Site icon Christina Engela: Author

About Amy – A frank discussion about internet bullying, identity politics and the Facebook dictatorship.

Hello again, friends and fans.

Today I’d like to discuss the phenomenon of internet bullying on social media, using a specific example, that of someone known to me in the context of an online community I’ve encountered and participated in myself while conducting research.

Amy Mah (also known as Lady Amelia Mah) is well known on Facebook and also throughout the Vampyre Community (as well as in various others, including the Otherkin, Therian, Occult, Demonkin communities, and several anime and Goth groups etc.) and for a variety of different reasons. As a writer needing to research various different characters and backgrounds and identities with which to enrich my story telling, I can certainly understand why.

It is no secret that in the course of my own research – both as a writer as well as a researcher for groups such a the Alternative Religions Forum (ARF) I have entered and in some cases participated in various similar online communities – one of which where I met Amy, among many other very interesting people! Amy is indeed virtually everywhere on Facebook..

Amy however, is not simply a writer. She is an intellectual in the true sense of the word. She is driven by insatiable curiosity – and certainly not malevolence as some seem to be implying. Although loved by many from various different walks of life, she is generally misunderstood – and this misunderstanding is especially evident in the loudest criticism of her, typically coming from some in what is generally referred to as ‘the‘ Vampyre Community.

As anyone who has ever been part of the interactions of this body for any length of time will know, this term tends to create the somewhat optimistic impression that this community is in any way united on any field or subject. That of course, is a subject that is and always will be hotly debated, and probably best left for another article on another day.

I would like to point out before I begin, that this article is my own opinion. It is me airing my views and putting things down in written words that I feel need to be said – or read, and indeed, this is my very own soap box upon which I am standing right now. So if you agree with me – well, bully for you – but if you don’t, well you don’t have to.

Who is Amy Mah? Is she a Vampyre? Is she an internet troll? Is she part of the Vampyre Community? Why do some people in the VC seem to hate her so much?

Amy Mah is of Chinese extraction, born and living in the UK. Her legal name is considerably less simple than just ‘Amy Mah’ – even though all her friends, even in real life, call her ‘Amy’. I believe that she is an under-appreciated and needlessly maligned personality.

On her profile on Facebook, she generally uses an avatar of a pretty Asian girl with red vampire eyes, and has never to my knowledge used her own picture as an avatar. Nothing wrong with that. Since she is a writer and this is her public profile, it is understandable that she would try to separate her writing and interaction with what many would consider ‘alternative’ community groups from her working and family lives.

Yet it seems that this safety net of privacy is precisely what is being used against her – being accused of running a ‘fake profile’, even though she is a published author who writes quite publicly under the name Amy Mah.

In point of fact, since the latest run of D.O.S. attacks resulting from such absurd reports on Facebook, even after her profile was renamed (by Facebook) to her actual legal names, her profile has been suspended due to reports that this too was ‘fake’ – and again, once that was sorted out, it was suspended again pending such time she present documentary proof of change of names due to marriage? Really?

In what fantasy realm does Facebook admin operate? Is it something like Narnia? And do wardrobes or closets even apply? Are there lions there – and do they meow or do they bark?

My argument here is twofold: On the one side we have Facebook who apparently cannot respect people’s privacy, sell user details to the highest bidder – and whose admins and rules (and lack of ability to THINK for themselves, to be frank) make it easier for internet bullies to intimidate, harass and persecute people.

On the other side of the issue, there are those who are driving the campaign to eliminate Amy Mah not only from their own little Facebook groups, or from the Vampyre Community – but from Facebook, Youtube, Gmail – and the entire internet. I’m sure if some of them could, they would take it further than that as well.

Amy generally operates on a mental level so different from most people that they find her difficult to interpret and understand. In plain language, most people – and ESPECIALLY those who read her posts – and go so far as to report her to Facebook administrators, do so solely because they are too short-sighted to TRY to understand her – and are actually just too fucking dumb to manage it!

Now this may seem to be a little harsh and overly judgmental, coming from me of all people – but seriously, what especially makes no sense to me is the criticism leveled at her from within these communities for her STORIES of all things – which are after all, fiction!

Fiction does not have to portray fictional elements (such as demons or vampires) as they are perceived to be by others – especially if fictional identity types are adopted by real people. Surely self-identifying Vampyres who make up the Vampyre Community can tell themselves apart from fictional works such as Twilight and Underworld?

Everyone in the Vampyre Community knows that self-identifying Vampyres do not actually burst into flames in sunlight, or sparkle, or die from eating garlic – so why does a story (or promotional material about a story) in which a fictional vampire character speaks about feeding, predatory behavior or blood constitute ‘encouraging people to kill’? If that were true, then those making this allegation have missed the minor detail that there is a litany of MILLIONS of vampire novels out there that do the same – and in fact, far worse, and more graphically!

Why are these people not ganging up on Anne Rice’s Facebook account? Why aren’t they reporting Stephanie Myer’s Youtube account, or Stephen King’s Gmail account? Stephanie Myer’s ‘Twilight’ series was immensely unpopular with the real Vampyre Community, but did anyone mount a campaign to remove her from social media? Assuming anyone ever tried, did Facebook admin pander to the ridiculous sort of complaints that have been fabricated and brought against Amy Mah?

Certainly not – but these people have for the past several months been ceaselessly running a spiteful campaign against a WRITER of FICTION who happens to interact with their community (a community she is in fact a long-time member of) chiefly because it seems that they themselves cannot clearly distinguish fiction from fact – or between communities where such a real self-identification within transhuman identity dominates, and pure blatant unadulterated fiction.

It doesn’t make any sense to me, for any group of people – particularly those in the Vampyre Community – wanting to tar and feather and to essentially destroy a writer of fiction because they open their ignorant pie holes to say her promotional exercises and her writing – that’s right, her STORIES about vampires – ‘encourage people to kill’? Seriously? Have they even read any of her books?

I have. That only reinforces my findings that those who make such claims are a bunch of unmitigated and gratuitous idiots.

In fact, the only way – I repeat: THE ONLY way – anyone could actually think that, is if they themselves are totally incapable of distinguishing fiction from reality. If that is the case, then people in those communities where such things are being said – and worse, from positions of authority, should be wondering who the real danger to their communities is.

Would Mark Twain, were he alive today (assuming he is not *wink) be forced to write and interact on Facebook today as Samuel Clemens? Would it be acceptable for him to be hounded out of Facebook and other social media simply because a bunch of critics (and trust me, he had a gaggle of them) choose to click the report button without any real justification to do so? Would any other celebrity using Facebook today under their stage name suffer such treatment?

Would they be forced by Facebook admins, in all their ‘wisdom’ to have to use their last name as their first name as Amy Mah is now being forced to endure? I hardly think so.

As a matter of interest, I haven’t seen a single community warning doing the rounds about Amy Mah “inciting Vampyres to go out and kill people for blood in reality” coming from serious Vampyre Community groups (or in fact from ANY groups of elders whom anybody actually knows).

Why is that?

Could it be that those wearing the mantles of ‘elders’ or leaders in the VC actually have a few more synapses firing than the average participant? Is it perhaps because they CAN tell the difference between fiction and reality – have assessed the situation – and the only threat they can see is the burgeoning stupidity that fuels the hatred of an ignorant mob?

That does not bode well for any community, when its own general membership so willingly and unashamedly reveals itself to be – so… incredibly… stupid.

According to comedian John Cleese, the reason why these people apparently don’t know how irretrievably stupid they are, is because you need to be reasonably intelligent to realize that you are no good at something – which certainly explains a few things. In short, they don’t realize how stupid they really are, because – well, because they are too stupid to realize how stupid they are.

Hmm. Many a truth is spoken in jest.

As people see on a daily basis, Amy posts links to her books to boost her sales. She also helps boost the sales of other writers books – including mine. She interacts with the Vampyre subculture, and identifies as a Vampyre herself. She writes books about vampire characters, among other things, so chiefly her interaction with most alternative communities is part of her main interest in life – research.

She loves to study people – how they react to situations, how they react to changes in thinking, causes and dynamics of interaction and on various philosophies and cultural evolution. Her theories on ‘spheres of reality’, among others, made a lasting impression on me. Indeed, I was so terribly disappointed when those around me simply crashed and burned when I asked them to ‘just TRY’ to ‘get’ it. Oddly enough, I don’t really think of myself as being ‘that’ smart *wink*

Amy is not a newbie in the VC, in fact she has been active within it for a long time – considerably longer than I. She owns and hosts a multitude of groups on Facebook – many of which are some of the very largest in terms of participating members within the VC. Rather than representing a power-hungry threat to the VC who is bent on conquering it, she has even simply given away to others many of the groups she created. She is content to simply sit back and study the behavior of people on them for her own reasons.

I know, group admins don’t generally like drama in their groups – even if it isn’t a result of someone trolling the group to get a rise out of them. It seems too that some people are also intimidated to engage with her directly, simply because they know her ‘reputation’ of being smart. Sometimes her just being a member of a group seems to be enough to discourage interaction in that group. Generally though, Amy interacts on her own groups as well as on others outside her influence.

She is not given to trolling. In fact, I have never ever seen Amy use even one swear-word in her posts, not even in the heated debates where people have accused her of ‘trolling’ and launched into personal and public attacks against her.

She promotes her books, her writing, and I think the biggest issue is that people fail to READ what she says, or to COMPREHEND what they are reading. She can be VERY precise in communication, and in general other people are not. In modern times it seems, more and more people are finishing school while still lacking the ability to understand sentences more complex than ‘see Dick run’.

There is a vast difference between trolling and trying to explain complex ideas, philosophies, paradigms and concepts to people who could have the attention span of a gold fish and maybe even the I.Q. of a gnat who, rather than making the effort to open their little minds, run out of patience and start hopping up and down, stamping their little feet and accusing people of ‘trolling’ because they were left feeling stupid or inadequate. It is after all, far easier to stay er – inadequate than to work a little harder to try to understand something that can result in a ‘wow’ moment and bring them enlightenment.

Unlike others who really have trolled the Vampyre Community in recent years, and especially those who just refuse to go away even when the welcome mat has been pulled in and the door slammed and bolted, Amy Mah exhibits one major difference – she is not malevolent.

Difficult to understand, sure. Eccentric, well – definitely. Sometimes even a little mischievous. But malevolent? Never.

I have actually seen people getting overheated in public chats where Amy has dissected the death threats they have made against her – that’s right, actual DEATH threats, and patiently explained to them, at length, all the grammatical errors they had made, and corrected them. She has also not been above explaining to them the tactical and strategic errors they made. The result is often amusing for those not actually involved and capable of grasping the humor of it.

Somehow even in these cases, I’ve seen Amy still wind up being portrayed as the villain and trouble maker at fault. I have to wonder at that.

I recently saw that some people swore themselves to a conspiracy to rid Facebook of Amy Mah – under any name. It seems that as I have been trying to chat with her on FB, at least three times in the past week, her profile comes up as ‘suspended’ – guess why. In fact, she has suffered periodic denial of service attacks for months now, on Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and Youtube – and been reported to admins of most of these services for everything from ‘pornography’ and ‘plagiarism’ to using a ‘fake name’ – and the cherry on top – for being a ‘group of guys pretending to be a fictional female character’!

Facebook admins clearly don’t seem to keep any history files on previous complaints or reports – otherwise they would already know what was going on?

The funniest I suppose, is watching people try to convince other people that Amy is really a ‘fake profile’ belonging to an infamous actual VC troll I shall not mention, or his associate!

I suppose the next thing that will happen following this article is that a rumor will start to circulate that I too am such a ‘fake profile’. Won’t that be fun. But I’m not afraid of anyone – bring it on – give it your best shot.

People are probably still wondering what it is all about? Well – aren’t we all? Why is the same group of people repeatedly reporting Amy’s posts, her groups and her profile and names? Why are they so filled with hate – yes, hate – and driven so intensely mad by it that they take it to such great lengths?

‘Great lengths’ meaning going beyond mere internet denial of service attacks, hacking attempts and other Facebook drama – and extending into the occult realm, where people have been bragging about concerted efforts to cast spells and to wage magical warfare on one single individual whose sole offence it seems, is to be smarter – and more successful at what they do than they are.

If Amy’s identity were to suddenly be erased from the UK’s population register database, or somehow her water and lights were to be disconnected, then I might be actually impressed – instead, these people are powerless themselves, relying upon a third party – Facebook and other media admins – who unfortunately are all-too-willing accomplices to this conspiracy.

Of course Amy has not suddenly dropped dead or been hit by a beer truck – or even started mysteriously smoldering as a result of these *cough* magical campaigns intended to destroy her.

The answer is simpler than you would expect: a group of supposed ‘adults’ appears to have nothing better to do with their time than to victimize and bully someone for no other reason than because a) she is smarter than them and b) they know it because c) they lost their asses in public debates against her – and d) so does anyone else who was watching.

This has become very personal now, very personal indeed. You see, Amy made these people realize deep down how inadequate they really are, and now as a blatant act of spite they’re trying to erase her from the internet to try and restore their vestige of self-respect (or self-worship) within what is essentially a closed community.

So will Amy Mah – aka Lady Amelia Mah fade away into the obscurity these people so wish for? I hardly think that likely.

That said, I close this article with a note addressed to Facebook:

Dear Facebook admins,

Surely when you see an individual being reported repeatedly by the same general group of antagonists for everything from ‘using a fake name’ (even when they are published authors using their writing name, even up to the point where they are using their actual legal name) to “porn”, to posting pictures of werewolves in a fucking werewolf group for gods sakes – then perhaps you should wake up and smell the coffee and realize that you are a willing tool pandering to the whims of a campaign to get rid of that person?

Facebook has no business insisting that everyone has to use the legal name on their identity document for every profile, for many reasons. In many places, typically in less advanced and civilized countries, being visible online under your own name and interacting in various groups or with ‘undesirable’ people could get you in serious social trouble, arrested or even killed.

You have cut some slack for LGBT people living in homophobic African countries, as well as for drag performers. To date, you still haven’t extended the same courtesy to people in alternative lifestyles, religions or subcultures – since I regularly hear of people’s profiles being suspended for the same frivolous and facetious rules.

It seems obvious that under such conditions, such unreasonable rules are being put into action as tools to enable, facilitate and to make easier the bullying, intimidation and persecution of individuals by clusters of internet bullies.

If people have a beef with someone for whatever reason, it is now easy to get their profile banned, suspended, or simply jammed up, or to get their private identity exposed, simply by making a few frivolous and even false reports against them. How very ‘Big Brother’ of you.

You do not have the right to force people to conform to your vision of how they should identify – especially when they are not acting in an illegal, disruptive or trolling manner!

Facebook long ago crossed over the line from being a mere public enterprise or private company to being a ‘necessary evil’ which is these days required for social interaction and communication. Along with this front-running position it has craved and pursued by outperforming and even smothering any other potential competitors, it therefore – like it or not, has inherited a social responsibility.

You cannot hold an outright global monopoly of social interaction while also reaping a profit from their participation – and then still have the cheek to dictate the terms of people’s rights to anonymity, privacy and identity.

Privacy and even anonymity is a human right. Internet anonymity is a longstanding tradition – one that Facebook, in a most puzzling way, seems to be rebelling against. People have the right to privacy and to self-identify as they wish to – as long as they don’t break any international laws (under UN guidelines) or specifically US Federal laws, where Facebook is based, then Facebook should not care.

If you are so concerned about people identifying under their legal names, then at least allow them to also open additional profiles under other names – which you can LINK to the original in a way that only YOU as admins can see, allowing people to interact SAFELY. Whatever is done under such a cluster is essentially still owned by – and comes back to – the central profile. That is a winning compromise.

How people choose to present their names in public should not be of any concern to Facebook! There are after all, plenty of ways they could react against anyone who is REALLY up to anything illegal – instead of acting like spoiled brats who have been told they can’t have everything their own way.

Please stop reinforcing the increasingly poor reputation you are earning for yourselves.

Until next time, keep reading!


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All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2015.

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