So a week or so ago a guy called Michael Payton who works for CFI Canada (Center for Inquiry) put up a tweet about finding FTB unreadable. Now it turns out ironically Michael is on FTBs side on the issue of harassment policies at conferences (well mostly), however that didn’t matter if he was going to speak ill of freethoughtblogs and this precipitated an angry torrent of twitters from at least one FTBer and another to write an entire blog post about it (promoted by PZ Myers of course), and as with all such posts on FTB he (Payton) was repeatedly branded in the comments section with pejorative terms such as misogynist and MRA (the irony being that he posted an article on skepchick ‘speaking out against hate against women‘ FACEPALM). Indeed it turned out that merely hours after this tweet, CFI Canada had been contacted with calls for his dismissal. Yes his real life job was being threatened because of one tweet about FTBs!
That was a pretty disturbing turn of events having someones job targeted so quickly after a single tweet about FTBs, and after a brief chat with Michael, and knowing that FTB were going ballistic about this on their secret backchannel with some THIRTY messages being circulated on the backchannel about his single tweet, let him know what they were saying about him (naturally no personal details were passed on). Michael did not want to know, he did not need to know that personal info.
This is some of the chatter I passed on to Michael.
Nowhere does he even attempt to justify breaking into the mailing list immediately after he was officially removed – something he did a whole month before any of us said anything about Michael Payton. At the time he did that, there were no remarks about Michael Payton for him to take umbrage at. It was just something he did for whatever inscrutable reasons he needed to convince himself that this was acceptable behavior.
Also, that “chatter” on the mailing list was my email:
Just an early warning, I’m strongly leaning towards publicly making a minor deal of this – not focusing on Payton exclusively, but just as an example of the general attitude of dismissing all of FTB despite not being familiar with hardly any of us – *unless* there’s either an actual apology to us or some kind of sufficient reason for why it would be a bad idea to draw attention to his remarks at this time, such as a relevant illness. I’m usually not one to get involved in internal disputes in the movement, but if a national leader of the SCA or American Atheists had been so openly dismissive of FTB as a whole, I imagine we wouldn’t just let that pass unnoticed. So I’d just like to know if there’s any good reason why I shouldn’t do this, even if I can’t necessarily be privy to the details of it.
Yes, I said that. And so what? I’d say it again – I did say it again – and nothing about it excuses Thunderf00t’s actions. The fact that I said such a thing is not grounds for breaching the privacy of the mailing list or forwarding this email to outside parties, because what I said was not of such a nature that the act of saying it meant immediately abandoning any expectation of privacy. Michael Payton, national executive director of CFI Canada, was making absurd overgeneralizations about Freethought Blogs on Twitter. I drew attention to this and commented on it. And before I did, I asked others if there might be more to the situation that I wasn’t aware of, in case there was any reason why posting about this would be inadvisable.
Nothing about this is even remotely out of line. But for the crime of publicly disagreeing with someone’s public statements, and talking about this with others, Thunderf00t decided that I deserved to have my private email passed along to Michael Payton himself.
So, Thunderf00t, just how far does this line of reasoning extend? Do you plan to break into everyone’s private email, just in case they might eventually plan on writing something critical about someone and you need to show this to the world? Will this then retroactively justify your unauthorized access of their information, too? Is everyone else entitled to intrude upon your privacy for the same reasons, or are you the only one who’s entitled to decide whether other people are allowed to discuss things in confidence?
At the end of the day, you committed an unambiguous and inexcusable ethical violation, and the sole defense you’ve managed to muster is that Zinnia Jones was going to say something critical of Michael Payton’s remarks. Heaven forbid. Do you know what that tells me?
It tells me you’re a pathetic, petty, flailing little whiner.