So PZ Myers is the man who gave me his personal assurances that Freethougthblogs really didn't have any interest in controlling the content. This was evidently a verbal assurance made in bad faith.
The rough time-line is one week before I was banned, PZ sent this to some mailing list Freethoughtblogs has:
'There is no policy requiring that you ignore fellow FtBers. If you see something you don't like, rip into it. That goes for everyone here.
Except me. I'm perfect, don't you dare say otherwise'
Well that's basically what I did, and what's more I even told them on their mailing list. Then I week later, PZ kicks me. Maybe he wasn't joking about that ' Except me. I'm perfect, don't you dare say otherwise' bit! This was done without any consulting the other members of the network giving this a very totalitarian 'execution' type feel. Everyone else on the groups was told of my 'expulsion' AFTER it happened, I mean hell, they wouldn't have wanted an actual discussion or to give anyone the possibility to dissent about what is permissible 'freethought' on freethoughtblogs now would they! Now I really didn't care about offending these people at this point as on their mailing list I had already been accused of being a 'rape culture apologist' (FFS, I don't think I've even touched on the subject), guilty of ablism, devaluing addicts, an not being careful between challenging islam and outright racism. All of this based on NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER (well that's unless you are happy to count rumors as evidence).
To be honest, I was hoping that there would be a higher standard of conduct that that, but the chatter made it clear that FTB really was somewhere between a bitching slimepit, and Strawman City. It was also plain to me from just watching the chatter on this mailing list that there was a significant amount of bullying of weaker members/ opposing viewpoint. If this was an academic environment I would have called bullshit on them in an instant, however by this time it was clear the standard of people that I was dealing and that as a group they were essentially a lost cause. I was happy to write a blog there (which on inspection looks like it was pulling in ~10 % of the FTB site traffic (FTB claims to get some 150k views a day, my blog was pulling in some 10-15k hits per day)), but I certainly wasn't going to waste my time ingratiating myself with such people. As an entirely peripheral note, FTB never paid me a penny, (again something that PZ said they would), but to be honest I have no interest in such things. Integrity IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN money.
So I blogged about something which, and I quote, 'I thought they were way off base on', in the disproportionate amount of time they gave sexism compared to other subjects, and the way they attacked an demonized people who bought up sensible concerns.
I had expected that PZ (an university lecturer) would at least keep his word on the academic integrity thing, but to be honest, after about the 3rd day after posting my first article, it was clear that wasn't worth spit. When a man is willing to jettison the value of his word so readily, I was under no illusions ' If you see something you don't like, rip into it. ' in reality meant that you should only rip into it as long as PZ thought it was okay.
However, I was not going to be bullied into submission by a bunch of second raters, and so despite a series of threats, and Ed Brayton making it clear that if I felt PZ hadn't kept his word I was free to leave 'and not let the door hit your ass on the way out', and that 'no one would miss me'. That's right, the fact that PZ way lying to people faces to get people into the blog really didn't phase anyone at freethoughtblogs at all! Nor did such explicit threats on the mailing list seem to phase anyone else (no one stepped forward to question such action), which I think shows that bullying is just so widespread on FTB that it is the socially accepted norm (that's unless like me, any of the competent people there simply regarded FTB as a lost cause, or at least a cause not worth fighting for).
Anyways, it turns out the 'cover story' for PC Lyers banning me was that I made an argument that existed nowhere outside of his head.