A bookend for the Sara Mayhew item, because this one strikes me as peculiarly vicious and tiny-minded.


Ophelia Benson @OpheliaBenson     9 Nov

CFI combating superstition in Uganda http://dlvr.it/4HqYQp [link to guest post here by Bill Cooke]

Skep tickle @Ellesun         9 Nov

@OpheliaBenson Might I suggest link to original post at CFI on campus, 3/2013? Also, how to earmark? Donation link doesn’t allow that option

Ophelia Benson @OpheliaBenson        21 h

Bill sent me the article directly, w/o mention of link. I didn’t steal it.

Skep tickle @Ellesun

Sure, I get that, & I know he welcomed help spreading word. But as his employer, CFI may hold © on original 3/2013 post, 1/2

and AFAIK mentioning it’d been previously posted, w/ link back to original, would be standard even if permissions all ok. 2/2

Ok can anyone explain to me what on earth is the point of that other than to be an obnoxious officious meddling aka harassing ASSHOLE? Because I can’t. For the life of me, I can’t.

“Skep tickle” was at the CFI Summit, and I assume she was at Bill Cooke’s talk, in which case she knows how it galvanized everyone and how affecting it was and how the Q&A and the conversations afterward were full of “gosh I didn’t even know CFI was doing this, you guys need to make more noise about it!!” And in fact she must know in any case, not least because she said so in that penultimate tweet.

So what the fuck is her point? What can her point possibly be?

Update Her latest.


I told her if she really thinks I’m violating CFI’s copyright she should alert Ron Lindsay.

Update Her latest latest. Yes how could I possibly think her intentions were anything but benevolent and helpful.


M. Justin @mateus_justino

@16bitheretic @Ellesun @D4M10N I went over to Ms. CopyPasta’s page and saw an add for Christian Mingle. pic.twitter.com/7gxzyb7Wzz

LOL though.  How exactly is what @Ellesun asked of Ofeelya Butthurt “particularly vicious” or “tiny minded”?

16-bit[ch] @16bitheretic

@mateus_justino The way it works is that since @Ellesun posted at unapproved places, anything she says is EVIL! Hence, DRAMA BLOG! @D4M10N

Skeptickle @Ellesun

I used2 point out at FTB/B&W when OB made horrific news 2b about OB, finally suggested help 4 paranoia


M. Justin @mateus_justino

@Ellesun @16bitheretic @D4M10Nre: “horrific news” I don’t understand.  Is this about the email she used to cancel having to give a speech?

Skeptickle @Ellesun

@mateus_justino Acid attacks; ~8 posts on that violent rape/murder in India; etc. Many posts ended w/ fear for self.

How dare I. How dare I have any fear for self, merely because a large group of strangers have been publicly obsessing over their hatred of me for more than two years. How very terrible of me, and how noble and public-spirited of Skep tickle to encourage and participate in the obsessive hatred of me. How stupid of me not to realize that her tweets about Bill’s article were entirely friendly and helpful.


  1. Anthony K says

    What can her point possibly be?

    You mean besides “Hey, look at me! I exist! I’m important!”?

  2. Friendly says

    Given that I’m friends with a number of songwriters whose lyrics have been reposted without asking their permission or attributing the lyrics to them, I get that some people are twitchy about other people reposting material without indicating that it’s a repost or identifying the original source. However, an appeal for charitable assistance isn’t in the same category of intellectual property as song lyrics, poetry, stories, or essays. I can’t imagine CFI having any problem with Bill, a CFI staffer, reposting an earlier CFI appeal on your site; how could that be construed as damaging CFI in any way? Very much an overreaction.

  3. rnilsson says

    Or … s/he’s in favor of witches? Or witch-hunts?
    I’m getting sleeeepy … and vote Republican!

    (BTW, that’s a Roy Zimmerman hat-tip; please tip his hat)
    (From the previous election campaign where he strummed his way across the States)

  4. says

    Well I said “other than to be an obnoxious officious meddling aka harassing ASSHOLE” which amounts to the same thing. Anyway I still don’t get it. Sure, it’s easy to get attention by being an asshole. You can just go out somewhere and stage some asshole theatre – in a drugstore, a bus, a bank, Starbucks – lots of places. But why would you want to?

  5. says

    I get that some people are twitchy about other people reposting material without indicating that it’s a repost or identifying the original source.

    Oh, so do I, believe me. People have done it to me. AlterNet once helped itself to an article published at ur-B&W without asking me or telling me and without a word of acknowledgement – unbelievably rude (at best). No apologies when I objected, either. I have a very low opinion of AlterNet as a result.

    But this isn’t that. Not.even.close.

  6. bcmystery says

    I have to wonder if she also chided Bill Cooke for providing you with the OMG©CFI text to publish as a guest post. His failure to request—nay, demand—a link back to the original post is surely as damning as your failure to include it when you published the guest post.

    Plus, it strikes me as a reasonable inference that she believes you to be both psychic as well as negligent, since you couldn’t be bothered to use your psychic powers to discern the existence of a link Bill did not provide to you along with the OMG©CFI text.

    Sure, from where I’m sitting it looks like you graciously helped Bill spread an important message at his request, but maybe I’m doing this whole skeptic thing wrong. Clearly, we must forthwith open an investigation into your secret psychic powers.

  7. says

    Right? I told her in my first reply that Bill didn’t mention a previous publication, but she ignored that.

    I didn’t exactly graciously help at Bill’s request, it was more the other way around – I asked him after his talk if I could help spread the important message and he enthusiastically agreed.

    I have a decent readership. It’s a fraction of PZ’s, it’s a fraction of Ed’s, but it’s decent. I wanted to use that fact to amplify the news about CFI’s international program. That’s it, that’s all there is to it. Given that, what Tickle’s point can possibly be in hassling me about it is just…

    well I’ve already said what it is.

  8. says

    It’s generally accepted that charities mostly just want word to be spread about the things they are trying to fix. That CFI might want an original link to one of their articles is massively outweighed by the use of spreading the word. This is petty use of a cultural norm to emotionally pressure someone.

    Just out of curiosity is Bill Cooke a part of CFI? I don’t think that detracts from anything but I’m just thinking about the details about how this might work as a means of creating emotinal pressure. If Cooks is not a member of CFI this makes the illegitimate use of shame stronger in the eyes of the person using it, if Cooke is a member of CFI then Skep tickle has even more reasons to mind their own fucking buisness.

  9. chrisho-stuart says

    If anyone is at fault here, it would be Bill for submitting for publication material which had already been published elsewhere, and not stating this up front. Good practice would have been for Bill to declare that he was simply reusing old material.

    But I really don’t think it is a big issue, and given the subject matter — which is everyone’s first and major priority, right? — and given the publication venues, I really don’t think it’s a problem.

    I don’t think the word “vicious” fits. Tiny minded… yes.

  10. John Morales says

    [OT + oblique]

    When I was a young boy, I was brought up a strict Roman Catholic. That meant going to confession weekly, no ifs or buts. I dreaded it, but it’s not like I had a real choice, and you can’t fake not going into the cubicle.

    So, when I went, I tried very hard to come up with some sins (any sins) — not just because I’m very literally inclined, but because you don’t go there and say “No need to forgive me, Father, for I have not sinned”.

    (I always managed to come up with something to confess, but sometimes it was a real stretch)

  11. kevinkirkpatrick says

    Wait a second – all along I’d assumed that this was a CFI article that Bill Cooke ripped off and presented to Ophelia as his own. And even in that light, I was still thinking that SkepTickle directing her concerns at Ophelia was basically assholish pestering.

    But… but… Bill was the author?!

    So, Bill posts an article to website A. He then sends an abbreviated version of his article to website B. Both websites post the respective articles, both correctly attribute to Bill.

    And SkepTickle is concerned about… what? Did she fear that Bill had been commissioned by CFI to write the article *and* was therefore violating some contractual obligation not to republish his words elsewhere? I mean, yeah, I guess it’s possible (if we choose to ignore the content of the article that immediately makes clear the ludicrousness of the idea). But even if we assume that SkepTickle’s concerns were based on that nuanced a line of reasoning… why the hell is she taking it up with Ophelia? And doing so publicly, with strong negative implications (borderline accusation) that Ophelia is engaging in copyright violation?

    I’d be amused at even a token effort to explain this behavior in a way that doesn’t reflect horribly on SkepTickle’s character. I try to never assume malice where incompetence sufficiently explains someone’s actions, but I’m utterly failing to come up with any other explanation for this.

  12. FelixBC says

    Press releases about events are under no circumstances to be distributed in any form of media. That would be plagiarism, even if the author of the press release is listed and is the director of the effort being promoted.

    If you want to publicize an event or effort, you must find some other way to do it, besides this completely standard, long-standing method.

    Also, the use of CTRL C + CTRL V is hereby banned in all web site post creation, as that is obviously a copyright violation in itself.

  13. jenBPhillips says

    Apparently even Ron Lindsey’s approval of your signal boost isn’t enough to assuage Skeptickle’s concerns about copyright law. She’s so F. Lee Bailey! #goosebumps

  14. says

    kevin @ 13 – god, no, Bill didn’t rip off anything, and that was never in question.

    I basically gave him carte blanche – send me anything you want me to publish and I’ll publish it. I want to promote what the International Program is doing.


    And doing so publicly, with strong negative implications (borderline accusation) that Ophelia is engaging in copyright violation?

    Yes, absolutely. That’s clearly the whole point. She has my email address, but she didn’t email me about it – she tweeted about it.

  15. John Morales says

    Ophelia @16, you left unsaid that if you were to engage in copyright violation, then it would follow that you’d be a hypocrite were you to decry so doing.

    (Hey, it’s worth a try, no?)

  16. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Yep, Ron Lindsay is 100% right on this one. It’s very, very silly. It’s the whole “gotcha” game taken to ridiculous levels. And well beyond.

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