Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pull the Plug… Seriously

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A while back I left an online community abruptly because it had gone bat-shit cray-cray. It seems like a million years ago, but I guess it was just a year and a half. So strange. Time flies.

Today I had an email from a member who is still active there. She set up a sock-puppet account with yahoo and, apparently, thinks everyone in the world is as dumb as she is and can’t do a quick reverse trace to the IP and stringer to find out who she is. It took me 3 minutes, I think. BTW, nice fake reviews on your own books.

Curious that, after such a long period of time with only occasional outbursts of batshitery, she woke up yesterday and typed out a letter from “a reader” telling me I was going to burn in hell. A few turns of phrase sounded familiar. Huh. What is that I do for a living when not writing and letting Ahmed pay for my indulgences?

OH YEAH!

Sure enough, the precise grammatical curiosity she used in a very negative review of one of my shorts led me to a brief track and squirrel that led me to a connection: my hate-reviewer (who very likely did not read the short in question judging by her content), was not only the same person—she sock-puppeted her own review as well as re-posting it all over the net. I have been aware of it through google alerts, but didn’t know who she was. I read reviews, and even take notes on negative ones in case there’s useful information there. We can all learn and grow. Some of us even do so.

Not Princess Sock Puppet, though. Why anyone would get pissed enough at me because I walked away from an argument rather than waste time on it to CREATE THREE IDENTITIES ONLINE TO POST NEGATIVE REVIEWS, SUPPORT THE REVIEWS, AND SPAM THE WEB WITH THEM, THEN SEND ME HATE MAIL AFTER OVER A YEAR AND A HALF— erm… well, just why?

Negative reviews have been rare for me, and as I’ve said, sometimes helpful. For the most part readers have been really good to me in that department, and I am willing to listen to criticism. I like to learn and grow.

But stalking me with intent to harm feels really sad and—I’m not being sarcastic here—concerning. Something’s wrong with you, sugar. Honestly. I recall often disagreeing with you, but also recall POINTEDLY making an effort to agree to disagree so that you could step back from your own reactions. My genuine memory of our relationship was that I thought you were bi-polar, and it showed in your writing. As such, I felt as much pity as annoyance. But I also remember noting that you spent several months going out of your way to pick fights with specific individuals, myself among them. What has become clear is that my decision to say “screw this, it’s too hostile to waste time on” robbed you of a target for your outrage. That was, for the record, my intent. You appeared, to me, to have serious mental issues and waaaayyyy too many people enabling them.

So now, what with me forgetting you exist for a year and a half, I am a tad stunned to find the evidence of your melt down in my inbox. Straight up—I swear I was meandering through life assuming that you stewed for a few months, then simmered, then moved on. I’ll admit—this one flew under my radar. The very notion that somebody would be SO FREAKED OUT by my quiet exit from a romance writers’ forum she would create multiple personas to post fake negative reviews, respond to them supportively, and eventually have a random melt-down resulting in hate mail? Yeah, I can’t even be angry. I’m just SAD.

Please look at your words:

I know you are on [AUTHOR’S NAME’S] blog all the time. I know that was you on AW [Absolute Write]. You are f***ing evil. You’re going to go to hell for turning all those people against her. Nobody will say this to your face but you are fat, gross, and disgusting. Supposedly people cared when you had cancer. I wish you’d died because you are evil. You can’t write shit. You’re a joke.

I included just this paragraph because I think it really illustrates the extremity of the mental meltdown. The “she” is, absolutely without question, the author of the email. We traced it. She is writing as a supporter of herself, but it’s her account. She used it as an actual alternate email for herself publicly, in fact. The email was long… and some of it didn’t make that much sense. It’s also… interesting, I’ll say… this writer has not done much professionally of late other than sit on the Absolute Write Water Cooler (my account there was never de-activated, I left because of this kind of thing and never went back), at Romance Divas (I requested that the account there be de-activated, and left), and on her own blog. She often attaches herself to current topics as if she is involved in them as a “presence of significance” and has a few sycophants who do not know better in her stable. What I noticed in tracing her, since I had pretty much forgotten she existed, is that more recently few people are listening. If my guess is right (it is), her bi-polar issues are being seriously exacerbated by her world becoming smaller.

So my reaction will be this: I wish everyone who considered me a friend at Romance Divas all the best. I think Absolute Write is a bad influence on writers who rely on others without understanding their level of credibility or lack of it, and didn’t have friends there to begin with. I don’t wish any of them ill, either, the bad influences seem to do enough damage to themselves without any help. Since leaving RD—which actually DID pinch a bit, but was good for me—I have wandered onto 2 forums and found that my initial theory of “online communities are not good for me” was correct, I have abandoned all forums. I mention this because there seems to be a corresponding theory that I am “out there” using another name. I’m not. I belong to an email loop for writers that is private, and belong to a nerd-club/think-tank that predates all my other online groups. It is also private; I post to the loop, chat, and otherwise interact with very old friends there.

If you don’t see it on MY facebook account or twitter feed, it’s not me. I do have an author fan page on FB, and NOTHING but my OWN books/writings are discussed there. Ever.

I’m not worried about hell, cancer, dying (we are all going some time), bad reviews, or what anyone who likes to pick fights thinks. I would simply say if you have an inkling of who this author is—I refuse to out her—and can make a difference, maybe being aware of her illness can help her. She isn’t well. She can’t hurt me with her rant, but my GAWD, she has damaged herself. That kind of stuff inside any living thing is poison, and it’s making her sick. If you are in a position to help her (I’m beginning to think she’s past that point), please do. She needs to pull the plug and get some help.

Peace.

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