No, you do not get to force me to talk to you.

Last night i got harassed and threatened by a random user on irc. Now, this is a problem that Carly Findlay talked about very recently by sharing her own experience. Here's my experience from last night.

So, i'm chatting away in an irc channel (one i happen to be an op in) when a random user that i don't know takes it upon themselves to private message me without permissions, when i told them very clearly that i didn't want to talk to them several times and in several ways, they got aggressive culminating in these two lines:

= 21:32:19 <xxxxxx> this isn’t goodbye. i’m going to find you ;)
= 21:33:56 <xxxxxx> pieces of shit like you are the reason there is pain in the world and I will put an end to you

You can find the entire log here (note that i have removed the name of this person and the network name, this is the only editing i have done. 

For obvious reasons i'm scared and angry about this, moreso because i felt that there was little i could do. This person uses a service called irccloud which hides their IP not just from regular users, but from ircops on the network. This makes reporting them to their ISP impossible. There were some steps i could take, though.

  1. Banned them from any channels i could.
  2. Warned ops in channels where i couldn't.
  3. Contacted irccloud.
  4. Contact the local police - this was a complete waste of time.
  5. Tweeted about how i felt.

Now, my initial contact with irccloud though twitter didn't seem promising, but they did ask me to send through and email, which i did, and once they'd seen that they were able to act and got back to me very quickly, something i am extremely grateful for. While i won't go into exactly what they said, i will say i am satisfied with their response.

The police, however, need more training when it comes to online harassment. Their solution came down to "well, don't use irc". No, that's victim blaming! There is no way that i should have to hide because there are people out there who think it's okay to force themselves into my online space and threaten me when i refuse to let them. So, i'm going to keep getting angry when this happens, to me or to others and i will fight back.

photo credit: Talk 2 The Hand via photopin (license)
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