After I tweeted my post critical of Atheist Ireland I was banned from their Facebook group, Atheist Ireland Connect. The reason given was that I broke their rules about sharing content from a closed group. However, the majority of the post was published prior to the new rules change (before June 5th there was no prohibition on publishing content from the group). The only part of my post which was edited after the new rules change was to include one of the new policies, as I felt it added more evidence to the argument that Atheist Ireland committee members aren’t receptive to constructive criticism. So, technically, I did not break any rules. Unless making the rules themselves public is a breach. That is up for the moderators to decide in their own time, and not what this post is about, just adding context.
I told Michael Nugent via Twitter that I don’t believe I broke the rules for the reasons stated above and asked if my banning will be reconsidered. He said to talk to the moderator who informed me that I was banned. The moderator who informed me was Ashling O’Brien so I replied to her. I didn’t get a response for a few hours.
I let Michael know that I informed said moderator but didn’t get any reply or acknowledgement. He said give it time. Which is fair enough, it was a bank holiday Sunday in Ireland after all. However, “time” was never a factor when they were deleting comments and banning people who were disagreeing with them. When it comes to that, the 12 moderators of Atheist Ireland Connect seemed to have all the time in the world to deleted and ban with quite good time efficiency. I expressed this hypocrisy to Michael saying how he and his moderation team have completely different standards for different people and it needs fixing.
As I said in my previous piece, there were two posts making claims that two separate magazines were engaging in paedophile apologetics. One post was deleted and any comment that even alluded to the original was also quickly dealt with. The other post remain untouched for 5 days, and to the best of my knowledge it is still there. After five requests asking why the other post was allowed to remain Michael said they would look at it in time. Again, this is fine. But the fact it took five requests before they even replied yet deleted the other post within an hour or two shows they actually don’t care about making defamatory claims unless you happen to be in disagreement with Atheist Ireland. Also, comments were being deleted within minutes of being posted if the other magazine was mentioned. So they were reading and deleting comments when they apparently “didn’t have the time”. Hell, they had the time to read my 3500 word blog post and ban me from the page, even though I didn’t even post it there, yet the 12 of them hadn’t the time in 5 days to read a 100 word post on their page.
I want to make it clear that I am highlighting this not because I want a response from them, I don’t care if I never get a response. But it is worrying that a rationalist organisation would treat people completely differently and more censoriously if you happen to be disagreeing with them. More worryingly one of the new policies is that you can’t publicly complain about their hypocritical and inconsistent moderation or they will ban you! So much for freethinkers.
Then this happened.
This is bizarre to say the least. First of all, the only contact I had with Ashling was on Facebook messenger and at no stage did I berate her, or say anything about her not responding to me quickly. There are 12 moderators and, as I have stated above, my only comments were about their inconsistencies, I did not say anything about them not responding to me quickly enough. And I said nothing about Ashling. This is 100% made up. A complete invention.
I said “could you point out where I berated you please”. This was the response.
So apparently, me criticizing Atheist Ireland’s inconsistency is a) berating Ashling specifically b) me demanding she reply and c) it being all about me. And the fact I literally did none of that hasn’t seemed to have fazed Ashling.
This was followed up by these whoppers.
Again, I didn’t chastise her for drinking. That is another of Ashling’s inventions. I did say that it might be the reason why she was making up so much nonsense about me. But that was uncouth of me as I should take her words as face value, which I am doing her.
And people I never met are questioning my feminist credentials based on series of untruths (some might use the word “lies”). Oh well.
In summary, I don’t care how, when, or even if Atheist Ireland ever respond to me. What I do care about is that an organisation that I have supported for a long time, that I believe does good work, is seemingly incapable of dealing with criticism. They are treating dissenters more censoriously and are making things up about them (with even an implication of sexism).
Again, it is important to remember that I had a good relationship with these people for years. And we often filter arguments and opinions through your personal relationship with people. So if Atheist Ireland are treating me in the above manner I hate to think how they treat people they’ve never met.