Trolls, stalkers and threats: ten years of my blogging experiences

I’ve had this blog since January 2009, and it has seen a lot in that time.  I’ve also had a website since around 2005.  So for the tenth anniversary of the blog and fourteenth of the website (merged in 2014), let’s do a little summary of what has happened:

For 3 years, I mostly wrote book reviews; not much happened.  Around 2012, it started to get a bit of traffic because I started writing about narcissism, which was just getting popular as a blog subject.

  1. In May 2012, two of my abusers came to my blog after not looking at it for a couple of years.  They discovered I’d been writing about their abuses, accused me of lying, threatened me with a lawsuit–and also threatened to stalk me at church.  I knew I was telling the truth, and zero lies.  So I stood my ground, kept the blog up, and continued telling friends/family/church friends/priest what was happening, as I had been doing for two years already.  It has now been 7 years, and no lawsuit.  The statute of limitations has also long since run out.  These two abusers still read my blog, but none of their many threats ever came to pass.  I count this as a victory.  I’m not sure why they check my blog anymore, because these days they often spend maybe a minute on it, and that’s not enough time to read anything.
  2. In August 2016, after I had supported a particular blogger for four years–comments, sympathy, reading her novel, reblogging her–she threatened me with a lawsuit for *quoting* her with full attribution (well within my rights under copyright law regarding Fair Use).  I took the quotes down, but after this, I wanted nothing to do with her anyway, or with promoting her blog.  But the fear and trepidation over this had to succumb to real-life trouble because a couple of days later, I got the call that my dad was dying in a few days.  That was a very difficult month–but I got through it, and I warn others about this blogger.  She is very popular online, and has had many other victims as well.  Or rather, she was–I’m very relieved to see that her blog is now offline and apparently has been for a while now.  Maybe people can still find good things in her book to help them understand narcissists, but she encouraged people to stay “stuck” in the anger stage–even yelled at people who said we should try to heal eventually–and blamed people for being victims of narcissists if they didn’t fit a certain category.  This is all very harmful, so I’m glad to see her no longer running a blog where she victimizes people who come to her for help.  Meanwhile, my own blog and website are still up, and I encourage you to try to heal and move on after your anger has run its course.  You’ll be much happier than if you endlessly try to find ways to “get even.”
  3. In early 2017 and again in early 2018, this blog was inundated with hits from malicious and obsessive trolls who had been stalking another blogger for a couple of years.  He’d attracted a whole mob of them, who now started checking me out for talking to him.  I had only just gotten a Twitter account, which they used to find my blog, where they began leaving snarky comments and combing through my archives looking for who knew what.  I used the blog for therapy and wrote all sorts of things about my past, so I feared what these people planned to do with it.  Even when the mob abated, I was told they still stalked my blog and Twitter and talked about me in their little circle.  I occasionally saw evidence of that, myself.  But for many months now, they still stalk the blog and Twitter account of their original target but seem to be leaving me alone.

 

Meanwhile, I have learned a lot about blogging and running a website.  I have learned things that have helped in healing from the past.  I’ve been working on a new novel for nearly four years now, a new passion, along with defeating Trump and what has become of the GOP in the last several decades.  I have learned a lot about and/or changed my mind about a lot of things, from politics to religion to abuse to history…. This has all happened over the fourteen years of this blog/website, and you can find it all in the archives.

I have also been very active on Twitter, here.  I don’t write as much on the blog as I used to because Twitter is a good way to share retweets and keep my followers up-to-date without having to go through the trouble of writing a blog post for everything that’s on my mind.  I encourage you to follow it (unless you’re a troll).

 

 

 

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My first post on ClassicPress! –and Wisconsin is doomed

1: Okay, first a quick note registering my upset with the Lame Duck Session.  My assemblyman has not responded to my e-mail (unless it got buried somewhere), but my senator did.  He, at least, has a conscience, and didn’t vote for the stripping of powers from our newly-elected governor/attorney general until he was satisfied that it was no longer immoral.

But I’m not, and neither are lots of us who are upset, dismayed, and angry at this outright, audacious power grab by the Wisconsin GOP.  We elected Evers and Kaul to pull this state out of the hell of corruption–which keeps getting worse all the time–where it’s been lying since Walker took office.  But the state legislature wants to ensure we stay down there.

I keep seeing this lately: GOP complains when Democrats are in power, then when one of their people is in charge and really screwing the people over, tells them to “suck it up” and deal with losing.  Then Democrats get in power again, so GOP takes their power away.

Update 12/7/18: My GOP senator put out a statement that he greatly disagreed with the original bills and did what he could behind the scenes–negotiations and such–to amend them until he was satisfied that they did not overreach, that there are still checks and balances and the new governor’s and AG’s powers would not be stripped.  Of course, whether he went far enough is probably going to depend on who you talk to, but I give him kudos for his extraordinary efforts and listening to his constituents.  We will see what happens in the coming months.

2: But enough of that rant.  Wordpress is updating today to 5.0, which means Gutenberg will now be the default.  I’ve been following this for months, all the controversy, but lots of WP users probably have no idea what’s about to happen when they click the “Update” button today.

To learn what the fuss is about, see here and here.  The controversy is so fierce and people are so concerned that the Gutenberg editor will break older sites, that there’s now a page to help people fix their sites.

The thing is, Gutenberg is not only a huge change from the old editor, making it hard to understand for many, and hard to use for many with accessibility concerns, but it’s only the beginning.  Menus and widgets are slated to be next, converted to “blocks” as the backend of the site is moved to heavy use of Javascript.  I’m concerned about that because it seems like every time a plugin moves to Javascript, it gets buggier.  So now my whole admin screen will be Javascript?

Other concerns are that older sites with lots of modifications to fit the old editor, and with lots of posts written in the old editor, are going to break.  Reports are coming in that such posts–though they are put in a “classic block” to preserve them–are having issues, that converting them to Gutenberg causes issues.  And for those of us who write long posts, the Gutenberg block-based editor is hanging up and interrupting the writing flow.

The official word from Wordpress is that you can use the Classic Editor plugin (or Disable Gutenberg plugin) if you don’t want to use this.  BUT it’s only going to be supported for three years, and before those three years are up, the widgets and menus will be re-structured.  So this isn’t really a solution if you don’t want to ever use Gutenberg; it just puts it off for a few years until you’re forced to use it.

Because of the outcry, a Wordpress fork has been developed: ClassicPress.  At first it seemed like a pipe dream, but lately it seems like a truly viable alternative.  And if it doesn’t work for you–important plugins start supporting only Gutenberg and no longer work, some plugin doesn’t like ClassicPress, or whatever–you can always revert back to Wordpress: The migration plugin has been altered so you can do so, or you can use FTP or backups.  (Always back up your files and database before making changes like this.)  I often use FTP to overwrite my core files when something on my site goes buggy, or an update crashes the site.

I’ve been pondering this for several weeks while watching the controversy.  I believe it’s best for Nyssa’s Hobbit Hole to switch to ClassicPress to preserve my thousands of posts and pages, and all the modifications I’ve done over the years.  It’s also mostly a text-based site which could suffer from the Gutenberg changes.

But my author page should be safe in WP 5.0 and Gutenberg.  (I might turn off Gutenberg for the blog, which I can do with Disable Gutenberg.)  It’s only a couple of years old and has few pages, pages which might actually benefit from the things Gutenberg can do.  But for now I’ll have Disable Gutenberg on (I see it’s working), until I have a chance to play with it.

I’m also disgusted by the response to people who complain about Gutenberg or suggest other ways to add it without forcing people to use the new editor.  Countless people are saying it should be an optional plugin, for example.

But they keep hearing: Can’t stop a moving train, this is how Wordpress is going, this is the decision that was made, and–maybe not from the WP CEO, but from others–Gutenberg is superior while you’re all curmudgeons who hate change, only a tiny minority of developers hate this while bloggers love it, etc. etc.

But people have legitimate concerns, and I know bloggers who refuse to use Gutenberg.

If this is how people will now be treated for their concerns, the arrogance has really put me off.  That’s the other reason that I’ve moved Hobbit Hole to ClassicPress.

So far, so good.  ClassicPress is working with my plugins.  We’ll see how it works, then.  The only drawback is it doesn’t appear to be working with PHP 7.3 yet, and I want 7.3!  (PHP is like an engine driving your site; 7.3 is more powerful than what I have now.)

Update 12-8-18: I just learned that Elementor does the same stuff Gutenberg does, but is easier to understand and use.  Meanwhile, turns out you can write a post in the Classic Editor and then add stuff to it in the Elementor editor–You don’t have to choose all one or the other.  Also, editing a page in Gutenberg was spitting out all sorts of PHP errors.  So my Author Page is also now in ClassicPress.  🙂

 

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Come check out my new blog design

I finally found a clean, minimalist design that focuses on the writing–In fact, it’s named “Write.”  No sidebar; the text is centered for easy reading, with everything extra shoved to the bottom.  (And my URLs are finally underlined again!  🙂  )

I’ve wanted this for some time, for several reasons:

  • make the page load faster (makes readers and Google happy–seriously, more than 3 seconds=terribly s l o w)
  • get better scores on page performance
  • focus the eye on the posts and not the stuff in the sidebar
  • I like sites which load up quickly and have few annoying, distracting graphics
  • I like the clean look of stripped-down sites optimized for mobile users
  • I’m jealous of my HTML index page (the portal to all parts of my domain) because it’s clean and loads fast, unlike my Wordpress sites 😛

I’ve also been looking at AMP lately, Google’s idea to make the Web load faster for mobile devices, but at the moment it doesn’t support all the stuff I need, such as Statcounter and my ad boxes.  They’re working on that, but not there yet.  Some developers are suspicious of AMP (also here), and say it’s better to fix your code so it loads faster.

Also, a recent experiment with Cloudflare’s Rocket Loader led to loading in under 2 seconds, but the “like” button disappeared.  Despite trying all the code and fixes I found on the Net, nothing fixed that.  So…I went looking for minimalist themes again.

I just spent all evening working on the new theme, transferring the widgets from the old one and making sure all the coding works.  (Thanks to WP-Spamshield for telling me how to set up a debugger that you can keep running without exposing your errors to the whole Net!  Without it, I never would’ve known some of the code was deprecated and causing hundreds of PHP errors.  But I fixed it.  🙂  )

But enough of geeking out about my website.  Check it out, and tell me in the comments what you think.  🙂 

Also, please let me know if it would be better with or without a header image.

I don’t know which way to go.  I like it without, because it focuses on the writing and images take longer to load.  But then it seems bare and I don’t know if my readers would like that.  🙂  You can see here how the theme looks without.

 

 

 

 

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On current events….

I haven’t been blogging about politics much lately.  I do, however, often comment or retweet on political matters on my Twitter, https://twitter.com/nyssathehobbit/.  There’s just too much going on, I don’t want to turn my blog into all-politics, and I’m trying to focus my writing efforts on my novel at the moment.  I often work on my book for a few hours a night, and let’s face it, posting on Twitter is much quicker and easier than writing a blog post about everything that happens.  😉

So if you want to know what I think about current events, you can follow me on Twitter.  (Yes, stalkers, that’s you, too, if you behave yourselves.  😉  )  You can also keep up using the Twitter feed I post on my blog here.

I also have an author Twitter, focused on my books and writing:  https://twitter.com/NyssaMcCanmore.  I had been neglecting it, but I’m trying to get it going again.  You can also see the Twitter feed on my writing blog, here.

 

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Explaining the pentagram on one of my site headers

Just now I was looking at my site on the large-screen computer in the basement.  I usually use a laptop, and wanted to know if it looks the same….

One of my new site headers, on the large screen, showed a big, bold inverted pentagram I hadn’t noticed before on my small screen.  Okay, I thought, this is an old German building–It can’t be Satanic, can it?

I got the picture from public domain and didn’t know what it was.  A little Googling turned it up.  It’s actually a medieval church, the Marktkirche, and the pentagram symbolized epiphany at that time: Marktkirche

 

 

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Now my blog shows up in the Wordpress Reader!

For some time, my blog has not shown up in the Wordpress.com Reader, even though it used to.  I thought maybe I had disconnected something or turned off a plugin while fiddling with my site a while back, trying to get it to work.  I had no idea what happened.  I thought maybe self-hosted blogs were now disconnected from the Reader.

If you have e-mail notifications turned off, this explains why you weren’t getting my updates in your Reader.

Today, after some Googling, I discovered a little button was switched off in my Jetpack settings.  I switched it on, and–

All fixed!  Now you can get updates from my blog in your Reader.  😀

 

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