Saturday, August 31, 2013

Twitter Lessons from Sarah

Lately a person named Sarah (let's call her "SJ" for short) had a few issues on Twitter (and Facebook).

She claims she was being harassed. The details of this harassment will come later.

Note: Names deliberately obfuscated/truncated when possible in order to not "Google bomb" several well-meaning people and charitable organizations.

In her blog post, she writes:

This is Harassment:
1. Tweeting at me with insults and promises of abuse.
2. Inserting yourself into totally irrelevant tweeted discussions in order to offer me abuse.
3. Threatening my job after I announce I’m blocking you.
4. Deliberately downvoting a person’s online store as a direct attack on their livelihood.
This is Not Harassment:
1. Blocking you.
2. Suggesting others block you.
3. Reporting your abuse.
4. Calling you out publicly for abuse.
Simple, yes? I thought so, but evidently, quite a few of you struggle with this. Somehow, somewhere, the fact that someone doesn’t want you to tweet at them has become ‘trolling.’ ‘Defamation.’ ‘Harassment.’
Now let’s talk about another nasty habit: repeatedly threatening a person’s livelihood. Let me make a few things clear for you.
If you’re going to whine about censorship, be consistent. Don’t try to drive a person offline or silence them by threatening their employment.
You have probably exaggerated your importance. If you actually try to get someone fired because they blocked you on Twitter, you are crazy, and you look crazy, and no one is going to take you seriously.

What brought this post on? And who is this being written to?

Let's back up and look at all the things that SJ had to deal with recently, in close to chronological manner.

First, some terms:

  • RBB = atheist charity for military personnel. Employs Paul and Justin G. (JG)
  • AU = first amendment right's group. Employs Sarah.

Incident #1:
  1. Sarah commented on an Facebook page of a person named "Al Stefanelli"
  2. A crazy person claiming to be a cyborg human from the future (or something similarly absurd) threatened her harm
  3. Crazy person's comments were deleted and he was banned from the page
Incident #2:
  1. Sarah commented on another Facebook thread
  2. Presumed owner of page ("CB") writes: "I just blocked you on twitter [SJ], I am blocking you on RBB DO NOT keep harassing and contacting me personally or I will be reporting you to your boss [at AU]"
Incident #3:
  1. A man named Paul, who happens to work for RBB, replies to a tweet by Ellen Beth Wachs and writes: "Sarah and oolon are fuckbags! I just wanna troll. Truth FTW" (with Sarah and oolon both '@' mentioned in the tweet)
  2. That's it.

It turns out incidents #2 and #3 created a lot of fallout.

First, Paul, the one who called Sarah a "fuckbag" was added to the Atheism+ Twitter block bot by Julia

The rationale read:
@The_Block_Bot #block #level3 +<offender's handle> absolute #asshole and #troll

It would seem that the offender's "fuckbag" tweet had the self awareness to include "I just want to troll". As in, the offender understood that his tweet was ridiculous and provocative. 

However it was translated by "feminists" as an admission that the offender is a troll for all eternity.

It then leads to this ridiculous Twitter conversation on August 24th:

SJ: Oh good. Apparently RBB is investigating Paul L's online abuse. I'm sure that investigation will be totally fair.
CW: I have great confidence that a secular org will handle an issue of abuse/harassment properly because ............ *crickets*
SJ: Yes. I have no confidence whatsoever. He shouldn't be in a leadership role.
JG: So he should be fired?
SJ: No. I have said repeatedly that I'm not asking for him to fired. But he shouldn't be in a visible leadership role.
JG: His job is a leadership role, and quite visible. I'm concerned you don't realize that you are asking for him to be fired.
SJ: I have said repeatedly on your page and on Twitter I do not want him to be fired. Possible for him to be involved and not..
SJ: leadership. In the tweet he's since deleted, he also threatened to continue trolling me. That's serious, and there...
SJ:...should be serious consequences. He reached out to me specifically to insult me+threaten me with further abuse.
SJ: He does not deserve to be in leadership. He's demonstrated this amply. And you need to do something about it.
JG: His only role is as a visible leader. You called for that to end. Our activism has yielded all sorts of death threats and /1
JG: and harassment that we can't even publicly explain, due to rank structure. I'm just wondering what qualifies as harassment?
SJ: This is not a complicated concept. He sought me out, insulted me, and promised to troll me in the future. That's harassment
SJ: 1 of his friends then threatened to get me fired for calling him out on this. It's absurd. He doesn't deserve your support.
SJ: And here's the tweet he deleted, for the record:
JG: That's a reference to Oolon, known to be a troll. Sticks up for Greg Laden, who was fired from FTB for violent threats at me.
SJ: It was also directed at me, unless Oolon has suddenly changed his name to Sarah.
JG: Sincere apologies for the guilt-by-association fallacy. Oolon is most definitely a fuckbag. You are not.
SJ: He was also bragging about getting blocked while also apologizing to me. This is why I didn't believe he was sincere.
JG: I totally understand. The confusion came from you associating with a defender of a known harasser of foxhole atheists. Oolon.
SJ: I don't know what foxhole atheists are. I don't care. I do care that Paul L behaved unprofessionally. And I am not...
SJ: ...going to back down on this. Find him a less visible role. Show me you're actually taking harassment seriously.
SJ: Two of his friends have threatened to get me fired. Two. This is going to end.
JG: foxhole atheists are military atheists. We're VERY often told there are no atheists in foxholes (e.g. bullets flying).
JG: Those two friends were being total fuckbags, if so. They don't have that power. Do you want me to put in a good word for you?
JG: Should I smooth things over with AU? I deplore any jobs being threatened (on either side). Let's get back to secular activism
SJ: I don't actually need you to put in a good word for me. I need you to take this seriously, and remove him from leadership.
SJ: I'm sure there's something less visible he can do. But he's demonstrated a willingness to abuse his position here.
JG: When did he abuse his position? I saw a single swear word. Did he abuse oolon too? What are you even suggesting?
SJ: Specifically, his threat to troll. It's clear to me he thought he could get away with it if he carried through.
JG: Discovered your recent sexist slur. Stop harassing women like Cat Burns with your splash damage [Link to tweet where Sarah says Cat's "people" "bitch" about censorship]
SJ: ..are you joking? You are joking, right? Because that's probably the most absurd thing I've ever seen.
SJ: Cat threatened to get me fired merely for blocking her on Twitter. And even then, I didn't sink to actually using a slur.
SJ: you are more concerned about this than Paul's threat to troll and his insults? Hypocritical much?
JG: No I'm not joking. … She also asked you to stop tweeting to / trolling her. So you continued.
SJ: I didn't. I blocked her exactly when I said I would.
JG: so according to you, 'bitch' isnt a slur. Telling a woman that she's 'bitching' about something is ok?
MAMelby: fyi [JG] is making the absurd argument because he is actually arguing with OTHER PEOPLE that are not you.
SJ: It was not used as a gendered slur. Everyone can see it wasn't used as a gendered slur. You are reaching massively here
SJ: ...I use in regards to men. I use it in regards to myself. If I'd called her a bitch, you might have a point, but that...
SJ: ...wasn't the usage at all. And it's obvious. This is absurd behavior.
JG: I see, twitter sometimes displays things in reverse order. Perhaps I misunderstood the order there. Still the slur...
SJ: Cat Burns threatened my job because I said I'd block her on Twitter but this is what we're focusing on??
SJ: It is not a slur. You are reaching for an excuse to avoid doing anything about Paul.
JG: [quoting Wikipedia] "When used as a verb, to bitch means to complain. Usage in this context is almost always pejorative /1
JG: in intent. Allegedly, it was originally used to refer to the stereotypical wife's constant complaints about petty things /2
JG: , effectively tying in the etymology with the vulgar slang for an unpleasant woman /3 END
SJ: I have no idea what splash damage is+if there are debates in your community about the term, I haven't been involved.
MAMelby: At least that's what it seems like.
SJ: Your argument is Wikipedia. Sorry, but this just doesn't fly in the real world. Again: Cat threatened my job. Paul...
SJ: ...promised to troll me. Keep the focus where it belongs.
JG: Splash damage -in YOUR circle- is hurting all women by normalizing the every-day use of gendered slurs ('bitch' etc.). It=bad
SJ: his argument is literally Wikipedia. That's all he's got.
JG: would you like Melody Hensley or Oolon to explain the concept to you? Ask them if it's ok to say Cat Burns was 'bitching'.
SJ: What is my circle?? There is no circle. I got dragged into this mess two weeks through no fault of my own.
JG: what happened two weeks ago?
SJ: Again. We are keeping the focus on Paul here, and Cat's threat to my job. I'm not going to allow you to victim blame here.
MAMelby: JG, Please start treating SJ as an individual and not a part of some supposed "hive mind".
SJ: I got death threats after criticizing one of Stefanelli's articles. Since then, I have been dragged into this shitstorm.
JG: MAMelby, I've directly referenced her interactions. She said Cat Burns was 'bitching' about censorship when blocking.
JG: MAMelby, Are you suggesting that SJ using a gendered slur like 'bitching' is acceptable?
SJ: And your argument is Wikipedia. Come on. Have some self-respect. It's very obvious it was not a slur.
SJ: He's just trying to derail away from Paul and Cat's behavior here. Again: Cat threatened to get me fired.
JG: go ahead MA Melby, explain about splash damage and 'bitching'. she doesn't believe me.
JG: you're threatening to have Paul's 'role removed'.
SJ: No. I am saying he should be given a less prominent role if he's going to troll people like this. Not that...
SJ: ...he should have no role at all. My position is+has been very clear from the beginning.
MAMelby: Quit changing the subject.
JG: I've seen evidence of you trolling, using gendered slurs, calling for a demotion (to a position that doesn't exist).
SJ: My trolling? Do you mean standing up for myself against a tidal wave of online harassment? You're deflecting bc...
SJ: know you can't defend Paul, but you're not going to do anything about it,so you need a scapegoat. Me.
SJ: And I'm not your scapegoat. I didn't deserve Paul's behavior or Cat's threat. There was no gendered slur.
MAMelby: She doesn't deserve to be a stand-in for other people that you happen to have conflicts with.
JG: I didn't see that. That must be awful. Having big name atheists target you... I can relate.
SJ: So stop using me as a scapegoat! You know damn well that I didn't use a gendered slur. I didnt deserve any of this
SJ: I didn't deserve to be called a fuckbag, or to have my job threatened, or to be trolled incessantly for two weeks.
JG: What do you propose I do? demote him to a non-existent position (this is also known as firing)
SJ: How was I supposed to know there wasn't an alternative position? Am I psychic? I know nothing about your org.
JG: you've been told repeatedly now. So do you wish to adjust your 'demand', now knowing that it equates to firing?
SJ: Then there have to be other consequences of some kind. That's why I appealed to RBB in the first place.
JG: I'd suggest a retraction and an apology. Would that work?
SJ: The last time he apologized, he bragged about the entire thing on his Twitter feed. How am I suppose to believe...
SJ: ...that he's actually sincere now?
JG: he bragged about being blocked by oolon's bot... the guy who sticks up for death-threat issuers. You misunderstood.
SJ: Oolon's bot is the only thing protecting me from the same people who have been harassing me weeks on end now.
SJ: I downloaded the bot because I had to. Bc I got death threats+threats to my job. Bc of people like Paul.
JG: are you saying i'm just 'bitching' about other things?
SJ: Justin, stop deflecting and deal with the actual issue at hand.
JG: I suggested a reasonable alternative to firing.. retraction and apology. Accept or suggest alt.
SJ: You're not exactly in a position to dictate to me what I ought to accept or not accept here.
JG: I'm in a position to help you achieve closure, and hopefully justice. Paul swore at you a single time. That's bad.
SJ: That's not the only thing that concerns me--it was the promise to troll me.
JG: Fair enough. How about this, he retracts, apologizes, and promises not to troll you after all?
SJ: Like I said, the last time he apologized, he continued to brag about the situation. Why is he suddenly really sorry now?
SJ: At the bare minimum, it needs to be a public apology that acknowledges specific wrongdoing.
JG: He did not brag about it. He was RIGHTFULLY bragging about that awful block bot and oolon (friendly with a known harasser)
SJ: is block bot awful? People blocked him. he doesn't have the inalienable right to tweet at people. Like I said...
SJ: Paul and his friends are the reasons why I had to download to protect myself from further abuse.
JG: watch out, the block bot won't protect you from the guy who issued me violent threats and intentional PTSD triggers.
SJ: how many times do I have to repeat that I have no idea who he is, and he's irrelevent to this topic? If Paul+friends...
SJ: hadn't harassed me repeatedly, I wouldn't have had to download the Block Bot. So maybe redirect your focus here.
SJ: I also have PTSD. And I will not tolerate anyone making it worse for me bc they seized an opportunity to be an ass.
JG: None. I get that you aren't familiar and lack context. That's why I provided it.
JG: Well, oolon's friend Greg Laden specifically tormented me on purpose. He called it a 'patton slap' (military reference).
JG: so we tend to be leery of people who endorse oolon or his blockbot.
SJ: I don't want a lesson on Greg Laden. I want you to stop deflecting and confront the actual situation at hand.
SJ: We? Paul is the one who harassed. His friends Cat and EllenBeth have threatened my job. They are the harassers here. So...
SJ: ...if you think harassment is such a serious issue, this is a chance for you to make a real difference. Do. Something.
JG: How about the apology and retraction, and also now the understanding that he was referring to oolon, and friends of oolon.
SJ: For fuck's sake. He was referring to me. Not just oolon. Then had the audacity to whine at me about guilt by association
SJ: He does not get to abuse people, then whine about being blocked, then have his friend Cat threaten my job.
SJ: Those actions are an abuse of power--even if the power's merely social. And it's serious.
JG: you are threatening his job, when he was just responding to people that support our (death) threateners / ptsd triggerers.
MAMelby: It does make sense that his being happy to be on the bot was about THE BOT not about the situation. (Wow - Kudos for MAMelby actually stepping up to defend Paul)
SJ: I never threatened his job. You know I never threatened his job. I asked for him to have a less visible role because...
EBW: Sarah, not so nice when ur not being listened to,is it? How about you try it? I did not threaten your job
SJ: ...I wrongly assumed RBB was a real organization that could swing this, and because he abused his position. You want to..
SJ: complain? I already had PTSD--Paul triggered it, too. Are you going to show him the same ire? If not, then you're...
SJ: nothing but a hypocrite. Paul was out of line. Cat was out of line. I did not provoke this from either of them.
JG: Paul and I have talked about oolon and his goons using the blockbot publicly. Context (A link in which JG asks oolon : "FFS, am *I* on your list?" The great irony here is that Julia added JG to the Block Bot during this interaction...)
JG: less visible role does not exist. After you became aware of that, you kept calling for it. Knowing that it = firing.
EBW: now repeat that in reference to me Sarah. You know I never threatened your job
SJ: Maybe in your fantasy world, yes. Your behavior and Paul's doesn't come across as sincere, so I didn't believe you.
JG: Well if you're currently being triggered, my heart goes out to you. When did you serve? (sorry assuming you're military)
SJ: And you know what? Maybe you should have picked your organizational partners better.
JG: so I should 'unpick him'?
SJ: I am not military.
SJ: I want my life back. I want people like Paul, Cat, and EllenBeth Wachs to stop harassing me and threatening my job.
SJ: I want some acknowledgement that they're wrong, and their actions are inappropriate and totally unmerited and unprovoked.
JG: My wife has PTSD and is not military. Both of us have had psychologists recommend staying away from triggers. Not ez!
SJ: Then don't criticize me for downloading the Block Bot to avoid these triggers.
JG: Paul acknowledged he was uncivil (rightfully so at oolon! but not you.) His action was unprovoked (by you)./1
JG: I/Paul/we/RBB apologize for calling you a fuckbag, Only oolon is a fuckbag. Similarly, only oolon should be counter-trolled
SJ: and Cat's threat to my employment?
EBW: Everyone is harassing her and threatening her job? I haven't paid attn to her til she brings me into it
JG: got a link?
JG: EBW, she said you threatened her job earlier. She might just be confused / missing context. Trying to help.
SJ: She did. Link to the blog post w/screenshot: [Link to blog in which EBW namedrops "Barry", SJ's boss. In response to SJ calling EBW a 'sociopath' for suggesting SJ is a troll magnet in Incident #1]
SJ: I'm pointing out to you the sort of comments that I've been getting for the past two weeks.
EBW: and it wasn't about your job, sweetheart. It was about your nastiness towards me.
JG: Am I harassing oolon for calling him a fuckbag? He really is one. I forgive you for being pals with him.
SJ: Why are you assuming there's some sort of relationship because I downloaded the Block Bot?
SJ: And I haven't done anything to merit needing forgiveness from you.
JG: because you downloaded the block bot.
SJ: I downloaded the Block Bot because my alternative was letting abuse continue. Look to your own friends.
SJ: Get the fuck over this vendetta, confront the individual problem being discussed.
JG: But the blockbot clearly didn't work? You said it happened again. I wish you the best. Don't rely on oolon!
JG: I did exactly what you asked. Apology, recognition of the unprovoked status, and the extant retraction.
SJ: ....I downloaded a tool. I am not relying on anyone here. Your friends made that tool necessary.
SJ: Stop. Deflecting. What about Paul? What about Cat's threat, made on RBB's FB wall?
JG: Your toolmaker is friends with and supporter of a known issuer of violent threats and intentional PTSD triggers
SJ: And you're friends with people who threatened me and triggered my PTSD, so what does that make you?
JG: You got what you asked for with paul. Link to cat's threat?
SJ: [Link to the CB's 'threat' (Incident #2)]
SJ: she posted this after I'd blocked her. No one had harassed her or trolled her whatsoever.
JG: It makes me understand that the world does not contort to my whims. People can't know my triggers. Just how it is.
SJ: Nice deflection. You've got a real skill here.
JG: Cat apologizes for that. We have a very long and close relationship with AU. I'll be calling to clarify IAW this convo.
JG: We respectfully wish that all parties slip back into secular activism mode. Blocks upheld, for this reason. Wish you well.
SJ: I don't want any of you calling AU.
SJ: Cat and EllenBeth have already forced me to bring my personal life into work, and you'll be reinforcing that if you call.
JG: Will a sincere promise that we won't call AU be better? I was only going to stick up for you.
SJ: I want this drama 2 die so I can go into work and do my job--which is defending secularism. People like Cat, Paul+EllenBeth
SJ: are distractions, not helps. I am tired of having to explain this nonsense to my employers. It damages my credibility.
SJ: Tell your friends to control themselves, leave me alone, and express themselves more maturely in the future.
JG: Paul is also tired of defending himself. But since he's apologized for calling you a fuckbag (when only oolon is). /1
JG: we're all very familiar with PTSD and understand what you're going through... can we move forward? perhaps be allies?
SJ: Paul brought this upon himself because of his own poor behavior.
JG: we're all very familiar with PTSD and understand what you're going through... can we move forward? perhaps be allies?
JG: [in response to 'Tell your friends to control themselves'] Will do. I'm glad we got a better understanding of each other. Carry on with your excellent work at AU!
SJ: Paul L is not and will never be my ally.
JG: Understood. I'm sure it's mutual. It was a heated situation, not your fault. PTSD hits hard and doesn't warn. You rock!

That is the conclusion of the thread.

One question remains...

Is Sarah a fuckbag?

Let's go over what we know.

Sarah is a sarcastic asshole on Twitter

How did she start this thread?
"Apparently RBB is investigating Paul L's online abuse. I'm sure that investigation will be totally fair."
This is the tweet put forward in response to RBB saying they'll look into it.

Sarah is using a tool she does not understand

The bit where she's not confused about what the term "foxhole atheist" might mean. This is a failure to do a tiny bit of research.

For those that don't want to get torn to pieces for being an idiot on Twitter, you may want to look up stuff before feeling compelled to respond. 

One may be surprised that one can stop tweeting, learn a term, and then go back and pick up the conversation where one left it. 

Also, if you have a real beef with an organization, you can put your grievances in something called an email. The big positive about email being that you will have fewer opportunities to put your foot in your mouth, using your real name, documented for eternity for the public to see.

And finally, Sarah speaks as if she knows how to adequately deal with harassment on Twitter - just install the Atheism+ block bot!

It would seem the only thing that could possibly save Sarah from the "trolls" was installation of a Twitter app that blacklisted specific people associated with a specific internet pissing contest.
"Oolon's bot is the only thing protecting me from the same people who have been harassing me weeks on end now."
Even if one accepts all of Sarah's claims at face value, she has named only about a half dozen individuals in her "harassment" prior to this endless Twitter thread.

Sarah could have clicked the vanilla "block" button about a dozen times, tops. 

Instead, she chose to install the Block Bot and sing its praises on Twitter in a bizarre thread for all to see. 

Have fun maintaining that black list, as it'll only grow as Block Bot users keep saying asinine garbage on Twitter.

Sarah does not understand basic elements of her request

It would appear that in Sarah-land, each and every organization has a non-public facing role that people can just magically be placed in as a "time out" of sorts.

Several times in the conversation it was made clear that there were no avenues for discipline that involved removing Paul from a public facing role at the charity for an extended period of time.

Given this fact, Sarah continued insisting that Paul not be allowed to speak to anyone that isn't his supervisor or his colleagues.


To illustrate how ridiculous this is, imagine Sarah lodging a complaint with a band manager:

Sarah: "I have a problem with your lead singer. What's his name, Freddie?"
Manager: "Yes, that's him. What's the problem?"
Sarah: "He called me 'blue eyed floozy'."
Manager: "Well you're wearing a Bowie shirt, he really dislikes David."
Sarah: "Stop deflecting. Freddie needs a non-public facing position."
Manager: "He's in the band?"
Sarah: "Yes, but it's possible for him to be involved, just not in a leadership role."
Manager: "I suppose I could have him play the cowbell behind the stage. The tune really does need more cowbell."
Sarah: "That sounds fantastic!"

Sarah lies

Claim: "In the tweet he's since deleted, he also threatened to continue trolling me."

Reality: The English language allows "I just wanna troll" to be interpreted in a number of ways. At least three ways.

It could be interpreted as a light-hearted jab at the content of the rest of the message. That is, an admission that the message was "troll-ish".

It could be interpreted as a desire not acted upon. Something similar to "I just wanna eat ice cream all day."

Or, if one thinks the entire world is out to get them, the statement could be interpreted as an everlasting promise to harass someone for the rest of their lives.

Further, if a certain brand of narcissism is in play, it's easy to forget that the original "promise" was directed at two individuals. But no special consideration is given to what may happen to her comrade in arms (in this case, oolon)

Claim: "He sought me out, insulted me, and promised to troll me in the future."

Reality: All evidence presented suggests Paul participated in an ongoing conversation between Sarah and acquaintances of Paul.

In Incident #1, Sarah had some interactions with EBW. EBW is an acquaintance of Paul's. Paul's tweet was a reply to EBW's (EBW is the first account listed in his tweet).

There is nothing that suggests Paul "sought out" Sarah for special treatment. Paul simply used a social media tool to share an opinion.

Paul did not "seek out" anything. Paul did not logon looking for people engrossed in argument with people he follows on Twitter.

Further, he did not engage Sarah with any specificity. However Sarah once again forgets oolon, developer of her supposed Block Bot savior.

Sarah is seemingly ill-concerned with Paul being mean to oolon, as one of the following is true:

  1. Sarah accepts JG's statements that oolon is to some degree a "fuckbag"
  2. Sarah thinks that oolon is a formidable male that can defend himself

The great irony here is that for as long as oolon and his merry band of Atheism+ social justice warriors have managed The Block Bot, Paul did not find himself on the blacklist.

However since then Julia (a manager of the bot) has gone bananas over his "fuckbag" comment and now Paul is on the block list.

Claim: " if he's going to troll people like this.". [Statement assuming his current behavior is "trolling"]

Reality: Paul didn't even get a chance to "troll".

The definition of "troll" as in "to troll" via Google:

troll - v - "submit a deliberately provocative posting to an online message board with the aim of inciting an angry response."

Paul called Sarah a "fuckbag". That does not qualify as harassment in any court, and does not qualify as "trolling" in any popular definition of the word.

Let's reiterate:
  1. Paul had no prior history of trolling. At least not one defined by the Atheism+ Block Bot
  2. Paul's statement in the present was not trolling - simply insulting someone cannot seriously be defined as trolling.
  3. Paul made no specific threat to troll in the future
In fact, the only qualification of Paul being a "troll" was his own categorization of his tweet - as in "I just wanna [be deliberately provocative]".

If being deliberately provocative alone was enough to be labelled a troll, then we really should document Rebecca Watson, PZ Myers and Sarah herself as trolls.

Claim: "I didn't deserve to be called a fuckbag, or to have my job threatened, or to be trolled incessantly for two weeks."

Reality: Paul's first tweet to Sarah was 23rd of August. Some time after that was the "fuckbag" comment. There are been 26 '@' mentions to Sarah, most of them apologies. 

Interestingly enough, after the "fuckbag" comment, Sarah tweets:
Sarah giggles with glee with Paul trying to defend his rep. (more on this later)

Further, no evidence presented suggests that Paul was the one that threatened her job. None.

Facts as presented:
  1. Paul did not threaten her job. 
  2. Paul did not harass her for "two weeks". Paul did not harass Sarah for any length of time for that matter.
Sarah has spun Paul's involvement in the aforementioned incidents to such a degree that nobody can actually remember or understand what Paul did.  

Even otherwise smart and intelligent people.


Another "feminist" shows up to claim amazement:

It seems Team Twitter feminism is convinced Paul harasses women.

The reality is closer to be the exact opposite. It would seem that Paul is himself being harassed by someone making up facts.

Which leads us to the next point...

Sarah is a hypocrite

The absurdity of "threatening my job"

Several instances of Sarah's "threatening my job" narrative:
"Cat Burns threatened my job because I said I'd block her on Twitter but this is what we're focusing on??"
"Again: Cat threatened my job."
"Again: Cat threatened to get me fired."
"I didn't deserve to be called a fuckbag, or to have my job threatened,"
"His friends Cat and EllenBeth have threatened my job. They are the harassers here."
First, let's itemize why this is nonsense:
  1. Cat's "threat" was not in response to Sarah blocking Cat. Cat detailed in her message that Cat's contact with Sarah's boss would be if Sarah chose to continue interaction. This directly contradicts Sarah's claim that Cat went bananas after Sarah blocked her.
  2. Neither Cat or EllenBeth stated a desire to get Sarah fired. They stated they may be in contact with her supervisor. That is, they may report her behavior to her employer.
Now, why is it the most hypocritical thing ever?

Sarah is having this conversation with Paul's manager.

Sarah is doing precisely the thing that others have merely threatened to do!

And Sarah admits as such:
"Then there have to be other consequences of some kind. That's why I appealed to RBB in the first place."
Could anyone believe this conversation has transpired?

There is a special brand of "lack of all self awareness" that allows one to think this is somehow not ridiculous.

Let's seriously consider this line of reasoning:
  1. Someone is threatening to contact your employer. 
  2. You think contacting your employer is absurd and unreasonable harassment.
  3. You respond by contacting their employer.
It is more bizarre to find Sarah playing dumb. 

Sarah makes several statements that suggest that she does not believe Paul is sincerely regretful:
"Why is he suddenly really sorry now?"
...because you are threatening his job?

Is this really such a difficult concept?

Sarah goes to great lengths to state she's not doing what she's accusing others of doing:
"I never threatened his job. [...] I asked for him to have a less visible role because...[...] ...I wrongly assumed RBB was a real organization that could swing this, and because he abused his position."
Here's some more facts again:
  1. Paul never even suggested he'd contact her employer
  2. EllenBeth and Cat never suggested that Sarah be fired
  3. EllenBeth and Cat never suggested that Sarah be "removed from a leadership role"
To avoid the possibility that someone contacts her manager and says anything at all about her, Sarah has taken the nuclear option and demanded that their manager terminate them. 

At this point, it's a wonder what Sarah would do if she knew the employment details of the others in the vast conspiracy to take her down.

Presumably the only reason Paul is encircled as the core problem was that his employment details were readily available in his Twitter bio. It just so happens that the other "harassers" were either more difficult to look up and/or themselves females.

In any case, it was a delightful episode of paranoia.

Guilt by association

In the thread, Sarah is absolutely angry that she's been criticized and insulted by people for her associations created by the Block Bot and oolon:
"I don't want a lesson on Greg Laden."
Just who is Greg Laden? He's the person that suggested JT is into feminism for the chicks. This is not to suggest that this is the worst thing Greg Laden has said - he is a ridiculous figure in this Atheism+/"feminist" drama and it would fill several pages to document it all.

The core point here is Sarah does not care what oolon, Greg Laden and other people who appear to be her friends.

Sarah simply cares about Paul's friends:

"1 of his friends then threatened to get me fired for calling him out on this. It's absurd. He doesn't deserve your support."
"Two of his friends have threatened to get me fired. Two. This is going to end."
"Paul and his friends are the reasons why I had to download to protect myself from further abuse."
And while JG's being apologetic:
"Those two friends were being total fuckbags, if so."
(Note: "if so" is an important qualifier as it isn't true, as earlier shown.)

The allegations are extending to JG's friends:
"Your friends made [the block bot] necessary."
In the end, Sarah thinks of anyone that thinks ill of her as a part of a massive group of friends that directly interact with each other about ways to harass her.

At the same time, Sarah wishes to be viewed as an innocent bystander. Stuff simply happens to Sarah, and she's approaching the situation as if she were an unbiased observer.

However it's readily apparent that Sarah is both familiar with the characters in play and is quick to judge:

This was sent to Cat, before Sarah's interaction with JG.

What does "you people" mean in this context?

What is that about "censorship"?

It refers to the entirety of people blacklisted by the block bot application. Sarah is obviously aware of "the people" on the list, who many of them might be and what their criticisms of the application are.

Yet Sarah does not care. They're all a bunch of assholes, right?

The funny thing is, Cat Burns was not part of this list of blacklisted people, that is to say Cat Burns was not "you people".

Until Sarah managed to convince the mass of Atheism+ Twitter "feminism" that Cat was harassing her.

Just ten minutes after Sarah's "you people" tweet, Cat's Twitter account was added to the black list:

Fun times.

Sarah is a vengeful idiot

The sum of Sarah's attitude can be seen in the following statement:
"Paul L is not and will never be my ally."
Consider Sarah's and Paul's positions here.

Both people work at charitable organizations. Organizations in which you can solicit donations that end up paying your bills in a very literal sense.

The idea that someone cannot wrap up being called a "fuckbag" by acceptance of an apology and perhaps a cool $25 via Paypal donation is quite disappointing.

The road paved by Sarah is one that antagonizes both organizations involved.

The Twitter "feminists" will think twice about supporting RBB, as it pays Paul's bills.

Meanwhile reasonable people will think twice before supporting AU, as it pays Sarah's bills.

Neither organization really deserves this outcome. And neither individual deserves to lose their job (After all, they may be breadwinners).

It will be labelled as victim blaming by the Atheism+ hivemind showing "solidarity", but maturity dictates that adult human beings should have some modicum of conflict resolution skills.

Ironically, it just so happens that the people that would place all the blame for the day's events on the dropper of the f-bomb are those that love the word and think criticizing profane comments (like "fuck cis people") is "tone trolling".

The plot thickens

This is where the story ends, right? Maybe there is small display of regret and reflection?


It gets worse.

And even more ridiculous.

This is the twist ending.

While it appeared to some that Sarah was going to great lengths to defend a job, it actually turns out that Sarah went all-out to create a job.

Such entrepreneurship. In May, she'll be speaking at "Women in Secularism 3". She has so much potential in "feminism".

She could write articles about rape jokes for Jezebel, or blog about Game of Thrones for Skepchick. She could work hard elaborating on feminist ideas.

A true knowledge worker in our information economy.

Her future is bright.


  1. Awesome job summarizing the situation. Just one minor detail

    I believe this tweet should be attributed to Sarah not Justin. :)

    "JG: I want my life back. I want people like Paul, Cat, and EllenBeth Wachs to stop harassing me and threatening my job."

  2. Well done. Thank you for documenting this. What an absurd night.

  3. Absurd beyond belief. I kind of wish, though, that JG didn't validate SJW nonsense with the argument about "bitching" as a gendered slur. Yeah, I know he was calling Sarah out on her hypocrisy, but SJW crap should not be validated EVER.

  4. Holy mackerel. I know there are people out there whose social-media life has become an entire lifestyle, and that these people could probably benefit from psychotherapy, but the degree to which these people allow silly, anonymous social-media commentary to take over their lives is astonishing. With all this he-said, she-said, he-said-they-said-she-said going on, when do any of them have time to shop? The social-media subculture has gone mad and they don't even know it.