• The New Adventures With Atheist Ireland

    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.

    A O B 1

    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.

    A O B 2

    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.

    A O B 3

    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.

    Category: Uncategorized

    Article by: Humanisticus

    • MichaelNugent

      Peter, as you know I will be responding to your other post when I have time. But this one is so trivially misleading that I want to correct it immediately.

      As I said before, I am not going to discuss here the internal moderation of a closed Facebook group, other than to say that I don’t share your analysis of what happened.

      You have a habit, exhibited in this post, of not only writing misleading descriptions of events, typically by omission, but sometimes, as here, by explicitly denying that that things, that happened, actually happened.

      1. Here’s where you berated Ashling for not responding quickly enough on your previous blog post:

      “I provided the definition of a Patriarchy and how Ireland meets that definition as men hold power across numerous powerful societal institutions: government, academia, financial etc. This evidence was never engaged with and Ashling O’Brien, Atheist Ireland, said she would write a post on the topic but it has yet to materialise.”

      2. Here’s where you berated Ashling for not responding quickly enough on Twitter:

      You to me: “So again I ask. Since I didn’t break the rules shall I be unbanned?”

      Me to you: “I’m not going to discuss Facebook moderation decisions on Twitter. Contact the person who informed you of the decision.” (this was Ashling)

      You to me : “I have. No response or even an acknowledgment. Mirrors how my other request was treated.”

      Me to you: “Give it time. It’s Sunday evening. People have lives. Even Facebook group moderators.”

      3. Here’s where you chastised Ashling for drinking, and implied that she was making things up because she was drunk:

      Ashling to you: “seriously Sunday night, Bank holiday, it’s not all about you, get over yourself”

      You to Ashling: “You are the one tweeting me saying I berated you when I didn’t. Jesus Christ.”

      Ashling to you: “I can’t hear you I in a really noisy bar drinking red wine with my friends.”

      You to Ashling: “Oh, you’re drinking. I understand now why you’re making stuff up then. Have a good night.”

      You have quoted above parts of the conversations around these exchanges, but left out the parts that demonstrated the behaviour that you claim you didn’t engage in. Then you explicitly deny that these things even happened. Reasonable people will be able to see that.

      • Michael, none of that is berating.

        1) I mentioned the fact the piece hasn’t been written, that’s not berating, that’s merely a statement of fact. I don’t care if she does or doesn’t write the piece she said she would. But saying she hasn’t written isn’t “berating”.

        2) That tweet was to you. (also not berating). How is a question to you berating somebody else? That makes no sense. Also, that was before you said reply to the person who informed me of my ban originally so I didn’t know it was Ashling’s responsibility. So again, how is asking you a question about something that I thought was under the remit of 12 people berating one specific person? Baffling.

        3) That is the in blog post and that isn’t chastising her for drinking. As I mentioned, I did say it may be why she was making stuff up, but that is not the same as chastising her for drinking. They are two completely separate things. One is not the like the other. I didn’t do what you and Ashling claim.

        I didn’t leave anything relevant out. I was unaware that Ashling considered me saying she hadn’t written the piece yet as me berating her. I did ask if she could highlight where I berated her and she didn’t (note: this isn’t me berating her, this is me just showing why I didn’t consider number 1). And number 2) was to you and not even about Ashling, so why on earth would that be relevant.

        Berating somebody is to criticise somebody angrily. Number 1) I didn’t even criticise her, I just pointed out that she didn’t write the piece. That isn’t even criticism, let alone berating.

        2) This was sent to you, and it was a question. The mental gymnastics required to make this about Ashling and turn it into angry criticism could win a gold medal at the Olympics.

        The part about drinking is in the post and anyone who can read and understand English will see that it isn’t chastising her for drinking.

      • Arquinsiel

        This makes Ashling look worse, not Peter.

      • Michael. I misread your comment so have edited my reply.

      • Also you might want to read your own piece here http://www.michaelnugent.com/2014/09/21/adam-lees-misleading-guardian-article-about-richard-dawkins-sam-harris-and-the-atheist-movement/

        Much of it is about how Adam Lee uses loaded words such as “scoffed”, “roaring”, “snarling” etc. Compare this to how you and Ashling are claiming I am “berating” and “demanding”. I suggest you follow you’re own standards on this.

        Not only are you using emotive language but even their softer versions don’t accurately describe what I did. I never requested Ashling to respond to me, let alone “demand”. I never criticised her on my blog for not replying to me, let alone “berate”.

        The only time I may have been critical of her for not responding is in the tweet “I have. No response or even an acknowledgment. Mirrors how my other request was treated.” But that doesn’t come close to the definition of berate.

        So even if, and I say if, I conceded on that last part, there are two claims made that are objectively false. And you aren’t applying you’re own standards of employing neutral language but are using emotive language to make me seem unreasonable.

    • Jimbo

      Do all skeptic Ink bloggers spend their time writing about petty issues like facebook group moderation? Why should your readers care that you were banned from a facebook group?

      • Mariaeire

        I would venture that it’s because this ‘Facebook Group’, and Atheist Ireland on the whole, are representative of aspects of the Irish organised atheist movement that, due to a creep to the political right, are increasingly becoming hostile to many of its core members, and that some people are concerned enough about that to speak up?

        • Jimbo

          LMAO. Political right?

          You mean it became apparent that they weren’t apart of the regressive left.

          • Mariaeire

            Nope. That’s not what I meant. If I had meant ‘became apparent that they weren’t apart of the regressive left’ I would have said exactly that, but you’ll note that I didn’t. I do however, acknowledge one more instance of the most trendy ‘regressive left’ logical fallacy, which is much favoured by people who would like it if being just a bit bigoted was less frowned upon. Instead, I said ‘Atheist Ireland on the whole, are representative of aspects of the Irish organised atheist movement that, due to a creep to the political right, are increasingly becoming hostile to many of its core members.’ One doesn’t have to be a ‘regressive leftist’ to understand that hateful, fear mongering, right wing propaganda is just that. Even if you were correct in your assertion about the ‘regressive left’ (which you’re not), that doesn’t invalidate the reason why AI is becoming increasingly hostile to many of its core members. Neither does your shifting of the goalposts undermine my answer to your gripe about this blog. You have your answer. You don’t have to accept the reasoning, but one look on Twitter will tell you that plenty of people care about the subject. Just a note though. If you find that all the people you disagree with are ‘regressives’, it may be you with the issue, not them.

            • Jimbo

              “If you find that all the people you disagree with are ‘regressives’, it may be you with the issue, not them.” – What? Do you even understand what a logical fallacy is? If you find you have to invent new logical fallacies to accuse someone of using a logical fallacy…