A do-it-yourself guide to online harassment; Part 1


As readers will have seen this morning, I have been reported to the police for harassment. Fortunately, or I suppose unfortunately for those making the complaint, the police want a little more than just my making jokes about spiritualism. When Maire Stafford heard that the police were reluctant to act, and I think I ought to mention at this point that the whole idea of contacting the police in the first place was hers, she got in touch with Mike Fortune-Wood and asked him to help. She did not actually use the expressions stalking-horse, patsy or fall-guy when discussing this, but the gist was that she had managed to get somebody to pose as a victim.  There was now a golden opportunity for the pair of them to get their own back for all the jokes and snarky remarks which I have in the past made about them. There would never, she told him, be another chance like it.  Mike obligingly posted the following  on the HE-UK list, of which he is the owner:



Hi all


First off I don't want this to develop into a discussion topic, I still
regard this topic as restricted.


Those who don't know what this is about probably don't need to and those who
do will understand the context.


If anyone has had their personal details given out on Simon Webb's blog can
they please get in touch with Maire Stafford


mairestafford@XXX.com


This is urgent, if you want to do something about this today is the day.
Maire will explain to you what is being done.


Thank you.


Best wishes


Mike F-W
Your man in a hammock




What is being done is an attempt at making a case for what is known as ‘collective’ harassment. This is when somebody harasses members of some religion, ethnic group, profession and so on. It is a peculiarly ill-judged enterprise for several reasons and is doomed to failure, but we will let that pass for now. The fact is, these two are trying to do it.



Now what they both of course know, but the woman who was encouraged to go to the police does not, is that Maire Stafford and Mike Fortune-Wood worked a neat double act in the summer of 2009, whereby they used emails, blogs, HE lists, twitter and the comments on online newspapers to try and blacken my name. Some of this mud stuck; there are still people who believe that I was a colleague of Graham Badman or that I used to work for a local authority. This is the thing about activities of this sort, it is impossible ever wholly to set the record straight. This post is getting a little long and unwieldy, so I shall break it into two parts. This first part has laid the ground and tomorrow I shall demonstrate clearly, using her own emails, posts and tweets, just why Maire Stafford is the best possible person to consult on the subject of online harassment. She is a master at it and examining her tactics will show readers how this sort of thing may be done effectively. It’s no good just mentioning stuff on a little blog like this from time to time; you have to be proactive! Studying Maire’s methods will show how one home educator can really harass another successfully.




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