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Renting Space in Your Brain

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I’ve been a user of the internet in all of its many forms since the mid 90s, and since then I have had my fair share of trolls and mean comments – usually simple one offs like “I don’t like your voice” left on a video (which is ironic when I have acted and sang semi professionally!). But in my history of using the internet and becoming a content creator, I can count on one hand the number of people who just don’t know when to stop and start to become a nuisance . The first incident happened around 15 years ago and was a guy my husband and sister dubbed “Batteries” and things got so bad with him and his threats that I did have to go to the police. The second was about 10 years ago, and it might have been more than one person but at any rate, the result was *me* getting banned from a useful website I posted on and I had to speak with the police about the harassment. Then we delve into the land of psycho expats with more than one just losing their shit and stalking several fellow expats…and now we get to the most recent, ridiculous harassment/trolling efforts of someone who…well, they’re anon as far as I know. They do have internet handles, but I’m not going to mention them out of politeness.

Here’s where we get to the title of my post – Renting space in your brain. It’s incredible how ONE SINGLE COMMENT can kill you. For example, ONE music director in 2002 didn’t like my voice and I didn’t sing for 10 years. These comments weren’t about my singing, but another way I contribute to the arts – these comments were on the words I wrote.

The first comment came in September on my account over on Fanfiction.net. It was from a fellow “author”, and it was nasty and harrassive. FFN doesn’t let you remove nasty comments from registered users, so I simply deleted (And later re-posted) the story the comment had been left on and blocked the user id. Speaking to a fellow reader, I found out that the author in question “does this to any author who writes better than them and has a following”. Ok, so it was down to sheer jealousy then. Fine, whatever. I kept publishing.

I made the move to Archive of Our Own a few months ago after I finally got my invite to the site. I moved over much of my fic from FFN, but I also made an announcement on FFN that I was going to be posting on AO3 and if I wasn’t updating on FFN, to check me on AO3 and I listed my AO3 pseudo – AnnaOnTheMoon.

AO3 allows you to screen comments before they are posted, and a few came in from a person. Again, they were filled with harassment and well, they tried to tell me what I should write. Like, telling me “You need to write blahblahblah and blahblahblah needs to happen.” My response wanted to be “Go write it yourself”, but instead I just deleted the messages, figuring they would get the hint that I wasn’t interested in their “orders”. Other readers left comments requesting different storylines and if I felt I could write them, I did.  But when someone demanded I do something or another…no. AO3 doesn’t have a block feature, so I just had to delete the comments as they came in.

Finally, they stopped using their registered profile, and swapped to posting anon. And funny enough, the only reason I found out they were the same person was due to what they wrote in their comments when they referenced “a lack of negative feedback”.  Now, why would you assume someone even had negative feedback unless you had been the one who tried to leave it in the first place under your other nom de plume?

It was at this point I turned to getting advice from Author Dayton Ward on Twitter:

Dayton Ward was right. Just ignore, ignore, ignore. Don’t let them have space in my brain. But…it was hard. Especially with the comments that were coming through. At one point, they seemed to blame me for the entire Picard/Crusher fandom.

They decided that a fic I wrote called “The Comment Box” was about them. The fic itself was a tongue in cheek story about the ridiculous comments that are posted on Trek pages. Their response? Dedicating a story to me (and a friend of mine who is a big supporter of my writing.)

They thought they were writing an opt-ed. Uhm…no.  They also decided to steal my own tag of tongue in cheek, because…well, why not.

They admitted they had been reading me on FFN and had been the FFN user I blocked. They claimed to have “Been stalked in high school” (I also should note, that basing their age on what they mention in their own author’s notes, they aren’t much out of HS) and yet they decided to stalk me. (oh, and told me my depiction of stalking was wrong, because the way they were stalked is the absolute only way things ever happen)

The story got weird. I was Queen of the kingdom who churned out shit, but then I also inspire people? But the gem had to have been where I basically get blamed for the entire fandom.

I mean…what now?  But this “fic” was the final straw, and I contacted the AO3 admins and reported the story and the user for harassment.

…but I still can’t get their comments out of my head.  It’s poisoned my story, just like it poisoned one of my previous stories.  At this point, I want to either abandon the story (and the series as it’s second in a series), or delete it.  But if I delete it, I doubt I’ll ever re-write it, so then that also means that months of work will just be down the toilet because I can’t evict this asshole from my brain.

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*sigh* Hopefully, by getting this all out, I will be able to evict them once and for all and return to my writing…because how does that phrase go? The best revenge is a life well lived?

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+Meme made by me, screenshot from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
++Meme by Swear Trek
All other screenshots are from Archive Of Our Own or my own Email and Twitter accounts. 

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission.

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