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Mar 19 2013

An object lesson for those who doubted

About 48 hours ago I posted a link to the Twitter feed of the egregious Michael Crook, who had used that fine microblogging service to share loathsome, horrible, explicitly pro-rape opinions regarding Steubenville.

Within minutes, this clown – in the very first comment on the thread — objected, saying that my calling attention to Crook was “feeding a troll.” Twenty minutes after that first comment, this other clown chimed in.

Both claimed that by calling out an egregious “troll” — not a rape advocate, but a “troll” — I had played right into Crook’s game of trollish 12-dimensional chess. Given him “what he wanted.” etc.

That’s manifestly not true, as it turns out. I don’t know what percentage of the attention Crook got came from my link. Perhaps it was a large amount, given the Pharyngula Phyrehose. Perhaps it was just a couple of percentage points. But Crook got a lot of unfavorable attention from all over the feminist and anti-rape sections of the Webonets. Should have made him utterly gleeful, right? As a ‘troll.”

Crook’s Twitter feed is gone. His website seems to be down. Is it reasonable to conclude that he decided there was too much attention being paid to him? Seems so to me. Though perhaps both Twitter and his web host decided to take him down against his will. Which seems less likely, given that the stuff Crook was saying was merely among the most egregious of the hundreds of rape supporters opining on Steubenville, most of whom seem not to have been censored.

I’m guessing he found the public response unpleasant.

Yes, forestalling further trollish objection, Crook is indeed entitled to freedom of speech. And so are we. It would seem sentiments like Crook’s in favor of rape don’t stand up to actual discussion. If people had decided not to “feed the troll,” Crook would very likely still be spreading his pro-rape views online at the moment. But enough people used their own rights to freedom of speech to let him know they found his views repugnant. If he’d been out to troll, he’d have relished that. If he’d had the courage of his convictions, he’d still be arguing.

But instead, that fearless defender of rapists seems to have shut the fuck up for the moment.

That tiny minority of commenters on that thread who scolded those of us who wanted to call Crook’s garbage out publicly: if we’d all listened to you, the world would be a slightly worse place than it is now. I suggest you go to your rooms and think about what you did.

And for those of you who think your voice doesn’t matter? It does. And thank you.

229 comments

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  1. 1
    sirbedevere

    No. Thank you, P.Z.

  2. 2
    sirbedevere

    Sorry, Make that “Chris”. Though thanks go to P.Z. for the blog, I suppose)

  3. 3
    Martha

    Great job! The hydra may have plenty of heads, but it’s good to get one of them.

  4. 4
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Freeze peach advocates don’t seem to understand, their freedom to give an opinion is our freedom to criticize their opinion. Funny how they really don’t want to hear from others. Sniff, ah the eau de hypocrisy of trolls/devils advocates/pot stirrers.

  5. 5
    RFW

    “Freedom of speech” means the government can’t curb it. It doesn’t mean that society and the individuals comprising society can’t object to speech they don’t like.

    You did no wrong, P-zed.

  6. 6
    Chris Clarke

    Clearly it’s time for me to rob a bank.

  7. 7
    viajera

    Good to hear! Thanks for the update, Chris, and thanks again for calling him out in the first place.

  8. 8
    ChasCPeterson

    OT, ‘egregious’ & ‘repugnant’ are so, so cromulent, no?

  9. 9
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    You fed the troll ’til he done ‘sploded, Chris. Huzzah!

  10. 10
    ChasCPeterson

    oh, yeah.
    ‘The Meyers Gang’ heh heh

  11. 11
    Chris Clarke

    You We fed the troll ’til he done ‘sploded, Chris. Huzzah!

    FTFus

  12. 12
    Argle Bargle

    Crook wasn’t trolling. He was claiming, among other things, that rape doesn’t actually exist. He needed to be shown unequivocally and forcefully that his was not only a minority opinion but also vile, hateful and anti-human. This was done by “feeding the troll.”

  13. 13
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Chris:

    FTFus

    Yeah, but if you hadn’t pointed it out, I would have missed that colostomy bag’s musings. And I know I can’t be the only one.

  14. 14
    imthegenieicandoanything

    This guy is an unredeemable turd with an utterly repulsive and unjustifiable by any standards, venom-spitting stupidity, without ANY doubt, but I can’t say I care for the gist of the argument here, which veers perilously close to something like “the loudest free speech expressed wins – and therefore is justified.” Certainly we all have the right to present our opinions, hopefully backed by reason, judgement, and even compassion, and the conflicts involved are very complex – the “feeding a troll” objection being generally wrong, and certainly so in this case, since he’s not a “troll” at all.

    However, given past experience with expressing the mildest sort of dissent FROM (certain) TACTICS here (I don’t believe I’ve ever taken a position against the majority core beliefs or values), I’ll move on now that I’ve said my piece: the self-righteousness that is all too likely flames up might hurt my widdle feelings.

  15. 15
    glodson

    The thing that people forget is that there are a bunch of people lurking, who don’t always speak out. Speaking out against a troll might educate them, or show them why the troll is wrong, or just encourage them to speak out and add their voices to ours.

    There’s no downside to feeding the troll as they only serve to make themselves look foolish, and sometimes they catch others who have the same mindset as they come out to defend the idiot troll.

    And it wasn’t that he was just a troll, he was a piece of a crap who spouts off some familiar nonsense.

  16. 16
    PZ Myers

    #6: No, don’t! I’d get arrested!

  17. 17
    Hank_Says

    Awesome. I’m glad I tweeted at him. I’m glad I made my tiny contribution to what appears was shaming him into shutting the fuck up.

    To the “don’t feed the trolls” clowns: I have nothing to say. You’re presumably intelligent enough to figure out what happened here.

  18. 18
    Argle Bargle

    imthegenieicandoanything @14

    I can’t say I care for the gist of the argument here, which veers perilously close to something like “the loudest free speech expressed wins – and therefore is justified.”

    On behalf of the Pharyngula Horde I thank you for your objections about peoples’ outrage at expressions of hate. I apologize that we did not have your concerns in mind when we railed about an unspeakably vile and evil man spewing hate at women. Maybe next time before we rant and roar about depravity and viciousness we’ll let you decide when we should stop so your cares and concerns will not be violated.

    However, given past experience with expressing the mildest sort of dissent FROM (certain) TACTICS here (I don’t believe I’ve ever taken a position against the majority core beliefs or values), I’ll move on now that I’ve said my piece: the self-righteousness that is all too likely flames up might hurt my widdle feelings.

    I could tell you what to do with your widdle feelings but that would let you claim justification about flaming. Have a nice day and don’t let your self-satisfied sanctimony swell your head too much.

  19. 19
    shouldbeworking

    He’s a good place to start. Pity there’s no shortage of of others like him.

  20. 20
    Inaji

    YES! Good job, Chris. Thanks for the post calling that piece of nastiness out.

  21. 21
    evilDoug

    Maybe if some decent people had “fed” a noxious shit like Cook in the presence of the Steubenville football team, the two kids convicted of rape and those who stood around and watched might have nibbled enough spilled crumbs to have gotten the idea, before the fact, that what they were going to do was reprehensible and instead behaved with some standard, basic decency.
    Troll egos be damned. The responses aren’t for them, they are for the onlookers. As my wise younger brother said, testimony that isn’t challenged is accepted as true.

  22. 22
    evilDoug

    Sorry, glodson, I didn’t intend to restate what you had said. PZ’s comment caught my eye, made me laugh, and I missed reading your comment entirely.

  23. 23
    frankb

    When a troll comes here and obviously enjoys our responce, that’s one thing. The troll knows where he or she is at. Crook may have been doing an impromptu poll on Twitter and didn’t like the results. Thanks Chris.

  24. 24
    vaiyt

    I can’t say I care for the gist of the argument here, which veers perilously close to something like “the loudest free speech expressed wins – and therefore is justified.”

    Way to interpret it bass-ackwards, asshole.

  25. 25
    Hank_Says

    14:

    I can’t say I care for the gist of the argument here, which veers perilously close to something like “the loudest free speech expressed wins – and therefore is justified.”

    Your concern is noted, but it appears your gist-gland is secreting the wrong hormones. I hope you’re not suggesting giving this bastard an earful wasn’t justified.

    A hateful and morally indefensible comment made by an individual was highlighted and an outraged response to it was encouraged, so as to show the individual and whoever was paying attention that a large number of people will not tolerate hateful, morally indefensible comments. The response happened. The individual who made the comment (which, it turned out, was just a fragment of a more broadly hateful and morally indefensible attitude displayed elsewhere by said individual) abandoned the medium on which he made the comment. It appears he voluntarily decided to remove himself from the arena and was not coerced or forced, which indicates something other than “loudest free speech wins” spurred his decision.

    Societies and communities decide what’s moral and acceptable behaviour. Crooks copping a bollocking over his shameful comment was an example of that. If he’d said it over the mic in a pub he might well have received the same treatment.

  26. 26
    Amblebury

    Chris, GO YOU GOOD THING!

    “Higher ground” is for those who lack tentacles.

    Seriously, these jerks get away with their jerkery because they have absolutely no compunction about trashing whoever seems to be spoiling their fun-du-jour. Whereas people with more of a social conscience often hesitate. Sometimes, oftentimes it’s not only appropriate to play them at their own game, it’s necessary.

  27. 27
    mildlymagnificent

    Goes to show that the little saying I once had pinned to my office wall might be right.

    “If enough people beat their heads against a brick wall, it will fall down.”

    A brick at a time is not the whole wall, but each loss weakens it. Never let a chance for another brick, or just a bit of mortar, go by.

  28. 28
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    Congratulations to Chris & Horde ™ (even if the dread tardigrade got in the way more than anything else).

    Given the celebratory circumstances, I think it worthwhile to pour a beer and spend 1:35 watching this video: Man vs Mosquito

  29. 29
    Julien Rousseau

    I’ll move on now that I’ve said my piece: the self-righteousness that is all too likely flames up might hurt my widdle feelings.

    So you flame us in a drive by strawman* post and then you preemptively complain about being flamed?

    * Yeah, strawman, nowhere did Chris express: “the loudest free speech expressed wins – and therefore is justified.” all he did was point out that the “don’t feed the troll” brigade was wrong. hell, Chris even said: “It would seem sentiments like Crook’s in favor of rape don’t stand up to actual discussion.” which is very different to what you claimed he argued.

  30. 30
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    All right, that’s it.

    GROUP HUG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*

    *(Feel free to substitute your own favourite gesture of comfort and support, as desired.)

  31. 31
    Lofty

    (Pops open brolly to ward off troll splatter)
    Well done, horde.

  32. 32
    Asher Kay

    Chris – I’m wondering if you’d consider the commenters clowns had they not scolded you for speaking up.

    It seems to me fairly reasonable to believe that ignoring a particular type of person in particular circumstances can be effective — especially when it’s someone who clearly seeks negative attention, as Crook does.

    As I said on your original post, I have no real idea whether ignoring or calling out works with someone like Crook. At this point, I don’t think there’s enough evidence to conclude that being called out was the cause of his disappearance (he could have received death threats for all I know). But I’m definitely open to the possibility.

  33. 33
    ekwhite

    Thank you Chris, for taking on Michael Crook, and for standing your ground against those who wanted you to look the other way.
    You are right – we have to shine a light on rape culture. After all, sunlight is the best disinfectant.

  34. 34
    chrislawson

    People have a tendency to forget what “don’t feed the trolls” actually means. The term arose on Usenet and refers specifically to people posting for the sole purpose of creating overblown dramas on discussion groups. True trolls don’t even necessarily believe what they say. They are saying it to get a reaction, pure and simple. And for true trolls, the only real solution is to refuse to engage them. This doesn’t necessarily mean letting their comments go by unanswered. I’ve found myself the best way to deal with trolls has been to make a short, factual response to their claims and leave it at that. Generally it serves the purpose of dismissing their arguments (and most troll arguments are easily dismissed) without giving them the emotional response they are hoping for.

    The problem is that people like Crook aren’t trolling. They obviously believe what they are saying, even if they are also getting a kick from starting a flamewar. Secondly, you can’t really troll by posting on your own blog or Twitter feed.

    IOW the rationale of “don’t feed the trolls” is completely irrelevant to this situation. Crook said some malicious garbage on his own feed; he obviously believes it; from other comments there are plenty of other people with similarly appalling views; his comments are both symptomatic of a culture of sexual assault and a fertiliser to it; he deserved to be called out for his noxious opinions.

  35. 35
    dexitroboper

    #6: No, don’t! I’d get arrested!

    Oooh, the perfect crime!

  36. 36
    Loqi

    I’ve never understood “don’t feed the troll.” If someone says something outrageous about, in this case, rape, I really don’t care if said someone is just looking for a reaction. I want the turd exposed to the world. I want people to see that rape culture is real. I want them to see what rape denial looks like. The next time a Todd Akin knock-off spouts crap about how many rapes aren’t really rape, they’re just some slut trying to get…something (I don’t really know what they get out of it, but it must be pretty good if it’s worth all the slut shaming), I want them to think, “For fuck’s sake, it’s that Michael Crook guy all over again.” At the end of the day, I give no fucks about what the troll wants. I care about what I want: to raise awareness of rape culture. If a troll gets his jollies in the process, then so be it. My desire to deny enjoyment to some asshole on the internet is far outweighed by my desire to stop rape.

  37. 37
    phoenicianromans

    Crook’s Twitter feed is gone. His website seems to be down.

    Abandoned or DDoSed?

  38. 38
    SallyStrange

    I just want to second everything Loqi just said. I don’t understand the obsession with denying satisfaction to assholes, whether they’re insincere (trolling) or sincere (honest bigots). Who cares? The point is to lessen the damage they do by spreading and enabling bigotry. It’s patently false that displaying anger means you’ve “lost” something, we need to kill that myth dead as well.

  39. 39
    Ichthyic

    Abandoned or DDoSed?

    it seemed to progress from being private, to being absent.

    does not resemble a distributed net attack, as there is no delay or error message.

  40. 40
    Julien Rousseau

    Abandoned or DDoSed?

    His webserver is up but returns an empty document.

  41. 41
    satanaugustine

    The commenters you mention, Chris, are not clowns just because they prefer different tactics than you. You’re publicly shaming them here for no good reason. Characterizing them as clowns was completely unnecessary in making your point. The comment from the first “clown” you mention:

    Ugh , why are you giving oxygen to one of the internet’s most notorious trolls? If everyone just stopped clapping, he’d die.

    Damn that’s an ignorant, offensive, over the top, stupid statement. The person making that statement obviously deserves to be humiliated on Pharygula. Oh, wait, no they don’t. They made an incredibly mild statement and you’ve used that against them to make a good point, but using their statements is one thing, characterizing them as clowns or any other insult is another. There’s no need to characterize someone as stupid (the implication behind the “clowns” insult) based on one comment when you could have focused on simply addressing their words. Seriously, you’re referring to fellow human beings. And it’s not as though they agreed with Crook. WTF?

  42. 42
    Holms

    Satanaugustine… are you serious? I really can’t tell. Please tell me you’re not serious.

    Please.

  43. 43
    Ichthyic

    Chris, are not clowns just because they prefer different tactics than you.

    that’s true, but then again, it’s also not why he called them clowns.

    somewhere in your rant, you lost the plot.

    *yawn*

  44. 44
    tvanvonprag

    Satanaugustine beat me to it. No need to shame them like this. They happened to be wrong, thinking Crook is a genuine, textbook troll. You happened to be right. That does not make them clowns. Even more importantly, though, I am glad Crook is gone.

  45. 45
    Rowan vet-tech

    Except that by ignoring people spewing misogynistic bullshit we are not showing disapproval of what they are saying. We are showing at best indifference, and at worst tacit approval. And that silence is a travesty and why rape culture persists with such strength. That silence is why people can get away with the trope of “bitchez be lyin’.”

    To ignore them is wrong wrong wrong. It sends the wrong message, both to the perpetrator, and those who have been harmed. It accomplishes nothing towards the goal we want.

    That’s why they are clowns. Clowns are not stupid, by the way. They’re often played as oblivious and naive or silly and ineffectual. They’re portrayed making goofy mistakes. None of which is stupid. It is, however, quite naive and ineffectual to suggest that being *quiet* will make misogyny vanish.

  46. 46
    SallyStrange

    humiliated on Pharygula

    Nobody expects the Pharyngula Humiliation! Our chief weapon is sarcasm! Sarcasm and incisive skeptical inquiry–our TWO chief weapons are sarcasm, incisive skeptical inquiry, and mockery! Wait, wait, everyone come in again.

    AMONG our chief weapons are sarcasm, incisive skeptical inquiry, mockery, and an almost fanatical devotion to our Tentacled Overlord!…

  47. 47
    SallyStrange

    Won’t somebody think of the clowns???

  48. 48
    didgen

    I am not going to assume that I know why the two people that suggested to not give attention to someone that feels comfortable saying something as evil as that. What I will say is that in my experience the more you are exposed to any sort of stimulus, the less it bothers you. I don’t want to become accustomed to hearing that. I don’t want to think that the majority of people think that way, or are OK with it. Thank you Chris.

  49. 49
    tvanvonprag

    rowanwt, yes, “ignoring people spewing misogynistic bullshit” is increadibly fucked up as a general strategy. I doubt, though, that this is what the “clowns” were suggesting. They said “let´s ignore CROOK” because he craves this sort of attention. They were wrong; but why that makes them “clowns” is still beyond me.

  50. 50
    kassad

    @ Satanaugustine & tvanvonprag

    Damn that’s an ignorant, offensive, over the top, stupid statement. The person making that statement obviously deserves to be humiliated on Pharygula. Oh, wait, no they don’t. They made an incredibly mild statement and you’ve used that against them to make a good point, but using their statements is one thing, characterizing them as clowns or any other insult is another. There’s no need to characterize someone as stupid (the implication behind the “clowns” insult) based on one comment when you could have focused on simply addressing their words. Seriously, you’re referring to fellow human beings.

    Satanaugustine beat me to it. No need to shame them like this. They happened to be wrong, thinking Crook is a genuine, textbook troll. You happened to be right. That does not make them clowns. Even more importantly, though, I am glad Crook is gone.

    – First off: yes talking about a damn internet “rule” in the first comment about a post against the defense of rapists is pretty fucking offensive and not seeing that should led you to a little bit of introspection perhaps. Seriously. The guy did not say “That’s fucking horrible. But maybe he is simply trolling?. He was pissy because Chris was apparently naive about denouncing the scumbag!

    – Second: at one point did Chris dehumanize them?! Clowns might be “shaming” them, but it’s quite mild and you don’t seem to have read the previous thread because they acted more than a little like jackasses.

    – And last: do you really think that your first reflex in a post about how “don’t feed the trolls” don’t work should be to be the Tone Police?

  51. 51
    Lofty

    satanaugustine, your concern is noted.

  52. 52
    SallyStrange

    rowanwt, yes, “ignoring people spewing misogynistic bullshit” is increadibly fucked up as a general strategy. I doubt, though, that this is what the “clowns” were suggesting. They said “let´s ignore CROOK” because he craves this sort of attention. They were wrong; but why that makes them “clowns” is still beyond me.

    Your apparent denial of the obvious fact that, in this case, denying Crook the attention he craves IS THE EXACT SAME THING AS ignoring people who spew misogynist bullshit is making me wonder if you aren’t also a clown.

  53. 53
    SallyStrange

    What I will say is that in my experience the more you are exposed to any sort of stimulus, the less it bothers you.

    For whom is exposure to misogyny optional?

  54. 54
    Rowan vet-tech

    rowanwt, yes, “ignoring people spewing misogynistic bullshit” is increadibly fucked up as a general strategy. I doubt, though, that this is what the “clowns” were suggesting. They said “let´s ignore CROOK” because he craves this sort of attention. They were wrong; but why that makes them “clowns” is still beyond me.

    And why stop at Crook? This easily turns into “Let’s ignore this person as well, and this one over here and over there” and there we are with “don’t feed the trolls” and allowing the bullshit to float on by uncontested.

    They are clowns because ignoring ANYONE who spouts incredibly misogynistic bullshit, EVEN FOR ATTENTION, is playing into what I described before. We need to always call it out. Always.

    Their call to ignore was naive, ineffectual, silly, and entirely oblivious about the impact and implications it has.

  55. 55
    tvanvonprag

    OK, Sally, me being a clown might be an explanation because I really don´t see the “obvious fact” you refer to. I will think about it (honestly).

  56. 56
    Rowan vet-tech

    Tvan:

    Why should we ignore misogynistic bullshit if the person spewing it craves attention? What is the difference between the bullshit they spew, and those that others spew? How does craving attention change it, especially to the degree that it should be given the ‘pass’ of ignoring it?

  57. 57
    tvanvonprag

    rowanwt: “What is the difference between the bullshit they spew, and those that others spew?” None. “How does craving attention change it?” Standard troll theory: if the craving is not fed, it dies out and the bullshit dies with it. I thought this is a pretty well-known stuff. (Please, rowant, note: I am not defending this theory; ít might be incorrect for all I know. It certainly is a very impractical theory because you often can’t tell whether the person you are dealing with is a troll or an honest misogynist that needs to be confronted head on because lack of attention is not going to stop hir. If holding a possibly incorrect or impractical theory is enough to make you a clown, then my attempt at defending the two fellows was inept.)

  58. 58
    sonofrojblake

    Excellent. That is all.

  59. 59
    Eddy Cara

    Not sure what the protocol for links are, but it turns out Crook was hacked by an faction of Anonymous called Report-A-Pedo. The dox drop revealed he once raped a 15-year-old girl. Blogged about it on the Heresy Club.

  60. 60
    Stacy

    You can post links, Eddy Cara. I found this:

    http://bitbin.it/LvnhySWw

  61. 61
    Galactic Fork

    Rowanvt

    It is, however, quite naive and ineffectual to suggest that being *quiet* will make misogyny vanish.

    That’s the thing, by keeping quiet, it does make misogyny vanish to those who aren’t directly affected by it (and don’t care enough to recognize it around them). Which is actually the whole point.

  62. 62
    Rutee Katreya

    [quote]Standard troll theory: if the craving is not fed, it dies out and the bullshit dies with it.[/quote]
    Trolls are rarely original people – their stupidity is drawn from extant stupidity with reasonable and unfortunate amounts of support. Even if it were an ‘old school’ troll who just wants attention, it doesn’t matter much in how you should respond, because the troll is never really alone in its views.

  63. 63
    Maureen Brian

    There is little evidence that the “don’t feed the trolls” message has any merit at all.

    Here we feed the actual trolls until they explode and we call out the misogynistic arseholes on the stupidity of what they say and the harm it does in both in the “real world” and on the internet. Sometimes the Pharyngula strategy leads or contributes to success – well done, Chris – and it has never been known to do any harm.

    Do you think the Ohio Attorney General should have taken the “don’t feed the trolls” line with those issuing death threats to the key prosecution witness (aka victim) in the Steubenville rape case? No, neither do we.

    Has anyone else noticed how that outworn meme seems to appeal most to trolls themselves and to the non-thinking section of the community?

  64. 64
    amcc

    Delurking to say “Go Chris!”. I’ve been a longtime lurker of Pharyngula and was skeptical (that word seems tainted now…) when PZ announced a co-blogger, but curse me for doubting PZ!

  65. 65
    kate_waters: Not Your Father's Oldsmobile.

    @Maureen Brian #63:

    Has anyone else noticed how that outworn meme seems to appeal most to trolls themselves and to the non-thinking section of the community?

    Exactly.

    It’s the same thing in every thread about misogyny:

    “If you’s just shut up it would go away!”*

    *This actually translates to: “If you’d just shut up I could continue to ignore it and would have to feel squicky or think about about my own misogyny”

  66. 66
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    *Exuberant victory dance*

    Yes! Go Chris! Go Chris! Go, Go, Go Chris!

  67. 67
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Edy Cara #59

    …Crook was hacked by an faction of Anonymous called Report-A-Pedo. The dox drop revealed he once raped a 15-year-old girl

    Well that explains a lot. What a vile person. I hope he really did asplode from the over-feeding.

    @amcc #64

    *waves* Hello!

  68. 68
    georgewiman

    The actual, original rape-apologist isn’t even the most important element. I am imagining dude-bros following the rape apologist, feeling satisfaction in perceived majority opinion, amirite? They could be young football players, coaches, sheriffs, school admins, even parents who just have not thought it through.

    Then suddenly a whole lot of other people speak up identifying rape culture for the dehumanizing evil that it is, and their perception of majority status is undermined. Now they know they are not the only voice. It’s possible some of them may even realize there are human beings who could be hurt by rape culture. That’s one less person to laugh at rape jokes, and one more person to call the cops when a situation starts going down. Sounds like a good thing.

  69. 69
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @satanaugustine

    Wait, I’ll call the Waaahmbulance…

  70. 70
    Eddy Cara

    http://heresyclub.com/2013/03/michael-crook-the-worst-atheist-in-the-world/

    K, here’s the full link. It’s got excerpts of Crook’s original post, a link to the full text, and a link to Anonymous’s hijacking of Crook.

  71. 71
    Anri

    So, let me get this straight: bile-spewing misogynist poster has little attention and much history of vomiting up hate.
    Said spewer gains net attention. Large amounts of it.
    Said spewer stops spewing in short order.
    …and some folks are still trying to push “don’t feed the trolls”?

    You are, of course, free to let any sort of hateful language pass unremarked in your presence. But please don’t claim the moral high ground while doing so.

  72. 72
    Tinjoe

    … you often can’t tell whether the person you are dealing with is a troll or an honest misogynist …

    When dealing with someone like a flat earth society member there might be a distinction between troll and honest believer. I care about the truth, but I can’t see my life or anyone else’s changing significantly based on people pushing a flat earth agenda. Crops will still grow, night turns in to day, etc…

    I don’t think this distinction exists with people who spew this sort of bullshit. How can you be a decent person and spew dehumanizing bullshit just to get a rise out of someone? You can’t, you’re a shit bag whether you honestly believe women aren’t people, or whether you just say it to piss people off.

  73. 73
    Anri

    rowanwt, yes, “ignoring people spewing misogynistic bullshit” is increadibly fucked up as a general strategy. I doubt, though, that this is what the “clowns” were suggesting. They said “let´s ignore CROOK” because he craves this sort of attention. They were wrong; but why that makes them “clowns” is still beyond me.

    What makes them clowns is that this is always what’s suggested in exactly this sort of situation, with exactly the same results: “Well, we were wrong this time, just like last time… and the time before… but as a general strategy…”
    No.
    If a general strategy isn’t actually working for any specific instance, it’s not a good general strategy.

    Calling the people who still try to support it ‘clowns’ is much more charitable than the other possible assumption: that they (consciously or otherwise) approve the message and don’t want to see it shamed out of existence. Clown is complimentary by comparison.

  74. 74
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Chris:

    Thank you. You done good.

    However, given past experience with expressing the mildest sort of dissent FROM (certain) TACTICS here (I don’t believe I’ve ever taken a position against the majority core beliefs or values), I’ll move on now that I’ve said my piece: the self-righteousness that is all too likely flames up might hurt my widdle feelings.

    Er, deviation from tactics are punished? Read through the “Do You Deny Rape Culture Exists” thread. Read the way that Matt’s comments were handled. Retreat, attempts to educate, swearing, yelling, arguing, legal arguments, you name it, they were used. Every one here has multiple tactics that we use. And everyone here is very different in the way that we disagree.

    (I will know continue reading the thread to see how many different tactics are used to disagree with your tone argument.)

    Ulysses: Well aimed sarcasm.

    vaiyt: Incredibly appropriate insult included in pointing out a mistake.

    Hankstar: Angry education.

    Julien Rousseau: Well directed anger at your tactics.

    So right there we have multiple, and quite different, tactics regarding your idiocy about tone. So much for your vaunted ‘no dissent is tolerated’ argument.

    Standard troll theory: if the craving is not fed, it dies out and the bullshit dies with it.

    But is it worth it? I am a rape survivor. If someone, anyone, is out there saying that I could not be a victim of rape because they are all sluts who asked for it (not sure how I could have been asking for sex when I was a nine-year-old boy) then that actively hurts me. And lots of others. By Pteryxx’s count, there are around 60 to 75 who have come out as survivors on this blog. And every one of them is hurt, triggered, pushed into memories I do not want, when rape apologists are allowed to spew their shit without being challenged. For all of recorded history, the victims of rape have been blamed. Now that is starting to change. Ignoring those who want the status quo ante will not help change and will actively inhibit change. When you consider allowing trolls free rein, consider the possibility of splash damage. None of us expect to change the mind of the MRA. We may, however, through the act of troll pounding, open the eyes of those too privileged to see the blatant misogyny and rape culture extant in society.

  75. 75
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    So, Michael Crook the Rape-Denier is Michael Crook the Rapist. How incredibly not surprised am I.

    you often can’t tell whether the person you are dealing with is a troll or an honest misogynist

    In seriousness, I must ask: WHAT FUCKING DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? Either they are pretending to hate women, or they do hate women, what fucking difference does it make? The outcome is EXACTLY the fucking same: misogyny gets spewed that, if unchallenged, will be assumed to be accepted.

    What fucking difference does it make what the asshole’s motivations are?

  76. 76
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    one of us expect to change the mind of the MRA. We may, however, through the act of troll pounding, open the eyes of those too privileged to see the blatant misogyny and rape culture extant in society

    Agreed! And, imo even more importantly, the silently observing survivor knows they are not alone. The conflict-adverse observer that others that think like them are out there. The newbie sees what evidence is used, what arguments defeat the bigots, etc.

    There’s a million benefits to troll-fencing and none of them are about the damn troll.

  77. 77
    carlie

    And even if the person IS an actual troll, by the classic definition, more often than not they wilt under the pressure when they get more “drama” than they bargained for, all aimed directly at them. So maybe that will make them not be that way so much in the future either.

  78. 78
    tami

    As a rape survivor I think the Steubenville episode, splattered all over the news, is an unwanted trigger and gives these A$$HOLES much more attention than they deserve. How many of the news sources were thoughtful enough to post “TRIGGER WARNING” on their coverage? To give them the benefit of the doubt it was probably ignorance more than insensitivity.

    OTOH, the public response in defense of these perps is disgusting and unbelievable. Our species is massively sick…cruel and stupid creatures.

    One of the newscasts said something about how this ruined the life of those two “promising” boys. Give me a break! If they want to know what “ruining the life” means I’ll be happy to tell them.

  79. 79
    Jackie

    #61 Galatic Fork,
    Yes! Exactly right.

  80. 80
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    tvanvonprag, imthegenieicandoanything:

    There’s another element to the “Don’t Feed The Trolls” brigade, something that does earn them the strongly-worded and very offensive title of clown: They’re attempting to tell people what they might write.

    It really takes a clown to come in and say, “I know better than you what is proper blogging.” And I mean clown as in, a ridiculous, absurd, and somewhat creepy caricature. It’s not just that they were wrong. It’s that they were sanctimoniously telling others what subjects to avoid.

    A lot of us pointed out that the whole “Don’t Feed The Trolls” meme is just stupid and wrong. It’s used in forums that wish to avoid confrontation and incivility. It’s effectively nothing more than tone trolling, which is just another way of trying to tell people what they can and can’t say.

    Kind of like you’re both doing here.

    So, while I appreciate you think you know better than us, you might consider the wild proposition that you really don’t.

    And yes. They were clowns. Telling Chris what he can and can’t write about on his own fucking blog is really being a clown.

    Kind of like you’re both doing here.

  81. 81
    tami

    @my own post 78

    Now that I’ve gone back and read the comments, I see that I have posted something not really relevant. Sorry about the short, but IMHO, accurate, rant.

    More to the point of discussion, we should call out those creeps EVERY time they spew their garbage. Yes they have the right to free speech…but we, then, have the right to pile on in righteous indignation…to beat them verbally till their keyboards bleed to death.

    Turn over a rock and all the slimy slugs scatter…good riddance.

  82. 82
    Jackie

    Tami, I’m sorry that you had to endure that. I’m also sorry that because of the actions of a rapist and rape apologists that you have to be wary of being triggered when you watch the news. That’s not OK. You shouldn’t have to live with that trauma. No one should. But since the rape and rape culture are what caused that trauma that led to that triggering, isn’t it important to stop rape and dismantle rape culture?
    How can we do that without bringing attention to the problem?

  83. 83
    jamessweet

    I feel like you’re being a little mean to the DFTT crowd — their intentions are good, at least. They’re wrong, of course, but they’re not the Bad Guys.

    Oops, am I being the Tone Police? Uh oh… Nah, it’s no big deal, I just feel bad, because I’m sure those folks were just trying to help, and now they’re being publicly shamed. But maybe it’s for the best, I dunno…

  84. 84
    Jackie

    Tami, thanks for clarifying.

  85. 85
    tccc

    Audley Z. Darkheart (liar and scoundrel) @ #13:

    Calling someone a colostomy bag feels like a bit of an ableist insult to me. No need to stigmatize people who deal with that just to insult this pathetic jerk.

    Sorry to interrupt, but having a colostomy is challenging enough without it being used as an insult for a vile human being like this guy.

  86. 86
    Jackie

    #83,
    The pray-the-gay-away people are just trying to help too.
    People trying to convert my kids to their religion are just trying to help.
    People who tell me and my daughters how we should “avoid being raped” are just trying to help.

    They aren’t helping. They are harming. They are being clueless asshats. They should be ridiculed and so should these clowns.

  87. 87
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    jamessweet:

    I feel like you’re being a little mean to the DFTT crowd — their intentions are good, at least. They’re wrong, of course, but they’re not the Bad Guys.

    They’re not the bad guys (in general). But there’s kind of a general rule of thumb: don’t tell people how to act in their own home. It’s impolite. That’s a strange thing to say here, bein’ as this is a Den (or Din?) of Iniquity (but not Inequity), but it’s simply logical.

    Whether you’re a tone troll or a Don’t Feed The Trolls, that’s what you’re doing: telling people how to behave in their own home. If you want a place that behaves a certain way, make your own blog.

    And I’m not convinced their intentions are good. Sanctimonious self-righteousness generally doesn’t flow from good intentions. It usually comes from people who think they are superior to you in some way. So while they might think they have good intentions, they should might spend more time in introspection, and less in policing the conversational topics of others.

  88. 88
    doublereed

    There’s something that brings a smile to my face when I know this guy is one of the people that claims that Anita Sarkeesian should just “suck it up” and that death/rape threats should just be laughed off. Then he gets a massive amount of harassment, he folds like an origami crane. Poor baby.

    The fact is that the Court of Public Opinion is incredibly fast, harsh, and capricious.

  89. 89
    Maureen Brian

    I love “till their keyboards bleed to death” and thanks, tami, for what you’ve said – all of it.

  90. 90
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I feel like you’re being a little mean to the DFTT crowd — their intentions are good, at least. They’re wrong, of course, but they’re not the Bad Guys.

    All that is required for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing. The DFTT crowd is recommending that, when confronted with misogynistic, sexist, ablist, racist, genocidal, homophobic, bigoted, and every other narrow-minded and harmful mode of thought out there expressed on the internet, we do nothing.

  91. 91
    chigau (違う)

    Maybe we should try to BuildBridges® to the Don’t Feed The Trolls Crowd so we don’t have DeepRifts™ in Our Community®™.

  92. 92
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Illumanata #76

    The newbie sees what evidence is used, what arguments defeat the bigots, etc.

    I can personally testify to it’s effectiveness on this front. I learned a lot just by lurking and reading the troll-bashing threads here for a few months before I started commenting. Before I did that, I didn’t even know what rape-culture was. So yes, it is certainly an effective education for lurkers too.

  93. 93
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    On Pharyngula, we don’t feed trolls.

    They feed us.

  94. 94
    Pearson

    nigelTheBold:

    There’s another element to the “Don’t Feed The Trolls” brigade, something that does earn them the strongly-worded and very offensive title of clown: They’re attempting to tell people what they might write.

    This was exactly my thoughts. Any person who thinks they can come along and tell others they’re doing it wrong deserve to be called clowns. It’s pretty rude to think that your opinion of how others should behave is more important than their right to do and speak as they want.

    Also, I’ve seen more trolls in the past year who appear to prefer not being called out. The ones that I could tell were doing it to stir people up could see that they were bothering people. They could see people struggle to not engage them. Isn’t it just as likely that a troll is out to hurt people and not engaging them is simply giving them what they want… to operate with near immunity? I say fuck that.

    And seriously, why the hell is it so much more important to not give a single troll attention than it is to be a clear voice to the rape survivors who need to see that the whole world doesn’t blame them. The hurt I feel seeing victim blaming shit turns to hope when I see the open condemnation of rape culture. It is more important to strengthen those who have been harmed than to try and avoid giving an asshat some attention. Besides, as a mother, I can say that sometimes giving the attention a person is seeking is not necessarily a bad thing.

  95. 95
    chigau (違う)

    nigelTheBold #93
    You for got
    “mwahahhahahAHAHHAAHA”

  96. 96
    tvanvonprag

    nigelTheBold #80

    “I appreciate you think you know better than us” – I don’t. “…you might consider the wild proposition that you really don’t.” I did (explicitly). “Self-righteousness … usually comes from people who think they are superior to you in some way.” I couldn’t agree more. Starting a blogpost with “Look at these two sorry clowns!” is a Paradebeispiel. And as has been said already, Crook’s page was not overfed, it was directly taken down by a group of hackers. (No objection to that form my part, it seems to be the quickest way to shut the shitstains.)

  97. 97
    khms

    I think one important aspect that both believers in DFTT and opponents tend to ignore, is that the success of DFTT is highly context-specific.

    I believe it originated in early Usenet, in fairly technical discussion groups, and was aimed at people who might, for example, enter a Lisp discussion group and claim that, say parentheses are stupid. Those were groups where you had a good chance to get everyone on the same page as to what to do about these kinds of trolls. And in that case, it usually worked just fine.

    However, that is a very different context than, say, the current case. For one, you can’t possibly get everyone on the same page. For another, this is about social issues, not technical or scientific ones. And I’m sure we could come up with quite a bit more important differences.
    In the current context, DFTT cannot possibly work. In the original context, it worked just fine.
    You can’t just apply a social rule to a wildly different social context and expect it to work. You need to understand why and how it works to be able to predict what will happen.
    (This actually goes both ways. One reason for the DFTT rule was that, in the original context, Pharyngula-style feeding the trolls was bound to make the group in question unusable. While Pharyngula’s style is hard to take for many people, it’s clearly not making this blog unusable. But then, repeating myself, the context is very different.)

    And I’ll admit freely that it took me a long time to understand why DFTT wasn’t universally useful. (I could see that it didn’t work everywhere as soon as Usenet entered the “endless September” period.) For a Usenet group that worked more like Pharngula, just look at, say, sci.skeptic … where I understand PZ spent a lot of time.

  98. 98
    tami

    @82 and 84 Jackie…

    Thank you Jackie. I appreciate the support and you’re right…we need to shine a spotlight on the jerks who prey on others…whether they’re high school football heroes or parish priests. I know the world we live in is ugly…and it’s my responsibility to protect myself by recognizing triggers before they slam me in the face. It’s too bad that I have been put in that position…and frankly, sometimes I want to feel that anger and pain again (yep, that’s a topic for me and my therapist) so I can express some of the rage that has become part of my life due to the humiliation and trauma I’ve lived through.

    Rape doesn’t go away…some people learn to live with it…but it’s always there and it does ruin lives…destroys relationships…damages trust…and just generally wreaks havoc with the lives of the survivors and their families. This “prank” these boys participated in will have a long lasting impact on the 16 year old who was their victim

    And yes…in my (sometimes) rational mind I can accept that the boys were victims too…victims of a twisted society that puts women in the position of being guilty of being women and therefore fair game for testosterone fueled “pranks” that are somehow not as bad as “real” rape.

    I have some serious personal issues from the trauma I experienced, but my problems are nothing compared to the insanity that justifies sticking fingers or ultrasound wands into women’s bodies.

    I’m rambling.

  99. 99
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    tvanvonprag:

    I don’t.

    Your attitude certainly conveyed otherwise. The only other option I can reach is that you communicated poorly.

    Starting a blogpost with “Look at these two sorry clowns!” is a Paradebeispiel.

    I don’t think Chris claimed what he posted was well-intentioned (the bit you cut out when you quoted me). Usually when you call someone a clown, you aren’t well-intentioned. That’s kinda the point. Otherwise, you’d call them something nice and fuzzy.

    Still, though, let me ask: would the group that dug up his dirty history even have known about him if people weren’t talking about him? That’s one of the many benefits of calling out folks like Crook — it exposes them to many people. In this case, it led to better results than could’ve been expected. But that doesn’t mean Chris’s “feeding the troll” didn’t help contribute to the exposure.

    And in any case, you miss the point entirely: people who say “don’t feed the trolls” are telling people what to do on their own fucking blog. Calling them clowns is mild.

    Again, if you want to regulate the behavior of people, please go form your own blog. You can have a place where you can tell people what to do to your heart’s content.

  100. 100
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    And believe me, the irony (and possible hypocrisy) of me telling you to not tell us what we can and can’t say isn’t lost on me.

  101. 101
    Chris Clarke

    Oh gawd, so many cookies. Thanks, all, but I was just one special snowflake in a global avalanche. And as pointed out above, it looks as though Crook had “help” removing his site. I do think my basic point stands, though: we all need to call this crap out when we see it, and people who scold those who call the shit out are aiding and abetting rapists.

    satanaugustine;

    The person making that statement obviously deserves to be humiliated on Pharygula. Oh, wait, no they don’t.

    It was a choice between “clown” and “person deliberately providing tactical support to someone spreading a pro-rapist ideology.” I think both would prefer I use “clown” as a descriptor.

    Wouldn’t you prefer to be called a clown for aiding and abetting rapists the way you are here?

    Besides, you’re ignoring the part where the one clown threatened a lawsuit as soon as we pointed out the impact of his words.

  102. 102
    Inaji

    Chris:

    Besides, you’re ignoring the part where the one clown threatened a lawsuit as soon as we pointed out the impact of his words.

    Yes, because that particular clown was ignorant of what rape culture is, and rather than learn something, declared that I claimed they were pro-rape. All of which makes them an assclown in my view.

  103. 103
    Rowan vet-tech

    Tvan:

    I am beginning to think you are a dishonest individual.\

    YOU wrote this:

    rowanwt, yes, “ignoring people spewing misogynistic bullshit” is increadibly fucked up as a general strategy.

    But then you ignored the very first sentence in my little post of questions. Here, let me remind you of the question.

    Why should we ignore misogynistic bullshit if the person spewing it craves attention?

    See how that question directly relates to what you wrote earlier? So why then did this little gem leave your fingers?

    rowanwt: “What is the difference between the bullshit they spew, and those that others spew?” None. “How does craving attention change it?” Standard troll theory: if the craving is not fed, it dies out and the bullshit dies with it. I thought this is a pretty well-known stuff.

    You not only ignored an inconvenient question, but you changed my last question. I’ll post my last question for you again.

    “How does craving attention change it, especially to the degree that it should be given the ‘pass’ of ignoring it

    You see, thinking that ignoring misogynistic bullshit is incredibly fucked up, and then thinking that “not feeding the troll” is okay if the person spewing the shit wants attention are completely incompatible. You may choose one or the other. The first one is correct, which means you call out all misogyny when you see it. The latter is incorrect, and leads to rape culture.

    So. Are you as dishonest as what you’ve written is implying?

  104. 104
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @caine

    Your view is seconded. That aronluca character (if I remember his ‘nym correctly) was a complete arsehat.

  105. 105
    Rowan vet-tech

    (Please, rowant, note: I am not defending this theory; ít might be incorrect for all I know. It certainly is a very impractical theory because you often can’t tell whether the person you are dealing with is a troll or an honest misogynist that needs to be confronted head on because lack of attention is not going to stop hir. If holding a possibly incorrect or impractical theory is enough to make you a clown, then my attempt at defending the two fellows was inept.)

    You defending these folks, when they are proposing an actively harmful method of dealing with misogynistic bullshit, a method YOU said was incredibly fucked up, makes you seem incredibly dishonest.

    “Oh, it’s messed up to ignore misogyny but all they were saying is that if you ignore the person and their misogyny it will totally stop.”

    That should be making some weapons grade cognitive dissonance in your brain. Either what they proposed doing is messed up, or it isn’t. So which is it?

    Why should we ignore misogynistic bullshit if the person spewing it craves attention? It makes what they say no less horrible. If we let it pass, others will see it and think “oh, this must be okay.” Or they might think “Look at them yelling about those people over there but leaving this one alone. Bitchez be crazy.”

    How are we supposed to tell the trolls from those who are sincere? And what fucking magical force keeps them separate? Can’t someone be a troll AND be sincere in their vile hatred?

  106. 106
    Inaji

    Rowanvt:

    How are we supposed to tell the trolls from those who are sincere? And what fucking magical force keeps them separate? Can’t someone be a troll AND be sincere in their vile hatred?

    Personally, I don’t care if someone is sincere or not, I don’t care if they want attention or not, I don’t care if they are a troll or not. Misogyny will not get a pass. Full Stop. “Don’t feed the trolls” was a usenet thing, and it didn’t fucking work on usenet. Different usenet groups came up with various strategies for dealing with trolls.

    Bottom line, it simply does not matter what someone’s motivation happens to be. When someone is spouting misogynistic crap, it does active harm. That harm is effectively doubled when people look down, shove their hands in their pockets and turn away. Here, at Pharyngula, we prefer to play Gandalf to all the balrogs.

  107. 107
    Rey Fox

    Excuse me, how exactly is it publicly humiliating to call attention to statements made by people ON THIS VERY BLOG? Something about heat in a kitchen comes to mind…

  108. 108
    Chris Clarke

    Here, at Pharyngula, we prefer to play Gandalf to all the balrogs

    Except for the part about the fire and the falling and the lightning bolts. Do Not Want.

    Intent is not magic, and it also doesn’t fucking matter. Unless you’re a far more skilled writer than I am most days, if you say ironically on the Internet that you like kicking puppies, you’ve just said that you like kicking puppies on the Internet.

    Likewise, you cannot read other people’s minds. Your decision that a person is a troll rather than a sincere hateful ideologue is likely based as much on your unwillingness to lift a finger to combat evil as it is on a sober assessment of the person’s outward indications of motives.

    (That’s the generic “you” above, but if the shoe seems like it might fit try it on. It sure as hell fits me much of the time.)

  109. 109
    Rowan vet-tech

    Caine, exactly. It makes no bloody difference whether someone means it or is intending to get their jollies. Apparently Tvan thinks that people shouldn’t be told it makes no difference and all misogyny should be called out no matter the source. After all, what is more hurtful than being called a ‘clown’, amiright?

  110. 110
    frog

    As I read it, the sequence of discussion was like this (paraphrased):

    Chris: Misogynist alert. Perhaps people ought to go tell him what they think of his ideas.

    Commenter1: Please don’t feed the trolls.
    Commenter2: Please don’t feed the trolls.

    Other commenters: We feed trolls because if we don’t, bad things result. Here is our well-reasoned line of thinking that supports our decision to feed the trolls.

    Commenter1 and Commenter2: We think your line of thinking is irrelevant, and you should listen to us anyway.

    Other commenters: Yeah, ain’t gonna happen. Please go be stupid somewhere else.

    Commenter1 and Commenter2: We are still right and you are all still wrong, and also, you’re meanie poo-poo heads who yell at us.

    …and that’s the point at which they moved from ordinary ignorant people to outright clowns.

  111. 111
    frog

    Also: I would hold that a person who “pretends” to hate women is by definition a person who actually hates women. If they didn’t actually hate women, they would know better than to pretend they do.

    (This is a parallel situation to people who start sentences with “I’m not a racist/homophobe/misogynist/bigot but…” If one has to explain that they aren’t, then they know what is about to come out of their mouth or keyboard is bigoted shit, and yet they are planning to say it anyway. And therefore, they are indeed a bigot. A non-bigot would at the least know to keep their stupid comments inside their head.)

  112. 112
    Inaji

    Chris:

    Except for the part about the fire and the falling and the lightning bolts. Do Not Want.

    We’re successful Gandalfs.

  113. 113
    Chris Clarke

    It strikes me that this creepy old book cover is pretty much certain people’s notion of what they want the world to be.

  114. 114
    Inaji

    Oh godsdamnit, Chris! I’m going to be creeped out all day.

  115. 115
    Rowan vet-tech

    O_O…… *hides in a corner* Creepiest book cover EVER. D:

  116. 116
    Chris Clarke

    Cover image briefly showed up in the comment. I apologize.

  117. 117
    SallyStrange
    Your apparent denial of the obvious fact that, in this case, denying Crook the attention he craves IS THE EXACT SAME THING AS ignoring people who spew misogynist bullshit is making me wonder if you aren’t also a clown.

    OK, Sally, me being a clown might be an explanation because I really don´t see the “obvious fact” you refer to. I will think about it (honestly).

    Honestly, you must be rather dim-witted, because the obvious fact I was referring to was right there in the sentence you were responding to. The obvious fact being that there are two mutually exclusive goals: (1.) withholding attention from trolls and (2.) speaking out against misogyny and bigotry in all its forms.

    You cannot do both. You have to choose. If you choose (1) then you cannot also do (2). If you choose (2) then you cannot also do (1). In this case, our thesis is that (2) is the superior choice, and those promoting option (1) should shut up because they have been repeatedly shown to be dead fucking wrong.

    Can you grasp that?

  118. 118
    tvanvonprag

    Sally #117 and rowanvt #103

    “Always call out misogyny” and “Do not call it out in this particular instance” are indeed mutually contradictory. I said something different: “Never call out misogyny” is fucked up as a general strategy. This is not in contradiction with ignoring particular trolls pretending to be misogynist. So, no, not that “dim-witted” (ableist as fuck and ad hominem, btw.). I also said that DFTT might be a wrong theory, so the actual disagreement between us is almost nonexistent. Can we leave it at that?

    #101 “Abetting the rapists?” Like approving, encouraging and supporting them? No-one did anything remotely similar to this. What a foul remark.

  119. 119
    Worldtraveller

    Except for the part about the fire and the falling and the lightning bolts. Do Not Want.

    Yes, but then you get to follow it up ‘smoting his ruin’…my favorite line from the book, and delivered perfectly, IMO, in the movie.

    Now, back to your regularly scheduled thread.

  120. 120
    Chris Clarke

    #101 “Abetting the rapists?” Like approving, encouraging and supporting them? No-one did anything remotely similar to this. What a foul remark.

    Bullshit. You’re doing it now. You’re backing up people who object to criticizing them in public. Like it or not, whether you intend it or not, that is what you are doing.

  121. 121
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    This is not in contradiction with ignoring particular trolls pretending to be misogynist.

    How do I know if a particular writer on the internet is actually a misogynist or pretending to be a misogynist? Seriously, how do I know? The only thing that I can go by is what I actually read on the screen in front of me. I have no idea who they actually are, no idea their actual stance on any issue. I can only go by what they have written.

    If someone spouts misogynistic propaganda on a website or in a comment, I react to that piece of writing. If someone starts ticking off MRA talking points, that is what I have to go by. If someone starts aiding and abetting rape culture and toxic masculinity, how am I to know they are doing this to troll for effect rather than doing it because that is what they believe? How is anyone to know?

    And that point, how is anyone to know, is why Don’t Feed The Trolls is a really shitty idea. I am a rape survivor (so far). If someone, on line, is writing things that will make it harder for survivors to deal with their rape, that will make it less likely that the average privileged asshat out there will believe that someone was raped, and that trigger survivors in ways I hope you cannot imagine, remaining silent tells me and every other survivor out there that we do not matter. It says that allowing a person to spew misogyny and rape apologetics doesn’t hurt any real people, it doesn’t hurt you, tvannoprag, and should be ignored.

    You are aiding and abetting rapists by supporting a culture that minimizes rape, that insulates the privileged who are not affected by rape, by telling me, and other survivors, that our feelings do not matter and we should allow this toxic bit of our culture to go unchallenged. You are supporting rape culture.

  122. 122
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    This is not in contradiction with ignoring particular trolls pretending to be misogynist.

    As others have already noted, someone who is “pretending” to be misogynist is misogynist.

  123. 123
    Inaji

    tvan:

    #101 “Abetting the rapists?” Like approving, encouraging and supporting them? No-one did anything remotely similar to this. What a foul remark.

    Not as foul as your inane argument. When anyone argues that someone spewing misogyny shouldn’t be called out (and I’ll point out, for the thousandth time, you aren’t psychic – you do not know when someone is or isn’t serious), you are indeed supporting rape culture. You’re buying into rape culture, lock, stock and barrel. You are encouraging and enabling rape culture and those who actively support it.

    If you’re yet another assclown who doesn’t know what rape culture is, but feels free to pontificate on the subject, my best advice would be to shut the fuck up and spend some time educating yourself.

  124. 124
    roro80

    @Caine #106, and others with a similar sentiment

    I agree entirely. It’s not my job to play armchair shrink, or decide whether the “troll” goes to heaven or hell. What is buried deep in his soul is not of my concern.

    Let’s take a moment to think about the two possibilities:

    #1 — Person making shitty racist/sexist/ableist/homophobic/etc statements really believes the shitty statements.

    #2 — Person making shitty statements is a “troll” (or playing “devil’s advocate” for debate fun), and doesn’t really believe what ze is saying. However, this person has so little regard for the group of people ze is harming in a substancial and fundamental way that ze is willing to go on with their trolling/debating no matter who they hurt in the process. If getting your excitement in a devil’s advocate debate about black culture is more important to you than not hurting black people, then you’re a fucking racist anyway, aren’t you? If getting troll attention on a thread about rape sounds like a good idea even though you know you are hurting past and future rape victims in a fundamental way, then you’re a fucking rape apologist anyway.

    So not only do I give exactly two shits about whether or not the person is troll, there really is not much of a difference between a douchebag and someone who just pretends to be one for fun.

  125. 125
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Yawn, tone/concern/DNFTT trolls seem to have a comprehension problem. Especially with the concept that silence is considered tacit approval my many, many folks. Not engaging trolls in any form is tacitly agreeing to what they say. If you don’t like an idea, like misogyny in any form, it must be definitely refuted each time, even if it brings attention to the alleged troll.

    Otherwise, I’m still waiting for the academic data showing DNFTT works in real life. Like a liberturd, there are lots of theoretical reasons (and slogans) for saying DNFTT, but the reality of it working like they claim seems to be missing for their idea.

  126. 126
    Rowan vet-tech

    Tvan, I’m going to quote something you wrote. Again. That contrasts what you just wrote. Again.

    rowanwt: “What is the difference between the bullshit they spew, and those that others spew?” None.

    If there is NO DIFFERENCE in the bullshit that a ‘troll’ spews and a magicallydeterminedtobeactuallyreal misogynist spews then why should we treat them differently? They’re doing THE SAME DAMN THING. Why does one get the magical “ignore it” while the other is able to be called out? The words are THE SAME.

    I said something different: “Never call out misogyny” is fucked up as a general strategy. This is not in contradiction with ignoring particular trolls pretending to be misogynist.

    YES IT IS. And you didn’t say “never call out misogyny”.

    You said this:

    rowanwt, yes, “ignoring people spewing misogynistic bullshit” is increadibly fucked up as a general strategy.

    You have directly contradiction yourself now. And ignoring people who spew misogynistic bullshit promotes rape culture, no matter if they’re ‘just trolls’ or not.

    #101 “Abetting the rapists?” Like approving, encouraging and supporting them? No-one did anything remotely similar to this. What a foul remark.

    Silence is support. Silence tells people that ‘this is okay’. Silence with regards to misogynists actively silences those who are harmed by those people. Silence is why the cop basically called me a liar to my face when it took me 4 hours to stop hiding in a closet after my stalker tried to break into the house before I called the cops. Silence is what happened with all the people in Stuebenville (sp?) who saw the rape happening and did nothing. SILENCE. MAKES. THINGS. WORSE.

  127. 127
    tvanvonprag

    Ogvobris, I would never question the validity of your feelings, ever. I do not see how anything I have written might have inspired that idea in you. All the disagreement concerned the most effective way of getting rid of the toxic shit.

  128. 128
    Rowan vet-tech

    All the disagreement concerned the most effective way of getting rid of the toxic shit.

    So… you think leaving the toxic shit on the floor and ignoring it is going to make it magically go away rather than cleaning it up?

  129. 129
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    “ignoring people spewing misogynistic bullshit” is increadibly fucked up as a general strategy

    Trolls who spew misogynistic bullshit are a subset of people who spew misogynistic bullshit.
    So… tvanvonprag agrees with us.

  130. 130
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    All the disagreement concerned the most effective way of getting rid of the toxic shit.

    Considering you have no clear plan to get rid of the toxic shit, maybe you should just consider shutting the fuck up for a while, while you come up with the fool-proof plan that gets rid of “troll” misogyny from an essentially non-moderated blog like Pharyngula.

    Time to put up or shut up.

  131. 131
    Doug Hudson

    clown in this thread: “DFTT”
    not-clowns: “We feed the trolls because it is the only way to expose and fight misogyny (also applies to racism, bigotry, etc.etc.)
    clown in this thread :”DFTT”
    not-clowns: perhaps you didn’t read us correctly
    clown in this thread: “DFTT”
    not-clowns: we aren’t going to stop feeding you, you know.

  132. 132
    Asher Kay

    It seems to me there are two kinds of arguments going on here. There’s a “pragmatic” argument that says “such and such an approach will work” and a *moral* argument that says “such and such is the right thing to do”.

    The DNFTT position is a “pragmatic” position, and the implied goal is to get the misogynist in question to “shut up” (a goal that’s implied to some extent by Chris’ original post).

    It seems like a lot of people on this thread are saying that the goal of getting the misogynist to shut up is not really the right goal. We still don’t have the world we want if it’s a world full of silent misogynists. More meaningful goals are things like making people aware that rape culture exists, making them aware how it works and how it hurts people, making them see why someone like the misogynist *should* feel ashamed, making people aware that a culture of tolerance (and silence) enables rape culture, etc. etc. All of these work toward changing the culture at large — not just one particular misogynist.

    And that’s all just from the “pragmatic” side. I haven’t seen a single good moral argument for ignoring someone like Crook.

    So I think I was misguided in even wondering whether DNFTT is “effective”. It doesn’t matter, because the thing it may or may not be effective for isn’t really an appropriate goal.

  133. 133
    Inaji

    tvan:

    Ogvobris, I would never question the validity of your feelings, ever. I do not see how anything I have written might have inspired that idea in you.

    Every single word you have written has questioned the validity of rape/assault survivors. The fact you don’t understand that starkly illustrates how you are part of the problem. A lot of the people you’re attempting to hush are people who have been raped/assaulted. I’m a rape survivor too.

    All the disagreement concerned the most effective way of getting rid of the toxic shit.

    No, that’s not what the “concern” was. You, like other assclowns, are advocating silence in the face of sexism, misogyny and rape apologia. You are advocating looking down, shoving our hands in our pockets and turning away. You have absolutely no evidence whatsoever that ignoring those spewing sexism, misogyny and rape apologia is in any way effective. On the other hand, there is evidence that speaking up and fighting back is effective. We here know that already. Your repeated attempts to twist your “concern” all about to make it look like you weren’t saying what you actually said is fucking pathetic. Stop it.

  134. 134
    Inaji

    Asher Kay:

    So I think I was misguided in even wondering whether DNFTT is “effective”. It doesn’t matter, because the thing it may or may not be effective for isn’t really an appropriate goal.

    QFMFT.

  135. 135
    Asher Kay

    [*wipes off greasepaint*]

  136. 136
    tvanvonprag

    Nerd, yes. I would very much like to shut up. I am no staunch, die-hard supporter of DFTT theory. I said what I wanted to say long time ago; and I think it’s clear what I meant. I am only responding because I was directly adressed in the comments and not responding looks rude/cowardly. But I would very, very much like to shut up and let others talk. So I will shut up.

  137. 137
    Emrysmyrddin

    You’ve flashed your Brain Card, Asher. Welcome to Pharyngula – if you’d like to deposit your red nose in the bin provided, I’ll unhook the rope for you. Thunderdome on your sinister, Lounge on your dexter. Grog provided.

  138. 138
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Ogvobris, I would never question the validity of your feelings, ever. I do not see how anything I have written might have inspired that idea in you. All the disagreement concerned the most effective way of getting rid of the toxic shit.

    But you are telling me, and others, that we should sublimate our feelings, that we should ignore our pain, and let rape apologists go unchallenged. So you are questioning the validity of my feelings when you say they do not matter. Silence in the face of evil is acceptance. I will not accept misogyny, sexism and rape apologetics.

    All it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing.

  139. 139
    Irony

    Don’t feed the trolls is perfectly good advice, but who repeat it every time you respond to an idiot don’t seem to understand WHY. It is good advice because a troll is a person who is trying to cause an argument, NOT someone who is genuinely advocating a position. As such, arguing against the position doesn’t matter to them. Silence to them is the best tactic because it deprives them of what they want.

    Contrast with people like Crooke, who genuinely believes the drivel he spouts. Those people ARE advocates for their position and are attempting to get their views accepted. Silence to them is harmful because it gives them the impression that their views are considered acceptable.

  140. 140
    Emrysmyrddin

    argh

  141. 141
    Inaji

    Irony:

    It is good advice because a troll is a person who is trying to cause an argument, NOT someone who is genuinely advocating a position. As such, arguing against the position doesn’t matter to them. Silence to them is the best tactic because it deprives them of what they want.

    Contrast with people like Crooke, who genuinely believes the drivel he spouts. Those people ARE advocates for their position and are attempting to get their views accepted. Silence to them is harmful because it gives them the impression that their views are considered acceptable.

    Once again, you are not psychic and do not know whether or not someone is sincere in their beliefs. More to the point, it does not matter. FFS, this isn’t rocket surgery.

  142. 142
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I am only responding because I was directly adressed in the comments and not responding looks rude/cowardly.

    No, if you have nothing new to say, you ceasing posting is your only alternative. Nothing rude/cowardly about it, unless you are attempting to bully us.

  143. 143
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The DNFTT position is a “pragmatic” position,

    If you can’t demonstrate it works, it isn’t pragmatic. And nobody has shown it really works, especially in a majority of cases. And I notice your own lack of citations.

    Your opinion is not evidence. If unsupported by evidence, it can *floosh* be dismissed.

  144. 144
    Amphiox

    It is good advice because a troll is a person who is trying to cause an argument, NOT someone who is genuinely advocating a position. As such, arguing against the position doesn’t matter to them. Silence to them is the best tactic because it deprives them of what they want.

    And it is utterly and totally irrelevant what the troll wants or is trying to do.

    Because we are engaging the position itself.

    The motivations of the specific individual who puts out the position does not matter on whit. If THE POSITION ITSELF is one that should be challenged, then it should be challenged.

  145. 145
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Even ‘devil’s advocate’s’ can cause harm. The intent of the misogyny, sexism, or rape apologetics do not fucking matter. Either way, it is hurting people and perpetuating a culture that accepts and minimizes rape.

  146. 146
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    Irony

    Don’t feed the trolls is perfectly good advice, but who repeat it every time you respond to an idiot don’t seem to understand WHY. It is good advice because a troll is a person who is trying to cause an argument, NOT someone who is genuinely advocating a position. As such, arguing against the position doesn’t matter to them. Silence to them is the best tactic because it deprives them of what they want.

    Talk about ironic, eh? Alanis Morisette, eat your heart out and all that.

    Jesus fuck. It’s as if the whole 138 comments on this thread PLUS the comments on the previous one just NEVER HAPPENED. I must be doing some good shit to imagine stuff on this scale.

  147. 147
    Emrysmyrddin

    One commenter comes in, one goes out. You can’t explain that…

  148. 148
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    Lulz, have an extra bold tag for my outrage. My tripping is bold, I tell you. BOLD.

  149. 149
    Chris Clarke

    The DNFTT position is a “pragmatic” position, and the implied goal is to get the misogynist in question to “shut up” (a goal that’s implied to some extent by Chris’ original post).

    Quibble: Actually, the express goal of DNFTT is to get the people objecting to misogyny to shut up.

  150. 150
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Damnit, Chris. In one sentence you manage to say what I was trying to say in multiple paragraphs. Grrrr.

  151. 151
    Chris Clarke

    Damnit, Chris. In one sentence you manage to say what I was trying to say in multiple paragraphs. Grrrr.

    That’s why I get all the cookies. But I share.

  152. 152
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Calling someone a colostomy bag feels like a bit of an ableist insult to me. No need to stigmatize people who deal with that just to insult this pathetic jerk.

    Seriously? It’s a fucking shit-sack.

    It’s a medical device, not a fucking person. Jesus fucking Christ, if you’re going to call me out, make it worth my time.

    Dumbass.

  153. 153
    Asher Kay

    Quibble: Actually, the express goal of DNFTT is to get the people objecting to misogyny to shut up.

    I’d quibble with your quibble. The argument is “Do not feed trolls because not feeding them leads to X“. In this argument, X is not “people objecting to misogyny are not effectively silenced”.

    It’s a side effect, though.

  154. 154
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    It is good advice because a troll is a person who is trying to cause an argument, NOT someone who is genuinely advocating a position. As such, arguing against the position doesn’t matter to them. Silence to them is the best tactic because it deprives them of what they want.

    Like a liberturd sloganeering his economic theology, this does not address the two problems: 1) how does one reliably tell the troll from a person advocating the postition. Without that, your slogans are irrelevant. 2) Show it really works in real life. Not seeing it.

  155. 155
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    . The argument is “Do not feed trolls because not feeding them leads to X“. In this argument, X is not “people objecting to misogyny are not effectively silenced”.

    Will somebody please give me a citation, not a slogan or theological statement, that it actually works in real life, and we can reliably (>95%) tell the troll from an advocate. Otherwise, all you have is theology versus reality. Reality wins every time.

  156. 156
    Delft

    I think the usefulness of DFTT depends on what your aim is.
    If your aim is simply to continue the conversation minus the troll, DFTT can work. If people just ignore the troll and respond to each other the conversation can continue, and the trolls tend to get bored and go away. I do sometimes wish that happened here, as I think the conversations that we miss out on would be (more) interesting and enlightening than reading lots of arguments against something that’s pretty obviously BS anyway.
    But if your aim is to speak out, if your aim is to change the culture, if your aim is to fight misogyny, homophobia, ableism [...] DFTT can never work. It becomes just another silencing mechanism.
    That may be why so many people feel Pharyngula is a safe space because the one thing that is pretty sure never to happen here, is that someone says something sexist, ableist etc. and gets away with it. And if what they say hurts you, makes you angry, whatever, and you can’t express that: you can be sure somebody else will.

  157. 157
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Don’t Feed The Trolls, remaining silent in the face of hate, fear-mongering, greed, misogyny, racism, and bigotry is also a good explanation of how the GOP has gone so far to the right that they make Reagan look progressive. The moderates stayed quiet. If we ignore the radical right, they’ll go away. Did that work? If we ignore the misogynists, the rape apologists, the sexists, will they go away? No, and no.

  158. 158
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    One commenter comes in, one goes out. You can’t explain that…

    Tag-team slymepitters. Happens regularly.

  159. 159
    Asher Kay

    “Will somebody please give me a citation, not a slogan or theological statement, that it actually works in real life”

    I already had my epiphany. It doesn’t matter if it “works” because “working” means the misogynist shuts up, which is not an appropriate goal. It doesn’t matter if a particular misogynist shuts up.

  160. 160
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    It doesn’t matter if a particular misogynist shuts up.

    Why not? That’s one less person spewing hateful shit. One less voice supporting evil. One less voice silencing survivors. That sounds worth it to me. The longest voyage begins with one step, right?

  161. 161
    Ichthyic

    FFS, this isn’t rocket surgery.

    It’s the conflux that signals the apocalypse:

    The Rocket Surgeon…

    When engineer and surgeon come together as one.

    the mansplaining would create an infinite and unavoidable vortex!

  162. 162
    Asher Kay

    Why not? That’s one less person spewing hateful shit.

    My reasoning is in #132.

  163. 163
    Numenaster

    I’ll just point out that even Salon has twigged to the idea that so many of you have phrased so well. This is from their closing paragraph on an article about Michelle Shocked’s show:

    That’s how it’s done. It’s about letting the bigots know that there are plenty of us out there who don’t approve of your message. It’s about not just sitting back and quietly shrugging it off when you spew your vitriol. It’s about taking a stand. It’s about meeting hate head on, confronting it and calling it out. And while maybe a slew of canceled concert dates or a rainbow-colored house across the street won’t open your heart or change your mind or heal whatever is going on inside you, it accomplishes something else. It tells the world just how ugly, just how irrelevant, just how sad and strange your frightened views are.

    THAT is what we are doing here.

  164. 164
    Ichthyic

    The longest voyage begins with one step, right?

    exactly.

    Imagine what US media would be like, if instead of empowering and promoting Limbaugh and Beck, we just told them to STFU up and decided not to give them a career as mouthpieces.

    seriously, JUST those two, let alone all the other inane right wing pundits.

  165. 165
    Numenaster

    Grr. The last line is mine, not Salon’s. Although they are welcome to use it.

  166. 166
    Asher Kay

    Just to add… I don’t think getting a particular person to shut up is always an inappropriate goal. It’s just inappropriate if it precludes other, better goals (as seems to be the case with DNFTT).

  167. 167
    Inaji

    Delft:

    That may be why so many people feel Pharyngula is a safe space because the one thing that is pretty sure never to happen here, is that someone says something sexist, ableist etc. and gets away with it. And if what they say hurts you, makes you angry, whatever, and you can’t express that: you can be sure somebody else will.

    That’s exactly why Pharyngula is a safe space. Not only a safe space, but a place which can empower people, provide strength, empathy, compassion and support. We have people de-lurk on a regular basis just to say thank you for refusing to let sexism, misogyny, rape apologetics, bigotry, ableism and so on slide, but call it out consistently.

  168. 168
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Asher Kay:

    Getting a misogynist to shut up does make the world a better place. Just a little bit. But the act of fighting, verbally, misogynists also accomplishes the goal of education.

    Two or so years ago, I knew nothing of rape apologetics. I knew I was a good progressive, a good liberal, but I had no problem with people telling women how to not be raped. The catharsis came in the 3d5k threads when I saw, not only my own ideas being used to silence, but also the explanations — sometimes angry, sometimes sad, sometimes patient — which educated me and exposed me to my own privilege. Getting a misogynist to shut up is a good thing. Exposing lurkers to the idea of actual equality does help to educate readers of this blog. We can do both — shut up an individual (whether true believer or devil’s advocate) spouting sexist hate and make the world a better place through education and example.

  169. 169
    Ichthyic

    My reasoning is in #132.

    but, the reasoning is 180 from the reality.

    in fact, regardless of whether you like it or not, the overall message people hear IS influenced by who is allowed to speak.

    it is indeed pragmatically invaluable to control the message. If you haven’t learned that from watching what the right has done over the last 40 years to do just that, you need to learn it now.

    the moral question arises from whether we SHOULD control messages in such a fashion, not whether it works or not.

    a utilitarian would say that the greater good is served by controlling the message, at least until such point as we all are properly and accurately informed, and can make reasoned decisions based on that information. Frankly, the world is a long way from being able to do that, and the US is no exception.

    http://www.alternet.org/belief/are-americans-too-stupid-democracy

  170. 170
    Pteryxx

    Just to add… I don’t think getting a particular person to shut up is always an inappropriate goal. It’s just inappropriate if it precludes other, better goals (as seems to be the case with DNFTT).

    Adding further, when someone’s spouting bigotry, someone IS being made to shut up… their targets, who won’t feel welcome speaking up or objecting in a space where nobody has their back. Because there’s no way to force the bigot not to be a bigot anymore in their heart of hearts, the best a third party can do is shift the balance towards the bigot, rather than the target, being the one who shuts up.

  171. 171
    Doug Hudson

    On an individual level, I would never criticize someone for not wanting to engage with a particular troll. Countering misogynists/racists/bigots/homophobes can be psychologically exhausting, especially if one has to deal with being triggered by the argument. Sometimes, ignoring a troll can be the best decision for an individual.

    On a group level, however, DNFTT fails spectacularly, as described in the many preceding posts.

    One of the things that makes the Pharyngula comments so interesting (and valuable) is that there are so many people willing to take up the fight (again, evidenced by this thread).

  172. 172
    Doug Hudson

    Oops, hit submit too soon.

    I should say, I don’t think anyone in this thread is saying that everybody has to engage every troll. But I know there are trolls out there who like to use the ol’ “but you didn’t say anything about x, so you can’t say anything about y” maneuver to try to silence people.

  173. 173
    Asher Kay

    Ichthyic – I don’t know what you mean by “control the message”.

  174. 174
    Ichthyic

    Nobody expects the Pharyngula Humiliation! Our chief weapon is sarcasm! Sarcasm and incisive skeptical inquiry–our TWO chief weapons are sarcasm, incisive skeptical inquiry, and mockery! Wait, wait, everyone come in again.

    AMONG our chief weapons are sarcasm, incisive skeptical inquiry, mockery, and an almost fanatical devotion to our Tentacled Overlord!…

    Ha!

    I never tire of Python, though it drives my SO mad.

  175. 175
    Pteryxx

    One of the things that makes the Pharyngula comments so interesting (and valuable) is that there are so many people willing to take up the fight (again, evidenced by this thread).

    and that’s why I’m inclined to say PZ’s experiment in fostering the Horde has been successful. This isn’t a safe space as the term’s normally used, but DAMN is it ever well defended.

  176. 176
    Ichthyic

    I don’t know what you mean by “control the message”.

    example:

    say you are a big time TV host with his own show and millions of viewers.

    I pay you to tell your audience that global warming is a scam from liberal academics trying to keep their jobs.

    You agree to do this, and repeat the message, with slight variation, for months and months.

    You and I are now directly participating in controlling the message sent to your audience, and that audience will repeat it to their peers, and their peers to their peers, and so on.

    you mean, you really have never considered this before? It’s how politics has worked, by controlling the message sent to the credulous, since before politics was even a word.

    surely you must have just imagined it with a different phrasing in mind?

  177. 177
    Argle Bargle

    Ogvorbis @145

    Even ‘devil’s advocate’s’ can cause harm.

    I hate the people playing “devil’s advocate.” 99 times out of 10, the “devil’s advocate” is trying to shock, enrage or provoke other people in the discussion. “Just playing devil’s advocate here, there’s nothing really wrong with shooting at jaywalkers ’cause if they’re breaking the law they should be punished. Shoot to wound, of course.”

  178. 178
    hexidecima

    one should always stand up to trolls. To say that one should not and that standing up is only “feeding” trolls, appears to me only an attempt to relinquish the responsibility that everyone should have to always resist liars and those who would spread hate. Confrontation is uncomfortable, and some people don’t like to do it. That does not mean that it should not be done and it is the only way to shut down the lies and nonsense.

  179. 179
    Richard Smith

    @Chris Clarke (#113):

    It strikes me that this creepy old book cover is pretty much certain people’s notion of what they want the world to be.

    Looks like a standard harlequin romance to me…

  180. 180
    Ichthyic

    Indeed. another problem with “Devil’s Advocates” is that also 99 times out of 100 (not 10 :) ) is that it is little more than a passive-aggressive form of argumentation.

    you see it in a similar form with the: “I agree with everything you say, but…” construction.

  181. 181
    Numenaster

    Something that occurred to me:

    Getting an individual misogynist to shut up is indeed a “consummation devoutly to be wished”, to borrow from the Bard. But it’s a subset of our ultimate goal: to make ALL of them shut up.

  182. 182
    Argle Bargle

    99 times out of 100 (not 10 :) )

    That was not a typo in my post 177.

  183. 183
    Asher Kay

    you mean, you really have never considered this before? It’s how politics has worked, by controlling the message sent to the credulous, since before politics was even a word.

    No, I just don’t understand how it applies to the argument I was making.

  184. 184
    Doug Hudson

    hexidecima@178, I agree with your general point that trolls should be opposed, but I disagree that “one should always stand up to trolls”. For many people, confrontation with trolls is far more than uncomfortable–being triggered is a horrible and sometimes dangerous experience. Also, it is very easy to get worn out by the endless stream of trolls, and taking a break is perfectly reasonable.

    I don’t think that you meant your statement literally, but it could be read that way, and could further discourage people who are already tired out by the never-ending struggle.

  185. 185
    Inaji

    Ichthyic:

    you mean, you really have never considered this before? It’s how politics has worked, by controlling the message sent to the credulous, since before politics was even a word.

    It’s how media works. I really enjoyed the section of Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science where he illustrates just how much media will intentionally distort information, scientific information specifically.

  186. 186
    tccc

    Audley Z. Darkheart (liar and scoundrel) @ 152

    About what I expected, carry on.

  187. 187
    Numenaster

    @Doug Hudson #184, as hexadecima said, it’s not so much that “You, specifically, should always stand up to trolls.” But “Trolls should always be opposed” is a good precept to be going on with.

    It’s like “Stand up to the bully and xe will go away”, only this version actually WORKS because the Horde has your back. It’s like standing up to the bully with a few hundred friends.

    And that creates a space where the rules are different, where the crap isn’t accepted. The vast majority of people want this kind of a space, but just wanting it doesn’t make it happen. It takes action, and continual attention. Such a space has to be defended–as Pteryxx said. And if anyone wants to build a bridge between that space and one where the rules are different, they’re welcome to do so, but they’ll have to come to us, because we like what we’ve got here and we ain’t moving.

  188. 188
    carlie

    We still don’t have the world we want if it’s a world full of silent misogynists.

    We have a much better one, though. And why is it that they are silent? It’s because they realize that most people don’t agree with them, and that most people will not put up with their type of shit. And when they do talk, they get ridiculed and socially shunned, and that lets budding misogynists realize that’s not an appropriate way of thinking.

  189. 189
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Ichthyic:

    it is indeed pragmatically invaluable to control the message. If you haven’t learned that from watching what the right has done over the last 40 years to do just that, you need to learn it now.

    Fuck me. I just realized what’s wrong with the Democratic Party: somebody told them to stop feeding the trolls.

    And the fucking Democrats took that advice.

  190. 190
    Ichthyic

    somebody told them to stop feeding the trolls.

    And the fucking Democrats took that advice.

    yeah, actually that is indeed a fitting way to look at it.

  191. 191
    Ichthyic

    No, I just don’t understand how it applies to the argument I was making.

    *sigh* I’ve run out of time for now. maybe it will sink in for you at some point, or I’ll be able to get back to it later.

    maybe it will work better for you if you consider when I speak of peer-peer communication chains, you think in terms of what happens if you break that chain?

  192. 192
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    DFTT is something that is hugely dependent on the space, and what the goals of that space are.

    Compare to blogs, both known and referred to as “safe spaces,” Pharyngula and Shakesville.

    Shakesville is a space whereby the commenters can be secure in the knowledge that if someone shows up spewing shit, that the mods will stomp on it and delete the comments. So DFTT is a valid strategy, because those comments will vanish anyway, and engaging will just produce a headache for the mods – what do they do to the responses? A commenter who wants to help can send a heads-up message to the mods, or continue to engage the non-asshats on the thread.

    That is not the case here at Pharyngula. Here, shit is confronted, unpacked, and refuted. The mods – PZ and Chris – only remove content that is egregiously over the top. DFFT is not a valid strategy, because those comments will remain, and failing to engage can give the impression that they are accepted and welcomed. A commenter who wants to help can engage with the asshat, whether that is linking to appropriate refuting information, calling them on their assertions, etc. Outright mockery is also appropriate.

    Here’s the other thing: both places are valuable and serve real needs. Sometimes, you just don’t want to see it, and you want to be able to go to a place where it won’t be. Sometimes, you need to smash it to smithereens.

    But just as the spaces shouldn’t be confused for each other, what “works” as an approach in one space is completely inappropriate in the other.

  193. 193
    Asher Kay

    We have a much better one, though. And why is it that they are silent? It’s because they realize that most people don’t agree with them, and that most people will not put up with their type of shit.

    Totally agree. And DNFTT forecloses that awareness. So what really matters is the awareness (of the misogynist as well as other observers) and the effects of that awareness, and not the simple fact of the misogynist being silent.

    Perhaps #132 was just poorly stated. I was trying to say that the goal of DNFTT is not useful if it precludes more important goals. And that in the case of Crook, the pragmatic question of whether DNFTT actually gets him to shut up isn’t really relevant, because more important goals are at work.

  194. 194
    Chris Clarke

    Asher, I won’t go so far as to say you’re missing the point, but I do think you’re missing mine.

    Though the results referred to in this post include a rape-apologist S-ing TFU, the goal of my original post was not to silence Crooks. I’ll take it, but it wasn’t the goal.

    The goal of my post was to speak out. To add my slightly amplified voice to the thousands already there condemning Crook and other pinions of Rape Culture.

    The above-mentioned clowns slammed me, and the other commenters who agreed with me, and told us we needed to shut up. We can theorize all we like about their motives, their words, their end goals and their weighing of social and political ills. But that’s kind of pointless.

    What we do know is that their response was to tell people to stop criticizing rape advocates.

    That is not, as you say in @153, a “side effect.” It is expressly what they set out to do. “DNFTT” was a rationale they used, but their explicit action was attempting to silence opponents of rape advocacy.

    Thus “controlling the message.” Whether they meant to or not.

  195. 195
    Asher Kay

    That is not, as you say in @153, a “side effect.” It is expressly what they set out to do. “DNFTT” was a rationale they used, but their explicit action was attempting to silence opponents of rape advocacy.

    I do think I get your point, Chris. In your previous post (and my first one on this thread) I was one of the clowns who was saying it was reasonable to think that DNFTT could be effective, not one of the clowns scolding you for speaking out. I already thought that they were wrong to scold you, and I was thinking through whether the pragmatic “effectiveness” of DNFTT was relevant. To do that, I was asking myself, “What is the actual goal of not feeding the trolls?”, not “what is the actual goal of telling someone not to feed the trolls”.

    In short, I was pondering my own clownishness, not the clownishness of others ;).

  196. 196
    carlie

    somebody told them to stop feeding the trolls.

    And the fucking Democrats took that advice.

    Yup. I’d like to see one example of where “taking the high road” and “ignoring the trolls” and such ever led to the result of said shitmongerers being marginalized and cast aside, because all I’ve ever seen it do is embolden them.

    See: Creationism, for one example.

  197. 197
    Chris Clarke

    In short, I was pondering my own clownishness, not the clownishness of others ;).

    Fair enough. And for the record, I didn’t intend to “tar” you with the “clown white” brush.

  198. 198
    Asher Kay

    I’ll unhook the rope for you. Thunderdome on your sinister, Lounge on your dexter. Grog provided.

    [*wonders if the funnel cakes will assuage the pancake craving from the other thread *]

  199. 199
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    tccc:

    About what I expected, carry on.

    *sigh*

    Look, I hate to pull the “old timer” card out, but yo. I’m gonna do it to make a point.

    I skimmed through the thread† and I see plenty of people that I’ve known and respected for years– people that have called me out for shitty behavior in the past– and you know what they’re doing?

    Ignoring us. There’s fucking tumbleweeds rolling by this conversation.

    Is the Pharyngula Horde perfect? No, they are not. Sometimes they are a little too hair-triggery and sometimes truly awful shit flies under the radar. But for the most part, I can expect multiple people to put me in check when I screw up. But as of right now, I’ve got one little desperate-to-prove-something commenter who “feels” that I’m being ableist. You don’t know whether or not my statement was hurtful, but dammit, it “feels” wrong.

    You fancy yourself a social justice warrior? Chew on this: You’ve just reduced everyone who has had a portion of their intestines removed to their necessary medical device. A device which, by the way, fills with shit and is incredibly unpleasant to deal with. Good job!

    †I’m using my one hour of “adult time” before bed to respond to you. Feel special.

  200. 200
    Inaji

    Audley:

    There’s fucking tumbleweeds rolling by this conversation.

    Yep. That’s because calling someone a colostomy bag is similar to calling them a douche bag. I had a relative who had a colostomy, and he had a habit of sometimes wandering into the kitchen early morning in just his underwear. One morning, his wife started laughing and said “Now I can tell you that you are full of shit!” and we all (including him) looked at his colostomy bag filling up and had a good laugh. A colostomy bag is just that, a bag. For shit. And I haven’t ever noticed tccc or anyone else calling people out for being ableist upon the frequent use of “shit bag” as an insult.

  201. 201
    tccc

    No Caine, because shit bag, sack of shit, piece of shit, all mean something different than the specific term colostomy bag. You might remember (I obviously don’t post often) I do object to the douche bag term though, with some slight differences because that is gender specific.

    It is great some people can laugh about it or all people with them can laugh about it for all I know, but that is up to them and others using it as a vile insult really isn’t cool in my book. My experience with it has been different. It is also very possible some people laugh about it in some circumstances and have different feelings about it other circumstances, stigmatizing it further does not seem right.

    I’ll post my reply to Audley in another thread, I realize this is off topic here.

  202. 202
    satanaugustine

    Wouldn’t you prefer to be called a clown for aiding and abetting rapists the way you are here?

    Huh? I never said that I agreed with those who argued in favor of “not feeding the troll.” I don’t agree with them at all. In my initial comment I said that you were making a good point. I argued that you could have made your point just as well without singling out and insulting those making the DFTT comments. I argued that they didn’t deserve to be called clowns. It turns out I was wrong. Knowing what I know now, clowns seems a rather mild term. I’d read the first, maybe12 or 13, comments or however many comments had been posted before I went to bed. I didn’t revisit the comments. I admit my ignorance about the subsequent posts by yubal and adrianluca including adrianluca’s comment you mention here:

    Besides, you’re ignoring the part where the one clown threatened a lawsuit as soon as we pointed out the impact of his words.

    The following truly is an ignorant, offensive, over the top, stupid statement:

    Accuse me of being pro-rape once more and I will fucking launch legal action.

    It’s also hilariously absurd. Legal action over a comment on a blog? It would go nowhere.

  203. 203
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ satanaugustine

    Legal action over a comment on a blog? It would go nowhere.

    Although I think you are right in suggesting that it would go nowhere, I have seen people using the idea that it can be enforced as a threat and a silencing tactic. The idea is that if one posts comments under one’s own name, then people posting can be indicted for slander – for insulting you – if they are posting under a nym. It seems a little far fetched, I realise, but there may be cases when such a legal action might be understandable. An example would be someone sockpuppeting to attack a person or company online in an act of defamation. I doubt mere parrying to-and-fro on a blog would be covered by this.

    I’ll need some more time to look into the details. If there are any legal minds out there who could help out, that would be appreciated.

    {Switches on the Walton Signal ™ }

  204. 204
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    tccc,
    You’re welcome to reply to me wherever you wish, I really don’t give a fuck about your “feelings” on colostomy bags.

  205. 205
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @tccc

    No Caine, because shit bag, sack of shit, piece of shit, all mean something different than the specific term colostomy bag.

    No, they don’t. A colostomy bag is a bag of shit. A sack of shit is a bag of shit. They mean exactly the same thing.

    That said, I can sort of see where you’re coming from with Douche-bag. However, I have never heard any woman object to it, so the point is rather moot. If/When a number of women come forward and say “Actually, that term offends me”, then I will apologise for the splash damage and stop using it. But I’m not going to stop using it on the strength of a vague hypothetical “It could possibly, maybe be offensive to women”. I don’t use terms like “retard” or “bitch” because they demonstrably insult people other than the one I was trying to insult; you don’t get that effect with douchebag. Or, indeed, shitbag.

  206. 206
    Ing

    The clowns where wrong about him being a troll too. He apparently is a rapist. Consider that fact next time

  207. 207
    Inaji

    Thumper:

    That said, I can sort of see where you’re coming from with Douche-bag.

    Not if you’re familiar with the history of it. Douching has been used to shame women, to imply that vaginas are foul and nasty and douching is physically dangerous and can lead to very serious physical problems. The lining of a vagina does not need to be stripped in order to make it all fresh and sweet smellin’ for a penis.

  208. 208
    Asher Kay

    Not if you’re familiar with the history of it.

    Wait… so are you saying it’s a good insult or a bad insult?

  209. 209
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    “Douche” is an excellent insult.

    A “douche” (item) is bad, and harms women. A “douche” (person) is, therefore, a bad person who harms women.

  210. 210
    Ing

    @Asher

    FFS shut up already!

  211. 211
    yubal

    @ Chris

    Excuse me for being late (again), I had a reply in mind that still would count but I’d rather handle that via e-mail right now in case you are interested.

    If people had decided not to “feed the troll,” Crook would very likely still be spreading his pro-rape views online at the moment.

    Well, yah, I know I am late but that twitter feed you were referring to is active again and it does not seem as Mr. Crook learned anything(*). Like he didn’t learn anything the last time. Or the time before. Or the time before that. A. T. Kelly played with the Troll before and has some details (link below).

    He apparently also does other things than denying rape, like actively encouraging people in desperate moments to commit suicide.

    I actually do not buy a single word that he ever was a member of the LDS church. That is such a controversial organization his claim could as well be part of his Troll nature.

    It is also not uncommon for him to take down his blog and twitter just to pop up back again some days later and to continue. That seems to be part of his MO.

    http://www.inventednonsense.com/2011/11/michael-crook-takes-his-blog-and.html

    What is it exactly that was accomplished here? Please someone help me out, because I don’t get it.

    (*) He could also have deleted that account for good and some other Troll has registered it and is running it right now impersonating MC. But who knows? Fuck the dark side of internet.

  212. 212
    Chris Clarke

    Please someone help me out, because I don’t get it.

    No, you really don’t.

  213. 213
    yubal

    That didn’t help, chris.

  214. 214
    Chris Clarke

    That didn’t help, chris.

    You’ve had it explained to you sufficiently. In this very thread. If you refuse to understand that Crook’s reaction was of secondary importance, then I can’t help you. But I suspect you’re determined not to be helped.

  215. 215
    Inaji

    Wait… so are you saying it’s a good insult or a bad insult?

    It’s good. There’s no problem with using it whatsoever.

  216. 216
    Inaji

    Please someone help me out, because I don’t get it.

    You’ve had it explained to you multiple times in different threads by multiple people. Go away and have a think, ffs.

  217. 217
    Ichthyic

    frankly, I have no problem at all with Crook repeatedly starting a new site or twitter feed, and having his inanity dogpiled on every time.

    it’s a learning experience for wannabe assholes.

    Yubal, as usual, cannot think past his own nose.

  218. 218
    glodson

    Please someone help me out, because I don’t get it.

    Okay, because I’m really fucking stupid, I’m going to ignore all evidence that this won’t work and try to explain it anyways.

    I’ll use Chris’s words from the original post to start this off:

    That tiny minority of commenters on that thread who scolded those of us who wanted to call Crook’s garbage out publicly: if we’d all listened to you, the world would be a slightly worse place than it is now. I suggest you go to your rooms and think about what you did.

    And for those of you who think your voice doesn’t matter? It does. And thank you.

    I doubt that Crook will learn anything. He’s an asshole. But an asshole can have an audience with various degrees of reaction. The more we speak out against assholes like Crook, the louder we get, the more we show his audience what a repulsive asshole he is. When we show pieces of shit like this that their views will not be tolerated, we make it easier for others to speak out and have a chance to show some that these attitudes aren’t just bad. We can show these attitudes are harmful.

    Trolling has an effect. It polarizes the audience. Source. If we remain silent and just let the troll speak, we are sending a message. We are telling those who are impacted by the hateful words of the troll that they aren’t worth defending, and we are telling those who silently agree that there’s no repercussion for speaking in such a vile manner.

    And I’m not talking about name calling, or bad language, or any of that fucking civility bullshit. I’m talking about vile and disgusting messages that dehumanize people.

  219. 219
    vaiyt

    Yubal, I’m going to spell it to you real slow, just so you understand.

    When it comes to the message, an actual idiot and someone who pretends to be an idiot to get a rise out of people are functionally identical.

  220. 220
    vaiyt

    Welp, I apologize if the use of “idiot” was inadequate, I can’t remember what was the Pharyngulite consensus on that.

  221. 221
    Ichthyic

    …and, btw, from the horse’s mouth (ass?), proof that it wasn’t just random that he shut down his sites and twitter feeds:

    Yes, all my public Internet presence sites/profiles have been deleted. By me. Too many wackadoos getting upset over nothing

    I’m your wackadoo.

  222. 222
    vaiyt

    Way too fucking ironic to see the attention-seeking troll upset because he got too much attention.

  223. 223
    Rick Pikul

    It needs to be said and it needs to be repeated until it sinks in:

    The standard advice[1] only applies when the person in question is actually a troll. If they are after anything other than people reacting to their posts then they are not trolls and the standard advice does not apply.

    Most of the MRA types are mission posters. They are trying to push a position and are thus _not trolling_.

    [1] Don’t feed the trolls.

  224. 224
    glodson

    The standard advice[1] only applies when the person in question is actually a troll. If they are after anything other than people reacting to their posts then they are not trolls and the standard advice does not apply.

    The danger of not confronting a troll, even if they are just looking for a reaction, is two-fold. First, it gives people who are lurking and agree with the troll’s points the impression they are right. And second, it gives people who are hurt by the troll’s point the impression they aren’t valued.

    Which is why I like the position of exposing the troll for what the troll really is, an ignorant idiot.

  225. 225
    friedandburnt

    “do you really think that your first reflex in a post about how “don’t feed the trolls” don’t work should be to be the Tone Police?”

    Yes how dare they call out PZ for being an asshole. That’s tone policing man.

  226. 226
    Inaji

    That’s tone policing man.

    You aren’t very bright. And apparently, desperate for attention. The best way to get attention around here is to have something intelligent and relevant to say. You might work on that, even though it might take a long time in your case.

    Grinding an axe is boring.

  227. 227
    friedandburnt

    “The best way to get attention around here is to have something intelligent and relevant to say.”

    Coming from someone who’s post is just “no you’re wrong” with no real argument.

  228. 228
    Inaji

    Coming from someone who’s post is just “no you’re wrong” with no real argument.

    About what, Cupcake? You have no points, nothing relevant, and no arguments. There’s no there there. FFS, you couldn’t even figure out that PZ did not write the post to which this thread is attached.

  229. 229
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @FriedandBurnt

    You only really need an argument when there’s something to argue against. All you seem to be doing is making noise.

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