May 122010
 

[Update: Please read my post EdenFantasys: A pattern of deception for more info about the sneaky
and downright unethical practices perpetrated by EdenFantasys. This post is just about my banning.]

Good morning to me!

Hello [my legal name],

Please be advised we have disabled your contributor account at EdenFantasys.com

This decision was  internal and is final.

Thank you,
Eden Team

Yes, this, from the website that introduced me to sex toy reviewing in 2007, and was the only place I reviewed for until I got my own blog a year later. Yes, this, from the website that awarded me second place in their “Sex Shop I Trust” campaign with my entry, “One year in Eden.” Yes, a vague and curt email without any warning whatsoever, with no room for discussion, and with no explanation.

I’m completely locked out; I cannot access my profile, my wishlist, my on-site reviews, my past orders, anything.

But don’t worry — the forums have an explanation!

We at Eden work really hard for the community — making it a safe, fun, and informative place to visit and to be enjoyed by any person. This is a 24/7 job, which requires all of our passion, attention and collective efforts.

However, there is a member of our community, Epiphora, that is having an adverse effect on the positive culture at EF — we get continuous complaints about her drama, rudeness, and overall negativity.

Today we collectively decided to ban her from the community. The decision is final and supported by the owner.

So there have been “continuous complaints,” yet I was never told about them. None of my posts have ever been flagged, and the only time I was ever emailed was in December, over this thread (in which I called people “fools,” a term I use endearingly). I have otherwise not been contacted in any way about any “misconduct.”

So who are all these people complaining about me? And what are they complaining about? I guess I’ll have to figure it out myself here. I sure as hell can’t defend myself on EF, despite their Expectations of Conduct saying that I should have the opportunity to do so.

The last thing I did on EF was post on this thread. I was annoyed by the forums being spammed by some dude welcoming every single new contributor. To me, it looked like a ploy to raise his rank. The next day, an explanation for the spamming was given, and I was not-so-discreetly chastised by several of the higher-ups at EF in this thread. I decided to bite my tongue; I didn’t reply to the thread.

Generally, I don’t comment/rate reviews very much, either. The only offending comment I can think of is the recent one I left telling a reviewer that her blog hurt my eyes. Because it does hurt my eyes. (I guess there’s this comment, too? Right, sure.)

Other than that? I can’t find much at all. I went back 20 pages sorted by “relevancy,” and then 20 sorted by “date” (a total of 400 forum posts going all the way back to a year ago). Go look for yourself (sort by date to see the most recent stuff), and if you find anything, by all means — let me know. These are the only ones I found that could be remotely called “negative.” Very remotely.

So tell me, does this warrant being banned without any warnings? People are very rarely banned on EdenFantasys. Usually they are warned — privately. Someone was banned 11 months ago, and he also got a forum post. Only this was EF’s explanation:

. . . This is not something we ever have to do — because we do not usually have instances where there are hateful comments being made to other members of this community. It is extremely rare and thus we take it extremely seriously.

It is one thing to disagree and to argue — as you all know, we don’t take a thread down or remove comments simply because someone starts arguing or saying something negative, even when they say negative things about the company, we do not censor.

But we draw the line at hate — when someone is calling another person hateful names, it will not be tolerated. At all.

Interesting how it’s supposedly okay to say negative things, yet I am banned for “overall negativity.”

Then came the boatload of insinuations from the off-site review person. Like that I visit EF “only to spread negativity and drama,” that I “deliberately criticize or insult other members just for the sake of doing so,” and that I “[spread] around negativity and drama like wildfire.” Again, examples please? I’m serious. I’d love to see them.

Well, apparently my painful-to-my-eyes comment was TAKEN VERY SERIOUSLY:

I have been working hard to not only introduce Eden Fantasys to parts of the blogosphere that have never before heard of us, but also to get them comfortable with us. And that’s hard to do when there are people undermining that work, effort and fragile trust by seeking out reviews to vote down, leave snotty comments on, etc. This goes hand in hand with what I said in my thread about the Off-site Review Program — bloggers have their own voices, just as all of you do, and they’re entitled to use those voices to present their reviews, even if they do so in a manner that you don’t agree with or find appealing — or on a blog whose layout you don’t find to be visually appealing.

So by this reasoning, anyone who rates a review “not useful at all” should be worried, as should the people who agreed with me that the blog is painful to the eyes. And by the way, I do not SEEK OUT reviews for any reason. I subscribe to the reviews RSS feed, and only open reviews of toys that look interesting to me. But sure, go ahead and spread lies.

This part — this is the part that really got me:

Epiphora’s recent behavior is nothing new; we made the decision to permanently ban her because she is a repeat offender, and the fact that she is a repeat offender clearly shows that she has no regard or respect for the community — that includes all of you, not just the “community” in terms of the forums here on Eden Fantasys and the EF staff.

Excuse me, but how dare you? Did you really just say that I have no respect for anyone, let alone the sex blogging community? Somehow I think my readers, followers, and friends would disagree. Entirely.

Apparently this has “been coming for a long time” and I am a “repeat offender.” Right. A repeat offender — and 2 1/2 year veteran — who was never warned. Never flagged. And who never committed any offenses worse than anyone else. The decision is final.

The sad thing is that this is not an isolated incident of weirdness; it’s a an unnecessary move by a company that has proven time and again to be manipulative and malicious. Others who have been burned much worse include AAG, Essin’ Em, ThatToyChick, and several others who have contacted me but wanted to stay anonymous. (Many, many more to be found in this post.)

I am tired of giving EdenFantasys the benefit of the doubt, since they refuse to give it to me.

[P.S. Thank you to everyone who has supported me today and who will continue to do so in the future. I love all of you.]

[P.P.S. This video makes my life. Thank you, Vin!]

Update — May 17th, 2010

An EdenFantasys administrator has replied to the thread now saying:

Epiphora has not contacted us since we emailed her regarding the ban. She has not been in contact to defend herself, to try to make amends, or even ask for a more thorough explanation of her banning. Considering Epiphora’s response to the banning was to create drama and tension via her blog, taking her complaints public rather than contacting us, and actively campaigning against us, we firmly believe our actions were the right ones to take and that amends are no longer an option.

Yes, because I should’ve replied to an email saying the decision was final with a plea for forgiveness for something I couldn’t even discern.

She has been contacted in the past, she has been warned in the past, both on the forums and in private messages and emails, and she has responded poorly. Banning was the next step.

Alright, let’s get this shit straight. I was contacted via email once, last December. Here is the email that was sent to me:

Are you flagging someone’s unqualified enthusiasm as “Spam”? We’re a bit confused about why you flagged something harmless, like the post on the thread below. There are plenty of similar posts all over the Eden forums that are essentially just people shouting in agreement or being silly — we’re not going to start policing people and calling ‘Spam’ on totally innocuous posts. http://www.edenfantasys.com/sex-forum/sex-toys/vibrators/gigolo-vs-galan/

Speaking of the forums, one of your posts on this thread (below) was very rude. You called people “Fools” and were condescending for no reason. No one knew the ulterior motive behind the thread post — which is understandable, and they were just expressing concern and curiosity. You could have been flagged “I think an apology would be helpful” and it would have totally justified.
http://www.edenfantasys.com/sex-forum/edenfantasys/suggestions/sending-things-to-users/

We do expect you to use the ‘Report Abuse’ flags with discretion.

If the reason for flagging is not entirely clear, perhaps you should send a message along with your flag.

Thanks!
– Victoria

So hey, if that counts as a warning, I certainly didn’t take it that way. I also don’t think my response was “poor.” Here is what my response was:

Victoria (and everyone else),

I flagged that as spam simply because it seemed like spam to me. That’s the only reason. I’m not trying to flag enthusiasm. I figured you guys could look into it and see if that person is an actual person or not. If that person is real, I’m sorry, but I was not meaning any harm. I’m kind of upset that you would automatically assume I’m trying to “police people . . . on totally innocuous posts.” I guess I just won’t flag things that look like spam anymore.

I would not call my post “very rude.” I use the term “fools” in my daily life in an off-handed and playful way. The rest of the post was nothing more than an explanation. Nobody reacted negatively to my post or took offense to it. If someone truly felt an apology was necessary, they would have flagged it or told me.

–Epiphora

As for being warned “on the forums,” I can’t recall any specific situation in which this has occurred. There have been plenty of “calm down, people” posts from admins on the forum, but nothing directed specifically at me, and nothing ever framed as a warning.

And to anyone who thinks I’m somehow lying about all this — why? What do I have to gain? Nothing. What does EF have to gain by making this sound justified? Everything.

Update: Please read my post EdenFantasys: A pattern of deception for more info about the sneaky and downright unethical practices perpetrated by EdenFantasys.

/* ]]> */
d
c