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What Happened Was...
onoz
cleolinda
So. A couple of days ago, most of Snarkfest vanished into the ether. Did y’all ever read the Charlotte Lennox entries on Bad Penny? That’s the feel I’m hoping for here. I want to be as neutral as possible, but there will probably be some fallout and some anger from this. It’s just that I feel that 2000+ posters who just had their online home yanked out from under them deserve to know what happened, and I was in a position to see a lot of it go down, albeit in most cases after the fact.

The rule of fair play as we do it on JournalFen, however, is that anything locked on a LiveJournal is off-limits. If I accidentally repost locked material without realizing it, or without permission from the journal owner, I’ll remove it ASAP. The exception to this is anything that was ever posted publicly. If it was ever released to the public, it’s considered fair game whether it’s locked now or not.

I’m a little hazy on the whens and whats, since the old threads are no longer available to view, so if you have dates or other information, I’ll revise this as we go. My personal intention is to keep this under a filter while other posters contribute new or more accurate information, and once I feel like it's as fair and complete as possible, I'll unlock it for the public. I also feel like it will be better to have let it sit a few days, rather than appear on the top of everyone's friends lists, given that there would be many, many people unconnected with SF who would then see it. I don't mind or care who reads this, and I hope any SFer who wants to know what happened will see it, but my intention isn't to present it as entertainment for all and sundry, as it were. ETA: As of late Thursday night, it's now public.

Also, since I originally posted this on Wednesday night, Nov. 29, I have gotten a longer and more accurate version of RWS's original Michael Richards post from a comment Preciosa left on someone else's journal, and a full repost of the comments deleted from the MR thread. So far as I myself remember, all of these are correct.

Nov. 26. RunsWithScissors (RWS), posted in the Celebrities/Michael Richards thread. Renny Sue was saying,
(Renny Sue @ November 26, 2006 04:15 am)
I don't get this thinking. The man was upset by black men and his FIRST thought it "50 years ago we'd have had you upside down with a fork up your arse" and that's not a reflection of his true feelings? What does a person need to say to be considered a racist?
RWS's reply, as saved by preciosatt (Preciosa) and Renny Sue (note: the following is longer than what I originally posted), ran thus:
And now I don't get this thinking. The assumption here is that he's a racist because of his reaction. Well let me play devil's advocate here for a minute. Keep in mind that I am in NO WAY a racist. I work with a group of black men whom I really love. They're some of the nicest guys I've ever met. Yet, I've also been in a situation where there was a group of black men harrassing me and acting like a bunch of gangsta loving 'slap that bitch's ass' mean mother Fers. Yes, they actually said that to me. They even called themselves 'Niggas.' And you know what I thought as I was scared out of my mind and pretty sure they might even rape me if I didn't get away from them mighty fast? I thought 'Yep. You are Niggers.' Did I say it? No. Because I didn't want to provoke them into chasing and raping me.

I'm not a racist. I don't care what you heritage, skin color, gender, or religion is. But when A GROUP of people start acting in a derogatory way that clearly reminds me of a stereotype that has been around for ages, odds are that stereotype is going to pop into my head at some point and quite possibly come out of my mouth.

Did Richards carry it too far? You bet. But we only saw that footage from the point where he began. We have no idea how long that group of black men were harrassing him and what they were saying and doing.

I know from my own experience that when I am harrassed or even witnessing any stereotyped group act in a manner that epitomizes said stereotype, that stereotype comes rushing into my mind, and I think 'REDNECKS' or 'WOMAN HATERS' or 'FEMA-NATZI BITCHES,' etc. Why? Because I'm human.

Also, in this specific case, maybe it should be kept in mind that for the better part of a decade many young black people have perpetuated this stereotype by calling themselves certain names and embracing certain behaviors and attitudes. Granted, not all young black people have done this, but the images are out there in people's minds because they're all over television and movies and in rap music and music videos, etc. So a person really doesn't have to be a racist to have these images or stereotypes come to their mind when it's being perpetuated to a LARGE degree by some of the very people who get offended if you acknowledge what they're doing.

Bill Crosby [sic] went off on this very issue last year, and you know what? He was right. And he was pissed because MILLIONS of african americans worked their asses off to undo these stereotypes only to have their next generation come along and undo all their hard work.

Maybe people should think about all of that before they make a ton of assumptions about a situation of which we only saw the tail end with bits and pieces of what happened before still forthcoming. Yeah, Richards went too far, but let's leave it at that.
Binky replied:
In the situation that you have described, you thought of a racial epithet - you didn't imagine lynching the men.

To me, there's a jump from the N word to lynching imagery. The difference between, say, calling a Jewish person the K word and making innuendo about chimneys. Subtle, but important to me.
RWS:
Actually, once I was in my car and driving away, I DID imagine lynching them because once I was over the fear I was outraged at their behavior. However, I will agree that being heckled and being harrassed in a dark parking lot is different.
First RWS ETA ("edited to add"):
ETA: Everyone's going to have a different opinion of this. So perhaps it would be best to drop it because it's becoming more of a racist issue than of Michael Richards' actions.
Second RWS ETA:
Edited again to add: If we can keep this from becoming a debate about racism, then feel free to continue. If we're just going to keep heading down the racist road, then don't post because it's a no win situation that just gets a lot of people very upset.

Renny Sue, writing to me on Thursday, Nov. 30, says, "It would have been around here that the posts were deleted. I made a comment (which wasn't saved) that if you think of lynching someone then yes you are a racist. That was posted when she was deleting and I then edited it to say that shitloads of posts had been deleted. (apparently I was wrong, but it went from three pages to two) It was then the second ETA was added."

In the mods' thread, RWS noted that Dane had PMed her to say that she (Dane) was offended. After vwlphb mentioned that she (vwlphb) was offended as well, RWS seemed to realize the inappropriateness of the post. She deleted her comments and Binky's reply pertaining to it, as far as I can remember. I don’t recall exactly how many comments were deleted, but I believe it was three, maybe four. My personal feeling, which I didn’t voice at the time—it was kind of moot just then—was that the content could have been edited out and the posts themselves left as empy placeholders so that people could see exactly how many (or how few) comments were actually deleted. As Renny Sue notes, the difference in pages made it look like more had been deleted, but I think this is because the posts in question were so long. Again, by the time I came back from whatever I had been doing elsewhere, it had already happened.

Part of the problem here is that RWS’s status was unclear. She had founded the board, if y’all remember the Last Days of Fametracker when the PXThis girl was telling her not to bother with Snarkfest (which is an entirely different saga unto itself). As creator and founder, RWS very naturally felt a deep attachment to the board. Therefore, when she wanted to step down from admin to mod, or from mod to “retired admin/mod,” the other mods let her keep sort of a half-and-half status. (I've heard some rumors of a "coup" by the other mods, but I have no idea what this is about, or if it's even true. vwlphb, however, says that the "coup" is basically the email that RWS references [far, far] below on the 29th, with vwlphb stating that she's uncomfortable with RWS's inconsistent status. Note: I did not become a mod until earlier this year, so I wasn't there for any of that.) Basically, RWS didn’t have duties, but she had privileges: admin access, in particular. There was nothing wrong with this per se, although it could be awkward for the other members for RWS to post normally one moment and moderate with a vengeance the next. Consistency was the essential problem here, as she retired and unretired and retired again, so far as I know, more than once. As vwlphb says in comments to this entry,
Date: November 30th, 2006 05:28 pm (UTC)
There was no coup. Just the occasional conference though PM or chat about what to do about the crazy thing RWS did. Remember when she banned Smilla for three weeks? or when she completely bitched out Scarlettfish in a public thread?

The "coup" may have been when I sent her a PM which I described above. This was way back in either December or March, so it's pretty hazy now. Basically it was kind of like "Put up or shut up" - either be a full mod and discuss things with the rest of us instead of doing these crazy things, or *don't* be a mod and tell us about these things instead of "dealing" with them yourself.

So when the Michael Richards post appeared, most of us, poster and mod alike, sort of stared in confusion and horror but didn’t really know what to do—here’s the owner of the board, you know? But the people who voiced concern or indignation made her realize pretty quickly that what she had said was inappropriate, so she came to the moderator thread and said that she was stepping down, surrendering admin access, and taking some time off from the board. She then deleted her LiveJournal, twilight_zen.

On the 27th (I think), vwlphb, currently co-admin of the board with lezopez, then pointed out that we needed to address the kerfuffle on the board itself. Posters had told us that it was being discussed on other boards and journals, and clearly, we needed to address the problem. What happens when a leader of a group says something ill-advised, to put it lightly, is that you want to assure the rest of the group that the leader in question has been dealt with fairly—as any other poster would be—and that the post that upset the group will not be repeated and is not condoned or acceptable. So vwlphb posted an announcement to that effect; we chipped in suggestions, and I think I suggested that we title it “Regarding recent events” specifically to get as many people as possible to notice it—ideally, all the people who had already seen the damaging post. You don’t want to be “the board with the racist posters,” after all. I think what happened after that, though, was that RWS felt betrayed, or as if we had sold her out. I believe she mentioned somewhere that we should have asked her permission first. The thing was, the announcement seemed like such a natural and necessary step that it didn’t occur to us to mention it; personally, I don’t feel you should have to ask permission to do the right thing. Hindsight being what it is, however, we probably should have let her know what we were going to do. But because we didn't think of it as stabbing her in the back, it didn't occur to us that she might take it that way.

The 28th. So. People are discussing the incident in the MR thread on various journals. On akathorne's (Lily Rose's), I went to bat for RWS:

cleolinda wrote:
Nov. 28th, 2006 03:37 am (UTC)
I feel really bad about all of this. We (mods) were all pretty much blindsided by it. RWS deleted the three (three?) posts in question herself, which I wouldn't have done, myself--maybe edited them to remove the text in question, but at least left them to show people that there were *only* two posts from her, and I think another one from someone else quoting her.

I think she felt bad pretty immediately--I can kind of dimly see a non-racist version of what she was getting at, kind of like, "So this is where racial stereotypes come from," all tied up in an emotional personal experience and badly worded, and probably with some genuine prejudice mixed in there, but then a lot of us grow up with prejudices. Yeah, it's up to us to learn better, but I'm just saying, for a lot of people, it's not like you wake up one day and decide to hate [race/ethnicity]; it's something you may grow up with and only later come to question.

She then mentioned someone being offended to us and I forget who exactly, but one of the mods said, basically, "Uh, I was offended by that too." (I think our reaction was a bit like the other posters' in the thread itself--sort of sit there in horror like, "Wait, what?" while one or two people pipe up.) I really don't think she understood until that moment what exactly she had said. I just feel bad, because--look, I'm extremely sensitive to the N word because I did grow up in Birmingham, and I'm as horrified as anyone. But just reading between the lines, I feel like she was--I don't even know. Just that she felt awful afterwards and almost immediately resigned from the board. I really *don't* think it's representative of who she really is, although I don't know if anyone will believe that.
Note: I have since been reminded that it was Dane who initially PMed RWS about being offended.

cleolinda wrote:
Nov. 28th, 2006 04:33 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's my problem as well--I may be remembering it as less inflammatory than it actually was.

The thing is, there are things that you think and things that you say. Some pretty dark thoughts can swirl around in your head, usually egged on by the examples around you, and sometimes some dark, evil things surface. Not just racism--wishing a horrible death on an enemy, for example. Ideally, something dark turns up and you examine it and say to yourself, "But I don't believe that." Someone makes you angry and a nasty stereotype pops up and ideally you think, "But this is one person who's made me feel this way, people are just people and this one person doesn't represent anyone but himself."

These are not things that you say out loud. It's kind of like, you have to entertain the bad thoughts (whether they're racist, sexist, whatever kind of prejudice or hate) in the first place in order to go through the process of debunking them to yourself. It's a process that can look really, really ugly if someone walks in on it, so to speak, midstream. Again, I can't remember precisely what she said, but I feel like she tried to articulate one of those mental processes and it blew up in her face. The end result might have been "But I don't believe that"--I can't remember if it was or not--but the ugly process leading up to that is what everyone's going to remember.
akathorne wrote:
Nov. 28th, 2006 04:43 am (UTC)
You have it exactly...well, at least I think you do. Not being in her head, I can't swear to it. But everyone thinks ugly things sometimes, but most of us have the internal filter that keeps those things thought and not posts on message boards. Her filter obviously failed her. But you know, I can't remember if she said she didn't believe it now either, which is a bit troubling in itself.
At some point, RWS undeleted her journal and posted the following, as saved by an LJer who saw it at the time:
Subject: So I'm a Racist

Not really, but there was this whole big blowout at my old forum when I tried to get people to stop lynching Michael Richards and made the mistake of using a personal experience as an example related to racism. Now everyone in the forum hates me for speaking my mind, I officially left the place, and they have this big note up there regarding me, like some kind of damage control because I dared to say that there are instances when a person is in a situation being harrassed or whatnot and you think a thought or pigeon hole.

Right now I just feel really sick about the whole thing because apparently speaking my mind and not going with the flow of hating Michael Richards with all my might makes me an evil racist too. So I've deleted nearly everyone from my flist that are associated with that site because I just can't deal with it anymore.

If you have a problem with me or my opinions, then please do delete me. I'm all set with reading how horrible I am for admitting that I'm human. At least I can admit that I have had these thoughts in a specific situation and acknowledge that I'm imperfect. Personally, I think that's better than the alternative. I really don't care what people think anymore, but the fact that so many were willing to be enraged and/or appalled at me - mind you, these were people who were supposedly my LJ/SF friends - just reminds me that people will pretend to be your friend, but when push comes to shove and you say something that does not go with the flow, nobody gives you the benefit of the doubt or asks you to clarify before having their knee jerk reaction.

We do not live in a world where everything is black and white (no pun intended). There are a lot of grey areas, just as there are a lot of imperfect people. I happen to be one of them. If that disappoints you, then please just delete me.
Elsewhere, katesti wrote:
Nov. 28th, 2006 05:06 pm (UTC)
[The following is RWS] responding to a post by bluekermit (GreenMary), who was basically saying, She's my friend, I'm with her, defriend me if you want. Here's the response, in full.

You really don't have to do this. I realize why people were upset by what I posted. But I did it to prove a point, which was that SF is no longer a place where you can submit a different viewpoint on a challenging topic and have people even be willing to not trash talk you, defriend you, or act like you are a horrible human being, EVEN WHEN you explain the extenuating circumstances and your point is to say that deep down, in similar type situations to what mine was (being sexually harrassed in a dark parking lot by a group of african american men who were calling themselves gangstas and N's and to be quite honest, telling me to come suck their dicks and calling me a bitch), that N word went through my mind. And you know what? That makes me fucking human. [Snip, at my discretion.] My point in all this is that there are situations that ANYONE OF US could be in and have a racist thought or God forbid blurt it out.

Was I proud of this? NO. I was very disturbed that I labeled them that way. I never thought of myself as someone who would think of a person or people like that. And I had a very hard time coming to terms with the idea that in that situation, that was what I thought.

The whole thing just makes me sad because I genuinely liked several of the people whose replies about me I read on an flist post regarding this whole thing, and it seemed that they were so willing to not even see a different point of view or that there could be a circumstance where one would react as if they were a racist when they really aren't.

But you know what? If that's how these people are, then fuck 'em. At least I'm not some person who just jumps on the bandwagon and pretends what happened to me never happened and that I've never, ever, ever in my life had a thought like that and then attacks the person who admits they have.


I...don't quite know what to say to that first paragraph.
That last sentence is still part of katesti's post, by the way.

Meanwhile (“Date: November 28, 2006 7:58:35 PM EST”), RWS posted:
Yeah, there's a whole juvenille clique thing going on that's just too pathetic for words. I should have crashed the forum while I had the chance.
This comment, which I saw on RWS's journal when it was posted, is largely the reason we came to believe... well, you'll see.

On another journal, sexion8 (Gogo on the board) expressed some vehement disapproval:

Nov. 28th, 2006 09:13 pm (UTC)
In bluekermit's journal , I posted a reply pretty much voicing my disgust that RWS regressed this nation 50 years with her racist comments. This is what she replied with:

I'm sorry but THOSE MEN regressed the nation 50 years by pulling that fucking bullshit on a woman alone in a dark fucking parking lot. They call themselves the N word, and they targeted me and clearly wanted to scare me and were saying a whole lot of things I didn't even post that would scare the hell out of anyone here. So excuse me if a racial epithet came into my mind as they were calling themselves it. Maybe they shouldn't have done what they did. Their behavior was far from excusable, and that my dear is what sets back this nation in the battle against racism.

People do not have the right to terrorize or sexually harrass others, and when they are a gang of people? Even worse! That you deem what they did acceptable and make like I'm the horrible person in this instance shows how blinded you are to their actions.

Get off your high fucking horse. The fact that you would defend such behavior is ridiculous. SO please do fuck off, you bitch!
I saw this on bluekermit’s journal myself, so I can attest that RWS said this. I believe the entry, once locked, then unlocked, is now locked again.

On that now-locked entry (again: once unlocked), RWS also said this in response to Gogo:
You think I don't feel awful about all this? I never, ever, ever meant to offend anyone. I don't think I'm a racist, but maybe I am. I never thought anything like that until that incident in the parking lot. And it sickened me that I had that thought. [Some personal information removed at my own discretion.]

So you know what, you're absolutely right. It was a bad/racist thought when I thought it, and it still bugs me that I did think it. But I can't change anything about any of this. I can't change what happened or what I posted. And I don't think an apology would fix it because everyone is so enraged at me.

I was being honest in that thread, and I hurt a lot of people, which I cried about plenty after because I never meant that. And of all the people I hurt, I felt the worst that I hurt you because I thought of you as a friend. I am truly sorry for that. But I cannot fix this. I don't even know how to try. I wish that moment never happened because something in me changed that night, and now I am apparently a person who profiles and judges because I need to always feel safe.

I deleted those posts because I felt awful after I realized how hurt people were by it. So yeah, I'm a racists ass. I'm sorry I hurt you and everyone else involved.
After a verbal scuffle on bluekermit’s journal that I can’t entirely follow because of deleted or screened posts, RWS says,
If [Gogo]’s getting that insane over my posts, then that's a whole lot of anger at what? Some posts that she could just forget about? Total insanity and verging on stalkery now. Even I've dropped it and was just reading my flist when I saw there were more posts here.

Let her post it. Who cares? Just proving how right I was about a whole lot of things.

The showing is probably taking place at some person's LJs where the initial hate threads about me were started. You know, it's reached a level of junior high immaturity. Grow the fuck up, I say.

ETA Dec. 1: A poster emailed me to request that the Gogo - RWS - bluekermit exchange be posted in full, since she didn't think it was fair to RWS to only post part of it. As such, I've posted the full exchange as a separate entry, backdated to the same day as the original writeup to keep them together. That's right, this whole saga now has an appendix. This shit has gone Tolkien.

In the interest of being fair, I feel it should be noted that bluekermit is/was going through some real-life stress and trauma; she mentions having to go to a memorial for multiple people. I didn’t feel like it was my place to look any deeper than things she mentioned in entries relevant to this discussion, but because of those issues, I’m trying to involve her as little as possible.

As for “hate threads,” I don’t know of any unlocked examples, but I saw many of them myself. A lot of posters were expressing shock, horror, confusion, and anger at the Michael Richards post, often to the effect of, “I had no idea she would ever say anything like that.” I don’t know that the words “I hate RWS” were involved, but you can imagine the kind of reaction the Michael Richards post would inspire (remember Gogo’s “I posted a reply pretty much voicing my disgust that RWS regressed this nation 50 years with her racist comments”). Whether they were “hate threads” or not is up to you to decide, or will be, if I can find any unlocked examples.

So. The 28th. What happened next was that, on Tuesday afternoon, so far as I remember, threads and member accounts began to disappear. vwlphb said she saw that only kashmore and RWS remained as admins; given that RWS had resigned admin access, only kashmore could have given it back to her. All the mods were stripped of their titles and access. By the time whoever was done, all the forums, threads and posts were gone, and only 76 posters still had accounts. No one knows why those 76 posters were allowed to remain.

People begin to freak out.

When I checked the board, I thought it was a technical glitch; people had just recently been complaining about the host service. When people began to send me comments and emails to the effect of, “Something’s happened, get to the chat room,” that was when I realized something had happened. So we, the mods, managed to get an IM conference going to discuss what to do. It was fairly obvious that it had to have been RWS who deleted the forums—not just because we knew she was upset, not just because she was on record as saying "I should have crashed the forum," but also because only she or kashmore had the access at that point to do it. However, we agreed to say simply that the board had been “hacked,” in the loosest sense of the word, because we didn’t have a smoking gun (so to speak) other than "I should have crashed the forum." The way I phrased it on snarkfest_lj was, “Someone who had or gained admin access,” on the off chance that an outsider or a random poster really had broken in. However, no one—mod or poster alike—ever really believed that any particularly l33t haxxoring was involved.

What I found interesting at the time, however, was that I never saw RWS deny that she had deleted the forums. She expressed anger at being accused or with people taking issue with the original racial comments, I seem to recall, but she never said she didn’t do it. Her journal no longer exists, but requests there from vwlphb to assure her that she didn’t do it went unanswered.

Everyone continues to freak out.

Last night (still Tuesday), while we continued to discuss the situation over IM, vwlphb began putting together a new board. She tried to contact Forumer for help, but a Forumer tech eventually replied that there was nothing that they could do. Even if the “hacker” magically returned the board to us, the posts were very likely gone for good; there was no point in hoping for it to come back. I’m not entirely sure why we decided not to tell people that we were putting a new board together, except that we sensed it was better to wait until it was a fait accompli. We continued to stall by saying that all we weren’t sure what happened, all we had was conjecture, we were waiting to hear back from Forumer, and finally, if we had to put up a new board, we would. All of these things were true. We just didn’t say that we had already accepted the worst-case scenario.

The 29th. Wednesday morning, vwl (who had stayed up until six am, I think she said, working on the new board) was putting on the finishing touches. We were still reluctant to say what we thought had really happened, because our evidence was basically a scattered series of comments and posts across LiveJournal.

And then, early that afternoon, RWS confessed.
I did crash MY forum. I was well within my rights to do so.

The place had gotten ugly as of late - well before my infamous post, and that's exactly why I posted in the MR thread. It was a deliberate and calculated maneuver on my part to see exactly what would happen. I didn't mean for it to come across so hurtful to so many people, but ultimately, I wanted to watch the reaction, which was far more extreme than I could have ever imagined, and it proved my point ten times over.

People were no longer willing to even try to be civil or ignore a post that was not to their liking. Instead, they just attack. If not in the forum, then on their LJs... with me on their FLists where I could read every mean thing they posted about me and what a horrible, horrible person I am. I would have just walked away and left the forum up and running, but watching so many so called friends go rabid was a bit extreme. And so the consequences? EXTREME

The irony of this is that it came from the place I least expected it - the oldest members, the ones that were there when I started SF, all members who claimed they wanted a nice forum in which to play. A place that was nothing like FT. And yet, FT v2.0 is exactly what my forum had become. A little less obvious about it. Not quite as mean as FT was, but clearly well on its way as witnessed by the response to my post.

vwlphb - remember back so many months ago when you sent me that cold PM about how I should leave the forum so you could be in power because you didn't like me still hanging around? And how uncomfortable you felt that I was still there? Bad choice. Very bad choice. And waiting several months to tell me that you felt bad about how you left it? Not helping your cause.

Again, I would have let this go had it not been for your lovely 'regarding recent events' post which you made without so much as a PM to me from ANYONE on the mod team. Another bad call.

I suggest you get started on your new forum ASAP because your old playground has been bulldozed. But hey, it's not like you can't do it. It's just that it takes a lot of hard work and a hell of a lot of time. And if you don't know what you're doing? Even longer.

And for all of the truly nice members who got caught in the crossfire? I apologize. This had nothing to do with you. But trust me, I did you all a favor.

THIS JOURNAL WILL SELF DESTRUCT IN ONE HOUR...
Everyone freaks out like whoa.

At the risk of adding another five million words to this account, I’d like to go through her post point by point.

I did crash MY forum. I was well within my rights to do so. The place had gotten ugly as of late –

I have no idea what she’s talking about, and I read every post that hits the board. Of course, I’d been reading every post, except those in Sports or specific Meetup threads, since the board started. We’ve had some rough patches here and there, but I don’t recall there being a recent increase in “ugliness.” If anyone can tell me otherwise, please do—we'd want to know so as to avoid any of that in the future.

well before my infamous post, and that's exactly why I posted in the MR thread. It was a deliberate and calculated maneuver on my part to see exactly what would happen.

On Fandom Wank, I believe we call this the “It was a social experiment, lol” defense.

I didn't mean for it to come across so hurtful to so many people,

I believe this. See my comments to Lily Rose/akathorne: I honestly believe she voiced the kind of thought process that usually goes unspoken but arrives at a good place, and that it came out badly.

but ultimately, I wanted to watch the reaction, which was far more extreme than I could have ever imagined, and it proved my point ten times over.

She posted something ugly to prove that other people would post ugly things in reply?

People were no longer willing to even try to be civil or ignore a post that was not to their liking. Instead, they just attack. If not in the forum, then on their LJs... with me on their FLists where I could read every mean thing they posted about me and what a horrible, horrible person I am. I would have just walked away and left the forum up and running, but watching so many so called friends go rabid was a bit extreme. And so the consequences? EXTREME

I personally think there’s a difference between a post not to someone’s liking—i.e., a difference of opinion or writing style—and a post about “lynching n——s.” Some things are just not a matter of stylistic preference.

The irony of this is that it came from the place I least expected it - the oldest members, the ones that were there when I started SF, all members who claimed they wanted a nice forum in which to play.

A place where, one would hope, no one would talk about “lynching n——s.”

A place that was nothing like FT. And yet, FT v2.0 is exactly what my forum had become. A little less obvious about it. Not quite as mean as FT was, but clearly well on its way as witnessed by the response to my post.

I don’t quite understand this either, given that Snarkfest has actually been criticized by people on other boards as being too slow and gentle and huggy-feely.

vwlphb - remember back so many months ago when you sent me that cold PM about how I should leave the forum so you could be in power because you didn't like me still hanging around? And how uncomfortable you felt that I was still there? Bad choice. Very bad choice. And waiting several months to tell me that you felt bad about how you left it? Not helping your cause.

I obviously don’t know what this is specifically in reference to, but I understand the part about feeling “uncomfortable.” This is what I was talking about in terms of moderator consistency. The problem was, we didn’t want RWS to feel shut out or excluded after her retirement(s), so we truthfully told her that we still considered her as the creator of the board and an important contributor. We probably should have told her that we felt uncomfortable about her inconsistent status, but I know I didn’t feel it was my place to say so. Again: hindsight, and our mistake.

Again, I would have let this go had it not been for your lovely 'regarding recent events' post which you made without so much as a PM to me from ANYONE on the mod team. Another bad call.

Yet again: hindsight. We should have warned her, although I believe the announcement was necessary, regardless, for good community relations, since the post had upset a lot of people.

I suggest you get started on your new forum ASAP because your old playground has been bulldozed. But hey, it's not like you can't do it. It's just that it takes a lot of hard work and a hell of a lot of time. And if you don't know what you're doing? Even longer.

Fortunately, we had already started, and fortunately, vwl, being a CS major, did know.

And for all of the truly nice members who got caught in the crossfire? I apologize. This had nothing to do with you. But trust me, I did you all a favor.

This last part is, obviously, a matter of opinion.

THIS JOURNAL WILL SELF DESTRUCT IN ONE HOUR...

And true to her word, she did delete it again.

As of Wednesday the 29th, she had undeleted it and redeleted it again.

In the SF chat room, someone by the name of "diabolxx" or "diabloxx," I can't remember which, has appeared several times on Wednesday, said nothing, and left after a minute or two each time. I was present on two of these occasions.

The new board, snarkphoenix.forumer.com, reopened early Wednesday evening.



As far as I can tell, one mistake snowballed into another, due to guilt, embarrassment, and some resultant anger of RWS’s own, and once she had acted on that anger (and permanently deleted the threads), she may have felt like she couldn’t turn back, and had to commit to the “social experiment” explanation. We all could have done things differently, however. I wish it hadn’t come to this, but here we are. And that, to date, is what happened.



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That's a pretty fair and decent explanation of what happened.

I did crash MY forum. I was well within my rights to do so. The place had gotten ugly as of late –
This is ridiculous. I can't think of any recent or past events that have gotten 'ugly' without involving her in some way. For the most part, we were (and still are) rather tame and possibly, as other boards have said, "gentle and huggy-feely".

I just wanted to compliment you on the way you described the "ugly" internal process most of us need to go through to exorcise prejudiced thoughts. I was a professional in the "diversity" field, as they call it, for five years and as far as I'm concerned you really nailed it. What chaps my hide is, as you point out, the social experiment aspect: don't go around crying because people were as ugly as you thought they would be. Honey, it's the internet. Please.

I think if she had left it at something like her response to Gogo, some people would still be mad, probably, but a lot of the rest of us would be less angry/confused/annoyed/what have you, and we wouldn't have lost all those beautiful posts, gods damn it.

It means a lot to me for you to say that, because I was so anxious when I was originally replying on Lily's journal. It's one of those things where you know it must be something that other people do, but what if they don't? What if you've just outed yourself as being a horrible person who actually has to process bad thoughts instead of being a clean pure liberal who never even entertains the most kneejerk prejudices? But yeah--it doesn't have to be white-on-black racism, even--it can be "those fags" or "those bitches" or "those Mexicans" or whatever prejudice people happen to grow up listening to. So even if someone didn't grow up around the same kind of negativity I did, they probably grew up with some other kind. And I don't want to be racist or prejudiced or (pick one). I know intellectually and emotionally that I don't believe, or want to believe, the things my great-grandparents' generation did. But sometimes, I'll hear a mental echo of something like that, and I have to remind myself that I don't believe that in order for it not to take root.

Wow. Incredible.

And thank you for taking the time to write it all out in detail.

I mentioned this in chat, but it's sort of...drunk in there, so I thought I'd stick it here, too, just in case.

This?

She was responding [at some point? I'm not sure where] to a post by bluekermit

RWS was responding on 11/28 to the post in bluekermit defending her.

Great job, dude. Seriously. Well played.

Thanks. I'll try to fix that after I've had some food.

(Deleted comment)
Is it? What does she say? It still says it's deleted when I try to go there.

(Deleted comment)
Thanks for explaining it all so concisely, Cleo. People need to know what really went on.

I also wish to point out that there IS screencapping evidence for most of this stuff, just... you know. In case.

Your icon is so awesome for the situation.

Thanks for laying it all out there. I'm still dumb founded all of this happened. I can understand her feeling that if she was no longer wanted she should be able to take the board down, since she did start it. However, she could have made a graceful exit, instead of wreaking a whole lot of destruction.

...Wow. Good job, Cleo. You summed everything up perfectly.

Thanks for the thorough explaination, Cleo. Sounds like a fair account to me.

It was a deliberate and calculated maneuver on my part to see exactly what would happen.

"i did it 4 the lulz."

Thanks for doing this, Cleo.

The most astonishing thing about this whole business is that it didn't end up on Fandom Wank...

I keep waiting for that to happen, actually. Dreading it, but yeah.

Thank you for posting all of this. I had no idea what caused it, I didn't even see the MR thread. Off to the new forum now.

The kicker for me was when someone told me she went into Snarkfest chat last night (when everyone was still freaking out and wondering what happened to the boards) and she was all, "Yeah, guys, I can't seem to log on, either. What's happening?"

This all takes a special kind of psychotica, truly. They should found a new house at Hogwarts just for her: Wtfuckeryn.

Actually, the original post in the Michael Richards thread was much longer. Dane copied it into FTOTZ here (I think you need to be logged in).

Dane was the one to say in the thread that he found the post offensive, as well as communicating with RWS over PM. RWS copied both the PM and her response to Dane into the mod forum, where I was the one to say that I found it offensive too (I copied a few lines - the chasing and raping one and the lynching comment to show why). I also said that I thought she should edit the posts to remove her comments but that I would leave it up to her to actually do so. She ended up just deleting her post and the posts in direct response, which I was okay with.

Then she did another "ooooh I'm retiring I feel so bad for the trouble I caused" stint, and you've got it from there.

We probably should have told her that we felt uncomfortable about her inconsistent status, but I know I didn’t feel it was my place to say so. Again: hindsight, and our mistake.

That's pretty much what my message to her had been about. It was after one of the incidents - I can't remember which. Not the Reese Witherspoon thing, not the Smilla thing, not the Scarlettfish thing. It was one of the others, but I can't remember right now.

Anyways, RWS had responded to a problem in an extreme and unilateral way. I sent a message to the effect of "I feel really uncomfortable a lot on the board, because you say that you retire and that it's in our hand, but you're still being a mod. I know you started the board, and none of us want you to be completely gone, but please try to let mods know when something is wrong instead of taking it into your own hands. It tends to make things really uncomfortable for all of us, and I never want to stand up to you because I'm worried you'll remove me from being an admin like you did Eris." I mean, that's hardly word for word, and it was a long time ago. The main gyst of it was that I felt uncomfortable (and lez too) with how she would randomly freak out and do something extreme, leaving us to clean up, which we had to do without going right up against her.

It was a long time coming, even from back when Eris and I were the mods, particularly since she claimed she was no longer "in charge" or an active mod/admin even before she officially retired for the first time.

Unfortunately, then things got a bit crazy in my real life, and even though I replied to her first reply, things were left a bit unfinished. But with my real life falling apart, my internet life was hardly in the forefront of my mind.


I suggest you get started on your new forum ASAP because your old playground has been bulldozed. But hey, it's not like you can't do it. It's just that it takes a lot of hard work and a hell of a lot of time. And if you don't know what you're doing? Even longer.

Fortunately, we had already started, and fortunately, vwl did know.


Yeah, I felt like saying, "Bitch, please. I'm in the top CS program in the country. You don't think I could customize a pre-made forum?"

Thank you for writing this all down, by the way. I can tell it's going to get all muddled in my head, particularly since I was so emotionally charged at the time and I'm sure everybody else was too, so having the facts laid out is really helpful.

Just one more thing I wanted to say:
I did crash MY forum. I was well within my rights to do so.

That is exactly the crux of the problem. She never seemed to understand that the board didn't belong to her - not just in the fact that she had retired, but that the board belonged to all of the posters as well. The thought that she didn't find it at all wrong to crash the board, particularly over what could be seen as infighting between the mods (though I don't think that's quite right), is still so outragous to me. I mean, destroying all the posts and metaquotes and community for 1868 people just because she was upset is just so - awful and self-centered.

I've always felt her "ownership" of the board was particularly ridiculous since it's not like our board was built from the ground up through hard work recruiting members. We were a Fametracker refugee camp. We did become our own community and have our own tone, but the board would never have existed if Fametracker hadn't died. So while she did do a lot of hard work setting up the board when FT first closed, I never felt that was enough to give her the possessiveness she felt entitled to have.