EllenBeth Wachs

My Cats are My Gods

I Resign My Membership from Secular Woman

with 152 comments


My time in Secular Woman has been rather rocky.  I haven’t been a member long. I believe I joined shortly before I commented on the post PZ Myers did about Adria Richards. If you aren’t familiar with what happened in that thread, see my post about it,

What people aren’t aware of is what was happening behind the scenes as the Pharyngula bloodbath played out. I was in a secret group with a dozen or so women and a few men that was supposed to be a “support” group dedicated to helping each other deal with the so-called harassment the “raging misogynists” of the community were throwing at us constantly. It seemed to start out with good intentions. People would post things that seemed to be harmful to their mental state and others would give supporting comments. What it really turned out to be was more of a catty bitch fest gossiping about people that were on the out list. These were people that used to be friends and allies but somehow ran afoul of someone in the group for some reason and ended up as “Witch of the Week”

My initial mistake was taking for granted what was told to me about these “horrid” people by the others in the group. I am deeply ashamed for doing that. If there is one thing that I want anyone to take away from this is to listen but verify! It took me too long to go back and try to find the supporting evidence for some of the claims being made against what turned out to be some very good and decent people.  I am now proud to call some of them my friends. After being called a misogynist, rape-apologist, chill-girl myself, it became patently clear to me that it was all too easy to mislabel and misrepresent anybody that had a difference of opinion.

My second mistake was thinking that these people actually cared for me. The longer I stayed in the group, the more it became obvious that most of them only cared for themselves. I don’t begrudge a bit of narcissism. I think we all need to have selfish, self-centered tendencies to survive. When the self takes over to the point that you ignore the needs of those around you, it’s a rather ugly picture.

I was drawn into the group due to the years long stalking and harassment I was being subjected to by a certifiable nut. This atheist nut decided I was the worst person in the world and was going to hound me into a nervous breakdown. He was succeeding. He was harassing me almost daily for two years. This came after my run-in with the Sheriff of Polk County and persisted during the ongoing dispute with Atheists of Florida. He decided that I deserved to get arrested by the Sheriff and from the time he heard about me, made it his mission in life to break me. To give further context, Atheists of Florida has been suing me for the last 2 years over the activism I did for the group now claiming that nothing John Kieffer (the President) and I did was authorized (it was) and we are just rogue fame whores out for attention. It was with this backdrop, that the support group knew how depressed (and suicidal) I was at times over the turn my life had taken.

When I was viciously attacked on the Pharyngula thread, I posted in the support group asking for help. With that knowledge, Stephanie Zvan, shut me down cold stating in no uncertain terms that I was not to bring that issue to that group. In other words, the group was only for support for when OTHERS i.e slymepitters attacked. I abided by her request but another member opened the thread up for discussion. Stephanie also came onto the Pharyngula thread and tried to shut me down there.

After the emotional damage was done and I flounced from the thread, I left all social media. Well, more accurately, I didn’t respond. I monitored it. I also went back and did research about movement history that I should have done at first. I learned how and why the schism actually happened. I learned why Justin Vacula became Justin Fucking Vacula -a vacuous shitbag troll. I learned that nothing DJ Grothe could have said would have satisfied Stephanie Zvan other than “I resign.” I learned a lot, lot more.

But the biggest thing I learned when I disappeared from the support group after having just been savaged was that no one cared enough to miss me for almost a week, a person they knew to be suicidal. Let me amend that. Some people did miss me but they weren’t the women in the support group. The first people to take notice of my absence were slymepitters. I also learned that, contrary to popular opinion, not all of the slymepitters are scum.

When I returned to the group, the atmosphere was changed. I had a different view of these people. I didn’t trust them and I think that was clear. At that time, Stephanie had started the project Mick Nugent had going and I had just written my blog about my experience on Pharyngula. She asked me what I was trying to accomplish. I told her I was hoping it would facilitate communication and perhaps a new awareness of the problem of mislabeling and mischaracterizing people. I asked her what she was trying to accomplish with the Nugent dialogue. Her response was she wasn’t trying to have a dialogue but to show the slymepitters weren’t capable of acting in good faith.

When Chris Hallquist did his blog post about my experience on Pharyngula and included a section commenting on Secular Woman’s decision not to sign the open letter, the members of the support group attacked him viciously commenting on his education and his lack of a degree. I came to the thread late in the day and was shocked at the meanness as I thought it was a rather even-tempered post. Stephanie had opened the thread with the statement that he was beating up on Secular Woman. When I simply started to question them, I got dog-piled by 10 of them at once and then told in condescending way by Stephanie that he was no friend of mine. It was clear that I was either go to bend to the will of the group or get the boot. I told Stephanie to knock it the fuck off and slam, the door shut to me.

I give this background because from that moment on, I was persona non grata with the members. They didn’t care about my mental state. They didn’t care about the fact that I had a REAL stalker harassing me. They didn’t care that I was embroiled in real life bullshit that I could lose my house and health over. The only thing they cared about was punishing me for not towing the party line. Stephanie made her hostility very clear in the Secular Woman member’s group. That hostility carried over to the other members.

It escalated after WIS2 when I had made it known that I supported Ron. My first post in the members only group prompted Melody Hensley to delete some incriminating posts she had made regarding Ron and then block me, a member of CFI and a donor. It went downhill from there. When I saw all of the posts berating Ron and the letter-writing campaign to get him fired, I spoke up and wanted to know what the end-game was. What were they hoping to accomplish? I was told that perhaps either Melody or Rebecca could take his place.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was just recently with the campaign against Bridget Gaudette. Bridget signed Skeptic Women’s Open Letter. When this was discovered, Mary Ellen Sikes tagged her in a post and pressured her with some questionable tactics. Personally, it certainly looks like borderline blackmail to me, but I’ll let the reader decide.

Bridget quoting Mary Ellen- Mary Ellen said in the SW members group, “It is very tempting for me to provide, here, a narrative of Bridget’s last board meeting, resignation, and followup actions as the backdrop for this post, because I feel it would give an enlightening context. I’m holding back, for now.”

I’m curious why this is necessary especially since a lot of our last few meetings included discussions that were sensitive and “off the record”. This is clearly a silencing technique and inappropriate since I have never even hinted at revealing what went on in SW’s board meetings. I have sat on other boards as well, so I find this statement.. unusual.</quote>

I found it highly inappropriate and unethical for Mary Ellen to pressure Bridget into removing her signature. Furthemore, there was much discussion over this in the group that was catty and petty.

Last night in the group, Mary Ellen once again posted something but this was in reference to Russell Blackford and she got the quote wrong. She claimed that Russell was quoting David Silverman calling Justin “deeply demented” and a “lying fucktard.” Stephanie popped in to state that it was, “Blackford complaining about things that PZ had called him though actually, only one of them is something PZ seems to have said. A google search suggests the source of “lying fucktard” is the pit. Go Figure. Inaccurate information from the pit.”

I knew that there was a tweet out there about this so found it and I posted it with the comment that PZ was actually the source of the “Lying Fucktard” remark not realizing that there was going to be a HUGE issue made out of the difference between “fucktard” and “fuckhead” *sigh* I get put on notice by Elsa Roberts that I am about to get banned because I corrected slandered Stephanie Zvan. NO dissent allowed!


 

 

The icing on the cake came tonight when I posted a comment on Stephanie’s blog actually acknowledging that she shouldn’t be in talks with some people but I guess she missed that part and went straight to GET OUT. Sorry, no link for you.
FireShot Screen Capture #234 - 'Feedback for American Atheists » Almost Diamonds' - freethoughtblogs_com_almostdiamonds_2013_06_16_feedback-for-american-atheists_#comment-245426
 

P.S. In six months of being in a group with the main players of this drama not one shred of evidence of harassment at conferences was ever produced.

Edit 6/17/2013 9:50 a.m. I have just learned that Melody Hensley is claiming on her Facebook wall that there is a “rumor” that there was a serious campaign to make her President of CFI. I don’t know that she is referring to what I said here but on the OFF-chance that she is, she should come read it herself to see what I actually said. I never said there was a “serious campaign” taking place to get her installed as president. What I said was that her name was mentioned as a possible replacement.

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Written by EllenBeth Wachs

June 16, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

152 Responses

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  1. I’ve apologized before for making fun of your legal troubles on twitter, but I will happily do it again. I think I also upset you once because I retweeted something from a guy who I now suspect might be the stalker you’ve spoken of. I didn’t know who he was at the time, but for that too, I apologize.

    Eshto

    June 16, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    • Yes, it was and apology accepted

      EllenBeth Wachs

      June 17, 2013 at 8:58 am

      • Well done, I was once part of these “Social Justice Warriors” groups, that is until I disagreed with a feminist (I said that if a woman regrets having CONSENSUAL sex with a man, it’s not rape, it’s just a bad decision, a simple regret) and I was hounded like a wounded fox, harrassed both online and offline.

        good riddance to them, I still firmly believe in social justice and gender equality, but I no longer just look at a chart and say “women make up 40% of the company executives in this company, that means it’s sexist and patriarchy” I instead look at all the details.

        jumping to conclusions is something I’ve found hardcore social justice groups are best at and very rarely look up actual facts, and this new mindset of not accusing others of sexism, misogyny, racism etc… has really helped fix my life, socially, in family matters and at work.

        Michelle

        April 28, 2014 at 6:13 am

  2. Well, I stopped when I got to the first factual (non-opinion) bit that was wrong. You didn’t come asking for help. You came saying that those people at Pharyngula couldn’t stand to be disagreed with. I did shut you down on that statement, yes. I wasn’t going to have an argument with someone who reached for slime talking points to use against anyone who disagreed with her.

    Should I read the rest of this post? Do you refrain from doing that over and over again here?

    Stephanie Zvan

    June 16, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    • You have some brass ones. I’ll give you that. You tell me to go away on your blog and then come to mine?
      The group was a SUPPORT group. The whole idea was about giving each other support. But then again, you don’t seem to know how to do that.

      EllenBeth Wachs

      June 16, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      • “Support”, “social justice”, “feminism”, “humanism”, “freethought”… These words don’t mean anything to the rage blogger contingent, they’re just excuses to gossip and be awful to people.

        Eshto

        June 16, 2013 at 10:00 pm

      • Oh, EllenBeth. I gave you plenty of support in that group, both emotional and practical, as when I contacted that editor about your stalker. But if the fact that I didn’t support slime talking points, even when I otherwise emotionally supported you on that topic, means that all the rest means nothing, oh, well. At least now I know.

        stephaniezvan

        June 17, 2013 at 7:33 am

        • Stephanie, is that how you do damage control? By pointing out something you were supposed to have been doing in that group without having to be asked (because you did have to be asked) and then try to insult me by using “Slime talking points?” The only talking points I have ever used were FTB’s

          EllenBeth Wachs

          June 17, 2013 at 8:40 am

        • I would just like to briefly point out the ironic similarities of Zvan characterizing EllenBeth’s own opinions as “reach[ing] for slime talking points” with Rebecca Watson’s much earlier characterization of another woman’s own opinions (Stef McGraw’s) as “parroting misogynistic thought”.

          I think it’s rather telling of this entire multi-year-long conflict which is so destructive. When the same kinds of character assassination tactics blow up in one’s face time and time again, you’d think one would begin to think twice about whether they are actually a good thing or not. (And yes, I do also make the same criticism of others who use the same tactics on ‘the other side’ (not that there are really any ‘sides’, IMO).)

          Thaumas Themelios

          June 26, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      • There are no ‘talking points’ at the Slymepit. It’s like a herd of touchy cats.

        moseszd

        June 17, 2013 at 12:16 pm

      • Are you surprised? Really? Zvan doesn’t know the meaning of coherence!

        David Osorio

        June 17, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    • “You came saying that those people at Pharyngula couldn’t stand to be disagreed with. I did shut you down on that statement, yes.”

      And you think “shutting someone down” is an appropriate response to you disagreeing with them? I mean, the real question is why you can’t tell when you are sawing off the very tree limb you are sitting on.

      mykeru

      June 16, 2013 at 8:53 pm

      • That one was pretty beautiful. “You think that people here can’t stand to be disagreed with? I can’t STAND that you disagree with me on this topic! Silence! Silence, you! I won’t have anyone saying that we silence people who disagree with us, and your disagreement with me calls for you to be silenced!”

        There’s some truly amazing double-think going on over at FTB, not that that should be news to anyone at this point. Their use of the words “free thought” in their title has become nothing short of Orwellian in light of the way that they deal with dissent.

        Dave Littler

        June 18, 2013 at 4:51 am

    • I’m not seeing much difference in what you wrote here Stephanie, and what EllenBeth wrote. You agree that you shut down EB for disagreement. In fact, with a charitable interpretation of both accounts, they match perfectly.

      SubMan USN

      June 16, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    • Saying that the people at Pharyngula can’t stand to be disagreed with seems pretty accurate to me. It’s also a surprisingly mild comment for you to be so offended by. Maybe you should check yourself before you wreck yourself.

      Steve Vanden-Eykel

      June 16, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    • Oh I think we all know it doesn’t matter whether you read the post or not. You’ll just find a way to completely misrepresent it anyway.

      Eshto

      June 16, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    • “You came saying that those people at Pharyngula couldn’t stand to be disagreed with. I did shut you down on that statement, yes.” – this statement reminded me so much of the famous quote by the late Pastor Roy Mummert during the Dover trial: “We’ve been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture”. You’re making yourself look like a fool, Stephanie.

      allison

      June 16, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    • No Stephanie, of COURSE you shouldn’t read the rest of it. It’s clear that Ellenbeth is no longer interested in the Good News you’ve used to help yourself and so many others. You should absolutely stop reading right now, and Disconnect from Ellenbeth to ensure that no badthink is allowed to taint your Clear perfection. She is an SP, and no good can come from communicating with their ilk…

      Poor Stephanie, spent so much time constructing the (Morton’s) fork you find yourself perched upon. Ellenbeth is publicly disagreeing with you, stating you have severe problems with disagreement, and your only options are:

      1) Show you don’t have a problem with disagreement by “shutting up and listening”, allowing that no one can tell Ellenbeth how she gets to feel about things and dealing with her in a serious manner, thereby allowing people to potentially see the “other” side of you and the rest of FTB.

      2) Show Ellenbeth to be correct by doing whatever it takes to shut her pie hole so she can’t taint others with her foulness.

      (mmm…schadenfruede)

      You have to do *something*, otherwise people might get the wrong idea of what “freethought” really is, and *then* how will you share the Good News? As if free thought actually meant the freedom to disagree with you and the rest of SeaOrg.

      Ellenbeth, good on you.

      What you went through sucks on every level, and yet, when confronted with things that contradicted the dogma you were being fed, and when, because you failed to kowtow to Glorious Leaders properly, you were shunned for BadThink, instead of folding and begging to be allowed back in, you did what not a single.damned.one of the FTB cultoids will do: You started acting like an actual skeptic.

      You gathered evidence on your own, rather than relying on Glorious Leader to tell you what to think, and when the facts didn’t fit the message, instead of denying the facts, you realized the message was the problem.

      I salute you madam, because that is how this shit is supposed to work.

      You did something that is all to rare for a species that claims independence while groveling for group acceptance: you thought for yourself. That’s something to be proud of, and no matter how much shit is heaped upon you for it, you did the right thing. Again, I salute you.

      I may disagree with you in the future, and you with me, but for what it’s worth, my past opinion of you, which was quite poor, has changed. You changed the facts, so I had to change my opinion. It’s the only rational option.

      Note that I say this as someone who quite happily slammed you in the past when I felt that you were saying/doing things I considered dumb. I don’t apologize for that, at the time, I was doing what I felt was right based on the facts that existed at the time.

      But I will confess to being quite happy that you have taken such huge steps to deny me the opportunity to do so again. I hope to be similarly denied for a very long time to come.

      Good on ya, and next time you’re in Tally, I’ll at least spring for lunch.

      John C. Welch

      June 16, 2013 at 11:16 pm

      • No Stephanie, of COURSE you shouldn’t read the rest of it. It’s clear that Ellenbeth is no longer interested in the Good News you’ve used to help yourself and so many others. You should absolutely stop reading right now, and Disconnect from Ellenbeth to ensure that no badthink is allowed to taint your Clear perfection. She is an SP, and no good can come from communicating with their ilk…

        I know the thread is probably stale by now, but JCW’s reference to Scientology techniques and thinking reminded me of a really great person whom EllenBeth might have some interest in checking out, Tory Christman, who goes by the handle ToryMagoo44: http://www.youtube.com/user/ToryMagoo44

        She went through tons of real harassment and abuse when she dared to leave the Church of Scientology, and she too has great bravery in speaking out against the abuses which the CoS continues to perpetrate against its current and former members, as well as their family members. She has a great story, she’s very down-to-earth and charming in telling it, very positive and helpful, and a great inspiration IMO. I don’t want to make too much of the parallels between FTB and CoS except humourously and ironically, but I really think Tory’s story is more universal than that, and would probably be worthwhile and enjoyable to check out. (I subscribed to her long ago on YouTube, and she’s still making videos. Very cool. Good on her.)

        Thaumas Themelios

        June 26, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    • Stephanie, why are you harassing EllenBeth?

      Caias Ward

      June 21, 2013 at 12:42 am

    • Meh, Zvan, just so you know, I smelled the BS the second I got onto FTB.

      I’m a real research academic, yknow one who actually discovers the unknown and publishes it in the peer review literature.

      Myers is the nearest thing you’ve got to this, and he’s only published one research article in the last 10 years.

      -I know how an open and free discussion is meant to look like, and FTB aint it. Indeed FTB struggles to make it out of the category of cult!

      From the second I got onto that FTB backchannel I could smell the BS. Who was right was decided on who was saying it (member of the ‘in club’ or not), not what they were saying. The environment was academically toxic before I even set foot in the room.

      Remember, you were all happily in a circle jerk talking shit about me, without even realizing that what you were saying was:
      1) Factually UTTERLY wrong…. see later apology from richard ‘intellectual artillery’ carrier.
      2) That you had already put my name on this mailing list. (yes add stupidity to groupthink)

      This greeting from FTB of having everyone spitting at me (with false accusations) was later universally portrayed by FTB as me being aggressive from the start. Kudos, thats Fox News level dishonesty!

      On FTB, ‘proving’ someone was wrong’ simply involved labelling them as ‘misogynists’ or ‘slymepitter’ or ‘CHUDs’ and so on. TBH, it was pathetic right from the start.

      Yup, it was incredibly naive of me to even join FTB in the first place, but then again, at the time, I was labouring under the misconception that Myers (who asked me to join) was actually a real scientist who understood how an academic environment was meant to function. I’ve since found out its little more than a jumped up highschool biology teacher at ‘cowpoke/ nowhere Minnesota’. I’d just finished a decade working at Cornell Universtiy. Yup, I know its a jerky thing to say, but its also TRUE.

      However my mistakes aside, within a couple of days, I could smell the crazy at FTB. A backchannel that generated on average ~1000 emails per month, almost all of which were dedicated (as is stated here) to petty and catty bitching about ‘witch of the week’. Thats basically all FTB was, a cult that bitched about people who disagreed with them.

      I was dogpilled. That for me was just utterly pathetic. Did you really think that sort of peer pressure would work on a research scientist (someone trained to ignore that sort of shit)? From the chatter on your backchannel, the answer was clearly YES. -like I say…..pathetic.

      The bizarre thing was you thought you were punishing me by excommunicating me from FTB.

      Thunderf00t

      March 28, 2014 at 6:29 am

      • this is a fan post.

        Thunderf00t, i wont lie, i don’t agree with EVERYTHING you say (we shouldn’t mindlessly nod and agree with our heros afterall) but I really appreciate how you take such controversial issues and show them as they are, no sugar coating, no political correctness, doesnt matter what race or religion they are (love how you talked so openly about the cancer that is islam)

        dont agree with everything you post, in fact i think you’re a bit of a smug wanker, but you’re a smug wanker who speaks some damn harsh truth! and the world needs more of that.

        sorry about the typos, my hands are numb from the cold here and i’m tired lol.

        "Michelle" (alias)

        April 28, 2014 at 6:24 am

    • you want to pass judgement on her and you’re not even willing to read her whole post?

      WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU!?

      Michelle

      April 28, 2014 at 6:15 am

  3. Ellenbeth, I know we have gone a few rounds because you were drinking the Kool-Aid back then and I’m a really rude asshole, but it’s great that you’ve seen the light. Not the light that The Slymepit isn’t a hive of harassment and misogyny, but the light of seeing these people for what they really are: Highly irrational and vindictive, narcissistic liars and users, profoundly dishonest and probably mentally ill. Like they do with everything else, they were just using you for their own self-aggrandizement and every discussion with then, as you found out, is just a stay of execution.

    I don’t care what you do in “the schism”, or if you even remain in it, but I hope you more and more find yourself mentally in a better place. Do your activism, do what makes you happy, stick to your own conscience and don’t let the fuckheads (or fucktards, I get confused) drag you down.

    Mykeru

    June 16, 2013 at 8:22 pm

  4. Stunning look behind the scenes and beneath the masks. Thanks EBW!

    submariner2

    June 16, 2013 at 8:28 pm

  5. Hey, keep your chin up.

    I criticised you a lot when you were, as Mykeru says, “drinking the Kool Aid”, but I salute you for tackling the dishonesty, double standards, and bullying that form the central approach as to how people like PZ, Watson, Zvan (and her close friend Greg Laden), Benson, Hensley, Marcotte, et al attempt to control others. I’m sure you are also now very aware of how they use their commentators to direct the hatred and insults. It is a familiar pattern, and it has been pointed out many times.

    EllenBeth, you have simply become another victim of their harassment and control-freakery. Sadly, most of their victims are women, or “sister punishers” as they would say. You’ve joined a long but noble list.

    PZ, Benson, Zvan, Hensley, etc. are some of the most spiteful, hateful and dishonest people in our movement.

  6. I simply wonder how many stories like this it will take for the general population to start understanding what is really going on. Are all these stories made up? Is there a cadre of people trying to slander these folks for some reason? Is it possible that the stories are actually true?

    All I know is this: if this group of people were really all they claim to be there would not be blog posts like this one and the many others that are on the Internet with similar stories. How many people have to get sick on the peach cobbler before you decide to skip it and go for apple pie?

    myatheistlife

    June 16, 2013 at 9:11 pm

  7. I see talked about everynow and then at the pit, but don’t know you apart from that.

    Suicidal? Me too.

    Hang in there kiddo, there is a lot of real shit out there and reasons to be depressed, but I want to keep reading about you in the future.

    Best wishes,

    Me too

    June 16, 2013 at 9:13 pm

  8. Reblogged this on West Coast Atheist and commented:
    The treatment of people who have even the slightest disagreement with certain atheist bloggers is deplorable. The gossip and mockery of the forum called the “Slymepit” is apparently happening at Freethought Blogs, they just keep it private in the back channels, hidden in the shadows. For years feminists have been complaiming that the Feminist movement has had this kind of back-biting cliquishness and lock-step dogma. Now that these bloggers are trying to marry atheism and feminism, it’s no wonder what we’re seeing.

    To date, Rebecca Watson has never been held accountable for her unprofessional and privileged attack on Steph McGraw. Greg Laden is still ask to join panels despite his threats to Justin Griffith. Stephanie Zvan is still asked to speak despite leaking the address of a person’s ex wife.

    Is this what we want our movement to look like?

    tkmlac

    June 16, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    • “apparently”

      you sound as if you’re surprised.

      "Michelle" (alias)

      April 28, 2014 at 6:26 am

  9. Seems that that transformation from “fuckhead” to “fucktard” happened here in the Pit, but it was clearly referring to that same tweet of Myers’, first posted here. The problem seems to be that some 8 or 9 people quoted that error which probably skewed the Google statistics.

    As you suggest, it can be a very time-consuming and tedious, but frequently necessary, process of verifying all of the various claims and their permutations and modifications. Not much helped when there’s frequently some corruption in the re-telling of a tale caused by carelessness or malice.

    But I commend your efforts to correct the record. Would that others had the same amount of integrity.

    Steersman

    June 16, 2013 at 9:18 pm

  10. Thank you for sharing this experience. I’m sorry for what you’ve been through. I had the same stomach-turning experience as you – that revolting realization that I was part of the problem.

    Proud of you. You’re not like those barnacles. Even when the ship sinks they know they can’t let go.

    Justin Griffith

    June 16, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    • Did you leave FtB Justin? Don’t recollect you posting there in a while, and you’re still listen on the Rock Beyond Belief page, just no posts

      • I’m not currently able to blog or do activism, for complicated reasons. I had been considering leaving FtB mainly because many military bases started blocking it. Had a few offers, and even Patheos was in talks to pick up RBB… but then my free-time dropped to nil, and my new unit issued a fresh layer of restrictions. I could beat these restrictions from advocacy/activism (again), but I would still have that extremely time-demanding mission.

        Paul Loebe is doing a great job at the blog and has stepped up as the new military director for American Atheists. He’s the lead now, and we definitely stay in close contact.

        Justin Griffith

        June 17, 2013 at 8:39 am

    • Justin, you are a true American hero. I will always love, respect and support you. What happened to you was disgusting. I am so sorry that you were treated so poorly. You know you can always reach out to me.

      EllenBeth Wachs

      June 17, 2013 at 10:45 am

      • EllenBeth, I don’t mean to rain on this parade, but where were you when this was actually happening to Justin Griffith? I say this as someone who was a regular reader of FtB and an occasional commenter at the time, so I am not bagging you. I passed this over as well, for the “greater good”.

        Cunning_Person

        June 17, 2013 at 8:03 pm

        • Yes, you actually are bagging on me. Where I was and what I did when this happened is between Justin and me. This is a derail. Please don’t.

          EllenBeth Wachs

          June 17, 2013 at 8:36 pm

      • Okay, yes I was, sorry.

        Cunning_Person

        June 20, 2013 at 8:15 pm

  11. EllenBeth, thank you for writing this. I will echo the sentiments of other people on here and admit that I, too, was one of your critics. You and I both have evolved in the last few months and in that weird way the universe works, we both ended up fighting against the smear campaigns.

    Both of us having been through AA, I think you understand me when I say that it’s hard for me to trust and easily connect with people without reservation or cynicism. To be able to come here and say I hold absolutely no ill feelings toward you anymore is big for me. Thank you for showing me I’m capable of that and for accepting my facebook request and talking to me. It means a lot.

    You’re an awesome lady who loves cats and does activism. Keep up the good work.

    tkmlac

    June 16, 2013 at 9:27 pm

  12. Thank you for sharing your experiences so frankly, Ellenbeth. Kudos to you for your activism and for hanging in there when the going has been tough; it’s only recently that I’ve learned what a high personal cost you’ve faced in the past several years, and above you describe yet more costs in the loss of a group you had looked to for support. I hope that the wild roller coaster ride is entering a long smooth stretch. Please don’t hesitate to ask if there is anything any of us can do to support you. -Eliza

    Skep tickle (@Ellesun)

    June 16, 2013 at 9:28 pm

  13. “You came saying that those people at Pharyngula couldn’t stand to be disagreed with. I did shut you down on that statement, yes.”

    I can’t come up with a simpler articulation of the problem.

    Edward Gemmer

    June 16, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    • Yeah no shit. There’s 6.5 months left in the year but I have a feeling that little irony meter-busting bit of hilarity from Stephanie Zvan is a shoo-in for the 2013 “Most Hilariously Unaware Comment” award.

      Gumby

      June 16, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    • We now have confirmation

      1) that she blames the Slymepit for a sexist tweet by PZ Myers and
      2) that she fudges with her comments, what has been pointed out before.

      She controls the narrative, like the other manipulators and demagogues at FreeThoughtBlogs and SkepChick. They can’t control other visible places, that’s why they are very keen on demonizing them.

      Aneris

      June 16, 2013 at 10:45 pm

  14. Ellenbeth for what it’s worth I’m sorry for all the bullshit you have had to put up with on so many levels. I’m glad you are back because to see you fall into step with some people involved was depressing and I couldn’t understand why. It didn’t seem true to your character and as it turns out your character can’t be fooled by fools. We can use all the honesty we can get seeing as some have no interest in it. Right Stephanie Zvan?

    Reap Paden

    June 16, 2013 at 9:42 pm

  15. Glad you saw what was going on. Sucks that you had to go through what you did. With any luck, they will continue driving people away until they vanish into nothingness.

    Rystefn

    June 16, 2013 at 10:05 pm

  16. Sucks to find out your friends merely kept you around for their own agendas.

    Good luck with the future

    • I’m not familiar with your case or what you’ve gone through. I must confess that the few attempts I’ve made to interact with the other atheists and self proclaimed skeptics from the Phyrangula/ FtB/ MRA groups have left me with a sour taste in my mouth.

      I would suggest you put them into your past. There are plenty of other groups out there you can join (or start) to do good works with/ through.

      Good luck with finding new paths and new people. If there’s one thing I’ve discovered in the past few months it’s that there’s definitely other options out there than the very limited world of internet activists. :D

      thetruepooka

      June 16, 2013 at 11:05 pm

  17. I hope the Secular Woman members only room is a positive place where ideas are attacked and not individuals. Not gossiping. Not plotting, Not being mean-girls.

    Bridget Gaudette

    June 16, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    • Well, unfortunately, it’s not a positive place. That is one of the reasons I left. You were being attacked, I was being attacked, others are being attacked.

      EllenBeth Wachs

      June 17, 2013 at 7:15 am

  18. The slymepit is more of the same, in fact, and the main (if not only) reason they are supporting you now after giving you so much out-of-proportion shit is that you’re criticizing some FtB blog(ger)s.

    Both places reek of tribalism and if you hit a nerve, they both respond similarly.

    cats>dogs

    June 16, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    • That’s right. Has nothing to do with right or wrong, lying or hurting people. It’s all just “tribalism”. You should see our cool tats.

      mykeru

      June 17, 2013 at 8:33 am

      • You both create your own narratives that are frequently far from representing reality, you often bully people etc. Nice Silverman “Witch of the Week” theme lately. Not that different, nope.

        But keep presenting yourself/yourselves as the force for “right, truth and helping people.” More “brave heroes” will buy it, I have no doubt.

        cats>dogs

        June 17, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      • yeah, how dare we use what people actually say to make our points.

        OMG SO RUDE.

        John C. Welch

        June 18, 2013 at 11:59 am

    • Actually, we’re all sock puppets.

      John C. Welch

      June 17, 2013 at 9:31 am

    • You’re a sad little person to jump to those conclusions. I left associating at FtB long before Elevator Gate and the current rift in the Atheist community. I saw what was going on and wanted nothing to do with it.

      I know what Myers and his crew of sycophants will do to harm people. Destroying careers and causing problems enough to wreck the lives of others through slander, libel, intimidation and dog-piling is just a game for you people.

      I quite clearly saw how that group of turds has no empathy or concern for the damage they do to other people’s lives over stupid Internet arguments.

      moseszd

      June 17, 2013 at 12:31 pm

      • Since you clearly didn’t read what I wrote carefully, I can only add one more conclusion: that you’re a moron.

        I’ve seen you around, by the way, adding to some of the bullshit narratives that float around both places so I guess it’s confirmed that you’re a moron.

        cats>dogs

        June 17, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      • Oh the “you didn’t agree with me, so you couldn’t have read what I wrote” trope. Aren’t you just the cutest thing? Bless your heart.

        John C. Welch

        June 18, 2013 at 12:00 pm

      • “Oh the “you didn’t agree with me, so you couldn’t have read what I wrote” trope. Aren’t you just the cutest thing? Bless your heart.”

        You’re an idiot too, Welch. He wrote “I know what Myers and his crew of sycophants will do to harm people. Destroying careers and causing problems enough to wreck the lives of others through slander, libel, intimidation and dog-piling is just a game for you people.”

        How can anyone read my post and conclude I’m part of the category “Myers and his crew” and that I support “slander, libel, intimidation and dog-piling (dog-piling is what the slymepitters are doing in this very thread btw)” other than going through a process of “thinking the slymepit is the same shit = you’re with The Others”? You can’t.

        So it’s clear that he didn’t read my post carefully and you didn’t really understand why I said so in the first place. Slymepitter baboonery in action.

        cats>dogs

        June 18, 2013 at 6:55 pm

        • Can we please refrain from hurling insults? I don’t intend to ban people but certainly am not above removing hurtful unnecessary comments. Thanks.

          EllenBeth Wachs

          June 18, 2013 at 7:27 pm

  19. Pity people have to be burnt before they realise what a nasty crowd the FTB are. As usual they wrap themselves in the cloak of self righteousness and all that is ‘holy.’ Probably best to take a break from this drama for a while at least.

    David Leech

    June 17, 2013 at 12:04 am

  20. Good on you for having the guts to come out and share this whole unpleasant experience with everyone, it seems the FTB crowd refuse to even consider the possibility that one of them might be wrong at any point. Kudos to Svan for showing up and in a single post, proving EllenBeth’s point and displaying an ool0n level of willful ignorance at the same time.

    For the record, I still don’t agree all you say EllenBeth, but I’m impressed with your ability to come out and say it despite the verbal abuse from the “bullies”. (I think straight up assholes is a better term, acronyms be damned.)

    I find more and more that I cannot support the FTB crowd, even when their causes overlap my own, because I don’t want to support or associate myself in any way with those sorts of people.

    Don’t listen to their shit, you’ve shown you’re better than that.

  21. I should like to apologise and take back something I said about half a year ago. I made a quip on twitter in reference to the basketball thing. I realise now that that was a cheap shot. Nothing in this post surprises me, unfortunately. The so-called ‘freethinkers’ that have now turned against you have been using their arrogated victim status for years to built and slander people. Rest assured that they are a minority among sceptics, and their numbers are dwindling.

    Christopher Camp

    June 17, 2013 at 3:36 am

  22. Sorry to hear that MRA meltdown on Pharyngula led to you falling out with friends. Personally not too worried about what “side” you are on as I know you’ll at least try not to spread misinformation from the Slymepit, unlike a lot of the Slymepitters and associated anti-FTB people…

    Just wondering why you think it is relevant that on a support group for online harassment the subject of harassment at conferences never came up. Don’t get what you hope to achieve by pointing that out…? You have said you’ve handled at least one complaint yourself, so I’m assuming you are a fan of policies which is the only position FTB/Skepchick/etc holds and thats not contingent on there being loads of harassment at conferences. So what’s up with that?

    oolon

    June 17, 2013 at 4:10 am

    • Who cares oolon (and Stephanie too for that matter)?

      Obviously EllenBeth needs a break from the conflict and drama. I have a different perspective on some of the things she talked about, but when someone is fed up and stressed out, those minutia of contention don’t mean shit because they are insignificant compared to what really matters ALL THE TIME.

      She obviously didn’t get what she needed from other people – as a human being – and that means there was a serious failure.

      I realize that there are some things that are said over-and-over again, and when the more battle-hardened hear things that SOUND like that, there is a tendency to get into a defensive mode because it’s become habit.

      It’s not like explaining for the 158th time that nobody has EVER said that harassment, especially *in person* for the average person, is worse at our conventions than at any other similar convention is really the main issue here, and certainly not worth arguing about right at this moment.

      Let’s just NOT.

      M. A. Melby

      June 17, 2013 at 5:02 am

      • True, ignore the derail… Harassment policies are probably not the most interesting or important thing to bring up.

        oolon

        June 17, 2013 at 8:30 am

      • True, ignore the derail… Harassment policies are probably not the most interesting or important thing to bring up.

        especially since your derail attempt failed so miserably. You’ll be doing penance for that.

        John C. Welch

        June 17, 2013 at 9:44 am

    • I love the fact that Oolon is couching his language, here. Oolon most certainly is worried about “what side you are on”, because he has bought the FTB narrative hook, line and sinker.

      The fact is, Oolon realises EllenBeth’s post puts FTB, Skephick, et al, in a bad light. Oolon is simply attempting damage control. Notice how he won’t comment on Zvan’s insulting “shut up” post here, and on her own blog, where she simply attempts to silence people for disagreement.

      Oolon is a coward, too afraid to call out bad behaviour from those who support and use his Twitter spambot. He even defends Greg Laden!!!

      In the age of bravehero whistle-blowers, I’m looking forward to more revelations regarding behind-the-scenes activity in FfTBland. Let’s hear some more about that “back channel”.

      • Not really, I think PZ is often an asshole. Obviously, he banned me! Difference is I don’t think that has any bearing on if his position is correct vs the Slymepit position. People being “decent” or “assholes” does not make any difference to the truth of their claims. Reasoning through butthurt is not going to lead to any sort of truth.

        I got eviscerated on Pharyngula myself, shortly before being banned. So EllenBeth and I have something in common! In that thread I said pretty much the same thing as her – Slymepitters are for the best part decent people they probably spend the majority of their time being decent people as well. I didn’t stop believing that when I “swallowed the kool aid” or whatever the term is. I just changed my mind and realised that doesn’t make a wit of difference, PZ asshole, Franc angel, who cares?

        When it comes down to it the principles of the Slymepit are based on irrational positions and they muddy the waters with tu quoque and “drama” to avoid that fact. This is the only conclusion I can come to when they spend the majority of their time only critiquing other people’s claims/ideas/arguments/personhood and furthering nothing more than this sort of crap from the pit -> if your skin is not thick enough then fuck off the internet.

        I’ve got a thick skin, Pharyngula “savaging” was nothing of the sort to me, Slymepit equivalent was hilarious and I enjoyed writing the post about it. So I can give as good as I get but if anyone says “leave me alone” I’ll happily stick to it. Why is that so hard for you?

        oolon

        June 17, 2013 at 8:19 am

        • Reasoning through butthurt is not going to lead to any sort of truth.

          Correct, not for slymepitters, not for you, not for me and certainly NOT for Stephanie or the rest there.

          EllenBeth Wachs

          June 17, 2013 at 9:18 am

      • Not really, I think PZ is often an asshole. Obviously, he banned me!

        and then un-banned you once you showed him how useful you were. That would make it a “former” banning. Funny how you don’t mention that, but then again, it would be detrimental to your “see! I’m not part of the FTB in-group either!” schtick.

        Difference is I don’t think that has any bearing on if his position is correct vs the Slymepit position. People being “decent” or “assholes” does not make any difference to the truth of their claims. Reasoning through butthurt is not going to lead to any sort of truth.

        Which is why you tried to paint all the people who attacked Ellenbeth on FTB as “MRAs”. I believe “MRA meltdown” was the phrase you used? Almost as if you were trying to get people to think it wasn’t the FTB regulars doing that, but rather a group of outsiders, and that FTB is somehow blameless in this, it’s just poor Ellenbeth being confused as to what really happened. I’ll give you points for shameless mansplaining there, but you lose points for really poor distraction skills.

        I got eviscerated on Pharyngula myself, shortly before being banned. So EllenBeth and I have something in common! In that thread I said pretty much the same thing as her – Slymepitters are for the best part decent people they probably spend the majority of their time being decent people as well. I didn’t stop believing that when I “swallowed the kool aid” or whatever the term is. I just changed my mind and realised that doesn’t make a wit of difference, PZ asshole, Franc angel, who cares?

        Especially now that you’re again welcome in FTB land as one of the group. Funny, you keep not mentioning how your ban was rescinded.

        When it comes down to it the principles of the Slymepit are based on irrational positions and they muddy the waters with tu quoque and “drama” to avoid that fact. This is the only conclusion I can come to when they spend the majority of their time only critiquing other people’s claims/ideas/arguments/personhood and furthering nothing more than this sort of crap from the pit -> if your skin is not thick enough then fuck off the internet.

        And still Oolon has to make it all about the pit. It’s his agenda when commenting on any criticism of FTB:

        1) Any and all criticism of FTB is tied to the ‘pit as its source.

        2) Anyone criticizing FTB is tied to the ‘pit so their criticisms can be dismissed via guilt by association. It’s a bit harder for you to do that here, since Ellenbeth has been criticized rather heavily, even with the eeeeeeevil photoshops, by the ‘pit.

        Once again, Ellenbeth’s post is not about the pit other than a rather peripheral mention of how people like you have misrepresented the pit as a group of fundamentally bad, dangerous people. Your banal statements about how you supposedly think the people of the pit are ‘decent people’ here are rather at odds with your furious work around the internet to ensure that any mention of the ‘pit is framed correctly and that any criticism of your peeps is then tied directly to the ‘pit. Your work to try to ensure that anyone from the pit who is new to twitter gets their account suspended as fast as possible is just another example of what you really do and what you really are.

        In two posts, you’ve managed to try to tie Ellenbeth’s criticism to the ‘pit, tried to make it look as though the people attacking her on Pharyngula were some kind of bizarre MRA invasion, and then even tried to paint her criticism of conference harassment as invalid, because obviously, there’s a gob of harassment at conferences, i mean it happened “at least once”. Good job, I’m sure you’ll get that cookie.

        I’ve got a thick skin, Pharyngula “savaging” was nothing of the sort to me, Slymepit equivalent was hilarious and I enjoyed writing the post about it. So I can give as good as I get but if anyone says “leave me alone” I’ll happily stick to it. Why is that so hard for you?

        Yep, Oolon trying like hell to make this all about the ‘pit. I don’t think it will work too well this time.

        You planning on actually addressing *any* of Ellenbeth’s points? Wait, we already know the answer, don’t we.

        John C. Welch

        June 17, 2013 at 10:03 am

    • And as always, Oolon makes it all about him and his “crusade”:

      Sorry to hear that MRA meltdown on Pharyngula led to you falling out with friends.

      “The MRA meltdown”? You mean the one where PZ and the regulars slagged Ellenbeth nigh-constantly over her failure to conform to GoodTHink about Adria Richards? So PZ’s an MRA now?

      Look Oolon, if you’re going to misrepresent things, at least make sure it’s a LITTLE hard to double-check, because face it, *everyone* will doublecheck you.

      Personally not too worried about what “side” you are on as I know you’ll at least try not to spread misinformation from the Slymepit, unlike a lot of the Slymepitters and associated anti-FTB people…

      This isn’t about the ‘pit you unctuous toadie, it’s about how Ellenbeth was treated by the people you toadie for. I know you are literally a one-trick pony, but this is not, and was not about the ‘pit. It’s about some of the things the ‘pit tends to dislike, such as the way FTB turns on you as soon as you don’t fall in line, but this was about what Ellenbeth went through. Ye Gods. There is however, some irony when you talk about falsehoods from the pit given how Stephanie tried to tie PZ’s comment to the pit, and when Ellenbeth provided evidence this was incorrect, what’s the reaction? She’s “slandering” Zvan. I suppose Stephanie et al really aren’t skeptics anymore.

      Just wondering why you think it is relevant that on a support group for online harassment the subject of harassment at conferences never came up.

      No you’re not, you’re trying to torpedo Ellenbeth’s points by tying her to the ‘pit as we’ll see by the end of the paragraph.

      Don’t get what you hope to achieve by pointing that out…?

      Oh yes you do, but if you don’t try to cast doubt on Ellenbeth, then you’re not doing a good job of damage control, are you.

      You have said you’ve handled at least one complaint yourself, so I’m assuming you are a fan of policies which is the only position FTB/Skepchick/etc holds and thats not contingent on there being loads of harassment at conferences. So what’s up with that?

      Given that Ellenbeth actually talked about this, we already know what’s up with that. Once again, we see how you’re trying to derail everything so you can once again get on your single-issue soapbox and make it all about you. You’re also doing a bad job of trying to turn “at least one complaint” into “loads of harassment at conferences”. Nice try, but alas, the final line in the post does you no favors:

      P.S. In six months of being in a group with the main players of this drama not one shred of evidence of harassment at conferences was ever produced.

      John C. Welch

      June 17, 2013 at 9:43 am

      • Jesus an essay in response John but somehow I see its me making it all about me! I was responding to a challenge from Rich if you look past your bloviating you might spot it at the top…. I’ve not read all your “thoughts” yet but I will correct this ->
        “… and then un-banned you once you showed him how useful you were”… Nope I’m not “unbanned” just in moderation so my comments may get through if PZ wants them to. Actually the same as yours…. Just I assume yours are somewhat less likely to manage their way out the moderation queue and not straight into spam.

        oolon

        June 18, 2013 at 9:36 am

      • Meh, further to my other comment I made the mistake of reading Johns raving… It doesn’t get any better. Maybe worth pointing out that John in his desperation to get “guilt by association” in there he missed I criticised the *principles* of the Slymepit not any particular “crime” or individuals action or photoshop. So the very opposite of “guilt by association” which he rails against, but he is so used to railing against it I think its become a Pavlovian response by now. I think if you snuck up behind him and shouted “Baboon!” he’d squeal “guilt by association!” …

        Its actually quite hard to discern what the pits “principles” might be but there are certain things that very few on there disagree on. What I quoted was one such “principle”, John didn’t disagree that it is a principle or defend it or disagree with my analysis of the problem with it.

        Yawn, the need for debate is another such “principle”, John is the epitome of how pointless it is.

        oolon

        June 18, 2013 at 9:48 am

      • Yeah of course Oolon.

        once again, you still show that your only point in any situation is to try to derail it.

        I note you still haven’t actually addressed a single point Ellenbeth made, just tried to turn it into OMG SLYMEPIT SUCKS.

        Oh, and your pathetic attempt to frame the attacks from the pharyngula regulars as some kind of MRA invasion of Pharyngula. Funny how when that happened, you were so upset at Ellenbeth’s treatment, you appear to have said exactly nothing about it anywhere. Not even on your blog.

        But then, had you supported her, well, Unca PZ wouldn’t have rescinded your ban, and then where would you be other than fucking with people on Twitter.

        John C. Welch

        June 18, 2013 at 12:04 pm

  23. I don’t want to add to your stress, but when you say “support group” are you talking about the SW member’s-only FB or are you referring to a different group that I am not a member of?

    M. A. Melby

    June 17, 2013 at 4:37 am

    • No, I am not talking about the SW members only support group. This was a much more exclusive club. It was called “Document the Hate”

      EllenBeth Wachs

      June 17, 2013 at 7:13 am

      • Is that an official group supported by Secular Woman?

        M. A. Melby

        June 17, 2013 at 10:58 pm

      • For two reasons:

        1) If your bad experience was associated with an organization I am a member of – beyond what I have first-hand experience to evaluate – I’d like to know.

        Also.

        2) As expected (if you look at your ping-backs) opportunists are conflating the various groups you mentioned and since the title of your blog post was about Secular Woman (even though the content was mostly about your personal conflict with Stephanie who doesn’t post frequently much less has a position within Secular Woman and a support group that, as far as I know, is not associated with it other than having some of the same members; and individual members of Secular Woman who hold no official position at the organization other than the moderator) they are framing criticisms as “How Secular Woman Works”.

        I absolutely affirm your right to voice your concerns and to share your experience. (I hope that didn’t sound patronizing – I know you have that RIGHT whether I affirm it or not – but I don’t want to be misinterpreted.) I’m not blaming you for how others are going to spin this; because you aren’t going to be able to control their message. What’s going to happen (whether or not you want it to) is that a few very committed individuals are going to use your experience as a weapon against what they see as some monolithic horde (rightly or wrongly) that includes “those people” at Secular Woman (which includes me and many other people) and that’s really going to suck because:

        #1 NONE of us want to add to your stress. (…and if anyone actually DOES, which is incredibly doubtful…they can obviously kiss my ass.)
        #2 We’re going to be limited in our ability to defend against attacks that use your experience because of #1 and because your criticisms specifically of Secular Woman include communications on a members-only site where people speak candidly and the group is closed.

        So, I’m trying to think of ways to make this inevitable shit storm of stupidity at everyone’s expense as less awful as possible. One good way of doing that is to simply point out that Secular Woman (as an organization) is simply not associated with those criticisms and that the personal conflicts that the criticisms represent are best resolved as personal conflicts among those who are directly involved.

        What would be the worst case here – is if anyone decided to essentially argue with you. That would add to your stress (see #1) and it would be used to bolster the idea that we’re all [insert inevitable dehumanizing pet-name for us here]. It would also back us into that unenviable corner where we’ll be asked/forced to make public conversations that were not engaged in with the assumption that they would be made public.

        Another possible way of avoiding that BS – is to SAY it is going to happen on this blog post right now before too many of the more militantly divisive “anti-divisive” squad notice the blood in the water so that THEY CAN PROVE ME WRONG by not actually doing that any more than they already have.

        Of course, criticisms of the organization itself, such as the content of its official page that does include articles about Ron Lindsay – as well as – a host of other things. Please rip at that all day if you want to. Conversations about issues = good.

        *And before any frickin’ starts*

        I am not at ALL acting as an official representative of Secular Woman. Anything *I* do or say should not be held as a reflection of the organization as a whole MUCH less any other individual members within it. I do not hold ANY office within the organization other than “member” which was literally bestowed upon me for $20.

        M. A. Melby

        June 18, 2013 at 1:14 am

        • It would also back us into that unenviable corner where we’ll be asked/forced to make public conversations that were not engaged in with the assumption that they would be made public.

          You state this as if I have a problem with this happening. I don’t.

          As for the rest of your response, I will get to it later.

          EllenBeth Wachs

          June 18, 2013 at 9:14 am

      • Yes, I know – it’s obvious you don’t have a problem talking publicly about conversations within a closed group. I’m not going to blame you for that, because the alternative is to pressure you into NOT talking about your experiences that have upset you. I’m much LESS comfortable with that – especially considering that I’ve been in employment where confidentiality was legally required and understand how much being *required* to *not talk about it* can be stressful.

        However, *I* am not going to. I’m not going to talk about these conversations publicly.

        The drama-soaked masses are just going to have to make peace with not actually having the entire context and only hearing about your experience from your perspective – at least as far as I am personally concerned.

        I’m not naive enough to think that further context would nuance the conclusions of the court of public opinion anyway. It’s a lose-lose-lose.

        If at any point, you want to talk to me privately for whatever reason, however. I’m open to that. I know you hardly know me, so it might seem like an odd offer; but I didn’t want you to misunderstand me.

        M. A. Melby

        June 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm

        • Oh, let me be clear, I understood you perfectly. You were pulling a Mary Ellen Sikes move on me and that was pure bullshit. This passive/aggressive game you are playing with me? You think you are helping? You are making things a LOT WORSE

          EllenBeth Wachs

          June 18, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      • If anyone got the impression that I’m implying that I have some sort of super secret information that would make you look bad or something. That’s crap. I don’t.

        If I knew that anything you said in your OP was a lie. I’d just say that.

        When I said that your account was “from your perspective” that wasn’t a euphemism for something else that I actually meant to say. It was a statement about how the universe functions.

        It’s also obvious that the peanut gallery is not going to have the entire context when they are getting information about closed groups. That’s just a statement of fact.

        I actually just meant what I said. I’m worried about OTHER PEOPLE twisting, exaggerating and generalizing things and how that might put people like me (only peripherally involved in what appear to be very emotional personal interactions) in an obnoxious situation where we’ll be tempted to become defensive because we happen to be involved in an organization within whose space these interactions occurred.

        I apologize if I made things worse. I went back-and-forth about whether or not I should say a damn thing, and if I made the wrong choice; I’m sorry.

        But please don’t read into my words some sort of malicious intent that is not there.

        M. A. Melby

        June 18, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    • Just to respond to down below, not to speak for anybody but myself, but there are some very good reasons why to think that Secular Women as a group is responsible to some degree to what happened here.

      #1. Considering the nature of the private group described, it’s more than likely that it consisted of the leaders…both structural and social…of the group. But you know something…I can let that slide.

      #2. It’s this one that gets me. And this is a real issue. I feel that the attacks on Ron Lindsey are in defense of a toxic “call-out culture” that’s being perpetuated through certain swaths of society right now…it’s bigger than the conflicts in the A/S community, that’s to be sure. That culture is largely responsible for the way that EBW here…among others was, is and will continue to be treated. At least that’s the way I see it…and saw it, and someone who saw the shift-over to embrace said toxic culture and NOPE’D! my way out of there. (Several months later realizing that critics of said “call-out culture” tend to be much better in terms of discussion for those of us who are interested in these issues).

      Maybe there’s way to thread the needle, to think that Lindsey’s comments were misplaced, but at the same time supporting what he was trying to say….or at least be willing to say that this toxic part of the culture needs to be changed. But we haven’t even STARTED that conversation yet.

      Maybe in the light of EBW’s experiences, it’s time to start that conversation.

      karmakin

      June 18, 2013 at 8:36 pm

      • #1 I have no idea how many members are both part of the support group EllenBeth mentioned and Secular Woman. The only member she mentioned that is the same is Stephanie who doesn’t have a position at all at SW. There is absolutely no reason to think that “more than likely” anything. Yeah, and no, I’m really not going to “let slide” complete conjecture concerning a sensitive topic. I think it’s irresponsible.

        #2 We can talk about Ron Lindsay’s actions all day long if you want. However, I do not see these things as related, only in so much as Ron Lindsay decided to lecture a bunch of conference attendees on stuff most of them understand a hell of a lot better than he does and when one (of several) attempted to correct him – he skipped a fund raising banquet to blog about how she was akin to a South Korean dictator, misunderstood/misrepresented what she said, and then presented an example to illustrate his point that (in context) was simply a call for someone to “stop talking about groups of people and start talking to them” which is essentially activist 101.

        I don’t know what he was *trying* to say – I know what he actually said. At no point did he talk about “gotcha culture” that I could see. In fact, if anything he gave a pretty good example of it by focusing on the non-substantive definition of “crux” instead of what was actually said to him about stuff that matters.

        To his credit, he did apologize for the blog post – yet – bizarrely insisted that she was wrong about the “crux”!

        Perhaps we could have a conversation about how criticism is not an *attack*. How, some people (many of them women) are characterized in this movement for “not being able to take criticism” and “being thin skinned” when people make-up sexist pet-names for them, create parody accounts on twitter, write entire blog posts dedicated to discussing how funny it is when they cry (hey there Thunderf00t), photo-shop them in sexual position, joke about how a picture of a woman being kicked in the groin and having her breasts clawed at is going to piss them off (hello there Justin Vacula), take practical jokes out of context to make it look like they are narcissistic sociopaths (remember when RW abused her assistant at a conference – yeah – that never frickin’ happened), call them “worthless”, refer to their history of depression as a “cop out” (Pitchguest knows all about that), and they say that’s NOT OKAY; but when Ron Lindsay has a melt-down when he is corrected during a conference where he had responsibilities and was acting as a representative of a large organization; pointing out the fact that it happened and insisting (at the very least) that he should acknowledge that he made mistakes; THAT is what you think is wrong with “the culture”?!

        Yeah – no.

        Do you know what would have been better? Perhaps a call for civility that acknowledged bad experiences (including some of the things that EllenBeth, Rebecca Watson, Ophelia Benson, etc have had to deal with) that stem from the confusion between the criticisms of ideas and the criticism of people – by both those making the criticism and those that the criticisms are being provided to.

        M. A. Melby

        June 19, 2013 at 1:05 am

        • #1 I have no idea how many members are both part of the support group EllenBeth mentioned and Secular Woman.

          13 out of 15

          when Ron Lindsay has a melt-down

          Your definition of melt-down must be far different than mine. I have actually had melt-downs due to the severe PTSD I suffer from all of the trauma inflicted in the last 2 years. A melt-down looks like me starting to sweat, my heart-rate increasing to a very rapid pace until I feel like it will beat out of my chest; me racing from window to window peering out to see who just rang the doorbell wondering if it’s another SWAT team here to arrest me and throw me in solitary confinement for the sin of sending the Sheriff a public records request and then finally crumpling to the floor in tears in a little ball.

          What Ron Lindsay did? He gave a fucking speech and wrote a blog.

          EllenBeth Wachs

          June 19, 2013 at 7:59 am

        • Thanks for clearing that up.

          M. A. Melby

          June 19, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      • If the people you’re defending cared one iota about the difference between the criticism of ideas and the criticism of people, this blog post would not exist in the first place. Projection is a hell of a drug.

        For what it’s worth I dislike the “puppet theater”. That’s what I think about the goofy photoshops and things like that. But I use those words intentionally. Puppet Theater, if you don’t know, is a reference to the goofy oversided parody puppets that you see at some leftist protests. They’re supposed to symbolize things but it’s hard to see the message. There’s little message other than bringing down the target a few pegs. Personally, I don’t like that sort of thing. Again, focusing on the criticism of ideas is important to me. But what’s lost in all this, is that there’s a very strong PROGRESSIVE history for this sort of thing.

        What’s wrong with the culture is that the threat level was raised when people tried to bully him out of his job. Full stop. When people couldn’t stand to have some of their attitudes and behavior mildly criticized in an even handed fashion. When people need to win everything or everything is terrible.

        The problem was not the follow-up blog post, that’s revisionist history so I’m going to leave that aside. People were tweeting pretty angrily at the original talk, including retweeting Rebecca Watson’s sexist, racist comment on it. Again, this is a serious problem, and stop double downing on it. This stuff hurts people. It needs to end.

        But hey I also agree that the nasty photoshops should stop as well. I’m in agreement. But I don’t think it should be done unilaterally. That might seem nasty, but I don’t think it is. People tend to respond in kind to kind. People think being called misogynistic is extremely nasty. Respect their (our) feelings on this matter, and you might start to see some progress.

        karmakin

        June 19, 2013 at 6:54 am

      • It dawned on me after I wrote my reply that you read “call-out” culture as “gotcha” – somehow. Sorry about that.

        Then Ron’s speech and response to criticism would be a very good example of that – in fact the “crux” of the problem. He used his speech to imply that something he didn’t like was happening, instead of just welcoming people to the conference. Then when his speech didn’t go over well; he “called out” RW with extremely hyperbolic comments (while she was AT the conference) and then called-out one of PZ’s statements as an example of what he didn’t like – all on the official page of CFI.

        Having said that – I don’t think calling people out is a bad thing – the alternatives are either being so vague that nobody knows what you are actually talking about (see the Skeptic Women letter) or essentially refraining from being critical even when people really step in it or do pretty terrible things.

        When the Amazing Atheist thought it was a “teachable moment” to pretend that “triggering” wasn’t a “thing” by explicitly describing rape to a rape survivor; people called him out on it. Was that bad? He did eventually apologize. How do you think that would have played out if nobody told him he was being awful?

        It’s also bizarre that you’d complain about “call out” culture in the comments section of a blog post that is ONE GIGANTIC PUBLIC CALL OUT – of personal conflicts.

        It’s just sort of twisted that Rebecca Watson is (at least it seems you have implied this – please correct me if I’m misreading you) being accused of “calling out” when she pretty mildly explained what the concept of “shut up and listen” actually is; and GAVE AN EXAMPLE of how the concept of “privilege” can and is sometimes used to silence and how that is bad (essentially agreeing with the speech at face value); while the inappropriate way that Ron responded to her criticism is being defended and not seen as an pretty solid example of how sometimes “calling out” is inappropriate given the venue as well as an example of a failure to live up to signing the Open Letter.

        I don’t think he is some horrible person or something – and a great deal of unnecessary escalation is created by being defensive instead of just saying that you messed up. His apology concerning the blog post, I have no doubt was sincere and it gave some hope that the Board would simply acknowledge that he stepped in it a bit and learned from the experience.

        If you want to know how SW responded to the situation – it’s on the official site – http://www.secularwoman.org/members_react_to_ron_lindsay

        Again though – if he was TRYING to say something else – he is bad at communicating stuff. I’ve been down this road before with posts from Thunderf00t where the defense of being frankly 10x worse than Lindsay’s impolitical remarks (I am NOT making an equivalency here), was defended by (I’m paraphrasing obviously) “well someone has to stand up to “those people” who are ruining everything” and “well, what he was actually trying to say was some undefined but really important nebulous stuff”.

        Could someone just come out and say what they mean?

        That’s how you have conversations about things – you don’t start wildly spraying vague criticisms around and then decided to focus on whoever happen to feel they got shat on significantly.

        The Board’s statement is this odd meaningless blob that could essentially mean anything.

        And yeah, I personally find that infuriating. It’s it part of this toxic call-out culture you’re talking about to say – “Hey, I find your non-statement infuriating” ?

        M. A. Melby

        June 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm

      • Sorry about the length of my comments (and perhaps if we want to keep talking about this we should take it elsewhere), but I think I have stumbled across a tie-in.

        I think we’re both aware that Greg Laden has acted inappropriately and said a few really stupid things. Even when it seems that Greg Laden realized he made some pretty serious errors; Stephanie Zvan has gone to bat for him. I suspect she feels a very strong loyalty to people that she has worked with, especially those she feels have been unfairly targeted. (I know I’m trying to read her mind and that’s sort of sketchy – but that’s the impression I get.)

        When people are called-out or criticized the good old “shut-up and listen” tactic is a good one; but when you’ve been listening to a din of criticism that you feel is unfounded or at the very least unfair, the knee-jerk defensiveness is liable to kick in even when inappropriate.

        This phenomena is something that has been discussed – that essentially the “pattern recognition” gets into over-drive when you deal with “fuck you cunt” all day or “you banned me because you’re a coward” – even if those unreasonable criticisms come from various sources.

        I know many people who absolutely HATE the atmosphere on PZ’s blog and others who defend it generally – but when someone says that they had a really bad experience you don’t drop into “defend against unfair criticism mode” you listen and then you own up.

        When this happened there was a call to discuss it, and PZ opened a subsequent blog post to try to figure out where everything went wrong. I’m not quite sure what the time-line was, but PZ did implement a new comments policy, I think in August?

        Even if you think that was completely insufficient, it did happen. I think there is conflation of defending his blog generally and defending how EllenBeth was treated. This confusion could have been elevated by a more pronounced and unequivocal condemnation of how she was treated – and leaving the OTHER fight against unfair criticism for another frickin’ time.

        This (in a perfect world) disarms the people making the unfair criticisms. It does not give them ground.

        The tie in then is perhaps a willingness to let down your guard long enough and step back far enough to gain perspective; perhaps THAT is what we need to cultivate. And no, it’s not an easy thing, especially when the wagons are circling.

        I mean the answer to: HEY – someone associated with org-X did this obnoxious, ill-advised, or horrible thing Y – should not be met with: SHUT UP ABOUT org-X not everyone is terrible there.

        M. A. Melby

        June 19, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      • Oh gosh – if you think using the word “misogynistic” is too strong – it might be more self-consistent to avoid “sexist, racist”? Maybe?

        M. A. Melby

        June 19, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      • “If the people you’re defending cared one iota about the difference between the criticism of ideas and the criticism of people, this blog post would not exist in the first place.”

        That was my point, in a way. Who do you think I’m defending?

        I’ve already explained that I can’t have a conversation about EllenBeth’s experiences with the support group or with SW because I simply don’t have information about the support group (because I was not a member) and the members only SW facebook page is closed.

        I literally have no defense because I’m not going to have that conversation. EllenBeth’s experience IS her experience. That’s how she felt and there are reasons she felt that way.

        Though her post obviously doesn’t provide the entire context, she isn’t fabricating anything as far as I know. About the only thing close (as far as I can see) is the odd use of the word “campaign”; but she goes on to describe a conflict between two individuals and not a “campaign”.

        My perspective is different because, I’m not her. I am also maintaining my association with SW, so I’ve obviously made a different conclusion than she has about the organization in general – but that’s all you’re going to get.

        M. A. Melby

        June 19, 2013 at 4:45 pm

      • M. A. Melby said:

        The Board’s statement is this odd meaningless blob that could essentially mean anything.

        Maybe that was the point or objective – sort of like the Roroschach tests used to gauge a person’s psychological bugbears and phobias. Testing the waters; giving people enough rope to hang themselves.

        However, I think they also clearly indicated that the CFI is supporting Lindsay with its statement that “The Center for Inquiry, including its CEO, is dedicated to advancing the status of women ….”

        But from a broader perspective, I think your response to Karmakin – it might be more self-consistent to avoid “sexist, racist”? – suggests that we all see any given event through different coloured glasses, and from very different perspectives. And, as with a house painted with different colours on each side, it is entirely possible that, in any given case, we might each be right without that necessarily meaning that the other side is wrong.

        Steersman

        June 19, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      • M. A. Melby said:

        I mean the answer to: HEY – someone associated with org-X did this obnoxious, ill-advised, or horrible thing Y – should not be met with: SHUT UP ABOUT org-X not everyone is terrible there.

        Indeed – QFT.

        But I think that that “SHUT UP ABOUT org-X” is a prime example of categorical thinking and group-think: “you are attacking one of my brothers or sisters so you are attacking all of us including me”. Very anti-skeptical; very bad karma.

        However, not to put too fine a point on it, one might reasonably argue, I think, that the whole argument about “splash damage” is predicated on just that misapprehension. And about which there seems to be some rather problematic asymmetry as suggested by my previous analogy about houses.

        But, speaking of “asymmetry” and as a case-in-point, let us consider the case of some man being called a prick or a dickhead versus some woman being called a cunt. To illustrate, I certainly find it curious, and more than a little amusing, that most men when they hear someone – male or female – call some other man a “prick” their response is likely going to be something along the line of, “Really? What did he do?” and not, “HOW DARE YOU CALL ME AND ALL MY BROS PRICKS??? YOU … YOU … MISANDRIST!!”.

        Group solidarity can be a fine thing, but when it blinds us to the problematic behaviours of some members of the group – a case in point being EllenBeth’s comment about people defending Richards only because she was a woman – then one might reasonably argue that that solidarity has become pathological.

        Steersman

        June 19, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      • I do avoid calling people “dicks” and that sort of thing as an insult. I think it reinforces the idea that men are expected to be aggressive and dominant.

        Using sexist language in order to criticize someone is a type of micro-aggression that solidifies sexist norms – in a similar way that racist or homophobic or ableist ones do.

        If the person offering the “criticism” (which really doesn’t qualify as one) does nothing but insult – not giving any substance to the criticism – especially if they are using slurs – I’m inclined to care more about protecting myself or calling out their behavior than pulling teeth to extract any valid points that might lurk in their head that they have failed to offer.

        It’s a good thing to make very clear what I’m doing though – or it is understandably mistaken for a blanket defense of that individual and their actions.

        M. A. Melby

        June 19, 2013 at 10:34 pm

      • I have yet to meet someone who defends Richards because she is a woman.

        However, I have met a lot of people who confused defending Richards against the level of harassment she received as automatically thinking that she is perfect or that there was no better way she could have handled the original incident.

        Pointing out that she shouldn’t be blamed for the firing when she had absolutely no power in that decision and didn’t even request that action or that she doesn’t deserve to be threatened and insulted mercilessly in sexist and abusive ways or thinking that she, herself, should not have been fired – is not the same thing as saying, “If you hear an inappropriate joke you should immediately publicly shame them.”

        I was not involved in the conversation on PZ blog that went off the rails that EllenBeth discussed. I considered reading it, but it’s hundreds of comments. So, I’m not talking specifically about that conversation here.

        M. A. Melby

        June 19, 2013 at 10:45 pm

      • M. A. Melby said:

        I do avoid calling people “dicks” and that sort of thing as an insult. I think it reinforces the idea that men are expected to be aggressive and dominant.

        Using sexist language in order to criticize someone is a type of micro-aggression that solidifies sexist norms – in a similar way that racist or homophobic or ableist ones do.

        Curious how that seems to be part of some “folk-psychology” or “folk-linguistics”, the support and evidence for which seems rather tenuous at best. Somewhat analogously, Daniel Dennett in his Sweet Dreams of Consciousness: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness talks of a “folk theory of human consciousness” and “folk physics”, noting of the latter that “it is extremely swift and fecund in its deliverance of reliable expectations, and virtually involuntary”. But he also argues that both of those are based on a number of assumptions that aren’t always all that reliable and which lead to various incorrect predictions and expectations. With regard to the latter, he notes the examples of pipettes and gyroscopes, and to which one could probably add quantum physics which is supposedly the epitome of counterintuitiveness.

        So with sexist language and gendered insults: as mentioned earlier, I figure that the argument for “splash damage” is badly flawed, and based on a number of highly questionable assumptions which tend to bedevil these conversations on feminism.

        I have yet to meet someone who defends Richards because she is a woman.

        However, I have met a lot of people who confused defending Richards against the level of harassment she received as automatically thinking that she is perfect ….

        I seem to recollect seeing a tweet or comment from EllenBeth stating that some people were or seemed to be doing that. But maybe I’m mistaken on that point as it was maybe someone else’s bad paraphrase of something she had said.

        Not sure that I’m reading between the lines of your last statement correctly or not, but I think it suggests part of the problem with these discussions: the “inference machinery” or module of many people seem to be in serious need of recalibration or of a reduction in its sensitivity. Rather analogous to people who have a predilection for conspiracy theories of one sort or another. You might be interested in this article (1) on apophenia, “the experience of seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data”.

        —-
        1) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apophenia”;

        Steersman

        June 20, 2013 at 4:29 am

  24. When you trust people for a long time to provide accurate information that forms a core belief it is easy for them to manipulate what you think. The tactics of shunning, attacking, disproportionate response, ‘othering’, verbal abuse, providing misinformation, fundamental dishonesty, lack of integrity, rejection of skepticism, being anti-intellectual, controlling the narrative, labelling, excessive narcissism and lack of empathy are the same attributes you would find in a cult.

    Sorry for that rambling sentence but it could have been worse as I can think of plenty more negative attributes that applies to them.

    Whatever you do or whatever your core beliefs are now I do hope you look after yourself. Life is stressful as it is without others making it a lot worse for their personal gain.

    JackSkeptic

    June 17, 2013 at 4:55 am

  25. Chester: I know how I just wrote I would address you just that one time on Tauriq’s blog, but you know what?

    I lied. (I know. From a Slymer, how shocking is that? Come on.)

    It’s a support group, dipshit. It’s what support groups do: they support one another. Did she say it had to do exclusively with online stuff? She didn’t. That’s you embellishing the details with your bullshit. And it is sure nice that EllenBeth has someone like you, Chester, to let her know who REALLY was behind the meltdown at Pharyngula: the MRA’s. Indeed, the people (FtB commenters, including PZ himself) that raged nigh-uncontrollably on EllenBeth, calling her both a “chill girl” and a misogynist in the comment section when she dared to have a different opinion on Adria Richards, that eventually led her to fall out with people whom she thought — counted on — to be her friends, were all due to an “MRA meltdown.”

    Wow. You must have great pride in trolling to gaslight EllenBeth like that. Not only are you telling her what *really* happened, but you’re also telling her what to think about it, too? How courteous of you. With friends like you, who needs enemies?

    pitchguest

    June 17, 2013 at 6:42 am

    • For anyone who doesn’t know PitchGuest is copying his master’s “nickname” of Chester for me… Comes from Franc Hoggles demented twittering of Hanna Barbera cartoons to anyone that disagrees with him. Latsot at least is also “Chester”, so I’m assuming PG is talking to me, but he may not be.

      PitchGuest, missed that comment on Tauriqs, is that where you derailed yet another post about feminism? Maybe you are banned at Canucks and couldn’t direct your “wisdom” to a relevant post… Maybe not.

      “MRA Meltdown” is my generic term for the fuckup that was that thread about Adria and Matthew Best (MRA) and how it spiralled out of control. Very sweet of you to make up that fantasy all based on my labelling the thread thusly. To gaslight her I’d have to subtly deny that what she said is true by introducing doubt through malicious false assertion. I’m going to guess you don’t know what gaslighting means… In fact the question about harassment implicitly assumes what she says is true, I have no reason to doubt it. So nice try PitchGuest, he swings, he misses!

      FYI I doubt EllenBeth ever considered me a friend! I did use the example of the Slymepit spreading lies from her stalker uncritically as an example of that places scummery and lack of scepticism when it comes to people that are perceived to not be on their “side”. So no horrible “betrayal” of a dear friend as you seem to be all worked up about.

      oolon

      June 17, 2013 at 8:50 am

      • So now one person is a meltdown? And the rest of the Pharyngulites attacking her were?

        It’s too bad your ban wasn’t rescinded then, because I’m SURE you would have stood up for Ellenbeth in the comment string the exact same way you stood up for her on your blog…

        oh…wait, it appears you didn’t do that. Funny how you only appear to find you only defend her here, months after the incident in question.

        John C. Welch

        June 17, 2013 at 10:12 am

      • No John, I tweeted her while it was going on to voice my support… So up yours :P

        Also the meltdown was the whole thread, as I say it was a collosal fuckup and I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that.

        oolon

        June 18, 2013 at 9:25 am

      • oh, you TWEETED her. Wow, how awesomely supportive you are. You of course did this publicly and @-messaged PZ so he could see, right? Links?

        If you’re wondering, no, i don’t believe you until proven otherwise. This goes for every and anything you say. So run along and fetch me those links.

        John C. Welch

        June 18, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      • You didn’t support shit, in fact, you kept pushing her to stay on Pharyngula. ” Post that ur off 2 the lounge – moderated n can sort it out?” What, the same pharyngulites attacking her are suddenly going to be reasonable because OMG, DIFFERENT FORUM ON THE SAME SITE? Seriously, that’s support? “I know you got mauled in THIS field, but we’ll put *all the same people* in *that* field, and this time, it’ll be nicer. Trust me.”

        You weren’t supporting Ellenbeth, you were once again, making it all about you, and your quest to become one of PZ’s favorites. Angling for an OM are you? You didn’t care a lick about what Ellenbeth was going through, hell, you even tried to make it MORE about you with your “I like being insulted too much, whee, insults!” shit.

        Defending the people who attacked her by trying to make it sound like if she only posts it in the lounge, they’ll be totes more understanding and nice, and then showing how you’re just like her in that you’re banned too for having too thick a skin.

        That’s your definition of “support”?

        Funny, you only seem to call PZ an asshole in places you’re fairly sure he won’t read it. Still the cowardly little toady oolon. Run along to your master, his shoes need shining.

        John C. Welch

        June 21, 2013 at 10:07 am

  26. If Slymepit is a hate site, then surely Pharyngula is a hate site as well, and PZ, it’s all your baby. Remember, you’re the one who created, nurtured and encouraged it. In the immortal words of David Silverman, own it.

    Hunt

    June 17, 2013 at 6:59 am

  27. “Sorry to hear that MRA meltdown on Pharyngula led to you falling out with friends. ”

    And where, exactly, did you hear that?
    Isn’t that what they call “gaslighting” on the A+ forum?

    TonyParsehole

    June 17, 2013 at 7:06 am

    • Honestly, if Oolon lit his gas, the fireball would be a half mile in diameter.

      mykeru

      June 17, 2013 at 8:39 am

    • Ahh seems PG has fed his amazing “gotcha” back to the pit and the call for support has gone out! You deny this whole situation is precipitated by the “meltdown” in that thread? I have gone on the record as saying directly to EllenBeth I thought the treatment she got was unacceptable. So “meltdown” refers to the whole thread as I described above… But good to see you keeping up with the pit tactic of bad faith argumentation. Do you even believe gaslighting is a real thing?

      oolon

      June 17, 2013 at 8:55 am

      • It’s telling that when you’re deliberately omitting the “MRA” part of your own “meltdown” quotations. Almost as if you realise what a blatant lie that was and are now embarrassed by it. It seems you know all about “bad faith argumentation”.
        “Do you even believe gaslighting is a real thing?”
        Of course! I’ve just watched you attempt to gaslight EBW.

        TonyParsehole

        June 17, 2013 at 9:29 am

      • It wasn’t an “MRA meltdown” oolon. It was the regulars at Pharyngula attacking her. The one name you mention, what’s your proof he’s an MRA? Wait, we already know. You and the other Pharyngulites decided he was. Good job.

        John C. Welch

        June 17, 2013 at 10:05 am

      • It was three people attacking EllenBeth – worst one was no regular and there was a lot of theorising about conspiracy there as we are not free of that particular vice. kate_waters came out of nowhere. JAL and Caine also attacked, EllenBeth attacked Caine with a threat of needing her name for refusal to entry to conferences and eventually Caine apologised to EllenBeth … Its all there and you claiming a massive dogpile is clearly a pile from a dogs rear end. But have at it saying “it was the regulars at Pharyngula” since it’s trivially easy to prove you wrong. More “regulars” stood up for her, Stacy, Hyperdeath, Sally Strange and Janphar off the top of my head. I don’t count as I’m no regular.

        oolon

        June 18, 2013 at 9:30 am

        • It was three people attacking EllenBeth – worst one was no regular and there was a lot of theorising about conspiracy there as we are not free of that particular vice. kate_waters came out of nowhere. JAL and Caine also attacked, EllenBeth

          Whoa, so Caine, JAL and Nerd of Redhead aren’t regulars? That’s news to me.

          EllenBeth attacked Caine with a threat of needing her name

          Back the truck right up. I did not attack Caine. That was meant as obvious snark and I clarified that.

          eventually Caine apologised to EllenBeth

          I will state this one last time. Caine has never fucking apologized to ME. I have heard that she offered an apology about her actions directed to me in a place I refuse to go. That is not an apology to me. That is an apology to the Horde.

          EllenBeth Wachs

          June 18, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      • yes, which is why you listed one name as an “MRA”. because that way, you could make it sound like the regulars had NOTHING to do with it.

        And your proof this person is an MRA is? Again, links, go and fetch them like a good doggie.

        John C. Welch

        June 18, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      • I doubt you’ll be forthcoming about your proof that that one person’s an MRA other than PZ et al decided he was, and that’s all the proof you need.

        Well, if you want to stay in his good graces that is, and we’ve pretty much seen that your main goal in life is to stay in the good graces of the FTB FC(n).

        Maybe you should start threatening to kick someone’s ass. It seems to be okay with Zvan and Canuck, in fact, they seem to rather applaud it when done in their name.

        John C. Welch

        June 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      • Ellenbeth, you may have noticed that Oolon doesn’t exactly live in the world of facts.

        Every comment he makes has at most two points:

        1) Oolon is just the cleverest lad that ever lived, yes he is.
        2) The slymepit sucks and is evil and you should be all on the FTB people’s side like Oolon is because they’re so brave and strong.

        Note that your comment had nothing to do with the ‘pit other than maybe a paragraph in total, and yet, what’s Oolon done?

        1) The attacks on you weren’t by “regulars” it was some kind of bizarre MRA invasion.
        2) You were apologized to. Well, not really, and not like, TO you, but someone somewhere said the words “i’m sorry” and “ellenbeth” in the same sentence, and so, you know, it’s an apology, right?
        3) Dragged the ‘pit into it, even though again, the ‘pit had fuck nothing to do with it.

        I’d be willing to bet, if you aren’t already, you’ll be on his moronic little twitter blockbot within a fortnight, although unlike people with new accounts, you’re established enough so it will cause you exactly as many problems as it’s cause me: none.

        This is just what Oolon does. He toadies. If you were to do a google image search on “toady”, most of the pictures would be his. He neither cares for or about you. This is all about scoring points with the FTB Kewl Kids so they’ll maybe let him in the front door of the party.

        John C. Welch

        June 18, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      • You are so cute. I could just pinch your widdle cheek

        Mykeru

        June 18, 2013 at 9:22 pm

  28. I also learned that, contrary to popular opinion, not all of the slymepitters are scum.

    Without getting into too many details, I left Phyrangula (before FtB) and the rest of the crowd of jack-asses (most of whom went to FtB) well before this little ‘war’ started over Elevatorgate. I left because, by-and-large, they were a bunch of punks and bullies who manufacture outrage by spewing lies for blog-hits and self-importance through their pointless-asshole-for-the-sake-of-being-an-asshole behavior; a behavior that I’m just not into.

    I think the only atheist blog I read from late 2010 until the summer of 2012 was WEIT. Last summer, I decided to drop back in and see what was going on…

    It was a mess.

    So I traced everything back and saw why it was a mess — Myers and his acolytes were doing the same thing (actually worse) as they did at Science Blogs. Their actions had turned a large part of (the Internet portion of) the Atheist community into a circular firing squad while they stood on the sidelines passing out bullets.

    But during this time I heard of the Slymepit. It was all very negative. But knowing better than to take Paul’s word at face value, I checked it out.

    It’s true there are a ‘few’ jerks there, and some people come in to get reinforcement for their idiotic beliefs along the lines of what they’ve been told about the Slymepit. But those people tend to get run-off pretty quickly. However, even the worst of the trolls who get run off are not any worse than the average FtB ‘faux civility culture warrior.’

    OTOH, the majority of posters, at worst, engage in fairly harmless mockery which is directed at the unworldly stench of hypocrisy they see with certain self-appointed atheist douche-bags and their group-think minions, like oolon.

    So, what became clear was that the lies told about the people who frequent ‘the pit’ are (probably) more numerous than the actual posts in the pit.

    But I don’t expect you to take my word at it. I know the power of lies often repeated until they are accepted as ‘truth.’

    Rather, I would suggest reading and lurking for a while. Look at what you’ve been told compared to the actual (not imagined) behavior of the posters. You won’t find it full of MRAs, rape-apologists, rape jokes, ‘benevolent sexism (like you find at FtB that assumes women can’t handle it and must be protected because they’re clearly too weak to fight for themselves or ignore trolls), or crap like that.

    You’ll just find a lot of men and women who are atheists and skeptics who don’t buy off on the FtB attempt to hijack skepticism/atheism with their dysfunctional pseudo-religion and dystopian belief systems on others.

    moseszd

    June 17, 2013 at 9:29 am

  29. […] If you want to know how Secular Woman works, EllenBeth Wachs can tell us: […]

  30. I often see commenters on blogs referring to ‘trolls’. Can anyone kindly point me to a definitive source as to what a troll is?

    • Troll = Someone who makes comments for no other reason than to be provocative.

      Or, if you happen to be a Pharyngulite…. Troll = A dissenter.

      kacyray

      June 18, 2013 at 6:50 am

      • Personally I think you need to expand it out a bit, and go with the more classical definition. A troll is someone who communicates something intentionally, setting out to create a public negative response. Trolls are not just commenters, they can be the original writers as well

        We also need an additional term, for people who react to trolling. I call them fish. Makes sense, right? In reality, a lot of what we think of as “trolling” is fish being fish.

        Karmkin

        June 18, 2013 at 8:25 pm

      • Karmkin said:

        A troll is someone who communicates something intentionally, setting out to create a public negative response.

        Seems like a reasonable argument. Although I would suggest that it is not just a case of “communicating something intentionally” as I expect we all do that. Seems more a case of communicating falsehoods intentionally. So trolls are those who do that, or who refuse to admit their mistakes when confronted with them.

        Although I suppose “communicating truths” could be construed as being problematic in some cases – being irrelevant to the current discussion, for example. Or constituting ad hominem attacks. As Blake said:

        A truth that’s told with bad intent,
        Beats all the lies you can invent.

        And intent is something that is not readily discernable – for truths or lies.

        Steersman

        June 18, 2013 at 9:36 pm

  31. If you want know all about atheists, Pat Robertson and his followers will be happy to explain it to you.

    If you want to know all about the pro-vaxxers, Mike “The Health Ranger” Adams and his followers will be happy to explain it to you.

    If you want to know all about liberals, Rush Limbaugh and his followers will be happy to explain it to you.

    If you want to know all about the Slymepit or Justin Vacula, PZ Myers and his followers will be happy to explain it to you.

    They’re all about equally “accurate” and none of them would like you to go see for yourself, for obvious reasons.

    EllenBeth, glad you went to see for yourself. I admire your courage and honesty in making this post.

    Mel

    June 17, 2013 at 6:11 pm

  32. EllenBeth, I have followed the drama since its inception, but have rarely commented on it. However, I have to say that the mental and physical anguish you have faced is terrible. The feeling of being stabbed by the very people one turned to for help, would bring on the “Et tu, Brute?” moment.

    One lesson perhaps we can all learn is not to be too sure of what those around us say, specially if it keeps playing to our own preconceived notions. In reality, there are really no sides in the drama, just a small subset of people who want to inject an extreme left-wing dogma into an otherwise vibrant and robust community of free-thinkers. Even those supposedly on the “wrong side” support full equality for everyone, in particular, we all support equal rights and equal opportunities for women. It is just a myth perpetuated by a few that large chunks of atheists/skeptics/humanists are some sort of mad bigots.

    Another lesson is to not assume that disagreements are harassment. There will be robust arguments about things and not everyone will (or should) take the same political or social positions. There is no party-whip, nor should there be one, to enforce a dogma. Many have worked hard to get rid of just such dogma, are dismayed to learn that there are so-called freethinkers who want to foist new ones on us.

    I hope you continue with your activism and do not get bogged down with more vile drama and invective that will surely come your way. Just ignore the nasties, they are not going away.

    H. Korban

    June 17, 2013 at 8:39 pm

  33. […] Skeptic Women, the never-ending infighting, CFI President, Dave Silverman and Justin Vacula, EllenBeth Resigned from Secular Woman, The Patriarchy, My Little […]

  34. Hello Ellen Beth,

    I’m really sorry you had to go through all of this. Looks like shit. And a real failure.

    First the Adria Richard thread. And now this? I must say that your „behind the scenes” description was not an easy read. At the moment I don’t know what to think. I guess the main thing distancing me from most commenters here is that I’m not ready to believe that Stephanie is a bad person. Call it my failure or wishful thinking if you want. But she treated me decently on her blog, a complete stranger who almost for a start declared himself a fence sitter in this stupid business (capital offence for some). That’s just a personal experience, I know, but in situations like that this is what you stick to. I hope you will understand and not take it against me.

    What I do find believable is that she makes mistakes. By your description it looks like serious mistakes were made and now it’s going to end badly whatever course of action (or inaction) is chosen.

    I’ve always considered the „all of the slyme pitters are scum” trope as one of these mistakes. In the same way I read much of the stuff presented on the pit. It’s a war propaganda, generating no solutions. But it looks like nobody wants solutions. One side is having too much fun; the other seems too busy being right and wanting the world to change now. And in between real people are trapped and hurt.

    I wish you all the best, no matter on which side you are.

    Ariel

    June 18, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    • Zvan’s attitude towards the ‘pit would be almost excusable if she weren’t so active in messing with them in real life. She’s forced people to leave positions they may have done some good at, (vacula) she’s joined in or at least actively supported messing with people’s jobs in an effort to silence them, (abbie smith), and she’s actively, on multiple occasions, supported and even encouraged threats of violence against another FTB blogger who “dissented” from the SeaOrg commandments, (Justin Griffith). none of this is speculation, it’s all there in her FTB writing.

      In public, she may do a good impersonation of a decent person, but when no one’s looking the knives come out.

      It’s what you do when no one is looking that tells me what kind of person you are.

      John C. Welch

      June 18, 2013 at 8:32 pm

      • Welch, why hasn’t Laden, Benson, Zvan, Hensley, et. al. followed through with me? I feel slighted, really.

        mykeru

        June 18, 2013 at 9:25 pm

      • We didn’t want to tell you…they’ve found someone else man. Sorry.

        John C. Welch

        June 19, 2013 at 10:12 am

    • Ariel said:

      It’s a war [of] propaganda, generating no solutions. But it looks like nobody wants solutions.

      Indeed, some truth to that argument. As they say, in a war the first casuality is the Truth. Although I think your “nobody wants solutions” is overly categorical and pessimistic. However, while I’ll certainly agree that that is applicable to at least some on each “side”, it seems that that is more applicable to the FTB side as suggested by this comment (1):

      (Oh, and I find it ever so amusing that Steersman spoke of “healing the rifts”. Surely it is well known that many people on the progressive side of the rift HAVE NO INTEREST IN HEALING THE RIFTS. We want nothing to do with them. ….)

      But it seems that Stephanie Zvan’s hidden agenda – exemplified by her statement, according to EllenBeth, that “she wasn’t trying to have a dialogue but to show the slymepitters weren’t capable of acting in good faith” – was, apart from being egregiously hypocritical, not likely to be any part of a solution.

      However, I also think that there are more than a few people on each “side” who made an honest effort to resolve the issues. And which might be enough to build something further on.

      But I think there might be some benefits in asking ourselves precisely why, as you say, this “war of propaganda is generating no solutions”. There is, of course, a number of thorny issues that are not at all tractable. However, I think a large part of it is a rather low signal-to-noise ratio due in part to the proliferation and perpetuation and creation of various “falsehoods” – either by intent or carelessness, the tracking down of which is a time-consuming and difficult process. As EllenBeth’s experiences illustrate rather too well. But those experiences and her response to them suggest a way out of that swamp: “listen but verify!” And admit where we, individually or collectively, have made mistakes.

      —–
      1) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2013/06/09/splitting-the-difference-between-reality-and-mythology/#comment-112287”;

      Steersman

      June 18, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      • Freethought Blogs, Secular Women, Skepchick (et.al) live a breath manufactured controversy, vilified “Witches of the Week” and enemies conspiring with the dust bunnies under their bed. That isn’t just a by-product of their own psychopathology. That is a *business model*. It’s how they get attention, hits, coerce know-nothings into supporting them, rally the troops and use propaganda of impending raping and pillaging to give some illusion of cohesion to a bunch of people who are, to a person, just out for themselves.

        They want to “heal the rift” as much as and arms dealer wants world peace.

        mykeru

        June 19, 2013 at 7:08 am

      • Steersman:

        But it seems that Stephanie Zvan’s hidden agenda – exemplified by her statement, according to EllenBeth, that “she wasn’t trying to have a dialogue but to show the slymepitters weren’t capable of acting in good faith” – was, apart from being egregiously hypocritical, not likely to be any part of a solution.


        My impression was that it was mutual and neither side treated the dialogue as a chance for much else than gathering some good PR for themselves. Hence my pessimism. As for the pitters’ approach, I’m inclined to treat this comment (from the pit) by Submariner typical:

        I don’t think anything will be resolved as a result of this dialogue, but it’s important to be seen by the rest of the atheosphere as exactly NOT what the FC(n) and FfTB folks describe us as.

        I’m reluctant to call it “hypocrisy” though, unless accompanied by declarations that your real aims are different. I don’t remember many declarations of this kind from neither side. On the contrary, I remember Stephanie saying clearly a couple of times that ‘healing the rift’ is not what she expects to accomplish and that she treats the dialogue rather as an opportunity to reach and influence the onlookers. Her opinions about the pit were also well known. Sorry Steersman, but the statement you quote is not a surprise to me, nor it was something really hidden. That’s not what was unexpected in Ellen Beth’s account. The unexpected and troubling part (for me at least) is the one about concrete situations and human relations amidst all of this.

        As for the rest, I agree: it was not likely to be any part of a solution. I can also only applaud what you say about listening and verifying, and especially about admitting mistakes, both individually and collectively. In particular, demonizing someone is rarely (if ever) a good idea. But I apply it to both sides, not just to you. I don’t believe you are like that; but I think also that Stephanie is a far better person than your side has been saying.

        Ariel

        June 19, 2013 at 9:13 am

        • My impression was that it was mutual and neither side treated the dialogue as a chance for much else than gathering some good PR for themselves. Hence my pessimism.

          I was one of the participants in the dialogue, and your description of my/our motivations does not in any way resemble my actual motivations. My own contribution stated clearly and honestly, right up front, what my actual concerns and motivations were and are (and have been since the beginning): http://atheistskepticdialogue.com/2013/04/08/strand-1-statement-2-by-thaumus-themelios/

          The ‘many approaches’ approach supports and encourages multiple ways of pursuing activism, and I’ve argued this also. However, when you state that none are complete, but together they are strong, this omits mentioning a critically important caveat: Some ways can also be misguided and actually harmful. History is littered with tragic examples of good intentions resulting in more harm than good. And it’s not always clear at the outset which approaches are the misguided ones and which not. There will be disagreements on this topic and it seems our current ‘rift’ is an example of this. Speaking only for myself (Thaumas) here, I do not believe we can answer the question of “How we can work together … in the real world” without each of us also asking ourselves: Where do I draw the line? Do I support everyone regardless of approach (all inclusive)? Do I go it alone (all exclusive)? Somewhere in between? And what is the basis for this decision? Each person will have their own answers, and our individual criteria for making this decision will ultimately decide “How we can work together … in the real world”, depending on how they overlap. So, in the interests of moving the dialogue along, here are my own views:
          I may not like or prefer some particular approach to activism myself, so I might not actively support it. But so long as there is no clear evidence that such activism is likely to lead to more harm than good, then I will not actively oppose it either. Diversity of approaches is generally a good thing. This is the basis of my support for ‘many approaches’.
          However, if I consider some particular approach likely to lead to more harm than good in the long term — even if it is intended to promote some cause or idea with which I agree — then I will not support it. Indeed, I may actively oppose it, especially if it involves the promulgation of potentially harmful, unsupported ideas in society. This is the basis for my skeptical and atheist activism in the first place (i.e. against theism/religion, faith-based reasoning, pseudo-science, etc.).

          For me it has nothing to do with ‘PR’, but with the health and success of the global promotion of skepticism and reason, primarily but not exclusively concerning religion. I consider these internal political conflicts based on dogmatic *secular* ideologies (e.g. certain specific brands of feminism) to be a major harm to our long term success at countering the larger dogmatic *religious* ideologies of theists. My motivations for entering the dialogue are entirely on that basis, as is everything I’ve done in opposition to the various persons involved in this overall conflict since EG.

          Many at the pit expressed doubts and sometimes even opposition to the dialogues, but you should not make the mistake of thinking that they represent everyone else at the pit, nor that we participants in the dialogue represent the pit itself, either. They do not, and we do not. As Lsuoma, the sole person who runs the slymepit.com website, himself said, “Nobody Represents the Slyme Pit. Nobody.” He meant himself as well, to be clear. One of the long-recurring problems here is people thinking in us-and-them dualistic groupings of people. Let’s put an end to that bad habit.

          Thaumas Themelios

          June 26, 2013 at 4:06 pm

      • Ariel said:

        On the contrary, I remember Stephanie saying clearly a couple of times that ‘healing the rift’ is not what she expects to accomplish and that she treats the dialogue rather as an opportunity to reach and influence the onlookers.

        Ok, I’ll concede that some on each side viewed the dialog as little more than another skirmish in “the on-going battle for the hearts and minds” of the uncommitted and of the fence-sitters. With little willingness to consider that the other “side” might have a point or two. Although if you take a close look at the dialog itself I think you’ll see that there was some substantial amount of agreement on a number of points, along with an important delineation of areas where there was significant disagreement or very different perspectives.

        Unfortunately, I think that discussion wound up covering a lot of ground, so much so that those areas of both agreement and disagreement sort of got lost in the clutter. I had recommended putting it all into a spreadsheet – and had even created a preliminary version – as a method of keeping track of all of that, but the wheels kind of came off – for one reason or another – before there was a chance to develop the idea or see if it would work.

        The unexpected and troubling part (for me at least) is the one about concrete situations and human relations amidst all of this.

        Indeed. Some rather problematic and troubling levels of acrimony and vituperation and egregious propaganda plus a lot of cheap shots and hitting below the belt from both sides. Although most of the photoshops are, of course, from “our” side with some more credible or justifiable than others – those of me, of course, being beyond the pale [ ;-) ].

        … I think also that Stephanie is a far better person than your side has been saying.

        Probably, at least in comparison to the worst of what “our” side as been saying. Although I should emphasize that “our” side is hardly in full agreement on much of anything – particularly on the supposed perfidy of those on the “other” side – and that portraying us all that way might be more part of the problem than of the solution. But whether she can surmount what I at least think is a rather dogmatic perspective on a number of points – notably that “all of the slymepitters are scum” – remains to be seen.

        Steersman

        June 19, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      • Mykeru said:

        They want to “heal the rift” as much as and arms dealer wants world peace.

        Good analogy, although I don’t think it holds all that much water in this case. While the actual events might fit or correspond to the narrative you’ve created, those events seem also to correspond to the more charitable narrative that those groups are just as certain about the “truth” of their beliefs as you or I are about ours. Or one somewhat or extensively influenced by what the sociobiologist Robert Trivers called Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life – “fooling ourselves to more easily fool others”. So as much as your narrative may look like the whole story, and may even be partly true in some cases and for some people to some extent, I think I’ll stick with a more charitable interpretation – at least until more evidence is forthcoming.

        Steersman

        June 19, 2013 at 11:59 pm

  35. EllenBeth,

    Sorry to see someone go through this. Good that the veil has finally been lifted though, isn’t it?

    One thing that should be clear now, particularly with Zvan’s first comment… “Slime talking points” is an ad hom device used to immediately de-legitimize any dissenting dialogue. Any time you hear someone use that phrase, you know they have nothing left.

    kacyray

    June 18, 2013 at 10:00 pm

  36. A couple of things that seem self evident, 1st Ellen-Beth, your a lot stronger than you were before. 2nd i think it’s great your standing up to these horrible people. IMO your whole demeanor & actions have been beyond reproach (unlike some), not only are you true to yourself your setting an example for some of the rest of us (myself included) Thankyou.

    Theo Ffensivatheist

    June 18, 2013 at 11:05 pm

  37. […] now, some of you have probably seen EllenBeth’s long post about why she left Secular Woman. It’s disturbingly full of what I will call factual […]

  38. […] now you’ve probably read EllenBeth Wach’s post about why she left Secular Woman, including a claim she made that there was a campaign to get Ron Lindsay fired from his position as […]

  39. Thank you for posting this and your other recent experiences around these issues, EllenBeth. It can be very difficult (in many various ways), and it takes great courage in the face of strong social pressures. But I believe that these issues are critical and sorely need to be hashed out/worked through if we are to have any chance of making real, long-term, positive change in the world as a greater community of individuals. *Somebody* has to do it, unfortunately. I deeply appreciate your inner strength and honesty in speaking out. Thank you so much! Take care, and cheers! :-)

    Thaumas Themelios

    June 26, 2013 at 1:57 pm

  40. […] The breakneck pace for my advocacy had consequences. It was not sustainable. I don’t want to discourage any of my brothers and sisters from speaking out, but I was over-the-top (with no regrets). I brought several dozen issues to the media, not just one. Most were corrected immediately, despite the endless exhaustion of internal channels. I will never be able to explain fully why I can’t participate anymore, but I’ve attempted to explain in an extremely watered-down version a few weeks back at Ellenbeth Wach‘s. […]

    Why the move?

    July 9, 2013 at 6:33 pm

  41. […] han visto su identidad revelada públicamente, y otras tantas han conseguido que su reputación sea asaltada en línea. Muchas han sido puestas en listas negras y etiquetadas como “abusadoras” y […]

  42. Reblogged this on Thunderf00t and commented:
    Ellen Beth Wach experiences largely mirror my own.

    The ‘behind the scenes FTB/ skepchick atheist’ community mired in personality politics of narcissists.

    The strange thing, going back a year or two, they thought they were going to be hurting me and socially punishing me by ‘driving me from the community and having me forever be a pariah’.- Ed Brayton, owner freethoughtblogs.

    Within the little microcosm of FTB this was a devastating punishment, however in reality it was more like being thrown out of WBC because you told Fred Phelp he was full of it!

    I was, and still am, just so glad that I am not longer mired in their little cult.

    Thunderf00t

    March 28, 2014 at 5:40 am

  43. Yup, went through something similar in FTB myself. I had the temerity to suggest that we didn’t need “new rules”; to prevent sexual harassment. Instead what we needed were things like conflict resolution areas where people could get support in educating unthinking harassers, improved ability to ENFORCE the rules already in place, and maybe even entertaining educational speaks on what harassment is.

    For that, I got labeled a misogynist and a rape apologist. I and my family were threatened with “public shaming”… so I left never to return.

    The vitriol that comes out of that community is appalling.

    A culture that chooses to ATTACK rather than EDUCATE; a culture that spits venom rather than practices patience… they cannot lead anyone anywhere closer to a world where people are more understanding of each other. They preach divisiveness instead of unity under the guise that other groups “started it”, so why can’t they continue that same bad behavior.

    I find it ironic that a community that acknowledges that words can hurt would celebrate stooping to pejoratives as somehow a reasonable and productive response to any sort of disagreement. Their stance is merely a shell-game, one designed to obfuscate the fact that they are simply mean, arrogant people who not only find it impossible to admit they could be wrong on a topic; they also find it impossible to kick the habit of acting horribly towards their fellow man.

    They enjoy being mean to people.

    This is worse than the unthinking behavior of conference goers making a joke, because intent is EVERYTHING. Ignorance can be forgiven because the cure is education.

    But inflicting intentional harm with PRIDE? This is disgusting behavior that has no place in a civilized society.

    These are not friends to any cause. They are an infection on any community they belong to, because they attack the very bonds a community should have in order to thrive. Animosity is the salt they spread on the very field we hope to grow equality and community in, and they are the salt miners.

    Kudos to you Ellen Beth. I can tell I may not agree with every point you make, but I certainly agree with your response to this tripe.

    tomokun

    March 28, 2014 at 10:35 am

  44. Good grief. What a bunch of drama-addicted attention-seeking children. Is all of this taking place in a middle school gymnasium somewhere?

    TheOnlyAdultInTheRoom

    March 28, 2014 at 11:50 am

  45. It’s called a “circlejerk”, and you should always jerk in the same direction. NEVER jerk in the opposite direction of the rest or you will have to feel the wrath! In any case, this is typical freethoughtsblog.. You are free to have any thoughts you want, as long as those thoughts are exactly the same as theirs.. yeah, circlejerk 101..

    phoenixz

    March 28, 2014 at 3:34 pm

  46. The moral of the story: stay away from pharyngula

    ladyatheist

    March 30, 2014 at 1:28 pm


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