Creative Destruction

December 7, 2006

Realpolitik in the Blogosphere (and Why Liberalism Always Loses)

Filed under: Blogosphere,Feminist Issues,Free Speech — Daran @ 6:08 am

Continuing my practice of relegating to my own unread blog the sordid details of my recent flame war with some of the feminists on Alas, while bringing to a (slightly) greater readership any points which arise that have a wider relevance. In this case, a discussion which started with Tuomas (All quotes from the same thread):

One point here in Amp’s defense (I can’t believe I’m saying that…) is that [Alas] occupies a very precarious position in the blogosphere. Unambigiously feminist man who thinks radical feminism has a lot to offer who nevertheless seeks to incorporate even anti-feminists and right-wingers somewhat to the discussion.

It’s a bold experiment, but I think it is impossible due to the natural religious mentality of many feminists — he has to step in someones toes and can not be fair about it while maintaining “Alas” as he would like it to be.

I replied:

I don’t accept your defence, Tuomas. I don’t see anything in his definition of feminism that requires him to behave so as to be accepted by other feminists, or to let them piss all over him.

Tuomas:

You speak of consistency (and you are technically perfectly correct) I’m speaking of realpolitik in the blogosphere.

This is why liberalism always looses, at least in the short term1, and why feminism (which is in reality is illiberal) is currently winning. Liberalism rejects realpolitik in favour of genuinely retaining the moral high-ground and loses. Realpolitik falsely claims the high-ground, and wins.

Me:

And even if it did, that doesn’t absolve him from responsibility for allowing them to use his blog as a platform to piss on other people.

Tuomas:

Agreed, which is why I think it is doomed to failure.

It’s already failed2. Notice that my pingbacks got deleted, I don’t know whether this was Amp or Marcella, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s his blog, and his responsibility. And of course, it’s his right to do that on his own blog. Nobody questions that. But consider the implications of doing so:(Update) The thread was derailed by means of repeated personal attacks upon a dissenting voice, and to bring it back on track, the victim of the attacks AKA the dissenting voice AKA me, was silenced3:

Here then, is how to derail a thread on Alas, if you’re a feminist. Make a post abusing some present or past member. They don’t even have to be part of the thread. If they are, and you can goad them into responding, or if just one person makes just one post in their defense, then multiple feminists pile in, with off-topic post after off-topic post after off-topic post (seventeen so far6), attacking that person, and making generalised attacks on “men”, “antifeminists” and “MRAs”. And the victim gets the blame.

This is precisely the kind of “bullying” Amp said he doesn’t want on Alas.

And it works.

And it will always work. They will always be able to do this, at any time, to any dissenting voice, and the victim will always be blamed, always be silenced, because that’s the only way Amp can realpolitically end the derailment. After the dissenting voice has been silenced, the derailers stop.

1It’s questionable whether it wins in the long term. Certainly the liberal democracies (including the USA, still, just about) have thrived, but only by behaving illiberally toward the rest of the world.

2Richard, though, has unwittingly started a new experiment, which I will do my best to help him make suceed.

3Whoever it was, graciously left one pingback. Thanks for that, One trackback to my posts on my own blog appeared, but really, of the hundreds of people who will read that thread, how many are going to follow it? Next to none. The falsehoods about me remain in full view on a prestigious blog with a huge readership, and all I can do is squeak, squeak, in reply.

Edited to add: the comments, true and false, are also the “evidence” that prove my complete innocence. For this reason, I have asked that they not be deleted, for the time being.

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118 Comments

  1. I think Ampersand exhibits a tendency one notices in many moderates and liberals (US usage) – a lack of self-confidence in respect to a middling position. The idea seems to be more or less: “I’m a feminist who is close to the mainstream and I’m right. So those feminists way out there on the margins who despise people like me – they must be very right indeed! I haven’t reached it yet, but their position, because it’s so uncompromising and unsullied, is the one I ought to aspire to!”

    It relates to the tendency to consider oneself as part of a side or team, rather than the defender of a position. If one defends a position one defends it from attack from both directions. If one joins a side, then attacks from fellow team-members are an irrelevance to the big task of winning the game. If we bear in mind that Ampersand thinks of himself first and foremost as belonging to the feminist “side”, anxious that internicine squabbling shouldn’t get out of control, the apparently inexplicable disproportion of his response to attacks from different directions is explained.

    Comment by Tom Nolan — December 7, 2006 @ 8:22 am

  2. The falsehoods about me remain in full view on a prestigious blog with a huge readership, and all I can do is squeak, squeak, in reply.

    Daran, I don’t owe you a platform. The primary reason I have a more-widely read blog than you is that I’ve been working at it harder and longer; deal.

    What should I do, create a rule that no comment-writer on “Alas” is allowed to criticize anything written by anyone who doesn’t own an equally or more highly read blog, just in case they’re feeling too intimidated to respond in a forum in which a bunch of people would disagree with them? That’s ludicrous.

    If you wanted to, you’d be free to respond in the comments of the open threads, which would give you just about as large a platform as the platform you’re being criticized from. For that matter, you could have responded more in the threads themselves; as far as I know, Marcella hasn’t told you not to respond, she’s just failed to actively censor everyone who disagrees with you.

    I do think your criticism has some merits; it’s obvious that what’s going on in those threads isn’t what I hoped for when I wrote the moderation policy. I still haven’t decided what to do about that.

    The bottom line is, I’m unwilling to play uber-moderator and police my co-bloggers moderation decisions; I’d rather they be free to shape their own threads as they like. I should find a way to formally modify the moderation policy to reflect that.

    * * *

    Tom, your summary of my position is so full of bullshit that I think my monitor has been fertilized and will soon start sprouting crops. 🙂

    I started “Alas” not long after I quit a feminist message board in which I had written thousands of posts debating radical feminism. I had grown tired of those debates, and so I decided to use the blog to concentrate more on extra-feminist than intra-feminist controversies. So it’s true that I rarely write about where I disagree with other feminists.

    However, to infer from that fact that I “aspire” to the radfem position is ridiculous.

    Comment by Ampersand — December 7, 2006 @ 11:41 am

  3. Tom, with the greatest of respect, your first paragraph is not right. It’s not even wrong.

    Your second paragraph is partially right. I think Amp is both a part of a team or side and a defender of positions. I don’t think he is the former “first and foremost”.

    Nor do I agree that he thinks “attacks from fellow team-members are an irrelevance”. Rather he is in denial about the nature of said attacks.

    Indeed, one of my purposes in posting to my blog was to document the dynamics of the process in such detail that there can be no fact-based dispute that it was the feminists who derailed the thread by their abuse of jaketk and me, and it was the victims of that abuse who were blamed and silenced.

    Comment by Daran — December 7, 2006 @ 6:55 pm

  4. Mmmm. The second half of my comment, the bit regarding team spirit, is, by your own admission, not bullshit at all. You grew tired of defending your position against people whom you regarded as basically on your side and decided to concentrate on external enemies.

    The first half was a bit more speculative, I agree, but it seemed to fit the facts well enough: you have written before now that the posts you most prized were those contributed by people you termed “radical” (though they disputed the appelation, I remember), people chiefly remarkable for their agression and obduracy in argument. I concluded that you felt insecure in and a little ashamed of your own moderate position and regretted not being able to abandon it. I didn’t, by the way, say that you aspired to the radfem position, I said that you probably had a nagging suspicion that you ought to. But I may have read you wrong.

    Pax.

    Comment by Tom Nolan — December 7, 2006 @ 6:56 pm

  5. Tom, with the greatest of respect, your first paragraph is not right. It’s not even wrong.

    – Daran

    So what I wrote wasn’t even a truth claim? Damn, I wish I’d known sooner. I’ve just (sort of) apologized to Ampersand for having written something that was – as he assured me – untrue.

    Comment by Tom Nolan — December 7, 2006 @ 7:23 pm

  6. Daran, I don’t owe you a platform. The primary reason I have a more-widely read blog than you is that I’ve been working at it harder and longer; deal.

    Your argument here is basically that “Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one”. I don’t think anyone disputes this. But there’s a problem when people who own the press use (or in this case, allow to be used) the power of the press to attack others who do not have power.

    Power in the blogosphere is the power to reach an audience. You are relatively powerful. I have some power, as a result of my position here. TS/jaketk is more or less powerless.

    The fact that your power was obtained fairly does not justify its abuse.

    What should I do, create a rule that no comment-writer on “Alas” is allowed to criticize anything written by anyone who doesn’t own an equally or more highly read blog, just in case they’re feeling too intimidated to respond in a forum in which a bunch of people would disagree with them? That’s ludicrous.

    Why not enforce, (and ask your moderators to enforce) the rules you’ve already got.

    I’d like the right-wing, anti-feminist and non-feminist critics who post on “Alas” to be treated with respect, rather than being bullied or shouted down.

    I have been falsely accused of derailing a thread by the real derailers of the thread. I have been bullied, shouted down, and forced out of the thread.

    If you wanted to, you’d be free to respond in the comments of the open threads, which would give you just about as large a platform as the platform you’re being criticized from. For that matter, you could have responded more in the threads themselves; as far as I know, Marcella hasn’t told you not to respond, she’s just failed to actively censor everyone who disagrees with you.

    With the greatest of respect, that is so full of bullshit that I think my monitor has been fertilized and will soon start sprouting crops. I made one post in defence of banned poster who couldn’t answer back to unprovoked abuse, and it was construed as thread derailment. It is impossible to defend yourself from that dynamic on Alas, because no matter what I post, or where I post, it would be construed as continued derailment. I’ve already been warned in that thread not to make generalisations about feminists (unlike the derailers who have been allowed to generalise all they like) The only reason I haven’t been banned from that thread is that I got out voluntarily. Even so, my pingbacks got deleted.

    I do think your criticism has some merits; it’s obvious that what’s going on in those threads isn’t what I hoped for when I wrote the moderation policy.

    That’s a bit like saying that evolution has “some merits” as a description of how life on earth came about. Do you have any substantive dispute with the description of what happened I posted to my blog? Because if you do I’d like to know.

    If you don’t. If you agree that I was the victim, not the perpetrator, of the derailment and that the accusations against me were false, then please explain why those false accusations have been allowed to stand and are still standing unchallenged on your blog? (In a thread about false accusations, ironically)

    I still haven’t decided what to do about that.

    Let us know when you think of something.

    The bottom line is, I’m unwilling to play uo shape their own threads as they like. I should find a way to formally modify the moderation policy to reflect that.

    The problem is not with the moderation policy, but the enforcement of it, which is so one-sided that it amounts to a licence for feminists to abuse.

    Comment by Daran — December 7, 2006 @ 8:19 pm

  7. To be honest, I don’t see a problem with feminists having a license to abuse. It’s a private site, and Amp is a pro-feminist man; I would expect to see his biases represented. It’s not like there’s a shortage of men’s sites on the net where the power imbalance runs the other way.

    Although you may well be right on the merits of the question, it really seems like your main issue is that you want to be heard at a specific place, and requiring people to hear you. Which, I can sympathize with the desire, but tough noogies.

    It’s not like you’re convincing anybody, anyway.

    Comment by Robert — December 7, 2006 @ 8:40 pm

  8. I think it comes down to the question of whether Amp is a decent man with whom I happen to disagree about certain things, or just another asshole with a blog. If he’s the latter, then, yeah, there really isn’t a problem.

    That’s another difference between you and me, and maybe also between conservatim and liberalism. You assume people are assholes by default, while I assume they’re decent.

    Comment by Daran — December 7, 2006 @ 8:50 pm

  9. Well, I assume that’s the way to bet. I always like to leave room for hope.

    Comment by Robert — December 7, 2006 @ 8:54 pm

  10. Yeah, I agree with Robert. His blog, his choice. If Ampersand’s experiment was to get opinions from the other side of the tracks in search of something resembling reasoned discourse, he has failed if I am to judge by what Daran described. Not that the effort wasn’t noble, and novel, just that if you have one or more moderators of a certain ideology, they must at times pander to their “base” to maintain readership and credibility. This often involves silencing those who do not share the radical views of the frequent commenters.

    Personally, I think it’s a good thing when radicals of all stripes (liberal, conservative, whatever) have such diversions…at least it keeps them from screwing up things out here in the real world.

    Comment by ebbtide — December 7, 2006 @ 8:55 pm

  11. Daffodils. You should grow daffodils with all that fertilizer.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 7, 2006 @ 8:56 pm

  12. Nah, killer organic bud. Much bigger profit margin, if you can avoid the gendarmes.

    Comment by Robert — December 7, 2006 @ 8:57 pm

  13. Me:

    That’s another difference between you and me, and maybe also between conservatim and liberalism. You assume people are assholes by default, while I assume they’re decent.

    Robert:

    Well, I assume that’s the way to bet. I always like to leave room for hope.

    There’s advantages and disadvantages in both approaches. I think the “Everyone’s an asshole” outlook has a tendency to become self-fulfilling. On the other hand, I’ve been right royally shafted so many times in my life by people who seemed decent, and whom I trusted. 😦

    Comment by Daran — December 7, 2006 @ 9:36 pm

  14. Yeah, I agree with Robert. His blog, his choice.

    I know, I know. But Amp’s still selling the “decent man” bit.

    And for the time being, at least, I’m still buying.

    Comment by Daran — December 7, 2006 @ 9:38 pm

  15. I think the “Everyone’s an asshole” outlook has a tendency to become self-fulfilling.

    Yes, it certainly can. No matter what one’s philosophical grounding, you gotta remember that there are always exceptions. That’s why I generally go along with the optimum solution to the prisoner’s dilemma: trust the first time, and reciprocate treatment from then on out. Any lost initial investments are in fact simply payments for the knowledge that such-and-such is a SOB.

    Comment by Robert — December 7, 2006 @ 9:40 pm

  16. That’s why I generally go along with the optimum solution to the prisoner’s dilemma: trust the first time, and reciprocate treatment from then on out.

    Depends on the pool of players. Not a bad one, though.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 7, 2006 @ 10:10 pm

  17. Your argument here is basically that “Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one”. I don’t think anyone disputes this.

    I might. 🙂 But I think there’s some distinction between a B-level blog, which is what “Alas” is, and the network news.

    I want to find a balance. I do want to be a decent person and treat you and other comment-writers well; but I don’t want moderating “Alas” to be this huge overwhelming thing in my life, and I know from past experience that it can easily become that. I have to put limits on how much time and effort I spend policing discussions on “Alas.”

    If you agree that I was the victim, not the perpetrator, of the derailment and that the accusations against me were false, then please explain why those false accusations have been allowed to stand and are still standing unchallenged on your blog?

    I agree that you were treated poorly in that thread. I dont’ agree that you were victim, and everyone else perpetrator; I think you acted badly too.

    Here’s an exchange between you and QGrrl:

    This is totally off the track, but it just occurred to me that all these wanker’s who complain about threads in which feminists talk solely of male on female rape always whine away that “men get raped too!”. But yet they don’t seem to make the correlation that they’re proposing that 100% of the people who lie about rape are women.

    The complaint isn’t just that feminists talk solely of male on female rape, but also that male rape survivors are excluded from services. I have known personally several male survivors in both real life and on the net. I’m sorry that you regard concern from them to be the “whining” of “wanker’s”.

    There is no plausible reading of QGrrl’s comment in which your response is anything but an unfair twisting of her words in order to attack her. QGrrl’s “whining” and “wankers” was a reference to people who go to threads about male on female rape and complain “men are victims too,” not to male survivors. And what you falsely accused QGrrl of was a LOT more disgusting than being accused of derailing a thread.

    By the way, you won’t note this, so I’ll point it out to you: I didn’t say a word to defend QGrrl. The idea that I moderate unfair comments by anti-feminists 100% simply isn’t true.

    Then, later in the thread, you wrote:

    I remember jaketk too, and the moblike abuse he got for refusing to be silenced about his experiences.

    This was also untrue, and insulting. (And it really pissed me off at the time you wrote it, and I didn’t comment or moderate you at the time). Jaketk had a huge chip on his shoulder from his very first posted comment, and treated every feminist poster at “alas” like crap. If he hadn’t made his contempt for all the other posters so clear, he could have posted for years about his experiences of abuse, and almost no one would ever have criticized him for it.

    From my perspective, I gave Jaketk multiple warnings and dozens of chances; I bent over backwards for him. I dealt with god knows how many people I respect calling me out, again and again, for not moderating Jaketk or banning him. (Just as I’ve dealt with being slagged time and again for my refusal to ban you, or to ban Robert, or to ban many others.)

    Eventually, after over 150 posts in which Jaketk made his contempt for me and all the other “Alas” comment-writers clear again and again, I banned him after he made false accusations about another poster (he accused her, falsely, of attacking a third poster for being abused) and refused to either substantiate or retract his accusations.

    To sum up that situation as Jaketk being attacked in a moblike fashion because he talked about being abused (which is what I think you clearly implied, although you didn’t quite say it straight-out), is unfair and an attack on me and the other people on “Alas” who had to deal with Jaketk.

    Gonig back to the “derailment” under discussion, it’s clear to me that your posts DID contribute to the derailment, although they didn’t make up the derailment on their own. If someone goes into a thread and says “wow, everyone here sure is a moblike jerk, and QGrrl, you think male victims are whiners and wankers,” and then doesn’t contribute again to that thread at all, they still bear significant responsibility for the ensuing derailment.

    You’re mistakenly conflating “derailment” with “domination,” but they’re not the same thing. Derailment isn’t just a question of “how many posts did poster M contribute?”; it’s also a question of how unfair what poster M said was, and how inevitable it was that other posters would feel galvanized to respond.

    I’m not saying that you’re solely responsible; you’re not. It was wrong of Radfem to conflate you with rape denialists, for instance, because you’re really not like that. And the numbers were against you, and you were treated rudely. That was wrong. And I’m really sorry you got hurt.

    But nor do I buy the “I’m an blameless victim of those brutal, hateful Alas posters” spin you’re putting on this. You were insulting and unfair to other posters in that thread, just as they were unfair to you, and you were in part (not in whole) responsible for the digression. I think it’s a mistake for you to take no responsibility at all for what occurred.

    As for why I haven’t posted about this more on “Alas,” if I do, that will inevitably galvanize other posters to complain about your behavior, or their perceptions of your behavior. I absolutely hate it when I’m the subject of discussions (including this very thread), so I didn’t assume you wanted to be the subject of a discussion. But if that’s what you want, then I’ll post on “Alas” about it.

    With the greatest of respect, that is so full of bullshit that I think my monitor has been fertilized and will soon start sprouting crops.

    Good line. :p

    I get both feminists and anti-feminists complaining, more or less constantly, about how unfair my moderation is, and how I’m treating their side worse than some other side. I’m not saying that proves I’m even-handed; I don’t even claim to be even-handed. I am saying that there is probably no possible moderation policy I could do that would strike all the interested parties as fair.

    I’m willing to try and change things. I’m willing to discuss if I’ve been unfair to you (although if you really think that Jaketk is the blameless victim of a feminist mob, then probably you’re just blind to any abuse that happens to feminists, and we’ll never be able to reach accord). But if you want to have this discussion, then I insist that it take place in a context in which you acknowledge that it’s not easy to moderate “Alas,” and that no state of perfect moderation will ever be reached.

    Edited to add: Just so folks know, I began writing this post before the several posts preceding it appeared, so this post is not a comment on anything that was written after the discussion of growing buds.

    Edited to cross out an unfair statement.

    Comment by Ampersand — December 7, 2006 @ 10:10 pm

  18. QGrrl’s “whining” and “wankers” was a reference to people who go to threads about male on female rape and complain “men are victims too,” not to male survivors.

    Many are both, or know male survivors.

    *Note: Following applicable (with some adjustment) to all strongly ideological groups*

    The problem is that many “dissenters” are not treated as inviduals, but instead fitted in the preset opponent boxes that people have in mind.

    Troll.

    Concern troll.

    “Men are raped too!” -whiners.

    Typical privileged man etc.

    Trying to make it all about (white) men.

    Derailer.

    Any variations of “shorter [insert commenter to be mocked here]”.

    After “the box” has been deployed, the one targeted will often feel unfairly maligned — and if at this point he/she responds in angry manner this will be more evidence of being a troll. If not the various gangster attack dogs on such sites will nevertheless pile on.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 7, 2006 @ 10:26 pm

  19. “And the numbers were against you, and you were treated rudely. That was wrong. And I’m really sorry you got hurt.”

    What Amp forgot to add is “and it will happen again, deal.” My question to you is “why bother?” A moderate in a sea of radicals is like a side of beef in a shark tank. You have a good blog here Daran, you should concentrate on building its readership. Radfems only want to hear credulous voices and only at low volumes, so that they may scream loudly about how tolerant and committed to diversity they are.

    Comment by ebbtide — December 7, 2006 @ 10:27 pm

  20. And I would argue that “whiner” and especially “wanker” are misandrist slurs.

    Women can whine too, but wanker seems to be uniquely insulting to males. I’ve said that there isn’t an equivalent to “slut” for men, but neither is there equivalent to “wanker” for women.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 7, 2006 @ 10:28 pm

  21. I’d second ebbtide.

    Daran, shut up. You’re silencing women. 😀

    Comment by Tuomas — December 7, 2006 @ 10:33 pm

  22. “Wallflower”, but it’s dated, and it doesn’t carry quite the same connotation of “this person is so sexually/socially dysfunctional that masturbation is the only sexual release they will ever experience”.

    Comment by Robert — December 7, 2006 @ 10:33 pm

  23. “a male that is really stupid but they think they are the greatest”

    definition of “wanker” from http://www.everythingaustralian.info/australia/do/slang/w.htm

    Or, in B-level blog lingo:

    A derogatory term used against males, but obscure enough in meaning to be defensibly used in bigoted misandrous attacks…

    Comment by ebbtide — December 7, 2006 @ 10:47 pm

  24. I always thought “wanker” was British for “jerk.”

    “Jerk,” like wanker, is derived from a word for masturbation, but when I use the word “jerk” I’m not intending to imply anything about mastrubation. Nor does the word “Wanker,” as I’ve seen it used in british films, seem to have much to do with masturbation. Nor have I noticed it being a male-only insult, although maybe it is and I just haven’t noticed.

    What Amp forgot to add is “and it will happen again, deal.”

    Not what I said, not what I meant.

    Also, Ebbtide, to describe the typical “Alas” comment writer as a “tadfem,” or me as a “radfem,” strongly implies you either have no idea who the “Alas” folks are, or no idea what it is radical feminists believe.

    Comment by Ampersand — December 7, 2006 @ 10:49 pm

  25. Looking at other definitions, it’s not at all clear to me that “wanker” is a male-only insult. But clearly it has retained its connection to masturbation in a way that “jerk” has not. (Or maybe I’m just mistaken about “jerk’s” origins.

    Ebbtide, I don’t believe that Radfem the poster (distinct from Radfem the movement) intended the “wanker” comment as an anti-male slur. She’s American, and it’s uncharitable to assume that she must be aware of the connotations that some Australian site claims the word has.

    Comment by Ampersand — December 7, 2006 @ 10:55 pm

  26. It was Qgrrl, which is too bad as I do have a significant amount of respect for her (old story).

    As for definitions:

    wanker Noun. 1. A masturbator.
    2. A contemptible person.
    3. An idiot, an incompetent person.

    Perhaps those definitions are kind of interlinked…

    I’d suggest you wean yourself from it if you’re serious about sexist slurs. I’m not so sure about jerk.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 7, 2006 @ 11:02 pm

  27. Jerk used to basically mean jerk-off, and was considered an extremely crude masturbatory insult. That’s gone away now, at least in the US, at least everywhere I’ve ever been. My 90-year old grandmother will call someone a jerk. If pressed she might recall that thirty years ago she wouldn’t have done that. The word has been “reclaimed”, and may safely be used by those of sensitive disposition.

    Comment by Robert — December 7, 2006 @ 11:03 pm

  28. Well, it’s not really that big of a deal. Let’s get back to topic, which was hortonomy, right?

    😉

    What bothers me about the original post is the usage of word “liberal”, “illiberal” and “liberalism” and “liberal democracy”.

    It, of course, has a liberal bias (genuine moral high ground…). And especially the usage of “liberal democracy” bothers me when it is conflated with liberalism in modern political division of liberals and conservatives.

    I hate to be such a nitpicker about words (or do I?) but I’m afraid all turns to babble if we dont know what exactly is discussed (apart from the enormous suckage of Alas).

    Comment by Tuomas — December 7, 2006 @ 11:22 pm

  29. “Also, Ebbtide, to describe the typical “Alas” comment writer as a “tadfem,” or me as a “radfem,” strongly implies you either have no idea who the “Alas” folks are, or no idea what it is radical feminists believe.”

    Yeah, that’s probably why I did neither. I know who the Alas folks are, I read the blog and the comments. The only thing I need to know about radical feminists is that they are radical, which is enough for me to discount any and all of what they have to say. Radicals of any stripes are, in my view, to be laughed at and nothing more.

    Comment by ebbtide — December 7, 2006 @ 11:26 pm

  30. Radicals of any stripes are, in my view, to be laughed at and nothing more.

    All sort of positions we now accept as reasonable and moderate were at one point supported primarily by radicals. Anti-slavery is one very obvious example, but not the only one.

    Comment by Ampersand — December 7, 2006 @ 11:32 pm

  31. All sort of positions we now accept as reasonable and moderate were at one point supported primarily by radicals. Anti-slavery is one very obvious example, but not the only one.

    True, but all sort of positions that we now consider aberrations, pure evil that have thankfully been defeated (altough some are pretty darn persistent in one form or another) were at one point supported primarily by radicals.

    The rhetorical trick that all modern radicals make in the name of “progress” is to assert that this movement they are advancing now is somehow comparable to some of the better ideas that have in the tide of history became acceptable.

    Hence a progressive can claim that the intrinsic value of a fucking chinchilla rat (yes, I lurk around) is no less than the intrinsic value of a human — because at some point the intrinsic value of blacks was considered less than that of whites.

    Progress must go on and all that stuff.

    [edited to add link]

    Comment by Tuomas — December 7, 2006 @ 11:48 pm

  32. What Amp forgot to add is “and it will happen again, deal.” My question to you is “why bother?” A moderate in a sea of radicals is like a side of beef in a shark tank. You have a good blog here Daran, you should concentrate on building its readership.

    This is wonderfully ironic.

    The fact is, Amp is the part owner of this blog too. I’m just a blogger.

    He’s a fucking media Mogul. 🙂

    Comment by Daran — December 7, 2006 @ 11:48 pm

  33. “it’s uncharitable to assume that she must be aware of the connotations that some Australian site claims the word has.”

    It’s not a claim, it’s a definition. Sorry, but you just wouldn’t call a woman a wanker if you intended to be insulting. Just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Getting back to Alas. The commenters there generally seem to be pretty sharp, leading me to doubt that they use words whose meanings they are unsure of very often. Besides, I’m not here to be charitable, unless there’s a tax write-off, perhaps?

    Comment by ebbtide — December 7, 2006 @ 11:51 pm

  34. “This is wonderfully ironic.

    The fact is, Amp is the part owner of this blog too. I’m just a blogger.

    He’s a fucking media Mogul.”

    OK, I’m thoroughly confused, just what is going on here? LOL…yes it would appear that Amp is a regular Rupert Murdoch, although that would be an insult to Amp, to be sure…..

    Comment by ebbtide — December 7, 2006 @ 11:53 pm

  35. I believe that Adam Gurri (you know, the guy who constantly posts here) is the sole owner. We’re all just blograts on his ship.

    I’m more of a media mogul than Amp is, since I own a bona fide media outlet. He just has a blog, I have a NETWORK. 🙂

    Comment by Robert — December 8, 2006 @ 12:12 am

  36. This was also untrue, and insulting.

    It would be easier to link to the post(s) in question (unedited) so as to allow readers to make up their own minds based on the actual comments.

    I am saying that there is probably no possible moderation policy I could do that would strike all the interested parties as fair.

    That is dependent on how you define ‘fair.’ I agree with this definition: marked by impartiality and honesty : free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism.

    Based on that definition, your actual comment moderation is unfair and imbalanced against those who disagree with your blog’s accepted positions. While it is true that you cannot please everyone, applying your existing moderation policy to all posters would not be an act of placating the masses but a demonstration in impartiality and fairness.

    Perhaps that is not a viable possibility, for a host of reasons, but you have not made any effort to try it. And at this point it is likely that even if you did, it would be treated with skepticism, again for a host of reasons.

    Comment by toysoldier — December 8, 2006 @ 12:36 am

  37. I am beginning to think links do not like me.

    Comment by toysoldier — December 8, 2006 @ 12:38 am

  38. I am beginning to think links do not like me.

    Yeah, but I like God-powers of moderation.

    [edit: and editing (heh)]

    Comment by Tuomas — December 8, 2006 @ 12:40 am

  39. Tuomas:

    The problem is that many “dissenters” are not treated as inviduals, but instead fitted in the preset opponent boxes that people have in mind.

    I came here to understand the problem Daran reported and if this description fits the problem you see with the regulars at Alas then the dissenters who feel attacked have the very same problem of not treating everyone they dissent against as individuals, but instead fit them into a preset opponent box (wacko feminists).

    We are supposed to see your pain and your humanity, but from the tone of most of the comments here it’s okay for you to dismiss our pain as if it is nothing more than the butt of your jokes.

    Got it.

    Comment by Marcella Chester — December 8, 2006 @ 1:03 am

  40. Got it.

    Try again.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 8, 2006 @ 1:23 am

  41. Ok. One by one then.

    I came here to understand the problem Daran reported and if this description fits the problem you see with the regulars at Alas then the dissenters who feel attacked have the very same problem of not treating everyone they dissent against as individuals, but instead fit them into a preset opponent box (wacko feminists).

    Which would be wrong, too. Interesting about the wacko feminists. No one said that.

    We are supposed to see your pain and your humanity,

    I’m not making any demands on you. Chill.

    but from the tone of most of the comments here it’s okay for you to dismiss our pain as if it is nothing more than the butt of your jokes.

    Are you speaking of my comments (most of which weren’t about feminism directly) or someone elses (no comment here was about mocking feminists pain)?

    Comment by Tuomas — December 8, 2006 @ 1:33 am

  42. Try again.

    Why?

    Comment by Marcella Chester — December 8, 2006 @ 1:35 am

  43. Then don’t. Whatever.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 8, 2006 @ 1:35 am

  44. Are you speaking of my comments (most of which weren’t about feminism directly) or someone elses (no comment here was about mocking feminists pain)?

    That might not have been the intent in the dismissive comments about comments made by feminists on Alas, but that was the result.

    Comment by Marcella Chester — December 8, 2006 @ 1:38 am

  45. Tuomas:
    Ampersand isn’t saying that all radical positions are correct; he’s just saying that some formerly radical positions have turned out to be correct (or at least widely accepted), and that one therefore cannot dismiss a position out of hand simply because it’s radical.

    Also, while the worth of the median human is greater than the worth of the median chincilla rat, there is significant overlap.

    Comment by Brandon Berg — December 8, 2006 @ 1:43 am

  46. That might not have been the intent in the dismissive comments about comments made by feminists on Alas, but that was the result.

    Stop dodging and changing the argument. You spoke nothing of “the result”. Here’s what you said:

    from the tone of most of the comments here it’s okay for you to dismiss our pain as if it is nothing more than the butt of your jokes.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 8, 2006 @ 1:44 am

  47. Brandon:

    Ampersand isn’t saying that all radical positions are correct; he’s just saying that some formerly radical positions have turned out to be correct (or at least widely accepted), and that one therefore cannot dismiss a position out of hand simply because it’s radical.

    Of course he isn’t, and neither am I claiming that he is. I made a generalized observation about how radical progressives operate.

    Also, while the worth of the median human is greater than the worth of the median chincilla rat, there is significant overlap.

    Cute.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 8, 2006 @ 1:46 am

  48. Ampersand:

    I think there’s some distinction between a B-level blog, which is what “Alas” is, and the network news.

    Special Pleading.

    (The fact that there is a difference between a B-level blog and the network news, does not exempt you from the rule that people with relatively powerful bullhorns should not use (or allow others to use) them to abuse those who have weaker voices.)

    I want to find a balance. I do want to be a decent person and treat you and other comment-writers well; but I don’t want moderating “Alas” to be this huge overwhelming thing in my life, and I know from past experience that it can easily become that. I have to put limits on how much time and effort I spend policing discussions on “Alas.”

    I don’t think it would be. If you policed it fairly you’d have less of these problems.

    Ask yourself this. What on earth gave ms_xeno and Radfem the idea that they could behave like that on your blog?

    I agree that you were treated poorly in that thread. I dont’ agree that you were victim, and everyone else perpetrator; I think you acted badly too.

    OK, let’s talk about that.

    Here’s an exchange between you and QGrrl:

    QGrrl:

    This is totally off the track, but it just occurred to me that all these wanker’s who complain about threads in which feminists talk solely of male on female rape always whine away that “men get raped too!”. But yet they don’t seem to make the correlation that they’re proposing that 100% of the people who lie about rape are women.

    Me:

    The complaint isn’t just that feminists talk solely of male on female rape, but also that male rape survivors are excluded from services. I have known personally several male survivors in both real life and on the net. I’m sorry that you regard concern from them to be the “whining” of “wanker’s”.

    Ampersand:

    There is no plausible reading of QGrrl’s comment in which your response is anything but an unfair twisting of her words in order to attack her. QGrrl’s “whining” and “wankers” was a reference to people who go to threads about male on female rape and complain “men are victims too,” not to male survivors.

    Actually there is a typo, which I’ve only just seen. I didn’t mean to say “concern from them” but “concern for them”.

    She characterised “concern for” male survivors to be the “whining” of “wankers”. The “wankers” are not the male survivors, but “All” those who express concern for them. That includes me. The (corrected) objection stands.

    And what you falsely accused QGrrl of was a LOT more disgusting than being accused of derailing a thread.

    I apologise for my typo, but even if I had meant to write “concern from them”, because I had misread what she said, then I don’t think a misreading in good faith rises to the level of a false accusation.

    By the way, you won’t note this, so I’ll point it out to you: I didn’t say a word to defend QGrrl. The idea that I moderate unfair comments by anti-feminists 100% simply isn’t true.

    The fact that not 100% of antifeminist misbehaviour is moderated does not prove that you moderate fairly.

    (By the way, I am not an antifeminist. An antifeminist, as I construe the word, is someone generally opposed to what feminism stands for. There is considerable overlap between what feminism stands for and what I stand for. Inevitably it is the disagreements which dominate the discussions.)

    Then, later in the thread, you wrote:

    I remember jaketk too, and the moblike abuse he got for refusing to be silenced about his experiences.

    This was also untrue, and insulting. (And it really pissed me off at the time you wrote it, and I didn’t comment or moderate you at the time). Jaketk had a huge chip on his shoulder from his very first posted comment, and treated every feminist poster at “alas” like crap. If he hadn’t made his contempt for all the other posters so clear, he could have posted for years about his experiences of abuse, and almost no one would ever have criticized him for it.

    It is neither untrue nor intended to be insulting. It is exactly what I remember. I did not say that jaketk has never behaved badly, although I do not remember him doing so. I do remember him being piled on and silenced in pretty much the way I have just been.

    From my perspective, I gave Jaketk multiple warnings and dozens of chances; I bent over backwards for him.

    I don’t doubt that this was your perspective. I’m not convinced though that he was the one to blame. The mechanism by which Alas posters collectivly assign blame for a derailment is demonstrably broken, and I’m not convinced that your own judgement is fair, thorough, and impartial, paricularly given that you’ve said that you can’t always follow everything in detail.

    I think that what you saw is that every thread with jaketk in it got derailed. The regular posters in the threads were blaming him for it. You could see he was involved in it. It’s hardly surprising that you would also blame him for it.

    The difference between him and me, is that I retreated.

    I dealt with god knows how many people I respect calling me out, again and again, for not moderating Jaketk or banning him. (Just as I’ve dealt with being slagged time and again for my refusal to ban you, or to ban Robert, or to ban many others.)

    The fact that people on both sides criticise your moderation does not prove that you moderate fairly.

    Eventually, after over 150 posts in which Jaketk made his contempt for me and all the other “Alas” comment-writers clear again and again, I banned him after he made false accusations about another poster (he accused her, falsely, of attacking a third poster for being abused) and refused to either substantiate or retract his accusations.

    I never saw him express contempt for you or other “Alas” comment-writers. I have seen him criticise you and other comment-writers. I am very familiar with the process by which criticism is construed by you and other feminists as “bashing” them.

    I’m not saying he didn’t express contempt. I was in only a few threads with him. But I honestly didn’t see him do this.

    To sum up that situation as Jaketk being attacked in a moblike fashion because he talked about being abused (which is what I think you clearly implied, although you didn’t quite say it straight-out), is unfair and an attack on me and the other people on “Alas” who had to deal with Jaketk.

    I did not intend to imply that he was attacked because he talked about being abused. I think he was attacked as a result of the same dynamic by which I was attacked.

    I’m also sorry that you feel attacked by me saying this. It is honestly what I saw.

    Gonig back to the “derailment” under discussion, it’s clear to me that your posts DID contribute to the derailment, although they didn’t make up the derailment on their own. If someone goes into a thread and says “wow, everyone here sure is a moblike jerk, and QGrrl, you think male victims are whiners and wankers,” and then doesn’t contribute again to that thread at all, they still bear significant responsibility for the ensuing derailment.

    I didn’t do that. Q Grrl called me among others, a whining wanker, (since I am obviously included in “all these … who complain…”)

    I objected, albeit with an unfortunate typo, which changed the meaning.

    Ms_xeno abusively attacked a banned former poster who wasn’t even in the thread.

    I objected, responding by describing what I had seen done to him.

    You’re mistakenly conflating “derailment” with “domination,” but they’re not the same thing. Derailment isn’t just a question of “how many posts did poster M contribute?”; it’s also a question of how unfair what poster M said was, and how inevitable it was that other posters would feel galvanized to respond.

    Oh, so when I was “galvanized” to respond to unprovoked abused, I’m to blame for the torrent of abuse that followed? Would you advise a woman to shut up in the face of unprovoked abuse? Would you silence a woman like that?

    This is bullshit victim-blaming.

    I’m not saying that you’re solely responsible; you’re not. It was wrong of Radfem to conflate you with rape denialists, for instance, because you’re really not like that. And the numbers were against you, and you were treated rudely. That was wrong. And I’m really sorry you got hurt.

    I’m not responsible at all. I was not at fault at all with regard to the second post you identified. I simply called it as I saw it. There was an unfortunate typo in the first post which changed the meaning, but that wasn’t the post that triggered the abuse.

    But nor do I buy the “I’m an blameless victim of those brutal, hateful Alas posters” spin you’re putting on this. You were insulting and unfair to other posters in that thread, just as they were unfair to you, and you were in part (not in whole) responsible for the digression. I think it’s a mistake for you to take no responsibility at all for what occurred.

    What insult? What unfairness? I said what I saw. Nothing more than that. And I did so in defence of myself and of others who were being subject to unprovoked attacks.

    I keep emphasising unprovoked. You haven’t acknowledged that point. I was attacked. Another defenceless person was attacked and when I responded in my own defence and his, I got beaten up.

    And as soon as I realised what was happening I got out.

    WHAT THE FUCK ELSE SHOULD I HAVE DONE!!!

    As for why I haven’t posted about this more on “Alas,” if I do, that will inevitably galvanize other posters to complain about your behavior, or their perceptions of your behavior.

    And you’re going to side with them?

    I absolutely hate it when I’m the subject of discussions (including this very thread), so I didn’t assume you wanted to be the subject of a discussion. But if that’s what you want, then I’ll post on “Alas” about it.

    I realise that. I don’t want you to have to take crap on my behalf. :-((

    I get both feminists and anti-feminists complaining, more or less constantly, about how unfair my moderation is, and how I’m treating their side worse than some other side. I’m not saying that proves I’m even-handed; I don’t even claim to be even-handed. I am saying that there is probably no possible moderation policy I could do that would strike all the interested parties as fair.

    No, but you could at least try to be fair.

    I’m willing to try and change things. I’m willing to discuss if I’ve been unfair to you (although if you really think that Jaketk is the blameless victim of a feminist mob, then probably you’re just blind to any abuse that happens to feminists, and we’ll never be able to reach accord.

    What I said, I can only comment on what I saw. I can’t help feeling that the difference between him and me, is that I was smart enough not only to be a good girl, but I made sure I could prove that I was a good girl when I got clobbered anyway, and he’s the dirty slut who deserved it.

    But I doubt either of us want to dig out those old threads, so we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

    But if you want to have this discussion, then I insist that it take place in a context in which you acknowledge that it’s not easy to moderate “Alas,” and that no state of perfect moderation will ever be reached.

    I fully understand that you are in a really, really crap position here. Also that you must be feeling pretty crap yourself (not to mention ms_xeno and Radfem, who I honestly don’t think are bad people. I hope they realise some day that I’m not too.)

    Comment by Daran — December 8, 2006 @ 2:48 am

  49. Btw, Marcella, pardon my bluntness towards you. It was somewhat uncalled for. But seeing that I have defended some feminists (such as Amp, I trust he understood my comment about suckage of Alas as a joke, right?) or even praised (Q Grrl, who is unambigiously radical feminist) I thought your position that this thread is just making feminists as the butt of our jokes was IMHO uncalled for, too.

    I suppose you’ll just have to accept that Creative Destruction isn’t a feminist space, and not all posters have to like feminism or feminists.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 8, 2006 @ 3:09 am

  50. Daran:

    About the typoe:

    You need to realize that that is Ampersand’s modus operandi. Make a typo, or say something that can be misconstrued, and Ampersand will misconstrue your meaning so as to favor his position. Either your point is tangentially derailed, as you wind up discussing some other issue that got brought up, or else ou spend three or four posts trying to explain what you meant to say.

    Some of his arguments here are good examples.

    Particularly note the argument in the main article:

    In contrast, when I say men’s chance to decide about parenthood is before pregnancy happens, that’s a statement of biological fact. It’s not an argument in favor of denying men viable medical options; it’s an observation that men physically lack those options.

    Where he ignores the fact that the statement “men’s chance to decide about parenthood is before pregnancy happens” in the context of “choice for men” is actually not a positive statement bout biology, but a normative sytatement about legal financial obligation.

    Also note comment 43, where the fact that I used “is” on one sentence, and “should be” in another, which was essentially a typo, because I wasn’t arguing different concepts, is blown out of proportion as a way to refute my position.

    The fact of the matter is, once you realize that certain people you respected are not actually worth respecting, things get a lot easier.

    If there is one thing that I am grateful to Ilkka Kokkarinen of the late blog Sixteen Volts for more than anything else, it is for helping me to realize that the approval of the people who post on Alas is not worth trying to get.

    Comment by Glaivester — December 8, 2006 @ 3:18 am

  51. I suppose you’ll just have to accept that Creative Destruction isn’t a feminist space, and not all posters have to like feminism or feminists.

    That’s a bit snarky, Tuomas. Marcella’s role in this is as moderator, not perpetrator. I do not see that her actions were indicative out of a belief that her threads were a feminist space or that all posters had to like feminism or feminists.

    Comment by Daran — December 8, 2006 @ 3:22 am

  52. I really didn’t mean to be snarky there.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 8, 2006 @ 3:25 am

  53. Hi Marcella. Thanks for coming here.

    I came here to understand the problem Daran reported and if this description fits the problem you see with the regulars at Alas then the dissenters who feel attacked have the very same problem of not treating everyone they dissent against as individuals, but instead fit them into a preset opponent box (wacko feminists).

    We are supposed to see your pain and your humanity, but from the tone of most of the comments here it’s okay for you to dismiss our pain as if it is nothing more than the butt of your jokes.

    I’m a bit puzzled by your use of the word “you” here. It appears to be a group “you” which includes me (as the individual person whose pain the “we” to which Marcella belongs are supposed to see) and also Thomas, and other people here.

    Your objection to this group “you” is that they “dismiss our pain as if it is nothing more than the butt of your jokes”. Can you give a non-circular reason why I should be included within this “you”?

    Comment by Daran — December 8, 2006 @ 3:35 am

  54. I really didn’t mean to be snarky there.

    I appreciate that. I’m also struggling the dual roles of participant and thread-starting co-moderator.

    I want people to be free to criticise, but I do not want this to become a thread for bashing Alas a blog, Amp, or any other poster there.

    It is quite difficult to distinguish between a bashing, and a critical opinion I don’t agree with.

    Comment by Daran — December 8, 2006 @ 3:43 am

  55. Where he ignores the fact that the statement “men’s chance to decide about parenthood is before pregnancy happens” in the context of “choice for men” is actually not a positive statement bout biology, but a normative sytatement about legal financial obligation.

    But it’s his statement. It means whatever he says it means.

    As for your typo, I’d need to read to thread to be able to judge whether his interpretation of what you said was reasonable, and I don’t want to give it that much attention. All I can say is that for certain I would have interpetted what I wrote (with typo) the way he did, if I were reading someone else’s words. I can’t attribute his reading to malice.

    I do, however, think he is trying to make a mountain out of a molehill in his effort to blame the victim.

    Comment by Daran — December 8, 2006 @ 4:03 am

  56. Ampersand:

    Daran, I don’t owe you a platform. The primary reason I have a more-widely read blog than you is that I’ve been working at it harder and longer; deal.

    At the risk of sounding snarky, I’m a bit confused about your beliefs regarding the circumstances under which success does and does not entail obligations to the less successful.

    Comment by Brandon Berg — December 8, 2006 @ 4:21 am

  57. I assume that as a believer in progressive principles, Amp adheres to the noble idea that the more successful one is, the larger and more generous are one’s obligations to the community at large. (So give us some free hits, Mr. Internet Bigshot!)

    Comment by Robert — December 8, 2006 @ 4:23 am

  58. Edit: Snark deleted. I rebuked Tuomas for snarking, I shouldn’t let myself get away with doing the same

    Comment by Daran — December 8, 2006 @ 5:09 am

  59. Tangent

    ebbtide:

    Sorry, but you just wouldn’t call a woman a wanker if you intended to be insulting.

    Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the demographics of fandom and a certain site called fandom wank? It wouldn’t be surprising, no reason you should be. Let me assure you that all variants of the term wank are used routinely to refer to women (the overwhelming majority of media fandom members are women). It is primarily used to refer to pointless flame wars and nasty, nitpicky arguments over who started “it”.

    Admittedly, online media fandom is somewhat smaller than Australia, but the term is definitely in use.

    I don’t know if Qgrrl has any direct contact with fandom circles, but plenty of others she does have contact with do (ginmar, for instance, has her own entry at the fandomwank wiki).

    End tangent.

    Comment by Charles S — December 8, 2006 @ 6:19 am

  60. Actually there is a typo, which I’ve only just seen. I didn’t mean to say “concern from them” but “concern for them”.

    Wow. That’s a significant typo, which completely changes the meaning of the sentence. I’m sorry the typo made me misunderstand you.

    However, I think you’re being a bit too kind to yourself when you claim that the statement you actually wrote (albeit by accident) had nothing to do with setting a tone for the thread.

    I was not at fault at all with regard to the second post you identified. I simply called it as I saw it.

    Ah, the “yes, I called you a moron, but I honestly believe you’re a moron, so it’s unreasonable for you to take offense” defense. I don’t think it holds much water.

    And you’re going to side with them?

    If you define “seeing both sides as at fault” as “sid[ing] with them,” then yes, I will. I don’t buy that you are a pure, perfect innocent in this.

    No, but you could at least try to be fair.

    I do try. But it’s not as simple as you’re making it sound.

    Take this case: If I try to be fair, you’ll perceive that as unfair, because I don’t think it can fairly be said that you are in no way responsible for derailing the thread. And if I decide to blame everyone but you, then I’ll be acting in a way that I perceive as unfair.

    Why do Radfem and Ms. Xeno perceive that they have a lot of slack? Because they do. They’re long-established posters who I like a lot, and (as the moderation policies state), posters like that get more slack. It’s mainly about what pleases me.

    What you don’t seem to appreciate is that I give you slack, too, for pretty much the same reason. (Ditto for Robert.)

    * * *

    [Edited to add:] All that said, I am – inevitably – biased in favor of feminists. My sensors are more finely attuned to attacks on my own position than they are to attacks on other positions. So in addition to all the other, perfectly legitimate reasons I’m a lousy moderator (lack of time, lack of interest), it’s also true I’m a lousy moderator because of my bias.

    Next time you think you’re being gangpiled or bullied on “Alas” – especially if it’s on one of my own threads on “Alas” – would you consider dropping an email and letting me know? I can’t promise to agree with you, but I promise that I’ll look at it and do my best to treat it fairly, and to tell people to lay off if I agree with you that you’re being treated unfairly.

    (And it wouldn’t surprise me if Marcella were to make a similar offer, although of course that’s up to her to say, not me.)

    Comment by Ampersand — December 8, 2006 @ 6:35 am

  61. All that said, I am – inevitably – biased in favor of feminists. – Ampersand

    Why is that inevitable?

    I didn’t express my objections to this way of thinking very well in my first post, so let me have another shot.

    Many of us consider the justice of the positions we adopt as deriving from their *tendency*. We come to believe that if our position a little left of centre (say) is the correct one, then its correctness is a function more of “left” than “centre”. We might find those on the far left rebarbative, and we are conscious that they don’t like us at all, but we also know that they are indubitably more left, more “correct” than we are, and we feel that we owe them respect if not deference. Put like that, of course, such a mentality seems absurd, and no-one will admit to being in its thrall. But it’s common enough, nonetheless.

    Coming back to Ampersand, then. Why should he be automatically biased, in a dispute between a radical feminist and an antifeminist, in favour of the former, when he has so much more in common with the latter? The political and philosphical distance between Ampersand and Daran, from what I’ve seen, is not very considerable, certainly less than that between Ampersand and Q-Girl. But because Q-Girl is an extreme exemplar of the *tendency* Amp identifies with, she can count on his support.

    But there is nothing “inevitable” about such a way of thinking, and it ought to be resisted.

    Comment by Tom Nolan — December 8, 2006 @ 10:41 am

  62. My sensors are more finely attuned to attacks on my own position than they are to attacks on other positions.

    The complaint is not about attacks on other positions, but attacks on other posters.

    All that said, I am – inevitably – biased in favor of feminists. – Ampersand

    Why is that inevitable?

    In his defense, whenever he questions certain popular feminist views he gets attacked by his readership and other feminists. To say they devour him is an understatement. He has no choice but to cater to them or face alienation.

    Comment by toysoldier — December 8, 2006 @ 11:49 am

  63. Many of us consider the justice of the positions we adopt as deriving from their *tendency*. We come to believe that if our position a little left of centre (say) is the correct one, then its correctness is a function more of “left” than “centre”. We might find those on the far left rebarbative, and we are conscious that they don’t like us at all, but we also know that they are indubitably more left, more “correct” than we are, and we feel that we owe them respect if not deference. Put like that, of course, such a mentality seems absurd, and no-one will admit to being in its thrall. But it’s common enough, nonetheless.

    Coming back to Ampersand, then. Why should he be automatically biased, in a dispute between a radical feminist and an antifeminist, in favour of the former, when he has so much more in common with the latter? The political and philosphical distance between Ampersand and Daran, from what I’ve seen, is not very considerable, certainly less than that between Ampersand and Q-Girl. But because Q-Girl is an extreme exemplar of the *tendency* Amp identifies with, she can count on his support.

    This is a variation of the argument you made earlier, which was dismissed by Amp as phytonutritionally helpful, and by me as “not even wrong”.

    I withdraw the “not even wrong” remark. It’s a valid theory. It might even be right. I just don’t think it is.

    There are two basic theories to account for what happens on Alas: One is the “just another asshole” theory, that attributes it all to malice on the part of feminists/derailing MRAs (Delete as applicable)

    The other is that it’s the result of complex intra- and intergroup dynamics, and there’s a whole heap of cognative biases, both individual and group-serving at play. We can analogise these to the laws of nature which govern a physical system.

    Tom seems to be in the “group dynamic” camp, but is suggesting a new bias which I at least had never considered. I’m not sure it’s needed. I think the dynamics I’m familiar with are sufficient to account for what happened. I don’t think we need to conjecture a new law of physics here.

    Having said that, I realise that every proposed new law of physics gets this response initially. They laughed at Newton. They laughed at Einstein. They also laughed at Bozo the Clown. I don’t think we should be laughing at Tom Nolan.

    Comment by Daran — December 8, 2006 @ 12:58 pm

  64. This is a variation of the argument you made earlier, which was dismissed by Amp as phytonutritionally helpful, and by me as “not even wrong”. – Daran

    Yes, and you were both right: I expressed the idea badly, and compounded the error by unnecessary dramatization.

    I’m not really sure how relevant the phenomenon is to the problems at Alas, but it’s real enough. I’ve noticed it in myself and others. For instance, a Conservative friend of mine was telling me recently how he detested the views of an acquaintance: how this person’s views were unacceptably reactionary, borderline lunatic etc. After he’d finished the denunciation he paused, then added reflectively: “he’s probably right, though.” I kid you not.

    Comment by Tom Nolan — December 8, 2006 @ 3:19 pm

  65. […] The comments thread of my previous post here on Creative Destruction has been completely derailed. I wanted to talk about Realpolitik in the Blogosphere (and why liberalism always loses), and for some reason, everyone’s talking about a flame war that CD wasn’t even involved in. I don’t mind of course. Quite the opposite: I’m really grateful for the opportunity to discuss this, and I’d rather it were on CD, where I have the greater audience. […]

    Pingback by The Quintessence of Victim-Blaming « Creative Destruction — December 8, 2006 @ 6:44 pm

  66. Me: Tom was right.
    Tom: No, actually I was wrong.

    Fucking oppositionist. 🙂

    Comment by Daran — December 8, 2006 @ 6:56 pm

  67. Ampersand:

    However, I think you’re being a bit too kind to yourself when you claim that the statement you actually wrote (albeit by accident) had nothing to do with setting a tone for the thread.

    I haven’t said anything about whether it set a tone for the thread. The only thing I have said is that an inaccurate statement made in good faith (whether as a result of a misreading or a typo) does not rise to the level of a false accusation.

    If you tell me that it played a part in setting the tone, then I believe you, of course. But if you are going to tell me that it should be obvious to me that it did, explain how? I’ve just read the first part of the thread again. Marcella replied directly to the substance of my post, but not to the “whining wankers” part. After some discussion, I was persuaded that I had misinterpretted her substantive point, which misinterpretation, I withdrew:

    I originally understood Q Grrl’s complaint as objecting, not to the narrow antifeminist definition per se, but to its gendered treatment. Hence my response. I now understand both her and you to be arguing against that narrow definition.

    The very fact that I am willing to admit to and withdraw a misinterpretation is an indicator of good faith on my part, no?

    However, in withdrawing my misinterprettation, I wanted to make it clear that I was not withdrawing my objection (completely ignored so far) to her abuse:

    I still find her characterisation of those who advocate for the admission of male rape victims to the discourse as “wankers” who “whine” to be offensive. “Respect” is not a one-way street.

    Italics added to show that it was correctly stated this time.

    To recap: There are rules in place that require non-feminists and feminists to respect each other. A feminist flouted the rule. I protested, asking to be treated with respect. That request was ignored. I asked again.

    Apart from a typo, and a galvanising effect WHAT HAVE I DONE WRONG?

    I’m sorry to keep on at you about this, but I have huge issues about being blamed. I really need to know.

    I was not at fault at all with regard to the second post you identified. I simply called it as I saw it.

    Ah, the “yes, I called you a moron, but I honestly believe you’re a moron, so it’s unreasonable for you to take offense” defense. I don’t think it holds much water.

    “I remember jaketk too, and the moblike abuse he got for refusing to be silenced about his experiences.”

    It’s true! That’s what I remember. Truly, honestly cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die dib-dib Scout’s honour.

    I realise you see it differently, and that you’re calling me a moron for thinking this, and for honestly not realising how “galvanising” that statement would be, but that’s OK, I won’t be offended.

    But even if I had realised that it would cause such offence, is that a reason to remain silent about an unprovoked attack upon a friend? Was I asking for it?

    If you define “seeing both sides as at fault” as “sid[ing] with them,” then yes, I will. I don’t buy that you are a pure, perfect innocent in this.

    Then apart from a typo, and a galvanising effect TELL ME WHAT I DID WRONG!

    Take this case: If I try to be fair, you’ll perceive that as unfair, because I don’t think it can fairly be said that you are in no way responsible for derailing the thread. And if I decide to blame everyone but you, then I’ll be acting in a way that I perceive as unfair.

    Tell me what I did wrong.

    Why do Radfem and Ms. Xeno perceive that they have a lot of slack? Because they do. They’re long-established posters who I like a lot, and (as the moderation policies state), posters like that get more slack. It’s mainly about what pleases me.

    What you don’t seem to appreciate is that I give you slack, too, for pretty much the same reason. (Ditto for Robert.)

    So if we had declared a thread to be a “men’s space” and made post after post after post abusing “feminists” and “women”, and drove off ms_xeno or Radfem in the process would you have cut us slack? Would you be telling ms_xeno that she was responsible?

    Next time you think you’re being gangpiled or bullied on “Alas” – especially if it’s on one of my own threads on “Alas” – would you consider dropping an email and letting me know? I can’t promise to agree with you, but I promise that I’ll look at it and do my best to treat it fairly, and to tell people to lay off if I agree with you that you’re being treated unfairly.

    Are you saying that I could do this, or that I should do this?

    Comment by Daran — December 8, 2006 @ 8:31 pm

  68. Daran, I think the problem here is your assumption of a sort of tabula rasa in the discussions, and underestimating the social dynamics. I can sympathize because I’m not exactly the most socially capable myself.

    You have at some point (IIRC) compared feminism to a cult, and altough you may have retracted it, it is remembered. For example.

    If not consciously, then subconsciously it will color any and all reading of your posts.

    Altough I am fully convinced that you mean what you say when you withdraw something or apologize of something, you can’t ever really take something back that causes someone view you negatively from now on. The feeling stays.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 8, 2006 @ 8:46 pm

  69. The feeling stays.

    People rarely remember what we say. They always remember how we made them feel.

    Comment by Robert — December 8, 2006 @ 8:53 pm

  70. The problem is when less emotionally aware people with aberrantly good word memories interact with emotionally aware people with normal word memories.

    Not that I’m bitter or anything.

    [replaced connected with aware]

    Comment by Tuomas — December 8, 2006 @ 9:01 pm

  71. The problem is when less emotionally aware people with aberrantly good word memories interact with emotionally aware people with normal word memories.

    Not only do I remember calling them a cult, but I remember which thread it was in, and that I got a thread ban because my last post crossed with Amp’s final warning so the only effect of the ban was to block my apology.

    Are you also an Aspie?

    Comment by Daran — December 8, 2006 @ 9:32 pm

  72. I haven’t been diagnosed, but it is possible.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 8, 2006 @ 9:45 pm

  73. Altough I am fully convinced that you mean what you say when you withdraw something or apologize of something, you can’t ever really take something back that causes someone view you negatively from now on. The feeling stays.

    Good point. I do not hold onto negative feelings easily, and fail to realise that other people do. There is only one poster from Alas that I harbour any (mild) negative feeling towards, and I haven’t see her post there for a while. I have no hard feelings at all toward ms_xeno, Radfem, Q Grrl, Jake Squid or even Heart, whom I’ve had cause to mention recently. ms_xeno I haven’t paid much attention to, though I will from now on. Radfem is a white ally to the WOC feminists, a wing of the movement I have always felt had the more deserving case. (I was very impressed by brownfemipower during my recent encounter with her, which has tended to enhance my view of the wing even further). Q grrl is a radfem whom I disagree with on just about everything, but she’s a gutsy performer, and I quite like her. Jake Squid is in many respects a typical male survivor fizzing with rage. (Edit: I have no business calling anyone “typical”. Sorry, Jake). Heart never needed to “demand” anything from Amp. She was perfectly capable of building it herself. I don’t know whether anyone noticed, but The Margins is now the fourth most popular wordpress blog. (How much of that is due to the “Britney Spears crotch” effect, I don’t know, but it’s an impressive achievement anyway.)

    All these people I respect, and more than half of them I like and the same is true for many, many other posters on Alas. If we had met under other circumstances, we could have been close, even intimate friends. I know this because I have had close friends who are just like them.

    Comment by Daran — December 8, 2006 @ 10:13 pm

  74. “We might find those on the far left rebarbative, and we are conscious that they don’t like us at all, but we also know that they are indubitably more left, more “correct” than we are, and we feel that we owe them respect if not deference.”

    Could be. I think it is more applicable to people whose takes on different issues fall consistently to one side or the other (a general leftist or rightie). A true centrist, in my opinion (or from my experience, being a centrist myself) will not show deference or respect to a far-anything. Showing such types ridicule is more likely.

    Comment by ebbtide — December 8, 2006 @ 10:19 pm

  75. You do know that Ms_Xeno is Alsis, don’t you, Daran? I hadn’t realized myself till she mentioned it en passant about a month back.

    Comment by Tom Nolan — December 8, 2006 @ 10:24 pm

  76. No I didn’t. I have only the vaguest recollection of Alsis.

    Comment by Daran — December 8, 2006 @ 10:35 pm

  77. Could be. I think it is more applicable to people whose takes on different issues fall consistently to one side or the other – ebbtide

    Blame the dreaded dividing line. The idea, in this case, that there is a fundamental division between antifeminist and feminist, with psycho MRAs, conservatives like Robert, and sceptical lefties like Daran and Cathy Young as a cohort on one side, and Ampersand, Ms_Xeno, Q-grrl and Luckynkl as an amorphous mass on the other. And all the while the more moderate positions to either side of the line are actually closer to one another than they are to their respective extremes.

    Outside of election periods, we don’t have to throw in our lot with one side or another, and we should forget the line altogether.

    And if this is neither right nor wrong, I don’t care. I’m feeling tired and emotional, and it’s ten to three in the morning.

    Comment by Tom Nolan — December 8, 2006 @ 10:49 pm

  78. Daran, I didn’t call you a moron, at all. I didn’t mean that, nor do I believe that what I wrote can be fairly interpreted that way. But I’m sorry that I gave offense, and that you read it that way.

    My point was that truth is not, in my eyes, a defense against a charge of being insulting. Nor is “they started it!”

    I do agree that on the whole, in that thread you behaved very well indeed. I don’t have any complaints about your behavior; I don’t expect you to be a perfect saint. I never would have brought it up had you not started multiple threads analyzing who is at fault in that thread.

    Comment by Ampersand — December 8, 2006 @ 11:22 pm

  79. Notice that my pingbacks got deleted, I don’t know whether this was Amp or Marcella, but it doesn’t really matter.

    I’m bewildered by this, since neither Marcella nor I recall deleting them. I can’t prove beyond doubt that we didn’t delete them accidently (mistaking them for spam?), but it seems unlikely to me.

    My general policy is to allow trackbacks unless the source is spam or is utterly offensive beyond any hope (i.e., neo-nazi), niether of which should have applied to your trackbacks.

    Comment by Ampersand — December 9, 2006 @ 12:43 am

  80. You do know that Ms_Xeno is Alsis, don’t you, Daran?

    You know, I never noticed that. But now that you mention it, I have no idea how I could have missed the similarity.

    Comment by Brandon Berg — December 9, 2006 @ 3:27 am

  81. I’m bewildered by this, since neither Marcella nor I recall deleting them. I can’t prove beyond doubt that we didn’t delete them accidently (mistaking them for spam?), but it seems unlikely to me.

    My general policy is to allow trackbacks unless the source is spam or is utterly offensive beyond any hope (i.e., neo-nazi), niether of which should have applied to your trackbacks.

    I assume that if you believed a banned or otherwise unwelcome poster was using pingbacks to circumvent the ban or to derail the thread, then you would act to prevent block or delete the pingbacks, just as you would act to block or delete direct posts. It’s what I would do.

    Therefore it seemed reasonable to believe that either you or Marcella had made this judgement and taken this action. Since you tell me that neither of you deleted them intentionally, and since WordPress has form for* deleting things all by itself, then of course I withdraw and apologise for the suggestion.

    *is this a Britishism? If someone “has form for” an offence, it means that they have a record of committing that type of offense, and therefore should be considered a likely suspect.

    Comment by Daran — December 9, 2006 @ 3:34 am

  82. She didn’t keep it in secret, really.

    Alsis38.5 at some point (I presume it went for longer than that), then 39, then 39.5, and her name hyperlinked to google phrase “xenophoraiscoming” (with no hits) and at grand 40 years of age (I presume) she finally assumed the moniker Ms_Xeno, and IIRC started an art webpage.

    I can’t recall any posts by alsis of any number after the change to Ms_Xeno.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 9, 2006 @ 3:34 am

  83. As for the “unreasonableness” of Daran maintaining innocence in the episode (mentioned here and in the other thread):

    I have noticed that when Amp demands benefit of doubt it is when he chastises someone who calls some person he likes out about using morally questionable (dishonest or abusive) debating tactics, such as in this thread or here.

    I don’t have a problem of him having biases or wanting to defend people he likes, but it seems problematic when some of these persons he likes are de facto unprovokedly attacking someone else and when he brushes aside complaints raising from that as “unreasonable” or being bad faith.

    So, in short, he can’t say that Daran is innocent because it would implicate Ms_Xeno and radfem are being abusive towards someone who really did not deserve it one bit.

    He has every right to do that, but he shouldn’t mix reason/unreason to it — it essentially has more to do with his personal/emotional preferences, or biases (which he has admitted). Since he has admitted them, I can’t see how he can still keep his cake while having just eaten it by appealing to reason on others.

    And please note that this isn’t to say that Amp is a bad person, I certainly don’t think so, but he has, in this instance and before, chosen loyalty to his older friends more important than intellectual integrity towards a new one or a stranger . Which isn’t a bad choice.

    The world is full of tough choices, but when we make a choice we should at least be willing to admit that we have just made a choice.

    [edited to remove a paragraph that doesn’t add anything and is insulting]

    Comment by Tuomas — December 9, 2006 @ 4:07 am

  84. Tuomas, there’s very little I have less respect for than folks who engage in armchair psychoanalysis of people they’re arguing with.

    I’m done reading or posting to this thread.

    Comment by Ampersand — December 9, 2006 @ 4:34 am

  85. Cut the crap, Amp. It wasn’t “psychoanalysis”.

    It was mere logic about the two choices you had regarding Daran’s assertation of his innocence in the thread. Everything else follows from the implications of an affirmative answer.

    Fact: Daran is attacked

    Fact: Daran’s attackers are your friends

    Fact: Daran claims innocence

    Fact: You disagree

    [edited to add: If it is in any way unclear, if you had agreed, the implication would be that your friends had attacked an innocent person]

    Comment by Tuomas — December 9, 2006 @ 4:41 am

  86. Daran, I didn’t call you a moron, at all. I didn’t mean that, nor do I believe that what I wrote can be fairly interpreted that way. But I’m sorry that I gave offense, and that you read it that way.

    I understand you to be saying that it was wrong of me to make the second of the two posts in the way I made it. It is still not clear whether you think it was wrong of me to have made the first post in the way I had intended to make it.

    You are also claiming that the effect of these post was inflamatory. I agree. It galvanised the attack. The point of my “Quintescence” post was to argue in the abstract that to cite “galvanisation” to justify a claim of wrongdoing on the part of the galvanised-against is victim-blaming. At best, you can argue it’s an aggravating factor. The inevitable Israeli overreaction to Palestinian terrorism (i.e., violent acts not in self-defence) makes that terrorism worse, but it’s not what makes the terrorism wrong in the first place.

    Do you agree with this?

    My point was that truth is not, in my eyes, a defense against a charge of being insulting. Nor is “they started it!”

    My defence is that their attack was harmful to me and I responded in self-defence, but my response was always measured and appropriate. My posts on my blog have been witheringly insulting but I did no more than was reasonable to defend myself in the only way I could. They attacked me. They used the power they had (which is the power you gave them) to drive me out, silence me, and having done so, they spoke falsely about me. I did nothing more than speak truth to power.

    If they have also come to harm as a result of what I did, then I truly regret that, but is the harm suffered by the unprovoked attacker as a result of the victim’s legitimate self-defence. I did not try to beat them to a pulp for post after post after post with direct falsehoods and generalised (hence indefensible) attacks on women, feminists, survivors, or whatever label. There is no moral equivalence whatsoever between what I did and what they did.

    Was it wrong of me to defend myself in the way I did including the two posts which were part of that measured, appropriate, defence? If the answer is no, then tell me what I did wrong.

    If the answer is “yes”, then tell me what else I should have done. I’m willing to discuss alternatives. But they have to meet my need for self-defence. You’ve said that you can’t guarantee my safety or protect me from abusive posters on Alas. I can’t post on Alas under a ruleset that doesn’t allow me to defend myself. I’m not that strong.

    I do agree that on the whole, in that thread you behaved very well indeed. I don’t have any complaints about your behavior; I don’t expect you to be a perfect saint. I never would have brought it up had you not started multiple threads analyzing who is at fault in that thread

    .

    I would not have done this if I wasn’t being blamed. This whole affair has been one huge fucking button-pushing exercise right on my buttons. And I have been GALVANISED.

    But I did not fight abuse with abuse. If you sincerely think I did, then I cannot post to Alas again.

    Comment by Daran — December 9, 2006 @ 4:45 am

  87. Ampersand appears to have left the building.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 9, 2006 @ 4:58 am

  88. I did not see the part of the post Tuomas deleted. What remains does not seem to me to be inappropriate.

    It’s your choice, of course, to participate in this thead or not. But unless you either exonerate me from wrong-doing, or show me an alternative way to handle such situations which meets my need for self-defence, then I will not participate on Alas any further. I’d be very sorry for this to be the case.

    Comment by Daran — December 9, 2006 @ 4:59 am

  89. The part that I chose to delete was:

    So, in short “And it will happen again, deal” is correct — with the addendum of “And I will call you unreasonable if you call me out of it”

    I don’t think Ampersand saw the original either, I deleted that within a minute or so out of regret.

    [it was in the middle of the comment #83,]

    Comment by Tuomas — December 9, 2006 @ 5:03 am

  90. I dimly recall Alsis in thread about porn or something, but I don’t remember more than that.

    Is there some history I should know about?

    Comment by Daran — December 9, 2006 @ 5:07 am

  91. I don’t know if there’s any history. I assumed that the implication was that Alsis had sneakily changed her nic, which wasn’t true.

    [edit: Come to think of it, the relevant history is her dealings with jaketk, obviously, but I don’t know if anything else is relevant here.]

    [edit 2: Or that the implication may have been, or could be read as]

    Comment by Tuomas — December 9, 2006 @ 5:09 am

  92. The part that I chose to delete was:

    So, in short “And it will happen again, deal” is correct — with the addendum of “And I will call you unreasonable if you call me out of it”

    I don’t think Ampersand saw the original either, I deleted that within a minute or so out of regret.

    Regret, and a willingness to withdraw is good, but I think you should have kept that, because that’s a huge problem for me.

    I hope we all recognise just how hellish this is for him. 😦

    But that is just the consequence of my legitimate self-defence against his victim-blaming. It’s as hard for him to bear being blamed as it is for me, but at least I am telling him what he’s doing wrong in excruciating detail.

    Comment by Daran — December 9, 2006 @ 5:16 am

  93. It is true that edits should be reserved for typos and addendums. I failed that part.

    And always announced. At least I got that right 🙂 .

    Comment by Tuomas — December 9, 2006 @ 5:26 am

  94. [edit: Come to think of it, the relevant history is her dealings with jaketk, obviously, but I don’t know if anything else is relevant here.]

    I meant with me, but you are correct, of course.

    The problem here is that we all view what happened through our own set of cognative biases. It’s not surprising that we remember things very differently. But I do not accept that the way Amp remembers it, or the way ms_xeno remembers it is automaticly correct, given that they have a proven track record in attacking and blaming the completely innocent.

    I have not suggested for a second that jaketk was completely innocent. Not like me. I’m a good girl who was smart enough to prove she was innocent. Jaketk is probably a slut who deserved it.

    Comment by Daran — December 9, 2006 @ 5:30 am

  95. If edits should be used at all for comments.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 9, 2006 @ 5:31 am

  96. It is true that edits should be reserved for typos and addendums. I failed that part.

    You can use [strike]…[/strike]. But I don’t mind deletion provided it’s noted. I approve of your willingness to retract snark. It’s just that I think the point you deleted was both valid and important.

    I think we’re alone now.

    Let’s have sex!

    Comment by Daran — December 9, 2006 @ 5:36 am

  97. Um?

    [Yeah, I got it]

    Comment by Tuomas — December 9, 2006 @ 5:38 am

  98. I need more than “Um” to know whether you’re consenting.

    Comment by Daran — December 9, 2006 @ 5:41 am

  99. No means no. (Um doesn’t mean no, but you are immorally pressuring. Shame on you.)

    Comment by Tuomas — December 9, 2006 @ 5:44 am

  100. I’d say the thread couldn’t drift much further. Hell, even nazis (the new version) have been here…

    Comment by Tuomas — December 9, 2006 @ 5:46 am

  101. Um doesn’t mean no

    Neither does it mean yes.

    I’m used to sexual rejection, but that is the first time I’ve been rejected in the role of a girl.

    I’d say the thread couldn’t drift much further. Hell, even nazis (the new version) have been here…

    Now now.

    Comment by Daran — December 9, 2006 @ 6:02 am

  102. Jaketk is probably a slut who deserved it.

    Probably? As my fiction writing teachers would say, take the question out of your voice. Commit to it.

    Comment by toysoldier — December 9, 2006 @ 9:14 am

  103. I just saw this (from Tuomas):

    “I don’t know if there’s any history. I assumed that the implication was that Alsis had sneakily changed her nic, which wasn’t true.”

    I certainly didn’t imply any such thing. I specifically said that Ms_Xeno outed herself as the quondam Alsis. There was no question of subterfuge.

    Comment by Tom Nolan — December 9, 2006 @ 9:29 am

  104. Probably? As my fiction writing teachers would say, take the question out of your voice. Commit to it.

    Fair enough.

    I only remember jaketk in a couple of threads. I do not remember him engaging in any disruption on Alas. He defended himself in the same measured way that I did when he was being attacked just now. I do not recall seeing any abuse by him, and I recall specifically noting that he had not abused anyone in the particular thread I’m thinking of, in which he got piled on. The thread was certainly derailed, though, as a result of the “galvanising” effect.

    He did blame “feminism” for his abuse. He also denied blaming “feminism”. His world-view was incoherent in that respect. But I do not think incoherence is the big sin here. Apparently it is a sin to blame “feminism” or “feminists”. You can blame “anti-feminists” “MRAs” or “men” for the ills of the world, but the group identified as “feminists” are protected. I’m not sure what spell they cast that rendered them and only them immune from generalised criticism, but I’ll bet they used the magic word “privilege” more than once.

    I cannot rule out the possibility that jaketk was abusive or disruptive in a thread I didn’t read. He probably was occasionally abusive at times, because only saints are never abusive, and most people aren’t saints.

    It’s possible that he was highly angry and abusive when he first came to Alas, then calmed down after he had vented, maybe after just days or a couple of weeks. By then he would have been so far overdrawn at the bank of Good Will that he can never repay it. I have seen this dynamic before, but I have no evidence that this is what happened, other than that the theory fits the facts.

    Another possibility is that my memory is faulty. In fact that’s more or less a certainty to some degree, but that’s also true of Amp’s, ms_xeno’s and the rest of them.

    Does that answer your questions?

    Comment by Daran — December 9, 2006 @ 11:01 am

  105. Ironically, I was joking (as I am the subject of discussion). But such is my deadpan phrasing that it seemed that I was serious.

    Since I take full responsibility for my actions, if they felt abused, I suppose that is what I did.

    Comment by toysoldier — December 9, 2006 @ 3:16 pm

  106. Tuomas:

    Btw, Marcella, pardon my bluntness towards you. It was somewhat uncalled for.[…] I suppose you’ll just have to accept that Creative Destruction isn’t a feminist space, and not all posters have to like feminism or feminists.

    I don’t care that CD isn’t a feminist space what I objected to is the assumption by many here that feminists should always see others as unique human beings and treat them with respect and the benefit of the doubt (don’t treat me like a troll), while approving the treatment of feminists as if they are all trolls. It’s that idea that we can’t make unsubstantiated claims about you or criticize you when you aren’t given a chance to respond, but you can make unsubstantiated claims about us.

    Nobody checked to see if Daran’s missing trackback got caught in the spam filter or the like and simply assumed that his impression that he had been deliberately censored was correct. It was just assumed that I am one of those nasty feminists who … you can fill in the blank from what people have written.

    My motives and my ethics had been publicly attacked, so the apparent double standard bothered me enough for me to comment.

    Looking back I should have just let it go.

    Comment by Marcella Chester — December 9, 2006 @ 4:16 pm

  107. Many a true word spoken in jest. In particular I think the “question in the voice” is a technique used to make attacks hard to defend. Consider the statement: “Men derail threads”, which is arguably true, (edited to add: sometimes, for some men) but in the context means “Daran derailed the thread”, which was false.

    Comment by Daran — December 9, 2006 @ 4:22 pm

  108. Marcella:

    I don’t care that CD isn’t a feminist space what I objected to is the assumption by many here that feminists should always see others as unique human beings and treat them with respect and the benefit of the doubt (don’t treat me like a troll), while approving the treatment of feminists as if they are all trolls. It’s that idea that we can’t make unsubstantiated claims about you or criticize you when you aren’t given a chance to respond, but you can make unsubstantiated claims about us.

    You said you “came here to understand the problem Daran reported”. I appreciate that. Please don’t let Tuomas distract you from that mission. When you talk about the assumptions of “many here” you implicate me, yet so far you haven’t spoken to me. If I have done the same to feminists at times, then I’m sorry, there is fault on both sides. But if we are to move forward, we have to start talking to each other as individuals.

    Comment by Daran — December 9, 2006 @ 4:39 pm

  109. Marcella:

    Nobody checked to see if Daran’s missing trackback got caught in the spam filter or the like and simply assumed that his impression that he had been deliberately censored was correct. It was just assumed that I am one of those nasty feminists who … you can fill in the blank from what people have written.

    My motives and my ethics had been publicly attacked, so the apparent double standard bothered me enough for me to comment.

    Marcella, if you think you’ve been publicly attacked by me then speak to me about it. I have already withdrawn the pingback allegation:

    Therefore it seemed reasonable to believe that either you or Marcella had made this judgement and taken this action. Since you tell me that neither of you deleted them intentionally, and since WordPress has form for* deleting things all by itself, then of course I withdraw and apologise for the suggestion.

    Bold added.

    Comment by Daran — December 9, 2006 @ 4:49 pm

  110. Daran, both Amp & I have been trying. He forwarded a message from me to you and I’ve been sending emails to both of you about this situation.

    Comment by Marcella Chester — December 9, 2006 @ 5:06 pm

  111. Daran, since you apologized for assuming your pingbacks had been deleted by a person, I need to ask you make the correction in the post itself.

    Comment by Marcella Chester — December 9, 2006 @ 5:30 pm

  112. I hadn’t checked my mail. My bad. I see your emails and will look at them now.

    I understand the need for me to correct my posts, give me a little time.

    Comment by Daran — December 9, 2006 @ 6:14 pm

  113. Marcella:

    So because Daran offended you, you decided to retaliate by falsely accusing “you” (me? uspecified us?) of making feminists pain the butt of our jokes?

    And you did notice that my comment was about general tendencies of ALL strongly ideological groups, and their treatment of outsiders?

    Comment by Tuomas — December 9, 2006 @ 7:46 pm

  114. Tuomas, please cool it. Some of us are trying to de-escalate.

    Comment by Daran — December 9, 2006 @ 8:44 pm

  115. What exactly was wrong about my comment? Was there something that wasn’t true, and wasn’t accurate description of what had happened?

    Comment by Tuomas — December 9, 2006 @ 9:08 pm

  116. Tom Nolan:

    I read it carelessly. Thanks for the clarification and apologies for the misreading.

    And Daran:

    I suppose I should stay out of this thread and the quintessence one. I’ve poked Amp several times too many in his deeply held values, and my faith in any de-escalation with regards to him is zero. Marcella I don’t know.

    [and since I don’t know Marcella all that well, it is not ultimately important if she has misread me or views me negatively.]

    Comment by Tuomas — December 9, 2006 @ 9:18 pm

  117. Puts on moderator hat, and knocks loudly on table.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, as thread-starting moderator, I am making an executive decision. I am closing comments on this thread.

    It was “Ha Ha only serious” when I remarked that this thread had been derailed. It really has been derailed. I welcomed the derailment, and I’m very grateful to all who have participated in it for allowing me to discuss this here on CD.

    Things have moved on, and it is no longer helpful to me for this conversation to continue here. So it is as a purely self-serving abuse of moderator power that I close the thread. No blame is attributed to any participant, and none should be inferred.

    General discussion about the flame war and its fallout may continue here. My suckiness can be discussed here. Generalised discussion about “Realpolitik in the Blogosphere” and “Why liberalism always loses” may continue in your nearest open thread.

    Edited for minor wording and to update links.
    Edited to remove Amp-bashing links. Intended in jest, they probably came across as snark. If you want to bash Amp, you probably already know where to go.

    Comment by Daran — December 9, 2006 @ 11:22 pm

  118. […] Marcella feels Publicly attacked by me: Nobody checked to see if Daran’s missing trackback got caught in the spam filter or the like and simply assumed that his impression that he had been deliberately censored was correct. It was just assumed that I am one of those nasty feminists who … you can fill in the blank from what people have written. […]

    Pingback by Trackbacks, Apologies, and Talking to Daran « DaRain Man — December 16, 2006 @ 2:54 am


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