When is it okay to call a scientist a whore?

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    • #17564
      nickwan
      Participant

      I guess… when they turn down a guest post opportunity?
      Stay classy, biology-online.
      http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/urban-scientist/2013/10/11/give-trouble-to-others-but-not-me/

    • #114477
      nickwan
      Participant

      Link dead? Try this.
      http://isisthescientist.com/2013/10/11/ … batsignal/

    • #114478
      Steerpike
      Participant

      Yes, I’d like to know the same thing. As well as who this person Ofek is and why he seems to have a problem with women in the field. I’d also like to know whether the others involved with the site endorse that kind of behavior, and whether or not Ofek is a big enough person to apologize for the insult.

    • #114479
      DBGill
      Participant

      Who is Ofek@biology-online.org and why is he, as an editor of this site, allowed to call a woman scientist an "urban whore" when she tells him politely and professionaly "No"? He certainly should not be representing this site!

      http://isisthescientist.com/2013/10/11/ … batsignal/

    • #114480
      honeev
      Keymaster

      Hi Nickwan! Thank you for bringing this up to our attention. Derogatory and discriminatory remarks are not encouraged in Biology-Online.org. I will probe into this matter and hear the side of the other admins of the site. I’ll contact you once I get definite answers to clear out this issue immediately. Thank you.

      Vicki

    • #114482
      terminus
      Participant

      I teach high school biology in PA, and I always include biology-online.org as a potential resource for my students at the beginning of the school year. This morning I received several e-mails linking me to this particular post. it turns out that we have been discussing the issue of science being a male-dominated culture and the need to break down barriers and stereotypes in class. Ironically, this timely, and relevant "teachable moment" has left me disgusted. At this moment, I am thinking of all the ways to tackle this unfortunate fiasco in class, come Tuesday.

      Please be aware that we will certainly be watching as events unfold. I hope this website does the right thing by Urban Scientist. I hope that by Tuesday morning my students will learn what happens to sexist/mysoginists in the workplace, and that gender-based attacks are not anywhere close to being acceptable. I hope that I can still, in good conscience, refer students to biology-online.org.

    • #114483
      Gex
      Participant

      What the heck?

      The only thing more stunning than the response that Urban Scientist received, which is really hard to fathom, is the fact that someone not only thought those things but ACTUALLY SENT THAT RESPONSE.

      Having watched the atheist community rage battles against misogyny over the last couple of years it is really, really depressing to see things like this. What a horrible person Ofek is. It is okay to have a policy to not pay guest bloggers. It is not okay to act like professionals asking for compensation for their work and time is akin to being a whore. And of course, it is doubtful a man would have received such a response.

      I’m having a hard time keeping my language and tone civil and appropriate, because this is so outrageous it is hard to believe there is an adult who is responsible for attracting people to this site who interacts with people like this. It’s unbelievable. The only thing more difficult to believe is that he even asked for a woman’s input in the first place, the misogyny is literally bursting out of him.

    • #114484
      markp
      Participant

      Absolutely reprehensible. Shame on you. This is the first and last time I will visit this site.

    • #114485
      FreelanceScientist
      Participant

      The way women are treated in science, and the lack of women staying in science, are huge issues that need to be addressed. In most professions, including science, calling someone a "whore" in writing would result in instant dismissal. I also hope you will contact your "partners" at Scientific American (@mdichristina and @BoraZ on twitter) and ask them to reinstate Urban Scientist’s blog post about this.

      I would also point out that it is not ok to not pay people for work done on your behalf.

    • #114487
      jilliankeenan
      Participant

      My name is Jillian Keenan, and I’m a freelance journalist based in New York. I tried to send you a private message, Honee_V, but I’m not sure whether it went through. Could you please contact me at jillian.keenan@gmail.com? I’d love to chat with you! Thanks a bunch.

    • #114488
      NinaM
      Participant

      Dear biology online.
      it is NEVER OK.

      I am deeply disturbed by the unprofessional act of one of your employee, named Ofek. I am surprised WE HAVEN’T heared from you, yet!
      I demand a public apology to Ms. Danielle N. Lee. I want to hear how you are going to teach this person a lesson in ethics!

      I am a mother of a smart young lady interested in sciences. I won’t stand on the sidelines and watch something like this happening to anyone – man or a woman!

      Make this right really quick because I won’t be silent. I will make sure that everyone on the web knows what your company stands for.
      Sincerely,

      Nina M.

    • #114489
      BiostatisticianEpi
      Participant

      I, too, would like to know who Ofek is. As a woman in science, I am appalled. I would hope that there are men in science – perhaps even men who are affiliated with biology online – who are appalled as well.

      "Derogatory and discriminatory remarks are not encouraged in Biology-Online.org"

      Are they discouraged?

    • #114490
      IamOutis
      Participant

      I noticed that when I got on this afternoon on the east coast of the western hemisphere that only 11 comments had been posted to this forum subject, though there was one member and 6 guests on the site at that time. I suspect that you would get a good deal more comments if it were not so arduous a process just to leave an enraged comment.

      I’m with the others here. I suspect you know that this is inexcusable, and it is only because you are thorough and prudent (unlike your coworker) and want to see the evidence for yourself. I suspect that I will shortly see that this organization has taken swift and public action against the person who wrote so offensively to Ms. (Dr.?) Lee.

      I expect I will see that response. Be assured that many more people are paying attention to this issue than are leaving comments here. Your site’s reputation are on the line and the clock is ticking.

    • #114491
      brashley46
      Participant

      You have an editor who is an aspiring pimp. FIRE HIS ASS. ❗

    • #114492
      jessamyn
      Participant

      > Derogatory and discriminatory remarks are not encouraged in Biology-Online.org.

      I’d suggest you get to the point where they are actually discouraged with actual sanctions attached to this sort of behavior. It’s the first time I’ve heard of your website and it’s an ugly thing to be someone’s first impression. I hope someone comes back to this forum with an official and concrete response that contains at least an official apology.

    • #114493
      ArcticChar
      Participant

      Mr. Ofek’s sexist language is utterly unacceptable in the scientific community. He needs to be fired, and apologies are owed by biology-online and Nature Publishing Group to DNLee and the community.

      Not to brag, but to indicate the kind of reader you have managed to offend, I am a senior male academic. And I stand with my female colleagues and for my daughter in expressing disgust.

      This kind of sexist garbage is embarrassing to science.

    • #114494
      LeAnneMartin
      Participant

      I linked to this site from Sean Carroll’s blog. I had to register to post. So, clearly, not a user of the site. But I am really unimpressed with the behavior of the staff here. You have really made the site seem unwelcome to women.

    • #114495
      befisher
      Participant

      Im fairly disappointed to have read on IFLS about this "whore" nonsense and I sincerely hope that the responsible party is not only required to apologize publically, but should be immediately fired. It’s ridiculous to have called a woman a whore because she was unwilling to work for free and I am deeply disgusted that such a thing is tolerated by this site.

    • #114496
      racer4200
      Participant

      Just in case you don’t realize the repercussions of calling someone a whore, please check the "I F*&^%ING LOVE SCIENCE" Facebook post on the subject. They have over 7 million followers.

      https://www.facebook.com/IFeakingLoveSc … 0888626592

      Good luck. You’re going t need it.

    • #114497
      mmoussea
      Participant

      It is never OK to call anyone this, scientist or not. With all the polarization we have occurring in the world, name calling is unprofessional and in this case crass and demeaning. If the threads of this story are correct, the topic blogger politely refused the opportunity to blog and was called a ‘whore’. Uncool. A personal apology from Ofek (we don’t need to see it), and at a minimum removal of his person in this capacity (interacting with Bloggers) is an appropriate response for Bio-O to take, in my opinion. Markmx

    • #114498
      marceec
      Participant

      Never. It is NEVER OK to call a scientist, or any woman, a whore. DUH. Thank you, IFLS, for bringing this to everyone’s attention. I plan to share this with everyone I know on FB and Twitter and it’s pretty safe to assume that it will be viral soon. I urge Biology Online to address this issue quickly. On behalf of this female chemist and the other female scientists in our lab, we urge you to do the right thing.

    • #114499
      Talyseon
      Participant

      This is disturbing, not only for Ofek’s clear lapse in good judgement and manners, but because it does carry forward several stereotypes. Ofek’s invitation was unsolicited. Her responses were very polite. His anger may be a sign of deeper seated issues; does he always lash out when he doesn’t get his way? Was it because she is a woman? Either way, these are not signs of a healthy mind. I would suggest if you don’t just sack him, that he undergo counseling and sensitivity training as a condition of his continued employment. At any rate, I think the CEO of this site owes the lady an apology. If Ofek owes her one as well, and I would damn well make it a condition for him keeping his job. Or you may just decide to cut your losses, in which case I hope Ofek will seek the help he so desperately needs on his own.

    • #114500
      Butthurt
      Participant

      I had to register to post a comment because as a female scientist, and a human being really, this made me so angry. Just to clarify, it is NOT acceptable, under any circumstance to call a woman a whore. Aside from the very obvious misogynic rudeness that came from this Ofek guy, it was baffling the amount of unprofessionalism. This was posted on IFLS and it is only a matter of hours before it goes viral on the web, so as other people have said, good luck to you. Ofek has single handedly driven your reputation into the ground. I’ll be watching for updates of termination of his employment.

    • #114501
      jaandra
      Participant

      As a scientist, a teacher and a woman…let me add my voice to others standing in solidarity with DNLee. It is NEVER okay to call any woman a whore. I am appalled that we are even having to discuss whether or not Ofek is wrong in doing so. Time for Ofek to go. Any other resolution will not be acceptable in my opinion. Biology-Online.org owes DNLee an apology and Scientific American has some explaining to do. We are all waiting.

    • #114502
      honeev
      Keymaster

      I am a woman too and have never encountered disrespect here in Biology Online.org. And I still look forward for contributing more to this site. I’ve been here for seven years and I can attest that this is the first time I heard about a staff of Biology Online showing unethical/unprofessional behavior.

      Biology Online is run by a few people.. some of us, including me, are working remotely and thus most of us are communicating solely and rely through email. Like I said, we do not encourage nor tolerate that behavior that is why I immediately reported this incident yesterday to the other site’s admins upon seeing this thread.

      I know you want a speedy action but it is also necessary to conduct a fair investigation. It was only yesterday that I was informed that Ofek is a new employee of the website as an Editor. I was promised that this will be dealt with as soon as possible. I hope this would be resolved by Monday.

      If the complaint is proven true and Ofek failed to give an ethical reason for his behavior I too would ask that he sends his apologies and that fair action must be taken to prevent this incident from happening again.

      Thank you.

    • #114503
      leetilson
      Participant

      I have no idea if this is the right Ofek.
      Here is some information.
      I searched http://www.biology-online.org for the word "ofek" and found two links
      I have no idea if this is the right Ofek.

      Here is the search
      https://www.google.com/search?q=inurl%3 … k&safe=off
      =
      http://tinyurl.com/OfekInBiologyOnline
      I have no idea if this is the right Ofek.
      That led to this article. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=ofek+ga
      I have no idea if this is the right Ofek.
      http://tinyurl.com/GiladOfek
      http://www.zoominfo.com/s/#!search/prof … id=profile
      I have no idea if this is the right Ofek.
      Here are 46 ofeks in the US http://www.zabasearch.com/people/ofek/
      I have no idea if this is the right Ofek.
      I hope this helps.
      Again, I have no idea if this is the right Ofek. Only Biology Online can answer that.

    • #114504
      skissman
      Participant

      Never. Especially a female scientist who politely declined to write for free after inquiring what the terms were. She did not initiate the invitation to blog, answered politely and was called a whore? Wrong. Dead wrong.

      Shame on you biology online. And shame on Scientific American.

    • #114505
      AngelFelina
      Participant
      quote honee_v:

      If the complaint is proven true and Ofek failed to give an ethical reason for his behavior I too would ask that he sends his apologies and that fair action must be taken to prevent this incident from happening again.

      How in any way can this biological unit give an ethical reason for his behaviour? Original response: I’d fire him. He was drunk? I’d fire him. He didn’t get laid last night? I’d fire him. He’s racist/sexist? I’d fire him. He dabbled in home chemistry? I’d fire him. He clicked "Send" instead of "Forward" (as seems to happen more and more these days)? I’d fire him. Allah made him do it? I’d fire him.

      It’s most probably not the first time he’s done something like this so tell me: What exactly are the requirements to become an editor on this blog? It’s fairly easy to find information on most good editors/bloggers on the internet – web presence should be expected. Not so much with this "person".

      You can’t apologize for something like this. It was intentional, it was angry, it was dangerous. No mercy.

    • #114506
      MrProsser
      Participant
      quote :

      I know you want a speedy action but it is also necessary to conduct a fair investigation. It was only yesterday that I was informed that Ofek is a new employee of the website as an Editor. I was promised that this will be dealt with as soon as possible. I hope this would be resolved by Monday.

      Unless the e-mail happened to be a complete fabrication they should be dumped immediately. There is absolutely no excuse, none at all, that can be given to make their e-mail acceptable.

    • #114507
      SJH
      Participant
      quote AngelFelina:

      quote honee_v:

      If the complaint is proven true and Ofek failed to give an ethical reason for his behavior I too would ask that he sends his apologies and that fair action must be taken to prevent this incident from happening again.

      How in any way can this biological unit give an ethical reason for his behaviour? Original response: I’d fire him. He was drunk? I’d fire him. He didn’t get laid last night? I’d fire him. He’s racist/sexist? I’d fire him. He dabbled in home chemistry? I’d fire him. He clicked “Send” instead of “Forward” (as seems to happen more and more these days)? I’d fire him. Allah made him do it? I’d fire him.

      Firing would seem to be the only fair option, unless the site would be able to monitor all the conversations that Ofek has with potential/ current bloggers etc. The latter is unlikely as it has been said that most that work for the site are not centralised.

      In answer to the question? No. Never. What was Ofek thinking? We may never know, or never want to know.

      Texts/journals etc. will only get you so far, but a scientists insight and views can really help to advance your own knowledge. Not respecting their achievements by declaring them as a whore because they have asked about a possible payment is not the way to attract potential bloggers.

      The whole situation seems to be like being cold called by a phone company, asking what terms there are for the deal/phone etc, politely declining, then the salesperson at the other end swearing and insulting you.

      Not professional at all.

    • #114508
      johnrplatt
      Participant

      I agree, the immediate dismissal of Ofek (and the revelation of his real name) is the only acceptable avenue here.

    • #114509
      ArcticChar
      Participant

      There’s no way this can be justified. Clearly biology-online is not professionally managed, judging from the admin’s response above. Unless the accusation is somehow false, there’s no acceptable "explanation" for a comment that was both racist and sexist.

      I think the goal of protest ought to be to get Nature Publications Group (the parent of Scientific American) to sever all ties to biology-online. Looking more closely at biology-online reveals it to be a poorly managed and amateur effort.

      The real pressure needs to be felt by SciAm.

    • #114510
      RNCSLewis
      Participant

      What is the point of science without humanity? – I am appalled by the language from this supposedly professional person to a fellow human and scientist. Where is your accountability for bullying and unacceptable behaviour? An apology is the least your blog editor Ofek should consider.
      Regards,
      Constance

      "The Blog editor of Biology-Online dot org asked me (DNLee) if I would like to blog for them. I asked the conditions. He explained. I said no. He then asked "Are you urban scientist or an urban whore? "
      It wasn’t just that he called me a whore – he juxtaposed it against my professional being: Are you urban scientist or an urban whore? Completely dismissing me as a scientist, a science communicator (whom he sought for my particular expertise), and someone who could offer something meaningful to his brand.What? Now, I’m so immoral and wrong to inquire about compensation? Plus, it was obvious me that I was supposed to be honored by the request.." reposted from fb

    • #114512
      tuxcomputers
      Participant

      Guys guys settle down, Ofek was hired recently, it was HIM that made the error and you are calling for this entire site and all the rest of the staff to be cut off? Good job painting everyone with the same brush.

      Let them do a fair investigation and see what the response is. How would you feel if the evidence was fabricated and DNLee was doing it for attention? I am not saying that is the case I am saying it is possible.

      Yes it was disgusting and no it was not acceptable, my daughter is the brightest in her year and she has expressed interest in doing sciences. I have taught her that this sort of behaviour is NOT to be tolerated.

      The most likely case is that Ofek is a douche canoe, the evidence for that will be in the server logs and he will be handed his arse. Until then lets keep our heads on our shoulders and think with them.

    • #114513
      dogen
      Participant
      quote honee_v:

      If the complaint is proven true and Ofek failed to give an ethical reason for his behavior I too would ask that he sends his apologies and that fair action must be taken to prevent this incident from happening again.

      I also came here thanks to IFLS. Like the thousands of people who responded on Facebook, I’m also appalled to hear that anyone, especially someone acting in a professional capacity, would demean a woman for daring to turn down an offer. However, I’m also dismayed to think that "if the complaint is proven true" that there follows the caveat that perhaps there was an "ethical reason" to call DNLee a whore. Perhaps this is merely being diplomatic and covering bases, but this is not the sort of situation in which that plays well. There is a sad irony in that title of this thread being, "When is it okay to call a scientist a whore?" and your implicit response, "When there’s an ethical reason." Please tell me, what sort of reason might make it ethical to call a woman a whore? Because from where I stand – and the majority of the people who have posted in this thread and on Facebook – the answer is "never," and your equivocation is poorly thought out and, frankly, unjust.

    • #114514
      MrProsser
      Participant
      quote :

      Guys guys settle down, Ofek was hired recently, it was HIM that made the error and you are calling for this entire site and all the rest of the staff to be cut off? Good job painting everyone with the same brush.

      Umm, who is calling for the entire staff to be booted? The comments I have read are pretty clear, the person that did this should be gone. Biology-Online is being pretty slow about this though, how long does it take to check e-mail logs? Surely they could issue a statement of some sort, beyond asking for more time to investigate. This is a crisis situation, they should be able to respond with more than that.

    • #114515
      wildfunguy
      Participant

      He was making an anology, not literally calling her a whore. However, be it racist, sexist, or whatever, it seems suggestive of the way he percieves her. Not to mention plain old rude.
      They may not have intended or anticipated such harm, but they were at least being imprudent.

    • #114516
      charliealize
      Participant

      It’s not okay, at all. I’ll be sharing this with the scientific community within the Bay Area, as well, as an example of how not to treat other women, scientists or not–specifically with my classes.

    • #114517
      crystalbach
      Participant

      IMO, he has to go. ty.

    • #114519
      honeev
      Keymaster

      Apologies for my phrase "ethical reason for his behavior" since it was not clear… I agree that there is truly no ethical basis calling anybody as such.. What I meant from my statement is if he truly said it, thus failing to exhibit professionalism as well as failing to give justifiable reason that this incident happened then he should be facing consequences… Whether his account is hacked or not he would have to be dealt with accordingly. What I am after is fairness.. equality.. justice.. as this is what this issue is about. I am not covering up for anybody. Rather, I am closely monitoring this thread for open and free discussion. We are entitled to our own opinion and suggestions. But I assure you that this incident will be dealt with accordingly as soon as possible. As I said, I hope this would be resolved by Monday’s office hours. I really hope that this issue would be resolved and taken seriously and that appropriate action be taken by then.

    • #114520
      Alea
      Participant

      This was an absolutely unacceptable response from "Ofek." I hope that both biology-online and Scientific American can correct their response. Ofek needs to be censured and should be made to make a formal, public apology.

    • #114526
      ChrisHoStuart
      Participant

      People; take note of just how well Dr Lee handled this, and what she said.

      Her video wasn’t a rant at Ofek, or at biology-line. It was encouraging young scientists to stand up for themselves, value their time and their work.

      We need to apply that here. It’s the weekend. People running this site are not (I think?) doing it as a full time occupation. To demand that they DROP EVERYTHING and fix this RIGHT NOW is — ironically — failing to take heed to Dr Lee’s main point in her response to Ofek.

      Let’s give honee_v and the other staff a bit of leeway here. Honee is absolutely right to say this has to be dealt with fairly. And in the spirit of avoiding being rude to hard working young science workers or making totally unreasonable demands on their time — let’s give her and the team here the chance to get back from the weekend and check this.

      Don’t rush in and try your own internet vigilanteeism. Trying to identify and "out" Ofek is absolutely the wrong thing to do. Not only because you run the risk of getting the wrong person; not only because you aren’t applying any due process, but most of all because you are failing to respect honee_v and other workers here; failing to allow them the reasonable time to check this out and manage it. It really ISN’T something that must be fixed right now; and the best thing — and the most in the spirit of Dr Lee’s very apt and classy response — is to allow honee_v and others are ALSO workers who deserve our respect and the space to do their work properly. Which does mean checking things, and does mean waiting till Monday at least.

      OK?

    • #114527
      HanziBeldam
      Participant

      ChrisHoStuart , I fully agree with your reply. It is well reasoned and fairly balanced.

      honee_v, I believe you are acting in good faith but with little authority.

      To whom it may concern at Biology Online, please ensure that this is taken care of as soon as possible. Monday is an American holiday, albeit a lesser celebrated one, but that may delay resolution. Keep in mind that in that time social media will spread this and respond negatively to this website, and not without reason in my opinion. This thread chain is proof of that, though twitter and facebook have many more posts about this. I don’t feel the entire site should suffer for one independent editor’s (egregious) error. While I’m not sure of your protocols, you might consider taking this up your supervisory chain to get someone to post an official response that an inquiry is pending. That won’t end things, but stating your company’s support of equality can only help.

      Everyone posting, it is reasonable to expect that an official response may be delayed by the weekend. It’s also reasonable to expect an inquiry into this matter to take time, though if the facts are as presented that time should be rather short. By all means, share the situation with your friends, but don’t start calling the number of the person who might be the right Ofek. It’s harassment, and possibly illegal (depending on what you say). Even if it’s the right person and legal, responding to sexist remarks with harassing e-mails and phone calls continues a negative trend. Allow the company to respond. If the response is inadequate in your opinion, feel free to boycott the website, write to their advertisers, etc. But they need time to respond!

    • #114528
      1MRKC
      Participant

      I have also been made aware of this issue via the IFLS facebook group.

      I wanted to express my disgust at your editors behaviour. Whether he called her a whore because of her gender or the fact that she wanted to be paid for her work on your website, there is no excuse for such terrible and unprovoked language and I agree that the most appropriate action (in my opinion) would be instant dismissal of this Ofek.

      I am glad that this is being dealt with and thank you for taking the time to respond honee_v. Here is a link to some screenshots of the e-mails that ‘Ofek’ sent: http://isisthescientist.com/2013/10/11/ … batsignal/

    • #114531
      Steerpike
      Participant

      It may be reasonable to expect a response after the long weekend, but it is not at all smart for biology-online.org to wait that long. SciAm editors made this even worse by deleting the scientist’s blog post, and the whole thing has been blowing up on Twitter, Buzzfeed, and plenty of other places. Whether reasonable or not, anyone with a solid grasp of social media should see the need to get out in front of this in a hurry. In fact, it is too late for that, but every day that goes by just makes it worse, and the fact that it is a long weekend will be irrelevant from a practical standpoint.

    • #114532
      GreyDog
      Participant

      I see no reason to doubt what honee_v has written, or DNLee for that matter. As much as I’m with ChrisHoStuart and HanziBeldam in urging a little patience, practically a response to this storm has to come soon. A dispersed staff, the weekend and potential legal issues make it a tough but necessary thing for biology-online.org. Just about everyone posting on this thread is getting their intro to Biology Online with this episode. The views of long-timers would be welcome.

      To newcomers, Olek "The Blog Editor" sounds well established in speaking for biology-online.org. From within, I’d surmise he’s new employee, barely known honey_v, who pops up in a credible blog post using prejudicial language to badly insult a potential contributor. News of this spread far and wide. Not good.

      FWIW, here’s one PR guy’s advice to Scientific American:
      http://itsnotalecture.blogspot.com/2013 … tific.html

    • #114533
      TSKER
      Participant

      It’s never okay to make such an irreprehensible comment, and the way in which it was done makes Olek a sexist. He should be immediately dismissed and a public apology should come from Biology Online. The fact the Biology Online took down the victim’s response, and has not made a public apology, makes it look like Biology Online supports sexism. Shame on you Olek and Biology Online!

    • #114534
      peaceofmind
      Participant

      http://www.democraticunderground.com/125527564

      Another active board discusses a man calling a woman a whore, just because he can. All of us expect this to be addressed as it should. As it would have been just a decade ago, before we have all become so immune to reducing a woman to a whore. We are watching.

    • #114535
      PhilS
      Participant

      What your editor Ofek did (calling Dr. Danielle Lee an "urban whore" for not agreeing to write for free) was outrageous, and I will be monitoring the responses of biology-online and Scientific American very carefully. If the facts as described by Dr. Lee are correct, I would expect Ofek to be relieved of his or her duties at biology-online immediately.

    • #114536
      Gex
      Participant

      What? What the what? Is it possible for Ofek’s cohorts to just stop making it worse?

      Do tell, what might be an ethical reason for calling someone a whore? In any context, much less in a professional context?

      It is difficult for me to understand how you could have thought that sentence, much less typed it, proofed it, and posted it.

      Unbelievable.

    • #114537
      marybioonline
      Participant

      Has anyone suggested a hack by a kid (or someone) in Ofek’s household (or somewhere Ofek might have left him/herself logged in accidentally)? The comment is so blatantly insulting and over-the-top that one should at least consider the possibility.

    • #114538
      martinz
      Participant
      quote :

      Has anyone suggested a hack by a kid (or someone) in Ofek’s household (or somewhere Ofek might have left him/herself logged in accidentally)?

      Oh,come on. If a kid or someone else in my household had posted that as a response, I’d have been instantly emailing a GROVELLING apology to DNLee explaining exactly how it had happened. Wouldn’t you? If something as humiliating and offensive as that went out under my name, and it wasn’t me, I would have tried to find a phone number and been on the phone personally to apologise to them.

      There has been no explanation. There has been no apology. It’s been about two days. Therefore, it’s hard to believe it was a hack.

    • #114539
      ChrisHoStuart
      Participant

      I have no doubt that this was an actual biology-online volunteer or employee who explicitly insinuated that a professional scientist was a whore because she turned down an invitation to write for biology-online without recompense.

      Clear cut as this appears; it still really does have to be checked out. Does anyone really not understand that?

      The screen shots are damning, and if confirmed (as I am sure they will be) they are inexcusable. In the meantime; it honestly does have to be checked. And almost certainly it can’t be managed simply by the webmaster here. The kinds of things she can fix right away might be content on the site — no problems reported there — or ongoing email abuse — no problems reported there either. So it’s just the one instance of email abuse outstanding; and that requires discipline from more senior managers. Just how the management structure works here is unclear and it isn’t really our business. But it isn’t a big organization, and it’s perfectly reasonable that the confirmation and response will not happen this weekend.

      Patience folks.

    • #114540
      etumukutenyak
      Participant

      It is never ok to use such language. Dr. Lee captured the screen images of her emails, so there is no doubt at all that Ofek actually said this. As others pointed out, if someone had hacked the email, a reasonable person would have immediately sent an apology with an explanation. Since this hasn’t happened, it’s clear that Ofek sent this, that Ofek owns this reprehensible behavior on his own, and is now hiding from the consequences. The senior editors need to understand that fixing the problem doesn’t revolve around "confirming" this, and that "legal issues" never require removing a blogger’s post. They are part of the institutional problem, and need to realize that this kind of behavior remains unacceptable.

      We are still waiting for true apologies to Dr. Lee.

    • #114541
      marybioonline
      Participant
      quote martinz:

      Oh,come on. If a kid or someone else in my household had posted that as a response, I’d have been instantly emailing a GROVELLING apology to DNLee explaining exactly how it had happened. Wouldn’t you? If something as humiliating and offensive as that went out under my name, and it wasn’t me, I would have tried to find a phone number and been on the phone personally to apologise to them.

      There has been no explanation. There has been no apology. It’s been about two days. Therefore, it’s hard to believe it was a hack.

      Sometimes I take vacations and don’t login for DAYS. Sometimes I’m even in such a rush to go on said vacation that I fail to log myself out. For a bunch of scientists, I’d expect more data before coming to these conclusions. I’m not saying people can’t be jerks, but such blatant name-calling in a public forum from an authority figure with easy-to-trace events — does no one think it’s the tiniest bit odd?

    • #114543
      etumukutenyak
      Participant

      You are trying to be nice, but you’re ending up diminishing the problem, and demeaning the victim. Ofek isn’t the victim, Dr. Lee is — and rather than claiming all sorts of possibilities, let’s listen to what Dr. Lee said, and ask Biology_Online for their belated response.

      quote marybioonline:

      Sometimes I take vacations and don’t login for DAYS. Sometimes I’m even in such a rush to go on said vacation that I fail to log myself out. For a bunch of scientists, I’d expect more data before coming to these conclusions. I’m not saying people can’t be jerks, but such blatant name-calling in a public forum from an authority figure with easy-to-trace events — does no one think it’s the tiniest bit odd?

      From a work email, not possible. You cannot explain away bad behavior on his part by assuming facts. The bottom line is, he messed up badly, failed to acknowledge his error, and this has been compounded by Biology-Online also failing to acknowledge the issue in a respectful manner.

    • #114544
      marybioonline
      Participant
      quote etumukutenyak:

      You are trying to be nice, but you’re ending up diminishing the problem, and demeaning the victim. Ofek isn’t the victim, Dr. Lee is — and rather than claiming all sorts of possibilities, let’s listen to what Dr. Lee said, and ask Biology_Online for their belated response.

      That’s all I’m suggesting. Let’s find out what happened. And no, I’m not trying to be nice. I’m surprised at a horde making judgments against an unknown person in a situation where there are really a lot more questions than answers.

    • #114545
      ChrisHoStuart
      Participant
      quote etumukutenyak:

      It is never ok to use such language. Dr. Lee captured the screen images of her emails, so there is no doubt at all that Ofek actually said this. As others pointed out, if someone had hacked the email, a reasonable person would have immediately sent an apology with an explanation. Since this hasn’t happened, it’s clear that Ofek sent this, that Ofek owns this reprehensible behavior on his own, and is now hiding from the consequences. The senior editors need to understand that fixing the problem doesn’t revolve around “confirming” this, and that “legal issues” never require removing a blogger’s post. They are part of the institutional problem, and need to realize that this kind of behavior remains unacceptable.

      We are still waiting for true apologies to Dr. Lee.

      Yes, we are waiting. And so we should at this point.

      I don’t see any reason to conclude that biology-online managers *don’t* think this behaviour is unacceptable. You are reading much too much into lack of instant responses. It’s possible Ofek is out for the weekend rather than deliberately hiding. More seriously, wrt to his employers it is more than possible — it is very likely — that the appropriate senior editors might actually not work on this full time; and might not be checking work emails on the weekend. So yes, we are waiting. And so we should.

      The huge irony here is that Ofek was incredibly rude just because Dr Lee didn’t choose to donate her professional time. That’s appalling.

      So let’s not make the same mistake.

      Let’s not compound Ofek’s rudeness by demanding everyone has to drop everything RIGHT NOW and make sure Ofek is fired straight away. People have lives; there ISN’T an immediate outstanding issue that cannot wait. Fire the guy as the first item of business to be sure. Do it with due process which means that he does actually have a chance to explain himself. I can’t imagine how he might explain himself, but you know what? That doesn’t matter. Professionally speaking; he *does* actually get a chance to explain himself, however implausible it is that anything he could say would excuse it. Regardless: the senior managers do actually get to take a look at the matter for themselves as professionals. This does not necessarily mean that they are monitoring their employees 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

    • #114546
      ShameonYou
      Participant

      Can’t believe days have gone by and you all are still silent on this. Do you really need to confer with your lawyers before you apologize for shameful behavior? Shame on you, you sicken me. What you have at this site can be easily replicated by people that have the leadership skills and social conscience that you apparently lack. I would encourage scientists and bloggers to go elsewhere with their products and services.

    • #114547
      honeev
      Keymaster

      UPDATE: an apology letter was sent by one of the owners of the site to DNLee, dated October 13, 2013. A screenshot of this email will be posted here today upon approval. Thank you.

    • #114548
      ChrisHoStuart
      Participant

      Good to see your first priority was to Dr Lee, and not to all us observers!

    • #114549
      honeev
      Keymaster

      @ChrisHoStuart, we really want to be sincere with our apologies to DNLee .. a public apology will also be released today together with the email screenshot

    • #114550
      ChrisHoStuart
      Participant
      quote honee_v:

      @ChrisHoStuart, we really want to be sincere with our apologies to DNLee .. a public apology will also be released today together with the email screenshot

      You personally have handled this difficult situation and lot of pressure with much grace. You had to step in here as the visible face of biology-online, and I’m impressed with how you handled it. You have that in common with Dr Lee!

      Best wishes — Chris

    • #114551
      GreyDog
      Participant

      Thank you. I look forward to seeing the letter. It’s been a tough weekend for you, DNLee and this site.

      quote honee_v:

      UPDATE: an apology letter was sent by one of the owners of the site to DNLee, dated October 13, 2013. A screenshot of this email will be posted here today upon approval. Thank you.
    • #114552
      peaceofmind
      Participant

      was the man fired?

    • #114553
      honeev
      Keymaster

      Apologies to DNLee and the action taken against Ofek regarding the reported issue of discriminatory behavior towards DNLee – about34647.html

    • #114554
      Flak182
      Participant

      Ofek is the internet’s problem now. And oh boy, will we have some words for Ofek.

      As a matter of scientific progress, you owe it to all the poor people named Ofek, who aren’t the imbecile in question, to GIVE US OFEK’S REAL NAME.

      We are the internet. You must respect our authoritay.

      Allow me to be the first to suggest that once Ofek’s properly identified and his cell phone gets loose, we all call with an OFEK YOURSELF.

    • #114556
      catso
      Participant
      quote Flak182:

      Ofek is the internet’s problem now. And oh boy, will we have some words for Ofek.

      As a matter of scientific progress, you owe it to all the poor people named Ofek, who aren’t the imbecile in question, to GIVE US OFEK’S REAL NAME.

      We are the internet. You must respect our authoritay.

      Allow me to be the first to suggest that once Ofek’s properly identified and his cell phone gets loose, we all call with an OFEK YOURSELF.

      Well no. Anyone with half a brain cell can see that if you’re going to punish someone, you need to make sure you get the right person in the first place. The onus is on the punisher. That’s a fundamental tenant of justice. They owe other Ofeks nothing. You who want to go harass him need to do your due diligence. Take responsibility for your actions, like Ofek has had to.

    • #114557
      JackBean
      Participant

      Please, stop acting like crazy, people. Yeah, he did what he definitely shouldn’t. However, we couldn’t act earlier since we didn’t know about it and DNLee decided to rather write a blog about that instead of handling it with someone above Ofek. I understand that since she didn’t have any other contact than him, but it’s her decicion.

    • #114559
      ChrisHoStuart
      Participant

      DNLee showed a lot of class, IMO. Her video response to Ofek was primarily a message to young scientists, about valuing their time and their work and recognizing that it is okay to decide for yourself where and when you donate your time. It wasn’t focused on trying to find and fix one problem with one blog editor. It used the exchange with Ofek as a jumping off point for a larger consideration of general issues for young scientists. Well played, and a good message.

      Unfortunately, since then there’s been a lot of unfair criticism of biology-online in more general terms around the internet as the story got picked up and people started expressing their anger. For my part, I think you guys (most especially: Vicki) have done a good job of handling the fallout. (As I said above) And I’ve been trying to say that in my small way in some of blog and twitter discussions as well.

      I was struck myself with the irony! Dr Danielle Lee was making her main point about unreasonable demands. And then in the fall out, many folks around the internet were effectively demanding that biology-online had to fix everything RIGHT NOW. That’s not consistent! (The sense of demand and entitlement just above by Flak182 is a case in point. Dude! You’re just compounding the errors.)

      You guys have responded appropriately and as quickly as anyone could have reasonably expected. Not everyone is going to recognize that. You are the people most damaged by Ofek’s crudity, I suspect. (Had Dr Lee been someone else she could have been hurt, but by her own account she’s ok; thankfully.)

      I joined up because I wanted to say some of this as the issue was blowing up; I’ve also joined in a couple of other forum threads as I’ve been involved in these kinds of forums before. (Specifically: talk.origins feedback column, evcforum, plus some more physics related sites like physicsforums.) Hi!

    • #114560
      FreelanceScientist
      Participant
      quote honee_v:

      Apologies to DNLee and the action taken against Ofek regarding the reported issue of discriminatory behavior towards DNLee – about34647.html

      It’s unusual to see a proper apology such as this these days, accompanied by proper action. Thank you.

      I hope the vigilantes in this thread calm down. I’m sure Ofek’s home institute is aware of this and probably speaking to him too.

      Good luck to DNLee too. I hope Scientific American manages to put its own house in order half as well as you have, so far Mariette DiChristina has been less than honest or especially convincing. And they still haven’t restored the post! I’m sure biology-online hasn’t threatened any action else you would have mentioned it.

    • #114561
      PhilS
      Participant

      I am pleased and satisfied with the actions that Biology-Online took with respect to their former employee Ofek. Thanks, Biology-Online, for your prompt action in taking care of this situation over the weekend! Now my only issue is with trying to persuade Scientific American to reinstate Dr. Danielle Lee’s original blog post, perhaps with Biology-Online’s apology appended to it.

    • #114565
      ChrisHoStuart
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      Please, stop acting like crazy, people. Yeah, he did what he definitely shouldn’t. However, we couldn’t act earlier since we didn’t know about it and DNLee decided to rather write a blog about that instead of handling it with someone above Ofek. I understand that since she didn’t have any other contact than him, but it’s her decicion.

      Jack, I’m presuming and hoping you are simply stating why it took a little bit of time to get the apology up and online. Vicki apparently heard about it first, from these threads or maybe the site contact forms. She didn’t hire Ofek, or have any authority to deal directly with the issue; so she had to email the owners, who don’t monitor things here 24/7. All things considered, you’ve (collectively) responded to this as quickly as anyone could reasonably expect give the nature of the organization.

      I didn’t read your comment as an attempt to blame Dr Lee or put her at fault in some way; you’ve noted explicitly that ‘"I understand that since she didn’t have any other contact than him". But not everyone is going to be trying to find the most charitable reading of your post. Your post has already been picked out and marked as an example of victim blaming.

      So a friendly reminder: lots of people are reading this thread right now, as people all over the world have been looking to see what your response was going to be. It’s being reported widely on twitter and many blogs that are — rightly — concerned with the events Ofek set in train; and for which Ofek is responsible. Biology-online should and has accept organizational responsibility; and they’ve done that by firing Ofek and giving an unqualified apology. Well done.

      IMO it is worthwhile for team leaders here to take considerable care in managing this. You really really don’t want to come across as blaming Dr Lee for the situation.

    • #114569
      packetfire
      Participant

      Aside from the career-ending outburst of "Ofeck", the specific offer made was so completely fraudulent, it cries out for comment.

      The offer made was utterly fraudulent, as it promised the prospective guest blogger something of value that could not be delivered:
      “…By writing [for us] and linking to us, you not only receive traffic from us…”

      No, Bioloy-Online receives traffic from the guest blogger’s link to the post, and not the other way around.
      If Bioloy-Online might link back to the guest blogger’s blog, then perhaps this might be possible, but no such offer is made, nor do any of the “guest blog" entries on Bioloy-Online have such links back to the guest blogger’s blog.

      "Ofek" goes on to claim that “it can have a direct effect on the traffic and rank of your blog, and that in turn has a direct effect on advertising revenue”. This is also untrue, as it would only be possible if there was some sort of easy way for those claimed 1.6 million visitors to easily FIND your blog, such as a link to it.

      But http://alexa.com/siteinfo/biology-online.org seems to indicate that this is a site of little or no consequence, stumbled upon nearly half the time via Google search for some specific term. No 1.6 million anything here.

      So, in an addition to an apology, a POLICY CHANGE would be a good way to respond, one that would involve providing links back to guest blogger’s blogs, and thereby honestly providing the (dubious-seeming) advantages offered to the guest blogger.

      As a senior scientist and lab manager, my advice is to get the 11-foot pole from one’s quartermaster before touching "Biology-Online" in any way. Mere gloves, goggles, and fume hood seems insufficient protection from so much toxicity.

    • #114570
      vlodko62
      Participant

      Really, it is never OK to call a scientist or other professional a whore. Shame on you.

    • #114578
      catso
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      Please, stop acting like crazy, people. Yeah, he did what he definitely shouldn’t. However, we couldn’t act earlier since we didn’t know about it and DNLee decided to rather write a blog about that instead of handling it with someone above Ofek. I understand that since she didn’t have any other contact than him, but it’s her decicion.

      I have to agree with ChrisHoStuart. This could definitely be construed as blaming DNLee for this situation, which would be completely unfair and add another thing to the list of things people are angry at Biology Online employees for.

    • #114584
      trisha11
      Participant

      Interesting to see that people are prepared to go through the registration process to post on this blog entry. It is never OK to call anyone a whore – let alone someone who politely rejected a request to post on your website. This is the only thread, discussion that I will ever be part of on this website.

    • #114585
      JackBean
      Participant

      I never blamed her for being called a whore, I blamed her for the delay in our team’s response. That’s a difference. And I blamed the anonymous users here, who registered just two days ago from being out of their mind. If they could, they would lynch Ofek. How are they different from him?
      BTW Ms. Lee called our team in one of her tweets "asses", very professional from her.

    • #114586
      ChrisHoStuart
      Participant

      Wow… ok; my presumption was incorrect. I take it back.

      PS. For my own part: I registered recently, in good faith, using my own real name as handle. I’m not anonymous. I’ve tried to be fair to you guys, and stick up for you as working well to manage a bad situation. Both here and elsewhere, on twitter and in blog comment streams. I’ve been particularly impressed with Vicki’s handling of the matter; and the way she hasn’t tried to deflect responsibility.

      I had also (on twitter) publicly tried to give my initially overly charitable reading of Jack’s post to observers who had held it up to public shame. I’ve since had to retract that… disappointed.

    • #114588
      honeev
      Keymaster

      All of us have our own share of views on what transpired.. and just goes to show how we love science! And as lovers of science and life we certainly want to be a part of it… improving it.. nurturing it.. Much more if we are recognized by our good intentions and efforts 🙂

      We know that Biology Online is lacking in many aspects compared to its online contemporaries… Like a speck in the vast desert land.. We are aware that at present we are a small team with a simple aim of giving the best that we can offer. We made mistakes. We learn. We improve. And some of us here are working voluntarily, out of love for science, and the mirth it brings when speaking to others who have the same enthusiasm.

      I know that not all would be impressed by what we do and presently offer.. but we intend to continue to strive even if it takes a little harder than similar websites do.

      Biology Online has been Biology Online.. loved or somehow enjoyed by a few.. We will take our steps to move forward with these "few" as inspiration..

      Again, thank you. Lessons have been learned… And to answer this thread, No! It is not okay to call anybody, scientists or not, a whore. And the website does not endorse discrimination. Apologies have been sent and released out of good intention. With or without this incident, we are planning ahead with all our best to improving Biology Online for the sake of and love for science, life…

      This thread will now be locked.

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