Wednesday, November 16

Profile of a Cyberstalker/Troll

There is a wealth of information out there in cyberspace on the Internet phenomenon known as cyberstalking, including definitions for the different classifications of stalkers/trolls. We appear to have a collection of them that visit and harass us on a daily basis, which clearly fit into several of the different classification groups. They are defined as follows:

Internet Stalker: Probably has other unpleasant characteristics that sexual harassers possess and the usual sexual inadequacy including: lack of intimacy; controlling behavior; no concept of the partner's needs; premature ejaculation; an abnormal belief bordering on obsession with his smallness.

Vengeful Stalker: This is the most dangerous type whose mission is to get even and/or take revenge. Mostly male. He has a grudge and he's going to do something about tit. May never have met his victim, who maybe a politician, council official, boss, organization (maybe a blog), etc.

Delusional Stalker: Has a history of mental illness which may include schizophrenia or manic depression. The schizophrenic stalker may have stopped taking his medication and now live sin a fantasy world composed of part reality and part delusion which he/she is unable to differentiate. If they're not careful, targets of the delusional stalker are likely to be sucked in this fantasy world and start to have doubts about their own sanity, especially if the stalker is intelligent, and intermittently and seamlessly sucked and "normal."

Harasser Stalker: Likes to be the center of attention and may have an attention-seeking personality disorder; they may no be stalker in the strict sense of the word but repeatedly pesters anyone (especially anyone who is kind, vulnerable or inexperienced) who might be persuaded to pay them attention. If they exhibit symptoms of Munchausen Syndrome they may select a victim who they stalk by fabricating claims of harassment by this person against themselves.

Ego & Power Trip Stalkers: The most difficult to guard against. Like a gang that wanders the streets looking for likely victims, these stalker are out to prove that they can terrorize someone. And they don’t usually care who it is. They often choose their victims at random. Sometimes they choose someone they perceive as the weakest in the room. The ego & power trip stalkers are the bullies online. And they are looking for a fight. Surprisingly, sometimes kids (especially mild-mannered, otherwise well-behaved) tend to masquerade as ego and power trip stalkers who see it as innocent fun, and have no idea that the people on the other side are genuinely frightened.

Troll: The troll's purpose is to be given more credibility than he/she deserves and to suck people into useless, pointless, never-ending, emotionally-draining, ranting discussions full of verbal loops and "word labyrinths," playing people against each other, hurting their feelings, and wasting their time and emotional energy.

Sure sounds like our almost-daily visiting trolls, doesn't it.
I found this Internet Stalker Profile which describes a cyberstalker as having the following characteristics:

  1. Lives in a one-room apartment which hasn't been cleaned for months (if ever).
  2. Has stacks of pornographic magazines in his bedroom area.
  3. Has poor personal hygiene.
  4. Has poor table manners.
  5. Has poor social etiquette.
  6. Hasn't changes the sheets on his bed for months, which are not best described as crusty.
  7. Has a bathroom, the state of which doesn't bear thinking about.
  8. Lives on pizza and beer/coke, the remnants of which litter his apartment.
  9. May have an unusual pet (e.g. ferret) which has free run of the apartment.
  10. Is either significantly over or under-weight.
  11. Has a small mustache or other facial hair.
  12. Has not held down any job for more than a couple of years, probably less.
  13. Has on friends.
  14. Has no life outside of the Internet.

Currently, there are four countries with laws governing cyber-stalking and harassment. Of those, the UK's laws are the most widely drawn and should be used as a guide for other countries that might draft laws to protect cyber-citizens and prosecute offenders. In the US, there is a very narrowly drawn federal law that has no real teeth. It defers to the states, of which only two have laws on the books: California and Michigan. As bloggers and targets of cyber-harassment, perhaps we should focus our energy and apply some pressure on our representatives to address this issue. Seems like an excellent use of our time.

Next installment will address flame wars.

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