An ugly claim by Fram that he would not be misracing a black person by calling them the n-word, only being racist

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.

I often wonder why these kinds of people become so self-destructive. I suspect that this is a mild kind of burnout. When you find yourself defending the use of the n-word, it’s time to take a break and maybe find a new hobby.

Much of that blame fell, perhaps predictably, on a woman and a transgender editor. In 2017, a fledgling Wikipedian accused Fram of monitoring her activity on the site to such an extent that felt like harassment. The editor, whose contributions focused on women athletes, lesbian history, and abortion rights, felt that Fram’s pattern of correcting her spelling and deleting her stubs — short, unfinished articles that are culled when they sit dormant for too long — demonstrated a lack of good faith.

“Stay off my talk page Fram,” she wrote at the time. “If you have a problem with my work, then you need to talk to another admin and have them handle the problem. It should not be you.”

More recently, Fram had an acrimonious semantic debate with a high-profile transgender editor over whether referring to them as “xe” constituted misgendering. It culminated in an ugly claim by Fram that he would not be misracing a black person by calling them the n-word, only being racist.

So-calld “flat” or “leaderless” organizations tend to enjoy an early era of idealism, driven by a handful of interesting but extreme personalities, and then such organizations go into decline, for reasons like this:

A much quieter group in the community were thankful for the ban. BU Rob13, a former member of ArbCom who recently retired from administration, said that Fram’s behavior toward him, including “taking shots” at him in an edit summary and following him to unrelated cases, felt like harassment.

“These actions, and the Arbitration Committee’s failure to act promptly in condemning them, were a major factor that led to my resignation,” BU Rob13 told BuzzFeed News. “It is also a major reason why I no longer believe the current Arbitration Committee can handle harassment.”

The real cause of the Fram flare-up wasn’t the sudden overreach by the foundation, BU Rob13 said, but the community’s own laissez-faire attitude about toxic users.

“The community is currently blaming the foundation for their own mess, in my opinion,” he wrote, “which was caused by our abject failure to develop procedures to enforce civility without Foundation intervention.”

When I was a child, my mom was into New Age spirituality, so I grew up around such spiritual movements, and I saw the same pattern play out over and over again: some movement emerges, initially composed of good people, but then the times change, the most extreme people are the ones who stick with it over the long-term, and so the whole thing goes downhill.

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