I've had a user who was so angry about the direction of my community that he tracked down my personal contact information and employment information and started harassing my family and workplace.

Worse yet, he was from another country and continent. It becomes asymmetrical warfare - - Where I have a lot to lose from family stress to workplace drama, and he had less to lose and I have only limited information on him.

In my case, the only solution I could find was to walk away and disband the community. What suggestion do you have for other communities to manage the user who hide behind the anonymous internet to threaten you and your communities?

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I use my real name online and am thus findable, too. I haven't received the levels of harassment that you're getting, but disgruntled users have hunted me down to be abusive a few times. My sympathies.

There are two parts to this problem, dealing with the community and dealing with the harassment.

You dealt with it on the community side by disbanding the whole community. That's an extreme step. Before doing that I would eject the user from the community. If you don't have some sort of suspension or banishment mechanism, you need to get one -- every community large enough to attract a broad base is going to attract the occasional troll, too. This does nothing to prevent the workplace and family harassment, so it's possible that he only stopped when he "won" by destroying your community. In that case a ban probably wouldn't work (he hasn't achieved victory so he keeps harassing), but it's still something to try.

With or without a ban, try not to feed the troll. He'd love to know that he's getting to you, so don't talk about the harassment where he can watch. Trolls, like colds, should be starved.

As for the harassment itself, since he knows who you are and where you live, you can't do anything to cause him to un-know it. Your remaining remedies are at your end, behavioral and legal. Depending on what he's doing, he might be violating the law where you live. If you report the incidents to the police, and the phone-based ones to your phone company, and the mail-based ones to your postal inspector (if you have that where you live), they might be able to block future calls/letters. (Since he's not local they're not going to be able to do anything to him directly.) The police can also advise you, your family, and the person at your workplace who handles incoming calls/packages on how to best handle incidents when they recur. If you're not already using an answering machine to screen your calls, consider that -- better that than one of your kids picking up the phone and being treated to a stream of upsetting abuse.

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