World’s Unfriendliest Friendship Advice Blog Gets New Look

Please be sure to read the most important post at this blog:
A Warning About The Friendship Blog – Toxic – Unfriendly Bullied Bullies Trolls Dr Irene S Levine

I visited Dr Levine’s “Friendship” blog today (link to the blog). It got an image makeover, and a tag line, “The Friendship Blog – Expert Advice for Navigating Friends.”

Under Irene’s “Friendship forum guidelines” (link), we read:

-Use a pseudonym to protect your safety and privacy and that of any friends or frenemies you may mention in your post.

– No posting of advertisements permitted.

-If you own a website with information directly related to the topic being discussed, you may link to that page of your site. Any veiled efforts at self-promotion that aren’t relevant or genuinely helpful will be deleted.

-Personal attacks on other commenters will not be tolerated. You are free to challenge someone’s point of view, but please do so respectfully. Any posts containing name-calling, profane language or personal attacks will be deleted.

-Do not post the same topic more than once or in more than one forum. Duplicate discussions will be deleted.

-Please do not repost anyone else’s work without permission.

-The Friendship Forum is not responsible for any member-posted information that violates copyright law.

I don’t see anything in that list indicating that one must register with a unique screen name and log in before leaving a remark, so I’m not sure if she still permitting people to post Anonymously or not.

I skimmed over some of the forums and still see some posts showing up under the name “Anonymous,” so I am guessing she is still permitting anonymous commenting to continue (which is a big mistake).

As for Irene’s odd trepidation over people quoting other people’s material on her forums or blog, is she not aware of the practice of Fair Use? It is perfectly legal and ethical to quote from other people’s work, especially if citation is given.

This comment,

“Personal attacks on other commenters will not be tolerated. You are free to challenge someone’s point of view, but please do so respectfully. Any posts containing name-calling, profane language or personal attacks will be deleted.”

is all well and good, but will she actually ENFORCE it? Probably not.

My Response to Inaccurate Post at Friendship Blog

Please be sure to read the most important post at this blog:
A Warning About The Friendship Blog – Toxic – Unfriendly Bullied Bullies Trolls Dr Irene S Levine

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I left a post in response to Irene’s post today (June 13, 2012); she is owner of The Friendship Blog (and forums). I don’t know if my response to Irene’s post will remain on Irene’s forum, or if parts of it will be censored, so I will place a copy of it below.

I first wrote about Irene’s false / inaccurate post here, so please see that for background information.

Before I get to that, I wanted to comment on some of the other content I saw in that thread (“This forum needs a registered moderator“) since I last left.

(I have not bothered at this time to read Irene’s new content which she pinned on top of Wonder Why’s original post at some stage, I don’t know when. I did skim what she wrote, but it seemed like a very long excuse and rationalization as to why she permits trolling to continue, such as she cannot “afford to hire a moderator,” and so on.)

One of the first things I noticed is that the trolling has taken off even more. The second half of that page (where I did not post as “Anonymous;” I posted under my screen name “Eagle Wings”) was filled with Anonymous posters either sniping at each other, pretending that they were me, or assuming other Anonymous posters were me (again, I didn’t post as “Anonymous” at that point).
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Wonder Why, Wonders Why (June 23, 2012)

Please be sure to read the most important post at this blog:
A Warning About The Friendship Blog – Toxic – Unfriendly Bullied Bullies Trolls Dr Irene S Levine

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I visited The Friendship Blog today to leave a post for Dr. Irene, the woman who owns the site; it was in response to an inaccurate post she made discussing me.

I have never left a link to this blog (‘The Unfriendly Friendship’ blog) at Irene’s site, but I guess someone else did, since Wonder Why claims she has visited this blog. I did e-mail a link to this blog to someone else, I made sure this blog’s URL was included in web search indexes, etc. The word needs to get out that the “Friendship Blog” can be an unhealthy place to post.

At any rate, while at the “Friendship Forum” today, I saw posts by other people I wanted to comment on at my blog, specifically this thread:
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The Cess Pool That Is The Friendship Blog / False Accusation

Please be sure to read the most important post at this blog:
A Warning About The Friendship Blog – Toxic – Unfriendly Bullied Bullies Trolls Dr Irene S Levine

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A former fellow “Friendship Blog” member e-mailed me recently (again) to tell me to go take another look at the Friendship Blog, at one thread specifically, which I did.

(I discovered on that follow-up visit to the Friendship blog and forum that Dr. Irene Levine made a false accusation about a poster (me), which I discuss towards the end of this post.)

Here was the thread this person wanted me to look at, which is a thread begun by member Wonder Why (see also: Yep, Wonder Why is Codepdendent):

40s and full of acquaintances but no really close friends

The person who e-mailed me thinks Wonder Why sounds nutty in that thread.

The things that struck me about her main post and her follow up posts are as follows:
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Oh The Irony – still going strong at The Friendship Blog forums

Please be sure to read the most important post at this blog:
A Warning About The Friendship Blog – Toxic – Unfriendly Bullied Bullies Trolls Dr Irene S Levine

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I dropped by ‘The Friendship Blog’ set of forums not too long ago (this is the first time in months) and am amused by the irony I am seeing.

One woman wrote in one of those very long, meandering posts I wrote of earlier (and it’s only a part 1; I can only surmise there is a part two somewhere else on the forum).

The heading of this person’s post? “Ganged Up On.”

Ah yes, myself and a couple of other ladies were ganged up upon by regular members of that very blog.

We were called names, judged, subjected to “mean comments,” etc, all of which makes these newer posts at The Friendship Blog’s forums ironic too:

Friend Made Mean Comments

Judgmental Friends

Have I Been A Jerk?, a post by NYCity12.

Oh, NyCity12, you funny thing you. You’re actually asking a group that is comprised of 98% of jerks if you have been a jerk?

And this dear woman, ajnaT,  is asking a group which consists of 98 – 99% of bullies, about how to deal with bullies? Good luck with that.

Bullying Tactics

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PSYCHOLOGY TODAY PUBLISHED MY POST

As an aside, I am happy to see that the moderators at ‘Psychology Today’ approved of my post where I gave a warning about The Friendship Blog.

My comment appeared on the page about Angelina Jolie.

The comment page to that article: page link

My post specifically: my post on Psychology Today

Yep, Wonder Why is a Codependent

Please be sure to read the most important post at this blog:

A Warning About The Friendship Blog – Toxic – Unfriendly Bullied Bullies Trolls Dr Irene S Levine

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I visited the Friendship Blog’s set of forums today (first time in a few months), and I see that “Wonder Why” is still posting there. She really does feel compelled to hand out advice – classic sign of codependency.

Highly amusing is that in a post called ‘Have I Been A Jerk?,’ this person posing the question (“NYCity 12”) got advice from “Wonder Why,” who is one of several, well, jerks, who posts at The Friendship Blog.

Wonder Why’s post in reply: Friendship and Business Don’t Mix.

Wonder Why is one of the more pushy, judgmental, obnoxious members there, who is making what sounds like a clinical diagnosis of other people she’s never met, an activity which she screams at other people for allegedly doing on that blog.

Wonder Why’s post referred to above is date stamped May 17th, 2012. Goodness, she is still posting there, giving advice?

Here’s another reply she gave in another thread date stamped May 12, 2012.

And a thread created May16, 2012 by Wonder Why: Toxic Friend check list.

Wonder Why needs a “Codependent Checklist – Am I Codependent?,” so she can be informed of points such as the following and recognize herself on the list:

  • If I spend most every day or every week at a friendship advice blog constantly dispensing advice, instead of just minding my own business most of the time and living my own life, I am probably codependent | (Source: Eagle Wings, who has read many blogs and a few books by licensed psychologists about codependency);
  • I feel the best about myself when I am giving advice and/or handling a crisis situation. (source);
  • Have a long history of focusing your thoughts and behavior on other people. (source);
  • Are outwardly focused towards others, and know very little about how to direct your own life from your own sense of self. (source);
  • Symptoms of Codependents: S/He feels compelled to help that person solve their problem – Controlling Behaviors: codependents try to control events and people through … threats, advice-giving, manipulation, or domination.
  • Codependency personality disorder is a condition in which a person focuses only living through or for another person, attempting to control the actions of others, attempting to “fix” others (source);
  • [more] symptoms involve fixing or controlling others instead of facing internal pain, and failing to recognize the disease in oneself (source);
  • An “expert” in knowing best how things should turn out and how people should behave, the codependent person tries to control others through overt or covert threats, coercion, compulsive advice giving… (source);
  • the person who is codependent will often give advice without being asked, or will attempt to tell others how they “should” be behaving or feeling. If the other person does not take the advice, the person who is codependent will often feel angry and rejected (source)

How to respond to online haters

Please be sure to read the most important post at this blog:
A Warning About The Friendship Blog – Toxic – Unfriendly Bullied Bullies Trolls Dr Irene S Levine

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There are definitely haters and trolls at Dr. Levine’s “Friendship blog,” (www.thefriendshipblog.com/) and, unless she has changed things since I was last at her blog (which would be around January 2012), she refuses to do anything to stop them.

Here’s an article which gives tips on how to deal with those type of cretins.

How to respond to online haters

By Andrea Bartz and Brenna Ehrlich, June 2011

The page gives advice on how to handle trolls on Facebook and Twitter, and under the section headed “In the event of an all-out war” we read this:

    The wonderful thing about the Internet is that it encourages everyone to have an opinion — and the horrible thing about the Internet is that it affords everyone the ability to express it.
    As a general rule, if an under-the-bridge dweller sends you a mean e-mail, flames you in the comments section of your blog or pontificates on your unattractiveness under your latest cat grooming tutorial on YouTube, just don’t engage.
    Said bumpy-faced one is looking to get a rise out of you, and executing a counterstrike will only result in more wholly eloquent zingers in the “YOUUUU SUKKKK” vein.
    Sports columnist Jeff Pearlman decided to track down and confront his trolls for a CNN column and found the whole ordeal to be an exercise in futility.
    “It’s sort of like stomping out ants with your foot,” he says. “It works temporarily, but then the ants come back even stronger. Truthfully, you’re better off pretending these people don’t exist. Because they’re crying to be noticed; to have the platform you have. Engage them, you make their wish come true.”
    Still, that doesn’t mean you have to suffer in martyred silence all the time.
    “We should remember that any information attached to our name, whether it’s accurate information we supply ourselves without thinking or mean-spirited and inaccurate statements made about us by haters, is going to stay online forever,” says Aboujaoude. “That is why standing up to hecklers can be an important part of maintaining our online reputation.”
    A simple fix is simply deleting any outright racist, rude or misogynistic comments from your own personal domains, or flagging abusive sentiments on the domains of others, and then contacting the webmaster. Or, you could be a little more creative.
    There have been some instances in which folks have stood up to trolls in a manner that entirely obliterated the original slight.

Article about Friends Breaking Up with Friends and Advice on How to Do It

Please be sure to read the most important post at this blog:
A Warning About The Friendship Blog – Toxic – Unfriendly Bullied Bullies Trolls


It’s Not Me, It’s You [A page about friendship break ups, from The New York Times]

If you would like to read the whole page, please click on that link.

Comments left by visitors to the page, which appear at the bottom of it, are also illuminating.

I see some of the same bitterness there by women that I saw at Dr. Irene’s “Friendship Blog.” Some women cannot handle or accept that a friend has broken up with them, or that friendship break ups are a part of life, so they become very bitter, angry people.

Here are a few high lights from the page:

    by Alex Williams
    January 28, 2012

    ….Not so in the real world. Even though research shows that it is natural, and perhaps inevitable, for people to prune the weeds from their social groups as they move through adulthood, those who actually attempt to defriend in real life find that it often plays out like a divorce in miniature — a tangle of awkward exchanges, made-up excuses, hurt feelings and lingering ill will.

    ….People start “dropping ‘starter friends’ from the early bachelor days, or early work associates, or early couples with little children like yours,” said Mr. Horchow, who wrote “The Art of Friendship: 70 Simple Rules for Making Meaningful Connections”…

    Psychologists consider it an inevitable life stage, a point where people achieve enough maturity and self-awareness to know who they are and what they want out of their remaining years, and have a degree of clarity about which friends deserve full attention and which are a drain. It is time, in other words, to shed people they collected in their youth, when they were still trying on friends for size.
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Sounds Like ‘The Friendship Blog’

People at Dr. Irene’s blog, “Friendship Blog” can post as “Anonymous.”

One is not required to sign in with a regular user name and verified e-mail, which makes trolling, flaming, and other harassment quite easy to achieve, and some there really do take advantage of it. If one does not log in, one’s posts will automatically appear as being by “Anonymous.”

I should also mention, though, the even members who register and use a regular screen name are pretty much permitted by Dr. Irene to flame and harass other members as well. It’s not only Anonymous members who create problems, but they do play a significant role.

I notice this following page, which I found today, contains much of the same information I gave Dr. Irene on how to cut down the amount of bullying and trolling that takes place on her her “Friendship Blog

Topix Forums: Cyberbullying [how to put a stop to it]

    …. While it may be too little too late for TOPIX, the following changes might succeed in demonstrating some ethical concern about the problem created by TOPIX FORUMS:

    1) Make people register.
    It’s not a perfect solution because anyone can make up an email address, but at least it gives people reason to pause before posting. It seems to have worked for the majority of blog sites.

    2) Allow people who have been commented about to request removal [of abusive things that have been written about them].
    Interestingly, TOPIX has been forced to do this in Switzerland, where the law gives one the right to not have comments made about them on the internet. No such law exists in the United States.

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Beware of … A Warning About The Friendship Blog – Toxic – Unfriendly Bullied Bullies Trolls

I feel the need to warn people about getting involved with Dr. Irene’s “The Friendship Blog” (that link is to the blog itself, here is the site’s home page link).

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…
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