The Msscribe Story, Chapter Four
An Unauthorized Fandom Biography
Msscribe Suffers A Setback
End of May 2003 - Msscribe and the Nanny
May was drawing to a close. Msscribe had now been friended by more than 150 people (and rising). gt_hidden_room was flourishing, and the GT admins were as mad as hornets.
If you followed this link in Chapter Three to the Fandom_Wank discussion of SarahKJames posting at gryffindortower to protest Pottersginny's banning, you might have seen the following bit of foreshadowing:
jerry_ds_girl 2003-05-12 10:26:Jerry_ds_girl would have to wait more than two weeks to satisfy her curiosity. In the meantime, several other things were happening.
At this time, GT mod and quasi-admin magoo42 contacted SQer angua9, a friend of hers whom she knew was familiar with the Fermatojam situation. Magoo told Angua that one of the GT admins had found something funny about IPs and she wanted to ask her advice. Was it possible, she asked, that Fermatojam was actually Msscribe? Angua responded that nothing could be more likely. She had never believed that Fermatojam was a real person -- and if he was a sockpuppet, he had to be Msscribe's sockpuppet, because she claimed to know his real-life identity.
Her curiousity now aroused, Angua shared her suspicions with her fandom friend dianora and the two of them began investigating Msscribe. Having less of an emotional stake in the issue than the GTers, they seem to have jumped happily into the role of Plucky Girl Detectives. They spent practically all their time for the next week or two reading every post Msscribe and all the other players had ever made, having enormously long IM conversations in which they excitedly discussed their findings and gleefully pointed out contradictions in Msscribe's story, and making the huge collection of links that was the starting point of my research for this story.
Angua and Dianora noticed that all the "Nutty Christians" were very careful where they posted. As far as they could tell, Fermatojam never posted on any LJs except Msscribe's and his own (he also posted on Cassandra Claire's, but they didn't notice that). Killiganhashope posted only on his own LJ and Msscribe's. Pottersginny posted only on her own, Infinitus's, Msscribe's, and SarahKJames's (plus two H/G communities). They found this quite suspicious. They also found this post Fermatojam made:
All of you are SHOWING YOUR TRUE COLORSAngua and Dianora speculated that Fermatojam had posted that to provide an excuse for Msscribe, when she failed to be able to track him from his IP, but I now think it was mostly meant for Cassandra Claire, in case she tracked the IP from that one comment back to Msscribe. Ebony (angiej) was an ideal person to hide behind, being a close friend of Cassandra Claire's and well-known throughout the fandom as the kind of person who would never create a sock like Fermatojam. I'm not sure if it is actually possible to appear to have any IP you want like that. I suspect it's NOT, because otherwise Msscribe (and many subsequent trolls and sockpuppeteers) would have done it. And she didn't.
Angua and Dianora concluded that the series of thrilling events that had happened to Msscribe in her first few months in the fandom -- the two flame wars and many insulting reviews, the constant stream of abusive emails and anonymous LJ comments, the near-death hospital experience, the four separate plagiarism incidents, the Baby Dyke encounter, the comment from the abused Pakistani woman, and finally the spectacular stalking and persecution by Fermatojam and his two fellow Nutty Christians -- was simply not credible. The most likely explanation, they felt, was that most or all of them were self-inflicted to attract attention and sympathy. They tagged it "Virtual Munchausen's Syndrome." They also noted that Clarabella and SarahKJames had all the telltale signs of sockpuppets -- with the obvious purpose of fangirling Msscribe, so that she could pimp herself without appearing immodest. Angua9 relayed their observations and conclusions through magoo42 to the GT admins, who were very interested and grateful -- for they had come to the same conclusion using very different methods, as you will see below.
But while Angua, Dianora, and the GTers were busy investigating, Msscribe was not idle. Besides continuing with her parody and Ginny-torture efforts at gt_hidden_room, she launched an IP investigation of her own. You may have noticed her comments asking if anyone had RunechildUK's IP. Four days later, on May 27, she and clarabella21 both put up their teaser posts saying:
killiganhashope, we know who you are.The next day, May 28th, she made a post that was frankly bizarre:
So what to do with you...Interestingly, in view of what would happen only a few hours later, Msscribe had seemingly changed her mind about the usefulness of IP evidence. She noted that she sometimes shared her computer with Clarabella and her password with SarahKJames and said:
IP's are funny little things.She also told the story of her stalking by Fermatojam in fuller detail than ever before (not neglecting to mention her fic):
Some months ago I began a fic called Requital, which is hosted at FA.org, FF.net, and Portkey.org. It was my first real attempt at writing fanfic. Someone started reading it, liked it until they realized it wasn't H/G (I had accidentally posted it at ff.net as that ship, it was an honest mistake) and it contained some steamy scenes, and sexual tension between two female characters. This person flamed me, and sent me email after email.In her earliest versions of the story (as here and here, and also at Portkey), Msscribe's abusive flamer was a Harry/Hermione fan who became incensed that she (and Cassandra Claire) wrote slash, incest, etc. instead of sticking to Pumpkin Pie. Either she was now changing the story to make it fit better with GT, or her fanfic "Requital" dissapointed two psychotic male fans in her first month in the fandom -- one who liked H/Hr and one who liked H/G -- and they both persecuted her with persistent flames.
He found out my full name, then my home address. I got a package of religious themed books from him. I sent them back. More email. Some apologetic, some nasty. They are all printed out and sitting in a little file at the campus police department where he goes (or went) to school. Why campus police? Because he hacked into my PC, along with about a dozen others from a school computer. Left me about fifty *.txt files, all bible verses on my desktop.Msscribe has never revealed who Fermatojam's other twelve victims might be.
I had him arrested, and my husband (who is an attorney) later dropped the charges on the condition he never contact me again.Two days after Msscribe wrote this, Clarabella would tell the GT admins in a private email that, far from dropping the charges, Msscribe pressed charges against Fermatojam and "took him to court." Eight days after she wrote this, on June 5, Msscribe would affirm the story Clarabella told -- that she pressed charges against Fermatojam and he received "probation." But, for the moment, she was saying that she dropped charges, just like Cassandra Claire did against Jeff.
Next, she alleges internet conspiracies, possibly pointing to GT:
It's about how you and your friends didn't come forward with information when you had it, and no one else did. It's about how you knew what he was doing, and still protected him because he was in your inner circle.Msscribe has never revealed where Fermatojam's website was, nor Killiganhashope's "hideout," and I have certainly been able to find no trace of them. Most of Msscribe's friends seem to have taken all this as a reference to Gryffindor Tower, but as you can see, she didn't explicitly say so. She also doesn't make clear what was supposedly done to "protect" Fermatojam. And then she makes the infiltration threat, which is just... weird.
This post did not stay public for long; I believe it was hidden in June of 2003.
Msscribe pursued other avenues of attack as well. She found an LJ entry from a young girl who was a GT member, speaking negatively about adoption. On May 28, SarahKJames made this post:
A Requestaome (an FA mod and generally well-liked fandom member who is an adoptive mother) responded:
msscribe linked me - thanks for pointing it out. I've gone and left my 2 cents. :)
It was also on this day, May 28, that Msscribe's friend Infinitus suddenly and finally left the fandom. She made a post citing real life issues, deleted her LJ, and disappeared for good. Here is Msscribe's post announcing the event:
Just to keep mouths from yapping...Later that evening, Msscribe made a second post, disallowing comments:
infinitus is gone. She needed to leave the fandom to take care of RL stuff. I love her like a sister. We started out in this fandom together at portkey.org, became sort of the portkey "grownups". Always together, her and I.I still wonder if Infinitus was a real-life person, either an innocent dupe or an accomplice of Msscribe's, who couldn't face the music. If she was an innocent dupe, she might have done a little IP checking herself, discovered Msscribe's behavior, and decided that she was too far implicated. If she was an accomplice, she could have simply bailed. Of course, if she was a sockpuppet, her departure was just Msscribe tidying things up. I don't suppose I'll ever know. Infinitus's decision to leave the fandom might also have something to do with the nearness of Nimbus, which she had been planning to attend (I wonder if she actually registered?). If she was a sockpuppet, the reason she couldn't attend is obvious. Or perhaps she wasn't really the lovely woman whose picture she used so generously on her journal and icons. At any rate, she disappeared and, as far as I know, has never been heard from since.
Next, GT made their move. Just after midnight that same night, on May 29, 2003, carissa_lynn, one of the admins at GT, published this on her own LJ:
Time to Say Goodnightcarissa_lynn deliberately made this post as a bait, hoping to flush out Msscribe (whom she knew was snooping around their LJs while working on the parody sockpuppets for gt_hidden_room), and it worked. The next day, she received a response -- an email from "Clarabella."
I'll let Carissa tell in her own words -- from the post she made two days later -- what happened next:
Carissa Explains It All
Carissa posted this on May 31, 2003. I'm sure you can all see what I believe happened. "Clarabella" was a throw-down sock, sacrificed to protect Msscribe. She played on the sympathies of the GT admins, begging them not to make anything public, and gave them a devilishly clever story to explain how Clarabella, SarahKJames, Fermatojam, HGEmpress, MelodyAnnSings, and the anonymous "Kellie" could all have posted from Msscribe's computer, and Msscribe still be as innocent as a daisy (if you accept that Clarabella could have somehow "hacked into" Fermatojam's email account and also accept that she made and ran the Kellie and MelodyAnnSings puppets without Msscribe's knowledge and posted using her friend SarahKJames's account for some reason). Clarabella admitted to making posts and emails from Msscribe's computer as herself, as SarahKJames, as Fermatojam, as "Kellie", as HGEmpress, and as MelodyAnnSings -- for the purpose of "investigating" suspected associates of the original, real Fermatojam -- while Msscribe also posted from the same computer as herself and as HGEmpress. This story also allowed for Fermatojam (the original one), Killiganhashope, and Pottersginny to be real people, as well as Clarabella and SarahKJames! As you can see, carissa_lynn believed (or pretended to believe) the story. She wouldn't do that for long.
Another thing to note is Clarabella's claim that it was Littletort who said that David/RunechildUK was Killiganhashope. Apparently littletort/longtimegone denied this, because clarabella21 posted on her own LJ as follows on May 31st:
Clarabella made a post on her LJ early on May 30, saying "sarahkjames, we need to chat online TODAY so please email me. Thanks." She then deleted her LJ, preparing to make the supreme sacrifice of leaving the fandom, and Msscribe (who naturally knew nothing about what her fangirl nanny was up to) posted:
I come back from a meeting to check LJ's and clarabella21's journal is gone. Can someone please tell me WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? Did anyone see her LJ before she deleted it? She's supposed to sit for us tomorrow night, so I guess I'll know then.Several people responded, quoting Clarabella's last post:
Well...er if I remember rightly...she said something like she'll call you and explain why she has to leave fandom for a while and she's screwed something up.Later, Clarabella restored her LJ and made a tearful post (later hidden), telling the same story she'd told to Carissa. Msscribe made a beautiful post (also soon hidden), magnanimously forgiving her. Throughout the fandom, people commented indulgently, saying that it had been wrong for Clarabella to impersonate Fermatojam and make sockpuppets like "Kellie", but that it was perfectly understandable in the circumstances (boo, stalkers!), and everybody makes mistakes, and Clara was sorry now, so group hug, everybody's happy! Msscribe was more beloved and admired than ever, and twenty more people friended her. :)
To the GTers, Msscribe was not so magnanimous. On May 31, she wrote several emails to Carissa, with copies to FA and Nimbus attorney praetorianguard, angling for GT to keep quiet and drop the matter. If they didn't, she warned, it would be war. She threatened to publish the screencaps she had showing that GT admin RunechildUK and Killiganhashope were the same person, and also to publish the email Imogen had written to "Fermatojam" (or rather, according to the version of the story Msscribe was telling then, the email Imogen had written to Clarabella posing as Fermatojam to investigate his connections to GT -- or, according to my own belief, the email that Imogen had written to Msscribe herself, posing as Fermatojam in order to establish his connection with GT).
Carissa and her fellow GT admins did not agree to drop the subject, and Msscribe -- using the excuse that Carissa had felt free to post her friend Clarabella's private emails -- posted the text of Imogen's polite email to "Fermatojam." She also claimed that there was earlier, very damaging correspondence from Imogen in Fermatojam's email account (hacked into by Clarabella) that she might also post, a claim the GTers scornfully denied. If I remember correctly, the GTers then posted the text of Clarabella/Fermatojam's email to Imogen, making it clear that "he" was introducing himself to a stranger, and also posted the text of Imogen's second email to Fermatojam after she had been informed who he was, telling him that he wasn't welcome at GT.
Msscribe also posted the two screencaps I mentioned earlier -- one of a comment from Killiganhashope and one of a comment from RunechildUK, both closely trimmed so you couldn't see which LJ they were from, and both having a matching IP. The GTers screamed in outrage, pointing out that the IP she was showing was NOT their friend RunechildUK's IP, which they had all logged many times, and that RunechildUK was from England and always had a British IP. More damagingly to Msscribe's claim, several of her friends commented on her entry that the IP she was showing traced to an internal IP error, and -- if I remember correctly -- cygnusfap volunteered that the IP RunechildUK had left on his LJ did not match that one, and did trace to England.
After receiving these comments, Msscribe quickly took the post down, either filtering it or taking it private. She never revealed who her source was for the RunechildUK screencap. The post quoting Imogen's email disappeared fairly soon as well.
And the GT admins did not stop their investigations. carissa_lynn continued to collect and examine IP evidence, and found a smoking gun: the IP captured when Fermatojam (the "real" Fermatojam, according to Clarabella) originally joined GT in April matched an IP for Pottersginny, and all of Pottersginny's other posts had IPs that exactly or nearly matched one of the IPs already admitted to be from Msscribe's computer. Here is the screencap Carissa took to document the IP Fermatojam had joined GT with -- it was 184.108.40.206, tracing to c-68-82-67-208.hsd1.de.comcast.net (Comcast Cable Communications in Delaware).
The GT admins had asked for help from people in the fandom they thought might have IP information on Msscribe and her suspected sockpuppets. They got some good stuff from bohemianvixen, maintainer of the harry_and_ginny community, which Pottersginny had joined and posted in on May 7th, the same day she made her LJ, to establish herself as an H/G shipper (and to start trouble). Msscribe commented on that post (all her comments show up as delawarean now), so bohemianvixen had an IP for her as well. Sometime between May 24 and May 27, a suspended user (probably stolencocks) also posted there, probably to draw attention to the gt_hidden_room community started on May 24th.
This information from bohemianvixen was important in giving GT credibility, because she and the GT admins were not friends, even though they shared the same ship. bohemianvixen actively posted at FictionAlley, maintained good relations with that portion of the fandom (as can be seen in the comments to Pottersginny's post), and was widely known and liked. Her community mainly served H/Gers who did not share GT's isolationist, FictionAlley-detesting stance. But BohemianVixen (known as Queen_of_Slytherin at FA) stood firmly with the GTers. She spoke up in support of GT in her own community, and also at the now-deleted gryffindortower community and I seem to remember on her own LJ, though I don't see the post now.
Here is the page from Pottersginny's post of May 7th downloaded by bohemianvixen and sent to the GT admins. Note the IPs for Pottersginny and Msscribe, and the times:
pottersginny 2003-05-07 11:06 (from 220.127.116.11)In a six-hour period, Pottersginny used six different IPs, from three completely different sources. One of those IPs was used by Msscribe only three hours after it was used by the racist troll who called her a "zebra" that same day, and another one of them had been used by Msscribe's stalker Fermatojam to join GT.
The GT admins also appealed to the Sugar Quill for any IP evidence they might have, and the SQ admins, tired of drama and reluctant to be pulled into this conflict as they had been pulled into the stalking incident, refused to search their database. I don't know if the GTers asked anyone else for help, but I believe that all the IPs they eventually published came from either their website, their own LJ community, e-mails sent to them, or BohemianVixen. Studying all the evidence, they became convinced that Msscribe and/or Clarabella (they were unable to establish whether Clarabella was real or a sockpuppet) were responsible for Fermatojam, Killiganhashope, and Pottersginny. With great anticipation of being triumphantly cleared of all charges and exposing Msscribe to the fandom-wide censure she rightfully deserved, they made their move.
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