Ink Paper Words' Profile

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Pacific Northwest, United States
In elementary school, I desperately wanted my mother to order books for me from those flyers Scholastic hands out to kids. She refused, citing the "perfectly good library down the street." I exacted revenge by becoming a card-carrying ALA accredited reference librarian. Ha! Take that!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Of Internet Drama, Trolls and Hissy Fits (Part 1)

For a long time now, I've wonder what exactly it is about the Internet that makes people post crude and harassing posts to each other. I understand that it's easy for person to get sucked into a board controversy, take things personally, and lash out in ways they wouldn't dream of if the conflict was with a neighbor or someone in the workplace.

One of my oldest and most productive online friendships is with a person (I'll refer to her here as "Lois") who was routinely vilified on a message board, even though at the time I began posting there, she wasn't. Many discussions centered around how awful this person was and her supposed character flaws were dissected ad nauseum. I was accused of being this other person for months, I guess because our posting styles and opinions were similar. This had gone on for months when she made an appearance.

I was rather in awe. She was famous, if nothing else, for having made a definite impression on those boards. Tentatively, I emailed her and was a little thrilled when she replied. That was way back in 1998 and today we are not only online friends, we've met several times in real life and currently collaborate on various projects.

The intervening years have never been dull, however, as posters continued to accuse us of being the same person. The one who continues to cyberstalk Lois eventually and grudgingly accepted that we were not -- but only after she stalked us and gathered enough information to realize that we were in fact different people. Even though those boards have been pretty much dead since the host changed their format a few years ago, this woman continues to dredge up every bit of info she can on Lois. She posts a question on some obscure board, and her stalker is there commenting on it. Stalky even presumes to know intimate details of my friend's marriage and her husband's death. She has created multiple discussions about Lois' marriage, birth of her daughter, the relationship between Lois and her husband Ralph.

The stalker in question has claimed to be a teacher and if so, god help us all. Although after so many years online and after having seen scams of many stripes being circulated, I think it may very well be that she is simply a convict in a jail cell with a laptop and lots and lots of time on her hands.

To be Continued....

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