Not at all

Seen on Twitter.

Dissing FtB is no more naughty than dissing HuffPo. It’s obviously a reaction to aspects, not every square inch. Ob-vi-ous-ly.

No. That’s completely wrong. Clearly lots of people are thinking something like that, but it’s wrong. The Huffington Post has editors. It’s like a magazine. Magazines have editors. They have a style, and a policy, and criteria; they have a lot of elements that make them a unified entity. It makes sense to generalize about The New Yorker or The Atlantic or The New Statesman – or the Huffington Post.

Freethought blogs is a network of blogs. There is no editor of all the blogs. There is no directive, there is no style, there is no policy. Once you’ve joined there are no criteria. It’s up to the individual blogger what she writes. There are no leaders. Just yesterday I saw somebody talking nonsense about not reading “FTB” until there was a change in “the leadership.” There is no leadership.

There is initial compatibility, yes; people are invited to join for reasons. But that’s it. It’s not comparable to the Huffington Post. And it is not the least bit obvious that endless sniping at “FTB” does no harm to, say, Dana Hunter or Mano Singham or Hank Fox. Yes, no doubt I’m a horrible person and deserve to be set on fire, but not everyone at “FTB” is a horrible person. Boooooooo on people making excuses for the “FTB” nonsense.


  1. One Thousand Needles says

    While I agree with 99% of what you wrote, I think it is worth nitpicking about claiming that “there is no policy.”

    If I had created the sort of cesspool of a blog that Thunderf00t had, or written the kind of disparaging remarks toward other FTB bloggers that Greg Laden had, I would expect to be booted from FTB, as they were.

    While that may not represent a formalized policy, it does represent some sort of minimal standard to which FTB bloggers are expected to adhere. Maybe “don’t shit all over the blog network that is hosting your blog” is the extent of the policy, but it is a policy none the less.

    Apologies for the pedantry.

  2. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Once you’ve joined there are no criteria.

    How can u sae that when u git banned for dizagreeing!??!

    Thread inoculated.

  3. says

    Needles, I think what you’re describing are limits. Yes, there are limits at FTB, although nobody knows what they are until they’ve been exceeded – as is true in so much of life.

    So, yes, there are limits, which are not written down anywhere or known in advance. That’s not the same as a policy, and there really is no policy. Selection isn’t random – we’re not looking for a Catholic bishop who blogs about needlework, for instance. We have shared interests and views, and we wouldn’t have been invited if we didn’t, but once we join, we are free.

  4. 'Tis Himself says

    es, no doubt I’m a horrible person and deserve to be set on fire

    “Give a man a fire and he’s warm for the day. But set fire to him and he’s warm for the rest of his life.” –Terry Pratchett

  5. says


    The critics of FtB tend to be terrible people. The people who blog at FtB tend to be not terrible people. To those terrible people, “not terrible people” must seem like a frightening monolith.

  6. Wowbagger, Titillated Victorian Gentleman says

    Improbable Joe wrote:

    To those terrible people, “not terrible people” must seem like a frightening monolith.

    More importantly, they’re terrible people who don’t want to give dudebros a cookie and a pat on the head and tell then they’re totes awesome for being smart enough to not believe in gods, and only write about the stupid/evil things the religious do to remind them of that.

    Monsters, one and all.

  7. karmakin says

    Yeah, I don’t think that these criticisms are fair or realistic at all.

    I think they’re going by the whole if you don’t publicly criticize X then you support X model, but that’s something I generally disagree with.

  8. Charles Sullivan says

    You’re right about how FTBs are entirely different than Huff Po, et al. But FTBs is not a co-op in terms of democratic decision making, is it?

  9. says

    The decision to eventually stop hosting any more posts from Thunderf00t does actually seem to have been arrived at by consensus (or at least majority vote) rather than by fiat, Charles Sullivan. How much more democratic would you like FTB to be?

  10. says


    I just checked the #FTBullies latest tweets

    I occasionally look at it, mainly out of morbid curiosity. It always, regardless of time of day, seems to be dominated by the same band of bizarre obsessives. I also smell sockpuppetry. Some of the more repellent characters write in a very similar manner.

  11. says

    Charles Sullivan – what does that even mean? Decision making about what?

    What are people even imagining “FTB” is when they ask questions like that? We’re not a university or a corporation or a hospital or a political party. We’re a group of bloggers who blog independently. We don’t issue directives.

  12. Enkidu says

    Ophelia, you are awesome and deserve to be worshiped admired.

    Antonymic phrases to “set on fire” (put out?, extinguished?) don’t seem quite right.

  13. Dunc says

    All of this simply tells me that the people who complain most about FTB don’t actually read very much of it. It’s like they only come here to read the posts on the specific topics they already disagree with from the bloggers that they already hate. As far as I can tell, they’re completely unaware of the existence of at least half of the network. Yeah, it’s all feminism all the time – if you ignore all the bits that aren’t.

  14. Sili says

    Yes, no doubt I’m a horrible person and deserve to be set on fire

    No, no, no.

    You’re a terrible person and deserve to get kicked in the Idon’twanttotriggerthespamfilter. Get it right.

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