[TAG] (forw) Re: Someone needs help in SF
rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Nov 3 02:06:16 MSK 2005
Quoting Benjamin A. Okopnik (ben at linuxgazette.net):
> I deny that any "right to privacy" issue exists here; you have
> simply violated list etiquette....
Certainly, though, honest misunderstanding on the matter _is_ common;
resulting mishaps can be fixed among people of goodwill. At the same
time, the area's also a favourite area for mischief from passive-aggressive
computerists (something I'll detail further on).
Mailing list as a general class aim for the reply semantics of NNTP
newsgroups and miss -- for lack of a clear definition for, and proper
software handling of, followups (on-list responses) as opposed to
replies (off-list responses). This structural problem is compounded by
the new-user tendency to be unaware of one's MUA's reply-to-all
function, the closest thing to followup that most MUAs provide. In
consequence, legions of computing novices send offlist mail
(The reasons why a list thread should continue on-list _by default_, and
why anyone departing into private mail should disclose and explain that
fact to their correspondents are self-evident. I won't flog that horse here.)
But we also have passive-aggressives, who like taking advantage of that
confusion to take private shots at participants in public discussion, in
some cases, or get free-of-charge private consulting from them in others,
with -- they think -- impunity: Their targets are trapped because
redirecting the (unjustifiably, cheeky) private side-comments back onto
the mailing list would be -- quelle horreur! -- bad netiquette.
Well, after being gamed in that fashion for many years (by
passive-aggressives aware I'm scrupulous about netiquette), I got tired of
it, and decided that, if the guy who suddenly departed into private mail
didn't bother to mention or explain doing so, _and_ the need for private
discussion isn't obvious, _and especially_ if it's a transparent excuse
to take a shot privately the speaker wouldn't dare say in public, I will
(as you did) "correct the error" and move back on-list.
I usually assume goodwill and mishap -- the notable exception being
those cases blatantly lacking in the former category.
> > Threatened legal action to my response.
> [sigh] I see that your reading comprehension is extremely low.
Personally, I'll choose to be charitable, relatively speaking, and
assume malice rather than a truly epic level of incomprehension: This
is the sort of thing passive-aggressives do. (Of course, as you, Bruce,
and I all know perfectly well, I very clearly said he was lucky he'd
made that legally reckless claim about _me_, since I would _not_ sue
anyone over such things. I was warning him to not take that chance with
innumerable others inclined towards less benign reactions.)
It reminds me a great deal of the DJBware groupie (Jeremy McLeod) who
made a point of going behind my back on NYC's Linux user group mailing
lists claiming I'm "litigious" after learning on Don Marti's linux-elitists
mailing list that Daniel J. Bernstein had threatened _me_ with a lawsuit
for "libel" against Dan's software:
(The notion of, e.g., an MTA having standing in court to bring tort
suits would be nicely science-fictional if it weren't marred by being
rather pathetic as a debate tactic: DJB had no sense of humour when I
suggested that he or his MTA ring up my attorney. Is anyone surprised?)
McLeod resented having tangled with me on linux-elitists on the subject
and my having rather irritably shot down his claim that qmail et alii
are open source, so I infer that he decided to "get back" at me by
taking shots at my personal reputation in places (e.g., NYLUG) where he
thought I wouldn't notice.
When I did, and wrote to him politely saying I didn't appreciate this
false claim, that it had caused me problems elsewhere in the community,
and that I'd appreciate him ceasing to make that claim, he suddenly had
nothing to say.
And that, too, is one of things passive-aggressives sometimes do when
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