Trolls can be terrifying, particularly when they
become stalkers. But Internet stalkers, like most trolls, are sad people, living
their lonely lives vicariously through those they see as strong and successful.
one sense, having an internet stalker more of a compliment than something to fear.
To illustrate this, I am publishing a log of my first Internet stalker, Spiro.
Even a quick read shows that Spiro is nothing to fear; indeed, it is easier to
laugh than remember that this is a real person.
All this is based on public
posting by Spiro.
Like a stray mongrel, firstname.lastname@example.org
attached itself to me in 1997, and followed me around Usenet, wagging it's tale,
for about 18 months. Sometimes it wandered off, but always returned - usually
after a few weeks. Spiro never initiated an exchange, always responding to my
public postings on newsgroups with very personal, always inaccurate, attacks.
Spiro was not it's real name (it never, not once, had the guts to face
me). It answered to all sorts of names, so
occasionally I was not sure at first if it really was Spiro - but those endearing
little habits were a dead giveaway:
Spiro liked to pretend to be American -
but didn't do it very well
Spiro used UK ISPs, but set his clock back 5 hours.
Spro inconsistently used US slang - dropped it all once angry.
a really weird fixation about the Queeen Mother, and about British dentistry (don't
ask, I don't have a clue!!).
Spiro lives in the 1980's - all its personal digs
were related to the Royal Free Hospital - I worked there from 1985-8. Sadly, Spiro
was so self-centred that all the digs mean absolutely nothing to me; a name; a
ward; a pub, linked to some vague accusation ... somehow these references are
supposed to upset me. But the Royal Free was a great place, and those were the
happiest days of my clinical nursing career. Spiro's hints simply brought back
the great times we had in and around Hampstead in the late eighties. Perhaps Spiro's
mission was to raise a nostalgic smile!!
Occasionally, when it didn't get whatever
it is that it wanted (??) Spiro got abusive, both in the news groups and by email
- always with false headers.
But, above all, like all pets, email@example.com
gave unconditional love!
Some of Spiro's
Accuracy not guaranteed - and I forgot to log some
before they timed out.
SICU@BigCityHospital.com [July 1998]
Inc. (Anti-Andews@BTC.com); Forged but flattering! [Oct99]
of Nine (firstname.lastname@example.org) Post surgery ?? [Nov 99]
Spam (RottenBritish@Teeth.com) Spiro has a fixation about dentistry.
No surprise, really; (See Picture, above)
Just a nurse (RN@email.com)
A modest moment; is it a nurse? Perhaps it got struck off. (Would you have a troll
nurse YOUR mother?)
Garrett Anderson (RHF@Alas.nomore.com) A
ward at the Royal Free Hospital - (I worked there 15 years ago - serious grudge
H. Flunder (Flunder@bt.com) - A Ward Sister
at the Royal free in the 1980's... possibly still - but this is a forged header
M. Bronson (email@example.com; "Lovers of the
Flask") - GA ward again, and the second forged header in two days. I suspect Spiro
is not taking all the tablets.
I have an advantage over many people who have been
stalked; I actually enjoy baiting the poor thing. My motto is "Never pick
a fight - but if someone else does ... win." You may have seen my website
"Guide to Flaming".
the less, I did follow my
own troll advice, even though Spiro was persistent and personal, until it
was quite clear that he wasn't the brightest in the litter, and was unwilling
It was at this point that it became clear that Spiro was what I'd
now call an Internet stalker. having already tried the basics, I went on
I found all the email tracers, spam stoppers and abuse advice sites
I could, and attacked from the front - picking the obvious holes in his drivel,
reminding him how sad he was, and generally humiliating him. I was nasty. Every
time he posted, I responded, hard.
Simultaneously, I attacked from behind;
writing to the relevant moderators, abuse addresses, and - where possible - to
its internet service providers. I know I got it removed from two, and I'm fairly
confident it was actually three or even four, over eighteen months of its most
I knew I was winning when nothing I posted on newsgroups attracted
abuse for about four months; the last attack was just one mail - feeble even compared
to its first half dozen, when it was new to the game.
Yes, I was nasty - but
bullies, trolls, stalkers anyone who attacks anonymously are cowards, who can
cause serious harm; if they won't learn the easy way, then they have chosen -
quite consciously - to learn the hard way.
It is now two years since I heard
from Spiro; I almost miss it.*
*But not quite.
NB - Spiro should not be
confused with SPY (Spyridon AKA Bill Lewis, AKA Vindicator) another troll, but
one with a sore bottom, rather than a sick mind.