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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Being a bit of an old hand at forums these days - both from a user perspective and as an administrator there is a very small percentage of idiots out there that think anonymity is an invitation to bad behaviour. Active moderation is one way to control them, and it's a very rare bird of an administrator (and software package) that cannot leap into the fray and sort out a troll toots sweet.

But the best, the very best method of handling trolls is for a community to not react. Trolls / stalkers / idiots / they are all looking for a reaction / for discussion about them, to excite people - that's how they get their thrills. In the main, online, if you're bothered by an idiot - then the power is in your hands. Block them from contacting you directly, ignore them totally, complain (privately) to an admin if they are visibly creating trouble, but ultimately - ignore them.

Online - attention is the major jollies they can get so deny them airtime. Most will get bored and go somewhere where they can visibly get a rise out of somebody.

(I'm also the queen of the quick draw email filtering / blocking functions - you have to be when you admin an extremely public discussion forum alas).
And I am still wondering, if you are not mystery fans and/or writers, why you are here and why you stay here? What am I missing?
I agree. It is weird dealing with people who hide behind empty facades.
Using your non-d-plum on a cyber forum won't get your house
burglerized. Come at least that far out of the closet!

I wonder about anonymous posters who can't be held accountable for
their comments or actions. It reminds me of the scandal a while back
when Amazon accidentally revealed the identities of their reviewers. It
turned out that some authors were using false identities to write
disparaging reviews on their competitors' books. Easy if you are
anonymous or using a false identity.

I asked Dan -- our CrimeSpace host -- about anonymous members, and he
said that for now, he was allowing it. He said it was out of a respect
for their privacy, and besides, he can't prove or disprove anyone's
identity anyhow.

Okay, so if they want to be private, why join a public forum like CrimeSpace?

Quoting Evil Kev: "Jane Doe is on a listserv where she has built a
solid reputation as a respectful person who adds value to
conversations. She has a blog but talks about all kinds of things
besides writing. And when she does discuss writing, she never slams
agents or publishers. Agent A, who reads the listserv, gets a package
from Jane and remembers that she is an interesting person. Agent A
checks out Jane's blog and sees Jane's posts and thinks this might be
someone that Agent can work with. Agent opens the package with

So the point of joining is to create a reputation. Evil Ken is making one for himself, but wait... who is Evil Kev?
Evil Kev (EvilKev)
United States
some hole in the wall bar
About Me:
Was born, did things, did very bad things. Never been to Syracuse though...
Evil Kev's reputation is being built for naught, because nobody could
know who he is to credit him with nice online behavior. Is there irony

I am not picking on Evil Kev. his post and his self description just made a handy illustration.

I am just wondering... why be anonymous on CrimeSpace? If a person is
anonymous, isn't that like "pleading the 5th" before every statement
they type?
Beautifully said, Newt - I totally agree. Creating a reputation, or building an existing one is a major reason for being here, though the sense of cameraderie is fun too.
I have absolutely no problem who prefer to remain anonymous, or who have pictures not of themselves as their avatars (I just learned that word today!) It's interesting to see what, or who, people pick. I like the old film stars, weird pictures etc. It doesn't actually bother me to strike up a conversation with someone on here who I can't picture their face, or who don't have their real name up, or who have a serial killer in their profile (yes, Miss DeMeaner, I'm looking at YOU!). Of course, in person, I think I would want to know that person's name...after all, you can't really shout across the bar "Do you want a drink Studmuffin?" Mostly because about 35 people would answer.

Even if someone does have a picture up, I can't be sure whether that little elderly lady from Pittsburgh who in her avatar is hugging the cat and drinking tea, and who tells me she is called Effie McGlumpfer and writes books about knitting and embroidery is telling me the truth. For all I know. She might be a spotty twenty year old from Hackney called Wayne who hasn't been out of his bedsit for years and is sitting in front of the computer in his string vest and fidgeting with his marble collection. You can only judge people by what they say, and I'm more than happy to do that.

I've accepted all the friend requests I've received except one. I like getting friend requests. I've only actually sent out a few myself and they have tended to be to people I actually know, or have had conversations with, since I automatically assume that someone will not want to be my friend *sob*. So I don't send them out to all and sundry.

I'm a reader. I enjoy a lot of the conversations on here, even if there are some that I personally have nothing remotely of interest to say on the topic (and, if you are reading this, you will know that I sometimes comment even when I DON'T have anything remotely of interest to say). Some of the threads on the forum I don't read at all, most I glance at, at least. Lots I don't comment on. I feel weird about contributing to threads on the writing process, because I don't consider myself a writer, much less have something worthwhile to say. Sometimes I don't contribute to the reading threads because others have said it so much better than me.

There have been some great discussions and I have 'met' some nice people who it would one day be nice to meet in person and have a drink with at a convention. I wish I had the time to visit more of the blogs. I still haven't quite got the hang of the chatterwall thing. If someone posts on mine I'm not sure whether I should respond on mine or on theirs. So if I've ever been rude, forgive me.

And Tribe - I'm just out of the shower. So no clothes. Sorry
"And Tribe - I'm just out of the shower. So no clothes. Sorry."

Damn. Why wasn't I given fair notice of this so I could've enjoyed it at the time?
I think the identity mystery is an inherent part of internet communities. I have to admit, I feel much safer here at Crimespace: I automatically turn down friend requests at MySpace, for example, mostly because they come from music acts but also because a few of them have come from extremely dodgy sites and groups.

But there's a different vibe here, a sense of much closer community. It's friendlier, too and a sense that any weirdness or creepiness would be dealt with asap.

My avatar? Lack of decent photographs. I don't want to be responsible for mass cracking-of-screens.
My owl avatar is, I hope, a fairly accurate expression of the Inner Me -- at least as I hope to be. As it happens, I don't own a recent photo of myself and am unmotivated to produce one.

I've enjoyed all these comments -- all intelligent, some amusing, all useful. What more could a person ask?
So far on Crimespace, my only rule for accepting friends or requesting friendship in the network is that they have a picture and something on their page. I am very active on MySpace and I don't use it specifically for making friends. I do like the chatter here, but on MySpace I am on there to market our books. So far it has been very lucrative. Our Amazon sales have increased dramatically and a good number of them track back to the MySpace sites.

I've never been paranoid about things in regard to the Internet...I met my husband on the Internet and I can honestly say that nearly every good thing that has happened in my life has come from the Internet. Life is too short to be paranoid. I figure if they'r eout to get you they'll get you either way. :)

Karen Syed
I think that the problem with anonymity can be overstated, as the identity you can hang off a 'real' name and maybe a couple of bits of information from a webpage doesn't tell you as much as you think it does about a person. Take James Frey as an example: people can build the persona they want to build. A name doesn't tell you much: trust comes from interaction, or from a social network where someone is trusted by people you trust. Tribe's a fine example of this, despite the fact that I have no idea who he is in 'real' life.

I'd speak up for pseudonymity too: I'm actually a very famous writer in an another genre, but now that damn burden of a series is finally coming to an end with the release of the last book this summer, I can move on and write the books I really want to write, noir novels a la Derek Raymond. Trouble is, if I dared to post under my real name, people would keep harassing me about whether Harry gets killed off in the last novel, and that gets really tiring. So that's why I post here under this pseudonym.
I'm not really concerned with the personal info thing. But when I look at my friends list, I have to say that I have no idea who about two-thirds of them are! I approved everyone who asked, but I have no idea why everyone wants to be my it my new perfume?? ::bats eyes:: Okay, I admit it--I'm playing dumb. I suspect that quite a few of the people who asked to be my friend are writers looking to garner name recognition and asked almost EVERYONE to be their friend. It's okay--I don't take it personally, as long as they don't take it personally when I say I have no idea who you are! :o)

I think I'll probably go through in a few days and weed out those I don't know and who haven't bothered to at least communicate in some way. As someone else mentioned, I can't really see any advantage to having someone on your friends list if it's someone you don't send messages to or communicate with on a regular basis. It doesn't give you/them any greater access than anyone else on site.
Just my two cents here. Donna, you said it beautifully, as usual.
Was so happy to find a place for mystery readers to communicate with each other in a more informal setting. The forums are extras, and so far, very little that I want to or feel as if I am qualified to comment.
Happy to find something that was more adult than MySpace (for my grandkids not me, IMO) and something I am interested in. I am a reader. I am addicted to reading. The authors forums are fine, but really not for me. Fine for them, have fun, but a time waster for me.
Have friends here, many that I already know and some I have already met, f2f. And look forward to meeting others and learning from them. I will always be learning, I hope. Those who know me, know that I have other crusades that I will carry on in other lists, places. This is not the place for me to expand my issues.
And yes, I am usually wordy.


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