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What to Do When a Commenter Goes Rogue

This guest post is by Gail Brenner, Ph.D. of A Flourishing Life.

It started innocently enough. Heartfelt comments, sharing a personal story, and a genuine interest in the topics I write about. But as the postings got longer, rambling, more personal, and more frequent—up to four a day in addition to emails—something had to give.

I was dealing with a commenter gone rogue.

Anyone who reads my blog, A Flourishing Life, knows that I take great care to respond to comments. I love interacting with my readers and cultivating a community in which everyone is welcome. Well, almost everyone, as I was soon to discover.

It becomes too much

The breaking point was when he asked me for a date—on my blog. He lives just over 200 miles from me and was willing to make the drive. I immediately blocked the comment and wrote him an email explaining that the purpose of comments is to discuss the subject matter of the post. He responded by letting me know that he removed my site from his favorites and requested that I delete all his comments from my blog.

There was no way I was going to go through all the comments from older posts as well as my responses to him, so I declined. Then, for some reason, he had a change of heart, and he was at it again—multiple, rambling comments per post.

It was getting out of hand. He stalked me when I commented on other people’s blogs and wrote me emails about these supposed relationships he was developing with other bloggers. I was ruminating during the day and losing sleep at night. “It’s just a blog,” I kept telling myself. But I needed to take action.

The steps I took

I contacted some of my blogging friends and asked for advice. Mary Jaksch of GoodlifeZen recommended I blacklist him. She wrote, “Please don’t feel bad about banning a commenter. Your blog is like your house—you decide who is welcome!”

Jonathan Wells of Advanced Life Skills agreed. Sibyl Chavis from Alternaview suggested a more moderate approach as did Sandra Lee of Always Well Within—even when he started commenting on their blogs. And Christopher Foster of The Happy Seeker was full of compassion for all concerned.

I had already set up my blog so that I could review his comments before approving them (more on the technical details below), and I decided to let nature take its course. A few days later, I simply could not bring myself to approve his comments any more. I had reached my edge, and I was finished with him.

But was he finished with me? 200 miles away is too close for comfort, and I didn’t know how unbalanced he could be. When he realized I had stopped posting his comments, he didn’t become angry, as I had predicted. Instead, he begged and pleaded. He expressed remorse and said he would be good from now on. He told me he loved me. He wrote daily for a while with diary entries about the activities of his life. Yes, these were all written as comments to my blog posts.

A resolution?

When I failed to respond, he made one last request. He asked me to say “yes” to one of his comments if I wanted him to leave, and he promised he would be gone forever. I figured I could give him that. So I posted his comment and my “yes,” but he didn’t keep up his end of the bargain. He posted 12 more comments over the next month before he left for good. That was mid-January, and I haven’t heard from him since. I mean it when I say I wish him well, but I am relieved that he is gone.

I still have 26 unposted comments from him sitting on the “comments” page on the back end of my blog. If I’m truthful, I’ve been holding them as evidence of his instability in case he showed up at my door and actually started stalking me. But I am close to being able to let them go.

What did I learn? I don’t think I could have prevented this situation, but others might have been much less tolerant than me. And I’m certain I would take action sooner next time. I can’t say enough about the support I received from fellow bloggers. It’s a true community of real people out there.

The technical details

WordPress gives us the capability to blacklist comments or moderate them before they are posted. On your dashboard, click on Settings, then Discussion. At the bottom of the page, type the email address in the appropriate box—for moderation or blacklisting. Click Save Changes, and you’re good to go.

If you are moderating, you will receive an email letting you know when a comment is available for your review, and you can choose what to do with it.

What if you blacklist? On WordPress, the comment ends up on the spam page. The blogger doesn’t receive an email about it, and the commenter doesn’t know he has been blacklisted. I have heard from others with different platforms that the commenter receives an email letting him know he has been blacklisted. If you go this route, I recommend testing it first so you know.

I’d love you to visit my blog and leave a comment, but please don’t go rogue on me. I may not be so forgiving next time.

Gail Brenner, Ph.D. is a psychologist who blogs at A Flourishing Life about untangling self-defeating habits and realizing happiness. Stay in touch by subscribing to her feed or by following her on Twitter at @aflourishinglif.

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Comments

  1. Jacob says:

    That’s probably one of the biggest problems about being a blogger. We put ourselves out there and show that we, too, are vulnerable. Darren has done a pretty good job of keeping his personal life separate from his blogging life, but we know he has two adorable sons, a wife, etc, etc, etc. It’s impossible for a blogger not to get emotionally attached, in some way, to what we are writing about and that shows in our writing.

    Unfortunately, there are people who begin to latch on to that for whatever reason. And when that happens, it can totally create an uncomfortable position for us. We want to continue to be our own self on the blog, but then at the same time, we know that if we keep going the route we are, that person is going to get more and more, as you put it, rogue.

    You handled it well. Too bad it had to go as far as it did–not your fault–but I’m glad to know that you are still able to feel comfortable blogging and he has left you the heck alone. Congrats on getting rid of the rogue. Now if only us Americans could get rid of another wannabe Rogue…Oh, enough politics from me.

    • Thanks for the support and encouragement, Jacob.

      Yes, I love my blog, so this situation wasn’t nearly enough for me to consider stopping. Just offering a helpful reality check for all of us bloggers.

      As for that other rogue….

    • I agree.

      On the flip side, I have had my personal life spill into my blog because I am open about my identity on my blog.

      A man I dated, but had broken up with, was leaving hateful comments. Since I moderate all the comments on my blog, readers never saw what was written. Unfortunately I had to read it. I wish I knew about blacklisting then.

  2. Oh Gail, I am so sorry this happened to you but, considering your good nature and big heart, I am not surprised. You are a bright light and moths will flock. I commend you for keeping your head about it and seeking out solutions from friends and fellow writers. I know I learned from this post and I know others will as well. Thank you for honestly putting this out there and sharing on the level you did. It is much appreciated and I sincerely hope your home stays safe and warm for a long, long time.

  3. Chris says:

    Well, interesting post. To me, it sounds like you’re too emotionally invested in your blog. The understanding that “your blog is your house” I think is very unhelpful. There’s too much emotion associated with the word house or home. I think it’s better to think of a blog as a picnic in a public park. Anyone can come along and join your picnic, whether they’re invited or not. You chose to have a private “thing” in a public location – exactly what a blog is. Also, your picnic only exists as long as the park stays open, as long as the wasps don’t come and try and eat your sandwiches etc. So, your blog isn’t your house.

    This is just some random guy who’s posting comments on your blog, you don’t owe anything to him. But at the same time, if you have a picnic in a public park and someone comes up to you and starts talking to you who you don’t want to speak to, a part of you realises “Oh, this is what I didn’t want to happen.” The difference is that you don’t have to ask them to do anything. You have control over your blog. I think, in blogging, there’s this sense of owing to your readers. Maybe that’s how you work and why people like reading your entries. I think then you have to ask yourself whether you’re writing and accepting comments because you need approval from your readers, or whether you’re writing selflessly without a need for comments or refreshing the “how many times viewed” page. It sounds like it’s more of the first, especially if you have to ask the opinion of others whether you should stop accepting unwelcome/worrying comments. Obviously the answer is yes you should stop accepting the comments, so I think a more interesting question to ask yourself is why you let it go so far, to the point where you’re seeking advice and keeping messages because you’re concerned for your well being.

    • Virginia says:

      I disagree. You make it sound like it’s her fault she had to deal with this guy. From what she wrote, the commenter’s progression to all out crazy was very gradual.

    • WisdomSeeker says:

      Hi, Chris : )
      Well, it sounds like you’re a man of great logic. Your point is well taken. As a woman who has been blessed with a husband who is more of your ilk I can tell you that I am very grateful for and enlightened by much of what I have learned from him over our many years of marriage.
      That being said…I too have offered my “left-brained” husband new perspectives, especially when it comes to dealing with people and being empathic and compassionate. Noting that Gail is a Psychologist indicates to me that she deeply cares for people. The desire to understand human behavior most certainly springs from reasonings beyond my personal opinion but I suspect, more often than not, Psychologist are born from a desire to help people heal or unlock personal mysteries. By nature studying and understanding human behavior and, in turn helping people who ask for help to understand themselves, takes great patience and, sometimes, longsuffering.
      Some possess Gail’s (apparent) gift while others posses more of what I suspect to be your strength. The two are not mutually exclusive, naturally.
      So, while you interpret Gail’s actions as a need for “approval”, I see her appeal as more of a search for wisdom in dealing with another human being. She just has more patience with human behavior and it’s quirks than most.
      Love AND Logic is the balance we all (hopefully) look for.

      • Thanks for your thoughtful perspective, Chris. It doesn’t ring true for me that I seek comments to be approved of. I am truly delighted when what I write sparks a reader to share his or her own experience or ask a question. I write without attachment – no comments, no problem.

        But when people do comment, I take the time to honor what they say and respond accordingly. Coming from that point of view, it took me a while to realize I needed to change my course of action – and I will be more on it next time for sure.

        Virginia, Yes, the progression was gradual, so, as I said, it took me some time to figure out what was going on.

        WisdomSeeker: I love your balanced view. Certainly, the best approach combines wisdom and heart, a line I try my best to walk in all cases.

  4. donny says:

    oh..must becareful when post some comment to others blog.

  5. Todd Dowell says:

    Wow, that really crazy Gail, but if it was me i would have blacklisted that person right off the jump. By letting him carry on with his foolishness. You showed him that it was ok to keep stalking you, and this guy fed into it big time.

    However, im glad this guy has stopped stalking you, and your able to sleep at night.

    Kind Regards
    Todd Dowell

  6. I worry about this too. I haven’t got in quite such deep water but I did have a commenter that was making me uneasy. I chose to be short and polite, occasionally not responding to his comments at all. He went away because, I guess, he wasn’t getting what he needed from me. I figure like Mary Jaksch, my blog is like my home and I decide who comes over the threshold and how they behave when they are there. I wouldn’t have hesitated to block him if he stepped over my line. These situations are useful to help us learn where our line is.

  7. Ah Huann says:

    I like this:

    “Please don’t feel bad about banning a commenter. Your blog is like your house—you decide who is welcome!”

    Besides, always be careful on dealing with commenter. It’s really difficult to frankly tell someone to “get out from my blog!”. Thanks for this post, I’ve learned a lesson as well :)

  8. SJB says:

    Having been stalked by a mentally unstable person who eventually did physically come find me–and was arrested and committed to a mental institution–I think you need to keep all comments by this person–posted and unposted–for at least a year, maybe longer. My stalker (who used phone, email and snail mail as this occurred before blogging was popular) stopped bothering me for several months then started up again. This went on for a year then he showed up in my town (350 miles away) after a lengthy silence.

  9. Gail,

    That is quite the story.

    I must say that I have had a few people not agree with my point of view (which I totally expect), but nothing close to what you had to deal with.

    It’s an amazing thing when you can reach out to experienced bloggers to help you solve this type of ethical issue.

    What I find amazing is that you’d be willing to share your story because this can become an excellent guideline for other bloggers dealing with difficult readers.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Krizia

  10. mega maza says:

    very good Oh Gail, I am so sorry this happened to you but, considering your good nature and big heart, I am not surprised. You are a bright light and moths will flock. I commend you for keeping your head about it and seeking out solutions from friends and fellow writers. I know I learned from this post and I know others will as well. Thank you for honestly putting this out there and sharing on the level you did. It is much appreciated and I sincerely hope your home stays safe and warm for a long, long time.

  11. mega maza says:

    Oh Gail, I am so sorry this happened to you but, considering your good nature and big heart, I am not surprised. You are a bright light and moths will flock. I commend you for keeping your head about it and seeking out solutions from friends and fellow writers. I know I learned from this post and I know others will as well. Thank you for honestly putting this out there and sharing on the level you did. It is much appreciated and I sincerely hope your home stays safe and warm for a long, long time.

  12. mega maza says:

    Oh Gail, I am so sorry this happened to you but, considering your good nature and big heart, I am not surprised. You are a bright light and moths will flock. I commend you for keeping your head about it and seeking out solutions from friends and fellow writers. I know I learned from this post and I know others will as well. Thank you for honestly putting this out there and sharing on the level you did. It is much appreciated and I sincerely hope your home stays safe and warm for a long, long time.very good articles i am happy

  13. Hi Gail,

    This one is a touching story. I don’t know if I will offend male bloggers if I say this, but only female bloggers are being harassed a lot. I get many dating requests via comments. Most of the times the comment will be so meaningful and relevant to the post but at the end there will be something like “when shall we date baby?”. You know its really hurting.

    Not only with comments on blogs but also with chats on Facebook and Twitter. And they don’t understand that I am not interested when I don’t reply to chat messages. Most of the times, some men do it just to irritate the heck out of me. Recently I added a sentence to my “About” page saying “I love to build relationships and I am open to online socializing. But I am not in the idea of dating anyone. So please do not contact me asking “hey baby wazupp” or “hiiiiiiii when can we meet”.”

    I find your tip about blacklisting very useful, thanks for sharing it :) Reading your post made me feel light :)

    Cheers,
    Jane.

    • Thanks, Jane. I have found that regarding my blog and in my life in general, setting clear limits is the key. In this case, it took me a while, but in the end, adhering to the boundaries I set really helped.

  14. patrick says:

    Wow. I never really thought about that end of blogging before. It definitely helps to take precautions when we put our work out for everyone to see. Thank you for sharing your insights on this situation. I’m glad that you have taken actions and given us some steps we can take to prevent it from happening in our lives.

  15. Amy says:

    What a creepy story. I had never thought of that, either, and now I know that if it comes up, I need to nip it in the bud.

  16. From the title I was expecting more of a hater, flamer, troll or hijacker.. but not this person who went rogue. As others have mentioned, per the nature of some blogs things do get ‘personal’ and feel very real. The more feedback there is, genuine friendships develop.. I know b/c I’ve made some great online friends. Never experienced anything like this, hope I don’t have to. FWIW.

  17. Craig Cassey says:

    Having just experienced a similar situation, though with a more negative commenter not so much a “friend,” I can attest to how difficult it is – especially when dealing with it for the first time! Commenters are the pride and joy for many bloggers and I never imagined needing to black list one after only 3 days of his constant commenting and cyber-stalking.

    My advice: when it starts causing you to lose sleep or begins to ruin your day – black list the commenter. It makes life much more enjoyable not worrying over a potential stalker and it simply is not worth it to allow them to comment.

  18. I’ve been very fortunate when it comes to my blog. I only had one attack in my two years of blogging and it was when we adopted our puppies. You may not know this, but there is a very strong opinion about who should or should not adopt dogs and two people decided that my boyfriend and I were on the “should not” list.

    The attacks I received were hurtful at first, but then became humorous, because one attacker actually went the route of racial slurs to make her point – I was blown away. I let the ladies know that I would copy all of their comments and forward them to the organizations they represented if they didn’t stop. They stopped, apologized, and tried to explain their passion, but I still blacklisted them and never looked back.

    I kept telling myself that if I put myself out there I have to expect some critiques, but there’s a difference between critiques and out and out attacks (and stalking – as in your case).

    Thanks for sharing the tips about moderating.

  19. Your story reminds me of when I worked for the phone company taking orders for DSL and a guy started hitting on me, hard. Wanted my phone number, address, called me his dream girl, all based on one conversation. Fortunately, he had no way to know where I was, but it’s still creepy.

    This is where private registration or a P.O. Box and a Google Voice phone number come in handy. Makes it harder to find where you live. Probably not impossible for the truly determined, but more difficult. I switched most my sites over to private when I moved, so that my new address would never be associated with my sites’ registration. I know some people don’t like private registration because they think you’re hiding something, but I think it’s better for my family which matters more to me than the opinion of the few who would bother checking my site registration information.

    • These are good suggestions for how to take care of ourselves, Stephanie. I don’t want to live feeling paranoid all the time – I live in openness. But when I start feeling uncomfortable, it’s time to pay attention.

  20. WisdomSeeker says:

    As a “newborn blogger” (NBB) I have already, in just the 3 days since I entered the world of blogging, found great advise and wisdom from this community of artist. : )
    Thank you for sharing what, I can only imagine, must have been a very unsettling situation. I’ll be doing more research on ways to secure my “home” thanks to your sharing, Gail, I along with many others will be better bloggers thanks to you.

  21. Matty says:

    Hello Gail,

    Hold onto the comments indefinitely. Even print them out so you have hard copies in case something happens to your blog or your hard drive. This “evidence” will prove invaluable if he reappears or takes things to the next level. He might be harmless, and you will probably never hear from him again, but having those comments saved is a safe bet.

    Matty

  22. Amanda says:

    This type of thing seems to be happening more frequently among the group of Mummy Bloggers I know and I can only imagine how unsettling it is. Thank you for sharing your story Gail. I’ll be passing it on to others.

  23. This article may not be immediately useful post for beginner blog like ours. However, as our blog develops and as I envision it to grow really big, we may encounter such situation. Thank you for posting this article.

  24. Found your post on Alist forums, and this is very good to know. If there’s any funny business in my comments, to block/moderate/blacklist immediately.

    I do get an occasional plea for help via email from my website. And, I always reply with invitation to schedule an appointment and talk about fees. They usually disappear pretty fast if not really interested in consulting. I get a lot of people just wanting to chat to a counselor for free, but no love letters thank goodness!

  25. Gail, I’m sorry you had to put up with this guy, but I appreciate your sharing what happened and how you handled it. I was thinking the same thing that Matty said in the preceding comment. You should save those comments somewhere, just in case.

  26. Adarsh says:

    It seems that the guy was mad about you. it’s some kind of obsession people have to those whom they look up to. A kind of infatuation to their “heroes”.

    While I haven’t had such an experience, I have seen my fellow bloggers being troubled with such requests.

    I used to moderate comments in my last blog. It took too much of my time and finally in my new blog, I stopped commenting option all together.

    • Hi Ardash,

      Eliminating comments is another way to handle this situation. I know others have taken that route, and I can certainly see the utility of it. I’m not at that point yet. By far, I find interacting with readers through comments the most fulfilling part of blogging for me.

  27. Archan Mehta says:

    Gail,

    Thank you for writing this post It was an eye-opener. I felt sorry for you, what you had to go through.

    However, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for creating your blog. I have gained a lot from reading your blog. Your articles demonstrate your education and skills and life experiences.

    I hope things improve for you. I hope you no longer have a problem with the person who is annoying you.

    Cheers.

  28. Denys Yeo says:

    In blogging, as in life, if you ignore someone and don’t engage with them, they will usually go away and find someone else to bother.

    I know that when I hit the “post” button my blog no longer belongs to me. It is part of the internet world and I can no longer control what happens to it, who comments on it, who replies to those comments and so on. I can try and control the material by moderating comments, deleting statements I don’t like – but then I am no longer blogging; I am controlling content in a similar manner to a newspaper or magazine editor. Of course I still have choices. Before I hit the post button I can think about the possible implications of putting the material I have just written into the public arena; If I am not sure I will be able to handle some of the possible comments it may generate, then I can choose not to post, or to modify it and then post. Also, I do not have to reply to everyone who comments on my post. I might like to respond to people who have taken time to write a comment, but it is not obligatory. I write heaps of comments, I would say about half my comments get a reply. That’s pretty good.

    • Sounds like you have thought about this topic a lot, Denys. What you are saying is to not be attached – to content we publish, to receiving comments, to having our comments responded to. This is the best approach with the least amount of suffering for sure.

  29. Kalai says:

    Hi Gayle

    I just read your post about your rogue commenter and then decided to jump over to “a flourishing life” for a look.

    I have just started my own blog http://www.styleyouresteem.com. I am studying counselling at the moment and I absolutely love it. I hope in the future to have an extensive blog like yours although it will have a different feel to it of course. I want to be involved in helping woman to re-build their self esteem through their appearance.

    It’s funny how when you start something all of a sudden it’s everywhere you look! I was interested in your post because I wasn’t sure how to deal with comments on my blog at all. I notice that many people do not reply to their comments but I also like to create a community feel. I have often wondered about whether people might get a bit “stalkerish” so it’s good to be euipped in advance. Thank you for your post.

    Anyway, I just wanted to make contact, say hi and congratulate you on your blog.

    Warm regards

    Kalai

  30. Gimo says:

    I have only one word “Wow”… I mean yeah it is only a blog that is quite frightning I think you should still be careful. The story is really well-written I felt like I was almost reading a book.

  31. Wow, is all I can say. First of all I am sorry you had to go through this. And I am glad abt the warning. And I have thought of this often, as I am a therapist-blogger as well. But I think it is best to shut down the communication more quickly than you did (not blaming you at all for this!). As there are lots of different types of ppl out there ( as you well know) and who knows what will get triggered. Of course I know you can’t prevent the triggering but I am thinking the need to be cautious has its place in the public domain. On one hand, while I think that Chris may have read more into your work than rings true., on the other hand, I think the male commenters do make good practical points, Don’t engage too much on public media. The ATT store downstairs from me was just robbed last month and I have stepped up my security in my own office. Unfortunately, it is the way out is out there.

    • Hi Kathy,

      The rogue commenter’s comments got progressively odd, so it took me some time before I realized how uncomfortable I was. And I will be more aware next time for sure.

      I don’t want to live in fear, but I do want to be wise about how I handle things. We can’t always protect ourselves from everything that could happen.

  32. Hi Gail,

    Sorry to read about this and what you’ve been through. I had a lot of experience with stuff like this on forums I either used to moderate or own. The motto is: “don’t feed the trolls.” Not even one crumb. No reactions, no responses, no banning, no blacklisting–nada. Not one word. The minute I see what I’m dealing with, I end all discussion. I put the person on ignore, literally or figuratively in whatever way that’s done in the situation (on a blog, either not approving comments or not responding after the fact). If comments are inappropriate, they get deleted and future comments don’t get approved. The “troll” which is what I’d call your character, needs food (a response). No food? He (or she) starves and goes looking somewhere else. A troll doesn’t hang around if he can’t get a rise out of someone–that’s what they’re looking for. So all we have to do is ignore them.

    Good luck with this! Hopefully no more trouble in the future. Just remember, don’t feed the trolls :)

    • Hi Leah,

      Your advice is spot on. After I decided not to approve his comment any longer, I immediately felt better. Whether he left comments or not, I was clear on my approach, and I wasn’t thrown off guard anymore.

  33. jgraziani says:

    Gail, I’m so sorry this happened to you. I hope everything is good for you now. I would encourage you to keep (permanently) an electronic file on this situation. As you stated, you don’t know how unstable this person is and while you may think it is over now, he could come back. You don’t have to dwell on it, just put everything on a flash drive and put it away in case you ever need it. There are a lot of cyber stalkers out there. FYI — I took a look at your blog and I’m sending a link to some people who I know could benefit from it. Keep up the good work! Best regards.

  34. Jasmine says:

    I’ve had a few that have gotten too close for comfort, emailing me slightly inappropriate things or emailing me too frequently – but never this bad! Yikes.

  35. Laurie says:

    Here’s a great example of why guest posting is so effective. I follow ProBlogger by email, and in checking out the push for the new ProBlogger’s Guide, I saw this post underneath.

    The content of this post has a different feel to most of the posts, which seem to be more how-tos, tutorials, stories about business etc. (That is why I follow it, after all.) Your post, Gail, is personal, deals with a challenging and rarely spoken of topic, and lays out a strategy for bloggers with rogue commenters to use in evaluating the relevance of comments, the underlying motivations, and looking for flags about our own inner selves that may be colouring our perceptions. Very useful and really, only understandable from empathetic/sympathetic points of view.

    I bet this has driven up traffic to your own blog considerably (I spent a good 10 minutes reading and looking around – a long time for me). Thanks to Gail and ProBlogger for demonstrating the effectiveness of guest posting!

    • Thank you so much for visiting my blog, Laurie. I appreciate your kind words.

      Guest posting has always been the main source of new readers for my blog. Before this post, I was getting about 650 hits a day. The day this post came out, I got 1601. Exposure through guest posting is a great way to build readership.

      But I don’t go for the numbers. What is even more important to me is to discover readers, like you, who are interested in the topics I write about.

  36. Ugh…been there. Cyberstalking, real life stalking and death threats. It makes me wonder what’s really wrong with some of these people. *shakes head* Blacklisting, blocking (FB) and comment moderation might be the greatest tools created for bloggers and social media marketers right now. (Besides the little feed my fish app people are putting on their sites, of course.) :)

    I’m glad this guy is leaving you alone now. It’s scary when someone doesn’t get that there’s a boundary that they’re crossing.

  37. Sibyl says:

    Gail:
    You are one of the kindest people I know and you were SOOOOO tolerant and patient and sincerely tried to resolve the issue. I know it was something you took seriously and I think that the advice you give in this post is great for bloggers that finds themselves in a similar situation. I really admire the way you handled it and you really are a great example for us all. Thanks for always sharing your wisdom … not only with your words, but also with your actions. Great post.

    • Great to hear from you over here, Sibyl. Thank you for your support – now and while this was all happening. You are a true friend and an example of the kind of connections we can make through blogging. I look forward to meeting you face-to-face some time!

  38. Bee Artist says:

    I’m surprised that you haven’t sought police advice already?

  39. Karol says:

    Hi Gail. This is a rather personal post, which you don’t see very often on major blogs these days. I have just one question. Do you think that maybe if you’d banned him after the first 2 or 3 inappropriate comments all of that wouldn’t have happened? I mean, when you try to contact someone you can always respond to their reaction (no matter if it’s a positive or negative reaction), but there’s not much you can do if the person ignores you. What’s your opinion?

    • Hi Karol,

      I don’t know what would have happened if I had banned him sooner. At the beginning, I knew he was troubled, but had a lot of compassion for him. It took me a while to realize he had gone too far. Eventually, not responding to him worked. Next time I’m sure I will be alert earlier about what is going on.

  40. Swistle says:

    A friend sent me this link because of a recent experience I had with a rogue commenter (I love your term for it!). It made me very, very nervous—especially because I didn’t know if not-responding would trigger a violent reaction, and yet I didn’t want to keep feeding into the relationship the commenter wanted.

    • Swistle,

      I wasn’t sure either how he would react to my blacklisting him. I expected anger, but instead got sadness, pleading, etc. At that point, even those reactions didn’t tug at my heart strings. I was over it and just wanted him to go away.

      My advice would be to make the purpose of comments clear, blacklist, and keep evidence, as many commenters have suggested here.

  41. It’s unbelievable that there are people doing this, I just don’t understand them. Your post here is really an eye opener, thanks a lot for having it posted for others to know how to handle such problem.

  42. Brandon says:

    I’ve had one person stalk me in 2006. He even went so far as to challenge me to a duel. Luckily he lived on the other side of the country.

    Blacklist and ignore.

  43. Freon says:

    I feel sorry for the situation you have been in, I can imagine how that would feel, but I’m even more sorry for the rouge commenter.
    Stalkers are not something new, they have been present in society a long time, but once again technology has failed to serve it’s good purpose, but instead making it much easier for certain ill people to manifest and execute their mania.
    I’m surprised to know that even this kind of stalkers exist.

    I wish you all the best and no more worries of this kind!

    • Freon,

      I actually have compassion for him, too. I don’t feel ill will or wish him any harm. He is a troubled person, and I am not the one to help him with his troubles.

      Thank you for your good wishes. Much appreciated.

  44. JC says:

    OK, now this is a bit of a downer for me? Somewhere between the blog post and the comments. I came to think should our personal lives be blogged about or not? Most of my blogs is about my life as I travel it and share it to my families and friends. I suppose emails would be nice for this now that I think about it. But instead I chose to create a website. This got me thinking now wether or not it is still a nice thing to do—I know my father is totally against it…erm I am a male just for a reference in case for the erm. I guess in case sake…. sighs….

    • HI JC,

      I am very particular about what I share on my blog about my personal life. I am transparent about the topics I cover, but I don’t talk about my personal life unless it happens to be relevant to what I am writing about. Personally, I like to keep my personal life private.

  45. The opportunity to moderate, delete, and block readers comments is the equivalent of having a lock on the front door to keep out unwelcome visitors. In the same way that I am careful whom I invite to a dinner party in my home, I must also be careful who can post a comment to my blog, lest they offend another reader. A blog, a post, and the comment section are, in my opinion, a reflection upon a blogger’s integrity and reputation.. That’s why I have no remorse about deleting inappropriate comments.