Miami Autumn & MSC Members — May 2021
It can be shocking to hear from your friend, family member, or partner that they are attracted to minors. You may feel surprised or in-denial. You may even feel worried or like they betrayed you. It's completely understandable to feel this way. In our society, there are few things as looked-down-on as paedophilia. You are not alone in your reaction. You have every right to feel the emotions that you feel.
You may have not experienced this, but that doesn't exclude the possibility that your friend, family member, or partner could come to you and confess that they have a sexual attraction to minors. As much as 1% of all people may have a sexual attraction to minors (Seto, 2016).
Minor attraction is innate, unchosen, and unchangeable. Anyone of any age, gender, race, religion, etc. can be a minor-attracted person (MAP). Even minors themselves can have a sexual attraction to much younger minors. In fact, most people first realise that they're attracted to younger minors when they're about 13 or 14.
Importantly, simply having an attraction is not the same as engaging in illegal sexual activity. Most MAPs have never engaged in illegal sexual activity with a minor and never will. Correspondingly, the majority of illegal sexual activity with minors is committed by non-MAPs (situational offenders), not by MAPs. Attraction does not equal action.
What to do
Maintain your relationship. They are still the exact same person as they were before they told you about their minor attraction. They are still the same friend, family member, or partner who loves you. They are still the same sibling that you grew up with. Minor attraction is just one part of who a person is. Do not let this one thing ruin your relationship with this person. Repeat and emphasise that you still care about them and that they're still your friend/family member/partner.
Manage emotions. A conversation cannot be productive when people are upset. If either you or the person you're talking to is experiencing immediate distress, the best actions are to provide support, receive support, and calm down. Engaging in sensitive conversation when distressed is a recipe for disaster.
Practise active listening. Listen to understand, not to respond. Pay attention to what's being said, maintain intermittent eye contact, use touch when appropriate, and ask clarifying questions.
Ask questions. Asking open-ended, non-judgmental questions is an excellent way to further your understanding about this person's experience, how minor attraction affects them, and what they need from you. When you don't understand something, ask for clarification. If you would like more information about something, ask them if they can tell you more about it. Avoid 'why' questions as they can come off as interrogatory. Example questions:
'How did you first realise that you're attracted to minors?'
'How does being attracted to minors affect you?'
'Which ages and genders of minors are you attracted to?'
'Can you tell me more about... ?'
'What can I do to best support you?'
Intervene to support, not to prevent. The large majority of MAPs have never engaged in illegal sexual activity with a minor and never will. Most MAPs are not at an increased risk for this behaviour, and it is not your duty to prevent this person from engaging in it. A focus on prevention creates the assumption that you view this person as a liability rather than as an individual worthy of support. It creates an atmosphere of mistrust. Forgetting the focus on prevention and providing them with needed emotional support and friendship will foster mental well-being and lasting relationships.
Maintain confidentiality. Minor attraction is one of the most sensitive things a person can disclose about themself. They trusted you with this information with the confidence that it will be kept private.
What NOT to do
Do not make assumptions. All MAPs are different. Even if you know a great deal about minor attraction, you do not know how minor attraction affects this individual person. Never assume that they feel one way or the other. When a person confesses to you that they're a MAP, it's essential to approach the conversation without any kind of preconceived notions.
Do not ask whether they have engaged in illegal activity. According to research, the large majority of MAPs have not engaged in illegal sexual activity with minors. Asking whether they have engaged in illegal activity creates an atmosphere of interrogation and mistrust that can be destructive to relationships. They most likely have not engaged in illegal activity, and they will almost certainly not tell you about it if they have, so do not ask. If they want to tell you, then they will tell you without you asking.
Do not attempt to change them. Minor attraction is not changeable. Trying will only cause harm to them and to your relationship.
Do not express approval or disapproval. It is not your place to judge them. Instead, listen to them, validate their emotions, ask appropriate questions, and support them emotionally if needed.
Do not take it personally. You may feel like they betrayed you by keeping this a secret. And, although it's understandable to feel that way, it's important to understand that they have likely been hiding this for years and have told very few people if anyone. Secrecy is essential for survival as a MAP. It can be very distressing for MAPs to have to keep this lifelong secret from their loved ones and even more distressing for them to tell others. Them keeping it secret is not personal.
Do not accuse them of being an unfaithful partner. It's natural to feel a bit jealous at the thought of your partner being attracted to people other than you, but understand that attraction is not something that can be chosen. They did not choose to be attracted to minors. It doesn't mean that they find you any less attractive or that they no longer want to be with you. It's simply another part of who they are.
When a person confesses to you that they're attracted to minors, it may be unexpected. It may be upsetting. But, it doesn't have to be the end of your relationship. They are still the same person that you have always known and loved.
Going forwards, focus on your relationship with this person. Focus on being their friend and caring about them as a person. Even long past their initial confession to you, continue to practise the advice in this article.
If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please contact me
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Miami Autumn — March 2021
Emotional abuse can affect anyone of any age, especially children and the elderly. MAPs could be vulnerable to emotional abuse by anti-MAPs and by the general population because of stigma and discrimination. Emotional abuse is preventable. All people can help by learning what it is, what effects it is associated with, and how to prevent it.
Emotional abuse (also referred to as verbal abuse) includes behaviors used to “manipulate, intimidate, and maintain power and control over someone” (Brennan, 2020). Emotional abuse can manifest as a variety of behaviors:
Harming others (including pets)
Stealing or breaking possessions
Damaging or destroying property (including slamming doors)
Other aggressive, manipulatory, and derogatory behaviors
Emotional abuse often affects children and often gets ignored when it is disregarded as being “discipline.” Emotional abuse is not discipline — it is abuse. Emotional abuse, including yelling at or shaming children, is ineffective at changing children's behavior in the long term and is harmful (Sege & Siegel, 2018).
According to a meta-analysis conducted by Norman et al. (2012) that included 124 studies, emotional abuse is associated with various illnesses:
Preventing emotional abuse begins first with recognizing all people, including children, as individual humans who are deserving of health and well-being. Emotional abuse does not become permissible under certain circumstances (such as when angry at a spouse or when attempting to discipline a child); it is always abuse.
Caregivers of children should practice positive behavior management strategies and avoid all forms of punishment (see: Toddler discipline without shameNote: this is relevant to children of all ages, not just toddlers).
If you or a loved one is experiencing emotional abuse or is engaging in emotional abuse, please contact a medical professional for advice. This article is for education only and is not intended as medical advice.
Abercrombie, H. C., Frost, C. P., Walsh, E. C., Hoks, R. M., Cornejo, M. D., Sampe, M. C., Gaffey, A. E., Plante, D. T., Ladd, C. O., & Birn, R. M. (2018). Neural signaling of cortisol, childhood emotional abuse, and depression-related memory bias. Biological psychiatry. Cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging, 3(3), 274–284. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpsc.2017.11.005.
Carpenter, L. L., Tyrka, A. R., Ross, N. S., Khoury, L., Anderson, G. M., & Price, L. H. (2009). Effect of childhood emotional abuse and age on cortisol responsivity in adulthood. Biological psychiatry, 66(1), 69–75. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.02.030.
Farrell, C., Doolin, K., O' Leary, N., Jairaj, C., Roddy, D., Tozzi, L., Morris, D., Harkin, A., Frodl, T., Nemoda, Z., Szyf, M., Booij, L., & O'Keane, V. (2018). DNA methylation differences at the glucocorticoid receptor gene in depression are related to functional alterations in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity and to early life emotional abuse. Psychiatry research, 265, 341–348. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2018.04.064.
Norman, R. E., Byambaa, M., De, R., Butchart, A., Scott, J., & Vos, T. (2012). The long-term health consequences of child physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS medicine, 9(11), e1001349. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001349.
Tang, R., Howe, L. D., Suderman, M., Relton, C. L., Crawford, A. A., & Houtepen, L. C. (2020). Adverse childhood experiences, DNA methylation age acceleration, and cortisol in UK children: A prospective population-based cohort study. Clinical epigenetics, 12(1), 55. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13148-020-00844-2.
Miami Autumn — March 2021
Anti-MAPs (antis) have a long history of harassing, doxxing, and endangering minor-attracted persons (MAPs). Hence, security and privacy are necessities for MAPs; this includes both social and technical implications. If you have any suggestions for this article, please contact me.
I. Social protection
It is strongly recommended to use a pseudonym when participating in MAP communities or discussing minor attraction online. Effective pseudonyms are difficult to tie back to a MAP's personal identity. Be aware of what is being shared and whether it may be identifying. Overly specific details shared from a MAP identity could potentially lead back to a personal identity.
Details such as a general age (e.g., 20s) or general location (e.g., United States) alone are not identifying. However, when combined with other data (e.g., time zone, state/city, occupation, exact age, birth month, interests, hobbies, etc.), a person's identity can be narrowed down to relatively few people. While this alone isn't necessarily dangerous, it can be in some circumstances, especially if a MAP's personal identity is also public (e.g., on public social media, published literature, etc.).
In addition to being cautious about what's shared through their MAP identity, a MAP should also be cautious about what's shared through their personal identity. It's advisable for public figures in the MAP community to consider limiting or deleting personal social media accounts and making an effort to reduce their digital footprint. Techlore has an excellent video tutorial about how to accomplish this effectively.
Publicity and permanency
Assume that MAP communities are public and that anyone can gain access to them if they are dedicated enough, and assume that anything said on the internet is permanent. Even if something is deleted, there is no guarantee whether someone may have already saved it offline, especially on public social media sites such as Twitter, Mastodon, and Reddit.
Trust and sensitive information
In MAP communities, trust is earned, not given. Always question the possibility that someone isn't who they say they are. Be cautious when sharing sensitive information, and never publicly admit to unadjudicated illegal activity.More...
Only disclose sensitive information if everyone in the conversation is also willing to disclose the same sensitive information.
When disclosing any kind of sensitive information, do so on a secure, end-to-end encrypted platform such as Session, Element, Signal, or Telegram secret chats (regular chats are not end-to-end encrypted on Telegram). Direct messages in most MAP communities and public social media are not private and can be read by community administrators. View the messaging and email section for more info.
Disclose sensitive information conservatively and gradually. Talk to the person for at least several weeks, and ask questions to affirm their trust. Ask how they feel about the topic, drop hints at it, etc. Be reasonably confident that the person is who they say they are and that they can be trusted with the information intended to be disclosed.
Always keep in mind that publicly disclosing unadjudicated illegal activity is a rule violation in most MAP communities and is dangerous. Never publicly admit to unadjudicated illegal activity.
II. Technical protection
People rely on their browser to protect them from online tracking. Common browsers like Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge allow people to be tracked and have poor privacy customization options.
Tor Browser is the best browser for privacy and security. It is designed to make people using it look like everyone else using it, so people cannot be targeted by trackers. When using Tor Browser, web traffic is routed through the Tor network (view the networks section for more info), which means that websites and attackers cannot see a person's real location; they can only see that a person is using Tor.
Tor Browser is based on Firefox, which is also a solid option for secure browsing if it is customized and paired with a virtual private network (view the networks section for more info). Safari is another secure browsing option for people who use iOS and MacOS.
To ensure that a browser isn't storing local logs of browsing activity, enable private browsing mode. Some browsers allow private browsing to be set as the default browsing mode. Tor Browser is always in private browsing.
Tor Browser offers three security settings: standard, safer, and safest. These options are sufficient for nearly all browsing circumstances. However, if online activities require the utmost security, people should use TailsOS (view the operating systems section for more info) with the safest security settings in Tor.
In Firefox, browser fingerprinting can be resisted by going to about:config and toggling privacy.resistFingerprinting so that it is set to true. This setting is enabled by default in Tor Browser.
For iPhone users: The official Tor Browser is not available on iOS because iOS requires browsers to use WebKit (Tor Browser is based on Firefox, not WebKit). iPhone users can use Onion Browser by Mike Tigas, which is endorsed by the Tor Project. Onion Browser is open-source and provides adequate privacy/security for nearly all use cases. However, Onion Browser has some known limitations.
Never use the Android Tor Browser or Onion Browser for activities that require utmost security. Mobile devices have inherent limitations that cannot be surmounted, and this could place people at risk in some situations.
Unless a device has been encrypted, chances are that all of the data on that device is accessible to anyone who gets ahold of it. Encryption protects people's data by making it appear to be a string of random characters until a passphrase is entered to decrypt it.
VeraCrypt is free and open-source encryption software that can be used on Linux, MacOS, and Windows. iPhones are encrypted by default when a passcode is enabled, and encryption on Android phones depends on the model.
Important: If a device is powered on and a passphrase has been entered to decrypt it, then it is not fully encrypted again until it is powered off. In order to encrypt the device completely again, power the device off; do not just lock it.
Most operating systems have native encryption software that can be utilized. VeraCrypt is free, open-source, and cross-platform.
Android — depends on the model and may require people to manually enable encryption in settings or download an app that encrypts the device.
iPhone — encrypted automatically when a passcode is set in the Face ID/Touch ID & Passcode menu in Settings.
MacOS — has FileVault start-up disk encryption that can be enabled in the Security & Privacy menu in System Preferences. Disk Utility can be used to encrypt external drives and create encrypted volumes within MacOS.
VeraCrypt — available for Linux, MacOS, and Windows and can be used to encrypt system partitions as well as to create standard encrypted volumes and hidden volumes.
Direct messages in most MAP communities and public social media are not private and can be read by community administrators. When disclosing any kind of sensitive information, do so on a secure, end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) platform such as Session, Element, Signal, or Telegram secret chats (regular chats are not E2EE on Telegram). End-to-end encryption ensures that message content can only be read by the person sending the message and the person(s) receiving the message.
It is highly recommended for MAPs to use a separate email address for their MAP identity that is not tied in anyway to their personal identity. Protonmail and Tutanota are two email providers with strong privacy practices. Email is generally not considered a secure form of communication; however, Protonmail and Tutanota allow the option to send E2EE emails that require a password to open. If both people are using the same email provider, then emails are sent E2EE without requiring a password.
Session is open-source, E2EE, and uses an onion-routing network to ensure that people using the app are anonymous. It does not require a phone number, email address, or anything else to register.
Element is open-source and has an option for E2EE (it is not always enabled; it must be enabled manually). Element requires a real email address to register, but this email address is not displayed to other people.
Telegram is partially open-source and uses E2EE in secret chats (regular chats are not E2EE). Secret chats are only one-to-one; E2EE group chats are not supported. Telegram requires a real phone number in order to register, and this phone number is shared by default; however, phone number sharing can be disabled in the Telegram settings. When adding a new contact, Telegram shares people's phone numbers by default, but this can be prevented by disabling it when adding new contacts. If Telegram has access to a person's contacts, it will allow people to find each other using their phone numbers.
Signal is open-source and E2EE. It requires a real phone number, and this phone number is shared with others.
One method that antis use to dox MAPs is to send a link to a website that will gather the MAP's internet protocol (IP) address, giving the anti the MAP's approximate location. With that information, antis can narrow a MAP down to very few people and figure out the MAP's personal identity.
To protect against this, MAPs can use Tor. The Tor network is a decentralized network of servers that provides people with anonymity. When a person is connected to Tor using the Tor Browser (view the browsers section for more info), websites they visit are only able to see that somebody using Tor is accessing their website; they cannot see the person's real IP address.
MAPs can also use a virtual private network (VPN), which acts as a proxy between a person, their ISP, and the websites they’re visiting. VPNs are similar to Tor in this regard, but they are less secure/private than Tor. ProtonVPN is a free VPN with strong privacy practices. Other solid choices for VPNs include IVPN, Mullvad VPN, NordVPN, and ExpressVPN.
Without any special precautions, internet service providers (ISPs) and other attackers like the police can view all of the websites people visit and the data transmitted to and from them (e.g., browsing activity, passwords, etc.), and the internet protocol (IP) address of the person transmitting the data (which can be used to find people's approximate locations).
By using HTTPS, which is relatively standard now, the data transmitted to and from websites is encrypted so that only the person sending the data and the website they're sending it to can see it. However, websites that are visited are still visible to the person's ISP and to attackers, and the person's IP addresses is still visible to websites and to attackers. Even if a site is not using HTTPS, Tor still encrypts traffic in transit to Tor relays. When using Tor, a person's ISP can only see that they are accessing Tor, not what websites they are accessing. EFF has an awesome visual representation of how Tor and HTTPS work to protect people's privacy.
Tor is more secure/private than a VPN because a VPN only provides pseudonymization, meaning that people who use VPNs still look unique; whereas, Tor provides anonymization, meaning that everyone using Tor appears the same. In addition to this, VPNs require trust in the company operating them to keep their data private. Tor is open-source and decentralized, so trust is not required.
Both MacOS and Windows collect data on people by default. However, on MacOS, this data collection is minimal and anonymized so that it cannot be traced back to a person's real identity, and most of this data collection can easily be opted out of in System Preferences. Windows, on the other hand, tracks people who use it, and it is difficult (and in some cases impossible) to opt-out of data collection. Regardless of their operating system of choice, people should spend time exploring the settings and disabling any unnecessary data collection.
For people who want the most private and secure option, Linux is the desktop operating system of choice. It is free and open-source, and there are many different distributions of it for a variety of uses. TailsOS is a linux distribution that runs off of a USB drive. TailsOS is amnesic, meaning that data is stored temporarily in RAM and is deleted when the operating system is shut down, and all network traffic in TailsOS is routed through Tor (view the networks section for more info), making people's internet activity anonymous. Other Linux distributions include Debian, Ubuntu, and many more.
On mobile, iPhone (iOS) is a more secure and private option than company-built Android phones (e.g., Samsung Galaxy). iOS has minimal, anonymized data collection that can be easily opted out of (much like MacOS). Stock Android phones like the Google Pixel can be used to install a custom operating system like CalyxOS or GrapheneOS.
It's a good idea to shift thinking from passwords to passphrases. Using a short phrase comprised of words that are not commonly used is more secure than using a single word or a random string of few letters. This also makes it easier to remember because words are easier to remember than letters. Including number and symbols can also improve passphrase strength. Some examples of strong passphrases (do not use these specific passphrases):
#23 Nikes Having Gargantuan Yippees & PhD Floppers
Using a secure password manager is a convenient way to have passphrases stored for easy access. Most browsers have a built-in password manager; however, these password managers are not always as secure as other options. Firefox has a secure built-in password manager. BitWarden is a free, open-source password manager. People who use MacOS and iOS can use iCloud Keychain, which is end-to-end encrypted but is closed-source.
We know that attraction to minors and sexual activity with minors are different: 91.3-95.2% (0.99 CI) of minor-attracted persons (MAPs) have not been convicted of engaging in sexual activity with a minor (Bailey et al., 2016), and 76.5-92.0% (0.99 CI) of persons who have been convicted of engaging in illegal sexual activity with a minor are not attracted to minors (Kesicky et al., 2014).
Yet, MAPs rely on organizations like the Association for Sexual Abuse Prevention, the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, the Global Prevention Project, the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, Stop It Now, B4U-Act (“before you act”), etc. to find therapy and other professional resources.
Am I alone in feeling that the only reason why these organizations care about MAPs is for the purpose of preventing them from acting sexually with minors?
I dream of when the health, safety, and well-being of minor-attracted persons is a priority rather than a means to an end.
Bailey, J. M., Bernhard, P. A., & Hsu, K. J. (2016). An internet study of men sexually attracted to children: Correlates of sexual offending against children. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 125(7), 989-1,000. https://doi.org/10.1037/abn0000213.
Notes: 1) These studies (and millions more) are available for free on Sci-Hub! Remember to use Tor when accessing anything that requires anonymity. 2) Both studies referenced contain methodological deficits that could affect the reliability and generalizability of their results. 3) If you're wondering why I use the terms “sexual contact” and “sexual activity” instead of “abuse,” then stay tuned for upcoming posts!
It’s a phrase that's been repeated to me by professors and classmates, by coworkers and colleagues. It means, when someone makes a mistake, the goal should be to empathize with them first, before seeking to correct their mistake.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized just how relevant this phrase is to the MAP community. We are arguably the most-hated people on Earth, yet we continue to vilify one another for differences in beliefs, mistakes we've made, and struggles we've faced. When can we realize that ostracization and hate have never helped anyone?
I understand how frustrating it is to feel at odds with someone else’s beliefs or their actions. I know how awful it feels to have your efforts undermined by others. But, please, before you spark an argument with someone, try to understand them. Support them emotionally, ask questions about why they feel the way they do, find common ground to stand on, and focus on points where you agree.
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.
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
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.
// Connect the processMessages callback
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
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!
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)
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.
• 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