So.. I’ve stayed out of the Atheism Plus and block bot debates until recently because they did not interest me beyond thinking that any automated blocking system is bound to have problems.
Then I came across a block request for a simple “Ya Mum” joke.
Scanning the thread it was clear that the participants were friends and it was not the first example of this type of joke. So what was Julia’s problem with it?
Other Atheism Plus members proffered that it was sexist. But it seems she took it as “abuse” despite not being tagged in it so one can only assume she saw the joke as an attack on Atheism Plus and the Block Bot.
I pointed this out to her from the view that calling ideas “dumb” is exactly what she and others are doing as part of an ‘atheist’ movement.
After attempts to help her understand the irony in this she started to become incoherent and vaguely insulting.
“@VitaBrevi: You keep finding excuses for meanness and the adults will be over here getting real work done & advocating for social justice. @MnemoniXs”
Given the Atheism Plus stance on sexism and the obvious problems with potential abuse of the Block Bot reporting system I decided to escalate matters and respond by telling her that she “misspelled ‘being a whiny c**t'”.
Just to clarify; I abhor the C word in normal usage. It’s never used nicely and holds intonations of real hatred. This is the only time I have used it on Twitter and will almost certainly be the last.
This worked perfectly in getting me flagged for blocking. Thus allowing me to point out the poor review system for the Block Bot.
If a “bad word” is used by a person just once, is that not an aberration in their behaviour?
If their only blockable “offense” is once in 5 and a half thousand tweets then a balanced review would not keep them blocked. Everyone is capable of saying words that may offend, but if one usage is enough to declare that the subscribers of the service shouldn’t hear anything that someone has to say then I question the validity of the review system and the implementation in general.
After dealing with various ‘blocker’ members I have found invariably that they are elitist snobs who don’t take criticism of their system or movement at all and take such as “hating” which will also evidently earn you a block.
If anyone subscribes to the Block Bot then keep in mind that the list is made and maintained by but a few people, who have a vested interest in making the service seem popular by eliminating not just potential offense, but also anything that shows the service in a negative way. It is pushed as a way of silencing (for it’s subscribers) things like sexism. Not listening does not make sexism go away. Sticking our heads in the sand on issues is the least helpful thing to do, akin to “I’ll pray for you”.
If you want to help the world don’t join Atheism Plus or subscribe to the Block Bot. They are “dumb” ideas. Join a humanist group which acts with some sense of humility.
Thanks to @Ravens_Claws for the revelation.
The responses to my points were brilliant.
“The usefulness of your constructive criticism is directly proportional to your ability to articulate it.”
“haters are definitely open to being added to the block list. We don’t have time for their shit.”
“What a horrid little arsehole @MnemoniXs is.”
“Dear Muslima, efforts to achieve equality aren’t a zero sum game. kthxbai!”
(I’m not a muslima. lol?)
“..anyone who denies the utility of @The_Block_Bot can fuck right off”
Oh and I’m also “too intellectually bankrupt to take seriously”