I just got this letter via email:
"Dear Beth37, I apologize for addressing you this way, I wish I knew your real name as I would like to ask you an important favor.
First, let me introduce myself. My name is (first name only) and I am a blog writer. Currently, I am writing a story about American parents who have adopted a girl from China.
This story has received many good reviews from other bloggers, which led me to continuously keep writing more chapters. One day, I was looking for information about family adoption when I stumbled upon your article, "A Letter to my Daughter's Birth Mother". I was deeply touched by it and tears were streaming down my face by the time I finished reading it. The open-mindedness and honesty of that letter are qualities that reflect exactly the kind of person that is portrayed by the maternal character in my story.
Therefore, I would love to include your letter as part of my story in a chapter where the child goes back to China in hopes of finding her birth mother to deliver this letter from the parents who adopted her. And of course, I will accredit you for writing the original letter and link a website to it. I am also completely open to suggestions and ideas from you about the story and/or the letter. I wish I can contact with you and talk about some more details if its possible.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely yours, (first name only)"
So, I have absolutely no idea what to do with this. This person could of course, be reading this. I hope I have not done anything wrong by sharing the e mail, but it makes me nervous and I need advice.
This is not just about my own personal writing, it's about my daughter so ... I don't know how to respond. I don't know the authors last name, no pic, no blog address... Im sure it's a very nice, reputable writer, and I would love to help him/her out, but I don't know anything about the person let alone this kind of request. How would you respond? Would you respond at all? Im clueless.
Decline gracefully, maybe with a comment that HP does not like to see duplicate material on their site.
You might suggest that the writer use a short paragraph, describing your hub, and with a backlink. If the hub is useful in their article, it will be just as useful that way.
Im thinking if it's a troll, if I respond, they will have my email address. They said something about discussing things further which made me wonder if they were going to request a phone number etc. But if it is simply a nice person who is writing a book, I would love to help them in their effort as I love adoption and would love to help promote it anyway I can. I'd like to think that that hub was meant for something more important than entertainment... Is there anything I could say or do that could cause me to give up rights to my work? I wish they would have included their blog address and it would give me some idea of who they were as a person, but again, Im kind of afraid to respond to the email. Am I being overly sensitive or is there any kind of threat involved (to me or my work)?
I think it's a bit personal so I probably would not give permission. The person should have at least given a link to their blog and a last name. The information seems too vague to me. I don't know what else to tell you.
I have an email address I use for such things, and nothing else. Just start a new outlook.com, (or any of the many other free accounts), email address and keep it for responding to folks who you aren't ready to give your actual address to.
I can even act as intermediary if you prefer.
Of course you can give up your rights - all you have to do is give permission for them to copy the work and you have lost the right of ownership.
That's why you deny them that right and just ask for a backlink.
Literally saying thru email that they can use it nullifies my rights?!
I don't have to sign anything at all? lol Seriously?
If you want to explore this without committing to anything, might I suggest using a disposable email address such as offered by spamgourmet.com? The address will only work as long as you want it to.
I would definitely err on the side of caution, and keep it professional like wilderness suggested in the first reply to this thread. Writer Fox also makes a lot of sense a few posts down, with regards to withholding your personal information.
Especially when it comes to kids, it's better to politely pass on those kinds of interactions, imho. Why take a chance?
A quick search of the internet reveals reveals that there many bloggers who write similar blogs about people who have adopted children from China and elsewhere. It may be a genuine request but the decision to do anything about it should be yours and your daughters alone. You may be able to find the blog by doing a Google search using the first name she gave you. I would do nothing until I had seen the content of her blog.
If they emailed you through Hubpages isnt their hubpages name/ID on the email?
Yes, I erased their name so as not to make a negative connotation for the rest of you. However, I am the only one they're following, no hubs. Of course this is probably just b/c he/she found the hub thru google and were interested in that alone. I got the feeling thru the fanmail they left and thru one line in the email that English might not be their first language.
Yea a newby looking account would make sense I guess if their story is true ie. they found your article and decided to contact you, so they joined etc Having an intermediary sounds like a good idea. The letter sounds mushy and is elaborate so, kinda sounds legit to me imo.
No last name + No blog address+ No photo = Don't reply!!
I wouldn't do it. I have run into a pretty nasty person because I wouldn’t write one of my health hubs her way. She started calling me names and sent someone else to my hub to harass me. I tried to help her out but it didn’t work and I had to cut her off. I would be very, very careful.
As the daughter (and niece) of a retired police officer, I was taught to be vigilant about this kind of stuff where there is hardly any details given. As cjarosz mentioned, since they didn't give out their full name, I would see that as a red flag. Secondly, they just said they were a blog writer. A blog writer for what site? No information about that either (as cjarosz also mentioned) and that is another red flag. They say that they will give you credit but is it going to be on the internet or on a book? If it's going to be on the internet...well, you know how fastidious Google is when it comes to duplicate content. If it's going to be part of a book, how do you know that they really are going to give you credit? They could be telling you a bunch of BS for all you know. Thirdly, you mentioned your daughter. Keep it for YOUR daughter and NO ONE ELSE. The letter could be used for malicious purposes, you know.
Quite frankly, I would just scrap it. If this person was really a blogger, they would have left proper information about themselves and contact information.
Take care, dear forum queen!
I agree with Wilderness. If you're uncomfortable with it, go with your gut. Acknowledge you are pleased to know your hub has been an inspiration, but ask that they use it as an inspiration rather than content in their work.
Hmm - I would delete it.
If it was an email from a genuine blogger they would have given more detail about themselves and a link to their blog so that you could see what kind of writer they are. A troll will try and get you to respond by pulling on your heartstrings. Some way down the line they will ask you for a “contribution” to get their book published.
Don’t respond if it means they get your email address. If they become persistent, HP may be able to block their emails to you.
You sound as if you already have your suspicions. Follow your gut feeling, don’t reply; just delete it.
I don't think the person is a troll, but they clearly are not a professional and my reaction would be the above.
I'm thinking the same. One odd thing about it was they were sorry not to know your whole name-- but the sender didn't give a whole name -- or a website that you could check on.
Ok! Im glad I asked. Im generally too trusting and bypass all gut feelings in order not to offend.
bBerean, should I send their address to you with a reply? Are you sure you don't mind?
In most states you can give a "digital signature", so yes, an email would give her non-exclusive digital rights.
You can either say yes, or no, or not reply (which is also no), or ask for more details like the url of the blog.
I wonder how many ppl give their stuff away thru a simple email affirmative?
I sent this email thru bBerean:
Hi _____, thanks for your kind offer, but because the story is so very personal, and because I don't know you at all, I think I am going to have to decline at this time. I would have enjoyed reading your blog though. Would you like to send a link? Thanks, Beth
As this person has an HP account, you could email them through HP if you wanted. Having read your lovely hub previously, my feelings are....don't give permission for anything other than a link back. Keep an eye out for someone copying. It's a personal letter. The blogger could write a similar letter herself if she feels it would help her blog. She doesn't need to use yours.
That's true, and I spose she could have just straight up copied it without fear of me ever finding out... so little info from their side is all.
You have no way to reply except via return e-mail, as far as I'm aware, which, as you've noted, would reveal to them your e-mail address.
I have 4 different e-mail addresses, and it is a pain in the drain keeping up with them all...
Personally, I'd ignore it.
I used to have another email address, but I used it for nefarious reasons. As I am trying to maintain a healthy mindset and life once again, I am not going to open a new one. I let bBerean send it for me which is good cause if for any reason it was a man without good intentions, he can read it first and delete.
If you give him your whole name, he can find out where you live because he knows what state you live in from your Profile. Remember, you posted a picture of a beautiful little girl on that Hub. Think about that!
I totally have been thinking about that ever since this morning. I so hate to take that pic down b/c to me, that pic represents so much. I never think of her as an orphan, I never did, but when a contrast comes into my head, the thought is there. When I saw that pic, I thought, "She looks like the Queen of Sheba.... of China." lol I mean she looks like she owns the world and confidence pours out of her and that was where the contrast came into mind... she was abandon in a park and lived 10 mos. in an orphanage, but by that pic, you'd think she was a little ruler. I loved that. But yeah... I did question if I should remove the picture. A lot of ppl use their kids pics. A part of me thinks it's no big deal... I don't know.
I don't think you should remove the picture. I just don't think you should use your whole name so that people can't find your house address.
This may just be an innocent request from someone. But, because there was no link to the blog, you really don't know who you are dealing with. Tons of people post pictures of their kids on the Internet every day without any problems. Just be cautious with details like name, address, phone number, what hours and days you work, etc. (And, of course, someone could give you a link to a blog they didn't own. But if they gave a link to a blog, you could contact from the blog to be sure you are dealing with the blog owner.)
Thank you, very good advice.
Well Berean got a response... it was a link to her blog. Does anyone read Chinese? lol
http://blog.wenxuecity.com/myblog/61032 … 10950.html
The name of the story is 'China Fox' – no relation, I assure you. I guess she/he won't come knocking on your door since he's in China. If he translates your Hub to Chinese, that would be OK. Just make sure he gives a followed link back to your Hub.
Use the Google translate toolbar and you can read the whole story. It's exactly what was described in the email.
P.S. He could have just stolen your Hub and translated it and you probably would never have known. So, the whole thing seems legit to me.
Oh, I hadn't even noticed the translate button. You're right, it's just like he/she described. So when I do reply, when I feel assured it's all good. What exactly do I say? "You can only use the back link, but not...." What? What can they not use? I mean if she's writing a story, I would imagine you can't stick a link in it, right? How would she give me credit anyway? I don't know what exact direction to give her.
The email you posted said: "And of course, I will accredit you for writing the original letter and link a website to it. " That sounds to me like she wants to translate your entire Hub and use it as a chapter in her serial story. If that's OK with you, then just tell her you want a followed backlink to your Hub and to use Beth37 as your author name.
So long as it is in Chinese, I think it's OK. Just be specific about that in an email: that she is never to post it in English.
So she can only post it in her language? And what is the harm of it being posted in English?
That would be duplicating your content. This is why we file DMCA notices.
I don't trust it, Beth. I had a similar thing happen to me last Monday. This person contacted me on my business email address. This is the initial email:
"Hi Janis, I'm just really interested in your poem 'dirty skin' and I'm actually doing an assignment on it, and sorry I couldn't find any other way to contact you. but if you could just let me know what influenced you to write the poem at the time and what year it was written ill be really grateful. I hope to hear back from you soon, thanks."
I did respond because I was flattered and intrigued. I asked a lot of questions regarding what kind of assignment, where did you see my poem, what school he went to, yadda, yadda, yadda. I asked if we could schedule a time to chat the next day because I was busy. Here is his response:
"Oh really sorry, but my assignment is actually due by tomorrow and I thought by chance id be able to get why you wrote the poem in the first place, and how it influenced you in that time period, because I only happened to find a contact email today, and just thought id ask. But I just found the poem by chance actually, I'm not entirely sure what sight I got it from. But that's alright, thank you anyway (:"
Although I told him I'd help him, I now began to get suspicious and asked more questions. Here is his next response:
"my assignment is about poetry and choosing a theme to focus on such as; love, war etc. and I chose racism because its not only in the past its still relevant today so I have also got another poem from the past 'The Barrier' by Claude McKay and I'm using your poem for more of a modern poem. Basically our assignment is about analysing the poem and what techniques the poet used through-out the poem, also including the background information of the poet and poem and what may have influenced the poet to write the poem in the first place. I'm currently in grade 12 at South Rockhampton State High School in Rockhampton from Australia.
But thank you so much for your time, I really am thankful that you even replied
this will help me so much, and ill be sure to send you my assignment also when its done.
Thank you once again (:"
I complied and told him about my inspiration for the poem. I even addressed copyright laws and told him to use the link only for his paper. I told him I was happy to help and would love to see a copy of the assignment. Here's the clincher, his last request, never to be heard from again:
"sorry to keep bugging you, but what was your birthday and year and also your home town? I forgot to ask that earlier."
Short of cussing him out, I politely said, 'your teacher doesn't need my birth date and hometown for your paper. I hope you're legit.' Of course he wasn't.
Be careful Beth and all hubbers.
Why would he ask those final questions? What would he gain from knowing that? He put a lot of effort into the back and forth... is this just a way to do identity theft or something?
I wrote my earlier replies from my 'feed' page so they'll be out of sequence, but the kid is obviously legit.
I think it would be great if you emailed the school and suggest they give the kid a high mark for his assessment because he clearly was very thorough with his research. He went to the trouble of contacting a poet directly. I'm really impressed by that! Sorry he scared you all.
BTW, don't have an opinion on your person though, Beth37. I've not heard of an assignment like that.
Okay, I'll let you know when I see the assignment. I really was glad to help him but he really threw me off at the end, especially because my hometown is mentioned in the hub and on my profile.
Please don't respond. He/she will have your e-mail address....
Why to reveal your identities to a person you don't know?
Hey, janshares. That request was probably 100% legit. One of my kids had exactly the same assignment a couple of weeks ago.
I thought it was a lame 'assessment task' at the time she brought it home. Unfortunately though the kids get much of their end of year mark from this one assignment.
Lucky Year 12 is his last year at school. lol. He'd never live it down next year if his school is bombarded with letters from hubbers.
I hope it's legit, LongTimeMother. I'm still waiting for the assignment. If he actually read the hub, he would have seen the date and location of the event and put 2 and 2 together and got my hometown and approximate age. That's why I don't believe it.
There's a good chance he just highlighted your poem and printed it, jan. I'm not sure how obvious it is to people who stumble across hubs to click for a profile.
I've just had a quick look in my daughter's bedroom but her assignment sheet is not there. She must have it at school. (Early afternoon local time.) I would have photographed it and put it up for you to see.
I appreciate your support, LongTimeMother. I did tell him he could make a hardcopy for himself along with using the link only. I look forward to getting some closure and resolution with this. I never would have mentioned it if Beth hadn't posted this forum.
@ janshares: As part of the English assignment, the student was probably instructed to write a short bio of the poet. I'm sure the English teacher presumed the kids would choose very famous poets – some from the dead poets society – all of whom have the years they lived and where they were born on their Wikipedia pages. Also, there would be a lot online about the motivation for writing certain famous poems, commentaries and the like.
It would have been much easier for him to have chosen poetry on this subject by Maya Angelou, Rita Dove, Langston Hughes or Robert Hayden. I think it's amazing that he found your work and really connected with it. Sounds like a great student to me! I think his teacher will be impressed with him and with your poem.
Thanks for your kind words, Writer Fox. I'm glad I did help him but with all that goes on in cyberspace, I could not help but to be suspicious and cautious. I do hope I hear from him about the assignment. Every one knows that asking for one's birthdate, coupled with another identifyer like hometown, is a red flag for identity theft. I also suspected that since he said he couldn't remember where he saw my poem, he may have seen a duplicate copy somewhere on line and that he was a spammer.
Sorry for bombarding your forum, Beth. Forgive me, my Queen.
I read that page a long time ago, Beth. It deserves some more exposure. And the Chinese blogger was right about the shining honesty.
It's an odd request, though. She is writing a work of fiction and wants to fold your letter/article into it.
Anyway... its up to you. Hard to see that anything bad can happen.
I'm so conflicted and you just brought up something I hadn't even noticed. I really couldn't wrap my mind around what she was doing, but I can't get over the awesomeness of a Chinese woman half way round the world reading my hub about a girl that once was a part of her land... it's all so full circle kind of. Maybe some how, some day Lily's biological mother might see that hub. Maybe Lily is the spitting image of some beautiful mother or handsome father who would love to find out how amazing that baby turned out to be.
Wow, Beth. That's a nice thought. I like to think there'd be a happy ending to that scenario, but it could get very complicated. You'll need to think it through fully and then do what you think is best.
Do you mean allowing her to post it on her blog? So far I declined so I will leave it at that for now.
You can take as long as you want to think about it. You know where to find her now, so you can always email her in the future if you decide to.
BTW, it is pretty awesome!
It's a great hub.
As a complete digression, I will just mention that my second serious relationship was with a Chinese woman. Her entire family were dentists. Despite that, they were pretty decent people, lol.
They introduced me to good food, mahjong and playing golf whilst slightly drunk.
Can't say I took to the golf much but the food and the people won me over. I don't think I could live in Thailand if it were not for the large number of Chinese people.
lol... you're just a little bit crazy I think.
Yes, the Chinese ppl we met were extrememly warm and hospitable. We went to a government workers apt. He was somewhat important I think. He had a house, but I guess had to have something close to work, so they lived in a not so nice apartment, he slept on a ping pong table, and they had a piano , but how they got it up 3 flights of winding, narrow stairs I will never know. The daughter played a few Chinese songs for us and it was so odd sounding as the piano was slightly out of tune, however she was very good. Then they asked us to sing them an American song. My husband doesn't sing at all, but I sing quite a bit, however not in settings quite this intimate. lol. So I sang them a Christmas song. They fed us food very foreign, with claws and spikes... food so hot my husband changed color, and he likes it extremely spicy. It was a very interesting experience, the whole thing.
Thai food is my favorite though. I wonder if I would like it authentic as I'm sure you had it, or if I just like some watered down American version.
Claws and spikes, lol.
The father of that Chinese girl liked introducing me to scary animal parts. I remember the first time I had ducks feet, dim sum style in a very smart London restaurant. And fish cheeks, And sea cucumber. And testes (probably not human). And 1,000 Year-Old-Eggs. And bird spittle. And so on.
Still, I suppose for a dentist this kind of torture was pretty mild.
lol! "probably" I s'pose they are an acquired taste.
Yes, they did love to shock... they loved the looks on our faces when the food arrived. You'd think if they knew it was so intimidating they might have avoided it themselves in the first place.
Hi Jan. My daughter's English assignment said, in part,
"Select a type of imagery. You could choose from things such as a season, a mood, a colour, an environmental type or a concept such as death, romance, etc."
She had to include "5 poems written by 5 different poets that use the imagery you have chosen. You need to have a copy of each poem and to have highlighted the words and phrases that create this imagery."
There's more about "understanding, interpretation, critical analysis and pleasure" and a list of things they have to provide in the assignment, but the battery in my camera is flat and it is too late in the night to retype it all. My daughter is not in Year 12 so I Year 12's task would be even more in depth.
I do hope the young man gets back to you and puts your mind at rest. There is certainly a High School at South Rockhampton in Queensland.
This sort of reminds me of an email I received about a year ago. The email was purporting to be from a teacher of a middle school class and he claimed he wanted to use one of my Hubs for a lesson in class; but he said he needed my real, full name to use the article in class. I brought it up in the forum, and the consensus seemed to be that this guy doesn't need my name at all, he could use my user name or a link to my Hub or profile. In addition, he could have been someone just wanting me to answer his email so he could get my email address and send me spam. I ended up using a throw-away email account to send him a response, but he never answered me back. Of course, I had waited a really long time to answer him in the first place. So, I'm a little suspicious if they send limited info and ask for my info or want me to email them back. Hard to tell though, I still feel like a newbie in regards to this kind of stuff.
Edit: The other thing I was going to say, is that the scammers often start with some kind of flattery or a compliment. I get spam on my websites, with comments about how great my writing is.
Personally, I wouldn't even respond. Here's why.
1. Replying to this message tells the person that there is indeed someone that is active on the account.
2. With internet now days, you never know what kind of information they can get from your account.
3. Being that they didn't give their name in specific, would come off weird. If I were contacting someone about something personal, I would want them to know I'm a real person.
4. You didn't mention any site that it would be placed on. Therefore, you can not see what the site is actually about.
5. It would give an unknown person the right to your work, when you don't know what they are going to do with it.
Thank you every one. I did decline although it made me sad to do so thinking that she is just some sweet Chinese blog writer with a heart for adoption, but I aired on the safe side.
Wow, that's incredible. I'm thinking that if you are okay with writing the letter for hubpages then it really shouldn't be a problem having your letter in a book. You're right though, you don't know this person or the kind of book they are writing. Knowledge is power so you should get as much knowledge about the person writing the book and what it's about, before you decide. The author of this book seems genuine. If they weren't, they would simply copy the essence of the letter (change names, and enough info to make it their own). I would explore more, talk with this person, see if there are any small changes you would want to make, work it out. Sounds like a good thing, and you get your name credited in print (if the book makes it to publication). That goes along ways with editors.
I think the book is just blog form... she is writing it in chapters and has put it online. I don't know, like Will said, she is writing fiction, my story is real and I don't know how she's planning on working it in. plus there is the whole "unknown person" part. It's seems totally legit to me, but we've heard a lot of stories, even just on this thread about what can go wrong... I'm just gonna leave it as is for now I guess... unless something sways me to change my mind.
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