Ooooops!

Una Smith una at orion.biology.yale.edu
Tue Mar 8 15:14:19 EST 1994


kristoff at net.bio.net (David Kristofferson) wrote:

>>> *** I CAUTION READERS*** that libel laws *do* apply to anything that
>>> you decide to post, so those who feel that they can say anything with
>>> impunity on the newsgroups are seriously deluding themselves.

I'm curious to know who you were refering to, Dave, since you've said
it wasn't Steve Modena.  Please explain.


Kris Carroll <kcarroll at u.washington.edu> wrote:

>>Politely, I disagree with this portion of your post. ... Can you
>>provide additional information or proof?

David Kristofferson <kristoff at net.bio.net> replied:

>Thank you for politely disagreeing, especially when manners seem to be
>out of fashion on the "Information Superhighway."
>
>This lack of knowledge about these issues is widespread unfortunately
>and is why I posted this item in CAPS.  Legal tests have in fact been
>made.  I refer you to "Internet World" magazine which had an article
>by a legal expert a few months back on this very issue and cited a
>specific case.  Unfortunately my copy of the magazine issue in
>question is at home, not here in the office, so I can't give you the
>precise reference.  Look in the Nov. 93 issue (plus or minus two
>months).  I'll look it up when I get home tonight (hopefully before
>midnight).  I wouldn't have made the statement quoted above,
>especially not in CAPS, if I had not already read about this issue
>which is something that obviously concerns managers of newsgroup
>networks.

This paragraph is not very informative.  For those of us who don't get
this magazine, Dave, please give the citation you promised last week,
and perhaps a summary of the problem it addresses?


>I posted that item not because I was thinking of bringing
>any libel suits myself (I love getting attacked on the net, of course
>8-), but to warn those who are attacking others that this is not a
>free-for-all and that they are incurring risks when they do so.  Some
>day they might wake up with a summons from someone instead of a
>relatively mild warning message from that facist running dog Dave
>Kristofferson who loves to trample on the rights of all free speaking
>USENET users, etc., etc.

Who are "they"?  Dave, you posted an article to bionet.women-in-bio
in which you threatened to "take action" against someone, and you
included text that you attributed to Steve Modena, a regular reader
of bionet.women-in-bio.  But the text you included, that you implied
to be libelous, was neither libelous nor written by anyone who has
ever had anything to do with bionet.women-in-bio (or any other bionet
newsgroup, for that matter).  Then, when I objected publicly, to your
own public statements, in b.w-i-b and bionet.general, you said your
misattribution was an accident, and you did not mean to accuse Steve
Modena of anything.  Okay:  who *did* you mean to scold and intimidate
in your contribution to the "Ooooops" thread?

Whom do you mean to "warn" now?  Who is supposed to "wake up with a
summons"?  Please explain who and what you had in mind.


>P.S. - I ought to write a computer program which generates insults
>about myself.  The only catch would be that it collects a penny for
>each use.  I could license it to just one or two sites in the U.S. and
>retire a wealthy man 8-).             ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

>				Dave "looking for a new haven" Kristofferson
                                                    ^^^^^^^^^
Cheap shot.


To Dave:

I am dismayed by your pointed removal of my name from text included in
your posted reply to my criticisms (mentioned above) in this thread over
the weekend.  It is inappropriate to delete attributions, or attribute
included text to the wrong person.  Everyone makes mistakes, but for a
BIOSCI administrator to do so *deliberately* (as you did with my words
this weekend) or even accidentally when leveling charges of misconduct
(which you did with Steve Modena's posting last week) is *highly*
inappropriate.

You've habitually played with the attribution of articles in bionet,
at the expense of other readers, but particularly at my own expense.  
Many people who read bionet.general a year ago will remember that you
took a copy of my FAQ, re-wrote it to represent your side of a long-
running debate between us, and, to spite me, used your status as
moderator of bionet.announce to post your own version under my name.
You committed a forgery to win a (trivial) argument!  (The details
are all in the bionet.general archives.)  In the interest of peace,
I let the issue die, although I will never again post an article to
bionet.announce so long as you moderate it.

I'm not going to watch you play loose with attributions on included
text, mine or anyone else's, without expressing a public objection.
Perhaps I over-reacted in the "Oooops" thread, but then I've been
burned by you before.  If I misjudged your intent, I'm sorry;  I am
still waiting to learn what your true intent was. 


To all readers:

Since 1987, I have been a regular contributor to various bionet.*
newsgroups, and I think it has the potential to be important and
valuable.  In the interest of fostering the bionet.* hierarchy,
I have sometimes publicly criticized Dave Kristofferson's actions.
Dave has often represented my criticisms as "attacks" against him
(as he does above, for instance), or attempts to damage bionet.*.
This is simply untrue;  with a few (justified) exceptions, I have
merely criticised some decisions he has made, or made constructive
suggestions.

David Kristofferson is one of the many people who are responsible
for building the bionet.* groups and the associated BIOSCI mailing
lists.  Dave has already mentioned many of them, but let's not
leave out the thousands of readers and contributors;  without them
(us!), there would be nothing here.  We are all building something
new, that hasn't been built before, and it will probably be with
us for a very long time.  So it is important to think and discuss
now, while Usenet is still relatively new, what our goals are and
how to accomplish them.  Informed, thoughtful criticism has a place
in this endeavor.

Dave has often expressed to me the view that, as he is the BIOSCI
administrator, it is up to him to decide how things should be
done.  Fine.  He is entitled to accept or reject my criticism,
but he is not entitled to insinuate, via indirect threats of legal
action etc. against "them", posted on a thread in which I have
criticized him, to belittle me or denigrate my criticism.  I reject
the notion that, because Dave is paid by the NSF to provide service
to bionet.* readers and BIOSCI e-mail subscribers, that he is
therefore above criticism.  After all, in Usenet at this time there
exists *no other* mechanism for confronting problems.

-- 
	Una Smith			smith-una at yale.edu

Department of Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT  06520-8104  USA



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