Through the kindness of someone who has emailed screenshots of a recent internal debacle at PF, former members who still return to this blog can see the their practices questioned and discussed, and of course justified (quite poorly, I might add).

It appears that a number of long-term members are openly challenging the team’s treatment of them, the response being that they have formed a mutinous clique and there can be no other clique than the one in charge. The sycophancy of some, who accept this authority of PF over their life decisions, is fairly disturbing.

The dispute involved a long term member, admonished for the apparently inexcusable crime of having invited her ex to a conversation… last year. And having maintained a business-related channel for him to contact her, which obviously is related to her livelihood. Arguably, a normal group of friends would not attempt to get this person to overdramatise the presumed danger she has put herself in by simply contacting said ex, let alone chastise her for it. That’s not what emotional support is about. But then again, this is no normal group of friends, but Fahrenheit 451 with a twist of sour lemons.

On the PF mother ship, one is no longer allowed to be human. Being human is a sign of imperfection; a transgression of ideological purity. They cannot see how their attitude of excluding people for normal human interaction with “undesirables” renders them as bigoted as fundamentalist Mormons, who mandate that remaining with a partner/ spouse is an absolute, regardless of other factors. It comes from a need to control what others do, to regulate the details of other people’s lives.

When someone is truly empathetic, they listen. They take your life experience into account and seek to learn from it just as you might learn from them. Throwing the book at people on a constant basis is reserved for preachers and hypocritical moralists; it indicates distance and superficiality, not friendship.

Apologies for the size; when enlarged the text becomes blurred and impossible to read. Saving them makes them readable. I will extract some relevant quotes and comment on them below.

PFnew1  PFnew2    PFnew3 PFnew4   PFnew5 PFnew6   PFnew7 PFnew8

 

“She received an email and came here to get help and reinforcement to not respond, which was the right thing to do. After several days of pages and feedback form other members, it appeared she was going to ignore the hoover. What happened next though is she popped up in here a couple of weeks later with this dramatic, attention-grabbing thread written in ALL CAPS, as if it were breaking news, bragging about 1000% validation for doing everything she was told NOT to do. (…)

But the arrogance and false bravado with which she bragged about it and took offence with certain members and administrators who didn’t “congratulate” her for her supposed “closure” and breaking NC was a big part of the issue. It was only when she received some feedback from seasoned veterans that she didn’t want to hear, that she wanted her thread taken down. But then she started another thread, thanking members for their support in this thread and passive-aggressively complaining about the members who did not express unwavering support. That thread was taken down.” (Smitten Kitten)

Quick recap here, in more realistic terms. The member sought their advice but did not follow it, as, lo and behold, it was, ultimately, her life. Her choice turned out to work better for her than theirs. Instead of being happy that she was in a better place, they were outraged that she dared to break the community rules. Because in the end, it was all about them, not her, though they wouldn’t benefit or suffer whatsoever as a result of her choice. Them or anyone else on this planet. It was such a terrible affront that they never stopped to contemplate that she was, in fact, feeling better about her situation. You’d think they were trying to dissuade this woman from joining ISIS.

If you read through this admin’s entire account of matters, it’s rather bemusing.

“Honestly I am sick of PF becoming a place where the admins are accused of wrongdoing for reacting in an adult way to non-adult situations.” (Peace)

I recall the numerous cases, on this blog alone (not to mention other platforms), of members banned out of the blue, without an explanation, even after requesting one. An adult would at least dignify a supposed friend of a few years with a quick response. Is that so emotionally straining? What about the way they treated Thomas Sheridan, with a hysterical and vicious smear campaign? Is that an adult way to do things?

“While folks may say or do things out of pain, that doesn’t erase the hurtful effects that those words & actions have on their recipients. Yes, we are all human. That doesn’t make it okay to blame a website or friend for one’s internal discomfort.” (Peace)

How about applying not blaming a friend for one’s internal discomfort when thinking of those “hurtful effects” then? Do some people have more of a right to be hurt by others and act on it? How is it so unbearable to be questioned that you have to exclude this person from the communal entourage, cutting them off from everyone else?

“People here declare abuse or judgement or censorship because they aren’t validated 100% for everything they do.” (Peace)

When you react with such effervescence to common actions they take, and declare them potentially unfit for your group of straight-thinkers, excuse people for taking offence. I’d say a mirror is required here. It’s them who don’t validate you through what they choose to do with their lives in the end, and you find that unacceptable. You find them unworthy of speaking to unless they adhere to your exact guidance. Because you couldn’t possibly find valuable insight in someone else’s experience. You’re way above learning about life.

“That’s not how growth works.” (Peace)

Perpetually failing to address concerns or criticism, by blocking people and running away, is not how growth works either. You might as well cover your ears and start humming. Unless of course, you think in your case growth is no longer required, because you’ve already achieved the status of an all-knowing being.

“PF is not an echo chamber to validate and say “yes you’re right” to everyone all the time.” (Peace)

That’s exactly what it is, only in reverse. Admins and mods have an imperious need to be validated by other people living their lives by each letter in their program. If you fail to comply, you are of no use to them anymore.

“If anyone else would like to leave, they are welcome to do so. Please just contact us privately, instead of these dramatic public exits.” (Peace)

Quite a leap from seeing members off, or even their fellow admins and mods, with a rotten tomato fair-well party, accusing them of being disordered. I assume those were not dramatic exists.

“I 1000% agree with what you all have written here and especially in connection with what I have recently been astonished and confused by in witnessing in connection to the arrogance with regard to PF where some members feel that its theirs and theirs alone so, it might be perceived as “anything goes”. The statement of, “US against the admins” reminded me of a line from Lord of the Flies. REALLY????” (Phoenix)

I don’t know about entitlement to speak your mind on a forum of so-called unconditional friends – I’d worry more about the entitlement of someone else’s life being yours to manage, and the idea that not following your directives and contradicting your perspective is offensive. This person realised she didn’t have to do what they dictated. That she could choose for herself and surprisingly, it could have better results.

“On reflection, and simply put, a moment of strait talking and the resultant shock, can save years of unnecessary emotional abuse after taking a step back and properly “digesting” and evaluating. In my view, PF has always been about “the greater good, for the greater number”, never the reverse.” (Phoenix)

Explain to me how this is different than a fundamentalist religious group. Preemptive saving of the congregation. Do not speak to this person even once because he’ll end up convincing you to go back and you will suffer for years. Do not look at that Playboy as you will end up having orgies and getting HIV. These people don’t know where they themselves will be in five years’ time, let alone someone else.

The crux of the matter is their quest is not to help individuals – otherwise they would at least take a moment to be happy for them when their lives improve. Individuals don’t matter; the cult mentality does.

“We thought closing registrations would help calm things down and make it easier to keep the peace without an influx of new trolls, but of course that doesn’t solve the problem of existing trolls who are already here.” (Smitten Kitten)

She is referring to someone who had been there for years, not a “troll”. Regardless of how well you think these people know you, trusting they would never class you as such, surprise.

“Instead, there seems to be some new kind of arrogance that’s developed in some of the membership, where they act like they’re part of an exclusive club now and they act like that gives them the right to complain about us whenever they feel like it.” (Smitten Kitten)

Pure lese-majeste, which is French for an affront to royalty, or authority, by association. Subversion, no less.

Perhaps said members are connecting privately and starting to realise what really goes on. There should be little doubt with regards to what admins think they’re running there. It has nothing to do with friendship or even consideration towards others, let alone helping vulnerable people, and everything to do with control and self-aggrandisement.