Metatalk, Sunday, Jul 12, 2020 at 6:49 PM Central

I really think that Metafilter needs to consider letting people completely delete their accounts and all posts for more safety.

For folks who have concerns here, you can reach out to us. As much as we don't routinely or casually do account wipes, the mod team is willing and has many times before worked with folks to redact or remove material or otherwise deal with safety- and privacy-endangering account stuff to help someone deal with a situation. If that's something you feel you need, write to the contact form or to me directly and we can discuss it.
posted by cortex

Email, Monday, Jul 13, 2020 at 4:59 PM Central

Hello, I'm writing you per your outreach in the thread. I would like assistance with:

1. Downloading all the data for my old account, odinsdream
2. Wiping the data for odinsdream

I would also kindly request ANY information you have about users, on mefi or off mefi, targeting my account for abuse or ridicule.

Monday, Jul 13, 2020 at 5:22 PM Central

Hi there-
On account deletions, we need to get back to you tomorrow; I've put your request on a ticket list.

In the meantime you can take the basic privacy steps on your account page:
1. remove any content you've put into the user-editable profile page fields
2. choose the "show minimal profile to logged-out readers" option on the preferences page


Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020 at 3:55 PM Central

Hey, cortex here. frimble has got the activity from the odinsdream account wiped now. Take a look at the profile and let me know if you have any specific remaining concerns there and we'll see what we can do.

frimble created an export of your comments and favorites prior to the wipe; we can provide those to you however makes sense. It's 10MB+ so I don't want to attach it to an email without making sure that makes sense for you first.

Long term stuff: you've been clear enough over time about your frustration with the site that this may not be me saying anything you haven't already concluded on your own, but I feel like your needs and expectations are at odds with what MetaFilter can practically provide at this point. This account wipe is a massive step away from our expectations about how the site works, and while I'm prioritizing your needs and safety with this request it needs to be the end of relationship that's fundamentally not working.

If you come to feel in the long run that that's not the case and think there's a way that you can participate on the site in the future such that (a) you'll feel satisfied and safe with the site structure and (b) we can rely on you being able to regulate your behavior on the site better as well as guaranteeing not repeating this wipe-my-account circumstance, we can talk about that down the road, but for now this needs to be a hard break as far as active membership.

I don't say that lightly or with ill intent, and I'd like to have another avenue that feels open, but I don't. This has not been working, for you or for us.

I don't know if you are expecting to wipe the trappist account as well or if you'd prefer to just shutter it. I think the latter would be less messy but I can accommodate either approach.

Lastly, I gather you've been having an especially hard time lately and I want to extend my empathy there. I know all this MeFi stuff intersecting with the rest of life and with managing mental health is a hard fucking thing and the world at large continues to be a shit show for trans folks in particular, and I'm sorry that's been such a source of pain and distress. Things not working MeFi entirely aside, I fully understand that shit is hard and I wish for it to improve for you.

Let me know if you need anything else from us right now.

Josh Millard

Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020 at 4:26 PM Central

I am in receipt of your email. I am shaking with anger. I will get back to you when I have calmed down. Take no action.

Account trappist system disabled at some point around 5:15 PM

Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020 at 5:18 PM Central

I'm sorry this is hard, and you can write back on whatever schedule works for you. I am firm about the fact that you continuing to participate on MeFi right now isn't going to work; I've closed the trappist system account at this point but will wait on your preference about whether to wipe the contents.

Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020 at 5:24 PM Central

I would appreciate links to the download.

Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020 at 5:38 PM Central

Okay, I'll have frimble put them somewhere private but accessible for you; it's night in Austria now so they'll have to do it this evening or tomorrow, we'll pass along the link when it's ready.

Sunday, Jul 19, 2020 at 12:27 PM Central

Hi! Thank you for waiting, here is the link for you to download the data:

* Password-protected zip file: [redacted]
* Password: [redacted]
Let us know if you need anything else.


Text Message
July 22, 2020 at 18:00 PM Eastern

rn: Hey, it's restless_nomad! Hopefully this works, I haven't used Signal before

me: hi

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

July 21, 2020 at 7:21 PM Eastern

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: gotcha

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: anyways

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

rn: Ok

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

rn: Right

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: anger

rn: Yeah

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

rn: Right

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 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?

rn: Yeah

me: and basically that's kind of catching you all the way up I think V

me: ?

me: questions?

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: 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

me: amazing

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

rn: [redacted]

me: because the accounts went offline and i had not finished reading them

rn: [redacted]

me: LOL

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: Yeah

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: but

me: like. these were lies.

me: i don't care about his judgement i care about the results

rn: I believe you

me: ok

me: like honestly you have access to the data

rn: Right

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

rn: [redacted]

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!

July 22, 2020 at 3:42 PM Eastern

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: okay

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?

rn: Yeah

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

me: so.....wth

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

me: fine

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

July 22, 2020 at 7:14 PM Eastern

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

July 23, 2020 at 12:13 PM Eastern

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

me: ok

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

July 24, 2020 at 12:13 PM Central

rn: [redacted conversation regarding harassment vectors]

me: [redacted conversation regarding harassment vectors]

July 26, 2020 at 2:14 PM Central

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: ok

July 31, 2020 at 2:02 PM Central

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

Account trappist system was re-enabled approximately 2:15 PM Central