For about a year there have been rumblings from a few feminists about the way that they have been treated by people - mostly, but not exclusively, men - at skeptical or atheist conferences. A Google search for Elevatorgate would give you a bit of information about a Youtube video by Rebecca Watson, and how Richard Dawkins' somewhat satirical reply, Dear Muslima, outraged some people and seemed a bit poignant to others.
In the background, people seemed to be forming lines of battle. On the one side were those who complained about their treatment, along with their supporters. On the other side there were men and women who advocated that the victims should be less sensitive, should take control of their own lives a bit more, and get a backbone.
Paula Kirby wrote a rather sensible open letter called Sisterhood of the Oppressed, which you can find linked from here. Being a woman she was able to say some of the things that many men had been thinking but were wise enough not to say. I think Paula has suffered from consequential vicious attacks though.
Soon after that, a blog post started a brand new and much more destructive wave - indeed tsunami. It came from a syndicate of blogs called Freethought Blogs, often known as 'FTB'. Jen McCreight blogged under the name Blag Hag that she had unwittingly infiltrated an alleged all boys club and that she had been ill-treated as a result.
In itself, Jen's blog post was not unreasonable, although she might need to learn to involve the police in prosecuting people if her allegations are real. Its a matter of law and order if someone threatens you and presumably would be sub-judice if you intended to bring a formal prosecution.
It was followed by a long and particularly boring blog post by Richard Carrier, which prompted many inflammatory and divisive comments. I wouldn't even have known who he was unless I had an interest in the existence (or otherwise) of an historical Jesus. In response you can watch a very thorough critique of Carrier's rudeness and intolerance from CobraJones
This is quite long, but it is a great commentary of my very thoughts on reading the comments under the post by Richard Carrier.
More tomorrow in Part 2.