The Slymepit, Documented – UPDATED

Content note: Pretty much everything. Racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, rape jokes, rape denial, threats of violence, and more, too much to thoroughly trigger-warn.

UPDATE NOTE: This post has been updated to document several responses from Slymepit regulars, to document and confirm that the examples of behavior linked to here are, in fact, entirely representative of the Slymepit culture. Updates at end of post.

There’s this problem. A couple of problems, actually.

Problem 1: There’s this online forum, the Slymepit. (No, I’m not linking to them — you can find them yourselves if you like.) They have routinely, persistently, doggedly, for years, engaged in a campaign of hateful online harassment against feminists and social justice activists in the atheist and skeptic communities.

This campaign includes, but is not limited to: racist slurs and imagery, misogynist slurs and imagery, homophobic slurs and imagery, transphobic slurs and imagery, the deliberate misgendering of trans people, anti-Semitism, polyamory-shaming, fat-shaming, mental-illness-shaming, sexually-transmitted-disease shaming, baseless accusations of their targets as having sexually transmitted diseases, other baseless accusations verging on libel (if not actually veering into it), the creation of degrading Photoshopped images of their targets, jokes about their targets being raped, cheerful speculation about their targets’ ugly and painful deaths, the mocking of PTSD, the deliberate triggering of PTSD, even threats of physical violence.

Problem 2: A lot of people don’t believe this.

Part of me understands this. When you describe the Slymepit to people, it sounds like something you’d make up. And it’s a hard thing to accept. Atheists and skeptics get enough harassment and abuse from religious believers: it’s hard to accept that this is happening within our own communities. And very few people want to wade into the Slymepit to find this for themselves.

This is why I am enormously grateful to Jadehawk. Jadehawk has created a Storify page, documenting examples of what the Slymepit does on a regular basis. (The page sets the context first, briefly explaining the background for why this Storify was created, before getting into the documentation.)

The page is by no means a thorough documentation of every example of this behavior. It includes just a very tiny sample it. And this behavior is not just a small bad-apple minority of the Slymepit: it is very much the forum’s standard.

So. The next time someone asks “What is the Slymepit?” or “Is what they do really so bad?” or “Isn’t that just a few bad apples?” — you can point them to this page. And the next time you ask a blogger or a forum moderator why they permit Slymepit regulars to spread their slime in their online spaces — you can point them to this page.

Thanks, Jadehawk. Having this documentation is really helpful, and creating it must have been intensely unpleasant.

UPDATE: In case anyone is thinking that these examples were cherry-picked, that they’re just a few bad apples, that they don’t represent the general Slymepit culture, or that the Slymepit in general condemns this behavior: Here are screenshots of several responses by Slymepit regulars to Jadehawk’s Storify. They make it clear that this behavior is the Slymepit standard, that the forum’s participants are proud of it, and that it is welcomed and encouraged by the forum.

Below the jump. I’ve transcribed the screenshots, but I’m not quoting the speakers by name. You can click the images to enlarge.

Slymepit Screen Shot 01

This is headlined “Jade Hawk’s Roll of Honour,” and lists several Slymepit participants who were cited in Jade Hawk’s Storify documentation, in order of how many times they were mentioned, with “honour points” given for how many times they were mentioned.

Slymepit Screen Shot 02

This is a Slymepit forum entry that reads, “Haha. The Jadehawk thing was a nice refresher on some laughs. Jadehawk missed some of the best material however. Is anyone thinking we need a post with ‘Greatest Hits’? We shouldn’t need a hack like Jadehawk to summarize our comedy for us.”

Slymepit Screen Shot 03

This is a Slymepit forum entry, a conversation between two people, which reads:

(person A): “I didn’t make the shame pile, and I’m one of the longer-standing pitters too. (sad face)”

(person B): “I think Jadehawk is a master ruseman and has hatched a clever plan to divide the pit.

“The ones who made the Hawklist will feel all smug and superior, the ones who didn’t will feel all ignored and hard done by. Congratulations and commisserations will soon turn to sarcasm and condescension. Then to rancour and recrimination. Then to acrimony and hatred and a pitschism with one group storming off to form Slymepit+ and the voice of the pit will soon be drowned out and silenced forever!”

Slymepit Screen Shot 04

This is a Slymepit forum entry, a conversation between two people, which reads:

(person A): “I didn’t make Jadehawk’s List O’Shamin’ either. Damn it, is the occasional post of withering sarcasm not enough? It’s ALL I HAVE TO GIVE!

“Also: that thing must have taken HOURS to put together. And they call the Pit obsessive.”

(person B): “I’ve been modest for too long.

“‘oh yeah whose yeh Daddy” (two laughing faces, emoji that I can’t identify)

“I’m particular fond of the SZvan hobby entry.

If I say so myself.”

Slymepit screen shot 05

This is a series of Tweets that read:

“@IamJadehawk I hope we can expect more of these. Those pitters are so fucking astute and equally talented, thanks for scrapbooking it.”

“@IamJadehawk has captured what xe enjoys about the pit. Thanks Jade, always been a fan of your pit photoshoops!”

“Thanks @IamJadehawk for (link to Storify) Sort of a recap of best of pit for past year. Awesome job, again, thanks!”

Slymepit Screen Shot 06

This is a Tweet that reads:

“@IamJadehawk Oi! I wanted more zinger from THE KING included in your hilarious storify. #FTBullies

Slymepit Screen Shot 07

This is a Tweet that reads:

“(various tags of Slymepit regulars [correction — not all tags are of pitters]) There may be a sizable pit contingency hoping @IamJadehaw will make this Best Of series a regular Patreon”

Slymepit screen shot 08

This is a Tweet that reads:

“(various tags of Slymepit regulars [correction — not all tags are of pitters]) Oh, I don’t know any pitter apart from you thinks IamJadehawk has a point Many just enjoy the recap lulz”

So that’s worth noting. Apparently one Slymepit regular thinks Jadehawk has a point. One.

I hope this demolishes any doubt that anyone might have about:

what people are talking about when we talk about the Slymepit;
whether this behavior is an occasional rarity that’s generally frowned upon and discouraged in the Slymepit, or whether it’s the forum’s standard;
what people are talking about when we talk about persistent, hateful, bigoted, gleeful harassment, especially of women, within the atheist and skeptical movement.

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The Slymepit, Documented – UPDATED
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19 thoughts on “The Slymepit, Documented – UPDATED

  1. 1

    I would like to be first to donate a gallon of body wash towards Jadewhawk’s recovery…

    What struck me was how many of those examples were different from the ones I had come across in my own perusals of the pit.and would have used in a similar documentation …if I had the intestinal fortitude to go back and find and compile them. There will undoubtedly be accusations of “cherrypicking” but I can say with confidence that the problem in documenting the `pit’s hatemongering isn’t in finding examples; it’s in editing the examples down to a manageable sample.

  2. 4

    There will undoubtedly be accusations of “cherrypicking”

    A Hermit, that would imply they want to distance themselves from what is being said. Nope. They’re reveling in it, calling that storify a collection of highlights. I think they might even be tweeting me links to more of the same (possibly about me); dunno, not like I’m gonna click on a link to the pit.

    Which I guess makes them collectively worse than Gamergate, collectively (at least as of a few months ago), who DO whine about cherrypicking (but I guess they are to a large degree the part of GG that produces these cherries)

  3. 6

    @Jadehawk: Thanks for doing that. It must have felt like gargling in swill.

    When you throw a white glove into a mud puddle, the puddle doesn’t get any glovier, but the glove sure gets muddy.

  4. 7

    The Slymepit is aptly named, for a website for (mainly) men too gross to get women’s attention in any other way. It seems like a shame to give them the attention that they’re obviously desperately craving, and if it were just that one big isolated pile of stink on the web it would probably be wise to just ignore it. But with the behavior extending beyond the site and including harassment and threats there’s no way it can be ignored, especially not by those who’ve been targeted by Slymepit users. Providing documentation is a public service that should clear up any confusion about which website has the worst “tone.”

  5. 9

    They revel in it; they have tallied the examples listed by Jadehawk by forum handle, ranked all names based on that tally and dubbed it “Jadehawk’s Roll of Honour.”

    Oh oh and since it suits them currently, they have suddenly decided that Greta is a rape porn producer and are suddenly all pretend concerned about the damage rape porn causes. Something they have never given a shit about until they saw an opportunity to use it as a weapon against people that are actually concerned about that stuff, but hey, intellectual honesty was never their forte.

  6. 10

    A Hermit, that would imply they want to distance themselves from what is being said.

    i guess I was giving them too much credit. And I thought I was giving them none at all… o.O

  7. 11

    They revel in it; they have tallied the examples listed by Jadehawk by forum handle, ranked all names based on that tally and dubbed it “Jadehawk’s Roll of Honour.”

    Holms @ #9: Do you have a link to that?

    Oh oh and since it suits them currently, they have suddenly decided that Greta is a rape porn producer and are suddenly all pretend concerned about the damage rape porn causes.

    Funny how a collection of kinky erotic fiction, that’s clearly labeled as such, with an explanation of the difference between fantasy and reality in the introduction and a list of resources at the end on how to do SM safely and consensually — that’s horrible and dangerous. But actually threatening to rape people, and joking about rape threats — that’s okay.

    Also funny how they’re always on about how prudish and sex-negative the SJWs are — but they’re the ones ragging on poly people, and trans people, and consensual kinky porn. (IIRC, they’ve also shamed people, including me, for posing for nude photographs.)

  8. 12

    What sad, small lives they live. Where they consider it a victory merely to attract the (negative, disgusted) attention of Jadehawk or Greta. I can only imagine.

  9. 16

    thanks for the update; just a note, neither MAMelby nor Wowbagger are pitters. so “various tags of Slymepit regulars” isn’t accurate; steersman, while prolix enough for several people’s worth of text, does not by himself constitute a variety :-p

  10. 19

    […] Yes, PZ is a flame-tongued firebrand whose rhetoric is quite often harsh – you know, like Richard Dawkins, except without the British uppercrust polish and tendency to snipe at feminists. Thing is this, folks: polite and cultured language mean absolutely nothing to me. The folks who claim they want civility and unity don’t have women’s backs. Some of them claim to, but their actions belie it. They aren’t willing to get down in the trenches and get dirty fighting for equality with us. They say they’d have my back, but I know that’s only until they’re done stabbing me in it, what with the whole employing serial sexual harassers as fellows, cozying up to the cons who want to take my bodily autonomy away, and disowning people who are willing to give sexual assault victims a voice. Yep, PZ’s not a mellow fellow. But he’s not hiding behind a shield of supposed civility while his mates attack me and mine with vicious abandon. […]

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