A Very Brattish Coup

8:59 PM Wednesday 26 August 2015
On the million to one chance that you are reading this without knowing the backstory, earlier this month Meetup deleted the account of the person paying for our Meetup page, because his email address was invalid. (We know this because he eventually found the email telling him so — go figure.) We were a little slow to fix said mess, so naturally they responded by selling our URL, membership, mailing list, testimonials and event history to the first person who asked for it. That person immediately deleted all inactive members and all members who dissented from her self-imposed rule, which left precious few. She also sent 825 words of utter lunacy to the survivors, rebranded the group, and set about promoting dodgy nutritional claims and anti-vaccine videos.

We set up a new Meetup page, and started rebuilding our membership there. We also started pestering Meetup, pointing out that it isn't really OK to sell a mailing list to someone that none of the members have ever met, much less trust; to publicly list people as members of a group whose ideals have changed radically from those they signed up for; or to allow any random person to pass themselves off as an organisation which they have no stake in.

Meetup have said on Twitter that they are working with our organiser to resolve the issue, and that is precisely all they have done apart from send us long emails that may or may not be automated.

Today, though, our usurper Sophie deleted the old Meetup group. It isn't clear why exactly, because all we have to go on is the 1,807 words of further lunacy she sent before deleting the mailing list forever.

Here it is, folks, your moment of zen:

[This post has been legally vetted and will not humor responses 26/08/15]

A Final Response

I’m going to assume that most understand how this community split into two but a basic reminder is the fact that a guy gets warned about website bill and doesn't pay it on time. Now cut to guy asking for it back, new owners don't give it back which is really the crux of this tension. Why would a team of people do that, why would they not trust the old people and their ways?

It was briefly mentioned why before but lets go deeper without provoking argument and drive towards a new conclusion. You may have noticed I use the word team and I think that has really gone unnoticed. We discuss together, plan together and follow our choices together to the end.

What kind of team are we though? It’s relevant to ask and may help you understand our prefered motives. We are all very liberal people and I mean that specifically, in the sense that we all range from libertarian to anarcho-capitalist. Meaning we all favour less authoritarian control in the majority of circumstances. A sidenote to this is that England is very uneducated on this philosophy for a myriad of reasons but it’s a powerful part of how america defected and became a super-power.

Upon obtaining the large group we immediately felt this was something of value to be looked after. We also had a deeply positive view of the brand/label skeptic, we all felt skepticism and the like were part of our core values throughout life. We immediately did a ton of planning and made vast changes to the group before we were even asked to return it. We did forsee risk as being new owners and factored that into to our plans, yet we were still surprised at the lacking that occurred in the old team.

A lot of people have cited when we criticise anything that we are attacking people, this couldn't be further from the truth. We are pretty against singling out people unless there's no other way and most of our comments are aimed at citing the problem with the way of doing things not the person doing it.

As mentioned before we noticed a very authoritarian philosophy dripping from every orifice of the group. We have criticised some of the specifics of that before so won’t overdo it here but an example is the long list of stipulations we deleted. This spoke of an attitude that there has to be a rule for people to act right instead of lets just negotiate, ask, etc. when we would prefer the group to go a certain way. It ties back to our preferred philosophy that we believe is the most empowering to the free market growth of anything.

Now lets cut to after experiencing the main brunt of the transitional period and its responses. It has been an overwhelming time that has taught us more than we could have imagined. Firstly It’s important to frame this by the fact that there has been little response from the 700-1000 members that have some sort of connection to the group. This does not mean there hasnt been a lot of response though but it is actually stemming from very few people(less than 20). I don't point this out to undermine their sentiments but to say that most people have said with their inaction that they either don't care or are not bothered by the change enough to respond.  I remind you that this is the case despite an aggressive rally to make people do so.

So in the case of this meetup group it’s not as controversial as you may wish to believe, as mentioned before its a common occurrence on meetup and we are no way near the first to experience this. I use the term meetup group very specifically also, remember to us this was about emboldening the face to face group. It had nothing to do with taking over a brand or there events/endeavors.  If that was true we would have actively bought out your copyright and shut you down completely which we could have easily attempted. This isn’t something we would never do but the point needs to be made that we only cared about the meetup.

So lets get more into the responses which were surprising to us. We expected some anger and there certainly was some of that but much more common was an attitude far more twisted than that. Rarely was it a case of fuck you (though there were some death threats #youhavebeenreported) it was more an aggressive attempt to breakdown the human beings in front of them at any cost. Interestingly, I recently heard a lot about this kind of behaviour from the man who wrote the psychopath test Jon Ronson. He recently did a TED talk that is highly relevant to our situation and experience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAIP6fI0NAI

Our team is good with computers so we have been monitoring everything, if this worries you too late we got the evidence and have ceased watching anyway. The point being that we have a great overall picture of how things played out. The best example of this comes from the worst offender known as poylp. One of our team is a  programmer and has been monitoring his behaviour a lot after the aggressive attempt to do the same to Sophie.

Overall we can say our response to his behaviour and his persona is just wow. A terrible and manipulative bitter old man that puts his crusaderism before anyone no matter the cost. If you think you know this guy you really don't realise the extent to which his negativity extends. He has continually actively instigated haterdom, doxing and the support of ad-hominem attacks. He is also currently under observation by meetup for abuse.

Maybe if you agree with dirty  tactics the ends justifies the means but when you actually do your research on this guy his philosophy and lifestyle habits are horrendous. We won't cite them here due to legal and ethical reason not wanting to engage in his same tactics we are expressing refrain from. People like this often latch on to weakness and exploit it for their personal gain, we noticed the unfortunate demise of a few people falling into his ridiculous ideology.

We fear in reflection that maybe the crux of this is the nature of the word skeptic. It seems harmless as a word at the forefront of a movement towards reason. But I wonder and worry from our experience, is that it’s an easily tainted word. Science or data etc needs conclusions for good and that's often where the importance of philosophy comes into play. This may explain the situation here or similar like the public's expressed disgust for the as coined “Angry Atheist” or even “Self Righteous Vegan”.

So overall its not looking good for the future of our attachment to the label. If we don’t feel the language best leads the cause, how can we truly get behind a movement long term. So what are we going to do about that…

Our team personally has put tons of effort into this group as we usually do and in this case for free and at our expense. In this time we feel very abused and disappointed in our treatment, not to play the victim but to cite that this has been draining. Overall we hate the idea that a continuation of this group may eventually lead towards becoming what the old group propagated. Therefore promoting the negativity that seems to derive from either the word or the exploiters of it.

Its with this deeply throughout consideration that we will be ending our pursuit of this label permanently. That said we are glad for the experience we have gained despite the struggle. It has been a unique and empowering in many ways, you maybe be excitedly wondering well what are we doing with the group then. Don't get your hopes up as we feel this group is tainted and an impossible mess to truly reform 100%. A story that helped us decide what to do was the old solomon tale about a baby. Two mothers claim both are the owners and when they fight over the fact solomon cuts the baby in half and gives them a piece.

This baby is dead and can't recover so we will be perma deleting the group to stand our ground in our beliefs. This draws a line in the sand for us and the new/old group. The date your new skeptic group formed will be a constant reminder that debatably to some degree your group wasn't doing as well as you thought. Hopefully your new group will make reforms on its ways and the kind of members it allows in, though we personally doubt much will change, we do hope you succeed. We do ultimately value skepticism we just disagree on its use and place in the world. Consider we likely have more in common with you than the average joe blog.

Before we disappear into the night we wanted to express empathy towards those who struggled with the situation. Anyone who refrained from abuse, tried to see both sides or responded politely thank you for that. An example that we partly derived some sympathy was Victoria's post which was the only post that showed a sign of self reflection that was arrogantly missing from most. There was expressed honest feeling there and we empathise with some of those sentiments and anyone else who felt that way. We would apologize to those who felt that way and acted civilly in the wake of our ship's path. They say people who want to be leader shouldn't be and maybe if you insist on an authoritarian system she alone maybe a good idea.

Anyways this long post is nearly over as is this phase and I hope it gives a wealth of things to reflect on and move forward. We will be ceasing to follow or respond to anything anymore, leaving you all alone and burying the hatchet. Hopefully we have been clear and shown some empathy towards all involved. This is mainly for us about coming towards a final truce on the matter and moving towards our separate ways. Hopefully most will take our response as civilly as possible, If you still feel hate towards us just remember the best thing you can do is ignore us and empower your new group and future. So forget the old group forget us and focus on that future, life is short.

Now here is an ep of Cosmos to relax and enjoy, Goodnite & Good Luck

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ap63fu1N3qI

Fin