The burden of honesty March 25, 2013 12:55 PM   Subscribe

I'm as upset as humanfont was over people inventing facts, then using those facts to argue from. Unfortunately, humanfont does that exact thing, again and again and again. By making these speculative inferences and then arguing vituperatively from them, humanfont is inflaming an already fraught discussion and making the conversation worse.

A couple of things to be clear on:

1) I generally agree with the positing that humanfront holds; this isn't about disagreeing with him by other means.

2) I think humanfont is generally a pretty good contributor here; this isn't about heaping opprobrium on him.

3) What I would like to achieve with this MeTa is encouraging the community — or at least the frequenters of MeTa — to be more scrupulous in their inferences, especially if they're going to argue from them in an inflamed conversation. It's a meta-conversational issue; hence it belongs in MeTa.
posted by klangklangston to Etiquette/Policy at 12:55 PM (342 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Did you just fork the conversation?
posted by Artw at 1:04 PM on March 25, 2013 [19 favorites]


Artw if you are just here for the lulz, please reconsider that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:07 PM on March 25, 2013 [18 favorites]


I just want to express my gratitude for this post, because I now know what vituperatively and opprobrium mean.
posted by 4ster at 1:07 PM on March 25, 2013 [15 favorites]


(Uh, I meant "position," not "positing." Proofing fail!)
posted by klangklangston at 1:10 PM on March 25, 2013


That's definitely one of the hard things about heated discussions about stuff on the site, especially when there's gaps in available information about a story: people can pretty easily just fill a gap themselves from their best guess to create a whole from which to argue, but different folks end up with different constructed wholes and we end up with disagreements on that front that are hard to back up and unpack again.

I very much appreciate when folks do their best to avoid that trap, which mostly I think comes down to mindfully acknowledging what they don't know yet, acknowledging where they're getting what they feel they know that's not a generally agreed upon, and being willing to sort of step back and reassess the givens in a complicated conversation instead of digging in when there's some sort of conflict on that front. It can be hard to do, especially when tempers are high, but it makes for better conversation.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:13 PM on March 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


Up until now, I was pretty impressed that we'd had a 1,300+ comment thread on a difficult topic without it triggering a meta.
posted by fatbird at 1:14 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


1) I generally agree with the positing that humanfront holds; this isn't about disagreeing with him by other means.

On another issue, I demand humanfont changes his name because it's way too easy to make that mistake.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:16 PM on March 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


this isn't about heaping opprobrium on him.

Sure looks like it from this angle.

To be somewhat more explicit: This is a shitty call-out of another user and should be closed.
posted by Etrigan at 1:17 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


"What I would like to achieve with this MeTa is encouraging the community — or at least the frequenters of MeTa — to be more scrupulous in their inferences, especially if they're going to argue from them in an inflamed conversation. It's a meta-conversational issue; hence it belongs in MeTa."

If this were really your goal here it might help if you had avoided making wildly speculative inferences about what humanfront was doing there. As it stands this all seems like a shitty attempt to resurrect a shitty conversation that took to long to die.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:17 PM on March 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I'm with fatbird. Around the time I bowed out, things still seemed to be going really well in that thread. There were several wrong turns we could have made, but we avoided most of them.

I guess it's still kind of a win that we were able to make it this far without something MeTa-worthy. That's something.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:19 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Artw if you are just here for the lulz, please reconsider that.

Entirely on topic, I assure you. I'm pretty sure we'll now be having the same conversation in two places - most MeTas end like that.

Okay, it was a tiny bit because it's funny.

Anyway, though this is a pretty terrible comment and indeed full of wild speculation it seems well within the parameters of MeFi conversation. Mainly it just makes humanfront looking like a gigantic okay I'll stop.
posted by Artw at 1:23 PM on March 25, 2013


If this were really your goal here it might help if you had avoided making wildly speculative inferences about what humanfront was doing there.

Mainly it just makes humanfront looking like a gigantic


I rest my case.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:26 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Whenever there's a thread about some contentious topic - although I'm not sure if harassment is that contentious since there's a pretty wide agreement in that thread as well as in various media analyses that no one in the situation has particularly high moral ground to stand on.

But anyway, when the thread is about an even involving some larger topic, some people will talk/argue about the topic rather than the event at hand.

Some people do this knowingly, some people just kind of blur it all together.

So I agree with Blazecock here, but honestly I don't expect much better from people. This stuff happens. IMO.
posted by GuyZero at 1:31 PM on March 25, 2013


"If this were really your goal here it might help if you had avoided making wildly speculative inferences about what humanfront was doing there. "

In each of those comments, he asserted something that we do not know to be true. In the first one I cited, it's speculating on the content of their remarks, something that we do not know and had not been provided in any of the primary documentation (twitter, blog post, HN forum post). He does this and specifically uses it to paint the guys negatively. In the second, he uses the speculation that they were being paid by their employers to be there in order to support his contention that they deserved firing. The third is more of the same, couched in second person. In the final one I cited, he speculates that this is a rich white guy, so he doesn't deserve sympathy.

So, no, those aren't wildly speculative inferences that I'm making. If you have further questions, I'm happy to answer them.
posted by klangklangston at 1:32 PM on March 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


As it stands this all seems like a shitty attempt to resurrect a shitty conversation that took to long to die.

Well if we're just opinionating here, I don't think it was overall a shitty conversation, and klang's reminder to be more scrupulous about inferences is worth heeding in general, and for a handful of folks in that thread in particular.
posted by amorphatist at 1:33 PM on March 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


TIA there's not an R in humanfont's username.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:34 PM on March 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


That's definitely one of the hard things about heated discussions about stuff on the site, especially when there's gaps in available information about a story: people can pretty easily just fill a gap themselves from their best guess to create a whole from which to argue, but different folks end up with different constructed wholes and we end up with disagreements on that front that are hard to back up and unpack again.

I was spending a lot of time trying to figure out how we get such divergent points of view not only what was morally appropriate, but where we ought to spending time discussing the particulars. This sums up the problem pretty well, I think.

The answer seems to be more epistemic humility, but at the end of the day, people have an innate sense that someone, somewhere, should be held accountable for the mess, or at least part of it. That sense us justice often leads to filling in more details, which is sometimes but not always warranted. On one end, if you don't make some sort of judgment, it just becomes an unbiased listing of facts, but that's generally not why people find a story like this interesting. It's because of perceived harm that was done, which requires a whole picture to make the case.
posted by SpacemanStix at 1:35 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, more importantly why is everyone (especially me) mis-reading his username? Does my brain just go "humanfo... fuck it" and give up?
posted by GuyZero at 1:36 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


My Brain: fuck it and give up
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:38 PM on March 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


Certainly if you want to create a spiralling vortex of Internet disention everyone starting off from a different set of facts and assumptions helps a lot.
posted by Artw at 1:39 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


klang's reminder to be more scrupulous about inferences is worth heeding in general, and for a handful of folks in that thread in particular

Agreed. What was worse, to my mind, were a few bad actors who kept making inferences about people's attitudes towards women or their supposed membership with MRA groups, done on the basis of simply not thinking too highly of Ms. Richards' actions. It was done essentially to bully people into silence, in my opinion. And even if it wasn't done to bully, it was definitely done in bad faith and had a chilling effect on the discussion.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:39 PM on March 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


I have vituperation and opprobrium for breakfast every morning.

On toast.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:40 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Okay, just for the record, the user being called out by this thread is humanfont. There is no r in that user name. Get it? Got it? Good.
posted by alms at 1:41 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I just want to express my gratitude for this post, because I now know what vituperatively and opprobrium mean.

I'm hanging out waiting for someone to use contumelious and/or maledicent in a MeTa comment. You know it's gonna happen.
posted by heyho at 1:42 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Absolutism and a need to go up to 11 at all times would also be a factor in the crappier parts of that conversation, and I'd include all sides and myself in that.

Which, given that's what caused the mess we are discussing is rather appropriate.
posted by Artw at 1:42 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Etrigan: "Sure looks like it from this angle."

I would tend to disagree with you. This seems like a pretty gentle callout so far.
posted by boo_radley at 1:43 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


In my opinion, it seemed obvious that Humanfont was trolling that thread. I didn't say so because MetaFilter forbids it, and I didn't flag because I didn't think a moderator would do anything. But I did note the username and then ignored the rest of his comments.

I completely agree with Klang's larger point.
posted by cribcage at 1:44 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm hanging out waiting for someone to use contumelious and/or maledicent in a MeTa comment. You know it's gonna happen.

Bingo!
posted by slogger at 1:49 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I ... guess this did not bother me so much because I thought the same general type of assumptions were being drawn about Richards earlier in the thread. Is that just me? I also thought he was saying the norm on salaries for a guy with that job title was 100K, and linking that to a conversation in the Retro Housewife post last week about how any family who makes a "low-six-figure" salary like that is actually considered a member of the upper class, ie, "rich."

So it bothered me less than the earlier statements by other commenters that Richards was full of herself, had heartlessly sold her turtle/cat (wtf?), etc., but I guess because I empathize more with Richards than most of the other commenters I am bothered more than others by inferences made about her.
posted by onlyconnect at 1:52 PM on March 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


and I didn't flag because I didn't think a moderator would do anything

Flagging works.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:54 PM on March 25, 2013


To be somewhat more explicit: This is a shitty call-out of another user and should be closed.

You're being oddly disputatious.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:56 PM on March 25, 2013


I didn't flag because I didn't think a moderator would do anything

You can email us.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:57 PM on March 25, 2013


So it bothered me less than the earlier statements by other commenters that Richards was full of herself, had heartlessly sold her turtle/cat (wtf?), etc.,

It's quite possible that this was also not really relevant although at least the cat thing was actually backed up by tweets she made.
posted by GuyZero at 1:58 PM on March 25, 2013


"but I guess because I empathize more with Richards than most of the other commenters I am bothered more than others by inferences made about her."

I'd chalk this to a difference in disposition: I'm more bothered by faulty inferences and inflammatory remarks from people whom I broadly agree with than those whose arguments I broadly disagree with.
posted by klangklangston at 1:59 PM on March 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: "You're being oddly disputatious."

Such a lofty encomium.
posted by boo_radley at 2:00 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really don't get publicly calling out a single user on metatalk. I don't want to be part of mefites individual interpersonal conflict. I request that when something like this comes up, people please first mefi mail the individual, or if that doesn't meet your needs, contact the mods. Unless this is a community-wide issue, why do we all have to hear about it?

[I recognize this request is probably useless]
posted by latkes at 2:04 PM on March 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


For the sake of public shaming?
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:06 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


It never works, unless they are stupid enough to turn up and defend themselves send then they automatically lose.
posted by Artw at 2:07 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


A strange game; the only winning move is not to play.
posted by Justinian at 2:08 PM on March 25, 2013 [14 favorites]


Such a lofty encomium.

Define lofty.


I really don't get publicly calling out a single user on metatalk.

It doesn't seem to happen as much these days, but if there's repeated negative behavior, it occurs. Humanfont's antics in that thread certainly rose to the occasion.

It never works, unless they are stupid enough to turn up and defend themselves send then they automatically lose.

Jesus, I'm right here, at least be a gentleman and wait 'till I leave the room.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:10 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, humanfront's comments about the developers' employment and sponsorship are actually correct. In the picture Adria tweeted, two of the developers are wearing Playhaven shirts (the company that employed two of the developers and fired one of them) and the developer on the far right has a sponsorship ribbon attached to his badge.

I'm not really seeing anything in these comments that is flat out false or isn't clearly identified as an assumption, e.g. "He has three kids and was the primary breadwinner for his family and as a programmer in the valley was probably pulling down over $100,000 a year" [emphasis added]. The only thing that may not be entirely accurate is his understanding of whether or not the comments were made to Adria. My understanding is that they were not, she just overheard them.

I could only stand to read part of that thread, but humanfront's comments were nowhere near the most egregious or inaccurate things I saw.
posted by Colonel_Chappy at 2:11 PM on March 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


"Unless this is a community-wide issue, why do we all have to hear about it?"

Two things:

One, I think this is broader than humanfont; his comments were just a particularly at-hand example of the phenomenon.

Two, I don't know how long you've been here, but one of the general principles is self-policing as a community. We can and should be able to talk about things like this.
posted by klangklangston at 2:12 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Well, humanfront's comments about the developers' employment and sponsorship are actually correct."

I'm not seeing any verification for the webinars, nor "They gave you warnings that you'd be in the presence of competitors, clients, members of the press and prospects so you need to be on your best behavior. …" Specifically, that comment speculates a lot of different elements and uses them to support the argument that the guy should have been fired. That some of the comment is accurate does not mean it all is.

To cop from SpacemanStix above, epistemic humility is exactly the goal.
posted by klangklangston at 2:17 PM on March 25, 2013


"...but one of the general principles is self-policing as a community."

While this is indeed true, we also can and should be not dicks about it, while refraining from using the framework to belabor trivial shit in threads we disagree about.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:17 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


You're free to sit this one out if you don't feel comfortable participating, Blasdelb. But I kinda feel like I've phrased this in a pretty polite way, and feel like your reading is weirdly off both in tone and fact.
posted by klangklangston at 2:22 PM on March 25, 2013 [15 favorites]


but klang doesn't necessarily disagree about it, he just has a problem with the way unverified statements are being made as if they are fact.
posted by Think_Long at 2:22 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I took that thread out of my recent activity, but it the phenomenon klang describes is not limited to that thread, at all. It would be good to see the back of it.
posted by rtha at 2:28 PM on March 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


While this is indeed true, we also can and should be not dicks about it, while refraining from using the framework to belabor trivial shit in threads we disagree about.

I'm not really seeing this as that. I know there are some users who feel that individual user callouts are really not what MetaTalk is for, but as I've said fairly recently, it certainly can be and has been in the past. All we ask is that people try to be decent about it and not turn it into weird grouchy pile-ons and I think klang has been fine in not doing that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:44 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Blasdelb, do you think that calling klangklangston's actions "shitty" or part of being a dick meet the higher standard that you appear to be asking for?
posted by grouse at 2:47 PM on March 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


If this results in more people getting humanfont's name right, it was worth it.

This is a human front.

This is a humanfont.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:55 PM on March 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


But I kinda feel like I've phrased this in a pretty polite way

MeMail would have been significantly more polite. "Hey, I'm noticing that people are making unsupported assumptions, in this thread in particular" would have been more polite. Calling out humanfont by name five times in a brand new thread so as to expose the MeTa-going portions of the MetaFilter community to it was not polite. Here is a polite callout on MeTa; but this one here is a personal attack disguised as a call for community behavioral reform over an utterly noncontroversial issue.
posted by Etrigan at 3:02 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think it's clear that the comment about the webinars and conference preparation is talking about what is standard when a company sponsors a conference and brings in a delegation of employees to staff it. I don't think humanfont is any way claiming that he has access to the webinars proving that these developers were warned before the conference about the perils of making dongle jokes.

In any case, it's pretty nitpicky to be all "I want to see the receipts" when someone speculates in a reasonable way about a standard industry procedure. I get what you're saying about invented facts inflaming and derailing conversations, but I think these comments are not examples of that.

I personally would have been more receptive to this thread if you had used as an example your own comment that incorrectly stated that the developers had been banned from the conference. You were acting in good faith and apologetic when corrected. Maybe you could extend other people the same courtesy, especially when they weren't actually wrong about the facts?

[Edited because I do see that you spoke to humanfont in-thread.]
posted by Colonel_Chappy at 3:03 PM on March 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


I didn't see anything humanfont wrote as explicitly made up. Part of the problem with this whole situation is no one really knows exactly what happened with the jokes before Adria took the picture. I know people are saying what they think the jokes are, but we don't have the entire context, eye contact, facial expressions, etc.
posted by sweetkid at 3:10 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


My first reaction to this call out was that the issue of presuppositions and the way they affect an argument are better done in thread. I decided that there are two good things that are accomplished by bringing it here, true of most interpersonal conflict: 1) it moves the argument one step affectually to a more objective arena for discussion. It's very difficult to resolve conflict at times in the midst of an argument by challenging presuppositions, until it is buffered a bit emotionally (for example, allowing a time lapse or some arbitration, like in couples counseling); and 2) it is really good for the community to discuss this issue, as important as it is. Case studies, as much as they can put individuals on the spot, are very instructive in a way that the abstract is not.

The lesson to take from this is not that it shouldn't have been brought up, but that we should treat all paticipants, including humanfont, with respect. There is room here for everyone to talk about the situation, and I'm assuming humanfont can speak up adequately about the issues on the table.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:19 PM on March 25, 2013


It never works, unless they are stupid enough to turn up and defend themselves send then they automatically lose.

Not true.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 3:20 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's absurd to beat up Humanfont for a lack of "epistemic humility" when multiple posters in the original thread were diagnosing Richards as a sociopath.
posted by fatbird at 3:23 PM on March 25, 2013 [13 favorites]


Fatbird, I'm with you.
posted by onlyconnect at 3:24 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't know why we can't see this as being a discussion to encourage us all towards a level of epistemic humility, fatbird. Why does this need to be about beating up anyone? Pointing out one instances of a fault does not mean that we don't all take a close look at how we all develop our arguments, your examples included.

I think this was klang's primary objective, even if he had a bur in his boot:

3) What I would like to achieve with this MeTa is encouraging the community — or at least the frequenters of MeTa — to be more scrupulous in their inferences,

It's hard to disagree with this as a community virtue, I think.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:31 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's absurd to beat up Humanfont for a lack of "epistemic humility" when multiple posters in the original thread were diagnosing Richards as a sociopath.

I don't see klangklangston saying anywhere that one of these things is ok but not the other. I agree with him that this is a common problem regardless of which "side" is making the argument.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 3:34 PM on March 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


Woah.

It's not humanfront. and while my mind isn't exactly blown, in the very least it's been blown on.
posted by item at 3:39 PM on March 25, 2013


[Edited because I do see that you spoke to humanfont in-thread.]

Please do not use the edit feature for that sort of thing; it's for typos and such, any substantial change in the meaning or content of your comment should be done as a followup comment.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:39 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


item: It's "whoa".

Is your mind blown yet?
posted by ODiV at 3:51 PM on March 25, 2013


I don't see where humanfont is inventing any facts and I'd appreciate clarification on exactly what is being "invented". At the same time, I don't know how I can get the clarification I seek without rehashing the arguments in the original thread, so maybe I'm still not getting the point here.
posted by Danila at 4:34 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't see where humanfont is inventing any facts and I'd appreciate clarification on exactly what is being "invented"

Here


Did you read her account. She was at a conference talking with another attendee about a previous session they had both attended. Forking the code was suggested. She turned around and they started making jokes about forking her code and other women...
posted by humanfont at 7:15 AM on March 21 [1 favorite +] [!]


Emphasis mine.

And that was in reference to something in writing linked at the top of the thread and referred to within the comment.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 4:38 PM on March 25, 2013


I don't see how that is inventing facts. That is assuming her account is true, assuming her interpretation is correct (that the jokes were in some way aimed at her since they had just been talking to her) and arguing from that. That's a lot to infer and a giant leap of faith but it's not inventing anything.
posted by Danila at 4:41 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Basically, I think an invented fact has to be something that we know isn't true. I don't think humanfont or anyone has an obligation to be charitable towards one side or the other. I don't think there is an obligation to be skeptical either. This callout reads to me like demanding skepticism.
posted by Danila at 4:44 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


That is assuming her account is true, assuming her interpretation is correct (that the jokes were in some way aimed at her since they had just been talking to her) and arguing from that.

It is inventing details that weren't in the original account.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 4:51 PM on March 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


That is assuming her account is true
Her account. Blog is back up.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:57 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'd say that's basically creating clear and deliberate harassment where none was before - that's kind of a big change in this discussion.
posted by Artw at 5:02 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Klangklangston if you want to accuse me of making stuff up, please be specific or stop your bullshit.
posted by humanfont


This is a perfectly reasonable request by humanfont which you failed utterly to respond to in the thread, Klang, and you have done no better here.

Saying "I'm as upset as humanfont was over people inventing facts, then using those facts to argue from. Unfortunately, humanfont does that exact thing, again and again and again." without indicating specifically what facts humanfont has supposedly invented demands that we take your completely unsupported assertions as facts, and is an extremely egregious example of the very offense you are accusing humanfont of, and completely invalidates this callout.
posted by jamjam at 5:08 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Basically, I think an invented fact has to be something that we know isn't true. I don't think humanfont or anyone has an obligation to be charitable towards one side or the other. I don't think there is an obligation to be skeptical either. This callout reads to me like demanding skepticism.

This reads to me as if you're saying it's fair to fill in the most uncharitable possible assumptions when all the facts aren't known. I'd disagree. I think assuming good intentions on all participants should be a prerequisite to good-faith discussions until the facts show otherwise.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 5:10 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


But then again nobody made a Metatalk thread over calling Richards a sociopath.
posted by onlyconnect at 5:21 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, if failing to assume good intentions of non-site participants is a problem that we as a community need to address, there is whole, whole lot more of that going against Adria Richards than against the men who made the jokes. I assume that calling her a sociopath, a self-aggrandizing attention seeker and the many other things she is called in that thread have to be allowed because it's how people are genuinely reading her no matter how angry it makes me or how unfair I think it is. So I chose to leave that thread rather than continue in that vein and to hope other people got more value out of it.

Seeing this callout in Metatalk, and then reading the links where the so-called "inventing facts" took place and not seeing a single clear example of same, just makes me think a little dissent from the prevailing narrative cannot be allowed to occur. If so many can think Adria Richards brought the consequences on herself and express that without any reservation as I see throughout that thread, then why in the world can't one person believe the same about the "other side"? It disturbs me to see this here.
posted by Danila at 5:25 PM on March 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


Danila: not seeing a single clear example of same

I kinda skim when I read, so I'd appreciate it if you could help me out. When humanfont says: "She turned around and they started making jokes about forking her code and other women" and I read in Ms. Richard's twitter: "Not cool.Jokes about forking repo’s in a sexual way and “big” dongles.Right behind me" and on her blog:

"That would have been fine until the guy next to him…
began making sexual forking jokes ... like Popeye, I couldn’t “stands it no more” because of what happened – ... They started talking about “big” dongles. I could feel my face getting flustered. Was this really happening? How many times do I have to deal with this? ... I was telling myself if they made one more sexual joke, I’d say something. The it happened….The trigger. ... I saw a photo on main stage of a little girl who had been in the Young Coders workshop."

Am I missing something? Did Adria Richards make other statements about what the two guys were saying, where they talked about "forking her code and other women"?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:35 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


"But then again nobody made a Metatalk thread over calling Richards a sociopath."

You're free to make your own MeTa post if you find this one insufficient.
posted by klangklangston at 5:37 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


"This is a perfectly reasonable request by humanfont which you failed utterly to respond to in the thread, Klang, and you have done no better here."

I responded in thread. It was deleted, as I'd missed Cortex telling us both to knock it off.

As for the rest of your comment, well, given that other people have been pretty able to pick up on what I meant, perhaps reading their comments would help you avoid seeing this as a personal fight.
posted by klangklangston at 5:40 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


" If so many can think Adria Richards brought the consequences on herself and express that without any reservation as I see throughout that thread, then why in the world can't one person believe the same about the "other side"? It disturbs me to see this here."

I don't believe I've ever stated that Richards brought anything upon herself. As for why if one side is inventing facts in order to buttress their biases, the other side still shouldn't: Tu quoque.
posted by klangklangston at 5:43 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hi! That was pretty much just me that called her a sociopath, and she does indeed look like one if you take the pettiest version of her complaint, the history of engineering blow ups Amanda Plum outlines and the way she turned someone else being fired into an opportunity to play Joan of Arc. I'll stand by them, especially in the context of whether or not she comes out of this looking like a dependable person that would be worth hiring or someone who would turn a workplace upside down on a whim.

BUT: thanks to the joy of everyone having a different version of events It's possible to see her in light - puck humanfonts one where forking jokes were directed explicitly at her and suddenly she's a clear victim of harassment and everyone saying anything against her is an utter monster.

It really depends on which bag of "facts" you pick.
posted by Artw at 5:52 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


That was pretty much just me that called her a sociopath, and she does indeed look like one if you take the pettiest version of her complaint, the history of engineering blow ups Amanda Plum outlines and the way she turned someone else being fired into an opportunity to play Joan of Arc.

Everyone looks like a sociopath if you choose to believe the least charitable and most suspicious view of their behavior.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:59 PM on March 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


Well, if failing to assume good intentions of non-site participants is a problem that we as a community need to address, there is whole, whole lot more of that going against Adria Richards than against the men who made the jokes.

I do have some sympathy with what you're saying here; for example, there was a bit of ad homineming towards the author of the article under discussion in the disability thread this morning that I thought was unwarranted. But I don't think you can really ask the community to assume good intentions on behalf of the actors under discussion as a general thing. I mean, is it reasonable to expect everybody to assume good faith on behalf of Bibi or Abu Mazen in an IP thread, or of Rush Limbaugh, etc. etc.?
posted by amorphatist at 6:00 PM on March 25, 2013


Anyway, isn't it often the case that what we do as mefites on a contentious thread is try to figure out if the actors in a particular post are or are not acting in good faith, so we can get our judgin' on?
posted by amorphatist at 6:02 PM on March 25, 2013


Richards is not specific about the exact nature of the jokes at all, but she is clear that she was talking to them, turned around and then one of them started making sexual forking jokes. From that, it is reasonable to infer that the jokes were aimed at her and intended to disparage women (not a fact, but not a fact invention either, as that very thing occurs many times and none of us were there).

It is from the fired man's account that we get the phrase "fork his repo" and the claim that this wasn't sexual but maybe something else sexual was said. What I see is many people assuming his account to be somehow less biased and that the jokes weren't aimed at her or at women. But if you put together his account and assume he's trying to make things look less bad, with hers and believe she's being straightforward, then you get the narrative that they were telling jokes about forking her code/repo. The only reason anyone assumes the jokes weren't directed at her is because the guy says they weren't.

You might think that this is a stretch. I don't think that really matters because everyone is running with a strong narrative in there.

I kind of agree with what Artw just said, it depends on which bag of "facts" you pick. It depends on what you think a credible version of events was, how you gauge the credibility of the only witnesses who are giving an account, and also what history you're bringing into it. Artw, it was actually jeffburdges who started the "she is a sociopath" argument in that thread but I agree you ran with it as well. ThatFuzzyBastard too. And that's enough ctrl-f sociopath for me but the point is that it was one of the strong narratives and I thought it offensive but I can see where it comes from. I see a bunch of MRA sentiments in that thread as well but they're not against the rules.

But I don't think you can really ask the community to assume good intentions on behalf of the actors under discussion as a general thing


I'm not the one asking for that. But I don't think it's right to callout humanfont for being biased.
posted by Danila at 6:04 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Everyone looks like a sociopath if you choose to believe the least charitable and most suspicious view of their behavior.

Yes.

And she looks considerably less like a sociopath if it is the case that she was upset about the guy getting fired. I have no idea of the solidity of that one.

Weirdly she looks best of all if you assume that she is completly awful at all forms of social media, but that has its own problems.
posted by Artw at 6:05 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyway, isn't it often the case that what we do as mefites on a contentious thread is try to figure out if the actors in a particular post are or are not acting in good faith, so we can get our judgin' on?

Unfortunately, yes. Equally unfortunately, we tend to just jump to conclusions based on a series of unexamined presumptions. I know I have done it, and it never clarifies, it always just leads to people bickering about Roshomon-like interpretations of events we barely have any information about and don't really want to be bothered to make sure we have done any research.

It's not me at my best, and it's not us at our best.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:05 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


"But I don't think it's right to callout humanfont for being biased."

That's not the intent of the call-out. If in doubt about the intent of the call-out, please refer to the text of the call-out. I assure you that it is all there, and if there are any facts about which you are unclear, you are free to ask rather than simply assuming them and proceeding.
posted by klangklangston at 6:07 PM on March 25, 2013


Hi! That was pretty much just me that called her a sociopath

Wrong, at least two other men made the same assertion in the thread, and more than once.
posted by onlyconnect at 6:08 PM on March 25, 2013


Speaking of unexamined assumptions, I always assume that somebody who works in the field of social media is going to be spectacularly awful at social media. It's only based on about 100 samples, but it is every single one of those 100 samples.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:08 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't believe I've ever stated that Richards brought anything upon herself. As for why if one side is inventing facts in order to buttress their biases, the other side still shouldn't: Tu quoque.

I'm not accusing anyone of inventing facts, you are. I think people are being biased, unfair and some of it is bigotry, but not necessarily lying.

This isn't about what you argued about Richards because I don't know. I don't agree with calling out humanfont for doing something that many people in that thread and others like it were doing, which is being biased.

If in doubt about the intent of the call-out, please refer to the text of the call-out.

Humanfont didn't invent any facts. I've looked at the links, you made a bold accusation that should be easily provable and have done no such thing. So I just think humanfont is unashamedly and unabashedly biased in favor of a particular narrative and I don't know why they can't be. You made this a specific callout of a specific person and provided what you purport to be a number of examples of their bad behavior and I don't see it.

This is one of the comments you linked:
You shouldn't have to ask someone to behave like a civilize human being at a professional event. It wasn't a party, a music festival or a concert. This was a professional event. The guys fired were paid to be there to represent their company. They were there on the company's dime, in company t-shirts and wearing a badge wiith their name on it. They were in a big public area surrounded by hundreds of attendeess. Under those circumstances I just don't see how anyone can defend the notion that making penis and forking jokes is acceptable. In fact I have a hard time understanding why you would think that this kind of behavior wouldn't have negative impacts on the career. The notion that she should have kept her mouth shut or just asked nicely is bullshit. These guys were working at the conference. Would you ask nicely if you saw a waiter spit in the food? No you'd call the manager. Would it be wrong to write that up on twitter or Yelp? No it wouldn't.
What are the invented facts? If you could be a lot more specific it would make it easier to understand your intent.
posted by Danila at 6:14 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


It is from the fired man's account that we get the phrase "fork his repo" and the claim that this wasn't sexual but maybe something else sexual was said. What I see is many people assuming his account to be somehow less biased and that the jokes weren't aimed at her or at women. But if you put together his account and assume he's trying to make things look less bad, with hers and believe she's being straightforward, then you get the narrative that they were telling jokes about forking her code/repo. The only reason anyone assumes the jokes weren't directed at her is because the guy says they weren't.

I am skeptical not only because he said they weren't aimed at her but because she also never said they were. It's an inference that they were as you said, and that does seem like a reasonable one to me. At the same time, the inference that she heard sexual forking jokes that were not about her is just as valid based on the words she used.

Presenting one inference as fact contained in her account as a response to someone asking a question about what happened was a bit problematic.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:16 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Speaking of unexamined assumptions, I always assume that somebody who works in the field of social media is going to be spectacularly awful at social media. It's only based on about 100 samples, but it is every single one of those 100 samples.

As I say, the not uncommon sentiment that anyone with social media or marketing in their job description is a useless know-nothing isn't without it's own problems here. But, still, if she somehow thinks that tweet is wending it's way to PyCon and nobody else and has no idea of the cascading effect these things tend to have then she comes off as a saint and anyone who doubts her is a MRA asshole.
posted by Artw at 6:16 PM on March 25, 2013


I should point out that a large percentage of my income now comes from social media, and I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:18 PM on March 25, 2013 [12 favorites]


Bunny, you're hired! Can you start tomorrow?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:21 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I agree with you Drinky Die although to me it doesn't matter if the jokes were aimed at her or not. And I'm not trying to rehash the thread. I got really tired of trying to interpret jokes none of us heard. The line is drawn differently for different people and I'm not rehashing that thread or trying to change anyone's mind about the situation. I just think it's a big leap to "inventing facts".
posted by Danila at 6:21 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I agree with you Drinky Die although to me it doesn't matter if the jokes were aimed at her or not.

Well, if the question is if what humanfont said was an invention or not it's kind of relevant that he said her account contained details that it did not actually contain.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:24 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Humanfont didn't invent any facts. I've looked at the links, you made a bold accusation that should be easily provable and have done no such thing."

Really? If you have proof that they were making jokes specifically about "forking her repo," something that she didn't even allege, or proof that "They gave you warnings that you'd be in the presence of competitors, clients, members of the press and prospects so you need to be on your best behavior," I'm happy to apologize for having missed it.

Both of those suppositions were used to support the conclusion that the person fired deserved it, inflaming the argument through dubious assertion. I believe that to be a dishonest argument, and I believe you to be mistaken.
posted by klangklangston at 6:26 PM on March 25, 2013 [13 favorites]


He makes a different inference from the details that are there. I just stop at "sexual jokes at professional conference", see that all parties agree it was a professional conference and they were making some sexual jokes, and that's it for me. I don't need more to be upset with their conduct so I wouldn't argue one way or the other as to whether or not they were directly joking about her.
posted by Danila at 6:27 PM on March 25, 2013


He makes an unsupported inference that agrees with our biases, yes.
posted by klangklangston at 6:30 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I just stop at "sexual jokes at professional conference", see that all parties agree it was a professional conference and they were making some sexual jokes, and that's it for me.

OK, but just because "that's it for you" doesn't mean that "that's it for everybody". I think a lot of us were interested in the nature/severity/target of the sexual jokes, because we see the world as grey. If it's just "sexual joke and I'm out"... well, then you have enough information to be out.
posted by amorphatist at 6:33 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Both of those suppositions were used to support the conclusion that the person fired deserved it, inflaming the argument through dubious assertion. I believe that to be a dishonest argument, and I believe you to be mistaken.

Yeah, I think those are reasonable suppositions. I don't know what else to tell you. Do you really think humanfont was pretending to know for a fact exactly what the attendees were told, or simply arguing that anyone in that situation in this corporate climate would have been given a clear idea of acceptable behavior?

I see this as a dispute over rhetorical technique. Repeatedly in that thread you brought up various logical fallacies you claimed people were guilty of and you're doing it here, while using an aggressive tone. I strongly dislike this rhetorical style but you're entitled to it.

For me, it comes down to the fact that humanfont is not making up lies, but arguing things as he sees them and using a biased and uncompromising narrative voice when doing so. Half of the thread is doing that.

I think a lot of us were interested in the nature/severity/target of the sexual jokes, because we see the world as grey

amorphatist, but now we're just getting into rehashing the thread and what the precise nature of the jokes was and what is appropriate at conferences and whether or not any sexual jokes are okay. I don't agree that we can know for sure the jokes weren't aimed at her, I think there is some reason to infer that they were and that's the end of it for me as far as whether or not humanfont was inventing facts.
posted by Danila at 6:37 PM on March 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


I suspect of it was sexual jokes about her we'd have been having a deeply different discussion from the start - not a lot of dispute on that in MeFi land.
posted by Artw at 6:38 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


He makes a different inference from the details that are there. I just stop at "sexual jokes at professional conference", see that all parties agree it was a professional conference and they were making some sexual jokes, and that's it for me. I don't need more to be upset with their conduct so I wouldn't argue one way or the other as to whether or not they were directly joking about her.

When I encountered it in the thread I looked it over. The details she gave were extremely vague but as I said there she obviously felt they were serious. That is also enough for me not to be angry she complained and to think her complaints should be addressed.

I think the word choice for what humanfont did there would be embellished, not invented. To my reading, he presented his comment as what she said happened in her account, not an inference from a vague statement. It's not the end of the world and I don't judge if it was worthy of a call-out but I think that's what happened.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:42 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's very odd to hear people say there was little to no "speculative inferences" made by humanfont in that thread. What wasn't made up?

I'm also pretty stunned that an otherwise performing employee would be fired over the evidence provided. The and he was fired claim does not seem genuine. It sounds more like the made up omg then the PC police fired the white guy bullshit. Look at that poor white man who lost his job to PC. Right that never happens.

Right off the bat, humanfont creates this narrative where the developer wasn't fired. That it's practically impossible for a white man to lose his job in this manner. I think. I find humanfont's sentences difficult to parse at times. Anyway, ...

I was observing that this claim fits a template.

A template in which white men are routinely dishonest about the real reasons they lose their jobs. A template applicable to mr_hank, aka the "fired" guy.

The "fired" guy claims to have 3 kids. Look at the picture. What was he twelve when he got married.

(I believe) it's still unclear which person in the photo is mr_hank (though we know it's not the guy in the foreground looking directly at the camera). Nevertheless, humanfont says he must too young to have three kids.

She turned around and they started making jokes about forking her code and other women, and about the size of their dongles.

Richards was very nebulous about the actual content of the jokes. She did not say the joke was about size of the developer's dongles, just about big dongles generally. According to mr_hank, the fork comment was not a sexual joke at all and it referenced forking a man's work. It was a sexual joke to Richard's ears, but her account does not mention anything about the forkee being a woman.

It isn't clear she had even left the conversation.

Insinuating she hadn't.

You can at least learn to be well mannered and polite, even if you are still an awkward nerd and bad dresser.

The "fired" guy is ill-mannered, awkward and a bad dresser.

The second post by the CEO is obvious damage control because the first post looked like a pretty clear case of retaliation

Yes, obviously pretty clear why the Richard's employer wrote a blog post: damage control for the sex harassment lawsuit that he is going to lose.

These guys were working at the conference. Would you ask nicely if you saw a waiter spit in the food?

This is really stretching the definition of the "working" at the conference. In my experience as a developer attending a conference is nothing like being a waiter. I'm not there to serve anything to anybody. I'm there to learn about shit and talk about shit. And even if it were an accurate analogy, what... mr_hank is now spitting on people's food?

The held webinars and meetings, printed survival guides, coordinated sessions to attend, and a booth duty schedule. They gave you warnings that you'd be in the presence of competitors, clients, members of the press and prospects so you need to be on your best behavior. We hired you to do a simple job. You couldn't do it. Of course we're going to fire you if you are anything other than some junior right out of college rookie who screwed up. You are a professional, put down your smart phone, stop clumping with your buddies and go out there and engage with our clients and prospects. If you can't do that job, then find a different one. That's the job we had for you.

Seriously. What? Who is "we"? Who is "you"? You bought me a shirt? I thought I was a bad dresser? It's not my fault. You made me wear this shirt. Anyway, mr_hank was putzing around on his smart phone (hey, maybe he was tweeting) and clumping (?) like a brogrammer when he should have been engaging with clients and propsects? That's the job the developer got hired and fired for? Sounds more like a developer evangelist gig.

I could go on, of course. By the end mr_hank had grown into his middle-age, though he retained his whiteness as his cold, rich hands shut down that mill in pursuit of the MRA Presidency. But I suppose you get the point. One of the more frustrating things to me about the whole debacle (not the most frustrating thing, mind you) is that despite the size of the explosion, there's so little known about the actual exchange at PyCon. I agree we should be more careful with our presuppositions.
posted by 0 at 6:51 PM on March 25, 2013 [27 favorites]


"Yeah, I think those are reasonable suppositions. I don't know what else to tell you."

They are, once again, assuming facts that are not present in order to support a disputed conclusion. That makes the conversation worse, not least because people will argue against those suppositions rather than based their argument on what we do know.

"Do you really think humanfont was pretending to know for a fact exactly what the attendees were told, or simply arguing that anyone in that situation in this corporate climate would have been given a clear idea of acceptable behavior?"

If those assumptions are not facts, then the conclusions he reached are not supported, ergo invalid.

"I see this as a dispute over rhetorical technique. Repeatedly in that thread you brought up various logical fallacies you claimed people were guilty of and you're doing it here, while using an aggressive tone. I strongly dislike this rhetorical style but you're entitled to it."

Repeatedly? I used the word "fallacy" twice, out of many comments in that thread; I used tu quoque once here, and the entire thread is about a failure of logic. I don't think you understand what you're talking about, and I think that by mischaracterizing what I've written, you're doing me a disservice.

"For me, it comes down to the fact that humanfont is not making up lies, but arguing things as he sees them and using a biased and uncompromising narrative voice when doing so. Half of the thread is doing that."

I didn't once say he was making up lies, I said he was asserting things that can't be proven and using them to argue inflammatory conclusions.

"I think there is some reason to infer that they were and that's the end of it for me as far as whether or not humanfont was inventing facts."

Yes, again, you don't care what the truth of the matter is and are willing to argue from that position. That's bad for honest discussion.
posted by klangklangston at 6:59 PM on March 25, 2013 [19 favorites]



A template in which white men are routinely dishonest about the real reasons they lose their jobs.

What?
posted by sweetkid at 7:04 PM on March 25, 2013


I find the racial hang up kind of weird too. I guess it's obligatory.
posted by Artw at 7:08 PM on March 25, 2013


To be fair, Art, you moved from a place that usually justifies its racism with classism to a place that usually justifies its classism with racism.
posted by klangklangston at 7:12 PM on March 25, 2013


Humanfont didn't invent any facts. I've looked at the links, you made a bold accusation that should be easily provable and have done no such thing. [...] What are the invented facts? If you could be a lot more specific it would make it easier to understand your intent.

Here are links to humanfont's posts, with specific invented facts (to my knowledge) noted. I think I have read all of the accounts of the incident; I've read Richards' blog post, the Hacker News comments, PlayHaven and SendGrid's statements, and PyCon's statements, and reread the two first person accounts again in preparing this post.

1. Look at that poor white man who lost his job to PC. Right that never happens. If you think that happened to you or someone you know it is because they were crappy in a thousand other ways in the eyes of mgmt and they took this as an opportunity to dump em.

We have no idea how good this developer is at their job. Perhaps they were only crappy in seven or eight hundred ways. Perhaps they were just fine, and management is attempting to head off a Twitter shitstorm at the pass.


3. If she was offended and they apologized; you should presume she heard some shit that was way over the line; and what you've read was probably sanitized.

The broad strokes ("fork" and "dongle") are agreed with, and we have little knowledge of the exact words or tone. There is no evidence that something way over the line (e.g. something personally sexualizing Richards) was said. There is no evidence that Richards has sanitized her account, particularly since she specifically quotes an asshole earlier in the day who made a "I like it bare under the skirt" joke that I at least would consider worse than anything that has specifically appeared.


4. I see outrage above about someone possibly getting fired, even though we have no actual evidence that this occurred.


We had the written evidence of the Hacker News poster (and this is very much a he-said, she-said sort of story; it's not like there is a Federal Bureau Of Nerdy Sex Puns database we can look this incident up in). We have since had confirmation from PlayHaven specifically.


5. She turned around and they started making jokes about forking her code and other women, and about the size of their dongles.

14. It really isn't that unreasonable to ask you to stop talking about your dick when you are in public at a professional conference surrounded by a few thousand strangers.
18. Under those circumstances I just don't see how anyone can defend the notion that making penis and forking jokes is acceptable.

There is no evidence that any jokes were about Richards or other women, nor that the "big dongle" reference was about the penis of any of the developers. Richards describes them as "sexual" and "'big' dongles" only. The dev specifically says it was about a fictional piece of hardware and that the fork comment was "I would fork that guys repo". This, I think, is the heart of the problem, in that we have the dev's account, describing it as offensiveness level 3, Richards' account describing offensiveness level 5 and maybe implying 7, then humanfont's version depicting it at offensiveness level 15.


22. The company paid tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to sponsor the conference. Paid for your badge. Printed you a t-shirt. The held webinars and meetings, printed survival guides, coordinated sessions to attend, and a booth duty schedule. They gave you warnings that you'd be in the presence of competitors, clients, members of the press and prospects so you need to be on your best behavior. We hired you to do a simple job. You couldn't do it.

PlayHaven is a Gold sponsor at PyCon, which costs seven thousand dollars, not hundreds of thousands. Gold sponsors may not even get a booth. There are many reasons to go to a technical conference. I've looked at PyCon's website, and it seems to me that the focus is on technical presentations and tutorials, with the existence of booths very much a minor side thing (in contrast to something like CES, which I understand to be primarily about the booths and media). It seems entirely possible that the primary focus of attending the conference for the fired employee was for technical learning, and the sponsorship was made for other reasons (such as improved presence at the job fair; the fired dev mentions having recruited two people). It is also entirely possible that some of the PlayHaven employees including the fired one were there primarily to learn, and others were there more to do booth work and selling. It seems obvious that we don't know the specifics of how PlayHaven prepares for a conference, beyond printing the shirt and paying for the registration (which actually came free with the sponsorship).


3. The "fired" guy claims to have 3 kids. Look at the picture. What was he twelve when he got married.
30. I think it is absurd that of all the people mocked on the Internet, you've chosen to make your stand for a rich middle aged white guy making dick jokes. He has three kids and was the primary breadwinner for his family and as a programmer in the valley was probably pulling down over $100,000 a year.

31. Given the scarcity of python developers in the Valley he probably got a signing bonus and a bump in pay.

It seems very unlikely that the dev who was fired had triplets and went from early twenties to middle aged, between March 20th and today, which is the only way that both 3 and 30 could be true. We obviously have a limited idea of what his income is.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 7:18 PM on March 25, 2013 [18 favorites]


I'm hanging out waiting for someone to use contumelious and/or maledicent in a MeTa comment. You know it's gonna happen.

Fuck, I think it was those two words that I got wrong on the SATs.
posted by ericb at 7:22 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Damn, I hope nobody ever fact checks my contributions this carefully.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:23 PM on March 25, 2013 [10 favorites]



Damn, I hope nobody ever fact checks my contributions this carefully.

Seriously, this is getting kinda weird.
posted by sweetkid at 7:28 PM on March 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


Far be it from me to interrupt kangaroo court while in session, but are we allowing nothing in humanfont's posting to be hyperbole or simple sarcasm? I mean, are we really going to crucify the guy because we think he sincerely doubted that the fired dev had three kids?
posted by fatbird at 7:30 PM on March 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's only getting weird because there're adamant claims that there's been no invention.

New, simplified story: Joe reports that Frank ate Joe's Honeycrisp apple instead of Frank's own Granny Smith.

Biased versions:
Frank is the worst because Honeycrisps are far superior apples.
Frank did Joe a kindness because Honeycrisps are overrated.

Versions with invented/inferred/not-in-the-source-material additions:
Frank ate the Honeycrisp on purpose.
Joe stored his Honeycrisp right next to Frank's Granny Smith so it's really Joe's fault.

I'm sad Honeycrisps are out of season.
posted by vegartanipla at 7:31 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


"He made stuff up."
"No, he didn't. Show where."
"Here, here, here, and here."
"YOU STALKER."

(I was never any good at haiku.)
posted by cribcage at 7:31 PM on March 25, 2013 [48 favorites]


Damn, I hope nobody ever fact checks my contributions this carefully.

I suppose we hold strictly-by-the-book, corporate, middle manager types like humanfont to a higher standard.
posted by JeffL at 7:32 PM on March 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Damn, I hope nobody ever fact checks my contributions this carefully.

I felt a little like an asshole going through humanfont's comments and referencing them, but it was done in good faith, as a response to several people who had asked for specific examples; pointing to specific comments wasn't making it clear to them without commentary.

It seems to me like this is to some degree a rhetorical technique that has gone astray, particularly given the fine parsing nature of the topic. But it's exactly these sorts of topics (lack of hard evidence, fine degrees of shading) where a clear distinction between facts, hypotheses and rhetoric is the most important. If the fired dev had clearly been observed to have said something much harsher along the lines of humanfont's impression, I think the thread would have gone very differently.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 7:32 PM on March 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


I just meant because I'm a pathological liar.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:33 PM on March 25, 2013 [12 favorites]


> 3. The "fired" guy claims to have 3 kids. Look at the picture.
> 30. I think it is absurd that of all the people mocked on the Internet
> 31. Given the scarcity of python developers in the Valley he prob

7
posted by jfuller at 7:38 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, if failing to assume good intentions of non-site participants is a problem that we as a community need to address, there is whole, whole lot more of that going against Adria Richards than against the men who made the jokes.

You missed my point. I said people need to stop assuming the worst about anyone, in any topic that's discussed around here. I have no horse in this race. If people assumed shitty things about Richards in that thread the way humanfont did of the dudes then a pox on them as well.

The backlash against Richards in other parts of the web has been pretty horrifying, in my opinion, and I'm also kind of bummed the someone lost their job for maybe making a dongle joke in public. Neither of those things cancels out the other for me (nor do I necessarily think they are equally bad).

I find a problem with arguing the way humanfont did -- drawing your conclusions from the worst set of assumptions -- is that when two sides of an argument both do it people end up just talking past each other since they're both starting from different places, neither of which are grounded in fact. I notice it in a lot of threads and I find it especially annoying when it's done by someone I agree with because it makes them look like they're arguing in bad faith.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 7:47 PM on March 25, 2013 [13 favorites]


They ARE arguing in bad faith.
posted by aspo at 7:52 PM on March 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


3. The "fired" guy claims to have 3 kids. Look at the picture. What was he twelve when he got married.

You can pretty reasonably be comfortably under 30 and have three kids.
posted by maryr at 7:55 PM on March 25, 2013


It felt like there was a lot of people who 1) picked one person as right and the other as wrong, and 2) emptied their full rhetorical quiver in service of the decision they had made in step 1. It did not help make the discussion good.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:03 PM on March 25, 2013 [13 favorites]


>Seriously, this is getting kinda weird.

Why?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:43 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah crap. Will someone find humanfRont and tell him or her it was all a mistake? They were talking about someone else.

And by the way, the
human front link was a failure
because it had no genitailure.

The best defense against a charge of pedantry is facts. I'm gonna make a list.
posted by mule98J at 10:59 PM on March 25, 2013


I'm sorry for the confusion my user name caused anyone.
posted by humanfront at 12:04 AM on March 26, 2013 [12 favorites]


Thank you.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:08 AM on March 26, 2013


nEWB
posted by lordaych at 12:21 AM on March 26, 2013


Game theory would suggest a mod made the call to buy the new sockpuppet lest it fall into the wrong hands. Or maybe plush berry is suggesting it.
posted by lordaych at 12:24 AM on March 26, 2013


I find a problem with arguing the way humanfont did -- drawing your conclusions from the worst set of assumptions -- is that when two sides of an argument both do it people end up just talking past each other since they're both starting from different places, neither of which are grounded in fact.

I agree that it doesn't make for great discussion and if people were more charitable discussions would go better. I also think calling out specific users and accusing them of making things up and poisoning a conversation is a serious claim and unsubstantiated in the callout. It seemed especially egregious to me because it appears humanfont is attracting the attention of particular users because they disagree with where he stands, period. I don't like dragging your debate opponent into Metatalk, especially from a highly contentious thread. Dragging your debate opponent into Metatalk and accusing them of telling lies when all you really show is they have assumptions you don't agree with is wrong.

I didn't see any "invented facts" in the comments linked in the OP of this thread. I took one of the links and put it here in its entirety because I was curious as to what was the lie and I still don't know.

Thankfully now some people have helpfully gone through every comment humanfont made and presented "invented facts" including opinions that changed from the very beginning to a thousand comments later. Invented facts of calling someone a nerd and a bad dresser. Invented fact that sex jokes about dongles are jokes about dicks. At this point I conclude that what you guys mean by "invented facts" and what I think of as "invented facts" are different and that helps me to understand this. That's why I asked for examples. When I read the OP and checked out the links I was looking for lies. Not, what is this exactly, negative assumptions you don't agree with.

I'm also kind of bummed the someone lost their job for maybe making a dongle joke in public.

When I read this it occurred to me that someone didn't lose their job for making "a dongle joke" in public. There were two men but one of them was definitely not fired. I bring this up because humanfont's supposition that the guy who was let go was fired for reasons beyond being politically incorrect was offered as another example of an "invented fact" here. But that's not an invented fact at all, it is a perfectly reasonable supposition in light of what we do know. Or, again, maybe invented fact means something other than what I'm thinking.
posted by Danila at 12:53 AM on March 26, 2013 [13 favorites]


I don't think humanfont gets a pass for all the assumptions they made just because there's a couple of probablys thrown in. e.g.:

If she was offended and they apologized; you should presume she heard some shit that was way over the line; and what you've read was probably sanitized.

I think it is absurd that of all the people mocked on the Internet, you've chosen to make your stand for a rich middle aged white guy making dick jokes. He has three kids and was the primary breadwinner for his family and as a programmer in the valley was probably pulling down over $100,000 a year.

Given the scarcity of python developers in the Valley he probably got a signing bonus and a bump in pay.


If you think that doesn't count as invented facts, you're letting one qualifier in paragraphs of arguing do a lot of heavy lifting.
And that first sentence alone literally says, 'It must be worse than what she said, despite no evidence to support it.' In no account are the actual jokes detailed, but we're being told that they must be worse, just because. I definitely don't agree with that.
posted by gadge emeritus at 2:16 AM on March 26, 2013 [10 favorites]


This conversation blew my mind. I first heard the word "dongle" a couple of years ago, and thought it meant "little USB-thing which you plug into your computer to get mobile internet". So these past two years I was all "my dongle this", "my dongle that", "my dongle won't work" etc, to all and sundry, including my boss. Does everyone now think that I am compulsively talking about my (non-existent) penis, or that I have a filthy mouth, or what? I feel like calling everybody and apologizing...
posted by miorita at 2:47 AM on March 26, 2013


It does mean "little USB-thing which you plug into your computer to get mobile internet" or really anything little like that you plug into a computer. But "dongle" sounds very similar to "dong" and, well, penises are funny.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:50 AM on March 26, 2013


Thanks, Ep, after I saw you answer I looked it up to see if it could get used as a verb, too, apparently not, which is a shame, since its sound to me is highly suggestive of "flopping in a (potentially) pendulous fashion". At least I didn't get round to issuing weird apologies... so thanks again.
posted by miorita at 3:13 AM on March 26, 2013


I thought about this overnight, and I realized that this MeTa irked me because when you are a woman, you know that you are opening yourself up for insults and an investigation into your past to look for weaknesses when you report harassment or make a hostile workplace complaint. Even if you don't do it with management, and just ask some guys to please stop talking about their dicks in front of you, you know from experience that it is fairly likely that they will stop talking about their dicks and start talking instead about what a cranky bitch you are and how you must need a good sexing. We are socialized that we should be quiet about a certain amount of abuse, and that when we do speak up we should try to come from a place of having been a paragon of virtue beforehand (Rosa Parks, not to conflate this with the racism struggle but she is held up to women as a way to succeed at getting your complaints taken seriously) and that even then we should know that we are going to get insulted and demeaned and that's just how it is and we have to suck it up to stand for our rights.

So we have this post about a tech conference, where there has been a long history of harassment and hostile work environment creating at tech conferences, and the disparagement begins. Did she write an emotional blogpost about her experience? Check, she is an unhinged sociopath! Did she report the incident in precisely the right way? No, she is clearly a bully seeking fame and fortune! As a woman who has been harassed I am upset to read this stuff and I add my own little voice to the thread to show solidarity.

So here is a MetaTalk thread standing up for the treatment of the guy who made the dick joke. Someone inferred he made a three figure salary based on the average statistics of developers based in the area, etc!!! True, no one called him a sociopath but THIS SHALL NOT STAND!

I feel like I am socialized to suck it up, but this post emphasizes how little we expect the perpetrators of harassment/hostile work environment abuse to have to suck it up. Of course in the best of all possible worlds, nobody would have to suck it up. In theory that is what this callout stands for but the emphasis on humanfont has dominated discussion here. (Fwiw, one of the at least three guys who called Richards a sociopath came in here to report that he "stands by" his judgment.)

I guess given the way the MetaFilter thread went, on the whole, I just did not think this call out was warranted.
posted by onlyconnect at 6:47 AM on March 26, 2013 [22 favorites]


This is an incredibly shitty and stunty call out.
2) I think humanfont is generally a pretty good contributor here; this isn't about heaping opprobrium on him.
You sure managed it though.
posted by adamvasco at 6:58 AM on March 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


Oh, poppycock. This is something that happens; people extrapolate all kinds of stuff and argue on that basis and it causes all kinds of unnecessary angst. Stick to the facts and argue based on that, that's what this is about. Not everything is a personal attack, even if a particular person's comments are used as an example. This was specifically mentioned in the initial comment!
posted by h00py at 7:34 AM on March 26, 2013 [14 favorites]


True, no one called him a sociopath but THIS SHALL NOT STAND!

There is a significant difference between stating a subjective opinion based on your own observation of someone's behavior ("she's a sociopath") and asserting the factuality of information that you either cannot know, or is known to be false ("She turned around and they started making jokes about forking her code and other women, and about the size of their dongles.").

Whether or not you agree that the former is a reasonable conclusion to come to, it's an opinion. The latter, however, is at best conjecture masquerading as statement of fact. (At worst, it is outright lying).
posted by tocts at 8:14 AM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


"It seemed especially egregious to me because it appears humanfont is attracting the attention of particular users because they disagree with where he stands, period. I don't like dragging your debate opponent into Metatalk, especially from a highly contentious thread. Dragging your debate opponent into Metatalk and accusing them of telling lies when all you really show is they have assumptions you don't agree with is wrong. "

As I said, you don't care what the facts are and are willing to argue from mistaken assumptions. In this case, you are flatly wrong about the motivation for making this MeTa. I thought that I had made that clear by actually writing what the motivation was and why this wasn't about arguing with humanfont's position; I broadly agree with the position he holds.

It is extremely frustrating to me that you have continued to misconstrue this after I have corrected you several times. Partly, I think it illustrates the problem with simply inventing your own narrative and proceeding with it.

It has caused me to lose a lot of respect for you and your ability to be an honest contributor to MetaFilter. I will now default to assuming that you are dishonest in your presentation of any issue, as you seem incapable of being honest in the presentation of this one even when I have made it as explicit as possible.

"So here is a MetaTalk thread standing up for the treatment of the guy who made the dick joke."

That's bullshit. I would prefer if you did not get your bullshit on me. I have also lost a lot of respect for you and your obstinate disregard for the plain, written explanation I gave above which you have ignored in order to keep depicting me as a villain in your narrative.
posted by klangklangston at 8:15 AM on March 26, 2013 [14 favorites]


So here is a MetaTalk thread standing up for the treatment of the guy who made the dick joke.

Which thread is that? Link?
posted by juiceCake at 8:19 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sociopathy ≠ a subjective opinion based on your own observation of someone's behavior

Don't Diagnose Strangers On The Internet.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:20 AM on March 26, 2013 [10 favorites]


Sociopathy ≠ a subjective opinion based on your own observation of someone's behavior

Unless you seriously believe that people tossing around the word "sociopathy" on the internet are mental health professionals offering a professional diagnosis, yes, it is. Non-professionals frequently use clinical terminology inappropriately to express opinions. It sucks that they do that. They are nonetheless expressing an opinion, not asserting fact.

"I think John is nuts!" is a completely different type of assertion from "I saw John steal your bicycle!".
posted by tocts at 8:27 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]



Unless you seriously believe that people tossing around the word "sociopathy" on the internet are mental health professionals offering a professional diagnosis, yes, it is. Non-professionals frequently use clinical terminology inappropriately to express opinions. It sucks that they do that. They are nonetheless expressing an opinion, not asserting fact


People really need to not toss out "sociopath" like they do on Metafilter, and it has been used way, way, way too often to describe Richards based on very little. It's extremely offputting and yes, creates an atmosphere that can make people feel like they are going to get the same treatment if they speak up about harassment, or if they do it in the "wrong" way.
posted by sweetkid at 8:36 AM on March 26, 2013 [12 favorites]


"Sociopath" and "sociopathy" is not a diagnosis per se. It's a descriptive word related to some psychological diagnoses (in the US, Anti-social Personality DO). When people say "he's depressed" on Metafilter they are also not offering a diagnosis. Which is not to say that it isn't strong language that might be better best avoided.


[I have literally no opinion on the thread at issue as I have not read it, although I am gut-level skeptical of calling a woman talking about harassment a sociopath.]
posted by OmieWise at 8:39 AM on March 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


So here is a MetaTalk thread standing up for the treatment of the guy who made the dick joke.

Wait, what? This meTa? Or is there another one that got deleted that I can't see (because my deleted threads scripts is busted and I haven't figured out why yet).

Or maybe this is a performance-art kind of comment, made to precisely illustrate the thing klang made this here meTa about.

Gonna get more coffee. Can't hurt.
posted by rtha at 8:50 AM on March 26, 2013 [10 favorites]


Sociopath seems to me awfully like a way to get away with saying you think someone's an arsehole and trying to make it look like an objective assessment. I think doing this is the kind of thing a sociopath would do.
posted by ambrosen at 9:11 AM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


No crap that some dude on the net "diagnosing" sociopaths is opinion. So were things like calling him "rich" (as someone who has gone through schooling, training, specialization, and is working for a computer programming outfit... is... by most metrics... not-poor [which was how the Reddit co-founder described it/rich in his "letter to stop being horrible to the woman being hounded in this case"). Yes, it is a "leap" (a tiny one) to go from learning that the guy made dick jokes/dongle jokes and to imprint that "it was likely/possibly a "my" dick/dongle 'joke'... that is pretty tiny leap of assumption to make. Most people don't joke about "generic dicks that are floating in the aether". It is pretty pedantic to say there is "no evidence" if it was a joke about whose dick/ heck we don't even know if the man making the comment in the middle of the presentation HAD one, therfore, how can we assume dicks are real... there were people talking about how they were previously/concurrently conversing, and suggestions that she did interact with them, so the whole line about her "tattling" without just "speaking up" [in the middle of a presentation, and as noted in thread, people tend to blame the one 'making a scene', so the idea of 'just' calling them out... is questionable]... many of the characterizations of Ms. Richards seemed unfounded too. That is one difficulty with having discussions of "breaking" things... rumour, and even just "want to say something quickly" sets in, and people speak/act swiftly, perhaps too swiftly, but making a whole judgement of a person because they do a tiny action that reaches many people (this is not comment on the topic, but comment on the issues taken with the comments being dissected).

How much action does it take to take a picture, to even auto-upload it to a twitter... people started framing her as though she had a whole "philosophy" of ruining the man's life... when the reality is that the technology facilitated a swift action turning into something much larger... same as accusations of sociopathy, might seem snappy in the second, but it sits there for years, making the accuser look goofy. Same as saying he was a "bad dresser with poor manners"... tiny typing action, but it lasts. But no one is like "philosophizing" about this stuff, or forming whole "tables of actions", it is how technology speeds up, and expands our actions, maybe we as a society need to talk about how easy it has become to make huge "statements" when not meaning to to so, with just a tiny set of "action". It takes little labour to communicate to many. that is both new, and not something we are "trained" in how to understand or comprehend, or even deal with. But Ms. Richards is not alone in this, nor is humanfont, nor is klang, or anyone else... we are all unprepared for the potential impact of tiny actions. Everything is just a "small circle" communication -- until someone else notices!

Doesn't change that it is low, crappy, and vicious to sling mental health terms around like they were little schoolyard taunts. Go ahead and do it... but I don't respect it.

klang, "your" post wasn't "standing up for the treatment of the guy"... I can see that, and others can too, and I can get behind the sentiment, that everyone would do best to avoid reading into situations, or to reserve judgement for a sober second thought... but that sure wasn't done by many judging Ms. Richards (attention____, self-promoting, horrible, sociopath, spammer, etc., wtf, call out the comment calling her a sociopath because she works for a "spammer", which someone pointed out showed that comment didn't understand what they did/cost).

But; it definitely acted to frame the 'issue' of bullshit attacks on people from all 'sides', in a way that gave cover for a whole lot of Encyclopedia Brown Jr. Detective work against one "side" (I, and I would guess many others have zero interest in going through and picking out all of the unfounded, or just hostile assumptions, claims and judgements of Ms. Richards), as we all know, how things are framed define how they will proceed (personally, this isn't a discussion worth having a 'side' in, besides being disgusted by the "larger internet response and vileness towards Richards in this situation" - death threats, rape threats, campaigns against her, for all the crying over how badly the man came out of this, as usual, the woman was pushed back down even further, millions dug and dug until they found the "AHAH!" thing that justified their "Right" to shove her back in line, how many who don't know her directly called it some form of "comeuppance" for "people like her" [too many, that is how many]).

Anyway. yeah, less making up of hypotheticals, less making up of what ifs, less need to judge others, or to play judge and jury, rather than observe and learn what happened would be great.
posted by infinite intimation at 9:13 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Quickly, I meant that this thread stands up for the treatment of the guy who made the dick joke in that it takes to task the user who has inferred that dick-joke-guy makes a three figure salary. I don't mean that this thread defends the guy for making a dick joke, and I'm sorry if it came off that way. I meant that by calling out just the guy who infers the three figure salary about dick-joke-guy, the thread implicitly asks us to be sure we are treating dick-joke-guy fairly.

That's bullshit. I would prefer if you did not get your bullshit on me. I also have lost a lot of respect for you and your obstinate disregard for the plain, written explanation I gave above which you have ignored in order to keep depicting me as a villain in your narrative.

klangklangston I think that you are being a bit harsh to me for simply trying to explain where my discomfort with this MeTa originates from. I don't say anywhere that I think you have consciously done something wrong, are a bad person, etc. I'm just trying to explain my point of view and why this MeTa rubbed me the wrong way. Everything you say about why you started this MeTa can be true, but I can still read it and feel weird that someone thought to make sure the developer who made the dick joke doesn't get treated too badly when no one made a MetaTalk thread about calling Richards a sociopath. But, whatever, I can take it, and I've taken worse on MetaTalk before.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:14 AM on March 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


Jesus Christ people learn how to read.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:21 AM on March 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


I meant that by calling out just the guy who infers the three figure salary about dick-joke-guy, the thread implicitly asks us to be sure we are treating dick-joke-guy fairly.

What klang said: What I would like to achieve with this MeTa is encouraging the community — or at least the frequenters of MeTa — to be more scrupulous in their inferences, especially if they're going to argue from them in an inflamed conversation.

Treating dick-joke guy fairly may be a byproduct, but it is not the point. The point is to make sure when you're in a thread, especially a heated thread, that assertions you make about someone's motives or mindset or the color of their hair are actually supported somewhere in the links. I think that's good practice. I'm certain I've been guilty of not practicing it myself, but yes, it is better to have fairness be a byproduct even for someone who might be a jerk if it means better discussion with less acid and fewer derails.
posted by rtha at 9:21 AM on March 26, 2013 [16 favorites]


Which is to say that Klang was pretty clear what he was on about here and somehow people have managed to, either willfully or just by having inadequate reading skills, miss the point and somehow not understand that Klang actually supports the position that humanfont was arguing from.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:24 AM on March 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


What does telling Christians to learn to read have to do with?

In other words, I get that, and everyone else gets what klang meant to do, reading skills or other assumptions have nothing to do with what others have done in bringing in more points and items of discussion, widening the scope, so that folks get that this isn't just one sided, that it is a thing that people of all opinions ought to consider:

Like most people who "responded" to the original post, I agreed; that is a principle that almost everyone should be able to (and did) get behind. Since that point was made in the original post by klang, it seemed like people wanted to show how this is applicable to *other people*, to show that the issue is not "one sided" and that klang was broaching a larger topic that everyone ought to consider. As has been now cleared up, no one was suggesting klang was defending one or another party in the "actual" topic (can't you read? [Jokes within jokes]).

This specific situation required addressing of the abundant other bs, half-truths, opinioneering and judgements of knowledge or 'facts' in absentia.


Off-topic: klang is the villain in all of my narratives.
posted by infinite intimation at 9:31 AM on March 26, 2013


Off-topic: klang is the villain in all of my narratives.

How is that off-topic? And what does it mean?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:36 AM on March 26, 2013


I think it is a reference to klang's previous comment where he tells onlyconnect not to make him a villain in onlyconnect's narrative.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:38 AM on March 26, 2013


Humor is often used to defuse tense situations.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:39 AM on March 26, 2013


Having thought t
posted by onlyconnect at 9:42 AM on March 26, 2013


Having thought t
posted by onlyconnect 5 minutes ago [+]


Oh no! Klang got onlyconnect!!!!
posted by Reggie Knoble at 9:47 AM on March 26, 2013 [15 favorites]


So were things like calling him "rich" (as someone who has gone through schooling, training, specialization, and is working for a computer programming outfit... is... by most metrics... not-poor...

So clearly what we believe to be the definition of rich varies incredibly. To me "not poor" does not mean one is rich. To you, it seems, it does. You don't find it stretch, others do. The further implication behind the statement is that having sympathy for a guy that is "rich" by some metric because he's a guy and is white is the sort of sympathy to be mocked. Classy that.

I can still read it and feel weird that someone thought to make sure the developer who made the dick joke doesn't get treated too badly when no one made a MetaTalk thread about calling Richards a sociopath.

Who though that? That's not what this thread is about and it's no one else's responsibility to make a thread you'd rather have. You can do that. People have varying interests and it's unfortunate you feel weird about a thread that doesn't exist.
posted by juiceCake at 9:49 AM on March 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


klang was in town a few weeks ago and we had brunch and he was totally twirling his mustaches in a villainous manner.
posted by rtha at 9:55 AM on March 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


The further implication behind the statement is that having sympathy for a guy that is "rich" by some metric because he's a guy and is white is the sort of sympathy to be mocked. Classy that

What? No? Sorry. I must have not written what I meant clearly. I don't think anything about his race, or wealth. Race is not an issue (beyond how the wider internet has used race in their responses to and attacks on Ms. Richards). Ms. Richards would likely fit into the category of "not-poor" also. I said no one should be mocked, or prejudged. I wasn't asking for diversion of anyones sympathy towards or away from either party. I wasn't intending to be making comment on the issue as the issue, but showing how the scope of this meta post is a useful one, a discussion that needs to be had. My comment was refferring to the secondary comments raising the idea that "suggesting he was rich was an 'invented fact'" - I was saying what you said, that such an issue is of opinion, and valid opinions actually differ on that specific issue.

By "not-rich" I was making reference to the Reddit co-founder's post, asking his users to stop being horrible.
posted by infinite intimation at 9:58 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think I am just bothered by the possibility that we are all unconsciously socialized to expect the reporting woman in a thread about harassment to take a certain amount of abuse and madeup facts about sociopathy etc, but to not to expect a guy to take something similar. I hear the people who are saying that the types of in thread abuse were different (though I would rather be called rich than a sociopath), and I understand klangklangston (and have understood this all along) to be saying he intended to make a general call for substantiated facts. Even so, I'm allowed to wonder about this stuff and talk about it in the relevant MetaTalk thread. And you all are allowed to shoot me down. I don't think it's such a crazy thing to be worried about, honestly, but ymmv.
posted by onlyconnect at 10:03 AM on March 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


> no one was suggesting klang was defending one or another party in the "actual" topic

Speaking of lacking reading skills...

>It seemed especially egregious to me because it appears humanfont is attracting the attention of particular users because they disagree with where he stands, period.

Off-topic: klang is the villain in all of my narratives.

Klang may be an ass sometimes, but so what? I can always count on him to call me out on my bullshit. Which i think is a good thing, and a much better contribution to the site than just making shit up to suit your narrative.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:07 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nothing is stopping you making a Metatalk post that addresses the sociopath comments made by a couple users in a thread with thousands of comments. Can you take that derail there, perhaps?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:07 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Please don't open a second MeTa thread.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:13 AM on March 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


the upside is one can now purchase a fork my dongle shirt.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 10:16 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


humanfont is attracting the attention of particular users because they disagree with where he stands,

That bit specifically, refers, I think, to people posting in this thread, not the thread/original poster.

Blazecock Pileon, this doesn't seem to be intended as a thread to just talk about "humanfont" (there doesn't seem to be too much to talk about if it is), but rather to talk about how the whole site, on all issues, is better when we are not making side-swipes, or sweeping assumptions, swift judgements of 'good' and 'bad' characters in complex human narratives, or reading the worst motives into a few tiny words. Seems like the idea of calling people a sociopath sort of really does fit in that idea of things worth avoiding in order to have a clearer discussion of difficult topics. I mean, humanfont's comments are likewise some "comments in a post with thousands of comments". It is all the same topic, definitely no need to split it further. "Be nice to each other; discuss the facts, and that which is in evidence".

Which was where some people were coming from. Aelfwine, sorry I wasn't clear, it was indeed an attempted joke/tension reliever, as was my response about reading to your comment about reading skills, my bad, I am verifiably bad at it, I didn't mean to be as flip/short/rude with you as that reads looking back, I was not reading the room very well (I failed at the goal of this post) sorry... this is a lesson for me to not try to make jokes. I will stop taking up space in this thread now.
posted by infinite intimation at 10:34 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


What? No? Sorry. I must have not written what I meant clearly.

You didn't write that the guy was rich and so forth. I am fully aware you didn't write anything about his race or wealth, or asked or implied sympathy. I was addressing the original statement about being rich. Your statement about not-poor was the first statement I addressed and had nothing to do with the inference of the other statement that you didn't make.

Rich may indeed be an opinion but it was presented as fact. It wasn't:

I think it is absurd that of all the people mocked on the Internet, you've chosen to make your stand for a middle aged white guy who is probably rich, making dick jokes.

Instead it was:

I think it is absurd that of all the people mocked on the Internet, you've chosen to make your stand for a rich middle aged white guy making dick jokes.

I get that the judgement that he is rich is from stats about the area, but just like the opinion that Adria is a sociopath is groundless. Some felt the sociopath issue was addressed in the thread. If you don't, feel free to cite the examples and discuss with those who are interested.

I imagine the term "rich" has some focus because of what the statement implies, again, that sympathy for someone who is rich and white is absurd, though of course no such stand for the guy had taken place in the first place.
posted by juiceCake at 10:56 AM on March 26, 2013


the upside is one can now purchase a fork my dongle shirt.

I'm waiting for the makers of this product to come out with a "blow my dongle" shirt.
posted by homunculus at 11:03 AM on March 26, 2013


You can pretty reasonably be comfortably under 30 and have three kids.

Indeed, Tammy Wynette was a grandmother at 29.
posted by y2karl at 11:12 AM on March 26, 2013


Whoops! It was Loretta Lynn...
posted by y2karl at 11:20 AM on March 26, 2013


I'm waiting for the makers of this product to come out with a "blow my dongle" shirt.


I remember despising the dongles that came with seemingly every 3D animation application in the late 90s/early 2000s.

I was unaware that the term had been extended (my apologies to anyone who believes this to be an offensive joke) to areas beyond software protection (again, the word protection is not used in any sort of sexual manner).
posted by juiceCake at 11:25 AM on March 26, 2013


I grant that I didn't read every single comment in that thread, but the way I saw it everyone was pretty much in agreement that what the two guys did was wrong, and that Adria had every right to do something about it.
For her to do nothing would have been doing too little. For her to have pulled out a gun and shot them in the face would have been doing too much. Most would agree with that. What we don't agree on is if what she did do (taking their pic and posting it on twitter and her blog) was a measured response or whether it went too far. We'll never get consensus on that because guess what? We're all different and have different perspectives.

What ended up causing this MeTa was that some commenters couldn't abide the fact that other people had a different opinion from them, and argued repeatedly and (IMO) disingenuously against those who expressed compassion for the guy who was fired. Humanfont was (IMO) one of the most vocal, so I think klang's callout is warranted.
posted by rocket88 at 12:27 PM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sociopath seems to me awfully like a way to get away with saying you think someone's an arsehole and trying to make it look like an objective assessment. I think doing this is the kind of thing a sociopath would do.
posted by ambrosen at 9:11 AM on March 26


I wish I could summon irony like this on demand. Pure gold.
posted by amorphatist at 12:39 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


> I was unaware that the term had been extended

Whatever the dirty-minded may think, the notion that dongle jokes are necessarily dick jokes has not been shown.
posted by jfuller at 1:56 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Couched in our indifference,
Like shells upon the shore.
You can hear the ocean roar.
In the dongling conversation,
Of a sociopathic size,
The borders of our lies...

posted by y2karl at 2:13 PM on March 26, 2013


Wow, "comes off sounding like a sociopath" was definitely poor word choice on my part! I should've obviously said "sounds self-promotional" or similar when describing her blog post. At the time, I hadn't heard anything about her private reaction, which obviously does contravene my word choice. Also, her public response in the NH thread sounded somewhat cold. Anyways, I picked the word solely to communicate the self-promotional character of what she wrote, as based upon the amount of unqualified hyperbole it contained. I qualified the word to clarify that it represented my interpretation. Amanda Blum seemingly confirmed self-promotion as being the correct interpretation, but I hadn't read that yet. If I had, I'd simply have quoted Blum or something. In any case, self-promotion is definitely not always a psychological condition, even if you do it by placing others at risk. Sorry to pseudo-Godwinned the thread folks!
posted by jeffburdges at 4:20 PM on March 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


You can use Weibo for that. Chinese nationals are required to submit government ID in order to talk online.

Huh. No wonder my attempts to create an account keep failing, then.
posted by ctmf at 4:26 PM on March 26, 2013


the notion that dongle jokes are necessarily dick jokes has not been shown.

What else could they be? I mean, reasonably? Johnson is just some guy's name, but everyone pretty much understands that johnson also refers to a dick. I'm not sure who could confirm it for us (the patriarch of the Johnsons?), but I think disputing it is a bit puerile.
posted by OmieWise at 4:49 PM on March 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


This Language Log post about the etymology of "dongle" has been going around lately. dgaicun linked to this page way back in the thread in the blue asserting it is a portmanteau of "dong" and "dangle", but there is no real historical record.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 5:05 PM on March 26, 2013


Johnson?
posted by homunculus at 5:07 PM on March 26, 2013


> Johnson is just some guy's name, but everyone pretty much understands that johnson also refers to a dick.

Once when he was a senator running for reelection Lyndon Johnson instructed his campaign manager to put it out that his opponent fucked pigs. "Now Lyndon," said the manager, "you know he doesn't do that." "I know," replied Johnson. "I just want him to have to deny it."
posted by jfuller at 5:26 PM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes, that tends to support my point.
posted by OmieWise at 6:09 PM on March 26, 2013


Really? If you have proof that they were making jokes specifically about "forking her repo," something that she didn't even allege, or proof that "They gave you warnings that you'd be in the presence of competitors, clients, members of the press and prospects so you need to be on your best behavior," I'm happy to apologize for having missed it.

Both of those suppositions were used to support the conclusion that the person fired deserved it, inflaming the argument through dubious assertion. I believe that to be a dishonest argument, and I believe you to be mistaken.
posted by klangklangston at 18:26 on March 25 [11 favorites +] [!]


I do not have the energy to read the entire thread before saying my piece, so here it is. Klang, I am incredibly disappointed and, dare I say, disgusted by this thread and call-out. I've been a member since 2005 and have been very aware of your presence over the years. I'm not sure what you're playing at here, but I have to say that I am pretty disgusted. Using logical fallacies against other posters who disagree with you, as if posting to a Wiki makes you some sort of argumentation expert, is childish at best. This is ignoring the bulk of your 'argument' which does read very much as a personal call-out of another user and a defense of what is undeniably abhorrent behavior by two men who you do not know from Adam. Why are you so eager to defend them?

The fact that you would link to humanfont's comments, all incredibly innocuous in a thread that is full of sexism, misogyny and Men's rights apologia, as some sort of sign of the end times of MF debate is telling. You are not interested in a good faith argument, or you wouldn't be so dismissive of poster's like Danila, or so contemptuous of anyone who disagrees with your shoddily-constructed points. Why does it irk you so much that some sexist assholes lost their job? Might it be because you see a bit of yourself in them?

I'm really sick of just accepting and dealing with the rampant sexism on this site, and yes, it is indeed rampant. Just because it isn't as soul-crushingly depressing as other websites and forums does not mean it is okay, or that it's GOOD. It's not, folks. It hasn't been for a long time, and the boyzone we've stopped talking about is still very much alive and well on this website. I'm fed up. I don't comment prolifically and I'm sure I'll get flamed for this comment, but I'm at a point where I'm ready to close my account.

My two cents.
posted by nonmerci at 7:18 PM on March 26, 2013 [15 favorites]


Nothing is stopping you making a Metatalk post that addresses the sociopath comments made by a couple users in a thread with thousands of comments. Can you take that derail there, perhaps?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:07 on March 26 [1 favorite +] [!]


Wow, Blazecock--you actually have the audacity to call out another user on MeTa over a supposed "derail"? I can barely contain my laughter.

Seriously, though, is Mercury still in retrograde? Onlyconnect has made some of the only reasonable comments in this thread (other than Danila, who was simiarly shouted down by the all-knowing KlangKlangston--apparently no other commenters can have opinions on his intentions, or the success or failure of his MeTa thread), explaining what it's like to be a woman living through and reporting on harassment. Klang replied in the typically contemptuous approach which has characterized his other comments in this thread. Now you're really going to claim that she is derailing, when her argument is just as relevant if not more important than Klang's? I just. Yeah. I have said my piece.
posted by nonmerci at 7:39 PM on March 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


Just because it isn't as soul-crushingly depressing as other websites and forums does not mean it is okay, or that it's GOOD. It's not, folks. It hasn't been for a long time, and the boyzone we've stopped talking about is still very much alive and well on this website.

I agree with you.
posted by sweetkid at 7:45 PM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm really sick of just accepting and dealing with the rampant sexism on this site

Is it really the case that asking a user to not make things up is rampant sexism?
Does it depends upon which side of a particular debate the user is on?
posted by pompomtom at 7:46 PM on March 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'm really sick of just accepting and dealing with the rampant sexism on this site

I'm sure there are just as many members sick of just accepting and dealing the groundless accusations of rampant sexism on this site.
posted by juiceCake at 7:49 PM on March 26, 2013 [8 favorites]



I'm sure there are just as many members sick of just accepting and dealing the groundless accusations of rampant sexism on this site.



I'm sure there are just as many members sick of having their concerns about sexism on the site dismissed as "groundless..."

I mean come on, this could go on and on. Don't invalidate nonmerci's concerns, they are hers.
posted by sweetkid at 7:55 PM on March 26, 2013 [10 favorites]


Sometimes "don't invalidate" sounds awfully close to "don't disagree with" and you know Metafilter is not a space where disagreement is avoided. (That doesn't mean it's a space where everyone is encouraged to yell at each other either...)
posted by aspo at 8:40 PM on March 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


a thread that is full of sexism, misogyny and Men's rights apologia

Bollocks. I did go through the thread again, and I think that this is characterisation of it that is so inaccurate as to, once again, prove the point of this post. I wouldn't say the thread is a perfect example of gender enlightened discourse, but I would completely disagree with how you described it.
posted by gadge emeritus at 8:46 PM on March 26, 2013 [15 favorites]


This is ignoring the bulk of your 'argument' which does read very much as a personal call-out of another user and a defense of what is undeniably abhorrent behavior by two men who you do not know from Adam. Why are you so eager to defend them?

You would do well to read the thread before accusing people of things. If you had taken the time to use your reading skills and read the god damn thread you would realize that Klang isn't defending them.

Why does it irk you so much that some sexist assholes lost their job? Might it be because you see a bit of yourself in them?

Yeah see that's over the line. Again this is where reading comprehension would help you out. Klang's position is actually the same as humanfont's...ie he thinks the guys were out of line. So for you to burst into this thread admittedly not even reading the whole thing and then accusing Klang of being a sexist...well that's just kinda dick move in my opinion.

Listen I've had it out with Klang several times so no one can claim I'm defending him out of any love (that being said I do have a grudging respect for the guy). At this point it the fucking principle of the matter. He was pretty straightforward with what he wanted to accomplish with this meta and the fact that people can't get it is pretty disheartening. In fact the willful ignorance and obtuseness displayed here is astounding. This isn't very hard people. When talking about contentious issues don't make shit up to suit your narrative. Pretty simple and reasonable request one would think. I usually find it a good practice to link to material that backs up what I'm saying.

So, nonmerci, you might want to link us to some comments where Klang has been the sexist pig you seem to think he is. Otherwise you should probably apologize and refrain from accusing people of things until you are ready to back up your accusations with evidence.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:13 PM on March 26, 2013 [14 favorites]


apparently no other commenters can have opinions on his intentions

ummm well they can have opinions yeah but when the person who is supposed to be having certain intentions doesn't feel their opinions accurately reflect said intentions then don't be surprised if they chime in and correct the person. Again with the willful obtuseness...is there something in the water?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:17 PM on March 26, 2013


"I do not have the energy to read the entire thread before saying my piece, so here it is. "

Exactly.
posted by klangklangston at 11:17 PM on March 26, 2013 [13 favorites]


Why does it irk you so much that some sexist assholes lost their job? Might it be because you see a bit of yourself in them?

This feels incredibly disingenuous to me in a thread that's explicitly about not making crappy assumptions about people to make a point.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 11:29 PM on March 26, 2013 [18 favorites]


Might it be because you see a bit of yourself in them?

You need a time-out.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:15 AM on March 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Despite the fact that Metatalk is less moderated than other parts of the site, it is not a free-for-all in terms of making personal attacks. We need people to work within the framework of how someone interacts here as opposed to calling them names. This isn't okay. It would be great if everyone took a few deep breaths here.
posted by taz (staff) at 12:42 AM on March 27, 2013


Six Alternatives to Time-Out

1. Get a hold of yourself first. The number one way to defuse a situation is to manage your own emotions first. When you are mindful of what’s going on inside of you, you are better able to respond to your child instead of react. The instant you realize that you are going into “stress mode” and the part of your brain that prepares you for “fight or flight” is starting to take over, put one hand on your belly and exhale to a count of six. Don’t worry about getting a deep inhale. Your exhales and inhales will synchronize. This sends a signal to your brain to stop sending out all those stress hormones and move out of “fight or flight.” Once you calm down, you have access to the part of your brain that is used for rational decision-making.

2. Offer a hug. This one often raises a few eyebrows, “But my child is acting up! Why would I hug them?” Offering a hug doesn’t reward your child’s behavior. It acknowledges that you and your child are not connected in that moment and it communicates that you want to reconnect. When your child is acting out, just ask, “Ahh, do you want a hug?”

3. Do something funny. Laughter is a release, gets us out of “fight or flight,” and reconnects us. It’s not about making fun of your child or using sarcasm. It’s about being silly, taking yourself less seriously, and de-stressing a tense situation. Try laying down on the floor and just start rolling around. Or sit down and start “pretend” meditating, chanting “Om”. Or even just start making animal noises. It’s hilarious and can get the two of you laughing…together.

4. Take a parent time-out. Instead of sending away your child, you walk away. Say, “I’m really upset right now and I need to cool down.” Go into the bathroom or your room. Besides the bonus of calming you down, taking your own time-out models self-regulation and appropriate self-care to your child.

5. Call a re-do. The second you become mindful that things are going south, say, “Wait a second. I see we aren’t connecting. Let’s start over.” This takes the blame off of any one person and focuses on the two of you reconnecting. Teaching your child to call for a re-do empowers them to be mindful of when they need to reconnect to you.

6. Give lots of time-in. Little doses of focused, undivided attention with loving eye contact and a caring tone of voice throughout the day fill your child’s need for your presence, embrace, and unconditional love. When you are feeding your toddler, pause for a moment, look her in the eyes, and say, “I love you.” When your young child gets home from school, stop what you are doing, look him in the eyes, and say, “Hi son. It’s good to see you.” No toy, activity, or privilege is worth more to a child than a parent’s loving regard.

posted by Drinky Die at 12:44 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


"You need a time-out."

Oh man, wow. Metafilter has never made me laugh so hard - and there are some funny fucking people on this site.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:45 AM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Repeating that a few deep breaths would be a fine thing right now. Let's stick to discussion of site behavior and interaction and cut out the sarcasmo and slapfest stuff.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:14 AM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh man, wow. Metafilter has never made me laugh so hard - and there are some funny fucking people on this site.

It's happened for less.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:19 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


My own stupid opinion is that this callout was fair, couched in moderate terms, and reasonable. The title is hilariously pompous, but eh.
posted by Wolof at 5:50 AM on March 27, 2013


My own stupid opinion is that this callout was fair, couched in moderate terms

Some of the responses to it have been the exact opposite though, and probably warrant a callout of their own.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:54 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ready for a brand new beat?
posted by Wolof at 6:01 AM on March 27, 2013


"I do not have the energy to read the entire thread before saying my piece, so here it is. "

Exactly.


I did read the entire thread, and I agree with what nonmerci said. The last paragraph really resonated with me:
I'm really sick of just accepting and dealing with the rampant sexism on this site, and yes, it is indeed rampant. Just because it isn't as soul-crushingly depressing as other websites and forums does not mean it is okay, or that it's GOOD. It's not, folks. It hasn't been for a long time, and the boyzone we've stopped talking about is still very much alive and well on this website. I'm fed up. I don't comment prolifically and I'm sure I'll get flamed for this comment, but I'm at a point where I'm ready to close my account.
I'm not at that point, but I have to re-evaluate why I bother reading threads that involve the actions of any human with two X chromosomes. Like nonmerci said, it's leaps and bounds above other discussion sites, but the donglegate thread was painful to read and not just because of its duration.

The fact that this metatalk veered back to the red herring argument "But what those bros said wasn't even sexist at all!!1!" is part of what's getting my goat. I was hoping the Adria Richards thread would be about the challenging road we're on to improving women's participation in the tech field. I am a woman in computing, and I enjoy examining these issues because they're fucking complex and also highly relevant to, you know, my life. I'm down with making the discussion also about twitter privacy and all that -- that's another layer on an already complex onion, but we have brains for that.

It kind of breaks my heart that the discussion was littered with drive-by musings about how nothing really truly sexist even happened, and now there's this weird FACT POLICE metatalk callout. I know most people sort of pick a side in these discussionwars, and minds aren't likely to change, but this nit-picking and out-calling is so tedious. I wish a larger fraction of the discussion could have been about the challenges faced by women in tech, how the field is slowly evolving through things like enforced codes of conduct at conventions, and how reporting harassment is always a minefield especially with new forms of online media. Maybe next time, or maybe I should just get out of tech.
posted by King, in the hall of the mountain at 8:17 AM on March 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


I'm really sick of just accepting and dealing with the rampant sexism on this site, and yes, it is indeed rampant. Just because it isn't as soul-crushingly depressing as other websites and forums does not mean it is okay, or that it's GOOD. It's not, folks. It hasn't been for a long time, and the boyzone we've stopped talking about is still very much alive and well on this website.

Frankly, I think you, along with a number of others who are posting and favouriting the same sorts of comments, are behaving in a rather spoilt manner. So: the position you've taken isn't as obvious to everyone else as you'd like it to be, attitudes on this site aren't universally aligned with yours, the facts aren't particularly in your favour - not that you're necessarily interested - and you haven't been able to convince everyone that you're right - not that you necessarily believe you should have to. Therefore, klangklangston, who has, over years and years on this site, written many thousands of words in support of feminist interests, and who's pretty much with you on this whole thing, only elicits your disappointment and disgust for being "childish", "dismissive" and "contemptuous of anyone who disagrees"; for being "eager to defend" horrible men with apocalyptic zeal, probably out of sympathy with their terrible ways; and of course, and most outrageously, considering, for interacting with other users in bad faith. The women in tech, feminists, and other MeFites who don't condemn people who refer to penises in semi-public spaces as harshly as you do, for reasons already described carefully and at length, have apparently just been pro-"sexist assholes" and "abhorrent behaviour" all this time. And it all just goes to show why Metafilter is such an unbearable sexist boyzone that you're itching to get out.

Lots of people pull this same exact shit when things aren't going their way. But I have to say I'm amazed by the shamelessness with which it's manifested itself this time around. People have basically decided that they are simply in the right so often about more or less this sort of thing that not only do the details of this particular case not matter to them, but it's actually offensive for them to matter to anyone else. In the original thread, these people were absolutely using outrage and repeated false accusations (particularly that people approved of the threats Richards was receiving) to shut down people who prioritised anything over solidarity with someone they personally felt solidarity with, and they've also tried to shut down this callout by acting like it crossed a line, like callouts aren't an established MeTa tradition. Yeah, OK. Keep on. But I see exactly what you're doing.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:23 AM on March 27, 2013 [28 favorites]


Maybe next time, or maybe I should just get out of tech.

Maybe you should just make a post, or even a comment, that actually focuses on those things, instead of treating the fact that people talked about the information they were presented with like something that's not supposed to happen.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:28 AM on March 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


It kind of breaks my heart that the discussion was littered with drive-by musings about how nothing really truly sexist even happened, and now there's this weird FACT POLICE metatalk callout.

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of MetaTalk.
posted by amorphatist at 8:29 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wish a larger fraction of the discussion could have been about the challenges faced by women in tech, how the field is slowly evolving through things like enforced codes of conduct at conventions, and how reporting harassment is always a minefield especially with new forms of online media. Maybe next time, or maybe I should just get out of tech.

I understand where you're coming from, as there's so many issues in this incident to talk about. It's fascinating to consider that Richards' response, which I think was overly hostile, could be be a result of PTSD like trauma, from having to constantly deal with sexist barrages, both large and small.

Earlier in the day, she dealt with more overt sexist attitudes in calm and professional manner. So why "snap" over a lousy joke that wasn't even directed at her? Probably 'cause she was tired of any sort of crap and felt compelled to put her foot. Who hasn't felt the same way, at one time or another? Does that make more response to the two guys better or worse?


That said, the incident is not just about women or women in tech. A guy lost his job based on what he originally thought was innocent joking. That's scary to of people and pulls in a lot of questions about working in the US, from workplace policy to employee power and at-will practices. Focusing on one aspect is fine, just remember there are multiple aspects which other people may deem more important that what you (the general you, not specific you) think has the highest priority.

So the question is how can all of these issues be addressed in a satisfactory manner?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:44 AM on March 27, 2013 [15 favorites]


MetaFilter: painful to read and not just because of its duration
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:52 AM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


>The fact that this metatalk veered back to the red herring argument "But what those bros said wasn't even sexist at all!!1!" is part of what's getting my goat.

Could you please link to an example of this.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:57 AM on March 27, 2013


I just want to say Brandon Blatcher is making some excellent points in that last comment.
posted by sweetkid at 8:59 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mefi threads like the contorted donglegate fpp which birthed this meta seem to be happening more often. They are threads that discuss some blamestorm out there caused by somebody's alleged bad behavior. And when the bad behavior is anything less than conclusively witnessed rape-rape or flat-out lynching/stoning or shooting up schoolchildren the thread commenters often can't (or anyway don't) reach any sort of consensus about the blamestorm trigger. Was it a Really Bad Thing, or is the badness meter reading in the meh range? Or any consensus about the responses by the various principles: entirely justified and more? Crazed overreaction? Maybe a little over the top but who couldn't understand? And more and more also about the reaction of The Internet Itself considered as one of the principals--which, given the late prevalence of hair-trigger mob action by countless Internet Heroes, it is hard not to do.

The outcome of the non-consensus is that not a few members leave the thread (sometimes the whole site) thinking the mefi user base includes a shockingly large number of lunatics and willful idiots. Worse, because such an overwhelming percentage of mefi members want to be Good People on the side of right, truth, and justice and prefer to think that (barring some minor character flaws they're working hard to fix) they are Good People, it's hard for them (Ah does indeed mean Us) not to conclude that others who don't share their (our) views must either be showing a culpable case of don't-give-a-fuck-itis or, at the worst (and it's no big stretch) are simply Bad People on the side of wrong, untruth, and injustice. As a consequence they (no us this time, fuller scratches asbestos underwear) become uncomfortable here, feeling unsafe and surrounded by other users committed to wrong, untruth, and injustice who are just waiting for them to slip up and show any sort of vulnerability.

This is my theory. It is just a theory, but it is mine. What metafilter most notably lacks is a sense that two reasonable, rational people can reach different conclusions on fundamental issues without either of them being Bad People. There's no use trying to link to John Rawls, who is ground zero in the modern era on disagreement that is fundamental and yet still reasonable. But it seems I can link to Ruth Barcan Marcus's paper Moral Dilemmas and Consistency (note, .pdf) and an obit that mentions it.

And this is the rest of my theory. Internet shitstorms, here and elsewhere, are real-world instances of the punishment machine from In the Penal Colony. The point of the punishment machine was that, during the time he was strapped into it undergoing "treatment", the criminal came to understand. Understand what he did that was wrong; understand clearly why it was wrong; understand why he deserves his punishment; and deeply desire, indeed ache, to be corrected. N.b. as most of you remember, the machine didn't work. It didn't make anybody understand anything and it self-destructed during a "treatment". Internet shitstorms don't work any better than that, even on mefi. All they achieve is to make everybody feel like shit. Otherwise, in the end it's the same as if nobody had spoken.
posted by jfuller at 9:24 AM on March 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


I like a lot in your theory, but there don't seem to be any actual Bad people in it. Aren't there Bad People? I'm not commenting about the thread that spawned this, because I haven't read it, but what if the "disagreement" is really different levels of discomfort with being oppressive (being sexist, say)? It almost sounds like what you're saying is that people who think engaging in a little oppression is ok are just misunderstood Good People, and the proper response (the way out of the conundrum you've painted) is to recognize that, rather than calling them out on their definition of appropriate behavior actually being oppressive.

But perhaps I'm misunderstanding.
posted by OmieWise at 9:30 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


As a consequence they (no us this time, fuller scratches asbestos underwear) become uncomfortable here, feeling unsafe

I have developed a real wariness of this "unsafe" talk. What does it really mean?
posted by amorphatist at 9:35 AM on March 27, 2013


> It almost sounds like what you're saying is that people who think engaging in a little
> oppression is ok are just misunderstood Good People

Anyone who thinks it is oppressive, even a little, would be wrong to do it if it can be avoided. The rub comes when someone thinks that the something (whatever it is) is not oppression, not even a little bit. That's the sort of fundamental disagreement that, per Rawls and per me, it is possible to reach without anyone on any side being Bad People.
posted by jfuller at 9:42 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's fascinating to consider that Richards' response, which I think was overly hostile, could be be a result of PTSD like trauma, from having to constantly deal with sexist barrages, both large and small.

Wouldn't that make PTSD the 21st century version of hysteria? Do we really want to perpetuate the idea that women are so vulnerable, that their response to a few off-colour remarks is analogous to the emotional damage suffered by people who've witnessed their colleagues and loved ones dying in battle or other major incidents?

Most of the women I know would deliver me a good hard slap if I were to suggest such a thing of them.

I suppose what's important is how you experience it. Some women will shrug it off as irritating. Some women will pull up the men concerned and let them know their behaviour is inappropriate. Are there really some women who would claim they've been subjected to PTSD as a result of this kind of asshole behaviour?

That said, I'm sure it's quite possible to have a PTSD-like response to the kind of stuff that poor woman is being subjected to now.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:54 AM on March 27, 2013


You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of MetaTalk.

As well as anything anyone makes up about you.
posted by y2karl at 9:57 AM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Given how the other thread was going, one can only marvel at the lack of foresight it must have taken to create this one.
posted by JLovebomb at 10:00 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I reread the original thread again last night and I think that it is not totally accurate of klangklangston to say that he "generally agree[s] with the positing [position?] that humanfont holds," and that this may be why some of us are struggling with this call out.

humanfont took a position throughout the original thread that the guys were completely wrong for making sexual jokes at a professional conference, that Richards was completely correct to call them out for their jokes, and that doing so via Twitter picture was completely acceptable. See, e.g., here, here, and here (twitter pic was not public humiliation or shaming).

klangklangston agrees that the guys should not have made the joke at the conference -- he says that doing so was "foolish," that neither Richards nor dick-joke-guy should have lost their jobs, and that the hate mail Richards was receiving was terrible. But he disagrees with humanfont on probably the most contentious point in the thread, which is whether or not it was okay for Richards to report the guys in the manner she did, by Twitter photo. He says, in the thread, that it was "kind of a dick move" and a "mistake" to do so. In comparing the acts of the dick-joke-guy and Richards, he says that while "[t]he brogrammers were foolish, she was a jerk," and he also mocks her blog post by commenting that "she was doing it [reporting the dick joke] for the children." Again, though kk agreed that they didn't deserve to lose their jobs, he states that Richards should in fact have been reprimanded because of the manner in which she made her complaint: "What she deserved was, 'Yeah, sexism sucks, but the way you handled it was kinda classless, and it came across as more about your ego than solving the problem. Maybe next time try this.' She deserved the same level of mild reprimand that the guys did, and no one should have been fired."

I understand why klangklangston would say that he basically agrees with humanfont, because if you count up the issues they did agree on there are more where they agree than do not. But the one that they disagreed on is the one that caused the most bile in the thread and had other men in the thread calling Richards a sociopath. Because this was the issue they disagreed on, and because many of humanfont's comments were countering the people who were saying that her Twitter report had been way out of line and amounted to public humiliation, I think this is why some commenters here see klangklangston and humanfont as having been in opposition in the thread.

I think klangklangston and I would agree that in a thread like this, it would be better if no one made up any facts or made wild speculations about one side's motivations or actions or psychology. If both sides of an argument are doing it, though, I think it is difficult to have a successful MetaTalk that focuses on just one poster, because then it can turn into an "us" verses "them" based on the positions from the thread. I think this post would have gone better if it had used examples from both sides in the thread, of which there are several.

I do not write this to say that klangklangston was being disingenuous in making the post. I hesitate to post this comment because I am not trying to go back to "us" versus "them" here. I'm just trying to explain where many commenters here may be getting the impression that there was disagreement about issues of substance in the thread and how this MeTa can therefore seem like an attempt to silence someone on those issues. I don't think that is really what klangklangston was trying to do, but I can see how it could legitimately feel that way. And for my part I still worry about whether we are unconsciously socialized to protect the guy who made the dick joke than we are to protect the woman who made the complaint.
posted by onlyconnect at 10:07 AM on March 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Do we really want to perpetuate the idea that women are so vulnerable, that their response to a few off-colour remarks is analogous to the emotional damage suffered by people who've witnessed their colleagues and loved ones dying in battle or other major incidents?

Fighting a never ending battle over the course of a lift time is bound to shape one's outlook and reactions, and not always for the best.

That said, I'm fine with using a different word if you think one fits.

Most of the women I know would deliver me a good hard slap if I were to suggest such a thing of them.

If you're hanging out with people who would give you a good, hard slap so easily, then you should find other people to hang out with.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:12 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I think klangklangston and I would agree that in a thread like this, it would be better if no one made up any facts or made wild speculations about one side's motivations or actions or psychology."

Right on. So, you'll apologize for saying that I made this thread to defend a guy who made dick jokes? And saying it after I explicitly said I did not several times?

And further: While I disagree with humanfont about whether or not her tweeting their picture was the right move, that's not the crux of this call-out either. I think that's something upon which reasonable people may differ, especially since we don't know the content of the comments she heard. I specifically made this post — as you'll see if you actually read my comments — because while I agreed with humanfont broadly, I disagreed with something specific that he was doing repeatedly. I actually thought that instead of calling out someone whose opinions I differed with strongly, that by keeping it contained to stuff that I basically agreed with, it would eliminate the tendency to re-argue the basic thread and keep the focus on something I feel is a net negative for the overall discussion on MetaFilter. I tried to do that in a moderate, composed way and got called disgusting and repeatedly had bullshit ascribed to me on the basis of idiotic prejudices from you and people like you. Which is pretty frustrating and makes me extremely disappointed in some of the members here, including you.
posted by klangklangston at 10:19 AM on March 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


Otherwise you should probably apologize and refrain from accusing people of things until you are ready to back up your accusations with evidence.

Seconded.
posted by ericb at 10:56 AM on March 27, 2013


"Wouldn't that make PTSD the 21st century version of hysteria? Do we really want to perpetuate the idea that women are so vulnerable, that their response to a few off-colour remarks is analogous to the emotional damage suffered by people who've witnessed their colleagues and loved ones dying in battle or other major incidents?"

I think there are indeed a lot of interesting parallels between what Richards has experienced and the oldtimey dynamics surrounding the word hysteria. Where the shit women have to deal with on a daily basis is made so invisible and alien to their male interrogators that even the most rational and considered responses seem so mysterious that they must be somehow pathological or 'sociopathic.' Also how 'women who cause trouble' must be crazy somehow or have something wrong with them because the alternative necessarily involves some hard navel gazing and change. Or how anything less than impossible perfection is seen is seen as totally invalidating of any perspective women involved might have.

It's not even like the kind of understandably maladapted response Brandon is talking about should be so unfamiliar to geek communities. I imagine that if two people dressed as jocks were to wander around PyCon snapping towels - even at each other or no one in particular - that would elicit a whole bunch of much more poor responses.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:06 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


There aren't enough available to facts for anyone to be entirely objective about this story, which I suppose is what makes the discussion so easy and so interesting to engage in. Practically everything we have to say about this is based on some leaps of logic, so it's a bit odd to call out just one person for it, as if humanfont is the only one doing it.

Maybe we should also call out the "fact" that the programmer got fired because of this incident. It's perfectly arguable that he did not; his colleague and clearly equally at fault jokester was not fired by the same company, which suggests that being called out for making dongle jokes might be an absolute sideshow in this guy's firing. Maybe he's been warned before. Maybe there are far more serious issues and this was the last straw. We really have no idea. I saw in the thread somewhere that someone suggested the reason one guy was fired and the other wasn't was because this guy was just more outspoken and honest, as if he'd fallen as his sword most bravely. This is all invention, we have no idea what actually happened at PlayHaven. Those leaps of logic are no more leapy than anything humanfont said.

I don't think it's dishonesty at work here. It's just interpretation.
posted by Hildegarde at 11:11 AM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Adria Richards identifies as black, and though light-skinned, she looks black to me and I think would to almost anyone I know.

I cannot imagine, as a white man, being able to grow up in this society at this time in history, and find myself sitting behind an obviously black woman and making jokes about "big dongles" without realizing there was a high probability of giving offense, and without realizing that if I went ahead and did that anyway, there would be a high probability that anyone within earshot would conclude that I was both racist and misogynist.

All this talk of PTSD is just bullshit: Adria Richards came to the same conclusion I would have come to, and if there are men reading this thread who would not have reached that conclusion, I hope they will help me try to understand their thinking.
posted by jamjam at 11:28 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


his colleague and clearly equally at fault jokester was not fired by the same company
"Alex Reid, who is photographed looking into the camera, did not make inappropriate jokes at PyCon and is still a valued member of the company," Laura Perez, a spokesperson for PlayHaven, tells Mother Jones.
Maybe we should also call out the "fact" that the programmer got fired because of this incident.
PlayHaven had an employee who was identified as making inappropriate comments at PyCon, and as a company that is dedicated to gender equality and values honorable behavior, we conducted a thorough investigation. The result of this investigation led to the unfortunate outcome of having to let this employee go.
It is pretty clear that Richard's tweet led directly to an investigation which led directly to the firing. Yes, the investigation may have yielded (probably did yield) further cause for termination beyond the dev's jokes at PyCon, but the connection of the tweet to the firing is indeed established by a primary source.

Those leaps of logic are no more leapy than anything humanfont said.

Does that include the comment where humanfont "understood" the dev saying "I've already got a few leads" to mean he "already has a new job" and that he "probably got a signing bonus and a bump in pay"?
posted by 0 at 11:38 AM on March 27, 2013


Well, you can be objective. It's just that an objective point of view will have to acknowledge there is some ambiguity.

It is possible the guy was lying when he said he was fired over this. We don't know for a fact that is true. It's possible that account was not even his, though I doubt it at this point. We do know at least he was fired as a result of an investigation regarding this matter, which could mean they found a pattern of behavior but I'm not sure that's how I would read their statement.

That is a bit different from some of what humanfont was doing though. It isn't just that it's possible that the sexual jokes were not directed at her, but that her account never actually claims they were. An objective way to address that is to say, "Reading between the lines in her account, it looks like she is implying the sex jokes were directed at her," rather than presenting it as unambiguous. For the firing you could say, "The man apparently claims he was fired over this in an online comment."

That all may be getting a bit too pedantic for a casual discussion, but with tempers flaring it can help to be precise.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:40 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


It is pretty clear that Richard's tweet led directly to an investigation which led directly to the firing.

Strike the first "directly"... PlayHaven may have been made aware of the situation through other means and not seen the tweet directly.
posted by 0 at 11:41 AM on March 27, 2013


"I tried to do that in a moderate, composed way and got called disgusting and repeatedly had bullshit ascribed to me on the basis of idiotic prejudices from you and people like you."

Oh Jesus Christ klang, let that thought sit in your head for a few more seconds.

You created this thread out of a slapfight you were already trying to have with humanfont, referenced them exclusively and repeatedly as being the source of the issue you wanted to 'address' when you even - very classily - acknowledged that you were a part of it too in the thread, and used examples that at worst reasonable people could disagree on for reasons others have already talked to death here. Being focused so exclusively as an attack on humanfont's participation in that thread, this thread creates a fucked up dynamic, intentional or otherwise, where humanfont only really has the option of comming in swinging - which would only be shitty for everyone involved, abject surrender - which is not even remotely appropriate, or taking the classy way out of refusing to engage - which leaves us with this undead mess of a thread. If you really can't see why people might be inclined to think that for you this thread might have been more about you, humanfont, and your poor interaction than the more global issue you only mention in passing at the end I really don't know what to tell you.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:43 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


All this talk of PTSD is just bullshit: Adria Richards came to the same conclusion I would have come to, and if there are men reading this thread who would not have reached that conclusion, I hope they will help me try to understand their thinking.

I'm tempted, but you called an earlier thought process of mine bullshit, so what's the point of continuing to talk about this with you?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:46 AM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Given how the other thread was going, one can only marvel at the lack of foresight it must have taken to create this one.

When someone has an issue with the way discussions are going, and not the substance of the discussion, isn't moving it over to MetaTalk the right thing to do? And if your point is that klang should have anticipated that the shitstorm in the original thread was likely to flow over to here, well, I kinda admire people who go ahead and do the proper thing even though it's likely to raise a shitstorm.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:47 AM on March 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Occam's Razor has been mounted on a hilt and is being used like a samurai sword to slash about wildly in a dark room full of commentors.
posted by charred husk at 11:48 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


When someone has an issue with the way discussions are going, and not the substance of the discussion, isn't moving it over to MetaTalk the right thing to do?

It's exactly the right thing to do and, as these things go, this was the way to do it. I appreciate that people may or may not sympathize with either klang's position or his approach but "I am having an extended issue with this user that is getting in the way of other people being able to discuss the topic of the thread" is a good reason to open a MeTa thread. I'm aware that we have some users who disagree with the personal-callout style of this thread and other ones in the past. That's fine, you don't need to like them, but it is actually explicitly one of the thing that this part of the site is for. humanfont can show up or not, he can engage or not, but this thread is totally okay being here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:55 AM on March 27, 2013


Adria Richards came to the same conclusion I would have come to, and if there are men reading this thread who would not have reached that conclusion, I hope they will help me try to understand their thinking.
posted by jamjam 22 minutes ago [1 favorite +]


Perhaps you could explain why you think it was racist.

I haven't seen Adria Richards call those comments racist but you say that she came to the same conclusion you would have.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 11:57 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


The point isn't that Richards called those comments racist, which I also haven't seen evidence for, but rather that anyone who disagrees with how Richards acted in response to perceived sexist comments is hinted to be racist by emotional proxy. That's how one silences dissent.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:04 PM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow, this MeTa has gone way off the rails from the original topic.
posted by Think_Long at 12:06 PM on March 27, 2013


Right on. So, you'll apologize for saying that I made this thread to defend a guy who made dick jokes? And saying it after I explicitly said I did not several times?

Respectfully klangklangston I didn't say that, I said that this thread "st[ood] up for the treatment of the guy who made the dick joke."

Then later, when it seemed that people had not understood my point, I clarified that "I meant that this thread stands up for the treatment of the guy who made the dick joke in that it takes to task the user who has inferred that dick-joke-guy makes a three figure salary. I don't mean that this thread defends the guy for making a dick joke, and I'm sorry if it came off that way. I meant that by calling out just the guy who infers the three figure salary about dick-joke-guy, the thread implicitly asks us to be sure we are treating dick-joke-guy fairly." And in the same comment I also said that "I don't say anywhere that I think you have consciously done something wrong, are a bad person, etc. I'm just trying to explain my point of view and why this MeTa rubbed me the wrong way. Everything you say about why you started this MeTa can be true, but I can still read it and feel weird that someone thought to make sure the developer who made the dick joke doesn't get treated too badly when no one made a MetaTalk thread about calling Richards a sociopath."

The fact that you and ericb are asking me for an apology virtually identical to one I have already issued is confusing to me. Maybe you did not read my comment?

I do think that you are being pretty harsh to me in calling my comments "bullshit" that are "full of idiotic prejudices" when I have really tried to be fair and just explain the issues I saw without insulting the people behind the comments. I did not come into this thread being your enemy, fwiw. I do think it is fair to wonder and ask about the ways in which we may have been unconsciously socialized. I am honestly a little baffled by some of the comments you have made to me in this thread.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:11 PM on March 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


Do we really want to perpetuate the idea that women are so vulnerable, that their response to a few off-colour remarks is analogous to the emotional damage suffered by people who've witnessed their colleagues and loved ones dying in battle or other major incidents?

Obviously not. But being subjected to frequent sexual harassment and living under the constant threat of sexual violence might, which is how many women on MetaFilter describe their day-to-day experience. The fact that people exposed to harassment display symptoms of PTSD is an actual subject of study.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:16 PM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


If anyone wants access to that paper or others please feel free to memail me with an email address I can send a PDF to and a promise not to distribute it/them further.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:21 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I cannot imagine, as a white man, being able to grow up in this society at this time in history, and find myself sitting behind an obviously black woman and making jokes about "big dongles" without realizing there was a high probability of giving offense, and without realizing that if I went ahead and did that anyway, there would be a high probability that anyone within earshot would conclude that I was both racist and misogynist.

I don't understand why folks bring race into this at all. Why would you conclude that her being a black woman is supposed to make the situation different? What if she were an indian woman, or asian, or - heaven forbid - a white woman?

I suppose we should be glad that nobody ran with the jewish aspect. I see what you tried to do there Bwitth, you troublemaker!
posted by amorphatist at 12:33 PM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


I haven't seen Adria Richards call those comments racist but you say that she came to the same conclusion you would have.
posted by Reggie Knoble


Good point and I'm glad you made it.

Adria Richards has emphatically not said anything about racism, perhaps because she didn't think it was racist, and perhaps because she thinks that would be strategically unwise-- if the latter, I agree with her.

I can't be sure whether she thought it was racist or not, but I'd guess she thought it could have been.

And it would have been better for me to have said "anyone else within earshot"-- so let me ask you, Reggie Knoble, if you had been sitting next to those guys and noticed this black woman sitting in front of them and they started talking about "big Dongles" and laughing would you have thought there was probably racist intent there or not?
posted by jamjam at 12:42 PM on March 27, 2013


so let me ask you, Reggie Knoble, if you had been sitting next to those guys and noticed this black woman sitting in front of them and they started talking about "big Dongles" and laughing would you have thought there was probably racist intent there or not?
posted by jamjam at 8:42 PM on March 27 [+] [!]


No, I wouldn't have and I still don't know why anybody would.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 12:44 PM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I can't be sure whether she thought it was racist or not, but I'd guess she thought it could have been.

This is an...interesting thing to say in a thread discussing speculative inferences.
posted by lalex at 12:50 PM on March 27, 2013 [14 favorites]


the thread implicitly asks us to be sure we are treating dick-joke-guy fairly

I am confused. Are you trying to say that is an unreasonable thing to ask? Because if so I'm happy to explicitly ask you to make sure you treat EVERYONE fairly. That's what fair means.

P.S. I'm pretty sure you mean six figure salary. Three figure would mean the guy makes less than 1000 a year.
posted by aspo at 1:00 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is an...interesting thing to say in a thread discussing speculative inferences.
posted by lalex


And this is a gutless way of implying something without taking the risk of stating it openly.
posted by jamjam at 1:07 PM on March 27, 2013


" I don't mean that this thread defends the guy for making a dick joke, and I'm sorry if it came off that way."

Fair enough.

I do think it's worth treating the guy from PlayCon fairly, just as it's worth treating Richards fairly. That means not inventing facts to skew the narrative. It does not preclude thinking that he was in the wrong, or that she was in the wrong, or any number of other conclusions.

I'm sorry that I got my back up like that, I've been trying pretty hard to keep calm in here and not just tell people to go fuck themselves, and I apologize for conflating you with some other folks. There was a lot of bad faith and obstinant misreadings right out of the gate, but part of having a better conversation is me not being part of the problem. I do think that you misread or misstated some stuff earlier on, but I should have been more scrupulous about acknowledging your later clarifications.
posted by klangklangston at 1:13 PM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


"And this is a gutless way of implying something without taking the risk of stating it openly."

What he's saying is that you're making an admittedly speculative inference that's both inflammatory and not supported by any of the evidence, and you're doing it in a thread that's exactly about why that's a bad habit and why it makes conversations worse.

You guessing how someone else might have interpreted something in order to support your contention that the remarks were not just sexist but also racist is essentially worthless, detrimental even, unless you have some reasonable evidence to back it up. Speculating that she might have felt that way even though she didn't mention it is not reasonable evidence.

I believe that's stating it openly enough.
posted by klangklangston at 1:17 PM on March 27, 2013 [15 favorites]


What klang said, except for the "he" part.
posted by lalex at 1:18 PM on March 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


What klang said, except for the "he" part.

Proof klang is sexist!
posted by amorphatist at 1:21 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I am confused. Are you trying to say that is an unreasonable thing to ask? Because if so I'm happy to explicitly ask you to make sure you treat EVERYONE fairly. That's what fair means."

I think you've missed what I think onlyconnect was trying to communicate here, and aggressively chopping off the fist part of that sentence only makes the confusion easier. I'm really not seeing how you could interpret this,
"I don't mean that this thread defends the guy for making a dick joke, and I'm sorry if it came off that way. I meant that by calling out just the guy who infers the three figure salary about dick-joke-guy, the thread implicitly asks us to be sure we are treating dick-joke-guy fairly."
as a call to not treat the dick joke guys fairly. It seems to be referencing the way men seem to always be treated more fairly than women, like how pigs might simply be more equal than the other barn animals. This is a very real and very fucked up dynamic that is pretty hard to say isn't playing out in this thread that ignores the egregiously misogynistic speculation about Richards in favor of calling out someone who missed a very short logical step in not being so concerned about the unemployment of a valley programmer because the salaries of valley programmers in general are so high.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:21 PM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Proof klang is sexist!"

I don't think anyone is saying this.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:22 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think anyone is saying this.

I think at least one person in this thread has implied this, but I'm pretty sure amorphatist was joking.
posted by lalex at 1:24 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


"What klang said, except for the "he" part."

Sorry about that.
posted by klangklangston at 1:25 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think anyone is saying this.

ahem

Specifically:

...which does read very much as a personal call-out of another user and a defense of what is undeniably abhorrent behavior by two men who you do not know from Adam. Why are you so eager to defend them? ... Why does it irk you so much that some sexist assholes lost their job? Might it be because you see a bit of yourself in them?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:29 PM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


The inferred supposition is that posters were acting in bad faith and that they were obstinate in their misreadings. Telling everyone to go fuck themselves was vituperative. It certainly isn't improving the discourse.
posted by humanfront at 1:31 PM on March 27, 2013


Telling everyone to go fuck themselves was vituperative.

Is this a thing someone said here?
posted by lalex at 1:37 PM on March 27, 2013


Telling everyone to go fuck themselves was vituperative.

You're doing it again.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:38 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


"You're doing it again."

humanf(r)ont, the sockpuppet was indeed pretty funny the first time but maybe it isn't the best account to be using for ordinary commenting - particularly in this thread where it is so easily honestly confused for the account that is so very much absent in this conversation.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:39 PM on March 27, 2013


>>What klang said, except for the "he" part.
>"Proof klang is sexist!"
I don't think anyone is saying this.


I'm guessing that amorphatist is using a typo as an excuse to be clever. I'm generally a big fan of clever, but I think in this thread it just muddies an already confusing thread and I wish people would not use this discussion for these displays.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:40 PM on March 27, 2013


You guessing how someone else might have interpreted something in order to support your contention that the remarks were not just sexist but also racist is essentially worthless, detrimental even, unless you have some reasonable evidence to back it up. Speculating that she might have felt that way even though she didn't mention it is not reasonable evidence.

I believe that's stating it openly enough.
posted by klangklangston


You can't even get your own callout straight, klang.

You said this was about inventing facts, not drawing conclusions from facts presented, which is what I did, and by conflating those things you have invented facts to suit your predetermined conclusions.

This is pathetic and absurd even by your standards.
posted by jamjam at 1:40 PM on March 27, 2013


humanf(r)ont, the sockpuppet...

My comment still works!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:43 PM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


jamjam you are coming across as incoherent. I suggest you take a break.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:47 PM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm guessing that amorphatist is using a typo as an excuse to be clever.

Well, I suppose guilty on the clever part, but I was also attempting to ridicule nonmerci's "Might it be because you see a bit of yourself in them [sexist assholes]?" outrageous slur against klang.
posted by amorphatist at 1:50 PM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


You guessing how someone else might have interpreted something in order to support your contention that the remarks were not just sexist but also racist is essentially worthless, detrimental even, unless you have some reasonable evidence to back it up.

And if you have never previously encountered the idea that one of the deepest hidden wounds of racism experienced by minorities is the uncertainty about whether offensive behavior directed toward you is founded in racism or not, please consider this your belated introduction to that novel concept.
posted by jamjam at 1:50 PM on March 27, 2013


Why is this racism derail in this thread instead of the original thread?
posted by no regrets, coyote at 1:57 PM on March 27, 2013


Humanfront, please don't play identity games. This thread is contentious enough as it is.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:58 PM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


jamjam you are coming across as incoherent. I suggest you take a break.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar


'Listen to the calumny of fools, for it is high praise.'

I hear you, AElfwine Evenstar.
posted by jamjam at 2:00 PM on March 27, 2013


And if you have never previously encountered the idea that one of the deepest hidden wounds of racism experienced by minorities is the uncertainty about whether offensive behavior directed toward you is founded in racism or not, please consider this your belated introduction to that novel concept.

You still don't have access to Aria Richard's though processes and barring any exterior expression of this you are just making shit up. So while you may be correct about how some minorities react to offensive behavior you can't pretend that they are a monolithic group. It's entirely possible that the thought never crossed Aria's mind. We don't know. Which brings us back to the topic at hand...not making shit up to suit our own personal narrative of events. It muddies the water and poisons the well. We are having a difficult enough time talking about gender issues here and now you are trying to bring race into a situation where there is no clear connection. Like I said you should take a break. There's no shame in that I've had to do so myself from time to time when I have gotten to worked up about some issue that I feel strongly about.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:00 PM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Jamjam, can you knock it off?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:03 PM on March 27, 2013


I will repeat the observation that telling someone to take a break is almost always parsed as "shut up" and reacted to about as constructively. You may want to rethink your strategy.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 2:13 PM on March 27, 2013 [14 favorites]


Well, I suppose guilty on the clever part, but I was also attempting to ridicule ....

Sorry if I came off as dismissive, amorphatist. It's just that I think this is a really interesting discussion, but it can all too easily spin off into sniping back and forth.

Like I said, I do like clever, but I wanted to suggest that in this particular conversation your point might be taken better if it is delivered without ridicule. But I am not a mod, so you can take it as just one member's opinion.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:57 PM on March 27, 2013


benito, thank you, and I understand and respect your opinion on this matter. However, I felt the slur was egregious enough to invite harsh condemnation, and yes, ridicule. I hear you on improving the conversation, but whether or not the condemnation is "taken better" by nonmerci is less important to me than communicating to klang and the other posters that I, too, found nonmerci's comment contemptible. Maybe not the high ground, but I don't aspire to be the nazarean.
posted by amorphatist at 3:11 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I felt the slur was egregious enough to invite harsh condemnation, and yes, ridicule.

This rarely works out the way people hope it will. So tactically there are usually better choices.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:15 PM on March 27, 2013


I felt the slur was egregious enough to invite harsh condemnation, and yes, ridicule.

This rarely works out the way people hope it will. So tactically there are usually better choices.


Acknowledged. Apologies for being the source of this derail.

Speaking of ridicule, if you haven't already done so, I highly recommend Ridicule. I saw it only once, with my bff, back in the college days, and we still occasionally reference it in conversation. Sire, the king is not a subject!
posted by amorphatist at 3:40 PM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Okay, amorphatist, you sound like you've consciously considered your approach, and you accept responsibility for the reactions it will provoke — I have to respect your choosing to do so.

But there's a striking symmetry that I see, and I think that in pointing this out I'm not twisting facts to be clever. You say that what you heard someone say was so bad that it deserved ridicule, and it was more important to you to demonstrate solidarity with your response than communicate with the person who said it. This sounds to me almost exactly like what Adria Richards did when she posted the photos on Twitter. Do you think there is any validity to this comparison?
posted by benito.strauss at 3:41 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do you think there is any validity to this comparison?

No.
posted by amorphatist at 3:44 PM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Quote:

I'm sorry that I got my back up like that, I've been trying pretty hard to keep calm in here and not just tell people to go fuck themselves

The linguistic gymnastics required to read that statement as anything other than telling everyone to go fuck themselves is quite an amusing sight. It buries any continued pretense that this MeTa was anything other than a steaming pile of passive-aggressive hypocritical bullshit from klangklangston.
posted by humanfont at 4:27 PM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't read that as klang telling me to go fuck myself.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:35 PM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


When someone reaches out a hand to you, be sure to slap it away as hard as you can.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:38 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I will repeat the observation that telling someone to take a break is almost always parsed as "shut up" and reacted to about as constructively.

Your correct that was pretty fail on my part. So I am sorry jam jam. I still am confused by your contribution to this meta, but that doesn't give me the right to tell you to leave the conversation.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:39 PM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


It buries any continued pretense that this MeTa was anything other than a steaming pile of passive-aggressive hypocritical bullshit from klangklangston.

Well thanks for raising the tone in here, then... I guess?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:43 PM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I did follow your advice AElfwine Evenstar, and your amplification makes it clear you meant no real ill, at the very least-- apology accepted and thank you very much!
posted by jamjam at 4:44 PM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


The tone is already at a high pitched whine, raising the tone is the last thing we need.
posted by humanfont at 4:52 PM on March 27, 2013


"You said this was about inventing facts, not drawing conclusions from facts presented, which is what I did, and by conflating those things you have invented facts to suit your predetermined conclusions."

I could have sworn that I mentioned inflammatory speculative inferences somewhere in the post.

"The linguistic gymnastics required to read that statement as anything other than telling everyone to go fuck themselves is quite an amusing sight."

Uh, what? Wouldn't a reasonable reading be that I was making an effort to not get super agro when I was accused of, say, posting this because I identified with the men making dongle jokes? Maybe you missed the broader context of that comment.
posted by klangklangston at 4:57 PM on March 27, 2013


I don't read that as klang telling me to go fuck myself.

Klang considers himself a relatively reasonable and intelligent individual, with some failings as all of us have. Given that he is trying hard not to be impolite to people by telling them to fuck themselves, we can understand that he holds the people he is addressing in some respect. I don't think it is entirely fair to suggest the primary meaning of his comment is that people should fuck themselves, he is just making them aware that current conditions in the thread are producing a situation in which such an outcome may potentially be imminent if he fails in his personal endeavor to restrain himself. That may suggest that he is saying such people deserve to be told they should fuck themselves but he is not saying so out of politeness, but as he is an otherwise reasonable and respectful individual a generous reading is that he is having an emotional reaction to some behavior that may lead him to direct a comment towards individuals that they do not necessarily deserve.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:13 PM on March 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


"You said this was about inventing facts, not drawing conclusions from facts presented, which is what I did, and by conflating those things you have invented facts to suit your predetermined conclusions."

I could have sworn that I mentioned inflammatory speculative inferences somewhere in the post.


What you did, as I have pointed out twice previously and will now point out for a third time, was accuse humanfont of inventing facts, then arguing from those facts, then you conflated these invented facts-- which you've never put into evidence, apparently because they don't exist-- with speculative inferences, which are not generally taken to be facts true or false, but in any case you did not call those inferences inflammatory, then you said that arguing from them was inflammatory:
I'm as upset as humanfont was over people inventing facts, then using those facts to argue from. Unfortunately, humanfont does that exact thing, again and again and again. By making these speculative inferences and then arguing vituperatively from them, humanfont is inflaming an already fraught discussion...
I'd quote your ridiculously self-important and pretentious title, "The Burden of Honesty" back at you here and accuse you of rank hypocrisy, if I didn't now think you are so confused that your honesty or dishonesty is beside the point.
posted by jamjam at 5:58 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think jamjam was doing something pretty different than what this callout is about, and wasn't incoherent. I think the "gutless" comment was unwarranted, but there's a vast difference between humanfont's presentation of speculation as fact and explicitly saying, "I don't know if X is true, but I'd guess it is."

I agree with the substance of this callout, but think those two things fall on different sides of a line. Sure, they're superficially similar.
posted by neuromodulator at 5:58 PM on March 27, 2013


and now i'd like to retract defending jamjam
posted by neuromodulator at 6:00 PM on March 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


"What you did, as I have pointed out twice previously and will now point out for a third time, was accuse humanfont of inventing facts, then arguing from those facts, then you conflated these invented facts-- which you've never put into evidence, apparently because they don't exist-"

I've mentioned them a couple of times, and they're in the comments I linked. He presented as fact that the men were making jokes about "forking her repo." He also said that the guy already had a new job. Both of those were presented as facts, instead of speculative inferences but they were speculative inferences. Both of those things are not, as far as we know, facts. If you have proof to substantiate them, please provide it.

Your speculation on racism was inflammatory and unsupported. There is a difference between your comment and humanfont's, but they're both under the broader heading of speculative inflammatory inferences that make the conversation worse.

I don't think that's very confusing, and I don't think I'm confused about it. I'll cop to a pompous title, but I think the rest of your allegations are pretty much nonsense.
posted by klangklangston at 6:10 PM on March 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


Bam-bam!
posted by ericb at 6:11 PM on March 27, 2013


If Klang told me to go fuck myself, I'd do it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:13 PM on March 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


If Klang told me to go fuck myself, I'd do it.

I already did. You know, prophylactically.
posted by amorphatist at 6:20 PM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is a very real and very fucked up dynamic that is pretty hard to say isn't playing out in this thread that ignores the egregiously misogynistic speculation about Richards in favor of calling out someone who missed a very short logical step in not being so concerned about the unemployment of a valley programmer because the salaries of valley programmers in general are so high.
While that's true, that doesn't mean that you don't need to care about treating people fairly. The whole two wrongs don't make a right thing is easy to forget sometimes, but when you do that's when discourse falls apart.
posted by aspo at 6:41 PM on March 27, 2013


Those of you who don't bear the burden couldn't possibly understand.

The burden. Of honesty.
posted by Wolof at 7:31 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


You know things are getting weird when the truth sounds snide.
posted by h00py at 8:17 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is a very real and very fucked up dynamic that is pretty hard to say isn't playing out in this thread that ignores the egregiously misogynistic speculation about Richards in favor of calling out someone who missed a very short logical step in not being so concerned about the unemployment of a valley programmer because the salaries of valley programmers in general are so high.

Any criticism of her actions or speculation about her motives is automatic misogyny: If you have a problem with what one woman did you're against all women, everywhere, ever.

I wish I could go back in time to the Dorner thread to call everyone all anti-black racists.
posted by yonega at 11:46 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wish I could go back in time to the Dorner thread to call everyone all anti-black racists.

No worries, I took notes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:49 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


No worries, I took notes.

I actually didn't even read that thread. I was scared.

Share those notes though.
posted by yonega at 11:53 AM on March 28, 2013


Ask me at next Tuesday's meeting.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:56 AM on March 28, 2013


Any criticism of her actions or speculation about her motives is automatic misogyny: If you have a problem with what one woman did you're against all women, everywhere, ever.

One of the struggles in situations like this is in balancing the immediate situation and the reactions to it with the historical patterns that inform the topic under discussion. Acting like either is automatically dispositive with respect to the other is unlikely to fully capture any given situation. But, particularly in cases where oppression has fallen disproportionately on one class of actors in these types of cases, acting like that history has no relevance, or like bringing it up is somehow poisoning the well, often communicates a basic level of insensitivity or defensiveness around these topics.

In this case, from what I understand, criticism of her actions or motives may be reasonably criticized as being part of a pattern of dismissing women who dare to speak up against sexism. Now, it may not fit that pattern, and there may be a reasoned argument against interpreting it that way, but acting like that pattern does not exist and reactions that use the very human capacity for pattern recognition and see that are hyperbolic and awful, is not really a good faith engagement with the issue.
posted by OmieWise at 12:03 PM on March 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


Ask me at next Tuesday's meeting.

See you there.
posted by yonega at 12:05 PM on March 28, 2013


Any criticism of her actions or speculation about her motives is automatic misogyny: If you have a problem with what one woman did you're against all women, everywhere, ever.


Noooo. OmieWise explains this as well or better than I could so I'll refer you to that comment.

I wish I could go back in time to the Dorner thread to call everyone all anti-black racists.

This is unnecessarily inflammatory and race/gender swap arguments are tiresome.
posted by sweetkid at 12:15 PM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


In this case, from what I understand, criticism of her actions or motives may be reasonably criticized as being part of a pattern of dismissing women who dare to speak up against sexism. Now, it may not fit that pattern, and there may be a reasoned argument against interpreting it that way, but acting like that pattern does not exist and reactions that use the very human capacity for pattern recognition and see that are hyperbolic and awful, is not really a good faith engagement with the issue.

Accusing people of misogyny for criticizing her isn't hyperbolic? Generalizing someone's disposition to all women based on the way the perceive one woman?

I guess it makes sense, if they apply that same filter to themselves, that would explain the closing of the ranks around her.

But misogyny is a pretty heavy accusation for criticizing a single woman. And to be able to claim, that based on a person sharing their speculation into the motives of a single woman, that you can tell that they personally hate all women is ... too much.

Every X is a proxy for all X sounds cool, but that's politics, not real life.
posted by yonega at 12:17 PM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


cf. "Now, it may not fit that pattern, and there may be a reasoned argument against interpreting it that way"

I think I was pretty careful to say what I meant. You elided my comment and even then only referred to part of what you quoted.

When you speak in generalities it is, of course, impossible to disagree. But it's also impossible to see if you understand the actual dynamics at play here (which include historical dynamics) or if you are just dismissing the possibility that misogyny might be at issue here out of hand. Hence my statement about reasoned argument.
posted by OmieWise at 12:33 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


But misogyny is a pretty heavy accusation for criticizing a single woman. And to be able to claim, that based on a person sharing their speculation into the motives of a single woman, that you can tell that they personally hate all women is ... too much. Every X is a proxy for all X sounds cool, but that's politics, not real life.

It would also seem to be a fallacy of composition, and while I agree with you in principle OmieWise is correct in this case (at least in my opinion). Metafilter has a pretty long history of dealing with this subject. I would start here and here. If you are already aware of this and have been a long time lurker then disregard.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:38 PM on March 28, 2013


OmieWise and AElfwine Evenstar..

I think I get exactly what you're saying and I'll try and restate it to prove it:

"Criticizing her is problematic because in similar situations where women have spoken up about offensive sex related things their reaction has been nitpicked instead of addressing the real problem.

The real problem being the prevalence of sexism against women in our culture."

Here's the thing though--I agree with you--I really do.

I also think that it's a good insight and it should be shared. I don't think it's a foundation to actually accuse any individual or group of individuals of anything though.

We can ask ourselves if the basis of our criticism is actually valid or if we're just looking for reasons to discredit a woman/any woman, we can ask others to ask themselves the same thing. We can use it to identify and change skewed perspectives and standards on women. We can use it as a lens and gauge that there MIGHT be misogyny present, but in the absence of other evidence, we simply don't know whether and how much misogyny is actually present.

That said, this is an individual situation, Adria Richards is an individual woman, and everyone has different beliefs and priorities.

Ultimately, we're all individuals and human beings, and we deserve to be treated on the strengths of our individual merits and faults. We shouldn't be generalized as members of classes and we shouldn't become specific targets of general sentiment.

From my perspective everything about this situation is wrong. No one has an obligation to teach me to be a better and less harmful person, but I'm glad someone(many someones actually) a long the line took the time to do so. This entire story didn't even have to be about Adria Richards. This could've been, guys made inappropriate jokes in public setting, someone informed PyCon staff, men were talked to and may or may not learn a lesson.

Instead this is a twisted mess, with misplaced sentiment spilling everywhere.

Jokers -- All Men -- Male Programmers -- Men Of MeFi -- MRA -- Frothy-Mouthed Hate-Crazed Internet Attackers
Adria Richards -- All Women -- Female Victims of Sexual Harrassment -- Bloggers -- Spies -- Bad Women


I don't have a fancy conclusion or anything.
posted by yonega at 1:29 PM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I agree that there is a danger of tarring with too broad a brush, but I think you and I just generally disagree about what is useful or helpful in these situations. I think if all recognition of the problems of oppression is abstract, and for lack of definitive information things that look specifically oppressive are always given the benefit of the doubt, the losers are those habitually oppressed. It has always puzzled me that it now seems to be deemed a worse insult to call someone a racist than it is to use a racist slur. As I said, if someone says you're engaging in a pattern that is part of perpetuating oppression, I fully support laying out the specific reasons why that is the incorrect reading of your actions.

Thanks for taking the time to respond.
posted by OmieWise at 1:58 PM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sorry, I got to my subway stop...

I do want to add that I think it matters an awful lot the content and direction of the criticisms. So, say, when someone criticizes Alan Keyes for his arch conservatism, I would say that the benefit of the doubt should be given to that person that their criticisms are not racist if they are not racist on their face. I.e., if they make no mention of race, calling Keyes a conservative whacko should not be presumed to be race related. It might be, but there is a ton of room to criticize Keyes even if you aren't being racist. However, when the criticisms fit the existing social pattern, and are directed at disputing the potentially oppressive situation, then I think the benefit of the doubt tilts the other direction. I.e., if someone reports being subjected to racists slurs, criticizing the basis for their experience needs to meet a higher bar before it stops falling into the general pattern of dismissing the experiences of oppressed populations.

Obviously, these are subjective understandings.
posted by OmieWise at 2:14 PM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


It felt like there was a lot of people who 1) picked one person as right and the other as wrong, and 2) emptied their full rhetorical quiver in service of the decision they had made in step 1. It did not help make the discussion good.

Well said, benito.strauss, quoted for truth and repeated for amplification.

OmiWise, thanks for your good comment about patterns and how they inform things.

I've thought a lot about why some women are expressing so much distress or distrust with the last thread that I don't share - or at least to that degree. It troubles me. I think there are maybe three primary reasons: one being that I am likely considerably older and much more thick-skinned, having lived through some really egregious events in male-dominated industries; second, and probably the biggest one is related to the patterns concept - the fact that my reading of that thread (and this one) is informed by knowing the history of many male participants, of having slogged it out with many of the mefi guys in numerous prior feminist or women-issue threads. This allowed me to have a cloak of good faith around a lot of the participants that - if I did not know them - might indeed have raised my hackles.; and third, I am often not following the discussion real-time - I am catching up late at night or a day or two later, so I don't have the heat-of-the-moment that a back-and-forth discussion can often generate. Plus, if someone says something that appalls me, someone else has often taken the commenter on and the original comment is often dealt with or re-framed in a more nuanced way before I get there.

Take this thread, for example - I have seen klangklangston be a champion of women and human rights issues on so many occasions that I don't bring a skeptic's eye to this discussion - on the contrary, I assume good faith intent on his part. I may or may not like the call-out topic, I may or may not like his comments, but I have pretty much determined he is a person I like and respect - and that if he says something that sounds sexist or offensive, I may be reading it wrong - or if not, at least he is someone I can have a reasonable discussion with.

Or take the original thread - there were a few comments by Artw and Brandon Blatcher that if I did not know them from many other threads, might have rankled me more (sorry guys, I use you for examples just because I know you are still following). These are mefites I largely respect and I have come to grounds with. Might they say something I dislike or disagree with? Yes, definitely -- but I don't assume bad intent because we have hashed things out in other threads. That "good faith cloak" I've built up with many mefi guys really helps me a lot. Which is not to say I agree with or like everything they say.

There are some posters I don't know very well who made comments that I found pretty rankling or offensive - but other guys often engaged them and that is something that rarely happened in mefi old-school.

Are there misogynysts on mefi? Yes, indeed, but it is not a stance that is generally rewarded. And they are balanced by so many good guys that are so much more vocal about being supportive and sensitive. I don't think that's new - there have always been nice guys here, but it's much more respectful overall - and I attribute that partly to some long, painful discussions that took a lot of effort but broadened understanding on all sides.
posted by madamjujujive at 2:17 PM on March 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


I agree that there is a danger of tarring with too broad a brush, but I think you and I just generally disagree about what is useful or helpful in these situations.

You're probably right. I don't see this as one of "these situations". If I squint really hard this situation resembles other situations, but with the specifics of this situation..

I wouldn't view it as an open battleground against sexism, sexual harrassment, the male domination of the tech industry.

In fact, if anything it's both closed and a small victory. The system worked. She told the conference officials, they responded, told the guys what they did was wrong, the guys apologized. She put their picture on the internet, which I think was wrong, but.. the joker's employer showed that they take sexism seriously or at least bad PR around it seriously--which in terms of getting a result is good enough--and fired the guy. Probably an overcorrection, but it's still in the right direction.

No one in the actual story denied the validity of her complaint. I think a lot of people are only examining the joker's actions because of the extreme nature of the response she had to them and the blog post equating herself to Joan of Arc striking a righteous blow against oppression.

If you ignore the picture and the blog post, this is a small, simple story about social progress.


I made this next bit doublesmall so you can read past it if you're not interested. It's just explaining why I personally am critical of her:

There was something I alluded to in the main thread that's been in the back of my mind for a while that I'm going to bring up again.

The problem with the comparison of Racism and Sexism are that the standards of behaviour are completely different and what is perfectly reasonable in one, although similar, is viewed as wrong in the other.

In this specific case I can't say whether or not the men are themselves particularly sexist, I think that there's a case that they were behaving in a manner that supports sexism.. but I'm not sure I agree with it (I'm not sure I disagree with it either.)

To kind of misappropriate a term: They made phallocentric remarks in a professional environment. Phallocentricism is a part of sexism, just like ethnocentrism is a part of racism. Eurocentricism, as an example, is so common that it's completely taken for granted in the US, even among progressives and radicals. It's a part of the whole, but is on a completely different scale and deserving of a completely different response than making a racial slur.

I think making sex-neutral environments and moving towards a sex-neutral culture is probably a good step towards making women feel welcome in male-dominated professions.

I also think there is a difference between actions that in themselves aren't actually considered harmful--but should be to promote an environment that isn't male by default--and actually making an attack on a woman. The man she observed looking under a table and making a comment about the genitals of the woman sitting at it.. that man should have been reported, his picture and name should've been broadcast everywhere, he should've been fired. I would have supported any action against him, up to and including a kick in the face from the woman seated at the table, even if it required hospitalization. She chose to "ask politely" and let that one go, but from her blog post it sounds like she transferred his debt onto the jokers later.


So, yeah, I'm critical of her.. but that has nothing to do with the fact that I hate women.

posted by yonega at 3:01 PM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Maybe don't do the doublesmall thing if you want anyone to read it? It's fine for jokes, it's really not fine for big blocks of text.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:05 PM on March 28, 2013


Maybe don't do the doublesmall thing if you want anyone to read it? It's fine for jokes, it's really not fine for big blocks of text.

Sorry, Jessamyn. You can change it, leave it, or cut it off entirely.. I made it double small because my opinions are kind of boring and you can find them in the venn diagram of other people's opinions anyway, but maybe someone who is paying attention to me in this thread will want to read them, but I still don't want to take up too much space with them.
posted by yonega at 3:12 PM on March 28, 2013


"And there will come a time,
you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart,
but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see
what you find there,
With grace in your heart
and flowers in your hair."
posted by clavdivs at 3:53 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I liked that comment a lot, yonega, but I'm curious about your description of the table skirt joke Richards reports hearing earlier in the day:

The man she observed looking under a table and making a comment about the genitals of the woman sitting at it.

This seems a bit exaggerated compared to Richards' description:
I had been talking with a developer after lunch in the hall and he told me he had made a joke. He had been looking for some boxes and said aloud that he was looking under the skirt (he had meant a table skirt) in the expo hall. A woman had “given him a look” and/or made a comment after he said this so he responded by saying “it was bare, just the way he liked it” as an innuendo for when women shave off all their pubic hair.
I don't think the woman was seated at the table. Even if she was, the bareness under the skirt referred to the table itself and, presumably, to his preference in women in general. It did not describe the specific woman that gave him a look and he certainly did not actually look up anybody's skirt. Very much an ass statement on nerd's part, but perhaps less deserving of battery in response. To my reading anyway.
posted by 0 at 4:12 PM on March 28, 2013


You're probably right. I don't see this as one of "these situations". If I squint really hard this situation resembles other situations, but with the specifics of this situation..

Thanks for your comment. I can't reply too much to the substance of it, because as I've said elsewhere in this thread, I haven't paid any attention to the Richards incident per se. I was responding to your generalization and writing about generalizations. I appreciate that you got specific here, which is what I think is warranted in these situations. Getting specific doesn't preclude disagreement, as this thread testifies, but it does mean that we're talking about something that actually happened, hopefully while keeping the broader social context in mind.

I also like your point about the difference between actions that are themselves harmful, and actions that are harmful by virtue of creating an exclusionary environment. I'm not sure that it accounts for everything about these kinds of situations, but it's a nuanced idea that I want to think more about. This is not quite that, but the other day I got to my subway stop and was walking toward the exit with a guy who was blind. He was headed in the wrong direction, and I said, "Are you looking for the exit?" to which he replied yes, and I told him it was to his left. The truth as he wasn't "looking" for anything, but the word was the word I would generally use in that situation. I don't think what I said was in any way ill spirited, or a big deal, but one can certainly imagine someone feeling not all that great about that particular construction in that situation.
posted by OmieWise at 4:32 PM on March 28, 2013


I don't think the woman was seated at the table. Even if she was, the bareness under the skirt referred to the table itself and, presumably, to his preference in women in general. It did not describe the specific woman that gave him a look and he certainly did not actually look up anybody's skirt. Very much an ass statement on nerd's part, but perhaps less deserving of battery in response. To my reading anyway.

Well, damn, I guess I'm also guilty of misreading things in the most offensive way possible sometimes.
posted by yonega at 4:33 PM on March 28, 2013


Well, damn, I guess I'm also guilty of misreading things in the most offensive way possible sometimes.

So say we all.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:44 PM on March 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't think anyone is saying this.

ahem

Specifically:

...which does read very much as a personal call-out of another user and a defense of what is undeniably abhorrent behavior by two men who you do not know from Adam. Why are you so eager to defend them? ... Why does it irk you so much that some sexist assholes lost their job? Might it be because you see a bit of yourself in them?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 13:29 on March 27 [3 favorites +] [!]


For someone so keen to bring up reading comprehension, you might want to revisit the notion of "rhetorics." I was not calling out klang personally--only calling out his comments in this particular MeTa thread. Is he sexist? I do not know. Is his treatment of other posters questionable? Absolutely. Reread the thread if you remain confused.
posted by nonmerci at 10:31 PM on March 28, 2013


But… since you have reread the thread, you're now clear that the answers were not that I was defending those guys' actions, whatever they were, and that you understand how you saying "I'm not sure what you're playing at here, but I have to say that I am pretty disgusted," could be taken pretty personally, as an insult, right? And now you're hear not to dig in your heels on that and snark at other people to reread the thread, but to maybe evidence some chagrin?
posted by klangklangston at 10:41 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


For someone so keen to bring up reading comprehension, you might want to revisit the notion of "rhetorics." I was not calling out klang personally--only calling out his comments in this particular MeTa thread. Is he sexist? I do not know. Is his treatment of other posters questionable? Absolutely. Reread the thread if you remain confused.

The only thing I'm still confused about is what your game is here. I don't see how this could be taken as anything other than a "personal" attack when you say:

Why does it irk you so much that some sexist assholes lost their job? Might it be because you see a bit of yourself in them?

As far as rhetoric goes I don't really know what that has to do with reading comprehension as it is usually defined as the art of speaking and/or writing persuasively...not being able to read well. I guess it could be applied here in the sense that you seem to be decidedly bad at it...rhetoric that is...as if you weren't calling out Klang personally it would seem odd that you would name him by name. It's also odd that, if not attacking him personally, you would insinuate that he was a misogynist. It's too bad because in your initial comment you had some good things to say in the last paragraph, but kinda invalidated that with the previous bile you were spewing.

Ah, judging from the other meta and now checking you seem to have disabled your account. Too bad.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:28 AM on March 29, 2013


I was not calling out klang personally

While I haven't seen eye to eye with him on everything in my years here, even I know what you said was not only vile, but a complete misrepresentation of his history here as someone who is and has consistently been a proponent of equal and fair treatment for all, men and women alike. Your non-apology is awful.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:49 AM on March 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm sorry nonmerci felt compelled to leave, but her accusations in this case were both pointed and unjust. She poked klang with a pretty ugly stick, and his response was measured. So kudos, it's hard to do.
posted by Wolof at 5:03 AM on March 29, 2013


If that is a representation of how nonmerci approaches rhetoric and debate, I think the parting is mutually beneficial.

Why does it irk you so much that some sexist assholes lost their job? Might it be because you see a bit of yourself in them?

This is a pretty disgusting way to argue. (It also ignores Klangklangston's stands original point, which is do we really know enough to be so confident these guys are sexist assholes?)
posted by spaltavian at 7:35 AM on March 29, 2013


I mean come on, this could go on and on. Don't invalidate nonmerci's concerns, they are hers.

And mine are mine. I disagree with the viewpoint. Discussing made up facts or the way in which a person handled a situation would happen the same way regardless of the sex of the persons involved I'd say.
posted by juiceCake at 7:57 AM on March 29, 2013


Is this the no true klangklangston argument, an argument from authority, the old trope of how many blacl freinds one has or just a silly tribal clique exposing itself? Perhaps it is special pleading that only klang and his friends may decide what is inflammatory and hurtful.


My understanding from regular training on this and the EEOC website is as folllows:

Under the law harassment includes offensive words or actions. The offense does not have to be directed at the person involved. The standard for offense is either that the individual made it clear they were offended and the offense continued, or that a jury could be conviced that a reasonable person would be offended by the behavior.
posted by humanfont at 8:49 AM on March 29, 2013


My understanding from regular training on this and the EEOC website is as folllows:

Under the law harassment includes offensive words or actions.


Conference organizers can make up any damn rules they want for their own conference as long as they don't break laws. They're allowed to police the behavior of their attendees, and to make them agree to abide by the rules or suffer the consequences. Absolutely no one is required to like this or agree that it's a good idea. But conference rules being stricter or more draconian than laws about harassment or EEOC regulations is a thing that can and is done.
posted by rtha at 9:06 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


humanfont, I agreed with so much of what you said in the other thread, but - imo - you had a tendency to guild the lily, positioning some things as factual that were really just speculation. If you had prefaced these with "Sounded like..." or "imo..." I doubt this call-out would exist. I don't think you were lying or even making things up, so I think those characterizations aren't fair. But I do I think you were sometimes speculating and doing so with an air of certainty that detracted from your strong points, imo. You were certainly not alone in that, many other people did it too. Hell, I probably do it often enough. But in a contentious topic, it can ratchet things up.

Klang said at one point: "I'm more bothered by faulty inferences and inflammatory remarks from people whom I broadly agree with than those whose arguments I broadly disagree with" - and I relate to that because I often feel the same way. I am joking for exaggeration but it's along these lines: I expect little of those on the other side of the issue because they are clearly cretins - and I probably can't change them anyway -- but you, my comrade, are on my [honorable] side so it follows my standards for you are high.

I don't know you so I don't know how you feel, but you sound like you are angry and hurt by this call out - I would probably hate to be hauled into meta and I don't think I'd feel too kindly about the person who did it. I'm not sure I think this call-out is a good idea, but I do think Klang was trying to take it out of thread (that is what we are supposed to do) and I do think he meant it as an argument of style/substance rather than as a personal attack. Although since you are the only citation, I can see where it would feel personal and it might have been better received if it also included examples from other peoples' comments and not just yours. (And to clarify, I am not part of his clique, if he has one, I don't know him at all beyond sharing a few threads and comments here on mefi - enough that I have come to respect him, as I noted.)

I really like a lot of what you have had to say on the topic and hope you will not be discouraged. I hope I haven't made things worse -- my comments are meant in a spirit of goodwill and support.

I am sorry that nonmerci felt she had to leave - I do not share the level of frustration that she has with mefi, but I have experienced that level of frustration and anger about sexism at times in my life, and it well and truly sucks.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:13 AM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Homeboy Trouble posted a comment wherein he highlighted the invented facts from the linked posts, as a service to another commenter who didn't see any.

I do not agree that any of the items, with the exception of #5, is a made up fact. And #5's status as a made up fact depends on the information available at the time it was posted.

Briefly, here is how I understand each of the items singled out, in order:

#1, about politically correct firings not actually being a thing: this is not an invented fact about anything that happened. It's a narrative for how the world works which may be wrong. You can disagree with that narrative or not regardless of any amount of information on the table. It might be a narrative worth challenging, but it is not a kind of comment or dialog that should be verboten.

#3 is hedged all to hell and back: if this, then that; presume this (in my reading: act as though this were true until better evidence comes along); probably that. Nothing in #3 is an assertion of fact.

#4 is highly context-dependent, based on when the comment was made and what evidence the poster was aware of at the time. It's not a made up fact, though it could simply be wrong. If it is, a link to the evidence is sufficient correction.

#5 may be an inaccurate paraphrasing of the offensive jokes as known at the time. This may actually be made up. This is the only potentially made up fact in HT's post.

#14 and #18 are normative value statements that do not assert anything in particular about the situation. We could be discussing the geological formation of hot springs in North America and the idea that you shouldn't make dick jokes at professional conference around strangers would be just as true or false. It does not assert facts about the situation.

#22 is a narrative, a story. It is not an assertion of fact; it's a monologue by a fictional character. That shift in style marks a shift away from presenting facts and towards presenting other kinds of truth that only a story can evoke. Any reader comfortable with the English language should recognize the transition and be duly on-notice.

#3 & #30 with respect to age: those posts do not demonstrate anything but that humanfont's understanding of the man's age changed over the course of several days. It's not a crime to change and grow over time, as new information comes in. Future self can contradict past self any way s/he wants.

#30 asserts that the man is rich, which is debatable but not false. It is unequivocably true that from certain valid perspectives, the man is rich, while from other valid perspectives he is not. Calling him rich is not a made up fact--it's a subjective judgement.

#30 does not assert that he makes over $100,000. It says he probably does so, which is not an assertion of fact. Ditto for #31 regarding his prospects for future employment.

I may have missed any other posts that try to point out specific made up facts, but as things stand based on this one post, it seems to me as though humanfont was a poor poster child to pick for this particular problem.
posted by jsturgill at 11:02 AM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Whoops. Here is the actual link to Homeboy Trouble's comment.
posted by jsturgill at 11:09 AM on March 29, 2013


I may have missed any other posts that try to point out specific made up facts, but as things stand based on this one post, it seems to me as though humanfont was a poor poster child to pick for this particular problem.

"Made up facts" is probably not the most accurate term. The problem, not just for humanfont but for many others in many different threads through the ages, is taking an assumption and then arguing from it as if it were fact. Take #3 for example:
She's a smart, educated professional. If she was offended and they apologized; you should presume she heard some shit that was way over the line; and what you've read was probably sanitized. The idea that she's it some hysterical black woman is garbage. If that's your reaction, you need to take a minute and do some serious introspection. She obviously goes to many events and interacts with clients on a regular basis. People prone to hysterics and hyper-dramatic outbursts don't end up in those jobs at the level she's at. So give her the presumption of correctly calling the situation and accept that the conference handled this in a way that resulted in an appropriate appology.
This is part of the argument as to how bad the jokes they were making were. Instead of arguing from what we know, that they were "big dongle" and "fork his repo" jokes, he essentially makes an appeal to Richard's authority that if she says it was over the line it was over the line and hinting that there may be even more we don't know about. No, it isn't making up facts, but it is arguing from assumptions as if they were facts which is bad for a number of reasons. Since in other comments he argues that the jokes as we know them were bad enough this wasn't really even needed, it just added imaginary weight to his argument.

I feel kind of bad having humanfont's comments dragged out for this again since it really is a more general problem that causes lots of strife in contentious threads.

Kind of interesting going through that thread again is this comment:
I see outrage above about someone possibly getting fired, even though we have no actual evidence that this occurred. Also outrage about guys being kicked out of the conference , when the truth is they were just pulled aside and decided to give an appology after talking about it. They were not kicked out.

I am tired of this ongoing grar in this thread over things that DID NOT HAPPEN. These myths are being used to position the woman as a bad person and ignore what happened to her. Focus on the facts.
posted by humanfont at 1:48 AM on March 21 [6 favorites +] [!] [quote]

This may seem ironic to some people, but at the time all we had to go on that one of the programmers was fired was a comment on Hacker News that didn't have any verification. He may have been proven wrong eventually on that point, but he was fighting the same problem he is being accused of at that time. The dangers of arguing in the dark ever present.
posted by charred husk at 12:46 PM on March 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


I suppose the proper thing to do would be to preface all posts with the following.
Warning: The following statements are based on the author's subjective judgment based on the information available to him or her and his or her personal experience. These views are subject to change without notice based on new information or for any other reason. These may be forward looking statements should not be construed to be investment or legal advice. They do not define, amend or otherwise create any contractual commitment in between the author or the reader. Readers are advised to consult other information sources and their own legal and investment advisors before making any decisions regarding these statements. Any citations of copyrighted materials is done so under the fair use exemption of the DCMA. Trademarks belong to their respective corporations.

On a more serious note:
Pycon is not a private club for EEOC purposes. It is an open professional organization engaged in training and commerce. The event would be considered a public accommodation. Pycon has obligations under Title II and Title VII of ADA. Furthermore my reading of their conference rules suggests that sexual comments such as the ones made were prohibited. Finally decision to fire the man in this incident was done by his employeer not, Pycon. It seems from the t-shirts and sponsor badges that they were there at the companies request. This was a professional event and so the company is obligated to investigate and follow its established procedures because the comments were "offensive" from the perspective that the conference sought an appology, a woman complained and sex jokes often fall into the category of those seen by juries as obviously offensive. Playhaven did not have to fire the individual over this one incident. They choose to do so for reasons which they have not disclosed.
posted by humanfont at 2:01 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I suppose the proper thing to do would be to preface all posts with the following.

Or you could just not embellish things to make your argument sound more persuasive than it really is...especially when discussing hot button topics like gender.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:18 PM on March 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Made up facts" is probably not the most accurate term. The problem, not just for humanfont but for many others in many different threads through the ages, is taking an assumption and then arguing from it as if it were fact. Take #3 for example:
She's a smart, educated professional. If she was offended and they apologized; you should presume she heard some shit that was way over the line; and what you've read was probably sanitized. The idea that she's it some hysterical black woman is garbage. If that's your reaction, you need to take a minute and do some serious introspection. She obviously goes to many events and interacts with clients on a regular basis. People prone to hysterics and hyper-dramatic outbursts don't end up in those jobs at the level she's at. So give her the presumption of correctly calling the situation and accept that the conference handled this in a way that resulted in an appropriate appology.
...Instead of arguing from what we know, that they were "big dongle" and "fork his repo" jokes, he essentially makes an appeal to Richard's authority that if she says it was over the line it was over the line and hinting that there may be even more we don't know about. No, it isn't making up facts, but it is arguing from assumptions as if they were facts which is bad for a number of reasons. Since in other comments he argues that the jokes as we know them were bad enough this wasn't really even needed, it just added imaginary weight to his argument.


Charred Husk, I think there's a slight mischaracterization here, or we view these things from different baselines. He's proposing a chain of suppositions grounded in fact:

1. She's smart, educated, and professional.
2. When a smart, educated, professional person states their offense at someone's actions and subsequently obtains an apology from them, you should presume that the offence and apology were both reasonable responses, and the offense was likely not due to thin skin.
3. What we know may or may not be the full story, but I think it isn't. Because of all this,
4. it's highly, highly unlikely that she is hysterical and overreacted for no reason.
5. If you think she's a hysterical black woman, I strongly encourage you to think on why that is, because maybe it's due to your own gender or race hangups.
6. She (obviously) is in this sort of context often, because it's her job.
7. People who flip out for no reason get weeded out quickly in her kind of position, so, given her career success, we can reasonably infer that she has no history of flipping out.
8. Given all of the above, I'm arguing that the preponderance of evidence indicates she judged the situation correctly and the conference rightly brokered an apology from the men involved.

All of those items rest on reasonable inferences and are put together to create a narrative that explains the facts as we know them, without any obvious biases or bizarre claims. They're presented in strong terms (this idea is garbage rather than probably is garbage, or she obviously interacts with people on the job rather than is very likely to do so), but that does not make them impolite, wrong, or unchallengable by other posters.

It reads to me as though humanfont is interacting with the available material at a high level and posting his thoughts in a clear, articulate manner that should absolutely be within the acceptable norms here at MetaFilter. At least in regard to this one comment that you highlighted.
posted by jsturgill at 2:37 PM on March 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


I agree jsturgill, which is why this whole distorting facts allegation has bugged me from the start.
posted by sweetkid at 2:44 PM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Or you could just not embellish things to make your argument sound more persuasive than it really is...especially when discussing hot button topics like gender.

AElfwine Evenstar who said on another thread discussing a hot button issue this very day:
But I suppose the Obama apology brigade will be in here shortly to explain to us how this is all just part of some overarching strategy involving 13 dimensional chess.
And then when on suggest that America's future is one of a transition from incipient fascism to full blown fascism.
If the term fascism makes you clutch the pearls you can insert either inverted totalitarianism or de-democritization.
This same Aelfwine Evenstar has asked me to make my posts less inflammatory. Also is "clutching pearls" my that's a bit of a patriarchally biased metaphor. Are panties going to be in a knot next?
posted by humanfont at 6:38 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


You were winning before you came into this thread, you should have ignored it for the froth it was.
posted by adamvasco at 7:23 PM on March 29, 2013


And then when on suggest that America's future is one of a transition from incipient fascism to full blown fascism.

If you disagree with my opinion then you should maybe do that in the pertinent thread. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on Sheldon Wolin's articles that I linked. You do know who Wolin is, don't you? Here's a hint: he's no slouch.

Maybe you could also point out where I embellish any facts to suit my purpose. I was giving an opinion that I backed up by linking to some pertinent sources. You may chose to disagree with them and state the reasons why. Either way I see little connection with this meta.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:51 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't see threads as a zero sum game with a winner and a loser. These are community conversations, not a debate club. I'm troubled that the number if conversations we can have without a shirstorm is decreasing. Israel/Palestine, Feminism are just two topics that we've seen paused over mod exhausted. Perhaps all frequent posters could agree to be a bit more reserved and respectful in their comments. One thing we could learn from this whole Pycon affair is that it is extremely easy to offend someone unintentionally. Screaming how we shouldn't offend so easily doesn't seem to be working. So perhaps should try to be a bit less extreme and absolute in the expression of our views. One can be unhappy with Obama or Obama's actions without being nasty or prejudicial about it. Prejudicial expressions and sexually aggressive speech should be avoided. Maybe we can get those items called out as flag reasons to make the community more mindful.
posted by humanfont at 8:19 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


These are community conversations

Which was why I suggested you join the conversation in the thread itself. If you notice I invited you to voice your opinion.

One can be unhappy with Obama or Obama's actions without being nasty or prejudicial about it.

Agreed. I probably have room for improvement, but I don't really see what was "nasty or prejudicial" about my comments that you are referencing. I didn't single out any community member or attack anyone. That being said in retrospect I could have deleted the last comment before I hit enter as it is needlessly snarky. Again, if you disagree with the points I made in the thread then by all means tell me why...in that thread...as I doubt the mods want that conversation to spill over here.

I really don't get what you're on about here, or what you wish to accomplish. If you want to make a meta calling me out go ahead.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:05 PM on March 29, 2013


Sorry I meant I should have deleted this comment instead of the last one. In fact if it hadn't already been quoted in a substantial reply I would have asked that the mods delete it.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:21 PM on March 29, 2013


I'm not interested in discussing wiretapping atm and I'm not taking about it here. I also think another MeTa callout thread would be a terrible thing.

To respond to your query and I do understand that you have some regret over the comments. The reference to Obama appology brigade and clutching pearls both read to me as pre-emptive strikes that are expressing a prejudice/bias against anyone who might disagree with you. In this thread you have at least two times accused those who disagree with you of having reading comprehension problems.
posted by humanfont at 10:07 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not interested in discussing wiretapping atm and I'm not taking about it here. I also think another MeTa callout thread would be a terrible thing.

Ok, well good night then.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:21 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


You were winning before you came into this thread, you should have ignored it for the froth it was.

Temptation is the better part of the pre-foaming process thus sometimes hard to ignore...like fizzy-lifting drinks.
love you both BTW.
posted by clavdivs at 3:32 PM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yesterday I officially joined the ranks of the unemployed. It was unrelated to anything above. I'd known it was coming for a while. I was kind of secretly hoping it was an April Fools joke. I'm thankful for this callout thread providing me with a weirdly entertaining distraction during a time of otherwise high personal anxiety. Today I got a new job. Love y'all back.
posted by humanfont at 7:47 AM on April 2, 2013 [8 favorites]


« Older Get thee behind me FPP!   |   Searching for doubles Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments