There’s a troll narrative parallel history of the secular movement, I’ve observed. Things that are handled professionally, between professionals, become “harassment and attacks”, and harassment and attacks become “disagreement”. Civil disagreement becomes slurs, slurs become hilarious parody. It all depends on which side of the rift you’re on, and who’s targeting whom.
More blogospheric navel-gazing within. You may want to read this and this and this and unfortunately this for some context.
It’s become a tell to me which universe certain people are living in for instance, whether or not they point to Greg Laden talking to Abbie Smith’s boss as an example of how horrible and targeted his harassment of her was. Because strangely, Abbie herself has said almost exactly nothing about what actually happened. Not to dissuade people of their paranoid delusions, nor to set the record straight, nor to defend herself publicly from what Greg actually did say to her boss (or whatever actually happened, which I bet was not just Greg talking to her boss). All of what’s happened with Abbie, Greg and her boss is completely unknown to the people talking the most about it. They all just have a sad that they can no longer be NatGeo’s slimepit; they had to move elsewhere to discuss how horrible of people we all are.
I also note that apparently Michael Cortese (Mykeru) has serially harassed people in various movements since at least 2004, judging by some of the links that turn up when one Googles the name as one is wont to do the first time they’re harassed by someone unknown. And whenever someone brings up one of them documenting a different harassment episode, he laughs and declares that he’d almost forgotten about that campaign. Same campaign, same “almost forgot” line several times now. It’s interesting, but I’m only interested in a detached sort of way that one person can serially harass a number of people and it’s not okay to “dox” them, but when Dave Mabus serially harassed a large number of people in a vague and unspecified way, he somehow crossed a line. Maybe it’s because he targeted people in both parallel universes simultaneously? So serial harassment is okay when it’s only done by one side to the other, but it’s horrible abuse when it’s done by one side to the other in a more limited fashion; but we can all agree it’s horrible abuse when it targets both universes?
What’s amusing me most about all this is, people aren’t declaring things as universally bad and standing by their principles. Vacula’s declared that the targeted and locust-swarm-like harassment of Stephanie and others as okay because they’re public figures. One of them fights back, and they’re FTBullies. Vacula posting information obtainable from one Google search of Surly Amy is acceptable because it’s easily-obtained matter of public record; Greg Laden posting an address available from one Google search of Mykeru and finding a previous escapade where Mykeru serially harassed someone else and apparently ended up leaking his own information (??), and that’s devastating and leaves his reputation in tatters. Or when the same slimepit posts Pharyngula commenter Brownian’s name, depriving him of his pseudonymity because reasons — that’s fine, right? Or posting Stephanie’s workplace because more reasons. And yet these principles are inviolable and never right. Except apparently when they are.
And what’s more is the idea that one side’s set of principles is “damaging to the movement” and dogmatic and religion-like, while the other’s moral objections to things like “dropping dox” (as ill-defined as that is) is presented as universally and unequivocally evil. Unless it’s done by your side with the identical amount of effort. Shunning is unequivocally bad, except when it’s done to people who shun. None of these proscriptions are explained as to WHY they’re bad, they’re JUST BAD. But WE’RE religious about our principles.
And then there’s when Greg Laden says he wants to kick Justin Griffith’s ass for defending the serial harassers, and that’s a breach of protocol worthy of condemnation and drumming out of the movement and exorcism and blood-letting and possibly chemical castration (and all of this despite the apology(ies?) from Greg to Justin and the begging-for-forgiveness from Justin to Greg and the hour-long Skype conversation they apparently had; and all BEFORE Justin decided to go ahead and post the first letter in the email exchange without any of the rest of the context). But Justin is okay with Mykeru spending a month denigrating both Stephanie and Greg, and challenging Greg to MMA fights, and kicking Greg’s ass (and cunt); et cetera, ad nauseum, for a month. That’s all perfectly okay and just civil disagreement. They’re just rivals.
Can you please grow a set of principles? Just try being consistent for once. For fucking once. Please. I beg of you.
And I say all this having privately told Greg that it was a bad move to say what he said, no matter what his intentions. I don’t think he’s a bad guy, or a violent guy, nor particularly in the wrong in the case of posting Mykeru’s address from a previous “doxing” from a previous fight he had. He made a wrong move, giving more ammo to the people without principles, but is not IN THE wrong any more than discussions of outing Franc Hoggle for threatening to sneak “tokens of affection” onto PZ Myers’ person, or outing of Dave Mabus for visiting conferences starring the atheists he said would be beheaded. (Note that Mabus never even said HE would do the beheading.)
There’s a line that is apparently crossable where the calculus flips from never-acceptable to acceptable-this-once to out someone and remove the shield of pseudonymity behind which some trolls attack some public figures. Posting an address obtained from a previous target’s investigations of a serial harasser is not a politically smart move in an atmosphere where there are two parallel universes going on where one of them thinks anything done to their side is horrible but anything they do to you is acceptable. And this is knowing that so-called “universals” are NEVER such.
Asking the victim of harassment to weather the storm and pull their punches and hold back against their aggressors is not a particularly popular thing to say around these parts. For good reason, in my estimation. So why’s it okay in this case? I’m asking you.