Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

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Jim Habegger

Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#1

Post by Jim Habegger » Sat Jun 08, 2013 2:08 am

Suggestions for research:
1. Spend a few hours in research on bullying issues.
2. Compare bullying behaviors with the behavior that is popular in The Undead Thread.

The question here is not whether any harm is actually being done to the targets in this case. The question is whether endorsing and promoting bullying *behavior*, any time, anywhere, helps perpetuate harmful bullying.

Another thing to consider is that bullying is harmful not only to the targets, but also to the perpetrators and spectators, and that might apply whether there is any harm to the targets or not.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#2

Post by Metalogic42 » Sat Jun 08, 2013 2:19 am

Does the Undead Thread promote bullying?
No.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#3

Post by Lsuoma » Sat Jun 08, 2013 5:45 am

No.

Jim Habegger

Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#4

Post by Jim Habegger » Sat Jun 08, 2013 6:39 pm

I'm leaning towards "yes."

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#5

Post by Metalogic42 » Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:02 pm

Jim Habegger wrote:I'm leaning towards "yes."
viewtopic.php?f=28&t=322#p97260

Jim Habegger

Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#6

Post by Jim Habegger » Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:59 pm

It might be more fair to outline my reasoning, to make it easier to refute my proposition.

1. Hypothesis: The primary purpose of the thread, and one of its most popular activities, is to mock some specific people. That, and some of the other most popular behaviors in the thread, are identical to some of the behaviors that are part of the kinds of bullying that have become notorious as social issues.

2. Hypothesis: The popularity of bullying behaviors in that thread reinforces bullying habits, and attitudes that help perpetuate bullying, in people who participate in it or enjoy watching it.

3. Hypothesis: People carry those reinforced habits and attitudes with them into every part of their lives, increasing their participation in bullying, and reinforcing those habits and attitudes in others.

4. Hypothesis: Apart from the effect on the rest of society, those bullying habits and attitudes are harmful in themselves, to the participants and to the spectators.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#7

Post by Badger3k » Sat Jun 08, 2013 8:23 pm

Jim Habegger wrote:It might be more fair to outline my reasoning, to make it easier to refute my proposition.

1. Hypothesis: The primary purpose of the thread, and one of its most popular activities, is to mock some specific people. That, and some of the other most popular behaviors in the thread, are identical to some of the behaviors that are part of the kinds of bullying that have become notorious as social issues.

2. Hypothesis: The popularity of bullying behaviors in that thread reinforces bullying habits, and attitudes that help perpetuate bullying, in people who participate in it or enjoy watching it.

3. Hypothesis: People carry those reinforced habits and attitudes with them into every part of their lives, increasing their participation in bullying, and reinforcing those habits and attitudes in others.

4. Hypothesis: Apart from the effect on the rest of society, those bullying habits and attitudes are harmful in themselves, to the participants and to the spectators.
1. I take it then that comedians are bullies as well? Is the Daily Show a haven for bullying? I'd think the context, and the actual, you know, directing it to the target, might make this hypothesis a negative. Can you bully someone who doesn't know it is happening?

2. Good luck proving that. There may be studies done on that, but without access to scholarly journals, I am unable to look it up. You also need to define your terms. What exactly are "bullying behaviors"? If I call you an idiot, is that bullying? If I give out your name and address, and email, and talk to your friends and try to convince them that you are scum, does that count as bullying? Does telling a veteran with PTSD that you want him to die count? How about tracking down the real name of someone, then contacting their place of employment and try to get them fired? How about trying to get somebody fired from their job for saying something that you disagree with? Or trying to get people banned from conferences (actively trying, by writing to the organizers)? What about writing a program that gets the twitter accounts of people you don't like suspended, merely because they disagree with you? You know, maybe you have a point...

3. So far, I haven't seen any evidence of that. Again, might be a bit hard to investigate. I've noticed no change in my behavior (and as I teach high school, it would be immediately noticeable). Anecdotal, to be sure, but we go with what we have.

4. You first need to establish that such behaviors are harmful, especially if they go nowhere beyond this thread (or, say, a blogging network). Probably hard to investigate or prove one way or another.

Overall, given the nature of the forum, and online activities in general, these aren't easily investigated hypothesis. Plus, they seem to all rely on the first point, so if anything, you need to start by proving the first, then work from there.

Just a few thoughts.

Jim Habegger

Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#8

Post by Jim Habegger » Sat Jun 08, 2013 8:51 pm

Badger, I'm not going to try to prove it. I'll leave it to each person to investigate for himself.

In view of your response to #2, I want to clarify that I see some equally contemptible and harmful behavior in the blogs of some of the people associated with the PZ faction.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#9

Post by Metalogic42 » Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:46 pm

Jim Habegger wrote:1. Hypothesis: The primary purpose of the thread, and one of its most popular activities, is to mock some specific people. That, and some of the other most popular behaviors in the thread, are identical to some of the behaviors that are part of the kinds of bullying that have become notorious as social issues.
The primary purpose is to document the lies, hypocrisy, and general bad behavior of certain individuals. While it's true that these individuals are sometimes "mocked", it's generally only done in the context of parody or satire. It should also be noted that the individuals in question are public figures, which makes all the difference in the world. It should also also be noted that oftentimes, the individuals in question actively look for mentions of their names here, on Twitter, and elsewhere. It should also^3 be noted that when an actual instance of something that could be considered bullying/harassment/a threat happens (for example, the Jerry Conlon acid tweet), most of the pit condemns it.

But, if you think bullying happens on the pit, fucking link to it.
2. Hypothesis: The popularity of bullying behaviors in that thread reinforces bullying habits, and attitudes that help perpetuate bullying, in people who participate in it or enjoy watching it.


Since they're not bullying behaviors, this is irrelevant.
3. Hypothesis: People carry those reinforced habits and attitudes with them into every part of their lives, increasing their participation in bullying, and reinforcing those habits and attitudes in others.
Since bullying habits aren't being reinforced (since they're not bullying habits in the first place), this is irrelevant.
4. Hypothesis: Apart from the effect on the rest of society, those bullying habits and attitudes are harmful in themselves, to the participants and to the spectators.
Ditto.
Badger, I'm not going to try to prove it. I'll leave it to each person to investigate for himself.
Then why are you throwing around hypotheses like mad? Anyone can do that. Watch:

Hypothesis: the moon is made of cheese.

Hypothesis: Jim Habegger is a virgin.

Hypothesis: I'm Batman.

I'm not going to try to prove any of these. I'll leave it to each person to investigate for himself.

(Do you see how useless this is?)

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#10

Post by Badger3k » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:58 pm

Metalogic - You're Batman? But, you are also Skep Tickle, who is also Franc, who is also apparently Ophelia...Whoa!

...

Dude, did you ever, like, you know, look at your hand?

seriously, though:

Yeah, the whole, I'm not going to prove it sounds a lot like what theists say when talking about the ideas of what god(s) they worship are like. If you're just taking a piss, then ok, but if you want to try and suggest - or insinuate - something, if you want to try out ideas or seek some kind of dialogue or debate, then you have to stand up for what you propose. Guest named Jim, why not register first, then put forth your evidence that supports your contentions. I'd say the majority of people here don't agree with your first hypothesis, and without that, your whole house of cards collapses.

If, as I suggested in the main thread, someone here had mind control capability and was forcing Ophie and the rest of the insecure/egomaniacs at FftB - the ones who frequently do vanity searches to find out what people are saying about them - to come here, forcing them to listen, or if the posters here were repeating what is said here on their own blogs, then you might have a point. If one of us did what Ophie did, and try to get Skep hurt in real life, by trying to talk to people she knows, and who know her, and convince them that she is evil, then you might have a point. If we did what Svan, or Laden, or PZ, or any of the wankers who comment at those sites, or any of the A+ psychotics, routinely do - try to take their internet squabbles into meatspace, you might have a point. But, I have to agree with the others who have already said it - "No, there isn't bullying here" - unless you count the infighting that sometimes goes on here, between people who post here. Maybe that might qualify, depending on the definition used.

Just noticed, once again I don't show up as a registered user posting. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. All on the same browser on my desktop at home. Odd.

Jim Habegger

Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#11

Post by Jim Habegger » Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:57 am

My biggest problem with what I did, starting this thread, is that it's too much like a drive-by smear attack. I insinuate that The Undead Thread is promoting bullying, without providing any substantiation for anyone to refute. I don't know what to do to remedy that, other than to say that there's nothing more behind my proposition than what I said in post #6.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#12

Post by Metalogic42 » Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:39 am

Jim Habegger wrote:My biggest problem with what I did, starting this thread, is that it's too much like a drive-by smear attack. I insinuate that The Undead Thread is promoting bullying, without providing any substantiation for anyone to refute. I don't know what to do to remedy that, other than to say that there's nothing more behind my proposition than what I said in post #6.
You could either provide substantiation for people to refute, or stop hypothesizing out of your ass.

Jim Habegger

Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#13

Post by Jim Habegger » Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:02 am

Metalogic, your second option is based on a false premise, but in any case I'm not planning to do any more hypothesizing.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#14

Post by Metalogic42 » Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:06 am

but in any case I'm not planning to do any more hypothesizing.
Good. We'll see how long that lasts.
your second option is based on a false premise
You didn't explain why. You didn't even mention what it was.

Couldn't even go one post.

Jim Habegger

Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#15

Post by Jim Habegger » Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:26 am

LOL!

1. I'm wasn't hypothesizing from where your second option presumes I was. That is not a hypothesis, it's a report of my direct experience. You might contend that I'm lying, or that I'm mislabeling my anatomy, or that I'm deluded about where my thoughts are coming from.

2. Even if your premise were true, it would not invalidate what I said. My statement "I'm not planning to do any more hypothesizing" *followed* my statement that your second option was based on a false premise.

Your turn.

Jim Habegger

Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#16

Post by Jim Habegger » Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:29 am

Feel free to take a cheap stab at my typo. Plus I forgot to finish the thought in #1. None of those things you might contend would be hypothesizing.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#17

Post by LMU » Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:27 am

Jim Habegger wrote:LOL!

1. I'm wasn't hypothesizing from where your second option presumes I was. That is not a hypothesis, it's a report of my direct experience. You might contend that I'm lying, or that I'm mislabeling my anatomy, or that I'm deluded about where my thoughts are coming from.

2. Even if your premise were true, it would not invalidate what I said. My statement "I'm not planning to do any more hypothesizing" *followed* my statement that your second option was based on a false premise.

Your turn.
:lol: Partial paraphrase: "I was not hypothesizing out of my ass. That's not where hypotheses come from!" Thanks :)

To the topic: Bullying or not, there have been people who are unhappy with the tone or language used at the Slymepit. Some of those people have blogs at the Skeptic Ink network (Notung and Damion are two such people IIRC). Some people have left the SP (or refused to be associated with it in the first place) for this or related reasons, it isn't for everyone.

If the SP is bullying, then do you agree that similar behaviors of people at FTB/A+/etc is also bullying? (Checking for consistency.)

Jim Habegger

Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#18

Post by Jim Habegger » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:18 am

LMU wrote:If the SP is bullying, then do you agree that similar behaviors of people at FTB/A+/etc is also bullying? (Checking for consistency.)
Agreed. Absolutely. In fact I haven't seen anything here that comes close to the filth I've seen streaming out of Pharyingula.

To clarify a point: It's an open question to me whether anything that's happening in the idle gossip thread (aka The Undead Thread), is actually bullying anyone. What I was hypothesizing (before I stopped hypothesizing), was that some behaviors that are popular in that thread are the same behaviors that make bullying harmful, and that what's happening in that thread reinforces habits and attitudes that help perpetuate bullying.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#19

Post by Skep tickle » Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:56 am

Jim Habegger, have you run across any of the periodic rounds of discussion in the main thread here about whether or not people should be posting what I'd call gratuitous attacks on people's personal characteristics? (rather than their words and/or actions)

I am bothered by the personal attacks, but there are people who defend such things, believe it or not, in a thoughtful manner.

If you're interested we can probably help point you to some of these (which have happened over and over), perhaps to the most recent round or two.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#20

Post by Aneris » Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:00 am

@Jim. I find it legimate to "JAQ off". Even though I see what you did there. That's due the way language works. Statements are often hidden in questions, which makes it easier to get way with "I'm just asking". Nonetheless, the whole skeptical idea is to ask question.

The main thread is an ongoing stream-of-conciousness meta commentary on what is going on. It is pretty unqiue in the sense that it is the meta comment above all comment sections. The usual accusation is that "The Slymepit" does something. Our dear opponents have not provided a coherent case on how a forum does anything and I am not playing stupid. For sure, the forum members could conspire and orchestrate actions. In that sense, it would be legitimate to claim that "the Slymepit" does something, like a team. But we do not orchestrate anything.

The bottom-up nature of the forum allows for pooling of information, observations, coining of catchphrases, sharing of analysis and so forth. In that sense, it empowers its users. It is a modern and successful community structure.

Provided that a regular commenter produces an outragous video -- in which sense are other users responsible? Would they be responsible when the regular commenter discusses his plans beforhand? And let's say a few voice concern, but the user goes ahead anyway?

Another question is about the "harassment" twitter accounts. I genuinely don't know who they are. If they ever have outed themselves as regulars of this forum, I haven't seen it. But once again, what do I have to do with what they they do elsewhere? I might criticise them when they go too far, but that is about it (and if they really go too far, I am confident that our only admin Lsuoma won't tolerate it, he banned an underage for legal reasons, too).

While I am it, how come that our dear opponents haven't noticed that there is also a humongous YouTube "community" (which isn't monolithic of course), often very unhinged, full of known trolls and people who almost certainly have no idea about various forms of feminism. Justicar, Thunderf00t, C0nc0rdance, Amazing Atheist and so forth have larger fanbases too. But they don't have a convenient supervillainous name like "Slymepit", that's why our dear opponents are blaming us for everything. And from YouTube there is an overlap into "darker waters" where people have an ongoing conflict with some feminists, for example. Not to mention the theistic Trolls of various kinds that are also around, which are completely invisible and unaccounted for.

TL;DR
Our dear opponents, PZ Myers, Rebecca Watson, Ophelia Benson, Stephanie Zvan and their allies, sycophants and commentariat are imbecibles that quite apparently have never thought through this. They are against us mostly for little vain reasons, or at least personal reasons. We don't like them and we ridicule them. It has zero to do with actual viewpoints (or if so, greatly exaggerated).

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#21

Post by Skep tickle » Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:13 pm

Aneris wrote:...

TL;DR
Our dear opponents, PZ Myers, Rebecca Watson, Ophelia Benson, Stephanie Zvan and their allies, sycophants and commentariat are imbecibles that quite apparently have never thought through this. They are against us mostly for little vain reasons, or at least personal reasons. We don't like them and we ridicule them. It has zero to do with actual viewpoints (or if so, greatly exaggerated).
I quite agree with Aneris except in her wording in this last bit.

I don't think they're "imbeciles" (and know that Aneris may not have used that word literally).

I think many of them believe quite firmly that they're in the right; some are also be influenced by gaining & maintaining what passes for power & income & bennies* in the A/S blogosphere and conference circuit, and others have bought into the vilification of those who disagree without having really investigated the matter.

While it's possible we might not like them, very few of us have met very few of them, so like or dislike really IMO isn't the issue. We're going on what they write & say, the claims they make but wouldn't be able to support if they allowed questioning, basically their overall behavior where it is incompatible with skepticism & with fairness and/or equality.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#22

Post by Skep tickle » Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:15 pm

Oh yeah, the asterisk: *bennies = benefits, like having airfare and registration paid for, for conferences. Not to mention having the podium.

Jim Habegger

Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#23

Post by Jim Habegger » Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:22 pm

I like the reception I'm getting here, and the responses, very much.

I'd rather not use this thread to discuss anything but the question in the title, so some of my responses to the above posts will be in my peanut gallery thread, later.

In response to the question of whether The Undead Thread is promoting bullying, I've seen people arguing that it can't be bullying, because the mocking, maligning and defaming is not happening in front of the people being mocked, maligned and defamed.

It may or may not be anyone's *intention*, in posting in The Undead Thread, for what they say to be spread all over the Internet, but is anyone seriously contending that it doesn't happen? Is anyone seriously denying that a lot of the mocking, maligning and defaming there will end up in the face of the people being mocked, maligned and defamed, whether they look for it or not?

I'm not denying that they look for it, but that's irrelevant. The question is whether it will continually end up in their faces, even if they don't look for it.

I'm not saying that everyone who participates in that thread shares responsibility for any harm it does, or that it's wrong for anyone to participate in it. That's an open question for me.

In view of the responses above, now I'm leaning towards "no" in answer to my question. If the most popular behaviors in that thread were mocking, maligning and defaming specific people, and if that behavior went unchallenged in that thread, then I might say that the thread is promoting bullying. Now, I would only say that it looks to me like some of what's happening in that thread promotes bullying. In any case, most of it looks like idle gossip to me.

I see that there might be a question here about why I'm picking on the Slymepit.

I didn't originally come here to denounce anything. I originally came here to try to learn more about people's grievances against the allegedly feminist faction associated with FtB. Then when I saw what looked to me like people promoting bullying, I decided to try speaking out against it. That's part of my efforts to learn to help reduce and counteract bullying.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#24

Post by Matt Cavanaugh » Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:00 pm

Jim's proposition stumbles right out of the gate with his "Hypothesis #1". As Metalogic42 points out, the 'mocking' is in the form of satire & humorous lampooning. Further, what I see here are not ad hominen attacks, rather targeted directly at specific comments, actions, and hypocrisies. Finally, the fact that ridicule is sometimes used as a tactic in bullying does not make all ridicule bullying.

I, for one, do hope that the FtB'ers and the general community see the satire posted here. The FtB'ers are anti-social troublemakers who exhibit disruptive, borderline behaviors. They should be called out as such, and their antics no longer tolerated.

I'd be curious as to whether Jim is also posting over at FtB, taking its bloggers & commentators to task for their endless slander of Pitters as women-haters, and sundry false accusations.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#25

Post by Skep tickle » Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:31 pm

There's some very pointed satire (esp in many of the photoshops, for example in the past day or so in riffs off of "The Happy Atheist" book covers). That stuff's really good - so often right "on target" at pointing out a behavior & often hypocrisy.

There are also what seem like gratuitous insults (esp commentary on body or looks, or sexualization without a specific point to make).

There's a difference. IMO the latter accomplishes nothing other than insulting and denigrating people. But, as I told Jim up above, there are people who can and do argue in support of it (when this has come up on multiple occasions in the past, in the main thread), and obviously each person posting has control over his or her content & no-one else's (save rarely when Lsuoma edits something for potential legal ramifications).

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#26

Post by Badger3k » Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:38 pm

Jim Habegger wrote: I'm not denying that they look for it, but that's irrelevant. The question is whether it will continually end up in their faces, even if they don't look for it.
No, that is completely relevant. That's the whole fricking point. Considering the amount of banning and blocking they do, they continually browse here, or respond to "good intentioned" people telling then what people say here. Sorry, that is idiotic. When you ban harmless comments, such as "you might want to relax", yet let the vile comments of the regulars (their "friends" or supporters) stand - sorry, you get no sympathy.

Furthermore, they use these examples, some (well, many of them) twisted beyond belief into major issues, to drive traffic to their sites. Look at the comments on these kind of posts (the "poor me, pity party" posts) as opposed to others. There is no comparison. They are trying to make a living off the internet and have chosen the Fox news/Jerry Springer strategy. The hyperbole is astounding (comparing an internet comment to acid being thrown in someone's face - wtf?)

As for whether they actually feel bullied....I suspect not. Watson shows no signs at all, and her smirks and tells point out that she isn't bothered at all. She eats up the attention. Ophelia...a bit tougher, but as she's been caught in so many lies, I don't think we can take anything she says as reflective of reality, without a lot of confirming evidence. The others...about the same. It's hard to appear to be bullied when you are laughing your way to the bank.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#27

Post by Skep tickle » Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:39 pm

Matt Cavanaugh wrote:Jim's proposition stumbles right out of the gate with his "Hypothesis #1". As Metalogic42 points out, the 'mocking' is in the form of satire & humorous lampooning. Further, what I see here are not ad hominen attacks, rather targeted directly at specific comments, actions, and hypocrisies. Finally, the fact that ridicule is sometimes used as a tactic in bullying does not make all ridicule bullying.

I, for one, do hope that the FtB'ers and the general community see the satire posted here. The FtB'ers are anti-social troublemakers who exhibit disruptive, borderline behaviors. They should be called out as such, and their antics no longer tolerated.

I'd be curious as to whether Jim is also posting over at FtB, taking its bloggers & commentators to task for their endless slander of Pitters as women-haters, and sundry false accusations.
As others have mentioned before at this site: here the gratuitous insults (as I call them) are against the person's appearance and may be unpleasant and uncomfortable and embarrassing for the person to see or know about, but the insults that get tagged at FtB to dissenters are (inaccurate)descriptions of their (our) character or behavior as individuals (and as a group) which, if any stuck, could have potentially significant ramifications on jobs, etc. For example, it's pretty common for them to call people "misgynist", "rape-enabler", and/or "harasser", plus of course "MRA" and/or "anti-feminist". Justin Vacula has been accused of stalking. I was (believe it or not) likened to Ted Bundy in one comment and to a serial killer in a blogpost over there.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#28

Post by Badger3k » Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:41 pm

Matt Cavanaugh wrote:Jim's proposition stumbles right out of the gate with his "Hypothesis #1". As Metalogic42 points out, the 'mocking' is in the form of satire & humorous lampooning. Further, what I see here are not ad hominen attacks, rather targeted directly at specific comments, actions, and hypocrisies. Finally, the fact that ridicule is sometimes used as a tactic in bullying does not make all ridicule bullying.

I, for one, do hope that the FtB'ers and the general community see the satire posted here. The FtB'ers are anti-social troublemakers who exhibit disruptive, borderline behaviors. They should be called out as such, and their antics no longer tolerated.

I'd be curious as to whether Jim is also posting over at FtB, taking its bloggers & commentators to task for their endless slander of Pitters as women-haters, and sundry false accusations.
Rape apologists, rape supporters, MRAs; PUAs, terrorists, mass murderers...just a sample. I know that if these things are read in England, they could end up prosecuted under the rather extreme libel laws there.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#29

Post by Skep tickle » Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:45 pm

I forgot about terrorists, mass murderers - yep. In one of the more specific iterations, PZ likened Pitters/MRAs/etc to Marc Lepine, who shot 28 people, killing 14 of them.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#30

Post by Skep tickle » Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:03 pm

jim habegger, uberfeminist has a bunch of posts about FtB vilification of others, the stuff Matt Cavanaugh and I mentioned above.

See, for example, these pages (and other pages linked within, or at the sidebar on the right at UF's blog):

http://uberfeminist.blogspot.com/2013/0 ... sment.html

http://uberfeminist.blogspot.com/2013/0 ... blogs.html

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#31

Post by Matt Cavanaugh » Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:14 am

Skep tickle wrote:As others have mentioned before at this site: here the gratuitous insults (as I call them) are against the person's appearance and may be unpleasant and uncomfortable and embarrassing for the person to see or know about, but the insults that get tagged at FtB to dissenters are (inaccurate)descriptions of their (our) character or behavior as individuals (and as a group)
Admittedly, I don't keep up on all the traffic on the Undead Thread or the Baboulie Chat, so probably miss plenty. FTR, I recently questioned the usefulness of making fun of the physical appearance of a certain nekkid FtB'er, and was myself questioned for satirizing the bio of a gen-fem blogger. This sort of disagreement is fine. In general, I favor wide latitudes for commenting.

What I'm hearing expressed on this thread is:
1) The majority of Slymepit ridicule directed at the FtB'ers is considered legitimate satire;
2) A portion of it may be puerile or mean-spirited, but still permitted as free expression of speech;
3) Whether a particular comment or photo is deemed legitimate or gratuitous is largely a matter of taste, and no hard demarcation can be established;
4) Even the 'worst' of the ridicule here does not qualify as 'stalking', rape- or death threats, etc. as is claimed by the FtB'ers;
5) Even the worst of the ridicule here pales in comparison to the vicious, slanderous attacks on Slymepitters (both individually and collectively) found at FtB;
6) Given all this: Is it counter-productive for us to engage in this sort of ridicule? Does stooping to their level marginalize us in the eyes of the general community? Is the ongoing pissing match worth teh lulz, or a wasteful distraction? And, if so, what principles or rules of engagement ought we employ?


If this last point is the purpose behind Jim opening this discussion, then it's a valid query that should be explored. (Though presuming we were all motivated by empowerment issues was probably not the best way to get the ball rolling.) And I am pleased to see that Jim has also addressed FtB bad behavior at his blog.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#32

Post by jimhabegger » Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:06 pm

Matt,

Standing applause.

I wish I'd said that.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#33

Post by jimhabegger » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:21 pm

I just realized that there's nothing unique, or even uncommon, in the behavior I'm denouncing in The Undead Thread. It's exactly what I've denounced in every other social forum I've ever seen on the Internet: stigmatizing some group or category of people, and nurturing antipathy against them, across some ideological divide.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#34

Post by jimhabegger » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:25 pm

What's uncommon is doing it so openly and blatantly, and being so proud of it.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#35

Post by Badger3k » Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:27 pm

jimhabegger wrote:What's uncommon is doing it so openly and blatantly, and being so proud of it.
Well, glad to see you're a consistent tone troll. Do you have any reason for posting other than to make yourself feel superior to us poor benighted peons?

Like the whole "I'm agnostic since I'm not arrogant enough to be an atheist". Pretty fucking pathetic. Sorry we can't all be ashamed of mocking the hypocritical morons and socially maladjusted morons at some sites who are trying to subvert several different movements to a toxic social dogma.

Concerned troll is concerned.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#36

Post by jimhabegger » Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:39 pm

Badger3k wrote:Do you have any reason for posting other than to make yourself feel superior ...?
Yes.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#37

Post by Matt Cavanaugh » Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:58 pm

jimhabegger wrote:I just realized that there's nothing unique, or even uncommon, in the behavior I'm denouncing ... stigmatizing some group or category of people, and nurturing antipathy against them, across some ideological divide.
Please refer back to my point 1) above: the majority of material here is considered legitimate satire on hypocrisy, lies, anti-social behavior, and irrational positions.

While some may engage in the ridicule just to amuse themselves, it is also important to expose & publicly condemn such behavior. You have done the same on your blog, though eschewing satire for another style.

If you take issue with specific posts on the Undead Thread, I suggest you enumerate them.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#38

Post by jimhabegger » Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:41 am

Matt, I'm in the process of reversing my position. I'm seeing The Undead Thread in a much more favorable light now.

In every social forum I've ever seen on the Internet, there is at least one category or group of people that is a popular target of stigmatizing, and that stigmatizing is systematically ignored, denied, or excused by most or all of the most frequent posters. The Undead Thread is the first forum I've seen where the stigmatizing is *not* denied, and does *not* go unchallenged by the most frequent posters, which possibly makes it the *least* poisonous forum I've ever seen.

I'll post later in my peanut gallery thread, on the subject of publicly condemning harmful behavior.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#39

Post by jimhabegger » Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:46 am

Matt, I want to add, in relation to your point 6), that for me this is not only a practical issue, but also a moral issue.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#40

Post by Matt Cavanaugh » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:56 am

Stigmatize: to characterize or describe in censure or condemnation.

Yup.

A few things to remember about the A-plussers. They:
* Are a tiny, fringe group who falsely claim to speak for the majority;
* Espouse a radical ideology incompatible with skepticism and rational thought;
* Vow to compel everyone to accept said ideology without debate;
* Treat all dissenters as heretics, to be silenced by whatever means available;
* Are infantile, tantrum-thowing, attention-seekers.

Therefore:
* Appeasing them is futile, as they will either move the goal posts, or fabricate new, spurious grievances;
* Engaging them in rational dialog is pointless, as they are by temperament irrational;
* Addressing them politely is a waste, as they are caustic, short-tempered, thin-skinned, foul-mouthed brats, prone to rabid outbursts of rage;
* Permitting them to participate in the community would prove ruinous, as their sole objective is to hijack the movement to promote their insane ideology and to nourish their psychological disorders.

That's not bullying; it's refusing to tolerate unacceptable behavior. Nor is this slow-pitch softball, so I'm less concerned about avoiding hurt feelings, than finding effective tactics for thwarting this lot's corrosive effect.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#41

Post by jimhabegger » Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:33 pm

I think I see more clearly now what I'm trying to do, when I speak out against some behavior that I see as harmful, and popular in a group that I'm associating with, so I'll try again here, with that in mind.

The behaviors that I want to point to as harmful here, are depreciating the personality, character and motives of other people, and projecting the faults of some members of a group or category of people onto everyone in it. The reason I'm speaking out against those behaviors here is because it looks to me like they're popular here. I'm speaking out to say that in my view those behaviors are wrong, and nothing can make them right.

To put that in perspective, I also want to say that this is the first social forum I've seen on the Internet where those behaviors are not denied, and do not go unchallenged by any of the insiders, which possibly makes it the least harmful one of all.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#42

Post by Aneris » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:36 pm

jimhabegger wrote:I think I see more clearly now what I'm trying to do, when I speak out against some behavior that I see as harmful, and popular in a group that I'm associating with, so I'll try again here, with that in mind.

The behaviors that I want to point to as harmful here, are depreciating the personality, character and motives of other people, and projecting the faults of some members of a group or category of people onto everyone in it. The reason I'm speaking out against those behaviors here is because it looks to me like they're popular here. I'm speaking out to say that in my view those behaviors are wrong, and nothing can make them right.

To put that in perspective, I also want to say that this is the first social forum I've seen on the Internet where those behaviors are not denied, and do not go unchallenged by any of the insiders, which possibly makes it the least harmful one of all.
When I read the ongoing thread, I mostly laugh along. The juxtapositions of things, from Rubens to ryhmes to photoshops are awesome. It goes from high art to low humour, from serious business to joking around. Not everyone likes it, granted, but nobody has to.

On the Slymepit, insults mean almost nothing. They are thrown around so casually and mostly in jest that I wonder if you can even use them in a serious way. People who get into a fight seem to get along quite fine the other day. By contrast, insults on Pharyngula come across as genuine hatred. Despite having a rule against it, resentment are not only carried over to the next discussion, there are serious attempts to completely ruin personas and now with doxxing in the game, your real name, reputation and google results. The whole thing is also known as character assassination (I only learned about the term in relation to Pharyngula and Co).

Arguably, the Slymepit in the meantime has created its own universe of characters, memes, in-jokes and the like (not to be confused with an echo chamber). We do refer to whatever comes up elsewhere with plenty of links and quotes. Commentary added to it is criticized at times, as the Slymepit is fairly unpredictable. PZ Myers and Co., again by contrast, actively discourage linking here. They pretend that their account what's going are accurate and balanced. In other words, they really are like FOX news. Their commentariat have no way of discussing and balacing out their findings. In order to stay on the safe side, the baboons exaggerate. That's why their claims of what we do gravitate towards extreme and extremer (we are somewhere between terrorists, stalkers and serial killers in their views).

I often refer to Henry Jenkins (2006) these days, who described successful fan communities. He extensively discusses a "Survivor Spoiler" community (of the Survivor Series) that seems adversial to the show, yet pays great attention to what's going on. I go on a limb and claim that not everyone downright "hates" the other side. They are more like villains (or unsympathetic heroes) in a TV show. At some point you come to appreciate their idiosyncrasies. I think most Slymepitters are great fans of Nerd of Redhead. It would also be alot more boring if I wouldn't run into Oolon or Sally Strange every now and then, who are kind of a Goldfish Poop Gang. There is some catch-22 to it. I do like both, discussions and lulz, ideally both. And the Slymepit, with the help of our dear opponents, make that possible.

Besides, I genuinely hope PZ Myers get's his act together again some day. I used to like his stuff. Same with Ophelia Benson. Only Stephanie Zvan is different, I think she is evil. Unlike Myers and Benson who have somewhat likeable idiosyncrasies, Stephanie Zvan's main traits are being manipulative and evil.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#43

Post by jimhabegger » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:55 pm

Aneris, thank you. Without retracting what I've said about the immorality of some of the behavior, I will say that I'm a lot less concerned about what's happening here than I was, and I'm warming up more and more to you and other people here.

I'll respond in my peanut gallery thread to what you said about the people who are being mocked here.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#44

Post by Badger3k » Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:50 pm

Aneris wrote: I go on a limb and claim that not everyone downright "hates" the other side. They are more like villains (or unsympathetic heroes) in a TV show.
Hate would require more emotional investment than a lot of us want to spend. I read the feed, look at some of the shit they write, wonder what universe they live in, and shake my head. Occasionally I'll post something here about them, or something I else I find that may be relevant or amusing, but at best I feel sorry for them. The same way I feel sorry for creationists or conspiracy loons. If they had a greater effect on reality than their little (shrinking) corner of the internet (I don't count conferences because I think most are worthless), then maybe they'd join the racists in getting some genuine hate. They do get some disgust for their actions, hypocrisy, and behavior - does that count?

As for the commenters - all I see is what gets posted here. Real life is far too important for me to waste time or brain cells reading what the clueless gits post in response to one of their blog posts - err, really effective activism, I mean.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#45

Post by John Greg » Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:00 pm

Ya, I don't hate them either. Who has the time and energy to waste with that, and anyway, look where it gets them.

Sure, they often make me angry, but for the most part I am just gobsmacked with their nonsense and hypocrisy -- their hypocrisy is often so blatant, sometimes even with two adjacent sentences, that it is often spellbinding -- and as Badger3k says, wonder what universe they live in.

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Re: Does The Undead Thread promote bullying?

#46

Post by piginthecity » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:40 am

Yes, Anaris' post gets it absolutely right. Hear Hear !

The only thing worse than getting home from work and finding that P.Z. Myers has made another ridiculous claim on the internet trying to do down those he regards as his enemies, is to get home from work and find out that he hasn't said anything at all.

Also it is notable how many of the FtB people used to be good. P.Z's courtier's reply, Ophelia's book trashing postmodernism and Greta's angry atheist lecture. Maybe we should remember them the way there were like Chef from South Park. And they do still have their own characters despite all the pressure they're under to conform.

I have something of a soft spot for Jen McReight. I think her 'boy's club' blog was a perfectly valid piece coming from an individual (albeit in an exasperated mood). It wasn't her fault that this blog post was taken by idiots to be the foundation document of an entire culture. Indeed, if it hadn't been for the spawning of the disastrous Atheism Plus, I would still regard that post in a sympathetic light, and would be prepared to take her word (up to a point anyway) that us Atheist men, lovely though we are, can be a little bit much on occasion and that women can sometimes feel uncomfortable or put off. I also think Jen didn't really want to split the community and she had a hard time of it as things spiralled out of her control. I don't think she is cynical (like Myers) or self-serving (like Watson).

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