Humiliate your officemate

Una Smith una at
Tue Feb 1 14:21:26 EST 1994

Re "Mike" protecting his directories, which had previously been
public-readable, apparently after beginning to view porno binaries,
which he was so insensitive as to do when others were present,
Tonya Frederic <frederic at> wrote:

>It was merely an observation consistent with the fact that he was
>obtaining pornographic pictures from certain news groups.

Actually, the newsgroups carry only a small fraction of the pornography
that is available over the Internet, via BBS and anonymous FTP archives.

Why Mike chose to protect his directories and files is entirely beside
the point.  It could well be coincidental;  Mike may be learning new 
things about Unix computers, such as how to use FTP, and how to protect
the privacy of files he doesn't want to be public.  That Mike made group
files private suggests that he is a novice, and doesn't know how to set
permissions selectively.  In any case, it's his business.

You already know that he has been viewing pornography at the office; 
this other "evidence" says more about you than it does about him.  
After this, no doubt, everyone in your research group will want to
protect their files against your prying, lest you find something
even more damaging to use against them.

>"Mike" is or will be aware that I object and that action will be taken
>if it happens again because he reads this newsgroup.  I had actually
>already decided how best to handle this before writing the first time,
>namely by writing a letter to this group describing the incidents and
>the actions I was considering taking.  I hope it made him squirm and I
>hope that some of the supportive responses I received made him understand
>that I'm not the only woman (or man, for that matter) who considers this
>a serious issue.  

Tonya, you *used* bionet.women-in-bio to conduct a vicious, vindictive
campaign to humiliate your officemate Mike.  I think you have violated
the good will of this newsgroup.  How's that for "victim-speak"?  Yuck!
This entire episode is disgusting.

I am incredibly disgusted, Tonya.  What you did was far, far worse than
anything you have described Mike doing.  And you used this forum to do
it, involving us all in your crime against him.  Did you stop to consider
that now Mike won't be able to post anything here without other readers
noticing the similarity between his address and yours, and assuming that
he is the porno-viewing hypocrite that you described.  What gave you the
right to compromise Mike's reputation like that?

Mike should have had enough self-discipline not to look at those pictures
at work, especially when other people might see them.  Had you made a
polite, decent request that he not do it when you might see them, and had
he continued to look at those pictures when you were present, then you
might have taken the issue to the other graduate students, as a next step.

You should have had enough personal integrity and discipline to deal with
this very minor problem in a more respectful and dignified, and less
vindictive way.  Instead, you have escalated the issue into a much more
serious one.  Now, you will have to face Mike every day, knowing he has
good reason to despise you and hold you in contempt.  And who knows how
many tens or even hundreds of strangers who read bionet.women-in-bio also
hold you in contempt for your self-serving use of this public forum to
attack your own officemate, with whom you did not even attempt to resolve
such a small problem in person.

You showed such utter disrespect for your officemate that, were you in
my department, I have no doubt that public sentiment would be strongly
against you now, in light of what you have done to him.

A note to other readers:  This forum is not a casual conversation among
friends.  It is a world-wide, public forum in which people who are
(mostly) strangers to one another try to interact in old, new, and useful
ways, and perhaps become friends.  The other participants are *not*
necessarily our friends, nor are they necessarily being honest with us,
nor do they necessarily have good intentions towards others, with respect
to the requests for advice posted here.  Thus, it is in the best interests
of everyone involved for us to think carefully about the issues that are
presented, and not give easy, convenient answers that suit our own agendas,
unless it really suits us to do so. 

Personally, I do not think this is an appropriate forum in which to give
counseling or support to people in their personal conflicts with others.
But if that's what the majority of bionet.women-in-bio want to do here,
then, please, be careful.

	Una Smith			smith-una at

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

More information about the Womenbio mailing list