What's The Blacklist? Am I on it?

Around the time that I moved to Toronto, my wife and I got hooked on a TV series called The Blacklist. It features James Spader as a criminal mastermind and decades-long member of the FBI’s Most Wanted list, who decides to help a special FBI task force take down the most notorious members of the criminal underworld. The criminals, in the show, make up “The Blacklist”.

Each episode introduces the audience to a new Blacklister. The Stewmaker covers up murders by chemically dissolving the bodies of the victims, The Judge offers vigilante justice for the wrongfully convicted against their prosecutors, The Troll Farmer organizes mass disinformation campaigns on social media to advance the agendas of his clients, and The Director—the Blacklister name for the CIA’s own Director of the National Clandestine Services who just happens to be running a global, political, criminal conspiracy known only as The Cabal. These are just a few of my favourites.

At Brainsights, we have our own blacklist. Though the members of our blacklist aren’t people who regularly break the law (at least we hope not), they did all break rules and etiquette in way that warranted immediately and permanently banning them from any further participation at Brainsights whatsoever.

In an effort to help other Brainers understand what landed these people on the Brainsights blacklist, we thought we’d introduce you to the members in the same style as NBC’s Blacklist.


The Stalker: This blacklister LOVED Brainsights–too much as it turned out. Initially, he came across as just a little overzealous: sending multiple emails to the staff just to check in before each study. From there he moved on to showing up hours early before each study, just to hang out and chat with our staff. When he didn’t qualify for a couple of events, he started creating new email addresses with unique (and highly variant) profile information in an attempt to ensure that he qualified for literally everything.


The Chameleon: Perhaps our most notorious blacklister, this woman also had multiple profiles. Unlike The Stalker, however, each of The Chameleon’s profiles used a different name and email address. Most interestingly, she had government-issued photo ID for each of her profiles. After initially banning one of her profiles, she began showing up for events wearing headscarves and large sunglasses under another name in an attempt to avoid the ban.


The Thief: As his name suggests, The Thief’s downfall was attempting to steal a mobile phone from one of our events. Unfortunately for him, he overlooked the security cameras in his haste. A simple Google search of his name landed us on his LinkedIn page. Needless to say, it was a little awkward when he had to walk the phone back over from his company’s office just a few blocks away.


The Lovers: We don’t mind couples attending an event together. In fact, we’ve had at least one couple meet at one of our events. But there’s a time and a place for public displays of affection—and on our couches in a crowded room of other Brainers isn’t one of them.


The Soapboxer: We’re all entitled to our opinions. At Brainsights, we like to gauge those by measuring Brainer engagement to content. But this Blacklister felt like his hatred of a Lily Singh clip was too important not to stand up and literally scream to the room. Now he hates that clip from the comforts of anywhere other than a Brainsights event.


The Stoner: Perhaps the funniest person on the list, this guy showed up to a study so high that he tripped over a full-sized table in the middle of the room before stumbling onto a couch and laughing hysterically at the conversation he was having with himself. Both he and everyone else in the room got quite a laugh when our staff suggested that maybe his brainwaves weren’t in an ideal state for an attention study.


The Texter: There’s a reason that movie theatres ask patrons to turn off their cell phones: the light is obnoxious to everyone even remotely close by. Despite being asked to put her phone away, this blacklister was convinced that nobody would be able to see her on her phone if she hid it under the table she was sitting at. Unfortunately for her, the blue glow coming from under the table (and the phone that was clearly in her hand) was a dead giveaway.


These are just a few of the members of the Brainsights blacklist. And although there will undoubtedly be new additions to the list in years to come, we’ll impart a bit of wisdom to anyone who wishes to avoid becoming a blacklister: Brainsights and our fellow Brainers value honesty and respect. Follow the Golden Rule and you’ll likely be just fine.

Steven Stroupes