Just A Note: The Dark Side of Cyberspace

Today, I received a mail from one of my favorite bloggers…she informed me that she was being trolled because she commented on a lovely blog I followed! She also informed me that he, one of my favorite bloggers had taken down his post because he was being harassed and threatened on his blog.

Oh sure, it’s not just a WordPress problem…it happens on the Facebook, it happens on Amazon or Goodreads…it happens where people are doing their thing and some troll needs a victim.

This is not the first time it has come to my attention that there is in fact a dark side to blogging and cyberspace in general.  All too often, some of us are spammed, hacked, threatened, ranted at and generally accused of the most atrocious acts of cyber vandalism or plagiarism or being trolls!

I’ve seen people suddenly disappear, one in particular was a great blog I followed when I began blogging, he posted other people’s photos…he went down, changed his name, generally re-structured his blog and when he came back on-line refused comments for months, so maybe he wasn’t threatened…or maybe yes he was, unless he says something, we’ll never know.  I’ve even seen people stalk other people and then accuse innocent by-standers of being the oppressors!  Many people get trolled and just never say a word…they take what action they feel will make them less vunerable…maybe they just leave.

I’ve read of bloggers dumping on other people’s posts, insisting to be acknowledged and followed, whether or not they have liked or followed the post their threatening…this has happened to me, in fact this morning:

“Mind follow me?? Or …. =)”

Maybe that wasn’t a threat, just pure bad manners!

A few months ago, after reading a big time blogger…a Freshly Pressed blog no less, I looked around his blog to see if maybe I’d like to follow him…and there it was again: people dumping and spamming…seems that here they were worried about the problem of sudden big increases in their reader’s stats and off the wall comments etc.  The gist of the comments were, that once you get a certain amount of followers, you become fair game for the vultures.

Then there’s the crazy e-mail messages that start popping up…the stalkers and general weirdos, or maybe just the lonely legit people who want to make friends, but one never knows.  I got a mail the other day like this…the person said I didn’t know who that person was, but would like to be friends and exchange photos…one presumes it was a woman, I’m not sure…there was no indication to whom this person even was or where she/he popped up from…obviously, my address was copied from my Gravatar…but as the person indicated no blog…I marked it as spam and will every single time.  I don’t accept gifts from strangers or rides either for that matter, part of my up-bringing.

Outside of trashing molesting requests…marking as spam unrequested solicitations, and of course writing a post like this, I must say, there is very little it would seem that a blogger can do to protect his or herself.  Thrice fellow bloggers have written to me because I’ve commented on their blogs favorably (it’s what I do…a lot 😉 ) and since they’d been trolled were worried about me getting some backlash.

If people disappear suddenly, now I wonder, have they been somehow mistreated, has some troll threatened them, have they been stalked, has someone just for the fun of it hit that button “Report This Content” and rather than go through the hassle of defending themselves just given up?

Blogging is a wonderful experience for the most part…and it’s hard work.  I’m a daily blogger and part of a great team collaboration to boot.  I spend hours preparing my posts and reading other people’s posts as well as commenting  and responding to the notifications and messages I receive.  That in itself can be one hell of a good reason to drop out of blogging too.  You get tired, stressed and need to just sit back and relax.  Imagine then some hairy snotgreen-eyed invidious bit of troll stalking you too!

Not a happy reflection for a Sunday morning I know…by the way, my blogging friend didn’t write peppy sarcasm, poetry, stories or anything like that he wrote about Philosophy, in a very academic way, to some it would probably have been boring in the extreme, long complicated stuff, which probably took hours to research and write…but someone accused him of plagiarism and threatened him.  It was there to be read by all…but no longer Tongue Sandwich is gone…thanks to trolling, the dark side of blogging.  I’m very sad today.