Another Day, Another Death Threat

November 7th, 2007 by Chris

This is a dangerous profession we’re in I guess.

A few years ago on my literature site forum there was a problem member, he was banned a few times, would reregister, I’m sure all the forum admins who read this know the type I’m talking about. One of the things I’d do to find his new accounts was look for some tell tail signs in PMs. Unfortunately one of the PMs I found said he was going to drive down to my house and burn it down. This was of course exacerbated by the fact that, unlike most visitors to my websites, this guy lived closed to me, 30 minutes away, the next big town over. So, while he was just a troubled kid (around 14 I recall) he might have been crazy enough to do it. I filed a police report and he ended up getting a visitation from his local police about it.

This morning I awoke to a similar problem on my survival site forum. A member had been very nasty to another member, completely uncalled for, and was banned by my moderator. He then proceeded to reregister and use proxy servers and post dozens of hate threads, probably hoping to make a lot of work for me or the moderator. Luckily vbulletin has nice mass moderation tools now so it was a quick fix, then I banned him and all his IP addresses, I also caught him reregistering one more time and got that account banned.

He called here a little bit ago and left a death threat on my answering machine. I don’t know if this guy is psycho or what, but I take all such things seriously. So I’m filling out a police report on it and we’ll see if they can’t send someone over to talk to this guy too.

One of the problems is of course WHOIS data. As a webmaster who publishes original content I hate false whois data because it makes it harder for me to pursue those who steal content. On the other hand with all the wackos out there the anonymous whois data is looking more and more worth it. Sure, most of these people are just blowing off steam, but it only takes 1 to be an actual wacko.

Anyone else ever have this happen, or am I the only one?

9 Responses to “Another Day, Another Death Threat”

  1. dan  Says:

    Its not fool proof, but this is another good reason to have a business address and phone number. Its a lot harder for the average person to track you down.

    The next best thing is get a PO Box for your whois address, and buy a pre-paid cell phone to use as your business phone. It keeps your personal data a little safer.

  2. Ken Barbalace  Says:

    Man that is pretty freaky. It really gives me another reason to be reluctant about incorporating a form into my primary website.

    It is a shame that a few crazies can alter the way we do things at the expense of rest of the population.

  3. Deron Sizemore  Says:

    That’s crazy! I don’t blame you for filing a police report. You’re right, it only takes one wacko to track you down and show up at your front door with a gun. Geez, people need to get a life!

  4. Dan Schulz  Says:

    Chris, I’m really sorry to hear about this. While I haven’t been the target of death threats by forum members, I have had my life threatened before.

    Have faith in the fact that you’re doing the right thing, and be careful out there. If you feel like you need to talk, you know how to reach me.

  5. Fredrik Gyllensten  Says:

    How can people do that? Leave a death threat because they got banned from a website?

  6. Shane  Says:

    Yikes. I have always been hesitant to put my real info in whois, but I never had any actual, tangible reason like this. Man. I’d definitely pay a little extra for either a business mailbox somewhere or a P.O. Box. You definitely don’t want to fake your whois data.

  7. Peter  Says:

    I’ve had a few of those, but more of the ones that threaten lawsuits. Regarding the whois info on your domains, if you don’t want to make it private, you could rent a box at your local UPS store, and get a phone number at a place like and set it to ring directly to voicemail. That would at least give you a layer of protection.

  8. Chris Bowyer  Says:

    Sorry to hear that, Chris. That’s pretty messed up.

    I haven’t had anything quite that extreme happen to me, though I have been threatened with multiple lawsuits; one of them quite recently. Both were utter nonsense, of course, but like your situations, they arose when a member was insulted by someone on the forum, banned, or both. And, like you, there were issues involving re-registration and multiple accounts.

    The Internet is a great tool, but it’s easily abused and can bring out the worst in people just as often as the best.

  9. David Gurevich  Says:

    People take some things too seriously. I hope the parties involved get the help they need and mature past this type of behavior.

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