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I have no idea what I’ve gotten myself into

At 4pm Eastern today, I’m getting into some kind of online discussion with these guys:

These are the questions we’re supposed to address:

  1. The role trolling has played in what the internet has become and what it will one day be (with the caveat that we must first define what a “troll” is).

  2. How free is our speech on the internet and how free should we expect it to be?

  3. Who should be behind determining how free our internet really is?

I’ve got a good idea of what I’ll be saying, but I thought I’d throw it out here and steal see what great ideas you all have.

Oh, and this will be a Google+ hangout, live streaming, all that, and they will be taking questions on youtube while it’s in progress.


Here’s the final video. For some reason, I didn’t get the invite, so I don’t show up until about 15 minutes in.

Comments

  1. says

    I suspect that you’ll be hearing, “Why don’t you allow comments on your YouTube videos?! That’s something a creationist would do, man! So much for ‘free thought’! Mah peach is frozen!”

  2. Pteryxx says

    The role trolling has played in what the internet has become and what it will one day be (with the caveat that we must first define what a “troll” is).

    …why do I suspect this may become a very meta discussion…

  3. says

    How free is our speech on the internet and how free should we expect it to be?

    Seems pretty damn free to me as it stands. There are too many people now who seem to think that being unable to freeze their peaches in every corner of the ‘net is a major offense against free speech, however, when a variety of platforms are available to all, providing pundits everywhere with a pulpit, the notion that free speech is restricted is an absurd one. There’s no right to an audience.

  4. glodson says

    Okay, here’s a bunch of stuff you can disregard as bad ideas because, well, they are the ones I came up with. So that’s something.

    1. I would define a troll as someone who posts, or says something, with the intent of not contributing to the conversation in a malicious manner. It can be hard to figure out the intent, at times. But this is a person who just comes in to harass, or derail. It is one thing to try and inject humor. That’s subjective, but a one note joke post isn’t derailing(usually). And it certainly isn’t harassing. A creationist trying to have a conversation evolution isn’t necessarily a troll. This is a confused individual trying to contribute and failing. However if the creationist threatens with hell and ignores points, that’s crossing over into trolling.

    This article sums up the net effect of trolling. In my own experience, the anti-feminist trolls seemed to have driven me the other way. But is that because of my emotional reaction or is that an effect of anti-logic? I’m honestly not sure.

    2. This is as free as we should expect. I don’t get this question. Actually, it could be better in some other avenues. Some companies, and groups, do use copyright laws, in an effort to silence dissenting opinions. Youtube is a prime example of that. But in the blogs, the question is almost nonsensical. If I get banned, I am just not allowed to use a certain outlet to express my opinion. No one is under an obligation to repeat my opinion or allow it to be presented in their spaces. Like every other medium out there. A radio station can ignore my calls, a newspaper can just throw my letters away, the TV station doesn’t need to put me on air. And so on.

    3. The who can be a good question. I would say that the people who produce content should, within reason, be allowed to decide how it used online. Fair Use is a simple idea, and one that should be respected. I don’t have a good answer for who the final judge should be. Artists and writers should have some expectation that their work won’t be exploited by others. However, they shouldn’t be given free reign to deny use in fair cases.

    There. Hope by eliminating a few bad answers, you can find some good stuff in other comments more easily.

  5. says

    Hmm I just noticed 1) isn’t actually a question it’s a sentence fragment.

    I would define troll as someone who’s comments lack any constructive value on the topic at hand.
    ie provide no argument that improves the conversation in question (be it supportive or criticism) or actively derail others from improving the conversation.

    There is an important place for criticism in a conversation but it should be on aspects of the discussion itself.

    Given this I’d say trolling mostly plays the roll of the pitchfork mob. Instead of a rhetorical argument or going through legal channels it’s a vigilante mob with destructive ends.

    2. Part of me wants to make a dear muslima here. The question fails to ask fails to suggest where. There are of course places/countries with various levels of internet censorship.

    More broadly I think free speech on the internet should be like the rest of the world. There should be laws against, libel harassment, consumer protection laws etc. Individuals should be allowed to have different kinds of discussions using the internet as a tool. In RL (although I find the distinction annoying) you can have public or private lectures (possibly without a QA section), you can have public or private dinner parties (symposiums etc) where there is discussion between people with a sense of a certain decorum for the event, you can have people gather in a park and everyone has a big conversation on anything and everything.

    We allow all this variation in free speech in the rest of the world why not have the same variation on the internet. There is value to multiple approaches and we need not limit ourselves to one format.

    3. Is tricky. I’d say it’s a hierarchy of different people. World governments hopefully following the will of the governed and a balance of values should be able to set some legal limits. If someone is paying for the bandwidth servers etc they should have some say in how they want to run that chunk of the internet (youtube deciding it wants to limit porn for example). If someone is a member of a group or service they should follow the previous rules but should also have some say in how their space is used.

    Basically like how we treat all free speech. Government on top (ex no death threats), hotel below (maybe noise limits on a conference so other guests can sleep), conference/business/house (no slurs to the other guests or we kick you out).

    For the most part I think the western internet anyway gets fairly close (with room for some improvements maybe) to how I think it should be run.

  6. consciousness razor says

    Who should be behind determining how free our internet really is?

    I have to make payments every month to get my internets, unless I went somewhere like the public library. I have determined that I don’t want to pay. In fact, I would like to be paid for having it, so if it should be me who determines how free it really is, I would see to it that it is more than 100% free and will maximize that as much as possible.

    /Paid for by CR for Internet Freedom Czar 2013. CR approves of this message.

  7. osmosis says

    What they’re demanding is not free speech. They already have freedom of speech inasmuch anyone else does; what they’re actually demanding is free platform.
    They’re trying to say that everyone with a soapbox has to share their soapbox with them. We’re supposed to provide them with free air time, not free speech.

  8. Muz says

    #5 ChasCPetersen
    That’s TheTruePooka for you. There’s a lot of people, the ftb crowd significantly, who are painted as angry and arrogant but when you see them actually speak for themselves, they’re a pretty mild, discursive bunch. Some people are the opposite. Most of the time I think I’d be less annoyed if I was just reading Pooka instead of watching him.

    Anyway, generally, it will be interesting if they can keep this discussion on track to somewhere interesting instead of it being ever more lengthy rhetoric on “Free open fora everywhere, just because, and if you don’t you’re bad (psst, PZ, you’re bad)”

    Sociologically speaking (which is completely unhelpful to the discussion really, but anyway) I’m intrigued how the whole trolling/freezpeach question has ouroboroused itself to the point that trolling is a kind of activism to demonstrate/exercise/reinforce free speech to some people. “I believe so fervently in the absoluteness of free expression, that your attempts to curtail any sort of anti social expression make me want to punish you with some tailor made internet harassment”. Which has got to be the most convenient bit of slacktivism ever.

  9. vaiyt says

    Trolling, I think, comes from the same mentality as prank calls. I have somebody’s ear, they don’t know who I am and I don’t care about them. So let’s rope them in to waste their time and get some jollies in the process.

  10. says

    For me personally, trolling is annoying and a minor impediment to maintaining constructive discussions. However, I am curtailing and have been curtailing my speech on the internet because I fear that one of these trolls will figure out my real name–one of them already has–and use it to try to interfere with my offline life. I.e. get me in trouble at my job, get me fired, harass me, my family, or my friends, that sort of thing. I can’t really think of any way to deal with this except a.) I continue to chill my speech and either not post or avoid certain topics or b.) I go ahead and write what I want to write and then take the risk that a real life stalker materializes and then try to get law enforcement to help me out, but law enforcement is pretty useless when it comes to this sort of thing.

    Not an ideal situation.

  11. says

    The problem with trolls, as classically defined, is not that they are harassers and stalkers, but that they give cover to harassers and stalkers. When you have 50 people posting offensive sexist slurs, and 1 of those 50 has real intentions to find out your real name and “track you down and rape you”, as one commenter chez Thunderf00t offered to do, it’s near impossible to sort the ones worth worrying about from the inconsequential immaturity.

    We need to make it unacceptable for the insincere ones to get away with weaseling out of this consequence by claiming that it wasn’t their intent. Which means publicizing the problem so much that it’s impossible to be on the internet for any significant period of time and remain ignorant about it.

  12. terminus says

    I merely echo what glodson said @4:

    Troll – someone who is, clearly, not trying to advance the discussion (pro or con). They use subversive comments to dehumanize, provoke or insult people and their ideas, without fear of incrimination/consequences.

    Free Speech on the Internet – online speech should not be regulated by the government – as we have come to expect in terms of racial, sexual and gender discrimination.

    Who Should be Behind Limiting Speech – the owner/producer of the blog. Those “who simply want to see the world burn” should accept consequences or comment elsewhere (free-market commenting)

  13. barfy says

    I just saw a documentary called “The Gatekeepers” that interviewed the many of the previous heads of the Israeli Shin Bet -Israel’s version of a Black Ops CIA anti-terrorist organization. One particularly enlightening comment was when a former head said, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”
    The point being, it can be a matter of perspective.
    I have noticed the same phenomenon when it comes to the term ‘troll.’
    The reason, I believe, is why we’re even having this discussion is because of the imprecise way that this term is used to smear and belittle comments on this very blog. Too often, it has been used simply to mean somebody who doesn’t ‘get it’ or worse, somebody who simply disagrees. This comes from a desire in a group setting – such as this blog – of mostly like-minded individuals wanting to maintain a vibe that they feel they have created in the comment thread, and the ‘troll’ begins to play off key.
    As an aside, that’s also why I despise the use of the term ‘fuckwit.’ Not because I’m offended, but because it’s meaningless name-calling. “I’m a fuckwit. Well, it takes one to know one. Nanny-nanny poo-poo.” And yes, I’ve been guilty, myself.
    The bottom line, is that the term ‘troll’ needs as precise a definition as possible. And that misuse of the term should be condemned by the commenters with as much opprobrium as an actual troll.
    As for destroying the vibe of a thread – fuck that shit all to hell. This is Freethought Blogs. Before you criticize a comment, you need to self-check and make sure that what you call a ‘de-rail’ is actually an attempt to fuck up the comments, and not an elucidation of a point that you simply disagree with.
    I feel that the fairest criticism of the Freethought Blog community is the hardcore enforcement of a liberal ideology that, despite what you think, is rife for criticism. If you don’t like that criticism, and point to a masthead that says “liberal” in the title, then call yourself the “Liberal Atheist Blog.”

    The truth is that when an atheist wants to break up an invocation prayer at a football game, we are the trolls that purposefully derail the ecstatic self-satisfaction that the shared spirituality and sense of community that’s running down the tracks of smugness.
    Fuck smug.
    One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

  14. glodson says

    We need to make it unacceptable for the insincere ones to get away with weaseling out of this consequence by claiming that it wasn’t their intent. Which means publicizing the problem so much that it’s impossible to be on the internet for any significant period of time and remain ignorant about it.

    That’s the thing with intent. We have no way of knowing what a person’s intent really is. We can just see what their actions are. And there does seem to be a sliding scale of trolling. There are some trolls that simply act out for attention. Once they stop getting attention, they go away. There’s some that have an insane and obsessive bent, and they will not stop crowing until you make them go away, either by banning or a thorough humiliation. Ignoring them just makes them, at least from what I’ve seen, believe they are winning. And that comes down to their intent.

    Because I cannot tell what someone’s intent is behind posting a message, treating the troll like a harmless prankster doesn’t make sense. And there’s another wrinkle, the trolls have an effect on the audience. Many people lurk. Some might read the poor arguments of the troll, see them go unaddressed, and assume that the troll might have a point. Or worse, the trolls who are just trying to fuck up a discussion do legitimize the threatening behavior you speak of.

    That’s why I agree what trolls should be dealt with, and not assumed to be merely fucking around.

  15. Pteryxx says

    The harassment mobs aren’t simply trolls looking for attention from the targets, as is usually assumed. They get attention and praise from their own communities by joining in the hate spew against common targets. Anita Sarkeesian distinguishes this from the old-fashioned view of trolling by naming it a cyber-mob. That’s why ‘ignore the trolls’ doesn’t work; it doesn’t deny them much if any reinforcement. Surly Amy even said from her own experience that going quiet wasn’t effective.

    From commenter Ham at Zvan’s: (emphasis mine)

    To add on to Oolon’s post at 26, here are a few more searches:

    site:slymepit.com
    “myers” -> 110K hits
    “benson” -> 65K hits

    “skepticism” -> 70K hits
    “atheism” -> 93K hits (Hmm, I’m noticing a trend with the results this brings up. Let’s try…)
    “atheism” -“atheism plus” -> 57K hits

    The funniest part of this: They have a forum called “Freethought, Atheism, Skepticism and Science” and this forum title shows up at the top of every message posted there so every single post on this forum shows up in the search results. Despite this, “Skepchick” and “Myers” still manage to score more hits. How? Because the “ranting about FTB and Skepchick” thread has over fifty times the number of posts as the entire “Freethought, Atheism, Skepticism and Science” board. This board has had four posts in the last two days. The rant thread has had 670.

    Comment from: http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/01/30/terms/

    Transcript of Sarkeesian’s TEDx talk: link

    Jason Thibeault commenting on it here: link

    This talk by Anita Sarkeesian at the TEDxWomen 2012 event was posted with its ratings and comments disabled. While ordinarily I would consider that the mark of an attempt to stifle debate, this was done because she is the target of an ongoing hate campaign because she’s a woman talking about sexism in a traditionally male-dominated territory: video games.

    Zvan: Why “Don’t Feed the Trolls” Is Bad Science

    Surly Amy: Will There Be More Surly Grants

  16. Pteryxx says

    hmm, I hit the five-link barrier.

    The harassment mobs aren’t simply trolls looking for attention from the targets, as is usually assumed. They get attention and praise from their own communities by joining in the hate spew against common targets. Anita Sarkeesian distinguishes this from the old-fashioned view of trolling by naming it a cyber-mob. That’s why ‘ignore the trolls’ doesn’t work; it doesn’t deny them reinforcement. Surly Amy even said from her own experience that going quiet wasn’t effective.

    From commenter Ham at Zvan’s: (emphasis mine)

    To add on to Oolon’s post at 26, here are a few more searches:

    site:slymepit.com
    “myers” -> 110K hits
    “benson” -> 65K hits

    “skepticism” -> 70K hits
    “atheism” -> 93K hits (Hmm, I’m noticing a trend with the results this brings up. Let’s try…)
    “atheism” -“atheism plus” -> 57K hits

    The funniest part of this: They have a forum called “Freethought, Atheism, Skepticism and Science” and this forum title shows up at the top of every message posted there so every single post on this forum shows up in the search results. Despite this, “Skepchick” and “Myers” still manage to score more hits. How? Because the “ranting about FTB and Skepchick” thread has over fifty times the number of posts as the entire “Freethought, Atheism, Skepticism and Science” board. This board has had four posts in the last two days. The rant thread has had 670.

    Comment from: http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/01/30/terms/

    Transcript of Sarkeesian’s TEDx talk: link

    Jason Thibeault commenting on it here: link

    This talk by Anita Sarkeesian at the TEDxWomen 2012 event was posted with its ratings and comments disabled. While ordinarily I would consider that the mark of an attempt to stifle debate, this was done because she is the target of an ongoing hate campaign because she’s a woman talking about sexism in a traditionally male-dominated territory: video games.

  17. Pteryxx says

    hmm, attempting to repost:

    The harassment mobs aren’t simply trolls looking for attention from the targets, as is usually assumed. They get attention and praise from their own communities by joining in the hate spew against common targets. Anita Sarkeesian distinguishes this from the old-fashioned view of trolling by naming it a cyber-mob. That’s why ‘ignore the trolls’ doesn’t work; it doesn’t deny them reinforcement. Surly Amy even said from her own experience that going quiet wasn’t effective.

    From commenter Ham at Zvan’s: (emphasis mine)

    To add on to Oolon’s post at 26, here are a few more searches:

    site:sl*mepit.com [my edit; it’s unedited in the original]
    “myers” -> 110K hits
    “benson” -> 65K hits

    “skepticism” -> 70K hits
    “atheism” -> 93K hits (Hmm, I’m noticing a trend with the results this brings up. Let’s try…)
    “atheism” -“atheism plus” -> 57K hits

    The funniest part of this: They have a forum called “Freethought, Atheism, Skepticism and Science” and this forum title shows up at the top of every message posted there so every single post on this forum shows up in the search results. Despite this, “Skepchick” and “Myers” still manage to score more hits. How? Because the “ranting about FTB and Skepchick” thread has over fifty times the number of posts as the entire “Freethought, Atheism, Skepticism and Science” board. This board has had four posts in the last two days. The rant thread has had 670.

    Comment from: http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/01/30/terms/

    Transcript of Sarkeesian’s TEDx talk: link

    Jason Thibeault commenting on it here: link (emphasis mine)

    This talk by Anita Sarkeesian at the TEDxWomen 2012 event was posted with its ratings and comments disabled. While ordinarily I would consider that the mark of an attempt to stifle debate, this was done because she is the target of an ongoing hate campaign because she’s a woman talking about sexism in a traditionally male-dominated territory: video games.

    Zvan: Why “Don’t Feed the Trolls” Is Bad Science

    Surly Amy: Will There Be More Surly Grants

  18. Sastra says

    The term “troll” has evolved over time and today I see it being applied to anyone who is being persistently annoying (by someone’s standards, at any rate.). But originally, it was supposed to convey both insincerity and the desire to get a rise out of someone, anyone. The image to hold in mind is not that of a troll lying in wait under a bridge, but of someone fishing, trolling — slowly trailing a baited line and trying to get a bite. “Gee, sure hope there aren’t any God-hating feminazis hanging around in here…”

    A troll pretends to be someone they’re not and/or pretends to care about some issue they don’t care about or hold a position they don’t really hold. They don’t have to be a liar; they might just be a bullshitter, not caring about the truth one way or the other.

    The interesting thing is that trolls don’t necessarily derail a good discussion. Sometimes they actually provoke a good discussion. And sometimes that’s even their intention. “It’s been dull around here. Think I’ll pretend to be an outraged Catholic and see what these yahoos can do with Thomistic apologetics.” The outcome is capable of transcending the low nature of the source.

    So it’s not always a bad idea to let trolls hang around. And, of course, it can be very hard to tell a good troll apart from someone who passionately does care and means every word they put down. When that happens, I don’t technically consider them to be trolls anymore … but others do. Semantics.

  19. timothya1956 says

    There are occasions when the ideas contributed in blog comments (or indeed in an original post) are so poorly formed that irony and ridicule are the only sensible responses.

    Were I to comment in that fashion in such a thread, I would almost certainly be seen as a troll. But that is life, you can’t derail an intellectual train wreck.

  20. Ogvorbis says

    How free is our speech on the internet and how free should we expect it to be?

    Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from being called an asshole when you use your freedom of speech to defend the use of gendered insults. Or sexist, ablist, ageist, racist, etc. insults. For some reason, some have this weird idea that freedom of speech means that no one is allowed to complain in any way shape or form. So, for me, I expect free speech to be free in all directions, including pointing out egregious douchebaggery.

  21. says

    I feel that the fairest criticism of the Freethought Blog community is the hardcore enforcement of a liberal ideology that, despite what you think, is rife for criticism. If you don’t like that criticism, and point to a masthead that says “liberal” in the title, then call yourself the “Liberal Atheist Blog.”

    I think you mean ripe for criticism.

    Oddly, I find that the most accurate criticism of “liberal ideology” comes from other liberals as well as socialists, Marxists, and other lefties. From conservatives all we get are anti-science tirades, denialism, and complaints that there’s “hardcore enforcement of liberal ideology.”

    If that’s the most fair criticism there is then I guess that means there’s not a whole lot to criticize FTB about. Someone alert the #FTBullies.

  22. =8)-DX says

    #4 glodson No one is under an obligation to repeat my opinion or allow it to be presented in their spaces. Like every other medium out there. A radio station can ignore my calls, a newspaper can just throw my letters away, the TV station doesn’t need to put me on air. And so on.

    I think this is one of the major misunderstandings when these issues come up. The idea is not that one should be legally required to provide a platform for others, or socially pressured into it either. The idea is that forums that are open to discuss and provide feedback to online content are a good thing and that arbitrarily blocking and banning people for their disagreeing opinions is a generally bad thing. That a rejection of discussion is often a sign of intellectual weakness (creationist channels/blogs where either all comments are blocked or any opinion on the side of evolution is deleted). And finally that insular groups which do not allow criticism uphold a false sense of unchallenged truth (GOP information bubble?) And lastly I’d say many underprivileged groups have experienced first-hand what radio stations not taking calls, throwing letters away and TV stations not giving air time does to your ability to voice your problems and concerns.

    Essentially it’s a moral argument, not a legal one, it’s about an approach, it’s about the strange new ideals the internet has brought, content sharing and constant global availability, personal anonymity, and a kind of idealistic pursuit of freedom of information and creation of that information.

    OK, so much of this stuff is just defending the right of “assholes to be assholes” online, and I pretty much agree with PZ on most of his ideas on the topic (despite YT not being his thing), but I don’t think it was ever the argument that there is any legal obligation to do this (it’s not about the US 1st ammendment).

  23. glodson says

    @ 25

    That’s the idea of Free Speech. It is a legal notion. No one is under any moral obligation to allow people to post anything under a blog. And it is up to the audience to judge who is acting with intellectual dishonesty, and who is taking measures to allow for the exchange of ideas by people engaging good faith arguments.

    People often have to work to get banned around here. Those crying out for free speech seem to believe they have the right to have their opinions expressed in the manner of their pleasing on another’s blog, or forum. That’s not the case. That’s never been the case. We can see who really is trying to be a dissenting voice and see who is throwing a tantrum over their inability to engage people based on the rules of the community and we can see people who arbitrarily apply the standards of their community to censor dissent.

    What I’m saying is that people who cry that it is Free Speech are using it as a shorthand method to say that they have some right to have their voices heard on any internet channel available without regards to the standards of the community. It would be one thing if people had limits on how they created their own blogs. But there aren’t. They are free to create any blog or forum they want. The problem is that we don’t care, by and large, and so we don’t go there. They have the right to say what they will, they just can’t expect people to listen, and they can’t expect people who find what they say rephrensible to accept that behavior here.

    In many ways, this Free Speech idea used by many a troll is much like the Christian Persecution idea here in the US. When we apply a community standard, they cry “Free Speech” much the same way the Christians cry “Freedom of Religion” when people apply the laws to them. It is a deceptive tactic meant to turn the tables so that the offending party can play martyr when they have no right to be treated as such.

  24. Pteryxx says

    Relevant, from Zvan’s latest: (emphasis mine)

    So they have blogs and YouTube and podcasts, but they still feel that leaving the slime pit is an unacceptably large price to pay for the time and attention they keep demanding from me. So what is it they’re unwilling to give up? What don’t they get at the rest of those places? Don’t keep reading unless you really want to know.

    The appeal of the pit, I’m told repeatedly is that it isn’t moderated in any way. It’s a bastion of the most free of free speech. In practical terms, that means that people there get to add value to the great debates of our times by calling me:

    Link NSFW

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/02/02/what-is-more-important-than-peace-nsfw/

  25. glodson says

    @28

    I couldn’t get through that post. And it makes the point that I’ve been trying, and likely failing, to make. That isn’t really free speech, it is just using the unmoderated space as a place where the Heckler’s Veto runs rampant. It isn’t intended to add anything of value, but make it a place where shocking content can supplant reason.

    That, at least, was what I got out of the posting.

  26. archangelmikes says

    do a search on ytube for skepticality

    it is the video about the pigs

    you represent the complete alienation of thought from action

  27. says

    Yeah can I just use the contents of that post as my definition of trolling?…

    OT

    Was on the video’s youtube comment section looking to see if there was a link to the live stream (can’t find it probably skip it) but I did notice a Dave Mabus in the comments section….

  28. =8)-DX says

    #27 glodson
    I understand that position – freedom of speech is not some overarching cart-blanche to force people to listen to anyone who has an opinion (like assholes, everyone has them, but unlike dogs, making me sniff yours isn’t just another way of saying hello). And of course its a legal issue. But the discussion here is specifically about freedom of expression in internet spaces and this is broader than just what the law specifies in various countries.

    >> “And it is up to the audience to judge who is acting with intellectual dishonesty, and who is taking measures to allow for the exchange of ideas by people engaging good faith arguments.”

    Yes, and many of those you’re grouping as those “who cry that it is Free Speech”, consider blocking dissenting users, closing comments/ratings on YouTube, ignoring rational counterarguments, (and I guess you’d agree, filing false DMCAs, false flagging content, posting docs, etc.) as kind of red flags for the intellectual honesty of a content producer or anyone making a rational argument. These are the staple tactics of creationists, woo-mongers, religious fundies and other intellectually dishonest people on YouTube.

    Another point to be made is that the legal definition of free speech is currently too restrictive, because the internet has shown laws governing copyright to be obsolete and harmful to creativity – from bootlegging to software piracy, these laws just aren’t enforcable and many are based on outmoded business models. The internet is a different kind of medium and many of the same policies and practices that corporations and media outlets and governments use to attempt to control the spread of information, just aren’t relevant any more, and people associate behaviours such as censorship, blocking comments/content, using legal action against individuals who use that information online.

    Hopfully the discussion will actually be about trolling though. I’ve not got through to the feed yet..

  29. archangelmikes says

    free speech is tolerated because it has NO EFFECT… when it does, you go to PRISON, like me

    do a search on ytube for skepticality

    it is the video about the pigs

    you represent the complete alienation of thought from action

  30. glodson says

    @ 35

    I did mention Youtube, in particular, in my first posting on this where the notion of free speech is abused. I do not believe anyone should have an expectation that people will allow them the full range of posting on a blog, or even in a forum owned by a third party. It is disgusting when a person outright bans, or edits posting of, commenters who dissent. If you are going to do that, just don’t let people post. But that is more an issue with the intellectual honesty of the blogger rather than free speech. The filing of false DMCA’s was something I thought of, and did a tangential mention of. That I really should have expanded on, as that is more directly abridging the Free Speech rights of an individual in a way that goes into the legal territory.

    In many ways, the commenting of people on blogs and in forums and the other community driven parts of the internet is a small part of the conversation of Free Speech. And it is hijacked by those who believe we are entitled to whatever hateful things they have to say and it does take attention from areas where it is much more important, such as the ideas of Fair Use, and the abuses we see by people who want to silence criticism. Not by banning a poster on their blog, but by trying to remove the voice of those who dissent. Hell, the SOPA/PIPA issues from last year are more about that than the more recent discussions had on this issue at this blog.

  31. oldmrbear says

    Sastra, I appreciate your analysis. I still tend to associate an internet troll with with long lines and baited hooks. Definitions evolve quicker than my mind can grasp sometimes.

  32. says

    Track down Science Friday on NPR yesterday, February 1, 2013. Bora is one of the guests.

    There was a woman on who wrote a paper on research she’d conducted that shows that rude comments make people dislike the content of stuff in the main article. So uncensored, rude comments of no particular relevance, can sabotage content.

    There was a good discussion with three bloggers, including Bora, over what moderation is, how it works, and whether a good blog can get by with no comments at all.

    You may want that study.

  33. says

    Umm… skeptic heretic on the left, c0nc0rdance is the black box I think, True pooka and then pz on the right. Umm they’re all youtube vloggers, ummm yeah that’s about all I got on them…

    Watched bits of it around working on supper can’t say it left a big impression on me. Part of me wants to crack some joke about how homogeneous the participants in this conversation seem for some of the talk of free market place of ideas, open boarders and all that.

  34. Aerik says

    Ah, c0nc0rdance. Isn’t he the one that vehemently insisted on twitter that people don’t have the right to not listen to others? That plugging your ears or going somewhere else is oppressing the poor bullies? That people have a right to come into your private property and rant in your face? Yeah, I remember that.

    Seriously, these anti-A+ morons actually argue that A+ is oppressing people, silencing them in fact, by not inviting them to a club.

    PZ, this should be just like debating creationists. Don’t do it. People who haven’t reasoned themselves into positions don’t deserve debate. Especially when their position is defense of bigotry and harassment, things fundamentally antithetical to debate.

  35. jacklewis says

    I assume concordance is the guy with this youtube channel:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/conc0rdance

    There’s some good videos there.

    “Isn’t he the one that vehemently insisted on twitter that people don’t have the right to not listen to others?”
    Would be a pretty silly thing to say if he did… got links?

  36. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    There’s some good videos there.

    Oxymoron. there is no such thing as good videos. Only some less obnoxious OPINIONATED fools than others.

  37. carlie says

    The image to hold in mind is not that of a troll lying in wait under a bridge, but of someone fishing, trolling — slowly trailing a baited line and trying to get a bite.

    *headdesk*

    Oh, yeah. I had that definition, but had never grasped its etymological connections. D’oh.

  38. says

    Elsewhere, I’ve seen it mentioned that it’s interesting that just now a whole lot of people (more or less obviously insincerely) want to offer olive branches by way of invitations to debates, Google hangouts, or podcasts proposing a ‘rapprochement’ or a ‘reconciliation’ between people who on the one hand have repeatedly stated they want to be left alone, and on the other, people who want an environment with no anti-harassment strictures, and who have been openly finding new and inventive ways of harassing and attacking the other group of people. Evenly matched positions, do you think? This seems like false equivalency to me.

  39. smhll says

    1. While many parts of internet communication are ‘scalable’, none of our brains are. That includes PZ. (No offense intended.)

    2. The description of having a building with microphones on the inside and loudspeakers outside fits a Youtube channel *better* than it fits FtBlogs. Because, in addition to the carefully written posts here, there is often thoughtful discussion to follow. I appreciate that repetitive disruption gets sat on a bit so that major substantive discussion can happen. There were 1000 posts on this discussion on Youtube at the time that I clicked over to look. I can’t imagine very many people want to read them all. It’s not what I would consider and interactive discussion.

    3. In the so-called marketplace of ideas, the “coin” that is spent is time not money. Reddit’s upvote and downvote mechanism helps one avoid dreck. I’d love to have a better dreck filter — and more self-control so I don’t click on stuff.

    (And props to =8, I can’t spell the whole name. I appreciate that you made clear and logical points up above, even it they are opposite to my position. Your posts were worth my time. The Google hangout was worth my time, minus the time lost to technical difficulties. I’m very unlikely to skim several hundred Youtube comments again any time soon. My hastily informed opinion is that they are near worthless. Are they meant like t-shirts? To be proclamations or affirmations, not necessarily interesting?)

    (Am vaguely curious when/where/why C0nc0rdance got called “a misogynist”. The people who complain about this appelation are batting about 0.100 on actually linking to a source.)

  40. John Morales says

    smhll:

    I’d love to have a better dreck filter — and more self-control so I don’t click on stuff.

    Only a problem where the signal-to-noise level is very low.

    (In which case, what the hey are you even doing there?)

  41. jacklewis says

    “Oxymoron. there is no such thing as good videos.”
    If that ain’t trolling, what is?

    “Only some less obnoxious OPINIONATED fools than others.”
    One must be a fool to be opinionated… I do actually agree with that one, especially when the opinion is that there are no such things as good videos. I can always rely on nerdy troll for entertainment.

  42. John Morales says

    [OT + meta]

    jacklewis, I grant that Nerd is wrong about the oxymoron claim, since whether or not “good videos” exist, the two terms are not contradictory.

    He’s basically telling you that their being good is a matter of opinion, but I admit it’s a bit incoherent.

  43. John Morales says

    Hm. Here is my transcript of a portion of the talk from concordance (with speech mannerisms mostly filtered out) by conc0rdance:

    — Begin transcript —

    Let’s take some analogies from other times, pre-internet.
    Where trolling, for example, might’ve been someone standing on a street-corner, shouting at people: “the world is ending!” That person has (as PZ would say) nothing to say.
    But whatever they have to say is so important to them that they’re willing to stand on the street-corner and be ridiculed. If we said “People aren’t allowed to stay in front of my business and shout at me that my business practices are unethical” or if we were to say pre-internet strikers or people with picket signs or protesters; these people they say have nothing to say – it gives us an excuse to dismiss what it is that they’re trying to do.
    They’re trying to get someone’s attention.
    They’re trying to get themselves heard

    The [furthermost?] people, I suspect are a much smaller element than people would assume. I think in many cases — and PZ I can direct this sort of directly at you — it is a sense of “No one is listening to my side, I want someone within the Pharyngula community to listen to what I have to say” [topic of?].
    And you can say that they can go to their own forums and talk — and they do — but at that point they feel that they have no way of reaching anyone within your circle, and they do what people have done throughout time. Which is to do something to get attention.
    Whether they resort to productive or unproductive activities, healthy or unhealthy activities is a matter of their own personal choice and background.

  44. vargonian says

    The problem with PZ’s claims that his definition of “troll” hasn’t changed is that it’s not consistent with his actions. For example, he called Thunderf00t a troll, despite the fact that Thunderf00t made coherent, thoughtful arguments. To put him in the same category as those who merely shout racial slurs, etc., is patently absurd.

  45. John Morales says

    vargonian,

    The problem with PZ’s claims that his definition of “troll” hasn’t changed is that it’s not consistent with his actions.

    How so?

    For example, he called Thunderf00t a troll, despite the fact that Thunderf00t made coherent, thoughtful arguments.

    I saw the posts in question, but not the purported coherent, thoughtful arguments.

    (I think you’re imagining things)

    To put him in the same category as those who merely shout racial slurs, etc., is patently absurd.

    There are many categories of troll, that much is true.

  46. says

    …despite the fact that Thunderf00t made coherent, thoughtful arguments.

    When and where did that happen? He got in four posts on FtB and successfully avoided doing so. Bits of video I saw later weren’t even trying.

  47. vargonian says

    See, the thing about inviting differing opinions as that sometimes, you may not agree with everyone. You may think that Thunderf00t didn’t have a cogent argument. You may think his points were weak. But regardless of whether or not he succeeded in convincing you, he made a case. And there’s no denying that he gave it plenty of thought; it wasn’t just a mindless rant. He wasn’t purely trying to get a rise out of people. Specifically, he made a case that tacking on all sorts of extraneous goals to skeptical advocacy weakens the cause. Maybe he’s completely wrong. Maybe it strengthens the cause. But this doesn’t make him a troll.

    By the way, what in the world does this have to do with the MRA?

  48. ck says

    I think his points involved either outright lies or gross misrepresentations. Not to mention, his writing was atrocious while at FtB.

    Note: this is not a complete list of his faults.

  49. John Morales says

    vargonian,

    Specifically, he made a case that tacking on all sorts of extraneous goals to skeptical advocacy weakens the cause.

    So, is discussing who is fit to be a skeptical advocate an extraneous goal or not? ;)

    PS around here, “The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit, Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

  50. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    he made a case.

    Nope. Voicing an OPINION is never making a case. Showing the evidence to back up said opinon is required. He never made the case.

  51. vargonian says

    I agree that his writing was pretty atrocious, and his word/point ratio was poor, but he wasn’t trolling. He wasn’t merely trying to get a reaction from people. It’s clear that he truly believed what he was writing, and (at least as far as his videos are concerned) he put plenty of effort into getting his message across. His points were clear: (According to him) Attendance of women at these conference may be negatively affected by making the sexual harassment at these conferences sound worse than it is; and prominently posting an anti-sexual harassment policy (again, according to him) may have this negative effect.

    He could be completely full of it. That statement might be totally wrong. But it’s not trolling.

    Not surprisingly, this received quite a reaction from people, many jumping to the conclusion that Thunderf00t is a misogynist. PZ had quite a response, to which Thunderf00t replied, pointing out many alleged strawmen that PZ raised. And frankly, in my humble opinion, he actually had a point. PZ did paint Thunderf00t’s position inaccurately.

    Again, here we have a disagreement between two people. Maybe Thunderf00t could have just dropped the issue and moved on. Maybe his writing style was sloppy. But I can’t see how any reasonable person could call this “trolling”. He was responding, quoting PZ and responding point-by-point. How often do you see trolls so carefully address another’s argument in this way?

  52. vargonian says

    Whether or not you agree with it, he, at the very least, employed reasoning. Maybe it was weak; maybe it was merely anecdotal. (For example, from his post: “I’ve heard talks at such conferences (from prominent activists in the community) that literally suggest that to merely turn up at such talks will get you rape threats etc etc.”) He reasons that creating this type of environment will lead women to be more fearful to be a part of these conferences. He didn’t cite studies, he didn’t show charts and graphs. But he made a reasoned point, and, to my point, this is not the same as trolling.

  53. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    He wasn’t merely trying to get a reaction from people.

    That’s trolling.

    That statement might be totally wrong. But it’s not trolling.

    If the statement is factually wrong, it is trolling. Checking your facts is required.

    many jumping to the conclusion that Thunderf00t is a misogynist.

    Which has been confirmed with later posts/videos. Your point is?

    here we have a disagreement between two people.

    No, we have person acting as a vocal unevidence jackass, and people with facts disagreeing with their jackassery. What is your excuse for not seeing that?

  54. Galactic Fork says

    Something I’ve seen is that rather than trying to be heard, a lot of those that people call trolls are actively trying to silence others. They are abusive and derailing, so the next time the subject comes up, you’ll be worried the same thing will happen again. And of course it does, so after that it becomes a question on whether your desire to talk about something is higher than your desire to have to deal with the abuse. Then others see this and they also don’t want to put themselves out there. So the silencing works.

    And of course people then just write that off as trolling. And you should grow a thicker skin, etc. But, I don’t know, it seems there are just so many conflicting definitions of “trolling” that it starts to lose meaning.

    –I give up, how the heck do you add spacing between paragraphs? Normal HTML isn’t working and I don’t see a paragraph option in the little tag reference below the comment field.

  55. says

    Thanks michaeld. I looked at their youtube channels to try and get an idea of what these people are like… ‘conc0rdance’ has not produced anything new in two whole years on youtube. I found a blog for ‘c0nc0rdance’ (with two zeros!) but nothing new there since mid-August 2012. A quick glance at a video or two and nothing much stood out. I don’t do twitter much so I don’t know about that.

    ‘theskepticalheretic’ youtube channel was a whole other thing. Most recent video is a week old. I find his presentation style so annoying that it was difficult for me to watch any of his videos in full length.

    ‘truepooka’ actually seems a little interesting.

    Otherwise… who the hell are these guys and why would anyone care what they have to say about free speech (or frozen peaches)?

  56. John Morales says

    vargonian:

    I agree that his writing was pretty atrocious, and his word/point ratio was poor, but he wasn’t trolling.

    Well, not at first, no.

    (He merely had delusions of competence about this issue, and thought to pontificate about it)

    But he made a reasoned point, and, to my point, this is not the same as trolling.

    I don’t dispute that, to you, it isn’t. But then, not everyone is so simple-minded that they imagine trolling cannot possibly involve a reasoned point (whether or not such is totally wrong).

  57. vargonian says

    That’s trolling.

    How is “not merely trying to get a reaction out of people” trolling? That seems to be the opposite definition.

    If the statement is factually wrong, it is trolling.

    Your definition of trolling is an extreme outlier, then. Sometimes people are wrong. Sometimes people get their facts wrong. Sometimes people argue from reasoning that turns out to have missed some key assumptions. Do you realize how much gets included in your “trolling” category, by your definition? By your logic, anyone who makes the mistake of stating something factually incorrect is a troll. Sometimes there are no facts to check; sometimes you can only rely on reasoning. And that’s okay, especially if you’re merely stating an opinion.

    Which has been confirmed with later posts/videos.

    I’m sorry, but if you’re going to make a statement like this, you’re going to have to back it up.

    No, we have person acting as a vocal unevidence jackass

    Did you read that link? He was pointing out valid faults with PZ’s comments. PZ was indeed misrepresenting Thunderf00t’s position. Maybe Thunderf00t was emotional, and maybe he was long-winded. Seriously, his writing style needs work, nobody’s denying that. But this doesn’t make him a troll.

  58. vargonian says

    But then, not everyone is so simple-minded that they imagine trolling cannot possibly involve a reasoned point (whether or not such is totally wrong).

    To go down this road is to include so much in the definition of “trolling” that it completely dilutes its meaning. This is precisely why the YouTube discussion today started off with that as a key objective (defining “trolling”, that is). If someone were to accuse Thunderf00t of being a troll in this case, they’d have to provide a viable definition which didn’t completely shatter any meaningful definition of the word.

  59. says

    I’m someone who is fairly indiscriminate about using the word troll to describe various people, mainly because there isn’t a clinically precise definition which will cover all situations and all people who engage in negative, assholish behaviour which can be reasonably called trollish. (And no, we’re not talking about the verbal definition that is similar to taking a stroll.)

    For this reason, I give zero fucks whatsoever about whether PZ or anyone else offered a definition of what a troll is. ‘If I see a troll, I’ll call it one’ is good enough for me, and anyone wanting further precision can suit themselves without further comment from me. Dictionary prescriptivists can piss off.

  60. says

    the fact that Thunderf00t made coherent, thoughtful arguments.

    In what universe is spitting rhetoric considered to be coherent, thoughtful argument? If there are two adjectives which do not describe Tfoot in any way, coherent and thoughtful would be the ones.

  61. vargonian says

    Something I’ve seen is that rather than trying to be heard, a lot of those that people call trolls are actively trying to silence others. They are abusive and derailing, so the next time the subject comes up, you’ll be worried the same thing will happen again.

    This is a tactic I’ve seen a lot of–though mostly by those who accuse others of being trolls. Having an itchy trigger finger, ready to drop accusations of “bigot”, “misogynist”, “troll”, etc. is an effective way to silence dissenting opinions. When you have a community of people ready to pull this trigger, you create an environment in which people are afraid to disagree. If you’ve seen some of the earlier Freethought Blogs podcasts, you’ll notice this pretty clearly. Whenever someone speaks out of turn, the rest of the group is quick to attack, causing them to awkwardly back peddle until they’ve “fallen back in line”, so to speak. I find it really uncomfortable to watch.

    The feminism issue has really brought this to light as well. In fact, I’m fearful even to mention this, because so often this gets me lumped into the same category as sexual harassers or worse. There’s no room for mitigated opinions; if there is any dissent, it gets you lumped in with “them”. If you get to the point at which you’re having a feud with someone as uncontroversial as Michael Shermer, you’ve got to do some serious introspection.

  62. vargonian says

    In what universe is spitting rhetoric considered to be coherent, thoughtful argument?

    Again, he made reasoned arguments. Maybe you don’t agree with his reasoning. For example, maybe you don’t agree that creating an explicit anti-sexual harassment policy might scare women away from your conference (personally, I don’t see that it would make a big difference one way or the other). Maybe you don’t agree that female speakers at these conferences have made the problem out to be scarier than it is, and/or that this would scare more women away from attending. That’s fine. Maybe Thunderf00t is completely wrong here. But this is not the same as trolling.

  63. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    There’s no room for mitigated opinions; if there is any dissent, it gets you lumped in with “them”.

    Anybody can express an opinion. If you want us not to *floosh* send your opinion to the toxic waste treatement plant, back it up with evidence. And that has been the bane of the misogynist segment. They produce nothing but OPINION. Makes anything they say worthless.

    Again, he made reasoned arguments.

    No, reasoned arguments require evidence. He had no evidence. You have no evidence either. You appear to not understand the concept.

  64. ck says

    If you get to the point at which you’re having a feud with someone as uncontroversial as Michael Shermer, you’ve got to do some serious introspection.

    So, you think the fact he implied (intentionally or not) that being intellectually active and involved in atheism advocacy was more of a guy thing is uncontroversial? He could’ve pretty much avoided the whole thing by apologising. He could’ve even said he misspoke and clarified what he really wanted to say. Or are you referring to his libertarian advocacy? That’s not uncontroversial either.

  65. anteprepro says

    Having an itchy trigger finger, ready to drop accusations of “bigot”, “misogynist”, “troll”, etc. is an effective way to silence dissenting opinions. When you have a community of people ready to pull this trigger, you create an environment in which people are afraid to disagree….The feminism issue has really brought this to light as well. In fact, I’m fearful even to mention this, because so often this gets me lumped into the same category as sexual harassers or worse. There’s no room for mitigated opinions; if there is any dissent, it gets you lumped in with “them”. If you get to the point at which you’re having a feud with someone as uncontroversial as Michael Shermer, you’ve got to do some serious introspection.

    BAAAAAW. Somebody get the world’s smallest violin playing as soon as possible, before the sound of exasperation prompts outcries of WITCH HUNT from our the bringer of this completely novel argument.

    Here’s a protip in the meantime, while you regain breath for another educational lecture, professor: Maybe you should actually look at the thing that we are “feuding” over instead of looking at the person we are feuding with. Because, ya know, compartmentalization and all. Some people are nice and smart in most ways but have a blindspot, make a slip up, etc. If you are going to say that we are wrong about the issue that Shermer has doubled/quadrupled down on, make that argument. If you can’t, your insinuation is disingenuous. And completely fucking typical. If you can make it, I am sure it has the possibility of at being infinitely more entertaining and novel than the thousandth iteration of “feminists be hysterical”/”Pharyngula was mean to me”.

  66. John Morales says

    vargonian:

    To go down this road is to include so much in the definition of “trolling” that it completely dilutes its meaning.

    Like I wrote, not everyone is as simple-minded as you.

    (If you go to a cancer survivor’s forum and write that people who self-euthanase will not suffer the ravages of the disease, that is a reasoned (and correct) point, but it is also trolling)

  67. Galactic Fork says

    This is a tactic I’ve seen a lot of–though mostly by those who accuse others of being trolls. Having an itchy trigger finger, ready to drop accusations of “bigot”, “misogynist”, “troll”, etc. is an effective way to silence dissenting opinions. When you have a community of people ready to pull this trigger, you create an environment in which people are afraid to disagree. If you’ve seen some of the earlier Freethought Blogs podcasts, you’ll notice this pretty clearly. Whenever someone speaks out of turn, the rest of the group is quick to attack, causing them to awkwardly back peddle until they’ve “fallen back in line”, so to speak. I find it really uncomfortable to watch.

    The feminism issue has really brought this to light as well. In fact, I’m fearful even to mention this, because so often this gets me lumped into the same category as sexual harassers or worse. There’s no room for mitigated opinions; if there is any dissent, it gets you lumped in with “them”. If you get to the point at which you’re having a feud with someone as uncontroversial as Michael Shermer, you’ve got to do some serious introspection.

    Bringing up Shermer proves my point actually. In that situation what happened was that Ophelia used something he said as an example in her article for Free Inquiry. She used it right after he said it. Later, Shermer found the article and in a long blog post likened it to a witch hunt, and in a subsequent even longer article in Free Inquiry, likened it to a witch hunt, nazi germany, macarthyism, and the inquisition.

    To me, Shermer’s response was much more on the side of attacking to silence than Ophelia’s

  68. anteprepro says

    Again, he made reasoned arguments. Maybe you don’t agree with his reasoning.

    Okay, so it is still “reasoned arguments” even if the reasoning is utter shit? If someone is spouting out falsehoods that could be corrected with easily researched information, it is still “reasoned arguments” as long as they have the pretense of using something approximating logic? If someone is using obvious fallacies but hides it in non-fallacies like a cat kicking kitty litter over fresh feces, then that is “reasoned arguments”? What kind of fucking low bar for reason is your version of a “reasoned argument” anyway? Laughable.

    You should just be honest: Your objection is ultimately that we can’t consider thunderf00t a troll because we don’t know that his errors were done on purpose.

    And that is ultimately the problem with the definition of troll that is strictly about a troll doing things strictly for attention or a response: We aren’t fucking psychic. On the internet, all we have to go by is the things that people type. We can’t be expected to accurately determine what a person’s intentions are. If they are consistently saying stupid and/or provocative stuff, though, it doesn’t matter if you can’t see into their brains to determine whether or not they are doing so to get a rise out of people. Operational definitions. A troll is what a troll does. A troll posts inflammatory stupidity, the poster of inflammatory stupidity is a troll. Barring breakthroughs in e-psychiatry, that is all that can be done.

  69. vargonian says

    No, reasoned arguments require evidence.

    No, they only require reasoning. Sometimes there is little or no evidence to go on. Sometimes you are dealing with a complicated system for which many assumptions need to be made. Sometimes you are expressing an opinion and explicitly stating that you don’t have all the facts. The key point, which I will repeat, is that this is not the same thing as trolling.

  70. vargonian says

    So, you think the fact he implied (intentionally or not) that being intellectually active and involved in atheism advocacy was more of a guy thing is uncontroversial?

    His comment might understandably might raise an eyebrow, but it’s nothing feud-worthy in my opinion. His response, while not apologizing specifically, definitely made it clear that he–at least by his own words–did not have the controversial opinion that people accused him of having. I can understand how this might be unsatisfying as a response, but it’s hardly something to take up arms over (again, in my opinion).

    As for his Libertarian opinions, I don’t know much about them, aside from his stance on gun control which was about as uncontroversial as: “Let’s examine the facts before we take action.”

  71. anteprepro says

    His comment might understandably might raise an eyebrow, but it’s nothing feud-worthy in my opinion.

    Managed to miss the part where Shermer doubled down on it? Where he went out of his way to dodge criticism and to get huffy about the AUDACITY of people who dared to point out how that kind of thinking was problematic? Manage to miss how Shermer was the one who turned our raised eyebrows into a feud? Michael Shermer steps on our toes, we cry out in pain, Shermer’s fee-fees get hurt, and the surrounding mob says we are bullying him. It is amazing how easy it is to get things conveniently ass-backwards when you selectively ignore details, isn’t it?

  72. John Morales says

    vargonian,

    His response, while not apologizing specifically, definitely made it clear that he–at least by his own words–did not have the controversial opinion that people accused him of having.

    <snicker>

    You mean like the claiming thunderpod’s polling of his vlog followers as to his credibility was a totally unbiased poll and fully representative?

    (Yeah, he totally doesn’t hold the opinion he claimed as his own)

  73. John Morales says

    [correction]

    Oops, that quote was about Shermer not really believing that “it’s more of a guy thing”, not about the thunderpod.

    (My bad)

  74. vargonian says

    BAAAAAW. Somebody get the world’s smallest violin playing as soon as possible, before the sound of exasperation prompts outcries of WITCH HUNT from our the bringer of this completely novel argument.

    anteprepro, as far as “trolling” goes, your comment safely goes about as far in that direction as any response to me so far. Yet even then, it’s hardly worthy of banning you from this forum, because you made reasoned points, just as Thunderf00t did in my other example.

    Some people are nice and smart in most ways but have a blindspot, make a slip up, etc.

    I completely agree. PZ Myers is a perfect example of this.

    If you are going to say that we are wrong about the issue that Shermer has doubled/quadrupled down on, make that argument.

    I assume you’re referring to his overblown “guy thing” comment? No doubt, I would have ducked my head as soon as I slipped out a gem like that, for fear of facing the wrath of the reactionists. But the comment, as happens so often, was taken in the worst possible way. Was he merely observing that guys tend to participate in a certain activity more? Was he perhaps reinforcing a stereotype that men tend to have more of an interest in a certain subject (be it Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, etc.)? No, according to the reactionists, he was making a clearly implied statement that women are dumb and don’t like to think about things, and also are subservient to men and deserve to be kept in cages. (I’m exaggerating for effect.) Shermer cleared this up right away, but that’s not enough for people who want nothing less than for him to confess to something that they imagine that he meant.

  75. vargonian says

    Like I wrote, not everyone is as simple-minded as you.

    So, being opposed to completely diluting the definition of a word makes me “simple-minded”? I’m not sure that means what you think it means.

  76. says

    As in, Thunderf00t can’t possibly be so stupid as to sincerely believe that anti-harassment policies will effectively ban consensual flirting… can he?

    As in, Michael Shermer can’t possibly be so stupid as to not see the problem with comparing being criticized for perpetuating sexist stereotypes with being a victim of a “secular Malleus Maleficorum”, thereby likening himself to one of the largest organized campaigns of anti-woman violence in the history of Western Civilization… can he?

  77. Galactic Fork says

    Was he merely observing that guys tend to participate in a certain activity more? Was he perhaps reinforcing a stereotype that men tend to have more of an interest in a certain subject (be it Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, etc.)? No, according to the reactionists, he was making a clearly implied statement that women are dumb and don’t like to think about things, and also are subservient to men and deserve to be kept in cages. (I’m exaggerating for effect.) Shermer cleared this up right away, but that’s not enough for people who want nothing less than for him to confess to something that they imagine that he meant.

    1) The article in which the quote was used was about perpetuating such stereotypes. Everything in the article was under that context. That is the whole point. His statement was an example, and she exaggerated for effect after she quoted what he said, to show what stereotypes he was perpetuating.

    2) Is there some secret other response I missed where Shermer cleared it up, and not the one where he cried witch hunt?

  78. anteprepro says

    As for his Libertarian opinions, I don’t know much about them, aside from his stance on gun control which was about as uncontroversial as: “Let’s examine the facts before we take action.”

    I love your dishonesty. Yes, “Let’s examine the facts before we take action” sounds perfectly uncontroversial and reasonable. Except in cases, where, you know, we already have a good examination of facts. In cases where lives are on the line. In cases where there is a debate between people who have already examined the facts, and between people who are just fucking lying or ignoring the data. Oh, “let’s examine the facts” sounds perfectly rational. Perfectly moderate. Unless we aren’t really treading out into uncharted territory. Unless all that is really being said is “shut up and sit down”. Unless it is just a defense of the status quo, a call for apathy, for staying where we are, for not risking change that every piece of information says we desperately need, because we don’t know with 100% precise, exacting certainty what needs to be done and what the side effects might be. It is all about the context.

    No doubt, I would have ducked my head as soon as I slipped out a gem like that, for fear of facing the wrath of the reactionists. But the comment, as happens so often, was taken in the worst possible way

    So you really are just going to go “hysterical feminists” route, eh?

    Was he merely observing that guys tend to participate in a certain activity more?

    No, because the fucking question was “why are there more men in the skeptical movement” . If he was merely observing that more guys tend to participate, he was repeating the question and not answering it . Can you do anything aside from deny the obvious when it is inconvenient to you and call it “reasonable”?

    No, according to the reactionists, he was making a clearly implied statement that women are dumb and don’t like to think about things, and also are subservient to men and deserve to be kept in cages….Shermer cleared this up right away, but that’s not enough for people who want nothing less than for him to confess to something that they imagine that he meant.

    Oh, how adorable. The little skeptic apparently only listened to Shermer’s side of the skeptic before coming here to tell us how we have it All Wrong. Here’s the thing about Good Ol’ Skeptical Shermer’s response: He misrepresented Ophelia. SHOCK GASP HORROR LIBEL WITCHHUNT BLASPHEMY, I know. But, ya see, funny enough, Ophelia didn’t write an article exclusively about how Shermer said that women were stupid. She wrote an article about how Shermer’s statement implied that women were stupid, while also heavily relying on the stereotype that women were passive. That they had no interest in leadership roles. That the male gender skew in leadership was due to lack of female desire for those roles, and not due to, you know, cultural biases favoring men for positions of authority. That Shermer’s statement was a reflection of those biases. And Shermer completely ignored that part, focusing instead on how he totally didn’t say women were stupid, and then whining about how victimized he is and showing off how totally rational he is. I am glad that Shermer managed to bestow that same convenient ignorance onto you, the devoted, skeptical follower, just like he intended. Maybe you will get your True Skeptic merit badge in the mail by the end of the month.

  79. vargonian says

    In that situation what happened was that Ophelia used something he said as an example in her article for Free Inquiry. She used it right after he said it. Later, Shermer found the article and in a long blog post likened it to a witch hunt, and in a subsequent even longer article in Free Inquiry, likened it to a witch hunt, nazi germany, macarthyism, and the inquisition.

    I’m not sure how you can perceive Shermer’s long-winded responses as an “attack” rather than a defense; a defense against completely unfounded leaps made against his character–that is, the idea that his comment implied that he thought that the reason women didn’t participate as much in atheist panels, etc. was because they weren’t smart enough. That interpretation is a selective bias that can easily be cleared up by asking him what he meant rather than instantly leaping to attack him in a blog post.

    He was accused of being a misogynist. He was accused of claiming that women aren’t as smart as men. I don’t know what reasonable person wouldn’t immediately want to defend themselves against this accusation, especially someone who feels so strongly about gender equality. Imagine if you were accused, by someone you respect, of being something so greatly opposed to your ideals. How would you react?

    Shermer isn’t trying to silence anyone. He’s trying to clear his name (rightfully so), and expressing frustration at this new movement that seems so ready to jump on anyone who says anything remotely controversial.

  80. vargonian says

    You mean like the claiming thunderpod’s polling of his vlog followers as to his credibility was a totally unbiased poll and fully representative?

    I will give you $1000 if you can point me to where Thunderf00t ever claimed that this was an unbiased, fully representative poll.

  81. anteprepro says

    Should be “side of the story” not “side of the skeptic”. I skeptically knew that my previous post needed some more “skeptic” shoved in there for ironic effect, but that’s just going a bit overboard. How very unskeptical of me. I will never be able to be a True Skeptic, or even a Sub-Skeptic, at this rate. Well, guess I will just get back to reading the Holy Writ of True Skeptics until I become skeptical through osmosis. And then, and only then, will I be able to skeptically inform people how things Really Happened, by skeptically ignoring information that doesn’t fit what True Skeptics declare hath Really Happened. I will have complete control over history itself. Skepticism is a lot like The Secret in that way.

  82. anteprepro says

    I’m not sure how you can perceive Shermer’s long-winded responses as an “attack” rather than a defense; a defense against completely unfounded leaps made against his character–that is, the idea that his comment implied that he thought that the reason women didn’t participate as much in atheist panels, etc. was because they weren’t smart enough.

    Shermer: Women aren’t represented among skeptic leaders because being an intellectually active leader is a guy thing.
    Ophelia: Saying that being intellectual and being a leader are male traits is part of the problem.
    Shermer: Aha! I didn’t say women weren’t “intellectual”! ILLOGIC! WITCH HUNT! I AM RIGHT. I WIN!
    Vargonian: [stumbles at last minute, half-listening] Yeah, whatever Michael said! Am I a skeptic now? Do I get a skeptic cookie?

  83. Galactic Fork says

    I’m not sure how you can perceive Shermer’s long-winded responses as an “attack” rather than a defense; a defense against completely unfounded leaps made against his character–that is, the idea that his comment implied that he thought that the reason women didn’t participate as much in atheist panels, etc. was because they weren’t smart enough. That interpretation is a selective bias that can easily be cleared up by asking him what he meant rather than instantly leaping to attack him in a blog post.

    A defense that calls the people criticising him “witch hunters”? That compares them to nazis and the spanish inquisition. I guess a good defense really is a good offense?

    He was accused of being a misogynist.

    No he wasn’t…

    He was accused of claiming that women aren’t as smart as men. I don’t know what reasonable person wouldn’t immediately want to defend themselves against this accusation, especially someone who feels so strongly about gender equality.

    No. He was accused of saying something that perpetuated stereotypes, in an article that was all about perpetuating stereotypes.

    Imagine if you were accused, by someone you respect, of being something so greatly opposed to your ideals. How would you react?

    I’d read what they said and probably not respond by saying they are in the middle of a secular witch hunt.

    Shermer isn’t trying to silence anyone. He’s trying to clear his name (rightfully so), and expressing frustration at this new movement that seems so ready to jump on anyone who says anything remotely controversial.

    She didn’t jump on him. She devoted a few paragraphs in an article about something he said within the context of her article. Do you think his statement was an example of perpetuating the stereotype of women being more passive and less intellectually active?

  84. vargonian says

    You should just be honest: Your objection is ultimately that we can’t consider thunderf00t a troll because we don’t know that his errors were done on purpose.

    If you’re going to keep referring to Thunderf00t’s errors, you’re going to have to actually start using some specifics. I’ve done so (and if it wasn’t to your liking, I will happily elaborate). I don’t doubt he’s made them, but you make it sound as though he’s spouting off nonsense and nothing else.

    On the internet, all we have to go by is the things that people type. We can’t be expected to accurately determine what a person’s intentions are.

    Sure, that’s fine. And this is where the phrase “benefit of the doubt” is appropriate. Couple this with the fact that there are hordes of people who support Thunderf00t in the FtB decision–in fact, I’ve seen more skeptical bloggers/YouTubers opposed to FtB’s decision than in support; and even members of FtB. Also take into account the fact that Thunderf00t has been making countless videos discussing science, creationism, skepticism, etc. for years–which, unless I’m mistaken, aren’t merely a bunch of “troll videos”. To suppose that Thunderf00t, in this isolated case, doesn’t actually believe what he’s saying, and is instead merely trying to get a rise out of people, is reaching a level of conspiracy theorizing that I can’t imagine a reasonable person would accept.

  85. vargonian says

    I say again, if you reach the point where you leave your readers wondering “lying? or stupid?” then objecting to the troll label is pointless and disingenuous.

    Considering the proportion of readers/viewers who don’t have this conflict in their mind, your argument doesn’t have much weight. It’s completely clear, especially given all the context, that Thunderf00t is not trolling.

  86. John Morales says

    vargonian:

    I will give you $1000 if you can point me to where Thunderf00t ever claimed that this was an unbiased, fully representative poll.

    Kinda hard to do, since his blog here went into the bit-bucket and I can’t refer you directly to it.

    (I know I noted it at the time in the comments therein, and I know he did double down)

    But the quotation was:

    I put my original post on YouTube and, you know what? My fans said I was more right than PZ Myers. Because I don’t block people on my channel this was totally a fair and open and even poll. Honest.

    (Please donate the many to a charity of your choice)

  87. vargonian says

    As in, Thunderf00t can’t possibly be so stupid as to sincerely believe that anti-harassment policies will effectively ban consensual flirting… can he?

    Are you serious? Count me in as one of the many males who, when faced with a policy like this, will be terrified to say anything remotely flirtatious. The same applies to any forum such as FtB, and especially any explicitly feminist forum. It’s like walking on eggshells–it’s just safer not to even tread there. I simply do not know what will be acceptable and what won’t be, because different people have different limits. Merely mentioning that I find a girl attractive can evoke an extreme negative reaction from some people. When in these types of environments, there’s only one thing a man can safely do: refrain from any of these comments whatsoever, or allow women to set the standard and only go that far–no further. If you don’t think that this sentiment is real, well, you may have a skill that so many of us don’t have.

    As in, Michael Shermer can’t possibly be so stupid as to not see the problem with comparing being criticized for perpetuating sexist stereotypes with being a victim of a “secular Malleus Maleficorum”

    See, you have me at a loss here as well. I was under the impression that the term “witch hunt” was fairly common, and largely uncontroversial. The meaning is clear, and it doesn’t imply a literal burning at the stake or anything to that magnitude. And his sentiment is not baseless. Think of all the people that have been vocally shunned in the past couple years alone; certain segments of the secular community have practically made a habit of it. Some targets include: Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, Thunderf00t, Penn Jilette, Lawrence Krauss, Richard Dawkins, Abbie Smith, Sara Mayhew, and more. At some point you have to take a step back and do some introspection. If you get to the point at which the majority of people think you’re overreacting, either you’re the seed of a righteous movement that’s going to change the world for the better, or you’re overreacting.

  88. John Morales says

    [meta]

    vargonian:

    At some point you have to take a step back and do some introspection. If you get to the point at which the majority of people think you’re overreacting, either you’re the seed of a righteous movement that’s going to change the world for the better, or you’re overreacting.

    The irony is palpable.

  89. athyco says

    If you’re going to keep referring to Thunderf00t’s errors, you’re going to have to actually start using some specifics.

    One of Thunderf00t’s most recent errors is in presenting one con’s dress code for vendors as a dress code for attendees. The lesser light videos latching on that likened the policy to demanding women wear burqas, to expecting men with tight pants to be thrown out for displaying their huge packages.

    I’ve linked to anti-harassment policies multiple times (the one for the North Texas Secular Convention in the sidebar is easily found) with the results of utter silence on that point followed (once my comment was scrolled down below visible under the video) by repetition of the scorn/jokes on that point.

  90. vargonian says

    and she exaggerated for effect after she quoted what he said, to show what stereotypes he was perpetuating.

    I’m sorry, but your “exaggerated for effect” is everyone else’s “accused him of claiming that women were dumber than men”.

    Is there some secret other response I missed where Shermer cleared it up, and not the one where he cried witch hunt?

    I’d hardly call it a secret.

    From the article: “In any case, please read my answer again. Where do I say or even imply that women are, in Benson’s characterization of what I said, “too stupid to do nontheism” or that “unbelieving in God is thinky work and women don’t do thinky?” Clearly that is not what I said, as punctuated by my preface that I believe the actual sex ratio is 50/50. And for the record I don’t believe for a moment that women are not smart enough to do nonbelief thinking, or any other type of cognition for that matter.”

  91. John Morales says

    [OT]

    vargonian:

    Clearly that is not what I said, as punctuated by my preface that I believe the actual sex ratio is 50/50.

    Well then, if it’s 50/50, how is it “more of a guy thing”?

  92. vargonian says

    Kinda hard to do, since his blog here went into the bit-bucket and I can’t refer you directly to it.

    Through the power of the way back machine, we can pull up the post from which this quote is somehow attributed, and show that he never said it–at least not in that post.

    But let’s not stop there; we can do even better. Not only did I object to this poll by Thunderf00t at the time, so did PZ Myers. We were on the same page. I couldn’t believe that Thunderf00t could do something so obviously biased by selection. PZ responded, much in a way that I would have. Then a funny thing happened. Thunderf00t responded back, in a video. (That’s not the funny thing.) In his response, he pointed out several strawmen that PZ made, showing that PZ’s–and my own–objection was faulty! Now, I could have joined PZ, stubbornly arguing against Thunderf00t, writing him off as a no-good troll who’s just causing trouble. But I didn’t. Given a reasonable counter-argument, I actually listened, and accepted that I was wrong. Here is the relevant part of the video.

  93. vargonian says

    The irony is palpable.

    You’ll have to explain, given how the wider atheist/skeptical community feels about the FtB/Atheism+ drama.

  94. John Morales says

    [OT]

    vargonian, thanks for the Googling.

    Here is the relevant quote:

    I went over 500 continuous comments, and extracted the voting (127 in all), which is summarized in the following graph. The thunderf00t channel is essentially a 100 % free speech zone, with no conformational bias due to blocking/ banning people. People can express themselves in whatever fashion they see fit. From previous experience, the response that you are likely to get from viewership on the Thunderf00t channel is little different from that you would expect from that of ZOMGitscriss, Aronra, or similar.

    (My markup)

    You deny that he claims no confirmation bias?

    PS You can see my relevant comment @4.

  95. vargonian says

    Well then, if it’s 50/50, how is it “more of a guy thing”?

    It’s apparent that you haven’t heard the interview, in all its hardly controversial glory.

    Shermer was talking about outspoken atheist speakers / organizers having more males than females, in general. The 50/50 comment was in relation to participation in atheist communities. At worst he reinforced a stereotype which may not be true, despite even the female host feeling that it was. Amazingly, she didn’t react in anger when Shermer made this comment. She didn’t accuse him of being a misogynist. She didn’t ask: “Why do you think women are dumber than men?” She continued the discussion in a completely rational, non-hostile way–you know, like a normal person.

  96. vargonian says

    114 John Morales

    You deny that he claims no confirmation bias?

    It’s funny that you didn’t even listen to the YouTube video that I linked, complete with relevant time index. If you had, you would have had your argument defeated.

    First off, I can’t claim any big high ground here, because as I mentioned before, I completely agreed with you when I first read that quote. “No confirmational bias”?? HAH! Ridiculous! But then, as explained in the video I linked which you didn’t watch, he pointed out the subtle but important distinction: “with no conformational bias due to blocking/ banning people“. Very tricky, Thunderf00t. See, he didn’t claim that there was no confirmational bias; he just claimed that if there was confirmation bias, it wasn’t due to him squelching dissenting opinion (as Myers has established a reputation for doing). I recommend watching the video.

    If anything, you might disagree with Thunderf00t’s later assertion that he feels that his videos have a similar viewership as other vloggers like ZOMGItsCriss, etc., which I can’t pretend to have statistics on aside from the unhelpful, anecdotal fact that I’m subscribed to all of the channels he mentioned, as well as PZ’s. More helpful would be to look at the votes of all of these videos, such as PZ’s response video about banning Thunderf00t, which received many more downvotes than upvotes until–get ready for it–PZ disabled ratings!. PZ can rationalize his decision to disable comments on his YouTube videos until he’s blue in the face; it’s quite another thing to disable ratings.

  97. John Morales says

    [OT]

    vargonian:

    It’s apparent that you haven’t heard the interview, in all its hardly controversial glory.

    Shermer was talking about outspoken atheist speakers / organizers having more males than females, in general. The 50/50 comment was in relation to participation in atheist communities.

    Yes, the question was specifically* about atheist groups and why the gender split therein was not 50/50.

    Shermer’s response was as what you quoted @110.

    * timestamp 11:45 on the video.

    Which I apparently (to you) haven’t heard. :)

  98. John Morales says

    [OT]

    vargonian:

    More helpful would be to look at the votes of all of these videos, such as PZ’s response video about banning Thunderf00t, which received many more downvotes than upvotes until–get ready for it–PZ disabled ratings!

    Heh.

    (You seriously imagine video comment respondents are a representative sample of atheists any more than blog commenters are?)

  99. John Morales says

    [OT]

    vargonian:

    PZ can rationalize his decision to disable comments on his YouTube videos until he’s blue in the face; it’s quite another thing to disable ratings.

    Yeah, PZ really is silencing dissenters like you.

  100. vargonian says

    Except in cases, where, you know, we already have a good examination of facts. In cases where lives are on the line.

    So you really are just going to go “hysterical feminists” route, eh?

    Uh, no, I’m expressing how I’d honestly feel after making a comment that could be misinterpreted, especially toward a community that has such a tendency to react harshly. (Never has the phrase “case in point” been so apt.)

    As I’ve already said, I know little about Shermer’s views on Libertarianism, or gun control. If you want to start an argument about how Shermer is a bad person and should feel bad, take it up with someone else. I can only say that, based on all the interviews I’ve heard from him, the books of his I’ve read, his articles, etc., he doesn’t come across as a very controversial figure at least within the skeptical community.

    No, because the fucking question was “why are there more men in the skeptical movement”

    Yeah, and he answered. He said that he feels it’s about 50/50. But then noted, after the female host stated how hard it was to find a female atheist speaker (to which hordes of bloggers responded by calling her a misogynist, gender-traitor–oh wait, that never happened), that the whole “organizing conferences / speaking in panels, etc.” thing was more of a “guy thing”. The female host then yelled at him for a good 15 minutes for claiming that women were dumb, accusing him of being a misogynist, and–oh wait, that never happened either.

    His words obviously could have been misconstrued, especially the part where he said that men tend to be more “intellectually active” about it. Does this mean women are intellectually inactive about it?? Oooor perhaps he was just expressing a general sentiment that he cleared up in his response, as we all know by now.

    Ophelia didn’t write an article exclusively about how Shermer said that women were stupid.

    Irrelevant. She accused him of claiming that women were not as smart as men. He rightfully responded.

    and then whining about how victimized he is and showing off how totally rational he is

    So, is your argument that he should have continued where Ophelia left off and written in essay restating all of the points that Ophelia was making? Your argument is losing coherence. He rightfully responded to a very nasty accusation. I’m not sure what more needs to be said about that.

    I am glad that Shermer managed to bestow that same convenient ignorance onto you, the devoted, skeptical follower, just like he intended. Maybe you will get your True Skeptic merit badge in the mail by the end of the month.

    You realize that this doesn’t do anything for your case, right? It only makes you look more like the type of person who actually should get banned from these communities. And to be clear, since misconstruing words seems to be the trend around here, I’m not at all implying that you should be banned, or that angry, emotional, sarcastic responses shouldn’t be allowed. I’m just expressing the slight irony of discussing the distinction between a troll and non-troll when you yourself are showing characteristics commonly associated with trolls.

  101. Galactic Fork says

    I’m sorry, but your “exaggerated for effect” is everyone else’s “accused him of claiming that women were dumber than men”.

    I’d hardly call it a secret.

    From the article: “In any case, please read my answer again. Where do I say or even imply that women are, in Benson’s characterization of what I said, “too stupid to do nontheism” or that “unbelieving in God is thinky work and women don’t do thinky?” Clearly that is not what I said, as punctuated by my preface that I believe the actual sex ratio is 50/50. And for the record I don’t believe for a moment that women are not smart enough to do nonbelief thinking, or any other type of cognition for that matter.”

    Shermer is so focused on the outrage of the “don’t do thinky” remark he ignores the rest of her point.

    Have you read the whole thing? Or even the maybe four paragraphs about Shermer? here’s the part after she quotes him:

    It’s all there—women don’t do thinky, they don’t speak up, they don’t talk at conferences, they don’t get involved—it’s “a guy thing,” like football and porn and washing the car.

    She also draws attention to the not speaking up and talking at conferences. But Shermer never really responds to that. He’s so busy saying he didn’t say they were stupid. He spends his time talking about what he didn’t say, he never addresses what he did say.

    And can you please explain how “intellectually active” isn’t a reference at all to intelligence? Is it that women are as smart as men, but they just don’t do anything with it? And how is that not perpetuating a stereotype?

    Last thing. You do know that immediately after what you quote, he begins the part he affectionately calls “A Secular Malleus Maleficarum”

  102. vargonian says

    Yes, the question was specifically* about atheist groups and why the gender split therein was not 50/50.

    Shermer’s response was as what you quoted @110.

    I’m not sure what we’re missing here. Michael Shermer stated 2 things. One: He feels that the split in atheist communities is 50/50. Two: He feels that the split among *speakers, people who appear on TV, conference organizers, etc.” was predominantly male. These are two different points. Since I botched the link the first time, here it is again, hopefully working.

  103. John Morales says

    [meta]

    vargonian addresses anteprepro:

    It only makes you look more like the type of person who actually should get banned from these communities. And to be clear, since misconstruing words seems to be the trend around here, I’m not at all implying that you should be banned, or that angry, emotional, sarcastic responses shouldn’t be allowed.

    Sure. vargonian is only implying that anteprepro looks like a person that should be banned, not that anteprepro should be banned.

    (And vargonian only looks like a disingenous dill, but I’m not at all implying that they are :) )

  104. vargonian says

    Heh.

    (You seriously imagine video comment respondents are a representative sample of atheists any more than blog commenters are?)

    I only claimed that it would be more helpful to look at everyone’s videos–PZ’s, Thunderf00t’s, and everyone in between’s. It would certainly be more helpful than only looking at the comments on Thunderf00t’s videos, or the comments on FtBs. And no doubt, there may be some odd selection bias in “blog commenters” or “YouTube commenters” which, for some as-of-yet unknown reason which we can only special plead at this point, leads people to favor content which generally agrees with Thunderf00t and oppose that which generally agrees with FtB/PZ.

    In any case, why disable ratings? What possible reason could PZ have to disable ratings, other than to hide negative ratings? Maybe there’s a good reason I just haven’t considered.

  105. vargonian says

    Yeah, PZ really is silencing dissenters like you.

    Well, I’m glad we agree on something.

  106. deee says

    Firstly: there are some serious, real, actual threats against free speech on the internet, and I personally do all I can to fight against them, whenever I can. I’m a member of a local organization that promotes citizens’ rights in the digital realm, so I get a lot of news from these kinds of things into my inbox – it’s kind of disheartening some times, but also it’s nice to see how many people there are that care about these things and work to ensure that the internet will always be a place that is free, for everyone, without any kind of ideological bias.

    Therefore, it also kind of pisses me off when entitled white boys appropriate the struggle for freedom of speech, and misrepresent the very idea of free speech – free speech does not require others to allow you to say anything you want on THEIR websites. Free speech only requires that you will be allowed to set up your own website and say what you want THERE, and that is a very important aspect of the internet. So far, it has thankfully stayed relatively intact, although as I said it is constantly being assaulted by corporate interests and governments.

  107. Galactic Fork says

    I’m not sure what we’re missing here. Michael Shermer stated 2 things. One: He feels that the split in atheist communities is 50/50. Two: He feels that the split among *speakers, people who appear on TV, conference organizers, etc.” was predominantly male. These are two different points. Since I botched the link the first time, here it is again, hopefully working.

    You’re half right, and half very wrong. The question changed but the context didn’t. His alteration after saying it was 50/50 was still an answer to why. He just changed the question from the community, to being active in the community. He was still answering a why question. And his answer was that it was more of a guy thing.

    Let’s word it in the way you’re saying he means it and see if it’s making sense.
    Question (paraphrased): Why isn’t there more of a 50/50 split in the atheist community.
    Shermer: I think it is 50/50. But it’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it; you know, more guys are doing it.

    How does that make sense in the context of the initial question? It doesn’t. His “it’s more of a guy thing” is the reason for the split in speakers.

  108. vargonian says

    Shermer is so focused on the outrage of the “don’t do thinky” remark he ignores the rest of her point.

    Actually, he goes into his typical long-winded explanation of how there could be many reasons why women don’t participate as much. He then goes in painful, apologetic detail about all the women who have influenced the skeptical community, making it painfully clear–almost to the point of being pathetic–that he’s not a misogynist. (There are two articles he wrote, so I may be referring to the other one.)

    And can you please explain how “intellectually active” isn’t a reference at all to intelligence?

    It likely means, in true stereotype-reinforcing fashion, that women don’t take part in the conversation about atheist philosophy, secularism in societies, blah blah. Not necessarily because they are mentally incapable of it, but perhaps because they merely choose not to. Is he reinforcing a stereotype? Sure. Is the stereotype correct? Maybe. Should he be more careful about how he phrases these things? Of course.

    “A Secular Malleus Maleficarum”

    Sorry, perhaps I’m wrong, but isn’t that just longhand for “witch hunt”, which I already addressed? (at least I think it was to you).

  109. vargonian says

    Sure. vargonian is only implying that anteprepro looks like a person that should be banned, not that anteprepro should be banned.

    Yes, I’m merely pointing out irony (or at least, what’s left of my definition of “irony” after Alanis Morissette ruined it for me). I would never wish someone be banned from a forum for such petty reasons.

  110. vargonian says

    How does that make sense in the context of the initial question? It doesn’t. His “it’s more of a guy thing” is the reason for the split in speakers.

    I’m sorry about the confusion. I completely agree that he was answering why to the latter question. But I see what you mean, he wasn’t just acknowledging that there were more male speakers, etc. (at least stereotypically). As I said before, he was reinforcing a stereotype that men tend to like thinking about atheist philosophy, secularism, etc. Similarly, he might reinforce a stereotype that men tend to like being computer programmers, or electrical engineers more than women. He doesn’t really have a good reason for it. He even made this clear in one of his long-winded response articles. But he certainly also made it clear in his responses that he wasn’t claiming it was an intelligence issue.

  111. John Morales says

    vargonian:

    I’m not sure what we’re missing here. Michael Shermer stated 2 things. One: He feels that the split in atheist communities is 50/50. Two: He feels that the split among *speakers, people who appear on TV, conference organizers, etc.” was predominantly male. These are two different points.

    The question was an anecdotal reiteration of the actual question, visible at the timestamp I cited. I here take the liberty of transcribing the question verbatim (all caps in original):
    “ATHEIST GROUPS ALWAYS CONSIST OF A BUNCH OF (MOSTLY OLD) MEN. YOU ARE VERY NICE MIDDLE-AGED MEN, BUT YOU ARE MOSTLY MEN. IN ATHEISM WE DON’T HAVE A RULE THAT MAKES A WOMAN WORTH ONLY 50% AS MUCH AS A MAN AND WE DON’T MAKE WOMEN STAY SILEND AND ONLY ASK THEIR HUSBANDS QUESTIONS. WE IN ATHEISM SUPPOSEDLY TREAT WOMEN AS EQUALS. SO WHY ISN’T THE GENDER SPLIT CLOSER TO 50/50 AS IT SHOULD BE?”

    I quote you: The 50/50 comment was in relation to participation in atheist communities.

    So, participation is 50/50 in atheist communities, but also “It’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it; you know, it’s more of a guy thing.”

    So, do you deny that it therefore follows that you hold that his claim is that women are 50% of the constituency, but also that it’s more of a guy thing to be actively, publicly, and intellectually active about it ?

  112. Ichthyic says

    In any case, why disable ratings? What possible reason could PZ have to disable ratings, other than to hide negative ratings? Maybe there’s a good reason I just haven’t considered.

    yes, because you obviously only consider things quite shallowly.

    you might, you know, actually search this blog for the reasons why PZ disabled comments (ON YOUTUBE- but allows them here, note), maybe?

    He did more than 2 separate posts on that very issue.

    he goes into his typical long-winded explanation of how there could be many reasons why women don’t participate as much.

    that was round two, note. round one, his first response really was literally “It’s a guy thing”.

    round two was defensive rationalizations based on his poor performance in round one.

  113. Beatrice says

    Xanthë

    I’m someone who is fairly indiscriminate about using the word troll to describe various people, mainly because there isn’t a clinically precise definition which will cover all situations and all people who engage in negative, assholish behaviour which can be reasonably called trollish. (And no, we’re not talking about the verbal definition that is similar to taking a stroll.)

    For this reason, I give zero fucks whatsoever about whether PZ or anyone else offered a definition of what a troll is. ‘If I see a troll, I’ll call it one’ is good enough for me, and anyone wanting further precision can suit themselves without further comment from me. Dictionary prescriptivists can piss off.

    Seconded.

    —-
    John Morales,

    This is one of those threads that wouldn’t be half as enjoyable without your contributions.

  114. John Morales says

    [meta]

    vargonianL

    Well, I’m glad we agree on something.

    I shall henceforth use explicit sarcasm tags when dealing with you, O silenced one, for I am not without pity.

    (Perhaps consider that, if PZ silences those like you, then either you are silenced or you are not like you ;) )

  115. Galactic Fork says

    How does that make sense in the context of the initial question? It doesn’t. His “it’s more of a guy thing” is the reason for the split in speakers.

    I’m sorry about the confusion. I completely agree that he was answering why to the latter question. But I see what you mean, he wasn’t just acknowledging that there were more male speakers, etc. (at least stereotypically). As I said before, he was reinforcing a stereotype that men tend to like thinking about atheist philosophy, secularism, etc. Similarly, he might reinforce a stereotype that men tend to like being computer programmers, or electrical engineers more than women. He doesn’t really have a good reason for it. He even made this clear in one of his long-winded response articles. But he certainly also made it clear in his responses that he wasn’t claiming it was an intelligence issue.

    The article was only about stereotypes and perpetuating them. Ophelia Benson even stated
    here

    The imperfection in what I wrote in the article was saying of the overall stereotype, “Don’t laugh: Michael Shermer said exactly that…” when I would have closed that loophole by instead saying “Michael Shermer invoked exactly that stereotype…”

    But that is really not a very big imperfection. Since I immediately go on to report exactly what Shermer really did say, it’s an absurd bit of pettifogging to pretend that I meant the “said exactly that” literally or that I intended it to mislead. For fuck’s sake, if I intended it to mislead why would I immediately quote exactly what he really did say? What I said is just a normal bit of commentary.

    She never called him a misogynist. She never called for pitchforks or stakes to burn him on. She was just saying that he was perpetuating this stereotype. How does that warrant a claim of a witch hunt?

  116. vargonian says

    So, do you deny that it therefore follows that you hold that his claim is that women are 50% of the constituency, but also that it’s more of a guy thing to be actively, publicly, and intellectually active about it ?

    I don’t deny this. I’m still not sure what you’re stuck on. The question is in reference to participation, but the host inserts the bit about speakers in TV interviews, etc. If I can translate Shermer’s response:

    “I think that the participation in atheist communities is probably about 50/50, but as to your point about talk show guests, etc., doing TV interviews, being on panels, organizing conferences, etc., that’s more of a guy thing.”

    In other words, he thinks there’s a disparity between people who are members of these communities, and people who organize them, speak out in public forums, etc. I’m not supporting his position, I’m just paraphrasing it.

  117. vargonian says

    you might, you know, actually search this blog for the reasons why PZ disabled comments (ON YOUTUBE- but allows them here, note), maybe?

    He did more than 2 separate posts on that very issue.

    I’ve done my fair share of Googling for one night. So you’re saying I’m right, then? (namely, that there’s a good reason that I just wasn’t aware of?)

    that was round two, note. round one, his first response really was literally “It’s a guy thing”.

    round two was defensive rationalizations based on his poor performance in round one.

    Yeah, “Round 2 (and 3)”, where he explains what was misconstrued. We got that much.

  118. vargonian says

    I shall henceforth use explicit sarcasm tags when dealing with you, O silenced one, for I am not without pity.

    It looks like we’ll both need these.

  119. Galactic Fork says

    Actually, he goes into his typical long-winded explanation of how there could be many reasons why women don’t participate as much. He then goes in painful, apologetic detail about all the women who have influenced the skeptical community, making it painfully clear–almost to the point of being pathetic–that he’s not a misogynist. (There are two articles he wrote, so I may be referring to the other one.)

    I searched his first article, the closest I could find was:
    “Part of the problem generated by such questions is that they force the mind into searching for plausible causes to that particular issue, and since the mind abhors a vacuum we concoct ad-hoc explanations on the fly, ignoring the possibility that such differences may be due to chance or some other reason. It also narrows the frame of the issue in a particular way that focuses the mind to think about that and not something else.”

    A lot of it’s like that. I might be missing the part you mean, but a little after the quote above, he returns to witch huntery.

  120. John Morales says

    vargonian:

    So, do you deny that it therefore follows that you hold that his claim is that women are 50% of the constituency, but also that it’s more of a guy thing to be actively, publicly, and intellectually active about it ?

    I don’t deny this.

    Well then, do you deny that the ineluctable implication is that more of a non-guy thing to not be intellectually active about it?

  121. vargonian says

    The imperfection in what I wrote in the article was saying of the overall stereotype, “Don’t laugh: Michael Shermer said exactly that…” when I would have closed that loophole by instead saying “Michael Shermer invoked exactly that stereotype…”

    Now this is what I like! Shermer made a simple misstatement; Ophelia made a simple misstatement–and she admitted it. No harm done. Thank you for pointing this out. And I agree that in the context of her article, there was little to suggest a witch hunt, and Shermer was wrong to jump to that conclusion. But I can totally understand how, given the greater context, Shermer could wrongfully go there. Given the long list of otherwise respected atheists who have been shunned by a vocal secular minority in the past couple years alone, I can’t really blame Shermer for thinking “Oh crap, now it’s my turn. Damage control!”

  122. vargonian says

    A lot of it’s like that. I might be missing the part you mean, but a little after the quote above, he returns to witch huntery.

    Yeah, that was the part I was referring to. As for the witch hunt, I agree that he went too far with that accusation, with the caveat that I can understand why he went there, given the very notable history of certain vocal minorities to shun otherwise respectable atheists/skeptics in the past couple years.

  123. vargonian says

    Well then, do you deny that the ineluctable implication is that more of a non-guy thing to not be intellectually active about it?

    I already addressed this. Of course there is the implication that it’s more of a guy thing to be active in discussions of this sort of thing. I feel like you’re leading me down a deductive argument that will eventually conclude with “therefore Michael Shermer contradicts his statement that participation in atheist communities is 50/50″. If so, you can lay out the entire argument if you want, and I can either concede or point out the premises I disagree with.

  124. John Morales says

    vargonian:

    Given the long list of otherwise respected atheists who have been shunned by a vocal secular minority in the past couple years alone, I can’t really blame Shermer for thinking “Oh crap, now it’s my turn. Damage control!”

    Well, there is a proverb to the effect that the guilty flees though no-one pursues. :)

    More to the point, do you consider this vocal minority that has such influence as to panic Shermer to be other than “actively, publicly, and intellectually active” atheists?

    (What’s the gender split there?)

    [meta]

    As to the poor spammer, I wouldn’t worry about it. PZ cleans house, and you should feel sorry for the poor slob that is so degraded that this is how they spend their time — spamming comment blogs.

    (But that may be the first on-topic comment you’ve made here*!)

    * No, the topic ain’t whether PZ is a poopy-head (he is) or how unfairly he treats people (he shoots them with his cyber-pistol!).

  125. John Morales says

    vargonian:

    Of course there is the implication that it’s more of a guy thing to be active in discussions of this sort of thing. I feel like you’re leading me down a deductive argument that will eventually conclude with “therefore Michael Shermer contradicts his statement that participation in atheist communities is 50/50″

    I don’t even need to go any further; you’ve already established that you acknowledge that his answer to the question “why don’t we see more women?” is essentially “because it’s more of a guy thing”.

    (Do you find that a satisfactory response?)

  126. vargonian says

    More to the point, do you consider this vocal minority that has such influence as to panic Shermer to be other than “actively, publicly, and intellectually active” atheists?

    (What’s the gender split there?)

    Is this a serious question? If you’re trying to lead to the conclusion that Shermer might be wrong about the split amongst speakers, nobody’s arguing with you. I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make.

    As to the poor spammer, I wouldn’t worry about it. PZ cleans house, and you should feel sorry for the poor slob that is so degraded that this is how they spend their time — spamming comment blogs.

    I would also have accepted a sarcastic comment about how I’m trying to silence the spammer’s free speech rights.

    (But that may be the first on-topic comment you’ve made here*!)

    Hey! I started on-topic, and then it devolved into a Shermer-fest. I never wanted to wade in that; I’d much rather talk about today’s (er, yesterday’s) YouTube discussion.

    Lest you think I’m some Thunderf00t-loving, PZ Myers-hating fanatic, you’re talking to a guy who has had plenty of disagreements with Thunderf00t, had beers with PZ Myers at TAM (fine, I had pineapple juice but I don’t really drink much), went to multiple speaking engagements with Rebecca Watson, got my picture taken with her (and Thunderf00t) in true fanboy fashion, and… I lost my train of thought; I mainly just wanted to namedrop. Disagreeing with people is not enough for me to shut them out of my life. That’s probably what bothers me most about what’s happening with this rift that we’re seeing.

  127. vargonian says

    I don’t even need to go any further; you’ve already established that you acknowledge that his answer to the question “why don’t we see more women?” is essentially “because it’s more of a guy thing”.

    (Do you find that a satisfactory response?)

    If you phrase the question as “Why don’t we see more women speakers / organizers / TV guests / etc.?” then yes, I agree that his answer was “because it’s more of a guy thing”. …as I’ve said about a hundred times now (exaggerating for effect).

    When did we ever disagree on that point?

  128. John Morales says

    vargonian:

    I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make.

    I put it to you that, did you but attempt to answer the question and then consider the parenthetical, you might get a glimmering of my point.

    Hey! I started on-topic, and then it devolved into a Shermer-fest. I never wanted to wade in that; I’d much rather talk about today’s (er, yesterday’s) YouTube discussion.

    Well, it was you who introduced Shermer into the comment stream, no?

    (You do realise that nobody is stopping you from talking about today’s (er, yesterday’s) YouTube discussion, right?)

    Lest you think I’m some Thunderf00t-loving, PZ Myers-hating fanatic, you’re talking to a guy who [blah]

    Do I need to mention that proverb again? ← that’s sarcasm.

    Disagreeing with people is not enough for me to shut them out of my life. That’s probably what bothers me most about what’s happening with this rift that we’re seeing.

    You mean the way PZ is shutting Shermer out of his life? :) ← that’s sarcasm.

  129. John Morales says

    vargonian:

    If you phrase the question as “Why don’t we see more women speakers / organizers / TV guests / etc.?” then yes, I agree that his answer was “because it’s more of a guy thing”. …as I’ve said about a hundred times now (exaggerating for effect).

    When did we ever disagree on that point?

    Leaving aside that I need not phrase the question to which he was ostensibly responding (I helpfully transcribed the actual phrasing @131), do you deny that it’s a vacuous answer with zero explanatory power and furthermore presumes gender essentialism?

  130. vargonian says

    I put it to you that, did you but attempt to answer the question and then consider the parenthetical, you might get a glimmering of my point.

    I’m sorry, maybe it’s just late, but many of your sentences are incredibly difficult to parse. To answer your original question, which was also difficult to parse:

    More to the point, do you consider this vocal minority that has such influence as to panic Shermer to be other than “actively, publicly, and intellectually active” atheists?

    I’ll go with “yes”, they are active, public, intellectually active atheists. Still not sure what your point is. It seems you’re trying to find some sort of “aha!” contradiction that doesn’t exist.

    Well, it was you who introduced Shermer into the comment stream, no?

    Fair enough; I mentioned him as a largely uncontroversial skeptic within the skeptic community–an assertion which I still think is appropriate. This led to a wild tangent about why he was bad and should feel bad (to sum up).

    (You do realise that nobody is stopping you from talking about today’s (er, yesterday’s) YouTube discussion, right?)

    Haha, sure. With all the Googling FtB archives, rewatching YouTube videos and citing all of this stuff for multiple people, I don’t exactly have room for the main topic.

    Do I need to mention that proverb again? ← that’s sarcasm.

    I realize it’s sarcasm, but now that I paid more attention to it, I can respond to your original use. You’re essentially saying you think he doth protest too much, i.e. he’s only defending himself because he knows he’s guilty, rather than because he was accused of something horrible, much in the same pattern that countless other respected atheists have been in the past couple years. Your baseless insinuation–sarcastic or not–hardly deserves a response. But I’m nice so I gave one anyway.

    Oh! But you reminded me, I was going to joke about how I was being just like Shermer when I was saying something to the effect of “PZ and I are pals, honest”, but I forgot. There was much missed comedic opportunity there. As you clearly saw, my point was that it’s idiotic to shut people out simply because you disagree with them on something.

    You mean the way PZ is shutting Shermer out of his life? :) ← that’s sarcasm.

    No, silly! :) I mean the way that PZ is openly refusing to speak at conferences at which Abbie Smith is a speaker. Or how Rebecca Watson, despite denying it, is boycotting Richard Dawkins. Or how PZ Myers banned Thunderf00t from Freethought Blogs. Or how Rebecca Watson canceled her plans to attend TAM (which included the Skeptics Guide to the Universe dinner) because they didn’t cave to her demands. (Oh, crap! D.J. Grothe! I forgot to list him as one of the many shunned atheists. Sorry about that.)

  131. vargonian says

    Hey Vargonian and John Morales, you guys are getting seriously boring. Go get a room somewhere.

    By all means, if you have something interesting to add to the conversation, I’m listening.

  132. Lofty says

    Hey Vargonian and John Morales, you guys are getting seriously boring. Go get a room somewhere.

    Said by someone with a broken scroll wheel on their mouse???

  133. vargonian says

    do you deny that it’s a vacuous answer with zero explanatory power and furthermore presumes gender essentialism?

    As I’ve said countless times, I completely agree*. He was reinforcing a stereotype, which may or may not be true. How much more do you want me to agree with this? I really will continue agreeing if you want. I can make a blog post in which I declare my agreement with this point. I can post a YouTube video, and I’ll even enable comments and ratings. Whatever you need me to do to make it crystal clear for the thousandth time that I agree, I will do it.

  134. says

    I simply do not know what will be acceptable and what won’t be, because different people have different limits.

    That’s true of life in general. How does it relate to anti-harassment policies?
    As a certified social incompetent, I much prefer clear, explicit rules than the vague, “I know it when I see it” bullshit of more common social environments. If there’s a set of explicitly stated rules, then the different limits of different people are no longer relevant because everybody knows what rules to abide by. It actually makes it easier to know how to behave.

    That is, assuming that you’re interested in avoiding conflicts. If your true goal is to do whatever you like and not have anybody call you out for it, no matter how much of an asshole you are, then I suppose clear, explicit rules would get in the way.

    That’s a generic “you” btw, not a witch hunt “you”.

    Merely mentioning that I find a girl attractive can evoke an extreme negative reaction from some people.

    It seems like such a simple statement, but this is actually loaded with assumptions. For one, you make no mention of context. The exact same statement, made in different contexts, will produce entirely different reactions.
    What’s the pre-existing relationship between you and the woman? Are you making the comment to her or to someone else? Are you appreciating her looks in addition to her mental faculties or instead of them? Are you continuing to make comments of a sexual nature after you’ve been asked to stop?

    Basically, there’s no such thing as “merely mentioning”. All mentioning is done within the context of a certain environment of circumstances and relationships. So, I can’t tell if you’ve got a legitimate point or if you’re just annoyed that you might have to consider the woman a human being, rather than a sex toy.

    No, I’m not accusing you of anything. I’m expressing my frustration at some sloppy communication. Obviously, you’re saying that you feel unsure about how you’re supposed to act in these situations. You feel that you can’t act the way you would want for fear of violating some rule.
    My point is that these rules are always there. The purpose of a sexual harassment policy is not to make a big problem out of previously harmless behavior. The purpose is to identify and clearly label the behavior which is already causing problems.

    If, in a given situation, somebody reacted negatively to your comments, maybe you should ask yourself why, rather than blame those pesky harassment policies. The policy didn’t create the problem. It might have made the other person more confident in expressing their distaste for your comment, where previously they would have kept silent. That’s a good thing.

    What I’m getting from you is a feeling that you think other people are making a big deal out of an innocent comment. What you need to understand is that if other people are making a big deal out of it, maybe, just maybe, the comment wasn’t so innocent after all.
    Just because you didn’t feel uncomfortable with the comment doesn’t mean that everything’s fine. You might think that it’s no big deal to tell a woman that she looks hot, but if she’s heard that from the last twenty guys, none of whom treated her like an actual human being, then maybe it’s a big deal to her.

    One last thing and I’ll stop; good intentions are nice, but they’re not everything. It’s entirely possible to have the best intentions and still make another person feel like shit. If you have good intentions, then you should care about that. You should want to avoid that whenever possible, rather than complaining about how restrictive the rules are.

    When in these types of environments, there’s only one thing a man can safely do: refrain from any of these comments whatsoever, or allow women to set the standard and only go that far–no further.

    Remember that thing Sally Strange said about not being able to tell if someone was being stupid or just dishonest? I’m getting that feeling right now, so I’m going to have to ask you to read this again, especially that bit at the end, and tell me if that’s what you really meant to say. Surely, surely you can’t mean what it seems to imply… can you?

    And again, this isn’t a witch hunt. It’s an opportunity for you to make yourself clear.

    Finally, one bit from the Thunderf00t archives. I was just rereading this and noted this bit:

    My personal estimate would be, of the things that aren’t just people being social clutzs, something like 1 guy in 100-1000 (and maybe the odd girl too!) causes almost all of the problems

    1) “My personal estimate”. He does that a lot. He keeps referring back to his personal experience. For a guy that champions the Physical Evidence And Reasoned Logic line, there’s a marked absence of evidence.

    2) “Social clutzs”. The universal get-out-of-harassment card. Told a woman she’s a slut? Hey you’re just socially incompetent. Accidentally grabbed her boobs… twenty times? Honest mistake. Followed her to her room, and knocked on her door for two hours until security came to drag you away, while you were screaming “I’ll get you some day, bitch!” at the top of your lungs? Don’t worry about it, nobody’s perfect.
    As a person who is genuinely socially incompetent, I’m sick and fucking tired of being lumped in with these people. There’s a difference between not knowing how to behave and just not wanting to behave.

    3) “1 guy in 100-1000″
    Bullshit. Factually wrong. Unless you’re going to claim that the skeptical/atheist community is a shining beacon of goodness, far above the cut of mortal men, then we know it’s higher than that. Specifically about 4-6% of the population are rapists. If there are that many rapists, are we really to believe that the trouble-makers are less than 1%?

    4) Point 1 + Point 3. The number was TF’s personal estimate. It was wrong and this should lead us to seriously question every occasion where he uses his personal estimate as a guideline. It’s not just that his personal experience is anecdotal, we know for a fact that it’s not representative.

    So, that’s my bag of pennies. I wonder if anyone will bother reading it all.

  135. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    Oh, just a tiny thing here – PZ did not ban thunderfoot from FTB.

    NOBODY DID. He was FIRED, not banned. He’s still able to comment on all the blogs as far as I know, he just got kicked off the platform for being a complete arse.
    Accuracy, please.

  136. Lofty says

    LykeX,
    Thank you. Clarity.
    .
    I find it is generally not a good idea to comment on a woman’s attractiveness unless she is actively looking for such compliments. Making approving comments about her achievements though is generally a better idea. (May include a special hairdo, choice of clothes, artefact, presentation, etc where she made a real effort. You are complementing her thinking instead of an accident of birth.)

  137. Rodney Nelson says

    LykeX #160

    I wonder if anyone will bother reading it all.

    I read it all. You covered vargonian’s concerns about sexual harassment policies well and pointed out that Thunderfoot’s complaints were based on a faulty premise. Good job!

  138. says

    Well, thanks. I find that the more I write, the harder it is to tell if I’m making any sense, so I was a bit worried.

  139. mildlymagnificent says

    Lyke X

    No need. That was pretty good (as well as being far more effort than I was willing to put in).

    Thank you.

  140. anchor says

    [Bear in mind that I had not yet watched beyond the opening remarks of C0nc0rdance – since his remarks arrested my attention, having heard enough right then and there – to transcribe verbatim what he said in what he calls his thesis, which nevertheless seems to reflect a fairly common opinion I’ve noticed with regard to the troll phenomenon]

    The ‘three questions of the discussion” (as described by the moderator, The TruePooka, “On the issue of internet trolling, internet freedom”):

    1. On “the role…trolling has played in what the internet has become and what it will one day be…as in the internet and trolling I suppose…of course, we have to define what trolling is…”

    2. “How free speech – uh, actually, ‘how free is our speech on the internet’? And how free should we expect it to be?”

    3. “Who should be behind determining how free our internet really is?”

    Here’s what the dinosaur guy in the middle (C0nc0rdance – cute gimmick) offered in his opening speech (remarks well guided by his notes, as he explains, after expressing disappointment at the prospect of making it in the absence of PZ, “Well let me go anyway, because we’re gonna have an hour discussion here…I will circle back to these comments, uh, because they’re my basic thesis on this topic. I’ve jotted these down…I’ve got some nicely detailed notes so that I don’t screw up my delivery here…but basically here’s my opening remarks”) — verbatim:

    “You know, I want to open with a very simple question, which is basically, ‘who’s in charge of the internet’? Right? Its a nonsense question because no one really owns the internet. You know, PZ may own and run Pharyngula, and Google may own and run YouTube, but there’s no ‘UN office of internet’, there’s no internet constitution or internet police. And that means there’s really no one to govern internet behavior. And the only laws are the ones that we make for our own little corner of this sort of ‘village of tomorrow’…um, so into that anarchist paradise come the trolls, disruptive, mean-spirited, um, bringing nothing positive. And they get pleasure from causing harm and injury, or so we tend to think. How can a lawless community survive when its filled with these barbarians? Uh, its very tempting to bar windows and bolt our doors, to treat every space as our own private fortress, armed with the banhammer in each hand. And we risk becoming virtual-world shut-ins controlled by our own intolerance of trolling. We begin to fear anything we don’t know, uh, to resent anything who’s not part of our ‘in-group’.

    “The problem now is, with our defenses firmly up, we no longer participate in the wider world discussion. We abandon outreach and turn inward, we don’t expose ourselves to the possibility of being criticized, analyzed and critiqued. And I think that’s a vital part of my presence here on the internet. I want people to examine my arguments. Some of the critiques will come from, you know, ignorance and fear, and those are the critics that are the loudest and most vocal. Some rare person might come along, though, with a valid point I haven’t considered. I am not so arrogant as to think that my viewpoint is the only correct position. If we really want to understand where the trolling comes from, the…the psychology of it, we have to engage with people, we view as trolls.

    “I suspect that trolling behavior is a reaction to a hostile environment filled with personal fortresses. A person who feels small and afraid in that environment is more likely to lash out verbally. A person who is ignored is more likely to shout. A person who feels that they have something to say will say it over and over again until they’re heard.

    “If PZ – or anyone in the public eye for that matter – feel they are a target for trolling, I humbly offer it might be because people want their attention. You know, why is that? Is there a solution to that?

    “Uh, and I wanna propose an antidote to trolling, and that is engagement. If there’s a single solution to what plagues the internet, its destroying that fortress mentality and replacing it with the open marketplace of ideas. Let every idea vie for its audience; let every issue try to attract and persuade a crowd. Let everyone have a voice in every forum possible.

    “If your response is that the bricks-and-mortar world doesn’t work like that, that private property is private property, and every person’s home is their castle, then I will point out that the real world has police and armies to enforce those boundaries. The internet does not.

    “I say that trolling is a response to the fortress mentality – people who attempt to keep out the hoards, who ignore competing voices – create trolls, show them that the only way to participate is by disruption. We should learn from one of the most significant internet phenomena – the ‘Streisand Effect’, you know, named for Barbra Streisand who tried to suppress images of her home on the internet. First, a way the online community always responds to attempts to control information with their own version of force.

    “So, just to summarize my central position: Everyone comes to the internet to hear and to be heard. The trolls are the ones who, denied the right to have their voice heard, decide to disrupt the conversation instead, inject chaos into order, and assault the fortresses of private spaces. Its childish, yes, but its not intractable or incurable.

    “So I have a modest proposal in 3 parts that I think is the best way to deal with the fortress mentality – and the trolling it creates:

    “You allow – ONE – for open criticism in every forum which you produce content. Make every effort to create an open and welcoming discussion for all positions. In that way your opposition will have no reason to be disruptive because they have free and unfettered access to your attention. Give them a voice and they don’t need to shout.

    “TWO, don’t respond in any way to attempts to distract from actual engagement…with your critics and your fans. Set an example by responding politely and openly to people who disagree with you strongly, so long as they are not disruptive. You know – when we censor, when we take from people their chance to be heard – that’s when they resort to trolling.

    “And then THREE, recognize that just because someone disagrees with you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are incompetent or malevolent – sometimes people just disagree. Give the same respect to your opponents as you do to your allies. This doesn’t mean compromising your principles or giving false balance. It just means not being dismissive, not denying someone the right to be heard. Uh, in your humble opinion you may think them an idiot or a shill, or a creep, or a troll – that doesn’t mean you have a right to silence them.

    “Along the way, if we adopt these practices, we’ll gain something even better. A free-er internet, a richer discussion, and a vibrant marketplace of competing ideas.

    “I’ll pause for applause now.”

    There it is. The full opening remarks by C0nc0rdance.

    It reads rather more problematically than the dramatic, impassioned and slickly rehearsed verbal performance one watches, doesn’t it? But I wanted to read out the words to find out what he actually said, to see for myself what I suspected sounded as if there was something crappy about it, but couldn’t pin it down…and sure enough, its true: it stinks.

    Sorry to disagree with the talking dino head, but this is incredibly naive, poorly-conceived rubbish sprinkled with a shovelful of idealistic powder.

    What. A. Mess.

    I couldn’t resist sharing it…

    On the items that irked the most:

    1. He talks as if the internet is dominated by or wholly composed of blogs. The internet is not at all dominated by the kind of private-opinion blogs he is specifically conflating with ‘the internet’. He doesn’t even acknowledge venues that invite visitor comments – such as educational or government-sponsored science sites who set guidelines and rules of behavior and expect visitors to abide by them – that have every right to police their – yes, ENTIRELY PUBLIC – sites against unruly comments, and they very definitely exercise that authority for very good and legitimate reasons.

    The specific sort of venue he’s talking about whenever he refers to ‘the internet’ are privately sponsored – platforms owned and operated by individuals – who are exploiting a technology to exercise their right at their own expense to speak, most of them extending to their audience of readers the opportunity to respond to their posts. Very few expect full agreement; many hope for additional insight. Personal inclinations, proclivities, patience and tolerance levels being as agreeably diverse as they are among anyone, different bloggers will deal with transgressors in their own ways. They can and do police their own “little corner of this sort of village of tomorrow”, and they’re entitled to do so.

    The fact is, those platforms DO belong to them. Those ARE their ‘castles’, and as a PERSONAL asset they ARE often forced to defend it as if was a ‘fortress’. They can do on them as they will because its theirs to promote what they think, not what the reading commentariat thinks, still less what trolls pretend to think. Commenting on them as a reader is a privilege, not a right. A troll who invades a thread with the purpose of disrupting it or tooting their own horn or merely annoying the hell out of everybody has every opportunity to do so, but does NOT have a right that isn’t similarly extended to anyone else who may supply a constructive contribution. Backlash from the commentariat against a troll is a privilege, not a right. Banning remains a judgment that may be carried out by a blog owner, and the blog owner has every right to exercise it whether or not anyone else thinks it justified or not.

    2. He claims in his ‘thesis’ that trolls and trolling are a phenomenon that is produced by a hypothetical “fortress mentality”, that the tendency of people to disrupt threads, annoy and otherwise behave badly comes about specifically because of the lack of tolerance on the part of bloggers. (Strangely, he leaves out entirely the issue of the oft strong reaction of other commenters to the disruptions and thread derailments caused by trolls, who are by far most sensitive to their presence and responsible for reacting to them than are the blog owners, who often get the picture after a problem has already has developed to a rancid state, since they can hardly be expected to monitor all of their comment threads constantly).

    Is C0nc0rdance really so naive as to be unaware that some portion of the population inevitably possesses behavioral character flaws cultivated independently of the blogosphere (with which they no doubt gall people in the real world) long before they ever bring it to bother people in the blogosphere? If he really thinks trolling behavior is an effect of attempts by bloggers to maintain order rather than a phenomenon brought to blogs, the ignorance involved is truly amazing.

    Even worse, he suggests that trolls are equal partners in the exchange of ideas, that they have a legitimate voice and a legitimate point of view to express, that they must be given the opportunity to express it that is equal to the rest of the commentariat.

    I’ve got news for you: they in bald fact DO express themselves. They are perfectly free to engage in a discussion, and they take advantage of the opportunity. Nothing whatsoever prevents them from commenting. There’s nothing forbidding them from putting their foot in their mouth either. And there’s nothing to prevent other readers for pointing out they’re wrong, or expressing their annoyance when they willfully persist irritating and poisoning a thread.

    If the blog owner steps in to put a stop to the irritant “with a banhammer in each hand”, SO WHAT? It’s entirely the blog-owners right to do so.

    It is exceptionally idiotic to claim, cart-before-the-horse-wise, that trolls or trolling are a consequence of inadequate or disrespectful blogging etiquette rather than an intrusive cause of the problem. Step out of your silly thesis so narrowly confined to what you see on a monitor and take a good hard and wide look at the authentic world of real people for a clue.

    Caine has it absolutely right in that last sentence of comment #3. “There’s no right to an audience”. Bingo. More completely, that means that anybody who writes anything should not expect their right to say so should extend to a right to have an audience for it. And if they are so fortunate as to have acquired an audience for their views, such attention must only have come about by virtue of what they have said, through sufficiently strong sympathy or agreement or strong antipathy or disagreement…OR by the sordid kind of attention one brings to annoying disease-mongering mosquitos, which deserve to be smashed, even by reflex if the reader is sufficiently attuned by long and tedious experience to the typical warning signs. However unpalatable it may be to the fragile idealistic sensibilities C0nc0rdance seems to harbor, the audience IS the default censor and police, the alarm system and first line of defense which any blog owner listens to with an attentiveness, say, like that exhibited by monkeys in a tree who hear birds calling out an alarm that a snake is in their collective midst.

    As for the recommendations that C0nc0rdance lays out as a ‘solution’ to the problem – such as he has characterized it:

    ONE: “…allow for open criticism in every forum which you produce content.”

    I don’t see any bloggers which I frequent who don’t allow for ‘open criticism’. it’s absurd and ridiculous. PZ – who is evidently one of the targets of c0nc0rdance’s speech – certainly doesn’t forbid it. Far from it. But its amazing how by this peculiar statement C0nc0rdance invests trolls with a capacity for honest criticism. If anything might validate his earlier declaration that,

    “I want people to examine my arguments. Some of the critiques will come from, you know, ignorance and fear, and those are the critics that are the loudest and most vocal. Some rare person might come along, though, with a valid point I haven’t considered. I am not so arrogant as to think that my viewpoint is the only correct position”

    …then C0nc0rdance can entertain the possibility that this is one of those valid points from a “rare person” (and trust me, particularly where his position is concerned, they aren’t going to be that rare) that he might not have considered.

    It is this: trolls do not criticize. They obfuscate. And they do so for selfish reasons, not for any lofty contributory input for the benefit and enlightenment of the recipients. Trolls come in a great variety of flavors. But most operate on entirely selfish motives, with a locked-in standpoint of opposition that has nothing to do with what anyone is saying, per se, except that it mimics legitimate attention to the topic with an appearance of sincerity. Once in, the virus goes to work to spread its influence – motivated by a simple addle-minded opposition for the sake of establishing distinction, typically of the sort of empty declaration that establishes, “I’M HERE AND YOUR NOT” – a shout, C0nc0rdance may be amazed to learn, they will provide whether they are given the attention they crave or soundly ignored.

    He implores:

    “Make every effort to create an open and welcoming discussion for all positions.”

    I suppose its entirely possible that there are bloggers who keep a tightly closed ship and might be quite selective in their welcoming discussion from all positions, but I don’t see that this suggestion is violated with any significant intensity in any blog I frequent. Perhaps C0nc0rdance is far more cosmopolitan in his tastes of blogs than I am, and has ventured far more deeply into right-wing neocon christer territory than I would ever dream of doing. If so, and if he seriously means to include that sector as indicative of a blogosphere-wide deterioration of openness and welcoming, I’ll retract my objection on this point.

    His entreaty to “Give them a voice and they don’t need to shout” is, however, amazingly stupid. As I have already noted above, it is incredibly naïve to think that trolls are created by blogs, rather than that assholes may exist independently outside the realm of the blogosphere, yet are entirely capable of infiltrating them and bring their crap along for everyone to smell.

    In other words, they’re brats who want attention. (Hmmm…there’s a definition in there. Its coarse but it’s a definition. What does C0nc0rdance give us? In his meticulous jotting of detailed notes, he decided to shift the burden over to what we all supposedly THINK trolls are and trolling is, preferring to pass the responsibility onto the blogger for the creation of trolling behavior…because, as his thesis depends, they are in actuality just like everyone else who have a legitimate point of view to express. What a pity they are so persecuted.

    C0nc0rdance suggests in his second recommendation, “Set an example by responding politely and openly to people who disagree with you strongly, so long as they are not disruptive.”

    Riiiiight. So long as they’re not disruptive. (Knowing dino-head winks, as if he’s provided a glimpse into the mysteries of profound wisdom)

    Then he rapidly follows up with this bomb:

    “You know – when we censor, when we take from people their chance to be heard – that’s when they resort to trolling.”

    Really? Most who appear on a blog thread start out as perfectly ordinary run-o’-the-mill readers happily enjoying a kafeeclatsch of ideas, and the moment the fiendish ubermeister begins to wield their censorious temper, a small but special and sensitive proportion of them instantly transform into tumorous growths that threaten to kill the thread. Nonplussed, C0nc0rdance not only ascribes the blame to the blogger, he finds a way to feel sorry for an innocent and victimized minority of cancerous tumors for having so been rudely treated by the rest of the body topic thread which cannot tolerate their presence without dying. But at least we have dinosaurs like C0nc0rdance to stand up for the rights of little guy.

    “THREE, recognize that just because someone disagrees with you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are incompetent or malevolent – sometimes people just disagree.”

    It’s hard to be sure whether the dino is kidding or not; although I could swear I saw he showed a little more tooth, its really hard to say what it could mean. It’s just really hard to gauge dino body language, even if its restricted to a false face.

    “Give the same respect to your opponents as you do to your allies. This doesn’t mean compromising your principles or giving false balance. It just means not being dismissive, not denying someone the right to be heard.”

    And that gem right after he’d already supplied the exception upon which all hinges: “so long as they are not disruptive.” So, to take the apparent target of this ‘thesis as an example, I have visited PZ’s blog since the tail end of its earliest year, and I have never ever seen him disrespect or dismiss or deny the right of anyone to be heard…unless they became disruptive. Not only that, I often marveled at the patience he displayed in suspending any action or in issuing fair warning when the culprit continued obliviously on their trajectory of full-blown metastasis. That’s a fact, and dino has an awful lot of gizzard to presume to tell the caliber of PZ and other successful bloggers like him how to conduct themselves, and to set for them a standard of proper etiquette on their own blogs.

    Then he says,

    “Uh, in your humble opinion you may think them an idiot or a shill, or a creep, or a troll – that doesn’t mean you have a right to silence them.”

    The hell it doesn’t. They have a right to do remove anything or anybody who disrupts their blog, period. It may seem terribly cruel to keep everyone on the recognizance of everyone, but who else is better suited to keep the gate? No, it can’t always be the individual blog owner, especially if the site rakes in several thousand comments every week. If anyone doesn’t want to be silenced, they should be sure not to behave like a troll. Its that simple. What C0nc0rdance seems to fail to understand is that consensus spontaneously emerges amongst the commentariat that an individual is being willfully obtuse and disruptive. They can’t all be wrong, nor can such a consensus – so swiftly arrived at – have been orchestrated by any single individual. Like most everything else the dino has said or implied, its ridiculous.

    Finally, the dino is also dead wrong about answering the question of, “Who’s in charge of the internet?” as a nonsense question:

    “Right? Its a nonsense question because no one really owns the internet. You know, PZ may own and run Pharyngula, and Google may own and run YouTube, but there’s no ‘UN office of internet’, there’s no internet constitution or internet police. And that means there’s really no one to govern internet behavior.”

    BULLSHIT. People are in charge. Lots of people are crawling all over it. The internet – the friggin’ blogosphere – doesn’t run itself. If you are going to refer to the collective entity, at least be consistent enough in your thinking to acknowledge a collective of people in charge, each running myriad little corners of it.

    Here’s another example of C0nc0rdance sloppy thinking: As he himself says in the very next sentence:

    “And the only laws are the ones that we make for our own little corner of this sort of ‘village of tomorrow’”

    Nobody’s in charge, but the only laws are the ones we make.

    Why, that’s so deeply existential I could almost cry.

    I’m toodamned tired to watch the rest of it now, but I’m afraid I’ve lost interest in watching anything with someone that simpleminded on the panel (sorry TheSkepticalHeretic & TheTruePooka, no reflection on you guys; i rather suspect you guys can’t possibly be any worse). After a d4ecent sleep I might reconsider, but only to fast-forward to wherever PZ comes on, where I can be assured of listening to some measure of sophistication and mature thoughtfulness.

  141. Pteryxx says

    LykeX:

    If, in a given situation, somebody reacted negatively to your comments, maybe you should ask yourself why, rather than blame those pesky harassment policies. The policy didn’t create the problem. It might have made the other person more confident in expressing their distaste for your comment, where previously they would have kept silent. That’s a good thing.

    What I’m getting from you is a feeling that you think other people are making a big deal out of an innocent comment. What you need to understand is that if other people are making a big deal out of it, maybe, just maybe, the comment wasn’t so innocent after all.

    QFT.

    To elaborate on this, more generally, that’s the crux of vargonian’s argument, and basically every other such objection invoking hypersensitive feminists waiting to pounce. They make a personal judgement call that whatever Shermer/Tfoot/Kirby/whoever said objectively had little or nothing wrong with it, therefore Ophelia/PZ/Watson/whoever criticizes it is overreacting, looking for enemies, witch hunting et cetera. That same flawed heuristic comes into play for every subsequent round, so they now consider Shermer’s long response invoking witch-hunting and feminazis to be an objectively reasonable and justified response to Ophelia mentioning something he said as an example of a typical thoughtless stereotype-invoking misstep. But that entire cycle depends upon the initial assumption, usually unconscious, that “I don’t see anything wrong with that statement” means “THERE IS nothing wrong with that statement.” (Long form: “Because I judge myself to be a reasonable person, then when X statement looks reasonable to me, my judgement is correct and anyone objecting to X statement is being unreasonable.”) But there is no justification for assuming without self-examination that your judgement call just fits better and the other side’s overreacting because they’re less reasonable than you are.

    vargonian, I offer this background reading to help comprehend the “walking on eggshells” feeling when considering the feelings of someone who doesn’t see a situation the same way you do.

    http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-ways-youre-accidentally-making-everyone-hate-you/

    (Yes, I mean it – I’m non-sarcastically citing cracked.com for advice. The whole thing’s worth reading.)

    Have you recently had friends, co-workers, or strangers suddenly get pissed off at you for what seemed like no reason at all? Maybe you told yourself that they were overreacting or being too sensitive, or that they had no right to be angry when you clearly didn’t mean to do whatever you did (and in fact aren’t even sure what it was). If you’re a socially inept type like me, I bet you’ve had this happen within the last month.

    And after that, read this, specifically to address a man’s point of view about women overreacting about harassment.

    http://www.rolereboot.org/culture-and-politics/details/2013-01-what-i-learned-from-a-letter-to-the-guy-who-harassed

  142. anteprepro says

    As I’ve already said, I know little about Shermer’s views on Libertarianism, or gun control. If you want to start an argument about how Shermer is a bad person and should feel bad, take it up with someone else. I can only say that, based on all the interviews I’ve heard from him, the books of his I’ve read, his articles, etc., he doesn’t come across as a very controversial figure at least within the skeptical community.

    Hah. You’re the one who brought Shermer into this. You were the one saying how we should feel bad because Shermer is so obviously good and we must be real assholes for thinking otherwise. And I don’t know what you think you were responding to, but I don’t think Shermer is a bad person. But his statement was controversial, and using the fact that Shermer himself isn’t too controversial is rather illogical.

    Yeah, and he answered. He said that he feels it’s about 50/50. But then noted, after the female host stated how hard it was to find a female atheist speaker (to which hordes of bloggers responded by calling her a misogynist, gender-traitor–oh wait, that never happened), that the whole “organizing conferences / speaking in panels, etc.” thing was more of a “guy thing”.

    Are you a complete idiot or do you just play one on the internet? How does this change the problem of answering “guys tend to participate more” as an answer to why there are more males in the roles of skeptic leaders? Here’s the clue: It doesn’t. “More of a guy thing” implies either that guys are more suited for it, or guys inherently want to do it more. Which answers the question while being sexist. Either he dodged the question or answered it in a way that reinforced sexist stereotypes. There is no other reasonable explanation.

    Irrelevant. She accused him of claiming that women were not as smart as men. He rightfully responded.

    It’s not irrelevant, because the other “half” of the article, about leadership/passivity, is her stronger point, the point she focuses more of her article on. The fact that Shermer ignores it is telling, and the fact that you think it is fair game to do so is also telling. Don’t you think it is dishonest to say that Shermer is definitely not sexist and feminists are overreacting when you are ignoring any part of the argument that is inconvenient or difficult for you to argue against? Don’t you think it should raise the eyebrows of any bystander when Shermer is complaining of his comments being taken out of context while pretending that “Shermer called women stupid” was the only claim that Ophelia made?

    You realize that this doesn’t do anything for your case, right? It only makes you look more like the type of person who actually should get banned from these communities. And to be clear, since misconstruing words seems to be the trend around here, I’m not at all implying that you should be banned, or that angry, emotional, sarcastic responses shouldn’t be allowed. I’m just expressing the slight irony of discussing the distinction between a troll and non-troll when you yourself are showing characteristics commonly associated with trolls.

    I’m sorry, who is the one not actually addressing arguments and just looping around and saying the same shit over and over again, like a brick wall with an internet connection? Who is the one calling out the entire community here for their stance on an unrelated topic? Who is the one quibbling about the definition of troll, in defense of the one the most incoherent, idiotic supporters of misogyny that has ever graced this blogging network? I’m afraid you are just projecting here. Mocking you for your ignorance/dishonesty is not trolling.

    On a related note, I ponder: Will the menz ever learn cause from effect? Action from reaction? Defense from offense? This seems to be a very deep-rooted, widespread problem.

  143. says

    Is C0nc0rdance really this naive? It boggles the mind…

    I guess he isn’t a rape victim who was ever triggered into PTSD by trolls on the internet.
    And I guess that he doesn’t have any fucking clue about sociology and the effects of hate-speech.

    As for the “they’re just looking for attention”:
    Now, as a parent I know the “I behave badly so you have pay attention” routine.
    Actually, the best way to deal with that is to ignore it. And if it’s so bad you can’t ignore it you remove the person from the situation. You never ever reward bad attention-seeking behaviour with your attention.
    Now, as a parent I also try to give them lots of positive attention and catch them at being good and generally try to prevent the bad behaviour that way.
    But I’m not the mummy of every fucker on the internet. I’m not responsible for fixing their attention deficit, I don’t have to give them my space and my time and my attention. When I signed up for the internet there was nothing in the terms that said “you have to devote your time and attention and energy to pampering pathetic losers who have nowhere to go in life so they shout at you on the internet.”
    If you can’t behave yurself you don’t get to play with the big kids.

    But in the end, although there might be a troll or two who fits that description, most of them don’t. They aren’t poor kiddies who weren’t loved enough and they don’t want our attention. They want to silence. Posting rape threats, shouting “bitch cunt nigger faggot” isn’t a way to engage and discuss opinions. There’s no content, there’s only hate.
    Also, Concordance acts as if the internet was a level playing field when in reality it’s just the same fucking power structure we have everywhere. “Free marketplace of ideas” works the same way the “Free Market” works: By keeping those on top up and those at the bottom down.
    Fuck libertarianism.

    Also, Skeptic Heretic, intent isn’t fucking magic.

  144. says

    Is C0nc0rdance really this naive? It boggles the mind…

    I guess he isn’t a rape victim who was ever triggered into PTSD by trolls on the internet.
    And I guess that he doesn’t have any fucking clue about sociology and the effects of hate-speech.

    As for the “they’re just looking for attention”:
    Now, as a parent I know the “I behave badly so you have pay attention” routine.
    Actually, the best way to deal with that is to ignore it. And if it’s so bad you can’t ignore it you remove the person from the situation. You never ever reward bad attention-seeking behaviour with your attention.
    Now, as a parent I also try to give them lots of positive attention and catch them at being good and generally try to prevent the bad behaviour that way.
    But I’m not the mummy of every fucker on the internet. I’m not responsible for fixing their attention deficit, I don’t have to give them my space and my time and my attention. When I signed up for the internet there was nothing in the terms that said “you have to devote your time and attention and energy to pampering pathetic losers who have nowhere to go in life so they shout at you on the internet.”
    If you can’t behave yurself you don’t get to play with the big kids.

    But in the end, although there might be a troll or two who fits that description, most of them don’t. They aren’t poor kiddies who weren’t loved enough and they don’t want our attention. They want to silence. Posting rape threats, shouting slurs isn’t a way to engage and discuss opinions. There’s no content, there’s only hate.
    Also, Concordance acts as if the internet was a level playing field when in reality it’s just the same fucking power structure we have everywhere. “Free marketplace of ideas” works the same way the “Free Market” works: By keeping those on top up and those at the bottom down.
    Fuck libertarianism.

    Also, Skeptic Heretic, intent isn’t fucking magic.

  145. says

    See, you have me at a loss here as well. I was under the impression that the term “witch hunt” was fairly common, and largely uncontroversial. The meaning is clear, and it doesn’t imply a literal burning at the stake or anything to that magnitude.

    The generic term, “witch hunt,” yes, I would tend to agree with you there. However, Shermer titled a section of his essay “A Secular Malleus Maleficorum,” which to me took it out of the realm of the abstract metaphorical witch hunt and anchored it to that era of European history that was so brutal for women.

    And his sentiment is not baseless.

    Yes, it is. Ophelia’s observation was accurate: the remark reinforced, or, at best, failed to challenge a widespread sexist stereotype about the passivity of women.

    Think of all the people that have been vocally shunned in the past couple years alone; certain segments of the secular community have practically made a habit of it. Some targets include: Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, Thunderf00t, Penn Jilette, Lawrence Krauss, Richard Dawkins, Abbie Smith, Sara Mayhew, and more.

    Those people are doing just fine. Vocally shunned. Goodness me. I think you mean, “criticized for being wrong about certain specific things, about which they really were wrong, and not accused of being vile dastardly moustache-twirling misogynist villains going around tying ladies to train tracks.” These people make a name for themselves as being skeptics or being skeptically minded, and they didn’t anticipate something like this happening?

    And the things that have been happening to Natalie Reed, Jen McCreight, Ophelia Benson, Surly Amy, and Rebecca Watson? Those are… what? Just the cost of doing business?

    At some point you have to take a step back and do some introspection. If you get to the point at which the majority of people think you’re overreacting, either you’re the seed of a righteous movement that’s going to change the world for the better, or you’re overreacting.

    Yeah… thing is, I’m pretty sure–and we are starting to collect a rudimentary body of demographic data about the atheist/skeptical movement now–that the sexists who love Dawkins because he apparently shares their lack of patience with “Western women” complaining about nonexistent problems, and the ones who like posting on Thunderf00t’s site because he doesn’t moderate even rape threats against fellow commenters–are actually a minority. It’s really up to the men and women who haven’t been paying attention so far to come to their senses and realize that we’ll all be better off if we don’t provide cover for manipulative narcissists (research shows that narcissism correlates highly with misogyny) to operate in our midst, hurting people and getting away with it. Except for the toxic manipulators, but hey. What are you going to do.

    As with regards to the fear of “walking on eggshells”, as you put it, I would simply say that just because a belief is widespread does not mean it is well founded.

  146. Amphigorey says

    Are you serious? Count me in as one of the many males who, when faced with a policy like this, will be terrified to say anything remotely flirtatious. The same applies to any forum such as FtB, and especially any explicitly feminist forum. It’s like walking on eggshells–it’s just safer not to even tread there. I simply do not know what will be acceptable and what won’t be

    If something as minor as an anti-harassment policy will keep you away from conventions, then please, stay away!

    What you just said here is that your license to flirt trumps making conventions a safer space for women. Dude, that is FUCKED UP. You are getting all worked up because oh noez, you might have to spend a whole weekend at a convention and not flirt with anyone? How will you ever manage?

    Of course, this is not, in fact, remotely what anti-harassment policies say. You can still flirt. However, if you’re too stupid to figure out what constitutes consensual flirting and what is creepy, then yeah, you should just keep your trap shut and your hands to yourself. I can’t really work up much sympathy for you.

  147. says

    These people make a name for themselves as being skeptics or being skeptically minded, and they didn’t anticipate something like this happening?

    Just for clarifitcation: by “something like this” I mean the occasion of actually being publicly wrong about something. Something that you don’t even agree that you’re wrong about. And yet you’re still wrong. Not that they should anticipate being criticized for reinforcing sexism (note: not the same thing as accused of being a dastardly villainous evil misogynist).

  148. ck says

    But in the end, although there might be a troll or two who fits that description, most of them don’t.

    There are so many motivations for trolls, it’d be hard to list them all. He seems to be somehow completely ignorant of the “playground bully” faction of trolls, who want nothing other than to smash anything anyone else has built because of the power it gives them over others. You can’t rationalize or come to terms with these people, because they’re not interested in their own arguments. Even if these people comprise no more than 1-2% of the internet, that’s still an absolutely massive number of people who would seek to do harm for no reason other than it amuses them.

  149. vargonian says

    #160 LykeX

    Basically, there’s no such thing as “merely mentioning”. All mentioning is done within the context of a certain environment of circumstances and relationships.

    Well, let me be perfectly clear then. Under virtually no circumstances whatsoever would I mention the attractiveness of a woman, out of fear of reprisal. This is not just timid Vargonian; this is many men who are casualties of this environment which has been created which, fairly or not, justified or not, sends the message that it’s not okay. And having seen all of the negative reactions of people for comments as normally benign as “it’s a guy thing”, I don’t blame them for keeping their mouths shut. If I say that “playing violent video games is more of a ‘guy thing'”, am I going to face the wrath? I have no idea. So I’m terrified to even say anything.

    Remember that thing Sally Strange said about not being able to tell if someone was being stupid or just dishonest? I’m getting that feeling right now, so I’m going to have to ask you to read this again, especially that bit at the end, and tell me if that’s what you really meant to say.

    It’s funny, because I’m getting the same feeling from you. I’m thinking: How can you not notice how often this happens? Have you seen people who slip out of line in the Freethought Blogs podcasts? Have you seen men who slip out of line in panels? It’s like instant terror, deer-in-headlights, red alert damage control back-peddling. I don’t want that. I don’t want to feel like I’m walking on eggshells.

  150. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Under virtually no circumstances whatsoever would I mention the attractiveness of a woman, out of fear of reprisal. This is not just timid Vargonian; this is many men who are casualties of this environment which has been created which, fairly or not, justified or not, sends the message that it’s not okay.

    Citation needed, or you are a liar and bullshitter. Context is your friend.

    It’s like instant terror, deer-in-headlights, red alert damage control back-peddling. I don’t want that.

    Why are you so scared? Say you were wrong, learn, and go on. Mistakes aren’t the problem. The lack of learning from those mistakes are your problem. You stopped the ability to learn.

  151. Beatrice says

    Nerd,

    He’s only a couple of steps from accusing us of shooting all the dissenters in the head behind the shed.
    Metaphorically.
    Or maybe not.

    Damn, I can’t remember which troll came up with that, but I find it terribly funny for some reason.

  152. kayden says

    Isn’t the issue of free speech on the internet up to the owner of the website? Some sites have an “anything goes” policy, while others heavily moderate comments (i.e., John Scalzi with his mallet of loving correction). Free speech is about the government’s efforts to curb private speech, not about what is and is not allowed on various internet websites.

  153. Beatrice says

    kayden,

    That’s a reasonable person explanation. Some people have trouble understanding that kind of thing. And some of them are just trolling.

  154. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Damn, I can’t remember which troll came up with that, but I find it terribly funny for some reason.

    I thought we used them for trebuchet practice targets, and “shot” them with pullet by-products.

  155. vargonian says

    167 Pteryxx

    What you need to understand is that if other people are making a big deal out of it, maybe, just maybe, the comment wasn’t so innocent after all.

    I recognize that reasoning because I used it myself. When it’s a vocal minority making a big deal about it, maybe, just maybe you have to look at that minority more than the comment itself. This isn’t about Shermer’s comment; this is a general statement.

    They make a personal judgement call that whatever Shermer/Tfoot/Kirby/whoever said objectively had little or nothing wrong with it, therefore Ophelia/PZ/Watson/whoever criticizes it is overreacting, looking for enemies, witch hunting et cetera.

    I’ve already addressed this. Shermer’s comment did reinforce a stereotype and, after Ophelia Benson cleared up her original objection, it is understandable why it would raise an eyebrow. I can also understand why Shermer went the “witch hunt” route, given how badly things have gotten within a vocal minority of the Freethought community in the past couple years.

    vargonian, I offer this background reading to help comprehend the “walking on eggshells” feeling when considering the feelings of someone who doesn’t see a situation the same way you do.

    Yes, it’s clear from the material you linked that you’re making just as unwarranted of an implication that “it’s me, not them”. It’s my fault that a feminist recently told me that she lumps me in the same category as rapists for making a benign comment about male desires–which, perhaps you’ll assume was actually “much worse than I thought.” It’s my fault that, every time my ex-girlfriend would walk into a video game store with me, she’d get disgusted and yell at me for liking all of the gratuitously sexual game cover art despite me repeatedly denying it. (No hysterics there, right? It must just be something I’m doing or not doing.) It’s my fault that every time I have a very subtle disagreement on some issue related to feminism, someone inevitably assumes that I think that women should be second-class citizens–or worse.

    My point is, people are irrational. And if you take an emotionally charged subject, people are even more irrational. There’s a well-established history of overreaction so it’s no surprise that people like Shermer leap to the “witch hunt” conclusion. I’ll repeat what I said earlier. If the majority shuns you, there’s a good chance you did something wrong. But if the minority shuns everyone else, then either that minority is part of a righteous few who sees something the majority can’t, or else they’re actually overreacting. It could just be that Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer, D.J. Grothe, Lawrence Krauss, Penn Jilette, Sam Harris, Sara Mayhew, Abbie Smith, Thunderf00t, etc. are bad and should feel bad. Or maybe the problem lies elsewhere.

  156. vargonian says

    You were the one saying how we should feel bad because Shermer is so obviously good and we must be real assholes for thinking otherwise.

    I’ll assume you’re exaggerating for effect.

    But his statement was controversial

    Good, I’m glad we agree.

    How does this change the problem of answering “guys tend to participate more” as an answer to why there are more males in the roles of skeptic leaders?

    It doesn’t, nor did I ever claim it did. If you’d like, I can set up a straw man for you to pound on, if you just need something to relieve your frustrations.

    “More of a guy thing” implies either that guys are more suited for it, or guys inherently want to do it more. Which answers the question while being sexist.

    It’s an assumption based on not-so-good information, sure. But what if it’s true that guys inherently want to do it more, for example? Would that make it sexist? Perhaps the assumption is still sexist, if we assume the worst of deep-seated beliefs in his mind. And hey, why not?

    The fact that Shermer ignores [the rest of Benson’s article] is telling

    Indeed, very telling. It’s very representative of the climate that a vocal minority in the freethought community have created in the past couple years. It’s a shame; I completely agree with you.

    while pretending that “Shermer called women stupid” was the only claim that Ophelia made?

    Regardless of what she said afterward, discussing negative stereotypes, she still made a nasty personal accusation against him. I don’t see how the rest is relevant to that point. If I accused you of being a pedophile and then went on to make a point about how pedophiles are bad, I wouldn’t expect you to concede that you’re a pedophile. I’m not sure why I’m needing to explain this.

    I’m sorry, who is the one not actually addressing arguments and just looping around and saying the same shit over and over again, like a brick wall with an internet connection?

    You mean like when I repeatedly told someone that I agreed that Shermer’s comment reinforced a stereotype, and they kept pressing me to admit that same thing over and over again? Is that the type of “looping around” you’re referring to?

    Who is the one calling out the entire community here for their stance on an unrelated topic?

    Definitely not me. Since when am I addressing the “entire community”, calling them out on anything? You have a penchant for over-exaggeration. My original point was that PZ’s stated definition of troll in the video, and the definition he enforces (and has used in the past) are two very different things.

    Who is the one quibbling about the definition of troll

    Um, this was the original topic. It’s… kinda the point. (Psst, you should watch the video that this comment thread follows. It’s kinda the topic.)

    in defense of the one the most incoherent, idiotic supporters of misogyny that has ever graced this blogging network

    …aaand you state this as fact without needing to back yourself up. Can I do the same thing? That would be really convenient.

    I’m afraid you are just projecting here.

    Ahhh, so now I’m the misogynist! And here I was worried that I might be overreacting by complaining about “hysterics”.

  157. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    When it’s a vocal minority making a big deal about it, maybe, just maybe you have to look at that minority more than the comment itself.

    We have. And give that community the middle finger salute they are giving half the population.

  158. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It’s my fault that a feminist recently told me that she lumps me in the same category as rapists

    Yawn, paranoid and not listening are you? Funny how I never hear that, because I learned to shut the fuck up and listen. Why can’t you?

  159. says

    Under virtually no circumstances whatsoever would I mention the attractiveness of a woman, out of fear of reprisal. This is not just timid Vargonian; this is many men who are casualties of this environment which has been created which, fairly or not, justified or not, sends the message that it’s not okay.

    If that only were true, if men would just finally fucking leave us some space to breathe in.

  160. Beatrice says

    SallyStrange,

    Isn’t it a relief to finally find what you were looking for?

    And it took less than 200 comments.
    Aren’t we lucky?

  161. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If that only were true, if men would just finally fucking leave us some space to breathe in.

    Gee, all that time memorizing PUA lines going for naught.
    He just can’t actually picture himself talking to the woman without a script?

  162. vargonian says

    And his sentiment is not baseless.

    Yes, it is.

    Given how many have been shunned in the past couple years alone by a vocal minority in the freethought community (I feel like a broken record here), it’s completely understandable that he would leap to this.

    Vocally shunned. Goodness me. I think you mean, “criticized for being wrong about certain specific things, about which they really were wrong, and not accused of being vile dastardly moustache-twirling misogynist villains going around tying ladies to train tracks.”

    Yeahhh, not just vocally shunned, but also in some cases boycotted. PZ refuses to speak at conferences at which Abbie Smith is a speaker. Rebecca watson claims she won’t attend any of Richard Dawkins’ lectures, buy his books, etc. anymore. But my point isn’t that this vocal minority will harm them significantly; my point is just to show the overreaction.

    And the things that have been happening to Natalie Reed, Jen McCreight, Ophelia Benson, Surly Amy, and Rebecca Watson? Those are… what? Just the cost of doing business?

    I assume you’re talking about nasty emails, rape threats, etc. When did I ever say or imply that this was just a “cost of doing business” that shouldn’t go unpunished / unmoderated?

    Yeah… thing is, I’m pretty sure–and we are starting to collect a rudimentary body of demographic data about the atheist/skeptical movement now–that the sexists who love Dawkins because he apparently shares their lack of patience with “Western women” complaining about nonexistent problems, and the ones who like posting on Thunderf00t’s site because he doesn’t moderate even rape threats against fellow commenters–are actually a minority.

    Wow, that’s quite a well-organized minority. They’ve certainly got a handle on YouTube, or at least the voting buttons.

    It’s really up to the men and women who haven’t been paying attention so far to come to their senses and realize that we’ll all be better off if we don’t provide cover for manipulative narcissists

    Never did I claim that nobody should moderate ever–nor did anyone in the original video, by the way. But I blame myself for letting the topic drift so far off into left field.

    As with regards to the fear of “walking on eggshells”, as you put it, I would simply say that just because a belief is widespread does not mean it is well founded.

    Whether well-founded or not, that’s the “bed that has been made”, so to speak.

  163. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    my point is just to show the overreaction.

    Compared to your own overreaction, hyperbole, lies and bullshit?

  164. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    When did I ever say or imply that this was just a “cost of doing business” that shouldn’t go unpunished / unmoderated?

    When did you condemn it as overblown, unnecessary, overly aggressive, and bullying? I don’t see that.

  165. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Whether well-founded or not, that’s the “bed that has been made”, so to speak.

    Still no link to show you are right, so your OPINION *floosh* is sent to the toxic waste center for cleansing.

  166. says

    I’m guessing that some folks have a confused notion of majority vs minority. Lots of noise from the misogynistic crowd, but I’ve seen no evidence that their numbers are remotely as high as they suppose. Maybe they count all of Reap Paden’s sockpuppet accounts?

  167. vargonian says

    Citation needed, or you are a liar and bullshitter.

    Really? Is this what constitutes “logic” in your mind? I’m afraid I don’t have this documented in a notebook somewhere; it’s just a common observation I have with my male friends and acquaintances. If it’s any consolation, I don’t need any citation to show that your statement is logically flawed. I hope that helps.

    Why are you so scared?

    Because, though I don’t have my notebook full of citations with me to back this up, it’s normal for people to want to be liked. It’s normal for them to not want to be seen as a bad person. This environment has created a situation in which, at a moment’s notice, a mere slip of the tongue can cause you to be labeled “misogynist” or “sexist”.

  168. says

    Yeahhh, not just vocally shunned, but also in some cases boycotted. PZ refuses to speak at conferences at which Abbie Smith is a speaker. Rebecca watson claims she won’t attend any of Richard Dawkins’ lectures, buy his books, etc. anymore. But my point isn’t that this vocal minority will harm them significantly; my point is just to show the overreaction.

    Those bastards. They think they can just do what they want with their own time and money! Thinking that they have the right to choose with whom to spend time! Feeling entitled to making their own decisions about whose books to buy.
    I tell you that’s practically fascism.

  169. vargonian says

    Amphigorey sez:

    If something as minor as an anti-harassment policy will keep you away from conventions, then please, stay away!

    It won’t; it will just prevent me from even venturing remotely toward any of those conversations. I’m not complaining, I’m just stating a fact.

    What you just said here is that your license to flirt trumps making conventions a safer space for women.

    Please point me to where I said anything of the sort, and then I’ll gladly concede. Deal?

    Dude, that is FUCKED UP. You are getting all worked up because oh noez, you might have to spend a whole weekend at a convention and not flirt with anyone? How will you ever manage?

    Have you named your straw man yet? What weapon do you prefer to beat it with? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Do you realize that your irrational, emotional overreaction is exactly the kind of thing that people like me are afraid of? You are illustrating perfectly why men like me keep their mouths shut. They don’t want to be so asininely misinterpreted and painted as something horrible that they aren’t. Just look what you’ve accused me of so far that’s stemmed from nothing other than your own imagination–biases, prejudices, etc.

    However, if you’re too stupid to figure out what constitutes consensual flirting and what is creepy

    This is hilarious. Different people have different limits. Sometimes an attractive guy can do something that would be considered “creepy” if an unattractive guy did it. While I might feel “Hey, I think this is benign”, it’s best not to even take the risk.

  170. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Because, though I don’t have my notebook full of citations with me to back this up, it’s normal for people to want to be liked. It’s normal for them to not want to be seen as a bad person. This environment has created a situation in which, at a moment’s notice, a mere slip of the tongue can cause you to be labeled “misogynist” or “sexist”.

    Only to a delusional/paranoid fool. Any slip of the tongue will be excuses, if you acknowledge the mistake, apologize, learn, and go forward. Evidently you have a problem with the acknowledgement of mistake/apology/learning portion. I’ve made mistakes. But by not trying to ignore the mistake, it is easy to go forward. People have trouble with arrogant fools who won’t learn…

  171. vargonian says

    Ahhh, so now I’m the misogynist!

    Isn’t it a relief to finally find what you were looking for?

    …and you wonder why I claim that such a hostile environment has been created toward any sort of differing opinion?

  172. says

    @vargonian

    This is not just timid Vargonian; this is many men who are casualties of this environment which has been created which, fairly or not, justified or not, sends the message that it’s not okay

    I must not have gotten that memo. The message I got was that women have to put up with a lot of shit just for being women and, if I’m to consider myself one of the good guys, I need to at least try to avoid making the problem worse.
    That includes thinking about my words and actions and being open to criticism without getting defensive. I need to accept the fact that I am in a privileged position and as such I might unwittingly cause trouble for others. I need to do what I can to limit such fallout.

    You have apparently assimilated this message. I wonder where you got it from.

    And having seen all of the negative reactions of people for comments as normally benign as “it’s a guy thing”, I don’t blame them for keeping their mouths shut.

    You really think it was a benign comment? It wasn’t. It was a stupid, unhelpful comment that reinforced sexist stereotypes. Whether he intended that or holds such opinions, I don’t know, but what he said was sexist.
    On top of that, most of the criticism is focused, not on his original comment, but on the fact that he got defensive. Getting defensive and shouting “witch hunt” when people point out your mistakes is not good behavior for a skeptic.

    If I say that “playing violent video games is more of a ‘guy thing’”, am I going to face the wrath?

    That depends. What do you mean by it?
    Before you respond, I will suggest that you actually talk to a lady gamer or two. If you seriously hold that opinion, I doubt you have much contact with female gamers. I.e. I’m not convinced you have a clue.

    Is that a relaxed enough response for you? Are you still terrified?

    It’s funny, because I’m getting the same feeling from you

    I’m guessing you didn’t get what I was hinting at, because you clearly aren’t engaging with it at all. So, let’s try to be more obvious. You said:

    When in these types of environments, there’s only one thing a man can safely do: refrain from any of these comments whatsoever, or allow women to set the standard and only go that far–no further.

    I italicized that last bit for a reason. I even asked you about it directly, yet you apparently didn’t think it worthy of a response. I’m asking about it because it sounds like you don’t think that people, women in particular, have the right to set standards for how they want to be treated or to have those standards respected. To be more blunt, you’re sounding like a guy who feels entitled to ignore it when a woman says “no”.

    No, don’t freak out. I’m not accusing you of being a rapist. If that’s what you’re thinking right now, then take a deep breath and go back and read it again. I’m not talking about what you are, I’m talking about what you sound like. I’m telling you that this comment is problematic because it sounds like the kind of thing that people say when they think bitches ain’t shit.
    If you’re not that kind of guy, I would think that you’d like to be made aware of this and be given the chance to clarify. That’s what I’m offering you here; no witch hunt, no accusation, but an opportunity to make it clear what you really meant to say. Don’t get defensive and don’t freak out. Just explain what you meant by that.

    I don’t want to feel like I’m walking on eggshells.

    And other people don’t want to be the eggshells.
    The key question here is if you were in fact walking on eggshells, would you want the shells to let you know so you could stop? Or would you prefer they shut up, so you don’t have to be aware of what you’re doing?

  173. vargonian says

    We have. And give that community the middle finger salute they are giving half the population.

    I think you’ve got your vocal minorities mixed up.

    It’s my fault that a feminist recently told me that she lumps me in the same category as rapists

    Yawn, paranoid and not listening are you? Funny how I never hear that, because I learned to shut the fuck up and listen. Why can’t you?

    Ah, I see, so, just as I envisioned, you’re assuming that it was my fault, and not someone else overreacting. Convenient. As long as I always concede that I’m in the wrong, it’ll be easier for me. I’m sure you’re familiar with the term “victim blaming”?

  174. says

    This environment has created a situation in which, at a moment’s notice, a mere slip of the tongue can cause you to be labeled “misogynist” or “sexist”.

    Liar. You’re just fucking LYING!

    First off: “mere” is the way all of you liars lie. Boring and trite, a way to minimize the shitty things you say.

    Second: “slip of the tongue” is an accidental one-time event. The pattern of abuse we’ve seen and that we’re calling out isn’t unintentional or a single event.

    Third: if someone makes an accidentally sexist-sounding comment and they get called on it, they apologize. If they don’t, it sure makes it look intentional, doesn’t it? If someone bumps you in a restaurant and you say “hey!” and they say “sorry, my bad” you let it go. If they say “hey, fuck you!” then it escalates.

    Fourth: people are demanding the right to use sexist language without being criticized for it. They KNOW what they are doing, they KNOW it is hurtful, they think it is funny and resent the idea that they can be held responsible for it.

    So you know… stop being a lying shit-weasel. We see right through you, it makes you look dumb as well as dishonest. I mean really, did you think anyone would fall for it?

  175. vargonian says

    If that only were true, if men would just finally fucking leave us some space to breathe in.

    You’ll get no argument from me there. Just because I recognize how many men are petrified to say anything at all, it doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize the hordes of men who make us all facepalm when they open their mouths at social settings.

  176. vargonian says

    187

    If that only were true, if men would just finally fucking leave us some space to breathe in.

    Gee, all that time memorizing PUA lines going for naught.
    He just can’t actually picture himself talking to the woman without a script?

    With all these baseless assumptions you’re making about my character, do you find it at all surprising that men would be afraid to speak up for fear of being labeled “misogynist”, etc.? You demonstrate my point better than I ever could.

  177. says

    I don’t want to feel like I’m walking on eggshells.

    Can I wear that shirt? If I wear this one, will I be thought a boring prude? And with this one, does that make me look slutty?
    Now, if I laugh at what he says ’cause I find it funny, will he think that I want to fuck him? If I don’t laugh do I ruin the fun?
    Can I tell this guy that this is rather impolite or will he react threatiningly?

    Hey, welcome to my life!

  178. athyco says

    I don’t want to feel like I’m walking on eggshells.

    So, when women said that they feel like they were walking on eggshells in factoring in possible harassment when deciding to go to a conference, that didn’t cross your mind. Because you weren’t walking on eggshells.

    When women did pay for a conference, travel, accommodations and felt they were walking on eggshells because they didn’t know if there was anyone to report to if they experienced harassment, that didn’t cross your mind. Because you weren’t walking on eggshells.

    When women did report harassment and felt they were walking on eggshells when they were brushed aside or received backlash, that didn’t cross your mind. Because you weren’t walking on eggshells.

    When a conference puts in an anti-harassment policy to alleviate these eggshells for women, now it crosses your mind.

    I’d love to read your take on the anti-harassment policy of the North Texas Secular Convention. It’s easy to find, just click the logo in the sidebar. Point out how you’d be required to walk on eggshells, please.

  179. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    do you find it at all surprising that men would be afraid to speak up for fear of being labeled “misogynist”, etc.?

    Yes. Men would have no problem. Those PUA’s, who are overygrown adolescents, yes. So, what is your problem? I’m still not seeing it. Because, if you can, like a man, admit you are wrong, apologize, and learn, you have no problem….

  180. vargonian says

    my point is just to show the overreaction.

    Compared to your own overreaction, hyperbole, lies and bullshit?

    You’ll have to point it out rather than just saying the equivalent of “You’re a poopy poophead.”

    When did I ever say or imply that this was just a “cost of doing business” that shouldn’t go unpunished / unmoderated?

    When did you condemn it as overblown, unnecessary, overly aggressive, and bullying? I don’t see that.

    You’re… proving my point. I never condemned these things as unnecessary, etc. Your argument is losing coherence.

    Whether well-founded or not, that’s the “bed that has been made”, so to speak.

    Still no link to show you are right, so your OPINION *floosh* is sent to the toxic waste center for cleansing.

    It’s funny to think about the type of scientific study you’re expecting of me. I’m afraid I have to fall back on a lifetime of experience as a man. If you’re a woman, then perhaps I could just say: “Check your privilege” and that may constitute an argument in my favor? i.e., You’re a woman, therefore you couldn’t possibly know what it’s like to be a man in my situation, therefore your views are invalid, therefore I’m right and you’re wrong. (That’s how it works, isn’t it?)

    And, just so we’re clear, it’s not “You’re right until proven otherwise.”

  181. says

    I’d love to read your take on the anti-harassment policy of the North Texas Secular Convention. It’s easy to find, just click the logo in the sidebar. Point out how you’d be required to walk on eggshells, please.

    I think that’s a relevant point, so let’s make it extra easy. In fact, let’s even make it super easy:

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

  182. says

    If you find the following things an impossibly high bar to meet:

    1. Abiding by anti-harassment policies

    2. Avoiding gendered slurs

    3. Not freaking the fuck out if you accidentally make a sexist-sounding statement and someone says, “That sounded sexist”

    Then I really don’t see why not having you at a conference is such a big loss. Sounds like the movement for women’s equality is functioning as it is: the normal people, men and women, who can handle social interactions, are still going to come, whereas the terminally bigoted will avoid conferences, which will result in conferences being a more welcoming place for everyone (except the terminally bigoted), attendance will rise, atheism and skepticism will be seen as relevant for a wider cross-section of the population. Win-win. Unless you’re terminally bigoted.

    General “you”, kid, so don’t freak out, OK?

  183. vargonian says

    I’m guessing that some folks have a confused notion of majority vs minority. Lots of noise from the misogynistic crowd, but I’ve seen no evidence that their numbers are remotely as high as they suppose. Maybe they count all of Reap Paden’s sockpuppet accounts?

    True; all I have to go on are metrics like YouTube video ratings, the proportion of blog posts / videos for and against, etc. But still, there could be a grand conspiracy by the group which you’ve–in true overreactive form–labeled “the misogynistic crowd”. Do you not see how you’re completely reinforcing my point?

  184. Amphigorey says

    Please point me to where I said anything of the sort, and then I’ll gladly concede.

    Let me remind you of exactly what you’re getting so worked up over: An anti-harassment policy at a convention. This is such a minor thing that I’m amazed that anyone with half a brain even bothers to object to it. You are complaining that anti-harassment policies might make you “walk on eggshells.” Well, cry me a river. They also make conventions safer and more welcoming, but you are coming right out and saying that you’d rather be free to flirt than allow a safer space.

    Also, compare the harms. Let’s say there are two conventions, one with a policy and one without. At the one with the policy, harassers are more likely to face consequences, which means people feel safer and fewer people will be creeped on. At the one without, harassers will face fewer if any consequences, but – oh joy! rapture! – you will feel free enough to flirt your little heart out.

    Now, which consequence do you think is more substantial?

    Do you even know what’s in most policies? I don’t think you do. Do you have any idea the kinds of things creeps have done to women (and men, though it doesn’t come up as much) at cons? I don’t think you do.

    Also, this?
    Sometimes an attractive guy can do something that would be considered “creepy” if an unattractive guy did it.

    is some bullshit. I have been creeped on by otherwise attractive men, and guess what? It was still creepy. Being attractive does not get you a pass, and being ugly does not mean you are automatically creepy. This is a myth that creepy guys tell each other to make themselves feel better and to prop up their own egos by implying that women are shallow. See, if women weren’t shallow, they wouldn’t let the attractive guys creep on them, amirite?

    You are getting hostile responses here because your arguments are old and your reasoning is shoddy, and this is ground that has been trodden before. Again, let me remind you: you are arguing against something as small as an anti-harassment policy for a convention. Get a grip.

  185. vargonian says

    Only to a delusional/paranoid fool.

    Well, fair enough, there are plenty of paranoid people like me out there–and it’s no surprise, given the environment that’s been created.

    And how can you honestly act surprised, when I myself have been accused, in this thread, of being:

    1. A misogynist.
    2. A pick-up-artist who is frustrated that he can’t pick up women at conferences.

  186. says

    Do you not see how you’re completely reinforcing my point?

    What was your point? I’m seeing a lot of “Think of the poor menz who cannot be certain they will not experience negative social repercussions if they are not careful to avoid the appearance of being sexist.” Which is, if you will pardon me saying so, something pretty far down on the list of problems that need addressing. Negative social repercussions are a good check on bigotry.

  187. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It’s funny to think about the type of scientific study you’re expecting of me.

    I’m a scientist. I expect you to put up or shut the fuck up when challenged for evidence. Because people without honesty and integrity won’t put or shut up. They are called liars and bullshitters. Look in the mirror.

    I’m afraid I have to fall back on a lifetime of experience as a man.

    OK asshole, I’m 60+ male. Beat that, or take your “experience” and put it where the sun don’t shine. You appear also to be unable to acknowledge mistakes, apologize, and learn. That is expected for any responsible adult. What’s your explanation for not being able to do that, as there is no excuse.

  188. says

    Said by someone with a broken scroll wheel on their mouse???

    Lofty, guilty as charged in fact, the scroll wheel on my mouse is inoperative — but whereas I have killfile on my desktop to silence obnoxious threadhogs if I feel like it, on mobile devices there is no such option but to scroll… and scroll… and scroll… which at times makes Pharyngula fucking unreadable. #FirstWorldProblems, I know.

    vargonian (#78):

    When you have a community of people ready to pull this trigger, you create an environment in which people are afraid to disagree. If you’ve seen some of the earlier Freethought Blogs podcasts, you’ll notice this pretty clearly. Whenever someone speaks out of turn, the rest of the group is quick to attack, causing them to awkwardly back peddle until they’ve “fallen back in line”, so to speak.

    Who, exactly, had to back pedal? You might be referring to Al Stefanelli, I suppose, who’s gone over to join the disappointing cesspit of atheism. It’s interesting to watch him on the old podcasts because his discomfort is perhaps in being compelled to be halfway decent to people, when no such limitation on anti-social behaviour is forced upon him in his new digs. On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence supporting people like blogger Ian Cromwell (Crommunist), Louis, and the commenter previously known as Brownian offering controversial opinions and shock horror, even display humour of a dubious colour, without fear of having to retread their steps. I call bullshit on your claim without you providing so much as a skerrick of citation to back it up.

  189. says

    And how can you honestly act surprised, when I myself have been accused, in this thread, of being:

    1. A misogynist.
    2. A pick-up-artist who is frustrated that he can’t pick up women at conferences.

    It’s because the objections you are raising are only valid if you are one of those two things. If you’re not one of those things then abiding by anti-harassment policies won’t be a problem and you won’t feel like you’re walking on eggshells.

    If you’re not one of those things, then perhaps you’re merely advocating for the concerns of misogynists and PUAs. I don’t see how that’s an improvement.

  190. says

    vargonian,

    Your point seems to be that you and your friends are proudly terrible people… and yeah, I’m helping you make that point. :)

    Since most of the targets of you assclowns don’t make YouTube videos, I don’t understand why you think YT metrics matter. After all, the most popular things on YT are viral videos of cute animals, people embarrassing themselves, and catchy Korean pop music… so basing an argument on YT metrics is automatically nonsense. What’s more important is that the majority of atheist/skeptic conventions have implemented the sort of harassment policies that you reject, and their leaders have voluntarily embraced the general principles of feminist activism.

    Why is that? Because the people pushing for those policies are a weak marginalized minority? Or because you are a member of the truly marginalized minority? Because in real life, most people are better than you and your fellow slymepitters.

  191. vargonian says

    The message I got was that women have to put up with a lot of shit just for being women and, if I’m to consider myself one of the good guys, I need to at least try to avoid making the problem worse.

    I get and respect that message, too. It doesn’t change the fact that many of us–admittedly out of a bit of paranoia, often informed by past experiences–take the safe route of just not saying anything that could be remotely construed as offensive. I’m not saying “It shouldn’t be this way!” or “Down with sexual harassment policies!” In fact, by all means, have them.

    You really think it was a benign comment? It wasn’t.

    I used the phrase “normally benign” intentionally, to point out the fact that most people–men or women–wouldn’t be offended by the comment. The host of the show wasn’t even phased; she responded by discussing it, rather than accusing Shermer of being sexist, etc.

    Getting defensive and shouting “witch hunt” when people point out your mistakes is not good behavior for a skeptic.

    I agree that his reaction was sloppy.

    If I say that “playing violent video games is more of a ‘guy thing’”, am I going to face the wrath?

    That depends. What do you mean by it?
    Before you respond, I will suggest that you actually talk to a lady gamer or two. If you seriously hold that opinion, I doubt you have much contact with female gamers.

    I mean that from my experience as well as the experience of everyone else I know who has shared their experience, men generally tend to express more interest in violent video games.

    I’ve spent my entire adult life in the video games industry, so my social group consists of many, many female gamers. Several of them are hardcore FPS players, in clans, the whole thing. Even they are open about admitting that most girls aren’t as interested in these games as they are, and that it’s something mostly men gravitate to.

    Who knows why this is. Maybe it’s because of a sexist patriarchy something-or-other. Maybe it’s something innate. I’m not sure.

    I italicized that last bit for a reason. I even asked you about it directly, yet you apparently didn’t think it worthy of a response. I’m asking about it because it sounds like you don’t think that people, women in particular, have the right to set standards for how they want to be treated or to have those standards respected.

    Oh, I see what you mean now. There’s nothing of the sort implied. This is no different from, when you meet a new group of people, and you’re unsure if joking about Jesus is going to be appropriate or not. Or you’re unsure if cursing is okay in front of them. And being a timid Vargonian, you just sit there and wait for one of them to make a crucifixion joke or drop an F-bomb, and suddenly you know that it’s okay when the rest of the group laughs. This is all I mean by having women “set the standard”. I’m not sure how you read any more into my comment than that, but I completely respect that words and actions can be misconstrued.

    The key question here is if you were in fact walking on eggshells, would you want the shells to let you know so you could stop?

    Well of course. My goal isn’t to express frustration because I can’t “pick up chicks” (no pun intended), it’s to be accepted / liked / not offensive / etc.

    With all the comments I’m responding to in this thread, let me just say that I completely appreciate you actually showing an interest in a discussion, rather than just jumping to the conclusion that I must be a horrible person and attacking me.

  192. vargonian says

    Can I wear that shirt? If I wear this one, will I be thought a boring prude? And with this one, does that make me look slutty?
    Now, if I laugh at what he says ’cause I find it funny, will he think that I want to fuck him? If I don’t laugh do I ruin the fun?
    Can I tell this guy that this is rather impolite or will he react threatiningly?

    Hey, welcome to my life!

    Can you see how, from the perspective of a guy who never does this horrible stuff, they might not be clued in to the perspective of a girl who has to face it? (That’s a rhetorical question whose “Hell yes!” answer would create an earthquake) But do you also see how, from the perspective of a girl who has to face this horrible stuff, they might not be clued in to the perspective of a guy who never does this? (I fear a different type of earthquake may result from this question.)

  193. says

    I get and respect that message, too. It doesn’t change the fact that many of us–admittedly out of a bit of paranoia, often informed by past experiences–take the safe route of just not saying anything that could be remotely construed as offensive.

    So what’s the fucking problem. “Oh poor me, I’m forced to expend a tiny bit of effort to avoid causing other people potentially large amounts of pain! I’m so oppressed” What do you want, a goddamned medal? You’re being asked to use a little bit of tact so that other people might not suffer real pain. Just a small effort, the same effort you probably use to not have a filthy mouth around delicate relatives, and less effort than it takes to not lash out at an idiot boss or co-worker. So what is the fucking harm to you, to be on your best behavior for a couple of hours?

    You’re acting like this is destroying your life… how fucking small is your life?

  194. vargonian says

    Liar. You’re just fucking LYING!

    First off: “mere” is the way all of you liars lie. Boring and trite, a way to minimize the shitty things you say.

    Earlier I was pointing out the irrationality of many of the comments in this thread, and I pointed out the fact that I’ve already baselessly been labeled a “misogynist” and a “guy who is frustrated because he can’t pick up women at conferences”. I forgot to add “liar”.

    Maybe I’m wrong, and it’s not as bad as it seems. That’s not the same as lying. But given that I’ve already been labeled a “misogynist” (and more) in this thread, we have clearly seen people’s ability to jump to unfounded conclusions. While Ophelia Benson cleared up her statement after the fact, she indeed accused Shermer of calling women essentially “too dumb to talk about skepticism at conferences”. She made that bed.

    Second: “slip of the tongue” is an accidental one-time event.

    Yes, like what Michael Shermer did. And he was accused of calling women dumb for it. Whether or not Benson later retracted her statement is irrelevant; she contributed to that environment. Let’s be clear: I’m not saying that Shermer didn’t deserve to be called out for reinforcing a stereotype. What he didn’t deserve was to be mischaracterized so harshly in an overreaction.

    Third: if someone makes an accidentally sexist-sounding comment and they get called on it, they apologize.

    Sure, apologize, clear up misconceptions, whatever. Shermer did this, and so should anyone. Complete agreement!

    Fourth: people are demanding the right to use sexist language without being criticized for it. They KNOW what they are doing, they KNOW it is hurtful, they think it is funny and resent the idea that they can be held responsible for it.

    This doesn’t have anything to do with any of my positions, as far as I’m aware.

    So you know… stop being a lying shit-weasel. We see right through you

    …and you wonder why I accuse certain people of overreacting? Just look at the bizarre, unfounded leaps you’ve made about my character.

  195. vargonian says

    athyco

    When a conference puts in an anti-harassment policy to alleviate these eggshells for women, now it crosses your mind.

    I’d love to read your take on the anti-harassment policy of the North Texas Secular Convention. It’s easy to find, just click the logo in the sidebar. Point out how you’d be required to walk on eggshells, please.

    Your entire comment was arguing against a position that I never held. I have no problem whatsoever with anti-sexual harassment policies.

  196. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m afraid I have to fall back on a lifetime of experience as a man.

    Then why are you paranoid about them? Otherwise, your concern wouldn’t be there.

  197. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Earlier I was pointing out the irrationality of many of the comments in this thread,

    Evidently you excluded your idiocy, paranoia, and lack of evidence. Which makes all your posts irrational.

  198. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    When did you start speaking for all men?

    When were you ever one?

  199. vargonian says

    LykeX

    I think that’s a relevant point, so let’s make it extra easy. In fact, let’s even make it super easy:

    Thanks for the reference, but as I said in my other response(s), I never had a problem with anti-sexual harassment policies. That’s not what gives me the paranoia. What gives me the paranoia are the overreactions of some-but-not-all, who would readily interpret a slip of the tongue with a claim that “women aren’t smart enough to talk at skeptical conferences”, etc. It’s the type of people who would baselessly accuse someone of being a misogynist, or a pick-up artist who is frustrated that he can’t pick up women at conferences, or a “lying shit-weasel” who is hiding some insidious motivations. It’s these type of people who create the type of hostile environment I’m talking about.

  200. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What gives me the paranoia are the overreactions of some-but-not-all, who would readily interpret a slip of the tongue with a claim that “women aren’t smart enough to talk at skeptical conferences”, etc.

    And what part of “acknowledge you are wrong, apologize, learn, and move on” are you having trouble with? Oh, the part where you acknowledge you are wrong, apologize, and learn….Typical of most MRA fuckwits.

  201. vargonian says

    208

    If you find the following things an impossibly high bar to meet:

    1. Abiding by anti-harassment policies

    2. Avoiding gendered slurs

    3. Not freaking the fuck out if you accidentally make a sexist-sounding statement and someone says, “That sounded sexist”

    It’s funny how you lump in “harassers” and “blatant sexists” with “timid people who are worried that they might offend someone.”

    which will result in conferences being a more welcoming place for everyone (except the terminally bigoted), attendance will rise

    Oh, I have no doubt that the conferences will be fine. It’s movements like FtB and Atheism+ that are in danger of being too tied to that “fortress mentality”. They’re the ones who have created the environment in which people feel that they need to watch everything they say, and not step out of line. It’s not the anti-harassment policies at conferences.

  202. says

    do you deny that it’s a vacuous answer with zero explanatory power and furthermore presumes gender essentialism?

    As I’ve said countless times, I completely agree*. He was reinforcing a stereotype, which may or may not be true. How much more do you want me to agree with this? I really will continue agreeing if you want. I can make a blog post in which I declare my agreement with this point. I can post a YouTube video, and I’ll even enable comments and ratings. Whatever you need me to do to make it crystal clear for the thousandth time that I agree, I will do it.

    Cool. So what, exactly, is your beef with Ophelia, who used his comment as an illustration of this very point that you so vehemently agree with?

  203. vargonian says

    211 Amphigorey

    Let me remind you of exactly what you’re getting so worked up over: An anti-harassment policy at a convention.

    Again, let me remind you: you are arguing against something as small as an anti-harassment policy for a convention. Get a grip.

    I’d like you to write a 10-page, single-spaced essay elaborating on the problem of me getting worked up over an anti-harassment policy at a convention. Then, when you’re finished, I will point out the fact that I never had a problem with these anti-harassment policies, never said so, and that this is all in your head. Then we’ll laugh, shrug it off, and move on with our lives.

  204. vargonian says

    214 Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    OK asshole, I’m 60+ male. Beat that, or take your “experience” and put it where the sun don’t shine.

    Great, our experiences cancel each other’s out?

    Do you want me to do man-on-the-street interviews? Do you want me to poll my male Facebook friends? What exactly are you looking for here?

    You appear also to be unable to acknowledge mistakes, apologize, and learn.

    Based on what? Please cite at least 3 studies on this topic in peer-reviewed scientific journals. From a scientist, I would expect no less.

  205. Amphigorey says

    I never had a problem with anti-sexual harassment policies.

    Oh, I see. So when you said this:

    Count me in as one of the many males who, when faced with a policy like this, will be terrified to say anything remotely flirtatious.

    which says explicitly that harassment policies are problematic for you and make you “walk on eggshells,” you weren’t, in fact, saying that you had a problem with harassment policies.

    In other words, we can’t trust a single word you say, because you have no idea what you’re talking about from one minute to the next.

    But no, you go on to say that it’s those SCARY SCARY FEMINISTS who make you walk on eggshells. Explain to me again how you being more careful with your behavior is somehow worse than ignoring creeps at conventions. Go on. I’ll wait.

  206. vargonian says

    215 Xanthë

    Who, exactly, had to back pedal? You might be referring to Al Stefanelli, I suppose, who’s gone over to join the disappointing cesspit of atheism.

    Hilarious! It was him, now that I remember! I had no idea that he joined the ranks of those who left FtB for the majority–er, I mean, the cesspit of misogynist, sexist, bigoted, unthinking, unwashed atheists.

    It’s interesting to watch him on the old podcasts because his discomfort is perhaps in being compelled to be halfway decent to people,

    Of course! Just keep repeating to yourself: Despite all the people who have left or been fired from FtB; despite the loud, majority opposition, the problem is with everyone else.

  207. vargonian says

    216 SallyStrange: Elite Femi-Fascist Genius

    If you’re not one of those things then abiding by anti-harassment policies won’t be a problem

    It’s not a problem, and I never said it was. Who is making unfounded assumptions here?

    and you won’t feel like you’re walking on eggshells.

    There are many factors which could lead to this feeling. In essence, your argument falls flat, and you’ve just reinforced a tendency to make unfounded leaps.

  208. Muz says

    Vargonian, since you’re sticking it out (which I like), as a partial aside re: the point about walking on eggshells, (if indeed I understand it right)-
    I don’t buy for a second that the environment at these things is constrained so, especially not by the addition of harassment policies (which, even if you have no problem with them as such, there’s no getting around the fact other people’s problems and misunderstandings thereof started this fracas).

    But say that it all does create an atmosphere where people don’t want to tell women they’re attractive for fear they get “an angry one” or something. Is that really a bad thing? Is redirecting that expression to something different or maybe holding it back altogether a problem in a world filled with tedious rote expression as it is? Never mind the fact it might be for other people’s comfort (and remember I’m dubious this environment actually exists at all), actual romance itself could use that shake up. Just talk about something else!

    You might not have meant that example to have been looked at as anything specific, but I’m running with it.

  209. vargonian says

    217 Improbable Joe

    Your point seems to be that you and your friends are proudly terrible people… and yeah, I’m helping you make that point. :)

    Just so we’re clear, according to Improbable Joe, “Not wanting to offend people” makes someone “proudly terrible.”

    Since most of the targets of you assclowns don’t make YouTube videos, I don’t understand why you think YT metrics matter.

    Special plead much?

    After all, the most popular things on YT are viral videos of cute animals, people embarrassing themselves, and catchy Korean pop music… so basing an argument on YT metrics is automatically nonsense.

    Whatever you can do to brush off data, by all means, go for it. It’s funny when even self-identified rational people fall victim to the same irrational tendencies. It’s really inescapable, sadly. Mind you, there’s no problem with saying: “We’d need more data”. But cherry-picking data which you find acceptable is another thing entirely.

    What’s more important is that the majority of atheist/skeptic conventions have implemented the sort of harassment policies that you reject

    I made a bet with someone earlier in this thread for $1000 if they could point out when I said something that I never said. Fortunately for you, they lost the bet. So, the point I’m getting at is that I still have the $1000, and it’s ready to be taken. Here is your challenge: Point out where I rejected anti-harassment policies at atheist/skeptic conventions, and I will give you this $1000. Bonus points if you don’t merely cower in the corner rather than admitting you were wrong.

    you and your fellow slymepitters.

    1. Made a false accusation about me — CHECK.
    2. Used this accusation to draw a nasty conclusion about my character — CHECK.

  210. says

    It’s funny how you lump in “harassers” and “blatant sexists” with “timid people who are worried that they might offend someone.”

    I can’t tell them apart in real life. If I can’t tell you apart from a misogynist then it’s your responsibility to start acting less like a misogynist and more like a decent person. It’s not my responsibility to read your mind.

    That said, I don’t actually believe these allegedly timid people exist. Genuinely timid men who aren’t sexist don’t have this problem. Men who are sexist have this problem.

  211. vargonian says

    220 Improbable Joe

    So what’s the fucking problem. “Oh poor me, I’m forced to expend a tiny bit of effort to avoid causing other people potentially large amounts of pain! I’m so oppressed”

    While I’ve made it clear in other responses, I may not have made it clear to you: I’m not whining about how terrible it is, I’m just stating a fact. You can continue to beat that straw man all you want, though.

  212. vargonian says

    223 Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Then why are you paranoid about them? Otherwise, your concern wouldn’t be there.

    I’ve already explained all of this in my other comments. It’s the reactionary behavior (I used Benson’s comment about Shermer as a single, solitary example) that creates this paranoia, coupled with a desire to be liked / accepted.

  213. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Special plead much?

    Look in the mirror. Almost every one of your posts.

    Whatever you can do to brush off data, by all means, go for it.

    What data? You never present any, which makes all your posts *floosh* toxic waste to be disposed of. Try here. Your inability to use evidence tells us all we need to know about your lack of honesty and integrity. Foreign concepts to you.

  214. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’ve already explained all of this in my other comments.

    Except without evidence your OPINON is *floosh* sent to the toxic waste disposal. Try again with evidence, and maybe you won’t be dismissed as a loser MRA apologist….

  215. vargonian says

    230 Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    And what part of “acknowledge you are wrong, apologize, learn, and move on” are you having trouble with?

    When did I ever say or imply that I have trouble with this? I’m making lots of $1000 bets in this thread but I’ll make another. If you can point out anywhere where I said or implied that I wouldn’t want to “apologize, learn, and move on” if I said something offensive at a skeptical conference, I’ll give you $1000. Bonus points if you can cite studies from at least 3 peer-reviewed scientific journals on the subject of me at skeptical conferences. (And frankly, if you can’t, your entire argument is bullshit. You’re a scientist, after all.) <– this part was sarcasm.

    Typical of most MRA fuckwits.

    Of course I can safely assume that you’re not accusing me of being one of them; that would be downright idiotic to leap to that conclusion.

  216. says

    There are many factors which could lead to this feeling.

    If you feel like you’re walking on eggshells because people have made it known that sexist language won’t be tolerated, I think that’s a good thing. I would love for you to name just one factor that would contribute to this feeling, which isn’t related to actually saying or doing sexist shit.

    You remind me of one of those people who think that we’re in a post-racial society because cross-burning is a thing of the past. If they’re not burning crosses, it’s not racist. Therefore there’s no more racism. Therefore anyone who complains about racism is overreacting and needlessly tarring the name of innocent well-intended people who Don’t Have A Racist Bone in Their Body.

    You’re enjoying being a sort of martyr here. The thing you don’t get, and have refused to deal with, is that sexism infects all of our minds, and it’s not necessarily a mark of shame to acknowledge that. It is a mark of shame to be in denial about it and to shout abuse at people for noticing on your behalf.

    Get the fuck over yourself. Living with women in a sexist society, where we’re struggling for equality, pretty much GUARANTEES that you’re going to say something sexist, probably on accident. Or in ignorance. Whatever. Who the fuck cares? The point is, nobody thinks they’re sexist–not even obviously woman-hating MRAs who promote child rape. YOU don’t think you’re sexist, I don’t think I’m sexist, we all have mothers and sisters and wives and friends and daughters–and yet sexism continues and has continued for centuries. How are we going to stop it? I will tell you one method that WILL NOT work: screaming bloody murder every time someone points out that you said something sexist. Even if you don’t think you did. Just calming the fuck down and NOT acting like it’s a fucking witch hunt or an inquisition will open up the floor for genuine discussion and actually move the conversation forward. If every time someone raises the subject you start acting like a toddler whose toys got taken away (“How DARE you accuse me of being a misogynist??? HOW DARE YOU!!!!”) then eventually people are going to stop talking about it with you and you’ll be left behind, but you’ll still be ignorant about the ways you inadvertently contribute to the oppression of women. Well shit. You wouldn’t want THAT, would you?

  217. says

    So what’s the fucking problem. “Oh poor me, I’m forced to expend a tiny bit of effort to avoid causing other people potentially large amounts of pain! I’m so oppressed”

    While I’ve made it clear in other responses, I may not have made it clear to you: I’m not whining about how terrible it is, I’m just stating a fact.

    And it’s also a fact that you have to be a sexist of some sort in order to find it a really onerous burden to avoid sexist language.

  218. vargonian says

    232 Alethea H. “Crocoduck” Kuiper-Belt

    Cool. So what, exactly, is your beef with Ophelia, who used his comment as an illustration of this very point that you so vehemently agree with?

    To say I have a “beef” with her is an overstatement. I objected to the way she misconstrued Shermer’s message, taking it from “reinforcing a stereotype” to “claiming that women were too dumb to be speakers at skeptical conferences” (or whatever). She later cleared it up, which was great.

  219. billingtondev says

    De-lurking again for just a mo…
    Vargonian: Personally I don’t think you’re a particularly terrible person – but this is just getting nuttier and nuttier and more and more frustrating.

    I do not understand at all why you are not getting what people are saying to you here? Many people in many different ways. Over and over again.

    Vargonian, you are here – you are talking (a lot!) People are listening/reading what you say. People are replying (some patiently, others at the end of their patience cos they have dealt with this stuff too many times in the past I guess). You are being given space, time, energy, information, insights by a whole BUNCH of people. To the exclusion of almost every other conversation in this thread. Thats pretty damn amazing! Isn’t it? Ponder on that for a bit.

    *ponder time….*

    You’re not being banned. You’re not being silenced (quite the opposite actually). These people are engaging with you. A LOT! How often does this actually happen – anywhere? Where does it happen that good people with knowledge experience and wisdom just keep on talking with you regardless of their own frustrations with the conversation?

    Something is happening here. You are being offered an opportunity. So what is with these people and the generosity they are showing you? Slow down a bit. Think. Ponder on the responses you’re getting. Ponder slowly. One thing at a time. Take a breath, make a cuppa, fold the washing. Then ponder a bit more.

    ‘Cos I tell ya – there’s gold here.
    And a whole lot of what you need for whatever is ailing you.
    Up to you.

    /re-lurking…

  220. athyco says

    What gives me the paranoia are the overreactions of some-but-not-all, who would readily interpret a slip of the tongue with a claim that “women aren’t smart enough to talk at skeptical conferences”, etc. It’s the type of people who would baselessly accuse someone of being a misogynist, or a pick-up artist who is frustrated that he can’t pick up women at conferences, or a “lying shit-weasel” who is hiding some insidious motivations. It’s these type of people who create the type of hostile environment I’m talking about.

    LOL. I’ve finally got it. Now that, through anti-harassment policies, we’ve got a stranglehold on the face-to-face harassing behaviors, we’ve won the conference fight. But vargonian isn’t worried about that; he has no problem with conference policies. vargonian knows that was *snap fingers* nothing in the battle that looms.

    Now, flush with success, we’re going to blanket our opinions of their stereotypes, their attitudes and their motivations on the internet! We’ll invade blogs and web pages and tumblr and YouTube. OMG…TWITTER!! Ophelia has already fired the first shot against Michael Shermer in an actual print magazine! Through our tactics of documented “overreactions” to one huge group and being “baselessly” accusatory about another huge group, we mighty few will create the New Monster Hostile Environment That Can’t Be Defeated.™

    And we’ll do it all from within the walls of FORTRESS MENTALITY where we can banhammer and disemvowel and bunny vid so that disagreement and criticism (as we slyly term them trolling and harassment) are no more.

    Didja bet a grand that somebody would find your argument ridiculous, vargonian?

    Mourn, all. There will be no more FREEZE PEACH. It will be eggshells all the way down.

  221. vargonian says

    Count me in as one of the many males who, when faced with a policy like this, will be terrified to say anything remotely flirtatious.

    which says explicitly that harassment policies are problematic for you and make you “walk on eggshells,” you weren’t, in fact, saying that you had a problem with harassment policies.

    You got me fair and square, here. I hope I didn’t make any $1000 bets about this. It does look as bad as you accused me of, so I’ll gladly concede. The point I was making in that comment was that it’s not unusual for guys to be paranoid about every action they take–even ones that are probably safe, when the sort of environment I’ve been referring to is created. I’d argue (against my earlier statement, admittedly) that the anti-harassment policy is a relatively insignificant factor in creating this environment.

    Explain to me again how you being more careful with your behavior is somehow worse than ignoring creeps at conventions. Go on. I’ll wait.

    Ugh, I really shouldn’t be so careless with my money, but seriously: $1000 if you can point out anywhere where I said or implied that “being more careful with your behavior is somehow worse than ignoring creeps at conventions.” Otherwise, have fun with your straw man.

  222. vargonian says

    238 Muz

    Vargonian, since you’re sticking it out (which I like)

    I’m glad someone does. This is very taxing. :)

    To respond to your points, I agree that the policies themselves don’t create that sort of environment (and let’s be honest, most people won’t read them anyway); it’s people’s overreactions that I mentioned earlier. I regret saying earlier that I’d be “terrified in the face of these policies”. The fact is, I’d be terrified regardless, policy or not.

    As for your second point, I know it’s impossible to traverse the giant wall of comments, but as I’ve been saying, I have no problem with being on the safe side either–I’m just expressing how it is. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t have problems with environments that were so restrictive that I felt I couldn’t even express an opinion, but I don’t think skeptical conferences (and I’ve been to them) are anywhere near there. In fact, most people at these conferences go way beyond what I’d consider safe.

  223. vargonian says

    SallyStrange: Elite Femi-Fascist Genius:

    I can’t tell them apart in real life. If I can’t tell you apart from a misogynist then it’s your responsibility to start acting less like a misogynist and more like a decent person. It’s not my responsibility to read your mind.

    (You said this.)

    That said, I don’t actually believe these allegedly timid people exist. Genuinely timid men who aren’t sexist don’t have this problem.

    (You said this.)

    Thankfully both of these statements are so absurd that they don’t deserve a response. But since I’m a nice person, I’ll give you one at your request.

  224. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The point I was making in that comment was that it’s not unusual for guys MRA fuckwits, not real men, to be paranoid about every action they take

    Fixed that for you loser.

    Of course I can safely assume that you’re not accusing me of being one of them; that would be downright idiotic to leap to that conclusion.

    Why? You are apologizing for them, not condemning them, ergo you have sympathies you aren’t vocally experssing. Never, ever, think we are stupid here and can’t read between the lines. You are ignorant if you haven’t figured that out and changed your approach by now.

  225. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Thankfully both of these statements are so absurd that they don’t deserve a response.

    Which is all your inane and fuckwitted posts. But then SIWOTI and that someone is you. Deal with it.

  226. Rodney Nelson says

    The point I was making in that comment was that it’s not unusual for guys to be paranoid about every action they take–even ones that are probably safe, when the sort of environment I’ve been referring to is created. I’d argue (against my earlier statement, admittedly) that the anti-harassment policy is a relatively insignificant factor in creating this environment.

    In other words, your personal comfort zone, which includes flirting with every attractive woman within earshot, is more important to you than making women feel more comfortable.

    Recently I was walking in town with my daughter, who is an attractive, busty woman. I stopped to look at something in a shop window and she continued walking, getting about 100 feet ahead of me. She walked by a group of men who felt the urge to tell her that she was good looking, she had “bodacious tatas”, and one of the men had an erection. This is the sort of thing most women have to live with all the time. Maybe it would be a good idea for those guys to “walk on eggshells” for a while. It would make life more pleasant for my daughter.

  227. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    it’s people’s overreactions that I mentioned earlier.

    Gee, those “people”, like RW with “GUYS, DON’T DO THAT”, have female parts. Don’t think we haven’t noticed. You aren’t making your point with such statements. Only with “the overreaction in on the part of the SLYMEPIT™ idjits” would you be on the right path.

    Where your sympathies lie is an open book., And it isn’t with us, but the ‘Pitters.

  228. vargonian says

    SallyStrange: Elite Femi-Fascist Genius

    If you feel like you’re walking on eggshells because people have made it known that sexist language won’t be tolerated, I think that’s a good thing. I would love for you to name just one factor that would contribute to this feeling, which isn’t related to actually saying or doing sexist shit.

    Being hopelessly paranoid. Having the fear that, despite all evidence, you might say something horribly offensive. And as I’ve made clear, the policies aren’t the big factor: it’s the history of overreactions from people in the community. And again, my point isn’t to say: “Waah, I can’t hit on women!” I’m merely pointing out the type of environment that gets created when this sort of stuff happens. It’s the type of environment that caused so many people to leave FtB (or be fired).

    You remind me of one of those people who think that we’re in a post-racial society because cross-burning is a thing of the past. If they’re not burning crosses, it’s not racist.

    As someone with his share of neuroses and paranoias, I won’t judge the fact that your brain clearly works differently from most people’s. If I remind you of that, then that’s on your brain: not me.

    Therefore there’s no more racism. Therefore anyone who complains about racism is overreacting

    Be careful, it may be made of straw but it’s not indestructable. To your grasping-at-strawmen (I’m clever) analogy, though, an example of a race-related overreaction might be this. See, if we were accused of being racist every time we used the term “black holes”, would you not start to think twice before using it, even if, in your rational mind, you knew it was completely unoffensive? You’d become paranoid–or Hell, at least I would. Thanks for the analogy! Turns out it worked after all.

    You’re enjoying being a sort of martyr here.

    Believe me; self-imposed compulsion to respond to a wall of hostile comments is not the same as enjoyment. In fact, some might say it’s the opposite.

    The thing you don’t get, and have refused to deal with, is that sexism infects all of our minds, and it’s not necessarily a mark of shame to acknowledge that.

    I have never denied this.

    And the rest of your comment was just typical straw-manning.

  229. vargonian says

    250 billingtondev

    Vargonian: Personally I don’t think you’re a particularly terrible person

    I’ll take it.

    You’re not being banned. You’re not being silenced (quite the opposite actually). These people are engaging with you

    I never claimed otherwise.

    Something is happening here. You are being offered an opportunity.

    And I’m taking it, thank you. I thought the mile-long wall of text was a dead giveaway.

  230. Rodney Nelson says

    vargonian,

    Take a look at this photograph. It’s entitled “An American Girl in Italy” and was taken by Ruth Orkin in Florence in 1951. If you can’t tell how uncomfortable that woman is walking by all those men “admiring” her then you’re not paying attention. This is a photo of an incident similar to the one I described in my post #257. Different women, different men, even a different continent and separated by over 60 years, but the men’s attitude are the same.

  231. vargonian says

    251 athyco

    Out of respect, I just want you to know that I read your comment. It was crazy, and incoherent, but I read it.

  232. says

    vargonian:

    Well, let me be perfectly clear then. Under virtually no circumstances whatsoever would I mention the attractiveness of a woman, out of fear of reprisal

    Are you socially awkward or something?

    I cannot imagine most women taking issue with a guy telling them they are attractive.
    I *can* imagine most women being uncomfortable with a guy who tells them they are attractive and then follows them around the convention floor.

    How have you managed life so far without an awareness of other peoples’ boundaries?

    But my point isn’t that this vocal minority will harm them significantly; my point is just to show the overreaction.

    Your privilege is showing.
    Richard Dawkins’ Dear Muslima letter was an insulting dismissal of the concerns of women in the ‘Western world’. There is nothing wrong with someone being offended by his letter and deciding not to support him any longer. He is not an “Atheist Pope”. He is not immune to criticism.
    Michael Shermer made a comment that reinforces stereotypes about women, and when questioned on it, instead of clarifying and explaining what he meant, he doubled down and defended his comments. He too is not an “Atheist Pope” and is not immune to criticism. He has been criticized. That is it. His continued whining like a petulant 12 year old is ridiculous. It’s as if he thinks he should be immune to criticism. He needs to grow the fuck up and realize that the people who have been criticizing him have legitimate concerns.
    You clearly don’t seem to agree that they should have been criticized. Or you think that the criticisms went too far.
    It’s nice that you get to sit in your ivory tower, protected from the bigotry and discrimination and sexual harassment that others face. It’s wonderful that these are hypothetical concerns for you. For many others, these things are very real and affect them every day. When anyone-including a “leader” in the atheist movement-makes statements that marginalize people, they can and *should* be criticized for it.

  233. vargonian says

    255 Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The point I was making in that comment was that it’s not unusual for guys MRA fuckwits, not real men, to be paranoid about every action they take

    Fixed that for you loser.

    Clearly you don’t know what it’s like to be paranoid and timid. Check your privilege. <– that was sarcastic.

    Your science may be top notch but your logical deduction needs work.

    Why? You are apologizing for them

    Please explain how. And again, if you can’t cite peer-reviewed sources on the subject of “Vargonian defending the MRA”, it won’t count as evidence. We’re scientists, here. No bullshitting me.

    not condemning them

    Am I supposed to? I don’t know much about them, except that the crazy YouTuber TheAmazingAtheist goes on crazy rants about that stuff. They’re dumb dumbheads. Good enough? And people who harass people at conferences are jerks and should be kicked out of the conference. Should I say more?

    Never, ever, think we are stupid here and can’t read between the lines.

    HOW DARE YOU! Since when is “reading between the lines” an acceptable form of evidence??? You should be ashamed to call yourself a scientist. (In case it wasn’t clear, I’m pointing out your hypocrisy.)

    You’re so stuck on painting me into a particular category that you’ve lost all perspective. And you make fun of the term “witch hunt”? Really? You’re trying to accuse me of being a member of an organization that I’m only peripherally aware of.

  234. says

    Just sort of a meta thing, inspired by Tony saying “How have you managed life so far without an awareness of other peoples’ boundaries?”:

    Many of us here commenting are married or in committed relationships. Most of us have been in serious, long term committed relationships. The vast majority of the people in those two groups have been pretty damned happy in those relationships.

    And we’ve managed to do it without being sexist assholes to one another. We’ve managed to pull off the impossible, since we respect other people’s boundaries and aren’t abusive and don’t make other people feel uncomfortable. And on top of all that, we’re capable of having friendships with people where there’s nothing sexual involved at all, even with people who we might be attracted to.

    We manage to have romantic and platonic relationships, and get along with one another, and we’re happy… and we do it without having to call people “bitches” and “cunts” and abuse people, or live in fear that we’re going to accidentally be abusive because we’re NOT abusive.

    vargonian, if you live in fear of being abusive, it is because YOU ARE THE PROBLEM. The rest of us don’t have your fear, because we’re not terrible people prone to blurting out terrible things like we have a mythical mental disorder. Apparently you ARE a terrible person who tends to say terrible things unless there’s a visible punishment.

    … which means you’re like a Christian who claims that he doesn’t rape because God says so, and if he was an atheist he would rape everyone in sight. I’m an atheist, and I’ve never felt like raping anyone. I’ve never felt like being intentionally terrible to women either. Maybe you can’t help yourself? Maybe you can’t stop but say horrible things, like that Christian can’t stop himself from raping?

  235. vargonian says

    257 Rodney Nelson

    In other words, your personal comfort zone, which includes flirting with every attractive woman within earshot, is more important to you than making women feel more comfortable.

    Since you’re new here, I’ll fill you in on a sweet little bet I’ve been making. I will offer you $1000 to point out anywhere, aside from your own biased imagination, where I stated or implied that I want to flirt with women at these conferences, and that I think that desire is more important than making them feel comfortable. Take your time.

    She walked by a group of men who felt the urge to tell her that she was good looking, she had “bodacious tatas”, and one of the men had an erection. This is the sort of thing most women have to live with all the time.

    And I’m not disagreeing with this for a second. Nothing about anything I’m saying is in any way not opposed to this sort of treatment, and–

    one of the men had an erection

    …wait.. how did you… nevermind, not important. Anyway, the point is, the people in the comments seem to be rehearsing their prejudices. I suppose I should have been more clear about my feminism–I know it freaks people out when I call myself a “feminist”, so… do whatever you (not just you, anyone reading this) needs to do to get comfortable. But of course I don’t think it’s okay to make people feel uncomfortable this way. I never, ever argued against that and all this insinuation that I’m somehow a secret anti-feminist MRA member is coming straight out of people’s preexisting bias. Just look at all the comments. They’re full of people attacking this bizarre, demonized straw man.

  236. vargonian says

    258 Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Gee, those “people”, like RW with “GUYS, DON’T DO THAT”, have female parts.

    No, of course not. That was a completely rational response. In fact, if you dig back to that post, you’ll see me in the comments section defending Rebecca Watson throughout that entire “Elevatorgate” ordeal. But hey, if that doesn’t fit with your preexisting bias, you can throw it out, right? SCIENCE!

    SLYMEPIT

    There may be some hidden meaning behind the word “Slymepit” that I’m not aware of. In the context I was taking it to mean generally synonymous with “slimeball” or “scumbag” or “cesspit”, but the fact that you keep repeating it makes me think you’re trying to bait me somehow. Like suddenly I’m going to rip off my hood and reveal that indeed, I am the Grand Slymepitter. I honestly have no idea what this means and I’m afraid to Google it.

  237. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Clearly you don’t know what it’s like to be paranoid and timid.

    Wrong fuckwit. But I do know what it is to listen to women, unlike you. It means no PUA, MRA, sexist fuckwittery in their direction. Treat them as people. What you your problem? And you do have a problem. You solve it…elsewhere.

  238. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Since when is “reading between the lines” an acceptable form of evidence??? You should be ashamed to call yourself a scientist. (In case it wasn’t clear, I’m pointing out your hypocrisy.)

    Gee, that is something we have to do all the time since our evidence isn’t always as exact as we would like,. Now hypocrite, show me where scientific evidence is “absolute”. Or shut the fuck up like you unintelligent loser you are.

  239. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    In fact, if you dig back to that post, you’ll see me in the comments section defending Rebecca Watson throughout that entire “Elevatorgate” ordeal. But hey, if that doesn’t fit with your preexisting bias, you can throw it out, right? SCIENCE!

    Gee, not ONE CITATION to show you are right. You are a liar and bullshitter until YOU provide the evidence otherwise. PUT UP OR SHUT THE FUCK UP.

  240. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    There may be some hidden meaning behind the word “Slymepit” that I’m not aware of. I

    Yes, where the MRA fuckwits who are harassing us, RW, and others, hang out. And I suspect you look at. But then, I don’t’ care if you do or not. Why you want to defend absolute misogyny is beyond the ken or rational men. Which does exclude you…as you are defending them…

  241. vargonian says

    263 Tony the Super-Duper Queer Shoop

    Are you socially awkward or something?

    Have I not made this clear enough?? The Socially Awkward Penguin meme was made for me. (That, and Paranoid Parrot). But of course, it couldn’t just be that! It must be that I’m a closeted misogynist! (I’m not accusing you of saying this; there was someone else who said explicitly this, though).

    How have you managed life so far without an awareness of other peoples’ boundaries?

    1. Assume I can’t do anything.
    2. Gradually change that as I get to know them better.

    As for the rest of your comment, I’ve already covered it. I criticized Dawkins at the time for making the tired “Someone else has it worse therefore your problems are invalid” argument, and as for Shermer, I pointed out exactly what my issue was (namely that Benson mischaracterized him–which she later clarified). I also noted that Shermer’s response was sloppy, though it was understandable that he’d get defensive given the history of overraction–a history which you’d likely contest.

    I would respond to the latter part of your comment by discussing some of the issues I have with the concept of privilege, but that would undoubtedly spark miles of further discussion that I don’t have time for.

  242. says

    I can’t tell them apart in real life. If I can’t tell you apart from a misogynist then it’s your responsibility to start acting less like a misogynist and more like a decent person. It’s not my responsibility to read your mind.

    (You said this.)

    Yeah, I did.

    Are you really saying that if you act like a misogynist, despite not being one, it’s my fault if I mistake you for a misogynist?

    Are you really saying that you expect me to read your mind and judge you by your thoughts rather than your actions?

    Sounds like it to me.

  243. says

    See, there are several genuinely shy, awkward men around here. Also, I have met many of these in real life. I’ve never had a problem differentiating awkwardness from sexism. If you think you your awkwardness is to blame for people telling you that you came off as sexist, you’re probably wrong.

  244. vargonian says

    vargonian, if you live in fear of being abusive, it is because YOU ARE THE PROBLEM. The rest of us don’t have your fear, because we’re not terrible people prone to blurting out terrible things like we have a mythical mental disorder. Apparently you ARE a terrible person who tends to say terrible things unless there’s a visible punishment.

    You’re just repeating a tired non-sequitur. Clearly you don’t know what it’s like to be socially awkward / paranoid / neurotic. As the saying goes, “check your privilege.”

    In your mind, the only reason that I could possibly be afraid to say something offensive is because I’m a closeted sexist. Do you consider yourself a rational person? Do you consider yourself capable of avoiding blatant logical fallacies–especially when the result of which involves accusing someone of being something horrible? It’s funny how it all goes full-circle… This type of misinterpretation is exactly what I’m trying to avoid by keeping my mouth shut.

    Here, here’s a clue. This is exactly the type of situation that I, as a paranoid, neurotic person, am trying to avoid.

    JD was such a racist scumbag, wasn’t he? That is literally the only explanation. <– that was sarcasm.

  245. says

    For example:

    In your mind, the only reason that I could possibly be afraid to say something offensive is because I’m a closeted sexist.

    No. Straw man argument.

    That is indeed one possible reason.

    Another possible reason is that you can’t process the idea that being told that you said something offensive is not the end of the fucking world. Because you have this stupid misconception that saying “That was a sexist thing you just said” means pretty much the same thing as “You are an Evil Bad Person Who Should Be Shunned Forever.”

  246. says

    Clearly you don’t know what it’s like to be socially awkward / paranoid / neurotic.

    Paging Azkyroth. There are many commenters here who know exactly what that’s like and none of them buy the bullshit argument that social awkwardness is a widespread cause of false accusations of sexism.

    Also, women who are socially awkward/paranoid/neurotic exist too. They benefit from less tolerance of sexist language. Why is the comfort of socially awkward men of seemingly greater concern to you than the comfort of socially awkward women?

  247. vargonian says

    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls, SCIENTIST

    Wrong fuckwit. But I do know what it is to listen to women, unlike you. It means no PUA, MRA, sexist fuckwittery in their direction. Treat them as people. What you your problem? And you do have a problem. You solve it…elsewhere.

    At this point you’re just continuing to rehearse your prejudices and repeat naked assertions.

    Gee, that is something we have to do all the time since our evidence isn’t always as exact as we would like

    Let this sink in, buddy. Let this sink in reallllly well…

    Oh Hell, I’ll repeat it:

    Gee, that is something we have to do all the time since our evidence isn’t always as exact as we would like

    Gee, not ONE CITATION to show you are right.

    A wise scientist once told me: “our evidence isn’t always as exact as we would like”.

    PUT UP OR SHUT THE FUCK UP.

    I’m just glad that you’re taking this out on me and not a schoolyard, office building, or shopping mall.

    Yes, where the MRA fuckwits who are harassing us, RW, and others, hang out. And I suspect you look at.

    Hey, while you’re at it, you can imagine that I go to KKK meetings and torture small animals. SCIENCE!

    Why you want to defend absolute misogyny

    Did I? Did I ever? Could you do me a favor and use a different text color when you’re “reading between the lines” versus when you’re “using scientific evidence”? I’m not sure if WordPress supports that but I’m sure we can figure it out.

  248. Amphiox says

    Since when is “reading between the lines” an acceptable form of evidence??? You should be ashamed to call yourself a scientist. (In case it wasn’t clear, I’m pointing out your hypocrisy.)

    Since, oh, I don’t know, the BEGINNING OF SCIENCE?

    All science that tries to investigate that which cannot be immediately seen with the unaided human senses is science that seeks to “read between the lines”.

    If you cannot comprehend such a simple base truth about the practice of science as that, then you have no business telling a real actual practicing scientist what he should or should not be “ashamed” of calling himself.

  249. vargonian says

    See, there are several genuinely shy, awkward men around here. Also, I have met many of these in real life. I’ve never had a problem differentiating awkwardness from sexism. If you think you your awkwardness is to blame for people telling you that you came off as sexist, you’re probably wrong.

    With the exception of people rehearsing their prejudices in this thread, nobody ever told me that anything I said came off as “sexist”. You do understand paranoia, don’t you? Having a fear of something doesn’t imply that that fear was ever realized.

  250. says

    Raising concerns that are only real concerns if you’re a misogynist (i.e. “I have to walk on eggshells for fear of sounding like a sexist!”) is pretty much the definition of defending sexism, yes.

    You do realize that very few sexists self-identify as sexist, right? Like other implicit biases, it requires other people pointing it out to you for a person to really become aware of it. What you’re doing is saying that “walking on eggshells” is a valid reason to avoid pointing out sexism. (Do please clarify if that’s not what you’re saying.) It isn’t a valid reason. If you (or one of your imaginary friends, since YOU never say anything sexist, oh no!) is having trouble not accidentally saying things, y’all have a couple of options: first, you can deal with the discomfort. It will eventually fade as your habits change, but that does take time. Second, stop associating with people who don’t like sexist language. Don’t hang out with feminists. There are plenty of spaces on the web and in real life that are perfectly friendly for men who find it extremely difficult to not say sexist shit.

    Basically dude your concerns are crap. They feel important to you but that’s because you think your personal feelings are more important than justice for people who aren’t you. You may claim that you don’t think this but the pattern of your words over time in this thread demonstrates otherwise. Your arguments would be nonsensical without that basic underpinning of selfishness.

  251. says

    With the exception of people rehearsing their prejudices in this thread, nobody ever told me that anything I said came off as “sexist”.

    Then your concerns are quite unfounded, aren’t they? On whose behalf are you agitating here? Don’t answer, that’s rhetorical. The answer is “sexist men.” Not “socially awkward men.”

  252. says

    You do understand paranoia, don’t you? Having a fear of something doesn’t imply that that fear was ever realized.

    By definition, this is something you need to deal with on your own time. By your own admission, it’s unfounded and irrational, therefore it would be even more irrational to expect everyone around you to cater to your irrational fear.

    Problem solved, you can go home now.

  253. vargonian says

    SallyStrange: Elite Femi-Fascist Genius

    New rule: if you’re going to claim straw man argument, you have to isolate the part of the argument that was misrepresented and also clarify what the actual argument was.

    This is a good rule. I like this rule. Also, related to this rule, let’s have the rule that if someone falsely accuses someone of creating a strawman, we can call them out on it.

    For example:

    In your mind, the only reason that I could possibly be afraid to say something offensive is because I’m a closeted sexist.

    No. Straw man argument.

    That is indeed one possible reason.

    Let’s take a trip down memory lane…

    And how can you honestly act surprised, when I myself have been accused, in this thread, of being:

    1. A misogynist.
    2. A pick-up-artist who is frustrated that he can’t pick up women at conferences.

    It’s because the objections you are raising are only valid if you are one of those two things. If you’re not one of those things then abiding by anti-harassment policies won’t be a problem and you won’t feel like you’re walking on eggshells.

    D’oh! Contradicted yourself. No biggie, we all make mistakes.

    But, continuing with your new line of reasoning:

    Another possible reason is that you can’t process the idea that being told that you said something offensive is not the end of the fucking world. Because you have this stupid misconception that saying “That was a sexist thing you just said” means pretty much the same thing as “You are an Evil Bad Person Who Should Be Shunned Forever.”

    Good! Complete agreement! I’m glad we can agree on something.

    none of them buy the bullshit argument that social awkwardness is a widespread cause of false accusations of sexism

    Ooo, BINGO! I mean Straw Man! I never once made this argument. Hehe, this is a fun game.

    Why is the comfort of socially awkward men of seemingly greater concern to you than the comfort of socially awkward women?

    It’s not, and I never claimed nor implied that it was, though I’m not sure I can call this a strawman. I mean, it’s not like you took one of my arguments and changed it a bit to be easily defeatable. This one you just completely invented out of thin air. So, d’oh, I don’t get any points for that one.

    Still not seeing why you keeping your mouth shut is such a terrible outcome.

    How many times do I have to agree with you that it’s not a terrible outcome? I think this might count as a strawman, so I may have to call you on it. I went easier on you earlier, but I gotta have limits, you know?

  254. vargonian says

    283 Amphiox

    All science that tries to investigate that which cannot be immediately seen with the unaided human senses is science that seeks to “read between the lines”.

    If you cannot comprehend such a simple base truth about the practice of science as that, then you have no business telling a real actual practicing scientist what he should or should not be “ashamed” of calling himself.

    You missed the context and the sarcasm. “Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls” has been repeatedly pressing me to cite scientific sources about my personal experiences, which is of course ridiculous. I’m merely showing his hypocrisy.

  255. says

    How many times do I have to agree with you that it’s not a terrible outcome? I think this might count as a strawman, so I may have to call you on it. I went easier on you earlier, but I gotta have limits, you know?

    Then I don’t understand why you keep bringing it up as if it’s important.

  256. says

    vargonian:

    And having seen all of the negative reactions of people for comments as normally benign as “it’s a guy thing”, I don’t blame them for keeping their mouths shut.

    I can’t believe people still cannot see the stereotype inherent in making the statement that anything is “a guy thing”.
    Sports: “It’s a guy thing”.
    Cars: “It’s a guy thing”.
    Fitness: “It’s a guy thing”.

    Why can you not see that making this statement only works if you believe that certain activities are for men and some are for women? This is gender essentialism at its worst. Sports, cars, fitness…none of them are exclusively “for guys”. They are activities that women enjoy as well, but our society has dictated that certain activities are off limits for women or frowned upon. Saying “It’s a guy thing” in response to why women don’t do conventions, or speak about skepticism, or think about skepticism overlooks the fact that women *DO* these things. Some women don’t and many people have explained why some of them don’t. Other than Michael Shermer, I have seen no one answer that these activities are just “things guys do”. In trying to find the root cause of lack of female attendance at conventions for example, using “it’s a guy thing” as an explanation doesn’t explain one damn thing.

    1- “some women have gotten sexually harassed at conventions and have decided not to attend any more”
    2- “some women are single mothers who cannot bring their child with them or cannot find a sitter”
    3- “some women simply haven’t been asked, despite there being many women who are interested”

    These are actual explanations and they put the lie to the idea that convention going is “a guy thing”.

    It won’t; it will just prevent me from even venturing remotely toward any of those conversations. I’m not complaining, I’m just stating a fact.

    Do you also stay away from workplace environments, since many of them have harassment policies in place?
    God you make it seem like it is soooooo hard to flirt.
    Y’know, last night I came to a local gay bar and met a guy that I thought was attractive. He seemed like he was into me as well, and at one point, while we were chatting I told him that I wanted to kiss him. His response was “well why don’t you?” I told him it’s because I didn’t know if I had the green light, and didn’t want to overstep any boundaries. I also told him that given his response, it was clear that the green light was given, *without* him having to explicitly say “You may kiss me”. It wasn’t hard at all and was completely natural. I was respecting his boundaries as a person. If you respect the boundaries of others, it really isn’t hard to flirt.

  257. says

    It’s not, and I never claimed nor implied that it was,

    Your endless whingeing about the poor unfortunate awkward MEN (with a conspicuous silence on the subject of socially awkward women and how sexist language and the tolerance thereof impacts them) certainly does imply exactly that–that the concerns of socially awkward men are more important to you than the concerns of socially awkward women.

    See, I’m doing you a favor by showing you how to not sound like a sexist when you don’t mean to sound like a sexist.

    This isn’t that fucking hard.

    You already admitted your fears are irrational.

  258. Amphiox says

    And having seen all of the negative reactions of people for comments as normally benign as “it’s a guy thing”

    This argument has been the root argument historically for excluding women from pretty much every single sphere of human activity except for child rearing and being objects of sexual gratification for men.

    There is NOTHING benign about it.

  259. vargonian says

    SallyStrange: Elite Femi-Fascist Genius

    They feel important to you but that’s because you think your personal feelings are more important than justice for people who aren’t you.

    Straw man! BAM! What’s the score? I’ve lost count.

    Then your concerns are quite unfounded, aren’t they? On whose behalf are you agitating here? Don’t answer, that’s rhetorical. The answer is “sexist men.” Not “socially awkward men.”

    Wow, you get to answer for me? That’s a convenient conversational tactic. So then, I ask you, who is completely wrong here? Don’t answer; that’s rhetorical. The answer is “you”. Shh, I said don’t answer!

    By definition, this is something you need to deal with on your own time.

    Sure, that’s fine. It still doesn’t address the environment created which affects even those who are much less paranoid than me. There’s a reason people have fled or been fired from FtB. There’s a reason Atheism+ gets so much criticism. Hell, there’s a reason the video above (wayyyyy above) was made. People don’t like environments in which they feel–rationally or not–that they can’t be open and honest. This doesn’t mean they want the right to harass people, or be blatantly sexist or racist. It’s not a dichotomy. There’s such a thing as a nuanced opinion. There are people who might disagree with some aspects of feminism, and that doesn’t make them bad people, or unworthy of a voice. The problem is, it “seems” (and like you, I can’t read minds), that anyone who doesn’t fall almost completely in line is banished. Now, using your earlier reasoning (which is convenient, thank you), if it “seems” that way, I’m going to assume it’s that way until you can show that it’s not. If that’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for me.

    In other words, you have an irrational fear of being accused of sexism. Women have a RATIONAL fear of encountering sexism.

    Guess which one is a bigger problem?

    The second one is. Much bigger. Have I ever said otherwise?

  260. says

    You keep talking about alienating these allegedly paranoid people as if it’s a bad thing. I don’t buy it. If their paranoia is that acute then they have bigger problems than whether some people on the A+ forum think they are sexist.

    On the other hand, if their fears are rational, and they really ARE constitutionally incapable of saying sexist shit then they’re precisely the type of people who don’t have a place in any effective movement for social and political change (such as the atheist/skeptic movement) in the first place.

  261. says

    Deep rifts, dude. Personally, I’m all for them. You get to pick which side you’re on. Yes, it’s black and white. No, it doesn’t mean that innocent well-meaning people can’t get into open honest discussions. It does mean that if well-meaning people are going to have open and honest discussions then “you said something sexist” cannot be a conversation stopper. As it apparently is for you.

  262. vargonian says

    SallyStrange: Elite Femi-Fascist Genius

    Being a closet sexist IS the only reason you could think these are legitimate concerns.

    Well, it’s a good thing that you admitted you were wrong, but it’s a bad thing that you’ve reverted to your blatant non-sequitur. I’m not sure if that’s a net gain or loss for you. :/

    Then I don’t understand why you keep bringing it up as if it’s important.

    I don’t. Other people do.

    Your endless whingeing about the poor unfortunate awkward MEN

    If you gave me a dollar for every time I’ve repeatedly stated explicitly that I’m not complaining/whining, but rather stating a fact, I’d have… I dunno, 4 or 5 bucks by now. Also, STRAW MAN! Woo, what’s the score?

    (with a conspicuous silence on the subject of socially awkward women and how sexist language and the tolerance thereof impacts them)

    Just because you cover your ears doesn’t mean there’s silence.

    that the concerns of socially awkward men are more important to you than the concerns of socially awkward women.

    Nope, they’re not. It’s more important that people at these conferences are safe, if we’re still on the subject of these conferences. Good enough for you? You realize that just because we may be talking about mammals, it doesn’t mean I don’t care about amphibians. Logic!

  263. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    wait.. how did you… nevermind, not important. A

    Actually important, as you condemnation of their behavior, and your acknowledgement you learned something.

    They’re full of people attacking this bizarre, demonized straw man.

    As are you attacking us who merely want women treated with the same courtesy you wish to be treated with.

  264. vargonian says

    293 Tony the Super-Duper Queer Shoop

    I can’t believe people still cannot see the stereotype inherent in making the statement that anything is “a guy thing”.

    You’re right, which is why I agreed with the point you make.

    Do you also stay away from workplace environments, since many of them have harassment policies in place?

    No, as I mentioned many times before, it’s not the harassment policies that create this environment–I was wrong to imply that waaaaaay earlier.

    God you make it seem like it is soooooo hard to flirt.

    Eh, just my own shyness, I guess.

  265. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It still doesn’t address the environment created which affects even those who are much less paranoid than me.

    Actually it does. Get with the program, or don’t go. Get with the program, and shut the fuck up. What is YOUR problem. If YOU have no problem, STOP TALKING FOR OTHER PEOPLE, OTHERWISE YOU SUPPORT THEIR AGENDA.

  266. says

    Vargonian:

    And he was accused of calling women dumb for it.

    Good god damn, I am sick of people not being able to understand this.

    Why isn’t the gender split in atheism closer to 50-50? Shermer explained, “It’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it; you know, it’s more of a guy thing.”

    Do you see that bolded part there?
    Michael Shermer said that.
    When people accuse him of saying that women “don’t do thinky about atheism”, that’s what they’re talking about!
    Saying “women aren’t intellectually active about it” is the same as saying “women don’t do thinky”, because what he’s saying is that MEN are intellectually active about it, and WOMEN are not intellectually active about it.

  267. says

    I’m not sure what we’re talking about anymore. I thought you said that you’re cool with anti-harassment policies (unlike Thunderf00t) but that you won’t be going because you’re too afraid of being accused of sexism. But you’re not sexist, but you are afraid of being accused of it, not because it’s the end of the world, but because you’re paranoid and socially awkward. And that there are lots of men who feel the same as you.

    Please correct any misconceptions I have.

  268. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Eh, just my own shyness, I guess.

    A shy guy who posts about every third-fourth post at a strange blog. Why is my skeptical alarm going off on its loudest setting. If you shy, maybe half a dozen posts….

  269. vargonian says

    295 billingtondev

    A lie.

    Clearly you’re not implying that the only way I could have actually pondered this discussion is if I came to agree with everyone? Because of course that’s the fallacy of excluded middle, but I’m sure you know that.

  270. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    it’s not the harassment policies that create this environment

    Yet that’s what you said above liar and bullshitter. Make up your mother fucking mind. Are you with us, or are you with the SLYMEPIT? Make your decision, then shut the fuck up.

  271. says

    I’m so glad that an Internet troll like vargonian was able to tell me that I don’t know what it is like to be socially awkward! Automatically, 80% of my life just disappears as though it never happened! Thank you, asshole sexist Internet piece of shit, for clarifying my life experience for me!

  272. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Because of course that’s the fallacy of excluded middle, but I’m sure you know that.

    There is no middle. You can delusionally pretend there is, but there isn’t. You know that. You are the one with the false reading…

  273. vargonian says

    Deep rifts, dude. Personally, I’m all for them. You get to pick which side you’re on. Yes, it’s black and white.

    We have a fundamental disagreement, then. And I don’t shield myself from people just because I disagree with them.

  274. vargonian says

    301 Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    As are you attacking us who merely want women treated with the same courtesy you wish to be treated with.

    Since I agree with you on this point, how could I be attacking you about it?

  275. vargonian says

    Actually it does. Get with the program, or don’t go. Get with the program, and shut the fuck up. What is YOUR problem. If YOU have no problem, STOP TALKING FOR OTHER PEOPLE, OTHERWISE YOU SUPPORT THEIR AGENDA.

    There are fallacies wrapped in fallacies here. I don’t even know where to start.

  276. says

    Yeah, no peace, no justice. Deep rifts. Well meaning people will either learn to not say sexist shit or get used to clarifying themselves and apologizing when they say sexist shit or just fuck the fuck off.

    If this means you’re fucking off then good. Mission accomplished.

    See, if you had contributed anything of value I might doubt the efficacy of this approach. But you’ve been precisely as boring and predictable and stupid as all the other sexist apologists, so no dice.

  277. vargonian says

    304 Tony the Super-Duper Queer Shoop

    Do you see that bolded part there?
    Michael Shermer said that.
    When people accuse him of saying that women “don’t do thinky about atheism”, that’s what they’re talking about!

    I completely see how this could be misconstrued, which is why Shermer explained himself. As I said in a muuuch earlier comment, obviously the phrase “intellectually active” is a hot button because it makes it sound as though if you’re not that, then you’re not “thinky”. When in fact, “intellectually active” could just mean “actively talking and thinking about a subject”. Which again, doesn’t excuse him for reinforcing a stereotype, but doesn’t imply that he’s claiming women are stupid. The female host sure didn’t accuse him of that.

  278. vargonian says

    There is no middle. You can delusionally pretend there is, but there isn’t. You know that. You are the one with the false reading…

    Hahaha, remember how I kept talking about you reinforcing stereotypes?? You’ve just essentially said (and please call me out if I’m Straw Manning; you need the points): “There’s our way, and there’s the wrong way.” This implies that no dissenting opinion is valid. No disagreement, nothing.

  279. says

    The female host sure didn’t accuse him of that.

    The female host fucked up herself. She said that she had a hard time finding women to be on the panel but then it turned out that she only approached two women.

    Why do you bring up the female host as if it’s relevant? Identifying as a woman is not a magical protection against buying into sexist attitudes.

  280. vargonian says

    305 SallyStrange: Elite Femi-Fascist Genius

    I’m not sure what we’re talking about anymore. I thought you said that you’re cool with anti-harassment policies (unlike Thunderf00t)

    Yeah, I think they’re totally fine.

    but that you won’t be going because you’re too afraid of being accused of sexism.

    I never said this. I’d love to go to these conferences again.

    But you’re not sexist

    Agreed.

    but you are afraid of being accused of it

    Definitely, just as I’m afraid of using the word “slave” in front of an African American or talking about running in front of someone in a wheelchair.

    not because it’s the end of the world

    No, earlier we established that I do “think it’s the end of the world”. Not literally of course, but there’s a fear of accidentally saying that type of thing and facing the reaction from people.

    And that there are lots of men who feel the same as you.

    Definitely. Have you seen Reddit?

  281. vargonian says

    306 Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    A shy guy who posts about every third-fourth post at a strange blog. Why is my skeptical alarm going off on its loudest setting. If you shy, maybe half a dozen posts….

    It’s entirely possible for someone to be outspoken online and shy in person. Are you new to the Internet?

  282. billingtondev says

    #307

    You posted seven messages in thirty five minutes. The fourth one of which (at about the 17 minute mark) claims that you have ‘pondered’.
    No time for any genuine pondering there.
    It was a lie.

  283. says

    just as I’m afraid of using the word “slave” in front of an African American or talking about running in front of someone in a wheelchair.

    Dude. That’s just fucking stupid. I mean, use the word or don’t and then just fucking deal with the consequences. Don’t “fear.” Either avoid the words (not really that hard) or use the words and then, if someone says it bothers them, apologize, explain, and don’t do it again.

    I have no respect for you.

  284. vargonian says

    Yet that’s what you said above liar and bullshitter. Make up your mother fucking mind. Are you with us, or are you with the SLYMEPIT? Make your decision, then shut the fuck up.

    And you wonder why the phrase “fortress mentality” or “tribalism” gets thrown around so much?

    And also, in order to give the benefit of the doubt, can someone else please call this guy out for the comments he’s making? If I were making the type of comments he’s making, I’d get torn a new one. But he just gets away with spewing nonsense. He’s literally insinuating that I’m a secret MRA member, etc.

  285. vargonian says

    309 Improbable Joe

    I’m so glad that an Internet troll like vargonian

    Well, at least we’ve got a handle on one person’s definition of “troll”.

    asshole sexist Internet piece of shit

    Keep telling yourself: “Vargonian is the troll, Vargonian is the troll…”

  286. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It’s entirely possible for someone to be outspoken online and shy in person.

    And it is very likely you are a liar and bullshitter. I’ll let the lurkers draw their conclusion. Mine is you are a liar and bullshitter, which is will evidenced.

  287. vargonian says

    323 SallyStrange: Elite Femi-Fascist Genius

    Dude. That’s just fucking stupid. I mean, use the word or don’t and then just fucking deal with the consequences. Don’t “fear.” Either avoid the words (not really that hard) or use the words and then, if someone says it bothers them, apologize, explain, and don’t do it again.

    I have no respect for you.

    I won’t lose sleep over that; I’m much more concerned that you finally see my point. Thank you.

  288. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It’s entirely possible for someone to be outspoken online and shy in person.

    Yes, keep telling yourself that. Maybe it will sink in after a few days…

  289. vargonian says

    I guess vargonian doesn’t do thinky.

    Anything else to offer?

    Is anyone going to call Tethys out for being a troll, or does it not count so long as you share the majority opinion?

  290. vargonian says

    And it is very likely you are a liar and bullshitter. I’ll let the lurkers draw their conclusion. Mine is you are a liar and bullshitter, which is will evidenced.

    Wait, was this “read between the lines” evidence, or “Real Mr. Scientist evidence?” What font color did we agree on for each? I can’t remember. In any case, keep on doin’ that SCIENCE!

  291. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m much more concerned that you finally see my point.

    Oh, that you have been trolling us for two days? I get that one. That you had a point? Nope, no point EVIDENCED, therefore none made….Welcome to science, where your OPINION is *floosh* sent to toxic waste, and your evidence is looked at. And since your OPINION isn’t evidence, nothing.

  292. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    In any case, keep on doin’ that SCIENCE!

    I have looked over the EVIDENCE you have presented. Your OPINION isn’t evidence. Nothing, nada, zip, zero, blank….

  293. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Is anyone going to call Tethys out for being a troll,

    Tethys is a regular, you are the troll. End of story. And a sad evidenceless story you have presented….Yawn…

  294. Tethys says

    I just read an entire thread that strongly supports the contention that vorgonian is dense as a brick.

    If you have a problem with my observation, perhaps you could demonstrate some actual thought?

  295. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If you have a problem with my observation, perhaps you could demonstrate some actual thought?

    Amen Tethys. The ball is in your court troll. For evidence, look here

  296. Tethys says

    Oh and just FYI, since I cannot determine who first used the phrase real men, don’t do that.

    All men are real men, and insinuating that because of behavior X, someone is not a real man is both sexist and homophobic.

  297. dontpanic says

    There are many commenters here who know exactly what that’s like and none of them buy the bullshit argument that social awkwardness is a widespread cause of false accusations of sexism.

    I’l chime in on this. As a person who is definitely socially awkward [my then wife-to-be basically had to do all the advancing, and looking back on it from 30+ years I see a number of instances where other women hit on me and I didn’t pick up on it]. Ah, exactly what Sally Strange said. I’m not buying the social awkwardness being mistaken for serious sexism (above and beyond the “normal” low level sexism that we all have and express to some degree).

    So that leaves your supposed paranoia. Fine, you have an irrational fear that you’ll say something so blatantly stupid that someone will bring the hammer down. And you having to deal with this is such an ordeal that makes you walk on eggshells. But I’m wondering what your solution is? You say (some of the time ::eyeroll:: for they guy who can’t even keep his arguments straight) that you’re not against anti-harrasment policies. So I guess I don’t see your point. Is it just a whinge?

    What vogonvargonian’s (sorry but a number of his comments remind me of their poetry) contribution to this thread seems like is an initial set of bold objections followed by strategic retreats as points get carved away. Oh, well I wasn’t really against anti-harrasment policies, it only looked like I was… Oh, well, I wasn’t really against Ophelia using Shermer’s statement as an example of unconscious bias, and I wasn’t defending him at all costs, it only looked like I was… Oh, well I wasn’t really saying thunderfoot was banned (oh, wait you never did acknowledge that was wrong … that he was fired as a blogger, but not banned from the site). etc.

    Perhaps vargonian can take a step back, *ponder* and lay out his thesis again clearly. What exactly are you objecting to and what are your actual reasons for those objections.

  298. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    252 was vargonian’s comment. 255, Nerd quoted part of it and “fixed” it, adding real men”.

    Hope that clears it up.

    (Glares at Nerd. {Sorry, I have a problem with that term})

  299. says

    Tethys isn’t a troll. vargonian is a troll. Seems like a pretty easy distinction. Worse, vargonian is boring. It isn’t even a new kind of trolling, it is ElevatorGate +45 days. Dull, pedestrian sexist bullshit.

  300. says

    I also noted that Shermer’s response was sloppy, though it was understandable that he’d get defensive given the history of overraction–a history which you’d likely contest.

    You’re right.
    I would contest that.
    Why?
    The people who typically talk about overreactions (specifically within the atheoskeptic movement and within the context of the issues at the forefront of the last few years), are not part of the group being marginalized. It’s people in the majority/privileged position complaining that those who are being marginalized/discriminated against are overreacting. Those in power are trying to set the standards by which people decide if they’ve been treated badly. Uh uh. Nope. Doesn’t work that way.

  301. says

    IJoe:
    I disagree somewhat.
    I don’t think vargonian is a troll. Ze is attempting to communicate hir thoughts. There is an idea ze wants us to understand. It isn’t going over well, but I don’t know that I’d call hir a troll.

  302. says

    Dude. That’s just fucking stupid. I mean, use the word or don’t and then just fucking deal with the consequences. Don’t “fear.” Either avoid the words (not really that hard) or use the words and then, if someone says it bothers them, apologize, explain, and don’t do it again.

    I have no respect for you.

    I won’t lose sleep over that; I’m much more concerned that you finally see my point. Thank you.

    There was no fucking point. You did not have a point.

  303. says

    vargonian:

    There’s a reason people have fled or been fired from FtB. There’s a reason Atheism+ gets so much criticism. Hell, there’s a reason the video above (wayyyyy above) was made. People don’t like environments in which they feel–rationally or not–that they can’t be open and honest.

    Taking two examples-Al Stefanelli, who “fled”, and Thunderf00t, who was fired-I find I am glad they are gone. If Al left because he couldn’t be open and honest with his feelings-and given where he’s taken up residence-I’m fucking glad he’s gone. He’s embraced the fucking Slymepit for crying out loud. That is someone that doesn’t fit here. He’s not a freethinker. He’s not using science, logic and reason to arrive at his opinions on women.
    As for Thunderf00t, given his opinion on sexual harassment at conventions, and his dismissal of women’s concerns, I’m glad he’s gone too. Like Al, he failed to be a freethinker.
    Neither of them belonged here. They showed their honesty. They showed their true character and NO they do not fit here. Thank goodness they are not here any longer.

    Your point seems to be that their issues have merit. I disagree. They both have a mentality that is at odds with equality for women. I will *never* agree with that perspective.

  304. shala says

    Worse, vargonian is boring.

    I found it hard to get past his first 20 comments.

    You know, out of the approximate 104 comments he made within the span of less than 24 hours.

    Holy fuck.

  305. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Not the first time this has happened, shala. These type of trolls tend to either burn out or get splattered with the banhammer.

  306. athyco says

    This FTB/A+ minority of vargonian’s is pretty violent. He wants us to stop being “quick to attack,” making “baseless” accusations, indulging in “overreactions,” and leaving “casualties” in the creating of “a hostile environment.” We should put balm on our “itchy trigger fingers.” Most men in the “wider atheist/skeptical community” are now “petrified” by the thought of “facing the wrath of the reactionists” “toward any sort of differing opinion.” We should be aware of the dangers of “shunning everyone else,” “conspiracy theorizing,” and making a “nasty personal accusation.”

    vargonian @145:

    As for the witch hunt, I agree that he [Shermer] went too far with that accusation, with the caveat that I can understand why he went there, given the very notable history of certain vocal minorities to shun otherwise respectable atheists/skeptics in the past couple years.

    His caveat choice is interesting. Why does this very notable history of the past couple of years make Michael Shermer’s accusation understandable while the equivalent understandinging is not extended to many more years of history that could make Ophelia Benson understandable–like stereotype threat, chilly climate, and microaggressions?

    collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/s4/f2/dsk2/ftp03/NQ53990.pdf
    sun.iwu.edu/~mgardner/Articles/chillyclimate.pdf
    psychologytoday.com/blog/microaggressions-in-everyday-life/201011/microaggressions-more-just-race

  307. says

    Noting, also, that the existence of many men who feel that avoiding the use of sexist language is an unconscionable and unbearable burden is precisely the reason this needs to be brought up over and over again, until they understand that they must bear the burden or go elsewhere. And until our alleged leaders realize that they can’t be neutral in this fight; you can accede to the status quo, or support it, which is funtionally the same thing. Or you can challenge it. The status quo is sexist. They have a choice and many made the wrong one. Doesn’t mean there won’t be more opportunities for choices in the future, but that can’t be taken back. Sexism is common, yes, and it can’t go on.

    You have a choice too.

  308. echidna says

    I also noted that Shermer’s response was sloppy, though it was understandable that he’d get defensive given the history of overraction–a history which you’d likely contest.

    If a group is expected to be meek, accepting and compliant, any reaction at all is deemed to be an over-reaction.

  309. Lofty says

    Vargonian’s thoughts seem to have the consistency of bog-oak. Fighting the way to a more egalitarian society. How dull.

  310. Tethys says

    vargonian #78

    Having an itchy trigger finger, ready to drop accusations of “bigot”, “misogynist”, “troll”, etc. is an effective way to silence dissenting opinions. When you have a community of people ready to pull this trigger, you create an environment in which people are afraid to disagree.

    How ironic that your first response to me was to call me a troll.

    MS and T-foot have certainly written and spoken many, many words since their sexist behavior was pointed out to them so they have not been silenced. I personally would be thrilled if they would both shut up about their poor bruised egos.

    The assertion that Pharyngula, home of Thunderdome, is becoming a place where people are afraid to disagree is entirely laughable.

  311. says

    Huh. Another example of argument by filibuster by the thread hog (isn’t there a rule about such a patently disruptive commenting behaviour?):

    Who, exactly, had to back pedal? You might be referring to Al Stefanelli, I suppose, who’s gone over to join the disappointing cesspit of atheism.
    Hilarious! It was him, now that I remember!
    Hilarious! An asshole like Al, made to feel uncomfortable commenting amongst other freethinkers, so that he has to take up residence with the sexist abuser’s lobby! Oh, fetch the smelling salts, flow my tears for poor old Al. *plays world’s smallest violin*

  312. says

    Yay, blockquote fail!
    X: Who, exactly, had to back pedal? You might be referring to Al Stefanelli, I suppose, who’s gone over to join the disappointing cesspit of atheism.
    V: Hilarious! It was him, now that I remember!
    X: Hilarious!
    And the rest is mine.

  313. lpetrich says

    I concede that I’m coming rather late to this party, but I’ve had a lot of experience with trolls. In my experience, and contrary to what C0nc0rdance and certain others seem to be claiming, they are not people whose viewpoints are being suppressed. Can C0nc0rdance and like-minded people point to any counterevidence, to any suppressed-viewpoint trolls?

    I state this because the places where trolls flourish the most is in low-moderation environments, where they have no trouble expressing dissenting viewpoints if they choose to do so.

    I know of a forum where many people were driven away by trolling and nastiness and obnoxiousness, tolerated by the forum’s admins as “freedom of speech”. Even worse, it was counter to some of the intentions of some of the forum’s founders.

  314. brucegorton says

    @PZ

    Just listened to a whole lot of it, and I think “tyranny of the majority” is the wrong concept for the idea you wanted to express, because the trolls aren’t really a majority. My experience on the news website where I work is that there are always one or two of them making the conversation unmanageable, its just the sheer volume of their output can make up more of the posts than everyone else put together.

    The real issue is information overload. When you have a lot of people jumping up and down and calling you a doody head at the tops of their voices, it drowns out the more cogent, and intelligent disagreements you may get.

    Further, a serious consideration with Concordance’s stance is that if he doesn’t build this fort of his, other people will. Without community rules or guidelines the more aggressive posters can work to make the community an unwelcoming place for newcomers, or work in unison to drive people out for simply disagreeing with them.

    For example, that is pretty much exactly what is happening with a lot of the anti-feminist attacks we see within the community – people whose main aim isn’t to promote free discourse but shut other people up. Concordance’s approach has no solution to this problem, and effectively means that because he doesn’t apply a filter himself what he sees is filtered through what other people will tolerate around him.

  315. says

    @Nerd

    A shy guy who posts about every third-fourth post at a strange blog. Why is my skeptical alarm going off on its loudest setting. If you shy, maybe half a dozen posts

    Actually, I’ll just step in on that one. In my experience, social interactions online are a whole different world from interactions face-to-face. It’s entirely possible that a person could be totally inhibited in real life and yet be perfectly comfortable online.

    @Vargonian

    The problem is, it “seems” (and like you, I can’t read minds), that anyone who doesn’t fall almost completely in line is banished. Now, using your earlier reasoning (which is convenient, thank you), if it “seems” that way, I’m going to assume it’s that way until you can show that it’s not. If that’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for me.

    You’re here. You’re not banished, banned or moderated. You get to speak your mind. You’re not a unique case.

    I’m seriously in doubt about what the issue is here. As I understand, you feel uncomfortable about how much you have to moderate yourself. You feel that this is a sentiment that is widespread and you think it’s a result of people over-reacting to perceived sexist language.

    All I can say to that is, I disagree. I don’t think overreactions are at all a problem and I don’t feel discomforted by the fact that I sometimes have to think twice before talking.
    In the case of Shermer and Ophelia, I don’t think she overreacted at all. I think he did. I think she raised a relevant concern and he blew up like a four year old who has been told that he couldn’t have ice cream for breakfast.

    Shermer, despite his protestations, said something quite stupid. If, as he says in his response, he doesn’t know why there’s a gender disparity among speakers, then why on earth did he decide to say “it’s a guy thing”? In what world is that nor a problematic statement, worth addressing?
    But hey, we can all screw up. The proper response is to step back and clarify. Shermer did that, except he also saw fit to start explaining why it was really totally inappropriate to point out his mistake:

    As well, as in witch hunts of centuries past, we should be cautious of making charges against others because of the near impossibility of denial or explanation after the accusation … Is there anything I could say that would not confirm readers’ beliefs? Denial is what true witches (and bigots, racists, and misogynists) do.

    Actually, no. It’s not denial that “witches” do. It’s a particular form of denial. It’s the kind that, while superficially looking like a denial, actually morphs into a five-page rant against the people they slighted and how they’re being totally unreasonable in saying “don’t do that”.

    This touches on something that I find quite odd; this idea that somebody is either totally 100% ideologically misogynistic or they’re perfectly liberal, sensitive and open-minded. Shermer makes some hay over “implicit assumptions” and apparently think this is an excuse for making “witch-hunt” style allegations that can’t be defended against.
    Let’s make this clear; we all have it. It simply isn’t possible to grow up in the present world and not assimilate some degree of gender stereotypes. Can’t be done. What determines whether you’re a sexist is not whether you’ve assimilated some sexist ideas. What makes you a sexist is how you deal with those ideas. DO you embrace them and defend them? Or do you recognize that they’re problematic and work to root them out?

    So if somebody says that you’ve got an implicit sexist assumption, the proper response is not “I’m not a witch, stop persecuting me!” It’s “Yes, I probably do. Could you clarify what exactly? I’d like to know about it, so I can consciously correct it.”
    The most serious critique of Shermer wasn’t regarding his original statement, but about how he reacted to being corrected. If he hadn’t blown up like that, I don’t think any of us would even remember. After all, a guy making an accidental stupid comment is not exactly front-page news. You correct it and move on.
    This is further demonstrated by the fact that the original comment was said in August and it’s only now that it blows up. Clearly, the original comment wasn’t that big a deal. It’s problematic, which is why Ophelia used it as her example, but it’s by no means singular, nor even particularly egregious.
    The problem wasn’t so much that he screwed up, but that he couldn’t accept it when his screw-up was pointed out to him.

    As for “fortress mentality”, there’s a middle ground between total isolation and uncritical welcoming. As I pointed out, dissenting opinions are certainly allowed here. Whether you get a positive reaction will depend on what you say and how well you argue for your point. People don’t get banned for disagreeing around here, as demonstrated by your presence.

    Even slymepitters can easily join the discussion here, because there’s not really any way of finding out who’s who. There is, factually, no “fortress mentality” or isolationism here. What there is, is a strong, regular community, who hold certain general opinions and aren’t afraid to argue for them, vocally and bluntly. Not hardly the same thing.

    So, if you still think there’s a problem, then I’m not sure what to do about it. Obviously, we can’t stop calling out sexist language and behavior. Doing that is a must, so it’s non-negotiable.
    Also, I think it’s completely unreasonable to ask people who have to put up with sexist crap to be extra-nice and polite in pointing it out for fear of hurting men’s feelings. Women have to put up with far more crap, most of which we probably don’t even notice. If women have to put up with sexism, then we shouldn’t balk at the occasional slap when we screw up.
    It’s an odd convention that those fighting bigotry have to be particularly careful not to offend those who are reinforcing the culture of bigotry. Doesn’t seem entirely fair. It’s hard not to jump to the conclusion that you consider your personal feelings more important than those who’ve been squashed by a life-time of prejudice, because that’s exactly what it sounds like.

    So, I guess I’m back to, what do you hope to achieve here? What are you proposing should be changed and how? If you can propose a method by which we can ease the burden on you without also increasing the burden on others, I’m sure people here would take note of that.
    However, if it’s a question of either effectively fighting the sexist tendencies in our culture or making it easier on you, I’m afraid you’re not going to get much sympathy around here.

    And holy fuck, why do I suddenly have verbal diarrhea?

  316. Pteryxx says

    @brucegorton: How about “heckler’s veto”?

    A heckler is, of course, a person who attends a performance of some kind, not to appreciate it, but to get in the way of it happening, thereby spoiling it for the actual audience. And a veto is the power to call a halt to something. The main problem with a heckler’s veto is that it transfers blame– it says nothing about the harmfulness or potential harmfulness of the thing being objected to, and everything about the willingness of the objector(s) to cause harm. Anybody could scream, make a fuss, or physically attack people or property for any reason, but in a heckler’s veto they try to attach this behavior to some object, practice, or speech which they don’t like in order to get that punished or banned, when really the person who is being disruptive should be. This would seem obvious, but unfortunately it often isn’t. Either out of sympathy for the heckler’s bruised feelings (“This is an expression of their outrage– you shouldn’t be allowed to provoke them; this makes the harm they caused your fault”) or a simple angry teacher response (“I don’t care who caused the disruption/damage; I just want it to stop!”), sometimes the heckler’s veto works.

    http://cheapsignals.blogspot.com/2013/01/a-particularly-audacious-hecklers-veto.html (via Ed Brayton)

  317. says

    Good grief.

    I haven’t read all of these, but I have read a big chunk. “vargonian” keeps saying I have withdrawn what I wrote about Michael Shermer in Free Inquiry. No I haven’t. I never said vargonian’s warped version of what I said, which was an ontological claim about Shermer, that he is a misogynist. I made no claim at all about what Shermer is. I quoted and commented on what he said.

    And I have not withdrawn what I did say.

    I did acknowledge that “exactly what he did say” was a loophole for creeps to pretend they can read only strictly literally, and that “invoked exactly that stereotype” would have closed that loophole. But that’s it. I have in no way withdrawn what I wrote about Shermer.

    Of course, if I were writing the article now it would be much harsher, and might even include an ontological claim about Shermer – that he is surprisingly quick to fly into a rage at being criticized, for example.

  318. says

    Ophelia:

    I made no claim at all about what Shermer is. I quoted and commented on what he said.

    Those of us with reading comprehension skills know that, Ophelia. We get a particularly fanatical strain of fans here, who think a defense unto death is required to prevent those poor, poor men, like Dawkins and Shermer from being “burnt into the ground.”

  319. says

    Ok this is the one I particularly wanted to rebut. varogrian @224.

    While Ophelia Benson cleared up her statement after the fact, she indeed accused Shermer of calling women essentially “too dumb to talk about skepticism at conferences”. She made that bed.

    Second: “slip of the tongue” is an accidental one-time event.

    Yes, like what Michael Shermer did. And he was accused of calling women dumb for it. Whether or not Benson later retracted her statement is irrelevant; she contributed to that environment. Let’s be clear: I’m not saying that Shermer didn’t deserve to be called out for reinforcing a stereotype. What he didn’t deserve was to be mischaracterized so harshly in an overreaction.

    I did not “clear up” anything “after the fact” in any sense that denies that Shermer said what I quoted him saying. And I most certainly did not retract what I said. Absolutely not. Shermer did say what he said. Yes it decidedly is a stupid sexist stereotype. I’m perfectly happy to let him retract it; I have no desire at all to say he said it and therefore he can’t later say it’s not what he meant. On the contrary. But I have not retracted my accurate quotation of what he said or my description of it as a stereotype “of women as stupid and passive and bashful.” I haven’t and I’m not going to.

  320. vaiyt says

    Having an itchy trigger finger, ready to drop accusations of “bigot”, “misogynist”, “troll”, etc. is an effective way to silence dissenting opinions.

    When those opinions are bigoted, misogynistic and trollish? Sure. I’m all for making those people shut up.

  321. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    When those opinions are bigoted, misogynistic and trollish? Sure. I’m all for making those people shut up.

    Yeah, varogrian was a big fan of freeze peach, the type where you shouldn’t be criticized for expressing an opinion. Never mind he was certainly expressing a concern/tone troll opinion criticizing us. Sniff, the smell of hypocrisy.

  322. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    it seems clear some people are confusing “awkward” with “Asshole”

    No, V, you’re not unliked because you’re awkward. You’re unliked because you’re a douchebag

  323. billingtondev says

    anchor. @168

    It is exceptionally idiotic to claim, cart-before-the-horse-wise, that trolls or trolling are a consequence of inadequate or disrespectful blogging etiquette rather than an intrusive cause of the problem.

    It seems to me that the kind of thinking anchor has highlighted here is a pretty good parallel for the kind of thinking that says rape is the “consequence” of “inadequate or disrepectuful etiquette” by the rape victim. Same shit – different context.

  324. brucegorton says

    Pteryxx

    That is pretty much it.

    A lot of the argument from free speech, only seems to support the free speech of bullies.

    So for example you have the harassment received by feminists proclaimed free speech and any response those feminists would make to it somehow proclaimed being in favour of ‘censorship’.

    Efforts made specifically to shut people up like for example sending people pictures of their own house, or making threats or sexual harassment, and all the stuff that is specifically geared to build an atmosphere where people cannot express their criticisms or problems, gets treated like it is just people having the right to speak their minds but putting a stop to that behaviour is suddenly ‘censorship’ .

    There is a difference to this stuff and expressing criticism – in that it doesn’t actually address the arguments at hand it just strives to stop the arguments happening. That is something I have noticed is a dichotomy between the feminist and MRA position, the feminists more often than not actually do criticise – they make valid counter points to what is being argued and address what is being said.

    The MRA types meanwhile only seem to engage in silencing behaviour. A skeptic, it seems to me, has to be feminist because the feminists are the only ones putting forward any real arguments.

    I don’t think Concordance is insincere in his position, but I think he does not quite see the full effects of his position on people who are the targets of this sort of behaviour. I am male, I have the privilege of only seeing it as someone who is not a direct target, and I cannot claim to be for free speech without taking into account the need for some basic ground rules to protect the free speech of others.

    In practical terms it means moderation exists not to stop criticism, but to promote it.