Regular commenters might have noticed that things have changed around here. Now your comment is not only moderated, you also need a WordPress account to comment. Why you ask?
Last week, when I was travelling like a madwoman, this blog was nicely trolled. Now don’t get me wrong: I have no problem with trolls. Trolls are everywhere and here I am living my life online–I’m bound to run foul of a few. And yes, in my frustration this past month, and from being on the move all the time, I have stopped blurring out OKC ids, which is not good practice.
I was accused of cheap journalism, told I was a cyber bully, all sorts of things. And then someone else stepped in and started linking to my photos from OKCupid, uploaded to imgur. I’m slightly horrified that OKC lets you download pictures from profiles, but maybe this guy is a bit more than your average internet user and knows some way to do it. But hey, it’s nothing that’s not already online and public, and also something I’m linked to here. He did a sleazy comment too, but hah that’s an actual compliment compared to the usual OKC sleaze.
And then someone, using tor and gmail (ahem) posted a threatening comment, purpotedly from the hackers collective Anonymous. Because you know, I’m so important they’d want to troll me, and also that’s how legendary hackers work: they leave you comments with incorrect information and threaten to hack into your life, ending with a smiley. They don’t, you know, hack into your life.
Dear <my name>,
You have come to our attention as a repugnant bully and a creep. You were reasoned with to respect other people and their privacy and not misuse dating sites, but you declined. Your unethical and harassing behavior has been noted. Would you enjoy if you, your close friends and your family were humiliated online? I doubt <incorrect name of workplace>, your college mates or even little <incorrect name> would have a great time if someone were to spam the internet with their very personal information.
And I’m the cyber bully. Ahem.
So I’ve always held that if you put information on the internet, it’s likely to come out. There’s no point in telling yourself you can control it. I also actually go out with people and email with people so I’m not exactly anonymous. Plus most of my friends and their friends and also most people at work know my identity. (Yeah Mr. Troll, you can call my boss and tell her what I’m doing and she’s going to say, ‘And? Your point is?’.) Obviously my anonymity is a bit of a joke. And I’m okay with that.
Still, I’ve never been threatened before. And coming as it did at a point when I was tired of the constant low grade stream of ‘u r fat’ ‘u r ugly’ ‘cn i lick ur pussy’ ‘i wanna bite ur boobs’ type stuff I get out of OKC (and have been getting for the past 8 months), something snapped. I realised that, as part of this project, because there’s no point in doing it if I don’t make an effort, I have really been putting myself out there these past 8 months. And I’m so very tired of wading through shit. All. The. Time.
Now this doesn’t mean I haven’t met some really wonderful people here–both dates and commenters–and I haven’t felt a great deal of support and respect for what I’m doing. I don’t even need to mention the regular commenters who just hang out here and then rush to my defence when I am trolled. And at least two of the dates have become beloved friends, who rallied and petted and soothed and promised contacts in Cyber Crimes when this happened. Still, over time, the shit has begun to obscure and smother the possibility of good.
I thought very seriously about shutting this whole thing down and, yes, letting the trolls win. I have gained plenty from this project already, and I don’t really expect to make it to 50 anyway. I don’t expect to meet a partner, even a short term one–just look at the data so far. I spend more and more time trying to find dates and less and less time enjoying them. And I really am tired of the excrement. And that day, with all the other stressful stuff going on in my life at the time, I really just wanted to stop.
But then, sleep, family time and the rallying of the blog people made me feel better. I began to think about it as a problem I needed to solve. (I think I even figured out which OKC boy is the troll.) And here is the solution. I am not putting myself out there anymore. The blog is out there enough. Enough people know what I’m doing. So people can write to me, people can set me up with people, i can just stumble upon people who want to go out with me in real life (hahahahahahaah! yeah I know.) And comments are only allowed with WordPress accounts.