This is going to be a long read, sorry about that. I'd rather just go straight to the apology, but few people will understand what I'm apologizing for unless I give some history first.
When I first made this site, it was pretty dead around here for a long time. I made several different accounts to post articles and start convos. I wanted to make the site appear more active so people would be more willing to participate. It's a pretty standard strategy to get a new forum started, I told myself.
Most of those accounts were interchangeable - cherimoya, avocado, karlmarx, binary, radditnews. I just switched between them to post news articles and make throwaway comments. Since I was posting 95% of all the content for the first 8 months or so, I figured it would be better if the front page didn't look like there was just one user here.
It worked, and more people started investing themselves in the site when they saw it wasn't completely dead.
When things started to pick up, I decided to make parody accounts that attempted to inject humor into the site...
I read complaints that the place was too doom-and-gloom with all the horrible news stories, and I wanted to give the place a better sense of community and fun. So I made accounts like Chomskyist, BigGeorge and Kylie. But in retrospect, creating Chomskyist was a giant misstep.
I used that account to repost / recut years-old reddit comments I found on r/anarchism. A lot of them were good comments, but occasionally I'd throw in something ridiculously liberal. Then I would use another account to point out the absurdity of those liberal comments and poke fun at them.
I'm usually online at work in a timezone when most raddlers are asleep, so I did that mainly to amuse myself on my lunch break when there was no one around to talk to.
I didn't think anyone would take Chomskyist seriously with a username like that, but I was very wrong. Soon people were having heated discussions with my parody account, and I kept posting increasingly inane replies with it - a lot of them adapted from old reddit comments.
I retired Chomskyist when I started to feel bad about the users that were making a real effort to engage with what was effectively a giant strawman. It felt like I was trolling the whole community, when I only ever intended to poke fun at some liberal viewpoints and create colorful characters that everyone could join together in laughing at.
I learned early on that if an admin says something controversial, some people will have a very hostile reaction to it and leave the site. On raddit 1.0 before the redesign, I talked about my postciv and postleft politics openly, and it led to a communist user (really, the only regular contributor other than me) quitting the site in anger because "fucking filthy primmie scum" I think were the words they used.
After that clusterfuck, I was incredibly careful what I said with ziq; to avoid people holding my personal politics against the whole site.
I made a couple of accounts where I could speak my mind without causing people to ragequit. This is where things get really hairy.
One of these 2 accounts was postcivver, which was me holding back a lot like you'd do in polite company. But the other was defasher, which was an extreme unfiltered version of myself. Anti-civ, post-left, full-on nihilism, fuck the world and fuck you.
I'd say the real me, if such a thing exists, is probably in constant conflict between those 2 personalities. The hopeful postcivver that wants to create a better, greener world, and the cynical defasher that just wants this society to burn.
Anyway, you can tell by now where this is going. On slow days when the site seemed dead, I'd spend my lunch break using defasher to create controversy. I'd use a strawman (spock) to say something ridiculous, then have defasher talk shit to the strawman and any real users who later defended the strawman. This created divisions between raddle's userbase - specifically between communists and postleftists, transhumanists and anticivs.
My best friend and fellow-admin emma knew about my antics, and she didn't say anything at first, but she was silently hurting. I was abusing her small group of friends for my own amusement and I think I was turning her only safe space into a nightmare for her...
Finally she told me how she felt, told me how horrible it was for her to have to lie to her friends and cover for me while I used alts to make a mockery of their ideologies. She indicated she wanted to tell them the truth because she couldn't deal with the stress.
I didn't handle that very well at all. I felt completely horrible that I had caused her so much grief, so I deleted defasher. But at the same time, I got incredibly paranoid that she had considered telling her friends (who have a strong hatred for anticivs) the truth, and I cut myself off from emma because of it.
Communication between us was non existent for several days and I was bracing to get doxxed again, because one of the user's involved in the spat knew my private info.
Things got worse with defasher gone. The users began to direct their anger at my admin account - and even at tequila, who knew nothing about my weird roleplaying antics, but had opposed their proposal to ban 'trolling' without having any idea what I was up to.
One of the users involved (gnu_ponut) demanded that emma tell them private things about me. In my paranoia, I felt like this person was stalking me and that I was in danger of being doxed again.
When their proposal failed, 2 users, good friends of emma, quit the site.
I started badmouthing the person who I felt was stalking me after they quit, and emma watched silently as I insulted her good friend. Then she left the site too. ShiningWing followed her. Then sudo. I'd effectively pushed 5 people off the site with my toxic behavior.
So, I think that's everything. I don't think anyone will disagree that I have to step down. I want to work to mend my friendship with emma, and do the right thing by tequila, who until recently was completely in the dark about all this.
emma has agreed to come back in a limited capacity as the webmaster, and Tequila will remain admin, and look to promote another user to replace me. leftous has agreed to fill the role for now. I'll keep paying the bills but won't be involved in administration or moderating the site at all; and will just be a regular user. I'll retire all my accounts other than this one.
And if you decide you don't want me posting here any more, then that's fine too. I want to take full responsibility for my actions so raddle can have a chance to recover from this mess I made.
I want to apologize to emma for the stress I put you through, to tequila for having to spend their time and energy mediating squabbles because of my shitstirring, to nodefunallowed for being a bad friend to you and speaking ill of your ideology, to gnu_ponut for villainizing you and blaming you for everything when I was largely responsible, and to shiningwing and sudo for making you both feel unwelcome because of my nihilistic aggro anti-ML bullshit.
Most of all I want to apologize to the whole raddle community. You deserve better.