May 122013

So there are two new people blogging over at FreeThoughtBlogs. Good news for all the fans of the network, also good troll fodder for the anti-FTB people? This is an extension and update to a comment I posted here, I’ve added the two word clouds below as I had all the text from the first comments by the anti-FTB brigade so thought it might make for a nice visual aid.

So why not check out the comments from the group of FTB haters who just exist only to “ridicule” FTBs… Would there be a difference in comments from Ally Fogg vs Yemisi Ilesanmi (Yemmy)? Both profess beliefs that could be described as strongly feminist, although Ally doesn’t use the label. Both use terms like patriarchy and rape culture… Ally’s blog is provocatively called “Heteronormative Patriarchy for Men”, surely a red rag to the anti-feminists that hate FTB’s and the “gender feminists” therein? They also use these terms and they elicit derision and hatred from the anti-crowd. Watch out Ally! Yemmy on the other hand is a respected activist, deals with unpleasant homophobic and anti-atheist theists on a regular basis. So while she owns the label “feminist” and “A+” surely this track record of achievement in activism (a common criticism of A+ people is they lack this) will put her in good stead?

Well lets look at Ally’s reception… First comment from an anti-type is analysed by my totally objective brain [not], so take the analysis with however much salt is permissible while keeping your blood pressure under control.

Ally’s Word Cloud:

Ally Fogg word cloud from anti-FTB comments

Big reference to his name there, so he is being referred to directly, “like” is big, overall impression is positive I think its fair to say… So first comments broken down by post and an observation on the overall tone of the debate from the anti-crowd, split by nym.  You can find each post under the links for each blogger which I give above, can’t link here or I’ll spam them both with trackbacks from WordPress.

Intro Post,
- PitchGuest, “amusing” comment
- Metalogic42, pally hello
- Tigzy, appreciative of Edward Woodward joke
- John Welch, one word, wut?
- johngreg, respectfully asks about commenting rules
- Lsuoma, friendly hello
- Skep Tickle, nice welcome, alludes to “outsider” status
- Damion, welcome and gossip about squabbles
- Renee Hendricks, enthusiastic welcome

Tone: A little banter between PitchGuest and an FTB’er but all fairly friendly

Global Inc post,
- Theetar, respectful confusion, very friendly reply to answer
- Damion, “it seems”, respectful comment
- Steersman, “nice analogy” kickoff to comment… Civil bloviating for rest of post.
- Metalogic, very civilly made point, told he misunderstood, takes it very well
- johngreg, civil exchange while disagreeing

Tone: Little spat between John Greg and skockna, doesn’t get too rude.

White society post
- spacklick, respectfully made point
- johngreg, respectful, civil
- PitchGuest, animated, lots of “if we are…”, challenging to the posts viewpoint

Tone: No real antagonism detected

Empathy Post
- Steersman, straight into civil bloviating.
- PitchGuest, pretty normal assholery aimed at me

Where are the anti-crowd? Apart from Steersman’s vast word count they have all gone after the initial excitement in the intro… Did Ally not provide what they are looking for! But overall have to say they don’t really detract from the blog posts or mess up the comment sections (As long as you skip Steersmans comments, but you do that already, right?)

Onto Yemmy, her Word Cloud:
Yemmy word cloud from anti-FTB comments
Uh oh, really doesn’t look that positive from the anti-crowd here. I wonder how the comments on her posts go…

Intro Post,

Why I am an atheist post,

Debunking homosexuality myths posts,

Her book post,

[Jeez, where are they all? Both bloggers were announced to some fanfare so they couldn't have missed her! Ahh, mention A+ and suddenly they all find her below... I'm sure they remember to say welcome and hello like they did for Ally?]

What are anti-A+ ppl afraid of post,
- Damion, helpful links to why A+ is awful, condescension about emotion on A+ forum
- PitchGuest, condescension dialled up to 11, poison the well for poor old oolon [wah]
- Camomile Lox, weird and vague as usual
- johngreg, denying hate and tantrums exist, feigns ignorance

Tone: Bad. The thread goes downhill faster than Eddie the Eagle on meth. PitchGuest “apologises” for being patronising in an incredibly patronising comment. Damion dials up the condescension about Yemmy’s experience on the A+ forum *without* asking what experience she has! PitchGuest carries on his condescending asshole performance to the end of the thread.

Is the A+ label confusing post,
- Phil Giordiana, civil comment. [Shows how much use "civility" is since the content is bullshit about A+, see "narrative" below]
- Theetar, drive by whining comment

Tone: Not too bad (Compared to above), but only Phil here. Phil also goes on to talk past Vall who tries to engage with him. Ignores me as he is toeing the anti line of oolon=troll. He gets steadily less civil as the thread progresses.

Mother Nature poetry post,
- tigzy, troll on!
- Lsuoma, not at all civil, bad pit mod!
- Skep Tickle, not civil, looking for things to be offended about in a poem!
- johngreg, demented rant
- theetar, rude, off topic pot shot at A+ with extremely tenuous link

All the anti-crowd comments direct to Ally were nice hellos or respectful disagreement, just what they always engage in right?

No as Yemmy apparently didn’t have the whiff of Heteronormative Patriarchy that Ally could muster so got no friendly or even unfriendly hellos (Well one “Hello!” from Phil G). First interactions from the anti-FTB’ers with Yemmy were them being condescending assholes and it managed to go downhill from there somehow.

What did Yemmy do to annoy them so much? Why are they so universally welcoming of Ally and universally not so to Yemmy? Personally I’d say these things factor in.

Ally does not call himself a feminist, it doesn’t matter if the duck quacks and lays eggs on a regular basis this will confuse the anti-duck anti-FTB crowd considerably. They are easily confused to be fair.

Yemmy is A+, she is also a great role model for the A+ community, works hard as an activist in marginalised communities and loves what A+ brings to the atheist movement. This is damaging to the anti-FTB/A+ narrative of A+ being a white feminist slacktivist playground where they can pretend to care about the brown/poor/trans/marginalised people.

The narrative, given most anti-FTB/A+ ppl get their cues from each others distorted memes and shared circle jerk it’s not surprising they have a *very* similar reaction to each blogger. Ally is “nice”, Yemmy is “nasty”… These sentiments will have been expressed in their safe spaces, forums, groups on Twitter etc so they all join in as one hivemind. If Ally is too critical or posts something positive about A+ the mood will likely switch the other way and the majority of the anti-crowd with bend with the wind like so many obedient blades of slimy grass.

–> Finally on the “narrative”, I’ve purged references to the “Slymepit/ters” from the original comment and made it “anti-FTB/ers” for a reason. The forum called the Slymepit is just one place that anti-people can build their narrative for each other to stick to. Twitter is at least one other place. Certain drama blogs at ScepticInk network or random Twitter loons blogs would be yet more. So while that place is definitely devoted to building and maintaining the anti-FTB and anti-A+ party line it is not the only one.

Unfortunately this self-reinforcing groupthink results in a large consensus on certain points. You will see the vast majority, if not all, of the anti-A+ people recycle a scripted opinion about Richard Carriers “Us vs Them” sentiment on A+ over and over. Some lovely examples in the wild from Phil Giordiana’s “civil” comment to Yemmy ->

…The problem of A+ is … that those not embracing the label are somehow bad persons (racists, misogynists, rape appologists…etc). Richard Carrier has made this very clear.

Phil, like most of the anti-crowd, doesn’t bother with primary source material. He is happy with the partially digested pieces of information he gets at the Slymepit/Twitter/SkepticInk network etc. So when Richard Carrier said very clearly that he was against the harassers and assholes and its A+ vs them alone, not all other non-A+ atheists this didn’t get through to Phil. He probably never read the actual post he alludes to but has read this meme repeated over and over in the various places these anti memes are promulgated. Have a look here ( he clearly marks the harassholes as the ones to kick out of the movement, even provides some helpful examples. If Phil et al want to identify with those atheists then good luck to them.

…Ceepolk and Setar are shinning exemples of what not to do (it’s not a personal attack. I don’t know these people in real life, and have never interracted with them online. But their very prominent posts are just shameful…)

Leaving aside the epic stupidity of claiming a personal attack is not a personal attack…. Phil admits he doesn’t know these people, he has never interacted with them on the forum where they post. So it would occur to a reasonable person to ask how did Phil read their “prominent” posts? He must hang out there, right? Newp… Phil again has been getting his confirmation bias handed to him on a plate. In this case at the Slymepit where one post is dissected, out of context, with a very biased interpretation of the posters words.  The posts are only “prominent” because they have accorded the haters an avenue to lie and distort about what was said and present their own narrative. Again, no need to actually read any of the primary source material, let alone *interact* with the objects of his distain and actually discover they are decent human beings. Unlike I’d propose those who dedicate their online life to following them around and trying to find any avenue for attack in their words.

Been a little unfair to Phil here, he is a “reasonable” pitter in that he is not one of the batshit foaming at the mouth types. But this shows a typical window into the mind of the anti-FTB/A+ collective and their thinking processes, or lack of thinking. Rather than join in and find out for themselves they’d rather digest others words and opinions after its been through the anti-FTB/A+ prism of ridicule, distortion and outright lie. And they are deluded enough to call themselves “freethinkers”… Sceptics… Critical thinkers… Hmmm!

 Posted by at 9:54 pm

  8 Responses to “A Tale of Two Welcomes…”

  1. As long as you skip Steersmans comments, but you do that already, right?

    It is polite Internet etiquette to do so. It’s also fun to count the number of urls he posts at the end of every comment. “Why yes, Steersman, I do have all dadgum day to do nothing but read your one stinking comment.”

    • Actually, I have to object to describing Steersman’s routine filibustering as ‘civil bloviating’. The way Jim boy does this is most certainly uncivil: he gives off every indication of throwing up specious objections, irrelevant distractions, dictionary-wranging legalisms, moral Pecksniffian complacency, and high-handed demonstrations of arrogantly lording his intellectual superiority over every one else – and he does that to create a road-block in a discussion. He is the boring boor of every devil’s advocate argument who can talk the legs of a chair, and isn’t happy until everyone is listening to him. He’s not alone in favouring that kind of stonewalling by exhausting his opponents, but let’s not for a moment pretend that it’s civil: it is the epitome of uncivil discourse.

      • Yeah I was thinking civil in the Fincke sense that he would not run into any trouble on Camels with Hammers. Usually no rude words until someone like Zvan or Sally Strange with their ability to expose his arguments get a slur or two thrown their way.

        He’s probably a great case-in-point of how civility pledges don’t work.

  2. You make an interesting point about taking quotes out of context and not using
    primary source material though that is probably something that many are guilty
    of and so is not confined to one side of the self styled two sided machine which
    constantly has to be fed drama other wise it will not exist = Shame this has not
    occurred to any one but there again us ground apes love our tribalism served up
    with extra fries = Even those of us on the right side whichever one that is meant
    to be = It can sometimes be a tad confusing especially when you throw in bit of
    moral ambiguity = That so puts the spanner in the works = Though one can just
    ignore that with a large dollop of subjective interpretation = All ways good is that

    • Quotes out of context, both sides? I’d contend nothing like the Slymepit, they dissect comments and posts, decide on the best angle of attack and its stuck to religiously by people their side. No amount of pointing one of them to Carriers actual words would get Phil or the others off the script of “Us vs Them”…. I’m not entirely convinced this is a conscious effort on their part or a side effect of the confirmation bias they subject themselves to day in day out at the pit. They actually acknowledge it themselves, I took the piss out of them but they were right to say to me and others that they need people at the pit arguing the other side or they will be an echo chamber. They are an echo chamber. Since no one can be arsed to spend much time over there arguing the toss over who said, she said, gossip (Not even gossipy me for long!) they would have to actively be devils advocates themselves.

      The only person I saw doing this from within was Steersman, he got a lot of shit for it. Almost as much as me at times… Ignored/blocked by many on the “sceptical” Slympit. So the paradox is that while they acknowledge they need moderation, they’ll never get it for long and when they do have it they shun it. Quite funny from my perspective.

      • That is very much like the foundational Big Lie of the slimepit, which is that they weren’t able to have their say at Pharyngula or other blogs then or now on FTB. In truth, they had their say for far too long, spawning enormous threads where they would go back and forth with readers and in some instances even the blogger himself for days on end. That irritated PZ to no end since they almost always devolved into flame wars, which I’ve noticed he actually hates. Other bloggers were quicker to moderate their threads after giving the slimepitters plenty of opportunities to make their case (often their case was, “You’re a cunt!”). They actually retreated initially to ERV because their slurs began to be met with a ban, and their socks’ comments deleted on sight (thus the need for screencaps for Hoggle). ERV made a convenient gathering location from which they could falsely cry “Persecution!”.

        Even today we see the pit is given numerous chances for its members to make points, such as on new blogs at FTB. Notice how they start out being total shitheads to people they believe they disagree with? It was never any different with them, not once that I know of. So there is a reason no one bothers to go over to their house: we’ve already heard their points and are not interested in hearing them again.

  3. Nothing substantial to add, but you have a stray on the second link in “Certain drama blogs”.

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