crowd really can deal with loud, obnoxious, flaming disagreement. Though it frustrates me to see TF00t leave, especially since we can’t see what he did that actually earned him the boot, I trust the judgement of the management here, and I admire the job you do. Cheers! And don’t let the bastards get you down…

    (For the record, yes, I said PZ is just as bad about flaming, and before anybody says “just don’t read his blog”… Well, yeah, I stay the hell away from it and its commenters, so fuck you, too.)

  222. andyo says

    Because people use ad hominem in the second meaning:

    2: marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

    Instead of ambiguously referring to the first meaning, why not just say “insult” instead of “ad hominem”? Everyone knows ad hominem to be short for argumentum ad hominem.

  223. says

    Porco Dio said:

    basically, if you’re not sticking to the point, it’s an ad hom…

    No, sorry. I would elaborate further, but your inability to recognize the irony in lecturing people on not using insults and assuming by your “superior powers of deduction” that such is not allowed on these blogs in the same post that you simultaneously called people “stupidz” leads me to believe you wouldn’t understand.

    For that matter, I do wonder how you manage to put a shirt on in the morning rather than struggle to pull a pants leg over your head.

    (Okay, fine. A fallacy is a failed attempt at an argument. An insult is not an attempt at an argument, failed or otherwise…it’s simply an expression of the person’s opinion of the person arguing against them. That’s why the distinction between ad homs and insults matters.)

  224. disenchanted says

    democommie, I have no idea why you think I would invite someone with your penchant for attacking me, and your inability to perceive honesty when it’s put before you but counters your assumptions, into my personal/professional life.

    I was not being dishonest. A dishonesty would have been an attempt to convince people that literally every other post was flame. This I certainly did not do. I have never harped on it as a truth, and I quickly pointed out your mistaken belief that it was meant literally.

    the only thing I am guilty of is making a rhetorical appeal to emotion (through hyperbole). A professor of English may have slapped my wrist (metaphorically, not literally) if I was writing the body of an argumentative essay and used hyperbole…but in colloquial English, and indeed in most writing (including most professional writing), hyperbole is perfectly acceptable.

  225. disenchanted says

    Porco Dio, an insult is when democommie calls me an idiot.

    An ad hominem is when he tries to dismiss my points by calling me a liar, and accusing me of using bad data when I never claimed to be doing a scientific survey.

  226. Porco Dio says

    Well, Gretchen, i’m glad you picked up on the irony there… so glad some people are finally realising what it is…

    and thanks for spending the major part of your email reinforcing all that is wrong with ftb and a minor part of your argument actually trying (but failing) to make a point.

  227. disenchanted says

    sorry, that should have ended at “an ad hominem is when he tries to dismiss my points by calling me a liar.”

  228. says

    Porco Dio wrote:

    there have been several posts deleted (that I know of and probably many more dozens that I don’t) on TF’s blog all made by the most incendiary of the pharyngula mob.

    i’m assuming TF didn’t delete them (he’s not into censorship) and that probably left Ed and PZ the task of cleaning up after those idiots took a massive dump on the sofa.

    TF can no longer log in to do anything. The only one who can is me and I haven’t deleted any comments, though I did change a setting to shut off the comments. The only way I could find to do that was to make it close down the comments on each post after 1 day. I suppose it’s possible that doing that deleted comments that were left after a certain point, but that wasn’t my intent and I don’t really care enough to go and check. I haven’t read the comments there and I have no intention of doing so, which means any attempt to parse intent makes little sense.

  229. Porco Dio says

    Porco Dio, an insult is when democommie calls me an idiot.

    An ad hominem is when he tries to dismiss my points by calling me a liar, and accusing me of using bad data when I never claimed to be doing a scientific survey.

    ad hominem: if you’re not sticking to the point but rather taking pot shots

    “ad hominem fallacy” or “argumentum ad hominem”: what you think ad hominem is

  230. Porco Dio says

    I haven’t read the comments there and I have no intention of doing so, which means any attempt to parse intent makes little sense.

    well, then… i wonder what’s up with that amazing raft of tongue-lashings and why i can no longer find them…. thanks for the clarification…

    p.s. if you want to remove (or paraphrase) my “right-wing rhetoric” analogy before approving #262 please feel free… i’m sure the rest of it is fine…

  231. says

    “ad hominem fallacy” or “argumentum ad hominem”: what you think ad hominem is

    *sigh*

    argument against the man…as opposed to an argument against the man’s argument. An insult is not an argument…

  232. Porco Dio says

    When used here, ad hominem usually refers to the logical fallacy.

    well, that’s the cool thing about words… most of them have a meaning…

    and the “argument from around here” is not going to be changing those meanings in any dictionaries any time soon.

    it’s two simple latin words really… not so difficult to decode correctly.

    add a third word and then it means something different…

  233. Porco Dio says

    argument against the man…as opposed to an argument against the man’s argument. An insult is not an argument…

    jeez gretchen…. an ad hominem is not an argument AT ALL…

    an argumentum ad hominem is, of course, an argument.

    i’m done with the latin lesson now.

  234. andyo says

    Porco Dio, again, there is another meaning in the link you gave. The second one. That’s the one everyone uses and you choose to ignore. It doesn’t even include the words “argumentum” or “fallacy”, and it still means the same.

    When people complain that others are using “ad-hominems”, they don’t mean it as “insult” cause they would just say the word “insults”. It would otherwise make no sense for them to use that term because they are basically complaining that the criticisms have no substance, only insults. If they actually wanna complain about being insulted and not “ad hominem”, just say “insult”. Who the hell uses latin in order to replace a perfectly available common use word? “Ad-hominem” refers to the fallacy.

    Here’s another term for you, not only from Wikipedia: Equivocate.

  235. says

    Disintellected sez:

    “I was not being dishonest.* A dishonesty would have been an attempt to convince people that literally every other post was flame. This I certainly did not do. I have never harped on it as a truth, and I quickly pointed out your mistaken belief that it was meant literally**.”

    This:

    “Now though, every other post is part of the flame war. I don’t consider the site even worth recommending or linking to, because I fear the flame war may tarnish your blogger’s otherwise good ideas in my readers’ eyes.”

    is yours. Own it or don’t, I don’t give a rat’s ass. You’re a liar and you would have let the lie stand if it hadn’t been debunked.

    I’m still waiting for you to furnish your blog’s name so I can check it out.

    * Bullshit.

    ** More bullshit. You “quickly pointed out” my mistaken belief at 6:06 PM–about 9 fucking hours after telling the original lie at 9:17 AM. Did it take you that long to cobble your lame rebuttal?

  236. dingojack says

    Deo Porco* –
    ‘You’re being obtuse’ – an opinion.
    ‘You’re an idiot’ – an insult’.
    ‘Your arguments are worthless because you’re idiot’ – an ad hom
    Hope that helps.
    Dingo
    —–
    * great nym BTW

  237. disenchanted says

    democommie, because you’re wrong this is easy.

    I can both be hyperbolic when I say that every other post was part of the flame war, and yet mean it when I say that I won’t link to or recommend the site because I feel there is too much flame war–so much, that it tarnishes the integrity of posts that have nothing to do with the flame.

    I own both parts of the sentiment, one as a rhetorical, metaphorical device that I’ve explained to you, and one as my literal reaction to the site as-it-stands. If you are really struggling to get this***, then I recommend you take a college course on rhetoric or argumentative writing; they teach proper use of hyperbole in something like W2xx.

    This isn’t hard to parse. You’ve just buried this hatchet of yours so deep that it’s hard for you to pull it out (again, that’s somewhat hyperbolic. Don’t worry, there is no literal hatchet in me…metaphor is what makes the English language such a beautiful thing). No offense taken, I’ve been there.

    * not bullshit. Easy as that. If you’d like, we can just start posting “bullshit” “not bullshit”, like third graders.

    **quickly is a relative, not an absolute, term. i realize non-absolutes are a problem for you. In this case, however, quickly is relative to how busy I was, compared with how disinterested I was in returning to the blog, expecting this kind of conversation.

    ***I’m going to go ahead and say that when you called me a troll, you were projecting. You can continue to deny how English works and call me a liar, and I will now believe (on the evidence that you don’t seem to listen when I explain widely used rhetorical devices) that you are more interested in getting a rise out of me, than you are in the substance of your own arguments.

  238. dingojack says

    disenchanted – Don’t worry about Demo, he’s just being hyperbolic
    – but you knew that!
    ;) Dingo

  239. says

    Hyperbole and rhetoric aside, note too, that ‘every other’ means ‘half of them’, not ‘every single one apart from this one’.

    But either way, picking someone up on a piece of rhetoric and pointing out that it isn’t LITERALLY true is a pretty weak burn. “Deliberately deceitful”: Democommie, do you REALLY think that Disenchanted was attempting to fool people into thinking 50% of the blogs or threads here were about that one subject? Is it really likely that he/she was attempting some kind of subterfuge? How would that have worked? When a radio station plays ‘Life is a bowl of cherries’, do you phone up the DJ and call him a ‘fucking liar’, as life is not actually a bunch of fruit?

    If you really want to nail someone, get them to clarify first. “Disenchanted – can you clarify that you literally believe 50% of the blog is taken up with flame wars?”. Then he either says “No, I just meant there’s too much of it”, or he says “Yes, go ahead and prove me wrong”. If the latter – why then you’ve got him! You’ve caught him in a lie and you win the internet. You may say this is a stupid tactic, but if you’re right and Disenchanted WAS really trying to fool people (I guess people who never actually frequent the site), then by not pinning him down, you’ve let him escape.

    As for continually* asking for someone’s blog details – what gives? Is the point supposed to be that if he doesn’t have his own blog, that somehow undoes or refutes anything he’s said here? Reminds me of the film-maker’s lament at a bad review – “When did that reviewer ever make a movie?”.

    Disenchanted, while we’re doing definitions – disinterested means ‘impartial’ – it isn’t a synonym for uninterested. Sorry if the former is what you actually meant.

    * that’s hypobole – I mean that you’ve done it several times, not that you are saying nothing else.

  240. says

    “I can both be hyperbolic when I say that every other post was part of the flame war, and yet mean it when I say that I won’t link to or recommend the site because I feel there is too much flame war–so much, that it tarnishes the integrity of posts that have nothing to do with the flame.”

    Occam’s Razor makes it simpler. You’re a liar.

    “**quickly is a relative, not an absolute, term. i realize non-absolutes are a problem for you.”

    Still no information about your blog? What you can’t remember where it is?

    No, actually, it’s not a problem for me. Telling the truth is for you, though.

    “But either way, picking someone up on a piece of rhetoric and pointing out that it isn’t LITERALLY true is a pretty weak burn.”

    It wasn’t “rhetoric” until 9 hours after he was told it was a lie.

    I have to catch a plane in about an hour and travelling is more imporant than pulling the wings off of shitflies. Have a nice day, fellas?*

    * or is it just one fella and his trusty sockpuppet?

  241. says

    Yes, perhaps there’s only one person in the world who disagrees with you, posting under a multiple of names. Or Occams’s Razor – your nonsense is apparent to a large number of people.

    “It wasn’t “rhetoric” until 9 hours…”

    No, it was obviously rhetoric when he/she posted it. If you wanted to get him/her to clarify which it was before you slammed him/her, you should have done so.

    Thanks for telling us that you aren’t going to cancel a flight in order to argue with us. You’d have to be a pretty determined troll to do that!

  242. Daniel Schealler says

    “Your argument is wrong because you are an idiot.” <- Ad hominem

    "You are an idiot because your argument is wrong." <- Not an ad hominem

    *bows*

  243. says

    …and I didn’t mean for my hyperbolic statement to be taken literally.

    Your statement wasn’t just hyperbolic, it was dead wrong, and doesn’t even work as an exaggeration. It was also dishonest, because it comes from someone who has never shown up here at all before now, and who shows zero indication of knowing what else goes on here.

    And the fact that you’re blaming us for taking you too seriously (which is how Ann Coulter and her fans respond when her stupid statements are debunked) pretty clearly proves you have nothing sensible to say, and don’t have the stones to admit you spoke in error.

    Sorry to be repetitive, but I can’t help noting that the most bitter complaints about FTB seem to be coming from people who have never been here before, and who seem to be showing up just to make a big show of flouncing back out and pretending FTB has “lost” something.

    This flame-war seems to be mostly ginned up by the people who are pretending to complain about flame-wars. If the complainers really cared about discissing other issues, they could simply read and comment on other FTB posts and leave the flaming to others. That’s what I did WRT the whole ERV “monument” thing. What a concept, right?

  244. says

    Andy Wrongly sez:

    “Hyperbole and rhetoric aside, note too, that ‘every other’ means ‘half of them’, not ‘every single one apart from this one’.”

    Bullshit and lies aside, note too, that I never made any claim that stated that he said any such thing. I know that it’s hard for you to find the time, what with looking for the smelling salt–or maybe it’s the bath salts, to actually READ the comment, but then, you’re not alone, Dissed, suffers pretty much the same disorder.

    “As for continually* asking for someone’s blog details – what gives? Is the point supposed to be that if he doesn’t have his own blog, that somehow undoes or refutes anything he’s said here? Reminds me of the film-maker’s lament at a bad review – “When did that reviewer ever make a movie?”.”

    Um, he’s the one who brought it up–not me–per this:

    “Yes, perhaps there’s only one person in the world who disagrees with you, posting under a multiple of names. Or Occams’s Razor – your nonsense is apparent to a large number of people.”

    Actually, Andy Hardlysentient, there are shitloads of people who do EXACTLY that. This would be the opposite of unique.

    “No, it was obviously rhetoric when he/she posted it. If you wanted to get him/her to clarify which it was before you slammed him/her, you should have done so.”

    This:

    “Sorry, this didn’t pass the CT* scan. As has been noted by other commenters, nobody is forcing anybody to read the posts, the comments or anything else here. When I send people to a blog I like it’s not because I’m sure that they will like it too.

    * Concern Troll (posted @ 6:17 AM)

    –four minutes after this:

    “Now though, every other post is part of the flame war. I don’t consider the site even worth recommending or linking to, because I fear the flame war may tarnish your blogger’s otherwise good ideas in my readers’ eyes.”

    is a slam? Wowsers, I hope you haz teh fainting couch right next to the laundry suite in your office–and a portable model for when you venture from the cellar into meatworld.

    “Thanks for telling us that you aren’t going to cancel a flight in order to argue with us. You’d have to be a pretty determined troll to do that!”

    Sorry, Andy, honey; I got to the airport and through security like Sherman got through Jawjuh. I found an unclaimed 110V faucet and teh intertoobz are free–.

    Nine. Fucking. Hours. Andy; 9fuckinghours. Rosemary Woods was a rank amateur compared to our boy Pinocchichanted.

    Oh, and, Dispatched, I overlooked this one:

    “***I’m going to go ahead and say that when you called me.”a troll, you were projecting. You can continue to deny how English works and call me a liar…”

    Part one, horseshit. Part two, subpart a, horseshit. Part two, subpart b., NOW we’re makin’ some headway.

  245. disenchanted says

    Raging bee: First to your second point. The problem isn’t that I’ve been taken too seriously (though the seriousness with which I’ve been taken does surprise me). The problem is that a figurative statement has been taken literally.

    The fact that I don’t post here doesn’t make a statement more or less honest. It’s perfectly possible, and is in fact true,that I read (that should be read as the past-tense) at least some of the blogs daily before the flame wars. Now, I only come here because I don’t like being called a liar, especially when it’s so obviously untrue. I did not speak in error; I made a statement that was clearly not intended to be taken literally.

    Keep in mind there is a difference between not posting, and not having “been here before”; I come to blogs like this (usually), to read, and not write.

    And the idea that part of the blog can be ignored was covered already, and sufficiently in my mind.

  246. says

    Andy Wrongly sez:

    “Hyperbole and rhetoric aside, note too, that ‘every other’ means ‘half of them’, not ‘every single one apart from this one’.”

    Bullshit and lies aside, note too, that I never made any claim that stated that he said any such thing. I know that it’s hard for you to find the time, what with looking for the smelling salt–or maybe it’s the bath salts, to actually READ the comment, but then, you’re not alone, Dissed, suffers pretty much the same disorder.

    “As for continually* asking for someone’s blog details – what gives? Is the point supposed to be that if he doesn’t have his own blog, that somehow undoes or refutes anything he’s said here? Reminds me of the film-maker’s lament at a bad review – “When did that reviewer ever make a movie?”.”

    Um, he’s the one who brought it up–not me–per this:

    “Now though, every other post is part of the flame war. I don’t consider the site even worth recommending or linking to, because I fear the flame war may tarnish your blogger’s otherwise good ideas in my readers’ eyes.”

    So, he either gotz teh blog or he don’t. I can understand his reticence in addressing the issue, especially if was just spouting bullshit.

    “Yes, perhaps there’s only one person in the world who disagrees with you, posting under a multiple of names. Or Occams’s Razor – your nonsense is apparent to a large number of people.”

    Actually, Andy Hardlysentient, there are shitloads of people who do EXACTLY that. This would be the opposite of unique.

    “No, it was obviously rhetoric when he/she posted it. If you wanted to get him/her to clarify which it was before you slammed him/her, you should have done so.”

    This:

    “Sorry, this didn’t pass the CT* scan. As has been noted by other commenters, nobody is forcing anybody to read the posts, the comments or anything else here. When I send people to a blog I like it’s not because I’m sure that they will like it too.

    * Concern Troll (posted @ 6:17 AM)

    –four minutes after this:

    “Now though, every other post is part of the flame war. I don’t consider the site even worth recommending or linking to, because I fear the flame war may tarnish your blogger’s otherwise good ideas in my readers’ eyes.”

    is a slam? Wowsers, I hope you haz teh fainting couch right next to the laundry suite in your office–and a portable model for when you venture from the cellar into meatworld.

    “Thanks for telling us that you aren’t going to cancel a flight in order to argue with us. You’d have to be a pretty determined troll to do that!”

    Sorry, Andy, honey; I got to the airport and through security like Sherman got through Jawjuh. I found an unclaimed 110V faucet and teh intertoobz are free–.

    Nine. Fucking. Hours. Andy; 9fuckinghours. Rosemary Woods was a rank amateur compared to our boy Pinocchichanted.

    Oh, and, Dispatched, I overlooked this one:

    “***I’m going to go ahead and say that when you called me.”a troll, you were projecting. You can continue to deny how English works and call me a liar…”

    Part one, horseshit. Part two, subpart a, horseshit. Part two, subpart b., NOW we’re makin’ some headway.

    Dear Mr. dingojack:

    “disenchanted – Don’t worry about Demo, he’s just being hyperbolic
    – but you knew that!
    ;) Dingo”

    This greatly mischaracterizes my situation. I just had a normal, satisfying bol movement.

  247. disenchanted says

    democommie–so now you’re moving your goalposts from the fact that I am free to be figurative to the fact that I don’t work on your timetable.

    Your argument has not been strengthened.

  248. says

    “I found an unclaimed 110V faucet and teh intertoobz are free”

    Yeah, I kind of guessed you’d find a way. “Honey, someone’s wrong on the internet!”. I worried about you sitting on the plane, your brain fizzing with all the snappy insults you hadn’t got to use yet. “I just thought of another way that person was wrong!”.

    “note too, that I never made any claim that stated that he said any such thing”

    And not too, that I never made any claim that stated that you DID claim that he stated etc.

    “Actually, Andy Hardlysentient, there are shitloads of people who do EXACTLY that. This would be the opposite of unique.”

    Right, just like it’s hardly unique for someone to use the phrase ‘every x is y’ as a piece of rhetoric, not to be taken literally. If you want to cite Occam’s Razor, you need to show why it’s a simpler explanation that Disenchanted was trying to deceive anyone. Seriously – how is it supposed to have worked that saying “every other etc” was going to trick blog readers?

    Raging Bee: “And the fact that you’re blaming us for taking you too seriously”

    No, he said it was absurd to take hyperbole LITERALLY. Every other thread here is caught up with the flame war = there’s too much of it.

    Not the same as Ann Coulter saying “That was a joke” to excuse some horrendous statement.

    Raging Bee: “This flame-war seems to be mostly ginned up by the people who are pretending to complain about flame-wars.”

    Ed Brayton: “Disenchanted’s concerns are entirely reasonable. If I didn’t share those concerns, I wouldn’t have done what I did.”

    Ed Brayton: “I agree completely with what James Sweet said. Hell yes, the flame wars are getting tiresome and I don’t think I’m tone trolling my own network. “

  249. disenchanted says

    Democommie, I just wanted to let you know that I’m going to get a bite to eat, and then straighten up my house. So, you can expect me to not reply for awhile.

    I just don’t want any of my future posts to be as cleverly invalidated as my last ones were.
    :P

  250. says

    Leaving the troll-feeding aside, when PZ and Greta Christina published their replies to Thunderf00t’s blog, I had mixed feelings. It seemed odd for them to directly criticise one of their fellow bloggers, and one who’d just joined to boot. But I agreed with everything they said, and then figured it would be WORSE for them to simply ignore that one of their fellow bloggers was saying something that they would criticise coming from anyone outside of the site.

    When Thunderf00t then started publishing his responses to their responses, I guessed that things were going to come to a head fairly quickly. The inter-blog squabbling was becoming the story itself, rather than any of the issue being discussed. It became simply about how one side had misunderstood the other side’s point. I guess ideally, Thunderf00t would have gone directly to the other bloggers as soon as he felt they were misunderstanding him, rather than escalating things in blog format.

    And ‘freethought’ doesn’t mean anyone’s got the right to have their own blog on this site.

  251. says

    Now, I only come here because I don’t like being called a liar…

    If that was true, you would not have come here to say anything that could be called a lie in the first place.

    Flouncing: ur doin it rong.

  252. says

    Demo: “Um, he’s the one who brought it up–not me–per this:
    Disenchanted: Now though, every other post is part of the flame war. I don’t consider the site even worth recommending or linking to, because I fear the flame war may tarnish your blogger’s otherwise good ideas in my readers’ eyes.”
    So, he either gotz teh blog or he don’t. I can understand his reticence in addressing the issue, especially if was just spouting bullshit.”

    Er, where does he say he’s got a blog? “my readers'” could just mean the people who he recommends the site to. He said he doesn’t consider THIS site worth recommending to friends, because he fears the flame war may tarnish, say PZ’s, good ideas in the eyes of the person he recommends the site to.

    You interpret that to mean he’s got a blog. Perhaps he does, perhaps he just writes some things people read – I sometimes post longer stuff on my Facebook page, I might even refer to having ‘readers’ of that stuff; I wouldn’t say I’ve got a blog. If someone else who’s already called me a liar started aggressively demanding I link them to stuff I’ve written, I’d probably be ambivalent about passing it on too.

    Either way, again, what gives – what’s it got to do with any points Disenchanted is making here? It reminds me of when I’m debating apologists. The more I pick apart their points, the more they’ll start demanding information about me – my family life, my own philosophies etc. I think it’s an attempt to find an edge to argue against me, some detail they can pick up to invalidate my arguments, without actually dealing with the arguments. Our old friend ad hominem, in other words.

  253. says

    Let’s see if I can sum up the pattern I’m seeing here: a bunch of idiots — mostly MRAs and other right-wingers — make a bunch of statements that aren’t just idiotic, but abusive, insulting, and totally oblivious to some rather obvious facts. Then the feminist bloggers here respond to the idiocy, and that response includes — quite understandably — calling the idiots idiots for saying idiotic things. The idiots keep on saying the same idiotic things every chance they get, so the feminists and everyone else with any sense of decency keep on debunking the idiocy, getting more frustrated and justifiably angry at having to debunk the same idiocy again and again. Then the idiots who provoked all that anger start complaining about a “flame war” (without even mentioning what, exactly, the fuss is about) and pointing to it as “proof” that FTB is an evil totalitarian liberal hivemind.

    This is exactly how Karl Rove and the radical right approach every debate they know they can’t win: make so much noise there’s no chance of saying what needs to be said coherently, then blame their opponents for all the noise and anger they provoked. I have very little doubt that this latest wave of complainers and mansplainers is just another campaign to discredit some very articulate critics of reich-wing policies. And the best response I can think of right now, is to ignore the empty complaints and stick to the subjects we need to be discussing — and that includes the subjects around which all the “flame wars” are raging.

  254. disenchanted says

    Raging Bee and democommie, I don’t mean to be pejorative and question your intelligence (I really don’t), but I think it’s true that reasonable people understand hyperbole.

    The only way you can in good conscience call me a liar–without yourself being a liar–is to claim that you never use hypberbole (and I’m going to include metaphor in general; they are both non-literal uses of words, closely related).

    Do either of you believe that, in colloquial language, you don’t use hyperbole and metaphor? Because that’s a farcical stance for you to take. Our language is filled with metaphor and hyperbole. Ever talk about the “bite” of a winter’s chill? The “sharpness” of a sound? Ever sweat buckets? Ever run to the store (without actually running)? Ever jump in the shower (without literally jumping up and down in the stall)?

    If you truly haven’t studied metaphor/hyperbole, it’s very, very interesting how often they slip into our language.

  255. says

    The duplicate comments are a missteake; we regret the air!

    There was also a quote missing after this:

    “As for continually* asking for someone’s blog details – what gives? Is the point supposed to be that if he doesn’t have his own blog, that somehow undoes or refutes anything he’s said here? Reminds me of the film-maker’s lament at a bad review – “When did that reviewer ever make a movie?”.”

    Um, he’s the one who brought it up–not me–per this:

    That quote was:

    “Now though, every other post is part of the flame war. I don’t consider the site even worth recommending or linking to, because I fear the flame war may tarnish your blogger’s otherwise good ideas in my readers’ eyes.”.

    And, reading this (it should be reading, as in the past tense!):

    “The fact that I don’t post here doesn’t make a statement more or less honest. It’s perfectly possible, and is in fact true,that I read (that should be read as the past-tense) at least some of the blogs daily before the flame wars. Now, I only come here because I don’t like being called a liar, especially when it’s so obviously untrue. I did not speak in error; I made a statement that was clearly not intended to be taken literally.”

    prompts me to say that the “you misunderstand me, you’re a MEANIE” defense was quite popular with people like KOI, Milesius, The Threadpirate mroberts and that paragon of teh batshit KKKrazzee, Isabel.

    Dis, buddy, the first rule, when finding oneself in a fuckton crater is to stop making it deeper.

  256. dingojack says

    andrewryan in redux: ‘* Not intended to be taken as a factual statement’. [Unless I can get away with it].
    Dingo
    —–
    Oh BTW Andy (I may call you Andy, mayn’t I?), who were you referring to when you posted this:
    Hyperbole and rhetoric aside, note too, that ‘every other’ means ‘half of them’, not ‘every single one apart from this one’”* – andrewryan (#285)?

    Was the ‘them’ that you referred to, posts, threads or blogs? Who claimed that was ever the case? And if nobody did, why bring it up at all (except as a strawman)? Or is it just another statement of yours that is ‘not intended as factual’?

    * As a long-time reader (and commenter, apparently) of Dispatches, you’ll know what I mean when I quote you using italics, so there’s no need to explain.

  257. says

    …but I think it’s true that reasonable people understand hyperbole.

    Yes, and we also understand that if a statement is DEAD WRONG, then it’s BAD hyperbole. (If I said something like “every other black man is a thug,” would you accept that as “hyperbole?”)

    GOOD hyperbole doesn’t have to be literally true, but it does have to have some visible relation to observable reality. If it doesn’t, then it’s false, and calling it “hyperbole” doesn’t make it more true or justifiable.

    And the fact that you’re still harping on this only makes you look more pathetic. Sort of like a lame comedian trying to explain why his audience is wrong not to laugh at his poorly-worded jokes. Seriously, dude, you’re embarrassing yourself.

  258. disenchanted says

    Raging bee, at least in my circumstance, your summation really breaks down here (and I don’t mean to say that the rest of it was good or bad…but this part is where your observations/assumptions don’t reflect my circumstance):

    “Then the idiots who provoked all that anger start complaining about a “flame war” (without even mentioning what, exactly, the fuss is about) and pointing to it as “proof” that FTB is an evil totalitarian liberal hivemind.”

    I didn’t provoke it. I’m not a part of it. I will continue to not be part of it because what started it doesn’t concern me. The fact that it has (had? I haven’t been looking at anything but this thread) taken up so much space on the site does concern me. I like to read the site, I like to link the site, I like to recommend the site because I think it usually does a good job of informing people of issues that are important to atheists.

    I posted my comment because I believe that I’m not alone in wanting the quality of FTB restored.

    this flame war is not important to any atheists but those who are involved in it (which is not to say that the issue of equality/safety isn’t important…but when the debate moved from “women need to feel safe at conferences” to “other guy is stupid and needs to listen,” the debate shifted from something important to something not-important).

  259. says

    “Was the ‘them’ that you referred to, posts, threads or blogs?”

    ‘Every other’ tends to mean ‘one in two’ of anything. It can be posts, threads, blogs, dogs, cats, trees, etc. Hope this helps.

    “Or is it just another statement of yours that is ‘not intended as factual’?”

    What, you mean I didn’t mean it as factual that ‘every other’ means ‘one in two’? No Dingo, that is quite factual. But please don’t take my word for it – feel free to consult a dictionary. I know you can use Google, as you did so when my reference to TAM confused you so much. As a long-time reader (and commenter apparently) of Dispatches, I’ve no idea why there was a need to explain that, but I’m a helpful sort so let it slide.

    Raging Bee: “Yes, and we also understand that if a statement is DEAD WRONG”

    So even though Ed Brayton himself has said he thought there was too much of it, you still tell another poster that they’re DEAD WRONG to suggest the same…

    Hmm, I promised I wouldn’t bring that up again, but I genuinely thought it wouldn’t need to be repeated.

  260. dingojack says

    “I’ve never exaggerated anything in the whole history of the planet!’ – Oscar Leroy.
    :) Dingo

  261. says

    “prompts me to say that the “you misunderstand me, you’re a MEANIE” defense was quite popular with…”

    That’s not his defence. His defence is that he was using hyperbole, not making a literal claim. He’s explained this, politely, several times. The fact that several people in the past may have pointed out to you that you’ve misunderstood them and been rude to them isn’t a point against Disenchanted. If anything it points up a pattern of behavior or your own. Even if you’re right that all those other guys were idiots, your argument is no better than that recent Heartlands Institute poster – “The Una Bomber thinks the same as you about Global Warming!”.

    If someone completely misunderstands something you’ve said, and then is ‘a MEANIE’ to you – in other words flames you with swearwords and accusations of lying, then I don’t see what internet law is being broken if you point this out to them.

    “There was also a quote missing after this”

    Fine, it looks the same to me and added nothing to your point, but I’m glad you got to make it anyway.

  262. disenchanted says

    Raging bee, if you want to say that my hyperbole was bad, that’s fine. I don’t care. You are free to do so. I don’t feel that the level to which my hyperbole matches reality must pass your judgment.

    But that’s entirely different from calling me a liar. I may be guilty of writing prose that you find deficient; I am not a liar.

  263. says

    Disenchanted, I’ll tell you something now: There is no way that Demo and Raging Bee are going to back down now. They’re wedded to the ‘liar’ charge, and there’s no way they’ll withdraw it.

    That aside, at the end of the day, if someone insists on calling you a liar online, there’s not much you can do about it. If someone’s convinced you’re not being truthful with them, there’s little point in arguing with them.

    Raging Bee, Demo: You’re at an impasse: you say he’s lying, he says he isn’t. If you can’t take his word for it that he didn’t LITERALLY mean 50% of the blog concerns the flame war, then why bother continuing arguing with him? If he’s such a liar, and won’t cop to the accusation when put to him, why trust anything he says at all?

    “a bunch of idiots — mostly MRAs and other right-wingers”

    To take a line from Dingo’s book – MRA? I’ve just googled it and got Motorcycle Racing Association, Magnetic Resonance Angiography, Marketing Research Association, Malta Resources Authority… I’m genuinely stumped.

    “Let’s see if I can sum up the pattern I’m seeing here…”

    Look, I’ve pointed this out two or three times already, so this will be the last time – Mr Brayton himself said: “Hell yes, the flame wars are getting tiresome and I don’t think I’m tone trolling my own network.” If you disagree, have it out with the site’s founder.

    “make so much noise there’s no chance of saying what needs to be said coherently, then blame their opponents for all the noise and anger they provoked”

    That really seems to be what you guys are doing here! The obsession with a one-off piece of hyperbole as a ‘lie’, demanding blog addresses, conspiracy theories, all the insults – all reduce the discussion to ‘arguing about the argument’. Anyway, the right-wingers are generally the angry, foaming at the mouth ones, not the ones asking for a little more civility. Compare your posts with ours, see who the shoe fits. To quote again:

    “a flame war isn’t simply a very heated argument. It’s one where reason and logic are being forced out and replaced by vitriol and emotion. I’m not averse to a little name calling and sarcastic cuts, but draw the line when these become more important than the ostensible subject of the discussion.”

    To me, that sounds like Democommie – the need to get another insult in seems to be his/her main concern.

    I’ll make a prediction – we could all keep this up for a few more dozen posts. No-one’s going to back down, no-one’s going to come away feeling they ‘won’.

  264. says

    I didn’t provoke it. I’m not a part of it. I will continue to not be part of it…

    Your continued bloviating here makes you part of it; and your continued defense of an idiotic statement means you are indeed provoking at least a small part of the “flaming” that is currently going on.

    …because what started it doesn’t concern me.

    “What started it” was (IIRC) feminist FTBers responding to stupid and hateful statements by MRAs on issues that they (and most of their fellow FTBers at least) have good reason to consider important and relevant. And your admission that you don’t care about those issues says a lot about your priorities. (And if you don’t care about those issues, then why are you spending so much time complaining about the long-running arguments? That too says a lot about you.)

    Raging bee, if you want to say that my hyperbole was bad, that’s fine. I don’t care.

    Then why are you still here trying to defend your lame-ass hyperbole? The only thing you seem to care about is telling us what you don’t care about.

  265. dingojack says

    Andy – Whew, OK then.
    I’ll go through it again for you just really, really s-l-o-w-l-y.

    “Hyperbole and rhetoric aside, note too, that ‘every other’ means ‘half of them’, not ‘every single one apart from this one’

    See the part I emphasised in bold and italics in the quote above?

    Who ever claimed that was ever the case?
    Who ever claimed that was the case in the specific context of ‘flame wars’ on FTB blogs?
    If no one claimed that ‘every other’ meant ‘every single one apart from this one’ in either a specific or general sense, why bring it up at all?
    Were you imagining that every other blog, every other thread, or every other post (or comment, if you prefer) contained a ‘flame war’ on the FTB network? (This radically changes the quantity of ‘flaming’ that you think is going on).

    Curiously, Dingo

  266. says

    The obsession with a one-off piece of hyperbole as a ‘lie’…

    Who’s obsessed here? I only gave it one sentence, and “disenchanted” (when did he ever post as “enchanted”?) has been going crazy with the excuses ever since.

    Look, I’ve pointed this out two or three times already, so this will be the last time – Mr Brayton himself said: “Hell yes, the flame wars are getting tiresome and I don’t think I’m tone trolling my own network.”

    And Ed has responded HONESTLY to that unpleasantness: by continuing to do his own thing, instead of adding to the “flame-wars” with empty complaints that ignore the original substance of what’s being said. Get the hint?

  267. says

    “Who’s obsessed here? I only gave it one sentence”

    Really? Isn’t the whole ‘lie’ charge based on it? ‘Liar’ is quite a serious accusation. Don’t be surprised if someone feels they’ve been falsely accused of it that they defend themselves.

    Dingo: “why bring it up at all?”

    Why bring up your question about it now? I’m ‘curious’ about why it’s suddenly so important to you. I don’t get the ‘Why are you telling me something I already know’ thing. If you already knew it, fine. No harm, no foul. But you were the one who claimed to be a ‘dog of little brain’ who got confused by a reference to ‘TAM’, so don’t cry wolf when someone spells something out to avoid possible confusion. You half convinced me at the time that your ‘TAM’ bafflement was genuine, now I think you were just stirring up, criticising for the sake of it.

    At any rate, your question is just continuing the ‘arguing about arguing’ thing – nitpicking from very minor points someone made far earlier in the thread.

  268. says

    disenchanted: your statement was false, and anyone who reads even a few FTBlogs regularly (as I do) would know this. The only way you could think your “hyperbole” was anywhere near true, would be if you only looked at the posts on the “Most Active” list. And if you read FTB that way, then YOU are the one with the “herd mentality,” not us. Ever try following the “Recent Posts” list instead?

    So yeah, your initial statement was untrue, and your continued feverish defense of that statement is pretty dishonest. I see no reason to back down from anything I’ve said (which does not include callng you a liar — it was demo who did that, and he doesn’t have to run away from it either).

  269. disenchanted says

    You got me, raging bee. Your last post was spot on. I am “a stupid and hateful MRA” (whatever that is)…

    unless, that is, you don’t ignore the last part of my comment, where I said, “this flame war is not important to any atheists but those who are involved in it (which is not to say that the issue of equality/safety isn’t important…but when the debate moved from “women need to feel safe at conferences” to “other guy is stupid and needs to listen,” the debate shifted from something important to something not-important).”

    Note the hyphenated part. To my knowledge, equality and safety were two of the things that started a debate, that *then turned into a flame war*.

    So, again, the flame war doesn’t concern me. What taht statement means, to me, si I don’t care who said what first. I don’t care who slung mud at whom. I don’t care who’s being obtuse at this point. That’s all Ed Brayton’s to figure out, and as a consumer of his product, I wanted him to know how I felt about the quality of the material I feel I’m getting.

    Legitimate issues of women feeling safe, of equal treatment at conferences, of sexism, etc, are not a flame war. They are legitimate issues. In my mind, they did not start the flame war What started the flame war was the first person to make insults, or the person who failed to listen to half the world’s population when they say they don’t like it when they approached in elevators, etc.

    So, if you’d like to ignore parts of my posts so that you can misunderstand what I have said, feel free to continue trolling. if you want to engage with me in conversation, feel free to read the entirety of my posts.

  270. dingojack says

    Andy – Young Ones – LOL*
    MRA.
    I’d recommend Urban Dictionary for those newfangled terms (esp. for ol’ farts, like me)!
    Dingo

    * Laugh Out Loud – but see: LOL, just in case. ;)

  271. says

    “Ed has responded HONESTLY to that unpleasantness”

    Right – he said he thought there was too much of it. But when Disenchanted says, effectively, ‘there’s too much of it’ – followed by Mr Brayton saying he agrees with him – you say he’s DEAD WRONG. Mr Brayton could not have been clearer:

    “Disenchanted’s concerns are entirely reasonable. If I didn’t share those concerns, I wouldn’t have done what I did.”

    So when you say Disenchanted is DEAD WRONG, you are in direct opposition to Mr Brayton. I won’t say ‘get the hint’ because it is far clearer than a hint.

  272. disenchanted says

    Oops, I said “hyphenated” when I meant “part in parentheses”…sorry, I’ve got some people in my house doing some repair work.

  273. says

    …but when the debate moved from “women need to feel safe at conferences” to “other guy is stupid and needs to listen,” the debate shifted from something important to something not-important…

    You don’t think that many men’s refusal to listen is important? That’s a major cause of the problem you say IS important. For someone who says he doesn’t know what an “MRA” is, you sure are starting to sound like one.

    So, again, the flame war doesn’t concern me.

    So, again, why are you still going on about it? (I would have responded quicker, but I was reading an FTB post about the Obamacare decision. That’s another subtle hint, nudge nudge, get it?)

    Mr Brayton could not have been clearer…So when you say Disenchanted is DEAD WRONG, you are in direct opposition to Mr Brayton.

    Um, no, “Mr. Brayton” didn’t make the obviously idiotic and false statement. And your insistent quoting of “Mr. Brayton” is one of the lamest arguments-from-authority I’ve seen in a long time. You sound like an eight-year-old chanting “Teacher said!” like a protection-incantation.

  274. says

    PS: dissy-boy, you’re aware of this long-running flame-war, but you don’t know what “MRA” means? I call bullshit. (You do know what that means, right?)

  275. disenchanted says

    RB,

    And, arguments from authority are only fallacies when the authority you’re looking to isn’t an authority on the matter at hand. So, creationist looking to psychologists to speak about evolution is a fallacious argument from authority.

    But, when the authority you’re looking to is literally *the* authority for a website–it’s owner/admin, etc–then it isn’t a fallacy at all. Indeed, it’s the logical thing to do.

  276. dingojack says

    Andy – “Why bring up your question about it now? I’m ‘curious’ about why it’s suddenly so important to you. I don’t get the ‘Why are you telling me something I already know’ thing. If you already knew it, fine. No harm, no foul. But you were the one who claimed to be a ‘dog of little brain’ who got confused by a reference to ‘TAM’, so don’t cry wolf when someone spells something out to avoid possible confusion”.

    First, it isn’t sudden I have been lurking here since about eight hours after the blog was posted.
    Second, it’s not important, I’m curious (I think you’ll agree it totally possible to be curious about trivialities. Sometimes whole new fields can be discovered that way).
    Third, you brought it up, then argued over it, so I got curious as to the origin of the quibble.
    Fourth, where did I say anything like ‘Why are you telling me something I already know’. Please post my comment (or a blockquote if extensive).

    If nobody actually said anything remotely like the highlighted portion, why bring it up at all? Are you claiming you thought we all were too stupid to get what ‘every other’ meant?
    Perhaps you need to look up ‘humility’* in the dictionary along with MRA.

    ‘… is anyone genuinely likely to be perplexed on this blog by reference to ‘MRA’, given that most of the kerfuffle in this ongoing discussion has been about people’s reaction to harassment at sceptical conferences…’
    Dingo
    ——-
    “A dog of little brains” references the works of A. A. Milne.
    I’d suggest adding ‘self-effacing’ and ‘Socratic irony’ to your dictionary look up list.

  277. says

    Yes, Ed is an authoritative source (due more to his intelligence than his ownership of a blog); but no, his authority doesn’t help any of your dumb-ass arguments here.

  278. disenchanted says

    Oops, meant to type,

    RB, [insert arguments I’m tired of making here]

    (sorry, the commands are backwards from what I’m used to…the rest of my last post is right. I’ve got too much going on to put any thought into this right now)

  279. dingojack says

    Disenchanted – so Ed and Demo disagree, so what? Ed’s not god, nor does he claim to be. He has an opinion that others don’t share. They are prepared to argue their position. That’s fine.
    Your point was?
    Dingo

  280. says

    …I’ve got too much going on to put any thought into this right now…

    Yeah, we can tell. You’re too busy to think, but not too busy to post a lot of thoughtless useless nonsense. Must suck to be you.

  281. says

    “you’re aware of this long-running flame-war”

    I read when Rebecca Watson originally posted about the elevator incident. I followed the shitstorm on the threads about it, and read several blogs from other commentators about it (‘Don’t be a dick’ etc), all of which spawned their own long threads with idiots strawmanning and going “So I don’t get to talk to chicks now”.

    I think much of this was before freethought blogs combined all of these authors. I was regularly reading PZ’s, Ed’s, Atheist Experience and Reasonable Doubts’ blogs on wherever they all were before. I’ve long been ‘friends’ with Greta Christina on Facebook, so would always get her blogs.

    Then I saw this year there was MORE trouble with women being hassled. I noted DJ Grothe’s poor response. I don’t think I was reading the comments on these threads by then, because I was bored of all the crappy justifications from misogynists.

    Then I read PZ’s response to Thunderf00t (I hadn’t read the original), and I hazily followed that unravelling, as I explained in my post of 296.

    Cool story, bro, eh? Anyway, that’s the history of ‘Andrew being aware of the long-running flame war’.

    Sorry, but I don’t recall seeing the MRA acronym in all that. Call bullshit on that if you want. I still find it unlikely that Dingo could be genuinely baffled by a reference to TAM, but don’t really see it as a big deal either way.

    “Um, no, “Mr. Brayton” didn’t make the obviously idiotic and false statement. ”

    Which ‘idiotic and false’ statement? The quotes I supplied – that is to say, the ones I put in quote marks are genuine, direct quotes from him. Can you clarify whether:
    a) you are disputing that he said them, or
    b) you draw a different meaning from those direct quotes?

    And I’m saying Mr Brayton because Ed seems to informal for a man I respect who doesn’t know me from Adam.

  282. says

    Sorry, but I don’t recall seeing the MRA acronym in all that.

    I do. That is, in fact, where I learned what those initials meant.

    Funny how you only mention the important issues behind all the “flame wars” this late in the thread…

  283. says

    Can you clarify whether: a) you are disputing that he said…

    Um…it should be clear that I wasn’t responding to what Ed said AT ALL. Why are you changing the subject? Trying to hide behind the trouser-legs of an authority-figure?

  284. says

    “I do. That is, in fact, where I learned what those initials meant.”

    Great – I’m sure that’s true. But I didn’t. I don’t believe that’s a crime. You cried ‘bullshit’ on me following all this. I’ve just honestly summarised ‘the story of Andrew following all this’. And it’s possible I saw references to MRA in that, but I don’t recall doing so.

    [I just googled MRA with freethought blogs and got the answer]

    “it should be clear that I wasn’t responding to what Ed said AT ALL”

    So when you said ““Um, no, “Mr. Brayton” didn’t make the obviously idiotic and false statement. ”, what did you actually mean?

    It’s pretty hard to get through all your bluster and get a simple answer to a simple question, so please: Which ‘idiotic and false’ statement are you claiming that Ed Brayton didn’t say?

  285. says

    “A dog of little brains” references the works of A. A. Milne.”

    Yeah, I know. Are you claiming you thought I was too stupid to get a Winnie the Pooh reference?

    “Fourth, where did I say anything like ‘Why are you telling me something I already know’. Please post my comment (or a blockquote if extensive).”

    Hmm, in the sentence directly after that, you launch your ‘did you really think we were so stupid not to already know that’ thing. Which is basically asking saying ‘Why are you telling me something I already know?’.

    “I’d suggest adding ‘self-effacing’ and ‘Socratic irony’ to your dictionary look up list.”

    Likewise. The former carries with it a sense of humility, not a disingenuous claim to not being smart that you don’t actually believe. So are you now admitting that you DID in fact know what TAM meant? If so, what was this use of ‘socratic irony’ aiming to achieve?

  286. dingojack says

    Andy – see mine #317*.
    Dingo
    —–
    * Just click on the blue writing (a link) and it will take you to another webpage. In this case to Urban Dictionary (with it’s definition of MRA from Merriam Webster Dictionary Online). To return to the page you left, click the left arrow in the top left-hand corner of the screen (or press ‘Alt’ and ‘left arrow’).
    Sorry, but if you treat people as idiots….

  287. says

    Dingo, I already said that I’d looked it up. I googled ‘MRA’ with ‘freethought blogs’ and got the answer. And you could easily have googled ‘TAM’ with ‘freethought blogs’ and found THAT out. Again, if saying you didn’t know what TAM meant was ‘socratic irony’ (rather than going for a shitty dig for the sake of trolling), then can you explain what its purpose was?

  288. says

    So when you said ““Um, no, “Mr. Brayton” didn’t make the obviously idiotic and false statement. ”, what did you actually mean?

    Either your reading comprehension is crap, or you’re being dishonest. Either way, this argument is pretty much over. Buh-bye.

  289. says

    Raging Bee, I don’t see what’s wrong with my comprehension, but you said: “Um, no, “Mr. Brayton” didn’t make the obviously idiotic and false statement.” That’s your own quote – own it or disown it. I’ve asked you twice to clarify what statement you were referring to, a very simple question. It’s telling that you don’t seem to be able to give a straight answer. My guess is that you thought it was a made up quote, but when you checked you realised it was a direct quote from further up the thread, but you can’t bring yourself to admit it.

    “Buh-bye”

    Don’t let the door hit yer…

  290. dingojack says

    Andy – OK let’s recap.
    You claimed that ‘every other one’ meant every second instance [correct so far], not ‘every other blog except this one’. The latter was never claimed to be case by anyone prior to that assertion.
    Subsequently you claimed that ‘everyone knows that’, and that I had said that too. However I had never said that prior to that assertion.
    Then when I asked if you were assuming we all were to stupid to know that (such that such and obviously fallacious definition needed to be excluded from the explanation). You claimed I already knew that! Ah ha! gotcha! What you missed is what I asked you: ‘were you assuming…’. Your assumption was the issue not my level intelligence.
    Still haven’t answered the questions I asked you, yet, I notice.
    Dingo.
    BTW – Socratic irony makes no claim on the questioner’s intelligence. Socrates never claimed to know everything, indeed he claimed that one could only find out things by examination, that is why he spent his time asking questions.
    Socratic Irony is a technique where the questioner assumes a mantle of total ignorance so that the student can hone his argument by discovering it’s fallacies and holes for himself.
    In fact the questioner might have no knowledge of the subject, or knowledge of the subject but no idea of the ‘correct’ answer.

  291. dingojack says

    The point is, Andy, your google-fu was much slower that my Urban Dictionary linkage.
    Dingo

  292. says

    I’ve asked you twice to clarify what statement you were referring to, a very simple question.

    Which has a very simple and obvious answer that can already be seen in my comments.

    Are you dumb enough that you suddenly can’t understand what I’ve been talking about this whole time? Or are you dumb enough to think your pretense of incomprehension even sounds plausible? I’m having a bit of trouble figuring out which of those is worse; but either way, you’re a fucking idiot.

  293. says

    discombobulated sez:

    “So, if you’d like to ignore parts of my posts so that you can misunderstand what I have said, feel free to continue trolling. if you want to engage with me in conversation, feel free to read the entirety of my posts.”

    Now, THAT is projection. I’m far too busy laughing at your hamfisted attepmts to justify your lying to waste my time worrying about anthing else in your comments. Here’s a news flash, bunky, you ain’t alla that. Nothing you’ve said about FTB is new or, really, interesting. What I tend to focus on with liars is their lies.

    ““a flame war isn’t simply a very heated argument. It’s one where reason and logic are being forced out and replaced by vitriol and emotion. I’m not averse to a little name calling and sarcastic cuts, but draw the line when these become more important than the ostensible subject of the discussion.”

    Yeah, Andy, we read the original comment by Ed Brayton. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but Ed has made a couple of comments on this thread. He has a whole EMPIRE OF BLOGS to run and more important things to do than intervene in ongoing arguments on a given thread. Here’s something to mull; Ed INVITED Thunderfoot and Greg Laden to come here in the first place. Now he’s disinvited them. It’s probably beneath his notice that you keep invoking a comment made by him before you and shitenchanted got into the CT thing as deep as you have. There’s a possiblility that he might not view you two clowns quite as lovingly if took another look. Me? I’m pretty sure that Ed barely tolerates me, at times–oh, fuck it, most of the time, but guess what–that’s his privilege–he makes the rules dumbfuck–not me and most certainly not you.

    “That’s not his defence. His defence is that he was using hyperbole, not making a literal claim.’

    I realize that disenhanced is not terribly bright, but is it possible that he can’t speak for himself or would we see your lips moving when he speak?

    “Raging Bee, Demo: You’re at an impasse: you say he’s lying, he says he isn’t. If you can’t take his word for it that he didn’t LITERALLY mean 50% of the blog concerns the flame war, then why bother continuing arguing with him?”

    I’m not arguing with either of you fucking morons. He told a lie, which he chose to characterize as a “rhetorical” device. The fact that he waited NINEFUCKINGHOURS to do so mitigates rather strongly towards his being a liar. I’m not arguineg, nor do I intend to argue with a couple of clowns who, afaia, have not commented on this blog until this post came up. You know less than fuckall about what goes on here and yet you come in to chastise Ed and others. You’re both fucking tools.

    “That really seems to be what you guys are doing here! The obsession with a one-off piece of hyperbole as a ‘lie’, demanding blog addresses, conspiracy theories, all the insults’

    Oh, dear, now Andy’s got his panties in a bunch! Disheartened’s obsession of defending a lie as a bit of “rhetoric”, his refusal to back up his statment that “his readers” would not be sent to FTB, ‘cuz of y’know, the bad mean peoples over there—your conspiracy theories–wtf are you even talking about?–all the insults? Trust me on this, fuckface, there haven’t been a lot of insults, yet.

  294. says

    Raging Bee: “Which has a very simple and obvious answer that can already be seen in my comments.”

    But which you refuse to simply clarify. Here’s the whole para:
    “Um, no, “Mr. Brayton” didn’t make the obviously idiotic and false statement. And your insistent quoting of “Mr. Brayton” is one of the lamest arguments-from-authority I’ve seen in a long time. You sound like an eight-year-old chanting “Teacher said!” like a protection-incantation.”

    What statement? Simple question.

    Dingojack: “Subsequently you claimed that ‘everyone knows that’”

    When? Quote please.

    Demo: “I’m not arguing with either of you fucking morons.”

    Because we’re both right and we’re both smarter than you!

  295. says

    Dingojack, could you nail your colours to the mast and confirm something. When you questioned my referenced to TAM and said it was ambiguous, were you:
    A) genuinely unsure what I meant,
    B) indulging in snark for the sake of it
    C) using some ‘socratic irony’.
    D) something else.

    If c), can you expand on that? You weren’t asking me further questions about it, you just claimed the reference was unclear, and advised me not to use acronyms, slang etc in future to avoid confusing people. If it was just jesting on your part (my suspicion), then drop the reaction to me questioning MRS or whatever.

    Demo, I’m mystified by the long para in your last post telling me that Ed Brayton makes the rules. What point do you think you’re responding to? You’re saying thing along the lines of ‘I’ve got news for you, Andrew’, but then not really saying anything that challenges anything I’ve said. Yup, E.B. makes the rules here – when have I said anything to the contrary?

    Raging Bee, the reason I’m asking you what statement you’re denying he made, is that I’ve only offered you direct quotes from him. So you’re either denying he made quotes that he actually DID make, or you’re denying he made quotes that I never claimed he did. If there’s a third option, please go ahead and explain it. Just blaming me for poor reading comprehension isn’t very helpful.

    Thanks.

  296. dingojack says

    Andy – Irrelevance!
    If you don’t know what ‘Socratic Irony’ is (after I explained it as well as I can), well, I’m not responsible for your ignorance. Google it. And while your at it, answer the questions put to you.
    Dingo
    —–
    I’ll get back to you in about 8 to 10 hours. It’s 05:20 Hrs Local.

  297. says

    Dingo, I know what Socratic Irony means. And as I already pointed out, the claim doesn’t make much sense to explain your TAM question.
    “In fact the questioner might have no knowledge of the subject, or knowledge of the subject but no idea of the ‘correct’ answer.”

    Right, so how does that fit in with you telling me my reference to TAM was ambiguous, and then advising me not to use acronyms? Please explain.

    I asked you a simple question, and you again can’t answer.

  298. says

    “Then when I asked if you were assuming we all were to stupid to know that (such that such and obviously fallacious definition needed to be excluded from the explanation). You claimed I already knew that! ”

    I’ve just reviewed my past comments. At no point did I claim you already knew that. In fact the only thing I may have conjectured you probably already knew was the intended meaning of TAM. So your assertion that I ‘claimed you already knew that!’ is simply false. Perhaps Demo will now spend 50 posts calling you a liar.

    And lol (laugh out loud) at you attempting to lecture me on the meaning of Socratic Irony and AA Milne, but then not knowing the difference between ‘to’ and ‘too’.

  299. says

    Oh yeah, and I think old Socrates might have had a piece of advice for you (seeing as you like giving out advice). If you want to play Socrates, playing ignorant to ask apparently obvious questions, it’s a bit hypocritical to then complain that people are telling you patronising, obvious things. You can’t have it both ways – be the ‘bear of little brain’ (or dog) claiming ignorance of TAM, but also whine that people are telling you stuff you already know.

    Note on the above, stuff YOU claim you already know, not stuff that I claim you already know (I try to avoid such assumptions). I might normally think that the phrase wouldn’t need clarifying, but I also wouldn’t think normally one would need to point out that the phrase isn’t always meant to be taken literally. If the term 50% or ‘exactly half’ had been used, then I’d understand. But either way, it’s rich you wanting it both ways – you’re being patronised by me, but you also reserve the right to claim you were just playing dumb any time it suits you. Somehow I can’t imagine Socrates asking his questions and then throwing a hissy fit that his great intelligence wasn’t being respected by those he questioned.

  300. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Hey Ed:

    While you’re changing things, I somehow accidentally got “subscribed” to comments on a particular thread at Greta Christina’s blog. When I clicked the link to “Manage my Subscription” I then received a separate email from each of about half the blogs on the network with a “subscription management” link in it, even though Greta’s was the only blog where I was subscribed to comments. There were a total of about 10-12 extra emails in response to attempting to remove myself from extra emails for one comment. This seems like a very inefficient way of handling it; couldn’t the “there is a new comment” email itself just contain an “unsubscribe” link?

  301. slc1 says

    Re otrame @ #108

    PZ Myers gave me the heave ho for pointing out that his feud with Abbie Smith was similar to his feud with our host, Mr. Brayton, several years ago. Apparently, Prof. Myers can’t take criticism. I didn’t point out that he had yet another feud with Chris Mooney prior to the Myers/Brayton brouhaha.

  302. says

    When I made reference to other fuckheads that andycryin’ and distended remind me of, I failed to include our old pal, “Wow”. Yup, that’s a guy they REALLY remind me of.

    Well, it looks as if all of the adults have pretty much left andy to smear hismself with his own feces, so I’ll bid adieu until he sez something that is germane to the original criticism of his sockpuppet.

  303. says

    Well Demo, they got scared off by the simple expedient of being asked direct questions about their nonsense and being caught out flat-out lying.

    Raging Bullshit goofed by saying “Um, no, “Mr. Brayton” didn’t make the obviously idiotic and false statement” in response to me making a DIRECT quote from the site’s founder.

    Dingbat tried to cover for messing up by claiming he was being deliberately ignorant as part of some plan, but then couldn’t explain at all how this ‘plan’ was supposed to have connected up with claiming he didn’t know what TAM stood for, and telling me to stop using acronyms. Then he got into a hissy fit that him claiming ignorance resulted in people telling him things he claims to have already known.

    So you’ve all made claims about things I said that are simple lies (one of yours coming next).

    This accusation will stand until any of you can manage the following:

    • You tell me where I “chastised Ed”. One quote from anywhere will do. Feel free to take ‘nine fucking hours’ over it too.
    • Raging Bullshit can tell me where I made up a quote from Ed Brayton.
    • Dingbat can tell me which post this claim comes from: “You claimed I already knew that!”

    In lieu of you managing to any answer any of the above, I’ll bid you adieu too. It’s been highly entertaining. Particularly fun was watching your posts dissolve further into foul-mouthed, lower-case, badly spelled, content-free, mud-slinging incomprehensibility the more frustrated you got. I’ll treasure the notion of you sitting on that plane, boiling over with invective.

  304. Marcus Hill (mysterious and nefarious) says

    I think I can conclude from the evidence at hand that RB and democommie might have to meet up if they’re to find two brain cells to rub together. Either that or they’re being deliberately obtuse for the lulz.

  305. says

    slc1, you are of course speaking untruthfully – you got put into the pharyngula dungeon for the following reason:

    Doesn’t like “Limey putzes” or “Texas white trash”, and since we’ve got so many of both, I thought I’d spare him the discomfort of our company.

    People will notice that that is exactly the sort of insults that PZ has always been against, so it should hardly come as a surprise. Many of us regulars have disagreed with him and criticised him time after time, and we don’t get banned for that reason.

  306. dapartypoopah says

    “Also, when did “free thought” suddenly become “free-for-all mental wanking”? I mean, should FTB bring in some creationists, or holocaust deniers, or 9/11 truthers, or anti-vaxxers?

    I mean, those people think freely too! Otherwise you do not really represent free thought!”

    LOL are people seriously saying free thought doesn’t mean free thought?

    This is beginning to be a joke. I thought FTB was EXACTLY for free thoughts, for any thought, even the very crazy ideas. If they are crazy they are easy to debunk, that is the whole point of a free thought society right? That all ideas can be presented and challenged. That there is no dogma just skeptics exchanging ideas without some elitists determining what is proper and what is not.

  307. says

    See Thunderf00t’s latest YouTube video. Just as I predicted in comment 130, he is revealing back-channel communications in a carefully-trimmed way. You get to see the angry invective full of straw-men that he wrote to PZ as well as lots of vagueness about what exactly PZ told him

  308. vargonian says

    You can say that you banned Thunderf00t because of his conduct all you want, but you’re going to have to objectively separate that from him expressing his opinion in order to be convincing about your justification.

    This all started when he made a video essentially stating that he thinks the FtB movement would do better to focus on other things. He received the type of disproportionate, emotional backlash that we’ve unfortunately come to expect in these situations. So he defended himself, admittedly abrasively, but not surprisingly.

    Does FtB support a diversity of opinions only when it’s not offended by any of them?

    I disagree with most of my friends on a lot of issues, but I don’t end my friendship over them. Are we going to launch a boycott whenever a skeptic does something that offends us? Are we going to have Rebecca Watson-esque Skeptic-Outrage-of-the-Month events? (Lawrence Krauss, Richard Dawkins, D.J. Grothe, and Penn Jillette have already been on the receiving end of these).

    The fact is, I still like PZ Myers, I still like Rebecca Watson, and I still like Thunderf00t. I’m going to disagree with them on some issues and may even be offended, but I’m not going to launch a campaign against them whenever it happens. If anything I’ll just do what we should do best–engage them in debate.

  309. says

    #359. The video came later. This started when he posted an article about how we didn’t need harassment policies where he showed no indication that he’d read any proposed policies or any of background on why people wanted them. He then made an argument against a vaguely draconian policy of his own imagination, which he conflated with the real-world idea of policies.

    As for the banning for disagreement issue, let’s leave his behavior aside for a minute and build a hypothetical where he used his blog for nothing theories about how the government did 9/11 and how anyone who accepted the official story wasn’t free-thinking. Would you want to keep him around?

  310. vargonian says

    #360.

    As for the banning for disagreement issue, let’s leave his behavior aside for a minute and build a hypothetical where he used his blog for nothing theories about how the government did 9/11 and how anyone who accepted the official story wasn’t free-thinking. Would you want to keep him around?

    Of course–if he made a good argument for it. And if he didn’t, and repeatedly showed that he couldn’t hold a coherent argument (as evidenced by repeatedly, objectively being shown to be wrong), then that would be grounds (in my opinion) from removing him from FtB, because he would have shown that he does not have one of the essential qualities of a FtB: the ability to engage in reasoned, skeptical discussion.

    Clearly, Thunderf00t isn’t some fringe, irrational conspiracy theorist. He has a horde of skeptic, rationalist followers, and has shown on countless occasions that he can form well-reasoned arguments, whether or not we may agree with his conclusions.

    His only mistake was to tread onto an emotionally-charged issue. Imagine if instead he posited some opinion about the nature of Dark Matter which disagreed with the popular opinion of Freethought Bloggers. We wouldn’t even be having this discussion right now. He’d be busy debating a cosmologist–perhaps even during a podcast, and I can safely assume they wouldn’t be calling for his ouster.

  311. says

    #361. Whiel he had demonstrated an ability to make good arguments, he didn’t do so here. Even if most of the anti-creationism stuff he’s famous for, he relied heavily on ad homs. Ithink it’s a mistake to callhis followers rational. Sure, they’ll talk a good game about rationality, then Thunderf00t straw-mans Islam or some other YouTuber or PZ and they eat it up. This isn’t new. Thunderf00t has an established pattern of, whenever he faces criticism, not addressing the substance of anything said and either going straight to claiming that people are splitting the skeptical movement by disagreeing with him or calling his critics names. See his response to criticism about his Islam videos from other YouTube atheists for dozens of other examples. That’s exactly what he did here. That isn’t rational, isn’t honest and isn’t freethought.

  312. ivycannon says

    So when is FTB going to have an anti-harassment policy?

    And what’s next on the agenda– Anti-theft policies? When people question the necessity of such things, we can call them thieves and say they are against theft protection because they want to steal!

    Then we can shun those who raise an eyebrow and make enemies out of even more skeptics like we have with Dawkins, Kirby, Grothe, Thunderfoot, Sara Mayhew etc. while protecting the people who threaten violence and suggest suicide to others on “free thought” (ha) blogs.

  313. ivycannon says

    Make sure everyone knows who they must “shun” and ban too. No– not Laden and the unnamed men doing something or other at skeptics conferences– Paula Kirby!

    You’re privileged if the biggest worry in your lie is making sure every skeptics meeting has a harassment policy that wins PZ/Rebecca’s approval.

    What is it you freethought bullies thin these harassment policies are accomplishing? Which documented harassment can they protect against? Can they keep men from asking women for coffee in an elevator? What if you just want to keep the “creepy” men (like Laden) away?

  314. ivycannon says

    Thunderfoot made claims that are quite obviously true regarding FTB:

    1) The disproportionate amount of attention it gives to sexism compared to other issues.

    2) The way that those who disagree on the matter of sexism are attacked with a disproportionate amount of strawmen, invective and branding (misogynist, MRA, etc etc). This is a behavior more in line with bullying than free thought.

    And he was booted for that.

    You could pretend it was shitty writing (have you seen the proffe??)– but if you had evidence of him doing the insane sort of things that got Greg booted, you’d post them. I wonder how welcome Cristina is feeling after viewing this spectacle here. Doesn’t she know she’s already been labeled a “gender traitor”: http://www.butterfliesandwheels.org/2011/next-year-in-dc/#comment-103807

    I think it’s time that those calling for others to apologize to start doing some apologies themselves.

  315. says

    @367: Considering a commenter said that and it wasn’t even on FTB, I don’t know what your point is. Is there any evidence that many people have a negative view of Cristina around here? Did anyone chime in to support SIli who has any relevance to FTB? Cristina’s written a couple posts about sexual harassment and they didn’t lead to anyone pushing for her removal.

  316. ivycannon says

    Don’t know how to handle those who disagree with your opinion? Take a cue from Ed: http://skepchick.org/2012/07/hot-gossip-were-all-burqa-wearing-nazis/#comment-154222

    Or this other charming poster who responded this way: http://skepchick.org/2012/07/hot-gossip-were-all-burqa-wearing-nazis/#comment-154436

    to the following:

    The culture growing on this blog and elsewhere of dismissing criticism through offense, and of planting your feet more deeply in the soil with every instance of it encountered, is giving me reason to think that an uncritical culture of deflective strategies is supplanting skepticism in the skeptical-feminist movement.

  317. jim says

    disenchanted employed hyperbole. Ed backed him up conceptually.

    Also, +1 to Gretchen for “If you think that in order to disagree, debate, or argue it’s legitimate or even necessary to be an asshole, I don’t want to do those things with you.”

    I can see how TF might have thought he’d fit in better. At the end of the day though does anyone really expect more than a handful of people to actually change their online viewing habits? Most people seemed pretty entrenched one way or another to start with. The comments to TF’s video seem to bear that out.

  318. jackrawlinson says

    “Freethought” does not mean “think whatever you want.”

    Just beautiful. Orwell would be proud of you.

    Also, this:

    You should reign in PZ while you’re at it. There was a time when his blog was interesting and not merely a cesspool of angry rants.

    Yes. You really should go clean up that place – or at least you should if you want to regain any of the credibility that FtB has been haemorrhaging over the increasingly absurd, vicious and hysterical rantings of some of its bigger contributors. Some of the regular commenters at Pharyngula are outrageously abusive and the stink of blinkered, dogmatic in-group self-congratulation there has become insupportable for more moderately-inclined folk. The slightest disagreement or attempt to look fairly at differing viewpoints there is met with a tirade of personal abuse, dismissive condescension and gleeful misrepresentation. There are some real pieces of work there – every bit as nasty as the “slimepitters” – and PZ makes no attempt to rein them in; indeed, he seems to enjoy and even approve of their bullying and hectoring.

    Seriously, go check out any of the threads that pertain to the sexism/harrassment issue and you will see that I am not exaggerating. So, are you going to be consistent about your clean-ups or not?

  319. says

    The rationale on the threads there seems to be “I’m a free-thinking, liberal, pro-choicer, therefore I’m right about everything and everyone who disagrees with me on any subject deserves to be called a Nazi, and anyone who calls me out on this is a Nazi and also a tone troll.”

    And I say that as a liberal, pro-choicer.

    Also, it’s ‘we are the regulars, we spend several hours posting here every day, therefore we deserve extra respect a prori, whereas any less regular posters are ‘reich-wingers’ until they’ve proven their credentials’.

    Of course, the ‘echo-chamber’ effect gets worse and worse as more reasonable voices vote with their feet and leave. It’s the closest liberal equivalent I’ve seen to a very unpleasant hour I once spent on a thread on Ann Coulter’s website.

    The ‘Tone Troll Police’ – that is, the people who accuse others of tone trolling when their asshattery is pointed out to them – must have John Goodman’s character in The Big Lebowski as their spiritual hero.
    “Am I wrong?”
    “No”
    “AM I WRONG?”
    “NO!”
    “AM I WR-”
    “You’re not wrong Walter. You’re just an asshole!”

    In the cinema at that moment, everyone laughs, apart from the TTP, who shout at the Dude that he’s tone trolling.

  320. vargonian says

    #363. I do remember disagreeing with him when he was going off on his wholesale criticisms of Islam, and commenting about it on YouTube. I guess he just doesn’t meet my threshold of intolerability though, because most of the time I think he makes good points. Yeah, he namecalls, etc., but he almost always has an argument behind it. The exact same could be said of PZ Myers, who is somewhat famous for being abrasive and anti-accomodationist (and in fact I like that about him).

    My suspicion is that there was a certain notoriously vocal, small group of individuals who raised a fuss over TF’s comments/video. PZ already has a well-established rapport with them and felt a lot of pressure to take the action he did. That’s just the impression I get, anyway; admittedly it could have been all PZ’s doing.

  321. Daniel Schealler says

    @jackrawlinson

    “Freethought” does not mean “think whatever you want.”

    Just beautiful. Orwell would be proud of you.

    Actually, that’s a fair point. It’s a bit of a reach to go back that far in the conversation, but still. Fair point.

    Free thought should indeed mean freedom of thought.

    Similarly, freedom of speech is just that: Freedom to say whatever you want (the usual limitation to free speech of incitement to violence and hate speech are well intentioned but also problematic – that’s a complex issue I don’t want to get into right now).

    These freedoms do not imply freedom from criticism. Freedom from criticism is in direct opposition to freedom of speech. You can’t have one without sacrificing the other.

    Neither do these freedoms imply entitlement to speech with/from anyone else’s platform.

    Neither do these freedoms imply entitlement to be listened to by someone who doesn’t wish to do so.

  322. jemby5 says

    2008: P.Z. Meyers gets kicked out of a screening of a documentary about academic censorship that he stared in.

    2012: P.Z. Meyers banns fellow bloggers from FTB because their views didn’t agree with his own.

    Free Thought Blogs! Agree with us or we’ll ban you.

  323. says

    Ctrl+F ‘behavior’…

    I see some things about Laden quietly editing comments, but have I missed somewhere that Thunderf00t’s ‘behavior towards other members of the community […] that we cannot condone or support’ is explained at all?

  324. dontpanic says

    jemby5,
    Nice false equivalence there; shame if something where to happen to it…

    Yes, poor poor TF has absolutely no outlet for his ranting. He’s been banned, banned, I say, from the intertoobs. Oh, wait, he’s not — instead he’s been tossed from being hosted on a particular platform. A platform that has no obligation to host anyone in particular. Last I heard he can even comment here on FTB blogs just like the rest of us hoi polloi, so in generally he’s not even banned. Can’t guarentee that there aren’t particular blogs at FTB that haven’t blocked him, but I don’t think there’s a universal ban.

    Two views about why this is a false comparison:

    First, did PZ demand that he be given the stage at the screening for a rebuttal? On their dime? And I don’t think PZ was even particularly angry over the the incident, more sardonically amused.

    Secondly, is TF hosting the Pharyngula videos on his youtube channel? Giving them equal time? No, ah, so you admit that PZ has been banned at TF’s slice of the web? ::eyeroll::

  325. saelpalani says

    I’m glad to see that this place is cognizant of feminist issues around science. I was not thrilled at Thunderf00t’s post or videos on the subject. He made it sound like the rules were going to interfere with his patriarchal good time.

    There needs to be an awareness and rules. Women have had to fight bitterly to get into fields of science and then fight bitterly to be taken serious in science.

    As a woman, I’d much rather have a female friendly blog space to come read in than one that will keep shoving an unwanted image in my face that I’m the seed of all evil for males in science (a la what Thunderf00t implied about Rebecca Watson).

    You were right for kicking his ass out. Maybe now he’ll read up on feminism and understand that maybe he didn’t have a hard time getting into the field but many women do and when they get there they certainly don’t want to hear how they ruin it for the men.

  326. twincats says

    Seriously, go check out any of the threads that pertain to the sexism/harrassment issue and you will see that I am not exaggerating. So, are you going to be consistent about your clean-ups or not?

    I realize that this thread is pretty much petered out and this is probably just so much time wasted, but I think that Ed’s hands off style of benevolent despotism works very well here and that it’s better to allow each blogger to run hir blog as xe sees fit (I probably messed up the pronouns, sorry.)

    IRL, I’m a mild-mannered cashier working in one of the most god-soaked areas of CA and once a week or so, I feel the desire to witness some good old-fashioned conservative/MRA/religionist/etc. troll bashing. It’s great shorthand to be able to set down my bowl of popcorn at the computer, look over PZ’s posts, and pick out one with 75 or 300 comments because I know I won’t be disappointed.

    If this makes me a bad person, so be it.

  327. says

    This is why the “Atheist Community” is and will always be a joke.
    You ban someone on a “free thought” blog for expressing his opinion, and then thousands of other “free thinkers” cheer at the suppression of free expression.

    This is why religion will always beat us in politics and at the ballot.
    Because you idiots are too busy ripping each other apart to get anything done.

  328. says

    @Michael Johnson:

    Gosh, it’s always good to hear from another member of CTN*. Thanks for your input. Fuck off.

    *Concern Troll Nation

  329. Michael Heath says

    Michael Johnson, your comment post is at best incoherent. Let’s see how; you write:

    This is why the “Atheist Community” [1] is [2] and will always be a joke [3].

    1] So which is it; does an atheist community exist or not? Your scare quotes conveys to the reader you’re asserting no such group exists but then in the next sentence you presume it does exist given your assertion this supposedly existent/non-existent group possesses a certain attribute. You have accomplished one thing, my current dizziness.

    2] Do you realize how idiotic you appear when you use a single example, depending solely on your own personal opinion rather than say – well-established facts, to make a claim about an entire population?

    3] Please provide independently validated empirical evidence you are capable of predicting the future out to infinity, especially for a group which you also claim doesn’t exist. To save you the trouble, it’s not possible to validate this ability since it requires you present this ability for infinity which uh, hasn’t happened yet and never can when it comes to an individual’s predictive powers. Are you so stupid I also need to elaborate on why this is so?

    I suggest working on your own personal critical thinking skills to become at least remedially coherent prior to arguing certain assessments about groups demonstrably beyond your current fighting weight.

  330. David T says

    … to bad …
    …at least for this situation it is no longer Free though blogs; but un-free thought, censored thought, or “just the version of thought that we find acceptable” blogs.

    If you don’t like a position, you are free to ignore it or better yet point out how the position is incorrect or unacceptable.
    To remove an opinion or a point of view is not in any way an example of the promotion of free thinking.
    Pointing out flaws, inconsistencies, or even unfitting behavior in members of a group help to define the group, help it grow. Removing members of a group limits the group.
    Even “bad” position or opinions are work discussing to point out what is “bad” about them.

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