Social Question

nikipedia's avatar

How much internet stalking is too much?

Asked by nikipedia (27475points) September 10th, 2009

What would you do if someone from Fluther who has been rude, disrespectful, and immature toward you accessed your profile on a social networking site that has no ties to Fluther and a completely different user name?

Is this appropriate behavior? If not, would you confront the person?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

28 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

I just got a PM from a lovely person named MIss Nelly. He or she wants to meet me due to my irresistible fluther profile. S/he spoke very odd English. I sent the message to Bendrew.

marinelife's avatar

No, it is not appropriate. I guess I would think that confronting this person is what they would want.

I would just block them from my account.

I am hoping this is hypothetical.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

Of course it’s not appropriate behavior!

@gailcalled good call.

@Marina no, it’s not hypothetical. It happens. Someone on FB tried to friend me & several of my friends. He kept popping up. We mailed him & asked who he was. None of us ever got an answer back. I blocked him. I don’t friend anyone unless I know who they are.

marinelife's avatar

@jbfletcherfan I meant that I hoped noone was stalking Niki.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@Marina oh, sorry. I misunderstood. I hope not, too. :-(

MissAnthrope's avatar

Not appropriate—creepy. It’s one thing if you get along and have a good rapport here and then decide to take it to being friends on FB. Your (hopefully hypothetical) situation sounds like someone with poor social skills likes you and doesn’t know how to show it constructively. Ergo, it seems creepy.

nikipedia's avatar

@gailcalled: At least this Nelly character has excellent taste, no?

@Marina: Unfortunately, it’s a true story. I think this person did not realize I was aware that she had found/interacted with my profile.

gailcalled's avatar

@nikipedia : A senior citizen who owns a cat and who loves astronomy? Now if s/he had PM’d Milo, I could understand it. And M does inherit when I bite the bullet.

perplexism's avatar

I know of a blogger who got really vile comments from some anonymous person. She IP banned him (which only temporarily worked), and then this person commensed to sending her strange emails. She choose to just ignore those. He finally made an entire website which included her real name to post more vile things about her.

( I don’t know what came of the situation. She doesn’t blog about it anymore.)

But yeah, internet stalking is never appropriate.

MacBean's avatar

@nikipedia—So you’re upset that someone who knows you from one site found and looked at information that you posted for the public to see on another site? Hm. Either make your profile private or get over yourself. Or both!

Axemusica's avatar

@perplexism Wow, talk about obsessive. I’ve been infatuated with someone before, but to the point of creating a site to shrine them? It’s crazy. Lol, should there be a permit to use the internet?

marinelife's avatar

@MacBean Wonderful level of empathy! Look, just because something is posted does not entitle random weirdos to crap all over it and harass someone.

MacBean's avatar

@Marina—I’m pretty sure I know who the “stalker” is. They looked at a profile page, and then moved on. There was no crapping all over it or harassing. They didn’t go searching for other stuff about @nikipedia. I’m pretty sure that’s allowed, when things are posted publicly, and calling it stalking is closer to harassment than what was actually done.

nikipedia's avatar

@MacBean: Hey, that’s why I asked. I felt really creeped out and violated that this person who has been demonstrably unpleasant to me was seeking out information about me. I wasn’t sure if that was an appropriate reaction, so I asked the collective. What’s your deal?

MacBean's avatar

@nikipedia Unless I’m waaaaay off-base and we’re not talking about the same person, I don’t think she even knows what she’s said/done to make you feel that she’s been “rude, disrespectful and immature” toward you. And, I mean, I don’t go around reading her every comment (THAT WOULD BE STALKER-ISH, LULZ!) but I can’t recall ever seeing her be any of those things toward anyone. And my deal is that my mind was blown at the idea of someone feeling creeped out and violated because someone looked at public information. When people look at my public profiles, my first thought is never “omg, they’re stalking me! What do I do!?” It’s more along the lines of “Huh. I wonder what prompted that… I’m so boring…”

nikipedia's avatar

@MacBean: I feel really uncomfortable discussing this with you since you seem to have more information about this situation than I do, and it doesn’t concern you. I meant this question as a general survey and discussing the specifics with a third party strikes me as petty and gossipy. So I’m not going to rehash all the unpleasant things this person has said to me, but I hope you will trust that our interactions have been decidedly unfriendly.

The thing that creeps me out is the idea that someone is searching out information on me, not that the information was found. Other people I know have inadvertently stumbled across my information on various social networking sites and we usually have a good laugh about it. Randomly coming across publicly available information seems like a very different thing from seeking it out. I can’t imagine why someone I barely know and have had unfriendly interactions with one the internet would look for information for me. That makes me uncomfortable.

And sorry if this doesn’t make sense. I am doped up on painkillers.

MacBean's avatar

@nikipedia In this specific case (again, if it’s the person I think it is) I think you ought to talk to her. There was a lot of stumbling over info and not a lot of seeking it out. I’m pretty sure if you discuss it, you’ll stop being freaked out.

Share the painkillers? I don’t have anything stronger than ibuprofen and today’s been a baaaaaaad day. D:

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Any stalking is too much.

YARNLADY's avatar

If another jellie wanted to correspond with me, I would expect them to have the common courtesy to PM on the site, or at least contact me at the e-mail I have provided, identifying themself as a fellow Flutherite.

To just do the research and pop up unannounced sounds like one step too far. To be clear, an aquaintance of mine had a stalker who was tried, convicted and sentenced to a Mental Hospital, and when released, begain stalking me and dozens of other associates of the original person, including tracking down our personal addresses and appearing in public to harrass us. This stalker places false reports about many of us all over the internet, and there doesn’t see to be anything we can do about it, other than have a restraining order (which my lawyer obtained for me).

marinelife's avatar

@YARNLADY I’m sorry that happened. It sounds horrible.

Jeruba's avatar

@nikipedia, I can understand why it’s giving you a creepy feeling. However, I do have to say that I think when we post information in a public place without safeguards, we forfeit control over who sees it. I think we’re often so much inside our own heads when we post, and thinking only of our intended audience, that we lose sight of just how public it is. If instead of envisioning just our own chosen group and then a huge faceless mass audience of uninterested strangers, we think of just one person who is not in our circle of friends and family—maybe our regular checker at the supermarket, or the parents of a casual friend, or the odd guy in the house at the end of the block—and ask ourselves whether we really want to treat them to our complete show and tell, we will think twice about what we expose online.

Some years ago I used my Google search skills to look for some former classmates I hadn’t seen in 40 years. It took quite a bit of detective work, but I managed to follow threads, narrow lists, make correlations, etc., and find a number of people I was interested in. I contacted them, we started to correspond, and we all got together on the other side of the country for a reunion dinner. Would you call what I did “stalking”? All I did was look at information available to anyone online and piece it together.

nikipedia's avatar

@Jeruba: I very much agree that whatever you post publicly is no longer under your control. This particular social networking site is one where I have encountered upwards of a dozen people whom I know and in some cases work with, so it’s not a matter of not wanting the information uncovered. Fluther has actually made me more acutely aware of this—I don’t ever want to be reluctant to share it with someone I know because of something I said that should have been kept private.

What makes me uncomfortable about this situation is that I don’t understand why this particular person is looking for information about me. She clearly dislikes me and doesn’t respect me. The difference between this and what you described is intent. Your intentions were good and your research was welcome. I don’t know what this person’s intentions were, but I can’t imagine they were good and they’re certainly unwelcome.

Jeruba's avatar

I can imagine a person’s being curious about someone she dislikes. Maybe she’s hoping to find something to make her feel superior, or uncover some weakness or even some dirt. Maybe that would make her feel powerful or just gratify a desire to be able to gloat or smirk at your expense. This is my speculative writer’s mind just supposing here, so it’s no better than a guess, but I don’t think it would be inconsistent with human nature to want to get something on a person you view with hostility. In fact, I think that impulse figures in a lot of movie plot lines, which may be why I can picture it so readily. For some it might go even further—someone who thinks you have something against her might be looking for a defense. In any case I hope you didn’t make it easy for someone to do that.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

That seems pretty common actually and I personally think it’s wrong when someone comes onto a site and tattles away about who’s who on other sites and what they say and blah blah farking blah. Those people should be culled from the whole straight out, I’ve seen them do a lot of damage.

mattbrowne's avatar

I agree, any stalking is too much.

avvooooooo's avatar

As soon as someone identifies certain people to me on Facebook (like someone from Askville that signed up who would be a stalker if she found my page), I block them. Its possible on most social sites to block people as soon as you know who they are. In this case, I think I got over to this person’s page and blocked her before she could search for me because a friend informed me that she had just signed up and who she was. But as soon as I find other people, I block them. Its possible that this person was hitting your page in order to block you, but its also possible that she wasn’t.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

@nikipedia: google has a feature to create a google profile or to opt out so people can’t easily google you. Facebook also has this option where you can choose not to be able to be googled or searched through Facebook. You can also change your settings so only your chosen friends can see your profile pic, friends of theirs and strangers will see only a blue silhouette.

Menekali's avatar

No it is not okay, even though I have been quite guilty of doing worse heh.

I would first notify the administrators of any sites the attacker has gotten a hold of. Let them know whats going on, and have your passwords changed. Change your password to everything else, then talk to the attacker and let them know you’ve busted them, and put a stop to it. Then enjoy the lols.

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