Repost/Crosspost: because this PSA is still needed: “Can I talk to you?” troll


This post – PSA: “Can I talk to you?” troll – was originally published on Dreamwidth by TheDivineGoat on Mar. 3rd, 2010 08:20 am. The author specifically requested that others repost in order to spread this information, which we didn’t do then, but we are doing it now, because it’s still going on.

ETA 20/09/10 I am still updating this post, although I’m tending to add the names in batches so it may be a week or so before I get around to it.

If you have recently received a random message or contact from an unknown person containing text similar to the title, it may be a troll. His name seems to be Paul Melville Austin, but he uses a variety of pseudonyms, including Paul Benjamn Austin (also just plain Paul Austin) and Paul Sebastian Williams, to harass users and gain attention for himself. He seems to have accounts on both LiveJournal and Dreamwidth under the names of [personal profile] australianchild, [ profile] bullenemu, [ profile] colemancharlott and [ profile] tyne_wear (ETA Also [personal profile] marmaladeatkins, [personal profile] michellerowatt, [ profile] carlottecoleman, [ profile] marmaladeatkins, [ profile] thetestcard, [ profile] australiaoz, [ profile] marmalade44, [ profile] uline, [ profile] marmaladeat, [ profile] charcoleman, [ profile] ozaustralia, [ profile] marmalade00, [ profile] australian00s, [ profile] australiachild, [ profile] tyne_and_wear, [ profile] jasminebreaks, [ profile] aliciajohns, [ profile] w6chamap, [ profile] tynetees, [identity profile], [ profile] australia_oz, [identity profile], [ profile] aus_dw, [ profile] middletonkate, [ profile] phillipart,
P Bm Austin, Paul B. Austin and Jordy Lucas [Last three names are from Facebook]) but may have others. He is also known to use some non-journal nicknames and have multiple email addresses.

He has several behaviors, and a general pattern by which you can identify him;
*He contacts users, via email, IM’s or private messages.
*He usually presents himself as either a young woman (generally using a stolen icon) or as an older, disabled man.
– His frequently changes his name with each contact.
*He will generally start out saying something like “can I talk to you?”.
*He then launches into a story of abuse.
– Sometimes the abuse will be sexual and sometimes it is disability related, with either a sexual or humiliation component. The specific details vary from contact to contact.
*He will often express gender identity confusion and/or dating problems.
*He is interested in alternate history and fandom and will sometimes try to use this to get close to his new target.
*He often sets off the “squick-o-meter” when conversing with people. You may get a feeling that there is something Not Quite Right.
*On some occasions he has continued communication, even after being asked to stop

For example in August 2008 he posed as a High School Student called Marta ( who was a survivor of sexual abuse.

This behaviour has continued over many years. He may or may not be dangerous. Please use appropriate amounts of caution if you choose to interact with him. If you feel he is breaking or has broken the Dreamwidth or LiveJournal Terms of Service while interacting with you, please contact them immediately. They can be reached via or, as appropriate.

I am trying to collect more information about the people he contacts and his interactions with them. If you believe you may have had contact with one of his personas, please leave me a message on this post.

Comments are screened, please note whether you want the comment to remain screened or are happy to have it unscreened. Anon comments are allowed, but may not necessarily be unscreened.

The more people who know about this man and his MO, the fewer people he can harass and trick. So also, please consider linking or re-posting this note in your own journal.


EDITOR NOTE: The person mentioned above has been serially cyber-harassing members of the Hoyden about Town blogging collective and commenting community for years now, as well as other bloggers active in the feminisms, fandoms and alt-history communities. We have mentioned him before, but not in such detail, and not for a while. However, his persona-morphing stalker-type harassment continues, despite promises he has repeatedly made that he will cease his harassing of bloggers.

He has used the typical pattern above to recently contact other bloggers, but in particular he has contacted bloggers well known to be minors via email and/or chat, which constitutes behaviour notifiable to the Australian Federal Police. If you are a minor contacted in a similar fashion, or if you know of any minors who have been contacted by anybody mirroring this pattern, you can send their details to the AFP here to add to their files.

Comments on this repost at HaT are also fully moderated, so if you want to leave some sighting information here without your comment being published, you can either mark it as *PLEASE DO NOT PUBLISH* or otherwise email it to us at HOYDENZ [_at_] GMAIL [_dot_] COM

Categories: ethics & philosophy, law & order

Tags: , , ,

15 replies

  1. Further to my editor note above, I will note that this troll seems to have a particular motif around problems of various kinds surrounding the choosing of prom dresses, and also around Enid Blyton novels/characters. He has used the nym “Blytonly Obvious” linked to a stub of a blog by that name on plagiarising the reasonably well known blog of that name on, for instance.

  2. I was contacted by this person in September last year. Here is the fake profile – (Genette Tate) – the girl in the profile picture looks very young. I wonder if she’s a minor.
    As soon as “she” started talking about the abuse, I was almost completely certain it wasn’t genuine. But just on the off-chance that it was, I responded by giving her the phone number for Lifeline, while making it clear that I was not the person to talk to about it.
    I’m fine with this being published, and I still have the messages. Would it help for me to c+p them here?

    • Thanks, Doctor Jonesy – that profile pic looks familiar somehow. In the past he has used pics of tween actresses.
      I’m disturbed that he found you through the Facebook group. Since we don’t get adequate notifications from Facebook about activity there, I’m wondering whether I should just lock it down to providing only updates from us, with discussion to only happen here.

  3. Since these comments are being screened, I will c+p the messages from this person just so you can confirm that the MO is the same, and you can decide if this should be unscreened or not.
    (Potential TW for talk of sexual assault)
    GT: Hi
    I saw you in the Hoyden About Town facebook group
    may i talk with you?
    Me: Sure, if you’d like. Although I don’t know how interesting I’ll be.
    GT: thanks
    I could use a female ear right now
    sorry just been crying
    i was ambushed at a party
    my two so-called best – female – friends set me up
    i was put through a lot of sexual things by guys
    Me: I’m sorry to hear that and my heart goes out to you. However, I’m not sure I’m the person to talk to about this. There are hotlines you can call. If you’re in Australia, you can call Lifeline on 131114.
    I hope you can find the help you’re looking for.
    GT: thanks
    Deborah is a pretty name by the way

  4. I was surprised that he found me through your group, too. If I’m remembering right, it wasn’t too long after I discovered the page myself. I think your idea seems like a good one – even if it’s just to make it easier to keep track of comments.
    Anyway, thank you for posting this – as soon as I read it, I remembered this incident. I’ve now reported the profile as being fake (although I won’t be holding my breath for facebook to actually do anything about it).

  5. Sorry, I forgot to say this in my previous comment, but I’m pretty sure I was found via the old facebook group and not the current Hoyden About Town page. Just thought I should add that.

    • @Doctor Jonesy – the FB group has been closed for a while, but I’ve just gone back and disappeared the discussions from view. I’ve also locked down the FB page more tightly. Thanks for the heads-up.

  6. This information was left in a comment that wasn’t indicated whether the author was happy to be unscreened or not, so I’ll c+p:

    Hi, He found me through brisneyland, using the lj emilyashton, pretending to be a young bullied girl, who curiously used very outdated slang, and copped unusually erudite taunts from her classmates.

  7. Another comment from Saturday was just unspammed, sorry about the delay. You haven’t indicated whether you want to be unscreened, so I’ll just c+p the non-identifying stuff:

    I got an LJ message from this user that fits the MO. The message was “can I talk to you”. It looked blatantly trollish so I ignored and deleted it.
    [Looking at my LJ profile]; I do seem to fit his target group.
    I’ll share this with my networks.

  8. I’ve been contacted by livejournal message 6 times over the past few years by various identities. I’ve never responded to any of them, though I think I made an lj post about the first one, marmaladeatkins. Quite a few explicitly use girls’ books as a hook – I’m not a minor though, and I don’t think he would have thought I was.
    (no subject) (3 weeks ago)
    from Captain Kremmen
    Is it possible to talk with you?
    Girl’s Own(21 weeks ago)
    from katemiddleton82
    Hi I saw your posts in the old Girl’s Own group
    can i talk with you?
    Malory Towers (37 weeks ago)
    from Rafaella Hutchinson
    I saw your LJ while googling Malory Towers
    can i talk with you?
    from 8742041 (66 weeks ago)
    Hi I saw your blog
    can i talk with you?
    im new to LJ and would like to make new friends
    (no subject) (81 weeks ago)
    from marmalade44
    can i talk with you?
    pretty please?
    (no subject) (88 weeks ago)
    from marmaladeatkins
    can i talk with you?
    pretty please?

  9. Sorry – fine to unscreen if you want!

  10. Thanks for sharing that Clare.
    Comment in the mod queue – are you happy to be unscreened, or should I just quote the salient info?

    • From another comment which didn’t let me know whether or not to unscreen, I’ll cut and paste the relevant information:

      The Enid Blyton Society forums have been targeted by this person. He has written as pbsausie, Paul Austin, Paul Williams, Lossie Laxton, Michelle Rowett, Paul Austin2 and probably others. He has also PMd subscribers as mentioned in posts above. It concerns me that younger members might well be drawn into his web of deceit.

  11. Hello – We run a website based in Yorkshire, United Kingdom for women who have been victims of harassment, and have been getting emails off this guy this week asking to talk, stating similar to the above, telling us in far too much detail about his intersex disorder (pretty sexual terms used) and that he had been sexually abused ect ect. Knew from the start that it didnt ring true. (I dont know what unscreen means… but you can do that anyway!)

    • Thanks, Emma R, for the extra info.

      (I dont know what unscreen means… but you can do that anyway!)

      Just means whether your comment will be published under your own nym or whether I paraphrase it without identifying details. Thanks for permission to publish!

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