Abusive Forum Members


So there was a situation (some of y’all might have read about it, maybe) earlier this year where a forum member was a total asshole and abusive to multiple forum folks off forum. This person lied and engaged in multiple physical and emotional relationships with people while lying and telling different people different things and requesting privacy and secrecy about things he told. Because this community is filled with awesome people who are so good at respecting privacy and boundaries (which is incredible and one of the reasons I love this place), he was able to able to continue his harmful behavior. It was only after people involved started talking to each other that the puzzle was pieced together and we were able to see him for the predator he was. This person then posted a public amazing work of fiction that painted the sharing of information and fact checking as malicious gossip (thanks for that extra little bit of sexism!).

So like, you know, all the bullshit, right?

But even more importantly, how do we want to deal with this sort of situation moving forward as a community that genuinely cares for each other? I think that the immediate action when something of this magnitude happens should be that the perpetrator/asshole should be banned so they don’t continue to have access to journals and possible victims. (I was shocked to see that this had not been done with the current situation, and that this fucking guy was still reading on the forum this week with access to all journals.)

What else is this about? I think that it is important that we trust the vibes we feel and check in with each other. Maybe it’s cause I’m in NYC, but #IfYouSeeSomething,SaySomething.

Happy to continue this topic and get other folks’s thoughts and ideas on the matter.

CC: @anomalily @brute


I wasn’t personally involved in any of this, but I watched much of the conversation unfold in the now-deleted threads. Thank you @Marcela for kicking this off.

I wanted to add a few things:

Any community will eventually have bad faith assholes, if it goes on for long enough and involves enough people.

I love that this forum is a welcoming and positive place, and I don’t want to lose that spirit of generosity. But also…I want people to be aware that sometimes shit happens.

  • A key manipulation tactic is often presenting very different faces to different people. Manipulative people will often go out of their way to be genuinely good friends to bystanders in order to give themselves cover.

  • Corollary 1: just because someone seems like a cool person to you doesn’t mean that they aren’t being an asshole to someone else.

  • Corollary 2: please don’t beat yourself up for being fooled by a “nice guy” act. It can be a deliberate manipulation tactic.

  • Abuse thrives on secrecy. If something seems weird, TALK ABOUT IT.

  • Abuse thrives on secrecy. It’s important that when shit happens, there’s a record somewhere. (More formal organizations write up public incident reports, with details anomymized.) Don’t assume that everyone will hear about problem characters via the whisper network. Don’t facilitate missing stairs.

  • if anyone wants to read more about different ways that communities deal with harassers, this is a book that has been useful to me in professional contexts.



I’m struggling to figure out how to address this, in the general or specific case.

Mostly what I experienced appeared innocuous and not worth sharing with others. I’m a flirt, someone else was a flirt, the biggest flags were mostly yeesh this person does not seem to be in a good place with their spouse and hey maybe I’m the asshole for being a flirt when I know that’s a thing.

It is hard to determine in the context of a relationship what to share when nothing seems fishy to you. And if I had an inkling that I should share, with whom or through what venue?

Maybe it’s the norm of almost all convos occuring “in public” that makes it feel there’s no appropriate space to casually discuss such things. Like, if Marcela and I have an ongoing private text thread I am gonna absolutely tell her if I start insufferably flirting with someone and all the deets. But it’s just weird to like, announce that in my journal, the discord, or randomly message someone I don’t have an ongoing 1-on-1 conversation with to say “hey Im having conversations with this nature with this person thought you should know” unless I know they have a romantic relationship.

Maybe it’s just that I actually wasn’t as deeply involved as some fucked up part of me thinks I should have been so I couldn’t have actually done anything.

Sorry, talking about this is still DEEPLY UNSETTLING AND WEIRD to me and I have pretty complicated unresolved feelings, guilt, and questions that no one is under any obligation to answer.

… I may have contributed nothing to this conversation and I apologize.


This was brought up (maybe over on the discord drama channel) I believe the concern was that there’s nothing stopping this person or any person from just rolling up a new user name and reading journals anyway.

Do we stop allowing all new people? That doesn’t seem like a great solution.

Maybe there’s a way to say a new account can only look at journals after XYZ? Anyone can get around that.

I don’t think the forum has a way to say “I only want this list of people I the journal owner select to be able to read my journal”. (I don’t even know who reads my journal, sometimes I’m surprised by who heard something there.)

I don’t know of a great solution to this aspect of it. Something can be secure or it can be convenient but it’s hard to achieve both. If blocking a certain account send like it would achieve something then that can probably happen - but I said account there and not person. As a community member I hid that account’s journal and will not interact with them if they post elsewhere. Their post could also be flagged for a mod. That’s all I can think of that’s in the realm of my control, so that’s what I’ll do.


I don’t think there’s a good way to stop someone from reading journals. The forum is really a public space even if there are some light guard rails around it.

But it’s still worth saying, imo, that this kind of shit is not okay. It takes time and effort to build up a trustworthy persona. Banning an account shuts down that persona.

What happens if someone missed the drama as it unfolded? Like, if they had stepped away from the forums for a few weeks? I think it’s important that people know that a Thing happened.


That’s legit. It’s a fucking weird situation. Sometimes assholes are gonna asshole and keeping it normal-seeming is part of that playbook.

Ugh idk what to say other than, I am really sorry that you ended up tangled up in this. :grimacing::grimacing::grimacing::grimacing:


Hmm, maybe an assigned badge then so it appears on all of that person’s posts everywhere? If the forum software can even do that.

That’s a good point about people taking forum breaks or who just aren’t here as frequently.


We can up the trust quotient for journals and already have. But there will always be ways around that


Yeah, but by not even banning the person, he hasn’t even had to deal with the new trust levels.


And since some of the conversations have been open/public, and there was a member request that he be banned, the fact that he hasn’t been feels like tacit condoning of his behaviour.

Are we not gonna hold people accountable just because they could set up a new account anyway? That seems… problematic


I was addressing the journals section issue specifically, not banning a specific person. I think raising the barrier a bit (I won’t say by how much because that makes it easier to get around) was a good call.

Banning a specific person was never asked through by flagging a post for the mods or messagi mod. The only thing that happened was people offline determined that it would not be effective. That is why no ban has been issued, one was never requested.


I still have pretty much 0 idea what went down. very little was public and it was impossible to follow given how much was deleted and spread across posts and private messages. Most was deleted before I even woke up.


It was definitely requested on discord. I could pull it up if you would like.

Maybe there needs to be a more clear process for these complaints. I thought the conversation on discord would have been enough.


Discord is not a mod request platform. DMing a mod on Instagram or texting a mod is not a mod request. It isn’t possible to do mod requests in tons of different areas. If you want a forum mod, Messaging the moderators via the forums is the only mod method. It is outlined in the forum guidelines. It isn’t possible to keep track of otherwise.


Ok cool. That wasn’t mentioned in the conversation on discord. I just messaged you an official request.


Thank you. I don’t assume what people chat about on discord are a request because that would make things impossible to track, it isn’t an official forum place and I have no mod tools there. It is too hard to mod when I get DMs in random places. I do my best but it makes it much harder especially with time zones


Glad to see that there’s a resolution on making it harder for proven bad actors to lurk on the content of people they’ve hurt.

I’d love to now steer the conversation on the other part of the discussion, which is how do we protect each other and how do we help each other when wrongs have been done?

I have some thoughts and am gonna take a moment to gather them since I’m sleep deprived on an airport.

I do hope there is some discussion from forum members on this because as a person who was secondarily affected by it I have been pretty disappointed in the lukewarm, carry on attitude that I’ve generally felt has been the forum-based response.


I have some thoughts on this subject and what happened and will share after i am off work later today.


When you have a second, could you expand a little? As someone who was totally outside of this, my sense was that people affected didn’t want it to be discussed: updates were vague and deleted quickly. I felt like I had a sense of what was going on and my impression was that it was in the realm of bad dating behavior, not abusive behavior, which I’m hearing now. Obviously my initial impression was wrong!



That’s fair.

I know not everyone knew the whole story. But i felt like… a cis guy came in and said he’s cheated on someone and then also dated not 1 but 2 women in the forum and a forum member comes out swinging with an allegation of abusive behavior (which happened in thread!) So i felt like it was a big huge red flag and indicator that something BIG BAD had happened beyond the realm of dating.

Not trying to suggest people don’t actually care. Just airing things out.

I’m typing oth r post now.