It’s not about wanting to harass, they say. Of course harassment is bad, to the extent it exists, they say. Our stake in this is objective and civil minded, they say. We object to your authoritarian attitudes, they say. It’s definitely not about protecting our ability to harass, they say.
Then you follow Skepticon news on Twitter and this comes up.
But it’s not about the ability to harass, they say.
This is one of the essays I delivered to my patrons last month. If you want to support more work like this, and see it earlier, you can sign up here.
There are plenty of reasons that discussions around codes of conduct, their goals, and what should be included in them can be frustrating. Among people talking in good faith, however, the primary reason for frustration is that people are using different theoretical frameworks for codes of conduct and they’re not making those frameworks clear. It’s obviously difficult to come to any agreement about what should be contained in a code if you don’t agree on why you have one.
So here are several common models people use when discussing codes of conduct. Hopefully, this guide will make it easier to explain where you’re coming from when advocating for a particular code and to recognize both what model someone else is using and where the strengths, weaknesses, and unspoken assumptions of that model are. Continue reading “Competing Models for Codes of Conduct”
Yesterday, I put up a post urging the CONvergence board to listen to their volunteers regarding something they screwed up during con. Shortly after the post went up, it received a longish, bizarre comment:
I am so sorry to hear about how you were treated, and disappointed to hear what ASSHOLES the convergence organizers are. The fact that they let asshole dudebros sexually harass you without consequence is completely fucking inexcusable. I am so glad that I didn’t get to go this year, and I am damned sure I will never be back to their shitty con again.
I wasn’t sexually harassed, and no one “let” it happen. Continue reading “Pitposting”
Apropos of this bizarre post, I should let you all know that I…
- …don’t follow Ben Radford on Twitter.
- …have not been contacted by Ben Radford with this statement.
- …have not been contacted by Karen Stollznow with this statement.
- …do not expect to be contacted by Karen Stollznow about this statement as all she seems to currently have the energy to do is post new baby pics and recover from her C-section.
- …have not been contacted by anyone else with this statement to suggest I should update readers.
- …was not contacted by Hemant before he posted this.
Continue reading “For the Record”
In case you haven’t seen it yet, Women, Action, & the Media released their report today on what they learned from acting as mediators for reporting harassment on Twitter last year. You can find it in several formats. There’s the summary, the infographic, and the full report (pdf). I suggest reading the full report if you have any interest at all in online harassment. From the types of reporters to the emotional cost involved in processing the reports, it’s got a lot of good information.
If you’re going to take away just one thing, however, make it their recommendations to Twitter: Continue reading “More Solutions for Twitter”
Update: Ron Lindsay has acknowledged that he was wrong and said that he would have corrected the record at the time if he’d understood that it was important. Please also see a correction near the end of this post.
You’ve seen the complaint before. “These feminists didn’t address my argument. They just called me names”, where “calling names” means identifying someone’s behavior as sexism, misogyny, rape apologia, etc. As far as I can tell, it’s meant to signal either that we are less rational than those whose behavior we label or that we don’t have a counterargument.
There are good reasons to sometimes skip the argument. Sometimes we’re talking to audiences we’re confident can recognize the problems in the original argument. Sometimes these are ongoing arguments where one party has already done all the productive arguing they can do. Sometimes the timing or the medium is terrible for productive argument, but we don’t think the behavior should go completely unremarked. Sometimes we don’t think the person whose behavior we’re talking about would be receptive to argument or argue in good faith.
Sometimes, however, the statement itself is simply false. Continue reading “Ron Lindsay and the Myth of the Feminists Who "Cry 'Sexist'" (Updated)”
Well, this happened yesterday.
I don’t think my response was what this person was looking for. Continue reading “What Should They Do?”
Greg Epstein has written a post on the topic of men’s unmet needs for intimate friendships and emotional support. The parts of the post that are about the topic are good. The phenomenon has been observed for a while, but he presents research that systematically confirms the observations.
However, Epstein’s post takes a dive off the rails when he tries to use this research to explain a lack of gender parity at the Harvard Humanist Hub and, by extension, in atheist spaces in general. Continue reading “On Friends and Allies”
I was talking with a friend a couple of weeks ago about religion and codes of conduct for geek spaces. Geek spaces are unusual in the U.S. in that they lean toward majority-nonbeliever populations without explicitly being organized around a lack of religious belief. This can create some unusual dynamics that organizers might want to consider, one of which my friend was trying to figure out how to deal with. I’m sharing the outcome of me thinking about this, reading up on prior discussions, and talking with other friends here as a framework for others thinking these questions through.
The first thing to remember in spaces where a minority becomes a majority is that, while the power structures that exist outside these spaces may be attenuated within them, they don’t disappear. To use an example people are familiar with, men may unconsciously expect and even be allowed to disproportionately interrupt and talk over women even in feminist spaces. Their words may carry more weight. We carry the habits of a lifetime with us even into groups that are created to oppose them.
Those of us who are involved in organized atheism see proofs of this all the time. It’s trivial to find atheists telling atheist activists–in activist spaces—that they need to demonstrate more respect for the phenomenon of belief or religious tradition or the role that religion plays in society. Though atheists themselves, these people have internalized the demands of religious power and impose them on others.
If the concerns of the dominant religion can intrude into explicitly atheist spaces, they will intrude into spaces that are incidentally majority-atheist. They will continue to be found in geek spaces. Continue reading “Religion and Atheism in Geek Spaces”
I received a comment on my post about Isaac Asimov’s habit of sexually harassing women at conventions yesterday. I’ve seen and received other comments like it, but this one hits all the buttons. Because of that, I figure it’s worth responding to.
The commenter arrived via a Google search. There’s no indication that this person is who she says she is, but I’ll extend the benefit of the doubt for the purposes of this post. I’ve certainly seen these sentiments often enough from people I do know belong to old-time fandom. I’ve seen them as recently as the WisCon debacle, when some of these people were forced to confront the fact that a friend of theirs had harassed many women over the years (me included) and the fact that other friends of theirs had ignored and enabled the problem.
In fact, if I hadn’t seen that behavior, I probably wouldn’t bother with a response to this comment. To me, the problems with it are transparent. Apparently, however, that isn’t the case for everyone. Continue reading “Right Where Dr. A Pinched”