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Internet Safety - Protecting yourself on public forums

Tapati - Sat, 05 Feb 2005 06:58:48 +0530

I hear the rumor is going around. Yes I was threatened along with others by an angry and blasphemous person on another forum. It has been reported to authorities. I warned Madhava in case that person comes here. I wasn't the original target; I tried to stop the abusive spam posting going on in the wee hours of the night.

I advise everyone to make sure they never put their home town in their profiles, or urls to their websites if they have a registered domain or info that could lead to their location. Anyone can do a "whois" request and find out the address of a domain name owner unless one makes special arrangements to be exempted from this.

Also be careful about casual mentions of your local businesses by name, etc., and comments that can lead to your location. Obviously no mention of your legal name should be related to your posting here--either in references to a website that contains it or other sites that may list it.

It is a sad statement about humanity that we need to think of these things. We can find joyful connection or serious danger in the exact same forum. Rather like the uncertain world we live in.

Tapati - Sat, 05 Feb 2005 07:23:32 +0530

Oh, by the way, I think there is an assumption (based again on PMs) that only this other site would let someone like that on.

If someone wants to get on here and post those kinds of things, all they'd have to do is present themselves nicely and wait a bit--which is what they did over there. Anyone can play that game, get an email address they use just for this, write something convincing in their profile, and wait for an opportunity.

Whether or not someone is allowed in, anyone can read what you post.

I warned Madhava precisely because it could happen here, or anywhere. Unless you have some kind of draconian screening process and members read only permissions, and even then, anyone can change on a dime and become violent if they have a mental disorder.

It's best to practice caution and be prepared.