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Monday, November 5th, 2007, 2:04 am

The Impact of Trolls

IN recent days, attacks on my character have returned and they are reaching a peak. I mentioned this before on various occasions in this blog, but it is worth repeating. Some of the stuff that you find on the Web with my name attached to it is fake. You cannot assume anything which has my name as the poster (even with a valid E-mail address and homepage URL) is really from myself. Forgeries have gone quite far, even as far as Digg. Check out these fake accounts/images for example:

These are only a few examples among more from Digg and there are similar cases of forgery in several other places.

I digitally sign all my outgoing E-mail messages, but I don’t/cannot do this when posting in Web sites other than my own. Moreover, in USENET, it leads to unnecessary clutter. Digital signatures cannot be verified by people who are not IT-savvy, either. Most people are foreign to the very notion.

I don’t know if people are targeting me specifically and I prefer to think it is not the case. Bear in mind, however, that I insisted that those who attack me cannot be paid (or ‘compensated’ by companies that dislike my postings), but my friends are certain that they are, which has me frustrated. Maybe I’m being naive, but the attackers use open proxies (zombies) for anonymity, which speaks volumes.

Some of the abusive posters have done this for many years and death threats were made too. At the moment, others defend me so sometimes I don’t have to, with the exception of many cases where people pretend to be me and post to many forums lies such as “I cut off my [put whatever you like here]“. They also use e libel to try and portray me as a criminal. Some said I should contact Homeland Security.

The trolling has reached my own sites, but I use IP block lists to stop this. One of the abusers has been trying (compulsively) to enter the site almost every day for about a month (since s/he was blocked for flooding blog posts with very libelous things). In other sites, my comments get attacked, ranked poorly en masse (as a matter of principle for who I am, not the content being posted) with attacks on character in particular.

I know people who never let go their identity on the Web. They did the right thing by staying invisible. Anything you say or write can be used against you. I’ve had someone harass an artist to pressure me to take down an image and then there were hundreds of messages accusing me of being a ‘pirate’. They’ll use anything they can (and make stuff up!) to use against me. They repeat and repeat (Big Lie propaganda technique). Those who know me can ignore, but I don’t know outsiders might think. It’s frustrating, but it won’t stop me.

I was told that would be worthwhile to write about this in public, maybe just for future reference. I know someone who decided never to write or comment on another site, which cannot be controlled. I’m not ready to do this yet.

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