Content note: Pretty much everything. Racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, rape jokes, rape denial, threats of violence, and more, too much to thoroughly trigger-warn.
UPDATE NOTE: This post has been updated to document several responses from Slymepit regulars, to document and confirm that the examples of behavior linked to here are, in fact, entirely representative of the Slymepit culture. Updates at end of post.
There’s this problem. A couple of problems, actually.
Problem 1: There’s this online forum, the Slymepit. (No, I’m not linking to them — you can find them yourselves if you like.) They have routinely, persistently, doggedly, for years, engaged in a campaign of hateful online harassment against feminists and social justice activists in the atheist and skeptic communities.
This campaign includes, but is not limited to: racist slurs and imagery, misogynist slurs and imagery, homophobic slurs and imagery, transphobic slurs and imagery, the deliberate misgendering of trans people, anti-Semitism, polyamory-shaming, fat-shaming, mental-illness-shaming, sexually-transmitted-disease shaming, baseless accusations of their targets as having sexually transmitted diseases, other baseless accusations verging on libel (if not actually veering into it), the creation of degrading Photoshopped images of their targets, jokes about their targets being raped, cheerful speculation about their targets’ ugly and painful deaths, the mocking of PTSD, the deliberate triggering of PTSD, even threats of physical violence.
Problem 2: A lot of people don’t believe this.
Part of me understands this. When you describe the Slymepit to people, it sounds like something you’d make up. And it’s a hard thing to accept. Atheists and skeptics get enough harassment and abuse from religious believers: it’s hard to accept that this is happening within our own communities. And very few people want to wade into the Slymepit to find this for themselves.
This is why I am enormously grateful to Jadehawk. Jadehawk has created a Storify page, documenting examples of what the Slymepit does on a regular basis. (The page sets the context first, briefly explaining the background for why this Storify was created, before getting into the documentation.)
The page is by no means a thorough documentation of every example of this behavior. It includes just a very tiny sample it. And this behavior is not just a small bad-apple minority of the Slymepit: it is very much the forum’s standard.
So. The next time someone asks “What is the Slymepit?” or “Is what they do really so bad?” or “Isn’t that just a few bad apples?” — you can point them to this page. And the next time you ask a blogger or a forum moderator why they permit Slymepit regulars to spread their slime in their online spaces — you can point them to this page.
Thanks, Jadehawk. Having this documentation is really helpful, and creating it must have been intensely unpleasant.
UPDATE: In case anyone is thinking that these examples were cherry-picked, that they’re just a few bad apples, that they don’t represent the general Slymepit culture, or that the Slymepit in general condemns this behavior: Here are screenshots of several responses by Slymepit regulars to Jadehawk’s Storify. They make it clear that this behavior is the Slymepit standard, that the forum’s participants are proud of it, and that it is welcomed and encouraged by the forum.
Below the jump. I’ve transcribed the screenshots, but I’m not quoting the speakers by name. You can click the images to enlarge. [Read more…]