Since joining Crimespace, I've clicked "Approve" whenever I got someone's request to be my friend, but I just added one that made me wonder. When I checked the page, there was no way of identifying the person, even though there was a link to an interesting website. And there was no indication that the person had any specific interest in mysteries.

I'd say more, but the site made me feel too paranoid. And it got me thinking - I'd really like to know who's posting here. Weird aliases, featureless silhouettes and endless photos of cats don't do it for me. Most of you seem to be genuinely interesting individuals with a real interest in myseries, but who knows? Maybe I need to be more cautious. As my husband always reminds me, this is a highly public space, and anyone could be stalking. What do others think?

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See? Julie sort of touched on that...scary avatars.
Have to agree. I originally put up a picture of myself naked. It crashed the site.
I think I know exactly which site you mean Julie. In terms of my featureless silhouette photo - I am spectacularly unphotogenic, so waiting till a decent recentish photo of me happens!
I am too, Laura. Hence Kate!
Well... I was one of the first twenty on here, and at first I quite happily friended everyone as I thought it was the neighborly thing to do. But as always happens, real life got in the way and I actually haven't been back here much. Now there are seemingly thousands of people! Oh my, this place exploded! I've reconnected with several old friends so that is cool, but I still haven't figured out exactly how I want to use this. I do like reading the thoughtful commentaries and articles posted, but as far as anything else, I really need to be doing other things.

So, I no longer friend everyone who happens by. Although I will wave up there to Dianne Day! HEY YOU! I am gonna friend you, so good to see you here!

I really should look through all the new members. Might see some treasures in here, like Dianne. But...I'm not posting anything in my home page, so what IS the real point... Start posting, I suppose.
Hey, this is what I really look like...

There a simple way to avoid be stalked if you are this concerned about it, don't post and don't put personal information on your page.

This is not meant to be disrespectful but when I checked your page, I found so much personal information about you. I know the general area where you live, you have two books, you were in Lark Tavern on March 27th and so on.

I have next to no personal information on my profile because I am not here to promote me, just to enjoy the discussion. Quite a few people know who I am, so I feel no pressure to post more personal info.

A large number of authors whose work I really enjoy are members, so it's like being at a convention for me.

But there are people here who want to promote themselves and I don't have an issue with that, so long as they don't shove their book in my face.

We are all here for our own reasons.

But respectfully, it can't be both ways. You can't say we might be stalkers and yet publicize your every move to sell your books.
Hi Evil,
I have no problem with people knowing the personal info you found out on my page. And I wouldn't say I'm overly paranoid. I agree with your wife Sandra - an Internet presence is important, and I like the personal quality of this site compared with some of the more narrowly focused topical sites.
In response to "Evil Kev,"

CrimeSpace is a gathering place, "A place for readers and writers of crime fiction to meet."

Where people meet, they talk about what is going on in their lives. For
some of us, our books and promoting them is a big deal at one point or
another. For the folks here who are readers, they might appreciate
hearing about new books, even ones from news authors.

After reading your posts in this topic and others, I suppose CrimeSpace
is supposed to be an evening at the pub for old friends and new, except you want new
book announcements and such to be declared "Off Topic" and not allowed
in the pub.

I hope that you will soon develop the Netiquette FAQ for CrimeSpace,
and publish it. Then I can know all the Ps and Qs that I have to mind,
so I don't offend the genteel folks.
Actually, Newt, I've already put in a lot of work into writing up the help pages, with what I hope are clear questions and answers, especially on the subject of promotion.
Actually Newt, I don't think Evil Kev is saying that at all. His post clearly says that he doesn't have an issue with promotion, just doesn't want it shoved in his face. It's nothing to do with being genteel. If I'm sitting in the pub with friends talking about...say...music...and some bloke comes and sits down next to me and tells me he has an aardaark for sale then I will be interested the first time he mentions it, will tell the group that I am with and maybe we'll discuss aardvaarks for a while before we go back to our previous conversation. Then if he mentions the aardvaark again, I will still be polite, but I will make it clear that I'm not in the market for an aardvaark right now, but thanks anyway. Eventually, if he keeps droning on about the aardvaark and makes no attempt to show any interest in the existing conversation, I am going to take his aardvaark and batter him about the head with it. And the whole episode is going to put me off aardvaarks, so he has done himself a real disservice.
"A good rule of thumb: never give out more personal info on the inter-tubes than you'd write on the wall of a public toilet in Grand Central Station. And you're right--there's something a tad creepy about coming to a mystery/writing oriented community and soliciting "friends" for unrealted purposes."

Okay, I'm going to expand and split hairs here. The reality is, it's pretty essential for authors to have an online presence of some sort these days. I was just talking to a friend from NYC yesterday and we were discussing the appalling lack of information on the official website of our favourite author. In her case, she's been trying to find out tour info, and not even his US publisher is posting all of his events. I mean, for crying out loud, no wonder some author tours don't draw crowds - nobody can find out about them.

In this field, we're all in the public domain to some degree. You can choose not to be, at your risk. I recently had someone approach me on behalf of a festival to ask if I knew anything about a certain author because there was no online information and they were considering inviting the person as a paid speaker... but were dissuaded by the lack of information available. Similarly, if I'm interested in interviewing an author but can't find information online I usually just drop it. It makes it too difficult for me to do the necessary background research.

The minute that you have an online presence you have vulnerability. I believe in vigilence over avoidance. I can't quite get behind the idea that you only put up what you'd want written on a bathroom wall - I'd rather nothing be there, thank you.

In order to utilize the advantage of the internet there are risks. We might get emails/blog comments/personal messages from 'unknown' people who are suspect. We could also get physical mail from unknown people who aren't stable. Risks aren't limited to the internet community.

Now, a number of us on here have met each other in person, and so it spreads from there. I know the Ken Bruen on here is the real Ken Bruen because I know Ken Bruen. I know Evil Kev is my husband. I know Tribe - I've met him and have a photo of the real Tribe! I know a lot of other people on here...so that validates them for me, and through them the identities of others are confirmed.

We must all decide how much of ourselves we're comfortable putting out, but I think the reality is, this is the central crime fiction hub on the internet. Even if we don't spend a lot of time here, we can connect with old friends, sometimes read interesting discussions, hear news, make new friends. It's a way of networking without leaving the house. I'm not here to have stuff sold to me, but I am here as a way of keeping my finger on the pulse of the community, and I suspect many others are here for that reason as well.
"I know Tribe - I've met him and have a photo of the real Tribe! "

And how can you be so sure, ma'am?

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