Unfortunately we've been forced to remove several members from our platform and we wanted to take a moment to explain why.
This situation began last week, when we received a report from a member, StudioJiggly. She reported that a member had called her a racist term. She submitted this screenshot of the incident:
In the screenshot, StudioJiggly shared a comment from another member (fatcultleader) in which they compared her to one of Jane Goodall's apes. Then a different member commented with "calling you a monkey?? Racially motivated??" StudioJiggly then commented and said that was an inappropriate joke. Unfortunately, our admin team disagreed that the question was joke and this was the crux of our disagreement.
Our admins were sincerely concerned about the Jane Goodall comment, because that made a direct analogy between StudioJiggly and Jane Goodall’s apes, but StudioJiggly was and remains adamant that fatcultleader was NOT making the comparison in a racist way. Instead, she insisted that we remove the other member who left the comment. Given the information we had at that time, the commenter seemed genuinely concerned about the ape comparison and had asked a sincere question as to whether the Jane Goodall statement was racially motivated.
To clarify at this point, our team includes several BIPOC admins, all of whom were involved in the treatment of both the original report from StudioJiggly, as well as further reviews of the situation.
Lacking any further evidence, we chose not to take action against the member who appeared concerned about another user comparing StudioJiggly to an ape, but let StudioJiggly know that if she had further evidence, or additional context, she could submit that in her response.
On Friday, StudioJiggly sent us a screenshot of a private message she received from the member, which she believed was an admission that their comment was intended as a joke:
At that time, we looked at two elements of the message: The apology ("I'm so sorry if I offended you. I didn't mean to"), which was directed at having hurt StudioJiggly's feelings, and was not an admission that her question was a joke. And the second half ("As soon as I saw your comment I deleted it. Completely understandable that a joke like that would be offensive"). The use of passive voice and conditional tense in this section complicated things, as it could be an admission that her question was indeed a joke, but just as easily could also be a concession that if someone were to make a joke about calling a person of color a monkey (something StudioJiggly wrote in her comment), it would be offensive.
While we believe the member included the line about offensive jokes for the latter reason, because their phrasing wasn't clear enough to fully deny they were making a joke, we opted at that time to change our decision from no action to a written warning, which means any future intolerance violations would likely result in her removal (the member removed her profile shortly after this due to harassment from others).
We understand that not everyone will agree with our decision and that some members agree with StudioJiggly that the comment was indeed a joke and not a sincere question and a temporary suspension or permanent removal was appropriate. Unfortunately, we disagree.
However, we understand that just because this situation wasn't a violation of our rules, StudioJiggly's hurt was real and the concerns of others were also valid. Which is why for the last six days, we allowed those with concerns to post them openly in the newsfeed (even when such posts contained abusive language directed at admins). Several of them ran into our spam filter after making repeated posts on the same subject, but the only members who were temporarily suspended or removed at that time were those who made posts encouraging malicious behavior toward our platform or threatening to doxx our admins.
Unfortunately, over the last 24 hours we received concerning reports that StudioJiggly and several other members posting in support of her were seeking out information on the private identities of our admin team (specifically our individual admin's identities) for the purpose of harassing them. We also received screenshots showing that StudioJiggly admitted she was sharing information about Feabie and Grokio with "malicious intent".
As we had earlier explained to StudioJiggly, our admin team regularly receives threats of violence and sexual assault from the people we have to remove in the course of our work for things like sexual harassment, intolerance, making threats, and malicious behavior. Doxxing our admins or exposing their private information represents a threat to the safety of our admin team, particularly since a majority of our admins are female, trans and non-binary members.
Once we received evidence confirming the attempts to identify and harass our admins, we were forced to take action and remove StudioJiggly, along with several other members.
This is not a decision we made lightly, nor does it bring us any joy. As anyone watching the newsfeed over the last week can attest, we allowed our members a lot of space to voice their concerns, even when those concerns included disparaging remarks about us and our work, misrepresentations of the circumstances or calls to boycott our platform.
In light of these recent developments, we're now enforcing our trolling policies more strongly. As some of you have seen, we are removing posts that spread misinformation about our work, disparage our admins, or encourage others to take malicious action against our platform or admin team, as well as excessive posting on this topic.
We know that even after reading all that, some of you still have concerns. Despite what has been said in the newsfeed over the past few days and what disagreements we may have, our admins are committed to enforcing our intolerance rules and making Feabie a safer space for BIPOC users.
When you make a report on Feabie, it’s reviewed by humans who have lived the experience of being a member on Feabie, being a female member, being a BIPOC member, being a trans member, being a queer member. And even if they might not always make the same call on a report that you would, they care about this community.
We hope you’ll continue to submit reports to us, and if we’ve lost your trust, we hope to earn it back through our work.
Update: We’ve noticed that some have requested we also release screenshots confirming that StudioJiggly admitted to acting with “malicious intent” and that she and others were seeking out the private identities of our admin team members in order to harass them personally.
Some of the evidence we have cannot be publicly posted, as they include private or semi-private conversations that concerned members reported to us and that, by posting, would essentially “out” or draw suspicion to the person who sent them to us.
However, we can provide screenshots of some of the public comments StudioJiggly has made on a Discord server.
After repeatedly posting Grokio's business addresses while baselessly accusing the company of tax evasion and fraud, StudioJiggly defended her actions here:
We also want to clarify that posting Grokio’s public business address is NOT the reason we removed StudioJiggly and is not what we have been referencing when discussing attempts to doxx our individual admins. Our public business address is listed in our legal terms and available to all members. However her admission that she repeatedly made defamatory accusations of fraud and tax evasion with “malicious intent” was a factor.
Later on the same Discord, she also repeatedly attempted to identify individual members of our admin team, saying “they should be punished” (again, referring to individual admins, not the company). You can see some of those public comments here:
We were also made aware of similar comments she and others made attempting to identify individual members of our admin team and expressing a desire to harass or intimidate them personally as early as Monday of this week, however those were submitted to us from private or semi-private conversations and so we can’t post them publicly. But these public comments provide some context for the situation.
This post was made on our blog as it was too long for our posting limits on Feabie for a sticky post and we wanted to be able to provide the full context of the situation.