Jul 142012
Kiki Wilson · Progress · July 14th, 2012


In recent weeks and months it has come to light that some attendees at The Amazing Meeting 2011 (TAM) were textually harassed during that conference, while organizers did nothing. Here is one of their harrowing stories (warning: text-based assault triggers)

(Excerpted from Facebook)

The night before I was at the Del Mar Lounge. One man introduced himself and my friend and I weren’t too interested, but we politely chatted a bit. He wouldn’t shut up about the Yankees for some reason. Then the next day he posted at me on Facebook (we have a few common FB friends). He made disgusting remarks, about his tongue and god-knows what else.


I was horrified, especially by the phallus emoticon at the end. I told DJ Grothe, as well as hotel security. I emailed my congressman, President Obama, and the Postmaster General (I later learned that he does not regulate electronic mail, just regular mail). I was promised there would be an investigation, and perhaps a grand jury indictment. Although I sent many insistent emails, I never received the satisfactory action that I deeply desired.

While DJ Grothe has steadfastly denied that TAM has a real problem with harassing tweets, texts, and the like, we are taking action on the issue. Here is SkeptichuntCON’s brand new textual harassment policy, which will protect each of the 40 or so conference attendees from unwanted assaults, 140 characters at a time:

Skeptichunt is dedicated to facilitating open discourse, and providing a sterile, harassment-free experience for all participants regardless of race, religion, gender, body size, sexual orientation, favorite color, choice of hat, or preferred degree of victimhood. We will not tolerate harassment of anyone, in any form, by anyone in attendance of any event we have organized, even if it happens at a nearby private bar or hotel where we actually have absolutely no control.

Textual harassment includes offensive emoticons and tweets related to gender, disability, astrological sign, physical appearance, race, favorite Pokemon, bra cup size, dietary status, political party, and sexual orientation except for necophilia, because even we have to draw the line somewhere. Actually we take that back. You can’t judge people that way.
The following emoticons and similar variants are banned at SkeptichuntCON:

( . ) ( . )
:-P V
>:| (angry faces are intimidating/stalking)

The use of the numbers “3” and “8” are permitted, for now, but should be used judiciously and not in any way in which they might be misconstrued as either breasts or buttocks. It is recommended that conference-goers spell these out, as in “I’m in room three zero eight.”

If you lean over someone’s shoulder and see that they are being textually harassed, or if you receive a harassing retweet, please contact a Skeptichunt or Freethoughtblahgs organizer or volunteer. Be assured they can help you, even though they have no training or experience in security or human resources issues. We value your attendance.

  52 Responses to “SkeptichuntCON’s New Textual Harassment Policy to Combat Harassing Emoticons/Tweets”

  1. Post, you’ve got a date with 20 of the angriest least employable people in all of twitterdom.

  2. DJ Grothe taught me skepticism. I’m skeptical he gives a crap about women, or has an even number of chromosomes.

  3. We gave JREF plenty of chances to straighten up. All they have to do is grovel for forgiveness then follow our advice, and ours alone so that women could feel welcome and safe. I guess they value unchapped knees more than women being safe. sad.

  4. Do punctuation next. I’ve always found “!” crass and suggestive. It’s why I’m never excited on the internet.

  5. DJ probably thinks just because he’s gay he knows what it’s like to be oppressed and slighted. Bah. I’m 10 times as gay as he’ll ever be, fuckn poser.

  6. Wow. Pure shock. I guess women can only go to TAM again with their smart phones off, and their JREF-is-Dumb phones on.

  7. You hit it on the head Greg. They can’t pretend to not know about the dangers of emoticons anymore, not taht they won’t try.

  8. It really makes you wonder, what sort of sick fuck would haphazardly throw “8” around. Oh wait I can think of a few..

  9. Seriously? What is the matter with you guys. Smiley faces are fine.

  10. DJ Grothe? I’ve heard he’s really not interested in women’s vaginas.

  11. Those textual harassers can go kill themselves. I hate people who threaten others.

  12. this is mildly amusing but where are the rest of the bloggers? Come on, this is a poor showing. FTB has, like, thirty something blogs or something! Get to work! You only have six blogs, and you missed some of the best.

  13. Great post! Check out my awesome short story on my blag!

    It’s about a precocious little boy named Craig Claden who is teased at school so he guns down all his classmates, but it’s not his fault because he was teased, you see!

    I’ve been told I’m a pretty good writer, so I bet you don’t know who this is an allusion to!

    • That sounds like an interesting piece, Diamond. I’ll read it right after I e-mail Justin Griffith about something.

      Love, Greggies!

  14. I am sick and tired of people laughing at my expense. Please stop.

  15. We’re trying really hard to get texas atheists to be ashamed about being men but it hasn’t worked yet queeny. Don’t worry we’re on your side, my wife says so.

  16. Shun them, ban them, burn them, fuck em into the ground. I own the atheist world your all going to be my bitches, except for peezus, he lets me be his bitch on a friday night.

    • Well, quite.

      By the way, I’m writing my autobiography and struggling to find the right balance. How much whinging feminist, poor-little-me stuff to put in, how much purely intellectual memoir co-written by a smarter man, celebrating my life as a trail-blazing femtheist?

      Working title: “Bitch-22.”

    • People are confused reiradgng the Felony D charge. Not all assaults are felonies some are misdemeanors. I know as nurses we won this but even cops have difficulty getting the DA to press for Felony D assaults when they are attacked. If you are apart of NYSNA, request the handbook describing workplace violence and how to report it.Marie Sweeney -6Was this answer helpful?

  17. Is textual harassment really that much a problem that we need a harassment policy?

    • Yes, it is, RapeWhistle. If you’re not whining about the made-up problem then you’re part of the made-up problem.

      Over the past several years on the internet and via texts, I’ve been poked, my internet avatar has been grabbed and touched in other nonconsensual ways. People have told my avatar should be raped, told it’s a whore, a slut, a bitch, a prude, a dyke, a cunt, a twat, told my avatar should watch my back at conferences, told my avatar is too ugly to be raped, told my avatar doesn’t have a say in my own treatment because I’ve posed for sexy photos. All by skeptics and atheists, because I happen to read minds, so I know they were 100% atheists and skeptics and definitely not trolls.


      Have I guilt-tripped the shit outta you, RW? I bet I have. I like the abbreviation though.

    • A secret policy. Overseen by shadowy disguised people and hidden all-seeing eyes. THey won’t show you the policy, nor give a clear understanding of what it is. Gee, sounds like another viciously defended stupid idea we know.

      An invisible, unknowable policy is indistinguishable from no policy. And it’s about as effective as no policy, too. What were they thinking?

      Oh, wait.

      • TAM is guilty of tantrum-based decision making. Their entire behavior in this matter has been fueled by anger that anyone would dare not celebrate TAM and defer to JREF without question. Instead of just doing the reasonable thing that all the other conferences did and moving on, JREF decided to fight tooth-and-nail, paint targets on the backs of speakers and guests, send their online goon squads to troll every thread on the subject, and generally stomp their feet and scream at the top of their lungs.

        Their “policy” reflects their institutional anger and immaturity. They’re a broken organization, and if they can’t change they’ll be done in a few years. They’ll still operate on some level, but anyone think that their expensive desert vacation in Harassment-ville is going to attract new people when there are newer, more accessible, and clearly more welcoming groups putting together conferences every year? They can blame everyone else, but the true fault lies in the mirror.

        • Could it be that the harassment policy was not publicized with the hope that there would be no harassment reports and then TAM could claim that harassment policies are not needed? Or am I, once again, getting way too cynical?

          • The problem with a secret harassment policy is that two fold.

            For one, what are the expectations? What qualifies as harassment, how do you report it? And for those who were so all fired up about it restricting their fun, how do they know if their behavior is crossing the line?

            Second, it puts the burden where it doesn’t belong; on the staff. Yes, they should be trained to recognize dangerous situations but what about micro-aggressions and minor escalations they probably aren’t privy to?

            And then there’s the video taping. I really want to know the reasoning behind this. I want to see the policy with the explanation, because it comes off as intimidating. Maybe that wasn’t what they were going for, but then what were they thinking? Were they covering their own asses by recording all her intera
            taking their q

    • Is textual harassment really that much a problem that we need a harassment policy?

      You know it is, so stop lying you piece of shit. Stop it now. Eat a porcupine and die you lying, lying, lying, lying, lying, lying, sack of shit. You sack of shit that lies. Why haven’t you died yet? Are you dead? Kill yourself, you lying piece of shit.

  18. Kiki im an ex boyscout badger leader trained in hose to hose combat specialist, ive got five confirmed rabbit kills, and ive got the paws to prove it, im the meanest boy scout in my town and ill go to any web site you want and beat up any slime you need wordbashed, all i ask is you let my tounge your tissue.

    Together we can get rid of all the evil bastards who dont know how to talk to or treat others with the repect they demand. Fuck em fuckfkkrj em emmemfjk fuck rmk sclumsclummuslslumscum…. Back in a moment med time.

  19. In light of recent disturbing events I think it is now time for a dress code for future TAMs. I suggest a committee be formed to establish guidelines, such as “no t-shirts bearing messages that might be offensive to women”. Fight the patriarchy, sisters!

  20. Julia Tyson

    You look so spic….OW! Ow ow..,..OMG! Why did you break my neck? I was just saying you look so spic & span.

  21. Listen to the women unless they are evil gender traitors then listen to the men bullying the women.

  22. Wee wanna harassment policy right now that makes us totes safe damn you and why are you making us safe in ways we don’t like and just because we didn’t tell you we wouldn’t like it doesn’t mean you didn’t know we wouldn’t like it because we know you’re all mind readers because when Harriet Hall used a lower case “s” to represent a lower case “s” we didn’t know it ’cause we can’t read and you knew we wouldn’t know it and couldn’t read and that’s why DJ Grother made that teeshirt even though we know he didn’t but he’s a mind reader and knew we wouldn’t know that he knows we know he wouldn’t ’cause we know he knows we don’t know. Anything. At. All.

  23. […] if you answered a), sorry to say you are wrong.  Textual harassment was from a parody site of ‘freethoughblogs’.  In reality it was one of those fearless feminist types, Amy Roth, who ended up crying because […]

  24. Wow. Commenting from my phone stinks. That last line should read something ti the effect of “Were they filming the interactions in an attempt ti cover their own asses? Did they have her permission to do so? It’s like their taking their cues from the Scientology PR handbook.”

    • Well, having a secret policy certainly addresses all the concerns of those who objected to the proposed written policy for being too vague, “no one will know for sure whether they’ve crossed the line.”


      • Does this kind of bullshit notpology get you a lot of mileage elsewhere? It doesn’t fly here. Your “now now” fingerwagging at people who are affected by this bullshit is patronizing and obnoxious.

      • Then you’d have to ask the conference organizers. According to the information that we have, the harassment team was sent to Surly Amy – not the other way around. So if there’s anything to criticize about the response, then the criticism should be directed at the conference organizers. Also, just because the T-shirt was the most visible thing that upset Amy, doesn’t mean that it was the only thing contributing to the hostile atmosphere she was feeling.

        There were flaws to TAM’s approach in this regard, which is what this thread is all about.

        • Getting the bum’s rush out of the venue isn’t a deterent? And perhaps banned from the bar? What rock did you grow up under? You can’t make is think that the policies don’t work without evidence. Your fuckwitted opinions and questions don’t mean anything intelligent, since they say nothing intelligent. Third party evidence to back up your assertions. or shut the fuck up. Not one anti-harassment policy arguer has shown real evidence. They have shown attitude and OPINIONS like you have. But nothing but back up said attidues and OPINIONS, and you follow suit. Which says you know you have lost the reational argument, and must use the emotional arguments.

          • There also may be some PUA predators who look at a conference, discover there is a published harassment policy, and don’t go to the conference.

            It also protects the conference. If a PUA is ejected for predatory behaviour and there is no published harassment policy, said PUA could sue for breech of contract. Not sure if the PUA would win, but it would cost money. If a PUA is ejected and there is a published harassment policy, the chances of a lawsuit are diminished.

            No policy is 100% effective. Never is.

            The Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts in the US have a policy that there must be 2 adults present at all time. Those adults cannot be husband and wife. And I know, from personal experience, that those rules are not always followed. What do you do? Give up and say, well, the rule didn’t prevent x, y, and z, so we get rid of them?

            That could be. It would also testify of stupidity greater than heretofore imagined.

            I have decided that I can never overestimate stupidity. No matter how stupid, it can, and will, be topped.


            And, oh, yeah, All Hail Borkquote, Accolyte of Tpyos!

  25. [headdesk]

    You really do not grok this discussion at all, do you? Are you really this stupid, or are you being intentionally obtuse?

    Do you have a job? If so, ask to see your company’s policy on sexual harassment. Read it. Read it again.

    ‘Creating a hostile environment’ is the key phrase. If your company has a policy, I gaurantee you it is in there. It is an accepted idea in US courts of law and has been upheld in federal court. Any harassment, whether there is physical contact or not, is, or should be, unacceptable — at work, at home, at a conference.

    The penalties do show a difference between non-physical and physical. That is a legal difference. That has nothing to do with making sure that assholes at a conference do not create a hostile environment.

    • Fixed that for you fuckwit. Since physical sexual harassment is assault, you are being an idjit, and you know that. Sexual harassment falls short of pure assault. See the Federal law which forms a basis for any company’s sexual harassment policy. Show this isn’t the case by you doing something other than giving your OPINION, like citing law or third party evidence. Funny how those who are against harassment policies never cite the third party evidence, and do idiocy like you have today. And think their uninformed OPINION will be accepted without questioning. I reject your OPINION as you reject the OPINIONs of women who want those policies in place and enforce.

      • Fuck, you are stupid.

        We are not talking about what would hold up in court. We are talking about a private organization having a policy in place to deter harassment (both physical, verbal, and otherwise). A policy can, and should, address behavior that doesn’t reach a legally actionable level.

        • A secret anti-harassment policy? Why? So that someone would step over the unknown line and be hammered as a way of showing how strong the policy is? If an anti-harassment poicy is not public and in your face it will not do what it is supposed to do. It would, however, provide great opportunities for selective ‘gotcha’s’.

          Then again, maybe this is exactly what was intended? An unpublicized policy so that a person refusing to take no for an answer can be hammered to show that the policy is there and works, but no advance notice of the policy to make sure ASPUAs (Atheist/Skeptic PUAs) will still pay their money and go. If that was the goal, they probably succeeded. If the goal was making the convention safer for all? Dismal failure.

  26. As a supporter of free speech, why are some of the commentators being allowed to disagree with us. Sort it out moderators.

  27. I heard a sorry tale
    (Related by a whale)
    Of a certain female
    Who was quite beyond the pale.
    This woman, it is said
    Was spotted wearing red:
    The colour womyn dread
    Openly atop her head.
    “How dare you harrass me so!”
    Cried our heroine hero xero
    “When you must surely know
    The pain of monthly flow?”
    Disgusted by this taint,
    And weak through loss of paint,
    Our helpless whale did faint:
    Clear grounds for a complaint.
    Yet when she told the staff,
    Most everyone did laugh.
    (Yet still they forge the path
    Towards their epitaph.)

  28. Without anti-harassment policies, teh menz cannot possibly know to behave according to ordinary standards of decency and propriety. Men’s brains are too damaged by testosterone to get this right without explicit commandments from on high.

  29. I want you to have my baby.

  30. Some people are just… Wrong… I heard someone texted a wink to Crybabamy at TAM, do people really not see the dehumanizing behaviour in this?

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