Some people don’t like it that bloggers remain anonymous on the internet. While some hide their identities in order to terrorize others, those of us who choose to remain anonymous hide our identities for our own protection. And by “us” I mean women. The Internet is a wonderful tool that allows all of us to express ourselves religiously, politically, or just for fun. But the fun can take a dark turn when you get predators looking for someone to terrorize, and blog comments are just the ticket. There are numerous examples of this (here, here) and numerous responses (here, here). But, the important point of this is that you must first and foremost protect yourself. Not every comment has to be allowed. It’s your blog! You have the right to allow or disallow any comment you are uncomfortable with. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Terrorism can also come in subtler forms. Patronizing and smarmy tones, ridicule about your right to write on certain topics, excessive posting in which the comments appear not to be addressing the issue at hand, an inordinate sense of proprietary “ownership”and criticism about what you post, and other tactics used to silence us. Abuse comes in a variety of manipulative guises and it’s up to us to make sure we recognize it when we see it.
Some women give up and quit blogging, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Stalkers are usually riddled with inadequacies of some kind. They were probably abused as children and they are usually those who’ve never matured past the “I want my way, even if it hurts you” stage of development. Stalkers are dangerous, don’t get me wrong, but if you are careful about your identity the most they can find out about you is where your ISP is located. If you get really threatening comments that won’t stop even when you delete them on a regular basis, then trace their ISP and alert not only your blog administrator, but the authorities. Never engage them in conversation! I don’t care how innocent their comments seem, if it makes you uncomfortable, it’s wrong. Always trust your instincts. After all, no one is looking out for you on the internet, but you!