So the admins of the block bot have made an announcement today (Whoops, forgot to publish this and it’s now months later!) in regards to the Data Protection Act and their operation …
This communication has been going on for a while, with very long pauses in between, the UK Information Commission (ICO) have better things to do than worry about anti-harassment tools on Twitter that only store public data! This communication was initially started by me as some people were claiming the block bot was “violating” the UK Data Protection Act (DPA) and I was a Data Controller. Both patently false but to get a definitive answer from the ICO involved the admins explaining how it works and what their roles are, and me explaining I have no role apart from rebooting the server and making sure the data is secure. This information and the complaints submitted by people trying to get the bot shut down were taken into consideration by the ICO.
So, they’ve ruled the block bot doesn’t violate any of the clauses in the DPA, at all. Not only that but I’m not a Data Controller and no one on the team need register as one.
The three admins are in charge and I cannot modify the data without their instruction to do so. Quite why no one understands this when I stepped down as an administrator/blocker of the block bot over 18 months ago I can’t imagine. Regardless the matter is now closed, definitively, and I’d encourage any one else worried about the DPA requirements of their anti-harassment tools to contact the ICO. They are very helpful! @Marian has also offered to give people specifics of what we’ve learned, but we’d recommend always contacting the ICO.
Worst thing about the current strife in the FreeThoughtBlogs trans antagonism bust up is the reaction from friends and allies. No one is asking them to stop being friends, to cast out the person being “-ist”. Just to acknowledge the legions of trans people who have been saying what this person is doing is harmful. They don’t have to say it to their friend even, just stop disbelieving trans people when they say something is off. Stop applying hyperskepticism to each and every bit of evidence they provide. Well, now it is undeniable (Not that it won’t be denied, for “reasons”), I wonder how many defenders will re-evaluate how they handled this?
So yeah, that was not found by us stalkers and poisoners, it’s just the latest in a large pile of trans antagonism that is never quite enough. @anteprepro found it and posted on the Pharyngula thread where PZ asked for evidence. Then PZ claimed everyone providing evidence hates her and considers her to be like Satan. So that was a master class in how to handle accusations of bigotry …
People our “side” have also done and said things that didn’t help I’m sure. It would be nice to see some advice on how to handle these issues as I’ve seen over and over again trans people saying how this repeats itself over and over in supposedly “safe spaces” like FTB. The wagons start circling and the defenders get more and more ridiculous. Worst I’ve seen is people claiming Hungerford is not a TERF (She claims that herself) and that since not literally *all* trans people have said this person is being trans antagonistic we can’t draw any conclusions. Not to mention all the comments about “witch hunts”, “thought crime” and of course “McCarthyism”.
Ideally in future if women, trans or cis, say your fave is problematic. Listen to them, and believe them. No need to jump into the “witch hunting” fray and denounce them. Just listen and believe. Avoid making it worse through tortured denials if you possibly can. Give generic support to your fave not “all those people criticising you are like McCarthy”.
In the likely event I am accused of some bigotry against marginalised people I hope my friends will take it seriously. Not dismiss it in a knee-jerk fashion. I hope I’ll be able to listen, apologise, and even better modify my behaviour for next time. That’s literally all anyone wants.
Quick note, moving my personal domains off theblockbot.com infrastructure, preparation for the move to CQT as the new technical owners of @TheBlockBot As usual any technical stuff like this, moving domains around etc, will all be done by me as the incumbent “techy” for the old @TheBlockBot. All queries about the running of the block bot service to go to @MAMelby, @Xanthe_Cat and @VanguardVivian as the admins of the service itself.
Oh and I see from TheBlockBot.com front page, some people have been asking QCT about the bot. They will be happy to hear about technical plans for the next bot. But will never be in charge of the modding teams, those will be headed by admins as they currently are, the service will be managed by CQT.
Obligatory Patreon link for CQT, go donate for a better block bot :) https://www.patreon.com/CollectQT