Bernadette told me that she had received a message from a moderator saying “It has come to our attention that you have been taking screenshots of the thread about Kira and sending them to her. What do you have to say about that?”

She had been sending me information about that thread but not in the form of screenshots so she replied “I have not taken a single screenshot of that thread (or any other thread as far as I can remember). Whoever told you that is lying.”

The moderator then replied with:

“Are you sure? I have a screenshot that says otherwise. It would be wise to come clean at this juncture.”

To which Bernadette reiterated: “I have not taken any screenshots. If you’ve seen a screenshot, it was not taken by me.”

Of course all of this only added to the fear and anxiety I was already feeling. Additionally I felt guilty for getting Bernadette in trouble but she assured me it wasn’t my fault and she bore no grudge against me.

Both of us were baffled by what the moderators had said because even if she had been sending me screenshots, short of somehow hacking in to our e-mails how on earth would they have been able to prove that?  What were they claiming to have a screenshot of? A screenshot of Bernadette sending me a screenshot? How would that work?

“The more I think about it, the more I think the moderator is lying” Bernadette said.

She decided to send an e-mail to the forum administrator, Lorna about the matter.

After explaining the situation Bernadette wrote in her e-mail:

“Okay, so something strange is going on right now, because like I said, I have never sent Kira any screenshots.  Please bear with me while I run through the few possibilities I can think of:
1.  Some liar took a screenshot of the thread about Kira and sent it to the mods, claiming that I took it.  Maybe the liar even Photoshopped the screenshot somehow to make it look as if I sent it to Kira.  The liar might have claimed that I sent the screenshot to Kira, who then sent it to the liar for some reason, not knowing that the liar would show it to the mods.  This scenario seems pretty unlikely to me, but I guess it’s possible.  In fact, I want to believe it’s true, because the other scenario I can think of is more upsetting to me:
2.  No one sent the mods any screenshots.  Knowing that I am friendly with Kira, ninjamod6 suspected that I might be sending her screenshots and decided to see if she could get a confession out of me.  In doing so, she lied to and manipulated me, abusing her power as a moderator.
I really don’t want to believe that one or more mods is essentially out to get me and/or Kira, but the first scenario just seems pretty unlikely to me.  I also have to ask, is sending screenshots actually against any board rules?  Again, I never sent Kira any screenshots anyway, but is ninjamod6 even justified in questioning me about sending screenshots?  I am just kind of baffled by this whole event.”
Lorna replied:
“If  the mods had it out for Kira she would have been banned ages ago. It would have saved them hours and hours of grief, would have made their lives easier, would have made their Thanksgiving nice and quiet . That we just gave Kira a two-week break rather than banning her has not been a popular decision but it’s fair
As for the screenshots, I’ve seen Ninjamod6’s evidence. It’s not a smoking gun and a dead body but it’s not nothing. If it was a conspiracy to frame you a lot of people put a lot of time and effort in to it.
I understand that Kira is asking you what people are saying about her. Nobody likes being talked about but sending her screenshots is defeating the purpose of the break, which is to get everybody to cool down. It’s spreading the drama, not containing it. IT’S NOT HELPING HER. “
The implication of that e-mail seemed to be that I should feel grateful to the moderators for not banning me despite pressure to do so but after all the nasty, unfair things they’d said and done to me, it was hard to feel gratitude towards them. I understand that I put them in a difficult position and that I was basically a moderator’s worst nightmare-someone who annoyed a lot of people but didn’t actually break any forum rules. I don’t know what the ideal solution to the problem was but I do know that starting a thread inviting the whole board to trash me when I wasn’t there to defend myself wasn’t it.
Maybe sending me information about the thread while I was on break wasn’t helping me but do you know what else wasn’t helping me? Starting that thread in the first place. I don’t see how it helped anyone. It certainly seemed to be inflaming the situation rather than cooling it down. No conversation about a conflict is going to result in an effective solution to that conflict if the person who’s the center of that conflict is not an an active participant in it. If people are just going to insult me, attack me and say I’m never going to change, they’re probably right about that last part.
“It’s not a smoking gun and a dead body but it’s not nothing and a lot of people put a lot of time and effort in to it? What could it possibly be?” Bernadette wondered.
“It IS nothing, or at least nothing that proves anything” I replied.
“Yeah, it’s “evidence” “
“Have you heard anything more from the ninja moderator?”
“Oh no, she didn’t believe that we could see her taking screenshots with our magical ninja powers! What do we do now?”
“Yeah, I may be naive but I’m not THAT naive.”

2 thoughts on “When Online is Out of Line: A Smoking Gun and a Dead Body

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