If you choose to visit that site, which consists of a blog and a forum, please only read it; just lurk. I cannot recommend people actually participate and leave messages.
I was mobbed at that site by several bullies, some of whom post as “Anonymous” instead of using unique screen names.
Members of ‘The Friendship Blog’ are not required to log in or use verified e-mail addresses to leave posts. That is something which is exploited by the bullies at that site.
The site’s owner, Dr. Irene, apparently refuses to curtail the bullying and harassment at her blog, or she seems unwilling to take stronger, more drastic steps to halt it (I write about that farther below, with examples and explanations).
She comes across as downright apathetic about the bullying that takes place on her site (again, more about that below).
This is a major reason I want to warn people to stay away, or at least do not post at ‘The Friendship Blog.’ Keep reading for more details…
I joined “The Friendship Blog” around fall of 2011.
For various reasons (one of which is that I was harassed at that site regularly), I stopped participating as much.
I did not visit or post to “The Friendship Blog” or its forum, for all of November or December 2011.
I did visit one day in early January 2012 and made a few posts there at that time.
I did not return to that site until today, January 31, 2012, because I received an e-mail from another member there, whom I will call “Harriet” (not her real name), who informed me a big fight broke out at the forum around January 26 or 27, 2012.
“Harriet” told me she had been bullied and harassed at Dr. Irene’s site as I had been before, and she was upset and angry about being bullied, and I did not blame her.
“Harriet” also told me she noticed that the site’s owner, Dr. Irene, seems afraid of conflict and will not stop the abusive people at the site, nor will she allow victims of abuse and bullying to defend themselves.
If you try to defend yourself from attacks, Dr. Irene will delete your ‘defensive’ posts but often (not always, but usually) permit the original offensive post by the bully who instigated the fight to remain – which is unfair to the target of the abuse, and it’s distasteful.
Both “Harriet” and I experienced this, and I saw it happen to a few other members.
Harriet said she does not believe she will return to “The Friendship Blog” ever again because it looks like it has been taken over by trolls, and she is still upset by the abuse she received there.
I e-mailed “Harriet” back and told her I was not aware of the fight, so I stopped by that site today to see what was going on.
I also told Harriet I’m sorry she was harassed.
When I returned to “The Friendship Blog” today, I was completely dumbfounded and surprised to see that other people there, including members “Wonder Why” and others who posted under the name “Anonymous,” continued to make rude, snide, bitchy comments about me at the site, even though I had not left a post there since early January 2012, and prior to that, I had not been to that site in two entire months.
One member, (“Wonder Why”), even made an entire forum thread basically devoted to bashing me, where in the comment section, she and several others piled on further, by insulting me even more.
(I wrote more about that in this post: “Member Wonder Why at The Friendship Blog“).
I was repelled and amazed by the fact that “Wonder Why’s” thread, which I think was dated late December 2011, has been allowed to remain in that forum this entire time, for about a month.
I thought, “Surely, Dr. Irene is not aware of this thread. Surely she would have removed a thread created for the primary purpose of harassing another site member, as is the case with this thread?,” so I e-mailed Dr. Irene about it, and sent her a link to that thread.
In the meantime, I scrolled down the page to see that Dr. Irene left a post to “Wonder Why” in a very genteel, understated way, essentially giving “Wonder Why” nothing but a “slap on the wrist,” for the incredibly obnoxious, totally-uncalled for post, saying, “Now, now, you don’t really want to post these things do you, and open a can of worms,” or something to that effect.
So Dr. Irene was aware that the thread was there – but did not remove it. There is no excuse for that.
When I checked my e-mail about an hour or two later, there was a reply from Dr. Irene where she basically told me she has no plans to stop the harassment and bullying.
Dr. Irene also told me she was “tired of the whole thing” (well, I’m tired of being abused at The Friendship Blog, hey!).
Dr. Irene informed me that “Wonder Why’s” post does not violate her site’s Terms of Service, which made my mouth fall open in astonishment.
I e-mailed Dr. Irene back and asked, among other things,
“So you are perfectly fine with people at your site leaving entire threads up devoted to harassing and bullying other members, even members who have not been to your site in months, who are not stirring up trouble?”
Dr. Irene advised me that since the people at her site seem to not get along with me, and I’m upset by some of their replies, that I should stop visiting her site.
I wrote Dr. Irene back and told her I was shocked by her attitude.
I was being victimized, but instead of protecting me and the other bullied people at her site (as she should be doing), she was enabling the bullies at her site by not doing anything to halt their behavior.
She’s a therapist, you’d think she’d realize the harm in enabling bad behavior and looking the other way, but apparently not.
Dr. Irene owns the site but in some ways refuses to take responsibility for what goes on there. She refuses to hold people accountable for their harassment and bullying of other people.
This harassment has driven away a few people already (some have e-mailed me to tell me so).
A few people, including me, told Dr. Irene on her site and in private messages that things will not get better at her site until she forces everyone to log in before posting and use a verified e-mail address. That is one small step that might improve things a little bit.
Dr. Irene is concerned if she does not permit people to post as “Anonymous” it will scare people from posting at all. I tried telling her that people do not have to use their real name to post there or their primary e-mail address.
Also, her concern about that is silly, considering it is the unchecked bullying and harassment which is scaring people away from her site, not the ability or inability to post as “Anonymous.”
Dr. Irene also needs to tell people they can no longer post rude comments about people who are not even posting there any more (or rarely), that if they have something to say to someone who has upset them, they need to reply to that person’s post directly.
I made many sincere attempts to resolve differences with other people at Dr. Irene’s “The Friendship Blog,” but the bullies there made no attempt to meet me half way.
I am an opinionated person, so I will defend my views when they are challenged. I have just as much right to post to “The Friendship Blog” as anyone else there.
At this stage in my life, I no longer permit myself to be treated like trash by rude people, so I will stand up to them, including on blogs and forums – but I do not intentionally try to create problems on forums and blogs that I post on.
Dr. Irene told me privately that she appreciated the positive contributions I made at her site, but if that were true, would she not want to encourage me to return to keep making those contributions, instead of encouraging me to stay away, and let the bullies and trolls stay in charge of her site?
As it remains now, with her ‘hands off’ policy towards mobbing and bullying, she is fostering a very toxic atmosphere.
By permitting the abuse to take place on the blog and forum (by refusing to ban or reprimand bullies), she is encouraging the abuse to continue or intensify.
Dr. Irene’s “The Friendship Blog” is a toxic, toxic place to participate on. It’s a very toxic environment. It is, ironically, a very Unfriendly Friendship Blog.
February 1, 2012 update
“Harriet” e-mailed me again to let me know she visited Dr. Irene’s “The Friendship Blog” earlier this morning, where she saw a couple of posts by other people that ‘expressed concern about the direction the forum was taking.’
Harriet said when she visited later, both posts had been deleted (no doubt by Dr. Irene).
I have not been to Dr. Irene’s “The Friendship Blog” since yesterday (very late January 31 or the very, very early hours of February 1), so I did not see those posts myself, but I do take Harriet’s word for it.
If You Have Been Abused or Harassed at The Friendship Blog
If you were bullied or treated badly at The Friendship Blog, and you’d like to share your story on this blog, please e – mail me with your story (my address is wingseagle27 AT yahoo DOT com), and I can make a guest post on your behalf here. You are also welcome to log in and leave posts discussing what happened to you.
The Friendship Blog – link is to this blog