Technical Difficulties

So I’ve been getting spam, the same as everyone else ever since I started blogging my stories six months ago. But back in September of 2017 I picked up a persistent creeper.

I write supernatural pulp same sex female romance for the most part, and at first the creep just seemed to have a problem with that. The same sex relationship part that is.

At first it wasn’t too obtrusive and the nasty comments never made it past the spam filters. Initially it was just vague threats to hack my site and shut me down if I didn’t stop, maybe two or three times a month.

Funny thing is I write all kinds of kink and smut. Spanking , domination and submission, bondage and restraint, orgasm torment and asphyxophilia. And stuff about demons and devils and vampires and such as well.

But creeper didn’t seem to object to any of that, I think it was just the same sex romance stuff they hated. Nothing I haven’t heard innumerable times before. The core of the problem seemed to be that my stories don’t have men in them…? or maybe that I’m not a man…? I’m actually not really clear on this point, I find the mindset quite difficult to understand.

But anyway, around November the creeper picked up on the intersex characters that appear in several of my stories. And that seemed to be a major problem for them. And come christmas time, shit was getting real.

Now, I’ve been asked about my gender a couple of times via email, and I’ve answered those questions as best I could at the time. But I feel like maybe this needs to be made clear, it seems to be a thing.

Depending on definition, between 0.5 and 1.7% of children are born with variations that mean they cannot be defined as either entirely male or female. Beyond this, a number of children are born with chromosomal variation or increased exposure to androgens (estrogen and testosterone) in utero, which gives rise to ambiguity and or variation in gender which may become evident later in development.

So for every one hundred people you meet, at least one or two of them are not who you think they are. And that’s not including people who are commonly identified as transgender or gender disphoric, or any of the other clumsy terms we use to crowbar everyone into either a girly skirt, or a pair of wholesome manly trousers.

And yes, intersexuality is a real thing. Intersex is not a myth or make believe, nor is it a delusion or psychological condition. Or a fifth columnist plot to destroy the world by turning all men girly and sensitive, and making women all uppity and assertive. Some people seem to struggle with this a great deal, and some seem to decide that such a thing is impossible as an article of faith.

This is really strange to me, it’s like believing that redheads are make believe, or that people who think they have blue eyes are just imagining it, or that the existence of  homosexuality is a communist plot to bring down America. I don’t really understand how people get to this decision intellectually.

For the sake of clarity, various definitions and further information can be found here. And I’ll post a link to a youtube video that might be helpful at the end of the post.

Long story short, and without getting into a biology and anatomy lecture, I am neither comprehensively female or male.

Now, I know this can be a difficult concept to grasp, even for the best intentioned and most open hearted. That’s fine, I don’t have a problem with that at all. I struggle with identity myself. So if it helps, you’re on pretty firm ground if you think of me as interfemale.

I’ve avoided this subject thus far as it can tend to scare people off or creep them out. And also I do not want to be ‘that intersex writer’, or that ‘lesbian fiction writer’ or anything like that. I am a writer of stories, I don’t want the contents of my underwear to be the defining factor of my work.

But back to the point of this post. The creeper.

So the messages started to get pretty unpleasant, threats to murder or rape, or blah blah blah. Funny thing is, the creeper started talking about doing sex stuff to me, and at this point I found the attitude incomprehensible. They seemed to believe in intersexuality and not believe at the same time….? I guess…? Maybe…? I don’t really know, I couldn’t follow the reasoning anymore.

Anyway, I started to discover broken and corrupted links, and evidence of hacks. And then a creeper comment appeared in my notification feed, bypassing the spam filters. After that I found myself constantly scanning my site for malware, and got sick of that pretty quickly.

In the end I took the decision to simply close off all the social features on my site. This seems to have done the trick and the comments have stopped. I also went pretty hard core on beefing up my security protocols and added a couple of features to block access. This seems to have worked so far, and I haven’t heard from creeper since then.

I’m still feeling a little uneasy about the whole thing, but I’m hoping that it was just a little mild trolling, and nothing more persistent than that.

However I felt like all my old content was….I don’t know. Dirty, or maybe infected? It didn’t feel like it was entirely mine anymore, and I was very worried about leaving any potentially corrupted links open. So I took it all down.

And here’s the part that upset me. All the kind comments and messages of encouragement and support had to go. I was entirely unwilling to risk any possibility of leaving any entry points open for creeper. And I wanted to make absolutely sure that there was zero possibility of leaving any malware active, anywhere on my site. So I disinfected everything and started over.

But I didn’t tell anyone, and I feel guilty.

In hindsight, I wish I had said something while all this was going on, instead of simply going dark without explanation. That was rude, and I apologize. But I was struggling to speak to the topic without acting overly emotionally.

In addition to this, I didn’t want to spread any alarm. WordPress security is pretty good as long as you don’t use poorly coded plugins. Creepers have to be pretty determined and skillful to cause problems like this. My situation is as rare as rocking horse feathers, and practically never happens.

So don’t freak out. This will almost certainly not happen to you, just make sure you use all the available security features. Reset you passwords from time to time, and use generated passwords rather than sequential or intelligible passwords.

I love to read comments, and I love communicating with other bloggers and I miss that very much indeed. But for now I don’t feel like this is a safe activity to engage in. That may change, creeper might very well get bored or find someone else to bother.

But for now, thank you for your support and encouragement, and I hope to talk with you again sometime soon.

 

Love

Whippoorwill XO

 

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