Crypsis through disruptive coloration »« Announcing…FtBConscience

Comments

  1. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    But… but… FREEZE PEACH! MISANDRY! REVERSE RACISM! CENSORSHIP! VACULA’S MUSTACHE! FEMIFASCISM!

    Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s have a real conversation.

  2. says

    Nice job, Kickstarter. Backing it up with funding for an anti-sexual violence organization (and not just pennies, either, but a pretty nice sized check) makes it clear where they stand on the issue.

  3. says

    Also, people should understand that Kickstarter does not actually manage any funding at all. All they do is host pages for people trying to crowdfund. Payments are entirely handled through Amazon Payments. Once the Above the Game project ended, payments immediately transferred to the creator, so there was no way to stop that.

  4. throwaway, extra beefy super queasy says

    The MRA slymeys are already on the case in the comments! Jeffrey Dean specifically trying to falsely equivocate with “women’s” magazines such as Cosmo. Yes, the choice of using ‘misogynist’ with regard to the neuter ‘seduction guides’ was unfortunate but it does not belie the true meaning, nor is it wholly inaccurate. Aren’t seduction guides written for women, usually by men, telling women what men want? And don’t they usually advocate filling a passive, playful role, or some other stereotypical gender-role?

  5. G Pierce (Was ~G~) says

    When I was a server, I often got the best tips when something got screwed up (my fault or not) and I recovered the fumble. People will respect you MORE than they did before if you show you can self-evaluate, apologize and change. It has to be sincere, though.

  6. says

    Well, if it’s not inappropriate, I’d still like to encourage all and sundry to support the feminist science fiction film Advantageous, a genre that Hollywood would never touch but a project that very much deserves to exist. Let’s let this not be the world in which slimy “seduction guides” get heaps of enthusiastic funding, while worthy projects like this die on the vine.

  7. says

    And it only took 33 comments before the total asshats showed up in their thread. I stopped reading them after the first page. I’m sure it will really ramp up as time passes.

    Mike Maring about 1 hour ago
    What the hell? Looking over the project, what is wrong with it? Violence against women? Are you crazy? It talks about how to meet people and a guide for men to talk to women.
    I can’t believe you guys just laid down and took this abuse from the man-hating organizations who see everything as rape. I’m disgusted by your decision.
    You were right. You ARE wrong.

    *sigh*

  8. Amphiox says

    Yes, the choice of using ‘misogynist’ with regard to the neuter ‘seduction guides’ was unfortunate but it does not belie the true meaning, nor is it wholly inaccurate.

    A “seduction guide” targeted at men is misogynist in treating women as objects without agency.

    A “seduction guide” targeted at women is misogynist in assuming that would want instruction in manipulating men.

    “Seduction guides” are also misandrist in the equivalent ways concerning men.

    They are, in truth, simply misanthropist all the way down.

  9. smhll says

    violence against women or anyone else

    I appreciate that they remembered to include “anyone else”.

  10. The Mellow Monkey says

    Well done. I have some serious respect for them.

    Kickstarter has:

    A) Actually apologized.
    B) Outlined what was wrong with what happened.
    C) Taken actual action to prevent it from happening again.
    and
    D) Then made a tangible gesture for good, with the donation.

    This is how you handle an apology. Everyone should take notes on this.

  11. says

    It’s sad that this is so rare. This donation is not insignificant, yet it’s hardly going to break Kickstarter, and it’s going to do wonders to rescue their public image. Same for their apology. It hardly seems a complex issue. You make a mistake, make amends. Especially if you’re a company, and so depend on the public’s perception of you. Anyway, kudos Kickstarter. Hopefully this can go some way to inspiring other companies in the same situation to do the right thing.

  12. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So nice to see real integrity for a change. Kudos to Kickstarter.

  13. Subtract Hominem says

    Well handled. Far better than I expected. I can’t remember the last time this sort of thing surprised me in a good way.

  14. says

    The amazing thing I read a lot of commentary on this and no one even blamed Kickstarter seeing as the offensive material was from a Reddit thread promoting the Kickstarter and not from Kickstarter itself and they were only notified at the last minute. They are stepping up and takign responsibility pretty much voluntarily.

  15. Rumtopf says

    This is pretty awesome, CFI could learn a lot from Kickstarter.

    Oh, but look at the cries of MISANDRY! OPPRESSION! in the comments. Because refusing to support pro-sexual harassment material is sooo anti mens :I.

  16. Richard Smith says

    On the comments:

    Jeff Allen about 1 hour ago
    Absolutely pathetic kick starter. Knee jerk response to mindless groupthink buzzwords.

    I guess, noticing how “kick starter” is susceptible to mindless groupthink buzzwords, Jeff Allen employs such as “knee jerk response” and “mindless groupthink buzzwords” in hopes of achieving similar success…

  17. katansi says

    Except they were aware of it before it went to funding. And were aware before it ended. And just generally could have stopped this shit before it started OR stopped it before it had gone as long as it had. The donation is good, the apology is still hollow.

  18. says

    #24: None of the most offensive content from the book was present in the Kickstarter listing for it. It took an individual discovering that stuff on Reddit to bring it to light. Kickstarter admitted they did not act as quickly as they should have once they were alerted, owned it and apologized. Sorry if that’s “hollow” to you, but I suppose there will always be someone, even when people do the right thing, who still complain, “Nope, not perfect and flawless enough for me.”

  19. says

    Point is, we can nitpick all day about how less-than-100%-ideal the whole situation has been, but despite all the many ways we can think of for Kickstarter not to have fucked up to begin with, the point is they’re doing the right thing now, and are putting policies in place so this doesn’t happen again. At this point, poking holes and finding further fault in the apology just sends companies the message not to bother.

  20. Louis says

    I want to know how Rebecca Watson was responsible for all this. Because she surely was.

    Louis

  21. A. R says

    Martin Wagner: I agree, we need to reward companies and organizations when they don’t act like arseholes and actually do something good.

  22. says

    The project pitch that was submitted to kickstarter did not violate any of their original policies. It was the info on Reddit that prompted the action and explains their delay in acting.

    Because the other info was on a different site, Kickstarter could have very easily not-pologied this away as being “we can only take action against projects based upon what happens on our own site and blah blah sorry you were offended blah blah we aren’t actually going to do anything.”

    I think that this should be the textbook example for how to handle such matters. And my esteem for the Kickstarter team has gone way up. I’m really looking forward to getting my own boardgame project uploaded to their site.

  23. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I’ll second Martin that it’s important to remember that organizations can’t see and parse everything in detail, and that doesn’t mean they’re being negligent. It’s just a limit of human capacity. That’s why astute readers are important. In my professional life I’ve had customers notify me of substandard behavior going on in another area of my organization that I couldn’t have known about otherwise, and I’m grateful someone brought it up.

    We—all of us—often forget that human beings are not, in fact, The Internet. We inhabit normal time, not Internet Time, and we’re not omniscient.

  24. says

    This is the most thorough and sincere apology statement that I’ve ever seen issued. Nearly always an *issued* apology is forced and is worded in such a passive way, well, we all know what that not-pology looks like.

    There are ways you can improve on a not-pology without going this far, however. They owned up to what they did, explained their actions and thinking at the time, took actions to counter the damage they *acknowledge* doing, and took actions to prevent it from happening again. Unless you expect utter perfection from human beings all the time, this is about as good of an apology as could be offered in this situation.

  25. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    I want to know how Rebecca Watson was responsible for all this. Because she surely was.

    The book was ghostwritten by Elevator Guy.

  26. entropistanon says

    And what a suriprise, we have the “it was taken out of context” argument floating around on the second page. I knew it would pop up soon:

    “Trevor D McGarrah about 4 hours ago

    The creator of the book says that the quotes were taken out of context. His explanation can be found here: http://pastebin.com/zwHYzCZe. I am unsure if this is actually from the author of the book or someone else though. I have no connection with the project and just found out about this a few minutes ago.”

  27. daniellavine says

    Martin Wagner@26:

    You’re right that we should recognize when people and organizations do the right thing. On the other hand, you were reflexively defending kickstarter on the last thread before they did anything to make amends and I suspect you’d be defending them now regardless of whether they actually apologized or made the donation.

  28. roro80 says

    Martin #25 — I thought it was a good apology too, but it’s ok that katansi doesn’t, and it doesn’t imply a lack of understanding of the situation on hir part. An apology given that insists that the wronged party forgive isn’t really an apology.

  29. Old At Heart says

    roro @38, katansi earlier:

    We can all agree it would have been better for Kickstarter to not donate the money, not bring the issue to light, not focus on it, not outline how awful the practice is, and brush it under the rug like bad history that everyone will pretend never happe–

    Oh wait. Sorry, out of context that looks like Kickstarter would have been doing rapey actions there, or at least supporting the culture. Kickstarter in their apology nowhere insisted that anyone forgive them. In fact, the word “forgive”, or anything starting with “forg*” is not even present. They said “We were wrong. We did the following things to rectify the situation. Thanks for reading.”. Full stop. Not even a colloquial “Ya gatta forgive me mates!”, nothing of the sort.

    I say full props to Kickstarter. They have overwatch of projects, and it failed. I can understand that. I’m a writer. I’ve had things handed back from my first-draft editor that said “you used the wrong names 20 times in this chapter”. And I’m writing the thing, not reviewing it and 300 other ones and trying to find some true meaning in the carefully thought out writings of a professional weasel. A weasel whose lifestyle choice is lying to and deceiving women managed to *gasp* lie to and deceive someone at kickstarter on the initial approval. Kickstarter acted as best they could, and kudos to them.

  30. piegasm says

    @ 36

    That explanation is so bullshit. He explicitly advises guys to ignore any protests on the grounds that she’ll think it’s hot that he desires her. He says he’d never do anything non-consensual but he’s rigged the game such that every possible response to his behavior can be interpreted as permission to continue.

    Good for Kickstarter by the way. Always nice to see a corporation show some integrity.

  31. Richard Smith says

    I’d really like to know in just what context “pull out your dick and make her touch it” is not highly dubious advice at best. No. No, I really don’t. Especially since part of the missing “context” that the ‘splainers think makes it all okay is essentially “try, try again.”

  32. entropistanon says

    Well, what do we expect out of guys who want to delude themselves into thinking that women never *want* to have sex and must be coerced into it 100% of the time to justify to themselves why women don’t want to have sex with *them*?

  33. says

    For me, the donation to RAINN was the kicker. Not only is that $25k donation a good deal more than what Kickstarter would have earned from hosting this project page in the first place, it’s also more than the author raised to write this piece of shit. I think that’s significant.

    While I wish more could have been done to prevent this project from getting funding in the first place, Kickstarter’s apology seems sincere, and I’m glad that they won’t be approving similar projects in the future. I suppose that’s as much as anyone could hope for at this point, so I’ll take it.

  34. ischemgeek says

    Full props to Kickstarter for a good apology. Because I am a wary and untrusting sort, I will wait to see them establish a favorable track record on their new policies before I return business to them, but this apology goes a long way to earning my forgiveness. Not having a major SJ fuckup in the next month would cement it.

    However: It is a good thing that they have done this. I appreciate the donation to RAINN, and I abso-fucking-lutely love that they’re owning their fuckup and not trying to make excuses. They fucked up but good, and they accept that they fucked up but good and aren’t trying to spin it as anything other than fucking up but good, and I respect that.

  35. ischemgeek says

    Also: Non-classist alternatives to classy: considerate, sincere, meaningful, well-executed, elegant, graceful. Just saying you don’t have to be high class (i.e. rich) to be able to deliver a good apology, and in fact rich people like Paula Deen are often really bad at apologizing in a meaningful and sincere way.

  36. says

    that’s excellent.I wish the rule-change they’re making to their ToS was a bit less specific, so that it could cover other variants of the “sexual assault is good and you should do it” theme; but I can’t think of a way to do that without making it too broad and catch e.g. BDSM novels etc., so maybe this really is the best that was possible.

    Now, if only the dipshit in my twitter-mentions would STFU about how we’re attacking “free speech” because we are trying to get “an authority” to “silence” someone because we’re “offended”.

  37. says

    from the comments:

    Kickstarter, it’s time to add a new “approval” stage to your process, perhaps. Rather than continually trying to catch violating projects off the conveyor belt before they drop, maybe you need one final check stage before the project clears.
    You could even have this be only for ‘flagged’ projects that are under scrutiny or review, thus eliminating your need for a ‘two hour window’ excuse. Flag it, take your time to get your facts together, then decide if it should be removed or funded.

    that might not be a bad idea; an extra approval stage to check on the validity of complaints against a project might work. It’ll likely slow down falsely flagged projects, but at least it’ll allow catching of scams and ToS violations and un-anticipated shit w/o the pointless race against the clock.

  38. yazikus says

    @ischemgeek

    Also: Non-classist alternatives to classy

    I caught myself calling something “rather pedestrian” the other day. And I was like, what the heck, am I some time traveling noble from the days of yore?? I then and there thought of several alternatives I could use. So I appreciate when I see other people striving to do the same.

  39. Jacob Schmidt says

    Shorter KS:

    1) I fucked up
    2) This is why I fucked up
    3) This is why I won’t fuck up again
    4) This is what I’ve done to mitigate the fuck up

    It’s bloody perfect.

  40. Gregory Greenwood says

    It is extremely refreshing to see an actual, sincere apology in a situation like this, backed up by a meaningful attempt to take steps to rectify some of the harm caused. This is what an apology should look like.

    Well done indeed, Kickstarter. Many groups would have trieds to shift blame, weasel out of their reponsibilities, or deny that there was any problem to address at all. It took real integrity to admit that they were wholly in the wrong like this.

    My respect for the organisation has increased markedly.

  41. says

    I don’t see how it’s out of bounds to point out that Kickstarter’s ability to forsee and prevent bad Kickstarter’s is limited by the nature of what Kickstarter is. If the goal is good policy and not just impotent rage, if someone does blame Kickstarter here, I think they do need to be able to explain what they should have done differently and be willing to deal with objections that they what they suggested isn’t actually possible. I don’t think characterizing this as saying someone is obligated to forgive is fair. People can feel however they want, but they do have an obligation to be accurate in their criticism.

  42. says

    You could even have this be only for ‘flagged’ projects that are under scrutiny or review, thus eliminating your need for a ‘two hour window’ excuse. Flag it, take your time to get your facts together, then decide if it should be removed or funded.

    That’s the way I’d recommend dealing with it. They’d get to keep the automated process by default and most campaigns would be approved with no additional delay. But if they receive complaints they’d have the option of hitting the Big Red Button any time before the approval deadline to suspend automatic funding.

    Doing so would put a notice at the top of the project page:
    “This project has been flagged for potential violation of Kickstarter terms of service. If the funding target is met, release of funds will be delayed until after the review process is successfully completed. For more information see [link].”

  43. says

    Yikes, I started to read this thread, followed PZ’s link and then went down a rabbit hole of some 19 pages of comments over there. It was horrible fascination, I think. A poster named John Funk has earned my sincere admiration. The man left after several exhausting pages but he returned with a tour de force of reasonable, rational feminism.
    What slays me is that these rape apologists really don’t seem to get it- they really don’t believe that anything other than stranger/weapon/jumping out of bushes/rape is rape. A woman’s consent is the default – women are there for the taking, etc. Coercion, manipulation, using rape culture fear to assume sexual predation is OK unless a woman overcomes years of conditioning and fear to demand he stop in forceful terms – all of that is just NOT rape to these guys. Pushing a woman into sex against her will or against her wishes is fair game and NOT RAPE to these jokers. The baseline dehumanization of women – the underlying assumption that a woman’s wishes do not matter and if you can push your way around her objections by intimidation or coercion, it’s OK – wow. It’s like a How to ripped straight out of rape culture and all the apologists on there were spitting furious with their “WHY YOU TRYING TO UNDERMINE OUR SWEET DEAL? WE WANT WOMEN AFRAID! WE WILL NEVER ACCEPT HAVING TO GET CONSENT BECAUSE THEN FEMALE HAS OPPORTUNITY TO SAY NO!!!111!!!
    I think I need a shower.

  44. says

    While I do like the idea of flagged Kickstarters having their funding suspended until they can be throughly reviewed, I’m not sure how well that would work in practice. Were that the policy when Anita Sarkeesian was trying to get funding for her videos, a lot of people would have flagged it out of spite, and I imagine the same thing would happen for any project that even hints at feminism. Yes, it would mean that projects like this one might get cancelled, but there would be a huge number of legitimate projects that would get flagged for stupid reasons on the off-chance that Kickstarter decides to pull it, too. Don’t people pull this stunt on YouTube all the time?

    I just don’t know if it’s a practical solution. Too many assholes on the internet.

  45. says

    Were that the policy when Anita Sarkeesian was trying to get funding for her videos, a lot of people would have flagged it out of spite, and I imagine the same thing would happen for any project that even hints at feminism. Yes, it would mean that projects like this one might get cancelled, but there would be a huge number of legitimate projects that would get flagged for stupid reasons on the off-chance that Kickstarter decides to pull it, too.

    like i already said upthread: it would delay falsely flagged projects, but a short delay is not a major problem

  46. Minstrel Winnipeg says

    Some people are objecting to:
    “Third, we are prohibiting “seduction guides,” or anything similar, effective immediately. This material encourages misogynistic behavior and is inconsistent with our mission of funding creative works. These things do not belong on Kickstarter.”

    … on the basis that not every seduction guide is necessarily… well, horrid. Hmm. But the few that I’ve skimmed all start off sounding okay (advice like “be confident, be interesting, be interested in her”) before deviating wildly and permanently into the creepiest of territories (“women are stupid, and want to sleep with you whether they know it or not”). So sure, you could write a guide that focuses on that earlier stuff, but it would be just a self-help book at that stage. Would probably work better as a seduction guide anyway.

    I love Kickstarter, as a business. I use it all the time. This apology validates that opinion brilliantly.

  47. says

    Flagging as described above wouldn’t (indeed, shouldnt) be in the hands of users, like flagging a YouTube comment or something, but be a tool available to Kickstarter staff as a safety measure.

    They’ve already got reporting processes in place. If Kickstarter (and not some internet jerk) decides a report merits investigation, they could flag the campaign to suspend automatic payment while still allowing the rest of the process to continue as normal; then allow the funds through if they decide to, or cancel the campaign if not.

    Extra steps could be added as necessary (appeals and so forth), but none of that comes into play unless Kickstarter decides a campaign is suspect.

  48. kc9oq says

    I dunno. Seems to me Kickstarter figures they can have their cake and eat it, too. There are plenty of precedents for clawing back assets under such circumstances. Paypal does it. Ebay does it. I think KS is claiming the moral high ground while letting the project (and, their commissions) stand.

  49. Snoof says

    But the few that I’ve skimmed all start off sounding okay (advice like “be confident, be interesting, be interested in her”) before deviating wildly and permanently into the creepiest of territories (“women are stupid, and want to sleep with you whether they know it or not”).

    Is there an expression for that kind of thing? I often see it in various other places too, like discussions of theistic ethics (they start with “treat people with respect” and end with “kill the unrepentant so they can’t drag anyone else to Hell”). It’s particularly frustrating because the defenders tend to treat it as a single monolithic block, and act like criticising a particularly horrible tenet is an attack on one of the few perfectly reasonable.suggestions.

  50. erik333 says

    @65 Snoof

    If you actually believe in heaven and hell, any means are justifiable as long as they are percieved to be effective. You could even argue that such evil logically and ethically follows from certain religious beliefs, human empathy is the bulwark holding the line against the mind poison that is religious belief. These memes are dangerous and are not really consistent with any form of search for truth, they need to be self contained in order to persist – doubt and unbiased rational investigation are anathema to them.

  51. ischemgeek says

    @Minstrel Winnipeg There’s a difference that could be drawn between dating advice and seduction manuals/PUA stuff. The be confident type stuff I’d argue is bog-standard dating advice of the sort dispensed all over the place. It’s pretty similar to job interview advice, with tweaks appropriate to the context. When it starts to get creepy/objectifying, it stops being dating advice and starts being PUA crap.

  52. carlie says

    I think KS is claiming the moral high ground while letting the project (and, their commissions) stand.

    Except that their donation is almost double what the guy himself actually made, their commission being much lower than that. That’s what impressed me so much, that they didn’t just say “we’re donating the amount of our commission”, but went far beyond the entire value of the project.

  53. says

    @64:
    In addition to carlie’s comment above (which impressed me as well), how are the policies of other companies relevant to Kickstarter? The precedent you speak of quite possibly does not apply. Do you have any evidence to support your belief that Kickstarter has policies in place that would enable them to stop a project after it has been funded?

  54. Minstrel Winnipeg says

    But the few that I’ve skimmed all start off sounding okay (advice like “be confident, be interesting, be interested in her”) before deviating wildly and permanently into the creepiest of territories (“women are stupid, and want to sleep with you whether they know it or not”).

    Is there an expression for that kind of thing? I often see it in various other places too, like discussions of theistic ethics (they start with “treat people with respect” and end with “kill the unrepentant so they can’t drag anyone else to Hell”). It’s particularly frustrating because the defenders tend to treat it as a single monolithic block, and act like criticising a particularly horrible tenet is an attack on one of the few perfectly reasonable.suggestions.

    It’s like being a frog in water. The water starts off at a comfortable temperature that slowly increases, and before you know it the frog finds itself nodding in agreement as the water tells it about the evils of vaccinations.

    @Minstrel Winnipeg There’s a difference that could be drawn between dating advice and seduction manuals/PUA stuff. The be confident type stuff I’d argue is bog-standard dating advice of the sort dispensed all over the place. It’s pretty similar to job interview advice, with tweaks appropriate to the context. When it starts to get creepy/objectifying, it stops being dating advice and starts being PUA crap.

    If seduction manuals start getting a negative rap and other companies follow KS’ lead in banning them, I wonder if we’ll see a trend of this content being rebranded as “dating advice” in order to blend in. It wouldn’t be the first time a simple switch of labels was used to get around reputations (intelligent design, anyone?). It might even become a blurry line between seduction guides and genuine dating advice, with particularly clever writing.

    Then again, subtlety does not seem to be a key strength advocated by these materials.

  55. DLC says

    It’s truly a good, well thought-out apology, saying “we were wrong” directly without bullshit or sidestepping. Further, they announced a plan for corrective action and made a sincere gesture of good faith.
    I’ll echo it– if only CFI had the good sense to offer such.

  56. =8)-DX says

    I know Catholic dogma aint a wonderful source, but European culture has been doing this for ages:

    1. Contrition: you feel bad for what you’ve done.
    2. Confession: you say what exactly you did wrong.
    3. Penance: you make direct acts to repair the damage you’ve done, or if not possible, to correct your own behaviour in the future.
    4. Absolution: if things are ok, you can move on, otherwise go back to 1.

    Exchange Gawd in the liturgy for “the actual person you harmed” and it’s quite a humane approach.

  57. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    Wow, an organisation fucked up and actually issued an apology? Not a “We’re sorry we offended people” but a genuine “We fucked up and we’re sorry, and while there may be nothing we can do about this we will make sure it doesn’t happen again”? *pinches self*. Nope, I’m awake. Awesome.

    It ddn’t take long for the MRA douchebags to show up in the comments, but at least the other commenters seem to be telling them to shut up.