Monday, December 01, 2008

This is Getting Scary...

I hate to admit that (since I'm sure it'll give my troll plenty of satisfaction), but it is...

I just got the following comment on my previous post from Riin's ex-husband today at 12:49:12 PM AST:
This morning, a friend pointed me to this:

"I've stopped following the blogs of Peter A. (after a childish comment he made about me at Yehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery)..."

I didn't leave that "childish" comment. In fact, I'd never heard of the webcomic in question until I followed the link this morning.

Evidently, not every troll is functionally illiterate.
I know that the above was written by the real Peter; I know what ISP he uses and there's a connection in my StatCounter log from that ISP around the same time as his comment.

I noticed that my troll, for a brief period, did start using proper grammar and spelling around the same time that he/she tried to impersonate Riin on my blog. Either that was a different troll or, more likely, my troll decided to start running his/her postings thorough grammar and spell check before posting them to disguise their origins, knowing I'd identified the unique grammar and spelling mistakes they habitually make.

It never occurred to me, however, that this comment on Yehuda Moon would've been from the troll. Why? This is what makes it so scary:

Until today, I have never mentioned Yehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery on this blog; comments on Yehuda Moon also can't be Googled because the comments are hidden by default. I also never E-mailed anyone about it (I was waiting for a while to see where it was going before I recommended it to anyone). I had only mentioned it to a handful of people in meatspace. So there's no way anyone could have found out I was reading Yehuda Moon unless:
  1. They are a cyclist who already knew of the comic and was already reading it.
  2. They are on a cycling group where the comic was mentioned (that's how I found it).
  3. They are somebody I know personally in meatspace whom I see regularly present day.
When I saw the comment by "Peter," I assumed Option 1 or 2. Peter is a cyclist; he doesn't ride often but he does have a bicycle. So it seemed likely to me that either another cycling friend showed him Yehuda Moon or he discovered it himself on a cycling group. Since I figured the troll wasn't likely to know about the comic and, as Peter points out, the comment was written with proper grammar and spelling, I figured it had to be him; it couldn't be the troll.

To be honest, it never occurred to me that the troll would impersonate Peter anyway. Why would they? I mean I can understand why they'd try to impersonate Riin in order to stir up trouble twist the knife but Peter? I never would have guessed that. Besides, since Peter doesn't know me that well, I can quite reasonably see how he might've come to the conclusion that I make a habit of chasing married women (Riin, incidentally was the first, and only, one).

Given that, I could certainly have forgiven him a certain amount of rancor towards me. It wasn't what was said that I thought was "childish" as much as I thought saying it in a public forum as an obvious attempt to embarrass me was (similar to the way I viewed Riin saying Peter should "grow a brain" was also childish, in part, for the same reason).

Actually, looking back on it in hindsight, that's probably exactly what the troll was trying to accomplish: to embarrass me. Unfortunately, he/she succeeded, though not exactly as they planned. The comment itself didn't embarrass me but it did cause me to accuse someone of something they didn't do; that is more embarrassing to me than anything the troll could possibly do to me.

That's the first battle the troll has won in some time; I intend to make it the last.
You are free to read or not read my blog as you wish, but I'd appreciate not being called "childish" on the basis of a comment I did not make.
Agreed. Please accept my sincere apologies. I simply didn't anticipate that this could possibly be the troll. I should have come to you first (I still have your E-mail address in my archives from my early days with Riin) and asked you if that comment was actually from you; I didn't.

From now on, if I ever see anything posted publicly ostensibly from you that offends me that doesn't appear on your blog, I will double check first with you to make sure the comment is genuine before I say anything public. Further, I'm going to start second guessing anything like this ostensibly coming from anyone who was ever involved with Riin. I've evidently underestimated this troll; I'll have to be more vigilant until he/she is finally caught.

Also, to demonstrate my honorable intentions, I'm going to show this posting to Yehuda Moon author Rick Smith and ask him to remove that comment. Whoever did this has no right to speak under your identity or any identity that is not their own.
[I]n light of this experience, I would say your dearest friend is wise to ask you not use her name.
I can understand your frustration and I sympathize, but please do not take this to be indicative of the way I ordinarily treat people. This was an error in judgment on my part; I simply didn't anticipate that anyone would impersonate your identity in an attempt to get to me. Again, I give you my word, I will not repeat the mistake.

"I won't underestimate him again." - Captain James T. Kirk, Star Trek, "Balance of Terror"

As for my friend, she doesn't like anyone using her name online; she doesn't even have a Facebook profile (which is extremely rare these days; everyone I know has one, aside from her). Her request that I not use her name has nothing to do with me; she trusts me as implicitly as trust her. She's simply a very private person, and I respect that.

The only names I use freely on this blog are the names of persons, like yourself, whose names are already out in cyberspace or persons who have given me express permission to use their names (such as my friend Robert Martell; he doesn't have a blog or online presence but I asked his permission before using his name in a recent posting).
In light of that wisdom, I've abberviated [sic] my last name in this comment, and ask that you do the same, and not link to my blog.
I will respect your wishes here. However, I submit that it won't accomplish anything. I don't link to your blog very often but I have in the past; your name and links to your blog are already in archived posts. It's far too late to change them now; links to them via Google will persist for many years.

Besides, given everything that's happened over the past year, I would ask that you give me the benefit of the doubt and assume that this was an isolated error in judgment (which it is) and allow me the same freedom to link back to your blog, when appropriate, as any other blogger would have.

OK. Now that I've made my apologies, that leaves me with one very serious question:

Who is this troll?

The warrant has been issued by now; it's just a matter of time before I find out, and I'll feel a lot better once I do.

On December 2, 2008 9:34:33 AM AST, Monica wrote:
I do know Peter. We've been friends since 1983, so I feel I can speak to his character. (I'm the one who introduced him and Riin, by the way, fwiw!)
I know; Riin told me the whole story, back in the day. ;)
I'm also the one who pointed him to your comment.
I suspected as much when he said "a friend." ;)
I knew straight off that Pete would not have made that comment. Pete is neither vindictive nor careless; he blogs under his real name and is sensitive about comments he makes online.
Thanks for bringing this to his attention, then. Obviously, I don't know him well; all I do know of him was filtered through Riin's perceptions. Unfortunately, Riin's perceptions of him weren't exactly flattering; from what she said about him, it seemed perfectly possible he might've made a comment like that. Combine that with the fact that I did not anticipate that the troll would think of impersonating him and you can understand why I assume it was him.

I guess that's something else I need to bear in mind: take anything Riin has ever said about anyone with a whole shaker of salt... :P

I have no desire to accuse anyone of something they didn't do (or wouldn't do); I know all too well what it feels like. :( Thank you for setting the record straight.
I had composed most of an email to you to say this when I decided I'd let Pete address it himself.
I appreciate that as well. I believe, when you make a mistake (by "you," I mean people in general, not you personally ;)), you should have the backbone to stand up, admit it and apologize.

The only time I don't confront someone directly when I have a problem with them is in situations like this troll situation; I can't confront someone if I don't know who to confront. :P If I knew who it was, though, I guarantee I'd be talking to them personally rather than bringing in the police. Indeed, once I find out who it is, in addition to charging them, I intend to confront them eye-to-eye and ask them one simple question:


Maybe I'll get an answer; maybe I won't. Either way, I feel I have to ask.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:34 AM

    I do know Peter. We've been friends since 1983, so I feel I can speak to his character. (I'm the one who introduced him and Riin, by the way, fwiw!) I'm also the one who pointed him to your comment. I knew straight off that Pete would not have made that comment. Pete is neither vindictive nor careless; he blogs under his real name and is sensitive about comments he makes online. I had composed most of an email to you to say this when I decided I'd let Pete address it himself.


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