I was going to write a comment on this post -> http://alano1992.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/the-almighty-block-bot/
But it got ridiculously long so I decided to make it into a post. Amazing to me that people put on a list that we think are worthy of maybe ignoring is still eliciting blog posts months later! All the block bot does is call out what we think are harmful behaviours and suggest to our users they may not want unsolicited contact from these people. If the users know and trust us then they will use it, even if we get it “wrong” and block someone they will like there is no harm here. Incredibly rarely I see a block bot user mention someone in a conversation or someone they found through search etc. turned out to be blocked (I can think of two, maybe three, occasions where this happened and was due to the block bot). They then proceeded, in all cases, to unblock the person and talk to them. One occasion only ended up in that person stopping being a block bot user, ironically they changed their mind, both about the person they were following and the block bot itself. Far, far, more often, many times some weeks even, I see block bot users exclaiming how they are glad person X is blocked for them. They either missed a nasty tweet or saw someone else dealing with a person they have already auto-blocked. It gives them control over who contacts them without having to go into protected mode and make it so no one can see their tweets. Frankly I care about what the users have to say about the bot and not those on it or on the sidelines hating it. I’m not above criticising their half-arsed attempts as a critique however
So, the blog post, I found it hilariously lacking in any self awareness … The two best tweets, reasons for him being on the list, are not mentioned but reproduced below… In response to Julia Larson getting rape “jokes” (Pretty close to a threat in at least one case) and lots of nasty abuse.
“I’m not saying it’s justified but a tweet like that is like putting a sign on your door saying it’s unlocked”
“Not to sound like I’m victim blaming, but sending tweets like that aren’t you kind of asking to be trolled?”
He also started this lie about Julia Larson, triggering her PTSD and causing her to go offline for a few days to recover. Of course she is “over sensitive” as far as this person is concerned. From his position as PTSD-cop, I assume?
I wonder if any of that sounds convincing when he played it back in his head? “I’m not saying X but… “, is a great example of reason_OFF (His twitter id is “reason_on”). Let me help him, the correct response to people being nastily misogynistic is to tell THEM not to be nastily misogynistic. Not to tell those who are the targets that it’s their fault somehow. Racism, sexism, etc are not going to stop if we blame the people subject to it for the abuse they get. Some feminists have unfortunately called women like Ann Coulter/ Sarah Palin nasty sexist things in response to their bigotry, this just perpetuates sexism and it makes things worse. So even if Julia somehow managed to be that bad in his and his friends views it wouldn’t justify sexist abuse. Fortunately the feminists I like are against using sexist slurs to demean anyone, friend or foe, and they have the conviction to call people out for it, their allies as well. I’d much rather be a part of a community that will tell me when I’m wrong or doing something harmful rather than one that ignores it as “free speech” (Well some things, if someone started being anti-vax, religious or whatever their pet cause is you can be sure they’ll call their own and others out for it, but that’s different, somehow).
As for the “too sensitive for their own good” crapola… Any human being when subject to constant abuse will be sensitive to it. This is called being a human. The evidence free world view that victims of abuse need to “toughen up” might work for some. Great, I’m really happy for them. How in the world this manages to be treated as gospel by a group of so-called “skeptics” I don’t know. Where are the studies backing this view up? I doubt you’ll find many reputable therapists espousing the same view – if it works for them then that’s great – trying to make it a universal “rule” and other and demean people who don’t fit it is utter bullshit. Unless they have the evidence this works?
An extreme example of this is someone who got caught up in the arguments about the block bot with his “side”. She mentioned that her childhood abuse meant that the word cunt actually did trigger her PTSD on its own, let alone being called a cunt as an insult. Hence she tries to avoid situations where people will be calling her this, to protect her mental health. The response from someone his side? To call her a cunt. No call-out from anyone his “side” as this is perfectly acceptable behaviour in his social circle. Nothing can be done about it (Free speech!!) so you need to “toughen up” or fuck off the internet. Lucky he didn’t tell her vaccines have dangerous mercury in them, bit of a non-sequitur, but you can be assured a pile-on of his friends would have resulted from that harmful behaviour!
To be totally clear they are free to have this social circle where little apart from a belief in a god (Or anti-vax etc) will get any opprobrium from those in the clique. We don’t want to infringe on their freedom to do anything they want to do. Totally up to them. However much like the way they socially punish and “blacklist” anyone having a god belief in their clique we socially punish and “blacklist” anyone acting in the way I describe above. For much the same reasons, we think acting like that is wrong. It’s irrational, it does real harm. So we criticise and argue with people that do. We also allow people to block those with their victim blaming “professional victim” ideology (as well as some others, TERf, MRA, etc) through the bot as some don’t want to deal with people on Twitter like that. That is also the users of @the_block_bot’s choice … Frankly besides the whining about “echo chambers” and “lack of discourse”, I think the bot has created more discourse about this subject than was occurring before. But only those that want to be part of the discussion are part of it, not possible to force the users of the bot into the discussions unless they want to be a part of them.
So he cannot see why the bot is run the way it is, it doesn’t fit with his standards, good. I see that as a great endorsement that we are managing the bot the right way. If any of the bots users have some criticism please let us know!