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:
OMG, YOU GUYS! I’M SO HAPPY AND EXCITED AND YOU GUYS ARE LIKE TOTALLY MY NEW BEST FRIENDS AND I STARTED UP A BLOG TO WRITE ALL ABOUT MY JOURNEY WITH SURROGACY!
I TOTALLY JUST WROTE A BLOG POST ABOUT YOU GUYS WHO ARE MY NEW FAMILY AND YOU SHOULD READ IT!
THE CRAZIEST THING JUST HAPPENED TO ME TODAY AND I JUST WROTE ABOUT IT ON MY BLOG CLICK MY LINK TO READ IT!
HAHAHA! MY SISTERS IN SURROGACY, YOU’LL NEVER BELIEVE WHAT I JUST WROTE ON MY BLOG!
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:
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.
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.