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Wednesday, 26 January 2011

MySpace: Still no place for Atheists.



 
Way back at the beginning of 2008 MySpace apparently discriminated against the Atheist and Agnostic Group by deleting it. There is no evidence that the group broke any of the terms.

"Early this month, MySpace again deleted the Atheist and Agnostic Group (35,000 members). This deletion, due largely to complaints from people who find atheism offensive, marks the second time MySpace has cancelled the group since November 2007.




What’s unique in this case is that the Atheist and Agnostic Group was the largest collection of organized atheists in the world. The group had its own Wikipedia entry, and in April won the Excellence in Humanist Communication Award (2007) from the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard University and the Secular Student Alliance."

This followed previous problems from when the group was first founded.
 
"I started the group in June 2004. In the summer of 2005, it was deleted most definitely because of complaints from “religious intolerants”. A myspace user group called the “christian crusaders” was responsible for getting many groups deleted back then (including a large pro-abortion group)."

The group responsible for getting the ban imposed appears to be a Christian pressure group called “christian crusaders”.

“Their strategy was to scour myspace looking for profiles and groups they found offensive, and then mass complain to myspace customer service. CS at myspace is very much hit or miss. The crusaders simply kept sending emails til someone at myspace took action (a key I think to what happened recently).”

Then the MySpace Atheist and Agnostic Group got sort of restored but with many of the groups members still banned.
 
 But that was not the end of this story. From the latest Wikipedia entry;

"For a number of months at the end of 2010, all Myspace groups sections displayed the message "Myspace groups is getting an upgrade. It will be back better than ever". As of the beginning of January 2011, Myspace permanently retired Groups for good."

Yet MySpace appears to favour Christian groups; "“When the largest Christian group was hacked, MySpace’s Founder, Tom Anderson, personally restored the group, and promised to protect it from future deletions.”"

Clearly some Christians support this kind of conduct but I wonder how many would agree it is totally wrong to discriminate against a particular group even if they views are not compatible with your own?

30 comments:

  1. Awwww, da poor wittle atheists.

    Bless.

    ReplyDelete
  2. No problems discrimination against people in a minority group then.

    Typically bigoted Christian.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "No problems discrimination against people in a minority group then."

    If you present any compelling evidence that atheists are being discriminated against by myspace solely for being atheists (and haven't simply been banned for breaking the terms of use of the site) then I will display an appropriate level of indignation.

    So far what you have demonstrated is that an atheist group was taken temporarily off line and then reinstated with some, but crucially not all, of it's atheist members banned. Then Myspace retired ALL groups (not just those of atheists).

    Anyway, what's all this "minority group" bull? Aren't atheists always telling everyone how they are the majority these days, larger than any individual faith group?



    "Typically bigoted Christian. "

    You'll excuse me if I'm not overly concerned by accusations of bigotry that come from someone who posts racist jokes online.

    ReplyDelete
  4. For someone who's at pains to state their sceptical nature you seem remarkably willing to accept the evidence with respect to this matter as presented by a small number of clearly partisan sources (www.secularstudents.org & friendlyatheist.com)

    At least the Wikipedia entry makes clear the distinction between what is fact (the closure and reinstatement of the group) and what is conjecture by the groups founder ("The founder claims that", "the founder believes this").

    Is that really the behaviour of a "sceptic"?

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Oooooooh, I'm soooo sceptical*"






    *apart from when it comes to the unsubstantiated claims of whiney atheists

    ReplyDelete
  6. "Anyway, what's all this "minority group" bull?"

    Have you seen any national census that even remotely comes close to supporting your world of fantasy?

    "Is that really the behaviour of a "sceptic"? "

    In the lack of evidence to the contrary it wouldn't be skeptical to accept anything else.

    And you still showing your acceptance of discrimination.

    ReplyDelete
  7. "In the lack of evidence to the contrary it wouldn't be skeptical to accept anything else."

    What, even when you know that the "evidence" presented is merely the subjective interpretation of events as presented by one of the protagonists involved?

    Have you sought the position of the myspace management with regard to these events?

    "I see no ships"

    If you don't go looking for the contrary evidence you are highly unlikely to find any.

    Shouldn't a true sceptic investigate the claims made rather than blindly accepting the version of events presented by those with a vested interest?



    "And you still showing your acceptance of discrimination."

    As I said previously: "If you present any compelling evidence that atheists are being discriminated against by myspace solely for being atheists (and haven't simply been banned for breaking the terms of use of the site) then I will display an appropriate level of indignation."

    So far you have presented no evidence, other than the one-sided opinions of the founder of this group, that any action was taken by myspace for reasons of discrimination against atheists.

    ReplyDelete
  8. There is not other evidence - unless you have found some to present?

    ReplyDelete
  9. "There is not other evidence - unless you have found some to present?"

    Have you asked the management of myspace for their version of events and their reasoning behind the actions that they took?

    "I see no ships"

    If you don't go looking for the contrary evidence you are highly unlikely to find any.

    Shouldn't a true sceptic investigate the claims made rather than blindly accepting the version of events presented by those with a vested interest?


    What you are saying is that if one person makes a claim (as is the case of the founder of this myspace group claiming that it has been the subject of anti-atheist discrimination) and no counter-claim or refutation is made by anyone else then the true sceptic should simply accept that version of events as being the truth without mounting any further investigation.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "There is not other evidence - unless you have found some to present?"


    "What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence"
    http://lazarus-on.blogspot.com/2011/01/greatest-lesson-life-has-taught-you.html

    Once you have presented some concrete evidence that any discrimination has taken place (rather than the subjective opinion of one of the protagonists involved that they have been the subject of discrimination) then I will consider the claim.

    ReplyDelete
  11. There is evidence for what I have said. It was reported on several sites and to my knowledge MySpace has never denied it.

    To claim someone hasn't look enough to suit your agenda is a fallacy - absence of evidence is not evidence.

    If you know of other relevant evidence either present it or grow up.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "There is evidence for what I have said."

    There is evidence that the group has been removed and reinstated a number of times my myspace. There is evidence that some of the members of this group were banned by myspace. There is evidence that myspace have closed myspace groups.

    What is the evidence that demonstrates that any of this was motivated by anti-atheist discrimination among myspace management other than the assertions of the groups founder?



    "to my knowledge MySpace has never denied it"

    "I see no ships"

    Have you asked the management of myspace for their version of events and their reasoning behind the actions that they took?

    If you don't go looking for the contrary evidence you are highly unlikely to find any.

    Shouldn't a true sceptic investigate the claims made rather than blindly accepting the version of events presented by those with a vested interest?




    "absence of evidence is not evidence"

    and absence of evidence is not proof of absence. Just because you have no evidence that myspace denies these allegations it doesn't follow that these allegations should be accepted as true.

    Shouldn't a true sceptic investigate the claims made rather than blindly accepting the version of events presented by those with a vested interest?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oooooooh, I'm soooo sceptical*"






    *apart from when it comes to the unsubstantiated claims of whiney atheists

    ReplyDelete
  14. I assume you have nothing more to add as evidence then?

    So all the evidence I have seen and all the evidence you have added when looked at rationally leads to the same conclusion and that conclusion has not altered from the original post.

    And you still show no no concern over discrimination of a secular group.

    ReplyDelete
  15. "So all the evidence I have seen"

    "I see no ships"

    Have you asked the management of myspace for their version of events and their reasoning behind the actions that they took?

    If you don't go looking for the contrary evidence you are highly unlikely to find any.

    Just because you have no evidence that myspace denies these allegations it doesn't follow that these allegations should be accepted as true.

    Shouldn't a true sceptic investigate the claims made rather than blindly accepting the version of events presented by those with a vested interest?



    "And you still show no no concern over discrimination of a secular group"

    If you present any compelling evidence that atheists are being discriminated against by myspace solely for being atheists (and haven't simply been banned for breaking the terms of use of the site) then I will display an appropriate level of indignation.

    So far what you have demonstrated is that an atheist group was taken temporarily off line and then reinstated with some, but crucially not all, of it's atheist members banned. Then Myspace retired ALL groups (not just those of atheists).

    What is the evidence that demonstrates that any of this was motivated by anti-atheist discrimination among myspace management other than the assertions of the groups founder?

    Once you have presented some concrete evidence that any discrimination has taken place (rather than the subjective opinion of one of the protagonists involved that they have been the subject of discrimination) then I will consider the claim.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Why are you repeating nonsense?

    I have seen no other evidence that conflicts with that given and I have no reason to doubt Wikipedia and the references on there or the comments by those directly involved.

    Are you doubting them because they are atheists?

    ReplyDelete
  17. "Why are you repeating"

    Because you're failing to address the point about why a self-proclaimed sceptic would unquestioningly accept the claims of a vested interest without making allowance for the subjective and partisan nature of those claims and without actively seeking any counter-evidence.



    "I have seen no other evidence that conflicts with that given"

    "I see no ships"

    Have you asked the management of myspace for their version of events and their reasoning behind the actions that they took?

    If you don't go looking for the contrary evidence you are highly unlikely to find any.

    Just because you have no evidence that myspace denies these allegations it doesn't follow that these allegations should be accepted as true.

    Shouldn't a true sceptic investigate the claims made rather than blindly accepting the version of events presented by those with a vested interest?



    "I have no reason to doubt Wikipedia"

    The Wikipedia entry makes clear the distinction between what is fact (the closure and reinstatement of the group) and what is conjecture by the groups founder ("The founder claims that", "the founder believes this").

    The verifiable facts are that the group has been removed and reinstated a number of times my myspace. That some of the members of this group were banned by myspace. That myspace have closed myspace groups.

    Everything on Wikipedia relating to the motivation for Myspace taking these actions is conjecture on the part of the founder of the group and clearly identified as such.



    "I have no reason to doubt ..... the comments by those directly involved"
    Even though those comment only come from one side and are clearly from an individual with a vested interest in placing a particular spin on this incident?



    "Are you doubting them because they are atheists?"

    No. I simply don't blindly accept their claims regarding the motivation of Myspace in these events (i.e. that they represent anti-atheist discrimination on the part of Myspace) because they are highly subjective, highly partisan and cannot be independently verified.

    Shouldn't that be the "sceptical" position regarding any subjective claim of this sort rather than simply accepting that it must be true because you haven't been presented with any comments refuting these claims from the other party involved?

    ReplyDelete
  18. "Because you're failing to address the point about why a self-proclaimed sceptic would unquestioningly accept the claims of a vested interest without making allowance for the subjective and partisan nature of those claims and without actively seeking any counter-evidence."

    What vested interests?

    There is little doubt that an atheist group disappeared from Myspace.
    There is little doubt that a Christian group was campaigning for their removal.
    And there is little doubt that the group was reinstated after many complaints and press coverage, but with some members banned.
    There is no evidence that this group or the later banned members broke any terms or conditions.

    You are displaying a fallacy.
    It is the opposite of cherry picking where evidence is ignored. You are finding ways to reject the evidence that exists on the assumption that other evidence exists to support your hopes.

    It doesn't.

    ReplyDelete
  19. "What vested interests?"

    Erm............the founder of the myspace group involved who wants to try and present these events as an evil plot against atheists.




    "There is little doubt that an atheist group disappeared from Myspace.
    There is little doubt that a Christian group was campaigning for their removal.
    And there is little doubt that the group was reinstated after many complaints and press coverage, but with some members banned.
    There is no evidence that this group or the later banned members broke any terms or conditions"
    There is no evidence that Myspace took any of these actions against this group as a result of anti-atheist discrimination on their part.



    "It is the opposite of cherry picking where evidence is ignored. You are finding ways to reject the evidence that exists on the assumption that other evidence exists to support your hopes."

    When claims are made by one side in a dispute situation and the evidence does not fully support those claims then it is not the action of a "sceptic" to simply accept those claims, given that they are subjective and partisan, as the truth.




    Oooooooh, I'm soooo sceptical*"

    *apart from when it comes to the unsubstantiated claims of whiney atheists

    ReplyDelete
  20. "You are finding ways to reject the evidence that exists"

    On the contrary, I accept all the hard evidence in that has been presented in this affair:
    "There is evidence that the group has been removed and reinstated a number of times my myspace. There is evidence that some of the members of this group were banned by myspace. There is evidence that myspace have closed myspace groups."

    What I don't accept at face value is the highly subjective and clearly partisan CONCLUSION of the founder of this Myspace group that this evidence demonstrates anti-atheist discrimination on the part of Myspace management.

    I would have expected any "sceptic" to be similarly cautious about accepting such claims at face value without first knowing the position of the opposing side in this.

    ReplyDelete
  21. You are entitled to reach a different conclusion based on the same evidence, but in my opinion mine is the one that best fits the evidence.

    The evidence also shows that this group was also deleted two years before. I think it unlikely that MySpace are so incompetent to do this in error twice and too arrogant to apologise for it.

    The best fit for the evidence is the one I gave. They removed the group on both occasions under pressure and reinstated it following further pressure and bad press.

    It would make a better comment if you actually gave your 'most likely' interpretation of the evidence rather than insist mine is flawed just because you think this award winning atheists group cant be trusted.

    ReplyDelete
  22. "They removed the group on both occasions under pressure and reinstated it following further pressure and bad press."

    I don't doubt that they removed it the first time under pressure from a coordinated campaign. However this is not indicative of Myspace being anti-atheist, merely that they reacted badly to this campaign. The subsequent reinstatement of the group would seem to indicate that despite the fact that the complainers were anti-atheist Myspace were not.

    The second deletion appears to have come about as a result of the actions of a hacker and subsequent cock-up by Myspace once the original founder tried to have the site fully restored: "My profile which controls the group was hacked.

    The group was renamed jesus is love; 100s of regular users were banned (which oddly is permanent in a myspace group; cannot be undone, even by the group’s moderator). All our huge threads were deleted and the hacker was systematically deleting users from the group as well.

    It stopped when my profile was deleted. Note that with my profile’s deletion, every single thread I ever made to my group got deleted as well.

    This lead to the first round of requests to myspace to restore it (see an earlier blog here from Hemant for an example). It also led to the online petition which now has 600 sigs.

    Sometime in mid december, I finally got someone sympathetic at Myspace to restore the group.

    The problem was, all the regular users were still banned.

    Once again I sent repeated requests to myspace asking if the users could be unbanned (the group was essentially dead; delete 100 or so regulars from any internet forum and guess what happens).

    I got dozens if not 100 auto-reply emails from customer service. Finally, on 1/1/2008, I got a reply– I think– from a person. It said “thank you for this information; we are deleting the group”. Literally 5 minutes later, the group was gone"

    Once again the group was restored by Myspace: "Without any official comment on the part of MySpace, the group was restored on February 02, 2008".

    Again, if the deletion of the group was as a result of anti-atheist discrimination with Myspace why was it restored again?


    Finally Myspace closed down all Myspace groups. Yes, this leaves atheists without a Myspace group but it also leaves everyone who previously had a Myspace group without one.


    As I have said a number of times previously: "If you present any compelling evidence that atheists are being discriminated against by myspace solely for being atheists (and haven't simply been banned for breaking the terms of use of the site) then I will display an appropriate level of indignation.

    So far you have presented no evidence, other than the one-sided opinions of the founder of this group, that any action was taken by myspace for reasons of discrimination against atheists."

    ReplyDelete
  23. More missing comments?

    ReplyDelete
  24. Must be that pesky "spam filter" again, eh?

    ReplyDelete
  25. "Must be that pesky "spam filter" again, eh? "

    All comments from 'Spam' reinstated.

    ReplyDelete
  26. "However this is not indicative of Myspace being anti-atheist, merely that they reacted badly to this campaign."

    What is the difference if you capitulate under pressure. Doing something wrong is still doing something wrong.

    This is all the evidence that is required to support the suggestion that MySpace discriminated against the Atheist and Agnostic Group.

    At least you now accept they behaved badly toward this group, but I'm at a loss to understand why you still think this wasn't discriminatory. Insert any other group, Gay, Black, Irish. So how would behaving badly by removing any of these groups not be discrimination?

    ReplyDelete
  27. "What is the difference if you capitulate under pressure."

    Doh!

    The difference is that they are not actually motivated by any anti-atheist prejudice contrary to your allegations.



    "This is all the evidence that is required to support the suggestion that MySpace discriminated against the Atheist and Agnostic Group."

    Ermmmm.......no. In order to demonstrate that they dicriminated against the Atheist and Agnostic Group because of anti-atheist prejudice on their part (as you allege) you would have to demonstrate that they were motivated by anti-atheist prejudice. At the very least you would have to show that there was a strong liklihood that this was the case by demonstrating that ALL atheist groups were treated differently form ALL non-atheist groups.


    "At least you now accept they behaved badly toward this group"
    I never said that they didn't.


    "but I'm at a loss to understand why you still think this wasn't discriminatory"

    BECAUSE THERE IS NO COMPELLING EVIDENCE THAT THE ACTIONS OF MYSPACE WERE MOTIVATED BY A INTENTION TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST ATHEISTS.

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  28. "The difference is that they are not actually motivated by any anti-atheist prejudice contrary to your allegations."

    Now it is my turn to question this statement when the outcome is clearly the same.

    So you would be supportive of say a B&B who refused to let black people stay, not because they were racist but because they were worried what their neighbours would think? That the B&B showed no racism?

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  29. "So you would be supportive of say a B&B who refused to let black people stay, not because they were racist but because they were worried what their neighbours would think? That the B&B showed no racism?"

    If they treated a black people differently to a white people then they would be guilty of racism.


    Now demonstrate that Myspace acted in a prejudicial or discriminatory fashion with regard to atheists by showing that ALL atheist groups were treated differently form ALL non-atheist groups and I will consider this to be a valid simile.

    ReplyDelete