Poster tries to make trouble for us in real life - what do you do?

On a different message board, there is a guy who my husband and I both fight with regularly, as he is a conspiracy theory nutcase. In recent exchanges, he told my husband, Jim, that saying things in real life like he says on the message board would get him beaten up, and basically threatened him. My response to all that was to tell Nutcase that it is silly to threaten people on message boards.

Nutcase seemed to take that as a personal challenge - he found an ancient online personal ad of Jim’s (Jim and I met online - we both had personal ads online), posted a link to it in his sig line, and now he has said to me that he tried to warn me that Jim had an online ad, and since I didn’t get the message, he guesses Jim has my password (implying that Jim deleted the message on my computer about his indiscrete online ad).

We are both pretty steamed over this; you don’t mess with people’s real life over internet squabbles, but we are still aware that it is just a message board idiot being idiotic. So, my question to you Dopers and Mods, what would you do in this situation?

If it was me, I’d write him off completely. He crossed the line into creep-status and frankly I’d want nothing to do with him after that. Skip his posts (some boards have an ‘ignore’-function, god that is a lifesaver), block his emails (if he has access), block any PM access, etc etc. I suppose success would depend on board dynamics and his potential for being a persistant asshole.

I’d also try to have him banned or at least infracted for posting personal information, I guess that would vary depending on the board rules and culture.

Ditto the last post, he doesn’t exist anymore. If the mods are anything like they are on this board, alert them, other then that, he’s nothing. The only further action I would take would be to inform your local police if he makes any ‘real life’ threats. For example, telling you that he’s going to come over to your house and beat you up. I wouldn’t ask him for proof that he’s going to do it, I woudn’t tell him your going to the police, I would just do it. That way, you can let them look into it. Also, if any type of confrontation would ever happen, you have a paper trail to prove it was all premeditated. Are there laws against cyber-bullying?

On this board, someone who engaging in “stalking” another poster in the manner you describe would be warned, and then banned if they didn’t knock it off pretty quick.

Someone did threaten a mod once. An explicit death threat. IIRC, he claimed to know where they lived and was planning to go to their house and shoot them or whatever. It was too straightforward not to take seriously, especially since he was wrong about the mod’s RL name, but I’m not sure we were ever told how it was resolved.

[ramble]I’ll also never forget one Pit thread, shortly before the outage in 2001*, in which two posters were posting their own RL info. UncleBeer was a mod at the time, so there was a series of posts reading “Fine, come get me. My address is deleted by UncleBeer, my phone number is deleted by UncleBeer, and I work at deleted by UncleBeer.” I think a third person got in on it as well, and it ended with UB saying, “I’m finished dicking around with you guys. The next person who posts personal RL information will be banned.”

*And perhaps not a coincidence.

So he was over the line, it’s not just our imagination?

I think that he went over the line. I hope you contacted the mods about his sig. But remember that mods can’t do much of anything outside the message board. If he sends you emails, the mods can’t do a damn thing about it. If he sends you PMs on that board, then they should do something about it (IMO).

I’d advise you to tell the mods that you and your husband are putting him on ignore, and write Mr. Tinfoil Hat ONE message (email or PM) saying that you’re ignoring him from now on. Then simply don’t engage him any more. Don’t respond to him. Easier said than done, I admit, but that sort of person will get fixated on people and causes, and you don’t want to be one of his fixations. If you have any emails or other messages from him that really threaten you or hubby, then tell the cops.

Certainly not your imagination that he’s crossed a line. Bringing up past posts on a message board which you may have had a chance to reconsider and regret can be disconcerting but is usually ok, but looking elsewhere for information quickly crosses a line–even if the information itself is harmless, and were the details of your situation different, this information would not be harmless. And looking for real life information on you is stalking and creepy.

I think I agree with the idea that he doesn’t exist anymore–and with the alert the mods. They can’t do anything off-messageboard, and may not do anything on-messageboard, but at least you will have tried, and passed a warning on to the mods before he hassles someone else.