What Kind of Person Does This?


In case you hadn’t heard:

The Freethoughtblogs network was recently informed that former Freethoughtblogs blogger thunderf00t has been forwarding private emails from the private FTB email list. He has not only been forwarding emails sent during the short time he was a blogger on this network — he used a security loophole to re-gain access to the email list shortly after he was fired from the network and blocked from the list, and has been accessing emails he never had any right to see. When this security breach was discovered and he was shut out again, he tried several times to re-access the private list. And he has already made the content of some of those emails public. (UPDATE: If you want to know exactly what thunderf00t did and how, Jason Thibeault has the technical details.)

As noted by Greta in the quote, Jason has the technical details. Thunderf00t’s blog is also linked on the word “public” in the quote right before the parenthetical update.

Here’s some more links for more info:

-Ashley Miller: Thunderf00t: Stealing people’s private information is a major violation
-Natalie Reed: All In (I am praying, to beings I don’t believe in, that Natalie is not totally leaving. She is one of the reasons I read FtB. She’s incredible, and worth reading/listening to)
-Stephanie Zvan: In Praise of Whistleblowers
-Zinnia Jones: Thunderf00t’s unauthorized access and leaking of the private FTB mailing list (this one was my first exposure to this issue) and Thunderf00t admits to sending my private emails to Michael Payton of CFI Canada
-Ed Brayton: Thunderfoot’s Unethical Obsession
-PZ Myers: Summary of Thunderf00t/Phil Mason’s disgrace and Thunderf00t/Phil Mason, treacherous hack
-Jen McCreight: Thunderf00t’s unethical breach of our privacy
-Ophelia Benson: Collateral damage
-Dana Hunter: Thunderf00t’s Potentially Illegal, Positively Immoral Crusade
-JT Eberhard: Growing Up
-Al Stefanelli: Thunderf00t: What The Actual Fuck?

I’ll be addressing Thunderf00t directly from this point forward.

Hey. What’s up. I have no idea if you’re going to read this or not, because I don’t know if your blog has trackbacks or pingbacks or or whatever they’re called, and your post on all this is linked in my quote above from Greta Christina. If you do see this, great! If not, then I guess I wasted time addressing you directly… I certainly hope not, though.

You don’t know me, but your videos on Why People Laugh at Creationists were the first atheist videos I ever saw. And I loved them. They were brilliant, hilarious, and eye-opening. I was still a believer when I first started watching them, but I was “jumping down the rabbit hole”, as it were, and entering the whole debate: evolution vs creation, theism vs atheism…

It was all so confusing, but your series helped me to understand certain things, so thank you.

So I subscribed to you. Watched your other videos. Sometimes you got something wrong, like when you criticize as Creationists people who aren’t, or at least don’t appear to be, Creationists (Sarah Palin, for example, stated, in response to a question about whether creationism/intelligent design should be taught in school, said that she believes that science should be taught in the schools [admittedly vague, but I got the impression that perhaps she was saying "no", with perhaps too many words, as per her usual]; Bill O’Reilly admitted to Richard Dawkins that he accepts evolution). But overall, I loved your stuff.

But then I started branching out and kind of forgot about YouTube all together. I was posting videos myself, but I honestly can’t remember when I last posted a video there.

So let’s fast-forward to now. I’m gonna address everyone else for a second…

So Thunderf00t’s invited to Freethought Blogs along with ZOMGitscriss and other YouTube vloggers. And immediately after his introduction post he starts in on feminists and begins kicking up dust settling on a very-nearly-dead-by-that-point sexual harassment controversy.

For a while, Thunderf00t, I had been wanting to ask you what problem you have with anti-harassment policies. They seem like common sense to me. Any reasonable person should be more than happy to see them implemented. Fucking sex festivals have anti-harassment policies. If sex festivals can have anti-harassment policies, why can’t atheist and skeptic conferences have them?

But now I’m more interested in this: what kind of person would knowingly jeopardize the anonymity of people like Natalie Reed, who’s anonymity is basically the only protection she has in her life, to satisfy a personal vendetta? And why? Is it really worth-it? What, exactly, do you gain from this Thuderf00t? What do you get out of it? What purpose does it serve?

Are you trying to “expose” Freethought Blogs as some evil conspiratorial organization? You’ll fail, because even if it were true that FtB contained a group of bloggers who were conspiratorial, they would not represent the totality of FtB, which is made up of a group of independent bloggers who blog about different things and rarely, if ever, agree on everything.

And please try not to forget that they also kicked off Greg Laden, who was on their side. Why would they do that if they wanted to silence dissenters? Wouldn’t “silencing” one of their own sort of defeat the purpose?

And who was silenced? So you got kicked of FtB. You mean to tell me that this violates your free speech and leaves you unable to say what you want? The fact that you’re on YouTube and have your own blog sort of negates that.

So I’m completely and utterly confused as to the end-goal, here. Beyond scaring people into silence (as you might have already done with Natalie Reed, BTW), which is actually violating their free speech, what do you hope to achieve?

Now back to the rest of my readers…

I’m not an expert in what bullying looks like, but I think I have a pretty decent idea seeing as I was a social pariah for 18 years of my life and suffer severe social anxiety because of it. I’ve gotten all the”benign” shit like swirlies and wedgies, and gotten worse like being forced to fight… and I can’t fight. From elementary school to high school, if I walked in to a room and people were laughing, they were laughing at me… and they made sure that I knew it. I still suffer from a paranoia that when total strangers I’ve never met are laughing, they’re laughing at me… even if the fact is they don’t even know I’m in the room.

So I have a pretty good idea of what bullying looks like. And you know what I notice in all of this?

Freethought Bloggers are constantly accused of being bullies. And yes, I see a shit-ton of bullying… but not a singly tiny bit of it is coming from Freethought Blogs.

About Nathan Hevenstone

All this is stream-of-consciousness. See my "About" page to find our more about me...
This entry was posted in Bullying, Feminism, Freethought Blogs, Misogyny, Privacy, Skepticism, Thunderf00t and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What Kind of Person Does This?

  1. Blonde Flotsam says:

    You have got to be kidding me!

    Are you saying that you don’t see how Greg’s email was almost beyond bullying? He made threats of physical violence! He clearly tried to trigger PTSD.

    What you are saying about Tfoot is your opinion of him. And I am not trying to give you heat because of those opinions. But what in the fuck are you talking about here, do you not see bullying? I’m so sick of seeing people stand up for internet scum. I hate how it turns into an issue of sides and not an issue that can be looked at logically. You are getting caught up in the factions and not analyzing the individuals and their actions.

  2. Alec Rezz says:

    Yep. Thunderf00t is a detestable, underhanded cad for “hacking” into an email server he didn’t have permission to access, but PZ is a hero for “hacking” into a phone conference with a code he didn’t have permission to use. Makes perfect sense.

  3. oolon says:

    Commented on the ping back from TFs blog – then thought you probably wouldn’t see it.
    http://thunderf00tdotorg.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/ftb-want-thunderf00t-drummed-out-of-the-community-and-forever-a-pariah/#comment-6153
    I think the anti-FtBs lot are considerably nuttier than squirrel poo at times — but there is certainly bullying behaviour at FtBs and it does not help to deny it completely.

    • Ah, so thunderf00t does get ping backs! Good to know. Maybe he’ll see this after all.

      The only FtB bully I ever saw, Greg Laden, got booted at the same time as Thunderf00t. I consider PZ Myers over-the-top, but not a bully, and I actually like it when he goes over-the-top, especially where it concerns religion and Creationism (his “desecration” of the “holy communion” was my introduction to him and how I became a fan). Ophelia Benson, Jen McCreight, Greta Christina, Jason Thibeault, Natalie Reed, Zinnia Jones, and so on have never (at least, as long as I’ve been following them) exhibited bullying behavior. Anger and exacerbation do not equal bullying, and they’re anger is always a reaction to stupidity.

      Perhaps you can point out things I’m missing, here?

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