Blogging, cyberstalking, and paranoia

As I read an article this morning, Blogging can be a dangerous game, I was reminded that one reason I began this blog is that I hoped to be a more moderate voice than some of those who are already speaking. While I respect many of those people, I can’t agree with some of their absolutist prescriptions (and proscriptions) intended to help you be safer on the internet.

While the article I was reading wasn’t by any one I’ve encountered before, the advice given reflects that of many safety authorities. For instance, women in particular are advised:

Manage your blog anonymously or adopt an alias for all online posting. This will help protect you in the event that you draw unwanted attention.

Obviously, by my own example I do not agree that one must stay anonymous or avoid all personal interaction in order to achieve a reasonable degree of safety. Despite being targeted, I am not anonymous in any of my blogs or other online interactions. I am not in any more danger due to blogging than I was before I began blogging, despite the fact that my family has already been targeted by a stalker.

I and the rest of the family do continue to be careful about what we do say online, but anonymity isn’t necessary as long as we follow basic guidelines such as not referring specifically to our schools, workplaces, or places of worship. When we mention that we will be at a particular event, it is a calculated risk.

Restricting all online interactions to carefully distanced, pseudonymous or anonymous postings rejects the deeper possibilities of interactivity. Be careful, but don’t fall prey to paranoia.

2 Replies to “Blogging, cyberstalking, and paranoia”

  1. Thanks so much for putting this courageous story online. For several weeks now, my mother and I have been harassed and threatened by an elderly man and his buddy who got upset after my mom started deleting their lewder comments on her blog. Soon they starting verbally attacking her blogfriends, and recently hijacked my mother’s online email account (and that of a friend)and sent viruses to everyone in her address book. They have threatened to have friends come to our countries and kill us. This man started out as a good “friend”, a kindly old gentleman (nearly 80, a WWII veteran with memoirs available at Amazon.com). When he began posting anonymous off-color comments, my mom noticed the ISP was his and called him on it. From that time on, he became combative and furious. It’s really a shame. We have both made so many real, wonderful friends through blogging, but one psychotic old man can ruin everything.

  2. How dreadful! Please don’t let him “ruin everything” for you. You and your mother can find help at http://www.haltabuse.org/ . Tighten up your security, warn your friends, and ban him from your blogs. Thank goodness he isn’t local to you!

    Thank you for writing. I’ll be thinking about you and your mother.

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