Time Heals All Wounds, And Then Kills the Patient
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Thu Aug 30 15:23:13 2012
Why Not AtheismPlus

This is written as a response to Jen McCreight's recent post calling for a new wave of Atheist Movement, as well as some followup posts by her and Greta.

The usual predisclosure of my thoughts on the authors:

The first impression I get from the writings is that there's a lot of false choice offered; either we have a community that offers/accepts abuse (which seems to be her criticism of the existing community) or we have her particular third-wave feminism with its (in my view inappropriately comprehensive) critiques. That's the foundation of my full critique; it conflates a number of problems, some of which should not be actionable (meaning some are "shit you need to deal with as an individual" and some are things the community should work on), in order to construct what seems to be a recreation of the mistakes of third-wave activism in other causes. Let's not repeat that mistake. That isn't to say that any discussion of feminism is inappropriate; let's stay close to the baseline definition rather than even the "Feminism 101" stuff the third-wavers push; what we should hope to see is a commitment to the following: Additional commitments are welcome to individuals and groups but should not be mandatory for broad movements, and solidarity and friendliness within the topic should be expected among everyone who accepts that baseline (I've laid out the foundations of my commitments beyond the baseline in another post).

The means by which we seek consensus on this should not be that we're afraid or tired of these discusssions, no matter how difficult and tiresome they can be. Forming a new movement, unless policed, doesn't actually solve problems. If it is policed, it is just a power play, which is possibly fine, although I would advise people, just as I do with blogs and conferences that have policies that are obnoxious and "safe spaces" in general, to steer clear of them. Some policies are ok, some are mostly okay with a few showstoppers, and some suck. Some communities can get away with not having policies for these things, or can be tended by people with a vague mandate. While some amount of policy (or tending) can be very positive, a light hand and the least-specific theory that can do the job are generally better than expansive policies with broad notions of the forbidden. (I know I disagree with thunderfoot on this matter; he seems to prefer no policies)

The signs I see of problematic foundations in Atheism Plus (some of which might be misconceptions on my part, or more questions than statements; I welcome corrections or discussion):

Specifically (I'm focusing on the proposed forum rules for the AtheismPlus community, which I believe expresses their first efforts in discourse-norms):

Summing up: