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 2020: I have proof that Sam is who he says he is, so the trolls can pound rocks. He’s opened up more online publicly and to me. I will NOT post private proofs here because it’s his business only to post these things and I will not violate his trust. But publicly he now has a podcast with his girlfriend (who I’ve verified is a real person–and that she has visited him).