Friday Question: Toxic Communities

Friday Question: Toxic Communities

By | 2015-08-21T16:03:34-04:00 August 8th, 2015|Categories: Questions|Tags: , , |4 Comments

The Friday Question: How it will work

I would like to implement a new feature here, where every Friday we pose a question for you all to discuss or privately consider. You can engage with it publicly here on the RFAS blog, or you can join our forum (details below) for a more private discussion. You can write it down to think about later, journal about it, or bring it in to a therapy session with you.

I would like to alternate hosting this discussion with other moderators, but at present we are stretched thin. If you would like to volunteer to become a moderator and host future Questions, please email us at—or join our forum and post in the moderator volunteer thread. If you just have an idea for a future Question that you want to share, we’ll host a topic for brainstorming on the forum.

Something to Ponder Today

This past month, there has been an excessive amount of drama in asexual communities, with three major debacles that Laura recapped at The Asexual Agenda. Some of what has gone down has been pretty nasty, and much of it marginalized survivors (and other less privileged groups within our community). A toxic community can be really hard on us.

So here’s my question:

How do you deal with a toxic atmosphere in your communities?

  • How does it affect you? Where do you feel it in your body? What emotions come up for you?
  • What sort of strategy to deal with it makes the most sense for you right now, in your current situation? Is it better for you to avoid the conflict right now, or tackle it head-on?
  • How can you address issues in the community while staying safe? How will you emotionally discharge, or calm yourself down?
  • What will you do to care for yourself?
  • For example, I’ve seen this master post of soothing gifs floating around. Can you think of any other resources like that which may help other survivors in this situation? Please share them!

On the Forum

Please note that we are still working things out in the forum, including rules, guidelines, structures, and technical issues. We will start gradually letting people in now who are not moderators or volunteers, but it can basically be considered “in beta” for now. So if you do join, please excuse our forum being a bit of a mess while we get everything tested. There may also be a little bit of a wait time for sending new invites, depending on our mods’ schedules and how many requests we get.

Here are a couple of things you should know about posting to the forum:

  • All posts are private, and can only be viewed by members
  • It is against forum rules to discuss any personal stories shared on the forum with anyone who is not a member without permission of the person who shared it
  • You can post as anonymous, once you are a member

The Spoiler Tag

You can hide especially triggering details behind a spoiler tag—which also works in blog comments. Here’s an example:

[spoiler title=’Triggering stuff’ collapse_link=’true’]Explicit/triggering material would go here.[/spoiler]

To make one, just type…

[ spoiler ] ... [ /spoiler ]

…without the spaces. I hope that this helps everyone safely navigate this conversation.

About the Author:

Elizabeth is a 30-something asexual woman who is often mistaken for a lesbian, due to the fact that she is partnered to a lady. She is actually bi (but not biromantic) and somewhere on the aromantic spectrum. She is formally trained in creative writing with a focus on non-fiction and poetry. She writes for The Asexual Agenda and maintains a personal blog called Prismatic Entanglements. In her spare time, she enjoys being cat furniture, coming up with new Pokemon strategies and never going to church.


  1. […] The question is: How do you deal with a toxic atmosphere in your communities?  […]

  2. Raven August 9, 2015 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    I responded to the awful stuff going on in the most immature knee-jerk way I could: I unfollowed almost my entire tumblr dash, reducing it to cute puppy pictures, misc science blogs and utterly non social issue related art blogs. And ya know…it WAS a good decision for me. Now that I’m no longer dwelling on all of that and literally losing sleep over it, I’m feeling better and am slowly reading up on what’s going on at my own pace, instead of being confronted with it during moments I’m trying to relax. This is an issue for me with social media sometimes…I need a clear separation between entertainment/relaxation and dealing with difficult or triggery info.

    • Elizabeth August 10, 2015 at 1:23 am - Reply

      I find separate accounts for potentially triggery activism stuff and more relaxing personal stuff to be so useful! The only problem is that I have a harder time actually finding things to follow that aren’t likely to be triggering at all.

  3. […] we can put you in contact with someone on The List. Also, we’ve got a discussion topic about dealing with toxic communities going, and maybe some of the suggestions people mentioned might be helpful (most of the discussion […]

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