Protect Your Community from a Hoax

CDarklock

Fan
Joined
Nov 16, 2006
Messages
560
Neither one of us has the time for me to explain why.

Actually, I do. PM me. I love discussions like this. ;)

I'm not sure what you're saying here

That blaming the victim is wrong. Long experience in forum arguments; if I don't say it's wrong, people think I don't know it's wrong, and then they start accusing me of doing it.

when it motivates us all the way to our bank accounts and the silence in our threads for fear of contradicting the evidence offered, that's when the people charged with protecting the rest have to step in

Sometimes I don't care if it's true.

There are times that I see someone standing by the side of the road with a sign that says "homeless please help" and I have a twenty in my pocket and I happen to be thinking about that phase of my life and what self-righteous pricks people were. And what I want at that point is to prove to myself that I'm not a self-righteous prick, so I give the guy my twenty bucks.

And I honestly DON'T CARE if he's really homeless or really needs the money or really can't afford to buy food. It's completely irrelevant to the process. What I wanted was to lay aside my doubts and suspicions long enough to reach out and help someone, and I did that.

Which is why there are times when Bob says "you poor woman, I'll send you $50 through PayPal," and you jump up and say "No! She's lying! Here's proof!" - and Bob thinks YOU'RE the prick. You didn't really stop Bob from being suckered, you stopped Bob from proving to himself that he was a good enough person to reach out and help people who needed it.

People are complicated.
 

Corydalis

Adherent
Joined
Dec 16, 2006
Messages
294
Are you sure you're not talking about the fabulous ladies' monthly, Harper's Bazaar?
Or Harper's Bizarre,perhaps? ;)

When time, money, and micromanagement effort come into play, those warning bells are supposed to go off. When they do not, and you are the staff or member 'closest' to the situation--or simply the one most upset and disturbed by it--then you really have to wonder how much you might have wanted or needed such a heart-breaking tale to be true.
Our blind spots are not random. I can go to someone else's forum and immediately notice something that's "off", that they can't see. And vice versa. It's human nature to see what we want to see, and our wonderfully perverse psyches "protect" us by refusing to notice what they perceive as too dangerous, or upsetting, or whatever. Humans are also like magnets ... we attract to ourselves exactly what we need to experience, and exactly what we order through our subconscious interactions with the world. That's not a matter of blame, or of being a victim. It's a facet of the human condition, and it's just a matter of personal responsibility to be aware of it.

I am the type of person who tries to learn from everything, and believe me, I have learned a LOT about myself through being an admin, by observing the kinds of challenging people and situations that present themselves and how I respond to them.


That blaming the victim is wrong. Long experience in forum arguments; if I don't say it's wrong, people think I don't know it's wrong, and then they start accusing me of doing it.
I'm not sure how the second sentence of this statement relates to the first sentence, and I am actually not sure who you're referring to as the "victim". Is it the person who perpetrated the hoax? Or are the forum members and/or staff the "victims"? Or are you, CDarklock, presenting yourself as the victim in that situation? I would prefer not to refer to anyone as a victim, myself.

As a person with a mentally ill person in my immediate family, I know exactly how appalling the state of mental health care in the US is. Many people with mental illness end up in the criminal justice system because they did not get the treatment that might have kept them from committing acts that got them arrested. Many others end up as homeless people, living on the streets.

I know that as a family member, you do your best to make sure the person is safe, protected from themselves as well as others. It's difficult, given that courts bend over backwards to honor the individual's right to freedom. You cannot force someone to get help, and you basically have to prove that the person is a danger to themselves before a court will order involuntary treatment or commitment. That is a tough burden of proof. I had to go to court and testify against a close family member, saying things for public record that I'd had preferred to keep private, in an attempt to get them help ... and knowing all the while that the judge could well have decided to let them out, to fend for themselves ... well, she would have ended up as a "bag lady", and probably would be dead by now.

At the same time, I also know that you absolutely do NOT allow the mentally ill person to run the household, or the forum, as the case may be. I'm not saying that all difficult forum members are mentally ill, or that all mentally ill members should be banned. It's a matter of wisdom to know when you can do something for someone, and when the best thing for all concerned is to let them go.


People are complicated.

No kidding. But maybe that's why we are forum admins, come to think of it. ;)
 

CDarklock

Fan
Joined
Nov 16, 2006
Messages
560
I'm not sure how the second sentence of this statement relates to the first sentence, and I am actually not sure who you're referring to as the "victim".

And yet, somehow, I despair at the idea of trying to explain it to someone who can't figure out how to scroll up.

You cannot force someone to get help, and you basically have to prove that the person is a danger to themselves before a court will order involuntary treatment or commitment.

This is your idea of the sad state of mental health care?

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
 

Corydalis

Adherent
Joined
Dec 16, 2006
Messages
294
This is your idea of the sad state of mental health care?
When I find myself in the position of having to choose between taking the person into my house and never knowing if they're going to burn it down while I'm at work, or letting them fend for themselves on the streets, because the treatment options are so limited and neither our judicial system nor the mental health system offer real, consistently viable answers ... oh, you betcha.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
Well, that's up to you. I generally choose to laugh. Makes life a hell of a lot easier.
 

Erox

Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 22, 2007
Messages
140
KayCee-vu all over again?

Kathy...

I just finished reading this and some of the stories Widow posted on your site. What unmitigated gall to take advantage of you and your members like that!

Are you familiar with the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaycee_Nicole"]Kaycee Nicole - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia@@AMEPARAM@@/wiki/File:Crystal_Clear_app_browser.png" class="image"><img alt="Stub icon" src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fe/Crystal_Clear_app_browser.png/25px-Crystal_Clear_app_browser.png"@@AMEPARAM@@commons/thumb/f/fe/Crystal_Clear_app_browser.png/25px-Crystal_Clear_app_browser.png[/ame] hoax? I found myself roped into that one (I was even linked on their blogs). She was a girl dying of leukemia. I needed an hour away from my desk when I got news of her "death" while I was at work.

It ended up being her "mom", Debbie Swenson, from Kansas, who took advantage of a man generous enough to host their blogs for free, and staged the hoax for two years... later confessing she was a nurse and Kaycee was really a composite of three cancer patients who she took care of... after people found the whole thing fishy on MetaFilter and had their doubts.

Anyway... my point....
The prosaiac writing style of Widow's is very similar to Debbie's. KayCee wrote poetry much like I understand Silver-Jouie Goy did on MySpace

I can't help but wonder if it's the same person.
Still craving attention and sympathy, and who will she come back as next?
 
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Erox

Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 22, 2007
Messages
140
Move your community onward

While its horrifying to catch someone who preyed upon the goodness of you and your members, its important to keep it all in perspective. Most people are kind and want to be helpful. It is the best part about human nature that keeps our planet thriving with good stuff out-weighing the bad.

Encourage your members to learn from the experience, sharpen their Google skills and be carefully wise. But also try to encourage them not to be tainted by the bad experience. We can only hope that the hoaxsters never out last our ability to trust again.
What we learned in our experience is that you only know what a member/blogger/writer WANTS you to know. In a first-person narrative, you have to be very cautious and not consider it "gospel truth". We make the mistake of thinking people are just like us. And when we wonder "why would someone DO something like this?," it's really beyond our comprehension... because it's not what we'd do.

A lot of people ended up very jaded and cynical after the "Kaycee Hoax". In my case I didn't stop caring or trusting. I did, however, take a bit more of a critical look at everything I read.

Still. Offering words of encouragement to someone in their darkest hour really doesn't cost you anything.

At the same time, people have to remember that for every con-artist, there are HUNDREDS of real people that are just like the fictional stories they weave, and therefore VERY deserving of our love and support.

In the words of one member, who was really burnt by the ordeal: "I'd still rather err on the side of Love."

Thanks for stopping by my blog and sharing your insights, Kathy. :)
 
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mollila

Aspirant
Joined
Jan 29, 2006
Messages
32
I'd just like to comment that I lost over $500 by reading this article :)

Was playing 30/60 limit online poker, and my hand was time out folded while I had four of a kind.
 

geansecret

Neophyte
Joined
Nov 22, 2007
Messages
3
Speaking of hoaxes, isn't it annoying when you get a spam message on myspace? That stuff bugs!

--Gean
 
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