Steven Novella laments “obsessive negative scrutiny” of BeckyPosted: February 25, 2013
I have been cc’d on e-mails to Rebecca that were outright sexist or misogynist. She has certainly made public numerous others with statements to the effect – you should be raped in some horrible manner. She has also reported actual threats to the FBI and police.
Just use your Google skills and you will find many sites dedicated to cyberstalking everything coming from Skepchick and those who tend to agree with them, and taking an incredibly unfair and harsh critical approach. They take the principle of charity and turn it on it’s head, taking a maximally negative and nitpicky interpretation of everything they write or say. It’s all incredibly counterproductive, it is anathema to logical discourse, and a lot of it is hateful trolling.
But of course, there is a spectrum. They do latch onto legitimate criticisms and run with those as well.
Amy made it clear above that she does not equate criticism with hate or sexism. Moving forward is not about obsessing over perceived past slights, but acknowledging when people accept common-ground principles.
Decius – your denial and uncharitability seems to be transparent to the other commenters here.
justin – “less than charitable feedback” does not begin to cover it. Please Google “Rebecca Watson” and see what you find. Really try to imagine that you were the target of such attacks. Do you imagine that any online activist, blogger, etc. could stand up to this level of obsessive negative scrutiny?
In any case – this post is not about assigning blame, cataloguing past transgressions, and pointing fingers. I only singled out certain trolling behavior that is truly hateful and counterproductive. I also pointed out that this has tended to heat up discussion and radicalize all those concerned.
Now is the time to step back, focus on the positive and on common ground, and begin (emphasis on begin) a process of better understanding where everyone is coming from.
I agree that the principle of charity needs to be spread to all sides.