I have refrained from talking about this issue for a multitude of reasons. For one, I consider myself a friend of Winter's and I felt I'd just be accused of bias. Secondly, I don't know exactly what me speaking about this issue would solve. However, I wish to tell you guys a story.
Back in 2010-2012 there was this user who was slightly well known. To be fair, he was known more in infamy then the other way around. He was an insecure, cocky, asshole who always acted in an aggressive manner towards other people. He didn't do this out of malice per say, he did it because his insecurities began to cloud his judgement. He continuously believed that every single user was out to get him, and that those who said they were his friend were just lying. He would react to political debates with an incredibly forceful attitude and get really angry when his character was called into question. His infamy became so bad that he became this meme around the site as people predicted his eventual ban, or made jokes about how they wanted him banned. To many of the users on the site, he was a joke; a toxic cancer that needed to be rid of. He skirted bans through the skin of his teeth, but eventually that history of recklessness would catch up to him and he was perma-banned for posting porn.
However, there were things many mods didn't know.
For one, the users attitude wasn't helped by the fact that he was continuously berated and insulted on the site. Any topic he tended to participate in resulted in him being mocked in some way/shape/form. Another thing that many didn't know, or didn't wish to acknowledge, was that one popular user was making it his sole objective to make our protagonist as miserable as possible. He would always instigate arguments, badger the main character into corners which forced our protagonist to get defensive. This user would stalk the protagonist's status updates, continuously finding reasons to insult or mock him. Of course, this user was popular, and he got away with bloody murder as his loyal friends defended him to the death, and even helped in adding to the abuse our protagonist suffered.
It was ironic that he was regarded as one of the worst users this site ever had, because the same people who said that, were the ones responsible for turning our protagonist into the very villain they disliked. A sick cycle that our protagonist could never get out of.
That protagonist was me.
Does this story sound familiar? Because it should be. Winter has been fighting this exact same battle for a long time, possibly even longer than I did. When I first returned to this site, Winter wasn't really as prolific a political poster as he was now. Then I started posting controversial topics, because I saw that this site had a massive Freedom of Speech issue that needed to be addressed. Once that issue resolved I quietly faded back into lurking, but Winter believed that more could be, and should be done. That is where the two of us disagreed. I knew straight up what was happening, the Winter ban memes, the personal attacks against him, his rise in aggression in response, him being the lone wolf in debates at varying points. It was history replaying itself in some twisted carnival, he was a reminder of myself and the shite I got put through. It's why I stopped posting for a long time, because I knew how Winter's story was going to end, and I couldn't handle that knowledge.
The real culprit in this isn't the mods, who simply did their job to the best of their ability, nor is it entirely Winter's fault. This was the fault of users who continuously badgered Winter into corners, insulted him in status updates, and made him feel like general shit in general.
Contrary to popular belief, treating a user like crap because he acts like crap isn't going to cause him to change, it's just going to turn him into the very thing these users state they hate. Because of this, every effort some of us made to help Winter was shot down. Every time we calmed him down, a user would rant off in a status update about Winter in some negative manner and the whole tower of Babel would come tumbling down. Every time we got two steps forward, some asshole user forced us to take two steps back. The sad reality is that these users, who caused similar problems to Winter, didn't get punished as much because they attacked a common enemy. They got away with bloody murder.
I know who each of you users are. I know what you did, and I also know that, for every time you claimed Winter was toxic, you would be toxic to him, reinforcing his behavior and making things worse for everyone else. I won't name any of you, because your time will come on this site. Now that Winter is banned, you no longer have a curtain to mask what you do from the mods, you can no longer get away with the same things you did towards Winter. Have fun, because your time on this site is limited as well.
That is all I have to say on this matter. I will not respond to any responses to me in this topic.