I know we have been very circumspect about the folks whose motives in posting seem less than pure. I don’t always do well with reading between the lines, and I have trouble remembering every detail I have read before when I read and consider an answer to a new question. I notice there are some questions that have been down-voted and I assume it is because of suspicions about the poster based on other comments, since the question itself, all by itself, seems to actually be exactly the kinds of things we like to discuss here. I am left feeling safe to answer only posts made by long-time, familiar names, since I have trouble discerning (unless the offensive behavior is within the question at hand) who is a wolf and who is just new, and maybe a little less mature in the faith. I don’t like the idea of answering questions in good faith that have been asked in bad, but neither do I want to ostracize new people just because I’m afraid of getting taken in. I have always loved the welcoming and accepting spirit of this board and now I feel…fearful. I know we must use discernment, but this is one area that I am and always have been just really bad at!
Is there some way we could make this whole issue a little less murky?
(For what it is worth, I will not answer any new PMs at this point unless I recognize the user as having been her longer than I have.)
I’ve been on boards such as this off and on for over 20 years now. I’ve seen some honestly crazy things happen, and developed this set of rules for myself over the years.
1) No introductory post is a red flag to me. It doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll ignore a poster, it just puts me a bit more on alert. I’ll click on a username I don’t recognize just to see what posts that person has made, just in case I missed something. And especially here, where I’m only a couple months in myself.
2) Inconsistencies in statements from post to post.
3) Being a new poster that jumps in with a thought or a question that is very explicit or seemingly designed to titillate, on a board of this nature. I’m not on this board to be the object of voyeurism.
4) An unusual number of new posters on a thread or threads that don’t seem to jive with the spirit of the board. It’s just too odd to be coincidental.
Again, this doesn’t mean I’ll ignore the posters, because sometimes it can be chalked up to spiritual immaturity or ignorance of message board etiquette. It just means I’ll be a little more cautious with those posters at first.
For me, “too good to be true” is a flag. If every one to two liner answer is how great and explicit their sex is, or how much they love sex or sexual acts, and there is no other depth to what they share…. a flag, and a sign to be cautious.
Unrealistic “problems” that seem to go into detail in the wrong places…. a flag.
As you continue to watch their correspondence and they start asking for more explicit details from others…. a flag. As DoveGrey mentioned, there’s really a certain spirit about it, that clashes with the spirit of these boards.
Not willing to let themselves be known in at least a general way publicly, and want to do everything in secret (PM)…. a flag.
Does a flag or flags mean a person is a fraud and deceiver, not necessarily, but it should cause us to practice wisdom and discernement, and to use caution… until a truer answer is revealed, one way or the other.
Apparently I post enough to be a “troll” 😀 but I believe if anyone watches me long enough, they will see my heart come out. That is true for everyone. With some, you can see their good heart immediately. You can see they are authenic, whether they are refined or unrefined, spiritually mature, a babe, or even a seeker, and anything in between. Authenticy is a HUGE piece to look for. Others (thankfully not many in the scheme of things), come with a stench of deception and lies, even if their posts seemingly fit the topic of sex.
We have to remember also, TMB is catering to CHRISTIANS, this is a place to share and find answers, support, and encouragement in light of Christ and His Word. It’s a place to transform our thinking and our marrriages in light of the truth and God’s will. If someone wants to share explicit details for titillation purposes (theirs or others’), there are plenty of other places they can go and do that, and be welcomed. Here, we have people who are fighting for victory in their battle against sin. We have people who desire to live a life honoring and loving Christ and His church, our brothers and sisters. We need to make it as safe of a place as we can. To allow and to not come against out-right unbiblical, un-Christlike advice and opinions, is not love. It’s not loving the one who is deceived nor the one they are trying to deceive.
There are a few wolves… as many already pointed out, some of them are using PMs, and a few of them seem to be linked to the MarriageHeat.com site; they are trying to lure people to join that site. patterns:
- they approach you with PMs
- they try to get private information from you
- they ask you if they can share photos by email
- some photos are fake
- at some point in the conversation they will invite you to the marriageheat.com site
- the same individuals appear under multiple accounts
As the site marriageheat.com seems to make money selling sex stories of people, they may see many members of TMB as potential generators or earnings for them. Protect yourselves. hunt down the wolves…
something else to consider is how all the “new people” respond to each other as if they are all in agreement about something… and usually those questions and answers aren’t Biblically based. I do believe there is a wolf lurking in here under multiple screen names and knows we know… they are being more cautious in their posts, leaving everyone to believe telhey are genuine. originally, they were using offensive language as well, but that has seemed to stop. probably another tactic to throw off the scent. we need to pray through this event and hope that Dale is able to locate all the offenders IP addresses so we can get back to business without the world’s interruption
I started to “comment” then thought I need to start “answering” more instead. @PaulB:
Thank you for doing that dance and working hard to keep this forum available. I would not be able to manage that responsibility and I am very grateful for you and Lori and Dale. I have been blessed so much since I joined, I have enjoyed the camaraderie, and I have very much enjoyed using my small gift with words to attempt to bless others. I will join in praying for God’s hedge of protection around our community and even in praying for the trolls/sock puppets, that they will come to know Jesus in a more personal way and understand his truth in greater depth. (And join us in truth and sincerity rather than malice. 😉 )
Do you know what you are looking for in making it less murky?
As someone who has always been fairly highly discerning, it’s honestly hard for me to see others “not see it” and to watch them “feed the trolls”. I reason with myself that you all are the “compassionate, mercy filled, loving” ones. But it’s hard enough and frustrating enough that I have thought it would be easier and have been tempted to just leave and wash my hands of the whole thing.
If names and details would help, I can PM you all the details I know, and the logic I followed. I have been careful to not call out certain names publicly and to take certain actions until I have (kind of) run it by Dale. My intention and heart has been to honor Dale as the one in charge, as our leader, and have kept myself restrained, as he did or does what he needs to do….even though I am sure I can be a pain in his butt. 🙂 Trust me….I am a fighter, when action is needed I like things to happen “now” and can lack patience, and I have wanted to go vigilante off of the information I know. I have REALLY fought my flesh and kept it in check. I am also aware and try to balance and practice caution and grace when I am not as sure about something and only have some suspicion. But I will err on the side of safe, rather than sorry.
The intent of several of my posts have been to “teach” and to “inform”, because the truth is, when one troll goes away, there will be another one who will come. So if the legitimate users can learn what they can do, who to look out for, what to look out for, then you have a whole group of people working together to keep things right and good, rather than just a few who are trying to “rule over” the boards.
On the old boards there was a ‘report post’ button. It could only be pressed once but it flagged up the post to the admins etc. During a particularly difficult time I suggested that some of the ‘older hands’ on the site be given the option to actually quarantine these posts until the admins had gone though a process of verifying the posters intentions. But I recognise that would probably have been quite difficult.
And given that most of these chat sites are a purchased program with limited options it isn’t likely that would happen in this iteration.
So we are back to discernment and street smarts.