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Rainbow Connection —

October 1, 2013


Last night I made a final decision that I have spent far too much of my time and energy pondering over the past week: I banned a regular commenter for being disruptive. I want to explain my decision, as well as my approach to moderation, and then address an issue that this commenter raised. Bear with me, as I believe this is worth discussing for the good our site and to avoid future shenanigans.

Last Wednesday, Duffy wrote this great piece on Weight Stigma Awareness Week (WSAW), which was surprising because she usually writes funny, fluffy pieces that are the perfect petit fours to complement our Fat Acceptance meat and potatoes. Her post brought a lot of praise and positive attention, and deservedly so, but it also invited some serious drama.

Comedy Tragedy


It began when Violet Yoshi (aka Jackie) posted three comments back to back on Duffy’s post (1, 2, 3). The gist of her comments was that she had encountered social justice advocates online who dismissed WSAW because fat people can lose weight, unlike other oppressed groups. She raised a legitimate problem that needs to be addressed, but it’s also a problem that makes sense, culturally. As we’ve said many times about doctors who ignore the evidence of the failure of long-term weight loss, even social justice advocates are swimming in this culture that says fat is always bad and losing weight is a matter of will power and discipline that will solve all their problems.

Fat Acceptance blogs like ours and Ragen’s and Golda’s and all the others out there are working to educate everyone so that these misconceptions are squelched as much as possible. I interact with a lot of social justice advocates online, and many of them do get it and do support our work. But social justice is not a monolithic cause, so there are obviously those who still make the case that obesity is a personal, health problem, not a social justice problem. And, even worse, some social justice advocates may treat fat people like shit. It happens.

But in her first comment, Jackie concludes:

I’m really starting to wonder if fat acceptance should tell social justice if they help us we’ll help them, but if they keep reminding us no one cares about our struggles, we can get by without them… I just have had it. We can’t even discuss weight stigma week without a reminder nobody cares from social justice. It’s despicable.

Obviously, I disagree, and I’ll return to this point, but for now I want to explain how the drama unfolded and why I dropped the ban hammer on Jackie.

First off, her initial complaints about social justice were a bit off topic. Duffy’s post could be summed up in this paragraph:

Honestly, in this day and age when people are dying in the most unspeakable ways all across the earth, we still have to remind others to treat their fellow humans with dignity and respect and it’s incredibly sad.

I didn’t really see the direct connection between Duffy’s post and Jackie’s first comment, but I don’t police comments, so I just shrug my shoulders. But then she posted two more comments within 15 hours of the first, and veered into non sequitur territory, She began to complain about issues she’s had with a “cyberstalker” who compiled a list of forums where she clashed with others until she was banned. I had come across this list a month or two back and, though I was bothered by what I read, my stance was to allow her to comment so long as she didn’t become disruptive on our forum.

After her third comment, which continued to claim persecution for past involvement in racist websites and included linked to the aforementioned list, Kala responded with a legitimate criticism of Jackie’s claims. This sparked an all-out flame war that stretched our comment threads to noodly proportions. Jackie and others have criticized me for not censoring Kala and not taking sides, but if you’ve read our Philosophy page, then you know that our forum is not strictly governed. This is not a safe space to say whatever you want without consequences or reprisal. I see my job as moderator as keeping out the trolls and keeping the content flowing, not as a referee in a fight between personalities.

However, as the argument escalated and others got involved, I began consulting our team of bloggers, who generally agreed to monitor the situation and not ban anyone. I decided to contact Kala and Jackie behind the scenes to calm things down. Also, I know that Jackie has social anxiety disorders, so I did not want to embarrass her or make this into a big to-do. I wanted to resolve the situation so we could go back to business. I asked Kala not to be quite as vitriolic in her criticism and she said she understood and agreed to tone it down. I then emailed Jackie to tell her that I understood how difficult it can be when you say inappropriate things online and they are held against you forever, even if you’ve apologized and atoned. I also told her that I didn’t want Fierce Fatties to be another forum rejecting her for her past. I asked Jackie to keep her comments on topic and to avoid making claims of persecution, particularly when it has nothing to do with the post. She responded to me via email and acknowledged my response, but then the next day she posted this comment accusing me of being ableist and saying I had no compassion.

That’s when I decided to shut down the comments and give everybody a time out. I then emailed Jackie again and explained that I had no intention of banning her and that I would not do so as long as she kept her comments on topic and stopped hijacking our forum to claim she was being persecuted. To prove my intentions, I approved her on-topic comment during the ban. Rather than respond to my email, she attempted to comment on my post about shutting down comments. In part:

Atchka, you’ve shown you’ll side with fat haters as long as it makes you look good in the public view. You’ll betray your followers to look good in people’s eyes. You’re telling everyone here rejected from community after community for standing for fat acceptance? “Well I don’t like how that looks, and it seems them destroying every community they’ve been to by standing up for fat people instead of giving in, is a reason to ban them.”

I emailed Jackie once more and told her that she was only hurting herself with these attacks and that I passed her comment on to the other bloggers, per her request. Consensus was to drop the ban hammer because she was becoming disruptive by trying to publicly drag me into her fight. Then, while I was waiting to hear back from all of our bloggers, Jackie sent me another long email insulting me and accusing me of being a cyberbully for not censoring Kala.

I am providing all of this context now, not to humiliate Jackie, but to serve as a warning for other blogs where Jackie/Violet Yoshi participates. I also want to set the record straight because she has already been commenting on other blogs about how she was persecuted here. This is me following CYA protocol.

I have no idea what is really going on at her end. This almost seems like an elaborate troll given the long, documented pattern of disruption. I’ve gotten messages from people who encountered Jackie on child-free forums, where she engaged in the same kind of extreme rhetoric (insisting that parents not bring their kids into family restaurants, for example) and then, when criticized, proceed to claim persecution and demand that moderators silence her critics. Ultimately, she got banned from those forums as well.

I have a history of pissing people off in Fat Acceptance, to the point where there are many people who won’t work with me at all. I have tried to apologize, tried to atone, tried to change, but I’m still an outcast in the eyes of many. This is why I took the time and energy (that I don’t really have in spades) to resolve this conflict respectfully, but Jackie made that impossible. Beginning with her comments on social justice, I’m now seeing the intolerance and myopic approach she has to Fat Acceptance, and I want no part of it.

When Jackie suggests that we turn our backs on social justice because some advocates treat fat people like shit, I shake my damn head. The people she is talking about — the haters — they are not social justice. They may promote social justice, but the minute they exclude a group from basic human decency because of how they look, then they have abandoned the ideals of social justice and are no longer representing the core beliefs of the social justice movement. Like religion, I don’t believe you should judge the core concepts of a philosophy based on the actions of flawed, imperfect humans. The way that Bob Smith, Social Justice Warrior, expresses his views is not a replacement for the beliefs that underpin the theories and practices of social justice.

In any movement, there will be intolerant assholes who derail the discussion and inject their own prejudices and attitudes into an otherwise healthy movement. If we decide to reject every  social justice platform because some assholes harbor fat hatred, then we are ignoring the countless heroes of social justice who preach tolerance and compassion and understanding for ALL, including the fatties.

And God forbid someone should judge Fat Acceptance based on a handful of people who support FA and simultaneously engage in sexism, racism or homophobia. They do not represent us any more than fat haters represent the concept of social justice. And in both cases, the problem should lie with the assholes and not their flawed version of social justice. But even more to the point, I believe that the intersection of stigma and all spoiled identities (something I wrote about on Friday) demands that we remain plugged into social justice outlets, as their advocates have much to teach us about fighting an oppressive culture and vice versa.

I created this blog/forum because I wanted to have a space where we could have difficult conversations about complicated subjects. I don’t want this community to become an echo chamber or a circle jerk or even a safe space. I encourage civility and block trolls, but I have not and will not censor anyone for criticizing you. If you feel like they’ve gone too far, the Asshole Rule is always in effect.

I will not be cowed into treating certain commenters like special snowflakes who get extra protection. We’re called Fierce Fatties for a reason, and if you can’t defend your comments, then it’s probably best for you to lurk in the shadows. And if you dredge up your own past problems, then you can’t complain when someone calls you out on them. I don’t have that luxury, and neither do you.

33 Comments leave one →
  1. October 1, 2013 11:45 am

    Sometimes you have to break out the big stick and take a swing. (That’s definitely a been there, done that situation my writing group has faced.)

    • October 1, 2013 12:59 pm

      It’s my least favorite part of this “job.”


      • October 1, 2013 1:10 pm

        *nods* It’s not a favorite of mine with our group, but there are times when it (sadly) is necessary. I agree with what others have said in that I think you handled this very well. I admire the fact that you tried to resolve it in private. ~ L

  2. vesta44 permalink
    October 1, 2013 11:47 am

    When I first learned about FA, I commented on blogs and I made some mistakes (boy, did I ever). But, I learned from those mistakes and I didn’t repeat them (I made other mistakes, lol, from which I also learned). I also did not say the people who called me out on those mistakes (and I did get called out, sometimes not-so-nicely) were persecuting me, nor did I go all “poor me, pity me, I suffer from depression, so of course I’m going to fuck up but don’t you dare call me out on those fuck-ups.”
    There are people in the FA movement for whom I don’t care at all, and that’s okay (they probably don’t care much for me either). But I’m not about to say that they don’t belong in FA just because I don’t like them all that much, or because I don’t agree with all of their views on everything. We have diversity for a reason, and if everyone agreed with everyone else on everything, then there wouldn’t be any reason for a social justice movement. I don’t think we’ve reached that point, and I don’t think we’ll ever really reach it.
    Sometimes, you just have to say an enemy of my enemy, and me, is my ally in this endeavor, but not in that endeavor. And then there are those who are just interested in derailing/trolling and pity parties (those you may have to ignore or ban from your space).

    • October 1, 2013 12:58 pm

      Great points, vesta.


    • October 2, 2013 12:49 pm

      When I call a person out, the manner in which I do so depends on what they’ve said. If they make an ignorant statement without malice, I correct them politely. I’ve always been appreciative of your correcting me on my erroneous views when I was new to size acceptance that there was such a thing as an unhealthy size. The fact that you did it without making me feel like a bad person insured that I would stick around and learn more rather than feeling bad about myself yet again.
      Of course there are some people who are simply being assholes, and I call it like I see it with them.

  3. October 1, 2013 12:01 pm

    I admire what you do, and all this insane drama you put up with. I think you made the right decision, and that it was thoughtful, compassionate, patient, and well reasoned. I would have done it before you did, but I see you struggling to be just, and you should be proud of that. Yours is a good heart, S, and I love you to pieces.

  4. JeninCanada permalink
    October 1, 2013 12:06 pm

    I don’t think she, or this situation needed such a post, but it’s here for posterity’s sake.

    • October 1, 2013 12:56 pm

      Hi Jen,
      I understand what you mean and I certainly took that into consideration while writing this. The reason I decided to do so was two-fold: first, several people complained that I wasn’t doing enough or that I needed to censor one person or another; and second, when I make a decision like this, I want our readers to know what went into my choice. A lot of our readers watched the drama unfold without any input from me or anyone associated with our blog. As I explained, I went out of my way to take care of this behind the scenes, but Violet Yoshi continued to try and demonize me on our forum. I want our readers to understand that there is a right way and a wrong way to disagree with others or to file a grievance. VY did everything the wrong way, and I’m not entirely convinced it was accidental. I also want Fat Acceptance bloggers to be aware of this, not so that they banish her from discussions, but so they aren’t surprised if this happens on their forum as well. It’s hard enough sifting out the trolls without having to determine whether a regular commenter who sparks drama is a repeat offender or not. Hopefully, this context will help others determine how to handle VY if and when she decides to derail a legitimate discussion. I hope this explains my reasoning.


    • Jasmine permalink
      October 1, 2013 4:05 pm

      Vesta have you had experience with depression or mental illness? It’s not a matter of making mistakes when your brain is altered, it means you were disabled in that moment by your mind. Part of advocating for mental illness involves getting people to understand it’s a disease like any other disease. You wouldn’t blame someone for getting a cold, yet mentally ill people regularly are blamed for their actions due to mental illness.

      Atchka I’m sure you’re familiar with the term intent is not magic. The facts are you humilated someone from what I’ve seen has a history of being bullied and ostracized. You intimidated them with the threat of cutting off the other social ties they have. That is bullying, trying to isolate someone for disagreeing with you.

      The only one who has hurt themselves here Atchka is you. You have shown you view those with mental illnesses as special snowflakes. You went after someone who repeatedly tried to apologize, only to keep telling them it wasn’t enough. It almost sends the message Jackie would’ve been better off not apologizing at all. You sent the message those with mental illness cannot trust you to not take advantage of them.

      I hope you’re happy.


      • October 1, 2013 4:34 pm

        Dear “Jasmine,”
        The email address you registered with is invalid and bounced back, so I’m assuming this is Jackie in disguise.

        We have bloggers and commenters who have mental illnesses, but who do not disrupt our blog. I took Jackie’s mental health into consideration when handling this situation, which is why I emailed her privately. She is the one who continued to try and make this a public debate and repeatedly insulted me because I wasn’t doing what she wanted me to do. I repeatedly expressed empathy for her, and explained how I knew what it was like to be ostracized for offensive comments and to have that held against you. The only thing I didn’t do in order to help Jackie continue participating in this forum is eliminate those who disagreed with her. That’s when she became belligerent. And that’s the pattern she has shown during her previous encounters: say something offense, then demand that nobody hold her accountable for that and her critics be banned instead.

        Jackie herself has admitted that she bullies other people, and today I read a comment she wrote on reddit where she admits, “I’m starting to believe the only reason I disrupt communities, is because I confront bullies who want to shut me up.” So Jackie admits she engages in bullying and that she disrupts sites, but justifies it by claiming she’s confronting bullies. Whatever the case, her disruptions are not welcome here.

        Having a mental illness is not a free pass to say and do whatever you want without consequences. It was because of her mental illnesses that I chose to handle this situation the way I did, privately, and to explain exactly what the problem is and how to avoid making the same mistakes. Rather than continue that conversation privately, she tried to garner sympathy here by disrespecting me. I let the first one slide, I blocked the second one, but by the time she began emailing me to insult me because I didn’t respond fast enough, I was done playing games. I offered options, I offered alternatives and I offered help, and all was declined.

        I am not at all happy with this situation. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t have invested so much time trying to resolve the problem. I’ve got enough shit on my plate without having to hold someone’s hand on basic commenting etiquette. So although I am sad that it came to this, I have no regrets over the way in which I handled it.

        I hope you find a new forum that has what you need, but this is not it.


        • Happy Spider permalink
          October 2, 2013 6:29 am

          Wow, that reddit post you linked made me angry. She’s fishing to find your vulnerable spot(s) so as to inflict maximum damage on you. How very cunning of her. I’m not saying you have a vulnerable spot; just that she’s clearly fishing for it.

          • October 2, 2013 9:24 am

            Actually, she has been hitting my vulnerable spot: guilt. I was raised Catholic, so I have highly sensitive guilt receptors, and I’ve felt pretty shitty throughout this ordeal because I believe she does have some sort of mental illness making interpersonal relationships difficult, which I sympathize with. But I also have little patience for mind games, and after the two comments directed at me and the email, she reached the end of my patience.


            • October 2, 2013 12:52 pm

              I was raised Catholic too, so I hear you on the guilt thing. My guilt follows me into my dreams. One time I dreamed that my brother and I went to get a soda on the sly while playing golf with my father, (RIP) who disapproved of drinking soda. As I dropped the quarter into the machine, nuclear bombs went off over Denver. My brother looked at me and said “look what you’ve done now!”
              No joke, I really had this dream. I hope I’ve provided a fellow sufferer of Catholic guilt a little chuckle in a stressful time.

      • vesta44 permalink
        October 1, 2013 5:15 pm

        Jasmine: You ask me if I’ve had experience with depression or mental illness. Yes, in fact, yes I have. I spent ten years in therapy, with 4 different therapists, and that same ten years on Prozac. I’ve also been on Wellbutrin and Cymbalta, so I’m quite well acquainted with depression, its effects, and treatment. While I’ve said that my depression may have been the reason I made some mistakes and hurt some people, I’ve never used my mental illness as an excuse to keep on being an asshole (being an asshole comes naturally to me, it’s something on which I’ve been working for years to eradicate). “Excuse” being someone saying “Ooooh, I’m depressed (sick, what the fuck ever), therefore I can treat people like shit and be allowed to get away with it. No consequences, no repercussions, and I can continue to be an asshole whenever I want.” I may be depressed, but that doesn’t give me the right to keep making the same damned mistakes over and over and over. It means I need to take my meds, follow the recommendations of my therapist, and try to be a decent person, or as decent as I can be while I’m dealing with all the challenges of my life, only one of which is depression.
        That may not be a popular sentiment, but it’s the way I feel, and it’s the way I try to live my life. I don’t blame anyone for any disease they may have, but having a disease or disability doesn’t give anyone the right to expect that everyone is going to cut them slack when they continually act out and refuse to get help. Been there done that, and if my best friend hadn’t suggested that I see a therapist, I wouldn’t be as mentally healthy as I am now – and she knew a lot about mental health issues, seeing as how she had multiple personality disorder. Oh, and I went through a lot of hell with her and her MPD issues, but I was her friend and loved her until the day she died. I also told her when she was being an asshole and needed to lighten up (she did the same for me). So yeah, I think I know a bit about mental illness.

  5. Caprice permalink
    October 1, 2013 3:28 pm

    I don’t know if you read John Scalzi’s blog “Whatever” but if you have not I would suggest that you take a look at it. His goals for his commenters seem to be very similar to yours and he has been successful in implementing them in a very high traffic situation.

    People are allowed to comment freely with a few rules. The thread must remain on topic. Posters who try to derail the thread are “malleted” after being warned. Malleting consists of removing further comments and replies to those comments. John notes where he has removed a post and why. Responders are told they are free to continue to contribute. The derailer is usually banned just for that thread although if they persist in the same behavior they will be banned completely.

    When someone is determined to take over a thread, whatever their motivation, then you have very few options other than doing what you did. This will happen again if you continue to have blog worth reading. Next time, do what you need to do a soon as possible and try not to agonize over it.

    • October 1, 2013 4:10 pm

      Just read his site disclaimer and, yup, sounds about like me, especially this: “You need to be aware that I respond to tone as well as content. If you’re polite, I’ll be polite. If you’re a jackass, I’ll be a jackass back.”

      We have the Asshole Rule (supplemented by the Clear and Present Asshole Rule), which leaves comment moderation up to the community, except in obvious cases of trolling. My goal is to allow the commenters to self-regulate and it’s worked fairly well. This is the first time I’ve had a long-time commenter go off the rails, so I was sort of in new territory. But I like Scaldi’s approach. It definitely sounds like my cup of tea.


  6. Lizbeth permalink
    October 1, 2013 4:59 pm

    sounds like “death by cop” to me. You were going to get continually and increasingly provoked until you had to shoot.

    • October 2, 2013 10:05 am

      Wow. NO. First of all, that’s a really unfortunate metaphor against a backdrop of discussing social justice issues. Second of all, nobody “dies” just because they’re removed from one message board or discussion group.

      I think of this as more like a bouncer gently but firmly escorting an unruly patron out of a bar. So hats off to atchka for his de-escalation skills. Oh, and my apologies for inadvertently feeding your difficult “guest.” 😦

      • Lizbeth permalink
        October 2, 2013 11:27 am

        sorry you found it an unfortunate metaphor, and turned it into what you wanted it to be. I still think it communicated what I wanted to say. End of discussion for me.

        • Lizbeth permalink
          October 2, 2013 11:42 am

          Let me clarify that a say that I saw in her actions a willingness to provoke that would not be satisfied even or until she provoked a hard line from the person – ultimately with more power than her – she was engaging. Obsessively so, to the point where it became not about her argument but her need to get acted out against.

          I agree with Xeno that Atchka handled this diplomatically and without resorting to authoritarianism or psychological violence. Props to him that he was able to finesse this as he did when she seemed bent on something else. The point of my post was to make address his guilt feelings, which I think he should definitely NOT have when he handled the situation as skillfully and thoughtfully as he did. He held on for a looong time trying to make it right; that was never going to happen, and still he did not act out, but acted care-fully. Kudos.

          I work with police. I like a lot of them. We – me, Xeno and a lot of the police I know – would probably agree on the ones we don’t like. They get screwed too, when someone with a death wish uses a police officer’s training, duty, and personal survival instinct to create a situation where they get their desired outcome, and potentially destroy someone else in the process. So I stand by my metaphor. And I stand by my boundary: don’t want to get involved in a lengthy and ultimately personal debate with anyone who has a different perspective than me. Because there is no “right” outcome there, just two different perspectives, and it’s pretty destructive to fight over who’s right.

          • October 2, 2013 11:55 am

            I freely admit that I live in a city with a police force so corrupt and inadequately trained/supervised that I’m pretty sure even the activists and reformers in LA feel sorry for us. It definitely colors my opinions of the police as a whole.

            • Lizbeth permalink
              October 2, 2013 12:19 pm

              Have to laugh, Ms. X, wherever you live, I live in Baltimore and I will see your corrupt police force and raise you everything I’ve got. BAD BAD NEWS. However I work with police in other agencies/counties in the state, and do know a few Baltimore City police who are just as disgusted as we are. I’ve changed a lot – grew up in the 60’s in chitown, when the police were clubbing college students and corruption was a course in the academy. NEVER thought I’d respect any police. Now my heart goes out to the good ones, who are in many ways a lot like social workers, and really wish they could leave the planet a better place than they found it. That they continue to pursue that and show up every day in a system that they despise, gets me to respect them more than I ever thought I would.

          • October 2, 2013 12:35 pm

            [responding here because of the wonky single-column formatting thing]

            Nice individual officers aside, it only takes one run-in with one “bad apple” (if a person doesn’t have all their privilege cards in a row) for a civilian to end up dead. It happens over and over again in this town.

            I’d be extremely hesitant to call a cop for assistance except under extremely dire circumstance. Cops where I live do not seem to want to effectively control, discipline, or turn out “bad apples,” and they fight tooth and nail against civilian oversight that might make this more possible. I’m also having trouble thinking of any political circumstances that might drive me to seek any alliances with police.

            But “never say never,” I guess. :/

  7. lifeonfats permalink
    October 1, 2013 5:49 pm

    Believe me, the decision to ban her was not a sudden one. But eventually we came to a consensus that it just wasn’t healthy to let her continue to create problems here.

    There are many blogs and sites out there that allow posters to be drama queens and start flame wars to gain attention in all their glory. And when we are trying to educate people on why treating fat people like human beings is a good idea when it’s not taken seriously by 99.9% of society, we don’t need this kind of disruption that make us look stupid.

    The Fatosphere has long had an issue with constantly having to walk on eggshells and it’s why I stopped reading some popular blogs who shall remain nameless. Yes, we should be respectful but at the same time, we shouldn’t be a hive mind and collectively nod our heads and allow people to disrupt a safe space and create unwanted drama so we aren’t seen as mean.

  8. LittleBigGirl permalink
    October 1, 2013 10:34 pm

    I have a motto I try to live by (actually I have many but this is the pertinent one) – “An explanation is not an excuse.”
    Regardless of their mental status (and I’m saying this as someone who has a mental illness), at the end of the day we need to own our shit.
    The topic of social justice tends to bring up a lot of “look what everyone else is doing to me(us)” type of discussions. That’s kind of the whole point. People are treating us like shit and it’s not right and it’s not fair.
    The problem I saw unfold on the comment thread in question is there is a different mindset involved when we are *being the victim*, compared to *when we are being victimized.*
    Victims are defined by their weakness. They are on the losing end. They are in Fight or Flight mode. They see enemies everywhere and feel like the whole world is out to get them and that’s all they can think about and all they can talk about. People who stay in the victim mindset spiral down into a very bad place. I don’t feel I’m talking out of my ass on this because I am a survivor (notice I am not identifying as a victim) of bullying, and I am recovering from a year-long episode of PTSD. I get how easy it is to see only bad things and only hear (or read) bad words.
    Victims are focused on their survival, so they are by definition selfish and self-involved – a good way to take care of yourself in the short term but it will hurt them if they cannot pull out of it when they feel safer. It is basically the same procedure used to extract one’s head from one’s behind.
    If we live wrapped up in our feelings of victimization, we can not effectively oppose social injustice. At some point we have to stop talking about what poor victims we are, and start focusing on what we’re going to do about it. Just as Marilyn Wann answered her label of “fat” with “so?”, we need to ask ourselves: Yeah we’re victims – NOW WHAT?
    Also I want to apologize for the armchair psychoanalyzing but you can’t be in therapy for over 20 years without picking up a few things. 😛

    PS: I also have to note that I’ve observed an interesting divergence within the online community among those who identify as Aspergers or on the autistic spectrum – some state it as a fact to explain their misunderstood behavior and are eager to work together towards better communication. Others apparently prefer to lob it around like a club to beat people with, or use it as a shield every time they are criticized. To which I will refer you to my opening line as well as my comment regarding owning one’s shit. And not that it matters but you can skip all the “you don’t understaaaaand” shit because I have a brother with Aspergers who I am fiercely loyal to, but I know that as much as I love him he can still act like a total douche and I may defend *him* but I will not defend a lot of his behavior because it is disruptive and upsets people. We are both responsible for managing our illnesses, and not letting them define us – or let other people define us by them.

    Wow, didn’t start out planning a wall-o-text but I guess I have some strong feelings on the issue. Thank you for your efforts to resolve this Shannon. We need to keep having these discussions and working this stuff out. And when we can’t work it out we need to walk away for our own sakes.

    • October 2, 2013 12:57 pm

      I’m with you. I’ve been victimized, and sometimes when I’m having a bad day, I start playing the victim. I try not to do this because in the end it only makes me look bad.
      I’m honest about my mental illness as well. I think it’s the best way to be.

  9. Happy Spider permalink
    October 1, 2013 11:09 pm

    Is it a permanent ban or a temporary ban?

  10. October 2, 2013 1:37 am

    Atchka, thank you for taking the trouble to talk about your process here. I imagine that writing it all up was an unpleasant replay of stuff that was not fun the first time around.

    I’m new-ish in these parts, and find it reassuring to learn about the Asshole Rule and to see how y’all handle it when something new comes up. I’m a fan of Scalzi’s forum, too, and if the day ever comes that people start commenting and arguing on my blog, I hope I will remember the things I’ve learned from him and from you.

    • October 2, 2013 9:21 am

      You’re welcome, rabbiadar. I felt conflicted because my whole goal was to not make this a public ordeal, but given that she was continuing to push this fight on me publicly and that some people were supportive of Violet Yoshi, I felt compelled to explain my reasoning. It’s been nearly four years since we launched this blog and I haven’t faced this kind of problem before, so I believe it’s better to be open and honest, rather than just quietly ban people. I know that not everyone is happy I did it this way, but I wrote this post after days of reflection, not out of spite or bitterness. I do hope Violet Yoshi can find a community that suits her needs because she clearly needs support, but my efforts to make this one of those spaces was ignored, so there isn’t much else I can do.


  11. JennyRose permalink
    October 7, 2013 1:28 pm

    I can actually see how Jackie’s comment could come from a legitimate sense of feeling angry, hurt and betrayed by social justice groups that engage in fat opression. It would have been an appropriate discussion to talk about and examine those hurt feelings. Her conclusion and behavior were not OK.

    I think you did a great job of showing tolerance and trying to work with Jackie. I like this blog because it recognizes other view points without lashing out or responding inappropriately. It seems to me that Jackie was toxic and poisoning the whole atmosphere and that you looked at the blog and your readers wholistically and made a decision and executed it sensibly. I am not sure if I would have been quite so composed. I may have resorted to name calling and all sorts of bad behavior. Of course, I need to stop taking the bait. It is a learning process and I have learned a lot from how you handled the situation.

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