The Unpleasant Side Of The Blogosphere

19 03 2008

Last night I received an email that was extremely odd. A friend of mine sent me a message about a comment left on her blog.

It had my name on it and it was really nasty. Not Newscoma, but my real name which I don’t post or comment under.

She talks about it at her place and I’m not going to say anything more about it other than it was more than disturbing because the comment was mean-spirited. Initially, I was really angry because it was one of those random, unneccessary things that I’ve seen happen before but had never happened to me.

After the initial shock of seeing someone not only act incredibly ugly to her, it was a slam against me because it not only used my real name and whoever wrote it used one of those silly little things I write about in signature stuff around the Internet.

After awhile, we all became internet detectives™ and had a couple of interesting hours checking it out. Someone hid their identity through an anonymiser. Heck, they even had a fake email address.
With that said, most people know my real name. I have no problem with that. The situation did bear to mind that I understand why so many people blog anonymously. Newscoma is a nickname that came from a conversation several years ago and a random email address I set up before I ever started blogging.

I am always, even in my advanced age, surprised when things like this happen. Naive about it might be a more appropriate statement. I guess it was my turn.

The good thing is that we have a ton of friends who helped both of us out and assured me they knew it wasn’t me. We all know each other well enough to be able to realize it was malicious. Bloggers have lives outside of blogging and we have established relationships where we talked about that situation and we support each other outside of sitting behind our computers.

This is another lesson that these things could happen to anyone. There are times that I get a little fatigued with the games that happen in the blogging world.

Just be careful. Know your IP address. Also realize that your IP address can be tracked. And if your hiding it under an anonymizer, that’s a big warning sign.

Also don’t hesitate to ask questions if something doesn’t make sense. My friend did and we avoided a huge problem by communicating about it openly and frankly.

That’s what friends do.

Have a good Wednesday.

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14 responses

19 03 2008
Sam Davidson

This is a good post. Anonymity, while beneficial in many situations, is generally bad for the Internet.

I love that a real-world relationship won out here, helping everything to be sorted out and make sense.

19 03 2008
newscoma

In retrospect I think I would have set this up with my real name. It’s why I always disclose who I am. Pretty much everyone knows my name and in new blogging gigs I do I always use the real one.
The funny thing is I never realized I would have met so many fine and wonderful people through this p/t hobby and you’re right. The real-world won out over the cyber one.

19 03 2008
missybw

It’s sad that things like this happen. It’s part of why people are still scared of this thing we love. I’ve always lived my life out loud anyway and my blog has just made the circle of life bigger for me. But, I can see the attraction of total anonymity, sometimes it seems safer. I think I blogged about the freaky thing that happened to me – the package of fake snow I received from someone calling themselves Chuck Norris from here in Knoxville. Yeah, it was funny, but it was also a little weird to know that someone I’ve never met knows where I live. That’s the creep-out factor, if you examine it for very long. And, I’m sure if I had small children I’d look at that episode much differently. Anyway, I’m glad the uproar was limited. Oh, and thanks for adding me on Facebook… I promise not to stalk you too much.

19 03 2008
newscoma

I’m just going to keep going along like I always have.
Weird stuff happens. Hopefully, when it gets freaky and a bit scary, we don’t let it define us.
Thanks for thinking of me on Facebook. 🙂

19 03 2008
Lesley

I blog anonymously because I’m a single woman just living here by myself except for the cat and in the early days of my blogging, I had a blogstalker (who collected enough info about me to figure out where I lived). When you have a unique name (I’m the only one!), you have to be a little more careful. As in, if someone finds my address (even just using my first initial), there’s no doubt it’s me. I’d feel like a sitting duck.

That said, I’m not a journalist. You guys are used to having it out there.

19 03 2008
saraclark

I’m so glad this entire episode will lead lots of people to my comment using such lovely words and my general take on sex workers. Just keeping it lively.

I saw the comment and thought it was odd, but did not assume it was you.

19 03 2008
newscoma

Thanks guys. 🙂

19 03 2008
Ginger

I think this incident proves that your kind nature spoke volumes louder (did I phrase that right?) than what this person wrote…because while I thought it odd, I just shrugged it off and said, “‘Coma would never mean that how it’s written, she must’ve gotten her words turned around.”

That’s because we know your heart and KNOW you don’t have a vicious bone in your body.

19 03 2008
David

I’m glad you wrote about this real-life situation. I am actually going to talk to my 5th grade class about this incident. A lot of them use the internet, have Myspace pages and email each other. They have been told about internet safety in general, but all of the examples are removed from their immediate reality. While this would just be another reminder, the next important lesson is about how you handled the situation and communicated to your friend. You have no idea how many flare-ups happen with second and third hand whisperings about what other people heard that other people said –even in the face of ridiculous accusations. Kudos to you for your actions and for writing about it.

19 03 2008
grandefille

‘Coma would never mean that how it’s written, she must’ve gotten her words turned around.”

I suspected either a bad technical malfunction, a relapse of fluchitis, or perhaps Mabel’s sudden but inevitable betrayal. (She knows all your passwords, you know. She’s been waaaatching.)

(apologizes to Mabel for casting aspersions on her integrity and loyalty for the sake of humor)

19 03 2008
captainkona

I’ve had four death threats in the past eight months. 🙂
Bet I’m still way ahead of the pack in that category.

My M62 and I are still hoping someone will try to follow through, but no luck yet. So many Right-Wing cowards, so few bullets. 😛

Being a “Second Amendment Liberal” is really cool. I highly recommend it.

19 03 2008
Dana

I’ve never had this sort of thing happen with blogging, but I have had someone keylog the computer I was using, copy and paste the contents into a Word file, edit them extensively and then email them to mutual friends. This was someone who I trusted but who had a vested interest in making me look as bad as possible.

That experience almost seven years ago taught me huge lessons about the lengths people who want to cause trouble will go to to do just that. Other than a few exceptions 😉 I’ve never tried to hide my name or pretend to be or believe anything different than I do offline. I know that when you attempt to keep things secret on the net, it always comes out. If you’re in the media, that quadruples.

There will always be someone online who thinks it’s their place to make sure you feel as bad as possible. Sometimes that’s trolls, sometimes it’s exes who stalk you, and sometimes it’s just someone with nothing better to do than be “funny”.

The more energy you give them, the more enouragement they get to continue their crap. It’s sick and twisted but true. So just be yourself and know that anyone who’s known you for any length of time can see through that sort of crap and will still think you’re awesome.

19 03 2008
Sharon Cobb

When someone does that, they need to be exposed.

Of course, everyone knows #9 made fun of me for talking about being molested as a child, then stalked me every place I posted and harassed me, and he’s still welcome at some blogs, so I suppose it’s all relative.

People should post whatever info they have on anonymous or fraudulent posters so others in the blogosphere will be aware.

It’s crap (and drama) like this that diminishes blogging in the eyes of many people.

People on the Internet, and ostensibly belong to some sort of blogging community, have a responsibility to each other to stop things like this immediately.

19 03 2008
newscoma

Sharon,
I agree.
We need to let other know that these things happen.

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