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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2012 :  08:34:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
DJ Grothe's apology. Stephanie Zvan immediately criticized him for apologizing only to Watson, when his comments have involved smearing unnamed blogs, plural. And then she starts correcting DJ's own misinformation.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2830 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2012 :  11:09:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I can't describe how fortunate I now feel to have attended TAM when I did, it was Tam 7 in Las Vegas. Where people came to TAM to learn by attending programmed talks and discussions and to interact with other attendees over four days. It WAS a gathering of similar or like-minded critical thinkers and science loving people, and how we might also further that cause. It was a kind of skeptic revival for me, having come some 3,300 miles, from a place dominated by deists of some variety and relatively few agnostics or atheists. I remember, during the opening ceremonies, the announcement that for the first time ever TAM had just broken 1,000 official attendees. I (we all) felt that we were apart of a united growing movement as we all broke out in applause. I felt we had come together with a common collection of agendas. I am extremely saddened to see how starting last year and continuing more so this year that unity I knew being splintering and being broken by divisive actions no matter how well intended. Perhaps it is true that trying to organize skeptic free thinking people together is akin to herding cats. I doubt there isn't anything DJ can do that wont be picked apart, twisted around and use to make this worse as this plays out, continuing up to and through this years TAM. Time will tell.

There are only two types of religious people, the deceivers and the deceived. SS
Edited by - sailingsoul on 06/04/2012 11:10:51
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13463 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2012 :  12:25:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

DJ Grothe's apology. Stephanie Zvan immediately criticized him for apologizing only to Watson, when his comments have involved smearing unnamed blogs, plural. And then she starts correcting DJ's own misinformation.
Whew! While I agree with some of the comments, I do wish people would give DJ some credit for addressing the issue and joining the dialog even if his apology isn't perfect. What is clear from his statement is he wants TAM to be as safe for woman as is humanly possible. And isn't that the bottom line?

I think the rules should be prominently posted in the registration area for TAM. Maybe even with an "agree" or "disagree" statement. Disagreeing would mean that you can't register for TAM.

But for the life of me, I don't know what else he can do in terms of actual security than to ask that incidents be reported so they can be dealt with. And he did address that.

DJ has a ways to go to understand why the woman are offended by his comments, but in my view, on issues of security, he's doing what he can.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2012 :  23:14:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm avoiding talking directly about behavior at skeptic conferences themselves, because, as I've noted, I've not been to any. But I think I can comment on some of the discussions.

It's as though DJ Grothe is being told in the subtext, "It's too late, now we won't let you apologize. We spit on your insultingly arrogant humility."

Instead of all this pathetic back-and-forth in the dark, perhaps the female skeptics most involved in this should state a few specific points about what they would like to see implemented in the future. And consider accepting Grothe's apology, even if only conditionally, while telling him exactly what else he should apologize for. As it is, I'm more and more feeling that Grothe isn't being given a chance in Hell to make things right.

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

Saudi Arabia
1266 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2012 :  01:48:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by marfknox
This decision had nothing to do with Elevatorgate. Did you even read the post?


Actually that was a response to Halfmooner's comment:

Originally posted by Halfmooner
I do, however, think Rebecca Watson went off the rails on this matter. She says suggests women feel unsafe at TAM. But what happened in Elevatorgate was not in many manner an "unsafe" incident.


Which should really have been obvious, its kind of tedious to explain every little thing.

Um, no, that's not what her complaint is in the post. Again, did you bother to read it?


Yes, the lack of female speakers and female attendees was a large part of her complaint.

If you actually read and comprehended what she wrote you might.


I obviously did read it, probably better than you. All I can seem to gather is that she chooses to promote feminism in skeptical communities in the most negative ways possible, basically by calling out everyone who has ever irritated her in the slightest way. Slightly suspicious that her sole purpose in the community basically depends on there being sexism. Exaggerating any problems would make her a figure of some importance.... oh wait it already did.

Oh and Marfknox, your tone is disrespectful and condescending. Grow up.

Edited by - On fire for Christ on 06/05/2012 01:50:19
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2012 :  03:39:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

All I can seem to gather...
It's obvious that you're hardly trying.
Oh and Marfknox, your tone is disrespectful and condescending.
Pot, kettle, black.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2012 :  04:36:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by HalfMooner

It's as though DJ Grothe is being told in the subtext, "It's too late, now we won't let you apologize. We spit on your insultingly arrogant humility."
It's not subtext, it's out in the open and direct. Stephanie Zvan has provided a detailed fisking of Grothe's apology, including what's good and bad about it. And she points out that he rather blatantly undoes his apology:
And here D.J. started blaming people “for speaking out about sexism or any social problem” again. This is completely unacceptable, even by his own terms. He knows this is wrong. He said this is wrong. He apologized–for being able to be construed to have done this–and then he did it again.
Really, one cannot say in one's apology the same thing said that created the need for one to apologize in the first place. At a minimum, it shows that one doesn't understand what one is apologizing for, which makes it impossible for the apology to be sincere. Here's the bottom line, though:
D.J.’s statements that remain unaddressed are what people are up in arms about. This isn’t a personal matter between D.J. and Rebecca, and it’s insulting for him to treat it as one. It’s an insult to the bloggers he wagged his finger at. It’s an insult to the ones he left out who are also working on this. It’s an insult to the person whose experience of harassment at TAM he is trying to manage the perception of. It’s an insult to the women he’s accusing of regretting “sexual exploits”. It’s an insult to everyone who has taken the time to tell him what actually concerns them about the conference scene in general, and now, TAM in particular.

That’s why I walked away from this apology more angry than I went into it. 1,500 words in, and I still have no idea what D.J. is sorry for aside from choosing a woman with a high-profile blog as one of his targets when it came time to lay the blame for female registration at TAM being down. There are some nice sentiments, no specific actions being taken, and a lot more blame for the situation being laid anywhere but with the person who started all this–D.J.

That’s not going to (and demonstrably hasn’t at this point) increase anyone’s confidence in D.J., in JREF, or in TAM. It isn’t even, when it comes right down to it, much of an apology.
Grothe seems to be shooting himself in the foot, at least as far as women attending TAM goes.
Instead of all this pathetic back-and-forth in the dark...
Actually, public blogs are out in the light. It is clear that Grothe wishes the whole discussion were taking place in back-channels, in email, or on Facebook (where discussion is basically invitation-only). Those ways offer less transparency, not more.
...perhaps the female skeptics most involved in this should state a few specific points about what they would like to see implemented in the future.
They have been. Note that this and a boatload of other posts on the subject by many people pre-date and were (at least in part) the "inspiration" for Grothe's comments. While other organizations have been enthusiastically and unequivocally embracing the need for strong anti-harassment policies, Grothe's initial comment was "construed" as saying, "what we have is fine, and talking about it makes women nervous, so shut up."
As it is, I'm more and more feeling that Grothe isn't being given a chance in Hell to make things right.
Considering he screwed up the apology, he's made it more difficult for himself to make things right.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13463 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2012 :  07:42:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
OFFC:
Yes, the lack of female speakers and female attendees was a large part of her complaint.

Nonsense. 50% of the speakers last year were woman, and this year that percentage is even higher. That is not part the complaint. And it's DJ who's concerned about female registration being down.
OFFC:
I obviously did read it, probably better than you. All I can seem to gather is that she chooses to promote feminism in skeptical communities in the most negative ways possible, basically by calling out everyone who has ever irritated her in the slightest way. Slightly suspicious that her sole purpose in the community basically depends on there being sexism. Exaggerating any problems would make her a figure of some importance.... oh wait it already did.

If you did read it than you have a reading comprehension problem, or maybe it's that bias of yours. You know. The one that caused you to leave out pertinent facts in your blog when writing about Watson and elevatorgate. You have rendered your criticisms of Watson not worthy of consideration because you have a twisted view of what she represents. She was a leader in the community long before any of this stuff came up. Including her complaints about sexism. On this issue, you're just full of crap.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2830 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2012 :  07:44:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Considering he screwed up the apology, he's made it more difficult for himself to make things right.

If DJ Groth resigns and rebecca takes over the JREF and Tam, women percentages will probably top 80% or more.

There are only two types of religious people, the deceivers and the deceived. SS
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13463 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2012 :  07:49:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by sailingsoul

Originally posted by Dave W.

Considering he screwed up the apology, he's made it more difficult for himself to make things right.

If DJ Groth resigns and rebecca takes over the JREF and Tam, women percentages will probably top 80% or more.
That may be, but DJ has been doing a good job. There is no reason for DJ to resign.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13463 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2012 :  08:15:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave:
It's not subtext, it's out in the open and direct. Stephanie Zvan has provided a detailed fisking of Grothe's apology, including what's good and bad about it. And she points out that he rather blatantly undoes his apology:


I think it's fair to point out that not everyone sees this the same way. And to be fair, the other side needs to be heard from. It's not that I think DJ has handled this so well, but I'm not so sure Stephanie Zvan has either.

Again, another blog that should be read is this one: I support DJ Grothe by Chris Hallquist

This is not an all or nothing thing. Take a side and stick with those voicing the side that you have chosen. While I see DJ's mistakes, there is a lot of grey area and probably some exaggeration going on. I'm too am aware of people like Orak, Kyle Sturgess, Blake Smith, Travis Roy, and others who have earned by respect and are less than thrilled by some of the portrayals of DJ in this matter.

As for Zhan's list of cons that will adopt harassment policies, I think it's fair to point out that TAM was there first, even if it could have been done better. Like DJ's apology or not, he is still actively trying to improve security at TAM. And that a part of this kerfuffle should not be relegated to not important based on the mistakes he has made.

As usual, I am in the awkward position of being in agreement with points being made on both sides of the issue. Yes, I think DJ messed up. Yes, I think Watson is doing what she needs to do to bring attention to it. And no, I don't think he should resign and I don't think he is being treated entirely fairly by some of those who are committed to the cause of making DJ say exactly what they want him to say, or else.

I get from what DJ has said that he is truly committed to making TAM as safe an environment for woman as he can. That he messed up by placing blame on low attendance on the wrong people should not erase erase that fact. Just once it would be nice in one of these dust ups to not see everyone as either with us or against us, with no room for anything else, as if those are the only two possibilities. Shit happens. People get offended, and sometimes rightly so. But there is also the bigger picture.

I'm in no way suggesting that these conversations should not happen. They should. What I'm suggesting is that we bring some perspective to the table and be careful of the pitfalls of seeing things as black and white issues. Because it's in there that we can lose perspective.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2012 :  09:35:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

...I do wish people would give DJ some credit for addressing the issue and joining the dialog even if his apology isn't perfect.
It's not just his apology, but his initial statements and even other previous behavior (comments regarding Elevatorgate, for example), which weren't perfect. His own demands for credit ("balance") thus fall flat, and people aren't willing to give him "a gold star for effort" when his effort has been insufficient.
What is clear from his statement is he wants TAM to be as safe for woman as is humanly possible. And isn't that the bottom line?
But what he wants and how he's going about trying to get it seem to be at odds.
I think the rules should be prominently posted in the registration area for TAM.
The entire policy, and not just a statement about the policy, needs to be visible online prior to showing up. Grothe and others have kept pointing to last year's statement as if it were this year's complete policy, which it shouldn't be. A policy, after all, would include (for example) the methods through which TAM staff will be trained in recognizing, investigating and recording harassment incidents. A policy is not "we're against it and will throw people out who commit it."
But for the life of me, I don't know what else he can do in terms of actual security than to ask that incidents be reported so they can be dealt with. And he did address that.
No, the buck stops with D.J. Grothe. It is his responsibility to ensure that incidents are fully investigated as to cause and motive, so that he has the proper data with which to make a determination of whether harassment occurred and what to do about it. He currently thinks of himself as a passive collector of reports, and that is unacceptable to many of the people concerned, since it shifts responsibility for making TAM safe onto the victims. So long as harassment carries a reporting cost for the victims and is difficult to report, the victims cannot be the ones required to "properly" report a problem. It is up to TAM staff - therefore Grothe - to ensure that victims of harassment are led through a safe process that results in all of the facts coming to light and a proper conclusion being reached. And defining that process requires transparency, which Grothe seems to be fighting.
DJ has a ways to go to understand why the woman are offended by his comments, but in my view, on issues of security, he's doing what he can.
When he goes as far as other organizations, we'll be able to say that he's doing what he can.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13463 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2012 :  10:15:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave:
But what he wants and how he's going about trying to get it seem to be at odds.

DJ:
I believe strongly that women’s voices need to be taken seriously in the atheist and skeptics movements, that any reports of harassment or assault at atheist and skeptics events need to be taken seriously and recorded, and acted on effectively, and that those who make reports of such harassment shouldn’t ever be blamed for such. And I am mortified to find out that you have been “groped, grabbed, touched in other nonconsensual ways,” etc. I had absolutely no idea. It disgusts me and makes me angry to hear it. I assure you that if any such offenses at TAM were reported, the offender or offenders would have been removed from TAM, and/or law enforcement called. I think it is very important that such incidents are reported to security or conference organizers or law enforcement, and that this is the most effective response.


Dave:
...and that is unacceptable to many of the people concerned, since it shifts responsibility for making TAM safe onto the victims. So long as harassment carries a reporting cost for the victims and is difficult to report, the victims cannot be the ones required to "properly" report a problem. It is up to TAM staff - therefore Grothe - to ensure that victims of harassment are led through a safe process that results in all of the facts coming to light and a proper conclusion being reached. And defining that process requires transparency, which Grothe seems to be fighting.


Again, the incidents need to be reported. Now, it's my opinion that all of us who attend TAM need to be more aware of what is going on around us and if necessary, intervene. Creeps will happen. But how can anyone do anything if no one reports that it's going on? If it's reported and nothing is done, granted, that's passive. The bummer is that it's the victim who usually must do the reporting. There should be a safe place for them to do that.

A suggestion was made on the Jref forum that Safe Tables be set up with support staff for reporting and help. I think that's a great idea. I wouldn't assume that DJ isn't looking at what more he can do. I'd be willing to wager that before the next couple of weeks are up, some of the suggestions that others have made will be implemented.

And look. I'm not trying to let DJ off the hook for his mistakes. I think security needs to be improved at TAM too. I'm just trying to keep this in perspective based on the job that DJ is doing overall. Yes, doing nothing is not acceptable. The cards are on the table now. Let's see what happens.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2012 :  11:25:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hey, I disagree with Greg Laden that these particular mistakes are call-for-resignation type material.

Unless he continues to make the same mistakes over and over. Even then, if he could be convinced to delegate oversight of harassment to someone else and be hands-off, that'd be an improvement.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2830 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2012 :  11:25:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
While being human we will never agree 100% thus leaving room to differ. Rightly or wrongly it's going to happen (difference of opinions), that's life. I think this might give others here who never attended a Tam a bit more info or insight as to what this issue is about, beyond not just the two extreme opposite most vocal sides. Possibly more to the truth of what's happened at Tam in the past and how it was addressed at the time and blogged after than what your impression might be. Men might learn a thing or two about what is on women's minds on this topic and what they can go through while some men can't get it because it never happens to them. I talking about crude behavior, alcohol or not, creeping them out and rightly so.



I must compliment Kil on his balanced posts here. They are pretty spot on and constructive.

There are only two types of religious people, the deceivers and the deceived. SS
Edited by - sailingsoul on 06/05/2012 11:36:53
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