AIBU for wanting to speak out?

There’s a bit of a backstory to this…

So, there is a group in my town that runs social events, kinda like speed dating. In order to buy tickets you must sign up to their forums, which I did. I introduced myself and said if anyone was interested to message me (bad idea :roll_eyes:). A person did, and initially I was very enthusiastic but as the guy and I chatted he hit several of my red flags. This included being very pushy (ie messaging too often), ignoring not subtle hints that I was too unwell to chat much, messaging random shit about his work but not actually saying “hey, how are you?”, being overly familiar very quickly, things like that. I ended up telling him thanks but no, and he responded pretty passive aggressively. He came off as bitter and rather lonely (which I kinda empathise with), and I was aware he was striking it out elsewhere. I ended up avoiding one of these social events because I knew he might go and didn’t want to deal with either awkwardness or potential hostility.

Come back to the forums: he posted a personal ad there, but wasn’t getting any interest. A few members of the forum came in and offered (to be fair, unsolicited) advice on improving the ad. This resulted in well-meaning but somewhat critical posts about his attitude, and well, he didn’t like that so threw his toys out and deleted his profile and comments and said he was done with the whole dating thing.

I watched this unfold and thought “bullet dodged”. This was a forum that encourages self development and taking feedback as a way of being a good romantic partner so seeing someone I already felt creeped out about also be unwilling to take polite advice on how they might be coming off… It also made me relieved that they left because I super wanted to go to these events and not have to worry about bumping into him. I just brushed it off as yet another encounter with a creep.

Case closed right? Well, I come back to the forums to see the moderators have now posted a response to the whole thing, suggesting that the kerfuffle should never have happened, annoyed that the group has essentially ostracised someone, that the ‘cause’ is about privilege and bias, felt criticised for trying to be inclusive (that is, they stood up for the ‘white cis man’), and generally said that if anyone disagrees with their policy to leave and/or shut up.

I’m not happy about any of that. Ignoring the cult-like suggestion that people should just shut up, I guess I missed all the behind-the-scenes conversation… and that these people obviously don’t know what I know, which is that this guy was probably a creep anyway.

AIBU for wanting to say something about this guy’s behaviour to me, and to point out that their ‘inclusivity’ is counter to what they say they are for which is fostering a safe environment for people to meet?

I still want to go to the events - kinda, my interest is waning the more I think about this response. I’m less interested in becoming part of what is increasingly coming off to me as a clique with organisers that have very particular ideas of how members should approach things… Part of me wants to just ignore it, move on. Part of me thinks “why are they defending this guy?” They clearly don’t know, and I don’t want them to somehow make room for this guy to return while putting others at risk.

More than that, I’ve already had one run-in with the moderators, and I’m not keen on marking myself even more for being a PIA. I don’t agree with all their rules, but I abide by them since they run the site. The events are what I care about, and I already decided I just won’t use the forums anymore… but this particular moderator response to what was essentially a bitter guy getting defensive about his attitudes is… really annoying to me. The mods have decided that he was picked on because we’re generally meaner to cis white dudes these days, but from my point of view, he was very gently and with empathy given feedback and he was the one getting cranky about it because he was already that way… which was clear when he was talking to me.

AIBU for thinking the mods are out of line? Or wanting to say they’re out of line?

It kinda feels like to me that this many negative experiences combined with your excitement for events waning means your gut is telling you that this isn’t the place for you.
Are there other avenues you could try? I know there are a lot of travel-based companies that you could go on a solo trip with a group and make friends or something.

Sometimes picking a disagreement is worth it. But for it to he worth it there has to be an upside. If the guy in question is already out of the group, and youve already decided not go to the forums then what action would you hope to come from the disagreement?

I get the impression that even if the mods went “Yes you are correct we are sorry and we will re evaluate how we define inclusivity” you would still be hesitant to return to the forums.

And if there isnt an action that they could do that would change your future interactions then what would be the goal? A disagreement is a negative thing, if there is no potential upside to that out then what would be the point?

This group sounds very sketchy and potentially unsafe.

That being said, if you want to try to improve it, I think a better option would be to get a group of people together before confronting the mods. If you can still see the posts, maybe the people who were trying to give the guy constructive criticism would be willing to help you out. If they’ve been there longer, they might know other people who can help or got pushed out for similar things, and some of them might have personal connections with the mods.

Worst case scenario, if you get kicked out, you’ll still have the contact info of a bunch of the nicer people from the group. Maybe you can start your own with a no-tolerance policy for creeps.

Unfortunately, not really other options. For reasons of anonymity I had to change a few details and the main one is that this is a fairly standard social-event org. … Consider it more a ‘speed dating’ meets ‘personal development’ thing.

I do want to go to the events, at least some of them, but the ‘waning’ is due to this moderator post and not the events themselves. There’s one in Jan I really would love to do.

My aim is not to change anyone’s minds or policies. This is a group for meeting others for potential romance. My aim is to warn, first and foremost, to give the moderators info they might not have about someone being potentially sketchy. I disagree with the inclusivity thing, in the sense that they are bending over backward to not offend straight white men to the point they might miss genuine creeps, but also saying they are LGBT+ inclusive so :woman_shrugging:… but I don’t particularly care. I can just go to the events and not subscribe to their POV.

I’m not afraid of disagreement. I guess I’m more thinking “should I even bother being involved at all?” And I’m not sure action is my point either - if someone organises a speed dating thing and says “we foster a safe community” and then those organisers are not aware of potential bad behaviour/people, I feel like I should say something.

Gotcha. I’m thinking like the American version, “Events and Adventures” which is a single’s group to just hang out, not meant for dating, which I misunderstood.

I mean the alternate would be to carefully infiltrate the admin group and slowly take over? Turn it into a force for good! (I’m mostly kidding)

Ironically the group comes highly recommended as safe and not welcoming of creeps. So my guess is they don’t know this guy and don’t know his history and I might just be the unlucky one. I personally don’t feel uncomfortable within the group itself, just that I have a different fit. I’m also new and so when you go to a group that’s been around for a while it can feel a bit clique-y. I also have a friend who knows people that go as well (not sure who yet) and I trust their judgment on it. My guess is that the group actually doesn’t tolerate creeps, it’s just in this case they probably don’t know he was creepy and is taking the defensiveness in his posts on face value.

As for your suggestion of a group fight… yeah I don’t think that’s something I could pull off. I know all of one person in the group and they are new too. The moderator’s post outright says if people have an issue to do it privately, that they don’t like people gossiping about them behind their backs, that if people disagree with their inclusivity policy to leave or shut up. The clique-ness of the group suggests to me that the long-timers are happy with how things are, and the newcomers won’t join me since it’s not their fight.

As for starting my own group… no thanks. I have neither the temperament, nor time, nor energy, nor experience. It’s a personal development group as much as anything, with properly trained organisers, and decades of experience. Again, it’s more niche than I made it sound so not only would it be hard/unethical to start a group, the very nature of the ‘niche’ means that people would rather defend their safe space than lose it.

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See above :wink:

I think… because of health I’ve been stuck at home, and then went to one of these workshops and realised it would be a good, easy way to get out and meet people without having to commit. I did also have some personal growth from the experience, and generally speaking the people I’ve met have been very open and friendly. I’ve really struggled to get myself out on dates, let alone find a relationship and I’ve felt increasingly like I have no control over it. The loneliness has been incredibly distressing. And then I found this thing I could go and do and enjoy… and I got a little control back. And now I read stuff by the organisers that are so… cult like almost… And it makes me uncomfortable to go, because the whole point is that they are hard-asses about making sure members are feeling safe and comfortable, and creepiness isn’t allowed…
It makes me wonder if they’ve focused so much on inclusivity they’ve lost sight of actual creepiness.

And worst of all, I lost that one small bit of a foothold of making my life less crummy.

I just… I don’t want to pile on and screw up a potentially decent thing, but at the same time I think organisers should know that maybe their attitude in this case is misguided…

:woman_shrugging: Sigh

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