What happened today
(Reposted from Letterdash March 15, 2011)
I know that there’s not much that can be done to technically manage a stalker. Which is why things like interdicts and restraining orders exist – because you have to treat some people as potential crime scenes.
For 5 years, part of my daily routine was to manage a large platform of forums. Even though they comprised short posts from anonymous users, it’s human nature to reach out and form connections. The only problem is, in every group of +/- 500 humans there seems to be at least one person suffering from some or other aberration.
Forums are much easier to monitor technically than blogs, simply because blogs are more personal – they’re more like our homes than just arb chat rooms – whereas with forums, we’re able to intervene immediately if something is going wrong.
Experience taught us how to profile multiple-personality posters, bullies and abusers very quickly.
Another way to protect forum users is a total, and I mean total, ban on the posting of any personal information. Which you can’t do on blogs: bloggers have more autonomy and ownership of their space.
New users on forums will try to post telephone or cell numbers, email addresses or names, and for a long time we struggled to get people to understand how dangerous it is to send info like that out into cyberspace.
Then one day I had an epiphany and posted this on all forums:
“Please do not post private details such as phone or cell numbers, email addresses or names.
Why? Because cyberworld isn’t real.
The nubile 19-year-old natural blonde named Kandy and the ripped 21-year-old surfer called Ryan that you’re talking to? They are both probably a 300 kg man in his mid-50′s named Clarence, who lives with his mother and plays with power-saws.
Seriously, chat and have fun, but take care.
And don’t believe everything you read.”