Until six or seven years ago I ran a British political blog which generally opposed the appalling pseudosocialist tyrannies of Blair and Brown. It did reasonably well, ran for a few years, and racked up a reasonable score. I never much cared for stat porn, feeling that if one person in the whole world were to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest what I had written, it would matter much more than twenty thousand people clicking, gawping, masticating apathetically and immediately clicking away, but I was told that the numbers were good ones.
I note that Julia M and Cats still have links to my old blog, which I closed down owing to medical difficulties; bless you both. My old character, the sort of tweedy, Middle England sort of a chap who might have been played by Arthur Lowe, succumbed to these medical difficulties and is no more. Having in that rôle been only an average human, I have now been reincarnated as the kind of water-bird that some might walk all the way around the other side of the lake to avoid.
The reason for all this historical flannel is a troll.
On my old blog I never managed to attract the attention of anything more than the usual amateur-hour keyboard terrorist anxious to exhibit his (it’s usually a ‘his’) repertoire of invective. However, I followed, and still do, the blogs of those who, while hardly promoting the smoking of tobacco, vigorously oppose those who seek to restrict its use and sale. The grand masters of this order are still Snowdon, Puddlecote, Davis and Leg-iron, though others often provide backing vocals.
It was this sort of blog which first attracted what seemed to me to be a professional troll; one whose dedication, targeting and resources immediately suggested to me that he was being paid by the health-nazis to stir it with their critics.
Things moved on, as did I. But now I’m back, and it looks as though this individual never went away. Instead, he seems to have broadened his target group, from anti-anti-smoking blogs to those of anyone who opposes the sort of nanny-state of which I still believe he may be a paid employee, or even those of anyone who knows anyone who does.
The plot appears to be thickening in that on 3 September national treasure Anna Raccoon (who is so hard she makes nails look like spaghetti) posted a piece describing a personal encounter with a couple of people who, by a series of technical investigations, had been put, as we say in Peckham, ‘in the frame’.
The result of her ‘bold, unexpected, positive and effective direct action’ seems to have been a piece posted on 5 September on the uncompromisingly named …Is A Cunt blog (abbreviated ISAC), which now confidently names the individual confronted by the fearless Raccoon.
My points are these:
First that I still maintain that 2000 or more access attempts using 700-odd servers is not the mark of the amateur, and that I believe that the individual responsible is being paid or otherwise supported in what they do;
Second that had ISAC named an innocent, that party would by now have gone to law to have the allegation taken down, which does not seem to have happened;
Third that perhaps owing to my lifelong enthusiasm for Conan Doyle I would, on the basis of La Raccoon’s account of the incident, suspect strongly that it is the wife, and not the husband, who is the troll.