The 2012 Lousy Year In Review

Welcome to the End of the World after-show, where we look over the highlights of the year prior to the Mayan calendar’s running out. Of course, we’re all still around after the apocalypse because all the prayer averted Planet Nibiru at the last possible second, but we already had the after-show all planned out, so let’s do the highlights anyway. Highlights of, at least, my favorite blog posts from my favorite blog: Escher Girls err… mine!

I came out swinging with a bunch of big posts clustered together. Like where I argue in Are Universal Statements Always a Problem that you should never use always and always use never (or do I?). I helped (in my minor way) with the launch of the More ^Than Men project, and explained that my blog is a privately-owned pub, and not my home or a public space. I did some graphing to show that controversy does not drive blog hits, but rather happy-making posts that are troll-proof drive hits. The rest of the year was spent posting turtle videos. The network protested SOPA, making some small dent in the destruction of the internet by copyright hawks. And I compared ninjas and feminists to prove a point about skepticism and feminism not only being compatible, but far more complementary than in opposition.

Jodi and I participated in a photo campaign, holding a sign stating that gay marriage doesn’t threaten our marriage. I learned of the existence of “The Amazing Atheist” TJ Kincaid and was nonplussed. I was further nonplussed by trolls’ inability to justify Penn Jillette’s blatant misogyny over a blog post that he declared “unfunny” and a woman that he declared to be nothing but her genitals. There was excellent conversation had about gamification of religion after I spat a few disjointed thoughts onto a post. I also attacked the idea that FtB is a collection of tokens, because that’s a damaging and patently ludicrous idea. And I take a look at someone’s thesis claiming that religion is problematized in video games, arguing that it’s no more problematic than it is in real life and that the depictions of religion in games is varied enough to mirror just about every conceivable real outcome of religion.

I wrote a short treatise about how Bill Maher’s ideas about science and women severely undercut his likeability with regard to atheism or liberalism, entitled Bill Maher is a Fucking Idiot. This turned out to be the perfect title because I still get Google traffic to that post — and no matter how right he is about atheism and liberalism, he’s wrong about all that other stuff. I also pointed out the misplaced advocacy in a trans rights bill’s petition getting several orders of magnitude fewer signatures than a petition to reinstate a trans woman who was kicked out of a beauty pageant. My moderation queue of comments was getting pretty smelly and chamber-pot-like, so I emptied the nasty gunk out (onto a blog post). Neil Gaiman pointed out that piracy boosted his sales, and I provided a few further examples of the same scenario. I also covered Huggies’ misandry (yes, like REAL misandry, not like “you’re not talking about men constantly” misandry from the antifeminist crowd!), and rectification of same.

We did the big reveal on a series of April Fool’s pranks, including a Stylish theme that sadly no longer works with our new theme. I also did a very very evil thing on Easter and showed you how to cook some tasty baby chickens. Mock The Movie was reborn to snark for your sins. We also discovered that SOPA wasn’t the end of the power grab, with CISPA following close on its heels. And science finally put an end to the idea that cell phones cause cancer, though nobody told the anti-technology pseudoscientists.

A Baptist preacher advocates beating gender roles into your kids, but it was totes a kinda sorta a joke (only not). The Tropes Vs Women In Video Games kickstarter happened, with nobody aware of what kind of shitstorm it was about to cause. John Scalz attempted to explain privilege using a video game analogy, and I refined it by talking Skyrim in what might be one of my favorite posts of the year. Another of my favorite posts is about making casual bigotry cost, while avoiding splash damage. And then the harassment policies campaign began, and I started picking at the edges of the troll narrative by discussing how “Talibanesque” they are. I further tried to unblock the logjam stalling our conversations.

June was the major harassment policy campaign month, so there’s a lot to do with that campaign all smashed together. I discussed the problem of hyper-skepticism in our community with regard to misogyny, as though everything a woman says about being harassed must be scrutinized beyond any reasonable doubt. DJ Grothe decided to step into the harassment policy campaign to make it all about TAM (incorrectly), and I stepped in it myself, doing unintentional splash damage while excoriating Grothe’s douchebaggery. I started the timeline of major events to set some incorrect ideas about the timing of it all to rest. I also wrote this primer on why jumping into the middle of a fight without any background is counterproductive.

To cleanse the palate, this month I also >did some geekery with a PS3 controller and USB cord. And hot on the heels of the Trayvon Marton murder, another young black boy was shot for taking out his trash. In addition, I took part in the SSA blogathon and in the first ever FtB Google Plus hangout. You know, the one where Al Stefanelli expresses his disbelief that anyone’s trying to destroy TAM, rather than trying to make it better. Oh how times have changed.

I went to CONvergence! That is, after all, part of my July routine. What’s novel, though, is that I was on three panels: Don’t Feed the Trolls, Doomsday Scenarios and Growing Up Online. I also continued talking about the harassment policies campaign pushback, with a piece on how they protect religion from criticism, and how they require consent forms written in triplicate. Richard Dawkins made a sidelong stab at Skepchick over the vaccines-for-hugs campaigns they run, and I expressed my disappointment once again. The harassment policies campaign wound down to a close, with dozens of orgs and conventions adopting policies, the last of which being TAM’s “secret police” policy which, while it certainly counts, was just a monkey’s-paw wish misinterpretation of the campaign. Lastly, we collectively unearthed all the ways Rebecca Watson ruins everything.

I wrote a post on pseudonymity while, unbeknownst to me, by my side, my darling cat Molly was in her last hours before succumbing to kidney failure. I still miss her. The Mars rover Curiosity successfully touched down on Mars, missing its mark by a mere few hundred metres. Thunderf00t was kicked off the FtB mailing list for the second time after he’d gained access without permission the first time he was kicked off. I made an apearance on the Geeks Without God podcast, and had a blast talking about comics and aliens. Played with some Venn diagrams to explain why Atheism Plus came into being (and no, it’s not in response to Richard Dawkins). Also did a G+ hangout on A+ with Debbie Goddard, Alex Gabriel, Ophelia Benson and Stephanie Zvan.

I proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Atheism Plus is just like a religion (because both of them dare deign to tell you that certain actions are objectively nasty). Trolls kept up their objectively nasty bullshit though, proving how irreligious and undogmatic they are by constantly harassing Jen McCreight until she decided to stop blogging altogether. Said trolls continued to harass other bloggers by pretending to be them and saying ridiculous and damaging shit. I further explained the availability heuristic and why some anti-harassment-policies trolls can’t wrap their heads around the idea that some harassment is too much (even if it’s not “all”). And finally, in another of my very favorite blog posts of the year, I burned some witches. Or not.

I gently chastised a good man (making him, naturally, WITCH OF THE WEEK AND FIRED FROM ATHEISM AND FEMINISM AND FREETHOUGHT — protip, there’s no such thing as gently on the blogosphere apparently). I further expressed my dismay that Justin Vacula didn’t learn any lessons about reality in his stepping down from the SCA leadership position — sadness that it’s still all “feminazis and witch hunts” with him. More proof that there’s no “gently” on the internet. Meanwhile, a girl’s family is harassed for teh lulz after she committed suicide. Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard helped dictionaries realize their errors in misdefining misogyny as “hatred of women”, or misdefining hatred. Dictionaries have had to review both words to make sure misogynists couldn’t claim “but I don’t HATE women!!1”, thus ending all dictionary arguments against use of the word forever more having no effect whatsoever. I managed to recover a bunch of data from Glendon Mellow’s failing hard drive, and got a blog post on how to recover data from failing hard drives out of it.

November was not a heavy month for posting actual meaty writings, sadly. A movie about Noah’s Ark was delayed due to flooding. Harper quietly celebrated the destruction of the long gun registry. A father hacked Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker to give Link a textual gender reassignment. I expressed some thoughts on Savita Halappanavar’s untimely death and on the Catholic church. My wife Jodi got an IUD and blogged about it, after herself not finding much information on the intertubes.

JT Eberhard and I ran the first annual Gamers For Godlessness 24 Hour Gameathonapalooza fundraiser, giving $500+ each to Women In Secularism and Camp Quest. I wrote a three-part series called Atheism Is Not Enough (part 1, part 2, part 3). Not enough for what, you ask? Read it and find out! The Mayan Apocalypse didn’t happen, and the Mayans aren’t particularly surprised since none of them made the prediction to begin with. And I speculated on the parallel universes we appear to inhabit within the blogosphere, and certain people made it out to be all about them. Like you do.

And WordPress was apparently so kind as to provide some statistics for the year, though they’re from Jetpack, so they’re slightly underreported compared to the Statcounter stats I have available to me. Still a decent proxy in that all of the Jetpack stats for every blog are skewed about the same way.

Happy new year to you and yours!

The 2012 Lousy Year In Review
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5 thoughts on “The 2012 Lousy Year In Review

  1. 2

    You mean when we mildly chastised him for misrepresenting several arguments that he’s really really close to, and then he reacted as though we’d lit his underpants alight and shoved him into moving traffic?

  2. 4

    I know this is not the right place, but where and to whom do I complain about the new layout. The ad and reference column has been moved to the left, truncating the right hand side. In order to read the blogs on the right side, I have to drag over, every time.
    I feel that the urge to make things pretty has resulted in less readability.
    The site designer should perhaps study up on how people read things. Unless, of course, it is intentional to give the adverts and references more prominance than the blogs. I find myself reading less and less, each day. It is just too difficult.
    The new system of centering the blog headers also affects readability – badly. Since I tend to remember content rather than the title, the lack of the first few words leads to duplication – which leads to my clicking less on potentially readable blogs, since I am unsure if I have read them before.
    I find this layout uncomfortable. I find myself searching out Freethough Blogs less and less. Is that your intention?

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