Farewell, Chris!

As many of you know, Chris Clarke has decided to leave Pharyngula. This is mostly an amicable decision on his part, although he’ll also tell you that the sharks’ teeth and knives and snarling comments section here was taking a toll on his soul, which is more of a bunny rabbits and adorable puppy dogs sort of place.

I would hope you’d put down the weapons now and then and visit his blog, Coyote Crossing, and I also recommend all of the blogs on his network, coyot.es.

Don’t say goodbye here. Go there and be appreciative.


  1. Pen says

    the sharks’ teeth and knives and snarling comments section here was taking a toll on his soul

    Not without reason. It would take a toll on mine if I read it more than once in a blue moon. Maybe it really is time for some members of the Pharyngulite Horde to re-evaluate their attitude and the contribution it makes to life, the universe and everything.

    / expressing my opinion with a sweetness and civility that understate my actual feelings on the subject

  2. ekwhite says

    I really enjoyed Chris’s work while he was here. I will visit Coyote Crossing often. Thanks PZ for the link.

  3. Markita Lynda—threadrupt says

    I enjoyed your posts and will miss you here….. tiptoes over to coyotes.es.

  4. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Personally, I would like to see the results of kit fox counting linked to here.

  5. w00dview says

    A real shame you are leaving Chris, you added a interesting perspective to FTB when you were here. Will go check out coyote crossing more often for my desert ecology fix!

  6. says

    My comment to Chris on his blog:

    I want to thank you for being supportive when my first attempt at commenting at Pharyngula resulted in suspicion and some hostility, even though I’d been an avid lurker for years. it hurt to have people make assumptions about me even though I was a loyal reader.

    I still feel inclined to defend Pharyngula because Myers has stuck his neck out for feminism and against MRAs when few others would do so. I think this sense of support and safety has led some to forget that some trust is due, even though I agree that no dismissive and anti-feminist viewpoints should be tolerated as they are elsewhere.

    What makes me sad is that so many of the commenters I thought of as “friends” in an odd sort of way left Pharyngula some years ago. I miss them. It seems that those willing to speak have decreased as the amount of suspicion has increased. I understand the suspicion, but wish we could somehow return to the “good old days.”

  7. says

    Thank you, PZ. I meant what I said about hoping we can find other ways to collaborate in the future, and I’m proud to have been invited here.

    But I must offer a correction to your assessment of my soul, as kind as it is. It’s not that the climate here in comments threatened to harsh the happy bunny romp that is my rich inner life. It’s precisely the opposite: it’s far too easy for me to give in to the desire to leave smoking craters everywhere I go. I’m far better at it than I would like, and I learned this to my chagrin in the 1990s in alt.folklore.urban. I have badly hurt people’s feelings for the crime of saying something slightly to the left side of the clueful bell curve median, and I would rather reserve that power for those who truly deserve it.

    I contributed to the meanness here. That’s something I have heard from random idiot commenters from the usual FtBhater venues, and it pains me to admit that they have — in this one regard — a point. My leaving is not, as some have suggested, about “my health,” or “feeling unsafe” or “hurt.” It’s that I was becoming a worse person for exposure to the comments here. And I made things worse as a result. And I’m unwilling to continue to do so.

    People have said kind things to me in the last couple days, so I do not want to sound in any way ungracious, but I would commend to everyone Chas Peterson’s comment a couple threads over on foxes guarding the henhouse. Skimming the threads here from my perch at the Greyhound station in Fresno this past hour, I see a lot of regulars commenting to the effect that the rancor makes this a safe space for people who are disempowered. It damn well isn’t a safe space for anyone who doesn’t have the tools to deal with the pointless hazing.

    When people say the Horde is a safe space for people, they are erasing the experiences of what I would guess is a majority of the good people who have read comments here. They are certainly erasing mine.

    So please, people. Less reflexive antagonism. More self-awareness.

    And be well, all of you.

  8. smhll says

    Thanks, Chris, for dropping by to explain. My curiosity was itching at me and I appreciate having more info. You will be missed.

  9. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    I am truly sorry that you’re leaving, Chris.
    Thanks for comment #15.

  10. says

    chigau, you must have been quite in need of the cluestick for Barb to get to yelling :)

    I know exactly what Chris means about being better at leaving smoking craters than I would like (in fact I think we may have even tag-teamed on a few bombardments back in afu). afu was full of kind and compassionate people, but our subculture also celebrated the rhetorical joys of troll-stomping and snarky newbie-clueing to an extent that was not just openly but proudly and smugly elitist. Exposure to a wider range of kind and compassionate people online who were also angry for good reason at smug elitists *who don’t listen* since I started blogging, and being challenged often enough that I learned the importance of listening, has rubbed the most abrasive edges off me, but those bad old snarky bombardment habits I can still see would be way too easy to fall back into (as shown by my intermittent descents into darksnark that do sometimes happen here, and pretty much only here).

    There are great people here in the Horde who do listen, and who do offer up clues without smugness or snark, and manage to do so with only occasional and understandable terseness and weary disdain, who are justly recognised and vocally appreciated for what they do by most of the regulars. It would be a good thing if more people backed them up by simple responses to the trolls along the lines of “you still haven’t answered Caine” or “have you read Pteryx’s links yet?” instead of offering up yet another rebuttal in their own words. A smorgasbord of rebuttals only gives the malefactors more spaces to cherrypick between. Be more like pugilists and get scientific about aiming response after response at precisely the same spot every single time.

  11. chigau (違う) says

    I disagreed with Barb’s notion that irony is easily conveyed in a text-only format.