Abusive Forum Members

Just to clarify, since I was completely unaware of all of this until the confession - some of this was on journals and/or other threads on the forum? Not just during “offline” interactions?

Because I struggle more with using the forum as a means to deal with offline interactions, just because the parties were both /all forum members.

It’s a hard issue, and there probably cannot be many bright-line rules since life and human behavior is too complex and messy.


I’d like to follow on. I had very little idea what was going on and it’s still unclear to me. So it’s hard to respond to it. most coordination was happening in DMs (which I cannot read!) between folks not including the mods and in non-forum threads. So reacting to anything on the forums lacked a LOT of context.

People asked me to lock and delete journals, and I did. I talked to a few folks in DMs and asked what they needed, and I did the things that were asked for. It has been really hard to parse what is going on and what actually extends to the forums.


^^ Same. But also giving endorsement on the forums to people who are bad actors to people outside the forums, is not good.


Everything on that thread was deleted before I even got there. Things were already completely deleted and locked down before I was even alerted there was an initial post, and I was pretty quick to the scene. I got a little more context than most because I can read deleted threads, but I try not to because I understand why people ask for things to be deleted, not for me to spy on them


I agree, it certainly is a way to take advantage of the trust a forum community lends to the individuals without technically breaking any forum rules. But as you noted, you have little to no information as to what was happening, which makes it very hard to be suddenly be called in as arbiter.


Yea, as someone who had to deal with very bad actors finding me in all sorts of spaces when I worked a high profile job, and constantly has to deal with terrible DMs across platforms, it’s a balance people need to make in semi-anon spaces. One subreddit I am on that has to deal with a lot of it essentially tells you to NEVER post publicly identifying information, including your face or any descriptor of your job, and never talk with people outside the subreddit.

I should also note, the forums are a lot bigger than a lot of folks thinks. We have over 600K pageviews a month, and more than 1000 active users. If you imagine that kind of presence in a physical space, you see why modding is a challenge.


Oh it was before 7AM for me when this got posted and I failed to note: I can revoke trust levels and I have several times. If I change the rules for a trust level, it immediately affects accounts. So changing trust levels can have an effect on existing accounts. One advantage of the way we do it is that people don’t know they’ve gotten their trust revoked or downgraded, they just think threads have been deleted. It’s less secure if they know why they can’t see the thread.


Let me say, I had no idea any of this was going on at all! I am glad it’s being dealt with. I extend my concern and well wishes to those affected, and truly hope we can all resolve the issue to the satisfaction of the injured parties. I had no idea of the reach of this forum and size of its audience. I will be more circumspect in what I post as a result. Being on the Internet truly is like standing on a rooftop with a megaphone…or cell phone broadcasting video!


Well said! Clearly what happened is gross and not ok. My heart goes out to the people affected by this and hope we end up with a resolution that feels fair and addresses the harm done.


As a person who largely missed that this was going on, I second all of this.


I missed most of it, saw the “apology” and responded to it as if it were genuine because it was the first (and only) thing I saw. So I’ll just apologize to anyone hurt by my response and move on.


I’m still seeing this happen here. Even if the abusive account is deleted, it needs to be shouted from somewhere so that people who missed it are aware.

Like this:
(is that right @Marcela , you’ve put in the proper request now and @anomalily has done the ban/delete thing?)

This thing is still in secret because people asked to stop talking about it, and those involved did stop talking about it on the forum. I sure as heck wasnt going to talk about it because i wasn’t involved at all. Last time i did something like that, was in grade 4 and my face smarted from the slap for an hour. We don’t know what happened, so i don’t know how to do better. I have brought up things before, like on Facebook many of my groups nobody is allowed to DM until initial public request has been made, but when that was discussed here it was determined others didn’t like the rule for other reasons.

I am planning on going through materials from CONSENTparenting on abuse over the next few months and can report back useful information.

Please note talking around a topic is not the same as telling people. Reading subtext is a tricky thing on a forum in the clearest of messages, let alone something like this.


Yes, this has been done.

You cannot delete a user who has posts (for good reason, as you see, a record is useful), but he has been suspended indefinitely which means he cannot login, and there is a flag on his account about why, so it is publicly obvious. He has the opportunity to appeal the decision which I do not expect he will. Other actions have been taken to prevent his creation of a new account but I will not say them publicly as that makes it easier to get around.


I’m another one who had no idea what was going on, it may have happened while I was traveling this summer? My first clue was a post by someone who was involved and by that time it seemed like stuff had been deleted.

Beyond banning, what other actions would be useful for forum members to take that would help affected members feel safer?

I’m usually one of the later ones to figure out when someone has come back to the forum and is posting under a different user name, but, assuming I have suspicions that someone who has been banned is posting again, what should I do? Find this thread and publicly post my suspicions here? DM a mod or other members?


DM a mod, we have tools to investigate. Don’t publicly call someone out unless you are sure it is who you suspect. We have 5 new users join per day.


The thing I struggle with is turning these sorts of things into public gossip - where allegations are made, maybe without hard evidence, and lots of people who don’t know what happened are talking, judging, maybe (likely) misunderstanding things and the court of unlicensed opinion casts out someone based on all this uninformed speculation.

BUT - I also want to believe someone f they say “hey, this person crossed many lines” and their behavior is inappropiate. As @iualia noted - abuse thrives on secrecy.

I don’t know how to slide the weights on the scale for there to be few times when someone is abusive / inappropriate is NOT dealt with, and someone is NOT ostracized or smeared when they haven’t crossed the line.

None of the above theoretical scenarios are meant to apply to the instant specific scenario.


Ducky, you are right. Say it as it is.

My best friend, like a sister to me, was abused by a forum user for a year. He told lies about her and about me to discredit us. and he knows where i live so I’m scared of that since he’s bigger than me. I’m not going to prove that it was abuse by divulging my friends pain. I’m not going to prove that i had a right to be afraid.

And what’s fucked up too is he was my friend and i vouched for him and because we are all a community who knows him, you vouched for him too and he betrayed all of our trust.

Everything is contextual right.

This is my context: I’m surrounded by people who are generally kind, goodhearted, and vulnerable on here. Some of these people I’ve known since 2012. Some of these people have seen me grow up, in other words, and vice versa. There is genuine affection, care, and trust i have for people here. It may be naive on an Internet semi-anon place, sure, but that’s my context.

One of those people is this guy. He was well established as trustworthy in the community. People sent him their resumes, addresses and all. People visited him in person, shared meetings with families. He iwas extremely open and vulnerable with his own personal story that included unfortunately the experience of ongoing abuse in his marriage. He messaged people in journal but also in PMs and was in texting groups with many of us. He’s good at building friendships, being disarming, intimate. He’s very close to people that are longstanding and beloved in the community.

In short, he is trusted and vouched peer to peer. There’s nothing “it’s just the internet” about this. This community has moved beyond that into the flesh in so many ways.

And yeah I felt bad that my friend was involved in something horrible and abuse was hinted at and it was fucking shattering on this end and it felt like a blip in the universe to a community that i know. It’s fine if it’s naive. I’m not saying your bad people. I’m also not apologizing for my feelings. Just sharing. Because if sucked.

I do want to say this isn’t “Bash Lily’s moderation” kind of thing? I see lots of posts that are concerned that may suggest this angle is being received. I’m not about that, im saying, it’s a shitty thing that happened so let’s figure out how to look out for each other and what can we learn for when this shit happens again?

I’m on s plane on my phone. This might post a thousand times.


I have a lot of conflicted feelings about what happened and how I reacted/didn’t react. Some of it related to my own history with my personal life exploding on the internet. Don’t have much productive to say at the moment but want to note that I’m tracking the conversation and hope we can continue to make this as safe a place as possible. But there are shitty people out there who are gonna people in their shitty people way, so even bans are not 100% foolproof.


I kind of like this as a barrier to private info, but also I have joined forums in the past and journal lurked before posting. But I have never secually preyed on the most vulnerable people. And super annoyed at myself for not realizing that some jerk was doing that as a pattern - like I realized there was a pattern of boundary crossing DMs when I was vulnerable but didn’t ask any others what they saw.


Yes, published post limits are easy to get through

Want a DM anonimized summary with typos? It will miss some things but catch others. I am pretty sure only one person knows everything. And it is awkward that your forum was the center of a drama storm

I get that. But I also get why the most affected people weren’t talking. And for me it seems like if I talk I am gossiping about good people, which is not cool, if I talk about buttface I am giving energy where I don’t want to, and if I talk about my feelings it seems moot. Totally would make sense to make a thread where people could talj or not? Maybe? Idk it feels lose lose

I think that happened for a lot of people! And I think that is what the poster wanted to happen. I actually had a friend of mine be kind of hurt because they thought I knew more and should be more outraged- and then when I found out more I was outrages

I think one proactive thing is that we can have this story be part of public lore- we can maybe randomly ask - hey I am going to meet up with @anomalily is they cool? And I can say - they and their partner slept on my floor a few years ago and seemed cool, but that is my only offline interaction with them. Make sure an irl person knows where you go!

And then avoid secrets and lies?


I’m not taking it personally, just so you know. But I want a repeatable moderation tactic for these kind of situations. I do want to provide a window into the back end, and how challenging it is to figure out good solutions/remedies without full context.