User:Blue/RWW/Great Pissing Contest

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The Great Pissing Contest was one of fiercest conflicts in RationalWiki history.

What magical "x-factor" was there to make things burn so hotly? Possibly, the conflict played off a number of factors within the community, such as the conflict between antitheists, moderates, and theists on the site and the resulting tension over the direction RationalWiki was heading in; a culture that disdains both policy and process, and encourages Headless Chicken Mode; memories of past conflicts; and the belligerent nature of various editors. All of these factors conspired to turn a complaint over semantics into a epic site-consuming pissing contest between a few users.

The Great Pissing Contest serves as a wonderful example of Headless Chicken Mode, and the events can practically be graphed. Here it is, arrayed from start to finish.


Headless Chicken Mode#HCM 6|HCM 6[edit]

  • 14:30, 12 March 2008 --- Jeeves adds a news item to the Main Page's news template, referring to Mormons as "the fastest growing nutball sect" [14].

Headless Chicken Mode#HCM 5|HCM 5[edit]

  • 22:22, 13 March 2008 --- MarcusCicero objects to the derogatory wording, and complains on the main talk page [15].

"...I find the front page news item about... Mormon[s] to be absolutely despicable. 'Nutball' is not a term I would consider using to describe anyone's religious faith...

...some of you guys really need to grow up, and take a good long look at yourselves in the mirrors [sic] and see where your conscience lies." —MarcusCicero

  • SusanG responds with her classic antitheistic vitriol, "'Persons of low IQ' is much more politically correct" [16].
  • PalMD and AKjeldsen chime in. Both agree the main page item should be toned down [17].

Headless Chicken Mode#HCM 4|HCM 4, or The Shot Heard 'Round the World[edit]

  • MarcusCicero|MC attacks SusanG [18].
    • What he said
    • "Fuck you Susan. ...Where is the common respect and tolerance and most importantly pluralism that is supposed to underpin a modern democratic and Liberal society? I've noticed a growing trend in this place that is becoming more and more hostile to different ideas, faiths and concepts. Its not even a matter of trying to appear better than CP, its a matter of common human decency and if none of you can see that then none of you are worthy of reasonable discussion." —MarcusCicero

    • What everybody heard
    • "Fuck you Susan."

  • IP editor unhelpfully agitates the situation [19].
  • PalMD, perhaps trying to head off a flamewar, tries to brush off MC's comment with a "Well, if that's the way you feel" statement [20].
  • SusanG responds to MarcusCicero with a "fuck you" of her own [21].

"...belief in Big JuJu in the sky... is indicative of ...reduced intelligence or [a] Really Bad Upbringing [sic]. In order not to judge the parents & teachers I would rather assume that the holder of such beliefs is less than Genius in the intellect department." —SusanG

  • MC accuses SusanG of being "just as bad as them" [22].
  • PalMD drops by again [23].
  • Radioactive afikomen passes through [24].
  • Human criticizes SusanG [25].

    "...expressing it the way you do tends to make what are often very interesting discussions of religion and its followers rather unpleasant to peruse. ...many religious concepts are... fictional, [but] ...the religious people I know, especially the moderates around this site, are not fictional. ...attacking and insulting them when they aren't trying to convert me or change my government is not exactly going to make friends." —Human

  • PalMD observes that "Arguing about religion requires a thick skin"; AKjeldsen points out that PalMD has never been attacked by atheists [26].
  • MC attacks Susan in passing [27].[1]
  • Timppeli and Human agree that the Main Page should have a more neutral tone, while PalMD makes an intelligent observation[28].

Headless Chicken Mode#HCM 3|HCM 3[edit]

  • 23:26 13 March - 00:07 14 March 2008 --- Pinto's5150 enters and asks what's going on. Interpreted answers, and his tone suggests a degree of indignation at SusanG's words[29].

    [The main page item was] not added by a particularly surprising figure. Anyway, way to spark up this debate again, just randomly insult a good fraction of this group as believing in a 'Big JuJu in the sky', and drawing the conclusion from that that we are all either of 'reduced intelligence' or have had a 'Really Bad Upbringing'. Why not draw a 95% correlation between belief in religion and mass murder, while you're at it? — Interpreted

    However, he also calls for more jokes, and PalMD, Human, and AKjeldsen rise magnificently to the occasion.[30]
  • The door now opened for other to enter in, Gulik chimes in, saying that some religions are more silly than others. [31] followed by GrandSoviet [2]. Then RA agrees as well [3]. Things are temporarily distracted as human rants about markup. [4]

Headless Chicken Mode#HCM 2|HCM 2[edit]

The ranting about format takes a nasty turn as human and RA start arguing even more [5] But then it calms down again [6]. Jeeves returns [7] saying that if one cannot criticize religion, one cannot criticize neo-nazis. Bayes replies saying that nazis are mocked for entirely different reasons [8] Jeeves replies [9] saying that they fail to understand British culture. AKJeldsen chimes in, supporting Jeeves [10]. AmesG then shows up late to the party, backing MarcusCierco [11]. Jeeves fires back by claiming that Mormons make more sense than Catholics [12]. Bayes then says that there is no reason not to be civil [13]. Genghis says that mockery is a cheap shot but necessary. [14]

Headless Chicken Mode#HCM 1|HCM 1[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. This post is also notable because MC waxes poetic in it: "Religion is an affair of the heart, of the soul, it is something that lies deep in the persons unconscious and maybe that actual belief in something which in my view isn't there actually offers a form of salvation in itself." Who knew he could be so well-spoken?
  2. [1]
  3. [2]
  4. [3]
  5. [4]
  6. [5]
  7. [6]
  8. [7]
  9. [8]
  10. [9]
  11. [10]
  12. [11]
  13. [12]
  14. [13]