WTF. I'm sorry guys. If there is any chance your blog post may incite trolls or spammers please refrain from making that post.
This makes no sense. Better response would be to try and work with the person and figure out some kind of solution. Sure banning people who attract spam works but in the long run it will cause some serious karma fallout. This is customer service 101.
OK everyone. You might have noticed that Hacker News has gone downhill lately. A common pattern is for the number one comment to be some vaguely negative and uninteresting post. In this case, it's also an inflammatory post that wrongly blames the victim.
I'm friends with Rachel and the stalker dude is real. I was uselessly harassed by him because I spoke at Extreme Futurist Fest. He's real, he's crazy, and sometimes the police aren't effective.
Please be nice everyone. Think seriously before you make a comment. If it's one sentence long, it's probably a useless comment.
EDIT: When I made this comment, the #1 comment was unhelpful and just blamed Rachel. It has since been deleted by the poster, who perhaps reconsidered the utility of posting in this thread. Again, I don't want to be here, normally I would stay really far away from a thread like this, I just know that Rachel is a real person and I don't like to see trolls crapping all over this thread on this website that once meant so much to me.
The problem is the very public trashing of kickstarter on her blog, combined with the multitude of people who have had run-ins with Rachael over the past few years calling her "crazy" etc.
Allegedly the FBI are uninterested in prosecuting the cyber stalker. However since coming across this today I've seen nothing that indicates they actually exist, or if they do exist, the kind of hateful things they harass with.
As far as anyone external to the situation can tell the stalker is either a figment of Rachael's imagination or someone who is going around informing people who potentially might give her money of something she doesn't want them to know.
We just don't know.
So in light of the very public trashing of kickstarter, it seems only fair we get to see all the evidence publicly as well - like documentary evidence of complaints to the police about the alleged stalker's behaviour.
Edit: and instead of downvotes, please tell me why my train of thought on this matter is unreasonable.
I met Rachel a few months ago. She seems nice. I know she has all this weird unresolved drama from the past, but I have a strict no drama allowed rule so I try not to dwell on it. I believe that people can change and become more rational and less dramatic and Rachel seems to be doing really really well, except for all these weird people from alternative music scenes that Rachel somehow made way too angry.
I ran across one example of the stalker randomly on the internet yesterday, which was the stalker writing a review of Extreme Futurist Fest saying it was really bad. The review was willfully inaccurate, I was at the event, and it was really good for a new event and the attendees really impressed me with their intellectual caliber. The review was posted unsolicited on a bunch of mailing lists that didn't care, such as the list of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.
No, it's utterly ridiculous to post evidence related to ongoing legal matters to the peanut gallery of the internet. Any lawyer or legal TV show will recommend against that.
This is where you and I disagree. Regardless of real-world implications I consider it unethical to use the court of public opinion to court sympathy ("my stalker of 10 years..." "police are doing nothing...") and to trash companies you think have wronged you (this kickstarter affair) without posting all the evidence people ask for, or need, to craft an informed opinion.
Edit: don't bother. It's a needless deviation from the topic of conversation here and I disagree with your interpretation of that link anyway.
You might want to stop feeding this ridiculous thread.
I know people like this. Everyone is out to get them and people are always doing something to them (oh yeah, the world needs to know about it). I feel like she probably brought this onto herself somehow.
Stalking is serious, if did happen, something needs to be done.
By comparison I'm a relative nobody, but this same person who stalks Rachel has also stalked me off and on for about a decade because I once told him "no" when he asked me to do something for him I didn't feel comfortable doing. All it takes to trigger stalker-dude is to make him feel slighted in some way.
That is harsh, but it is a lesson I learned from my stalker.
No one deserves to be stalked, and the people that do the stalking and weird and disturbing and evil. But I caused a significant portion of the problem in my drama.
Recognising that is a critical step to making them go away.
Which is possible.
On the other hand, this guy really does go out of his way to harass people on his list. He still randomly mails shit-o-grams from throw-away yahoo or gmail accounts to my old email accounts. I just learned to ignore him and forward the lulz back to the abuse department of his provider.
Unfortunately Rachel, when faced with this guy on Kickstarter, thought she needed to tell her supporters what was going on. Kickstarter interpreted that as if she was responding directly to the "spammer" and turned their back.
What you say about her learning to not let him under her skin really is a critical step in making him go away. If the squeeky toy stops squeeking, it's no longer fun.
I would keep in mind the possibility that she herself is sending out this stalker material. If she has a history of generating drama, as has been suggested by others from communities she's been previously involved in, creating a stalker is the perfect device. Her account of the stalker's tactics is quite extreme: I've never heard of any case where a cyberstalker has taken things as far as she claims this stalker has. Some evidence would help her case.
As an aside, just to let you know where my perspective comes from, I've been involved in the past with noise/industrial music communities and have met some extreme, sociopathic individuals. I also currently have a friend who claims he's stalked but my best guess, after years of knowing him, is that it's a psychological manifestation. He has lost at least one creative deal by sending, out of the blue, abusive electronic communication. People can act in unusual ways, even intelligent, articulate people that are normally personable.
However, the guy running it got tired of the constant harassment, bogus DMCA takedown requests, and DoS attacks. You can see all kinds of references to the site in the google cache and other places. That was our main d0x site. Unfortunately it appears our friendly neighborhood stalker was able to get Wayback to exclude the whole site, so we don't have a copy on there anymore.
> You might have noticed that Hacker News has gone downhill lately.
I notice a lot of people here making the assumption the post is 100% correct, with nothing to back it up besides italicized text. If you have some proof of these allegations, provide it. If not, lets not jump to conclusions.
> Please be nice everyone. Think seriously before you make a comment.
Well, that goes both ways, doesn't it?
Please do not give her attention. At least, don't give kickstarter negative attention over her complaint.
[Edit: Removed comment regarding mental illness and links to other forums]
I see that she says she was kicked out of her home when she was 16 and placed in a mental health facility. But this is not the same as having a mental illness. Certainly it's been the case before that a perfectly healthful individual has ended up in such an institution. Especially people suffering from emotional trauma that they are unable to handle on their own.
 'I am on disability because I was kicked out of this "mansion" at a young age and locked up in a mental institution.'
"Mental illness" is a very broad term that can mean a lot of things, and the last thing people affected by it need is for people to perpetuate its stigmatization on the internet. That someone has suffered from some unspecified form of mental illness does not automatically make them untrustworthy.
1 She is a legitimate victim of cyberstalking, with a legitimate beef against Kickstarter
2 She is also an opportunist, using #1 to generate publicity for her project
3 Kickstarter could/should have handled this differently/better
For me, I get the impression from the responses here that some think that #1 and #2 above are mutually exclusive, when it's possible they may not be. If #2 is true, it doesn't in my mind invalidate #1 and #3, but it could make me less sympathetic to her cause.
I'm not sure we should draw any conclusions based on a blog post from only one side of the 'dispute' (Kickstarter hasn't stated their side), but it's interesting to me how polarizing her blog entry is in this thread.
Your comment is exactly the kind that threatens to make this thread a trainwreck. Be nice! Rachel is a very real person that can't raise money on Kickstarter because Kickstarter can't deal with one asshole posting 400 spam comments.
I am actually somewhat annoyed that she is causing trouble in other social circles of mine and am going to refrain from posting about it further. I'm not a fan of drama and find her antics incredibly exhausting.
You're persistent in asking people to be civil towards Rachel, yet are completely fine with the bashing of Kickstarter without giving them a chance to make their case.
Sounds reasonable. Guess what? Kickstarter isn't just an institution outlined by a few hundred federal documents. They're run by real people!
It would have been nice if Rachel was nicer to Kickstarter in her post, but she wasn't so here we are. It's not like I like this being #1 on Hacker News. This is sort of an awful story. I would have liked to have gone to sleep by now, but respect Rachel enough and have fond enough memories of the time when Hacker News didn't suck that I wanted to try and make this comment thread something resembling rational and reasonable.
And again, do you have anything to suppor that claim beside italicized text on a blog? If not, then you only have an accusation made.
Well, not really. From your link,
"I am on disability because I was kicked out of this "mansion" at a young age and locked up in a mental institution. Among other reasons that I don't feel like discussing with you."
If anyone reading this has the ability to hellban a user, this would be an appropriate time to exercise your authority. That's all I will contribute to this conversation.
(also, good god, how many aliases do you have...)
If we want to maintain a free and open Internet, how do we then police our own egalitarian, meritocratic anarchism without relying on big brother technologies to do it or inviting governments in to intervene? If someone approaches those with the know-how to help, asking for help, and are summarily told to fuck off, who then should they turn to?
Though I'm sure they exist, I don't know any hacker types or friends of the Internet who want to just hand over ammunition to people who want to regulate the Internet more. So, please, try to take a long view on this issue, even if Rachel can be kind of a drama queen.
Frankly, I'm inclined to believe those other people are wrong--as I've sketched out elsewhere, there is quite obviously nothing productive here that we can discuss. We lack useful information, we lack unbiased info, and all we can do is rage for one side or the other while producing nothing other than noise.
"If someone approaches those with the know-how to help, asking for help, and are summarily told to fuck off, who then should they turn to?"
They probably should've thought of that prior to pissing off people. You know the great thing about the internet? We have the unique opportunity to deal with people on an equal (mostly) footing.
Your damsel in distress? "Rachel", or whatever his/her/its name is? They can go to the same resources we all have, they can learn about the same subjects as we have, and uniquely empower themselves with the same know-how we have.
Even better, they can clutter up HN with threads asking for that information, without ever having to mention why they need it. Isn't that great? Isn't that productive?
Or, you know, they can waste our collective cycles trying to find somebody else to pull into their drama vortex. Funny thing about meritocracies--if you lack merit, yeah, you are expected to fuck right off.
Hell, if you really want vigilante justice, go try and summon the /b/astards and goons from SA. HN is not for dumb shit like this.
"So, please, try to take a long view on this issue, even if Rachel can be kind of a drama queen."
Don't insult us by trying to conflate internet policy with what can help out your friend (?).
The long view is that every time we get others involved in petty drama, we waste their time. Every time we stoop to engage with people who clearly get off on trolling us, we encourage them.
The internet is an anarchy, yes, and that's what's so great about it. And you know what? Maybe Rachel should consider taking a breather, or not replying to trolls, or maybe just trying to get along and be a friendly person regardless of some people being dicks.
My purpose here was to lend credibility to Rachel's claims from my own experience with a mutual cyberstalker and ask for help in the form of feasible advice, recommendations on investigative techniques to help us build our case against him so we can (finally) get the law involved in a meaningful way, and possibly even find some humans who might know a thing or two about tracking douchebags on the Internet that may be willing to lend their services once we can establish credibility in their eyes.
HOWEVER, like an idiot, I lemming'd right into defending Rachel's credibility on this forum, slashdot, reddit, and didn't focus on my original objective. Productive would have been getting inspiration for new tactics and strategies, since we've hit the wall and we're out of ideas.
"And you know what? Maybe Rachel should consider taking a breather, or not replying to trolls, or maybe just trying to get along and be a friendly person regardless of some people being dicks."
Yes, this has been my main argument to her regarding her behavior. None of these posts she's made were coordinated with anyone else in our group. She's pissed some people off because of it. I've explained to her that she needs to grow up and get her shit together so she's not a walking troll magnet.
I'm reasonably sure I wouldn't ever want to deal with her , but someone is very keen on badmouthing her at every possible opportunity.
 http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3840747 - makes me think she is one of those 'trouble follows me everywhere' people.
We do? Again, I ask, where is the proof of what we know?
What we do know is that you can make a post on a blog making claims about a popular company saying they did something bad, get it on HN, and people will start demanding said company respond and handle it without waiting for proof.
Yes, the accusations are serious. Yes, if true, it should be handled, but knee-jerk reactions like this are just as bad the charges laid against KickStarter.
Let's use reason and intelligence, not anger and emotion.
Screenshots of the original emails? I'm sure they could be spoofed. Screenshot of the page of comments? Same. Statements from other people who were backing her?
Really, I don't understand what you're asking for.
Edit: seems there's more to this story about the individual involved but that doesn't change anything about how Kickstarter reacted (assuming, of course, that the events played out as described).
Edit2: Please note. Edits to the parent post now make this comment appear out of context (and therefore unhelpful). Decided to leave it up though.
The post on my website is a lie.
There. Case closed.
> What kind of 'proof' would satisfy you?
What kind of proof would satisfy you? Italicized text? A blog post?
> I don't see how anything here is particularly knee-jerk.
Unsubstantiated claim is made. People here are already assuming KickStarter is guilty.
Don't misrepresent what I'm saying. No where am I suggesting indisputable proof must be provided. I'm merely saying that nothing has been offered up.
I try not to take any of these things as 'proof'. Also you say that "nothing has been offered up" which isn't true. Someone wrote a post and copy/pasted emails into it. Sure, you can question the veracity of the post but it isn't really fair to say that nothing was offered. It's just that what was offered doesn't seem sufficient to you (which is fine, btw. I'm not saying I believe it all just because of a blog post).
Yes, an accusation was made with some italicized text. People may be giving the OP the benefit of the doubt. You are not. Why aren't both of those ok? I doubt anyone here is going to start a picket outside Kickstarter's offices nor start flaming elsewhere on the net. They might post their displeasure at Kickstarter here.
Your issue isn't really with the post but how folks here seem to be reacting to it. I get that, but isn't it always going to be the case with David/Goliath-type stories?
If her story turns out to have any chinks in it then she'll lose all credibility with this crowd and if not, then Kickstarter should have something to say about it. In a couple of days this will have either been resolved, forgotten or a 'proper' news story (ie more than just a HN submission).
Edit: More downvotes? If I'm missing something please let me know what.
That's a fair question. I'll explain, but first, you should explain this:
Sorry about my comment. You are absolutely right. I cannot admit to being wrong in public, however. I'm, in fact, the poster of the original blog post, and it is all made up.
Now you are required to answer this accusation. And everyone attacking KickStarter and assuming guilt should not attack you for making up the post.
I'm sure you understand exactly what I mean, and what I'm saying (and in case someone else misses the point, the above email is not in fact an email).
When I say nothing has been offered up, I mean beyond the blog post (obviously). My issue with this is it places the burden on KickStarter to prove their innocence. And this, I firmly believe, is wrong.
> Your issue isn't really with the post but how folks here seem to be reacting to it.
> I get that, but isn't it always going to be the case with David/Goliath-type stories?
Doesn't make it right. I don't believe that the little guy is always in the right. And I'd like to think we strive to rise above this. Tis better to be calm and rational about situations like this then break out the pitchforks and torches.
Yes, some people want to believe everything they read on the internet. That doesn't make it right.
Please, everybody, remember to be civil and give everybody the benefit of the doubt.
Regardless, we have a user who, relevant or not, has a history of aggravating the entirety of the communities in which she's affiliated. Whether her stories are true or not is perhaps irrelevant, but if you don't want to become a community that is simply engrossed in drama, then you have to ban this person.
Edit: Removed cross-posted comment from Reddit due to questions of authenticity.
Regardless, I've read enough of Haywire's comments over the years to have believed it, so I will say that remarks saying she obviously didn't write it are perhaps not so obvious.
Either way, I don't mean to impugn her character except to say that wherever she goes, she seems to draw a crowd and incite riotous behavior. If Kickstarter were my service, I'd ban that behavior. If it wasn't necessarily the right thing to do by her, or by the victim, whomever we deem it to be, it is perhaps the right thing to do for the Kickstarter website and community on the whole.
And please consider that aside from those taking vested interest in one side or the other, this banning makes Kickstarter a better place for those who would rather not be wrapped up in needless drama.
Edit: Answer: Virtually zero.
was created a few hours ago in support of Rachel, as was your account (blingbling23), quite the coincidence, isn't it?
You responding to the "stalker" creates an impression that conversation is going on; and the conversation is not pretty. Instead, you should wipe and ban. Preferably done by site admins, not the victim herself.
Of course Kickstarter should unban the victim but only after she agrees to never respond to the stalker on Kickstarter. Instead, report. Nobody would blame you if you don't participate in annoying behavior.
If so, then WTF! It's lunacy to try and engage with someone like the stalker is claimed to be. There's no excuse for doing that, and if Marone was doing so, especially if she was warned by Kickstarter first (unclear), I can't really blame Kickstarter for kicking her off.
Marone needs to completely ignore the stalker, and Kickstarter needs to just filter and ban him as best they can, and leave Marone's projects on Kickstarter alone. Based on the blog post, I'm not quite sure who is actually screwing up here.
Anyway, if comments were turned off, a potential contributor could just reach out via email or some type of private message if they had a concern about the project.
And obviously banning a project and a user for "engaging with a spammer" without any warning is just appalling.
"If there is any chance that Rachel will receive spam from a stalker on her project, she should not create one." This statement is just so stupid. Kickstarter should be responsible for dealing with spam if they want to be taken seriously.
If Kickstarter says "hey, this is all wrong", and Ms Marone maintains that the incident did happen, then we can start weighing proof and credibility. Alternatively, if Kickstarter says "oops, our fault, and we're changing our processes", then no proof needs to be supplied.
But first, we need to know Kickstarter's side.
Furthermore, I don't believe a company, or anyone, should be held to respond to every claim thrown at them. To prove a negative.
Do not assume that I support KickStarter if the allegations are true. I just don't think it's reasonable to assume guilt and start demanding things.
Let's just say that as of right now, I could say at the OP is merely doing this as a publicity stunt, and she should respond to these allegations, and this would be the exact same thing that is happening here.
If Daniella Jaeger indeed said "If there is any chance that Rachel will receive spam from a stalker on her project, she should not create one. We simply cannot allow a project to become a forum for rampant spam, as her past project became." then she should apologize and look at the way that the project handles this sort of thing in the future.
If she never said this, then this has been a big beatup. Either way, Daniella needs to respond to this allegation.
You're wrong. It does. People need to be told, flat out, the this isn't a board that wants nor appreciates mob-mentality. It promotes reason and rationality. As a long* time member of HN, threads like this are a blight. Not because of the parties involved, but because we are doing things we abhor in others.
> Either way, Daniella needs to respond to this allegation.
I hate that mentality. I understand the reasoning, but essentially we are requiring people to respond to trolls. I say this within the context of what we know: a unsubstantiated blog post is claiming certain things. There are numerous steps that could be taken to provide more proof, and I think it's important that evidence is provided to avoid these types of issues.
Basically, I see this as the same as me accusing Rachel of setting this all up as a marketing stunt. And then posting some italicized text and claiming it's from her. It's equally as credible as things stand now.
Edit: * I just want to add that I don't presume that it needs my help. Rather, every member is, in their own way, responsible for moderating HN. It can only be defended by it's users.
Finally, I don't think anyone here is suggesting taking action against kickstarter without hearing what they say. It's a big "wow, this is a bad way to behave kickstarter". And they could reply "yes, good thing we didn't do that".
Whoa. I never said that. I never suggested it, and suggesting I said that is completely dishonest and reprehensible*.
I'm going to assume you misread what I've written. I've said that there are many possibilities that could explain these actions, besides the truth, one of those being a publicity stunt. That, however, is no where near an accusation, merely speculation, and does not represent my believe in any way.
Edit: This sounds like I'm calling you dishonest and reprehensible. That's not accurate. That would be if you were doing it on purpose. I just believe you misread what I wrote. Just being clear.
Both Rachel and Kickstarter have done the right thing here.
Thanks for writing in. If there is any chance that Rachel will receive spam from a stalker on her project, she should not create one. We simply cannot allow a project to become a forum for rampant spam, as her past project became. If this happens again, we will need to discard the project and permanently suspend Rachel’s account.
If this quote is fiction, then it will be easy for kickstarter to say so.
And I'm not suggesting, in any way, that KickStarter shouldn't respond (at this point, it would be insane not to).
What I am saying is that we shouldn't be assuming KickStarter is in the wrong at that this Rachel has been 100% honest and has told the complete story. That is all.
Rachel Marone here. You know it's me and valid because it's in italics, and that makes it true. Anyways, everything I posted on my blog is a lie. Just wanted to say that.
Well, we can go home now.
But I would be happier if they can confirm or deny it. No doubt they will be pressed to do so in the next few days, and a fuller picture will emerge.
I'm not sure anything they say would make a difference. Personally, I inclined to believe what she's saying is true, but I believe there is more to the story that impacts what has been said already. Believing that, it would be unfair of me to suggest anything one way or the other.
The second option is by far the easier (psychologically and materially), but they may be forced to do the first eventually anyway.
And people can permanently loose their account over this? I guess they've just lost a lot of founders. Permanently.
This "discussion" feels like a witch hunt.
Look, folks, this article's sole relevance to HN is that it involves Kickstarter's banning policies. There's no coding, no real startupy stuff--just a ban on the premier crowdfunding site.
Unfortunately, any meaningful discussion of said ban requires we better understand the events leading up to the ban. That in turn requires more information than we are likely to get, and certainly more unbiased information than is available.
Without that information, we can't usefully discuss Kickstarter, we can't really discuss how to handle a case like this (as we wouldn't know what the case is like, exactly), and we sure as hell can't learn anything useful.
With that information (let us pretend it is even attainable), all we are doing is spelunking internet drama and finding a weird edge case that frankly is most easily solved by a blanket banhammer.
I appreciate that Kickstarter may be in the wrong. I also appreciate that the "victim" here apparently has several pseudonyms(annoying) and is arguably a troll/drama queen/lulzcow/whatever.
The point is, we don't need to waste any time on this. This is dumb internet shit--boot it out.
But, I think this is no different than for example Stack Overflow where questions and comments can be edited and removed if they are not on topic, or in this case, where they do not follow the Kickstarter community guidelines.
And that is exactly what happened here. Comments from the spammer/stalker are not on topic. Responses to those comments are also not on topic.
Rachel had the choice to either actively remove those comments or to participate in those off-topic discussions. She did the latter while in my (no so humble opinion) removing them was really the only appropriate choice.
Kickstarter is not a forum for drama, it is a place to raise money for your project. And that should be your one and only goal if you start a project there. This stupid spammer/stalker is taking away valuable time that she could also have put into marketing her project or participating in real discussions.
The fact that this is someone who has stalked her for the past 10 years is very sad but it is not relevant in this discussion. She is the admin of the project and she has the powers to keep it on topic.
So basically Kickstarter is saying if there is some other project you don't like on the site you can get it taken off by hiring an offshore site to spam the competitor project.
They need a stackoverflow or quora like community system (I haven't used the site but I'm assuming they don't).
I will say that was kind of crappy of her to post Daniella's full name. It might not be her fault. It could be the company's policy. If it was a letter from the CEO I could understand. My wife is an executive assistant and she routinely has to write letters that she doesn't necessarily agree with.
Not sure about you, but if I saw a spammer on my site, and saw two users discussing things back and forth behind the scenes, I might draw the conclusion they are in collusion.
The OP is, after all, an artist, and might have used the spammer to help draw more attention to their situation. That's not unheard of.
It's also fair to say that KickStarter would be fairly negligent if they did* read the messages between two users.
So, once again, unless someone has proof of anything, it's all speculative right now.
Edit: The OP's bio, it says she is a Brand Developer and runs a convention focusing on Radial Performers.
Yeah, and the more I read, I realize how easily what I said above could be true. Still, I have no proof, and await it.
In all seriousness, getting banned sucks. 'The customer is always right' isn't a bad mentality to have even for startups, and even when the customer is the product.
Artsy people and their rights. It's a service and not a right. Crowdfund somewhere else if that's so important.
How dare she engage the troll in a manner that is not how the internet recommends. Clearly she deserves everything that happened to her. I mean yes, the way to deal with trolls is to ignore them completely and absolutely, but the punishment for not doing that shouldn't be being banned from kickstarter.
Your other posts about italic text honestly come across to me as a strawman.
There are other possibilities as well. It's not so black and white.
> Your other posts about italic text honestly come across to me as a strawman.
Oh, evidence was presented? You know, using the word strawman doesn't mean it is, nor does it change what has, or has not, been presented. You can dismiss my arguments and believe what you want, however. At least I'm not out to take advantage of your gullibility.
Anyway, on to the main point. You're using an example of how easy it is to throw out words and ignoring the fact that if this blog post is a lie it has serious ramifications on her integrity. So I feel justified calling it a strawman. This isn't quoting a 4chan thread as a resource, this is somebody making a plea to the world under their real name. There is reason to believe the quotes are accurate, even though I'm sure there's bias in the telling.
And I'm not judging kickstarter until I hear what their response is. Even if all they say is 'that email is fake' then I won't think badly of them. I'm not being taken advantage of, because I'm not trusting a lone rant.
Judging by some of the other posts about this "victim", I'm not sure her integrity is a concern. Supposedly she's done KickStarter before, and essentially just taken the money and not produced (Please, check these threads for the specific comments regarding it).
At the same time, keep in mind that when I first came to this thread, there were a LOT of comments condemning KickStarter, making an assumption. My goal throughout this has been to try and remind people to be objective. If your objective, that's great! I have no issue with you, or anyone else with an objective. I've been responding to numerous people throughout all this as well, so there is a good chance I might end up talking to more than one person in a single thread, and not realize it.
The hunt for my stalker continues yet has been
unsuccessful as of now. The FBI having bigger fish to fry.
The police say that he is “good at what he does.” Can
people like this be stopped if they cannot be found?
I have no bone in this fight, but it seems to me that at the very least, the issue is much more complex than she made it seem in her blog post, and there are a lot of pieces of the puzzle missing. My BS detectors were sounding the alarm, but they always do that when I read unsupported claims.
I don't think anyone can argue that they haven't built a great product, but I've yet to be impressed by the quality of their service and find their 'community at all costs' attitude to be immature.
Why can't they just IP ban the stalker?
Without all of the details, it's hard to know what's going on here, but the lack of empathy in the response from KS is peculiar.
1. Verified accounts - e.g. a confirmation email.
2. Social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) - obvious caveat being, some people don't have them, or won't want to sign up with them, etc.
Then, you make it harder for the cyberstalker to determine they've been banned. "Hellbanning" is a good example of this - you ban the user, but don't notify them. Everyone else just doesn't see the comment. There are variations, but the idea is to make it harder for the person on the other end of the screen to determine when to switch accounts.
Thirdly, you implement some sort of user control. For example, an "ignore" button - press this, and suddenly that user's comments aren't visible to you any more. Without notifying them, of course. Alternatively, let the project owner hellban/ignore any user from their project.
And then there's the other stuff - community moderation like Reddit and HN, automatic spam filtering, disallowing registrations from throwaway emails like Mailinator, and other stuff like that.
No matter what they implement, "please go away because you're being stalked" is NOT the right choice. There are technical solutions to this kind of thing, and if they're not perfect, they're certainly better than nothing. And at the end of the day, it's not about being perfect, it's about making the person that's sitting on the other end of the screen not want to spend the time to harass you, or post spam, or troll, or whatever else.
It's not perfect, but for ANY site of sufficient size with unmoderated user content, this problem eventually has to be dealt with. Threatening to ban the victims is not a solution.
Kickstarter earns 5% from every single successful project: they can afford putting some effort into moderation and protecting their customers.
You also can't post a comment if you don't have an account, so banning the account would be a reasonable stopgap measure; this step wasn't mentioned in the blog post. If they're flooding accounts, then ban the IP. If they start switching IPs, then you can start making excuses for Kickstarter.
That's sort of like saying that security by obscurity is pointless -- certainly it's NOT pointless, and banning IPs (like security by obscurity) will work in many cases, and should not be ignored as techniques.
They aren't the solution, but can be part of a multi-pronged approach.
For trolls/stalkers that know how to get past an IP ban, I do like hellbanning, accompanied with a strict written policy of "don't feed the trolls".
I once thought I was his only target until his other victims began
contacting me. He was sending us child pornography and threatening to
kill us along with impersonating our dead relatives. We started a
support network and put all of our case numbers together to make this
a federal matter. What now? The hunt for my stalker continues yet has
been unsuccessful as of now. The FBI having bigger fish to fry. The
police say that he is “good at what he does.”
Unfortunately the authorities seem to have too much to do. If it takes any effort to investigate something, it isn't going to happen.
However, I was cyberstalked (and then RL stalked & harassed), so I know that it sucks and it can be dangerous. I have no idea what Rachel's stalker has done - but from the context of the blog post it appears they troll her around the net.
Apparently alerting my backers about this was considered “engaging in conversation with the spammer.”
This is what sprung out at me from the post, as did her post on the topic  From that post:
(not to mention that thousands of people want him dead)
And this is probably the crux of the problem. Rising to stalkers is what feeds their ego - they pummel you into submission until you react emotionally and physically to their presence.
About the only way to get rid of a cyberstalker is to delete them and ignore them.
I'm going to be a bit critical here; she shouldn't have "engaged him" by warning her backers. (edit: it would be nice to know the extent of engagement - often once you do the one "this is a troll" post it is too easy to be dragged into an actual conversation with them). She should have talked to Kickstarter, explained the problem and worked out a solution. She probably should have done that before opening the project - knowing what might happen.
It sucks that she'd have to approach the project like that... but in my experience it's better to be pragmatic.
Cyberstalkers afflict people they can "get to" emotionally - and although it is, again, unfair, about the only way to resist them is to not let it affect you. This is how I eventually got rid of my cyberstalker (who "cracked" me in the first place by sending pictures of my friends with [digital] blood splattered over the top). Before I managed this, I totally rejected the idea it would work.
As to Kickstarter; I feel like they are in a catch 22 here. If they let the project sit and do their best to keep out the troll (which is difficult enough at times) it could flare up on them; Rachel's project could fail and this blog post could be titled "How Kickstarter couldn't keep my cyberstalker away", or it could attract press attention, or it could attract more trolls to Rachel. Plus then there is the human aspect - someone at Kickstarter is sat there seeing these horrid things being posted and thinking "wow, that must be really upsetting".
So they delete the project - which could have been handled better, admittedly. But probably the best thing in the long run.
EDIT: posting Daniella's full name is rather unfortunate (as she makes a point of using it, it seems).
Don't fall for this guy's sockpuppet spam. This is exactly the kind of thing he was doing on Kickstarter, and has done on Reddit, Hackernews, here, Rachel's various blogs, and yes, all the way back to the days of Livejournal being the amazing mecca of social networking.
His name is Jason Christopher Hughes AKA Michael Nath AKA Thylacine AKA antisense is over 40 years old. He's been at this game for a long, long time and has made social engineering an art form.
Most of the posts in here that look like layers of confirmation of "facts" about Rachel are all the same person posting through TOR or I2P. If Hacker News admins were to verify the IPs of most of the other posts attacking Rachel, they'll see a wall of TOR and I2P exit nodes, just as any of us who have checked out the logs of his behavior in the past have been able to see. You let this guy brainwash you into believing all his propaganda against Rachel, and you've just weaponized yourself in his favor. Please do not. Keep an open mind. Use your critical thinking skills. Do not allow the emotional shock value of the propaganda to interfere with your thinking. I know it's hard. It's especially hard because Rachel is a very reactionary individual. She has that rockstar vibe to her, and she doesn't take crap from anyone. That makes her an easy target, clearly, because anytime the "moral high ground" seems a little shaky, it's a vulnerability in her defense against her cyberstalker.
He's been stalking several of us for years. Most of us don't ever talk about him using our typical logins because he'll shit up the administration and our posts until we get banned. He's phenomenally good at turning people against his victims.
Unfortunately it's hard to collect evidence against him. He only attacks maybe 10 or so people at a time. He's never going to become a priority for the FBI or local police because they either have bigger fish to fry or don't understand how to handle him in a way that his behavior can be documented. Making all of this public is a big push for all of us who he's been harassing for over a decade. We're tired of it. We want it to end. We need help.
Not your personal army and all that, sure, but it would be nice if we weren't alone in trying to bring this guy down.
[Edit: Originally posted to /., forgot to change some text for HN. Sorry I'm terrible.]
I originally met "Frank" back in College, where we dated for a bit. I should point out that he's not an old man, as his username might imply, but rather someone who is simply obsessed with Frank Sinatra and my gorgeous rockin hard ass.
Anyway, when I broke up with him he took it pretty badly. It was our Sophomore year at Rice University and I had just discovered gravity bongs and going down on another girl while blazed out of my gord. As I've admitted, these were confusing albeit fun times for me.
Meanwhile, "Frank" was raised as a Mormon but had recently converted to Scientology. I guess you might say he was experimenting with his own hallucinogenic homoerotic drug. This drug/sex/cult cocktail, combined with my round pulchritudinous derriere, and the sudden shock of losing his ability to play his daily role of dressing up as Dr. Parnassus while gently fondling my perky nipples and supple breasts that he had affectionately named the Merry Mammary Sisters of Nippopolis, and Queens of the Breastiary - led to Frank's complete mental breakdown.
I don't blame Frank for my rockin body, just as I don't blame you for being attracted to my intelligence and funding my project on Kickstarter. However, what I do not like is being stalked. I hope you all do what I do when you see Frank's messages on any thread related to my project. Just lick your index finger, point it at Frank's username and then say, "Ooooooooooooo ICE COLD! Mama thinks you're a BAAAAD BOYYYY! OOOOOO Ice Cold..." then point the same finger back at your left nipple and make a sizzling sound "SSSSSssssssssssss" and sing this little rap
Thank you all again for funding my project on Kickstarter. You're clearly invested in a winner!"
Yeah, I understand kickstarters position fairly well now.
EDIT: Nevermind, you just took it from http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/s97g4/banned_fro... , an obvious reddit troll.
However, She is a very odd cookie - and appears to have said some strange things (including engaging trolls) in the past. So I would believe Kickstarter if they said there was more "engagement" than Rachel lets on.
For instance, he has this really bizarre fascination with women named Vanessa and Rachel. He's been "married" twice, once to a Vanessa and once to a Rachel. He has this compulsion to have three women at once (named Vanessa or Rachel) that he describes in metaphysical terms.
He does tons of designer hallucinogens he buys from labs in Japan. He often talks about himself in psycho-spiritual terms of superiority, such as "I've gone farther out than any mage. I flew right past [Carlos] Castaneda into expanses of the abyss he'll never know".
More often than not I find myself feeling sorry for him. Until, of course, he goes on the offensive again.
I don't know the demographic of her project, but if this connects with them, the wording of this seems perfectly okay to me.
: I guess that depends on opinion. YMMV
It may have been "clean" in the sense that little profanity was used, but it was also full of sexual slang and drug references, and clearly intended to shame Frank (not saying he didn't deserve it, but on the other hand I think a bit more tact is in order). So I could see Kickstarter considering it a violation of the "Don't post obscene, hateful, or objectionable content. If you do we will remove it and suspend you." guideline.
If she did think informing her backers was a good idea, she could have said something along the lines of:
"Hello, backers, you may have noticed that some guy named FrankSinatraWhatever has been posting spam on my threads. Unfortunately, Frank has been cyberstalking me for a while due to a failed relationship from college. If you see Frank posting anything on my project, please just ignore him. Sorry about this, and thank you all for funding my project!"
Still gets the point across without being vulgar, tactless, or ego-stroking.
> So I could see Kickstarter considering it a violation
> of the "Don't post obscene, hateful, or objectionable
> content. If you do we will remove it and suspend you."
It was not speculation.
If they become real-world stalkers, get a restraining order.
GitHub added the ability to block users only after Zed wrote a script that crashed GitHub…
Rachel should do the same to Kickstarter!
with a rule like this, 4Chan or otherwise could show up and "grief" every project on Kickstarter until they were all canceled
"Banned from Kickstarter for violating the terms of service."
There, I fixed it.
No matter what happened here, this entire concept is horribly, horribly wrong. It's blaming the victim -- saying that it's somehow her fault for "causing" the stalker to do something... as opposed to the stalker's fault, for stalking.
If Kickstarter does respond to this by maintaining their stance, then there's a huge problem. Until then, it's more a case of an incompetent employee.
Edit: Downvoted? Nice, guys.
Kickstarter seems pretty out of line, but interested to hear their side of the story.
Most of the posts in here that look like layers of confirmation of "facts" about Rachel are all the same person posting through TOR or I2P. If Slashdot admins were to verify the IPs of most of the other posts attacking Rachel, they'll see a wall of TOR and I2P exit nodes, just as any of us who have checked out the logs of his behavior in the past have been able to see. You let this guy brainwash you into believing all his propaganda against Rachel, and you've just weaponized yourself in his favor. Please do not. Keep an open mind. Use your critical thinking skills. Do not allow the emotional shock value of the propaganda to interfere with your thinking. I know it's hard. It's especially hard because Rachel is a very reactionary individual. She has that rockstar vibe to her, and she doesn't take crap from anyone. That makes her an easy target, clearly, because anytime the "moral high ground" seems a little shaky, it's a vulnerability in her defense against her cyberstalker.
The worst part being the nearly top comment on HN being "don't feed the troll".
I'd talk about privilege and the nice ability to "ignore" such "trolls" but I'd be wasting my breath. (which isn't to dismiss the HN community as much as it is to acknowledge that those who get it, get it, and those who don't are probably fortunate enough to not have to)
Was she banned for being a stalking victim? Absolutely not. You cannot reach that conclusion from the evidence given, and, furthermore, she was told, and told us, very clearly why she was banned. It didn't say for being a stalking victim. Stop being so dramatic. There's a war on.