I'm sorry....but you brought this on yourself, honey.

Jan 23 2014 Published by under Anger, AntiFeminist Asshole

The intro may be trigger-y for some.

The classic case of the wife beating husband often involves recognition of wrong and then a brief stab of regret. The husband, in short, recognizes he has done wrong: ".....I shouldn'ta done that.."

and then makes an excuse for being out of control: "..I was too drunk, I didn't know what I was doing.."

and finally, he avails himself of the sort of faux-equality, two-to-tango excuse that we all know and love from politics (and everything): "....but you brought that shit on yourself because...."

Often it is for "being lippy".

In other news, Henry Gee, Senior Editor at Nature, has written his reflections on his outing of the real name of a blogger familiar to most of you.

First, I want to apologise to Dr Isis for naming her; for belittling her in a subsequent tweet; and if this exposure has put her in a vulnerable situation. The context in which I did this is set out below, and may go some way towards explaining what happened.

okay. "I shouldn'ta done that" accomplished. What next?

It might surprise some to learn that I fully support the right of people to write under pseudonyms, if they feel they need to.
...
It should not be a surprise, however, to learn that I take pseudonymity and anonymity very seriously.
...
As part of my job I am bound to take identities of referees of papers I’ve handled to the grave, and I adhere to this rule as strongly now as I always have during my 26 years of service.

Well, given that you've just copped to outing a pseudonymous identity, yeah, this is a bit hard to take on your say-so. So....?

On the other hand, I do not think that pseudonymity or anonymity gives people the licence to say things to or about others that are deliberately hurtful – things that they mightn’t say under their true identities.

Well....you are certainly not helping your case here, Henry Gee. It's kind of part and parcel of your observations in this very piece:

Pseudonyms allow people the licence to speak more freely than they might, for example, if they thought their employer might be looking over their shoulder.
...
if we want referees to speak frankly about competitors or colleagues, these referees should be accorded the privilege of anonymity. In my experience, the most informative reports come from young researchers who might not have obtained tenure. To expect them to write meaningful reports about papers submitted by people who might later be sitting on their tenure committees would be to ask far too much.

that the point of being pseudonymous is that some other people are going to be hurt in some fashion. (Usually just hurt in the ego of course, putting the corresponding threat to life, health, economic security and career success for the person desiring anonymity in some relief.) The question seems to hinge on Henry's use of the phrase "deliberately hurtful".

When I negatively review a manuscript or grant application, I know what I am doing. I know that it will be hurtful to the authors. And hurtful to their career and/or livelihood too, not just a injury to their dignity or ego. I do this, of course, for a reason. Many reasons, in fact, but most pointedly because it helps to advance a personal and professional goal- to improve the science. I may not always write my criticism as carefully as I might, and sometimes I select deliberately more severe phrasing so that the point will be unmistakeable. (If you've seen an author's response to manuscript review, you will understand why it is sometimes necessary to be more pointed and less diplomatic, particularly on the third revision round.) In this, however, my primary intent is not to injure the tender feelings of the author or the PI of the grant application. It is to do the job which I am expected to do, the job I have set myself (reviewing tasks are opt-in, typically) and the job which my peers approve (with varying degrees of enthusiasm) me for doing. Also, the job I expect to be done to me because of my own participation in submitting manuscripts and grant applications.

To sum up- anonymous review is a good thing, it services a positive goal, it is often deliberately hurtful to the persons under review, more often the harm is inadvertent and we are operating within a loose set of community expectations.

Since 2010, Dr Isis has, in my opinion, waged a campaign of cyberbullying against me. I do not feel it appropriate to rake over the history of this situation, but throughout it I have been subject to unfair personal criticism including the repeated unjust assertion that I am sexist.

Aha. This is the "...but you brought that shit on yourself because of being lippy..." part of the reflection. Here we find the virtue tried and it comes up lacking. If you recognize that the point of being anonymous is to permit a broader, more honest critique without the quelling fear of reprisal...well, what IS this?

As an editor and member of the online community I am absolutely up for a robust debate, but this went far beyond what I feel is acceptable.

How does Henry's personal judgment that he has been sufficiently "hurt" by the deliberate actions of one given person justify striking back? Why is it about his standard rather than community standards?

I don't see that addressed.

Are there "acceptable" grounds for calling a person a nigger or a faggot or a cunt when you are mad at them over a debate? For punching them in the face during an academic session? No? Why not? Why isn't it up to each individual to make this call? There is simply no justification for such things, no matter how "hurt" you feel by a discussion of ideas. Even if you feel your character is being maligned. Or, if you think your wife is getting too lippy and simply will. not. SHUT. UP!!!

Also, there are numerous other people who have made the same criticisms of Henry for the same actions. Some of them are not pseudonymous, some are. Why did he not try to out the lot of us pseudonymous types, and take similar deliberately hurtful actions against those people criticizing his behavior and actions and statements that are already under their real life identities? He was similarly justified, no? For that matter, why is being "deliberately hurtful" as a pseud beyond the pale but being deliberately hurtful as a Senior Editor at Nature totally justified in the first place? Something does not add up to a consistent value or principle here.

I do not think that anyone deserves to be personally and publicly attacked in this way.

And yet labeling someone a "cyberbully" in total contravention of the available facts on the ground is acceptable? As I've been pointing out on the Twitters, I was there for the Science Online (Jan 2010) blow up, I read the posts from Isis and others in the wake of it. I read the comments. I followed the "Womanspace" debacle (Nov 2011) including Henry's taunting comment before many of us has so much as seen the piece. And I saw the extent of the recent (Jan 2014) cracks about how maybe Henry was behind the elevation of an adolescent comment about how women scientists were deserving of discrimination to a published letter (they call it Commentary at Nature). I made one or two of those cracks myself.

Unless I am ignorant of many, many other attacks on Henry perpetrated by Dr Isis this hardly amounts to "cyberbullying". Two rather involved events in which there were multiple people arguing both sides (i.e., some defending Henry's side) separated by 18 mo or so. Another set of brief cracks nearly two years later. Until I see some better evidence about this horrible invisible campaign of oppression by Dr. Isis against Henry Gee, this cyberbullying charge is nothing more than a lie.

A hurtful and deliberate lie at that.

Now, I should simply have tweeted a clarification – just to say that no, I was not the editor of that particular piece, that I had had nothing to do with it, and move on.

YES! Yes, you should have. Just like many people who are bloggers or Twitterers or whatnot do in their various dustups in cyberspace. Including people who actually do have sustained hate campaigns against them, such as Orac or PZ Myers.

What I did, however, was regrettable, and in 20-20 hindsight, I wish I hadn’t done it; I ‘outed’ Dr Isis from my personal Twitter account. However, one should understand that I am, contrary to popular belief, a human being. The unjustified insults heaped on me by Dr Isis over years took their toll, and I snapped.

Translation: "....I shouldn'ta done it.....but she had it coming...because of her lip"

I hesitate to point out this next bit...but it is really bothering me. I hesitate because it can be taken as dismissing or shaming an affective disorder. But still....

In my own case, Dr Isis’ attacks contributed to a deepening of my long-running depression to the extent that I required time off and medical intervention.

This is the "....I only drink because of you!...." gambit. No, seriously. Whether you have depressions or anxieties or whatever....I am with you. I hope you get better and I do not think you should suffer discrimination for it. But it is NOT an excuse for deliberate, hurtful attacks. This insults everyone that suffers from depression. It puts the blame wrongly back on Dr. Isis. And on anyone else who dared criticize Henry for his actions at Science Online and in soliciting and publishing Womanspace. Not only are we hurting his ego..but we are also deepening his depression. And that is our fault, despite not having the faintest inkling he was depressed. And somehow this justifies his attack on Isis despite the fact she could have no knowledge that he was depressive. This attempt to say that the world is at fault when it makes a person with depression worse.....grrrr. I just don't see this as helpful here.

Additional:
Nature's press release.

98 responses so far

  • dr24hours says:

    Ah the "I drink because of you" gambit. We alcoholics have all pulled it. Including me. Here's what it means: "I will lash out at you to get you to shut up because I want to drink in peace and not think about what my drinking means, or face any consequences of it."

  • Karen says:

    Seriously. Victim blaming from a man in a position of power. My favorite part you didn't mention: "I am, philosophically at least, a feminist" -- So.... not in practice? This is a steaming pile.

    Perhaps the depression is clouding his judgment. I mean that sincerely, as someone who occasionally acts inappropriately while in a depression. But still, it's kind of like being drunk; you're not ever really going to be a different person while depressed (IMO), you're just going to lose your ability to keep up your filters.

  • bill says:

    There's another point, made by various Tweeterers, that could do with more exposure: Spitty McFrotherson's claim to have been bullied by Isis is bogus on its face, because he is on the upper end of a significant power differential. He could have bullied Isis, and probably did, but the reverse is simply not possible. No matter how nasty she was to him, it was. not. bullying.

    Of course, he'll just substitute "abuse/abusive" and carry on. But I think it's a point worth remembering, because words mean things.

  • jipkin says:

    I dunno about this post DM. The wife-beater analogy is unnecessary and a just a bit inflammatory, no?

    First, the instant you analogize you're open to accusations that you're assigning equivalency between the content of the analogy and the situation it references. It would not be unexpected for Gee to read this and go "wtf, DM is saying I'm like a wife-beater??"

    Second, analogies suck for internet debates, because inevitably someone will push their glasses up their nose and say "well, ACTUALLY, wife-beating and pseud-outing are not QUITE the same thing" etc etc. It generates dead-end discussion. And the analogy is extra-useless when you could have made the same points without it (to top if off, it is a bit trigger-y as well, as you note).

    -------

    On the broader point you're making: I don't fully buy it.

    You seem to be suggesting that Gee feels justified NOW by what he did back then (when he clearly did feel justified, since he did it). I don't see that in his apology-nonpology-statement-thingie. Perhaps I'm being too charitable in my interpretation, but could he not be explaining his state of mind prior to doing the act which he now recognizes as unjustified? I guess he could stand to be a bit more explicit on the point, but given that he recognizes that it was a wrong thing for him to do, one suspects he doesn't still think it was a justifiable action, unless we think that he thinks that it is okay to do wrong things when you're pushed too far. I don't think we have evidence to build that model of him.

    On your tangential point that Gee was not in fact subject to cyberbullying: sure, whatever. Doesn't matter what the facts were if that's not how he felt them. If he feels he is bullied, he feels he is bullied. Does that mean he can retaliate by outing? No, two wrongs don't make a right, etc.

  • drugmonkey says:

    The wife-beater analogy is unnecessary and a just a bit inflammatory, no?

    It could certainly be seen as inflammatory. By what virtue is it either necessary or unnecessary? At the end, it is how it snapped into frame for me....so I thought I'd share.

    could he not be explaining his state of mind prior to doing the act which he now recognizes as unjustified?

    Perhaps. But for some reason explaining oneself always comes from a place of excusing oneself. Or so I find. Especially when it is coupled to only the most perfunctory apology and admission of error. Especially when every place that might tiptoe into an admission of error is quickly followed by yet more blame placing.

    one suspects he doesn't still think it was a justifiable action

    I don't suspect this at all. I suspect he feels entirely justified in what he did and that he would do it again if he felt like he was being sufficiently harmed by someone.

    I don't think we have evidence to build that model of him.

    I think we do. He was very self-righteous about his clearly over-the-line behavior in SpittleFest and some subsequent discussion of that. Now we have this. What we do not have any evidence for is that he understands in a fundamental way that HE was WRONG to act as he did.

    If he feels he is bullied, he feels he is bullied. Does that mean he can retaliate by outing? No, two wrongs don't make a right, etc.

    And yet he did. And has a few commenters on his side, here and there, arguing that it was fine that he did and that Isis brought it on herself.

    This idea that anyone gets to shout about being "bullied" because they feel slightly bad is stupid. It quells all calling-out of bad behavior and therefore supports and reinforces bad behavior. Particularly when it comes from a position of privilege and narcissism.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Spitty McFrotherson's claim to have been bullied by Isis is bogus on its face, because he is on the upper end of a significant power differential. He could have bullied Isis, and probably did, but the reverse is simply not possible.

    I take your point but I don't entirely agree. I do think that many who do not like having their rhetorical asses handed to them by really-pissed-off and like-minded opponents feel like they are under siege and claim bullying when it is not appropriate. But there is also the reality that power IRL is not necessarily aligned with power OTI. It is ridiculous to pretend that Isis doesn't have a lot of folks in her camp that are willing to war-with-words with other people on her behalf. it is not impossible for this to produce something that I would claim to be real bullying.

  • aidel says:

    I think we can all agree that Isis is a bully when it suits her. I've sure been on the wrong side of her hate before. What most people are missing here is the crucial difference between a pseudonymous blogger and creating a separate pers0na who freely and routinely acts irresponsibly. Examples include lying about being a PI, constant sock puppetry, repeatedly calling herself "hot" when her blog was "domestic and laboratory goddess," the whole stupid shoe thing....there are so many examples of things that no university would be proud to call their own it's not even funny. I wish someone would do a fact check and ferret out all of the lies she told throughout the lifespan of all three of her blogs. And, Drug, I'll be very impressed if you print this comment.

  • Grumble says:

    I haven't followed the Dr Isis brouhaha and I don't intend to start now. But I just have to object to the comparison of two "crimes": outing a pseudonymous blogger and battering women. The latter is an unconscionable crime that no human being should ever have to endure. The former is an annoyance that anyone who blogs pseudonymously needs to take into consideration as a possibility, given the large numbers of people that popular bloggers interact with and the statistical probability of one of them getting bent out of shape.

    I'm *not* arguing that Dr Isis was "lippy" or invited Gee's so-called assault - I don't know and don't care if that's even close to the truth. I'm saying that the internet is a rough place, and if you are going to jump into those waters, you need to be prepared for the sharks. That's not true of getting into a romantic relationship with someone else. No one does that with the expectation of getting beaten up. But the world is full of assholes, and most of them are on the internet. Getting beat up is part of being online, and anyone who goes online to interact with others should expect it to happen sometimes.

    Let me end by considering some famous people who post stuff online every day. Take Paul Krugman. He attracts more than his fair share of vituperation, extending all the way down to horrible ad hominem attacks and death threats. All those people are real assholes. How is what Gee did to Isis any different from what dozens, hundreds, for all I know thousands of people have been doing to Krugman for years?

  • Macrophagic says:

    I'm with Dr Isis in that I rarely read Nature because it's more efficient to PubMed the articles related to my work and those rarely appear in Nature. However given the cache the journal has in the science and civilian world, it seems...strange (not the right word)...that they're having to make such a series of apologies for their recent behavior. Publishing womanspace and last week's whatever-that-was and poor behavior on twitter are n00b mistakes.

    I don't know why we all shouldn't expect a bare minimum of professional behavior.

  • aidel says:

    An example of Isis' bullying: From twitter:

    Dr. Isis ‏@drisis Nov 26

    If any of the rest of you would like to talk some shit at @ccziv, I'll gladly take the fall for you. #sideeye

  • drugmonkey says:

    I don't recall Isis ever lying about her professional rank, although it is certainly the case that an inaccurate impression might have been created by the way she phrased certain things. I'm aware of this b/c I had the same reaction at one point and had to admit where my own assumptions had done a LOT of filling in.

  • drugmonkey says:

    how is that "bullying", aidel? the person associated with that twitter handle talks shit about and at Isis all the damn time. So she talks some smack back. This is not "bullying". As with Gee, it is stupid and juvenile to claim "bullying" because you don't like someone or because they hurt your feelings.

    Publishing womanspace and last week's whatever-that-was and poor behavior on twitter are n00b mistakes.

    One of the reasons people are commenting about these sorts of things is precisely because they are not "noob" mistakes. They are the entirely predictable result of an entrenched patriarchal system of empowerment and privilege that refuses to consider the impact of their actions on out-groups.

  • bill says:

    I'm seeing a lot of "yes, but Isis is an asshole" comments, with "so Spitty was justified" either implied or outright stated. What I take from this is that different people draw the line in different places. I agree that Isis can be a real asshole, but she is also smart and funny and brave -- these things are not mutually exclusive. Also, I've never seen her be enough of an asshole to justify outing her; not even close.

    I guess, though, that there might be behaviour bad enough that I would consider someone justified in outing the pseud who engaged in it. I'm having trouble coming up with a ferinstance -- and even then, the outing would have to be done for the express purpose of stopping the behaviour. Can anyone come up with an example of behaviour that could be stopped by outing, and is bad enough to justify the outing?

  • Chris Ho-Stuart says:

    This from Dr Gee: "I saw a tweet from Dr Isis in which she suggested that I might have been the editor responsible for that particular item of correspondence"

    I am pretty sure this is a reference to a retweet of a tweet actually by... drugmonkey.
    https://twitter.com/drisis/status/423832565925941248

    But he preferred to go after Dr Isis, I guess.

  • jipkin says:

    It could certainly be seen as inflammatory. By what virtue is it either necessary or unnecessary?

    Your points could have been made without it, so it was unnecessary. Also shout-out to grumble for proving my later point about how it leads to someone comparing the content of the analogy to the referenced situation :-)

    I guess we're basically debating how sorry he really feels? Does he feel horrible? Kind of bad? Begrudgingly guilty? Not guilty at all? Sometimes guilty, but sometimes angry? Does he really really really believe he was wrong in the heart of his hearts, or does he just kind of know it intellectually? Is his explanation motivated by a desire to explain himself, or excuse himself, or a little bit of both?

    I just don't see how we can sit here in our offices and homes and come to a reasonably full model of his internal state based on a few of his actions and words. Of course I've only been around for the latest affair so I have less experience, although I get the gist.

    This idea that anyone gets to shout about being "bullied" because they feel slightly bad is stupid. It quells all calling-out of bad behavior and therefore supports and reinforces bad behavior. Particularly when it comes from a position of privilege and narcissism.

    Sure, I agree. But they DO feel the way they do, even if they shouldn't. At least most of the time, I think that's the case. And this is a reality that must be recognized.

    The hard problem, then, is this: what is the most effective way to alter a person's behavior after they have behaved poorly? I know that this post wasn't written with Gee as the intended audience, so this is tangential, but I hypothesize that thin-skinned people or those with insecurities are not likely to respond well to the "being told you are an asshole" treatment.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Despite what they claim, the nicey nice types don't respond to the first, nice, neutral comment.

  • gingerest says:

    I think we can all agree that Isis is a bully when it suits her.

    We don't all agree. Just sayin'.

    And, Drug, I'll be very impressed if you print this comment.

    GodDAMN do I ever hate this gambit. Setting yourself up as the noble, oppressed Silenced All My Life victim who is so regularly unfairly censored that s/he must pre-emptively challenge the censorship. Ugh. Based on the provocative and occasionally boldly unhinged stuff I see in his comments, including comments he answers, DM is either laissez-faire about his comments, or the stuff he's deleting is absolutely off-the-wall batshit and hateful. (And spam, I guess. I don't see a lot of spam.)

  • Isabel says:

    " I think we can all agree that Isis is a bully when it suits her.

    We don't all agree. Just sayin'."

    Do you disagree because you think all the people who have reported this behavior are lying or because you personally haven't witnessed it so it didn't happen?

  • drugmonkey says:

    Do you disagree because you think all the people who have reported this behavior are lying or because you personally haven't witnessed it so it didn't happen?

    I disagree when I am familiar with the events the accuser is referring to and I don't consider it "bullying". As with Gee, as with you.

    DM is either laissez-faire about his comments, or the stuff he's deleting is absolutely off-the-wall batshit and hateful. (And spam, I guess. I don't see a lot of spam.)

    I do not get a lot of batshit and hateful comments here, never have. So I am able to keep a very light hand on the comment tiller. The spam trappers on the site do a pretty good job but yes, occasionally you will see spam comments before I get to them. But have no fears, I reserve the right to do whatever I want with comments :-). I will edit without comment, edit with comment and delete with or without comment if someone is being an idiot.

    A note for any noobs, if you include more than a single link your post will go to moderation and it may take me some time to notice and approve it.

  • kevin. says:

    This had me wondering whether people in reviewer positions, like Dear Mr. Gee, actually do not care one lick about maintaining anonymity in peer review. In fact, because he knows who the reviewers are, I think he relishes the fact that he alone knows all the true players. It gives him an extra buzz of power, of importance, of respect.

  • "One of the reasons people are commenting about these sorts of things is precisely because they are not "noob" mistakes. They are the entirely predictable result of an entrenched patriarchal system of empowerment and privilege that refuses to consider the impact of their actions on out-groups."

    Yes THIS.

    And excellent commentary.

    And... seriously, based on the pattern of escalation so far, if Nature doesn't part ways with Henry Gee soon, he's going to do something even worse. He is a liability to the publishing group. Not to mention bad for women and bad for science.

  • Isabel says:

    "Do you disagree because you think all the people who have reported this behavior are lying or because you personally haven't witnessed it so it didn't happen?

    I disagree when I am familiar with the events the accuser is referring to and I don't consider it "bullying". As with Gee, as with you. "

    I was asking gingerest and talking about Isis obviously. You also are dismissing the assertions that Isis is a bully the same way Gee's and Bora's defenders excuse his behavior. It is astounding to me that people do not see this pattern.

  • Isabel says:

    "I will edit without comment, edit with comment and delete with or without comment if someone is being an idiot. "

    I have to give credit where credit is due: DM has never censored my comments, except for a single time when he explained why at least.

    He also, though it took some convincing, removed a post that misrepresented me in an ugly way. On another occasion he immediately removed some identifying info I inadvertently allowed through.

    Cannot say the same for Isis :(

  • drugmonkey says:

    Isabel- is your constantly being on about my blogging re: cannabis and not re: your favored topics on not just my blog but on every other blog under the sun "bullying"? Including all the vicious accusations you make about what I might or might not care about with respect to the poor, the AfricanAmerican and the otherwise disenfranchised in our society? Is this "bullying" me, in your estimation?

  • Evil Monkey says:

    Ok seriously, that last exchange- is somebody socking up/trolling ? Cuz that's just precious.

  • Juniper says:

    repeatedly calling herself "hot" when her blog was "domestic and laboratory goddess," the whole stupid shoe thing....there are so many examples of things that no university would be proud to call their own

    Wait, what? Who cares if she says she's hot? Why on Earth would that bother anyone? And how is the shoe thing materially different than all my male PIs going on about sports all the time? And why would anyone, including a university administration, care?

    This is a total non-issue, and not just when it comes to whether or not someone is fit for their professional position.

    The first part of this comment is about a more substantial issue (i.e., a given pseudonymous blogger lying about his or her job, if that is even what happened), but I still disagree with the underlying premise: "I'm disgusted with you, so therefore it's ethical for me to out you." Millions of commenters keep trying to get back to that here.

    Meanwhile, if Gee does have major clinical depression, I have great empathy for this. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. But it was still despicable of him to out her. One can have major depression-- as in, hospitalized-for-suicide-attempts, can't-get-off-the-floor-without-treatment, ruining-your-career BMFD bona fide major. clinical. depression.-- and yet refrain from outing pseudonymous bloggers or otherwise wishing other people real ill and trying to harm their careers. Yes, even if one dislikes them.

    DM, I did dislike the spousal abuse analogy, too.

  • Patrick says:

    I'm kind of gobsmacked by the idea that Henry Gee thinks that referencing his past history with Isis is going to come out well for him, or do anything to shore up his "feminist credentials."

  • DrugMonkey says:

    So in other words Isabel, you are totally full of crap about *anyone* cyberbullying.

  • Isabel says:

    Do you think I was bullying you?? Seems you are confused. I am talking about specific incidents not just flaming. As far as your blog, you could have banned me at any time. You led with provocative OPs, sometimes even referring to me. So, I used it as a soapbox.

    Sorry that you now say you feel you have been bullied. When you expressed irritation recently, I left. Since you now admit you feel bullied I won't return. You and your buddies can get together and whine about those anti-science legaleezit folks to your heart's content.

    This all getting really ugly, as expected.

    No other way this discussion could ever go.

  • Isabel says:

    I think part of the confusion is that DM is responding to >1 comments of mine simultaneously, including this one left on another blog:

    "...as you admit in your comment, when I "attack" you on your blog I am 1) attacking DrugMonkey the intentionally provocative, evil stereotyping, koolaid drinking NIDA scientist/disciple/tool. And I am 2) keeping the anger and hyperbole etc contextual and rarely carrying them off the blog or even onto posts about other topics on the blog.

    If I was doing the same thing using your real name on my popular blog and tweeting obnoxious pointless digs at you using your real name* and I had a whole posse of fans and 1000s twitter followers supporting me perhaps it might sting just a bit, might start to feel like an annoying thorn in your side after a while? Yeah it would still be wrong to take action and all that. But it might sting, I suspect.

    *Someone posted some links to some tweets from DI on Michael Eisen's blog post on the topic that fit this description.
    "

  • DrugMonkey says:

    I just think you are a bit uneven in the behavior you claim as "bullying" depending on which end of the pointy object you are on is all. I don't feel bullied b/c I have a reasonably thick skin and a sense of proportion. Gee lacks these. Or pretends to lack them for strategic purposes.

  • Isabel says:

    I have a clear sense of what bullying is. I've studied it. Again, have you been "attacked" under your real name? Can you define "bullying"?

  • lurker says:

    With all this discussion of Outing pseudonymous bloggers, this link is worth revisiting.
    http://scienceblogs.com/ethicsandscience/2009/04/01/outing-pseudonymous-bloggers/

    Had me going that Dr.Isis/DrugMonkey/PhysioProf were all split personalities of the same individual.......

  • Joanne Williams says:

    LOL...I like the resorting to be a misunderstood Brit at the end of the article. I've used it myself in many a sticky situation.

  • DJMH says:

    My only objection to the wife-beating analogy is that when you type it without hyphens, you make it look like you're talking about a wife beating a husband.
    /grammar bullying

    The basic point, that apologizing with caveats like Henry's, produces the effect of a non-pology, is completely accurate.

  • Jason says:

    Isis is an asshole. Still shouldn't have been outed like that.

  • Isabel, if it helps the discussion, I view you as a bully and rarely read through your posts because they are generally pretty vindictive and without any payoff. Maybe try an exercise where you pretend someone else wrote your posts and is referring to you.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Exactly. And the point here is that the Gee standard, and the one Isabel and aidel and other haters-of-Isis are advancing, would permit me to out Isabel. It's not a principle, it's petulance.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Oh and defining cyberbullying isn't the trick Isabel. From the pedia

    "Cyber-bullying could be limited to posting rumors or gossips about a person in the internet bringing about hatred in other’s minds; or it may go to the extent of personally identifying victims and publishing materials severely defaming and humiliating them."

    The trick is in deciding where the line between normal debate and bullying lies. Make no mistake, Gee is deploying these terms and accusing Isis of it deliberately. It is another attempt to try to force her to shut up. To try to get this into some legally actionable context. This is not only whining.

    This is another reason people like Isabel and aidel may want to consider just what behavior represents online "bullying" very closely. It is going to be hard to draw a line that doesn't leave many of us, including these two, over on the bully side.

  • dsks says:

    "LOL...I like the resorting to be a misunderstood Brit at the end of the article. I've used it myself in many a sticky situation."

    Yeah, wtf was that about? That was a cheap get-out if ever there was one. He said,

    "What differs, I suspect, are the modes that people of different cultures and traditions regard as acceptable as discourse in the blogosphere. It seems that, more than ever, Brits and Americans remain separated by a common language."

    Eh? Nonsense. The cultural variety in discourse, blogging or otherwise, is as diverse in the UK as it is over here, you can't draw comparisons like that, let alone use them as an excuse. The reserved middle class southern Englishman has less in common with his own brethren north of Birmingham than he has with a suburban American living in St. Louis County, MO (first hand knowledge of that). As it is, Gee only need get on the train and travel a few miles to find people as forthright and opinionated as any American or Mediterranean latin. How a dude who grew up in a country with a parliament and tabloid media as rowdy and uncompromisingly mean as ours could have obtained such a thin skin with regard to the mere written barb is something of a mystery.

  • Mikka says:

    All this butthurt on both sides of the story is distracting from what I think is the worst of Gee, meaning the tweets where he references a "list" (a shit-list I assume). The mere suggestion that he has a "list", even if he was only kidding, is a direct hit on the role of professional editors as impartial arbiters of science communication.

    If I were Nature, I'd be more concerned about this than about the pearl-clutching PR fallout. It plays directly into the picture that Scheckman paints of professional editors (how dare they decide what's nature-worthy? I should be the one deciding!). They should investigate the editor, and make it clear that they saw no evidence of a "list".

    I don't want to downplay the prevalence of rabid misogyny in Academia, it's a bad problem that dwarfs any "lists". But for Nature' reputation, this is worse.

  • Isabel says:

    " would permit me to out Isabel." you just stood by when Isis did it to me. Why are you being so dense here?

    No, I have never bullied DM. There is no comparison to Isis' behavior. If you are going to accuse me of bullying you need to make a case for it.

    The second DM expressed irritation I left. (he literally asks for it btw mentioning me in posts and deliberately mis-characterizing my views repeatedly he calls it FWDAOTI). And now that he says I am bullying him, well, I won't ever engage him again.

    My anti-prohibition views are dead serious. Most people around here think the whole drug war crisis is some kind of joke, then they lecture me for not fitting their ideal of a progressive. Therefore "I" am the bully when I stand up to a much more powerful NIDA propaganda spewing scientist.

    Are you all brain dead or something? How can you not see the irony here?

  • Isabel says:

    ""Cyber-bullying could be limited to posting rumors or gossips about a person in the internet bringing about hatred in other’s minds; or it may go to the extent of personally identifying victims and publishing materials severely defaming and humiliating them.""

    I have never done anything even close to this. So there is no way to draw a line that would leave me on the wrong side of it.

    You know, even in our "debates" you are a bigger asshole then me, DM. You don't even read my comments, you constantly accuse me of saying things I did not say, then refuse to post a reference eg "legaleezeit folks like Isabel claim that pot is magical and harmless" and you even admit it. Now yo are crying and saying I am a bully. Pathetic.

  • Cynric says:

    I don't recall Isis ever lying about her professional rank, although it is certainly the case that an inaccurate impression might have been created by the way she phrased certain things. I'm aware of this b/c I had the same reaction at one point and had to admit where my own assumptions had done a LOT of filling in.

    This was the most startling aspect for me too. Wracking my brains, I can't remember any overt claims from Isis, but I totally related to what she had to say from my perspective as a young(ish) PI. I even occasionally caught myself thinking of my students and postdocs as 'my muffins'.

    Just goes to show how pernicious the influence of authoritah is. It was a jolt for me to readjust my mental pigeonholing of her, followed by the realization that such pigeonholing is exactly the problem that her pseud overcame.

    Now she faces jerks using the authoritah stick to try and beat her down, which is no doubt exactly what Gee intended.

  • Cynric says:

    Are you all brain dead or something? How can you not see the irony here?

    I took DM's point to be that if Isis has "bullied" Gee by robustly criticizing him, then by the same measure you have bullied DM. But that in his opinion, neither counts as bullying.

    But, you know, possibly I'm brain dead.

  • Isabel says:

    DM was trying to blur my actions with Isis' and there is no comparison. hers clearly fit in the definition and mine don't - so why does he keep saying I could suffer the same fate when

    1. I already did! No one is even denying this! It's incredible to me, but then the hypocrisy of some people never ceases to amaze. Isis outed my location in an attempt to shut me up. Everyone approved, because of my "robust" criticisms.

    2. My actions do not fit the definition at all. Other people (eg nicoleand maggie) may be equating "robust" or "forceful" or "unpleasant" with bullying but I am not doing that.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Of course you severely defame and humiliate me with your comments Isabel! Way more repeatedly and in my circles than anything Isis ever said to Henry. And since many others said similar mean things to me, especially in the Sb days, this adds the special-circumstances charge of "piling on".

  • drugmonkey says:

    Btw: outing your location is not at all okay, Isabel. As I alluded to in a prior post the dropping of breadcrumbs is shitty behavior. On this I agree with you if it was done. I guess I never saw that. Refusing to edit a comment in which you yourself fuck up...well that's less bad. There is some personal responsibility here on the tubes. Obviously I would choose to edit such details for my commenters but that's me.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Most people around here think the whole drug war crisis is some kind of joke

    SEE??? Right there a scurrilous and hateful lie about me and all of my commenters. You have no evidence for this and you keep alleging it. Over and over with various shades of personal attack. You have even been corrected repeatedly. And yet you persist. Kinda like a ....dare I say it?.....bully.

  • Cynric says:

    DM was trying to blur my actions with Isis' and there is no comparison. hers clearly fit in the definition and mine don't - so why does he keep saying I could suffer the same fate when

    With the caveat that I'm an infrequent blog visitor (and hadn't followed Isis for a couple of years before this kicked off), I suggest you reflect on the reasons for your belief above.

    Because from where I'm sitting you attribute a lot more ignoble opinions and nefarious motives to DM than I ever saw Isis attribute to Henry Gee.

  • SpaceSquid says:

    This is the "....I only drink because of you!...." gambit. No, seriously. Whether you have depressions or anxieties or whatever....I am with you. I hope you get better and I do not think you should suffer discrimination for it. But it is NOT an excuse for deliberate, hurtful attacks. This insults everyone that suffers from depression. It puts the blame wrongly back on Dr. Isis. And on anyone else who dared criticize Henry for his actions at Science Online and in soliciting and publishing Womanspace. Not only are we hurting his ego..but we are also deepening his depression. And that is our fault, despite not having the faintest inkling he was depressed.

    This was the point where you lost me a little (which is to say; excellent post, very well-argued), because it looks a little like conflating two ideas. The fact that the actions of someone are not excused by their depression, I agree with entirely. I don't think that means it cannot be offered up in the context of an apology - "Sorry I was so awful to you yesterday; my depression was really acting up and I took it out on you, which is inexcusable"- but that clearly isn't Gee was doing, so, fair enough. Nuts to the gentleman in question.

    That said, I'm also leery of an argument that goes "It's not my fault I upset you because I didn't know you were depressed". You can certainly argue his original comments were so problematic that pointing and mocking was an appropriate response despite the consequences to the guy. I'm not for a second suggesting we should temper righteous objection because it might make fools and bullies suffer. I'm also comfortable with the idea that Gee mentioning this as though it were a justification for an action rather than a factor in a mistake seems like a fairly dickish move. Gee deliberately caused Isis problems because he could. Others accidentally caused Gee problems in the course of trying to make him understand how he'd messed up.

    But these are reasons why you shouldn't need to feel upset about worsening someone's depression, or worry that the chance of that happening might mean you shouldn't call powerful figures (in whatever circles) on their BS. They are not get-out-of-jail cards for what actually transpired. In a post that centres on the insufficiency of the "I hurt you but you deserved it" argument, I think the position should surely be "hurting you was both accidental and in pursuit of defending others you have hurt", not "it's not our fault you were hurt." Sure, Gee wasn't being lippy, he was genuinely being an arse. But what happened, happened.

    (Just for the record, I'm not crazy about the alcoholic/depression analogy, either, mainly because blaming someone for your actions strikes me as different to blaming someone for your emotions. Then again, I'm a sufferer of depression and not an alcoholic, so maybe I'm being unfair/over-sensitive.)

  • DrugMonkey says:

    I was trying to make the point that I don't agree all public discourse must match itself to the preferences of the most sensitive participants or bystanders. And I do not agree that failing to do so constitutes bullying.

  • Ed Rybicki says:

    @Bill: "He could have bullied Isis, and probably did, but the reverse is simply not possible"
    Really. You'd fit in well in the racism debate here in SA.

  • miko says:

    Do go on, Ed.

  • dsks says:

    "This was the most startling aspect for me too. Wracking my brains, I can't remember any overt claims from Isis, but I totally related to what she had to say from my perspective as a young(ish) PI. I even occasionally caught myself thinking of my students and postdocs as 'my muffins'."

    I was surprised for about a minute before, like you, reflecting on the fact that the surprise was derived more from my own assumptions (and possibly subconscious sexism, to be honest*) than anything Isis had written implying she was something she wasn't.

    Upon reflection, and based on my own experience, I can totally understand how a senior scientist in a lab could, to all intents and purposes, execute and understand many of the chief responsibilities of a PI. They will be responsible for student training, take the lead in drafting grants relating to their own project &c, often teach... About the only thing they might miss out on is the faculty meetings and service-related stuff. I think this is probably particularly common in large US labs where, intentionally or no, a sort of European hierarchy emerges.

    * "Bold, confident, and forthright female scientist... she must be at a stable place in her career." kinda thinking.

  • zb says:

    I think the issue for Nature is that there's no reason to trust Gee's respect for pseudonymous review. He's stated clearly that he believes he has the right to make the decision about whether someone should be pseudonymous. Yes, he might try to make a distinction in cases where pseudonymous is an obligation (i.e. Nature has promised it to their reviewers). But, there's an appearance of impropriety and I wouldn't trust him.

    I also worry that he's actually spiraling off the deep end here and that there are real life people looking out for him.

    (Interesting thought that the accusation of cyber-bullying/depression/treatment might be a deliberate attempt at legal maneuvering. But, I'd always rather chose the behavior that does as little harm as possible, which means, yes, we criticize the action, but stay away from the personal attacks as much as possible.)

  • zb says:

    It's kind of like trusting Snowden with a secret. I respect what he decided he needed to do and am glad he did it. But, I wouldn't trust him with a secret now. And I wouldn't trust Gee with anonymous review.

  • Isabel says:

    " if it was done."

    You were there. I complained loudly and you didn't care. Apparently neither did Janet, who I appealed to directly.

    Now you are being a real ass to continue with this pretend analogy. You open a post with "wait til the anti-science legaleezitmon folks like Isabel read this study! I'm sure they won't believe it since it might stop them in their quest to get their fix more conveniently" and I take the bait (for my own purposes of raising awareness about the biggest crisis we face in this country) and suddenly I am being mean. Yeah right.

    With every single post you act dismissively towards me, often in provocative ways right in the OP -and now you play the victim? YOU are the bully in this analogy. AND you could just silence me at any time. Anyone who thinks I am a bully and isis is not has major issues they should work on. I mean that seriously.

    "Refusing to edit a comment in which you yourself fuck up...well that's less bad."

    what are you talking about? I never asked Isis for anything, that was just a example of professionalism on your part. I did ask her to show evidence of these "bad words" I supposedly called her on her blog or retract the accusation. instead she spread lies about me.

    "Of course you severely defame and humiliate me with your comments Isabel!"
    Good (sarcastically because this is such a stupid thing to say). Why can't you NIDA funded scientists get together, stand up and say "this website you made for teens does not reflect the scientific research in our area?" instead of whining about mean commenters,

    "You have no evidence for this and you keep alleging it" i have plenty of evidence. The silence on the topic is a little hard to ignore. And what about the time we were discussing the topic at PalMD's place and Isis barged in with a patchouli joke? Remember that? Alcohol has better shoes? That was hilarious wasn't it?

  • Isabel says:

    "I think the issue for Nature is that there's no reason to trust Gee's respect for pseudonymous review. "

    seriously? you use a specific handle for reviews?

    In any case, this all seems a little pearl clutchy to me along with the hysteria over the "list" etc. He's been an editor for decades- I wouldn't worry about it.

  • Isabel says:

    Well, the teen website (though important) is kind of a weak example. Every single action taken by the feds against the American people in this horrific drug war has a scientific stamp of approval on it that reads "NIH/NIDA" - Sure we need to support science and sometimes DoD money has to be used etc. but I can't think of any other area where the connection is so direct and where the results have been so directly harmful to Americans (who foot the bill).

    Well maybe that explains your head in the sand reaction. In any case you are really going over the top here today in a very disturbing way. Now it seems you are gaslighting me. No one can ever speak out against your buddy, you are all over the blogs n every thread. It's very weird- why the hell can't people criticize Isis?

    It is unreal. No point in me continuing.

  • Cynric says:

    It's kind of like trusting Snowden with a secret. I respect what he decided he needed to do and am glad he did it. But, I wouldn't trust him with a secret now. And I wouldn't trust Gee with anonymous review.

    Perhaps I'm overly cynical, but I never really trusted that editors would be completely discreet. It seems inevitable that the gossipy network building involved in cultivating professional relationships with the *ahem* consequential scientists at the top of the glamour game would involve some off-the-record sharing-of-confidences.

  • None says:

    I think Isabelle did a good job showing the hypocrisy about this whole anti-Gee movement. Yeah, he fucked up but just look in the mirror guys/ladies. I'm getting a migraine from all this eye rolling.

  • zb says:

    "Perhaps I'm overly cynical, but I never really trusted that editors would be completely discreet."

    Or I'm hopelessly naive (a real possibility). I always took the anonymity (and the privacy of reviews) very seriously.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Now it seems you are gaslighting me.
    Perhaps. Clearly my recollection of events doesn't match the sort of paranoia that you have about it. Yeah, clearly she doesn't like you and she doesn't pull her jabs. But I've never seen her seek you out to make comments. You, otoh, do this.

    No one can ever speak out against your buddy, you are all over the blogs n every thread. It's very weird- why the hell can't people criticize Isis?

    You can, just be accurate. This idea that she bullied Henry is ridiculous. Absolutely false unless, as I repeatedly say, it is true that there is a bunch of subterranean stuff that hasn't come to light yet. But given the main events that are on the table, it isn't "bullying". I don't think it is in your case either, although since it all takes place in random comment threads that I might not remember or be able to google search out quickly, I'm willing to entertain that it might be worse. Except for the fact that it isn't unsolicited in your case. You show up and comment.

    With every single post you act dismissively towards me, often in provocative ways right in the OP -and now you play the victim?

    The fact that I know my topics will tend to bait you into a frenzy is not me bullying you Isabel. My blog topics that irritate you were initiated long before you showed up to throw a fit about it.

    But FFS Isabel. Go read what Cynric said. I'm making a point about your ridiculous hypocrisy on the topic of "bullying" comments. Your comments directed at me fully qualify.You can't even resist showing your bullying comments in THIS very thread. The only reason it isn't bullying is because I don't feel bullied in the slightest by you. I have kind of a thick skin for your variety of insults and scurrilous accusations about my character, motivations and professional behavior. Everything you are doing is way, way worse than anything that has come to light about Isis interacting with Gee. You have done it over years now and with regularity. You show up to EVERY post on a certain topic to derail it to what you want to talk about. You bring this shit up on other blogs on threads that are unrelated to that topic. You cut and paste long screeds...sure sign of nuttery. You hardly ever confine yourself to what I write but venture off into your various fevers about what I believe and care about and my being beholden to some vast conspiratorial prohibitionist cabal. That is the point here. That you do this and then have the NERVE to accuse anyone else of bullying you. It's absurd.

    Just like Henry's assertion is absurd to anyone who saw SpittleFest go down and who witnessed his little Twitterfest this week.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Or I'm hopelessly naive (a real possibility). I always took the anonymity (and the privacy of reviews) very seriously.

    I think you are naive. People are people. Stuff happens.

  • Isabel says:

    "Exactly. And the point here is that the Gee standard, and the one Isabel and aidel and other haters-of-Isis are advancing, would permit me to out Isabel. It's not a principle, it's petulance."

    perfect example of what you do in the cannabis discussions. Completely mischaracterize my position. Now I am an "Isis hater" for bringing up this hypocrisy on the part of the whole community, and I am advancing a "petulant" principle that would allow people to be outed.

    jesus fuck Drugmonkey, stop it already. I am advancing the radical idea that no one should be outed and no one should be bullied. I am calling YOU out, and you are not taking it well.

    And the idea that complaints about bullying by women should be automatically dismissed because of the "tone argument" is getting old. And yeah I know what it is. I'm a working class woman from an immigrant family in academia remember? I live it every day. Code switching too!

  • drugmonkey says:

    And the idea that complaints about bullying by women should be automatically dismissed because of the "tone argument" is getting old.

    I didn't advance any such idea and I believe it is entirely possible for the pseudonymous identity known as Dr. Isis to bully the real life identity Henry Gee on the internet. I don't buy this argument that it is not possible because of Henry's real life position relative to either Dr. Isis or her IRL personage at all.

    I just don't think that anything Dr. Isis has done (that I am aware of) amounts to bullying him. And I think he is using this bullying charge, explicitly or implicitly, as an excuse to avoid facing up to the substance of the critique.

    I also think people like you and aidel are cynically using this defense of Henry's as an opportunity to take potshots at Isis over your own individual issues with her (which also don't amount to bullying). If individually you can't make your charges stick perhaps together you can? Is that the rationale?

    Also, I have received information reminding me of the supposed outing that you allege in this thread and it was not good true, but it was a breadcrumb at best. I get way more specific bread-crumb-dropping about me from people who are intentionally trying to threaten me with outing as well as my friends who forget the significance of their comments.

  • Isabel says:

    And no, you do not know what bullying is. Like harassment, it has an actual definition. To say I am bullying on this thread? You need to break it down, explain how you think it is bullying. Incredible that I am here explaining and defending myself over being outed and bullied and I am accused of being a bully.

    As offensive as your wild mischaracterization of me in that paragraph above is, even if it were true which part would be bullying, especially when you post provocatively, insulting anti-prohibitionists right in the title? And you engage with me, you laugh about it and call it FWDAOTI and reference me in tweets jokingly.
    I do stay mostly on topic and on the right threads. I do address the specifics in the OPs. And you could easily ask me to leave or just ban me so why didn't you?

    And why the insults and provocation?? Why didn't you just stop doing that? How many times did I have to defend myself from the totally false accusation that I say cannabis is "totally harmless"? It wasn't just at me- I repeatedly asked you to identify these "legaleezeit folks" you keep complaining about, who are anti-science etc but you don't and you can't. I am standing up for a whole movement that is doing really important work.

    If you are not going to to take action about the NIDA direction at least you could not be constantly slandering anti-prohibitionists. This is the main thing I complain about, and those are the posts I am guaranteed to "chime in on" -not all cannabis and certainly not all drug or addiction posts. What you wantias to be able to lob insults at activists in an area you actually seem to know little about and expect no one to argue about it or to not get mad when you keep repeating it.

    "...Yeah, clearly she doesn't like you and she doesn't pull her jabs. But I've never seen her seek you out to make comments. You, otoh, do this. "

    As far as Isis, our very first interaction (I remember it well seeing as she was a bit of a celebrity in the community) was during an argument with CPP and others and she just joined in piling on, making some random joke about me. That set the tone right there. And I've had no interaction with her for years. I learned early on that she is not to be trusted. Yes, I have paid a price for that and for speaking out now about her behavior toward me. Do you think I don't worry that one day soon PlS or one of her other friends might be scanning my NSF proposal? Will they be objective?

    "Now it seems you are gaslighting me.
    Perhaps. Clearly my recollection of events doesn't match the sort of paranoia that you "

    You just can't make this shit up.

    Okay I'm done. This has been a total waste of time.

  • becca says:

    I talked with Gee after the confrontation with Zuska. He is, in my best estimation, honestly at times hyper sensitive and perceives threats where others wouldn't (often associated with depression). So its entirely possible he is not seeking out opportunities to look clever or feel big or have fun at others expense out of a sick idea that the other persons feelings don't matter*... But rather reacting emotionally (and not healthily) to what seem to him to be threats to his core self. In short, I think the model of "a bully who themselves was bullied/immersed in pathological interactions" fits better than "cold, calculating sociopath". I take him at his word that he felt bullied.
    But then, that's true in many domestic violence situations. It doesnt matter to culpability questions. It merely means that to change the behavior you have to get the incentives right AND break deep bad habits.

    *Frankly, I see more of that in this thread, and at CPPs place, than most places

  • Isabel says:

    Okay our comments crossed so one more:

    " If individually you can't make your charges stick perhaps together you can? Is that the rationale?"

    I have no clue who or what you are talking about. I am pointing out that Isis did the same thing to a less powerful person and the community supported her. She also made up lies about me, not rhetorical but very specific ones. That is my entire point. All outing and bullying is bad. I am not making a case that Isis bullied Gee -but I do think some of the tweets she made that are circulating fit the definition you posted. They were not about calling out, they were personal and meant to mock and humiliate.

    "Also, I have received information reminding me of the supposed outing"

    hahaha from who? Never mind I don't even want to know. It's making me sick that I have become involved in this ridiculous drama again.

    "that you allege in this thread and it was not good true, but it was a breadcrumb at best. I get way more "
    Comparing my situation to that of a tenured professor? And it wasn't a big enough breadcrumb? Big enough for me to take as a warning.

  • Zuska says:

    I do think the analogy DM chose is appropriate, and I outline my reason(s) here.
    http://scientopia.org/blogs/thusspakezuska/2014/01/24/defining-the-discourse-and-words-we-use-who-gets-to/

    It is important to understand how discourse is used to control people and events, and to recognize PATTERNS in discourse that occur over and over. It's not like every awful situation has to invent its own rhetorical wheels.

  • Juniper says:

    Very apropos: Glynn Washington shows how a genuine full-stop polar-opposite-of-a-not-pology APOLOGY is done when he discusses a newspaper column he wrote in law school on this week's episode of NPR's Snap Judgment (#502, segment "Poster Boy").

  • Eli Rabett says:

    Nature has issued a statement
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    23 January 2014

    We would not normally comment on a point of view expressed by an employee in a personal capacity and in their personal time. However, as Nature was mentioned in a recent personal Twitter post by a Nature editor, it is necessary for us to clarify our views and policies. Firstly, we are pleased that the editor in this case has apologised to Dr Isis for the language used and for the fact that her identity was revealed. We also wish to make clear that both the language and behaviour are contrary to Nature's principles and codes of editorial practice, and indeed contrary to the practices of all our editors. We encourage civility and respect on social media by our employees, and hope for similar standards from those we interact with. Blindness to the status of research authors is enshrined in our editorial selection policies and practices, as is the respect for, and protection of, anonymity. We take our responsibilities to our authors and reviewers seriously and we protect the identities of anonymous reviewers, manuscript authors or authors of magazine articles. Our policies on anonymity are detailed on our author and reviewer services pages: http://www.nature.com/authors/index.html. We continue to listen to reactions and are carefully considering the issues. The history and circumstances are complex, so we will not be commenting further on the specifics at this time.
    -----------------------------------------------------

    And Eli is a bunny.

  • Eli Rabett says:

    The perfect storm

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v505/n7483/full/505291e.html#comment-62639
    ------------------------------------

    2014-01-17 07:50 AM

    Report this comment #62639

    Nature Editorial said:

    Nature has a strong history of supporting women in science and of reflecting the views of the community in our pages, including Correspondence. Our Correspondence pages do not reflect the views of the journal or its editors; they reflect the views only of the correspondents.

    We do not endorse the views expressed in this Correspondence (or indeed any Correspondences unless we explicitly say so). On re-examining the letter and the process, we consider that it adds no value to the discussion and unnecessarily inflames it, that it did not receive adequate editorial attention, and that we should not have published it, for which we apologize. This note will appear online on nature.com in the notes section of the Correspondence and in the Correspondence's pdf.

    Nature's own positive views and engagement in the issues concerning women in science are represented by our special from 2013:
    http://www.nature.com/women

    Philip Campbell, Editor-in-Chief, Nature

  • gingerest says:

    I am very late back to this because it was a 3-day weekend where I am and I forgot about it so I didn't see your question, Isabel. "Do you disagree because you think all the people who have reported this behavior are lying or because you personally haven't witnessed it so it didn't happen?" is sort of a "When did you stop beating your wife, Senator?" trap question.

    I don't agree she's a bully because I've witnessed the exchanges in her comments section, and I didn't consider her behavior bullying. It's not that the I "think people reporting this behavior" are lying - it's that I think they're wrong.

  • gingerest says:

    I should clarify: not just in Dr. Isis' comments. I have been around the science blogs for a long time, and I have read your exchanges with Isis, DM, and others, in many comments sections, and Isis didn't come off as bullying to me. You are extraordinarily persistent, you scatter your comments and responses across multiple blogs' comments sections, and you tend to escalate your rhetoric across as well as within sections. This is a very unorthodox style of commenting, and it necessitates a rather unorthodox response from the blog authors. But even failing to take that into account, you're challenging, provocative, and aggressive, and all I've ever seen Isis do is dish as good as she gets from you.

  • Isabel says:

    @gingerest: You should reread the thread. You missed something rather important. Right in the middle of a flame war - not what is being discussed here- she mentioned my location. DM now admits it happened but claims it was a mere breadcrumb.

    It was a warning. Totally uncool- not Isis being mean. Isis being uncool. She also repeatedly said I called her a "bad word" in a censored comment on her blog and I never said anything of the kind. No one is complaining about flames (though I think in all cases on line the pile-ons, with a whole crowd haranguing one person, have an element of bullying).

    before you pontificate on my history you should get it straight. It all started with Isis barging in and piling on with a joke when I was arguing with someone else. She set the tone. I mocked her back; it was fun. Yes, I agree, she wasn't happy about me being so "persistent". I have never attacked anyone who did not attack me first. That would not be a problem, except Isis fights dirty and she is in an advantageous position.

    re DM -again reread the thread and observe your own biases. the rest of your comment (well the whole comment actually) strikes me as tone policing. I hardly post at all anymore (in years!) except drugmmonkey blog, and he admits to being a troll in those cases.

    No comparison to making public goatfucker jokes using someone's real name or just ambushing targets. If you read the definition of bullying upthread that DM posted you can quickly see that while my "persistent" style may distress you, it does not qualify. However Isis' tweets about Gee appear to. gee is being scapegoated, and now you, DM and others are "secondarily scapegoating" me with these accusations of bullying.

  • sleddog says:

    A frequent lurker here... This post is spot-on. DrugMonkey, you rock.

    That is all.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    I am not tone policing you Isabel. I am pointing out what an utter hypocrite you are to claim anyone is bullying you, given your own behavior. This is different from telling you to knock it off or patronizingly suggesting you'd be more effective if you dialed it down.

  • Isabel says:

    I was talking to gingerest. "re DM" meaning as far as my tone with DM.

    And no I am not the hypocrite here. I've never bullied anyone. Doesn't appeal.

    But keep up the secondary scapegoating by continuing to suggest that.

  • gingerest says:

    Yes, Isabel was saying I'm tone-policing her. Which I'm not - I am not suggesting you tone it down or take a different approach, I'm saying it's pretty hard to respond to someone who's making slight variants on the same argument over three or more different comments sections. It's hard to keep track of it, even. Which I am saying from experience.

    And I have no idea who started it, Isabel, and I don't care, because it's been at least six years and there's a lot more to it than who started it - there's a consistent pattern where people will be talking about something and you'll drag in your hobbyhorse topic (it's tough out there for a poor white person) and your grudge and totally derail the conversation. You think I'm a total stranger coming out of the blue, but I'm not - I'm just mostly a lurker (except when I "pontificate", which is pretty fucking rich coming from you) and I've had a lot of opportunity to watch this pattern. I tried to be kind and gentle about this (and maybe I was patronizing) but you're just so full of shit and ridiculous drama.

  • Isabel says:

    Will you please step back? I don't know you and I haven't said one word about you and you keep piling it on. What the hell is your problem? Now, you feel a sudden vengeful need to attack me, because DM planted the idea in your head because he is trying to discredit me? Honestly how can people be so unaware? Please stop replying to me- it is beyond creepy. This whole situation is actually quite threatening to me and of course I should have disengaged before. But the hypocrisy and hysteria lately is too much-to let this slide after my concerns in the past were ignored and now the same people are calling for this guy to get fired?

    I have barely discussed the subjects you mentioned in years, except that yes, if there is an injustice I may say something since no one else ever does. So what? Suddenly this is a big issue? Suddenly you need to make a big case for me being horrible? Please look up scapegoating, okay? I am not even on blogs very often, and I have had no interactions with Isis for years. My participation stands out because I am not going with the crowd and I don't care or look for approval. In recent years have mostly been "speaking truth to power" in the comments to the occasional cannabis posts where DM mocks and mis-represents anti-prohibitionists. He is trolling, as he admits, so he is inviting it.

    As DM knows, I was an activist for many years who tried to get mothers out of unfair life sentences for minor drug offensives and raise awareness about other drug war issues and yet he keeps saying things like "the real reason Isabel wants legalization is to make it easier to get her stash, she just won't admit it." He says this repeatedly even after he is corrected, and then laughs about it calling it FWDAOTI. Why don't you call him out? He also claims I derail those threads but that is a lie also- he puts it in the OP with his sneering remarks every time. If I spar with him to relieve my blood pressure from time to time what of it? It is not bullying or derailing in any way, shape or form. With a push of a buuton he could make me disappear at any time. It is not remotely comparable to viscous acts like simply making fun of someone on social media using their real name and DM's trolling remarks preclude him from playing the victim.

    Please take a breath, and if you can't understand my posts don't read them. The current threads are way confusing and overlong thanks to people trying to argue with me, denying the importance of the point I was making, derailing, and then, predictably, starting a campaign to discredit me. Your opinion of my writing is completely irrelevant to the current situation- why can't you see that? Well you can't. Like many here you are in the grip of hysteria stirred up by DM and a few others and are acting irrationally. Again, please back off.

    That's why I keep saying that people need to educate themselves about scapegoating and mobbing and yes, bullying. These things have definitions. I get that people just can't handle the reality that Isis did the same thing to me that they are now denouncing while they stood by, and so it becomes a "minor bread crumb" and I am a horrible person who has no right to bring up this old complaint about how Isis is "mean" especially now when she is suffering so. So okay I will back off before the attacks get worse and more dangerous for me and let those who have in turn been outed for their hypocritical non-response to lick their wounds; I realize it is unrealistic to expect an actual apology let alone an acknowledgement that the standards in the community were not so high to begin with. But no guarantees I will stay away if you keep slandering me.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Isabel- sorry, but referring to Isis' real name and to your general very broad geographical region (which may not even be accurate) is a different thing.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Oh and Isabel? I have no idea what sort of activist you may or may not be. Don't know who you are, at all. May have heard allegations from others in the past but even that I've forgotten. I deal with your Internet persona, full stop.

  • Isabel says:

    True, you would have had to actually read my comments to have picked up that info. And you don't. In fact I just mentioned it again a couple of months ago. I followed that up with a link to a new ACLU report about the situation.

    Any amount of identifying information suddenly dropped into a conversation would rightly be taken as a warning by anyone. Combined with to other info I had revealed it was certainly helpful to anyone trying to figure out who I was and was absolutely threatening. Dropping "bread crumbs" intentionally is wrong. Are you now saying it is okay to do?

  • Evelyn says:

    Isabel - this is coming from someone who believes that we should legalize all drugs - just stop. You are turning off even people who are sympathetic to your stance. I'm sorry you felt threatened by Dr. Isis, but I have to say that I have read her blog for a long, long, LONG time and don't ever remember her bullying anyone. I just don't buy your version of the story, sorry. Your sensitivity is very apparent from your comments but if you are truly an activist, then please consider how you are presenting yourself (at least online). Because right now, you are not winning any hearts or minds.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Dropping a hint that the blogger knows who you are could certainly be a move to shut you up. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't so intended. Either way it is bad. Still pales in comparison to name outing. Not the same ballpark, not the same zip code. All your anger at Isis does not make this so.

  • Isabel says:

    "I just don't buy your version of the story, sorry. "

    DM just admitted it. What the hell is wrong with people? Seriously? So you and DM are saying, if a blogger drops a bread crumb about a pseudonymous commenter, mentioning their location, even though no threats or anything have been made, that is okay behavior and not worthy of any outrage?

    This was my point exactly. Total outrage when it happens to someone in the ingroup, shrugged shoulders when it happens to someone in the outgroup.

    It IS the same thing. It is a warning, and combined with other information can definitely identify the commenter and even put them in danger.

    " then please consider how you are presenting yourself (at least online). Because right now, you are not winning any hearts or minds."

    because of some random person I never heard of who thinks she speaks for all. And who said I was trying to do that? I gave up activism over a decade ago. I said it lowers my blood pressure. And who knows whether some lurker hasn't picked up some ideas? They wouldn't admit it in this climate. Why are you reading this btw? Another with a need to pile on. Did you do that reading I suggested? Apparently not.

    "Still pales in comparison to name outing"

    Even though she was basically out already?- um no. Same thing. Used as a threat to shut me up.

    "All your anger at Isis does not make this so."

    My "anger" is at the whole hypocritical sanctimonious "community". Isis is a joke to me. She is extremely manipulative, as are you, which makes you both predictable and boring, though dangerous. I can't imagine why anyone looks up to either of you. Any interest I have is in the whole scary group dynamic. because you are so sure you don't do any of those bad things like othering and scapegoating, you have no awareness about them and no checks-and it's just through the roof. "Isis outs Isabel=whatever, Gee outs Isis=fire him!"

  • Isabel says:

    FTR I had divulged other information about my uni at that time as well as established that I was anon-traditional grad student. So bread crumbs really matter at that point.

    I emailed Janet and others to ask them to please convince Isis to remove it and they never even replied. Nice people, huh?

  • Isabel says:

    Advice to Isis: "You go girl! Don't listen to those racist sexist tone police. Keep calling 'em goatfuckers=speaking truth to power"

    Advice to Isabel: "please consider how you are presenting yourself (at least online). Because right now, you are not winning any hearts or minds."

  • drugmonkey says:

    because you are so sure you don't do any of those bad things

    It is not I that is eternally convinced of my own lack of doing bad things, Isabel.

  • Isabel says:

    Another pathetic response.

    Well DM, Janet and followers, you've done an amazingly sucky job of modeling how to respond when someone calls you on your shit. What a surprise....

    Here's another sore loser:

    http://www.celebstoner.com/news/celebstoner-news/2014/01/30/sore-loser-dea-head-miffed-about-softball-game/

    See ya.

  • Noni Mausa says:

    Nipping in for a comment on the "how dare you compare" argument against comparing wife abuse to bullying and/or outing.

    These sorts of comparisons are valuable tools. Metaphor allows us to recognize patterns. These patterns, once recognized, allow people to understand stereotypical hostile interactions -- see the forest rather than one tree.

    Very many hostile interactions follow almost kabuki levels of formal structure, probably because each strategy is effective, at least in the short term.

    For instance, insincere apologies can look very convincing, up till the transgression is repeated, often with bells on. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    Inversion of all sorts, (i.e. aggressor as victim, aggression as care, liberal as fascist, wage slavery as job creation) is such a common strategy that, once you are alert, you see it everywhere. It works by being confusing, forcing a thinking, compassionate or fair-minded opponent to waste time and energy evaluating nonsense while their opponent gaily continues their trampling.

    And that is if the victim even perceives the interaction as hostile. If they think they are in a marriage, business partnership, or other normal relationship, it may take them a long time to learn otherwise. They may even come to believe that the aggressive interaction typifies marriage, employment, banking, health insurance etc, rather than being aberrations.

    A third strategy, outright irrational outbursts or unprovoked and disproportionate violence, can cow the opponent/victim in all other interaction whether apparently civil or not, as they realize that violence is always on the menu, even when their aggressor could damage or even ruin themselves in so doing. The right balance of normal versus irrational behaviour can keep a victim engaged for months or years in a chimeric relationship.

    Normally I follow economic and political blogs, where the spousal abuse metaphor is extraordinarily useful. But it is handy wherever Homo sapiens is found.

    Noni

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