The Cyber Spirits Favor Her

Freethought Blogs, Skepchick, and Feminist Frequency experienced a denial-of-service attack. What happened next will amaze no one.


  1. Saturday night, three websites whose writers have been targeted for harassment over their feminist content experienced denial-of-service attacks at the same time. We don't share a common server setup or anything else that would suggest the these three sites were hit coincidentally. Despite the news spreading quickly, we haven't heard of other sites similarly targeted. Thus, it seems likely that our shared feminism was the target.

    As a few of us were discussing the fact that we probably won't know who's behind the attack unless they're unwise enough to brag about it somewhere, I was notified that Sara Mayhew was doing just that. The timing made me laugh.

    (A side note to whomever runs that Tumblr: Thank you. If I have to continue to monitor Mayhew for lies spread about me and others, which apparently I do, it's so much easier to have all put in one place for me.)

    No, I don't think Mayhew is behind the DDoS attack. Even if she had the technical know-how, which I've seen no indication she does, it's not really her style. Libel, on the other hand, is right up her alley, as the ensuing conversation demonstrates. So let's take that apart.
  2. This is not true. Every comment Sara Mayhew has left on Almost Diamonds has been published, though they do get held until they can be checked for accuracy and a refutation published along with them as appropriate. Given Mayhew's ongoing troubled relationship with the truth, I think this is very reasonable.

    That's not, however, anything like being blocked. Nor is there even a mechanism for blocking comments from one person on all of FtB. Every blogger controls their own comments section individually.

    I don't know whether Mayhew is allowed to comment at Skepchick. However, I can say that the most damning thing about Mayhew tends to be her own words. I assume Rebecca Watson and most/all of the other bloggers at Skepchick are aware of this.
  3. At 9:51 this morning, Mayhew didn't think DDoS attack was good. At 10:04 last night?
  4. But I digress. Back to the conversation.
  5. For a "buzzword", "victim blaming" has an awfully long history, well supported in the scientific literature, particularly the literature on resolution of cognitive bias, with which skeptics should generally be familiar. I think after four decades, it's probably time to stop calling the concept trendy.
  6. Reminder: Mayhew doesn't think it's "acceptable". She thinks it's "the cyber gods favour[ing] me".
  7. To the best of my knowledge, someone contacted Mayhew's family a couple of years ago or so when Mayhew was going through relationship woes, concerned that she was suicidal. I can understand her having strong feelings about that. I'm not sure why they would be generalized to a whole blog, however.

    I was going to address the "ugly Jew" lie again, but someone beat me to it.
  8. So, rather than address that again, I'll note that Mayhew has acknowledged that she read the post refuting the "ugly Jew" allegation. I'll note as well that she acknowledged that she was in no position to provide evidence, saying, "If Rebecca Watson calls me an 'ugly Jew', all of a sudden the people who cry 'victim blaming' and 'apologist' take the side of their queen bully and need a fucking notarized document of her assholery."

    Then I'll suggest Mayhew spend some time with U.S. defamation law and the definition of "actual malice" and end by suggesting she think long and hard about how easy she really wants to make Rebecca's job if Rebecca were to decide to take legal action.

    Think that will stop her?