Due to mob harassment, The Complexities of Problematic Kinks – guest post by Maybelle Redmond is now moved to the archive with this editor’s update.
“Say THING BAD, there are no complexities” … “If you talk about the bad thing then you must support it” … “Screw you for supporting the bad thing”
The original article was attacked for one niche issue: Of course cub porn is bad. But describing the problem isn’t. The original guest author was an abuse survivor who called it a dangerous thing that needs control. This site doesn’t support it but does welcome discussion.
It’s real to call it deeply rooted in the community. It was here long ago. Warner Bros threatened to sue furries for Tiny Toons porn in the 1990’s. It isn’t coming from outside and incongruent like racist stuff. It is furry. Anyone with a pencil can make it and anyone with a smartphone can share it. Some furries draw their art before they know there’s a fandom. Self-generating adult art is one reason why furry thrives without corporations that don’t make such things.
That’s a potentially infinite problem. When there are furry art sites like Inkbunny that thrive with it, condemning users at the bottom doesn’t stop distribution at the top. They will just keep coming to the furry platforms. It’s easy to get mainstream platforms to separate from it. But inside fandom, rejection creates opportunity. Perhaps the same opportunity that let the furry fandom grow as an autonomous, self-feeding creature apart from others.
It’s a good subculture that simply has human problems, like every part of the larger culture. If we take it for granted that cub porn is bad but intrinsic here, it’s like how drugs are illegal but people keep using them. Consider how the 1980’s “war on drugs” failed and made problems worse. If you imprison small users, they still need humane care or rehab, with a plan for bigger priorities like the distributors. Saying THING BAD and “screw you” isn’t a plan.
If cub art is condemned there can still be consideration for it being self-generated, or users may be led into it and trying to get out, or they may even include abuse victims who need help. Attacking someone who posts porn they made of themselves isn’t unlike making kids face jail for sexting pictures of themselves. (Read that news story. How is that fair? There are better options. And here’s a story of a minor, “babyfur”, and rape survivor who came to this site for help and understanding. Similar to the guest article author.)
That’s why there are complexities. This is one of those murky, dark topics people don’t want discussed. They just want to shun it. But that doesn’t get rid of it.
People who do age-play as consenting adults are already condemned with a bad reputation, and bringing this up will bring you harassment. Even in an appropriate place with a history of speaking about community things. The guest article was originally meant for [Adjective][Species] but their site went inactive so the author submitted it here instead. That was using the community access function this site often offered to anyone. It can’t be denied that it’s an ongoing topic that didn’t start here. Unlike here, places where it started have uncomplicated promotion for it. But that isn’t why the article was hosted here.
[Adjective][Species] and Inkbunny, a real source for the art, got no real challenge from harassers who targeted this site. But this site was open to discussing how to challenge it, and had a history of doing that.
Welcoming discussion is risky with an audience who don’t give the attention to read a long article about Heavy Stuff. That brought knee-jerk reactions and a communication breakdown. But apologize-and-delete-it doesn’t fix the problem. It keeps communication broken and enables everything from “did you stop beating your wife yet” type of baiting, to appeasing death threats. Harassers who use such tactics aren’t interested in the truth.
The harassment of this site put loyalty above getting to the root of the problem, with zero in return for catching flak for years of work on behalf of others. Ironically, the harassment served trolls who spent a long time pushing false accusations in retaliation for that work. People who pretended to be friends a day earlier then tried to score points with the same false accusations sourced from trolls, such as:
- They attacked this site for not being a performing monkey with overwhelming amounts of “callouts” that weren’t useable to write news (and senders had no intention of helping with the labor.) These callouts were bait by a small circle of clout-chasers.
- They falsely claimed the site defended “friends” who weren’t friends, spreading lies about a photo taken with a stranger before knowing about their past. (Notice the post being liked by altfurries who originally started the lie).
- Facts were ignored and words were put in mouths to harass, especially by playing “telephone game” with outrageously- out-of-context screenshots, then boosting each other’s misinterpretations, adding rounding-errors and malicious distortions until they could rope others into a mob.
It was very ironic that this site was bashed way harder than the original smaller target (Timburrs) who actually posted offending art. That was hypocritically carrying out different priorities that were suggested in a few comments that set off the harassment:
- A post that literally said “pick your battles” about Timburrs was twisted into “pedo” attacks against this site. Suggesting that it was ineffective to blast random individuals as if they were crime bosses was twisted into “you support cub porn”.
- Casual comments that small individuals were “low-value targets” (in other words, change would come from focus on distributors, instead of bullying single individuals) were twisted into false attacks that this site was chasing clout… ironically projecting what the harassers did.
The original target was passed over, and harassment of this site was encouraged from inside a Discord group by a troll who then deleted their account. The bad-faith callouts piled on manipulation when they pointed at blocking to justify what they did, as if abuse and death threats should be rewarded with apologies.
It’s sad to see no consideration for the difference between describing bad stuff and causing it. When reporters report about murder, they don’t have to say they don’t support murder — saying “Helter Skelter is a good book” isn’t supporting Charles Manson. Looking for understanding to reduce abuse isn’t encouraging it. A great deal of work done by this site shows that this site isn’t for that. It has never had anything to do with cub art.
But many people didn’t even read the article before lashing out. Nobody bothered to dispute for seven months (posted in May) until suddenly attacking in January. The harassment was so thoughtless and toxic, that the article had to be archived and replaced with this look at their abusive nature.
After forgetting their first small target and mobbing this site, the harassers then wildly threw more false accusations at others with thoughtless targeting, excused themselves while attacking critics, excused cub porn users they liked, turned on each other with breakups and verbal abuse, denied involvement, deleted their accounts because of causing so much harm, and demanded to be left alone while realizing they have no plan to make real changes.
Now here’s some feedback about the article that was stopped prematurely. We should have been able to discuss this.
It’s real to describe people using BDSM for coping, where it helps them take control over bad experiences in the past. BDSM isn’t abuse, just like furry art isn’t bestiality (or half the fandom would be targets for attack.) If cub porn is created by people who seek coping too, describing them isn’t excusing it. Of course it’s different because the art has a danger of being an abuse tool. The article said so, but it was a mistake to host the article without emphasizing the unacceptability more strongly. (Nobody bothered to bring it up for fair response when it published.)
That’s how the article is liable to be criticized for too much weaving between condemning abuse, but giving victims a grey area with the idea of a “walled garden” with “policing” inside. Ideally that has good intentions, but less ideally, policing can happen with blind spots or in corrupt ways.
The article talks about policing as a step forward for an imperfect world, with a need for more education. You can say a step forward isn’t enough but the article does recognize a problem. Perhaps it’s the wrong solution when expecting education from general society leaves things too far out of our hands, but at least it describes it. Perhaps it’s better to have an ideal of eliminating the porn with a plan for distributors.
There is no plan. Those who attacked this site for discussing will see history repeat when the problem keeps coming up, and they attack people instead of causes. That’s like putting a pin in a voodoo doll and thinking it solved the problem. It was a mistake to let these bad-faith harassers get too close to this site by helping some of them. This helper was crucified for suggesting that one-size-fits-all attacks could use better strategy.
A plan is now even less likely.
Ironically, Califur was attacked like this by altfurries who killed the con. Pointless reaction like this helps their plan for a Burned Furs/gamergate/”Pizzagate” attack movement. (See altfurs discuss it: Burned Furs 2.0 Telegram channel.)
In private message to this site, a Califur staffer said:
I can really relate to the guest article thing. The Baby fur panel was used to kill Califur. A fur asked if they could run a panel and it was that panel. I do think “What if” on occasion.
As an important contrast, altfurries aren’t content producers, they’re parasitical on fandom. That’s how rejecting hate groups can work, but if the cub porn is intrinsic and self-generating, then the two problems are apples and oranges and call for different solutions.
What could be a better strategy that doesn’t just hurt people and drag things backwards? There is a way: organizing artists to change their marketplace, and make the art less accessible from the source.
Imagine an artist trade compact with mutual standards for members. This site has often suggested forming an artists guild for that. There are active examples like the Furry Convention Leadership Roundtable and the Furry Writers Guild. But nobody has cared or bothered to try organizing artists, even with growing businesses and websites distributing their stuff.
Instead, things have fallen backwards by using bad-faith harassment, and misleading a mob who didn’t bother verifying what they lashed out at. They didn’t even read the article, or treated it like a Rorschach test, picking out pieces to make false pre-judgement that this site “supports” cub porn and justify vicious harassment. Thoughtless callouts like that will only hurt people. Doing it one-by-one will be an infinite cycle while ironically, platforms will grow from it. Indie furry platforms will gain users for the targeted content, and outrage-traffic will feed giant social media companies.
For many who sent private support for accommodating discussion, but were too afraid to speak openly, good luck with it.
This site was often asked to help report a heavy load of stories nobody else would handle, until that work was killed by supposed allies. It’s so abusive to do that thing where “I sent you callouts and you didn’t throw huge amounts of unpaid labor into them, be our slave or it means you support ___”. Obviously, with huge amounts of work done on the Zoosadist story that came out in September 2018, this site has to sort by priority but doesn’t support such things. You wouldn’t know it from harassers who dragged it down pointlessly. The fandom has a terminal problem if that’s how things are supposed to work. Until the most extreme content trading is illegal, or there’s a plan for getting real policy changes with art sites, or Twitter goes away or takes harassment seriously, these will be lasting problems.
Another “eating their own” story about the game of clout-chasing:
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