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Dec 26 2012

Sympathy for the devil

Trigger warning for frank discussion of bullying and PTSD.

When I was young, I was bullied. A lot. Maybe not more than other kids who’ve been bullied, but I was definitely the target of my grade for many years running in my tiny grade school and middle school. It started to let up a bit in high school after I attacked one of my bullies physically. It’s not something I’m particularly proud of, but I had been at my wits’ end that there were exactly zero consequences for harassing me for years on end.

I was wrong to attack that person. And yet, I was able to breathe easier afterward.

My father, as fathers do, attempted to coach me on how to deal with the bullies and put a stop to the harassment — coaching that ranged from “don’t react in any way” to “react as strongly and as violently as possible” to “stop doing the things that make them harass you”. None of it really worked, and violence was always my last resort because I was scrawny and not very capable of it. The harassment started because I was a bit of a klutz, because I was a little too smart, because I was the tallest fifth grader, because I stood out a little too much in a few too many ways. Somehow I made myself a target, because at that age, societal pressures trend toward conformity. If you’re too different, you’re wrong and must be brought into line. The fact that some of these aspects of myself were endemic to my nature and could not be baffled or muted meant that I stayed a target for a very long time. I was very, very miserable. I completely understand the battle fatigue that comes with long-term harassment, and I empathize when the bullying escalates to the point of suicide or psychological damage. I am not unconvinced that there is no psychological damage in my own makeup as a result.

I’m seeing many of the same dynamics at play in the blogosphere, twenty years later. Agitators and people who advocate too strongly for change or too strongly against peoples’ saints and heroes get shouted down. They get targeted for being different, for standing out. They especially get targeted for pointing out the moral failings of others — targeted until they themselves break.

Let’s ground you in a comic reference, to keep up my geek cred. Think of what The Joker did to Commissioner Gordon in The Killing Joke, trying to push him over the edge of insanity by making sure he had the absolute worst day imaginable. Stretch that out over years, with microaggressions instead of single gigantic aggressions, and you get what some people experience for standing out a little too much. You get a decade of bad days. That has a psychological effect. That causes stress, fatigue. That causes anger and resentment, deep rifts, reactionary behaviours.

But I will not blame the victim under any circumstances.

This brings me around to Greg Laden, whom people seem to think is some sort of devil that should be made a pariah in the movement. (And this from a culture that thinks criticizing, say, DJ Grothe or Richard Dawkins is an attempt to make THEM pariahs, no less. Who’re the shunners?)

I haven’t talked much about the incidents surrounding his departure from FtB, mostly because I saw a perfect storm of harassment and victims and reactionary behaviour all out of proportion to what was actually happening. I saw all the setup for everything that was to come. I first saw Greg harassed to the point where he decided to shut down his FtB blog for a month and just blog at Scienceblogs, as a way to gain some temporary reprieve from Team Douchebag and their constant swarming attacks. I saw Justin Griffith step up to tell everyone that the members of Team Douchebag were just misunderstood, and that they were using 4Chan humour to get lolz — never mind that said lolz were at someone else’s expense, we saw that, we understood the culture and the jokes and the lolz, and that’s what we objected to. If we’re talking about stopping bullies, the focus shouldn’t be on what VICTIMS can do better (including ignoring the “for the lolz” crowd that makes up the majority of these bullies).

And yes, I then saw Greg react very strongly to what he (absolutely correctly) saw as someone haplessly defending the very people who’d attacked him, his dear friends, and everything they believed in, for years on end — pretending like we just didn’t understand their culture. Greg issued to Justin what Greg describes as a “Patton Slap”, a letter he worded so forcefully because he intended to smarten Justin up and realize that the people who’d targeted him, me, Stephanie, Jen McCreight, Ophelia Benson, PZ Myers, and countless others in the blogosphere would use Justin’s status as a veteran against him. That they would use the fact that he had to engage in activities at the army’s behest that would break most of us. And Greg’s “Patton Slap” went over the line in a lot of ways — warning that these people would try to trigger Justin’s PTSD was, in a way, just another trigger, even if Greg didn’t intend it that way, since intention isn’t magic. It’s the same reason you scream “trigger warning” before a post containing these potential triggers — you don’t want to accidentally hurt someone you’re not intending to.

I don’t think I’d have sent that letter. I might have thought about it, I might even have DONE it, but I do try not to say things in anger as much as possible because that anger tends to undercut what you’re trying to do. It was, to my mind, unreasonably lashing out come the end, with the “if you approach me I’ll kick your fucking ass (unless you apologize)”. Frankly, a “threat” of that nature doesn’t carry a lot of force from Greg, where as he points out he’s not a musclebound gun-toting doberman owner who’s famed for kicking ass. But such a non-threat was a threat nonetheless — it was a very bad reaction to the harassment he received. Yet I also think getting kicked off the network was a steep price for someone whose intents were pretty plain in the letters that Justin made public. I don’t necessarily disagree with him leaving this network, but I don’t like it being piled on top of the shit he was already getting.

It’s for that reason that I didn’t get involved — Greg was a victim reacting too harshly; and Justin was the victim reacting too harshly as well, who preferred to escalate by making the fight public at Greg’s exclusive expense, rather than trying to put time between the events or to let cooler heads prevail. There are lots of ways the situation could have de-escalated — neither Justin nor Greg reacted to one another appropriately. I won’t talk about the proportions of offense because that in itself is offensive, though people seem to be unduly focused on who did what when and in what order; on “who’s right” and “who scored the most points.”

I like Greg Laden a good deal. He is personable, witty, and knowledgeable. I still owe him a beer; I’m hoping to see him this New Year’s so he might collect. I suspect I’d like Justin a lot in person too. He seems funny, and I bet he’s got a lot of things to say about atheism in the military that I’m not personally exposed to in general. I know Justin’s mad at me for not hating Greg, but I hope that’ll pass and he’ll be less mad at me in time. (Or maybe it’s just that I pointed out when Justin was sympathizing with the harassers too much for my tastes, and that’s why he’s actually mad at me — that’s how it all started, after all. In which case, he’ll probably continue being mad at me when I point out his future transgressions.)

Just because I held my tongue when it all happened because of all the harassment and victimization and how tangled it all was, though, doesn’t mean I won’t point out these incautious and damaging actions when they’re not done as poor reactions to victimization. Stephanie posted her wish not to be used as a poster-child for how to be a victim properly, and far be it from me to criticize angry reactions to years of targeted harassment. I don’t think there IS a good way to be a victim — and having been a victim, I have a lot of sympathy for when people react badly. I, like Stephanie, have more sympathy for the bullied than for the bullies.

And all of us here would prefer to be left alone by the harassers, rather than targeted for stepping out of ideological line (this is FREEthought!!!1). So while I’d disagree with Justin that we are just not understanding the “for the lolz” crowd, and I’d disagree with Justin’s evident sympathy for harassers just because they’re targeting someone who threatened him (even if you don’t take Greg’s good intentions at face value because of the language), and I’d disagree with Greg’s letter, and I’d disagree with how Greg reacted to this latest spate of harassment by one of the pro-harassment crowd — by “dox’ing” a serial harasser who’d issued many threats on par with what Justin got from Greg over a month — while ALL of this is true, I still see all of this as a distraction from the harassment that caused it all. Disagreement doesn’t mean judgment, though. I don’t KNOW how I’d react. I don’t know how YOU’D react. I can’t express much judgment for how anyone reacted to anything here, except perhaps for the harassment that led up to it all.

After all, I won breathing room when I physically attacked one of my bullies. Even if I know that was wrong.

I don’t think that Greg’s won anything in this case but more targeting, though. They’ve seen him react badly. The bullies already smell blood in the water. They’re going to keep harassing until he leaves the internet, keep escalating until he breaks and does something that hurts his career, keep making him miserable until he’s ruined utterly, silenced ultimately because he’s a vocal feminist.

I only wish his latest misstep as a victim didn’t make him even more of a target for the harassers, the real devils here; and now also for the people who sympathize with the harassers, because Greg’s obviously a “nasty piece of work” — judging only by how he reacts to years of abuse.

How do YOU react to years of abuse? Can you judge?

83 comments

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  1. 1
    Argle Bargle

    You like Greg. He may be a fantastic guy in person. But I have never been impressed by him. I’ve been staying out of the fights erupting around Greg (some of which he started) because I don’t have much sympathy for him. I think he’s a bully and I don’t care much for bullies.

  2. 2
    manuel moegarcia

    Greg Laden is sneakily trying to gain sympathy by having horrific, repellent enemies and fair-minded, rational friends. But I will not be fooled by such a transparent ruse.

  3. 3
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    because Greg’s obviously a “nasty piece of work”

    Here’s the problem: he is, on the internet. He went after me with an atrocious Beckish insinuation; he likened Pharyngula to a firing squad; he altered the content of Josh OSG’s post without acknowledging it; when ChasP objected, he changed his ‘nym to his real-name email address, combined with thuggish communications. He’s behaved badly and thuggishly in situations in which he’s not a victim and he’s not defending victims,* and Stephanie Zvan has collaborated with him in that. He should have been at the least suspended from Sb for the altering and the outing. It’s unfortunate that he wasn’t, and unfortunate that he was given yet another blogging platform here.

    I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt, or that any accusation against him must be true because I don’t like him – far from it. I know very little about this recent episode, and wouldn’t presume to judge his behavior in it specifically. I’m not claiming this incident was an example of Laden’s bullying. But he’s established a clear pattern of bad, thuggish behavior generally, with no apologies, and I’m tired of seeing that ignored or swept under the rug.

    Of course, Greg Laden’s antics are irrelevant to feminism, His behavior in this instance and in general is a red herring. But if you’re going to make his behavior and character an issue, then you need to take a comprehensive view.

    *Neither Josh nor Chas was victimizing him, and it would be absurd to suggest that I was victimizing anyone, including Henry Gee (who by the way has been a conservative sexist ass,** about which I haven’t seen Laden or Zvan utter a peep).

    **As I’ve said, I don’t loathe him. He appears to like dogs, the ocean, science writing, and salting his prose with Yiddish, all of which meet with my approval. He also fights against anti-Semitism, and although his fire is sometimes wrongly aimed it’s a good and necessary fight.

  4. 4
    Jason Thibeault

    Well, ScienceBlogs evidently felt differently about that episode, SC. And it does behoove you to check out the harassment in this particular instance, because I’m trying to refocus away from Greg and back onto the harassment. That’s, after all, the whole point of this post.

  5. 5
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Well, ScienceBlogs evidently felt differently about that episode, SC.

    Or they were, quite typically, clueless about what was happening or didn’t give a shit because they were more concerned with finding corporate sponsors.

    But who cares? What sort of appeal to authority is that? Are you seriously suggesting that taking no action in that instance was right? That altering the comment of Josh’s post and then changing Sven’s ‘nym to his real-name email in that circumstance was acceptable and didn’t warrant at least a suspension?

    And it does behoove you to check out the harassment in this particular instance,

    No. It’s irrelevant to what I’m saying.

    because I’m trying to refocus away from Greg and back onto the harassment.

    That’s, after all, the whole point of this post.

    This post was mostly about Laden. If the point was to remove the focus from him, it was a strange way to go about it. I notice that your only response to my presentation of his history is to argue that Sb presumably felt differently. You might want to step back and reassess before you continue down that line. Note: I’m not asking you to publicly criticize Laden. I’m asking you to rethink your emphasis on defending him and its basis.

  6. 6
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Greg issued to Justin what Greg describes as a “Patton Slap”

    And by the way, it took me a while to appreciate how awful this act was. It’s bizarre for you to defend it in these terms in a post with a PTSD warning (I’ll save my opinion about this depoliticized variant of Vietnam War anger for another time…).

  7. 7
    oolon

    Have to agree with one bit of SCs statement, “Of course, Greg Laden’s antics are irrelevant to feminism”, but the harassers won’t see it that way. Despite the commitment to the “one true scepticism” all the ad-homs add up to Laden=Wrong in regard to anything he writes or comments on. They’ll also follow him for eternity parroting “Laden did this! Laden did that!”. So he certainly has my sympathy regardless of past misdeeds as he is a good blogger and writer and I’m not convinced he deserves to be “drummed out of the community” as the pit would put it…

  8. 8
    Nick Gotts

    Greg Laden did indeed do exactly what SC describes. Harassing him is still wrong, as is chumming up with harassers and misogynists as Justin Griffith has apparently done; but that harassment in turn does not justify Laden making public what he wrongly believed to be the harasser’s address. (One of the main reasons outing someone in this way is wrong is that you can make a mistake, and involve people who are entirely innocent, even if your target has behaved disgracefully.) Both sides of this brouhaha leave a very bad taste in the mouth.

  9. 9
    John Morales

    Jason:

    This brings me around to Greg Laden, whom people seem to think is some sort of devil that should be made a pariah in the movement.

    <blink>

    I like Greg Laden a good deal. He is personable, witty, and knowledgeable.

    Mmmhmm.

    How do YOU react to years of abuse? Can you judge?

    Aren’t you judging that no judgement can be made unless one has been in his position?

    (Good luck with your white-knighting of he whom you like a great deal)

  10. 10
    Jay

    Nice, I like how you make your dad out to be ineffectual. That’s a pattern common to social justice warriors.

    It’s also clever how you stand up in this post for non-violence all while explaining how you punching that jackass in the nose worked and urge people to support Osama Greg Laden acts of violence against others.

    My guess is that if Laden, on his blog and in his comment moderation policies, had acted with honesty, integrity, and respect for others that he demands for himself that none of this would have happened.

    But hey, you guys formed an ingroup, castigated, excoriated, dehumanized the outgroup. Literally called them racist, sexist monsters, act as bullies, and then, whammo, it’s victimhood time for you.

    Anyway, you did deliver the bomb about your father. Nice job.

  11. 11
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Such as Jay are to be expected in these type of posts.

    you guys formed an ingroup

    <snicker>

  12. 12
    Nick Gotts

    My guess is that if Laden, on his blog and in his comment moderation policies, had acted with honesty, integrity, and respect for others that he demands for himself that none of this would have happened. – Jay

    Considering the number of other feminist atheists treated in the same way by the slimepitters despite behaving in the way you recommend, I conclude that you’re either a liar or an idiot. That’s an inclusive “or”, of course.

  13. 13
    Stacy

    But hey, you guys formed an ingroup, castigated, excoriated, dehumanized the outgroup

    Wait, tell me again how the slimepit started?

    Oh, yeah, it was a bunch of people castigating, excoriating, and dehumanizing Rebecca Watson and other feminists.

    Jay thinks pointing out that they were castigating, excoriating and dehumanizing people, and that that was sexist, means “we guys” were…castigating, excoriating, and dehumanizing the slimers.

    Meanwhile, slimers continue to harass, troll, lie about, and cyberbully Skepchicks and FtB bloggers.

    Jay, you’re an idiot. Please go whine somewhere else. You and your little friends don’t get to play “we’re the real victims here!!11″

  14. 14
    christophernicholas

    Wow. FTB has become a lot less interesting to me as it’s become more about the personal lives of the bloggers (livejournal type posts) and a venue for resolving personal conflicts. I’m tired of reading about who bullied whom, or who’s still friends with whom, or who might be mad at someone else for still being friends with whom. It’s become a very junior high type of atmosphere. Which is fine, if you want the blogs to be about that sort of thing, but it makes FTB a much less interesting resource for debate or education re atheism, skepticism, or humanism. At least for the casual reader, who isn’t personally involved with any of the feuders. I don’t care who bullied whom, or who has the cutest cats, etc. That stuff isn’t what attracted me to FTB in the first place, and I don’t think I’m the only reader to lose interest because of it.

  15. 15
    Jason Thibeault

    Heh. White-knighting. Heh.

  16. 16
    Jason Thibeault

    Note: I’m not asking you to publicly criticize Laden. I’m asking you to rethink your emphasis on defending him and its basis.

    You didn’t see any of that criticism, in amongst my unwillingness to judge someone as having been a bad victim?

  17. 17
    Stephanie Zvan

    Hey, look! The harassers are swarming someone we don’t like! What should we do? I know! We can pile on!

    Fucking victim-blaming assholes.

  18. 18
    Jacob Schmidt

    @Jay,

    Nice, I like how you make your dad out to be ineffectual. That’s a pattern common to social justice warriors.

    Yep. Jason hates dads. You can especially tell with posts like this

    [1]It’s also clever how you stand up in this post for non-violence all while explaining how you punching that jackass in the nose worked and [2] urge people to support [3] Osama Greg Laden acts of violence against others.

    1) Is is controversial to say that violence sometimes works? He said specifically that it was unethical of him. Effectiveness and ethics are not synonymous.

    2) Where in this post is that stated anywhere? The post tells us not to wholly condemn Laden for his behaviour, not to endorse it. Did that slip by you?

    3) Seriously? You gonna compare him to Hitler next? I’ve no love for Laden, but come the fuck on.

    My guess is that if Laden, on his blog and in his comment moderation policies, had acted with honesty, integrity, and respect for others that he demands for himself that none of this would have happened.

    Maybe. Then again RW’s great sin was, “Guys, don’t do that.” Shit probably would have exploded anyways.

    But hey, you guys formed an ingroup, castigated, excoriated, dehumanized the outgroup. Literally called them racist, sexist monsters, act as bullies, and then, whammo, it’s victimhood time for you.

    What bullying has Jason, or any other current FTB blogger done to you? I bet mild name calling is the worst you can think of. In any case, bad behaviour of FTB does not excuse the bad behaviour of others.

    On Topic,

    We don’t see Greg as a devil. We see him as a jackass. He behaved poorly. Regardless of the harassment he’s experienced in the passed, it did not justify his threats to Justin. Nor did it justify doxxing the other dumbass (I forget his name) he was engaged with on twitter. We are not demonizing him by pointing this out.

  19. 19
    Justin Griffith

    Still reading your post. I truly relate to you about the standing out (I was 70 pounds in 7th grade, 110 pounds when I joined the army ten years later, 150 a few months later. Sorry, no time for metrics). I developed a few defense mechanisms, self-deprecating humor, drugs, getting nerdy with music, getting nerdy with drugs, challenge to authority, etc. I’m sure you’ve got your crutches too, as each of us extra-awkward adolescents go through. I was probably pretty successful with my ‘talk with authority while I question it’ bluff. Despite frequent interstate moves fueled by a chaotic divorce situation, I always managed to find fellow ‘bad kids’

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrNSjItTfes

    I was right there with you, as I was reading along. Musing about how we took different paths to solve the same problem. But I stopped at this bit.

    Lousy Canuck wrote:

    I saw Justin Griffith step up to tell everyone that the members of Team Douchebag were just misunderstood, and that they were using 4Chan humour to get lolz — never mind that said lolz were at someone else’s expense, we saw that, we understood the culture and the jokes and the lolz, and that’s what we objected to. If we’re talking about stopping bullies, the focus shouldn’t be on what VICTIMS can do better (including ignoring the “for the lolz” crowd that makes up the majority of these bullies).

    What!?

    I never said that the slimepit was “just misunderstood”.
    I never said the 4chan tactics that some of the members use were defensible.

    Here are direct quotes from that post:

    1) “First off, let me say that I agree that people shouldn’t use gendered slurs.”

    1 and a half) “My initial thoughts are complex.” <— including this because holy shit that's a dumb sentence. That's like Greg Laden "hard to say" bad.

    2) "If you comment at a place where you know such language isn’t welcome, you’re way out of line to use it."

    3) "If you’re directly contacting a person known to dislike this language, and you use this language, you’re wrong."

    4) "Abbie is funny, but I think she is unaware of the socially irresponsible applications of that style of humor when she commands an audience that large."

    5) "I like PZ a lot, but that’s pretty funny. I’m against idol-worship, autograph seeking, so I appreciated ‘PeeZus’. …But I don’t like the ‘Rebitchka Twatkins’ gender based slurs."

    6) "This language [gendered slurs] does have a place [Carlin, Sonic Youth, etc.]. The ‘greater’ atheist blogosphere is simply not one of those places."

    7) "Our particular corner of the internet should probably be run more like this: if you wouldn’t say it to that person in real life face to face, don’t say it on their blog/twitter/facebook."

    What the shit is wrong with you? That post ALWAYS included those statements. Use your modly powers if you're suspicious. The only edit I was requested to make was to lower the font size of 4 words:I support Abbie Smith – I don’t support everything she says or does.”

    That was my high crime that generated those threats. It was because Greg Laden only read those four words and then kicked up a shit storm by people who didn’t yet see him for what he was.

    It was a naive plea for peace. It didn’t work. Who cares. Stop pretending that I launched some sort of “I LOVE 4CHAN AND SLIME AND YOU GUYS JUST DONT GET THE LULZ” post. You’re lying.

  20. 20
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    You didn’t see any of that criticism, in amongst my unwillingness to judge someone as having been a bad victim?

    I didn’t see an acknowledgment that Laden has a history of thuggish, totally inappropriate behavior, no. You could be clear about this and still argue that his behavior in any specific instance was justified. What I’ve now seen is a pathetic attempt to evade my question and excuse his inexcusable behavior. I can’t imagine what the point of this is.

    ***

    Hey, look! The harassers are swarming someone we don’t like! What should we do? I know! We can pile on!

    Fucking victim-blaming assholes.

    Right, because it’s not like we haven’t had more than a year and a heap of occasions to “pile on.” If you think you’re going to make expressing an opinion about his pattern of behavior – and I’ll leave aside your complicity – some sort of political litmus test, you can think again. That’s nonsense, Stephanie, and either your friendship with Laden is clouding your judgment or you’re willing to excuse bad behavior if it’s your friend’s.

  21. 21
    Stacy

    FTB has become a lot less interesting to me as it’s become more about the personal lives of the bloggers

    If you’d been paying attention, you’d have noticed that quarrels like this are about quite a lot more than that. They’re about ethics, and sexism, and how to deal with harassment and bullying, among other things.

    But hey, your halfassed opinion means a lot. Don’t let the door smack your ass on your way out.

  22. 22
    Stacy

    Fucking victim-blaming assholes

    Criticizing Greg’s behavior is not victim-blaming anymore than criticizing Justin’s is.

  23. 23
    Tito

    ” If you think you’re going to make expressing an opinion about his pattern of behavior – and I’ll leave aside your complicity – some sort of political litmus test, you can think again. That’s nonsense, Stephanie, and either your friendship with Laden is clouding your judgment or you’re willing to excuse bad behavior if it’s your friend’s.”

    QFT.

  24. 24
    Stephanie Zvan

    Stacy, when the topic is how Greg is being treated right now, yeah, jumping up to say, “Ew, never liked that guy” is indeed victim-blaming. It is particularly victim-blaming when it’s something that happened years ago and which Greg himself noted he learned something about internet mores from. But whatever, SC can just bring that up over and over and over again whenever anyone expresses sympathy with Greg, and Nick can confirm the story with missing details, so that everyone knows Greg should always be fair game. Nothing at all like Rebecca’s past following her around every time she’s mentioned or anything. You know, because it’s Greg instead.

    Note that people didn’t actually do that to Justin. Stepping up now to point out that things didn’t actually go the way he’s now claiming they did or that he’s now doing the slimepitters work for them is not the same thing.

  25. 25
    Stephanie Zvan

    And just in case people can’t figure out why this is victim-blaming: It takes the attention off of the harassers and makes the discussion all about the behavior of the victim instead. Perhaps it will work better if I transpose this onto a different behavior, one we’re used to thinking about.

    “There is never any excuse for rape ever, but ugh, have you seen how she dresses? Let’s talk about that instead. There was this one outfit, years ago….”

    Start to get it yet?

  26. 26
    Justin Griffith

    Wow… I can’t believe this Patton slap explanation! I mean I can believe it coming from Greg “can’t spell the title of his own book correctly” Laden.

    From you, though? I’m shocked. Do you think Greg Laden is capable of giving militaristic advice to an ACTUAL SOLDIER? Do you think you are qualified to judge its merit? Seriously, what is going on here? Is this level of fail on purpose, like for an ironic hipster documentary?

    I’m going to sleep. I’ll read the rest in the morning. Maybe there is a happy ending or a ‘just kidding’ plot twist ending.

  27. 27
    Jacob Schmidt

    @Stephanie,

    Stacy, when the topic is how Greg is being treated right now, yeah, jumping up to say, “Ew, never liked that guy” is indeed victim-blaming. It is particularly victim-blaming when it’s something that happened years ago and which Greg himself noted he learned something about internet mores from.

    Uhh… the topic is not “how Greg Laden is being treated.” The topic, as noted in the title of the post, “Sympathy for the devil”, is “Greg Laden was treated badly, so we should excuse his sometimes atrocious behaviour”.

    “There is never any excuse for rape ever, but ugh, have you seen how she dresses? Let’s talk about that instead. There was this one outfit, years ago….”

    In your analogy, Greg Laden then went on to rape people, and we’re being asked to excuse his raping. No. I’m sorry Greg was treated as he was. But that does not excuse his harassing of others.

  28. 28
    Jacob Schmidt

    @Justin

    Just caught this,

    “This language [gendered slurs] does have a place [Carlin, Sonic Youth, etc.]. The ‘greater’ atheist blogosphere is simply not one of those places.”

    Yeah. So? Rape jokes have a place too. Look at Stephanie’s post here.

    You’ll notice that Kilsteins joke and Carlin’s jokes do not target women (I don’t know enough about sonic youth to comment). The only place these words have is not being used against women, which is exactly how the slimepit uses them. You implied, unintentionally I’m assuming, that there were other places for these words to be used.

  29. 29
    Jacob Schmidt

    The only place these words have is not being used against women, which is exactly how the slimepit uses them.

    My, that’s a REALLY ambiguous sentence. I meant to say that the slimepit uses gendered slurs against women.

  30. 30
    Peter Ferguson

    It is particularly victim-blaming when it’s something that happened years ago and which Greg himself noted he learned something about internet mores from.

    Oh really Stephanie. Is that why he recently released somebody’s address and work information this week? And has threatened to do the same to another person?

  31. 31
    eigenperson

    I’m trying to refocus away from Greg and back onto the harassment. That’s, after all, the whole point of this post.

    You can’t have it both ways. You can’t write a post defending Greg Laden (I don’t mean defending him from the slimepit harassment — I mean defending his actions) and expect to refocus the discussion away from him.

  32. 32
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Well, judging the person might be uncalled for, but judging the action, not so much.
    What Greg Laden did on several occasions was wrong, the same way you, Jason, acknowledge that attacking your harsasser was wrong.
    But that doesn’t make Greg Laden fair game, even if he himself thinks that you can do things that make you fair game.

    Greg “can’t spell the title of his own book correctly” Laden.

    Osama Greg Laden

    That shit?
    We usually recognize it and stand up against it.
    There’s no reason not to do it because we might have several good reasons to dislike Greg Laden.
    If we don’t believe in “just desserts” then Greg deserves some support and sympathy for being targeted by the team misogyny.
    I’ve said so before that apparently Greg Laden is the one person everybody seems to hate and who can therefore be bullied and quotemined and lied about without anybody paying much attention and that is bad.
    He also deserves our criticism for acting like an asshole on other occasions and I sincerely hope that his friends try to get through to him.

  33. 33
    Stephanie Zvan

    In your analogy, Greg Laden then went on to rape people, and we’re being asked to excuse his raping.

    What the fuck? Do you completely not understand what an analogy is, or are you just that eager to jump up and down in judgment? No, that’s entirely not analogous.

    You can’t write a post defending Greg Laden (I don’t mean defending him from the slimepit harassment — I mean defending his actions) and expect to refocus the discussion away from him.

    Now you’re returning to the idea that Jason is defending Greg’s actions. This has already been covered by Jason in the comments. Can you make an argument here that doesn’t rely on starting the discussion over at the beginning?

  34. 34
    Jason Thibeault

    Justin, since I refuse to comment at your place in deference to the moderation rules that there are no effective ways around, you can feel free to link this comment.

    You’ve lied many, many times about what I wrote, about what I’m trying to accomplish, and what I’ve said about what you wrote. And your first recourse is to call my post “histrionics” and lies, though your clarifications basically show that my “lies” are the truth just not framed in a way you’d prefer; and your supporters’ ranks on your blog telling you to get off Free From Thought Blogs and to tell Ed to kick me and Stephanie out, those are almost entirely slimepitty, despite your saying you consider them generally terrible influences in the blogosphere (I paraphrase). I’d wager they actually don’t give a shit about you except to use you to further their agenda of destroying us. And yet they think I’m being tribalistic. I’d as soon they leave us all alone, or contribute without trolling. I’d as soon they leave off their harassment campaigns, their parody sites, and actually build something.

    I’d further wager that, since you’ve wholly given over to the “witch of the week” bullshit, you think any time someone has a disagreement with someone else they’re trying to drum them out of the movement. Given what you’ve done with Greg over what was a private fight, turning it into a very public and very acrimonious one, do you not see yourself as driving a witch hunt? Regardless of what you think of Greg, do you not see that the present witches are me and Stephanie, for being Friends With A Witch, not you?

  35. 35
    Jason Thibeault

    What Greg Laden did on several occasions was wrong, the same way you, Jason, acknowledge that attacking your harsasser was wrong.
    But that doesn’t make Greg Laden fair game, even if he himself thinks that you can do things that make you fair game.

    Quoted for the mother-fucking truth.

  36. 36
    Jason Thibeault

    Peter Ferguson @30: those are, of course, separate events. In the first case Salty Current brought up some past butt-hurts where he edited commenters’ comments “for teh lulz”, then came to find out that that’s a breach of internet etiquette and claims to have learned something about the mores that exist.

    There’s the further possibility that he might claim the same about this event, given that editing someone’s comment is not identical nor analogous to releasing someone’s old address.

  37. 37
    JAFO

    Laden and Griffith? I don’t waste my time reading either of them.

    Greg Laden is not a troll (or is not like most trolls, depending on your opinion). He doesn’t just want to be heard like most attention whores, he wants feedback. But it’s a waste of effort responding to his posts, the only thing you’ll do it make yourself look bad. If you disagree with him, you’re automatically wrong according to his ego.

    If you see any posts by him, ignore them, and if he responds to one of yours, politely tell him he wasn’t involved or invited in the conversation. Whether you’re trying to infuriate him deliberately or not trying at all, it will drive him up the wall more than arguing with him.

    Griffith? His attitude is “I can do no wrong” but that’s all he does, be wrong. He needs to learn when to shut up on some topics, or eventually no one will want to read him on ANY topic.

    And as for those commenting about Stephanie Zvan (or anyone else), I have advice: speak for yourself – not in the insulting “STFU” way that’s usually meant. I mean speak for yourself because that’s the only person whose life you really know about or have permission to talk about. If you want to know something about her, read her posts or email her. And if you do, you still don’t get to talk about her – tell others to read her posts, her words, if you want to make a point.

    This public dustup is getting pathetic and annoying. Those involved should take it behind closed doors and stop embarrassing the atheist community.

  38. 38
    stakkalee

    Greg Laden acted thoughtlessly and made a mistake (although how big of one is debatable;) he has a history of acting thoughtlessly and making mistakes. This post doesn’t try to justify his actions, it merely says that Jason understands why Greg acted the way he did, mistakes and all; I understand why, too. But no one is really talking about Mykeru, a known, serial harasser, who’s STILL AT IT EVEN NOW. Can we maybe spend a little more time talking about how big a harassing shitbag Mykeru actually is? Or are we just ignoring him because we’ve accepted he and his slyme-y cohort will continue to be harassing shitbags and there’s no recourse to make them stop?

  39. 39
    Jason Thibeault

    stakkalee: Nailed it.

  40. 40
    noelplum99

    Jason wrote:

    Justin, since I refuse to comment at your place in deference to the moderation rules that there are no effective ways around, you can feel free to link this comment.

    I feel your pain Jason, heavy-handed moderations is such a *non-gendered insult* isn’t it!

  41. 41
    noelplum99

    ….and wouldnt it be the ultimate irony if that comment remained in moderation, hehe!

  42. 42
    Jason Thibeault

    One of these days, Noel, you’ll try reading for comprehension. On that day there will be a parade.

  43. 43
    chasstewart

    I want the harassment to stop. How do we do that?

  44. 44
    justingriffith

    JAFO wrote:

    And as for those commenting about Stephanie Zvan (or anyone else), I have advice: speak for yourself – not in the insulting “STFU” way that’s usually meant. I mean speak for yourself because that’s the only person whose life you really know about or have permission to talk about. If you want to know something about her, read her posts or email her. And if you do, you still don’t get to talk about her – tell others to read her posts, her words, if you want to make a point.

    I sincerely hope you weren’t referring to me. That would be quite hipocritical. Zvan did not do this with me. Remember that in everybody’s eyes except hers I’m the victim of Laden’s REPEATED threats – recently even. So by your logic, she’s way out of line for discussing me. If you want an objective opinion, ask yourself why he no longer blogs here. Because your kidding yourself if you view it any other way.

    He’s harassed others who are not easily cast off as ‘slimer harassers’. Judging by my few interactions with Salty Current, and she is no big fan of mine, but her comment here at #3 is quite telling. She’s intensely disagreed with me in the past while being extremely calm and rational about it, and that’s what others are trying to do on this thread with LC and SZ. These two are attempting to saber rattle with deceptive accounts of the past, likely expecting a deluge of support. It is a non starter and everyone sees right through it. Except for a handful like JAFO or Stakkalee, who apparently just nailed it.

    They’re latched on to Laden like barnacles on a boat (even if the ship sinks, you know you can’t let go.)

  45. 45
    Jason Thibeault

    I sincerely hope that’s really you, Justin. If it’s not, let me know, and I’ll remove it.

    If it is, you’re still mischaracterizing the arguments, presumably on purpose. If I were more like you, I might just scream “lies lies lies lies” and wait for people to pile on based on that altered perception of reality.

  46. 46
    justingriffith

    Justin, since I refuse to comment at your place in deference to the moderation rules that there are no effective ways around, you can feel free to link this comment.

    Log out. Then log in with Facebook, like I have here. Or just type your name, and since you have the ‘one comment manually approved, then auto-approve’ enabled, it should be no trouble to you from then on out. I’ll let you handle the copypaste, though.

    Honestly (way off topic here), as a general practice, it’s wise to split the use of accounts with elevated privileges into accounts specifically set up only to perform those tasks. That’s the right answer, but I think you know IT (we both work in IT, FYI) and I wasn’t intending that to be condescending. It may be a mild hassle to have to use a different login to do the admin functions, it’s really the best practice for a variety of reasons I won’t insult you by explaining.

  47. 47
    Stephanie Zvan

    Zvan did not do this with me.

    Nope, ever since you’ve decided that the slime pit is a great place to hang out and try to reason with people, any interaction I have with you will be public. I did talk to you behind the scenes at one point. You were privy to all the discussions about the crap I and others have been put through. You decided to do something with that that means I will not ever trust you again.

    Remember that in everybody’s eyes except hers I’m the victim of Laden’s REPEATED threats – recently even.

    A bandwagon appeal and a link that doesn’t show the disagreement you claim. In one sentence. Go, you.

    So by your logic, she’s way out of line for discussing me.

    I put up a post about calling harassment and threats “harassment” and “threats” even when they happen to someone you don’t like. That is a general statement that applies to everyone. You were an extreme example. You can start doing that at any time and I will go back to ignoring you.

    And, dude, you went and whined about me on Shermer’s post, despite the fact that you were talking about things that happened on that off-limits backchannel and lying about them to boot and that what you were saying had nothing to do with Ophelia’s post that he was criticizing.

    If you want an objective opinion, ask yourself why he no longer blogs here.

    An objective opinion of…what? Me? Because that was your topic right up to that point. Also, this might not be the most convenient time for it, but do remember that you claimed to not want him removed from FtB.

  48. 48
    Nick Gotts

    >Stacy, when the topic is how Greg is being treated right now, yeah, jumping up to say, “Ew, never liked that guy” is indeed victim-blaming. It is particularly victim-blaming when it’s something that happened years ago and which Greg himself noted he learned something about internet mores from. But whatever, SC can just bring that up over and over and over again whenever anyone expresses sympathy with Greg, and Nick can confirm the story with missing details, so that everyone knows Greg should always be fair game. – Stephanie Zvan

    What dishonest bullshit. First, Jason himself discusses Laden’s behaviour as well as what was done to him. Second, I did not add any “missing details”, I just confirmed the honesty of SC’s account. Third, I stated explicitly that nothingLaden had done justified the harassment to which he had been subjected. If you had a good case, Stephanie, you wouldn’t find it necessary to lie.

  49. 49
    Stephanie Zvan

    No, Nick, you left out the same details SC did, about how Greg learned from what happened three years ago, which makes bringing it up again pointlessly nasty.

    Third, I stated explicitly that nothingLaden had done justified the harassment to which he had been subjected.

    Hmm, yeah. Addressed that in the next comment, so where’s that lie again?

  50. 50
    Nick Gotts

    Perhaps it will work better if I transpose this onto a different behavior, one we’re used to thinking about.

    “There is never any excuse for rape ever, but ugh, have you seen how she dresses? Let’s talk about that instead. There was this one outfit, years ago….” – Stephanie Zvan

    That is a bizarre and astoundingly offensive (to victims of rape) analogy. There is nothing wrong in a woman dressing however she pleases. There is most certainly something wrong in issuing threats, publicising what you (wrongly) believe to be someone’s address without their permission, and to a lesser degree, altering comments without attribution.

  51. 51
    Peter Ferguson

    Jasom @36. You say “old address” as if Greg knew it was his old address, he didn’t. He attempted to release the person’s current address, he simply failed. Then he continued to threaten to do the same to somebody else. And since he has done this on two previous occasions this is clearly the actions of a serial harasser and bully.

  52. 52
    Nick Gotts

    No, Nick, you left out the same details SC did, about how Greg learned from what happened three years ago, which makes bringing it up again pointlessly nasty. – Stephanie Zvan

    I see I misunderstood what you were accusing me of. I “left out” those details because I have never, since that unpleasant episode, read anything written by Laden, so I did not know he had made that claim: I responded to Jason’s comment@4, because it called SC’s account into question, and I know SC’s account to have been accurate. But in any case, Laden’s more recent behaviour indicates that he hasn’t learned from the episode at all, which makes it part of a pattern of unpleasant and foolish behaviour over several years.

  53. 53
    Stephanie Zvan

    There is most certainly something wrong in issuing threats, publicising what you (wrongly) believe to be someone’s address without their permission, and to a lesser degree, altering comments without attribution.

    Something that makes piling on when someone is being harassed and threatened okay? Because that’s the point of the analogy, whether you want to deal with it or not.

  54. 54
    Stephanie Zvan

    Also, let’s cut this “publicizing” crap out. Greg asked Mykeru whether it was his address directly on Twitter, something that will only be noticed by people following both of them. You can imagine how big that overlap is.

  55. 55
    Stephanie Zvan

    Actually, Nick, you went back to be nasty at Greg about it, at which point he clarified, but I guess that was just a hit-and-run smear?

    Laden’s more recent behaviour indicates that he hasn’t learned from the episode at all

    “Greg didn’t learn to do everything on the internet the way I want him to, so I’m going to keep beating on him when he’s being attacked by slimepitters.” Yeah, go on, good guy. Keep showing us how important it is to beat on Greg.

  56. 56
    stakkalee

    Chasstewart @43, the people doing the harassing could stop doing it; just a thought. I mean, it wouldn’t stop the Mabuses of the world, but if Mykeru and the other slymers could find a more productive use of their time a big part of this continuing dust-up would simply disappear. I mean, photoshopping peoples’ heads into pictures? Fake Twitter accounts? Seriously? In the event that Mykeru and his cohort really can’t think of anything better to do with themselves, I suppose it’s up to the people around them who want the harassment to stop to encourage them to, y’know, stop. That’s assuming, of course, that the people around them do want them to stop. I suppose another step would be for onlookers to correctly characterize the behavior as harassment instead of couching it in the language of “disagreement” and “argument.” Again, just a thought.

  57. 57
    Peter Ferguson

    Also, let’s cut this “publicizing” crap out. Greg asked Mykeru whether it was his address directly on Twitter, something that will only be noticed by people following both of them. You can imagine how big that overlap is.

    What an absolute nonsense excuse. The tweet is still there for anyone who decides to simply look at Greg’s twitter feed, ergo it is still in the public domain for anyone to see.

    And does releasing somebody’s address all of sudden become ok when it is released to only a certain few who “notice” it. No!

    Don’t forget he also threatened to release the home address of somebody else. So to say Greg has learned from his experience is bullshit. He is still doing it.

  58. 58
    Stephanie Zvan

    This is how you publicize something, Peter? You tweet it at someone with no overlap in followers and wait for people to stumble over it? How fucking hard is it to say Greg “posted” it? If it’s still bad, being accurate shouldn’t matter.

    And no, no matter what she claims, Greg never threatened to post Maria Maltseva’s address. Sometimes she will even admit as much before she goes back to claiming it.

  59. 59
    Peter Ferguson

    To publicise, to put out into the public domain which is what posting something on twitter does, just because it is only fed into a certain number of people’s twitter feeds does not make it any less public as anybody can see it if they so wish. So stop playing silly semantic games and trying to defend Greg’s actions because only a certain number of people actually might see it.

    And how “fucking hard” is it for you to admit Greg has not learned from the past? The evidence is there, he’s still doing it. And I’m not talking about Maria Maltseva. It was a threat he made this week.

  60. 60
    Nick Gotts

    Something that makes piling on when someone is being harassed and threatened okay?

    Something that makes questioning a one-sided account of a sequence of events or attribution of blame legitimate, certainly.

    Because that’s the point of the analogy, whether you want to deal with it or not.

    I know that’s the point you intended; it doesn’t make the analogy any less bizarre and offensive.

    Also, let’s cut this “publicizing” crap out. Greg asked Mykeru whether it was his address directly on Twitter, something that will only be noticed by people following both of them. You can imagine how big that overlap is.

    More dishonest bullshit: once you do something like that, others can easily spread it, can’t they? What was the point of that question, which necessarily involved posting the address?

    Actually, Nick, you went back to be nasty at Greg about it, at which point he clarified, but I guess that was just a hit-and-run smear?

    It’s true I’d forgotten that. IIRC, Laden’s post was being discussed on Pharyngula, and I dropped in on his blog for that single comment as a result. It’s not a “smear” to describe correctly what someone has done; and I don’t see any reason to credit Laden’s “clarification”: people caught out in misbehaviour typically come up with an excuse.

    “Greg didn’t learn to do everything on the internet the way I want him to, so I’m going to keep beating on him when he’s being attacked by slimepitters.” Yeah, go on, good guy. Keep showing us how important it is to beat on Greg.

    You present objections to posting threats and someone’s (believed) address as matters of taste: they are not. As has been said repeatedly, if we’re not willing to call out misbehaviour among atheist feminists, we give credence to the slimepitters’ charges, which is exactly what you, and to a lesser extent Jason, are doing.

  61. 61
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Stephanie:

    Also, let’s cut this “publicizing” crap out. Greg asked Mykeru whether it was his address directly on Twitter, something that will only be noticed by people following both of them. You can imagine how big that overlap is.

    I don’t understand why you’re bothering to defend this. Greg fucked up, and tends to fuck up in similar ways over and over. If you can look past it and still be friends with him, bully for you. It is clear that Greg’s been followed around and harassed for a long time, and I can understand the feelings behind his behavior even if I don’t agree with the specific behavior. That being said, he still fucked up. So did Justin, so did Mykeru, and we can weigh the relative harm that each is responsible for, but there’s no reason to try to justify any of it.

    I mean, if I say something wrong and terrible about you on my blog does it magically become less terrible or wrong of me because my blog only gets a few dozen hits a week? What about Twitter, because I only have 106 followers, and so I can go ahead and give out your home address? The fact that your defense is so very bad, and bad in a way that is out of character for you, should tell you something.

  62. 62
    Stephanie Zvan

    No, that’s not what “publicize” means, Peter. Perhaps you should look that up. Also, what threat are you vaguely waving around without providing back up?

    Nick, now you’re back to claiming Jason isn’t criticizing Greg. Has it not gotten through your head yet that if you can’t describe this accurately while you’re talking about it, maybe you’re too overwhelmed by emotion to be part of any rational conversation?

    Joe, I have been a pedantic ass over plenty of transgressions that people wanted to blow out of proportion when it was absolutely not required for their point. That includes both friends of mine and people I really don’t care for. I don’t see why I should stop now. It isn’t saying there is no transgression. It is calling for accuracy. Are accused people not entitled to that now? Or is it just Greg?

  63. 63
    Peter Ferguson

    Maybe you should look it up Stephanie. Publicise does mean to make something public, which Greg did. The word publicise is not limited by the potential audience. Look through Greg’s twitter feed, he threatens to dox Renee Hendricks.

    You say you are calling for accuracy. That is what I am doing, and I repeat my point because you seem to be avoiding it and continuing to get hung up on the word “publicise”: You stated he has learned his lesson, I’m claiming he has not and cited two very recent incidences showing how he hasn’t. So how about you either admit he hasn’t learnt his lesson or continue to assert he has despite the evidence.

  64. 64
    Peter Ferguson

    Here is the link to said threat: https://twitter.com/gregladen/status/282691241257340928

  65. 65
    Miri, Professional Fun-Ruiner

    Disagreement doesn’t mean judgment, though. I don’t KNOW how I’d react. I don’t know how YOU’D react. I can’t express much judgment for how anyone reacted to anything here, except perhaps for the harassment that led up to it all.

    This is so incredibly well-said, Jason. People are only human and those who overreact to threats and harassment deserve compassion even as we’re criticizing them. But those who disagree with someone’s ideology and choose to bully them for it are different. There’s no equivalence here.

  66. 66
    Jason Thibeault

    Did you try clicking on the link, Peter? Because it’s a LMGTFY.

  67. 67
  68. 68
    Peter Ferguson

    Yes I know there was a LMGTFY there, I didn’t even mention it and no Stephanie I did not say anywhere that that was doxing someone, your inability to read is baffling at times.

    The tweet was immediately after releasing Mykeru’s details so the threat is still there.

    I’m sick of having the semantic argument with you Staphanie because it is giving you a reason to avoid my point. Anyways, even if it was just “posted”, it is still not ok and it still shows he hasn’t learned his lesson. Unless the lesson was to narrow the amount of people he has released the information to.

  69. 69
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    As Stakkalee suggested, how about talking about how big a douchebag is a serial harasser like Mykeru, indeed. Funny thing is, I recently received his unwelcome attention (and some of his pals’ too) on Twitter for posting a link to one Stephanie Zvan’s articles and for defending Rebecca Watson against unfair criticism. And I’m not even a name in the atheist/skeptic movement! No, it’s just that apparently for them, anyone who says anything positive about certain people are fair game. I was not surprised much, after what happened before on that topic.

    What did hurt, though, was seeing a few people I knew, and even for some admire, joking along with the bullies, and then get in a huff when I posted out to them that they were having fun with the kind of creeps who create websites and Twitter accounts for the sole purpose of hounding someone off the internet. They didn’t seem to realize why I was dismayed by that!

    And this is where I think you, Justin, want to get some time to rethink your actions a bit. Yes, you were hurt that time by that email from Greg Laden, and now you are hurt again because Jason points out that you’re not the only victim here: so is Greg Laden.

    For the record, I’ll say here that I don’t agree with posting online someone’s address, as a general rule. And I don’t defend everything Greg says or does. But I like a lot of what he writes, especially the perspective he brings from his field of anthropology.

    I also understand painfully what it feels like to be the designated witch. I was that for most of my childhood and adolescence. I stood out as a child and a teen (being fat, wearing glasses from an early age, being shy and bookish, and not liking what other girls liked…) I saw so-called friends who didn’t actively engage in bullying, but who, when I was hurt, didn’t seem to notice but stayed around the playground bullies, having fun with them and laughing at *me* for being too thin-skinned or not getting the joke. I realize today that they were probably very insecure themselves, and didn’t dare stand out too for fear of becoming a target.

    At times, I think I tried everything against my tormentors: trying to ignore them (a non-starter, despite what my mom said); reporting to teachers (they didn’t care); getting violent myself and punching some of the agressors (my dad briefly supported me there, but the teachers just snapped into action *then* and punished me!); and even getting sneaky and writing an anonymous letter to one particular bully in the hope to frighten him (didn’t work either). I’m not proud of the last one, but I can’t bring my present self to condemn my childish desperation then. I was more or less alone against a crowd.

    But that’s neither here nor there. Right now, there are people who don’t just want Greg Laden to be more considerate or even to apologize to those he wronged, they want him to shut up and not be on the internet, by whatever means they can find. And that’s wrong.

    Justin, you may not realize it, but just a few posts up thread, you took Jason to task for defending Greg as a personal friend. And you may not realize that to people who’ve been the target of Mykeru and his like, seeing you make jokes with them about Greg makes you look… well, at best like someone who doesn’t care about others’ feelings, at worst like a pal of the harassers. I’m going to speculate wildly, but to me it looks like the so-called friends of my teen years, who needed reassurance so much that they’d even hang around creeps if that’s were the numbers and protective coloring are.

    I’m not even condemning you, if so. But it’s just that every one of your posts on that topic is sad and painful to read, and not only because of the memories they bring.

  70. 70
    Stephanie Zvan

    The tweet was immediately after releasing Mykeru’s details so the threat is still there.

    Or he’s mocking Renee, which plenty of other people do without becoming someone we pile on when they’re being harassed and threatened.

    Unless the lesson was to narrow the amount of people he has released the information to.

    In this case, the owner of the information, a Twitter chum of his, and Rebecca Watson, who had almost certainly already been sent a bundle of info on Michael Cortese when he targeted her. I received a bunch from several sources, and I’m much less high-profile than Rebecca. I already had that address, for example, plus a list of places from which Cortese had been kicked out for antisocial behavior.

    It does somehow sound a bit different than maliciously sharing the info with 3,000 followers, doesn’t it? It doesn’t make it right but, gosh, it gets so much less juicy when it’s said accurately. It allows room for humanity and sympathy.

    That would be why the accuracy is important.

  71. 71
    Peter Ferguson

    Or he’s mocking Renee, which plenty of other people do without becoming someone we pile on when they’re being harassed and threatened.

    Come on now! That is a threat clear as day, especially given the context. To mock somebody you have actual mock something about them, there is nothing like that there. Simply because he didn’t say it in an aggressive manner does not mean the threat was not there.

    In this case, the owner of the information, a Twitter chum of his, and Rebecca Watson

    It is not confined to those people, anybody who has access to the internet can view it. And like I said, was the lesson to reduce numbers or not to release people’s personal info? Because if it is the first then yes he has learned his lesson, but if it is the second, which we know it is, then he clearly hasn’t. And how many times do I have to try and bring the conversation back to this point which you seem to be avoiding. You admit what he has done wasn’t right, and coupled with the threat, how can you claim he has learnt his lesson?

  72. 72
    Jason Thibeault

    The threat to Google her name was not only clear as day, it was carried out by everyone who clicked the link, Peter.

  73. 73
    Peter Ferguson

    Jason it was threat with a thin veil of humor. There is nothing I can do to help you see past your bias to help you see that.

  74. 74
    eigenperson

    Improbable Joe #61:

    Mykeru did not “fuck up.” Mykeru intentionally and deliberately harassed Greg Laden and others.

  75. 75
    Stacy

    Wow. I just read this post by Justin Griffith: http://freethoughtblogs.com/rockbeyondbelief/2012/12/26/no-really-that-was-utterly-shameful-writing/

    Stephanie, you were right, and I was wrong.

    My thinking was this: Justin has PTSD, too, and Justin has suffered as a result of the Slime Wars, too. I commented on Lousy Canuck (the Sympathy for the Devil post,) that “Criticizing Greg’s behavior is not victim-blaming anymore than criticizing Justin’s is.”

    Oh, I’m sure that Justin has been through hell, and that this infighting is hard on him too. I don’t lack compassion for him. But his continued coziness with ‘pitters and his odd rejection of Jason’s post (which I found fair and reasonable to both sides) has got me doubting his good faith.

    And I understand what you and Jason have been saying about what Greg’s been through. That does NOT mean that he is above criticism, but piling on with criticism when he’s a target for idiots just muddies the waters.

    (Cross-posted on Almost Diamonds.)

  76. 76
    G Pierce (Was ~G~)

    I want to make sure I am clear on one point. Regarding any incidents that are being bought up here, has anyone shown that they have reflected on a particular behavior that was not their proudest moment, have learned from it and had the maturity to truly apologize and then not commit the same behavior again? I’m not being rhetorical. I want to know.

    To apologize for a specific incident is not the same as saying you are wrong about everything and it can be very difficult to do when you feel you are on the defensive. You don’t need to kiss ass or anything. I remember Justin Vacula saying that he did sort of say he was sorry for what he did, but he never issued a public apology directly to Surly Amy that I know of (would be happy to be corrected). Amy, however, did reflect on the situation and thought about how to change her point of view on something without retracting any of her condemnation of specific bullying against her. And she didn’t even do anything wrong, IMO. http://skepchick.org/2012/10/free-the-art/ I understand each situation is different, of course.

    I’m not going to say that everyone is equally wrong here, or that there isn’t greater context (clearly the pitters are the most wrong) but I will say that if Justin or Greg have clearly shown any signs of personal growth and introspection through their public words and long term changes in behavior amongst these conflicts I’d give a hats off to them and would like to know about it. If this post is about giving readers greater clarity and perspective, that is what would help me the most.

  77. 77
    ildi

    My two cents on how Greg’s behavior has changed since the campaign of harassment against him:

    I’m an infrequent commenter, mainly because by the time I think things through and compose my comment the train has left the station. However, in the years that I’ve commented on scienceblogs and here I’ve always used the same ‘nym which seems unique to me, and e-mail address which identifies me by name. This past August I made a comment on one of Greg’s posts (don’t remember the topic, just know that I was in disagreement, don’t think I was inflammatory mainly because that’s not my style) and without addressing me or my comment in the thread Greg e-mailed me asking me who I was and then later e-mailed me again saying never mind, I’ve found out. Creeped me the hell out. I still read his stuff, but you betcha I’m never going to comment there again.

  78. 78
    Peter Ferguson

    Yet, Zvan still insists he has learned his lesson.

  79. 79
    eucliwood

    Are we saying that Justin has abused this guy for years or what? I seriously doubt he would have lasted that long here. Or are we talking about any abuse Greg suffered in his life in general? Because associating everyone with everyone else only hurts YOU and it’s YOUR bad. Sort of like people who start that “it’s always something else” mentality and start counting just about anything negative in their day as another thing that’s happened. Every person who comes your way and causes you stress isn’t as guilty as the others or should be tied with everyone else.

    I need to know what this ‘abuse’ is, because I’ve seen criticism and memes (and I mean of things that really deserved it) be called abuse, even by parties that do it themselves, so I’m distrustful of that stuff until I know the details.

  80. 80
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    …when it’s something that happened years ago and which Greg himself noted he learned something about internet mores from.

    …No, Nick, you left out the same details SC did, about how Greg learned from what happened three years ago, which makes bringing it up again pointlessly nasty.

    First, it was not about internet mores. It was about basic decency. Second, if he learned anything significant from it I haven’t seen evidence of it. I haven’t seen a public apology to me (from you, either) or to Chas. Nor has he apologized to me (or, to the best of my knowledge, to Josh or Chas) privately. But I have to wonder if you actually read the thread you linked to to show Nick that he’d gone back once to “be nasty” to poor Greg. From Greg on that thread:

    “The comments on a blog are the bloggers property. They are the blogger’s slaves. The blogger can do whatever the blogger wants.

    …There are no bloggy rules about what a blogger does to comments. None.”

    He acts like a menacing thug online, and when people object he tends to become more belligerent. I don’t bring this history up very often, and I’d bring it up even less frequently if people like you and Jason would acknowledge it, and say something like, “Yes, Greg has a pattern of behaving very badly in the past,* irresponsibly flinging around false insinuations and changing a commenter’s ‘nym to his real-name email address in a fit of pique.* But that doesn’t mean he deserves to be harassed, or even to face the same treatment he dishes out. Nor does it mean he should be presumed guilty of everything he’s accused of [he wasn't guilty of what blu accused him of] or that his behavior in any given situation is unjustified.”**

    Instead, you and Jason seem to want to ignore his entire pattern of behavior and make apologies for him. It shouldn’t surprise you that people don’t want to be associated with him and don’t think he should have a major blogging platform for reasons having nothing to do with the more recent issues, and you should respect that and encourage him to make amends. (You might want to look back at the Henry Gee argument – which, incidentally, followed from Gee’s showing up out of the blue to attack, of all people, Richard Dawkins, for…appearing on Dr. Who. You did the same sort of uncritical defending there.)

    *This would be difficult for you, since you collaborated in some of it.

    **Even better if you could show some evidence of regret and a desire to change on his part.

  81. 81
    Argle Bargle

    Thanks, SC, for showing that Laden isn’t only a bully now but engaged in bullying behavior in the past. Whenever he feels threatened (ildi in #77 shows that mere disagreement with him is a threat) he reacts in inappropriate ways. He does not appear to have “learned his lesson”, instead he persists in being a bully.

  82. 82
    Nick Gotts

    Nick, now you’re back to claiming Jason isn’t criticizing Greg. – Stephanie Zvan

    No, I’m not, and never made such a claim – indeed I pointed out in my #48 that he does discuss Laden’s behaviour, so that’s yet more dishonesty from you. If you dispute this, quote me making that claim. I do think Jason is minimising Laden’s misbehaviour – but it’s you who appears to think Laden should not be criticised (by anyone who is not a personal friend, such as you and Jason) because he has himself been the victim of harassment (harassment which I condemned in my first comment). That is why I distinguished between you and Jason @60.

  83. 83
    Raging Bee

    I was wrong to attack that person. And yet, I was able to breathe easier afterward.

    I really, really, REALLY wish people would stop denigrating their own self-defense actions like this. If you were provoked by repeated actions of another person, and you had reason to believe you had no other recourse, then the attack you speak of WAS NOT WRONG. It may not have been fun or desirable, and it may not have been what you would have preferred to do, and maybe a fully-grown-up person would have had better options than you saw at the time; but it was not wrong, not for you in your situation at that time. Self-defense is not wrong. Ever. And constantly saying it is wrong, in the same breath as your admission that it helped you, is a form of self-denigration you don’t need.

    If there’s any wrong here, it was wrong for the bullies to put you in a situation where you felt forced to do what you did.

  1. 84
    No really, THAT was utterly shameful writing. » Rock Beyond Belief

    [...] Canuck has another post with extreme histrionics. It’s so weird because I really liked the beginning. He was [...]

  2. 85
    Putting the “Post” in PTSD » Almost Diamonds

    [...] receiving a good bit of criticism elsewhere for saying that it’s an asshole move to focus on and pile on someone who is being harassed [...]

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