No harassment here! Nothing to see!

Why would anyone think otherwise??!




That fake account appeared a lot on #WISCFI during the conference, too. I don’t think I saw any other fake accounts of any other speakers; just that one. I’m special. I don’t know why, particularly, but I am.

Twitter deleted the account on Monday, but of course the genius behind it just created another one.

But that, as we all know, is not harassment. It’s dissent, it’s criticism, it’s disagreement.


  1. Aratina Cage says

    Didn’t know another had been made. Will make sure it is put on the block list. That is @elevatorGATE, by the way.

    And you know, I asked this last night sarcastically to the #FTBully believers, but what do they call that stuff that fundamentalists do outside of abortion clinics?

  2. carlie says

    Did Twitter ever delete the account that had numbers instead of letters in your name?

  3. says

    What I’d really love to know is what kind of jobs these people do. They seem to have a LOT of free time and energy (not to mention, wherewithal) to devote themselves wholeheartedly to systematic and persistent fuckwittery, such as this. The question paramount to me is:

    Why can’t I find myself such a job?

    Not that I have the remotest interest in going after one single person day in and day out, creating faux accounts, calling uncouth names, disparaging, denigrating, harassing – generally making a whale of nuisance of myself, but it would be nice to find a job which allows me to put my feet up, chat with my cronies, laugh raucously in echo chambers, and whatever else they do.

  4. says

    I noticed a fake account for the Center for Inquiry during that time – not sure how old it is. They used @centre4inquiry instead of @center4inquiry. I drew the actual CFI’s attention to it but no response to my knowledge. It’s still up. Its username is now “center for radfems.”

  5. LeftSidePositive says

    It really is remarkable how much noise these people put out. It’s like a strategy in itself. First, they willfully misrepresent what Dave Silverman was talking about. They take it as an article of faith that he was being asked to denounce things that are inconsequential and unrelated to Vacula (both thoroughly untrue, of course!). Not only does pretending that harassment by atheists, especially at the slymepit, is a minor thing give them cover to keep harassing and gaslight the people being harassed, but this strategy also buries the person under a MOUNTAIN of inanity that, while not explicitly vile in itself, only exists to punish the person for speaking up about their vile treatment, or about ignorant, alienating, and marginalizing treatment from the well-spoken (eg, “it’s more of a guy thing” and “don’t silence the menz”). When the person points out that this is harassing behavior, they claim it’s “just disagreeing” because they’ve devoted SO MUCH TEXT to misrepresenting, obfuscating, and riffing off their obfuscations that observers will likely not even be able to *find* what the disagreement is about, that it has content, and that the values contained in the harasser’s disagreement are reprehensible. Each of these inane, content-free tweets doesn’t seem hurtful in itself, but since each of them are put up in defense of the prerogative to engage in hurtful behavior, they add to the hurt even while the perpetrators can just say “look at how oversensitive these people are, claiming to be harassed over something as innocuous as ‘#vaculamustdenounce toilet seats left in the up position’!”

    Fucking douchebags.

  6. says

    It’s not the verbal content of the tweets, it’s the fake account itself, it’s using my real name on the account, it’s tweets with my real name on them, it’s doing it multiple times, it’s the repulsive picture.

  7. Elly says

    What Kausik Datta said…

    It’s the old “I’m not touching you” game, internet-edition. Bullies love it, because the victim can never win.

  8. hjhornbeck says

    I hate to dredge up the “why don’t you sue?” card, but I think it’s appropriate here.

    It’s tough for an individual to launch a lawsuit, because it requires quite a bit of time and effort to gather up data, demonstrate slander and harm, and so on. An organization, however, is quite a different matter. CFI could easily drop $100,000 on dragging ElevatorGATE to court, and they would have an easier time showing damage due to his/her actions. This would hinder of one of the more vocal harassers out there, and send a message to the rest that the big-name orgs don’t take kindly to that behavior.

  9. screechymonkey says

    Kausik Datta @3:

    They seem to have a LOT of free time and energy (not to mention, wherewithal) to devote themselves wholeheartedly to systematic and persistent fuckwittery, such as this.

    And yet, they insist that all this feminism stuff is a HUGE DISTRACTION from the important work of the skeptical movement. In their view, wouldn’t that make us the “trolls” of the skeptical movement, and shouldn’t they just be ignoring us so we go away? But instead, they spend all this time creating fake accounts, spamming conference hashtags, recording podcasts, etc., instead of getting on with that important work we’re supposedly distracting them from.

  10. screechymonkey says


    CFI could easily drop $100,000 on dragging ElevatorGATE to court, and they would have an easier time showing damage due to his/her actions.

    They would? How?

    They’d have to show that people that was actually CFI, and that those people would have donated money but for that confusion. (And that’s in addition to proving the other aspects of their case, including overcoming a free speech/parody/fair use defense.)

    It would be the height of irresponsibility for an organization like CFI to waste that kind of money pursuing a negligible claim just to show up a clown.

    This just isn’t the kind of thing the legal system is well equipped to handle. I wish that weren’t so, but there it is.

  11. Claire says


    I’m a long time reader of your blog, not much of a one for commenting on blogs, but I have to ask this question. How do you find the energy to put up with all this crap? I don’t think I could stay sane with even a tenth of the BS you seem to have flung at you all the time.

    Having said that, I’m glad you’re able to find the strength – I enjoy your writing (except for reading about the harassment – I confess that’s not so fun) but I really wish you didn’t have to put up with the abuse.

  12. LeftSidePositive says

    Bernard, I don’t think that’s the issue. The issue is they hate their fellow human beings (and that they get social status from their peers for doing it). This is very much a hobby to them, not an involuntary obsession. It really makes no difference what hours these happen, as some people have flexible work schedules, and if some of them are unemployed it’s not necessary to mock them for that fact–let’s mock them for being assholes.

    Let’s not fall into the trap of pretending to diagnose shitheads, when the issue with them is not mental illness (and those with mental illness don’t deserve to have their experiences appropriated as descriptors of shitheads!) but rather their willful choices and prejudices.

  13. says

    Hi Claire.

    (I met a lot of long-time/dedicated readers who don’t comment, at WiS, who introduced themselves to tell me the same thing.)

    The answer is that I don’t, always. Sometimes it makes me hate everything.

  14. Millicent says

    Another longtime reader-lurker here, wanting to chime in and tell you that I love your writing, and I really, really wish that you didn’t have all this crap flung at you. It (obviously) sucks, and I am so sorry that this shit comes at you so hard and so often. 🙁

  15. Sorbus says

    I think there aren’t that many of them. Look at how few ‘up votes’ the usual suspects get on RDFRS and how few retweets they get. Considering they already use multiple online identities they still can’t muster that much. At some point they’re sure to get careless and let their anonymity slip or expose how they are coordinating the stink they cause.

    One thing that annoys me is how any criticism is responded to with ‘oh yeah, point out a specific message that is harassment’ when any overview of the torrent of crap that is being slung at you should set alarms bells ringing in any reasonable mind. I’m glad you’re documenting this so publicly.

    It has been this issue that caused me to delurk and start posting on FTB. I’d like to think that they’ve caused more people to speak out against this shite than they actually will ever number.

    Keep up the good work Ophelia and FTB!

  16. k_machine says

    What I’d really love to know is what kind of jobs these people do. They seem to have a LOT of free time and energy (not to mention, wherewithal) to devote themselves wholeheartedly to systematic and persistent fuckwittery, such as this. The question paramount to me is:

    Any desk jockey (cubicle drone, computer janitor etc.) could do this during down time, firing off comments do not take that long. As long as a worker does not cross the magical line of Not Safe For Work, they can do more or less as they please on their work computer.

  17. says

    MRA filth inhabiting Slymepit, Vacula and all of them, are all a bunch of anti-socials of the worst sort, as far as I am concerned. The fact they’re doing this to you is little surprise as sad as it feels to read this.

    They’re scum of the lowest sort in my book, lowest of the low. Then again, I don’t have a high opinion of anyone in new atheism or new humanism….but of all the people in new atheism and new humanism, these people are like the lowest of the low dogshit stupid creepy anti-socials.

  18. Artemis says

    This fake account inspired me to make a small donation. I hope somebody uses the money to buy shoes.

    I am another one of the people that read this blog often but rarely comment. I wanted to thank Ophelia for having the courage and energy to stand up and be vocal for atheism and against all this harassment.

  19. says

    I just looked closer at the pic and it’s a muppet old lady. Oh so clever. *eyeroll*

    On a tangent here, since you mentioned this ugly picture, could I just say that you are not at all ugly. I know it’s not really relevant, but since the pit regularly abuse you for your looks I’d just once like to refute that.

    Having seen your recent pics, you are a very fine looking older woman – strong symmetrical features, good posture, neat haircut in nice pewter shade etc. I’ll be pleased if I look as good as you when I go grey. Obvs you are not some Kardashian, but let’s not buy into ridiculous patriarchal beauty standards.

  20. says

    Ophelia, more power to you to rise above this pond scum!

    It’s yet another silencing technique, trying to outshout, drown out, and dilute your clear and cogent message.

    I wish you had a secretary or assistant who would just delete most of it before you ever see it and devote some hours to tracking down imitators and getting them blocked. Dealing with spam costs money.

    I admire your courage and despise the low-lifes who harass you.

  21. John Morales says

    Well, I’ve admired Ophelia’s writing and site for at least a decade now (I recall writing her an appreciative note after discovering B&W), but I don’t go out of my way to praise her or obsess about her, not being a fanboi.

    So, it’s notable that should one invert the haters’ actions they then become the most avid of fanbois: whole websites dedicated to her praises, compulsively monitoring and discussing everything related to her or her interests seeking any juicy snippets or talking points, creating iconic fan-art of and about her, and constantly spruiking her praise-worthiness.

  22. Donnie says

    I was just thinking, “Why not have a lawyer draft a letter in order to get Twitter to reveal the name of the account holder?” Of course, that is highly naive – the CSI/NCIS version of criminal justice. A lot more than a letter will be required before Twitter releases any names which would be fake anyways. My thought is that until real names are released in the public domain these attacks, harassment will continue – anonymously. I am going to be talking with my lawyer about another issue next week. I will raise it with her and get an idea of what will be required. Depressingly, the answer will probably be “Nothing”, but I am tired of sitting around while bullies bully anonymously. As they say, time to put my money where my mouth is.

  23. rnilsson says

    So sorry for my long absence, Ophelia. Must have missed a ton (or maybe not). Being solvent but not very liquid, I can only afford a small dunked bisquit this time, but it is a token of deeply felt compassion.

  24. says

    That may not make much difference unfortunately
    as a harasser could continue to do so under their
    own name though being anonymous rather helps
    The only real practical solution is to stop blogging
    To remove oneself completely from the public eye
    As nothing else may work at this precise moment
    Continually documenting it does not help one iota
    For it just makes it worse for any one involved in it

  25. says

    It is not in any way a “solution” to stop blogging. The problem can be stated as not being free to blog without getting a torrent of unmerited out-of-proportion harassment. Therefore, not blogging is the opposite of a solution.

  26. LeftSidePositive says

    Am I the only one who finds surreptitious’s line breaks insufferably pretentious?

    And ze is a total fucking idiot if he thinks documenting the harassment doesn’t help one iota (I suspect, rather that he DOES understand that it helps–that’s why he’s trying to dissuade you from doing it!). It rallies support. It makes the person who feels harassed less alone. It creates a social cost to the harasser and damages their credibility. It creates an easy reference for when Vacula et al disingenuously say “harassment? what harassment?” and try to use that as a means to shut down discussions about what to do about harassment. It elevates the issue to general notice and shows decision and organization leaders what women are going through.

  27. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Great advice, surreptitious57. If a bunch of people decide to gang up on an other person, the best thing that the harassed person can do is shut up. Thank you for validating the tactics of the slymieheroes.

    If I got a bunch of people to harass you for months on end, will you follow your own advice and shut up?

    (Not that I actually would pull such a dirty tactic.)

  28. says

    It is not in any way a “solution” to stop blogging. The problem can be stated as not being free to blog without getting a torrent of unmerited out-of-proportion harassment. Therefore, not blogging is the opposite of a solution.

    How many times did I get told the same thing surreptitious told you by privileged idiots attacking me for being transgender in online games; you don’t want to be attacked for being trans, don’t get on the internet! Good for you, you’re totally right, and he’s being an asshole. God, fuck this world.

    Keep right on blogging, that’ll show those assholes they can’t make you quit. You’re a strong woman, I’m in good company around you. I keep existing to spite assholes like the ones that have viciously attacked me or belittled me online in other spaces (usually games). I’ve got way too much anger and hatred to let them win by killing myself no matter how suicidal I get.

    Good on you.

  29. says

    Not that long ago we asked if it were possible
    to use the law against them but everyone was
    of the opinion that this was just unacceptable
    And the documenting of it does not stop them
    at all and if anything makes them more eager
    So much time and energy is taken up with all
    this when it could and should be better spent
    I wonder if the day is ever going to come now
    when the three sides can just start a fresh by
    putting it all behind them though suspect not

  30. rnilsson says

    As predicted, 57 comes in a bloody mess again
    all consisting of actual words
    only blurted
    in one swell foop.
    Abjectly lacking form context or
    Not grammer mention two
    Square shaped, to say, in awe something kind
    and don’t even rhine

    Absurdity is be long base yes Sur!

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