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Banned from Kickstarter for Being a Stalking Victim (rachelmarone.com)
301 points by ginsweater 1234 days ago | 176 comments



"If there is any chance that Rachel will receive spam from a stalker on her project, she should not create one."

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.

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Yeah. If Rachel could have raised $100,000 on Kickstarter, Kickstarter would have made thousands in fees. They have a license to print money and they will leave more and more money on the table over time if they don't add basic moderation tools like requiring comments to be approved when necessary. This looks like a case that requires customer support from someone at Kickstarter that doesn't normally work as a customer service manager. I wonder when the Kickstarter founders stopped doing their own customer support.

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META

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.

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Please read the following in an exasperated tone of voice, because that's what I feel here.

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.

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I believe Kickstarter has an obligation to treat Rachel like a customer. I believe they are capable of building the tool needed to deliver a good experience to customers like Rachel. I don't support the specific language Rachel might have used, but I empathize with Rachel's frustration with Kickstarter's flawed process.

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.

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> 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.

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DH3. http://paulgraham.com/disagree.html

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I don't understand. Care to explain further than that link?

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.

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> but I have a strict no drama allowed rule

You might want to stop feeding this ridiculous thread.

IHBT.

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Isn't it strange how, whenever that phrase or something similar is transmitted, inevitably drama ensues?

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Why is it that people like Rachael always have drama around them?

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.

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She always has drama around her because she has some kind of rockstar vibe, she's hyper, and she has what seems like a limitless supply of enthusiasm and good will. I've seen plenty of people like that get shit all over just because they're happy when other people aren't. It doesn't mean she deserves a stalker. Just sayin'.

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.

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It takes two to tango.

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.

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Of course you are mostly correct and I've expressed this same sentiment to Rachel several times. She understands it, but she doesn't "get" it yet. She's a great target because she does that stress panic thing some people whenever this guy starts messing with her. I'm sure everyone here recognizes that as a maturity/self-control thing, but it comes easier for some than others. Especially in people who have dealt with traumas it can be difficult to stave off an amygdala's hijacking and not freak out.

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.

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Kickstarter removed her because of the spamming, which seems to be an indication that the stalker exists. Of course she might have just been talking to herself, but having never heard about her before, I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

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And you've heard about her now. Hmm. Whose interest does that server? Someone who wants to stop her life, or someone who wants to promote and sell tickets to her "transhuman" art projects

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>I'm friends with Rachel and the stalker dude is real

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.

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Yeah, I can vouch for Rachel though. I've known her stalker personally and they were both friends of mine at one point. I get what you're saying though, and you're absolutely right: there's a lot of fucked up attention-whoring people out there. I actually wish you were right because then it would just be Rachel and nobody else. Unfortunately it's several more people than that...

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Collaborating on a web page detailing his stalking and techniques could be useful in convincing people that he's real. Sounds like he might be quite tenacious about trying to have that sort of thing removed, but it could be repeatedly reposted to different places. If folks can managed to keep "Addicted to Hate" (about the Phelps family of lawyers) on the web, it's likely possible to publish details about this fellow, assuming he's not part of some elite caste.

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There was a site for this: http://extinct-marsupial.org/

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.

https://plus.google.com/105224804026588644838/posts/SweFTRju...

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Too bad it's down. This guy seems remarkably thorough. Does he come from money? I'm just wondering how he gets the time to do this as it seems like it would take a lot of work.

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The top post has been for a long while not in support of the OP's unsubstantiated claims. I'm fairly certain it's not an accurate representation of anything, however, and suggesting it is is dishonest. A large number, if not majority of posts in this thread are supportive of the "victim," so much so they blindly believe her.

> 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?

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Oh man, not this girl again. Let's just say she is known for being at the center of drama wherever she goes. She has a very long history of libel and public feuds related to her "music project." In one of many incidents, her and her mother sent DMCA takedown requests to LiveJournal based on negative information being posted by another user (completely unrelated to copyright).

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]

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> She is, by her own admission, mentally ill.[1]

I see that she says she was kicked out of her home when she was 16 and placed in a mental health facility[1]. 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.

[1] 'I am on disability because I was kicked out of this "mansion" at a young age and locked up in a mental institution.'

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> She is, by her own admission, mentally ill.

"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.

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I don't have an opinion on this case, but after reading the comments, I'm wondering if this case is possible:

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.

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Old drama is uninteresting. What's wrong with being mentally ill? I'm definitely not neurotypical, just like half of Silicon Valley geeks. Try raising VC money in Silicon Valley without projecting the image of irrationally exuberant hypomania. http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/160/bill-nguyen-startups

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.

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I am not trying to pick on the mentally ill or be rude. Unfortunately in this case, I've seen her behavior be highly disruptive to the detriment of others for about 6 years now. I have friends in the music industry (where I thought her drama was confined to) and have been exposed to her in person. I felt that I had to post a warning, because the internet mob is already all over kickstarter for this.

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.

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Right, so, no counterargument or evidence being provided from Kickstarter is OK in criticizing them, and any evidence that this person may have a history of causing similar types of drama is 'uninteresting'?

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!

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I expect Kickstarter to have a sober, well reasoned response to this by Monday afternoon. Hopefully faster.

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.

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> 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.

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.

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It is always a fine line. It will be interesting and telling in how Kickstarter will respond to this. You remember the Air BnB set of events...

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[dead]

Google "Terrorfakt Responds To Nazi Allegations". You'll notice it comes up repeatedly - someone posts this exact message wherever they see her pseudonyms. That's pretty stalky.

I'm reasonably sure I wouldn't ever want to deal with her [1], but someone is very keen on badmouthing her at every possible opportunity.

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3840747 - makes me think she is one of those 'trouble follows me everywhere' people.

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"She is, by her own admission, mentally ill"

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."

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[dead]

This is so shockingly inappropriate, I wish I could flag it twice. There is no reason to post information this personal, and completely irrelevant to the conversation here. I believe there is more to this story than the blog post indicates, but you have obviously created this account for malicious purposes.

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.

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[dead]

That is a comment from my stalker. Any traces on his location at Hacker News? His real name is Michael Rudra Nath aka. Jason Christopher Hughes. Can provide documentation from the authorities, case files, addresses, screen shots of his death threats, emails he sent me containing child pornography, etc.

-Rachel Marone

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I honestly don't care if you can provide his social security number. Can you please not drag this crap into Hacker News?

(also, good god, how many aliases do you have...)

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I get that you don't think this is a relevant subject for HN, but others do. I do. And I don't believe this is something petty. This is a case of an individual who has been stalking and harassing multiple people for over a decade. The police have done precious little because they, by their own admission, have no idea what to do (other than issue PPOs, which aren't enforceable over the Internet) or how to catch him. This is the state of the art. This is an /Internet/ issue because, the giant, blazing, un-asked question is:

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.

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(I don't know if you are a sockpuppet, but I do know you clearly haven't been around very long. Don't act surprised at accusations of sockpuppetry.)

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.

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Thank you, this is actually a very finely crafted criticism. I appreciate it greatly. I haven't been around very long here (about 24 hours).

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.

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Oh look, another sockpuppet.

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Oh lord, I'm not a sockpuppet. Have the HN admins verify my IP address FFS. It's NOT a TOR or I2P exit node.

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This is exactly the situation Kickstarter should be on top of. Imagine someone was going to make a hugely disruptive project and some BigCo PR firm hires a bunch of astroturfers to post 400 comments about how the project leader is a fraud. Now we know the astroturfers don't even need to ward off backers, they can just get Kickstarter to shut the project down. Megaupload song vs. UMG sockpuppets anybody?

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> Now we know the astroturfers don't even need to ward off backers, they can just get Kickstarter to shut the project down.

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.

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I'm confused what exactly you're asking for. What kind of 'proof' would satisfy you?

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.

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Something more than italicized text. Yes, screenshots of the emails, with headers would be better. Something more than a mere rant. I'm not suggesting that anything displayed would hold up in court, but all anyone here seems to care about is italicized text. Here, let me demonstrate.

amirmc,

The post on my website is a lie.

Truly,

Rachel

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.

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> What kind of proof would satisfy you? Italicized text? A blog post?

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.

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> Why aren't both of those ok?

That's a fair question. I'll explain, but first, you should explain this:

Jason,

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.

Sincerely,

amirmc

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.

Exactly. =)

> 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.

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An open memo to Hacker News: Stories like this (e.g. the GitHub and AirBnB incidents) tend to draw out this ugly, mob-like attitude from Hacker News, and I'm sure none of us want to see it happen again.

Please, everybody, remember to be civil and give everybody the benefit of the doubt.

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Yes. It is however important to express outrage to make sure Kickstarter know we find this situation, if true, to be not acceptable.

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It's also important to point out that I find your wife beating unacceptable...

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You should not feed the troll.

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.

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Very true. The blog post sort of glossed over Kickstarter's claims that she was engaging with the stalker. Was that part true?

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.

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I'm going to chalk this one up to growing pains. Dealing with spam is a really difficult problem, especially in unusual cases like this. Their response definitely wasn't great, but if it was causing them a lot of trouble to keep up with the spam on that account, this might be a drain on their likely-small team and detrimental to everyone else using the site by taking their attention. This is a startup, not an enormous company we're talking about. Maybe project moderation tools would have helped with this, but they might not want project starters to be able to silence commenters. Before you bring out your pitchforks, realize that this is a small team of real people trying to do something huge, and have a million other concerns that they have to take care of, and this is a very hard and probably relatively infrequent problem.

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Yup. There's something ineffably hard about customer service. Ask Craig Newmark, who still does it full time. My company's most important competitive advantage is customer service. My secret to providing superior customer service is treating my customers like they are human beings. It works because my customers are in fact human beings. I think this works because I own the company and do some of my own support. You lose a human element when your customer support starts being done by unempowered minions that don't have incentives in place to treat customers like real people.

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Yeah, I still do a lot of my own customer service too, and I think it's had a big effect. It can also be really draining, though, so I understand why people want to shield themselves from it, and I can sympathize with a company that just doesn't want to deal with someone's outsized personal drama.

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This is incredibly dumb on Kickstarter's part. Why not just give project managers the ability to turn off comments if spam is getting out of control? Unless I'm missing something, comments are not an integral part of Kickstarter's function.

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.

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You seem to have a bit of information on this. Can you post the proof available besides the unverifiable blog post?

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I'm wondering what is the possibility that the cyberstalker is a creation of the "TRANSMEDIA ARTIST, BRAND DEVELOPER, AND FUTURIST"? It certainly fits into those categories. Just speculation.

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The way she speaks about the stalker and how they harass everyone she has contact with made me consider the same possibility. She might not even be consciously aware of this.

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Good point. I'm still waiting for proof. In many ways, it's sad and wrong that people are calling for KickStarter to do anything before any shred of proof is provided.

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I think it's perfectly justified to call on Kickstarter to do something: namely, to reply to the allegations.

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.

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That doesn't negate what I said, nor does it change the emotional response in comments above. People are assuming KickStarters guilt already without anything more than a blog post.

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.

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The Kickstarter corporation is big enough and bad enough to stand up for itself without anyone having to attack the victim.

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Who is attacking the victim? I'm asking for proof, not suggesting anything else. And I'm not defending KickStarter. I'm defending HN from those who would ignore reason and intelligence in place of emotion and ignorance.

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I'm not certain that Hacker News really needs your defense. Let's hear what KickStarter has to say about this.

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.

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> I'm not certain that Hacker News really needs your defense.

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.

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I see no problem with expecting people to say "nope." to credible-seeming trolls. It takes mere seconds and provides strong evidence to discredit the troll in the future. And you calling it a marketing stunt is a very different situation because you have a clear motivation of rhetorical device to fake an email and you're not staking your reputation on it.

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".

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> And you calling it a marketing stunt is a very different situation because you have a clear motivation of rhetorical device to fake an email and you're not staking your reputation on it.

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.

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I am sorry. I was unclear there and I think I got things a bit confused as I replied. What I meant to say there is that your italic fake-quote that the blog post was a lie was a very different etc. I think I misremembered there being a mention of it being a stunt inside the fake-quote. Either way, I'm sorry I worded that unclearly. I wasn't talking about your actual opinion there, I was talking about your fake-quote.

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Kickstarter doesn't agree with your reasoning, as they have just apologized for their response. I think it's reasonable that they were called out on what they stated to Rachel Marone, and they have now apologized.

Both Rachel and Kickstarter have done the right thing here.

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Since HN is about entrepreneurship, I think this article raises good questions, such as, how do you deal when someone makes emotionally-loaded claims against your company in the early hours of a Saturday, including multiple submissions to Reddit using a sockpuppet account?

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Call an emergency meeting with the head of your marketing dept. and start hashing out a blog post, I would assume.

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Best short-term reply is probably something agreeing that the quoted response from their representative, if accurate and complete, was dangerously vague for a matter as critical as account suspension for TOS violation, which they take very seriously for important reasons, yadda yadda. This matter will be investigated, and we hope to resolve to everyone's satisfaction. Love, CEO.

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Kickstarter, if you care about your reputation, fix this and make sure it never happens again.

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The article's timing will make sure it goes round the internet doing a lot of damage before Kickstarter is able to respond.

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Fix what? Going by what we know, someone has made a claim without anything to back it up. Should we encourage groundless accusations? I'd like to think members of HN would be a bit more intelligent about this sort of thing. Let's try to be a bit more rational about this and not just grab the torches and pitchforks.

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If this quote is authentic, her accusations are anything but groundless:

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.

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"someone has made a claim without anything to back it up" that's true, but neither do any posts in HN. Shouldn't we try to get some attention from Kickstarter and see how it goes?

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That's not true. There are many cases of posts coming to HN that have more than italicized text to make its case. We have someone here posting they know here, and indeed has a cyberstalker. That's a step in the right direction, a 3rd party providing information.

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.

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Read the emails inserted in the post so they are not groundless

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I just got an email from Rachel:

Jason,

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.

Honestly,

Rachel Marone

Well, we can go home now.

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It would be very odd indeed if kickstarter are in a position to deny the email quoted on Rachel's website. I.e. if it is as fake as the one above. That would be her throwing whatever reputation she has away.

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.

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> That would be her throwing whatever reputation she has away.

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.

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Sure kickstarter are likely to say that - what choices have they got? If they can;t deny, either they must say "we screwed up, we'll change", or spin it as "there's more to it than that".

The second option is by far the easier (psychologically and materially), but they may be forced to do the first eventually anyway.

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Only backers can post comments to kickstarter. So in theory the stalker is now traceable by their kickstarter payment if reported to the police.

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If this is indeed true, it's outrageous: it's like having my Gmail suspended because someone sent me too much spam.

And people can permanently loose their account over this? I guess they've just lost a lot of founders. Permanently.

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Although the main character in this drama will never be Miss Congeniality, the systematic and largely undocumented attacks on her character on HN leave a very bad taste in my mouth.

This "discussion" feels like a witch hunt.

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This is tough.

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.

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Regardless of stalking:

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.

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If this is true, then Kickstarter just handed over editorial control to anyone who can write a spambot or with a little patience.

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Not true. Again, if the post is true, the requirement would be also for the person to then engage in a discussion with the spammer. We don't know the details regarding that, and will never know. If you are being harassed, report it.

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.

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It says a whole lot more than that: http://rachelmarone.com/sample-page/

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I wonder if it's an artistic statement that her page touting web & counter-culture bona fides and general hot messiness still has the WP default title "sample-page." ;)

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.

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> a narrative full of chaos, trend-starting, performance art, social commentary, and philosophical discussion

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.

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"Right" to crowdfund on Kickstarter?

Artsy people and their rights. It's a service and not a right. Crowdfund somewhere else if that's so important.

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Based on my experiences with Kickstarter, this is not surprising.

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.

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The stalker is likely to be using things like Tor, the blocking of which would upset significant legitimate feedback.

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I'd like to know what solution those that are critizing Kickstarter offer. After all, banning an IP is close to pointless.

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In short, you try to make it not worth the cyberstalker's (or troll, spammer, etc.) while. No matter how many protections you put up, if you make your service available to the public, people will be able to register and harass other users. So, firstly you make it harder for them to do this (to a degree). Some methods include:

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.

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Banning IPs works well enough even for vastly bigger sites like Wikipedia. Combined with an open proxy checker, it's surprisingly effective.

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.

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It's important to remember that deterrents that can be circumvented is not the same things as pointless deterrents.

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".

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Turning off comments would have had the same effect. You can't spam if you can't speak. A project update explaining why comments are no longer available, and emailing the project creator to start a conversation, would be good next steps.

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.

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I imagine there are laws that this cyberstalker is breaking, and surely kickstarter can assist in providing the authorities with the relevant information to kickstart an investigation/tro/arrest?

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According to another article by the author in April 2011, he's breaking a number of laws: http://experimenthaywire.net/is-there-a-solution-to-cybersta...

  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.”

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I live in Atlanta, GA, USA. I had my car stolen. Police didn't investigate. It was found abandoned 2 weeks later. Police didn't do anything beyond return it. I figured you had to be shot to get some attention. Three friends have had their house robbed. No police response beyond insurance paperwork. Later, a friend of mine was shot. Police didn't investigate. He was told that he didn't die, so it wasn't murder, so they had more important things to do.

Unfortunately the authorities seem to have too much to do. If it takes any effort to investigate something, it isn't going to happen.

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parts of the Twin Cities (Plymouth) are like this for any car related theft. They give you a case number over the phone and that is the end of it. Had my car broken into twice in a parking garage with cameras. No investigation even though about 20 cars were hit each time.

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The commenting here is interesting, as is the post. I have some general comments to make about cyberstalking and situations like this - but want to preface it with the disclaimer that I've never heard of Rachel before and cannot sit in any form of judgement on her.

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 [1] 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.

1. http://experimenthaywire.net/is-there-a-solution-to-cybersta...

EDIT: posting Daniella's full name is rather unfortunate (as she makes a point of using it, it seems).

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After doing a bit of googling, I believe what we have here is a set of borderline personalities that are unfortunately drawn together. They have plenty of outlets for their antics; we shouldn't be indulging them here.

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I am also a victim of this guy. He harassed me off and on for years. He turned on me after I told him "no" when he asked me to do a favor for him I didn't feel comfortable doing. That was all it took to find myself on his shitlist. While we were "friends" I got to listen to him brag about all the horrible things he'd done to people, mostly women he dated, after they decided to tell him "no" or kick him out of their lives once they realized how crazy he is. He would show me how he was getting so-and-so fired from their job by spoofing emails with child pornography in them to the all@ email aliases of their employers from libraries and hacked DNS servers. He showed me how he made money selling pirated ebooks and sheet music on ebay. And he'd brag about using sockpuppets to build up fake credibility because it's all hearsay on the Internet where the credibility of consensus is only second to hard evidence.

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.]

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This is one of her responses: "As you all know I have a rockin' tight ass, a successful project on Kickstarter that you've all funded, and a cyberstalker that goes by the name of FrankSinatraDirtyTalker1915@comcast.net.

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.

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I'm pretty sure you just made that up.

EDIT: Nevermind, you just took it from http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/s97g4/banned_fro... , an obvious reddit troll.

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Oh thank you SO much for recognizing that. Yes, that is one of her stalker's more popular bits of copypasta.

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Obvious Reddit troll, please keep that crap off of Hacker News.

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I think it's far more likely that that was posted by a troll or by the stalker than by her...

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Agreed. In her blog post she says that this is someone who "stalks" hundreds of targets. A stalker that stalks because of a personal vendetta/obsession, as the troll post implies, wouldn't do that.

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At the risk of being downvoted myself, please downvote this submission. It's irrelevant and obviously a troll.

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If its true (any direct link ?), it puts the whole conversing part into a different perspective.

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Seems unlikely to be a true comment in this case.

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.

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This is false and should not be here.

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Sounds like a fucking idiot. Which doesn't mean she deserves to be harassed. But WTF @ that comment! Who would want to give someone who talks like that any of their money?

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Not sure if it helps your perspective or not, but the quoted material was written by our stalker rather than Rachel. He has many accounts on social networking sites and manufactures credibility by replying to his own posts with links to posts on other sites (usually ones he's written). He's been doing this for a long time. Even I have a hard time sorting out the sock puppets from the non-sock puppets sometimes. He's a brilliant, evil, genius. I would be jelly if I hadn't seen how he actually lives and had a glimpse at his mental illness.

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.

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Except for the fact that she should absolutely _not_ have engaged and/or acknowledged the stalker, I don't see a problem at all with the formulations/rhetoric in this response. She kept the vocabulary clean[1], and the content should not bother any grown-up at all.

I don't know the demographic of her project, but if this connects with them, the wording of this seems perfectly okay to me.

[1]: I guess that depends on opinion. YMMV

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> She kept the vocabulary clean

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.

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  > 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.
I hate speculation like this. If Kickstarter considered it in violation of that part of their TOS, then why not explicitly state so rather than saying that she was 'encouraging spam' and that spam is in violation of the TOS? Chances are that they did not consider it a violation of those terms.

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According to the OP post, the violation was of Community Guidelines. Those can be found here: http://www.kickstarter.com/help/guidelines

It was not speculation.

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What's your reasoning? Nowhere in the KS guidelines does it say you're not allowed to receive spam, only that you're not allowed to generate spam for your project. Please advise?

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You should never engage a troll/netstalker. Ignoring them is the best approach, always. They feed on your engagement and get frustrated and go away looking for other targets if you ignore them.

If they become real-world stalkers, get a restraining order.

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I wrote to kickstarter this week to alert them of what was either a scam or an over confident 3d modeler. I and others on reddit pointed out a bunch of flaws in the cost of creating the product described at the given goal. It was a minimum of 3X off. Kickstarter wrote back to tell me in so many words that it is the users job to not be taken advantage of, all I could think is "yup you get your 10% no matter what so why care." Truely let down from a company I really liked.

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If it was me, and Kickstarter were my service, I'd have a hard time not banning someone making those claims, calling out an alleged stalker by name / email address on a public forum, and the language used.

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.

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Uh... what do you think the actual chance that SHE wrote that?

Edit: Answer: Virtually zero.

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Yup. Sad someone here took it seriously.

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This was obviously written by a troll and not Rachel.

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Hmm, this reddit account (brokenrobot23) http://www.reddit.com/user/brokenrobot23

was created a few hours ago in support of Rachel, as was your account (blingbling23), quite the coincidence, isn't it?

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Even so I haven't seen one link backing up the "quote" from reddit. If it was true someone would have provided some sort of verification by now.

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That is certainly true, I just pointing out the coincidence. That said, Rachel Haywire does have a history of creating drama within communities. I don't want to blame the victim, but every state has a cyberstalking protocol and if this has been going on for 10 years, I can't help but think there's a reason why.

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Yeah, this is weird that blingbling23 here and brokenrobot23 on reddit are both less than a day old.

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Do you have a link to that? I can’t find it on Reddit. Would be great, thanks!

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It's here, though I now question whether it was actually posted by the OP.

http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/s97g4/banned_fro...

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Damned if they do, damned if they don't. It is not a perfect galaxy.

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It reminds me of something… Remember the guy who trolled Zed Shaw on GitHub?

GitHub added the ability to block users only after Zed wrote a script that crashed GitHub…

Rachel should do the same to Kickstarter!

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It's not what she was. It's what she did.

"Banned from Kickstarter for violating the terms of service."

There, I fixed it.

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Kickstarter is not the only player in the crowdfunding industry. You could try Rockethub as an alternative, they seem to be more accepting and might be more willing to help you.

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One question... whilst the internet has made stalking easier, can't the opposite also be true? It's much easier to shake off a stalker by using a different handle...

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I'm sure that's true for many sites -- here, for example -- but on Kickstarter I imagine they have policies about real names. They're going to need your real info anyway (to give you any money you raise), and it seems like a bad idea to let essentially anonymous people collect donations for unverifiable projects.

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I don't think that it is necessarily fair to be extremely critical of Kickstarter. I think that we should consider the viewpoint of the respondent to her, he probably thinks that she in some way caused the stalker to spam her project. I agree 100% that this problem should be fixed - but I don't think that Kickstarter would intentionally ban her account for this situation if they had the full story, and now that it has come to light I hope that apologies are made and this situation is corrected.

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he probably thinks that she in some way caused the stalker to spam her project.

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.

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I was in no way saying that it was the victim's fault. I just don't think that Kickstarter should be on the receiving end of a lot of criticism until we get the full story from them. It may very well be that they are under the impression that that it is her fault, although I am not saying it is, it is just plausible and would account for their reaction to her ban.

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Except that Forrest's point is that they probably didn't know the spammer was a stalker. This is kind of relevant. If a random person walks up to you and asks if you've seen this person and shows you a picture, you'd probably help them out, completely unaware they're a serial killer. That doesn't make you a bad person.

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.

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I don't think that changes anything? Again, replace the word "stalk" with "spam": it's the spammer's fault for spamming, not her fault for hypothetically "causing" the spammer to make the decision to spam her.

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I agree there.

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Add option for project owners to approve/moderate comments. Problem solved. (the kickstarter problem at least)

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This looks like the Airbnb PR fiasco...Kickstarter, please learn from someone else's mistake.

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What not allow the project owner to flag or hide comments they believe are spammy?

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Flagged.

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.

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[deleted]

Some quality class A victim blaming right there.

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.

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While I don't condone the attitude in the OP, providing background on the "victim" in this case is appropriate. She has offered nothing to substantiate her claims. As of yet, we know nothing, and calling her a "victim" is ignoring facts.

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Either she is a victim or she made up the entire story along with emails. It's a waste of time to discus the latter; if it's made up kickstarter will say so. But I doubt her making up a story so easily disproved.

Your other posts about italic text honestly come across to me as a strawman.

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> Either she is a victim or she made up the entire story along with emails.

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.

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I'm sorry for making it sound like I think the situation is black and white. What I meant was was that the text of the email is a pretty clear bad policy.

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.

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> ignoring the fact that if this blog post is a lie it has serious ramifications on her integrity.

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.

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No, she has a real cyberstalker.

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[deleted]

Are there very many circumstances where it is useful to discuss specific, possibly ongoing legal matters on the Internet? Honestly, even if the authorities could deal with this effectively and find said dude, if I thought he was ultimately harmless I wouldn't want him to be thrown in a cage for years for posting a bunch of harassing comments. It's sad that mental illness is a crime.

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  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?
http://experimenthaywire.net/is-there-a-solution-to-cybersta...

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More unsubstiantiated claims from the same source are not really a good foundation for support.

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.

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So you want us to assume with no evidence for some reason. Why is that?

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Before this gets out of hand: PG, I think it'd great if you added another HN guideline that states that people should wait to hear both sides of an issue before stating their opinion, especially when it comes to these premature PR 'blunders'.

Edit: Downvoted? Nice, guys.

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I'm not sure that makes a lot of sense. Stuff like what's mentioned in this article, weird PayPal stuff, or random Google account banning doesn't get fixed unless it gets publicity and outrage. There's good reason to believe that Kickstarter would ignore this unless/until people start to get upset about it. The whole point of this being at the top of HN is to get Kickstarter to say/do something.

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I think this is one to be deleted. It's a trollfest all around.

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Concerned about women being cyber stalked....reveals full name of a woman and where she works in her post.

Kickstarter seems pretty out of line, but interested to hear their side of the story.

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Doesn't matter what the details are:

with a rule like this, 4Chan or otherwise could show up and "grief" every project on Kickstarter until they were all canceled

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I am also a victim of this guy. He harassed me off and on for years. He turned on me after I told him "no" when he asked me to do a favor for him I didn't feel comfortable doing. That was all it took to find myself on his shitlist. While we were "friends" I got to listen to him brag about all the horrible things he'd done to people, mostly women he dated, after they decided to tell him "no" or kick him out of their lives once they realized how crazy he is. He would show me how he was getting so-and-so fired from their job by spoofing emails with child pornography in them to the all@ email aliases of their employers from libraries and hacked DNS servers. He showed me how he made money selling pirated ebooks and sheet music on ebay. And he'd brag about using sockpuppets to build up fake credibility because it's all hearsay on the Internet where the credibility of consensus is only second to hard evidence.

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 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.

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.

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Any proof of this, or just this blog post?

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Wow, this is beyond ironic on top of ironic on top of ironic.

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)

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Reductio ad absurdum much?

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.

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Rachel Marone's stalker (and mine) makes a personal appearance in the comments section of this article: http://www.dailydot.com/business/kickstarter-cyberstalker-vi...

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