A recent posting on DailyKos brought to mind a nasty tangling with an online troll a coupla years back.
This kid was a real winner - I mean a died-in-the-wool bastard of the worst sort. I had posted some political references during the runup to the Iraq Occupation, and apparently that didn't sit well with a certain young sociopath.
Because I was new to the forum scene, I was pretty naive, and none too careful with my personal data, posting my real name, noit to mention some details about my life, such as how my grandfather pulled me out of a life of street thuggery and poverty.
Said young man took it upon himself to ridicule and belittle me in the nastiest ways, referring in the nastiest terms to my dead grandfather, and scouring the webn to find out everything he could about me.
He eventually went so far as to track down my phone number, then call and harrass me at home.
I sought legal assistance at that point, but was told there was little they could do for various reasons.
So I decided to turn the tables. This particular young man suffered from an overinflated ego in addition to his varied mental derangements. For starters, his online alias was that of a famous serial killer, and he would repeatedly make "jokes" about the goriest, sickest topics you could imagine - child-torturing serial killers, cannibals, things of that sort.
At any rate, the kid (19 at the time) also was a little too thick to realize that reusing the same alias on other forums might not be the brightest idea.
And so I turned the tables - he had been bragging in the forums about how he was "hate-stalking" me and posing as me when sending letters out to policitians, joining lunatic fringe groups, etc.
I began following his footsteps online as well, carefully reading all his posts. He was indeed a nasty piece of work as it turned out - at one point he bragged about having jumped a retarded kid from behind in junior high school, beaten the boy severely and stolen his expensive new walkman. He bragged about laughing while the kid cried. As if this was something to be proud of.
Though it was a different forum, I knew I was on the right track.
All this time, mind you, he was periodically sending me hate emails and calling late at night, etc.
So I posed as an attractive young woman from his hometown, who had newly joined the forum. I had seen his picture and new his hometown and first name, but needed a tad more.
He started sending (decidedly crass and egotistical) come-ons through the forum, and I played along, until he gave me his last name and cellular phone number. Bingo! Had him.
All it took was a single phone call.
Didn't say a word, just called.
Hello? Hello?!? Hello?!?!?
After a minute, he hung up.
That's all it took.
Two years since I made the call, and I've never been bothered again. But, should he ever dare hassle me again, I've kept his info. And he knows I can come for him anytime.
Vindication sure feels good.