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What does justice mean among furries? An unauthorized account of Megaplex, VancouFur, and Samuel Conway

Edited by dronon, Sonious as of Thu 30 Sep 2021 - 18:01
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It can feel a kind of madness when the memory of the world has moved on without you and you are left unsmothered. It is not madness, however. The feeling is called injustice, and what I aim to show in this account of events, beginning in May of 2020 and ending with Megaplex of 2021, is that this injustice is a cultural issue in furry, produced from west coast to east by figures as disparate as Samuel Conway, the Megaplex convention board, and the British Columbia Anthropomorphic Events Association (BCAEA). I take these as case studies because they involve prolific figures, because they are current, or—with the BCAEA—because they are well-known to me even if they are not well known in general.

I could have chosen other case studies. There’s no scarcity of them—every few months there is a new bad story about a furry-run community group, a fursuit maker, a popular furry personality, or, most recently, a furry convention. This account, in its intention, is both to attempt a brief history of furry spaces since May of 2020 and to explain them as a part of a larger, overarching, and cultural issue. I do this in part because when there is a bad story every few months—one which often involves trauma of some kind—and numerous smaller pains arrive in the weeks in between, it can feel as though you have walked into a numbing fog.

The details become fuzzy and their dates more distant in memory, although they may have only happened months or weeks ago. For others, however, those bad stories aren’t just stories—they are real things that happened to a person and the numbing fog is not always so kind to them. It can feel a kind of madness, and historicizing them, putting them into context and connecting them with other, similar events, is my choice of remedy.

I grew up a nerdy theatre kid who wanted to be a punk. It taught me that I loathe the spotlight (I was compelled by an editor to add this section on myself). I get stage fright, with only the shakiest of legs, and, while I have an excellent memory—as this account may demonstrate—my perpetually flat affect made me unsuitable for serious acting. After that, I turned to writing, first stage plays, then later and with much more enjoyment, fanfiction. Furry as a subculture was a short leap away. While doing what amounts to queer/feminist studies at university, I joined a small poetry community on FurAffinity in 2016, and, unexpectedly, encountered a few poets who were upset whenever my poems mentioned punching Nazis.

My furry experience has continued in that general fashion ever since.

June of 2020 - Furries, Racism, and the Apolitical Myth

In June of 2020, furries as a subculture experienced a political reckoning. They were living in the wake of the #MeToo movement and under the unavoidable spotlight on police brutality against people of color, stemming from the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department—a murder so egregious and so well-documented it provoked feelings of outrage and solidarity among even the most brunch-loving of apathetic white people. Black Lives Matter once again became a household name as communities across the globe organized solidarity rallies, protests, and occasions for grieving and healing, all often while under siege by their local police departments. The rising tide of fascism and the proliferation of nazifurs ensured that this political discourse penetrated many parts of furry Twitter. Those who couldn’t look away from the human rights abuses perpetrated by the state, however, invariably noticed that there were some furries who could look away, and rather easily too. A growing sentiment was emerging.

On June 2nd, Twitter user @DemetriusTrader was ratioed, a social media neologism which indicates a lack of public favor of a tweet through response metrics, for declining to use his platform to speak about police brutality or Black Lives Matter. Or, that is the narrative that Trader proposed.

Those commenting, however, did in fact express their feelings directly, multiple times, and with many repeating the same thesis: that not only was it irresponsible to look away from a human rights crisis—particularly when Trader had gladly thrown his clout behind funding ALS research in honor of Dogbomb—it was worse that Trader, rather than stay silent about the whole matter, had gone out of his way to inform his followers, loudly, that he would not be posting about Black Lives Matter.

Trader was not the only figure to draw ire for their repeated insistence (in many more characters than it took to simply say “Black Lives Matter”) that their furry existence wasn’t meant for political undertakings. More broadly, what had before been recognized as apathy, a normally neutral, boring, and detached feeling, became increasingly recognized for what it had been all along: contempt. To those furries who had once believed in it, the myth of an apolitical existence was dispelled. And with that, the floodgates opened.

On June 4th, a number of things happened. Twitter user @LYDARKAON posted a megathread of furry racists (many tweets link to now-deleted tweets and accounts), compiling a list of prominent racist furries who had said or done racist things, often but not always in response to the ongoing Black Lives Matter movements across the United States. Earlier that same morning, now-deceased user @MiniMikeKD shared an imgur album (preserved via web-archive here) via informant of the Stray Cattu vore/cryptofascist chat, which features a number of racist, transphobic, and antisemitic furries posting a number of racist, transphobic, and antisemitic things too terrible and too numerous to list in this account. Among said furries was vore and macro artist Aerys Bat, who would be entirely unremarkable in the sea of nazifurs if not for a voice that spoke up in Aerys’ defense. This voice would be familiar to anyone who had ever engaged with any advice for furries on how to interact with public media.

Twitter user @RogueMegawolf is the alternate account for Samuel Conway, chair of Anthrocon and known more commonly among furries as Uncle Kage. This is not a well-kept secret. Posts from user @Bengaley demonstrate this, and if you’d rather not take the word of a furry librarian, perhaps you’ll accept the words of Conway himself.

Why Conway chose his alternate account to speak in defense of a racist transphobic anti-Semite is as obvious as why Conway has such an account in the first place. Sockpuppets allow people to contradict themselves online, publicly and unabashedly, with little to no direct consequence to their main persona. While those who knew Conway’s alternate identity would take issue with him supporting a cryptofascist nazifur for several years, many of those same folks had—by nature of being big name furries in a relatively small fandom—a semi-personal relationship with Conway and a need to stay in Anthrocon’s good graces. This was not a bridge, evidently, they felt they could burn. Conversely, the hundreds of other Twitter users who flocked to @RogueMegawolf’s mentions were unlikely to know that they were addressing Conway instead of some random Nazi-sympathizing shmuck.

Conway (to my knowledge) never appeared on @LYDARKAON’s list of racist furries, and that particular matter was dropped after a few days. More things were happening. Police violence was destroying cities, silencing reporters, and robbing people of their eyes. Midwest FurFest released a statement in support of BIPOC communities, followed later by other conventions such as Anthrocon. FurSquared posted about Juneteenth. Con staff queried the masses as to which BIPOC furries they would like to see as guests of honor at their next conventions and what queer and/or BIPOC-oriented charities they would like to see featured. Peacewolf was dragged again for following a 3%er—an anti-government white supremacist militia movement—after said Nazi wished death on a furry of color.

Naturally, more callouts came out, and, like @LYDARKAON’s list, they targeted a certain type of furry: those with structural power. Not in the sense of those who held judgeships or sat on police review boards, no, but in the form of furries who held the power to bring meaningful antiracist change to their communities, whether broad or niche, and had chosen, loudly, to do nothing of the sort. Chat moderators, discord server owners, niche fetishists, artists and fursuiters, and convention leaders (both current and former) were thrust into the limelight. Conventions themselves were put under Nazi-spotting magnifying lenses. Anthro SouthEast removed one of their vice chairs after it came out that they had lied about their PhD in biology to make false claims about COVID and, worse, was discovered to be an apologist for anti-Black police brutality. A furry convention in Kentucky, named The Menagerie, cancelled itself and disbanded after refusing to separate from their nazifur staff.

During—and because of—the wave of reporting on these furries with structural power, on June 14th I posted screenshots of the (then) British Columbia Anthropomorphic Events Association board president, Kyroo, stanning Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson, and being frightened of trans liberation. The BCAEA facilitates two conventions, VancouFur and Vanhoover Pony Expo and, like many other furry convention boards, elects its membership only by its own whims (in accordance with their self-styled bylaws). The following day, Kyroo was no longer listed as a board member.

Before the month ended, four furries, Wolf (@ISANANIKA), Chise (@sailorrooscout), Vatika, and Nasir raised over $9000.00 in four hours for BIPOC charities (The Navajo Nation and The Okra Project), thereby dispelling the myth that furries would not open their wallets for “political” charities that dealt with people instead of “apolitical” charities that dealt with animals. Little more than a day later, Chise announced that plans had begun for Harvest Moon Howl Fest, what would be the first prominent BIPOC-led furry convention.

It was now July of 2020. NONSTOPWORLD was happening in 18 days. Black Lives Matter movements had held strong for a month and would continue to do so for many more thereafter.

July of 2020 - Abuse in the Vancouver Anthropomorphic Community

This part of the account will not cover the wider ongoings of the fandom during July. Not because July wasn’t eventful, but because I was personally involved in a long, drawn-out struggle alongside several other well-intentioned individuals seeking, however unfeasibly, some sort of justice for a person who had been wronged. Sure, I could give you the gist of it: the Fandom Documentary came out and many white tears followed; more callouts happened, this time with longer and much sadder fallout for those caught in the periphery, as well as those with the courage to come forward; but what swallowed much of my time was when, on July 6th, Twitter user @SunsetSilvally, AKA Noctis posted about the abuse they had suffered under then-VancouFur chair Zanwolf, with a number of other folks coming forward with supporting testimony.

The Lower Mainland furry community has a long and sordid and ultimately not-so-complicated history, and although I was a late arrival, hearing everything that had happened—and then living through the things that hadn’t yet occurred—tore a loose thread in my mind which I couldn’t stop unraveling. There were blows and counterblows, fights with losers and winners, but never had I encountered a furry who, in telling me their tale, expressed that they had reached something that, to them, felt like justice. The more I learned, in fact, the more my understanding of what justice could possibly be unraveled. It continues to unravel to this day, and it is the majority reason behind me writing this account.

To understand what happened in July of 2020, we must go back four years further to October of 2016, when, in the aftermath of a sexual assault, Twitter user and former department lead for the VancouFur Art Show @Messy_Muse posted this TwitLonger, describing how the con chair at the time, Trapa Civet, said that banning an accused rapist (one who had admitted guilt, just not before a jury) was “SJW bullshit,” and how the BCAEA refused to review any of the submitted evidence before coming to their decision. Their decision, of course, being a familiar claim: that they would not do anything without a police report (more on that later). I encourage you to read the whole post, long as it is, because it captures not only the history of the time but also the affect: the disappointment, the pain, the optimism, and the resilience.

And, if for whatever terrible reason you doubt that those words were said or that those things happened—as many have to my face—you need look no further than the BCAEA’s own Twitter, which has preserved the text in question.

In the BCAEA’s October 16th statement, they promised to do the following:

  • determine [sexual harassment and assault] policies at other local conventions;
  • ask members of the Furry Convention Leadership Roundtable (FCLR) for advice;
  • determine [sic] outside organizations that support rape victims to determine what their limitations are;
  • determine if there are any specific laws which may come into effect on these matters;
  • get together a working group and an executive / board meeting for a review of suggested policies.

This will sound familiar later.

Four years later on January 15th, 2020, Vanhoover Pony Expo released a statement defending their choice to allow two-time convicted sex offender and statutory rapist Alex McMullen to attend their convention. Convention chair Aphinity also chimed in on his personal account, indicating that they knew ahead of time, that it was a “non-violent” conviction, and that McMullen had a sterling reputation because he had run other brony events before. Three days later, on January 18th, the BCAEA released their own statement, claiming that they had received “new information” and that McMullen was “not welcomed to attend BCAEA events (including VancouFur and Vanhoover Pony Expo) indefinitely.” Six months later in July, Aphinity would claim that “had evidence [regarding McMullen] been presented in a more timely fashion, and not as an attack, [he] would have taken action sooner.”

Which is curious. I think one has to question what qualifies as a “more timely fashion” when Twitter user @NeroSybertyger alerted both VancouFur and Vanhoover Pony Expo (who have the same governing board) to McMullen’s past and attendance in August of 2019, five months prior. Both Vanhoover Pony Expo as well as VancouFur confirmed receipt and that they were investigating the evidence—evidence which included paperwork listing the charges and their dates, and a conviction which Anime News Network was able to authenticate within two weeks of posting.

Unless, of course, they weren’t investigating. Why would they?

The board continues to deny that these events happened and by extension their own culpability, both in informal text (previous) and the email exchanges they ask for. They, like most other furry convention leaders, have a vested interest in doing so. Acknowledging their past—with Trapa calling the banning of a rapist SJW bullshit, with Aphinity and the board defending a convicted sex offender’s attendance—would make every contradiction immediately obvious. If, in October of 2016, the board had their hands tied by the lack of a police report, why was the conviction of McMullen (from 2013) insufficient for any action to be taken until after McMullen had attended the convention? If the BCAEA had met with lawyers to update its harassment and sexual assault policies in 2016, why did they change their policy four years later to remove safeguarding protections for victims reporting harm but add rumor-spreading as a ban-worthy offense tantamount to harassment?

The answer is retaliation. The BCAEA did not take kindly to our tactics for getting their attention. After a week of nonresponse to Noctis’ coming forward about the chair’s abusive history, I waited for dead air (around midnight or thereabouts) and then encouraged folks to raise hell about the Zanwolf allegations and other unreckoned issues in the VancouFur chat, such as a VancouFur admin, who had theretofore occupied a human resources style position, claiming that there was no difference between rape and sex.

And it worked! Or so we thought. At the very least, we got their attention and forced them to publicly acknowledge that they had seen the allegations.

Many moons later, I would discover that according to the BCAEA’s minutes, they submitted their new harassment policy for board review the following day after Noctis made their allegations, and, somewhat conspicuously, held a four hour meeting the night after our hellraising to amend their harassment policy to the safeguard-less, libel-fixated version that persists today. The BCAEA’s long-withheld minutes held other information, too: Ace Coyote, our community representative, supposedly the voice for the community and whose job it was to bring to the board concerns such as abuse allegations against one of their convention chairs, had been absent from 47% of board meetings in 2020. Moreover, it was clear that from the July 9th meeting, the BCAEA had banned people from attending the convention without requiring a police report: they had done so at least once before for a furry banned from VancouFur 2019, whose identity I suspect but cannot prove.

There is no exciting or comforting end to Noctis’s story. On Wednesday, July 22nd, I received an email from the BCAEA in response to their long-form email request, which indicated two things: they did not read my email in its entirety before they started to respond to it, and that they had reviewed all the evidence and were standing by Zanwolf.

This was somewhat undercut when, two days later, the BCAEA confirmed that they had received Zanwolf’s resignation as chair—something Noctis had been requesting the entire time (contrary to what some opponents believed). Zanwolf also released a statement of his own (now locked, but readable via screenshot here), and so did one of his partners, AddyPup / WinterNightDog, which is no longer publicly available. As I recall, they indicated they were washing their hands of the local Vancouver furry scene, both in-person and online.

To my limited knowledge, this remains true.

The Culture of Injustice

The time after Zanwolf’s resignation was a time of relief and inner turmoil. Relief, of course, because he had resigned as chair, and turmoil because I felt a distinct lack of justice. Not that I had any qualms with my methods, nor did I doubt the veracity of Noctis’ claims at any point—but with the BCAEA having remained doggedly loyal to their now-vanished con chair and denying their history, let alone their culpability, it was clear that no one had entirely gotten what they wanted. Zanwolf had resigned, yet the system and furries that supported him, and people like him, were still entrenched in their board positions. The BCAEA had committed social suicide by standing by their chair, and in doing so committed themselves to appearing just as their predecessors. Worst of all, all the hurtful things that Zanwolf had done, whether to Noctis or to the circus of others around him, had still happened. We had won a battle, but there was still no justice to be had.

Over time, I realized that the majority of my anger was sourced from and directed at not the individual sins of a given furry, but at the structure around them that required this same cycle of harms being committed against a person, followed then by punishment which was, on some level, substitute for restitution. You had to put the world on trial to show that your rights had been violated, instead of putting it on trial for not guaranteeing those rights in the first place. Those who are familiar with prison abolition movements will recognize this sentiment. What I found so upsetting, both in hearing stories from 2016 and the after, was that our convention leadership—and community more broadly—was still operating on a logic of crime and punishment instead of literally any other option that didn’t require people to get raped (or almost) before action could possibly be taken. The notion that a convention requires a police report or a court sentencing before they can intervene is absurd on too many levels to count. It is a liberating policy to have, as a convention, because it means that at no point, ever, must a convention do anything.

Think about it. If a harm has not yet been done, they shrug their shoulders and say it’s not their problem. If harm is currently being done, they shrug their shoulders and say you should call the police. And if harm has been done, they shrug their shoulders and say it’s up to the courts to decide. Never minding, of course, that police and courts are rarely kind to survivors of harm.

I stewed in quarantine with my thoughts of justice as time reluctantly crawled forward. NONSTOPWORLD had come and gone. I did not attend, but heard it was wildly successful and an uncredited source of inspiration for many other online convention-style events. Soon came the end of July. Black Lives still Mattered. Racist, teary-eyed furries attempted, on many occasions, to shutter Harvest Moon Howl Fest long before it launched. More detailed documents came out about prominent members of the fandom. Some survived their cancellings. Others attempted to tweet through it. In September, allegations were brought against BlondeFoxy / Lucky Coyote, and furries reckoned with whether trading their immortal soul for the clout of a Don’t Hug Cacti fursuit was a worthwhile trade.

Nearly a year later, in August, Megaplex became the first North American furry convention to happen since March of 2020.

At the time of writing—nearly a month ago now—the situation was still unfolding. When I began this account, Megaplex was still being dragged for posting their statistics instead of addressing the report of an attendee testing positive for COVID, the assault and stalking of an attendee by a sex offender, the con’s previous malicious ignorance toward a staff member sexually assaulting two minors or the fact that Megaplex was warned in advance of 2021’s offender attending but declined to do anything about it.

Since then, Megaplex has posted the following statement, also thoroughly ratioed, and later a second statement apologizing for the first.

Sometimes I wonder where and from whom this idea spawned that a convention could not ban anyone without a criminal conviction and a direct commandment from the Archangel Gabriel. This idea is noxious and noisome and a plague in its own right, having spread as far as the western coast of Canada to the southeastern malarial swamp that is Orlando, Florida. I hesitate to speculate—as I enjoy thorough research and am quick to admit when I do not know anything about a subject—yet, I can’t help but think that, because Anthrocon (which did not ban Growly, and which prominently features Conway), VancouFur, and Megaplex all attend the Furry Convention Leadership Roundtable, and because many other listed conventions not discussed in this account have had issues with their leadership, abuse, and lacking protections, all centered on this idea of legal liability, that perhaps this is not an accident. It feels like an old-guard cover story in a new furry world. A story that buries social liability in a shallow grave next to their own hidden skeletons and the justice promised to the survivors who come forward to protect their communities.

Often, you hear these leadership figures—like Conway himself, in the guise of @RogueMegawolf—admit that they are haunted by their actions from decades past, but are somehow detached from them, a different person, not culpable, yet still paradoxically afraid, I think, that their own misdeeds will one day come to light. As such, they are invested in the subversion of justice. They have no reason to seek it out because justice in their context is rarely something that is done for them and, in their worst nightmares, is something done to them. The rest of us are burned like sacrifices on the pyre to ensure that justice never, ever rears its ugly head while they still hold power.

There is an apocryphal story (that is to say, a story of questionable authenticity) I think of often about the rats of Autun in France. As the story goes, the rats were to be put on trial by the ecclesiastical court for eating and destroying all the province’s barley crops. (Animal trials were, in fact, a thing.) If convicted, the rats would be anathemized and excommunicated—in a word, cursed—and if they did not arrive, they would be tried in absentia.

Of course, no rats arrived for the trial, but before they could be sentenced, the medieval equivalent of the rats’ defense lawyer (stay with me here) argued that it was not just a rat but all the rats who were to be put on trial, so they had to be given proper notice. Notices were posted and the charges announced throughout the province, and the trial held a second time. No rats arrived once more. Their lawyer argued, this time, that the rats, like humans, need not show up for court if it would threaten their lives, and indeed all the cats and dogs would pounce on them if they left their shelters to travel to the courthouse. Moreover, the threat was universal. Wherever they went, the rats would face the same threat, so they could not be tried anywhere. In the version I was told, this resulted in the charges being dropped.

This story is often shared, I think, to show the cleverness of the lawyer, but when I think of it, I mainly think of how stupid a system had to be to allow such a thing to happen. The barley was still gone and would likely be eaten up again the next harvest by the same rats, and yet by all technical accounts, justice had been carried out. Even if the rats had been tried in absentia, however, and subsequently anathemized and excommunicated, it wouldn’t have protected the crop or brought back their barley. The whole thing, either way, was a giant, pointless show that wasted everyone’s time and never bothered the fattened rats.

Often, these days, I feel like we are the people waiting in that courthouse for rats that will never arrive.

Less often, on worse days, I feel we are the barley.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

As one of the people who had to edit this piece, I will denote that I will be not commenting on these for at least a week to give the readers to read it and say their thoughts without my interference.

Your rating: None Average: 3.2 (5 votes)

So are you still thinking about commenting on this, or did you decide it was best to avoid the Amazing Anonymous Poop-Flinging Fest that the comment section quickly became?

I had thoughts on this article, too, but they never quite gelled, I suspect because it's just not super easy for me to figure out what the author was trying to get readers to take away from this. Well: I'll amend that, in that as I started writing this I ended up with a much longer comment than this one, but I think for now I'll condense it down to observing that "here are some incidents two or three furry conventions handled badly, and therefore furry as a community knows nothing about justice" is a hell of a stretch.

— Chipotle

Your rating: None Average: 3 (5 votes)

An interesting if disheartening read.

Your rating: None Average: 2.9 (15 votes)

Would be better than this mess.

Cool reliance on disgraced twitter clout chasers... @LYDARKAON Wolf (@ISANANIKA) and Nasir... One of them being a sex pest who posted victims as "trophies" when they spoke up.

The most ignorant part:

"Sometimes I wonder where and from whom this idea spawned that a convention could not ban anyone without a criminal conviction and a direct commandment from the Archangel Gabriel. This idea is noxious and noisome and a plague in its own right"

Get a tutor to sit down and run through the basics of "legal liability" and get back to us.

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (11 votes)

You really ran in here prepared to dunk than provide actual constructive criticism.

Your rating: None Average: 2.8 (13 votes)

Get a tutor to sit down and run through the basics of "legal liability" and get back to us.

Your rating: None Average: 2.4 (9 votes)

I think you need to explain your point if you're literally going to respout the same argument without explaining anything useful. "Legal liability" is something YOU need to explain than spout off about googling it like a damn child who thinks they're so smart they can argue something without explaining anything. Are you going to resort to ad hominem next? Strawman? Mad because you can't provide anything constructive?

Your rating: None Average: 3.2 (12 votes)

The article is shit by the failure of it's most basic premise, there really isn't anything that can be done to save it.

Never make legal conclusions without the most basic of understanding about legal matters.

Internet 101

Your rating: None Average: 3.2 (10 votes)

LMAO this sentence

"The notion that a convention requires a police report or a court sentencing before they can intervene is absurd on too many levels to count"

Except that's exactly how it works

Trivial offenses that are not crimes can be banned with less liability

As soon as anything approaches allegation of crime they must tell you to go to police

Your rating: None Average: 1 (5 votes)

Lmfao "gibs constructive criticism" after publishing failed basic premise

Go back to the drawing board

Your rating: None Average: 2.9 (10 votes)

Also never source a mess of disgraced twitter clout chasers instead of doing research, use informed sources

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (10 votes)

Ratio'd
Stanning

Look if you're trying to make that big reach and compare fandom teen bickering on twitter (an accurate description of the sourcing) to a real uprising of systemic relevance, use credible language not just relevant to twitter.

If this was 1/10th as aggressively badly written, with a functional premise, it could have made points that don't feature its misperception more than its complaints

Your rating: None Average: 3.2 (10 votes)

The pointlessness of the rat story. Proposing that cons are supposed to deliver justice as a system with their 1 weekend volunteer run leisure events for serious criminal matters, instead of you know, serious professionals with actual power to do that... criticize courts all you want, but first at least gain a basic functional understanding of what constitutes a system

The most aggressively bad part is running with "bickering teen twitter" as manifesto

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (3 votes)

I barely know who trapa is but when mentioning his sjw remark maybe don't forget to mention the corresponding 75th apology by Lydarkaon's 15th disgraced account

Your rating: None Average: 3.4 (11 votes)

Or when garbling the definition of structural power without understanding liability, and conflating calling out racists and actual crime... don't omit offenses of several of the cited twitter clout chasers for a facade of consistency

The constructive criticism is don't ever rely on twitter for context

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (6 votes)

"What does justice mean among furries" is an intriguing title but a proposal to build an underwater bbq might not deliver either

Your rating: None Average: 3.2 (10 votes)

Algorithm driven, mental illness fueled peer abuse is orthogonal to justice even if not equivalent to other evils

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (7 votes)

author here: if you happen to notice any dead links, please feel free to comment, @ me on twitter, etc. i have an archived version of every citation for this piece, and i'll edit them in as necessary!

Your rating: None Average: 4 (9 votes)

What justice, then, do you suggest for his grievous sin of assuming that someone could apologize and be genuinely contrite for something they had said in the past?

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

I have a question about this assertion in your article:

"Moreover, it was clear that from the July 9th meeting, the BCAEA had banned people from attending the convention without requiring a police report: they had done so at least once before for a furry banned from VancouFur 2019, whose identity I suspect but cannot prove."

Reading the meeting minutes pdf that you linked to here, I see nothing suggesting that there was or was not a police report available to the BCAEA leading up to the design y to ban. Your wording suggests a clarity that I'm not seeing here at all. On what are you basing your accusation and on what are ascribing it's clarity?

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

Sorry, I made a couple of typos:

Reading the meeting minutes pdf that you linked to here, I see nothing suggesting that there was or was not a police report available to the BCAEA leading up to the decision ban. Your wording suggests a clarity that I'm not seeing here at all. On what are you basing your accusation and based on what are you ascribing this clarity you mention?

Your rating: None Average: 2.4 (7 votes)

good question! i've chatted with a former security lead for vancoufur and a former executive. each confirmed that, to their best recollection, they had never heard of any police report or court conviction with regard to any attendee or staff member during or prior to their involvement with the convention, whether during or before vancoufur of 2019.

(i also chatted with others in the community, including a former VF staffer of 5 years, although i did not ask said staffer about police reports in particular because it wouldn't have been in their purview.)

that is to say: the documents available online are not my only sources for this story, although they are meant to provide, wherever possible, some evidentiary support for my claims.

hopefully that helps answer your question!

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Thank-you for clarifying.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

How is it that your sources could verify that there were no police reports, but they could not confirm your guess as to the identify of the community member who was banned in this case? Wouldn't someone with reliable access to that kind of document also have access to the identity of anyone they voted to ban?

Your rating: None Average: 2.4 (7 votes)

good questions!

it is far easier to confirm with a source (most of whom are former staff) that they never heard of or encountered any police report or court sentencing (&c. &c.) than for them to confirm the identity of a specific furry mentioned in a specific date's minutes.

as i recall, the BCAEA's minutes (listed only for the dates of 2020/03/06 to 2020/12/17) only became available early this year, and their 2019 minutes are yet unavailable. many of the currently-listed minutes are still hidden behind a staging error that requires some creative problem-solving to bypass.

i guess in a shorter way of saying: even if a source did share their suspicions of the person's identity, i can't accept just testimony as sufficient evidence, and the evidence is usually inaccessible.

so, WRT your questions: because the claims have differing standards of proof; and no, evidently, they did not.

i hope this helps!

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

Were your sources acting or former staff members at the time of the 2019 ban for which you claim to have clear evidence supporting your accusation?

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thanks for the question! i hope you understand that saying e.g. "one source, [department] lead for [year]," effectively strips a person of their anonymity. maybe you'll forgive me for sounding cagey.

my sources include staffers from a wide range of years. some whose answers supporting my claim were acting staff for 2019, yes.

before someone else asks: generally i tried to chat with folks in relevant roles who ought to have knowledge of things like bans and police reports. con ops, security, executives, etc., with the hope of establishing a pattern.

a shorter, direct reply: some were acting staff and some were former for 2019.

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They banned someone just before covid because they were covering their own fuck up. They approved a straight pride panel and almost had security defend it. Then learned the host was going to distribute flyers. He also has a history of playing victim card and know to stalk local events and groups. At some point they figured out the mess way too late, so had to get rid of someone with no legal record.

They go by the name Plasma Gryphon. Most of the info has been scrubbed, but I still have screenshots.

Somehow this area has a bunch of sabertooth cat furries that are anti-lgbt and racists.

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Wow, I always wondered who the person was who downloaded all those photos from Plasma's twitter, photoshopped straight pride flags into the background, made an Instagram pretending to be him, and then submitted a panel under his name to VF, and now I know! It's you! No wonder you have screenshots and apparently know so much about the situation! It's cause for some reason you hate the guy when he has done like, nothing to anybody. Dude barely even goes online, and for some weird reason you seem to have an unwarranted hate boner for him. Maybe you hate him cause he's an adult who has his life together and you can't believe such a person exists while you're stewing online in a fruitless search for meaning, and coming up empty time after time.

I think my favorite part about this is that all the unedited photos still exist on his twitter and online. And yet, here you are, name dropping the guy like you hit the ultimate "gotcha". Sucks when the thing disproving your claims is publically available, doesn't it? You disgust me.

I'd suggest finding a hobby before your obsession lands you in jail. Pathetic.

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I too was inappropriately touched by a staff member of Megaplex. An apology was given to me after word in private about the incident but nothing policy wise was ever done to address it.

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If the author of this story would like to know more, I’d be happy to speak in private with them about my experience and offer context.

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if you're comfortable, i'm reachable via twitter or telegram DMs. (my handle, as per the tweets cited, is @averincm).

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I want to make very clear that what I've personally experienced is not as horrible as surviving a major sexual assault like rape. Having been inappropriately touched without permission at a convention in a public space by a person in a staff position. All I can say is some convention's do have a culture problem with serious accusations related to misconduct, whether it's related to attendee or staff. Better staff training is something I'd like to see in relation to handling these sorts of incident's.

Little incidents need to be just as taken seriously as major one's in one's opinion.

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What happened to me was branded as something that "Wasn't a big deal" but it was to me, and it was still an unwanted assault by it's very definition.

At the con, in a public space at the con. Around others like it was nothing.

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Denial runs rife,
now that the "pandemic" turned the table, y'all wanna complain about Samuel Conway.
Hypocrites, the entire lot of you.
Were the dongs not large enough... No wait I've got it wrong.

There was 2020, ergo, no cons, or more accurately furfag fests to go to due to covid.
So a lot of the fappenings had to happen at home, old skool, like in the 90s over IRC
Lots of socks, lots of cumcrusted spandex and faux fur I bet, but as we all nothing beats a real fuck, so I guess the wokeists took to the keyboard and vented their frustrations like that.

Its funny as heck and sad at the same time.

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To clarify, I'm not talking about unwanted hugging here, I'm talking about gropeing of parts of the body that should not be touched under any public context. Convention wise or walking down the street.

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In regards to that sentence concerning DemetriusTrader: how petty and pathetic do you have to be to be mad over someone who refuses to get into politics?

If people not wanting to go into politics makes you THAT mad, you need to go outside, touch grass, and get some help. Absolutely ridiculous.

We really are becoming mentally unstable more and more everyday, huh?

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The trouble with this "if you're not with us you're against us" (followed of course with "and we're going to attack you for it") sort of aggressive black and white thinking is that it's inherent flaws lead to cognitive distortions and inevitably false assumptions. If a person thinks that way then they're going to see the world through that lense and an article like this is, at least in part, an attempt to get other people to join whatever camp they derive their sense of identity and purpose from. They're always right and whomever they target is obviously wrong because they've targeted them. You're either on our side or you're wrong. You might as well be arguing with a religious nutter.

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Not everything about their lense is bad. Far from it. Racism is bad. Many evils in the world that this author likely stands against are bad. The problem is when something like "if you've chosen no side then you're on the side of our enemy" are questioned, it's such an ingrained part of the accuser's culture that they can't even conceive of applying critical thinking to their logic.

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This article is far too long for what it is. Could listen to Weird Al's "First World Problems" several times while reading it. It fits with an author experienced in theater / drama.

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whole lot of whiny pissbrain fascists shitting up the comments

which is pretty standard for the internet tbh

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their complaints are always transparent. calling people "clout chasers," whining about me writing "stanning" or "ratioed" (but never "theretofore"!), and targeting folks like wolf, who are mentioned briefly in this accounts a part of the history of 2020 but not otherwise a major player in the events listed. what do all of these things have in common, i wonder

fash gonna fash i guess

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Yes of course everyone who accurately points out the failure of your basic premise is a "fascist"

Orrrrrrr perhaps, just perhaps

Your misinforming dogma is fatally deficient of even the most basic understanding of legal liability, and therefore aims squarely and solely at YES, clout-poisoned social media addicts with zero standing in viable offline application of "justice".

Your allergy to accurate criticism and doubling-down is noted and reinforces the point:

Algorithm-driven, mental-illness-fueled peer abuse is orthogonal to justice.

Get a fucking tutor and start using real sourcing. Kisses from a leftist.

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*watches the sweet, cute, naive lil' bunbun ignore the revolving-door rebrandings of repeatedly disgraced "sources"*

*points at the bickering teen twitter clout-chasers whose "justice" we're expected to take seriously*

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The Vancouver area furries have a major issue with turning a blind eye to friends. The management of the local cons are all corrupt. They bend over backwards to help shitty people stay in position of power.

This is where the local con approved a straight pride panel but latter backpedal. They don't cancel it, instead they ask the panel lead can tone down the name. Just paint over it. Security was pulled into defending the panel before realizing it would be a shitstorm. When they finally canceled the panel, they still defended the host and only prevented them from attending at last minute.

I no longer feel safe at local cons knowing what kinds of people they will defend and let in.

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I go to conventions for fun.

I don't care about ANYTHING political at one.

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It’s cool of you to openly admit that you engage in coordinated targeted harassment of people. It’s actually kinda funny how many crimes you admit to in here. But I did get the sense your legal knowledge was lacking. Maybe wasn’t covered in your Gender Studies major?

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You’ve made $72 over two years from furs for your writing. An actual job may be a better usage of time over obsessing over internet furries. What was noticeably absent from your post was a SINGLE mention of anything you’d ever done to help with those topics yourself- just attacking people.

https://ko-fi.com/averincm

Find real employment, please. Why are you even in the fandom if you think everyone is racist/sexually abusing/whatever? Either they’re not, or you like that stuff yourself.

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The reason people are replying without their names is because Charles is well known to stalk and harass people online quite aggressively. He views anyone who doesn’t 100% agree with him as some sort of fascist/Nazi and obsesses over them. Dude needs help honestly.

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Yup, This is 100% the reason why people are being anon in comments. This guy is so obsessed he keeps detailed archives including log files and screenshots. He also uses alt accounts and the accounts of friends to further harass his targets.

My opinion of Flayrah dropped significantly with the realization that this article is nothing more than a rant letter from the a community bully. Flayrah, we expected better from you, we did not expect anything less from Charles.

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While I'm not a fan of callout posts cosplaying as investigative journalism, either, the best responses here were "you relied on bad sources" with little effort to back that up, repeating "you know nothing about legal liability" without actually taking a few sentences to explain legal liability, etc. That rather quickly devolved to "let's misgender you and mock you for unrelated things ranging from your major to how much you made on your Ko-Fi". As the kids say, that's gonna be a yikes from me, dawg.

— Chipotle

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The reason for "bad sources but little effort to back that up" is because the sources are bad.

These are people repeatedly banned from many accounts or who cover their tracks and rebrand ad nauseum.

Unlike Charles, the people familiar with the abuse and deception of these sources do not bother obsessively keeping receipts on this type of abuse in the temporary time it is available. The point of it is to hide and deceive and wear people out doing so.

As they say a lie travels around the world while the truth is getting it's shoes on. Charles' sources rely on this bullshit assymmetry principle. Charles' failure to verify or disclose is his fault. Not that of the people targeted by the abuse. And your conflation of this with *other* criticism or misgendering is a yikes to you, dawg.

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Okay, buddy, they may be bad sources, but right now that's still beating you, because right now you have no sources. All we have is your completely anonymous word that the sources are bad. Maybe a link here?

Furthermore, the fact that you don't realize you yourself are a bad source (yes, you are) kind of tells me your opinions on what does or does not constitute a bad source may be a little iffy.

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This site doesn't have much journalism on it, does it. Let's do your job for you:

All aliases of one "source"
Lydarkaon
Briarpupy
Succupupy
Astyr
Maltdrage
Olliechimerax
Olliezaur
Khymerax
Briarspurn
Manemyra
Teag
Sentari
Nightbloom
Riley Jacobsen

Constant reaching callouts, constant retractions and deletions.
Finally he left with a fake apology and hasn't been seen since.
There's no records of almost all of it because he deleted too many.

https://archive.ph/akzv8
https://archive.md/3eJso
https://archive.ph/c1f4U
https://kiwifarms.net/members/nightbloom.32444/

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Okay, first of all you, realize you're being staggeringly hypocritical here.

Yup, This is 100% the reason why people are being anon in comments. This guy is so obsessed he keeps detailed archives including log files and screenshots. He also uses alt accounts and the accounts of friends to further harass his targets.

I think there's at least two of you anons, here, but you realize that complaining someone keeps tabs on his enemies while you keep tabs on yours is what you're doing. You also have been harassing him pretty steadily, so ... if he's a bad guy, what does that make you?

And, for the record, your links are ... not much better than Charles'. I don't know how you think they prove your assertion that Lydarkaon has multiple aliases, because they don't.

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Actually, I'm just going to ignore you right now and just get into the whole "sourcing" thing, because I do notice one of your links (which actually features two of the listed alt "aliases" of Lydarkaon apparently arguing with each other? Does he do that, like to keep up pretenses, or was that just a really bad choice?) even features one party accusing another of using bad sources. Honestly, this whole "sourcing" thing seems less like a real hunt for answers than, I don't know, they heard the phrases "check your sources" and "I have my sources" and other such stuff in some sort of crime/spy/political thriller movie and it people figured it was important, they guess.

Sourcing is important, but not like this. I mean, first of all, it's kind of beside the point oftentimes on a furry site like this. The primary source is often the contributor, kind of like in this piece. It's an opinion piece; if the author doesn't know what his opinion is, and has to find a source to tell him what that is, it's not a very good opinion piece. Furthermore, it's often written as a narrative, with the author recounting events they took part in. Now, we can argue if this is "any fucking good" as an article, but sourcing is not really a big deal here.

Furthermore, Lydarkaon isn't actually a source; he's part of the story. The fact being reported is that Lydarkaon compiled a list, and that this inspired further lists, and that someone on one of those lists (not even Lydarkaon's list!) was defended by Kage ... kinda. My feelings are kind of who really cares. But anyway, whether or not Lydarkaon's list is worth shit at identifying bad guys is beside the point; all Charles has to prove is that the list exists, and nobody's denying this.

Now, the thing is, yes, Lydarkaon's list would be a bad source, journalistically, but not just because Lydarkaon may be some kind of bad person himself. First of all, it uses, as it's primary source, basically private conversations. Accuracy is almost beside the point, because, as far as journalistic ethics go, this shit is toxic. It may be inaccurate; but it's also unusable because it's information was not obtained legitimately.

Now, okay, when it comes to "social media" such as Twitter and Facebook and even probably public forums (or even, say, Flayrah's comment section), you're probably actually okay (though if everyone's at least pseudonymous and possibly anonymous, it still makes it "problematic" to source), and even then it is still probably a good idea to ask permission ("Hey, I liked your post, can I quote it in an article?"). However, DMs, private messages of any types, private forums, Discord channels, whatever ... using those is basically an invasion of privacy. I've never really said it out loud before, but this is why those activists who go into Furry Nazi discords and then screenshot the people who say "I'm a Nazi." and then dump then on Twitter or wherever are actually not helping. That's an invasion of privacy, and while "undercover journalism" is a thing, it's a bit more complicated than just "going undercover", and there's usually something very big and important that can only be revealed that way, unlike the Nazi discord dumps which usually prove "that guy everyone already new was a piece of shit" was actually "a piece of shit" all along!

Note: You can use quotes DMs or private Discords or whatever if you clearly identify yourself as a journalist and ask permission, but that's not what's happening a lot of times.

Now, there's also the problem of anonymous sources (looking at you, anons); you should be able to attach a name to a source. Now, in "mainstream" media, that should almost always be an actual name, but since we're furries and this is the Internet, pseudonyms are usually okay for Flayrah (and might be better; nobody knows who the fuck Joe Bob Smith is, but everyone knows Happy Fox) (yeah, two parenthetical phrases in a row, but even in mainstream reporting, sometimes pseudonyms are allowed, especially with entertainers; say, Awkwafina or Lady Gaga or whoever). Anonymous sources can be used, but like the undercover journalism thing, it had better be important (and usually the editor and publisher are made aware of who the source is); journalists have done jail time rather than reveal anonymous sources, so when I say, it had better be important, it had better be important.

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someone on one of those lists (not even Lydarkaon’s list!) was defended by Kage … kinda.

Yeah, that was actually one of the things that set off my skepticism about Charles' article. The tweet linked that screenshots Rogue Megawolf’s twitter thread has Rogue saying,

[Aerys] is getting thrashed, and deservedly so. I want to see him take his licks, and let his bruises and scars be a constant reminder of what we as a society will not tolerate. I want him to grow, and I want him to learn. I am not for one second defending racism or hate or intolerance. I am defending human imperfection and the ability of someone who has a poisoned mind to heal.

That might be a naïve take, and it arguably turned out to be a misinformed take, but it’s a stretch to insist it’s an insidious take. Charles clearly reads nefarious intent in Kage using an “alt” rather than his main account, but there’s a much less conspiratorial explanation that’s possible: Aerys was a macrophile, and Rogue is (ahem) a big name within that group.

But:

I’ve never really said it out loud before, but this is why those activists who go into Furry Nazi discords and then screenshot the people who say “I’m a Nazi” and then dump then on Twitter or wherever are actually not helping. That’s an invasion of privacy, and while “undercover journalism” is a thing, it’s a bit more complicated than just “going undercover”, and there’s usually something very big and important that can only be revealed that way, unlike the Nazi discord dumps which usually prove “that guy everyone already knew was a piece of shit” was actually “a piece of shit” all along!

Thank you. You’ve encapsulated what I sardonically referred to as “callout posts cosplaying as investigative journalism” earlier in a much better – dare I say journalistic – way.

— Chipotle

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which actually features two of the listed alt "aliases" of Lydarkaon apparently arguing with each other?

The "journalist" can't even read well... everyone else can stop bothering with his hot air right there :)

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Given that Kiwifarms literally exists to facilitate doxxing and online harassment, I am always extremely wary when a link from them comes up as "proof" of anything. It's not that I assume the information published there is automatically false, it's that it's a forum populated by fucking horrible people.

You realize that complaining someone keeps tabs on [their] enemies while you keep tabs on yours is what you're doing.

Ah, but they're the brave ones standing up against the bully, so when they do it, it's not harassment. That's surely the way it works, right?

Weeks ago, I was planning to write a fairly long comment in response to this article because I think it has a fair amount of problems, laboring to turn individual problems with convention staff into a sweeping, almost conspiratorial indictment of perceived power structures within furry fandom. I was put off by the absolute storm of personal attacks on Charles in the comments, which is having a somewhat opposite effect from what's surely intended -- while that wouldn't change my criticisms of the original article, it makes me somewhat more understanding of any feeling of persecution on Charles' part.

(And I'm going to again, but perhaps more directly than I have before, point out that Charles uses they/them pronouns. It's in their Twitter bio, although it's arguably literally in the name they're writing under here!)

— Chipotle

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I did unfortunately use "him/his" multiple times, and that's double unfortunate, as all I can do is apologize here, because an unfortunate quirk of the comments on Flayrah is that you can't edit a comment after it's been replied to (and I, of course, replied to myself like an asshole).

Genuinely sorry about that one.

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Given that Kiwifarms literally exists to facilitate doxxing and online harassment, I am always extremely wary when a link from them comes up as "proof" of anything. It's not that I assume the information published there is automatically false, it's that it's a forum populated by fucking horrible people.

The link is here.. because the article source... is a Kiwifarms user LMAO

So, thanks for proving EXACTLY THE POINT

But apparently failing to connect the dots on what the source is and does.

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Here's the thing; Lydarkaon is not a source in the article.

Yes, there is a link to a list created by Lydarkaon, but this is only a link for context. That's not the same thing as being a source. It's the same thing as if I link to an IMDB page for a movie I'm reviewing. It's a tool I use to give the reader context, but it's not a source.

This is actually kind of a dumb point to have to argue, but annoying anons who think writing something in the name field is a sick burn (I have literally been here a decade and have yet to see one clever use of that trick) while talking out their ass about journalism they obviously don't begin to understand (you're literally mistaking a link for a source, my dude) is kinda a pet peeve of mine, so I'm easy to string along right now.

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It’s not that they ‘keep tabs’ it’s that they aggressively stalk people and try to make problems in their fandom or even personal/professional life over people voicing disagreement with them. They’re a psychopath.

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Your conflation of this with other criticism or misgendering is a yikes to you, dawg.

Well, I suppose I can't be sure the people making fair criticisms of Charles are the same people misgendering them. I mean, when I look at this quote,

Charles' failure to verify or disclose is his fault.

I guess I shouldn't assume that's from someone who has any interest in making fair criticisms. Good point!

— Chipotle

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Of course, neither do you, given that you're arguing grammar technicality on people you disagree with, while your "journalist" pal made the exact same ordinary assumption but you've only decided to characterize one as malicious. Hypocrite much?

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First of all, it is way more than a "grammar technicality" and I am genuinely chagrined that I did it.

Second of all, "pals" is ... not the most accurate description of our relationship.

Look, the real deal here is that Chipotle and myself actually mostly agree with the assertion that this article is not a great example of journalism, but that there are much better ways to express our disappointment than how you have. Jesus Christ, I of all people should really not be the one to say this, but what we're really objecting to is your tone, guy.

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If your first reply to me had been "hey, that was another anon misgendering Charles, don't lump us together," I would have taken you at your word. It wasn't. Instead, you misgendered them again. When I pointed that out (in a snarky way, to be sure), your response -- the one that I'm replying to now -- dismissed that as a "grammar technicality." Crossaffliction's mistake was a genuine mistake, whereas you've had multiple opportunities to say "yeah, that was a mistake on my part" and haven't.

At any rate, there's a limit to how much good faith I'm willing to extend anyone in this sort of "conversation," and I think we're past that point.

— Chipotle

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Charles legitimately stalks and harasses people. It goes way way past what’s okay with people disagreeing with you online.

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yeah I gotta say, charles has a reputation for being the pot that calls the kettle black. they have a lot of well known accusations made against them in vancouver, everything from the well known stalking and harassment to...similar unsavory incidents to the ones that they get really upset about when they're brought up to cons and not dealt with in a way they like. charles is a toxic individual and the fandom would be a better place without them.

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So I guess it has been a few weeks so I guess I'll open up a bit on my thoughts on the matter.

Unlike the prior article that I had embargoed myself, there wasn't really any comment here covered the items that I thought about with this article.

One thing about the article was that I did mention during editing, is that it talks about two separate aspects of justice in the same article. The Black Live Matters movement and the Me Too movement. I had put in an inquiry if the author had wanted to separate out the two parts into separate articles.

1) An article about furry leadership's lackluster responses during the height of the George Floyd protests.
2) An article dealing with the MeToo situations in the fandom and blasé responses by conventions, focusing on their Vancouver activism.

However, they indicated they would rather it be all one article, and honestly it is less work for me to keep it on one article than to separate it into two, so I let that stand.

So, why do I see these two separate movements as separate while most with liberal tendencies tend to see them as one and the same (other than creating un-natural divides making it easier to force citizens into voting blocks, nerd)? Basically it comes down to how these two movements wish to modify the justice system.

In order to understand this, and why it's important to view the objectives of those of good motives within these movements as separate actions, we put the concept of justice upon a scale. Which is fitting, of course, a scale is often used as a symbol of justice, typically held by someone blindfolded. However, most adults know that justice isn't blind, as stated in the movie "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?": The Law is a Human institution. So let's take a closer look at how the scale is actually balanced using a picture:

https://www.flayrah.com/sites/default/files/u/Sonious/Justice1.jpg

As you can see, the balance of Justice is harsher on those with less social/Eeconomic status then on those with higher social/economic status. This is obvious to anyone with eyes and I think even the apologetic pro-law enforcement person knows this to be true.

So why is this important? Or more importantly, how does this show the difference in these movements?

With a quick modification to this same picture we can see why the MeToo and BLM objectives with the justice system are not equivalent:

https://www.flayrah.com/sites/default/files/u/Sonious/Justice2.jpg

From here we can see that the Black Lives Matter movement indicates that changes need to be made to the justice system so that those who are marginalized either socially or economically deserve to have a justice system that treats them with more respect and far less harshly. Some would go so far as to indicate that Law Enforcement as it is know should be abolished, but weather they are Abolitionist or not, the end goal is for the before stated lightening of the justice load upon the downtrodden.

On the other side of the scale, the Me Too movement demands that those who are of higher social and economic status feel too comfortable in the system as it is. Thus, they are more likely to try and commit heinous acts without consequence. And as a consequence of this, women tend to be mistreated by those with that kind of status: from Bill Clinton, to Bill Cosby, to Matt Lauer, to Donald Trump.

So they want the scales of justice to be harder on those up top.

In essence, they are both right, and if they push for their respective changes to rebalance the scales then the feelings of a 'lack of justice' will ebb. For interestingly enough, while the BLM movement was marching for unjustified killing of George Floyd, they were were also provoked by a President who made a statement that indicated the government would start shooting citizens [Looting starts, shootings start]. If any of us non-politician types made a tweet like that at the time it was made, we would have been kicked from the platform. No if, ands or buts. It was not until January 6th, after Trump ultimately proved to the whole world by his own actions what his intent to use the internet was actually for, that he was treated as the rest of us mere mortals.

So let's go back to the article at hand:

There isn't much discussion here about the systems of justice, how they was developed, and the iteration of these systems. No mention of the Code of Hammurabi, the Magna Carta, the Constitution, and other said examples. To know where we are going, it's important to know where we have been.

All of these systems have flaws, and all of these systems have been iterated for many millennia. This is why most modern governmental systems have these things called "amendments".

As an example, one of the latest major iterations of changes to the United States justice system came from the late 1960s when Miranda Rights were implemented. It's a change we take for granted and ironically most people think they were always a thing these days (just as we tend to take for granted all the prior major iterations to the system). One furry example of an adult thinking Miranda Rights were always a thing is the furry adventure game BlackSad: Under the Skin, which ended with the criminal being read them. Blacksad takes place during the 50s which can be discerned by character dialog. I wonder if the comics make the same mistake the game made.

Getting back to the article (again):

We must look at the penultimate desire by the author here. To dispose of this system of 'theatrics'.

First off, I must note, that for the people involved in trials, both victims and the prosecuted, this isn't a stage people want to be on. To them it isn't some anecdotal story about rats and barley. But let me bite.

I'll be the defense lawyer for these rats for a moment and pretend they made their court date. Why should an entire species of animals be condemned to genocide merely because the farmers who are responsible for their crops refuse to take proper precautions to keep the animals who commit the trespass directly off of their property? Why should those of that species that keep to the woods and keep to themselves suffer because another group of their species were pillaging the human food? Are we saying that human survival is tantamount to all else and that it is more important than the lives of the other animals we share this planet with?

Let's transition for a moment.

If the continuation of the human species should be held tantamount without trial for the rats, then why not the humans be held to that standard without trial? After all, some governments agree with that assessment. Russia recently stated that furries, LGBT, and 'the childless movement' are a threat to our species and thus their government. After all, those people are eating barley and don't plan on continuing the human species through procreation. Aren't they 'wasting resources' that those farmers are making that could be going toward families that are procreating?

That's the biggest item of this article that I had an issue with. The last thing that anyone who is trans* should be calling for is the abolishment of our system of justice that is based on the rule of law and not the feelings of impassioned individuals toward some eugenic objective. Because if you think it's bad being the barley, wait until you're the rat being killed to protect the barley, even if you never took a nibble.

Because we have history on how well that goes in America: it's named Salem. As a person who studied theater I believe the author of this piece knows what "The Crucible" is. I mean— it was about Salem literally, but really was a metaphor for the Red Scare where you had Senators literally playing judge, jury, and executioner trying to circumvent the Judicial Branch to change the country's demographics to be more loyal toward their causes (political eugenics as it were). No worries, we iterated the system so that now congress has to request contempt charges be levied through the Judicial Branch now for better or for worse (it's why the whole Steve Bannon contempt thing is taking 'forever').

In conclusion, if the author's goal is to get rid of the judicial process and branch and just leave policing to the most impassioned of citizens, then I leave you with this question: What do you think those that stormed the Capitol Building on January 6th were trying to accomplish?

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comparing my desire for prison abolition and a place where "justice" means something other than "punishment" to an attempted insurrection against the U.S. govt is what i believe the kids would call a "hot take"

anyway, ignoring the metaphor mixing:

- i did not do a summary of the entire history of legal systems because that would be absurd

- "anathemized" does not mean "genocide," it is a stronger form of excommunication, a religious process which rats do not care about, because they are rats

- the witch hunt metaphor is tired and played out, particularly because no one is hunting witches. as another commenter noted, this article is in large part a history. i am pointing to things that happened, or were happening at the time of writing, and have explicitly marked anything contestable as speculation on my part.

the author's goal (as stated in the text, but i'll rephrase it here) is to say, "i don't think these are a bunch of isolated, unrelated incidents. when you line them all up together, they start to look like a (nonexclusive) cultural issue we furries have, and i am putting forward that there is a root cause, namely the way our community leaders (and the rest of us by extension) deal with injustice."

feel free to read into that what you will.

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First of all, I owe you an apology, and fully accept the fact that it would be totally fair if you decided I'm not worth paying attention too.

But, as a criticism, well, I don't think the rat story was a good idea. The article as is is, well, a bit rambling and unstructured to begin with, so I think instead of just clearly re-stating your thesis, ending on an odd metaphor wasn't the best idea. Also, and this may sound silly, but choosing a story where the animals are the bad guys on a furry site was actively confusing. I mean, know your audience; I was actively rooting for those rats to eat that barley myself. The good guys won, as far as I could tell, until the last two paragraphs came in like a twist ending.

My reaction to the article was basically "well, his heart's in the right place, but I don't think this is going to change many minds."

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What I'm noting here is that the Red Scare was an attempt by the Legislative Branch to take over the role of the Judicial Branch, and January 6th was an attempt by the Executive Branch to take over the role of the Judicial Branch.

Both were movements to create a Justice System that was envisioned by a 'dear leader' (McCarthy and Trump respectively). Anyone who puts forth a system that doesn't utilize stringent checks and balances and enforcement of those checks and balances is going to find a government by persona where the feelings of that leader dictate what justice is and who it is enacted on.

And like it or not, justice usually means that someone is punished for a transgression.

To show how incapable it is to separate out punishment from justice, let's go over some furry examples on what 'justice without punishment' means:

1) Wasn't your reaction to what the person on the Vancouver convention board is that they should resign from their position? Is a resignation not a "punishment"?

2) Should Levi "SnakeThing" Simmons not be in prison? Is what happened in the Kero the Wolf situation preferable where there were no charges that could be levied due to statue of limitation for putting forth judicial punishment? If you're looking for a lack of systemic punishment, then that would lean more toward the Kero outcome than the SnakeThing one, correct?

3) If it should not be about punishment, then are you against conventions banning those who are on the sexual predator registry? If you are for this then how is that not defined as a punishment?

The reason why it's important to talk about the underlying systems is that if you don't read about the monster you wish to slay or tame, it will consume you. I mean, how can furries discuss what justice means to them if they don't know what justice systems are or what their purpose is?

When you ask "what does justice mean to furries" and you don't zoom out to the systems, then the systems will remain the same or decay and get worse. Only but understanding why things iterate the way they do can you see the gaps and worked to make things better.

Some examples being:

A) I will note is that many in furry leadership for conventions is that tend to be a bit power shy for the most part, for better or worse. Most therefore when someone comes up to them with a major issue of criminality against another attendee, their first response can be is "well talk to the police" (aka: they feel they do not have the authority to get involved directly). This in turn feels dismissive and that the staff is uncaring. So what if instead they have a group of volunteers on staff that can help their guest transition and make the statements to authorities?

A lot of furries may be gun shy about authorities, or may get overwhelmed on what to do. I think those who take leadership positions forget that many furries are younger and may not have had to experience such communications. Assistance and taking the time to help be the bridge to someone with the authority to help more will prevent anger toward the convention for being dismissive overall.

B) Making a police standard where if an officer takes a life on the scene, they are detained and leave in the back of the car. They then go through the process as a normal detainee would go through. If you want to be on the nose you can call it a code 1312. This does two things: 1) It embarrasses the officer involved, so it deters the killing of citizens as a first course of action. 1b) This may give the officer some perspective on what it is like to be on the other side of the cuffs, and may help them reassess their behaviors in the future, both as an officer and a citizen. 2) It shows the denizens that officers are held to the same standards they would be if they were found to have murdered someone at the scene, as in they leave in the back of the wagon.

----

The problem with trying to remove 'punishment' from justice is that it leads to people taking punishment into their own hands. If the article proves anything, it is that. So you have to have a system that curtails our base instincts for punishment and at least gives an opportunity for everyone to defend themselves before punishment is given. Instead of being killed before the process has a chance to do anything, in the case of Mr. Floyd.

It's trying to hit the Goldilocks Zone of justice. It needs to be fair to the accused, and fair to the victims. Even if the outcome of all trials will be weighted toward one way or the other, the process should not be.

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in my efforts to avoid accusations that i was proposing a new world order (as some comments here may suggest), i opted not to put forward a new legal system for canada and the united states. i think that might've been beyond the scope of this article.

addressing your points, as requested:

1) as i wrote in the article, while there was punishment in zanwolf's resignation, there was "still no justice to be had."

2) i'm woefully unfamiliar with snakething, barely familiar with kero, and so i will point to this recent meta-analysis of 116 other studies demonstrating that incarceration is at best neutral on recidivism and at worst increases it. otherwise, i think point 1 addresses the rest of this.

3) in the article, i pointed out the contradictory positions of the mcmullen case re: VPE and the BCAEA to show that their system of becks and chalances did not, in fact, exist. the BCAEA alleged the narrative that, before VPE, requests to ban mcmullen were based on "rumor and peer pressure" rather than any "information available to [them]," and that new information only came to light after VPE, which i believe i demonstrated was not true. the rest i believe is addressed by point 1.

a) is addressed in the article. the BCAEA's initial policy in 2016 is "a group of volunteers on staff that can help their guest transition and make the statements to authorities" (which did not happen in practice) and in 2020 removed the safe harbor clause.

b) is addressed in the article, in the bit where cops and the state responded to calls for accountability for police (and for cops to stop murdering people) by sieging POC and shooting people in the eye.

all these together should help explain why i wrote an essay and not a legal review or reform manifesto. in this essay, i'm not asking what a legal system is, or where they came from. i'm asking what justice means (culturally, experientially) among furries.

i'm happy to answer any further questions so long as they aren't answerable by reading the article.

p.s. i can't believe i'm still talking about the church (because the whole thing was a metaphor about the frivolities of the legal system being disconnected from justice) but yes, in a religious context, anathematizing something (or someone) was not a precursor to genocide. usually it happened to individuals (animal or human), pairs, objects, or swarms of insects and/or rats.

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Theater guy who writes masturbatory foucault homages and doesn't understand the basics of legal liability is pontificating about the legal system again, and still making huge reaches from leisure fun time weekends to "things that have power to do the legal system's job"

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I will also ask a question about the whole anesthetized isn't genocide thing.

Is there any historical situations where an anesthetization didn't inevitably lead to a genocide? I can't think of any off the top of my head.

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"Anathematizing," not "anesthetizing." :)

Given that the example at the end of the article was an allegory, though, I'm not sure it's super relevant what the church was supposedly trying to punish the rats with. The allegory's point is about the ineffectual church justice system failing to protect the village from the rats. Of course, Crossaffliction's basic criticism of "is making the animals evil the best way to reach a furry audience" remains reasonable, as would be questions about whether "here are examples where amateur volunteers running furry conventions appear to have fucked up in handling harassment complaints" can be reasonably abstracted to furry as a whole.

And, that would really be my criticism of the whole shebang, I think. Despite framing it as a question in both the article title and in the comment above, Charles does not actually seem to be "asking what justice means to furries." They don't even seem to be asking whether or not furry conventions have a problem dealing with harassment claims and accusations against staff members -- something that probably is true, although there's little evidence to suggest that it's something intrinsic to furry. (The same can, and has, been said of many other fannish conventions, of tech conferences, of music festivals, of trade shows, on and on and on.) They seem to be making a pointed claim about furry as an entire subculture failing to have a sense of justice, which is much bigger, more inflammatory, and much harder to support.

The article skirts dismayingly close to presenting the Furry Convention Leadership Roundtable as a secret society that meets to strategize on ways for cons to escape responsibility, with their publicly-documented panels like (checks notes) "You are Not Welcome Here: Problematic People and Groups", "The Transforming Landscape of the Fandom", "Creating a Greener Convention", "Ethical Dilemmas and Conflicts of Interest", "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: How It Relates to Convention Staff", and "Going Past ADA: How to Better Serve Our Disabled Community". At least as dismayingly, it starts with -- as I mentioned in another comment -- an attempt to paint Uncle Kage as, if not an outright Nazi himself, a Nazi sympathizer because he used a moderately well-known alt character to express hope that a fur who'd been outed as alt-right might one day be redeemed while very explicitly condemning their alt-right leanings. Bluntly, this all comes across as conspiratorial thinking.

— Chipotle

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I think most people who are young end up running into this "rebel against the leadership" phase. And it's an important phase to have because it pushes the younger to try and make their way into being an active member of the community with the belief that they can change everything for the better.

However, as they go through thing and get older, they start to realize the limitations they have, and thus the same limitations that the leaders before them had.

Life is a recursive definition. Phil Collins, and Alien Ant Farm in turn, when speaking of the land of confusion were both making promises to they could not keep. No generation will ever 'put it right'. They can only iterate progress, and eventually a new blind spot will come forth that will be the job of the generation after.

It is important to be the change you wish to see in the world, but big things are changed by a multitude of smaller actions. And certainly isn't going to be done on the internet with a simple words no matter how long an article is.

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The problematic people and groups thing sounds great until you end up as one of the people, or part of one of the groups. Sometimes, they're really out to get you!

As for the rats, I've always found it's best to be the giant rat who makes all of the rules.

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Vermintide

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What a joke of an article and comments from the usual failures.

Comment: Charles failed the basic internet rule of don't make legal statements while lacking basic legal knowledge.
Flayrah: Oh yeah, well you didn't do Charles' work and tutor them on the law, so there!

Comment: Charles relies on a disgraced Kiwifarms troll who called everyone nazis, and repeatedly had to retract and deleted and got banned, but Charles failed to disclose this.
Flayrah: Well you didn't disprove it by linking the banned accounts! Also it looks like the troll argued with himself so I don't believe you! *fails to read link correctly*

Comment: Here is the Kiwifarms account of the troll Charles used.
Flayrah: Kiwifarms is a bad place so I don't believe you! *fails to read link at all*

Comment: Charles is calling people nazis for pointing out his basic failures.
Flayrah: Some people kept thinking someone named Charles is a "he" so they probably are nazis!

*Fondly remembering how Greenreaper spent days of arguing how Wikifur policy should require misgendering trans people because "accuracy"*

Your rating: None Average: 3 (4 votes)

Okay, first point, you know what, I'm sure Charles basic legal knowledge is lacking. But the thing is, as they have pointed out, this isn't an article about law. So, who fucking cares?

Second point, there is one link to the guy in the article. The article does not rely on this person. Once again, who fucking cares? Furthermore, your inability to understand that the difference between a link for clarity and a primary source tells me that you complaining about "legal liability" is probably based on a less than complete understanding of the concepts yourself, because you sure as fuck don't understand journalism, but are comfortable confidently mouthing off about it.

You don't seem to understand these are not valid areas of critique of this article. And the thing of it is, holy shit, you managed to find, not one, but two areas of attack that don't matter in an article that is riddled with major problems! Holy crap, the article is rated 2.1 out of 29 ratings. That's not good! I'm sure a lot of those ratings are you and your anonymous crowd, but this is not an article that went over well! Trying not to put words in anyone's mouth, but my take on the general consensus from the "usual failures" is a mixture of "Let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater." and "The ends do not justify the means in this case."

And, personally, I didn't even make it that far! It's just not a very well written piece! Basically, I didn't really even get the point until I started gleaning it secondhand from Chipotle's and Sonious's comments. (Which, by the way, may not help defend myself from earlier attacks on my reading comprehension, or lack thereof, but whatever.) I mean, the headline is a question, and I don't feel that question is ever adequately answered by the piece. And I've already talked about the stupid rat story; oh my god, that was a poor decision. I mean, none of the regular contributors really, myself included, have any right to complain about a piece being an unstructured, rambling, vague personal essay, but on the other hand, well, we know of what we speak!

And nobody here's called you a Nazi, dude! Now, it's quite possible you are some kind of right winger, and that's what's got you upset. Charles is obviously left wing (even I got that), so it does make a certain amount of sense this article would rub someone of that political spectrum the wrong way. But I just don't think that's what's going on. This just feels like an Internet slapfight, really. And, I mean, if there's one thing I know, it's fucking Internet slapfights. I don't know who started it, don't really care. But this article is about to celebrate it's one month anniversary, and you really are starting to sound like a broken record. Especially seeing as how Charles has pretty much not responded to you at all, I mean, aren't you getting a little bored at this point?

What we have accused you of, if not being a Nazi, is being a giant fucking asshole. (Also, stupid.) Admittedly, "being a Nazi" is a subset of "being a giant fucking asshole" (also, "stupid"), sure, but they aren't completely synonymous.

Now, that kind of brings up the real question, which is, what's the endgame here? Do you have a goal? Are you trying to get the article removed? Like, that would really hurt Charles' feelings, so that's the plan? Well, sorry, you should probably move on with your life, there. That's just not how Flayrah rolls. Bad articles are just as permanent as the good ones. You wasted a month of your life; it sucks, but let's not do the "sunk cost fallacy" thing and keep trying. Please. For the love of God. I'm begging you. (Also, uh, randomly attacking the one guy who has the ability to actually do what you want, when he wasn't part of the fight, uh, not good strategy.)

However, if you're slapfighting for the sake of slapfighting, well, I can't really say much, there. God go with you, I suppose. And, good news, we probably won't stop you, no matter how big of an asshole you guys get to be, either collectively or if it's just you, the one anon, now. That's also just not how Flayrah rolls. But, unsolicited advice from someone you probably don't like right now (who doesn't love unsolicited advice from someone you probably don't like right now?), maybe use this time to work on your material a bit. Because it's a little stale.

Okay, love and kisses! Bye!

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Forget it, Jake. It's Trolltown.

— Chipotle

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Who runs Trolltown?

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That'd be Mayor Trolliver J. Lumpkin, with 'assistance' from Sheriff Pudge Trollsom and his deputrolls.

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Well done... making the whiny privileged white boy type paragraphs and paragraphs to defend the kiwifarms troll source of the genderfluid lesbian tapdancing major who doesn't understand the justice system and calls everyone nazis :)

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About the author

charles theyread storiescontact (login required)

an author and hare from greater vancouver, interested in writing, academia, complaining about academia, sex and queer shit

a bratty hare writer-poet