Why I am an atheist – SmartLX »« So the FtB bloggers had another little conversation this morning…

Preemptive disclosure

I just had to send a complaint to one of my fellow bloggers here at FtB. And since he likes to post his email publicly, I just thought I’d do it myself and get it out of the way.

Justin:

I looked over the shenanigans on your latest post, “the pits”. I am disgusted and appalled.

You claim to be so knowledgable about this anonymous/4chan “culture”*, but for someone so savvy you are being so thoroughly manipulated that it offends me to see the raging stupidity and naivete.

Do you even realize you have been manipulated into providing a forum on FtB for these jerks to engage in a long, tedious, abysmally contemptible discussion of the appropriateness of kicking your colleague Ophelia “in the cunt”? They don’t care what position anyone takes — they are having a gigglingly good time just dwelling on it. And you’re happily going along with it. You are encouraging it.

Most normal human beings resolved that question in kindergarten. No, you do not get to kick girls or boys in the crotch. No, it’s not debatable. No, we do not need your new friends to chatter for a few hundred comments about whether it’s reasonable or a real threat or just for lulz or whatever pathetic non-excuse they’re giving — it’s wrong. And your response to this prolonged exercise in gaming Justin’s blog?

“Cute. I actually did laugh.”

I’m not impressed. It’s not just that you are indulging these people, it’s that you’re being so stupid — literally, I MEAN STUPID — that you don’t even see how you’re being played.

Jebus. I wash my hands of you.

Maybe you should try cleaning up the mess you’ve created. I’m sure not going to do it for you, and I’m sure not going to regard your efforts charitably otherwise.

*We had these same people back in the olden times, before there were computers and networks, only we didn’t dignify them with the title of “culture”. We just called them assholes.

Comments

  1. says

    While he’s letting some people who usually troll post, he is calling them on their shit. Note how he’s pressing the issue of why they aren’t giving racism the same treatment if this is about free speech and not about trolling.

    He’s flat wrong that the rest of FTB doesn’t get they are being trolled. Plenty of people have written about trolling. They are just less amused by it than he is.

  2. says

    And now he closed comments on the grounds that, contrary to his requests, people were using it as a platform to bait other bloggers.

  3. says

    Doesn’t matter if he’s calling them on it. He’s promoting a repugnant and superfluous conversation about demeaning women, and they are getting their jollies off of it.

  4. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    I mostly ignored his post because I took it as an opportunity to attempt some de-escalation. I’m fucking sick of the “blog war”, I’m tired of a few of the ERV commenters coming by here to troll. I thought I managed to talk some sense into a few people, but Justin closed the comments. I still never got an answer from Justicar on this:

    Justicar’s argument: Saying “cunt” in my country is okay. It’s not okay in Ophelia’s country. I should be able to say “cunt” to Ophelia because her country’s understanding of the word doesn’t trump my country’s.

    I asked why his country’s understanding trumps Ophelia’s, because clearly, it doesn’t. There’s no comparison between the position that “the word ‘cunt’ is offensive to me because of the negative connotations, so please don’t use it around me”, and “The word ‘cunt’ is not offensive to me because it has no negative connotations in my country, therefore I should be able to say it to everyone including people who don’t want to hear it“.

  5. says

    RahXephon: we will not be having this conversation here, either, because Justicar is a clown and a liar and I already know the answer: he’s wrong.

  6. says

    Justin seems to think that there are situations where it is OK to “joke” in a hurtful manner towards people who belong to certain disadvantaged groups “for the lulz” and that making the “just kidding” claim absolves you of accusations of bigotry. Well, at least if you use ‘net speak’ and you’re sort of a hipster.

  7. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    @PZ

    I know he’s wrong, too. I wasn’t trying to extend the conversation, just expressing my annoyance that I get no satisfaction from exposing his hypocrisy.

  8. The Swordfish, Ambulatory Memory Leak says

    All together now:
    DEEEEEP RIIIIFTSSSSS!
    *ducks*

  9. says

    DEEEEEP RIIIIFTSSSSS!

    I’mma put my pee-pee in it!

    … as a catch phrase, it is less fun that my old “there’s good eating on a fetus” line, but I get to pull this one out* a lot more often.

    *ZING!

  10. mythbri says

    That post, and the post about the Slimepit before it, were the only two posts of Justin’s that I’ve read. I still don’t understand what’s the point of sexist-trolling in the name of “free speech”. Too often “free speech” is really meant in the sense of “freedom from consequences”.

    I am not a prude. And I will call people out on sexist bullshit, whether or not it’s “ironic”, because that’s my exercise of freedom of speech.

    I wish that more people would attempt to understand the difference between harsh, crude language and bigoted language.

  11. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    One of the more amusing bits from Justin:

    My initial thoughts are complex. I wince when I see racism, sexism, etc. I stop it and correct it when I see it in my soldiers. But I think a part of me deep down says “Don’t you tell me what I can and can not say… free speech mother fuckers!… Words are just words!

    That’s just reactance.

    Folks shouldn’t flatter themselves by calling it complex. It ain’t.

  12. says

    That post, and the post about the Slimepit before it, were the only two posts of Justin’s that I’ve read. I still don’t understand what’s the point of sexist-trolling in the name of “free speech”. Too often “free speech” is really meant in the sense of “freedom from consequences”.

    Yes. It’s used so much so that it is in the list of Bad Internet Argument Techniques that I constantly link to. I hope someday someone will read it and realize that everyone knows what they’re doing and that it isn’t ‘pwning’, it’s making yourself look like an idiot.

  13. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    I still don’t understand what’s the point of sexist-trolling in the name of “free speech”.

    “Somebody told me no! I don’t like being told no!”

  14. conway says

    “Most normal human beings resolved that question in kindergarten.”

    Then I guess the 4chan folks have not moved beyond the kindergarten level, or they are not normal.

    I like the horrible “make you despair for humanity” commenters. It lets us know where we live and who to fear. It is valuable. Like a Confederate Flag decal on a bumper. It’s a warning sign, like bared teeth.

  15. chigau (違う) says

    “Somebody told me no! I don’t like being told no!”
    Aren’t grown-ups expected to not do this?

  16. Erista (aka Eris) says

    This makes me sad. I really liked his science videos, but now I can’t watch them, because all I can think of when I hear his name is his terrible behavior.

    *sigh*

    And I didn’t even get through all his science videos, because I only started watching them when he came to FTB!

  17. says

    I posted in there specifically in reference to something from Dr Laden’s email that bothered me that nobody else had mentioned (how asking “have you killed anyone?” is typically unhelpful and in poor taste) but the rank misogyny of some of the commenters who congealed in that thread was disgusting.

    I understand that Justin was calling them on their shit, but at a certain point letting assholes carry on like that is absolutely counterproductive and is frankly appalling.

    He did well to shut it down, but there needs to be housekeeping RE: some of his commenters.

  18. says

    “Somebody told me no! I don’t like being told no!”
    Aren’t grown-ups expected to not do this?

    It’s basically the first commandment of objectivism.

    This makes me sad. I really liked his science videos, but now I can’t watch them, because all I can think of when I hear his name is his terrible behavior.

    *sigh*

    And I didn’t even get through all his science videos, because I only started watching them when he came to FTB!

    Don’t worry you’ll get over it. And at least in my experience it’s not as bad when it happens again. The first annoyance was Amazing Atheist which I was very upset about because I had previously defended and given too much benefit of doubt. Then Spoony fucked up and that previous experience had numbed me. With TF I feel nothing now.

    JOIN US IN CYNICAL NUMBNESS!

  19. Brownian says

    I wish that more people would attempt to understand the difference between harsh, crude language and bigoted language.

    They do. One has the power to offend straight, white makes, and the other is just joking.

  20. cotton says

    Note: I’ve so far always posted as JohnS but I had to register. This name was open.
    _____

    I’m a fan of PZ…been reading for years. Still, I try to call em like I see em and this reeks of vengeance over Greg Laden being kicked out. Justin posts Greg’s email publicly, that leads to Greg’s ouster. So, PZ writes his own scathing email calling Justin (in caps no less) stupid in order to up the ante.

    I’m all for social justice, but I just do not have this vicious streak that Greg and PZ share. I can’t imagine PZ thinks someone is going to humbly acknowledge a mistake when you call them naive, stupid, etc etc. PZ doesn’t want to make it possible for Justin to save face and come back into the social justice fold. He wants Justin to accept the abuse, leave, or to apologize pathetically in the face of “— literally, I MEAN STUPID —”

    Someone please tell me why advocacy is so at odds with civility and forgiveness?

  21. says

    I wish that more people would attempt to understand the difference between harsh, crude language and bigoted language.

    The difference is largely whether it is a slur (i.e. reminding someone ‘of their proper place’) and whether there is splash damage.

    A good rule of thumb is to think “does this insult actually insult people I do not want to insult via comparing them to the topic of my insult”

    This is actually not a hard topic to get, casual friends I have who are most definitely not hyper feminist and up on gender theory have nodded in agreement and understood the point when I pointed out the problems in trans shaming Anne Coulter.

  22. julian says

    Er- Not sure how Justin Griffith’s behavior warrants a warning. He was wrong to laugh at the cunt kick joke used but overall he did try to police the place and discourage that form of rhetoric. He even expressed regret at having laughed at it and made it clear he didn’t think it appropriate or that he wanted to see anything else like that aimed at Ophelia Benson on his blog.

  23. mythbri says

    @LILAPWL #16

    That is an excellent comment – I would have said so on the thread, because I was commenting there, too, but then Justin (appropriately) shut it down.

  24. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Still, I try to call em like I see em

    Yep, me too — it’s a lot easier than taking a moment to utilize higher order thinking skills.

  25. says

    Er- Not sure how Justin Griffith’s behavior warrants a warning. He was wrong to laugh at the cunt kick joke used but overall he did try to police the place and discourage that form of rhetoric. He even expressed regret at having laughed at it and made it clear he didn’t think it appropriate or that he wanted to see anything else like that aimed at Ophelia Benson on his blog.

    Well then he should have listened to people like Josh and I who went there on the first thread to warn him that that was going to happen.

  26. cotton says

    Because civility and forgiveness are often weapons for oppression masquerading as morality.

    I’m pretty sure there is some space between purposefully injecting vitriol and trying to silence dissent. It is VERY possible to stand one’s ground firmly and clearly without attempting to publicly humiliate someone.

  27. says

    Civility required that women not speak unless spoken to, that blacks crossed the street when a white person approached so not to scare or offend them, that gays remain in the closet (for the children’s sake), and that atheists do not publicly announce their disbelief or question people’s faith.

    forgiveness is often used to shame a victim for being mad at their victimizer. I am sick of forgiveness. Yes forgiveness can be very good but the idea that forgiveness must be given is so fucking over saturated in the culture that we can officially stop reminding everyone of it. If I want to remain angry it is my right because, goddamn it, someone really wronged me!

  28. julian says

    Well then he should have listened to people like Josh and I who went there on the first thread to warn him that that was going to happen.

    Yes, he should have.

    But that still doesn’t explain what he did that warrants a warning.

  29. mythbri says

    @We are Ing

    Exactly – and the thing that I appreciate most about Pharyngula is that there is a clear (to intellectually honest readers) distinction between using insults and attacking arguments as opposed to using bigoted language to tear someone down (and other members of that group as collateral damage). There are times when I think that people get too harsh too quickly, but at the same time there is a whole lot of stupid out there, and it’s refreshing to see it called out.

  30. cotton says

    Yep, me too — it’s a lot easier than taking a moment to utilize higher order thinking skills.

    That saying is intended to convey that I attempt to not let my affinity for one person and their views interfere with my judgment on their conduct vis-a-vis another person, even if I don’t like that other person or their views.

  31. says

    Thank you, PZ.

    Justin, I’m sick, absolutely sick and outraged that you’re giving these pisscakes a home here. If you think their shit is so giggly, fine – go off somewhere you can all be happy. Just don’t be doing it here. Christ.

  32. dogeared, spotted and foxed says

    life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ @16

    I’m glad I saw that, thank you for link. Although I do wish I had stopped there and not read further.

    Justin was right to close the thread and right to back away from the topic. I’ve got a lot of empathy for his thread being overwhelmed by the pit slime. They’re pretty much deaf to anything other than an opportunity for their message.

    I willing to give Justin a little more benefit of the doubt because he does care, even if he’s dense sometimes and because he’s far more socially aware than I was at that age. (Then again, my peers were significantly less informed.) Maybe that’s dense on my part, maybe I’ll be disappointed, maybe TF has so lowered my expectation of rational humanistic discourse that anything better is forgivable.

  33. karmakin says

    I think I understand what you’re saying PZ, but without a global IP ban on miscreants among the entire network, ANY discussion of this issue will result in the same result. It doesn’t matter if it’s Justin or Natalie or Zinnia (The latter has kind of happened, by the way, and I mentioned Natalie because she hasn’t really talked about this issue..which is fine.)

    I think they’re “feeding the trolls” all the same. Just because you already have them all banned, I think changes little.

    Justin’s post itself, I don’t think was bad. I think it was good. I think it was honest, and promoted evolution of thought on a subject, and GOOD evolution of thought on the subject. It’s something to be commended, not shouted down. Is it perfect? No. But it’s progress.

    I like progress.

  34. says

    I’m pretty sure there is some space between purposefully injecting vitriol and trying to silence dissent. It is VERY possible to stand one’s ground firmly and clearly without attempting to publicly humiliate someone.

    Such as silencing someone for being too vitriolic? Cause you realize that is exactly what you are doing. Criticizing a lesser power for not paying proper respects to a greater one and judging them poorly for that?

    Rosa Parks injected a lot of vitriol when she refused the polite request to obey common manners and move to the back of the bus.

    People do not have a right to not be offended. The idea that people complaining about socially acceptable immorality should make that complaint palatable to the offenders is perverse. The point is to drive the point into the light of day.

    Civility is a smokescreen. It is intentionally vague so it can be applied to dismiss anyone who rocks the boat. I’m willing to bet you’ll even view me as being too aggressive despite the fact that I haven’t insulted you.

    Sometimes people NEED to be offended. Sometimes people SHOULD be angry.

    The voice of the minority cannot break through the din of the majority if it is kept to a polite whisper.

  35. Erista (aka Eris) says

    Someone please tell me why advocacy is so at odds with civility and forgiveness?

    Okay. I have a story about civility.

    I am generally more “polite” than many atheists are. Less name calling, less sneering, less ordering to go away, more willingness to explain things that one could find with a google search or basic biology class, that kind of thing. Because of this, Christians often cited me as the “good” atheist whom other atheists should be acting like. I was so polite, so they would listen to me, and they would listen to the other atheists if they would be polite, too! I believed them when they said this, and this lead me to doing a certain level of tone trolling (although even that was mild, as I was intent on avoiding confrontation).

    However, Christians started inviting me to leave atheist forums and go over to Christian forums. Once I was there, it didn’t take long until they turned on me, going on and on about how terrible I was, how evil I was, and so on.

    It was then that I realized that the Christians weren’t actually listening to me more than they were listening to other, ruder atheists; instead, I was being used as a weapon against other atheists. If there were no other atheists in the room, it was no longer necessary to maintain a reasonable relationship with me because I could no longer act as their weapon.

    In short, I was only a “good” atheists if there were “bad” atheists in the room with me.

    This has lead me to be extremely suspicious of calls for “civility.” Calls for “civility” tend to be a way to turn the group against itself so that the group cannot unite against greater oppressors. If we all started acting civil, if we all stopped cursing and calling names, our opponents would not sit down and consider our points carefully. No, they would simply find some other excuse to attack us.

    Wrapping ourselves in civility forces us to give up many of our weapons (“Oh, you can’t criticism what so and so said, that isn’t civil!”) while granting us nothing in return. And that is why civility and advocacy don’t go together very well, at least in my opinion.

  36. cotton says

    ING collective: We are talking about two VERY different things and you know it. You are conflating using societal norms that oppress with basic human decency. They may have been called the same thing but they are NOT now and, more importantly, they NEVER WERE. Intolerance for opposing viewpoints isn’t “old civility” b/c that BS is not old nor was it ever civil.

    If something is wrong, by all means call it out. I believe strongly in justice and standing up for whats right. I manage to do this without humiliating people or making them feel small.

    When I was a Christian I read Dawkins’ God Delusion. It was direct and clear, but in its many pages it never told me I was a stupid asshole and that my opposition to gay marriage (at that point) made me an awful human being worth nothing but vitriol and spit.

  37. julian says

    Justin, I’m sick, absolutely sick and outraged that you’re giving these pisscakes a home here.

    He wasn’t giving them a home. It’s pretty clear from his posts and comments that he did not want that sort of behavior on his blog or on FtB.

  38. says

    As a side note, it’s frankly insulting to have someone come up and say “well don’t you know about CIVILITY”*

    Of course I do! I have theist friends: Christian, Jewish, Muslim. I am pretty much the same opinionated asshole here, but I’m not an excessive asshole to them because I think they’re decent people. I don’t always succeed but even here I *try* to be civil to people who seem earnest or confused, but well after all the JAQing and dishonesty and lying I frankly do not see the need to be civil to someone who is actively insulting my intelligence. I do not owe civility to someone showing FALSE civility. I do not owe politeness to someone being rude to me. I do not owe patience for someone trying to troll. What I owe them is mockery, derision and shaming, because; a) honest responses are not going to work, but where intellect fails shame still has a slime chance of prevailing, b) it amuses me and c) it might amuse a lurker who might learn something. And what is the possible downside to it being a shark tank here? That people hesitate to share blatantly stupid things that have been addressed to death? Well if that’s the case: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

  39. cotton says

    Erista, as I told ING: There is a great deal of real estate between tone trolling (“Saying there’s no God is just MEAN D:”) and being an ass (“lol you believe in god! what a moron!! rofl11!!”).

    Justin fucked up. By all means, call him out, plenty have. But why can’t you leave the door open to? Why make a person crawl on their belly to apologize?

  40. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    cotton, I think you may appreciate reading this perspective.

    I can’t imagine PZ thinks someone is going to humbly acknowledge a mistake when you call them naive, stupid, etc etc.

    Yeah, I too imagine he probably doesn’t think that.

    PZ doesn’t want to make it possible for Justin to save face and come back into the social justice fold.

    Mm. He hasn’t made it trivial for Justin to safe face, but he doesn’t have the ability to make it impossible, and I doubt that he wants to make it impossible.

    Consider that maybe PZ thought it was important to point out that Justin was being manipulated, because it was true.

    He wants Justin to accept the abuse, leave, or to apologize pathetically in the face of “— literally, I MEAN STUPID —”

    1) It would be possible to apologize non-pathetically.

    2) There are other options as well.

  41. says

    ING collective: We are talking about two VERY different things and you know it. You are conflating using societal norms that oppress with basic human decency. They may have been called the same thing but they are NOT now and, more importantly, they NEVER WERE. Intolerance for opposing viewpoints isn’t “old civility” b/c that BS is not old nor was it ever civil.

    I disagree. It is the same thing even today.

    Why make a person crawl on their belly to apologize?

    making the fall out to a fuck up memorable ensures someone remembers they fucked up. Forgiving all the time with out even a snark and dressing down makes you a door mat.

    Again, I don’t see the downside.

  42. says

    Justin fucked up. By all means, call him out, plenty have. But why can’t you leave the door open to? Why make a person crawl on their belly to apologize?

    It’s insulting that you presume that a harsh response means that the door to forgiveness is closed forever. It is not. You’re assumptions are made from ignorance and a naive understanding.

    For example: Spoony is an internet video maker who made a truely tasteless and sexist joke about raping someone. That’s bad. He was suspended from a hosting site for that. If he did the right thing (say like Jason Alexander) and took his lumps I would still be giving his site eyeballs and thus giving him ad rev. He didn’t. He doubled down and got more and more repulsive. If he makes an honest change in his life and gets the help he clearly needs and owns up it I may still go back as a fan. With more and more time that seems less and less likely.

    And Justin is not as bad as that, so please don’t insult my ability to grasp nuance.

  43. says

    ANY discussion of this issue will result in the same result.

    No it won’t. During Egate, the slimepitters were here in force, spreading their shit all over the place for multiple threads, thousands of comments over a period of days. Their rampant sexism was not tolerated and fiercely argued at every turn.

    Many of them were eventually banned, but not all of them by a longshot. They don’t show up here anymore in these types of discussions. Yes, we still get assholes, however, there are always assholes.

    It’s a matter of not tolerating their behaviour.

  44. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Well then he should have listened to people like Josh and I who went there on the first thread to warn him that that was going to happen.

    We did, too, and he didn’t listen. Now he knows.

  45. Erista (aka Eris) says

    @cotton

    But that’s just my point; I too tried to get people to stop saying things like “lol you believe in god! what a moron!! rofl11!!” And while I was doing this, Christians were willing to put me up on a pedestal. But the minute there was no one around to say things like “lol you believe in god! what a moron!! rofl11!!”, (because I was the only one there, and I wasn’t saying that kind of thing), the Christians did not become willing to carefully consider my words; instead, they simply turn on me instead. I stopped being “good” if I stopped being the nicest atheist among a group of ruder atheists.

    So I don’t try anymore. I don’t tone troll the people who have my back in favor of the people who are eager to deny my rights and my humanity. I accept that my allies are going to respond as they see fit. I acknowledge that my approach failed miserably, and have stopped trying to get people to stop doing what they think is best. I will respond as I wish, they will respond as they wish.

  46. cotton says

    ING you only seem to see black and white. “Forgiving all the time without even a snark…” Give some snark! I’m all for SOME snark. Yay snark.

    One more note on tone trolling: Tone trolling is an attempt to silence an argument / critique. It labels the very idea being presented as offensive. An atheist who counsels another atheist that to tell a Christian “There is no God” is just too offensive and direct, is tone trolling. If that atheist asks the other to say that same statement without calling the Christian a dumbass hick who probably has sex with his sister, he isn’t tone trolling his atheist colleague.

  47. 'Tis Himself says

    cotton #42

    I manage to do this without humiliating people or making them feel small.

    Good for you, cupcake. Don’t humiliate people to your heart’s content. Wallow in not making them feel small. Enjoy yourself. Just don’t insist the rest of us follow your lead.

    Recently someone described Pharyngula as an intellectual biker bar. It’s a good analogy. We’re rude, crude and lewd. That’s the culture around here. We don’t have a problem with you being nice to people. We’d appreciate you taking the same attitude towards us.

    In short, your concern is noted.

  48. says

    ING you only seem to see black and white. “Forgiving all the time without even a snark

    I find this blatantly false and insulting. Read back what I said and you will see exactly where I call for nuance. You are treating me very rudely by insulting me when I’ve done nothing but be polite to you.

  49. says

    I manage to do this without humiliating people or making them feel small.

    NG you only seem to see black and white

    I believe you may have some blind spots to your own behavior. I respectfully suggest you reexamine your own past words in context.

  50. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    ING you only seem to see black and white. “Forgiving all the time without even a snark…” Give some snark! I’m all for SOME snark. Yay snark.

    Okay, well, while Ing’s idea that “making the fall out to a fuck up memorable ensures someone remembers they fucked up” makes me cringe — and I suspect it probably isn’t true; I remember a lot of instances when people said to me “I wish you wouldn’t do that” and I responded that “I see your point and I’ll try to remember” —

    I actually don’t see this post by PZ as making anyone crawl on their belly. That is, the OP doesn’t make me cringe.

  51. cotton says

    Wouldn’t the 4chan culture have the same excuse? This is just how we are?

    I find this blatantly false and insulting. Read back what I said and you will see exactly where I call for nuance. You are treating me very rudely by insulting me when I’ve done nothing but be polite to you.

    I honestly can’t tell if you’ve actually taken offense, or if you’re trying to have me take my own medicine. My entire argument here is that there is a difference between tone trolling and civility. BTW I’m glad you point out Laden’s email was over the line.

    …and a good friend called. I’ll check this later. Peace. (I hope)

  52. says

    Okay, well, while Ing’s idea that “making the fall out to a fuck up memorable ensures someone remembers they fucked up” makes me cringe — and I suspect it probably isn’t true; I remember a lot of instances when people said to me “I wish you wouldn’t do that” and I responded that “I see your point and I’ll try to remember” —

    Well yeah but you were listening in good faith. I’ve done that too. I do also know that there are way too many people who are abusive or jerks who DO capitalize on people forgiving them easily.

  53. chigau (違う) says

    cotton

    One more note on tone trolling: Tone trolling is an attempt to silence an argument / critique. It labels the very idea being presented as offensive. An atheist who counsels another atheist that to tell a Christian “There is no God” is just too offensive and direct, is tone trolling. If that atheist asks the other to say that same statement without calling the Christian a dumbass hick who probably has sex with his sister, he isn’t tone trolling his atheist colleague.

    Nope. That’s not tone trolling.

  54. 'Tis Himself says

    cotton #53

    Tone trolling is an attempt to silence an argument / critique. It labels the very idea being presented as offensive. An atheist who counsels another atheist that to tell a Christian “There is no God” is just too offensive and direct, is tone trolling.

    BZZZZ! Wrong. Thank you for playing.

    Tone trolling is being concerned with HOW something is said rather than WHAT is being said. It’s taking form over function. All too often, tone trolls will whine about people using naughty words or being rude because the tone troll doesn’t have a decent rebuttal to the opposing argument.

    Every so often a tone troll like yourself comes here and whines about how nasty we are to people. If you don’t like it here, there’s nobody forcing you to stay. If you don’t like how we say things, that’s your problem, not ours and we’re not particularly interested in hearing your complaints about our tone.

    Notice I’m being nice to you. One more whine out of you and no more Mr. Nice Asshole.

  55. says

    I honestly can’t tell if you’ve actually taken offense, or if you’re trying to have me take my own medicine. My entire argument here is that there is a difference between tone trolling and civility. BTW I’m glad you point out Laden’s email was over the line.

    Isn’t it funny how you can’t tell? I thought there was a big clear gap? Not so much apparently.

    For reference, I am not being facetious. I’m respectfully talking to you in a way you indicated you’d prefer to be spoken to.

  56. subbie says

    My take on forgiveness has always been that its main virtue is that it lets the offended party move on from the offense and get on with life. As such, it is solely the offended party’s choice what level of penance the offender must meet before forgiveness is granted. If one person wants to forgive at the drop of a hat because they are ready to move on, bully for them. If someone else demands belly crawling across a field of broken glass, well, that’s what they need.

  57. says

    Why be angry at Justin for this? Well, speaking for myself, because I was angry at him the first time he did it, and now I’m angry that he did it all over again. I’m also angry that he laughed.

    Btw Justicar doesn’t claim the word is different in his country compared to mine, because he lives in the same country I do. The same area, too, which he creepily dwelt on in Justin’s post – he could find out where I live, it would be easy, blah blah blah blah.

    Thank you very much Justin. You’re a fantastic colleague.

  58. says

    My take on forgiveness has always been that its main virtue is that it lets the offended party move on from the offense and get on with life. As such, it is solely the offended party’s choice what level of penance the offender must meet before forgiveness is granted. If one person wants to forgive at the drop of a hat because they are ready to move on, bully for them. If someone else demands belly crawling across a field of broken glass, well, that’s what they need.

    I assure you it is entirely possible to move on with your life without forgiving someone. It’s a rather cruel myth to tell people that they have to forgive their abuser before they can move on. It shames them for being victimized.

  59. says

    Can people shut up about “forgiveness”? He hasn’t stopped. He did it, everyone blew up, he apologized (among other things) – and then he did it again. I’m not going to “forgive” him when he’s still doing it.

  60. says

    Justin is a straight white cis man. PZ does not have the power tom ake it impossible for him to find mass forgiveness; one need only look back to Hugo Schwyzer for ample proof of that, though that wasn’t on FTB.

  61. Erista (aka Eris) says

    @cotton

    Anyway, if you come back and read this post, I guess I have just one last thing to say to you.

    I was faced with the situation where I had to choose between the people who cursed and were fighting for my rights and the people never said a “bad” word but were fighting tooth and nail to keep me down.

    You are being faced with this same decision, the same decision I faced. I personally decided that someone who was fighting on my behalf but swore was someone I was more interested in being with than someone who had very “polite” language but had no trouble stabbing me in the back while they smiled.

    But I can’t make that decision for you. You’re the one who is going to have to pick between the two.

  62. islandstrust says

    Holy crap. Justin’s post contains an abortion “joke” that is horrible. How can he be so desensitized to foulness that he would include this in a post? He’s apparently spent enough time on 4chan and in the slimepit that he can type out that joke without vomitting. They’re joking about “breaking” people with stories like that. Really, breaking people. Live people.

    I want no part, ever, of that. And I’ll consider blocking his blog address and any other that thinks it’s ok to treat people that way, in person or on line. That he even has to put it up for consideration means he’s seriously lost his way in how to treat others as humans.

  63. says

    Hugo Schwyzer for ample proof of that, though that wasn’t on FTB.

    There’s a good example of what I mean about someone capitalizing on forgiveness.

    Holy crap. Justin’s post contains an abortion “joke” that is horrible. How can he be so desensitized to foulness that he would include this in a post? He’s apparently spent enough time on 4chan and in the slimepit that he can type out that joke without vomitting. They’re joking about “breaking” people with stories like that. Really, breaking people. Live people.

    Which is what I mean about making a fuck up memorable. I’m not talking about forcing someone to eat a lightbulb to earn forgiveness, I’m saying giving the clear message that “no this is wrong/unacceptable/hurtful etc and you should feel bad that you did this and if left unaddressed it will affect my assessment of your character”

  64. Erista (aka Eris) says

    Oh, Jesus, that abortion “joke” is terrible.

    A clue for anyone who doesn’t understand: If your “joke” results in the person you told the joke to fleeing from the room, something has gone terribly wrong and your “joke” is not opperating like a “joke.” A joke is supposed to result laughter and mirth, not a need to run away. Sometimes jokes fall flat (and people don’t get them or don’t find them funny), but this goes beyond the joke falling flat. Causing the woman to flee seems to have been the goal, and that’s terrible.

    Bloody hell.was enough to send the woman skittering off to the bathroom.

  65. Erista (aka Eris) says

    er, I’m not sure how the “was enough to send the woman skittering off to the bathroom.” ended up at the end of my post. Just ignore it. Sorry.

  66. Shplane says

    I post on 4Chan. A lot. I have /tg/ open in another tab right now. We’re talking about the new Warhammer 40k core rules. It’s fun.

    Some of the things I see these people posting would be considered asshole behavior on 4Chan. Take from that what you will.

  67. mythbri says

    @Erista

    It was enough to send the woman rushing to the bathroom, and it was referenced in the context of causing people attending skeptic conferences to do the same thing. It was cruelty for the sake of cruelty, and then it was cruelty for the sake of harassment.

  68. Tak the Hideous New Girl says

    I read that thread and cringed. I totally feel for Ophelia, it’s disgusting what they do to you.

    I also am pissed about the admiration of 4chan and the talk of “breaking” people with their comments and they accuse posters here as bullies? I have never seen people take such pride in being assholes outside of YouTube comments.

    PS the abortion joke, if some stranger told me that, my response would be, “What the fuck is *wrong* with you?”

  69. cotton says

    Eris, I just see your choice as a false dichotomy. Part of this may be I wasn’t there to witness the conversations that are clearly in your mind.

    I can tell you that if someone calls my ideas offensive, that is just too bad for them. I won’t pretend to have a conversation with someone if there are lines of thought I’m simply not allowed to go into without being called mean or a smart ass. However, I will disagree with someone, even vehemently so, without calling them stupid. I won’t try to make them feel stupid either. I will be clear, upfront, and direct. I will not be condescending, superior, or cruel.

    Example: I just read Justin’s abortion joke. Holy jeebus that’s terrible. That’s a pretty rough joke to deploy one someone who, as the guy admitted, isn’t even a close friend. Who knows if that woman had an abortion and that triggered painful emotions? Why on earth would another person drop that onto someone’s lap at what was light social event? That person’s wife (and likely the husband) are exhibiting signs of mental imbalance. That joke was callous and indescribably inappropriate, and its unfortunate that Justin doesn’t see it. I would physically repulse from embarrassment if I was in the same room as that joke.

  70. Pteryxx says

    So instead of women being pussy dispensers, now they’re LULZ dispensers. Wonderful, that’s really an improvement, that is. *barf*

  71. Erista (aka Eris) says

    @cotton

    But this isn’t about what you personally choose to do. I also choose to (generally) refrain from name calling and the like, simply because it is my nature, and to do so is very stressful to me.

    The issue is that you feel it is your right, job, and duty to tell other people how they should be acting because you are under the assumption that our more polite way works better. I am here to tell you that it does not. Well, it may work better in some situations, but it will also work worse in other situations. Civility, decorum, and politeness are not universally better methods of interaction on this kind of thing.

    Given that our way does not universally work better, it should be left to us to do as we see fit, and left for others to do as they see fit. Sometimes their approach will work better, sometimes our approach will work better. But we should not try to dictate how other people react to having their rights and humanity denied. All that will do is make life for our allies more difficult while lending power to those who wish to keep us as second class citizens.

  72. cotton says

    BAH double post >.< ING in #71: I agree with your entire post. Island trust does say that "they are talking about breaking people. live people". Well…that's what Justin is AGAINST. That is why he brought that up. He says he has no problem with the joke itself, he takes issue with the idea of breaking people. Granted, the joke is worthy of exception, but he is specifically against the idea of breaking people and pointed it out as a piece of evidence that these people want to hurt their opponents, not merely engage in spirited discussion.

  73. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    I tried to post on ERV, and for some reason now none of my posts are getting through.

  74. Erista (aka Eris) says

    My wife just came home from a going away party for a friend, and told me how she broke another person there, who’s not much of a friend. Evidently, leaning over and telling her “Hey Laura…what’s red and crawls up your leg?”

    “I don’t know?”

    “A homesick abortion”

    was enough to send the woman skittering off to the bathroom.

    I really want to send her to Skepticon and tell her “fifty bucks per FTB twonk or Skepchick you break”. She’d be rich by the end of the first day.

    I don’t really have any problem with abortion jokes in the right context (this instance seems fine.)

    That does not seem to be condemning breaking people to me.

  75. Erista (aka Eris) says

    Oh, and the emphasis (bolding and italics) are mine, not Justin’s.

  76. cotton says

    Eris, I absolutely think that civility is better than incivility: That willingness to forgive is better than shunning forever. I make no bones about this. Treating people like decent human beings and not humiliating them is NOT merely “my personal style”, it is the correct way to behave as an adult. Decency is not weak. It isn’t letting things go or being non-confrontational. That might fall under politeness. I’ll readily admit politeness and spirited discussion may not fit together. Civility, however, is always possible.

    See, right here I’m disagreeing with you., and doing so civilly. Do you really think that I’m not able to communicate my fullest without wondering aloud how naive and stupid I must think you are? I’d rather put a fork in an electrical socket than treat people like that.

  77. says

    cotton #80: That’s not the issue.

    The issue is that he was

    1)

    Greg also recently admitted to taking his slime fighting to directly attempt to interfere with Abbie Smith’s education and career. This tactic has been used on Hemant Mehta, PZ Myers, and even me by Christian extremists. I understand the urge to stop something you see as evil at all costs, but our movement does not need to stoop to that level. Are we going to attempt to deprive humanity of a scientist? Notice, I’m not trying to find Laden’s employers to tell them about his behavior. His exposure here is for the betterment of the movement as a whole, not a personal vendetta. Even if it is possible that his employers may see this (I hope they don’t), the secular movement deserves the truth.

    They think it’s the funnest possible thing ever when they try to make Ophelia Benson, or Stephanie Zwan, or whoever ‘break’. These bloggers are real people who give a shit about what they are writing. You’ve been trolling them long enough to make them sharpen their eyes and their claws towards gendered slurs. I understand that you think they’re the bullies, but making somebody cry, or extremely uncomfortable is not a respectable tactic. It’s chaos that generates more people against you than for you. Stop now.

    defending them through the use of false equivalence and victim blaming

    2) acting like threats and stalking are defensible in any case

    and

    3) acting like there is some continuing action on the part of the pro-social-justice side when there isn’t, just reaction followed by an influx of slimepitters making noise.

  78. says

    .Eris, I absolutely think that civility is better than incivility: That willingness to forgive is better than shunning forever. I make no bones about this. Treating people like decent human beings and not humiliating them is NOT merely “my personal style”, it is the correct way to behave as an adult.

    Would you call out a racist coworker even thought it would embarrass them?

  79. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    But we should not try to dictate how other people react to having their rights and humanity denied. All that will do is make life for our allies more difficult while lending power to those who wish to keep us as second class citizens.

    I agree, but cotton’s initial argument was about PZ’s OP.

    In this case, PZ, as a man, is not one of those whose humanity is being denied.

    I disagree with cotton’s reading of PZ — I just don’t think it’s too rude — but it can’t be fundamentally off-limits to argue with privileged people regarding how they should talk about issues where they are privileged.

  80. says

    I don’t see in that quote where you said threats and stalking are defensible. It looks like the opposite. I also don’t see where he implies there is some ongoing wrongdoing from the pro social-justice side.

  81. Erista (aka Eris) says

    Eris, I absolutely think that civility is better than incivility:

    And I think you are wrong, and I have given you the experiences that have lead me to believe you are wrong.

    That willingness to forgive is better than shunning forever.

    No, no, no, and no. Now, I understand what I am about to say is not something you meant to trigger, but I feel it shows why forgiveness is not always better.

    My father sexually abused me for most of my life. I do not remember a time before he started sexually abusing me. The sexual abuse only stopped when I refused to have contact with him when I was 16, although the stalking started after that and only stopped when I threatened to go to his bosses and the police.

    While I have gone through this, many people have felt the need to tell me I should forgive him. Sometimes it’s that I should forgive him because he’s the only father I’ll ever have, other times it will be that I should forgive him because it will supposedly be good for me.

    But I do not forgive him. I tried, for a long time because people told me to, and all that made me feel was like a failure for not being able to forgive him. But I have given that up and regained my power. I do not forgive him. I have no plans to forgive him. I reject and shun him forever.

    Forgiveness is NOT always better than shunning. Sometimes, shunning is the only reasonable response.

    Treating people like decent human beings and not humiliating them is NOT merely “my personal style”, it is the correct way to behave as an adult.

    No. SOMETIMES it is the correct way to act. Other times it is not. Some people are not decent human beings and deserve to be humiliated.

    Decency is not weak. It isn’t letting things go or being non-confrontational. That might fall under politeness. I’ll readily admit politeness and spirited discussion may not fit together. Civility, however, is always possible.

    Then we have a fundamental disagreement.

    See, right here I’m disagreeing with you., and doing so civilly. Do you really think that I’m not able to communicate my fullest without wondering aloud how naive and stupid I must think you are? I’d rather put a fork in an electrical socket than treat people like that.

    1) as I said before, the best option in one situation is not the best option in another.

    2) Then don’t act that way. No one is trying to force you to. The only thing that people are asking is that you stop scolding the oppressed for not being nice enough to their oppressors.

  82. mythbri says

    @cotton

    As Eris has already said with their personal anecdote, people can be incredibly polite and yet be tearing you, and everything you stand for, down.

    “It’s not that I hate gay people, I just believe that marriage is traditionally between one man and one woman.”

    “It’s not that I hate black people, it’s just that a lot of criminals happen to be black.”

    “It’s not that I hate women, it’s just that they’re too emotional to take seriously in discussions about sexual harassment.”

    All of those sentences, on their face, are “polite”. There’s no particular slurs being used, and yet all of those sentences are hurtful and prejudiced. Civil language, but harmful ideas.

    As Eris said, I will throw in with a rude crowd that supports the issues that I care about before a polite crowd that throws them under the bus.

  83. cotton says

    83 Erista: Read further. He calls them out and then, as #86 Setar points out, he is pulling a false equivalence. So, he’s recognizing they are assholes, but saying it’s b/c others were assholes first. Yah, not so much, he’s wrong there. Sometimes simple is right: There are some sexist assholes who own keyboards.

    BTW if calling people assholes seems to contradict my general message here, I make exceptions for people who are clearly acting in bad faith. If someone thinks Justin is doing that, well fair enough. I don’t get that impression. I think he’s been put FAR on the defensive, been overwhelmed by the social justice theories, and nursing a bruised ego.

    I, like most people not raised in progressive house holds, had to slog through my own privilege to truly start to understand social justice. Less than a year ago, I would have been Justin. I admit, I have a soft spot for straight, white, male liberals trying to find their way, but woefully blinded by privilege. The process of doing the right thing (versus merely being interested in the right thing) is very hard on the ego. It is harder when surrounded by people shaming the shit out of you when they themselves went down the same road but have forgotten its difficulty or those with the luck of having been raised progressively in the first place.

    Still, I admit, he is not doing himself any favors. I would suggest him asking a lot of questions and listening vs. attempting to learn by shooting off privilege-powered missiles and seeing how they get shot down. It’s a lot easier the first way.

  84. says

    I admit, I have a soft spot for straight, white, male liberals trying to find their way, but woefully blinded by privilege.

    Oh yes they clearly are the ones most deserving your pity and special consideration!

    I’m sorry am I shifting into incivility?

  85. Erista (aka Eris) says

    @ cotton

    If you want to point out where Justin condemns the abortion joke, feel free. I do not see it.

  86. says

    cotton #94:

    He calls them out and then, as #86 Setar points out, he is pulling a false equivalence.

    There’s a funny thing about the false equivalence — it has the effect of cancelling out his calling them out, because he’s now backing up, defending them, and going after the victims (Rebecca, Jen, Ophelia, Stephanie, et al).

    Which you would get if you’d read the whole damn paragraph, which I so nicely quoted for you.

  87. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    cotton, rather than getting too abstract — where you end up saying things like “willingness to forgive is better than shunning forever” which is not categorically true, as Erista explained — maybe it would be most useful if you stick to the limited topic of what exactly PZ said.

    (If I were you I’d drop that topic too, because I’m pretty confident that PZ just doesn’t give a fuck, but at least if you stick with the limited issue at hand you’ll be less likely to make egregious errors.)

  88. cotton says

    Well Eris, you’re right. There are some things beyond the pale like that, when someone is so powerfully harmed. First and foremost, I do not believe forgiveness is appropriate when the offender isn’t sorry. You can’t forgive the unapologetic. It’s clear you’re justified in not forgiving your father. I would retreat my “always treat people civilly” to the realm of rational argument.

    to 92 mythbri: Those ARE some howlers. My response would be “well that’s terrible. That’s a very cruel thing to do to people and I’m sorry you would so readily engage in cruelty.” That isn’t mean or insulting. It just is. I would not say “OMG you’re just SUCH a piece of shit.”

    I would also argue that person isn’t really a potential ally. Justin seems to want to do the right thing. If you feel the same way, then I think the right thing to do is allow him to admit he was wrong without making him “crawl across glass” to do it. If you think Justin is acting in bad faith, and is just a trolly mctroll asshat, then I agree: take the gloves off.

  89. says

    Those ARE some howlers. My response would be “well that’s terrible. That’s a very cruel thing to do to people and I’m sorry you would so readily engage in cruelty.” That isn’t mean or insulting. It just is. I would not say “OMG you’re just SUCH a piece of shit.”

    I’m very glad you have the privilege of being able to look down on us emotional little mean monsters.

  90. nms says

    @Ing

    The Spoony mess was depressing, wasn’t it? Between that and this ongoing struggle over TAM’s (possibly non-existent) harassment policy I’m increasingly convinced that a lot of people expect their online communities to have essentially no standards of behaviour.

  91. echidna says

    Ing, cotton was just expressing empathy in a “I’ve been there” way. Going against the herd has a cost; to go against the herd it is necessary to ignore the messages of your group that you are not following the norm. To come out of it without a “me against the world” feeling, it is necessary to put a focus on empathy for views/backgrounds that are not your own. At the same time, feeling empathy for people with toxic behaviour is harmful.

    Forming a set of consistent and useful approaches is something that I have yet to achieve.

  92. nms says

    well except for “women will be quiet when they are told to be quiet” obviously

  93. cotton says

    to pitbull, #98: Ok. I think its pretty clear PZ is pissed about Greg being kicked. The reference to Justin “posting his email publicly” is a clear reference to the letter that got Greg kicked out of these blogs. PZ is no doubt unimpressed and angry in regards to Justin’s nonsense. However, I speculate an extra edge was added in vengeance. That letter was not written to get Justin to rethink incorrect ideas. It is to cause him to leave FTB or apologize to someone calling him stupid and naive. Maybe its just me, but I have a harder time admitting I’m wrong to people who call me stupid and naive.

  94. says

    Ok. I think its pretty clear PZ is pissed about Greg being kicked. The reference to Justin “posting his email publicly” is a clear reference to the letter that got Greg kicked out of these blogs. PZ is no doubt unimpressed and angry in regards to Justin’s nonsense. However, I speculate an extra edge was added in vengeance. That letter was not written to get Justin to rethink incorrect ideas. It is to cause him to leave FTB or apologize to someone calling him stupid and naive.

    It’s very rude to make this assumption

    Maybe its just me, but I have a harder time admitting I’m wrong to people who call me stupid and naive.

    That is a character flaw.

  95. Erista (aka Eris) says

    @cotton
    to 92 mythbri: Those ARE some howlers. My response would be “well that’s terrible. That’s a very cruel thing to do to people and I’m sorry you would so readily engage in cruelty.” That isn’t mean or insulting. It just is. I would not say “OMG you’re just SUCH a piece of shit.”

    As someone who has worked as a crime victim advocate for 2 years and volunteered in the same capacity for a little bit, I have a policy*:

    Don’t tell victims how to react to their abusers.

    *This is a general policy that has some exceptions that I’m not interested in trying to make a comprehensive list of.

  96. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    cotton, it was I who defined Pharyngula as “an intellectual biker bar.”

    <blockquote?That willingness to forgive is better than shunning forever.

    Um, who here has said anything about “shunning forever.” No-one. What causes us to be uncivil is when posters very civilly tell outright lies.

    Treating people like decent human beings and not humiliating them is NOT merely “my personal style”, it is the correct way to behave as an adult.

    No. No, no, no. Civil societies (yes, irony there) depend upon a whole raft of measures to control individuals’ behaviour, from the extreme of judicial sanction and confinement to social shaming and humiliation. The last two, actually, are among the most effective and least harmful ways (both to individuals and to society) to change, first, behaviour, and, eventually, attitudes. Read some sociology and anthropology, will you?

    Decency is not weak. It isn’t letting things go or being non-confrontational. That might fall under politeness. I’ll readily admit politeness and spirited discussion may not fit together. Civility, however, is always possible.

    “Civility is always possible.” No, no it is not. Let us extrapolate just a little bit from the most recent 4chan explosion.

    UNCIVIL PERSON: Cunt! Cunt! I’m gonna kick your wife in the cunt!
    YOU: Come now! Be reasonable.
    UP: She’s a fuckin’ feminazi and she deserves to be kicked in the cunt.
    YOU: Your language is disgraceful.
    UP: Hey, you’re not white!
    YOU: What has that got to do with anything?
    UP: Senator Frist was right! If Strom Thurmond had been elected, you’d be in the back of bus and you couldn’t come here and put yer fuckin’ nigger face in my sight.
    YOU: You’re not engaging in any argument at all.
    UP: You and your fuckin’ wife ought to be kicked up the cunt!

    Me: My wife is of another race. I’ve had some UNcharming experience with slimepitters, and NO civility is NOT always possible.

    Do you really think that I’m not able to communicate my fullest without wondering aloud how naive and stupid I must think you are? I’d rather put a fork in an electrical socket than treat people like that.

    The idea that you would rather harm yourself, even if only in hyperbole, rather than take action to bring harassment to an end, or to confront a bigot with the consequences of his actions is foolish. Bigots, abusers, criminals, and others frequently require being told in the bluntest language possible what their words, actions, and beliefs reveal about them. Often the blunt language is necessary because the type of people who laugh about kicking someone in the cunt simple DO NOT RESPOND AT ALL to anything less than a clue-by-four.

    Hamstring yourself all you want. Refrain from condescending while you upbraid us. That we use bad language does not render us incapable of seeing the high horse you bestride, and of being offended when your horse-apples hit us in the head.

  97. echidna says

    cotton,

    I would retreat my “always treat people civilly” to the realm of rational argument.

    Glad to see the retreat, but then you need to define rational and civil. There is a lot of ambiguity in speech, and unspoken assumptions. To some people, atheists even announcing they exist is uncivil.

    The word “always” is not one that can be used lightly, it’s really, really loaded.

  98. says

    Do you really think that I’m not able to communicate my fullest without wondering aloud how naive and stupid I must think you are? I’d rather put a fork in an electrical socket than treat people like that.

    Again, you think I see things in black and white!?

  99. cotton says

    To 107 Hairhead: I agree, some people do need a “clue-by-four”. To quote the sheriff from Cool Hand Luke, “Some men, you just can’t reach”. My civility does have an asshole exception. Do you think Justin truly is an asshole? I hadn’t got that impression that others thought he was a “slime pitter”.

  100. mythbri says

    @cotton

    My problem with Justin is similar to the issues that other people have with him. I still don’t understand why he claims to understand the idea behind “sexist-trolling as a reclamation of free speech”, and says to the ERV commentors “NOW you’ve gone too far.” Especially because they only seem to be trolling to reclaim sexist speech, and not homophobic or racist speech. That bothers Justin, too, but the fact that he basically seems to be okay with the method of “reclaiming free speech” really bothers me.

    And you said in your comment at #77 that if someone calls your ideas offensive, then you don’t care to continue with the conversation if you’re not allowed to pursue those lines of thought. Do you see that this is exactly the same argument that the ERV commentors are making? Their sexist ideas are offensive, and they are called out on them, so they don’t want to engage in conversation because those sexist, offensive ideas are being identified for what they are. The examples that I gave in my comment at #92 are also offensive ideas – does that mean that the people who hold them should refuse to engage in conversation because they will be called out on it?

    There are some ideas that are not valid. There are some issues where the opposing sides are not equally right. It’s appropriate to point it out in these cases.

  101. says

    To quote the sheriff from Cool Hand Luke, “Some men, you just can’t reach”. My civility does have an asshole exception. Do you think Justin truly is an asshole? I hadn’t got that impression that others thought he was a “slime pitter”.

    Stop. You are being dishonest. You are moving the conversation from the general to the specific and vice versa when it’s convenient. Stop that.

  102. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    cotton, assuming that all of this is true:

    I think its pretty clear PZ is pissed about Greg being kicked. The reference to Justin “posting his email publicly” is a clear reference to the letter that got Greg kicked out of these blogs. PZ is no doubt unimpressed and angry in regards to Justin’s nonsense. However, I speculate an extra edge was added in vengeance. That letter was not written to get Justin to rethink incorrect ideas.

    This next bit does not follow:

    It is to cause him to leave FTB or apologize to someone calling him stupid and naive.

    Too much assumption of intentionality.

    Another explanation would just be that PZ was pissed and wanted to voice his objection and vent a bit, but didn’t have any particular end-game planned out.

    I think this is more parsimonious, because it assumes less, and because PZ appears satisfied already.

  103. says

    @Setar

    I presume you mean “has not”

    The full story is that he made a tweet joke about raping one of his co-workers on the TGWTG site, to which other people took exception. He got in a fight with someone else on that and got nasty. For that he was suspended. He then continued throwing a fit and was fully fired.

  104. dondruid says

    Jeez, I roll on over here to see your response to the latest Jesse Bering BS and it turns out you’re in some sort of intrablog slapfight. Come on – you’re too good for this.

  105. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    cotton@110: Your previous statements never mentioned an “asshole exemption”. You stated quite clearly that you’d rather harm yourself (which I recognized as hyperbole) than not be civil.

    You’re changing the goalposts, which does not reflect well on you. You have made long, clear statements and are now backing up and creating “exemptions”. What, then IS your stance, really. Here, consistency in argument is valued.

    Finally, you have not answered, and I request you do so, our ongoing irritation at your extremely insulting condescension of us. Without using any “bad words” you have been very insulting to us — and we have, in the main, have continued to treat you with kid gloves. You see, for the most part, we will answer civility with civility.

    But keep avoiding questions, moving goalposts, and condescending most nastily, and you will find yourself on the end of some pointed words.

  106. Erista (aka Eris) says

    Alright, I guess we’ll go with another story.

    Once upon a time, I was having an argument with people who are generally on my side about abortion. The person who I was arguing with was not at all civil. She was mean, and I walked away from that conversation vowing to never speak to her again.

    But do you know what? She really got me thinking about the issue, about what I was actually saying, and what the outcomes of what I was doing were. After a few weeks, I changed my mind. I decided she was right.

    Now, there was a part of me that wanted to not change my mind to spite her. To say, “If only you’d been nice, maybe I would have changed my mind!” But the rest of me knew that this was incredibly stupid. The fact that she had been angry with me because she considered my behavior to be harmful should not prevent me from coming to the correct conclusion. If it did, the fault was mine, not her’s.

    I still don’t like her (for reasons unrelated to that particular argument which are not important), but she convinced me. The fact that she was mean did not prevent me from realizing that my standpoint was ill-thought out and basically a reflection of the morals that the people around me held. And you know what? The fact that she was so angry probably helped convince me, because the whole situation stopped being merely academic to me and started being about how people were really impacted by what I was saying.

    So, no, civility is not always the way to go. Sometimes you have to let people know that this is about more than just words on a screen; it’s about real people who have real reactions to what we are doing.

  107. says

    Justin’s post contains an abortion “joke” that is horrible. How can he be so desensitized to foulness that he would include this in a post?

    It’s from Welch the Air Force veteran, which apparently makes it a-ok. The mind boggles.

  108. klatu says

    There is some really terrible stuff there that you can’t unsee. Then again there is a beautiful human rights, free speech, anti-totalitarian, anti-corporate mindset that I’ll never be able to explain to an outsider.

    I find this statement ludicrous.
    If an idea cannot be conveyed to others, it’s not much of an idea. And it’s neither beautiful nor free speech if certain demographics are discriminated and discouraged to participate in the most viciously hostile manner, simply for who they are.

  109. dondruid says

    I mean, I’m quite entertained by apparently serious letters penned back and forth detailing exactly what channers like (hint: it’s attention), but I sort of though that PZ ascended beyond draining the alt.swamp some time ago?

  110. cotton says

    To 111, mythri: Well, its the blog’s perogative to set the limits on discussion. If the “slime pitters” don’t like those restrictions, they are free to leave. I would do the same thing if I were on a Christian forum that told me denying Jesus was off limits. Well I’d leave. If I didn’t leave, they would (rightfully) ban me b/c I wasn’t conforming to the rules of their place.

    If a blogger (or group, like FTB) sets limits, those that feel those limits are unfair can leave. If they insist on defining the limits and boundaries of a space not their own, bans and suspensions are very appropriate.

    To 106, Erisa: I agree, I would not deign to comment on how anyone should respond to an abuser or abuse.

    to 108, Echidna: We pretty much agree here. I would say that someone who includes an opinion, regardless of how it is stated, as uncivil is just wrong. They don’t understand (or are purposefully conflating) civility.

    to 112, ING: What? I have no idea what to tell you o_O. I’m trying to be honest. Is there a specific question of a general or concrete nature that you wish to pose me?

  111. Erista (aka Eris) says

    Excuse me, 119 should have read “Once upon a time, I was having an argument with people who are generally on my side about abortion about a more specific catagory of abortion.”

  112. says

    ING: What? I have no idea what to tell you o_O. I’m trying to be honest. Is there a specific question of a general or concrete nature that you wish to pose me?

    No I’m telling you that it’s dishonest to speak on a topic generally and then shift to a specific focus at your leisure like you did. It’s moving the goal posts.

  113. dondruid says

    At this point, we are well into the realm of argument as sport. But that’s what it is, the favorite sport of skeptics, and it doesn’t really serve to lampshade all the personal animosity here once the blood has risen. Just hang up your cleats and crack a beer because the sun has gone down and the moon has come up, and etc.

    There is a proper and fitting realm for talk of strawmen and moving goalposts and ad this and that. It’s a wonderful land of substantive topics and personal edification and by this point it is miles in the opposite direction.

  114. klatu says

    @nms, Ing, Setar
    About Spoony: Wow. I actually was taking a sorta break from Spoony for about a year and only started watching his stuff again recently. And I don’t do Twitter. So until just now, I had no idea about the rape jokes. I noticed a lot of misogyny in his material before, but shit… that’s just repulsive.

  115. nms says

    @Setar

    He was actually suspended for the huge Twitter-tantrum he threw when he got called on it, as opposed to the rape joke itself. Because workplace sexual harassment are okay if the workplace is on the Internet, apparently.

    Spoony is pretty clearly unwell, though he seems to be in denial over it*. It was the reaction by his supporters, including the harassment directed at the woman who finally stood up to him, that I find really disheartening. Those people aren’t doing anyone any favours.

    *I am 60% sure that I am not trying to minimize his behaviour

  116. dondruid says

    How about we go back to Prometheus? I saw that and it was really stupid. And according to interviews, Ridley Scott thinks the K-T extinction event both created the Gulf of Mexico (the crater is just that big, don’t you know!) and shifted the Earth significantly on its axis.

    That seems like a slightly more substantive use of everyone’s time.

  117. chigau (違う) says

    dondruid #117
    Did you even try to find the appropriate thread to discuss “the latest Jesse Bering BS”?

  118. says

    There is a proper and fitting realm for talk of strawmen and moving goalposts and ad this and that. It’s a wonderful land of substantive topics and personal edification and by this point it is miles in the opposite direction.

    No, when someone starts to be dishonest you cannot have a good discussion. It is important to call it out, especially if the person is not cognizant that they are doing it.

  119. cotton says

    To 119, Erista: Was that meanness really necessary though? This may be more a testament to you being mature enough to filter the arguments from her personality than a case of meanness winning the day. I too have been convinced I was wrong by people I couldn’t stand. Never did I feel the fact that their awfulness was a necessary part of my learning experience. I just viewed it, as best, as part of the package.

    Maybe I AM just arguing for sport now, as 127, dondruid says. :( I don’t want to do that. I think I’ve written enough (and probably 2 posts too many) for one night. Thx, ya’ll, I’ll lurk around more tomorrow.

  120. says

    How about we go back to Prometheus? I saw that and it was really stupid. And according to interviews, Ridley Scott thinks the K-T extinction event both created the Gulf of Mexico (the crater is just that big, don’t you know!) and shifted the Earth significantly on its axis.

    That seems like a slightly more substantive use of everyone’s time.

    Cotton, I want to point out to you that it’s clear that this joker is just being a derailing troll. I think we can agree on that?

    @dondruid

    Fuck off

  121. says

    Spoony is pretty clearly unwell, though he seems to be in denial over it*. It was the reaction by his supporters, including the harassment directed at the woman who finally stood up to him, that I find really disheartening. Those people aren’t doing anyone any favours.

    Seriously if you want a real example of an echo chamber

  122. mythbri says

    @cotton

    But I don’t think that “setting limits on discussion in certain environments” is what your argument is really about. For example, Pharyngula is not a civil blog. People are allowed to be rude, to insult other people and belittle their arguments.

    What they are NOT allowed to do is insult other commentors with bigoted language. There is a difference between being harsh, uncivil and rude to someone while simultaneously dismantling their argument, and dismissing someone’s argument based entirely on an attribute.

  123. dondruid says

    I will 100% admit that I am attempting to derail this thread into something slightly more fun and worthwhile, and also that “We Are Ing The Matrimonial Collective” does not like this idea one bit!

  124. Tethys says

    Cotton

    I am rather disturbed by your “crawl across glass” metaphor.
    PZ’s post makes no such demand. There is only the suggestion that Justin stop being stupid, and try to clean-up some of the mess he has made.

    This is not about Justin’s ego, it is about his actions. His actions have been harmful. You can count me as another vote in the “I am not interested in building bridges to the slimepit.” group. I find the idea offensive and repulsive.

    Stop trying to make this about Justin’s poor hurt fee-fees, and focus on being an ally to women.

  125. dondruid says

    Then again, maybe we need a lot more argument to convince people that rape jokes and genital violence are outside the realm of acceptable discourse. A lot more! Just tons of it!

  126. dondruid says

    Personally, I think we need more cognizance of the moving goalposts on this reductio ad hominem absurdo post facto.

  127. Erista (aka Eris) says

    To 119, Erista: Was that meanness really necessary though? This may be more a testament to you being mature enough to filter the arguments from her personality than a case of meanness winning the day. I too have been convinced I was wrong by people I couldn’t stand. Never did I feel the fact that their awfulness was a necessary part of my learning experience. I just viewed it, as best, as part of the package.

    I don’t know. It isn’t like I hadn’t heard her arguments before. There are two possibilities.

    1) I grew up enough to consider the point rationally (I tend to think this was not the case).

    2) The fact that she was mean to me made it stick in my head. I was mad, I felt wrong, I felt misunderstood. But I REMEMBERED, and when I saw people talking about the same topic, I considered their words more carefully. Rather than simply jumping in to the fray, I watched and considered. These people, too, were very angry, just as she had been, and and because their meanness was not directed at me (because I wasn’t participating), I was able to step back and see what was going on. You see, she was not merely some disinterested party arguing in some vacuum of pure logic as I was; she was operating as a deeply invested party who had to live with the blood, gore, and mud of the topic. That’s why she was angry, because there I was, making little proclamations from an ivory tower of “This doesn’t really impact me.” Her anger forced me to confront the blood, gore and mud.

  128. dondruid says

    For if people aren’t cognizant, how can they ever be aware? The latter doesn’t even have as many letters.

  129. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ dondruid

    If you want people to discuss what subjects you want discussed, I suggest you start your own blog.

    In the meantime, we have our hands full with cotton, who weaves conspiracy theories about PZ and thinks survivors of abuse should forgive their abusers, and that civility is the highest ideal thing one can aspire too.

    If you want to debate any of those, go right ahead. If not, kindly fuck off.

  130. interrobang says

    As usual, the troll crowd fails Context 101. For what it’s worth, I’ve known that abortion joke for years and years, because I am a deep and possibly pathological afficionada of gross and tasteless jokes, the more gross and tasteless the better. (I like gross jokes, not mean jokes, though.)

    However, I don’t go around telling my grossest and most tasteless jokes to random people (or non-random, carefully selected people) just for the sake of grossing them out, making them cry, or “breaking” them. I save them for times and places where I can be fairly sure I won’t offend the person(s) I’m telling them to. Mainly because although I’m admittedly kind of depraved, I’m not a complete and total asshole. I also wouldn’t post them on blogs (unless I know they’re “safe” for that sort of thing, or outright soliciting gross/tasteless jokes), for basically the same reason.

    Shorter me — the joke isn’t the problem so much as the situation.

  131. says

    However, I don’t go around telling my grossest and most tasteless jokes to random people (or non-random, carefully selected people) just for the sake of grossing them out, making them cry, or “breaking” them. I save them for times and places where I can be fairly sure I won’t offend the person(s) I’m telling them to. Mainly because although I’m admittedly kind of depraved, I’m not a complete and total asshole. I also wouldn’t post them on blogs (unless I know they’re “safe” for that sort of thing, or outright soliciting gross/tasteless jokes), for basically the same reason.

    REALLY? Oh really? Is that what you do? “Lesbian and bi women” does that phrase ring any bells?

  132. The Swordfish, Ambulatory Memory Leak says

    I try to call em like I see em

    This is such a reliable indicator of stupidity that it’s a wonder people still use it.

    Ing @ 66

    It’s a rather cruel myth to tell people that they have to forgive their abuser before they can move on. It shames them for being victimized.

    THIS. This cannot be emphasized strongly enough. I was lucky enough never to fall for that canard, but during my high school years I lost count of the number of my female fellow students I knew who believed it wholeheartedly, and from what I could see, it caused them a lot of pain. All were good, obedient Christians, natch, and so I was generally too afraid of losing their friendship to say anything about it, which, looking back on it, is one of my abiding shames from high school.

    Anyway, can we carve what you said on a mountain somewhere? I feel like it needs to be carved on a mountain somewhere.

  133. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ We are Ing

    REALLY? Oh really? Is that what you do? “Lesbian and bi women” does that phrase ring any bells?

    So am I to understand that interrobang has a reputation around here that works against him/her? Sorry if I am misreading this.

  134. says

    @Fluffy the terrible

    Not to my knowledge.

    Save that they did say that smegma is the leading cause of gay and lesbian women. A comment that was as tasteless, homophobic and sexist as it was….wait I guess it was just that, and they to my knowledge didn’t give an explanation to the muliple “WTF!?” that were sent their way.

  135. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ We are ing

    Oh, I remember that particular comment. I just didn’t remember it was by interrobang. Ok, thanks for clearing this up..I was starting to think I can’t understand what I’m reading any more.

  136. says

    cotton, I think you may appreciate reading this perspective.

    this attempt at linking failed. try again?

    Erista (aka Eris) @83 (quoting the abortion “joke”): jesus fuck that’s a fucked up thing to say to someone. why would anyone be so gleeful that their wife likely triggered that poor woman?

  137. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    I do recommend this comment by SC (Salty Current).

    the comments are not only closed, but have apparently been deleted

    Ah, I still have them. Here, I’ll paste the comment I was talking about:

    +++++
    SC (Salty Current), OM says:


    July 1, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Last thoughts on the Slime Pit
    Most readers have heard of 4chan or Anonymous. Few understand it. It’s a very large chaotic force made of hundreds of thousands of people pulling in several directions. Some of them are hackers like the infamous AnonOps and LulzSec crews, but most are not. Part of the chaos includes the embrace of so-called “true” freedom of speech. Anonymous often uses racist, sexist, violent humor to shock or troll people. Everything is acceptable if it’s “for the lulz” (for the laughs). There is some really terrible stuff there that you can’t unsee. Then again there is a beautiful human rights, free speech, anti-totalitarian, anti-corporate mindset that I’ll never be able to explain to an outsider.

    Judging from this and the earlier post, you seem to have a tendency to see these as inherently linked. They’re not. I can tell you as someone who’s studied a large number of human rights, free speech, anti-totalitarian, anti-corporate movements that many – and I’m talking about movements over more than a century – have stood against and tried to create cultures opposed to bigotry in all forms. I know you don’t know much about anarchism, but anarchist communities and organizations have often been at the forefront of fighting corporations, imperialism, fascism, authoritarianism and also sexism, racism, homophobia, and animal slaughter.
    (Abbie Smith, in contrast, has consistently shown herself to be a corporate ally – see her posts about agriculture, HPV, and the Sb Pepsi blog, for example.)
    You appear to appreciate the atmosphere you’re talking about (and yes, I don’t know much about it), but you shouldn’t think it’s necessary to these other struggles. Indeed, these struggles are deeply connected, and contributing to liberation on one axis helps struggles on other axes. Here, for example, is the Honduran resistance.
    And I do think you are desensitized to the harm bigoted language and jokes cause. (Oddly enough, I was on a military joke list several years ago. I know from these jokes.)

    When I took one look at Abbie’s blog and the ‘shocking statements’ people attributed to her… it was clear that the socially irresponsible free-speech angle from Anonymous culture was at play. The signature is unmistakable, and the memes are beacons to the trained eye. These sustained attacks have stressed out people and derailed conversations for a year now.
    I don’t see why she holds on to gendered slurs….

    This has a ring of pitsplaining about it, but I’ll ignore that (and the problem noted above, which you seem to acknowledge when you say “socially irresponsible”) for the moment and respond as a social scientist. I understand that you want to encourage people to understand statements from the perspective of a subculture and how certain language is used within it. That can be useful. However, you’re viewing this incompletely and in isolation. First, this goes well beyond rhetoric and memes. I don’t know if you’ve read those threads from last year or just scanned them for terms that supported your reading, but there has been a vicious and sustained real campaign there against Rebecca Watson. They’ve gone after everyone trying to make this community better for women and tried to shut down debate about improvements.
    Second, your own puzzlement points to a problem with your analysis. If it were “just” a sphere of this edgy stupidity, it would be more consistent. They would use racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic jokes and rhetoric. They don’t. They go after women and feminists and wallow in gendered slurs. This is not incidental. It’s data.
    Also, even if it could all be attributed to a certain cultural rhetoric, which it can’t at all, that would still be morally repulsive. Casual bigotry, much less intentionally cruel bigotry, is completely unacceptable. You should step back and recognize that you might not understand this fully, and start listening more to feminists, rather than trying to explain to them. Perhaps try to think about what would be happening if this were about race or sexual orientation….

    What the fuck? Why would you waste a year of your time talking about sexual harassment at atheist events if you don’t even attend atheist events?

    Again, I think this is a failure of sociological analysis. If you’re shocked at the perceived inconsistency of a behavior or at their obsession it might be because you don’t understand it. In this case, it’s because they don’t really care about this or any other specific issue. They’re conservatives on this – do not consider [other] women their equals, and oppose feminist efforts and feminists personally. Their behavior points to that, again and again. It should occur to you that you don’t see this because you’re not a person or member of a category that’s been their target.

    The slime pit boils down to this:

    It boils down to a lot more than that.

    I don’t really have any problem with abortion jokes in the right context (this instance seems fine.)

    You know nothing about that context (nor do I). If the woman “scurried” away, I would wonder why. If a woman had just miscarried or had an abortion she was conflicted about (or knew someone who did), this joke could be extremely painful. If it’s told with the intent to cause pain, the teller is a malicious person.

    They think it’s the funnest possible thing ever when they try to make Ophelia Benson, or Stephanie Zwan, or whoever ‘break’.

    Yes, they want to be cruel. This is terrible behavior.
    (For the record, I’ve cried (I cry fairly easily, and briefly) once in this, and that was in response to betrayal by someone I’d trusted.)

    Stop now.

    I appreciate this, but you’re assuming better motives than you have reason to. Further, their stopping now wouldn’t begin to cover it.

    But he needs to understand that there is such a thing as a learning curve. He’s been guilty of calling a woman a ‘bitch’. This was before he learned about gendered slurs. How could he forget that he was guilty of the same thing so quickly? I urge my peers to realize that every newbie is a potential ally, and to allow some sort of learning curve to exist. Clearly, I’m not suggesting that my peers try to ‘teach Justicar’. I’m only talking about people new to the subject.

    I speak only for myself, but as the woman in question, I’ll say that I “allowed” no such learning curve. I honestly didn’t remember his having called me that, probably because it paled beside his false Glenn Beckish accusation (and his changing someone’s comment and outing another commenter). I did hope he and Zvan would retract and apologize, but they didn’t, and I was disappointed to see them here (she’s been OK otherwise). That’s not to say his calling me that was OK by any stretch.

    I also think the slimers should shut the fuck up for a moment and not escalate. Don’t do a victory dance, or pretend that I’m on your side of the gender issues. Fuck strife. I believe in redemption. So should you. It is not likely to come any time soon, but I hope he changes. (Abbie too for that matter).

    It’s not for you to tell the people who’ve been targets of this how to respond. It’s not for you to tell the people who’ve been targets of this how to respond. Redemption is a religious concept, and I don’t care about it in the slightest. If the people at the slimepit want to apologize and work toward making things better, great. I’ll be happy, and decide in individual cases whether or not to believe them. But I have no responsibility to try to “save” or educate them. You’re free to do so. I’m happy to exclude them.
    If I didn’t think people could change, I wouldn’t have spent years arguing about gendered slurs and diversity in conference speakers and so on on these blogs. Many of the people making regressive and sexist arguments in the past are now great feminist allies. The odds of any of the pitizens changing in this way are small but not nonexistent. But they’re doing terrible things, and I don’t want them in my (cyber)vicinity. Until they can act like decent people, they shouldn’t be welcome. And you have no business telling women how we should respond to them.
    ***

    I’m not judging you on the fight against oppression (I have no dog in this fight),

    That’s ludicrous.

  138. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    SG, that was a very intelligent and proportionate explanation.

  139. hotshoe says

    It’s wonderful to see that reply by SC rescued from the oubliette.

    I guess it’s not too bad that Justin Griffith disappeared the rest. A little weird …

  140. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    LILAPWL–I’m glad you got that comment because it was really, really good and not to be lost.

  141. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Meanwhile at Stephanie Zvan’s we have a charmer predicting the impending demise of FtB, which will be made all the more likely by PZ’s cardiac problems. He then says requiescat in pace. Among some other horrible things.

    The creepers come out at night.

  142. mythbri says

    LILAPWL, I’m also glad you had that comment saved. I understand why Justin closed the comments but not why he deleted them.

  143. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Lack of life experience, ING, I’m guessing. Not really grasping what it’s like for a non-white male (he is pretty young). This may be his watershed moment when he does serious self-reflection. I’ve had a few myself.

    Doesn’t excuse, but might explain. Doing it twice, though, that is harder to understand.

  144. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    I understand why Justin closed the comments but not why he deleted them.

    It’s unusual but I think it’s a fair assumption that he decided he didn’t want to provide a platform for the bad shit, and felt that if he was going to delete all the bad shit then he should delete the good shit too.

  145. says

    SG, that comments of SC was very well worth preserving — thank you.

    Josh — wow. I believe it’s been a while since we had a troll reference PZ’s heart problems last year? I don’t recall seeing the nym before, so very probably another pseudonymous coward. Disgusting.

  146. Pierce R. Butler says

    Thunderfoot down.

    Greg Laden down.

    Rock Beyond Belief nearing the edge.

    Other FtBloggers seem likely to fall like dominoes/pawns/lemmings/yr-metaphor of choice, even if us spectators can only guess at which.

    The situation reminds me of a nuclear chain reaction: critical mass* + pressure = fission and extreme energy release. Also lots of toxic fallout and landscape rearrangement.

    This whole episode, yet to be satisfactorily named, won’t kill FtB, but we can see already it’s going to leave scars. Organized atheism moves backwards, feminists have to defend on yet another front. And all because some people’s mothers didn’t bring them up not to play badly with others?**

    * of bloggers? Reader-hours? Egos? Accumulated blasphemies? Somebody get me a grant!

    ** Has anyone examined the hypothesis that core slimepitters are agents provocateurs working for Cointelpro 2.0, Koch operatives, &/or other anti-atheists/feminists/progressives?

  147. Cyranothe2nd says

    Jesus Crisco, it’s like Justin doesn’t realize that Words Mean Things, nor that words actually have the power to shape (social) reality…

    …just, wow. If /4/chan is the standard by which we are to measure discourse, we are well and truly fucked.

    Also, can someone catch me up on Greg? His blog says he’s taking a hiatus. Was he kicked for his email to Justin?

  148. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    And all because some people’s mothers didn’t bring them up not to play badly with others?

    What the fuck?

  149. says

    Erista @83 & 96 and other who are quoting the abortion “joke”. It is not quite as bad as it looks in here.

    Justin is quoting John C Welsh, slimepitter extraordinaire, and saying – in large and bold type face – that this is an instance of something truly repulsive. While it might have been nice if Justin had refrained from repeating the joke, and he’s not condemning the abortion joke per se, he is condemning the “breaking people” part quite firmly. The part you bolded in #83 about “my wife” is John C Welsh’s words, not Justin’s. Justin was quoting it.

  150. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    @Cyranothe2nd From the (now deleted) comments on Justin’s post it looked like both he and Greg were trying to claim the “I wanted to work things out friendly-like but he wouldn’t be reasonable” high ground. There were apparently back channel messages that factored into Ed’s decision as well.

  151. neonsequitur says

    This gigantic clusterfuckshitstorm is the inevitable result of tribalism and extremism run amok. It’s also why there are one hell of a lot of blogs on this network that aren’t worth reading. PZ and the rest of the “crusaders” around here really need to get the fuck over themselves.

    What a goddamned mess.

  152. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    @Neonsequitur

    I honestly have to ask you this, and I mean it sincerely:

    1. Did you think the comment you posted would elicit a good or productive response?

    2. If not, why did you post it?

  153. says

    PZ and the rest of the “crusaders” around here really need to get the fuck over themselves.

    I’ll get over myself when assholes stop obsessing over the notion that women are people, that a woman said “Guys, don’t do that” and stop telling me things like “you really need to get raped again, since that’s the only way you can get laid” sent by e-mail for comments made here at Pharyngula.

    Shorter words for you: Fuck off.

  154. says

    Fuck, Caine, that’s beneath contemptible. Ewwwwww. (FWIW, you have my sympathies, and also respect for being such a trouper that the slime did fixate on you as a target.)

    Yeah, neon, it’s tribalism alright. The tribe of “uppity wimminz deserve to get raped” vs the tribe of at least vaguely decent human beings. I’ve picked mine. Geeze, that was a hard call to make, I had to flip a coin. (/sarcasm)

  155. corkscrew says

    “Somebody told me no! I don’t like being told no!”
    Aren’t grown-ups expected to not do this?

    Not always.

    I would be interested in a clear statement of the difference between PZ’s trolling of the religious and ERV’s trolling of the folks here. Is it simply that the religious (as a group) are in a position of comparative power, whilst people with vaginas are not?

  156. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    That’s a big part of it.

    There’s also the fact that the trolling of the religious is in response to harassment, discrimination, violence, and arrogant entitlement, whereas ERV and her minions’ trolling of the folks here is in response to a woman saying “Guys, don’t do that” because “that” made her uncomfortable.

    And similarly, there’s the difference between “you are a demented fuckwit because of the damaging ignorance and bigotry you promote” and “you need to get raped again,” as noted above.

    Are we noticing a pattern here?

  157. consciousness razor says

    Organized atheism moves backwards, feminists have to defend on yet another front.

    How do you figure either of those? We’ve moved backward somehow? Did we need Thunderfool or Laden at FtB to move forward, or even to just stay the same? And which front do you think feminists have to defend which they haven’t already been defending?

    Has anyone examined the hypothesis that core slimepitters are agents provocateurs working for Cointelpro 2.0, Koch operatives, &/or other anti-atheists/feminists/progressives?

    I’d like to think at least some of the trolls are godbots pretending to be atheists, but I strongly doubt it. They’re sure as fuck not feminists or progressives, whether they think they’re joking or not. I’d need a much higher-grade tinfoil hat to entertain government or corporate conspiracies as a real possibility. I guess they could be aliens.

  158. consciousness razor says

    I would be interested in a clear statement of the difference between PZ’s trolling of the religious and ERV’s trolling of the folks here. Is it simply that the religious (as a group) are in a position of comparative power, whilst people with vaginas are not?

    Get a fucking grip. Crackers can’t be trolled, because they’re not people. On the other hand, people with vaginas are usually referred to simply as people.

    What’s going to be your next question? “If people came from vaginas, why are there still vaginas?”

  159. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    What’s going to be your next question? “If people came from vaginas, why are there still vaginas?”

    Preemptive episiotomies?

  160. julian says

    I’ll get over myself when assholes stop obsessing over the notion that women are people, that a woman said “Guys, don’t do that” and stop telling me things like “you really need to get raped again, since that’s the only way you can get laid” sent by e-mail for comments made here at Pharyngula.

    Caine, that’s terrible.

    It’s also the exact kind of behavior Justin Griffith was condemning through mentioning of the abortion joke.

    He was arguing that cruelty for the sake of cruelty doesn’t serve any great societal purpose. It’s just cruelty and needs to be stopped.

  161. corkscrew says

    Azkyroth: Thanks for confirmation and clarification. (You nicely pre-empted my intended follow-up question about whether it’s OK to complain about the religions of deprived or persecuted groups.)

    Consciousness razor:

    Crackers can’t be trolled, because they’re not people.

    This is not a meaningful distinction. For example, technically, vaginas can’t be trolled either, given that they’re not conscious organisms in their own right. But the people who have them (or otherwise think they and their owners should be treated with respect) can be. Similarly, it’s legit to say that PZ was trolling people who have, or have respect for, crackers.

    Apologies for the extreme clunkiness and bluntness of the above paragraph. I honestly hadn’t expected to be discussing something so basic.

    On the other hand, people with vaginas are usually referred to simply as people.

    I would have just said “women”, but I know at least one person who has a vagina but does not consider himself a woman, and I respect his self-identification.

  162. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    corkscrew

    I would be interested in a clear statement of the difference between PZ’s trolling of the religious and ERV’s trolling of the folks here. Is it simply that the religious (as a group) are in a position of comparative power, whilst people with vaginas are not?

    I literally can not believe that you asked that in good faith.

    Let’s make a little comparison, ja?

    The Catholic Church:
    * Been in power for more than a millenium (that’s a thousand years, and that’s bad)
    * Used that power to do atrocious things including torture, rape and murder, some of which continue until this day
    * Uses this power to get out of consequences for said atrocious things
    * Power is based upon people believing in something that is easily provable to not be true (transubstantiation)

    PZ’s “trolling” – Not just for a reaction, actually, so it can’t even be classed as “trolling”.

    PZ cut at the root of that unearned privilege that comes with the power by proving that nothing happens if you “blaspheme”, no matter how bad the supposed “blasphemy” is and that people do not have to live in fear or do what the church says, even when they don’t believe in it or it goes against logical morals because of fear of divine retribution.

    Women:
    *None of the things the Church has.
    *Especially not power or societal clout
    *Too lazy to list the rest, but boils down to oppressed and marginalized (which religion and the Catholic Church in particular played a *huge* role in, ahem) for millenia.

    ERV’s trolling: Admittedly done for a reaction. Has no redemptive effects whatsoever, in fact, does active harm in contributing to the culture that oppresses women.

    This is not and never has been about offense. This is about harm. The RCC does harm – harm, that’s not just “offense”. What PZ did with the cracker harmed no one in any way other than just “offense”.

    What Abby’s doing? Real harm, not just offense.

    Besides reinforcing a culture that says it’s okay to demean women and abuse them just because they were unlucky enough to be born women, have you ever considered the very real possibility that
    a.) One of the people (statistically likely) who regularly posts ERV really, really hates women to the degree that he’s physically hurt women before
    b.) If not one of the posters, one of the lurkers.

    What message do you think that person who really, truly deeply hates and hurts women gets from that?

    I’ll leave you with a quote that never gets old or less true by Kate Harding:

    ‘Cause the thing is, you and the guys you hang out with may not really mean anything by it when you talk about crazy bitches and dumb sluts and heh-heh-I’d-hit-that and you just can’t reason with them and you can’t live with ‘em can’t shoot ‘em and she’s obviously only dressed like that because she wants to get laid and if they can’t stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen and if they can’t play by the rules they don’t belong here and if they can’t take a little teasing they should quit and heh heh they’re only good for fucking and cleaning and they’re not fit to be leaders and they’re too emotional to run a business and they just want to get their hands on our money and if they’d just stop overreacting and telling themselves they’re victims they’d realize they actually have all the power in this society and white men aren’t even allowed to do anything anymore and and and…

    I get that you don’t really mean that shit. I get that you’re just talking out your ass.

    But please listen, and please trust me on this one: you have probably, at some point in your life, engaged in that kind of talk with a man who really, truly hates women–to the extent of having beaten and/or raped at least one. And you probably didn’t know which one he was.

    And that guy? Thought you were on his side.

    (Emphasis as in the original)

    (I’m thinking of starting to spam that damn quote because it’s not hard to understand, and yet so few seem to want to.)

  163. says

    corkscrew #192:

    Apologies for the extreme clunkiness and bluntness of the above paragraph. I honestly hadn’t expected to be discussing something so basic.

    Yeah, that’s privilege. Go to google and punch in “feminism 101″ (include the quotes), first result should be a very useful blog/compendium, and the references there should carry you forward. Also, check you Yo, Is This Racist? if you’re not too well-versed on racism.

  164. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Caine, I have no words. That is really, really horrible and inexcusable and I’m so sorry you have to deal with that.

  165. says

    Caine #181:

    I’ll get over myself when assholes stop obsessing over the notion that women are people, that a woman said “Guys, don’t do that” and stop telling me things like “you really need to get raped again, since that’s the only way you can get laid” sent by e-mail for comments made here at Pharyngula.

    There will be an entire batch of my secret recipe brownies, with added magic, waiting by your USB port.

  166. Stacy says

    @corkscrew #192

    Similarly, it’s legit to say that PZ was trolling people who have, or have respect for, crackers

    PZ was making a statement about the idea, or complex of ideas, behind the cracker (that it was magic, that it was Jesus, that some ideas are sacrosanct.) Trolling is not the right word for that. Trolling is not about making a coherent point.

  167. consciousness razor says

    Crackers can’t be trolled, because they’re not people.

    This is not a meaningful distinction.

    According to the Pope. Why should anyone else care?

    Similarly, it’s legit to say that PZ was trolling people who have, or have respect for, crackers.

    PZ did no harm to any people who have crackers. People who have respect for crackers ought to be ridiculed out of having such absurd beliefs, but doing that isn’t harming them. In fact, it may have even helped a few people. No crackers were harmed either, because crackers can’t be harmed, because they’re not people. So with Crackergate, there was literally no harm done to any person, cracker, or any other kind of entity.

    I would ask you to explain how the slimepitters haven’t done anything wrong, but don’t even bother. Just fuck off.

  168. Muz says

    I’m not at all well versed on the specifics of what’s being going on battling the denizens of Mordor lately. But I do rather admire what Justin was trying to do in most of that post. There is a sort of culture clash element to this. One of the insane new internet and the old (and lets face it most of the serious bloggers are old school, even if they’re young. The use of a blog doesn’t change that).
    I know that feeling he has; many of the slime pit brigade do seem sane and reasonable at times and we ought to be able to figure out what the hell the problem is and fix it, or at least talk it down to some sort of civil truce.
    This may be a mistake but I know the feeling, is what I’m saying. I wouldn’t want to jump to giving up on that idea too quickly either. Of course, people who are the subject of their ire are likely to have a different opinion (and that’s probably that they’ve had their chance).
    However,as I think Justin just saw reinforced, a lot of their stuff is just willfully stupid and embittered. I don’t buy this whole free speech thing. That’s got to be the most weaksauce un-self-aware stance on the net. “I call people cunt on the internet. I am William fucking Tyndale!”. Give me a break. As was pointed out, they have fairly specific targets and subjects. They’re not fighting any sort of good fight. They have no cause or outcome or purpose. They invented their own outsider cred by throwing rocks at people, and when people didn’t like it they said it was because they were a horrible feminist clique.
    I have yet to see any better grounding for their position (if you can call it such) than that. Most things are wounds caused in the ensuing melee. All the little issues and “lies” they took offense at back in the day, could be talked out if they wanted to. They hate feminism and certain people and that’s it (then anyone too associated with them). “Free Speech” is a facade. As it is on /b, btw.
    I do applaud Justin for trying to stand in the middle, but it’s probably for naught.

  169. Space Monster says

    I do applaud Justin for trying to stand in the middle

    I don’t. By trying to stand in the middle between a group of assholes and bullies on one side and their victims on the other, Justin only managed to get slime on himself.

  170. says

    Yeah, we really need to stop worshiping the Golden Middle. Sometimes, being neutral is not the virtuous thing to do.

  171. mudpuddles says

    At this moment there are 202 comments before I post this. I tried to read through them but it got really depressing reading tit for tat “you’re uncivil”, “oh no I’m not”, “oh yes you are” -type catfighting. Christ on a tricycle. So I stopped. Therefore apologies in advance if this is just rehashing something someone has already said.

    This is just my tuppence worth, but as someone who has followed Greta, Zinnia, PZ and others who blog here for a long time, this thing of attacking your colleagues openly on FtB is really exhausting and discouraging, especially as it comes right on top of the whole harassment policy farce. WTF guys??

    A large mass of assholes (I’ll just call them all trolls scumbags here) stoke up a needless shitstorm over the genuine need for acted-upon policies to address harassment at conferences. As someone who organises scientific conferences several times per year, I find such requests to be perfectly normal. Its often addressed through simple “Conference Code of Conduct” missives. Anyway, not to go back through it all but these scumbags had a field day winding up the folks on this blog. Then one of the bloggers unfortunately puts their Thunderf00t in it and starts off a storm of angry finger pointing and blah blah blah this is just descending into utter crapola.

    YES, people should be called out on their nonsense. YES its important to ensure that FtB retains some sense of a standard approach to the core issues (it would not do to have some working hard to highlight social justice issues on their blogs while their efforts were being openly undermined by their colleagues on other FtB pages).

    But the scumbags stirred up this fight and now they rejoice when FtB bloggers start turning on each other in public.

    Kick each other’s asses by all means, but please don’t feed the scumbags. It would be great if these “you’re stupid” letters could be kept private.

  172. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    That email from Greg Laden most certainly needed to be made public.

    Damn it, I hate it when I have to agree with assholes, but this is true. Greg Laden was being a bully and what he did was seriously not okay.

    Yeah, we really need to stop worshiping the Golden Middle. Sometimes, being neutral is not the virtuous thing to do.

    On the opposite end, I love it when I can agree with awesome, intelligent people who say things I want to say better than I am able to.

    Sometimes, there really IS no middle ground.

  173. says

    @ing

    The full story is that he made a tweet joke about raping one of his co-workers on the TGWTG site, to which other people took exception. He got in a fight with someone else on that and got nasty. For that he was suspended. He then continued throwing a fit and was fully fired.

    linkara said that it was not for the tweet, it was for other behavior problems towards fans and coworkers (and also failing to do his work or do it on time), they had received numerous emails, and so forth. The tweet happened a month before the suspension, though the blog post calling it out happened to coincide with the suspension.

    It seems like his mental health has slowly deteriorated over time, so it is plausible to me that the rape joke was one in a string of bad decisions. His going ape shit on virtually everyone who supported him could be seen as evidence of a general problem as well.

  174. John Morales says

    mudpuddles:

    This is just my tuppence worth, but as someone who has followed Greta, Zinnia, PZ and others who blog here for a long time, this thing of attacking your colleagues openly on FtB is really exhausting and discouraging, especially as it comes right on top of the whole harassment policy farce. WTF guys??

    How exhausting can clicking a mouse button be?

    But the scumbags stirred up this fight and now they rejoice when FtB bloggers start turning on each other in public.

    So what?

    Kick each other’s asses by all means, but please don’t feed the scumbags. It would be great if these “you’re stupid” letters could be kept private.

    Better for you, maybe.

    (Perhaps your concern shall be noted and duly filed where it belongs)

  175. says

    oh, and to the douche who said 4chan isn’t so bad, but doesn’t post on /b/:

    go post on /b/ for awhile and tell me about “manners” again. /b/ is the most popular part for a reason, and generally the origin of various campaigns (like the one where the epilepsy website was hacked w/strobe animations, and “fat hate” days)

  176. says

    Damn it, I hate it when I have to agree with assholes, but this is true. Greg Laden was being a bully and what he did was seriously not okay.

    is anyone really surprised though? Gregs been cruel or kind to the same people depending on circumstances as long as I’ve been aware of him.

  177. babanani says

    Before you all tell me to fuck off, do give a thought to the practical side of this. Justin puts real time into issues that most of us care about. Do we really want to be so fucking nasty to him that he drops that work? Sure, he is ideologically impure, sure, he fucked up, but can we really afford to chase the fellow travellers away? Maybe so, but then we should drop our “I swim in a sea of Believers,” meme.

    Don’t bother firing back with free speech, intellectual biker bar rubbish. You are right, but you are missing the point. Does this vile exchange actually move our goals forward and does it convince anyone of anything useful?

    Tactics and strategy and time wasting. What works?

  178. FluffyTheTerrible says

    I do love it when people come out of the woods to profess doom regarding FtB and the bloggers here. I also love when they try to weave this narrative that oh my fluffy bunny, bloggers are being kicked out! censorship! end of this network!

    But the truth is as long as you have several good bloggers, you have a core that is relatively unaffected by all the shitstorm around them.This is like having staff coming and leaving in a company: as long as the ones who actually deal with the vital aspects of the organization still do their job, just because clueless Bob and raging Tim were fired doesn’t mean the rest of the company will instantly dissolve.

    This is a storm in a tea cup. FtB will be fine and people clutching their pearls over all the recent incidents need to stop thinking that just because they wish for the untimely demise of FtB, it doesn’t mean it’s actually going to happen.

  179. Rey Fox says

    I don’t know Justin from Adam, but I really doubt that this e-mail from PZ is going to break his delicate flower-like constitution.

    I think you guys need to respect him more.

  180. John Morales says

    babanani:

    Justin puts real time into issues that most of us care about. Do we really want to be so fucking nasty to him that he drops that work?

    Who supposedly wants what nastiness?

    (And who is this ‘we’ you speak of, stranger?)

  181. says

    Holy crap. Justin’s post contains an abortion “joke” that is horrible. How can he be so desensitized to foulness that he would include this in a post? He’s apparently spent enough time on 4chan and in the slimepit that he can type out that joke without vomitting. They’re joking about “breaking” people with stories like that. Really, breaking people. Live people.

    There were times in my life when I would have run from the room after that joke, too. Because the alternative would have been to knock the asshole’s teeth in, which is rightfully frowned upon.
    Like after the abortion I had where they removed an embryo I would have very much liked to grow into a baby but that had to be aborted because it was not viable.
    FFS, Justin Griffith, do you know what a trigger warning is?
    Have you ever heard about miscarriages, spontaneous abortions (that’s when something red crawls down your leg and it means the end of your hopes and dreams), missed abortions and therapeutic abortions?
    Obvioulsy not, which makes it possible for you to think that this joke was Ok, that it’s OK to make such jokes, hey, it’s just shits and giggles. Yeah, sure, I’m just laughing about the most traumatic point in your life, but hey, can’t you take a joke?

  182. John Morales says

    babanani:

    Tactics and strategy and time wasting. What works?

    Action.

  183. says

    Justin puts real time into issues that most of us care about. Do we really want to be so fucking nasty to him that he drops that work?

    Lie back and think of the revolution, baby!
    I’m sick and tired of that shit.
    I’m sick and tired of people telling me that I should stop complaining about misogyny because it will scare the Dudez away.
    So, you think we should just stop and put up with that shit.
    Obviously because Justin Griffith is such a delicate flower that he’ll drop the fight for what’s good and right because somebody was mean to him.
    Here’s what I say: If he were such a lilly-livered ass (I’m not saying he is) I’d say good riddance because we don’t need people who only support the things that are good and right because we kiss their ass.
    And I’m fucking mad at people like you who suggest that everybody else’s delicate fee-fees are much more important than our lives.
    Fuck you and don’t forget your porcupine.

  184. Space Monster says

    but can we really afford to chase the fellow travellers away?

    Just because someone is an atheist or skeptic doesn’t make them a fellow traveller. I was not impressed by what I saw on Justin’s blog. Perhaps PZ’s email, and a few more years, will make a difference but until then, I see no compelling reason to worry about his work.

    But your concern is noted.

  185. word says

    @198, @199, and @200

    Obvious troll is obvious?

    I’m fairly certain people need a lesson in trolling (or understanding what trolling is). It has absolutely nothing to do with making or “drowning out” coherent points. Trolling is about provoking an emotional response. People who “drown out” things by saying stupid crap either are not trolls or are just really bad ones. Good trolls manipulate people by hitting nerves and making them respond.

    I hope when PZ destroyed a cracker he did it for the lulz. Otherwise, he is an idiot if he really thought that destroying people’s sacred wafer would educate them, change their beliefs, and/or prove a point (unless, of course, the point was to piss them off). I’d like to think he is a bit more intelligent than that. Regardless, this blog and the comments it generates bring me lulz, so keep up the great work PZ!

  186. Porco Dio says

    is anyone really surprised though? Gregs been cruel or kind to the same people depending on circumstances as long as I’ve been aware of him.

    you forget that there is a whole horde of commenters here that seem to think they have the final word on what a “decent human being” is…

    and this nastiness is inspired and promoted by the kings and queens of ftb…. is it any wonder then that this echo-chamber acts in its day-to-day discourse as Greg did?

    who’d have thought that the ftb management and their loyal supporters are just a bunch of meanies thinking that nastiness will get help get their point across?

    i’d say it’s the kinda thing to expect from AiG, not ftb.

  187. John Morales says

    ID=”word”:

    I hope when PZ destroyed a cracker he did it for the lulz. Otherwise, he is an idiot if he really thought that destroying people’s sacred wafer would educate them, change their beliefs, and/or prove a point (unless, of course, the point was to piss them off). I’d like to think he is a bit more intelligent than that. Regardless, this blog and the comments it generates bring me lulz, so keep up the great work PZ!

    There’s no novelty in idiots calling PZ an idiot, idiot.

    (That’s got to be worth some lulz, no?)

  188. says

    @word in 219:

    Trolling is about provoking an emotional response.

    So the fact that these emotional responses end up drowning out the serious discussion is only accidental? Just like it’s a coincidence that certain topics – like feminism – get trolled way more than others?

  189. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Jesus fucking christ people

    Do we need to have another history lesson on what actually happened with the cracker incident?

    Half the small number of comments I’ve read on this thread mentioning it seem to not have a fucking clue what happened.

    It’s kind of important to the discussion.

  190. John Morales says

    Porco Dio:

    who’d have thought that the ftb management and their loyal supporters are just a bunch of meanies thinking that nastiness will get help get their point across?

    Why make claims with no correspondence to reality, O bullshitter?

    (Good bullshitters make their bullshit at least superficially plausible)

  191. says

    Somebody needs to do a LONG post about the complete ahistoricity(is that a word?) of the modern shithead. Everything is scrubbed clean of context and prior provocations, as if the whole universe restarts every time a troll logs on.

  192. joed says

    “Easy To Be Hard” is a song by Three Dog Night.
    It is easier to be clever than to be kind.
    I just don’t see the need for all the venom being sprayed forth by the folks at this blog.
    Intent is a major factor in unkindness.

  193. says

    Back to Justin Griffith:

    Has no one mentioned that he’s an Army puke? Because that could really explains a lot of his mental block on this issue. Just a guess.

    The military is a cesspool of virulently sexist, racist, homophobic attitudes, and it is a place Justin calls home. It must be tough to reconcile his respect for his fellow troops with the pretty shitty military culture, so he probably makes all sorts of excuses for it. And since he makes excuses for those people he knows and respects and cares about, it makes it easier for him to make the same bullshit excuses for the slimepit.

  194. CT says

    Like a Confederate Flag decal on a bumper. It’s a warning sign, like bared teeth.

    Particularly apt comparison – I live in NC and there are lots of people I know that have a confederate flag on their vehicle. Every one of them when questioned about it by my partner (who is not as loudmouthed as I am) said it’s there to let people know that they don’t like any race but white and don’t like any sexual preference but hetero.

    BUT, when I, the loudmouth person who regularly calls people on racist and sexist remarks, asks, they inevitable spout the ‘heritage not hate’ bullshit.

    This is directly comparable in my mind to the trolling and their insistence that it’s ‘joking’.

  195. CT says

    Why the fuck should I be kind to people who don’t think I’m a full human being and can be treated like shit for the lolz?

    You shouldn’t. that kindness crap is bullshit. I was ‘trained’ by the best bully in town. Being kind will just get you beat down since that’s weakness. Be kind to animals and kids under age 6. Be kind to people who are kind to you. Otherwise, they fucking got to earn it. Kindness and respect are fucking synonymous in my opinion. That ‘heaping coals’ crap is just crap.

  196. Erista (aka Eris) says

    Alethea H. “Crocoduck” Dundee
    Erista @83 & 96 and other who are quoting the abortion “joke”. It is not quite as bad as it looks in here.

    Justin is quoting John C Welsh, slimepitter extraordinaire, and saying – in large and bold type face – that this is an instance of something truly repulsive. While it might have been nice if Justin had refrained from repeating the joke, and he’s not condemning the abortion joke per se, he is condemning the “breaking people” part quite firmly. The part you bolded in #83 about “my wife” is John C Welsh’s words, not Justin’s. Justin was quoting it.

    I’m sorry, I should have been more clear that the first and second quote were by different people. That’s my mistake, and I shouldn’t have made it.

    However, my point was that Justin’s response to it was not “Oh it’s horrible and bad and evil that she said that,” but rather “I don’t really have any problem with abortion jokes in the right context (this instance seems fine.)” This is what he says immediately after the joke.

  197. ChasCPeterson says

    I don’t think it was necessary for PZ to post this particular message publicly. I don’t think it was necessary for Griffith to have published Welch’s wife’s abortion joke. I don’t think it was necessary to re-publish the joke here in this thread.

    I am no friend of any pitizen’s, and I’ve gone over there and elsewhere and told them why.Most of these people are assholes (and the rest condone it). This is clear. There’s nothing to be done about that.

    I will risk tone-trollage to suggest sticking to putting out brushfires and laying off of fanning the flames.

  198. Pteryxx says

    Similarly, it’s legit to say that PZ was trolling people who have, or have respect for, crackers.

    He wasn’t trolling. The Great Cracker Desecration was in RESPONSE to the death threats and harassment levelled against a student who took a communion wafer home out of curiosity. PZ didn’t just decide to be provocative; he was making a statement about valuing religious beliefs over an actual person being threatened.

    Background:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/08/its-a-goddamned-cracker/

    The cracker essay itself:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/24/the-great-desecration/

  199. Pteryxx says

    Improbable Joe:

    Somebody needs to do a LONG post about the complete ahistoricity(is that a word?) of the modern shithead. Everything is scrubbed clean of context and prior provocations, as if the whole universe restarts every time a troll logs on.

    Done and done.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/06/21/elisions/

    It’s always fascinating to watch a tale be retold and see what gets left out. It says almost as much about the storyteller as what is left in.

    In the case of the infamous elevator, sometimes all that has been left in is the coffee. Even the elevator itself is sometimes elided. The hours of opportunity for a single word of conversation generally disappear. Certainly all the hours of discussion of being tired of being hit on are gone. So is the expressed desire for sleep. That one never makes it into the story.

  200. oolon says

    @ChasCPeterson you may get shot down by appearing to say that the ‘pitizens’ or ‘slimers’ should be less vociferously tackled.

    I will risk tone-trollage to suggest sticking to putting out brushfires and laying off of fanning the flames.

    But on the whole I agree that the current ‘strategy’ of tackling the ‘slime pitters’ or ‘sexist assholes’ in general has been an abject failure (as an observer of the battle on here). I have no doubt that the ERV hate-figures have been chuckling into their cornflakes this morning over how FtBs seems to have imploded with in-fighting.

    What I don’t understand is why, since the argument is won – certainly in terms of using gendered insults – and Richard Carriers excellent blog post destroys Thunderf00t and the anti-harassment policy people more effectively than any other FtB’ers posts. IMO because he clearly articulates his point without recourse to poor analogy, emotive language etc. I was going to say dispassionately but it has a fair whack of passion in there.

    I know PZs blog is mean’t to be ‘lewd and crude’ as someone pointed out to a tone troll (Not me!) in a thread I was reading. So why are you surprised when you respond to shit-throwers by throwing shit that the end result is everyone covered in poo!

    So far my personal perception is that the ERV lot are not on the whole inveterate sexists. They are anti-authority (Justins analogy to 4chan was a good one) and they get off on challenging that authority by trying to wind them up. If the topic was X,Y or Z and someone in the PeeZus role was pontificating to them about the ‘correct’ way of thinking and acting then they’d likely react in the same way. Solution? Ignore and ban when offensive and make reasoned arguments to critique any attempts at real thought that are not just for effect.

  201. FluffyTheTerrible says

    Oh goody! Justin Griffith has a post by a friend and fellow military colleague of his, link and this is what the gentleman in question has to say at the end of the post:

    So when people come across me and try to convince me to become a humanist or to play nice I just can’t get down with it. Not that it’s not effective in its own way but I’m the guy that nicknames people “Fuck you”…literally. I nicknamed one of my Marines that. Why would I be nicer to people I don’t like when that’s how I talk to a guy I do like?

    -Paul Loebe

    The level of privilege is astounding, as is his insistence to make a title of glory out of not being nice to people. Also, what does he mean he doesn’t want to be a humanist? I thought that was something worth aspiring too.

  202. CT says

    They are anti-authority (Justins analogy to 4chan was a good one) and they get off on challenging that authority by trying to wind them up.

    this is the definition of trolling – which is a word used in fishing where you hang a bait over the side of the boat then ‘troll’ around waiting on something to bite it – it was originally never meant to be synonymous with a fairy ‘troll’.

    ‘wind them up’ is just a bullshit way of saying ‘ah, they are just joking’. you can challenge authority without acting like a fucking 5 yr old testing boundaries.

  203. Space Monster says

    Also, what does he mean he doesn’t want to be a humanist? I thought that was something worth aspiring too.

    Not if you’re an authoritarian trying to remind your underlings of their proper place in the hierarchy.

  204. Anri says

    corkscrew:

    This is not a meaningful distinction. For example, technically, vaginas can’t be trolled either, given that they’re not conscious organisms in their own right. But the people who have them (or otherwise think they and their owners should be treated with respect) can be. Similarly, it’s legit to say that PZ was trolling people who have, or have respect for, crackers.

    Do you believe that respect for people with vaginas and respect for holy crackers should carry equal weight?
    Do you believe one of these things is a sign of basic humanity while the other is a sign of credulous idiocy?
    Do you think the world would be better off if the level of respect for people with vaginas increased or decreased?
    How about the level of respect for holy crackers?

    One last question:
    Did you really need me to point this out to you, or did you actually know it already?

    Please feel free to not post your answers publicly due to deep embarrassment.

  205. corkscrew says

    Gen, Uppity Ingrate. @193:

    I literally can not believe that you asked that in good faith.

    Asked in good faith, answered in good faith. Answer accepted.

    Yes, it was an extremely basic question, which is why I mentioned the probable answer in my comment. But AFAICT no-one had actually stated it so far. And, as a privileged person (straight cis white male), I thought it would be sensible of me to check that I’d understood correctly.

    I was also interested in investigating any corner cases. For example, if there was a genuine threat of harm against the target group – e.g. if PZ had been a Pakistani burning Hindu religious texts* – would it still have been morally acceptable for him to throw his hat into the ring?

    My answer would be a tentative “yes”. But that’s because, as a skeptic, I’m used to studiously ignoring issues of power, privilege and harm and focusing only on logic and evidence. For me, learning about feminism is a matter of knowing a) when to take those blinders off and b) how to evaluate the consequences. Neither comes naturally.

    I would therefore be interested to see where you all draw the lines.

    * Or an Indian burning copies of the Koran, or whatever. Pick your poison.

  206. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    Also, what does he mean he doesn’t want to be a humanist? I thought that was something worth aspiring too.

    Not if you’re an authoritarian trying to remind your underlings of their proper place in the hierarchy.

    QFT. “I nicknamed one of my Marines that.” Fucking gross. I’d beg or steal before I worked a job where my boss treated me like that. All that talk about honor and they’re just a bunch of fucking frat boys. Guys that that will watch full metal jacket and cheer when Vincent D’Onofrio gets beaten by his fellow recruits, then laugh he he blows his brains out.

  207. says

    @corkscrew in #240:

    But that’s because, as a skeptic, I’m used to studiously ignoring issues of power, privilege and harm and focusing only on logic and evidence.

    Wait, what? How can you ignore issues of power, privilege and harm without also ignoring massive amounts of evidence and logic? On purpose? And you consider that part of being a skeptic? The mind boggles.

  208. says

    That guy really isn’t getting it.

    So when people come across me and try to convince me to become a humanist or to play nice I just can’t get down with it. Not that it’s not effective in its own way but I’m the guy that nicknames people “Fuck you”…literally. I nicknamed one of my Marines that. Why would I be nicer to people I don’t like when that’s how I talk to a guy I do like?

    We’re not asking anyone to be nicer to people you don’t like. I am not nice to people I don’t like, as I think has always been obvious.

    We’re asking, “why are you putting all women in the category of ‘people I don’t like’?”

  209. corkscrew says

    Anri @238

    Do you believe that respect for people with vaginas and respect for holy crackers should carry equal weight?

    In case I was unclear before, what I was actually comparing was “respect towards women” with “respect towards Roman Catholics”.

    …In which case I would still say “no”. But that’s just because I’m used to being a dick towards people with daft beliefs, not because of any particular principle. It would IMO not be inconsistent for an atheist to say that we should treat both groups with respect as a matter of basic human decency.

    Such an atheist would see PZ as being as bad as the slimepitters. What I was really getting at is: why is this hypothetical atheist wrong?

    According to the two commenters who have responded sensibly, the answer is: because it’s more important to be respectful to people who are vulnerable and unprivileged. (Individual RCs may be those things, but as a group they are not.) And the reason for this is that showing disrespect to these groups can actually harm them, indirectly but materially. Do you concur?

  210. Space Monster says

    QFT. “I nicknamed one of my Marines that.” Fucking gross. I’d beg or steal before I worked a job where my boss treated me like that. All that talk about honor and they’re just a bunch of fucking frat boys. Guys that that will watch full metal jacket and cheer when Vincent D’Onofrio gets beaten by his fellow recruits, then laugh he he blows his brains out.

    There’s an interesting comment on that thread at #9. I think this excerpt is a quite revealing look into the psychology over there:


    mealy-mouthed puffy weak-kneed cowardly civilians

  211. says

    But that’s because, as a skeptic, I’m used to studiously ignoring issues of power, privilege and harm and focusing only on logic and evidence.

    Skeptics do certainly have a history of pretending the latter doesn’t support the former.

  212. Anri says

    In case I was unclear before, what I was actually comparing was “respect towards women” with “respect towards Roman Catholics”.

    …In which case I would still say “no”. But that’s just because I’m used to being a dick towards people with daft beliefs, not because of any particular principle. It would IMO not be inconsistent for an atheist to say that we should treat both groups with respect as a matter of basic human decency.
    Such an atheist would see PZ as being as bad as the slimepitters. What I was really getting at is: why is this hypothetical atheist wrong?

    Because being a Roman Catholic is voluntary, delusional, and is supporting a group actively damaging the world at large. Being a Catholic means being wrong about large parts of reality.
    Being a woman is none of those things.
    They are not equivalent, and do not deserve equivalent respect.

    According to the two commenters who have responded sensibly, the answer is: because it’s more important to be respectful to people who are vulnerable and unprivileged. (Individual RCs may be those things, but as a group they are not.) And the reason for this is that showing disrespect to these groups can actually harm them, indirectly but materially. Do you concur?

    There is a difference between kicking up the social order and kicking down.
    In the modern western world, is mocking Catholics kicking up or down?
    How about mocking women?

    Also, is causing harm to the Roman Catholic Church a good thing or a bad thing?
    How about causing harm to women?

    A group doesn’t deserve my – or anyone’s – respect just because there are people in it.

  213. says

    But on the whole I agree that the current ‘strategy’ of tackling the ‘slime pitters’ or ‘sexist assholes’ in general has been an abject failure

    They are in the process of being ejected. What’s victory, if that’s failure?

    and Richard Carriers excellent blog post destroys Thunderf00t and the anti-harassment policy people more effectively than any other FtB’ers posts.

    Let’s pretend for a minute that I believe you, and that I don’t think you’re using Carrier against us to get us to be silent; I thought we were supposed to take our cues from the slimepit? Was them chuckling over their cheerios supposed to be important, but their frothing rage at people ‘bullying them’ wasn’t?

  214. julian says

    All that talk about honor and they’re just a bunch of fucking frat boys. Guys that that will watch full metal jacket and cheer when Vincent D’Onofrio gets beaten by his fellow recruits, then laugh he he blows his brains out.

    Yep, that’s pretty much it. One of many reasons why I hate Marines.

  215. oolon says

    @CT Not sure I get your point

    this is the definition of trolling – which is a word used in fishing where you hang a bait over the side of the boat then ‘troll’ around waiting on something to bite it – it was originally never meant to be synonymous with a fairy ‘troll’.

    ‘wind them up’ is just a bullshit way of saying ‘ah, they are just joking’. you can challenge authority without acting like a fucking 5 yr old testing boundaries.

    I agree they are trolls – even more so I agree they are acting like 5yr olds. But when a 5yr old tests your boundaries do you respond with more of the same? Or do you ignore the insults and explain calmly why they are wrong in the hope of them understanding?

    I find it incredibly ironic that a lot of PZs post is how Justin is encouraging them and he is being incredibly stupid and naive. Well reading some of the discussions between ‘John Greg’ on ‘Lousy Canuck’ and Jason T I know who was encouraging the trolls there and it was not Jason – he got a slimepitter to make a very reasonable definition of feminism. PZ appeared to call him a slimey scuzz-ball liar or some other and I could almost feel the joy emanating from Johns replies. He loved it! Which is the better approach?

  216. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @oolon

    I agree they are trolls – even more so I agree they are acting like 5yr olds. But when a 5yr old tests your boundaries do you respond with more of the same? Or do you ignore the insults and explain calmly why they are wrong in the hope of them understanding?

    Actually, it depends on the 5 year old, if we are to stick to this particular analogy. Some kids understand after being gently scolded once, with others you have to go nuclear, and escalate from gentle criticism to immediate – if reasonable – punishment if they don’t improve their behaviour.

    Adults work the same way. Some will refuse to listen to your gentle nudges, and the reasons vary, but mostly it’s a combination of ego, privilege – as in, they think they can get away with that particular attitude – and not having enough empathy or sympathy to change their behaviour towards the person they know they are offending.

    I think PZ’s response has been very reasonable, especially since this is the second time that Justin Griffith tries to defend/justify the slimepiters and 4chan mentality.

    Why is it so difficult to understand that irreverence towards authority and the right to free speech do no trump other people’s right not to be verbally abused and harassed?

  217. CT says

    you left out what I was responding to, asshat. Your fucking comment that ‘aw, they are just winding them up, defy authority’.

    You mean after the 5 yr old screams hysterically, throws their food and calls me names?

  218. mythbri says

    @oolon #235

    Richard Carrier’s “On Sexual Harassment” post is excellent. It really is. But look here:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/1567/comment-page-1#comment-14307

    Richard acknowledges, rightly, that the content of his post is not different from the content of prominent female bloggers and skeptics that have addressed this same issue. But all of a sudden, the content is “reasonable” and something upon which an intelligent discussion can be had.

    The content is the same. The source is male. Why is it suddenly more reasonable? And why is the tone of the comments on RC’s blog different from the tone of the comments on other blogs?

    You cannot attribute such a huge difference to the bloggers’ tones alone.

  219. corkscrew says

    Wait, what? How can you ignore issues of power, privilege and harm without also ignoring massive amounts of evidence and logic? On purpose? And you consider that part of being a skeptic? The mind boggles.

    It’s possible you’ve misunderstood me, so I’ll give an example. In the US, African-Americans are a relatively unprivileged group. But:

    1) This does not mean that Afrocentrism is a valid historical discipline.

    2) And, as a skeptic, I feel I should be willing to say this even if it means treading on some people’s toes. Even if those people are less privileged than me.

    Does that still seem mind-boggling to you? If so, which bit in particular do you believe is inconsistent with skepticism? Thanks.

  220. oolon says

    @ruteekatreya They are in the process of being ejected. What’s victory, if that’s failure?
    In the minds of your enemies the ejection is more fuel on the fire. And it makes it a lot easier to dismiss FtB as no-FtB’s or whatever their clever insult is. Now given this war is fought in terms of thoughts not actions then FtBs has failed in doing anything other than confirming to many that it is group-think central and all dissenters will be ejected. Phyric victory IMO.

    Frankly keeping Thunderf00t in board would have done a lot for feminism given his last couple of posts were fairly deranged IMO. Few undecided observers would be persuaded – but now he is officially ‘banned’ by the ‘feminist stasi’ at FtBs.

    Let’s pretend for a minute that I believe you, and that I don’t think you’re using Carrier against us to get us to be silent; I thought we were supposed to take our cues from the slimepit? Was them chuckling over their cheerios supposed to be important, but their frothing rage at people ‘bullying them’ wasn’t?

    Nope their chuckling and frothing is immensely unimportant — the arguments are important and that is the only reason I invoked Carrier.

  221. Tyrant al-Kalām says

    Yep, that’s pretty much it. One of many reasons why I hate Marines.

    What is asked of them and done to them as part of their job, and what they experience in action, is in my opinion not really compatible with being a fully functional well rounded human being. Some may manage it by compartmentalization, but I am not surprised that it simply shows in some cases, nor can I really blame the Marines themselves, except maybe for joining in the first place, which is in and of itself a difficult discussion.

  222. julian says

    Or do you ignore the insults and explain calmly why they are wrong in the hope of them understanding?

    It has been explained. Multiple times.

    They don’t agree. They never have and they never will. The behavior will continue.

    Why can’t you see that?

  223. oolon says

    @FluffyTheTerrible

    Why is it so difficult to understand that irreverence towards authority and the right to free speech do no trump other people’s right not to be verbally abused and harassed?

    No its not hard to understand – I said ban and ignore. There is sod-all you can do if they verbally harass you because as you point out they have free-speech. I’d also say that unless they make good points why bother engaging them in any discussion?

    Also you are right the 5yr old analogy is poor – you have no duty of care to these people harassing you and being irreverent to authority. So even less need to engage with them either civilly or otherwise…

    @mythbri Sorry working my way through the posters here – only just started to read the women posters here because of the flame wars so some positive outcome there I guess. Richard Carriers blog was being scanned by me cos of his good posts about the historicity of Jesus so I guess it stuck out to me. No sexism need be implied there :-)

    @SC Absolutely ban the buggers if they are offensive – they have all the rights they need to moan elsewhere. Don’t give them the attention they crave.

  224. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ oolon

    In the minds of your enemies the ejection is more fuel on the fire. And it makes it a lot easier to dismiss FtB as no-FtB’s or whatever their clever insult is. Now given this war is fought in terms of thoughts not actions then FtBs has failed in doing anything other than confirming to many that it is group-think central and all dissenters will be ejected. Phyric victory IMO.

    So you are saying nothing should have been done in order to save appearances? You do realize that people who have an axe to grind against FtB are going to interpret whatever is done or not done in a negative fashion? And I hope you also realize that basing your actions only on *what would X people think?* will not get you very good results? You have to do what you think is best for the people in the organization and the organization itself.

    Frankly keeping Thunderf00t in board would have done a lot for feminism given his last couple of posts were fairly deranged IMO. Few undecided observers would be persuaded – but now he is officially ‘banned’ by the ‘feminist stasi’ at FtBs.

    No. Keeping Thunderf00t would have made people think that FtB tolerates misogynistic views. Not sanctioning the asshole for being an asshole means you side/agree with him.
    Also, see what I wrote above about not making decisions based on what people might think: those who are already inclined to call women femistasi are not going to interpret any kind of decision in a positive way.

  225. oolon says

    @Julian Yup I said the 5yr old analogy was being stretched too far so sorry about the misunderstanding

    They don’t agree. They never have and they never will. The behavior will continue.

    Then ban and ignore away… If they have nothing useful to say then ignore, if they pop up on other blogs then its up to those blog owners to deal with them how they see fit.

  226. says

    And, as a skeptic, I feel I should be willing to say this even if it means treading on some people’s toes. Even if those people are less privileged than me.

    Ah yes the sacrifices you make. “I am perfectly willing to step on others when they get in my way…it’s a sacrifice I make”

  227. mythbri says

    @oolon #262

    “Sorry working my way through the posters here – only just started to read the women posters here because of the flame wars so some positive outcome there I guess. Richard Carriers blog was being scanned by me cos of his good posts about the historicity of Jesus so I guess it stuck out to me. No sexism need be implied there :-)”

    That’s good to hear. It needs to be taken into account that “tone” is not necessarily a “both sides” issue. As was discussed in Justin Griffith’s post, the people who are sexist-trolling are doing so with the intent of “breaking” their targets. That’s not a problem that can be easily ignored, and I don’t think it should be. The fact is that certain people will be targeted more often and more harshly because of what they are (i.e., women, feminists, etc.).

    Do you remember PZ’s post about getting emails from white male skeptics complaining about Sikivu Hutchinson’s writing about race and skeptic priorities? PZ headed off anyone congratulating him on his “reasonableness”, because he did nothing but quote Sikivu and refused to take credit for what she had been saying all along.

    Pay attention to the sources, the content, and the reactions to both – it goes a long way to highlighting inconsistencies in the readers/commentors.

  228. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Tyrant Al-Kalam

    What is asked of them and done to them as part of their job, and what they experience in action, is in my opinion not really compatible with being a fully functional well rounded human being. Some may manage it by compartmentalization, but I am not surprised that it simply shows in some cases, nor can I really blame the Marines themselves, except maybe for joining in the first place, which is in and of itself a difficult discussion.

    QFT. We train other people to kill perfect strangers of all ages in the name of patriotism and honour – whatever the hell that latter one is – and then expect them to be able to function normally. The environment in the military – and I think that goes for many countries worldwide, not just the US – is already extremely toxic, with lack of compassion and a perpetually aggressive stance being promoted as unquestionable virtues.
    Also, I absolutely shudder whenever I hear stuff like the military does not require critical thinking, quite the contrary….it’s terrible when you realize these people are then unleashed on defenseless civilian populations.

  229. oolon says

    @FluffyTheTerrible I’m not saying do nothing – I’m saying if you want to meet them on the feminist battleground by shit-slinging then you’ve lost. (Not ‘you’ personally)
    Most of what they say seems to be substance free – the whole kicking in the c* thing is stupid – if Ophelia felt bad about that then then whoever said it is a shit IMO. The argument that it is not a gender slur in the UK is walking a ridiculously thin semantic argument – or to put it another way massively trolling to compound the original insult and make it even more obvious the name caller is a shit.

    Ban, ignore, write a reasoned post on gender slurs with no reference to the shit who made the slur. You are encouraging them if you do.

  230. says

    It’s possible you’ve misunderstood me, so I’ll give an example. In the US, African-Americans are a relatively unprivileged group. But:

    Good job, you’re managing to justify being a racist lackwit. What’s it like to be so perfect? Seriously now, even pretending this is as common, let alone as bad, as, let’s say, Ancient Aliens* is pretty fucking rich. This is like watching racists go well out of their way to defend their right to use racial slurs now.

    Does that still seem mind-boggling to you? If so, which bit in particular do you believe is inconsistent with skepticism? Thanks.

    Where do I begin? Let’s start with pretending afrocentrism is even remotely as common as its inverse, the erasure of black history; we’ll continue with ignoring that given that erasure, someone emphasizing black history is useful, even if these historians get some things blatantly wrong. Third, you are forgetting that although black people are disadvantaged in the USA, they are less disadvantaged than black people in Africa, and that afrocentrism erases very real problems that currently exist in africa that affect black people who are even poorer. Fourth, and ont hat subject, we’re ignoring that as common nonsense goes, ableist, racist, sexist, heterosexist, cis-sexist, etc bullshit is a LOT more common than anything else that skeptics can apply themselves to. It’s not that you shouldn’t oppose afrocentrism, on its own merits, but you seem to think that skepticism would be on the whole bad for the disadvantaged for it, totally ignoring that, I don’ know, there’s plenty of racist bullshit to be skeptical about =.=

  231. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ oolon

    I’m not saying do nothing – I’m saying if you want to meet them on the feminist battleground by shit-slinging then you’ve lost. (Not ‘you’ personally)

    There was another charming commenter around one of these threads who said something along the lines of ” the first person who gets angry in a conversation has lost”. Do I have to go into a detailed explanation why both yours and the similar, paraphrased stance are wrong?

    Most of what they say seems to be substance free – the whole kicking in the c* thing is stupid – if Ophelia felt bad about that then then whoever said it is a shit IMO.

    If Ophelia felt bad? IF? I was not aware there was another possible response to people wishing to kick you in the cunt, other than being offended and hurt, especially because it was a gendered insult, and meant to bully her into silence.

    Ban, ignore, write a reasoned post on gender slurs with no reference to the shit who made the slur. You are encouraging them if you do.

    I am a teacher in real life, and kids don’t stop misbehaving until you call them out on it. Don’t make vague comments about how the behaviour is wrong and people shouldn’t do it. Call out the specific individual, make him the center of attention, give him a good talk down, and monitor him/her for further signs of trying to be a disruptive force. If such signs appear, deal with them immediately. All these things apply to adults as well. Don’t let people think they can get away with stuff simply because they’re trolling and engage with them until they either improve or take their trolling elsewhere

    Also, saying that “You are encouraging them if you do.” sounds to close to victim – blaming. I am not responsible for the behaviour of other people and if people don’t want to be criticized for their assholish behaviour, they can always stop being assholes.

  232. oolon says

    @mythbri Absolutely I think my point falls apart when compared to things like Elevatorgate. As with all rules there is always an exception! When an absolutely minor thing like a woman saying, in partly humour, ‘don’t do that’ turns into such a ridiculous shit-storm then you have to address it.

  233. says

    oolon, this will be my only response to you.

    Put a sock in it. Seriously. It’s not your business to tell people personally subjected to or dealing with this for a year now how to respond, or to blame them for these continued attacks. It isn’t. People here didn’t ask for your advice, and have made it clear that they’re not interested. You’re not helping to calm things down with this repeated unsolicited criticism and suggestions; you’re just disrespecting people who’ve put up with both the attacks and the incessant response-trolling for far too long. You’re of course free to ignore the pitizens, try to discuss things with them calmly, ban them from your own site, or whatever the hell you want to do.

    (This is assuming you mean well here, which I’m not entirely convinced that you do, but it doesn’t matter to my view that you need to put a sock in it.)

  234. mythbri says

    @oolon #271

    “Absolutely I think my point falls apart when compared to things like Elevatorgate. As with all rules there is always an exception! When an absolutely minor thing like a woman saying, in partly humour, ‘don’t do that’ turns into such a ridiculous shit-storm then you have to address it.”

    Well, then if you admit that your point falls apart in the cases of examples that are universally agreed-upon to be extreme (Elevatorgate), then I think you’re admitting that you’re using your own judgment as a metric for appropriate tone. Since you’re not the one making the arguments that attract sexist-trolling or disproportionate backlash, then why would you assume that your judgment should be substituted in those cases?

  235. oolon says

    @FluffyTheTerrible Point was only that you’ve ‘lost’ because you are wasting your time – a variation on don’t feed the trolls.

    Teacher – kids – yeah I said that analogy is poor. Your kids are not trolls and even if they behave like them you are duty bound to at least try and turn them around. You have no such duty on the internet – again just a point about trolling and falling into the ‘someone is wrong on the internet’ trap.

    Victim blaming – nope – just I see people complaining about the ‘slimepit’ why won’t they f* off and I see them doing exactly what they want them to do, giving them attention and taking their half-baked arguments seriously.

    Ophelia I should not have mentioned as I’m coming at it third-hand from comments about comments so sorry there. I said ‘IF’ because I have no idea what she experienced as a result of that slur and I will not pretend to.

  236. says

    Yep, that’s pretty much it. One of many reasons why I hate Marines.

    As a former Marine, I’ve got to tell you… I can’t disagree with you. Wish I could, and there’s a perfectly rational explanation why the Marines is such a deeply toxic environment, but it is no excuse. The military exists to kill people, and the Marines pride themselves on being the best at it of all the American military branches. If you’re a good killer, you’re probably a defective person… and if you’re not defective to start with, the Marines will do their best to make you that way. All the dehumanizing is just part of the process.

  237. says

    @corkscrew in #255:

    1) This does not mean that Afrocentrism is a valid historical discipline.
    2) And, as a skeptic, I feel I should be willing to say this even if it means treading on some people’s toes. Even if those people are less privileged than me.

    How does this require ignoring privilege and power? I don’t even see how you would be able to study the phenomenon of Afrocentrism without learning about privilege and power. I also don’t see how you could ever expect to effectively communicate your opinions on it either without some understanding of privilege.

  238. A. Noyd says

    oolon (#276)

    Point was only that you’ve ‘lost’ because you are wasting your time – a variation on don’t feed the trolls.

    What are you assuming our goals are?

  239. oolon says

    @SC

    oolon, this will be my only response to you.

    Put a sock in it

    Nope, cos I’m not telling anyone to do X Y or Z so sorry for not adding a massive IMO in there. I’m saying from my position as one who likes to be childish from time to time that it makes me angry to see a bunch of trolls detract and deflect from feminists doing everything you mention in your excellent post in comment #274.

    I cannot think of an easy way to express how worthless I think it is to engage them but I’ll try. Imagine I wrote a computer program (I’m a IT-nerd so in Erlang!) that generated sexist comments and it posted them randomly to FtBs. Bit like this (Sorry about the gender slur there). Now would you feel it necessary to tackle those comments as they obviously have no intelligence behind them and are solely being spammed to annoy you? Would you take the specifics of the use of language as prove there is a lot of sexism in the community? No you would be wasting your time and it would detract from the message. Anyway not mansplaining just trying to explain clearly what I personally think – totally open to being persuaded otherwise which is obviously the important thing ;-)

  240. says

    Someone had a blog post about why ‘don’t feed the trolls’ doesn’t work. Especially with a group of them because they aren’t looking for a reaction from you, they’re looking to break your stuff and get approval from others.

    The goal is to shit on the culture and dialogue of the place and to make it unenjoyable for the regulars.

  241. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ oolon

    Point was only that you’ve ‘lost’ because you are wasting your time – a variation on don’t feed the trolls.

    There’s a lot of going back and forth about the most efficient way to deal with trolls, but I really believe ignoring them makes the problem worse. That is why I gave the example about the kids, because challenging people who are being assholes whenever you can and is safe for you to do so is never a waste of time.

    This conversation is not just about the internet, it bleeds into real life as well, and the basic idea is you should always try to push back. Kids who go unchallenged for their bullying ways often become adults who think they can go unchallenged for their trolling ways.

    Victim blaming – nope – just I see people complaining about the ‘slimepit’ why won’t they f* off and I see them doing exactly what they want them to do, giving them attention and taking their half-baked arguments seriously.

    I don’t really understand what you’re trying to say here .. is it that we become just like the trolls because we engage them, sometimes using some of the same questionable language they use on us? Because that would be a false equivalence.

    Salty Current did state earlier that you should not try to tell others how to deal with trollish behaviour, because people have various ways of dealing, and some have found ways that work for them but not for others. Maybe you should heed that advice.

  242. says

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/02/28/dont-feed-the-trolls-is-bad-science/

    Here we go

    ‘don’t feed the trolls” is based on over simplified and misunderstood child psychology.

    Victim blaming – nope – just I see people complaining about the ‘slimepit’ why won’t they f* off and I see them doing exactly what they want them to do, giving them attention and taking their half-baked arguments seriously.

    Trollins it not about attention, it is about vandalism.

  243. ewanmacdonald says

    Without wanting to derail this too much from TF’s nonsense, I don’t think enough’s being made of Laden’s meltdown. What a nasty, vindictive little creep he’s shown himself to be throughout this entire episode.

  244. Aquaria says

    ING collective: We are talking about two VERY different things and you know it. You are conflating using societal norms that oppress with basic human decency. They may have been called the same thing but they are NOT now and, more importantly, they NEVER WERE. Intolerance for opposing viewpoints isn’t “old civility” b/c that BS is not old nor was it ever civil.

    There is no basic human decency if the polite person is a passive aggressive manipulator. Like–oh, you.

    If something is wrong, by all means call it out.

    Oh how big of you to allow that. Hint: Nobody needs your fucking permission for that, asshole.

    I believe strongly in justice and standing up for whats right.

    You only care about it if it’s done to your satisfaction. Some justice.

    I manage to do this without humiliating people or making them feel small.

    You think too well of yourself. You care more about style than substance, the sure sign of a shallow moron. If you shut down when someone uses rude language around you, then that makes you useless to the cause of justice. Justice doesn’t come by saying pretty please. It comes when the oppressed get pissed off enough to take it for themselves.

    Fuckfaces like you who are too busy sniveling over tone make sure that injustice perpetuates itself, rather than ending it. MLK knew something about sniveling passive-aggressive fucks like you:

    First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

    Worrying about people’s tone is worrying about order over justice, asshole.

    Now piss off.

  245. Aquaria says

    Without wanting to derail this too much from TF’s nonsense, I don’t think enough’s being made of Laden’s meltdown. What a nasty, vindictive little creep he’s shown himself to be throughout this entire episode.

    That he posts people’s information on his site if they annoy the cupcake wasn’t reason enough?

  246. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ We are Ing

    Ah yes, I had forgotten about the AlmostDiamonds’ post, although I had read and bookmarked it.

    QFT:

    The important thing to remember about trolls is their purpose. It isn’t to get attention for themselves per se. It is to control the conversation.

  247. says

    Without wanting to derail this too much from TF’s nonsense, I don’t think enough’s being made of Laden’s meltdown. What a nasty, vindictive little creep he’s shown himself to be throughout this entire episode.

    He got sacked from the blog and everyone agreed he’s an asshole. What more is there to discuss? Hell we only talk about TF so much because people deny the asshole part.

  248. says

    Frankly keeping Thunderf00t in board would have done a lot for feminism given his last couple of posts were fairly deranged IMO. Few undecided observers would be persuaded – but now he is officially ‘banned’ by the ‘feminist stasi’ at FtBs.

    Only the sort of “FREE SPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECH!!!!!!!” moron who would already call criticism evidence of the “Feminist stasi” will say that over being banned after weeks of being a shithead.

  249. says

    Hell we only talk about TF so much because people deny the asshole part.

    Word from the pit is how awful it is that Thunderf00t, who at worst wrote about a topic he didn’t understand, is being compared with Greg Laden, who is pure evil.

  250. ewanmacdonald says

    He got sacked from the blog and everyone agreed he’s an asshole. What more is there to discuss? Hell we only talk about TF so much because people deny the asshole part.

    Get ready to note my concern: it disturbs me a bit how, while PZ is (rightly) criticising both Justin and TF, there’s no equivalent post highlighting what a grubby little eliminationist Laden is.

    I also found this, from PZ, to be a pretty cheap shot:

    “I just had to send a complaint to one of my fellow bloggers here at FtB. And since he likes to post his email publicly, I just thought I’d do it myself and get it out of the way.”

    This comes after Justin posted Laden’s threats. PZ states on his own blog – quite rightly, in my opinion – that he reserves the right to post full identifying info of people who threaten him via email. This seems like a little jab at Justin for doing the same thing, which is pretty unfair.

  251. says

    This comes after Justin posted Laden’s threats. PZ states on his own blog – quite rightly, in my opinion – that he reserves the right to post full identifying info of people who threaten him via email. This seems like a little jab at Justin for doing the same thing, which is pretty unfair.

    I have to agree with this.

  252. ewanmacdonald says

    Just so I’m not guilty of doing the same thing: getting rid of TF was absolutely the right thing to do. The minor point is that his quality of writing was absolutely atrocious, and he couldn’t formulate a cogent argument via text if his life depended on it. The major point is that I think there is (and should be) a set of shared values on FTB and egregious anti-feminism is, like all other aspects of anti-skepticism, completely at odds with these values.

    Cue allegations of ‘groupthink’ from people who presumably think that showing up to football practice with hockey gear on is cause for everyone else to reach for the sticks.

  253. 'Tis Himself says

    oolon #271

    I think my point falls apart when compared to things like Elevatorgate.

    As SC said, you don’t get to decide what other peoples’ reactions and responses to misogyny are.

    We’re fully aware that nothing is going to change Justicar’s and Franc Hoggle’s opinions about women. However it is possible to change lurkers’ thoughts about ideas like privilege and inherent sexism.

    Anyway, your concern is noted. Now please fuck off put a sock in it.

  254. ewanmacdonald says

    We’re fully aware that nothing is going to change Justicar’s and Franc Hoggle’s opinions about women. However it is possible to change lurkers’ thoughts about ideas like privilege and inherent sexism.

    This really can’t be emphasised enough. It’s exactly how I got into feminism – from reading the back-and-forth on blog comments.

  255. oolon says

    @ruteekatreya Not sure if you picked up that the ‘feminist stasi’ part was my attempt to characterise how ‘the other side’ will likely paint it. I have no doubt that PZ and RW are building a large complex on the dark side of the moon to one day launch their attack fleets and exterminate the male race. (Hopefully no ‘sarcasm’ tag required this time)

    Also have to agree my thought that TF should have stayed is hard to justify. Lol’d at the first post from TF just because it was so ‘out there’ and did not think PZs response was that good. But it quickly degenerated into total derangement from TF and PZ handled it well in the last couple of posts (IMO)

    The Greg Laden thing is clear cut – he acted, in this case, like an asshole and being kicked out is a correct response. I’ve no idea if this is a pattern of behaviour or an escalation of his ongoing war with the ‘ERV trolls’ and maybe an example of why I think engaging with trolls on an emotional level is a bad idea. (Note I added ‘emotional level’ – my original point about RC was his post engaged with them solely on the basis of argument and it was very persuasive to me)

    I’ll read the posts about why ‘not feeding trolls is bad science’ and see if that changes my mind. Thanks for the links.

  256. brocasbrian says

    Can we get back to normal blogging any time soon? I agree with you on the feminism issue but at a certain point the flaming and arguing and drama comes across as a bit childish. I’ve been reading this blog for at least 6 years and only recently have I not been reading it everyday.

  257. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @brocasbrian

    Can we get back to normal blogging any time soon? I agree with you on the feminism issue but at a certain point the flaming and arguing and drama comes across as a bit childish. I’ve been reading this blog for at least 6 years and only recently have I not been reading it everyday.

    Translation: But what about ME? What about my needs to read about what I want on somebody else’s blog?

    You feminists, fighting for the right of women and other disenfranchised groups to be treated as people, you’re boring me…and you’re being childish.

    Yeah, I guess you sure told us. brocasbrian.

    I have a novel suggestion for you: why don’t you stop reading the blog and come back when you think it’s up to your high standards?

  258. oolon says

    @brocasbrian Thanks for covering up my subtle tone trolling with a massive foot-in-mouth example of it :-)

  259. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Can we get back to normal blogging any time soon? I agree with you on the feminism issue but at a certain point the flaming and arguing and drama comes across as a bit childish. I’ve been reading this blog for at least 6 years and only recently have I not been reading it everyday.</blockquote.

    We've got:

    "Women's issues aren't REAL issues"

    "I agree with you, but only long enough to tell you to shut up"

    "Chicks are hysterical"

    "It's all about ME!!!!"

    "Flounce-threat"

    Ooooooh so close! Almost bingo!

  260. brocasbrian says

    Being tired of the infighting and ftb flame war drama isn’t isn’t anti-feminist. It may be tone trolling I don’t know. It feels more like telling a couple 5 year olds to stop pulling each others hair.

  261. A. Noyd says

    oolon (#280)

    I’m saying from my position as one who likes to be childish from time to time that it makes me angry to see a bunch of trolls detract and deflect from feminists doing everything you mention in your excellent post in comment #274.

    Think about what you’re saying here. It makes you angry to see trolls do X. So your solution is to what? Tell the victims of the trolls we’re responding wrong? That’s stupid and smacks of victim blaming. If the problem is the trolls’ behavior, then go tell the trolls not to do X.

    Because you’re choosing to lecture us instead of the trolls, you are the one detracting and deflecting, and in doing so, you are making the problem worse. That is the whole point of SC’s linked post. I’m a little amazed you could miss that while still calling her post “excellent.” It’s not like there’s any other message there.

    Now do tell me what you think our goals are in engaging the trolls as we do. Because your opinion of our “failure” kind of depends on understanding what you think we’re trying to achieve in the first place.

  262. ewanmacdonald says

    You’re a real piece of work, Laden. I think the fact that your email to Justin contained a threat* is more than reason enough to send you back to ScienceBlogs, regardless of whether or not a rule was in place. Your trying to put this down to a technicality is nothing short of sickening.

    p.s. the fact that it was “in the PS” isn’t a mitigation.

  263. Ze Madmax says

    brocasbrian @ #303:

    Your analogy assumes that both parties are equally to blame on this. That assumption is bullshit. And the fact that you’re pushing bullshit suggests you may be an asshole.

  264. says

    Can we get back to normal blogging any time soon? I agree with you on the feminism issue but at a certain point the flaming and arguing and drama comes across as a bit childish. I’ve been reading this blog for at least 6 years and only recently have I not been reading it everyday.

    I am amazed someone could read this blog for that long and apparently not realize no one gives a damn about your concern. Flounce threats are made every day here and they always get made fun of. As Illuminata mentioned, you post hit all the common tropes of these complaints.

  265. oolon says

    @A. Noyd — Nope I’m not telling the victims how to respond… I’m saying I saw a much better way to respond (IMO – Richard Carriers blog and someone pointed out other female bloggers have responded in an equally devastating manner but I’ve not seem them yet)

    So sorry you are missing my point as I’m making no blanket statement as you seem to imply. I’m saying I’ve seen a better way to deal with them IMO… And the reason it is my opinion is that I read TFs original post and the childish part of me that lol’d at it was in some small part persuaded by his argument. Then I read PZs post and was not impressed – I read RCs and was amazed how daft I was. Anecdotal evidence is no way of coming to any conclusions – thinking about my own anecdotal experience of sexual harassment made that clear.

    So, for me, I prefer the clear reasoned argument approach to dealing with trolls not the shit-throwing approach I’ve seen elsewhere (And mentioned examples above)…

  266. Tethys says

    ewanmacdonald

    Get ready to note my concern: it disturbs me a bit how, while PZ is (rightly) criticising both Justin and TF, there’s no equivalent post highlighting what a grubby little eliminationist Laden is.

    I think it is due to the fact that Greg Laden has not written any posts defending misogyny or trying to “build bridges” to the slimepit.

    GL was battling ferociously as an ally in the comments section (now deleted) of Justins post. It is unfortunate and way over the line of acceptable behavior that he chose to use Justin’s military service as a cudgel, rather than sticking to the issue of sexism.

  267. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Being tired of the infighting and ftb flame war drama isn’t isn’t anti-feminist.

    Nice try, but you called pushing back against bigots boring and childish. And clearly implied that such topics are abnormal for Pharyngula, which, if you had actually read this blog for as many years as you claimed, you would know isn’t true.

    You failed. Accept it and flounce.

  268. Ogvorbis: I Am ObtuseMan says

    So, for me, I prefer the clear reasoned argument approach to dealing with trolls not the shit-throwing approach I’ve seen elsewhere

    How many times must the same reasoned argument be used before I am allowed to get angry and throw some shit? Every time anything touching on misogyny shows up in a post, within 50 comments there is a troll using the exact same sexist idiocy that has been disposed of via reasoned arguments, and shit throwing, and everything in between, multiple times. Hell, sometimes it happens multiple times in the same thread.

    So, please let me know, how many times must I make a clear reasoned argument to a series of trollish and misogynyst commenters before I have your permission to fling foecal matter?

  269. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ oolon

    So sorry you are missing my point as I’m making no blanket statement as you seem to imply. I’m saying I’ve seen a better way to deal with them IMO… And the reason it is my opinion is that I read TFs original post and the childish part of me that lol’d at it was in some small part persuaded by his argument. Then I read PZs post and was not impressed – I read RCs and was amazed how daft I was. Anecdotal evidence is no way of coming to any conclusions – thinking about my own anecdotal experience of sexual harassment made that clear.

    Would you give it a rest with how much you were impressed by Richard Carrier’s response? If you like the way he writes so much, why don’t you comment exclusively in his blog?

    What exactly do you want? That we stop engaging trolls because that’s what you want? Not going to happen.
    That other bloggers be more like Richard Carrier? Not going to happen either. Having different voices and different approaches is a good thing, especially in a blog network.

    Also, this:

    (IMO – Richard Carriers blog and someone pointed out other female bloggers have responded in an equally devastating manner but I’ve not seem them yet)

    This, to me, smacks of *OMG, women bloggers can’t make rational responses*. Also, just because YOU haven’t seen them yet doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Greta Christina had 5 -five!- blog posts about Thunderf00t’s shit which made YOU laugh a little…because you have the privilege not to be directly affected by TF’s shitty views.

  270. ewanmacdonald says

    Tethys:

    Yes, those are good points. That said, he’s not the kind of ally that I’d want.

  271. daniellavine says

    @oolon:

    You’ve have adequate opportunities to make your point assuming you have one. Actually, assuming you have a point you must have made it four or five times by now. It’s really all blurring together at this point. Will you please just shut the fuck up?

  272. oolon says

    @daniellavine I will shut up and next time refer ppl to my posts above as its pointless keeping on making the same posts cos ppl are responding to the latest one with no context…. Before I go however…

    @FluffyTheTerrible

    This, to me, smacks of *OMG, women bloggers can’t make rational responses*. Also, just because YOU haven’t seen them yet doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Greta Christina had 5 -five!- blog posts about Thunderf00t’s shit which made YOU laugh a little…because you have the privilege not to be directly affected by TF’s shitty views.

    Another reason why I should shut up — please read my comment #261 reply to mythbri, no sexism need be implied :-)… I will read them now I know about them.

  273. A. Noyd says

    oolon (#309)

    Nope I’m not telling the victims how to respond…

    Which is total bullshit. When you say things like, “the current ‘strategy’ of tackling the ‘slime pitters’ or ‘sexist assholes’ in general has been an abject failure” or “I’ve seen a better way to deal with them,” you are judging certain responses as wrong. Just what do you hope to get out of airing your opinion if not a change in people’s response to the trolls?

    Anecdotal evidence is no way of coming to any conclusions – thinking about my own anecdotal experience of sexual harassment made that clear.

    And yet, here you are with an anecdote about how RC’s post was more convincing to you in support of your belief that RC’s is the more effective style for everybody. No one would be arguing with you if you contained your opinion to what worked best for you, but you’re generalizing from that.

    You’re also still making unstated assumptions about what our goals are in engaging with the trolls in the way that we do. I’ve asked you twice to explain what you think those goals are. So, for the third time, what is it you think they are? (I might not be able to respond till late tonight, but do answer this because I’m confident others can see where I’m going with this and show you what you’re doing wrong.)

  274. julian says

    Yes, those are good points. That said, he’s not the kind of ally that I’d want.

    He means well and definitely does his best to do good.

    But from a pragmatic perspective, you’re right. He can be volatile so… yeah.

    Us easy to anger and aggressive types really need to take up kite flying instead of any form of advocacy. Just shoot everyone in the foot.

    Today’s kinda windy, maybe it’d be a good time for me to start.

  275. Muz says

    “Deen @ #202

    Yeah, we really need to stop worshiping the Golden Middle. Sometimes, being neutral is not the virtuous thing to do.”

    The ‘Middle’ has nothing to do with it. Once upon a time this conflict wasn’t occurring. To foresee it ending it’s sometimes helpful to try and empathise with the ‘enemy’. He looked at ways he understood some traits the ERVers exhibit, in terms of internet culture, and how that could exacerbate things. But in the end he told them they have to knock it off. (a gesture I gather was rejected. Didn’t see much of the thread before it was closed)
    I know skeptic/atheists seem to be allergic to diplomacy sometimes, but despite the amenable tone the message was almost entirely one way if you look.

  276. says

    #304: Justin was talking to the trolls. A lot of the dispute started when people said he shouldn’t engage them.

    No. Josh and I were there in the beginning and we were clear what our view was. Justin was being played and was being an idiot for giving undue benefit of the doubt. By doing so he invited hostility to other blogs. This started because of his stance “I SUPPORT ABBY!!!!” was stupid, childish, poorly researched and insulting. He stupidly insulted his fellow bloggers on this network for…well I don’t know what for he kept telling me and Josh that what we thought he said wasn’t what he said so really he was just farting aloud

  277. says

    @ Julian:

    Us easy to anger and aggressive types really need to take up kite flying instead of any form of advocacy. Just shoot everyone in the foot.

    Today’s kinda windy, maybe it’d be a good time for me to start.

    Good plan… you’ve been sort of “cranked to 11″ the last couple of days, and maybe not doing yourself any favors. When you go past suggesting porcupine insertion to advocating sucking on gun barrels, it is probably time for a break. At least a break from talking to people who (understandably) inspire those feelings, right?

  278. says

    He looked at ways he understood some traits the ERVers exhibit, in terms of internet culture, and how that could exacerbate things.

    No he projected positive spinning on negative behavior. That is not being ‘understanding’ that’s being an apologist. He was TOLD by Josh and I that his view was absurdly incorrect.

    And as PZ said, those traits of the internet culture are not fucking Ok to begin with. In the real world we call those people assholes, the internet does not magically make them roses.

  279. daniellavine says

    @daniellavine I will shut up and next time refer ppl to my posts above as its pointless keeping on making the same posts cos ppl are responding to the latest one with no context…. Before I go however…

    If only you had thought of that before derailing the thread. It apparently never occurred to you that saying the same thing over and over again and getting the same responses probably indicates that people disagree with you. You could have acknowledged the difference of opinion and moved on. Now it’s too late; you can’t do anything to avoid looking like an asshole.

    You can avoid looking like a bigger asshole though. I already told you how. Shut the fuck up.

  280. Kalliope says

    @ Corkscrew:

    Your narcissism is showing.

    Seriously, if you communicate badly your response is “You must have misunderstood me.”

    Every single one of your paragraphs begins with “I” or “me.”

    You’re a lot more concerned with being understood than with understanding, which is a pretty dumb way to go about things.

    Just back up listen and be fully prepared to change your perspectives.

    Certainly, talk less about yourself and your thoughts and your ideas and your perspectives and let the thoughts and perspectives of the people who are being harmed have center stage, okay?

  281. says

    brocasbrian:

    Can we get back to normal blogging any time soon? I agree with you on the feminism issue

    Jesus onna stick, I am sick to death of the tone trolls and the idiots like you who have nothing better to do than whine that a blog isn’t custom tailored to your likes and dislikes.

    You “agree with the feminism issue”? Apparently, it isn’t a “normal” topic, so tell me, what is the one distinct issue? Or is it that since you agree, it’s all fucking fixed now, so we annoying wimmins can stop yakking now, amirite?

    Jesus fucking Christ, what I wouldn’t give to have a dime for every single fucking moron who thinks this is just a flame war and nothing more. And another dime for just how ignorant these people are of the history (history which goes back *before* Egate) and the constant issue of threats to various people. I could retire to a nice island somewhere…

  282. brocasbrian says

    In addition to starting a land war in asia interfering in a flame war is apparently also one of the classic blunders.

  283. daniellavine says

    In addition to starting a land war in asia interfering in a flame war is apparently also one of the classic blunders.

    How about “informing people that they should have the exact same interests and priorities as me”? I think that’s actually closer to what you’re doing here.

    I mean, otherwise you probably would have just skipped this thread since you’re soooo not interested and junk.

  284. says

    He means well and definitely does his best to do good.

    Fuck off, Julian. Your blind defense of Justin and his willingness to host the slimepit was annoying as hell at first, but ever since you had the fucking nerve to go all tea and sympathy over one of the e-mails I received, while insisting Justin was a good guy was really offensive to me and you’re just repeating this crap again.

    In case you didn’t get it a hundred or so posts ago, I don’t fucking agree with you.

  285. brocasbrian says

    I agree completely with what James Sweet said. Hell yes, the flame wars are getting tiresome and I don’t think I’m tone trolling my own network. That’s why I did this, to turn down the heat. I hope it succeeds. That certainly does not mean that I and others will not continue to criticize others within the movement when we think they deserve it, and we sure as hell aren’t going to stop taking a strong stance for equality across the board. But I hope we can do that without all the drama in the future. I fully recognize that maybe I’m being naive.
    – Ed Brayton

  286. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ brocasbrian

    Take your sweet james quote and go away! Don’t come here and tell people, some of whom have been on the receiving end of vile shit, how they should behave. And most importantly, don’t side with james sweet on how feminism is important, but could we knock it off already? The thing is, a lot of us can’t opt out, being or identifying as female…so this is our life and our rights that you’re telling us to quit.

    Go away or make some smart comments for a change.

  287. says

    There’s a difference between being tired of flame wars and wanting them to end and saying that we should drop the subject and let whoever we disagree with dominate the conversation. I don’t see any reason to think Brocasbrian was saying the latter. Who here wants to be in endless flamewars. It may be the least worst option, but you can think fighting misogynists is necessary and still be tired of it.

  288. brocasbrian says

    @ Ace of Sevens

    Thank you. By all means do not drop the subject. I would be disappointed if that happened. I appreciate that PZ pushes back hard over the Sandra Fluke or the Lisa Brown nonsense. These stories are outrages.

  289. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ brocasbrian

    If that’s all you understood from my comment, then we have a communication problem.

    Also, asking for commentaries to be smart is not tone trolling, since smart refers to the substance of the comments, not the language being used.

    What do you want, brocasbrian? The so-called flamewars are going to end whether you bleat on about how you don’t like the posts on the blog anymore, or not. It’s only a matter of time. So, what do you really want?

  290. brocasbrian says

    @ FluffyTheTerrible

    What I’m saying is I’m tired of the flame war. What you’re hearing is “Feminazi! I hate you! I hate you!”.

    Please don’t conflate those things. That’s not at all what I was saying.

  291. daniellavine says

    There’s a difference between being tired of flame wars and wanting them to end and saying that we should drop the subject and let whoever we disagree with dominate the conversation. I don’t see any reason to think Brocasbrian was saying the latter. Who here wants to be in endless flamewars. It may be the least worst option, but you can think fighting misogynists is necessary and still be tired of it.

    I see reason to think brocasbrian was saying the latter:

    Can we get back to normal blogging any time soon? I agree with you on the feminism issue but at a certain point the flaming and arguing and drama comes across as a bit childish. I’ve been reading this blog for at least 6 years and only recently have I not been reading it everyday.

    Sounds like “please talk about something I want to talk about” to me. Tell me how I’m wrong.

    Thank you. By all means do not drop the subject. I would be disappointed if that happened. I appreciate that PZ pushes back hard over the Sandra Fluke or the Lisa Brown nonsense. These stories are outrages.

    Aww, so nice of you to approve. Anything else we’re allowed to talk about?

  292. Matt Penfold says

    What I’m saying is I’m tired of the flame war. What you’re hearing is “Feminazi! I hate you! I hate you!”.

    Please don’t conflate those things. That’s not at all what I was saying.

    Since when has standing for the rights of women been a flame war ?

    Somehow you have got yourself very confused. Why not try unconfusing yourself, rather than carrying on making yourself look an idiot.

  293. says

    I appreciate that PZ pushes back hard over the Sandra Fluke or the Lisa Brown nonsense. These stories are outrages.

    Just not the nonsense and outrages that happen on these blogs and related places, to the bloggers you want to read, to the other people commenting.

    Just the stuff you can safely judge from afar, not stuff you might have to look closer to home to judge.

  294. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ brocasbrian

    What I’m saying is I’m tired of the flame war. What you’re hearing is “Feminazi! I hate you! I hate you!”.

    If you are going to try to reply to my comments, please don’t misrepresent my position. Your objection has been dealt with multiple times, by multiple commenters, and you’re still pointing out how you don’t like flamewars.

    Here’s an exercise in empathy: if you don’t like flamewars, because they affect the quality of articles on your favourite blogs, how do you think it feels to be on the receiving end of a flamewar, for no other reason than being female, and/or telling people that harassment is a serious issue?

    In other words, when we are busy dismantling some other clueless post about how we shouldn’t take things so seriously and boys will be boys, here you come and position yourself above the whole issue and proclaim you don’t like flamewars.

    I hope you can see what it comes across as condescending and making it all about you.
    Believe me, nobody likes flamewars – well, maybe except trolls – but the alternative is silence, as in not saying anything. And that – allowing asshats to control the conversation, drowning out everybody else’s voice – is not acceptable.

    Can we move on now to something over than “I hate flame wars”?

  295. brocasbrian says

    @ daniellavine

    I see reason to think brocasbrian was saying the latter

    I think you just want me to be wrong.

    From ArtK

    For me, a flame war isn’t simply a very heated argument. It’s one where reason and logic are being forced out and replaced by vitriol and emotion. I’m not averse to a little name calling and sarcastic cuts, but draw the line when these become more important than the ostensible subject of the discussion.

    That’s really all I’m trying to say. The disproportional response I’ve gotten bears out ArtK’s point.

  296. Matt Penfold says

    That’s really all I’m trying to say. The disproportional response I’ve gotten bears out ArtK’s point.

    And what you saying is that you are fed up with those who think that having women treated as people is important and something worth fighting for.

    And yet you think that getting pissed off with you saying that is being disproportionate ? How fucking stupid are you ?

  297. daniellavine says

    I think you just want me to be wrong.

    No, I want you to shut up and go away. Because you’re not contributing anything to the conversation. You just keep saying the same stupid thing over and over as if it hadn’t already been expressed and responded to a dozen times in this thread alone.

    If you’re really “tired of the flame war” then why are you here in the first place?

  298. says

    Social change is necessarily driven by conflict, both major, in the sense of laws and large protests, and minor in the sense of everyday decisions not to allow certain kinds of behavior to go unchallenged. Both have to be in action for any sort of social change to exist.

    As another poster pointed out above, trolls are amazingly ahistorical: as far as they’re concerned, the world pops into being whenever they log on to a computer. They’re also acontextual, for much the same reason: they are, for all intents and purposes, islands. Except for the fact that they’re not, they just think they are.

    While they tend to be disgusting fuckers as a group, and so far out the other side of wrong that there’s no coming back, they do serve a function: they’re essentially walking, talking cautionary tales. Flame wars against them tend to polarize, which I don’t mind because sometimes people need to be polarized to summon up the energy for personal resistance and to understand why a movement has certain goals.

    The facile worship of a non-existent ‘middle’ in an already polarized society is about the shallowest and stupidest take on society I can think of, but considering the frequency of false appeals to nonpartisanship (FYI: does not exist here in the US) as a way to make people think something is ‘fair’, I’m not surprised that people seem to think there’s a magic mean which will make the goals of both sides of this debate magically match up.

    When the goal of one side is to dominate the other (like the larger social goal of male dominance, say), there isn’t consensus. Consensus is NOT POSSIBLE between the goals of the two groups.

    But reading the flame wars as acontextual (as stand-alone events) misses the point. Yes, they’re tiring and frustrating and make one want to slap someone (hence the crude language on the blog). The audience for these flame wars is not sexist trolls versus feminists.

    The audience is lurkers who can see, played out, what’s under sexist trolling and how ubiquitous it is. Some of the audience will take the shallow belief that flame = bad, magic middle = fixed, but some of the audience will see the critiques and content and realize what the fuck is wrong with the picture.

    And that is why flame wars are necessary.

  299. Tethys says

    brocasbrian is oh so concerned about disproportional responses?

    Awesomes! I too, am concerned over the horrendous shit-storm of misogyny that has ensued over the words “Don’t do that.”. Someday I hope to have the option to live in a world free of shitty arseholes who think they have the right to hit on me because I make their pee-pees tingle.

  300. brocasbrian says

    @ FluffyTheTerrible

    Granted, my first post was too flippant and I apologize. I’m not a woman and I haven’t been on the receiving end of any threats. I have gotten a fair number of insults though just from expressing something quite a few people over at dispatches have been saying, including Ed. I love this network and have been reading PZ and Ed for a very long time. I just feel it’s all gone off the rails lately. I feel like the outrage (justified) has gotten to the point where it’s just hate and poo flinging and has left productivity and consciousness raising in the rear view.

  301. daniellavine says

    That’s really all I’m trying to say.

    What I don’t understand is this: why wasn’t it enough to say it once? Because people disagreed with you? People disagreed with you and so clearly the only recourse left was to repeat yourself several times. Because that’s how you convince people of things. Saying the same goddamn thing over and over.

    The disproportional response I’ve gotten bears out ArtK’s point.

    The response would have been disproportionate had you only made your point once. But you made the same point several times. As if no one had responded disagreeing with you.

    The “disproportionate response” was an entirely proportionate response to you not shutting up after your opinion had already been expressed.

  302. says

    Caine, no problem. :D

    I don’t always have the energy to post, but that’s been bouncing about my head for days, and I thought it was apropos to the situation.

  303. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ mouthyb

    Very clear and very well put. Thank you for expressing things so well. I see an Order of the Molly in your future.

  304. Kalliope says

    @brocasbrian,

    So, two dudes agree with another dude about how sick and tired he is about hearing shit about things that don’t affect them personally.

    jamessweet says:

    “FtB is a lot less fun at this exact moment than it was a few months ago. I’m not the only one who feels that way”

    You know what’s also not fun? An avalanche of rape threats. Watching people deny the humanity and dignity of a group of people because of physical characteristics which you happen to share.

    You and james and whomever else might not get this, but a lot of women read these blogs. It is implicitly or tacitly stated that WE are less than, that we don’t deserve the same measure of respect, that our dignity and safety is worse less than… whatever it is you want to talk about. You know, cause it’s more fun.

    I don’t usually get his worked up, but how dare you dismiss my concerns and fears and equality and ability to navigate in this world because it’s nothing to you, because it’s not interesting to you? And you dismiss the issue, by calling it “flame-war”, like we’re arguing about who’s the cutest Kardashian sister, instead of calling it what it is: skirmishes in the longest battle from oppression in the entire fucking history of the entire human race?

    You may be able to change the subject, but we are not able to change our sex and/or gender. So bully for you.

    And as for your expressions of care and solidarity for women’s issues… yeah right. You care until you don’t and right now you don’t so… you don’t actually care or stand in solidarity, do you?

  305. FluffyTheTerrible says

    In other news, apropos of nothing, Anderson Cooper finally acknowledged his private life today. See, if we lived in a better world, people wouldn’t need to make such statements about their private lives, because otherwise assholes are going to say that they’re trying to hide something and/or are ashamed.

    Anyway, I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts there will be assholes who are going to start pushing Gay agenda! Gay bias! in his face..

  306. says

    Kalliope:

    how dare you dismiss my concerns and fears and equality and ability to navigate in this world because it’s nothing to you, because it’s not interesting to you?

    Oh hey, didn’t you get the memo? Walking about with the Package of Power, the Almighty Peen™ means that they get to call what’s important and what isn’t and they have Chill Girls to back them up, yessir.

  307. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Please don’t conflate those things. That’s not at all what I was saying.

    Which is easy to pretend when you ignored posts pointing out what you did say that gives that impression AND your obvious lie about reading this blog alot.

    And, since it’s now suddenly “disproportionate responses” your so worried about, I’m absolutely SURE you went over to the slimepit to lecture them about tone too, right? Surely, you didn’t just come to what is a well-known femnist-supporting blog to lecture just one side about their tone, right?

  308. Muz says

    “Ing @ 322

    No he projected positive spinning on negative behavior. That is not being ‘understanding’ that’s being an apologist. He was TOLD by Josh and I that his view was absurdly incorrect.”

    That strikes me as absolutist. You might think they’re in the wrong but there is still something of a culture clash to be seen. Last time I looked (ages ago) there were even a few people who stood over there in solidarity with the ‘spirit’, if not the action and anti-feminist stuff. Stupid perhaps but they identified with something there. To some people that abusive anarchic internet is normal. Our general dismay doesn’t really matter to that.
    I don’t see how it’s apologism when he told them quite clearly to stop, even if he says he understands the culture they come from. And actually several don’t just lash out for the ‘lulz’ but also because they think they’re in the right (while being mischievous at the same time). Twisted perhaps, but real none the less.
    Many might think the situation too far gone for something like that, and they might be right, but I like his attempting to reach the reasonable.
    (I don’t know what this TOLD part refers to. Maybe he disagreed. Be interesting to see if he agrees now)

  309. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    @mouthyb:

    And that is why flame wars are necessary.

    Bravo.

  310. brocasbrian says

    @ Kalliope

    I am not dismissing your concerns or trying to change the subject. I’m sorry if I came off that way. I didn’t mean to.

    @ daniellavine

    The next time i will make my point just once and if you tell me to shut up and fuck off I will do just that. The next time I feel I am misunderstood I will not try to make my point a different way or defend myself. I will accept your insults in the kind way they were intended and get out.

  311. daniellavine says

    The next time i will make my point just once and if you tell me to shut up and fuck off I will do just that. The next time I feel I am misunderstood I will not try to make my point a different way or defend myself. I will accept your insults in the kind way they were intended and get out.

    1. Point out the place where people didn’t seem to understand you.
    2. Point out one insult from me to you. (Hint: telling you to shut up is not an insult.)

    BTW, hypocrite, did you notice how when I called you out on the tone of your first post you replied “I think you just want me to be wrong,” but subsequently apologized for the tone of that post? Someone is being an asshole here but I’m pretty sure it’s not me.

  312. Kalliope says

    @brocasbrian –

    By calling it a flamewar, you’ve declared this series of conversations silly and optional.

    They aren’t. Either we have a baseline standard about the value of women — our minds, our bodies, our psyches, and our rights — or we don’t.

    I didn’t hear you call me or others feminazis. We heard you say, “Gosh, you make a mess when you splash around in the pool trying to save yourself from drowning! Can’t we do something else instead?”

  313. daniellavine says

    Also, why the assumption that people didn’t understand you? Because you’re so overflowing with the light of reason that clearly the only way someone could disagree with you is because they just don’t understand? You made your point, people argued with you, and you responded by saying the same fucking thing. Good faith discussion requires you to at least keep up with what the people you’re talking to are saying.

  314. brocasbrian says

    @ Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Oh come on. A little intellectual honesty here. Now I’m an anti feminist? Please.

    I’ve been reading PZ and Ed for about 6 years. How is that a lie? That’s a pretty odd claim to make. One that’s clearly designed to delegitimize anything I may have to say.

  315. 'Tis Himself says

    brocasbrian

    It’s very simple. You do not have a dog in this fight. You’re a privileged male who doesn’t get hit on by PUAs, doesn’t get rape threats, and doesn’t see sexual harassment every day. I understand how you feel since I’m also a privileged male.

    Unfortunately, half of humanity don’t share the privilege you and I have. Some of us think this lack of privilege is something worth taking action about. Obviously you don’t but some of us men and a whole bunch of women do want to deal with the situation.

    On behalf of the anti-misogyny activists, I apologize for causing you any discomfort. I suggest you go elsewhere to a place where you might feel more comfortable. YouTube might suit you better.

  316. says

    Who here wants to be in endless flamewars. It may be the least worst option, but you can think fighting misogynists is necessary and still be tired of it.

    Yes, I’ve been so impressed by brocasbrian’s and oolon’s ceaseless struggles against misogynists, especially since they’ve personally had to deal with such a barrage of slurs, threats, harassment, condescension, belittling, and abuse. It’s inspiring that they’ve persisted over all of these months despite the setbacks and frustrations. In so many of the threads, there the two of them are, tirelessly fighting the misogynists (calmly, rationally, and knowledgeably, of course). I can only imagine how exhausted they must be.

  317. brocasbrian says

    How is an apology for being flippant proof of being an asshole? Normal blogging doesn’t mean change the subject and keep your problems to yourself. I didn’t say that or mean to say that. You pretty clearly misunderstood that or I didn’t say it clearly. That’s why I was reposting comments from Ed and some others over at Dispatches. I thought they put it better than I did.

    Unlike you I wasn’t trying to insult anyone or tell them to shut up and go away.

  318. says

    SC:

    In so many of the threads, there the two of them are, tirelessly fighting the misogynists (calmly, rationally, and knowledgeably, of course). I can only imagine how exhausted they must be.

    You just highlighted one of the things that bothers me the most. Oolon is only here to whine and thinks he’s impressing everyone with superiority (he’s known on other forums), however, along with people like ‘brocasbrian’, aren’t known people here and have zero history in any sexism or feminism thread on Pharyngula, fighting the good fight.

    The fight pre-dates Egate by a long effing while, as far as the ‘net goes and yet they act like this just happened, what’s the fuss and according to them, hey, they are on board with this feminism stuff, just don’t talk about, because they are bored.

  319. Tethys says

    brainlessbrian

    Unlike you I wasn’t trying to insult anyone or tell them to shut up and go away.

    *industrial strength irony meter explodes*

  320. says

    Cross-posted from Ed’s:

    Anyone still complaining about how ‘both sides’ are somehow at fault, you don’t know what the fuck’s going on, and it’s very arrogant of you walk in now complaining about all the ‘vitriol’ and talking about how FTB as a whole has somehow been damaged, people are being scared away, ‘both sides need to tone it down’ etc.

    The ‘vitriol’ from the anti-feminist side has come in the form of libel, threats, and even actions that could be legally considered cyberstalking. You have no right or ability to talk about ‘both sides’ until you buck up and show where the feminist side has done ANY OF THIS OR ANYTHING EVEN CLOSE. Umtil then, your calls for ‘civility’ have as much weight as “centrists” equating statements like “Second Amendment Solution” and “Don’t retreat, reload” to statements like “War On Women” and “voter suppression”.

    And I have really no idea how one can honestly equate obsessive and continuing threats and libel to reactions.

    Oh, wait, I can, it’s called sitting on the fence while one side brings you a constant supply of tea and cookies.

  321. corkscrew says

    Setár @194: Thanks for the Feminism 101 Blog link – very interesting.

    Anri @247:

    There is a difference between kicking up the social order and kicking down.

    True. The question is: to what extent should we let this difference affect us?

    Should we shrug our shoulders and carry on tearing into whatever quackery comes our way? Or should we try to focus more on nonsense that purports to reinforce the social order (e.g. dodgy racial-IQ stats)? Or should we flat-out decline to criticise some kinds of woo, on the grounds that we are more privileged than its purveyors?

    I always thought skepticism implied option #1 – the true skeptic would be as willing to pick on her friends’ bad reasoning as her enemies’. But most of the comments I’ve seen here seem to fall between #2 and #3. These are questions that can really only be asked on a combined skeptical/feminist forum, so I’d be interested in more people’s personal opinions.

    Ruteekatreya @269:

    given that erasure [of black history], someone emphasizing black history is useful, even if these historians get some things blatantly wrong.

    I can see why you think that, but I’m not sure I’d agree. For example, Time Cube Guy is apparently an atheist, but I don’t think I’d want him on my side in any given debate.

    This links back to the accommodationism debate – should we lay off moderate believers simply because they provide a good counterweight against their nuttier brethren?

  322. consciousness razor says

    What I’m saying is I’m tired of the flame war. What you’re hearing is “Feminazi! I hate you! I hate you!”.

    Please don’t conflate those things. That’s not at all what I was saying.

    Sure. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re only saying “Feminists! I don’t hate you, but these trolls don’t affect me! MEEEEEE! I want to hear more Skepticism™ about Bigfoot and Jebus!”

    You could go wherever you like and not worry your silly little head about it anymore; but if that’s too much to ask, I guess we will have to find some other internet, where there aren’t so many fucking bigots. Oh, right, there isn’t one.

  323. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    1.

    Oh come on. A little intellectual honesty here. Now I’m an anti feminist? Please.
    I’ve been reading PZ and Ed for about 6 years. How is that a lie? That’s a pretty odd claim to make. One that’s clearly designed to delegitimize anything I may have to say.

    Oh goodie. Another pig ignorant douchecanoe who can’t fucking read. Where did I call you “anti-feminst”? Read what I actually wrote. I also explained why it’s pretty clear you are lying that you read this blog, if you continue to assert that feminist topics are ‘abnormal’ for this blog.

    READ what is posted to you, THEN respond. Or, if that’s too fucking difficult for you, flounce. I have no patience for any more of you whining ass, evasive, cowardly dipshits who argue against shit NO ONE SAID.

  324. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    And, as for that “i’m not anti-feminist!” assertions, bronobrain:

    I’ll repeat myself:

    And, since it’s now suddenly “disproportionate responses” your so worried about, I’m absolutely SURE you went over to the slimepit to lecture them about tone too, right? Surely, you didn’t just come to what is a well-known femnist-supporting blog to lecture just one side about their tone, right?

    Because, again surely, the “disproportionate response” is that of the bigots towards people against misogyny.

    Right, Mr. So-Totally-Feminist?

  325. 'Tis Himself says

    brocasbrian #368

    How is an apology for being flippant proof of being an asshole?

    You’ve offered other evidence for being an asshole.

    Normal blogging doesn’t mean change the subject and keep your problems to yourself. I didn’t say that or mean to say that.

    Actually, asshole, you did say that. Here’s a quote from your first post on this thread:

    Can we get back to normal blogging any time soon? I agree with you on the feminism issue but at a certain point the flaming and arguing and drama comes across as a bit childish.

    How else are we to interpret your words except as I’m tired of discussions of feminism and you folks are being childish? If that’s not what you meant, then it’s not our fault you’re a sloppy writer.

    Unlike you I wasn’t trying to insult anyone or tell them to shut up and go away.

    You may not have been trying to insult us or tell us to shut up, but you managed to do so.

  326. says

    Illuminata:

    I also explained why it’s pretty clear you are lying that you read this blog, if you continue to assert that feminist topics are ‘abnormal’ for this blog.

    But but I didn’t notice any feminism / sexism posts at all the last six years!!1! It’s just this recent flamewar and you guys just won’t shut up!!!1 Geez, it’s impossible to ignore anymore and I’m bored!11! Waaaaaaaaaah!1

  327. daniellavine says

    How is an apology for being flippant proof of being an asshole?

    Because you didn’t apologize the first time you were called out on it. Instead you implied I was being intellectually dishonest. Which is a little ironic given the fact that ultimately you figured out you should apologize for it.

    Normal blogging doesn’t mean change the subject and keep your problems to yourself.

    I don’t know what you’re trying to say. What my problem was is this: you made an initial “flippant” comment. When called out on flippancy you not only refused to acknowledge it but even turned around and called the response “disproportionate” (more proof of being an asshole, by the way — are you keeping score?). Then maybe you realized you were being a jerk and toned it down. Great. Then you said the same thing and quoted OTHERS saying the same thing for like four or five posts. One was enough.

    People disagreeing with you is not the same as people not understanding you. If you suspect people are not understanding you it’s not particularly helpful to repeat yourself over and over again. ASK what it is that people don’t understand about what you’re saying. Or better yet, don’t assume people don’t understand you. Read what they’re saying and see whether they maybe just disagree with you. It happens.

    Unlike you I wasn’t trying to insult anyone or tell them to shut up and go away.

    1. Again, point out once, anywhere in this thread, that I insulted you. If you can’t then stop saying I insulted you. It just makes you more of a hypocrite than you already are.
    2. I only told you to shut up and go away AFTER you had made your point three or four times. I didn’t try to stop you from expressing your opinion. I wanted you to stop spamming us with your opinion.

  328. says

    Ing @ 25:

    casual friends I have who are most definitely not hyper feminist and up on gender theory have nodded in agreement and understood the point when I pointed out the problems in trans shaming Ann Coulter.

    It’s a familiar concept to most people (warning: TV Tropes link): calling Coulter trans is calling her something that’s not inherenlty bad while calling trans people something that is inherently bad.

    Ing @ 29:

    Because civility and forgiveness are often weapons for oppression masquerading as morality.

    Merited forgiveness has a place in advocacy, in that if the mark of bigotry is ineffaceable, it’s difficult to convince someone stained with it that there’s any point in unlearning the bigotry. But no one should be pressured to forgive someone they feel hasn’t merited it.

    For that matter, a reasonable level of civility is not without its benefits, even if it’s not worth abandoning one’s cause (or effectiveness at it) for.

    brocasbrian @ 350:

    I’m not a woman and I haven’t been on the receiving end of any threats. I have gotten a fair number of insults though just from expressing something quite a few people over at dispatches have been saying,

    Yes, that’s exactly the same thing as being subject to abuse simply because you’re a woman in what some scum have decided needs to be a male-only space.

    corkscrew @ 373:

    Should we shrug our shoulders and carry on tearing into whatever quackery comes our way? Or should we try to focus more on nonsense that purports to reinforce the social order (e.g. dodgy racial-IQ stats)? Or should we flat-out decline to criticise some kinds of woo, on the grounds that we are more privileged than its purveyors?

    There’s actually very little difference, most of the time, between #1 and #2. And I don’t think I’ve seen anyone — here or elsewhere — advocating #3.

  329. says

    Should we shrug our shoulders and carry on tearing into whatever quackery comes our way? Or should we try to focus more on nonsense that purports to reinforce the social order (e.g. dodgy racial-IQ stats)? Or should we flat-out decline to criticise some kinds of woo, on the grounds that we are more privileged than its purveyors?

    I always thought skepticism implied option #1 – the true skeptic would be as willing to pick on her friends’ bad reasoning as her enemies’.

    I just wrote about this!

    (I’m also, as I mentioned a few days ago, writing a little update to an old post about Alan Sokal. I’ll just note again that Sokal, despite many suggestions from others to the contrary, considers corporate and government spin the biggest danger to the scientific worldview and social justice today.)

  330. says

    Justin Griffith has put up a post entitled Other Slime Pits I’ve Waded Through. Interestingly, comments are turned off.

    Not that interesting, and especially not interesting because he ignores the slime pit that pays his bills.

  331. says

    Re: “I don’t really have any problem with abortion jokes in the right context (this instance seems fine.)” – I believe that this is bad writing, and “this instance” refers to the embedded link in the sentence, and not to the previous account.

    I’m only making faint “not quite as bad as it looks” pedantry points here. I agree that he’s really getting things badly wrong, a lot.

    I’m particularly annoyed that he treats the slimepit as if it were some bunch of freaky right wing loons shouting about their talking point du jour. It’s not. It’s a sustained campaign of *personal* harrassment against several FtB bloggers & posters, as well as Rebecca Watson.

  332. CT says

    I’m particularly annoyed that he treats the slimepit as if it were some bunch of freaky right wing loons shouting about their talking point du jour.

    I think until he actually experiences them turning on him full bore, he’s unlikely to see it any differently. He seems to be a very trusting person. It’s kinda nice to see someone who hasn’t quite experienced the full monty of all the worst things people can do. He’s still an idiot imo. or a fool.

  333. CT says

    At the risk of sounding wooish, this is what his last post sounds like to me:

    With all his worldly possessions in one small pack, the Fool travels he knows not where. So filled with visions, questions, wonder and excitement is he, that he doesn’t see the cliff he is likely to fall over. At his heel a small dog harries him (or tries to warn him of a possible mis-step). Will the Fool learn to pay attention to where he’s going before it’s too late?

    okay, I know, idiotic, just wanted to share. please don’t beat me up too bad. y’all.

  334. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    @CT I saw it as “Look at the brave hero venturing into dragon’s cave! What courage, to do battle with evil in it’s very lair!” It sure is a good thing we’ve got big, strong Sgt Griffith to play the knight in shining armor.

  335. says

    @Setár

    Because not doing so might be illegal for him =/

    Well, probably more inconvenient than illegal. After all, his OTHER job is pointing out how inhospitable the military can be for atheists, and that’s not illegal.

  336. CT says

    It sure is a good thing we’ve got big, strong Sgt Griffith to play the knight in shining armor.

    yeah, it’s pretty hard to get past the cynicism his attitude brings about. I have two teenage sons tho, so, he so reminds me of them when he says stuff like that. Total bias on my part. He’s just seems so so young. :/

  337. Muz says

    You’re being staggeringly uncharitable about that post. I get from it that he wades into these apparent cultural schisms that most people avoid almost as a matter of habit. This is because it has produced interesting and perhaps useful results at times. He saw the ERV situation the same way, rightly or wrongly. He wasn’t expecting to annoy nearly everyone, including, crucially, the side he was arguing for, in the process. He sounds regretful and keen to rectify the situation.

  338. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    Muz, I don’t think anyone is doubting his good intentions or that that he feels like a giant ass right now. But I’m a little short of sympathy for giant asses right now, especially when they make the exact same mistake twice in a row. This latest post just looks like an attempt to use his past accomplishments to ameliorate, excuse, and distract from the mountain of idiocy he committed.

  339. Anri says

    True. The question is: to what extent should we let this difference affect us?

    Should we shrug our shoulders and carry on tearing into whatever quackery comes our way? Or should we try to focus more on nonsense that purports to reinforce the social order (e.g. dodgy racial-IQ stats)? Or should we flat-out decline to criticise some kinds of woo, on the grounds that we are more privileged than its purveyors?

    I always thought skepticism implied option #1 – the true skeptic would be as willing to pick on her friends’ bad reasoning as her enemies’. But most of the comments I’ve seen here seem to fall between #2 and #3. These are questions that can really only be asked on a combined skeptical/feminist forum, so I’d be interested in more people’s personal opinions.

    This is not a simple issue, and I doubt there’s a single unified answer.
    A good example of this is the controversy about Draw Mohamed Day. The point has been made – and I have come to agree with it – that whatever the good of the idea was at one time, and might still be, the actual outcome has been so poisoned by racism that it’s extremely difficult to be involved without supporting openly racist things done by openly racist people.

    However, none of this has to do with the extremely basic fact that being critical of Catholics and being critical of women are not equivalent, regardless of social order. There’s nothing voluntary, wrong, or immoral about being a woman. This is not true about Catholicism.
    Conflating mockery of womanhood with mockery of Catholicism shows a lack of understanding of one, the other, or both. It’s not the same thing, not by a long shot.

  340. jackrawlinson says

    This comes after Justin posted Laden’s threats. PZ states on his own blog – quite rightly, in my opinion – that he reserves the right to post full identifying info of people who threaten him via email. This seems like a little jab at Justin for doing the same thing, which is pretty unfair.

    No, what it is is rank, shameless hypocrisy, as I said the other day. And more and more people are finally noticing that that’s the game that gets played here, and getting rightly sick of it.

  341. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    Comment by jackrawlinson blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]

  342. oolon says

    @Caine Oolon is only here to whine and thinks he’s impressing everyone with superiority (he’s known on other forums), however, along with people like ‘brocasbrian’, aren’t known people here and have zero history in any sexism or feminism thread on Pharyngula, fighting the good fight.

    Your paranoia is showing – or did you miss my reply when you accused me of being on some other forums commenting? From your assessment of my comments you obviously did not read them so not surprising all us Oolons merge into one. I’ve got no form, you know of, in sexism or feminism threads therefore my opinion on trolling is irrelevant? Great argument there…

    My thoughts on your celebrity musings are that you have not commented with any substance on a single thing I’ve ever said on here. Doesn’t quite fit with your view of yourself as a guerilla commentard destroying all the sexists with your witty repartee. So keep the cupcakes flying…

  343. says

    This is not a simple issue, and I doubt there’s a single unified answer.
    A good example of this is the controversy about Draw Mohamed Day. The point has been made – and I have come to agree with it – that whatever the good of the idea was at one time, and might still be, the actual outcome has been so poisoned by racism that it’s extremely difficult to be involved without supporting openly racist things done by openly racist people.

    I almost now just want to do one for next year that will be Mohamed defensibly using kungfu to ward off attacking red necks and cowboys. Using DMD to take the piss out of Islamaphobes just sounds like the perfect response…if there is a way to do it without pissing on Muslims now. Anyone have any brain storming ideas?

  344. Anri says

    I almost now just want to do one for next year that will be Mohamed defensibly using kungfu to ward off attacking red necks and cowboys. Using DMD to take the piss out of Islamaphobes just sounds like the perfect response…if there is a way to do it without pissing on Muslims now. Anyone have any brain storming ideas?

    “I used to Draw Mohamed like you, but then I took a racist to the knee,” maybe?

    I’M SORRY
    I APOLOGIZE