Normally, even in the most vicious Flame War
, one can end their participation in the hostilities simply by just walking away, and the troll can and should be ignored. After all, it's just the internet, right?
Except for the Internet Stalker. This person apparently believes that what someone has said or done on the internet is such a personal insult or so deserving of punishment that they must be pursued consistently across any online presence they possibly have, and sometimes even into Real Life
Internet Stalker behavior can include threats, the posting of repugnant material to the person or their friends
, Ad Hominem
attacks, Abomination Accusation Attack
, pretty much any other personal attack that exists, gaslighting
in some forms, attempts to turn the individual's online or real-life friends or co-workers against them, impersonation attempts, and worse.
Expect the grudge post to be a common part of this - a post attacking the person in anything related to them, no matter its relevance: for example, on an article announcing that Alice's band has released a new song, there will be a long
rant about how Alice is a Complete Monster
who eats aborted fetuses for breakfast
, is sexually and morally depraved, so stupid she can't find her way out her front door while doing all this evil
, and has bad business practices or finances too.
What defines the Internet Stalker is that their behavior is not limited to one location, but that they follow their target to multiple locations and that they do not generally restrict their behavior to that which can be easily ignored or blocked (private messages or e-mails to the individual, for example) but that they want everyone to know how awful the person who somehow offended them is, or seek to inflict ongoing punishment upon the person for however they felt upset or slighted. Or, in some cases, they are a compensated shill
hired to discredit the person.
This also differs them from the troll
in that while a troll may go after a specific person, they generally do it for their own amusement - and go away when the person refuses to engage with them or is no longer amusing, and even the most devoted trolls aren't that likely to dig up every single place that one person interacts to pick fights with them, especially
if the person keeps everything as private as possible and refuses to engage.
Losing an Internet Stalker is rarely simple. Some can be dissuaded by refusing to engage, offering a sincere apology for what offended them, or by closing or locking your accounts until they get bored or find someone else to bother. Others will simply take such things as refusal to engage or apologies as demands for their behavior to escalate, and there have been cases of these sticking to their targets for years
until either law enforcement intervention occurs or public opinion has sufficiently turned against them to the point their attacks are entirely (or almost entirely) discredited.
Obviously should be No Real Life Examples
and probably should only define the term.