ChristianForums: Bradfordgate

2006-11-16 04:16

Ahh, Bradfordgate. The high point was when one of the ChristianForums staff confessed to killing and eating another (then-former) staffer.

You doubt this? So you well might; the thread in question was deleted by some of the other staff.

Let’s roll the clock back. Bradford was one of the most active posters at ChristianForums, and a veritable dynamo of moderation. Not everyone always agreed with his decisions, but a lot of moderation is just a matter of having the time and typing speed to do the work, and no one had any complaints about the time he put in. I do have one nice and clear example of Bradford handing out a totally bogus warning — but I also have nice documentation that he was ordered to give that warning by a senior staff member. (Using proxies to hand out warnings helps staff pretend they’re not stalking someone.)

Anyway, one day, Bradford went rather suddenly from a well-respected and active staff member to a banned ex-user. This might be some cause for comment, but luckily, CF staff were able to assure everyone that he was simply too busy to participate for a while, and had requested that his account be banned so he wouldn’t be tempted. We were firmly assured of this.

There’s just one problem. It wasn’t true. You may be expecting that I will go on to assert that the staff were lying in their public posts. I won’t. To the best of my knowledge, the staff making that assertion in public genuinely believed it. Why? Because it was what they were told.

The real story is allegations that Bradford was a sexual predator. I have heard about three sides of the story, and I currently think that he was not. I think he may have flirted a bit with people, and he certainly dated at least one, but I don’t think there’s a sufficient basis to support the allegation. But, as with another similar case, apparently no one really asked him. He was removed and banned. Was he, maybe, asked about the allegations? Well. No.

Of course, not all the allegations were even discussed openly at the top levels; some of these things were PMs from one person to another making various claims. Bradford was alleged to have had sex with people that, so far as anyone can tell, he’s never even met. There was “evidence”. For instance, one time, he met another user in an airport while travelling. The assertion was made that he changed around a business trip to meet someone. Because, obviously, there is no other way to run into someone in O’Hare International.

Of course, the official story was put out that he was just too busy. I think most of the staff repeating this to the regular members genuinely believed it. Not everyone did, though, and hilarity ensued when a user asked the site’s AI ‘bot staffer (“ChrisBot”) where Bradford was; the bot claimed to have eaten Bradford. (Barbeque, no less.) The thread was, alas, deleted by staff.

Anyway, here’s what happened next: A while later, Bradford tried to get back on staff, and succeeded. A number of staff spoke in his defense, including one of the people who was originally claimed to be a source for the evidence that he was a dangerous sexual predator. He was brought back on staff, after a number of staff who had not been told exactly what the story was said they’d trust the staff who did know to decide.

When the story came out there was a lot of staff drama, and Bradford left again — this time, Erwin just fired him. This time, the conviction thread (from Zion — remember the oddly blasphemous forum names?) was moved out into the general staff room so they could all read it. Not that Bradford was given a chance to defend himself.

To the best of my knowledge, to this day, none of those people have gotten around to asking him his side of the story, and I don’t think he was ever told exactly what the accusations were, except through the usual array of leaks and rumors. Yes, there are leaks even at the very highest levels of the forums; in the defense of whoever leaked that, I can see believing that a man who’s been accused of having sex with people and being a sexual predator might legitimately be seen as having some right to know what’s been said about him.

The big difference between this case and the other case that immediately comes to mind where someone was kicked off CF staff over allegations of improper sexual behavior is that, rather than telling all staff of the allegations, as though they were proven fact, senior staff covered them up and lied about what happened. I think this may actually be better, but I’m not sure.

Peter Seebach

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Comments

  1. Just out of curiousity, why did "Mrs. X" get anonimity a few days ago, yet the person mentioned here does not?

    — insaneinthebrain · 2006-11-17 21:02 · #

  2. Because I talked to Bradford, but not to "Ms. X". Bradford already got libeled fairly effectively both in private staff forums and in various gossip channels; this way, at least people can stop wondering what the secret was. Furthermore, presenting even a little of his side of the story is a big change from what was done in the past.

    In short, his reputation was previously trashed, and I hope this helps correct some of the rumors and gossip.

    — Seebs · 2006-11-18 05:24 · #

  3. Is Ms. X still on staff?


    — Bella Goth · 2006-11-18 11:44 · #

  4. Seems to me, the MsX in this tale *did* get anonymity.

    — ravenscape · 2006-11-18 14:39 · #

  5. Indeed, Raven, she did. Because I did a lot of stuff, but I never went and called her out. Still haven't, to this day, as a matter of fact.

    — Bradford · 2006-12-10 17:52 · #

  6. To Bella:

    Yes, she is.

    — Bradford · 2006-12-10 17:53 · #

  7. For the record, back when this occurred, Erwin stated that the following brought accusations against "Bradford:"

    1 female ex-staffer
    1 female ex-staffer
    1 female current staff
    1 female current staff
    1 member
    1 member

    That's 6 in total.


    — DB · 2008-12-26 21:53 · #

 
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