I disagreed with how the poll was constructed, and I disagree with how it's being interpreted. But, this is not a democracy and I've said my piece about this anyway.
I'm going to take a break for a few weeks. There's a good chance I'll stay gone, but I'm not sure yet.
One thing that's become completely clear to me in the last few weeks here is that too many skeptics - too many for my liking anyway - are bad at being diplomatic because they don't think they need to be. If they're right, then nothing else matters - not how you say something, not how you present yourself to other people, not how many people you offend. And that principle is more important than anything else. Any time this type of skeptic gives offense, it must be that the other person has to adjust their mindset, never that the skeptic has to adjust their tone.
I realize that in science, the facts are ideally all that matter. But to construe that as a license to be tactless is a mistake, because skepticism isn't science and this community isn't the science community. It's science fandom and advocacy, and advocacy is always political. Too many skeptics - skeptics who are in a position to understand this - refuse to engage in good diplomacy, or simply fail at it for whatever reason - thoughtlessness, anger, impatience, egotism, defensiveness, lack of skill, whatever.
I hasten to add that this is not because of how the vote here went, although I did very much find the conversation we had about it illuminating, and highlighted what I think is a serious difference of values between myself and many other skeptics regarding how important we think compromise and tact are. But this is a difference that has actually been becoming more clear to me over the last month or so, and the vote conversation was just the best conversation we've been able to have on the topic in that month. It was an excellent conversation that put things in very stark contrast for me.
What bothers me more is that "leaders" (ugh) in the skeptic movement are so often bad at diplomacy, even when dealing with one another, and the communities they come from (which are not unified) make endless rationalizations for these failures. I chalk it up to the same way of thinking: if their guy is right, what's it matter that they're being a tool? Shouldn't they be, if they really want to shock people into taking the point?
If I were someone on the fence, watching the skeptic community at large over the last several weeks, I'd want nothing to do with it. Just nothing at all, and I felt the same way over Elevatorgate. This tactlessness that's so common creates so much unnecessary bickering and resentment, and it absolutely is a barrier to reasonable and intelligent conversation.
Sure, you could have lots of intelligent conversation (and I absolutely have here, I'm not panning SGUF. It's a great place for it, and my experience here is what makes part of me want to stay). But you're also going to have to slog through lots of bickering, and you know that a large portion of the people you talk to are under the impression that their being right is a license for them to be a jerk to you and everyone else they talk to. And if you don't like it, it's your mind that has to change, not the way they're presenting themselves.
And here you are, setting yourself up to have to talk to them when you can get science and intelligent conversation without the bickering and jerks just by reading books, listening to podcasts, and above all, staying the hell away from skeptical communities. They're are at each other's throats constantly, and very often for no good reason other than their own abject failures to conduct themselves toward one another with some class.
Even from the inside, it makes me seriously question if I want to participate in skeptical events or even keep associating with the movement. Maybe that's melodramatic, but there it is.