This story seems appropriate as it is metaphoric of larger things while being immediately relevant.
Everything really comes down to experience and our ability to parse and contextualize our experience. That is a theme at the center of Buddhist psychology. Our world is made from our karmic formations. It's also true in the relative world of mundane things where we need to get things done. I'd argue it's more difficult and subtle there as we are compelled to be in the mix of things, and not withdraw. There's a whole discussion to be had about that-- I choose that it's part of my training to make justice part of my practice.
I've only been active on this board since 24 March-- about three weeks. Quite honestly, my experience has been hellish. This is the point where people start going through the threads thinking certainly nothing was that bad. This is the point where people get defensive or perhaps dismissive as their experience is quite different. This has all been very supportive for them, and as such they can connect and share. One person's experience doesn't negate those of others. My negative experience isn't an "anti-experience" that annihilates others' positive experiences. I think it's important to carry that into all of these discussions. Things can certainly be sent and received in that spirit.
A few days after posting in the other thread, I got some quirky comments on a blog that I participate in. They referenced DW and asked if "Untxi" was the one and the same as the author of those blog posts. I confirmed my identity. Ever since: a freaking nightmare. It should be assumed that my narrative below is strung together after the fact, as the experience itself has been very confusing.
At some point a few days into my participation on DW, I started getting GuerillaMail challenging me to many of the points brought up in the thread. Eventually these emails started being attributed to members of the forum, even Mods and Admins. Some of these purported that I was on notice or being sanctioned. In time they became outright abusive. Threats to "rape my faggot ass". And in response to the story about my friend who was shut in domestic violence homicide, a note about how nice it would be to copulate with the hole in her head.
So the effect of this is to really throw a lot of noise into the system. I started doubting and distrusting really everyone on the forum. The Mods and Admins included. I started questioning the hardware itself, wondering what information could be pulled from the DW interface: IP's, emails. I started doubting myself, and what I was saying on the threads. And in time, my struggle to get my mind around these harassing and critical emails started projecting into the thread, and the thread projecting into the stream of craziness and how I interpreted it. To maintain the integrity of DW the ToS puts up some useful walls between things, but those make it harder to flush out this type of nonsense. My first gut would have been to pull every post with Untxi on it, flush the UserName, and arise like a Phoenix. If not that, then share all of this nonsense publicly to show whoever it is that they're caught. There's some of that in what I'm sharing now.
For my own safety I've scuttled that email and pulled the blog posts associated with that blog, as they contained personal information that could be used to harm myself and others. *knock knock* to this day no proliferation. Now the door through which this nastiness arrives is shut. That's a huge drag, but it's worth it.
So I apologize for any grief I have caused one.
At the same time, this is very representative of how people who face issues of social justice, in particular gender violence, are forced to operate. Somebody posted about the Culture of Shut Up in a different sub. What I've experienced here is largely that. Somebody disagrees with some point I've made, or maybe just my haircut or the cut of my jib, and the response is to inject as much noise as possible to silence me. This happens to people of color, poor people, women and gender minorities all the time. I've felt myself shutting down periodically through my three weeks here, and I've felt myself constantly self-editing, only to push through and speak my mind and make myself vulnerable regardless. Not everyone does that. Many people just shut down, and many people make it part of their process to shut people's voices down in this way. For me it doesn't matter much. I'm a straight white guy. I ease back into my life if I want to. If I were a woman or a LBGTQIA person struggling with these issues in real life, especially on a forum in a thread about discussing and mitigating these issues-- it would probably be very damaging.
One of the problems with the injecting noise to intimidate or threaten people is that it injects noise into everyone else's experience in the vicinity. I'm responding not to those I'm chatting with, but through a cloud of disruptive nonsense. Divisive speech is divisive. It pulls people apart. It's a bell that is hard to un-ring, no matter how many times well intentioned people might try. This is largely the experience of people struggling with various forms of structural violence. In my own case, yes, it was a personal failure of character to cave into doubt and suspicion. It was also a personal failure to project the harassment into the threads and vice versa. At the same time, it is what my experience informs me about the reality of my situation. This is just what happens in public forums and blogs on sex/gender violence. Someone with a different experience would frame it differently. The tragedy of this Culture of Shut Up is that noise injected into the dialog, but also into the relationships between people. It is often the critique that people addressing race or gender issues are themselves racist and sexist-- and there is likely some truth to that. There is also truth for many that their experience of their peers has been poisoned by shenanigans aimed at being disruptive, silencing and divisive. In my own case, I don't trust anything about this place at this point. No foul on anyone. Just calling my experience.
I've worked in peace and nonviolence issues on and off since the 90's. Sometimes with a shovel in the dirt. Sometimes with words. Every time, even after all of these years, the torrent of noise is something I just don't know how to handle. After struggling to figure out who was flaming me and failing, and agitating and insulting people in the process, after trying to introspect as to what I've done to trigger all of this-- I just come back to giving up. I know this is a common experience with people who struggling with real oppression who are shut up with torrents of noise and abuse. You reach a point of simultaneously distrusting your own experience, as well as your enemies and allies, and the meaning and value of any dialog collapses. Though a categorically different experience for me, being a straight white guy, that is the effect of this nonsense. A big "WTF".
GuerillaMail through proxy servers. I guess Tor. Well played. Very sad though.