On the parallel universes we apparently cohabitate within the blogosphere

There’s a troll narrative parallel history of the secular movement, I’ve observed. Things that are handled professionally, between professionals, become “harassment and attacks”, and harassment and attacks become “disagreement”. Civil disagreement becomes slurs, slurs become hilarious parody. It all depends on which side of the rift you’re on, and who’s targeting whom.

More blogospheric navel-gazing within. You may want to read this and this and this and unfortunately this for some context.
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Trolls are spoofing commentariat and authors (Update: countermeasures!)

Thanks to the spate of trolls (who are, in fact, members of our rationalist community!) spoofing our users, owing mostly to their levels of immaturity and the realization that they can type other people’s identities in the comment fields, a few blogs are turning on comment registration. I strongly advise that, even if your primary hangout is a blog that does not require registration, you should consider registering your username/email address anyway.

If you’ve already registered your account, and you need to edit your profile because the display name or email address are no longer valid, the top bar shows a “Howdy, username” link on the right. Hover over it, then click on Edit My Profile. You should also be able to get to it by clicking here — but that link might change depending on your user access level and future WordPress changes. The top bar should always be right.

I have no intention of turning on comment registration at my blog. I am instead working on making changes on the network (via a plugin or via editing the core of WordPress) to ensure that anonymous users cannot use a username or email address of a registered user. If you want to protect your name here, I strongly advise you register your account.

The registration process can use Facebook, Twitter or WordPress as authentication tokens, so you don’t necessarily have to build an account unique to Freethoughtblogs. Our software will rely on those sites’ auth APIs, and won’t ever see your login information. However, if you use these options, I strongly advise that you also log into your profile per the above instructions before making a comment, and set all the options appropriately. Otherwise your display name will show as “sc_{random characters}”, which is dead ugly.

Update: I’ve installed a plugin network-wide that protects login names and email addresses from being spoofed by anonymous users. It doesn’t protect the display name though — if your display name is something different from your login name, this won’t help you much. On blogs where registration is required, people shouldn’t notice a difference. And I’m sure asshats can still spoof people with a fair degree of fidelity to casual outside observers (I can think of two ways myself — there might be more), but this at least gives us an idea of when it’s happening.

Regardless, register your accounts.

The Problem with Pseudonymity

I really want to get a post out at some point in the near future discussing the heavy parallels between the online atheist/skeptic communities’ current misogyny imbroglio, and the nearly identical one happening presently in the online video game community. There’s a lot to chew on though, and my writing time (and energy) has been severely limited lately by a bad combination of work and life interfering heavily with blogospherics. That might be a while in the making.

Others, however, are striking blows for the side of the angels in both communities, including this excellent post calling on men to “man up” and stop the misogyny in our communities — because without male participation in the initiative to end male-on-female harassment, we ain’t going to get very far.

However, for all its good, there are a number of very problematic aspects to this post. Notwithstanding the buying into the “boy”/”man” dichotomy, rigid gender roles for men, etc., the author of this piece, Ernest W. Adams, makes an absolutely monumental error that needs addressing. One that exposes that he has engaged the same sort of magical thinking Google engaged in when building their no-pseudonymity policy on Google+. This error is that attaching your real name (or a real-sounding name) to your account will somehow provide a prophylactic effect against online harassment and cyber-bullying — preventing it from happening in the first place.

This is categorically not the case.
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Canada about to lose any vestige of internet privacy

Despite how pro-privacy the Harper government has claimed to be, with the destruction of the long gun registry out of privacy concerns, it is absolutely no surprise to me that they’re total hypocrites when it comes to actual privacy concerns, like warrantless information-gathering from ISPs.

Suppose you read an online article – not this one, hopefully – that makes you so angry you post a comment under your online pseudonym, “Irate Canuck,” saying that someone ought to shoot the author. The police notice.

Under legislation that the Conservatives will soon be introducing, the police could order your Internet service provider to hand over your personal information so that they could have a talk with you.

If they are sufficiently concerned, they could get a warrant and begin tracking your every move. You really should have turned off the GPS on your smart phone.
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Marieke Hardy apparently incorrectly named the man who calls her things

A while back, in my post The General Pushback against Misogynist Trolls Begins, I mentioned an incident where Marieke Hardy, a screen writer from Australia, has endured a years-long hate campaign by a particularly vicious little misogynist troll. She posted the name Joshua Meggitt in a post supporting the Twitter #mencallmethings hashtag, only it turns out that naming was premature. On her blog today, the following post appeared, under the title Apology:
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Feeding the troll yet again

Franc Hoggle wants nothing more than for people at FtB to be talking about him. He gets off on it. PZ just outed him as Victor Ivanoff, according to Ophelia’s source who knows him in real life, after Hoggle’s latest round of personal and directed threats. So now we are all left with the image that he is probably furiously masturbating to the thought that people are talking about him on FtB again.

Aside from this short post to tell you that this is happening and that the Global Atheist Convention folks are aware of his threats, and to make you aware of the conversation happening elsewhere and some terribly amusing photos making light of Hoggle’s intrinsic nature, so long as nobody at FtB or at any convention is in any actual physical danger, you’ll hear no more of him on this blog.

My official position on Victor Ivanoff is: I couldn’t give a rat’s ass. He is not worth our consideration, and we should deny him the attention he needs for his orgasms. Hopefully once his blue balls reach critical mass, he will simply find other targets for his hate, and take his slimy bootlickers with him.

The Case Against Outing Franc Hoggle

There’s a battle raging presently over at Ophelia’s and Stephanie’s over a guy by the ‘nym of Franc Hoggle. I say ‘nym, because a real-life friend of his learned of his online identity, evidently by him outing himself to this friend — leading to his friend discovering his blog, Grey Lining (no link, sorry). Said friend decided to tell Ophelia Franc’s real name so she could use it to defend herself and the rest of us by extension from his ongoing misogynist, anti-feminist, anti-FtB, anti-Ophelia and downright obsessive anti-PZ campaign.

To be clear, Franc Hoggle, despite making a great many oblique and yet threatening comments like “if I were a woman, I’d kick [Ophelia] in the cunt”, has never directly threatened anyone. In his nascent proto-Mabus state, he has compared PZ Myers, popular atheist blogger and small town professor of biology, of being like Idi Amin and Kim Jong-Il, the only admitted difference being that PZ was lacking only the opportunity to commit mass-murder.

The constant drumbeat of anti-feminist sentiment from his site and his commentariat (whom we would probably leave largely alone if they would only stop staging raiding parties!) is evidently intended to inculcate a hostile environment for our bloggers, shaming and othering and invoking fear to speak our minds lest we incur the wrath of some people who happen to think that including feminism in the skeptic and atheist blogosphere is the Wrong Direction For The Movement™. But he has made no direct threats to anyone, and short of the fact that he has visited the Melbourne-based Global Atheist Convention in 2010 under his real name, and PZ was planning on being at the 2012 GAC, he poses no physical threat to anyone in real life.

Yet.
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RCimT: a quick science news roundup

Welcome to the first Random Crap in my Tabs posted to Freethought Blogs! Every once in a while, my browser’s tabs get far too full of “stuff that must be blogged”, stuff that I figured was too interesting to just read and close, and in order to free up resources so I can do other things, once in a while I aggregate a bunch of similarly themed items into a post with links and short commentary. It’s something like a blog carnival, but usually to non-bloggy stuff.

This one’s about some sciencey bits and bobs, and it’s all over the map. Allons-y!
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