is an Internet stalker?
At its mildest, a stalker is simply a troll
that has attached itself to an individual. At worst, boring, at best, flattering.
Find out about trolls. But a stalker can be a serious predator,
using the Internet to pursue a real or imagined vendetta, or other perverted agenda.
Risk assessment is an essential first step.
dangerous is it?
Start by thinking about who it is; is it someone you have
simply upset on the Internet, someone with whom you've had a relationship? Is
it someone you knew before, or have met in the real world?
Think about where
you see it - newsgroups? forums? chat rooms? email?
What does it say? Is
it a matter of direct insults? Is it lies and rumors? Does it reveal information
not generally known that you want kept secret?
When - and how often - does
How is it threatening? Is it simply annoying, or do you fear
direct contact, betrayal or what? Think about the worst it can do ... how bad
Why are you being stalked - is it simply spite and boredom, is
it envy or resentment? Have you done anytghing thast you think may have set it
Once you can answer these questions, you will havce a clearer idea
of what you are dealing with, and how quickly you may need to act.
To Do - General Advice
- In virtually every case, the first line
of defence is to do nothing; simply treat it as a troll and ignore it - most will
go away fairly quickly. remember, these creatures are a form of troll; if they
fail to get rapid feedback, their inclination is to move on- they usually have
neither the stamina nor the intelligence for a difficult situation.
- however mild this stalker appears - always save every message you receive. A
good way to do this is to create a new folder in your mailbox, and move all mails
or copy newsgroup postings to that folder. I'd advise keeping this folder for
at least a year after the last post, possibly longer. This can be a useful store
of evidence, if later required, and can help in identifying the stalker.
- Consider your options. Retaliation will make you feel better, but can
be risky; as it make inspire, provoke or enable the stalker to strike further.
For example, using the stalker's guestbook to warn them is risky if you have a
guestbook that is open to attack. But if it is reasonably safe, then attack -
let the stalker know that you are not afraid of electrons!
definition, a stalker is a coward, like all bullies, like all who attack from
behind, or in the dark. Be sure to mention this in every attack.
make it personal - You make it impersonal. Minimise any private response you make;
maximise every public response.
- Not invariably, but usually,
stalkers are none too bright; as JR would say, "The Elevator Don't Reach
the Top Floor" - few intelligent people would go down the road to stalksville.
Some, of course, are severely mentally ill. If you suspect that, then do not engage
the stalker in any kind of dialog - just keep careful records and make appropriate
- Be Reasonable - Your attacks should be in response
to the stalker's - and their first line of defense will be to accuse you of stalking
- so don't go over the top. You'll usually be amazed how easy it is to attack
a stalker, but exercise restraint. If they write in your forum, and it's safe
to respond - then write in theirs. But be honest, brief and to the point - even
if you post in every thread.
- Keep records of all that you do,
as well as what they do - and consider writing a web diary, or opening a web page
to expose them. They may well have a reputation to lose - if they deserve to lose
it, help them to lose it (example - The Zeppo).
- Share The Laughter - However unnerving a stalker may be, if
you look at them coldly in the light of day, they are pretty ridiculous. Some
are Nothing But Ridiculous (example - Spiro).
Savour that; turn it around, let them - and the world - see how ridiculous they
are. Every time you mock them, you gain, and they lose. Share The Laughter.
- Be consistent - once you have identified their weaknesses (besides
being a loopy, cowardly piece of slime!), use the information against them, in
- Be careful - one of the first defences of a stalker
is to claim that you stalked them, and any defence by you may be used against
you as claimed cyberbullying.
This site is a work in progress; the information is offered
in good faith to people who have had, or are having, problems with an Internet
stalker. But much of the information is untested, based on personal experience,
theory and best guess - it is not guaranteed to help, and may not be appropriate
to your own situation. The intention is to help you think about the issues,
and then you must decide how - if at all - you can use the advice given here.
Whatever choices you make, we wish you Good Luck.
All contributions used
on the site will be acknowledged here.