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Henry Gee is gently, delicately, softly chastised

Nature has posted a rebuke to one of their employees for outing a pseudonymous blogger.

We would not normally comment on a point of view expressed by an employee in a personal capacity and in their personal time. However, as Nature was mentioned in a recent personal Twitter post by a Nature editor, it is necessary for us to clarify our views and policies. Firstly, we are pleased that the editor in this case has apologised to Dr Isis for the language used and for the fact that her identity was revealed. We also wish to make clear that both the language and behaviour are contrary to Nature’s principles and codes of editorial practice, and indeed contrary to the practices of all our editors. We encourage civility and respect on social media by our employees, and hope for similar standards from those we interact with. Blindness to the status of research authors is enshrined in our editorial selection policies and practices, as is the respect for, and protection of, anonymity. We take our responsibilities to our authors and reviewers seriously and we protect the identities of anonymous reviewers, manuscript authors or authors of magazine articles. Our policies on anonymity are detailed on our author and reviewer services pages: http://www.nature.com/authors/index.html. We continue to listen to reactions and are carefully considering the issues. The history and circumstances are complex, so we will not be commenting further on the specifics at this time.

The only comment directed at the offending employee begins with “we are pleased”. Wait, did I say “chastised” and “rebuked”? My error. I meant to say “lovingly stroked.”

This is how Nature‘s reputation gets dethroned, you know.

Comments

  1. says

    We would not normally comment on a point of view expressed by an employee in a personal capacity and in their personal time.

    Compromising someone’s privacy is not a “point of view.” First sentence FAIL.

    I almost wish I had a subscription to Nature, so I could cancel it in protest.

  2. says

    the editor in this case has apologised to Dr Isis for the language used and for the fact that her identity was revealed.

    Can someone point me to this supposed apology…

  3. Wylann says

    Hey, I’m sorry I burned your house down.

    That’s enough right? I mean really, no harm, no foul……

    The problem with something like this is that it’s hard to judge the kind of punishment that would be appropriate. I would think some kind of fine, and make it a donation to the victim.

  4. raven says

    Fuck Henry Gee.

    A lot of internet commenters and bloggers are anonymous because they have received death threats. Including myself.

    I’m not anonymous because I’m afraid people will find out my real name and home address. I’m anonymous because I’m afraid of being murdered by xian terrorists.

    And with good reason. At least two evolutionists have been beaten up, one was knifed to death (a British citizen BTW), and 8 MD’s have been assassinated with 150 others wounded. Around a dozen have been fired from their jobs at colleges and universities.

  5. raven says

    I’ve seen this before from people in Europe who live in post-xian societies. They really are ignorant about what it is like living with tens of millions of crazed fundie xians who are very good at hating, lying, and are occasionally violent. Ones that have their own political party, the GOP/Tea Party that is powerful enough to control half the government.

    Below is an old post summarizing some of the persecution faced by scientists and science supporters. You never, ever want to turn you back on Oogedy Boogedy religious kooks.

    FWIW, fundie xians can and occasionally are violent. This vandalism in Florida is just more xian terrorism.

    Below is an old list of their other victims. It is long and getting longer all the time.

    The real story is the persecution of scientists by Fundie Xian Death cultists, who have fired, harassed, beaten up, and killed evolutionary biologists and their supporters whenever they can.
    http://www.sunclipse.org/?p=626 [link goes to Blake Stacey's blog which has a must read essay with documentation of the cases below.]

    Posting the list of who is really being beaten up, threatened, fired, attempted to be fired, and killed. Not surprisingly, it is scientists and science supporters by Death Cultists.

    If anyone has more info add it. Also feel free to borrow or steal the list.

    I thought I’d post all the firings of professors and state officials for teaching or accepting evolution.

    2 professors fired, Bitterman (SW CC Iowa) and Bolyanatz (Wheaton)

    1 persecuted unmercifully Richard Colling (Olivet) Now resigned under pressure.

    1 persecuted unmercifully for 4 years Van Till (Calvin)

    1 attempted firing Murphy (Fuller Theological by Phillip Johnson IDist)

    1 successful death threats, assaults harrasment Gwen Pearson (UT Permian)

    1 state official fired Chris Comer (Texas)

    1 assault, fired from dept. Chair Paul Mirecki (U. of Kansas)

    1 killed, Rudi Boa, Biomedical Student (Scotland)

    1 fired Brucke Waltke noted biblical scholar

    Biology Department fired, La Sierra SDA University

    1 attempted persecution Richard Dawkins by the Oklahoma state legislature

    Vandalism Florida Museum of Natural History

    Death Threats Eric Pianka UT Austin and the Texas
    Academy of Science engineered by a hostile, bizarre IDist named Bill Dembski

    Death Threats Michael Korn, fugitive from justice, towards the UC Boulder biology department and miscellaneous evolutionary biologists.

    Death Threats Judge Jones Dover trial. He was under federal marshall protection for a while

    Up to 16 with little effort. Probably there are more. I turned up a new one with a simple internet search. Haven’t even gotten to the secondary science school teachers.

    And the Liars of Expelled, the movie have the nerve to scream persecution. On body counts the creos are way ahead.

    These days, fundie xian is synonymous with liar, ignorant, stupid, and sometimes killer.

  6. says

    Wylann: Nature has policies on anonymity, which their lame-assed excuse for a rebuke cited. If Gee violated his employer’s rules, they should fire him for it, instead of whinging about how “complex” the situation is.

  7. says

    We also wish to make clear that both the language and behaviour are contrary to Nature’s principles and codes of editorial practice, and indeed contrary to the practices of all our editors.

    Obviously not.

  8. chigau (違う) says

    Firstly, we are pleased that the editor in this case has apologised to Dr Isis for the language used and for the fact that her identity was revealed.

    Passive voice.
    It kinda just happened.

  9. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Exactly, chigau. It was just like a weather event. A regrettable thing that happened with no sentient agent behind it.

  10. David Marjanović says

    This is how Nature’s reputation gets dethroned, you know.

    Reputation?

    Nature doesn’t have a reputation. It has an impact factor instead.

    The way things are set up in the academic systems of most countries, impact factors are self-perpetuating, and high ones – Nature’s being the highest of all – are perpetual-motion machines that fuel their own growth: people send the manuscripts that will be cited the most often to the journals that are cited the most often, because they need their publications to be cited as often at possible.

    Link borked, sorry. Here’s the ‘apology’: http://occamstypewriter.org/cromercrox/2014/01/23/reflections-on-this-weekends-events/

    From there:

    “Since 2010, Dr Isis has, in my opinion, waged a campaign of cyberbullying against me.”

    From what position of power?

    “In my own case, Dr Isis’ attacks contributed to a deepening of my long-running depression to the extent that I required time off and medical intervention.”

    Why not tell Dr Isis this instead of soldiering on?

    “What I did, however, was regrettable, and in 20-20 hindsight, I wish I hadn’t done it; I ‘outed’ Dr Isis from my personal Twitter account. However, one should understand that I am, contrary to popular belief, a human being. The unjustified insults heaped on me by Dr Isis over years took their toll, and I snapped.”

    …in a way that is, frankly, <Vulcan>not logical</Vulcan>.

    “What differs, I suspect, are the modes that people of different cultures and traditions regard as acceptable as discourse in the blogosphere. It seems that, more than ever, Brits and Americans remain separated by a common language.”

    That looks completely tacked on. It reminds me of “global warming isn’t happening, and it isn’t our fault, and it’s actually a good thing, and it’s too late and to expensive to do anything about it – and look, it isn’t happening in the first place”.

    Comments have been turned off.

    How wonderful.

  11. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Henry Gee has a personality problem. This is not an instance of “being human.” He has, as long as I’ve seen him commenting online, an incredibly short fuse. He’s arrogant and extremely entitled, and he hates like firey death being told he’s not right about something.

    In short, he’s a vicious, nasty little prig. This behavior is entirely in character for him as anyone who’s paid attention can see.

  12. says

    “In my own case, Dr Isis’ attacks contributed to a deepening of my long-running depression to the extent that I required time off and medical intervention.”

    What actions, specifically, worsened Gee’s depression? If the specific actions were really out of line (like, oh I dunno, exposing Gee’s personal information?), then Gee would have a valid grievance here. But if the actions that worsened his depression were the sort of thing anyone in his position could expect, then maybe Gee should have found another job that wouldn’t have involved exposing himself to circumstances he can’t handle.

  13. says

    @14

    “Nature doesn’t have a reputation. It has an impact factor instead.”

    As an active research scientist, I’m sure PZ has never heard of impact factor. While you’re at it, maybe you should inform him about how the tenure system works.

  14. says

    “However, one should understand that I am, contrary to popular belief, a human being.”

    Maybe you if you started acting like one, there wouldn’t be so much confusion.

  15. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    But if the actions that worsened his depression were the sort of thing anyone in his position could expect, then maybe Gee should have found another job that wouldn’t have involved exposing himself to circumstances he can’t handle.

    I don’t like this.

  16. jamessweet says

    I dunno, man, I think this is actually pretty okay on Nature’s part (and for the record, I am NOT shy about criticizing Nature). The message they have conveyed is basically: “We don’t want to touch this shit with a ten-foot-pole, but to the extent that it has already hit the fan and so we have to… yeah, outting pseudonymous bloggers is not that cool.” That’s pretty much how I read it. Do they stop short of flogging Gee? Yes, because they clearly don’t want anything to do with this. And I kinda get that.

  17. jamessweet says

    Also, I agree with Beatrice’s discomfort with Raging Bee’s casual dismissal of Gee’s depression issues. He was a fucking dick, but, as he himself says, you know, he is a human being and all.

  18. says

    Beatrice: I don’t like Gee using “I have a mental illness” as an excuse for inexcusable behavior. If Gee really does have a mental illness, it is his responsibility to at least take reasonable measures to avoid situations he can’t handle, just as a drug-addict is responsible for avoiding situations that trigger his addictive cravings.

    And if Gee has been struggling with “long-running” depression, then he has even less excuse, since he would have had more time to get help and plan a strategy.

  19. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Raging Bee,

    I won’t derail any more, but I don’t appreciate how you tell depressed people they should avoid professions or situations that might worsen their depression, or that if something they can’t handle happens it was their own fault for not “planning a strategy”.

    If Gee really does have a mental illness, it is his responsibility to at least take reasonable measures to avoid situations he can’t handle, just as a drug-addict is responsible for avoiding situations that trigger his addictive cravings.

    An extra large fuck you for this.

  20. says

    Another thing about his claims of depression: I’m hearing several people here saying he’s been acting like a hateful jackass for a long time. If that’s the case, that kind of implies that he has not been dealing with his mental-health issues at all, relying instead on his privileged position to protect himself from consequences. Maybe the loss of that position will be the nudge he needs to address his problems.

    I heard a saying in Narcotics Anonymous: “You’re not responsible for your disease, but you are responsible for your recovery.” If Gee really has mental-health issues (as opposed to just making up excises), he does not seem to be addressing them; and until he does, he should not be allowed to inflict his issues on others.

  21. says

    …I don’t appreciate how you tell depressed people they should avoid professions or situations that might worsen their depression, or that if something they can’t handle happens it was their own fault for not “planning a strategy”.

    So whose fault is it if his issues cause him to harm someone else?

  22. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Why, James Sweet, do you think it’s understandable and appropriate for Gee’s employer, Nature, to “not touch this with a ten foot pole”? I can scarcely believe I read that right. So, an editor at the world’s most prestigious journal outs a pseudonymous blogger with nowhere near the power that he wields, all because he didn’t like her sharp criticisms of the sexism in his magazine, and you think it’s understandable that said magazine washes their hands of this?

    Are you fucking serious?

  23. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Raging Bee,

    Did you get an impression I was excusing him for harming Isis? You said it was his own fault his depression worsened.

  24. David Marjanović says

    As an active research scientist, I’m sure PZ has never heard of impact factor. While you’re at it, maybe you should inform him about how the tenure system works.

    what

    If I had want to tell PZ and only PZ something, I’d have written him an e-mail. From the fact that I’m commenting in public, you can deduce that I’m trying to reach a much larger audience.

    What I was trying to say is that I think PZ seemed to be overestimating the consequences of any damage the reputation of Nature is going to take. If Nature is “a haven of unethical wankery” (PZ quote out of context from a few threads ago) for all the world to see, but retains an impact factor that’s encroaching on 40, lots of people will continue to send their manuscripts there. They’ll just hold their noses.

    So whose fault is it if his issues cause him to harm someone else?

    Answering this question is less important, as a goal in itself, than finding out how to prevent that from happening again.

  25. says

    Did you get an impression I was excusing him for harming Isis?

    No, I got the impression that HE was excusing himself for harming Isis.

    If he had said something like “My depression caused me to do something that was irrational and wrong, I understand it was wrong, and I’m sorry I did it,” that would be acceptable. I used to hear that sort of thing in NA meetings all the time: “My addiction and other issues were causing me to do X, Y and Z, which caused all sorts of undeserved harm to innocent people, and that’s why I’m here, because I don’t want to be that kind of person.” Instead, he mentioned his depression while continuing to insist that Isis was the real villain. And that’s why I’m reacting so uncharitably toward his claims of mental-health issues.

  26. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Raging bee, you keep comparing mental illness to addiction, in the first place, which makes me uncomfortable. I get what you are saying about using his illness as an excuse, but you are still causing splash damage with your cavalier dismissal of work-related mental illness as just something that mentally ill people need to either get over or find another job for. Is that really the message you are trying to send?

    On topic: This isn’t even a not-pology. Nature certainly has the means and the responsibility to take some form of disciplinary action against Henry Gee, but they don’t want to get involved… how does that benefit them? Do they think these kind of things just die away, that everyone will just conveniently forget that this happened?

  27. ChasCPeterson says

    I stand by my many characterizations (over years) of Gee as an narcissistic asshole and thin-skinned over-reactive dipshit. Nevertheless:
    dontpanic @#20:

    I’m sorry, but

    I am sorry that I did so.

    (only instance of the word “sorry”) is not an “apolog[y] to Dr Isis”.

    true, but this part (not picked up in yr Cntrl-F) is more like it:

    First, I want to apologise to Dr Isis for naming her; for belittling her in a subsequent tweet; and if this exposure has put her in a vulnerable situation.

    Which doesn’t change the self-serving and defensive nature (heh) of what follows, but still, be fair.

    Josh @#28:
    I agree with jamessweet here. Gee’s actions were on his own time and on his private tweety account. He didn’t drag Nature into the, uh, discussion; Isis did. And although (like all other right-thinking tubes-denizens) I deplore what he did, no crime nor legally actionable act was committed. Nature had no obligation or responsibility to address the situation at all. And if they chose to, they could have kept it entirely internal. As things stand nobody here has any knowledge of what Gee’s bosses may have said to him in (appropriate) private.
    Let me ask you: do you think it’s your employer’s business to police the many nasty things you’ve said about others on the internet?

    -2 of my few remaining cents.

    p.s. to ryancunningham in general: have you spoken to a surgeon about safely removing that permanent chip on your shoulder?

  28. says

    One thing: don’t belittle Gee’s mention of depression. The internet is a harsh place, and it’s true that it can be rough on one’s self-esteem. Fortunately, as an emotionless psychopathic robot, my issues are minimal, but even emotionless psychopathic robots occasionally find that the internet harshes their mellow.

    Also, recognizing that Gee had depression issues does not mean that anyone should recommend that he stay off it. The internet is an essential tool for communication, and everyone has a right to find an accommodation with it.

  29. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Let me ask you: do you think it’s your employer’s business to police the many nasty things you’ve said about others on the internet?

    Sigh. I’ll ignore the unnecessary hostility. Chas, that’s not an apt comparison. Gee did the outing because Isis was criticizing him and his magazine. Her critique was predicated on him being in his capacity as a Nature editor. It absolutely wasn’t “just personal.”

    I don’t use my personal time online to go after people who disagree with me professionally or in some capacity about my work. It really is entirely different.

  30. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    OK, perhaps I was seeing “unnecessary hostility” where there isn’t any, Chas.

  31. Jacob Schmidt says

    David M.

    Why not tell Dr Isis this instead of soldiering on?

    I call bullshit on that one. I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect victims of bullying to appeal to their perpetrators.

  32. Pete Newell says

    Jacob Schmidt:

    I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect victims of bullying to appeal to their perpetrators.

    Can you explain to me again, please, with reference to Dr. Isis position and Henry Gee’s position, and the specifics of their issue of disagreement and their mutual communication, how Dr. Isis was bullying Henry Gee?

    I don’t buy it. You could call her impolite and rude, and I’d be willing to entertain your argument, but those do not constitute bullying.

    You are distorting the situation.

    Disclaimers: I am a man who works with and lives with women. I am on leave form work with depression. I do not consider Henry Gee’s actions justified or excused.

  33. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Can you explain to me again, please, with reference to Dr. Isis position and Henry Gee’s position, and the specifics of their issue of disagreement and their mutual communication, how Dr. Isis was bullying Henry Gee?

    I don’t buy it. You could call her impolite and rude, and I’d be willing to entertain your argument, but those do not constitute bullying.

    You are distorting the situation.

    Wait, are we seriously retconning “bullying,” too, into something that can only be done by someone who is “institutionally more powerful” than the victim?

    I’m not convinced, or even sympathetic to the idea, that Dr. Isis’ specific treatment of Henry Gee qualifies, but FOR FUCK’S FUCKING SAKE…

  34. ChasCPeterson says

    I do not want to be seen as defending the odious Gee, but the perceived last straw was not Isis’s “critique” of “him and his magazine”, but rather her publically blaming him personally for something done by his magazine (a letter that they published).
    And I did not say that it was “just personal”, despite your quotation marks, I said Gee did it on his own time and on his personal tweety account.
    He was an asshole on the internet, but Nature has nothing to apologize for other than employing a guy who in his private life is sometimes an asshole on the internet.

  35. Pete Newell says

    Azkyroth:

    Well, I’m pointing out the relevant factors and saying “this was not bullying.” I believe their jobs and roles are relevant to that opinion.

    Y’all feel free to generalize the fuck into what I didn’t say, though.

  36. Pete Newell says

    Hang on, that was unclear.

    I’m saying *she* did not bully *him*.

    *Him* doxxing *her* is bullying. His subsequent bullshit is bullshit.

  37. carlie says

    He didn’t drag Nature into the, uh, discussion; Isis did.

    He did. In the same tweet in which he outed her, he said “Nature is quaking in its boots.”

  38. Jacob Schmidt says

    Can you explain to me again, please, with reference to Dr. Isis position and Henry Gee’s position, and the specifics of their issue of disagreement and their mutual communication, how Dr. Isis was bullying Henry Gee?

    Given that I wasn’t trying to explain that in the first place, what the fuck are you talking about?

  39. Pete Newell says

    In post #39, David Marjanovic (And Beche de Mer, why am I arguing on the side of David Marjanovic? Something’s gotten twisted here.) suggested that Henry Gee could have explained his depression to Dr. Isis.
    You responded “I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect victims of bullying to appeal to their perpetrators.”

    If you didn’t mean Dr. Isis was bullying Henry Gee, what did you mean? I think one or both of us may have misread something.

  40. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Well, I’m pointing out the relevant factors and saying “this was not bullying.” I believe their jobs and roles are relevant to that opinion.

    Maybe we aren’t. Good. Nice of the Simple Linear Narrative About Power Dynamics to not gerrymander my lived experiences out of the scope of at least ONE term that’s useful for making sense of them and conveying them to others.

    Y’all feel free to generalize the fuck into what I didn’t say, though.

    To be fair, it’s a pretty accepted part of the culture here that the speaker is responsible for what anyone else might read into what they said based on context the speaker isn’t familiar with.

  41. chigau (違う) says

    Did Gee use information gained because of his position at Nature to do the ‘doxing’?

  42. ChasCPeterson says

    In the same tweet in which he outed her, he said “Nature is quaking in its boots.”

    As I recall, that was in response to Isis announcing her boycott of Nature because of him, and that came after her accusation and his denial. But of course I can’t go back and check now.
    As much as his was a heinous over-reaction, which I hasten to re-oine that it was, she definitely started this iteration, by publicly blaming Gee, with no evidence, for something he adamantly denies having had anythig to do with.
    (She’s really not a very nice person sometimes, you know.)

  43. ChasCPeterson says

    chigau: like what?
    Isis has never published there, and they never publish anything in her line of work, so I doubt she’s reviewed for them either. Even if she had, what would have been the link to the ‘Isis’ persona?
    In short, I doubt it, but of course I don’t actually know how he found out.

  44. Pete Newell says

    Oh hell, Azkyroth, I’m sorry I stepped on your toes. Consider at least one question I asked in the thunderdome answered: I’m clueless.

    *Qualified* Simple Linear Narratives are great as provisional generalizations until they hit actual cases.

    People who don’t qualify or don’t allow for exceptions when they come up are basically being assholes. Talented as I am, I’d rather not be as asshole.

  45. Jacob Schmidt says

    If you didn’t mean Dr. Isis was bullying Henry Gee, what did you mean? I think one or both of us may have misread something.

    That dismissing a bullying claim on the basis that the victim hasn’t appealed to the perpetrator is bullshit. No, Gee wasn’t bullied by Dr. Isis as far as I can tell, but it’s not because he didn’t appeal to her.

  46. chigau (違う) says

    Chas #51
    That sorta answers my question.
    I somehow got the impression that he used his position as Editor™ to gain access to Dr. Isis’s information
    and then used the info in his ‘personal life’.
    If that is the case, he should be fired.
    If he is just one smart cookie then … dunno.

  47. says

    I agree with jamessweet here. Gee’s actions were on his own time and on his private tweety account. He didn’t drag Nature into the, uh, discussion; Isis did. And although (like all other right-thinking tubes-denizens) I deplore what he did, no crime nor legally actionable act was committed. Nature had no obligation or responsibility to address the situation at all. And if they chose to, they could have kept it entirely internal. As things stand nobody here has any knowledge of what Gee’s bosses may have said to him in (appropriate) private.

    Let me ask you: do you think it’s your employer’s business to police the many nasty things you’ve said about others on the internet?

    I can’t agree with this. The outing came in the context of her talking about her boycotting Nature for specific reasons, and was worded – by an editor at Nature – to suggest (with maximum sneering) that Nature wouldn’t miss such an inconsequential scientist. All of their interactions, as far as I know (though I’m not on Twitter), have concerned Nature and his behavior in relation to his professional role. I don’t know if he was representing Nature at ScienceOnline in 2010,* but his dismissive and mocking response to a woman (not Isis) who’d criticized him, calling what she’d written “loony feminist nonsense,” was on the NN forum. He made the decision to publish “Womanspace” at Nature, and did so gleefully expecting people – presumably mostly women – to be angry. (So, by the way, it was perfectly reasonable to suspect he’d been involved in the later publication of the sexist letter, even if it turns out he hadn’t. I partly suspected he was involved in some weird stuff about AGW scientists published there a while back because of his conservatism.)

    People should feel that they can submit to a journal and that their submissions will be evaluated and treated fairly and anonymously, without an editor’s spite and vindictiveness getting in the way. You have to be able as an editor to maintain that separation, and I would say that this includes not just maintaining the standard in your editorial duties but behaving publicly in such a way as to make it clear that you will be fair and zealously guard people’s identity. Gee’s history of behavior over the past several years – and this vindictive act is an extreme example – would lead people to worry, with reason, that his personal feelings are going to color his editorial decisions and quite possibly affect the larger culture there, and this is especially true for women (but also feminists and gnu atheists). That’s a problem for Nature.

    They don’t have a legal responsibility to respond publicly, but every time something like this comes up they claim there isn’t a problem and that the episode isn’t representative. I think that pattern is what allowed this to occur. (And if he wasn’t involved in publishing the sexist letter, that means the problem goes beyond him, which is worse for Nature.) I believe that other individual editors reject this behavior, but if they want people to accept that there isn’t a problem, they need to do or say something a lot more convincing than this.

    ***

    Jacob Schmidt:

    That dismissing a bullying claim on the basis that the victim hasn’t appealed to the perpetrator is bullshit. No, Gee wasn’t bullied by Dr. Isis as far as I can tell, but it’s not because he didn’t appeal to her.

    You seem confused. Newell was saying that a discussion of the responsibilities of victims of bullying wasn’t applicable here because Gee wasn’t bullied by Dr. Isis, based on the specifics of the case. That’s quite true.

    Gee has a history of couching his own aggression in claims of victimhood. (And I say this as someone who’s been on the receiving end of one of Isis’ rants…hilarity ensued. While I think I agree with her on balance, I don’t like her approach at all; but her criticisms of a powerful organization and a powerful figure in that organization aren’t bullying.) Gee’s also sniped fairly continuously and gratuitously at Richard Dawkins, which I wouldn’t call bullying given Dawkins’ position.

    ***

    Chas:

    In short, I doubt it, but of course I don’t actually know how he found out.

    Well, he did say something in one tweet about there being a lot of people happy to help him discover her identity, so it wasn’t, as he implies, something he just gleaned passively. Whether those people might have wanted to take their shot at her while hiding behind an editor at Nature, and/or whether they might have wanted to curry favor with someone in his position, we can’t know, but we can’t assume his position was irrelevant.

    I agree with Josh’s characterization above.

  48. says

    Oh – my asterisk went to:

    * It’s interesting, in retrospect, who’s on that thread encouraging women to question their recollections and suggesting they were distorted by emotion.

    ***

    Really, given the campaigns of harassment and threats women have faced in the online media over the past few years (and to which Dr. Isis is now even more vulnerable since Gee’s outing her identity), it’s appalling that he would try this framing. Talk about aggrieved entitlement.

  49. Jacob Schmidt says

    You seem confused. Newell was saying that a discussion of the responsibilities of victims of bullying wasn’t applicable here because Gee wasn’t bullied by Dr. Isis, based on the specifics of the case. That’s quite true.

    In post #39, David Marjanovic (And Beche de Mer, why am I arguing on the side of David Marjanovic? Something’s gotten twisted here.) suggested that Henry Gee could have explained his depression to Dr. Isis.

    The problem is that Gee was claiming to be bullied by Dr. Isis. Now, in this case its not true, but the same reasoning given by David could be applied to cases where it is true. I don’t think it’s reasonable to ask people who claim to be bullied why they didn’t just appeal to their perpetrators.

  50. says

    The problem is that Gee was claiming to be bullied by Dr. Isis. Now, in this case its not true, but the same reasoning given by David could be applied to cases where it is true.

    But that’s true of anything. I don’t see how it helps to respond as though Gee’s claims are true or David believed them to be true. It doesn’t appear that he did, given this, from the same post:

    “Since 2010, Dr Isis has, in my opinion, waged a campaign of cyberbullying against me.”

    From what position of power?

    It appears that he was suggesting, rightly or wrongly, a course of action he thought Gee could have followed in his position, which David didn’t think was that of a victim of bullying (and indeed wasn’t that of a victim of bullying), Gee’s claims to the contrary.

    I don’t think it’s reasonable to ask people who claim to be bullied why they didn’t just appeal to their perpetrators.

    Here again you’re conflating several different things: being bullied, claiming to have been bullied, and responding to someone you believe has been bullied. The conversation became very confused, probably hopelessly so, because of this conflation. How victims of bullying should respond to bullies is irrelevant to David’s suggestion, because David, very reasonably, doesn’t believe Gee was bullied by Isis.

  51. Pete Newell says

    James Schmidt, re Salty Current @60: exactly.

    Gee wasn’t bullied – whatever he claims. Bullying doesn’t enter into it *here*. You were responding to the original comment by referring to a different situation entirely. That’s either confusion or a shuck.

    Please don’t do that.

    Thanks for the clarity, Salty Current. I didn’t do so well with that last night.

  52. says

    I was mistaken – what Gee classified as “loony feminist nonsense” was the argument, made by Zuska and others, that rules of “civility” might sometimes serve to marginalize or silence the voices of oppressed people:

    I think that what took my breath away was the very idea that the suggestion of rules might be interpreted in terms of gender or racial politics. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this since my student days. My belief is that in most fora in the UK such attitudes are not taken very seriously, even by feminists. I might be wrong, of course.

    The very expression of this idea called forth what even Gee himself acknowledged was a ragey tirade at the event (with added claims of anti-Semitism) and subsequent efforts to belittle and shut down women who wanted to talk about the issue.

  53. David Marjanović says

    Sorry I was absent from this thread for so long.

    David M.

    Why not tell Dr Isis this instead of soldiering on?

    I call bullshit on that one. I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect victims of bullying to appeal to their perpetrators.

    Gee and Dr Isis are, one should suppose, reasonable adults; and they’ve never met in meatspace and aren’t going to. Therefore, I wonder if Gee, who felt bullied (for no good reason), could have just said something along the lines of “you’re triggering my depression, let’s talk about this later”. If Dr Isis had then stopped, wonderful (for Gee). If she had mocked him instead, he’d now have publishable evidence that she’s in fact an asshole; that would have helped his case, or at least his presentation of it, immensely.

    But he did no such thing, got angrier and angrier, and finally exploded in publishing her meatspace name – a move very close to the old soccer song:

    “Umpire, we know where your car is,
    we’ll set it on fire,
    so go by train!”

    (Rhymes in the original German.)

  54. Eli Rabett says

    Now some, not Eli of course, might wonder how Dr. Gee (he did get a doctorate, and then ascended to Nature staff), got where he did and stayed there. That is the question that Nurture has to answer.

  55. Eli Rabett says

    Gee at best confuses harassing with bullying but that is all a piece of his self pity offensive.