Want to harass people and get away with it? Join Formspring

A while back, the craze of Formspring.me caught on within the sex blogging community. People were asking each other questions left and right. After grumbling like a bitter old person about it for a while, I became too curious about what people would ask me, so I got an account.

Formspring does one thing and one thing only: Q&A. Having a narrow focus like that is good. I used to get some decent questions. Of course, Formspring is also a great forum for cyber bullies to make themselves feel important.

Behold, my Formspring inbox at the end of March:

“A sign of a true bully.” The irony. It burns. (And if anyone reading this is like “what’s EF?”… read this.)

I took a quick screenshot, disabled anonymous questions, gave not one fuck, then promptly blocked the person. Sweet, I thought. If I can block an anonymous user, maybe it blocks their IP. Haha — no. One month later, they were back, having created a username for the sole purpose of harassment!

Yes, I’ll stalk people. The irony. It burns forever.

I blocked them yet again. I think it was around this time that I discovered that this person was also harassing Splendwhore and True Pleasures. Then, Sunday, the harasser stooped to a new low by creating yet another username.

I find this one hilarious beyond belief. People on EdenFantasys — ENDLESSLY MATURE.1

At this point, True and I started talking about whether we should report the harassment to Formspring. I discovered that they have a support ticket system in place, and that harassment can definitely be reported, so I was all over that. I attached all my screenshots and described the situation.

The response from Nathan at Formspring was very short. He asked for URLs “that show the violation of our Terms of Service taking place.” Permalinks are only created if a question is answered, so I told him I could not provide any URLs. His response?

Thank you for contacting Formspring. Next time please send the urls and we will be happy to review.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you require further assistance.

Yes. He really just told me to wait to be harassed again, then to actually reply to the harassment2. Great advice! When I snapped at him about this, he backed down a bit:

Some of what you sent was actionable, and some was not. A url is ideal since it is more likely to be actionable. Thanks for bringing this to our attention, we are currently looking into the matter and will take appropriate action.

So I said “suuuure” and went to bed. The next morning, True sent me a copy of the reply she got from Formspring in response to her support ticket. And this is where I got pissed. She was able to send plenty of URLs since she replied to the harasser, yet lo and behold, that’s not enough for them to take action either:

Formspring provides a communication service. As a policy, we do not mediate content or intervene in disputes between users. Users are allowed to post content, including potentially inflammatory content, provided that they do not violate the Formspring Terms of Service.

You can block a user by either clicking the “!block” button next to a question they have asked you in your Questions inbox, or from the bottom of a users profile page by clicking “!block.” This will prevent them from contacting you further.

Please take some times to read over the Formspring Community Rules and Terms of Service. If you come across anything that is in violation of those terms, please don’t hesitate to let us know and we will look into the matter further.

This is such dismissive, victim-blaming bullshit. Calling this a “dispute.” Giving the fabulous advice that she just block them. And best of all, advising her to READ THE RULES.

You know what’s not acceptable anymore? Acting like cyber bullying/harassment doesn’t fucking affect people. It’s 2011. Kids are dying. There are teenagers out there who are far, far, far more fragile than I am. Can you imagine being harassed, reporting it like you think you should, and getting blamed for it? And given absolutely no help whatsoever? No fucking way am I going to stay on a site that doesn’t give a shit about people’s lives.

Awesomely, you can’t delete a Formspring account. You can disable it, and then guess what shows up on your former page?

[username] disabled their account
We like to call it taking a nap.

REALLY? ‘Cause I’d rather call it “giving the finger to incompetent assholes.”

I don’t need Formspring, so this is really no skin off my back. It was fun at first, when people would ask each other questions tailored to each person. Now it’s devolved into this clusterfuck of the same questions getting passed around. Plus, the site is butt-ugly.

That’s not the point, though. The point is this: a site that fosters the perfect environment for harassment should have some sort of legitimate system in place for people who are harassed. The people at Formspring apparently can’t be bothered to get off their asses and do something about a real and dangerous problem. They should be ashamed of themselves.

  1. Also, if the comment about me getting “bigger” is referring to my physical size, EPIC FAIL. I’ve been steadily losing weight since September, and have lost 70 pounds since then.
  2. Which, I’d like to point out, Formspring itself advises against.