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Travel_Writer
04-11-2006, 04:57 PM
Hi All,

Iím doing an article on online stalkers and their victims, and I was wondering if anyone here might have had any bad experiences online of that sort, and would be willing to tell me their story. If you do then please feel free to pm me



Thanks in advance



Geraldine

Bamponang
04-18-2006, 05:30 PM
I don't if my story qualifies for what you're looking for, but here goes....

A couple of months ago I wrote article about a disagreement between a large multibillion rand company and a smaller, user-based online forum. The company was issuing a public apology for misquoting statitics from a user forum, and i was the journalist they gave the story to.

The morning after the story went online, I received an irate email from someone who claimed i was unfairly persecuting the company. He attacked me personally and professionally using some very graphic language.

He also cc'd business editors on most dailies in the country and news services (SAPA, Reuters etc). I was stunned!

In the first place, the company came to me with their written apology. Secondly, I'd been writing about the company long enough to know they took criticism on the chin, and didn't need to send anonymous emails to a journalist to scare her silly.

I responded by saying something like: 'glad to see my work is appreciated.' He was furious!

For days he bombarded me with emails, commenting on stories I wrote, calling me names and threatening to report me to the media regulatory body and anyone else he could think of. He included business editors I've never done business with in all his emails, destroy my reputation I guess

The frightening thing was not the insults and threats. The editors receiving the emails were also unlikely to take the allegations seriously. What scared me was the realisation that I was dealing with an unbalanced mind.

There would be no reasoning with this person. Because the harassment was by email, I didn't know whether he presented a present, physical danger to me and my family either.

Before long I was wondering if I should keep writing about the company at all. However, there was no way I could write the kind of trade pieces I do without writing about them. And why should I give up a good source of publishable stories to accomodate a madman?

I had a lot of help and support though. The forum owner intervened and traced the person harassing me. He told me who the stalker was, his home address, his employer's contact details and his cellphone number.

I have a friend who developed software that allows one to send a text message to a cellphone every minute for 24 hours, and it was hard not to retaliate once I knew who was harassing me.

But my editors suggested that I ignore the mails as strategy to deal with the harassment. They said the online stalker would see communicating with him, even retaliating, as encouragement and would think we have a thing going - however twisted. Staying silent was the hardest thing I had to do, because abusive emails came in everyday for a long time. And everyday I wrote a story and it went online, I wondered who else i would enrage.

Eventually, he started harassing someone else and I joined the list he cc's when he sends his emails. Then as abruptly as the harassement started, it stopped.


I never let on to him that i knew who he was. I am also more careful about how I communicate online. Now all reader responses to published material come through the publications I write for, not to me directly.

ideagirl
04-19-2006, 04:03 AM
I got harassed by some *** on eBay who was furious that I'd won an auction he wanted to win. He first wrote me through eBay (i.e. not from his personal email account) in a courteous, normal way, but as soon as I gave him my real email address he started sending furious and slightly scary emails from his personal account. At that point, *I* turned into the stalker: using his email address, google, and a couple of indiscreet things he'd said in his emails, I figured out who he was and where he lived, looked up his address on an online map to see what was nearby, and sent him a deliberately creepy email that made it clear I knew more about him than he knew about me ("What does Lake Such-and-such look like today, Mr. His-last-name? Peek out your window and tell me--is anyone out there sailing? Are you going to walk down Such-and-such street today and hang out at the lakeshore?" etc.). He immediately stopped emailing me. Never heard from him again.

Heh heh heh.
:box:

Travel_Writer
04-22-2006, 06:37 PM
Hi all,

Thank you for responding to my post both of your responses are great, although not exactly what Iím looking for. Perhaps I should have explained more clearly what I am looking for, which is the kind of people you meet online through forums and chat sites that turn into cyber stalkers. Sending people creepy, pervy and nasty messages through e-mail, I may be able to bring in some of your story details into my article like cyber stalkers can be found through work and play.



Itís something I will try to bring in to the article, if both of you are ok with that.



Thanks again for sharing



Geraldine