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Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2012 :  12:34:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I really do feel for DJ.

He has been doing a good job and I can empathize with his problem of enforcement. One I am familiar with.

His apology was poorly executed. Oddly enough it was because he used too many words instead of not enough. By becoming semi-defensive and complaining about exaggerations, he blunted his message and set some individuals off.

I am involved in a religious retreat where I wear multiple hats including registration, security, and administration. In some cases we have had individuals not report issues in a timely manner and in a questionable manner whereby we could not, in good faith, enforce something. We had one attendee report one person relieving themselves in public in front of a minor. Even thought I was present in the area and was aware of that person's presence, the reporting person did not report the issue until nearly one hour after the event (only after the alledged offender had left). There was a discussion with administration and there was some question whether the person was serving a vendetta against the participant.

In some cases, we heard about issues well after people left and had to do with issues we had discovered beforehand and dealt with.

There are clear rules which, if there is a credible report, we do act on. Some more severely than others. (noise gets a talking to. illegal activity gets you bounced.) It is always a balancing point that we look for where someone accused gets a fair investigation and determination.

I have noticed that most of the issues are dealt with most directly by just reiterating the rules and showing where appropriate actions were taken.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25997 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2012 :  17:14:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

I'm just trying to keep this in perspective based on the job that DJ is doing overall.
Then also note that even Greg Laden's suggestion that maybe Grothe should think about stepping down begins by praising Grothe for all the good work he's done.

This isn't a case where people are just shitting all over DJ. His critics are keeping things in perspective. Most of them, indeed, are not calling for his resignation, but are instead asking questions of him and expecting answers from him as president of the JREF. They are making suggestions to him in the hopes of making things better for everyone. And they get angry when those expectations and hopes appear to be dashed when Grothe's responses are less than enthusiastic or appear to be pig-headedly defensive, because they care about the JREF and Grothe being successful.

If these folks were only interested in seeing them fail, I'm sure the critics are smart enough to quote-mine Grothe into an absolutely horrid caricature of the generally nice guy he is, and spend a lot less time in doing so than they have on this issue. But this isn't about Grothe's overall character, or the overall job he's doing. It's about a very specific subset of that job, a particular set of issues which can be very complex, full of nuance and subtleties. That a lot of time and effort are going into criticizing this one thing while apparently ignoring the rest is not because it's being blown out of proportion, but because it needs a lot of explanation in order to come to a good understanding.

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2012 :  18:04:09   [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:
Then also note that even Greg Laden's suggestion that maybe Grothe should think about stepping down begins by praising Grothe for all the good work he's done.

Yes. I mentioned that in an earlier post. In fact I linked to it. It got pretty snarky.
Hell, we should create an award named after him and give it to people every year. Thank you DJ Grothe for all youíve done for the skeptic movement.

Please.

In any case, the ball is in DJ's court. As I said in my last post, Let's see what happens.

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25997 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2012 :  18:58:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

Please.
You've gotta admit, DJ's own plea for "balance" was pretty arrogant.

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25997 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2012 :  04:28:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

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.
I'm less than impressed with Orac's knowledge of the situation:
And, yes, Iíve seen all that nastiness directed at Rebecca, which is also way beyond the pale, probably more so than the invective directed at DJ.
Probably? Is anyone telling DJ Grothe that he deserves to be raped?

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2012 :  08:56:31   [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.

Originally posted by Kil

I'm too am aware of people like Orak, Kyle Sturgess, Blake Smith, Travis Roy, and others who have earned my respect and are less than thrilled by some of the portrayals of DJ in this matter.
I'm less than impressed with Orac's knowledge of the situation:
And, yes, Iíve seen all that nastiness directed at Rebecca, which is also way beyond the pale, probably more so than the invective directed at DJ.
Probably? Is anyone telling DJ Grothe that he deserves to be raped?
Yeah. But then, DJ is gay. The context might be different but I'm sure he's heard it all. I doubt that's what Orak meant though.

Here's the full context of the quote, by the way:
Well, Iíd have to look, but since I first became aware of this kerfuffle, Iíve seen DJ accused of dishonesty, lying about various claims, of in essence being a rape and abuse apologist, etc. Iíve seen him being called upon to resign.

And, yes, Iíve seen all that nastiness directed at Rebecca, which is also way beyond the pale, probably more so than the invective directed at DJ. Thatís why I think the level of invective needs to be ratcheted down.

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25997 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2012 :  09:37:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

I doubt that's what Orak meant though.
Doesn't matter. Orac has concern-trolled himself out of my consideration on this subject. A person shouldn't be taken seriously when their main complaint about a public debate is the "invective" when the major players in that debate aren't flinging nasty words at each other. The abuse is coming from second- and third-tier people and wannabes, it's not Grothe and Watson calling each other names. That sort of dynamic happens in every public discussion, and it's easy to dismiss the spewers (except for the ones actually proposing violence, of course). Why is Orac whining about them? Does he have nothing to say about the central issues?

I can't find where Kylie Sturgess has weighed in on this, other than when she asked her female readers for their reasons that they aren't attending TAM this year. I don't know that I've ever heard of Blake Smith or Travis Roy.

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2012 :  09:41:37   [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.

Originally posted by Kil

I doubt that's what Orak meant though.
Doesn't matter. Orac has concern-trolled himself out of my consideration on this subject. A person shouldn't be taken seriously when their main complaint about a public debate is the "invective" when the major players in that debate aren't flinging nasty words at each other. The abuse is coming from second- and third-tier people and wannabes, it's not Grothe and Watson calling each other names. That sort of dynamic happens in every public discussion, and it's easy to dismiss the spewers (except for the ones actually proposing violence, of course). Why is Orac whining about them? Does he have nothing to say about the central issues?

I can't find where Kylie Sturgess has weighed in on this, other than when she asked her female readers for their reasons that they aren't attending TAM this year. I don't know that I've ever heard of Blake Smith or Travis Roy.
Their comments are mostly on facebook. And really, take my word for it or not. But I don't have the energy or the inclination to find them again.

Oh wait. You don't know who Blake Smith and Travis Roy are? Hmmmm...

http://www.skeptic.com/podcasts/monstertalk/hosts/

http://www.granitestateskeptics.org/author/admin/

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25997 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2012 :  19:03:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

Their comments are mostly on facebook. And really, take my word for it or not.
I'll take your word for it, while bemoaning the fact that Facebook is so popular yet so closed.

On another note, as I'm sure we all know, Ashley Miller was harassed at TAM9. She told people about it, who told DJ Grothe, who personally threw the harasser out of the reception at which he was causing problems. Grothe didn't realize it was sexual harassment, he was only told that there was a guy who wasn't invited to that particular reception. So Ashley Miller was surprised when Grothe made his no-harassment-at-TAMs comments that started this whole kerfluffle.

Grothe and Miller worked out the miscommunications in the comments on Miller's blog, and as of last Friday, things seemed to be okay between the two of them. But that was before Miller read a comment Grothe left on PZ's blog, which included this line:
In her blog post and in further comments, Ashley says she didnít feel like the harassment was worth reporting to JREF staff or hotel staff at the time...
Since she thought she'd reported the incident (she saw Grothe deal with the problem personally, after all), she was rather shocked to see Grothe saying such a thing:
To say that I did not think it was worth reporting is a lie and an egregious one at that.
And "lie" is the proper word, since they'd amicably resolved the misunderstanding before Grothe posted his comment at Pharyngula.

Miller asked Grothe, in the comments, to explain why he would say such a thing about her, and he offered a lot of words with no explanation at all. He didn't seem to understand what the problem was, and just reiterated his self-defense (which Miller had already agreed was at least a reasonable explanation, days before), kept repeating that Miller didn't report anything to JREF staff when she thought that the incident had been reported to DJ Grothe (who is a JREF staff member), and seemed completely clueless about the further offense he caused in the process.

Miller closed her post with these paragraphs, which seem prescient considering what Grothe said in his comments:
I am extremely lucky that there were other witnesses, I hate to think what other women whoíve been harassed are thinking right now. What would people be saying about me right now if I hadnít had half a dozen other people there? I mean, considering what theyíre already saying.

I hate posting about this stuff. I absolutely despise it, because itís hard to deal with the comments and itís hard to relive all the harassment ó and not just that one incident, but the lifetime of cultural shame and guilt and horror and anger that comes with every incident. I think what some people are missing is how much that can hurt and how difficult it is to expose yourself like that. Should women report it? Absolutely, but itís really difficult to do so because it is painful and when people act the way DJ is acting right now, it makes it even harder.
And then commenter Erista, at the (current) bottom of the page, drives the point home:
DJ Grothe, I donít know how else to say this, so Iíll just come out with it.

I am a woman. I am a skeptic. And you are making TAM look incredibly unappealing. I have no desire to be treated the way Ashley is being treated now (both by you and by others who are not associated with TAM specifically) if I am sexually harassed or assaulted. If this is the response that a woman receives after being publicly subjected to behavior that is clearly abusive, what hope do women have if their abuse [were] private or less severe?

This kind of response does not inspire confidence. Perhaps you can consider that when examining your low reservation rate for women.
As I said before, Grothe seems to be acting in ways contrary to his stated goals.

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2012 :  20:47:16   [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
Huh. I don't get it. Why would DJ now lie after she wrote such a nice post? I think he's confused, more than he's lying. That's just my gut. I think she's correct when she says he writes things that don't come out right. I mean, what would be his motivation for lying?

I could be wrong.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25997 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2012 :  22:05:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What could his motivation be for lying when he's also recently said that he'd prefer TAM to be cancelled rather than to perpetuate an atmosphere that is unsafe for women? I have no idea, but it's obvious that he said something that he should have known was untrue, that was personally insulting to a TAM speaker, and that has already had effects that are diametrically opposed to what he's said he wants to happen.

Other people on that thread and elsewhere have compared what Grothe is doing to corporate legal ass-covering. They may have a point. A certain fictional computer named HAL effectively went crazy when two pieces of its programming conflicted. Perhaps Grothe is having a similar problem given that it is his duty both to avoid saying anything which might make JREF liable to legal action and to do the right thing by women who have no intention to sue.

This isn't simply a personal matter, for which Grothe could make a heartfelt apology, take his lumps and generally be seen as a human with high integrity after making a mistake. The things he says could have long-term repercussions for the legal entity that he leads, and that fact necessarily constrains his speech. Perhaps the tension - or even dissonance - created by those two motivations have hosed his whole cognitive process.

I think that's actually the best possible case for him: that he's suffering from some sort of stress-induced dementia. It's understandable and even offers a route for people to continue to praise him and sympathize with him. But for everyone else, the optimal solution might still be for him to step down, or at least for the board (or its lawyers) to order him to quit saying anything even remotely connected to sexism that isn't wholly positive for women. But if his brain really is broken, then he can't be trusted to better control what he says.

I'm sure that if James Randi leaving the presidency of the JREF didn't cause the skeptic movement to come grinding to a halt, then DJ Grothe being replaced won't ruin everything, either. It might be the nicest thing to do for him.

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2012 :  22:26:10   [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
Hmmm...

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25997 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2012 :  04:17:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And now the GrotheBot 5000 is a thing:



Found at Lousy Canuck.

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

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2012 :  09:00:06   [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
Ugh.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25997 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2012 :  09:09:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh, geez. I'd seen last year's TAM policy quoted in several places, but never bothered to follow the link to the original until now. I thought the quoted stuff was just a small part of a larger text. Nope. Here is the TAM9 Code of Conduct in its entirety:
We want TAM Las Vegas 2011 to be a welcoming experience for everyone who attends . . .

Please respect your fellow attendees by not disparaging them based on unfair grounds such as race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability; and by not making uninvited sexual comments toward others.

If someone asks you to leave them alone or to otherwise stop a behavior that is directed toward them, please do so. Continued unwanted behavior directed toward another person is harassment. People who harass others or cause multiple complaints of disrespectful behavior may be required to leave without a refund.

Problems can be reported to TAM staff or volunteers who will bring it to the attention of JREF management. A warning will be given when appropriate, but there will be zero tolerance for violence, physical intimidation, and unwanted intentional physical contact.

Letís make TAM fun for everyone!
And it seems that questions about whether or not a better policy (or even just the same code) will be in effect for TAM 2012 are being ignored, or at least not answered.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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