WiS Travel Grants for FtB

In case you missed it, one of the commenters here at FtB has had enough:

I’m trying to figure out how to do this but I think in honor of Justin, I’d like to pick 2 deserving non-male members of the FTB community who are having trouble getting to the conference, and provide them plane tickets and some cash for transport from the airport.

Because of the stalking, it’s understandably hard to get hold of some of the people who might be good to send. I’m not sure what to do; if any trusted intermediary wants to contact me, I’m very easy to find and I’d really appreciate it. Yes, I am serious.

By “in honor of Justin” I mean “nyaa nyaa nyaaa, I’m going and you’re not”

I don’t think going around punching people’s lights out is appropriate, so I’ve been trying to think of a way of saying “fuck you very hard, Justin!” and I think I may have hit on one.

So we’ve been talking. We can make this happen. Click through if you’re part of the FtB community, want to attend Women in Secularism, and can afford to come with a good chunk of help.

First of all, let’s start with definitions. “Non-male” means just that. If you don’t identify as male, you qualify. “Member of the FtB community” should mean someone who has at least commented with some frequency. I will be that “trusted intermediary”, so you’ll need to trust at least me with some personal information.

It is also possible that Marcus can send more than two people. If you are willing to trust him with the information to book your flight, he has rather a lot of frequent flyer miles that he is willing to use as well. He travels a lot.

A word about Marcus: He has been one of Ed Brayton’s commenters as long as Ed can remember and has always been a good guy. He identifies as a feminist but doesn’t make any claim to be a great one. He has supported bloggers here at FtB previously.He has a certain respect for security. He’s motivated by anger here, as the harassment has gotten to be too much to him, and he can afford to indulge this angry whim.

(If getting a grant motivated by anger bothers you, or if you want to help someone else go, Secular Woman has also started raising funds for travel grants for women. Surly Amy is raising funds for travel grantsconference registration for men.)

Still, you don’t have to be willing to give him this information. You can give me information instead, and it won’t be shared. So if you’re interested, use the contact button down on my sidebar to send me an email by end of day Monday, February 4.

What do I need to know?

  1. Who are you? This means both the name you’ll be traveling under and the name you use here, if they’re different. If you don’t comment on my blog, please also tell me where you do participate and include information (such as the email address you use to comment) that I can verify with that blogger.
  2. How do you identify for purposes of gender?
  3. What registration level do you need? Regular, CFI member, or student? (Don’t be concerned that the student tickets have sold out. I bought a few for this purpose. I just need to know who can use them.)
  4. What will it take to get you to the conference? What airport will you be coming from, and what dates will you be traveling? (If air travel doesn’t make sense for you, tell me what does.)
  5. Are you okay with having your airfare paid with frequent flyer miles? Remember that this means sharing your personal information with Marcus.
  6. Would you prefer to be identified by the name you’ll use at the conference or by your commenting handle when announcing who we’re sending? They won’t be used together, but announcing who is going will help us maintain public accountability.

Marcus and I will discuss the applications in general terms. I won’t share anyone’s identities during the decision process, but he will need information on costs in order to budget and figure out how many people he can send. Decisions are not promised to be anything but arbitrary within that original criteria. We’ll try to make the decisions as quickly as possible so everyone can cement their plans.

Those chosen will work with me to get their registration and either me or Marcus, depending on preference, to make travel reservations. In addition, I’ll be sending each recipient a grant of $150 to be used however they see fit to cover hotel, food, or other costs from the conference.

So, who needs some help to get to Women in Secularism? Don’t forget that it will make some people very unhappy, and that’s exactly the point.

WiS Travel Grants for FtB

48 thoughts on “WiS Travel Grants for FtB

  1. 3

    “Don’t forget that it will make some people very unhappy, and that’s exactly the point.”

    I get that the point is to be spiteful, but I don’t understand how this would make anyone, “very unhappy”.

  2. 4

    Frankly, I don’t understand how people could be upset about other people going to a conference they expect to get a lot out of either, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping it from happening.

  3. 6

    That’s not what he’s upset about. Nor has Justin given any indication that he expects to get anything out of the conference except material to criticize. Not exactly the point of a conference, is it?

  4. 8

    Do you think people can’t see that you’re playing boring pedantic games? Do you think they make you look smart? Do you think people can’t tell that you just avoided answering a question in order to try to get the most childish of digs in? If you’re going to try to play games, at least get good at them.

    Now, answer the question or go away. Do you think that only collecting material to criticize is the point of a conference? Hint: I’ve answered this question very recently.

  5. 10

    Stephanie, your tag question honesty appears to be rhetorical. I didn’t mean to dismiss your point, I was responding to it. Obviously, ‘only’ collecting material to criticize is not the point of a conference, who would show up? (Rhetorical question, not meant to be answered) What I am asking is, is there not a place for people of different, or opposing views to observe?

    Perhaps you know Justin better than I do, but he seems rather soft spoken and polite, I’m sure what he will have to say about the conference will not be the most agreeable, but he sure doesn’t seem like the kind of person you would need to worry about being actively disruptive.

  6. 11

    I think what Marcus is doing is a great idea. Well done mate and i’m pretty certain the recipients will be eternally grateful for the opportunity to go to the convention without the burden of forking out the full quid.

    I don’t see how this would annoy Justin or anyone else. Isn’t he going to WIS himself all expenses paid?

    The only folk who are very unhappy at the moment are some of those here at FTB. I don’t think handing out a couple of plane tickets will bother him or anyone else in the slightest. Just saying.

    But i admire Marcus for his generosity. Well done!

  7. 12

    If you assume my question is rhetorical, yours is a non sequitur. The fact that the point of a conference is something other than non-stop criticism does not imply that there is no room for criticism, which is why I pointed out that you were playing cheap, childish rhetorical games. Stop that.

    I am quite certain that your experience of Justin is different than mine. Of course, you’re one of the people talking about FTBullies with no irony, so I’m guessing he loves you. If you have any emotional intelligence at all, you’ll understand that puts you in a very different position than someone he’s told to “get out of the kitchen” if I don’t want to be harassed.

  8. 13

    The only folk who are very unhappy at the moment are some of those here at FTB.

    You don’t get around much, do you? There are plenty of people unhappy the conference is happening at all for quite a number of offered reasons.

  9. 15

    Ok, I understand that our experiences of Justin would be quite different, and our feelings towards him even more divergent, but do you think that Justin has malicious intent? Or maybe a better way to ask that would be, do you think there could be a positive value that he holds that he believes he is acting on? From where you stand, do you think it’s fair to assume that he might?

  10. 19

    scoopdotorg — er, maybe you could list what you *have* read, and we could better direct you? For example, which of the posts produced by a search for “Women In Secularism” at Almost Diamonds have you read already?

  11. 21

    I think that Justin has a sense of entitlement approximately the size of northeastern Pennsylvania. I think that he will show up assuming that he is entitled to my time and attention no matter what kind of work I’m doing or how inane his demands are, and that he will feel personally put upon if he doesn’t receive exactly what expects. More so if anyone points out to him that he is not actually entitled to what he expects. I think that he will then broadcast that bruised ego via blog, Twitter, and slime pit, signalling his harasser friends to be abusive and disruptive until he is placated.

    So, really, I expect him to act quite a bit like you at the moment.

  12. 22

    Just a small correction note, I am not providing travel grants but I am paying the ticket price for some men that are interested in attending WiS. If you identify as male and would like to apply for me to pay for your ticket in to the conference, you may go here: http://surlygrant.com/apply/

  13. 24

    I’m sorry Stephanie, I don’t know that i understand how the posting approval works. I thought that had you approved another post several minutes after my own that this would mean that you had skipped over mine.

  14. 25

    Nope. People who go around calling me a bully just have to wait until I decide whether their childish derails are worth releasing. You don’t get carte blanche to abuse me or my other commenters. I don’t owe my time and space to anyone, much less abusers.

  15. 30

    you think that Justin has malicious intent?

    He strikes me as an annoying, childish shithead. And it seemed for a while that he was having trouble scrounging up the cash to attend. It sure would amuse me if he couldn’t make it and I’m able to send a couple of feminists – people who’re interested to go and learn and contribute, rather than posturing and trolling – in his name. My original idea was to call it the “FY Justin Vacula scholarship” but, whatever, you get the idea.

  16. 31

    I don’t see how this would annoy Justin or anyone else.

    It might not. But maybe this is a message for the slymepit on the order of “for every asshole you send, I’ll send two decent people.”

    I’m trying hard to be positive and productive about this. It’s hard to figure out a good way to respond to assholes without playing their game. Maybe it’s also a positive thing to show that there are bystanders who are getting tired of the harrassers and abusers, who are starting to try to think of positive ways to come in off the side-lines.

  17. 33

    Sorry i don’t know how to use tags.

    “I don’t see how this would annoy Justin or anyone else.”

    “It might not. But maybe this is a message for the slymepit”

    Ok i understand your motivation now Marcus. I didn’t know who the slymepit was until now. It is a massive forum with hundreds and hundreds of pages. I did a search on that forum and they have done a few charity drives as well.
    Even with all the bickering back and forth there is a positive outcome. Both “sides(?)” have made contributions to the less fortunate. That slymepit forum have also raised money for charities outside of the needs of the forum members.
    A bunch of assholes doing non-assholish things is definitely a good thing.

  18. 36

    “Nope. People who go around calling me a bully just have to wait until I decide whether their childish derails are worth releasing. You don’t get carte blanche to abuse me or my other commenters. I don’t owe my time and space to anyone, much less abusers.”


    I have never posted here before, and i am doing my best to be polite. I understand that you would anticipate more of the same abuse you have got from other commenters, but not everyone is going to understand the context of this sort of treatment. This is literary the very first time i have addressed you, or even mentioned your name online, but i am being introduced to the other commenters and lurkers as someone who has abused you.

  19. 38

    I’m going to the conference. I registered in September of last year because I was so determined and didn’t know if I’d have the money later. I’m staying at my sister’s place in town since I can’t afford a hotel. I’ve been saving up to have enough money for food and such.

    The only thing that makes me worry now is people like Justin going–not because of their potential disruption to the conference, though that is concerning, but because of their ability to pick up identities and real-life information about people.

    And it pisses me off that I’m even worried about that. That I feel like I have to be worried about that.

    Marcus, thank you for being awesome and giving other people this opportunity. *hugs*

  20. 39


    Done in one!

    This is an awesome thing you’re doing, Marcus, thank you.

    I’d love to go to WiS and would apply, but I’d need funding for the whole shebang– registration, travel, time off work, etc.– and that’s a much bigger endeavor. But I hope your travel grant pushes a couple of worthy people from almost-able to definitely-able.

    And for doubters….look, Vacula has a stated intention to “critically” address comments made at WiS. It says it right there in his funding appeal. Now, where I come from, it’s possible to think critically in general, but rather hard to know that you’re going to critically address something you haven’t even heard yet. If I were going to fund someone’s trip to a conference I’d sure want to know what they thought of it, but it would seem pointless to pay for someone to go hear messages he’s already decided he won’t like. Rather a waste of money, huh? Unless, of course, the reason you’re paying is actually to make it possible for them to shit all over something you also assume you won’t like.

    It’s not like it’s a mystery….is it?

  21. 40

    hey mouthyb – I applied too. If we both end up going, I’d be happy to share a room with you. I can handle your snores if you can handle mine. 🙂

  22. 42

    sisu: Done! And thank you. The expense of going was enough to prevent me from eating more than once a day and a snack, unless something nifty happens to my bank account.

  23. 43

    I don’t qualify, but I just wanted to say that I thought this is a really great idea. I’ve seen Marcus around, and he seems like a pretty good poster. But this just raised my opinion of him. Good job, to both you and him for getting this off the ground.

  24. 44

    Marcus, I know your generosity will be greatly appreciated by some lucky recipient. Even if it doesn’t annoy the haters, (hard to think it won’t) it supports the conference, and that’s a big win. Good of you and Stephanie to do this.

    Melody Hensley has assured us that CFI will be vigilant enforce the anti-harassment policies at the conference, and I trust her completely. I know many of you don’t know me, but I am confident there are plenty of others that would chime in to agree with me.

    So, what can Justin actually do or say at the conference if he attends? The only opportunities he has to speak at a conference as an attendee is in the question and answer periods, which are solely at the discretion of the speaker and organizer. That means he would have to sit through a presentation first. Then, if they are even so gracious as to allow him a question (whoops, sorry not enough time!), as attendees, and audience, we can respond – it’s called booing.

    Personally, I think Justin would serve himself better if he just carved himself a spot outside the conference on the sidewalk, at the legal distance, and picket the event just like any other member of a hate group would do.

  25. 45

    ““Member of the FtB community” should mean someone who has at least commented with some frequency.”

    Can you give me some guidance on what this means? I’ve been following FtB since Ed Brayton and P. Z. Myers got started, and commenting across several blogs.

    Also, it’s great that Marcus is doing this and you’re willing to serve as an intermediary.

  26. 46

    […] This is your friendly (sometimes), neighborhood (if you live in the right place) blog host reminding you that today is the last day for FtB community members who are not male to send me their applications for a travel grant to the Women in Secularism 2 conference this May. Details tucked below the fold for those who may have missed them the first time. […]

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