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.
Nature's press release.