SSA Blogathon – SSA adopts a harassment policy for conferences! (4 of 9)

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Some excellent news to those among you who’ve been following the ongoing secular harassment policy campaign (though if you haven’t that’s okay too): the Secular Student Alliance has officially adopted a strong and publicly available harassment policy.

Making the Secular Student Alliance Conference Welcoming to Everyone

Everyone at the Secular Student Alliance is committed to making our conference a welcoming place for all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, age, creed, worldview, disability, veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. We want to make sure that all attendees feel safe throughout the event. We will take any reports of harassment or other inappropriate activity seriously.

We consider harassment to be continued unwanted behavior directed toward another person. We hope it is obvious that you should not disparage your fellow conference goers on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, creed, worldview, disability, veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. We further hope it is obvious that you should not make uninvited sexual comments toward anyone. If someone asks you to leave them alone or to otherwise stop a behavior that is directed toward them, comply with that person’s wishes immediately.

If you are being harassed, please contact an SSA staff member or volunteer. If you notice someone else is being harassed, or just seems uncomfortable, feel free to bring it to the attention of an SSA staff member or volunteer. If you are worried about your physical safety, obviously exit the situation as soon as possible and call 911. Please let SSA staff know what happened once you are safe.

All incidents of violence, physical intimidation, and unwanted intentional physical contact will result in immediate expulsion from the SSA Conference. People who harass others or cause multiple complaints of disrespectful behavior may be required to leave. SSA staff members are happy to help participants contact local law enforcement, and otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe at our conference.

SSA staff or volunteers can be found at the SSA table during the hours of scheduled events for the conference.

In addition to communicating with SSA staff and volunteers, please look out for each other. Don’t leave people alone with others who are clearly bothering them. Make sure you are setting a good example.

In addition to the general comment feedback forms, we will provide a comment box on the registration table. Please feel free to leave any comments there. Please be aware that we will not be reviewing those comments until after the conference.

Let’s make the SSA Conference fun for everyone!

Well done all involved! That’s another one for the list at More ^than Men!

This is post 4 of 9 for the SSA Blogathon. Total donors is at 584 with $83,004 donated! You can still donate to the SSA by supporting other blogathoners, art contributors, personal fundraising pages or through a direct donation to the SSA. SSA Week lasts through June 17th. Spread the word!

SSA Blogathon – Jay Smooth Vs. Misogynist Internet Trolls (3 of 9)

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So you remember all that nonsense misogynist flack Feminist Frequency took for daring to talk about female tropes in video games? Jay Smooth tore that shit up.

Ill Doctrine: All These Sexist Gamer Dudes Are Some Shook Ones from ANIMALNewYork.com on Vimeo.

From the transcript:

But it’s still been an intensely ugly spectacle that raises a whole lot of questions about why this happens so often and why so many dudes think it’s okay to persecute and harass and abuse women online. A lot of these dudes, if you challenge them, will tell you that they don’t have any real feelings about this, and they’re just trolling for the fun of it. That they don’t really hate women, they just think that it’s funny to treat women as if they hate them. And that–I mean, first of all, you’re lying to yourself, there’s clearly more to it than that, and second of all, that doesn’t make it any better! Only someone who hates women and sees them as less than human would even think that’s a meaningful distinction. And I don’t know what I could say that would get through to someone who is so invested in detaching from their own humanity, so I–I’m just going to think about that and come back to it.

And for now, I’m just going to say to everyone else, and especially my fellow dudes, that when you see something like that going on, you–and by you, I mean we–have an obligation to speak out against it more often. It’s really not cool for us to just shrug our shoulders and say, “That’s just 4chan being 4chan.” And it’s REALLY not okay for you to jump in to somebody’s discussion of this harassment and derail it with a bunch of comments about, “But sure, harassment is bad, but men are discriminated against, too! Women are always making something out of nothing buh buh buh buh buh!” No, man! Now is not the time for that! If you need to have that debate, there are plenty of other times for that.

Awesome.

Know who else supports people who are being harassed mercilessly? THE SSA. No, seriously. Okay, maybe not *specifically* about girls and video games, but they do. I’ll show you how in the next post!

This is post 3 of 9 for the SSA Blogathon. Total donors is at 586 with $82,969 donated! You can still donate to the SSA by supporting other blogathoners, art contributors, personal fundraising pages or through a direct donation to the SSA. SSA Week lasts through June 17th. Spread the word!

SSA Blogathon – Why the Secular Student Alliance matters (2 of 9)

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Growing up, I didn’t have anyplace to express my doubts in religion. I’ve mentioned before that while I grew up in a liberal Catholic household, I began to have my doubts shortly after Confirmation — yes, the very point in time where I’m asked if I want to be a Catholic forever-and-ever. It was about then that I realized what I was being asked, and even though I went through the motions so I could get home to play the Megaman game I’d rented (3 I believe?), it nagged at me for the rest of the weekend.

I ended up suppressing my thoughts on the matter. I knew if everyone — including my parents — were wrong about God, there was no way I could tell them so without getting a crapload of disapprobation; and if I was wrong, better to not make the error in judgment of saying something about all this ahead of time. If there had been a Secular Student Alliance in my high school in northern New Brunswick, I might have had an easier time wrestling with my feelings than I did. As it stood, it took until I realized some people in university also had their doubts that I was able to express my opinions just that little bit more freely in meatspace.

The internet happened in the meantime though, and provided me with somewhat of a release valve. I fought with creationists on Usenet under a few anonymous handles through high school, and on some forums, during the pre-blog days. My skills were undoubtedly lacking back then. I often can’t tell if I’ve improved much since, though. At least what I put on the internet now, I’m willing to stand behind. Most of the time.

While the internet is a good release valve, I can’t help but think how much better things might have been for my own sense of a support structure while growing up if a Secular Student Alliance group existed in my school at the time. I realize it’s a backwater part of the Maritimes, but in a school of 2000, surely there must have been a significant proportion of non-theists. They might even have been the same crew I ended up being friendliest with anyway — the outcasts and nerds and social pariahs. Banding together officially with these folks, to talk about one of the central questions of this universe, would have been great. And having support for those times people God-bothered others would have been doubly great.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten the “touching personal story” out of the way, here’s an animated gif of a turtle running on the beach! D’aw!

The SSA provides a valuable service. A service that animated gifs of turtles just can’t provide. A service I don’t want to see evaporate anytime soon. Please, give what you can.

This is post 2 of 9 for the SSA Blogathon. Total donors is at 585 with $82,919 donated! You can still donate to the SSA by supporting other blogathoners, art contributors, personal fundraising pages or through a direct donation to the SSA. SSA Week lasts through June 17th. Spread the word!

SSA Blogathon – My shift begins! (1 of 9)

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It’s my turn with the Secular Student Alliance baton for the Freethought Blogs portion of the SSA Blogathon, it would seem. I’m taking a short shift from 10pm AST through 2am AST, adding a post every half hour, with the option to — if I’m insomniac or crazy or whatnot — go into overtime after my scheduled time. My going plans are to go video- and link-crazy, as well as asking you to pose any random questions which I’ll answer. My posts may go stream-of-consciousness relatively early on. Fair warning.

This is the first post, and I’ll post every half hour through and including 2am AST. I can’t remember who picks up the baton then — I think it’s Greg Laden at Xblog. I’m sure I’ll have someone throw me a link. Or maybe I’ll go look at the SSA blogathon page.

I don’t have much to offer as incentive, as I can’t sing, crochet, play an instrument or write a novel. I think maybe if you donate $10, I’ll answer pretty well any sort of question you want. Even if I’ve answered it before. Even if it’s a dumb question or a deep question. I can’t guarantee the answer will happen during this stint, but I’ll get them all, I promise. Hell, even from trolls, as long as you prove you donated and the receipt shows Lousy Canuck on it. Of course, if you be trollin’, expect a trollish answer. I can’t guarantee I can answer the way you want me to, especially if you ask questions that aren’t my story to tell, but I’ll try my damnedest to actually answer whatever you ask as honestly as I can.

You can see what we’ve already collected on the right in the sidebar. There was a gigantic seed donation of $50,000 to start off, but all the rest has come in small increments. If you have $5, and you want to support the excellent support structure that atheist and agnostic students get by having a local SSA chapter, by all means, kick in what you can.

And I’m going to rip off JT’s outro! Now to begin pulling stuff out of my feed readers and Youtube subscriptions. Maybe cat pictures if I can find cute ones on my iPhone. ANYTHING GOES IN THIS WILD AND CRAZY BLOGATHON!

This is post 1 of 9 for the SSA Blogathon. Total donors is at 584, with $82,799 donated! You can still donate to the SSA by supporting other blogathoners, art contributors, personal fundraising pages or through a direct donation to the SSA. SSA Week lasts through June 17th. Spread the word!

Harassment policies campaign – timeline of major events

This is a chronological timeline of major events in the campaign to get major secular and skeptical events to enact harassment policies, to protect convention-goers from needless harassment and encourage women who might otherwise avoid what they perceive as a gender-imbalanced chilly climate to join the community. It is presently a work-in-progress, and a living document. It could be edited at any time.

I’m beginning from an excellent blog comment by Pteryxx that tries to organize this timeline more contextually rather than purely chronologically, and pulls out blockquotes. I’m rearranging everything and summarizing the contents of the links. Please let me know if I’ve misinterpreted the contents or missed any notable events. This is meant to be a companion piece to the 101-level post In Media Res, where I opened the comments to general questions about this campaign. Please direct those questions there.
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The uniform groupthink of The Freethought Borg

Look! Look at how identical our opinions are on everything! This latest spate of opinionation on the SCA’s new hire pretty much proves that we’re all cookie-cutter and identical around these parts.

Stephanie:

When I say interesting, I mean in the sense that I’m highly ambivalent about it. On the one, obvious hand, Rogers is someone who has supported politicians and a party that have worked very hard to marginalize us. She has propped up the party of the religious right and apparently done it well. That does not endear her to me, to say the least.

On the other hand, she will be my lobbyist, not my new best friend or even nifty human being, and my lobbyist on specific issues where we do agree. It’s my understanding that Rogers is pro-choice, supports gay rights, and really is a strong proponent of secularism.

Beyond that, this is an opportunity to test whether there are any inroads to be made in dealing with Republicans on our issues. In fact, this is probably the best test that such a strategy could have. We’ve been saying forever that demanding our rights protects the rights of everyone. We’ll see whether Rogers can get that message where it is so very badly needed. I can think of longer paths to reach our goals, but few that would be steeper. But if it doesn’t work here, with Rogers on the job, I think we can safely say, “No, and this is why”, to anyone advocating a similar path in the future.

Physioproffe:

I have no idea what the fucke these fucken idiots at the Secular Coalition for America were thinking hiring this sleazy right-wing asshole as their new Executive Director. She has spent nearly her entire professional life carrying water for the worst of the right-wing slime that have relied on the theocratic jeezus freak impulses of our most ignorant and hateful pig-people citizens to gain political power and then used that political power to push more and more pig-people religious and racial hate into the political sphere, and oh yeah, fucked uppe every fucken thing they touched: the economy, civil rights, foreign policy, our national physical infrastructure, education, etc.

NO ROOM FOR NUANCE HERE FOLKS! If you’ve got an opinion different from the groupthink, it’ll be ground into uniformity in no time fast! See how both of these bloggers… use articles, and verbs, and adjectives. In English! Using the Latin alphabet!