Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I've got a stalker!

Well, I suppose that may be something to be proud of.
The Macclesfield Express, a tatty rag, but all we have in our town, has a facility to add comments online about articles.
Now, this can lead to some interesting discussions and can also be quite informative.
Unfortunately it is also being used by two small groups to continue a war that started quite some time ago.
On one side we have the group I have called the Gordonites, after one of the log in names that they use.
This is a small group of people who used to frequent the late, and unlamented, Barlow's Beef forum.
There were 3 or 4 of them and they adopted a variety of names and personas there in order to control discussion and shut down anyone who had views different from theirs.
In short, they created a series of sock puppets.
They can be recognised by their extreme fear of alternative views, hatred of anyone asking questions (they prefer the "because I say so" approach) and by the words and terms they use.
The other group is the one I have dubbed the MaccForumClones.
These people were also on the BBeef forum in conflict with the Gordonites. They eventually set up a forum which, despite being called "Macclesfield Forum" is anything but a forum for the town. I visited in March and found that it has more rules than the measuring section in WH Smith and was very unwelcoming!

The Gordonites appear on the Express site in a variety of guises. Their sock puppet personas include:
  • Ger one emo
  • Maxonian
  • Gordon (of course)
  • Leigh Turner
  • Diddyman
  • Maxonian
  • Morganboy
  • Biker
and others that I'll add as I remember them.
These personas only appear in the Vic Barlow column comments section and their approach is to attack anyone who disagrees with Vic; they rarely, if ever, contribute to the discussions but go for the contributor.

Maccforum clones are a bit different.
The user name "Macclesfield forum" is operated by at least two people, hence the term "clones".
They also have a couple of puppets:
  • Tank
  • Prospero
Who appear from time to time.

Now a new persona has joined us: J Kershaw who purports to be from Congleton Road.
This persona has jumped into one thread and has tried very hard to suggest who I am and what I do. He / she hasn't got it right,but that doesn't seem to stop them.
He / she has contrived misunderstanding and used the thread to make personal attacks on me and to try to destroy my privacy online. This is rather odd behaviour as, to the best of my knowledge, I have never even met this person. Still, they seem to have some personal agenda or, possibly , vendetta! They don't actually seem terribly interested in the discussions though, just me. Should I be flattered?

The question is: Gordonite of MFC?
Macc forum does have one person who acts in the same way as the Gordonites with unreasoning hatred and a fear of discussion. This person has a history of making threats online and of being abusive.
This J Kershaw (who, incidentally, cannot be found on Congleton Road) seems very anti anyone asking questions and desperate to make personal points which are actually not relevant to the discussion. Why could that be?
I suspect that he / she is either a particular Gordonite who was know for his approach: stalking others from BBeef, finding out personal details, insulting their family members etc or is the dud actor from MForum who used to make the threats of violence, personal attacks online and had a morbid fear of being asked a question. Either way, a rather disturbing thought.

Anyway, all I know is that he / she, along with the usual suspects, really does not want open discussion there and, perhaps, I am simply in the middle of the war between the Gordonites and the Clones. Collateral damage of you like.
It's a pity though because it is pretty much the only online place for discussions that is open to all Macc people.

What is needed is for the Express webmaster to control things a bit more. Stopping multiple personas, monitoring IP addresses and stamping down on the personal attackers would benefit us all.

What I need to do is resist the temptation to respond to this persona. I must keep repeating the mantra "do not feed the trolls"!
Difficult though, as this Kershaw persona just seems creepy, sinister and rather nasty.

Update. There's a new one:
  • DavidJ
He uses exactly the same approach, and even words, as the others. It's so transparent, you'd think they'd be embarrassed by it. But they're not.
They do seem unduly fixated on whether someone asks questions. Bizarre!

Update 28 Feb

One I forgot: Macc Man. The silly thing is that he uses just the same phrases as his other puppet friends.

Why on earth do they bother?

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