I was told I was on level 1 of the Blockbot. Now, I really don’t care all that much but what put me there is a mystery to me. Some of my Twitter friends know why they were put there and the ‘infractions’ will astound you.
The Block Bot is an invention of a man to protect his friends over at Atheism Plus. Atheism Plus blog wasn’t truly my cup o tea but I’ve been to the site a few times and commented. James Billingham, a baldy dude with a serious problem with feminists who don’t agree with him and his friends, runs it. His handle on twitter is Oolon.
He made the Block Bot so that a user could follow it on Twitter and it would mass-block a whole shit load of people.
Atheism Plus blog site pushes itself as a scientific and atheist yet I have a feeling that’s not necessarily true.
I remember when I was banned from two reddit sites and I’m betting it was by these Atheism Plus dudes. I was booted for ‘twanzphobia’ and was called a ‘racist’. No evidence of this was provided of course since you don’t need any of that when your fellow group members just tell you it’s true.
I’m used to this kind of thing. It wasn’t too long ago that a group on Youtube that I didn’t even belong to did the exact same MRA-type move, complete with a ranty video calling me a slut, whore, bitch etc. while the gang high-fived each other for their courageous efforts whilst not arguing a single point I made.
It appears ‘twanzphobia’ is their new religion, the new fantasy land they devote their time and energy to while they call themselves scientists and atheists.
I had a run in with one of the Block Bot/Atheism Plus people, MA Melby, on Twitter. I have no idea who this person is. I’ve seen their tweets a few times and that is all, until now.
My Twit-sister Evokes, who’s also listed on the Blockbot, implied that those who run the Blockbot are comparing radical feminists to Gamergate, in itself quite a leap.
I was quickly told by Blockbotter MA Melby:
What in the fuck? Targets? What targets?
I have never sent a death/rape threat to anyone. I don’t usually mention anyone I don’t know on Twitter unless it’s a friend or someone I have something positive in common with. I’ve never doxxed anyone and believe me, I have dox on lots of MRA’s but you won’t ever see me release it online. I do, occasionally, mention an MRA if I see them in the #yesallwomen tag but most MRA’s I have blocked. I’m really not the type to go mentioning people and would much rather hit the block button than deal with useless conversations on Twitter that won’t go anywhere.
I asked Melby what ‘targets?’
It took MA Melby a while to answer the question:
It wouldn’t be so funny if I knew who ‘us’ was. Until now I had no idea that Atheism Plus was behind any of this and it’s only now that I’ve pieced this all together.
Turns out the Blockbot can’t name a single tweet that I’ve made that targets anyone. Unless they redefine ‘target.’
Then the hilarity ensued:
Is this MRA-speak?
I knew it would get pretty silly but my word, the ‘trans lesbian invasion?’ WTF is that? I must be old or something because I truly don’t know what that is. If someone can find the ‘trans lesbian invasion’ please return it to MA Melby because I don’t have it.
Then Melby told Evokes13 she was on level 2 blocking for comparing the Blockbot to Gamergate when in reality it was a Simpson’s joke that got her blocked
The tweet that’s listed as Evokes’s offense is this one:
My interpretation of the Blockbot is this: it’s a tool to block anyone this beloved group doesn’t like. It’s also male focused, designed to particularly silence women. If you were looking for some analysis you won’t find any. If you’re put on there for a Simpsons joke, case closed.
Evokes tweeted that another user, another woman, was put on the Blockbot for tweeting about ovarian cysts. The response from Blockbot?
Isn’t that cute? The Blockbotter silenced a female for a Simpson’s joke but now demands to know which other female talked about her ovaries?
MA Melby and her friends will block various women for these ‘offenses’ but won’t block one of their own, a trans dude who goes around harassing others and threatening them. Ya know, a real candidate for the bot.
I’m told I’m in great company on Level 1 as there are a lot of very prominent feminists on there and I have no problem making the comparison between the Blockbot and GG. If that is an ‘offense’ to the feeble minds over at Atheism Plus then by all means.
The Blockbot is built for manfeelz. MA Melby is in good company with MRA’s since the word ‘target’ and ‘trans lesbian invasion’ are straw mans. I’ve not targeted ‘them’, whoever ‘them’ is since I’m not a groupie type person and I’ve certainly never claimed to speak for all women. I think it’s worse that you block tons of people for not carrying your exact party line and take the liberty to classify people based on your feelz. That’s much more insidious.
I never really thought much about this Blockbot until I was told I was on it, at the highest level. I don’t really care. I just think it’s funny that these people spend so much time scouring Twitter for Simpson’s jokes and going by rules they make up on the fly, just like MRA’s and Gamergate.
There have been several articles about the fact that the Block Bot isn’t exactly kosher.
Here’s an article about a Twitter user who found out she was on the Block Bot:
But as I mentioned: my blockers were people I had never tried to follow and never so much as tweeted “hi” at, let alone anything disagreeable, abusive, harassing, or unkind.
Yes, the same as in my case. I didn’t know any of these people until I was told I was on this list.
There are 3 levels of ‘offenses.’ What warrants the highest level of blocking?
“[users] that appear to engage in aggressiveness, threats, harassment, dishonesty in an effort to infiltrate social groups, impersonating someone, posting shock images, encouraging self-harm, spouting dehumanizing rhetoric, promoting hate speech, etc.”
Hmm. I’ve never done any such thing unless it’s inhumane to speak up for women and women’s issues. It sorta makes sense that a woman would get put on the list for talking about ovaries if a Simpson’s joke warranted blocking.
Their policy for who gets blocked is also quite circular:
The short answer is anyone that a blocker defines as block list worthy. The general rule is if you are the type that would find yourself banned on a blog on Freethoughtblogs.com, Skepchick.org or from the A+ forum then you will likely end up in the list.
Richard Dawkins was put on it for being a ‘racist, “rape apologist,” and transphobe.’ I’ve no love for him but the fact is, it’s libel.
Like I said, I have no idea why I’m on it and most people usually don’t until they find themselves on it by surprise.
Someone is gonna get a hold of this Blockbot one day and tear it apart in a court of law. In fact, the Block Bot narrowly avoided this according to this article.
There are some pretty big names on there. In the meantime, if you get put on it, consider it a compliment.
In the end I blocked MA Melby, the old fashioned way.
During the writing and finalizing of this post I became aware of a lawsuit against James Billingham, creator of the Block Bot. A Beginner’s Guide to the Block Bot – Sex & Censorship
Granted, this is coming from a member of KotakuinAction, a Gamergate reddit group, but the fact is the Block Bot is libelous. If you would like to contribute to the funding of the lawsuit, visit the link. In light of the new development, I find the comparison of the Block Bot to Gamergate a twisted kind of poetic justice.