Warning: this could end up being very long.
I posted a little bit about this here, I encourage you to read it since there are a few things I don't want to type out again :P
I joined a site a few years ago. I think my oldest account on there is 3 years, but I had to deactivate it. In fact, I had to deactivate several other accounts, due to very severe harassment from certain people on the site. There are two groups in particular who have been after me ever since they saw me. A year and a half ago, I even remember this drama started late in October, a bunch of these people out of the blue started harassing me, threatening me, saying extremely abusive and unbelievable things about me publicly...all because I like wolves. The harassment was so severe that I was forced to leave, and someone even tracked me down on a small forum I was on, and was attacking the forum, too.
How does this relate to the current drama? Well, I came back to the site a few times, and finally settled down for a while. I ended up sticking around because I ran into another person on the site who was also being harassed by these people. We had a few conversations, and something clicked. If I had known about all of her past drama with these people, I'll admit, I might have been a little more hesitant to form a friendship. But I know now, and while I am not blind and can see that she has contributed to it, I am also her friend and will not betray her, and I have no tolerance for bullies.
For a little while, things were relatively calm and quiet. People were leaving us alone, and aside from the occasional rude person, there wasn't any major drama on my end. Up until about a week ago, when someone posted a very long, very slanderous and malicious post about my friend. Of course, you can imagine, she was ticked off. Who wouldn't be? They were publicly trashing her. If someone had done that to me, I would have been really upset. There's just no excuse for what they did.
The drama didn't end there. Someone cracked her account. Almost everyone believed and was saying that she was pretending to be hacked, and at first, I will admit that I was a little suspicious because most of the evidence went against her. Even so, I wouldn't have put it past them to do something like this, and didn't want to take their side unless there was absolute proof that it was fake. And there was.
Another day after it happened, the person who cracked her account posted her personal messages with other people publicly. Yes, that's right. And that's where the link above comes in. Not only are they taking their hatred of her out on the site we were all on, they're spreading it as far as they can to other sites and even going so far as to actually make things up.
It's Not Over Yet
(I'm going to call the woman behind most of this "Evil Witch" (no offense intended to pagans...I'm pagan, actually) or "EW" for short.)
A few days have passed since this drama started, and yesterday it seemed like things might be starting to get a little better. The harassing blog showing all of my friend's private messages which included me, and a few people we know, was removed. Apparently, it was not only removed from the blog itself, the screencaps of the messages were also forcibly removed from the image hosting sites! Now, however, EW is threatening to put these up on another site, Encyclopedia Dramatica.
If those messages get put on ED, we're all screwed. I will have to leave the site that I really love because of this. I might have to leave every site I'm on except this one (because I go by a different identity on this one to avoid this very problem). My friend's reputation and career will be completely destroyed by this, too, in addition to the heaps of damage that have already been done. These people have gone so far as to try and get her business (a licensed shop) shut down!
My friend already has an article on there because she does, unfortunately, have some very extreme views, and has a very dramatic past on that site. Fortunately the article doesn't have much on her....yet. I've gotten to know her, and she actually is a good person, but she has very bad ways of stating things, and in the past, she's said things she didn't mean during some very nasty fights with other people. We all do this, let's be honest. But at least our lives and reputations usually aren't ruined over it!
What I Need Help With
My friend is a nervous wreck right now. Her phone number, home address, full name, and photos were leaked on the internet, and she has been getting calls from people. There are also a few people who are friends of EW that live in the same country as her and have been harassing her.
I have been stalked before, so I know what it's like. I wasn't stalked on the same level as her, but I am sometimes paranoid over things, but I am also at least very self aware, and I can recognize when I'm being too paranoid. I used to be convinced that the person stalking me was going to try to kill me if we ever met, because he was absolutely batshit insane. Admittedly, I still sometimes worry that he's looking for me, and that's just another reason, out of MANY, that I can't wait to get out of this country and live somewhere else where people wouldn't find me unless I wanted them to. :P
Anyway, the point is, I know what it's like to be paranoid, to be afraid. And now my friend is showing the same behavior that I was those years ago. She's convinced that these people, EW and her lackeys in particular, are going to try to kill her. Unlike me, she's not keeping those thoughts to herself...she's making her fears known, and that's just feeding them and making them go after her even more because they are sick-minded, malicious, evil people. I get it that she's said some incredibly stupid shit, but they've said equally stupid things - believe me, I've seen some crazy things they say. But to devote so much of your life, so much of your time, to trying to completely destroy a person's life...over them having different opinions than you? That's just BS.
I don't care what kind of shit someone says or believes. As long as they are not using those beliefs to harm someone else, I don't care. I can understand being irritated with a person. I've had moments I'm not proud of where I've gotten into arguments on there with people - sometimes, those arguments were justified, sometimes, they weren't. But no matter how much I might really detest some people on there, I would never go so far as to do the kinds of things that they're doing to my friend.
What can I do?
How can I calm my friend down?
What if her fears are justified....what then? What can I do to help her?
Is there ANYTHING we can do about these people, or the site that this originated on?
At this point, I'm afraid that nothing can be done, and that they're just going to keep going after her, and our friends, and me. We've tried reporting everything they're doing to the admins of the site we're all on, but the admins aren't doing a damn thing about it. They're completely ignoring the situation, and a few times gave feeble excuses for a few of the people involved.