As usual I am utterly broke, so the exciting new feature this week on the blog is – a DONATE button! It’s OK, don’t feel obliged, and I can’t imagine anyone will really want to financially support my blog (or me) but it’s always nice to give people the option, just in case. So if you cribbed your entire essay off my site for a homework assignment, then feel free to express your appreciation! In fact if one in a thousand visitors gave a pound, I’d have thirty quid now and be very happy indeed instead of deeply worried about how I’m going to eat next week! :)
So what goes on in my world? I’m actually quite busy – Becky is down to visit for a few days tonight, and I am very glad as an unexpected bank charge, just as mysterious as the last set, has cleared me out and i am now flat broke. I will get to the bottom of it and as before get it refunded, but it’s deeply frustrating as you can imagine.
On a happier note (which is not to say that Becky’s visit is not a happy note!) the new Rationalskepticism.org forum appears to be going well — I have stepped down as a moderator now that it is established, simply because of time pressures — and Richard Dawkins has apologised for the forum meltdown and a further update has been published by his admins.
All is well that ends well, I guess.
Despite having no money I have had quite a good week, and expect I will find time to write some more soon. I have been quite busy with various SPR related activities, and a friend has asked me to conduct some experiments on a psychometry claimant – should be interesting!
Sorry to have little to report: the old financial blues mean i have to spend even more time seeking paid employment, and less messing about on the internet. Still I’ll get there!
all the best
A brief post for me, but a very important one. I know (from emails and comments) that a large number of ex-Richarddawkins.net forum members are passing this way in search of information. After a few days of gracious hosting from Rationalia.com and Thinking Aloud Forum, we now have a new forum of our own — Rationalskepticism.org
I am a mod over there (yes a Christian mod on a sceptic site!) and would like to take this opportunity to invite any of my readers, atheist, agnostic or religious, and anyone who enjoys good debate and good company to come join us there. It’s been a hectic few days, and I am still recovering — the British media have taken up the story, but I’m happy to move on and make something new. (I also have ghosthunting forum - email me if interested in such matters)
Thanks for reading! I really must move on to other topics soon. :) For very intelligent commentary on the affair (saying things I as a theist dare not!) from an atheist activist perspective do see Gurdur’s blog at Heathenhub.
I have something extraordinary and positive ot report at last.
Search is now working on RD.net, and those of us not deleted can retrieve our posts laborious a sit might be for our personal usage. :)
A sincere thank you to Josh and Richard for this.
So, the anger and outrage about recent events at RichardDawkins.net continues unabated. I think it’s two days now since I jokingly posted a thread at Rationalia.com called “In Praise of Josh Timonen”, the rather feeble joke being that I could not find anything to say.
Well now I have, so I’ll say it. I have never met Josh, and i have no idea who he is., apart from Richard Dawkins dedicated book to him I’m sure he is lovely, kind and well meaning. He has on this occasion shown a VERY sick sense of humour, rickrolling people trying to back up the database of posts. He has acted incredibly poorly in his dismissal of the forum mods after repeated assurances they would be consulted on the new forum: utterly bastardly in fact.
I don’t think however he has horns and a tail, and even though I disagree violently with him and Richard Dawkins, deplore the petty deletion of millions of words of admins posts, and the clunky mishandling of this whole mess, it’s nothing personal. I feel outrage just like Richard, but I also feel gratitude to Josh and Richard for all the years of good times, the fun on the forum, and the fact we had the forum for so long.
No I’m not going back. I have had enough, and I will now go find other things to do, where comment is free, and I do not need to be moderated in some authoritarian comment system – because i enjoy, indeed love the anarchy of web discussions. I’m a populist, not an elitist, and I have no time for people telling me what to believe or what to think. I hold Dawkins and Josh entirely responsible, both of them, for this bad management decision and the outrage stirred up – and as a long term participant on the forum I know that ut was filled with good, rational friendly folks (a few loonie fundie atheists who gave me much grief :) ) – but on the whole they were great, sensible people, and i really liked and admired them.
But Josh is not the devil, he is a bloke with a job to do, who like many a manager made bad choices and walked roughshod over the backs of loyal employees who deserved better – he is human and made a mistake. And so is Richard – human being, fallible, loyal to his mate, and at the end of the day an egotistical selfish muppet as we all are – hin short he is human. The irony of this all is rather disturbing – no angels, no demons, just humans being human.
A lot of commentators on the web have made reference to how Russian peasants before the Revolution reputedly believed that if the ‘Little Father’, the Czar knew what was going on, everything would be just fine. The Czar was invested with godlike benevolence, and could do no wrong in the eyes of those subjects (May be a historical myth of course, no idea!)
Many still believe Richard did not intend events ot pan out as they did, and lays the blame squarely on Josh Timonen and Andrew Chalkely, the forum administrators (who were reduced to the pathetic joke of rickrolling people trying to make back ups.) I find this touchingly close to religious faith in RD’s benevolence. I think RD has clearly posted his opinions, his support for Josh, and to claim that he is misled is a peculiar kind of wishful thinking, that vilifies Timonen to no avail.
Angels and Demons…
In many ways they have done a good job under difficult circumstances. But we are revamping the whole site. It is going to be very wonderful when it is done. Part of that is going to consist of taking more control of the forum which will be called the discussion section. We cannot stop anonymous comments.’ (Richard Dawkins)
Dawkins knew, Josh knew. They cocked up, hurt people, an Richard downplays the mess as a “storm in a tea cup”.
How terribly human. But for all the good times, here is to Josh and Richard! They are crap, but so are we at times – and they have misrepresented events, but we still owe them a debt of gratitude for the good times we shared on their forum in the past. It still stinks: but I’m a forgiving chap.
And to all my mates from the forum, onwards and upwards lads! :)
Remember, no angels, no demons, just humans being human…
(Title nicked from brilliant Twitter post by someone, mentioned on Rationalia.com The image is by Gurdur)
OK, OK, I know I said I would not write on this tedious topic any more. But the despondency of this morning at seeing a lot of hurt unhappy people and musing over ‘rationalist’ websites ability to explode has no turned to mild good humoured amusement. Richard Dawkins managed to cheer me up – not because I agree with him or anything he says on this topic; completely the opposite — but because it was good old bellicose belligerent Dawkins coming out fighting, and because now we know not to blame Josh. PZ Myers has washed his hands of the matter, not wanting to get dragged in, but Richard Dawkins has now posted on his forum (shame nobody else can!) You can read his modest opinions on there…
A Message from Richard Dawkins about the website updates
Imagine that you, as a greatly liked and respected person, found yourself overnight subjected to personal vilification on an unprecedented scale, from anonymous commenters on a website. Suppose you found yourself described as an “utter twat” a “suppurating rectum. A suppurating rat’s rectum. A suppurating rat’s rectum inside a dead skunk that’s been shoved up a week-old dead rhino’s twat.” Or suppose that somebody on the same website expressed a “sudden urge to ram a fistful of nails” down your throat. Also to “trip you up and kick you in the guts.” And imagine seeing your face described, again by an anonymous poster, as “a slack jawed turd in the mouth mug if ever I saw one.” (More there…)
All of the quotes he ascribes to posters are not from the few minutes between the letter being posted and the locking of the forum – they are all from Rationalia.com I can’t get on rationalia at the moment – the server is overloaded, but you can see there a discussion of how each quote was originally framed, and I note that many of them applied to Josh the administrator, not Richard. I’m not apologising – I never said any of those things.
Richard says in Ruth’s piece
‘I do think that the cloak of anonymity under which so many posters on the internet hide does encourage a culture of rudeness and extreme language which people would never indulge in if they were writing under their own name. I think anonymity does have bad consequences and we see them all the time. On the other hand, there are times when people genuinely need to be confidential. So I can see why, for example, people in America who lost their faith and do not want their families to know, or perhaps more seriously, people of an Islamic background who have lost their faith or become Christian, have every reason to be anonymous. But the culture of anonymity whereby the default expectation is anonymity does encourage rudeness.’