Identity Crisis

“To the wicked, all things are wicked; but to the just, all things are just and right.”
– James Hogg, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner.

For those of you just tuning in, you might want to go check out WoW.com’s article on the Ferraro controversy, just to get up to speed if you missed it.

In case WoW.com is blocked by your work filter, Ferraro is a blogger that has been writing Paladin Schmaladin for a good number of years.

I had never heard of him/her personally, until just one week ago when someone posted a link to the site in my comments, saying it would be a great source for Ret Pally info.

I went there, and I have to agree, a fantastic source for Ret Pally info. Also seemed to have an excellent storehouse of Healing Pally knowledge, too. Very well layed out blog, looked pretty darn spiffy. Up until now, just about all my Pally knowledge has come from Siha at Banana Shoulders, but I’m always happy to find a blogger that’s new to me that writes great stuff.

And then along came Jagoex’s article exposing Ferraro as a person that has apparently been stealing the internet content and identity of Sarah, the tech fashionista at TechDarling, for years. Literally, posting pictures and stories Sarah put up of herself on both public and personal websites, and claiming them all as Ferraro’s own on Paladin Schmaladin.

It’s pretty wild stuff.

Ferraro’s most recent post claims that it’s all just this grand mistake, that really there is no one single stalking psychotic running Paladin Schmaladin, but instead 7 different people who have traded off writing over the years.

WoW.com/WoW Insider claims that by checking the IP addresses their system recorded as Ferraro posted comments over the years, they’ve proved that there is only one Ferraro. I have to ask myself, “Didn’t they just prove that only one Ferraro bothers to comment on their site, and maybe the others never did”, but hey, that’s beside the point.

And the point is, whether one person or 7 or umpty-gazillion, when the Paladin Schmaladin website was created, the person doing the writing posted pictures and wrote background claiming a persona and life that was patently not theirs… and over the years, has continued to blog about details of their own life and posted pictures and stories of her own life… that were actually posted by and written by and about Sarah at TechDarling, someone else entirely.

None of this changes the fact that the website design of Paladin Schmaladin is pleasing, the content seems excellent, and the movies outstanding. What it does, is change how we see the person behind Paladin Schmaladin, and let us know that this person happily steals content from other people, lies about who and what they are and what they do, and in short is untrustworthy. Doesn’t it?

What follows is a very long rambling post about blogging about yourself, honesty, trust, and stalking. Read if you’d like, but it is very long, so please feel free to pass on by. 

Paladin Schmaladin has lots of great work, lots of hours and care spent researching and providing data on Paladins in the game… it really is a great looking website with tons of effort put into it. How does someone do so much work, and then lie so completely about who they are? If they have lied for years on the blog, have they ever told anyone in their family or friends in real life about the blog? Is there nobody among their family or friends, people who really know them, that knows about the excellent work they REALLY did? Those posts, movies and research articles take time and careful thought, and from what I’ve seen they seem very well done. How does someone do all that in a vaccuum, with nobody in the real world having a clue?

And you, the reader… will you care? Do you read a blog for just the bare bones content of ‘how do I do…’, or do you read because of the integrity of the person behind it?

And one last aspect of this… what drives a person to look for more information about a public figure than what the person shares themselves on their blog?

Jagoex explains that he only got suspicious when Ferraro posted a week ago about supposedly attending a tech convention, and when leaving the convention, had a luggage ticket saying “1337”, including a pic of the luggage tag. The pic seemed familiar to Jagoex, and he found the same pic, and damn near the same story, posted by TechDarling. After seeing this, he started checking back and forth and found that, over the years, this stealing of content from TechDarling to Paladin Schmaladin was widespread.

I think that’s a pretty fair reason to delve a little deeper. Plagiarism is wrong, and having someone call you out on it is damn fine at any time.

According to Sarah of TechDarling herself, Ferraro is most definitely not her using a different pseudonym… but must be someone she knows in some way, since some of the pictures posted came from her private MySpace and Facebook pages. Either someone she knows, or someone that was able to get an invite into her private spaces somehow.

I will say that the WoW.com article that goes into investigative overdrive seems to go beyond Jagoex’s research for no good purpose, but what the heck. It’s gone past a simple “Ferraro is a plagiarist and has stolen the content of TechDarling” and went all the way into National Enquirer territory. Twilight Zone, next stop.

As a blogger myself, this whole thing is incredible.

My position on this is, a blogger should at all times be true to themselves, and whatever they write should be 100% from the heart. Right or wrong, if you post a story, it should be your story. If you post an opinion, it should be your opinion. If you post something by someone else, you should clearly say so and give credit to them. 

You don’t have to share your own personal life history on a blog. By all means, do not share aspects of your life that you do not want to. I think it’s fine. You can even refrain from posting any personal stuff at all, and try to stick to data and theory and reporting as much as possible. 

Me, I love the people who DO share their own personal opinions and thoughts on things. The more someone tells me about what they think on different topics, the better it helps me to determine how much weight I give to their opinions. And I like the feeling that someone is sharing their thoughts.

The keyword there is ‘sharing’. The writer is choosing what to share about themselves and what they think. I am choosing to read it. We shared a special moment. Awww, how special!

Honestly, my second thought on hearing about this whole thing, was “It never ceases to amaze me how some people that read blogs feel they are owed more knowledge, more intrusion into a writer’s personal life than what the person is willing to share”.

I can only speak to my own personal experience, but I have to figure it isn’t any less intrusive for the female writers out there.

After some of the questions I’ve seen in my comments and in my email, I’ll never be surprised at the lengths people will go to, to try and find out more about a writer than that person has chosen to share, to track them, watch them, and see everything they do or have done.

One example. After some of the comments we’ve gotten, we have a policy of never posting a clear picture of our son online. The picture I posted recently of Alex playing Guitar Hero was, intentionally, the first in a very, very, very long time, and was only posted because I took it from a rear profile and I think it would be damn hard for anyone to recognise my son on the street or in a playground based on it. There likely will NOT be another posted, either.

Why? Well, as an example of one kind of comment I’ve had in the past, there is that person that wrote a comment to a post I made about my love of bacon, telling me that he was outraged, that meat was murder, and asking me how I would like it if they ate my son? And then posted a Googlemaps link to my exact house street address… and the park across the street.

I think that pretty much says it all. Do you need further examples? I don’t think so. I think having someone track down where I live and threaten to eat my son is enough of an example to prove my point. And this was before my name was on the banner at the head of the website. That was back when the banner just said Big Bear Butt.

I always write my own personal opinions, I share my thoughts, and everything I say about my life is as accurate as I can make it. It’s been my own experience in life that while fiction wraps a story up nice and neat and ties it off with a pretty bow and closure… real life is far, far wierder. My Storytimes are written simply because this shit amazes me, and I was there at the time.

But I do not choose to share EVERYTHING on my blog. Some things, most specifically concerning Alex, I just don’t share. I try not to make it too easy for anyone to pinpoint our movements and whereabouts at any given time.

I have also withheld information on certain things that I have just felt had no relevance to what I write about here, and I never felt any qualms about this whatsoever. 

Just as an example, Patricelli is not the last name I was born with. It is my name now, certainly, but it is not the name I lived under for most of my life, including my time in the Marines.

I never thought about it one way or another when I started the blog. I never intended to share my real name so publicly in the first place, simply through counter-terrorism training. When I started writing for WoW Insider, they posted my articles with my real name, and I had the link to BBB in the articles. So, the name and the blog were linked there first. It wasn’t planned or anything.

When Andrige made my beautiful new banner for my website, he put my real name up there. I loved the banner, shrugged and said “Okay, no big deal. It’s not like it matters anyway. And I am proud of my writing.”

How my name got changed to Patricelli is a story for another time, and it’s no big deal. No great mystery, it’s just part of who I am and how I think. I never intentionally withheld my original last name, because I never intentionally published my current one. 

But that small fact has turned up some stalking on it’s own. I have had people email me asking me specific questions about my military history, who I was with and when, etc, that have made it very clear from the tone of writing that they were trying to dig into my life, and had run into a stumbling block when no ‘John Patricelli’ was found in the Marine Corps archives for that time period. These were very accusatory, outraged emails.

Have I wondered if someone was ever going to write “Omigawd BBB was never in the Marines, he’s a big fat stinky liar, PROOF!” on their blog? Not really, no.

But it does tell me that yes, there are people who feel that they must know more about me than I’ve shared previously, for whatever reason. There are people who feel that this is something they need to know, have a right to know, and would feel proud about digging up. 

The very fact that people have the free time and interest to try and investigate my past life is what is amazing to me. You’d think stuff like that only happens in the movies, wouldn’t you? I mean, who am I, after all? I’m just some schmuck that babbles on a blog.

But there really is a certain amount of stalking, even towards someone like me who is about as minor (bordering on non-existant) a celebrity as could possibly exist. It does exist. And I can’t speak for what someone else who starts writing a blog should do to protect themselves from the possibility of being found in real life.

Stealing someone else’s identity and work is pretty shitty. I’m not saying I think it’s right, not at all. Nyet.

But I can see where someone writing a blog might post an entirely fictional description of themselves, or not post any personal info at all, in an attempt to prevent harassment in real life, or in their guild in-game.

A lot of folks write about their exploits in game… and some of them might not want their guildies to know who it is talking about them.

You want more examples of people that watch your every move? 

There are people in game that we’ve caught that do a /who whenever I was in a zone by myself, to see who might be with me in game. How do we know they did? Why, I’d get whispered asking me if secret alt such-and-such was Cassie, because they did a /who in the zone when they saw I was there to see who might be with me. No, really, they did. They would check up on my activities by doing a /who, and then see who else might be in the same zone or instance, and let me know this.

To this day, those people are convinced they had every right to do that, and are offended at me for publicly saying that being stalked like that is really creepy. Well, of course they did nothing wrong. I guess because it was them doing it that made it okay, no worries… just wanted to… well, you know… know what I was doing, who I was doing it with, and ask me if she was that character when they were sure they already knew the answer, to see if I’d be honest about it. Ummm…. okay, nothing creepy or intrusive about that whatsoever.

How do you reason with thinking like that?

These days, I do not go into instances with Cassie if she is on a secret alt. Because we know that if I am on one of my known characters in an instance, someone somewhere is going to do a /who to see who else might be in there with me. We’ve had this proved numerous times. Seriously. So we cannot run together if we want her to retain her privacy on her character.

Kinda sad, isn’t it?

It is just one tiny consequence of being up front and honest about who we are, where we are, and on what toons. I never imagined that kind of thing would happen, but hey. Them’s the breaks. You don’t like it, get a helmet.

Even with the stalking (mild and serious) and the wierdness, I cannot personally imagine lying about anything I write on the blog. Personal integrity aside, I’m proud of the blog. And being proud of it, I feel free to mention it.

So, it’s open and available to my wife, my friends, my mother, my brother, my in-laws… can you imagine the nightmare if I’d started writing this blog, had ever lied about anything, and then once I started writing for WoW Insider, I couldn’t tell ANYONE about it because they’d ask what blog I was talking about? And if I told them, they could go find it, and would then go back and see all those lies?  

Everyone that knows me in real life knows about the blog, and can read it or not as they choose. I’m proud of my life, of my family, and of the things we’ve done on the blog. It’s a creative writing project from hell, and it’s growing all the time.

It’s all a fascinating mess, this identity thing, but I think the situation is great for bringing up some questions to chew on in the blogging community.

To what extent is the reader owed the truth about the author? Is blogging something where knowing about the blogger’s personal life is intrinsically tied into the nature of the writing?

Authors of published books frequently have pseudonyms and pen names under which they’re known. The work they publish is expected to stand or fall on it’s own. It’s only after someone’s name gets well known that their other writing under other names starts getting tied in, to increase sales. Nora Roberts and Stephen King are two of the best known that spring to mind, of people that have used pseudoyms for different writing projects and then bring them all together ‘exposing’ the pen names for what they are.

Is blogging a different animal entirely? Is being honest about who you are, and open about your life, an accepted part of blog style writing? Or is it just the wierd ones among us who feel that way?

Again, I remind you… take the fact of someone stealing someone else’s identity out of this discussion. That is just dead wrong. But the idea of deceiving people as to your true identity when you blog… that is pretty amazing to me, but seems obvious in retrospect. The internet is anonymous, so writing under an assumed identity is just continuing the anonymity, right?

And to what extent should people who write have to worry about being stalked, researched or studied? Identity theft aside, how much of yourself is safe to reveal in this day and age? 

Stalking does exist, safety is precarious, there are wierdos and criminals and the mentally imbalanced out there just drifting along looking for something to fixate on, and our culture increasingly encourages the invasion of the privacy of ‘public’ figures as being fair and just, based purely on the fact that they ARE public.

“The people has a right to know” is the warcry of the press, but how public is public? Does that rationale fall apart when you get down to the public figure only being known by 500 people or less? Did that reasoning ever truly make sense?

You hear it said “If they didn’t want the scrutiny they shouldn’t have sought the fame.”

Well, if you write a blog, does that mean you are seeking fame?

I’m sure some would do, but honestly, I never intended anyone other than my friends to read it. But it was my choice, when creating the first blog… Blogspot asked me, make it private, or public?

I thought about that for a long time. And I finally said the heck with it, and chose public.

I figured then that the worst that would happen would be that someone dropped comments telling me I’m an idiot (which I already know)… and the best that could happen would be that maybe someone somewhere would see something they thought useful, helpful or funny… and maybe I’d make a new friend.

Innocent, naive little me, I had zip idea about ping tracking, or trackbacks, or link tracking, or search engines, or any of that stuff. I figured the only way people would find my blog were if one of my friends mentioned it to a friend.

I never, never in my wildest dreams expected to be read by more than 5 people, tops. And when I get reminded of the fact that more than 5 people read it, it freaks me out a little. It STILL feels like we’re having a private conversation, you and I. I obviously live in denial, go me.

I deal with it best I can, but yes, it does freak me out to think that what I write is read by people I don’t know. As the song says, these are my words, and you use them however you wish.

I’ve never regretted it, because I have made some very nice friends through the blog. Life is too short, and the world too cold, to be upset at anything that brings people of like minds and opinions together as friends.

All that being said… Believe me when I say, knowing what I know now, I can truly understand anyone that decides to conceal who they are in real life when writing a blog or doing anything public, especially if they have children. 

Too damn long, but it’s at the heart of any blog. How much of yourself do you put into what you do, and what are the consequences?

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27 thoughts on “Identity Crisis

  1. I will never post a picture of my daughter on my blog, even my personal one that I think only 3 people in the world might read. I’ve never had the kind of stuff happen to me that you’ve shared here, but then again, I’m even a smaller light in the blogging universe.

    I don’t share much about the man behind the dwarf because frankly I don’t think my visitors would find it all that interesting. If they are on my blog, they want to learn about Tanking Paladins, and not the balding, middle aged guy writing the story.

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  2. Beautifully written. I take another angle, but I like what you’ve chosen to discuss. It’s certainly an interesting topic. And after the story about someone threatening to eat your son, I can fully understand taking every precaution. Unfortunately, if someone wants to find anyone these days, they pretty much can, and no amount of precaution is going to help. That’s such a scary thought with all the folks we hear about these days. Back before the internet, the creeps and perverts and derranged (and the veagans) could only reach those who were close to them. Now, the entire world is close. There are good things which come with this fact, but the bad parts are worse than many people could’ve imagined. Hearing your stories makes me nervous, and also makes me worry for you and the family. I wish you the best. ❤

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  3. And yet, Honor, what you write is written very well, and does lead one to want to know more about you, simply in interest as to your opinions and your thoughts on different things.

    I appreciate your sticking to your chosen topic, and I bet more people wish I would shut UP about my own life… but I don’t have a tanking Paladin, just a ret Pally that has healed ONCE in my life, but hopes to heal raids and instances some day. Sometimes, just having some insights into Paladins in general from an expert like you is a wonderful thing.

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  4. Also (sorry for the double post), although you touch on a right to anomnimity, if she/he wished to stay anonymous, why on earth would she/he choose such an attractive persona? Wouldn’t the reasonable/logical thing to do be to simply stay low-key, instead of drawing attention to yourself? I’d be interested to see how you feel about that aspect.

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  5. Sometimes the balding middle aged guy is who people want to know more about.. I’m not saying give them every little small detail, but it is the person behind the player that makes the player who he/she is. the way I see it, if your an asshat in the game then chances are your on in real life.

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  6. I’ve thrown personal stuff in every now and then, its almost like an online diary, sure its gonna have WoW stuff, from not the most
    knowledgeable or best player, but its mine ya know? And inevitably some RL stuff makes it in there…just dont go nuts. 🙂

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  7. Nassira, honestly, in the case if Ferraro, as far as I can see the evidence is pointing towards someone that wanted to be admired and loved and respected, and didn’t feel that their own knowledge and hard work was enough. Despite the excellent work they have done on their own, the guides, the movies, it seems as though Ferraro felt it was necessary to be loved and admired and respected beyond all that, as a lovely young lady that worked for Blizzard as a paid raider.

    Why? I don’t know, a lack of self esteem on an almost god like scale? Or a desire to not just pretend to be TechDarling, btu actually BE Sarah? Single White Female syndrome?

    Or maybe just a prank or joke on a friend that went out of control, since Sarah has said that some of the pictures used came from her private friends-only Myspace and Facebook.

    Hey, jokes do happen between friends, and maybe she just expected to be busted a LOT sooner, and it kept going on and on and on, until it spiralled out of control.

    Of course, if that were the case, I’d think that Sarah would know who it was… and it doesn’t explain the Retpaladin.com articles vanished, or the ‘halp I’m closing my blog cause I’m being stalked’ or any of the other stuff went down.

    Or maybe space aliens abducted the REAL Ferraro, and they are using the data of Sarah to try and mimic true human activity to further their designs on world domination.

    We may never know, Nassira. The truth is, we may just never know.

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  8. Ah, the only thing that made sense was the Space Aliens theory. It MUST be them! 😉 Thanks for sharing, those are all decent ideas for this fun little mystery. The ironic part is that now, even more people are trying to find out about “her”. Some people forget that their own actions cause certain actions from others which may not be desireable. I hope “she” can get things sorted out, whatever those things are.

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  9. I have just recently started my blog, and do plan to write some personal stuff from time to time. Maybe some old stories of when I was in the army, or things about my childhood, or maybe just how things in my life are going right now.

    Will I lie about anything? Nope, why would I? I am a very open person, people I play with and raid with, can ask me absolutely any question, and I will answer them truthfully. If people wanna find out where I live, go ahead, I’m really not too worried about it. Wanna add me to MySpace? Go ahead, I barely use it anyway.

    This may not be the safest way to go on the internet, but it’s just the way I feel, I don’t need privacy, I don’t need to hide things, I don’t need to keep secrets (about myself, there are things others tell me that I won’t disclose, I am all for confidentiality, if people prefer to keep it that way).

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  10. I think the intent of why people assume a false identity is the sticking point. To create an alternate persona to protect your private one? Depends. Blogging as your character is one thing, blogging about your character while pretending to be someone else is a different story. Giving people fake names is fine, making up or stealing a life is not.

    Ferraro seems to have gotten too caught in the lies they spread. To me, assuming the identity/stories of a different real person is…well…creepy. (I clarify because I love blogs where people post as their characters).

    We had several cases of this on my forum. One dude, on several seperate occassions, pretended to be a girl to get ahead in the game. On one of his personas, he even set-up a fake MySpace profile, complete with pictures he had stolen from someone else. I actually had a personal experience with him, as he was briefly in my guild on a different persona. He didn’t stick around long, mostly because we already had real females in the guild and nobody got special treatment beacuse of gender.

    In the end, intention matters. Why Ferraro felt they needed a fake life on top of what they already had will mostly likely never be answered. Unfortunately, their deception taints everything else they did.

    The only real life question I want to know is where you got your son that awesome Mario Bros shirt…and if it possibly comes in my size. I come to BBB for druid info and some of your guild stories. Your personal stories are bonus to me and I appreciate your sharing of them.

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  11. I’s glad I’s already amazingly virile, and therefore ain’t got no temptation fer ta make up a new identity ta be more appealings. Completely understands why some would want ta invent a new them for they’s blog, though.

    However, taking pics off of any other blog and not giving full credit is wrong, whether yer WI, Paladin Schmaladin, or PlainOldBlogNobodyReads SchmainOldBlogNobodyReads.

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  12. The shame of it is, the guides and how to’s that are put out on Paladin Schmaladin were extremely helpful for fledgling Paladins of all specs. It was a good resource that waded through tons of material and provided solid Paladin advice. As you say the “wild and weird” of this day and age staggers the imagination. Thanks as always BBB.

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  13. “Ferraro” claims to be someone else. We find out later they are lieing.
    “TechDiva” or whatever claims to NOT be “Ferraro”. We find out later they are lieing.

    AKA – TechDiva is Ferraro!

    Or something.

    Really, I don’t understand the willingness of people to put personal information online. For those of us who had the internet grow around us (instead of growing with us) – the first thing we learned was to never share personal information online. And yet now we have the Facebooks and the MySpaces and the Twitters which not only put personal information out there – but allow you to put it out there to an annoyingly ridiculous amount of detail (here’s looking at you, Tweats).

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  14. I’ve not blogged for long but even before I started I had never really worried about people knowing my real name or where I live, but I suppose if I had kids or didn’t live so far away from everything that I would be easy to find then I might possibly be more careful. This single comment has all the information needed to find out my name, email address, phone number and home address with just a little time (about 20 seconds) and some knowledge, maybe I shouldn’t of said that :p.

    The idea of checking the ip address to prove that it’s only one person just doesn’t work, it’s perfectly possible to fake an ip address, hackers have been doing it for years, it’s almost as easy as faking an email, again just some time and knowledge.

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  15. I consider blogs that share personal tidbits windows into the person(a) writing them. Sure, sometimes you’d like to see more, but for the most part, you just subscribe to their feed and take what is offered. It’s not your right as a reader to demand anything. It is your right to not read the blog anymore.

    There are blogs that I read for their theory craft, and blogs that I read because I like the feel of the people behind the posts. Both are acceptable reasons to read, and acceptable reasons to decide to have a blog, but it’s really odd to me to think that people who don’t know you think they have any claim on you.

    Regardless, your post puts it well.

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  16. I started running my website many years ago, and out of internet habit I’d always posted with a pseudonym. I don’t go to herculean lengths to keep my identity a secret (my content host knows my real name for billing purposes and so on) but I also never associate my online name with my real name, and to this day doing a Google search for my real name returns no relevant hits of any kind. I’m a bit proud of that.

    Granted, I have a weird readership – I write about games and politics (and not in an especially interconnected sort of way). But the thing is, I was writing about politics as far back as 2002. And saying certain things about our previous President that would be taken as fact now, well. . . it wasn’t so well received back then. I got all kinds of hate mail and wanna-be death threats. I was a traitor and a thought criminal and every other thing. One guy called me a commie fascist. I’m not sure he was fully literate.

    But the point is that these were real people who stumbled onto a (then and largely still now) obscure website, but took the time to personally tell me that they hated my guts and thought I should be hanged / shot / burned / whatever. It was at that point that I was very, very glad that I write under a false name. Granted, I think most of the people writing me were just Internet Tough Guys. But it only takes one real nutter to hide in my closet with piano wire. 😛

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  17. Um, yeah, I think I may have been the guilty party that referred you to Ferraro’s blog. I still love the guides, I find them well laid out and the sense of humor entertaining.

    The whole thing is “morbid and creepifying” to quote Mal from Firefly. I don’t get it. Doesn’t change that the content was good. I don’t mind people writing under a pseudonym and the “seven people writing as one pseudonym” doesn’t bother me much either (if it’s true). I am bothered by using somebody else’s pictures in your blog without their permission or knowledge and claiming they’re you. That bugs me and that’s what I have the ethical issues with.

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  18. After a few people showed up on my server with extremely unrealistic expectations of what I would and would not do for/with them, I’ve removed my armory links from my blog. My real name isn’t Anna either. (GASP!)

    But the person that writes everything on Too Many Annas (and my other, smaller blog) is 100% me. The chick from Texas. I don’t post pictures of myself on the internet very often, and I try relatively hard to keep “The Blog” away from any sites that could identify me personally with a real name, particularly because of what my husband does for a living. It’s hard, and I’m sure there are folks out there that could track me down if they wanted to. But I totally agree that maintaining a dividing line between “online” and “real” is both necessary and a good thing.

    Reader entitlement can be a problem, sure, but in the words of Neil Gaiman – “[The writer] is not your bitch.” – They write, you get the privilege of reading. It’s something I think writers of any kind (blog, anecdote, published, famous, infamous, unknown) understand to some extent.

    As for the Ferraro thing? It’s sad, and what was done was very wrong (in terms of stealing someone’s identity). I didn’t even know about the blog prior to that, and I have a paladin main currently, so I can’t say much to the content there, but it’s unfortunate that “they’ll never find out” turned into this mess – and even more unfortunate that someone chose to hide in that manner.

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  19. Seems a good a time as any to say hi. I stalk… erm… read your blog regularly. You’ve even inspired me in part to write my own blog.

    I tend to keep personal to myself (anyone who knows me already hears more than they would like too), but it is nice to have a place to spew pages of “wow speak”.

    I have no problems with people claiming to be purple people (or children) eaters online so long as they post their own content. My thoughts on children are loud, smelly and often sticky or greasy so why anyone would want to touch one no less eat one is beyond me. Oddly enough I also described bacon, but I digress.

    I only first heard about Paladin Shmaladin like 2 or 3 weeks ago and my thoughts were: that site is way too busy, I don’t seriously play a paladin and oh she’s a girl. Perhaps if I played a paladin I’d of been more interested in reading further. So all in all I’m largely unaffected, but am displeased anyway.

    [shamelessplug]BTW feel free to read my blog (along with the other 3 people a day). Mine is also mostly druid in nature (druid in nature, that’s like some literary thingamajigy), but I also play a hunter and shaman at 80.[/shamlesslug]

    What a productive post, I stopped being an anonymous blog stalker, gave enough opinion to keep the comment related and a shameless plug.

    Keep up the good work BBB. 🙂

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  20. My mind is still reeling over this entire story. While I didn’t read Paladin Shmaladin, it’s still had a pretty big impact on me.

    I’m the same person I am online that I am in person. I’m open and honest about who I am, and have no qualms about being myself. Yeah, of course I wish I were smarter, wittier, more creative- hell, even prettier. Don’t we all? Part of becoming an adult is learning to love and accept ourselves, the bad with the good. It’s hard for me to respect someone who dislikes his/herself so much, he/she has to create an entirely new persona to feel accepted. What would provoke somebody to go to such lengths? It’s.. mind-boggling, truly. It’s just too much for my mind to absorb.

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  21. I just want to know how many people *didn’t* click the link when you said “here’s a long rant from me, you’ve been warned*. Like really, who can resist that 🙂

    Oh noes, I posted using a real name 🙂

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  22. So much fuss! The internet is all about anonymity giving people the power to say whatever they like – always has been.
    It’s only recently that people have started revealing unsafe quantities of information about themselves online, while still saying whatever they like, and unsurprisingly getting badly burned for it.

    I can’t guess the mindset of the people who data mine for a stupid goal like decorating a blog, (if that’s what even happened – no reason to believe that Sarah is being any more honest than Ferraro, y’know. This is the internet!) but really, nobody should be feeling violated or betrayed here, except the person whose pictures and stories they really are, and Sarah further up this page doesn’t seem to care too much, so why does everyone else?

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  23. After reading the article on WoW.com and clicking the link to the author’s statement about the whole thing, I’m inclined to believe them that there is more than one person over the years that wrote the blog, though I was never familiar with the blog until reading this post of yours BBB. Do I think the stealing and using of someone else’s pictures and life story is wrong? I certainly do. Identity Theft baaaaad, using an alias? Probably smart.

    I guess what I’ want to say is that it’s a bit sad that we’re potentially losing a great resource because of this whole thing. This whole “Right to know everything” thing? It’s actually pretty annoying as someone that likes their privacy. That’s actually been something that I, as a blogger and as a WoW player have had a couple issues with. First and foremost with a prior guild of mine. As odd as it sounds for a blogger to say this I’m a keep to myself kind of person. I don’t even really talk to most of my guildies, just a “Hi!” when they come online and “Bye!” when they are going offline kind of deal. In the last year I’ve spoken on vent once I believe – and I don’t think it was to my guildies. Over the years my behavior has lead to some very determined (and possibly mentally ill?) people trying to find out every little thing about me that they possibly could in order to try to figure out who I am outside of WoW and honestly the whole thing was rather creepy.

    Though that’s different from the Paladin Schmaladin Author’s situation because he/she/they lied about who they are, stole someone else’s pictures and life story and used it as their own, but I did want to just say that having a bunch of internet sleuth’s going over everything you’ve ever said, using things you’ve said to identify you and looking at as much personal information as they can possibly obtain, whether you’re right or dead wrong, in the name of “We have a right to know”, is more than a little creepy!

    That said, *continues to stalk BBB* ❤

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  24. Now I’m left wondering if BBB has a secret alt 😀

    Seriously though, aside from the crazies, knowledge is power, and there are people out there craving power more than anything. It’s just bound to happen.

    You should publish as much (or as little) about yourself as you like, but there’s no such thing as the right to privacy, no more than there is a right to know everything about someone. You can try to protect your privacy, sure, but it’ll be increasingly difficult in the digital world. In the future we’ll be able to know more and more about everybody.

    But I think it’s ok. Then again, I actually feel that cameras everywhere will make us all safer, so YMMV.

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  25. Aww, Anna got to the Neil Gaiman quote first. 😄 That was what came to mind when I read this.

    My blog is a mixed bag when it comes to what I will and will not say. My real name is on there occasionally, because my friends who know it leave comments, and they don’t always call me Asara. No biggie. Same with my hubby’s name. I’ve posted pictures of my kids, and their names, and stuff about them. I suppose if someone was really determined to find me, they could. But I’m a very small fish in this big pond, and I can’t imagine someone actually wanting to. Of all the time I’ve been blogging about WoW, I have had a grand total of One person actually make a character on my server to say hello to me. Which furthers my assumption that very few people really care who I am or what I do. Fine by me.

    I tell you what, BBB. For all the times you’ve invited people to come hang with the Sidhe Devils, if you ever really want some anonymity, you feel free to come over to Malfurion and you can join my alt guild. It’s just me and my hubby in there, and I promise we won’t tell anyone who ya are! 😉

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  26. I’ll admit that I prefer to read bloggers that dare to share. If another Bear site posted only stats, builds, and guides, no matter how accurate, I’d still prefer to read BBB. I like feeling that I’m getting information from somebody I consider cool, or shares some of the same values I do. A pure stats blog is boring.

    The problem with sharing is that sometimes you get the freaks and stalkers which is a damn shame.

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  27. As I see it it’s totally up to the writer to choose how much he/she wants to share. More stories makes for more interesting reading but, as pointed out a few times, if a certain blog doesn’t appeal we don’t have to read it. We can then go find another that fits us better (but I’ll stick with you).
    Neither do I have any problems with pseudonyms at all and if someone chooses to make up a fake life to write about I guess it’s ok.
    What I, and seemingly quite a few other commentors, do NOT think is ok is using another persons life and publishing it as your own.
    Enough said.

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