- Dec 11, 2021
He may still be on under a different name.Call me a dreamer, but I think Marquis will come back one day.
He may still be on under a different name.Call me a dreamer, but I think Marquis will come back one day.
Wow, this is beyond biased journalism, it’s outright lies. (I had canceled my own subscription to NYT several months ago because I felt like every article had an agenda.)Just read the NYT article. Surprised how they call this site by name, which they're absolutely not supposed to do by their own standards.
But if they wanted to make suicidal people aware of this site, then job well done I guess.
edit: here's the article if you don't know what I'm talking about:
Where the Despairing Log On, and Learn Ways to DieIt has the trappings of popular social media, a young audience and explicit content on suicide that other sites don’t allow. It is linked to a long line of lives cut short.www.nytimes.com
edit 2: it's hidden behind a registration wall. Here's the article:
[H1]Where the Despairing Log On, and Learn Ways to Die[/H1]
By Megan Twohey and Gabriel J.X. DanceDec. 9, 2021
It has the trappings of popular social media, a young audience and explicit content on suicide that other sites don't allow. It is linked to a long line of lives cut short.
As Matthew van Antwerpen, a 17-year-old in suburban Dallas, struggled with remote schooling during the pandemic last year, he grew increasingly despondent. Searching online, he found a website about suicide.
"Any enjoyment or progress I make in my life simply comes across as forced," he wrote on the site after signing up. "I know it is all just a distraction to blow time until the end."
Roberta Barbos, a 22-year-old student at the University of Glasgow, first posted after a breakup, writing that she was "unbearably lonely." Shawn Shatto, 25, described feeling miserable at her warehouse job in Pennsylvania. And Daniel Dal Canto, a 16-year-old in Salt Lake City, shared his fears that an undiagnosed stomach ailment might never get better.
Soon after joining, each of them was dead.
Most suicide websites are about prevention. This one — started in March 2018 by two shadowy figures calling themselves Marquis and Serge — provides explicit directions on how to die.
The four young members were among tens of thousands around the world who have been pulled in. On the site's public forums, in live chats and through private messaging, they discuss hanging, poison, guns and gas. Strangers seek out partners to meet face to face and kill themselves together.
Participants routinely nudge one another along as they share suicide plans, posting reassuring messages, thumbs-up and heart emojis, and praise for those who follow through: "brave," "a legend," "a hero."
Though members are anonymous, The New York Times identified 45 who had killed themselves in the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada and Australia — and found that the trail of deaths is likely much longer.
More than 500 members — a rate of more than two a week — wrote "goodbye threads" announcing how and when they planned to end their lives, and then never posted again. In many of them, people narrated their attempts in real-time posts. Some described watching as other members live-streamed their deaths off the site.
Most of the narratives cited the same lethal method, a preservative used for curing meat, The Times found. By promoting the preservative as a poison, the site has helped give rise to a means of suicide that is alarming some coroners and doctors. Yet many public health and law enforcement officials are unaware of it.
"It's disgusting that anyone would create a platform like this," said Dr. Daniel Reidenberg, a psychologist and the executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, a national nonprofit. "There's no question that this site, the way they created it, operate it and allow it to continue, is extremely dangerous."
While 10 of the identified suicides have been previously reported, the Times investigation reveals the broader scope of the deaths, the growing use of the poison and the influence of the site. Reporters analyzed more than 1.2 million messages from the site, examined members' online histories, reviewed hundreds of pages of police and coroner records, and interviewed dozens of families left behind.
The site now draws six million page views a month, on average — quadruple that of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, according to data from Similarweb, a web analytics company.
Most members reported that they had experienced mental illness and were 30 or younger, according to a survey last year by the site. That age group roughly aligns with the demographic in the United States — 15 to 24 — that had the sharpest rise in suicide rate from 2009 to 2019, the most recent data available.
Among them was Matthew. Despite the strain of virtual high school, he had appeared to be looking to the future. He and his older brother were mapping out a summer road trip with friends. He had applied to Texas A&M University and intended to become a public defender.
"'I want to help people,'" his mother, Sharon Luft, recalled him telling her. "He was just a sweet kid."
His other plans took shape quickly and secretly. In only 29 days, Matthew joined the site, learned of the lethal preservative and ended his life, listening to a playlist that he'd said made him nostalgic for his childhood.
"My son committed suicide at 17 two weeks ago," Ms. Luft tweeted in January, calling out the site. "They told him how to, encouraged him after he took the mix."
"Please help me," she wrote, joining the calls of other parents for Marquis and Serge to be held accountable and for the banning of the site, called Sanctioned Suicide.
Australia, Germany and Italy succeeded in restricting access to the site within their borders, but American law enforcement officials, lawmakers and technology companies have been reluctant to act.
While most states have laws against assisting suicide, they are inconsistent, rarely enforced and don't explicitly address online activity. Federal law shields website operators from liability for most harmful content posted by users. Court decisions have left unsettled questions about protected speech.
And when asked to stop steering visitors to the suicide site, the world's most powerful search engine deflected responsibility. "Google Search holds a mirror up to what is on the internet," a senior manager for the company wrote to Australian officials in February 2019.
Marquis and Serge have vowed to fight any efforts to take down the site. They have experience running websites with dark content: They operate several online forums for "incels," or involuntary celibates, men who believe that women will never have sex with them because of their looks or social status. Many on those sites openly discuss a fatalistic outlook, including thoughts of self-harm.
The two men have worked to shield the suicide site and to frustrate efforts to learn who is behind it. The servers have been moved from country to country. Marquis and Serge use multiple aliases and have removed nearly every trace of their real identities from the internet. Still, The Times found them, thousands of miles apart, in a city in Alabama and the capital of Uruguay.
In online posts, Marquis repeatedly said that the site complied with U.S. law and did not permit the assisting or encouraging of suicide.
He has several times referred to the site as a "pro-choice" forum that supports members' decisions to live or to die. "People are responsible for their own actions at the end of the day," Marquis wrote last year, "and there's not much we can do about that."
Daniel Dal Canto, a high school junior, arrived on the suicide site with little idea of how to end his life.
Three years earlier, he had been depressed, prompting his parents to steer him into months of therapy and medication. Now he was drumming in a jazz band, playing video games with friends and getting straight A's. To those around him, including his father, a physician, the 16-year-old seemed to be doing well.
"It almost created a false sense of security for me because I thought I knew what a depressed Daniel looked like," his mother, Pam Dal Canto, said in an interview.
But in September 2019, Daniel, expressing anxiety over his stomach pain, was gathering information and advice from the website.
It came online after Reddit shut down a group where people had been sharing suicide methods and encouraging self-harm. Reddit prohibited such discussion, as did Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. Serge wrote days after the new site opened that the two men had started working on it because they "hated to see the community disperse and disappear." He assured users that "this isn't our first rodeo and we know how to keep the website safe."
On their site, Daniel could browse a "resource" thread, a table of contents linking to methods that were compiled by members and stretched for dozens of pages. Or he could click on a suicide wiki page with similar instructions. Fellow members often derided therapy and other treatments and encouraged one another to keep their suicidal intentions hidden from relatives and medical professionals.
In posts, Serge and Marquis noted their own struggles.
"Not much to tell about myself except that I've never really found a reason to be here," Serge wrote. "There is little that I find worthy in this life."
Marquis had been on the brink of suicide at one point, he disclosed. And he had concluded that the mental health system "fails everyone" and treats people with problems as "outcasts."
Explaining the purpose of the site, he wrote, "This community was made as a place where people can freely speak about their issues without having to worry about being 'saved' or giving empty platitudes."
While some of those drawn to the website described suffering from physical pain, most mentioned depression, bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses.
About half were 25 or younger, the survey showed; like Daniel, some were minors. One shared, "I'm 13, I ran away from home 1 month ago." Another, who claimed to be 14, wrote in a post about contemplating suicide, "My dad would probably be really angry."
The suicide rate has risen over the past 20 years in the United States. About 45,000 people take their own lives each year — more than die from traffic accidents. (That figure does not count the hundreds of physician-assisted deaths in the nine states where they are legal and restricted to the terminally ill.)
For many people, suicidal thoughts will eventually pass, experts say. Treatment and detailed plans to keep safe can help. But clinicians and researchers warn that people are much more likely to attempt suicide if they learn about methods and become convinced that it's the right thing to do. The suicide site facilitates both.
"It's like when someone's having road rage, handing them a gun," said Dr. Matthew Nock, a psychology professor and suicide researcher at Harvard University.
While there is discussion on the site about not giving up hope and the merits of staying alive, there is much more about the reasons to die. Among the most viewed posts, for example, are the "goodbye threads."
One member, a 45-year-old Englishwoman named Emma Davis, recalled feeling shocked the first time she read a goodbye thread and the messages of support it drew. But reading more and more of them, "it just becomes normal," she said in an interview.
"It felt like you were wrapping yourself up in this blanket of all of this misery and darkness," said Ms. Davis, who eventually found the site dangerous and quit. "You sort of felt safe, but you weren't safe."
Within several weeks, Daniel settled on the lethal preservative, sodium nitrite, one of the most discussed topics on the website. Members guided one another to online sellers. They advised on obtaining it without alerting family. And they shared directions for using it.
As Daniel took in the information, he asked in a post: What could he do if his attempt with the preservative failed?
Moments later, a member calling himself Stan responded.
Stan, who had shared on the site that he was depressed, divorced and largely estranged from his children, made it his mission to learn all he could about the preservative as poison. He would later write a guide on the method that turned him into a celebrity on the site.
In September 2019, when someone posted that she was planning to die by poisoning the next night, Stan quickly replied, "Keep talking to us, you are not alone." When another member wrote that he had booked a hotel and decided on dosage, then asked if the plan was OK, Stan responded, "Don't stray from the method now."
And he had an answer for Daniel about trying again. Still, the teenager had doubts as he planned his demise.
"I thought that you were supposed to feel happy as you near your bus date," Daniel wrote, shorthand for "catch the bus," a phrase that members use in referring to suicide. "Is a part of me just desperately hanging on?"
In the site's written rules, assisting and encouraging suicide were prohibited, while providing "factual information" and "emotional support" was not. In practice, some members urged others on, whether with gentle reassurance or with more force.
When a woman with bipolar disorder from Brighton, England, explained that she had twice attempted suicide and didn't want to further distress her two sons, another member messaged her, "I'm sorry your sons got traumatized but you know you need to kill yourself."
When an Australian disclosed that he had become suicidal because of persistent behavioral problems, several members taunted him. "Maybe he/she can film it," wrote one person, joining others in sarcastically calling for popcorn for a viewing. Weeks later, the young man took his life.
No sooner had Daniel expressed his uncertainty than another member commented: "Setting a date has always upset me. I just keep extending it, but I won't be able to forever. I don't think you're doing anything wrong. Hang in there."
Then, on Oct. 3, the teenager posted a photograph of a bottle of the lethal preservative and announced that he would take it that weekend. But hours later, he posted again. Things had changed: A disagreement with his parents had prompted him to move up his plans.
"I hope you'll be there :)," he wrote.
Later that night, he thanked other members for "all of the good wishes." He noted that he was "a little scared" but had specific plans, drawing a flood of messages: 11 "hugs," four "likes," three "loves" and two "awws" — the emoji crying a single tear.
At 2:30 a.m., Ms. Dal Canto lay awake and got up to check on Daniel. There was her son, dead in bed.
This website , Marquis, most of the real members here were the only reality i found in this world the only truth. And these were one of the very few good things in life. Of course nothing makes up for the unbearable pain and torture that is possible in life as in homelessness or the dementia torture that happened to Robin Williams and Yahoo ceo Terry Semel.Hello, members of the community.
Today, I announce my resignation as operator. By tomorrow, this account will be permanantly deleted and I won't have any access to the site, administrative permission, or anything to do with the backend.
Since Serge isn't involved with the site and I'm resigning too, I've spent the last week transferring everything over to the new operator, someone capable and trustworthy who you will get to know very soon. They will also be a familiar face around here, too.
I do not take this decision lightly, but in light of recent events, I believe that putting this community in the hands of someone I trust and who cares about this community is the right call. My mission and desire here has always been to make sure that everyone has the freedom to speak freely about issues around suicide and mental health, topics that you can't talk openly about anywhere else. I believe this site has done good in the world and I am certain that this community has saved countless lives. Many people may not believe that, and to them I say: Ask around, you'll be surprised.
The way the NYT has twisted the purpose of this community and the good that it has done has been very damaging to everyone. Not only did they make a transparent attempt to take this site down, but they did so in the most unethical and dishonest way possible.
This place is full of caring people that are hurting, looking for someone to talk to, or looking for support in life. We are not a cult, far from it. While it is true that many people come here during their darkest moments, myself included, my main intent has always been to make this place into somewhere people can talk about issues in their life, suicide included, without judgment or without being shoved off to a crisis hotline that doesn't care about their well being.
This community has brought me peace and solace, in the fact that before I started it, I was in a very dark time of my life myself.
Community support works, and I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for this community. Although I have researched methods and at one point considered taking my own life, I was able to find some purpose and meaning in my life by being a part of this community. Thank you all for being there when I needed it the most.
I have received thanks from many members on and off this site that tell me that the forum has helped them make friends, and feel at ease about whatever bad is going on in their life. I have also had the opportunity to speak to some of those grieving over the loss of family or loved ones, and I got a chance to hear from them too. As a person that has experienced loss myself, twice in the last year alone, I know that it is not easy to get over losing a loved one. I have much sympathy for those that have gone through the same, and my condolences go out to them.
The truth is that I and many others have been painted as villains for running this community. I have been called such things as callous, dangerous, despicable, angry, or even a "murderous psychopath", but people who know me know that I am far from that, inside and outside this community. Some people may not be happy that this forum exists, but this great community has a purpose, one that started in a subreddit banned out of the blue by Reddit in order to make way for advertisers and to make their site more palatable to investors. They have long abandoned their free speech stance in order to make a quick buck. But this site will never sell out, have ads, or anything of the kind. This place is for you, and for everyone who needs a place to express themselves and feel better.
I have made many friends here, many of whom I would like to still keep in touch with after I resign.
You all have been wonderful, I'm going to miss you all.
Signing off for good,
God forbid! I'm right there with you here in 2022.Something as simple as being able to share your thoughts freely and frankly
I completely agree with what you said. I couldn’t have said it any better. Pro-lifers are the kind of people to drag out other people’s suffering because they don’t want to feel bad. Their audacity to call us selfish. The belief the suicide is bad is so entrenched in the world that their was a mother that had a son that failed, he was completely quadriplegic from the attempt and can only blink his eyes. Each time his mother asked if he wanted to live, he blinked no. Quite a horror story. I feel like psychiatry has become more of a way to make people cope with their problem, rather than addressing the issues.I wonder why they always solely interview people whose livelihood and academic career depends on "healing" suicidal people without even questioning the preconceived notion of suicide = bad in itself. Or how about you interview suicidal people instead of their griving relatives? Oh right, they're not in their "right state of mind" (which is again, defined by whome exactly?).
Yeah to me the world seems incredibly sick and only I (and the likes of people on this forum) seem to recognise it.Paradoxically, the fact that Marquis has been forced to resign makes me feel more suicidal rather than less.
The thing that makes me sick and even scares me at a certain point is how far they are willing to go to feel good about themselves or directly blame others for their own negligence at the cost of using innocent people as scapegoats, it's just barbaric. But hey ... Seeing how things like Kony 2012 or "Bring Back Our Girls" end, you can see the damage that things like witch hunts or slacktivism do.Yeah to me the world seems incredibly sick and only I (and the likes of people on this forum) seem to recognise it.
Another observation of mine......I never realized The Choking Game was so widespread !! Kids in 7th grade are doing this as a dare. There are other ways to end your life (including this game) and if someone is totally committed to doing it ...they will find a way ..even if SS doesn't exist. I am NOT SUGGESTING ANYONE END THEIR LIFE....but this site isn't the only thing to gather info from. In fact, due to the detailed discussions HERE, we may have saved someone's life. I have posted failures that were told and shown on the internet regarding using guns. I warned people of all the pics I saw of people who used one and lived ..MINUS HALF OF THEIR FACE !!!I think it's very simple ... These young people who are on this site (by this I mean not legally an adult), where are your parents? Why are they not checking the sites you have on your electronic devices? Are they too fucking busy to take care of what they need to be and then when something happens (because you "pretend" you're an adult on this site) your dumbass parents blame everybody else but themselves for your demise? This is what it really boils down to. The parents are too involved in their own lives and don't have time to check on their kids. THen like cockroaches they gather others who want to belong to something who have no idea what we are feeling and print stupid ass articles. I think people need to start taking responsibility for their own actions.
They (especially the journalists) are only doing it to futher their careers and make themselves feel high and mighty. Same old virtue signaling bullshit and witch hunts for people that does absolutely nothing towards solving any societal failings and root issues.Another observation of mine......I never realized The Choking Game was so widespread !! Kids in 7th grade are doing this as a dare. There are other ways to end your life (including this game) and if someone is totally committed to doing it ...they will find a way ..even if SS doesn't exist. I am NOT SUGGESTING ANYONE END THEIR LIFE....but this site isn't the only thing to gather info from. In fact, due to the detailed discussions HERE, we may have saved someone's life. I have posted failures that were told and shown on the internet regarding using guns. I warned people of all the pics I saw of people who used one and lived ..MINUS HALF OF THEIR FACE !!!