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Apr 02 2013

EllenBeth Wachs recounts her experiences

She has posted a summary of her experience commenting here — entirely from her perspective of course, but worth a look.

My position:

  • I think she was completely wrong on the Adria Richards issue. She was looking at it entirely from the position of a conference organizer, who prioritizes not rocking the boat and keeping everything running smoothly, and not at all from the perspective of a feminist who definitely would want to do some boat-rocking and disrupt a bad process.

  • However, man, some of you commenters were brutal. I’m all in favor of letting your views hang out there and letting you express yourselves freely, but this is a case where some of you were so angry that it interfered with your ability to communicate rationally. And then I’m torn, because that anger is actually valid, too.

Anyway, read it and think. I did, and I still think the disagreement was appropriate, but that she might be right that the derision was disproportionate…while at the same time I think outrageous derision is useful.

187 comments

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  1. 1
    John Morales

    From her summary: “I stumble into the thread at comment 284. Now, I have skimmed over the comments and seen what has transpired thus far and it has been heated but not overly outrageous.”

    I think the stumbling was better executed than the skimming.

  2. 2
    anteprepro

    Reading the comments….I don’t think she was subjected to anything particularly “brutal”, honestly. Especially considering that her own tone in those comments seemed just as Pharyngulish as the responses. But I skimmed over the last few, so maybe I missed the key brutalities.

  3. 3
    Chie Satonaka

    First thing I noticed off the bat — she is STILL ignoring the fact that there were two people right in that very thread who explicitly said that Richards deserved the death and rape threats. And that’s just here. Go to any other thread discussing this incident and you’ll find many others. So let’s start there when we talk about disproportionate reactions, okay?

  4. 4
    carlie

    I see that she is very angrily defending herself, but that she is not trying to understand what the people who were upset with her comments were trying to communicate to her, nor why they were getting upset with what she said. I wish she would step back from the big blinking neon “but they called me names” sign far enough to see what all was going on. That still doesn’t mean she’d necessarily agree, but at least would then be discussing the substance rather than the tone.

  5. 5
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Well, I think she’s wrong.
    I can understand that this was a nasty experience. Believe me, I made that as well. The question I asked myself was “what on earth did I do/say that made those people so angry”?
    Turns out that I had said shit.
    She still doesn’t understand how her “presumption of innocence until proven guilty in court” must look like to the many and many rape survivors here who never saw justice. Who could never even bring charges, or whose charges were dismissed.
    She doesn’t understand how this, especially with regards to harassment and sexual violence, plays into the hands of harassers and rapists, how it is pretty impossible to prove that somebody pinched your ass without your consent. How setting the bar at “courtroom standard” simply gives the low-level harassers a pass.
    Wheter she was aware of it or not, she plays into that trope.
    Oh, and she gets standing ovations from the pitters who welcome her with open arms. If anything, that should make her think.

  6. 6
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    When here, she said she would have ignored the content of the tweet as the tweet was the wrong way to communicate the complaint.
    And would have tried to talk Adria out of the complaint.
    If she meant anything else, she communicated what she meant in an abysmal manner.
    If she expected to get away with the dismissive attitude, she was at the wrong blog.

    So: EBW who? And why should I care what she thinks?

  7. 7
    zhuge, le homme blanc qui ne sait rien mais voudrait

    I really don’t know about this one. Maybe I am biased because I see all the putters(including rape apologists I’ve interacted with) saying such rudeness is why they made the slimepit which is such bullshit it physically smells, but I can’t agree with the article.

    I do think the claims about her conference organization were way over the line. I do realize they came from a place of hurt, but it went beyond the scope of what was known.

    That said: I have seen her post on Facebook and figured she was just being misinterpreted. Tensions were high, etc.

    If what I say comes off as blaming the victim or mansplaining please, please call me out on it.

    But there are three things that happened that
    ake it impossible for me to agree with Ellen.

    1. She opened by agreeing with Michael Best who was repeating every MRA line in the book. For those who had never met her, this signaled that she was just another sockpuppet or MRA troll. Obviously she may never have realized that(she skimmed and may not encounter them often, and they can be masters at using politeness to seem reasonable.)

    But I have done the same and been rightly yelled at for it. But I learned and it ended because I deescalation.

    Which brings me to two:

    2. She didn’t scale it back. Instead of asking us politely why what she was doing put her on edge, she shot back at us in the same words and manners. She defended herself instead of trying to reach an understanding.

    Still, things were heated, there were sore feelings all around. We could have sent out a feeler, tried to ratchet it down ourselves.

    But this brings me to number three:

    She escalated, and very steeply. She asked Caine for her name in response to Caine saying she wouldn’t go to any of her conferences. That, to me, is so far over the line you can’t see itanymore. You don’t ask anyone that in an argument. It is nearly impossible for that not to be a threat. That, to me, was a step to far. You don’t threaten SSD someone like that, especially a person who has already said her PTSD was triggered
    And so I find that I can’t agree with this post. She wasn’t a attempting to make it a peaceful conversation. Maybe she didn’t think what she said was threatening, but if so she clearly wasn’t thinking of others feelings. I don’t mean this as a tu quoque. Rather I don’t buy the premise of the argument. She makes it seem as though our rudeness is the problem. But there are lots of places where she could have had that discussion(the information section on the A+ forum for example) . But there can be one rude forum. And if you go there and engage in rudeness, there is no reason to expect politeness in turn.

  8. 8
    zhuge, le homme blanc qui ne sait rien mais voudrait

    And just to be clear, I won’t comment on her post because I am not having a conversation with Edward Gemmer and Steerman and all those fuckwit rape apologists.

  9. 9
    sonofrojblake

    a feminist who definitely would want to do some boat-rocking and disrupt a bad process

    What “bad process”? Is it the position that the anti-harassment policy of Pycon was inadequately drafted or enforced? Because if that is the position that’s the first time I’ve seen it stated.

    Ms. Richards made a report (but only after after first broadcasting it to her ten thousand closest friends) the offenders were taken aside, informed their behaviour was offensive and unacceptable, they coughed to it, apologised, undertook not to repeat it, and as I understood it Ms. Richards was satisfied with that outcome at that point. Am I in error in this understanding?

    If not – if that is what happened – what “bad process” is being referred to here?

  10. 10
    Stacy

    PZ, suggestion (I mentioned this at EllenBeth’s place too): I think you should highlight the commenting rules very prominently at the top of every comment section. Especially the part about this being a lawless, combative, aggressive place. Newbies need to see that.

    I am very dismayed to see all the slimepitters courting EllenBeth. Not so long ago Abbie Smith was supporting Sheriff Grady Judd and encouraging them to troll her; now they all love her.

  11. 11
    erikthebassist

    And would have tried to talk Adria out of the complaint.

    Wrong Nerd. She relayed a story about having taken a complaint that was later withdrawn at one of her conferences. With out knowing anything else about the incident many here assumed that she talked the complainant out of it.

    FTR, I think EBW is wrong about two things; That Adria did anything inappropriate in tweeting the way she did and that her harsh treatment here is any different than many regulars have gotten over the years.

    She claims to be familiar with the culture here so she presumably doesn’t have a problem when other people get their asses handed to them.

    She needs to get off her high horse and understand that she stepped in to the middle of a very heated thread. People were on edge for good reason. Sure, she caught a little friendly fire but you know what, some of those people later apologized, some didn’t, some defended her and some are still waiting for her to apologize.

  12. 12
    erikthebassist

    I see a couple of people noting that the pit is courting her. I have to give EBW enough credit to know the difference between having a disagreement here, and being chased around the web and meatspace by vindictive bullies. I don’t think we need to worry about her developing any sympathies for the pit.

  13. 13
    erikthebassist

    Oh I’m sorry, one last point of clarification, she really needs to make an unambiguous apology to Caine for the blunder noted by Zhuge in #7:

    She escalated, and very steeply. She asked Caine for her name in response to Caine saying she wouldn’t go to any of her conferences. That, to me, is so far over the line you can’t see itanymore. You don’t ask anyone that in an argument. It is nearly impossible for that not to be a threat. That, to me, was a step to far. You don’t threaten SSD someone like that, especially a person who has already said her PTSD was triggered

    That was incredibly bad form worth bringing up again.

  14. 14
    anteprepro

    She escalated, and very steeply. She asked Caine for her name in response to Caine saying she wouldn’t go to any of her conferences. That, to me, is so far over the line you can’t see itanymore. You don’t ask anyone that in an argument. It is nearly impossible for that not to be a threat. That, to me, was a step to far. You don’t threaten SSD someone like that, especially a person who has already said her PTSD was triggered

    Funny, I didn’t see any of that alluded to her in her post about how mean Pharyngula was to her. It’s almost like she is omitting details in order to play the victim! Heaven forbid and unheard of!

  15. 15
    Delft

    Aren’t we skeptics here? So we look at the evidence. I came late to the discussion, and catching up, found EllenBeth Wachs increasingly creepy. She entered the discussion @284 with

    I have not seen one person saying Adria deserved the response she got. As a conference organizer myself, I will just note, taking a picture and tweeting it is not an approved method of reporting an instance of harassment.

    She said @370

    I had a harassment complaint filed against one of my speakers at my last conference. Had she tweeted the complaint rather than bring it to me directly as done, I would have been rather perturbed and my speaker would have been within his right in filing a counter-complaint. After discussing this with her, she chose to withdraw the complaint. Now had she tweeted it, it would have done irrevocable damage.

    This made me realise, that probably Adria was right to tweet her comlaint, otherwise who knows how much pressure, threats of dismissal etc., would have been put on her to hush the whole thing up.
    She defended @439 Matthew Best (just see 197 and 354) as being

    rational in the face of blistering vitriol.

    This was after Best had compared “not cool” to something about “dirty sluts” and claimed abused children would “likely become abusers.”
    She asked someone to disclose their real identity, with threats of discrimination: @464

    Caine- I will need your real name so you can be sure not to be involved with any of my conferences.

    And although several people pointed out just how creepy this is, I did not see her apologizing.
    ***
    People took issue with her arguments, and took them to pieces. People explained why what she was saying was wrong. People explained over and over why they took issue with criticizing Adria’s behaviour despite the fact that she was getting death threats.
    Also EllenBeth Wachs got called a chill-girl, and an apologist for misogynist behaviour (like Matthew Best’s). These are the only insult-like things I saw in the comments she quoted in her post, so presumably found most offensive.
    ***
    Given the general tone of Pharyngula – where any one of the above 4 comments is worth a virtual beating – I fail to see any particular brutality. I think EllenBeth Wachs was offended because she was wrong and she didn’t get away with it.

  16. 16
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Wrong Nerd. She relayed a story about having taken a complaint that was later withdrawn at one of her conferences. With out knowing anything else about the incident many here assumed that she talked the complainant out of it.

    From my interpretation of what I read at the time, she was more interested in not challenging the alleged harassee than in anything else. Other folks, not her, brought up an incident where somebody decided not pursue a claim. But, if EBW was doing her job, that would be irrelevant. “The Talk” would still have been held with the alleged harassee, even if the complaint was withdrawn formally withdrawn, simply to CYA of the conference. Some folks think harassment complaints mean that full legal proceedings must take place. I see EBW as being of that position. Initial harassment complaints are usually dealt with informally if possible, and are allowed to do so under the guidelines. More formality is required if significant punishments, like firing, are in the works.

  17. 17
    kate_waters: Not Your Father's Oldsmobile.

    EBW stepped in it over and over in that thread. She claimed some kind of expertise in drafting and handling harassment complaints when it was plainly obvious she hadn’t a clue. As a matter of fact, she demonstrated that she mishandled complaints and would continue do so in the future.

    She supported someone spouting MRA talking points because he was “so rational”.

    She claimed that harassment victims are not allowed to speak about their harassment, while assuming that people taking those complaints can blather on about the and give identifying details of those complaints.

    In short: She came here and acted like an ass.

    After some other incidents in which she’s been involved, I’m beginning to think this woman is a troll. She’s stirring up shit just to inhale the smell. While I may not be correct about her motivations, that’s certainly a conclusion that could be drawn from her actions.

  18. 18
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    Wow, she”s still is defending Mathew Best’s comments in that thread. Funny, how she doesn’t actually quote the vile shit he said.

    At least she quotes my comment where I said I was being snarky with the chill girl comment because I couldn’t fathom why else she would agree with what Best said. Of course, she’s using it as “Look at the meaning that called me a dumbfuck!!” I still don’t get why she is defending that douchenozzle.

    There were several good arguments for supporting the way Adria reported it and all Ellen said against that was “But that’s now the rule book says to do it!”. Uhhh…yeah, that’s not convincing. There’s more reasons for this kind of reporting than against. As LykeX pointed out to me, remember the DJ Grothe incident?

    I still stand by what I said not wanting to be around her in conferences. I don’t have a good feeling about her due to her words. I really don’t need a conference organizer saying to me “Oh but dear, you used mean words and didn’t report it correctly!”. That’s the impression I got from her and I have every right to avoid whoever I want to. Besides, like I said later I don’t go to conferences so the point is moot. It’s not like I’m going to make a campaign against her or tell everyone to avoid her like the plague. Who and what I feel comfortable around for personal reasons is my own business.

    I still don’t know “who” she is and don’t care. I treated her based on her words here and didn’t give special treatment.

    I was happy to let the whole incident fade but *shrug*

  19. 19
    Jackie the wacky

    I am familiar with the harassment Ellen Beth has endured and I feel for her. She’s been through hell. Up until that thread I had a vary high opinion of Ellen Beth. In general, I still do.

    Still, she well and truly stepped in it on that thread. I watched that go down. I saw where certain things she wrote were misconstrued, but she was communicating poorly and defending a commenter who was telling us all how abuse turns people into monsters etc. She then took us to task for not being nicer to the hideous troll who she though was being rational..blah blah blah. She tossed out a “I’ve never seen it” out concerning people condoning a woman being harassed. She was joining the chorus of others who were rushing to find fault with the woman getting rape and death threats. I’m too lazy to go back and check, but I think she even tossed out a “she shouldn’t get a free pass just because she’s a woman” and then seemed to want one of those mythical passes herself.

    She later tweeted that we’re lunatics. (ableist much?)

    I am disappoint.

  20. 20
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    #11
    erikthebassist

    And would have tried to talk Adria out of the complaint.

    Wrong Nerd. She relayed a story about having taken a complaint that was later withdrawn at one of her conferences. With out knowing anything else about the incident many here assumed that she talked the complainant out of it.

    When there was later enlightenment on the issue several people took their assumptions back about the incident but the facts about that case just make her conference handling abilities look worse.

  21. 21
    Rawnaeris, Lulu Cthulhu

    I read that whole thread as it went down. Sorry, PZ, but EBW came off as creepy and supporting the MRA of the thread. There was the usual mix of people explaining calmly and sharply. She never apologized for some of her more egregious posts.

    Were we a bit mean? Probably. But I wouldn’t call it brutal.

    One of the things I’ve learned here is that if I have an opinion or a comment that I suspect will be ripped to shreds by the Horde, there is a good chance I need to reconsider my stance, or have some damn solid evidence to present with it before I say anything.

  22. 22
    glodson

    She’s still defending Matthew Best? Really?

    Oh, goddamnit. I mean, I’ve seen her around other blogs here, and actually thought she was rather insightful. And she was wrong in that thread. It happens. However, she painted herself into a corner. And the defense of Best, plus the request for Caine’s name was over the top. That was were she got blasted.

    Maybe she got it rough, but she dug a hole. Then kept digging. And she’s ignoring how many people retracted their statements after a bit of a cool down. If I recall, many of us were neck deep in bullshit from multiple Richards threads at the time.

  23. 23
    Forrest

    The comments section on Pharyngula is not for the faint of heart. I wanted to make the same argument that EBW was making about the public Twitter method of reporting but already saw that opinion was asking to be flamed. I wanted to make that point because that was the only thing I disagreed with in PZs post. I understand how the incident was reported isn’t important compared to the sexual jokes and many consider it not even worth mentioning when there were death and rape threats against Ms. Richards. I do not understand why criticizing how the incident was publicly reported warrants flaming and accusations of blaming the victim though. The jokes made were wrong, the rape and death threats were abhorrently wrong – we all agree on that, and disagreeing with how the victim reported it, does not change the common ground we share.

  24. 24
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    I’m going to copy the comments I made and her response, just for clarity.

    Me:

    I 100% agree with Stacy Dianne Kennedy, and would also find it very helpful if you could read through the comments of the commenter you unreservedly recommended: (Matthew Best), who said some truly vile and horrible things, including that people who were abused as kids will become abusers themselves.

    I don’t think you are a chill girl or anything like that and I think the reaction you received from some of the commenters was very much too harsh, but you are ignoring what happened both before and after you joined the conversation and promoted a commenter’s vile views as “reasonable”, including the apologies issued by regulars like Caine.

    EBW:

    Okay, see that’s where miscommunication plays a large part in this. I didn’t “unreservedly recommend” Matthew Best. I also don’t believe I said his views were “reasonable.” I stated that he was being calm and rational in the face of a blistering attack. Whether you agree with his points or not, he was for the most part.

    I have read through his comments again writing this. I don’t need to do it another time.

    Me: (This one is still in moderation)

    Yes, that’s true, I misstated. You didn’t unreservedly recommend his comments. You did, however, *recommend* them (albeit not unreservedly) as rational (isn’t rational a synonym for reasonable?) and coherent and not worthy of banning, despite the blaming and vile things he said.

    I’m afraid I’m at a loss. You read through his comments and you still don’t see that despite his apparent calmness and ‘rational’ness, the things he said were truly vile? He didn’t “merely” disagree, he said some truly awful things which is why he was facing “blistering attack”. Do vile things, no matter how calmly and “rationally” stated, NOT deserve “blistering attack”? Do vile and horrible things count for you as “merely disagreeing”?

    I really don’t understand.

  25. 25
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    I really don’t think (or maybe I just really hope) she understand just how horrible Matthew Best was in that thread or how her support of him at that stage looked, given the context rest of the conversation and her insistence to keep pointing out that she thought AR was wrong because WHAT ABOUT THE CONFERENCE AND THE GUYS’ POSSIBLE INNOCENCE????

    *sigh*

  26. 26
    Jackie the wacky

    Forrest, if you don’t understand you must not have read the hundreds of comments explaining it. We don’t need to rehash it here. The explanations are still there to be seen. If you actually have any fucks to give, go read them instead of whining.

  27. 27
    glodson

    @Gen

    Exactly. Best being calm and rational in that thread was not praiseworthy. Who gives a shit if someone spewing vile stupidity is calm and rational? Especially if he definitely wasn’t rational, but rather spewing nonsense with the thin veneer of seemingly reasonable objections. Which wasn’t all that thin.

  28. 28
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    Also, from her article:

    I have already taken all day to write this. What was my point in doing so? I wanted to point out how easy it is to get misrepresented and misquoted and mischaracterized over minor points of disagreement. IS IT WORTH IT?? I don’t understand the feeling of glory one could get from being that abusive to another person. I got called their enemy. Why? Because I said she should not have tweeted the picture? And yes, I also came at this from the perspective of a conference organizer. You see, I can look at this from many angles, not just one. I think the key is, can you put yourselves in her shoes AND the shoes of the men? I did. Matthew Best did. A lot of others in the general community did. That is what was lacking from most of the commenters in that thread. They had tunnel-vision. SUPPOSE THEY WERE INNOCENT?? What if she got it wrong? We know she didn’t, but that is irrelevant. The poignant question is, what if she had gotten it wrong? And THAT is why her tweeting this is a mistake. Just because I think so does not make me a rape- apologist, misogynistic, victim-blaming, chill girl and if you think so there is something deeply flawed in your logic

    I take serious issue with what she writes here.

    a.) Matthew Best. Again. Sigh.
    b.) Suppose they were innocent? Sigh.
    c.) Tunnel vision, commenters here being unable to see things from the pov of teh menz and the conferences. Double sigh.
    d.) Something deeply flawed in our logic (because… no reasons provided, I guess)? Triple sigh.

    She really and honestly doesn’t understand that her reasons for not liking the tweeting of the pictures are inherently misogynistic and rape apologetic and that that’s, amongst others, what people took issue with.

  29. 29
    dianne

    WHAT ABOUT THE CONFERENCE

    This whole “damage to the conference” thing was the one thing that I most didn’t get from EBW’s comments. What damage to the conference? The conference organizers initially responded in a reasonable manner, reproaching the men for their comments but not escalating further. It was only their later acts such as amending the code of conduct to prevent similar complaints in the future that did damage. If the story had ended with the reprimand of the two men involved, I would have had nothing but respect for the conference.

  30. 30
    kate_waters: Not Your Father's Oldsmobile.

    @dianne:

    I think her problem is that she views harassment COMPLAINTS as being damaging*. That women talking about being harassed or experiencing a sexist environment is the cause of the harm. She can’t quite see that the WAY the complaints are handled are what causes or does not cause “damage”*.

    *Damage, in this case, being entirely a PR thing, and not at all about the damage to people exposed to harassing behaviour.

  31. 31
    dianne

    I’ve never been a conference organizer, but as someone who goes to conferences regularly (albeit, not in the tech industry), it’s hard to imagine any behavior that would put me off of a conference more than EBW’s. She is so clearly interested in nothing but making sure that there is no fuss at the conference and everything is seen to go smoothly, no matter how bad things are underneath. No matter how many attendees have to be sacrificed to the good of the conference. I wouldn’t go back to a conference where the organizers behaved in that manner. I suppose PyCon is a major conference and if you’re a Python programmer there’s little choice but to go, but still…this sort of thing may run it into the ground in the next few years. I hope that the organizers think better of it before that happens.

  32. 32
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    23
    Forrest

    The comments section on Pharyngula is not for the faint of heart. I wanted to make the same argument that EBW was making about the public Twitter method of reporting but already saw that opinion was asking to be flamed.

    Seriously, we provided EVIDENCE and ARGUMENTS supporting how Adria reported the incident. We went through all that and insulted the people saying that tweeting the information was wrong. Seriously, go read that. The reasons why Adria did what she did is fine is all right there.

    What, are some people rendered blind and unable to read the rest of the comment when there is cussing and insults along with it? WTF? I hate this characterization of “Oh, I just disagree and now they are calling me mean names because of it and that’s all that’s happening”. Good god, focus on the content between the insults, there’s a lot there FFS.

  33. 33
    anteprepro

    I do not understand why criticizing how the incident was publicly reported warrants flaming and accusations of blaming the victim though.

    If you are talking about something other than the rape and death threats when the topic is a scenario involving rape and death threats, you are either:
    1. Going off on something minor and nearly irrelevant in the face of something major and serious, which comes off as dismissive.
    2. Going off on something that you believe is relevant to the rape and death threats. If it is something that mitigates the harm of those threats, or explaining them in a way that puts blame on the receiver of those threats, that IS blaming the victim.

    You have to be very fucking careful when presenting your public service announcements in these scenarios. It’s like going to a funeral and giving a eulogy that talks about how the deceased should have ate less and exercised more. It’s like visiting someone in the E.R. and reading them a brochure on road safety. It’s like telling someone who just got laid off about how you didn’t even get a Christmas bonus. It’s like being a therapist who only wants to talk about the weather whenever a client brings up anything that makes you, personally, uncomfortable. It is fucking insensitive and insulting.

  34. 34
    dianne

    I think her problem is that she views harassment COMPLAINTS as being damaging*. That women talking about being harassed or experiencing a sexist environment is the cause of the harm.

    There’s a quick and simple way to make that problem go away: Don’t tolerate harassment or sexism at the conference. Trying to cover up the problem will only make it worse in the long run.

  35. 35
    anteprepro

    Also, what JAL said. The fact that the argument is a PRATT makes the insensitiveness a thousand times more frustrating.

  36. 36
    kate_waters: Not Your Father's Oldsmobile.

    @dianne:

    I completely agree with you. I’m just saying that this seems to be her motivation for her position. I’ve seen it before, where if a problem is kept hushed up and no one ever knows about it that’s a “win”.

    I’m more of the mindset that showing, publicly, that you are ready, able, and willing to deal with those issues in an effective manner is far better PR for your conference/company.

    I think the difference in these two ways of looking at harassment complaints speaks to how you view “the status quo”, and what your views are on feminism, equality, and privilege.

  37. 37
    kate_waters: Not Your Father's Oldsmobile.

    …and I should clarify my #36:

    When I say “views on feminism” what I’m referring to is whether or not you view the main goal of feminism being the dismantling of the patriarchy or whether you see it’s purpose as the advancement of women within a patriarchal framework.

  38. 38
    Jackie the wacky

    Is EB really saying, “What if that silly woman only thought she was being harassed? She should have checked with some rational person like Matt Best to find out if she was REALLY being harassed.”

    Or is she suggesting that despite the fact that Richards was telling the truth, that she might have been lying? She wasn’t, but what IF she was?

    Will no one think of the fictional innocent men in this situation!!???11?
    They clearly matter more than actual women who are being actually threatened.

    FFS, I have no regard left for her.

  39. 39
    Raging Bee

    I’ve never been a conference organizer, but as someone who goes to conferences regularly (albeit, not in the tech industry), it’s hard to imagine any behavior that would put me off of a conference more than EBW’s.

    Yeah, this. If you’re a conference organizer, as EBW seems to have claimed to be, then your clients are the attendees of the conference, and you are obligated to serve ALL of your clients, not just the least noisy ones. You don’t get to put your event’s interests above those of the event’s paying customers.

    A waiter who pisses of a party can’t control what they say about him/her, and an organizer of an event that is at least noticed by the public doesn’t get to control what people say about the event. Neither do people who act stupid in public get any say in how people talk about what they saw and heard. That may not always be fair, but it’s a fact of life we all have to understand and live with. That is, in fact, one of the reasons we should all be careful how we act in public.

  40. 40
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    I like EllenBeth, I truly do, but I have no idea what she hopes to get out of this.

  41. 41
    sonofrojblake

    Neither do people who act stupid in public get any say in how people talk about what they saw and heard. That may not always be fair, but it’s a fact of life we all have to understand and live with. That is, in fact, one of the reasons we should all be careful how we act in public.

    Indeed. For instance, one might reflect that if one has a complaint about the behaviour of a fellow conference attendee, it might be prudent first to make a complaint direct to the conference organisers, the ones reponsible for enforcing their anti-harassment policies, and see whether they deal with the matter satisfactorily, before broadcasting a photograph of the person who offended you to ten thousand people not all of whom are known to you personally and whose response you have no way of predicting. Or is that a bit of unfair reality we shouldn’t have to live with?

    Still not getting what “bad process” PZ was referring to in “a feminist who definitely would want to do some boat-rocking and disrupt a bad process”.

  42. 42
    DLC

    [several comments redacted by DLC]

  43. 43
    zhuge, le homme blanc qui ne sait rien mais voudrait

    Matt Best referred to the victims of assault and abuse as “it” and said that they will become monsters themselves, utterly stripping away agency from all of us who have suffered abuse.

    That may have been calm and rational, but only in the way a sociopath can calmly and rationally cheat innocent people out of their savings, kick them out of their homes, etc. It isn’t praiseworthy.

  44. 44
    Pierce R. Butler

    Does this flap have anything to do with Wachs’s recent (March 30) resignation from the presidency of the Humanists of Florida Association?

    And where was Rebecca Watson during PyCon and the Adria Richards thread?

  45. 45
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    Matt Best referred to the victims of assault and abuse as “it” and said that they will become monsters themselves, utterly stripping away agency from all of us who have suffered abuse.

    Some asshat on EBW’s blog is saying the same, without the “it”. My spoons are all gone for now.

  46. 46
    carlie

    And where was Rebecca Watson during PyCon and the Adria Richards thread?

    Was that a joke about how she gets blamed for everything? Because there’s no need for her to be everywhere and weigh in on every single thing that ever happens.

  47. 47
    Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts

    sonofrojblake ,

    Still not getting what “bad process” PZ was referring to in “a feminist who definitely would want to do some boat-rocking and disrupt a bad process”.

    I think he hints at it in the first part of the sentence that you omitted, bolded for your convinience,

    She was looking at it entirely from the position of a conference organizer, who prioritizes not rocking the boat and keeping everything running smoothly, and not at all from the perspective of a feminist who definitely would want to do some boat-rocking and disrupt a bad process.

    So, a “bad process” could be one in which avoiding negative PR is emphasized over supporting the victims of harassment, or publicly shedding a light on it.
    ***
    re EBW,
    I personally would like to see some self-reflection about why she was being criticized. She is digging deeper in her support of MRA Mathew Best, fails to acknowledge the problems with her behavior re demanding Caine’s real contact info (seriously, wtf?), and still refuses to see how her But What About the Menz/Conferenc?! was met with opposition.

    I would be more impressed with the tone trolling if she also addressed the substance in the comments critical of her.

    I certainly didn’t see a lynch mob abusing her. Her statements and ideas were addressed a bit harshly (not more so than other bad ideas, and not more than they merited, IMO). I remain hopeful that she realizes that she stuck her foot in her mouth and stops doubling down, because she seems like a great asset to feminism when she isn’t digging holes.

  48. 48
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    Not to mention her disregard of ALL the comments before my comment #345 on that thread explaining why “involving innocent bystanders” was irrelevant. I kept it short in #345 and my “for the umpteenth time” should have been a clue. She didn’t give a single reason why it should be a consideration. So we’re just supposed to take her word for it that it actually means something and worthy of conversation when there was already over 300 comments explain why it doesn’t fucking matter? There’s also several thousand comments after that explaining it but noooo EllenBeth shows the one comment I made that doesn’t include that detailed information because I insluted her in it.

    Talk about a fucking fail.



    41

    sonofrojblake

    Indeed. For instance, one might reflect that if one has a complaint about the behaviour of a fellow conference attendee, it might be prudent first to make a complaint direct to the conference organisers, the ones reponsible for enforcing their anti-harassment policies, and see whether they deal with the matter satisfactorily, before broadcasting a photograph of the person who offended you to ten thousand people not all of whom are known to you personally and whose response you have no way of predicting. Or is that a bit of unfair reality we shouldn’t have to live with?

    I’m not reliving that thread. I’m not. Seriously. Go fucking read it. See my #74 in that thread for a response to you.

  49. 49
    Pierce R. Butler

    carlie @ # 46: Was that a joke about how she gets blamed for everything?

    Yes.

  50. 50
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    Oh, well what do ya know. I thought that name sounded familar. sonofrojblake also dropped one similar turd in the Adria Richards thread and never address any of our points then either. I suggest you do your homework cupcake and go finish that thread first.

  51. 51
    Worldtraveller

    carlie@46:

    Was that a joke about how she gets blamed for everything? Because there’s no need for her to be everywhere and weigh in on every single thing that ever happens.

    I took it as a joke, I could be wrong. I still try to give people the benefit of the doubt, even when I’m feeling as grumpy as I am today.

  52. 52
    throwaway

    sonofrojblake:

    . . . offended . . .

    I think you’re understating this. She was justifiably* offended, you might say. But then, gosh, that would be actually acknowledging the men did something wrong. Can’t have that, no, no… The onus must be on the one being offended to grow a thicker skin, what. Take all the abuse someone has to give, what.

    * I’m trying to say that taking offense is sometimes justified, not that offending her was justified, in case that’s not clear.

  53. 53
    anteprepro

    That may have been calm and rational, but only in the way a sociopath can calmly and rationally cheat innocent people out of their savings, kick them out of their homes, etc. It isn’t praiseworthy.

    Oh, the things you can do with impunity as long as you are “coherent and rational”. And by rational, I of course mean “rational”.

    Also: Anyone see that she updated her post? Just had to get one more stifled BAAAW in there. Just had to make it even more clear that she is intentionally ignoring tons of context.

  54. 54
    Pierce R. Butler

    fastlane @ # 51 – pls see my # 49.

  55. 55
    PatrickG

    I … just can’t quite process how EBW is still defending Matthew Best’s comments as reasonable. Does not compute. I don’t particularly want to revive the content of that thread, so I’ll leave it there… but I also have no interest in commenting on her site, with the likes of Gemmer, Steersman, and Hoggle swarming it. Oh well.

    Side note: I do note with amusement the number of times EBW has had to tell people to stop bashing FTB as a whole, because that’s not at all the topic of her post.

    Sider note: I was viciously (brutally) attacked by regulars in that thread too, based on an apparently unclear comment. Why am I not being courted by the Slymepit? I feel so left out*.

    *No I don’t.

  56. 56
    ChasCPeterson

    Look, people were assholes.
    Admit it.
    I don’t like assholes, and although I dislike them even more when they’re wrong than when they’re right, an asshole’s an asshole in my book.
    “Well, yeah, I was an asshole, but I was right!” translates as: ‘I was an asshole’.
    Own it.

    her reasons for not liking the tweeting of the pictures are inherently misogynistic and rape apologetic

    wut

  57. 57
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Oh look, I got quoted. And my comment is used to… ok I have no idea what bad deed I have done there, but it’s a nice place where she can insert calling us a “lynch mob”.

    Meh.

  58. 58
    kate_waters: Not Your Father's Oldsmobile.

    Anyone else find a delicious irony in the fact that the person who keeps claiming that harassment ought to be dealt with quietly and “in-house” is now publicly whinging on and on about how she felt harassed?

  59. 59
    carlie

    Thanks Pierce, I’ve been a little grumpy lately.

  60. 60
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy


    ChasCPeterson

    I don’t like assholes

    That’s fucking rich coming from you, Chas.

    wut

    As has been endlessly pointed out already, the reasons are in the threads under discussion. Go fucking read them, we’re not going to do your homework for you.

  61. 61
    kate_waters: Not Your Father's Oldsmobile.

    Oh, man. I just saw the edit. She’s doing her best to be as gross as possible. Terrible. For her, this is all about PR and getting attention. None of it is about the people who have been harassed.

    …and I won’t be replying to her there because after what she’s said to Caine and others here I don’t trust her to have my email address.

  62. 62
    cicely

    I think her problem is that she views harassment COMPLAINTS as being damaging*. That women talking about being harassed or experiencing a sexist environment is the cause of the harm.

    Not unlike the RCC’s approach to bad-PR-causing…problems.
    -

  63. 63
    carlie

    Not unlike the RCC’s approach to bad-PR-causing…problems.

    Also very much like how a certain TAM organizer got mad at a certain blogger for mentioning that problems exist in the world.

  64. 64
    Inaji

    I have two things to say to EBW – thanks for ignoring my apology to you, yet again. You’re a superstar! Also, EllenBeth, continuing to ignore the utter shit Matthew Best said and continued to defend, while others were attempting to correct it, even in the midst of being triggered? Yeah, that would make you an unthinking asshole. Not exactly a good way to get people to consider your point of view.

  65. 65
    Inaji

    Chas:

    Look, people were assholes.
    Admit it.

    I’ll be all charitable and assume you’re including EllenBeth in your “hey, people were assholes.”

  66. 66
    zhuge, le homme blanc qui ne sait rien mais voudrait

    I am truly angry after reading her edit and comments.

    There are 60 posts on this thread and she spotlights the one and only that contains a falsehood about her, which was immediately corrected?

    But then in the comments, people are calling our insults abuse?Abuse? And she isn’t saying anything in response to call that out.

    Oh, it was rude, insulting, and hurtful. But abuse?

    Abuse is insulting people on their facebook and Twitter and never letting up. Abuse is photoshopping pictures of people in insulting ways and spreading them far and wide. Abuse is raping someone and then insisting it was their fault. In my case abuse was responding to every perceived problem with a violent fit of rage and blaming you when your parent is crying, making you afraid of people for the rest of your life.

    But being insulted on a website that you can freely leave? Being criticised with vulgarity?

    I know you are reading this thread, Ellen, and heart to heart I want you to know if you believe that, after asking for Caine s name, I despise you. I don’t want you as an ally in anything. Join the slimepit and leave us alone.

  67. 67
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    From her post:

    They had tunnel-vision. SUPPOSE THEY WERE INNOCENT?? What if she got it wrong? We know she didn’t, but that is irrelevant. The poignant question is, what if she had gotten it wrong? And THAT is why her tweeting this is a mistake.

    Well, Ellen, just because you say it is irrelevant doesn’t make it so. Also, I get that you think the way she handled this is unacceptable. I disagree. See how that works?

    BWAHHHAHAHA. (Above is just me turning around her #370 in the Richards thread that she quotes in her post.)

    Yes, she rather play the hypothetical of Bitches Be Lyin’. And with her opinion everyone is innocent of everything until proven guilty, I’m guessing if the dudes didn’t actually admit to making the comments she’d be on their side with “There’s no proof!!” since we don’t have an audio recording. If this is how she handles complaints, then damn straight I don’t want her to be the one I have to turn to in order to report harassment.

    The lesson I get from this and the other incidents at conferences is always get proof and always go public so they can’t cover it up. It’s no wonder that even if I had the means to go to these places, I wouldn’t.

  68. 68
    LeftSidePositive

    And another thing… assuming the duck penis issue was in fact the one she talked someone out of reporting: imagine if someone publicly tweeted “I feel uncomfortable when Darrel Ray talks about duck penises.” Would that cause “irrevocable damage,” EllenBeth?! Wouldn’t it just result in a bunch of people tweeting “Well, I don’t.”

    And SERIOUSLY? You would allow a public speaker to file a harassment complaint if someone publicly criticizes their talk? What the FUCK? Aren’t we supposed to be skeptics? Isn’t open criticism what we, like, DO?! Isn’t that the basic expectation of EVERY public speaker EVERYWHERE, that when you speak publicly, people can disagree with the content and presentation of your talk?! Their complaints may not have merit, but “I don’t like the fact that you said X” is not harassment (what would be harassment is “Y deserves to be raped for saying X” or “Y is a [gender-based slur][body-shaming slur][sex-negative slur] for saying X”). This is not difficult.

  69. 69
    barfy

    Troll alert:
    I am here to “do some boat rocking to disrupt a bad process.”

    PZ loses some of his feminist credentials with his post.

    What is it that makes EBW worthy of PZ’s protection from “disproportionate” derision?

    I have commented many times and have often felt the wrath of the Horde, as well as PZ, himself. Never have I enjoyed the warm embrace of a PZ post stating I was dead wrong, but the derisive comments were “brutal.”

    I posit that PZ may claim that EBW has stature as a conference organizer and acceptable Horde feminist, and as such, merits a response.
    OK, maybe. But not this response. She is capable (see her post) of defending herself, even if some might find it whiny or wrong. She doesn’t need PZ to help.
    Second, the philosopher Michel Foucault studied power at the boundaries of its exercise. This is that boundary. PZ’s post is that exercise. Let me explain.
    PZ has let the Horde descend with disproportionate brutality many times (in fact I can only think of only one other exception to this, and yes, it was a woman known to him personally) on the unknown, the uncredentialed, and the penis-bearers. By his defense and apologetics of those he ordains as privileged, he has created a sexist-derived subjugated class of those he deems not worthy of defending. So, twice now (that’s a pattern), he has defended by tone-trolling the Horde for its chastisement of a woman known to him. The question then becomes, why?
    The answer is PZ confers an inappropriate and sexist privilege on what he feels is the weaker sex.
    Dude, you are so busted.

    This is classic sexist behavior, folks. And the FACT that none of the Horde spotted it – or worse, chose not to point it out – should embarrass those of you who claim feminist bona fides.

  70. 70
    SallyStrange

    LOL, you are so full of it, Barfy. I would say “nice try” except it wasn’t.

  71. 71
    carlie

    barfy, you are so off base. It’s his blog, when he feels a line has been stepped over on his blog, he calls it out.

  72. 72
    SallyStrange

    As for EllenBeth, I’m severely disappointed. In my first encounter with her, I dramatically misinterpreted something she said as being supportive of MRA/sexist thinking. She said no, and explained and guess what? I backed up and apologized. I learned about her experiences being harassed by her local sheriff for being an atheist an objecting to public prayer and I admired her work. I had a good impression of her.

    That doesn’t change the fact that she was really seriously wrong here. She was wrong about Matthew Best and apparently still is. She was wrong to skim the thread and make sweeping statements like “nobody said X.” If I post without reading a thread, I always preface it with an apology, something along the lines of “Apologies if someone said this already, but here are my thoughts.” If I’m going to make a statement like, “Nobody is defending this or that,” then read the fucking thread to make sure I’m right. And her comments to Caine were just way over the line.

    She needs to acknowledge that she was wrong on multiple levels. I thought some people crossed the line in reading her comments about how she, as a conference organizer, would deal with complaints and why she prefers people not tweet about them as meaning that she fully endorses covering up harassment complaints rather than dealing with them, as being obvious exaggerations and extremely hurtful to her. I said at the time that I thought people should dial back that sort of rhetoric. I wasn’t the only one. So spare me. I feel bad for EllenBeth but this response from her has caused me to lose a fairly large chunk of respect for her.

  73. 73
    LeftSidePositive

    And another thing, to PZ in particular–she didn’t get treated “brutally” for being wrong about the ethics of Adria Richards going public. People largely ignored her to focus on Matthew Best, or just calmly told her (with quotes!) that she was wrong and why. She started getting a “brutal” treatment about 100 comments later when she defended Matthew Best, and that really is indefensible, and deserving of the Horde treatment if ever anything was. Then she ignored the content of people’s comments and started making tone arguments–it is totally rational to blast the shit out of intellectually bankrupt shit like that! She got “brutally” criticized when she made statements that looked like she was supporting talking someone down from reporting AND FAILED TO CORRECT THEM herself. Based on the information she made available to the commenters, their response was completely rational and proportionate. If she had been misunderstood, nothing was stopping her in all those comments from clarifying–but no! She was also being blatantly intellectually dishonest (or just unbelievably stupid) in confusing the CONFERENCE’S obligation to keep things confidential to imply that the harassee has an obligation to keep things confidential. And then, clusterfuck of clusterfucks, she responded to a woman saying she would be uncomfortable at her conference by demanding her name (NOT funny EVER), and saying someone expressing a concern about how harassment was handled would be blacklisted from EBW’s conferences. And she never apologized–she just did a “gosh, I was just jooooooking” gambit that she should have outgrown in gradeschool. The flamewar she got for that is ENTIRELY proportional, because what EllenBeth was doing (and kept on doing!) was unacceptable and flagrantly unethical.

  74. 74
    PatrickG

    @ barfy: The answer could easily also be that PZ is dismayed by anger — valid or not — interfering with rational communication, but explicitly stating that he did not want to tone troll, because the anger is important too. You know, like he said in his post. Did you read it?

    By the way, when did “twice” become the threshold for pattern detection? I always thought it was three times that indicated enemy action. Twice is still coincidence.

    Also: Dude, you are such an idiot.

  75. 75
    Inaji

    SallyStrange:

    I thought some people crossed the line in reading her comments about how she, as a conference organizer, would deal with complaints and why she prefers people not tweet about them as meaning that she fully endorses covering up harassment complaints rather than dealing with them, as being obvious exaggerations and extremely hurtful to her.

    I was one of those people. I was not exaggerating, however, but working off of incomplete information. After *Stacy* provided the missing information, I immediately apologized, which was apparently pointless, as that has been completely ignored.

  76. 76
    LeftSidePositive

    SallyStrange,

    I thought some people crossed the line in reading her comments about how she, as a conference organizer, would deal with complaints and why she prefers people not tweet about them

    She doesn’t get to feel entitled to people going to her. She is not entitled to have a “preference” about how other people communicate their problems. No one is, because that is a violation of that individual’s agency and boundaries. She seriously doesn’t get that having a harassment policy does not mean she, the conference organizer, owns the harassee’s reaction to harassment. If she wants people to go to her, it is entirely incumbent on her to have such a thorough, well-publicized harassment policy and approachable staff that they will WANT to go through the conference. She is NOT entitled to shame people when they choose not to.

    Moreover, casual sexism is a systemic problem that goes beyond any one conference, so even if your harassment policy and your staff are totally perfect, people have real needs for awareness-raising and holding colleagues accountable that go beyond your conference, and they have the right to take these public issues public, instead of or in addition to involving your conference.

    as meaning that she fully endorses covering up harassment complaints rather than dealing with them, as being obvious exaggerations and extremely hurtful to her.

    But they weren’t obvious exaggerations of what she actually said. She shared a story in which getting a woman to retract her harassment claim was presented as a success. She said that woman going public would cause “irrevocable damage.” If she realized she gave off implications she didn’t intend, she could have apologized and rephrased. If all she meant was that it was a misunderstanding that was cleared up, she could have just clarified. But she didn’t do that, even though it was abundantly clear that’s what people took her to mean, and criticized her for a completely contextually-valid interpretation of what she said. The fact that she felt bad about being criticized is irrelevant. Criticism isn’t supposed to feel nice, but her feeling hurt doesn’t excuse the fact that people were entirely fair in what she said, and criticized the plainest interpretation (that she didn’t bother to correct, thus validating it).

  77. 77
    SallyStrange

    But they weren’t obvious exaggerations of what she actually said. She shared a story in which getting a woman to retract her harassment claim was presented as a success. She said that woman going public would cause “irrevocable damage.” If she realized she gave off implications she didn’t intend, she could have apologized and rephrased. If all she meant was that it was a misunderstanding that was cleared up, she could have just clarified. But she didn’t do that, even though it was abundantly clear that’s what people took her to mean, and criticized her for a completely contextually-valid interpretation of what she said. The fact that she felt bad about being criticized is irrelevant. Criticism isn’t supposed to feel nice, but her feeling hurt doesn’t excuse the fact that people were entirely fair in what she said, and criticized the plainest interpretation (that she didn’t bother to correct, thus validating it).

    You’re right. It seemed obvious to me at the time, but that’s because I had context and information that was not available in that thread. Caine, for example, didn’t have that information. Even with that information, I still found it baffling why she would think it was appropriate to insert that commentary into a discussion that really was centered around yet another iteration of the online anti-feminist backlash.

  78. 78
    barfy

    PatrickG @74

    Thanks for the link to the Moscow Rules. Never saw them before.

    PZ can’t just declare that he’s not tone-trolling, when that’s exactly what he did. He’s not God, after all. Wait, maybe to you he is. Nah. He’s not.

    You do realize you’re quoting from Goldfinger about coincidences? If this is a commonly held internet trope, it doesn’t make it right.

    Another Moscow Rule: There is no limit to a human being’s ability to rationalize the truth. Welcome to the club.

    YOU’RE an idiot. So, like, there.

  79. 79
    Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts

    Fucking yawn.

  80. 80
    SallyStrange

    Barfy, you’re out of your element.

  81. 81
    myeck waters

    It’s just so cute when one of the angry obsessives thinks they have a “gotcha” to go after Myers with.

    Hope you enjoyed your little hoggle there, dude.

  82. 82
    Asher Kay

    Good god, focus on the content between the insults, there’s a lot there FFS.

    There *was* a lot there. I’d argue that name-calling makes it very difficult to focus on the content. If it is “useful” in any way, it’s as a signal that a good-faith argument is no longer possible. The name-caller is, in effect, saying, “I am continuing to argue with you, but I’m making clear that I do not accept that you are arguing in good faith”. If not that, then they are simply expressing anger.

    If you look at the name-calling on that thread (and others here), it’s mainly used as an accusation of bad faith (even most uses of “stupid” can be accurately translated as “willfully ignorant” or “rationalizing”). Maybe name-calling is useful in some other way that I’m not seeing. It seems to me that this is the real basis of EllenBeth’s complaint. She played a part in being misunderstood, given the context of the discussion.

    I got the feeling (during the thread) that EllenBeth might have been persuadable on the point of how she was looking at the “damage” of a public accusation. And her support for Best is only non-puzzling if you assume that she either A) didn’t read all his comments; or B) was more concerned about tone than content. Could she have been persuadable on that as well?

    It’s not my intention to be a “tone troll”. Everyone has their own style, and that’s fine by me. But I do think it’s useful to think about the pragmatic effects of things like tone and name-calling, especially if one of the goals of our discussions is to get people we disagree with to look at things differently.

  83. 83
    PZ Myers

    I’m usually entertained when someone tries to psychoanalyze me from a twisted perspective, but I have no idea what the hell barfy is talking about.

  84. 84
    kate_waters: Not Your Father's Oldsmobile.

    I notice that when she quoted me she didn’t quote any of the comments in which I explained, very carefully, why she was wrong, how she was doing more harm than good, or where I offered her some very useful advice on how she could do better. Nope, she only posted a small percentage of my comments without bothering to post what I was replying to, stripping my words of all context and making it seem she was being “attacked without provocation”.

    Yeah, she’s a beacon of rational thinking and reasonable discourse.

    Uh-huh.

    If you believe that I’ve got a hedge fund you’re going to want to invest in PRONTO!

  85. 85
    Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts

    It’s not my intention to be a “tone troll”.

    I’m not a tone troll, but…

    But I do think it’s useful to think about the pragmatic effects of things like tone and name-calling, especially if one of the goals of our discussions is to get people we disagree with to look at things differently.

    Why do you think this hasn’t been thought about already, and hashed out ad nauseam?

  86. 86
    PatrickG

    @ barfy: The comments about coincidence were meant to be read as derision, not argument. You funny, dood. I’ll try to make my scathing contempt for you more clear in future, since you’re unable to grasp these things.

    So. Away we go.

    You might note that tone trolling is a pretty well-understood term. You could google it. You’ll find such gems as this:

    A tone troll is an internet troll that will effectively disrupt an internet discussion, because they feel that some of the participants are being too harsh, condescending, or use foul language. They often complain loudly and target specific subjects, even though they may actually agree with their subjects’s [sic] point of view.

    In fact, it’s even locally defined here at the Pharyngula wiki:

    A tone troll is a serious-minded person who wants only to raise the level of discussion in the dire cesspits of the New Atheist web. Or, possibly, they’re a pompous blowhard who, lacking such frivolous accoutrements as an actual argument, attempts to distract attention from said deficit by complaining that their opposition uses dirty words and ought, really, to have some strict nanny figure—possibly Mary Poppins—to wash out their mouths with soap.

    Now, we can all agree that PZ is a pompous blowhard, surely*. However, it takes real chutzpah to also claim that he’s focusing on tone in order to distract attention from substantive content. Since he, y’know, addressed other issues than tone. Not to mention the rather obvious point: saying that while EBW might be right about disproportionate derision isn’t saying she was right, and furthermore, even if she was, outrageous derision is a useful tool not lightly discarded.

    Now, let’s examine this post in the context of looking for tone-trolling. First, note what he did not do:
    (1) attempt to shut down the conversation
    (2) avoid voicing opinion on the substantive matter at hand, namely EBW’s position in that thread
    (3) criticize participants solely on the basis of their being too mean

    To go even further, note what he did do:
    (1) acknowledge the valid feelings of the participants
    (2) provide an additional forum for discussion of the matter at hand
    (3) engage substantively with a post dealing with his blog and the commenters at his blog.

    If this constitutes tone-trolling to you, I respectfully suggest you’re full of shit.

    Let me be clearer, since you seem to lack cognitive skills. A comment about tone != tone trolling. There’s a bit more to it, cupcake.

    Oh, and more to the point, from your erudite reply:

    PZ can’t just declare that he’s not tone-trolling, when that’s exactly what he did.

    Fail, dood, fail. Do your lips move when you read?

    First, PZ has not, at this point, even made a statement on this subject. You made an assertion that he was tone-trolling, and now you’re pre-emptively rebutting his … lack of response? To save him time (how noble of me!), I’ll counter your idiocy by saying that if he chose to respond to you, he actually can deny this accusation. See argument above.

    Definitions. You can google them! They can be used to support argument! Advice for you, cupcake: it makes you look bad when you Heroically Battle the Fevered Products of Your Imagination.

    However, since we’re on the subject (and I think this was addressed above)…. The term does a fair job of describing what EBW did in her post. You know, focusing on the awful awful things people said, while conveniently eliding such information as:

    - what Matthew Best actually said, and her defense of such as rational
    - the absolutely inappropriate request for Caine’s real name, coupled with a threat of conference blacklisting
    - minimizing the fact that several people were actively defending her in the thread she decries
    - engaging in some rather pearl-clutching rhetoric herself

    That might well fit the definition of tone-trolling, though I don’t think EBW has intent to do such. Can’t really say, though, I’m not her.

    But y’know? The Adria Richards thread was awful. There were some truly vile trolls doing some truly vile shit — not least among them Matthew Best. A lot of people were very angry**. I think EBW has every right to feel hurt and angry. That does not, however, give her the right to misrepresent why people were so angry with her — at the very least by error of omission. After all, the thread is still there, for all to read.

    And finally, you’re most welcome for the helpful link explicating my cultural/historical reference.

    * This is axiomatic, right?

    ** Shit, I was quite active and in agreement with the PZ’s position, and one of my posts got misinterpreted, I was called a fucking idiot by two regulars, and so forth. So brutal! I wasn’t as clear as I could have been, and I got burned. It happens. Especially in a thread like that.

  87. 87
    PatrickG

    I’ve really got to start refreshing the page before I “barf” out responses like that.

    Damn you PZ, you pompous blowhard!

  88. 88
    PatrickG

    Oh good, my post is in moderation (fer links, I presume), so my insulting PZ is now wildly out of context.

    /runs from the banhammer

  89. 89
    Ichthyic

    barfy appears appropriately nymed.

  90. 90
    Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts

    I think dry-heave would be a more apt moniker. There is not a lot of substance coming out of this one.

  91. 91
    vaiyt

    Barfy comes into a thread where everyone is disagreeing with PZ to complain about the echo chamber.

    Hint, Barfy: it’s not you who decide who gets a Feminist Card.

  92. 92
    kate_waters: Not Your Father's Oldsmobile.

    From the comments section of her post:

    Well, interestingly enough, I am being totally maligned and lied about right now on Pharyngula and that could have an impact on my activist career.

    EllenBeth Wachs

    April 2, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    She’s just not getting it, is she?

  93. 93
    Asher Kay

    I’m not a tone troll, but…

    I don’t think I meet the definition here:
    http://pharyngula.wikia.com/wiki/Tone_troll

    Why do you think this hasn’t been thought about already, and hashed out ad nauseam?

    I don’t. In this particular thread, no-one mentioned how name-calling in particular might have affected EllenBeth’s reaction. PZ mentions the usefulness of “outrageous derision” without mentioning how it might have been useful in that particular case. I might be ignorant of previous discussions because I’m relatively new here. I’d definitely appreciate pointers to those discussions.

  94. 94
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    I have been keeping out of this thread even thought I have been trying to smooth out some misunderstandings (I am not the only one.) But I think I have some things to say before I bow out. (I am just a bit upset that people I like and have respect for are talking past each other.)

    Let it be known that EllenBeth is a person who does not see the point of invectives. (Let’s just say, she and I do not agree on that point.) And she stepped into the shit when she pointed out that Best’s calmness meant something. And in the process, appeared to be supporting the MRA argument that he was spewing. And she went in even deeper in the shit when she would not even consider what he was saying.

    And she has no excuse not knowing about Caine’s apology. I tweeted her a link to that just minutes after Caine issued it.

    But she does not deserve all of the shit that she has been getting from some of the people here. She is not a defender of MRA’s. Shit, fucking Abby Smith sent her slymie flying monkeys after her when EllenBeth was being harassed by a christianist sheriff. (Some atheist leader, ERV is.)

    And right now, a bunch of slymies and MRAs (AstroboyNJ is quite upfront about what he is.) are being very nice and support of her in her blog. But I doubt that she is falling for that smarmy crap.

    I guess I am saying that everyone needs to take a step back.

  95. 95
    kate_waters: Not Your Father's Oldsmobile.

    That’s an interesting point, Janine.

    I think, however, that since she’s decided to completely ignore everything but the bits she found personally offensive she ought to have at least taken the time to address the civil argument that were made. Something which she has not done and seems to have no intention of doing.

    If she thinks people are lying about her why doesn’t she, at the very least, point to those lies? If she feels she was misrepresented why didn’t she ever bother to clear up the mistakes she made in communicating her point? Why does she continue to ignore the very good points made to refute her assertions that she “knows how to handle harassment complaints”?

    And again I ask: Why is she more deserving of civility than anyone else who came here and said the things she said, or acted as she did?

  96. 96
    Groo

    Go Ellen. Don´t be Afraid of Internet Pundits

  97. 97
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    *tosses a shoe horn in Barfy’s direction to help remove the foot from the mouth*

  98. 98
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    82
    Asher Kay

    [1]I’d argue that name-calling makes it very difficult to focus on the content. [2]If it is “useful” in any way, it’s as a signal that a good-faith argument is no longer possible. The name-caller is, in effect, saying, “I am continuing to argue with you, but I’m making clear that I do not accept that you are arguing in good faith”. [3]If not that, then they are simply expressing anger.

    [1] Not for most people here and it’s usually just tone trolls who have that problem.
    [2] Not true. If you back up your opinions with evidence or recognize and apologize for terrible behavior, things will go smoothy here. There’s plenty of stories from regulars who’ve clashed with the Horde and felt the burn of our venom – they are still here and commenting without problems.
    [3] Nothing wrong with expressing anger.

    You did leave out an important reason: it signals that no bullshit is tolerated here. Things that are tolerated in other places that can be said civilly are repugnant, will find no safety here.

    I got the feeling (during the thread) that EllenBeth might have been persuadable on the point of how she was looking at the “damage” of a public accusation.

    There were plenty of nice comments to her, before her coming in, while she was there and after she left explaining things. She, like a typical tone troll, focused on the angry insulting comments instead. That’s her own failing not ours. Are you suggesting that everyone be censored to not say mean things so she could’ve focused on the content? Because that’s the only way tone trolls are satisfied and actually respond to the content. She’s not a special snowflake and if she needs nice hand holding treatment, she can go elsewhere.

    And her support for Best is only non-puzzling if you assume that she either A) didn’t read all his comments; or B) was more concerned about tone than content.

    A. then she should have and gave no indication that she didn’t. She certainly should have considering she decided to weigh in and should have taken a clue to read them all once she got the backlash for defending him.
    B. then she can go fuck herself for not caring about the offensive and harm he caused and being more concerned with our swear words.
    And she has the audacity so say we have the tunnel vision? *snort*
    Everything he said in that thread was wrong and she was wrong to defend him no matter the reasons.



    92
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    But she does not deserve all of the shit that she has been getting from some of the people here. She is not a defender of MRA’s.

    Except where she by all appearances defended an MRA on that thread. She still hasn’t clarified about it and yet we’re just supposed to overlook that fact and be all “But she does other good things and the Slymies hate her so we’ll let her slide”? She’s getting the same treatment anyone else would here.

    I guess I am saying that everyone needs to take a step back.

    I’ve looked through that thread again just now and still stand by what I said. I could have clarified and written clearer (like my sarcasm comment should read “It was..” instead of starting with “Sarcasm…” and dumbfuck should have been surrounded by commas) but my content, including the insults, I do not take back, or regret.
    —–
    ——
    —–
    And now she’s worried her actions and word might effect her activism? How? People finding that thread and reading her own words? That’s her own fault. There’s a few like me that plan to avoid her (and that’s my fucking right, I only have so many spoons) but there’s a lot of people here that are defending her and calling for nicer words towards her.

    I talked about people complaining about the people who plan to avoid her in the last thread and am insulted by the implication that we’re now out to get her.

    I was happily enjoying my life after the Richards threads died out and didn’t give a second thought to EllenBeth. I don’t have to actively avoid her because we don’t run in the same places. It was quite nice until this specific subject got brought back on the table. And now I’m made out to be a terrible abuser of the poor, misunderstood EllenBeth. Bleh. Fuck that noise. She will not get an apology from me because I’m not sorry for anything I’ve said.

    I fully expect to feel the weight of the Horde if I’m wrong about something, and that would cause me to really think and reflect on just what I’ve been saying/thinking. She’s instead chose to ignore everything else in that thread and turn it into tone trolling with “They were so mean to me just because I disagreed and called me names”.

  99. 99
    Asher Kay

    Are you suggesting that everyone be censored to not say mean things so she could’ve focused on the content?

    We haven’t got much of a basis for discussion if you disagree with [1]. But I do want to clarify that A) I didn’t suggest that expressing anger was bad – just that it fell outside pragmatic considerations; and B) I’m talking about name-calling specifically, not “saying mean things”. I have seen the pragmatic value of impolite discourse. There are regulars here (Caine springs to mind as a virtuoso) who I’ve seen bring someone up short and cause them to reconsider by employing what a tone-troll would consider impolite language.

    And I am *definitely* not suggesting anyone be censored, or that Pharyngula should be different than it is. I’m suggesting that EllenBeth may have reacted differently had she not been called names.

  100. 100
    John Morales

    Asher:

    It’s not my intention to be a “tone troll”. Everyone has their own style, and that’s fine by me. But I do think it’s useful to think about the pragmatic effects of things like tone and name-calling, especially if one of the goals of our discussions is to get people we disagree with to look at things differently.

    One pragmatic effect is that people tend reveal their disposition when confronted with such.

  101. 101
    docfreeride

    While I’m sympathetic to the notion that the pragmatics of dialogic engagement matter, this was a case of someone blundering into a conversation already well underway and expecting (or so it seemed) that people’s manner of engagement would be adjusted, on the spot, to her needs. In that situation, verbal clues that people were feeling angry provided some valuable context that EBW might have had pragmatic reasons to investigate to be sure she was getting her point across to its intended audience.

    Of course, the not-backing-down-an-inch stance is kind of communicating something, too. Pragmatically, she might consider investigating what it’s communicating and ponder whether it’s the message she means to be sending.

  102. 102
    John Morales

    Asher:

    And I am *definitely* not suggesting anyone be censored, or that Pharyngula should be different than it is. I’m suggesting that EllenBeth may have reacted differently had she not been called names.

    And there you go. :)

  103. 103
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    97
    Asher Kay

    A) I didn’t suggest that expressing anger was bad – just that it fell outside pragmatic considerations;

    Your “pragmatic considerations” in this context (based on your first comment) is convincing everyone to our side of the argument. Except one problem here is I don’t give a shit about trying to convert everyone and two, everyone responds differently.

    There are people who are convinced by the harsh way the Horde has come down on them. How are we supposed to know who needs needs special nice treatment and those who need the vitriol to get it through their thick skulls? Wouldn’t that just lead to people complaining about the different treatment for different people?

    There’s no way to actually follow your advice, except for censoring the name calling which would fundamentally change the commenting community here. Wouldn’t it just be smarter for the people who don’t like invectives like EllenBeth to choose the millions of other blogs where civility is valued over content, instead of changing one of the few rude blogs? It’s a feature not a bug here, and I like being able to call an asshole an asshole. She was being an asshole.

    B) I’m talking about name-calling specifically, not “saying mean things”.

    I meant name calling when I said mean things since she, you and the regulars defending her are talking about what we called her.

    And I am *definitely* not suggesting anyone be censored, or that Pharyngula should be different than it is.

    And I’m taking your complaint/considerations/position to the logical conclusion of how it work work if we actually followed such advice.

    I’m suggesting that EllenBeth may have reacted differently had she not been called names.

    Yeah, and? I don’t think anyone has denied that and honestly, it really doesn’t fucking matter. She’s just another asshole on a thread to me and I treated her based on what she said there. That’s it. She’s not a special snowflake that just because she’s friends with my friends here doesn’t mean I’m going to be nicer to her when she acts like she did on that thread.

    Funny how for a so-called an in-group mob rule tribal echo chamber, there’s a lot of disagreement here.

  104. 104
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    Correction: Me at #103

    I’m going to be nicer to her when she is wrong and acts like she did on that thread.

    The fact she was wrong can’t be forgotten while we talk about how we called her mean things. We told her she was wrong and why with insults added because she was being a dense asshole and frustrating the fuck out of people.

  105. 105
    kate_waters: Not Your Father's Oldsmobile.

    #104, JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    The fact she was wrong can’t be forgotten while we talk about how we called her mean things. We told her she was wrong and why with insults added because she was being a dense asshole and frustrating the fuck out of people.

    This. This right here. There were plenty of responses with plenty of content. I notice not a single one of them made it to her post. Not one.

    She was terribly wrong. The people commenting over at her blog haven’t seemed too interested in what she said, or any of the responses which were made which did not include insults, but are more interested in simply writing some of us off as being “worse than the slymepit”. EBW, herself, is not interested in the substance of any of the comments of that thread. She cares only about how things look, and how she can spin every damn situation she involves herself in so that she appears to be the brave heroine.

    I’m tiring of her rather quickly. I had had reservations, at times, about her motivations for various dramas in which she was embroiled before this incident, but I had assumed she was telling the truth about these incidents. I have, however, started to think that perhaps she might not be as much of a “poor put-upon” as she has claimed.

    That sucks. It really sucks. She’s been the target of harassment by assholes in the past and I’d like to think that I wouldn’t let “one slip” colour my view of those situations, but I’m finding it hard to simply take her at her word anymore.

    So what to do? Do I unequivocally support her in her other battles or do I look at how she’s trying to “spin” this particular incident and take that as an indication that most of the incidents she relates are also “spun” to benefit her while she is completely ignoring reality?

    Bah.

  106. 106
    Asher Kay

    @JAL

    Except one problem here is I don’t give a shit about trying to convert everyone

    As I said, I don’t think we have a basis for a discussion.

    There’s no way to actually follow your advice, except for censoring the name calling

    If you mean self-censoring, I agree.

    which would fundamentally change the commenting community here.

    I’m not convinced of that. It seems to me that name-calling is a different kind of thing than being impolite, or making clear one’s disrespect for an argument. But maybe I’m wrong. I’ve never been part of a community that both forcefully defends name-calling and at the same time tries to be careful not to be ableist, sexist, etc. when engaging in name-calling. That this seems a little ironic to me might simply indicate my own lack of understanding.

    The fact she was wrong can’t be forgotten while we talk about how we called her mean things.

    Yes. And for that reason I am going to stop talking about it.

  107. 107
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    106
    Asher Kay

    If you mean self-censoring, I agree.

    Then I’d be gone because there is no way I’m going to self-censor and not call (for example) a rape apologist a rape apologist.

    I’m not convinced of that. It seems to me that name-calling is a different kind of thing than being impolite, or making clear one’s disrespect for an argument.

    Calling someone a rape apologist is taken as a horrible insult to that person, even when they are clearly doing just that. Why shouldn’t I call that person a fucking asshole? Why should I self-censor here when I have to do that in every other place? Civility has been and continues to be helpful for keeping the status quo and those in control. Vile shit like Best’s comments in the Richards threads are often allowed because there’s no cussing or insults but what he said is FAR more vile and repugnant. I will happily, and proudly call out that douchenozzle. Yet I’m the bad commenter for the way I called him and his supporters? Fuck that nonsense. Talk about focusing on tone instead of content. I’d honestly be really fucking happy if he never comes back to spew that bullshit again.

    I’ve never been part of a community that both forcefully defends name-calling and at the same time tries to be careful not to be ableist, sexist, etc. when engaging in name-calling. That this seems a little ironic to me might simply indicate my own lack of understanding.,

    Uh, yeah I don’t think you get it. It has to deal with splash damage. We insult the person based on what they are saying – it’s the only way to gauge what a person is. We can’t “see what’s in their heart of hearts” and intent is pointless when their actual words and actions show them to be an asshole.

    It’s in the commenting rules.

    No splash damage. I have no problem with insults (except, not in the Lounge!), and encourage everyone to use vigorous and creative language. Except…I insist that you be precise and focused. Stilettos, not shotguns. There are classes of insults that rely on broad spectrum stereotypes to be insulting: racist, sexist, ableist, ageist slurs don’t just hit your target, they hit everyone in that group. So when you slam Joe Schmoe for being “old”, you’re also slamming me, and we old people get tetchy and cranky about that sort of thing.

    (Asher Kay)

    Yes. And for that reason I am going to stop talking about it.

    Okay. Got it. This it’ll be the last to you on it, just wanted to clarify first.

  108. 108
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    She still doesn’t understand how her “presumption of innocence until proven guilty in court” must look like to the many and many rape survivors here who never saw justice.

    QFT.

    She doesn’t even seem to understand what the presumption of innocence is or how and why it functions. Which is, may I say, just bizarre for a lawyer. The PoI is for the person **judging** the innocence.

    For EB, it applies to the eyewitnesses.

    Cop: And whom did you see shoot you and flee with your money?

    Victim & Witness: Well, my husband, actually recent ex, and I were alone together when i thought that I saw him pull out a gun and scream at me for taking all his money in the divorce just before I felt an impact here, the spot of the hole whence doctors so recently pulled a bullet matching the caliber of his gun, but I wouldn’t assume that I’ve been shot and robbed by anyone at this point.

    Prosecutor: And whom did you see shoot you and flee with your money?

    Victim & Witness: Well, I’m hoping the result of this trial will be able to tell me.

    TV Personality: And whom did you see shoot you and flee with your money?

    Victim & Witness: I can at last reveal that the recent defendant, my ex-husband to whom I was married for 24 years, was not that person. I will continue to not know unless and until charges are successfully brought.

    TV Personality: Do you have any regrets?

    Victim & Witness: Well, yes, I regret that I ever said anything that might be construed in any way as an accusation against anyone. Clearly we are all innocent until proven guilty and I just want to caution anyone who thinks that someone might be talking to them or riding a bike in their vicinity or beating them repeatedly over the course of 24 years: please, please, please don’t say anything. You could be wrong. Because of the untrustworthiness of your inner ability to perceive what is actually happening around you, we have this thing called the Presumption of Innocence.

    So don’t ever make an accusation until that accusation is proven, okay?

  109. 109
    Asher Kay

    @JAL

    there is no way I’m going to self-censor and not call (for example) a rape apologist a rape apologist.

    Just to prevent being seen as a *complete* ass, I want to make sure you know that I had “fucking asshole” in mind, not “rape apologist”. Calling someone a rape apologist, to me, is almost self-evidently useful (if it’s accurate, obviously).

    Okay, out.

  110. 110
    LeftSidePositive

    Asher, rape apologists are fucking assholes, and there’s not a damn thing wrong with telling them so.

    You can even hybridize it, like “fucking rape apologist asshole.” And it’s very useful to communicate social censure and chip away at their unthinking privilege.

  111. 111
    arbor

    EllenBeth Wachs was treated far more nicely here than she deserved to be.

    I’d never heard of her before she started posting in that thread.

    Her attitude and behavior in that thread was despicable.

    I don’t give a damn what she has done before that thread or since it – she is not someone that I want know or whose writing I want to read.

    She is unworthy of my association.

    PZ – you’ve described her as a friend. You need better friends.

  112. 112
    mildlymagnificent

    EBW can at least be grateful she’s an atheist.

    She apparently thinks that Matthew Best’s civilly worded and “rational” sounding contributions should be respected for those virtues alone. She’d be like a lamb to the slaughter in the face of some of those respectable churchgoing women I used to know, with mouths that never once formed a single rude word, oozing their oh so polite venom if ever she crossed one of them.

    Respecting form over content sometimes works for poetry. Not too many other places I can think of.

  113. 113
    SallyStrange

    Matthew Best wasn’t even civil. It took him about 4 posts to go for using “retard” as an insult, and he persisted after being told it wasn’t acceptable around here.

  114. 114
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    This comment about the PoI has been summarily dismissed by EB.

    I honestly don’t know where she gets that I think I know more about her than she knows about herself of that I’m not taking the time to engage her arguments. It would be surreal if defensiveness didn’t so commonly frustrate dialog.

  115. 115
    mildlymagnificent

    SallyStrange. MB not actually civil. Yeah, I know. I was just trying on EBW’s perception for size.

    As far as I can tell, there’s no known geometry that her particular approach would fit.

  116. 116
    zhuge, le homme blanc qui ne sait rien mais voudrait

    Ack so I got rather upset earlier and maybe went a little far. But I think I see a bit more why.

    First, Ellen talks about reevaluateing the deep rifts, and now she let’s her post be infested with slimrrs. This not only makes it difficult for the people she is addressing to talk with her but lends credit to those who deserve none.

    Yet everyone keeps saying she is not going to join them.

    Then why does she keep coddling them? Why doesn’t she post here or respond to our posts there. And why in the Fuck hasn’t she apologized to Caine, yesterday.

  117. 117
    sonofrojblake

    @throwaway, post 52:

    (I’d said “offended”)

    I think you’re understating this. She was justifiably* offended, you might say.

    Well, yes, but I had already made clear that I considered her taking offence as being entirely justified. Possibly you missed that bit, I only said it two or three times.

    But then, gosh, that would be actually acknowledging the men did something wrong. Can’t have that, no, no…

    Huh? Now you’re just talking to someone else, right? Because I really didn’t ever say, imply or think that. Quite the opposite, in fact, I made it very, very clear, repeatedly, that I considered it entirely justifiable for Ms. Richards to report these guys to the Pycon organisers, AND, in the event she judged their response to her complaint inadequate, that I think it would have been fine to tweet the picture of the guys to her ten thousand closest friends, perhaps with a little additional condemnation of Pycon for not following their own harassment policy.

    My only issue here is that she never gave the conference organisers the opportunity to satisfy her that her complaint had been properly dealt with before broadcasting a photo. And then, it seems, they did indeed deal with the problem to her satisfaction… but by then it was too late.

    The onus must be on the one being offended to grow a thicker skin, what. Take all the abuse someone has to give, what.

    Ah, this is that tactic I see from creationists. What’s it called again, straw man? I prefer to call it “making shit up”.

    Not once, not even once, have I suggested anyone needed to grow a thicker skin, or take any abuse at all without complaint. But that doesn’t fit your narrative either, does it? Adria Richards was right to complain to Pycon. And if her complaint had been handled other than according to Pycon’s policies, she’d have been absolutely right to escalate, by tweeting the picture.

    She escalated first. That was what she did wrong, and that was ALL she did wrong. You disagree? Fine. You say I’m saying she should grow a thicker skin or that she shouldn’t have complained at all? You’re just making shit up. Why would you do that? (Creationists usually do it because they’ve lost the argument and they know it…)

  118. 118
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Seriously? She’s still fucking digging her hole deeper?

    Sorry, but she fucked up. It happens. We all grow up in the toxic swamp that is our general culture and its values towards women. Even her, even me. Sometimes we say something fucked up or we believe something patently false. It happens. She did both and she did both in a space where people were less likely than usual to give her much slack.

    I’m sorry she’s in a bad head space. I’m sorry she feels that people attacking her bad opinions were attacks against her personally. I’m sorry that she’s gotten so invested in keeping her little corner of atheist conferencing alive that she’s forgotten how to fully empathize with the user experience of female convention goers. I’m sorry that she chose to fuck up then and has now chosen to continue doubling down on said fuck up and allow it to make her consistently worse.

    But that’s just it. We all can fuck up. But we can all stop fucking up. I’ve done it before and when I’ve done it and I’ve been called out for it, sometimes I’ve been in bad spaces. Sometimes the calling out itself is related to a particular trauma trigger. Sometimes I don’t quite see what the calling out was about initially. Sometimes I don’t even agree.

    But I’ve always been grateful for it. It helps me see blind spots I didn’t know were there. Learned behaviors I can watch out for. Triggers to be aware of. Each time it has helped me be a better person whose actions are more conscious and deliberate.

    She has decided in this particular circumstance that she cannot do that with this. That is sad. But if she chooses not to come back to this particular community, oh well, I will not really shed a tear, not every place is a good fit to every one in every head space.

    But I will say this. No matter how poorly we felt about her actions here, we will not stalk her across the internet. We will not trade in manufactured hatreds about her. I doubt we will even really think about her unless she is the subject of a post trying to defend her actions like now. And even though we disagree strongly, we are willing to double check our own actions and see if they were wrong or abusive.

    And I think those choices on our parts help us grow in our paths in our communities, in our head spaces.

    And we really can’t ask for much more than that.

  119. 119
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    LeftSidePositive @68

    And another thing… assuming the duck penis issue was in fact the one she talked someone out of reporting: imagine if someone publicly tweeted “I feel uncomfortable when Darrel Ray talks about duck penises.” Would that cause “irrevocable damage,” EllenBeth?! Wouldn’t it just result in a bunch of people tweeting “Well, I don’t.”

    Huh.

    That’s a really good point.

    If she had tweeted this opinion and oh noes, later on felt like it was stupid, then that poor woman would have… said something stupid on the internet. Absent some MRA abusive fuckwads (which wouldn’t at all be her fault ever) deciding she was stalk worthy based on saying that something she later felt was stupid, she would say the thing she later felt was stupid. Some other people would say, hmm, I disagree. Others might say “that’s stupid”. If she felt later it was stupid, she’d later feel a bit silly.

    Hardly, “irreparable damage” that she was wise to keep in house lest CONSEQUENCES like EBW tried to make it seem.

    Which makes her bringing up the story in the first place still goddamn bizarre at best and honestly a bit unconsciously, unintentionally off and red flaggy to say the least.

    Which might be one of the many reasons that a good number of us at the time and without that specific information felt a lot of red flags being raised in what she was describing as a “good con response to a harassment complaint”.

    Oh speaking of that, I notice that I managed to be an invisible pixel to her yet again in her “evil Pharyngulites killed my cyber puppy” post. I guess my comments about how triggering and problematic her actions were just weren’t “evil” enough to dignify with acknowledgment?

  120. 120
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Asher @82

    You’re right. If only we had been even more civil in response to the guided, intentional harassment campaign surrounding any and all positive discussions of the harassment campaign made against Adria Richards then we could have swayed those poor gentle on the fence souls who just needed a strong guiding hand and a welcoming cup of coffee to suddenly realize that women are people and harassing them for daring to notice that sexism exists is fucking odious.

    Cause, right, it’s always on women and other minority members to do that, right? To politely accept harassment and cultural hatred, the active rejection of their humanity and the protection of institutions and “decorum” above their humanity and to actively have to fight for even a seat at the table discussing why they aren’t allowed at the REAL table. To be meek and mild and oh so polite and understanding to people perpetuating these systems of abuse because “gosh, gee whilikers Fred, it’s not like they mean to be so unintentionally cruel”.

    And of course, only gentle hand-holding where the well-meaning person is led over like a frightened doe works in shaking a person out of learned hatreds and ignorance.

    Calling someone out brutally, sharing the raw pain that oppression causes, explaining in no uncertain terms why certain actions are repetitive, harmful, hurtful, or based in unconscious bigotries or internalized assumptions NEVER EVER wakes up someone, is never part of the suite of interactions that help someone shake out of things they’ve never had to examine. Nor does it ever give strength to the many more who are encouraged socially to be silent about what they’ve experienced and standing up for their own rights to be treated as human beings.

    Oh wait, no.

    Cause see, what happened in those Adria Richards threads was a harassment campaign. One designed to try and make women who recognize sexism and are moved to call it out publicly feel alone, at risk, and surrounded by people who hate them. That’s why the threads were never ending. That’s why the conversations were so triggering. That’s why the interactions felt like a struggle for one’s very survival.

    There were many knocked out of those conversations by the unyielding struggle and the pain that caused. I was one of them. On that thread, surrounded by the Sisyphean task, I felt frightened and triggered and I still tremble a little at what I’ll risk if I continue standing up against the discrimination being waged against me at my workplace. But apparently that doesn’t matter as much as whether or not we offended the sensibilities of someone who doubled down on a lot of dumb, hurtful, and red-flaggy behavior because the very act on calling her out on standing up for institutions and harassers over the women affected confronted an unconscious and probably unintentional blind spot for her.

    I’m sorry to come to this point, but fuck her and fuck everyone else on the wrong side of those threads*. That you didn’t notice what was going on and what you were a part of is part of a much bigger problem that is the exact reason why atheism and geekdom in general are seen as such hostile male-dominated spaces.

  121. 121
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Asher @99

    I’m suggesting that EllenBeth may have reacted differently had she not been called names.

    You know what’s funny about this?

    I actually did try to be extra civil to her and state why her position was deeply problematic in ways that were not only kind and understanding, but overly so, bending over backwards to good intentions I could only guess at. My comments were universally ignored.

    Other members apologized for misunderstandings or re-entered with a clear head and were more thorough in their explanation of their problems with her positions. These comments were universally ignored.

    So for better or worse, the “invective comments” stuck. Those “ruder” versions of tackling the same issue are actually being considered after the fact and given some weight. She’s trying to self-justify her positions through the lenses of those “harsh statements”. As far as best success in getting through the inappropriateness of various behaviors, unconscious viewpoints, and unfortunate defenses “pragmatically speaking”, the “rude” comments had the best success in either revealing her actual loyalties or making her think about her blind spots.

    Now, of course rudeness is not “pragmatically” better, but it’s worth noting that “civil” arguments from minority members are often ignored in favor of things that defenders of status-quo positions can use to feel “justified” in fighting back against. Those cutting remarks often cut through a social haze where people naturally tend to show undue respect to status-quo supporting statements, even if they are harmful to outside group members.

    In short, sometimes, it serves a purpose to be a little rude when someone is unintentionally or intentionally perpetuating a dehumanizing argument against one’s oppressed group.

  122. 122
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    kate waters @105

    I don’t want to tell you what to do, but I would probably check that impulse.

    There’s absolutely NO reason to suspect that she is making up the harassment she faced and that line of thinking is a bit dangerously close to general social assumptions about women making up trauma.

    What EBW did was a specific fuck-up about a specific blind spot in which she has a specific known background, series of concerns (worries about keeping atheist conferences continuing on in the deep south), and institutional allegiances that might have colored her perceptions and natural empathy.

    It does not reflect on her overall character or her likelihood to lie about important and painful life experiences.

    Sometimes people fuck up. Sometimes people double down on their fuck-ups because of various factors that make it more difficult to focus on the issue in question or the places other people are coming from. EBW is doing that now and it’s making her make a continued ass of herself on this ONE specific issue.

    That’s no excuse to fuck up in turn as a “retaliation”.

  123. 123
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    sonofrojblake @117

    Would you kindly jump in a shallow pool of icy cold water, you disingenuous harassment campaign rehashing pile of unfortunately discarded remains?

    There were well over 2000 posts over 3 threads on this shit (when I abandoned it in disgust, who knows how bad it got before it finally ended), for all your little buddies to trade in that “I suddenly have a problem with something no one really considered an issue until we needed something ANYTHING to blame Adria Richards for in this whole affair” bullshit. So what you’re selling? We’ve heard it, we’ve suffered through the endless harassing intentionally draining ways you fuckers rehashed it over and over and over again and we’re done. Finito. Fin.

    No, she really didn’t do fuck all wrong by tweeting it. It was a fucking tweet. People wanting to excuse their harassment campaigns or think better of geek culture tried to argue later it was an escalation in a war. They think that because they think a woman who dares notice and call out publicly an act of sexism DESERVES to be met with harassment, illegal firings, discrimination, rape threats, death threats, and attempts to make her a terrorist example to keep the rest of the female population in line.

    They need to think that, because to do otherwise would be to have to admit that they’ve supported an act of terrorism, because they were scared that they might eventually have to suffer the indignity of being called out for bad behavior and having sexism treated socially with a fraction of the amount of pushback that calling out bigotry and discrimination is. Because otherwise they… you would see the monsters they have willingly become.

    And frankly I’m fucking tired of every single thread about Adria Richards being turned into your personal cross-burnings.

    So in short, go fuck yourself right out of here and back to the MRA slymepit from whence you came.

  124. 124
    sonofrojblake

    Would you kindly jump in a shallow pool of icy cold water, you disingenuous harassment campaign rehashing pile of unfortunately discarded remains?

    Nope.

    No, she really didn’t do fuck all wrong by tweeting it.

    That is exactly what I said.

    It was a fucking tweet.

    Because those can never be misjudged or have consequences. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9885381/Lord-McAlpine-to-sue-Sally-Bercow-as-he-drops-other-Twitter-claims.html

    People wanting to excuse their harassment campaigns or think better of geek culture tried to argue later it was an escalation in a war.

    Then they’re idiots. It would have been an “escalation” if she’d complained, been unhappy with the outcome of her complaint, then tweeted. And that would have been entirely justifiable and 100% the right thing to do. That ain’t what she did.

    … they think a woman [...] DESERVES to be met with harassment[etc.]

    We’re back to the “making shit up” that creationists do. ‘You believe in science, Hitler believed in science, therefore you must support genocide against Jews’. It’s a great argument you’re building.

    I’ve made clear, repeatedly, that we agree in every single respect except one. We agree that the jokes were wrong, that complaining was right, that the harrassment and threats and firings etc. were unjustifiable and shitty and sexist and reprehensible, we agree on every level about every single important factor of the event. Except one – the justifiability of tweeting the picture before giving Pycon the chance to enforce their anti-harrassment policies to Ms. Richards’ satisfaction. And for that single point of disagreement, I’m a cross-burning MRA? And you’re criticising others for over-reactions?

    I’m standing on a bridge. And I’m saying “”Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” And you’re saying “Die, heretic!”, and pushing me off.

  125. 125
    sonofrojblake

    Oh, and also:

    I’m fucking tired of every single thread about Adria Richards being turned into your personal cross-burnings

    I’m flattered. I’ve posted ooh, six, seven times, total? I must be truly incredibly influential if across several threads and so many thousands upon thousands of posts, by dozens or hundreds of people, my few trivial interjections on one small point have turned EVERY SINGLE THREAD into my personal cross-burning (?). I had no idea I was so important.

    I find this level of intolerance of even the slightest deviation from an approved opinion to be depressing.

  126. 126
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Oh sorry, did I stutter, I meant to say GO FUCK YOURSELF YOU DISINGENUOUS PILE OF SHIT.

    Cause, see, yeah, no fucking patience anymore for your “slightest deviation from an approved opinion”, “I’m just one guy new to posting so FUCK CONTEXT”, “you’re just making shit up because I can’t be bothered to actually look up the many MANY assholes who’ve come through her who’ve been deliberately saying exactly that and hey, we all know bitches be liars, right?” POSER HORSESHIT!

    I know you’re being a bad faith asshole. You know you’re being a bad faith asshole. So kindly just fuck the hell off. K, thanks BYE.

  127. 127
    Delft

    sonofrojblake@124

    I’m standing on a bridge. And I’m saying “”Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”

    No, you’re not. You may think you are, but you’re really not.
    In the local language, what you’re saying means: I will disembowel you and eat your children.

    I find this level of intolerance of even the slightest deviation from an approved opinion to be depressing.

    It’s not a “tiny deviation”. It’s a negation of the main tenor of what everyone else (except trolls) is saying. Which is this: in the context of what happened – sexist remarks, threats of rape and death against the person who called out the sexism (not the people who made the sexist remarks, mind you) – only a complete douchebag would insist on quibbling about Richards’ behaviour.

    Start reading here. Read the last paragraph of that comment at least three times.

  128. 128
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I find this level of intolerance of even the slightest deviation from an approved opinion to be depressing.

    And I find those who think their opinion trumps everybody else’s, including the evidence, to be rather egotistical. Let it drop.

  129. 129
    kate_waters: Not Your Father's Oldsmobile.

    Cerberus:
    You’ve misunderstood me, so please allow me to clarify:

    I am in no doubt that she is the recipient of some terrible harassment. It’s not right and I don’t support it. I don’t doubt her at all in regards to that.

    What I find harder to believe, though, is that she has been blameless in other “internet” fights in which she was involved. I am not saying she’s asked for the harassment, or is at all deserving of what has happened to her in that regard. Taking a “verbal” (or text) argument to those lengths is fucking reprehensible and indefensible. ALWAYS.

    (So don’t put words in my mouth or assume I wish her ill. That’s not cool, I never said such a thing and your implications of it are very insulting.)

    What I am saying, though, is that her current behaviour and the ways she chooses to express herself in regards to the “Adria Thread of Doom” and her subsequent postings has made me less likely to believe her story completely every time she gets in a debate, online argument, or kerfuffle.

    And that, in a nutshell, is what’s troubling me.

    I have seen more than one “drama” develop around EBW, and I’m inclined to think that the people saying she’s fucked up deserved more of my attention and a deeper look into the situation on my part.

    At the same time, I am struggling with the whole “no cookies for past good deeds” thing. I WANT to give EBW cookies for what she’s done, because she’s done quite a bit. I don’t, though, because it’s not fair to hold prominent members of the atheist community to a lesser standard than I would others. Then this crap happened and I find myself almost self-congratulatory for not doing so because, frankly, she’s fucked up so bad here and just keeps doubling down and fucking up more.

    This is what I’m talking about. Not retaliation. I’m talking about how I am disappointed in myself for wanting to trust people in the atheist movement to have my, and everyone’s, best interests at heart when deep down I know that most folks are just out for themselves.

    I suppose it’s just so much navel-gazing, though, so I’ll shut up now.

  130. 130
    roro80

    Perhaps I’m the only one, but I agree with PZ on this one. I totally and completely disagree with Ellenbeth’s point of view on the issue, but you guys really can be really fucking mean. In this case, there’s at least an argument to be made that it was deserved. But holy hell, sometimes it seems that at least some of the folks here just get off on being the most gigantic assholes possible, often when there’s not even an actual difference of opinion on anything of substance. It’s like asshole qua asshole. (Now let’s all collectively wonder aloud why oh why some people are turned off by movement atheism…)

  131. 131
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Roro80, your concern is noted. *floosh*

  132. 132
    ChasCPeterson

    case in point.

  133. 133
    Ze Madmax

    roro80 @ #130

    Now let’s all collectively wonder aloud why oh why some people are turned off by movement atheism…

    Because they’ve lived all their lives in a society in which religion and religiosity is seen as a mark of good character/trustworthiness, and (in the US) because religiosity is often conflated with being a proper/patriotic citizen.

    Unless you were suggesting that people are “turned off by movement atheism” because a few blogs like to call out bullshit when they see it. Which is in itself bullshit, because as far as I know, few people get “turned off” from Christianity because of Fred Phelps. Unless, of course, you have some evidence that shows that the tone used in certain blogs/organizations drive people away from movement atheism (as opposed to merely driving them away from that particular blog/organization.

  134. 134
    roro80

    @ Ze Madmax

    Unless, of course, you have some evidence that shows that the tone used in certain blogs/organizations drive people away from movement atheism (as opposed to merely driving them away from that particular blog/organization.

    I’m guessing you missed the whole thing a couple of weeks ago where PZ asked for suggestions to get more feminists and/or women involved in atheism, which provided roughly 17 metric fucktons of exactly that evidence?

  135. 135
    Anthony K

    Unless, of course, you have some evidence that shows that the tone used in certain blogs/organizations drive people away from movement atheism (as opposed to merely driving them away from that particular blog/organization.

    Really? Is it really so outrageous to assume that someone might find their first encounter with members of a group terribly unpleasant and write off that whole group as a result? Does that really need reams of evidence? Because this is some hyperskepticism bullshit right there.

    Clearly, if someone’s interest in a topic outweighs the negative experience of a particular subset of the community interested in that topic, they’ll seek out other venues. If not…

    How many people here were turned off from some particular sport because of a bad experience in gym class?

  136. 136
    roro80

    Would you like a link?

  137. 137
    roro80

    @ Anthony K

    Is it really so outrageous to assume that someone might find their first encounter with members of a group terribly unpleasant and write off that whole group as a result?

    Thanks Anthony, but a lot of us have tried over and over and over, with the same results. It’s not just this blog. It’s not just blogs.

  138. 138
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    case in point.

    Got that, Nerd? Why can’t you just condescend to female Horde members like the totally-cool-and-absolutely-NEVER-blatantly-assholish kids do? You’re a BAD PERSON who is creating DEEP RIFTS if you don’t do as your told by people who don’t run this blog!

  139. 139
    roro80

    @Chas #132

    Yup.

  140. 140
    roro80

    #138 I’m sorry Illuminata, who told anyone to do anything? I most certainly didn’t. Neither did Chas. Go on! Be assholes if you want! Enjoy the fuck out of it! But it does turn a lot of people away from places like thi, and movement atheism in general.

  141. 141
    chigau (違う)

    I was turned off all sport because of gym class.

  142. 142
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Clearly, if someone’s interest in a topic outweighs the negative experience of a particular subset of the community interested in that topic, they’ll seek out other venues. If not…

    if not they’ll go away. If their interest is so mild or vague, what contributions can really be expected from them?

    ++

    where PZ asked for suggestions to get more feminists and/or women involved in atheism, which provided roughly 17 metric fucktons of exactly that evidence?

    Certainly did! Given that, how do we fix it? I mean, a vague “be nicer” isn’t really an action plan.

  143. 143
    Argle Bargle

    roro80

    Your concern and tone trolling are noted.

  144. 144
    Ze Madmax

    roro80 @ #134

    I’ll admit I don’t recall that particular thread (or rather, I don’t recall the arguments presented in the comments). I guess I would have to revise my initial comment: I find it hard to believe that the tone of the discussion within one subgroup would be such a decisive point that it would determine whether or not a person decides to become involved in a movement. That is different than the content of the discussion, which definitely could, particularly in the example you provide (e.g., women who see similar expressions of sexism within an atheist group may be motivated to write off atheism as yet another “boys’ club”)

    I’ll run off to find that thread now

    Anthony K @ #135

    When it comes to something like atheism (organized or not), yes, I would argue that evidence is required regarding the idea that exposure to one subset of the group would turn someone off the greater group as a whole, particularly when there is a social set of norms that discourages association with said group.

    Granted, I’m making the assumption that if someone seeks out ‘movement atheism,’ their interest in the topic would be high enough to discourage writing off the entirety of atheism after one bad experience.

  145. 145
    R Johnston

    Perhaps I’m the only one, but I agree with PZ on this one. I totally and completely disagree with Ellenbeth’s point of view on the issue, but you guys really can be really fucking mean.

    Sometimes the truth hurts, and a skeptical movement that isn’t grounded in a deep and abiding respect for the truth isn’t worth a bucket of warm piss.

    The truth is that people who police how victims report harassment; people who think that women are too fucking stupid to work out that false and even true reports of harassment will lead to the reporting victim being brutally attacked much more often than they will result in any unjustified consequences to the accused; people who buy into nonsensical myths that false reports of the the type of harassment at issue in the Adria Richards case could, even if they existed, ruin the life of the accused; these people are irredeemable assholes. They are the enables and perpetrators of harassment. When conference organizers like EllenBeth Wachs police victims of harassment what they’re really saying is that they’re so worried that a public accusation might leave conference organizers in a position where organizers might embarrass themselves by doing the wrong thing that it’s better for victims to just hush up and take a flying leap.

    There is no epidemic of women making false accusations of men telling inappropriate jokes at professional conferences, and there is certainly no epidemic of unjustified harm to the accused from such accusation. What there is an epidemic of is conference administrators who don’t want to make public decisions that might be difficult and relieving their own insecurities by taking it out on victims of harassment at their conferences.

    Truth matters, and the truth is that whining about being mistreated when she’s been treated more than fairly is just one more thing EllenBeth Wachs has to apologize for.

  146. 146
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Chas, your concern is also noted. *floosh*

    *time to dig a new super efficient dry well for the tone troll excrement we are seeing*

  147. 147
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    who told anyone to do anything? who told anyone to do anything? I most certainly didn’t. Neither did Chas. Go on! Be assholes if you want! Enjoy the fuck out of it! But it does turn a lot of people away from places like thi, and movement atheism in general.

    It’s rather clear from your and Chas’ posts that you think the Horde needs to change. So, yes , you are telling the Horde to do . . .. something . .. I’m unclear on who we’re supposed to “be nicer” too, and why we’re suddenly supposed to accept responsibility for people being turned away from “movement atheism”.

    I’m all ears. (and that is not meant snarky) What, in your opinion roro80, should we be doing differently?

  148. 148
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Qu’est-ce que fuck?

    Um, women are mostly turned off because participating in many atheist spaces is often a knock down fight regarding one’s basic humanity, not because they looked and saw that atheist feminists were sometimes rude and used bad words.

    Skewing that to instead argue that the reason that women stay away from atheist society because they see the feminists there being unfeminine and arguing with “nastiness” and thus it’s the women who need to be more dainty and pleasant in order to appeal to more women is such an unbelievably twisted perversion of that that I’m having trouble believing that you came to that conclusion with any form of good faith deduction.

    But in a meta point, it is amazing how much certain cultures get invested in twisting and dictating allowed female interactions in certain spaces. All the investment in passive aggressive chiding of behavior and reinforcing cultural messages on how women are allowed to participate, full on recruitments of anyone who has a privilege fail simply to have a win, and the various other games and bad faith crap.

    These abuser tactics are incredibly well thought out and complex and suspiciously seem to crop up repeatedly with regards to pro-misogynist responses to female participation. It’s almost like part of the backlash is abusers who get off on trying to put women back into the roles they think they should belong to.

  149. 149
    Anthony K

    if not they’ll go away. If their interest is so mild or vague, what contributions can really be expected from them?

    Prolly contributions along the lines of whatever ones I make. I’m not ‘all in’ in this community. For years my interaction with the atheoskeptical sphere has been limited to snarking here (and that one and only time I attended TAM.) Since then I’ve expanded my interest to feminist-allied skepticoatheist blogs, but that’s the limit of my contributions.

    Communities aren’t just composed of the die-hard activists who will put up with anything. It’s just fucking silly to assume the only people worth having are that committed that they’ll associate with people they don’t like just because the cause is worth it.

    When it comes to something like atheism (organized or not), yes, I would argue that evidence is required regarding the idea that exposure to one subset of the group would turn someone off the greater group as a whole, particularly when there is a social set of norms that discourages association with said group.

    The US experience with being an atheist is not universal. It isn’t my experience.

    Granted, I’m making the assumption that if someone seeks out ‘movement atheism,’ their interest in the topic would be high enough to discourage writing off the entirety of atheism after one bad experience.

    Now there’s an assumption that requires evidence. That’s true for some, definitely not for all.

    I can speak from my experience, which is usually that the goal of activism in the way that activists pursue it isn’t worth having to hang out with activists.

    So, that makes me a dabbler, a dilettante, someone with just a little skin in the game. If that marginalises me, and those like me, so be it.

  150. 150
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Cerebus – we don’t know yet exactly who we need to be nicer to yet. I kinda doubt they’re asking the Horde to be nicer to bigots, though that’s just a guess.

  151. 151
    roro80

    #148

    Skewing that to instead argue that the reason that women stay away from atheist society because they see the feminists there being unfeminine and arguing with “nastiness” and thus it’s the women who need to be more dainty and pleasant in order to appeal to more women is such an unbelievably twisted perversion of that that I’m having trouble believing that you came to that conclusion with any form of good faith deduction.

    You are having trouble believing that because I did not come to that conclusion. I’m having trouble you’re engaging in good faith seeing as you are now making up conclusions I supposedly came to out of thin air. So we’re both having trouble here.

  152. 152
    Anthony K

    Just to clarify, I’m not arguing that the Horde needs to be nicer. Not only do I not think that, but it would be completely hypocritical of me to claim so. I am, in roro80′s phrasing, an asshole qua asshole, and that’s why this place has been a home for me for so long. I don’t get along with that many other movement atheist communities. I don’t fit in with them. If I hadn’t found Pharyngula around the same time I found the JREF, I would likely have bailed.

    But the claim that it doesn’t turn off some people is blatantly wrong.

    (And largely, if I’ve learned anything from this community at all, it’s that the people here are making the assumption—and well-founded, in my estimation—that then benefits of being the kind of assholes we are outweighs the detriments of the alienation that undoubtedly happens as a result.)

  153. 153
    roro80

    @ Illuminata

    It’s rather clear from your and Chas’ posts that you think the Horde needs to change. So, yes , you are telling the Horde to do . . .. something

    Nope, merely pointing out cause and effect.

    A pretty concrete action plan was put together on the posts you said you read. I could look them up and link them if you’d like.

  154. 154
    roro80

    Please note that asshole qua asshole is different than shutting down bigots, or asshole qua truth.

  155. 155
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    Well roro, like many people said, perhaps to better help everyone out of trouble here you could clarify your communication and state exactly *what it is* that you actually mean and what conclusion you actual want to convey?

  156. 156
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Communities aren’t just composed of the die-hard activists who will put up with anything. It’s just fucking silly to assume the only people worth having are that committed that they’ll associate with people they don’t like just because the cause is worth it.

    The ‘deep rift’ specifically about not being around “people [we] don’t like just because the cause is worth it.”

    There’s absolutely no disagreement on that point – I’m not suggesting that you have to be 100% in and 100% on all the time to be “part of the movement”. Fuck – even blog lurkers are “part of the movement”, in the sense that reading and absorbing (presumably) is participation. (as you might recall, lurkers are my main reason to rejecting the “ignore the trolls” position).

    I’m just not seeing the connection to what you’re saying and “be nicer” to undefined persons.

  157. 157
    roro80

    If their interest is so mild or vague, what contributions can really be expected from them?

    Oh yes, not wanting to daily face a barage of self-indulgent assholery just means some people don’t really care much about being an atheist. C’mon.

  158. 158
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    Roro, you say that

    asshole qua asshole is different than shutting down bigots, or asshole qua truth

    , yet you disapprove of how EBW was treated.

    Do you think she was not being an asshole, or what?

  159. 159
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Nope, merely pointing out cause and effect.

    Which is utterly pointless unless you want change.

    A pretty concrete action plan was put together on the posts you said you read.

    what thread did I say I read? Are you talking about the “PZ asks for suggestions” thread? No need to post links, I’ll go back and read from where I left off.

  160. 160
    roro80

    #155 — Just exactly what I said in my original post. Commenters here can be really mean and dismissive for seemingly no reason than that they enjoy it. So: fine, go do that. I’m not actually telling anyone to change. But it is really kind of amusing how there’s a periodic collective questioning of why some people are turned off the movement. That’s it. That’s the long and short of it.

  161. 161
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    Commenters here can be really mean and dismissive for seemingly no reason than that they enjoy it

    Once again, I’m going to ask if this is what you think happened to EBW. Because that’s not what actually happened.

  162. 162
    Asher Kay

    @Cerberus

    You’re right. If only we had been even more civil in response to the guided, intentional harassment campaign surrounding any and all positive discussions of the harassment campaign made against Adria Richards then we could have swayed those poor gentle on the fence souls who just needed a strong guiding hand and a welcoming cup of coffee to suddenly realize that women are people and harassing them for daring to notice that sexism exists is fucking odious.

    Cause, right, it’s always on women and other minority members to do that, right? To politely accept harassment and cultural hatred

    I wasn’t arguing for civility, and I wasn’t saying that the onus was on anyone to accept harassment or even respond to Wachs in a particular way.

    I was there in the thread. I was mostly listening to voices like yours, but you’ll also see a few comments, all of which questioned why the focus was on what Richards did wrong.

    You’re right — several people tried to expain civily why her position was problematic, and she mostly ignored those comments, in favor of the ones that called her names. In the absence of those comments, what would she have focused on? Would she have simply stopped commenting? Wachs signaled pretty strongly that the language itself was derailing her (JAL even commented on it in #468). So I suspected (based on that, and based on her previous sympathies that several people pointed out) that she was unable to listen because of the names.

    I could be wrong about that. And I appreciate the information from you (and John Morales) about pragmatic uses of name-calling which I hadn’t considered.

    But I really feel like you’re putting words in my mouth. If what I said somehow leads to “it’s always on women” and “if only we had been even more civil”, I do not see how.

  163. 163
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Oh yes, not wanting to daily face a barage of self-indulgent assholery

    Like you are doing today? Politeness doesn’t matter. The gist of what you say is offensive. Personally, I prefer the tone to match the message.

  164. 164
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Oh yes, not wanting to daily face a barage of self-indulgent assholery just means some people don’t really care much about being an atheist. C’mon.</blockquote.

    Is flame baiting going to make everyone "be nicer to nonspecific persons"?

    That's not what I said, not what I meant. If you need some clarification, please ask. Don't just shove words in my mouth.

  165. 165
    roro80

    #158

    yet you disapprove of how EBW was treated.

    Do you think she was not being an asshole, or what?

    My original comment (#130)specifically said that there was certainly an argument that she deserved it in this case. Yes, I do think she was being an asshole. But I also agree with PZ’s statement that the comments here were pretty fucking brutal. I also think a lot of the assholery around here happens in situations where it’s not at all part of any point, any quest for truth or whatever.

  166. 166
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    Personally, I prefer the tone to match the message.

    I’d like to cosign this. I find it incredibly valuable not to have to puzzle out conflicting messages between tone and content.

  167. 167
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    I have a new, terribly long post up at EB’s post on this stuff.

    Spoiler alert: neither EB nor the commenter (both of whom directly engaged my earlier comments) actually tackle what was problematic about EB’s statements both here and on her blog.

    My conclusion?

    that is why I’m discussing what EB did.

    I do not do it to justify any behavior. I do it because EB still appears to be advocating that it is somehow “wrong” (I don’t know if she means in a moral sense or what other sense) for Adria or anyone else in a similar position to tell the truth in public. Dangerous truth, in this formulation, is only for the quiet backchannels, no matter how public the original behavior might have been (in a well-attended lecture hall at a conference!).

    When she has a new post up saying that PoI pre-accusation is a bad idea and that victims/witnesses are not wrong to discuss in public what happens in public and/or what happens privately that has public impact, at that moment I will consider it entirely unnecessary and counterproductive to continue pointing out the harm and nonsense of pre-accusation PoI.

    Until then, the situation with Adria and with EB is different: Adria did something that fights injustice in our society. She did it in a way that is arguably sub-optimal. She did not do anything “wrong”. If Adria’s position is adopted, sex-joking during the sole panel of women experts will be eliminated unless and until it happens in a context where it doesn’t reinforce problems with sexism.

    EB did something that **attempted** to fight injustice in our society. She did it in a way that was arguably sub-optimal. But moreover, she did something wrong: she argued that there was an obligation for victims/witnesses to shut up if there is a private avenue for reporting bad behavior. If Adria’s position is adopted, victims/witnesses will be encouraged to doubt themselves and public discussion of behavior that contributes to injustice will be curtailed.

    There are clear reasons why I dislike this particular position of EB and am fine with Adria’s response at PyCon. Instead of accusing me of justifying behavior I don’t seek to justify, perhaps someone on EB’s side could actually engage with those arguments.

  168. 168
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    I also think a lot of the assholery around here happens in situations where it’s not at all part of any point, any quest for truth or whatever.

    I am not that active on here and due to time and energy constraints, I cannot follow each and every thread, so I have never seen this, however I can not judge whether this is true or not.

  169. 169
    roro80

    If you need some clarification, please ask. Don’t just shove words in my mouth.

    Ok, please clarify why you think that no contributions would be made by people who just don’t like the self-important assholery. Please clarify why this indicates any lack of passion or “mild or vague” interest in the subject matter.

  170. 170
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Commenters here can be really mean and dismissive for seemingly no reason than that they enjoy it. (snip) But it is really kind of amusing how there’s a periodic collective questioning of why some people are turned off the movement. That’s it. That’s the long and short of it.

    So what you’re saying is, you’ve decided based on nothing more than your opinion, that commenters here are really mean just for funsies and that must be why people don’t like movement atheism.

    And despite the 2 years of explaining over and over again what actually is driving people – or at least women – away from “movement atheism”, you’ve decided it’s actually the Horde’s fault because again we’re mean only for funsies in your opinion.

    But you’re not suggesting any changes.

    You realize this is just tone trolling in that case, right?

  171. 171
    Anthony K

    I’m just not seeing the connection to what you’re saying and “be nicer” to undefined persons.

    Yeah, I’m thinking I’m just muddying waters that don’t need more muddying, especially as I lurked the threads in question but did not participate.

  172. 172
    docfreeride

    There seems to be … an asymmetry of expectations? An expectation of asymmetry? Something along those lines. To wit:

    EBW arrives in a conversation, makes a point she takes to be reasonable. People push back hard against the assumption that it’s a reasonable point, on account of its being dealt with multiple times in the 200+ comments preceding EBW’s arrival. EBW takes issue with what she takes to be unnecessarily harsh engagement with her for making a point she thinks is reasonable. Her subsequent posts get harsher. She’s expecting people to engage with her point, to assume good faith on her part, not to be unnecessarily rude to her.

    But …

    The Horde takes issue with EBW ignoring the 200+ comments in the conversation preceding EBW’s arrival, including comments in which folks have very carefully engaged with points very much like EBW’s point to argue against them. That EBW has not given them the courtesy of actually reading what they have written seems like evidence of laziness, if not actual bad faith. It’s almost like EBW expects people to engage with her point but doesn’t feel that she’s on the hook to engage with points already made. Which may not be the same as calling someone a poopyhead, but it’s also rude.

    Assuming good faith, giving people the benefit of the doubt, even (in some circumstances) refraining from epithets when engaging, that’s all well and good. But then people should actually demonstrate good faith, acknowledge the other people in the conversation and try to get a handle on what they’re saying (as well as why they might be angry), admit when they’ve messed up, and so forth.

    Making a movement or an online space welcoming for people shouldn’t require making it infinitely accepting of bad behavior, even if that bad behavior is enacted with polite words and a gentle tone.

  173. 173
    throwaway

    sonofrojblake: Thunderdome please to avoid derail.

  174. 174
    roro80

    Well shit, I guess I was just tone trolling then. The whole original post must be tone trolling. I guess the opinion that sometimes there are cases “where some of you were so angry that it interfered with your ability to communicate rationally” is just mine. Or, you know, the opinion of the blog owner here. Whose quote that is.

  175. 175
    sonofrojblake

    @Delft, 127:

    in the context of what happened[...] only a complete douchebag would insist on quibbling about Richards’ behaviour

    Fair enough. I can see that. Clearly I fell for PZ’s clever trick to root out, from those who would uncritically agree her behaviour was in all respects right and unimpeachable, those assholes whose pedantry might lead them to think “well, hang on, ALL respects?”. I hold my hand up that I am that pedant. I does me no favours in practially any context, ever, as it goes, and I am working on it.

    I withdraw my quibble, with apologies to anyone whom it offended.

    @Cerberus, 126: I really hate to lower myself to your level, but hey – fuck you too, you worthless stuttering piece of shit. kthxbye.

  176. 176
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    roro80 @160

    Sorry, I’m kind of in all sorts of trigger space right now. I think I see what you’re trying to say now.

    I think the problem though is the context. A lot of our current regulars when they are being assholes tend to do so because of douchebaggery. What that means is that both bigotry and soft bigotry get called out in ways that are consistent with them being often seen and tiring to endure. Additionally “centrists” who usually get a free pass other places do not get that here.

    What this means is that people coming in thinking they are going to get a cookie for not being X asshole when they show off how neatly they thread the needle and see problems in both sides or have a position that is only a little problematic end up having those positions savaged in ways they don’t expect in other spaces that are more willing to tolerate bigotries as long as they are soft or unintentional.

    If this makes us assholes for not extending that general social forgiveness of dehumanizing arguments or positions? Well, social research on the way people who speak out against an entrenched status quo are perceived would agree with you. But at the same time, it allows this to be a space where women and other minorities aren’t encouraged to be overly polite and forgiving when they encounter the same exact “soft” bigotry for the millionth time.

    This of course comes with the consequence that when someone unconsciously fucks up and trades in something that would normally be treated entirely in “hey, um, you know, that might be fucked up in these little ways, sorry”, they get treated exactly like a person who’s fucked up.

    I guess you could interpret that as getting off on being an asshole, but it’s really the same socially-discouraged countering of bigtory just with a lower tolerance than most “I’ve just inherited this little bit of fuckwittery from swimming in the general culture” people are used to.

    A lot of the people in the post you cited seemed to think that this was a good thing. Most of the debate then was on whether or not casually Xist people should be banned outright or be allowed to present their arguments and have to encounter legitimate pushback and social response. The Pharyngula and the Shakesville conclusions on that are very different.

  177. 177
    Anthony K

    Commenters here can be really mean and dismissive for seemingly no reason than that they enjoy it.

    I won’t say that I’ve never done this, but after reading docfreeride’s excellent summary of the situation, I feel I can say why this appears to happen:

    This place is a magnet for trolls and assholes. And the nature of this place is that they get to blather on unless they fall afoul of the general rules PZ has set out, and the Horde takes them down. But this is not without a cost to those engaging in these threads. It’s exhausting, it’s frustrating, it’s maddening, and I say that as a privileged person who can walk away and forget it. My humanity is never really on the line in these discussions, and yet at the end I still feel raw and touchy.

    Ignoring hundreds of comments that people have put their hearts and souls into, because these are core issues, is just fucking irresponsible. It’s JAQing off. It’s arguing in bad faith. It’s douchey behaviour.

    And expecting people who’ve been arguing until they’re raw to just start again at the front of the mulberry bush and go ’round a few more times just because you stopped by to toss in your 2¢ is pretty much exactly the kind of behaviour we excroriate the privileged for doing. It’s what EBW did.

    I guess the opinion that sometimes there are cases “where some of you were so angry that it interfered with your ability to communicate rationally” is just mine.

    It may be yours and PZ’s, but so what? Even if it is true, and it most certainly is, it’s all a little disingenuous of PZ to claim it’s any kind of a problem with the Horde.

    If you don’t want people to get so fucking sick of trolls that they’re so angry and triggered that they’ll lash out at anyone, then fucking moderate your blog better. And if you don’t want to take the time to do that, then don’t complain when everyone’s so fucking bone-weary when a potential ally pops in and gets hir head bitten off.

  178. 178
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    please clarify why you think that no contributions would be made by people who just don’t like the self-important assholery.

    LOL so that’s a yes to the flamebait question, huh.

    I didn’t I say that people who don’t like “self-important assholery”, whatever that means, wouldn’t make contributions.

    This is what I was responding to:

    if someone’s interest in a topic outweighs the negative experience of a particular subset of the community interested in that topic, they’ll seek out other venues. If not . . .”

    and I responded:

    “if not they’ll go away. If their interest is so mild or vague, what contributions can really be expected from them?”

    Notice nothing is said at all about “self important assholery” (again, whatever that means). What I meant was: if someone has a bad experience here – for whatever reason – but doesn’t go find another venue more to their taste, they’ll go away. And, if that’s the path they choose, what have we really lost? Apart from someone who’s too lazy to look at more than one website.

    If that’s the path they choose, their level of passion or interest is clearly not all that high. if they’re not inclined, they’re not interested.

    in my opinion.

  179. 179
    kate_waters: Not Your Father's Oldsmobile.

    What I’m hearing a lot of in the last 30 or 40 comments is:

    “Be nicer so people will listen to you, hold their hands and carefully explain so they’ll be on your side, don’t use names because people stop listening when you say mean things.”

    But none of those advocating for that position seems to realize that it appears they are operating under the assumption that people coming here for the first time are completely internet-ignorant, that those people wouldn’t already know basic net etiquette such as:

    Read the blog rules and commenting rules before posting.
    Lurk before posting.
    Read the comment thread ENTIRELY before posting.
    Obey generally accepted formatting conventions when replying to comments.
    Keep on topic.
    Keep it brief and concise, where possible.
    Tone trolling, concern trolling and other forms of seemingly “benevolent” trolling are verboten.
    Do not go to a blog and make your first comment be antagonizing, try to understand the “weather” of a place before you begin to chastise the people who are regular commenters.

    This is not stuff that people should have to request from newcomers again and again and again. If they really are net newbies? Then yes, one explanation of these basics might be in order.

    And if you look very carefully at the list above, you’ll note that the basics listed there are what, most often, gets people smacked with rude language.

    EBW wasn’t a newbie. She made some basic mistakes, perhaps because she thought her past history or name carried some weight and could therefore skip things like: Reading comments completely, not tone trolling regulars, not keeping on topic, and chastising people for not conforming to her preferred way of communication.

    In short: She barged in, walked over to the guy shitting on the rug, applauded him for shitting on the rug so politely, and proceeded to throw a fit because no one else wanted to clap and were, in fact, yelling at the guy to stop shitting on the rug. So she took a dump on the rug herself. …and here we are today, cleaning up more shit. Again.

    Why on earth anyone should hold that kind of behaviour to be something deserving of anything less than strong language and a hearty “Get the FUCK OUT” is beyond me.

    This obsession with having every single space be welcoming to every single person is bullshit. This isn’t kindergarten. This is a skeptical blog, where evidence matters, where CONTENT is king. There are other places where you can get all the hand holding and warm fuzzies you could ever ask for. Not everyone needs or wants that. Why should all skeptical/atheist blogs be places where it’s “101″ all day every day? What about those of us who are NOT new to “the movement”? Those of us who have been skeptics and atheists all our lives? Those of us for whom constant politeness and handholding are a burden, and not a joy? Don’t we matter? (Want the answer? FUCK YEAH we matter. We matter and we deserve space for our voices, too!)

  180. 180
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Well shit, I guess I was just tone trolling then.

    You’ll notice I wrote “in this case”. because you keep insisting you’re not looking for change. So, yeah, just repeatedly telling the Horde that its their fault people don’t want to be involved in “movement atheism” without any sort of “what do we do about it” is just tone trolling.

    The whole original post must be tone trolling. I guess the opinion that sometimes there are cases “where some of you were so angry that it interfered with your ability to communicate rationally” is just mine. Or, you know, the opinion of the blog owner here.

    See Cerebus @ 176 and Anthony @ 177.

    Is “where some of you were so angry that it interfered with your ability to communicate rationally” is what you meant by “self important assholery”?

  181. 181
    roro80

    Hi Cerberus (#176)

    I appreciate your comment, but I actually get all that. Really. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about, if you’ll indulge a moment. In the thread right adjacent to this one, the one about libertarians who conducted the “freedom” survey, there was a fairly long semi-derail when a number of commenters said they do identify as some form of libertarian on certain sets of issues, went on to explain what that meant. A number of commenters then said that these commenters were self-deluding, that no, they couldn’t and shouldn’t identify as anything containing the word “libertarian”. I pointed out, with a number of other commenters, that “libertarian” has a lot of meanings, particularly in other countries, each of which has a different type of libertarianism, and none of which matches the US’ version. I also pointed out that it was pretty fucked up to police other people’s self identification. Every single other thing the identity policing commenters brought up I was in vehement agreement with. Everything. But you want to guess what happened? No substantive argument against the point, just an absurd comparison to the tune of “well what if I self-identify as a Nazi, huh? What then?”, followed by “fuck off” and “shut the fuck up” and “you’re a troll”. I mean, I know it’s rough to be told pretty mildly that something you did is fucked up. But shit.

    Anyway, I’ve got things to do, as much fun as this is…

  182. 182
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I always snicker at how tone trolls miss context. When a thread starts out, most folks are reasonably polite and direct in their responses. For certain threads, like the Adria Richards threads, we start being tag-teamed by the MRA contingent, coming in with the same limp arguments presented and thorougly refuted upthread, pretending they are new, and their OPINION must be taken very, very seriously. Since we have been through this before, the exasperation of the horde grows. By 200+ posts, we could have had 10 MRAs saying essentially the same thing, each demanding their unevidenced OPINION trumps everything including the evidence.

    With EBW, she stepped in at this point, voicing the same arguments the MRA twits had been yapping about, with the same attitude that her OPINION trumped everything said and evidenced to date, and no, she didn’t have to demean herself by reading what had occurred previously. What happened was very predictable is one knows anything about the horde. Especially, since she offered nothing new as far as evidence went.

    How she reacted should have been different. Instead of trying to preach to us, she could have listened. Or at least realize her “expert” opinion wasn’t going to be accepted. Those were smart choices not made. Then when she complained solely about tone, she lost all credibility, as tone trolls have no credibility.

  183. 183
    daniellavine

    roro80@181:

    . I pointed out, with a number of other commenters, that “libertarian” has a lot of meanings, particularly in other countries, each of which has a different type of libertarianism, and none of which matches the US’ version. I also pointed out that it was pretty fucked up to police other people’s self identification. Every single other thing the identity policing commenters brought up I was in vehement agreement with. Everything. But you want to guess what happened? No substantive argument against the point, just an absurd comparison to the tune of “well what if I self-identify as a Nazi, huh?

    That may be your perception but it was certainly not mine when I read through that thread.

    Tell me something: what do you think about people who don’t believe in God or divinity but nonetheless self-identify as Christians? Or even Catholics? Any opinion there?

    (The substantive arguments against your point were essentially Humpty-Dumpty rebuttals; the meanings of words are determined by usage and in the USA certainly “libertarian” is used to mean “secular right wing extremist”.)

  184. 184
    roro80

    The substantive arguments against your point were essentially Humpty-Dumpty rebuttals; the meanings of words are determined by usage and in the USA certainly “libertarian” is used to mean “secular right wing extremist”

    Yes, in the US, that is the case in general. That was clearly outlined in my comment. Again, that is not the case in other countries. I’ve lived in 5 non-US countries, and in exactly zero of them was the libertarian movement(s) like the one here in the States.

    As for whether or not people who don’t believe in God call themselves Christian, I still would not audit that self-identification. I’ve known a fewpeople, particularly in Catholic countries, where this is the case. Heaven knows nobody gets upset at Jewish atheists.

  185. 185
    Steve Sirhan

    Gee, shock me … PZ first distorts EB, who said it wasn’t just about conferences, in the thread on PZ’s original post.

    Then, he basically tries to have his cake and eat it too on “outrageous derision is useful, so whip it out,” but then says by implication “don’t blame me if you’re irrational, even though I often egg you on.”

    erikthebassist is right in that such troll-like abusiveness gets thrown at many others.

    That’s why, re a “slymepit”? It takes one to know one, Pharyngulacs.

  186. 186
    PatrickG

    That’s why, re a “slymepit”? It takes one to know one, Pharyngulacs.

    So you’ve detailed (from your perspective) ridiculous logic and abuse of others and then… agreed that you do exactly the same?

    It’s like a school child claiming “I’m rubber and you’re glue” without noticing the extremely adhesive nature of the non-rubbery substance covering them.

    In the vernacular of today’s youth: FAIL.

  187. 187
    throwaway

    but then says by implication

    How do you “say by implication”?

    Provide some actual contextual quotes Steve. Specifically quote the original statement by EB which PZ distorted followed by the distortion. Include as much context as possible. Then do the same for the rest.

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