Statement regarding Marisa the Magician (aka Marisa Kirisame)

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Statement regarding Marisa the Magician (aka Marisa Kirisame)

Post by wildweasel+Rachael+Agent_Ash »

The time has come to say something about Marisa Kirisame and the recent events. This is a joint statement composed by Agent_Ash, wildweasel, and Rachael.

First of all, we're speaking publicly about this mainly because people are expecting us to. We usually do not make a spectacle of bannings, we do not like drama, but, given the circumstances, we do not have a choice at this point.

There has never been a plan to maliciously conceal information. We haven't publicly spoken about the whole thing because we generally don't make any public announcements regarding accusations and disciplinary actions. We also have to admit that we were holding out a belief that the accusations against Marisa would prove to be untrue and the whole thing would be resolved without scandals or ruined lives and reputations. These hopes proved to be naive.

We say these things here, now, because if we do not, they will be said by other people who do not have all the facts and choose to interpret those facts in the least charitable way possible.

Before we continue to the main statement, I - wildweasel - feel a need to say my piece about how this has gone down.

Those who know me and how I operate as an administrator, may know that my main concern is for the community. I have always striven to make sure that my people are welcomed and safe. I have always given the benefit of the doubt, first and foremost, and chosen only to act once all the cards are on the table. It is not my style to act on incomplete information and hearsay. Above all else, I am upset that I felt forced to do so regardless. I've been hoping and praying that something would come to light that'd maybe help things turn out for the better, but the more information that comes up, the worse this whole thing gets. I am hoping that by being as clear as we can about what happened and what we've done about it, it can maybe be put to bed, at last, after two entire months of putting out fires about it.

What follows is a collective statement on part of the entire ZDoom Staff.

Before we get into the specifics about this situation in particular, we need to explain to everybody what Funpolice is.

Sometime back when ZDoom still had an official IRC channel, the idea was pitched that, as moderators of one of Doom's bigger userbases, we should be pooling information about known troublemakers. #funpolice (hereafter known as FP) was born. The intent behind FP was not that we'd be some all-governing council of admins, or that a decision made by one Doom sub-community would be made the same by all others. Instead, we would use FP to ask questions about cross-community drama, or to share information about harassers, channel raiders, and other sorts of really bad people. The priority was always to protect the community, make it a safe and welcoming environment, free from abuse and drama.

How the information posted in FP would get used by other moderators has always been up to them. When ZDoom made its shift to Discord away from IRC, FP moved with it, and still exists today. We've gone out of our way to make sure that anyone that becomes a member of staff among the communities represented in FP either gets access to FP or is made aware of it. At its peak, FP had representatives from ZDoom, Zandronum, /r/Doom, and TSPG, among others.

In the interests of full disclosure, Marisa used to a member of FP, at first because she had been a staff member at ZDoom for a while some years ago, and later, after she resigned, she remained in FP because she ran her own server and still had information to share. It is within FP that we, the ZDoom staff, first received word about the accusations against Marisa the Magician. At the time it was posted, many had doubts about the veracity of the claims being raised against her — there were a lot of holes in the information given, for one. But even if she were innocent, these things have ways of tumbling down hill and getting worse — and they absolutely did, as previously stated.

We wish to make abundantly clear that, when the decision was made to ban Marisa, this ban was unilateral. She's gone from the forums, from the ZDoom Discord, and from FP, as of the 11th of March.

Now, about what happened with Marisa.

Marisa the Magician was accused of being a child groomer and pedophile in /r/DoomMods (the thread has since been deleted). The accusation came with a number of screenshots that displayed clearly sexual interactions between Marisa and a person who at some point claimed they were 17 years old. Among other things, the screenshots contained a message from Marisa where she said that her own first relationship was at the age of 18 when her partner was 14 years old.

When we were made aware of that thread, we didn't go for a ban right away, because it went completely contrary to the character we knew her for up to that point. We struggled to believe that an author of many popular projects, somebody who did a lot of good for the community, somebody we knew well and many of us considered a friend, could be capable of this kind of terrible thing. Marisa had been a frequent target of harassment before as well. We did not want to act before all cards were on the table. It was not clear to us if the accuser was trustworthy or if the screenshots were real, and we did not exclude the possibility of a smear campaign. At that point there was nothing to discuss publicly and there were no clear grounds to take any sort of disciplinary action, so we started investigating.

As mentioned, it was Marisa herself who brought the post to our attention, so we proceeded to discuss it with her, trying to find out as much as possible. We found out the following:

• The screenshots were real, but presented in an incomplete and non-chronological manner (possibly on purpose).

• The accuser had approached Marisa first and was aggressively flirtatious. Multiple logs and screenshots showed them being the proactive party.

• At some point the accuser also claimed that they solicited erotic images with other users, including a 12-year-old boy, and shared those images with Marisa, unprompted. (Marisa presented us with logs of that interaction, images edited out.)

• The accuser's age was not mentioned until several months into their relationship. Marisa, in a display of obviously very poor judgement, apparenty hadn't thought to ask about their age earlier.

• Arguably the most damning fact was a message by Marisa saying she used to have a relationship with a 14-year-old while she herself was 18. Marisa's reaction to that was that she simply could not remember who she was talking about in that message, and in fact could not remember having any relationship at the age of 18.

Obviously, that explanation was not satisfactory. There was a discussion regarding this among the staff, as well as a number of people who knew Marisa closely. Most of those people claimed that she had problems remembering things, resulting from or exacerbated by the fact that she went through a number traumatic experiences that are known to cause memory issues.

The human factor was, naturally, also at play here. Several people who were participating in the conversation were close to Marisa and, shocked at the accusations, were hoping that they would somehow turn out to be untrue. The fact that she was a prominent person in the community played a part as well — however, at no point were we considering dismissing the accusations simply based on her prominence. We were willing to give her the benefit of the doubt — like we always try to do, especially with people who had previously seemed so trustworthy.

There was a lot of stress, emotions and a lot of fluctuation. Some people were willing to judge her, others believed it was a smear campaign and she was being entrapped. There were some harsh words and exclamations thrown around from either side, and a lot of venting. Despite that, we tried to stay objective and figure out the truth.

At that point the results of the investigation seemed unsatisfactory. The one undisputable fact was that Marisa displayed extremely poor judgement, but in the light of her supposed memory issues (corroborated by several people), it was unclear how much we could trust her claims, including the claims she made in those screenshots. We still didn't feel like the full truth has been clearly established.

Despite the investigation feeling incomplete, we decided to ban Marisa. It seemed like the best course of action for two reasons:

1. If the accusations were true, we obviously couldn't keep an individual like that around. ZDoom community is not a place for pedophilia and sexual abuse.

2. If the accusations were false, she would become a target anyway, and by proxy the ZDoom community would become a target as well.

Our expectation at that point was for Marisa to make some kind of a public statement of her own regarding the accusations. We assumed that she would have *something* to say, hopefully with receipts, that would at least make things *clearer*, even if not exonerate her. We decided that if we were to make any sort of public statement, we would at least wait for her to make hers.

At that point we did believe (however naive this may seem) that there was a *slim* chance of Marisa coming back, if (and that was a big 'if') she managed to somehow explain the situation and prove that she was not, in fact, a conscious pedophile/child groomer. Some of us, still willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and not satisfied with the incompleteness of the available information (or just hoping against hope that things could somehow be resolved), were even offering her help in creating said statement — mainly because we were aware that Marisa had trouble expressing herself.

That belief soon dwindled. Marisa replied to the original subreddit thread, which did not make the situation any clearer and did not make her look any better. She did not release a public statement, but later she did act out on her Twitter, going as far as stating that her boyfriend was "willing to track every single one of them down" (referring to the people who started targetting her by that point).

Image

She displayed disregard for the safety of the ZDoom community and for all the benefit of the doubt extended to her. She also suspected that some of the people who were willing to assist her were, in fact, trying to sabotage her. Marisa did not care about the people she put in front of her to shield herself from accusations, she cared about herself.

The situation right now that Marisa is gone and not coming back. It might've taken a while for an action to be taken, but there was a lot to unpack (a lot more than the people who prefer swift judgment might assume). And yes, there was also our hope that the accusations would prove to be false, that Marisa would provide a satisfactory explanation, and that *perhaps* this would blow over. We were willing to have some faith in a person who was respected and considered a friend by many, because it's natural to try and protect somebody you care about, especially when you think accusations against them are false or overblown.

In hindsight, that was probably naive of us, but hindsight is 20/20.

This has been an extremely stressful situation for us. We've spent the last few weeks trying to put out fires — only for some people to create more. The "go for the throat" mentality is nothing to be proud of, but we feel like that has been the general mood for decades now, especially in this moment. Not once has it ever been considered whether "I might be going overboard" or "there may be more to this than I think". People make gross assumptions about people who they perceive to be in the wrong and then just run with it — and then the mob mentality takes over, destroying any last bit of goodwill involved in the process and devolving the discourse into a chaotic and incomprehensible mess.

We are done with Marisa, and we would like to be done with this situation as well. Fanning the flames further will not make anything better, and some of our more recent bans are due to people fanning the flames. We're done with this, we're moving on.
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Re: Statement regarding Marisa the Magician (aka Marisa Kirisame)

Post by Kinsie »

ZDoom Staff wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 11:59 am We are done with Marisa, and we would like to be done with this situation as well.
This is not possible under the current circumstances. The logs provided by the victim (that you really need to stop shoving into The Hall of Unpleasantness - Situations like this need to be dealt with maturely and openly instead of being stuffed in a corner, that's the only way to break bad cultures and cycles of making the same mistakes over and over again) have exposed some frankly atrocious behavior on the part of the forums staff, and they cannot and should not continue in their current form with a clear conscience. How as a group do you intend to change, whether that be in policies, personnel or other relevant forms, in response to your inability to provide a properly safe place to post about videogame stuff?
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Re: Statement regarding Marisa the Magician (aka Marisa Kirisame)

Post by DrPyspy »

You must remember that Marisa and her actions are only half of the issue. The other half is something you will need to deal with long after you have dismissed the Marisa situation. There were still discussions of pressuring the smaller communities that made the bans into retracting their bans, wanting accusers (plural, implying this includes those who came out in confidence and were some of the reasons why those bans were made in the first place) to burn, and calling upon karma to eventually "get back" at those people. Hell, the original creator of the video (who, apparently, is going to be hit back with that so-called karma) that revealed all this is banned from the forum now.

This situation isn't over because you say it is. The hurt you've caused isn't going to disappear on a whim. You can't pretend everything is okay now and that the issue was JUST Marisa and claim that it was dealt with. All of you on the moderation team are going to need to learn to take accountability for your actions.

EDIT: I would additionally like to link to these two threads so new arrivals can get some context on the situation.
Last edited by DrPyspy on Tue Apr 18, 2023 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Statement regarding Marisa the Magician (aka Marisa Kirisame)

Post by CandiceJoy »

Kinsie wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 12:30 pm
ZDoom Staff wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 11:59 am We are done with Marisa, and we would like to be done with this situation as well.
This is not possible under the current circumstances. The logs provided by the victim (that you really need to stop shoving into The Hall of Unpleasantness - Situations like this need to be dealt with maturely and openly instead of being stuffed in a corner, that's the only way to break bad cultures and cycles of making the same mistakes over and over again) have exposed some frankly atrocious behavior on the part of the forums staff, and they cannot and should not continue in their current form with a clear conscience. How as a group do you intend to change, whether that be in policies, personnel or other relevant forms, in response to your inability to provide a properly safe place to post about videogame stuff?
Hypocritical much?
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Re: Statement regarding Marisa the Magician (aka Marisa Kirisame)

Post by Kinsie »

DrPyspy wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 12:40 pm Hell, the original creator of the video (who, apparently, is going to be hit back with that so-called karma) that revealed all this is banned from the forum now.
Wait, what the fuck? He doesn't look banned in his user profile. Is this some stealth-ban thing, because that seems like an incredibly bad, victim-blaming-y thing to do given the circumstances.
CandiceJoy wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 12:41 pm Hypocritical much?
Please read the room. Things have to actually meaningfully change around here for people to feel comfortable again.
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Re: Statement regarding Marisa the Magician (aka Marisa Kirisame)

Post by Marrub »

Kinsie wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 12:45 pm
DrPyspy wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 12:40 pm Hell, the original creator of the video (who, apparently, is going to be hit back with that so-called karma) that revealed all this is banned from the forum now.
Wait, what the fuck? He doesn't look banned in his user profile. Is this some stealth-ban thing, because that seems like an incredibly bad, victim-blaming-y thing to do given the circumstances.
It's seemingly an accidental side effect of the PHPBB upgrade that banned users don't get clearly marked anymore.
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Re: Statement regarding Marisa the Magician (aka Marisa Kirisame)

Post by DrPyspy »

Kinsie wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 12:45 pm Wait, what the fuck? He doesn't look banned in his user profile. Is this some stealth-ban thing, because that seems like an incredibly bad, victim-blaming-y thing to do given the circumstances.
From the man himself:

Image
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Re: Statement regarding Marisa the Magician (aka Marisa Kirisame)

Post by Kinsie »

DrPyspy wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 12:50 pm
Kinsie wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 12:45 pm Wait, what the fuck? He doesn't look banned in his user profile. Is this some stealth-ban thing, because that seems like an incredibly bad, victim-blaming-y thing to do given the circumstances.
From the man himself:

Image
This is the absolute worst possible way to handle such a situation. Holy shit.
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Re: Statement regarding Marisa the Magician (aka Marisa Kirisame)

Post by Tapwave »

CandiceJoy wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 12:41 pm
Kinsie wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 12:30 pm
ZDoom Staff wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 11:59 am We are done with Marisa, and we would like to be done with this situation as well.
This is not possible under the current circumstances. The logs provided by the victim (that you really need to stop shoving into The Hall of Unpleasantness - Situations like this need to be dealt with maturely and openly instead of being stuffed in a corner, that's the only way to break bad cultures and cycles of making the same mistakes over and over again) have exposed some frankly atrocious behavior on the part of the forums staff, and they cannot and should not continue in their current form with a clear conscience. How as a group do you intend to change, whether that be in policies, personnel or other relevant forms, in response to your inability to provide a properly safe place to post about videogame stuff?
Hypocritical much?
You cannot answer valid criticism with a pejorative only and expect that case to be closed.
Addressing the Marisa situation is just the set dressing. People want answers for the moderator team's behavior. The immediate ban of Marty and TTA, and your response to this, just hammers in what people have come to expect.
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Re: Statement regarding Marisa the Magician (aka Marisa Kirisame)

Post by Rachael »

Kinsie I am only going to warn you once.

Calm the fuck down.

If you want to talk about this calmly and rationally, fine. If not, you know what happens next.
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Re: Statement regarding Marisa the Magician (aka Marisa Kirisame)

Post by Tapwave »

Rachael wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 1:03 pm Kinsie I am only going to warn you once.

Calm the fuck down.

If you want to talk about this calmly and rationally, fine. If not, you know what happens next.
This is the Kinsie we've known for years. He's calmer than I've ever heard him being incensed about anything.

If your first step is going to try and menace someone you know whose sharp wit is going to difficult to respond to, you're doing exactly what you're being blamed for.

You have to face the music. Banning Kinsie for reacting honestly is just going to add to your case.
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Re: Statement regarding Marisa the Magician (aka Marisa Kirisame)

Post by Rachael »

Tapwave wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 1:10 pm
This is the Kinsie we've known for years. He's calmer than I've ever heard him being incensed about anything.

If your first step is going to try and menace someone you know whose sharp wit is going to difficult to respond to, you're doing exactly what you're being blamed for.

You have to face the music. Banning Kinsie for reacting honestly is just going to add to your case.
I don't exactly have any way to recover from my "case" and until people come in good faith with non-accusatory tones, and actually be willing to hear me out, there's nothing to discuss. This is the same Doom community bullshit that has become expected for years - find some fault in someone's doing - make a mountain out of a mole hill, and then put the rage mob onto someone and eat them alive. This is no different. I have nothing to say. Nothing I *can* say will "recover" my reputation. So why bother?

It's the same mob bullying that drives people to suicide, and you are a part of it. You only do it because you are bored and you love drama. And having a scapegoat. Congratulations, you have one.
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Re: Statement regarding Marisa the Magician (aka Marisa Kirisame)

Post by Caligari87 »

Censuring Kinsie for being uncivil while Candice throws off snarky schoolyard one-liners is emblematic of the problem, TBH.
Kinsie wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 12:45 pm
CandiceJoy wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 12:41 pmHypocritical much?
Please read the room. Things have to actually meaningfully change around here for people to feel comfortable again.
This is right. And I'm going to lay this bare because it hurts me.

I came onto this team because ZDoom has been my home for more than half my life, and I wanted to have a hand in guiding and helping it to grow and stay safe. That said, in my time as an admin across ZDoom, /r/Doom, The Official Doom Discord, and being at one time or another on the moderation boards for various smaller groups because of my admin position, I've come to learn that being a community leader means a lot of things.

One of the biggest of those things is a lot of back-channel discussion. Lots of it. Ironically less than you'd hope, but more than you'd think. A lot of those back-channels involve various overlapping circles, and all those overlapping circles have their own agendas, grudges, and history. You get used to wearing various masks. Discussing things behind three backs simultaneously happens so naturally you don't notice it. Screenshotting / saving conversations "just in case" becomes almost rote. You share dirt with everyone, and trust no one.

It's very Game of Thrones, which is a phrase I've been using a lot lately.

It results in a few net effects:
  • Whatever circle or person you're currently working with always seems to have the best interest of the community at heart, regardless of how extreme their position might be in retrospect. Obviously, you're talking so you trust them, right?
  • Whatever circle or person you're talking about is one of them, an out-grouper that needs to be managed. Obviously they're not in the circle, or else you could trust them, right?
  • Stronger personalities win out because they're willing to act alone, while the more subdued personalities waiting for peaceful collaboration end up playing catch-up.
I don't know what the solution to this is, but I know it has to change. I hate being paranoid and frustrated that shit like this keeps happening because someone somewhere always has an axe to grind or wagons to circle or a digital fiefdom to lord over. It breaks my heart enough that I'm considering signing off and never coming back, but I love this community too much to just abandon it when I still feel I could do some good.

That said, I can only fix ME. We (and when I say "we" I mean the community as a whole) need to do lots of soul-searching and stop assuming we're right about everything and know better than anyone else.

I'm open to suggestions.
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Re: Statement regarding Marisa the Magician (aka Marisa Kirisame)

Post by Accensus »

Damn, Skulltag 2: Electric Boogaloo is kinda fire ngl.
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Re: Statement regarding Marisa the Magician (aka Marisa Kirisame)

Post by Rachael »

Accensus wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 1:16 pm Damn, Skulltag 2: Electric Boogaloo is kinda fire ngl.
Total cacoward material.

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