2019-02-11 More Zak Smith

Mandy posted some terrible things about Zak. Ouch! It pains me to read it. Trigger warning: abusive relationship. Shit, shit, shit.

If you want to know more about Zak and his fights with people online, and the harassment claims, I recommend reading the post by Patrick Stuart, and following the links:

  1. Zak Smith Is Not A Homophobe (2014): “I still remember how genuinely bad I felt for him because of the lies people were telling about him online.”
  2. A Timeline of the Zak Wars (2017): “Here’s me putting together a history of his dealings with RPG.NET and other culture war issues.”
  3. Fuck All of You] (2017): “And here is my schitzo pattern-recognition finally pulling the plug on that relationship. I felt then, I imagine only a small shadow of what Mandy is feeling now. I was a fucking mess.”

Personally, I’ve always felt it was within Zak’s right to defend himself against accusations. I think of it as the risks of speaking in public (2014). The world is not as fair and as just as we might want it to be. And over hundreds of years, we developed the laws that we have, in order to facilitate us all living together. So, legalistically speaking he was right and other people were wrong. But on a private level I decided to unfollow him on Google+ a long time ago. There was simply too much acrimony involved. And as I kept following Patrick’s journey, I was simply sad. What the hell is wrong with these people?

I occasionally read Zak’s blog and was mostly interested in his discussion of art. Those are still good blog posts. But I definitely didn’t want to have anything to do with him.

But Mandy’s post takes the harassment accusations to a whole new level. This is no longer the bitter and relentless war online, this is about being hurt physically. I don’t think this can be explained away. It’s all out in the open for everybody to see and read. Read it, and make up your own mind.

Yikes. 😰

In a case of particular irony I sent Zak an email on 2019-01-29, after a few weeks of uncertainty, asking him whether he would let me add his blog the Old School RPG Planet. 🙄



Yikes indeed. I had also grown tired of the incessant posts about online harassment, shitty people, etc. that he kept writing. But I wasn’t expecting him to be treating Mandy (and others) like this. I feel like I have been fooled.

– Enzo 2019-02-12 17:07 UTC

Yeah. 😖

– Alex Schroeder 2019-02-12 22:04 UTC

Oh man, the trash fire doesn’t end. Viv posted her story, too.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-02-13 13:36 UTC

Yeah, I saw that D:

– Enzo 2019-02-13 14:36 UTC

Some links for me. Gotta improve my narcissist spotting abilities. A lack of empathy for others should not just be a sign to disengage, but a wake up call. I talked about narcissists quite often with my wife and yet I failed to connect the dots. Ouch! 😥

Narcissistic personality disorder. How to Deal with a Narcissist.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-02-13 22:17 UTC

He’s posted a reply: The Statement.

– Enzo 2019-02-14 07:10 UTC

Thanks for the link.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-02-14 07:46 UTC

Stacy posted her story.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-02-16 12:16 UTC

Zak posted a lot of statements going the other way in The Details. When I talked about it with my wife, she said that she had read Borderliners and Narcissists often form co-dependent relationships (Auf dünnem Eis. Die Psychologie des Bösen by Lydia Benecke). I did not know this but the way she explained it to me made some sense and when I searched for the keywords online I found articles like Why Do Narcissists and Borderlines Fall in Love? and others supporting the narrative.

I still maintain that it’s hard to know what actually happened and with multiple witnesses on both sides speaking up makes it even harder to know what happened, in my opinion. Perhaps all of it is true, in one way or another, and seen through the various lenses. I certainly don’t feel like investigating this myself.

For me personally, I think the following is still true: “I definitely want to get better at spotting and handling narcissists. This is a skill I totally need to improve. I still don’t know how to do that without compromising my values. I don’t want to participate in angry mobs, I don’t want to believe every accusation, I still want people to be able to defend their position.” (2019-02-14 Narcissism)

– Alex Schroeder 2019-03-03 14:21 UTC

It seems quite likely that they both engaged in behaviour which, later on and through different lenses, can be used against them. I was wondering how many things I’ve said and done to my now wife can be interpreted as abusive. I know I have made mistakes, and we’ve grown up together for the past 15 years.

On the other hand, I really didn’t feel like copypasteing some canned message to denounce him, nor I thought crossing him out like a monster was warranted. Although he’s definitely reaped what he’s sown in terms of comprehension, compassion and benefit-of-the-doubt from his peers...

– Enzo 2019-03-03 18:19 UTC

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