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Sep 22 2013

You are free to choose how to use the internet

I’d like remind everyone that you are free to curate your internet experience however you please. When your internet experience starts to suck because people are trying to make your life miserable, you are free to deal with that as you see fit.

You are free to withdraw from a space. You are free to ban and block. You are free to call on friends for help. You are free to dig in and argue with every entitled douchebag who comes along trying to win a war of attrition in order to force you out of that space. You are free to be pseudonymous; you are free to use your real name. You are free to publicly disagree with them, even via a blog post if you so choose; or you can privately disagree with them amongst a small tight-knit circle of friends and allies. You can use any number of block-list services like Akismet, RBL, the A+ Block Bot, or even a whitelist-only setup like making your Twitter account Private. You can engage with everyone who thinks the internet is a debate club, or you can ignore those people, or you can block them.

And be damned anyone who says that this is “fascist”.

These people who compare the internet equivalent of screening your phone calls with Nazi Germany are the ones who are in the wrong, and you can even choose to ignore THEM if you so choose, despite their howls of protestation. They are the ones trying to impose upon you the necessity to treat the internet as a debate club, and they are trying to impose upon your time to educate them specifically why their views are incorrect or bigoted or morally risible or utterly laughable.

We human beings only have so much in the metaphorical gas tank to handle only so many interactions and our level of freedom of association unequivocally guarantees that we get to choose which ones we want to have. We may not WANT to have every interaction that we have, but at that moment when we encounter such interactions we get to choose how we react. We get to curate our experience as we please. The internet is an extension of meatspace — it is not its own reality, but it is a subset of reality, populated by real human beings and these human beings’ creations — even including the scripts and forumssome people use to unfairly amplify their voice by spamming or stuffing ballot boxes. And we get to choose how to interact with these other human beings.

What we DON’T get to do is tell others what amounts of bullshit they do or do not trade in order to use a particular service. What we DON’T get to do is levy a penalty for existing in a certain state, or for having certain opinions. Even people who have the most odious opinions in the world get to block people as they see fit. Even the most terrible misogynist, racist, religious ideologue gets to choose whether or not they continue to engage with a particular person.

People complaining about a real-time block list of any sort because it happens to block THEM at some level, well, they think they’re entitled to everyone’s ear. They think they get to say whatever they want to whomever they want and you’re not allowed to stop them. Spammers have that sort of psychology — how dare you preemptively block their very important information about their Louis Vuitton knock-offs? What kind of Stalinesque dictator are you, for disallowing preemptively people screaming about “niggerjewcunts”? Are you on the payroll of Big Science, blocking them from promoting their blog post where they crack the Nostradamus code using a Bible cypher, and use it to prove that time is a hypercube?

The next time someone attacks you for trying to shield yourselves from attack, block them. Or argue with them. Or tell them to go fuck themselves. Or ignore them. Do exactly what you personally deem the most healthy for you. Never take on projects that you know will require more resources than you have available. If you’ve been around a while, you may have enough resources to take on a particularly protracted fight. Or you may have had those resources eroded from years of protracted harassment.

Just remember that what actions you take — for or against particular ideas — have consequences. Every action or inaction has political implications, down to the most seemingly inconsequential. You might, by any particular action — even as innocuous as a single tweet about something you did or enjoyed or something totally otherwise innocuous — prod a hornet’s nest of angry entitled douchebags. Or you might piss off people you thought you were allies with, or you might find out you’re ACTUALLY IN THE WRONG. You might overrun someone else’s resource reserves, and they might as a result disengage with you. They may even want to make that disengagement permanent, and enforce it using the tools available to them by whatever social media service you’re using.

You might find yourself sued for libel, and that libel suit, rarely though it happens, might even be more than a simple SLAPP suit designed to overrun your resources and force you to disengage. Rarer still, such a suit might even be entirely valid! Or it might just be a call to arms to thousands of like-minded folks to try to overrun your resources, though the tell for that sort of situation is that the person simply won’t shut up about this supposed libel suit in public despite a lawyer’s explicit orders. Or it’s an attempt at destroying the credibility of the person making the accusations. You might even be the one reacting to someone else’s actions this way!

Or you might be the one finding yourself blocked from someone else’s site or social media network. Or you might find yourself the target of angry stalkers who demand that you must never block or ban them from your spaces, and you must absolutely engage them in debate on their terms and on their time. You might find yourself on the receiving end of demands for your attention from perfect strangers, or an army of sockpuppets from a single person trying to steal the mantle and megaphone of the Vox Populi.

And still, despite their demands, you’re free to curate that experience how you please. You can ban, block, withdraw, ignore, engage, or abstain entirely. You want different rules in a space, and can’t convince the owner of that space to agree because they’re curating their own space differently, then you can create your own damned space. And you enforce your rules in that space however you damn well please.

Welcome to the internet. That’s how this shit works.

91 comments

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  1. 1
    RainbowSlushie^.^

    I just use 10k Aliases over past 15 years; the very second people start seriously bullying me, I just change my name over and over. It’s really confusing to people, and it works like a charm sometimes =)

    I remember playing this one online game where I changed my name 15 times in one day, it was great; people were so confused; they couldn’t tell if it was me or someone impersonating me. Typically I’d get bullied pretty badly if I used a name for more than like 3-4 days, so I learned to alias very well online.

    It really saved me a ton of trouble, and if people banned me for the aliases (which happened occassionally) I’d just go somewhere else and never come back (why would I?). I love aliases, disinformation, misinformation about me, and even excessively doxxing myself under like 50-100+ names to confuse the bejesus out of people. Why not? If people are going to be bullies they’ll never be quite sure if it’s me or someone impersonating me. I remember this one online game I played like 14 years ago for a period of a year and a half, and I went through 1.5k aliases, and that was the LOW end of things. Every other game those days was a new alias, sometimes change name in the middle of the game. If people accused me of aliasing I just asked that they banned me because I really didn’t care to just continue to be subjected to bullying by bigots.

  2. 2
    Al Dente

    RainbowSlushie @1

    By “bullying” do you mean “rebutting your comments using facts and logic”?

  3. 3
    RainbowSlushie^.^

    RainbowSlushie @1

    By “bullying” do you mean “rebutting your comments using facts and logic”?

    I think you should stop gaslighting me and following me around. That’s the behavior of a sociopath.

  4. 4
    cotton

    Hear hear! It blows my mind how many people confuse their right to speak with the right to be listened to. One is freedom, the other the definition of tyranny.

  5. 5
    SallyStrange

    Guess it’s time to change your alias again then, eh Rainbow?

  6. 6
    RainbowSlushie^.^

    Guess it’s time to change your alias again then, eh Rainbow?

    Or you’re just an asshole, that’s the easier one.

  7. 7
    RainbowSlushie^.^

    Inb4 how I’m “oppressing people” by changing aliases frequently to avoid bullying and staying away from places I’m not wanted after being banned or run off.

  8. 8
    Nokkelanimimerkki

    Well, while you’re at it I can share the best way to use the internet. Join a movement, get like-minded people’s attention, pretend you’re making something to support the movement’s cause, make a Kickstarter project to get funding, pick $159k, do almost jack all but use other people’s IP (Let’s play, wikipedia) and profit.

  9. 9
    Ophelia Benson

    Rainbow S, changing names repeatedly is also known as sockpuppeting, and many people ban sock puppets on sight. I’ve seen you repeatedly changing names at my place, and it’s a problem.

  10. 10
    RainbowSlushie^.^

    Rainbow S, changing names repeatedly is also known as sockpuppeting, and many people ban sock puppets on sight. I’ve seen you repeatedly changing names at my place, and it’s a problem.

    No, it’s actually known as aliasing, there’s a difference. You should look it up sometime. If I was sockpuppeting why am I clear about who I am and why do I use distinct smilies everyone can recognize and why do I repeatedly dox myself, linking to personal documents? I encourage you to ban me if you have a problem with it. In fact, I highly recommend you ban me.

  11. 11
    kacyray

    You are free to ban and block.

    Yep. You are absolutely right. Indiscriminately and without explanation, even.

    You are free to create a zone all your own. You are free to ban and block all those who hurt your feelings with their well-reasoned points. You are free to put your fingers in your virtual ears, cover you virtual eyes, and virtually say “La la la I can’t hear you!!!” when they begin pointing out your inconsistencies. You’re free to convince yourself that those who disagree with you on one point must therefore support everything you stand against. You are free to create a tribal space and act as the tribe master while pretending to be an advocate of skepticism and critical thought. You are free to be dishonest. You are free to distort people’s positions and make sure they cannot respond – at least not on the very platform where the distortion was created.

    You are free to ensure that only those who fall straight in line with your particular point of view are heard on your platform, and that any dissent is immediately silenced. You are free to lump all dissenters into a single group and presume that they are all of a single mind. You are free to all these things…

    … but you are not free to escape the implications of such cowardly behavior. You are not free to behave like a coward without actually being one.

    But the good news is, you’re also free to psychologically evade the implications of your behavior! And the more careful you are to make sure that only the voices of those on your side ever reach your attention, the less likely you are to ever have to come to grips with what you’ve become.

    No one can stop you. So enjoy the freedoms you have, everyone!

  12. 12
    RainbowSlushie^.^

    Also, if I’m allegedly sockpuppeting, in addition to excessively doxx’ing myself every other post, why do I continue to use the same link to my blog in every Alias I come up with? If I’m socking, none of those things should be occuring.

    I’ll give people here a hint, but it has something to do with people being assholes and then acting like I’m ‘oppressing them’ when they ban me and I leave and never come back. If people here want to repeat the pattern, they’re more than welcome to do so.

  13. 13
    Jason Thibeault

    “Aliasing” is only distinct from sockpuppeting if you keep some part of the name to establish continuity. As it stands with you, people have to a) guess by speech patterns and b) confirm by looking at the comment URL by hovering over your name to see your links to your blog, which stays the same no matter what apparently. So you DO actually want some continuity. You just like throwing up chaff to break discourse.

    And that’s fine, too, like my post says, except there are specific consequences that come from that. First, you’ll never establish yourself as a voice worth trusting. Second, you’ll always hit my first-post moderation wall because you’re morphing enough to get caught as a “new” entity. Third, you’re giving people the mistaken impression that your opinion is coming from more than one person, which falsely bolsters your opinion’s popularity. That’s abusive of general discourse, and frowned upon in lots of places. It may get you curated out of that place, even.

    Something that might also get you curated from a place is having a fixation and shitting up unrelated posts about that fixation incessantly. Nokkelanimimerkki really really wants everyone to know that he dislikes Anita Sarkeesian, and thinks that the people who gave her money were shafted and that she didn’t REALLY buy or play any of those games, and that their Kickstarter money was wasted. Never mind that she’s delivered on all her promises so far, and has expanded the scope of her project far beyond what she’d originally asked for.

    If I curate you from this blog, Nokkelanimimerkki, rest assured your opinions will continue to exist and people will continue to bring them to us. Maybe even in an appropriate context!

  14. 14
    RainbowSlushie^.^

    “Aliasing” is only distinct from sockpuppeting if you keep some part of the name to establish continuity. As it stands with you, people have to a) guess by speech patterns and b) confirm by looking at the comment URL by hovering over your name to see your links to your blog, which stays the same no matter what apparently. So you DO actually want some continuity. You just like throwing up chaff to break discourse.

    Um, it’s not that I do want continuity, it’s kind of that doxxing myself every other post: http://imgur.com/a/54IaN#0

    Using very distinct smilles and language that are heavily unique, and putting a link to the same blog every time over my name, is pretty easily indicative of who I am to anyone who wants to take the smallest effort to verify it. I don’t do this to confuse people for no reason: I do it to provide cover and confusion to avoid bullying. What you’re describing has nothing to do with why I alias or have aliased, online, many times now.

    Like I said, I really, badly, do not care if you or everyone on this board bans me, in the slightest.

    Also, as far as trusting people, the minute someone bullies me, I don’t care if they trust me, because I sure as hell am not going to trust them.

  15. 15
    Isaac

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sockpuppet_(Internet)

    Rainbow Slushie, you are sockpuppeting, despite your claims otherwise. Your actions fall into the definition of it. What you claim to be “aliasing” doesn’t really have any nontrivial differences than sockpuppeting.

  16. 16
    RainbowSlushie^.^

    Rainbow Slushie, you are sockpuppeting, despite your claims otherwise. Your actions fall into the definition of it. What you claim to be “aliasing” doesn’t really have any nontrivial differences than sockpuppeting.

    Actually it does, huge differences as I just explained. Should you care to use logic and reason at any point in time, you’re more than welcome to engage the previous posts I’ve made explaining why it’s an alias.

  17. 17
    Isaac

    RainbowSlushie, Jason’s post at #13 covers pretty much what I would have said, but there is one thing that I would like to. Only the site moderator can tell if your different pseudonyms belong to the same person. The rest of the users cannot, and having the same blog url doesn’t really do much to help your cause.

  18. 18
    RainbowSlushie^.^

    The rest of the users cannot, and having the same blog url doesn’t really do much to help your cause.

    \

    There is no cause, you’re just an asshole, you and others here; I’ve already explained in plain english why this isn’t only not sockpuppeting, it’s not even remotely socking. If I’m banned don’t forget the part where I “oppress” you, by not coming back ever again.

  19. 19
    Marcus Ranum

    Is there someplace I can go pay for such hysterical performances? Because this thread is art!

  20. 20
    Isaac

    This will be my last post, as I have homework to do.

    When I say “your cause,” it’s really just shorthand to “the claim that you are making.” Sorry if that was unclear. The claim that you are making is that you are not sockpuppeting.

    Your actions cause all of the same problems and confusion that sockpuppeting does. That’s the problem. You are intentionally spreading disinformation through obscuring your identity. That’s the problem. The fact that you use the same blog url on all of your many pseudonyms is really a minor (read: negligible) thing. You are sockpuppeting.

    In the spirit of the original blog, you are perfectly free to continue behaving as your please. You are free to claim that sockpuppeting is really aliasing over a trivial difference, just like pedophiles/MRA’s are free to claim that they are really “ephebophiles” or whatever. And just like you are free to do those things, people are free to criticize your actions and your opinions. Freedom of speech != freedom from criticism.

    There is no cause, you’re just an asshole, you and others here

    The person who happily spreads disinformation and intentionally causes confusion on message boards is calling the people who want consistency assholes? Oh please.

  21. 21
    RainbowSlushie^.^

    Your actions cause all of the same problems and confusion that sockpuppeting does. That’s the problem. You are intentionally spreading disinformation through obscuring your identity. That’s the problem. The fact that you use the same blog url on all of your many pseudonyms is really a minor (read: negligible) thing. You are sockpuppeting.

    Um, actually no it’s not, for the major reasons I just explained, but you’re free to keep asserting that it’s still magically something it’s not only not, but not even remotely socking.

    Continue the bullying, this is enjoyable.

    Let me ask you a question, I posted in this thread in /r/socialism under the name “AlicetheWytch” and was bullied under that name, as you can plainly see, by the transphobes there in that thread, extensively.

    Was changing my name “oppressing” them? Am I missing something here? Was I ‘bullying’ them by changing my name after they bullied me?

    http://www.reddit.com/r/socialism/comments/1kxtv5/faces_of_transphobia_the_chelsea_manning/

    As you can clearly see, I was harassed and bullied by transphobic bigots. Was I “bullying” or “oppressing” them by changing my name several times in that sub, and then and refusing to go into /r/socialism altogether after that topic?

  22. 22
    RainbowSlushie^.^

    http://www.reddit.com/r/socialism/comments/1kxtv5/faces_of_transphobia_the_chelsea_manning/

    Omfg, my name in that thread was AlicetheWytch and I was bullied extensively by tranphobic bigots, for hours on end, as is obvious to anyone who goes in it. But I changed my name in other related sub-reddits and kept posting, I was so deceptive!! I was oppressing the people bullying me by sockpuppeting!!

    You people are a fucking joke, please ban me. Now. I demand it.

  23. 23
    Jason Thibeault

    I don’t get it… you’re an atheist, right? Why exactly did you just preemptively climb up onto a cross just because people are suggesting that maybe, MAYBE, nick-shifting in a way that is not readily apparent might actually screw up a conversation? Why did you decide we’re all just as bad as bigots and transphobes because we’ve suggested that there are actual consequences for acting the way you do? Who here said anything about your trans status?

    Just because you’re free to nick shift whenever you want, doesn’t mean it has no repercussions. You have your own identity that not everyone can see as a contiguous pattern of identity, causing all the problems of sockpuppeting without any of the intent. Whatever you want to call it, it’s disruptive to conversation generally, and absolutely could get you curated from the space.

    Aliasing is something completely different from what you describe, honestly, and you can see it in practice at Pharyngula, with people adding subtitles to their nicknames such that regulars can fairly easily identify the person. At absolute best, you’re straddling the line between aliasing and sockpuppeting. At worst, you’re sockpuppeting. Sorry if that makes you think you need to climb up on a cross.

  24. 24
    RainbowSlushie^.^

    Editor: [snip copypasta of @22 in full]

  25. 25
    RainbowSlushie^.^

    Let me ask you a question, I posted in this thread in /r/socialism under the name “AlicetheWytch” and was bullied under that name, as you can plainly see, by the transphobes there in that thread, extensively.

    Was changing my name “oppressing” them? Am I missing something here? Was I ‘bullying’ them by changing my name after they bullied me?

    http://www.reddit.com/r/socialism/comments/1kxtv5/faces_of_transphobia_the_chelsea_manning/

    As you can clearly see, I was harassed and bullied by transphobic bigots. Was I “bullying” or “oppressing” them by changing my name several times in that sub, and then and refusing to go into /r/socialism altogether after that topic

    Pictures taken for reference in the future.

  26. 26
    tigtog

    RainbowSlushie^.^ also appears to be bringing an argument that happened in another space to this thread, because the first person to use the words “bully” or “oppress” in this thread was RainbowSlushie^.^

    Jason didn’t use either word in the OP. One person challenged RainbowSlushie^.^’s usage of the word “bully”, nobody else has accused RainbowSlushie^.^ of being a bully or oppressing anybody by nymshifting.

    So, RainbowSlushie^.^ has derailed this thread and made it all about RainbowSlushie^.^ i.e. disrupted the discourse. All while maintaining a consistent nym on this thread. Looks like it’s not just the nymshifting that’s a problem with RainbowSlushie^.^’s style of “engagement” on the internet. I definitely tend to curate people who come through the gate in combative mode out of my surroundings, online and off.

  27. 27
    RainbowSlushie^.^

    Editor: [snip copypasta of @26 in full]

    Ok, so I actually was accused of being a bully and oppressing people by Aliasing, repeatedly, by several people here. I will avoid this board from now on.

    Editor: [snip copypasta of @22 in full]

    Editor: [snip copypasta of @25 in full]

  28. 28
    Jason Thibeault

    I will avoid this board from now on.

    If that makes your internet experience better, yes, do that.

  29. 29
    RainbowSlushie^.^

    Final post for the rest of my life for Slymepit or FTB-and I already got banned on Slymepit months ago, on my first post, for posting a genocidal matriarchial rant. I got banned from Slymepit for posting under the name Marianne, a genocidal rant called Red Queen that was actually mostly serious. /waves to Slymepit and FTB, don’t worry, the door won’t hit me on the way out, I know you don’t care, no need to emphasize it; it’s already been done plenty enough in this thread.

    Goodbye assholes. I’ll make extra sure to “Oppress” you all by never coming here again and not even thinking about this board on top of it, every chance I can get to dissociate it. I know you’re the victim of my sockpuppeting even though it’s actually not sockpuppeting and is aliasing used to avoid bullies, so I’ll make sure to oppress you jokes further by creating a new alias that has nothing to do with this one the next place I go, ok?

    Editor: [snip copypasta of @22 in full]

    Editor: [snip copypasta of @25 in full]

  30. 30
    Jason Thibeault

    Well that escalated quickly.

  31. 31
    Enkidum

    What is this I don’t even

  32. 32
    oolon

    Wasn’t Eucliwood the only person to be banned at the pit? This thread is sufficiently surreal to believe this is a new incarnation…

  33. 33
    Nokkelanimimerkki

    “You might find yourself sued for libel, and that libel suit, rarely though it happens, might even be more than a simple SLAPP suit designed to overrun your resources and force you to disengage. Rarer still, such a suit might even be entirely valid! Or it might just be a call to arms to thousands of like-minded folks to try to overrun your resources, though the tell for that sort of situation is that the person simply won’t shut up about this supposed libel suit in public despite a lawyer’s explicit orders. Or it’s an attempt at destroying the credibility of the person making the accusations. You might even be the one reacting to someone else’s actions this way!”

    Subtle way to try change opinions on a matter of liability of an accusation. Go yellow press, you’re free to accuse anybody about anything over the interweb and remember, if you make an accusation, be sure to accuse the target of your accusation again for destroying your credibility, if one dares to CHALLENGE you. =)

  34. 34
    Jason Thibeault

    Oolon: no, I have fairly good reason to believe RainbowSlushie (and all her other nyms) is not Eucliwood. Eucliwood is at least so kind as to include “Eu” in all her morphs.

  35. 35
    Jason Thibeault

    Nokkelanimimerkki: Well at least you’re on topic now.

    I didn’t say a damn thing about whether or not you’re liable for libel. However, I can think of at least one time when the skeptical community thought SLAPP suits were anathema to discourse on the internet: Simon Singh.

  36. 36
    tigtog

    I find RainbowSlushie’s cut-n-paste of the same comments over and over again, forcing others to page down past redundant content, to be a fine example of passive-agressive disruptive tactics. Such redundant content is snipworthy, IMO.

  37. 37
    Jason Thibeault

    Absolutely agreed, and I already planned on doing exactly that, though I was waiting til I was back on my laptop and had a full interface to do so.

    In other words, now that I’m home, I should stop procrastinating and get on that.

  38. 38
    tigtog

    Apologies for the redundant egg-sucking lesson, Jason :)

  39. 39
    Jason Thibeault

    Nah. Until I do a thing, you can’t know I planned on it. I appreciate the suggestions, as you’re part of my actual audience. If I disagree with any, I’ll let you know. :)

  40. 40
    Nokkelanimimerkki

    “Nokkelanimimerkki: Well at least you’re on topic now.”

    My first reply was a pun intended. I don’t know if you ever got a message for my reply on another blog topic concerning Anita Sarkeesian and I thought you have soderated it. (Commented 29th August)

    “I didn’t say a damn thing about whether or not you’re liable for libel. However, I can think of at least one time when the skeptical community thought SLAPP suits were anathema to discourse on the internet: Simon Singh.”

    I admit. my bad. I should have googled SLAPP. I thought you misspelled slap with caps. Well, I’m European so US/CAN acronyms are a “bit” unknown to me and I’m used to read texts where you open the acronyms whenever you use them for the first time (in parenthesis).

    I was referring to another FTB-blogger’s post that has helped to stir up a rift in the atheist community. The rift isn’t caused just by one [of his] post, but many posts from FTB-community. The whole thing is complex and I’m trying to understand both sides (mine and yours).

  41. 41
    Jason Thibeault

    Yes, I am aware that people distrust PZ even prior to his “hand grenade” post, and therefore are willing to damn the entirety of Freethought Blogs and all thirty blogs hosted here based on PZ being our pope or some such nonsense. I am further aware that libel suits happen regardless of the actual truth value of the claim in question, as I point out with Simon Singh. If you aren’t sure where you stand, you may want to leave it to the courts to decide. In fact, you may want to leave it to the courts to decide entirely. They almost certainly will rule differently than you or I would.

  42. 42
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Well written, Jason. This particular whine from the creeps desperate to find anything they can paint as negative and bleat about it is especially laughable. Sadly, it has revealed a significant intellectual vacuity within the atheist community.

  43. 43
    Delft

    I’m still surprised at how much some people are complaining about the blockbot. Do they really have nothing better to do than argue with people who don’t want to interact with them? Do they run after people on the street who are walking away from them?

    As for curating one’s internet experience, I’d like mine to be free of threats, personal insults, and the like and this depends on either everyone behaving half-way decently to start with or a moderator putting in a lot of work to protect the space from those who don’t. This is in part due to the idea that it doesn’t matter how you behave on the internet because it’s not “real life” – I hope we can move away from that. Your online behaviour is as much a part of you as what you do offline.

  44. 44
    Nokkelanimimerkki

    “If you aren’t sure where you stand, you may want to leave it to the courts to decide.”

    My initial position is Michael Shermer is innocent. That is why I would have left it to the legal system to decide whether a person is not guilty or guilty, in that order. I don’t say anything more about that matter, because I’m not a judgmental person by nature.

    Also I don’t think PZ is your pope, but also I think that some of your bloggers and registered users are a bit too much of a movement person and rely only to rhetorics rather than real evidence. Just see the replies my posts have gotten. I was called science only know what, but I decided not to react to such baits. I know I wasn’t anything the ill words described me as.

    You for example made a whole [long] post about thunderf00t being a sociopath (a “subset” of narcissist personality disorder) without realizing that if your claim is true you would become the narcissist’s source. They don’t care where the attention is coming from or whether it is positive or negative. Of course they like the positive attention more, but… That said, yes, in my opinion TF has some qualities I see as DSM-IV-TR symptoms and that’s only my opinion because I’m not a professional on that area. I have to admit I like his logical view on many [other] subjects anyway.

    To me both sides should get sales rep to teach them how to sell their cause and whatnot on a public relations course. =)

    Just my 0.02€.

  45. 45
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Huh. Well that all went five flavors of sideways right quick.

    I even thought that Rainbow Slushie started off in what could have been a reasonable manner, but quickly degenerated in response to the responses they got.

    However, since I’ve seen this come up in a variety of instances, ranging from fairly serious to minor in nature, I would like to point out that the term sock-puppeting has been frequently used incorrectly. Not to say that the behavior being labeled as sock-puppeting is not a bad behavior in any particular case, or that it isn’t problematic, but simply that it it is being called by a wrong name. It is a distinction with a difference. What Slushie describes is more like morphing, but it lacks the necessary intent of changing nyms to avoid a ban. (At least as described. Whether this person is morphing to avoid a ban would likely be known to blog operators.) What Slushie originally describes sounds more to me like an effort to make oneself safe on the internet that has become perhaps a bit too habitual and extends beyond practical use. Certainly it can be a potentially suspicious annoyance for blog owners and the blog community concerned about their own safe spaces.

  46. 46
    Randomfactor

    I’m still surprised at how much some people are complaining about the blockbot.

    The correct response to being added to the blockbot is “Eh…their loss.” And then go do something somewhere else.

  47. 47
    Rob

    I will avoid this board from now on.

    Well, that would certainly improve my internet experience :-)

    Went from funny to surreal to boring far too quickly.

  48. 48
    thetalkingstove

    You for example made a whole [long] post about thunderf00t being a sociopath (a “subset” of narcissist personality disorder) without realizing that if your claim is true you would become the narcissist’s source.

    That was Richard Carrier, unless this blog had something similar.

  49. 49
    thetalkingstove

    I’m not a judgmental person by nature.

    Also, how nice that you have that luxury.

  50. 50
    Nokkelanimimerkki

    “That was Richard Carrier, unless this blog had something similar.”

    Thank you very much for correcting me. It’s always nice there are people on the internet taking care nobody is wrong.

    “Also, how nice that you have that luxury.”

    Why drink and drive when you can puff the magic dragon and fly? Peace, mate.

  51. 51
    janiceclanfield

    Wow. My head hurts now.

    Maybe I’ll sue FTB.

    That’ll show ‘em.

  52. 52
    duce7999

    Here is how I see it. My attention is limited. It requires time and I only have so much of it. If someone presents something that I feel would undervalue that time, then it doesn’t make much sense for me to pay attention to it. A good example would be some “birther” spamming my Facebook wall with birther “evidence”. This is something that deserves none of my time. I won’t consider it irrespective of how politely it may be presented. I won’t argue with them. I won’t try to help them. I will say goodbye and adjust whatever I can to prevent that from happening in the future.

    Could I engage this person? Sure. Do I want to? Fuck no. It isn’t that I feel I wouldn’t be able to help them, but the resources requisite in getting them to come around compete with other activities. There is an opportunity cost to this engagement. In the same time that it would take for me to engage an Alex Jones acolyte, how many other people that are on the fence could I instead interact with? Wasn’t that precisely why the God Delusion was successful? I believe that Dawkins addressed it specifically to fence-sitters.

    This doesn’t mean “only take on easy arguments” it means prioritize your interactions with those you judge as capable of doing so in good faith. Or, tell me to go fuck myself. I assure you that it won’t bother me in any way.

  53. 53
    duce7999

    This…

    You don’t want to be a close minded jerk just because you have strong beliefs or worldview. And you also don’t want to reduce your ideological enemies to caricatures…[But] you hit some point where you’re just staring into some moral abomination that doesn’t allow you to feel particularly charitable or open minded.” – Chris Hayes on Bill Maher

    http://www.hbo.com/real-time-with-bill-maher/episodes/0/294-episode/video/294-september-20-overtime.html?autoplay=true

  54. 54
    smhll

    You are free to ensure that only those who fall straight in line with your particular point of view are heard on your platform, and that any dissent is immediately silenced.

    Kacyray, your post has so many word and syllables in it that it does not meet the definitions of “silence” or “silenced”.

  55. 55
    left0ver1under

    smhll (#54) –

    Kacyray, your post has so many word and syllables in it that it does not meet the definitions of “silence” or “silenced”.

    Kacyray does have a valid point. Just as readers can choose not to read things they disagree with, bloggers and other writers can choose not to post if they don’t want to hear disagreement or criticism. The same rule applies to both sides.

    If someone in “meat space” says something controversial and unsolicited (in public or on private property) the speaker can’t act surprised if other disagree. Sure, those who disagree can leave (or be told to leave private property or a private website if they don’t like it) but that doesn’t make the controversial statements true. Just as there are trolls, there are petty people who want to live in echo chambers and have only sycophants posting comments.

    Take, for example, Lou Dobbs lies on Fox Nuisance back in 2007, claiming non-white immigrants were bringing leprosy into the US. Do people have to watch his show or that channel and listen to that garbage? No, viewers can turn it off, and Fox Nuisance can ignore and delete comments from people who try to state facts. Dobbs and others are naive to think that nobody will try to refute their lies, especially when statements like that are deliberate attempts to incite intolerance and violence.

  56. 56
    Jason Thibeault

    Right, I know kacyray was aiming that polemic at me, but it absolutely DOES apply if you actually start silencing criticism — people may think you’re a coward if you use the internet as a one-way communications method, where you only output your own opinion and never accept others’ rebuttals. However, that’s still a valid way to use the technology. And a lot of those rebuttals aren’t going to be worthy of your time, and you’re ultimately the only steward for what time you spend on what things you want to do.

    If you want to ban and block the people who call you a coward, that’s fine too. Trolling the internet like so many people do, in the non-traditional sense of treating it like a debate club where every opinion must be challenged individually and in the same space (e.g. that every site must play by YOUR rules) is the real “fascism” creeping here. If you think someone else’s site must host your rants, you’re wrong. You’re free to make your own site. You can host your rants there. I thought that was absolutely implicit in what I said in the original post, but I’m happy to make it explicit down here.

    Nobody is obligated to host your attacks on them personally, kacyray. I allowed those attacks here because you helped prove some of my other points. I am in fact extremely lenient with allowing postings here with the expectation that they will all be challenged. When people abuse their right to post, I toss them in moderation and only let them out when I personally have time to deal with them. You’re in that state now, because of other times you’ve pulled that same nonsense, but that doesn’t mean you won’t make it through now and again when I have a larger point to make.

  57. 57
    prodegtion

    What I’ve never understood is this: Why would you ever WANT to block or ban anyone? How does that even benefit you? Surely if your positions are wrong, you would WANT to know and you would WANT people to tell you.

  58. 58
    prodegtion

    Wow, I would have never expected a feminist of all people to support freedom of association, something I strongly oppose.

    “freedom of association unequivocally guarantees that we get to choose which ones we want to have”

    OK, so I suppose you are against anti-discrimination laws. If people wish to associate themselves only with people their own race or gender, they should be allowed.

    Oh wait, you DO support that. Hmm, on second thoughts, it’s not surprising at all that a feminist would support freedom of association.

  59. 59
    hjhornbeck

    And some people wonder why I don’t own a TV.

    Come to think of it, I don’t understand what those who cry “Drama!” are complaining about. Haven’t they ever tried flipping the channel?

  60. 60
    Jason Thibeault

    Surely if your positions are wrong, you can learn that they’re wrong without being subjected to years of slurs and harassment by an individual. Saying you shouldn’t want to ban or block someone assumes they’re not just there to make life hell for you. And there’s good evidence that you don’t have a functioning sense of empathy, so I totally understand why you’d suggest that, prodegtion.

  61. 61
    John Phillips, FCD

    Jason Thibeault #60 QFT

  62. 62
    Raging Bee

    Typically I’d get bullied pretty badly if I used a name for more than like 3-4 days, so I learned to alias very well online.

    Please give specific examples of such “bullying,” or admit you’re full of shit.

    What I’ve never understood is this: Why would you ever WANT to block or ban anyone?

    How old are you — five? Even at that age, I understood why I didn’t want some of the kids I knew in my house. It’s really not that hard a concept to understand.

    It’s truly amazing what laughably infantile responses you get when you state such simple, obvious common sense about ordinary human interaction.

  63. 63
    prodegtion

    Commenting on a public forum or blog is not the same thing as inviting someone into your house. It is impossible for them “make life hell for you”. The ONLY reason you would block or ban someone is to close your ears to evidence contradicting your dogma.

  64. 64
    Jason Thibeault

    You have evidently never met the sorts of people we’re talking about. Possibly because you don’t have an opinion that draws people who think they are entitled to harangue you wherever you go in order to try to disabuse you of your notions. You’re actually the one going out and attempting to disabuse others of theirs. So there’s a perspective thing you’re lacking.

  65. 65
    prodegtion

    People ARE entitled to harangue you to disabuse you of your notions. That is a GOOD thing. Consider ALL of the evidence, not just the ones that confirm your preconceptions. It’s part of freedom of speech.

  66. 66
    Jason Thibeault

    No. They are not. Nobody has more entitlement on deciding how their time is spent than you do. Not unless you want to be the fascist dictator who gets to choose how others spend their time.

  67. 67
    prodegtion

    Again, why wouldn’t you WANT people to harangue you to disabuse you of your notions? Put your beliefs under scrutiny? Or do you wish to remain a Canadian?

  68. 68
    Jason Thibeault

    Because there are other ways to debate them than harassment. You ARE aware of that fact, aren’t you? Like, you can actually talk people out of rational decisions WITHOUT mistreating them?

    No, evidently you aren’t, since you seem to think “Canadian” is a slur.

    Bye! Nice talking with you! See you around. Or not.

  69. 69
    sqlrob

    The ONLY reason you would block or ban someone is to close your ears to evidence contradicting your dogma.

    Really? So rape threats, threats of violence aren’t reasons to block someone? Thousands of spam (being repetitive, not necessarily commercial) isn’t reason to ban someone?

  70. 70
    Jason Thibeault

    No, what he’s actually saying is that his bald assertions are evidence that my ideas are wrong by dint of his mere assertion, and my shutting them out is only because they are so well-argued.

    I’m totes convinced. Why aren’t you!? The evidence is all right there! And he said it’s evidence, so that’s evidence that it’s true!

  71. 71
    hjhornbeck

    prodegtion @58:

    Wow, I would have never expected a feminist of all people to support freedom of association, something I strongly oppose.

    [blinks, then runs to Wikipedia...]

    Freedom of association is the right to join or leave groups of a person’s own choosing, and for the group to take collective action to pursue the interests of members.

    You can’t think of a situation where feminists would take an interest in collective action or protest? And you’re opposed to the notion of collective action/protest?

    …. wow. Wow.

  72. 72
    Hank_Says

    prodegtion @ 65:

    People ARE entitled to harangue you to disabuse you of your notions. That is a GOOD thing. Consider ALL of the evidence, not just the ones that confirm your preconceptions. It’s part of freedom of speech.

    And if I do consider ALL the evidence (not just the ones [sic] that confirm my preconceptions) and decide that someone’s harangues and attempts to disabuse me of my notions are BULLSHIT, I can use my freedom of speech to tell them to go fuck themselves.

    Which is also a GOOD thing.

    If those people continue to harangue me and continue to employ the same or similar bullshit as before in further attempts to disabuse me of whatever it might be, I can use whatever means are at my disposal to avoid any further interaction with them, including but not limited to the following: ignoring them, killfiling their comments, avoiding spaces where they might be, banning them from my blog or blocking them on social media.

    In small words: yes, people have the right to say things to me. However, I am not obliged to listen to those things. I have the right to ignore those people. I have the right to shut the door on them in spaces which I control.

    Nobody has any obligation whatsoever to listen to anyone saying anything, anywhere, even if it does violate some (apparently) really important and sacred principle of Listening Respectfully To Any & All Dissenters, Even If They’re Demonstrably & Completely Full of Shit™.

  73. 73
    kacyray

    Right, I know kacyray was aiming that polemic at me, but it absolutely DOES apply if you actually start silencing criticism — people may think you’re a coward if you use the internet as a one-way communications method, where you only output your own opinion and never accept others’ rebuttals.

    Only indirectly. It was actually aimed at other bloggers on this network, with the hope that you would reassess your tacit support of such behavior.

    Putting me in moderation, however, causes me to reconsider which category you fit into.

    See? Prodegtion, with his junior-varsity comments that barely rise above creationist-calibur gets to go on and on and on… no threat to you, right?

    However, when I articulate a legitimate point, and it is even acknowledged as such by other commenters, I’m immediately put into moderation. And was it for behavior? No, it was for content. I would never criticize a blogger for deep-sixing someone based on disruptive behavior. But for expressing an opinion you don’t like?? Really??

    Nobody is obligated to host your attacks on them personally, kacyray. I allowed those attacks here because you helped prove some of my other points.

    Jason, do you still not know the difference between a critique and an attack? Really? I think you do. I think the word “attack” is an emotion-driven characterization of my comment. Brayton, Myers et al draw this distinction at least every week in their blog posts. You of all people should know the difference. I have not attacked you personally. I hardly know anything about you, and I bear you no ill will.

    But it should serve as a good case study of the difference between the way we perceive criticism directed towards ourselves, and the way we perceive it when it is directed towards others.

    I am in fact extremely lenient with allowing postings here with the expectation that they will all be challenged. When people abuse their right to post, I toss them in moderation and only let them out when I personally have time to deal with them. You’re in that state now, because of other times you’ve pulled that same nonsense, but that doesn’t mean you won’t make it through now and again when I have a larger point to make.

    And by my comment, I abused the right to post a comment? In what way was it abusive?

    Here’s a better question… in what way was it abusive such that it was distinctly different from other comments that challenge your opinions and ideas and therefore merited my relegation to moderation?

    Full disclosure: I do not agree with the way many of the bloggers on this network handle their blog comments. I do not consider myself a feminist in the sense that it is expressed by the general commentariat at those blogs. If “Feminism” is defined as “the belief that all citizens merit equal treatment under the law”, then I do qualify, but I know that such a definition is well insufficient to play out in practice ‘round these here parts.

    However, the reason I frequent this network is because I support just about everything else on here. I am an avid, outspoken advocate for reason over faith. I oppose sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, etc. I oppose anti-science initiatives, breaching of church-state separation, anti-choice initiatives, and anything that comes out of the mouth of Glen Beck/Alex Jones-style conspiracy sensationalists.

    And if that’s not enough, I repudiate anyone who initiates hostile behavior, including threats of death or injury. I condemn stalking, harassing, threatening, haranguing, spamming, trolling, socking, doxxing, etc. You’ll never see me support that kind of behavior.

    Put simply, I find myself irked that I am ostracized from a conversation because I disagree with about 5% of it, when I know for a fact I am on board with the other 95%. Yet that’s the position I find myself in at FTB.

    Keep me in moderation if you like. If you do so because you think I’m disruptive, I can forgive that (although I emphatically disagree). But if you do so because you don’t like the idea of someone coming in, upsetting the intellectual balance, and creating cognitive dissonance in your mind… then perhaps my comment did apply to you after all.

    I guess I’ll find out.

  74. 74
    culuriel

    My general rule of thumb: if someone is so argumentative, so unwilling to have a respectful discussion that you would walk away if talking in person, you get to walk away online. I don’t have to continue to endure an unending war of words with someone who, over the course of about ten comments, just keeps getting more and more belligerent. Right-wingers do it over abortion all the time. Whenever I explain why I think a person becomes a legal person at birth and not at conception, and object to strangers and their government controlling my body when pregnant, they act as if I am personally yanking fully formed babies out of their mothers’ wombs and disemboweling them right on the street. After a bit of commenting, it’s obvious they just want to condemn anyone who disagrees with them to their Hell. Not worth it.

  75. 75
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Well written and seconded by me. Great article – although I’d have thought it was all kind of self-evident. Clearly to too many though, its not.

  76. 76
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @ 67. prodegtion :

    Again, why wouldn’t you WANT people to harangue you to disabuse you of your notions? Put your beliefs under scrutiny? Or do you wish to remain a Canadian?

    Scrutinising one’s beliefs and subjecting them to criticism is NOT the same thing as being harangued.

    Do you really not see the difference?

    Haranguing and harassing anyone, threatening and abusing them and shouting at them aren’t good ways to “scrutinise their ideas” – or convince them you have a good case that’ll sway their minds.

  77. 77
    parhelionsky

    Hello, ParhelionSky here

    I am a Slymepit poster who was genuinely curious as to who this RainbowSlushie^.^ person is/was, and I took the liberty of doing some detective work to find out exactly who she was and what she’s posted at the Slymepit. As it turns out she did post as Marianne, but there is only one post, directing people to this disturbing document called Red Queen. Having read this document, which all can do here utilizing the second pastebin link in the reference post below, I am not sure if this is a jest on her part or what have you, could this be serious? If it’s serious then this poor gel is in need of qualified medical attention, if it’s jest then I suppose she was trolling the Slymepit; that was her only post and she doesn’t seem to have any other posts nor any other names there, as well it’s not at all obvious whether she was banned or not, only that this was her only post on the Slymepit. If one reads down to the end of the Red Queen text, she puts the name ‘Simpleflower’ down there, and simpleflower, as I found out when I asked around, was an A Plus forum member that was only on A plus forums for 3 months or so, and the whole huggate incident saw the departure of that person from that forum, with nary a sign of her anywhere for months apparently, I checked in other places. If this so called Red Queen document is ‘true’ or what have you, and not some troll or Poe, then it’s certainly in line with this simpleflower person’s batshit persona, and let’s hope she gets some professional help very soon indeed. If it is, as I suspect, merely a troll, then it’s concluded the Slymepit has been trolled by this person and this was the only post, ostensibly, that they’ve ever made in the Slymepit, from what I can tell. I think it should be obvious by now this person has quite a few names online, to say the least.

    I am glad I could be of service, such as it is, but due to the unfriendly back and forth going on between our boards, I think it would be wise for me to exit now before I turn this diplomatic success into something less than such through my bumbling mouth.

    -Reference-

    Original post in Slymepit can be found here by poster Marianne:
    http://www.slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=297

    The post itself, quoted in full:

    Me: http://pastebin.com/1sTgc0mG
    My manifesto: http://pastebin.com/ZvTk2bqH

    It is extremism, it is evil, it should be accomplished nonetheless. Sometimes the evil must be done that the good may come about; the inhumane accomplished to the end that the fundamentally inhumane be eradicated forever.

    My name is Molly, your toothpaste will burn through your tongue and teeth and your strawberry cheesecake is loaded with explosives :lol:

  78. 78
    Jason Thibeault

    kacyray, being put into moderation means you get put on a short leash. It means I can’t trust you not to blow shit up in my absence, because you’ve abused that privilege in the past. I therefore won’t let things through until I approve each, and if it contains something I need to disagree with on moral or philosophical grounds or feel it makes an environment that is toxic to other commenters, I damn well won’t let it through until I have a chance to set the record straight.

    I misspoke before — posting “rights” on someone else’s blog is actually a privilege, not a right. If you’ve shown yourself to support damaging ideas that create a toxic environment, as you’ve done here by demanding rights to post unfettered in a post that explains very clearly that you have no such rights, nor the privilege to make those sorts of demands, then you’re going to get put in moderation.

    And yes, prodegtion is in the same boat. That’s why you won’t see any posts of his any more without a commensurate reply from me.

  79. 79
    Jason Thibeault

    parhelionsky: We may not agree about much else, but that Red Queen document is absolutely disturbing, yes. Killing all men is no more the answer to patriarchy than killing all white people is the answer to racism. And it’s self-defeating. I understand the sort of place this anger comes from — it’s obviously from a position of utter rage at otherwise being helpless — but it’s absolutely extremist and evil. At least she’s got that much introspection to admit it.

  80. 80
    Jafafa Hots

    It has been asserted today, in all seriousness, that the blockbot is the worst thing an atheist has done since Stalin.

  81. 81
    sisu

    Simpleflower/Rainbow Slushie/Marianne/Alyss also posted the Red Queen doc over on Pharyngula a while back on one of the Lounge threads, if I’m not mistaken.

    Raging Bee @ 62: I don’t know why you think she’s lying about being bullied/harassed online. For all that she ‘nym-morphs and posts disturbing screeds, there’s no reason to think she’s making that up.

  82. 82
    Oob

    I am in support of this message, with one qualifier. Scale changes everything.

    I can’t possibly call anyone running their own log a fascist for banning someone harassing people there (or just banning them for whatever arbitrary reason they like).

    However, scale that up to a big enough voice, and it has the potential to become “chilling”. If an ISP started kicking people off their service for stating views they disagreed with (in this case, maybe things like “I don’t like Verizon Wireless”), that could be considered silencing. If Youtube started taking down any and all videos criticizing religion or cultural sexism or Youtube’s blocking policies, we would rightly say THAT would be silencing behavior. I only bring up this qualifier to point out that there IS a limit, and that limit depends on scale. It’s one we shouldn’t forget and should bring up with these “critics” as examples of what actual silencing COULD look like in an online space. It is the difference between a local newspaper refusing to print certain editorials and a city ban on atheists posting anti-religious billboards.

    These are a set of small web logs though, and criticizing blocks here as fascism is ridiculous. It is a far cry from, say, a massive institution like Youtube that is effectively the ONLY available voice if you actually want people to WATCH your videos. EVEN THERE, it would only be Youtube itself that could be said to be “silencing” ideas. Individual Youtube account holders are a completely different matter, and banning commenters or even disallowing comments is certainly something anyone on Youtube should be free to exercise. So there it is. If you can argue that a comment section on ONE log is SO important to the public discourse that a ban there is tantamount to silencing, you have a point. Otherwise, you got nothing.

  83. 83
    cotton

    At this point I realize that when I post and I get a message that says submitted for moderation, this isn’t “normal”. I guess I’m not trusted to “blow shit up” in Jason’s absence. I can’t imagine what I did. I understand that people on this board and A+ in general must get a LOT of flak and it can be very difficult to differentiate between criticism and attack as kaycray points out. I don’t remember “blowing shit up” anywhere else, then again maybe I’m misunderstanding the comment system.

    Also, reading through this thread, I thought it was pretty clear early on that RainbowSlushie’s had a HUGE chip on her shoulder that did not originate from…a particularly stable place.

  84. 84
    cotton

    And I post and it goes through flawlessly. *facepalm* >.< Maybe I got boards mixed up bah.

  85. 85
    Jason Thibeault

    Oob: your qualifier is a good one. However, some people seem to think that if a single blog becomes high-enough traffic, then suddenly it shifts to a public utility instead of a community. The people most concerned about being “censored” seem to have either been banned at, or (more likely) laughed out of, Pharyngula’s comments section. (I say more likely because I’ve seen Pharyngula’s block list, and it’s smaller than most, even despite the hit count and number of return visitors.)

  86. 86
    Jason Thibeault

    cotton: Since a series of attacks by 4channers sympathetic to the antifeminist cause, I’ve turned on First Comment Moderation. That means if I’ve never approved a comment, your post will be held in moderation til I can clear it.

    When I discovered this was a really good way of stomping out all the spam that we’ve been getting, and that I don’t actually get all that many “new” commenters around these parts as compared to other blogs, I’ve found that it’s actually not a huge hassle for me to clear each commenter or comment. It also lets me directly challenge certain bad ideas that hit my comments *before* others get to see it and have them contribute to a hostile commenting environment for them. I throw people back into moderation if they have a history of making such comments after going “slow past the shields” and getting through my first post moderation before tossing hand grenades.

    Ultimately, my moderating style isn’t for everyone. I get that. But nobody gets to tell me that I have to do more work or allow more damage to my commenters. If you don’t like how I moderate, you can go elsewhere. There’s no need to climb up onto crosses preemptively. It doesn’t behoove atheists like us.

  87. 87
    Oob

    Thank you for saying so. The sorts of libertarian types that come and go here screaming about “oppression” have done a lot of damage in the form of the (justified) backlash against them. I sometimes fear that our own backlash becomes such quick sound bitey scripted comments (namely because their arguments are so scripted) that we can lose a sense of nuance, or at least fail to explain that nuance. They’ve been accusing us of some rather ridiculous strawmen for such a long time that, for at least a few commenters, it seems they’ve swallowed the bait and taken those strawmen as their own beliefs, when that’s simply not the case.

  88. 88
    John Phillips, FCD

    Oob I tend to agree with you and the instinctive snarled reply, especially when repeated, can be an irritation in itself. However, thinking of the ftb blog this is most likely to happen on, while one or two will tend to respond with a snarl at the nth ad nauseum repeat of an oft refuted argument, invariably others will, initially at least, respond with a detailed refutation of said argument along with cites where relevant for the benefit of any lurkers, especially if the OP’s nym is a new one to the regulars. I.e. the three post rule that most regulars there adhere to where they will often take to task anyone ignoring that with someone who appears new to the blog. However, as is often the case, if the response by the OP is to either shift the goalposts and totally ignore the refutation or, another favourite move, concentrate on the one or two snarly responses, then as far as I am concerned it is open season on them.

  89. 89
    Oob

    I understand what you mean. I’ve been guilty of such things myself on my own “pet” issues, and honestly can understand those far more affected by other issues being justifiably emotional in their responses.

    The only problem is a sort of confusion of ideas that can crop up every now and then. These hit and run types will use these off the cuff remarks as representative of all of us and, perhaps purposefully, misrepresent an abbreviated version of our argument as the entirety of our point of view. I suppose that’s not our fault, it’s just something I occasionally worry about. As a result, I tend to be EXTREMELY wordy in my responses, giving way too much detail on what would normally be a simple point to make, namely just to avoid any misinterpretation. (Such as, I’ll say “none of us are saying that we should treat any accused as though they are guilty, we are saying that claims of a serious crime should be taken seriously and investigated seriously”, rather than something quicker but easier to misunderstand like “You should take a woman’s claim of rape seriously, because the vast majority of the time, they’re being honest!”. You wouldn’t think that’d be hard to misunderstand, but the constant string of outsiders saying we actually ARE saying all accused rapists are guilty has reached such a din that apparently they are misunderstanding it.)

    It’s all a mess sometimes, and so I often stay away from the comment sections of a few of the more populated places here. Worse, they happen to be my favorite logs, but I just don’t feel up for joining the mosh pit a lot of the time. I’m “easy going”, the sort that doesn’t respond with due urgency in an emergency. The advantage is I don’t panic, and the disadvantage is that I’m the most likely to still be in the building when it burns down. I have no idea how “initiative” works, is what I’m saying.

  90. 90
    John Phillips, FCD

    Oob, I get what you’re saying, however, if I worried all the time how someone would misconstrue what I said, I would say nothing, Especially, as you probably know only too well, some people will twist even the mildest criticism into an all out attack on them, often deliberately, as they have no actual argument. But as for not getting involved beyond lurking and enjoying reading it, I can well understand as that aspect of the blog is not for everyone :) and I occasionally step away for a while after a particularly fraught few days, even though I am only an occasional commenter there.

  91. 91
    John Horstman

    @Delft #43: Yup, and keep talking at women in bars who are ignoring them or asking them to go away, etc. That sense of entitlement to the time, ears, experience, whatever of others is a pervasive aspect of cultural privilege that manifests in ways as disparate as rape culture, capitalism, trolling, cultural hegemony, racism, authoritarian legal systems, nationalism, authoritarian religions, conformity norms, and on and on.

  1. 92
    On not being completely free to curate » Lousy Canuck

    […] This conversation became the genesis for this post, which will hopefully serve as a follow-up to my recent post about curating your internet experience. I was on the periphery of a conversation wherein two tenured secular community activists […]

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