On cyber obsession

I seem to have lessened Thursday’s troll threat through a combination of blocking and a cease and desist notice.  But I’m left shaking my head at the whole thing.

Several days ago, I read a comment on a blog post about the trolls’ target, which made a lot of sense.  It said, basically, if you have so much evidence that this person is a scammer, then give that evidence to the police and be done with it.  Especially if they took your money or something like that.  If it was just that you thought you found love but they were a fake, then chalk it up as a learning experience and move on.  The commenter did not understand all the fuss over this person, the websites, the vitriol, the trolling.

I feel the same way about it.  If this person is truly a scammer, then give it to the police to sort out.  Don’t waste your time with setting up hate websites and constantly trolling a person.  If they are truly a scammer, then the police will press charges, and nobody else will fall victim.

Because that’s all I see here, a big waste of time.

Over the years, I have checked out a lot of blogs posted by victims of all sorts of things: various crimes, stalking, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, narcissism, gaslighting, etc. etc.

For the most part, the blogs are a journey from the initial hurt and pain and anger, on to a particular endpoint.  I say “endpoint” because oftentimes blogs end before they get to full acceptance and healing.  But there’s usually some point they get to.  Maybe they leave their abuser.  Maybe they write about the healing process.  But it’s all about venting and then recovery.

But I’ve also seen hate sites, which complain about abuse but seem to be written by narcissists.  They never get beyond the anger-phase, just sit and stew for years, maybe even contemptuous toward people who do want to heal or forgive.

They are full of potential libel, and probably the real name of the offender.  You can tell the site is meant to tear down that other person’s reputation, and make all readers hate the person as well.

I saw one such site which was so full of vicious personal attacks that I was not surprised to come back much later and find it gone.  Apparently the blogger was forced to remove it.

There is another blog–I have not actually seen it, but I’ve read about it from bloggers who have seen it.  Basically, its sole purpose was to rip on the guy who runs Harsh Reality.  It does not seem to have been taken seriously.

As for the trolls who have targeted me, I don’t understand their obsession, either.  As noted above, if they have evidence, give it to the police.  Or let the victims call the police.

That’s what the police are there for.  They also have access to resources we regular people don’t have.  They can sort out true from false, real victims from fake, true leads from people who just want a little fame and attention.  (There are actually people who say they did a crime or know something, when they have nothing to do with it whatsoever.)  They can get things moving in the legal system.

What’s up with the websites?  What’s up with spending all that time setting up hate sites, making fun of a person nonstop, stalking their Twitter nonstop, and bullying complete strangers into agreeing with them?

If someone sees your site and thinks you’re full of bullcocky, then cyberstalking them, sending them high-school mean-girl messages, screwing with them, and bullying them into agreeing with you–Okay, you have no clue how persuasion works.

I mean, come on, how am I supposed to take these people seriously?  If you have a case to make, then simply stating the facts in a mature and reasonable tone should convince people.  If it doesn’t, well then, that’s their opinion.  Move on.

But when you act like a group of children, most people are going to dismiss you as childish, along with any points you’re trying to make.  If you think you have to force and bully people into agreeing with you, then you must realize your case has not been made.

Now, I look at this particular case, the claim that one person is a scammer, with curiosity.  Sure, I’m interested.  Sure, I’ve spent time Googling the person.  I’m still curious, especially now that I’m getting cyberstalked over it.

But the reaction I’m getting from the trolls and a certain ex-troll is, quite frankly,

ridiculous.

And laughable, when you think about it.  The more I think about it, the more ludicrous it gets.

I mean, when you get down to it, I have my own opinion on the matter, but I could be wrong.  I accept that as a possibility.  If I am wrong, then the world is not going to shrivel up and die.  Heck, my own piece of the world is not going to fall apart.  I will not be personally affected.  And a huge chunk of me really doesn’t care one way or the other.  Most of the time, I don’t even think about it.  Then the alleged scammer posts something, I get a notification in my inbox, and I think, Oh yeah.

If I’m right, then hey, I can rejoice that I figured it out.  I can write about the effects that mob-bullying and cyber-bullying can have on a person, and what it must be like to be in the Kafka-esque position of insisting that you exist and are not a figment of somebody’s imagination.

If I turn out to be wrong, then what does it become for me?  It becomes an intriguing little example of how far twisted some people can be, how far they can take a scam.  And that is useful for both this blog and for my novel-writing.

But the trolls and the one who apparently is an ex-troll–I’m not sure because I don’t keep up with those reality show gossip sites, and I don’t read tabloids.  I don’t spend time in the comment sections of gossip sites, either.  I only did that last week to learn something about these people who are stalking me.  (Yeah, I’m being stalked by a group of strangers.  I never so much as spoke to these people online.)

It seems like a huge time-waste to me, full of haters and libel, no matter what the show.  People ripping on the clothes/hair/appearance of the people on the show.  People making up schoolyard epithets for the people on the show.

I’d much rather spend that time creating, reading and learning.  The most I usually do is spend some time in Facebook groups for my two favorite reality shows, and then only while the show is running new episodes.  Then I forget about it.

But I get the impression from the gossip blogs that these trolls are not actually victims of the alleged scammer.  Yet for some reason, they have all decided that it is so earth-shatteringly important that everybody in the world share their obsession, and agree with them that this person is a dangerous scammer, that they feel the dire, driving need to hunt down all dissidents and bully them into believing as well.

Now because of this, I’m getting disturbing messages through my blog: The ex-troll scolds me for not believing (even though I specifically wrote on my blog that I don’t know who’s telling the truth).  She says she doesn’t care, but the tone and words of her message make plain that she does.

The trolls behave like they have a collective age of 12: relentlessly stalking me and others, using Facebook to harass, sending me snarky messages.  Then one seems to extend a hand of repentance, but another turns snarky and derisive.  Okay, so this was all some high-school game by mean girls.  Ridiculous.

I was scared for a while, but now I’m starting to chuckle.  And snort.  I block them, knowing they’re just going to use proxies, but why make it easy for them?  I chuckle as I block another one.

And the derisive messages trying to make me feel like some kind of idiot, or shame me into compliance.

Yeah, doesn’t work.

Because I don’t care what these people think of me.  I shut off the computer and they vanish.

Because well, it really isn’t that big of a deal what I think about their scammer.  Just another curiosity in the reality show world.  It only really matters to the people directly involved.

But this whole thing becomes an odd little demonstration of just how obsessed some people can get.  It has been suggested that people get like this these days because they’ve spent so much of their lives in front of screens instead of interacting with people, that they don’t understand what’s appropriate.  They give into their ids instead of using courtesy and respect.

Except–Well, even my kid understands that trolling is wrong, despite his introversion and love for the computer.

As much as I want to open up the conversation to my readers, I have to shut down the comments.  Because you know the trolls are lurking, watching for anything about them.

Meanwhile, I have to get to bed because some of us actually have stuff we’ve gotta do.

 

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My stalker troll brigade has disappeared

My posts for the past week describe what this is all about, starting here.

I guess the trolls lost interest and went back to their usual target, the alleged “catfish,” once they finally realized I have no connection to him.  But this is something they do: harass people simply for talking to their target, and try to bully them into the trolls’ way of thinking.

Which is one big reason why the whole “catfish” story doesn’t pass the smell test with me.  If it’s true, then just put your story out there, and don’t try to force and harass people into agreeing with you.  This kind of behavior is familiar to those of us who have dealt with abusers and malignant narcissists.

I pointed out their behavior was bullying, and that their websites look like not-credible hate sites, so I became their target.  I don’t like people being bullied, and have been known to yell back at people who pick on my friends.  The “catfish” is not my friend, just some guy whose blog I follow, but it bugged me anyway.

But I stood up to the onslaught, and I’m still standing while they’re gone.  Maybe a straggler comes in here or there, but that’s all.  And the post that ticked them off so much, is still up.

Even my Twitter hits have gone way down, showing a lack of interest from them.  I also went to the Twitters of their usual targets, and started blocking all the trolls I found there.

On Tuesday, I woke up to find a very disturbing friend request in Facebook.  Someone had spoofed my friend Todd’s account, but not in the normal way used by hackers and identity thieves: Both first and last names were spelled wrong.  There was absolutely no attempt made to look like Todd’s real account.  The picture was not the usual studly man or hot woman.  No, this was a scary-looking dude with a sneer and brandishing an “Evil Eye” tattoo on his upper arm muscles.

Yeah.  That doesn’t look like a hacker.  That looks like I picked up a stalker.

Considering what the trolls had just been doing, I was convinced they had tracked my real name down on the Net and were about to make sh** get real.  I had one hand on the phone for the police.

I reported the account to Facebook, and also told Todd about it.  But he was almost certain it was from a Nazi, not one of my trolls.  See, Todd keeps his timeline public, and is always ranting about Neo-Nazis, which makes this plausible.

So I calmed down.  I also spent part of Tuesday reporting two trolls who contacted me on Twitter.  All the troll IP addresses I collected (EIGHTY!!!) are in the comment ban bin.  I use a plugin which sends all spam and blacklisted comments into oblivion, so I never see them even to delete them.

For about 48 hours now, activity both here and on my Twitter has been quiet.  I have no idea why it suddenly dropped off, but I’m finally breathing again and going back to normal.

Crisis over.  Back to reality.  Which is good, because we have to get ready for a remodeling project soon.  That’s plenty to deal with.  😛

 

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FAQ on stalker threat and is it past?

Okay, a few days have passed and the threat has lessened.  Some sleep, some getting back to the normal routine, and being with friends, has made me feel better.  So now it’s time to re-evaluate the stalker troll threat.

1. How did I know they were a cyber lynch mob?  Because they’ve been watching the Twitter and blog of a certain person they believe needs justice done to him, “S.”  Whether he does or not, I don’t really know.  I’ve heard his side of the story, but I’ve also heard the other one, from “M.”  But the speed of their responses, tells me they have been watching him like a hawk–stalking him.

There’s a lot of S-said, M-said, without real smoking guns for the most part, on either side.  I’ve seen no proper journalistic investigation done into this to prove anything, just what was said on a TV show in a genre which is known for being deceptive.

But I do know that the group of trolls was pursuing “justice” with cyber mob bullying instead of using appropriate means.

I do wonder if someone has been impersonating S on the Net.  This is only a suspicion, but it would explain some things.  Such things do happen now and then.

2. What kinds of things have the trolls been doing?  Not only had they been harassing S for months with non-stop disparaging posts on Twitter and his blog, but they had been doing the same to anyone they considered his friends–or even people who just asked questions of him on Twitter.

I had reviewed the history of their behavior, not just his own story of it, but by following a link he posted on his blog to his Twitter.  He invited readers to see what they had been doing.  I reviewed it for some time, not just how they treated him, but how they treated another person who claims to have actually met him.  I’d google S’s name and find hate sites and Youtube videos against him.

I also saw these people get blocked or their accounts shut down on Twitter, only to make new accounts.  I read how they were using proxies to get into S’s blog after he blocked them from it.  Again, these are all things which S wrote about on his blog and invited his readers to see for themselves.  Another reader went into detail in a comment about how disgusting the trolls’ behavior was.  She said there were thousands of harassing tweets from the trolls in S’s archives.

3. How did I know they were a threat to me–malicious, not just curious?  Because I had just posted on my blog a description of what they had been doing, that their behavior was at least as bad as anything they accused S of doing.  In my Statcounter, I saw them follow me from my Twitter to my blog.  My Twitter was brand-new, I only had one follower, and I could recognize her in my stats, so I knew it wasn’t her.  I also saw them poke into my posts about abuse, showing particular interest in certain ones.

4. How did I know the troll mob was following me to my blog, and not just people like me who simply wanted to know if S was telling the truth?  Because they made themselves known to me.  One posted a comment to me on Twitter which was not malicious at all, but did show she believed M and not S.  Why are you watching S’s Twitter (where I had just posted something, and drew their attention) if you don’t believe or like him?

Another posted a comment here on my blog which took a sweet memory I had of a friend, and twisted it into something dirty and shameful–and made it clear this person thought I was referring to the guy the trolls are after.  The comment made clear that they saw me as a new target.  Then this person subscribed to my blog, making it clear they were also going to keep an eye on me and make more harassing comments.

The following morning, I found a new “follower” of my Twitter: It was a brand-new account, looking just like the fake ones used by the trolls to harass S.  The profile description was vulgar.  Friendly people don’t have such a thing in their profiles.  This one was meant to harass me.

I found another profile today in my Twitter block list, another troll.  In the haze of the last few days, I don’t recall if this person followed me or made some disparaging comment to me, but it was enough to get blocked.

Another way I knew: I began blocking anyone who came to my blog from Twitter, because I knew what brought them here.  Yet even after I blocked them, they began using proxies, instead of quietly going away.  (This is similar to the behavior of my narc ex-friends, as well.)  This is the same thing the trolls had already been doing for months to S’s blog.

When I installed proxy blocks, the same people began going into the Google cache and Wayback Machine.  Those hits were not actually on my site, so I couldn’t block them, but the recorded pages still included code which transmitted data to my statcounters.  I could see the trolls were sharing pages with each other.

5. But can they really do anything malicious to me?  At first, I thought they could.  But I do not use my real name or picture on my blog.

After a few days of collecting IP addresses–DOZENS of them–I have turned off the blockers.  They were effective, but all those IP addresses in my .htaccess file seemed to turn the site a bit googly.  Instead, I put the IPs into my comment blacklist.

Not just the Wordpress blacklist, either: No, they don’t go into the spam folder or the trash bin.  I use a spam blocker plugin which sends all spam and blacklisted comments straight into oblivion.  This is even better than Akismet, because I never have to see any of them.  😀

I could mention a couple other things, but that might give them ideas.  But I have a couple of means to keep such things from becoming threats.

THAT INCLUDES CALLING THE POLICE.  I HAVE THEIR IP ADDRESSES AND COMPUTER INFO.  One even graciously provided her name and e-mail address.

Yeah, they’re still watching.

UPDATE: I have proof that he is who he says he is, so the trolls can pound rocks.

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