The Furry Fix for Divisiveness: BLOCKLISTS

Add a pinch of nazifurs, three teaspoons of furry morality mafia, and five cups of people minding their own business. Shake well, and what do you get?

 

Spoiler, not a mentally balanced breakfast.

 

But first, thank you!

 

Bleeding Fool’s readership pushed our previous article into trending on Google. Some furries didn’t like that, and proceeded to lose their cheerios. Even though we charitably omitted identities, the spotlight on their behavior conjured the terrifying specter of accountability.

 

Addressing our points openly was, evidently, untenable. So shortly after the article went live, they added us to the “Altfurry Blocklist.”

 

 

This blocklist works so well, it boosted our numbers across the board, and tickled my curiosity. If you’re unfamiliar with this particular success factory, strap in cause this train-wreck has layers.

 

We’ll touch on the origin of the Blocklist, the advertising versus the reality, we’ll look at some list users, and contrast them with their blacklisted targets. There’s an ironic twist as the Blocklist itself becomes Blocked by entities higher up on the food chain. And, lastly, we’ll hear from targets currently unpersoned by the Blocklist, and witness firsthand what it is the Blocklist Administrators are so keen to suppress. Those who don’t understand blocklists, the concept is straightforward. When you want someone else dictating what you can see on twitter, install their blocklist. They toss people onto the blocklist, and poof! You lose access to those people. It’s like a big, beautiful digital wall.

Regarding AltFurry, that’s an article unto itself. Short version, it’s a mess. Counterculture furries ironically branded themselves as “AltFurry” and proceeded to struggle furiously against the implication that they were alt-right furries. To complete the comedy sketch, they included legitimate alt-right goons in their communities because they libertarian-ed so hard, they couldn’t maintain internal boundaries while advocating outer ones. Some folks enjoy watching dumpster fires of this magnitude, but I can understand the people who would rather just change the channel, and clear their experience.

 

If there was a way to flip a switch and click off all the bad people on the internet… Well, who wouldn’t take advantage of such a miracle nostrum?

 

That was the idea, back in 2017. A popufur was unhappy because Twitter wasn’t banning all the ‘Nazis,’ so he took matters into his own paws. Using tech skills he copy&pasted a Discord user list, added it to the catalog of people he had already blocked for personal reasons, and thus the Altfurry Blocklist was born.

The torch was picked up by Dogpatch Press, at the time the most pervasive Preacher in furry culture. (This was prior to their sharp reversal in fortunes, a topic for another day.) Dogpatch fastidiously clarified that this was no blacklist.

 

 

He also included such profundities as “freedom can be self-negating.”

 

Patch’s preemptive apologia provides the clearest portrait of the spin used to spread the Blocklist. After all, everyone hates spam. Plus the Blocklist administrators promised to correct mistakes by using their responsive appeals system. If you trusted these characters, there was no reason to say ‘no.’ Derision for nazifurs was universal common ground, the great uniter:

 

 

The twitter user above, the one mocking Nazis and altfurs, was… You guessed it.

 

Added to the Altfurry Blocklist.

Insert record scratch.

 

 

Who could have predicted that furries would build a janky social policing system and then incessantly abuse it until they went blind? Which brings us to their appeals system, “@AFBSupport.”

 

So their criteria is intentionally vague, when it comes to interactions with their targets. Who’s to say what the real reasons are? Life is wishy-washy. Until they are pushing the Blocklist in public.

Then the Blocklist Preachers explicitly state that their targets are subhuman, filth, deserving such things as to have their hands mangled, or to be hung by barbed wire. The moment it’s convenient, uncertainty vanishes under the table to be replaced by the clarity of zeal.

Grim twist to this particular twitter thread. As a Furry Lifestyle Preacher used the Christchurch shooting to market their Blocklist, one of the targets of that very same Blocklist was running a charity stream for victims of the shooting. (Disclosure: I participated in the charity stream.) DireWolf Media hosted the stream event, raising funds from superchats to help the surviving family members of those who were killed or wounded in New Zealand.

 

But gullible furries using the AltFurry Blocklist would have no way of knowing that, and instead were busy affirming their moral superiority to one another on twitter, by expressing how much hatred they felt for targets of the blocklist.

That’s worth reflecting on.

In light of this ethical catastrophe, the vaunted appeals system is crucial to salvage any remaining shreds of credibility these Blocklist administrators claim to possess.

Fortunately, after they put me on the Blocklist for committing Journalism, I had a golden opportunity to give their appeals system an honest test.

 

 

A month later, and “comfortable misleading people” it is! To clarify, I feel indifferent regarding removal from the “AltFurry Blocklist.” It proves the list is a joke, and the world could use more good jokes.

To fully appreciate the humor, compare the Bleeding Fool article I wrote that earned me a spot on the blocklist. https://bleedingfool.com/furry/strawberry-cage-intolerance-and-ultracompassion/

 

And contrast that with some of the furries who are not on the blocklist:

 

 

Fortunately these people have a tool in place to filter “toxicity” out of their daily experience. It seems very effective, doesn’t it?

 

But wait, there’s a final twist.

 

The AltFurry Blocklist, obsessed with banning others, has itself become the subject of bans and shadowbans.

 

A recent Administrator tweet expressed outrage upon discovering Twitter has silently passed judgement on @AltFurryBlocker :

 

 

During the writing of this article, the shadowban appears to have been lifted. But Twitter is not the only platform to frown upon the Altfurry Blocklist. A hosting service they were using to spread their files perma-banned them, claiming the Blocklist administrators violated their Terms of Service multiple times.

 

 

But what Terms of Service might the Blocklist Preachers have violated multiple times? I couldn’t say, but a few MEGA TOS that spring to mind include:

  • to abuse, defame, threaten, stalk or harass anyone, or to harm them as defined in the Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015 (NZ) or any similar law in any jurisdiction;
  • 13.6.4 to store, use, download, upload, share, access, transmit, or otherwise make available, unsuitable, offensive, obscene or discriminatory information of any kind;
  • 13.6.9 to impersonate anyone or to try to trick or defraud anyone for any reason (e.g. by claiming to be someone you are not).

Although in the Blocklist’s defense, I imagine it would be difficult to run a moral protection racket without at least dabbling in defamation, threats, harassment, discrimination, and tricking or defrauding users.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your introduction to the Altfurry Blocklist. If you happen to be a list user, this next section may be particularly titillating. You can sneak a glimpse at the views of people you’ve been forbidden from seeing.

 

They’re artists, comic creators, gay lovers, straight folks, active duty military, furries and non-furries from a wide range of political persuasions. As for why the Lifestyle Furry Preachers wanted them gone, you can read their words, and judge for yourself.

(Disclosure: I have collaborated with DireWolf Media, and some users below follow or are followed by me on twitter. Others have been referred to me by outside sources.)

1) Those promoting the list have characterized their targets as ‘alt-right,’ ‘racist,’ and ‘Nazis.’ Do any of their labels describe you, and if not, what does describe you?

2) Have you tried using the blocklist appeals process, and did it work?

3) Do you believe subscribers to this blocklist have been misled about you?

4) If you could make a brief statement to blocklist subscribers, who cannot interact with you, what would you want them to understand?

 


Dire Wolf

Youtube personality / Active military / Media company founder.

1 – no they do not accurately describe me, in fact i am the exact opposite of those terms. I am married to a “women of color”, on my platform i openly and loudly criticize racism, sexism, and bigotry. I believe and advocate treating each person as an individual based on their own words and choices. I support civil dialog, condemn political violence and call for unity with our nation.

2 – i was not aware there was an appeal process and have had trouble finding it. I would like to apply.

3 – yes, the users of the take it on faith that the person managing the list is accurately placing people on the list based on evidence. One user “odo” who uses the list explained that “it’s and alt-right furry list, so if you are on it, then you are an alt-furry.” The reality is that i am neither a furry or alt-right. Clearly the list is populated by people who’s political opinion were judged their avatar, or by who they follow.

4- To anyone currently blocking me, Who have trusted this list: please do not judge me without know me. I promise i do not hate you without knowing you. Furthermore, i do not hate anyone based on race, sex, or even their opinion. I am simply not a hateful person. Even if you disagree with me, or i disagree with you, that is not a good reason to let hate blind you or corrupt your heart. I ask of you one thing, not to follow me, or watch my show or listen to my opinions. All i ask of you is please do not respond to bigotry and the blind judgement of an entire diverse group of people, by you judging and hating an entire diverse group of people you do not know.

Hate does not defeat hate

It only creates more

I am also not a furry…


Jon Del Arroz

Leading Hispanic voice in Science Fiction, award winning comic & novel author.

1. Those definitely don’t describe me. I’m your run of the mill Trump-supporting Republican and a Christian.

2. No, I don’t really care if people block me. They’re just missing out on my awesomeness, I figure.

3. Probably if I’m on it. I’m friendly and great.

4. Folk who are enclosing themselves in echo chambers over ideology, religion, differences of opinion on the Sonic movie, or whatever it may be, are just shutting off their human experience at the end of the day. We all have the ability to learn from each other, but we can’t learn anything if our ideas are never challenged.


Squam

Software developer, musician, in a loving same-sex relationship.

1. I’m not a racist. Racism is stupid. I consider myself a libertarian mainly. Alt-righters, Nazis, etc. are both authoritarian AND racist so I don’t like them.

2. I tried back when I was first put on it. All they did was give some vague answers before they stopped responding.

3. Yes. The creators of the list market it as a way to block Nazi furs, and they do not advertise the fact that it contains a significant number of people (including me) who are essentially only on there because they made the creators mad once or twice. This type of problem arises with any shared block list, not just this one.

4. Ultimately it’s your choice whether you think using a block list like this is right for you. I believe you have the wrong idea about me and lots of other furries. By all means continue to use the blocklist if you believe it’s improving your Twitter experience, but I genuinely believe you are missing out on meaningful connections with people in the fandom.


Colin Coyote

Bohemian gay coyote historian/writer married to the dashing [Redacted for publication by David]. Aspiring paterfamilias. Likes old books, wine, fine art, and the sea. Amor fati.

#1. None of these labels remotely describe me, and I felt insulted then, and still do, being unwillingly associated with such concepts. I have at various times in the past called myself libertarian (though I would not call myself one now) or conservative but generally speaking politically my stances range all over the place. I am conservative in some respects (disliking identity politics, pro-Israel, morally uncomfortable with abortion, etc) and liberal in others (hardcore environmentalist, disapproving of American-style consumer capitalism, anti-war, etc). Tulsi Gabbard is my favourite member of congress and I will be supporting her campaign in the Democratic primary next year – hopefully in the general election as well.

#2. Here may be the time to explain how I ended up on the blocklist in the first place.

I used to be very political on my twitter account and also in FA journals, in a very outspoken, edgy sense. This I regret now: in the aftermath of the blocklist travesty, I came to feel that I had not only played with fire and been burnt, but that being very rigidly political was rather bad form, and not a very honourable course of conduct. After September 2017, when the blocklist went up, I have since then avoided posting anything political on social media, and avoid the topic generally except with very close trusted friends. I honestly believe politics are a poison that the wise should avoid, and for this reason have distanced myself from people I used to associate with who were then or are still very political, regardless of whether I agreed with their opinions or not, and to this day avoid very political people in general.

Anyway, going back to summer 2017. Although on occasion I would come across a person identified with ‘altfurry’ who’d say something I agreed with, generally I found the ‘altfurries’ to be annoying edgelords of the sort who make statements on this or that subject less out of actual moral or ideological conviction than from a desire to be edgy and controversial. To say nothing of a separate ‘furry but different’ community being a dumb idea anyway. At the same time the altfurries were much overhyped by some left-wing furries….most of them are annoying to be sure, and some have very questionable beliefs, but they are hardly the second coming of Hitler or something in danger of destroying the fandom from within. Rather the sort of people who thrive on attention and are least dangerous when deprived of it.

I’m getting a big off track here though. My understanding of the blocklist’s creation was this: Chipfoxx looked up the altfurry discord account, found all the twitter accounts of its members, blocked all of them, and then imported everyone he’d ever blocked into a separate blocklist, the altfurry blocklist. Chipfoxx had apparently blocked me at some time before – I had not then ever interacted with him so it might have been months or years prior. By going about the blocklist creation the way he did though, anyone he had blocked previously was now smeared with the various labels people on the blocklist were being described at.

I did immediately try the appeals notion, I still have the message I sent them saved somewhere. I was blocked without any response within a day.

#3. Yes, I do believe the subscribers of that blocklist have been mislead, in my own case and in others. A good percentage of the people on the list are not part of ‘altfurry,’ and the vast majority of the people on it, altfurries included, are unlikely to be Nazis. I have at times wondered what would happen if one of the people running or supporting the blocklist met me irl and then only found out afterwards they had me blocked…whether that would [change] the dynamic any.

#4. I’d ask subscribers of the blocklist to recognise that the people running it have used very vague and arbitrary criteria in deciding who goes on it and who doesn’t. I’d also request that they judge people individually rather than taking someone’s word over who is or is not a bad person, or who is or is not a subscriber to extremist beliefs.

As a side note, when the appeals notion didn’t work, I was very unhappy about the whole affair, and posted about it on twitter, and a person I didn’t know, who supported the blocklist but was at least wiling to give people benefit of doubt, told me ‘I’ll contact them and ask why you’re on it.’

The response he got was ‘you are following some problematic people and should consider that.’

At that point I gave up; who I follow is my business, and following someone hardly means one agrees with every single thing they say.

I have wondered many times what I’d say to Chipfoxx if I ever met him irl….admittedly I still feel a bit resentful towards him for smearing me, something of the feeling I imagine Arthur Miller felt towards Senator McCarthy.


(Anonymous)

1-No. I’m pretty centrist/libertarian/patriotic, maybe nationalist?

2-I have no appealed the blocklist cause I don’t care that much

3-I mean I’m not alt-right, a nazi, or a furry, so yeah

4-That not everyone you disagree with is a nazi and following accounts you don’t like is not magically an endorsement of their politics


Doxi
 
1) Personally I like to prefer myself as a centrist, considering I’ve openly spoken out against and made fun of nazis, altright and altfurry, I am still left dumbfounded as to why I have been labeled as any of those.
 
2) As a matter of fact: Yes I have. I even sent them many screenshots of me speaking out against nazism/altright as proof that I did not belong on the list. I NEVER got a response. Only once I started throwing accusations on the public timeline did they post a statement on the appeals account, which you can read right here: 

 
Take note of the second tweet “Being alt/fascist/toxic/etc anywhere, not just on Twitter, is a great way to be added. Your friends/community members point you out to us.”. To me it is quite shocking to see that this blocklist, which is branded as a tool to help improve the community does so by promoting an atmosphere of backstabbing and distrust of your close friends. I found it really surprising that this never caused an uproar in the fandom.
 
3) Yes, without a doubt. As the big banner reads: “This machine blocks fascists”
Well then why does it block me? I am not a fascist.
 
4) I will concede that I can be a bit of a loud personality on twitter and that I have some controversial opinions, but what you will not find me promoting are ideas of genuine hatred on a racial basis, genocide or the superiority of one race over others. And I don’t believe “Being loud” warrants being labeled a fascist.
 
In the case that people who have subscribed to the list do read this article, I would like to ask them: How legitimate do you personally think it is? Do you think those who curate, promote and support the list truly have the betterment of the fandom in mind? To present an example I would like to direct attention towards one of the largest propagators of the altfurry blocklist: Dogpatch press
Recently Dogpatch has been called out, often times with proof, of general misconduct, including actions but not limited to:
– Underpaying and abusing writers who work for him
– Threatning those speaking out against him into silence, even if they have worked for, or with him, in the past
– Engaging in dishonest journalism, up to and including writing callout posts and presenting it as news, using his position to spread lies and commit what is effective character assassination if you dare not go along with him or stand in the way of those he supports.
Personally, if I had to choose between someone who can occasionally be loud and someone who time and time again has been proven to be an abusive fraud, I think I’d go for option one.
 
Finally, I’ll wrap this up by saying again that I’m surprised how easily the furry community welcomed an organisation which works in an attempt to single out individuals from the community, whilst presenting little to no proof of actual misconduct or hatred coming from these individuals. Sure, the blocklist does contain actual nazis and altright/altfurry personalities within it, yet for even they whose dirty laundry is presented in front of a crowd, the altfurry blocklist still fails to present evidence regarding any of these cases because its curators feel no need to, their opinion is final.
In conclusion, all that the Altfurry blocklist in its current state is a tool of some power and influence, used to single any person out of the community without having to present a shred of evidence of actual hatred or misconduct, all while hiding behind a phoney appeals account so that they may shed any sense of personal accountability for their actions. 
I must say though, the most wacky thing about this whole ordeal is the fact that I get to watch a lawyer who throws around a drinking problem as a substitute for lack of personality openly promoting an organisation which has effectively granted itself the powers of judge, jury and excecutioner when it comes to throwing around the heavy-handed accusation of Nazism.

QuetzaDrake

Webcomic author, creator & artist of “Furthia High.”

1) No, I am not and have never been alt-right, a nazi, or a racist. I really don’t like labeling, but I guess I can say I would consider myself left of center? Liberal? I’m bisexual and part-Asian, so being the mainstream definition of alt-right or a nazi or a racist would be pretty stupid of me, I would think at least.

2) Yes. I contacted the @AFBSupport account via a DM as per the instructions to try and get an appeal. I sent a message stating that I was not alt-furry or a nazi, that the last time I publicly posted anything political had been over a year ago at that time (because I don’t like to bother my followers with politics), and that I asked if I could be removed from the list. This DM was sent on February 28th, 2018, and to this day not only have I never received a response, but Twitter shows they haven’t even ever opened and read it. I recall at the time seeing a few other people tweeting at the account asking why their DMs had been ignored for months. If there was ever a response from the account, it typically gave the reason of having many DMs to sort through and that it would take time. I would also see the account actively publicly unblocking other people who seemed to have more palitible politics in-line with the blocklist creator’s. So I always viewed it as a weak excuse to disregard those they had no plans of ever removing from the blocklist, and I’ve long since given up on successfully being removed from it myself.

3) Absolutely. Shortly after I was put on there, someone who didn’t like me pointed that fact out, and other people who know me and have spoken to me before either took it as truth or were shocked and questioned them for details. I had to desperately try to convince them that I was none of the things the blocklist advertised. Some believed me thankfully, either speaking out in my defense or at least removing me from their block list, but some didn’t, still believing that I was now a racist nazi. And this was just people who were aware of my existence. There are many, many people who have never met, talked to, or interacted with me, who have no idea who I am or that I even exist, that now have me blocked on Twitter because of this list. You could say “well what does it matter if they don’t know you”, but being on this blocklist not only means that you can’t see or interact with their innocuous tweets or conversations in any other situation, but now that, if they ever ARE made aware of you, they will assume you’re the things they started using the blocklist for. No matter what, their first impression of you will be those misleading, defaming labels.

4) Listen, I get it. There’s a LOT of shitty people on social media, and it’s incredibly taxing, stressful, and depressing to be exposed to content you find hateful, ignorant, and unpleasant all the time. It’s entirely within your right to use the block and mute functions to remove that content from your awareness to alleviate and prevent that anxiety and irritation for your own sake. Blocklists are advertised as really convenient and simple solutions so you don’t have to think about it and don’t have to use a lot of time to do it. But I would please ask that you don’t blindly apply a huge blocklist without any modicum of investigation on your part, to see if they’re legitimate and honest about what they say they do and who they block. Blocklists are made by individuals that can be mistaken, misinformed, or even personally motivated to intentionally lie and mislabel certain other people. Look at who made the list, how they are and how they treat others. Look at who’s actually on the list, what sort of types of people on there, how many really are members of whatever group. If you agree with the list, then that’s fine, you at least put in the effort to find out and decide for yourself. If you don’t, you can either not use the list at all, or use it but manually unblock those you know or feel aren’t people you’d want blocked. Blocklists are not perfect, and some are even malicious, defaming many people, hurting and even destroying relations between them, all through the potential mislabeling and misinforming about the people that happen to end up on them. Please don’t blindly accept a blocklist at face value and that every person on one deserves to be there as part of whatever group label the list says it contains. It’s hard, but many people deserve the benefit of the doubt that would help spare them the defamation and ostracization that being put on these blocklists causes.

It’s nice to see someone talking about this topic. I feel like the outspoken nature of the existence and proliferation of blocklists has passed a little bit compared to the past few years, but it’s something important to make all the people who aren’t malicious or spiteful and just innocently ignorant aware of these faults with these things and the people they harm. Also might be an easier bite now for some people to take with this blocklist in particular considering there was that whole controversy surrounding the creator of the Alt-Furry Blocklist, Dogpatch Press, a few months ago? No idea, and I’ve mostly tried to stop caring about that kind of stuff.


*  *  *  *  *

In the interest of fairness, I reached out to the furries who have publicly associated themselves with running or promoting the Altfurry Blocklist, asking some simple questions.

1) The list has been characterized by others as targeting alt-right, racists, and nazis. Is this accurate, or how should the intended targets be characterized?

2) On a scale of 1-10, ten being excellent and 1 being dismal, how would you rate the appeals process for people who believe they have been unfairly targeted?

3) Do you hope to expand the popularity of your blocklist going forward?

As of press time, they have provided no response.