So, we were lied to. The good news is that holdkris99
is fine, rather than dead. He's also banned, his wife's (?) account is banned, and they're not welcome back to Metafilter, ever.
Needless to say this is an incredibly shitty situation. We're furious that the community was lied to like this, that we were lied to, and that something as difficult as suicide and a survivor's grief was used as the premise for a cheap prank on the folks on this site.
We were contacted by either Marc's wife or Marc pretending to be his wife -- we honestly don't know which -- informing us that he had killed himself the previous weekend and asking for help figuring out what to do as far as letting the community know. Jessamyn corresponded with "her", setting her up with an account and explaining posting stuff and so forth. And then the mrs holdkris99
account posted this death announcement thread
As mods, we're stuck being the house cynics even on deeply sad or troubling stuff; we give folks the benefit of the doubt and assume all else being equal that things are on the level, because they almost always are, but we also double-check things, and look into stuff when users bring worries to us. And there were some quietly worrying things in this case -- no easily-findable obituary notices, no aggregations of condolences on social media pages -- but none of that's a smoking gun. When we found a direct reference from one of Marc's friends to having hung out with him at an event several days after his alleged suicide, that meant we had to ask, even if it was a weird misunderstanding with similar names.
Whoever was responsible for the emails to us and for the mrs holdkris99 account acknowledged tersely at that point that it was a "bad experiment or joke or whatever carried too far". We've banned the account, and an apparent sockpuppet (which, we discovered while looking into this, was used at one point as a prop in Ask Metafilter to ask a question setting up a long "here's my crazy life experience story" answer from holdkris99), and we've removed the death notice from the holdkris99 account and closed the bullshit Metatalk death announcement thread.
We're sorry as hell this happened; it's frustrating to find out someone has lied to the Mefi community like this, and it's galling that they chose to lie about something as wounding as suicide when we've actually lost folks like Bill "null terminated" Zeller
, and to lie about the struggle to deal with the death of a spouse when folks like mrbill have genuinely lived through that experience here
We don't really care about the specifics of Marc or his wife's motivations or what they have to say about any of this. They've thoroughly burnt their bridges, and while it's just amazingly lousy for him or them to have done this, their involvement with this basically ends with the truth being outed here and them being no longer welcome on Metafilter.
I know a lot of you are going to be as frustrated and upset by the deception as we are, but I've always valued the fact that the Metafilter community has been decent about not taking stuff offsite or reacting nastily even when other folks act badly, and it's important to all of us on the mod team that that's the case here, too. If folks want to talk about what happened, this thread is the place to do it, and we'd prefer it stay here and that people check their anger or upset about this enough to take the high road and keep things reasonably cool in here and drama-free elsewhere on the internet.