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Why Leo Traynor’s Troll Story Is Almost Certainly A Lie – By @ResistRadio

October 1, 2012

I was very pleased when  I realised someone had articulated carefully the misgivings some of us have had about Leo Traynor’s now quite well known account of meeting a ‘troll’ who he says abused and harassed him online and IRL. The post is by @ResistRadio and I copy it here verbatim:

http://www.resistradio.com/news/questioning-the-trollocaust-did-leotraynor-really-suffer-vile-hate-campaign

Internet trolls are the latest obsession of the British media – and a Dublin-based blogger has provided them with the ultimate account of vile online abuse.

 

In an article originally published on his personal website and which has gone viral after being republished by The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Irish Independent and others, Leo Traynor describes in detail a shocking hate campaign waged against him and his family over the course of three years.

 

Mr Traynor is an enthusiastic user of Twitter, describing himself as a “Writer, crossword compiler, political consultant & facilitator. Ex media monkey & press officer. Spiritual tourist. Unapologetic curmudgeon”, and his story is disturbing in the extreme. I encourage you to read his original article – but here’s the abridged version.

 

In July 2009 Traynor began receiving abusive direct messages to his Twitter inbox. The first called him a “Dirty fucking Jewish scumbag”, and a string of abusive messages from new accounts followed – two or three times a week, and sometimes even two or three times a day. His Facebook account was hacked, his blog was spammed, and he received a torrent of highly disturbing emails. They contained images of corpses, concentration camps and dismembered bodies. Traynor’s wife joined Twitter, unaware of the abuse suffered by her husband. She inadvertently revealed that she was married to Leo. She too received a torrent of abusive direct messages.

 

Then things turned particularly nasty and threatening. Traynor received a package at his home address. It was a Tupperware lunchbox, filled with ashes – and a note which read “Say hello to your relatives from Auschwitz”. He reported the awful delivery to the authorities. Two days later, however, things got even worse. He opened the front door to find a bunch of dead flowers – with his wife’s Twitter username attached.

 

Later that same day Traynor received a horrendous death threat via a direct message on Twitter: “You’ll get home some day & ur bitches throat will be cut & ur son will be gone.” Traynor, devastated by the abuse and terrified for his family’s safety, reported the threats to the authorities. They were sympathetic, but said there was nothing they could do. Another threatening tweet arrived, reading “I hope you die screaming but not until you see me piss on ur wife.”

 

Traynor decided to take matters into his own hands. With the help of an “IT genius” friend, he baited the troll until his IP address could be identified. The IP address led, shockingly, to the house of a friend – and the troll was revealed as the friend’s teenage son. The story ends with Leo and his friend agreeing to meet, the son in tow but unaware he’s about to be confronted over his vile abuse; in a dramatic final scene Leo presents the damning evidence, delivers a stern warning to the youth but generously pledges that he will not press charges, and then shakes the hand of the stalker who’s been abusing and threatening him and his family for three years.

 

It’s a highly disturbing but ultimately redemptive tale, and if true Mr Traynor fully deserves the online outpouring of sympathy and respect he’s received.

 

There are, however, several highly questionable aspects to the story.

 

 

 

The Twitter abuse

 

 

 

“My account was followed by a fairly innocuous looking one which I followed back and within 10 minutes I had received a direct message (DM) calling me a “Dirty fucking Jewish scumbag”. I blocked the account and reported it as spam. The following week it happened again in an identical manner. A new follower, I followed back, received a string of abusive DMs, blocked and reported for spam. Two or three times a week. Sometimes two or three times a day. An almost daily cycle of blocking and reporting and intense verbal abuse.”

 

 

You can only send direct messages on Twitter to people who are following your account, as explained in the Twitter Help Center:

 

“You can only send a direct message to a user who is following you; you can only receive direct messages from users you follow.”

 

To receive direct messages, Traynor would therefore have had to be following his abuser’s accounts; as he makes a point of mentioning he was doing. It’s definitely not unusual for people, perhaps out of politeness, to follow accounts that follow their own. The big question though is why, after the initial abuse, did Traynor continue to follow accounts newly following his own – thus allowing direct messages to be sent to his account?

 

Continuing to follow unidentified new followers after only the first couple had sent hateful messages is perhaps understandable. But why continue to follow accounts – up to two or three times a week and even two or three times a day - when doing so would simply enable the sending of more vile messages? And why did he continue doing so not only on his main Twitter account, but also via a second that was being similarly targeted – ‘@LeosClue’?

 

Why, when she joined Twitter, did Leo not take the obvious precaution of warning his wife to keep their connection secret? It was especially unfortunate that Mrs Traynor revealed their relationship on Twitter in the most overt way possible, by declaring herself “The long suffering wife of @LeoTraynor” in a status update.

 

Why did Mrs Traynor follow accounts that followed her own – unusual behaviour for someone new to Twitter – and continue following them, even after receiving seriously abusive direct messages in which she was called “a whore”? That Mrs Traynor continued to reciprocally follow new accounts is apparent because after blocking an initially abusive account, she received a “torrent of abuse via DM” - which could only have come from a second account that she’d followed.

 

Traynor claims that he eventually made his Twitter account private, before finally closing it. His account has been reopened – hence the announcement in the intro to his article – and you can see it here. He must have reopened his Twitter account extraordinarily soon after closing it because of the abusive messages – Twitter’s Help Center explainshow “Accounts are permanently deleted 30 days from the date they were deactivated. After 30 days, deactivated accounts cannot be reactivated.” 

 

It’s odd that after what Traynor had been through, he decided to return to Twitter so quickly – within 30 days. He must have decided to reopen his account and return to Twitter in much less than 30 days, actually – 30 days minus however long it took to identify and arrange the meeting with the teenager, and write his article (he’d closed his account with the arrival of the “die screaming” message, remember – prior to his friend positively IDing the troll, and obviously prior to the showdown with him).

 

Traynor also appears to have radically changed the way in which he uses Twitter, since his return. He currently follows less than 200 people, whilst he has well over 3000 followers. If he was still following every account that followed his own – as he did during the period of abuse, thus enabling the sending of innumerable hateful direct messages from multiple troll accounts – he would now be following a similar number of people to those following him. Over 3000.

 

It seems odd that Traynor would change his Twitter behaviour in such a fundamental way after the cause of his online persecution, the teenage stalker, had been exposed and prevented from carrying out any further abuse.

 

 

 

The reports to the authorities

 

 

 

Traynor claims that he made two reports to “the authorities”, who he does not name, but who were presumably the police. He made the first report after the disturbing receipt of a box of ashes and an abusive note.

 

This shocking delivery revealed that the troll knew the Traynors’ home address.

 

He made the second report after finding a bunch of dead flowers outside his door, and receiving an explicit death threat via a Twitter direct message – from an account he must have been following, remember – that very same day.

 

“You’ll get home some day & ur bitches throat will be cut & ur son will be gone.”

 

In response to the second report, the police were apparently “polite and sympathetic”, but “there didn’t seem much that could be done”.

 

If this is true, then serious questions need to be asked about the conduct of the police in Ireland. What was happening to Traynor went far, far beyond trolling. The abuse had not only taken place over an extended period of time, causing significant distress, but it had also escalated into direct and credible death threats, as well as threats to kidnap a child.

 

The abuser knew where Traynor lived, placing him and his family in real physical danger. It even appears that the stalker personally visited the Traynors’ house.

 

Whilst Traynor says he found the Tupperware box in the post, meaning it could have been mailed to his home, we have to assume that the stalker delivered the flowers himself. Being asked to deliver a bunch of dead flowers would probably raise eyebrows at the post office or courier service. Traynor was in his house when the flowers were left outside it, because he describes opening his front door to discover them. This suggests they were not delivered by courier or some other professional service, because if they had been, and Traynor had simply missed their knock, wouldn’t they have left the flowers with a neighbour, rather than lying outside his door?

 

A stalker prepared to personally deliver such distressing material to their victim’s home address is obviously disturbed, and a clear and present danger to those they are threatening.

 

The abuse was also specifically racist in nature. The stalker attacked Mr Traynor for being Jewish.

 

Are we really to believe that the police politely dismissed the pleas of a clearly distressed man, who’d suffered racial hatred and explicit death threats, issued by an apparently sociopathic stalker who’d visited his home and threatened his wife and child?

 

The authorities supposedly contacted by Mr Traynor clearly need to explain why his reports were not investigated, and clarification is needed as to whether things will be handled differently in future, should they receive similar complaints. If Traynor’s account is true, then anyone living in Ireland should be very concerned about how their complaints might be treated by the police, should they be unfortunate enough to be harrassed by a stalker.

 

 

 

The IP address

 

 

 

Mr Traynor explains that he decided to take matters into his own hands, and that:

 

“In July I was approached by a friend who’s basically an IT genius, and he offered some help. He said that he could trace the hackers and trolls for me using perfectly legal technology, which would lead to their IP addresses.”

 

Traynor baited the troll to post more abuse, allowing his friend to identify the abuser’s IP address.

 

“It transpired that the abuse had emanated from three separate IP addresses in different corners of Ireland. Two of them were public wifi locations but the third … The third location was the interesting one. The third location was a friend’s house.”

 

To those with limited knowledge of IT, the idea of establishing someone’s home address from their IP address sounds plausible.

 

It is, however, impossible. Legally impossible anyway, without the internet service provider’s assistance – for which you would need a court order. A court order would compel the ISP to release personal details of the customer suspected of a crime.

 

An address could in theory be leaked by a corrupt employee at the ISP, and the information could feasibly be stolen by a hacker – but such methods would certainly not be legal.

 

At best, an IP address will give you a rough idea of the area in which the internet user that you’re trying to track is located. You can generally ascertain their town or city, though even this is not guaranteed to be accurate.

 

Many people have pointed out that it is impossible to determine someone’s home address from their IP address, without a court order and the assistance of the ISP. In response Traynor has added a footnote to his original article, as well as making a public tweet, directing people to this blog post which is entitled ‘Tracking a troll’. Traynor states that the method used by his friend to track the abusive troll was “almost identical” to the one described in this post.

 

Unfortunately for Mr Traynor the blog post does not, as he seems to think, prove that you can establish someone’s home address from their IP address. The article only serves to confirm what has already been described – that the best you can hope for if you have someone’s IP address, is the internet user’s rough location.

 

Please follow the advice given in ‘Tracking a troll’, and try the method for yourself. I did – and apparently I live in a field next to a motorway, miles away from my house. How did Traynor’s friend manage to pinpoint the culprit’s house? We do not know exactly, and he appears very reluctant to enlighten us. We shouldn’t expect an explanation from his IT genius pal any time soon either, because he apparently does not want to be identified.

 

(After publication of this article, the author of ‘Tracking a troll’ added this note to his blog:

 

NOTE: this does not work in all cases but even a general location is a piece in the puzzle when tracking a troll.

 

The late addition of this note to ‘Tracking a troll’ only confirms what has just been explained in this article – that an IP address does not enable you to identify an individual’s home address. An author whose article was specifically referenced by Traynor as ‘proof’ of his home address claim, has had to admit that the method given in his article does not actually allow you to identify someone’s home address. Whilst the author continues to suggest that it is indeed possible to find a home address from an IP address, he declines to tell us exactly how - because, even though the method is legal, it apparently has to remain secret!)

 

Perhaps Traynor only tracked the IP address to the troll’s town or village, and has embellished the story for dramatic effect. Why then does he continue to insist that he used the IP address to determine a home address?

 

If tracing a home address from an IP address is legally impossible, how could he possibly be so sure that the abuse came from a computer at his friend’s house? The stalker could have been absolutely anyone in the town or village. And even in the impossible event that he’d established a home address from an IP address, how could Traynor be so sure that the abuse was perpetrated by his friend’s teenage son? The friend himself could have been responsible, or a friend of his friend, or a friend of his friend’s son, etc. If the family were using an unsecured wireless connection, a complete stranger could have sent abuse via their address.

 

Wouldn’t a tech-savvy teenager capable of hacking into a Facebook account, and making online death threats, be very careful to hide their tracks by disguising their location through the use of a proxy server anyway?

 

The article’s dramatic denouement is also very odd. It seems improbable that the teenager’s father, when approached by Traynor with serious allegations about his son, would not first check the story out before agreeing to a covert meeting and the unceremonious presentation of highly disturbing and previously unseen material. Surely he would have first questioned his son, or visited Traynor and reviewed the evidence, before agreeing to the unverified and incredibly serious allegations being summarily presented in front of his family?

 

Why was the father “not surprised” to hear about his son’s behaviour – and why during the phone call is it implied that the son’s constant internet usage is the reason the father accepts his son could be guilty?  Many teenagers spend inordinate amounts of time on the internet, but it’s a poor reason to suspect someone of being a sociopathic stalker. If there were other more compelling reasons for the father believing Traynor’s allegations, why did he not express them during the call? We can assume he didn’t mention any because if he had, Traynor would likely have included the reasons in his written account of the conversation, instead of the detail about the son’s excessive internet usage.

 

Apart from raising questions about the truth and accuracy of Leo Traynor’s story, wider issues are highlighted by the reception of his article. Having reviewed The Guardian’s comment thread, it seems that at least 90% of respondents simply accept Traynor’s extraordinary story at face value. The few who have questioned suspicious elements have been criticised for doing so – as I’ll no doubt be, for writing this article. It’s worrying that highly emotive personal narratives, dealing with controversial issues such as anti-Semitism, seem by many to be unquestionable, and somehow above criticism or scepticism.

 

The mainstream media have also been exposed. The Guardian and other newspapers have apparently republished Traynor’s article without seeing any kind of evidence corroborating his claims. This is perhaps unsurprising. It is, after all, a powerful story that was guaranteed to attract internet traffic. especially as outrageous tales of horrible internet trolls are the media’s and reading public’s latest obsession.

 

Disgracefully, moderators at The Guardian website even deleted comments that questioned Traynor’s article. They were, apparently, against “community standards”. I read the comments before their deletion, and they were entirely non-abusive in nature. So much for the liberal Guardian’s dedication to free speech and journalistic inquiry.

 

Please feel free to leave a response to this article, in the comment section below.

 

Choc chip cookie?

 

 

 

Please expose Traynor’s dubious article, which has gone viral, by sharing this one on Facebook and Twitter! Many thanks.

 

 

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. October 1, 2012 10:15 am

    Actually, Traynor could be telling some truths – at least in part. Remember that policing in Ireland is very, very different than in UK and a lot of stuff is tolerated or ignored that would be taken seriously in other jurisdictions.

    1. Ireland is REALLY REALLY REALLY bad at responding to harassment reports. An ex of mine suffered persistent phone based harassment (and home visits to relatives) by a fuckwit in Cork who was in the army down there. This included the fuckwit calling to relatives houses with all kinds of invented and some true stories about my ex. The same girl also physically assaulted two other friends of the ex. All 3 visited the Gardai (police) but no charges were brought, despite actual assault and the most unbelieveably vile voicemails (some from the harassers sister and friends). Whats even scarier is the harasser is still in the army – its unbelieveable but true that such a violent and abusive individual has the permission to bear arms, but she still does.

    2. Police routinely IGNORE certain kinds of complaints. For example they totally ignore noise complaints (regarded as a local authority environmental issue), and if you call up (as an ex flatmate and 4 others once did) to complain about the guy upstairs beating the living daylights out of his wife, they will call to his door, shout “is everybody ok?” and if the answer is “yes” they will – as they repeatedly did in this series of complaints – walk away and take no action. They are especially awful if the offender is underage – there would be little or no point in even bothering to make a complaint against this guys son – as the worst that could happen is that he gets the “probation act” which effectively means he walks away scott free. Oh and I can confirm this, as my brother and a friend were assaulted in the city centre a few years ago – the animals even bit his friend on the back, they were such vicious thugs – but “probation act” was applied, so they walked away with no punishments whatsoever.

    3. Ireland is – and I hate to say this as it saddens me so much – seething with anti-Semitic sentiment, much of it unstated. A lot of this is tied into inappropriate parallel generation between the situation with northern Ireland and the Palestine/Israel situation. The left have failed to constrain the more extreme elements of tacit and overt support for the more violent and extreme elements of Palestinian liberation movements and sadly this sometimes does creep into actual expressions of hate.

    That said, you really do have to question why he didn’t get off Twitter altogether – there are other services and in fairness you can block harassers. But some of the story does smack of embellishment.

    • October 1, 2012 10:55 am

      Traynor’s story definitely seems embellished. The following/DMing part of his tale doesn’t strike me as suspect, he didn’t want to change who he is as a twitter user because of this bully perhaps. I’d let that slide. The inaction of the police and IP tracking does seem highly suspect though.

      Laura, your comment just looks like trolling. The Gardaí don’t ignore assault and there isn’t prevailing element of anti-semitism in this country. Not saying it doesn’t exist, but it’s certainly not a feature of Irish life as you seem to suggest.

      • October 3, 2012 4:19 pm

        Richard – trollyng my hole – have you ever reported an assault in Ireland? Or reported a witnessed domestic assault (i.e. reported the guy next door battering his wife/girlfriend)?

        When you do, come back to me, and then repeat your accusation of trolling.

    • October 1, 2012 9:36 pm

      The idea that Ireland is seething with antisemitism sounds like perfect balls to me. If “much of it” is “unstated”, then how do you go about detecting it? It isn’t visible in the media, or in any widespread antisemitic hate crime, or in party political manifestos, or in any of the ways in which such sentiment would mormally be detectible. Apparently, you infer it from the support for the Palestinian liberation struggle, which has nothing to do with antisemitism. You adjudge the Left responsible for failing in a supposed duty to ‘constrain’ support for ‘extreme’ and ‘violent’ elements in the Palestinian struggle. You say this creeps into ‘actual expressions of hate’ but there is precious little sign of it and so you must have recourse to the nebulously defined ‘unstated’ variety. Any fool can see that it is your accusation itself which is tacitly antisemitic. Observe: Your logic contends that to support ‘violent’ or ‘extreme’ Palestinian groups is implicitly antisemitic. There isn’t actually a group involved in the Palestinian struggle which is not violent, since violence is inescapable in colonial situations. There is likewise not a group that could not be deemed ‘extreme’ by some index, since ‘extreme’ is strictly a normative term. Practically every Palestinian in existence is ‘extreme’ by Israeli government standards, since Palestinians insist on the right to existence as a people. All that is really happening here is that you are conflating anti-Zionism with anti-semitism, which is another way of conflating Jews with Israel. The latter gesture is classically antisemitic.

  2. John Wilson permalink
    October 1, 2012 10:41 am

    I was and remain rather suspicious of the story.

    However there is a possible way that his “IT Genius” friend could have tracked the IP address back to the friends’ house. It’s likely that he was in email communication with these friends. It’s a trivial matter to search the emails he has received to see if the IP address appears in the message headers. A match would be a very strong indication that the stalker was located in their house. UK ISPs tend to allocate the same IP address to their subscribers for extended periods of time (I’ve had the same IP adress for at least the last 2 years) I imagine that Irish ISPs do the same (I would guess it considerably eases their compliance with data retention regulations).

  3. Pól permalink
    October 1, 2012 10:44 am

    I suppose it is also possible in Ireland to narrow down a specific address depending on the area in which his friend lives. Ireland has a low density population and in many areas around the country detatched houses stand alone well apart from any other homes/buildings. If an IP address can direct you to an area and there is only one house in that particular area, bingo. Obviously, it wouldn’t work in Dublin but is a possibility elsewhere.

  4. Bill W permalink
    October 1, 2012 10:48 am

    So, there is plenty of supposition here.. but the key aspect is the IP trace.

    As mentioned in Guardian comments. The best possible theory is:

    The ‘internet genius friend’ may have cross checked the email header IP information from Leo’s inbox, with the IP visits to his blog .. .. which would be the first step, because these incidents often come from someone related to your personal social circle.

    So the friend’s email IP address matched the blog hits…

    It works out , but whether it warrants all this attention… who knows

  5. October 1, 2012 10:52 am

    Having been through a similar experience I would say this story is actually very plausible albeit a little dumbed down for readbility. You’ve interepreted some of the language far too literally in my opinion – when the author says, for example, he closed and re-opened his account, it may simply mean he closed it and started it again later (after deactivation) by registering it as new again.

    Also – it depends what trap was laid by the IT expert – have you seen this? http://panopticlick.eff.org/
    He could have also set up some social engineering to actually gather data from the troll… It’s all about piecing jigsaw pieces together…

    Remember – you are not trying to track someone from an inifinite number of possibilites, but a narrow target set if you have an idea who it is (in the same way DNA fingerprinting works for crimes)… That greatly changes the statistical landscape..

    Response from the police? Might depend on which officer handles your case as whether they think they can take it anywhere.. My experience also is several attempts to involve them (england) were requried.

    etc.

  6. October 1, 2012 10:54 am

    all interesting comments, thanks!

    But you too should remember that Traynor has not as yet allowed any comments under his origingal ‘troll’ post. so he is trying to avoid a discussion/investigation into the veracity of his claims, I surmise!

    Love Miss Marple.

  7. Aron permalink
    October 1, 2012 10:55 am

    This all seems like a bit of a “conspiracy theory”. After all, his wife would also have to go along with the deception too – and to what end? And seeing as he identified himself, it would be a fairly simple process to confirm the story, or disprove it, by checking with the police, no? And of course, why would he bother making it up?

    • October 1, 2012 10:57 am

      The GUardian have been asked a few times if they fact-checked the story- e.g. asking the police but they won’t reply.

      and Traynor won’t say anything about whether he has evidence he called the police – e.g. a crime number.

      and he used the vague word the ‘authorities’ so he doesnt have to prove he claimed he called the police at all!

      people love making up stories, that’s what many writers do! and this one is indeed a good one

      • October 3, 2012 4:26 pm

        they don’t give you a crime number in Ireland. Nor do they necessarily give you the officers details. Even if you are the accused, by the way!

  8. October 1, 2012 11:11 am

    I’d originally assumed the positive identification via IP was down to recognizing the same IP being used by a personal friend on his blogs. The whole DM aspect made me wonder at the time of reading though.

    Also, as Laura points out, the Gardai appear to loathe taking action on internet/non-local related crimes – when trying to report a case of child pornography on Twitter and contacting the Dublin offices of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation to speak with the Paedophile Investigation Unit, I was told to call the local Gard instead.

  9. October 1, 2012 1:19 pm

    This is the first i’ve heard of this story. It is an accurate portrayal of trolls; Leo Traynor of course being the troll here.
    Making a statement/story with no evidence, seemingly poor understanding of how websites work, and seeking maximum responsive impact from other internet users.
    Troll, totally.

  10. October 1, 2012 1:49 pm

    So people can’t be tracked down ‘legally’ by their IP address? So the guy who tracked down Fianna Fail TD Chris Andrews tweeting under a ‘fake’ account was just lucky he found him at the cyber cafe? Joe.ie dumbs down how it was done: http://www.joe.ie/easygoing-joe/dumb-it-down/whats-all-this-about-an-ex-fianna-fail-td-a-fake-twitter-account-and-an-amateur-detective-0027586-1

    • October 3, 2012 4:30 pm

      Remember that Andrews was threatening the FF machine though!! They’d have probably used personal contacts to find people who could find out information etc. I had an experience of that from a local TD in 1997. It was shocking the ends to which they were prepared to go to obtain information, not just about me, but about member of families businesses, who their customers were etc, and directly use them to get their own way.

      • October 4, 2012 8:22 am

        The guy who tracked him down was the husband of a FF person who was personally attacked, to which he took great offence and used his skills.

  11. October 2, 2012 10:05 am

    “The big question though is why, after the initial abuse, did Traynor continue to follow accounts newly following his own … It seems odd that Traynor would change his Twitter behaviour in such a fundamental way after the cause of his online persecution”

    This isn’t necessarily suspicious. He may have not wanted to be bullied off Twitter by what was fairly clearly one person hounding him. He may not, at first have taken this fool seriously. We often change our minds about things after a while.

    “Why did Mrs Traynor follow accounts that followed her own – unusual behaviour for someone new to Twitter”

    Not at all unusual. Not even slightly.

    IP addresses can indeed be hard to get any information from, but is sometimes possible if you can match an IP address in an email from someone you already know – ie: a friend’s house. From Mr Traynor’s description of his friend as an “IT genius”, I’d surmise he doesn’t know the ins and outs of this himself, so he may not understand that an IP address doesn’t lead directly to a house – so his wording is confusing here.

    The actions of the police: I don’t think this proves a great deal either. They, for instance, get a lot of daft calls, they could well miss a genuine one because of all the sillies.

    So most of these points aren’t as incongruent as is suggested in the piece. Just because the only explanation you can think of is that he made this all up is hardly conclusive*. Perhaps you just haven’t thought of the correct explanation yet? Perhaps the odd explanation is the true one. Plenty of strange things happen in real life. Taken together I think all of the story is fairly plausible. It could be a hoax but I’m not at all persuaded that it is so far.

    As for the Guardian not checking sources, I’m afraid that wouldn’t surprise me humungously.

    * this is a logical error that people make a lot. “The only explanation I can think of is X, therefore X is true”

  12. October 2, 2012 10:56 pm

    Someone posted a comment using Leo Traynor’s name, describing someone who sounds like Traynor, and suggesting he had been involved in a sting operation to trace a Twitter user who’d been pestering a Dublin businesswoman, WEEKS before Traynor’s blog:

    http://www.broadsheet.ie/2012/08/13/bashar-al-asshat/

  13. Dave permalink
    October 3, 2012 8:41 pm

    This article is just a series of conjectures, though, no more rigorous than the one it purports to destroy. A circle-jerk of people and their unveried stories.

  14. October 5, 2012 11:52 am

    It’s a human interest story. It’s padding. Few newspapers ‘fact check’ stories like that.

  15. December 16, 2012 1:06 pm

    Not sure what to make of the Traynor supposed harassment story, but I definitely agree with your observation in respect of the Guardian website moderators. A recent piece by Abi Haworth about FGM was commented on by a much respected MGM campaigner. His comment was subsequently removed, although it contained nothing remotely offensive or provocative in my humble opinion. I managed to make a copy of it for reference prior to its removal. So much for free speech!

    • December 29, 2012 8:27 pm

      Would be interesting to see a snapshot of it online if you have one :)

      It’s good to document the Graun’s dubious deletions – I’m sure I have some screenshots myself somewhere…

  16. Coolbreeze13 permalink
    February 1, 2013 12:52 pm

    Well I don’t know an inkling about tracking trolls and hackers, and are now just trying to learn something about how victims manage to track them down. But the thing about Traynor’s story that blared off my fiction alert was first his claim of contacting the authorities and not naming what authorities, and then the stuff he described about the teenage boy and his father. I couldn’t judge vouching on the police stuff he mentioned because I’ve witnessed my own experiences with police laxity in response to serious complaints.

    But I would imagine that since people who found Traynor’s story are likely like myself looking for information on the topic and therefore know nothing about it, and you’re educating the public about it, then why not mention what authorities? What’s the point in telling your story playing down the importance of it’s main ingredient? Exactly how you found your troll? Those intricate details are actually more significant that what happened to you.

    And I do consider myself to be a gifted authority on human behavior, and just about everything he said about the boy and his father doesn’t follow thru with natural human behavior. And where was the boy’s mother? Why was she not present at the meeting or even mentioned?

    It’s like he intensified the trolling of the story which made it sound bone chilling, but completely skimmed over how he found the troll. Which is what we all want to know, how he did it. So even somebody like myself with no knowledge or experience with social media can sniff out the tall tale in his story.

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