The Atheism+ Moderator Meltdown was a particularly bizarre sequence of events on the Atheism+ forum which were initiated by a December 17 exchange between moderator maiforpeace (aka: Mai) and forumite Kassiane. The topic under discussion was the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre, and Mai conjectured about whether child abuse may have been a factor in murderer Adam Lanzas rampage:
- Why isn't anyone speculating what kind of abuse this young man's mother may have put him through. After all, nobody had contact with him, and his mother was the first person he blew away.
- - Mai.
Naturally, this being the Atheism+ forum, someone was deeply offended by this comment:
- Don't ever say that again. EVER.
- Abused kids are isolated already. Don't fucking dare make us more dangerous to everyone than we already are.
- - Kassiane.
Kassiane filed a report about this, uh... abuse, with the A+ moderation staff. Nary a thing happened for a week, until moderator SubMor closed the report without taking any punative action against Mai. This was interpreted by Kassiane as favouritism, and s/h/it escelated by posting a complaint in the forums "bitch about moderators" thread. Thus did shit begin.
By December 27th, Flewellyn (the moderator at the heart of the Matt Dillahunty/curious debacle), stepped in to try an pour some water on the flames, acknowledging that this was a super-serious issue:
- You know what? Kassiane's right. We fucked up.
- Mai's post there was inexcusable. I've taken the liberty of hiddentexting it. But it ignored the very thing you'd posted about earlier: it's not okay to blame violence on abuse victims.
- I want to explain (not excuse, explain) what's been happening here. We, I and the other mods, have been trying to have a conversation about this in admin forum space. Mai didn't just hurt Kassiane there, she also hurt Ceepolk and several other members. The discussion...has not gone well. Mai tends not to respond for days, and when she has done so, she has so far not acknowledged the harm she's done.
- We're looking at an impasse here. We need to take action, but mods have no direct power over each other.
- Regardless, we should have moved on this sooner. I'm just not sure what we should actually do here.
- - Flewellyn.
This was followed by a revalation that Mai had not seen Kassiane's objections, because Mai has Kassiane on ignore. This raised eyebrows amongst the forumites, most of whom considered it poor form for a moderator to have anyone on ignore. This was compounded by a further revelation that the other moderators were aware of Mai's use of the ignore function. Kassiane even suggested that "Saint Mai" should quit social justice ("EssJay") if she can't handle a little criticism (!).
- WHAT THE BLAZING FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU ALL?????????? ON WHAT PLANET IS THIS ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR FOR A MODERATOR??????
- - Kassiane.
Kassiane soonafter followed with a demand that every moderator submit a 5 paragraph essay on why they thought this was acceptable behaiviour. This demand was met with support from Setar, a notable SJ warrior and A+ forumite, who opined that anyone who disagreed was no true SJ warrior.
With the writing on the wall, Mai tenders her resignation as an A+ moderator:
- After careful consideration and after having received reports about me and my posts, that have neither abated in frequency, or harshness in criticism in the three months I have been moderating, I am tendering my resignation.
- - Mai.
This triggered a sympathy resignation from fellow moderator, Xanthë:
- Seeing as there's an inordinate rush to blame inattention or inabilities of a volunteer staff to protect everyone here as part of their duty of care, and reinterpreting that as intentional, vindictive maliciousness accompanied by second-guessing every decision that you people don't like, I'm not really seeing the point of remaining a moderator here.
- - Xanthë.
Oh, just read the thread. It's comedy gold.