I just got home from the Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas. And yes, it was totally amazing.
I moderated a panel called, Getting Things Done For Science and Skepticism. I had Surlies on display for 4 whole days. I met some wonderful skeptics, scientists, doctors and all around great people. One of my favorite memories? Having dinner at Don Vito’s at the South Point Casino with four doctors, three of whom write for Science Based Medicine. We drank wine and ate pasta and discussed placebos. It was geek-o-rama-skeptic-awesomeness. And it was tasty. I will file that memory in a folder in my brain called happy.
You know what I didn’t see or experience?
All of which were directly threatened towards Rebecca and the other writers here at this blog.
The Skepchicks have had some pretty serious threats lodged at us over the past few weeks. We have been called a lot of inappropriate names too such as frigid, stupid, bitch, cunt, feminazi and manhater. We were threatened with sexual assault to “give us something to complain about”. We were told that grabbing us or raping us would be, “funny”. This is just a tiny example of some of what we have heard since Rebecca basically said, Hey guys, you know what? Don’t do that. Don’t make us feel unnecessarily uncomfortable.
I am however, very happy to report that, at least in person or at least the people who attended TAM were quite lovely and civilized. Many, many mutual hugs and hand shakes were given. People were darn right fabulous and extremely supportive.
It seems the violent, irrational and inflammatory voice in skepticism, while loud, is thankfully a minority and apparently exists primarily in cyber space.
It leaves me with some questions though.
What is the freakin’ deal with people on the interwebs? Is it the same as road rage or is it worse? Do people feel that they can say anything while safely tucked behind their computer screen? And what are your opinions on policing blog comments? Should we allow even the people who violently rage to post disruptive, threatening and expletive laden comments on our blog or should we keep rules in place that encourage a healthy and productive dialog? Is creating a safe comment section akin to censorship or is it necessary?