How Not to Join a Message Board

Because I take my job as moderator seriously on Surrogate Mothers Online, I don’t usually dish on the drama that sometimes happens over there. But as it pertains to the subject of tonight’s post and is mostly about me, I’m dishin’.


A couple of weeks ago, we had a new member who almost immediately started waving a freak flag. This is what I call it when my bullshit meter senses that there is something “off” about a person. Now as a moderator, I usually stand back and observe new members’ actions for a while to formulate an objective and clear rationale to support my gut instinct about someone before openly calling them on being a freak. Regular members of SMO, though, don’t usually wait, and will address said weirdness almost as soon as something hits their radar as being strange. While occasionally some members may be a bit over-aggressive with pointing out the freaks, they do it in the interest of protecting our community (where lives are literally at stake), and they often help the other mods and me gather evidence to support why a member should be banned from the boards. While I freely use terms like “freak” and “bullshit” here, I am always professional and diplomatic on SMO when handling sticky situations  – almost to the point of being considered a bit stuffy.

But THEN – The aforementioned new member joined and first started waving her flag a little by posting several posts that went something like:


And then:







And that was like, within the first 20 minutes, it seemed.

So then the regular members were like, dude – she’s a little too eager, but she might be okay. Let’s just kindly let her know that proper protocol ’round these parts for blogs is to leave a link in your signature. If people want to read your blog, they’ll click on it. We’ll just tell her that there’s no need to point a lit runway to her blog and maybe she’ll be okay. She responded by pouting a bit and claiming that we were not welcoming to newbies.

So then, members said, “Hmm.” Something is weird with her. Let’s Google her username and see if it turns up anything interesting. An immediate hit was to an old Etsy shop she’d set up a year or so ago trying to sell some weird “antique” shit she had laying around the house because, “My husband was laid off and we’re low on money and I figured this would be a good way to make some quick.” One of the cardinal rules of surrogacy is not to try to be one when you’re strapped for cash. Sure, that was a year ago and a lot could have changed in a year. BUT WHO THE HECK HAS A VIRTUAL YARD SALE OF YOUR JUNK ON ETSY IN THE NAME OF SELF-CHARITY?

The members of SMO dug a little deeper and found some posts from a year ago that she’d written on a white supremacist Website. I’ll let that sink in for a moment. —-WHITE SUPREMACIST WEBSITE —- She posted about how she was new to the area and her apartment was broken into, and now some local gang was after her and “Could anyone please tell me where OUR people are meeting up because I really don’t feel safe here and it would be really nice to hang out with the right kind of people. People like me.”


So at that point, the members of SMO called her on it. I have to give them credit here; as I said before, sometimes some members of SMO can really push the envelope and come close to flaming, which is against board regulations no matter who you’re fussing at and why you’re griping at them. But this time, everyone expressed their opinions about this user and her former virtual stomping grounds with tact, and even though they were disgusted and said as much, they were still trying to give her some room to chalk it up to a gross misjudgment so that she could attempt to establish some credibility and respect.

Which soooo did not happen. She jumped ugly and got all out RUDE, calling members idiots and worse for not accepting her explanation that she was just “really frightened” after her apartment was robbed and maybe didn’t make the best decision about how to handle it and that she was SOOOO SORRRY WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU IDIOTS, I SAID I WAS SORRY!

At that point, my assessment was that she wasn’t an average troll who just starts up stuff just to cause trouble. I thought she really did have hopes to become a respectable member of the board as she started her journey (she was in the process of being accepted [or rejected] by an agency). I think she started off on the wrong foot and then didn’t know how to handle it when someone dug up an particularly nasty skeleton in her closet.

I finally interjected somewhere on page 3 of the thread (there is often trouble afoot when threads grow that long in a relatively short amount of time). I couldn’t resist it any longer, and I was BARELY able to leash the snark that I so rarely let show in threads of a similar nature:

Okay – lookie here,  These ladies have let you off EASY. There are some things according to social norms that these days are almost non-negotiable unforgiveables. I think that posting on a white supremacist website pretty much falls in line with those things. Just remember – the Internet never forgets.You had the ability to rebuild a reputation for yourself, and MAYBE you still do. However, it’s ridiculous for you to think that one or two apologetic replies will ever make up for the reputation that has followed you here. Looking past something like that takes TIME and giving people the chance to know you. If you want to continue posting here, you’re shooting yourself in the foot each time you spout off at someone who is just trying to give you an idea of how vile the initial impression you’ve made is to everyone. If you choose to be a member here, you cannot get away with being constantly rude. And for goodness’ sake – eat that humble pie for a while longer yet before you allow yourself to get so defensive. Oh, and by the way – I’m Black. The KKK is like, so 1960’s. But you’re more than welcome to read my blog. I wrote about The Gays in my last entry. (Seriously, though – chill out a bit. This is not the way to reestablish some respect.)

She didn’t respond directly to my post, but I’m positively sure she read it because she DID respond quite nastily to the posts immediately before and after mine. Perhaps the big green letters under my username which say SENIOR MODERATOR scared her? At any rate, she did not heed my warning and just continued to grow more and more ridiculous.

So with that, I did what any proper, tactful, professional, and tactful moderator would do.

banned by black power

Screenshot. I'm classy like that.

I banned her.
(and I got mad props for my unexpected use of stylish snark)

It’s been two weeks since then. So imagine my surprise when I got the bestest most awesomest gift EVAR in the mail today from Shannon, owner of SMO and dear snarky friend of mine (and fellow lover of stupid t-shirts):


Thanks, Shannon, for hookin’ a sista up and for holding down the fort on a place where magic happens every day.


  1. Mrs. Gamgee on August 30, 2011 at 1:12 am

    Batshit crazy indeed! Geez…

    I adore that tshirt! So cool.

    • Moxie on August 30, 2011 at 6:25 am

      I absolutely adore S. She’s so cool. 😉

  2. Another one suffering from chickenitis, otherwise known as a total chickenshit. on August 30, 2011 at 2:09 am

    Dude, that shirt gets mad props! Oh wait, I sent it.


    PS. Don’t forget to flaunt your new key chain with pride. I should have sent you a tiara too.


    Member #1 of the National Smart Ass Society

    PPS (or whatever that junior high crap is)… are very welcome. Thank you for being the professional voice of SMO, and an awesome smartasser (I can make up words too, gawddamnit).

    • Moxie on August 30, 2011 at 6:23 am

      Keychain and other shirt are planned to be the spin–off for my next post. I just love it when one post breeds another. Like Gremlins. 🙂

  3. InDueTime on August 30, 2011 at 9:08 am

    What a loon!!! But seriously? Awesome t-shirt.

    • Moxie on August 31, 2011 at 11:50 am

      “Loon” is saying it nicely, lol.

  4. Melody on August 30, 2011 at 9:20 am

    You are much more patient than I. She would have been gone at the first mention of white supremacist web site. WTF.

    • Moxie on August 31, 2011 at 11:51 am

      My trigger finger was itching to, but I couldn’t do it on that alone. Thankfully, she twisted a rope and hung herself from it. HAHAHA – she lynched herself. I’m punny.

  5. Io on August 30, 2011 at 9:28 am

    This post has awesome written all over it. You are my hero.
    (And I love that the t-shirt says “wait, I said that” What a badass)

    • Moxie on August 30, 2011 at 10:10 am

      Io??? Is that really YOU? OMGOMGOMGOMG, how I’ve missed you, dear Io!

      • Barb on September 18, 2011 at 10:07 pm

        Me too!!! Hope you’re well sweets! Have thought good things toward you lots. 🙂

  6. Rebekah on August 30, 2011 at 9:32 am

    O.M.G.!!!!! SHANNON ROCKS!! That was an epic telling of one of SMO’s recent historical events. Love it!!!

    • Moxie on August 31, 2011 at 4:25 pm

      This is one brouhaha that I just HAD to tell!

  7. loribeth on August 30, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Holy cow, what a nutjob!! (But yes, a seriously awesome T-shirt!)

  8. Tisha on August 30, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Love that shirt.

    • Moxie on August 31, 2011 at 4:33 pm

      Thanks, Tisha! The other one she sent me is rad, too.

  9. Kristin on August 30, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I totally think this shirt and keychain and shit should have a Zazzle store of their own.

    I bow down before the Master of Snarkiness.

    • Moxie on August 31, 2011 at 4:32 pm

      I think Shannon is the Master of Snarkiness, but she’s set her sights on Master of Laziness. 😉

  10. niobe on August 30, 2011 at 11:20 am

    note to self: Set up etsy shop to sell weird “antique” junk I have lying around the house.

    additional note to self: when setting up previously-referenced etsy shop, use a double top secret user name. Possibly niobee?

    note to everyone: Check it out! You won’t believe the SHOCKING SECRET I reveal in my latest blog post!!!

    Oh wait. I don’t have a blog.

    • Moxie on August 31, 2011 at 4:31 pm

      In the blog that you don’t have will you ever announce that you have a secret blog? 😉

  11. niobe on August 30, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Plus, Moxie is teh awesome. Also.

  12. Molly on August 30, 2011 at 11:24 am

    I love this. Love, love, LOVE it! And I love that shirt even more! HA!

    • Moxie on August 31, 2011 at 4:31 pm

      Thanks, Molly!

  13. Shelli on August 30, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    THAT is awesome.

    • Moxie on August 31, 2011 at 4:31 pm

      My freak-o-meter says that you are not one, Shelli. My awesome meter is through the roof for you, though!

  14. Lori Lavender Luz on August 30, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    The story and the shirt — total awesomeness! But the Freak-O-Meter? My Favorite Thing of the Day!

    • Moxie on August 31, 2011 at 4:30 pm

      *takes a bow*

  15. Jenn on August 30, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Love, love, love it!!

    • Moxie on August 31, 2011 at 4:30 pm

      I think up some good stuff every now and again. 😉

  16. Another one suffering from chickenitis, otherwise known as a total chickenshit. on August 30, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Freak-O-Meter….might need a t-shirt for that. 🙂

    • Moxie on August 31, 2011 at 4:29 pm

      We DO need that on a t-shirt!

  17. Alexicographer on August 30, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Yes. You had me at the freak-o-meter. Is there a way to put that on my browser toolbar?

    • Moxie on August 31, 2011 at 4:29 pm

      I wish I was a flippin’ programmer. I would soooo code a plug-in. Someone should invent freak-o-meter that works like those thermometer headstrip thingies. Just stick it to someone’s forehead and it tells you how much of a freak they are.

  18. luna on August 31, 2011 at 12:28 am

    omg, the shirt is so freaking awesome.
    not sure what I love more, the shirt or the freak-o-meter.
    it’s close though.
    well played.

    • Moxie on August 31, 2011 at 4:28 pm

      What would be boss is a shirt WITH the freak-o-meter on it. *runs to Cafepress…*

  19. a on August 31, 2011 at 9:09 am

    I wish I knew how to write html, so that I could have a freak-o-meter rating for every comment!

    (Complete aside: We have a computer system at work that is designed and written in Japan, so there are occasional…usage issues and misspellings. I’m a fingerprint examiner, and much of the stuff we have comes in the form of black powder lifts, but sometimes, cops will use white, silver, fluorescent or other powders for lifts. Those will often have to be color reversed to more easily match fingerprint cards. On the computer system, instead of going with inverse or reversal to indicate the enhancement technique, the Japanese went with something else…and then they misspelled it. So for a number of years, we had a drop down menu that said White Power.)

    • Moxie on August 31, 2011 at 4:27 pm

      This has to be the best freakin’ comment of the week.

  20. Jem on August 31, 2011 at 11:21 am

    What? This really happened? Fer realz? Amazing.

    Loved your response. Was singing in my head “Na, na, na… hey, hey, hey… goodbye!”

    • Moxie on August 31, 2011 at 4:26 pm

      Yeah – this crap REALLY for realz happened. We have wackadoodies come through every now and again, but this one was of a special breed.

  21. jesswho on September 1, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    I didn’t get to see how it played out on SMO, so thank you for that awesomesauce recap.

    Spending some time tonight catching up on your blog (about an hour plus so far!) and really have to keep up better. The Smartness is entertaining AND educational (never knew there were so many terms for farting!).

  22. Quiet Dreams on September 2, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Ohmygoodness I love you even more than I did before!

  23. Alana on September 2, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    The Freak-o-meter made my day! Your boldness….firm, yet justified. And the shirt??? AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!! You rock!

  24. Jjiraffe on September 4, 2011 at 4:41 am

    Ok, I just laughed my ass off. The shirt and your banning post are pure gold, as was the freak-o-meter.

    Also, in that picture you look so much like one of my best friends. She is awesome sauce too.

  25. Dresden on September 4, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    haaaaaa! I love it when you have visual aids in your posts.

    But, um, promise me that this “WHO THE HECK HAS A VIRTUAL YARD SALE OF YOUR JUNK ON ETSY IN THE NAME OF SELF-CHARITY” doesn’t REALLY make someone a super freak because, um…yeah. It wasn’t etsy, but I totally sold stuff on ebay to fundraise for my family building funds.

    (and lawd, yes, I AM a freak…just not a supah freak. right? RIGHT? RIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT???)


  26. Keiko on September 6, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    That shirt, and the picture of you wearing it, is so full on win. Amaze-balls.

  27. leanne on September 7, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I read this yesterday and have been trying to pick my jaw up off the floor ever since — that woman is something else. You, on the other hand, rock. Beautifully handled, Moxie. But especially the Freak-O-Meter. Not to mention (but I will anyway) your famous quote on a shirt.

  28. Chickenpig on September 9, 2011 at 9:20 am

    I loooove your batshit o meter!!!! And the T shirt 🙂 Actually, the bat shit meter would be great on a T shirt, too. You could sell them on Etsy along with any junk you have lying around 😉

  29. Balancing Act on September 9, 2011 at 3:57 pm


  30. Barb on September 18, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    You – Love it!
    Her – YIKES!

  31. Lessa on October 22, 2011 at 1:56 am

    The internet is a safe haven for people with issues!

  32. En Cinco's Gran-Gran on October 23, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I missed this one somehow. Wow… great story.

    And you call me militant!

  33. It’s Electric on December 2, 2011 at 12:39 am

    […] out other PowerPoint Shenanigans here and here and here […]

  34. The Wisdom of Good Clothing on January 10, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    […] homie Shannon, fellow lover of snarky shirts and creator of the Black Power shirt that she sent to me, bought this hoodie and a t-shirt for herself as Christmas gift to […]

  35. […] simple Google search turned up enough inconsistencies about potential intended parents that it made the freak flags that they tried to keep hidden glaringly obvious. It raised enough doubt for me to know that I didn’t want to take a chance of working with […]