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Thread: How to Stalk People Online

  1. #1
    Senior Member Tetris Champion notdavidlynch's Avatar
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    How to Stalk People Online

    INB4 creepiest thread on the forum.

    At some point in my life, I got very proficient at finding information about people online. In most cases, finding information about people is as easy as doing a search for them on Google or social networking sites.

    Some people, however, don't want to be found. And, in some cases, you may want more information than what they make readily available.

    Unfortunately, this is not an exact science, and it can be a lot of hard work. If you were a real detective or private investigator, then you may have access to resources that could make it more of an exact science, but most of us aren't in that kind of position.

    I won't get into specifics for now, but the gist of it boils down to a few principles and a general process:

    #1 Think of everything you already know about the person, and write it down. Make it visual. Create a map if necessary. Draw connections. Brainstorm/hypothesize further connections and test them with online queries.

    #2 Start thinking less about the person in question - who likely doesn't want to be found - to people who they may or may not have relations with - who may or may not be ambivalent and/or overshare on the internet. This is perhaps the single principle that has worked the most for me, i.e. instead of focusing too heavily on the person of interest, I shift my focus to their known 1st level relations, then known 2nd level relations, 3rd etc. When that exhausts itself, I shift to hypothetical 1st, 2nd, 3rd level relations.

    #3 Meatspace queries. This is where things veer to the creepy/suspicious side of things if you're not careful, but it doesn't have to be that way. Use your eyes. Be observant. This obviously doesn't work as well if the person in question doesn't live/work/play anywhere near you. PIs & detectives work within this realm for a reason, because it's the most fruitful. Online is a cheap effigy. A license plate on a car can in most cases reveal to a police officer all they want to know, but sometimes even just knowing the state can fill in information for you, or the model of the car, the year, bumperstickers, etc, whatever.

    I guess this really just boils down to being logical, observant, and capable of juggling a lot of information in your mind and envisioning their relationships as well as hypothesizing new ones and testing the degree to which they match reality. Most importantly. You just have to be determined (perhaps obsessed - not with the person {which could cloud judgement}, but with the process of finding the information). You need an I'm Not Going To Be Beat sort of mentality.

    ---

    Oddly enough, I've found that this sort of tenacious activity can exercise your mind in a way that prepares you for other endeavors, such as programming, or whatever. Probably just about anything.

    ---

    EDIT: Oh, and obviously be aware of how indexing works. Search engines can typically find text in PDFs and other documents assuming that they're well placed, but it's not the same with, say, imbedded imagery.
    Last edited by notdavidlynch; 08-31-2014 at 05:49 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Tetris Champion notdavidlynch's Avatar
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    Another thing:

    Things aren't always clear cut and you may come to erroneous conclusions. You need some degree of verification in order to have confidence, i.e...

    You start with known information.

    Known information leads to intermediary deductions/inferences.

    Intermediary deductions/inferences lead to conclusions.

    The conclusions aren't always right, but they almost always are if some of the known information that wasn't a part of your chain of reasoning leading towards the conclusion(s) also happens to support the conclusion(s).

    So (in letters)...

    You know A, B, C, D, E, and F

    Knowing C & D leads to the speculation of P. Knowing E & F leads to the deduction of Y.

    P & Y supports the conclusion of Z.. But A & B also supports Z.

    This leads to confidence in Z.

    ^ Doesn't have to be total support like that. It could be one silly, but peculiar enough thing amongst dozens or hundreds.

  3. #3
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    I have never had a stalker and I'm very offended by this. I mean, seriously? I'm 34! One day I'll be too old to be stalked! Who are these people wasting their time on?



    <----------- fucking look at this face

    Anyway, the tax bureau has put all but my underwear size on the Internet for all to see, and then other copycat sites replicated that information, which means I'm on a bunch of sites, and even after several attempts to get them to take my info down, I'm still there. To add insult to injury, even despite this, I still have nobody delivering anonymous packages to my house.

    Some political sites still have my name on translations. The only problem I have with that is that one of them has a typo and it wasn't my typo. It wasn't my fucking typo, okay. But, getting in touch with these people to have them correct the typo - or remove my name - will lead to more translation requests.

    The fact I can be found on marxist sites leads me to believe that employers don't know how to do a google search. My last recruiter was a neo-nazi. Really nice guy if you didn't know about that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    Heh. We've been here years now.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Linnea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by notdavidlynch View Post
    A license plate on a car can in most cases reveal to a police officer all they want to know, but sometimes even just knowing the state can fill in information for you, or the model of the car, the year, bumperstickers, etc, whatever.
    In Finland it is possible to find out the owner of a car by sending a text message. It costs a little but the service is available to everyone. For free one can actually find out everything about the car but the name of the owner. And whether someone has registered the car as stolen within the EU. On the other hand I don't know if that service is widely used since it's not an official EU database. It's quite interesting that there is no official EU database for stolen cars. You can steal a car, cross a border and register it in another country before selling. Which is quite a lucrative business for the criminally minded.

    I'm not interested enough in people to try stalking them. Occasionally I check what information I can find about the children in my life so that I can notify their parents if something is amiss. I won't list my techniques since if there is a stalker that has not figured them out yet it's better not to add to their arsenal. If stalking stays just random information gathering just for the challenge of it that's a bit creepy but not a crime. If someone uses what they find to bother the stalked one then it crosses a line to the criminal (some cases are more dangerous than others). Stalking was actually finally criminalized here at the beginning of this year.

    Facebook makes stalking easier nowadays. I don't use it but I know people who seem to keep tabs on everyone they know; their neighbours, people they knew in school and people they actually don't really associate with in real life and usually even dislike. Just for the joy of gossiping about them with other people. One person actually accused me of being secretive and impossible to contact just because I'm not on FB .

    I wonder what the concept of privacy and personal boundaries mean for a person who reveals everything about their life on their FB account. And then don't even bother to restrict the access to that account. Is it a form of exhibitionism or just plain stupidity?

  5. #5
    New Member Rasofy's Avatar
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    On Facebook, when the person has the albums locked to the public, it's often still possible to see a bunch of pictures on the timeline.

    I suppose many of you already know that.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Tetris Champion notdavidlynch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madrigal View Post
    I have never had a stalker and I'm very offended by this. I mean, seriously? I'm 34! One day I'll be too old to be stalked! Who are these people wasting their time on?
    No reason to be offended. The myth of all stalkers being underwear sniffing perverts obsessed with celebrities, exes, and other unrequited love interests is a dangerous and unfair stereotype.

    It's often done with a dispassionate or fleeting interest in the person in question. More for the sport, or just for some nugget of information that is valued in and of itself.

  7. #7
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by notdavidlynch View Post
    No reason to be offended. The myth of all stalkers being underwear sniffing perverts obsessed with celebrities, exes, and other unrequited love interests is a dangerous and unfair stereotype.

    It's often done with a dispassionate or fleeting interest in the person in question. More for the sport, or just for some nugget of information that is valued in and of itself.
    I know lots of people who were stalked and I don't see what they have that I don't.

    Well actually I did get stalked but I was dating him, so I dunno if that counts, it's almost redundant.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    Heh. We've been here years now.

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    Unless repeatedly looking at people's OKc profiles qualifies, I don't think I do this. With exes, I am a firm believer in the "clean break" and strive to do this as much as possible. I don't believe in getting back together with exes, at all, actually.

    Slightly related.... does anyone think the word "creepy" is overused or inappropriately applied? Is it usually an accurate designation? What sorts of people do you notice it gets applied to?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Tetris Champion notdavidlynch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slab_Bulkhead View Post
    Slightly related.... does anyone think the word "creepy" is overused or inappropriately applied? Is it usually an accurate designation? What sorts of people do you notice it gets applied to?
    Males.

    I don't think it's inappropriately applied. The word has basically morphed into an indicator of how uncomfortable a guy makes a woman feel (not sure about "other" dynamics). Sure, oftentimes being ugly + friendly is enough to be labeled creepy, but who gives a shit. If you're friendly to someone and they think you're ugly* and label you a creep then they obviously suck and no one should waste their time in that kind of situation.

    Something like 66-80% of males fall into the "ugly" or "physically unattractive" category. The top 20-33% are at least average and the top 1-5% among those are attractive.

    ^ Not complaining. Just saying. Chances are you're in the ugly category and just have to deal with it.
    Last edited by notdavidlynch; 08-31-2014 at 08:03 PM.

  10. #10
    Member Mxx's Avatar
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    Seems that creepy is used for males, and crazy for females.

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