Privacy

I hate to bring this up because it's so obviously a downer, but I think I have to: I put my real name and work e-mail address into my account at signup because I automatically assumed the information would not be openly available to anyone who happens onto this site. When I saw that this was not the case, I went back and took my name out of my account, but I haven't removed my work e-mail address yet. In checking the Edit function with my account, I saw that my e-mail address wouldn't be made public, so that will probably remain as is.

I used to visit misc.health.alternative on use.net a lot when I first started surfing the web. My previous career involved medical technical writing and healthcare advertising, so alternative healthcare and the charlatans and snake-oil salesmen who promote it were subjects of great interest to me.

One woman who posted a lot had made a career out of promoting the misfortunes of women who elected to have breast augmentation surgery. The horror stories I've read about this woman are enough to make your hair curl. If you disagree with her, she shouts you down and enlists her sycophants to join her in belittling you. Then she combs the archives of posts, sometimes going back years, until she finds what she thinks is your real name and e-mail address. She bombs your e-mail account with porn, determines your home telephone number and then calls your home to tell your spouse that you're cheating on him or her. Finally she would call your neighbors AND YOUR EMPLOYER to complain about the things you've written on the web and ask your employer if they think you should be posting to use.net while on company time.

I know it sounds like an Internet Urban Legend, but I wouldn't be telling you this if I hadn't seen it myself. The people I corresponded with on use.net were doctors, scientists, and medical researchers who probably were in no danger of losing their jobs, but to whom reputation meant a great deal. The things this woman did to their good names was an embarrassment that took a great deal of time to fix.

I've known most of you folks here for quite a while through Mr. Cranky's. I've never had a problem in RL through my involvement with the Cranky fora, even though I surf to the site usually while I'm at work, during breaks or lunch or what have you. But that's no reason to surf carelessly.

Most of the people I've read or met at the previous website seem much too thoughtful or busy to waste their time on some of the activities I've described above. However, there are others I have bandied words with on the previous website whom I wouldn't put it past. I therefore urge all of you to review the information you've put on your accounts and remove anything that could be used to lead someone back to your real life.

I suspect that most of you folks are much more knowledgeable about the Internet and have already taken precautions to protect your real lives. If so, I applaud you and urge everyone else reading this to do the same. I would hope that there would be no problems with the people posting here, but I feel it's best to err on the side of caution.

Finally, I understand there was a great deal of talk about kill-files and the need to ban posters who seem abusive. As a recipient of some of the ire and invective from a few of the posters on the previous board, I must confess that I didn't make use of the kill-file function and disagree with the need for such a function. I agree that some of those posters were tedious and profane in the extreme, but I also have to admit that some of their posts forced me to get out of my mental funk, dust off my keyboard, and think and re-think and re-organize a lot of the ideas that had been hiding in the dusty corners of my mind for a long time, much to my benefit.

Much like the three long, tedious months I had spent one weekend reading all of Ann Coulter's books, I find it instructive to keep the rants of the under-informed fresh in my mind, even if it is only to remind me what it is that I am writing for. So I would urge the moderators or webmasters to welcome any and all comers to join and post here, even the recognizable names from the previous website. And if it were my choice, the only reason that they would ever stop posting would be that they had nothing left to say.

Best regards, Wally


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Now that we all know where you live

RidingFool's picture

we're coming over for breakfast on Sunday morning. And that's breakfast, not brunch!

And yes, but no, but yes, I agree with your post. Caution is advised.

Further, could you, would you care to précis the contents of Ms Coulter's works for those of us who don't have the time to devote to such an extensive study of her words?

Given your background, could I ask for some advice? Thank you. I've had this lump on my left ventricle for some time know. Do you think I should see a health care professional, or must I take your advice with a grain of salt?

Well, OK, but I feel I must warn you. . .

Wally_Pipp's picture

We'll be serving that Philadelphia favorite, scrapple, a dish not recommended for the faint of heart.

My Dad once told me that the only part of the pig not used as a food product is the squeal it makes right before it shuffles off this mortal coil. Think of all those parts one wouldn't necessarily associate with the words "pork" and "food," and you get the idea of what goes into the making of scrapple. Toss in spices, bacon fat, and a liberal (heh) dollop of corn meal mush and you've got the makings of a tasty Philadelphia treat!

Second, Coulter's "works" can be reduced to the following:

Liberal, BAD; Coulter, GOOD!

Coulter friend GOOD, too!

Coulter SMASH Liberal!

SMASH! SMASH! SMASH!

I've read a lot of Marvel comics over the years and yet I found this exceedingly tedious.

Finally, if you discover a lump anywhere on your body, it's time to seek the advice of a healthcare professional, even if it turns out to be a benign cyst or a calcium deposit. I'm sure, however, that not only your primary caregiver but the folks over at the American Heart Association, the American College of Anesthesiologists, the American Association of Radiologists, and the editors and reviewers at the Annals of Internal Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and the New England Journal of Medicine would be intrigued by your description of how you determined that you had a lump on your heart. Were you engaging in a little exploratory surgery on yourself at home? Do you possess the Flash's superhuman ability of control over every individual molecule in your body?

Enquiring minds need to know!

Best regards, Wally

No need for all of that trouble, good Sir.

RidingFool's picture

A slice of Canadian bacon, an egg over easy, a little burnt toast and I'll be slinking off towards the rising sun, whilst the laggards are regaling you with tales of their derring-do over bites of warmed-over scrapple.

HA! HA! the joke is on you Mr. Pipps!

Rajah's picture

I don't have a real life but I'll take your suggestion. I too thought that stuff was private. Right now I don't care if people see my e-mail address. I'm tired of getting spam. I guess I should edit me name even though most know it anyway.

I often wondered why you answered those morons on the Old Cranky site. Writing practice makes sense for most of their posts were hardly worth one of your thoughtful answers.

*bump*

Xur's picture

I've noticed that a couple of people have what looks like a real name in their profiles. Iffin y'all don't want every X-Man, grundle, or Hamartoma to track you down, you might want to think about changing that...

(I have what looks like a real name, but it's not my actual name... it's from The Last Starfighter, of course)

ETA: OK, I actually don't even have that fake name in my profile. What am I, paranoid??? Hey man, just because I'm paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't after me!

I don't care

Critico's picture

I'm pretty far away from anyone here, and my name is way too common.

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