Trolls Gone Wild

You Forgot Your BullshitOne of the favorite past times of my haters is accusing me of lying about absolutely everything, up to and including “I refuse to believe this person is real.”  There are entire groups of people who insist that I never won National Dance Championships, or never finished my marathon. Today a troll pretending to be a “fact checker” for a university saw their plan backfire spectacularly. Before I give you that story, let me give you a bit of background.

First why am I talking about this?  Because I agree with this amazing piece and I think that ignoring bullies allows them to bully us in silence. Plus, it’s kind of hilarious.  If these posts aren’t your thing that’s totally cool and I’ll be back with a non hater-related post (and a super exciting announcement) tomorrow.

Second, they send their list of accusations (as if they are truth) to Universities and corporations that hire me to speak. As soon as I announced on Facebook that the movie about me is getting produced, they sent it to the one of the Producers.  Of course these people are sharp enough to recognize it as bullshit, but this will be a nice place to refer people who aren’t used to this to show exactly how it works.

Finally, part of the goal of the trolls is to waste my time – they want me to spend hours  responding to their incessant accusations and “challenges” to prove things because if I spend my time doing that, then I’m not doing other activism work. (“Okay, dude. You’re not my nemesis…Look, I’m just trying to change the world, okay? I don’t have time for a grudge match with every poseur in a parka.” 10 DWF points for knowing the source of the quote.) This is a game to them, but it’s a civil rights fight for me, so I’m not going to do that.  This post will serve as a place to point people and save hours and hours of my time in the future.

So a quick how-to, in order to manufacture their lies they use a number of techniques:

Be Horrible at Research, Blame Me

I make my bio vague on purpose because as you’re about to see, if I don’t people who used to work with me will get harassed by internet trolls. So when they can’t “verify” something through their research (and this is a crack research team that often fails to spell my name correctly) they claim it must be false.

Purposefully Misconstrue Something I Said and Then “Disprove” It

It turns out it’s easy to call someone a liar if you make up what they say and then show why it’s not true. This is genius!

Pretend They’re Master of the Universe

I finish the marathon, I post pictures of me wearing my medal, I am clearly listed as a finisher on the marathon website, but they still want really me not to be a marathoner – that’s pesky!  It’s no big deal though, they just say that it doesn’t count because they don’t like the marathon’s rules, and then pretend that their opinion counts for something in this situation.

Deny Reality

Ask me for a screen shot. When I post a screen shot, insist it isn’t real. Repeat with each and every “request” and “challenge.” Easy peasy.

Be Aggressively, Purposefully,  Poor at Reading Comprehension.

I explain that the dog we rescued lived with someone who wasn’t able to get it get vet care for two months.  They say that I let him suffer without care for two months.  Done and done.

Just Straight-Up Lie

Seriously, they just make stuff up.  A recent favorite said that they e-mailed the dance circuit I competed on and were told that “She won a line dancing award in a category where she was the ONLY participant.”  Except, as you’re about to see, someone actually did e-mail the head of the circuit and they verified three National Championships as a couples dancer.  Oops.

Let’s Play Telephone

Remember that game where people sit in a line and the first person whispers something that is then whispered down the line, hilariously different by the time it reaches the last person?  This is the fat hate forum version. A reader once pointed me to a discussion where in one hate forum someone “joked” that I must have walked the first mile of my marathon and then taken a scooter to the end.  Then in another forum someone said that I had done my marathon on a scooter and people went on and on about how that shouldn’t count, or how I lied and said that I walked it when I really did it on a scooter.

It Wasn’t Me

When they get caught lying about me being a liar?  No problem, they just claim that I made the whole thing up! Problem solved.  This is also handy if they’ve done something particularly egregious and I called them on it in public.

Got it?  Good!  We’ll put it all together in a hilarious real life example in a minute, but first I’ll give away the ending which is that some cool things have come out of this:

First, I posted about this on Facebook and my friend Caroline gave me an idea.  She is one of the people who reads these reddit fat hate threads for fun.  It occurs to me that the people who do that could post links of those being trolled in the Rolls Not Trolls community (it’s a secret community that posts body positive things in body negative spaces on the internet, PM me on FB if you want in.) Then we could send those people lots of support and comments.  With a little help from us these troll communities can actually become a PR and Marketing machine for the people they troll.

Second, a long time ago a blog reader asked me why, if I have a “You Can Read My Hate Mail“page, don’t I have a “You Can Read My Love Mail” page. I got all excited and created the page but then it just seemed weird and I was worried that it would just look like I was bragging so I never published it.  After all of this I no longer care, screw anyone who doesn’t get why getting love mail is cool.  Want to read my love mail? Now you can!

Now for our real life example, see if you can spot the techniques we talked about earlier:

A troll pretending to be a “fact checker” e-mailed the person in charge of the dance circuit that I used to compete on, saying they need to confirm my three National Dance Championships.  The troll sent the e-mail from factchecker1210@gmail.com, and signed it “Jaime Rund, LIU, CW Post Campus.”

Quick lesson in fact checking:  Universities don’t have endless resources so they don’t just run around fact checking random speakers.  They typically don’t vet until they’ve contacted a speaker and verified their interest, availability, and that their fees are within their budget. They also e-mail from a University e-mail, not a gmail address, and they have a proper signature block that is specific as to their University and includes all of their contact information.  That’s because they want the person to trust that they are who they say they are (see what I did there?), and be able to contact them in every possible way so they can get the information they need.  They are also unfailingly polite because they know that they are asking someone with no vested personal interest to help them out.

Googling “LIU, CW Post Campus” brought me to Long Island University – where I spoke  a couple of years ago (Suggestion to my haters: if you’re going to pretend to be fact checking me for a University Speaking gig, try to pick a University that hasn’t already booked me).  Nobody from the Post Campus, and none of the people I know and contacted, have ever heard of Jamie Rund.  Shocking, I know.

The head of the circuit then sent an e-mail saying that he tried to call Jaime at Long Island University but couldn’t reach them, and gave them a number to call back.

Jaime did not enjoy being questions and shot back:

Never, in my time as an admin, have I ever had such a difficult time checking credentials for a potential speaker.  She is either a three time national dance champion with your company, as she claims.  Or she is not. A simple yes or no to confirm this is all that I need.   Thank you in advance for your help

Setting aside that “my time as an admin” was probably best measured in minutes, ever the professional, the head of the circuit sent an e-mail confirming “Yes, Miss Chastain is a 3 time National Champion!” and copied me on the e-mail.

Whew boy, Jaime was not happy. It turns out that “A simple yes or no to confirm this is all I need” was actually – wait for it – a lie!

In all my years of vetting speakers for the university I work for, I have never encountered anything as bizarre as this.  Normally, I e-mail to verify and I get a quick response.  And everything is always backed up by a simply web search.

The fact that you are cc’ing Ragen your responses to me is beyond sketchy.  This is a simple vetting of credentials and a run of the mill fact check for a potential speaker at our university.  This leads me to believe that you are a friend of hers and these ‘National Dance Championships’ aren’t real.

Needless to say, I am going to advise that there are way too many red flags here and that they should pass on this speaker.

Thank you for your time and for wasting mine.

Jaime

The head of the circuit tried again, e-mailing Jaime that “First of all, these records are correct.”and adding “I also thought it odd that no one would return a call back on the request.”

And that’s when Jaime just lost it:

Rest assured, there is a red flag next to her name if any educator from my state wants to request her as a speaker.  Along with copies of all of this correspondence.

As you claim ‘not to know’ Ragen personally, you are also cc’ing her your responses to me.  Which leads me to believe there is a personal relationship.  But you are spelling her name wrong.  Which makes me think you are a moron.

If this wasn’t the dumbest move ever, I don’t know what is.  I have never seen such stupidity. You have effectively, with two e-mails, gotten her shut out from an entire state.  From the elementary schools to the colleges and every state agency in between.  This correspondence is in the state files.

Congrats?!???

FYI – I cc’d ragen on this – best to let her know how you effectively banned her from any work in my state.

In case you’re worried, there is no state file of banned speakers, least of all one that is created by administrative assistants at Universities – because those people are typically ridiculously overworked and underpaid and don’t have time to ban speakers, especially not after the claims had been verified, and the speaker copied on the correspondence.  Also, just for the record, the head of the circuit never spelled my name wrong so I don’t know what that was about. Just to round things out, reddit immediately claimed that this never happened and I faked the whole thing, demanding that I publish a screen shot.  I posted it, they claimed it was fake.  I think we have hater lies blackout BINGO! Wanna see a screenshot?  You betcha! (You can click for a larger version, but if you’re planning to claim that it’s fake no matter what you might as well save yourself the trouble!)

Fact Checker Throws Tantrum 2

It makes me think of a couple lines from one of my favorite poems “Being lied about, don’t deal in lies and being hated don’t give way to hating.”  Good advice I think. I’ll keep telling the truth and finding compassion for my trolls while finding them, in turns, hilarious and pitiable.

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Published in: on July 2, 2014 at 11:04 am  Comments (49)  

49 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. How quickly can we get you another gig in New York? (I must admit, I have a personal interest in this, being from the area and all.)

  2. Be still my beating heart… Who doesn’t love a musical with Nathan Fillion and NPH???

  3. That is ridiculously funny. If nothing else the haters will keep you laughing with their silly antics.

    And I recognized the quote right from “OK dude…”. I just knew you were a kindred spirit.

  4. Oh, good gravy. I was shaking my head through this whole post!. What ridiculousness! I am stunned by the amount of energy these trolls expend trying to knock you down. That should tell them something, huh? Thanks for spelling it all out for the rest of us, it just makes me appreciate you more.

  5. I love your “Love Mail” page. It isn’t bragging at all.

    • Seconded! It’s great to see how many people have been inspired and uplifted in so many ways.

  6. Holy crap! These people have waaaay too much time on their hands and I’m sorry but I honestly think there is something seriously wrong with them mentally. Just that one example in your latest post of a ‘fact checker’- she is just obsessed.

  7. You are awesome!

  8. Wow, I am gobsmacked! What is so wrong with that person’s character that they must take all this energy to bring someone else down just to make themselves feel better? smh…I’d pity that poor soul but they don’t deserve it. You are an inspiration to so many. Thank you for everything…

    • Go ahead and pity them. Nothing makes them madder, especially if you do it with a tiny smile. And a poorly hidden giggle.

  9. Man, that is just twisted, and not in a good way.

    The question I keep coming back to is how do people have time to do this shit? I mean, I’m at pretty darn loose ends of late with no job, no kids, and no money, but I have plenty to do to keep me entertained without trolling random people on the internet. I bake, I do crafts, I watch my extensive DVD collection, I play with my cat, I mistreat my Sims, I chat with my neighbors, I get involved in charity and political work, and if all else fails, I actually do housework.

    Really, Trolls, there’s lots to do in the world. If you don’t like Ragen making exposing the sad truth about you, don’t hassle her. Get a job, move out of your parents’ basement, and Get a Life.

    (and I bet there are a few people here who know where I stole that from)

    • You said it as well as The Shat.😉

    • I mistreat my Sims

      This line made me grin so hard. Isn’t that what The Sims is for?

      • I once created a household SPECIFICALLY to witness all the different kinds of aspiration failures.

        “The Loser Family” was a blast to play.

        And from what I have heard about no toddlers, no swimming pools, and the neighborhood restrictions in Sims 4, I’m almost glad I don’t have much money to spend on it. I’ll save my money and stick with the tried-and-true Sims 2!

  10. Sad that they dedicate so much time to something (trolling) at which they are so unskilled. Must be frustrating for them, especially while you continue to soar.

  11. As someone who’s spent my entire career in higher ed, I can affirm that basically any time a speaker gets disinvited from a campus, there’s endless amounts of handwringing over academic freedom and it usually makes academic publications and sometimes the local news. We take inclusion of voices very seriously, even when those voices say things we find troubling (not that you do, but that’s the most common example of speakers being disinvited.) And there certainly isn’t a “ban list!” Sometimes getting banned from one place ups your ante elsewhere!
    I agree, I look forward to your next gig in NY and make sure you shout it out on the blog. This troll’s actions are unbelievably pathetic and sad.

  12. All I can think about this particular troll is, if you’re going to spend this much of your life — and commit to actively defraud someone — you really couldn’t put out the extra effort necessary to do it well? Maybe it’s because my job entails listening to people lie to get free stuff, but honestly, I’ve heard so much better and I’ve come to expect a higher level of work.

    Helpful hint for all the trolls out there: If this is really your passion, commit, people. Commit!

    • No kidding! Like, if you’re going to phish, at least spell my bank’s name right! And don’t use the wrong colors in the logo.

  13. LIU’s email standard for staff/faculty is firstname[dot]lastname[at]liu[dot]edu , so it wouldn’t be THAT hard to determine if this is a real person.

    LIU is a private school, so they wouldn’t have any state-wide pull. They’re not even in the SUNY system.

    It is irritating me to no end that my school is dragged into this.

  14. The status is not quo. and I can’t believe people put so much effort into trying to drag your name through the mud and discredit you. Trolls must truly be miserable people to exert so much energy on such negative and morally-unsuccessful ventures.

  15. I would send a copy of these messages to the University in question. They do not take kindly to antics like this that would put a black mark on their names.

    • To me, that was one of the biggest red flags. Most people don’t get the opportunity to have that kind of email interaction on a professional level more than once. Largely because somebody like me is going to bring it to their boss’ attention with extreme prejudice.

      • Exactly. I’d love to see them nail this guy for fraud or impersonation.

  16. “Besides, there are little kids in that park.”

  17. It’s not new to me that there are a lot of really ill people out there, but this takes it to a whole new level. There are people who spend their free time stalking someone just because of her body shape.

  18. This makes me thing of the various folks who insist on deny various scientific facts – flat earthers, moon landing deniers, so forth and so on.

    I keep reading about how people’s emotions make them lousy reasoners, but the extremes some people go to baffles me.

    Also, do you know where I can get some wonderflonium? Asking for a friend.

  19. The scary thing is that he sounds almost sane…but not quite. Which means he can probably pass for just long enough to do some harm to somebody. Brrr.

  20. As someone who works at a University- we also email from University emails because it’s work and those are our work emails. I feel like that is just a “duh”. I have honestly never thought that I needed to email from my University email to make sure people know I’m legit and actually work there (though thinking it through, yeah, that’s an aspect tooI email from my University email for work stuff because it’s my work email, because I keep work email separate from my personal email, because it keeps things organized (emails to my personal email would be more likely to get mixed up with spam).
    The only University employees I’ve known to prefer personal emails are part time adjunct professors- and they typically are just emailing with students from their personal emails.

    Also, while I have met some very unprofessional people in my time, that is just over the top. So over the top it’s fairly amusing.

    • Yes; it’s very obviously the voice of a troll, not the voice of an administrator at a university.

  21. Kipling. And one of my favorite poems too.

  22. I just went over to Reddit and did a search for “Ragen Chastain.” I am not laughing. I am actually really upset. I can’t believe how extended and vitriolic the Ragen Hate is – and I can’t figure out how to counteract it with some Ragen Love. I certainly would never have the fortitude to keep going against this tsunami of hateful, illiterate, uniformed comments from people who just cover their ears and go “LA LA LA.”

    Ragen, I salute you for keeping up your energy and enthusiasm. You rock, your blog rocks, these people are a plague of locusts.

    • “I can’t figure out how to counteract it with some Ragen Love”

      You just did! They are a small group of people living in what I can only imagine is a pretty bad place. To me this kind of opposition is also a sign of my success as an activist – people are are my heroes in activism have dealt with all this and worse and if my work wasn’t effective they wouldn’t be trying so hard to derail it.

      Big Fat Hugs to you!

      ~Ragen

  23. What got me on the forum was when someone asks “Did someone ask her for proof!?” one replies “Yeah, but one of her Chastainlings* called her out and said she was trolling for us.” yet, two posts below that you have the person who asked on facebook admitting she asked you – time stamps match up and EVERYTHING.

    Yeah, these people have ZERO reading comprehension.

    I also don’t quite get how they can post so much. In all my years of being on active on forums in the … ugh… 20 odd years I’ve been able to connect to the internet, I have barely even scraped the number of posts those people can post in 1-2 years. I’d have to sit endlessly online or never look up from a screen to amount their volume of comments!! But I guess that’s how it goes hand in hand. Who has time to actually read to comprehend when you’ve gotta get your opinion out on something you’ve barely even glanced at? I type at a 75 wpm and read fairly quickly, but hot dang… I could never write so much so fast without making sure I had all my ducks in a row.

    *Seriously, Chastainlings? Come on… that’s clunky as I’ll get out. Why not Chastling or Chastalings? So much easier.

    • Rageneers.

      • We could all be either Knights or Ladies to Her Royal Highness, The Fifth Baroness Of Chubbington!!

        • HA! Love it! Guess creativity just doesn’t fit well with that crowd. Pity!

  24. That is simultaneously hilarious and sad. Those trolls’ hatred runs so deep that they can’t even accept reality.

  25. Well, I haven’t read the hate mail (and am not going to) and haven’t checked Reddit (I’m not even sure what Reddit is, and don’t think I want to find out). But I want to say a huge THANK YOU to Ragen for this blog. In the six months or so I’ve been reading it, the changes in my feelings about myself, my weight, my body, have been so profound I don’t even know how to describe the impact. I am not healthy–I have congestive heart failure (due to congenital heart defect, NOT weight) and various issues related to that and to medication. I walk for exercise every day, but I’m often in pain when I walk. Still, reading this blog has made me think so differently about my daily walk — instead of “I have to do this to try to lose weight” (which of course never worked) I am now thinking something more like “let’s take this body, imperfect as it is, out for a spin and keep it going at the best it can do.” My best is never going to include a marathon, or running, or a lot of other things — but for the first time in years I’m *proud* of what I can do, even with my health limitations. Instead of thinking “I hate the hand I’ve been dealt” I’m able to think “Hey, it’s pretty cool how much I can do!” And instead of thinking “I need to eat less, I’m fat, OH MY GOD!” I’m eating intuitively — some days eating less than before, some more — and enjoying what I eat.

    I’m rambling, but one last thing. I was at a relative’s wedding a month ago, and I *danced*. To know why that’s a big deal, you’d have to know me. I haven’t danced in public in over 20 years — I was too self-conscious and too ashamed of my size. At this wedding, I danced. Y’all, I DANCED. If it weren’t for Ragen, I never would have.

    And afterwards, my niece e-mailed me and said “Aunt Elizabeth, you looked so beautiful at the wedding.” Well, if I did, it was because I was comfortable in my body for the first time in so many long years … So, Ragen, THANK YOU.

    • Thinking of you dancing made me smile.🙂

      • Thanks!!

    • That is fantastic! You go and dance every chance you get. {{{HUGS}}}

      Also, I love “let’s take this body, imperfect as it is, out for a spin and keep it going at the best it can do.” You are amazing.

      • Thank you so much, Buffy!

      • Yes! I appreciated that passage from Elizabeth’s post as well — it bespeaks a level of self-acceptance (in the service of taking actions that are important to her) that is well worth aspiring to.

    • OMG! I am so proud of you! And happy for you! And happy for your niece, as well!

      YAAAYYYYYY!!!!

      I am putting away the chocolate to celebrate, because I already have the endorphins, and don’t need it. That means, it will be there when tomorrow’s batch of crankiness hits, and I’ll save a few bucks this month on chocolate therapy. Oooh! Give me another story like this tomorrow, and the day after, and I might not need chocolate until August! WOOOT!

      Everyone’s a hero in their own way!

      • Thank you so much, Michelle.

        I love this blog, and I love the commentators! Y’all ROCK.

        And yes, my wonderful niece — she has had a boatload of health problems in her young life (she’s 23) and has learned way too early how much ableism there is and how much damage it can do. Her telling me I looked beautiful meant so much.

  26. That is one of my all-time favorite movies!

    Bad HOOORRRRSSSEEEE!

  27. The fuck? Don’t these people have anything better to do?


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