I write for another website and have only been doing it for a week. Yesterday I get this email from one of their other writers wanting my home phone number and criticizing my (total of 2) articles posted to the site.
I don't give out my home number and explained I write all day so I need to not be answering the phone. I maintain this boundary even with clients and I don't see anything weird about it.
Since yesterday I've gotten four LONG emails from this person pushing pushing pushing so I forwarded them to the editor and told him to take me off if I have to deal with this.
What do you think of this? Would you give out your phone number to a total stranger just because they really really wanted you to and said they had important writerish-type crap to discuss with you?
When I was younger I grew up in a very backward place, I would say about 40 years behind the rest of the country. It was small and very rural.
Anyway, we were all on party lines and the phone book didn't even ask if you wanted to be listed in those days. So, it never seemed strange for anyone not to be able to call you if they wanted.
So, as an adult my attitude hasn't really changed with the times. I always post my email and telephone number on profiles and such. Been doing it all my life.
I haven't recieved as much as a single call that wasn't on topic or for something good. I know my experience may not be typical, but I don't worry about who is on the other end.
Now that said, I am also not naive to the dangers for women. I know this is the new millenium and all, but the reality has not changed with the new mind set, women are still by and large the victims of predatory crimes and stalkings, and other run ins with weirdo's.
So, I would say based on the abruptness of the contact and the feel of the other letters you are probably in the best position to judge the incident. If you think it is creepy and don't want to deal with it you are way with in your right to have the editor fix the problem. Or even to report it to the police.
Just my thoughts.
In general, I feel like you do. I post my real photo, my real name, and my real city. I don't worry about it. I don't post my phone number because I don't want to deal with phone calls, not because I'm afraid for my safety. It takes a lot of focus to write as much as I do and if I take calls I know I won't write.
That said, the past several months I've gotten an unusual amount of weird attempts at contact from a variety of directions, and not just spam either. I think that it is more a function of people feeling at loose ends because of the recession and having the time for this kind of thing, but I just don't want it. I'm not a social worker, I'm a reclusive weirdo who writes for a living. I know that sounds harsh. It helps hearing how other people are with it, gives me a point of reference, thanks.
Pam- Better to be safe than sorry. Don't we have enough issues to worry about instead of these extra unnecessary issue. I have had one brief nuisance which I wouldn't exactly label stalking but still it happened. Maybe at some point I will write a hub.
TMG- Your post was really from the heart. In spite of being a guy you recognize that things can be a little different for women compared to men (of course I do recognize there are female stalkers too). And earlier I used to be under the impression that during teenage or twenties one can be a target but when Lady G mentioned about her experience (even a women in fifties being stalked) then I felt it really doesn't matter to them about our feelings. I do understand that some folks here are full time writers and need to build a brand by having there own name/picture. Although I applaud you for being so bold(even putting up your phone number which I have shared with someone really close here at hubpages) but I personally feel it isn't justified that some of those folks who do have there own name/picture should ever feel they need to sit in judgement about others who have there own concerns which they have to deal with. At the end of the day this is not a dating site and a place for writing/discussion. Once we throw a stone in water we can't stop the ripples. We have to watch out for ourselves. Maybe your defense background has made you so tough to be able to face anything that comes your way.
NO WAY! There are nuts everywhere. You are right to maintain your boundaries. If this person is sending you tedious emails, the last thing you need is for this person to be calling you. Get out of there, ASAP.
Never! I don't like giving out my phone number anyhow unless I know the person well, or know the person is reputable, or they were recommended or referred to me by someone I knew. You did the exact right thing.
Do you even have to ask. That's insane. Given the types of communication avenues today, there is no need to give out your number. If this persona has writerish stuff to talk about, well perhaps actually...you know...writing it is good enough. Given the length of the email replies, I'd have to wonder at the mental stability of this person, seeing as they keep pushing.
I've had some pretty persistent marketing types who keep pushing to talk on the phone. I think there's as good a chance that's what it was, as a crazy person.
Asking for someones phone number crosses the line.
Following that up with four emails, and long ones at that, puts them right into bat sh!t crazy territory.
I'd keep writing for the site if it's worth it. Not replying to the nutter and forwarding on all their correspondence to the site admin.
Never!! I'm sorry you had to deal with this. Some people are too weird.
No I wouldn't. You have every right to maintain your privacy. You don't even have to exchange emails with them if you don't feel like it.
No...too pushy, I had something fairly similar on another site and because I refused, she rated nearly all of my articles one star...which was decent of her, but it didn't effect any traffic changes or anything so it was pointless.
Working online can be anonymous for a reason and it's examples like that!
Oh, I used to use that "I really really want you to give me your number so that I can discuss important writerish-type crap with you" line sooooo many times back in my single days!
Not that person's place either to ask for your information or to criticize your work. You did the right thing by passing it up to your editor. You should not have to leave over this; the other person should be let go.
Thanks silver rose and waynet--that's hind of how I read it. If anything the emails just cemented my initial impression.
I'm thinking using a pen name. I didn't want to at first, but after two years of doing this enough weird crap has happened that I'm feeling less inclined to be open than I once did.
Jeepers! What a creepy person! Ignore it Pam. That kind of behaviour is neither normal nor necessary.
A couple of years back...I had something similar on Myspace with my music. They were critical of my material but wanted to contact me in person to discuss my possible joining up with their company to write. I checked them out...they were very sly scam artists. I deleted them and blocked them. Never heard from them again.
You are very right and smart to not give personal contact information to anyone. If they have good intentions...they won't mind building your trust through emails or snail mail correspondence.
Interesting! So it could be scammers, it felt 'off'. Thanks for sharing that, it really validated a gut feeling I had about it.
The net is infested with scammers....mostly with artists and songwriters but I am sure they are branching out into blog writers...it is very lucrative and usually right on the edge of being illegal.
Yeah, I've noticed it's gotten alot uglier out there just in the past six months or so. I always report Spam and abuse emails here at HP. Ironically, right after posting this I got a spam email through HP from someone asking for $2K for a boat ticket or something that they would pay back, promise, promise...
It's the million dollar pencil theory. You only have to sell one.
You said all; "scam artists." Why would they be pushing that hard? Refuse and Block them if possible.
That kind of behaviour is seriously creepy!
Apart from the 'stalker' aspect, allowing somebody to phone you in the daytime can be a serious waste of time.
Both of us work from home, and know that it is part of the job to guard our time.
The website administrator should help you (in our opinion).
I would not have given out any information to that person. It's his issues, and you should not feel obligated to answer or handle the situation. Good executive decision!
Countrywoman, I agree with you.
What's creepy is anyone can present themselves as anything online. I think most people here are really who they say they are, but there's nothing stopping someone from posting a photo of a friendly-looking young woman as who they are when really they are some morbidly obese 50 year old male Nazi child molester or whatever.
People do weird stuff like that. Some people online are truly demented.
Even a 50 year old can post 20/30 year old picture of themselves unless the picture one posts is scanned in police records and makes it easier to identify those "real molesters" it doesn't make much sense to me one way or other. I am working for a large company as a full time employee and I do have my own privacy concerns. And as long as one is within the TOS of this site then it is up to the individual what level of anonymity one desires. After all we are individually responsible for our professional and personal life. I hope you are fine and not too upset with that email.
I am fine, thanks! But I'm rethinking being my real self online.
Pam- You are a full time writer and you need to keep building your brand. You have built a good brand so far. And any site that you host make sure you keep the information like hosting/other info private(just a few dollars more per year).
There are both free/paid ways to unearth information about us which we may not be ready for the public to be aware of. As it is the govt intrudes too much into our privacy and the last thing we need is another unnecessary nuisance by someone who is little twisted.
As for me I am not going to be a full time writer (at least not in the near foreseeable future). I am well aware of my limitations as a "writer" and also realistic enough to realize that with my writing abilities I am not going to earn anywhere near my full time job.
Finally, I hope you don't undo all the efforts you have taken to get this far. I know it is easier to say to "ignore" such things but more difficult to practice personally. But I do know you are a smart women who has seen the world and been through so many experiences. I am sure you will come out of even this nasty experience stronger.
Good news countrywoman--I just heard back from the editor of the site and he's going to talk to the intrusive person. He said I don't have to give my phone number to anyone.
I'd take a real job if I could get one but it's tough here so I'm stuck with the writing. I like it usually and as you say, I use my real name to build a brand, a following, and hook it all together.
It's so easy to find out so much about people these days. You're right, there are many, many ways. We all have to be careful.
Can I say to you, that I once stupidly gave out some details leaving gaps, enough I thought to buy it each way for me. ie if the peron was for real, I would benefit from all the semingly tangible goodies offered. If not I figured they wouldn't have the full picture.
How wrong I was, it is relatively easy to hack into another remote computer. I had stuff of mine, shown on another Site, unfortunately for them, they left me a Gap where I could see who it was doing it.
So never never ever give out your Home Number, never turn your Camera on unless you know who it is. It is amazing what can be done with just a little info.
These people are just like the e mails that tell you how much you are going to get from a Lottery, or how they are the Lawyer for an Estate, and you are the only beneficiary, the only difference is the e mailers like your one are a little less obvious, in terms of intentions.
Pam- That is good news. Pressurizing someone to reveal more than what one is ready to do so shouldn't be encouraged at all. Since by yielding to pressure we are strengthening there cause. I am sure very soon you will be making more money and of course being even more happier (no office politics, choosing our working hours) is a great blessing in itself. I am so happy for you. Now I can put my mind at ease and go back to work (although weekend mood has already kicked in). Have a great weekend.
I just think it's absolutely fishy that they even asked. I've received a few "glowing" e.mails about how "wonderful" my writing is, only to have included as well stuff that make it clear the person is, at best, looking to build a list of some kind; or otherwise has ulterior motives.
Pam, like you, I write "as work", not just as a hobby. I know all the conventional wisdom about putting a real name and face on online writing. People do it all the time, and if you don't you're sometimes seen as "odd". I've so often heard the comments, "hiding behind a non-human picture" and "willing to stand behind your work".
I actually accidentally discovered the difference between having no personal picture and posting one. I use a pen name and have always been uncomfortable posting an identifiable picture. I make references to a lot of personal experiences in a lot of my writing. Besides that, I have a kind of youngish look (aka "dumb-ish look"); and all my life it has caused trouble because people often don't take me seriously (unless I work with them and they know me fairly well). On several writing sites there has often been almost a little pressure to post a real picture. Not long ago, I took a picture, blurred out the face, and posted it. I figured it was a compromise. It gave people a good idea about what I look like without revealing my actual face. Right after that I started getting e.mails from people telling me how I should have written whatever it was I wrote, and other e.mails I hadn't gotten in the past. I took down the picture, and the e.mails stopped immediately! No more self-appointed teachers and other odd e.mails and requests for information.
It confirmed my concerns that if anyone saw my picture they wouldn't take my writing as seriously. I went back to expecting my words to stand for themselves. Without the picture people can like or hate what I write, but nobody tries to strike up a relationship or else appoint themselves my mentor or teacher. (I've been writing for 25 years.) I had no idea, though, about how many out-of-line (nothing off-color by any means) I'd get after just two days of posting a picture! I'm a woman. I don't pretend not to sort of wish people could see that I'm not a gray-haired little old lady (yet). Still, I was disgusted at just that two-day-or so "experiment". Maybe it's just that people think women are more likely to be fooled/scammed than men are, but I'm back to no picture of me and letting readers imagine whatever they want about what I look like.
Maybe the difference (for you) between this site and the other one is that the other ones has more people out looking for people, especially, maybe, women).
ledefensetech, good point.
Pam (and others), have you seen the thread on here about "requests to chat"? I think it seems as if there's an overall increase in requests for information/chat/talk, etc. everywhere.
I think it's a reaction to the economy. People are getting desperate and crossing lines that in better times, they would not cross. Much like random violence I'd expect this sort of "pressure salesmanship" to increase. It'll only get worse as the economy worsens. It helps, I think, to pursue several avenues during these troubled times. I, personally, am considering going back to school, ultimately to graduate as a Physician's Assistant. I figure soon they'll have as much real say as doctor's without all the headaches of being a doctor. Plus I'll have knowledge and skills that most people won't and in a pinch I can use those skills to keep me and my family fed. That's a worst case scenario though, I hope that things won't collapse that far.
I haven't seen that thread about chat, but I have noticed an increase in general weirdness at the sites I write for.
I understand your thinking on the photo thing. When I first started writing online I used the freelance job boards a lot, and it seemed to me the photo helped break the ice and get me work. But now, the job boards are just a bloodbath and I'm getting to the point where I'm thinking of changing my whole approach. I've built up an audience here, so to change at this point would require some thought, but I know exactly what you are talking about.
When I first started writing I thought about writing as a guy. I'm not a guy, but it's my perception that guys get less crap in general unless they write lots of political stuff--then they get the crap all political writers get.
It always cracks me up, these threads about 'who is the hottest hubber?' as if ANY of us has a clue. When I was working in the call centers for eight years I had similar issues. I didn't want to use my real name, and I'd get people who were all about, "Oh you're so kind, you're such a wonderful person" and I'd be thinking, honey I could be killing puppies every night for dinner, you have no clue. A woman who used to sit in front of me was morbidly obese and balding but she had a very husky sexy voice and she was all the time getting obscene calls where it would start out ok and then she could tell the person was masturbating. She got asked out all the time. It was completely insane.
I had something like that happen to me. Someone was claiming they wanted to buy some of my artwork. I am sure that they wanted to get it for free and give me a lovely cashiers check to cover it. lol.
It's probably true that the economy is pushing people toward being more aggressive.
I don't think people know what a lot of women have to deal with for one reason or another in business-type situations. I have a dumb-sounding voice (it goes well with my apparently dumb-looking appearance). I have a horrible time with business calls. People cut me off right off the bat, assume I'm either a kid or someone who can't possibly have a legitimate issue. I can't change my voice without sounding ridiculous. Now, if I write a complaint letter, on the other hand, I can have people quaking in the boots. Sometimes I'd like to show up and say, "See this letter? Remember that call? Same person!!!! :
ledefensetech, after the first 3 decades living as an adult, it does get pretty frustrating. One day if you have see a news program about some woman going crazy and doing some horrible thing from the top of a downtown building - you'll know who it is.
In that case I'll try to stay away from downtown buildings.
Full name, address and birth date. These especially together should be never exposed in the net. Unless you are sure that the site is legitimate (bank, .gov etc.) never publish this data or give it to anyone. Identity theft is common and its easy to be a victim.
I'm sure most of you have received w-mails form some African country asking for your details sot that they can send you some fortune. When they get the info they forge an ID and apply for credit, credit check being done on your credit status they get the money and you end up owing to a credit agency located somehere out there.
This being said here it smells totally like stalking. Asking for the phone no...Purely amateur and out of style. The real art is getting the lady asking for the no. And even having the chance to exchange mails. What a luxury.
I would say this would be an obsessed person, platonic feelings and definitely some pathalogical condition as he unconciously forces himself to failure so that he can experience more the mental pain he is suffering. Poor fellow.
Also, there are many ways to find someone's address from their home phone number. Definitely do NOT give it out to ANYONE you don't know. Ever.
A few months ago I got some weird emails from people telling me they wanted to knock off my glasses. I think maybe it was just some young people who do not know any better, or so I hope anyway.
Other weird emails I receive are from people asking if my picture is real, and if I would like to date them. There was also one email from a man claiming to be a US citizen, but telling me I had to sponsor him so he could come back into the country. I just delete all of these weird emails.
Turned into an interesting thread. Pam - I think its pretty darn obvious the person has issues and they are not yours to deal with -report them to the admin/editor and hopefully THEY will have to move on. I got harrassed by a drunk on a long-haul flight once, years ago - LAX-NZ - about 14 hours - no spare seats they wouldn't move him and I refused to move - I wasn't the problem. We got diverted to Sydney - another 4 hours on a long flight - on reboarding to return to NZ - I got upgraded to first class - morale of story - you don't move on - they do !
RE the whole identity thing online. I've always been fairly open in life so online I didn't really think about it - I would have been Lis here - but most sites won't accept 3 letters as a userID. When I was younger often used just my initial - being a female in mining was never an advantage.
These days I do get quite a few emails often via HP. Most are just asking for help to make more $ online - I usually point them to my blog - most questions I've already written an answer to there LOL. I get the beautiful woman crap - which at 47 I find quite funny - I report them as abuse if they come thru HP.
Telephone- funny and old-fashioned - I have used skype but only with people I know well via HP and various other boards - but only ocasionally - like you I do this for a living - it involves work - a lot of it - and that doesn't involve spending hours doing free 1on1 consulting for free!
Hi Lissie--I talk to a few people I know well from HP through Skype too, but not too much, because of what you said. It's hard to sit here pumping out articles all day and linking them and what not, and if I allow myself to get distracted I get nothing done.
Lately I've been having lots of opportunities to set boundaries and get confrontational with people. It's interesting. Just got back from walking my dog and some woman screamed out here window at me that they don't appreciate my dog peeing on their tree. Except, my dog didn't pee on their tree. I was just walking down the public sidewalk on the way to the public park and these people in this specific block hate that we exist. We have a big piece of land and a small house and all their yards back up to it. Their housing development is less than 10 years old and is one of the 'minimansion' type chichi developments where everything is beige and tidy and we live in a modest home on land. Apparently the history (which we learned after moving in) is that they approached the previous owners with a low-ball offer so they could tear down the house and have the land, and the owner said screw off and sold to us.
So now they are constantly harassing us.
It's like I'm under some weird constellation right now.
But like you, I'm standing my ground.
Give Nothing except your own opinion of the cynic to the cynic and the editor Pam.
I think I also write for the same site and two weeks ago got an email from one of the other competitive writers who got dropped in the ratings by my article. He approached me on the basis that my writing name 'Pearldiver' was not professional or acceptable to the publisher and that I had to change it immediately!
By return, I just gunned him down and suggested he have the VP contact me directly, so that I could resign directly to her.
No more problems.
Hi Pearldiver--I though that site looked like fun, but you know it really does have a weird competitive vibe with the writers. I confess I don't 'get that'. I've seen it before, in some of Lissie's articles. People show up who are like, I don't know, these SEO cowboys or something trying to gun down the 'new kid in town'. It's so stupid. If it keeps up I'll dump it, I don't need that. Although, so far the revenue is surprisingly good, so that's definitely a mitigating factor! lol!
I had a wierd email too. Lady from South Africa wrote me and stated she liked my hubs and would like to get to know me better. I felt like she wanted more info so I didn't reply. I hope that person leaves you alone! There are lots of strange and creepy people out there.. I know becuase I spend most of my days with them...
Can your email not block him or her?
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