Something is wrong with SIWOTI!

Deja vu, man, deja vu. Someone else has a hate site that obsesses over their blog.

The people who run and participate in this site are largely disgruntled former commenters, some of whom left on their own after I disappointed them in some way, and some of whom were banned after violating the commenting policy. There are, increasingly, participants at the site who have never even engaged at Shakesville, but just find some satisfaction in participating in a space dedicated to the explicit purpose of destroying this community.

They explicitly want to chase me out of my space, offline, and want me to have no opportunities to make a living doing what I’ve done for the last ten years of my life. They want this community to cease to exist because they don’t like me and the commenting policy, and don’t care what destroying it would mean for the people to whom this community means something.

That’s from Melissa at Shakesville. We’ve seen exactly the same thing here at Freethoughtblogs, and over the years, I’ve had multiple badly-done Pharyngula hate-sites pop up and fade away. It’s bizarre. The trigger for all the hatred is usually the injustice of getting banned, and I just don’t get it. I’ve been there myself.

Many years ago, before I started up this blog, I’d been active debating creationists on various forums. I’d post replies and rebuttals to stupid creationist claims, and more than once, I was asked to leave or banned because I was “disrespectful” or “rude” or “making people angry”. You won’t believe what I did next:

I left.

I didn’t try to sneak back, either. I’ve always used the same pseudonym, pzmyers, on all of my logins.

These creatonists are people who are emphatically wrong and persist in endorsing idiocy, definitely triggering all of my SIWOTI symptoms, but they’ve got their place and if the owners of the forum say they don’t want me using their services, I stop using them. It’s really not that hard.

But for some reason, some people get extremely bitter about being told to go away. They are outraged that you deny them the privilege of participating on your wonderful blog. They start making sockpuppets and probing at the filters to see if they get around the ban. Remember that obnoxious Australian guy who’d create a new sock every night and get on to leave a pile of insults while I was sleeping? That went on for weeks. Remember Reap Paden, who currently holds the record for the number of pseudonyms he ran through (well over 40 before I lost track), and yet was instantly recognizable to everyone, thanks to his godawfully bad writing? There are many more you don’t know about who don’t puzzle out what I’m filtering on, and keep pounding out comments that get instantly shunted off to the spam queue. There’s one guy who comes by every week or two to make a test comment, in the hopes that the blockade will have magically lifted…and he’s been doing this for two years.

Others scurry off and set up anti sites, like the Shakesville haters. It’s a good way to leech off the popularity of someone else: provide a watering hole for all the people with a grudge against the site you despise, and gather like-minded people to sit and fume and whine and moan. And best of all from my perspective, they obsess so much that they become fanatical readers of everything I do, even more dedicated readers than the busiest of our regular commenters.*

But I don’t have it as bad as some. Shakesville is a singular site with a much more restrictive commenting policy than I have here, so she bears the brunt of the nuisances. Here, at least, we’ve spread the hate load: Ashley gets the racists, the rest of us get the same old banned-on-Pharyngula crowd, but now they’re having to strain to find a blog on FtB that they haven’t been banned from…and you’ll see that, too, when a new blog is opened up here, the same names that were long kicked outta here show up in the comments to whine at length. It really is like a tick infestation.

Another factor is that for some reason these parasites really hate the idea that a blog might stand up for a cause. Ophelia is getting comments from Phil Giordana (yeah, another long-gone Pharyngula reject) who is flinging the insult du jour, “Social Justice Warrior.” Ophelia asked him why he was against social justice, and this was his answer:

I never threatened anyone online, never attacked peoples’ appearance, apologized to you for using what you consider “gendered slur”, yet I’m still banned from your blog. You fuckwit! (that one’s fine, OB said so).

Boggling, ain’t it? This is a guy who does nothing with his time online other than to rant with fellow obnoxious people about how he was banned and how awful FtB is, and to whine on Facebook about how much he despises “social justice warriors” because he was banned from several sites.

There was a comment on Ophelia’s site from thetalkingstove that I thought was fairly insightful about the situation.

I fully admit this is just speculation, but I suspect that the whining about being banned from forums shines a light on a lot of the motivation certain people have for being in the skeptical movement (such as it is). For them, it’s not about changing the world for the better; they’ve simply found something that enables them to feel superior to other people – easy targets like creationists and alternative medicine – and that makes them feel good, that their opinion and intellectual prowess are special.

Then when they encounter people who aren’t impressed by their amazing logic skillz, it hurts. It shakes that image of themselves as being stupendously rational and intellectually superior, and they can’t let that go.

Shorter version: a lot of people are in the skeptical movement because they’re arrogant arseholes.

That rings true, especially since these people tend not to be very good at that logic part — witness Giordana’s reply to Ophelia. They’re not very clever, they don’t care about anyone else, and they want to join the Smart Kids Club just because it boosts their ego, and when they’re rejected, they lash out.

I have a suggestion for them, though. Join MENSA. They’ll take anyone.

*Ironic footnote. They also like to complain nastily about regular commenters who are here every day…without calling attention to the fact that they here every day, screencapping and copy-pasting and writing angry rebuttals to every nitpicking detail.


  1. Great American Satan says

    Zoinks. This is still going?

    Skeptifem, Ana Mardoll, and Kristy Cat said all I need to hear about it by now. Some sort-of-sensible posts from the side I find disagreeable, and solid testimony SKA is a font of abuse from people on the receiving end. Like I said before, anti-Sv sites need better moderation and self-control, or they can STFU about claiming moral high ground.

    I’d totally grant you that McEwan false-advertises safety and hurts people, but the reaction is megahellatotally fucked the fuck up. BTW, the not-quite-overtly-hateful comments Ana pointed out that get her to worse crap at SKA via Disqus? We’ve received the same treatment at the fledgling A+ blog from slymepitters – arbitrary disagreement on everything, from assholes pretending to be civil or even caring. Mostly, we don’t let it through moderation.

    And even the gotchas about terrible Deeky’s terribleness sound exactly like the kind of extreme-fishing slymepitters do to find fault with Pharyngula. They find one person cussing at someone who happens to be trans three years ago and use that as “evidence” this site is transphobic. Like Ed Gemmer saying people were being racist at him here because his wife is a PoC. Just not believable as an indictment of the site, even if true (which the slymepit’s weren’t). SKA is looking like dogshit to me about now.

  2. Great American Satan says

    Also, when a thread wraps to a new page at comment 501, the numbering starts over at 1. So that’s interesting.

  3. stewartlaw says

    Yeah, you have seen three people say something happened, and you have also seen three people fail to show evidence for what it is they are saying happened, or to offer and explanation as to why they cannot, or will not show evidence.

    It didn’t happen, the absence of any evidence it happened attests to that.

    Keep swearing, keep framing this into binary options, keep making this about which personality you are siding with or against, like the truth is some popularity contest.

    Free thought blogs?

    Yeah right.

  4. says


    I’ve one person who is a proven liar claim that three people who have not been shown to have a history of lying are lying.

    The positive claim here is “these people are liars.” The onus is thus on you to provide evidence that these people are known to be liars.

    We’ve been around this mulberry bush several times now. Either you have such evidence and will present it, or you don’t, and are further evidencing your own dishonesty. Do the former, and this conversation may yet prove productive. Continue whining and evading, and I’ll simply stop bothering to reply.

  5. Portly says

    At Page One, #390, I left a link to a post at SVKA that presents an outright lie (I commented directly at that post, offering to provide the address-redacted emails, and I make the same offer here). Your response here was the same as the tumblr-owner’s response there: *crickets* — and you skated on to other, less inconvenient claims and arguments, rather than addressing my post at #390.

    I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that you chose to gloss right over me, since I’ve offered concrete proof. Perhaps you were hoping I wouldn’t bring it up again.

    So, make that four people — one with proof rather than a claim.

  6. stewartlaw says


    I haven’t been proven to have lied about anything. Neither have I called anyone a liar, so why you imply I have by putting words in quotes that I didn’t say, kind of indicates who exactly is being honest here.

    Throughout this discussion you and other have had to frame, distort and shift what people have said, just to find something to argue against.

    You just did it again right there is post #4

    Why can’t you stick to what it is I have said?

    That’s rhetorical btw.

  7. Great American Satan says

    Stewart Law your ass is so tedious it wraps around and comes out amazing. Shine on, you wacky diamond. As for “keep framing this into binary options” what about my concession was too mild for you? I’m willing to concede y’all may be right about McEwan, amid my dreadful dreadful swears. What are you willing to concede, Mixter Nonbinary?

  8. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    SL, four people, who there is no reason to disbelieve, make claims that SVKA is harassing SV, and one offers to supply evidence, never mind their eyewitness testimony IS evidence. Now, who am I to believe, a proven dishonest liar and bullshitter like yourself, of four other people who haven’t been shown to be dishonest? This is a no-brainer SL, and you will lose every time. If the word of women must be disbelieved or discounted for a word of a man, there is a word to describe such behavior SL. It begins with “m”.

  9. Great American Satan says

    …and seriously, Skeptifem at least bothered to say different shit in each of her posts. You’re “no, you!” repeatedly with fingers firmly planted in ears.

  10. stewartlaw says


    The reason I didn’t address your post #390 is because it is once again shifting what it is we are supposed to be discussing. I haven’t called those people liars, not have I said they lie whilst no one at dtSKA has never lied.

    I’m talking about the assertion people from dtSKA were hate spamming other sites.

    I am saying this never happened.

    You can shift the goalposts if you like but don’t expect me to play along with the new game.

  11. stewartlaw says

    I’m just counting down the timer until one of you guys has the guts to say you are believing these unproven claims as a matter of faith.

  12. Great American Satan says

    What about Ana Mardoll’s words on this so far have been even slightly unbelievable? Everything she has said has been utterly consistent with other things she has said and with known facts and with the nature of our lived experiences on the internet. She has given a reason for not coming forth with IP addresses and named names. If she did bite at your bullshit, you’d probably cry “doxxing.”

  13. says

    Jesus h christ on a three-masted pogo stick.

    stewartlaw, I am perfectly willing to admit—in fact I’ve said so in this thread—that Shakesville is or may not be a safe space for all. Given the huge variety in reactions to abuse and other trauma, I’d be bloody surprised if such a space could ever exist. Quite where you get the idea I see this as a binary, I don’t know. I’m merely sticking to the topic of the OP: harassment by SKA and/or users thereof.

    I haven’t been proven to have lied about anything.

    You lied by omission when insinuating paedophilia. You quite obviously told a face-saving lie when claiming to have known of, but chosen not to submit, evidence.

    Neither have I called anyone a liar

    “These people are saying something which is untrue” is the same statement as “these people are lying.” Or do you really wish to claim mass hallucination?

    Evidence of dishonest behaviour, or fuck off. This will be my last reply unless such evidence is forthcoming. I’m not here to feed your ego.

  14. stewartlaw says

    So what you;re saying is that you have faith in her, right?

    This is a matter of faith for you?

    You don’t need evidence people are hate spamming her site, she said it;s happening, it;s definitely happening, right?

    Hell, even apart from names you don;t even need to know what this “hapte spamming” consist of, if she says it;s happening, it’s definitely happening.

    Just don’t let anyone say Deeky made sexualised comments about children, then post the exact words, that didn’t happen, no way, even though it’s right there in black and white.

    The stuff that’s been shownto have happened, didn’t happen, the stuff we can’t see most definitely did happen.

    Pharyngula through the looking glass.

    Tine for some more swears, over to you angry bunnies…

  15. Great American Satan says

    I’m just counting down the timer until one of you guys has the guts to say you are believing these unproven claims as a matter of faith.

    This cuts both ways. There doesn’t have to have been organization on the part of your site to have launched waves of trolls, merely by linking to those sites with angry criticism. It’s an article of faith for you that no one on SKA was inspired by the haterade there to go shit on Ana Mardoll’s comments.

  16. stewartlaw says

    You lied by omission when insinuating paedophilia.

    I am a bit embarrassed for you right now.

  17. Great American Satan says

    It is embarrassing to be caught taking the bait on the most blatant trolling in the universe, but that’s alright. In a few minutes I’ll be gone and you’ll still be here. Possibly wallowing in your “got the last word” status as everyone was bored out of town by your bland ass.

  18. stewartlaw says

    There doesn’t have to have been organization on the part of your site to have launched waves of trolls, merely by linking to those sites with angry criticism.

    But as I said upthread, using the same argument, Pharyngula, Shakesville and Ana Mardoll;s site have been guilty of hate spamming dtSKA, haven’t they?

    One or two people going from one site to another and leaving the occasional critical comment is not hate spamming.

    It’s an article of faith for you that no one on SKA was inspired by the haterade there to go shit on Ana Mardoll’s comments.

    Shifting the goalposts again. The initial claims as far as I understand them were organised trolling and hate spamming. One or two people leaving comments of their own volition is not organised trolling or hate spamming. See my previous points about this being two way traffic between other sites and dtSKA.

  19. stewartlaw says

    It is embarrassing to be caught taking the bait on the most blatant trolling in the universe, but that’s alright. In a few minutes I’ll be gone and you’ll still be here.

    If only you’d told me to get a life as well, I could have completed my buzzword bingo card.

    Possibly wallowing in your “got the last word” status as everyone was bored out of town by your bland ass.

    If I were trolling, I’d consider comments like that as some sort of victory. As it is, I think accusations of trolling in internet discussions are somewhat passé.

  20. Portly says

    stewartlaw — you are truly amazing.

    Somehow, you require evidence from people who make claims, yet you do so in support of a tumblr that makes many claims that you apparently do not require evidence for.

    Fair enough — here’s evidence of intent to “panic” Shakesville commenters, followed by encouragement from SKA — not just in comments, even — it’s a post that the tumblr-owner choose to present and respond to.

  21. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    SL, village idjit.

    So what you;re saying is that you have faith in her, right?

    No, just a lack of faith in anything you say, imply, opinion upon, etc. Get it? You had your chance, and you blew it. You sank your own battleship.

  22. stewartlaw says


    And what was the result of that post? was there a concerted effort to troll or panic anyone? Or was it just one throwaway comment from as far back as last December?

    Where is the organised hate spam and trolling as a result?

    Still waiting for evidence.

    Ah but you don’t have to provide evidence, this is now taken as a matter of faith here in Free Thought Blogs, right?

  23. stewartlaw says

    No, just a lack of faith in anything you say, imply, opinion upon, etc. Get it? You had your chance, and you blew it. You sank your own battleship.

    Faith, or lack thereof, you are still conceding this is a matter of faith for you. Not that I have been in any doubt of this.

  24. Judith Shakestown says

    Posting a singular relevant link is link spamming plain and simple. Suggesting elsewhere that you might post more than one relevant link somewhere is also link spamming. QED SMASH.

  25. Judith Shakestown says

    STOP THE HARASSMENT. I am PERSONALLY HARASSED by seeing links to my work at other websites where it is being discussed in a negative light. I am also PERSONALLY HARASSED by seeing links to the work of people who don’t like me on sites where those sites are being discussed. QUIT IT OUT, HARASSERS.

  26. stewartlaw says

    Evidence of intentional link-spamming (on this, a not-Shakesville site), in order to discredit Shakesville. See #24 just above, and see this:

    Wait, I was talking on dtSKA about posting a link on Pharyngula, a link I posted in #24 and this is evidence of what exactly?

    Thanks Portly for demonstrating exactly how tenuous all these claims of harassment and hate spamming really is.

    And also, thanks for linking to a photograph of me, without asking my permission first, You keep it classy.

  27. Judith Shakestown says

    Haters say they have not harassed MM.
    Haters admit to up- and down-voting comments.
    Therefore, the haters are liars.

    I don’t understand why this needs further discussion.

  28. stewartlaw says


    Thank you for fixing it, and thank you for saying sorry. Let’s forget about it and move on.