Happy Birthday Me. Or, the one year anniversary of my rape. November 8, 2010 12:33 AM   Subscribe

Happy Birthday Me. Or, the one year anniversary of my rape. This was me. And I want to say thank you.

It's a bit of a somber birthday this year.

One year ago, while I was living in Turkey, I was raped. I felt like I had no resources and no support, but then I turned to Metafilter. You were there for me. I want to thank you, so many of you, for reaching out and commenting, and also many of you emailed me incredibly candid messages to my throw-away email address (which now is not a "throw-away"... those letters are too precious to lose).

Reading your comments to the post made me feel loved. Some of the information was useful, culturally relevant, and some of it was a bit less than helpful (seriously, arguing in a post from a girl in crisis?). But every word you typed reminded me that someone, somewhere out there cared.

I have healed and recovered in ways I didn't think was possible a year ago. There are still things I'm struggling with, sure, but I'm human. It's a long, never-ending process, right? I'm enjoying the journey towards healing.

I was tested a couple times, and am fully disease free. I had no lasting physical injuries. After more discussion with the layers, a lot of thought, and a ton of research, I still did not press charges. I am at peace with that decision. Had I lived in a country with a more legit justice system, I absolutely would have pursued charges. After much, much more thought, prayer, and meditation, I have forgiven him, Hakan, my rapist. Forgiving him wasn't about him... he is still a messed up individual in need to a lot of help. The forgiveness was about me. He no longer holds any power over me.

I'm open about my rape now, in an appropriate way, and I acknowledge the ways in which it effects (and often screws up) my life, my thoughts, and my relationships. I'm not the same person I was before it happened. But that's ok; I'm stronger.

I ended up not going home. I stayed in Turkey for another 9 months or so, living in the same town. I met face-to-face with the rapist's family (my friends who I was out with the night it happened), and got the opportunity to fully explain what happened. We had some good talks. I worked up the courage to visit the neighborhood where the rape took place... it took months, but I did it. He was not there, it was only a building. I refuse to be haunted by ghosts. And now I've moved to Vietnam. A new life. A new start. I know that the unexpected could lie waiting for me around every dark corner, but I'm no longer afraid.

So, thank you, Metafilter, for helping me get where I am today.
I'm not letting my friends give me gifts this year, rather I'm having them make a donation to RAINN, which was a great resource for me, also, when I needed it most. If you ever feel like donating to charity, RAINN is a great cause.

Again, thank you. Your words here on Metafilter change lives. Seriously.
posted by hasna to MetaFilter-Related at 12:33 AM (151 comments total) 88 users marked this as a favorite

I just made a donation to RAINN. So sorry that you had to endure this and I am glad the community was able to help you.
posted by mlis at 12:54 AM on November 8, 2010


Thank you so much for coming back to follow up. I often wondered what had happened to the woman in that post and I am glad to hear that the choices you made have had positive outcomes for you and that you're working from a good place today. I am also so glad that RAINN was helpful to you even from overseas and for the reminder to make a donation to that very worthy cause.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:00 AM on November 8, 2010


I'm so glad you were strong enough to get through that awful experience. And I will make a donation to RAINN in your honour.

I refuse to be haunted by ghosts.

You rock, hasna. When my daughter grows up, I want her to be as strong and gutsy and awesome as you are.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 1:00 AM on November 8, 2010


I just donated on your behalf. Thank you for coming back to tell us that you are doing well, it's wonderful to hear that you are off to exciting adventures. I just kind of want to give you a big hug!
posted by ukdanae at 1:25 AM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well this is just lovely.

(Possibly not the word I was looking for; possibly not the word that you were looking for, but it'll do for Monday morning.)
posted by Jofus at 1:42 AM on November 8, 2010


Thanks for posting this hasna. I was just a lurker on Metafilter at that point, but I have also wondered how you were doing. And I'm glad that you have gotten to a point where you feel comfortable talking about it. FeeAmaanAllah
posted by bardophile at 3:09 AM on November 8, 2010


I can't even put into words the admiration I have for you right now. Thank you for posting this; you're an inspiration.
posted by Verdandi at 3:33 AM on November 8, 2010


I donated to RAINN. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm glad that Metafilter helped, and I'm glad that some healing and recovery has been possible for you over the past year. Best wishes to you.
posted by studioaudience at 3:34 AM on November 8, 2010


Thank you for following up - I've thought of you more than once since that post, and hoped you were doing well. And it sounds like you are!
posted by Stacey at 4:02 AM on November 8, 2010


Thank you so much, I'm going to make a donation in your name today. This has made a wonderful start to my Monday. I love it here.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:10 AM on November 8, 2010


Forgiving him wasn't about him... he is still a messed up individual in need to a lot of help. The forgiveness was about me. He no longer holds any power over me.

It can take a lot of courage and peace to come to this realization about someone and something. Congratulations.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:22 AM on November 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


You are one hell of a strong lady, hasna. Thanks for sharing this with us - I'm going to go donate to RAINN right now.
posted by CRM114 at 4:27 AM on November 8, 2010


Thank you for following up. It's good to hear that you're doing well.
posted by nomadicink at 5:10 AM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I echo the comments above. Glad that you are doing better. Glad you are part of the Metafilter community.
posted by josher71 at 5:13 AM on November 8, 2010


I'm so glad MeFi was there for you, but you know, as wise as you were to reach out for help and be open to receiving it, I think you would have gotten through this no matter what. You're tough and you're smart and you're going to be able to handle whatever life throws at you.
posted by orange swan at 5:38 AM on November 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


I have often wondered about that post and how things turned out. I'm so glad to read that you are doing well.
posted by Forktine at 5:43 AM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thank you so much for the follow-up. I didn't have anything useful to say at the time that hadn't been said by other people, but I remember that askme. I'm also glad that you're doing well.
posted by rtha at 5:49 AM on November 8, 2010


So very happy to hear that the MeFi community was able to help you when you needed it. Thinking of you and hoping you continue to find peace on your journey.
posted by sonika at 6:06 AM on November 8, 2010


Thank you for coming forward and for letting everyone know how you're doing. I hope you continue to grow and be strong, though I have no doubt you will.

At some point, someone who's alone and in need of strength and hope will find your story, either here or wherever else you choose to share it, and it will help them too.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:07 AM on November 8, 2010


I was praying for you for a long time. This makes me very happy that you have been safe and come so far.

I certainly hope you weren't referring to my question to Dee in that thread when you meant arguing, I thought she and I had kind of a thoughtful de-rail discussion there, but I don't think either of us were arguing. Anyway, I'm off to RAINN to make my donation.
posted by allkindsoftime at 6:12 AM on November 8, 2010


I have no better words than those already shared by others, so I just want to say thank you for your strength and courage. The world needs you and others like you.
posted by mykescipark at 7:09 AM on November 8, 2010


I did not see your original askmefi post, but I wish you all peace and strength on your journey forward.
posted by blucevalo at 7:20 AM on November 8, 2010


Awesomeness.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:21 AM on November 8, 2010


Wow, you are an amazing person! Donation to RAINN, done.
posted by yarly at 7:33 AM on November 8, 2010


Peace and strength to you. You are an inspiration.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:51 AM on November 8, 2010


I am happy to learn you are healing. You sound incredibly thoughtful and like you've done everything you can to push towards recovery in all manner of ways--I would be proud of you if you were my sister or something (does that sound weird? Sorry...). As others put it more succinctly and eloquently upthread, I wish you peace and strength.
posted by ifjuly at 8:05 AM on November 8, 2010


Stay strong and take good care of yourself.
posted by nola at 8:30 AM on November 8, 2010


Thank you so much for posting. Your strength is beautiful and awesome.
posted by typewriter at 8:56 AM on November 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm so glad that you posted this. Thank you for your example of overcoming adversity.
posted by jasper411 at 9:31 AM on November 8, 2010


Thank you for posting this. I wish you peace, strength and beauty.
posted by thankyouforyourconsideration at 9:59 AM on November 8, 2010


Thanks so much for the update. You've been in my thoughts since that post and I'm so in awe of your courage.

hug.
posted by special-k at 10:02 AM on November 8, 2010


I know that on Meta we do a (.) if someone has died or is suffering. Is there a symbol for the opposite? If we are thrilled that someone is doing well and has survived a traumatic effect?

If not, here's my ! in your honor. Your bravery and decision to forgive and move on and continue your life despite everything has given me a jolt of joy today.

!
posted by HeyAllie at 10:05 AM on November 8, 2010 [11 favorites]


Donation made -- and dittoing thankyouforyourconsideration's remark above.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:13 AM on November 8, 2010


I didn't comment in the original thread but from time to time, thought about the OP and wished her well. Thanks for the update.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 10:14 AM on November 8, 2010


You are such a classy person, in addition to being amazingly strong and sensible, to come back and thank us and tell us how you are doing. I remember your question very clearly though the answers were so good I didn't jump in to nth them.

We never get to decide just what will happen to us, but we do make decisions about how to respond to those events. Your decisions have all been intelligent and impressive. You really are an inspiration.
posted by bearwife at 11:05 AM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm so very proud of you. One year out and such mature and healthy and admirable sentiments and feelings. I'm 20 years out and haven't gotten there yet. Congratulations, you earned it and I'm very, very happy for you.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:09 AM on November 8, 2010


Thank you for coming back to update--I am so glad to hear you are doing well.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:19 AM on November 8, 2010


What an inspiration you are. I admire your strength, courage and poise and really think that your decision to not keep this a secret is a positive that will help others.

Keep being you.
posted by inturnaround at 11:23 AM on November 8, 2010


Good on ya.
posted by Sternmeyer at 11:24 AM on November 8, 2010


I am happy things are going so much better for you!
posted by Silvertree at 11:38 AM on November 8, 2010


I'm glad to hear that you're recovering, and I wish you the best with your new life. Thanks for following up.
posted by patheral at 11:43 AM on November 8, 2010


You have no idea how often I have thought of you and wondered how you were doing. Reading that you made it through your ordeal and have been able to come out even stronger on the other side - it makes me so happy and proud of you. RAINN donation on the way.

Also, thanks for coming out and openly talking about your situation and how you dealt with it, and telling us how and that you were able to go on with your life. Hopefully that will lend strength to someone else in a similarly horrible situation.
posted by gemmy at 12:20 PM on November 8, 2010


Wow. You're a testimony to the human spirit, hasna! Glad you've been able to do so well. Also, I'm glad we were able to be of some help.
posted by Lynsey at 12:26 PM on November 8, 2010


I rarely read AskMe, so was unaware of your original post. You have faced a terrible injustice rationally and have found the help and inner resources to deal with it well. Congratulations. Best wishes for the future which you have found for yourself. Strong woman!
posted by Cranberry at 12:32 PM on November 8, 2010


Happy Birthday! Your courage is so heartening. I'm glad to donate.
posted by dragonplayer at 12:35 PM on November 8, 2010


hasna, I am truly awed by your strength and grace. Thank you so much for reaching out for help here last year, and for sharing your update today. I am so happy to hear you are doing well!
posted by scody at 12:38 PM on November 8, 2010


Another thank you for sharing. I know it's not easy to do.
posted by bilabial at 12:39 PM on November 8, 2010


Happy birthday, and may they get happier with each successive year.
posted by not_on_display at 1:45 PM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I remember that post, and I am so, so glad you came back with this follow up.
posted by pinky at 2:22 PM on November 8, 2010


I am very glad to read your post about this horrible event in your life but I have to question if it's right to still not press charges. you mentioned in your ask post that you didn't want your life ruined but seeing that you are now in a different country wouldn't it make sense to make sure he couldn't do this again? I'm worried about him having learned that he can get away with rape.
posted by krautland at 2:35 PM on November 8, 2010


Your post and the accompanying advice was something I came back to when I had a similar situation with different details. Thanks for posting where others of us were not able to.

Krautland, that decision is one that Hasna made based on her situation. While it may not make sense to you, it made sense to her (and people in that situation). The onus is on rapists not to rape, no on rape survivors to keep them from raping again.
posted by ChuraChura at 2:40 PM on November 8, 2010 [23 favorites]


I'm worried about him having learned that he can get away with rape.

The OP is not anoymous, maybe you want to take this up with her over email? It's pretty easy to second guess people's choices when they've been through a traumatic event and it comes across as somewhat out of place in this thread.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:33 PM on November 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Ah, that post. I'm truly amazed by your strength. A valuable lesson to everyone!

Happy Birthday! Keep on truckin'. :)
posted by Askiba at 4:17 PM on November 8, 2010


You are awesome and strong. Thank you for following up; I've also thought about you over the year since reading your original post, and hoped you were doing well.
posted by sarcasticah at 5:15 PM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


From one survivor to another, I'm proud of you. It took me a decade, maybe more, to forgive the boy who raped me. You are so right- once you do it, it's freedom. Walking around with that fury is like carrying a hot coal and waiting for it to burn someone else. Every rape is tragedy, but some of that pain can be lessened by hearing stories like yours. You did heal, you are strong, you are not haunted, you have moved on. So, so, so good to hear.
posted by Leta at 5:36 PM on November 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Thank you for posting this. I didn't comment at the time, as I really had nothing to add. However, you have been in my thoughts over the last year, and I applaud your courage in dealing with this, and in letting us know.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:41 PM on November 8, 2010


Thank you for letting us know how you're doing.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:04 PM on November 8, 2010


That was one of the first AskMes I read that I actually remember now. Survivors like you are incredibly encouraging to see.
posted by NoraReed at 8:12 PM on November 8, 2010


Hasna, I'm very impressed by your courage.

What I inferred from the original post is that some men who considered you to be a de facto member of their family beat up your rapist....so he WAS held accountable, though not legally.
posted by brujita at 8:17 PM on November 8, 2010


Bless you. Thank you for sharing your story, strength, and birthday.
posted by batmonkey at 10:43 PM on November 8, 2010


Well done hasna, please continue.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:57 AM on November 9, 2010


I expect a torrent of shit for this, but I have been deliberating whether or not to say it for a while and finally thought "Fuck it"...

Was there really any need to come out on this one? Assuming for a second we can get away from the taboo that is questioning someone who has undergone the trauma of rape, I seriously do wonder why there was any need to announce this to everyone. Everyone thus far has done what is 100% the expected response, namely to mention your bravery, their sorrow you had to go through it etc etc etc... but really, you seem to have dealt with it well and if that is the case, raking it up again just seems self serving to me.
posted by Biru at 3:05 PM on November 9, 2010


You used the phrase "Fuck it" in reference to a woman posting about her experience of rape? Wow.

I'm also a survivor of rape, and I am glad that hasna chose to share her experience with us.
posted by catlet at 3:11 PM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


You used the phrase "Fuck it" in reference to a woman posting about her experience of rape? Wow.

"Fuck it" has an accepted meaning in the vernacular which has nothing to do with rape. That you chose to interpret it that way reflects upon you, not me.
posted by Biru at 3:15 PM on November 9, 2010


> Everyone thus far has done what is 100% the expected response, namely to mention your bravery, their sorrow you had to go through it etc etc etc... but really, you seem to have dealt with it well and if that is the case, raking it up again just seems self serving to me

Except it's not self serving at all--the point of the post was to tell the community it really does work as an invaluable resource, complete with a provided specific context/example. She thanked us. ?? I don't know what else to say except maybe your social cues are a bit off.
posted by ifjuly at 3:18 PM on November 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I seriously do wonder why there was any need to announce this to everyone.

She was thanking everyone for their support.

The next time you have an internal debate about whether or not to barge in here and show your ass, please go the other way instead.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:19 PM on November 9, 2010 [14 favorites]


She was thanking everyone for their support.

The next time you have an internal debate about whether or not to barge in here and show your ass, please go the other way instead.


Was anyone thinking to themselves "You know what, I damn well offered some support to a rape victim a year ago, and what gratitude have the shown since? None! That's what!"? Of course not. The community, who deal with this kind of thing all the time, did not need to be thanked. However, as a result, we have seen showers of praise being poured upon the victim. Truth is, people get raped every day. Sure it's terrible and all, but you are not special.
posted by Biru at 3:33 PM on November 9, 2010


raking it up again just seems self serving to me.

MetaTalk is, like the rest of MetaFilter, a totally optional place. Having someone say "Thanks" to the community for something in MetaTalk is a welcome diversion from all the normal bad energy around here.

Different people deal with traumatic experiences differently. Some people find that not keeping bad experiences, rape in particular, as their own private bad secret is a good way to move towards moving past the experience and actually NOT dwelling on it.

I'm not sure what's self-serving about that, but I find most people somewhat confusing.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:35 PM on November 9, 2010 [11 favorites]


Sure it's terrible and all, but you are not special.

And now I'm going to ask you, as a mod, if you are not trying to troll here to leave this alone please. People come to Meta and thank people for helpful AskMe advice all the time. There's nothing odd or unusual about it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:37 PM on November 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


And now I'm going to ask you, as a mod, if you are not trying to troll here to leave this alone please.

I shall comment no further. My piece is said.
posted by Biru at 3:38 PM on November 9, 2010


If you have a problem with people here being nice to a community member who went through something shitty, that is absolutely your prerogative, but I would heartily recommend you keep it to yourself if it's otherwise not costing you a fucking thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:39 PM on November 9, 2010 [17 favorites]


hasna thank you for sharing, thank you for rebounding and standing up, and thank you for going on, returning to normal. many of us women were taught as young girls that to be raped is worse than to be killed. to stand up and say that your rape does not define you is to give the lie to that horrible idea.

again thanks, and best wishes for a beautiful future.
posted by toodleydoodley at 4:24 PM on November 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


I apologize to everyone if this is derailing or troll-feeding, since ultimately hasna did post only to thank MeFi, only peripherally coming out as a survivor. But it's important to me to acknowledge that breaking the silence about rape is "self-serving" only in the sense that it serves the interests of all people who've been sexually assaulted.

"Truth is, people get raped every day. Sure it's terrible and all, but you are not special" is absolutely true. But responsibility for sexual assault is attributed in part or whole to the victim.

"Showers of praise being poured on the victim" serve to counter a tiny bit of that ubiquitous message of blame, and that does good not only for hasna but for every person who experiences a sexual assault.

(Not to mention it was her birthday, and last year her big gift was enduring trauma. I hope Vietnam treats you right, hasna, and that you eventually found a little birthday fun after the somber introspection.)
posted by gingerest at 5:28 PM on November 9, 2010 [7 favorites]


hasna, I'm so glad you've found peace, forgiveness, and a new beginning. Your strength is inspiring.
posted by keep it under cover at 5:57 PM on November 9, 2010


Was there really any need to come out on this one?

Maybe you're not reading this anymore, but whatever - it's not really solely for you anyway.

Sexual assault has been treated as something horrible and shameful, and victim is often treated as if they were complicit in the crime. In many cultures, women who are raped are treated as unmarriageable or unclean. In many cultures they are treated as sexually licentious.

It's something that gets whispered about, if it's discussed at all. Stories like this help to change that, and help give voice to those who still can't tell their stories or even admit that it happened to them.
posted by rtha at 6:44 PM on November 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


Oof, some people make it really fucking hard to take the high road.

On the other hand, hasna, your graciousness is making it a lot easier to take the high road. So glad that you've let us know that you've been able to move on with your life. Happy birthday.
posted by desuetude at 6:52 PM on November 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Was there really any need to come out on this one?

Yes. Here's why:

I liked seeing someone rise from the ashes, so to speak.

I liked seeing that it has not stopped her.

I love seeing courage, in action.

I admire her strength in sharing this with everyone.

I hope it inspires others to make a choice to live and put the past behind them at some point.

I love being reminded that are real live people behind the user names and the AskMe and knowing that those who asked for help are now doing the better.

The problem isn't that this post was made. The problem, if there is one, is that more aren't made. One can never have too many bright lights.
posted by nomadicink at 7:37 PM on November 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Truth is, people get raped every day. Sure it's terrible and all, but you are not special.

People also have babies every day. I don't see your complaint that those parents are "not special". What's up with this case?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:52 PM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


hasna, happy birthday. I'm very glad to hear you're doing okay, and I'm glad that your Askme was useful to you at the time.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:03 PM on November 9, 2010


People also die every day. I sure am glad no one dropped by to shit on me when I was thanking my friends and fellow community members for their support to me. 2 years later I am still unendingly thankful and a changed person, thanks to this community. I hope the same will be true for Hasna.
posted by allkindsoftime at 11:05 PM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't think many people are still reading this thread because of the abhorrent dump you took it in it, Biru, but if hasna is still around I do want to thank her for posting an update to her story. The fact that Biru's comment still stands in a thread in which a rape survivor comes forward to an entire community of strangers is why I'll be disabling my account. I've seen a lot of permissiveness on this site for repellent comments like Biru's, but maybe his particular dismissal gets my goat because that's what authorities said when I asked for help after having been raped. I was raped brutally and repeatedly by someone I'd trusted and all his buddies, and some of the most powerful authorities at my college were more interested in keeping the incident quiet than in assisting me. I was told that reporting the rape would only resurrect the initial trauma, that it was best left as a civil matter, that his family could pay me a lot of money to spare his reputation, that I'd actually have to pay back my many medical bills if I didn't listen to the college's threats, that I was being melodramatic and yes, "self-serving," to insist on legal prosecution. It was some bizarro world Gossip Girl shit, and "People get raped all the time" was their favorite excuse for shrugging off his violence. Boys will be boys, right?

I am a fairly moderate and middle-line member of the community who has a huge stake in the meetup community, so I'm surprised to find myself disabling my account on principle. But I'd like to do this as much for hasna as for myself, because it's not okay to me that Biru's dismissal has remained extant. Dismissing rape in front a rape survivor and discouraging open dialogue about rape in general is appalling, and its presence in this thread in particular fucking enrages me. This isn't a case of bad manners, it's an issue of silencing and shaming rape victims. It's a general Metafilter policy to permit stupid, dangerous, hate-filled comments to stand while targeting the angry rebuttals they inspire, and I've had enough.

If anyone wants to contact me in the future, ask any of my "met in real life" contacts for my email. I'll gladly respond. I adore so many of you, and am so grateful for your guidance and support over the years. So I'll go through my roster of favorite AskMe answers before bowing out: don't eat lots of carbs, hug your babies, lift weights (especially if you're a lady), you can probably find that dress on ModCloth, only date people who make you feel happy and safe and loved, and cats are weird.
posted by zoomorphic at 5:16 AM on November 10, 2010 [31 favorites]


The fact that Biru's comment still stands in a thread in which a rape survivor comes forward to an entire community of strangers is why I'll be disabling my account.

Y'know, I totally understand why you'd make that choice. Very very sorry to see you go, zoomorphic, but this makes complete sense to me.

. It's a general Metafilter policy to permit stupid, dangerous, hate-filled comments to stand while targeting the angry rebuttals they inspire, and I've had enough.

I think this is a simplistic view of a policy that tends towards under-moderation, but yes, there tends to be a permissiveness of speech as long as it's not "fighty." Unfortunately, that means ugly stuff often gets a pass. I can totally understand why this would be frustrating to deal with - though it's never gotten my personal goat.

Be well, zoomorphic. Again, very sorry to see you go.
posted by sonika at 5:24 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Seconding what sonika said. All of it.
posted by bardophile at 5:29 AM on November 10, 2010


Goddamit. Please re-think that, zoomorphic. Not the point you made -- you're right -- but stick around and help us keep this place good. Have a word with the mods in private about how you feel, maybe.

Myself, I'd like to see the jackass banned, and doubly so now, but I'm not going to let him run me off the site.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:29 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


targeting the angry rebuttals they inspire

Have some replies to Biru's crap been deleted, then? It seems like there's a serious problem here if we're keeping "people get raped every day" and the person who said it around, while deleting comments and losing users who think it's horrifying.
posted by RogerB at 6:57 AM on November 10, 2010


I hate that comments like these stand, and sad that they result in numerous wonderful mefites drawing back from the site in confusion and disgust.

But if it has to stand, then... Biru, I hope you live to regret this comment. I hope that years down the road you realize how stupid it was to say that, and what it must feel like to be on the receiving end of a comment like yours, not only for the OP but for mefites like zoomorphic and others who were hurt by it. And I hope at that point that if you ask the mods of this site to delete it to ease your conscience, that they won't.

At least five people I'm close to -- that I know of -- have been raped. So I guess they are more common among my circle of friends than, say, left handed people. Nothing special, right? While the act itself might not be particularly original, there is a vast spectrum of ways in which all these people have dealt with (or in some cases, not dealt with) what happened to them. And they are special not only because they are my friends, or because they are victims, but because they are humans like you (presumably) or me.

I hate that I lose mefi-friends to this shit. I hate that I have occasionally considered ending my tenure as a site-participant because of the way certain kinds of comments are left sprinkled around the site like traps for beautiful or vulnerable or hard-headed people to fall into, eliciting justifiably hurt or angry responses that get purged away while inciting comment remains like an open sore. As much as I strive for temperance, I'll side with the hot-blooded humans over you cold, reptilious motherfuckers any day.
posted by hermitosis at 7:01 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


targeting the angry rebuttals they inspire

Have some replies to Biru's crap been deleted, then?


No, everything's still there. I am a bit perplexed by that particular thought. I think he got pretty excoriated by the mods, but they spoken to having a long-standing policy of not deleting MetaTalk posts, in particular.

I would have broken my keyboard with the banhammer if it were my site, though.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:13 AM on November 10, 2010


Have some replies to Biru's crap been deleted, then? It seems like there's a serious problem here if we're keeping "people get raped every day" and the person who said it around, while deleting comments and losing users who think it's horrifying.

One sarcastic "yeah lol raping is awesome" type comment from a recently-returned, even-more-recently-buttoned-again user got removed, and his you-deleted-my-comment complaint after that. Answering assholery with assholery really isn't a good strategy around here in general and that was really, really not news to the guy who had his response deleted. I don't really want to discuss it in detail given that dude's already gone again and wasn't really in the open about being back in the first place as far as I can tell.

So I'm left in this complicated place where I'm glad people in the thread have made it pretty fucking clear to Biru in totally decent ways that his comment was bullshit, I'm sorry that it showing up in the first place has made people uncomfortable and sympathize with that entirely, but can't pretend that somehow Metatalk is completely other than what it is or that one user saying something shitty gives anyone else carte blanche to be shitty in return.

For Biru's part, he's on thin fucking ice; we've been trying awfully hard to make this work and I don't feel like we're getting much of anywhere at this point. But bans have always been hard to come by on mefi; he's not the first person to act like an ass on multiple occasions, and unfortunately I don't think he'll be the last. I respect that different people have different opinions about where the line gets drawn, and again I sympathize with any frustration that bad behavior sometimes gets left to out in the open as a visible stink here, most notably in metatalk. It's a hard line to navigate.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:13 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, that put a shitty spin to my breakfast...like others said, I completely 100% understand why you're leaving, zoomorphic, and you articulated it incredibly well and calmly but honestly, but jesus, I hope you reconsider at some point. I will miss you so much in AskMe especially.

UGH
posted by ifjuly at 7:15 AM on November 10, 2010


For Biru's part, he's on thin fucking ice; we've been trying awfully hard to make this work and I don't feel like we're getting much of anywhere at this point. But bans have always been hard to come by on mefi; he's not the first person to act like an ass on multiple occasions, and unfortunately I don't think he'll be the last. I respect that different people have different opinions about where the line gets drawn, and again I sympathize with any frustration that bad behavior sometimes gets left to out in the open as a visible stink here, most notably in metatalk. It's a hard line to navigate.

Seriously? A guy tells a rape survivor that "people get raped every day and you're not so special?" and that's a hard line to navigate? Seriously? How about you make that an easy line to navigate and ban him? Why would you not? To not ban him for that remark in particular is completely unacceptable to me, and I think I'm part of a large group of people who feels that way.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:19 AM on November 10, 2010 [27 favorites]


How about you make that an easy line to navigate and ban him? Why would you not? To not ban him for that remark in particular is completely unacceptable to me, and I think I'm part of a large group of people who feels that way.

I wonder about this too. From a mod perspective, how far is too far in terms of violating community standards of tolerance before someone gets the boot? Because that comment seemed pretty beyond the pale from here, but I'm not the one who has to make the judgment call.

(This is me honestly wondering, not me trying to like, lobby for policy change or anything.)
posted by sonika at 7:26 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I agree with TPS, I don't want to make banning an easy or common thing, but what message do people like Biru walk away with in these situations? If all they hear is, "You will make people here VERY UNHAPPY if you continue doing this. VERY UNHAPPY!" In a steadily louder voice, while other users wind up taking a hike over it, what kind of line is that?

If you're not comfortable banning people when situations like these arise, there needs to be some other policy.
posted by hermitosis at 7:29 AM on November 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


Which is to say, regardless of what happens here with Biru, this is a specific enough recurring phenomenon that we as a community don't seem to know how do deal with, and we users never know what is fair to expect when it happens.
posted by hermitosis at 7:39 AM on November 10, 2010


From a mod perspective, how far is too far in terms of violating community standards of tolerance before someone gets the boot?

Farther than some people will like, generally speaking. Like I said, this is not the first time and will not be the last time that someone acts like an asshole and people don't want them around. The alternative is that grounds for banning becomes something much slighter: "someone wants you banned, so we've banned you". This has never been that place. We try and work with people, even people who seem to be jerks, and there is no standard "this is exactly too far" metric.

How about you make that an easy line to navigate and ban him? Why would you not?

Because a few people telling us to ban someone is a terrible reason to overturn years of common practice, even if those people are justifiably upset at his shitty behavior. Again: not how it works here. Even for people who say shitty things. We've tried to be pretty clear here that we're not sitting around thinking Biru's behavior is good, but when we start banning people because it's a popular notion that's a big step towards this place being very different than what I've always understood it to be.

but what message do people like Biru walk away with in these situations?

That's pretty much up to Biru. If he's got any empathy at all it's hopefully something like "man, I really fucked up pretty bad there, I should check my shit and try not to be such an asshole on mefi from now on." If it's something a lot less reflective than that, I don't see him being around much longer. I'm not gonna try and read his mind, we're not gonna let him keep acting crappy over the long haul. That haul is pretty much at its end as far as I'm concerned.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:47 AM on November 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


Thank you for explaining, but I still think letting Biru go without so much as a timeout is a terrible call.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:51 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


From a mod perspective, how far is too far in terms of violating community standards of tolerance before someone gets the boot?

Farther than some people will like, generally speaking


Yes, that much is obvious, but it's still unclear to me where the line actually is. I'm not personally calling for Biru's banning - that's not my decision to make - but "farther than people would like" is still pretty vague. Is the line at threatening someone and anything short of that is not-awesome but still allowed? Because clearly, there is a line. I think people (myself included) would appreciate it being spelled out for us where exactly this line is since what we think as a group and what policy actually is aren't directly overlapping.

Though yes, I will agree that Biru's comment seriously warranted a time-out even if it was not ban-hammer worthy. It's a feature, not a bug, that contentious speech is allowed on the site, but when that goes straight into ugliness - I think small steps to counter it would go a long way, if not towards curbing the behavior, then in terms of upping user morale among people who really don't like seeing someone "getting away" with being ugly to other users.
posted by sonika at 8:02 AM on November 10, 2010


How about you make that an easy line to navigate and ban him? Why would you not?

Because this an open forum? Because there's supposedly no such thing as banned thoughts around here? Since "anybody can contribute" has been the founding idea since day one?

If Biru is on thin ice because of repeatedly problematic behavior, then banning him for that is call the mods and will make when it becomes necessary. But the idea that a single phrase is a bright line of bandom is kinda abhorrent to me.
posted by Dano St at 8:03 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


banning him for that is a call the mods *can* and will make
posted by Dano St at 8:04 AM on November 10, 2010


I disagree, because being able to see people's comment history and knowing that he/she/it/they are trolls for yourself rather than hearing it in other places (meetups, Twitter, etc.) is more important.

To the OP, I'm glad that you've recovered, that you're stronger, and that you're a survivor who isn't afraid to speak up now. Happy anniversary, indeed.
posted by TrishaLynn at 8:07 AM on November 10, 2010


(Wow, thanks mods for fixing that italics nonsense.)
posted by sonika at 8:09 AM on November 10, 2010


this is a specific enough recurring phenomenon that we as a community don't seem to know how do deal with, and we users never know what is fair to expect when it happens.

I see it as lenient moderating policy which allows a user to essentially hang themselves so the mods and the community have a trail of shit to point at and say "Hey, sososo you had your chance".

The problem is that in the meantime, you have have assholish behavior or comments on the site, which does affect users, as witnessed zoomorphic, a helpful and good user, leaving.

On preview:
Because a few people telling us to ban someone is a terrible reason to overturn years of common practice, even if those people are justifiably upset at his shitty behavior. Again: not how it works here.

I don't think it's so much that people are calling for him to be banned as that people are upset because nothing seems to have happened to him for making those comments in the first place. As TPS noted, there doesn't even seem to have been a timeout, just some harsh words to someone who called another user who was celebrating her recovery from a traumatic experience with the help of AskMe. I suspect people are upset that the "police" have done nothing forceful to indicate such behavior is totally unacceptable to the community, which is what a lot of people would prefer. The question becomes "Does literally anything really fly in Metatalk?" 'Cause if so, a lot of users probably won't be happy with that, especially with the shining turdelicious example that Biru baked up.

What's the answer? For myself, it's to steer clear of Biru unless he can convey a sense of sorrow and a understanding of why his comments were so fucked up. This answer will not satisfy many people.
posted by nomadicink at 8:10 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think that the site should turn into a populist nightmare where people get banned just because other people shout for it to happen, but I think that people wind up calling for action (often banning) when they perceive a gap in moderation.

In this case (and several others which spring to mind) it is the lack of any visible, decisive action whatsoever -- except for the removal of responses to the initial comment -- that gets people hollering.

That's the root of the problem, as I see it.
posted by hermitosis at 8:12 AM on November 10, 2010


Yes, that much is obvious, but it's still unclear to me where the line actually is.

There's not really some extant bright line, is the thing. I don't know how else to say it: there's not some pre-existing necessary-and-sufficient standard for exactly how much is too much where anyone who does complete Bad Behavior Schedules X, Y, and Z will get banned and anyone who hasn't won't. There are a few short-list exceptions that barring mitigating circumstances are asking for banning—self-linking or misc. spamming, sending people fucked up or harassing mefimail, total psycho meltdown stuff—but generally speaking it's more a reactive case-by-case thing than anything we can codify.

Part of that is, when we get to the point where we feel like we've put in as much effort to make it work as we can and it's still not working, we make that clear to the person we deal with, and at that point it's on them to shape up or ship the fuck out. Responding to "cut it out, period, last chance" by not cutting it out after all is pretty much what getting yourself banned looks like, if there's any consistent picture of the varied weird rare circumstances where someone gets themselves banned for shitty behavior.

Though yes, I will agree that Biru's comment seriously warranted a time-out even if it was not ban-hammer worthy.

We use timeouts for a couple different things. One is: someone's behavior is weird and we're not confident they're gonna be willing or able to rectify that in the period during which we're not able to keep an eye on them. Drunk-posting, aggro bad night, that sort of thing.

The other is: making it clear that we're getting to a point where this isn't going to keep working. We're likely to give someone with an ongoing behavioral problem a week off if they keep doing what they're doing in a problematic way, in part just to get the "this is really not working" message across by brute force. We've done that already with Biru, he knows the score.

To a large functional extent a timeout is a favor to the person we're timing out—essentially, You Have A Chance To Get Your Shit Together.

So at this point a timeout feels like a mix of not necessary as fire-control (Biru dropped it instead of keeping on with the crappy argument) and not really fruitful as a point-making gesture, because I frankly don't think another week off is going to somehow make a point to him where us telling him publicly and privately that this shit is a problem hasn't. If he's gonna keep being a jerk, I'd rather him do it now than a week from now so we can have the matter settled, and I'd rather just discuss in thread that his behavior is a problem than give him a timeout that I don't think will accomplish anything and treat that like it's a meaningful act of censure in this case.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:18 AM on November 10, 2010


Is it wrong to ask for a different metatalk thread about this? I feel like this is taking away from Hasna's post.
posted by josher71 at 8:23 AM on November 10, 2010 [12 favorites]


So at this point a timeout feels like a mix of not necessary as fire-control (Biru dropped it instead of keeping on with the crappy argument) and not really fruitful as a point-making gesture, because I frankly don't think another week off is going to somehow make a point to him where us telling him publicly and privately that this shit is a problem hasn't. If he's gonna keep being a jerk, I'd rather him do it now than a week from now so we can have the matter settled, and I'd rather just discuss in thread that his behavior is a problem than give him a timeout that I don't think will accomplish anything and treat that like it's a meaningful act of censure in this case.

Wait, so you're hoping to keep Biru around just so he can act like a jerk and then you have a good reason to ban him? That's a pretty shitty reason to allow this type of behavior in a thread that is specifically about someone who was rape. The context of his statements matters quite a bit. It really sounds like you're trying to not be the bad guy but by not nipping this in this thread, in this context, is making the mods appear worse than if they had just axed this nonsense in the very beginning.
posted by Stynxno at 8:25 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, so you're hoping to keep Biru around just so he can act like a jerk and then you have a good reason to ban him?

We're keeping him around so he can either act like a jerk or not. Again: whether he acts like a jerk today or a week from today does not have some material effect on whether or not he acts like a jerk and whether or not it's a problem when he does. Making a show of timing him out so that people who don't consider us telling him his shit stinks in public a sufficient signal that we think his shit stinks will feel like we're accomplishing something would be nothing but theater.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:29 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


nomadicinik: The question becomes "Does literally anything really fly in Metatalk?"

Which again, would be one thing of other people's responses didn't wind up getting deleted while the original stands. This is questionable enough to me on the blue, but in MeTa it is downright bewildering.
posted by hermitosis at 8:46 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Which again, would be one thing of other people's responses didn't wind up getting deleted while the original stands.

It's sucky yeah, but I've had stuff deleted in AskMe because it was a bit too fighty in response to controversial or edgy comments, so I kinda understand it, though I don't like it. I'm guessing the mod view is that once the fire is started, don't pour gasoline on it.
posted by nomadicink at 8:48 AM on November 10, 2010


Wait, so you're hoping to keep Biru around just so he can act like a jerk and then you have a good reason to ban him? That's a pretty shitty reason to allow this type of behavior in a thread that is specifically about someone who was rape. The context of his statements matters quite a bit. It really sounds like you're trying to not be the bad guy but by not nipping this in this thread, in this context, is making the mods appear worse than if they had just axed this nonsense in the very beginning.

And to add to cortex's statement. Biru is a user who we specifically have talked to and gone through the escalating series of timeouts with. That's the process. cortex and I both responded, quickly, as mods, that if he didn't walk away from this thread, we'd walk him away ourselves. We discussed the matter privately saying "one more peep out of him and we've had it." The thread moved on, people responded to his comments, excising them is more or less impossible at this point. It was a judgment call and I'm aware people wish we'd made it differently and I apologize. I think we've got a decent track record dealing with difficult MetaTalk threads and our erring on the side of leniency in this case is in keeping with how we usually do things, but I'm sorry it's upsetting to people.

The user whose comments were deleted was someone who we have also gone through all the steps with, multiple times, who came back to the site saying they wanted to answer some AskMe questions and didn't want to be a mod headache. Great, okay, brand new day. Coming into this thread, this already-touchy thread, and putting on an ironic rape victims are "self-serving attention whores, right brother" voice [that's a quote, those aren't my words], when people don't know who they are, makes it look to some people that there are two Birus in this thread and not one. That's also not okay. Goes against "Hey I promise not to be a mod headache" and it got deleted because I was going to bed and couldn't hang around watching to see if the thread exploded. The user made one final comment here then closed their account and hassled me about it over Twitter.

Biru's got one more chance. We ask you to be patient. If you can't, we understand, but without getting too inside baseball about it and disrespecting people's privacy over username choices, that's about all I can say about this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:49 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


> What's the answer? For myself, it's to steer clear of Biru unless he can convey a sense of sorrow and a understanding of why his comments were so fucked up. This answer will not satisfy many people

That's my personal attitude towards it--it reminds me of once a long time ago there being an Ask thread with some frighteningly embarrassing misogyny in some of the comments and madamjujujive said something succinctly in the MeTa about it like "I'm glad I saw that thread. Now I know who to avoid." etc. Now you know, etc.

That said, I completely understand deciding enough is enough, everyone has those limits somewhere, and regarding different subjects. The standing up, the walking away, those things all make sense to me. I just didn't think personally what Biru said warranted a real response besides polite general rebuke or something, because well...g'ah. Sometimes you arch your brow at parties and just wait for the moment you can excuse yourself from the person ranting. I guess it felt kind of like that. But again, having a different response makes sense to me too.
posted by ifjuly at 8:56 AM on November 10, 2010


Biru is a user who we specifically have talked to and gone through the escalating series of timeouts with

That's exactly why so many people are so frustrated to see Biru's contribution to this thread preserved and his behavior comparatively unpunished. If someone has a clear history of real problems, then how is this of all things not a big deal, or at least worth snipping to stave off the inevitable? Especially if the shears are already out.

It's a shame that villainous-mystery-user was the one who dumped gas on the whole mess, but really anyone could have, especially since the comment was left overnight.
posted by hermitosis at 9:05 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Given that the site is built on the critical mass of community, I'd rather the group handle the social dynamics in the case of comments like Biru's. At the point that it is repeatedly demonstrated that he is incapable/unwilling of good-faith participation in the community, then I think it's time for the moderators to step in and limit his access.

I found his statements asinine and awful. And I'd favor them standing in this thread. It provided an opportunity for direct rebuttal by MeFites, and hey, this is what Biru wants to communicate about himself to the community. Thanks for the heads-up.
posted by desuetude at 9:10 AM on November 10, 2010


Because this an open forum? Because there's supposedly no such thing as banned thoughts around here? Since "anybody can contribute" has been the founding idea since day one?

I have no problem with Biru not being banned, but I'm rather grossed out by the deletion of comments that responded to his comment. That, more than anything else, strikes me as a completely ridiculous thing to do. In lieu of a top-down punishment to Biru (which, again, I'd rather not see), I think shaming-by-community is a perfectly acceptable way to deal with hideous comments. Especially in metatalk, where the bar for deletion should be pretty high (stalky posting of personal info or e-mails, really, is all I can think of as a fair reason for deletions on a part of the site where the purpose is to hash out the details of community interactions).
posted by Greg Nog at 9:29 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


I was completely flabbergasted to see Biru's comments in the thread yesterday. I actually said "Holy shit" out loud while I was reading them because I was so shocked that a human being would think it was remotely OK to respond to another human being like that.

I am not generally in favour of removing people's comments. To paraphrase ifjuly's paraphrase of madamjujujive, now I know who to avoid.

But I felt--and still feel--deeply uncomfortable that Biru's comment was allowed to stand and infect this particular thread. I felt terrible for hasna, who could have no way of knowing that her much-appreciated update and acknowledgment would be hijacked in this way.

I did not respond to Biru's comments because I did not want to derail the thread and put any more focus on his jaw-droppingly awful behaviour. I was glad the mods responded to him to tell him his comments were not OK and why. But I have to say I think he crossed a line into territory deemed unacceptable by a large, large chunk of this community.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:32 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


The mods have said on multiple occasions that ironic comments "supporting" an unacceptable viewpoint/presentation will be deleted just as if they weren't ironic. I didn't see the comment(s?) in question, but it sounds like that was the case here.
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:34 AM on November 10, 2010


And, not that it matters, but I'm not saying I agree with the mods' decisions here, rather, that it's at least consistent with previous statements of guidelines.
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:36 AM on November 10, 2010


I'm rather grossed out by the deletion of comments that responded to his comment.

Two mods have explained that it was really only one comment that was deleted (along with a follow-up meta-comment about the deletion) and that it was done primarily to protect the user that posted them. Comments calling Biru a "jackass," an "asshole" and a "cold, reptilious motherfucker" still stand. How much community shaming do you need?
posted by Dano St at 9:38 AM on November 10, 2010


I can see why Biru's comments were left in this thread, they were dickish and contrarian, but worth having the community respond to. I mean, they're difficult to read and have around but not quite tripping the line of outright attacks on anyone.

But when I took a deeper look at Biru's history, he already had two timeout strikes against him. Nearly 25% of all comments he has ever posted to Ask MetaFilter have been deleted as noise. Of the three of us mods, I'm usually the last one to say we should drop the banhammer and I'm usually the "give this user one last chance" guy, but in this case I think the guy has fully worn out his welcome and I've went ahead and banned his account.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:38 AM on November 10, 2010 [36 favorites]


but really anyone could have,

But no one else did; the only person making the ironic comment was someone who apparently had a problematic history of doing so.
posted by rtha at 9:38 AM on November 10, 2010


Works for me, Matt.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:39 AM on November 10, 2010


Thanks, Matt.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:41 AM on November 10, 2010


I make a pretty diligent effort to avoid reading posts about and involving rape. However, after seeing what has been going on here, and the consequences for ouir community from a single asshole's miserable comment, I have to go on the record and say that I am for the first time ashamed at the moderators' actions and the fact that Biru still has posting privileges. A few weeks ago, there was a completely righteous banning of Jimmy Havok for equally disgusting, albeit more prolonged, behavior. Biru should not have the opportunity to say what he has said again, regardless of whether it will be deleted and he banned. He planted his foot firmly over the line and I don't give a shit about his future potential as a member here. He shouldn't have any more opportunities to ridicule victims of any sort.
posted by griphus at 9:45 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks, Matt, jessamyn, and cortex. I know this was a real mess to deal with.
posted by hermitosis at 9:45 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Thanks Matt.
posted by griphus at 9:47 AM on November 10, 2010


Thanks for that, Matt. I was going to say that when letting a bad-actor (Biru) stick around causes an, afaik, non-bad-actor (zoomorphic) to leave, that reads to me as a net loss and it's time to reconsider your decision-making process, but hopefully(?) zoomorphic will choose to return now.
posted by juv3nal at 10:14 AM on November 10, 2010


Of the three of us mods, I'm usually the last one to say we should drop the banhammer and I'm usually the "give this user one last chance" guy, but in this case I think the guy has fully worn out his welcome and I've went ahead and banned his account.

Thanks, Matt. Sounds like it was a tough mod decision to make, and I appreciate you guys taking the effort to explain what what into it.
posted by sonika at 10:28 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thanks, Matt and the mods. (incidentally, that could be your band name, should you ever wish to form one.)

I'm sorry to hear about zoomorphic -- she's consistently been such a thoughtful, insightful, constructive frequently hilarious member of Metafilter. Her contributions will be missed, and I really hope she reconsiders. My distress is mitigated only slightly by knowing that we no longer have to put up with Biru and his snide, casual callousness regarding any human interactions involving compassion, kindness, and decency.
posted by scody at 1:15 PM on November 10, 2010


But when I took a deeper look at Biru's history, he already had two timeout strikes against him. Nearly 25% of all comments he has ever posted to Ask MetaFilter have been deleted as noise. Of the three of us mods, I'm usually the last one to say we should drop the banhammer and I'm usually the "give this user one last chance" guy, but in this case I think the guy has fully worn out his welcome and I've went ahead and banned his account.

Thank you, mathowie.

I only just noticed this thread, but I'd like to say something.

I can't imagine the courage it must have taken Hasna to reach out in the first place, and I can only imagine how difficult it must be to have to revisit and perhaps re-live that experience here, even to explain what happened and say, "thank you." I'm extremely glad that folks here were able to help her then, and happy for her that she's come through that trauma the way she has.

Obviously, I can't speak for her. But as far as I'm concerned, leaving that disrespectful, asshole-ish comment of Biru's in this thread, where it's going to remain for posterity, is a slap in the face to what she endured. What will the next rape victim who turns to AskMe looking for support, understanding and guidance find here? Will they be strengthened to know that they, like Hasna can learn to understand and live with what has happened? Will they realize that they're not alone, and that even a collection of random strangers on the internet can sympathize, empathize with what they've been through? I hope so.

Or will they see that comment by Biru and learn the wrong lesson: that there's safety in silence. Will they think, "I'd better not say anything. If I do, I'll be tainted by what happened forever." We know that rape victims bear psychological scars, and that they have historically been subject to intense shaming, belittling and dehumanizing both by their rapists and the cultures they live in. Why should we contribute to that, even in a very small way, if we don't have to?

I'm glad Biru was banned. Good riddance. cortex and jessamyn, I understand the reasoning behind your hesitation. But Metafilter and its subsites are an ongoing living resource for anyone who needs them. I sincerely and wholeheartedly wish you'd delete that comment. Why should his so-called legacy be allowed to fester here?
posted by zarq at 1:38 PM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Why should his so-called legacy be allowed to fester here?

Because deleting it means making the thread turn into a "what did he say?" exercise instead of a "This is what he said. This is what happened" situation. His comments would likely wind up being reposted anyhow.

hasna and everyone else have already read what he said. This is a story with a beginning, middle and an end. It's clear that what Biru said was out of line. It's also clear that it's not-okay. We don't like to delete comments in MetaTalk and we especially don't like to delete heavily-discussed comments even if they're noxious. This is generally how we do things.

I'm not terribly concerned that someone coming to MetaFilter will read those comments and get the wrong feeling about the community. At some level we have to trust people to not overgeneralize based on a few comments in a site with millions of comments.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:51 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I generally agree with the mod action here; although I think biru should have been banned and his comment deleted much, much earlier.

Very sorry to see zoomorphic go.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:26 PM on November 10, 2010


Dear hasna, much love and hugs to you. I hope you have a wonderful birthday and holiday season. :)
posted by IndigoRain at 2:32 PM on November 10, 2010


This is a story with a beginning, middle and an end. It's clear that what Biru said was out of line. It's also clear that it's not-okay. We don't like to delete comments in MetaTalk and we especially don't like to delete heavily-discussed comments even if they're noxious. This is generally how we do things.

I wish I could favorite this twice.

I may be in the minority here, but speaking as someone who co-mods a community of perhaps 3,000 users with up to 6,000 drive-bys, letting other people see what constitutes as banhammer material and why is so very important for when you do eventually drop the hammer.

It also helps the mod team tighten up their policies, and I'll bet you anything that the Mod Squad here now knows what to do when this kind of situation happens again.
posted by TrishaLynn at 2:36 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I completely agree with TrishaLynn, and I'm pretty sure hasna can handle a little assholery in a MetaTalk thread. If she wants the comment deleted, I'm willing to revise my opinion.
posted by languagehat at 2:40 PM on November 10, 2010


You know what? I retract my earlier statement. Unlike other members here, I want to see banning be easier.

I think that any kind of victim-blaming or nastiness directed at rape victims should be an instant ban. Anywhere on the site.

Biru's comment should have been followed by a ban and a moderator noting that he was banned and that his behavior is completely and unambiguously unacceptable on Metafilter.

It should be as instant and obvious as self-linking.

I say this as one of the many victims of rape who are here on this site. I didn't comment on the thread originally because it's a touchy topic for me. I assume someone will say something that will hurt. I hate reading or talking about rape, except with a very few close friends. I don't like to read threads like this because of comments like the ones biru made.

I did anyway. It hurts. It really, really fucking hurts. It's wrong and it's horrible that I have to see that in order to participate in this thread and show support for another survivor of rape.

I know it wasn't your intention, jessamyn and cortex, to make me feel like biru's behavior is within the bounds of acceptable discourse here, but that is the effect of what you said and how you responded. Your generous and forgiving attitude towards the members of this site is normally commendable, but it was highly inappropriate when applied to this situation.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:49 PM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm not terribly concerned that someone coming to MetaFilter will read those comments and get the wrong feeling about the community.

I'd rethink this.

Multiple people, including me, who are relatively familiar with the community, got the "wrong" feeling about the community from this.

zoomorphic, who knows this community intimately and is incredibly involved with it, said this: "It's a general Metafilter policy to permit stupid, dangerous, hate-filled comments to stand while targeting the angry rebuttals they inspire, and I've had enough. "

It's fine if you don't agree with that characterization of Metafilter, but I think it is worth being concerned.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:58 PM on November 10, 2010


hasna and everyone else have already read what he said.

Do we know that? Hasna hasn't posted in this thread since it was created.

Also, please note that zoomorphic disabled her account because the comment was allowed to stand:
"I am a fairly moderate and middle-line member of the community who has a huge stake in the meetup community, so I'm surprised to find myself disabling my account on principle. But I'd like to do this as much for hasna as for myself, because it's not okay to me that Biru's dismissal has remained extant. Dismissing rape in front a rape survivor and discouraging open dialogue about rape in general is appalling, and its presence in this thread in particular fucking enrages me. This isn't a case of bad manners, it's an issue of silencing and shaming rape victims. It's a general Metafilter policy to permit stupid, dangerous, hate-filled comments to stand while targeting the angry rebuttals they inspire, and I've had enough."


We don't like to delete comments in MetaTalk and we especially don't like to delete heavily-discussed comments even if they're noxious. This is generally how we do things.

Respectfully, I think that sometimes this is a bug, rather than a feature.

If I say something vile that isn't immediately deleted in MeTa and a dozen people respond to it and derail a thread, then at that point there's no going back. The only thing that will end the argument at that point is closing the thread, and that's often a victory for the person who derailed it.

This event bothers me a great deal for several reasons, not the least of which being that it feels like that supporting that comment by leaving it up is in some way a contribution to a pernicious rape culture which attacks and shames women when they dare to speak openly about what has been done to them. Until I got to the point in this thread where mathowie banned Biru, that's also how I felt about the choice being made not to ban him. I get it. I do. I realize that you're trying to give people as much benefit of the doubt as possible. I appreciate that you've been so open and transparent about your thought processes here. But I'm also glad that mathowie chose to ban Biru, considering that he had practically advocated sexual harassment in AskMe, too.

I'm not terribly concerned that someone coming to MetaFilter will read those comments and get the wrong feeling about the community.

I am. Perhaps I'm an outlier. I remember quite a few comments in the Schrödinger’s Rapist thread that made me wonder whether some women would bother to read the entire thing, or simply close the window in disgust. You mention that this situation has a beginning, a middle and an end. How many people won't bother to read past Biru's comment? What if for them, the thread ends there? It nearly did for me. If I hadn't been pushed to read the entire thread by a friend, I would have closed the tab when I reached his comment.

At some level we have to trust people to not overgeneralize based on a few comments in a site with millions of comments.

I would like to think that's a realistic thing to have faith in.

When I read a thread, I don't see millions of comments. I wonder how many folks who might turn to AskMe for help have that perspective. Yes, sometimes deeper knowledge of the way the site works is beneficial. Then again, I might choose to close a window on a thread based on my deeper knowledge of how arguments on a particular topic tend to end.
posted by zarq at 3:18 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


It also helps the mod team tighten up their policies, and I'll bet you anything that the Mod Squad here now knows what to do when this kind of situation happens again.

Unless the mods tell us otherwise, it would appear no policy on member banning has changed as a result of this incident.
posted by zarq at 3:24 PM on November 10, 2010


I favorited this and wish I could favorite it about six more times: "Is it wrong to ask for a different metatalk thread about this? I feel like this is taking away from Hasna's post."

I completely understand and agree with not deleting the discussion that came after Biru's bullshit comment, but - is it possible to move the entirety of the discussion to another thread in MetaTalk? I really do get that MeFi is lightly moderated, that thread-splitting is very hands-on, and that the mods don't want to set a precedent.

But this is a pretty special case, because the very fact of Biru's comment is silencing and potentially triggering to survivors of sexual assault. This thread's tags include "rape" and "healing", search terms likely to bring survivors here. Biru's comment shouldn't be deleted, at this point, because it would definitely lead to that the discussion it engendered is important. But it doesn't belong permanently attached to Hasna's thread, and neither does the ensuing discussion.
posted by gingerest at 3:40 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I happened to come across Biru's comment just after it had been posted. I flagged it and memailed the mods to let them know about it - they were onto it so quick, and before I knew it they had shut Biru's trajectory down.

I'm with the mods on leaving the comment in situ (though I commend them for banning Biru). The thread as it stands - with all nastiness and the responses to it intact - is important. Why? Because now the thread is true to life: it gives any reader an inkling of the kind of attitudes that Hasna and any other person who has experienced violence is subject to. Deleting it would just perpetuate that idea of a perfect world, which bears no resemblance to reality. As it is, the thread properly reflects the challenges Hasna has faced and overcome and triumphed over.

Happy birthday Hasna. I raise my glass (well, it is 10:30am here, so teacup) to you :)
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 3:48 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I agree. I'll walk away now. If a separate Meta thread is started I'll participate, but I won't start one.

For anyone thinking of starting a new MeTa thread, please consider this: right now, this is a discussion amongst a few concerned members that has already moved off the MeTa front page. If a new thread is started that everyone can see, this will likely become a much larger, inevitably angry discussion. Personally, I'd really like to not see more folks like zoomorphic disabling their accounts.
posted by zarq at 3:53 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry to say this, but I wish Matt had just made his decision and not posted news of the banning in this thread. Despite his reasoned explanation for his decision, I suspect there are those who feel that the angry pitchforks got to "win" their appeal. I don't really love that dynamic.
posted by desuetude at 5:40 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm very sad to see zoomorphic leave this community. Would someone be kind enough to send me her email address?
posted by special-k at 6:23 PM on November 10, 2010


got it, thanks.
posted by special-k at 6:43 PM on November 10, 2010


I am surprised at this idea that leaving a comment up is "supporting" it. Comment deletions in MeTa are rare. That has been the nature of MeTa for as long as I've been a user (which, admittedly, hasn't been that long), and as far as I can tell that rarity helps the subsite serve its purpose for the rest of the site. Given that rarity, a comment's existence says very little of mod (or community) opinion of it.

I wish people wouldn't leave because of what happens in MeTa, but they have and will for the foreseeable future.
posted by Jpfed at 10:36 PM on November 10, 2010


Too late for it now, but I wish this conversation could have happened outside this thread too.

Hasna, I'm really happy that you got this help from metafilter and you're on the mend. A shot of hope in what is an awful situation.
posted by seanyboy at 12:10 AM on November 11, 2010


[I don't know if this is Impossible Situation Metatalk or what, but, look, comment from late last night removed. "I hope someone you care about gets raped" is a fucked up way to go with any thread.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:48 AM on November 11, 2010


Man. This thread is done, but I wanted to leave it on the good note on which it started.

Hasna, don't listen to this shit. There are always people out there who will dump on the things that make you happy and proud. You're so courageous for coming out with this, and the community is lucky to have it. I am so glad to hear you're doing well, and that you found support in this community. There are good people here. I've made friends here.

Zoomorphic is my friend. Griph is my friend. Hermatosis is my friend. I'm so glad to have found them in real life, from this oft crazy site.

Hasna, if you're ever in NYC, hit us up. We're here.
posted by functionequalsform at 8:58 AM on November 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


I just saw this and wanted to thank you for posting. I was another person who didn't have specific advice but who wondered how you were doing. In my mind, that OP was still stuck in that situation, and it's so good to hear from the real person who has moved forward with her life. I am so glad to hear you sound so at peace right now. And you're right, so many comments in that thread were very good, so I echo your appreciation of those people.
posted by salvia at 8:04 PM on November 12, 2010


Wow whoa wait what? zoomorphic is leaving? seriously? what a sad event. her answers were consistently on-target, thoughtful, and kind. it is really too bad. sorry to see you go!
posted by salvia at 8:33 PM on November 12, 2010


I know this is unprecedented but is it technically feasible for a second MetaTalk thread to be started with Biru's shit and all of the comments afterwards copied and pasted into it, and then all of it, including this comment, deleted here? There are two entirely divisible threads under this heading.

If you are still reading this hasna, thank you so very much.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:02 PM on November 14, 2010


There's no way to do it without handcoding a special solution for this thread specifically. This would set a precedent for how to manage derails that is not something we want to do.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:18 PM on November 14, 2010


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