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I don't see any problem with putting serial offenders on moderation until
they change their posting habits. --PG

On Sun, Aug 24, 2008 at 11:47 PM, Michael H Goldhaber <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> Claudia,
> Your thoughtful and impassioned posts on this issue merit equally
> thoughtful replies. Let me at least strive towards that here, though I may
> not succeed. First of all, I think RM's stands on feminism are wrong and
> rather disgusting. To me they tend to invalidate any worthwhile remarks he
> might make on other topics. That's why I filter everything he posts. But  my
> version of socialism, such as it is,  does include freedom of expression,
> and to me that has to include the freedom to say quite obnoxious things. I
> have generally done my moderating  by asking  people to refrain
> from going over the same ground in arguments again and again, and to refrain
> from ad hominem or ad feminem attacks.  This does not mean I approve of
> everything else said; far from it. But if I were to start punishing or
> removing people I disagree with strongly, not many might be left. One does
> not, for instance, have to be a socialist to be on this list, and still less
> any particular variety of socialist.
>
> When it was an active organization, SftP never had a completely coherent
> ideology as far as I'm  aware, and, given efforts I know of to try to define
> such ideologies, I think they mostly do not end well. They either lead to
> debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, turn into sheer
> vitriol, drain what life there is from a group,  leave only a tiny core
> happy, end up with strict dogma, or all of these at once.
>
> As to the supposed tacit approval of everything on the website (which I
> never look at, I admit) I would suppose every single article  that anyone of
>  us chooses to copy to the rest of us ends up there. Many of them contain
> claims and science  most of us --quite often including the poster her or
> himself---  would probably dispute. To include only what seems correct
> in advance or what has been fully vetted or critiqued  would defeat what
> many obviously see as the list's function.
>
> Still, if enough people are outraged by Rob't Mann's attitudes and feel his
> posts should be censored, I am willing to warn him as Herb suggests, and
> then either to remove him if he refuses to heed the warnings or put him
> under moderation, which would greatly limit his ability to take part in any
> discussions, since I cannot always check such things promptly. I think doing
> either would open up a can of worms, and is probably a mistake, but if
> enough want this, then so be it.
>
>
> Best,
>
> Michael
>
> On Aug 24, 2008, at 3:11 PM, Claudia Hemphill Pine wrote:
>
> As Michael Balter asked about a similarly unfactual kind of post some time
> back:  Do we want the list archives to show that SftP willingly invites such
> activities by rarely, if ever, speaking out against them?
>
> There are two problems with doing this. First, public silence on the issue
> is ambiguous.  It's an absence of data: if no one points out irrational,
> irrelevant, hostile, and/or politically self-serving prejudice, it can later
> or privately (as happens) be claimed that it was recognized as such.  But it
> can equally be claimed as tacit agreement.  The fact is usually that saying
> nothing leads to continuation, if not escalation, of aggression and delusive
> crap.  Silence ultimately supports the status quo.  The status quo on SftP
> with regard to
>
> Second is the problem of people saying to someone who objects to personal
> vitriol or unfactuality, "well, if you don't like it, quit the list, hit
> delete, or start filtering all of notoriously raving person X's posts to the
> trash."   This in effect privatizes the burden of unpleasant posts onto the
> individual.  Rather than the list collectively agreeing what topics, goals,
> processes, etc., are supportive of SftP's principles, we default to
> agreement that anything goes.  This doesn't just contradict the purpose of
> SftP, it contradicts the purpose of a "list serve," because it makes the
> list a universal posting site for anything anyone wants to throw up, which
> the individual members must then use their time and computer to filter it
> down to the actual SftP reading list they hoped for.
>
> It's long struck me as ironic that a list with socialist aims is
> nonetheless willing to privatize the toll of hostile postings from people
> who disagree with those aims onto those of its members who are willing to
> measure the difference. The public message this sends is - at the least -
> that socialist scientists are quite careless of theory.  Or perhaps, more
> fundamentally, don't agree what a "list" is, or what SftP is.
>
> The long continuation of the posting of misogyny (or other uninformed and
> vitriolic bigotry) without much challenge, however, makes it seem equally
> likely that a substantial number of the list members simply don't mind it at
> all, so long as it's directed against subordinate or minority groups they
> don't belong to - like women.   Perhaps they think SftP really might be
> compatible with hostile oppression against women.  After all, socialism has
> been, often enough.
>
> Or maybe many list members are simply so accustomed to the rampant misogyny
> of the blogosphere - which simply follows the lead long set in other mass
> media, even if it's dialled it up to nuclear levels, in which the most
> racist, misogynist, classist and homophobic use the mantra of "free speech"
> as cover for overtly hostile and even threatening posts.  The problem of
> this growing incivility, and its particular assault on women and political
> minorities, is admitted by every commenter on mass media or the cyber-world
> (eg, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/09/technology/09blog.html )
>
> The interpretation of "free speech" as "everyone can say whatever they
> want, and those derogated and threatened can just leave" is exactly the one
> offered by the very people who either want to make those threatening and
> derogatory remarks. It's easy to agree with, especially if you aren't in the
> targeted groups, or ethically alert to its consequences.
>
> The consequences of laissez faire public speech policies are the same as
> those of unfettered "free market capitalism" - the most aggressively,
> obsessively, and unethically self-serving win. The more restrained,
> balanced, moderate, and collectively-minded are told to just go away, get
> offline, segregate themselves away somewhere, or be flattened -- or be
> debased into like-minded hostility.  This does not further SftP's goals,
> either for science or for socially just society.  It is rule by those most
> willing to be unjust.  It re-segregates the world into a place where those
> who aren't willing to be loud, to rant endlessly, to batter and bully
> others, are pushed aside and trodden upon.  (As a woman who rarely joins
> mixed-gender list-serves outside of academic ones moderated by a
> list-maintainer or the social checks of academia, I well understand the
> anger of many feminists [yes, this includes many men - and on this list]
> about this sad lowering of the cybersphere's potential.)
>
> Surely these outcomes are contrary to SftP's goals -- as Herb pointed out.
>
> After all, if the rule is "anything goes - caveat lector", why not also
> encourage posts advocating institutional oppression of non-white people, or
> the poor, or disabled?  Or privatizing and consuming the entirety of the
> planet's resources, including water? We could similarly tell those who find
> such discourse (a) contrary to SftP goals, and (b) constructive of a hostile
> list environment, that it's up to them to read and delete, or filter out,
> all such crap.
>
> Better yet, SftP could simply invite every right-wing totalitarian
> capitalist, racist, misogynist, homophobic, anti-environmentalist, etc.,
> etc. to flood the list with their irrational ideas and hostile politics -
> and force EVERY member to view and delete the garbage.  That would be more
> democratic. Instead, at present, we simply force the burden onto those
> scientists and other members who recognize the irrationality of misogyny.
> Are they a minority? If so, why is a theoretically socialist list
> privatizing the cost of the hostility onto this minority?
>
> Perhaps it is a substantial majority of the list who finds blatant,
> irrational, and offensive misogyny inconsistent with the goals of SftP.  In
> that case, Herb's request should find support and lead to the actions he
> suggests, or something similar.  There is no good reason for the list to
> invite its use as a free messaging service for moral mayhem.
>
> Claudia
>
> On Sun, Aug 24, 2008 at 12:57 PM, Michael H Goldhaber <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>
>> I myself have filtered out all of RM's posts for years. I only learn of
>> one when someone else copies it. If everyone would refrain from copying or
>> responding to the  visibly misogynist ones, that would help. If RN would
>> refrain from posting such things, that would help even more. If he would
>> only recognize that misogyny invalidates any good he might accomplish, that
>> would be better yet.
>>
>> Best,
>> Michael
>>
>>
>> On Aug 24, 2008, at 12:23 PM, herb fox wrote:
>>
>>  That Rob Mann is a misogynist is not news to those who have been reading
>>> his stuff off and on.  This serious flaw in his character and politics does
>>> not deny that he has also contributed well-informed critiques of GM and
>>> other stuff.  Racism, misogyny and homophobia are contradictory to the stand
>>> and tradition of Science for the People.  Since we (or rather Mike G) do not
>>> have the resources to examine his every contribution in order to filter out
>>> his destructive and insulting trash,  it would be appropriate to invite him
>>> to remain on the list only if he suppresses his in-your-face misogyny.
>>>
>>> Robert should examine how he himself does exactly the opposite of that
>>> for which he commends Kendall.  He has used unscientifically gathered
>>> correlations to determine cause.  That the growth of interstate highways and
>>> divorce examined as time series beginning in the 50s through the 70s show
>>> strong correlation is hardly the basis to conclude that highways cause
>>> divorce.  That there is a marked correlation between the misogynist trash
>>> appearing on this list serve and communications from New Zealand is hardly
>>> the basis for concluding that New Zealand scientists tend to be misogynists.
>>>  Calling attention to the necessity that critics of GM including SftP
>>> maintain high credibility by well founded and documented science is a
>>> positive contribution.  Maintaining our credibility as a progressive,
>>> critical voice based on sound science is indeed essential  For that reason
>>> we must deal firmly with insulting, unscientific misogyny.
>>>
>>> I recommend that one racist, misogynist or homophobic post earns a
>>> warning to the poster.  Repeated racist, misogynist or homophobic posts is
>>> an adequate basis to remove the poster from the list.
>>> herb
>>>
>>>
>
>