Blogstalking is a relatively new phenomenon characterized by the appearance of an unrelenting series of unwanted comments at the end of an article, remarks that are typically insulting and confrontational. A good blogstalker can have six arguments cooking at the same time, but an excellent blogstalker can virtually shut down a site by simply goading everybody into a fight fight fight fight.
Blogstalking should not be confused with its older cousin "cyberstalking," which grew out of chat rooms and soon became a favorite tool of the FBI, whose productivity took a nosedive the moment they discovered their laptops and couldn't stop playing with them. FBI agents, who tend to be men and women of action, became 13 year old girls and boys on the internet, liked it, stuck around.
"Blogging," which was changed from "web logging" when somebody realized: no trees, is the act of publishing one's thoughts for the purpose of confirming one's existence while hiding one's true identity. The "blogosphere" is by nature a clean, well-lighted place where bloggers, who are writers, read each other and comment. The best place on earth for activity such as this, as far as I know, is Blogcritics.org, where even the stalkers are good writers.
Most blogstalkers are disgruntled bloggers lugging an old grudge, fighting their inner demons on a world stage the size of the monitor, and some might even be drinking a smidge and get smudgy.
Until now, there was no known way to deal with a blogstalker. Negotiation fails. Engagement of any sort is risky. Flesh rips easy in the sphere and revenge is quick as our wits which are quicker than most we might add--en garde!
A war of words, clash of syllables, xylophonic weapons drawn, engagement thence decided, arrows slung, striped with "shan't" and "whilst." How nice if these exchanges were only the soporific musings of a few self-involved, self-publishing, self-imolating blogstalkers--but these aren't the blogstalkers -- these are the blogstalker's unwitting shills, the bloggers who react and write back indignant and reasoned replies that take them the better part of the afternoon to revise and rewrite, only to have the blogstalker right there when they post with a hook to the nose in language so insulting that if something regrettable isn't said it'll never be said at all.
The shill, now stripped of face (which can even happen to anonymous people), hopes for the support of the greater blogging community, who have been known to rush out onto the field depending on what's on. Soon flies the eff word. The blogstalker, meanwhile, makes a sandwich.
If you find yourself hunkered over the keypad, typing harder than usual, hitting the enter key like it's the answer pad in Family Feud, typing fast enough to do "geek breaks in" sfx, please consider:
In responding you provide the blogstalker their raison d'etre. Deny them the stage, no raisons. No raisons, no raisonettes.
Sometimes when everything is said, everything has been said. Those are the best times to say nothing.