So PZ Myers is the man who gave me his personal assurances that Freethougthblogs really didn’t have any interest in controlling the content.
This was evidently a verbal assurance made in bad faith.
The rough time-line is one week before I was banned, PZ sent this to some mailing list Freethoughtblogs has:
Well that’s basically what I did, and what’s more I even told them on their mailing list. Then ~1 week later, PZ kicks me. Maybe he wasn’t joking about that ‘Except me. I’m perfect, don’t you dare say otherwise‘ bit, or maybe this was one of those ‘many a true word spoken in jest’ type things. Indeed how quickly opinions can change when it’s him who is getting ‘ripped into’
There was no open consultation in this group about what anyone else thought of my ideas prior to my expulsion, giving this a very totalitarian ‘execution by fiat’ type feel. Everyone else on the groups was told of my ‘expulsion’ AFTER it happened, I mean hell, they wouldn’t have wanted an actual discussion or to give anyone the possibility to dissent about what is permissible ‘freethought’ on ‘freethoughtblogs’ now would they!
Now I really didn’t care about offending these people at this point as on their mailing list I had already been accused of being a ‘rape culture apologist’ (FFS, I don’t think I’ve even touched on the subject), guilty of ablism, devaluing addicts, an not being careful between challenging islam and outright racism. All of this based on NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER (well that’s unless you are happy to count rumors as evidence).
To be honest, I was hoping that there would be a higher standard of conduct than that, but the chatter made it clear that FTB really was somewhere between a bitching slimepit, and StrawmanCentral. It was also plain to me from just watching the chatter on this mailing list that there was a significant amount of bullying of weaker members/ opposing viewpoint. If this was an academic environment I would have called bullshit on them in an instant, however by this time it was clear the standard of people that I was dealing and that as a group they were essentially a lost cause. I was happy to write a blog there, but I certainly wasn’t going to waste my time ingratiating myself with such people.
Incidentally FTB claims that it can deliver ~150 k ad impressions per day, which could mean as little as ~15k hits per day (~10 ads per page). I was pulling in ~ 10-15k hits per day on my blog until I was blocked. FTB never paid me a penny **EDIT Ed Brayton contests this point, see comment below** (again something that PZ said they would), but to be honest I have little interest in such things. Integrity is MUCH more important than money on such issues.
So I blogged about something which, I thought they were way off base on, namely the disproportionate amount of time they gave sexism compared to other subjects, and the way they attacked, strawmanned and demonized people who bought up sensible concerns.
I had expected that PZ Myers (an university lecturer) would at least keep his word on the academic integrity thing, but to be honest, after about the 3rd day after posting my second article, it was clear that wasn’t worth spit. When a man is willing to jettison the value of his word so readily, I was under no illusions ‘ If you see something you don’t like, rip into it. ‘ in reality meant that you should only rip into it as long as PZ thought it was okay.
However, I was not going to be bullied into submission by a bunch of second raters, and so despite a series of threats, and Ed Brayton making it clear that if I felt PZ hadn’t kept his word I was free to leave ‘and not let the door hit your ass on the way out’, and that ‘no one would miss me’. That’s right, the fact that PZ was lying to people faces to get people into the blog really didn’t phase anyone at freethoughtblogs at all! Nor did such explicit threats on the mailing list seem to phase anyone else (no one stepped forward to question such action), which I think shows that bullying is just so widespread on FTB that it is just the socially accepted norm (that’s unless like me, any of the competent people there simply regarded FTB as a lost cause, or at least a cause not worth fighting for, and just got on with their own thing).
Y’see this is the slippery slope of becoming intolerant to criticism, eventually it will consume you to the point where you cannot take any criticism…. where you become intellectually soft and are happy to strawman people en mass for simplicity, then ban them when they call you on your bulk strawmanning!
Anyways, it turns out the ‘cover story‘ for PC Myers banning me was that I made an argument that existed nowhere outside of his head.
Look, I wanted to present a ‘first inspection’ case with some real data, that FTB really wasn’t representative of the wider community that I had experienced. To me it was obvious that the community I was aware of at conferences, and on youtube was widely different from FTB on the issue of feminism. People like Rebecca ‘Rape Threat’ Watson were widely regarded at conferences as a toxic asset (no matter if she had been an asset previously) who left a bad taste in the mouths of most people. This is certainly true on youtube, where ZOMGitscriss can put up a video with her in, and her ratings go from something along the lines of 95 % positive to something along the lines of Venomfangx.
Unremarkable claims require unremarkable evidence, and so I did what was sensible, I simply put up a spoken word version of my blog, and PZs reply (who views really are seen as vanilla on freethoughtblogs) and asked people who watched to the end who they thought was nearer the mark, my views or the views that could pass as the plurality on freethoughtblogs. Sure there will be some bias in the data, but not enough to nullify the point that FTB are widely seen as off base on this point. I mean it could be easily examined. PZ could read both my post, and his reply on his YT channel and see what the voting would be like, I would guess that he might make 60:40 in his favor (not far off his post-hoc justification for banning me video). But of course, PZ was mostly interested in challenging the methods, rather than the conclusion. Personally I think this is an unremarkable claim, and as such requires unremarkable data, which it has is scads!
Anyways, that’s pretty much my experience of the slimepit of ‘Freethoughblogs’ the PC Lyars. It’s not the whole story yet though. It turns out that freethoughtblogs are not only happy to ban people as a typical creationist would (for something that they never actually said), but are perfectly happy to actively support the abuse of copyright specifically used to stifle active debate. More on that later.