There’s probably no Forum – Now relax and enjoy your Life: Richard Dawkins on changes at the forum

(Title nicked from brilliant Twitter post by someone, mentioned on  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 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.

UPDATE: More amusingly the row has made The Times Online – go read the (fairly inaccurate but well intentioned!) piece…
UPDATE: Gurdur who sounds like a sensible kind of chap comments on the mess at Heathenhub (love the name!)
UPDATE:  Hackenslash adds his informed and very good opinion.
UPDATE: A new forum for exiles –
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.’

have fun!
cj x

About Chris Jensen Romer

I am a profoundly dull, tedious and irritable individual. I have no friends apart from two equally ill mannered cats, and a lunatic kitten. I am a ghosthunter by profession, and professional cat herder. I write stuff and do TV things and play games. It's better than being real I find.
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10 Responses to There’s probably no Forum – Now relax and enjoy your Life: Richard Dawkins on changes at the forum

  1. angelo says:

    This for me at least this is the last straw. I said nothing the last time the forum was purged and I lost 600 or so posts. But to go out like this? I won’t be returning when they come back. I’m already on JRF and FFRD [iidb] and thinking of going over to Rationalia as well. I’ll sleep on it for a few days first.

  2. Chris Jensen Romer says:

    Hey Angelo, always good to see oyu about, and i knew you were posting over a the JREF. Do pop in ot and the and say hi!

    cj x

  3. Gurdur says:

    Nice to know I sound like a sensible kind of chap. 🙂

    I commented twice so far in my blog:

    The Richard Dawkins Foundation net forum (RDF) self-destructs — yet another big atheist board immolates itself
    A deeper look at the RDF self-immolation and public reactions to it

    I will be commenting more in my blog later. You will also easily find two comments I left on the Guardian piece by Andrew Brown; my first comment is Comment no.# 3 there. I did get a nice reply from Andrew Brown.

    You and everyone else here are always very welcome and warmly invited to drop by the Hub and comment.

    ~ Gurdur

    • Chris Jensen Romer says:

      I hope you don’t mind i have linked to your blog on my latest post as well. It was particularly well thought out and expressed opinions i hesitated to put forward as a theist myself.

      cj x

  4. Chris Jensen Romer says:

    Thanks Gurdur. I’m off to the pub, but I’ll make sure i link the heathen hub on my return. I posted on Ruth Gledhill’s piece. 🙂

    cj x

  5. HughMcB says:

    FYI to (ex)RDF-ers…

    We have set up a new forum for all those who had to flee the sinking ship of RDF and delve into the great unknown of the internet.

    Many old mods have returned to their posts there and the forum is rapidly expanding with old faces. Its starting to become business…s as usual.

    Also just to recognise a big thank you to Rationalia who have so graciously weathered the storm of refugees that brought their system to a crashing halt yesterday and still had a smile on their face and open arms.

    I urge everyone to keep up their contributions to Rationalia and to let your appreciation be known by supporting their safe haven for forsaken heathens like us!


  6. hackenslash says:

    Thank you. Apart from a few minor and insignificant details, you have it spot on. I have also blogged about this turn of events, and I have sent a somewhat conciliatory message to Richard, linking him to this blog, and asking if there is any way that dialogue can be opened. He has as yet not deigned to respond.

    It is good to see a fair accounting of events. None of the many members of the forum would have had it this way, and it is a direct result only of the roughshod actions of JT against the forum staff and users alike. No forum rules were breached in any way, shape or form. The response was heavy-handed and reactionary.

    We can be a tough, gnarly bunch, with hard-won battle-scars from the fight against unreason, but we are fair, as long as we are treated fairly and with a degree of respect which, I have to say, we’ve earned in the furtherance of the goals of the foundation.

  7. R.Courvoisier aka vsop44 says:

    There was a similar quote on Ship of fools by a poster who said that since the moderators were fired at RDF :

    There are probably no mods , so relax and enjoy this site !

    I thought that was funny too .

    Jerome , although we have irreconciliable differences , I still think you’re a good bloke !

  8. Pingback: Dawkins versus Timonen « "And sometimes he's so nameless"

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