I noticed something shortly after the very well-received Don’t Feed the Trolls panel at CONvergence’s SkepchickCON, once ZOMGItsCriss posted the video. People who otherwise have never seen the level of anti-Watson hatred that her mere existence incurs, were surprised and angered by the fact that the comments on Criss’ video largely ignored the fact that there were five other panelists present. As such, Watson only comprised a smallish fraction of the discussion — and yet, some folks’ comments ran along the line of “why would I listen to That Skepchick bitch whine hysterically about nothing for an hour? She should get raped so she loosens up, the prude whore.” (This is, of course, a composite of real comments on that video. Edit: For skeptics of this exceptional claim, like “…” in the comments, click this to see a Youtube comment that’s very, VERY similar.)
That sort of shit was exactly our point, and it appears to have catalyzed at least one bystander to radicalize against that sort of trolling.
The last night I spent in Minneapolis, Skepchick Kammy held a barbecue at her place for the participants of the SkepchickCON track. At one point, Kammy’s son pressganged his parents into moving the attendees into their driveway so they could set off the remainder of the fireworks (left over from the celebration a few days prior, when Minnesotans celebrate Three Days After Canada Day in a sweet, but odd, gesture to your neighbors to the north). We pulled our chairs out from their back yard and set them up to watch the firework display, and I found myself setting my chair up near enough to Watson to pronounce loudly:
“Well, I was really looking forward to seeing this firework display, but now that I’m stuck here next to Rebecca Watson, it’s just ruined for me. I mean, who wants to listen to her sit quietly for an hour?”
Continue reading “CONvergence: Rebecca Watson ruins everything”
This actually makes an excellent companion piece to our Don’t Feed the Trolls panel in the SkepchickCON track at CONvergence.
Ill Doctrine: Why I Will Feed The Trolls If I Damn Well Want To from ANIMALNewYork.com on Vimeo.
At Jay Smooth’s blog, he adds a few salient words:
One of the main reasons “Don’t Feed the Trolls” falls short as a universal pat answer is that it assumes one’s only possible goal in speaking up would be to induce a change of heart in the individuals doing the trolling. Many of the stories people have shared in response to this video illustrated how speaking up can be a net positive for your community as a whole, regardless of whether it inspires some epiphany in the trolls themselves. Gauging the usefulness of speaking out strictly by tracking whether a miraculous troll epiphany occurs is often missing the point IMO.
It’s almost like he knew the ins and outs of our specific fight! So uncanny!
Feeding the trolls almost never happens in isolation — if it’s a single person attacking you singly, you simply ignore that person and move on. But these attacks are often public, and include “pig-fucker” charges (by which I mean, charges designed to force you to rebut, rather than because they’re actually true) that the public gets to see.
Sometimes you need to counter spurious argumentation, to put that argument’s metaphorical head on a metaphorical pike to show others exactly how it fails and why you shouldn’t use those lines of argumentation in the future. It’s almost never about changing the troll’s mind, because their mind was often made up long before they ever deigned fit to visit your post; countering trolls is for the benefit of those who come afterward.
The second of my three panels from SkepchickCON at CONvergence. I grew up online and was probably in the first generation that would have had the opportunity to spend all of my formative years on the internet (if you include that hairy period where the “internet” was a series of BBSs and the connections you made were over 300-baud modems).
This panel discusses the difference between “online” and “meatspace”, e.g. that there is no real difference, just that “online” is a sort of shadow-culture that evolves in parallel with “meatspace”. We also discuss flame wars and their genesis, which Stephanie posts about in greater detail.
Continue reading “CONvergence: Growing Up Online”
I’m on three panels at CONvergence this weekend, in the Science/Skepticism track. I have no idea what panels I’ll be attending outside of these three, which I have to attend by virtue of having a spot on them. So this is all I can confirm right now.
Wait, I’m on panels!?! WTF!!!
Continue reading “My CONvergence schedule”
You know who you are.
George Waye lays it all out for you.
I bet you’re wondering why I’m writing you this letter. You might even be wondering why people are all so mad at you right now- and why they are calling you mean names. I know, I know- you were only trying to help, right? You just wanted to see a little decorum, a little civility- and everyone is just amplifying the very thing you are trying to help them discard. It must be frustrating. It must feel as though you are experiencing the cruel effects of tribalism- a sort of “internet xenophobia”, if you will. You are a mere missionary preaching the gospel of civil discourse and the lynch mob stands with torches and pitchforks waiting for you at the county line.
Here is the thing. Those people you were trying to help? They are having a conversation. That conversation has a topic. That topic is important to them. It is important enough that they are wearing their gut reactions on their sleeves. So when you come waltzing in, and you say “Guys- hey, guys- Y U mad, bro?” they are more than likely going to turn on you.
Why, you ask? You’re only trying to let cooler heads prevail, right? I totally get what you’re feeling right now. I understand.
What you need to understand is that the reason they are mad is right in front of you. It’s right there- in the post you are reading. Heck, it may even be summed up pretty succinctly in the title of the post. Yet here you are, telling these people that you don’t understand what could possibly have them up in arms. This, to them, is the problem.
Imagine you find yourself in a hotel burning to the ground. You see a number of people frantically yelling to wake the guests up- pounding on doors and shouting. You have that mental image yet? Don’t worry, I’ll wait…..
We good now? Alright, so now imagine- for the sake of argument- you see this one man who seems perfectly calm. He is standing at the Continental breakfast table pouring himself a coffee and unwrapping a stale shrink-wrapped danish. Instead of showing any concern at all for the crisis going on around him, he grabs the occasional screaming patron and notes to them how the curtains don’t match the sofa in the lobby. WTF, right?
You are being that guy. You are walking into a that burning hotel to talk about interior decorating.
I had an idea earlier today, that we should start playing Bingo with the ongoing harassment campaign posts’ comment threads. We’ve done it for other topics, why not this one? So I jotted down a few, and asked people to help fill in the rest, and commenters easily filled two cards. I figure it should be its own post now.
Continue reading “Harassment Bingo: cards 1 and 2”
Jacqueline S. Homan, who blogs at godlessfeminist.wordpress.com, posted a comment on my post about why I’m not being nice to DJ Grothe, that really deserves to be its own top-level post. That’s just exactly how violently I agree with every word.
It never ceases to amaze me how all the MRA’s/PUA’s whose voices seem to dominate and drive the agendas and discussions in the atheist movement are screeching hysterically about “feminazis”, “false accusations”, blaming women for being the problem because of our “special interest” issues and instigating a “witch hunt”, when they’ve been the ones that relentlessly threatened and harassed Rebecca Watson for nearly a year for the “crime” of saying “guys, please don’t do that” (i.e. speaking up for her rights when Living While Female) and leveled some pretty ugly threats and insults at Greta Christina as well. Jason’s edit: and Ophelia Benson, and now to a staggering degree Stephanie Zvan.
And they claim that THEY are the targets of a “witch hunt?” Perspective, please.
Continue reading “A little perspective on the troll cry of “witch-hunts””
Clever Pie has crafted what could be the ultimate love song to the most useless and hate-filled parts of the internet. Also known as, “its general populace”.
I really hope those of you who get off on this kind of trolling see this video and have a moment of self-reflection. You know, at least long enough to realize that maybe you should re-lube and switch hands. No no, don’t stop to wipe the Dorito spice off. It’ll make it tingle.
Hat tip to Man Boobz and, in turn, Feministe.
I’ve mentioned the Tropes vs Women in Video Games kickstarter project before, along with the FeministFrequency series of 101-level videos about feminist concepts as regards popular culture. These videos, by the way, are excellent — they’re so excellent, in fact, that they’re even used in schools. The kickstarter exists to help keep FeministFrequency making new videos, as well as to fund the concerted research and time spent on this specific video that FemFreq is making.
In taking on this topic, however, it seems she’s stumbled onto the hornet’s nest of misogyny that is the online video game community.
Continue reading “Tropes v Women In Video Games is under troll attack”