Here’s what I posted on my deviantART journal yesterday. For the sake of making my intentions abundantly clear, I’ll also post this here, on my private blog. With further musings below.
I’ve had some private discussions with deviantART user J.W., who prefers to stay anonoymous. We’ve ended up in disagreements, and for some reason, he doesn’t seem to trust me.
He suggested that we should go separate ways. I’ve made the following agreement with him:
- I will promise to leave the user in question absolutely alone.
- I will absolutely never, ever willingly look at anything he has ever written or drawn.
- I will never willingly visit his website or blogs again.
- Any specific communications between him and me will be handled at my discretion, but since he already knows what he has written to me, I believe these communications are a known risk (or possibility) to him. I will not treat releasing the material as an urgent matter - he will have plenty of time to prepare a statement of your own, if he choose to do so. But I don’t think this will be necessary, because I will also not mention his name and will edit them to remove all things that may link to him personally.
I will block him from commenting on me. I have never blocked anyone from commenting, and I originally considered that he might want you to send a reply to me on this comment. But for the sanity of everyone involved, I think it’s better that I simply keep him out of arms length, because that appears to be absolutely what he wants.
Before anyone asks: The private communications referred to above is relatively innocuous and I can’t possibly think of any reason why the material would be harmful to anyone. I merely wrote about my philosophy of art, and he seemed to actually agree with my points. Our disagreements were mostly political and religious in nature. I don’t believe releasing those comments compromises his identity and I don’t believe it would be illegal (under Finnish law, intercepting private communications is illegal, but it is not illegal for the intended recipients to do what they want with the communications, unless there’s a contract forbidding it, or something along those lines.)
Why am I making a public statement? Because I want to show him that I will stand by my words. There’s no mention of his identity here, so I don’t think mentioning this will harm anyone.
I subsequently went and copied every deviantART note exchanged between me and him. LibreOffice says the current slightly-abridged-for-readability edition is over 150 pages.
I was quite honest about my intentions with him. I said I might be releasing some of the privately exchanged notes about my philosophical views on art. I was less inclined to comment on his religious or political views, because editing them for anonymity would be harder. I assured him at every turn that I would not drag his name to mud and I was only interested in critiquing his ideas.
I also asked him to try describe me as a person, purely as a writing exercise. He was mostly describing me through straw-man stereotypes - I wanted to see if he could describe me and my views without getting too coloured politically.
But there was just nothing I could do to give his mind peace. He had somehow come to the conclusion that I was not being honest with him. He was convinced that any critique I would do would be ultimately an attack on him.
He accused me of stalking him, said that he had talked with his friends who also thought I was a stalker, and said that if I was in the United States, he’d sue me.
And that is where I draw the line. He’s definitely being antagonistic and I have no idea how to fix things.
Especially considering everything I was about to publish was based on what he had already told me out of his free will. He contacted me first. Since he contacted me first a few weeks ago, I haven’t even visited his site and barely managed to visit his deviantART page. How is this stalking?
I explained in advance - he might use the term “threatened” - that I would write blog entries that were inspired by the commentary on his blog or his other rantings. Of course, any normal blogger might say that this is a perfectly normal thing to do. Bloggers and journalists comment on blog posts and news articles all the time. He apparently considers this stalking.
Which is quite interesting because this is the first blog entry I posted that directly describes him as a person.
And I fully intend to leave this as the only blog entry that describes him as a person.
And I’m not naming him here, or telling you where to find him. He asked it, and I intend to honour that part of the agreement. I will no longer contact him and I will ignore any attempts he will make to contact me.
I just had to get this rubbish off my chest. Apparently, being honest about one’s intentions is not enough with some people.
I’ve also made a policy that in every communications forum from now on, I always prefer public comment channels. This makes people think what the heck they’re intending to say.
And I will furthermore not apologise for commenting on anything on public communication mediums. People posting public comments know that they’re entering a public debate, and should be prepared accordingly.
It’s really heartbreaking that this was my first ever banning of anyone in deviantART. I really hope it will be the only one.