Why I'm leaving the pixls.us forum

(Elle Stone) #1

I’ve decided to stop participating in the pixls.us forum. I have three reasons for doing so:

  1. I didn’t think it was fair to stop @anon11264400 from deleting his posts. I didn’t think he made the right choice when he suddenly decided to delete a lot of posts. But he’d done the same thing before and nobody stopped him then. If a clear forum policy had been implemented, announced, and posted as a result of the first time he deleted a bunch of his posts, then stopping him the second time would have been acceptable, if the time frame were consistent with the stated policy. But this wasn’t the case. Instead some administrator decided to act unilaterally and stop the deletion of his posts. I wanted to post this comment to the thread discussing the incident but the thread was closed before I had a chance to think through all the aspects of the decision:
  1. In light of responses to my attempt to discuss the social and cultural impact of how different photographers chose to photograph naked people, I can’t help but conclude that there is a strong misogynist element in the pixls forum leadership and user base. Please note:
  • I’ve never had reason to use the word “misogynist” in my 10 years of using Linux and free software and participating in various other Linux forums and mailing lists.
  • I’ve never had reason to use the word “misogynist” in my 5+ years of participating in GIMP development.
  • I don’t recall ever actually using the word “misogynist” in a sentence, until I read the responses to my post about the social/political/cultural/etc implications of how we as photographers choose to portray naked people. In case anyone doesn’t know which threads I’m talking about, here they are:
  1. Here’s the final straw: I was vaguely aware that @gez hadn’t made any posts in a long time. I found out a couple days ago that Gez has been banned for life from the pixls forum for using the “f word” when speaking to an admin in the post about ownership of contents. Gez did apologize. He also did immediately try to delete the word, but an admin “undeleted” his post and made the record of Gez’s bad behavior permanent. People on this forum regularly excuse each other’s bad behavior and urge others to do the same (double-speak for don’t rock the boat I’m thinking). But Gez’s bad behavior wasn’t excused. Instead he was permanently silenced. I’m rather tempted to print the “f word” out in full, right here, right now, to give the forum admins a good reason to ban me too, but my Southern background and training just won’t let me.

Of course I don’t mean everyone on the pixls forum is a misogynist - “everyone” didn’t respond to my recent threads. I just mean certain individuals. I’d like to say “you know who you are”, but I doubt that you do.

One of my options is to continue participating in the pixls forum and try to educate enough users so that they might notice and respond to misogyny when it raises its ugly head. But I don’t think I’d succeed, and I do think responses from certain individuals would just make me feel really bad. So I’m planning to write an article on the topic and post it to my website, and leave it at that.

Please interpret my use of the word “misogyny” to include bias against people who are not only “not male” but also perhaps “not white, not upper class, not privileged, not straight hetorosexual,and whatever other “not” might be appropriate”. I can’t claim to have noticed other forms of bias in this forum, but I’m being inclusive here in case I’ve missed the obvious - it’s always far too easy to fail to observe when someone else is being dismissed or insulted. Though @aurelienpierre 's statement about how awful it is to have Gypsies as neighbors is hauntingly similar to statements made by whites in America who feel or felt threatened by black people moving into their previously all-white neighborhoods.

Personally I feel that the “great divide” currently facing our world is less and less about race/culture/religion/sexual orientation/gender/etc" and more and more about “people with lots of money and resources” vs “people with some/little/no money and resources”. Perhaps those of us with “some” just haven’t sufficiently taken notice of the changing times.

By “misogynist” I don’t just mean posts from @beachbum. I also mean for example @patdavid’s invitation that I post about “more nice pics” and his prior jocular invitation to “Post more naked people that will artistically get me out of my slump of not shooting photos!”, and his comment that women look nicest when wearing a smile but @patdavid looks nicest when wearing lots of clothes (in case you missed it Pat, that’s body image, an issue shared in common by men and women).

I don’t want to post “nice pics” for the misogynists on this forum to tear apart and feel good about themselves in the process. And right now I’m not wearing a smile.

@patdavid, please unsubscribe me from pixls.us.

(Pat David) #2

I’m seething at the moment.

Particularly in light of the apparent misunderstanding of what the word misogynist actually means (here’s a hint: dislike or prejudice against women). I don’t think that’s the case here, and I defy you to find any examples of actual prejudice or dislike of women here. This is unfounded and unsupported supposition based on no facts that I can discern, and quite frankly harmful. I would bring a swift banhammer on any actions of misogyny I see on the site.

And you still don’t have an actual reason to do so here. You may not like what some people enjoy shooting or their reasons for doing so, but nobody in that thread was prejudiced against, or showing a strong dislike against women.

I stand by my statement that I look better fully clothed. It’s my opinion and the opinion of many other people I know. It is a body issue - mine. My statement was a reflection of my own.

I don’t really feel like re-hashing the attempted infocide out of childish spite. @gez was not “banned for life” for saying what I assume you are alluding to: fuck. The thought that this is the case is laughable. @gez is silenced until the end of this month for being confrontational, aggressive, and demeaning to others here - particularly mods and admins who are trying to help keep things sane and civil.

Do you not see the harm in advancing a cause for Free Software to a wider audience when I have to spend my fucking time dealing with things like this?! I want to be calm but it’s hard. I’d rather be editing photographs or maybe writing some articles or interviews with photographers and projects producing amazing things. It’s certainly not how I wanted to start my new year out.

@Elle - You understand that you are asking me to anonymize your account. This is a one-way action and cannot be undone. Your username will be anonymized and the posts will be dis-associated from your current username.


One portal for all that magnificent open and free software. But this kind of activity affects also all that software and all those people working on and working with that software. I’m a bit worried about that. So my post must be understood in general, it is not just about this topic above.

If there were multiple forums, for each software its own forum, then the impact would not be that great.
That’s not the actual situation.

I wish everyone wisdom with these difficult things.


Dear Elle,
I don’t know much about the thread/s you are alluding to, as I didn’t follow them/it.
But to give you a simple and (maybe stupid) suggestion:
If it is in any way possible for you, don’t react with another “division”.

And to add some personal thoughts on your paragraph above…
at least for culture , race and religion it has always been about keeping the “goods” (whatever they might be) to the group closest to oneself. So the self comes first then the family, then the own city, then the own country, etc…
This behaviour is observable in everyday human interaction all the time and to some degree is done by absolutely everybody. When the degree becomes to extreme, that’s where problems arise. Now the difficult thing about life is that the transition from tolerable to untolerable is no 0, 1 decision but a black to white gradient with no clear edge.
So what I want to say is that in the end this forum is but a small mirror of the world itself and it is, in my experience, always better to try to solve things then to walk away, though it might not feel easier at the beginning.

(Andrew) #5

It’s a pity you’re leaving. The world is pretty imperfect, and forums and photographers can’t be immune. Good luck with your picture-making.

(Mica) #6

@Elle, I’m sorry you feel this way; this is certainly not the way we want things to go.

Everyone is welcome here, and we try hard to be welcoming. We also try to allow people to correct themselves. When it is clear the correction is not coming, or that things have gone too far, I take action as an admin. I’d rather have things go too far than cut them off too soon. These are my general thoughts, not a comment on any particular action.

For some specifics:

The policy is very clear. I can’t make people read things, but everything here is a default of the creative commons license. This applies to your posts as well. In addition, every version of the posts people make are licensed creative commons, which means we can publish or reuse any of those posts as we see fit. This is what the creative commons is for. This policy has been in place since the creation of the forums. I don’t understand what isn’t clear about that. It was explained in the “Who owns the content” post as well. If you have questions about the policy, then please ask, and we’ll do our best to answer.

In the case of the first wave of deletions, it was in the middle of the night, and we didn’t realize it until the posts were permanently deleted.

I’m sorry you didn’t get to share you thoughts, but that thread went too far off the rails and was no longer productive. If you’d like to share your thoughts on the creative commons license, I’d ask that you either start a new public thread to discuss your concerns or you can message me privately and I’ll do my best to explain our position. I had already stated as such in that thread.

Who’d you hear that from? It is entirely untrue. He’ll be unsilenced at the end of January. If he wants to return to post in a civil manner, he is certainly welcome back. If he chooses to continue in the manner in which he did prior to his silencing, then he is not welcome.

It isn’t about the word fuck. I’m an adult, I’ve heard the word before. It is about the way he was treating others, and not just me. The same goes for his friend, who couldn’t seem to stop insulting people. We tried many, many times for him to stop, and he wouldn’t.

And actually, his post was deleted, as he wanted it. You can see it here.

I’d invite you to re-read that thread, particularly my post.

(Thomas) #7

@Elle, I’m sorry you want to go. I have always read your contributions with interest.
If there are different opinions one should discuss these. If one does not want to take part in a forum any more, one can stop his or her activity (temporarily).
I have experienced such final farewells with “big” closing statements now already several times in different forums. I still do not understand, why this should be necessary.


@Elle I am sad to see you go, personally had some of the most productive discussions with you, hope to see you around in other places.

Since I don’t think this is coming from nowhere and have seen some things that could have warranted a stronger moderator response I do think it is time to review moderator and forum policies.

(Mica) #9

You can always read our FAQ and Terms of Service. We use the Creative Commons license and everyone should read and understand that as well.

You are more than free to start a public thread or message me personally (or another moderator, if you please) to discuss your concerns.

(Aurélien Pierre) #10

Sure, please express opinions on foreign politics you don’t understand, based on American and English columnists reporting half the facts in editorials from their warm Washington DC office, and expect me to stay quiet on something I have witnessed first-hand. I have done nothing else than putting the context that lacked on the articles you mentionned, and also gypsies don’t settle in “white neighbourhood”, they invade private property without autorization, break electricity and water connexion boxes to steal from the nearest neighbour, and leave the place trashed, while the cities give them fields they don’t use, with running water, sewers and electricity. I hardly see how this compares to fighting against black people moving in the neighbourhood as proper tenants. Also, black people in the US were originally moved against their will, while Western European countries have never asked for Gypsies, so not the same context at all.

Also, I don’t think I have expressed a personal opinion on Gypsies. I have just stated what it involves to be their neighbour.


Attaching “typical qualities” to whole ethnic groups, nations, “races”, etc., is the most bloody and malevolent European sport, there is. It does not end well and no stinkin’ “module” - and no chicken - is worth the price. So no, thanks.

(Aurélien Pierre) #12

I agree.

Let’s put them aside in reserves so we don’t have to attach qualities to them. Once they will run casinos, they won’t be looking at our chicken anymore. The best way to deal with issues is to build walls around them. Plus, that gives good jobs to good citizens (or maybe underpaid jobs to illegal workers ?).

Also, there is one thing you need to understand when you talk about Europe from an American perspective:
you squeeze 1.6 times the US population on 2.3 times less space. The promiscuity makes everything worse.

(Gustavo Adolfo) #13


(Ingo Weyrich) #14



Sometimes music helps.

(Aurélien Pierre) #16

That is – obviously – sarcasm, related to what the US did with Indians reserves.

(Martin Scharnke) #17

Hi @Elle,

parting shot
Hoping you haven’t already cut yourself off, please let me express my shock and dismay at what you have shared. As has already been posted on this thread, the phenomenon of a long farewell post is all too familiar, but - dare I say it - tends to be akin to lobbing a grenade and heading for the hills. In other words, leaving with a parting shot, no right of reply given. I think such action is beneath you, and I would urge you to re-think by taking a hiatus for a little while (maybe a week, maybe a month), but leaving the door open to possibly resume your participation.

As has been stated by others who have known you longer and interacted iwth you more, your insightful comments and shared knowledge have been appreciated by many; including those who tend to lurk more and post less, like me. (I have given more likes- by far - than created posts).

@patdavid made the comment about the meaning of “misogynist” and it is something that bothers me, too. A former Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, also famously (at least here in Oz) redefined misogynist. OK, languages evolve, and Gillard’s definition was added to many dictionaries, but you were pointing to a wider issue: prejudice in general.

It would be hopelessly niaive to imagine there aren’t instances of prejudice here, but that is far from making it normative and normal. As has been pointed out, there are mechanisms for moderation, and direct communication lines to the admins/moderators.

There is no doubt about your analysis that there is a colossal gender imbalance between portrayals of nudity in art - both the older arts like painting and sculpture, and newer forms like photography. What the reason(s) for this is/are is certainly a matter for serious study/debate/research. I thank you for starting such debate, and I hope that it can continue, both in this forum and much more widely. Given that it is not a 20th or 21st Centure phenomenon, but one that goes back throughout our known history, I would think that there have been others who have researched this that we can also learn from.

forum etiquette / flames / abuse
As has been pointed out variously, any online forum is a microcosm of our society. We each need to continue to strive to work for community and avoid / prevent / forgive animosity in all its forms. Yes, it is not always possible to remain in a situation which is abusive, and persons who have suffered physical or mental abuse from partners, for example, need to have emergency escape mechanisms. Debate will always exists, however, because we are not all clones. The very word forum goes back to the place of debate, argument, even assassination(!!!). There are times when a thicker skin is called for, or a flame-proofing, or whatever you want to call it. There are also times for standing up for the vulnerable and the oppressed and being the voice for those who are too frightened to speak. “To every thing there is a season: turn, turn, turn…”

the road ahead
@Elle, I do hope you can re-consider, after some hiatus, and continute with us. Your point that there is a white male domination of the forum and of the moderation/administraton of it has some validity. Perhaps a female moderator ought to be appointed? And perhaps you can use the maturity and reasonableness that you have normally demonstrated here in such a role at some point in the future?

If you should abide with your decision to withdraw, we as a community will be poorer for the lack of your knowledge and insight, and for the lack of your being the voice of women, and/or those prejudiced against.

KInd regards



I have enjoyed the posts by @elle and will miss her voice. I have a tremendous amount of respect for @patdavid and wish he had taken a more measured approach than to respond while seething.

(Pat David) #19

I took the afternoon off to cool down.

I’m going to try this in a more measured approach.

If my initial response seemed defensive it’s because I take these things to heart.

Please understand, @Elle that accusations of misogyny are non-trivial. I take great personal offence at this as I am careful to try and be as inclusive as I can and to make everyone feel welcome and an important part of the community. I try to comport myself in a responsible way and do my best to help keep things running well and civilly here. To cast aspersions on my character and elude that I might be dismissive of or prejudiced against women is disheartening to say the least.

I don’t understand where you may have come to this conclusion and I would have hoped that all of my interactions with you up until now both on and off the forum would have shown you that this is not my character. As you are responding this way I can only assume it’s not the case, which also saddens me. I don’t know where I might have failed in demonstrating to you that I value everyone here regardless of sex, color, race, or religion. I’m sorry.

I also need to weigh the effects on, and sensitivities of, many people from varying backgrounds. I’m not sure if you can appreciate how delicate a balance this is and how hard of a job it might be sometimes. The case with your friends anon and @gez were not easy decisions to make. Especially given the depth and breadth of their knowledge on a very complex topic (as you’re aware). Their disparaging attitudes and general anarchic attitude toward the other projects, admins, and mods were demeaning, belittling, and very much against the community guidelines here (with no other apparent desire in some instances other than to be disruptive and troll-ish in their behavior). This was after multiple warnings and pleas to tame the rhetoric and try to maintain civility.

As I’ve said over three times in the past 9 months, I’m saddened by your desire to leave as I still think you (like everyone) enrich the community when your threads don’t devolve too far off topic. (I was actually really interested in many aspects of your nudity thread.)

Thank you for the time you’ve spent so far and discussions. Good fortune in your future!

I need you to please respond here to verify to me that you want your account anonymized, and I’ll do it immediately.

(Glenn Butcher) #20

Disappointing development…

This forum is challenging in quite a few ways, not the least being cultural and linguistic differences. All I can think to say is to implore that all really, really closely read and consider what others write, and not just from their your point of view. I’ve seen what I believe to be quite a few conflicts based on mis-interpretation of others’ intent.

@Elle, if you really want to leave I offer my best wishes to your further imaging endeavors. Your perspective will be missed by bear-of-little-brain here…