Public Disclosure Of FreeThoughtBlogges Organizational Rules

Freethoughtblogs Rules

These are provisional rules. We’re going to implement them now, and in March 2013, after they’ve had a fair trial, we’ll consider revisions.

Freethoughtblogs is a community of bloggers who share a goal: the advancement of secularism through argument and discussion. To achieve that goal, we also value diversity (reaching every element of society is a priority), social justice, equality, and science and reason. We are skeptics and critics of dogma and authoritarianism.

Our network of blogs is designed to encourage independent thinking and individual autonomy — itself is a vehicle for giving vocal secularists a venue for discussion of their values and interests. The administration of this organization will interfere in the activities of individual blogs as little as possible, and will not impose any specific dictates on how individual blogs are managed. However, there must be some minimal regulation of the activities of the network as a whole that require some administrative structure, and providing that is the purpose of this document — to define a hierarchy to regulate the network (but not individual blogs) activity, and to lay out a set of procedures for changes to the network.

The official entities in this organization are:

Manager: Ed Brayton, founder of the network, fills this role. The Manager’s job is to handle the business side of the group, selling ad space, disbursing revenues, and managing network hosting.

Webmaster: The webmaster is in charge of the technical aspects of the site. He or she answers only to the Manager.

Executive Committee: The Executive Committee will have the job of making decisions about new additions to the network, and taking punitive measures against bloggers who violate rules. Decisions made by the Executive Committee will be based on feedback from the Network.

The Network: The group of individual bloggers who are hosted at freethoughtblogs will be referred to as the Network. Each blog will have equal input to all decisions affecting the group.

Other committees: At the discretion of the Executive Committee, other committees may be formed from members of the Network to perform specific tasks. In particular, an Admissions Committee will be formed to evaluate candidates for new blogs.

The Executive Committee

The membership of the committee will consist of:

Ed Brayton
PZ Myers
Two members to be appointed by Ed Brayton, with renewable one year terms
One member to be elected by majority vote of the Network, to have a renewable 6 month term.

The Executive Committee will meet by Skype or phone conferencing at least once a month, to discuss the state of the organization and to evaluate any pending action items. Minutes will be taken and published to the Network mailing list.

All decisions of the Executive Committee will be made by a majority vote in a conference call or email conversation.

The Network

Every blog on is considered a part of the Network. Each blog (not each blogger, since some blogs have multiple contributors) will have one equal vote in all decisions. Any questions submitted to the Network for voting will be announce on the network mailing list, with a specific deadline for voting; a 2/3 majority of the members that actually reply is required for passage.

The Network Mailing List

The network mailing list is maintained by the webmaster; it includes every member of the Network who wishes to be on it, except those who have had access restricted.

All emails sent or received on the list are considered to be private. Disclosure of the contents of discussions on the mailing list to others outside the Network is grounds for revocation of mailing list privileges; continued or egregious violations of privacy will be grounds for removal from the Network.

Since the purpose of the mailing list is to encourage open communication between members of the network, all discussions must be civil and drama is frowned upon; disagreement and criticism is encouraged, but only in the spirit of constructive improvement of the content of the Network. Other kinds of disagreement must be taken off-list, so that they do not disrupt free and friendly discussion. The mailing list is not to be an arena.

Threats, harassment, and personal abuse will not be tolerated on the mailing list. If personal conflicts are interfering with your ability to discuss matters politely, take it to the Executive Committee by email for mediation.

The Executive Committee can revoke mailing list privileges in response to any violations of privacy. The purpose of the mailing list is to allow discussions, however, so revocation should never be made lightly or permanently; losing internetwork communication is a very serious issue.


Admitting new bloggers to the Network

There are certain criteria a blogger must fit to belong to this Network:

  • They must be a freethinker, not a proponent of a specific religion or dogma

  • They must have demonstrated quality and reliability of output, with good reason to think they will be active bloggers

  • They must share a commitment to the values of the Network, which include diversity, equality, and social justice as well as atheism

  • They should be collegial, and willing to participate enthusiastically in the shared goals of the network

As a Network, we’ll also aspire to recruiting diverse bloggers to the cause; differences in background, values, and priorities within the broad framework of our mission are to be sought out and valued.

The Admissions Committee

A committee of at least 3 members will be formed by nomination of the Executive Committee. The role of the Admissions Committee is to mediate nominations for new members, conduct preliminary assessments of candidates, and to carry out interviews of potential new Network members.

At any time, the Executive Committee can dissolve the current Admissions Committee and request the Network to form a new one.

Any Network member can suggest new bloggers (Nominees) to the Admissions Committee. The Admissions Committee will maintain a list of suggestions, and carry out preliminary investigations of the suitability of Nominees.

The Admissions Committee, and only the Admissions Committee, can at any time request that the Executive Committee consider a nominee for admission to the Network. The Executive Committee is then obligated to make a decision within two weeks about whether the Nominee should be taken on.

A request to the Executive Committee to consider someone for admission requires:

  • Documentation of the current writing skills of the candidate

  • References from at least 5 Network members other than those on the Admissions Committee who approve of the Candidate

  • Results of a poll of the Network that show a majority approving of admission

  • A summary of a direct, personal interview of the Admissions Committee with the candidate to assess the suitability and collegiality of the candidate

The evaluation will be submitted to the Executive Committee for approval.

Dismissal of bloggers from the network

Removal of unsuitable bloggers from the Network is never to be undertaken casually. The criteria for asking that someone be removed are:

  • Multiple violations of privacy

  • Persistent disruption of the mailing list with violations of etiquette

  • Harassment — continuation of a behavior when requested to stop

  • Criminal behavior, such as the posting of child pornography

  • Active violations of the mission of the network: using a blog to set up an anti-atheist, racist, or anti-gay center, for instance

  • Prolonged abandonment of the blog, without suitable explanation (for example, a soldier sent off on active duty, or a blogger with a book commitment are reasonable excuses)

The following conditions will not be considered valid reasons for expulsion:

  • Personal animus

  • Disagreement on tactics, style, or focus

  • Change in philosophy or religion, unless it actively conflicts with the mission of Freethoughtblogs

Any blogger can request the expulsion of another, given good grounds. However, these requests should not be made on the mailing list, nor should the mailing list be used to threaten colleagues with expulsion. This is not behavior conducive to uninhibited communication, and can poison the well for further discussion. All suggestions for expulsion should be sent to the Executive Committee by email.

Consideration for expulsion will be made entirely at the Executive Committee’s discretion. Do not nag the Executive Committee; requests will be tallied and discussed privately.

If the Executive Committee decides that there are reasonable grounds for expulsion, this fact will be disclosed to the offending blogger, and they will be given an opportunity to explain and correct their behavior. This will not be subject to public discussion. That a blogger has been censured will not be disclosed to other members of the Network, and if the problems are addressed, will never be revealed to the community.

The blogger may request a conference call with the Executive Committee to discuss the issues.

If the offending blogger is recalcitrant or in any way refuses to address the concerns of the Network, the Executive Committee will vote to determine if the blogger should be removed. If a majority agree, the Webmaster will be asked to immediately remove the blogger from the mailing list, remove the blogger’s posting privileges, and close all comments on their blog.

Because continuity on the network is important, the blogs of expelled bloggers will be retained on freethoughtblogs (without the option for adding new posts or comments) at the bloggers choice. If they decide otherwise, the blog may be deleted. A backup of the archive will be provided for the blogger.


UPDATE: This is the first song I ever heard Jack White do–and it’s a nice cover of this excellent tune–so I went and checked out his other shit, and goddamn, this motherfucker is goddamn horrendous and boring. My understanding is that he is famous or something, but he fucken suckes total shitte. No idea why he is popular or whatever.

Shrimp Verde Enchiladas

two and a half pounds of tomatillos
four poblano peppers
eight serrano peppers
two habanero peppers
one and a half pounds of shrimp
two medium red onions
fuckeloades of garlic cloves
salt and pepper
hot spicy chile powder
queso fresco
olive oil
fresh corn tortillas (ours were as usual from here)

Here’s the fucken peppers.

Broil the fucke out of the tomatillos.

Broil half the fucke out of all the poblanos and half the serranos and half the fuckeloade of garlic.

Blend up the tomatillos, broiled peppers and garlic, cilantro, one habanero.

Add one purple onion, salt, and fresh-ground black pepper and blend the living fucke out of it.

Verde sauce is done.


Cut up shrimp and vegetables.

Sautee the onions a bit and then add the garlic.

Add a decent amount of cumin, coriander, paprika, oregano (crush it up in your fingers), and hot chile powder and fresh-ground black pepper.

Throw in the peppers and sautee briefly to release flavors and soften. Then throw in the shrimp and sautee until they are just turned opaque in the outside but not completely finished on the inside. It should just take a few minutes.

Reserve the shrimp and juices/sauce.

Soften/warm the tortillas by wrapping the stack in a damp dish towel and microwaving for a minute or two. Spread a layer of green sauce on the bottom of your glass baking dish. Coat each side of the tortilla in the green sauce by dipping it in, and layer some shrimp and crumbled queso fresco on it. Roll the motherfucker uppe, and place it in the baking dish with the seam down.

Fill uppe the motherfucken dish.

Evenly pour on the rest of the green sauce, and spread some more crumbled queso fresco on top, and sprinkle on some cilantro.

Bake the motherfucker for about a half hour at 380-400 degrees, until the queso fresco on top is melty and you can see that the liquid at the bottom of the dish is boiling.


Skeptical D00ds Are Not Skeptical About Their Own Gross Misogyny

I was exactly what a Boy’s Club wanted. I was a young, not-hideous woman who passionately supported their cause. I made them look diverse without them having to address their minority-repelling privilege. They liked that I joked about sex and boobs not because it was empowering for me, but because they saw it as a pass to oggle and objectify. But the Boy’s Club rescinds its invitation once they realize you’re a rabble-rousing feminist. I was welcome at TAM when I was talking about a boob joke, but now I’m persona non grata for caring about sexual harassment. I used to receive numerous comments about how hot and attractive I was, but when I politely asked for people to keep the discussion professional, the comments morphed into how I was an ugly cunt. I was once considered an up-and-coming student leader, but now I’m accused of destroying the movement.

Academic Departmental Political Economics

Academic departments are pretty much always run like some crude communist state, where they take-take-take as much as they can from the productive faculty–whether that means funding, teaching, or administrative service–and give-give-give to the unproductive. I grinne and bear this shitte with the expectation that some day I will be one of the hapless olde fuckes and all the vibrant young fuckers will have to support me.