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The Day Leo Traynor Confronted His Troll

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the your-uppance-will-come dept.

Facebook 594

McGruber writes "Dublin-based writer Leo Traynor has written a piece about confronting the troll who drove him off Twitter, hacked his Facebook, and abused and terrified his family. Quoting: 'I blocked the account and reported it as spam. The following week it happened again in an identical manner. A new follower, I followed back, received a string of abusive DMs, blocked and reported for spam. Two or three times a week. Sometimes two or three times a day. An almost daily cycle of blocking and reporting and intense verbal abuse. ... Then one day something happened that truly frightened me. I don't scare easily but this was vile. I received a parcel at my home address. Nothing unusual there – I get lots of post. I ripped it open and there was a Tupperware lunchbox inside full of ashes. There was a note included, saying, "Say hello to your relatives from Auschwitz." I was physically sick. ... In July I was approached by a friend who's basically an IT genius, and he offered some help. He said that he could trace the hackers and trolls for me using perfectly legal technology, which would lead to their IP addresses. I said yes. Then I baited them – I was deliberately more provocative toward them than ever I'd been before.'"

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Trolling? (5, Insightful)

steppedleader (2490064) | about 2 years ago | (#41504235)

Compared to the typical trolling found on the internet, this seems a bit more like harassment or stalking, no?

Re:Trolling? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504257)

You're right. Trolling is when I call you a stupid useless faggot, which is exactly what you are.

Re:Trolling? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504345)

Norman, Is that you?

Re:Trolling? (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#41504429)

No, that's insulting. Good trolling seems to be a dying art these days. A good troll post says something that sounds plausible, and encourages responses. During the thread, it becomes less and less reasonable, but the aim is to make the other person say something unreasonable first or to make them waste a large amount of effort replying. If you want to see a good troll, read some of the threads started by roman_mir.

Re:Trolling? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504519)

If you want to see a good troll, read some of the threads started by roman_mir.

Not only is good trolling rare, but no one even knows what trolling is anymore! Someone isn't trolling just because they say something you disagree with. I can say with certainty that although I disagree with roman_mir, there are people who genuinely have similar 'extremist' views.

Re:Trolling? (4, Insightful)

steppedleader (2490064) | about 2 years ago | (#41504613)

Nah, roman_mir is just a libertarian type... I like having a few of those around. Don't necessarily agree on a lot of the economic stuff, but it's nice to have someone complaining about the lack of respect for civil liberties among the mainstream parties.

Committed establishment Republican types? Now, there's a mystery. I've completely lost the ability to tell them apart from trolls.

Re:Trolling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504595)

If you want to see a good troll, read some of the threads started by roman_mir.

Roman_mir is only trolling himself, thinking he can change this site's demographics if only he tries hard enough. He always seems more upset than any of his responders are.

The whining about post modding and open self-identification when using a sockpuppet account betrays his desperate desire to enlighten us all.

Re:Trolling? (5, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 2 years ago | (#41504607)

No, that's insulting. Good trolling seems to be a dying art these days. A good troll post says something that sounds plausible, and encourages responses. During the thread, it becomes less and less reasonable, but the aim is to make the other person say something unreasonable first or to make them waste a large amount of effort replying. If you want to see a good troll, read some of the threads started by roman_mir.

True, a good troll had that ring of plausibility that it triggered teh "Huh? I must respond to this..." reflex before the responder sat down and thought it through. For example:

While Star Trek (Star Wars / Firefly / Battlestar Galactica - pick one) tried to stay true to science as much as is possible in a science fiction world where faster than light travel is the norm; they missed one big thing -> everytime a shuttle craft passed the Enterprise it cast a shadow. In a vacuum; everyone knows you don't have shadows in a vacuum.

Of course, posting that in a Star Trek (or Mensa) group is like shooting fish in a barrel..

Trolling isn't flaming (any idiot can flame); but unfortunately trolling has lost its original meaning much as hacker has. Nor is simply disagreeing and laying out your position; though many people are willing to yell "Troll" when they can't defend their position. AFU, in the old usenet days, was a great example of the art of trolling; unfortunately since the decline of usenet and the onset of eternal September it's a different world.

Re:Trolling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504667)

TL;DR. Trolling is a art.

Re:Trolling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504629)

It's not true... A troll is someone who tries to scare other people. The article explains it very well :-)

Re:Trolling? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504287)

I'm disappointed that the author didn't press charges. This kid is probably a sociopath. When he stalks and hurts other people in the future the police won't have the evidence they need of past cases. Sociopaths don't learn how to stop hurting people, they just learn not to get caught the next time.

Re:Trolling? (4, Interesting)

jamesh (87723) | about 2 years ago | (#41504379)

I'm disappointed that the author didn't press charges. This kid is probably a sociopath. When he stalks and hurts other people in the future the police won't have the evidence they need of past cases. Sociopaths don't learn how to stop hurting people, they just learn not to get caught the next time.

Or he's a messed up kid who didn't have a clue that his actions were hurting someone.

If it was me being stalked I'd be demanding that the kid doesn't go near a computer for 6 months (or until he's legally an adult) and that he has a curfew at night so he can't just be off at a mates place doing the same thing. It should give him a chance to catch up on Jewish/German history and have some appreciation for what he's ranting and raving about.

I think he should be given another chance, but only one. I'm not sure what it's like in the country where Leo Traynor resides but people have gone to jail over here for less.

Re:Trolling? (5, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#41504527)

I agree with the AC. The extent of what the evil little miseryshit did proves it was not just a game to him. I'd wager his show of tears was just that- a show. His brain is miswired. There's a whole section that simply isn't working. Coulseling won't acomplish a damn thing, but he'll be able to make it look like it did.

Sociopaths are the most manipulative people in the world. It's why the alphas go into politics. They thrive there. They are one of the three types of people in this world that you never EVER trust along with junkies and Party loyalist ideologues.

Re:Trolling? (3, Insightful)

Fjandr (66656) | about 2 years ago | (#41504587)

The problem with the idea that the tears were for show was that it was deliberately kept from him that they knew he was the perpetrator. He confessed without being confronted with evidence linking him to it, or even the slightest hint that they suspected he was the perpetrator. At least that's the picture presented by the article.

Re:Trolling? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504685)

The problem with the idea that the tears were for show was that it was deliberately kept from him that they knew he was the perpetrator. He confessed without being confronted with evidence linking him to it, or even the slightest hint that they suspected he was the perpetrator. At least that's the picture presented by the article.

Bullshit. If a cop had you in a room and started talking about the details to a crime you committed and you 'spontaneously' confessed, you can hardly say that you didn't realize you were a suspect. This man who barely knew the kid suddenly visited him and then started showing him the details of his crime. Yet you still think the kid didn't realize that he was a suspect? Come on! The kid confessed because he figured it out and knew that manipulation was required to keep his freedom. That is all. It wasn't remorse. Sociopaths are more manipulative than you can imagine.

Re:Trolling? (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#41504439)

Sociopaths don't learn how to stop hurting people, they just learn not to get caught the next time.

That's not true. A sociopath merely lacks empathy - they may be aware that they are hurting someone, but they don't understand why that's a bad thing. Placed in an incentive system where hurting people is penalised and provides no advantages, they'll do what's best for them and stop.

Re:Trolling? (1)

GNious (953874) | about 2 years ago | (#41504467)

So, eh, a good beating would be useful to teach a sociopath to stop hurting others?

Re:Trolling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504513)

Sociopaths generally don't respond to punishment.

Re:Trolling? (3, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 years ago | (#41504615)

Yes absolutely. A good beating will modify the behaviour of anyone dramatically. If it is a true sociopath, you just have to beat more agressively. Medieval crowd control methods as practised by the Catholic Church and Vlad the Impaler, still work just as efficiently today, as it did back then.

Re:Trolling? (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about 2 years ago | (#41504585)

Unless he's already very practiced and had reason to believe he'd been caught after years of successfully pulling this behavior off, the fact that he spontaneously burst into tears without any indication that Leo actually knew it was him means it's unlikely. The scenario was a trap, and he confessed without being presented as the suspect.

Not likely a sociopath, but definitely fucked up in some way or another.

Re:Trolling? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504701)

Remember that the author already knew the kid for a long time. He's in a much better position to judge what the kid is like than we are. Teens are less mature in their capability to judge the consequences of their actions or to control their impulses than adults. What you see may be caused in part by immaturity instead of sociopathy. He appears to be pretty messed up, but it may be something he will outgrow. He may be a sociopath, but he may also be an overly sensitive kid who has already been scared shitless by this confrontation and doesn't need more to motivate him to get back on the right track. That is not something we can judge from just reading a short article like this. Leave the judgement to the people near him.

Re:Trolling? (5, Informative)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 2 years ago | (#41504395)

yep it isn't actually trolling at all. It seems nowadays any bad or obnoxious behaviour gets labeled with troll, I guess this is what happens when people try to use a catchy term without actually understanding what it means.

Re:Trolling? (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#41504683)

Hell name a SINGLE Internet word we old greybeards came up with that hasn't been butchered all to hell by folks that don't get it had a specific meaning, just one. Troll, shill, virus, its all lost its original meanings because too many who don't have a clue what they meant use them wrong constantly. That's why I don't even say words like trojan or virus anymore but just tell them "You got a bug" because as far as the public is concerned everything is a virus, and everyone that does something bad on the net is a troll. its just lost its meaning.

Re:Trolling? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504431)

Agreed. A troll keeps things on the forum only. Once they extend beyond the forum I also think it is more than trolling.

Re:Trolling? (2)

Seumas (6865) | about 2 years ago | (#41504555)

Yes, but the target's name is Leo Traynor; not Lisa Traynor. Therefore, he won't get as much traction or sympathy as he possibly could. If his name was Lisa, the internet would have a white-knight-shit-storm and there'd be an endless stream of navel-gazing articles visiting the tired old trope of "the internet is sexist, vile, misogynistic, blah blah durp durp" and Twitter and Facebook would be called to the floor for not protecting him. Er... "her".

Re:Trolling? (2)

1u3hr (530656) | about 2 years ago | (#41504673)

In TFA Leo says how his wife was also targeted.

Re:Trolling? (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#41504577)

Yes but sadly we see more and more of this, sick little maladjusted fucks that decide for whatever reason YOU are the cause of some problem in their lives or the world would be better off without you and will go VERY stalkerish on you.

In fact as someone who recently had to deal with something not as sick, but creepy and weird where some asshole was hacking into a nice former customer of mine. this guy is soooo fucking bland I can't imagine how he could do anything but bore someone to death but this little prick would take over his computer and wipe his files, trash the OS, even pop up a box calling him filthy names. I have to thank the slashdot community for when i put up a list of what i had done trying to stop this guy with no luck you guys pointed out things I had not thought to check and thanks to you I was able to stop him, so thanks guys.

But what we old greybeards think of when we think of the word troll and what we are seeing now? Two totally different things. Hell I had one last year that followed me around the net for a solid year, making piles of accounts everywhere I went. For what purpose? just so he could post a response to everything I said with the sentence "Die you fat fucker DIE!". That's it, just that sentence over and over and over, across dozens of websites. While it never phased me, when you think about how much work he had to do, searching the web for every place he could possibly find where I was, spending a good 15 minutes or more making fake accounts...just for that sentence.

We are seeing more and more sick puppies out there, personally i think its just what happens when one of Gabe's fuckwads [penny-arcade.com] loses touch with anything other than the little bubble they create for themselves on the web. I'm sure if a shrink got a hold of this nutbag he would believe that he was actually the moral one here, that Traynor had somehow "insulted" him, dared to enter the space HE owned, or some other bullshit that to HIM would be perfectly rational, just as the cockbag that trashed a couple of years worth of data on a nice bland nobody's PC probably felt it was somehow "justified". Which just goes to show how truly warped and twisted those without a firm grasp of reality can get when they live in cyberspace.

So, let the opining begin... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41504239)

So, do we actually believe that a college-age man is sufficiently motivated to troll the same person, including offline, for weeks on end; but so obtuse that he doesn't realize such trolling's effects, or did TFA's author just get played by a sociopathic little fucker's crocodile tears?

I'm voting for #2, personally. Wholly anonymous mob pile-ons can easily enough sweep up ethically-unimpressive-but-basically-standard-issue people; and some damaged-but-mostly-harmless types actually seem willing to spend their time dumping copypasta on entire forums; but solitary, prolonged, systematic trolling of one target chosen for no reason? Kid is bad seed.

Re:So, let the opining begin... (4, Insightful)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | about 2 years ago | (#41504293)

I tend to agree with that... how I read it is he was crying because he got caught, not because he realized his stalking was a bad idea. If he had kept it to online nonsense, you could write it off as a bored moron who needs a swift kick in the ass, but when he started the whole mailing of packages thing, well, now the fucker needs locked up, or at the very least institutionalized until they can figure out what the flying fuck is wrong with his brain.

I'm ambivalent to the whole Internet Fuckwad Syndrome, because it's nothing to get pissed about... but when it moves outside to the real world, well, that is when it needs to be prosecuted harshly. This isn't a Troll... this is a psychopath. It's like the word 'hacker'... non-techies have co-opted a word and changed its meaning. (Unlike 'cyberbullying'... which is a term coined by technophobes about trolling...) ...that's for another thread, though...

Re:So, let the opining begin... (4, Insightful)

immaterial (1520413) | about 2 years ago | (#41504367)

...well, now the fucker needs locked up, or at the very least institutionalized until they can figure out what the flying fuck is wrong with his brain.

Prison is going to do what for his mental health exactly? Then note that Leo Traynor's condition for not going to the police was that the parents put the kid in therapy.

Re:So, let the opining begin... (1, Interesting)

tbird81 (946205) | about 2 years ago | (#41504569)

Who cares. Prison isn't there to make people better or to rehabilitate them. Its purpose is to punish people.

Re:So, let the opining begin... (2)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 2 years ago | (#41504579)

Prison isn't there to make people better or to rehabilitate them.

Exactly. It's good for the economy that people end up right back in prison.

Re:So, let the opining begin... (4, Insightful)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | about 2 years ago | (#41504641)

It is assuming he is mentally ill. He could just be a fucking cocksucker who needs to be placed out of society before he kills someone. I am not qualified to know if he's in need of help or cornholed by a huge black guy named Thunderdick. But something needs to be done, or we'll all be reading about this asshat's killing spree with our Post Toasties.

Nothing new here, just new medium (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#41504369)

I tend to agree with that... how I read it is he was crying because he got caught, not because he realized his stalking was a bad idea.

See also the radio troll Alan Jones in Australia - very upset this weekend because he was caught the second time he said he publicly addressed a group of people with a comment about the Australian Leader's recently deceased father dying of shame. Stirring up a race riot a couple of years back and getting away with it probably made him think he could get away with anything.

Re:Nothing new here, just new medium (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 2 years ago | (#41504521)

It is bad enough the article doesn't understand what trolling is and mislabels the stalkers actions as trolling, please don't compound the issue by calling what Alan Jones does as trolling. He is obnoxious, insulting, abusive, rude but that doesn't make him a troll.

Re:So, let the opining begin... (-1, Redundant)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#41504313)

It seems quite obvious to me. He also mentioned one other thing there that rings a bell - that the kid "frequented conspiracy theory sites". Many of those in Europe tend to be neo-Nazi in outlook. I wonder if the guy was also posting on Stormfront; if he was, perhaps there's actually an account on this from the other side there somewhere, under an alias.

Re:So, let the opining begin... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504355)

What does Europe and neo-Nazis have to do with anything? Reading and believing anything written in some damned blog is a common malady for people who spend way too much time online, and conspiracy sites are only slightly less reputable than some of the "news" sites often quoted online.

Re:So, let the opining begin... (0)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#41504423)

What does Europe and neo-Nazis have to do with anything?

I dunno, maybe the "Say hello to your relatives from Auschwitz" bit? Did you even read the story? The guy was clearly targeted for being a Jew. I find it very unlikely that it was all just a prank of some sort.

Oh, and it's all happening in Ireland, which last I checked was in Europe.

Re:So, let the opining begin... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504461)

If he wasn't a Jew he would have been attacked for something else. Any it could have happened anywhere. You're reading too much into the message of a sociopath, and thereby giving him more credit than warranted. The attack wasn't in the message. The attack was in the stalking. The message was just tailored to the victim.

Re:So, let the opining begin... (3, Insightful)

chrismcb (983081) | about 2 years ago | (#41504691)

So, do we actually believe that a college-age man is sufficiently motivated to troll the same person, including offline, for weeks on end; but so obtuse that he doesn't realize such trolling's effects,

Yes

First post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504241)

God hates fags

Re:First post (4, Funny)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 2 years ago | (#41504251)

God hates fags

Yes. Smoking can kill you.

Re:First post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504331)

HAHAHA man you're clever, I get it, it's like an article about trolling. So obvious you troll on it! But that'd be too easy, so, you do an IRONIC BAD JOB OF TROLLING INTENTIONALLY! Man you're so clever. Can I have lessons. You should give me lessons. (please?) I want to be like you some day.

Re:First post (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504371)

What god? Cthulu hates everyone.

Re:First post (2)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41504465)

Cthulu want more brownies!

Traced his IP? (4, Funny)

Kindgott (165758) | about 2 years ago | (#41504245)

I bet they used a GUI interface using Visual Basic!

Re:Traced his IP? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504409)

I bet they used a GUI interface using Visual Basic!

No! Everyone knows when you trace an IP it does a 3D mapping google fly over with a little dot following a line from each location and then zooms in close to the final location showing a live video feed! I watch movies I know how computers work!

Re:Traced his IP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504565)

Someone's gotta stand up and show this guy that we internet trolls will not be bullied!

Keywords (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504259)

Keywords in the original text:
"basically an IT genius,"
"hacked my facebook account"
"trace the hackers and trolls for me using perfectly legal technology, which would lead to their IP addresses."
"the abuse had emanated from three separate IP addresses in different corners of Ireland."
"The third location was a friend's house."

so, you can know the house location of each poster on twitter ? - troll-

Re:Keywords (5, Informative)

wordsnyc (956034) | about 2 years ago | (#41504351)

There are a lot of people arguing that this whole story is a fable; the IT guy the author presents to defend his account is a feckless bullshitter. Basically it's a case of two guys who don't know that they don't know the technical difficulties in what they claim to have done. The whole thing is embarrassing and annoying.

yeah it seems to me this story is made up (2, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#41504407)

It's a nice moralistic story but it doesn't pass the smell test

Re:fable (3, Interesting)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 2 years ago | (#41504445)

"There are a lot of people arguing that this whole story is a fable; the IT guy the author presents to defend his account is a feckless bullshitter. Basically it's a case of two guys who don't know that they don't know the technical difficulties in what they claim to have done. The whole thing is embarrassing and annoying."

Are we getting ... wait for it ... trolled? (Can I start a meme? Rick-Trolled?)

What's really out of whack is the sequence of events. So the cops can't find this guy, they're wringing their hands in helplessness. Along comes "An IT Genius" that traces the house by IP ... and the cops couldn't call any of their guys on the entire force to do that? However if the kid torrented a Song they would have found him pronto.

How is it even difficult? (5, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | about 2 years ago | (#41504541)

Post a link for a guy to click on. He clicks on it. It goes to a page you publish on your server. You look in the server logs. You know his IP address. Then you can find his city and possibly his neighborhood from that. And you know his ISP.

After that it can become more difficult. But it's hardly impossible. If a friend at the guy's ISP will do you a favor (the troll in the story is local), or if you can simply guess the right answer and check it, it's easy again. If you can read someone's cookies with a cross-site scripting vulnerability or trick them into installing malware, it's not going to be too hard to find them.

Re:Keywords (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504593)

Dunno about the IT guy bit. But there are plenty of ways to gain someone's home address and phone number(s) with mediocre technical skill. It's incredibly easy to unintentionally broadcast that information across the internet, especially with how many device that default to allow embedding that data. Really only takes a couple hours with google and a couple easy to acquire free tools.

It's easy to say it's a fable, that the tech barrier is large, but in reality very few people think twice about putting their name, address, and phone number into a registration form.

However what stands out to me in this story is that the guy claims to have gotten a package from the offender, but doesn't so much as mention checking the return address.

Re:Keywords (0)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 years ago | (#41504679)

Yeah but it reads out good for the ignorant masses, that's about it. For anyone with an IQ above room temperature this entire thing is just stupid and should never have made it to the front page of /. but look at the site shall we? It's going downhill even faster than it was a few years ago.

Re:Keywords (1)

blackest_k (761565) | about 2 years ago | (#41504535)

No you can't know the IP of a random twitter account, but he moved off twitter on to his own system probably hosting his own blog at his own domain.

This gives server logs which hold an ip for each visitor and comment. While it is unlikely that you would be able to know much more than ISP. Googling the IP might indicate the use of an internet cafe, the identifying one probably came about because some messages from that IP were from the friend and others from the troll.

A smarter troll would have used a proxy.

Also if you have a google adwords account you can identify your site visitors to a geographic location usually to the nearest city. Your ad's can be tailored to specific areas. No point in paying for clicks when you are advertising a product or service which will require a customer to visit your business address. Geolocation isn't perfect, i use a mobile broadband provider and my traffic is on the isp's network to Dublin so you might think i was in Dublin. There is a browser add on for firefox called geolocator which can set a location to give to certain websites.

From the sounds of it somebody got lucky, If the ip hadn't have been identifiable as a friends address then the only alternative would have been to get the guards to investigate who would contact the ISP and locate the address of the account using the IP at the time. This course of action would have almost certainly led to a criminal prosecution. As it was a friends son, it would have been socially awkward to have taken the same action.

Guess knowing this stuff makes me an IT genius! or perhaps !genius on this site.

Re:Keywords (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504655)

Keywords in the original text:
"basically an IT genius,"
"hacked my facebook account"
"trace the hackers and trolls for me using perfectly legal technology, which would lead to their IP addresses."
"the abuse had emanated from three separate IP addresses in different corners of Ireland."
"The third location was a friend's house."

so, you can know the house location of each poster on twitter ? - troll-

Some friend.

Context? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504263)

What's the background story going on here? Who is the guy in question? I feel like there's some context I'm missing. Is this guy a political commentator or something?

Puhleese (4, Funny)

kiriath (2670145) | about 2 years ago | (#41504275)

Sounds like a lifetime movie to me.

At what point... (2)

ameoba (173803) | about 2 years ago | (#41504289)

At what point would a sane person just call the cops?

Re:At what point... (4, Insightful)

Truekaiser (724672) | about 2 years ago | (#41504323)

Before or after he found him?
A sane person would of given the cops the information and let this be a legal issue. I would of done the same. Basically this kid crossed the line from harmless internet troll, to potential killer when he moved the trolling to the real world. that has consequences and it they ruin his life well it's his fault.

Re:At what point... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504391)

would of --> would have

please

Re:At what point... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504341)

He did. And they were not helpful.

I was petrified.
They had my address.
I reported it to the authorities and hoped for the best.
Two days later I opened my front door and there was a bunch of dead flowers with my wife's old Twitter username on it. Then that night I recieved a DM. 'You'll get home some day & ur b**ches throat will be cut & ur son will be gone.'
I got on to the authorities again but, polite and sympathetic as they were, there didn't seem much that could be done.

Sort of surprising because I'm fairly certain the language of that threat rises to a criminal level with the threat of bodily harm and kidnapping, especially given that the person making the threat knows the address of the person they are threatening.

Re:At what point... (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#41504589)

'You'll get home some day & ur b**ches throat will be cut & ur son will be gone.'

I agree with others; the story smells. Anyway, if it'd been me, my concern would've evaporated the minute I'd read the "ur" instead of "you're" - fucking imbeciles just don't have what it takes to make me feel truly threatened, I suppose; imagine being approached by a mugger... and suddenly the mugger suffers a loud, explosive bout of diarrhea: any and all "streed cred" they might've possessed... just ran down their pant leg.

Re:At what point... (2, Informative)

Kohath (38547) | about 2 years ago | (#41504357)

Paragraph 13 of the original story. It's a good read.

The cops can't protect anyone. They just show up after you're dead and string up crime scene tape. In the UK you're not allowed to protect yourself either -- it undermines government authority.

Re:At what point... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504599)

... In the UK you're not allowed to protect yourself either -- it undermines government authority.

While in essence what you say is true, in practice, you'll find that not all the police, judiciary and juries are 'on side' with that particular message.

Another thing, whilst I'm at it, the UK has three separate legal systems, one covering England/Wales, one covering Scotland, and lastly Northern Ireland. There may be UK wide laws, which are usually 'rubber stamped' by the Scottish and NI legal systems, but the implementation and interpretation of said laws depends on which legal jurisdiction of the UK you're in.

Having been told by a Chief Constable in Scotland that in the event of anyone breaking into my house, so long as it's within my property, I have the right to defend myself and my family, and if I fear for their or my life, then extreme actions are permissible, then I'd think it's safe to say that I do have a right to protect myself, the issue lies with how much force I use to do so and in what circumstances.

I've no idea what the legal position is in England/Wales, but having lived there for 15 years and having on at least one occasion been caught on 'surveillance' cameras 'defending myself' against a couple of muggers (one ran, I left the other U/S on the ground) and despite the incident being on camera/tape, and despite my good self being a somewhat easy individual to spot in a crowd the police never did anything about it.

So, yes, we have a bunch of control freaks in power who'd love to regiment every microsecond of our lives (irrespective of what political party they're pretending to be this month), yes, we're not allowed to own guns the same way you Americans are, yes, these restrictions haven't done a damn thing to stop the increase in 'gun crime' in the UK (Fact: gun crime is on the rise, and it is now easier to get large calibre handguns on the 'black market' since the UK government banned the ownership of the things), but, please, please don't get hung up on the fact that we do not own firearms somehow equates to we're without the means of defending ourselves, and, despite the best efforts of the State and despite the picture the media paints, we are allowed to do so.
The laws are still policed and implemented by the more than occasional human being, a lot of incidents never get to the legal system in the first instance as the Police/CPS/Procurator Fiscals take one look at the evidence and won't present it, of those which do go, you only hear about the 'being prosecuted for self defence' cases that papers with a political agenda like the 'Daily Mail' want you to hear about, you'll never read about the people who are admonished/found 'not guilty' (unless it suits the paper 'politically').

Re:At what point... (1)

Cl1mh4224rd (265427) | about 2 years ago | (#41504373)

At what point would a sane person just call the cops?

He did. Twice.

Re:At what point... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504403)

He did. "I was petrified. They had my address. I reported it to the authorities and hoped for the best.

Two days later I opened my front door and there was a bunch of dead flowers with my wife's old Twitter username on it. Then that night I received a DM. "You'll get home some day & ur bitches throat will be cut & ur son will be gone."

I got on to the authorities again but, polite and sympathetic as they were, there didn't seem much that could be done."

Re:At what point... (1)

advocate_one (662832) | about 2 years ago | (#41504443)

well they'd have taken far more notice the moment it became a "hate crime" with the Tupperware box of ashes and the note about relatives in Auschwitz

Re:At what point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504553)

well they'd have taken far more notice the moment it became a "hate crime" with the Tupperware box of ashes and the note about relatives in Auschwitz

yeah.. but maybe they didn't give a shit because leo traynor is an attention whore.

great ending (2)

calzones (890942) | about 2 years ago | (#41504301)

Oddly heartwarming ending. It's awesome when people can take the high road and restrain themselves from lashing back at abusers, who do this stuff out of boredom, insecurity, and immaturity (or sometimes mental instability issues, alas). But recognizing that people do stupid regrettable crap, and that maybe their lives need not be ruined over it, and that maybe some good might come out of something bad... that's great strength and maturity. Kudos.

Re:great ending (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504497)

Oddly heartwarming ending. It's awesome when people can take the high road and restrain themselves from lashing back at abusers, who do this stuff out of boredom, insecurity, and immaturity (or sometimes mental instability issues, alas). But recognizing that people do stupid regrettable crap, and that maybe their lives need not be ruined over it, and that maybe some good might come out of something bad... that's great strength and maturity. Kudos.

I'm afraid that is what the author was aiming for.

" He said that he could trace the hackers and trolls for me using perfectly legal technology, which would lead to their IP addresses. I said yes. Then I baited them" ... " I posted links to my Google+ account, blog and invited people to contact me on Facebook. I'm delighted that a lot of my lovely friends did. I'm also delighted that The Troll did too. It transpired that the abuse had emanated from three separate IP addresses in different corners of Ireland. "

So one can find the IP-address of anyone who contacts them on Facebook? I'm inclined to believe that the story is utmost half-true. It's not improbable that the whole story is made-up, like one of those feelgoodstories that are regularly debunked on Snopes.

This is not a troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504309)

More of a stalker than anything and that they didnt call the police will just make him learn how to not get caught

The key word there... (1)

avatar139 (918375) | about 2 years ago | (#41504311)

...being basically! As if a real I.T. genius would ever use basic!

Safety first (5, Funny)

Kohath (38547) | about 2 years ago | (#41504317)

This is why content delivery systems need to be licensed by governments. This wouldn't have happened if Twitter were prohibited because it's unlicensed.

It's a safety issue. Just like the license you need before you can drive your own car. Just like the license you need to be a barber. Or the permit that those kids should have gotten before the cops shut down their lemonade stand [forbes.com] . Or the license that that guy in North Carolina needs to publish dietary advice on his blog [nytimes.com] . Or the law license that Elizabeth Warren doesn't need because she's one of the special people [volokh.com] .

Leo Traynor should be ashamed for having an unlicensed conversation with his Troll. Is he a certified criminal counselor? He should have gotten the authorities involved, because they should always be involved. In everything.

Re:Safety first (1, Funny)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 2 years ago | (#41504363)

He should have gotten the authorities involved, because they should always be involved. In everything.

Precisely. Sadly, some people are perfectly willing to trade away safety for this 'freedom' nonsense. I honestly wish it was possible to have a TSA agent constantly breathing down everyone's necks; if that happened, we'd be perfectly safe from all the evil trolls, rapists, and terrorists! Oh, and copyright infringers (the most dangerous criminals of them all).

Safety first.

Re:Safety first (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#41504411)

Can't tell if you're a parody or serious

Re:Safety first (5, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | about 2 years ago | (#41504711)

Ergo, GP post is a good example of an actual troll.

Something doesn't sound right (3, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#41504329)

"I was deliberately more provocative toward them than ever I'd been before."

This sentence makes me think that, however vile the "troll" could have turned out to be, this wasn't an entirely black-versus-white situation. I suspect this guy was being a jerk back at anyone who was a jerk to him, and it escalated further than he thought it would.

this is not trolling (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#41504349)

This is stalking

Its like calling arson vandalism

Identify the nature of the transgression correctly

I read this 4 days ago. Interesting nonetheless... (2)

Gordo_1 (256312) | about 2 years ago | (#41504361)

A kid basically ruined the guy's life, essentially just for lulz -- or for lack of anything constructive to do with his time. Fortunately, the kid did not understand how traceable IP addresses are and he was caught and confronted. Most interesting part of it was that the kid really didn't seem to truly comprehend what devastation he was causing to another human being, because he did it all remotely from the safety of his computer.

Reality is that this is just an extreme example of what goes on daily on semi-anonymous message boards (like this one). If we all had to show our faces, I'm sure we'd be a little more civil toward one another. Personally, I don't think I run a very high risk of ending up in the situation that this guy was in, since I value my online anonymity too much. I realize that for many, the temptation to spread their personal misery is just too great, and so they troll, which is really just a cry for attention -- something they probably didn't get enough of growing up.

Anyway, enough pontificating. Queue the trolls...

Typo? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504603)

Queue the trolls...

It may be that you intended to use the homophone of the word, which would be typical. However, either form could be potentially valid semantically, despite having distinct meanings.

Either way, encountering this part of your comment effected my reaction.

Re:I read this 4 days ago. Interesting nonetheless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504717)

really didn't seem to truly comprehend what devastation he was causing to another human being, because he did it all remotely from the safety of his computer.

He probably felt the same way a drone operator feels after dismembering civilians at a peaceful hillside wedding from the safety of his computer. ...initially elated at a job well done, only later to feel 'oh shit I fucked up'.

IT'S CALLED BULLYING !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504377)

And it's all perfectly okay, over here, courts have so ruled !!

I like how mom and dad Troll wanted to run the little bugger in for his high crime !! Way to go !! Hip-hip-whoreaway !!

Re:IT'S CALLED BULLYING !! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504471)

With a dash of terroristic threating thrown in. All perfectly NOT legal, even over here. This is something Usama taught us. Now get those shoes off, and let's see your pretty little thing in the booth.

What started all this isn't mentioned anywhere (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504389)

Jewish guy. Must be a false flag.

  No reason given for how this all started... I've searched a little but I'm not going to waste any more time looking.

Re:What started all this isn't mentioned anywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504399)

bad time to have the sarcastic [/troll] tag removed!

Fake (1)

TechnoGrl (322690) | about 2 years ago | (#41504397)

Yeah ... this is being pushed all over the web - likely by Traynor himself and it stinks of fakery.

1. Are we really to believe that Traynor and his wife get physicaly threatened for THREE years and Traynor does literally nothing about it? No restraining order after he finds out? He just decides to let it all go away.

2. Conveniently Traynor doesn't prosecute so there is no real record of this actually happening

3. How does Traynor's "genius" I.T. friend get an IP address from ...Facebook (wtf??) ? And how does he use that without a court order issued to an ISP to track it to a physical address?

4. After the very first drop off of a message and ashes at his doorstep Traynor NEVER puts up a cam so he never sees the OTHER TWO drop offs of messages on his doorstep? W.T.F.??! He lets at least two chances go by and NEVER goes to the police and files a report we can verify. Bogus /. has seen a LOT of Munchausen's by Internet over the years - from sad cancer tales that never were to stories of little children dying of diseases who never did and now this. It has fake written all over it and I SO wish someone would look closely at Traynor and get to the bottom of this.

Re:Fake (1)

drcagn (715012) | about 2 years ago | (#41504499)

Re: 4. He said he got a parcel, I'm assuming from the post. So no one dropped it off, it was delivered.

Re:Fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504501)

3. How does Traynor's "genius" I.T. friend get an IP address from ...Facebook (wtf??) ? And how does he use that without a court order issued to an ISP to track it to a physical address?

Does facebook forward email?

I once found in my web log someone trying to guess URLs. From what he was looking for I figured he was someone who knew me, so I grepped his IP address in my mailbox and found he was someone on a mailing list I was on. Creeped him out when I asked him what he was looking for.

Re:Fake (2)

GeLeTo (527660) | about 2 years ago | (#41504543)

How does Traynor's "genius" I.T. friend get an IP address from ...Facebook (wtf??) ?

Quite easy. You post a status with a link that's only visible to the stalker. When he visits the link, you have his IP address.

Re:Fake (1)

tftp (111690) | about 2 years ago | (#41504547)

How does Traynor's "genius" I.T. friend get an IP address from ...Facebook (wtf??)

You publish an interesting link that points at your own server. Your stalker will inevitably visit. But I have no idea how to tell him apart from another 100,000 visitors and search bots.

And how does he use that without a court order issued to an ISP to track it to a physical address?

That is a good question. My own IP address geolocates to the city where my ISP has their HQ - that is not even close to where I live. The ISP won't tell anyone, I hope, unless presented with a sufficiently valid, legal request.

Conveniently Traynor doesn't prosecute so there is no real record of this actually happening

This is possible if Traynor is a meek, soft guy who cannot stand for what is dear to him - his family. By all indications, the whole story points in this direction. Any normal, red-blooded guy would sue the bastard into oblivion. Anything else would be just a slap on the wrist, enabling the stalker to continue his "games" with other people. He will only be more careful. His downfall was that he was stalking someone he knew. If only he was threatening an old lady in another town, nobody would ever find out. Even in this case the stalker could have said "No, it wasn't me, I don't know - but I had a virus on my computer a while ago, mayhaps that was it." The evil bastard got excellent training on this one, and the victim shook his hand and walked away.

After the very first drop off of a message and ashes at his doorstep Traynor NEVER puts up a cam so he never sees the OTHER TWO drop offs of messages on his doorstep? W.T.F.?

That's another item to prove that Mr. Traynor is a weak, technophobic person who just got lost when faced with true evil. The police was useless; they didn't even give him an advice like you did. Stuff the house with cameras, announce to the world that you are leaving on vacation - and you will attract the stalker to the house, sure bet.

It must be said, though, that Mr. Traynor is not alone in his dependence on "someone else" to solve his safety and security problems. In UK any other approach is worse than the threat. Maybe even setting up a camera will violate someone's rights. Most people in his shoes (about 100%) would be first scared. This is normal - we don't face crime every day. The question is only in what they do after they come to their senses - who they talk to (police, lawyers, private investigators, gun dealers, etc.) and what proactive measures they take. This guy did exactly nothing of value. In the SHTF situation he and his family would be among the first to go.

This is a simple case. (3, Insightful)

xor.pt (882444) | about 2 years ago | (#41504483)

The author is just too naive, or cowardly to deliver his friend's son with legal action.
In the end the author tries to spin this little story as a 'I'm the bigger man' tale instead.
The author is at this point just enabling him, like his parents.
This is a 17 year old who's in college. He's a danger to himself and others, and any additional damage caused by him will also be in the author's head.
What did he learn from this? Cry when you get caugh, and your actions have no consequences.

Trolling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504539)

Trolling is the act of being disingenuous, it is not harassing the shit out of someone; Slashdot, you disappoint me.

Mildly spurious (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 years ago | (#41504597)

All the symbolic deliveries of ashes and dead roses was very romantic, but I guess that could happen. However, what's up with the "IT genius friend" part, who can somehow get the message senders' IP addresses and then trace them up to an accuracy of a house? I think the story got a bit twisted or is missing some information there.

Tech? (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about 2 years ago | (#41504601)

This is pretty much the definition of Idle, is it not?

Cool story bro seem appropriate.

Doubt exists.... (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | about 2 years ago | (#41504633)

Read this [resistradio.com]

Re:Doubt exists.... (1)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | about 2 years ago | (#41504681)

Interesting... while it is far-fetched and most likely a fusing of many stories into one "meta" story about trolling (though as I've pointed out elsewhere in the thread that 'trolling' isn't what this blog entry describes), I am now more curious about the details than I was initially reading it (I was not convinced the "IT genius" was using legal means to track the perp... I just thought they got lucky, considering.)

At the very least your link provides some doubt to the veracity of the claims made by Traynor. That should be enough healthy skepticism to invalidate the entire story, to be honest.

Provoke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504653)

Then I baited them – I was deliberately more provocative toward them than ever I'd been before.

That's the first time in the article that he mentions having been previously "provocative"; up until then it sounded completely one sided. So what are the missing details?

Happened to me in high school. (3, Interesting)

Chrontius (654879) | about 2 years ago | (#41504723)

Happened to me in high school.

I blocked at least a dozen AIM accounts a night for weeks (maybe months); I can be fortunate there was no "twitter" then, nor this "book of faces", and that smartphones were this exciting new thing Handspring was just introducing to the market that nobody could afford.

Then I got two unsolicited copies of the TSR novel "Death of the Dragon" in the mail - this may have been an error by a small book distributor I did business with, so I can't be sure -- but "Dragon" was part of the IM name I used at the time, and I could never be sure. I still have both copies, and I haven't read either. I don't actually think I even touched either after I put them on the bookshelf those years ago.

Then the fella proved himself grossly incompetent, and threatened to beat me to death. In a public library, where I "was", he was "behind" me. I was sitting at a desk, at home, with a baseball bat within arms' reach. I mocked him for the rest of the night, and then it ended. He failed. Epically. His confrontation... wasn't.

But I'm not in high school any more. I spent the next couple years reading books like "Shooting To Live" [specops.pl] and "Kill or Get Killed" [resist.com] . I took years of aikido, tae kwon do, and studied a few forms of swordplay for a few more years. I carry a gun, and enough ammo to get through the statistically average civilian-defense gunfight, and then a little more. Sometimes, more than one. I'm seriously considering building some ghetto-but-effective body armor. (Steel rifle plates went out of style because they're heavy and unconcealable, but they offer an awful lot of protection). I don't carry a gun because I expect to get in a fight; I carry because I don't expect to get in a fight. If I expected one, I'd simply send a SWAT team in my stead, and sip Starbucks in the mobile command center. (No police department takes documentable, documented conspiracy to commit murder lightly in this age of lawsuits!) I don't sit with my back to the door at restaurants any more, I know what phrases like "condition yellow" mean, and I look for the bulge of a poorly-concealed weapon now when someone walks into the gas station while I'm fueling up.

Fortunately, for the most part, I don't mind living like this. In practice, 98% of the time, it just means I can make unplanned trips to the gun range without going home for weapons. And - unlike most liberals - I know a secret: The shooting sports are fun. I hesitate to say it, but it's a blast to put 20 shots into a single hole not any bigger than a nickel; mastery for its own sake is one of the most rewarding things. [ted.com]

But somewhere, deep down, I know and cannot forget: I found this thing I enjoy because someone threatened to kill me in a public place, in front of witnesses, and get away with it. And other geeks may not get through it as well as I did. I may enjoy the trappings, but I wouldn't want to put anyone through the scary parts on the way to where I am today.

Let us not mistake this for an isolated incident; it is not. Let us not mistake it for something new; it is not. Let us not allow this to happen again; it should not.
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