A Reminder: Not Everyone is Honest On The Internet

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Most of the time on MyPTSD, we (members) strike a good balance between trust and skepticism.

This balance lets us adopt a sort of unwritten policy in how we welcome new posters: We tend to assume that people are telling the truth. It may be a one-sided version of truth, or there might be observable cognitive distortions in how the poster relays the narrative...But generally speaking, we don't have a ton of trolls on a daily basis. This lets us assume there's a general intention to be honest and get help.

Occasionally we'll get something dishonest. It might be a poster living inside of their invented online "survivor" persona, doing this for attention, or validation, or a feeling of belonging.

Or, it could be more problematic - a mentally disordered person with a strange attachment to this forum or other members, whose illness drives them to cause conflict, then create a narrative for themselves of how they are being denied the same kind of support or privileges or attention that is given to other members.

That sort of member is eventually removed from the forum (banned).

Despite that - sometimes, they come back. We usually identify them quickly, but not always. They can be here with a different user name and a different story, but the same attachment issues and old grudges - plus, an even greater desire to create some chaos, make some noise and become the center of attention, again.

These kinds of posters aren't generally sophisticated or devious in a criminal fashion. They aren't trying to get your information so they can break into your bank account. What they want is your undivided attention, whether you want to give it or not. Their mental illness is unmanaged, and they aren't self-aware.

Please, exercise situational awareness - stop and think - when considering making contact with any other member off of this platform. While you're here, you can choose to close the door on a forum friendship, and we can help with that if things involving another member start turning uncomfortable, or weird, or bad.

Once you've decided to share your personal contact information? You've invited a stranger into your actual, 3-D life.

And where did you meet them? On a mental health forum.

This is a mental health forum. It shouldn't need to be repeated, but I do think sometimes, it's easy to forget.

So - as much as you may feel you have an instant connection with someone, I strongly encourage you to keep that relationship rooted on-site. Preserve the buffer zone between the things you share here and the private life you lead. We're often far more vulnerable here than we are among the people we see every day, and there are good and useful reasons for that. This site exists so that can be possible. But it only works if you participate in maintaining the anonymity and separation that we are ALL looking to benefit from.

If you do eventually decide to advance your forum friendships into real-life ones ? Be certain you've taken enough time to thoroughly understand who it is you're inviting into your world.

Taking someone at face value on the internet doesn't have the same consequences it can have when doing so in real life. Anyone who has ever been scammed - or taken advantage of in any way - knows how easy it is to trust too much information to the wrong person. At best, it can become an irritant. At worst, something more dangerous.

Don't be paranoid. Just be aware. And as always, if you have questions, please ask.
A quick postscript:

We've no issue with people who have struggled with self-regulation, may have been taken off the site, and might have an old account that they'd rather leave closed and have a fresh start.

There's no problem with that at all. It only requires asking for it. If there's a willingness on their part to do the work, look at their own shit, and move forward?

We've all been there. Nothing about how this site is run is connected to holding grudges. What we care about is maintaining a functional community, without bad actors hiding out inside of it.
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