So it will be no surprise to my dear readers (as opposed to the gawkers from the YWBB) that my blog was transformed into a circus sideshow in the latter half of the week. I protested but to no avail.
Apparently it is fine for the YWBB community members to post inflammatory, and untrue, things about me, but I – who am not an active poster there at all – am supposed to just lie on my tummy and take it up the arse, patiently and with a measure of humility no less. It makes me think they really have forgotten who I am after all.
As long as that thread remains part of the record there, I will continue to protest, and I will maintain the links to the YWBB in the pieces I have written about the incident. I didn’t ask the instigator of this drama to link me. This is her issue. Nor did she ever ask me for clarification of my memoir plans if she had concerns. She read something that wasn’t there, over-reacted (a common trait of people there) and took it upon herself to “protect” the board before re-checking her facts. Such a selfless woman though, don’t you think? Leaping to the protection of a bunch of people who I either never knew or barely interacted with if I did. Regardless of her motives, and she has caused trouble on the blogs before with “tattling”. The damage is done and not within my current power to remedy.
I still don’t know where anyone got the idea I was using posts from there in my memoir, but though I have reiterated until I am sure my dear readers (and the more intelligent of the gawkers) understood I was not using posts nor do I even have any in my possession the drama raged through until Thanksgiving duties doused some of the interest.
My good friend, Sal, stood up for me there. A few other folks – one of whom is a perennial victim of the harrassment squad there herself – tried to step in to deflect the gang bangers with humor. Humor is the only way to quash flames at the YWBB. You know the board has had enough when the jokes start. I suppose I get that no one there can really call out the vicious without becoming targets too because those people just can’t see past themselves and will never admit they are victimizing people out of frustration with the short-comings (real or just imagined) of their own lives. It’s annoying, however, and reminds me of the time I spent working with middle schoolers. Reason thy name is futility on the YWBB.
In fact message boards in general are probably places only for people who lived their best years as teens. Those of us who grew up and prefer adulthood don’t seem to get on well in that kind of a hothouse atmosphere. It’s high school without recourse.
All in all, I lost nothing and may have gained a few new readers while losing the remaining links I had on most of the die-hard widow blogs, not a bad thing because most of them post at the YWBB still and carry links to their blogs in their signature lines. I really don’t need to be that exposed.
I lost a bit of memoir writing time but am now 4000 words from the 50,000. I am at the best part too – Rob and I admitting our feelings and are planning to meet. Yeah, I know, the widows find this duller than a great thaw and can’t imagine anyone wanting to read about two widowed people meeting on a grief support board, falling in love cyberly and overcoming international boundaries to live pretty damn happily. God, what a boring fucking story. But my plans are unchanged and maybe I should be more optimistic because if I really wasn’t capable of writing and publishing a memoir – no one would have cared in the first place.
I still plan to track down contact information for the two women who founded the site. I think they bear some responsibility for what goes on in their name basically. It’s not enough to say the board is unmoderated and yet demand those who are harassed there to just take it silently. If you found something, you need to own it. One of the women is a 9/11 widow and I will be criticized for criticizing her because there is a public perception that somehow they are less deserving of widowhood than the rest of us, as if it was forced on them and we volunteered. I don’t really care anymore. I also contacted the admin, the webmaster and am going to track down the ISP and report the incident to them as well. In Canada, and in recent U.S. court cases, there is precedent for seeking redress when someone uses social message sites to intimidate and harass you.
Thanks to all my friends who showed their support through their comments. You are wonderful people and I appreciate your friendship.
Pending discussions with my legal representatives, and contact with the administrators of the YWBB/Young Widows Organization, I will not be commenting publicly on the YWBB matter at this time.*
*As of Sunday, November 30th the thread was completely removed at the YWBB and links to that site were removed from posts here.