Just to find out what others think that may not know ...


When I came to this website I was excited to read everyone's point of view - serious and not-so-serious.


However, recently part of the discussion on one of the topics left a bad taste in my mouth and I'm not sure I want to come back.


Free speak and all that ... but closed minds and racism?




Yes it was an 'odd' discussion but am I the only one who thinks like I do?


Hopefully NOT.

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Hi Shine,

I'm responding to this post of yours . . .

. . . We have a fundamental difference in opinion as to what constitutes grounds for indictment.

I believe in innocent until proven guilty. In this regard, circumstantial evidence, without corroboration, is suspect. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about it:

"On its own, it is the nature of circumstantial evidence for more than one explanation to still be possible. Inference from one piece of circumstantial evidence may not guarantee accuracy. Circumstantial evidence usually accumulates into a collection, so that the pieces then become corroborating evidence. Together, they may more strongly support one particular inference over another. An explanation involving circumstantial evidence becomes more valid as proof of a fact when the alternative explanations have been ruled out."

In FN's case, one's opinion of her culpability (pro or con) makes an assumption of her intent. There is only one piece of evidence for her intent: her own words -- which indicate she felt "closed minds and racism" were permitted or condoned and that this was enough to chase her away from TA.

While theories about her motives might seem likely or logical, they are still theories attempting to deduce motive -- tricky, at best. Accusations of ad hominem attacks by FN, against Ava, fail to quote any such attack. Thus, I see no rule violation. However, I admit the rules are flirted with.

I would not be pleased to be summarily found guilty based on an unsubstantiated assumption. This is one reason tact -- especially in public -- should be used. A response that assumes guilt is a breach of due process.

We are faced with FN's own words and your theory of her motives. While your theory does make sense, it's only a suspicion that matches events. FN's own words also match events. Taking a pro or con position reveals one's preference, not actual culpability.

. . . A lot of drama could have been spared if Misty had cited your reasons or used your reasoning. But she didn't. I'm not saying you've nailed FancyNancy's intent but your reasoning makes sense to me.

But then they would have been HER reasons. Not mine.

Unless by 'reasons' you mean why FN was addressed in public and all that which Shine did a lovely job of explaining. The reason why I never had a chance to get into that was because by the time I got my computer working and had a moment to myself to get back online, Shine had already done a great job of answering, and I felt like she pretty much covered it. There was really nothing more I could add.
I was also starting to feel like we were kind of thread hijacking, so I was going to wait to see if there was any more to discuss, and if there was, I was going to suggest we take it elsewhere.
Hi Misty,

I'm replying to this post:

What a coincidence; my 4-year-old laptop's monitor decided to die in the middle of this discussion. My kids are now very angry that Daddy has their computer :-).

Sorry for being so dense, but I don't understand what you mean when you say, "But then they would have been HER reasons. Not mine." Could you elucidate, please?

Until then, I want you to know that my disagreements with you are no more personal then my disagreements with anybody else. It's stressful to disagree with anybody at all . . . so when I do, it's because I feel strongly about something. That "something" is always an idea or act . . . not the person behind it. I am in no position to condemn anybody. I hope you understand that.
{In response to this post}

AE, while Nancy's motives for creating this thread may be a matter of speculation, her direct accusation--that members in the original thread are racists--is not.

However, recently part of the discussion on one of the topics left a bad taste in my mouth and I'm not sure I want to come back.

Free speak and all that ... but closed minds and racism?

I'm not sure what other meaning that these statements could have besides "I recently participated in a thread in which other people were so closed-minded and racist that now I want to quit the site."

This is the problem: she labeled the participants in the thread as racist and closed-minded rather than the ideas themselves. This is the crucial difference in the hypothetical thread that I posted earlier:

"Hey, all. I was recently involved in a debate in this thread: [link] The issue of sexual preference being a form of racism arose and I'm curious as to how other people feel on the matter."

Instead of mentioning the idea of sexual attraction as potentially racist, Nancy directly cited the people in the thread as racists.

I'm not sure how to see this as anything but an ad hominem attack. Rather than addressing the content, Nancy addressed the individuals who held a dissenting view from her own with a very inflammatory label.

Now, as to her motives, without further input from Nancy I do concede that it is a matter of speculation. Obviously, I cannot claim to know Nancy's intent in the lack of an clear explanation. But I feel that there has been a false dichotomy drawn between circumstantial evidence and explanatory confession as the only two options in reaching a conclusion. Life is largely composed of educated guesses, predictions based upon past experiences, and deductive reasoning. Although these three processes may not prove as reliable as the direct explanatory confession, I do not think that we are doomed to wallow in noncommittal ambiguities in the absence of a direct explanation. I will certainly remain open to correction, but I don't think that I am entirely inappropriate in reaching my conclusion.

Anyways, I don't think that the underlying motives for creating this thread were the actual problem; it was the thread presentation and the direct condemnation of members rather than their ideas. I probably should have been clearer in my statements. It's midterms week at school and I think that my head is about to explode. ;)
To Fred
Sorry it took so long to reply to this! I promise I wasn't ignoring you. I'm just rarely on through the week lately.
Thanks for a very heartfelt, well thought out post. The only answer I have for you is this.
I curse. A lot.
It's a freedom of speech thing for me, and also because I simply just like to do it.
I've also got no problem getting right down and dirty into the heart of the matter. I realize that we live in an internet world. The discussion between me and another member will never just be between me and another member. This stuff will be archived on the internet forever. The intended reader isn't just the other person typing back, it will be people here and now who frequent the site. It will be people in the future that might stumble across it.
I can't anticipate who will see my words, so I have to write them for the lowest common denominator. I have to make my points so clearly and so bluntly that whether it's my intent or not, I'll always sound condescending. With that realization in mind, I've come to embrace it, accept it and sometimes live it up.
It's the way I write. It's what gives me a voice, and what makes me who I am.
But it isn't for everyone.
I well know that there are plenty of people out there that see me as needlessly abrasive. That's cool. That's their right. I certainly don't insist that everyone like me. Hell, I don't even know how a person would go about that. The wonderful thing about the internet is that you don't have to read things that bother you. If you don't like the way I write, you are free to skip over it or click on something else. For people that are sensitive to such a thing, I actually do them a favor by presenting myself wholly in the first oh...usually..per post.. it's about seven sentences before I start with the raging blasphemy.
You always know what you're getting with me, so if you aren't comfortable with my style, at least I'll spare you the time of reading through some of my stuff only to be disgusted later.
When I'm on a serious discussion I don't take any prisoners. I'm passionate and don't pull punches.
But I also try to match the level of strength coming from the person I'm getting down to it with.
I've seen AE around here for a while now.
I don't always agree with him, but I do admire him. He's one of my favorite people to catch in a discussion.
With that said, I never would have been as aggressive with him as I was if I didn't think he could do a lot more than take it. I like it dished right back.
You'll find that my most overt posts are usually to other mods, but so are the most playful and flirty ones, too. I'm really a very friendly person in real life (though I curse a lot there, too.)
You are going to encounter many, many different people on the internet. Not a single one is obligated to be nice to you. Many of them won't be.
But you know what? I'm not one of those people.
If you want me to keep my cursing to a minimum when I post directly to you, I will. I can't promise to always agree with you, and I can't promise to make my points in anyway but that which I think best, but if it really bothers you, I'll try to leave out the four letter words when I'm talking to you.
I love your personality, Misty. I have no problems with it. You're cool.

But my opinions on moderation are firm.

What is "Mo's Pitbull"?
Well, I can't even reply to your other comment above, so I'll stick it in here. (I'm far, far too lazy to do the link-back-to-your-post thingie.)
Cool beans on the monitor coincidence. I actually drop kicked my laptop the other day and shattered the screen. Oddly enough the screen protector is holding it all together now, and it still works as good as it did pre-bunting. I just have to look through "cobwebs." It's more than I deserve for such infantile actions, quite honestly, though. I don't throw temper fits. Ever. I'm a big girl and use my words, but this laptop....oh, this laptop. I want to box it up and send it Guantanamo Bay as a psychological warfare device. Mind you, I've actually been waterboarded (long story there, too.) and hands down, trying to write on this piece of crap is much, much more agonizing than a few moments of gasping discomfort. Seriously, mate. I fucking lost the plot last week. I had a complete, utter break down. It's probably been coming for a while, though. I'm under quite a bit of stress. Anyway, I digress...
I consider everything cool between us. I never thought it was not-cool. Just as an open statement, but if anyone ever feels that things are not cool between us, please, please message me or send me an email. I'll always do the same. Communication is a good thing, and much trickier than we were taught to deal with while growing up. No one ever thought the internet would turn into this thing that it has become, so schools and education don't really teach us how to deal with this medium of communication in a very effective manner. Words will get misinterpreted. Intent can become confused. I'm well aware of that, and always ready to fix it if I think there is a problem.
That said, I'm pretty emotionally dense, so I don't always KNOW there is a problem.
I never thought we had a problem. I know you are a bare-knuckle debater, too. That's why I love to talk to you. I don't feel like I have to tiptoe.

"Mo's Pitbull" is actually a joking title I got way back before TA had even a thousand members.
Morgan Matthew (Or Mo' for short, as I call him) tossed me into the situations that called for a more...direct approach, and pretty soon it just got to be my unofficial title.
I'm the bitch.

I'm actually thinking of changing it to "Mo's trophy girlfriend's trophy girlfriend" because I look so pretty hanging on Cara's arm. :)
(Actually it's because Morgan's girlfriend and I are working together on a project, and it requires more than a bit of phone time. My husband has jokingly declared that I'm more her wife than his.)
Hi Misty,

I was visiting your page and saw this entry there. Sorry I didn't see it before.

In person, we can see each other's expressions and look into each other's eyes. Miscommunication still happens but it's less common than when communicating online.

I also found an old post of yours titled, "A Brief Reminder from the Mods". It ended with the words, "Debate the idea, not the debater." That's my sentiment exactly. I agree with everything you wrote in that excellent post.

I took my laptop to an authorized Toshiba shop, here in Cebu, and they said I'd have to ship it to Manila if I want it fixed. I'm not about to do that. The mail system here is too unreliable (things go missing a lot), and once the Manila shop gets it, I'll be a hostage and will have to pay any price they demand to get my laptop back. I know the video circuits are good because I can plug a monitor to the video port. That means the monitor probably needs to be replaced. For that kind of money, I might as well get a new laptop.

Your monitor problems are self-inflicted. Next time, drop-kick something cheaper. :-)
Fred, my love... you are growing on me.
Don't ever be afraid to take the direct approach with me!
If it's something you're not used to, I'm a great person to practice on!
It doesn't hurt my feelings one bit, and I think maybe some of the other members would be happy to see me get a little of my own back. :)
I like you. I hope you stick around for a long, long time.
I guess I'm not that bright, then Neal. Could FN have intended to associate racism with Think Atheist as a ploy to garner support for her position? Sure, why not. Can we make that assumption because it's a possibility? Of course not. It's entirely possible that the word-play was an idea that seemed apropos at the time. I agree that things don't look good where FN's intent is concerned . . . but that does not mean I should assume the worst. Especially until she actually contributes some clarification of her own.

Speaking of which . . . where the heck is she?
The title combined with the content of her post leave little doubt about the intent. Giving her the benefit of the doubt that it were mere coincidence is being far too generous, IMO.

Think Racist (an odd title without the play on words but makes perfect sense with) followed by "When I came to this website I was excited to read everyone's point of view - serious and not-so-serious. However, recently part of the discussion on one of the topics left a bad taste in my mouth and I'm not sure I want to come back.

Free speak and all that ... but closed minds and racism?"

What website can she be talking about other than T|A? What closed minds (plural) can she be speaking of besides the general membership of T|A? How else can the title make sense without all of this being a theme, however well intentioned it may have been? I won't go as far as to say that she meant to cause harm, but the intent of the word play is pretty obvious to me.
And I hasten to clarify that I don't think her intent was borne out of malice. I am sure it was not. But the correlations and implications were intended.


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