I’ve been a happy and very productive member of the most popular Steven Universe Amino since March 2017. Amino is an app you can download to share and enjoy content on a specific (or sometimes broader) subject, and people had told me a while back that I should get on the one for Steven Universe. (For obvious reasons.) I quickly found friends, other SU nerds who liked my work or wanted to talk theories, and I had a blast sharing everything I was passionate about.
was best known for my epic merchandise posts and my embarrassing love of
my favorite character Garnet, I guess, though I was always posting my amateur-but-heartfelt
art, my unpolished ukulele covers, my character analysis and theories,
my SU food recipes and photos, and even the occasional quiz.
Posts that seem unusually valuable for some reason get featured on the front page. It's got a big audience (nearly 200,000 members), so people freak out a little when they get a featured post.
My posts got featured all the dang time.
Like, once a week, almost. I had THIRTY front-page features from March to October.
lots of younger people looked up to me there, knowing I was older but
still into cartoons, saying wonderful inspiring things like they wish I
was their mom or they want to be me when they grow up.
Sunday I woke up from a nap with my account banned with no explanation.
up info on bans, I saw that usually you’d get a strike or a warning, or
get your posts hidden, before something like a ban would happen, and
I’d never done a ding dang thing to even get a warning. But the
guidelines did say in rare cases you could get instabanned for illegal
activities, sexual/graphic content, or violence.
As a banned
member I didn’t even have access to chat functions, so I couldn’t do
what the guidelines kept saying to do (“message a staff member!”). I
enlisted the help of a really kind friend I’d connected with on
Tumblr after meeting there, but we knew there was little hope of helping
that way because they also explicitly say there are to be no third
I eventually figured out how to log out of the
Amino and make a new account (shut up, I’m old) and I used the new
account to contact one of the Leaders. The Leader was kind enough to
reply quickly, but the response itself was pretty horrifying.
I’d been banned for sending sexual content to another member.
warning, the Leader sent me a screencap of what “I” sent someone, and
it was a close-up photo of genitalia and a comment inviting the user to
sexually engage with said genitalia. Suddenly seeing
that on my screen made me feel pretty ill. But the Leader had sent it to
me under the impression that it had originated with me, even though I’d
already claimed I did not know why I was banned. Yeah so basically the Leader sent me porn.
conversation ensued, and though the Leader was polite enough, I did feel
that I was being talked to with full suspicion that I was a liar and
had committed this offense. After all, according to the Leader, the
reported incident was a live link of the offensive content leading
directly to my profile. Which makes me think perhaps someone else
accessed my account.
I asked what kind of options I had but the
person I spoke with shut all my options down very quickly. No, my
reputation, history of celebrated content, and lack of motivation to do
such a thing is not relevant. No, my obvious confusion was not good
evidence that I hadn’t done this. No, my being asexual doesn’t preclude
the sending of graphic content. No, there are no other steps to take to
investigate and absolutely zero wiggle room in a case like this. You
can’t prove you didn’t do it; therefore, we have to treat you like you
I was told the account would stay banned and there was
nothing I could do about it, but that I would just have to use the new
account from now on. When I expressed concern that whoever framed me
could just track me down and do it again if they hate me, I was told it
would be “simple” to just hide my identity. Easier said than done, since
my art style’s recognizable, everyone’s seen my merch posts, and some
things like cosplay and ukulele covers have me physically in them. But I
wasn’t given another choice.
I figured I would still investigate
some options, like talking to the broader Amino support to see if they
can help me prove those messages did not originate from me, but in the
meantime I still love talking to people and sharing content, so I posted
a couple things–one little essay on Sunday, and two pieces of art on Monday
One of the art pieces was immediately featured.
(See? My content is considered worthwhile and valuable to the community.)
had been in the process of trying to find my friends and tell them what
happened, so I was in a bunch of chats, and then my chats exploded with
people confused about the feature since it was clearly the art of a
known popular member being posted by some n00b. The comments on the
featured post filled up with people asking what happened to me or
accusing my new account of art theft.
When I tried to reply to
some of them so they wouldn’t worry it was stolen, I suddenly couldn’t
post anymore because THE NEW ACCOUNT HAD ALSO BEEN BANNED.
So they banned me, featured me, and then banned me again. (???) Seriously, I feel like I have whiplash.
don’t know what the second ban was for. It could have been that I
wasn’t supposed to be talking about having another account or what
happened to it, even though it was true and I wasn’t in the wrong, but
it also could have been someone reporting me for art theft or the person
who has it out for me framing me again.
I don’t know why that person hates me or what they have against me to do this.
don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know if I’ll ever get my account
back (with its 2000+ followers, 30 featured posts, chat full of
conversations I can no longer access, wiki entries with organized book
reviews, merchandise inventory, and all the lovely relationships and
posts I cultivated). I’m so exhausted from spending my mental energy on
trying to save this thing I loved so much that got yanked away from me
when I literally did nothing wrong.
I joined another group called
Senior Universe where old people can be SU nerds.
The folks there are welcoming but it is small too. I posted a piece of
art there as my first post and now it’s featured. Well, some things
don’t change. ;)
I hope to get around to messaging my friends
from the original account because I don’t want to lose them or leave
them wondering what happened to one of their favorite members. I wish
someone could help me.