Saturday, August 11, 2012

Thunderf00t and Listservgate

My general goal in this blog is to work through the radfem witch-hunt in the skeptical/freethought community from Elevatorgate up to the present day, but of course events are moving rapidly and I will occasionally break from chronological order to comment on breaking news.

Now you are aware that Thunderf00t has been declared an unperson for deviating from the radfem ideology that is mandatory at SlavethoughtBlogs. But now the hive mind feels the need to double down and declare him a super double-plus ungood unperson and demand that he be a pariah lo until the end of time, verily verily. The allegation is that he hacked into some ultra-secure "listserv" (has anyone called it a listserv since the late 80's?), obtained people's private information, and maliciously scattered it to the four winds.

The truth, as you find out if you make the most cursory effort to ascertain it, is much more prosaic. When Thunderf00t was booted out of SlavethoughtBlogs, they forgot to remove him from the list of people eligible to subscribe to their internal mailing list. (Apparently the software they were using was never intended for private lists.) Thunderf00t resubscribed, presumably to know what people were saying about him - they were saying some pretty vicious and ignorant things about him when he joined but before he had even published his first post.

It turned out that Thunderf00t wasn't the only person on their hit list - they were also conspiring to destroy the livelihood of Michael Peyton, a Canadian skeptic who had committed the unforgivable sin of tweeting that he didn't enjoy reading SlavethoughtBlogs. The sort of behavior Greg Laden regularly engaged in and talked about on the list - the other FTBullies only took exception to it when he turned on a fellow FTB'er, Justin Griffith.

So in other words Thunderf00t isn't some mysterious Ninja hacker with mad pwning skillz - it's more a case of stupidity and bad security on the part of SlavethoughtBlogs. Despite their frenzied shrieks and accusations, there's no evidence that Thunderf00t actually leaked anyone's private information. If there is such evidence, the FTBullies should pass it on to the police - otherwise they should shut the hell up and withdraw their accusations. In any case, people should be angry at SlavethoughtBlogs for leaving the door wide open and putting their private information at risk.

I'm not carrying a torch for Thunderf00t here, he does not come out of this smelling of roses. But all the screeching and pearl-clutching is deeply hypocritical. Obviously, the bullies are angry that their slash-and-burn tactics against people like Michael Peyton and anyone else who disagrees with them have been exposed.

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