There's a kind of person who causes a lot of problems in all kinds of communities that I call the sacred crackpot.
The sacred crackpot has three main characteristics:
1. The sacred crackpot talks about their emotions online all the time.
2. The sacred crackpot inspires protective feelings in other people in their scene online because of this.
3. The sacred crackpot says things that aren't true, a lot. They either lie all the time or are too emotional to fact-check anything.
This is how hippie gamers describe them.
(Concrete Examples in the Online Game Scene)
OSR: Paolo Greco, Goatmansgoblet/Brian Yaksha, Jensen Toperzer, Terra F, Evlyn Moreau
Story-Games: Ash Kreider, Robert Bohl, Fred Hicks
Here's the typical course of the sacred crackpot hurting people:
1. The sacred crackpot gets emotional on some subject and says some wildly untrue thing about a victim.
2. Instead of responding properly ("That's a bold claim, do you have evidence ?") the people watching just smile and pretend it isn't happening and that a false accusation hasn't just been injected into the Googleable world.
3. The victim or someone else who has a conscience, then, is stuck calling them out all alone. They call out the crackpot because that legit is the only reasonable thing to do.
4. The crackpot just gets emotional and lies more and performs pain more and harasses their victims more.
The super-unusual thing about this kind of aggression is: nearly everyone watching agrees exactly about what happened. I've never had a frank one-on-one conversation with even the storiest storygamer or dreamiest sworddreamer where the person pretended Ash Kreider or Brian Goatgoblet actually had a point. They know their friend got emotional and said something that wasn't true.
There's an obvious right thing to do: get the crackpot off the internet and into therapy--or at least have their friends swarm them with "Hey please stop, you do not have the emotional resources to finish the fight you're starting" every time the crackpost gears up into attack mode. And, of course, nobody does it.
The allies of the crackpot have, and create, a curious position:
1. The sacred crackpot is viewed as somehow the community's responsibility and not the community's responsibility.
2. The allies view the online community as like food or water or medicine to their crackpot. To deny the liar the community would somehow be like denying them a basic resource they need to survive and so cruel. Nobody goes "Wow maybe an internet environment where people launch false accusations and try to cancel each other for money and clicks all day isn't the best place for my emotionally fragile friend?"
3. Allies are totally unwilling to even try to stop the crackpot from harming innocent people when they make shit up.
4. Everybody acts like the whole "making shit up" is essentially victimless and there's no reason not to keep the crackpot around, in the warm Web-based bosom of the community they lie to.
5. The crackpot continues to crack, never reforms, never improves, keeps lying in community after community, keeps creating real problems for more and more people.
6. Eventually, the crackpot's rewrite of history is even believed by people who come in later whose only source of information is the crackpot, and who aren't sophisticated enough to ask victims or anyone else for a record of the original attack.
7. The crackpot continues to harass their victims forever with fake accusations and nobody wants to stop them because they Have Feelings and therefore can't be criticized.
Question for you, reader
What do you do?
Please answer in the comments.