The fans of #wiscfi

Just a little random morning item, just a warm up to start the day. There was a tweet about Women in Secularism 2 in my Twitter feed, with the hashtag – #wiscfi – so I clicked on the hashtag to see what else is new. So now you get to see what I see.


Only after all those did I see a genuine, that is a non-mocking non-sneering non-hostile tweet.

Interesting, isn’t it.


  1. rnilsson says

    So, I wonder. How many are these star dusted fantasts? A head count may not be exact or even relevant, but ballpark figures?

  2. Aratina Cage says

    I think every single one of those creeps is in the community block list we’ve set up on Twitter. Unfortunately, you will still see their rantings if you click on a tag like #wiscfi even if you have all of them blocked.

    While it is not possible to tell how many of them are sockpuppets, their current numbers on Twitter get about as high as 200. Of course, they poison the well just enough (forget about being charitable–they’re never charitable) that you get one or two tweets from a much larger pool of otherwise disinterested folks on Twitter as well every so often that echo the slimepitters.

  3. karmacat says

    The more these people criticize the conference the more I am excited about going. I really liked it last year. It is extra fun now thinking that I am pissing off certain people.

  4. glodson says

    It is like they are trying to create evidence that the world is full of assholes by being incredible assholes.

  5. UnknownEric is just a spudboy, looking for a quantum tomato. says

    Well, it’s certainly a good thing that these guys have so much to do that they can spend hours every day being jerks on the internet!

  6. EllenBeth Wachs says

    I just had the misfortune of dealing with one nasty John Brown. I discovered they were referring to black people as “darkies” in the slymepit and called them on it. The dishonest despicable people that they are can’t own that. John Brown came after me on twitter to use a smear campaign of lies calling me a racist in multiple tweets as if I were the one that said it and using the hashtag #ftbullies. He certainly is a #bravehero, isn’t he? In fact, he is tweeting about Aratina’s comment on this blog.

  7. hjhornbeck says

    I just read about the Xanatos Gambit, where any move by one side results is victory for the other. It occurs to me that the entire skeptical community is currently in one. The Slymepitters and their allies are polarizing the skeptical community, by forcing neutral people to pick sides. This puts us in an interesting position:

    A. They develop valid criticisms of feminism and social justice, in which case we’re grateful for having one less falsehood to believe in.
    B. They fail to develop valid criticisms, which drives the skeptical community to embrace feminism and social justice more than it would otherwise.

    Right now, we seem to be in option B. I just recently wound up an argument with a fellow skeptic, where I got him to admit his hero Harriet Hall was being a hypocritical, shit-stirring asshat. The very words that come from the Slymepit and their allies are proving to be the best argument against them. And it’s making people who otherwise wouldn’t care pay more attention to feminist and social justice issues. Look at the OP: who would be convinced by hashtag camping? No-one. And yet those of us who fly under A+ have been handed yet another demonstration of how women are minimized within the secular movement, one more bit of evidence to sway people to our side.

    We’re winning, no matter what happens, so long as we refuse to shut up.

  8. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    It’s another reminder of what’s really driving this – fear.

    Fear that they’re no longer the arbiters of the atheist movement, whose narrow range of interests are what bloggers/speakers/conference organisers look at to decide what they’re going to write/talk about.

    Fear that they’re no longer special or important, that no-one’s going to care about their opinions on things like religion, which for some reason they think are interesting despite the fact everyone’s heard them before and from people much cleverer.

    Fear that they’re going to have to listen to people talk about things that don’t interest them, like feminism and social justice.

  9. Martha says

    I won’t read that crap; indeed, this may be the first time I’ve been grateful that I can’t read small text the way I used to!

    I will, on the other hand, go to WiS and spend my time with outstanding people who understand that building something is hard work, whereas criticizing it is fool’s play. It will be a pleasure to listen to and interact people who put their energies into turning mediocre ideas into good ones and good ideas into great ones, not tearing down people with the potential to contribute.

  10. says

    So, what’s their scoop on Susan Jacoby, who’s appearing both at WIS2 and TAM? Love, hate or headasplody? Jerry Coyne just announced he’s going to be speaking at TAM, and only three comments in someone is whinging about last year’s “disruptive elements” (fortunately, someone else called them on it, and then Jerry shut it down).

  11. jose says

    I just linked the first screenshot in response to this saying “pershaps these people?” and got the comment deleted plus I’m now in moderation.

    The comment about disruptive elements did not get deleted, though. Hmm.

  12. says

    @17: I think it’s fair enough for Jerry to clamp down on the subject, while leaving up the opening salvos (which includes a pretty good rebuttal to the original). And if you submitted a comment after you reasonably should have seen the call to take it outside (obviously, I don’t know the timing), then from Jerry’s POV you look like a possible troublemaker.

    Now, one could argue that Jerry’s refusal to take public sides in the Deep Rifts is misguided, but that’s another argument. And, notwithstanding my own sympathies, I don’t blame him for wanting to keep out of it.

  13. says

    The trouble is, Jerry hasn’t completely refused to take public sides in the Deep Rifts. Almost, but not completely. He’s done a few public passive-aggressive jabs. The most personally pointed one that I’m aware of was a mention of a Cutest (or Best or whatever) Cat Contest he did a few years ago, and the two celebrity judges Russell Blackford and Miranda Celeste Hale. Innocent if you don’t know the background, but if you do know the background it’s quite pointed, because in fact there were three judges. I was the third. I got some alarmed messages about that post, of the “what was that about?!” variety.

  14. jose says

    In fact I discovered butterflies and wheels 4 years ago because you used to comment there. No longer a possibility, sadly.

  15. says

    No, indeed not.

    I used to comment there often. Jerry used to be very friendly to me – we would have long mostly-absurd email conversations, about things like ice cream. We worked together on the “Tom Johnson”/Wally Smith problem. Then along came the Deep Rifts.

  16. says

    @21: More correctly, those were the days when the Deep Rifts were about science/religion compatibilism (or lack thereof) and public presentation strategies arising therefrom.

    I really miss those days. When the issues were, well, issues rather than being who said what about whom in response to the latter saying something about someone else and whether they deserved it.

    Also @19: I must have missed something along the way. I recall you were one of the judges of that contest (in which my picture and write-up on Zeno and Russell took a prize); I didn’t realize you’d been disappeared.

  17. says

    Not in the least. I’m saying that those, and meta-discussions thereof, have *become* THE issues. Which ultimately is the fault of the bigots and harassers, and it was probably necessary and inevitable that it would happen, but it’s still goddamn tiring (and that’s speaking merely as a spectator, rather than a target. And also as someone who just doesn’t follow the dynamics of social interaction very well).

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