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Jul 26 2012

The war of the smug

Michael Nugent is a humane and intelligent fellow, and he’s distressed by the rifts that have formed in the atheist community. So he’s written a good set of guidelines for how atheists and skeptics should interact. I have a small problem with one of his suggestions, but otherwise, it’s an excellent and idealistic plan…and unfortunately, one that has already struck the shoals of rabid misogyny.

As he notes, we’ve got a problem with people who are furious that atheists dare to consider sexism and racism to be serious issues that we should deal with now. He takes the side that I knew he would, that these are problems we should address, because secular thinkers should be best equipped to deal with them.

As skeptics we should objectively examine the impacts of social discrimination, and identify the best ways to promote diversity and inclusiveness. By definition, prejudice depends on not having all relevant information, and as skeptics we are ideally suited to develop and promote arguments for inclusiveness and human rights, based on the evidence of the benefits to individuals and society. We could use this research to tackle the emotional and irrational thinking behind racism, sexism, homophobia, and other prejudices and discriminations. It’s at least as interesting a topic as many we discuss, and a more useful topic than most.

I am fully in agreement. This is the necessary job of this generation of atheists and skeptics, to extend our principles to embrace topics of wider social import. Michael is on our side; unfortunately, you can already see the rifts widening. The very first comment on his article is from someone raving about me and my (?) “horde of five-minute-hate skepchicks”, who then goes on to make up a bunch of lies about the recent disagreement with Rationalia. And of course a known slimepit denizen immediately chimes in. So one obstacle is that a contingent has dug in with illiberal, anti-social justice values, and they are quick to howl at any suggestion that they are less than flawless champions of truth and freedom.

Yes, there is a problem here. And the problem lies in people who are affronted at any extension of atheist values to embrace other social values. Which is why I have some reservations about Michael’s first suggestion, that we have to stay focused on atheism and skepticism. Those ideas should be omnipresent, they should inform what we do, but they need to be a foundation, not a final end result.

We’re in the midst of a little civil war, a war with the smug. For so long, it was an accomplishment to be an atheist — we had rejected the dogma of the majority. It’s really something important. And now we’re growing, and we gather in greater and greater numbers, and while it’s great to find ourselves in large groups of people where we don’t have to be defensive about our disbelief, it also becomes obvious that it is not enough. We are all people who have taken that first step towards real intellectual freedom, and some of us like to just stand in wonderment and demand applause for that one step…while others of us are saying, “good, now we can march forward.” And of course that opens up rifts between us, and of course the smug are sitting there incredulous, resentful that we aren’t content just to applaud those who made that first effort, and laud them as heroes. They want a cookie right now just for being atheists.

So on one side we have smug jerks who hate the idea of being progressive, but on the other, on my side, we’re quite ready to cut the troglodytes loose, and we’re quite ready to move on without them. We see the rift forming, and we actually see it as a good thing; as Natalie Reed said on twitter:

I don’t WANT to be allies with ppl who need to be dragged, kicking & screaming, into treating me like a human.

Michael has stepped into the no-man’s land between the raging forces, and it’s a gallant effort. But judging by the comments already on his article, he hasn’t convinced the smug anti-progressives that maybe they should embrace a wider scope for atheism, and he really hasn’t tried yet to convince the people on the other side that maybe the angry sexists and racists and sneering self-satisfied libertarians are worth bringing on board. I’m inclined to say they’re not, until they grow up and change.

But let me say here: Michael Nugent has put up a plea for civil discussion on these matters. Try it. If you comment over there, be polite to the smug reactionaries already commenting; and here on this thread, too, try to avoid being too vicious, as much as you feel the other guys deserve it. Address his suggestions in the same spirit he made them.

1,097 comments

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  1. 501
    Nightjar

    It would be nice…even respect-worthy, if you all could turn your rapier sharp fuckwits on yourselves and PZ sometimes.

    You must be fucking kidding me.

    No, wait, I’ll rephrase that. You must be new here. You must never have read the most interesting comment threads that sometimes erupt here. You must never have been to TZT. You must never have been to TET when things got really ugly over there…

    You are new here, right?

  2. 502
    PatrickG

    *site. I give up.

  3. 503
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Brownian, you forgot a well placed blah or two…

  4. 504
    Paul

    And I hate to say it, but as one of the primary representative of “our side”, we should not be guilty of exactly what we are accused of.

    Well, this would depend on the details of what we’re being accused of. Care to enlighten us as to how we’re “banning people who disagree” or “calling everyone who doesn’t agree with FtB rapists”? If you would actually deal in particulars, you might have made a helpful post instead of just lecturing us on tone.

    What particulars are Pharyngula or FtB as a whole currently being accused of that are 1) things they would not want to guilty of and 2) are guilty of or in danger of being guilty of based on discussion in this thread?

    The only accusation I can see (not that it was phrased this way) was that they called Thunderfoot a racist before his first post on FtB. While this is true, I don’t think this is something that anyone minds being guilty of (and it definitely wasn’t “before he said anything”, he’s been posting videos for some time now providing ample evidence)..

  5. 505
    'Tis Himself

    Barfy, your concern is noted.

    Now please take your prim, priggish, condescending rebuke and go away. On behalf of The Horde™ I would deeply appreciate you shutting the fuck up.

  6. 506
    Inaji

    Patrick, you need to use < and > here, instead of [ ]. Like so:

    <blockquote>Place Text Here</blockquote> to get this:

    Place Text Here

  7. 507
    thunk: y'all know ageism is a thing?

    Oh, Barfy:

    To all the fuckwits (Brownian of shitstain, Caine fleur de fuckwit, Ing the gerund of bor, etc)

    I get tired, too. So, I’ll say this once and literally for all on Pharyngula:
    It would be nice…even respect-worthy, if you all could turn your rapier sharp fuckwits on yourselves and PZ sometimes.

    Hint: We do that too.

    You are all, as am I, guilty of parsing and bias and hypocrisy. The difference should be that we hold ourselves accountable to at least the standard we expect of MRA’s, Xians, racists, etc.

    Many a time have we criticized both each other and PZ. Your allegations of hypocrisy are unfounded.

    You do not.

    Projecting much?

    You are the hidebound, liberal bogeypeople that Fox News decries as hypocrites. You ARE hypocrites. In the worst sense.

    Wrong. Citation needed.

    You sit on high and use the word “privilege” as a cudgel without understanding what the fuck that concept means.

    Read the feminist Pharyngula Wiki links to find out exactly what it means, outside of your twisted mind.

    And, if I’m wrong, and you do actually know what the concept of “privilege” entails, you are hoping that the ignorant you are hammering defer to your higher understanding and bow to your awesomeness.

    We know exactly what it means, yet we don’t want people worshiping us like you claim. Citation needed.

    You’re not awesome. I wouldn’t like people pointing that out to me, either.

    You’d think we didn’t know that already?

    So, I excuse your jejune swearing as being the immature response of the emotionally immature. Like PZ.

    Simple tone trolling.

    I get it. I do it myself. But, like overeating, I promise myself that I’ll quit. I’m trying to be a better person.

    If you really did get it, you would quit tone trolling. And read up about what feminism actually entails.

    So, and I’m sorry for being ageist, GROW THE FUCK UP! All of you.

    Hint: If it’s so ageist, WHY ARE YOU FUCKING SAYING IT THEN???

    Naughty words don’t offend me – they’re just fucking boring. Like potty jokes. You fuckwits.

    If you’re so un-offended, why are you trying to tone-troll us? So you can feel superior?

    I’m not derailing a thread when hypocrisy is pointed out.

    You are when you’re lying and throwing unfounded accusations around.

    I’m just not massaging your naughty parts, like you like. Sorry. I’ve got to work on my lovemaking skills.

    Oh, so you seem to think we’re a hivemind which doesn’t tolerate disagreement. FALSE. If you had bothered to go beyond trolling us, you would disabuse yourself of that notion.

    But you have proved you are not, what with your behavior.

    So FUCK OFF, troll.

  8. 508
    RichardAustin

    To clarify, what I mean is that since this site and this commetariat has become one of the flag bearers of this very real split, a change in approach and responsibility is in order.

    Stop for a sec.

    This site and its commentors have become flag bearers for the split, and proponents of the need to address this issue.

    In other words, what’s been done for years is working.

    And now you think it needs to change? We need to break what works?

    Because it’s not about the individual us anymore (although that DOES matter), it’s about the movement as a whole. And I hate to say it, but as one of the primary representative of “our side”, we should not be guilty of exactly what we are accused of. This is where people come to hear our side of the story and we should be careful.

    Sorry, but fuck that. It’s not about us as the Horde – it never has been. It’s about us as victims – women, gays, lesbians, queers, trans, minorities of all races and mobility and status. We and our legitimate allies are here, at this place, representing what we feel to be the truth in the best way we know how.

    And because of that, people have started flocking here. Because of the hostility to hate and the abrasiveness to trolls and the refusal to back down and be polite if it means ceding ground to bigotry, people look to Pharyngula as a leader on the subject.

    And you think we should change that and instead adopt the tactics of those who failed to become such leaders.

    … I think you’re trying to fix the wrong thing.

  9. 509
    Ingdigo Jump

    Would anyone even care if someone wasn’t married to someone?

    Cause you know a woman’s worth isn’t in her own abilities but to what man she’s attached to?

  10. 510
    Anthony K

    And I hate to say it, but as one of the primary representative of “our side”, we should not be guilty of exactly what we are accused of.

    It doesn’t matter. Be nice, don’t be nice, by a hypocrite, don’t be a hypocrite: it doesn’t fucking matter one iota. We’re dealing with ‘skeptics’ here, people who are better than everyone else by virtue of realising YHWH and Yggdrasil and UFOs probably don’t exist.

    Discussion is useless. It’s always been useless.

  11. 511
    Ingdigo Jump

    Tell me, how nasty was Watson with EG?

    Surely she must have been part of this big angry rabble for everyone to shut her out right?

    FFS, expecting people to listen despite having their ego’s bruised should be the default for these so called skeptics. That the fucking free thought lemmings gleefully dive off of every logical bug fuck cliff one after the other shows how profoundly and utterly the whole skeptic ‘movement’ has failed at it’s core goals

  12. 512
    Prairie Bob

    I’m no Libertarian, but I have to say that not all libertarians are sexist or smug. I found this out by arguing against libertarianism with libertarians. Not everyone who has a sexist idea in their head is a misogynist and not everyone who is insensitive on an issue supports a regressive stance.

    I have also noticed over the years that enlightened opinions are not quite the reliable indicator of emotional maturity as I once thought.

    PS, when are we going to stage an intervention to get Neil deGrasse Tyson out of his obviously deluded relationship with the Republican Party?

  13. 513
    Nightjar

    You people don’t get it. We are a echo chamber because we all agree that being misogynist and defending misogyny is bad. Clearly, we should allow for more diversity of opinions on this topic. Like, uh…

  14. 514
    thunk: y'all know ageism is a thing?

    To clarify, what I mean is that since this site and this commetariat has become one of the flag bearers of this very real split, a change in approach and responsibility is in order.

    Why?

    Seriously, what’s the point?

    The harsh criticism here has done more than anything to snap me out of the privilege bubble I grew up in. It has done the same for others.

    The nicey-nice strategy that you propose just doesn’t measure up.

  15. 515
    Ingdigo Jump

    not everyone who is insensitive on an issue supports a regressive stance.

    Yes they fucking are. Doing nothing for a repressive status quo is fucking repressive. Goddamn you assholes.

    I have also noticed over the years that enlightened opinions are not quite the reliable indicator of emotional maturity as I once thought.

    Yes because we should shame people for giving a shit! South Park has taught you well!

  16. 516
    Cipher

    Hahahaha.
    Yes, you see a bunch of people leaving because they’re angry at being consistently treated like shit, and you decide that the problem is all the anger.
    This thread is fucking awesome

  17. 517
    Inaji

    Unsorted:

    Not everyone who has a sexist idea in their head is a misogynist

    No! What a revelation! Do you expect a medal for that piece of incredibly common knowledge? Who do you think you’re talking to here?

    Not one person in the commentariat here has ever made the statement “every person who has ever had a sexist thought is a misogynist.” That is the sort of shit our opponents fling.

    What the commentariat here says, constantly, is that we are all sexist. We are all soaking in it. We are all privileged. We need to be aware of that and change ourselves as well as other.

    Try knowing who you’re talking to before you speak up here.

  18. 518
    Anthony K

    Not everyone who has a sexist idea in their head is a misogynist and not everyone who is insensitive on an issue supports a regressive stance.

    Do you think people don’t know that? Do you really think people don’t know that?

    But point out that sexist idea in their head or that being insensitive on an issue is at the very least, no help at all, and see what kind of response you get. That’s the litmus test.

  19. 519
    Inaji

    I see we’re now at the Idiot Parade™ stage. Is there something about clicking over 500 that does it?

  20. 520
    Ingdigo Jump

    I assume your talking about NGT saying Republicans are more proscience because they spend more money on it?

    Despite that they are against, Evolution, Stem cell, Global Warming

    No, Niel, they do not give more money FOR science. They give money for science to give them the answers they want. You should know this.

  21. 521
    Inaji

    Yes, well, a lot of people are sporting Templeton prizes and awards. Those aren’t for science.

  22. 522
    'Tis Himself

    Because it’s not about the individual us anymore (although that DOES matter), it’s about the movement as a whole. And I hate to say it, but as one of the primary representative of “our side”, we should not be guilty of exactly what we are accused of.

    The atheist movement? Many if not most atheists have never heard of Pharyngula or FtB. The skeptic movement? Many of us are disassociating ourselves from professional skeptics like JREF. Of which movement are we a primary representative of “our side”?

    As Richard Austin notes above, we’re finally starting to get noticed as an anti-sexist, anti-rape culture, anti-misogynist stronghold.

    Are we strident? Yes, we certainly are. Do some people find stridency upsetting? Yes, they certainly do. But you have to ask why do they find being strident about sexism upsetting?

    Every thread we have on sexism always has one or two people delurking to say “thank you.” Either we’ve providing a safe place to help them recover from abuse or we’re causing them to consider their attitudes toward women. So we do think we’re doing some good.

  23. 523
    thunk: y'all know ageism is a thing?

    Unsorted:

    Not everyone who has a sexist idea in their head is a misogynist and not everyone who is insensitive on an issue supports a regressive stance.

    E… hwa?

    First of all, the phrasing “a misogynist” is rather useless. As Crommunist explains, it’s a strategy to avoid responsibility for sexism by painting other people as the evil, evil misogynists.

    But for those who have sexist ideas in their head, our utmost priority is to get rid of them. We do that quite effectively here at Pharyngula.

    I’m no Libertarian, but I have to say that not all libertarians are sexist or smug. I found this out by arguing against libertarianism with libertarians.

    True– no community is a monolithic bloc. But the philosophical position held by most right-libertarians is that societal differences are primarily the result of individual actions.

    This, of course, ignores the massive reality of privilege. Even if they have the most benevolent intentions, their position is doing harm by their failure to realize that it’s not people’s fault that they’re less privileged.

  24. 524
    thunk: y'all know ageism is a thing?

    Caine:

    we are all sexist. We are all soaking in it. We are all privileged. We need to be aware of that and change ourselves as well as other.

    Yes. Yes. This is so true.

    And all these “skeptics” who claim that they don’t believe in god and therefore are done do not understand that.

  25. 525
    ChasCPeterson

    Tell me, how nasty was Watson with EG?

    I’ll ask Rawlinson next time he drives by.

  26. 526
    Anthony K

    BTW, just so people like barfy have their oh-so-important contributions counted, you’re a hypocrite, PZ.

    I don’t have better details on your hypocrisy than that (barfy didn’t say, because like any good skeptic he knows that good arguments and evidence are only things you demand from your opponents), but you’d better see to it then.

    Or something.

  27. 527
    Nightjar

    Yes, you see a bunch of people leaving because they’re angry at being consistently treated like shit, and you decide that the problem is all the anger.
    This thread is fucking awesome

    I know, right?

    This whole thing… it’s unbelievable.

    ***

    Not everyone who has a sexist idea in their head is a misogynist and not everyone who is insensitive on an issue supports a regressive stance.

    And what makes you think you’re telling us something we don’t know?

  28. 528
    Sili

    Tell me, how nasty was Watson with EG?

    She didn’t immediately drop her pants and ooh and ahh over his pee-pee.

    And that’s nasty. Real nasty.

    I’m sure the reason we’ve never heard from poor Lift-Guy, is that he’s still suffering from mortally wounded man fee-fees.

  29. 529
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    What the commentariat here says, constantly, is that we are all sexist. We are all soaking in it. We are all privileged. We need to be aware of that and change ourselves as well as other.

    What? Me privileged??? Oh yeah, white male, AARP card, hetero, well educated, steadily employed, owns house…yep, privileged.

    My beef with the TF defenders has always been that they come here with attitude, but never any evidenced arguments. So they all sound the same due to attitude. Not one has tried a properly evidenced argument to show TF was treated badly. Almost like they know they have nothing, so they try to intimidate with attitude, which is hilarious to those of us around during Crackergate….

  30. 530
    Anthony K

    Not everyone who has a sexist idea in their head is a misogynist

    This needs a meme.

  31. 531
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I’ll ask Rawlinson next time he drives by.

    He’s been officially banhammered. A drive by is not out of the question though, considering the level of ego it has.

  32. 532
    Prairie Bob

    Sorry, ing,

    I should have said “intentionally supports a regressive stance”

    Being in the right doesn’t make me right.

    Shame,

  33. 533
    Ingdigo Jump

    @unsorted

    Because intent is fucking magic right?

    Because people really care if the boot that crushes their spirits is intended or not?

    Because even thought your factually wrong on everything you’re still somehow right?

  34. 534
    'Tis Himself

    Caine wrote:

    What the commentariat here says, constantly, is that we are all sexist. We are all soaking in it. We are all privileged. We need to be aware of that and change ourselves as well as other.

    I’m a white, cis-hetero, educated, married, upper middle class, healthy male. There are few people more privileged than me. So why am I involved in fighting sexism, homophobia, racism, etc.? So other people can have the same privileges as me. Despite what the MRAs and libertarians think, this is not a zero-sum game. If less privileged people are brought to my level or higher, I don’t lose anything. It’s like the homophobes who shriek that same-sex marriage will ruin the concept of marriage. If gays get married, that will have no effect on my marriage. If the rape culture goes away, that won’t affect my relationships with any women (or men, trans*genders, etc.). So it doesn’t hurt me in the least to stand up against sexism and all the other isms.

    I get benefits from standing up for equality and against various isms. People I care about: the wife, daughter, other family, friends; have their situations improved. People I don’t know get their situations improved which improves society. If society is made better, then I as a member of society have my situation improved. Plus it makes me feel good.

    <Pats self on back, strains arm>

  35. 535
    Sili

    PS, when are we going to stage an intervention to get Neil deGrasse Tyson out of his obviously deluded relationship with the Republican Party?

    When he runs for Congress.

  36. 536
    Inaji

    ‘Tis:

    If society is made better, then I as a member of society have my situation improved. Plus it makes me feel good.

    Yes. And that goes for all of us. A better society is something to strive for – much more than playing “leader of the atheist pack” or somesuch crap.

  37. 537
    Anthony K

    I waded back into Michael Nugent’s thread to deal once more with that lying piece of shit cormac:

    His cohorts then went on to continue to make these claims, becoming more and more aggressive. They threatened to orchestrate a campaign against the fellow who posted the joke, in the real world, in which amongst other things they’d get him labelled as a “rape condoner”. This led to one of them posting his name, address, and phone number on the website. The home where he lives with his wife and children.

    Just to show that lying piece of shit that it took three minutes from lingotastic’s posting of Pappa’s personal information to commenters criticising it.

    We police our own blog better than any of those fucks.

    If anybody sees barfy, don’t roll him into the recovery position. The world is better off without him.

  38. 538
    Anthony K

    Okay, I’m all fucking raging again.

    I’m outy for the night.

  39. 539
    Inaji

    Brownian:

    I’m outy for the night.

    Me too. I’m going to go play with needles*, it’s better for me right now.

    *Stitching, people, stitching.

  40. 540
    Cipher

    They threatened to orchestrate a campaign against the fellow who posted the joke, in the real world, in which amongst other things they’d get him labelled as a “rape condoner”. This led to one of them posting his name, address, and phone number on the website. The home where he lives with his wife and children.

    Oh my fucking god that is such bullshit!
    Jesus fucking christ.
    YEAH MAYBE WE SHOULD BE MORE POLITE TO THESE FUCKS
    *tears out her fucking hair*

  41. 541
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    If anybody sees barfy, don’t roll him into the recovery position.

    Oh, PZ left this DNR order…Not a problem.

  42. 542
    Anthony K

    I have rehearsal. Time to act like a happy guy who sees the best in people! (No really, that’s my character.)

  43. 543
    Paul

    His cohorts then went on to continue to make these claims, becoming more and more aggressive. They threatened to orchestrate a campaign against the fellow who posted the joke, in the real world, in which amongst other things they’d get him labelled as a “rape condoner”. This led to one of them posting his name, address, and phone number on the website. The home where he lives with his wife and children.

    If it was just slightly more exaggerated, I’d guess it was good ole Tom Johnson.

  44. 544
    Sili

    If it was just slightly more exaggerated, I’d guess it was good ole Tom Johnson.

    Is there a forensic linguist in the house?

  45. 545
    carlie

    Like I said, it isn’t person to person when engaging in a forum. It’s the entire atmosphere.

    If it’s not person to person, why is she yelling at individuals to change how they personally act? And what is an atmosphere if not a collection of how individuals act?

  46. 546
    carlie

    You know what all this is? It’s death wails. It’s the last barbaric yawp of a group who knows their time in the sun is over. It’s the desperate clinging onto any scrap of validity and prominence by people who realize that they’re on a sinking ship, and that in a few years no one will look on their viewpoints with anything but confused pity. Critical mass is being reached in progressive movements, and that mass will not put up with being treated like second-class citizens by people who have never examined their place in the world but have Panglossian assumptions that everything is as it should be. Well, suck on it. Scream all you want, but the rest of the world will pass you by.

  47. 547
    PZ Myers

    I’m raging too. You know those nice folks over at Rationalia? That Cormac fellow isn’t the only dishonest fuckhead in the bunch. They’ve got hate threads against Skepchicks and against me. One of them announces that I’m a racist and a misogynist. Just take a look at this masterpiece of logic from someone called Audley Strange. I’m practicing Ted Bundy level misogyny! I guess now I’m a serial killer.

    Picture if you will you are in a bar with friends. One of your friends makes a nasty joke about a group of annoying fuckers that is in terrible taste. Some fucking nutbag overhears this and then runs out to his clique to start a hate campaign claiming they’ve been harrassed and victimised by something they would not even know about if it wasn’t for the wheedling little cunt who thought it right to be a tittle tattle just to garner approval from a coterie of neurotic fools.

    So then all these annoying twats start turning up at the bar, a bunch of condescending, patronising narcissists who start demanding you and your friends apologise to them. While outside the rest of the herd scream and howl in tears of manufactured emotive outrage and bug everyone they can to let them know too that they and their friends were victimised. One of them even thinks it right to EXPOSE the details of your villified friend. One has to ACTUALLY wonder about that person’s and intent motivation for doing so.

    Is that fair play? Is it fine if I find Rebecca Watson’s name and address and start posting it on hardcore S&M hookup sites? Of course it’s not, it’s a fucking appalling thing to do. Her ideology is as repugnant as her public persona but I would never, nor do I think anyone here would wish any harm on anyone.

    If those girls are so weak and fragile, one has to wonder about the sort of exploitative nature of someone knowing that, who deliberately takes something knowing that they will be hurt and offended by it and then allowing them to be hurt and offended by it for his own satisfaction.

    Pappa’s joke was in bad taste, really really bad taste but P.Z. Myers is exploiting his authoritorial position to delight in ACTUALLY actively hurting young women, by allowing them to see things he knows will hurt them while pretending to be their friend for popularity as he “exposes” the threats against him.

    THAT is misogyny, Shit it’s nearly a full Bundy level of misogyny.

    I had one reply, a shorter version of that ranty, irrational tale.

    A nest of cockroaches isn’t filthy and unhygienic. Turning on the light and exposing a nest of cockroaches…now that’s evil and disgusting.

    There, see. I said the same thing you did, only with more brevity and panache.

    It seems most people there are unable to parse the metaphor.

    There are a few reasonable people posting away there, but most have closed ranks and decided it’s better to shelter the vermin in their midst, rather than acknowledge that there are some really ugly people promoting exactly what they claim to oppose. I also notice more than a few slimepitters active on threads, doing their best to encourage discord.

  48. 548
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    we are all sexist. We are all soaking in it. We are all privileged. We need to be aware of that and change ourselves as well as other.

    Quoted for absolut truth.

    I don’t think I can go more than a half a day without retracting something I have said or deleting something I have written. I grew up in a progressive household and I am still a sexist and will always be one. And I am extremely privileged (as I have written before). I look at who I was six months ago, or a year ago, or five years ago, and wonder how I could have been that blind to my sexism, racism, and privilege.

  49. 549
    smhll

    Aw, fuck! I don’t want to post after Barfy.

    Look, since it is National Tolerance Day, I want to try.

    I’m not remembering Lilandra particularly from previous posts, so I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt, which may not be justified. I’m assuming she’s a nice-ish person whose arguments are a little fuzzy, and who likes Thunderfoot because she met him IRL.

    I just think that Lilandra’s comment about Natalie Reed may be being automatically magnified (or dialed up to 11), which could exaggerate and distort her intended point.

    I think it is great and necessary that people here strongly defend and protect Natalie. (And now I’m searching for a word that is not “however…”)

    When Lilandra said that she didn’t agree with Natalie, I don’t believe that she was necessarily saying that Natalie was wrong or that she felt entitled to try to change Natalie’s mind. I think the original quote could be interpreted to mean that Lilandra was not going to follow Natalie’s chosen course of no longer allying with certain people. While Lilandra was contrasting her own position with Natalie’s, I don’t believe she was trying to force Natalie to “turn the other cheek” or sit in the Can’t We Get Along Couch with her abuser until she and her abuser(s) found a compromise.

    I understand that Lilandra’s post can be interpreted in that way. I don’t know if she sees that reading of it if she meant only that she was going to take a different approach herself. (Yes, she could have left Natalie Reed out of her reply completely, and yes, a lot of time would have been saved if she skipped all that tone trolling.)

  50. 550
    Paul

    PZ:

    Not to imply I know better how to do your job, but have you compared the IP address of the address leaker to others that have been part of these conversations? I know you routinely compare IPs at times, but look at how much they are glomming onto that and misrepresenting it. It really looks suspicious. It could have just been fortuitous for them, of course, that they got provided ammo that was smacked down so much faster than their “joke” by the community it was posted in.

  51. 551
    Inaji

    PZ:

    It seems most people there are unable to parse the metaphor.

    How can they not get that? It’s plain, simple, clear. This isn’t ignorance or obtuseness, it’s willful sexism. People who simply do not want to hear about the harm they are causing.

  52. 552
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I don’t believe that she was necessarily saying that Natalie was wrong or that she felt entitled to try to change Natalie’s mind.

    So if I disagree with someone’s view of the world, or an organization, I don’t think that person is wrong? Hmm.

  53. 553
    PZ Myers

    “Lingotastic”, the person who put up that information, was a first time poster. No record of either his email address or his IP anywhere in the database.

    Which doesn’t mean much — only a small fraction of the people who read Pharyngula bother to post here at all.

  54. 554
    julian

    I really don’t get why this is such a point of contention but I’m in the minority and arguing poorly so I’ll withdraw.

  55. 555
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    I haven’t been keeping up with this thread at all today, but my eye was directed toward:

    … masterpiece of logic from someone called Audley Strange.

    For fuck’s sake. That had better be a coincidence and not someone co-opting my and SallyStrange’s ‘nyms.

    Get your own name, asshole.

  56. 556
    Paul

    Oh, and not that anyone needs it pointed out, but it’s worth doing anyway. Pharyngula is being held up as represented by one one-time poster whose offending bit was instantly censured and was eventually edited out before it was even complained about, but we’re supposed to ignore the prevalence of manspaining and rape-baiting from many long-time regulars on Rationalia (who are “just joking”).

    Seriously, they’re making it abundantly clear that they’re not interested in honest dialogue. They’re simply lying their asses off because they feel the need for tribal warfare against people who just want women to be treated as people. I really don’t see how they can justify “friendly” in their banner.

  57. 557
    Sili

    For fuck’s sake. That had better be a coincidence and not someone co-opting my and SallyStrange’s ‘nyms.

    Get your own name, asshole.

    Hey, Sister. I have this lovely bridge in Brooklyn, and it can be yours for just a coupla hundred dollars. Whaddaya say?

  58. 558
    PZ Myers

    It’s not just long-time posters there, though. They’ve also had an influx of friendly pitizens lately — someone noted that a bunch of new names had shown up, thanks to me. They seem to think it’s mostly people favoring my point of view, but I see a number of familiar names not from here…the slimepit sees an opportunity to slink in and sow discord.

  59. 559
    Inaji

    the slimepit sees an opportunity to slink in and sow discord.

    It’s their specialty.

  60. 560
    Paul

    It’s not just long-time posters there, though.

    Didn’t say it was. But even if you just look at the thread before you brought the cyberpistol to bear, it was some pretty nasty stuff. Yet we’re supposed to ignore heinous statements by their long-time contributors while they’ve attempted to define Pharyngula in multiple locations now by citing behavior from one drive-by with no history (who I am still guessing was someone using a proxy to, as you say, sow discord).

  61. 561
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Sili:

    Whaddaya say?

    Ooooo, it’s tempting…

    Hey! Waitaminute!

  62. 562
    SallyStrange

    For fuck’s sake. That had better be a coincidence and not someone co-opting my and SallyStrange’s ‘nyms.

    Get your own name, asshole.

    Damn straight.

    I’ve been posting extensively (some might say obsessively) on the #FTBullies tag on Twitter. So far I’ve managed to suss out that one dude’s using it because he’s maaaaaaad at PZ for being mean to Chris Stedman. One dude pointed me to Greg Laden’s letter that precipitated his firing, in which he listed PZ, Ophelia, Jen, and a couple of other FTBloggers as being hurt by Justin Griffith’s actions, as evidence that Laden, and, by extension, the people he listed in his letter, are bullies. Yeah. Seriously.

    Then there’s Jimbo who think’s its misogynist to notice that women are routinely victimized by sexism.

    And of course there’s Justin Vacula, who thinks that Ophelia was wrong to take the threatening tone of some emails she got seriously, because he knows way better than Ophelia what’s a threat and what’s not.

    The guy who originated the tag #FTBullies seems extremely put out that a.) people interpret it as a broadside against the entire blog network, all 30-odd bloggers and b.) people are pointing out to him that if he just wanted to say that PZ is a bully he should just say that. Apparently we’re supposed to somehow telepathically intuit that when he says “FTBullies,” he just means that one or two or maybe three FTBloggers are bullies, and he hates it when people bully people on FTB, and nobody should infer anything else about it, period!

    This is the quality of the opposition.

    It’s fucking sad.

    The irony is that they routinely accuse me of having feminism as my religion.

    I mean, I take it for granted that women are people, with all the rights and responsibilities attendant thereto. If that’s a religion then we need a new name for the bullshit the theists spew.

    Fuck.

  63. 563
    SallyStrange

    Oh yeah, and Christopher Camp, who I believe posted here before, who says that society hates and oppresses men and boys.

    Boy oh boy, I’m sure it’ll be helpful being nice and reasonable with HIM. MMmm hmm. I’m positive that, if he ends up sticking with his delusion, it’ll be all my fault for not being nice enough to him.

    Right, Lilandra?

    Lilandra?

    Hello…

  64. 564
    Kalliope

    Sorry in advance — I’m entertaining company and have had a bit to drink, but I didn’t want to leave a post dangling.

    First off, I’m not speaking to specifics in this thread, just about the basic idea that some allies, or potential allies, are turned off by the way some commenters are treated sometimes.

    Yes, I’m a newbie and felt uncomfortable saying “we” and “us.” You loudmouth, take no prisoners motherfuckers are why I come to this site and I fucking love you to pieces. I think you are awesome and I fucking admire you. And I thank you. I really, really, really do. All I can say is that I am on your side 100%, completely and utterly, and I am glad this place has been here, like a magnet, for people who are sick of all the -isms. You are right in everything you fight for.

    Eviscerate my post, I will still be on your side. But my post is what I think, and I’m throwing it out there. The issue now is political and, in my humble, semi-outsider point of view, needs to be handled with more savvy.

    You’re all still right.

  65. 565
    Inaji

    Kalliope:

    The issue now is political

    Wrong again. The “issue” has always been political. Right now, what we’re busy fighting for and about, is the inclusion of social justice issues into atheism and skepticism. There isn’t a single “issue”.

    You want this to be a happy, spun all about, pretty on the outside tent. That’s silly and it’s completely unnecessary. Revolutions are not pretty. Social change isn’t pretty. As was pointed out upthread, by Richard, people are joining us. We aren’t doing anything wrong. We’re doing it right, as it stands.

  66. 566
    Cipher

    The issue now is political and, in my humble, semi-outsider point of view, needs to be handled with more savvy.

    The issue has always been political, and it’s too bad you came and flung this “more savvy” crap in here when you don’t have time to clarify what that’s supposed to mean aside from a backpedal into vagueness because the last post about how bad all the anger was didn’t go over so well.

  67. 567
    Sili

    The issue now is political and, in my humble, semi-outsider point of view, needs to be handled with more savvy.

    Good! Go forth and savvy! You have our blessing.

    Now leave us alone.

  68. 568
    Inaji

    Sili:

    Good! Go forth and savvy! You have our blessing.

    Now leave us alone.

    Afuckingmen.

  69. 569
    Rawnaeris, Lulu Cthulhu

    Fucking damn! If my choice is going to be between fuckhats who think I’m subhuman for being female and ace and people who think I’m an equal in-spite of having a vagina I know whom I’m going to support.

    Horde, you are the people I choose to stand by.

  70. 570
    'Tis Himself

    Good! Go forth and savvy! You have our blessing.

    Now leave us alone.

    At this rate we’re going to run out of internets to award.

  71. 571
    Cipher

    And fwiw, Kalliope, I actually seem to recall liking your past posts – I just think you’re off-base here and successfully managing to come off as pretty insulting. This blog is full of Nukers for a reason, and it is a place of safety and comfort for a lot of us for the same reason.

  72. 572
    Inaji

    I have one piece of advice for Kalliope: take the first rule of holes seriously. Stop. Fucking. Digging.

  73. 573
    Sili

    Oh yeah, and Christopher Camp, who I believe posted here before, who says that society hates and oppresses men and boys.

    Given the specimenz that pass through here, I, personally, am starting to find it pretty hard not to generalise and write the whole sex off as whine, entitled brats, that need to grow up.

  74. 574
    Ingdigo Jump

    The issue now is political and, in my humble, semi-outsider point of view, needs to be handled with more savvy.

    You know what? Fuck me, let’s see where this goes. What would you do different? How would you get the idea across and convince people while being nice? If “don’t do that” failed, what do you suggest?

    What is wrong with you fucking idiots? This isn’t even a year old and so many people have accepted a blatantly manipulated narrative! Even people on our ‘side’ seem to slip into accepting this altered narrative.

  75. 575
    Inaji

    Ing:

    This isn’t even a year old

    I’m not sure what ‘this’ is, but if you mean Egate, it’s a bit over a year this month.

  76. 576
    Ingdigo Jump

    @Caine

    Oh sorry, this is a year old more or less!!

    Still my point stands. History is already revised it’s staggering.

  77. 577
    Ingdigo Jump

    Sadly “this” could truthfully refer to lots and lots of things. Take your pick.

  78. 578
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    [Note: I have just caught up]

    Why are we a bunch of sweary, angry ranters? Seems straightforward to me: because when something’s important to you, it’s not the same as arguing about an abstract concept.

    If someone’s getting angry on a blog discussing symbolism in Proust – yeah, I can see how it would be unhelpful to swear at those who are taking the opposite side from you.

    But when you’re discussing a topic like fighting for social justice with a bunch of dishonest, rules-lawyering shitheads taking advantage of your presumption that they’re arguing in good faith, then calling them out for being slimy, lying fuckheads is about as appropriate as you can get.

    And that’s what these privileged assholes and their hangers-on a) refuse to accept, and b) keep on using to deflect criticism of their dishonest tactics – as has been demonstrated on this thread many times over.

    I’ve asked a similar question of Michael Nugent on his post; hopefully he’ll reply.

  79. 579
    michaelnugent

    I’ll be following up on all of this with another post soon, but I’d like to reply to some people who specifically addressed me in the comments here.

    #30 Sastra and #115 Josh, I know how difficult it is to address important issues in hostile environments where people are acting with varying degrees of good faith. I am from Ireland, after all! But it is not impossible.

    #54 & #229 mythbri, thanks for that. I agree that the idea of multiple overlapping movements is useful, and that equality and rights-based movements are a natural fit for mutual support.

    #222 Melody, thanks for the repost. We’ll be emailing you soon regarding our Women in Secularism Conference (we had a good planning meeting last night).

    #239 Josh, you can’t tell how long it will take to disentangle those who can rethink their position from those who can’t or won’t. Often it is the cumulative effect of many conversations rather than a slam-dunk revelation.

    #50 hairhead and #435 and #533 Brownian and #74 Wowbagger, I’m going to write an analysis of those replies as soon as I get a chance.

    And thanks to PZ for bringing my post to your collective attention here.

  80. 580
    John Morales

    PZ:

    … and here on this thread, too, try to avoid being too vicious, as much as you feel the other guys deserve it.

    Heh. Good one, PZ!

    Kalliope:

    Eviscerate my post, I will still be on your side.

    What’s the point? You think place is great, you’re 100% for it, but you think it should change.

    (Bah)

    As for that Lilandra specimen, it’s just a classic tone troll.

    (Dime a dozen, they are)

  81. 581
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    michaelnugent, #75

    Thank you for that. At this point one of the best things that can happen is for those bloggers not directly associated with the axis of evil FtB/Skepchicks to be speaking out about this, since it further undermines the claims of the lying slymepit types and their false equivalence-spouting and hyperskeptical dudebro and Chill Girl™ fans that it’s only PZ, Ophelia and Rebecca Watson who see a problem.

  82. 582
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Awesome, we’ve got regulars who should fucking know better turning into tone trolls.

    No wonder some of the best long-timers here are threatening to leave.

  83. 583
    Kalliope

    THAT is exactly what I am talking about.

    The response I got, I mean.

    Here I am, on your side, agreeing with you in all things, not personally offended — often downright encouraged — by the force and bravado that goes into so many of the arguments here.

    And yet, my post is met with — dare I say — an knee jerk reaction of against, of fight. I understand where that reaction comes from. I do. I really, really do.

    But in the meantime, I’ve had motives ascribed to me and my intentions and my statements have been mis-characterized (likely because of my failure to communicate them well, but even so, they were made in good faith and I wasn’t given the benefit of the doubt). I do this too.

    The very specific charge we’re guilty of is not being able to take criticism.

    Assuming you’re familiar with me, you know my stance on these issues. You know I am absolute in my feminism. You know I don’t brook any of this nonsense, and you know my goal isn’t rainbows and conciliation with anyone who blows by any misogynist anything. You know my goal is the complete eradication of misogyny and any and all -isms which stand between the full autonomy and respect of every person on this planet.

    And yet, my argument is being engaged with on a substantive level. I’m being smacked instead of spoken to. THAT is my concern. I am far from the first person to raise this concern. And so I suggest that people could be more careful and thoughtful. Not a change in content, not a change of will, not a change of purpose.

    There was one response on the substance of my posts, and that was that the tone of this blog attracts people. That may be true, but I’m not convinced that a lot of people aren’t also being pushed away, silently. Personally, I’ve put this site down for weeks at a time because it all got too intense in a way that I, personally, find distressing and averting. I’m not alone in that. And this is something that I have been afraid to speak out on for fear of backlash.

    THEY caused the situation. This is not a condition of our making. But we can think about how we choose to react the situation and, hopefully, take a nuanced view about to whom we are speaking. That PZ seems to be thinking this over is what gave me courage to speak out about this now. That is, I believe, the spirit of the original post.

    When I say it’s political, I mean that a lot of people are, for lack of a better term, choosing sides. What we say and how we say it carries a greater weight than it did before.

    But look, all I’m doing is stating an opinion, which I hope will be considered, even if it is dismissed. I’m not making any demands and I’m not threatening to withdraw any support. I make it with the best of intentions, as do a lot of people who are quickly swatted down.

  84. 584
    Kalliope

    *isn’t being engaged with on a substantive level.

  85. 585
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Ms. Daisy Cutter wrote:

    Awesome, we’ve got regulars who should fucking know better turning into tone trolls.

    I guess maybe there are times when some lying fucktard scumbag’s dishonest facade of rationality works to make them seem reasonable, when really all they’re doing is pulling the same hyperskepticals, rule-lawyering, JAQing off obstructioning bullshit that we get here over and over and over again.

    That’s what they make use of: the tendency to presume you’re dealing with an honest interlocutor.

  86. 586
    Ingdigo Jump

    Sorry not to flounce, but had to address this

    It’s not threatening to leave, it’s observing that “why the fuck would anyone want to stay? Especially when it’s clear huge portions of the skeptic/atheist space don’t want people like us around and we’re ‘just making things worse’ and all that” Some much shit being given for the slyme pit and other idiot’s feelings and about next to zero given to either those who oppose them or those who felt hurt by them. It is fucking alienating and it is annoying. For all the FTBullying it’s clear there’s some concentrated effort to push out ‘annoying’ people. Why on earth would people want to stick around having the same fights day after day and then have someone come and say that those obnoxious jerks are OUR fault?

  87. 587
    Inaji

    Kalliope:

    And yet, my post is met with — dare I say — an knee jerk reaction of against, of fight. I understand where that reaction comes from. I do. I really, really do.

    You’re wrong again. The reactions weren’t knee jerk, they were because you were wrong.

    You are now fully engaged in classic Tone Trolling. “Yeah, I’m telling you guys you’re right! You are and I’m behind you 100%, except, you know, I’m not, because you should really change these things, that’s all!”

    This is a load of shit, Kalliope. You should focus a bit more on just what it is you mean, because all you’re doing right now is digging yourself deeper in that hole. You’re setting up a pattern of doing that every time you find out something you said is wrong.

    You have the opportunity to stop, now. You also have the opportunity to go out and blaze a big ol’ trail across the internet, being as shiny and pretty as you like. What you aren’t going to be able to do is keep on lecturing us while telling us you aren’t lecturing us.

  88. 588
    Ingdigo Jump

    THEY caused the situation. This is not a condition of our making. But we can think about how we choose to react the situation and, hopefully, take a nuanced view about to whom we are speaking. That PZ seems to be thinking this over is what gave me courage to speak out about this now. That is, I believe, the spirit of the original post.

    When I say it’s political, I mean that a lot of people are, for lack of a better term, choosing sides. What we say and how we say it carries a greater weight than it did before.

    But look, all I’m doing is stating an opinion, which I hope will be considered, even if it is dismissed. I’m not making any demands and I’m not threatening to withdraw any support. I make it with the best of intentions, as do a lot of people who are quickly swatted down.

    Goddamn it! Exactly what I said! EXACTLY. Look, why don’t YOU go fucking try it YOUR way and we’ll see if it works ok?

    What we say and how we say it carries a greater weight than it did before.

    My patience is at 0 so let me be as fucking mean as I can allow myself

    GET THIS THROUGH YOUR GODDAMN STUPID WHINY SELF RIGHTEOUS PISSANT SKULL THERE WAS NEVER A FUCKING LEVEL OF NICENESS THAT WAS ACCEPTABLE OR TOLERABLE. NEVER. ANY FUCKING THING SAID WAS TOO MEAN FROM THE START. ANYTHING. I AM SICK AND TIRED OF FEELING LIKE THERE’S PRECIOUS FEW WHO GIVE A SHIT, AND EVERYONE ELSE IS FOCUSED ON TELLING THOSE PEOPLE WHAT THEY ARE DOING WRONG. I AM NOT NICE! STOP TELLING ME TO BE NICE! IT WILL NOT FUCKING MAKE ME BE NICE! IT MAKES ME FEEL VERY VERY MEAN PLEASE AND THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

  89. 589
    Paul

    When I say it’s political, I mean that a lot of people are, for lack of a better term, choosing sides.

    Yes, and which side do you want to be on? The one that exudes “bitches ain’t shit”, or the side that gets angry at them for doing so?

  90. 590
    Ingdigo Jump

    @Kalliope

    SEE! You made me break out the CAPSLOCK! you think I like doing that!?

  91. 591
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Kalliope wrote:

    When I say it’s political, I mean that a lot of people are, for lack of a better term, choosing sides. What we say and how we say it carries a greater weight than it did before.

    Are we maybe giving to much credit to people for perception and honesty?

    It may be there really a substantial number of readers who would look at the back-and-forth between the regulars here and Lilandra and take away from it not that she made claims and then failed to back them up and avoided answering question, but that mean meanies were mean to her with bad words, not that they were pointing out the dishonesty of what she said.

    Have we set the bar too fucking high?

  92. 592
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    I’m with Ing and Caine, Kalliope. Step back and look at what you’re saying. You don’t mean it to be, but it’s bullshit.

  93. 593
    Ingdigo Jump

    @Wowbanger

    it’s not that we set the bar too high, it’s that there is no way to set the bar low enough.

  94. 594
    Inaji

    Kalliope:

    I make it with the best of intentions

    Intent is not magic.

  95. 595
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    I mean that a lot of people are, for lack of a better term, choosing sides.

    Um, yes. What is the problem with this? Do you not think there are “sides” that are better than others?

  96. 596
    John Morales

    Kalliope:

    Here I am, on your side, agreeing with you in all things, not personally offended — often downright encouraged — by the force and bravado that goes into so many of the arguments here.

    You agree in all things, but you think others should change?

    Personally, I’ve put this site down for weeks at a time because it all got too intense in a way that I, personally, find distressing and averting. I’m not alone in that. And this is something that I have been afraid to speak out on for fear of backlash.

    But you agree with us in all things!

    And yet, my argument is being engaged with on a substantive level. I’m being smacked instead of spoken to. THAT is my concern. I am far from the first person to raise this concern. And so I suggest that people could be more careful and thoughtful. Not a change in content, not a change of will, not a change of purpose.

    But you agree with us in all things!

    (You imagine you’re the first to be concerned?)

    But look, all I’m doing is stating an opinion, which I hope will be considered, even if it is dismissed.

    I’ve given it due consideration before duly dismissing it.

    (So, you got what you wanted, no?)

  97. 597
    Inaji

    Kalliope:

    What we say and how we say it carries a greater weight than it did before.

    No, it does not. As I said before, you are a newb. You are not someone who has been here for years, fighting the fight day in and day out. What we say carries the same weight it always has.

  98. 598
    Kalliope

    And one last thing. You can dismiss me as “tone troll” but that would be inaccurate, and if you thought about what I am trying to get across, you would agree.

    The argument is about how we speak to each other. I’m not dismissing any arguments on the basis of how they are presented.

    At a certain point, “tone troll” is just an unthinking way of dismissing the genuine concerns of people.

    I was emotionally abused as a child. I was told that I wasn’t a person. I was told that I was an asp, that I was poison. I was told that I was the cause of bad things. I’m going to repeat that: I was told that I wasn’t a person.

    I care how people talk to me. I don’t care if they curse, I don’t care if they get angry, I don’t care if they criticize me. But I DO care if people use language that dehumanizes me. It really bothers me when someone is called a “shit stain” because I was called a piece of shit. LOTS of people were emotionally abused. Believe it or not, this manner of speaking is a trigger for a lot of people.

    And I really don’t appreciate being blamed for the potential departure of regulars.

  99. 599
    Inaji

    Ing:

    THERE WAS NEVER A FUCKING LEVEL OF NICENESS THAT WAS ACCEPTABLE OR TOLERABLE. NEVER. ANY FUCKING THING SAID WAS TOO MEAN FROM THE START.

    QFMFT.

  100. 600
    Ingdigo Jump

    And one last thing. You can dismiss me as “tone troll” but that would be inaccurate, and if you thought about what I am trying to get across, you would agree.

    I’m sorry? Where the fuck do you get off?

  101. 601
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    But I DO care if people use language that dehumanizes me.

    OK. Who is dehumanizing you?

    It really bothers me when someone is called a “shit stain” because I was called a piece of shit. . .

    No. Those two things are not the same. You can legitimately object to how people treat you. You do not get to conflate/elide that with how people speak to others. Your personal level of comfortability with how people speak to others is not a universal barometer of what’s right and good. Just because something squicks you out does not make it ineffective, uncalled for, or Certain To Drive Away Allies. Don’t make that mistake.

  102. 602
    Ingdigo Jump

    But I DO care if people use language that dehumanizes me.

    I care if someone calls me a fucking idiot.

    Cause you know, I’m not thinking about what you’re saying! If I did I would agree! But I’m just some big stupid animal! HERP A DERP!

  103. 603
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Shorter me: It’s not all about you, Kalliope. Your own standards of acceptable can’t be projected onto the broader discourse as if they were uncontroversially universal. They’re not. Learn to separate “I really hate that, personally,” from “therefore everyone does and it’s destructive and ruinous in all circumstances.”

  104. 604
    Ingdigo Jump

    @Kalliope

    If you want to make BIG changes to the atmosphere around here, don’t get pissed when people point out that things change. Such as other people being driven away.

  105. 605
    Inaji

    Kalliope:

    and if you thought about what I am trying to get across, you would agree.

    That’s it. You can fuck right off. Do you really think that you’re the first person to say the shit you’ve spilled all over? The very first person since Pharyngula started? Really? Boy, do I have news for you…

    What in the fuckety fuck makes you think we haven’t thought about the things you said? We have, the hundreds, if not thousands of times they’ve been brought up. If we agreed, we’d be having a different conversation. Amazing how that works.

    I disagree with you. I’m not the only one, either. Perhaps you should think about that. If you think hard enough, you may figure it out.

  106. 606
    Hurin

    Devonian

    No one – especially me – is saying that we should embrace rape apologists. Tell them to fuck off – they need to be condemned. I am arguing that we will fail as a community if we continue to engage with these fucking lunatics. The vast majority of us are pro-women and pro-equality but ninety percent of our output is engaging with these hideous trolls – we are failing. Our community will crumble

    I don’t understand the logic here at all. We are supposed to tell these people to fuck off, but not engage them. How the hell does that work?

    Beyond that I still have a problem with the sentiment that devoting attention to other people identifying as skeptics or atheists is somehow going to make us fail. Fail how?

    Allow me to illustrate my problem with your premise with a hypothetical:

    Imagine that in a year a bunch of assholes from stormf***t decide they are athiests and sympathetic to the skeptical movement. These people start showing up at atheist and skeptic conventions and posting on related message boards. They are generally supportive of the Randis and Dawkinses of these movements, however they insist that race equality should be a separate issue from atheism and skepticism. Imagine they start harassing nonwhite speakers and participants at conventions, using racial slurs and making bigoted comments. Imagine that black and culturally jewish and muslim participants at these conventions begin to report feeling uncomfortable and stop attending. How would you suggest we deal with the stormf***ters? Should we tell the people being threatened to stop talking about it, because they are making our cons seem unsafe? Would we lose more by leaving them alone and thereby allowing them to chase better human beings out of the movement, or by making it clear that this sort of behavior is not acceptable? Would beating back the racist assholes be a waste of our resources?

    Personally I wouldn’t devote any energy to “atheism” if it was just about my opinion on the existence of deities. I care about it because I think irrational thought is harmful to people and societies, and because religious thought and privilege entrench harmful bigotries. To me dealing with sexism in our own movement isn’t mission creep; it makes our movement better and it addresses the same problems that we supposedly want to address by confronting religion. Remove the beam from thine own eye and all that cal (if you’ll excuse the Jebus paraphrase).

    If the whole atheism thing is more of an “I’m proud that I no longer believe in Santa” thing for you, then maybe you should start your own club for people with extremely specific and not particularly useful fixations.

  107. 607
    RichardAustin

    Kalliope:

    And yet, my argument is being engaged with on a substantive level. I’m being smacked instead of spoken to. THAT is my concern. I am far from the first person to raise this concern. And so I suggest that people could be more careful and thoughtful. Not a change in content, not a change of will, not a change of purpose.

    … Sure, other than posts like mine which directly addressed your points and didn’t attack you.

  108. 608
    Inaji

    Ing:

    I care if someone calls me a fucking idiot.

    When it comes to Pharyngula, I care if one of The Horde calls me a fucking idiot, because that generally means I’m being a fucking idiot.

  109. 609
    Ingdigo Jump

    @Kalliope

    Out of curiosity did you see that one shit head on another thread, who appeared to be just a clueless ignoramus asking questions? Until 3 fucking pages of it and 24 straight hours where they finally slipped up and were revealed to be blatantly trolling all along and then they threatened suicide and started using slurs?

    Do you maybe think that some of us remember some shit like that and don’t want to waste our fucking time again?

  110. 610
    Ingdigo Jump

    @Caine

    Well I care if someone is being a condescending shit while telling me to be nice to people being assholes. Not even sure why they’re upset about being blamed for people considering not posting anymore. It’s what they want. Hot heads are shutting up.

  111. 611
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Hot heads are shutting up.

    Not this one (though I’m not judging anyone else who needs a break). I won’t let them own the conversation. I’ve come to understand that You’re Not the Boss of Me is probably the defining element of my character, for better and for worse.

  112. 612
    Inaji

    Ing:

    Well I care if someone is being a condescending shit while telling me to be nice to people being assholes.

    Oh, I care about that very much. And this hot head is not shutting up.

  113. 613
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Unfortunately, the sort of attitude Kalliope is defending is exactly what the dishonest creeps are taking advantage of – that we can be inclined to feel a certain level of collegiality toward other atheists/skeptics, and that it’s much harder to attack someone who in other arenas would be a true ally.

    Hence the lies about ‘harming the movement’; it’s a dodge, a scam, a stab at our sense of solidarity – something that we value.

    But we’ve got to look past this. What we have in common with them is less important than what we don’t, which is an interest in social justice. It’s about priorities, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s more important to get in the face of atheists doing it wrong than it is to try and maintain a facade of unity.

  114. 614
    Kalliope

    Wow. Just wow. Did what I say really warrant this?

    Josh –

    Your own standards of acceptable can’t be projected onto the broader discourse as if they were uncontroversially universal. They’re not. Learn to separate “I really hate that, personally,” from “therefore everyone does and it’s destructive and ruinous in all circumstances.”

    Okay, fine. But who made you the universal barometer?

    No. Those two things are not the same. You can legitimately object to how people treat you. You do not get to conflate/elide that with how people speak to others.

    You stick up for people all the time.

    For chrissake. I’m just expressing a point of view. People tell their stories here all the time and how the things they hear effect them because of their histories and experiences. Why was it different than when I did it? And you expect these stories to influence the wrongdoers and the thoughtless. Where goes the compassion?

    John –

    That’s fine, you can do a rhetorical “gotcha” (to quote America’s favorite governor), but nothing you said addressed the content of my posts.

    Caine -

    No, it does not.

    You may be right about that, but my status as a newbie has no bearing on it.

    Wowbagger -

    [stuff about Lilandra]

    Maybe. Or maybe people relate to her. Or maybe she was seconds away from enlisting on this side.

  115. 615
    RichardAustin

    Josh:

    I’ve come to understand that You’re Not the Boss of Me is probably the defining element of my character, for better and for worse.

    Nae quin, nae king, nae laird, nae master!
    We will nae be fooled agin!

  116. 616
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Kalliope @(5)94, you’re bloody lucky this is Pharyngula, because you’ve provided a list of triggers that a nasty-enough person could easily use against you — instead, you’ll find people will likely go out of their way not to trigger you, and that any who try will incur the wrath of the commentariat.

    Look: you’ve admitted you need to take breaks now and then because the intensity gets to you.

    Care to try to imagine what people who have been regulars for years and years deal with constantly? Because, if you do, you might get some inkling of why they deal with certain issues and topics and commenters the way they do.

    Finally, can you even admit that you misspoke when you claimed “Here I am, on your side, agreeing with you in all things, not personally offended — often downright encouraged — by the force and bravado that goes into so many of the arguments here.”?

    Because you’ve just been disagreeing about the way people speak here, you’ve claimed it offends you personally, you’ve claimed you’ve become discouraged at times, and you’ve claimed that the force and bravado that goes into so many of the arguments here puts you off.

  117. 617
    Inaji

    Wowbagger:

    It’s about priorities, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s more important to get in the face of atheists doing it wrong than it is to try and maintain a facade of unity.

    Exactly.

  118. 618
    Kalliope

    Paul –

    Yes, and which side do you want to be on? The one that exudes “bitches ain’t shit”, or the side that gets angry at them for doing so?

    You know the answer to this. I have made myself abundantly clear on the topic and to pretend otherwise is grossly unfair and inherently dishonest.

    Ing –

    I’m not telling you to be nice and I’m not saying you’re doing anything wrong. I’m really just and sincerely trying to raise a point for consideration.

    Caine –

    You should focus a bit more on just what it is you mean, because all you’re doing right now is digging yourself deeper in that hole. You’re setting up a pattern of doing that every time you find out something you said is wrong.

    Unless, of course, I’m not wrong. By all means, tell my why I’m wrong! Explain it to me! I will listen!

    I’m not caught up on all the new posts, so please pardon any I’ve overlooked.

  119. 619
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Or maybe people relate to her. Or maybe she was seconds away from enlisting on this side.

    This is why people are frustrated with your current line of argument, Kalliope. Many of us have engaged lilandra many times before in many threads and we know precisely what her biases are and the games she plays. We have experience, we’re not stupid and reactionary. Yet, despite the fact that people have explained this to you, you simply don’t acknowledge it. Then you go on to posit (out of your own ass, apparently) that she might have been ready to jump on our side.

    Do you understand how disrespectful and, well, out of bounds it is for you to do that? How would you feel if you spent time explaining your experience with a commenter, noting their past behavior, then one of us ignored that and accused you of jumping the gun?

    You wouldn’t like that, and you’d be right to be frustrated.

  120. 620
    Kalliope

    What in the fuckety fuck makes you think we haven’t thought about the things you said? We have, the hundreds, if not thousands of times they’ve been brought up. If we agreed, we’d be having a different conversation. Amazing how that works.

    I disagree with you. I’m not the only one, either. Perhaps you should think about that. If you think hard enough, you may figure it out.

    Okay, that makes sense to me. Thank you for this.

  121. 621
    Hurin

    Kalliope

    And so I suggest that people could be more careful and thoughtful. Not a change in content, not a change of will, not a change of purpose.

    Everyone on this blog is responsible for his or her own content and delivery. I don’t think this would be a fun place to comment if broad restrictions were placed on the way comments are delivered, and I don’t think you are going to make many friends here with the assertion that you know how we should be commenting better than we do.

    If you don’t approve of our commenting, be different.

  122. 622
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Kalliope wrote:

    Maybe. Or maybe people relate to her. Or maybe she was seconds away from enlisting on this side.

    I wish I could believe that, but I can’t. Yes, there’s a certain amount of her comments that can be attributed to a reasonable amount of digging in of heels at being treated with the legendary Pharyngula brusqueness, but she a) knows what this place is like, and should have expected that; and b) still didn’t respond honestly to even the most straightforward, unbarbed comments – and there were plenty.

    Really, I doubt it would have gone any other way even if everyone in the thread had put their Sastra hats on for the occasion.

  123. 623
    Inaji

    Josh:

    We have experience, we’re not stupid and reactionary.

    I have pointed this out to Kalliope, multiple times. Nope, she’s a newb and she knows fucking everything. Our experience, our memory of various people’s histories here, none of that matters. Not one whit.

  124. 624
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    For emphasis:

    Yet, despite the fact that people have explained this to you, you simply don’t acknowledge it.

    It’s that, Kalliope, that’s getting people irate. They’ve told you this but you act as though you didn’t read that. You act as though you have no idea that fellow commenters have experienced this conversation before. That makes people really fucking angry for what should be obvious reasons.

    In fact, it’s what lilandra was doing.

  125. 625
    Inaji

    Hurinomyces bruxellensis:

    If you don’t approve of our commenting, be different.

    Word. Desert Son and Sastra, always unfailingly polite. Pteryxx, always an educator. Smoggy, always humorous satire. Cuttlefish, almost always poetry. And on and on the list goes.

    There isn’t one damn thing which stops anyone from commenting in a fashion they prefer. There isn’t one damn thing which stops anyone from using a preferred method with people.

  126. 626
    Cipher

    I was emotionally abused as a child. I was told that I wasn’t a person. I was told that I was an asp, that I was poison. I was told that I was the cause of bad things. I’m going to repeat that: I was told that I wasn’t a person.

    Kalliope, I understand this. I sympathize with this.
    (If you remember my posts, you might know I do.)
    I’m telling you that if you’re triggered by aggression and insults directed at other people – there are a lot of sites that cater to that. There are blogs on FTB that cater to that. And I’m not saying I don’t want you around here – like I said, I do remember liking your posts. I’m just saying, Pharyngula? It’s hard to find another place like this. The culture here was hard-won, and is hard to maintain. It has value the way it is.

    Here’s where I’m coming from. I, personally, have an abuse history that involves the suppression of emotion and, particularly, anger in my own defense. (I bet you do too, actually – from what it sounds like happened to you, that would be an element I’d expect to see. Please don’t think I’m trying to imply you don’t understand what that’s like, or anything.) This place is important to me precisely because here, I am allowed to be angry when people cause harm to me and to the people I care about. I don’t have to leave my weapons at the door. And I need those goddamn weapons. Look – I tend to be an explainer, an emoter, when I’m not too exhausted. I’m not a person who goes straight to anger. But even so, you cannot impose a “responsibility” on me to restrain my anger at legitimate harm without reducing my ability to feel safe. You can’t make anger the problem.

  127. 627
    Kalliope

    Out of curiosity did you see that one shit head on another thread, who appeared to be just a clueless ignoramus asking questions? Until 3 fucking pages of it and 24 straight hours where they finally slipped up and were revealed to be blatantly trolling all along and then they threatened suicide and started using slurs?

    Mine is a call for nuance.

    Josh –

    I’ve tumbled with Lilandra before. In fact, I said something dismissive toward her and was called out by other commenters, and they were right. You and I have differing opinions on her and her intentions. Okay.

    Wowbagger and Caine –

    I don’t want to ally or create unity with misogynists. I am a feminist and a humanist before I am an atheist. These issues have kept me away from participating in the atheist and skeptical communities because I really started investigating participation around the time that elevator gate happened and I was so fucking horrified by that and everything that has happened since then.

    I DO want there to be a vibrant and active atheist community, but am not willing to sacrifice women or any other disenfranchised people for it.

  128. 628
    consciousness razor

    There was one response on the substance of my posts, and that was that the tone of this blog attracts people. That may be true, but I’m not convinced that a lot of people aren’t also being pushed away, silently. Personally, I’ve put this site down for weeks at a time because it all got too intense in a way that I, personally, find distressing and averting. I’m not alone in that. And this is something that I have been afraid to speak out on for fear of backlash.

    So PZ won’t get as much ad revenue, though I doubt that’s his primary motivation for blogging. Who else is supposed to care that some people are scared away from Pharyngula, perhaps temporarily, by the occasionally unpleasant tone?

    We ought to deal with unpleasant issues now and then (as well as have some fun), so if some people don’t like that we won’t generally deal with them calmly and pleasantly, they can go elsewhere on the internet or to the real world where I’m sure they’ll have a much easier time finding a hole to bury their heads in.

    You can dismiss me as “tone troll” but that would be inaccurate,

    What is inaccurate about it?

    and if you thought about what I am trying to get across, you would agree.

    And if you thought about whatever I am trying to get across, which is very different from whatever it is you’re saying, you would agree with it. So there.

    The argument is about how we speak to each other.

    No, that is not what the argument is about. That is what your ideas on tone are about, which is not the argument. At this point I can’t tell if what you’re doing is even an argument, just a lot of words strung together.

  129. 629
    Inaji

    Cipher:

    I’m telling you that if you’re triggered by aggression and insults directed at other people – there are a lot of sites that cater to that. There are blogs on FTB that cater to that.

    On that front, I’d suggest Greta Christina’s blog. Although, there’s a lot of anger there too, it just has a more…polite tone.

  130. 630
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    You and I have differing opinions on her and her intentions. Okay.

    No. You’re making this about you again and that’s becoming a real problem.

    No one is asking you to feel differently about her. I specifically pointed out that you were not acknowledging or crediting us for telling you our experiences with her. You were making judgments about our approach that would only have been appropriate in a fantasy world where we had no experience of her.

    To be very specific:

    1. My complaint is NOT about your differing opinion of lilandra

    2. My complaint is that YOU are not playing fair. YOU are not acknowledging that other people did the work with her and came to another conclusion

    3. YOU are not acknowledging that we disclosed that to you; you’re commenting as if you hadn’t read that.

    You continually conflate your personal headspace with what other people are talking about. Do you understand why this is pissing me off?

  131. 631
    Kalliope

    Caine et al –

    Okay, so this place is what it is and — I agree — it’s important that this space exists exactly as it is.

    So maybe I should re-frame my concern/thoughts/whatever.

    Is there a place with the politics and ethics of this place where people can go to get the same quality of argument and stance yet feel more comfortable, if that’s their thing?

  132. 632
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    You’ve got a real problem with moving goalposts, Kalliope. A serious problem. You start out by complaining about the illegitimate views of other people. Then, when they point out to you that they actually have done the work, then when they show you their work, you switch to “but I think differently” and pretend that you weren’t unfairly accusing others of jumping the gun.

    It’s entirely possible that you don’t see you’re doing this, but you are. It’s a problem.

    I like you, believe it or not, and I like most of your comments. But you’ve got some blind spots as big as a pair of oversized sunglasses and you don’t play fair. I wish you’d stop that.

  133. 633
    Cipher

    Mine is a call for nuance.

    I’m confused by this as a response to what you quoted.

  134. 634
    consciousness razor

    Is there a place with the politics and ethics of this place where people can go to get the same quality of argument and stance yet feel more comfortable, if that’s their thing?

    If it were different, it wouldn’t be the same, now would it? So, no, there is no such place.

  135. 635
    John Morales

    Kalliope:

    Okay, so this place is what it is and — I agree — it’s important that this space exists exactly as it is.
     
    Is there a place with the politics and ethics of this place where people can go to get the same quality of argument and stance yet feel more comfortable, if that’s their thing?

    It seems it’s sinking in, not that your credibility is at any great height in my estimation.

    So — you might try Greta’s or Ophelia’s or Stephanie’s places here on FTB, for starters.

  136. 636
    Kalliope

    Razor –

    I have some experience with extreme political organizations. One of the things I recognized was the role that slogans play in stopping critical thinking. When a person can pull out a slogan in reply to an argument, that person is no longer thinking.

    I see that happening with “tone troll.” I see self-proclaimed skeptics do that all the time right after they’ve looked up “logical fallacy” on Wikipedia.

    I never stopped arguing with anyone based on the way they spoke to me. That is my understanding of what a tone troll is someone who replies to “the earth if fucking round, dumbass, you can see the arc of the horizon,” by saying, “I won’t engage with you because you cursed and called me a dumbass.” Lilandra did that earlier.

    So, no, I don’t think I’m tone trolling.

  137. 637
    RichardAustin

    Kalliope:

    Is there a place with the politics and ethics of this place where people can go to get the same quality of argument and stance yet feel more comfortable, if that’s their thing?

    I’m not sure, because it’s partly the tone in question – and the force and experience and community behind it – that makes it of high quality. It’s people who have been affected directly and who have a personal stake in the matter who fight hardest and work to educate themselves and everyone else the most.

    A lot of people feel comfortable in this place explicitly because the same people who provide the firewall in threads like these also supply amazing information and perspective. You build a safe place by defending it, and you build an informed community by teaching people and providing a space for the people who know to speak freely.

  138. 638
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    I think part of the problem is context.

    We know that when someone gets called a lying fucking scumbag it’s because they’ve earned that by being, almost certainly beyond any reasonable doubt, exactly that.

    Others don’t necessarily know that. They also don’t know that said lying fucking scumbag has told the same lies both here and elsewhere, week in and week out, and had been doing it constantly for the entire thread that someone unfamiliar with Pharyngula might have been guided to – probably by a dishonest creep like Jeremy Stangroom or Justin Vacula or any one of their many disingenuous puffed-up clones – may have no way of knowing if they don’t spend some time reading the backlog.

    I’d love a pop-up box that appeared when you navigated to one of the threads here, saying something like, ‘Hey! If it’s your first time, please note that this is a blog with an established commentariat, almost all of whom have strong opinions and very few qualms about expressing them, often using harsh language. Perhaps you should read at least a few dozen comments on the thread before you make any assumptions.’

  139. 639
    Kalliope

    Josh –

    I take your point in post 126.

    Post 128: When did I complain about the illegitimate views of others?

  140. 640
    Inaji

    Is there a place with the politics and ethics of this place where people can go to get the same quality of argument and stance yet feel more comfortable, if that’s their thing?

    Jesus fucking Christ. There’s all of FTB for a start. Go to Greta Christina’s blog. Go to Ophelia’s. Or Stephanie’s. Or Crommunist or one or more of dozens of people. There’s a handy dandy list on the sidebar.

    Go explore Sciblogs. Go to Hemant’s place, The Friendly Atheist. There’s a big, wide internet out there.

    How in the hell are we supposed to know what would make you feel all cosy and warm? Go explore. We aren’t here to do it for you.

  141. 641
    consciousness razor

    I have some experience with extreme political organizations. One of the things I recognized was the role that slogans play in stopping critical thinking. When a person can pull out a slogan in reply to an argument, that person is no longer thinking.

    I see that happening with “tone troll.” I see self-proclaimed skeptics do that all the time right after they’ve looked up “logical fallacy” on Wikipedia.

    What argument have you given, in reply to which this “slogan” was pulled out? Apparently you saw it happening and I didn’t. Could you describe when and where this occurred?

  142. 642
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Post 128: When did I complain about the illegitimate views of others?

    When you said “Or maybe she was seconds away from enlisting on this side.”

    With that you handily dismissed everyone who was arguing with her and declared their approach illegitimate (don’t even argue that. . the implication is crystal clear). This was after commenters had explained to you that they had already been through this with lilandra.

    Yet you chose to flippantly ignore that. Why? Why didn’t you acknowledge that people reacted to her out of experience, and why did you act as though we were all randomly flinging poo without giving her a chance?

    Dude- We TOLD you what our experience was. Fuck.

  143. 643
  144. 644
    Kalliope

    Caine,

    I’m generally happy here. I like the company.

    But maybe I’m mislaying this entire thing. This is taking a lot of posts from me and lot of work on everyone else’s end to crystalize what I’m getting — I apologize for not be clearer in my own head earlier on.

    I guess this really comes down to my concern that when people hear about this ongoing schism(?), they’re probably going to stop here since so many people mention and call out this blog, and, if they’ve heard negative things about it, their negative bias in some cases might be confirmed. And as a result, they may entirely dismiss our side of the argument.

  145. 645
    Inaji

    From the Pharyngula wiki:

    Concern Troll:

    A concern troll pretends to be a general supporter of the site, but they have “concerns”. The idea is to undermine the consensus viewpoint by pointing out that other commenters or the site may be getting themselves in trouble in some way. They identify problems that don’t really exist and offer “helpful advice” – which, if acted upon, would actually work against the purpose of the site and general readership.

    Concern trolls are fairly easily identified, and because they are trying to disrupt surreptitiously will frequently depart the site when directly challenged.

    Tone Troll:

    Tone Trolls are the language puritans of the blog world. They will studiously avoid addressing the substantive issues of an argument, but will tut-tut at the tone of the conversation or the language used. They are also easily “offended” by not treating their pet opinion with the automatic respect that it apparently deserves.

    Tone trolls can be sent on their way with a well-placed “fuck off”, but often not without a final departing snipe at how rude and aggressive people are around here.

    Sound familiar, Kalliope? If it doesn’t, it should. Your posts fit both definitions.

  146. 646
    Kalliope

    I realize that’s a lot of “mights”, but it is something I’m concerned about.

  147. 647
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    they’re probably going to stop here since so many people mention and call out this blog, and, if they’ve heard negative things about it, their negative bias in some cases might be confirmed. And as a result, they may entirely dismiss our side of the argument.

    Welcome to the real world babe. What the fuck do you think is going to prevent this universal of applied human bias?

    I heard the same fucking thing from Mattachine Society tone trolls (Google it if you don’t know) about ACT-UP and all the mouthy “rude” queers who were “making us all look bad” in the 80s.

    Look, get this through your head— the only thing you accomplish when you’re “concerned” that people are going to be offended/put-off/uncomfortable because they’ve been fed a load of biased crap. . . is that you cater to those biases and piss off the people whose side you should be on.

    So fucking stop it. Grow up.

  148. 648
    consciousness razor

    I never stopped arguing with anyone based on the way they spoke to me. That is my understanding of what a tone troll is someone who replies to “the earth if fucking round, dumbass, you can see the arc of the horizon,” by saying, “I won’t engage with you because you cursed and called me a dumbass.” Lilandra did that earlier.

    I’m pretty sure you can’t actually see the arc of the horizon from the surface. If you were looking from the space station or something, then you would have the perspective to see a much longer horizon and notice the curvature for yourself. But anyway, there are better arguments against a flat earth.

  149. 649
    Cipher

    I guess this really comes down to my concern that when people hear about this ongoing schism(?), they’re probably going to stop here since so many people mention and call out this blog, and, if they’ve heard negative things about it, their negative bias in some cases might be confirmed. And as a result, they may entirely dismiss our side of the argument.

    *sigh*
    THAT WOULD HAPPEN NO MATTER WHAT WE DID.

  150. 650
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    In other words, your “concern” is just another avenue regressives are going to use to exploit and co-opt well-meaning people like you in order to shut up the rude noisemakers. Don’t let yourself be used that way.

    You can be sure we won’t be so used, so don’t even go there.

  151. 651
    Kalliope

    Fine, so I’m a “concern troll.” I’ve obviously been spending the last few months faking my support so I could unleash my concern-bomb at the opportune time.

    Josh — None of us know Lilandra or where she is in her process. Frankly, my guess is as good as yours.

    Wowbagger — Yes, that is what I was getting at. Thanks for stating it so clearly.

    Razor — Both Caine and Daisy accused me of tone trolling.

    All, I have to wake up in six hours, so if I don’t reply to further posts, please don’t think it’s because I’m abandoning ship.

  152. 652
    Cipher

    Razor — Both Caine and Daisy accused me of tone trolling.

    That wasn’t what consciousness razor asked you.
    Accusing someone of something isn’t the same as using it as a slogan to stop thinking.

  153. 653
    consciousness razor

    I guess this really comes down to my concern that when people hear about this ongoing schism(?), they’re probably going to stop here since so many people mention and call out this blog, and, if they’ve heard negative things about it, their negative bias in some cases might be confirmed. And as a result, they may entirely dismiss our side of the argument.

    So it just might be that sometimes bad stuff people say about us is true. I will grant that like everyone else, we are not entirely good. And that means some decent, reasonable people might dismiss the good arguments we make against bigotry and so on. You know how much decent, reasonable people have their priorities completely out of whack, so there’s really no helping them. What are we to do?

  154. 654
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Kalliope,

    I’m generally happy here. I like the company.

    But still you whine on and on on and on on and on on and on on and on about how the company here should change to suit your delicate constitution.

    (Do you like me?)

    I realize that’s a lot of “mights”, but it is something I’m concerned about.

    Do I really need to tell you what you can do with your concern?

  155. 655
    Inaji

    Kalliope:

    Both Caine and Daisy accused me of tone trolling.

    I said you were acting like a Tone Troll. You were. However, I’ve come to revise that opinion. You’re concern trolling. Once more, since you seem to be determined to ignore everything people are saying to you:

    From the Pharyngula wiki, Concern Troll:

    A concern troll pretends to be a general supporter of the site, but they have “concerns”. The idea is to undermine the consensus viewpoint by pointing out that other commenters or the site may be getting themselves in trouble in some way. They identify problems that don’t really exist and offer “helpful advice” – which, if acted upon, would actually work against the purpose of the site and general readership.

    Concern trolls are fairly easily identified, and because they are trying to disrupt surreptitiously will frequently depart the site when directly challenged.

    How is that not a definition of what you are doing?

  156. 656
    Kalliope

    Josh and Caine –

    Thanks for taking the time to argue with me. I do understand what you’re saying, and I’m pretty sure I agree, especially this:

    In other words, your “concern” is just another avenue regressives are going to use to exploit and co-opt well-meaning people like you in order to shut up the rude noisemakers. Don’t let yourself be used that way.

    and

    THAT WOULD HAPPEN NO MATTER WHAT WE DID.

    By the way, Josh, on a side note. I would personally like to thank you for your involvement with ACT-UP. I was a kid in NYC in the 80s, right when everything hit, and I saw a lot of family friend, teachers, etc., die of AIDS. I also saw GMHC out in the subways handing out condoms and instructional pamphlets to kids and teenagers.

    It has ALWAYS bothered me that we as a country (the whole western world, actually) don’t get down on our knees and thank the gay activists of the 80s for SAVING OUR LIVES. I mean that. I am absolutely convinced that if not for GMHC and ACT-UP, the United States would be dealing with an AIDS epidemic on the scale of South Africa.

    To borrow a term that I think applies, thank you for your service.

  157. 657
    Cipher

    So it just might be that sometimes bad stuff people say about us is true.

    And sometimes people are spewing dumbass bullshit, pretending that positive/neutral things are inherently terrible.
    There is nothing wrong with being angry. Yes, if people are told that we’re all a bunch of angry feminists, and they come here, they’re going to see some angry goddamn feminists! Yeah, they’ll be put off as fuck. Don’t care. If people are told that we’re ad-homming everybody, and they think “ad-homming” is synonymous with insulting, and they think that insulting people means an argument is fallacious, they’re going to come away from here thinking we’re all a bunch of fallacy-makers. THAT IS NOT WITHIN OUR GODDAMN CONTROL, and I’m irritated as fuck that their incorrect bullshit understandings of how argumentation and human decency work are supposed to be shaping our goddamn behavior.
    Fuck.
    *exploded*

  158. 658
    consciousness razor
    Razor — Both Caine and Daisy accused me of tone trolling.

    That wasn’t what consciousness razor asked you.

    Perhaps it was. Maybe Caine and Daisy gave her own argument for her, and they also replied to it. This is Pharyngula after all, so crazier things have happened.

  159. 659
    rorschach

    I’m a white, cis-hetero, educated, married, upper middle class, healthy male. There are few people more privileged than me. So why am I involved in fighting sexism, homophobia, racism, etc.?

    Why, it’s the pity fucks, of course. Just ask Thunderdolt’s commenters.

  160. 660
    Inaji

    Cipher:

    I’m irritated as fuck that their incorrect bullshit understandings of how argumentation and human decency work are supposed to be shaping our goddamn behavior.

    I’m irritated as fuck right along with you. Somewhere in this thread (different page), I said I was damn tired of all the people showing up here to lecture us all on how we’re doing it wrong. Those people are *never* found in the midst of all the rape apologists, the rape jokers, the sexist douchebags and the liars, telling them they are wrong, and why they are wrong. Oh no, much better to lecture the crap out of us and whine, moan and cry about how mean and nasty we are and if we’d just change our ways, why the whole fucking planet would come around, yes it would!

    Christ.

  161. 661
    Kalliope

    Razor –

    You know how much decent, reasonable people have their priorities completely out of whack, so there’s really no helping them. What are we to do?

    I don’t know. All I can do is try to be more conscientious and allow myself to be challenged.

    John –

    Yes, my delicate constitution that allowed me to come into this knowing that I’d get responses from all sides.

    If you have something meaningful to say that just go ahead and say it.

  162. 662
    consciousness razor

    THAT IS NOT WITHIN OUR GODDAMN CONTROL,

    But we’re supposed to be omnipotent, right? That’s the only way to fill in the gap for a nonexistent god.

    and I’m irritated as fuck

    That’s obviously your problem. When other people are irritated by your irritation, that is also your problem, because you are a role model they look up to, except when they don’t.

  163. 663
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Gah. Have gone back to Michael Nugent’s blog and am having a back-and-forth with the self-styled slymepitter Horace; his schtick is false equivalence and the bizarre rationalisation that, because Pharyngulites are so mean, he’s justified in not believing there’s a misogyny problem in the atheist/skeptic commnity.

    I’d be annoyed why no-one else is calling him on this, but I reckon everyone who was on there lives above the Equator and has gone to bed…

  164. 664
    consciousness razor

    I don’t know.

    Well you could ask if there is somewhere else to go to avoid it, right? Not that there is anywhere to go, or that you were supposed to be included the rhetorical “we,” but you could ask.

    All I can do is try to be more conscientious and allow myself to be challenged.

    What does that mean?

  165. 665
    smhll

    Wasn’t “Horace” here last week doing some kind of mega-troll on one of the super long threads? Or am I just having a brain fart?

  166. 666
    Cipher

    I remember what you’re talking about, smhll, but I’m not sure whether that was actually Horace or whether Horace was just watching gleefully and hoggling.
    Either way, Horace is a fucking disgusting asshole. That thread a while back in which 20 posters identified as survivors? He posted the most overtly victim-blaming, hateful website and pretending it was meant to help people prevent rape.

  167. 667
    Inaji

    smhll:

    Or am I just having a brain fart?

    No, Horace was here, trolling away.

  168. 668
    RichardAustin

    Cipher:

    I’m irritated as fuck right along with you. Somewhere in this thread (different page), I said I was damn tired of all the people showing up here to lecture us all on how we’re doing it wrong.

    And to add insult to injury (or irony on top of irony), they’re coming here to do it. Which means word has gotten out. Which means what’s being done here – uncivil tone and all – is working. Pharyngula has become one of the go-to places for people who are looking for someone to fight back against the mainstream skeptical movement.

    Because it’s a place where people are rude, and blunt, and direct, and don’t put up with arguments about tone and civility and instead address the issues, not in spite of those characteristics.

  169. 669
    John Morales

    Kalliope:

    Yes, my delicate constitution that allowed me to come into this knowing that I’d get responses from all sides.

    No, your delicate constitution is shown by your list of things you have claimed will trigger you.

    If you have something meaningful to say that just go ahead and say it.

    Yeah, I do: Remember who wrote this gushing praise, before repudiating each and every claim therein?

    “You loudmouth, take no prisoners motherfuckers are why I come to this site and I fucking love you to pieces.”

    “All I can say is that I am on your side 100%, completely and utterly, and I am glad this place has been here, like a magnet, for people who are sick of all the -isms.”

    “Here I am, on your side, agreeing with you in all things, not personally offended — often downright encouraged — by the force and bravado that goes into so many of the arguments here.”

    I tell you now: you have utterly lost such credibility as you had, in my estimation.

    (And that’s the good news, I’ll spare you the bad bits)

    And, finally, your concern has been noted.

  170. 670
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Shorter Kalliope: I love you just the way you are, I love you because of the way you are, but I think you should change the way you are to appease my concerns.

  171. 671
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    I didn’t recognise Horace as someone who’d posted here. But it was kind of hilarious when he – a slymepitter – said that I’d never change anyone’s mind if I was mean and rude.

    The lack of self-awareness would be staggering if I weren’t already so accustomed to it.

    Oh, and they’re already bleating on Twitter about the response Kalliope got on this thread – without, of course, mentioning that she quite clearly thinks a lot less of misogynist assholes and their enablers than she does of angry, hair-trigger Pharyngulites.

  172. 672
    Cipher

    No, your delicate constitution is shown by your list of things you have claimed will trigger you.

    [psa]
    Triggers are weird as fuck.
    Weird as fuck.
    Obviously I can’t speak for everyone, but a lot of people have idiosyncratic triggers that seem harmless to other people. It’s par for the course. Not a sign of weakness. Obviously it doesn’t mean that other people are doing things wrong when they hit an otherwise harmless idiosyncratic trigger, though.
    [/psa]

  173. 673
    John Morales

    OK, I shouldn’t have claimed Kalliope has a (metaphorically) delicate constitution, and I duly retract that, and I certainly shouldn’t have referred to her triggers, and for that I apologise.

    For that, I’m sorry, Kalliope.

  174. 674
    Lion IRC

    Can I give Secular Cafe a plug?

  175. 675
    Lion IRC

    They havent mentioned Rationalia since March
    And Pharyngula was last mentioned…

    http://www.secularcafe.org/showthread.php?t=20708&highlight=Myers

  176. 676
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Oh christ. Grisly ghouls from every tomb are closing in to seal our doom.

  177. 677
    Inaji

    Wowbagger:

    Oh, and they’re already bleating on Twitter about the response Kalliope got on this thread

    Only to be expected, they use anything and everything they can. It would serve as a useful illustration, if some people had the eyes to see.

  178. 678
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Fuck off, Lion IRC. Take it to TZT or I guarantee you’ll face the banhammer.

  179. 679
    Inaji

    Josh:

    Grisly ghouls

    Eh, Lyin’ Irk is a toothless pos who hasn’t had anything new to say in years.

  180. 680
    Lion IRC

    What, now youre banning people for innocuous comments like THAT?

  181. 681
    Ingdigo Jump

    If it’s not people actively being assholes for no goddamn reason it’s people like you blaming the people they’re being assholes to. You provide nothing of substance. This was never fucking about tone or how communication was done, that’s bullshit. But hey, you know better!

  182. 682
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Lion IRC wrote:

    What, now youre banning people for innocuous comments like THAT?

    No, you tedious moron, it’s for ‘comments’ – which yours wasn’t, btw; it was a link without any context – that have nothing to do with what’s being discussed.

    If you want to weigh on what’s actually being discussed and stick to the topic you’ll be fine.

  183. 683
    John Morales

    [meta + OT]

    Lion IRC:

    What, now youre banning people for innocuous comments like THAT?

    You haven’t been forgotten, and you haven’t been banned here.

    You probably will be, going on past performance; your habit of polluting threads with your inane and irrelevant bullshit is unlikely to have changed.

    As for your innocuous comments, why did you bother to ask whether you could do something (promote some site you happen to like) when you went ahead and did it anyway?

  184. 684
    Lion IRC

    OK
    Sorry for being off topic.

  185. 685
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Maybe I oughta take a vacation from this place too. I’m starting to actively hate a lot of people.

  186. 686
    Lion IRC

    @John Morales
    You’re turning it into a topic by talking about it.
    I was just saying SC deserves a plug in a Switzerland kinda way.
    dmb is actually in Switzerland IIRC

  187. 687
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    I don’t get the whole “be nicer to people like Lilandra” thing. I just don’t.

    She came into this thread flinging accusations and assertions and upon being asked for evidence to back up said assertions and accusations, which she brought up, she became not only scolding, dishonest and passive-agressively manipulative, she clutched her pearls and refused to address counter arguments made in good faith because they contained naughty words.

    If she were a creationist, if she were not married to a prominent (? I guess, I dont’ know Aron) atheist, would what transpired be called “ripping into her”?

    More to the point: why is “ripping into her” to guage if she’s arguing in good faith a bad thing (if, indeed, there was any “ripping” going on, which is debatable)? If she was arguing in good faith, she’d continue to argue her point despite any “ripping” going on. Instead, she turned into the stereotypical grade school teacher, tsking over language use and equating that with unforgivable rudeness and using it as a shield to avoid addressing arguments.

    That is not okay. That is, in fact, the definition of dishonest.

    More than that – what the hell does that even mean, to be nicer to people like her? Not to call her (or whoever, this is not just about Lilandra although she’s the example from this thread) on her dishonesty? Allowed to call her (or whoever, this is not just about Lilandra) on her dishonesty but without using swearwords? Call her on her perceived dishonesty nicely (as if that’s even possible?), couching it in patronising “if you wouldn’t mind” and “not to upset you but”s?

    What should we be doing differently, specifically?

    I have no beef with Lilandra personally (well, other than the fact that “Lilandra” use to be one of my go-to nyms when I was a web noob, but whatevs, she can have it ;p ) – I don’t even know her. I’ve never watched any of her husband’s videos (OHAI shitty interwebs, no vlogs for you!) and I don’t know her from Eve, but going solely on her conduct here (which is all we can go on), she comes off as dishonest, manipulative and, worst of all, argument-less.
    If she wants to change that perception, it’s pretty easy to do so.

    Telling her that she’s coming of like that, though, telling her that clearly and honestly and with no possibility of equivocation or space for her to go “I didn’t quite get what you mean, be more specific”, is more respectful than pretending to nod thoughtfully and asking “tactful” questions while snorting on the inside, rolling your eyes in disgust and thinking “Jesus fuck, what a dishonest manipulator”.

    At the least, it gives her the honest, clear input and opportunity to rectify the things she does so that she does *not* come off as what she isn’t.

    *************

    Richard Austin, (50)4:

    And because of that, people have started flocking here. Because of the hostility to hate and the abrasiveness to trolls and the refusal to back down and be polite if it means ceding ground to bigotry, people look to Pharyngula as a leader on the subject.

    Yes. This exactly. Exactfuckingly.

    If this space, in which victims of real-world oppression can not only support each other but be allowed, for many of us for the first time in our ever-fucking lives, to fight for the right to not face oppression every fucking day, is sacrificed for the “good of the [ahteist], [skeptic], [insert your own] movement”, what does that say about the importance of social justice concerns?

    More than that, what does it say about “the movement” if “the good of the movement” necessitates losing this important space?

    Nothing good, I can tell you that.

    And I will not accept making my atheism into that. I am an atheist and skeptic just as much as the “Leaders” of the movemetnt are, and it’s my movement too and my movement will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.

    I’d rather be the lone voice screaming in the desert that atheism, skepticism and social justice should be interwoven than make common cause with bigots and dishonest manipulators “for the good of the movement”.

  188. 688
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Gen-here’s what there is to “get”:

    1. PZ wanted, for some reason, to be nice to Michael Nugent

    2. PZ’s shepherding his resources because one of his bloggers (Aron Ra) is married to lilandra.

    Both are bullshit reasons, if understandable. It’s the same crap that blinded him (by his own admission, note) to Thunderfoot’s bullshit when they invited him to FtB.

  189. 689
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    For the rest, hand waving cussing and flaming me, and then demanding I give you proof that some of your behavior is inexcusable. Your poor behavior reflects on you.

    lilandra, I’m going to tell you a story now. It is my story. The biggest bully in my life is my own mother. The regulars here know that I’ve been working on that hard for the last six months, and it were six months with puking, crying. They were also good months, because I learned to be a person again.
    You remind me a lot of her. Because whenever I’d be in a fight with her, she’d refuse to ever engage me over the substance of my complaint but focus solely on the fact that I was angry or rude. And I was therefore wrong. I had to “calm down” and “behave myself” again and whatever injustice I’d perceived against me was irrelevant compared with the bigger crime of being angry.
    It was meant to shut me down, it did shut me down.
    It was with the help of those wonderful people here whom you chastize so badly for using the word “fuck” while ignoring their points (AND thse of people making the same points without using those words) that I learned that anger was a valid emotion, that if I was angry there was a reason for it and that the reason for my anger was the thing that needed to be adressed.
    That’s why I am concerned about you in your position as a teacher, because I’m wondering what you’d do with the bullied gay kid who voices his complaint in the form of yelling that the fucking bastard called him a faggot.

    It doesn’t matter what I said about disciplining a bully, but still trying to get them to stop bullying. The whole point is to stop a child from hurting any more children.

    I don’t doubt that you mean that sincerely, I’m doubting that you’re able to reliably identify bullying, because you focus so much on polite words. Clever people don’t have to rely on bad word to hurt and bully. It’s actually a hallmark of intelligent bullies to be technically well within the rules. Which means that when their victim who is lacking those resources is lashing out they are the ones disciplined.
    Now you’re worried why people attack you in your identity as a teacher. Instead of being all upset and complaining about it, maybe think about why people would think that of you when their idea of you so obviously clashes with your own self-concept. And all they know about you is what you have written.

  190. 690
    Anthony K

    Threadrupt, and pretty drunk.

    PZ, you deal with shit on a scale that I cannot imagine. Please do not be offended by my whining. I guess I don’t have your stomach for this constant battle, and I respect you for sticking to your convictions. You’ve developed a pretty impressive place here. No matter what happens, it’s an impressive accomplishment, and you should feel proud.

    Michael Nugent: I’ve always respected your work. Thank you.

    Kalliope: You’ve always impressed me. The people who are criticizing you are pretty damn smart, they’ve been around the block, and they know what’s what. I’m not jumping on you, but take a break, read, and see if their comments make sense to you after you’ve had some time to mull. I think you’re an ally, and I’d hate to see you leave discouraged.

  191. 691
    Anthony K

    Apparently, seven pints of beer, a shot, and an hour of having another man’s head in his crotch (it’s for the play) make Brownian overuse the word ‘impressive’.

  192. 692
    elltee

    I read Pharyngula because it’s a rude blog. If it became a sunshine and fluffy blog I wouldn’t come here anymore. Why do the tone trolls and concern trolls keep bleating on about how terrible it is that the rudeness here drives away some readers, without even taking into consideration those of us who come here BECAUSE of it?

    In Fried Green Tomatoes, one of the main characters, Evelyn Couch, talks about the fact that as a Southern Woman, she was taught to be passive, non-confrontational, unfailingly polite, no matter the situation. It drives her crazy. She makes friends with an elderly woman who tells her stories about her past, involving strong, kick-ass, outspoken women who don’t take shit. Women who fight back. Evelyn is inspired by the women in the stories. She, too, learns to fight back. But she had to overcome that conditioning she had to always be polite, no matter what.

    I identify with Evelyn. No matter how much I was abused and bullied, no matter how unjust the situation was that I was in, if I showed even a tiny percentage of the rage I felt, I was told I was out of line, not being nice, contributing to the problem, etc. If I told my mom that my sister beat me up, and I begged for help, begged for protection, and then I said “Please fucking help me!”, my mom would send me to my room for swearing. You get the picture.

    I KNEW that shit was wrong, but I had nobody to back me up. Nobody seemed to feel the way I felt. It was like the whole world was filled with people who turned the other cheek–smiling!–when they were slapped.

    The Pharyngula Horde–the men and women alike–are like those kick-ass women who inspired Evelyn. I am stronger and more assertive because I am inspired by the strength and assertiveness of the people here.

    I know the tone/concern trolls won’t change their minds because of what I wrote. I know that they’ve been complaining about Pharyngula for years,
    and nothing I write is bound to change that. But goddamn it, all you fucking assholes who come here and tell the commenters to play nice, not swear, try to reason with people instead of calling them names: FUCK YOU.

    And FUCK OFF.

  193. 693
    tubbers

    Yeah, I know I’m late here, but anyway…

    PZ Says:

    I have a small problem with one of his suggestions, but otherwise, it’s an excellent and idealistic plan

    Michael Nugent:

    We can and we must reverse this hostility, starting by tackling issues not attacking people.

    Then PZ Says

    …a known slimepit denizen…

    So on one side we have smug jerks who hate the idea of being progressive, but on the other, on my side, we’re quite ready to cut the troglodytes loose, and we’re quite ready to move on without them.

    …the angry sexists and racists and sneering self-satisfied libertarians…

    If you comment over there, be polite to the smug reactionaries…

    So PZ, if you think Michael Nugent’s plan is excellent would a first step not be to stop with the name calling?

  194. 694
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    Both are bullshit reasons, if understandable. It’s the same crap that blinded him (by his own admission, note) to Thunderfoot’s bullshit when they invited him to FtB.

    But, but, but you are always supposed to defend and suck up to PZ! He has no flaws remember! Aren’t we all hivemind sockpuppets of his?

    Maybe I oughta take a vacation from this place too. I’m starting to actively hate a lot of people.

    I always thought it strange that I’m a humanist yet actively hate most of humanity. How does that work? I really hate people.

    If you do need a break, take it. Just hope you feel better soon and come back here. So many people here, just worn down from the fight.

  195. 695
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    I’m wondering what you’d do with the bullied gay kid who voices his complaint in the form of yelling that the fucking bastard called him a faggot.

    This.

    As a teenaged victim of bullying I got in trouble on more than one occasion because I verbally lashed out at my tormenters. The bullies were very capable at avoiding detection of their provocations. I used to get nuts and bolts thrown at me in shop class every time the teacher’s back was turned for instance. When I told them to fuck off I got dressed down for disrupting the class. It didn’t take very many of such incidents to convince me that the teacher’s only interest was the illusion of discipline. The message that I got was “Shut up and take it. If you can’t you don’t belong here.” and I heard it loud and clear.

    Unfortunately, this meant that the bullying escalated until one of the fuckheads took a pair of tongs, heated them in the forge and grabbed my arm with them. And even then, second degree burns and all, they talked me and my mother out of pressing criminal charges. Fuck civility, fuck calm language and fuck anyone who won’t take the time to figure out just why intemperate language was used.

  196. 696
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    Apparently, seven pints of beer, a shot, and an hour of having another man’s head in his crotch (it’s for the play) make Brownian overuse the word ‘impressive’.

    Just for the play? Is this play included in your sex que? The wait has really gotten out of hand..

    So PZ, if you think Michael Nugent’s plan is excellent would a first step not be to stop with the name calling?

    All of those things listed are descriptions, accurate descriptions. If they are offended, they can stop being sexist racist assholes populating the slimpit.

    Calling an ass an ass is only offensive to the ass when the ass thinks they are a unicorn.

    Ass.

  197. 697
    elltee

    Giliell, not to be confused with The Borg,

    I posted my comment, then I saw yours. You said everything I wanted to say, only better.

  198. 698
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I have a strong suspicion that anyone who says this was never bullied as a child.

    Different hypothesis: They’ve internalized it

    What the commentariat here says, constantly, is that we are all sexist. We are all soaking in it. We are all privileged. We need to be aware of that and change ourselves as well as other.

    I’ve made a point of writing it down when I notice myself being sexist. Mind you, I can’t write down when I don’t notice it, and I’m not so stupid as to think that the times I notice are the only times.

  199. 699
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    tubbers wrote:

    So PZ, if you think Michael Nugent’s plan is excellent would a first step not be to stop with the name calling?

    Those of us familiar with PZ and his opinion of the denizens of the slimepit can read subtext, which in this situation is that this suggestion does not include those people who have demonstrated through their many, many actions that they are not honest interlocutors;ergo, being polite to them would be a complete waste of time and energy.

  200. 700
    rorschach

    So PZ, if you think Michael Nugent’s plan is excellent would a first step not be to stop with the name calling?

    Names like “slimepit denizen”? The name these people themselves chose to give to their new hideout? Do try and keep up.

  201. 701
    tubbers

    rorschach said:

    Names like “slimepit denizen”? The name these people themselves chose to give to their new hideout? Do try and keep up.

    I gave a few more examples other than “slimepit denizen”.

    Just to be clear though, it seems people here are OK with the name calling when PZ does it, right? Do you disagree with Michael Nugent when he says:

    We can and we must reverse this hostility, starting by tackling issues not attacking people.

  202. 702
    John Morales

    tubbers, to what purported attack on people do you refer?

  203. 703
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Well, if you all suddenly start being all nice and polite, I’m out of this place.

    /empty threat

  204. 704
    John Morales

    tubbers:

    Just to be clear though, it seems people here are OK with the name calling when PZ does it, right?

    Wrong. I, for one, am OK with name-calling when such is appropriate; that PZ generally does so appropriately is beside the point.

    Do you disagree with Michael Nugent when he says:

    We can and we must reverse this hostility, starting by tackling issues not attacking people.

    I neither agree nor disagree; his ‘we’ excludes me, I’m in no ideological movement. Personally, I will be hostile to those who I judge merit my hostility.

  205. 705
    pentatomid

    Tubbers, @ 188

    Those are all factually accurate descriptors. By the way, if you think that is more offensive than the racist and mysoginist crap the slimepitters tend to spew, you’re an asshole. Seriously, tell me, do you go over at their little hangout to complain at their choice of words? I didn’t think so. Fuck off, tone troll.

  206. 706
    Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness

    lilandra #162

    @Josh you can only speculate about what sort of teacher I am. I have advocated nowhere that the anyone be allowed to bully anyone. I don’t advocate that anyone should be hostile to someone who is bullying them in my class either. Nor am I hostile to a bully that would make me a bully. They are disciplined appropriately for their behavior.
    Some bullies can realize their behavior is wrong and stop bullying. That is a better goal if it is possible.

    This view is not one that I can let pass, even though it was way back on 162 of page one.

    If someone who is being bullied, is not permitted to be hostile to the person bullying them, then how on earth is the bullying stopped where it often occurs, away from authorities? A child who is being treated inappropriately should be encouraged and rewarded for an appropriate response to the treatment, which is outrage and rejection. A child should have permission to answer back, fight back if needed, and get help. If this was a more common approach, then there would be less successful bullying. Further, I believe there would be less successful sexual abuse of children, as well. A child is vulnerable enough without having to go along with rules that effectively permit the bully to bully, but sanction the bullied who won’t take it.

    Being hostile to someone who is bullying you is not being a bully! It is being self-protective and modelling good behaviour for people in society at large. Being hostile doesn’t mean hitting them with a baseball bat, it means opposing them with passion and strength until they stop.

    [TRIGGER WARNING]


    I have no idea how many women I dealt with who were battered, and when I asked them why they would not accept protection from the system, said, “But I’m not like that!” My personal favourite was a minister who told my client she should not consider leaving her husband, because that was not good behavour. She should forgive him and stay with him. What had happened? He had knifed her in the back more than once a few weeks before. She didn’t die out of sheer luck.

    <takes deep soothing breaths. many of them.

  207. 707
    rorschach

    Do you disagree with Michael Nugent when he says:

    We can and we must reverse this hostility, starting by tackling issues not attacking people.

    This needs a definition of “attacking people”. A lot of accusations of “bullying” and “attacking” are being thrown around these days with some people employing rather fluent definitions of the term. People are supposed to have been “attacking” Thunderdolt merely by disagreeing with him on his blog. So yeah, let’s agree on how we use these terms first, shall we.

  208. 708
    quentinlong

    Others have responded to Kaliope, but perhaps one more perspective might be useful here:
    Yes, Kaliope, some percentage of visitors to Pharyngula definitely will have their negative biases confirmed, no question. And that isn’t a good thing.
    However.
    If Pharyngula’s ‘atmosphere’ is, indeed, confirming the negative biases of a certain percentage of its visitors… is there any kind of ‘atmosphere’ whatsoever which would not confirm the negative biases of a certain percentage of visitors? Somehow, I am inclined to doubt it.
    Consider the pushback against FTB/atheism. Atheists agree with each other? “Oh, they’re just a hive-minded echo-chamber, no better than Rush Limbaugh’s dittoheads.” Atheists disagree with each other? “Oh, well, what can you expect of a dying movement that’s fatally riven with Deep Rifts?” And so on.
    Do I need to cite for you explicit examples of how women are “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” in the eyes of MRAs/misogynists?
    If not-confirming-anyone’s-negative-biases is a goal we should achieve, there is only and exactly 1 (one) way that goal even can be achieved: By shutting the fuck up and never saying anything at all.
    Do you think that’s a tactic that should be implemented? I don’t. But really, how the hell else can you avoid confirming any of the myriad possible negative biases which anyone might hold, other than by shutting the fuck up and becoming effectively invisible?
    Apart from the inadvisibility of even attempting to Not Confirm Any Negative Biases Whatsoever, it’s worth noting that the ‘atmosphere’ of Pharyngula has had very distinctly positive repercussions in a certain percentage of its visitors. So rather than focus solely and entirely on (what you perceive as) the negative consequences of Pharyngula’s ‘atmosphere’, what you really ought to be doing is looking at both the negative and the positive consequences of said ‘atmosphere’, and tryna figure out whether said ‘atmosphere’ is a net positive or a net negative. If you only focus on the negative… well, fuck, Kaliope: Is there anything at all, even theoretically, which doesn’t look like a slice of the lower circles of Hell when you focus solely and entirely on its negatives?
    And let’s not forget that PZ has, on many occasions, explicitly stated that he knows very well that Pharynguloid rough-and-tumble is not everyone’s cup of tea, that atheism has room for lots of different approaches, and that he neither has any means of, nor yet the desire to, somehow convert the entire atheist community into Pharyngula.
    So.
    You don’t approve of Pharynguloid rough-and-tumble? Fine. Nobody says you have to. But if you genuinely are 100% in agreement with the general consensus ’round these parts… and you’ve certainly made a point of going out of your way to claim that you’re 100% on board with said concensus… what the fuck is your problem?

  209. 709
    oolon

    @Wowbagger comment. 134… I’ve been engaging with some of what may be ‘slimepitters’ on TFs blog and they seem to really have a problem with poor treatment by commenters here and especially being banned by PZ. One poor fella called Strakh seems to have lost all perspective as he was unfairly banned in his opinion. I did have a look at some of his old comments by Googling and he seemed at one point to be a reasonable person whereas his comments on TF’s latest blog post (Which seems to be about laughing at someone cos they got upset and they should ‘man-up’ and take it) are as deranged as I’ve seen for some time – they consist of mainly shouting ‘Mangina!’ or other insult at Greg Laden – I upset him and I’ve never been called a ‘man-hating dick-twat’ before so it was interesting

    Maybe I could have ended up like that as I irked PZ once and have engaged in long boring attempts to get my point across (Much like Lilandras that we should all be nice to one another!)… I could have been banned and certainly where I felt I was right that would have pissed me off royally – I am human. Maybe lurking as you suggest would be a solution or a clear transparent set of policies maybe written out clearly for all potential commenter’s to digest… Or… Maybe not. We have not had much luck with policies recently and why do we need one for what is essentially a loosely controlled comment space? The rudeness and crudeness is surely essential and part of what makes it Pharyngula – go to Richard Carriers blog or Ophelias, to a lesser extent, as they seem to have more stringent controls.

    After my first post was flamed I, like TF with his amazing ability to read social Qs and bite legs appropriately, worked out the social situation despite not knowing about cupcakes and Caine or John Morales modus operandi and I worked out being rude was fine. So I was… I seriously doubt I offended anyone and if I did it would only have been from the ‘tone’ I was not racist, sexist or homophobic etc – so tough luck. Does Pharyngula really want to pander to a few children that cannot read the tone of the discussion and fit in or even well meaning people like Lilandra that have a problem with what she considers poor tone in general?

    My conclusion from talking to the ban’ees is that they seem to think they have been punished by PZ and he has no right (Stamp foot). I really don’t think that any amount of instruction would solve that problem as it is likely ingrained in them to think they have a right to be heard.

  210. 710
    Pteryxx

    And let’s not forget that PZ has, on many occasions, explicitly stated that he knows very well that Pharynguloid rough-and-tumble is not everyone’s cup of tea, that atheism has room for lots of different approaches, and that he neither has any means of, nor yet the desire to, somehow convert the entire atheist community into Pharyngula.

    In contrast, the slimepit/misogynist side does seem determined to convert any overly tolerant space into misogynist branch offices.

    It’s worth remembering, I think, that Pharyngula isn’t the main target of hatred and slander. Rebecca Watson’s name is still a curse on their lips for nothing more than being outspoken and snarky. Zvan got it for pushing for harassment policies. Greta Christina and Ophelia Benson got hated on for outspokenness. And all of them have more or less stricter policies on insults and personal attacks than PZ does.

  211. 711
    Nightjar
    Do you disagree with Michael Nugent when he says:

    We can and we must reverse this hostility, starting by tackling issues not attacking people.

    See, it’s not that I disagree. It’s that it doesn’t fucking seem to work one way or another. Like Brownian says:

    Be nice, don’t be nice, by a hypocrite, don’t be a hypocrite: it doesn’t fucking matter one iota.

    Remember, Rebecca Watson said “don’t do that”. Didn’t work, did it? “Stop doing that you sexist pieces of shit” may not work either, sure, but since nothing does, who cares?

  212. 712
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    And all of them have more or less stricter policies on insults and personal attacks than PZ does.

    But they are all women, so a much higher level of politeness is expected from them.

    I’m assuming that was one of the points you were making.

  213. 713
    Nightjar

    Uh, nevermind the nested blockquote fail above.

  214. 714
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    re : tackling issues not attacking people

    But there is a point at which it really becomes impossible to keep explaining misogyny to an unrepentant misogynist without calling him a fucking misogynist. The use of “fucking” here is irrelevant, since he is going to consider being called misogynist an insult enough, even without the fucking added to it.

  215. 715
    Pteryxx

    But they are all women, so a much higher level of politeness is expected from them.

    I’m assuming that was one of the points you were making.

    I do notice that, but I’m not certain how it plays into the politeness argument *as applied to Pharyngula* from an outside perspective. PZ himself doesn’t even do most of the rudeness here; we do, the commenters.

  216. 716
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Pteryxx,

    As applied to Pharyngula, it probably doesn’t.
    It’s just something that I think those who are arguing that PZ should make this blog nicer should notice.
    Their [Rebecca, Great, Ophelia, Stephanie] blogs are much nicer, but all those people who would supposedly listen to us if only we were nicer are still not listening. It doesn’t just show that niceness is unfairly proclaimed the only right way, but also how much sexism is behind this whole debate.

  217. 717
    Pteryxx

    …to clarify: the haters’ attacks seem to be aimed mainly at Rebecca, Ophelia, Stephanie, Greta, and the Horde, with PZ mainly targeted for a) allying with uppity women and b) fostering the Horde environment. That might’ve shifted recently after a certain youtuber made attacking PZ his new purpose in life.

  218. 718
    Pteryxx

    Their [Rebecca, Great, Ophelia, Stephanie] blogs are much nicer, but all those people who would supposedly listen to us if only we were nicer are still not listening. It doesn’t just show that niceness is unfairly proclaimed the only right way, but also how much sexism is behind this whole debate.

    that’s a great point. Have any lurkers ever come forward on those blogs to say how much they appreciate a less combative environment, *without* using it as a means to backhandedly (or overtly) slam Pharyngula? Except for Libby Anne’s blog, I haven’t seen it.

  219. 719
    Hooloovoo

    I could have been your ally, if only you’d asked me nicely enough.
    I could have been your ally, if only you hadn’t said “Guys, don’t do that.”
    I could have been your ally, if only you understood the culture of 4chan.
    I could have been your ally, if only the situation of Muslim women weren’t so dire.
    I could have been your ally, if only you hadn’t demanded I asked before I touch you.
    I could have been your ally, if only you’d laughed at my jokes.
    I could have been your ally, if only you hadn’t bullied me by recounting your rape.
    I could have been your ally, if only you had presented me with evidence that sexism exists.
    I could have been your ally, if only you had presented me with more evidence that sexism exists.
    I could have been your ally, if only your evidence didn’t come from the soft sciences.
    I could have been your ally, if only men were not so disenfranchised.
    I could have been your ally, if only you were willing to negotiate a little on your rights.
    I could have been your ally, if only you weren’t such a cunt.
    I could have been your ally, if only you understood the British nuances of “cunt”.

    -excerpt from The Feminist Ally That Wasn’t, a compilation in-progress

  220. 720
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Hooloovoo, that’s awesome!

  221. 721
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Caine @35:

    Me too. I’m going to go play with needles*, it’s better for me right now.

    *Stitching, people, stitching.

    Wait…do you do voodoo?
    (sorry, couldn’t resist)

    ****
    PZ @43:
    That was the BEST example of EPIC FAIL I’ve ever seen. I want some of those mind altering substances Audley Strange must be on to twist reality in such a fashion.

    Her ideology is as repugnant as her public persona but I would never, nor do I think anyone here would wish any harm on anyone.

    Please help a poor little narcissist.
    What is Rebecca Watson’s ideology?
    (and may I just say I dislike this commenter using the name ‘Audley’. There’s a certain member of the Horde who goes by that name, and I don’t like some slimepitter sullying it)

  222. 722
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    Funnily enough, I only just managed to take a look at the article Ophelia posted earlier… and daaayum. It’s a doozie. Go read it.

    Some prize quotes:

    In addition to the harm they do to women – our mothers, our sisters, our daughters – these full-grown juveniles harm us, too. A boy who refuses to grow up has lousy social skills, a short attention span, and a poor attitude to work. Furthermore, all men – that’s you and me, bro – get the blame for their bad behavior. And we deserve it, because we’ve been sitting on our butts for too long. We let them be bullies online and get away with it.

    Some of you might think it’s sexist that I’m dumping this problem on us men. It isn’t; it’s just pragmatic.Women can not solve this problem. A boy who hates girls and women simply isn’t going to pay attention to a woman’s opinion. The only people who can ensure that boys are taught, or if necessary forced, to grow up into men are other men.

    Let’s be clear about something else. This is not a political issue. This is not a subject for debate, any more than whether your son is allowed to swear at his mother or molest his sister is a subject for debate. There is no “other point of view.

    Finally, we need to put a stop to this behavior. It’s time for us to force the permanent nine-year-olds to grow up or get out of our games and forums. It’s not enough just to mute them. We need to build the infrastructure that precludes this kind of behavior entirely – Club Penguin has already done it for children – or failing that, we have to make the bullies pay a price for their behavior.Appealing to their better nature won’t work; bullies have none. We do not request, we do not debate, we demand and we punish.

    (Emphasis from the original)

    Excellent piece and completely en pointe, Read it all.

    See that? That’s what the Horde has been doing, and it has been working.

    We do not request, we do not debate, we demand and we punish.

  223. 723
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    Oh, just to add, I’m not on the “use yer real names” advice bandwagon – but then, I’m internet paranoid and I have a unique name (like there are 4 or 5 people with my name on the internet if you Google, none of whom have my last name). So yeah, not down with that so much, but the concept is sound. I protect my “pseudonym”‘s reputation as virulently as I would my “real” name – it’s all I identify with online.

  224. 724
    Jadehawk

    When Lilandra said that she didn’t agree with Natalie, I don’t believe that she was necessarily saying that Natalie was wrong

    I lack the ability to parse this into coherence. Why would you disagree with someone who’s right?

  225. 725
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    At a certain point, “tone troll” is just an unthinking way of dismissing the genuine concerns of people.

    No, it is dismissing those who say we must be polite without showing evidence to back up their claims. After all, they don’t set standards and practices, PZ does. They are upsurping his authority.

  226. 726
    Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness

    OOOoooookay, I managed to finish this thread. Took me hours and one immense martini (6 lemon stuffed olives).

    Kalliope

    Way back when, you commented that you felt that if you explained better to someone, he or she might agree with you, but that the idea really didn’t work. You have added since that you have triggers related to certain forms of verbal abuse.

    Please consider that the people disagreeing with you here do not fail to understand you. They also are bending over backwards NOT to trigger you. Put that together. They are respecting you, just not your suggestion.

    Sure, sometimes things may not go well here. There have been reactions that were really strong. To me (comfy and untriggered) it seemed perhaps over the top. As time passed, and the people who got jumped on continued to comment, I realized that the over the top people had got it right. At least most of the time. I still think of two situations where I disagree, but all the rest? totes OK. So two out of hundreds? Not bad.

    I wish that the rough and tumble didn’t bother you. I hear you about your triggers and agree that indeed, those are despicable in the people who did it. You might want to take a break yourself to help you ease down. People are saying they don’t think the idea is one they agree with. I’ve liked your posts, and I think many have. It’s that one idea, not you. You are fine.

    Hope you will be back and feeling good in the near future.

  227. 727
    Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness

    As for the rest of you who feel you could use a break, go for it! I will miss any of you who don’t comment for a time, but hey, I’ll live.

    It takes a fucktonne of energy to read all the threads, nevermind comment coherently and argue well. Seems reasonable to me that people would benefit from time away from the keyboard.

    I am in a break period right now, and have more time to read and comment. If the damned timezones were better aligned, I might even get to wade in before the thread was all but done. Even being removed a few hours from the fray helps make it less personal feeling. So I think I understand if you are actually in the midst of it all the time, it is wearing.

    Hope any who wish do take a break, and the champagne pouring out of your USB port, is from me. The cookies, I’m afraid, will be crumbles. Why are USB ports so damned SMALL!

  228. 728
    TomeWyrm

    Nobody probably remembers me, but I felt the desire to post on this thread anyway.

    I posted for a while, some time ago, but I left at least partially because of the atmosphere around here. Maybe that’s the way people want it, but that seems like a bad strategy to me.

  229. 729
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    TomeWyrm, I remember you.

    I posted for a while, some time ago, but I left at least partially because of the atmosphere around here. Maybe that’s the way people want it, but that seems like a bad strategy to me.

    Could you be more specific, please? What was it about the athmosphere? What, specifically, do you suggest we do/don’t do?

  230. 730
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    To each his own.

    The atmosphere here is the reason I decided to stay.

  231. 731
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Those saying we should be more polite, please cite evidence to show it actually works as you claim it does. Otherwise, we are stuck with the same problem as when the slymepitters post here. They present OPINION like it is evidence. It isn’t. We don’t take their opinions seriously, and that hurts their egotistical and miniscule fee-fees. And they never, ever, cite appropriate evidence to back up their opinions. It’s take their opinions as gospel or we are mean, nasty, etc. Just like lilandra and Kalliope above.

    IIRC, over the years we’ve had only one paper that shows nice is good, but that is only the case if people are close to conversion. (The slymepitters aren’t close to conversion.) Without being able to cite third party evidence, you are simply concern/tone trolling with OPINION.

  232. 732
    lilandra

    @Kalliope It is brave what you are doing. I know you aren’t doing it for approval.

    An interesting thought experiment for others if you want to see what it is like would be to try it, and see if you can keep up with the other posters here.

    PZ and Nugent were calling to be civil to people that are not trolling you. Not everyone who is concerned is a concern troll, who isn’t really concerned and just trying to attack Pharyngula.

  233. 733
    Matt Penfold

    Lilandra,

    Still not seen an apology from you. Given you should, if you want to be polite, offer one, is there some problem that is stopping you from doing so ? Or is it that you tell others to be polite but refuse to take your own advice ?

  234. 734
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    An interesting thought experiment for others if you want to see what it is like would be to try it, and see if you can keep up with the other posters here.

    Try it? What is this it you speak of?
    You should really try to be a bit more clear in your writing.
    1. politeness?
    There are a lot of people here who are really polite and keep their cool even in the face of worst trolls (Pteryxx and Sastra come to mind). They have no trouble keeping up. Not only keeping up, but being well respected.

    2. the other thing your it might mean (if it’s the same it as the one in you message to Kalliope) is trying to express our concern. Since your message targets those who don’t see the reasons for concern that you and Kalliope see, that would be lying. It would mean that, just for an experiment, one would have to pretend and lie to people here. You didn’t just suggest to people to deceive others here, right?

  235. 735
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    An interesting thought experiment for others if you want to see what it is like would be to try it, and see if you can keep up with the other posters here.

    Why bother? Been there, done that, didn’t work as passive-aggressive tone trolls are never satisfied, and keep telling other folks what to do without providing evidence.

    PZ and Nugent were calling to be civil to people that are not trolling you.

    You are trolling, us, tone/concern trolling us. You don’t deserve civil until you apologize sincerely for your tone/concern trolling.

  236. 736
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    lilandra
    Did you bother reading my #184
    No bad words in it.
    Lots of substance, though.

  237. 737
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Lilandra, you don’t perceive how rude it is to not supply citations to evidence when asked. Yes, people are challenging your word. But unless you can consider you might be wrong, and that a citation is a reality check, you are the one with the ego problem, not us.

  238. 738
    John Morales

    lilandra:

    [1] @Kalliope It is brave what you are doing. I know you aren’t doing it for approval.

    [2] An interesting thought experiment for others if you want to see what it is like would be to try it, and see if you can keep up with the other posters here.

    [3] PZ and Nugent were calling to be civil to people that are not trolling you. Not everyone who is concerned is a concern troll, who isn’t really concerned and just trying to attack Pharyngula.

    1. Says the tone troll to the concern troll.

    2. You don’t know what a “thought experiment” entails, do ya?

    3. Makes you fair game then, troll.

    Bah.

  239. 739
    CT Chimako.27

    I was emotionally abused as a child. I was told that I wasn’t a person. I was told that I was an asp, that I was poison. I was told that I was the cause of bad things. I’m going to repeat that: I was told that I wasn’t a person.

    I care how people talk to me. I don’t care if they curse, I don’t care if they get angry, I don’t care if they criticize me. But I DO care if people use language that dehumanizes me. It really bothers me when someone is called a “shit stain” because I was called a piece of shit. LOTS of people were emotionally abused. Believe it or not, this manner of speaking is a trigger for a lot of people.

    I was emotionally abused and it fucking makes me feel fucking great to know that instead of evil silence people are willing to scream and rage at abusers like I wanted them to when I was a child. so shut the fuck up until someone appoints you the ‘speaker of the emotionally abused’.

  240. 740
    CT Chimako.27

    Unfortunately, the sort of attitude Kalliope is defending is exactly what the dishonest creeps are taking advantage of

    QFMFT

    so fucking sick of that shit

  241. 741
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Kalliope:

    I guess this really comes down to my concern that when people hear about this ongoing schism(?), they’re probably going to stop here since so many people mention and call out this blog, and, if they’ve heard negative things about it, their negative bias in some cases might be confirmed. And as a result, they may entirely dismiss our side of the argument.

    I guess the question then becomes, do we care?

    We’ve had people testify they’ve been shocked out of their old ways of thinking, the ways that allowed them to ignore (and even contribute to) the societal background misogyny. Our antagonistic approach has demonstrably helped.

    If we tone ourselves down, if we stop being aggressive, how are we to distinguish ourselves from many other sites? Or put another way, there are plenty of sites out there that support many of the same things we support, only they’re nicer and coddle those who contribute to the societal background misogyny. If they are not able to tolerate the level of passion here, they have alternatives.

    If we were to suddenly become nicer, though, we would stop being unique. We would lose the exact same bit that has helped others recognize their own privilege and/or tolerance of misogyny.

    Are some posts a bit too hostile a bit too soon for my taste? Absolutely! But note the important thing: for my taste. That’s a judgement based on subjective taste, and not a judgement based on anything objectively measured.

    Reading through your posts, I am led to suspect that’s what your reaction is, too: a subjective judgement based on your tastes and assumptions, rather than on anything truly measured.

    Some people might be driven away from Pharyngula. Absolutely. But that must be weighed against those that are changed by Pharyngula. (And they are here — some have testified as much here in this very thread.)

    I’ve not seen any solid numbers one way or the other. I suspect the objective measurements you’d need to support your argument simply don’t exist. So what you are doing is asking us to give up the one thing that makes us unique, our incendiary approach to misogyny and the tolerance thereof. You are doing so based not on evidence that our approach is a general net loss, but on the idea that a few people might be put off by our approach.

    Several people have mentioned that different approaches yield different results with different people. There should be multiple approaches to this. That means, to me at least, that our approach should be distinguished from other approaches by a unique attribute. I think we do that, and I think we do that well.

    That’s my perspective, anyway.

  242. 742
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Hooloovoo, you do honour to the small but very elite club of people named after characters created by Douglas Adams!

  243. 743
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    We’ve had people testify they’ve been shocked out of their old ways of thinking, the ways that allowed them to ignore (and even contribute to) the societal background misogyny. Our antagonistic approach has demonstrably helped.

    QFT

    Every successful social change, be it woman’s sufferage, civil rights for blacks, civil rights for LGBT people, reduction/elimination of male privilege, etc, require two components to succeed. A group to shock people out of their complacency, and get them to start thinking, and a quieter group to finalize the change from antagonist to ally. ACTUP to get attention, cousin Bob to out himself to the family and make them see being gay doesn’t mean one is contagious with a disease.

    Social change won’t happen without both components. We here at Pharyngula are at the rude, crude, and in your face end of the spectrum to get peoples attention. Others will make the final conversion once those capable of thinking start thinking. Changing Pharyngula to be polite and nice will destroy that needed in your face component, and hurt the cause long term. Show otherwise with evidence.

  244. 744
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Kalliope:

    I was emotionally abused as a child. I was told that I wasn’t a person.

    I am truly sorry for the pain and emotional torture you endured as a child. Nobody should experience that.

    But I DO care if people use language that dehumanizes me.

    I understand this. I really do.

    Our society tolerates (and even encourages) a background level of misogyny. This is the systematic dehumanization of women in general.

    Is that dehumanization on a level with what you endured as a child? In general, no. But it does lead to situations in which victims of rape (a crime encouraged by our societal tolerance of misogyny) are blamed for their own rape. Or where rapists receive very light sentences, while the victim is threatened with legal action for revealing the names of her rapists.

    So, in some specific cases, the pain is very great. And in any case, our societal tolerance of misogyny contributes to the dehumanization of every woman and girl.

  245. 745
    Hurin

    PZ and Nugent were calling to be civil to people that are not trolling you. Not everyone who is concerned is a concern troll, who isn’t really concerned and just trying to attack Pharyngula.

    You don’t have to keep repeating yourself, you know. Neither PZ nor Nugent benefit from having their requests rephrased by you, and I haven’t counted, but this seems to be at least the fifth or sixth tone whine you’ve posted.

    Why don’t you do a “thought experiment” (you might want to look that phrase up btw) and start paying attention to what other posters are saying to you, instead of fixating on the number of expletives in their posts?

  246. 746
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I guess this really comes down to my concern that when people hear about this ongoing schism(?), they’re probably going to stop here since so many people mention and call out this blog, and, if they’ve heard negative things about it, their negative bias in some cases might be confirmed. And as a result, they may entirely dismiss our side of the argument.

    The regulars on this blog have evolved a certain way of dealing with controversy — evidence and no-holds-barred discussions. This is, to me, a correct way of doing things. It is not the only correct way. There are other blogs which discuss the exclusiveness created by the remains of patriarchal monotheism in very different ways. Are they wrong? Not necessarily. Are they right? Probably. Am I right? I think so.

    (from here on out in this tl;dr comment, I will be using ‘you’ as a rhetorical device — I am not directing this at Kalliope or any other individual. the ‘you’ is generic (and includes me).)

    It comes down, for everyone, of a question. A very simple question. As Pete Seeger wrote, “Which side are you on?” He was speaking to the American labour movement, but the same question comes up, again and again, for every attempt to move human rights forward, to progress.

    Atheism, as an idea, is ancient. Atheism, as a movement, is very recent. As a recent movement, we are still figuring out who we are. Some questions have been answered: Should we hide our atheism? Should we be ashamed of our atheism? Should we let the religious define who or what we are? Those questions have been answered with resounding “NO!”s. Other questions remain.

    Almost all who self-identify as atheists realize that religion is dangerous. When people who view the apocalypse as not only innevitable, but as good, have their fingers on the button that could unleash a global nuclear apocalypse, we recognize the danger. When theists declare that global warming and pollution are not a problem because Jesus will be coming back soon and fix everything, we recognize the danger.

    One of the biggest unrecognized dangers for the nascent atheist movement is our own unexamined privilege and sexism. The first generation of the atheist movement has been dominated by white, upper- or middle-class men with college degrees and a shitload of spare time on their hands. In the past decade, as atheists have become more aware of the concept of privilege, the generic old white man leader has become young, old, male, female, cis, non-cis, gay, lesbian, black, and every other way that we separate out who is who in the world. We now see ourselves as a stew (melting pot doesn’t work — in a melting pot, all of the ingredients merge into a homogeneous mass) and, for almost all of us, this is a good thing.

    For the past year, the biggest debate among atheists has been whether or not sexism is a problem within atheism and, more important, do we want to recognize the problem and what do we do when we do recognize sexism as a problem? The past year has shown, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that sexism not only exists within the atheist community and movement, but that sexism is a problem. A problem that most see needs to be solved now before it becomes an intrenched part of the atheist movement.

    So, right now, whether or not one sees oneself as part of a movement, as part of a community, we need to ask ourselves, “Which side am I on?”

    One side (small but vocal), sees no evidence of sexism or misogyny within the atheist community and wants to keep the status quo. The other side (larger but often quieter) sees that sexism exists. Which side are you on?

    One side thinks that rape jokes, rape threats and crude nicknames such as ‘Tw*tson’ are acceptable. One side sees rape jokes, rape threats and insulting gendered nicknames as a silencing tactic used to protect privilege. Which side are you on?

    One side thinks that gendered insults such as cunt or twat are so divorced from the annatomical meaning that they are no longer gendered insults. The other side disagrees and sees them as tools to silence dissent. Which side are you on?

    One side is willing to exclude huge numbers of atheists to protect their right to use gendered insults. The other side wants to include as many people as possible. Which side are you on?

    One side will take a simple phrase, “Guys, don’t do that,” and react with fear, derision, insults, hyperbole and silencing tactics. The other side took that same simple phrase and said, in effect, “She has a point. Let’s discuss this.” Which side are you on?

    One side has declared that there is no need for a harrassment policy at any atheist or skeptic convention. The other side points out that a published policy will make the convention more welcoming to women. Which side are you on?

    Which side are you on? The side of progress? Or the side or reaction? We are trying to change society through the removal of religion as the dominant cultural force that guides what is right and wrong, that guides who deserves civil rights, that guides politics. The dominance of patriarchal monotheism is toxic. I am doing what I can to dismantle the influence of patriarchal monotheism. So I ask you (a generic ‘you’, this is not aimed at an individual), which side are you on? The side that seeks to be inclusive, that respects human rights for all people? Or the side that seeks to protect their privilege through the continuation of patriarchal monotheism?

  247. 747
    abb3w

    @474, Ing: Praise The Lord And Pass the Ammunition:

    Oh fuck you too. I’m with Brownian, I am out of here.

    (doi:10.1207/S15324834BASP2502_5); that looks like source derogation, selective exposure, and possibly negative affect. However, I’m not seeing counterargument in that.

    I’ll presume fatigue.

    @477, Caine, Uppity, Annoying and Proud of It:

    Oh FFS, why don’t you read the fucking thread instead of trying to analyze everyone?

    A response that seems much more substantive. Thank you.

    I did that, right after I typed up my first comment about the ideas PZ’s original post prompted.

    @477, Caine, Uppity, Annoying and Proud of It:

    She’s been here before and argued the same exact crap before.

    Quite possibly. However, I’ve not seen those threads. Not everyone is quite as zealous a follower of the commentary as the Order of Molly. I read PZ pretty regularly, and occasionally the thread relating to topics of particular interest to me.

    You may consider my response as from someone generally in PZ’s camp, but whose first encounter with this particular set of personality conflicts being the comments in the thread, and thus based on considering that sample. Additional context, however, would seem only to affect the justification of the criticism against her, not the personality type the modes of criticism seems to indicate. She may be wrong, and her critics may be right; however, that doesn’t mean her critics may not be a

    @477, Caine, Uppity, Annoying and Proud of It:

    She’s dishonest, refuses to answer direct questions, refuses to communicate clearly, refuses to quote people in order to facilitate communication and is highly manipulative.

    Again, having looked at this thread, the closest I’ve seen to “dishonest” was having made statements about TF from the backchannel and failed to provide a source — which were corroborated by PZ, as he noted it was a breach of protocol. However, while a fairly serious breach of ethics, that doesn’t seem to involve any fraud or intent to cheat. I’d also note the complaints about “dishonesty” appear to involve her refusal to provide more details, rather than about the harm of the disclosure. Her claims seem to have been truthful, if made in violation of confidence.

    Her refusal to quote people may be due to a microcultural difference. Pharyngula is what I’d call a “flat” blog; responses must be indicated as such manually. Aron-Ra and a few other FT blogs have turned on the “tree” blogs, where the comments have an option to reply, so that a response shows as a reply. For someone used to the latter, even the little bit of manual HTML may be a challenge. However, I’ll stipulate that the thread shows no sign of her making any quotes; this claim has clear (absence of) evidence for your assertion. I’d even go so far to agree that it would behoove her to learn it… as a courtesy as nothing else. Contrariwise, while it was more work doing searches, I didn’t find it all that hard to follow who she was responding to, even without the quotes.

    As for “highly manipulative”, I’m not quite seeing it. Any form of persuasive argument is inherently manipulative. Even irrational persuasive techniques, like insult. Or trying to exhibit a behavior style you’d like emulated. She simply doesn’t seem as openly aggressive in the means of manipulation.

    You didn’t mention the accusations of her rudeness; however, there’s enough of them I’m inclined to remark. Aside from the rudeness of disclosure, I’m not seeing it; and there, the complaints seem not so much about the rudeness, but that she didn’t disclose more, which would be even more rude. Her comments appear to be presenting a disagreeing position more or less as politely as possible consistent with that. Contrariwise, my manners aren’t the best. Nohow, I’m seeing far more of what looks like what I’d consider rudeness coming from her critics than from her.

  248. 748
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    What should be happening, or what would be happening if those who oppose FTB/Skepchicks actually had the numbers, or the determination, or the capacity, is to start their own blogs or blog network where they could do atheism/skepticism ‘their way’, whatever that is; they could focus on how great it is that gods don’t exist, how dumb the religious are, how smart they are for not believing in Bigfoot, UFOs or the Loch Ness fucking Monster.

    But that’s not happening. And that more than anything shows that it really is just a very small bunch of bitter, bleating malcontents, angry about not getting asked to speak at conferences; or not being invited to join FtB; or being laughed at for having the temerity to insist they’re referred to as a ‘leader in the atheist community’; or not having their blog promoted; or getting their stupid, ignorant, privileged asses spanked by a succession of posters here for being short-sighted enough to think that they’re entitled to rule the roost because they’re ‘totes smart and shit’ without anything to back it up.

    So, without the ability to create they’re left to destroy. To Chicken Little about how the atheist sky is falling because the progressives have decided they don’t give two fucks about the regressives and are happy to do without them.

    And that scares them, because they know that’s where the thinkers and – more importantly – the doers are. And it’s not on their side.

  249. 749
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    abb3w:

    Her comments appear to be presenting a disagreeing position more or less as politely as possible consistent with that.

    Her rudeness is intrinsic in the ways she replies. She is perfectly polite, but chooses to reply only to posts that do not directly address her position. As Ing pointed out, the polite posts of the regulars receive no response, while those that are rude receive response — but the response is limited to polite outrage at the rude expression, rather than any rebuttal contained in the rude post.

    In all cases, she has focused on tone rather than content. And that is very rude.

  250. 750
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Ogvorbis

    Atheism, as an idea, is ancient. Atheism, as a movement, is very recent. As a recent movement, we are still figuring out who we are.

    Pssssst. Only in the USA. European Freethinkers have a history of almost 200 years. Doesn’t mean they’ve figured that shit out. Probably you have a better chance since you’re forging the iron right now, which is easier than changing the iron that was forged 200 years ago.

    Kalliope
    I’m sorry for you, I recognize that words like that cause harm and pain. I recognize they can trigger you.
    If you read my story above, you’ll see that my story is different. I’m hurt and silenced by being forbidden to be angry or use strong language.

  251. 751
    lilandra

    Posted at Rationalia about Pappa trolling PZ. Eye for an eye making the whole world blind.

  252. 752
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Seriously, if assholes keep using it at the rate they’re currently using it, there’s going to be no false equivalence left in the world. Won’t somebody think of the children? They’ve got to have logical fallacies too.

  253. 753
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Posted at Rationalia about Pappa trolling PZ.

    Good. I wish all who came here to complain went to the other side too.

    (Especially when it’s the other side that made rape jokes and it’s still us that get called nasty, but I won’t go there again. *grumble*)

    Eye for an eye making the whole world blind.

    Except when someone punches the other person in the eye and the other person says “Fuck you, you stupid fucker, you punched me in the eye!”, only one of them got punched in the eye. And that same person gets scolded for not being polite.

  254. 754
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    lilandra:

    Eye for an eye making the whole world blind.

    This would be an excellent quote if our aggressive responses were retaliatory, and could cause permanent physical harm. As that is not the case, I’m not sure what point you are trying to make with this quote.

  255. 755
    Hurin

    This would be an excellent quote if our aggressive responses were retaliatory, and could cause permanent physical harm. As that is not the case, I’m not sure what point you are trying to make with this quote.

    I’ve got a suggested revision:

    A “cussword” for a “cussword” makes the whole world whine.

  256. 756
    TomeWyrm

    @ Gen, Uppity Ingrate (224)

    Could you be more specific, please? What was it about the atmosphere? What, specifically, do you suggest we do/don’t do?

    I don’t have any true specifics to give. All I can really say is that to someone that doesn’t have a history in the community and especially someone not an experienced debater, the vehemence and conviction of Pharyngula’s Horde can come off as rather volatile, arbitrary, and random.

    But I haven’t the slightest clue how to go about fixing that (maybe you can’t), and as some of the commenters upthread have said, there’s no way to set the bar low enough without shutting up entirely (and even then you’re pissing someone off). The Shark Tank is such an awesome place specifically because y’all eat trolls for snacks, and don’t brook no nonsense or stupidity.

    All I can really ask for is some extra thought about how what you’re saying might come across to a newbie. But no matter what, keep Pharyngula a place where reason and skepticism rule.

  257. 757
    Matt Penfold

    You didn’t mention the accusations of her rudeness; however, there’s enough of them I’m inclined to remark. Aside from the rudeness of disclosure, I’m not seeing it; and there, the complaints seem not so much about the rudeness, but that she didn’t disclose more, which would be even more rude. Her comments appear to be presenting a disagreeing position more or less as politely as possible consistent with that. Contrariwise, my manners aren’t the best. Nohow, I’m seeing far more of what looks like what I’d consider rudeness coming from her critics than from her.

    Well lets look at what she done so far.

    She has denied she defended Thunderfoot, which is untrue. When presented with evidence she had, she changed her position to “but I criticised him as well”, without once acknowledging she had made a in initial denial. She has consistently refused to offer any kind of apology, or even acknowledgement of her dishonesty.

    She then demanded someone support the claim that there is more sexism in the atheist/sceptic community than in general. That claim is one that Thunderfoot, the Slimpitters and others have said Rebecca, Ophelia, Stephanie, Greta and others have been making, but they have not been able to provide any evidence people have made it. In fact, people have said they suspect there is less sexism, although there is not much data on the subject. So she is taking an argument straight from the misogynists.

    On top of all that, she has consistently moaned about a lack of civility towards her, so she is also a hypocrite.

    If she wants people to be polite to her, she needs to reciprocate, and she cannot do that unless she stops being dishonest.

    It seems you, like her, are confused about what being polite involves. It is not only about how you say something, it is also about what you say, and if you are not honest in what you say then no matter how many times you don’t say fuck you can never be polite.

  258. 758
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    All I can really say is that to someone that doesn’t have a history in the community and especially someone not an experienced debater, the vehemence and conviction of Pharyngula’s Horde can come off as rather volatile, arbitrary, and random.

    Care to provide links to examples of these vague claims, where you show these claims in action? Something lilandra is incapable of doing despite being politely asked, BTW. She and links to evidence are strangers.

  259. 759
    lilandra

    Pappa says he apologized for the joke, for trivializing rape and the lameness of it. I don’t see where he apologized from trolling Skepchicks with though. That is a separate issue.

  260. 760
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    TomeWyrm:

    But I haven’t the slightest clue how to go about fixing that…

    This assumes our vehemence and conviction (and our methods of expressing them) are signs of breakage.

    I’ve not seen a convincing argument anything’s broken. All I’ve seen is evidence that some people are potentially turned off by it, and others are shocked out of their complacency by it, and yet others feel safe in this environment.

    As this is our community, I reckon I’d rather cater to those who feel safe here than to those who might not feel accepted here. There are other places that are safe and welcoming for them, even here on FTB.

  261. 761
    lilandra

    for trolling Skepchicks with the joke though. *edit

  262. 762
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    lilandra:

    Pappa says he apologized for the joke, for trivializing rape and the lameness of it. I don’t see where he apologized from trolling Skepchicks with though. That is a separate issue.

    He did apologize, and that apology was very welcome. He seemed mostly reasonable to me, though he did strongly defend his lame joke.

    It took a very aggressive conversation about the roots of societal acceptance of misogyny before he realized how he might be contributing to that background misogyny.

    Score yet another for aggressive progressives!

  263. 763
    Anthony K

    An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind? What the shit is this, argumentum ad grandmotherum? Should we refrain from stepping on cracks to reduce the incidence of traumatic spinal injury in women who’ve given birth?

    Strictly speaking, an eye for an eye leaves the world one-eyed. I have a friend with only one sighted eye. I think he’d prefer you didn’t insist he was blind.

    Really, lilandra, you’re terrible at dealing with adults, at least the ones on this blog. You’d do well to consider you’re probably the worst ambassador for effective communication possible.

  264. 764
    Matt Penfold

    You’d do well to consider you’re probably the worst ambassador for effective communication possible.

    Second best. Chris Mooney is not dead yet.

  265. 765
    Anthony K

    Ack, italics fail.

    Nerd, Tomewyrm said xe didn’t have specifics. Xe’s talking about experiences, not incidents.

    This is one of those times when hyperskepticism isn’t warranted.

  266. 766
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    TomeWyrm,

    All I can really ask for is some extra thought about how what you’re saying might come across to a newbie.

    Weren’t we all newbies once? And yet, some of us stay. Or rather, I still consider myself a newbie even though I’ve been hanging around here (commenting, lurking a bit longer) for more than a year now, might even be two years (my memory, it is shitty).

    All I can say is, it depends on the newbie. And that’s ok. We can’t all like everything. There are people who don’t like kittens, for dog’s sake!

    It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you, but it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with us either.

    And I don’t deny that people sometimes screw up, here as anywhere else, but I don’t think Pharyngula approach should be painted in a bad light just because one commenter or another sometimes gets too harsh with someone who might not have deserved it.

  267. 767
    lilandra

    Strange some at Rationalia don’t feel like you are trolling if the offending post is in your forum and not the other person’s forum.

  268. 768
    Anthony K

    Ha, Matt.

  269. 769
    consciousness razor

    Strange some at Rationalia don’t feel like you are trolling if the offending post is in your forum and not the other person’s forum.

    Does this mean anything to anyone else here?

    Fuck it, I’m going to quote Brownian:

    You’d do well to consider you’re probably the [second-?] worst ambassador for effective communication possible.

  270. 770
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought
    Strange some at Rationalia don’t feel like you are trolling if the offending post is in your forum and not the other person’s forum.

    Does this mean anything to anyone else here?

    In case this wasn’t a rhetorical question:

    I take it that she means that people at Rationalia are denying their trolling of Skepchicks, claiming that their behavior isn’t trolling as long as they did it on their own site instead of Skepchicks’.

  271. 771
    lilandra

    Reread the OP about the problem PZ is having with the co-founder of Rationalia.

  272. 772
    The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical

    TomeWyrm:

    All I can really ask for is some extra thought about how what you’re saying might come across to a newbie.

    I’ve been here for a few weeks (though I’ve lurked for years) and, yeah, before I had some of my privileges and preconceived notions challenged, I was a little put off by some of the stuff I saw here in the comments. Then I looked at it, really looked at it and thought about it and deconstructed it and ran it through logically…and realized how right this so-called offensiveness is. And how necessary it was to be slapped in the face with it, because until I was, I was happy to be-bop along in my bubble, content to know I was progressive of politics and right about my own activism and figuring I didn’t have to go any further than that or look at anyone else’s problems.

    And you know what? Those little wake up calls are hitting me every single day. I relish them. I want to be challenged and have to think about why I might be wrong and it’s far too easy to avoid those challenges when they aren’t up in your face.

    If a newbie isn’t willing to do that hard work and really think, handholding and playing nice doesn’t do a damn bit of good. That just lets them stay in their bubble.

  273. 773
    Paul

    Strange some at Rationalia don’t feel like you are trolling if the offending post is in your forum and not the other person’s forum.

    Strange, they seem to think PZ making blog posts on his own blog is trolling them.

    Here’s a tip: They don’t care a whit about applying the rules they put out for other people to themselves. They’re arguing to be RIGHT, not to be correct.

  274. 774
    Hurin

    lilandra:
    Strange some at Rationalia don’t feel like you are trolling if the offending post is in your forum and not the other person’s forum.

    consciousness razor:
    Does this mean anything to anyone else here?

    I guess she is saying that if a post is made on Rationalia, it can’t be considered trolling Skepchick or Pharyngula. That seems like a fair point, although it is totally irrelevant to the question of whether the posts deemed to be “trolling” are defensible on their own merits.

    Also I’m not sure what posts she is referring to.

  275. 775
    Paul

    Also I’m not sure what posts she is referring to.

    The original rape joke, for one. That’s been the position from some on the Rationalia end of the argument from the beginning – why do the Skepchicks care what’s on their blog? The only reason they’d see it is if they went to that forum, so it’s their fault if they’re bothered by it.

  276. 776
    rrede

    Giliell

    Your comment at 184 is one of those complete AH!HAH click moments for me, suddenly understanding why I appreciate the discourse community at Manboobz and how that carried over to Pharyngula (and now is extending to some of the other FTBs, though I agree there are variants in style and tone)!

    Because whenever I’d be in a fight with her, she’d refuse to ever engage me over the substance of my complaint but focus solely on the fact that I was angry or rude. And I was therefore wrong. I had to “calm down” and “behave myself” again and whatever injustice I’d perceived against me was irrelevant compared with the bigger crime of being angry.

    It was meant to shut me down, it did shut me down.

    Holy fucking shit–though in my case, it was primarily my father; my mother was subject to the same repression–women generally were in the nice white middle class professional and protestant sub-culture in which I grew up in the 1960s and into the 1970s–although women could also be major enforcers of the repression. Children were to be seen and not heard after all, though the older my brother and I got, the more the different gender application of that saying became apparent.

    My mother remembers me up until the age of five as being bouncy, high energy, passionate, and all about being the center of attention, and talking my head off–then, when started school, I started shutting down and retreating into books. The more I was in public spaces, the more my father was also policing behavior (children are supposed to make their parents look good), and although he could shout and rant and have temper tantrums, “his women” couldn’t, and he enforced that with spankings as well as emotional abuse.

    *is shaken with rememberance*

    The attitude was everywhere–and unquestioned along with a lot of other shit (regular church attendance, being a republican, knowing girls all wanted to get married and have children, etc.)

    I can remember the first time I said “fuck” in public (I put it in a poem, heh). I can remember how long it took me to be able to say “no” to somebody without having horrible fears of being FUCKING RUDE.

    So, yes, yes, yes–thank you for sharing that.

  277. 777
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Nerd, Tomewyrm said xe didn’t have specifics. Xe’s talking about experiences, not incidents.

    This is one of those times when hyperskepticism isn’t warranted.

    My goal was to see context, not doubt the claims. Is xe pointing out an example of us going through it for a long time with two trolls, they finally go away, and a third jumps in with the same soundly refuted argument. We do tend to be a bit abrupt in such cases.

  278. 778
    Cipher

    Hey TomeWyrm, I don’t know if you want to answer in here – kinda some other stuff going on in here that makes the environment extra-charged – but could you clarify what you mean by “random” and “arbitrary”? I mean, obviously I know what those words mean, but I’m not sure how they apply here for you, and I’d like to understand.

    I’ll be fair and let you know that by my possibly incorrect understanding of what you meant, I think a.) you’re wrong, b.) you’re still speaking in good faith, and c.) you might benefit from more discussion on the subject (maybe even to the point that you’d stick around more! *throws confetti*). Also, of course, TZT might be a better place to take this discussion – not that you’re a troll, just because the people in other threads are the same ones being worn down here, and TZT is somewhat less populated/more out of the way for a lot of us.

  279. 779
    lilandra

    @Harin The link to the Rationalia disagreement is in the OP of this thread. I went to ask over at Rationalia why they are trolling PZ and Skepchicks. Some of the commenters say they aren’t trolling because it is posted on their forum.

  280. 780
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Paul:

    The original rape joke, for one. That’s been the position from some on the Rationalia end of the argument from the beginning – why do the Skepchicks care what’s on their blog? The only reason they’d see it is if they went to that forum, so it’s their fault if they’re bothered by it.

    Did they not notice the sonic boom as the point went racing over their heads?

    The complaint wasn’t that they offended Skepchicks. The point was they claimed (at least in name) to be rational people, but were making lame-assed rape jokes, thereby contributing to the base misogyny the deny even exists.

    Considering the current meme is that Skepchicks are annoyingly ranty about misogyny (and you know how misogynists hate being called misogynists), the fact they were attacking rational folks because of their stance on misogyny just compounded their guilt.

  281. 781
    Nightjar

    if a post is made on Rationalia, it can’t be considered trolling Skepchick or Pharyngula. That seems like a fair point

    I don’t know about that. They are posting inflammatory comments to intentionally provoke the Skepchicks (and Pharyngula) and get a strong and emotional response out of them. That’s pretty much the definition of trolling. Just because it’s not on our site it doesn’t mean they don’t expect us to see and react to it.

  282. 782
    PZ Myers

    They don’t care a whit about applying the rules they put out for other people to themselves.

    Yeah, ain’t that right.

    They have a “rule” that you don’t get to abuse fellow members of Rationalia (anyone else is fair game). I was a member, and have been since they started up. So I look in…and there are all these threads accusing me of being a racist and a misogynist, some with sigs smearing me, one guy made an ugly photoshop of my face for his avatar. A few people mentioned that hey, PZ Myers is a member, pay attention to the rules.

    They (including “pappa”) said no, they get to say what they want.

    I wasn’t going to fight it, it’s their forum, I’ll let ‘em own their hypocrisy. So I told them the simplest way to resolve the conflict with their very own rules was to remove me.

    So they did. Now they can say whatever they want about me, guilt-free! As if they had any reservations before.

  283. 783
    Paul

    Did they not notice the sonic boom as the point went racing over their heads?

    No, they know what the point was. But they can keep the feeling of rightness if they just completely ignore it and try to make the issue something else (YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND FREEDOM!!!!!). My point was that they’re not arguing” in good faith, and it’s laughable that lilandra is just uncritically reporting their responses back to us.

    I didn’t think it was worth engaging because of that, but I did think it was worth pointing out to lilandra that much like their definition of “open forum”, “free speech”, etc, they don’t apply anything approaching the same standards to themselves that they do to others. FFS, they locked their forum to non-registered members because of the rape “joke”. Was Pharyngula locked during Crackergate, when there were real death threats involved and not simply disagreement?

  284. 784
    Cipher

    :(
    *hugs to rrede and Giliell and elltee and Kalliope and Fossilfishy and everyone else I’ve missed who has talked about abuse and bullying history in this thread*
    People can be shitty sometimes.

  285. 785
    Hurin

    The link to the Rationalia disagreement is in the OP of this thread. I went to ask over at Rationalia why they are trolling PZ and Skepchicks. Some of the commenters say they aren’t trolling because it is posted on their forum.

    I’ve read both the posts PZ made about Rationalia. I didn’t know if you meant the posts PZ was referring to in his last thread, or something else, since neither of PZ’s posts concerned “trolling”. They were about unacceptable rape jokes. I don’t think the location of violently misogynistic humor has any relevance to whether it should be open to criticism, definitions of “trolling” notwithstanding.

  286. 786
    Pteryxx

    bah, I just wiped my entire comment. Retyping…

    Short version – I actually can give an example. I’ve got a few friends who are interested in social justice – feminism, racism, trans*phobia and such – but they discuss with me personally, rather than engage or even lurk on Pharyngula, because of the atmosphere here. I asked for input, because if I can be a go-between from here to them, I can darn well do it the other way around.

    Here’s an example, comment #24 above:

    Tell me, how nasty was Watson with EG?

    She didn’t immediately drop her pants and ooh and ahh over his pee-pee.

    And that’s nasty. Real nasty.

    I’m sure the reason we’ve never heard from poor Lift-Guy, is that he’s still suffering from mortally wounded man fee-fees.

    That’s not just hostility or bad language; it’s mocking and minimizing. Now, as a regular, I know it’s imitating the actual minimizing tone and content that Watson-haters have been using for a year-plus. It’s still imitating the same tactic that abusers, and yes, bullies, use. And some people don’t have the means to endure it.

    Note that these folks are NOT the ones posting here to tell everyone they’re doing it wrong, or using tone as an excuse to ignore arguments or as a silencing tactic. These ones simply never show up here, because they feel unwelcome. I’m not the best judge here, because I personally rarely use anger as a tactic, and mocking posts like the cited example don’t distress or trigger me. (Being socially dense as I am, they mostly just read as nonsense statements.)

    The only suggestion I can think to make is to avoid attacking people who can’t handle the hostility *as a group* – only those who use tone as an excuse for dismissal or silencing. Saying “you’re too much of a delicate flower, suck it up” does splash damage to those who aren’t as aggressive or thick-skinned as the regulars here. Maybe that’s a necessary trade-off; I’m not qualified to make that assessment, so I put it here for consideration. (And, possibly, more liberal use of /snark tags on comments like the above.)

  287. 787
    consciousness razor

    I guess she is saying that if a post is made on Rationalia, it can’t be considered trolling Skepchick or Pharyngula.

    The use of “you” was confusing, and that it was an “offending” post (which I assume they wouldn’t have wanted to imply). I wasn’t sure who or what she meant by it.

    That seems like a fair point,

    It doesn’t to me. Trolling a blog (or a person/group) generally means being at that blog or around that person/group, but trolling by itself is simply acting like a troll and doesn’t depend on location. These are rule-lawyering types, so I could see that if it were claimed they were trolling someone in particular, they wouldn’t have a problem coming up with a silly excuse like that.

  288. 788
    lilandra

    I am the one asking some of them why they are trolling, no one has given a straight answer yet.

  289. 789
    Paul

    Saying “you’re too much of a delicate flower, suck it up” does splash damage to those who aren’t as aggressive or thick-skinned as the regulars here.

    Perhaps you can ask them if they’re incapable of searching for other locations that are less hostile? There are several without even leaving FtB. It just feels like a copout. If you went to one library and they didn’t have the book you were looking for, would you just decide that none of them did and you didn’t really need to read up on feminism/racism/transphobia/etc?

  290. 790
    smhll

    Those saying we should be more polite, please cite evidence to show it actually works as you claim it does.

    As Ing pointed out, the polite posts of the regulars receive no response, while those that are rude receive response

    These two good points from different posters probably deserve to be combined. I know that it’s almost always the shield of privilege that makes me less angry than another poster, and I get that it is not fair for me to expect the “temperature” in here to be something I can control, like the air blowers in my car.

    I know that the people who drop by to say “I’m bored; post about a topic that interests me” are rude, so I can deduce that it would be rude for me to say “Let’s have 20% less outrage and 40% less redundancy in the smackdowns.” (I think I personally became an appeaser when living with an alcoholic set of parents who tended to scream at each other after dinner. And hanging in during the discussion here helped me get clear on where I was coming from and acknowledge the personal nature of my bias.)

    Feminism is more important to me than atheism, even if I already have “most of the rights”. I will never go to TAM. The one thing I disagreed with Michael’s (?) blog post about is the idea that nonbeliever’s rights are primary. And I embrace and will stand by all other marginalized people, not just fight for my own rights. I see a common purpose for everyone to be treated like a full human being of worth.

    I think there are people who are entrenched sexists, bigots, homophobes, etc., and there are people who just parrot parts of sexism without thinking much about it. The latter might be educable. I tend to believe that once people get mad, learning stops, although learning from being rankled could work later, on fair minded people. (I don’t have any proof, just know that once I’m hurt and thus “defensive”, I can’t trust an arguer enough to do any negotiating.)

    Sometimes I want to get through to people with fair and patient arguments. I guess I have to try that and fail a gazillion more times and then I’ll arrive at where you all are standing.

  291. 791
    Pteryxx

    …aaaand if I should take the meta-discussion to TZT, I will. I honestly don’t know if it’s a derail or not.

  292. 792
    dianne

    @277: What an interesting morality they have…abuse is ok as long as it is done to an out of group person and if you want to abuse someone just make sure you make them an unperson first. Probably the most overt example of this I’ve seen.

  293. 793
    Anthony K

    *hugs to rrede and Giliell and elltee and Kalliope and Fossilfishy and everyone else I’ve missed who has talked about abuse and bullying history in this thread*
    People can be shitty sometimes.

    Seconded. And now that I’ve had a chance to skim a little more, I see that a term I’ve used in his thread has upset kalliope. I don’t know that I can stop using insulting language altogether, but I’m sorry for triggering you, and I’ll do my best to refrain from using that phrase.

  294. 794
    Paul

    I am the one asking some of them why they are trolling, no one has given a straight answer yet.

    You never gave us a straight question, so I hope you’re not surprised.

    That depends on the definition of trolling being used. Do you deny that they are obviously baiting skepchicks by starting a thread about whether it’s moral to rape them and later about the “appropriate way of ridiculing” them?

  295. 795
    lilandra

    I asked them if they would consider this trolling…

    What if someone posted that some girls in their school should be raped on their facebook page, and then others joined in and laughed at them. This is the person’s own facebook page that normally the girls don’t visit. Is that person trolling the girls?

    this is one response…

    Nope.

    Well, maybe if he tagged them in the post, in which case they would be actively informed of the post’s existence.

    Also that’s a horrible analogy. Pappa wasn’t suggesting skepchicks should be raped.

    I going to have to reread Pappa’s post about the Skepchicks before I answer.

  296. 796
    michaelnugent

    I am preparing a follow-up to my original post.

    I think I now understand some of the concerns about parts of my proposals.

    Can I ask what parts you think were most accurate or useful about my original proposals?

    Also, how do you feel about the overall combination of being inclusive, caring and supportive; working together on the issues atheism and skepticism; tackling prejudice and discrimination both within our communities and wider society; objectively examining the impacts of social discrimination; working with other groups to make society fairer for everybody; discussing these issues reasonably without unfair personal attacks or bullying; and using the 25 specific proposals as a starting point to discuss how best to do all of this?

  297. 797
    Inaji

    TomeWyrm:

    All I can really ask for is some extra thought about how what you’re saying might come across to a newbie.

    Hiya, TomeWyrm, I remember you. It would be nice, I suppose, if we could take the time out to be more considerate of every new person who shows up here, however, a *lot* of new people show up here, many of them with guns blazing, so to speak.

    The regulars here rely on their experience a great deal in gauging how to deal with someone. Sometimes, that judgment is wrong, but there is high ratio of “got it right” going on. It’s hard to dismiss that out of hand.

    Everyone here was new at some point. Some people take to the atmosphere better than others. I don’t see a problem there. There are a lot of blogs out there, many on FTB, with a tighter policy when it comes to commenting and arguing. Even among the regulars here, there’s a lot of difference in how people manage their ‘Pharyngula Experience’. Many people mostly hangout in TET, our lounge, with rare forays into front page threads, often because for some reason or another, they aren’t terribly comfortable on the front lines. They aren’t excoriated for that at all, it’s fine.

    Pharyngula isn’t going to be everyone’s cuppa tea and that’s perfectly okay.

  298. 798
    Cipher

    Pteryxx, I don’t think it’s a derail at all. The only reason I suggested TZT to TomeWyrm was because it’s been hot in here, and I didn’t want hir to get caught in the crossfire unnecessarily considering what xe’s posted and considering that I think xe’s speaking in good faith. I think you’ll be fine.

  299. 799
    Pteryxx

    Paul:

    Perhaps you can ask them if they’re incapable of searching for other locations that are less hostile?

    Why should I imply they’re incapable of searching? I’m an educator type, that’s why they come to me; and I’m active on Pharyngula, which is why people who are my friends glance in here. So I provide filtered versions of the drag-out discussions with bad-faith actors that happen here. My friends are *not* using it as an excuse to bail on all of social justice, because they still actively come to *me* asking for help, advice, and citations that they can take to the venues where they feel comfortable. I’m the librarian, essentially.

    …Which, come to think of it, isn’t so different from how I behave ON Pharyngula.

  300. 800
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    lilandra:

    I am the one asking some of them why they are trolling, no one has given a straight answer yet.

    Quite seriously: good luck with that.

    Quite sarcastically: good luck with that.

    Some folks have a problem admitting they are wrong. This is especially true when their wrongness is tied to hypocrisy. This is one of the reasons we often jump straight to rudeness with some posters — it becomes clear after just a few posts they are not going to engage in discussion, but are instead going to continue to explain why we are wrong, refuse to show evidence that we are wrong, refuse to deal with evidence we are right, and refuse to deal with logical counterarguments.

    That kind of thing really gets old after a while.

    So while I hope you get an honest response, I have doubts it’ll happen. It’s sad that the entirety of their forum is like that, but I guess there’s a sort of self-selection going on.

  301. 801
    'Tis Himself

    I went to ask over at Rationalia why they are trolling PZ and Skepchicks. Some of the commenters say they aren’t trolling because it is posted on their forum.

    Are these the same people who objected when PZ and The Horde™ commented on Pappa’s “joke” and whined about how we were trolling them on Pharyngula?

  302. 802
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Pssssst. Only in the USA. European Freethinkers have a history of almost 200 years.

    Pssssst. 200 years is recent.

  303. 803
    consciousness razor

    That’s not just hostility or bad language; it’s mocking and minimizing. Now, as a regular, I know it’s imitating the actual minimizing tone and content that Watson-haters have been using for a year-plus. It’s still imitating the same tactic that abusers, and yes, bullies, use. And some people don’t have the means to endure it.

    Huh? Mocking and minimizing an inflated sense of privilege with sarcasm isn’t even like abuse or bullying, much less the same thing.

  304. 804
    Pteryxx

    Cipher: can I say I find it hilarious that you’re suggesting TZT as a SAFER environment than this thread? X>

  305. 805
    Hurin

    Paul

    I didn’t think it was worth engaging because of that, but I did think it was worth pointing out to lilandra that much like their definition of “open forum”, “free speech”, etc, they don’t apply anything approaching the same standards to themselves that they do to others

    LMAO. Free speech. Its amazing how many netizens think this concept means that their speech is protected from everyone elses’ speech.

    ———–
    consciousness razor

    It doesn’t to me. Trolling a blog (or a person/group) generally means being at that blog or around that person/group, but trolling by itself is simply acting like a troll and doesn’t depend on location. These are rule-lawyering types, so I could see that if it were claimed they were trolling someone in particular, they wouldn’t have a problem coming up with a silly excuse like that.

    I consider it to be beside the point in any case. The problem with the posts that PZ called attention to wasn’t that they met some specific definition of “trolling”, it was that they were joking about raping skepchicks in order to silence them.

    The use of “you” was confusing, and that it was an “offending” post (which I assume they wouldn’t have wanted to imply). I wasn’t sure who or what she meant by it.

    I agree. It wasn’t a well worded statement.

  306. 806
    Cipher

    :P
    Wellll it’s been calm in there lately! I mean, people are allowed to do the throwing knives thing, but by and large we don’t.

  307. 807
    Anthony K

    They have a “rule” that you don’t get to abuse fellow members of Rationalia (anyone else is fair game). I was a member, and have been since they started up. So I look in…and there are all these threads accusing me of being a racist and a misogynist, some with sigs smearing me, one guy made an ugly photoshop of my face for his avatar. A few people mentioned that hey, PZ Myers is a member, pay attention to the rules.

    They (including “pappa”) said no, they get to say what they want.

    I wasn’t going to fight it, it’s their forum, I’ll let ‘em own their hypocrisy. So I told them the simplest way to resolve the conflict with their very own rules was to remove me.

    So they did. Now they can say whatever they want about me, guilt-free! As if they had any reservations before.

    What a bunch of dipshits.

    And we honestly claim with straight faces that religious people would do well to be more like skeptics.

    [Eyes roll so hard they both fall out.]

  308. 808
    lilandra

    @Tis Himself I might have missed that thread.

  309. 809
    Pteryxx

    Huh? Mocking and minimizing an inflated sense of privilege with sarcasm isn’t even like abuse or bullying, much less the same thing.

    cr: if I understand correctly, *to someone who’s sensitive to minimizing tactics*, that’s a subtle point they won’t get without knowing the context here, as we do.

  310. 810
    Paul

    Err, my apologies, my 289 was based on a misreading of 283. I somehow read it as lilandra asking us what they were doing that is considered trolling.

  311. 811
    RichardAustin

    michaelnugent:

    discussing these issues reasonably without unfair personal attacks or bullying;

    I haven’t seen the original post, but experience here shows you’re going to have to define this part a lot better.

    Using “foul language” isn’t necessarily a personal attack or bullying, but it often gets called such. Likewise, telling a person they need to support claims they make – even telling them repeatedly, if they keep making them and refusing to provide substantiation – isn’t bullying, but it often gets called that. Some people will react to any contrary opinion with “stop being mean to me!”

    So, if you’re going to have a rule like this, you need to be explicit about what is or isn’t a personal attack, and what is or isn’t bullying. Otherwise, you’ll end up right where we are in this thread, with people claiming abuse over a random “fuck”, “you’re lying; here’s why”, or “[citation needed]“.

  312. 812
    Hurin

    Also that’s a horrible analogy. Pappa wasn’t suggesting skepchicks should be raped.

    BULLSHIT.

    Here is pappa, again for anyone who doesn’t remember:

    Would it be immoral to rape a Skepchick?

    Post by Pappa » Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:46 am

    Not for sexual gratification or power or anything like that, just because they’re so annoying.

    I’m really torn on this one. :dunno:

  313. 813
    rrede

    Cipher, OM

    Thank you! *virtual hugs* back to everyone who wants one!

    I have a lengthy rant I break out when anybody starts with “in the US, during the fifties/sixties/before those nasty Civil Rights movements things were so much better, everybody was so much more polite and [SOMETIMES NOT STATED BUT USUALLY THERE] ‘those people’ knew their place.”

    And when I heard the insistence that marginalized and oppressed people be “nice and polite” in social justice work, I usually hear privilege at work demanding insulation and protection from the realities of an unjust culture.

    TomeWyrm

    I don’t have any true specifics to give. All I can really say is that to someone that doesn’t have a history in the community and especially someone not an experienced debater, the vehemence and conviction of Pharyngula’s Horde can come off as rather volatile, arbitrary, and random.

    Your experience, your feelings, are real–I can only note that I don’t have a history here, and I failed out of debate in high school, and I made my first comments here just recently, and on one part of TET (Swarmonoid) recently, I fucked up in terms of my writing choices, got challenged, and dealt with it–took a day or two off (also, essay deadline), and resolved to not post in a hurry, or when I’m really tired, nd to be careful to avoid shorthanding or (and this is a major issue in any communication situation) assuming that people share the same assumptions and premises that I do, and I came back.

    There are some other FTBs that you might feel safer reading/participating at (I’m quite liking Greta Christina’s Blog, Ophelia Benson’s (Butterflies and wheels), Sincerely Natalie Reed, Stephanie Zvan’s (Almost Diamonds) as well as Jason Thibeault’s Lousy Canuck and the Crommunist’s Crommunist Manifesto). In fact, FTB generally is sucking up a huge amount of my online time!

    I’m a big fan of multiple styles of activism, in multiple places, all over–because different people respond so differently.

  314. 814
    Worldtraveller

    Concerners gonna concern.

    Meh, doesn’t really work like hate, oh well.

    Anyway, I want to make a slightly off topic, but mostly relevant (I hope) point to the tone/concern trolls who like to hold up Sec Cafe as a paragon of civility. Go look at their banned list. There are a number of people who were legitimately banned, sure. But there are also a fair number of good, solid posters who tend to get a little hyperbolic, or anti-authoritarian when the admins and mods turn into the condenscending wankers that they are so good at being. (Yes, my bias is showing.)

    In addition, there are at least a dozen or so posters who publicly noted that they were leaving because of said arbitrary authoritarianism. More, there are likely many more like me (I know a few from private communications and other forums) who simply left because of that same enforced niceness.

    The enforced niceness only enables the passive aggressive shitheads and whiners, like Lyin Irk, who insist that bad words (TM) just ruin the conversation! (Also TM)

    More amusingly, at SC, the admins and mods are more than willing to admit the passive aggressive shitheads are exactly that, without mincing words behind the scenes. To me, that level of hypocrisy and ‘we’re better than you’ attitude sucks rancid donkey balls…which is more or less what I told them to do.

    I have multiple discussions with the SC staff saved, BTW, in case they ever try to publicly deny any of the BS they pull. The internet does not forget.

  315. 815
    consciousness razor

    cr: if I understand correctly, *to someone who’s sensitive to minimizing tactics*, that’s a subtle point they won’t get without knowing the context here, as we do.

    As someone who considers himself “sensitive to minimizing tactics,” I don’t think being sensitized is the reason they don’t get such a “subtle” point, but perhaps that they don’t know or understand the context. Or they don’t actually care as much about the people or issues involved as they let on.

  316. 816
    lilandra

    Another comment they weren’t trolling PZ od Skepchicks…

    No.

    If he went on to said girls facebook page and a gang of them harrassed them by saying they should be raped, that would be trolling. I have experience in this where a forum I was moderating had a young woman on it who had only one ear and who a gang of people who disliked her started bombarding her with shit.

    My answer…

    I have written a girl up for posting that another girl is a pig on her facebook, a lot of girls joined in. Someone told the girl or she wouldn’t have found it. She was in tears that people she thought were her friends joined in mocking her. It wasn’t even a comment on the level of wondering if she should be raped for being annoying.

  317. 817
    TomeWyrm

    Cipher (243)
    I mean that without the context of having seen all the shit the troll has done before (most of the mega flames I’ve seen have been for repeat offenders from other spaces. Like the slime pits), the reaction seems disproportionate and provoked by a fairly innocuous statement. I really wish I could remember an example to point out, because it sounds like I’m talking out my ass right now. I personally dug into the why behind some of the troll flamings if it didn’t come out in the thread, so I know they’re not random. But I dig and prod and research like a fiend, not everyone does.

    But now I go to elsewhere for an extended weekend, so I can’t continue the discussion anymore. Sorry :( If I get a chance, I’ll bring up TZT (or here) and continue there, but it’d be sporadic.

  318. 818
    Pteryxx

    As someone who considers himself “sensitive to minimizing tactics,” I don’t think being sensitized is the reason they don’t get such a “subtle” point, but perhaps that they don’t know or understand the context. Or they don’t actually care as much about the people or issues involved as they let on.

    cr: I disagree, because these are people I have talked with for years, who’ve followed MY learning process as a commenter on Pharyngula for years, who’ve advised me on discussion tactics for years; and as part of that, I’ve discussed the context and issues with them. I specifically went to my friends and asked if they could explain to me why they don’t feel comfortable commenting at Pharyngula themselves, since this topic came up.

  319. 819
    Inaji

    fastlane:

    Sec Cafe as a paragon of civility.

    Eh, Secular Cafe was started by a bunch of people unhappy with TalkRats. They couldn’t get away with the shit they tried to pull there, so they started a forum where they could be the bosses, yay! There’s a reason I don’t frequent those types of forums anymore.

  320. 820
    carlie

    So I told them the simplest way to resolve the conflict with their very own rules was to remove me.

    So they did. Now they can say whatever they want about me, guilt-free! As if they had any reservations before.

    Wow. If that’s not a textbook example of treating your “own kind” better than “outsiders”, I don’t know what is. Talk about tribalism.

  321. 821
    Cipher

    Michael Nugent, I think that your suggestion about anger is wrong.
    I think I’ve been pretty clear about why I don’t like that shit, and so have others here. I also think that the suggestion about assuming good intent is some potentially damaging bullshit.
    I really like the part about outward-focused inclusion efforts. So that’s nice.

  322. 822
    Cipher

    Have fun with your weekend, TomeWyrm!

  323. 823
    John Horstman

    So on one side we have smug jerks who hate the idea of being progressive, but on the other, on my side, we’re quite ready to cut the troglodytes loose, and we’re quite ready to move on without them. We see the rift forming, and we actually see it as a good thing;

    Bingo.

  324. 824
    consciousness razor

    I disagree, because these are people I have talked with for years, who’ve followed MY learning process as a commenter on Pharyngula for years, who’ve advised me on discussion tactics for years; and as part of that, I’ve discussed the context and issues with them.

    They either do or don’t get the subtle contextual point that privilege being torn down isn’t bullying. You yourself implied it’s something they won’t get in the way we do. I think I agree and was only removing what I think is the irrelevant reference to sensitivity.

    And if you do you agree with that interpretation of it as not a kind of bullying, it wouldn’t be a problem with how that sort of situation is dealt with here, even if you consider your friends’ absence an unfortunate side-effect. I’m not sure if you do, since you may even like being able to play the role you’ve taken up in the relationship.

    I specifically went to my friends and asked if they could explain to me why they don’t feel comfortable commenting at Pharyngula themselves, since this topic came up.

    That may be the reason they gave, but that doesn’t imply it’s the actual reason (or that they’re lying about it). It might be accurate, but people do explain their own behavior erroneously all the time without realizing it, so we can’t just take their word for it, even (or especially) when they’re our friends.

  325. 825
    Pteryxx

    That may be the reason they gave, but that doesn’t imply it’s the actual reason (or that they’re lying about it). It might be accurate, but people do explain their own behavior erroneously all the time without realizing it, so we can’t just take their word for it, even (or especially) when they’re our friends.

    …cr, how the heck do you expect to get any information about the viewpoint of people who don’t feel comfortable commenting here EXCEPT by asking them?

  326. 826
    Anthony K

    Have fun with your weekend, TomeWyrm!

    And I do appreciate your comments and criticisms, TomeWyrm. As rrede and others have noted, should you find Pharyngula is still not to your taste when all is said and done, there are any number of excellent FtBs who are just as uncompromising on human rights, but a lot less profane about it. I don’t read them all, and only a few regularly, and many of them have developed their own excellent commentariat.

  327. 827
    Paul

    …cr, how the heck do you expect to get any information about the viewpoint of people who don’t feel comfortable commenting here EXCEPT by asking them?

    CR didn’t say that it wasn’t information. It just may or may not be the actual reason they don’t visit here.

    It’s partially why I chipped in in the first place. If they care about social justice, and are familiar enough to know about Pharyngula as a “rough place”, what was keeping them from trying to find other sites (on the same network or elsewhere) that served the same needs with a more genteel social atmosphere? If you weren’t there to pass on lectures, do you think they’d seek out a place like Butterflies and Wheels because they truly want the information, just only if it’s presented without cursing or attacking the new guy? Or are they just humoring you and without you wanting to discuss it, the topic goes by the wayside?

  328. 828
    consciousness razor

    …cr, how the heck do you expect to get any information about the viewpoint of people who don’t feel comfortable commenting here EXCEPT by asking them?

    Honestly, I don’t particularly want others’ viewpoints, but since you brought them into it, you should at least be somewhat realistic about them psychologically. I don’t think that’s as easy as simply asking them, since it also has to involve thinking about the response carefully.

    Anyway, if we were doing something wrong, which we should consider changing, the harmful effects would be demonstrable, not just someone’s viewpoint no matter how misguided it may be. I see don’t see how any harm whatsoever could come from the example you gave.

  329. 829
    Pteryxx

    Or are they just humoring you and without you wanting to discuss it, the topic goes by the wayside?

    Paul: you missed where I said THEY come to ME asking for citations and ways to address arguments from bigots in their lives, in other spaces. I initiate, I’d say, less than half the discussions. One of them argues on Facebook, where I don’t go; another tries to defuse racist and sexist comments and policies in their workplace.

    …Why on earth do y’all need to demand ally bona fides from someone who doesn’t comment here before you decide they might be honest?

  330. 830
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    MN, you do need to add one thing to your list. Skeptical self introspection when challenged to do so.

    For example, we’ve had a horde of tag-team screamers come here and claim “PZ censored TF” (no, TF was fired from a private outfit, not censored, which a government action), we can legitimately ask them why they said such a deliberate and misleading lie for effect, and they must answer in order to continue the discussion. In order for your ideas to work, they must look at why they said such a falsehood, and via introspection come up with a reason for the falsehood, make amends, and move on with legitimate discussion. And not repeatedly scream the same thing over a over until they are banhammered by PZ, then they wear the banhammer proudly. This is what the MRA/PUA slympitters do. They really aren’t interested in either learning, or in your proposals unless they control the issues, not you.

  331. 831
    Cipher

    Pteryxx, fwiw, I appreciate what you do so much. It’s amazing. I know that doesn’t actually have much to do with the discussion you’re having, but I just wanted you to know anyway.

  332. 832
    Pteryxx

    Cipher: um, thank you! (* ? suffers brief ‘what did I do now’ topic whiplash*)

  333. 833
    Paul

    …Why on earth do y’all need to demand ally bona fides from someone who doesn’t comment here before you decide they might be honest?

    Nobody said they were lying, or not allies. I do have some trouble believing that someone finding Pharyngula too intimidating to comment at but sincerely cares about the causes cared about here is lost to said causes though, if only because there are so many other places with mellower atmospheres that provide similar information. So when your example was “my friends come to me to discuss these things because they thought Pharyngula was too scary”, it set off rationalization/excuse warning bells.

    Were you not discussing the concern about scaring people away and possibly wanting to consider modifying behavior here? I don’t really have any care to discuss if not. If so, I don’t think posters here particularly care if they scare some people away — it would be a problem if there was no other progressive place where they could go to find a more hospitable environment championing the same causes, but that’s not the case at all.

  334. 834
    Cipher

    The fact that you’re acting as a translator/librarian/liaison for people who aren’t willing for whatever reason to engage here is what I’m talking about.
    I think it’s cool.

  335. 835
    consciousness razor

    …Why on earth do y’all need to demand ally bona fides from someone who doesn’t comment here before you decide they might be honest?

    Please don’t include me in “y’all,” since I haven’t demanded anyone’s bona fides. You do understand that your comments so far have told me practically nothing about these people, right? If you think the problem (if it could even be called that) might not be with Pharyngula’s commenting environment, what do you think the other options would be, since you actually know these people?

  336. 836
    Paul

    I should add that I think your liason position is great, and it’s great that they utilize you as their source. But the question started out as “how are people be scared away from Pharyngula, and why it matters”, and that’s a much more detailed issue (and cr’s point about psycological influences is definitely relevant).

  337. 837
    Sili

    it’s not that we set the bar too high, it’s that there is no way to set the bar low enough.

    It’s more a case of us setting the bar high, and the opposition thinking we’re doing the limbo.

  338. 838
    Louis

    I am currently reading the thread and catching up because bizarrely I too care about this! I know, I know, when will it ever end!

    And now for a DDMFM style DDMFMing post. I I, humble and feeble as I am, may borrow a technique from the Mighty and Esteemed DDMFM (or MAEDDMFM):

    Carlie, #243 previous page,

    There is one “rule” here (if it can be said to be that): back up what you say.

    [Citation needed]

    {Runs away giggling}

    SallyStrange, #244 previous page,

    At this point, anyone who claims to require more evidence that there is sexism in “our” community can be safely said not to be arguing in good faith.

    Ya THINK!? ;-)

    I thought all those people were disagreeing with Rebecca Watson’s “guys don’t do that” oh so very reasonably.

    Oh…wait. Nope, that’s not the right word is it?

    Rev BDC, #248 previous page,

    fuck

    That. THAT is the most insightful thing ever said by anyone ever. You sir are clearly a genius. I salute you and all who sail in you.

    Caine, #197 previous page,

    Rev BDC has been surpassed. Word. Triple Double Word. With bells on and big fucking fucking fucking neon fucking signs fucking pointing to your fucking point saying “POINT FUCKING HERE FUCKETY FUCKY DOOO!” And a small pixie doing a little pixie dance and playing a tiny pixie whistle which sounds like the essence of a point being distilled into pure point. And fuck.

    I feel I could emphasise I agree with you more, but I didn’t want to over do it.

    Ing, #273 previous page,

    YES! THIS TOO! Oh how I regret missing the bulk of this thread. So far, exceptional work all. If we want to criticise the X of Group Y, it helps a lot if we don’t do X.

    Paul, #288 previous page,

    Yeah I noticed that one too. Hostility =/= bullying. I think people may have drawn attention to this! ;-)

    Caine, #389 previous page,

    I have no patience with or tolerance for the attitude of “oh, you’re ruining our community! You’re killing the movement!” anymore.

    Yes, we’re ripping the house down. We’re building a bigger, better house.

    See what I said about your #197. Double it. Add bacon.

    Bwownian (Typo, but I am sticking with it. You gots a pwoblem wiv dat?), Ing and Caine, in the #400s previous page,

    I do know who you are. I do know what you want. If you are looking to leave Pharyngula, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you don’t leave Pharyngula, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you leave Pharyngula, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will buy you drinks and use NORTY WERDZ.

    Get back here. :-)

    Improbable Joe, #450 previous page,

    Indeed. This was partly the point I’ve been trying to make. In all seriousness, abandon ship on the JREF and Chill Folks etc and criticise their sexist dinosaurism from outside their “movement” in in your “own”. I think that’s a valid way forward. I think what you are saying is very similar to what I’ve been saying, in my experience these sexist douchedonuts are the minority. They might appear to be the majority on the web, insert Greater Internet Douchewad Theory here, I want them the sexists out of my movement.

    I think this actually amounts to the same deal, but just with the added fact that I am a confrontational arsehole. ;-)

    Barfy, #485 previous page,

    [...boring...] Like potty jokes.

    {Sniffs lavender scented hankie}

    Oh but my dear! How do you find the time to be so superior?

    I’ve got to work on my lovemaking skills.

    Really? You’re going to complain about the boringness of potty jokes and leave us with THAT line. Really? Dude! Seriously! That’s like the most gentle under arm bowl ever. I feel guilty plucking the easy low hanging fruit this way, but I’d be remiss not to:

    a) Well I suspect that will not last long.

    b) Your hand will doubtless not thank you.

    That’s two to get you started. No need to thank me.

    Brownian, #492 previous page,

    Could you please repeat the lyrics of that song. I didn’t catch them.

    Sili, #24 this page,

    She didn’t immediately drop her pants and ooh and ahh over his pee-pee.

    And that’s nasty. Real nasty.

    Yeah! That Rebecca Watson {shakes fist} I’ve never met her but if I did I bet you she wouldn’t ooh and ahh over my Peepee. And that’s exactly like what Hitler did. To babies. Twice.

    PZ Myers, #54 this page,

    Glad it ain’t just me that noticed the influx of poo.

    Kalliope, #several this page, re: tone trolling.

    Please reconsider. There is a reason for the push back you are getting. No….it’s not that reason. It’s because you’re wrong. Seriously. I tell you this with much love and sensitivity! You seem to be realising it over the course of your posts which is a Good Thing™.

    See Cipher at #145 and Josh at #146 for example. Clear, very concise reasons why what you are saying is more than merely problematic. You are advocating for negative peace. You get this in #152 I think. Goody! Honestly, it’s so common a thing we could make macros for it!

    PZ, #277 this page,

    “Fair game” is the exact term for it. (Everyone should now be thinking “Scientology”)

    Lastly, to all, “cone of criticism”. I invented it on the toilet. It’s brilliant and I demand a Nobel Prize in Bog Genius for it. I’ll stamp my feet and hold my breath until it is so.

    Louis

  339. 839
    Pteryxx

    Paul:

    Were you not discussing the concern about scaring people away and possibly wanting to consider modifying behavior here?

    I went looking for the best evidence I could find to substantiate the claim that Pharyngula tone scares allies away, if such evidence exists. I happen to have friends that I think are good allies, who are sympathetic to the aims of folks at Pharyngula, but who *still* don’t feel comfortable commenting here, so I asked them why not and presented their viewpoint as best I could.

    I’m *not* claiming Pharyngula tone scares potential allies out of being allies at all. That’s why I’m giving examples of folks who are still allies *even though* they have problems with aspects of the culture here. Mostly, I concur that people who say they WOULD be allies “if only” as in Hooloovoo’s post above, aren’t being honest and don’t deserve the presumption of good faith. Especially if they WILL bother to come here to snark about it.

    The potential problem I suggest, that I think might be worth addressing, is that overly broad dismissal such as “suck it up” and “coddling your precious fee-fees” may be doing collateral damage to folks abused by such tactics, particularly when they’re not (the insults that is) specific responses to tone-trolling as a sexist, dismissive, or silencing tactic. I’m not sure that this is worth changing in a cost-benefit analysis, and since I don’t use or react to these tactics, I’m ill-suited to address it. Still, I’m presenting the viewpoint for consideration, because otherwise nobody in Pharyngula would *ever* hear from these folks who don’t speak up here, obviously.

  340. 840
    SallyStrange

    Lilandra,

    Pappa’s post was not a problem because it was trolling.

    It was a problem because it contributed to rape culture, and that is morally wrong.

    Do you understand this?

    Even if no one from Skepchick or here had never seen it or reacted to it, it would still be wrong, because it would give the regulars in that forum who have been raped the message that their rape is a trivial thing, a tactic to be employed against women who are annoying. Apparently a few of the regulars said this–that the post hurt them directly–and that is the biggest reason why Pappa chose to apologize. Not only that, but there would be rapists reading who thought to themselves that they were right and justified in raping the people they’ve raped, because sometimes, it’s true, she just gets too [annoying/out of hand/whatever] and that justifies raping her.

    The trolling thing is really not significant. Better to ask why they’re angry at Skepchick in the first place. I doubt you’ll get a straight answer though, because “Damned uppity bitches should shut up about equality” isn’t really a socially acceptable sentiment to express anymore.

  341. 841
    Sili

    I mean, people are allowed to do the throwing knives thing

    Only as long as they aren’t rusty, and it isn’t done sideways.

  342. 842
    consciousness razor

    Lastly, to all, “cone of criticism”. I invented it on the toilet. It’s brilliant and I demand a Nobel Prize in Bog Genius for it. I’ll stamp my feet and hold my breath until it is so.

    You obviously stole it from the food pyramid.* I bet they take away Nobel prizes and Olympic medals for that sort of thing, not that you’ll ever get either in the first place.

    *Which is now outdated, just to pour salt on your wounds.

  343. 843
    Louis

    Consciousness razor,

    You obviously stole it from the food pyramid.

    Lies and calumny. I might have been heavily influenced by consider chemical reaction dynamics modelled over 3D surface plots, but the food pyramid doesn’t even work right. That thing is horizontally striated. Which as ANIFUULNOZ is bullshit.

    I stand no chance of an Olympic medal, but I stand a finite chance of a Nobel Prize. A real one.

    HEY! minuscule and utterly negligible is STILL finite.

    It is.

    IT IS.

    Let a boy dream.

    Louis

  344. 844
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    TomeWyrm, adding my voice to just say when I said “I remember you” earlier, I meant it to imply “I remember you positively”. Which I see now is not quite how it came across, so my bad on that.

    Lilandra

    I am interested in your experiment with the Rationalia folks and how it goes and what your thoughts are on how it goes.

  345. 845
    Inaji

    Pteryxx:

    The potential problem I suggest, that I think might be worth addressing, is that overly broad dismissal such as “suck it up” and “coddling your precious fee-fees” may be doing collateral damage to folks abused by such tactics, particularly when they’re not (the insults that is) specific responses to tone-trolling as a sexist, dismissive, or silencing tactic. I’m not sure that this is worth changing in a cost-benefit analysis, and since I don’t use or react to these tactics, I’m ill-suited to address it. Still, I’m presenting the viewpoint for consideration, because otherwise nobody in Pharyngula would *ever* hear from these folks who don’t speak up here, obviously.

    I really think it’s a mistake to focus on all those people who don’t find Pharyngula to their taste, for various reasons.

    Pharyngula cannot be all things to all people. If we end up busying ourselves with with attempting to change every little thing which may upset *someone somewhere*, well, might as well close up shop.

    Yes, with a concerted effort, Pharyngula could become another Shakesville. Why, though? There’s already a Shakesville. The internet is boundless, there’s a place out there for everyone if they care to go looking.

    Pharyngula is a refuge for a lot of people. A certain kind of people. What’s wrong with us having a place? Why is it incumbent on us to change what is obviously working?

    Yes, we could all be on the more sensitive side all the time, but frankly, I don’t feel like being sensitive 24/7/365. Anyone who bothers to lurk and read here for any length of time will see a wealth of patience, compassion, sensitivity and nuance pouring out from all over. We have all that, it just isn’t law that we must present that at all times, no matter what.

  346. 846
    consciousness razor

    I went looking for the best evidence I could find to substantiate the claim that Pharyngula tone scares allies away, if such evidence exists. I happen to have friends that I think are good allies, who are sympathetic to the aims of folks at Pharyngula, but who *still* don’t feel comfortable commenting here, so I asked them why not and presented their viewpoint as best I could.

    I’m *not* claiming Pharyngula tone scares potential allies out of being allies at all.

    I don’t get it. The claim has been that it scares some people away from allying themselves to good causes, not simply being scared away from this blog. Why would anyone care about who does or doesn’t comment here, if they’re doing the right things? I don’t think anyone would claim that everyone should comment here, because that doesn’t matter at all, but everyone should be opposed to bigotry.

  347. 847
    Louis

    If a few nasty/rude posts on the internet are all it takes to give someone a sufficient case of the jitters that they abandon the very notion of supporting a cause that is dedicated to opposing social injustice, I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by saying that such lukewarm and easily broken support is not really needed.

    Louis

  348. 848
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    Look, this post is titled, “The war of the smug”, so I’m going to extend the metaphor to describe Pharyngula’s blog culture.

    (Trigger warning for violent imagery)

    “You don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.”

    That’s what we’re in here. This is a fight, and a serious fight.

    The fuckers on the other side joke about rape and make death threats to us and to people like us, and to people we know and love. They silence, not by argumentation, not by logic, not on the basis of morals, or history, they silence by threats of sexual assault and death, they silence by emotional blackmailing through patriarchal tropes, (e.g. Real ladeez don’t use norty werdz, real ladeez don’t fight back, reel ladeez worship the pee pee, real ladeez need gettin laid a lot to keep ‘em calm, adeez yer too sensiteev!, ladeez yer jealous cuz yer oogly! [I could go on and on and on . . ]), they silence by dishonesty, by hostility, by a hundred bullying tactics.

    When they do so, they play a part, a very public part in the continuing abnegation and repression of half the human species.

    So they must be fought.

    And as in any war, there are the generals, far from the fray, the administrators, the onlookers, the sympathizers, the ones who buy war bonds, who make the war materiel for the troops.

    And finally, there are front-line troops. The ones who face the enemy, who run into the guns, who step over the bodies of those the enemy has brutalized, who engage in hand-to-hand combat, who sink their bayonets into the guts of the enemy, who pull out knives and slit the throats of their enemies, who are splashed with blood and shit of the conflict.

    Then, while sitting in their makeshift dugout, tired, and traumatized, bathing their own wounds, looking into their souls and despairing of the violence they have done to their own psyches in the course of their duty, some REMF (Rear-Echelon Motherfucker) comes stomping up. Said REMF says, “My you fellows {snarls in response} . . you men and women just look terrible! You there! Shave yourself and wash up! You, to left, yes, you! Go clean and press your uniform! Come on, all of you, look sharp! And for God’s sake, don’t refer to the enemy as ‘shitheads’ or ‘motherfuckers’. It’s impolite and unprofessional. There! I said it! (looks around at the rumble of an incoming Rape-the-Skepchicks thread) Oh well, looks you’re back in action! Hop to it!”

    REMF walks quickly away from the conflict.

    Pharyngulite #1: Should I frag the fucker?

    Pharyngulite #2: Maybe not now, while there are Rationalia trolls on the left flank.

    Pharyngulite #1: I won’t bother asking you next time.

    All return to the wars.

    Hairhead back: It’s all metaphor, but I think it’s accurate. Those who think we are rude just for the sake of being rude, mean because we’re naturally mean, have no idea of the stress that being rude, mean, and passionate *even in a good cause* have on people.

    That’s why we have burnout, that’s why we have people taking leave.

    It’s a war; it’s not pretty now, and it never will be.

  349. 849
    lilandra

    @Gen Uppity
    Now one of them is blaming PZ for telling the Skepchicks about the joke. Their reasoning if he didn’t tell them with the intent to rile everyone up, then the Skepchicks wouldn’t be hurt. Another thinks I am hopeless and is giving up explaining this to me.

  350. 850
    lilandra

    http://www.rationalia.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=75&t=38391&start=195
    I gave it a try. May be it gave them something to think about.

  351. 851
    Louis

    …reel ladeez worship the pee pee, real ladeez need gettin laid a lot to keep ‘em calm…

    BUT DIS BE TROO!!!!!!

    Sort of.

    Good post though, I think you’re right about burnout. Mind you, I just got this box of fuck grenades…

    Louis

  352. 852
    Pteryxx

    Caine, I want to point this out in your reply:

    “all those people”, “every little thing”, “upset someone, somewhere”, “more sensitive side all the time”, “24/7/365″ and so on, and “What’s wrong with us having a place?”

    As rough and aggressive as folks get here, there still are rules: no gendered insults, no questioning survivors’ accounts, no threats of violence that aren’t strictly marked as unrealistic, etc. This is a safe space for many, many kinds of survivors. Inasmuch as I have a point, it’s that there are also survivors of emotional and verbal abuse, so it might be worth narrowing the focus a bit to remember that not everyone who can’t handle insults is a tone troll, and ‘toughen up’ type language might be hurting lurkers. If some of those lurkers are hurt but never do speak up about it (because they’d be tone trolling if they did, natch) then we never will hear that point of view. Hence my suggestion, to make ‘toughen up’ type accusations specific instead of general, in the same line as other guidelines such as not making gender-normative comments.

    That suggestion might be pointless, or inappropriate, or not justified by cost/benefit ratio, but I don’t think it’s a silencing attempt.

  353. 853
    Inaji

    Pteryxx:

    it’s that there are also survivors of emotional and verbal abuse

    Yes, Pteryxx, I’m one of them. Perhaps you haven’t paid much attention. I will not apologize for rough language which may trigger someone, sometime, somewhere. As Cipher pointed out, triggers are funny things and anything can be a trigger. Every single time someone says something to the effect “crying now” or “tears running” or anything at like that, it triggers me, due to an instance of emotional and verbal abuse. Have you seen me, even once, ask people to stop that? Basically, it’s my trigger, my response and it is my problem.

    It’s not secret, the kind of place Pharyngula is, it’s not as if it comes as some big ol’ surprise from out of nowhere. It isn’t as if we all pretend this is sweetness and light and then pounce on peoples with the rude.

    As I said, there’s already a Shakesville. There’s probably a wealth of them out there. I have no desire to see Pharyngula go that way and I’m not too jazzed about seeing the beginning of that way up for discussion. Yes, I know, I’m not being sensitive at all. Sorry, not feeling it today.

  354. 854
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    I wish the FtB software had a “search comments” feature, so that it would be easier to check someone’s previous comments and see if they have shown their asses on any of the blogs here.

    As far as Pharyngula being a place for everyone, I’m reminded of MLK and Malcolm X. The lesson I used to take from them is that there’s a place for more and less extreme rhetoric. As I get older and more cynical, I add to it by noting that they were both murdered because ultimately the bigots really don’t care how forceful you are, being publicly vocal in opposition to them is “extreme” no matter how you put it, or how politely you try to come across.

  355. 855
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    May be it gave them something to think [laugh] about.

    Fixed that for you. Those aren’t rational people, interested in honest discussion.

    Wait until MN tries to coopt the libertarians, who don’t engage in honest discussion either. They just preach their theology.

  356. 856
    Paul

    Pharyngula is a refuge for a lot of people. A certain kind of people. What’s wrong with us having a place? Why is it incumbent on us to change what is obviously working?

    This.

    If there’s one part of this culture worth saving, it’s providing a refuge. And once you get rid of the culture’s immune system, there’s nothing stopping the passive aggressive trolling or the openly aggressive triggering short of making it a closed group (preventing new refugees).

    As has been noted, there’s a Shakesville for people that want that. There are some wonderful blogs on FtB, and still on Sciblogs. This place can’t be everything for everyone.

  357. 857
    eriktrips

    For what it is worth, I also am a survivor of emotional and verbal abuse. Way back years ago I stumbled on Pharyngula and then proceeded to lurk until very very recently. I delurked a couple of times and then ran away; I didn’t even stick around to see the responses.

    Thing is, I saw potential here, which is why I kept reading. And now I feel less shy about commenting, mainly because the aggression in the comments, which used to be aimed generally at people making lousy arguments about any topic at all, has turned into a force for greater good and is turned against people who are like my abusers (and who still make lousy arguments–but abusers are good at double binds and circular reasoning).

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but in part, the atmosphere here feels to me to be one of fierce advocacy for those who have been abused in the name of culturally-endorsed domination, in any of its varied forms. For me, right now, at this point in my life, it feels quite nice to mingle with people who will not take any shit from patriarchal/kyriarchic bullies. There are gentler venues for battling oppression on the internet, and I frequent some of them. But I like what is happening here, quite a bit.

  358. 858
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Thanx for all the hugs.
    I’m working on it, I’m learning.
    Most importantly I’ve stopped doing it myself.
    8 months ago I would tell my oldest daughter that I don’t care what her sister did, she lashed out therefore she is wrong. And I would stand aside when she cried in anger and refuse to engage her until she calmed down.
    I’ve stopped that shit.
    It’s still wrong to hurt her sister, but I’m not letting her sister off the hook cause she got hitten. And I engage her, ask her why she’s angry, allow her to be angry (actually, the sentence “I understand your anger and it’s OK to be angry” usually calms her down immediately).

  359. 859
    Inaji

    Giliell:

    It’s still wrong to hurt her sister, but I’m not letting her sister off the hook cause she got hitten. And I engage her, ask her why she’s angry, allow her to be angry (actually, the sentence “I understand your anger and it’s OK to be angry” usually calms her down immediately).

    That’s major, Giliell, and you deserve 8 tons of praise for doing it. You’re raising beautiful humans.

  360. 860
    AtheistPowerlifter

    On the topic of “does the pharyngula tone hurt lurkers/allies?”…if I can de-lurk for a moment and make an observation.

    I have lurked here for a few years now, and rarely if ever comment. I am more satisfied to read. Sometimes I enjoy the comment threads, and sometimes they are insufferable (depends on the troll). Those I don’t bother finishing.

    I work as a health professional relating to sports injuries. I “deconverted” (is there a proper word for that?) from christianity a few years ago and have never been so at peace. The beginning for me was watching a video debate of Christopher Hitchen vs Rabbi Boteach (he of the shrill voice). I was stunned by the ease with which Hitchens destroyed what I thought were unassailable positions…and so it began.

    There are many brave people here, and I admire their passion. I too am a rape survivor. It began when I was 6 and continued until I was 12 (an older male family friend). Due to various reasons, I had nowhere to turn for help, and the molestation ended when I resorted to an act of violence…one that I have trouble thinking about even today in my 40’s and one my wife – who knows everything – knows nothing about. It was sufficient in that he never bothered me again, but I have to live with my actions. I won’t talk about it because it’s no ones fucking business. So I have learned many things from the commentors here…even learning – to my surprise – that despite my past I was still blinded by some of my own privileges. It’s amazing how we can be so blinded to such obvious things.

    So no – the “tone” of this blog doesn’t turn me off. I don’t comment much because it’s prudent to try and learn first…I believe I speak for a lot of lurkers that there is a fear of looking stupid by posting something out of ignorance. Don’t forget – some of you have been in the battle for years against all kinds of bigotry and ignorance, while some of us are just beginning to train. In a way I’m lucky…very little triggers me (I had no idea what “trigger warning” meant the first time I read it). I have moved on and am resilient in this way. I guess that in itself is it’s own form of privilege.

    […off topic, one thing that does drive me nuts is the “LOLcats” phrases that are sometimes thrown around, like “hees po feefees” and “teh menz and wimminz” etc. Kind of childish but I understand it is done to poke fun at a certain type of argument or commenter. Still I tend not to read those posts…]

    Anyways, I just felt like chiming in for whatever it’s worth. I appreciate the efforts that are made here in fighting all forms of intolerance. I’ll continue to read this blog, and continue to learn.

    Cheers.

    AP

  361. 861
    Cipher

    Hey thanks, AtheistPowerlifter! I’m glad to see you around here again.

  362. 862
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    AtheistPowerlifter:

    Your post simultaneously choked me up, and made me hopeful.

    Thank you. Thank you for delurking, thank you for sharing your story.

    *clenched tentacle salute*

  363. 863
    Inaji

    Hi, AtheistPowerlifter. I lurked here for years before speaking up in ’09. It was indeed a fear of appearing stupid as can be that kept me quiet and reading for a long time. :D

  364. 864
    Patricia, OM

    Louis – Better take a breath, your pee pee is going to fall off.

    Hairhead @ 343 – Bravo!!

  365. 865
    AtheistPowerlifter

    Thanks Nigel and Cipher.

    I haven’t thought about some of those things in years, but it felt amazingly good – in such a way that I am stunned – to simply write it down in a place where I know there will be no judgement.

    Cheers.

    AP

  366. 866
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    AtheistPowerlifter:

    I haven’t thought about some of those things in years, but it felt amazingly good – in such a way that I am stunned – to simply write it down in a place where I know there will be no judgement.

    I hear you. This place has allowed me to discover some demons. And partially exercise them.

    Which makes them stronger? Hmm.

    You have my sympathy.

  367. 867
    Patricia, OM

    Thanks AtheistPowerLifter, a much needed and appreciated pat on the back.

  368. 868
    ChasCPeterson

    exorcise or exercise?

    A seemingly important difference.

  369. 869
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    exorcise or exercise?

    A seemingly important difference.

    I do seem to be exercising my demons. But at least I know they are there and can understand the triggers a little better. I’ll never be rid of them but, then again, they are part of who I am, so . . . . something?

  370. 870
    'Tis Himself

    lilandra #345

    Did you look at the comment just below the one you linked to? I’ll quote something from it (this is Seth from Rationalia):

    Trolling PZ is a great way to generate hits…I see no reason why we shouldn’t continue to troll PZ’s blog

  371. 871
    tigtog

    I love Pharyngula, and if I weren’t following so many other blogs I’d comment here a lot more often, but the discussions move on too fast most of the time for me to keep up.

    That this is one place where abusive bullshit gets shouted down is the major reason I love it so. I get why some people are taken aback by it, but I don’t think the Horde needs to change. There is enough internet for everybody. Building a vibrant community online is a rare achievement, and changing its unique character to appease outsiders would only dial down the vibrancy to insipidity and far fewer discussions, and this would be a loss to internet diversity.

    Tangentially, I don’t see how asking people who aren’t already commenting on a lot on blogs generally why they might be hesitant to comment on Pharyngula is a useful question. Some people just aren’t blog people, and maybe never will be. Is that really a problem?

    Most people online mostly lurk. And learn. And filter what they learn into interactions elsewhere. What the lurkers learn at Pharyngula is that there are many passionate people willing to stand up for scientific evidence and social justice, and who fight hard against those who think social justice doesn’t belong in the discussion.

    If lurkers don’t like what they see, they go elsewhere and lurk there instead. Only SkyNet can lurk everywhere.

  372. 872
    Inaji

    Me:

    Basically, it’s my trigger, my response and it is my problem.

    I want to expand on this a bit, in regard to being much more sensitive to how things may affect anyone. It often bothers me, that when JAL is on TET, people are blithely talking about new things they bought for themselves, petty job complaints, taking vacations, talking about meet-ups, indulging in foodie posts, etc., when JAL can’t afford new things, can’t get a job, can’t do meet-ups or vacations and dreams of having a steak.

    JAL does not expect people to not talk about their lives for her benefit. Even though the disparity bothers me a great deal, I don’t expect that either.

    Not too long ago, Cipher mentioned to me and Crip Dyke that the word fucktoy triggered her. We both immediately offered to stop (or at least try) using it. Cipher said no, that wasn’t necessary, it was something she needed to deal with. That took a lot of strength on her part.

    We all have problems. Every fucking one of us has problems. Some more than others. We cannot be responsible for each and every problem a person who might be interested in posting here happens to have.

    For those who persevere here and get to know people, the support is phenomenal. For those who merely stop by or briefly delurk to talk about a painful incident in their life, the support is phenomenal. The people here go to great lengths in that regard and I simply think it is asking too much to keep every possible/potential/drive-by poster in mind. Perhaps if the traffic was low here, it might not be such a big deal.

  373. 873
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    I’m with Caine. Commenters here mostly do an admirable job respecting boundaries of human decency—the vitriol is spewed at those who violate those boundaries (homophobia, racism, sexism, etc.). I like it that way, but I’m just one person.

    But hell fucking no to this becoming anything like Shakesville. That place is a cult and —yes, this is a real thing, even though it gets abused by bigots— actually encourages the construction of an identity based on irremediably broken victimhood. It’s creepy, it’s irksome, and I daresay it isn’t healthy.

  374. 874
    Paul

    I do seem to be exercising my demons. But at least I know they are there and can understand the triggers a little better. I’ll never be rid of them but, then again, they are part of who I am, so . . . . something?

    I always get this one mixed up. Is it feed a goblin, starve a demon? Or the other way around?

  375. 875
    Inaji

    ‘Tis, quoting:

    Trolling PZ is a great way to generate hits…I see no reason why we shouldn’t continue to troll PZ’s blog

    Every time I start to think I’m too cynical…

  376. 876
    'Tis Himself

    It was indeed a fear of appearing stupid as can be that kept me quiet

    That wasn’t my problem. Appearing stupid is one of my finest attributes, along with sounding stupid and saying stupid things. That’s why I was commenting on Pharyngula within minutes of knowing of its existence. And after I had my ass handed to me in a non-too-gentle manner, I tuned down the stupid.

  377. 877
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    Paul

    Err, my apologies, my 289 was based on a misreading of 283. I somehow read it as lilandra asking us what they were doing that is considered trolling.

    Thanks for catching and apologizing for your mistake.

    Every time someone at Pharyngula makes a fair apology, the good guys win !

    Someday, maybe, it will be such common good behavior, we’ll quit noticing it.

  378. 878
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I always get this one mixed up. Is it feed a goblin, starve a demon? Or the other way around?

    I feed my demons with thoughts through the day (and night). I think if I try to ignore them, or suppress them, again, they will gang up on me, suck out my brains, and I’ll vote for Ron Paul supporter.

  379. 879
    Paul

    That wasn’t my problem. Appearing stupid is one of my finest attributes, along with sounding stupid and saying stupid things. That’s why I was commenting on Pharyngula within minutes of knowing of its existence. And after I had my ass handed to me in a non-too-gentle manner, I tuned down the stupid.

    Lurking before posting was one of my finest attributes. I got lots of practice on USENET. My first comment still got me smacked right the hell around, telling me exactly why it was a stupid thing to say. I was grateful for the lesson, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

  380. 880
    Inaji

    Yeah, I was conditioned on Usenet too.

  381. 881
    Anthony K

    I always get this one mixed up. Is it feed a goblin, starve a demon? Or the other way around?

    This is an old fable, based on erroneous data. Essentially, goblins and demons in captivity behave nothing like they do in the wild, leading metabiologists to speculate that demons did not eat at all. Recent fieldwork has confirmed that yes, goblins and demons in the wild eat just like ghosts and unicorns and every other creature. In fact, as Ogvorbis has found out, kept as pets rather than in zoos they may overindulge. I’m glad he’s keeping his healthy and trim.

  382. 882
    Inaji

    ‘Tis:

    Appearing stupid is one of my finest attributes, along with sounding stupid and saying stupid things.

    :D You don’t appear stupid to me, ‘Tis.

    I do actually have a fear of appearing and being stupid, thanks to years of “are you stupid?” “I know you aren’t stupid, you were tested” and many more variations on a theme. It’s one of the reasons I’m so quiet when I’m around people.

  383. 883
    Patricia, OM

    Gee Seth had such an original idea, no one ever thought of trolling Pharyngula before.
    /disgusted sarcasm

  384. 884
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    In fact, as Ogvorbis has found out, kept as pets rather than in zoos they may overindulge. I’m glad he’s keeping his healthy and trim.

    Healthy and trim? They look (and act) like Mongo.

  385. 885
    Sili

    Pharyngula is a refuge for a lot of people. A certain kind of people. What’s wrong with us having a place? Why is it incumbent on us to change what is obviously working?

    Heaven forfend you might actually accomplish something! Or be treated like real people!!

    Much better to agree to all be one biiiig happpppyyyyyy familyyyyy. So say we all.

  386. 886
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Tomewyrm:

    I posted for a while, some time ago, but I left at least partially because of the atmosphere around here.

    While you’re entitled to do as you please obviously, I’m curious what is your particular issue with the atmosphere?
    I am starting to become frustrated with this societal expectation that conversations must be (barring some cases) civil and without vulgarity (at least here in the US).
    Who got to set the parameters of discussion for everyone else?
    Was anyone asked their opinion?
    What exactly is offensive about the word ‘fuck’ or ‘shit’?
    Do peoples’ mental faculties completely shut down when they hear profanity, thus preventing them from being unable to process any other information?
    Why do so many people go along with the idea that conversations should be always be civil?
    I worry that so many people who complain about the tone at Pharyngula are still stuck in this single minded approach to conversing that they miss out on many discussions.

  387. 887
    Paul

    I do actually have a fear of appearing and being stupid, thanks to years of “are you stupid?” “I know you aren’t stupid, you were tested” and many more variations on a theme.

    I just feel privileged I don’t have that type of baggage. I mean, I got negatively compared to other family members (who doesn’t), but there was always the underlying assumption that I was smart and just wasn’t applying myself enough.

    Which makes it easy for me to chip in a place like this on a subject of interest, it’s win/win. Either I say something smart and look good, or I say something stupid and someone tells me why it’s stupid and negatively reinforces saying stupid things. My main concern is unintentionally offending/hurting/triggering others, so I tend towards neutral commentary for the most part.

  388. 888
    Sili

    lilandra

    Another thinks I am hopeless and is giving up explaining this to me.

    Congratulations! You’ve managed to unite us!

    Give yourself a pat on the back.

  389. 889
    Inaji

    Tony, in fairness, TomeWyrm’s point was more about how a thread can appear when the commentariat is taking on known trolls/douchecakes/assorted assclowns and how that can appear to a newb. We know the history, a newb doesn’t, so it can give a newb an odd or distorted view of how things go around here.

  390. 890
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Caine,

    I do actually have a fear of appearing and being stupid, thanks to years of “are you stupid?” “I know you aren’t stupid, you were tested” and many more variations on a theme. It’s one of the reasons I’m so quiet when I’m around people.

    Me too.
    Since I still live with my dad, I still get called stupid sometimes, even if it’s less often than when I was a kid. And calling me crazy was always more of a favorite. As well as telling me that I will stay alone forever because no one would be able to stand me, awful as I am (if we’re talking triggers, variations of this last thing are pretty hurtful to read, even when not addressing me).

    This whole commenting on Pharyngula thing was quite a leap for me.

  391. 891
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    I posted for a while, some time ago, but I left at least partially because of the atmosphere around here.

    By and large, I think far too many people (at least in the US) adhere to a very strict and arbitrary set of rules regarding conversations. This expectation that people should be civil and not use profanity bugs the crap out of me.
    Who got to set the acceptable limits of conversation?
    When did they do it?
    Why did they do it?
    How did they decided what words were allowed and which ones weren’t?
    What is it about profanity that prevents otherwise intelligent people from responding to the core of an argument that may contain swearing or insults?
    Do the mental faculties of many people just stop processing anything once they hear ‘fuck’ or ‘shit’?
    Continue to be bothered by tone all you want, but I think you’re missing out on important dialogue by adhering to a limited set of ‘conversation rules’ that you probably didn’t help devise.

  392. 892
    Inaji

    I’m sorry, Beatrice. I know what it’s like to be raised in that atmosphere. For what it’s worth, I have always found you to be insightful and intelligent along with being empathetic and caring.

  393. 893
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    Louis –

    I salute you and all who sail in you.

    Umm, is that a thing ? Cuz I’ve noticed it a few times lately …

  394. 894
    Paul

    We know the history, a newb doesn’t, so it can give a newb an odd or distorted view of how things go around here.

    For example, someone on Jadehawk’s blog recently castigated her for saying mean things to Pilty. And if you’d only read that thread, while Jadehawk was factually in the right to the uninitiated it would have looked like some pretty brutal off-topic flaming to some guy who just showed up for a conversation.

    (I’m quoting you for a springboard, Caine, just making a general point here and of course not disagreeing with you in any way :-) )

    Yeah, things can be taken out of context. For example, anyone that was around for the whole Exhibit A garbage with Mooney and Wally Smith or whatever his name ended up being remembers how someone went searching for anything using cursing that looked like a threat to represent the total output of Pharyngula’s comment threads (in several cases providing quote mines where Pharyngulites were describing BEING THREATENED, or where drive-by trolls were doing it). But there’s quite literally nothing to be done about it. No matter how careful the commentariat at large is, there will be snippets that can be quote mined or even read briefly by someone skimming the thread to get a distorted view. Short of PZ manually approving posts, there’s no way to get rid of that possibility.

    Trying to make it so that nobody could be scared off is an impossible goal, with unacceptable costs.

  395. 895
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Ogvorbis @241:
    What a spectacular post.
    You boiled things down to such easily comprehensible terms that I can’t see how anyone would fail to understand the issues facing the atheist movement.

    Reading that actually gave me goosebumps.

  396. 896
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Caine, thanks.

  397. 897
    Anthony K

    Sili, numerous people have asked lilandra to tone-troll the other side. She did so, with predictable results, but she did so.

    I for one am pleased that she made the effort.

  398. 898
    'Tis Himself

    For example, someone on Jadehawk’s blog recently castigated her for saying mean things to Pilty. And if you’d only read that thread, while Jadehawk was factually in the right to the uninitiated it would have looked like some pretty brutal off-topic flaming to some guy who just showed up for a conversation.

    This is a problem. If Sy Ten Bombast or his buddy erichovind showed up again there would be some spectacular fireworks. Anyone not familiar with how they keep asking the same question over and over again as if it were a deep philosophical point instead of a PRATT could wonder about why we were being so mean to these poor guys who are just asking a simple question.

    But if we toned down the rhetoric then we wouldn’t be Pharyngula. Maybe this is a case of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

  399. 899
    Louis

    Hotshoe,

    I don’t know its origin, but it’s been used here in the UK since as long as I can remember.

    I’m guessing it started out as a Royal Naval term (God bless her [the ship] and all who sail in her), and then became nicely slut shaming and sexist (God bless her [the woman being shamed] and all who sail in her), probably via the medium of some wag appending “and all who sail in her” to the sarcastic benediction “God Bless her” to an unfortunate woman. I’d put money on it being an old (centuries?) phrase because it has evolved almost exclusively into a piece of comedy. I cannot remember a time when it was used in a derogatory fashion, if that helps. There are many variations on the theme I guess.

    TL:DR as per usual, and total pulled from bum speculation.

    Louis

  400. 900
    Paul

    Sili, numerous people have asked lilandra to tone-troll the other side. She did so, with predictable results, but she did so.

    I for one am pleased that she made the effort.

    Seconded. It doesn’t really change the original issue with her discussion on Pharyngula, but it doesn’t seem very fruitful to give people challenges (seemingly sincerely) then snark at them for doing it.

    Kudos from me on at least trying, anyway. It is extremely unfortunate (and flat angering) that everyone’s first reflex seems to be to tone troll the side that’s saying “don’t do that” instead of the side making rape “jokes”, though.

  401. 901
    Patricia, OM

    Beatrice – I got the christian version of that ‘your so awful’ bullshit, no one will ever want a girl stuck in a constant state of pride! It has taken years to get rid of that baggage. Hang in there!

  402. 902
    Paul

    But if we toned down the rhetoric then we wouldn’t be Pharyngula. Maybe this is a case of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

    I hope I didn’t seem to be saying otherwise. That was essentially what I was getting at in my second paragraph, except from a more utilitarian point of view. Even if we tried to fix it, there are parties that would make the exact same criticisms of us, and people that will buy them uncritically without checking the source material for context. Trying to fix it would kill the environment that makes this a safe space for many, and not demonstrably change the situation with detractors.

    Or as the kids say these days: haters gonna hate.

  403. 903
    tigtog

    My own preference on my own blog is to always preface the angry responses to repeat offenders with some variation of “here we go again, X” or “we’ve had this conversation before, X” or “oh look, it’s X again”. I do this consciously for the edification of lurkers.

  404. 904
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Beatrice:

    I second what Caine said at 387. I like what I read when I read your posts.

  405. 905
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Caine:

    Tony, in fairness, TomeWyrm’s point was more about how a thread can appear when the commentariat is taking on known trolls/douchecakes/assorted assclowns and how that can appear to a newb. We know the history, a newb doesn’t, so it can give a newb an odd or distorted view of how things go around here.

    You’re right.
    I didn’t intend for my post to all be directed at Tomewyrm, but we all know about intent.
    Much of my post was talking out loud about how frustrating it is that society has created constraints on conversation [no profanity for instance] and how ingrained these constraints are.

  406. 906
    lilandra

    @Tis Himself Yeah I saw that from one commenter. Some of the people who responded to me have what look like elaborate defense mechanisms.

  407. 907
    lilandra

    edit Post 401 over @Rationali.

  408. 908
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    lilandra:

    Some of the people who responded to me have what look like elaborate defense mechanisms.

    Yes. Yes they do.

    And when they use those mechanisms to defend caustic ideas, there’s not much left to do but scorch the earth around the idea.

  409. 909
    Sili

    It is extremely unfortunate (and flat angering) that everyone’s first reflex seems to be to tone troll the side that’s saying “don’t do that” instead of the side making rape “jokes”, though.

    Well, that is the side that has shown itself to have a conscience and being capable of shame. Much easier to manipulate.

    –o–

    Sili, numerous people have asked lilandra to tone-troll the other side. She did so, with predictable results, but she did so.

    I for one am pleased that she made the effort.

    Fair ‘nough. But if she wants to build bridges, she should be happy at having succeeded in finding common ground between Rationaliaint and Pharyngula.

  410. 910
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    lilandra –

    http://www.rationalia.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=75&t=38391&start=195
    I gave it a try. May be it gave them something to think about.

    Yep, thanks for giving it a game try.

    I don’t think any of them can think anymore, but that’s just me being more cynical than you.

    And for sure, if no one ever tries to reach through their “troll armor”, none of them will have a reason to ever begin to think. So, yeah, thanks for being active on the side of the good guys.

  411. 911
    lilandra

    I was being quite sincere at Rationalia. I guess that doesn’t always come across when others fake sincerity to take cowardly jabs at the opposition.

  412. 912
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Lilandra,

    Thanks for actually posting over there. Whatever else I might have said and feel about what you’ve said, at least you did that much and I respect that.

  413. 913
    lilandra

    @hotshoe It is easy to get cynical after you have seen people cling to garbage ideas even hateful ones many more times than change their minds. I just remind myself that I was once a theist and a creationist. I was never hateful about it, but I was embarrassingly wrong. Aron tries to win them over many more times than I do. A few times out of a hundred he succeeds.

  414. 914
    lilandra

    @Improbable and Brownian it is very generous of you to say that.

  415. 915
    exi5tentialist

    Just noticed PZ Myers’s conversation with the folks at Rationalia earlier today – that went well.

  416. 916
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Thanks, Patricia and nigel.

  417. 917
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    I’m guessing it started out as a Royal Naval term (God bless her [the ship] and all who sail in her), and then became nicely slut shaming and sexist (God bless her [the woman being shamed] and all who sail in her), probably via the medium of some wag appending “and all who sail in her” to the sarcastic benediction “God Bless her” to an unfortunate woman. I’d put money on it being an old (centuries?) phrase because it has evolved almost exclusively into a piece of comedy. I cannot remember a time when it was used in a derogatory fashion, if that helps.

    When I saw it, I immediately heard in my head the “seamen/semen” subtext, which strikes me as hilarious. So, yeah, old joke, British music hall history ?

    Funny thing is, when I google it (without quotation marks) the top hits are for “God bless her and all who sail in her” being used in all seriousness as the invocation for launching a new ship. Like Prince William did last year at some little ceremony …

    Bless his heart, the dear.

  418. 918
    exi5tentialist

    Just a quick aside – my company has been commissioned by UNESCO to produce the 2013 Handbook for Better Human Relationships – we’re looking for a world class “Interpersonal Relations Beacon” as the flagship case study. I’m thinking of using Rationalia for that. Any objections?

  419. 919
    Jadehawk

    An interesting thought experiment for others if you want to see what it is like would be to try it, and see if you can keep up with the other posters here.

    the experiment has already been done, on FTB blogs that aren’t pharyngula, since they have commenting policies that forbid “personal attacks”. it doesn’t work any better than what we do here. they still get called radfems, feminazi, and femistasi.

    I am the one asking some of them why they are trolling, no one has given a straight answer yet.

    shocking.

    I am interested in your experiment with the Rationalia folks and how it goes and what your thoughts are on how it goes.

    mee too, though I admit that it’s largely morbid curiosity.

    Now one of them is blaming PZ for telling the Skepchicks about the joke. Their reasoning if he didn’t tell them with the intent to rile everyone up, then the Skepchicks wouldn’t be hurt. Another thinks I am hopeless and is giving up explaining this to me.

    that’s exactly backwards. IIRC, PZ found out because of a post by SurlyAmy on skepchicks.

    I gave it a try. May be it gave them something to think about.

    your faith in the goodness of humanity is noted and “awwed” at :-p

    I was being quite sincere at Rationalia.

    I’m sure that’s true. I’m sure it won’t matter.

    It is easy to get cynical after you have seen people cling to garbage ideas even hateful ones many more times than change their minds. I just remind myself that I was once a theist and a creationist. I was never hateful about it, but I was embarrassingly wrong. Aron tries to win them over many more times than I do. A few times out of a hundred he succeeds.

    I don’t understand why you can admit that about the “nice” approach, but not about the “angry” approach.

  420. 920
    exi5tentialist

    I wasn’t going to fight it, it’s their forum, I’ll let ‘em own their hypocrisy. So I told them the simplest way to resolve the conflict with their very own rules was to remove me.

    So they did. Now they can say whatever they want about me, guilt-free! As if they had any reservations before.

    Oh dear, this isn’t good. You do realise they’ll now be able to publish your real name?

  421. 921
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    Hooboy. Hooboyhooboyhooboy.

    Tone and naughty words. Naughty words.

    Okay, my father was a minister. When he was ordained we moved my a tiny country village, where my oddness was not an issue, to a relatively large city. And we moved into the *worst* part of town, where my father wanted to do his social action ministry.

    So. I was seven years old. The shortest and skinniest in the class. I had a wonky eye that looked funny. I had an effete British accent, because my parents were British, and I was a PK (Preacher’s Kid). And on first day in school, in a school were kids in Grade 3 were liable to pull a knife on the teacher, I not only corrected the teacher, but when challenged, walked up to the front, pulled out the book, and showed the teacher on the blackboard where she was wrong.

    So the very predictable happened to me after class. Again. And again. I asked my father what to do. He told me to stand and fight. But then again, as a minister, he told me from the pulpit that I was to turn the other cheek. I was confused, so I asked my mother, ‘What is Dad (that I should be mindful of him)? My mother pointed at the sky and said, “HE IS A MESSENGER FROM GOD!!!)

    Okay, so turn the other cheek. But I couldn’t tell on anyone. Oh no, because I had been told by my parents that as the son of the minister, I couldn’t EVER get into trouble; and that if I ever came to them with a tale of trouble, I’D be in trouble (and my parents were the traditional teach-the-child-by-hitting-him type).

    Okay, so, turn the other cheek, and not tell anybody. But couldn’t I at least yell at the other kids, curse them, call them names? No. I was disciplined severely for saying “Heck!” one day, because as my mother said, “If you are saying ‘heck’, you are thinking Hell, and that’s just as bad!”

    So. Don’t fight back, don’t tell your tormentors, don’t even give them harsh words.

    The result was five years of endless hell. Once the bullies found out that I wouldn’t fight back, wouldn’t tell, and wouldn’t yell at them, it became their objective to make me curse or fight. When they urinated on me, I would sneak home through the back, and throw my pants in the wash before my mother saw. She just thought I was obedient and neat. Once they rose-bowled me. (Rose-bowl: shit in the toilet, grab someone’s head, hold it in the toilet, then flush.) That happened in Grade 3, and I never entered a school again, right through Grade 12. (Afterward, I washed my hair and face in the sink, with lots and lots of water and soap. I wasn’t caught.)

    One of the many results is that after so many years of repression I have enormous difficulty expressing anger. Of any kind. For any reason. And watching other people’s expressions of anger has been (now I know the word) triggering for me.

    And that’s one of the many things I value about this place: it has allowed me gradually to become more comfortable with the passionate and justified expression of anger.

    Thanks to all of you people.

  422. 922
    Anthony K

    Wow, hairhead. I’m sorry.

  423. 923
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    Urgh. Typing fast. Corrections in caps below.

    When he was ordained we moved FROM a tiny country village, where my oddness was not an issue, to a relatively large city.

    That happened in Grade 3, and I never entered a school WASHROOM again, right through Grade 12.

  424. 924
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    Brownian: I have admired your postings here for a long time, even when the vitriol was triggering me. (And for a long time I didn’t even know what triggering was, and therefore didn’t appreciate the true genesis of the unpleasant, upsetting, and unmapped feelings you triggered.)

    I remember very distinctly the very first time I said “Fuck”. I was fifteen, it was June, my family was under severe stresses, I was moving in less than two weeks, and there was a girl, one among many in my Phys Ed class, who enjoyed taunting me. She enjoyed it, of course, because I did not retaliate in any way, and my obvious consternation was clearly a bowl of cream to the little witch. As usual in the last couple weeks of school, the Phys Ed class was even less supervised than usual. The gym teacher just let us out onto the field to amuse ourselves. And this girl attached herself to me, baiting me, sneering at me, following me as we moved away until there were no possible aural witnesses.

    And then I said IT. “Fuck you!” I said. I didn’t even yell it, as that might have been heard. I just looked in her face and said, “Fuck you!”, and turned away. I can still see the look of shock on her face, see her standing there in her gym strip of blue shorts and white T-shirt. And truthfully, I took no pleasure it; it wasn’t a release, it wasn’t catharsis. It was a SIN, for I had been taught that. It was SIN to swear, and it was an even worse SIN to apply to a girl. And I hated myself for it. I hated the look of shock on her face, the sudden pain I saw there, because I didn’t even hate her — I was just utterly uncomprehending of the reasons for her abuse of me, and all I wanted to happen was for it to stop.

    So Brownian, you can understand when I first came here how many of your posts would have been problematic for me, even as I agreed 100% with the content, and even as I agreed 100% with your tone; I just didn’t have the emotional tools to handle that kind of invective.

    But I’m getting better.

    Don’t change, Brownian.

  425. 925
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Hairhead:

    Damn.

    For what it’s worth, I appreciate the person you are. And I’m glad you’re coming to grips with expressions of anger.

    But mostly, I appreciate the person you are.

  426. 926
    Mera

    Just to give the Horde™ a well deserved shout out (or, more
    importantly, its detractors more evidence how much good is achieved by
    its most vocal and verocious members): your courage and dedication
    finally pushed me over the edge to speak out against instances of rape
    culture and denigration of folks with a “troubled” past in real life (
    I don’t want to trivialize any experience but I seriously can’t think
    of any term in English that captures all possible traumas a person
    might have had and which are minimized way to much and way to often.)

    Kudos for me recognizing my privilege (and first learning about that
    concept) belong to Crommunist and Jason Thibeault, I honestly
    wouldn’t have learned it here. I had to get over the first
    few steps and get yanked out of my own bubble before I could
    appreciate what is done here. And I seriously think that’s not a bug,
    that’s a feature of the commentariat. Many, many blogs try to
    pick up people where they stand, and its not that hard to find those
    when you have a honest interest in social justice.

    This blog is invaluable to me in that it gave me another weapon in my
    arsenal when a fancy strikes me to try to make this world a slightly
    better place. I’m no activist by any means and most of the time I feel
    my interest in social dynamics and social justice is not much more
    than intellectual masturbation. Without you, it might have been ALL
    the time but your actions made me realize that it is okay to lash out
    from time to time and tell folks that are propagating rape culture to
    fuck off and to take their misogyny elsewhere. I hope my actions in
    real life have some small impact and if they do, they wouldn’t have
    happened without you leading the way!

    Apart from that: I really, really, really marvel at the strength and
    compassion of most of the regulars (and the lurkers that share some
    part of their history with us) here. I have heard you, you have
    touched my life and you have brought me to the brink of tears more
    than one time in the last months.

    /delurk

  427. 927
    lilandra

    @Hairhead I survived an abusive childhood with a mother who didn’t want me and told me so. Before I married Aron, I was in an abusive relationship with a man who would deliberately call me a c@nt in front of my kids. No approach nice or angry would work to make him realize what he did was wrong.

    There are a few reasons people are abusive. Fear I think is the number one reason. For some it is a power or control issue. For some it is a combination.

    I think only a very few people with abusive behavior are not going to change because they don’t want to. They like making people feel afraid or humiliated. They are like the Joker in Batman. They will toy with you and try to sucker you if care about them. You just have to be able to spot those kinds of people and give them a wide berth.

    Aggression doesn’t ever work for me. They’re are a few people that are like injured animals. They are hyper defensive only of their egos. Some are not naturally sensitive to other people’s feelings. Others are fitting into a social group. I am not apologizing for their behavior, I think these types can be educated. That is my style other people different things work for them.

  428. 928
    'Tis Himself

    Hairhead,

    I was also bullied in school and got little support from my parents or the teachers and administration. I understand your problem with anger.

    I went through school, particularly high school, filled with anger that I couldn’t express. It took me years to work around that anger and it’s still lurking below the surface. Pharyngula is one of the few places I can release my anger and, funny enough, in a useful way. Angrily telling a misogynist that his fear and hatred of women is not a good thing is a way to get back at the bullies. Because misogyny is bullying.

  429. 929
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    mera wrote:

    Apart from that: I really, really, really marvel at the strength and compassion of most of the regulars (and the lurkers that share some part of their history with us) here. I have heard you, you have touched my life and you have brought me to the brink of tears more than one time in the last months.

    Thanks for sharing that, Mera; it can’t have been easy. Glad that this place we work so hard at making a safe space is proving helpful.

    And it’s comments like this that makes it easy for me to laugh off a hundred slymepit lies and distortions. Those piece-of-shit scumbags have no fucking idea.

  430. 930
    Jadehawk

    That is my style other people different things work for them.

    that’s fine. just stop telling us we need to change our style to yours, when ours worked for us and works for many other people.

  431. 931
    eriktrips

    I have also had to learn how to work with my own anger, which was used against me abusively when I was little, and so it grew inside of me in response to various other types of abuse that I’ve talked a bit about in other threads. I was afraid of my own anger for a long time, and I directed quite a bit of it at myself, which made everything way worse.

    The one thing that I have learned that has been most helpful for me is recognizing, first on an intellectual level and later at an emotional level, that anger is a normal (loaded word, normal, but for now I’ll pretend it isn’t problematic) response to threat and/or injury, and it is an evolved mechanism for self-preservation. It is not necessarily shameful, which contradicts what I was taught: that anger is a sin against any authority that finds my anger inconvenient (I figured out that last part on my own..).

    There is such a thing as understandable, reasonable anger, and anger can be harnessed as an energy (thank you Johnny Rotten) for positive change. Growing up, anger directed at me caused me to suffer, and anger that I directed outward was shamed, which also caused me to suffer. And I do think it is important to consider whether the expression of my anger causes anyone else true suffering–but I don’t often see the disturbance of complacency, privileged or otherwise, as suffering. Annoying, sure.

    The way anger is expressed by the Horde™ here seems to me usually constructive. Commenters are given a chance not to act obnoxiously or obtusely before they are hit with the heated rhetoric, and so the application of said heat is usually fair. And sometimes the angry words work to disturb a commenter just enough that they begin to question their own position. Abject intimidation won’t do that, and I don’t see that kind of intimidation as a common MO here.

    That’s not to say that reasonable anger never intimidates; I have been intimidated by it, but if I take another look at it, it also has the potential to communicate when forced politeness fails. Like most human responses, so long as anger can refrain from wanton destruction, it is worth listening to.

  432. 932
    Paul K

    I’ve read the whole thread, something I usually can’t find the time to do when they’re this long. But I had to. Like other mostly-lurkers above, I’m de-lurking to say how much this place means to me. And it’s the no-nonsense tone of the regulars that make it what it is. I thank you all for that.

    I’m in my fifties, but I still haven’t gotten over the bullying that I went through as a kid, both at home and at school. It is part of who I am*. Beaten in both places; told till I was convinced of the truth of it that I am not like other people. It actually became a coping mechanism to accept that, somehow, I was different. I was less than others. It wasn’t under my control; it just was, and I had to live with it. I convinced myself that it had to be true. Otherwise, how could it be that the people who were supposed to care for and protect me — my parents and teachers — were either oblivious to, or (in my father’s case) worse than the kids who hurt me? If there had been something or someone in my life that I could have used as an argument against this idea, it would have helped, but there wasn’t. I cannot remember anyone ever saying ‘I love you’ to me as a child. I cannot remember ever being touched accept when I was being hit. So, I internalized this idea that I was not like others. Those words were actually a kind of mantra: ‘You are not like other people; you cannot be loved.’ I would often cry myself to sleep, saying these words to give myself some kind of comfort.

    I, too, was told, ‘Ignore them and they’ll go away’. The bullies at school didn’t ‘go away’ until I fought back after an especially nasty encounter. I felt sick while I was fighting, knowing then as I still do that it’s wrong that I was alone in this, that others were not helping me; and I was terrified. No adult ever helped me.

    And at home it didn’t stop until I asked to placed in foster care when I was 16.

    So when I read someone saying that telling bullies to stop bullying is bullying, or that standing up for yourself, or even more, standing up for others, aggressively and with passion — as the Horde does — is comparable to what the aggressive fucking assholes of the world do, that made me want to add my voice to those saying: Fuck That!

    *I’m mostly a happy person now**, with a loving family of my own, and I have worked with kids for thirty years. I often tell them, their parents, and the staff that I supervise, that the program we are in is a place where kids will not only be safe, they will feel safe. We are always working to teach kids empathy, and the importance of standing up for themselves and others, or coming to us if they can’t do it themselves. And, of course, everyone knows that bullying is absolutely unacceptable.

    **But I still have nightmares, and I still — sometimes — find it hard to accept praise and affection. I find myself thinking ‘If they really knew me….’

  433. 933
    Quine

    Thanks Mera, I also agree that rape is no joking matter, and those who speak out to say so, deserve our respect.

  434. 934
    bastionofsass

    michaelnugent wrote:

    Also, how do you feel about the overall combination of being inclusive, caring and supportive; working together on the issues atheism and skepticism; tackling prejudice and discrimination both within our communities and wider society; objectively examining the impacts of social discrimination; working with other groups to make society fairer for everybody; discussing these issues reasonably without unfair personal attacks or bullying; and using the 25 specific proposals as a starting point to discuss how best to do all of this?

    You’ve asked a lot, but here’s my most basic response:

    Atheism: what I don’t believe. Humanism, social justice, rationality: what I do believe.

    My journey from religion to atheism began as a child when I began to question not only the logic of religion but also the injustice it promoted.

    What I believe in are my core values, the ones I will battle for.

    Because life is multifaceted and I have many diverse interests, I belong to or align myself with groups that don’t focus on my core values. But I will never knowingly align myself with groups who work against my core values, including sexist, racist, or homophobic atheists.

    Atheists who contend that we need to present a united front, no matter what other values we hold, have not made a case for why that’s necessary, what dire consequences will follow if one faction of atheism strongly identifies as a group that supports equal rights, fights discrimination, and works toward inclusiveness and acceptance (acceptance, not tolerance) and other atheists focus on atheism only, whatever that might entail.

    But I will not, cannot, support any group, atheist or not, that scorns, dismisses, or trivializes the concerns and actions of those fighting for it.

  435. 935
    bastionofsass

    When I edited my previous post, I inadvertently edited out some words.

    My last sentence should have said “But I will not, cannot, support any group, atheist or not, that scorns the ideal of social justice, or dismisses or trivializes the concerns or actions of those fighting for it.”

  436. 936
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    lilandra:

    Aggression doesn’t ever work for me. They’re are a few people that are like injured animals. They are hyper defensive only of their egos. Some are not naturally sensitive to other people’s feelings. Others are fitting into a social group. I am not apologizing for their behavior, I think these types can be educated. That is my style other people different things work for them.

    Please know, you are a good person. As much as I disagree with your approach, I can see you mean only the best.

    I think we all are learning, all the time. At least, those of us who care. I’d only ask that you look at the Pharyngula horde and ask yourself, “What do they set out to accomplish? What are they accomplishing?”

    Our goal isn’t to be conciliatory. That would require a desire to achieve common goals. I think we’ve established our goals are far beyond the merely skeptical. No; our goal is total equality — in thought, in desire, in deed. Our goal is the total destruction of privilege.

    Can that be achieved by our actions? Damned straight! Can it be achieved in our lifetimes? Maybe not, but we can work towards it.

    Now ask yourself: what are the goals of the folks you interviewed at Rationalia? Are they aiming for equality? Do they strive for the elimination of privilege?

    Forget the tone. Forget the “fucks.” Forget the rudeness. Ask yourself one simple question:

    Which side do you wish to be on?

  437. 937
    Quine

    Atheists who contend that we need to present a united front, no matter what other values we hold, have not made a case for why that’s necessary, what dire consequences will follow if one faction of atheism strongly identifies as a group that supports equal rights, fights discrimination, and works toward inclusiveness and acceptance (acceptance, not tolerance) and other atheists focus on atheism only, whatever that might entail.

    That is a good point. Also consider that individual atheists may belong to other groups that cover broader areas of social justice.

  438. 938
    Jadehawk

    either it’s a good point, or it gets quoted in comic sans. not both.

  439. 939
    Quine

    I like comic sans, it is a clear departure from the following text. Also, I was given to believe that this blog has a long history of freedom from form nannies.

  440. 940
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Oh Quine, stop it. Troll or don’t troll, but at least be honest about it please.

  441. 941
    Quine

    What?? I posted content in support of another comment, and got form trolled.

  442. 942
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Quine,

    Hy. Comic Sans here is used for mocking. Always. You could use it when you are quoting someone you agree with, but you will probably be misunderstood due to people expecting comic sans to represent a mocking of a bad argument. So, you are making your own comments less clear by using it.

  443. 943
    Quine

    I try to keep to the evidence and value of the reasoning and avoid mocking, as that usually indicates a weak position. If I think something is wrong with a position I am happy to honestly state it without recourse to form to cover lack of content.

  444. 944
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Quine, what part of “Comic Sans here is used for mocking. Always.” was unclear to you?

    Were you honestly stating your case, you’d have written something along the lines of ‘I don’t care about the norms here, I’ll do what I want”.

    (Which is fine, if you like annoying people.

    Me, I like annoying people who annoy people.)

  445. 945
    Quine

    Is that meta-trolling?

  446. 946
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    Paul K, by the time I was fifteen, I was convinced I was not fully human. Really. Puberty still hadn’t hit. My voice still piped like a child. (Last week I showed my son my Grade Ten yearbook picture and asked him how old I looked. He said I looked ten.) I felt like an alien. More than self-hatred, more than anger, more than depression, more than poverty, loneliness eats at the soul of the human being, and I was lonely, so lonely.

    I am fifty-five goddamn motherfucking years old and I have never told anyone what I just wrote tonight; even more significantly I had never *acknowledged* these things to myself. I need to make a point here: I had the chronology in my head and I have never forgotten any of the incidents — (did I tell you what my mother did when I told her I wished to die? But that’s another story.) — I have never placed them in the context of my life, allowed them to illuminate my life’s path and the choices I have made. I just kept them sealed in a little box, a little treasure trove of spikey, painful memories which sizzled and burned when I took them out.

    I’m a work in progress. Still struggling with chronic clinical depression. Only two years ago I hospitalized myself for suicidal desires. And yet there is much positive I have managed to do.

    My son is autistic. He loves me passionately. He throws his arms around me, hugs me, squeezes me and I grow, swell, become strong inside. His friend next door has well-meaning parents who in ignorance yell at him all the time, though they love him; this boy whispers in secret he would like to live with me. Another friend of my son looked at me and mistakenly called me Dad — more than once; and this boy’s brother, who is profoundly autistic, went out with all of us walking, and slipped his hand into mine. And his brother told me, “He never even touches anyone, not even our Dad.” And I’m not Mr. Gooey-Nice to these kids. I am firm, I lay boundaries, I teach and guide and correct. And I punish when necessary.

    And these children are like that with ONLY because I learned from every sneer, from every vile name, from every taunt and trick and con and arranged humiliation, from every slap, blow, and sucker-punch. From the hot tracks of my tears and from the lump in my throat, from the cold ball of fear in my gut, from the panic which loosened my bladder and bowels, from every one of these things I learned that I would never so unto others.

    These children I mentioned respond to me because I give them the basic human respect that we all need. Everything else, even love, seems secondary; one must experience being valued for oneself, not as a possession, a love-object, a trophy, a vicarious life-substitute, a whipping-boy, a scapegoat, or any of those other things which seem to dominate many early life relationships.

    It’s one thing that sustains me when I maunder down the paths of self-pity and self-destruction, when I look at the mistakes, the errors, and harm I’ve done in my life (mostly to myself).

    And the good battlers here are a big part of my life now. Compatriots and fellow-travelers on the road to . . . . wherever is better than where we are right now.

    Man, have I rambled. Off to bed, and thanks to everyone.

  447. 947
    Quine

    P.S. John Morales, I find your comment refreshingly straight spoken, and not annoying at all.

  448. 948
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Sigh. Quine knows all this. He occasionally trolls Ophelia’s blog. He’s feigning ignorance.

  449. 949
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Josh,

    Ah, thanks.
    That was a waste of putting on my polite & helpful hat.

  450. 950
    Quine

    I am ignorant of so many things, and some specific form may be on the list from time to time. I do understand that people look at the form of the bishop’s hat and bend the knee to the symbol (form) of his authority. It’s the norm in their community, and if you don’t respect the hat there are going to be form nannies that jump all over you. For me, the content is a guy in a silly hat running around in a nightie. I suspect anyone here would be happy to say so.

    I do post some comments on Ophelia’s threads when there is a subject upon which I can contribute content. However, she has a hair-trigger for trolls, and if I were one she would surely have booted me.

  451. 951
    Matt Penfold

    Quite possibly. However, I’ve not seen those threads. Not everyone is quite as zealous a follower of the commentary as the Order of Molly. I read PZ pretty regularly, and occasionally the thread relating to topics of particular interest to me.

    Admitting that you are arguing from a position of ignorance is not a good thing. In fact, given you admit you do not know what you talking about, why did you not just keep your mouth shut. That way we would not now be thinking you are a dishonest fuckwit.

  452. 952
    Matt Penfold

    Again, having looked at this thread, the closest I’ve seen to “dishonest” was having made statements about TF from the backchannel and failed to provide a source — which were corroborated by PZ, as he noted it was a breach of protocol. However, while a fairly serious breach of ethics, that doesn’t seem to involve any fraud or intent to cheat. I’d also note the complaints about “dishonesty” appear to involve her refusal to provide more details, rather than about the harm of the disclosure. Her claims seem to have been truthful, if made in violation of confidence.

    Care to explain how you managed to miss Lilandra deny she defended Thunderfoot ? And how you missed the quote I posted where she was indeed defending him, claiming that he was just expressing himself badly ?

    Seriously, if you want to be taken seriously I suggest you making idiot comments like this, admit you got it wrong, and then just leave. Lilandra is dishonest, she does not need your lies to help her out in the dishonesty stakes.

  453. 953
    Deoridhe

    I delurk to bring offerings of a kitten livestream to everyone who needs something soothing and cuddly in their lives.

    I come to Pharyngula to read when I start feeling hopeless, when the time spent arguing against a seemingly unending army of people denying racism, and sexism, and transphobia. I come here to read people who are passionately defending the truth, and their truth, who have anger but also the honesty to admit when they’re wrong forthrightly and to honestly care for others who have suffered.

    And this is really late, and I’ve been watching Shakespeare, so I probably sound all weird and formal but …anyway… kittens! Because you’re awesome.

  454. 954
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Hairhead @441:
    That was extremely touching and heartfelt.
    It also hit closer to home than I thought, as it made me cry:
    1- Tears of sadness because of how you felt growing up (and how much it reminded me of my time as a teen, and to be honest, how I still feel frequently).
    2- Tears of joy because you’re treating those children how they deserve to be treated.
    Thank you for sharing that with us.

  455. 955
    katchen

    I wrote a long post about why I like the ‘tone’ of the horde, but I don’t need it; it’s already been said. That’s why I like it here. That’s part of why I could delurk and post here, when I can’t in safe-r spaces.

    Eriktrips @352:

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but in part, the atmosphere here feels to me to be one of fierce advocacy for those who have been abused in the name of culturally-endorsed domination, in any of its varied forms. For me, right now, at this point in my life, it feels quite nice to mingle with people who will not take any shit from patriarchal/kyriarchic bullies. There are gentler venues for battling oppression on the internet, and I frequent some of them. But I like what is happening here, quite a bit.

    Josh, Official SpokesGay @ 368:

    I’m with Caine. Commenters here mostly do an admirable job respecting boundaries of human decency—the vitriol is spewed at those who violate those boundaries (homophobia, racism, sexism, etc.). I like it that way, but I’m just one person.

    ^ all of this.
    Speaking only for myself: I would much rather be faced with harsh compassion than oblivious cruelty.

  456. 956
    Paul K

    Hairhead at 441:

    I hear you, and what you’ve shared has made me cry, too. When I was little and believed in god, another comforting mechanism I had, especially on bad days, was to hope — to pray — god would let me die in my sleep.

    I was fortunate in that one of the things that made me different was that I was much larger than everyone else. Since I didn’t fight back, the kids who tormented me felt very tough, being able to hurt someone much larger than themselves. But when I finally did fight back, I was actually able to stop them. It didn’t make them like me, or treat me with respect, but they stopped the blatant violence and changed to just ostracizing me and hating from a distance.

    They picked on others, too, of course, and after I hit puberty, and got even bigger, I started to stand up to bullies for others, too. At home, I stood up, literally, to my dad, to stop him from harming my siblings. I moved out because it came to the point where I truly thought one of us was going to die: either I’d kill him, or myself. (I sill think that.)

    What I’m saying is that my size really helped me, and, though I think I understand some of what you went through, I know I really can’t, either.

  457. 957
    aronra

    Matt Penfold,

    Given that Lilandra has only ever said reasonable things in a politely respectful tone, and gotten rude responses, and been called a liar, then I think you’re the hypocrite here. Someone even called her a “piece of shit”, and she is right for saying that is unacceptable response. She was challenged to show evidence for her claims, and PZ himself confirmed she was right then too. But that’s not good enough for you. She doesn’t need to reciprocate; you do.

    I must tell you that Lilandra has never lied to anyone that I know of, so your first accusation is false. Worse you yourself lied about her, and I’m calling you out on that. You said she denied defending Thunderf00t. That never happened, and I challenge you to provide the quote.

    Note: Saying that she criticized Thunderf00t makes no statement as to whether or not she defended him on other points or at other times. Having that she said herself in the same breath that she had also defended Thunderf00t clearly stands against your accusation. You need to provide a quote from her wherein she denied defending him, which is what you say she did. Show me where she “changed her position” -as you allege- and where she contradicts the only statement you’ve cited from her so far. Should you fail in that, -as we both already know you will- how long should we wait for your apology. We are the sort of people for whom honesty and accountability are matters of honor -and we will not be impugned.

  458. 958
    Paul

    She was challenged to show evidence for her claims, and PZ himself confirmed she was right then too.

    But PZ didn’t confirm the claim she made. He confirmed part of it, but here’s the claim:

    In fact, he was already condemned before he said a word as a racist by some here.

    While allowing that there may be language issues, her initial post didn’t even mention the backchannel. It makes it sound like people were calling Thunderfoot a racist with no grounds to do so. The problem was, people had very much ground to do so based on his Youtube videos (especially those active enough to post in the backchannel in the first place). He wasn’t an unknown entity before he came to FtB, he had a well-known public persona. PZ confirmed that some had called him racist before he posted in FtB, but that does nothing for the implication that people were not basing their criticisms on his existing, publicly spoken positions. People pointed this out to lilandra explicitly when she tried to use PZ’s confirmation as proof of her statement, but she did not address it. This was dropped at PZ’s request, but since you’re mentioning it again I thought it should be clarified WHY people were saying she was dishonest there. I don’t think it was necessarily dishonesty, she just might not have completely understood the implications of what she wrote. But that is why people didn’t accept PZ’s statement as full validation of her claims, and some would even call them a lie still if they hadn’t dropped the subject.

    I’m not touching the tone thing, as I’d agree that people were excessive there in some ways with direct insults.

  459. 959
    Matt Penfold

    Given that Lilandra has only ever said reasonable things in a politely respectful tone, and gotten rude responses, and been called a liar, then I think you’re the hypocrite here.

    I can understand why you feel the need to support your wife, but please think about it.

    She lied. She knows she lied, I know she lied, and if you were honest, you would admit it as well.

    Given you start off with a lie, I am not going to bother addressing the rest of what you said.

  460. 960
    Matt Penfold

    Having said I would not address Aronra again, in fact I will.

    To quite the lying husband of the lying defender of the misogynist Thunder-foot:

    You need to provide a quote from her wherein she denied defending him, which is what you say she did.

    I did, more than once. Care to explain how you managed to miss where I did so ?

  461. 961
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    @Tony, @Paul K — thanks.

    It feels very strange to share these things, and to know that others felt (and feel) the same way.

    This was the prayer I was taught to say every night as a child:

    Now I lay me down to sleep

    I pray the Lord my soul to keep

    And if I die before I wake

    I pray the Lord my soul to take,

    How many times I wished, wished for the last two lines, how many times I prayed sincerely for release.

    And from my perspective now . . . . that’s a damn creepy prayer, and certainly not one with depressed people should be chanting every day.

    As for my parents. They are good people, they really are. They have done tremendous good in the world; my father saved many from alcoholism and drug addiction. And twenty-two years after he became a minister my Dad left the church in disgust. A few years after that, when I was forty, I set out to rebuild a relationship with my parents. It was hard, hooboy! and it took years, but it was worth it.

  462. 962
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Given that Lilandra has only ever said reasonable things in a politely respectful tone, and gotten rude responses,

    I had asked her to provide links to those alleged rude responses because I really didn’t see any, as the blog was being polite. I won’t take her word for it for the allegation, show me the evidence. No links appeared. That does tell me something, there is probably some hypersensitivity on lilandra’s part, where rudeness is perceived where it isn’t.

  463. 963
    lilandra

    Post on Rationalia in response to asking why they were trolling PZ. I posted my definition of trolling as posting with the intent to deliberately antagonize someone. This guy changes it to making “inflammatory” posts. I clearly stated not all offensive statements are trolling before he posted this.

    On another forum, which none of you read so far as I know of, a guy posted a link to news article about an atheist who was asking that three crosses erected without authorization be removed from Marine Corps property. The OP suggested that they should shoot the atheist, a Marine himself. When I asked if they would feel the same why if it was the Star of David or the Star and Crescent I was called for trolling. When I asked what it meant there they said, “Posting inflammatory remarks.” The OP was not called for the same offensive.

    All of that to justify this abusive conclusion…

    At that point I decided anyone who calls trolling can insert a spool of barbed wire up their urethra and shit it out their ass.

  464. 964
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    lilandra,

    It’s your time to waste, of course, but I don’t really think you have much chance of accomplishing anything over there.

  465. 965
    lilandra

    @Nerd of a Redhead perhaps you missed this post by PZ…

    You know, I have no problem with everyone ripping into Thunderf00t here — he deserves it, and his recent post credulously citing a source from AVoiceForMen, a known misogyny-riddled hate site, says he’s getting worse. But Michael Nugent has just made the point that some civility would be nice now and then, and I see the way some of you are ripping mercilessly into lilandra, and I see the problem.

    Disagree with her, do, and I would, too…but she’s a persuadable moderate who is mostly on our side, but you aren’t acting at all charitably. This is an easy case where persuasion would work, and so far it’s all scorched earth.

    Back up a notch. Reserve the flamethrowers for the deserving.

    It is not perceived rudeness or hypersensitivity unless PZ is also hypersensitive.

  466. 966
    lilandra

    @Beatrice Some of the posters are reasonable, but most are in defensive mode. A few are using it as an excuse to vent their ugly feelings.

    But I have stopped what I already said was enough for the reasonable ones.

  467. 967
    lilandra

    Post 460 Edit the posters “@Rationalia”

  468. 968
    aronra

    @Matt Penfold

    I don’t like to waste my time on a blog where people actually need to be told that name-calling, cussing, and questioning credibility without provocation all count as rude. So if you had ever posted the quote I asked for, it is perfectly understandable that I could have missed it. But I have read many of your posts, and the quote I asked for was not there. If such a quote actually existed, why would you hesitate showing it to me when I call you out for it like this? I think it more likely that Lilandra never said what you say she did, and that you’re trolling. So if your next comment does not include a quote from Lilandra denying that she ever defended Thunderf00t, there will be no reason for me to respond. I will interpret that to mean that she never did so, and that you’re the one being dishonest about that.

  469. 969
    vaiyt

    I went through (minor, compared to the cases cited here) bullying throughout school. Being one year ahead, I was always the smallest guy on class, and combined with my “unusual” interests, I was a prime target from the start.

    For years, I walked around looking at the ground. I wouldn’t dare approach a girl for fear of being mocked. Upon hearing laughter, I always thought it was directed at me. Even in contexts where it didn’t make sense. Sometimes I still do. I have an irrational fear of losing face, as if my old class was still watching me.

    And I always thought the problem was with me. That I should ignore the phony dates, the mocking, the physical intimidation, day after day after day. My parents kept chastising me for being so irritable. I couldn’t even tell my psychologist what it was that made me feel so mad, because I was afraid she, as well, would say it wasn’t a big deal.

    I hate people who use civility as armor against criticism. I hate that, everywhere else on the internet, being angry is the same as being wrong, and that people are able to calmly say hurtful things just to watch the circus burn, and then pretend it wasn’t their fault.

    Fuck them, and fuck civility.

    It was by visiting Pharyngula that I finally understood that making an environment hostile to trolls and haters isn’t a bad thing. I love this place for being one where we get to call bullshit bullshit without fear of being punished together with the bullshitters.

    Never change.

  470. 970
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    questioning credibility without provocation

    As in making claims that appear baseless on their face due to lack of evidence? Lilandra did that, and never backed up said claims. That is extremely rude in the eyes of this professional scientist…

  471. 971
    Paul K

    Hairhead at 455:

    I’m glad to hear about your parents. People can change.

    Unfortunately for me, my father died, never having changed except to grow older and weak, so he could no longer use force as a solution. My siblings have mostly gotten close to my mom over the years, but not me. She was never there when any of us needed her. She was never a mom. When she left my dad (on my 15th birthday, which she later made clear she didn’t even realize), she didn’t want custody of her kids. She told the court that she had come to realize she should never have had children. She had twelve.

    vaiyt at 463:

    Anger is appropriate when it comes to this kind of thing, but, maybe because of the anger my father always seemed to be feeling, and showing, I’ve worked hard to keep my anger in check when it comes to people (but I am always pissed at machines that won’t work right!) When people are unfair or cruel to me, the emotions I feel are usually fear and hurt and shame. It might also have to do with the fact that I’m very large, and I know I could be intimidating. Personal experience has made it very important to me to not scare people.

  472. 972
    SallyStrange

    Lilandra’s Dishonesty
    Exhibit 1: Post #14 on first page

    I don’t agree with Natalie on giving up on potential allies.

    Natalie didn’t say anything about giving up on potential allies. Her quote clearly indicated that she was talking about people who don’t treat her as fully human. There’s no way to honestly define “ally” or “potential ally” to include people who don’t treat you as fully human.

    I would rather try reasoning with people first in a reasonable manner without making disparaging remarks about them personally. Attack the idea not the person.

    This implies that attacking the person, rather than the idea, is standard practice. It’s not. Whether Lilandra thinks so out of ignorance or is being deliberately misleading, I can’t say.
    Then Lilandra admonishes US:

    Don’t create allies for them by doing things like publishing their personal address.

    Again, it’s the implication here that is dishonest: it was a drive-by posting by a person who had never posted at Pharyngula before that published Pappa’s home address; it was promptly denounced and the post was deleted within minutes.
    Exhibit 2: Post #28

    But I don’t think every person that disagrees with FTB is trolling.

    The only people who seriously maintain that anyone who disagrees with FTB, in the general sense, is trolling, are people who lie about Pharyngula and FTB. Was Lilandra repeating their lies out of ignorance or malice? Again, I cannot say.
    In the same post, she writes:

    However, I have seen inexcusable behavior on the part of some on the FTB side. You are asking for that to stop. It doesn’t help the cause and creates allies for the few who are hurtful and makes enemies of otherwise decent people needlessly.

    Matt Penfold immediately points out that she considered Thunderf00t’s behavior to be excusable, at least in part. Various requests for concrete examples of this “inexcusable behavior” are made. Are any of these requests satisfied? Let us see.
    Here’s her next post, #33:

    ogvorbis. There should be a more measured approach. I think it is fine to call out the goons for their behavior. I would just avoid getting into a personal one on one name calling match with them. This is the behavior I would ignore not their ideas. Those are fair game.

    Lilandra ignores Rorschach and Hairhead’s request for concrete examples. They were both perfectly polite and measured in their requests. Her behavior here is rude and calls her credibility into question. And once again, she implies that Pharyngulites—or FTBers in general, it’s not clear (since her writing style lacks clarity)—are focused on persons rather than ideas. Which is false.
    There follows another request for examples of “inexcusable behavior” and Ing remarks that he resents being treated as one of Lilandra’s students. He uses the word “fucking” to emphasize his resentment. Oh dear.
    Then in post #44 Lilandra herself brings the personal attacks:

    What Matt is doing is a good example of misrepresentation and unfair personal attacks like Nugent was saying. I posted in this forum that Thunderfoot communicated himself poorly and he has authority issues.
    Yet he will ignore that to say there is something wrong with my personal judgment. Thunderfoot was wrong about a few things, no one was able to persuade him of that in their rush to pwn him. In fact, he was already condemned before he said a word as a racist by some here.

    Let’s review what Matt Penfold said:

    If I recall your concept of decent is fluid enough to include Thunderfoot. If you think Thunderfoot is a decent person, you really do need to go away and have a think about what qualifies as decent for you, as something is seriously wrong your judgement otherwise.

    What Matt Penfold said here is not a personal attack. He does not use insulting epithets nor make any misrepresentations. He merely points out that if Lilandra considers Thunderf00t a decent person, her concept of “decent” is not useful, because she’s clearly mistaken about that. He calls her judgment into question. With reasoning and evidence. He attacks her ideas, not her person. He does not misrepresent Lilandra, because Lilandra does seem to be convinced that Thunderf00t is a decent person. Yet Lilandra represents this as an attack on her person and a misrepresentation. That is dishonest.

    I could go on. I’ll stop here to break it up.
    The point is, AronRa, that Lilandra has given us ample cause to doubt her honesty and her credibility. I shall continue with the saga of how Lilandra decried the allegedly baseless condemnation of Thunderf00t’s racism in a moment.

    It seems to me that while Lilandra abandoned creationism, she never quite adopted critical thinking. She is absolutely terrible at it. She can’t communicate clearly. She can’t offer examples when asked for them. She can’t deal with criticism when it touches on things that are slightly personal, like her personal judgment of Thunderf00t. She’s just not very good at this.

  473. 973
    aronra

    I find little difference between one person’s claim that something is ‘implied’ and that same person’s fallible interpretation. You have presented a case wherein it seems that what one person thought they said is not what the other one thought they meant. That is not sufficient for the accusation of dishonesty. That’s why I wouldn’t accuse you of dishonesty simply for ignoring the direct examples that were already apparent even before Lilandra showed them, and before PZ backed her up.

    Eugenie Scott has this wonderful tactic which others have advised me to use. She offers the benefit of the doubt as far as it will extend, and she only makes her case stronger by doing so. I have been criticized -rightly I think- for being too quick to condemn on the liar call. Not because I’m always wrong, but because it sometimes doesn’t matter if I haven’t made my case strong enough first. Its only common courtesy to accept as trivial some comments made in a conversation and only call out specific ones you have reason to contest. Otherwise it comes off as silly as when Edward Current says “Checkmate, atheists”.

  474. 974
    SallyStrange

    So now we begin with the saga of Thunderf00t and Lilandra’s perception that it was unfair and unfounded to call him a racist.

    What Matt is doing is a good example of misrepresentation and unfair personal attacks like Nugent was saying. I posted in this forum that Thunderfoot communicated himself poorly and he has authority issues.

    Yet he will ignore that to say there is something wrong with my personal judgment. Thunderfoot was wrong about a few things, no one was able to persuade him of that in their rush to pwn him. In fact, he was already condemned before he said a word as a racist by some here.

    She accused Matt Penfold of attacked her personally and misrepresenting her, which is not true, as I showed in my previous post.

    Then she brought up the fact that Thunderf00t was condemned as a racist by some, before he “said a word.”

    Here I suspect it is Lilandra’s extremely poor writing skills that are tripping her up. She probably meant that people condemned Thunderf00t before he began writing at FTB. But the phrase “before he said a word” conveys that he was condemned before anyone had seen or heard ANY of his written or spoken opinions. This is simply false. Thunderf00t’s opinions about Islam and Muslims were well known before he got a blog at FTB, and were widely condemned as racist.

    So anyway. Getting back to the thread: Ing promptly says, “Citation on racism, you piece of shit.” Oh dear. He used a naughty word.

    Paul steps in at post #51 to respond to Lilandra’s point about name calling:

    I would just avoid getting into a personal one on one name calling match with them.

    slymer: Is it moral to rape a skepchick if it’s not a sexual thing? They’re REALLY annoying.
    FTB: You’re a disgusting excuse for a human being.
    This is your idea of “personal one on one name calling”?
    This false equivocation is utterly disgusting. Epithets can be appropriate.

    He is calling out Lilandra’s false equivalency between people who make genuinely morally disgusting statements, and those who call them “morally disgusting” or whatever, because of it. Ogvorbis makes exactly the same point a couple of posts later. No swearing in either post.

    At #56, Consciousness Razor questions Lilandra’s framing of the disagreement being between “FTB” and unnamed enemies/trolls. He points out that it’s not very helpful to talk about “FTB” in general. No swearing.

    At #57, Aleph Squared repeats the request for a citation about the racism thing. No swearing.

    Post #61, by Brownian:

    In fact, he was already condemned before he said a word as a racist by some here.

    Untrue. He was described as racist based on some of his previous comments and videos on Muslims. Not before ‘he said a word’.

    No swearing.

    Now Lilandra responds:

    Already people are needlessly cussing at me.

    Actually, no, not true: ONE PERSON, Ing, called her a piece of shit. Not “people.”

    Yet I need to provide a “fucking” citation. Lead with a sucker punch that is a good way to reason with someone.

    Actually, I did a search for “fucking citation,” as well as “citation fucking needed.” Neither phrase was never used on that page. So, basically, a blatant lie, especially given that she used quote marks around the “fucking.”

    If Natalie meant that she doesn’t need to ally with rape joke apologists she is right. If she means everyone who disagrees with FTB, I am simply advocating to reason with them and stop the name calling right out of the gates.

    Let’s note that it should be honest to anyone with an ounce of intelligence that Natalie did not mean “everyone who disagrees with FTB,” and that, at least where Lilandra is concerned, there was no “name calling right out of the gates.” As I mentioned before, this pernicious meme that FTBloggers are out to get “everyone who disagrees with FTB” is an obvious falsehood, since it’s a nonsensical statement in the first place—FTB is not a hivemind monolith. Lilandra has been called out about this and ignores that in favor of throwing a fit about cusswords, but appears to be reacting not to the ACTUAL cusswords that were used, and lies about there being MULTIPLE people swearing at her.

    Here, it’s not a question of dishonest implications, but of outright falsehoods.

    To be continued…

  475. 975
    ChasCPeterson

    “cussing”?

  476. 976
    aronra

    Yeah first the claim is ‘no one’ was rude to her. Then it changes so that only one person called her a piece of shit. That’s right. One person accused of unsupported assertions, another accused of deliberate deception, another called her a disgusting excuse for a human. I guess none of that counts as “people” being rude, right?

    Since it seems that no one can conjure any actual substance, and certainly nothing to back the accusation that Lilandra denied defending Thunderf00t, then I guess I’m done here.

  477. 977
    SallyStrange

    Don’t go away, AronRa! There’s lots more to come! But really, I mean, I just provided an obvious, undeniable example of Lilandra straight up lying about what was said to her here, and that’s not good enough to justify us being suspicious of her honesty? Well, I guess you are married to her… it’s hard to accept when someone you love is acting like an ass.

  478. 978
    SallyStrange

    One person accused of unsupported assertions, another accused of deliberate deception,

    Those were true accusations. Is it “rude” to note when someone is making unsupported assertions and engaging in deliberate deception? Even if it’s true?

  479. 979
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Since it seems that no one can conjure any actual substance, and certainly nothing to back the accusation that Lilandra denied defending Thunderf00t, then I guess I’m done here.

    Not one citation to show you are right….Just saying, nothing but blinders from your side. Defend your lady at all costs, including your integrity…

  480. 980
    SallyStrange

    Correcting my borkquote:

    One person accused of unsupported assertions, another accused of deliberate deception,

    Those were true accusations. Is it “rude” to note when someone is making unsupported assertions and engaging in deliberate deception? Even if it’s true?

  481. 981
    SallyStrange

    So let’s skip ahead a bit.

    PZ steps in to remark:

    lilandra is referring to the fact that even before he put up his first post, but after we’d approved his blog, thunderf00t was attacked on our super-secret mysterious back-channel (which I’m not telling you about) as a racist. She knows some of the inside stuff, and she’s speaking the truth.

    So, it turns out that Lilandra’s allegation of “inexcusable behavior” by FTBers regarding Thunderf00t, and what she claims is an unfair assessment of his racism, was something that none of the posters she was speaking with would have any possible way of knowing about.

    Which strikes me as dishonest. Or maybe it’s just her terrible, awful communication skills. Really, at this point, it’s impossible to tell.

    That still leaves the “before he said a word” part of her phrase, which is still completely untrue. Whether on the backchannel or in comments at FTB, Thunderf00t was condemned on the basis of his well-publicized YouTube talks. There was a factual basis for calling him—or his views anyway—racist. To claim otherwise is dishonest.

    And, as Brownian pointed out:

    Nonetheless, it’s hardly fair of her to mention backchannel evidence without stipulating that it’s evidence she cannot provide, and then expect the commentariat to deal with those criticisms.

    Which is an entirely fair criticism. A criticism which goes entirely unaddressed by Lilandra.

    Moving on…

    Lilandra says, in post #111:

    @PZ Thank you. At one time I was a creationist and I was wrong. I wasn’t persuaded by insults I was wrong. I was persuaded by evidence. My own husband provided evidence with other online posters. Funny thing he once posted that I would run away from reason like other creationists like a vampire shuns the daylight. He had many experiences like that, and you can get calloused that way. I was confident enough in my own intelligence to ignore the insults from some of the posters and listen to evidence. Your position that there is sexism in our community can be backed up with evidence. There are people like Thunderfoot that could be made more aware of the evidence. Hostile presentation is not helpful in that goal. Not that that is what you personally are doing.

    As I myself pointed out, anyone who maintains that more evidence is needed that sexism is a problem in “our” community can be safely said not to be arguing in good faith. And it is utterly false to claim, as Lilandra appears to be doing, that such evidence has not been presented to Thunderf00t.

    After this, I count 10 responses to her, in which are included: 1 accusation of cowardice, 1 response wherein Ogvorbis says that HE will “fuck off then” since Lilandra was talking about something other than he thought she was, and one very rude post from a poster I don’t recognize about Lilandra being drunk.

    Among these responses is #121, where Josh OSG responds:

    There are people like Thunderfoot that could be made more aware of the evidence. Hostile presentation is not helpful in that goal.

    I know you hate this and don’t want to acknowledge it, but Thunderfoot is well aware of the evidence. It simply is not a matter of educating him. And it has nothing to do with “hostile” presentation. That’s an excuse you’re letting him hide behind. It also sounds very school-teachery, which makes me wonder: is this what bullied kids can expect from you? Tut tutting over justified anger and pleas for understanding toward the shit heads?

    Sooner or later I hope you wake up to the fact that someone you desperately want to see as a fundamentally good person just might not be in ways that really count.

    I’m including the entirety of this comment because Lilandra later focuses in on Josh’s worrying about Lilandra’s ability to deal with bullying in her classroom as another personal attack (remember we established that her allegations that Matt was personally attacking her and misrepresenting her were lies?).

    And because I think the advice in his last paragraph would be good advice for AronRa to take as well.

    There follows a rehashing of the dispute over whether Lilandra was correct to claim that Thunderf00t was condemned “before he said a word.” Several people point out that Thunderf00t had made many racist comments in his YouTube videos before his short-lived tenure at FTB. Lilandra continues to ignore that she was making a false statement, and refuses to either retract or clarify that Tf00t was condemned “before he said a word.”

    This post by Richard Austin, at #158, is one example of about a dozen:

    @skeptifem PZ posted that I was right in what I said about Thunderfoot being labeled a racist before he said anything. He alluded to that in one of his answers to Thunderfoot as well before I said it.

    This is disingenuous. TF was labeled a racist before he said anything on FTB; the fact is that FTB wasn’t the first place he “spoke”. The impression is that others’ opinions were based on his actions prior to coming to FTB.

    And of course Lilandra ignores ALL of these and hones in on Josh’s comment:

    @Josh you can only speculate about what sort of teacher I am. I have advocated nowhere that the anyone be allowed to bully anyone. I don’t advocate that anyone should be hostile to someone who is bullying them in my class either. Nor am I hostile to a bully that would make me a bully. They are disciplined appropriately for their behavior.
    Some bullies can realize their behavior is wrong and stop bullying. That is a better goal if it is possible.

    And, ironically, without seeing Lilandra’s post here, Josh says the following (post #164):

    @If lilandra shows up again she’s almost certain to make a comment about something else as if she didn’t see the earlier criticisms. The only way to deal with that is to keep repeating the question to her until she either acts like a grown-up and responds or gets sick of not being given a free pass and leaves.

    How right he was!

    Then PZ asks that everyone treat Lilandra as a persuadable moderate—one person asks for a citation that she is one, but others agree to try a more moderate tack for a while.

    Lilandra says about Tf00t:

    I did post that the thing with Thunderfoot may be beyond repair. I think it may not have gotten that way if Aron had tried to reason with him personally earlier on. But it was difficult TF just kept posting and posting 3 posts and 2 videos in a week. He was wrong for that.
    It is a shame because he apparently is going more and more towards the dark side of this issue and Aron warned him before this posting PZ is talking about to stop.

    Well, I’m going to wrap this up. There’s very little that comes after this that hasn’t been said already.

    To clarify about Matt Penfold’s claim that Lilandra said she wasn’t defending Tf00t, I believe the source of Matt’s claim is that he points out that she considers Tf00t to be a decent person, and she replies by saying that this is an attack on her and a misrepresentation of her views. Presumably if he has misrepresented her by saying she considers Tf00t a decent person, the truth is that she doesn’t consider him a decent person. Yet when she is pressed to clarify her opinion of Tf00t, she never retracts the claim that Tf00t is essentially decent, but only goes so far as saying that he might be amenable to presentation of evidence if only it were presented (which seems false to me, and she was repeatedly challenged about this, and gave no response), and making comments like the one above.

    So Matt’s characterization of Lilandra as having actively denied defending Thunderf00t is a bit tenuous. But not entirely without factual basis, which is better than anyone can say about most of the claims Lilandra made in this thread, including the claim she made about being misrepresented by Matt.

  482. 982
    Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts

    Aronra,
    SallyStrange kindly provided 8 pages of substance before you said this,

    Since it seems that no one can conjure any actual substance, and certainly nothing to back the accusation that Lilandra denied defending Thunderf00t, then I guess I’m done here.

    Then you ran away without addressing any of it, or the 7 more pages SallyStrange wrote after that. Disagree with how she is interpreting the quotes she is citing, but do it in an equally substantive manner, using quotes of your own and all that. Look past the tone and insults (which haven’t been all that bad), and address SallyStrange’s points (points which have been abundantly made by others up thread already, and which Lilandra has consistently refused to address).

    I agree with Nerd in #473

  483. 983
    John Phillips, FCD

    Late as usual, but Steve LaBonne said at 26 July 2012 at 12:24 pm on page 1

    I will make common cause with progressive liberal religionists 10 times out of 10 (while opposing them if they seek to maintain special privileges for religion). I will oppose racist and/or misogynist atheists 10 times out of 10. And if you downplay the importance of racism and misogyny, or lecture the victims about “civility” to their victimizers, YOU ARE guilty of those offenses yourself. It’s that simple.


    This, a hundred times this. For, like Matt Penfold, I am in the UK and one of my closest circle of friends is a very devout xian. He often laughs out loud when he occasionally catches me looking at him with bemusement as he knows exactly what I am thinking. How can a person who in every other way is a true sceptic, and at least as intelligent as myself, believe in that croc of shit, yet he does. Yet, where it matters, much like my childhood pastor, his xianity is based on deeds not words, i.e. treating others right, and when it comes to equality, whether feminism, LGBT rights or any other types of human rights, he would be the first to join me on the barricades in defending them.

    I would rather have one of him alongside me than a thousand atheists like pox earlier in the thread, who think that we need to embrace even the anti-rights atheists so as to gain numbers. What point numbers or influence if you no longer have any worthwhile principles to use that influence in support of. I could type a lot more, but Daniel Barenboim is conducting Beethoven’s 9th at the Proms and it is simply too beautiful to spend more time repeating what others have said much better. Keep up the good fight horde.

  484. 984
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I think it’s also time to reiterate that creationists make a big stink about being nice, ergo they don’t have to present evidence, as they are nice and sincere. Lilandra appears to be operating under those rules as somebody else pointed out above.

    But they don’t work one iota in the skeptical/atheist community, where evidence and rationality of argument, not niceness and sincerity, is prized. She needs to change her methodology in dealing with this community. Nice and sincere are not arguments, merely personal idiosyncrasies, and are not indicative of truthfulness. Nice and polite does nothing per se to further her goals compared to evidence based argument.

  485. 985
    Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts

    I would rather have one of him alongside me than a thousand atheists like pox earlier in the thread, who think that we need to embrace even the anti-rights atheists so as to gain numbers.

    Exactly. I don’t give a fuck if atheism spreads to take over the whole world if the atheists are just as bigoted and malicious as the theists. I am an anti-theist not because theism is wrong, but because theists*, and their dogmas, are harmful to society.

    Let the Deep Rifts deepen, make the people who don’t believe in equality so uncomfortable that they schism off (or preferably just disappear and die off). It can’t happen soon enough.

    The atheist community needs to clean up before we take over the world. duh.

    *not all

  486. 986
    Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts

    aronra,

    Its only common courtesy to accept as trivial some comments made in a conversation and only call out specific ones you have reason to contest.

    People differ on what they consider a trivial comment that does not require citation or evidence. I don’t see how it is discourteous to ask for evidence of an assertion. This isn’t a case of hyper-skepticism, where someone is denying the existence of sexism in the face of the obvious. Here, Lilandra’s “trivial” claim was one that pertained to the backchannel, of which we have no knowledge of. Again, she made a claim, the evidence for which was unavailable to us. And we only found this out after PZ explained it. Considering that we didn’t have any evidence for the claim she made, why would you think that it would be accepted as trivially true, as opposed to it being challenged.

    Also, if anyone were to read for substance, they would find many examples of specific reasons that Lilandra’s claim was contested. A lot of it had to do with Lilandra saying that TF was charged as a racist “before he said a word”. This contention has yet to be responded to.

    Finally, in a battle between blindly accepting a claim, because it is courteous, and supplying evidence for your claim, because that is how rational inquiry works, courtesy loses out every time.

  487. 987
    Matt Penfold

    I don’t like to waste my time on a blog where people actually need to be told that name-calling, cussing, and questioning credibility without provocation all count as rude.

    You are free to fuck off anytime. If you could take your wife with you that would be even better.

    So if you had ever posted the quote I asked for, it is perfectly understandable that I could have missed it. But I have read many of your posts, and the quote I asked for was not there.

    Well it was. Again, try looking.

    If such a quote actually existed, why would you hesitate showing it to me when I call you out for it like this?

    Because I fail to see why I should repeat myself for the husband of an unpleasant dishonest women who defends misogyny.

    I think it more likely that Lilandra never said what you say she did, and that you’re trolling.

    You can think what like. Clearly you mistake me for a person who gives a fuck what you think

    So if your next comment does not include a quote from Lilandra denying that she ever defended Thunderf00t, there will be no reason for me to respond.

    I would call that a result. Do please ask your wife to shut the fuck as well.

    I will interpret that to mean that she never did so, and that you’re the one being dishonest about that.

    Well, you could do that, but it would be intellectually dishonest of you. But then I already know that. You and Lilandra are made for each other.

  488. 988
    SallyStrange

    Yeah first the claim is ‘no one’ was rude to her.

    Did anybody claim this? I don’t remember claiming it. Just that the rudeness did not start right off the bat. There were plenty of polite, non-swearing responses, and a complete absence of swearing, for a good long while. Until Lilandra continued to refuse to provide evidence for her claims, and made a dishonest claim about being misrepresented by Matt, and made another dishonest claim about how it was unfair to label Thunderf00t’s opinions on Islam as racist. Then people became annoyed, angry, and impatient, and some people–a definite minority, as I documented–used naughty words.

  489. 989
    Matt Penfold

    I have decided to provide the quotes for aronra, since it seems to be beyond his ability to find them. I would like to say I do so in the hope he will read them, and then offer a fulsome apology, but I am not so naive as to think he will that decent.

    Here is what I said to Lilandra:

    If I recall your concept of decent is fluid enough to include Thunderfoot. If you think Thunderfoot is a decent person, you really do need to go away and have a think about what qualifies as decent for you, as something is seriously wrong your judgement otherwise.

    The evidence I gave for saying that is this:

    He is trying to communicate disagreement with the way harassment is handled at conferences. He botches that in some of his language like saying it is not a problem at conventions. At most that is what he is guilty of. From what I know of him he is not defending his privilege to harass women as some have said. He would be mortified if something he did upset a woman.

    That is clearly a defence of Thunderfoot, and a dishonest one since he was not misunderstood but rather was meaning what he was saying. This quote came from another thread of this blog.

    Here was Lilandra’s belated reply (it took several requests to get her to answer).

    @Matt again you misrepresent my argument. I pointed out that I criticized TF’s behavior on this very forum. I defended that he wasn’t advocating for biting people’s legs without their consent by posting my friend’s picture. I had personal knowledge of the people involved, and I shared it. I have not posted anywhere that I didn’t defend some of what he did. But I criticized him too.

    One claim was she defended him. She clearly did, and she sort of admits it, but tries not to by saying I misrepresented her.

    The second was that she did so because he was decent person. Well, he clearly is not, and I trust aronra will not try to pretend otherwise. We know he is a racist, and as even that first post showed, he is also a misogynist. So Lilandra was defending someone who is racist and misogynist on the grounds he just misunderstood. Well, no, he was not just misunderstood, but is actually both racist and misogynist. Both aronra and Lilandra need to take a good look at themselves, and ask how they could consider such a person to be a friend. They also need to accept that defending such a person shows a lapse of judgement.

    Now aronra, let’s hear your apology. If you do not apologise, I will take that as an admission on your part that you are knowingly lied.

  490. 990
    marinerachel

    This is why I hate White Knighting; it’s always done with gusto and in such good faith but rarely has it’s basis in sincere agreement with whatever it is the damsel in distress said that provoked disagreement. As a result, a lot of silliness that should result in nothing more than a “Gee, that was dumb of me – sorry” gets the White Knight treatment, resulting in twice as many people supporting a silly argument but for the wrong reasons.

  491. 991
    Momo Elektra

    I’m also late. I have been thinking about what to say or if to say anything (because many have already said it extremely well), and now I want to be heard as well because the more voices the better. I don’t think everything I want to say is in here, and I’m not really good at expressing everything I want to say, mostly because I really think it’s so VERY FUCKING OBVIOUS.

    There are several points I want to address.

    1. United front

    Technically necessary sometimes. Bigger groups tend to be heard more and achieve more, right? What do “we” want to achieve? What is the basic achievement all atheists want? I have no idea.

    Do we want to live in a secular state? That’s not only relevant for atheists, and I know personally many theists who work towards that, too.

    So, what do we want? An end to the power of the church(es) and other religious groups with too much influence? Okay.

    Why? Because they are wrong? Wrongness itself, while of course not good, isn’t always a problem. I may be wrong about the start of the last ice age, but that has no bearing on anything I do.

    Or do we want to end their power because they want to push their wrong beliefs onto others who then suffer in some measure from it – be it people who learn creationism and not science, be it minorities whose humanity and basic rights are denied – those are issues of social justice.

    Uniting against theism and the likes while ignoring or dismissing social justice is, quite frankly, pointless (intellectual wank comes to mind).

    2. Allies

    Who do I want to ally with? Well, with people who are likeminded when it comes to social justice of course. Not only my own but other people’s social justice, too.
    I don’t need an ally when it comes to the wrongness of Noah’s Ark. I don’t need an ally when it comes to the wrongness of Jesus’ godhood. I can fight those fights very well myself.

    I need allies for fights I can’t either fight myself, because I don’t have the strength or means or energy or nerves, or for fights I need back up and help with.
    It doesn’t’ even cost much to be an ally myself (in training) to a group I don’t belong to. Not laughing at racist jokes isn’t hard. Telling people that those jokes aren’t cool isn’t hard. Telling transphobic radical feminists and clueless whatevers that they should shut their mouth about trans* people isn’t hard (the details may be complicated for an outsider, but the sentiment isn’t, I think). Supporting a woman who says a sexist joke about her gender offends her isn’t hard.

    I don’t want to have to ally with people who consider sexism (somehow this gets often mentioned first, these days, of course there is no order of relevance intended here), cis-sexism, racism, homophobia and the likes acceptable, dismissible, defensible, because they don’t want the same things I do, especially considering most of them don’t even have my problems and as such DON’T HAVE TO WANT THE THINGS I DO WANT.

    Mostly they pay lip service, but I cannot rely on them when necessary. Why should I ally with people who are, strategically speaking, useless to me? I will, as others have said, rather ally with a liberal religious person, than with a conservative skeptic or an MRA rape-apologist atheist. Or an atheist who thinks intelligence is solely hereditary. Ore an atheist who thinks there are biological races with different abilities. Or an atheist who thinks racist or sexist or other jokes are just jokes. I will not ally with them, because they are not my allies.

    I will not accept someone who doesn’t understand the difference between punching up and punching down.

    I am after all, a very, very rational person.
    It comes down to numbers – how much strength will I get (for me and the cause, if you will) from some people, and how much strength will I get taken from me because of some other people. Because my strength has very clear limits.

    3. What is rude?

    Too often in these discussions some take the easier route and focus on swear words. Of course that is not the only way someone can be rude. Ignoring points made can be rude. Strawmanning can be rude. And so on. Any atheist who has done some reading will know those things, because we all too often have to point them out in the religious.

    Operating in a situation of not-acknowledged power difference can be rude, too. The whole privilege and group dynamics shebang.

    4. Anger and the expression of it

    Well, in my experience, we all from most countries, live in a society where the expression of anger (and other emotions, too) is allowed only in very, very specific circumstances and contexts. Men are allowed more circumstances than women when it comes to anger, but not that many more. Showing anger is, most of the time, considered a social faux pas because “someone lost control”. And losing control over one’s emotions is considered bad, especially when it comes to anger.

    I have anger issues in as much as I cannot really express it. And I’m certainly not the only one. There is extreme social conditioning involved, the inability to let go, the NEED to stay in control, and so on.

    The “inability” (it’s somewhat that, but not really, but I’m out of my league discussing that in detail) to express anger can and does hurt people. It makes it difficult for me to defend myself properly when I have to deal with what I consider an injustice (say, at work), because not only do I have to deal with my anger that I am not allowed to express, I also have to deal with controlling that anger, so what brain capacity is left to rationally, unemotionally, make my case with someone who is not nearly, if at all, emotionally involved like me (because they don’t have to be)?

    Not much. It’s a helpless situation. Lose-lose. And the evil thing is that most people, actively or passively I don’t presume to know, work this system of suppressed anger to control the situation. They have power in that situation.

    Swear words are a wonderfully effective way to take back control and power in such a situation in which one feels one has neither control nor power. Saying, if only in mind, a loud “FUCK YOU, ASSHOLE” can be liberating, empowering, relieving. I am suddenly not only fighting some rude asshole or other, but the whole system of keeping me down.

    Being rude to someone who is rude to me is a thing that SHOULD NOT BE DISCOURAGED. BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE ONE-SIDED, OPPRESSIVE and UNFAIR.

    I have always in my life tried not to do confrontations (outside family, which is a safe space for me), because of this social conditioning, I really am no person to suck everything up, but I am also no person who can control a confrontational situation. But the last year, reading here and elsewhere, where people express their anger and get back up has really helped me to start not choking on my anger as much. Funnily, I am now much more at peace with my anger than before. I have been rude to rude people instead of making excuses and being “nice”, and wow does it feel good.

    People have to learn to walk before they can lean to dance, right? Some people can’t stand up for themselves in real life, for many reasons, so expressing anger online in a safe space is a HUGE THING. It may be the first step for more, and if it isn’t, it’s still a way to feel not alone, and not feel crazy (because society tells us, only crazy people do anger – or macho heroes in movies and games and such, but that’s not real).

    And Pharyngula is such a safe space, as many have mentioned. And Pharyngula isn’t FTB.

    5. This tone is not for everyone

    Of course not. There will be people who will be put off, triggered, alienated because of the tone, and there will be people that would be missed. I don’t like it and I see no solution for it.

    That’s where FTB as a network works really well, because there is, despite the accusations, no hivemindechochamber. Many bloggers have strict policies, as they should, according to their own liking and such. This is obviously important. But just as important it is to have, in a movement, diversity in people, it is important to have diversity in approaches to issues, and that includes tone.

    Yes, not gendered insults are insults, and many times insults are bad and don’t contribute to a fruitfully debate.

    But remember the “punching up” vs. “punching down”.

    Very important difference. If the victim of a bully punches the bully in the face, that is assault. It is also very likely self defense. Remember, society (abstract) doesn’t give victims much help. Even their anger gets called into question. When I was bullied I was told to “stand up for myself, defend myself”.

    But how? What possibilities does a victim have? There are but two:

    Getting loud (and that includes swearing, insulting, cussing) or getting physical (and that includes hitting BACK).

    Both actions are actively discouraged in victims and ignored or excused or dismissed in bullies.

    The law can take circumstances into account (if not perfectly), so can and should we when we judge those actions of insults and swearing and cussing. And in some cases even punching.

    6. Anger may hit the wrong person

    Yes, that may happen, and does happen, and if it hits someone who really doesn’t have the stomach for it, for example because of trauma, that’s really bad. When it happens to someone who doesn’t deserve it, that’s also bad. I don’t know what to do about someone who doesn’t have the stomach for it, because there is no solution that would work for all involved parties.

    But I have a solution for someone who maybe doesn’t deserve it:

    Be the bigger person, that time. Let it go.

    Not always, not forever, but remember here write and read people who have had shit done to them you might not be able to imagine (even after they told you). Here write and read people who have gone through a hell even the Catholics couldn’t dream up, and many of them know people who did that and did not get better, and/or did not survive. Maybe (and in too many cases sadly there’s no maybe) many people here have struggled to find their voice even inside their head. Maybe they need to be able to express their feelings without repercussions, for once. Maybe many have struggled and kick ass but need some places where they don’t have to fight all the time and where they maybe have their allies fight for them, too.

    Maybe some of those who didn’t get better or didn’t survive didn’t get better or didn’t survive because society (abstract) does not really do much to help victims (as far as I know even in philosophy of law/theory of criminal justice there are categories that focus on either the culprit or the deed and its consequences, but not the victim) as a whole.

    Maybe that anger isn’t really directed at you, and if it is, maybe it’s time to be the bigger person. Let them be angry.

    And we’re back to the anger and swearing. Expressing anger while not getting reprimanded for it is a way to take back control, to empower oneself, to FIGHT BACK.

    Don’t tell people not to fight back. Society already does that way too often and punishes them for it when they do.

    That’s kind of all right now.

  492. 992
    'Tis Himself

    Momo Elektra #485

    As soon as the order for new internets comes in, you get first choice as to which one you get.

  493. 993
    Paul K

    Momo elektra #485

    That’s kind of all right now.

    And it was plenty, and exactly right.

  494. 994
    PatrickG

    @Momo elektra

    If that’s all you had time to share right now, I shudder to think of the levels of awesome you would bring with more time.

    I mean, you should be careful… the world cannot handle that much awesomeness!

  495. 995
    exi5tentialist

    You’ll be aware of the joke made by an admin at Rationalia about raping Skepchicks which has embroiled the website in its own ongoing sexual abuse crisis. Bizarrely, the same admin has now issued a poll at Rationalia asking whether or not he should resign. Obviously he feels unable to take responsibility that decision himself.

    I’ll take this opportunity to speak against poll itself, but also to make the point that yes, I think the entire membership of any forum should be held accountable when they fail to adequately respond to a serious problem of sexual abuse within their own organization. Equally when a forum uses harassment or disciplinary procedures to curtail the expression of protest against sexual abuse I think all members are responsible. I would lay the same responsibility on all members of a church where sexual abuse was prevalent, I don’t see why I should be any more generous to an atheist organisation or atheist website. I am a member at Rationalia and that is why I am responding. My response is outside Rationalia because when I have sought to raise issues within it I have myself been sexually abused and personally harassed.

    As far as the resignation poll that’s now been proposed at Rationalia is concerned, I don’t think resigning would be enough. What staff at Rationalia really need to do is stop breaking their own rules on harassing people who express dissent, and stop coming down like a ton of bricks on any person other than staff who proposes any significant constitutional change to their present, nothing-can-change-without-staff-say-so governance arrangements.

    If staff did stop their authoritarian behaviour (behaviour they show, for example, whenever a staff review is proposed by an ordinary member) it might then be possible for Rationalia to have a sensible conversation about the methods by which staff are appointed by the Rationalia community. But the present resignation poll is a travesty of democracy. I’ll explain why.

    As in any community whose members are equals and not people who are manipulated by a leader, you would normally expect alternative candidates to incumbent staff to be invited to come forward at every AGM. This is normally done in order to invite ordinary members to stand for election as equal candidates alongside any incumbents who wish to stand. That’s the usual format for a fair election.

    If such a democratic process were the norm at Rationalia, it would open the door for the present staff power base to be more easily challenged. An environment where it is considered acceptable for alternative candidates to come forward tends to be one where they do. Where it is considered unacceptable, they don’t. At Rationalia, they don’t.

    Instead, the situation at present is that the kind of disloyalty to staff that might seriously challenge their position is easily met with verbal harassment, sexual abuse and official threats of disciplinary action, so they get to keep their jobs.

    Obviously staff at Rationalia are not confident enough to submit to the kind of pluralistic process as would be permitted by a conventional fair election. In its absence, this latest faux-democracy poll is just one more of their manipulations – an exercise to claim democratic legitimacy where they have none.

    And pretty transparent it is. It’s reasonable to predict that they’ll be crowing at the end of the process how, “We had a poll”, “People were allowed to vote”, “It wasn’t perfect but at least people were asked” etc etc. The combinations are endless.

    So the main problem with claiming that the latest popularity poll is democratic is that it is not the way democracy works. Challenging people to vote for the Great Leader’s resignation where there isn’t even a process to enable alternative candidates to come forward isn’t in any way democratic. Furthermore although people who might speak openly for the resignation may currently be in a minority, Rationalia’s members have already demonstrated the type of verbal sexual abuse that they are capable of inflicting on anybody they find “annoying” (you’ll recall that it was because he finds Skepchicks annoying that their site leader made his joke about raping them).

    They may hold back while they are under external observation as they are at the moment, and when the dissenting minority are sufficiently intimidated not to visit the site and make much of a noise there. But where there is a real possibility that the way Rationalia is run might actually change as a result of dissent expressed by a minority, sexualised verbal abuse, personal harassment and disciplinary procedures are used.

    These are the principal methods by which those who support the incumbent staff at Rationalia retain their supremacy, and the means by which any dissent is efficiently dealt with. One site member recently spoke out against Rationalia’s sexual abuse in public, and in response a thread was quickly started describing him as a “stone cold racist.” If anybody wants to read the full list of epithets that directed at this member during that thread, contact me, because I do not want to be associated with them by repeating them publicly. Needless to say, they sound like a sado-masochistic abuse playroom. Unsurprisingly, the member expressed his understandable anger and asked for his account to be de-activated.

    Personally I would predict that if Rationalia does not change fundamentally there will be recurring sexual abuse problems at the site in the coming months. Rationalia’s leaders will continue to suffer from a crisis of authority and their position will become more and more untenable. At the moment, Rationalia can legitimately claim to be a private site run by its bullies. Let them have that. But please let’s not let them pretend this resignation poll is actually democracy or even “the next best thing.” We should be ready to counter their claims to democracy when they start going all over the internet saying what a fun, silly, free, democratic place Rationalia is. It is none of those things – it’s an abuse website where a small number of bullies can come out with whatever offensive rubbish that they want to without facing any responsibility within the site, and can sexually abuse anyone who might seriously challenge the position of their current staff.

  496. 996
    PZ Myers

    Rationality also has a new crop of vocal participants from the slimepit. It’s an infection they’ll just laugh at, while the rest of us look on them as diseased.

  497. 997
    PatrickG

    @exi5tentialist

    Lot of food for thought there, will digest and process later.

    In the meantime, I appreciate learning more about Rationalia. I’m relatively new to the online community of humanists/skeptics/atheists, and there’s a lot of information to assimilate.

    More importantly, I’m very sorry to hear about your experiences over there. Nobody should be sexually abused or harassed as you describe. Nobody.

  498. 998
    exi5tentialist

    PZ Myers
    29 July 2012 at 7:06 pm
    Rationality also has a new crop of vocal participants from the slimepit. It’s an infection they’ll just laugh at, while the rest of us look on them as diseased.

    Rationality – love it. They’re all masters of irony, so I’m sure they’ll get it.

    PatrickG
    29 July 2012 at 7:10 pm
    @exi5tentialist
    Lot of food for thought there, will digest and process later.

    In the meantime, I appreciate learning more about Rationalia. I’m relatively new to the online community of humanists/skeptics/atheists, and there’s a lot of information to assimilate.

    More importantly, I’m very sorry to hear about your experiences over there. Nobody should be sexually abused or harassed as you describe. Nobody.

    Thanks. Now I don’t feel the need to justify this but by sexually abused I mean abused using sexual words. I can’t always be bothered to say verbally sexually abused, besides people start quibbling with that and saying it’s in type not voice. Now they’re picking up on my untruths – so apparently being called certain things of a sexual nature that I won’t repeat is alright (it’s still going on today), it’s not sexual abuse and I’m just a “butthurt” victim (they’ve got a thing about “butthurt” at the moment – I think they think buggery is as hilarious as rape.) But me formally proposing a couple of changes to their election procedures is “intentional malicious trolling”. Right. Rationality, yup.

  499. 999
    PatrickG

    by sexually abused I mean abused using sexual words.

    I won’t quibble definitions with you, though your clarification is helpful to me in terms of understanding your experience (Gah, I hate phrases like that, they sound so pretentious!).

    Anyways, I may be new to the online community, but I certainly know not to judge other people’s experiences (abuse or otherwise) by my own position, which happens to be privileged in some ways, not so much in others.

    Though I do have fantasies about face-to-face encounters with people who call me “mangina” from the safety of their keyboards… I’m not that evolved.

  500. 1000
    marinerachel

    I want to be understanding towards the forum folk regarding their outrage over what they consider a personal attack. It’s true that there’s more than one attitude and opinion on these forums. It’s true not everyone on these forums weighs in on every issue. The vast majority of forum members are inactive so there’s no way to know how they feel on any issue. There are members on every forum on which this is being discussed who pushed back against Pappa’s rape “joke” and subsequent defense of it.

    It’s also true that these forums have distinct cultures from one another which reflect the most prominently expressed opinions held by the members who actively participate on them. It’s that activity by those members that gives every forum its personality.

    It’s kind of nauseating that people who just sighed when they read Pappa’s HILARIOUS joke are pounding their fists like toddlers, screeching that PZ’s account needs to be deleted because he wasn’t impressed by how the forum in general responded to “Would it be immoral to rape a Skepchick?” The fact calling PZ a poopyhead because he generalised appears to be a higher priority than denouncing rapey jokes targeting specific women based on personal dislike is worrisome.

    We are judged by the company we keep. When the company we keep thinks targeting women they consider annoying with the imagery of rape is a laughing matter and we don’t push back with all our strength, we appear tolerant. Saying “It’s not nice but” followed by whinging about someone concluding our forum is tolerant of such behaviour based on the overwhelmingly expressed opinion of active participants and then calling whoever said so a cunt demonstrates twisted priorities.

    A lot of members on these forums appear to be so distraught by what they perceive as a personal attack (being lumped in with rape jokers and apologists) that they really couldn’t give a shit that the most commonly expressed opinions on the issue of rape jokes in these forums are tolerant or at least diminishing of their seriousness and it is leaving an impression on outsiders who don’t know the membership as individuals. People have instead become defensive of themselves and what they consider “their” forums and the issue is being dismissed to a large extent in exchange for the issue of “HOW DARE HE GENERALISE?”

    That said I haven’t bothered poking around either thread for a couple days as I don’t need the headache. This is what I felt I was seeing as of a couple days ago though.

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