rn: Hey, it's restless_nomad! Hopefully this works, I haven't used Signal before
rn: I don't know how much you really want to talk, I just wanted to give you the chance, and to express that I'm sorry shit went down the way it did.
me: I really appreciate that!
me: i don't know you terribly well but what I do know is that you always seemed stand-up to me
me: thank you for reaching out. i'm not sure in what extent you're doing it on behalf of mefi?
rn: Thanks! I try, and I also have had six months of (weird, quarantined) time away so I have some more perspective
me: oh shoot ya of course
rn: Well, I will soon be in a position to take action there, so if that's a thing you wanted, we could talk about it. If not, then not. I talked to [redacted] yesterday and they said you were having a rough time
me: i have, not gonna lie
rn: So I just wanted to acknowledge that, things are shitty and this whole situation sucked
me: i'm just not looking to talk to mefi as an entity is what i'm saying
me: unless it's through my lawyer
rn: Yeah no totally
me: but im glad to talk on a personal level
rn: I basically told the team that I was gonna reach out and I'd let them know if they needed to do anything, bit (sic) otherwise this is just between us
me: sure, ok, thanks for the context
me: i'm comfortable with that
me: so. where to even start?
me: you said you're just kind of coming to catch up on events right?
rn: Yeah, I have not even read all of either of last week's metatalks, just bits
rn: I will read them tomorrow but honestly I'd rather hear your side first
me: i am glad to tell you how it looked from what i know but i would definitely encourage reading the full thread including deleted commentary
me: i only have a time-slice view of that whole communication pile, i didn't see everything
me: but to the best of my ability i've stayed familiar with both that metatalk thread about the harassment and the thread about trans issues
rn: Yeah I definitely will
me: i don't have visibility on anything else, at all, on the metafilter sites, I know a little bit about the harassment accounts on twitter
me: and I participate in both the Politics Meta-Slack and the Trans Meta-Slack
me: so that's like my internet presence, during all of the events,
rn: Right, ok
me: in meatspace i'm starting a new small business and just finished a harrowing epic roadtrip from minnesota to nyc to the upper peninsula of michigan
me: and i'm a mom of 3 kids.
rn: Oy, that sounds like more excitement than strictly recommended these days
me: i mean this more to just give you a context for what's going on in my life at the time of this event
me: this event on metafilter the site
me: so, to me, this particular event, whatever it ends up being called, started with mention on metafilter of some misgendering.
me: mention by [redacted] in the thread about the Harper's article
me: so, let me know if this is like, all making sense?
rn: I'm following
me: so I'm in the slack with [redacted] and i go get more detail there, which points to the at-that-point online twitter harassment counts
me: i start reading them and notice that i'm referred to as if i'm a character in their ongoing... whatever-the-fuck it is? their story that makes all the shit they get up to OK in their heads? I'm honestly not sure how people like this operate and exist and i'm not really interested in getting into their motivations, you know what i mean?
rn: Yeah, the main person is... Clearly not well and also not interested in or capable of maintaining a consistent narrative, so why bother
me: so i'm also connected with [redacted] (of metafilter as [redacted] and most recently as [redacted] but also a history of other names, due to harassment protection)
me: like we're very close friends and care a lot about each other and are essentially like i would have no hesitation leaving my kids to [redacted] in my will
me: [redacted] told me about these twitter assholes like literally hunting [redacted] like i'm not at liberty to get into [redacted] story about it but Bad Shit. that is Not Okay and is far beyond "saying mean things on the internet"
rn: Ah fuck
me: so i'm reading these twitter accounts because they hadn't been locked yet
rn: Hadn't heard that they'd escalated with anyone but [redacted]
me: but i honestly didn't get very far
me: before they closed them again
me: so basically then [redacted]'s metatalk goes up
me: which I FULLY support
me: and i'm live-reading this thread while at the same time realizing my exposure and footprint on mefi and i hastily closed my odinsdream account HONESTLY looking back on it in error like i don't know what i thought that would do to keep me safer it makes no sense but i was panicking. so i closed that account.
me: now just to step back a moment on all this
me: remember context for me is like i don't even think I had really participated in reading metafilter a lot recently
me: at that time
me: i had a couple of recent askme's of no consequence
me: no political fights on the site or anything anyway
me: and in all the sudden dealing with this huge threat to my personal life from some unknown person or persons, who are the smae people that stalked and threatened my close friend. and who know me somehow and i've no idea they've been at this for apparently years
me: so anyway
me: let me check in with you? are you caught up?
rn: I think so, yeah
me: so at this point i'm reading [redacted]'s thread in its early state without an account
me: and i'm getting really frustrated by how it's going, like specifically as a named victim of the abuse being discussed
me: so i make a new mefi account and just fill it in sparsely
me: and i participate in the thread
me: i notice josh mention account wipe being an option, and memail the mod team
me: at this point things are really rushing in the metatalk thread and i'm getting increasingly frustrated by the lack of mefi response
me: both publicly in the thread and to me personally
me: so i'm not really sure how events line up and i would definitely have to check timestamps
me: but basically at some point i get josh's email
me: on first read i don't understand he's asking me to leave the site or whatever you want to call what he asked.
me: on first read i basically thought i was being told to cool it.
me: but i definitely also took away on first read an immense anger and insult response, then as i realize he's saying.,,
me: that i've been some kind of problem and i get a fuller scope and my lack of understanding turns into sheer
me: and i briefly respond in thread and in email form saying as much and asking for time
me: then I realize on page refresh that my new account had been disabled
me: at which point i flip my shit personally and go to trans mefi slack to tell them i got banned and privately share Josh's email
me: they all validated my anger and shared in my increasing understanding of the total scope of Josh's email
me: at which time josh starts participating in the metatalk harassment thread, both to respond to the general topic as well as to speak to my account specifically
me: so josh starts lying in the thread
me: and we're over in trans slack flipping the fuck out
rn: Lying how?
me: and rereading the email and comparing it to what he says publicly
me: so there's
me: there's a lot to cover and I again probably would be getting the order of events mixed up on a retelling. i would trust time stamps and transcripts
me: i don't want to speak for josh
me: but the specific statements i have issues with personally
rn: Yeah I'll go through those in the morning for sure, just want to know what to look for
me: are regarding my participation on the site as problematic, that mods had "worked with me" previously
me: that they had "been trying to make this work for years"
me: this kind of stuff, I am paraphrasing
me: so basically as that's coming out online i'm sitting here with no mefi account, a terrible email from cortex, and an ongoing live discussion of me and my reputation
rn: I confess I saw that and was like "wait, odinsdream? I have no memory of that"
rn: I don't know the whole site off the top of my head but I usually recognize the people who would fit that description
me: and my friends in trans slack are supporting me and lifting me up and calling out cortex and validating that it was gaslighting
me: so at this point I start pulling together documentation, buy the domain deletemefi.com and dump it all in a quick single html site
me: to better share it, because I intend for people to see how the owner of mefi was treating its customers
me: and someone in trans slack offered to share it in-thread
me: and then various events stream from that point forward and it all gets honestly a bit muddled for me because in meatspace im driving across the country
rn: Ug yeah, been there
me: from minnesota through chicago to toledo ohio
me: it's a long day, like 10 hours of driving
me: and I get to the hotel at 10 and have to get up in the morning and start again at 7
me: so i'm just saying like it all starts to blur and feel like a dream and a nightmare
me: and I participate in and out if [sic] the two Slack chats
me: and like people are voicing their thoughts about it all over and im interacting with some of them and not others and just that's kind of out of my view you know?
me: and basically that's kind of catching you all the way up I think V
rn: I think so, yeah. I know there have been a couple of statements and a bunch of calls for more discussion about it but those I can go read
rn: SO I main question here is, is there anything I can do?
me: like is there something I want?
me: i'm not sure what you mean
rn: If there [sic] something I can do, as someone with certain, let's say, moral authority over the metafilter team that would help you feel safer
rn: There may not be!
rn: But if I can help I will
me: oh see
me: yes, let me put it this way
me: i'm responding to you personally asking me to tell you a story. person to person
rn: Yeah, and thank you for that
me: if you're asking me if i want something from metafilter i do have official let's say requests
me: but i'm not convinced back channeling them is what I want?
rn: That's fine too. It's not... Hmm
me: like if it weren't for my real job taking up all my time, i would be hiring a lawyer to demand things from metafilter inc
me: that's the level of distrust i have going on for josh right now
me: i want you to understand what level im at
rn: It's backchannel in that I'm not officially working there right now and honestly my priority is you as a person, not fixing the team's fuckups
me: what josh did to me is bullshit and he knows it. i speak for me and i know what i did on mefi and what i didn't do
rn: But I am also currently negotiating some stuff that, if all goes well, I will be the official person to deal with shit
rn: Because Josh...
me: i had No indication from mods proper on Anything
rn: I'll be charitable and say he needs a vacation
me: like from my view, right? i'm just casually using mefi and chilling out on the site and suddenly this harassment thing happens and then i'm fucking banned? really?
rn: Yeah I poked through my old work email archives and found nothing
rn: I am not sure what all happened there but that was part of why I was so confused
me: so officially I want a goddamn pardon
me: I want a host of things of mefi on safety terms
rn: If there was modside stuff where the team needed behavior changes from you they needed to actually say that with words to you
me: i demand a set of actions for my personal security
me: there's like three buckets
me: and that's where i am on the matter
me: meanwhile right? i'm trying to start a small business and this is like th elast thing I want to be dealing with
me: some extremely online bullshit
rn: Yeah totally
me: that I don't fully understand the scope of
me: that's also immediately actually for real dangerous to me, like my kids and shit
me: so that's why i requested an account wipe, that's why i was a bitch about it in the trappist system account. i was out of fucks to give about this portion of my life
me: I need to be done with mefi yesterday.
rn: Yeah that shit is well into "lawyers for everybody" territory
rn: Yeah totally fair
me: i need my public facing data to be NO LONGER public facing, urgently, and I would also like some more specific attestations to further security procedures benefiting all members in this class action lawsuit waiting to happen
me: so far i've got my account data, partially, just comments and my askme questions are still publicly up, as are my fpps
me: i need those pulled down or my text reacted [sic] on them
me: i need my account comments to stay off the internet
rn: Right, the soft-delete thing
me: i don't know what they call it
rn: Yeah it's a long story but I know what you mean
me: see and this is where i get livid about the customer support angle
me: like, this requires a Discussion
me: with me, the person under threat
me: i requested an account wipe as an expeditious way to discuss my goal
rn: Yeah. The site was built explicitly on the assumption that data preservation was the priority
me: i don't know what internal culture has names for in mefi
me: well, that's literally not my problem you know?
rn: So it's just not at all set up for purging
rn: Yeah totally
me: as someone whose data is actively being used to profile and potentially physically stalk me
rn: Just identifying the problem out loud, sorry
me: like i'm not suggesting this is good for mefi or something
me: im not talking what makes good site policy
rn: Yeah, it's something that needs to be handled ideally two years ago
me: i'm just like, here's my current threat footprint
me: and i'm asking the owner of mefi the site to take this threat down, within the servers they control
me: that's my ask
me: or, increasingly, my demand.
me: but i would love for this not to get lawyery
rn: Ok. That's doable
rn: Yeah I know who I want lawyers pointed at and it ain't you
me: like what I want is to grow weed in the upper peninsula of michigan
me: you know?
me: i don't want to also have to fight a stalker
rn: That sounds lovely :)
me: i got goals here
me: so yeah i duno what you are thinking from all this
rn: Ok. I think I can get the text of your fpps and asks redacted by the end of the day tomorrow
rn: That I can do with the admin access I have as a mod
rn: Getting an elegant and fast process for that is the sort of thing that'll take longer but is also Not Your Problem
me: ya i'm not gonna lie time is a factor here but i'm not trying to be an asshole about it or something
me: i used to be a sysadmin and a dba
me: i get it
me: what's most important to me is a timeline
me: and a plan
rn: Yeah. I can just... Edit the posts
rn: OK I'll handle that and ping you when it's done
me: omg really
me: sweet i didn't think i was like, getting live support here
rn: Yeah. Totally doable
rn: Eh, I haven't signed the contract yet but I have a verbal commitment that I am going to come back to fix some shit and therefore I get the authority to fix shit
rn: And honestly no one on the team wants anyone to be in danger
me: makes total sense to me I just didn't get it
me: i would really hope not
rn: As I said, we all thought that [redacted] was the only one getting escalations
rn: Which... Doesn't seem logical, come to think of it, but that was a lot on its own
me: this is the first i am hearing any more details than i know from me and [redacted] and what was mentioned in thread
me: like i was begging mefi, anyone there, to help me understand what the attack surface was here
me: because the accounts went offline and i had not finished reading them
rn: It's come and gone
rn: We got them banned a couple of times, they come back
rn: Fucking Twitter
me: i literally don't know more than i mentioned here
me: so basically i am flipping out and get that email from josh banning me and he digs in and starts making shit up
rn: Well for a long time they were just a gross Twitter account that called Josh a stoner a lot
me: that's part of this that's still giving me a lot of concern
rn: I'm gonna dig into that too, there was a failure there and I'm not sure where yet
rn: I don't think Josh was deliberately lying but I suspect he was making a lot of unwarranted assumptions and not checking his facts
me: that's uh. ok.
rn: Which is a failure of process as well as judgement
me: i literally don't know what the fuck he is talking about with some of the statements
rn: So, the judgement.... That I'm trying to take out of the mix for a while, and the process, that I want to fix
me: like. they're not up for debate, i didn't do the things he claims
me: i feel like the process needs to INCLUDE the fact that josh was wrong and made public statements that were at minimum unwarranted and more likely harmful
rn: He needs to not be in a position to make those statements if his judgement is shot
me: I appreciate you might not want to "take sides"
me: like. these were lies.
me: i don't care about his judgement i care about the results
rn: I believe you
me: like honestly you have access to the data
me: either i was a problem on the site and there's a record of it, or i wasn't
me: there's certainly no record of them "working with me for years"
rn: Ok, so my priority tomorrow is to get the data cleaned up, and I'll let you know when that's done
me: that's my priority too
rn: I gotta run now but you've got my contact info now
me: thank you
me: of course
rn: Yeah, that's just a matter of some reading
me: and in the interest of transparency, if this were to be a public discussion would you request redactions of the transcript?
rn: You're welcome. Thanks for being willing to talk
me: i understand and i don't intend to make this public
me: but at some point later i would be interested in exploring that with you
rn: Yeah, let's talk about it when the fires are out
rn: Ok, have a good night!
rn: All your posts across all subsites are now totally deleted
me: you are a true champion of the people
rn: I do what I can!
me: what's next, then? i feel weird
rn: Now a question - would you be comfortable with an apology being posted in the trans metatalk, or not? Obvs. It's no good if it makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe
me: i'm really gonna need to understand what's being suggested really clearly before i can consent
rn: Yeah makes sense. I haven't talked to josh yet, he's not on for a couple hours
me: like I need to really on a personal level understand what happened here
rn: But what I'm generally thinking is an apology for banning and for implying that you were a problem user
me: i am generally in agreement
me: i think i have more i am expecting from mefi as an org but just for me personally i think i need to understand why he went there, like literally what.
me: like i kinda need to know if mods secretly hate me or my participation in mefi
rn: I am hesitant to go into any more detail in public, given the harassment issues, of course
me: of course
me: i honestly was expecting to continue using mefi after this.
rn: I think there was an impression among the mod staff that you had been unhappy on site for a long time and that wasn't improving
me: i am less sure about it after seeing the company response on a lot of levels though but at the start of this i was fully intending to clean up my history and press on
rn: (I dunno if that's true or what)
me: like there is that impression or josh thought there was?
me: i know i've been negative or pessimistic about stuff but geez. they've never said anything about it to me as far as i can remember.
rn: Not just josh, but I can't really reconstruct it given the wipe
rn: And yeah, they didn't
me: didn't what? i'm confused
rn: That's the part where the team fucked up
rn: Talk to you
rn: Like, ever, that I can see
me: okay, exactly
me: and josh was saying "we've tried to make it work for years" basically
rn: Yeah I honestly don't think there is a logical explanation
me: ok. that's super uncomfortable. but i am hearing you.
rn: i think the sort of mental-modeling, anticipatory mod rubric just... Got fed bad data
rn: I know how it happens, professionally, but it's bad
me: like it was out of the blue the last thing I thought would happen
rn: So I am personally sorry for that
me: thank you
rn: Yeah no way you could have guessed
me: k. thank you.
me: i appreciate that confusion feeling being validated.
me: Alright so, where do we go from here?
rn: So if you want, I will get josh to write a brief apology for the banning and the implication
rn: for the thread
me: may I review it first? not asking for editorial control but first readthrough
rn: Yeah that's fair, it'll be in 2-3 hours
me: no worries
rn: Ok excellent, I'll be in touch
me: thank you friend
rn: you're absolutely welcome
rn: Ok draft incoming
rn: I want to apologize about the recent banning situation. Closing their account at that moment, instead of having a discussion about immediate needs and safety, created extra hurt for the user during an already scary and stressful time, and left a lot of other MeFites feeling worried or uncertain about how safe or welcome they were on the site. That sucks, and I'm sorry for causing that worry and hurt.
rn: I'm also sorry for implying that this was due to long-standing issues with the user. It was not accurate to suggest that those conversations had been ongoing. This was a geniune misapprehension on my part, and I regret the damage it did.
rn: It's a priority for me that we continue to make forward progress in making this a community marginalized folks feel comfortable and supported in. My decision-making in this case did the opposite, and I apologize, to the user and to everybody.
me: thanks for giving me a heads up about this.
rn: Not a problem!
me: let me know when you would be comfortable with me releasing a transcript and whether you have any redactions, I'm really tired of contributing to a closed atmostphere.
rn: Yeah, I will, give me a few days? Gonna announce my new role tomorrow and that'll affect the context a lot
me: i'm glad to wait
me: thank you again
rn: You're very welcome
me: just checking in. saw your post: congrats on the new role, I hope it's effective and rewarding
me: i would like to get a transcript out soon, and i would also like to clarify whether i'm welcome on mefi or not?
rn: As I said, couple days on that transcript question would be great, let me get back to you tomorrow
rn: As for coming back, I really need to get a chance to talk to the whole team about wipe policy stuff - because the policy *was* this was a one-and-done thing - and that won't hapen until the team meeting sunday
me: I'm not questioning the policy but as far as i'm aware i'm the only person whose content was deleted and who was also banned
rn: I will have to check on that, that's part of the problem
me: ok, just keep me posted, and thanks ahead of time
rn: I don't think anyone else expressed any desire to stay, but I'm pretty sure the communication they got was that it was the end of the relationship
rn: You're welcome!
me: transparency on this matter would go a long way
rn: Yes, I agree
rn: We need a clear written policy
me: and just for my part i would throw in agreement with folks who have called out the one-time policy as being a problem
rn: Yeah that's a valid point and I think I lean that way
me: but in any case it was basically offered in the thread and i was banned for asking with no warning
rn: Yeah, and that sucked
me: i mean it feels bad but i also take issue with the policy and how it was handled during this crisis event
rn: No argument there
rn: [redacted conversation regarding harassment vectors]
me: [redacted conversation regarding harassment vectors]
rn: Hey, meeting's over, wanted to let you know the outcome. We can absolutely talk about you coming back to Metafilter - we would need to talk about a safety plan, to make sure that what you need is something we can offer - but that's it. If you want to talk about it, email me directly and we'll have the conversation officially when I'm on the clock.
me: hiya. checking in after seeing the big site update. if possible i would like to get the trappist system account enabled again. i am aware of the safety risk and don't intend to request a future full wipe.
rn: Sure, go ahead and send that as an email and I'll get you set up