When does a “fan” become a stalker

Do you use twitter? Are you following your name on your phone? Have you noticed any or multiple of the following users following you:


All of them, are the same user. And now, that particular user is taking and copying your feeds into multiple/a mass RSS. I stumbled across this irony the other day, and was informed today by @Dayngr that it was an even bigger issue than I’d originally thought.

Occasionally I will do an analysis on my feeds. Most of the time, it makes me chuckle. My pictures will be taken off my flickr and added to an RSS feed insinuating that I’m some sort of model “from Russia” or to some “sexy female” site. Even things from my blog have been taken into a cache. The post I made about church last weekend ended up on some bible site, written by “Imanathiest” and linking back here. It can be very aggravating. Generally, personally, although a bit of an annoyance, it doesn’t bother me so long as it

  • a-links back to where the content was originally posted,


  • b-does not take credit for and/or claim ownership of said content.

This person aggregating feeds, is not the first. He won’t be the last. I’m kind of disappointed that he will get traffic from me due to his lack of consideration for others. Immitation, is, after all, the highest form of flattery.

It can be argued that he is not “impersonating” his aggregators. However, he is mooching their content to build his. Why make your own, when you have a readily available stockpile from those who write about it in the public realm?

Where, yes, you can privitize your feed, block the accounts, and/or change your identity to hide from your “fan” shouldn’t there be some way to prevent the leeching so that you don’t have to? Isn’t that what the terms of service should do? Or is it succinct in it’s clause “user beware?” When does the service provider have to be accountable? Where is the line?

I do not necessarily agree about the response given by @Evan Wiliams: “it is harassment but we’re not cops”

There is a degree of self accountability with whatever content you put out there on the internet. Your content is actually less yours the moment you hit post. There is no erase button. Specifically if your content is good, it can, and likely will be twisted and/or plagerized.

To be clear here, this is not a complete war on twitter. I love the service they provide. I just would like enforcement of the terms they have in place. I don’t want a canned “get out of jail free” clause. When a person is clearly stealing content, violating and harrassing multiple people, something should be done about it.

I do not feel that the “victim” should have to more or less be the one to have to hide from the victimizer. It only gives those people causing the problem effectively, more power than they should have. This allows for a digital identity theft if you think about it.

Something needs to be done. The question is, what? What can be done via the inside resources to police the issue more? Not just on twitter, but on all RSS systems? As a community, we have to unify against and squash these bad apples that make these powerful resources any less than functional social sects.

*footnotes-If you are being bothered or stalked by this person, or any “fan,” I encourage you to post your feelings on the Get Satisfaction thread regarding the issue. Additionally, further information about this/these cases can be found here on @Dayngr ‘s blog and here on @WiredPig’s site.

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