Regarding email from "ifcomp2020@protonmail.com"

Hi folks,

Unfortunately, we’re seeing some trolling this year from a disgruntled past IFComp participant who is mailing current participants under a false identity, sending disinformation about this year’s competition.

If you get email from “IFComp2020@protonmail.org”, please know that it’s not actually from any IFComp official, and you should disregard the content. (The content is misleading information about how participants should behave outside of comp contexts, and ends with some fairly transparent insults aimed at competition organizers.)

I advise blocking this email address, if you can.

If you wish to hide your own email address as an IFComp author from public view, you can do that by clicking the “Welcome, [Your Name]” message at the top of the ifcomp.org website, and then un-checking the “Display your email address” checkbox.

And, just to be clear: this isn’t a fun ARG or meta-game, this really is just someone trying to be a spoilsport and a troll. I apologize for this unpleasantness.

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They have an abuse reporting email address. abuse@protonmail.com
Might be worth someone sending them an email from the official email address to ask them to shut it down if someone’s using it to troll?

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But then they might just sign up for a different one. Sometimes it’s easier to just leave be and block them than to play whack-a-mole.

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True enough.

Thank you for the heads up.

I have a friend that uses protonmail. He says it security and encryption levels make it very secure.

that’s one issue, yes. the bigger issue is that it takes orders of magnitude more time to have a protonmail account removed than it does to make a new one. given what you mentioned, it’s unlikely they’d be willing or even able to IP ban a service, and any VPN or mobile tower IP would allow one to evade that anyway. all it would do was confirm that people read and disliked the email, which is clearly what someone like this desires.

emails are private, anyway, so at worst they’re just nasty clutter. what’s both public and more productive a focus here would be any libelous or hurtful blog posts about organizers, authors, and judges, made by the person who sent that email. given these posts would be hosted by a public corporation with legal and financial incentives to prohibit libelous and abusive content, they could be reported to the service provider, and the posts and/or blog itself would be taken down for persistent violations of the TOS.

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Yup. Person in question has had his blog suspended and posts redacted in the past over such things as hate speech, personal harassment, and gendered slurs. Blogger is a Google product and they seem to respond to multiple reports sent from different IP addresses.

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it’s overwhelmingly likely that, along with nearly every moderated tech product post-COVID, most or all of it is just automated heuristics based on how many reports they get, and how quickly. i think, should they continue to try and disrupt the competition, it’s likely the most efficient way to respond, should one want to. i’d also advise that, as patrick points out, this is a problem, and sickness, which has existed for a long time. to a certain extent, we should feel entirely free to ignore him, for our own sakes as much as anything. if it mattered that 100 times as many people thought he was a creep as agree with him, he’d have stopped doing this sort of thing already.

i’d certainly advise against contacting him or responding to him directly. all it’ll do is just let him know there’s another person he can haunt about things nobody’s cared about in IF since 2014, because that’s really the last time he could pay any attention to the culture without trying to break things.

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Hey, 2014 was a great year. I still had hair then.

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