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How was someone else able to control a library computer?

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How was someone else able to control a library computer?

birchswinger
I broke off a romance with a tech geek who turned out to have unsavory connections. Initially he stalked me solo (I think), but somehow eventually got others to participate. Sounds implausible, but it happened and I have witnesses. QUESTION: During 2006 I repeatedly had this experience: I'd go to the library and begin to use a computer. All would be fine, but after a short time one of these proxy stalkers would show up, plant himself behind me, and start texting. Very quickly I'd lose control and/or access on that computer. I learned to beat the game, sort of, by suddenly running to a random computer, typing in an address I'd copied, and printing immediately. This was the only way to get any information on anything that might help me. A couple of times the thing I was reading disappeared,the screen and text changed color, and I was suddenly reading hostile messages like, "There's nothing for you here. Move along". (This when I'd found an article on rootkits in a journal for librarians.) Generally I don't share this bizarre story with people, because I know they'll be at least skeptical. But this stuff ACTUALLY HAPPENED, and I'd be grateful if you could help me understand HOW. Thanks in advance.
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    this forum is an open, online forum. There is ABSOLUTELY no way that "birchswinger" nor anyone else can prove that they are indeed the person they say they are. This person could just as easily be the stalker, and is asking for help in hacking the library computers that their stalking victim is now using. That's why we, as members of Tech Republic, have decided it is in the best interest of everyone NOT to go into details on
    how a system can be compromised.
    Downvote me, flag me, whatever. Call me rude, uncaring, non-sympathetic...you don't even know me, it doesn't hurt my feelings. I've been in a situation similar to this, and let me just say that people can pretend to be anything on the internet. That's why we, the members of Tech Republic, have written some of the GPL documents we have, and is
    also why the FAQ in all sections should be read and understood prior to posting.
    FYI---the "move along, nothing to see hear" is an OLD, very old, sarcastic remark that is made to people that ask the wrong questions in some forums. So perhaps the OP triggered a response from someone they were asking questions of in a forum about how to rootkit the library computer? I'm not saying that's what happened, I don't know...
    none of us do. Since the issue occurred in 2006, why ask now, 7 years later?
    If the OP was just looking for a recommendation on how to stop someone from stalking, ASK THAT QUESTION, not understand how the library computers were compromised.
    Wizard57M
    TR Moderator
    (edited to try and remove extra line breaks...durned IE)

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    Slayer_

    I don't know why but there is a line return after each word on a new line.
    Making it very hard to read.

    This is a sentence
    This
    is a sentence


    Like that. Is it just me?

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    Doesn't surprise me...I'm using IE at the moment!!!

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    Slayer_

    Now it's fixed. I am using Chrome (out of necessity). So far I hate it.

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    Charles Bundy

    Why are folks swinging at each other? Let's look at what we know of 'birchswinger'

    Gender: unknown
    Location: unknown
    Age: unknown
    Solution: unlikely as this happened 7 years ago
    Time on TechRepublic: Three days

    If one simply types in the title question to Google, they are given numerous links related to remote control. Question answered. So why are you folks beating this to death? Sounds like the OP truly is a 'swinger of birches'.

    Heed W.O.P.R.'s wisdom - The only winning move is not to play :)

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    Isn't finding stuff by way of search engines fun...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_PkqW44mhU

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    Note---I'm not saying this is the same person, I just find the parallels interesting...

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    Slayer_

    I like to google myself.

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    OH Smeg

    Slayer you need to remember never to Google Google or you'll break the Internet.

    That's Very Important to Remember.

    Col

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    JohnStanton

    I'm an academic librarian. If anyone in a library (or elsewhere for that matter) think they are being stalked, notify someone immediately. Tell the librarian or other staff member you don't feel safe and need help.

    Stalking on college campuses is far too common and assaults on college students happen too frequently. You have a right to feel safe, especially in a library. Don't be afraid to speak up for yourself and ask for help.

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    info

    ...that right now, thanks to some of these infantile and juvenile remarks on a near non-issue, I am actually embarrassed to be a member here.

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    Slayer_

    Don't worry, we are embarrassed that you are a member.

    :-) just kidding.

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    Merlin the Wiz

    If you search for "Google" remote administration software you will learn more than you really wanted to know on wikipedia

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    birchswinger

    Hello, everyone. I want to give special thanks to everyone whose contributions to this discussion were purely constructive. John Stanton, RSmiedy, glenharris, Nunob, Warwick05 : I'm grateful to you all, and Cybergrrl and GEChurch: I'm especially grateful to the two of you for going to bat for my right to try to learn something here. The reason I brought this question to TR in 2013 was that when I tried to tell the librarians and a couple of friends in 2006 what had happened to me at the library it was just not something that they could picture as possible, and I was broke, and my cameras had been taken repeatedly, etc., etc, and I couldn't prove it. Since I'm almost sure that I wouldn't have believed such a weird story had I not experienced it myself, I couldn't feel angry at them for their disbelief -- but I did feel incredibly depressed and defeated and scared. For all I know the librarians looked into things and eventually took the necessary steps to prevent their network being hacked; I don't know, because I stopped going. I did go to the police, by the way, but no real help. (I can elaborate/clarify further on that or on other parts of the story if anyone has questions.) I also have been treated by mental health professionals, and do essentially take care of myself, but thanks to those of you who expressed concerns for my wellbeing. I'm running out of time, so I'll just say that my main reason for asking my question on TR was to help anyone else out in the world who may be experiencing this kind of harassment, or something similar. I certainly have googled the Q that I posted over the years, and came up with nothing. I cannot be the only person in the world who has had to deal with something like this, and to think of someone else being harassed like this (and surely in so many other ways) and dismissed as delusional because "That's not possible" or "People would never do that" makes me feel ill, because it's terribly painful to be dismissed when you legitimately need assistance. By the way, wizard describes the proxy stalkers with the cellphones as "hired hackers" in one of his posts. Not my words. I do not know, to this day, who these people were, or why they participated in this. I can tell you that I eventually learned from a neighbor (others have spoken w/ her of this and heard this too) that she'd been seeing TONS of different people in different vehicles come to my house several times a week (I was never home, and the alarm was always set) --sometimes staying for minutes, sometimes staying for hours ---and no, this wasn't because I was dealing drugs or anything illegal, or had an "alternative" lifestyle, or anything. It was because actual strangers somehow got persuaded to join in on messing with me. How could such a thing happen in the real world ? Who were these people? Why would ANYONE smart enough to have a driver's license participate in such a thing against an innocent, law-abiding person like me --or anyone else? I've tried to guess at answers, but that's all I can do. I just don't understand it at all. Thank God these people don't hassle me anymore. The original stalker who started all of this did allude on a couple of occasions to being involved in some sort of community watch-type thing (or something), but he always kept the details murky, and I never dreamed of anything/everything ever getting crazy and scary.(And as I said, I just don't know.) He still likes to make his presence felt on occasion (I imagine he does this with every woman he's ever been with, like a hobby). Please just understand that (A) The unbelievable can actually take place. It's actually possible for an innocent person to be stalked/harassed by a bunch of other "adults" who they don't know. Apparently their "reasons" for targeting someone can vary. This has been documented by anthropologists, etc. What can I say? It's messed up. And OHSmeg's pronouncements notwithstanding, the number of people who are stalked in any form who "bring this on themselves" (and therefore, I guess, deserve it?) ---that's a number really close to zero. (B) New technologies have emboldened some creeps to perpetrate really awful things on others more than they might have done in an earlier time when these resources were not available to them. (C) It is incredibly important that people who are proficient with technology stay on the side of the angels and work to make the digital world a safer one for everyone. And in order to do that effectively they will have to keep an open mind and listen to their guts so as not to cause further harm to someone who legitimately needs help. So thank you again to those of you who have helped me here, and peace to everyone. It wasn't ever my intention to stir up bad feelings, etc.

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    birchswinger

    When this discussion started the posts appeared in chronological order, and frankly the discussion thread made much more sense that way. I wonder why/how that changed? Now the posts are wildly out of order (ex: 3/18, 3/26, 3/28, 3/17, etc.), and everything makes less sense and is less interesting as a result. Also, my first response to other posters now appears to thank another member for what was really hacking advice, which WAS NEVER WHAT I WANTED. That member's post (advocating that I try hacking) didn't actually appear in the thread until after I'd posted my thanks to him ( for his earlier, more appropriate response) and to others on the site who'd responded "respectfully and rationally" to my question. I imagine that most people who read these threads don't necessarily scrutinize the date on each post, and I'm concerned that anyone reading the thread (as it now appears) would come away with the impression that I had welcomed Slayer's how-to-hack-for-revenge suggestion as "respectful and rational", when I was not seeking that kind of feedback. Can anyone shed light on this for me? Why doesn't the thread simply read vertically with each post appearing according to the time and day that it was originally posted? For several days (3?4? longer?) the posts here appeared in a chronological, sequential order so that a reader (having seen what preceded each post) could easily make sense of the responses that followed. Had the responses on this thread appeared disjointed/random from the start then the change several days later would have been less jarring to me, but I admit that I am new to TR. Perhaps threads here always end up this way, although given the result --- that posts no longer appear in the actual, chronological order in which they originally appeared --- I wonder if it has to be that way?

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    it all depends on how a person responds to your posts. if they post in "answer the question" it starts a different section of the blog and people respond to each individual question and it is posted chronologically under each one; If they click on "reply" , they post to that part of the discussion. That's how the Q&A section of TR works. The Discussion page works a little differently again. Does that make sense to you?

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    birchswinger

    I think (?) I get what you mean about the way things get responded to here in terms of the order in which the posts appear. I take your word for it, certainly, and really appreciate your filling me in. I'd just been puzzled because for several days when the discussion started the order of the posts appeared strictly sequential, timewise, and the discussion thread did seem far easier to understand. The (vertical sequential) order of some of the posts here did change after a number of days, but I'll assume that perhaps some people revised their posts and that this somehow affected where they ended up appearing in the thread. (?) Or something like that; I don't know. :) At any rate, thanks again, PurpleSkys.

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    Wow

    Becca Alice

    What a disappointment. How can calling a user delusional ever be defended as professional IT response? This sort of thing is exactly why IT has such a terrible reputation for being a group of condescending jerks. We are all well aware from multiple media sources that group bullying happens, and in fact quite a few of our own "nerd" community have suffered through extensive bullying, so making an assumption that someone is insane is hardly a productive response. I went to the site noted for discussion and it has to do with asking for passwords, nothing to do with professional and productive response to end users. If you wanted to tell a user "we can't help you because this touches on areas in which we should not be involved" it's certainly possible to do so without coming across as a complete IT jerk. Googling things does not help non-professionals and while we're not used to seeing them pop up here often, when they do, slaughtering the lost lamb is not helpful. I have to agree with those who say this entire response from TR moderation has been condescending, defensive, aggressive and deeply unprofessional. What a disappointment in this site.

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    birchswinger

    Thank you so much, Becca Alice, for coming to my defense here -- and to the defense of any non-geek who comes to this community seeking help/answers.Without a doubt many of the responders to my original post were nothing but kind, and tried in different (appropriate) ways to help me out, and for that I'm really grateful to all of you who did that here. As to the others, I hope that they'll give my question/my position some more consideration and conclude that they were hasty in being dismissive, or hostile, or whatever shoe fits some of the less friendly posts in this thread. I guess one of the things that I'd urge them to think about is that your basic smart geek-type is far less vulnerable to being messed with in the kind of ultra weird (albeit reality-based) scenario that I described above. They tend to have the smarts, the skills, the monetary and tech resources, etc. that would make messing with them a bad idea.

    I'd also like to add that even if it appears very strongly that a newcomer to a place like TR is suffering from a terrible mental disease that has stripped them of sound judgment and perception --- if it appears overwhelmingly that that is the case, and certainly it may be at times --- well, that person would be someone in a state of immense suffering, and through no fault of their own. That would be a person living in what I picture as truly a sort of **** on earth, and someone who desperately needs to be shown some human kindness. And while I can appreciate the need to not have discussions dominated by someone who seems unable to perceive and interpret reality as well as most of us can, I think that it's a good idea to keep in mind the old Hippocratic idea of "First, do no harm" when responding to the concerns of people seeking guidance or help. Thanks again to all of you who have been so kind. I really do appreciate it.

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    Juanita Marquez

    Agreed. There are people that call TechRepublic home who are paid to do IT work, who are very smart and "jaded", and there are also people here who do the same and can actually be labeled "professional" in conduct or at the very least, gracious and tolerant. I know who I'd rather follow. Puerile behavior may be acceptable to those who have been here awhile and can take the punches but IMO I'd rather err on the side of being welcoming to someone who may not turn out to be who they say they are than scaring off people that took an interest in TR in the first place and badmouthing it down the road to people that may be positive for the site. But hey, I'm weird that way.

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    Slayer_

    It's like any other public forum. You have to filter it yourself, take the information you want, ignore the stuff you don't want.

    I think of it this way.
    If someone says a rude joke, even if not to you. Do you (A) yell at them for offending you or (B) ignore it and get on with your day.

    Here is a blog post about someone that chose option (A).
    http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/career/off-color-remarks-at-conference-result-in-two-developers-getting-fired/4872?tag=mantle_skin;content

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    well put Slayer_ ....thank you :) Most of us don't mean to come across as rude; we're just a little too blunt at times or it's been one of those days. No excuse, I know...

    PurpleSkys
    TR Moderator

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    birchswinger

    I suppose that you're right, Slayer, that most public forums are going to be a mixed bag of wisdom and ignorance, good will and bad. And yeah, we all get to make choices about how we respond to people. The choice to respond to another's post IS the FIRST CHOICE. If one thinks someone's question should be dismissed for some reason, why even take the time to write a response? If you do write a response you have other choices: you can decide that you want to avoid hurting someone needlessly as you take the time to contribute thoughts that you (presumably) figure will be of some use to someone. Or you can be overly "blunt", as PurpleSkys said. But that's a choice too, and when you make it you can't blame others for asking why. And you're right, PurpleSkys, about how there really is no excuse for responding like a jerk. If you've had a bad day then do the kinds of things that decent, mature adults do to get rid of stress or whatever but spare the rest of us. Clearly some people on Tech Republic have a pretty narrow idea of who should be recognized as a welcome visitor to the Republic and a rightful speaker in a forum. Thankfully other members of TR have extended themselves to defend my right to be here, to answer my (sincere, non-sinister) question, to express concern for my wellbeing, and to apologize for other TR members who'd dismissed me, or snarled at me, or sneered at me, or did all three by turns. (And Slayer_, you were not rude to me, and thank you for that. I WASN'T looking for "evil" suggestions, but given your lack of meanness to me ----even after I distanced myself from your how-to-take-revenge feedback --- I'm gonna bet you've got a good heart behind that cynical, devil-may-care online persona.) I do think that I and other non-geeks (who have searched elsewhere unsuccessfully for answers) have every reason and every right to show up at TR in the hope that experts will help us with our questions if they want to and they can. And apparently most of y'all (Thank you, Juanita Marquez) agree with me, so....cool.

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    Slayer_

    Dang I just read that this happened 7 years ago.
    Sorry, my advice was worthless.

    Did you ever figure out who did it?

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    this forum is an open, online forum. There is ABSOLUTELY no way that "birchswinger" nor anyone else can prove that they are indeed the person they say they are. This person could just as easily be the stalker, and is asking for help in hacking the library computers that their stalking victim is now using. That's why we, as members of Tech Republic, have decided it is in the best interest of everyone NOT to go into details on
    how a system can be compromised.
    Downvote me, flag me, whatever. Call me rude, uncaring, non-sympathetic...you don't even know me, it doesn't hurt my feelings. I've been in a situation similar to this, and let me just say that people can pretend to be anything on the internet. That's why we, the members of Tech Republic, have written some of the GPL documents we have, and is
    also why the FAQ in all sections should be read and understood prior to posting.
    FYI---the "move along, nothing to see hear" is an OLD, very old, sarcastic remark that is made to people that ask the wrong questions in some forums. So perhaps the OP triggered a response from someone they were asking questions of in a forum about how to rootkit the library computer? I'm not saying that's what happened, I don't know...
    none of us do. Since the issue occurred in 2006, why ask now, 7 years later?
    If the OP was just looking for a recommendation on how to stop someone from stalking, ASK THAT QUESTION, not understand how the library computers were compromised.
    Wizard57M
    TR Moderator
    (edited to try and remove extra line breaks...durned IE)

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    Slayer_

    I don't know why but there is a line return after each word on a new line.
    Making it very hard to read.

    This is a sentence
    This
    is a sentence


    Like that. Is it just me?

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    Doesn't surprise me...I'm using IE at the moment!!!

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    Slayer_

    Now it's fixed. I am using Chrome (out of necessity). So far I hate it.

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    Charles Bundy

    Why are folks swinging at each other? Let's look at what we know of 'birchswinger'

    Gender: unknown
    Location: unknown
    Age: unknown
    Solution: unlikely as this happened 7 years ago
    Time on TechRepublic: Three days

    If one simply types in the title question to Google, they are given numerous links related to remote control. Question answered. So why are you folks beating this to death? Sounds like the OP truly is a 'swinger of birches'.

    Heed W.O.P.R.'s wisdom - The only winning move is not to play :)

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    Isn't finding stuff by way of search engines fun...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_PkqW44mhU

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    Note---I'm not saying this is the same person, I just find the parallels interesting...

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    Slayer_

    I like to google myself.

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    OH Smeg

    Slayer you need to remember never to Google Google or you'll break the Internet.

    That's Very Important to Remember.

    Col

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    JohnStanton

    I'm an academic librarian. If anyone in a library (or elsewhere for that matter) think they are being stalked, notify someone immediately. Tell the librarian or other staff member you don't feel safe and need help.

    Stalking on college campuses is far too common and assaults on college students happen too frequently. You have a right to feel safe, especially in a library. Don't be afraid to speak up for yourself and ask for help.

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    info

    ...that right now, thanks to some of these infantile and juvenile remarks on a near non-issue, I am actually embarrassed to be a member here.

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    Slayer_

    Don't worry, we are embarrassed that you are a member.

    :-) just kidding.

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    Merlin the Wiz

    If you search for "Google" remote administration software you will learn more than you really wanted to know on wikipedia

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    birchswinger

    Hello, everyone. I want to give special thanks to everyone whose contributions to this discussion were purely constructive. John Stanton, RSmiedy, glenharris, Nunob, Warwick05 : I'm grateful to you all, and Cybergrrl and GEChurch: I'm especially grateful to the two of you for going to bat for my right to try to learn something here. The reason I brought this question to TR in 2013 was that when I tried to tell the librarians and a couple of friends in 2006 what had happened to me at the library it was just not something that they could picture as possible, and I was broke, and my cameras had been taken repeatedly, etc., etc, and I couldn't prove it. Since I'm almost sure that I wouldn't have believed such a weird story had I not experienced it myself, I couldn't feel angry at them for their disbelief -- but I did feel incredibly depressed and defeated and scared. For all I know the librarians looked into things and eventually took the necessary steps to prevent their network being hacked; I don't know, because I stopped going. I did go to the police, by the way, but no real help. (I can elaborate/clarify further on that or on other parts of the story if anyone has questions.) I also have been treated by mental health professionals, and do essentially take care of myself, but thanks to those of you who expressed concerns for my wellbeing. I'm running out of time, so I'll just say that my main reason for asking my question on TR was to help anyone else out in the world who may be experiencing this kind of harassment, or something similar. I certainly have googled the Q that I posted over the years, and came up with nothing. I cannot be the only person in the world who has had to deal with something like this, and to think of someone else being harassed like this (and surely in so many other ways) and dismissed as delusional because "That's not possible" or "People would never do that" makes me feel ill, because it's terribly painful to be dismissed when you legitimately need assistance. By the way, wizard describes the proxy stalkers with the cellphones as "hired hackers" in one of his posts. Not my words. I do not know, to this day, who these people were, or why they participated in this. I can tell you that I eventually learned from a neighbor (others have spoken w/ her of this and heard this too) that she'd been seeing TONS of different people in different vehicles come to my house several times a week (I was never home, and the alarm was always set) --sometimes staying for minutes, sometimes staying for hours ---and no, this wasn't because I was dealing drugs or anything illegal, or had an "alternative" lifestyle, or anything. It was because actual strangers somehow got persuaded to join in on messing with me. How could such a thing happen in the real world ? Who were these people? Why would ANYONE smart enough to have a driver's license participate in such a thing against an innocent, law-abiding person like me --or anyone else? I've tried to guess at answers, but that's all I can do. I just don't understand it at all. Thank God these people don't hassle me anymore. The original stalker who started all of this did allude on a couple of occasions to being involved in some sort of community watch-type thing (or something), but he always kept the details murky, and I never dreamed of anything/everything ever getting crazy and scary.(And as I said, I just don't know.) He still likes to make his presence felt on occasion (I imagine he does this with every woman he's ever been with, like a hobby). Please just understand that (A) The unbelievable can actually take place. It's actually possible for an innocent person to be stalked/harassed by a bunch of other "adults" who they don't know. Apparently their "reasons" for targeting someone can vary. This has been documented by anthropologists, etc. What can I say? It's messed up. And OHSmeg's pronouncements notwithstanding, the number of people who are stalked in any form who "bring this on themselves" (and therefore, I guess, deserve it?) ---that's a number really close to zero. (B) New technologies have emboldened some creeps to perpetrate really awful things on others more than they might have done in an earlier time when these resources were not available to them. (C) It is incredibly important that people who are proficient with technology stay on the side of the angels and work to make the digital world a safer one for everyone. And in order to do that effectively they will have to keep an open mind and listen to their guts so as not to cause further harm to someone who legitimately needs help. So thank you again to those of you who have helped me here, and peace to everyone. It wasn't ever my intention to stir up bad feelings, etc.

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    birchswinger

    When this discussion started the posts appeared in chronological order, and frankly the discussion thread made much more sense that way. I wonder why/how that changed? Now the posts are wildly out of order (ex: 3/18, 3/26, 3/28, 3/17, etc.), and everything makes less sense and is less interesting as a result. Also, my first response to other posters now appears to thank another member for what was really hacking advice, which WAS NEVER WHAT I WANTED. That member's post (advocating that I try hacking) didn't actually appear in the thread until after I'd posted my thanks to him ( for his earlier, more appropriate response) and to others on the site who'd responded "respectfully and rationally" to my question. I imagine that most people who read these threads don't necessarily scrutinize the date on each post, and I'm concerned that anyone reading the thread (as it now appears) would come away with the impression that I had welcomed Slayer's how-to-hack-for-revenge suggestion as "respectful and rational", when I was not seeking that kind of feedback. Can anyone shed light on this for me? Why doesn't the thread simply read vertically with each post appearing according to the time and day that it was originally posted? For several days (3?4? longer?) the posts here appeared in a chronological, sequential order so that a reader (having seen what preceded each post) could easily make sense of the responses that followed. Had the responses on this thread appeared disjointed/random from the start then the change several days later would have been less jarring to me, but I admit that I am new to TR. Perhaps threads here always end up this way, although given the result --- that posts no longer appear in the actual, chronological order in which they originally appeared --- I wonder if it has to be that way?

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    it all depends on how a person responds to your posts. if they post in "answer the question" it starts a different section of the blog and people respond to each individual question and it is posted chronologically under each one; If they click on "reply" , they post to that part of the discussion. That's how the Q&A section of TR works. The Discussion page works a little differently again. Does that make sense to you?

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    birchswinger

    I think (?) I get what you mean about the way things get responded to here in terms of the order in which the posts appear. I take your word for it, certainly, and really appreciate your filling me in. I'd just been puzzled because for several days when the discussion started the order of the posts appeared strictly sequential, timewise, and the discussion thread did seem far easier to understand. The (vertical sequential) order of some of the posts here did change after a number of days, but I'll assume that perhaps some people revised their posts and that this somehow affected where they ended up appearing in the thread. (?) Or something like that; I don't know. :) At any rate, thanks again, PurpleSkys.

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    Wow

    Becca Alice

    What a disappointment. How can calling a user delusional ever be defended as professional IT response? This sort of thing is exactly why IT has such a terrible reputation for being a group of condescending jerks. We are all well aware from multiple media sources that group bullying happens, and in fact quite a few of our own "nerd" community have suffered through extensive bullying, so making an assumption that someone is insane is hardly a productive response. I went to the site noted for discussion and it has to do with asking for passwords, nothing to do with professional and productive response to end users. If you wanted to tell a user "we can't help you because this touches on areas in which we should not be involved" it's certainly possible to do so without coming across as a complete IT jerk. Googling things does not help non-professionals and while we're not used to seeing them pop up here often, when they do, slaughtering the lost lamb is not helpful. I have to agree with those who say this entire response from TR moderation has been condescending, defensive, aggressive and deeply unprofessional. What a disappointment in this site.

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    birchswinger

    Thank you so much, Becca Alice, for coming to my defense here -- and to the defense of any non-geek who comes to this community seeking help/answers.Without a doubt many of the responders to my original post were nothing but kind, and tried in different (appropriate) ways to help me out, and for that I'm really grateful to all of you who did that here. As to the others, I hope that they'll give my question/my position some more consideration and conclude that they were hasty in being dismissive, or hostile, or whatever shoe fits some of the less friendly posts in this thread. I guess one of the things that I'd urge them to think about is that your basic smart geek-type is far less vulnerable to being messed with in the kind of ultra weird (albeit reality-based) scenario that I described above. They tend to have the smarts, the skills, the monetary and tech resources, etc. that would make messing with them a bad idea.

    I'd also like to add that even if it appears very strongly that a newcomer to a place like TR is suffering from a terrible mental disease that has stripped them of sound judgment and perception --- if it appears overwhelmingly that that is the case, and certainly it may be at times --- well, that person would be someone in a state of immense suffering, and through no fault of their own. That would be a person living in what I picture as truly a sort of **** on earth, and someone who desperately needs to be shown some human kindness. And while I can appreciate the need to not have discussions dominated by someone who seems unable to perceive and interpret reality as well as most of us can, I think that it's a good idea to keep in mind the old Hippocratic idea of "First, do no harm" when responding to the concerns of people seeking guidance or help. Thanks again to all of you who have been so kind. I really do appreciate it.

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    Juanita Marquez

    Agreed. There are people that call TechRepublic home who are paid to do IT work, who are very smart and "jaded", and there are also people here who do the same and can actually be labeled "professional" in conduct or at the very least, gracious and tolerant. I know who I'd rather follow. Puerile behavior may be acceptable to those who have been here awhile and can take the punches but IMO I'd rather err on the side of being welcoming to someone who may not turn out to be who they say they are than scaring off people that took an interest in TR in the first place and badmouthing it down the road to people that may be positive for the site. But hey, I'm weird that way.

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    Slayer_

    It's like any other public forum. You have to filter it yourself, take the information you want, ignore the stuff you don't want.

    I think of it this way.
    If someone says a rude joke, even if not to you. Do you (A) yell at them for offending you or (B) ignore it and get on with your day.

    Here is a blog post about someone that chose option (A).
    http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/career/off-color-remarks-at-conference-result-in-two-developers-getting-fired/4872?tag=mantle_skin;content

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    well put Slayer_ ....thank you :) Most of us don't mean to come across as rude; we're just a little too blunt at times or it's been one of those days. No excuse, I know...

    PurpleSkys
    TR Moderator

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    birchswinger

    I suppose that you're right, Slayer, that most public forums are going to be a mixed bag of wisdom and ignorance, good will and bad. And yeah, we all get to make choices about how we respond to people. The choice to respond to another's post IS the FIRST CHOICE. If one thinks someone's question should be dismissed for some reason, why even take the time to write a response? If you do write a response you have other choices: you can decide that you want to avoid hurting someone needlessly as you take the time to contribute thoughts that you (presumably) figure will be of some use to someone. Or you can be overly "blunt", as PurpleSkys said. But that's a choice too, and when you make it you can't blame others for asking why. And you're right, PurpleSkys, about how there really is no excuse for responding like a jerk. If you've had a bad day then do the kinds of things that decent, mature adults do to get rid of stress or whatever but spare the rest of us. Clearly some people on Tech Republic have a pretty narrow idea of who should be recognized as a welcome visitor to the Republic and a rightful speaker in a forum. Thankfully other members of TR have extended themselves to defend my right to be here, to answer my (sincere, non-sinister) question, to express concern for my wellbeing, and to apologize for other TR members who'd dismissed me, or snarled at me, or sneered at me, or did all three by turns. (And Slayer_, you were not rude to me, and thank you for that. I WASN'T looking for "evil" suggestions, but given your lack of meanness to me ----even after I distanced myself from your how-to-take-revenge feedback --- I'm gonna bet you've got a good heart behind that cynical, devil-may-care online persona.) I do think that I and other non-geeks (who have searched elsewhere unsuccessfully for answers) have every reason and every right to show up at TR in the hope that experts will help us with our questions if they want to and they can. And apparently most of y'all (Thank you, Juanita Marquez) agree with me, so....cool.

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    Slayer_

    Dang I just read that this happened 7 years ago.
    Sorry, my advice was worthless.

    Did you ever figure out who did it?