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06 October, 2012


As you may know, I had an interesting twitter conversation with Ophelia Benson today. We kind of hashed it out and then reached a point of empathy that would seem impossible in this climate. We realized that on some points we agree on things. She conceded that there is a problem with the hypersensitivity to trolling that causes the knee-jerk bans, and I understood her frustration with having to deal with tons of trolls in a day and not being able to tell the difference between JAQoffs and people honestly seeking knowledge.

I also had an opportunity to let her know that I don't think that some people have been allowed the chance to be wrong and have their apologies accepted. To this, she countered that there were people who made not-apologies, but I personally see that it's hard to tell the difference between an apology with an explanation of one's own hurts and what she calls a "not-apology." I also pointed out Vjack's blog post, "Attack Blogging" that tends to add fuel to the fire.

It started with me trolling twitter because I honestly was under the impression that that was the only way to get the attention of the FtB people, but Ophelia turned out to be different. We will probably never agree on the honesty of DJ Grothe's apology for certain statements (or the truth of others he's made which I agree with), the integrity of Justin Vacula, or about the intentions of other people who have come under fire from the Freethought Bloggers, but I felt like it was productive. You know me, I have a big mouth and I often find I have to put my foot in my mouth and apologize for what I say. I always leave what I say up for the world to see because I value responsibility.

I went on my alternate twitter account to formerly apologize to Rebecca Watson for calling her a bitch. Even though I felt I was wrongly treated, I want to keep my own side of the street clean from now on. Those of you who've read my blog long enough know that I was in Alcoholic Anonymous for many years and did all the steps, including amends to other people. By apologizing, I'm not making anyone else right, I'm only trying to fix what I did wrong. I have yet to hear back from Ms. Watson.

I still disagree with a lot of the proposed solutions to sexual harassment that have been proposed (more on that later). I still don't like the tactics and tone that many of the FtB blogs use, or how they pick targets and campaign against people (such as in the case of Mr. Vacula and Mr. Grothe).  That being said, from now on I'm really going to make an effort to ignore the people who are purposely causing conflict and keep my own side of the street in check. I don't think our community will become unified if both sides keep insulting each other and I am willing to be one of the people that says, "No more. I won't do it anymore."

That doesn't mean, of course, that I expect anyone else to change their tactics or that I won't have a good laugh with those that are able to make fun of our little groups and disputes, or that when someone is doing something obviously divisive or attention-seeking I won't call them out -- in a respectful manner, of course. Just expect that I'll do it with a mite less cussing and emotion.

My husband and I went to Freethought Day today and now we're watching Aristocats, so I am going to end this long post here. Feel free to comment. I value opinions other than my own because I know I can always be wrong! Have a good night, readers.

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