asexuality≠does not equal antisexuality,etc

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” --mlk jr

Mar 14
nextstepcake:

writingfromfactorx:

lizziegoneastray:

writingfromfactorx:

lizziegoneastray:

hope-for-a-better-asexual-future:

David Jay (to another asexual volunteer/activist): 

Look, I don’t have time to babysit the AVEN admod team, nor am I responsible for what they post.  I did not appoint them to those positions.  The community elected them.   I am not going to apologize for what they post on my site. You are just going to have to take the personal attacks and defamation for the sake of the asexual movement. 


Aww, DJ, you didn’t really say that, did you? Because if so, I am disappoint. Do we have a source for this?

*whistles* Wooooow, DJ. Also disappointed, if it’s true.
Although I’m totally unsurprised to see that he’s completely checked out on the forums of AVEN, honestly—it’s been very clear to me for several years now that DJ has nothing to do with those forums and is not involved with them in any meaningful way. I don’t think he’s played any active role on them for at least three or four years at this point. 
That said, the forums are still present on his site, and if he doesn’t want to be responsible for what happens on them, particularly with respect to the often appalling behavior of the admod team, he should act in some way to publicly distance them from the parts of AVEN (that is, the visibility/education work) that he is involved in. AVEN is DJ’s project, and if he doesn’t want to be responsible for the forum’s conduct he cannot just say “fine, not my problem” while still promoting those forums and AVEN as a whole as the face of ace communities. He does have to actually decide whether or not those forums should still be a major part of his site, and if so they and the behavior of their moderation remain his responsibility to deal with. 

I’m more concerned about the bit in bold. What kind of movement will we have if it’s built on personal attacks and defamation of community members? What kind of community are we if we let those things slide?

Seriously. I agree with you completely—to be frank, the main reason I didn’t comment more harshly on that statement is that in terms of community centrality, I think AVEN is sharply declining. I think its reputation for crap like this is beginning to precede it, and so it’s easy for me to say “well, fuck AVEN as a community then” when there are so many more options for people to go out and seek community elsewhere. As evidenced, I think, by the fact that both of us are sitting here and going “wow, not cool” from an entirely different ace community, albeit one with some crossover from AVEN.
(On the other hand, AVEN’s pre-eminence in terms of visibility/education work—do not forget, Asexual Awareness Week is an AVEN initiative—has had and continues to have a huge influence on the way activism is done, and so I think I may need to rethink that flip automatic response of “well, screw AVEN” that I initially had. That said, I do wonder how much crossover there is at this point between the fora and the vis/ed initiatives—anyone who is still actively involved with AVEN want to comment on that?) 
That said, that attitude is not and has never been okay, in any community. A movement that is theoretically advocating for acceptance for all its members but in practice throws individual members of that community into the cold is failing in its mission and is no true advocacy movement. If this is actually David Jay’s attitude towards attacks on ace activists, particularly coming from a site he owns and remains associated with, well: activism is hard enough as it is without support from people who are supposed to be on your side. If I was considering getting involved with AVEN  from an activism standpoint—and actually, I was, I was planning to see if AAW needed more volunteers later this year—this release would make working with this group a hell of a lot less appealing. 
ETA: Assuming it’s true. As of right now, all I’ve got is a “he said she said” thing going on, so I’m reluctant to make all-or-nothing pronouncements at the moment. Especially given that I usually can and do expect much better out of David Jay. 

ok. well, first of all, without more accurate information I can’t really comment on the initial quote, since it’s completely unsourced and provides no context. (and also just want to say that leaking the content of other people’s private conversations without their permission is rather rude.) But I would like to respond to a lot of what’s been mentioned in the commentary:
First, in regards to DJ and Cole: at this point, their primary responsibility is to keep the site running smoothly on a day-to-day basis, fixing technical bugs, making sure the servers don’t go down, etc. Which in itself can take a lot of work. And in addition to that, they both have a lot going on in their own personal and professional lives, so expecting them to spend all their waking hours checking every post on AVEN for anything offensive is unreasonable.
And that’s why other duties such as blocking spammers and trolls, responding to reports of problematic posts, general forum upkeep, etc. has been passed on to the Admods, who under the current system are elected from the pool of general members, by the general members. (my thoughts on this system are another matter). Admods are just people, the same as anyone else - and so sometimes they can slip up and do stupid things, and they can’t always catch every problematic sentence. But I think they often don’t get a lot of respect for what they do, which takes up a lot of time and effort. Most mod action goes on in the backroom, so you can’t always see how much time is spent deleting hateful posts, blocking users who are here only to troll, responding to reported posts, etc. When the admods do their job well, they are nearly invisible - which is why for most people, they only think about the mods when something goes wrong. In addition, the admods have a fine line to walk - on the one hand, they want to deal with problematic statements to make AVEN a safe place, but there’s a thing line between moderation and censorship/dictatorship, which is something we try to avoid.
But you know what? mods are only human. The users of these communities are only human. So yes, there are problematic things that get said a lot. But that’s not something exclusive to AVEN - I see a lot of that here too. And in fact, theres a lot of shit that goes down here that quite frankly would never be allowed to fly on AVEN. The responses of the tumblr community to people who are inexperienced with ace matters and sometimes say ignorant things are rarely polite and friendly - instead, they tend to get insulted, bashed, cussed at, even sometimes receiving death threats or rape threats - and that is unnacceptable.  That is not a good way to promote visibility.
There is a difference, though, that I see in attitudes between tumblr and AVEN. On the one hand, AVEN often seems to have a focus on welcoming and educating newbies, and it a lot more tolerant of people who come in with a lot of problematic views - the fact that these are problematic gets pointed out, but they aren’t bashed the way they often are on tumblr. Instead, we try to give them tie to understand why what they’ve said is problematic. However, when you are a more experienced ace, it can definitely be frustrating to see people coming in with the same misconceptions over and over again. Tumblr, on the other hand, seems to focus on more experienced aces, and it can be nice to have a community where more advanced and more critical dialogue can go on. But on the other hand, if you are new to the community and aren’t familiar with the etiquette of what is and isn’t ok to say, tumblr is not accommodating at all, and any few attempts to calmly educated get drowned out by people shouting insults and shaming them down - it’s not really a safe place for newbies. 
And in addition, AVEN plays an incredibly important role in the fact that it is the only large, centralized community that currently exists. Yes, there’s tumblr, which is quite large, but it’s scattered and disorganized and fast moving and vitriolic and also filled with trolls and haters and porn in the tags. It’s not necessarily a good place for people who are just beginning to find the ace community and want to learn more. The format of AVEN is one of it’s main advantages - threads are much stabler and easier to navigate than confusing chains of tumblr reblogs, conversations are more linear, and it’s also much freer from trolls and spam and a lot of the hate that plagues the ace tags.
And with regards to AVENs role in VisEd work, it is again important because it has a more centralized structure - it provides a clear, specific, and reliable point of contact; it’s large membership provides plentiful sources when looking for people to talk to the media or for researchers with surveys, etc; it has people who are experienced in dealing with media and researchers who know who to contact, what to do, etc. In addition, it has an established history that gives it greater name-value and credentials. And as for conducting projects and such, the format is simply much more practical: attempting to plan or organize something via a format like tumblr is simply to difficult. 
Also, a couple other points that have come to mind:
With regards to AAW, it is indeed a good example of some of the initiatives that have come out of the AVEN community. However, I’d also liek to point out that AAW has also grown to the point where at this stage it is really it’s own organization now rather than merely a branch of AVEN - which is a good thing, because although I personally still like AVEN, I’m don’t think it should be the only representation of asexuality, which is much larger than any one org. 
And with regards to discussions of AVEN’s static content and front page  - I’m not sure how much I can say, but the fact that it is so out of date is indeed something that’s being addressed. 
(and if anyone want to talk about AVEN, or has questions about how things work, I’m always open to talk)

That was very well written.  So thank you for the time you spent putting into your response.  It is nice to read about how things are supposed to work behind the scenes, and it is nice to remind each other that we are all human beings.  However, this is more than just mild mistakes—and I’m sorry if some of us want people to be treated better.  I used to include myself in the “oh, I’m sure that admod wasn’t intentionally dismissive or I’m sure they don’t mean to come across so insensitively or rudely” category, but with how much negligence and unchecked anger I’ve seen expressed by those running the site I have to admit I see more variables that are a concern than just members in the community.    I also want to let you know that “well done” means more to me than “well said.” *gives meaningful look*
So, if we are stuck with just words and no action—could you respond to why the admod team has not bothered to share the retraction?  I think that is a specific enough question to ask.  I don’t know if you can really explain why the retraction has been withheld for 9/10 months so far at this point, however I would really appreciate if you could give any sort of assurance or an outside date for when the retraction is going to be eventually published.
And yes, on a personal note here, I understand how you feel it might be “rude” to share what DJ said.  However, I hope you can understand what a really rude eye-opening experience this has been to go thru. I don’t think the real issue is my sharing this, I think the issue is David Jay probably shouldn’t have said it in the first place—nor should those running the AVEN site been allowed to continue on attacking and lying about someone.  And if people don’t talk about things how will things ever get better? (borderline aside here—but do you remember the plan b ads?  If we can find or make the time to address attacks that occur in a commercial that doesn’t even specifically name any asexual person, I really believe that the same time can be made or found to address what happened on an asexuality site—of all places.)[apologizes for late edits]

nextstepcake:

writingfromfactorx:

lizziegoneastray:

writingfromfactorx:

lizziegoneastray:

hope-for-a-better-asexual-future:

David Jay (to another asexual volunteer/activist): 

Look, I don’t have time to babysit the AVEN admod team, nor am I responsible for what they post.  I did not appoint them to those positions.  The community elected them.  
I am not going to apologize for what they post on my site. You are just going to have to take the personal attacks and defamation for the sake of the asexual movement. 

Aww, DJ, you didn’t really say that, did you? Because if so, I am disappoint. Do we have a source for this?

*whistles* Wooooow, DJ. Also disappointed, if it’s true.

Although I’m totally unsurprised to see that he’s completely checked out on the forums of AVEN, honestly—it’s been very clear to me for several years now that DJ has nothing to do with those forums and is not involved with them in any meaningful way. I don’t think he’s played any active role on them for at least three or four years at this point. 

That said, the forums are still present on his site, and if he doesn’t want to be responsible for what happens on them, particularly with respect to the often appalling behavior of the admod team, he should act in some way to publicly distance them from the parts of AVEN (that is, the visibility/education work) that he is involved in. AVEN is DJ’s project, and if he doesn’t want to be responsible for the forum’s conduct he cannot just say “fine, not my problem” while still promoting those forums and AVEN as a whole as the face of ace communities. He does have to actually decide whether or not those forums should still be a major part of his site, and if so they and the behavior of their moderation remain his responsibility to deal with. 

I’m more concerned about the bit in bold. What kind of movement will we have if it’s built on personal attacks and defamation of community members? What kind of community are we if we let those things slide?

Seriously. I agree with you completely—to be frank, the main reason I didn’t comment more harshly on that statement is that in terms of community centrality, I think AVEN is sharply declining. I think its reputation for crap like this is beginning to precede it, and so it’s easy for me to say “well, fuck AVEN as a community then” when there are so many more options for people to go out and seek community elsewhere. As evidenced, I think, by the fact that both of us are sitting here and going “wow, not cool” from an entirely different ace community, albeit one with some crossover from AVEN.

(On the other hand, AVEN’s pre-eminence in terms of visibility/education work—do not forget, Asexual Awareness Week is an AVEN initiative—has had and continues to have a huge influence on the way activism is done, and so I think I may need to rethink that flip automatic response of “well, screw AVEN” that I initially had. That said, I do wonder how much crossover there is at this point between the fora and the vis/ed initiatives—anyone who is still actively involved with AVEN want to comment on that?) 

That said, that attitude is not and has never been okay, in any community. A movement that is theoretically advocating for acceptance for all its members but in practice throws individual members of that community into the cold is failing in its mission and is no true advocacy movement. If this is actually David Jay’s attitude towards attacks on ace activists, particularly coming from a site he owns and remains associated with, well: activism is hard enough as it is without support from people who are supposed to be on your side. If I was considering getting involved with AVEN  from an activism standpoint—and actually, I was, I was planning to see if AAW needed more volunteers later this year—this release would make working with this group a hell of a lot less appealing. 

ETA: Assuming it’s true. As of right now, all I’ve got is a “he said she said” thing going on, so I’m reluctant to make all-or-nothing pronouncements at the moment. Especially given that I usually can and do expect much better out of David Jay. 

ok. well, first of all, without more accurate information I can’t really comment on the initial quote, since it’s completely unsourced and provides no context. (and also just want to say that leaking the content of other people’s private conversations without their permission is rather rude.) But I would like to respond to a lot of what’s been mentioned in the commentary:

First, in regards to DJ and Cole: at this point, their primary responsibility is to keep the site running smoothly on a day-to-day basis, fixing technical bugs, making sure the servers don’t go down, etc. Which in itself can take a lot of work. And in addition to that, they both have a lot going on in their own personal and professional lives, so expecting them to spend all their waking hours checking every post on AVEN for anything offensive is unreasonable.

And that’s why other duties such as blocking spammers and trolls, responding to reports of problematic posts, general forum upkeep, etc. has been passed on to the Admods, who under the current system are elected from the pool of general members, by the general members. (my thoughts on this system are another matter). Admods are just people, the same as anyone else - and so sometimes they can slip up and do stupid things, and they can’t always catch every problematic sentence. But I think they often don’t get a lot of respect for what they do, which takes up a lot of time and effort. Most mod action goes on in the backroom, so you can’t always see how much time is spent deleting hateful posts, blocking users who are here only to troll, responding to reported posts, etc. When the admods do their job well, they are nearly invisible - which is why for most people, they only think about the mods when something goes wrong. In addition, the admods have a fine line to walk - on the one hand, they want to deal with problematic statements to make AVEN a safe place, but there’s a thing line between moderation and censorship/dictatorship, which is something we try to avoid.

But you know what? mods are only human. The users of these communities are only human. So yes, there are problematic things that get said a lot. But that’s not something exclusive to AVEN - I see a lot of that here too. And in fact, theres a lot of shit that goes down here that quite frankly would never be allowed to fly on AVEN. The responses of the tumblr community to people who are inexperienced with ace matters and sometimes say ignorant things are rarely polite and friendly - instead, they tend to get insulted, bashed, cussed at, even sometimes receiving death threats or rape threats - and that is unnacceptable.  That is not a good way to promote visibility.

There is a difference, though, that I see in attitudes between tumblr and AVEN. On the one hand, AVEN often seems to have a focus on welcoming and educating newbies, and it a lot more tolerant of people who come in with a lot of problematic views - the fact that these are problematic gets pointed out, but they aren’t bashed the way they often are on tumblr. Instead, we try to give them tie to understand why what they’ve said is problematic. However, when you are a more experienced ace, it can definitely be frustrating to see people coming in with the same misconceptions over and over again. Tumblr, on the other hand, seems to focus on more experienced aces, and it can be nice to have a community where more advanced and more critical dialogue can go on. But on the other hand, if you are new to the community and aren’t familiar with the etiquette of what is and isn’t ok to say, tumblr is not accommodating at all, and any few attempts to calmly educated get drowned out by people shouting insults and shaming them down - it’s not really a safe place for newbies. 

And in addition, AVEN plays an incredibly important role in the fact that it is the only large, centralized community that currently exists. Yes, there’s tumblr, which is quite large, but it’s scattered and disorganized and fast moving and vitriolic and also filled with trolls and haters and porn in the tags. It’s not necessarily a good place for people who are just beginning to find the ace community and want to learn more. The format of AVEN is one of it’s main advantages - threads are much stabler and easier to navigate than confusing chains of tumblr reblogs, conversations are more linear, and it’s also much freer from trolls and spam and a lot of the hate that plagues the ace tags.

And with regards to AVENs role in VisEd work, it is again important because it has a more centralized structure - it provides a clear, specific, and reliable point of contact; it’s large membership provides plentiful sources when looking for people to talk to the media or for researchers with surveys, etc; it has people who are experienced in dealing with media and researchers who know who to contact, what to do, etc. In addition, it has an established history that gives it greater name-value and credentials. And as for conducting projects and such, the format is simply much more practical: attempting to plan or organize something via a format like tumblr is simply to difficult. 

Also, a couple other points that have come to mind:

With regards to AAW, it is indeed a good example of some of the initiatives that have come out of the AVEN community. However, I’d also liek to point out that AAW has also grown to the point where at this stage it is really it’s own organization now rather than merely a branch of AVEN - which is a good thing, because although I personally still like AVEN, I’m don’t think it should be the only representation of asexuality, which is much larger than any one org. 

And with regards to discussions of AVEN’s static content and front page  - I’m not sure how much I can say, but the fact that it is so out of date is indeed something that’s being addressed. 

(and if anyone want to talk about AVEN, or has questions about how things work, I’m always open to talk)

That was very well written.  So thank you for the time you spent putting into your response. 
It is nice to read about how things are supposed to work behind the scenes, and it is nice to remind each other that we are all human beings.  However, this is more than just mild mistakes—and I’m sorry if some of us want people to be treated better.  I used to include myself in the “oh, I’m sure that admod wasn’t intentionally dismissive or I’m sure they don’t mean to come across so insensitively or rudely” category, but with how much negligence and unchecked anger I’ve seen expressed by those running the site I have to admit I see more variables that are a concern than just members in the community.   
I also want to let you know that “well done” means more to me than “well said.” *gives meaningful look*

So, if we are stuck with just words and no action—could you respond to why the admod team has not bothered to share the retraction?  I think that is a specific enough question to ask.  I don’t know if you can really explain why the retraction has been withheld for 9/10 months so far at this point, however I would really appreciate if you could give any sort of assurance or an outside date for when the retraction is going to be eventually published.

And yes, on a personal note here, I understand how you feel it might be “rude” to share what DJ said.  However, I hope you can understand what a really rude eye-opening experience this has been to go thru.
I don’t think the real issue is my sharing this, I think the issue is David Jay probably shouldn’t have said it in the first place—nor should those running the AVEN site been allowed to continue on attacking and lying about someone.  And if people don’t talk about things how will things ever get better?
(borderline aside here—but do you remember the plan b ads?  If we can find or make the time to address attacks that occur in a commercial that doesn’t even specifically name any asexual person, I really believe that the same time can be made or found to address what happened on an asexuality site—of all places.)

[apologizes for late edits]


  1. nextstepcake reblogged this from lizziegoneastray and added:
    To anyone who has been following this situation: DJ has issued a response which basically confirms what I had suspected...
  2. faelights reblogged this from hope-for-a-better-asexual-future and added:
    Thank you for the clarification, and I’m flattered you recognized me. =)
  3. hope-for-a-better-asexual-future reblogged this from faelights and added:
    O.O? Um, wow. I just spoke to an admin last month and they told me they knew about the retraction. If you really don’t...
  4. kingreiner reblogged this from sir-kit and added:
    I didn’t actually know AVEN was a thing. I went on it once, but I didn’t like the format so I stuck to Tumblr. But what...
  5. lizziegoneastray reblogged this from nextstepcake and added:
    Oh, of course! I, for one, have no intention whatsoever of harassing David Jay, NOR do I condone it. I do think,...
  6. hawtistic reblogged this from sir-kit and added:
    WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. I’ve heard plenty of horror stories about AVEN from my Yada friends (and I admit I never really...
  7. writingfromfactorx reblogged this from hope-for-a-better-asexual-future and added:
    Sara Beth Brooks, right? She’s the other public face of AAW that I can see, and I do have a ton of respect for her and...
  8. sir-kit reblogged this from writingfromfactorx and added:
    I’ve seen that — and noticed that the new-to-identifying-as-ace people I meet seem to be coming from AVEN less and less...
  9. hawkelf reblogged this from writingfromfactorx and added:
    Reblogging mostly for Sciatrix’s commentary. This is really, really disappointing to read, and I too expect much better...
  10. feralprancinghomosexual reblogged this from lizziegoneastray and added:
    Source or it didn’t happen.
  11. aceeccentric reblogged this from lizziegoneastray and added:
    [Image description: Person’s legs sticking out of a large trash can, with black/gray/white/purple striped socks on.] A...
  12. idvo reblogged this from writingfromfactorx
  13. minato-rise-up reblogged this from writingfromfactorx
  14. ascending-peculiarity reblogged this from theredladyelebuu and added:
    I agree. No asexual person should be bullied and lied about by an asexuality site or by the asexual movement. The...
  15. theredladyelebuu reblogged this from hope-for-a-better-asexual-future and added:
    Nooo, why is there an ace in the trash can. What are you doing acey person you belong in the sunshine and the world.