I'd really like for my blog to be a no-creep zone, thanks.
November 5, 2005 8:44 PM   Subscribe

I know I can't control the internet, but there is someone looking at my website in a creepy fashion, and I don't want them to anymore. Well really, I never did. How should I deal with this?

Without going into all the details, here is the story: I met a boy on an online dating site, started talking to him on aim, he managed to find my blog and has since been checking it every day, sometimes up to 5 or 6 times in one day. I know this because of the sitetracker on my blog, which for the most part is pretty superficial and impersonal. When I figured out that he was looking at my site and leaving anonymous comments without ever telling me he had found it in conversation, I swiftly blocked him on aim because I was creeped out. Not too long later he sends me a message noting my absence on aim, which I ignore, hoping the problem will just go away. I also disabled anonymous posting, and now he has created an account to leave comments. We have never met, and I don't think he should be able to find my last name, but I am going to start checking things since I am paranoid.

At first I thought this was rather harmless, but still creepy, but now I am wondering how scared I should be and what I should do. I have ways of getting in contact with him, but I don't know if I should do that and how I should approach it if I do. I don't want him lurking around anymore. So, advice? Am I overreacting to be getting really freaked out by this point?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (21 answers total)
Block him using the htaccess file... presuming you own the domain.
posted by jerseygirl at 9:02 PM on November 5, 2005

To me the events you describe make it sound like he's clueless, rather than stalker-y. If I was talking to a potential date on AIM, I'd be interested in their blog, and if they disappeared from AIM without any warning, I'd probably read their blog to find out why. As for finding it in the first place, well, that's what you do when you're doing online dating, you google the people you're interested in to make sure they're not creeps.

Specifically, it's a bit odd to me that if he were being creepy and stalker-like he'd create an account, especially if it's obvious that it's him. The account more than anything makes it sound like maybe he's still acting on good faith. Unless there's something else going on that makes you afraid to have any contact with him, maybe you should tell him to go away first.
posted by mendel at 9:23 PM on November 5, 2005

I agree with mendel. Unless there's something else here that you're not telling us, it sounds like you're really overreacting.

First off, publishing a public blog is like publishing a book: people are supposed to read it, and you should have zero expectation of privacy. If you want privacy, make your blog private.

Second, when you're dating online, people will routinely try to find your blog, if you have one. And, if they like you, they might even read it.

And, by the way, I check all the blogs on my list (all 200 or so of them) twice a day, and the ones that I like I check more frequently. So visiting the site multiple times in one day is not stalking.

Finally, your response was to all of this was just to vanish. Huh? He may well be simply clueless - for all he knows, you just haven't been online much lately. If you've had any kind of rapport built with this guy at all, you need to tell him what's up.
posted by gd779 at 9:42 PM on November 5, 2005

It's your blog. If you don't want him hanging around, just block him. You don't need to get permission first... I don't really understand the question -- are you asking how technically to accomplish this? If so, htaccess is the standard way, but there are dozens of other means depending on the software in use, and we'd need more details. Are you asking if it's okay to be weirded out? Of course it is... if he makes you uncomfortable then block him and don't even give it a second thought -- you don't have to justify yourself.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:42 PM on November 5, 2005

Boys need to be told very sternly before they will back off. You are really worrying over nothing if you haven't done that yet.

Don't tell him anything about the measures you are taking to get rid of him. It might sound like evidence that you really aren't interested, but he might take it as a challenge and if he is a stalker he might be able to use the info.

Simple, stern, then cut him off as completely as you possibly can.
posted by Chuckles at 9:48 PM on November 5, 2005

I think you're overreacting. It's a blog, after all. It's public information. People have all sorts of weird data access patterns. And, unless he's writing creepy things into these comments, I wouldn't worry about it.

But, you have every right to try to block him for whatever reason you want. It's not like you're hurting him by doing so.

As mentioned above, the .htaccess method is probably the best way to go. If you use some sort of CMS, it may have options for blocking IPs.

By the way, you're really blocking IPs, since there's no way to identify "him" on the other end. The result of this is that you'll wind up blocking the entire ISP. If it's a small ISP, who cares, but if you wind up blocking out a Class A from Earthlink or something, you're going to find a chunk of your readership has disappeared. Also, he can easily get around this by switching to a new ISP, if he's determined (which he isn't).
posted by Netzapper at 9:54 PM on November 5, 2005

I don't necessarily see anything in your comments that sounds really dangerous. Creepy is a matter of how you feel about it, and if you don't like it, you don't like it, case closed. But if you're asking whether this behavior sounds like an indication that anything bad will go down IRL I'd have to say no.

I think the best course of action would be to brush him off clearly and diplomatically. If you don't want him around your site, you should probably tell him so. If he ignores your wishes, then it's time to start blocking him and calling him. One of the best remedies for creepy behavior is the light of day.

I sympathize with you in that it's a serious drag when the wrong kind of person keeps showing up at your site. But unless you've expressed a clear desire for him to go away, deleting his comments & blocking his access will seem passive-aggressive at best, and at worst he won't get the clue that it's personal. Be clear with him, then do what's available technically.

But, in truth, this is one reason why people don't allow comments on their blogs. Perhaps you should find a platform that gives you more control over who can create an account.

Still, the biggest thing is to tell him diplomatically to please leave you alone as you don't find a continued correspondence or relationship comfortable or appropriate. If you start getting heavy-handed without giving him fair notice, you are inviting REALLY creepy and confrontational behavior.
posted by scarabic at 10:07 PM on November 5, 2005

it's time to start blocking him and calling him

calling him OUT, I meant to say.
posted by scarabic at 10:07 PM on November 5, 2005

Just to reiterate Cuckles - we guys are pretty clueless. A nod's as good as a wink to a blind horse, as they say. Be kind, and just tell him to go away if you don't like him. (Been there myself.)
posted by anadem at 10:28 PM on November 5, 2005

Your 'friend' probably doesn't understand that you're uncomfortable. He sounds curious to me instead of creepy, but clearly none of us have read his comments or your blog.

Just tell the guy what you want him to do, whether it's to leave your life completely or to back off somewhat or whatever your goal is. He'd probably appreciate the direct approach instead of seeing his comments mysteriously disappear without explanation.

It's certainly more comfortable for you to handle a situation like this by blocking IP addresses and deleting comments, but it's unfair and cold. If you were in his shoes and he in yours, would you want him to behave that way toward you? Wouldn't you want an explanation?
posted by lambchop1 at 10:32 PM on November 5, 2005

I could easily see myself making comments to a friend's blog, then not mentioning it in conversation/IM. The two are separate, and for me, once I comment, I've said my say. If my friend brought it up, I'd discuss it.

That being said, sometimes, if something feels creepy, it is best to react to creepiness, no matter the rationale offered by total strangers as to why it isn't creepy. I just find it sad, because maybe he's just a sweet boy.
posted by Goofyy at 11:32 PM on November 5, 2005

It sounds to me like you haven't actually told the guy to leave you alone, or even "given him the hint" in a particularly clear way. It also seems like he isn't doing on anything explicitly creepy.

Personally, I've never made the link between my one-on-one relationship with a person and reading their blog. If a blog is well written or entertaining, it's fairly easy to tune out who wrote it. Maybe the guy just found a blog he likes?
posted by cillit bang at 3:41 AM on November 6, 2005

When I started getting undesired and excessive traffic to my blog from sources I wasn't comfortable with I effectively abandoned it in favor of a friends only LiveJournal. Blogs are public things. If you don't want attention from random muttonheads then a public blog might not be for you...
posted by pookzilla at 5:35 AM on November 6, 2005

You're making a huge deal about a complete assumption. It may not even be him checking the blog out -- but someone who uses his computer and read some of your conversation. This would follow that he hadn't mentioned it -- he might not have even known about it and the 3rd person was checking it (thus reason to be anonymous). You blocked him because of a feeling, not a verified reason. Checking your blog repeatedly is more a sign he likes you (met from a dating site, makes sense), and not enough reason to sever contact, especially without telling him you are and leaving him clueless.
posted by vanoakenfold at 7:11 AM on November 6, 2005

Are you even sure he's reading the blog that often? Is it possible he just has an RSS aggregator set to check its feeds 6x a day?
posted by jbrjake at 9:05 AM on November 6, 2005

anonymous here...I can't believe I created another account to defend myself/further explain things/thank people, but oh well.

First of all, yes I am certain it is him. At one point I was only 98% certain, but it's up to 100 now.

Also, I do have a separate, private website with restricted access. I know what I am getting into by having a public blog, which is why I keep most personal information away from it. This blog is pretty low-traffic, and I know most or all of the people who read it on a regular basis. Which is why it was sort of a red-flag when I saw a certain visitor showing up an awful lot and I wasn't sure at first where they came from.

Next thing...when I blocked him, it was in part because I was a bit creeped out, but also because my interest in him was quickly disappearing. He may be a sweet boy, but the bottom line is I'm not interested, regardless of any of the other stuff.

And lastly...thanks for the advice, and bringing me back to reality. I just got this paranoid seed in my head yesterday, it started to grow, but now it's been effectively stomped on. If I could, I would award Chuckles and scarabic with best answers.
posted by argylesocks at 9:43 AM on November 6, 2005

arglye, you can.

Click on the "mark as best answer" link by their questions. Only you see these links.
posted by zpousman at 1:49 PM on November 6, 2005

Maybe I missed it, but I still don't think I see any evidence of you having said you're not interested in the guy.

If you were a guy, and you were asking an equivalent question, I'd tell you to be a man and be straight up with the person.

So, be a man, girl.
posted by The Monkey at 1:56 PM on November 6, 2005

She probably doesn't see "mark as best answer", because either Matt or Jessamyn posted the question for her originally...
posted by tristeza at 2:04 PM on November 6, 2005

i'd just use livejournal (or something like it, with permissions) and make sure only people i choose could read what i wrote. he could check in as often as he wants, but not see what you say unless you want him to.
posted by anildash at 12:44 AM on November 7, 2005

I have something kind of similar to this with my website. There's a guy who wrote me an email on Friendster several months ago. I wasn't interested, so I didn't write back. A month or so after that he wrote again wondering if I had gotten his first email. This time I wrote back and thanked him for his interest, but basically said 'no thanks'. My site is linked from my Friendster profile, so he was able to read it, which doesn't bother me as I'm a big proponent of 'don't write anything online that you wouldn't say to a stranger you met in a coffee shop.' Since he checks my site from work (which has a distinctive IP address) I can easily tell that he's been checking my site multiple times a day ever since. It doesn't bother me, because I've had online crushes before and wanted to check in on them every once in a while.

However, he doesn't do anything else. He doesn't send me email, he doesn't leave comments, he doesn't instant message me. So I think what you need to judge here is whether your guy's actions cross any boundaries that make you uncomfortable. Sure, he leaves comments on your blog. That's what blog readers do. But only you can decide if those comments give off some kind of creepy or inappropriate vibe. Sure he instant messages you, and you would hope he gets the hint by you not answering, but unless you've specifically told him to stop and he's ignoring you, well, all that means is that he's not good at reading social cues. But if his remarks are creeping you out because of their content then you're perfectly justified in worrying. Basically, let your own judgement be your guide.
posted by MsMolly at 7:28 AM on November 7, 2005

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