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The views and opinions expressed on MSC Blogs are not necessarily MSC's official views and opinions.

from MSC's Official Blog

Our mission is to make sure that MSC remains a strong, safe, and secure community where MAPs can receive the support and community that they need and deserve. Recently we have taken a step towards improving the safety and long term viability of the community, with the advice of the experts we work with: limiting the ability for MSC to be misused for sexual grooming of minors.

We believe the feelings people have right now – among staff and our membership – are completely valid. We did not adequately communicate all of what we considered in reaching the conclusion we did, nor did we adequately prepare for the questions people would have. To make it worse, staff has been struggling to resolve internal disputes for some time that are interpersonal and ideological, and a lot of people on our staff are hurting right now.

None of that is an excuse for the way we sprang this on the community, and we are sorry we did not take more preparation in communicating our decision or considering how people might react. This is a big change – a big change we never could have anticipated when Ender and Oliver formed MSC almost 5 years ago. We have experienced explosive growth since December and have struggled to put years of precedent into writing, policy, and communicate those adequately enough to train our staff and make our expectations to the MSC community as transparent as possible.

Reasons and Considerations

There was a significant incident that MSC admins and moderators discovered quite by accident via a tweet published on January the 27th: The possibility that someone from MSC was silently taking screenshots of conversations in onboarding going back to the time period of August to November. We looked into the account that shared those tweets and compared it against the interests and writing style of our members. We uncovered three suspects, viewed their direct messages, and found inappropriate messages that violated our rules.

We immediately banned those two members and notified them of our decision and the reasons for it, a decision we reached by team consensus. Both members attempted to misrepresent the situation, one of whom was extremely public about their side of the story. Because of our privacy policies at the time, we could not describe what happened in any detail. That is why we met on February the 11th 2021, and also why we overhauled our terms of service and privacy policy.

Since February 11th, 2021, we have considered many different possible paths forward to resolve these issues and prevent further issues. These are listed below.

Before those, though, we have heard one thing loud and clear from this. MAPs did not appreciate a sudden announcement of the change and would have preferred some kind of prior consultation.

We understand that we did not explain all of the below reasons to you when we announced this change, and we should have. We also did not explain that we were likely to make changes in response to the incident we noted in #announcements in January 2021, or ask for the wider community’s suggestions at that point. We apologize that we did not do so.

For the future, we will make a better effort to consult with the community on important changes and explain the reasoning for those changes before we announce their implementation. Sometimes our hands will be tied anyway, and sometimes we will have to make quick decisions without consultation, but we recognise in this case that there is no perfect solution and that suggestions should be considered.

What Factors Did Staff Consider In Making This Decision?

  1. Parting ways with Prostasia Foundation: This was not an option because they provide financial proxying so that we can cover our hosting costs without putting our staff's financial and therefore real-life name and information in the public sphere, and because they provide legal protection and advice to us. They have also assisted us in forming an arrangement with Stop It Now! to provide the sessions we have in the channel currently named therapy, and another arrangement is currently in the works.

  2. Scanning direct messages rather than removing them: This, as the membership can see from the #dm-scanning-terms channel which many are a part of, has been considered for quite some time. We determined it was not feasible in the short term of several months, in part due to the upfront cost involved in writing a unique program to do all of what we need it to do, and because of the vast time and resources it would take to implement. We also found it challenging to define a simple list of words that “gave away” whether a conversation was appropriate or not. It is not an immediate solution to concerns of sexual harm occurring on our platform and it is reactive, not preventative. That would likely take from many months to years to develop, let alone properly fund.

  3. Concerns that the support our minor members receive would be impacted: It is true that this will change the way we offer support to minor members, and that some of you will miss the kind of support you received in DMs, most of which we believe was positive. However, a question we had to deal with was whether we made the right decision offering unrestricted DMs when MSC started on Rocketchat. In our Discord days, MSC had no responsibility for what went on in DM chats as they were not part of MSC. This changed when we moved to Rocketchat. While we could not see a way to reconcile a reasonable duty of care with unrestricted DMs, we discussed the idea of forming private rooms at minor request that fit a 2-staff-to-minor ratio in order to continue providing support to our minor members. We also decided to allow minors to choose who is in a private group with them to ensure they remain comfortable with the persons involved, and can make that choice themselves under the 2-staff-to-one-minor framework. 1-on-1 situations in volunteer organizations are not the best practice – at least one other adult must be present, and that is how most volunteer organizations run things and professional organizations have much higher standards. Continuing to allow 1-on-1 situations is not viable for us as a community where minors are involved.

  4. Ceasing to allow minors: This goes directly against the reasons MSC was formed, and was an option that one person suggested as a technical possibility, but one that nobody on our staff supported in any form or manner. This option was merely brought up to ensure we had all the viable options to choose from.

  5. Balancing our duty as a platform to protect members against our ideals of education and communication: We commit to ensuring that younger applicants are aware of the risks and the opportunities to seek support from our staff or elsewhere, however it is common for victims/survivors of abuse to not report that they have been harmed for many years.

  6. One staff monitoring two people is sufficient This was considered, but we tried to find a balance of observation so that a staff member could not make a decision by themself to either ignore or delete messages that clearly break the rules (this is particularly important if there is a serious rule-breach). Having a channel overseen by two staff lowers the risk that a staff member acts alone or against the rules and covers it up by deleting. Imagine if two minors were in a chat with a staff member, the staff member wrote something inappropriate then deleted their comment, and the two minors were both very new and felt intimidated about raising the concern by themselves. We think a second staff member’s presence should deter that. We have tried to balance the risk of adding more and more staff (and making the chat feel less private) against the risk of DMs being abused, as above. We are also aware that conversations on MSC can be fast moving and members of staff may not be checking in frequently. Finally, should a chat be requested with a specific member of staff, the only other adult present would be an additional member of staff.

  7. The concern of being shut down: Because of the very unique and niche nature of MSC, this risk is greater because we provide services to minors by people who many in society see as risks to minors. Nearly all MAP communities are adult-only and some openly share stories of them harming children, many more than people realize in comparison to places like Virped or MSC. These are the kinds of communities that law enforcement is aware of and monitors for the chance of arresting the worst of the worst, if not running them directly as the FBI and Australian law enforcement has been found to do. MSC is not the kind of community that law enforcement would merely monitor, and the level of backlash if we took no actions to safeguard our minor members would set back not only our mission but, by association, would tarnish the efforts of other sites in the anti-contact MAP community. It is both about operational security and about the fear of public backlash and the effects that backlash can have on our ability to continue operating and providing support to MAPs.

  8. The concern of people going off-platform: This is mainly a concern for the minors we have in our community right now. While we cannot stop people or expect them to not share off-platform communication methods before implementing this change, that is also not a decision that we would like to see people make, even while it is somewhat inevitable. We are not concerned with invading the confidential conversations that are required for support; we are concerned mainly with ensuring that these conversations remain appropriate and harm-free so that people can be safely supported.

  9. Staff concerns about our own ability to adequately support members: 2020 has been difficult, and the effects of the pandemic are further-reaching than any of us is individually aware of. The reality is, being on staff in MSC is balanced against the needs of our own lives: work, school, friends and family, and partners outside of MSC. We also see MSC members as part of our family. To see any part of that family struggling hurts, and those hurts add up, especially knowing that there is a limit to the amount of support we can provide to people. We must balance the realities of our own life as staff.

  10. Fear of a law enforcement investigation: We value our members' privacy and we must balance that value against the harsh realities that a law enforcement investigation would bring upon MSC. That is, no member's private information would remain private and would be viewed by law enforcement and if charges were brought, the court, and even the general public. We do not want to see a violation of that manner ever happen in MSC.

  11. The context in which MSC operates: This is a complex reason that starts with the big change Twitter made in October 2020: They effectively decided to ban MAPs via policy, which they decided with many big names in sexual violence “prevention.” We put that in quotes because those big names are largely hostile to our cause of getting support for fears that such “support” in their eyes can become a method for radicalizing people into sexually abusing children. They have a lot of fear around us. These organizations are organizations like Canadian Child Protect, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the End Child Prostitution and Trafficking, and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, all of whom we can tell you do not pay attention to facts or reason, but fear and emotion. We have a very low opinion of these organizations.   This is an important fact because it demonstrates the resolve, organization, and power that these groups have to effectively silence organizations, advocacy, and ideas they disagree with. That is the environment Prostasia Foundation is working in, as the very reason Prostasia Foundation was formed is to protect the idea that support for minor- attracted people is a fundamental human right.   It is in that environment that the very first major community that serves both minors and adults is attempting to gain a foothold. That's us. We do not have the luxury of operating as if we exist in our own bubble. Without Prostasia Foundation's partnership, first established in November, 2018 and publicized thereafter, MSC would not exist today because our administrator team would bear the full responsibility of what happens on our platform, both positive and negative, without the financial proxy that Prostasia Foundation provides and without the legal expertise that Jeremy has to offer, and certainly without the ear to the ground that they have in knowing how the aforementioned organizations operate.

Short Version

We did consider all of the options above when we reached the conclusion we did, and we weighed the concerns seriously while balancing them against our needs. During our conversations in map-talk in the last 24 hours, we heard very clearly almost all of the concerns we considered in our process of reaching the conclusion we did, which is why it was presented as a final decision. We do not like the position we found ourselves in, but we are not in a situation in our lives in which we can take upon ourselves the full legal, social, and financial responsibilities to run MSC without a partner like Prostasia Foundation, and not having that kind of a partner would severely limit the amount of support MSC could provide above and beyond the level to which revoking solo DM's with minors would.

We would ask each and every one of you to read this over carefully several times and, of course, ask any questions you may have and pose any suggestions you can think of. We are firm in our resolution to ensure that 1-on-1 situations with minors must not happen on our platform. In how we best go about that to balance the concerns, we are happy to consider all the perspectives so that we can continue being MAP Support Club.

 
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from MSC's Official Blog

Peer support is something you rarely hear in most contexts outside a professional atmosphere. Why is that? It is primarily because with most issues, even stigmatized issues, people can talk about them and get support. Drug addiction? You can join support groups, get support with getting clean, go to a rehab center, talk with people online... all with little to no serious problems.

For minor-attracted people, though, that is not realistically an option. If we go to a mental health support group, people talk and therapists can report us to the police because they simply do not know enough about minor attraction to be properly supportive. In some cases, therapists choose not to learn and would rather refer people to someone else. There are few, if any, therapy centers that specialize in sexuality enough to know how to treat minor-attracted people in a supportive and non-judgmental way. So what professional or peer support is available to minor-attracted people? Not much.

If we tell friends, family, or neighbors, we take the risk that they might out us as a pedophile to the entire community. If we are seen by someone we know in a dedicated therapy office, we take that same risk. Our options are improving, but still very limited compared to most other struggles out there.

The benefits of peer support vary widely. For many, the biggest thing we learn is a label by which we can call ourselves. For some, anti-contact MAP is that label. Some choose no-contact or non-contact, which is an emerging term to indicate that no amount of sexual contact with a child is acceptable, including for the purposes of creating sexually harmful imagery. Others choose simply to call themselves a pedophile – someone attracted to prepubescent children – because they believe that identifying their stance is inherently stigmatizing. Regardless, having a term we identify with is one step closer to feeling heard, validated, and accepted.

Many minor-attracted people have very big issues with self-esteem and hating themselves for their attractions. So, to have support from others who go through the same thing can be positively life-changing.

There are, of course, inherent PR risks to minor-attracted people gathering for the purposes of peer support. The less educated folk think we go around sharing sexually harmful images, regardless of having removed people from our community for attempting to do so and having clear policies in our terms of service against sharing even innocent images of children. These misunderstandings are, unfortunately, commonplace among people who erroneously believe they do not know any minor-attracted people.

Regardless of these misunderstandings and the reasons for them, peer support also gives people who are open to learning an opportunity to talk to us. It gives researchers a place to post surveys and studies, and it gives sympathetic professionals a place to possibly volunteer once they pass our vetting process. It also ensures a place where minor-attracted people concerned about morality and wanting to keep children safe a comfortable place to find community. Weighed against the PR risks, there is no realistic reason why peer support should not exist for everyone who needs support.

 
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from MSC's Official Blog

Hi!

I'm writing you with mixed news that you will want to sit down for. On May 13th, one of our staff members in MAP Support Club, a peer support chat designed for minors, notified us that there was a claim that a relatively new MAP ally on Twitter killed themselves. We were initially skeptical.

The MAP ally's name was Randy, and for the past two to three weeks, they were taking abuse and harassment simply for supporting minor attracted people like myself and those in our community. That led to their death. I know this because one of our allies, Rusty Warner, put a call into an FBI agent he knows, and confirmed on May 14th that they are investigating his suicide, which happened on May 9th. Randy was 19 years old.

As an administrator of MAP Support Club, I am devastated to hear that Randy and those close to him didn't have the support he needed because our support chat, which we run through a partnership with Prostasia Foundation, is well equipped to advise people on how to stay safe on social media and provide support when people need it. We have the proper rules and privacy policy in place.

Until last month, we have kept our chat very private, only telling trusted allies of our existence for fear of being infiltrated by trolls and haters. In the month since we've gone public, we haven't had many trolls. While that can always change, as administrator, I believe it is time that MAP Support Club stops hiding and starts helping. But we can't do it alone.

We don't have therapists in our chat. Our staff doesn't have and doesn't know how to access crisis training resources to help us be more effective in helping people. We don't have the ability to scan our server for illegal images and report offenders. We don't have the ability to actively monitor minor direct messages for possible exploitation. These things take time, connections, technical expertise, and of course, money.

We need your help. If you run an organization with a website, please consider listing our blog page, and stay tuned for that to update to a website in the next few months. If you are a therapist, please consider donating your time. If you have financial resources, please consider sharing them. If you talk to minor attracted people, please talk about our community. If you're not already in our community, please consider joining. All I need is an email with a username you'd like to go by in our chat, and for you to fill out the attached PDF (if you are currently in MSC, please fill out the attached form and email it back as a reply all).

Randy was only trying to help minor attracted people and spread awareness of the challenges and hatred that we face. For that, he was bullied into suicide. Please help us so we can help prevent more people from harming themselves.

Thank you for your time,

Timothy N. Fury

Advocate for the Primary Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse

Administrator in MAP Support Club.

 
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from PedoViking

A couple days ago when we were giving a new member full member status, we discovered a hilarious bug with the MSC Bot.

The bot suddenly started spamming messages, as if it was executing the same command over and over again. The reason?

Whenever a reaction was added to or removed from a message, the bot treated it like it just received the message again!


The Issue

The change in the message stream doesn't really differentiate between a new/removed reaction to a message, and an entirely new message.

This is the “event” the bot receives when a reaction is added or removed from a message:

{
  _id: 'Adyuyjf8MvFcWixi9',
  rid: '738H9FSvBLGwSX5rS',
  msg: 'test emoji',
  ts: { '$date': 1587525487948 },
  u: {
    _id: 'XgHsc6JaAu9HgtaDb',
    username: 'PedoViking',
    name: 'OliverViking'
  },
  _updatedAt: { '$date': 1587525494548 },
  mentions: [],
  channels: [],
  reactions: { ':rocket:': { usernames: [Array] } }
}

It's just the message object itself. How can the bot know that this is a reaction to a message? First one might think to check whether the reactions object is present, but that only solves half of the issue. Because when a reaction is removed, so that no reactions are present on the message anymore, the reactions object will be gone.

The Fix

It turned out to be quite a simple fix. Just had to switch the message handler (it attaches a callback to the changes in the message stream) out with a higher level message handler built into the JavaScript SDK.

Before:

  // Connect the processMessages callback
  driver.reactToMessages(processMessages)

After:

  // Connect the processMessages callback
  driver.respondToMessages(processMessages, {
    rooms: true,
    dm: true,
    edited: false,
  })

This higher level message handler has a lot of built in checks. Most of them are configurable, as shown above. The developer can choose if they want the bot to respond to DMs, edited messages, and which rooms to respond to.

Why does this solve the issue though? How does respondToMessages handle filtering out emojis? Well, a quick look through the source code reveals that it actually just checks whether the message was created before the last message the bot received.

    // Set current time for comparison to incoming
    let currentReadTime = new Date(message.ts.$date)

    // Ignore edited messages if configured to
    if (!config.edited && message.editedAt) return

    // Set read time as time of edit, if message is edited
    if (message.editedAt) currentReadTime = new Date(message.editedAt.$date)

    // Ignore messages in stream that aren't new
    if (currentReadTime <= lastReadTime) return

#devlog #msc #code

 
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from PedoViking

The way MSC Bot handles permissions before today was by having an if statement in every command that required a specific role:

Since every command has roughly the same structure, there was a lot of duplication of these if statements. Almost every command had one of them.

To get rid of this duplication, and to simplify the creation of new commands, I added an option field to the exported object (each command exports an object with various information about the command) called requireOneOfRoles. This field should be an array of role names, exactly the same array as in the image above.

The exported object from the addMAP command

Now in the main file where I loop over all the commands to check which command is being called, I can now also check if the user has the required permission!

(Yes, I know. That if statement needs some refactoring :P)

MSC Bot functions exactly the same way as it did before all these changes, but it is now easier for me to add more commands, because I don't have to do the permission logic every time!


Something that did change the way MSC Bot functions though, was the help command. Previously the help command just used to show all the commands, didn't matter if you actually had the permissions to execute the commands or not.

Well now, with the refactoring of the permissions, I was able to filter out commands based on the permissions!


#devlog #msc #code

 
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from MSC's Official Blog

Are the blogs public?

You have different settings you can choose for your blog:

  • Unlisted (visible only to those who have the link)
  • Private (only you can view the blog and no one else)
  • password-protected
  • public (open to the entire web)

Can readers follow my blog?

Yes, in a few ways. MSC Blogs is part of the fediverse, meaning that a user on something like Mastodon can follow you from their Mastodon account, your posts will then also appear in their feed. The other way users can follow your blog is by subscribing to an RSS feed.

What can I blog about?

Anything! It doesn't have to be pedophilia related, but it certainly can aswell. Post about whatever you want; use it as a daily journal, post art, poems, songs, your attractions and struggles or victories with it, etc.

Can I delete my blog posts after publishing them?

Yes. You can always delete your blog posts from MSC Blogs.

However, there is a caveat. If someone is following your blog using the fediverse or just simple RSS they will get a copy of your blog post. We cannot guarantee that your blog post will be deleted on other servers.

Basically, the issue with deleting something off of the internet, is that as soon as someone else has a copy of it, there is no guarantee that it can be deleted. Someone might take a screenshot of your post or just copy paste the text somewhere.

 
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from MSC's Official Blog


General Blogs

• "Celibate Pedophiles", by Ethan Edwards — https://celibatepedos.virped.org

• "Not A Monster", by Todd Nickerson — https://notamonsterblog.wordpress.com/

• "Pensamentos Folle", by Lucas P. Folle (Portuguese/English) — http://pensamentosfolle.blogspot.com

• "A Life Less Lonely", by Leonard – https://livingwithpedophilia.wordpress.com/


Blogs and Publications

• Pedophiles About Pedophiliahttps://aboutpedophilia.com/


Other Websites

• MAP Resources, general resources for finding support and community — https://sites.google.com/view/MAPresources

• Virtuous Pedophiles, a website for non-offending, anti-contact pedophiles (fill in contact form to access peer support forum) — http://virped.org

• B4U-ACT, organization to educate mental health providers and promote access to mental health support for MAPs, with a peer support forum for MAPs and support options for friends and relatives — http://b4uact.org

• Christian Pedophile, a website for Christian pedophiles — http://christianpedophile.com/

• Čepek, Czech site for non-offending pedophiles — http://pedofilie-info.cz

• The Primary Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, site with resources about preventing CSA — https://csaprimaryprevention.org/


#Resources

 
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