Monday, November 14, 2005

Hopefully the Last Deignan Post: On Internet Credibility

Paul Deignan claimed his wife was threatened in an email. Someone calling himself McGeoffrey in Bitch Ph.D.'s comments claims to have emailed Mrs. Deignan. (So far I've been unable to connect to the homepage he links)

I wasn't going to comment here, but I thought I'd mention that I've been banned from PD's blog - not too surprisingly under the circumstances. Briefly, I tried to defuse things by e-mailing his wife to invite her to take a look at his blog, and he unsurprisingly didn't take too kindly to what I thought was a desperately needed reality check.

Equally unsurprisingly, he's now turned his attention towards "outing" me, and has already posted my IP address on his site, alongside other vague and unspecified threats (since he also claims to have informed the police about my alleged - though actually nonexistent - "threats", I wonder what they're making of those?)

To be honest, I really couldn't care less what he digs up - I have no personal or professional reason for fearing exposure, and if it wasn't for my concern about crank e-mails I'd have posted under my real name in the first place - but I just thought I'd mention it here in case anyone thinks that this increasingly pitiful saga really is over. He'd be far better off taking pretty much everyone's advice and just stopping all this right now, but he's clearly desperate to blame someone - anyone! - other than himself for letting this mess escalate as far as it has.

McGeoffrey Email Homepage
11.12.05 - 12:22 pm #

From Deignan's tendency to overreact, and McGeoffrey's unloadable link (at least by me), I can only conclude that there is nothing to conclude from this.

It's not unreasonable to think that someone emailed Deignan's wife, and that Deignan interpreted an innocuous statement to be a threat. His ability to interpret is highly questionable, since he thinks Hettle's non-techie, non-engineer assertion -- "He was banned, but used his computer expertise to defeat the ban and taunt the host of the site" -- constituted libel (hint: malicious intent to harm Deignan's career absent given this:"Might you please advise him to exercise a little discretion in the future." Ooooh, malicious).

It's also reasonable to think that McGeoffrey is a troll only claiming to have emailed Deignan's wife. But the tone of the comment and his subsequent comment were not particularly trollish.

I try to be a member of the reality-based community, but so much of what happens in web communities is unverifiable that we have to take each other at face value. If we choose anonymity, regardless of who we actually are, what we believe, or what we do, on the internet we are simply who we represent ourselves to be. Until we write something that contradicts known reality or otherwise compromises our own credibility, I think the benefit of the doubt should generally be given.

In this case, at this point, I can't give the benefit to either party.

It does appear, however, that Deignan has taken trolling to a whole new level.
What a Difference a Week Makes
A week of lefty complaints, whines, pleas, etc. etc. What did it all amount to?

  1. Increased my rankings in the blogosphere.
  2. Marginally increased the potentcy of my arguments.
  3. Demonstrated their venality in spades.

Just another week dealing with people who find it difficult to accept responsibility in any form. The thought of it scares them into anonymity and herd behaviors.

Instead of limiting himself to anonymously stirring up trouble for his own amusement on one message board or comment thread, he took it to the entire blogosphere under his own name. (His use of "venality" is telling, when one considers his propensity to project.)

As such, despite the diversion factor, I can't justify helping to keep this topic alive anymore. No feeding the trolls!

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