The Worlds of Terri Pray

The highs and lows of chasing a writing dream. From fantasy to erotica and beyond as seen through the eyes of Terri Pray.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Without a Trace- Cyber Stalking

I tend to watch crime shows, sometimes they can be very good sources of information as well as entertainment. These days they have to get their facts straight because to not do so only causes problems. Well today’s episode brought up a very good point. Cyber Stalking and the fact it is a felony offence.

Running www.darkfantasychat.com has given me a crash course on a lot of issues, cyber stalking being one of them. We’ve had three issues of this so far, one in historical realms, the other two in Gor. All three resulted in bans, and two involved working with ISP’s and law enforcement.

So what is cyber stalking?

It can take many forms from unsolicited email, Instant messengers and live chat in IRC or HTML chat rooms, (including java rooms). More complex forms includes sending hate mail, virus attachments, email bombs and others.

Most find it hard to know where the line is between harassment/stalking and just being friendly. It’s simple. If you tell someone to stop contacting you and they continue it’s harassment. If they contact you, follow you through email or chat rooms on a continued basis (more than say 3 times) after you’ve said no, it’s stalking.

If someone enters a chat room just to single you out and make you feel uncomfortable or to toss insults at you it’s annoying. More than twice it’s harassment. Continued attempts after being told to cease and desist or the person being aware that this is not allowed on the site and it is stalking.

There is a little more to it than that, but that’s the basic rule of thumb.

Harassment is illegal.

Stalking via the net is a felony offence.

Such incidents are ones site owners have to look into. We’re bound to check it out, report it, involve the police if needed, deal with the ISP’s involved. It’s a serious issue. Stalking can destroy lives. Leave people afraid, uncertain and ruin their self confidence. It can affect a business or more than one. Never be afraid to contact site admin over matters like this.

At its lowest form harassment is bullying, and I have zero time for bullies. To me they are cowards. And as such I will deal with them to the highest extent I can when they enter my site.

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