"My work may be garbage but it's good garbage." Mickey Spillane
This is a good little article.
I suspect that all of my readers have experienced internet harassment at one time or another.
However, in the case of Kathryn Rusch, Patricia Cornwell, myself and many others in the various arts, where do you draw the line in the sand?
At what point does it go beyond merely an annoying and sometimes painful irritation and become a full-fledged threat to one’s ability to create and earn an income?
In the old days before the internet, if you wished to revile someone you had to either send them a letter or find somewhere that would deign to publish it in a print zine. Fans frequently conducted wars by way of mimeographed fanzines. There were a lot of those wars and they started all the way back in the Golden Age. Donald Wolheim was one of the first to actually take a fan war into the court room when he sued several fans to stop a pattern of libel. Damon Knight’s account of that in one of his autobiographies makes it sound very similar to what goes on today with internet stalkers.
So the history is there.
The tradition is there.
The internet has simply made it easier and, at the same time, more complicated to deal with.
When I have gotten more than I can deal with, I lean a bunch of tablets against my monitor screen, leaving just enough space to direct the forward without reading the text and sent it to a friend. She then keeps it in a special folder. I move the email to my own special folder, again without reading it. It’s all I can do.
But once in a while one of them will get past me and I’ll read it — as I did Mr. Dagstine’s lastest missive.
Rusch takes a similar tactic.
I’m not certain whether anything solid can be done about it. As Rusch notes in her article on professional jealousy, civil suits are expensive and time-consuming. They can take over your life. So often, it is not something you can use as a viable means of stopping it.
It’s ineffective anyways.
The frustrated self-published author who stalked Patricia Cornwell, still gets a free website up here and there in violation of court order. As soon as the site is discovered, Cornwell gets it taken down. But there is no way to completely stop it.