Example A, as demonstrated by Juliet Marillier.
Example B, as demonstrated by Lloyd Lofthouse. Lofthouse, apparently incensed at a negative review of someone else’s book, invited discussion on his blog about the subject. When the reviewer or someone connected to them (not sure, and reading the emails at that group gives me a headache because of the fucking stupid) commented on his blog, he tracked down their IP address and called their place of employment to complain about their behaviour.
Let that sink in for a moment. How fucking nasty do you have to be to try and get someone fired over a bloody review? A review of someone else’s book, for eff’s sake?
And now I’ll give you some advice about blogs using WordPress. Whether the owner wants to or not, or has any malicious purpose or not, WordPress records the IP address of every commenter. So when someone who is deranged or evil (or both, as in the case of the owner of the site I can’t be arsed to look at any more) wants your IP address, they have it. If you are using your work or university or school IP, they will know where you work or study.
If you don’t want people like this to have a sensitive IP address, you can make sure you do one of the following:
- Never ever comment on blogs of people you don’t know, and who may be nuts
- Never comment on strange blogs from a sensitive place like work or your school
- If you use Firefox, install and use this addon, then mask your IP address by adding an ‘X-Forwarded-For’ header, with a generic IP address like that of Google’s.
- There are other ways to mask your IP – you can use a proxy but they tend to be a bit clumsy – but make sure you do if there’s the slightest risk there is a Lloyd Lofthouse or Melissa Douthit at the other end of the process.
Masking your IP allows you to get around IP blocks, if you’re so minded And if you are geographically blocked from American sites with all the yummy material, you can also use IP masking to access them, so long as you pick an American IP like ‘184.108.40.206’.
Lofthouse is a dangerous nut, but he’s far from the only one. Stay safe online, guys.