Tuesday Neal's Yard a British chain that sells natural remedies, including homeopathy, agreed to take part in an online question and answer forum hosted by The Guardian
. They soon found that they were overwhelmed by a swarm of aggressively hostile questions from opponents of alternative medicine. Neal's Yard ignominiously backed out of the scheduled session and their opponents crowed in triumph
This behavior is known as "freeping," named after the conservative website Free Republic, which was one of the first sites to urge their users to respond en masse
to sites discussing issues dear to conservatives. What we're seeing is a skeptical version of freeping, where internet users who embrace scientific materialism as an ideology form the Internet shock troops to shout down favorable mention of alternative medicine in any open forum. Get used to seeing this behavior in any unmoderated forum and plan your response accordingly. Clearly Neal's Yard was unprepared. Let's use this as a lesson.