Harassment policies campaign – timeline of major events

This is a chronological timeline of major events in the campaign to get major secular and skeptical events to enact harassment policies, to protect convention-goers from needless harassment and encourage women who might otherwise avoid what they perceive as a gender-imbalanced chilly climate to join the community. It is presently a work-in-progress, and a living document. It could be edited at any time.

I’m beginning from an excellent blog comment by Pteryxx that tries to organize this timeline more contextually rather than purely chronologically, and pulls out blockquotes. I’m rearranging everything and summarizing the contents of the links. Please let me know if I’ve misinterpreted the contents or missed any notable events. This is meant to be a companion piece to the 101-level post In Media Res, where I opened the comments to general questions about this campaign. Please direct those questions there.


May 20th

Almost Diamonds
Zero Intolerance: Stephanie Zvan discusses Jen McCreight’s off-handed mention at CFI’s Women In Secularism event (video available June 6th), of the existence of an informal network of women speakers warning one another privately about male speakers who have been problematic with regard to sexual harassment in the past. She makes recommendations about what can be done, and explains why “name and shame” is a bad idea.

Richard Dawkins Foundation
Women in Secularism Conference- Washington DC: A write-up of the conference that is notable mostly for the anti-feminist sentiment running through its comments, especially involving names who would make themselves more vocal later in this debate.

May 21st

Women In Secularism conference: a summary, part 1: PZ Myers’ daughter Skatje mentions Jen’s remarks, and advocates bringing some information forward so the speakers involved can either deny, defend, or admit they’re wrong and apologise. Commenters point out that Stephanie’s previous Zero Intolerance post largely disagrees and it’s more problematic than PZ’s general name-and-shame tactics.

Butterflies & Wheels
Here It Comes: Ophelia observes that we are already starting to see ridiculous levels of pushback in comments about the Women In Secularism conference, and prognosticates that it will only get worse.

May 22nd

Blag Hag
Dealing with Badly-Behaving Speakers: Jen explains why she brought the issue up, and her trepidation about naming names because she feels that without solid evidence, it’s not her place, and she’s likewise not prepared to weather the onslaught of rape and death threats from misogynist and anti-feminist trolls.

Almost Diamonds
Making It Safer in the Meantime – Stephanie makes the case that any convention needs a harassment policy, not only for sexual harassment but for harassment on any other grounds. This policy is not expected to END harassment, but provide a prophylactic effect and a framework to arbiter complaints and support victims. She links to a very good sample policy from the Geek Feminism wiki, which has been successfully implemented at geeky conventions, and further suggests that conventions can use that as a template to get started. She also suggests that an appropriate after-convention reporting scheme would say something like “X number of harassment cases reported, all documented” as opposed to actually naming those names publicly.

Greta Christina’s Blog
Men behaving badly at atheist conferences: Greta Christina does a link round-up on the harassment topic as relates the Women In Secularism conference. Notable for some “witch hunts” trolls suggesting that if we name names and create blacklists without evidence and trials, we’re destroying innocent men’s lives. (Note this was preemptively rebuffed in Stephanie’s original post on May 20th.)

In response to the “Making it Safer” post at Almost Diamonds:

May 23

Almost Diamonds
Real Progress: Stephanie reports that five major conferences and two people who run conferences frequently have come out in support of, have adopted, and/or have improved on existing harassment policies in direct response to the conversation that Jen and Stephanie sparked. First (chronological) sighting of “witch hunts” trolling in the comments, possibly?

Friendly Atheist
It’s Almost Time to Start Naming Names: While this post is supportive of the idea of harassment policies, it also calls for naming names, despite the aforementioned problems. Thread is notable for a “name being named”, e.g. a noteworthy secular speaker being accused of sexual harassment, but nobody has confirmed or denied or shamed the name.

Blag Hag
“Oh Yeah? Well You’re UGLY!”: Some tenured skeptical community members with a hatred of feminism declare Stephanie, Jen, Ophelia and Rebecca Watson all too ugly to have to worry about being sexually harassed. THE GREAT RIFT BEGINS.

In response to the “Making it Safer” post at Almost Diamonds:

May 24th

Butterflies & Wheels
Deep Rifts: Ophelia replies to some of the attacks (e.g. online harassment) mentioned in Blag Hag’s post from yesterday.

May 25th

post on Steve Zara’s wall: Russell Blackford, prominent Australian skeptic and blogger at Metamagician, says: “There’s also the small issue of some people wanting to introduce Talibanesque codes of conduct that go far beyond any legal requirements into the atheist/skeptic/secularist movements. I’m glad these people don’t have any actual political power.”

Almost Diamonds
On Witches and the Hunting Thereof: Stephanie responds to the “witch-hunting” trolls explaining that harassment policies are the literal, definitional opposite of a witch-hunt.

May 26th

comment on Sophie Hirschfeld’s post: DJ Grothe says that TAM (The Amazing Meeting) registration for women is down from 40% last year, to 18% this year. He also preemptively starts the comment with “as a gay man I feel I’m sensitive to issues of sexism and homosexism”, and goes on to claim that no incidents of harassment were reported at TAM that he is aware of. He wonders why registration is down, and claims that some women have emailed the JREF list indicating that they aren’t going to TAM because of some “messaging” by people on the blogosphere describing harassment incidents, which he characterizes as misinformation and irresponsible. This is the first mention of the harassment policy debate in relation to TAM outside of Kimbo Jones asking TAM for their current policy.

May 27th

May 28th

Butterflies & Wheels
The Taliban Comes to Foggy Bottom: Ophelia discusses the existence of harassment, the characterization of anti-harassment policies as being like the Taliban, and some of the trolling distracting from the real issues.

That Weird Atheist Girl
A First Step to Ending Harassment at Conferences: The Humanists of Florida Association’s new director recommends, and the HFA’s president EllenBeth Wachs enacts, a harassment policy for all their future conventions. It has yet to be voted in permanently by the board, but the policy will be in place until it comes to a vote.

May 29th

Lousy Canuck
On the “Talibanesque”-ness of harassment policies: I disassemble the origin of Blackford’s and others’ referring to the Geek Feminism Wiki’s sample policy as “Talibanesque” by enforcing “dress codes”, pointing out that the specific language in the sample policy forbids employees and vendors from using oversexualized displays. This is effectively a ban on the practice of “booth babes”, a convention issue that’s largely only problematic at geek conventions moreso than secular ones.

Sex and the Keynote: Elyse recounts how, after speaking on a panel and running a “hug me I’m vaccinated” table at Skepticamp Ohio, she is approached by strangers who’d had some small amount of cordial interaction on Facebook the week prior, and handed a “business card” that has a nude photo of the two of them which offers sex if she’s interested. Elyse hails the convention’s handling of the event and the strong harassment policy they had in place.

Butterflies & Wheels
It was a joke, huh huh huh: Ophelia reacts to Elyse’s encounter. Notable mostly for the expansive debate in comments of whether or not handing someone who is at work a card propositioning sex is harassment which becomes the genesis for the next post.

Godless Bitches podcast
Episode 212: The Atheist Community of Austin commits to a harassment policy

Dangerous Talk
Why I Don’t Do Atheist Conventions: Staks Rosch characterizes all atheist conventions as meat markets where everyone’s either too sensitive or too insensitive, and regrets all the “drama” that goes on.

Emily Has Books
Tensions Are High: Emily rebuts Staks’ post from earlier in the day, stating that issues of sexual harassment, which normally happen in private rather than public, need to be brought to light and not brushed aside as “drama”.

May 30th

Butterflies & Wheels
Do you at least agree with the principle?: A fantastic guest post by Daniel Fincke arguing that social conventions preclude offering sex to people with whom you’ve had no prior contact. These conventions also preclude the default assumption that everyone at a convention is there as a potential sexual plaything.

Perhaps it is time that DJ Grothe resign as the President of JREF: Greg Laden suggests that DJ step down after his latest failure to communicate effectively, noting that there has been a string of such incidents and that perhaps the problem is DJ himself.

Ashley F. Miller
Harassment at TAM9: Ashley Miller links to a post from last year about some harassment she experienced at TAM despite DJ’s protestations that no harassment was ever reported. DJ Grothe says this is the first he’s heard of it, but Ashley replies that the event itself actually directly involved DJ’s personal intervention. She had discussed the event previously in 2010 and alluded to it in 2011.

Token Skeptic
Why Would Women Choose Not To Return To An Atheist And/Or Skeptical Convention?: Kylie Sturgess picks up DJ Grothe’s earlier Facebook comment and asks whether people are actually avoiding the conference due to the “backchannel rumours and hearsay” as DJ characterizes it. She discusses the misogyny that happened on-stage at the Global Atheist Convention with Jim Jefferies in the comments with various commenters who bring it up. Commenters cite a wide variety of reasons to attend or not attend certain conferences, TAM in specific, including money, travel, other more interesting conventions. Notable as a turning point in the focus of the conversation toward TAM specifically.

Almost Diamonds
Where are the women?: Stephanie links back to Token Skeptic, asking people to please explain to DJ why they’re not going to TAM if not for the “messaging” from the blogosphere. Stephanie points out in the comments that TAM did have a harassment policy last year, when someone says TAM doesn’t have a current policy on their site or anywhere associated with their current year. She also links back to a post where she previously took DJ to task for other blow-ups where he was the catalyst.

More ^than Men
Harassment Policies: Sasha Pixlee begins curating a list of conventions that have harassment policies, linking to them directly, and noting new additions inline. Please send Sasha an email if there is a convention with a published harassment policy that needs to be included, especially if the policy was adopted in response to this campaign.

Harassment Policies are a Good Thing: Sasha Pixlee extolls the virtues of harassment policies.

May 31st

Almost Diamonds
DJ Grothe Tackles the Problem of Harassment: Stephanie recounts DJ’s response to Kylie’s post at Token Skeptic, as he had cross-posted it at Almost Diamonds. She takes issue with DJ repeating his characterizing the discussion of harassment in the skeptical community as “misinformation” and “irresponsible messaging”, and particular issue with the characterization of these harassment issues as “locker room banter” and women later regretting their “sexual exploits” with someone they “later deemed ‘skeezy'”.

Ashley F. Miller
TAM 9 Harassment New Information: Ashley discusses DJ’s mischaracterization of the various reports of harassment as “new information” and explains how DJ should have remembered some events that directly involved him.

DJ please fix this genuine problem: PZ points out that, in the complaint made by DJ on Facebook, he actually lists the problem as well as the cause, though he asks for the cause. That women are complaining about harassment isn’t CAUSING the low attendance, it’s a SYMPTOM of the cause: that harassment isn’t taken seriously.

SkepchickCON Harassment Policy: Skepchick releases their initial harassment policy. Comments suggest changes.

Atheist Experience
No, DJ Grothe should not resign from JREF: Martin Wagner weighs in on DJ Grothe’s dire problem with messaging, but disagrees with Greg Laden’s call for his resignation.

June 1st

Why I Won’t Be at TAM This Year: Rebecca Watson withdraws from her obligations as a member of Skeptics Guide to the Universe to be on the SGU panel at TAM. She cites DJ’s comments regarding harassment, wherein he names her as one of the women causing the problem of low female registration, as making her directly feel unwelcome.

Almost Diamonds
How Big is the Problem?: Stephanie covers the American Secular Census study released the day before, which confirms that there is a problem with harassment (though not much worse than background society), which is skewed toward women being more likely than men to be harassed.

Butterflies & Wheels
Rebecca Explains: Ophelia’s coverage of Rebecca’s announcement that she won’t be attending TAM. Notable in that a somewhat clumsy analogy between people blaming the victims of harassment for the problem of low female turnout, and people blaming the Jews for reporting the mistreatment they received at the hands of their government in 1936. The idea was to say one shouldn’t blame the victim of harassment for any escalation in harassment. The meme morphed extremely quickly into “Ophelia says TAM is like Nazi Germany”, after Orac of Respectful Insolence (another speaker at TAM) attacks her for the analogy.

Lousy Canuck
Rebecca Watson won’t be at TAM: I point to Rebecca’s post at Skepchick, some trolls appear to call her decision “unprofessional”.

The DJ Grothe quote that sticks in my craw: I take DJ to task over the specific quote, which he has still not walked back at time of writing — “So much of that feels to me more like rumor and distasteful locker room banter, often pretty mean-spirited, especially when it is from just one or a few women recounting sexual exploits they’ve had with speakers who are eventually deemed as “skeezy,” and whom they feel should be not allowed to speak at such conferences going forward.”

Ashley F. Miller
11 Thoughts on TAMpocalypse 2012: Ashley attempts to correct some common misapprehensions about her position on DJ, TAM, and a number of peripheral concerns to the topic of harassment in general, and the harassment she encountered.

Emily Has Books
Perseverance Policies: Emily discusses the range of options available to a person in absence of a harassment policy from personal experience with sexual harassment she received at TAM, and how it is imperative that women affected by harassment not only “vote with their dollars” but also demand proper harassment policies.

Edinburgh Skeptics
Anti-Harassment Policy: The Edinburgh Skeptics implement a harassment policy for their meetings/conventions.

June 2nd

Lousy Canuck
The further hyper-skepticism stalling our conversation: I make an effort to refocus our conversation on the topic of harassment policies in general, pointing out various troll silencing tactics that boil down to hyperactive skepticism which will not accept any amount of evidence that there is even any harassment to be dealt with. I advocate steamrolling these trolls and moving on with the conversation without them. I also publish Pteryxx’s research on the problem of harassment under-reporting, and how it makes what evidence we do have about harassment somewhat underwhelming.

note on Rob Tarzwell’s profile: Rob discusses two more anecdotes about harassment at TAM with which he was directly involved, including one repeat offender attempting to use a camera on a telescoping monopod to take pictures up their dresses. This upskirt photographer has apparently been discussed by participants in previous years and kicked out of previous TAM events. The photographer is also evidently running for Congress. Said photographer was mentioned a day before at XBlog in comments, and defended his actions claiming to have had the monopod for the sole purpose of taking pictures of himself with famous people. This is notwithstanding the multiply substantiated claims of harassment.

Ashley F. Miller
DJ Fact Correction: Ashley corrects a grievous misinterpretation on DJ Grothe’s part where he says that Ashley “didn’t think it was worth reporting” her original incident of harassment. She did, in fact, and thought DJ was directly involved in kicking her harasser out because of it. Turns out DJ threw the guy out for unrelated reasons.

June 3rd

comment on Why I Won’t Be at TAM This Year: DJ Grothe apologizes to Rebecca Watson for his misconstruing her intentions. He repeats a number of accusations of bullying, misrepresentation and dishonesty leveled at the other women he’s previously blamed for the low TAM female registration.

Almost Diamonds
What a Strange Creature: Stephanie covers the apology and makes a few quick notes with regard to whom he did not apologize (e.g. Jen, Stephanie, Ashley Miller), and points out that he claims in the apology that Stephanie has not contacted conference organizers.

Lousy Canuck
DJ Grothe apologizes to one woman: I blockquote the apology in full in a post and link to Stephanie’s reply at Skepchick, and discuss problems with the apology in the comments with various other commenters.

Butterflies & Wheels
Degodwinization: Ophelia corrects the clumsy analogy about women reporting harassment being blamed for it, which has so far served as a distraction and a means to bully her. Orac apologizes for the parts he thinks he went off the rails, but trolls regardless press the advantage and the meme that Ophelia said “TAM is like Nazi Germany” takes hold.

June 4th

Lousy Canuck
The Grothebot 5000 Meme: Commenter Josh, Token SpokesGay uses MemeGenerator to skewer DJ Grothe. I post about it, and in doing so, describe DJ’s actions as “running around being a douchebag to those women who are identifying the problem and working to solve it”. In comments, I obliquely reference DJ’s preemptive reference to his being gay from the Facebook comment on the 26th. Trollish elements manufacture outrage from this and call me homophobic on Twitter while sending @-replies to dozens of well-placed skeptics. This goes on for several days. Russell Blackford calls for my being kicked out of FtB.

Almost Diamonds
What did DJ Apologize For?: Stephanie itemizes the parts of DJ Grothe’s original offenses that he’s apologized for, and what he expressly reiterated or doubled down on. Characterizing his apology to Rebecca as an apology to all the women he’s dismissed is demonstrably wrong, and this post demonstrates.

About that TAM harassment policy…: Stephanie refers to every time anyone has mentioned TAM’s harassment policy from 2011, and the fact that it has always been referred to in “past tense”. She also points to Kimbo Jones’ asking for clarification on the current year’s harassment policy, and the silence thereafter.

Surly Women Grants: 6 More Winners: Surly Amy announces six more winners in the initiative to send women to TAM via the various fundraisers that Skepchick has organized and participated in over the past year. It is important to note that Skepchick was founded almost expressly for the purpose of raising money to send women to TAM, and it has done so every year since inception. Amy makes clear the point that nobody has ever said that TAM is any more or less safe for women than any other convention or the background societal harassment you might encounter. (The question of “safe spaces” is a different one altogether.)

June 5th

Greta Christina’s Blog
Sexual Harassment, and What “Not Naming Names” Does And Does Not Mean: Greta discusses the Catch-22 of taking reports seriously and the troll meme that this is a “witch-hunt”. She directly confronts the trolls on this point.

June 6th

Lousy Canuck
An apology, a mea culpa, and my stated opinion of DJ Grothe: After Natalie Reed pointed out a legitimate grievance with the comment I had made that trolls used to call me a homophobe, I revised the comment to avoid accidentally incurring splash damage with the meme that gay men are misogynistic as a matter of course. The very first comment is about how I’m a misogynist. People are still upset that I called DJ a douchebag, but I stick to my guns because he still hasn’t apologized adequately for his offensive “locker room talk” and “regret” of “sexual exploits”.

Ashley F. Miller
Aren’t you making it up? – Why women don’t report harassment: Ashley displays a very telling sort of troll where, despite multiple lines of corroborated evidence that the harassment she described previously really happened, asks very pointedly “are you sure you aren’t just making it all up?”

CFI’s Women in Secularism Conference | The Intersection of Non-theism and Feminism : The panel at WIS that started this conversation — video uploaded to Youtube. Sikivu Hutchinson, Jen McCreight, Ophelia Benson and Rebecca Watson.

June 7th

Ask an Atheist radio show
SEXISM! IT EXISTS AMONGST AND BETWEEN ATHEISTS!: AaA telegraphs that they’re going to do a show about “dogmatic feminists” in the community, the fight regarding sexism, and that they plan on making it pretty much about how both sides are equally bad.

June 8th

Lousy Canuck
You Must Always Be Nice: Why I’m not being nice to DJ Grothe: I summarize the manufactroversy around my calling DJ Grothe a douchebag, why it is not in fact out of character or hypocritical of me to use naughty words while simultaneously telling people not to use slurs, and why preventing splash damage while focusing attacks on only those people who have made offensive remarks is important.

Almost Diamonds
Those oversensitive, lying women: Stephanie describes and tears apart two breeds of trolls — those who claim harassment victims and potential harassers face a problem of defining what “counts” as harassment, and that the harassers often just have different definitions; and that the bigger problem of harassment policies is the possibility of false accusations. The fact that the concern on the trolls’ part that they might not be believed mimicks the very real concern that women won’t be believed if they come forward with their assault cases is telling.

June 9th

June 10th

Almost Diamonds
Doing away with “drama”: Stephanie discusses the frequent dismissal of this harassment campaign as merely interpersonal ‘drama’ (read: conflict) between several individuals, rather than an actual legitimate conflict.

Ask an Atheist radio
The Problem of Dogmatic Feminism: The AaA podcast put together a show talking about how people in the feminist sections of the secular movements who are trying to encourage harassment policies apparently “don’t tolerate dissent”. The evidence provided is that they have banned people who have mistreated them elsewhere. Stephanie Zvan asked to be part of the show via email since they were going to be talking about her (among other so-called “dogmatic” feminists), and was told what the call-in hours for “all listeners” are, as though she was just another listener and not the topic of conversation. She manages to call in as a guest, and corrects them on what they’re actually trying to say — that the feminists are stating things forcefully. Notably, the comments are filled with the usual misogynist suspects calling FtBers names. Yes, the same ones that were banned on Stephanie’s and Ophelia’s blogs, which Becky believes shows that the feminists are being dogmatic.


June 11th

Sexual Intelligence
Sexual Harassment or Unwanted Sexual Attention: [trigger warning for dismissiveness of sexual harassment] Dr. Marty Klein recounts Elyse’s encounter with the couple soliciting sex from strangers, gets a number of major facts wrong including conflating Elyse with both Rebecca Watson and Surly Amy. He edits it to read that it’s a “composite” story, but the original is reblogged to Psychology Today unaltered.

June 12th

Ask An Atheist Takes On Dogmatic Feminism: Greg covers the Ask an Atheist podcast’s complete failure to engage on the actual issues, and their lack of evidence that anyone involved in this discussion has a central dogma.

SkepchickCON Harassment Policy (New and Improved): Skepchick updates their harassment policy to improve coverage, taking into account feedback from commenters.

June 13th

Almost Diamonds
The Great Penis Debate: For the Ardent Atheist podcast, a number of men and two women who’ve come out against feminist activities in the skeptical movement in the past record a Google Hangout where for an hour and a half they get basically everything about this fight wrong. I can’t be more charitable than that. Noteworthy for Emery Emery (co-producer of The Aristocrats) saying [ROT13 for sex act trigger] Fgrcunavr Mina fubhyq fhpx uvf pbpx.

CSICon – Harassment Policy (PDF): More ^than Men reports that CSICon has adopted an official harassment policy and sent it to them to host as part of their project itemizing those policies

June 14th

Lousy Canuck
In Medias Res: How to find the plot if you’re just tuning in: Trying to combat a trend in commenters joining discussions late and getting things desperately wrong, I prepare a how-to guide (with specific advice to this discussion) on how to learn what came before this.

Almost Diamonds
Those Meddling Kids: Stephanie links to the Facebook post on Rob Tarzwell’s wall and the subsequent discussion over the several days since he posted it. The number of reported-but-since-forgotten TAM harassment incidents is growing!

It’s Always the Coverup: PZ weighs in on the newest harassment incident reports, suggesting that DJ Grothe, JREF and TAM are actively engaging in covering these incidents up so they can say it’s a “safe space” by pointing to a zero on their record. PZ also points out that nobody’s saying harassment happens MORE often at TAM than at other conventions.

Greta Christina’s Blog
Sexual harassment and the OpenSF Conference code of conduct: Greta discusses a polyamory convention — a community that is defined by sexual openness and a desire for its members to “hook up” with one another — that has adopted very strong anti-harassment policy that includes rules like “no touching without verbal permission”.

June 15th

Lousy Canuck
I create and begin curating this link farm timeline.

Greta Christina’s Blog
Holy. Fucking. Shit.: Greta reacts to the further reports of harassment that DJ has subsequently forgotten as reported at Almost Diamonds yesterday.

Butterflies & Wheels
Squicked again: Ophelia reacts to Dr. Marty Klein getting all the salient facts wrong with regards to the Skepchick Elyse “Sex and the Keynote” issue in June 11th’s Sexual Intelligence blog entry.

June 16th

Blag Hag
No I won’t be going to TAM: Jen explains why she will not be attending TAM. She notes that it is not because of how she fears being personally harassed or otherwise accosted, but rather a combination of factors that includes DJ Grothe’s dismissive attitude and blaming her directly as one of the reasons female attendance is down.

Almost Diamonds
“The Great Penis Debate” Transcript, Part I
“The Great Penis Debate” Transcript, Part II
“The Great Penis Debate” Transcript, Part III
Kate Donovan’s transcription of the Ardent Atheist Google+ hangout Stephanie posted on June 13th.

Butterflies & Wheels
This thing is different from the other: Ophelia discusses the Ask an Atheist podcast and Becky’s evident quote-mining and deceptive synopses of what was said by whom.

June 17th

Greta Christina’s Blog
Update/ Clarification/ Correction on “Holy. Fucking. Shit.”: Greta hosts clarifying comments by one of the people who pointed out the potential upskirt photographer to TAM and hotel security.

Google+ Hangout
FtB and Rebecca Watson have a Google+ hangout (runtime: 1h10min) to discuss the harassment debacle and how it intersected with DJ Grothe’s irresponsible messaging and TAM. Video is posted at:
XBlog (and followup comments)
Butterflies & Wheels (and followup comments)
Lousy Canuck

Almost Diamonds
Harming TAM: Stephanie Zvan responds to the parts of the “PenisGate Debate” that involved the participants repeatedly claiming we on the pro-harassment-policies side of the debate “just want to hurt TAM” by itemizing exactly how DJ Grothe has hurt TAM in his attempting to throw women bloggers and people reporting harassment under the bus.

Monopod Man and other matters. An update: Greg Laden discusses the “potential upskirt photographer” who had been reported repeatedly for harassment and kicked out of at least one TAM. A commenter explains that this person posted enthusiastically about voyeur photography on JREF’s forums, and could be responsible for upskirt photographs posted in another forum under the same name.

June 18th

Victim Blaming 101: PZ eviscerates someone’s post where he declares by fiat that TAM is a safe space by virtue of there being hotel security to deal with harassment. This is, of course, missing the larger point of enacting strong harassment policies, because “telling hotel security” has been recommended in most of the posts on this topic since the beginning, and it’s still happening. Policies provide a prophylactic effect as well as provide a framework for the convention staff to not only support the victims but prevent the abusers from repeating their actions year after year.

Safe Space: WilloNyx has a great discussion up explaining the difference between “safe space” and “unsafe space” and “not a safe space”, which are distinct and easily mistaken in this conversation. DJ and his supporters are especially guilty of these errors, thinking “not a safe space” means you’re going to get harassed or molested as a matter of course, and that the messaging that the secular community is no better than the background levels of misogyny somehow condemns us as evil raping monsters.

Jeremy Stangroom: Greg covers Stangroom’s accusations on Twitter that Freethought Blogs is full of bullies, and that bullies sometimes end lives.

June 19th

JREF Welcomes New Communications Director: DJ Grothe posts a short interview with their newly-hired communications director Carrie Poppy, who fills the position abdicated by Sadie Crabtree in February 2012.

Butterflies & Wheels
I’m Out: After receiving more than one email suggesting she would be shot and killed at TAM, Ophelia bowed out. The response from JREF amounts to “thanks for letting us know.” Notable also for a troll in comments [ROT13 for victim-blaming] gryyvat jbzra jub qba’g ercbeg be pna’g pbaivapr ynj rasbeprzrag gung gurve ercbegf ner frevbhf, gung gurl’er cnegyl erfcbafvoyr sbe nal shegure encrf pbzzvggrq ol gurve encvfgf.

Lousy Canuck
Safe: I was writing a piece on the difference between “unsafe”, “safe space” and “not a safe space” when I heard about the threats Ophelia received. The piece took a turn toward outraged but ultimately tries to synthesize a lot of the language problems in these fights.

Greta Christina’s Blog
“I have never once seen the victim go without being called a liar”: Guest Post by Amanda Marcotte: As the title says, Marcotte discusses how frequently they are doubted when a victim comes forward with a claim of harassment or sexual victimization.

June 20th

En Tequila Es Verdad
How not to handle harassment: While Dana Hunter has been link-farming the conversation previously, this is the first time she’s drawn conclusions as to exactly how DJ has mishandled the entire debacle. Thorough documentation of what went wrong where.

Almost Diamonds
Why #ididnotreport: [trigger warning] Stephanie and many commenters share their stories of molestation and rape, and why they didn’t report them or how they reported but were not taken seriously. One gets the impression that the reasons for the underreporting problem are completely valid, not just misperceptions on the parts of the victims.

Dubito Ergo Sum
Pascal’s Reporter: Tom Foss describes the decision matrix that led to the troll on Ophelia’s I’m Out thread and their victim-blaming, and explains what’s broken and missing and what assumptions are invalid in that matrix.

June 21st

Greta Christina’s Blog
Why I Have Hope: Greta explains why, despite how bad it all might seem, she feels the fight to import social justice values into the secular and skeptical movements is winnable.

Schroedinger’s Threat: Greta laments the threats that forced Ophelia from speaking at TAM, and discusses how a threat need not be “credible” to be threatening, as every threat is a mystery as to its actual credibility until it’s carried out.

Lousy Canuck
The FtB Conversation about TAM: transcript, pt. 2: Second half of the transcript for the Google+ Hangout conversation we had on Sunday.

Are harassment policies “sex negative”?: WilloNyx challenges the myth that a harassment policy would eliminate all consensual sexual activity at any convention where it’s implemented.

Feminism – The Other F Word
All is Not Well in Viagraland: Misogyny, Sexism and Sexual Harassment in the Atheist Community: Jacqueline S. Homan compiles a list of pointed questions which she’s posed to JREF regarding the ongoing harassment in the community, and the evident lack of will to do something about it.

June 24

June 25

Richard Carrier’s blog
On Sexual Harassment: Richard Carrier outlines what points people should agree to before discussing harassment policies, and if you’re not agreeing to those points, you’re being unreasonable. He weaves an excellent case for harassment policies, and as someone who attends a good number of atheist conferences, his insights are valuable.

June 26th

American Atheists
American Atheists hosts a conference call announcing their new harassment policy, which I’ve posted here on my blog. PZ posts it too. Stephanie Zvan was on the call and adds a good deal of context, focusing on the sex positivity and harassment intolerance. Dana Hunter also got to be on the call and adds her thoughts. My own thoughts are that this is easily the strongest and best harassment policy proffered in this discussion, combining many of the strengths of the OpenSF and GeekFeminism policies, as well as policies from the ACLU and a few other sources. HUGE WIN.

As of June 21, 2012, I’ve mostly stopped adding daily blog posts, as this timeline is getting unwieldy and therefore less useful than I’d originally envisioned. As fascinating as watching the various troll tactics morphing in realtime might be, the campaign was largely won, given the large number of conferences that have taken it seriously and implemented strong policies. I’ll pretty much from here on out only be adding major movements, like new conventions building policies or DJ Grothe cluing in on what he did wrong and correcting his mistakes.

Harassment policies campaign – timeline of major events

138 thoughts on “Harassment policies campaign – timeline of major events

  1. 1

    Note: the May 21st Pharyngula post was actually by PZ’s daughter Skatje, not PZ himself.

    Thanks for expanding on this! I admit that was more work than I could put into a comment in one day.

  2. 2

    Corrected, thanks Pteryxx. And I never meant to pressgang you into doing any of the work to begin with, so your efforts are greatly appreciated.

    I suspect I’ll have to do this in waves. I’m bedward at the moment. Hopefully much more in the morning.

  3. 4

    What kagerato said. Thanks, Jason and Pteryxx.

    Jason, I suggest you add DJ’s Facebook comment about fewer women registrants at TAM, as quoted on Kylie Sturgess’s blog (May 30th).

  4. 5

    May I recommend that you include PZ’s post of 31 May, “DJ, please fix this genuine problem”. Sound in itself but also the comments inclue quite a good look at the operation of privilege in real life and also why, “But the women must report it!” is not the entire answer to this problem.

  5. 6

    Hi, I have a question. If I offend for seeming to JAQ or something, I’ll understand, but I’ve been reading these links for the past two days (I’m a pharyngula lurker who’s recently decided to read other blogs where the comments threads don’t race into the hundreds of comments before breakfast).
    My question is: The people (women) who have experienced such behaviour from these “big names” in the skeptic community, why don’t they find some “wikileakish” way of releasing the names (times, dates, maybe evidence would be awesome)? This reluctance to out these people as abusive due to concerns about the skeptic movement sound oddly like the justifications for covering up for paedophile priests. Surely that can’t do as much damage as has already been done by this divide?

  6. 7

    Also, I apologize (RuPaulogize?) if this is the wrong post to leave questions on, if directed I’ll happily take my comments and ask them on some more appropriate post.

  7. 8


    If only it were that simple! Were you tuned in to all this when Rebecca Watson described an incident without identifying the person?

    If yes you will recall that four words spoken quietly in a video that no-one on the planet was obliged to watch led to a campaign of vilification, threats of rape and threats to kill her.

    Now we see, in the present round, that the world is not short of men who will – without any attempt to check the facts or follow the story – leap to the defence of someone who has seriously put his foot in his mouth and caused great offence to his own colleagues by doing it. Why do they defend him? Because he is prominent, because he has some power, because they like his smile but above all because he is male. And, as they assume everyone agrees, bitchez ain’t shit.

    Now imagine you are a woman no-one ever heard of who wants to complain of harassment and/or assault by someone of equal prominence. What do you think would really happen to her? I mean it’s her against the whole fucking power structure of the planet and no guarantee that even the cop who takes her statement thinks that sexual assault is any big deal.

    C’m on!

  8. 9

    samoanbiscuit – it’s a lot larger of an issue than just a few “bad apples” who can be named and shamed into changing their behavior. It started off with a comment to that effect, but it’s about the larger atmosphere of what is tolerated and encouraged as behavior at conventions and in the “movement” in general. Having a name list, even one that is ironclad anonymous for submission, is like swatting individual hornets one by one when the 3-foot diameter hive is sitting right there over in the corner. It wastes a lot of energy without getting much of a result.

  9. 10

    Samoanbiscuit – hi. If you take a look at the timeline above, and the Pharungula link recommended in comment #5, you’ll find discussion of the problems caused by even anonymous ‘naming and shaming’, and how it can make the victims’ experiences worse when the backlash starts. When a mild request for guys to desist results in the epic online shitstorm that it did, is it any wonder that people are reluctant to come forward?

  10. 11

    PZ’s post of May 31:


    Referencing Ophelia’s May 30 response to DJ’s naming women bloggers:


    samoanbiscuit: Short version, the accusations won’t be believed, and the women making them WILL be systemically attacked. They may try to remain anonymous but sustained effort could out some of them; and even describing their experiences too accurately could lead the named harassers to identify them.

    To see just how bad this can be WITH witnesses and support, see Ashley Miller’s post addressing exactly this:


    And with the caveat that it’s Jason’s blog and I’m not him, 101-level questions should probably go in the In Media Res thread (“How can I find out what’s going on when I’m new to this?”)


  11. 12

    Great answers all, but per Pteryxx’s recommendation, we should be redirecting questions like this off the harassment timeline and onto the In Medias Res post. To that end, I threw my two cents in on his question here.

    Just blockquote it, answer it there, and point the link there from here. Thanks all!

    (In the middle of a work crisis, can’t add to the timeline right now. Soon hopefully!)

  12. 16

    Greta Christina just responded to the latest reports of harassment from TAM (and wow is she pissed). Prior to this she had only two posts during the harassment discussion, which she linked therein:

    June 5: On why naming names is not an appropriate response


    June 14: A sample anti-harassment policy from a polyamory convention, demonstrating that policies and consensual sex go together wonderfully:


    Those posts mentioned and summarized in:


  13. 17

    Ophelia’s will be a bit tougher because she posts so darn many little posts. Dana Hunter’s roundup mainly includes the *most recent* posts responding to the Drama backlash incidents.

  14. 19

    Thank you everyone for your incredibly informative posts. Certain repliers did not seem to understand that by “wikileakish” I meant that the names would be provided anonymously, but then Jason said what should have been obvious to me: anonymous, secret accusations have the potential to be abused and result in even worse damage. Thanks again, and I shall ask any further questions on the In Media Res post comment thread.

  15. 20

    I am noticing a trend in many posts involving “safe spaces” being poorly defined or intentionally misdefined by trolls or other anti-policy advocates. I need to get around to writing a post on it. But WHEN.

  16. 23

    “Safe space” does not have a Feminism 101 that I could find, but the wiki definition is pretty close. It’s just not limited to schools or workplaces.


    A place where anyone can relax and be fully self-expressed, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, age, or physical or mental ability; a place where the rules guard each person’s self-respect and dignity and strongly encourage everyone to respect others.[1]
    —Advocates for Youth

    In feminism, it means specifically a space where women can feel safe speaking, and also an environment supportive of survivors of sexual or domestic violence. (Unfortunately, there’s a lot of overlap between women and survivors.)

    …I also recommend the Google image search for “safe space”. *snif*

  17. 24

    Ok at the risk of duplicating pteryxx work (to be fair you did tell me the next 25 links where mine ;p)…

    Here’s an effort to collect ophelia’s many posts on the subject of sexual Harassment (SH) and policies and the controversies. Covering May 20-june 9th. I’ll let you pick what is most relevant or major nothing wrong with her style but ophelia likes to make lots of small posts.

    Haha getting terrible eyestrain so its only the 21 posts I that time period so I guess I owe you 4 more links pteryxx ;p

    May 21
    brief one talking about the beginning of the pushback from the comments at WiS

    May 22
    Talking about stephs posts on SH policies

    Talking about solution to SHarrassment.


    May 24th
    Responding to abby smith responding to stephs original articles

    Prevalence of sexual harassment on london streets

    on the ignore SH and it will go away

    Post against the talibanesque comment

    Post on the prevalence of sexual harassment

    May 29
    minor one on why women don’t speak up

    This post about how the claim of being talibanesque was wrong


    there was a post about elyse being given that swingers card


    Not Ophelia but Daniel Fincke made a guest post in reply to the post about Elyse incident.


    Then DJ spoke up and there was http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/05/shooting-the-messenger/

    in response to dj’s initial commentsabout rebecca and steph

    May 31st

    There was a little follow up about dj’s claims about the emails that started his comments.

    June 1st


    A post on Rebecca’s explanation for why she won’t be at tam. This is also where the TAM nazis analogy was made

    Then a second (minor?) post later in the day

    Then there was another post responding to a post by some UK skeptics mentioning a census of secular american women as to why they feel alienated.


    June 2nd
    On hyper skepticism


    June 3rd
    Ophelia apologises/revokes the nazis analogy

    june 4th
    A post on the difficulties of naming names

    June 5th
    Benson’s reply take on dj’s apology on skepchick

  18. 25

    Ok its in moderation but I put together 21 links from benson on the various issues and controversies from May 20-june 9th should you want it and/or for completeness.

  19. 26

    dang, thank you michaeld! I only got partway through with so much other stuff going on. I’m so grinning right now, awesome work!

  20. 27

    You’re welcome ^.^ I thought I’d try to give you a break, even thought I was sure that you’d post a duplicate list the moment I hit submit ;p

  21. 28

    It’s only tangentially related to the harassment policies campaign, but maybe there should be a mention of the fact that Grothe had established a history of poor responses months before the most recent multiple car wreck on the skepticism freeway.




  22. 30

    I saw smhll’s comment on In Media Res about the “safe space” quote that DJ cited. Rebecca linked to the full article in “Why I Won’t Be at TAM This Year”:

    Rebecca: Off the top of my head, your quote in USA Today might suggest that the freethought or skeptics movements are unsafe for women. This is from the article:

    “I thought it was a safe space,” Watson said of the freethought community. “The biggest lesson I have learned over the years is that it is not a safe space. . . ”


    The article is a summary of Elevatorgate and the realization that “atheism has a sexism problem”. Quote in fuller context (it’s the close of the article):

    P.Z. Myers, Pharyngula’s founding author, a 25-year veteran of the atheist community and an ardent supporter of Watson, said when he is asked to speak at events he routinely asks if women will be invited to speak — a suggestion he said never meets with resistance.

    But Elevatorgate, he said, “was different … It opened our eyes to the importance of diversity in the movement, and when you do that, you sometimes discover there are fringes to your diversity that you don’t really like.”

    That, he continued, creates “an interesting problem for us.”

    “We want to be welcoming to everyone and we don’t want to tell men who have been active in the movement for 20 years we don’t want you. What we would really like to do is educate these men to be a little more sensitive.”

    Watson would like that too.

    “I thought it was a safe space,” Watson said of the freethought community. “The biggest lesson I have learned over the years is that it is not a safe space and we have a lot of growing to do. The good news is there are a lot of people within the community who are interested in making it better and getting rid of our prejudices.”

  23. 32

    Also note: the comments of Stephanie’s Drama post contain the discussion of misogyny in the SGU forums:


    …And in real time, the floodgates have definitely opened.

    Greta’s follow-up to Those Meddling Kids:


    More instances of reported harassment from TAM, collected from the ongoing Facebook thread:


  24. 33

    Can I join this party? I want to start collecting and posting links to other FTB posts, but I don’t want to duplicate efforts if someone else has that covered.

  25. 34

    By all means — whatever links you think are notable, add in. I’m kinda pressed for time at the moment with the SSA blogathon starting soon and I haven’t any idea what all the links are that I’ll need to add to my posts as I’ve been completely swamped between work and the harassment fight. It might be a while before I get all the links already offered into the original post, considering I’m also summarizing them.

    Also, umm, you’re not the Matt Morse I know from university are you? If so, wow.

  26. 36

    Oh, that’s definitely going in. As you can tell, there are huge gaps, and that story happening right in the middle of it is a perfect example of harassment in our communities and how a harassment policy at a convention helped. Thanks for dropping the link though! I don’t think that was on my list, though I have a few that mention the event.

  27. 37

    “It might be a while before I get all the links already offered into the original post, considering I’m also summarizing them.”

    Haha yeah I know I kind of swamped you there…. sorry.

  28. Z

    If you add more extensive commentary, you can also point out the difference between “not [safe space]” and “[not safe] space”. Apparently this was (is?) a source of misunderstanding, especially between Grothe and Watson.

  29. 40

    Ok cause I’m feeling a little guilty dropping all of ophelia’s posts lets see if I can pick some of the bigger meatier ones. Although there are a lot many are fairly brief comments from her with large quotes from others (which is fine just maybe not for your list). So here are the more noteworthy ones I think…

    May 27 ignore and it will go away myth
    about the idea that if you ignore the problem it will fix itself

    May 28 Taliban come to foggy bottom
    Has a lot of links about the prevalence of sexual harrassment in the US

    May 30 Shooting the messenger
    a response to DJs initial comments

    June 1 Rebecca explains
    Is at least major in that it created the muddled TAM /nazis thing that keeps coming up. If so should include the follow up degodwinizing article.

    June 4th Reporting harassment and naming names
    A piece about the problems of such.

    I’m not sure that I’d include her post on it http://www.thetwentyfirstfloor.com/?p=3984

    This post about how skeptics should deal with sexual harassment has some good stats from the American secular census about womens’ negative experiences and feelings on the subject.

    Hopefully this helps save you a little time Jason.

  30. 42

    Sorry, I think I’m a different Matt Morse. I graduated from Harvey Mudd College in 1995. If you know me from there, you’ll have to remind me of when and how.

    Anyway, I’ve collected all the posts on FTB about harassment at conferences. I’ve left out the posts that have been previously mentioned in this thread. In some cases, the comments are more important than the posts themselves. In addition, there are many posts which are only tangentially related to the subject, but may have been inspired by the discussion of harassment at conferences. I have left those off this list, but have been compiling them separately. In some cases the comments on the tangential posts may deal directly with the subject.

    There’s also the problem of when to start. The current timeline starts with Jen’s comments at WiS, but you can argue that the starting point should be Rebecca’s “Guys, don’t do that,” or even earlier.

    Finally, the sheer volume of posts cries out for an executive summary. Perhaps a listing of the 5 or 10 most important posts from the timeline, so someone who wants to get up to speed can read a manageable number of posts.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhYKlEggiNY The CFI posted the video of the Women in Secularism panel discussion to YouTube on 6/6

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/ashleymiller/2012/05/19/liveblogging-the-women-in-secularism-conference-ii/ Ashley liveblogged the panel discussion at WiS

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/05/22/wiscfi-summarized/ PZ links to summaries of Women in Secularism
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd/2012/05/22/flirting-sex-and-lines/ JT on flirting at conferences
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/singham/2012/05/22/atheist-men-behaving-badly-and-the-bystander-issue-2/ Mano discusses the role of bystanders in preventing harassment

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2012/05/23/how-to-handle-bad-male-behavior/ Ed on speaking up about harassment
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2012/05/23/which-do-you-think-is-the-bigger-problem/ Greta on harassment at conferences vs. hooking up at conferences
    https://the-orbit.net/lousycanuck/2012/05/23/making-casual-bigotry-cost-with-minimal-splash-damage/ Jason talks about the problem of going public with accusations
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/entequilaesverdad/2012/05/23/the-conversation/ Dana summarizes the discussion up to that point

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/05/24/there-is-no-blacklist/ PZ talks about personal preferences for attending conferences
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers/2012/05/24/the-women-in-secularism-conference/ Daniel links to Ashley Miller’s coverage of WiS and the initial discussion of conference harassment at FTB

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/05/27/flirting-is-easy/ Stephanie follows up on JT’s flirting post
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2012/05/27/mass-hysteria/ Martin Wagner is reacts to the conflict about harassment

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/05/29/simple-guidelines/ PZ responds to Elyse’s harassment story from Skepchick with guidelines to avoid overstepping boundaries
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/05/29/the-thing-about-work/ Stephanie responds to Elyse’s harassment story, and conferences as workspaces
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2012/05/29/it-happens-every-time-like-clockwork/ Kazim responds to Elyse’s harassment story
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/hallq/2012/05/29/skeevy-conference-presenters-and-anti-harassment-policies/ Chris talks about harassment policies going too far

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2012/05/30/why-would-anyone-think-this-is-appropriate/ Ed repeats Elyse’s harassment story from Skepchick

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/xblog/2012/05/31/conferences-are-workplaces-for-many-that-does-not-mean-they-are-not-fun/ Greg discusses the ways in which conferences are workplaces, and should have similar HR rules
    https://the-orbit.net/lousycanuck/2012/05/31/conventions-are-workplaces-for-some-people-how-to-move-this-conversation-forward/ Jason discusses conferences as workplaces
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/entequilaesverdad/2012/05/31/this-is-why-im-so-damned-proud-to-blog-here/ Dana talks about the efforts FTB have made on harassment policies
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2012/05/31/no-dj-grothe-should-not-resign-from-jref/ Martin thinks DJ resigning would be going too far
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/crommunist/2012/05/31/flirting-fucking-and-tossing-the-pigskin/ Ian discusses flirting

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/xblog/2012/06/01/rebecca-watson-at-tam/ Greg links to Rebecca’s statement on TAM
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2012/06/01/i-want-to-be-howard-wolowitz-when-if-i-grow-up/ heicart gives her perspective
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/crommunist/2012/06/01/the-pros-of-cons/ Ian speaks about the value of conventions
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/hallq/2012/06/01/i-support-dj-grothe/ Chris stands up for DJ
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/ashleymiller/2012/06/01/11-thoughts-on-tampocalypse-2012/ Ashley responds to Rebecca Watson’s statement on TAM

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/06/03/godless-bitches-do-harassment/ Stephanie links to the discussion about harassment on the Godless Bitches podcast

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/xblog/2012/06/05/dj-grothe-vs-tony-stark/ Greg compares DJ Grothe to Tony Stark, with pictures

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/06/06/black-and-white/ Stephanie gets angry about focus on “douchebag” rather than attempted rape

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/06/07/why-i-wont-be-going-to-tam-this-year/ PZ’s statement on TAM. Points out that fewer women could be attending TAM because they are going to other conferences, not because of harassment issues
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers/2012/06/07/watch-the-women-in-secularism-panel-with-ophelia-sikivu-jen-and-rebecca/ Video of the WiS panel that started this discussion
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/xblog/2012/06/07/the-intersection-of-non-theism-and-feminism/ Greg posts the video of the panel
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/06/07/how-long-do-we-put-up-with-this/ Stephanie links to video of Susan Jacoby’s talk from WiS, and discusses context of Rebecca Watson tweet
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/06/the-intersection-of-non-theism-and-feminism/ Ophelia posts the Intersection of Non-theism and Feminism panel
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2012/06/video-the-intersection-of-non-theism-and-feminism/ Jen posts the video of the panel

    https://the-orbit.net/lousycanuck/2012/06/10/on-drama-vs-conflict-regarding-harassment-policies/ Jason follows up on an Almost Diamonds post about the word “drama”

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/06/11/the-problem-of-dogmatic-feminism/ Stephanie discusses “The Problem of Dogmatic Feminism” episode of Ask an Atheist
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/06/both-sides/ Ophelia discusses “The Problem of Dogmatic Feminism” episode of Ask an Atheist

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/06/12/a-con-with-an-anti-harassment-policy/ PZ talks about the CONvergence harassment policy

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/06/dont-give-it-to-them-give-it-to-us/ Ophelia responds to a guy complaining on Twitter about the Surly Women Grants
    https://the-orbit.net/lousycanuck/2012/06/13/a-little-perspective-on-the-troll-cry-of-witch-hunts/ Jason promotes a comment from Jacqueline Homan into a guest post, comparing the witch hunt accusation to the War on Women

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/06/mike-gillis/ Ophelia responds to Mike Gillis of Ask an Atheist about the posting of her email
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/06/why-is-she-going-there/ Ophelia responds to the “Great Penis Debate” video and discusses her ambivalence about attending TAM
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/06/bad-analogies-are-bad/ Ophelia responds to Becky Friedman’s post at Ask an Atheist
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/06/not-the-right-atheist-to-ask/ Ophelia states that she did not, and would not, give permission for her email to Becky Friedman to be posted at Ask an Atheist

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/06/squicked-again/ Ophelia responds to Dr. Marty Klein about Elyse
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/06/i-did-not-compare-tam-to-nazi-germany/ Ophelia pushes back against the claim that she compared TAM to Nazi Germany, as restated on the “Great Penis Debate” video
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/entequilaesverdad/2012/06/15/not-worth-the-price-of-admission/ Dana responds to the “Great Penis Debate”
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/ashleymiller/2012/06/15/the-point-of-the-tam-harassment-posts/ Ashley points out that women are not attending TAM because of DJ’s comments

  31. 43

    Wow, thanks for this and to Matthew Morse for all that work! This is going to be really useful in answering the mansplainers who want to ask, “Why aren’t you feminists being ~constructive~????”

  32. 44

    Chipping away at my existing stuff now. In case anyone’s subscribed to this, or wondering why they’re suddenly getting pingbacks and they come looking at this post.

  33. 45

    Here is my collection of links to discussion of sexual harassment at conventions and the attendance of women from sites other than FTB. Unlike my FTB links, this list is necessarily going to be incomplete. I have not done much independent searching for posts, more relying on links to other sources from the links I already had. I also have not gone through comments, so if there are links in comments on any of the posts, I have probably missed them.

    These links include some direct links to YouTube videos and podcasts, but I have not attempted to search for videos or podcasts in general. I have also ignored Facebook, Twitter, and online forums, on the assumption that effectively searching them would be too much effort.

    As a result, there are certain parts of the conversation I may be missing. In particular, I found no links making accusations of black lists or comparisons to the Taliban, but there are some posts which respond to those accusations. I’m not clear if I missed the original posts, if these accusations were made in some medium I wasn’t following, or if they were in comments on posts I have already listed.

    In addition, there were two blogs which had posts that mostly expressed their hatred of other participants in this discussion. I have added some posts from them that included what might be considered actual content, but have skipped most of their posts in this list. Reading through them was bad enough. I couldn’t deal with actually linking them all in.

    As before, I have excluding links which appeared in the main post or previous comments of this thread.

    http://scienceblogs.com/erv/2011/11/26/periodic-table-of-swearing/comment-page-49/#li-comment-42662 This is the first reference to WiS on the “Periodic Table of Swearing” thread at ERV. Included for completeness. I have not read through the thread to see what anyone there is saying about the discussion

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/05/22/beating-the-dead-horse-of-sexism-in-secularism/ Lauren responds to Stephanie Zvan’s Zero Intolerance post, making the point that this is a societal issue, not an issue specifically with secularism
    http://www.templeofthefuture.net/dialogue/what-about-the-gays James Croft asks how homosexuality fits in to the harassment issue

    http://scentednectar.blogspot.com/2012/05/utter-malicious-nonsense.html Scented Nectar accuses of Stephanie, Jen, etc. of a witch hunt (Note: there are a few other posts here on this subject, but they are hateful and do not contribute value to the discussion, so I have not included links)
    http://doubtingthomases.net/2012/05/23/the-trouble-with-women/ Zach states that he is aware of men who have a reputation for harassment and they should not be invited as speakers to conferences, and that secular events he organizes in the future will have harassment policies

    http://www.geoffreyfalk.com/wp_blog/?p=18504 “ERV” Geoff accuses Jen, Rebecca, Stephanie, etc. of making it up (Note: Geoff has many posts on this subject, most reprinting comments from elsewhere with little additional comments. Everything he posts is ugly and contributes little value to the discussion, so I have not included links to most individual posts.)

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/05/27/creating-a-safe-convention-for-attendees/ Lauren discusses steps conventions could take to become safe spaces
    http://www.skepticalabyss.com/?p=13 “Sexism At Skeptics Conferences-Part One. The Problem.” Skeptical Abyss states that conferences are a custom-made environment for sexual harassment to occur, and he will offer his solution in the next post

    http://thatweirdatheistgirl.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/a-first-step-to-ending-harassment-at-conferences/ A statement about the harassment policy at the upcoming Humanists of Florida Association conference

    http://skepchick.org/2012/05/sex-and-the-keynote/ Elyse on being inappropriately propositioned when at Skepticamp Ohio as a speaker
    http://www.dangeroustalk.net/?p=2951 “Why I Don’t Do Atheist Conventions” Staks doesn’t go to conventions because there’s too much “drama”
    http://godlessbitches.podbean.com/2012/05/29/episode-212/ Podcast discussion of sexual harassment
    http://emilyhasbooks.com/tensions-are-high/ Emily responds to Staks’ post on Dangerous Talk, saying that social awkwardness is not a problem but sexual harassment is

    http://skepchick.org/2012/05/sex-and-the-newbie/ Heina on the problem of speakers viewing con attendees sexually
    http://godlessbitches.podbean.com/2012/05/30/episode-213/ Second podcast on sexism and harassment

    http://events.skepchick.org/2012/05/31/skepchickcon-harassment-policy/ Initial SkepchickCON harassment policy (since revised)
    http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2012/05/in-defense-of-dj-grothe.html John Loftus supports DJ Grothe

    http://www.geoffreyfalk.com/wp_blog/?p=18633 “Feminism Poisons Everything”
    http://bigthink.com/daylight-atheism/the-ten-commandments-of-flirting-or-how-to-not-be-creepy-at-atheist-conventions Adam discusses flirting at conventions
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/06/01/resetting-the-inappropriate-sexual-proposal-counter/ Cartoon responding to Elyse’s Skepchick post
    http://www.skepticalabyss.com/?p=17 “What to do about sexism and sexual-harassment at skeptics events (Part Two). Name names.” Skeptical Abyss opposes harassment policies, and states that the solution is for targets to name their harassers
    http://www.skepticalabyss.com/?p=19 “On The Vapidity And Narcissism Of Rebecca Watson, And In Praise Of DJ Grothe” Skeptical Abyss dismisses Rebecca’s statements about not returning to TAM
    http://emilyhasbooks.com/perseverance-policies/ Emily argues for the necessity of harassment policies

    http://skepchick.org/2012/06/surly-tam-women-grants-six-more-winners/ Amy explains why skepchick is continuing to send women attendees to TAM

    http://www.newdissidentradio.com/archives/ardent/2012/june/ardent-060612.mp3 “Episode 69: DJ Grothe on Sexism and Nygard’s Penis” Ardent Atheist podcast interview with DJ Grothe about sexism

    http://skepchick.org/2012/06/talks-from-women-in-secularism-and-euro-atheists/ Rebecca posts the WiS panel, and Susan Jacoby’s WiS video, and multiple videos from Euro Atheists
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/06/07/the-intersection-of-non-theism-and-feminism/ Hemant posts the WiS panel
    http://askanatheist.tv/2012/06/07/sexism-it-exists-amongst-and-between-atheists/ Ask An Atheist summarizes blog posts on harassment in anticipation of their 6/10 podcast

    http://archive.kpft.org/mp3/kpft_120608_150007pg.mp3 Partisan Gridlock radio broadcast with Rebecca Watson and Emily Dietle
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7yJQz2USig YouTube video of Partisan Gridlock interview

    http://emilyhasbooks.com/sexual-harassment-an-interview/ Emily links to the Partisan Gridlock video on YouTube and responds to some comments

    http://askanatheist.tv/2012/06/10/the-problem-of-dogmatic-feminism/ Ask an Atheist podcast about sexism and harassment, with call-in from Stephanie Zvan
    http://emilyhasbooks.com/a-dose-of-conscience/ Martin Pribble is surprised to hear that harassment is a problem at atheist/skeptical conventions

    http://sexualintelligence.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/sexual-harassment-or-unwanted-sexual-attention/ A retelling of Elyse’s story from Skepchick, without names, that dismisses the incident as minor unwanted attention

    http://events.skepchick.org/2012/06/12/skepchickcon-harassment-policy-new-and-improved/ revisions to the SkepchickCON harassment policy
    http://askanatheist.tv/2012/06/12/dogmatic-feminism-discussion-podcast-part-1/ First part of Ask an Atheist followup to “dogmatic feminism” podcast

    http://askanatheist.tv/2012/06/13/a-response-to-ophelia-benson/ Becky Friedman responds to Ophelia Benson’s request for citations of “dogmatic” feminism
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xpy661iGE4 “The Great PenisGate Debate with Emery Emery and Wendell” Ardent Atheist video in which Wendell argues against Emery’s support of DJ Grothe and TAM

    http://askanatheist.tv/2012/06/14/dogmatic-feminism-pt-2-and-some-other-things/ followup podcast from Ask an Atheist, including discussion of publishing Ophelia’s email and ERV

    http://www.skepticalabyss.com/?p=31 “One Alleged TAM Harasser Responds” Interview with person who claims to be the person accused of upskirt photos. The supposed accused person denies this, and states that hotel security spoke about the camera, but not TAM staff

    One last point: Ashley F. Miller moved from her WordPress blog to FTB this past week. As a result, all of her posts have two addresses, one at WordPress and one at FTB. I don’t know if comments are preserved or synchronized at both locations, so while all of her posts have been previously listed with her FTB address, I’m including the WordPress addresses here for completeness.


  34. 47

    Note – I suggest including content warnings for the ERV thread, Scented Nectar’s blog, and the Ask an Atheist threads, because of hateful insults in the discussion. If there’s a way to put these links behind a fold so nobody clicks on them by accident, that might be helpful too.

    The sexualintelligence post misrepresenting Elyse’s report is also up at Psychology Today:


    and both of those should probably have content warnings too.

  35. 49

    I thought the content warning on the ERV thread went without saying, but it should have one. If it’s not clear, the Geoffrey Falk posts and probably the Skeptical Abyss posts (didn’t read them in detail) should also have warnings. I have to admit that I didn’t read the comments on the Ask An Atheist posts, but from the posts themselves it was clear that the comments had gotten ugly.

    Meanwhile, my link collections are already out of date, with new posts like the Almost Diamonds transcripts of the Great PenisGate Debate video up. (Again, I haven’t even read them, but It sounds like content warnings are appropriate.)

    At some point in putting this collection together, I stopped trying to read everything. Seems much healthier.

  36. 50

    I’m afraid that as a matter of course, while I’m noting certain shifts in troll tactics, unless there’s a specific reason to point people to things like Falk’s or ERV’s triggerfests, I’m not going to do so. They can be in the comments though.

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