Are You a Cyberstalker Or Just Socially Inept

Many years ago a reader sent me an email stating that if I didn’t take down a post they would call Child Protective Services to try to have my children removed. They left similar comments on my blog.

Other readers have written in or left comments threatening me and my family because they disagreed with my politics, were angered because I support circumcision and or because they don’t like my religious background.

The most egregious comments and or emails are always filed as are their IP addresses. I don’t expect trouble but I figure that it can’t hurt to take precautions. The Net is filled with all different kinds of people. I expect that most are harmless and even those that cross a line or two usually fit into the category of troll.

 There Are Boundaries In Blogging

There are boundaries in blogging that people need to recognize and accept. I don’t tell you all of my stories or share other pieces of information with you for personal reasons. You don’t need to know the reason why but I ask that you respect it.

Except the thing is that not everyone does that. Some people believe that they have a right to know everything and they go digging for information. They spend copious amounts of time logging and tracking who did what where and engage in keyword searches that make me a bit uncomfortable.

Maybe they just love my writing. Maybe they think it is fascinating. I don’t know.  I like to think that this is all that it is but something feels off to me. Something rubs me the wrong way and I don’t ignore those feelings. I have learned to pay attention to that “spidey sense.”

Fences make for good neighbors both online and off.

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  1. Beth March 30, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Yikes. I hope they just love your writing.
    I found myself defending an elderly woman being harassed on twitter, and since that day, I’ve been Cyber-stalked, had my full name posted on twitter feeds, threatened with child services on blogs, and labeled a meth addict. Just this week some… well, person, posted my full name and told me I better watch myself or I’d find myself victim to their online anger. I’m sure she was threatening to post me on as that’s what she and her gang of…, people, did to the elderly woman I defended. I ask myself, why are these people attempting to socialize at all.

    • Jack March 30, 2012 at 9:26 pm

      Hi Beth,

      It is hard to say sometimes why people do what they do. Some of them are clueless and have no idea that they have crossed a line.

      I figure if people are that angry well then my life is a far cry better than theirs and I haven’t any reason to be angry too. Doesn’t mean that I don’t pay attention because you need to be careful but…

  2. Deena Fischer January 17, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    It’s very easy to brush these things off as if they are nothing. Just the crazed rantings of a loon.

    But I applaud your appropriate concern.

    And here’s why….

    I’ve been an internet law attorney since… well, since before there was such a thing. And I’ve represented many controversial clients.

    It’s easy to discount a threat online. It’s easy to treat it like it’s nothing. But you don’t know how really crazy someone is until they show up at your home.

    Take all threats seriously. The minute someone threatens bodily harm, you go to the police. No matter how stupid it sounds to you. It’s not stupid. I promise.

    It saved the life of one of my clients.

    Most large cities have an internet threats division. And so does the FBI. You have no idea how far down the rabbit hole it goes until you get there…

    Be safe.

    • Jack January 17, 2012 at 10:46 pm

      I don’t mess around with these things. I don’t live in fear but I don’t pretend that bad things don’t ever happen either.

      Better safe than sorry.

  3. Stan Faryna January 14, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    I have received death threats on more than one occasion. For my writing. Or proposed writing.

    I have had a mob boss tell his men to take care of me – in my face. That was because not because of my writing. I had merely returned insult for insult. Eye for an eye – you know how it goes. Actually, it was contempt for contempt. [grin]

    I don’t like when it happens. Threats. Not one bit. Threats are just too much suspense for me.

    Take all precautions you believe to be prudent.

    I am always happy to recommend that there may be perks to being a proud, card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association. [grin]

    • Jack January 15, 2012 at 12:26 am

      Hi Stan,

      Threats to your person that come via electronic devices are one thing, but in person are quite another.

      It is always important to pay attention and take the appropriate action for each situation as they come up.

  4. Hajra January 14, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Hey Jack,

    The pains of being a controversial blogger? It does bug you when people don’t realize that there are others who might hold different opinions than theirs. The best way is to ignore them. The high way.

  5. Judy Dunn January 13, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Okay, Jack. You know the Dinner Party Rule? Never talk about religion, politics or sex? LOL.

    Seriously, I think it totally depends on what your blog is about—what its purpose is. In my workshops for business bloggers I say, “Just know if you blog about politics, you are going to alienate approximately 50 percent of your audience, whichever view you hold.” If they know that up front, and they are okay with it, then fine.

    Nobody has the right to be rude or obnoxious and I’ve found most readers aren’t but, on the other hand, they may not come back. Emails are a different story. I would tend to block that person. And, depending on the nature of the blog comment, give one warning and then ban if it happens again. But if you are talking about an actual stalker, that IS scary. Never had that happen.

    • Jack January 13, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      Hi Judy,

      I know the dinner party rule but I had the filters on my mouth surgically removed so….

      All I know now is that someone is acting in a way that I find to be quite objectionable.

  6. Mark January 13, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Some people are just idiots. Idiots, Idiots.

    If I were God, I would cut the air supply to idiots (probably a good thing I’m not!).

    Who knows, maybe some people think I’m an idiot; but I certainly don’t go out of my way to be one like most idiots do.

    I am tempted to get angry with idiots; but then I can’t help but feel sorry for their pathetic sorry ass existence – what a torturous dark thought life they must have to deal with, eh?

  7. Ann Jane January 13, 2012 at 9:50 am

    I’ve been helping a mutual friend as Admin. on their blog when they can’t be online because of just this thing..I’ts just plain not nice to see messages like that when there is no reason. It is quite satisfying to hit Delete and Blacklist!! I’m still amazed though at the multiple ID’s and IP addys this person comes up with and the profiles that lead to other places they have done the same!

    • Jack January 13, 2012 at 4:58 pm

      Hi Ann,

      There is more of that nonsense going on than people realize. It is a sad commentary but far too common.

      Still the majority of people are ‘normal,’ whatever that means.

      • Amber-Lee Dibble January 13, 2012 at 7:44 pm

        My darling Ann Jane is the Admin for Alaska Chick’s Blog and the last count was 27 email addresses (and fewer IP addresses) from this ONE troll.

        After a year of receiving his threats and deleting his nastiness, personal emails and actually, just trying to keep his ugly hate out of my mind (and heart), Angela Daffron, (whom I met through Danny Brown) of Jodi’s Voice is going to help. (I hope!)

        It feels good and positive because, Jack, I know men and women are different, but I would be OUTTA MY MIND if my children, my family were threatened. (So far it is me, the boss and the business with nasty attack on anyone that tries to step in or have a reasonable conversation.)

        I have always felt welcome here. I have always left with more than I came with and I hope that is what I can give others (hope-hope) as well.

        Please, Jack, make sure (if you haven’t) if you hear of someone who needs advice, remind them of Jodi’s Voice.
        ~And I’ll just leave you to squash ’em like bugs!

        • Jack January 13, 2012 at 11:22 pm

          Hi Amber,

          It is good to see you. I pay attention to what is going on here but I don’t freak out about it. When it comes to family no one gets a pass. I don’t play around with protecting them, I just do it.

          Anyway, so sorry to hear about that troll- sounds very unpleasant. I hope that he/she finds other things to do with their time real soon.

          Always good to see you.

  8. John Garrett January 13, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Hey Jack,

    that’s a pretty scary email to get. Sometimes you can never be sure what people are capable of so it’s good that you’re keeping logs of this stuff and being careful.

    I’ve never had anyone threaten me but I have had a few people send me angry emails about not accepting their Facebook requests.

    I don’t list my personal Facebook but I guess it’s not hard to find. I would tell them about my fan page and apparently that’s not good enough. My personal FB is kept fairly small for, well, personal connections.

    The last time it happened I tried to explain that we could just as easily communicate through Twitter or my FB fan page and the woman sent back an all caps email calling me a snob and all kinds of unrepeatable stuff.

    Like you, I thought “I guess she must have really liked my work.” But in the back of my mind I was a bit unsettled.

    So to a certain degree I can definitely commiserate with what you’re saying. Stay safe!

    • Jack January 13, 2012 at 4:56 pm

      Hi John,

      Sometimes the online world brings out the worst and the weird in people.

      I’d like to say that I am surprised that someone would be angry that you wouldn’t accept their FB request, but I have seen so many weird things….

      Hope you are having a good Friday and that you have a great weekend.

  9. normal2 January 13, 2012 at 8:38 am

    i think that’s why it’s called the net.some people need to be scooped up.

  10. Leon Noone January 13, 2012 at 8:32 am

    G’Day Jack,
    I gotta admit: one of the things that I find offputting about the web is the propensity of many people to speak their mind regardless……. but who seem very reluctant to extend that same freedom to others.

    But I just wanted to let you know that the moment you stop being wierd, I’ll stop taking your blog.

    I mean…. what would Samuel say if the likes of us started sounding normal?


    • Jack January 13, 2012 at 11:27 am

      G’day Leon,

      Samuel would be quite disappointed in us. Indeed I think that if we sounded like the rest of the flock he might throw us off the raft and into the river.

      Hope your weekend is great, at least I think you are in the beginning of your weekend. I better get some coffee and double check my math. 😉

  11. Elena Patrice January 13, 2012 at 5:54 am

    Some people are just weird Jack and I’m all about having fences. I can’t help but laugh, but I’ve often wondered what kind of stuff you get for some of your thoughts and your politics and so on – one can only imagine. Having that “spidey sense” is wise.

    Here’s to the “good stuff” and keeping the oddities at bay!

    Blue skies,


    • Jack January 13, 2012 at 11:25 am

      Hi Elena,

      I get some very “interesting” comments in response to some posts. Typically the ones that create the craziest responses are political or religious in nature, but not always.

      Maybe I am just a magnet for weird. Hope you are having a great day.

  12. Harleena Singh January 13, 2012 at 5:35 am

    I agree with Jens there- they must be loving your writing Jack!

    I truly haven’t really come across either of the two kind of people you talked about. May be my posts don’t really talk about my true feelings, which only some like you are able to do so well. That could be a reason to people reacting this ways. But that is your own personal opinion and something that should not bother others- and not certainly to this extent!

    I guess such people are surely who could even do a lot of harm or trouble you unnecessarily to a great extent. I wonder what or how can we get rid of them?

    Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful weekend 🙂

    • Jack January 13, 2012 at 11:24 am

      Hi Harleena,

      Some of my posts have touched upon very controversial issues and have included strongly worded opinions favoring a side that some find objectionable.

      It is hard for some people to be friendly or civil with people who are diametrically opposed to them.

      I can do it on most topics, but there are some things that cross the line for me too.

  13. Jens P. Berget January 12, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    They just love your writing, that’s what I believe 🙂

    I haven’t met any cyberstalkers yet, but I’ve met a few socially inept people. I have been fairly cautious when it comes to my writing online. That’s mostly because too many of my friends and family are reading my blog. I have been thinking of experimenting with some creative writing and adding some fiction, but I’ve been thinking of what family and friends would think (because I’m sure that they wouldn’t understand that what I described actually didn’t happen unless I told them, and that’s no fun).

    I guess that’s part of why I’m writing a novel.. so I can write whatever I want without thinking about the consequences 🙂

    • Jack January 12, 2012 at 9:59 pm

      Hi Jens,

      I like to think that they just love my writing but something is off this time.

      The fiction sounds like a lot of fun to me, but I am biased about that. I will say that friends and family who read mine often ask lots of questions because they think they might know who or what I am writing about.

      • Jens P. Berget January 15, 2012 at 8:32 am

        That’s the same with me. They keep asking me if they’re in the story, and if I’ve been inspired by them etc.. I always say, no comment, and smile… this way they’ll keep thinking about me and my writing 🙂

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