Cheshire Calhoun is fighting the good fight against sexual harassment. For this, I commend her. But her criteria for success are... idiosyncratic. Instead of involving, for example, notable declines in reported or actual sexual harassment, the main criterion of success she notes is: "an increased number of departments availing themselves of the APA Committee on the Status of Women's site-visit program."Call me cynical, but this sounds like little more than a power grab.
This is really quite shocking. Is there any evidence at all that an increased number of site visits decreases sexual harassment? I haven't seen any!
I can't see why anyone would want to conduct a site visit after the CU one. It's a huge gamble.
7:19 is exactly right. My own attitude went from "why not, maybe it would help" to "no f'ing way" when I heard about the Colorado fiasco. Hey, maybe the report will stay with the department; maybe administrators will act in good faith. Could happen!
Maybe they'll recommend to the administration that they step in and oust your chair for no reason, replacing him with a puppet chair from the French department. Maybe they'll insist that you cancel all your social events. Maybe they'll insist that no weekend conferences take place and that all the department's activities wrap up before 5pm, so that you can't even take visiting speakers to dinner. Maybe they'll say all emails between department members must be banned, except one way emails from the puppet chair. Maybe they'll prohibit critical discussion of certain philosophical views or approaches, even in private off campus discussions. Maybe they'll insist that your department stop admitting new students to its PhD program, and raise a cloud of suspicion around all your present grad students in a killer job market. Maybe they'll form judgments based on rumor, without letting their utter absence of forensic training get in their way. Maybe they'll lie through their teeth about keeping their interviews and judgments strictly confidential, then write the most scathing report they can and drop it if on the desk of an extremely hostile and psychopathic administration, who will then destroy your department's reputation in the mass Media and then implement every one of their demented 'feminist' directives. And maybe they'll do all this in the secure knowledge that they are unimpeachable, and answer to no one, because of their 'feminist'credentials. Who knows? Could be great fun.
And maybe when someone notices just how terribly the administration and site visit team have acted and starts putting the details together to share with people, he'll be raked across the coals and ridiculued on various blogs.And maybe when someone else sees an innocent graduate student's name being dragged through the mud for having sex with someone who went around all night soliciting sex and then later on called it rape, he'll be fired for questioning why the office in charge of investigating the matter left off or changed large parts of eyewitness testimony. (To be fair, I don't actually know if the Barnett firing had anything to do with the site visit team, but it certainly is related to the way CU is thinking of its philosophy department.)
You bet it was connected. The department had many things, like its autonomy, its grad program, etc. stripped away and held for ransom. Only when they had had all the people the feminists thought were evildoers had been let go would the department be allowed to start to piece itself back together after the site visit assault. So the department members had to sit quietly with no expressions of conscience or justice while the feminist shock troops cleaned house. Barnett was fired because he refused to keep quiet while an innocent man was railroaded. For his mercy on someone whose career was going to be destroyed before it started, he got the bullet, and they still did their hiton the grad student. Then the department got is grad program back. Good times!
I believe the main problem with the whole idea of the site visit program is that it's a product of activists who have acquired power, soit's based on a typical activists' fantasy. I'm not demonizing activists; it's just that the mindset necessary for effective activism is often disastrous when it's given wide access to levers of power. Many revolutions attest to this.In this case, the fantasy is loosely speaking a Maoist one: to change cultures and attitudes by means of formal procedures and bureaucratic imperatives. The basic idea is this: if there are Bad People in a department infecting its culture or 'climate', we should deal with this by sending in some Good People. They will be accorded (in practice very great) authority, and equipped with procedures for identifying the Bad People, neutralizing them, and so rendering the climate good, and putting in place further procedures for the maintenance of that good climate. This sort of proposal can be made to sound extremely attractive and even absolutely necessary, especially to those who, like the friends and associates of its architects, have spent years trying to fight the Bad People (who are, nb, genuinely bad) with at least one hand tied behind their back, but also to large numbers of people who admire the activists and sympathize with their aims (many of which are indeed laudable).The main error of such initiatives, as it seems to me, is that they overlook the basic fact that at every stage of every process they envisage, all the agents are merely people. This means that in each case there is a non-negligible chance that the agent will be bad or incompetent, or worse. For anyone can be incompetent and, as to badness, it is not only true, but a presupposition of the initiative itself, that somehow, bad or even very bad people have ended up in powerful positions in departments from which they can compromise or corrupt their entire culture or climate, even though often they were hired by well-meaning, non-idiotic people. Furthermore, even well-meaning, non-idiotic activists, since they are still in the end people, if they are suddenly accorded what actually amounts to enormous power over a department known to contain some bad people, are liable to get carried away. I imagine that if you have spent years in a frustrating, often futile struggle against powerful combined forces of malice and indifference, it must be very hard in this new situation to avoid an unwittingly vengeful mindset of 'now the shoe is on the other foot'. Imposing what one knows to be virtuous behavior and punishing clear wrongdoing, imposing what one thinks one knows to be virtuous behavior and punishing what one thinks one knows to be wrongdoing, using one's power and impunity to restore a little karmic balance on one's own initiative, settling scores, and working off decades' worth of accumulated resentment -- these are all staging-posts on a single slippery slope. All of this goes double when the aims and procedures are specified in a frequently nebulous way, as cannot be avoided when the quest is to improve a department's climate. Unscrupulous administrators with God know what agendas of their own, poised to wring maximum advantage from the conflict and chaos of a site visit gone wrong, are another obvious multiplying factor.Colorado looks, at least from a distance, like a textbook case. I agree wholeheartedly with those who have remarked that any department that freely chooses to submit itself to this process at this stage would have to be insane. I only hope that the inevitable, undeniable, ubiquitous reluctance or refusal to co-operate with the program will give some zealots pause, inasmuch as it will be hard to maintain that it's all down to foot-draggers, sexual-harassment denialists, closet harassers, rape apologists etc. None of this is to excuse or legitimate the status quo. But the solution cannot be to destroy departments in order to save them.
^ Beautiful, brilliantly written. I think you're right.
Fantastic post 11:21 -- Here's a thought experiment for you all: If one person submits this for discussion DN on, will it be posted?Here's another: If many people submit this for discussion on DN, will it be posted?
If 11:21 was written but never posted on DN, was it ever written?"No." --JW
That came too fast to be his real answer, right?It would be nice to see it more widely read. I don't think he should mind acknowledging that an anonymous blog exists.
He shouldn't mind, but he very much does. It seems to be a widely accepted NC principle that unauthorized speech is to be simply ignored, presumably in the hope that it will go away. Sir Ranksalot who, whatever else one might say about him (and believe me, I do) is very much not NC, occasionally mentions the PMMB, usually with a combination of horror and amusement; but the usual suspects? Pretty much never. We are simply beyond the pale. Let's not forget that Windbag couldn't bring himself to acknowledge (except on his sidebar) a high-profile, well-researched and -written article in a respected national publication on a subject he had encouraged a huge amount of discussion of on his blog, because it effectively refuted the line that had been pushed for months, with much exertion and the usual frenzy of finger-wagging, by the entire Politburo. I expect to see squadrons of airborne swine darkening the sky before I see him acknowledge the existence of this place.
(I'm 11.21, btw.)
Actually it's worse than gambling, 7:19. When you gamble it all on red, you've got a decent (>40%) shot at doubling your money. Given what happened at Boulder, it doesn't seem nearly so likely that there would be a substantial positive payoff for inviting the Site Visitors to a department (getting a silent nod of approval from Cheshire Calhoun -- or even from Sally Haslanger -- is not equivalent to doubling your initial bet). And it's pretty clear that the possible negative scenarios are total disasters whose consequences could even include putting an entire program into receivership. So a site visit is like gambling that is even more stupid than the usual kind found in casinos.
It's like your department getting reviewed when it's not time for a review.Perhaps the site visit teams should visit a department when it's getting its ordinary 5-year review. Or is that not such a widespread practice as I am assuming?
You'd have to be crazy to invite the Site Visit Committee to be part of your departmental review process at any time at all. Again, look what happened to the Colorado department. Insane.
Two recent and prominent scandals in philosophy involve feminist philosophers breaching confidentiality and spreading rumors and gossip -- Heidi Lockwood to a court (and then the entire internet), and the site visit team to the administration at Boulder (and then the entire internet). This is not a promising track record, and if my chair proposed a site visit, I would vehemently oppose a visit and cite that bad track record in defense of my position.
Meanwhile, not a single apology to Kipnis, or even a perfunctory gesture in that direction, at Daily Nous, Feminist Philosophers, or NewAPPS. Come on, people. You made the case against Kipnis seem so strong and went on melodramatically about how her article had a 'chilling' effect on the conversation by misrepresenting the graduate student in the Ludlow case. And now we know, and you know, that the graduate student is the one who was lying about not being in a relationship with Ludlow and that Kipnis was dead right after all in her offhanded comment. The decent thing to do when you have egg all over your face because you overstepped your bounds is to apologize. It doesn't take much. But it sure looks bad when you don't.
Maybe they're all error theorists about dating. She slept over a few times a week and called him her boyfriend, sure, but we can't jump to any conclusions.
A lot of important conversations are happening in the comments here, but the anonymous moderating/ownership here is a high barrier to wider coverage in the discipline. Some philosophers simply won't read a forum when they don't know who's running the show. Call it snobbery if you like, but it's probably true.So here's a question: is anyone willing to, under their own name, host a philosophy blog where comments are not heavily moderated? I'm thinking, basically, of a Daily Nous without having to ask permission before commenting. This would be a real service to the profession. Links to news, and open comments. Non-anonymity was an important ingredient to the quick rise of Daily Nous, and it seems likely that a similar condition of non-anonymity would do much to enhance the profile a forum like this one.Any takers? What would be the possible upsides and downsides of taking on such a project?
I agree with you that some important conversations are happening here. Here is another suggestion that might serve to get more people to read this. My suggestion would be that someone under their own name take some threads and edit them slightly and republish them in a nicely organized readable fashion.But really -- if there are people out there not reading this or realizing how this blog influences what is done on other blogs -- well, too bad for them. Who cares?
The problem with that is the same problem all of the people who do any moderation at all I imagine face: there will inevitably be someone who disagrees with the editing, and will accuse the person of bias, and then post nasty things about them here. Why would you open yourself up to that? Also, what would the 'editing' consist of? For example, do you edit out all the comments where A tells B that B is clearly too stupid to understand, or an idiot, or whatever?
A reddit-style system would be good -- where comments get individual upvotes or downvotes. Massively downvoted comments (like spitting contests between Angry Rage Guy and Femtroll) would be automatically hidden unless you *opted* to see them. Come to think of it, we should just use Reddit. The main downside is that it requires users to register an account to post. But the system is stable, less confusing than this one, and has a lot of nice extra features (like upvoting and downvoting of comments).
Just out of interest, 11:50, do you think on the previous thread any of the people accused of being a troll were in fact trolling?
^^ This is what we need. Not the gracious assistance of someone willing to go non-anonymous and take heat for the blog, but just better forum software. Here's what I'd like to see (roughly in order of importance to me):1. Unmoderated comments2. Anonymous posting without having to log in3. Regular open threads (no topics, anything goes)4. Timely posting of topical threads (perhaps linked to blog posts or news stories elsewhere)5. Threaded/nested comments (this would make a lot of discussions here less confusing)6. No editorializing7. Upvoting/downvoting mechanism for individual commentsA forum with all of these features would get a lot more attention from philosophers.
11:50 here. I sort of suspect so, 11:54, but I also really don't enjoy reading comment threads where individuals accuse each other of trolling. Whenever that happens, I just tune out and look for something more interesting.
To clarify, by "no editorializing", in point 6 above, I mean from the blog mods, not from readers! It's the impulse to pontificate from on high (turgid editorials) and control (heavy moderating of comments) that makes DN sometimes unbearable.
@11:59: Fair enough. It's just that this whole 'troll' mythology that people seem to have going on here strikes me as bullshit. I get that angry rage guy refers to the people/person who seems to call people stupid/idiot etc on very little provocation, which is fair enough, but every time I've seen someone called out for being a 'troll' it really just looks like the troll-caller-outer is upset that they got challenged on something. (Surely just disagreeing with a particular view of something, and expressing that *on a philosophy blog* does not mean someone is a 'troll', right? If so, we're in more trouble than we thought!)
Also, as a general rule, when people post anonymously they are more willing to defend claims they don't really believe, or at least stronger claims than what their considered view would allow. I find myself falling into this: if I post under my own name, I'm careful, I don't say more than I really can defend, but if I'm anonymous it's easier to slip into trolling, provocation for the sake of provocation.I would like to see a blog that was completely unmoderated, except that it disallowed anonymous posting. I don't think there is a good argument for anonymity on philosophy blogs, except for cowardice. (So, I agree with the old Leiter system, and dislike his new system.) All of the people vilified on this blog post under their own names (or under widely known pseudonyms, as on FP), and that's to their credit: the anonymous posters on this blog are cowards by comparison, and also are more likely to troll, to provoke with claims they don't really believe (or don't think they can fully defend), etc. For example, some of the criticisms of feminist philosophers are merited; others are so stupid and paranoid that when I read them I infer that either some undergrad has gotten on the blog or else somebody is being disingenuous.As an inferior backup, I could see a blog that allowed anonymous posts, but that relied on a reputation points system. So, whenever I post on this blog, I post under "Fox News Uncle," or whatever. The audience for the blog would then take some posters more seriously than others, as they should. Again, going reddit would be a way to accomplish this.
Yeah, somehow enforcing stable handles (even if they were not real names) would be useful. Then if you wanted you could avoid the people who start by being reasonable but frequently descend into name-calling, and angry rage guy could avoid the many people he suspects of being a troll.
12:33 and 12:39, reddit would fit the bill. You can sign up without even providing an email address, but then you'd have a stable username. You could create a new one for every post so as to basically post anonymously, but it's a pain.
There is at least one person, on the feminist side, who chronically misinterprets everyone she talks to no matter how many times it's explained to her by how many of us, and she's really snarky about it. We figured out before that at least one of them is Thatkid from FP.I don't know if that's properly trolling, since it could be unintentional and some say you can't unintentionally troll. On the blog moderation thing: this blog is great. Thanks to whoever's running it. If anyone else thinks a better blog could be had on reddit or without anonymous comments, have fun. I'm staying here.
I agree. I think this is a terrific blog. I'm all for anonymous posting (though the version of this that involves somewhat constant pseudonyms is particularly useful, I think, since it allows people to follow a thread with less confusion). Anonymous posting opens up conversations and improves them, despite the drawbacks (which are mainly, leaving an opening for trolls and rudeness). Yes, people say things they would not say otherwise in print if their names are attached. But that's the point. What people say anonymously is often what they might say in person to a smaller audience. In that way the discussion can be more intimate than they are otherwise on electronic forums. I don't know whether anonymity encourages people to say things they can't prove or don't wish seek the evidential ground for -- I rather doubt that the latter would be so in the case of philosophers posting. But in any case I think it's great if people try out ideas on others that may or may not fly (= be defensible in the end). That's the reason for philosophical discussion: not winning a debate, but exploring theses. It's great if when posting anonymously people feel safe enough to share information or insights about personal experiences in the profession that they would not share under their real name. The dynamic is quite different if they share under their real name: it becomes more of a political statement. It's great when topics are introduced for further exploration on this blog through anonymous voices -- it's not clear to me what other forums in the philosophical blogosphere allow this: it seems that the topics that can be introduced elsewhere are very narrowly constricted.Another reason for preferring anonymity is that real names are attached the usual dominance hierarchies deriving from professional status or status of subgroup or simply body style into play; it's nice to leave those behind in at least some conversations.
The blog is great as a place to emote. But in its present form, nobody in the profession takes it very seriously. In fact, worse: it's embarrassing. I wouldn't want my colleagues to know that I read the blog--it's shameful. And I wouldn't want others to know I've posted on the blog--that's even more shameful. And y'all mostly agree it's shameful, which is why you are anonymous too. So, depends on what you want. If you just want a place to kvetch about the profession without the judgment of others, and you don't care about persuading or reaching a larger audience (an audience of philosophers who don't agree with you in advance), the blog is great. In that case, there should be even more posts about how feminists are raping people, or whatever. But if instead you were interested in a wide-ranging, free speech blog that actually helped drive the discussion in philosophy, it would be helpful to make changes to the current format, to weed out (or at least diminish the prominence of) the doofuses and the trolling. Regular handles would be a way to do that.
Only qualified agreement with 11.28. There's a fair amount of circumstantial evidence that quite a few NC types are closet readers of PMMB. And I disagree that it's 'shameful'. Sure, there are plenty of idiots and yahoos who post here. But there is a small but significant amount of gold among the dross, and so long as this is the only available venue, where's the shame in using it? No-one's responsible for anyone else's comments. And the fact that everyone's anonymous certainly doesn't show that they're ashamed. It just shows that the public online culture of philosophy has been colonized by bullies, so that anyone who deviates from a narrow range of viewpoints is immediately anathematized and scapegoated. That sort of bullshit, and censoring comments in an attempt to misrepresent the center of gravity of opinion in the profession, and even censoring news in an attempt to misrepresent what's happening on the ground -- that's what's really shameful, especially among people who call themselves philosophers.Not wanting to be publicly pilloried by self-appointed opinion-formers intent on morally stigmatizing dissent -- that's not the same thing as being ashamed.
I do think the public online culture has been colonized by bullies. Hehe. And "not wanting to be publicly pilloried by self-appointed opinion-formers morally stigmatizing dissent: is EXACTLY how I feel. I have seen them in action even in the offline world -- they will base their opinions on gossip based on nothing, and cast aspersions on other people, thereby harming them or at least disrespecting them. I'm not talking about opinions they may render about the quality of philosophy a person practices, or her output. I am talking about their sense of moral superiority, where they have no clue about the diversity of experience or wisdom that might be out there, apart from their little frame of reference.
Hear, hear 12:21.
replace colon with end quotation mark
To add to this:In previous incarnations of this blog, participants took on handles. But then some very unbalanced people made a game out of trying to figure out the identity behind each handle and then paying their guesses everywhere. That was really, really bad and had an obviously chilling effect. With all of us posting anonymously, there's nobody to out. There's just the river of comments speaking.
@7:38: I haven't noticed any more snark or obvious obtuseness from one perspective more than the other. (Actually, that's not true: the personal insults seem to come way more from the anti-feminist side). In any case, how do you know it is 'chronic'? You'd have to know it was the same person posting in multiple different conversations, because one misinterpretation by itself isn't a sign of anything except that sometimes people misinterpret things.
@2:11: there was a call put out to feminists on facebook to troll the metametablog. The form it took was that feminists would pretend to be anti-feminists and say terrible things, and then go back on facebook and point out how terrible the anti-feminists were and that nobody should come here. Of course there was plenty of assholery by actual anti-feminists, but the trolling accounted for a lot of it.
I'm still not sure how you know this, 2:19. That is, take any individual post made by an anonymous person on this blog How on earth can you tell that it was by a feminist pretending to be an anti-feminist as opposed to an actual anti-feminist being an asshole?
There isn't any particular post that I can say that about. I just know that several of them were doing it, and doing it pretty frequently. I know because I saw one of the facebook posts, and because a couple of them told me they were doing it. They weren't shy about it. I think they were confident that every sane person hated the metametablog. - 2:11
We hashed this out back on the Metablog. We identified at least one person who was obtusely misreading everything and would never read carefully, and was responding snarkily. She got the moniker, 'The Femtroll', since we at first thought she was doing this dishonestly just to get our goat. Now it's not as clear.She hasn't been around much this week, but even last week she put in her appearance. I'm pretty busy now, but if you scroll through the June threads you can find it. This is really well known here.
2:43, I don't see how reading threads would help. All I would presumably find from doing that s that sometimes people misinterpret each other. And in my experience it's pretty common that people who antecedently disagree with each other think they are being misinterpreted by the other person. It's not a sign of anything in particular. But you're saying that there was at least one person who was misreading everything - but how do you know it was the same person? How did you identify her? Also, people misread each other all the time - just like people make typing errors all the time. It doesn't mean anything sinister except that sometimes people make mistakes.
It's a particular writing style she uses, and a particular way in which she's utterly inept at reading even the simplest thing without getting it horribly wrong, invariably in a highly unchcaritable way. It's either intentional or unintentional idiocy, but it's idiocy of a high order.It's possible that more than one person is doing it. If so, there's more than one idiot, wilful or legit, arguing in the same way from the feminist side.We've gone over this before many, many times and finally all came to that conclusion (at least, many of us did who weren't hitherto convinced).Anyway, not sure how much all this matters. It's just that some of the 'troll' comments, but certainly not the ones from a couple of days ago, have been warranted here.
It matters to me because the troll comments are really annoying, so I wish people would stop trying to push the notion that there is such a person. There is very thin evidence (guessing who is identical with who based on writing style taken from a few short posts is not that reliable, I imagine). And it's so frequently obviously misused as a way to shut down discussions.
I'm with 3:01. Let's not worry about 3:11. If someone wants to defend some comment as sincere, they are welcome to it. But there will be no blanket prohibition on calling out trolling.
It would be nice to keep it to one comment, by one person, so that we can move on. For example, "X:XX is probably the Femtroll. Don't engage." And then actually IGNORE THOSE COMMENTS. People here seem incapable of letting something go, and it really drags down the level of discussion. We don't have to have a discussion every day about which, if any, comments are trolling. If you think a comment is a troll, then either (a) ignore it, or (b) simply say, "I think this post is trolling", unless someone's already said that, in which case goto (a).
I agree about the keeping it to one comment thing. But I also think we should keep the focus on the particular comment in question. It's fair enough to say 'this comment is trolling', but there is no need to posit the claim that there is a 'femtroll' and make wild assumptions about whether any particular poster is identical to some other poster who also made posts you found annoying. This I think would help avoid those long annoying discussions. It's pretty much impossible to show that any poster is or is not the femtroll (if such a person exists). So there's no real way to have a sensible discussion about it. We can have sensible discussions about whether any particular post is trolling, though. (That's why it seems to me that the people who keep crying 'femtroll!' , and pushing the whole concept, are in fact themselves trolling - they know it is just going to piss people off, and that it is going to derail the discussion).
The term 'Femtroll,' like 'Angry Rage Guy' (ARG!), is too apt not to use. I propose we see it as designating an archetype, where many individuals can be of that type.
'Femtroll' doesn't work as an archetype in the way ARG does, though. You can misinterpret a post without being a person who obtusely misreads everything, which I take it is the definition of femtroll. Sometimes people misinterpret things by accident. Sometimes they do it because the original poster was not clear. Sometimes it's just that their interolcutorthinks they are minsterpreting, because it is pretty common for people on opposite side of an issue, with different basic assumptions, to think they other is misinterpreting. So you don't have good grounds, on the basis of one post, for even claiming that someone fits the femtroll archetype. But someone who calls someone an idiot etc and is really nasty is being rude and nasty - so you do have grounds, on the basis of one post, for claiming that a poster fits the archetype of ARG.
There is clearly a Femtrolling archetype, as embodied by an interlocutor who continually expresses tortured concern over something all but the idiots among us already understand. On the charitable interpretation that professional philosophers are not idiots, best to assume you've been femtrolled.
I think we can say the Femtroll archtype manifests itself over the course of three posts with intervening explanations by others. Three posts is usually enough to see the obtuseness and seemingly purposeful misinterpretation, and bullying argumentation style. And three posts is a good number to detect a constant style in the use of language. How about allowing just one "Femtroll!" shoutout and no more, per subthread? This will mean that if the Femtroll disagrees with your announcement or likely laughs at you, you can't reply. But at least you marked the passage for people to later study if they want to.
5:43, I don't know how much clearer I can make this: all of the definitions, including yours, include the fact that someone 'continually' or 'repeatedly' does something. As I said above, you don't need to know whether someone has made more than one post including insults like 'idiot' etc to know that they're being a troll. You do need to know that someone has misnterpreted more than one post (and so made at least two posts on unrelated issues) to say that they are repeatedly or continually doing something, and thus that they meet the archetype of femtroll as you and everyone else has defined it.
I still can't see how any sensible person can justify the use of 'femtroll' (as opposed to just 'troll') at all. To borrow a useful turn of phrase from 5:43, all but the idiots among us can see the term is obviously sexist. (and don't bother with the 'but we redefined it so it isn't' bullshit. Try 'redefining' the n-word so it isn't racist and then using it a bunch in conversation and see how far that gets you). I guess I should be charitable and assume that everyone who uses it is the same person.
Enough people here have identified as feminists who clearly are not the Femtroll, but have battled with her/his manifestations, and have engaged on all kinds of issues apart from ones that rile of the Femtroll, that I don't think it matters. The Femtroll is here because she/he was here at the birth of the blog. Let us acknowledge him/her's influence and beware.
Three questions:1. Do you agree that the term 'femtroll' looks sexist on the face of it? That is, that if you saw the term outside of this context, you would assume that it was a sexist term?2. Do you agree that the term has a history of usage as a term used to insult women in particular (so, a history of usage as a gendered insult)?3. Do you think that you can simply sidestep these issues by redefining the term? That is, someone can use something as an insult, recognise that it is an insult that looks sexist on the face of it, has a history of usage as a gendered insult, and yet insist that they do not intend to be sexist when using it - and this last claim is supposed to be plausible?
Three replies:1) No. Plenty of men are feminists, myself included. And the Femtroll may very well be a man. (At least one candidate comes to mind.)2) No. I'm unaware of the term outside of this blog, and Google search seems to indicate the only other use is for a female troll -- troll like in mythology.3) No, one person can't change the meaning of a term like that.
If there were consistent handles instead of pure anonymity, I could more easily tune out this who-gives-a-fuck analysis of the femtroll. Because I bet it's like 4 people in the history of the blog who write 93% of the posts worrying about the femtroll, or deconstructing the femtroll archetype, or urging that we take up arms against the femtroll, or passing on advice about what to do if you run into a femtroll in a dark alley, or etc.
8:20, your response to (1) doesn't really address (1). The point is that 'fem' is a prefix usually used to designate 'female' or 'woman-like' rather than 'feminist' in particular. So the question is would someone who has never read this blog think that the 'fem' in femtroll referred to 'feminist' in particular? The answer is pretty obviously no. It looks sexist, the same ay that 'mansplainer' looks sexist. As for google, you must be using a different google than me, because this is the very first entry. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=femtrollI just don't understand why people are still bothering to defend the use of this term at all, in the face of all reason. Perhaps of course it is just the same person - maybe that's the charitable assumption.
Anyone who doesn't know that the Femtroll is BL is a fucking idiot.
!!! im a fucking idiot
I am the same person as 6:09 p.m., but otherwise not identical with anyone who has weighed in on the topic of the Femtroll on the metametablog, at least not in June and probably not before.I believe in the Femtroll, as a sort of underworld god of the blog, and I don't think the name implies that she is feminine though I will refer to her as a "she". I think the "fem" part modifes the "troll" part by suggesting what kind of trolling the troll does. And of course, the troll always trolls on questions to which the NC style feminists have decided they have the answers and on issues with respect to which they want to shut everyone else down, including women who have their own life experiences and can think for themselves and are probably way less in the grip of what the NCers might call the patriarchal society than the NC-ers are themselves, tending towards puritanism and classism as they do. Boy, do I love run-on sentences. Anyway, I do agree with the concern about conversations getting derailed by calling out the Femtroll instead of ignoring her/him. But I want to register that at least one person here really believes in the Femtroll, and even thinks she's encountered her, more than once and that she has a very distinctive style, somewhat difficult to fake. Even if I'm mistaken in my suggestion that the "Fem" in Femtroll does not strongly, if at all, suggest that the Femtroll is a woman, or a paradigmatic woman, how does it really matter? Like I said, there are lots of female writers and self declared feminists on this blog. She does not stand for all of us. And more importantly, there can be evil feminine gods-like creatures along with evil masculine ones, and I think if we did not have an evil feminine underworld creature THEN we would have to worry about sexism on the blog. But including one in our mythology is just exactly right. And besides, she's real and a real pain in the ass.
Sorry, I'm 6:09 and 6:38 (and 9:43).
It matters because (1) it is clearly sexist (2) no-one, at least in the above thread, has given any explanation whatsoever of how they can 'tell' whether someone is or is not the supposed femtroll, (3 it has a chilling/derailing effect on discussions, and (4) I don't understand how people can continue to keep justifying the use of a sexist insult which has those effects on discussions when they can do little more than make a pretty uninformed guess that the person they are in fact talking to is even really this person, (5) which no-one has yet given a convincing argument for the existence of, other than claims like "read some earlier threads" and "we all think so."
Ask not for whom the Fem trolls; she trolls for thee.
I deny it is clearly sexist. We can tell who it is just like chicken sexers can sex their chickens.On your point (3) we already granted you that and I hope others don't mind me speaking for them, we will try to do better. On your point (4), it is not sexist. The creature trollishly insists on undermining in a cheating kind of way any observation any body makes, whatever of many various angles they may be coming at it from, if that observation does not fit a very narrow set of strictures specified by the NC-ers. Some of us do happen to think we know who might manifest the spirit, and that person happens to be female.It's not sexist for the reason 9:43 said. There can be female evil doers. Saying so does not make one a sexist.And no, people are not applying the label to anyone who comes around and identifies as female.
Here's another vote for moving to a reddit-style comment platform that sorts based on upvotes and downvotes. If we used such a thing, this thread would have been minimized by default pretty early on in the comment chain, I suspect.
6:18, I trust you will understand when I say I am unmoved by your concern.Signed,5:43
"It's not sexist for the reason 9:43 said. There can be female evil doers. Saying so does not make one a sexist."But saying so when it is not relevant is. I'm sure there are people who are both black and assholes. But having a special word for people who are both black and assholes which implicitly or explicitly refers to their race is racist. "And no, people are not applying the label to anyone who comes around and identifies as female."I never said nor implied that people did. And the chicken sexers analogy doesn't really work here. The reason we believe that some people can sex chickens even though they can't explain why is that their success rate is empirically testable. Your (or anyone else's) success rate at identifying 'the' supposed femtroll is not, in this context.
11:19, I didn't express a concern - I gave you reasons. So be precise: what you're unmoved by are the reasons for abandoning your position.
Your concerns are not reasonable 11:25. They are the concerns of an idiot.
We get it 11:25. Sometimes people are going to call you the femtroll, and that makes you unhappy. Tough shit. This is not a 'safe space.'
Well, we see how things will go from here, no? 11:25 comes back with an earnest worry about her concern, while it will be plain for anyone who isn't autistic that conversation on a blog is continuous and easy to follow. It is best to call out a Femtroll once and disengage.
That's sort of mean, 11:45.11:25, for what it's worth, I too once argued that "Femtroll" was sexist. But then (even very recently), she descended upon me and made some totally unfair moves, and was obtuse about a matter of central importance. At the same time, I noticed that commenters who announced they were women were not getting attacked as Femtrolls. So I concluded that it was not a sexist term after all. (Addendum: Women were not attacked by normal members of the blog that is, but the Femtroll will attack them, when after announcing they are women they then express a line of argument inconsistent with the views expressed by members of the NC, particularly about tactics.)Anyway, be happy.
I don't really follow your reasoning, 12:02. Are you saying that a term is not sexist if it is not applied to every person who is identified as a woman? (FWIW, I'm sorry that someone pulled unfair moves on you - that's really irritating. But this kind of behavior -as is obvious from the above - certainly isn't limited to people pushing NC-type arguments. That's another issue with the term, I think. It makes it seem like this kind of behavior is particular, when it really, really isn't. It's the same kind of objection that I think applies to words like 'shyster.' It's fine to call out con artists, but it's not fine to call a jewish person who happens to also be a con artist a shyster, because it is both racist at makes it seem like the bad behavior in question is particularly jewish).In any case, it seems like we're at the point where people are have totally given up responding to reasons, have realized they don't have any argumentative moves left, and are resorting to insults. Have at it, angry rage guy/s!
+1 to 10:08.
I'm trying to imagine what kind of school 11:45 went to. At my school, they didn't talk about 'safe spaces' - but they didn't really need to. They just taught us that it wasn't nice to insult people, and if someone insults you, use your words and ask them not to. (You know, basic social interaction). I imagine at 11:45's school, they told them "People can call you whatever you like. Tough shit if you don't like it. The world is not a safe space. By the way, you're all stupid little shits."
New voice here. I am the person who started using the moniker 'Femtroll' on the metablogs. And I can assure you that it was not meant to be sexist. Nor is it, I think. When I came up with the term, I felt confident that the person was deliberately pretending not to understand very simple things, over and over. At the same time, this person was at the time one of the few feminists who came to the blog, and I thought that was kind of cool and wanted to encourage him or her to engage in productive dialogue with us. I felt both sides could learn from each other. So when this person fit upset about things that nobody had said, I patiently explained the error in a friendly and constructive way. Others often commented on how generous and clear I was being (this was on the metablog). But this person would respond with rudeness. Others would join me in trying to make clear to him or her what was going on. It would often be really simple stuff, but this person never got it after all the time I was spending. It was hours out of my day sometimes. Others would say the person was being intentionally obtuse to waste my time, divert the conversation and laugh at us. I gradually and reluctantly came to agree, but now I'm a little less sure. But I hated the feeling of being suckered by this person again and again. When it started up again, I resolved to ignore it. But I couldn't always tell it was the person. When it seemed clear, I didn't just want to spare myself the time and frustration, but also spare the conversation from being derailed. So I'd say, 'x:xx is the feminist troll. 'After a couple of iterations, I spontaneously shortened 'feminist troll' to 'Femtroll'. And it stuck. How is that sexist?
1:02, I mean this constructively: but someone might say the very same thing about exactly your post. Many people, both directly above and (from what I recall, previous blogs) have patiently explained what is sexist about the term. But you don't even acknowledge these reasons, let alone engage with them. (There has been lots of mentions above, for example, about whether the definition given by you matters). So is it fair to say that you deliberately pretending not to understand simple things over and over, and simply dismiss you as a troll?
This thread is a classic derailing job. Nice work femtroll(s).
It is astonishing that so much has been written in response to the femtroll(s) in a subthread about how the femtroll(s) should be ignored. I'd like to think everyone who has participated is trolling, but I somehow doubt it.
2:31 and 2:47 nicely highlight how badly that term is overused/misused. Read the thread, guys. There are arguments there. I take it you either disagree with or didn't want to read those arguments. That doesn't make the person making them a troll.
The real trolls are the dumbasses who keep using 'femtroll' despite the fact that it's obvious to everyone by now that use of that term inevitably fucks up discussions.
Response to 6:57, 8:45, 11:21"Do you agree that the term has a history of usage as a term used to insult women in particular (so, a history of usage as a gendered insult)?"No. It is meant to refer to a particular person (who may or may not be a woman). It is possible (likely I would say) people have been unfairly accused of being the 'femtroll'. But I don't know what is the male/female ratio of that group.... and neither do you. Even if the majority of the accusations were charged at women one would have to determine if them being accused was due to them being a woman."So the question is would someone who has never read this blog think that the 'fem' in femtroll referred to 'feminist' in particular? "Why should we care about people's first impression of a word, stripped of its relevent context."As for google, you must be using a different google than me, because this is the very first entry. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=femtroll"That matches 8:20's description.....the entry wasn't about internet trolls. And it has a grand total of 5 upvotes"But having a special word for people who are both black and assholes which implicitly or explicitly refers to their race is racist. "A) I don't think femtroll implicitly or explicitly refers to women in any meaningful sense. B) This isn't a special word for people who are feminists and are trolling, but for a specific person who is a feminist and who (supposedly) trolls this blog.I am just responding to the 'femtroll is (clearly) a sexist term' claim.
Nah the discussion was essentially over way before 'femtroll' was actually used as opposed to only mentioned.
3:18, that claim: "Do you agree that the term has a history of usage as a term used to insult women in particular (so, a history of usage as a gendered insult)?" refers to a history of usage outside this blog, as was made clear by the discussion had by 8:20/8:45.I went to that link, and it does not match 8:20's description. It seems pretty clear that the person who made it is not referring to the mythological creature. As evidenced by the fact they use as a synonym 'trogg', a word which clearly is a word that refers to human women, and not the mythological creature. Why should we care about what people's first impression of a word is? Because if something looks like a sexist insult, has been used as a sexist insult, is disingenuous to redefine it in a way that suits you and claim that it's OK because you do not intend it to be sexist. B) This isn't a special word for people who are feminists and are trolling, but for a specific person who is a feminist and who (supposedly) trolls this blog.Almost everyone in the above discussion denied this claim. So the comment you discuss "But having a special word for people who are both black and assholes which implicitly or explicitly refers to their race is racist. " should be read in that context (the context in which the word is not being taken to refer to a specific person, but to an archetype.
There are indeed arguments, and they're about stupid shit that doesn't matter. From my memory of skimming earlier, the subjects include the history of gendered terms for mythical creatures, what the first result in a google search is, how many times we should say 'femtroll' before ignoring a commenter, and whether attributing multiple stupid comments to one stupid person is like chicken sexing or something else. Do you think every bit of text that presents an argument is worth reading?
--"3:18, that claim: "Do you agree that the term has a history of usage as a term used to insult women in particular (so, a history of usage as a gendered insult)?" refers to a history of usage outside this blog, as was made clear by the discussion had by 8:20/8:45."The quote is from 6:57 and that comment didn't specify outside usage. So I assumed it was about this blog and took 8:20 to be doing the same. Anyways, I disagree that there is a meaningful history of the term being used to insult women in particular. The only evidence you have is an urban-dictionary definition with 5 upvotes. A google search (with quotations) gives 1500 results.-The first link is the urban dictionary one you provided-The second one links to the german version of an antifeminist wikipedia. Using google translate"Femtroll is a portmanteau word formed from the main words Feminism and Troll. It is most commonly used on the Internet and sounds less crass than Feminazi similar meaning direction." Majority of the results are World of Warcraft relatedI think the number of women insultingly called femtroll (as defined by urban dictionary) might not even reach triple digits.--"It seems pretty clear that the person who made it is not referring to the mythological creature."I took 8:20 to mean that the link refers more to the mythical creature rather than the act of internet trolling, because i thought commentator at 6:57 to be complaining about femtroll as used here. I may have misinterpreted the conversation--"As evidenced by the fact they use as a synonym 'trogg', a word which clearly is a word that refers to human women, and not the mythological creature. "http://wowwiki.wikia.com/Trogg.'Ugly wench' might have been a more suitable example for you to use.--"Why should we care about what people's first impression of a word is? Because if something looks like a sexist insult, has been used as a sexist insult, is disingenuous to redefine it in a way that suits you and claim that it's OK because you do not intend it to be sexist. "That doesn't answer my question. You said "The point is that 'fem' is a prefix usually used to designate 'female' or 'woman-like' rather than 'feminist' in particular. So the question is would someone who has never read this blog think that the 'fem' in femtroll referred to 'feminist' in particular?"The word presumably looks sexist because people mistakenly assume the 'fem' part refers to 'female'. I think spending even 5 minutes on this blog would clear the confusion up. There is no established official meaning of the word anyways, so the question of redefining doesn't come up.--".....the context in which the word is not being taken to refer to a specific person, but to an archetype."Yes.... only because people can't be sure if a commentator is actually that person. MoreoverJune 24, 2015 at 3:01 PMJune 24, 2015 at 6:38 PMJune 24, 2015 at 8:20 PMJune 25, 2015 at 12:02 AMJune 25, 2015 at 1:02 AM clearly refer to a specific person.Only June 24, 2015 at 4:51 PM seems to fit your description. Maybe I am not getting your point.
Lol. Ignorant earnest fools who refuse to latch on to the meaning of 'femtroll', which everyone who's been here a while knows applies to a particular individual or kind of feminist troll, turn into femtrolls to waste yards of blog.
Let's ignore the concern-trolling about 'Femtroll'. Not every complaint is worth treating seriously.
I just want to say, I don't think thatkid was ever a femtroll. Carry on.
Who are these concern trollers, and why are they going on and on about the Femtroll non-issue? The metablog veterans among us know her antics. She's been around a little, but not much recently. I can count maybe two or three times over the past week or so that someone has accused someone of being the Femtroll. So what? What's the locus of outrage? Anyone who thinks the term is sexist is out to lunch. 1:02am Gabe the whole history, which is just how I and others remember it. Clearly not sexist. And the whole thing is not an issue now anyway. So drop it.
If I wanted a word to designate that someone was a troll and a woman, I would say "trollwoman". I would also use that word if I wanted to designate a kind. If I wanted a sexist designation for an individual, I might use "lady troll" or "female troll"' depending on the larger context that could convey a sexist outlook."Femtroll" is obviously short for feminist troll, just as the person who coined the term explained above. The Femtroll in fact only trolls when there is some issue that might have to do with the political power in the philosophy world of self-described feminist activists, and less often, when there is some issue that might have to do with contentful claims about feminism or gender. That's part of the way we can identify *him/her* (when we are looking at individual persons) or *her*(when we are looking at the archtype). In terms of the archtype, it arises only when we clang a certain incantation, which we are starting to learn.Here's the most important point:The urban dictionary definition linked above does not help here. Contrary to what the stupid dictionary definition says, "femtroll" is not at all related to "feminazi" Unlike that word, "femtroll" does NOT imply that the trolling is a function of the feminism. "Feminiazi" by contrast, implies that the nazism is a function of the feminism. That is to say "femtroll" does not imply that if someone is a feminist, he is thereby a troll. By contrast, "feminazi" contains the false conditional that if someone is a feminist then she is a nazi.
You mean a false universally quantified statement. For all x, if x is a feminist then x is a nazi.
Yeah, that's correct, 1:44. /12:17.
It's safe to assume that anyone who starts a comment with "new voice here" is probably lying. Remember that past moderators have revealed that that behavior is rampant here. What's the term for that?...when the same person pretends to be different commenters?
Dunno if 3:26's question is rhetorical... but the word you're looking for is probably sockpuppet.
Sockpuppeting...yep, that's it. I forgot. Thanks, 3:35.
3:26, for all we know, you're the fucking sockpuppet.Honestly. Drop it. Stop concern trolling. There's no sexism here and no issue. Get a life.
I'm everyone in this thread who isn't you.
I'm everyone in this thread and so's my wife!Also, Femtroll and the Angry Rage Guys would make a great philosophy-themed novelty band.
People have already tried the reddit thing very recently. See /r/philrumors (now defunct) and /r/mockingbirds. Almost zero uptake.
New operation advertised on DN, on the sidebar. http://againstprofphil.org/blog/
This is awesome.
Worth noting that this is Robert Hanna. Easy to find by Googling an essay poster there.
Is it just me, or is it not the done thing to refer to your own work as "edgy" (as in, "an edgy essay by Z"). Isn't that like "cool", ie, an adjective you let other people use or not about you and/or your stuff. (Unless, of course, you are using them literally, as in "has a relatively low temperature" or "has an unusual number of edges")
You are correct that this isn't the norm. You are also correct that it ought not be the norm. But you clearly haven't met Bob Hanna, who is a deeply delusional narcissist.
And therefore exploitable. (I don't know him, so not necessarily agreeing with what sounds to me like a harsh judgment. I'm just offering the conditional claim up for consideration.)
A number of people have been complaining about posting anonymously here. HHL used the word 'cowardice' a couple of days ago, and 12:33 above writes "I don't think there is a good argument for anonymity on philosophy blogs, except for cowardice."It is hard to believe that people who say such things are paying attention. There has been ample evidence over just the last two years that advocates of the New Consensus will attack the moral character and professional livelihood of people who simply disagree with NC politics. From BB's fabulous attempt to get someone 'dispelled' from his or her program for merely raising an issue up for discussion at NewAPPS, the resounding silence her behavior elicited from those who, in other contexts, would have called for BB's head, to the way the Committee on the Status of Women handled the Site Visit at Colorado and the subsequent treatment of the philosophers there, to HHL's collection and dissemination of gossip, to the offhand dismissive treatment that critics receive online, it should come as no surprise that we who are interested in calling 'shenanigans' on these shenanigans feel a need to do so anonymously. The NC fanatics have shown just how committed they are to the principles of justice they take to be preeminent, and their behavior leaves little room for anyone to disagree with them without being subject to odious legal, professional, and public attack. If you ask me, the cowards are the people so ravenous for their own cause that they cannot stomach to have their critics go unpunished for questioning their attempts to realize that cause.
Let's not forget Matt Drabek's calling David Wallace a "rape apologist" when the latter wasn't willing to immediately pile on Emily Yoffe on FP and asked some follow-up questions. Source: https://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/interview-with-angela-davis/ , comment #14. Strictly speaking he doesn't call him a rape apologist, but rather in comment #8 attempts a chilling/silencing technique, and then in comment #14 insinuates that he is by saying that his "...comments on the UVA rape thread below have generated a lot of grumbling on social media, and a lot of people came away with the impression that you were engaged in rape apology". A lot of people came away from that FP thread with the impression that Matt Drabek was being a jackass.I resolved then that I would never use my real name on a blog. Even posting something relatively benign might be interpreted in an unintended way (Drabek and his ilk try to interpret everything as unsympathetically as possible) and then a pile-on on other blogs and social media might spiral out of control. It's too risky.
People who say such things (call you a coward for not exposing yourself to everyone) want everything you say and do to be public, so you can be watched. It is most often the mentality of someone who works in the security business, not the mentality of anyone respectfully sensitive to how normal human relations go. It is meant to dare you into doing something you earlier decided not to do. p.s. (I wouldn't be so hard as you seem to be on people who made one misstep in their attempts to be a good person though.)
If X calls you a coward for not making your remarks public to all and sundry under your own name, just say: "I wasn't talking to you, X. You can listen in, but don't interrupt us." Maybe there is a principle here: If you make your remarks in a way that they are (1) accessible to all, and (2) under your own name, then anyone at all is allowed to butt in and you have an prima facie obligation to reply to that person. If you make your remarks in a way that they are (1) accessible to all, but (2) not under your own name, that means that if someone jumps in and comments on your remark, you have no obligation to reply to them.
It's very obvious what ploy they're using, and it's a nasty one.1) If an argument against what you're doing comes from a known source, use this to smear the source and then engage in an ad hominem while socially and professionally destroying the source.2) If you're thwarted in your attempt to inhumanly destroy the source, use a less effective ad hominem and call the anonymous person a 'coward', while ducking the argument just as you would if it had come from a known source that you destroyed. And if your calling someone a 'coward' makes him or her out himself or herself, then you get to destroy the person and have even more reason for ducking the argument.Bottom line: as long as these antiphilosophers have any power at all, the smart course is to stay anonymous. Those who decide their position by considering the force of the arguments on both sides rather than by figuring out who they like and idiotically following them will not be put off by your anonymity. Don't take the bait.
You didn't mention it, but David Wallace is now dead because of that Matt Drabek line. Literally deceased. If Wallace had posted anonymously, he wouldn't be dead today. But he used his name... and so he's dead. It's absurd to speak of cowardice when people are being murdered by Matt Drabek comments. Don't be fooled by the nasty ploy being used here. If you post under your own name, don't blame me when you end up dead.
Ok, suppose a faculty member from a Leiter top 20 had 'called out' someone less established than Wallace instead. Do you still think it wouldn't have mattered? Or do you just think no such person would call anyone out? An answer of 'yes' to either would seem naive to me.
10:11 is the FEMTROLL!!! (And used to work as a prison guard but now is at a higher pay scale.)(That felt good. I've never done that before in my life.)
10:11, It may be slightly hyperbolic but not very much at all to use the term "destroying people" when you are talking about destroying their reputation. People commit suicide over that sort of thing. As creatures, our social lives are pretty essential. So your criticism of 2:32 is really pretty shallow. Sorry, but it is.
I don't understand why people are trying to make out that this behavior is solely (or even mostly) the province of NCers. Plenty of NCers who post using their real names have had their reputations dragged through the mud (on earlier iterations of this blog, for example). And what about BL's attempt to destroy McAfee? I'm not defending Brogaard in that instance, but BL took it a step further. He didn't just threaten to track down some anonymous person,, he actually sent a direct threat to a particular person.
11:04, can you name one person, though, whose reputation was totally destroyed because of an argument they made on a blog? (and I mean actual argument - excluding cases like BL's,where the objection was not to particular arguments he made, but about how he spoke to and about people - i you're an asshole like that, then it is not unreasonable for it to affect your social and professional reputation).
11:13 is trying to evade assenting to the fact that advocates of the New Consensus are happpy to destroy the careers of their political opponents. Ignore her.
"Affecting" someone's social and professional reputation comes in degrees, and it is possible to so utterly destroy someone's reputation they have no chance of making a living and lose most of their friends. This, historians tell us, happened during the McCarthy era in the US, for example. To answer your question, personally I can think of no cases where someone's reputation was utterly destroyed because of views they expressed on a philosophy related blog. I'll let 2:32 speak for himself/herself, assuming that person thinks they need to answer your question. I can think of cases though where what people expressed elsewhere in the political sphere came close to destroying their life. Salaita, e.g.That doesn't change the original point that two different posters made about the ploy of calling people cowards, and trying to get them thereby to out themselves. In revolutionary times and in times when authoritarianism is ascendent, people keep their views hidden for a reason.
Don't know how this case turned out, but here is a philosophy job applicant whose career may have been destroyed by the equivalent of blog comments:http://dailynous.com/2015/01/28/students-protest-job-candidate-for-offensive-views/There is also the Brendan Eich case, where his career was destroyed for making a modest financial contribution to a political campaign that the majority of voters in his state agreed with (Prop 8).Anyone who thinks you can't get destroyed for crossing the SJ consensus publicly is kidding themselves.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but here was how I understood the Drabek/Wallace case. Drabek made the comment he did, and was widely criticized. People came in and defended Wallace, including people at FP who are otherwise vilified on this blog. On the whole, the event is thought to be a mistake by Drabek.And again, correct me if I'm wrong, but in the Candidate with Offensive Views case, the general reaction was to criticize the students, including criticism on Daily Nous, made by people (writing under their own name) who are publicly friendly to the "New Consensus." In fact, even Drabek weighed in on the DN comment thread, and argued that the candidate's merely holding certain beliefs is not a good reason not to hire that candidate (while allowing that if the candidate harassed students, it's different). Drabek could have used his power to murder via comment, but chose not to.
That's not my sense of what happened on the COV thread, but the comments were too dense for me to read through all of them.
I don't think the point should be to tie the NC movement itself, as a whole, with cheering on the ruining of careers. What instead seems to matter is that the tenets of the NC movement, when combined with the careerist or activist motivations of individual advocates, predictably leads to individual attacks on others--attacks that may well have implications for the career of the target.
Isn't that true of an movement? Consider the student in the Cheryl Abbate case, for example.
What does that have to do with the conversation 2:41?
Sorry, should read "isn't that true of any movement?" (Point being that the tenets of any movement, when combined with the careerist or activist motivations, etc).
And what bearing does that have on this conversation?
Thanks for the concern, but I really don't think one person making a silly comment about me on a comment thread is a big deal.
FP is again floating official sanctions via the APA. This is going to gain steam and be a shitshow fir n the profession. That's my prediction.
Adele Mercier in comments FTW. Wise words about definitions of harassment serving those in power.
I think it's safe not to worry as long as Anne Jacobson is the only voice defending a proposal.
Thank you A.M. for speaking up about this. She says in part,"Beware of definitions of harassment. They serve only those in power. Because only those in power have the power to enforce them."
LEITER FORGOT US!!!!
Hmm.. I tacitly equated metablog with metametablog and just clicked that. Does this mean BL isn't aware of the latest iteration?
Oh! I overlooked "metablog". Well, he probably means us.
"Metablog" is currently #3.
Our graduate students have really good placement records, too.
As a philosopher, of course I only read Leiter Report. It makes total sense to rely on a non-philosopher for philosophy related news in the blogosphere.
Huh? Can you separate out the claims you are making through your snark? Too hard to reply to otherwise. I think you have at least three claims requiring defense mushed together and wrapped in an indirect speech act.
what do you make of the "whoops: forgot cocoon" by leiter?
I think probably the same people who control JW and FP threatened to destroy Leiter's career if he included them, and so he didn't, but then he realized he had some explosive dirt on AJJ, so he had leverage, so he put them back in.Or, you know, he just forgot.
I think he just doesn't give much thought to these polls. He may give thought in the form of "I really wonder where I stack up with the other blogs", but zero thought in the form of "what would give me meaningful and accurate data". But then, he's a lawyer and a philosopher, not a scientist.Two points:(1) He also left of the Ghent guy's blog, which probably has enough traffic to be relevant in the comparisons. (2) His polls don't even pretend to have one vote per person. In a typical day, I'm on 4-5 different devices and can easily vote on all of them, if I want to.
The irony of cases like this is that everyone else seems to take these informal web site polls much more seriously than Leiter himself, who supposedly gets off on ranking everything. Look at the old journal polls when he leaves out Dialectica or Midwest Studies or Erkenntnis. People write in or get really worked up about it in comments, and his reaction is generally just "meh, oh well, forgot that one." The fable of the rankings monster is as much on those people as it is Leiter, who seems to treat a lot of this as just very rough temperature-taking.
am i the only one who thinks that comments on his blog by "senior anonymous bigwig" and "female tenured professor" always in support of his positions are made up by leiter?did you also see the great "anonymous" story about the guest speaker (hint "dispeller") on the new blog people aren't sure to endorse because RH is behind it? ive heard the story from at least 2 other people before i read it there
Is this the post you're talking about, 8:40?http://againstprofphil.org/women-philosophers-can-be-just-as-fucked-up-as-men-philosophers/
yes and its nearly exactly the same as the story ive heard from two different sources. i wasnt sure whether to believe it the only other detail i heard is they openly did lines of coke. hey im not judging im just surprised one can keep a job like that
Where is that story on the blog, 8:40? I went to the APP blog but I couldn't work out what post you were talking about.
Thanks 8:44. Have to say it is a bit too TMZ for my liking.
It's possible, 8:40, but it seems unnecessary. Some time recently (maybe the past 6 months?) there was a leaked departmental email in which the chair encouraged everyone to show a visiting PGR-voter or board member (can't remember which) a good time, in hopes of boosting the department's ranking. One would think that no shortage of people with similar motivations send fawning emails to Leiter himself.
“Jeeves,” I said. “A rummy communication has arrived. From Mr. Glossop.”“Indeed, sir?”“I will read it to you. Handed in at Upper Bleaching. Message runs as follows: ‘When you come tomorrow, bring my football boots. Also, if humanly possible, Irish water-spaniel. Urgent. Regards. Tuppy.’“What do you make of that, Jeeves?”“As I interpret the document, sir, Mr. Glossop wishes you when you come tomorrow, to bring his football boots. Also, if humanly possible, an Irish water-spaniel. He hints that the matter is urgent, and sends his regards.”“Yes, that’s how I read it too...”
thoughts on phil percs?
There's the fact that you get to talk about philosophy or talk philosophically all day. Or write it. Or walk around and think about it. Or read it.
I'm mostly unfamiliar, but can you imagine this being posted at NA? http://www.philpercs.com/2015/06/we-are-all-individuals.html. Not the Liz Phair video, the actual text. Actually I find that scenario kind of funny to imagine.So it's better than NA? Low bar, I know.
I already posted this comment in the "shrugs" thread, but I thought I may as well do the same here. I'm posting it mainly just to vent my frustration, but if someone has any genuinely good explanation for why the phenomenon I'm describing is justifiable (and I know that I am not the only one who receives this treatment or has seen it happen to others), I would like to hear it. I am being sincere about that. What justifies what I think are blatantly disingenuous hiring practices?I am one of those "angry white male graduate students," but I am not angry because I am white or because I'm male. I am angry because the complete hypocrisy of current hiring practices is downright fucking laughable. If I were a woman, I would have a genuine chance of landing an assistant professorship at a research university even without publications (maybe one book review might do). But I can't even sniff an interview. There is nothing the world loves more than a subtle hypocrisy! Just for a bit of context and also to anticipate the usual replies, this is my situation: I am at a top 3 Leiter department; I have multiple peer-reviewed publications (journal articles, book chapters, and invited book reviews); I have extensive teaching experience in a wide range of subjects as a sole instructor; I have given countless conference presentations; I have put in extensive service to both my department and the profession; and I have letters of recommendation from highly prominent and well-respected senior faculty in my area of specialization (most of whom are not at my home institution).So, how am I supposed to take the fembots seriously when they complain about how hard they supposedly have it only to head over to philjobs and see that Jennifer or Stacy have been hired at a research university with maybe a single article in a shitty journal, or only a book review, or often nothing at all?It is pretty obvious bullshit, no?Is that justice and equality and meritocracy and so on?
Yes, this is what is going on: blatant anti-male discrimination is practiced (and let's also remember the corruption of spousal appointments) accompanied by lying feminist propaganda from lying feminist philosophers.
But how do you know that you aren't getting hired because of pro-women favoritism? I have seen plenty of "on paper wonderful" candidates turned down because they couldn't interview well or were super snobby and overly technical (I've seen this happen to top 3 Leiter school candidates) or had a difficult personality or had a lousy presentation or didn't field the Q&A questions well or countless other reasons, none of which had to do with their gender.
If you are at a L top 3 dept, then most of your fellow students, male and female, are getting jobs. Have you considered that there might be something wrong with your application? A bad letter? etc.
It's hard to take either of these posts seriously. OP doesn't write like a top graduate student and 7:20 writes like a loon.
Genderandprestige has the data and the analysis. Three highlights of this analysis,1. " ... by and large, men publish more than women do: The average publication rate for women hired was about 0.8. The median number of publications for a woman hired was 0. The average publication rate for men hired was about 1.5. The median number of publications for a man hired was 1. .... a majority (54%) of women hired had no publications, as compared with 40% of men".2. "For the Top 15 journals, 27% of men hired had at least one such publication, while only 11% of women hired had at least one. For these journals, the average publication rate for men hired was 0.42 publications, while for women hired it was only 0.14 publications".3. "The statistical findings, at least as far as philosophy job hiring in 2012 and 2013 were concerned, indicate the existence of both prestige and gender bias in philosophy job hiring: Against lower prestige male applicants. For high prestige female applicants. As noted above, the correlation amongst those hired between being unpublished and gender is statistically significant".
7.53: Time waster. You're full of shit.
7:10, if what you say is true, I wonder if there's something fishy in your app. Can you apply to a school where you have a friend in the department? Then get the friend to look at your letters etc. to make sure one of your writers isn't screwing you. I've definitely seen apps that are sabotaged from within.
7:51, is the thought that the candidate should have chosen to present a more generally accessible paper at the interview irrespective of whether their AOS is in a technical subfield? Re: OP, perhaps the health of the market in your AOS is poor?
OP here again.It is certainly possible that one of my letter writes could be surreptitiously writing me a stinker, but I don't have any specific reason to think so. I've known all of my letter writers for a number of years, and they've never done anything to give me reason to think that their enthusiasm for my work is anything but sincere. 7:53: You can deny that I am at one of the "Big Three" all you want, but I am telling the truth. I thought it would go without saying that I wrote what I did quickly and off the cuff because I was writing for a blog, not Broadway...But in any case, even if you think I am lying about my situation, the fact of the matter is that there are plenty of people who do fit the description I've just painted. I have many friends who have a PhD in hand, who have multiple publications in sometimes very prestigious journals like The Philosophical Review or The Journal of Philosophy, and who have held prestigious post-docs, and still can't land a job. Now of course you might simply claim that the reason they haven't is because there are a slew of other equally or even better qualified candidates against whom they're competing. But that explanation doesn't square with the observable facts. We are told that it is increasingly the case that one must have a PhD in hand, an impressive publication profile, and maybe even a post-doc under one's belt in order to be a viable candidate for certain jobs (maybe now many). But I have seen women hired time and again who do not meet any of these criteria: often they are hired though they are still ABD, though they have a negligible or even non-existent publication record, and though they have never held a post-doc. So if selection committees disqualify male candidates for all of those kinds of reasons, but then end up hiring a woman who doesn't meet them either, what are we to think? Should we seriously believe that everyone's files are being evaluated consistently? It is pretty clear that's not what is occurring.If you doubt it, here's something to do: count up the number of men who have been offered assistant professorships at research universities while still ABD, or without extensive publication records, or without already having held a post-doc. Then count up the number of women who fit that billing. Then compare the numbers.I think we can all guess what you'll find. We should all be honest about this double-standard rather than sweeping it under the rug and then hazing and shaming anyone who has the guts to point out the elephant in the room. Perpetuating the myth that everyone is getting an equal shake is total bullshit. Do you think it is right that male candidates are passed over for comparatively less qualified female applicants? Do I not deserve a fair shake simply because I have a dong?
OP: if you really are from a top 3 program and have multiple peer reviewed publications (book chapters and book reviews count for less), you are certainly getting interviews. UNLESS there is something unusually wrong with your application: a weird AOS (one not in demand), a bad letter, something. The job market is bad, but it is not this bad. I say this with complete confidence.
@11:24 (the first 11:24 reply): I can add that any male candidates from prestigious schools with publications in Phil Review or JPhil are *certainly* getting multiple interviews. *EVEN IF I GRANT* that the job market is squeezing out qualified men candidates (for the sake of argument), it is most certainly not squeezing out candidates of this sort.
You say you are an "angry white male graduate student". So you haven't finished your dissertation. I don't see how you could have time to publish in multiple high quality journals and also make headway towards completing your degree. Maybe you are applying to places that say a PhD in hand is required or strongly preferred. I don't of course have a clue about what moves you in philosophy, or what you are working on. But it takes a long time to develop insights and provide good discussions of them. It sounds like you spend all your time getting stuff into journals -- but does that give you much time to talk with other philosophers at your top tier school and learn from them? My experience is that when people publish in graduate school, occasionally there will be the deeply considered piece, but usually it will be a shorter, more technical piece, a discovery of a mistake some bigwig or little guy has made and a spelling out of the mistake in great systematic detail. This latter kind of publication might not be impressive to people doing the hiring if it is combined with an atittude of superiority towards them (as it might be if they are at lesser ranked schools). It is very easy to get 'full of yourself' in graduate school, because our teachers try to encourage us and are excited by our ideas. But it can hurt you when you are on the job market. I remember talking down to someone about some idea in logic at an interview, and it was not intentional at all. I was just so into the material. When I look back at it, I'm embarrassed a bit.
There was a discussion about this on Philosophy Smoker earlier this year and several anonymous posters, who claim to have been on search committees, admitted that they often consider female applicants differently--lower threshold for interviews seems to be the most common way. And, frankly, they saw nothing wrong with that. Some analogized it to AOS preference--if we really want a metaphysician, rather than an epistemologist, then there is nothing wrong with our interviewing/hiring the metaphysics candidates over the epistemology candidates, even if some of the latter are stronger candidates overall than the former. And if we really want to hire a female, then there is nothing wrong with our interviewing/hiring the female candidates over the male candidates, even if some of the latter are stronger candidates overall than the former. There was a good bit of discussion of whether this is a just way of operating, but in most discussions on the blogs, no one will even admit that this happens. But it obviously does.
I think we should treat OP with a healthy dose of skepticism. It's a topic that's been discussed heaps before, and it seems pretty obviously designed to provoke. (The scenario - not even getting any interviews, despite stellar record, also seems pretty implausible).In any case, OP, taking you at your word: if you're ABD at a top dept, have multiple publications, etc., and are not even getting any interviews, then there must e something wrong with your file. Or you're not applying broadly enough, or something (not even top-3 people can afford to only apply to the best jobs). I was at a top-3 dept. recently, and I don't know a single person who did not get any interviews whatsoever, both male and female, and many of them (both male and female) had worse records on paper than yours. (Getting actual jobs is a different story - though most people I know did in fact get decent jobs, male and female). One way to test this is to check yourself against other recent male candidates from your school. Presumably your record is better than quite a few recent male candidates (it is still quite unusual for top-3 people to have multiple peer-reviewed pubs). Are they getting interviews?Then I would see if there is something you can do about your letters. I'm afraid the 'stinker' possibility seems like the most likely explanation. Can you get someone on faculty to check? They obviously can't tell you the content, but they may be able to 'strongly advise' you get a letter from someone else.
2:34, I'm still not convinced either way about whether these kinds of things are justified, but I want to suggest a different analogy: hiring practises that consider some other non-philosophy factor. Here's the kind of example I was thinking of: State U in Podunk Town has two pretty good candidates. One grew up in Big City, the other grew up in Podunk Town and has family in the area. State U has been burned in the past with candidates leaving after a year or two and having to run a search all. Is it unjust to hire the Podunk Town candidate for this reason (a reason which has nothing to do with philosophical qualifications?)
FYI, folks: the job market now really is so bad that many people with stellar references, publications, pedigrees, advisors, projects and teaching reviews can't get interviews. The competition is just that fierce nowadays.
3:21, I don't doubt it is hard, but do you have any data for that? I ask because I'mt the person who was recently (post-crash) at a top-3 school, and I'm pretty familiar with how our job candidates did over about the last 4 or 5 years. I can't recall a single person who did not even get an interview (let alone a person with multiple publications who did not get interviews). I know the market is tough, but that claim: that many people with all of those things combined can't even get interviews - doesn't fit with my experience.
Off topic, but: Yeah, SCOTUS.
Now the reign of terror can really begin. Eich was just the start.
Boo hoo, nobody will hire me! It must be because I am a white male! How nice it must be to have such a ready reason for all the things that aren't working out for you.
Hey, 2:09, did you read Audrey Yap's "boo hoo, philosophy is so hard 'cause I'm a woman" bit on the Ghent Balloon's blog? Have you heard the hundreds of female philosophers who divert every single conversation about the profession to their favorite topic, how hard it is for women? Have you complained to them about how whiny they are? If you haven't done this despite the fact that the personal n you're insulting is actually saying something supported by the known data, then you've got your priorities backward and are inconsistent, to boot.
Come, come, 3:14. A response like 2:09's was exactly what the OP was hoping to get, so he could use it as an excuse to vent about 'tokens.'
2:09 = a blind fucking idiot.
3:25's just confirming for us all that the whole thing was a trolling exercise because someone wanted an excuse to vent their rage on anonymous strangers.
2:09: solid reply! Thanks for clearing everything up for me. You're exactly right: nothing to see here, folks. Move right along...I'd really love to know which is the case: 1) you're a token who finds a way at all costs to rationalize your having what you deep down know you objectively don't deserve, or 2) you're one of the male "solidarity" types who plays along so he can get laid more easily...
3:14: interesting use of quotation marks...Anyway, thanks to everyone for bringing to my attention the possibility that my job file might have a bad letter that I don't suspect.But I don't want that to obscure the main issue. My point wasn't just that I have had no luck getting interviews. My point is that I know LOTS of people with impeccable records, who are having just as bad luck as I am. And the point is that it doesn't explain anything to say that the job market is tough. Yes, it is. But the point is that there is a clear trend: female candidates are often hired despite having records that would get a comparatively qualified male applicant tossed from the pile. And not only that: often female candidate are beating out male applicants who have demonstrably strong records.I think it is important that the profession faces up to this phenomenon and does something constructive about it. I know a lot of people who are well into their mid or late thirties and on the their second or even third post-docs struggling to find a permanent position even though they have a much stronger record of achievement than many of the female candidates who someone get offered R1 jobs while still ABD.
Just to clear this up - you say you know lots of 'people' who are having just as bad luck as you, and lots of 'people' who are into their second post-doc, etc - and the explanation is that female candidates are favored over male candidates? So by 'people' you actually meant 'men' both times? Because otherwise it doesn't really make any sense.
I think a simpler explanation would be that people coming out of top departments are so equally impressive that relatively trivial things can make the difference, whether a letter, a personality fit, or on occasion, a desire to add some diversity to a department.If that's so, then it needn't really be an unfair situation or systematic bias--the tie breaker is more or less a matter of luck.As for the issue of stronger records, it's long been a truism in this business that search committees, especially in the better research universities, have a bias toward potential, so they often pick someone with no publications or no record over someone with an excellent record, because the unproven potential "star" always outweighs reality.I'd add: are you applying to jobs at all levels, or only for research or ranked positions?If the latter, I'm sure the competition for those jobs is much more fierce, and part of the explanation of why you're not getting interviews could be that you're not applying to the less competitive positions where you'd be competing against people with lesser pedigrees and less prestigious references.
Many male candidates on their third post-doc lose out to other male candidates who sometimes get hired R1 while still ABD.
3:46: yes, by "people" I meant "men." Thought it was worth remind everyone that men are people too! 3:59: I think you very well might be right about that. But I didn't mean to suggest that what you're describing never happens. What I am meaning to draw attention to is the fact that it is female candidates who somehow land cushy assistant professorships more than men with similarly unimpressive records. These days it is not at all uncommon to look at a recent female hire's record and think "Huh?"
4:33, stop being disingenuous. You know that 'reminding everyone that men are people too!" is a bullshit explanation for repeatedly using 'people' to refer only to men. As for your last comment, as has been said over and over again, and as is obvious to anyone who has had anything to do with the job market whatsoever, looking a someone's CV or record is not a reliable guide to anything. It is part of the picture, but by no means all. You don't have any evidence for the claim about 'cushy assistant professorships.' The data we have does not have any info about who lands R1 positions (for example) more than others. Even if it did, the data pool would be so small - how many people even get R1s each year in total? That it would be hard to draw any reliable inferences from it. I'm starting to think you really are just trolling.
2:50 = OP, right?
4:33: I was just making a joke when I said that. I didn't mean anything of import when I chose to write "people" rather than "men." So I'm not sure why you think I was trying to say anything disingenuous; I was pretty sure that the context of my remarks made it clear as day that I obviously was writing about men. And if it was unclear, you could have simply kindly asked for a clarification rather than hit the detonate button and try to obliterate me like I was trying to be a crafty jerk or something when that wasn't at all my intention.I am not sure why you think "anyone who has anything to do with the job market" knows that one's CV and record are not reliable guides to anything. That is news to me. But I admit that I don't know anything about a job search because I've never been on a committee. So I'd love it if you'd explain to me why "looking at someone's CV or record is not a reliable guide to anything." If it really weren't, then why do search committees waste their own time having us send a CV in with our applications? I always thought this is usually the very first thing a selection committee consults when sorting through the applications. And if the CV and one's record don't constitute the whole picture, what does? Do selection committees read the tea leaves when evaluating applicants? 4:50: yes, that was me the OP. I didn't mean to pretend it wasn't me. I just forgot to identify myself as the OP. Sorry about that.
Letters. Letters matter a lot. If you see somebody get a great job despite zero or limited publications, there's a pretty good chance they have glowing letters.
5:15, do you know that there are such things as interviews? Do you know that there are such things as job talks and teaching demonstrations? If you don't, you are remarkably uninformed about the job market for someone who has been applying for jobs. If you do, then you know that you cannot simply look at CVs and reliably predict on the basis of those who will, and who should, get a job. So if you look at the records of female candidates and think 'huh'? then maybe your problem is that you're ignoring the fact that records are nowhere near the whole picture. As for your 'tea leaves' comment, read the conversation. You were talking about hires. I was referring, as I made clear, to your comment about hires. So why are you now trying to make out that those comments were about the initial sorting process? Even if you were meaning to refer to the initial sorting process, there's a very simple answer to your question of what else constitutes the whole picture aside from the CV: letters of rec and writing samples. Do you also have access to these when you do your amateur sleuthing to find out which women are getting the interviews that you reckon you deserve?So, you seem to know very little about the job market for someone supposedly at a top-3 school, you have nothing new to add to a discussion that's been had many times before, and you've complained about 'tokens' and 'women getting all the cushy jobs.' If you're not a troll, you're doing a bang-up job imitating one.
Not to mention teaching evaluations and teaching portfolios. I know some people think these are relatively unimportant, but they are also something that hiring committees have access to that everyone else doesn't.
3:30: OP here. I am not 3:25. Rather than assuming that everything is an elaborate trolling effort, maybe you should consider the possibility that others can see that the attitude of posters like 2:09 is part of the problem in the profession that I'm trying to draw attention to. Rather than own up to the injustice of hypocritical hiring practices, he'd rather make sport of people who suffer the financial, personal, and emotional consequences that come along with getting shut out of profession that has no qualms about playing unfairly.
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