The Problem with Resisting Propaganda

…is that people get far too good at it.

Okay, so that’s a good thing for you. I know that. It’s even a good thing for me, in part. I’ve trained myself well enough that I hardly ever look at ads, much less get curious enough to click through. That saves me from a rather remarkable amount of nonsense.

What it doesn’t do is pay the bills of the sites I visit regularly.

And here’s the point where the people who are really good at resisting propaganda have already figured out what I’m saying next. Yes, I’m drawing your attention to the donation and subscription buttons over in the sidebar. What I’m not doing is telling you to give me a raise, not per se.

Money I make from writing here goes to organizations that do the ground-level work in the secular movement: Minnesota Atheists, American Atheists, Freedom from Religion Foundation, Center for Inquiry, Secular Student Alliance, Secular Woman. It also goes to support conferences where people can gather as nonbelievers and feel less alone. Skepticon is the one that comes to mind, but there were others this year. I just haven’t gathered all my receipts from the last year to figure out which ones. So if I get paid more, those organizations and conferences benefit. I don’t.

I get very little of my income from writing, however, and that isn’t true for everyone. For these people, both those already blogging here and those we approach to join us, the fact that our audience is very resistant to ads makes a difference. Their audiences are no less appreciative (see the response to Greta’s request for income to tide her through the aftermath of her surgery or Avicenna’s replacement for his dead computer), but the income stream is less automatic. FtB has an incredibly low return on page views.

So if you’re one of those people who doesn’t see ads or who does nothing but scoff at them, and you have it to spare, consider clicking on those buttons. I blog because not writing is not an option, and I would do it for free, but not everyone can. If you like what you get at this site, even if you never go anywhere but my blog (Hi, Mom!), consider directly supporting the network as a whole.

Because y’all seem to be too smart to do it through ads.

Update: Please don’t suggest clicking on ads to things you don’t want to see to support us. It can actually cause us to lose our ad service if it looks like we’re trying to game the system. It’s fine if you don’t have the means to support us directly. We’re here for you too.

The Problem with Resisting Propaganda
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Tomorrow's Skeptics Today (Update)

It’s a good time to be a good young skeptic. We’re working to make some of them heard, but a number of blog networks/group blogs are coming together to give them a platform like they’ve never had.

I’ve linked to The Heresy Club before, lots of times on Twitter and Facebook, where I do much more linking (hint). They’re an impressive, diverse bunch who manage to hold positions that are both strong and nuanced while still remaining open to debate. This network has a strong atheist bent, but the inclusion of Hayley Stevens (ghost hunter) and Rhys Morgan (anti-homeopathy activist) means the skepticism here isn’t limited to religion.

Originally organized as a group blog with space for students to blog occasionally, Skeptic Freethought has recently reorganized as a blog network. It is still very much centered on students, and it is still eager for guest posts from students who have something to say but don’t necessarily want to start a blog to say it. You’ll see familiar writers there like Dave Muscato and Ellen Lundgren. I expect they’ll grow quickly as they find out how supportive a network can be.

The Young Australian Skeptics have been around for quite a while, but more recently, they’ve been the home of The Pseudoscientists podcast and not a lot more. They’ve just changed this, however, with their relaunch yesterday. You will once again find regular, written science and skeptical content on their site.

These bloggers are the future of our movements. Go pay them some nice attention.

Update: Heh. Following this blog post and some funny chatter on Twitter, representatives from all three of the networks featured here are doing a Google hangout to talk about the current skeptical and atheist communities and about being our future. Alex has the details at The Heresy Club.

Tomorrow's Skeptics Today (Update)

A Taste of 2012

There was one fairly obvious theme on this blog in 2012. Anyone who’s been around for most of it knows I did an awful lot of feminist blogging. That started all the way back in January, when I interviewed Melody Hensley on Atheists Talk about the Women in Secularism conference. Feminism is always pretty overt at the ScienceOnline conferences in Raleigh as well.

Things really ramped up at the WiS conference, of course. My most-read post this year is the one I wrote during the conference and on the plane on the way home, when I realized an off-hand comment from Jen McCreight was going to be very big indeed. So I followed up quickly to put some of that energy to good use. I’m very happy to say it was successful, if not entirely easy going. Continue reading “A Taste of 2012”

A Taste of 2012

Spam Attack

Those of you subscribed to comment threads may have already noticed this. Hell, all of you may have noticed this because it’s been so pronounced, but either Akismet has glitched or someone has figured out how to get reams of spam past it.

I hate spam. I don’t want it on my blog. I don’t, however, want to feel that removing those comments requires my constant vigilance. For the duration, I’ve turned on first-comment-approval moderation. I don’t like that either, as it messes with the flow of discussion in comments, but…yeah, bleah all around.

Spam Attack

Petition Week: The Comments (Updated)

As you probably know, I keep a few people in moderation around here. They’re generally convinced that their comments are somehow very important to the public discourse, however, so I let them out from time to time. It also allows me to clean out my queue.

Here are the vitally important missing comments on my original post about the petition. Continue reading “Petition Week: The Comments (Updated)”

Petition Week: The Comments (Updated)

By My Toes

I’m not sure what it is. Could be that the last several months are just now catching up with me and demanding I erase my sleep debt. Could be I’m fighting off a bug. Could be my body is trying to compensate for increased exercise. Could be the drop in temperature and the shortening days.

All I know is this is how I feel right now whenever I stop moving.

Good thing I can hang on even in my sleep.

By My Toes

In Praise of Whistleblowers

By now you’ve heard that Thunderf00t exploited a security vulnerability [details and logs now available] to continue to receive confidential FreethoughtBlogs business emails after he was removed from the network and from the mailing list. If you haven’t already, you should read Natalie’s post covering the personal dangers to some of the members of our list and Zinnia’s on the importance of privacy.

I’m not particularly vulnerable here. Anything I can think of that Thunderf00t could try to hurt me with would either have to be taken badly out of context or is something I’ve already taken knocks for. No real surprises coming. What few secrets I have, I don’t commit to a general list, even of colleagues I trust and enjoy working with. I’m more wary by nature than that, even when it’s limiting.

You’ll hear from others of those colleagues, though, about the fact that prying into that list does leave them vulnerable. They’ve come to our list with problems they wanted perspective on, or personal joys and frustrations, or really awful ideas they threw out to see whether they could be improved or how badly they’d be shot down. They’ve been candid rather than politically astute when someone needed to know the lay of the land. They’ve discussed information it was later decided should stay private. They’ve used the list as scratch space, as a working group does. Again, no real surprises.

That was what Thunderf00t claimed access to under false pretenses. That was what he received, very quietly, knowing that was not what we wanted or expected. Some people will claim that releasing that information would make him a whistleblower. Thunderf00t is making a version of that claim himself, though not using the word. Continue reading “In Praise of Whistleblowers”

In Praise of Whistleblowers

An Auspicious Beginning

There’s this idea the slimepitters are trying to promote that they’re thinking seriously about acting like civilized human beings. One example in the wild:

Actually we started having that conversation days ago. Scroll down and you see see one slimepitter annoyed with another about “cleaning up our act”. This was July 1st. and the conversation started before that.

Not surprising it started before that. I sent Seed Media a letter on June 28. Continue reading “An Auspicious Beginning”

An Auspicious Beginning

But You *Must* Talk About the Letter

There’s some commenting happening on Sunday’s post (though by how many actual people is an open question) to the tune of:

You can pretend this isn’t about bin Laden but it is quite strange that someone so finely attuned to “harassment” doesn’t have a Goddamn thing to say against her BFF who is threatening to “kick [someone’s] fucking ass”.

This is kind of funny after the reaction to my comments on D.J. apology.

The “leaders” in this skeptical movement, the Rebecca’s and the DJs, would then do us all a favour if they counted to ten before firing off a blog post and picked up the phone to talk to each other.

I have hardly ever seen people work differences out through email, because it is so hard to do in writing. Get two people in a room or let them speak on a phone and usually they work out that either it was a misunderstanding or how they can resolve their differences.

Why don’t you people just talk to each other and leave us out of it?! Why don’t you people tell us your reactions to everything so we can pick them apart?! Continue reading “But You *Must* Talk About the Letter”

But You *Must* Talk About the Letter

What Am I Doing Here Again?

Please welcome to FreethoughtBlogs Taslima Nasreen:

For a couple of years, the Pen Club had been organizing massive demonstrations in support of freedom of expression. Various authors from Asia and Africa, almost all little known, have been brought over. Salman Rushdie was aware that I have been recently thrown out of India; there were loathsome and incredible attacks against   my freedom of expression. Almost all of my books have been banned in Bangladesh, either officially or socially. Not just Bangladesh, even West Bengal banned my book and threw me out of the state. Not only that, I was kept under house arrest in Kolkata and Delhi for a long seven months during the process of banishment. Eventually, I have been ousted from India. Salman Rushdie was celebrating freedom of speech by cunningly ignoring my glowing history. He can do whatever he wants. One of his security guards wrote an unflattering book about him; he made arrangements with publishers so that the book would not see the light of the day. Yes, he is celebrating freedom of speech. He is a man, people think nothing of it when he chases after young women, even at sixty plus. Even if women have complained that Rushdie doesn’t consider them anything more than sex objects, people don’t hate him. This epitome of male chauvinism, this author has garnered immense name and fame; I am glad that I don’t have any similarities with him beyond the fatwa. To be honest, it irritates me no end to have my name joined with his.

Yet Taslima is joining our network, blogging for the first time in order to do. I’m honored and humbled and suffering from an attack of impostor syndrome. That’s been growing for a while, of course, with every activist, well-known speaker, published book author, and generally really smart, accomplished person we’ve added (and the ones you don’t know about yet whom we intend to add).

I’ll get over it. Even a network of activists needs some people who talk mostly about other things, who remind us that most of us are active on the small scale instead of the large one. And in the meantime, I have plenty to read to inspire me to that next level. Now you do too.

What Am I Doing Here Again?