Like most people, you are probably a blend between paranoid and optimistic where your blog is concerned. Paranoid of all the baddies out there on the web, working their nasty butts off trying to hack our beautiful blogs or SPAM our email inboxes. And optimistic that the majority of people really are lovely, peaceful, good-mannered beings. The problem is that the damage done by the minority that make us paranoid can be devastating and that means that we have to penalize the good majority to protect ourselves.
I can’t solve all your problems in this regard but I can stop people from getting a hold of your email address.
The Story of My Email Stalker
When I first started blogging I was firmly in the optimistic category and put my email address on my contact page. As they say or at least Julia Roberts did, big mistake!
Everything trotted along quite nicely. My traffic was going up, the number of comments increased and I was building a small body of regular readers who also commented.
One day, I wrote something I thought was rather mild and this particular woman took exception to it. She left a belligerent comment that had me so shocked that I sat stock-still for several minutes unable to unglue myself from the seat. I suddenly realized that my other regular commenters would see what she had written and I deleted it. I also had the presence of mind to block her IP so she couldn’t comment any longer.
When she found herself unable to express herself on my poor little blog, she grabbed my email address from my contact page – yes, I wasn’t quick enough to think of that one – and she proceeded to bombard me with all kinds of unpleasantry. She was suing me for blocking her, she was suing me for writing what I did, she was suing my sorry ass for existing. She had gone to her solicitor and he had agreed that she had a case and could I give her my home address and telephone number because he wanted to send me something. This all happened rather rapidly so I Googled her name – it was an unusual one – and I found her in Australia. She was in her seventies, lived in a rest home and was basically incapacitated due to very bad health. There was actually an article about her online because she had been donated a computer which she used to go around blogs, mainly food blogs, and comment – her only pleasure in life. Well, a small drop of sympathy did ooze out but the venom in her emails counterbalanced it.
Early on in the piece, I had directed her emails to go directly to the SPAM folder but I needed to check it for errant emails at least once a day and there she was sitting snarling at me. In the end, I had to contact my email provider and ask them to block her at their end so I would never see her name again.
As an after note, she did pop up on one of my fellow bloggers sites when she was promoting my first cookbook and became rather nasty so she was blocked from that site too.
How to Maintain Your Privacy with a Simple Contact Form
- Go to Jetpack. You will have this plugin because I advised you to get it in this article, 5 Great Plugins to Install on your WordPress Site.
- Scroll down until you find Contact Form. Make sure this is activated.
- Now go to Page/Add New.
- Write Contact Me (no fancy headings that no one will understand but you) where it says Enter Title Here.
- Put your cursor in the large content box and then click on Add Contact Form which is just above. This will throw up a popup screen.
- The form that appears on the left is fine as is but you can subtract fields by clicking on the minus sign beside the field or add fields by clicking over on the right where it says Click here.
- Click the button at the bottom Add this form to my post.
- It will look like gobbledegook but click on Preview on the right and you will see what it will look like.
- Fill in everything else below as explained in my article, How to create pages in a WordPress blog.
- Click on Publish on the right near the top.
- Now you can go to Appearances/Menu and follow the instructions in How to Create a Menu for adding the Contact form page to the navigation bar.
There you are, you have a simple contact form on your Contact Me page and your worry about stalkers has just been greatly reduced. People seem to be far more reluctant to write nastiness on a contact form than they are to send an unpleasant email. On top of that, if you have Akismet installed on your blog, contact form submissions will
be run through its anti-spam system so that you only get genuine messages.
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