Blog Break

Seeing as how I have the threat of suit and the threat of outing hanging over my head right now, I’m going to be taking a break from the blogosphere. Thank you all so much for all the words of support and encouragement; I really, deeply appreciate knowing that you have my back.

I will keep you posted, though, if anything develops.

In the meantime, piny and Jill will be holding down the fort, joined by some guest bloggers I think you’ll enjoy reading.

Take care.


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204 comments for “Blog Break

  1. October 20, 2006 at 2:20 pm

    It really, really sucks that this happened to you. My thoughts are with you. Please come back soon.

  2. October 20, 2006 at 2:21 pm

    can someone give a part time reader a link to what happened

  3. October 20, 2006 at 2:22 pm

    nevermind.

    natalia

    wassssssssup!

  4. Sally
    October 20, 2006 at 2:28 pm

    Shit, zuzu. I hope she comes to her senses soon so you can come back and entertain us all with politics and bra discussion.

  5. October 20, 2006 at 2:36 pm

    im really sorry to hear that u are going through with this.

  6. October 20, 2006 at 2:36 pm

    im really sorry to hear what u are going through.

  7. Jeff in Texas
    October 20, 2006 at 2:37 pm

    Complete bullshit. Sorry.

  8. Gabriel Malor
    October 20, 2006 at 2:39 pm

    Damn. Even your faithful dissenters are with you, zuzu!

  9. liss
    October 20, 2006 at 2:39 pm

    Frequent reader though only occasional poster here. I am simply at a loss for words to describe how insane this seems. I can’t believe that the idea of a lawsuit has been raised without the slightest attempt to resolve anything through discussion. After all, it’s hardly as though there isn’t an open discussion channel to be found.

    I’ll really miss your posts and I hope you feel able to return soon. Good luck.

  10. INotI
    October 20, 2006 at 2:41 pm

    Ann Bartow can go fuck right off.

    We’ll miss you, zuzu.

  11. Jeff in Texas
    October 20, 2006 at 2:41 pm

    Is this Ann Bartow, associate law prof at University of South Carolina, starting this crap? WTF is a law professor at a lower tier law school doing starting this nonsense? Trying to fill the “tilting at internet windmills” requirement for tenure? Jesus.

  12. October 20, 2006 at 2:50 pm

    Good luck, zuzu. Wow, this blows.

  13. Laurie
    October 20, 2006 at 2:55 pm

    I’ll miss reading both your insights and your frivolous (sp?) bits here, but can certainly understand that caution has to be used in this stupid, sticky situation. I’d have more sympathy (not having read the posts in question) if what’s-her-face had contacted you directly in any way. As it is — jr. high school politics revisited. Bleah! They sucked then, and they didn’t gain anything through the aging process.

    Good luck getting the whole stinky mess sorted out. Cuddle the furries at home, hang in there, and know that we miss you and are behind you. Even though I haven’t the faintest clue as to what actually happened….

  14. October 20, 2006 at 3:07 pm

    I am very sad that this has happened. I’m relatively new to reading Feministe, and enjoy it immensely. I hope you’re able to resolve this quickly and can come back soon so we can enjoy more of your wonderful insights. I’ll miss reading your posts, but in the meantime, stay strong.

    Nolite te bastardes carborundorum

  15. Magis
    October 20, 2006 at 3:09 pm

    Been lurking lately but you’re still my hero.

  16. October 20, 2006 at 3:22 pm

    Shame on the asshole. Shame.

  17. October 20, 2006 at 3:25 pm

    Are you accepting nominations for guest bloggers? Or have they already been selected?

  18. October 20, 2006 at 3:26 pm

    Good luck! This is just ridiculous.

  19. KnifeGhost
    October 20, 2006 at 3:32 pm

    I have to see you go, but I’m excited about guest bloggers.

  20. October 20, 2006 at 3:36 pm

    Aaaaaaarrrrrgggghhh. You will be greatly missed.

  21. October 20, 2006 at 3:47 pm

    I’m so sorry about this, Zuzu. I hope you come back soon.

  22. piny
    October 20, 2006 at 3:53 pm

    Why don’t you read the archives at Go Fug Yourself? That always cheers me up when I’m down.

  23. A Pang
    October 20, 2006 at 3:55 pm

    Good luck zuzu! I really hope this nonsense gets worked out so you can come back.

  24. October 20, 2006 at 4:01 pm

    E-mail me. This bullshit is common, but to actually sue, in a libel case? No fucking way. It’s the threat of the stupid.

    As for the other issue, I have some ideas.

  25. Linnaeus
    October 20, 2006 at 4:14 pm

    Give ’em hell…they need to learn not to mess with The Zuze.

  26. Mastermind
    October 20, 2006 at 4:16 pm

    Good luck.
    I’m sorry that this happened to you.

  27. October 20, 2006 at 4:20 pm

    Oh, fucking hell. goddamit. that just blows. -Bartow- just…yeah. for fuck’s sake. what bullshit. sorry, zuzu.

  28. October 20, 2006 at 4:46 pm

    I have almost always disagreed with you zuzu, on various things, but this is just wrong. What a freaking nutcase. I hope to see you back here soon.

  29. zombieprincess
    October 20, 2006 at 4:47 pm

    Best wishes zuzu!

  30. October 20, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    Do you really think Ann Bartow’s serious about it? At Yearly Kos, I talked about libel threats with DarkSyde, who told me that Daily Kos averages one libel threat a week, often from lawyers, and that the best solution is to ignore them entirely.

  31. spit
    October 20, 2006 at 5:10 pm

    Wow. I’m not sure what to say, except for jeebus, what an asshole this person is.

    When you’ve got me almost speechless, you know it’s weird.

  32. cooper
    October 20, 2006 at 5:17 pm

    I don’t read this site too often but this stuff is ridiculous.

    Useless pundits, except among themselves.

    Who do these people think they are God?

    Well God doesn’t exist, and it’s too bad you can’t carry on as if these people didn’t either.

    Something about Cornell school of law I guess; didn’t Coulter go there?

  33. October 20, 2006 at 5:25 pm

    It’s not just the lawsuit threat, Alon; it’s the threat of outing, which is much much simpler to bring about.

    and yeah, as mentioned, even a frivolous hopeless case lawsuit can just drain you dry, energy and money wise.

    ‘course, usually one doesn’t anticipate that an actual LAWYER would pull something like that, unless, you know, they thought the lawyer was acting, well, -really- irrational.

    like, enough so that it seemed quite likely she COULD pull a move that any thinking person would see as boneheaded from her own perspective as well, on account of, you know, beside herself?

    which, like, if such a person/lawyer wanted people to -not- think this, she’d probably want to be pretty fucking explicit about exactly what lines she will NOT cross, ever.

    there’s job security like tenure; but there are other forms of currency in the world as well. offline -and- on. particularly if one’s reputation is based on being someone fighting the good fight on behalf of democracy, of -feminism,- of feminists. I would imagine. perhaps i’m naive.

  34. piny
    October 20, 2006 at 5:26 pm

    Do you really think Ann Bartow’s serious about it? At Yearly Kos, I talked about libel threats with DarkSyde, who told me that Daily Kos averages one libel threat a week, often from lawyers, and that the best solution is to ignore them entirely.

    I hope not, because if so, she’s either the worst or most cynical legal professional on the face of the Earth.

    Zuzu’s course of action is entirely up to Zuzu, and she has my complete support. However, I think that posting about this is a good idea because A*n has apparently done this before, to other people. It’s important that the community be aware of a serial, um, hyperlitigious privacy-concern troll, and publicizing threats makes it harder for her to effectively use them in the future.

  35. October 20, 2006 at 5:27 pm

    Zuzu, I’m so sorry.

    If Ann Bartow’s intent wasn’t to sue you, or silence you via veiled threats, I sincerely hope she will publish a categorical denial that this was her desired result–and an apology that this was the result nonetheless. Otherwise, it’s difficult to believe that she had any other intent, which is deeply distressing.

  36. October 20, 2006 at 5:27 pm

    Prayers and good thoughts for you, zuzu; we’ll miss you and look forward to a successful conclusion of this nasty case and your swift return to the ‘sphere.

  37. Cassandra
    October 20, 2006 at 5:28 pm

    I’ll miss your witty take on feminism while you’re gone. Good luck with everything.

  38. October 20, 2006 at 5:29 pm

    well, has she actually sued anyone for something like this before, AB, or just makes these little noises of displeasure on a fairly regular basis? either way is not cool, of course, but at least if it’s the latter it can be perhaps remedied a bit more, as Shakes says. and: I will knock that behavior the fuck off from here on out.

  39. October 20, 2006 at 5:33 pm

    i mean the other thing about kos, i assume? is that by this stage of the game, he may well have access to resources that zuzu does not. what does he, rake in a good $500K a year from ad revenue? yeah, if you know you can outspend the frivolous would-be harasser, then sure, by all means, cheerfully ignore. it’s a bit different when you know that it’d basically mean bankruptcy.

  40. micheyd
    October 20, 2006 at 5:40 pm

    Something about Cornell school of law I guess; didn’t Coulter go there?

    Coulter went to Cornell for undergrad (my alma mater!). The republican fawning over her there to this day is sickening.

    Anyhoo, we all need a break sometimes, zuzu, and don’t let this get you down!

  41. October 20, 2006 at 5:43 pm

    Wow, this woman seems truly insane. Nothing I’ve read warrants this kind of response from her. I’m sorry this is happening, and I will miss you during your break!

  42. Maureen
    October 20, 2006 at 5:48 pm

    I’ll miss you, zuzu, and I really, really hope that for your sake, she relents after the shitstorm of bad publicity she’s about to get. (Does anyone know anyone else at South Carolina law?)

    However: if she does persist in clogging the South Carolina civil courts with this matter, you will come out looking much, much, better than she does. I know that that’s probably cold comfort, but at least you won’t be the one made fun of by the Wonkette crew.

  43. matttbastard
    October 20, 2006 at 6:03 pm

    Good luck, Zuzu – have enjoyed reading your posts and comments, and hope this will blow over without putting your career in jeopardy.

    Also, I think Bartow should be shunned – no links, removal from blogrolls, etc. It sounds like she cannot be trusted to argue in good faith, nor to respect the privacy of fellow bloggers.

    Sidenote: wonder if The Economist gives her the vapors?

    “OMFG – articles with no bylines?! teh EEKS!!!1”

  44. Tears
    October 20, 2006 at 6:10 pm

    Hang in there Zuzu! I personally have enjoyed reading your posts since I started visting this blog! Keep up the good fight and I wish everything turns out ok.

  45. October 20, 2006 at 6:12 pm

    Belledame, none of the people who threaten Kos ever goes through with the lawsuits. Ann Bartow has no more interest than Zuzu in wasting time and money on a lawsuit she knows she can’t win. Not to mention that Zuzu has the support of almost the entire feminist blogosphere, whereas Bartow can have a serious problem even with her own blog allies, many of whom are anonymous. Twisty and Violet Socks don’t want to be outed any more than Zuzu does.

    Besides, even smaller blogs get threats that don’t materialize. I asked DarkSyde for advice because my ex-girlfriend got a threat from the owner of a Christian camp who didn’t like it a negative post she’d written about it. She followed the advice and ignored the threat, which never materialized. DarkSyde said even Brent, my former blog‘s owner, was getting threats from sanctimonious fundamentalists.

  46. Michelle
    October 20, 2006 at 6:20 pm

    How unfortunate. I hate to see you driven away by this.

    But have a good break! We’ll be waiting for you when you back.

  47. October 20, 2006 at 6:22 pm

    What the fuck, yo? Pseudonymity is dangerous, but using the legal system as a cudgel against people you don’t agree with is peachy-keen? What the hell is wrong with her?

  48. October 20, 2006 at 6:28 pm

    Be back soon!

  49. October 20, 2006 at 6:42 pm

    Take care of yourself, zuzu. Hope to hear from you soon.

  50. October 20, 2006 at 6:57 pm

    I pretty much never comment, but I read every day. I’m sorry this jagoff, who seems to hate pseudonymity because it makes it more difficult for her to threaten people, has pulled this crap. I’ll miss your posts, certainly. Be well.

  51. 1984 Was Not a Shopping List
    October 20, 2006 at 6:57 pm

    Zuzu, all my most positive thoughts. You should always be able to disagree with someone without being punished for it by threats of lawsuits or other violence. It goes to show you: those who fly into a rage because they think they’re saving face, actually lose face by doing so. Some reflection on the disrespect for dissent is called for. Be well.

  52. 1984 Was Not a Shopping List
    October 20, 2006 at 6:58 pm

    And yes, frivolous lawsuits, or the threat of same, without any real damage having been done, are nothing but violence. Don’t any of us kid ourselves.

  53. TomCody
    October 20, 2006 at 7:32 pm

    West Coast finally coming into the fray. Wow. Zuzu, I’m just catching up to this and my heart is with you. I read the previous posts on the matter and I don’t understand why this woman is threatening to sue you. It makes no sense whatsoever. You will be missed. Come back soon to help discuss BSG.

  54. ilyka
    October 20, 2006 at 7:44 pm

    DarkSyde said even Brent, my former blog’s owner, was getting threats from sanctimonious fundamentalists.

    Ha, and I know your former blog’s owner from when he used to go by “Raz,” and he likewise knows me because I’ve only been using this idiotic pseudonym for over a dozen years; first locally in Phoenix, and then on the internet. So Brent posting “I’ve met Ilyka, and her real name is [x]” wouldn’t lend me any more credibility than I’ve managed to build up under this handle over time, that I can see.

    But then, Brent is a very reasonable guy.

  55. October 20, 2006 at 7:44 pm

    Sorry to hear it. Best of luck with it, and hope you return soon.

  56. Ann Bartow
    October 20, 2006 at 7:54 pm

    Hi, it’s me. Ann Bartow. I’m not going to sue anybody.
    I’m not going to out anybody. I want Zuzu to come back to
    Feministe. I never intended to threaten Zuzu (or anyone else) with the prospect of my outing her, and I wasn’t trying to silence her. I’m sorry anything I said or did contributed to her thinking otherwise.

    Here’s what happened: Yes, I happen to know who zuzu
    is. No, I didn’t use any special databases or inside knowledge to
    find out. No, I’m not going to tell you how I know, because that
    would be tantamount to outing her, and I’m not going to do that. I did want to convey to her the fact that her anonymity wasn’t as
    secure as she thought it was, because I believe that people who
    legitimately want anonymity shouldn’t be outed. (I’ve made it clear that I think the discussion would benefit from people choosing not to be anonymous or pseudonymous, but that’s another story.)

    I know that a lot of you have concluded that by conveying this to her via Jill last July that I must have been making some sort of hidden threat, and I gather that Zuzu concluded that, but I wasn’t. I’m sorry she thought so.

    I was pretty upset when zuzu indicated on Feministe that
    I was somehow using secret knowledge to ferret out her identity and terrorize her with the threat of revealing it. That was the opposite of anything I had intended or wanted, and I did think it was defamatory, and I figured that Zuzu was saying it as some sort of attack on me. It’s become clear to me since then that no, she was just freaked out, and I can understand that.

    So anyway, I’m not a litigious person, and I’m not going to start now suing people now. I do think that discussion works better when people use real names, but I’m not going to out anybody. That’s not me. I’ve never intended to make Zuzu or anyone else feel that they were in danger of that from me. I’m sorry that an email to Jill from me last July, without my realizing it, caused her to think she was. (I do think that a lot of the rest of you folks jumped to some pretty nasty conclusions about me without any evidence to back them up). And Goddess knows I didn’t intend to cause Zuzu to take a break from blogging. There was no reaction after I sent the e-mail to Jill back on July 5th. I guess it has been bothering her for a while.

    So nobody in this community has anything to fear from me — we’re on the same side, even when we disagree — and I hope Zuzu comes back soon.

  57. October 20, 2006 at 7:55 pm

    The guest bloggers better be named ZaZa, ZoZo, ZeZe and Zi Zi, and occasionally ZyZy. And they better be you!

  58. ilyka
    October 20, 2006 at 8:24 pm

    Here’s what happened: Yes, I happen to know who zuzu is. No, I didn’t use any special databases or inside knowledge to find out. No, I’m not going to tell you how I know, because that
    would be tantamount to outing her, and I’m not going to do that.

    I am really relieved to read that, Ann, because I didn’t want to think that of you.

    I will say that I believe I know exactly how you know, but here’s where I suppose you and I think differently: My reaction, on seeing what I believe is the same starting-point info you saw, was not to do any further research and not to make any educated guesses. My reaction was not to do anything, because I don’t care and I’m not interested.

    I have a very clear idea of who “zuzu” is in what to me is the only way that matters: I identify “zuzu” as an online persona who happens to write well and holds similar views to my own on several key subjects. There’s really no need for me to know any more than that, since nothing more than that is any of my business, and I guess the part I still don’t get is why anyone would take the time or trouble to find out anything more than what zuzu shares willingly.

    (Admission up front: I am a huge privacy freak. That’s my bias.)

  59. Ann Bartow
    October 20, 2006 at 8:30 pm

    FWIW, if it helps, Jill has my permission to publish my e-mails to her here as long as she does so in full text and publishes her replies in full text as well, with the exception of anything she thinks would compromise Zuzu’s identity, which she is free to redact.

    The e-mail of July 5th, 2006 did not reveal Zuzu’s identity in anyway. It just warned against divulging personal information if you want to remain anonymous. I hope Jill will post it.

    This is a good lesson for everybody. No one is anonymous on the Internet, as any good lawyer with expertise in the area, or any good computer technologist, could explain. This was not my idea, as I did not design the Internet. It’s just the way things are. Do some research, you need to know this stuff. Even if you think I’m a creep, you can’t possibly think I’m the only one. I warn people about the lack of anonymity because I think it’s the right thing to do. Now you’ve been warned too. Please don’t kill the messenger.

  60. piny
    October 20, 2006 at 8:35 pm

    This is a good lesson for everybody. No one is anonymous on the Internet, as any good lawyer with expertise in the area, or any good computer technologist, could explain. This was not my idea, as I did not design the Internet. It’s just the way things are. Do some research, you need to know this stuff. Even if you think I’m a creep, you can’t possibly think I’m the only one. I warn people about the lack of anonymity because I think it’s the right thing to do. Now you’ve been warned too. Please don’t kill the messenger.

    Stop!

    With love, and relief, and because you really need to know too:

    Stop it. You have done this on more than one occasion, and on more than one occasion people have responded with words to the effect of, “You are really creeping me out right now. Are you threatening to out me? Because that’s what you sound like. In fact, one of the reasons I remain anonymous/pseudonymous is because I’ve had problems with stalkers who sound just like you, and I don’t see the point in making it even easier for them to figure out my identity.” Why, then, have you not stopped saying things that make other people so anxious? We know that people get outed and stalked and harassed all the time, which is precisely why you’re so scary. Okay? Give it a rest.

  61. October 20, 2006 at 8:43 pm

    I love you, piny.

  62. Name Required
    October 20, 2006 at 8:43 pm

    this also needs to be posted on your web site, not here.

  63. Name Required
    October 20, 2006 at 9:36 pm

    This is a good lesson for everybody. No one is anonymous on the Internet, as any good lawyer with expertise in the area, or any good computer technologist, could explain. This was not my idea, as I did not design the Internet. It’s just the way things are. Do some research, you need to know this stuff. Even if you think I’m a creep, you can’t possibly think I’m the only one. I warn people about the lack of anonymity because I think it’s the right thing to do. Now you’ve been warned too.

    This spanking is for your own good! All of you! Every single last one of you must go to the town square to watch me dispense the goodness of my blows for justice. I do it because I love you. Group hug.

    Please don’t kill the messenger.

    rotflmao

  64. October 20, 2006 at 10:15 pm

    what if the messenger is, like, a homing pigeon that keeps crapping on your head? just asking.

  65. oudemia
    October 20, 2006 at 10:20 pm

    I love you, too, Piny.

    And Zuzu.

    And Jill.

    But I really do agree that Ann needs to post this stuff on her own blog, too.

  66. October 20, 2006 at 10:47 pm

    I just don’t buy being surprised at people’s reactions to the concern troll nature of the “be careful, you could be outed” approach. Maybe the first time, not the other times, and this has happened a bunch of times, and every time, the person on the receiving end of the lecture gets spooked.

    Listen, a conservative guy was gonna out me, and in doing so, I realized every single place where something stupid on my part made it easy to figure out who I am. I can’t take those things back. They are out there. Yes, there are other different things I can do, but the concern doesn’t seem genuine from some quarters. Once stuff is out there, it’s out there. We know that. How come you always bring it up during an argument, AB?

  67. October 20, 2006 at 11:07 pm

    there is that.

    and frankly i think the lesson here is something rather dramatically different than what AB thinks it is.

  68. October 20, 2006 at 11:10 pm

    Stop!

    I heart piny, too.

    zuzu, do what you have to do. hope to see you soon.

  69. October 21, 2006 at 12:01 am

    Here’s what happened: Yes, I happen to know who zuzu is. No, I didn’t use any special databases or inside knowledge to find out. No, I’m not going to tell you how I know, because that would be tantamount to outing her, and I’m not going to do that. I did want to convey to her the fact that her anonymity wasn’t as secure as she thought it was, because I believe that people who legitimately want anonymity shouldn’t be outed.

    See, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do this. The couple times I’ve noticed that I could tell who someone was and they weren’t a flaming jackass troll*, I emailed them privately, and said: “Hey, I can tell who you are, and here’s how. I’m not inclined to tell anyone, and you might want to fix this security hole in this way.” I don’t know if that’s the best way, but it’s at least unthreatening, and it’s trying to be helpful.

    From what zuzu has written, that’s really not what was done here — the emails were far more ambiguous (to be generous). And frankly, the tone of the other comments from Prof. Bartow are more along the lines of “well, I guess I was misunderstood, but watch your ass, people…” Not reassuring. One might also find appalling (or disingenuous) the lack of precision in language coming from someone who is apparently paid to teach people the law.

    * The couple times I’ve tracked down jackass trolls (100% purely public sources — mostly Google), I’ve mostly found that they’re more pathetic than I could have imagined, and I just moved on.

  70. Patti
    October 21, 2006 at 12:12 am

    Ann, I’d be much more comfortable trusting your stated intentions if you had emailed zuzu instead of Jill, and maybe not thrown around the “defamatory” bit.

  71. October 21, 2006 at 12:52 am

    Wow. All of this just blows my mind.

    Zuzu, I do hope you will come back.

  72. Judge Robert Bork
    October 21, 2006 at 2:15 am

    This professor isn’t anonymous either. There is no privacy.

    Just ban her ass.

  73. Marksman2000
    October 21, 2006 at 3:29 am

    Zuzu.

  74. October 21, 2006 at 3:31 am

    Sorry Zuzu, take care of yourself and I look forward to reading your posts when you return.

  75. KnifeGhost
    October 21, 2006 at 4:23 am

    (Admission up front: I am a huge privacy freak. That’s my bias.)

    Bias nothin’, that’s fully your right.

    I’m a huge choice freak. zuzu has the right to be as public or private about who she is offline on her blog, and it’s a bit (at best) patronizing to “to convey to her the fact that her anonymity [sic] wasn’t as
    secure as she thought it was”. 1: Why should we assume zuzu isn’t aware of exactly how easy or hard it is to cut through the pseudonymity, and 2: why is violating her desire not to have her online identity connected to her offline self the only way to “to convey to her the fact that her anonymity [sic] wasn’t as
    secure as she thought it was”?

  76. Ann Bartow
    October 21, 2006 at 5:37 am

    The reason I send the e-mail on July 5th was that Zuzu had just posted about how much she valued her pseudonymity. I actually figured out her likely identity many months before. (She says this is her, I didn’t know, I didn’t make any effort to confirm). Here is a paragraph from the July 5th e-mail to Jill:

    Assuming Zuzu has been truthful in the personal information she has disclosed at Femniste, I figured out her *probable* (I have not confirmed it definitively, and will not make any effort to do so) identity in literally two minutes. Given her recent posts, e.g. this:
    http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2006/07/02/horrifying/
    it seemed like a heads’ up about her own vulnerability might be in order. If I could ascertain her identity so readily, so could any number of other people, and if it was me, I would want to know this.

    Here is another paragraph from the same e-mail, in which I put Jill on the spot, probably unfairly, but I really was trying to do the right thing:

    However, it seems at least equally plausible that Zuzu is simply ignorant about the ways in which she has compromised her own pseudonymity. If this is the case, someone needs to clue her in, and I guess via this e-mail, I am nominating you. Sorry for the intrusion, but you know her, and are far better situated than I am to assess what, if anything, should be communicated to Zuzu about this, and how it would should be approached, if at all.

    I AM obssessed with online anonymity and psuedonymity as a scholar. I study it and I write about it. I’m sure most people reading know the story of “Dooce.” What happened to her can happen to any anonymous blogger. You can reduce risks but you can’t eliminate them.

    If later today I noted that an anonymous blogger had done something at her blog that pointed towards her real space identity, I’d still be inclined to notify her about this privately.

    I have a completely different set of issues about people who do dishonest things from behind pseudonyms. I never thought that of Zuzu. A couple of days ago I said in the comments thread at another blog, Stone Court, that I think anonymity undermines civility (in different words and at greater length). Again, that had nothing to do with Zuzu.

  77. October 21, 2006 at 6:43 am

    I’m quite confused.

  78. Ann Bartow
    October 21, 2006 at 7:55 am

    And an aside to PInko Punko: You, on your own volition, e-mailed me using your real name and a signature that indicated where you work. I didn’t ask you to do that. I wished you hadn’t done that then, and I even more wish you hadn’t done that NOW, because if someone does out you, I can’t avoid being a suspect.

    You wrote terible things about me, and you contrived a google bomb to make it eaiser for people who googled my name to find those things, knowing that you had disclosed your identity to me. Is it “concern trolling” to point out that this is a very bad idea?

    You knew I wouldn’t “out” you and I thought Zuzu did too. I hope she does now.

  79. October 21, 2006 at 8:18 am

    Zuzu, best wishes in whatever you decide to do.

  80. Sunrunner
    October 21, 2006 at 8:23 am

    Ann Bartow,

    Why is that you have taken on the role of “policing” the anonymity/pseudonymity of others? Which is very different than studying and writing about it.

    I can tell you that if you had written me out of the blue simply to tell me that you had uncovered my identity, I would feel very threatened. I would feel even more threatened if you sent such a message through a 3rd party. It would be akin to having a married neighbor (as a kind of weird example) who you figured out (because you don’t get out much and spend a lot of time keeping track of the comings and goings on your street) was having an affair, so decided to call that person up and tell them that you know that they are having one. The subtext is “information is power, and since I have this information about you that you don’t want anyone else to know, then I am letting you know that I have power over you.”

    You don’t need to say it: but the implication is very very clear and does not need to be spelled out. “you better not piss me off, or…”

    My advice Ann. Get thee to a good psychotherapist ASAP. Because it is clear that you really need it.

  81. October 21, 2006 at 8:26 am

    As I’ve just read all 4 threads here, plus several linking ones, I’m starting to mentally compose my own post.

    And I’m thinking about superheroes: Two things: one, the consideration of *why* they often have secret identities. And two, the notion that “with great power comes great responsibility”
    Just because you have the ability to figure out somebody’s identity doesn’t mean you should.

  82. oudemia
    October 21, 2006 at 9:03 am

    What I still don’t understand:

    If all of this was just for Zuzu’s own good, what, precisely, was the “First Amendment Expert” going to mail Zuzu at her home address? A cheesecake from Lindy’s?

  83. Ann Bartow
    October 21, 2006 at 9:10 am

    You may be right about that Lis. But please let me be clear that I do not have “great power.” Word Press blogware makes it so that a blogger can not avoid seeing the ISP addresses of commenters. Sometimes these ISP addresses disclose a lot of information. I’ve made it a habit to e-mail commenters about this, to make sure they are aware of it. Mean commenters see this as a threat, nice commenters see it as a favor. I see it as educating people about the way the Internet works.

    Here is a true story with two details changed (the sport and the name of the dog): A blogger who wanted to remain anonymous disclosed that he had been on the Olymic Curling Team. Weeks went by, then he disclosed that he had a dog named Rex. I forgot the name of the blog, but I remembered about the curling team, and about Rex. So I googled “curling” and “Rex” and not only did I find the blog but I also learned the blogger’s real space identity because someone else had written about a curling team member with a dog named Rex, and there was even a news story that made the connection. I gave the blogger a head’s up, and he deleted the stuff about his dog. So he’s safer, but he’s not safe. Two random personal details put together identified the guy. That’s very hard to predict and impossible to control for. I certainly wasn’t looking for his name when I did the search, just his blog.

    Almost all lawyers have access to Lexis and Westlaw. So do journalists and other professionals, and members of the public if they either subscribe, or go to a library. Lexis has all kinds of personal information related features, but I do not have access to the specialized data bases because my subscription is an “educational” one. I couldn’t even tell you what they are. Even ordinary Lexis allows a lot of data collection. I have never used Lexis to research a blogger, never. Other people may, and I have to guess that they do.

    “Google” is available to everyone, and it is a powerful tool. If this is being a concern troll, so be it, but everyone who blogs or comments on blogs ought to learn about online anonymity issues.

  84. Ann Bartow
    October 21, 2006 at 9:19 am

    I never asked for Zuzu’s home address, I specifically asked Jill if there was a “mail drop” where I could send Zuzu a letter.

    I wanted to use a “mail drop” address to preserve Zuzu’s privacy. I certainly didn’t want to mail her anything at work. I hope Jill will confirm this, I can document that this is what I asked for. I wanted a third party to explain to Zuzu some things that would have meant more coming from someone other than me. This person suggested a letter rather than e-mail, because e-mail is not at all confidential. I thought by asking for a “mail drop” address it would be clear that I was NOT trying to serve a subpeona, which is done in person.

  85. ginmar
    October 21, 2006 at 9:20 am

    Cree pee. Sorry, reminds me too much of those anti-porn guys who get discovered with huge stashes of the stuff and they try and claim it was research.

  86. Ann Bartow
    October 21, 2006 at 9:31 am

    Ginmar, you are a very gutsy blogger and commenter. You have strong opinions and are not afraid to be controversial. Folks like you make a good case for the power and importance of anonymity. But you must already know that people who feel angry at you may try to uncover your identity as a way to have power over you. That is a risk of anonymity.

    If I noticed something at your blog, like an accidental link, or the name of a jpeg file that shows if a picture doesn’t load, that pointed to a real space identity, would you want me to e-mail you so that you could delete it? Or just ignore it?

  87. W. Kiernan
    October 21, 2006 at 9:38 am

    One groovy thing about being a nobody construction worker, with no bigwig clients to offend nor any official licenses to get revoked, is that I can get up on the internets and post pretty much anything that’s not overtly defamatory under U.S. and Florida law, and nobody, including the management of the fine, fine civil engineering firm for which I’ve worked twenty and a half years, will give a shit ay-tall.

    So here’s my idea: if any of you bloggy types with sensitive jobs ever feel like the heat is on you to shut up, yet you don’t want to be shut up, get in touch with me. First we can set up a private communication channel between just us, and next I sally forth unto blogspot dot com and create me another blog, “Pseu-zu’s Soapbox” or whatever. I promise to limit my editing to spell-check. You can say your thing in privacy and if anybody wants to harass somebody over your Constitutionally-protected words they can feel free to sue me, or to kiss my ass, which ever they find more pleasant and profitable. If they choose that first they’ll waste their time and money and lose in court, while the rest of us laugh and laugh.

    Betcha you could get a dozen volunteers for this service from the readers of this thread alone.

  88. Raine
    October 21, 2006 at 9:51 am

    Frequent reader, though I almost never post comments, but I’ll miss you, Zuzu!

  89. Name Required
    October 21, 2006 at 9:54 am

    You wrote terible things about me, and you contrived a google bomb to make it eaiser for people who googled my name to find those things, knowing that you had disclosed your identity to me. Is it “concern trolling” to point out that this is a very bad idea?

    First, where can I learn more about and participate in this google bombing?

    Second, does this not sound like a threat? I think it does.

  90. A technologist
    October 21, 2006 at 9:55 am

    This is a good lesson for everybody. No one is anonymous on the Internet, as any good lawyer with expertise in the area, or any good computer technologist, could explain. This was not my idea, as I did not design the Internet. It’s just the way things are. Do some research, you need to know this stuff.

    Funtionally, this is true. Technically, it is not. At all. One most certainly can be anonymous over the Internet. It’s not easy, but it can be done. The underlying protocols are all trust-based. If you abide by their (unenforced) rules, then anonymity is impossible. But the current state of technology makes their rules to this effect unenforcable. The system can be gamed. No causal user would know how to do this, and many “good computer technologists” wouldn’t either, because it’s specialist knowledge with no general-purpose usefulness (and if I may editoralize, deadly dull).

  91. October 21, 2006 at 9:55 am

    A good part of the problem is Bartow’s rhetorical stance. I’d guess that most people here are perfectly aware that “Google is a powerful tool.” And that anyone can be outed. I also think that most people find her lecturing tone high-handed and pedantic, and the detailed posts about how she found out other people’s identities and then emailed them obsessive and odd.

    If Bartow really has a lesson she wishes to impart to the blogosphere about anonymity or anything else, I hope she realizes that she’s not being very effective, largely because of her own (perhaps unwitting) rhetorical choices.

    And while maybe everyone would be more civil online if everyone used their real names, it has also long been clear that there is no more utterly tedious & over-discussed subject in the entire known universe than “online civility.” Endless self-congratulatory posts about how polite we’re all are being, ugh, give me a good ‘ol Kirk vs. Picard flamewar, please…

  92. October 21, 2006 at 9:59 am

    Best of luck to you Zuzu. I understand why you’re taking a break. This creeps me out and I don’t even blog anonymously. I hope to see you back soon.

  93. Name Required
    October 21, 2006 at 10:04 am

    If I noticed something at your blog, like an accidental link, or the name of a jpeg file that shows if a picture doesn’t load, that pointed to a real space identity, would you want me to e-mail you so that you could delete it?

    :: chuckle ::

    You must be pretty bad at cybersleuthing to think that it’s only when a .JPEG doesn’t load that you can find out if it points to a real space identity.

    Why don’t you set up your own e-mail list and call it Bartow-TRAQ. You can dislose privacy vulnerabilities for all your favorite bloggers as a public service.

  94. Sarah S
    October 21, 2006 at 10:05 am

    Ann Bartow –

    I would want you to ignore it and leave me the hell alone.

    Really.

    I blog anonymously under another screen name then this. This is my real name. It wouldn’t be hard for someone to find my blog linked to this commenter name and figure out who and where I was. Sarah might be one of the most popular names in the country, but I guarantee you that I’ve made enough tracks around the net that it wouldn’t be too hard to find.

    That is a risk that I take. I know that if someone was really dedicated enough they could find me. My goal of blogging with a psudonym isn’t to make it impossible to find me, it is to make it difficult to deter most people from trying. If someone does do the work, I would assume that they do so to threaten or annoy me.

    What bothers me here is that you seem to assume that most bloggers are too stupid to know they can be tracked down. We’re not that dumb, really, we’re not. Tracking us down to prove a point actually proves nothing, and it would really just make me feel creeped out and insulted that you did the work of tracking me down then emailed me to “warn” me about it, as though it was something I was not already aware of.

    In the future, unless you have a realy REALLY good relationship with a blogger, I would just stop digging up people to prove that you can for their own good. It’s just irritating and inherantly prone to misinterpretation of your motives. In the word of Ann Landers, MYOB.

  95. Sarah S
    October 21, 2006 at 10:08 am

    Thers –

    See, you said what I wanted to say only better.

    And Picard rules :-P

  96. Name Required
    October 21, 2006 at 10:17 am

    Ann Bartow probably leaves all her doors unlocked. After all, anyone can break those locks. Why use them? Leave your doors wide open. They’re useless. If you use locks, you will only have a visit from a friendly locksmith who will break the lock, just to show you that it can be done. What a helpful locksmith.

    Does Anny Bartow operate a computer with a firewall? Anti-spyware? Anti-virus software? Ann Bartow should dispense with those precautions, since they have security vulnerabilities. Why bother!?

  97. oudemia
    October 21, 2006 at 10:26 am

    I dunno — maybe it’s just because I’m a nice Italian girl from NJ, BUT when someone wants my contact info so that they can have their “friend” “explain some things to me” I get nervous.

  98. October 21, 2006 at 10:37 am

    Wow this woman sounds like a douchebag.

  99. October 21, 2006 at 10:38 am

    If Bartow really has a lesson she wishes to impart to the blogosphere about anonymity or anything else, I hope she realizes that she’s not being very effective, largely because of her own (perhaps unwitting) rhetorical choices.

    Right, I believe Bartow when she says that she wasn’t intendeding to out (or sue zuzu,) and had she clearly said this in public or through direct email this consequence probably could have been avoided. But when someone 1)with an extensive history of railing against anonymity on the internets, and 2)a history over heated conflict over frankly pretty trivial issues with the party involved, 3)emails results gained from searching to a third party suggesting knowlegde of her identity, and 4)then starts discussing lawsuits with said third party when the person reacts exactly how one would expect…well, pretty much any rational person is going to respond to #3 and #4 as passive-aggressive threats. Any smart person who guards their identity knows they’re vulnerable–you don’t need to make your knowledge of their specific identity known to make this point. I respect Bartow, and I hope that she knows how conterproductive this rhetorical strategy is.

    And while maybe everyone would be more civil online if everyone used their real names, it has also long been clear that there is no more utterly tedious & over-discussed subject in the entire known universe than “online civility.” Endless self-congratulatory posts about how polite we’re all are being, ugh, give me a good ‘ol Kirk vs. Picard flamewar, please…

    Amen. And I would suggest that anyone who listened to talk radio for ten minutes would also see that the effects of anonymity on civility are highly overrated in any case.

  100. Lizzie (greeneyedfem)
    October 21, 2006 at 11:42 am

    I’ve only recently started reading Feministe regularly – yummy. I hope Zuzu takes care of herself however she needs to and then comes back happy, rested, and clever as ever.

    Yeah – what y’all have been saying. What I don’t understand is how Ms. Bartow thinks that the people she contacts with her “I know who you are” messages will honestly take it as a kind of friendly heads-up about protecting their privacy and pseudonymity online when she also makes it crystal-clear that she has a real problem with online anonymity/pseudonymity. It’s not like she’s a pro-pseudonymity advocate who’s got folks’ backs (“Oh, I just stumbled on your real identity and wanted to let you know it’s easy to find – but like you, I value pseudonymity online, so be careful! hugs hugs kisses kisses”). She’s vehemently anti-pseudonymity! What conclusion other than ‘veiled threat’ are people supposed to draw?

    (Pseudonymity looks funny when typed over and over.)

  101. Lizzie (greeneyedfem)
    October 21, 2006 at 11:43 am

    /small voice/: um yeah, kinda exactly what Scott Lemieux just said above me.

  102. October 21, 2006 at 11:57 am

    I don’t buy Ann’s explanation for why she wanted zuzu’s mailing address.

    Ann said she was concerned about a threat to zuzu’s identity. She said she wanted zuzu’s home address so that she could get in touch with a First Amendment specialist to explain stuff.

    What would a First Amendment specialist have to say about online pseudonymity?

  103. October 21, 2006 at 12:03 pm

    I already pointed this out elsewhere, but Bartow’s arguments about real names are problematic:

    1. Back in the days when people regularly used work and university accounts, the vituperative and sometimes vindictive flame wars persisted. Having a real name doesn’t stop people form getting very angry. Nor did it stop people from launching mailbomb attacks or calling people’s employers to get them fired. Or, even, with the case of Doug Henwood, calling him at home, leaving vicious messages on his answering machine, and expecting Doug to call the guy back (and not divulge his phone number, too boot).

    2. The history of the women’s liberation movement is testament to the fact that F2F interactions don’t stop the vituperative and angry interactions. Jo Freeman has an auto-biographical piece on line detailing how horrible it was to be attacked and shunned. There are many other examples.

    3. I have a leftist background. We’ve pretty much decided that it is verboten in civil discourse to trot out the charge “agent provocateur” and hurl it at those with whom we disagree. It’s verboten because attributing legtimate, even hostile, disagreements to outside, oppositional influences is vicious and destructive because it refuses to actually understand the source of legitmate disagreement and dissent.

    Whatever happens here with zuzu, it has not changed what Bartow accused me of, nor the fact that her email to me was not written out of ‘concern’. It also doesn’t change the fact that what resurrected this event was AB’s insistence on attributing legitimate disagreements and dissent to the work of agent provocateurs.

  104. Donna Darko
    October 21, 2006 at 12:29 pm

    Ann Althouse and Ann Bartow should start their own psycho tenured law professors support group.

  105. October 21, 2006 at 12:35 pm

    Although I (more or less gleefully) mocked AB in another comment thread, as the self-appointed High Sheriff of the Internets, and also most of her profession (I mostly stand by this latter point), I do believe what she’s said here. It’s true–she does study online privacy, she is clearly concerned about it, and she does know all the ways in which online privacy can be compromised. Her email warnings may seem ‘creepy’ or over-zealous to people, but I believe her when she says she’s motivated by genuine concern for them. I used to do something similar when I was in college. One of my grandmothers has terrible osteoporosis, and I used to harangue my female friends about the need to consume adequate amounts of calcium, which most of them no doubt found weird and tiresome. But they concluded that I was not some bizarrely controlling a-hole or a crackpot obsessed with bone density, but sincerely concerned with their well-being, however strange alarmist warnings about osteoporosis struck twenty-year olds. I am willing to give AB a similar benefit of the doubt (for whatever that’s worth).

    Less reassuring is her relative silence about the “defamation” thing, other than to stress that she was not trying to subpoena zuzu (um…okay).

    I actually agree with AB that flame wars are unproductive and even poisonous. I just don’t think she’s right that they would stop if people used their real names. I suppose the idea is that we would meet these people in real life, realize who they are, and frown and say something like, “Oh, it’s you. Aren’t you a bit of a blackguard?” And then they would burn with shame and vow never to troll again. I just don’t see that happening.

    So I apologize for and retract anything spiteful or ridiculing that I said about AB elsewhere. At the same time, though, none of this is meant to imply anything about what I think zuzu should say, since she was the one who felt threatened.

  106. Gordon K
    October 21, 2006 at 12:39 pm

    Word Press blogware makes it so that a blogger can not avoid seeing the ISP addresses of commenters. Sometimes these ISP addresses disclose a lot of information.

    My real world identity is not hard to figure out with even a little effort (especially with my IP address). In fact, I suspect that anyone who knew me could identify me from my writings on any of the various blogs on which I comment.

    But out of respect for my desire to keep my online life separate from my real world life, I expect that they will not take that effort, small as it may be. If I wanted to be known, I would post under my real world name. I have been outed in a minor way once or twice, and I’ve done things since then to make that harder (example: I use this name for one category of blogs, and a different name for different blogs that don’t overlap). But the nature of the conversation here is that personal experiences will come up (and my identity is important – it would be incredibly dishonest for me to go by, say, “Gina K”), and so completely separating the two isn’t possible, which is why we play this “I won’t look if you won’t” game by the honor system.

  107. October 21, 2006 at 12:42 pm

    My advice Ann. Get thee to a good psychotherapist ASAP. Because it is clear that you really need it.

    It’s this kind of amateur psychology that makes people want to blog anonymously.

    I don’t have a strong feeling either way about the anonymous blogging issue, but this ganging up against Ann Bartow because of a snit between her and Zuzu is a bit much. If that’s what blogging is all about, what’s the fucking point anymore?

    Atrios called her “The Worst Person in the World” and linked to this blog. Does anybody else here think that’s over the top?

    Ann Bartow has done good work online and is generally level-headed and sensible. Why don’t you give her the benefit of the doubt, if she says she didn’t mean something in a hostile way? Instead of telling her she needs a shrink?

    And even if you don’t believe that she had good intentions and was trying to be helpful or at least make a point, surely she’s not in the same Worst Person league as Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. Or even Ann Althouse, fer chrissakes. I really thought better of Atrios. This whole thing is turning into bullshit groupmind social hierarchy gamesmanship.

    And a shout-out to Chris Clarke, who, although he has a penchant for amateur psychology diagnoses himself, put in a good word for Ann on his blog.

  108. October 21, 2006 at 12:49 pm

    >Google is a powerful tool

    It’s not the only one. Particularly the “tool” part.

  109. October 21, 2006 at 12:51 pm

    uh, that was not directed at the author of that quote, i hasten to add. i attempt to make with the funny. i already think it was kind of lame. (Emily Litella voice) Never mind.

    y’all can sue me if you want, tho’.

  110. October 21, 2006 at 12:54 pm

    >I dunno — maybe it’s just because I’m a nice Italian girl from NJ, BUT when someone wants my contact info so that they can have their “friend” “explain some things to me” I get nervous.

    ahahaha.

    you mean it’s never resulted in a Lindy’s cheesecake, oudemia?

    mmMMmm, cheesecake.

  111. October 21, 2006 at 12:56 pm

    Note: psychology students or even actual psychologists shouldn’t diagnose people online. IMO. Just random.

  112. October 21, 2006 at 1:00 pm

    bottom line: what piny said, again. -We get it.- And I think the consensus is pretty clear that thanks for the help, really, but next time: resist the impulse. If you want to help protect the likes of us from stalking and so on, then you know, there are other ways of expressing it. Seems to me your job (as Nancy points out) already covered it pretty well; you don’t need to be constantly reminding the likes of us that it’s a scary world out there. particularly in conjunction with you’ve already gone out of your way to track any one of us down; as a number of people have mentioned here, another option, when confronted with a perhaps inadvertent revelation of someone’s personal info, is to, you know, forget about it.

  113. Sally
    October 21, 2006 at 1:03 pm

    Atrios called her “The Worst Person in the World” and linked to this blog. Does anybody else here think that’s over the top?

    Yes, completely. But I still think her behavior is really creepy, and that if she didn’t recognize it was creepy, she needs to get out of the law school a bit more and spend some time among civilians. Because it seems to me that part of “civility” is recognizing when you’re behaving in ways that rational people would find threatening.

    (I guess I’m just going to believe that the way she acted makes lawyerly sense. For instance, maybe she went through Jill because she thought it might out Zuzu if AB emailed her directly. But from my non-lawyer perspective, some of her behavior seems very odd indeed. And I still don’t understand who she thinks appointed her net-nanny.)

  114. Ann Bartow
    October 21, 2006 at 1:07 pm

    Lindsay,

    All I can say is, here is an excerpt from the legal advice I got:

    You’re not, I assume, really planning on suing
    anybody. If you are, we should talk about why that’s a bad idea.

    As a journalist you know that all you can really do about defamation is try to appeal to the other person’s sense of fair play. I thought that a third party could do better than I could at explaining where I was coming from without sounding completely self-serving. The letter can go out Monday if there is a safe place to send it.

    When I say First Amendment specialist I mean “media law person.” That’s what they are called around here.

  115. October 21, 2006 at 1:10 pm

    What would a First Amendment specialist have to say about online pseudonymity?

    Precisely. I would definately see this as a threat if I was targeted as a recipient (Plus the Hints or whatever about libel & defamation). Which is why I made the catty suggestion that she see a shrink, the real point being that Ann Bartow obviously has some serious “boundary” issues.

    I mean how many of us would welcome a complete stranger showing up on our doorstep or making a phone call to give unsolicited advice?

    Protestations of “I didn’t mean…” are meaningless when actions speak otherwise.

  116. Ann Bartow
    October 21, 2006 at 1:12 pm

    This is my last comment because I need to get outdoors, but I appreciate having the opportunity to try to clarify a few things.

    Sally – many employers read their employees e-mail. I don’t know if Zuzu blogs and reads her personal e-mail at work, but that was part of why I e-mailed Jill. The main reason, though, was I was hoping that if Jill thought warning Zuzu would be counterproductive she would say so or just ignore my e-mail. I know that put a lot of pressue on Jill, which I regret.

    General point by Sally is important: Be careful at work.

  117. October 21, 2006 at 1:13 pm

    You’re not, I assume, really planning on suing
    anybody. If you are, we should talk about why that’s a bad idea.>/i>

    Oh, so you were thinking about it?

    So would it be irrational to assume that if you had recieved different advice, you might’ve been willing to sue?

  118. October 21, 2006 at 1:14 pm

    many employers read their employees e-mail.

    This is news????

    You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding.

  119. October 21, 2006 at 1:20 pm

    and yes, as B.L. says, the accusation of “agent provocateur” is pretty much fightin’ words. and frankly below the belt when used as a way of expressing anger at someone else’s -opinions-, which in my view is exactly what happened in that case. and happens quite a bit, i will add, in cruder form (and without any added suggestion of “i -know- who you really are”), in this here femblogosphere; certain parts of it more than others, i think, but still. “You’re really a man, aren’t you.” and so on. at best it’s deeply annoying. At worst–well, yes, it’s a power move. “I can’t argue with what you’re saying, so I’m going to attempt to undermine your claimed identity.”

    It’s not like there are never “anti-feminist” trolls who go “As a woman, I think…(extremely and increasingly inflammatory, often personally directed misogynist sentiments)–I am thinking in particular of one case where someone on a radical woman of color’s blog started off by claiming to be a high school girl who just was wondering something or other; it quickly turned into extremely hostile and below-the-belt racist and sexist slurs, backed up by the sorts of talking points and language one tends to hear from much older, right-wing reactionary (probably male, yes; who the hell knows) people.

    But even in that case, in a way, as several people there noted, it was beside the point: -whoever- the person was, sie was being vile and making bullshit arguments; that was enough. Buh-bye.

    And at least as often, i have both experienced and observed, “you’re -really- not who you say you are” is brought out as a kind of knee-jerk response to anything that doesn’t “fit” the current line of argument. Particularly around hot-button issues such as “pornstitution” and so forth, but as i’ve observed it, it can be anything, with some people. In these cases the ideology turns into a bludgeon, along with the “I’m just very concerned that people not pretend to be who they’re not.”

    It’s the Internets. No one knows if you’re an anti-feminist canine. They shouldn’t have to. Not for “discussion’s” sake, anyway. If it turns into something like, you know the case of “Cybercad” (as Susie Bright once wrote about, an infamous case of a guy who was jerking around several women at once though an online community; it did get to the point of bought plane tickets and lots of deep emotional investment), or, you know, that woman who made up a dying daughter and drew in a lot of genuinely well-meaning people before being exposed, or even something like the J.T. Leroy case, well, yeah, to me, that would be something else. There the stakes are higher than just “oh, I might lose in an argument” or even “this random person is being a troll and a jerk to me.” There it’s clearly a far more sophisticated and nastier game, and a lot more damage, i think, is done.

    But that’s not what we’ve been talking about here, and at best i just roll my eyes at the suggestion that accepting “Binky’s” scholarship and arguments online on an equal footing as Jane RealName from Well-Known University will inevitably lead down to some sort of slippery slope to who knows what-all. It doesn’t work like that, at least in my universe.

  120. Sally
    October 21, 2006 at 1:20 pm

    General point by Sally is important: Be careful at work.

    Well, thanks, but you know, my job sent me an email right after I started there telling me that they monitored employees’ on-line usage, so I assume that they monitor my on-line usage. That’s why I don’t post from work. I’m actually not an idiot. Why are you insulting me by assuming that I am?

  121. Sally
    October 21, 2006 at 1:21 pm

    Erm, sorry. That was unduly nasty.

  122. October 21, 2006 at 1:26 pm

    as per “over the top”–well, perhaps; but then, as will be no surprise to anyone who’s been reading here these past few days, I don’t think a hearty “fuck you!, flaming insult” is anywhere -near- as “uncivil” as, well, what’s really been on the table here. You say, “well, fuck you, too, [flame back]”, or decide that so and so is a pointless asshole and withdraw, perhaps taking some outraged friends with you; and that’s that. Not fun for the whole family, perhaps, but from my perspective, not unfair, either. Or even “uncivil.”

    as for the ganging-up on: you know what though, this is actually one of those cases where in fact it is -not- all about “we love zuzu! rally to her defense!” although, yes, that’s there too, i say this candidly from my POV at least. but as you may have noticed, there are also people who’ve never even heard of AB before -and- don’t agree with practically a single thing zuzu’s had to say, and yet have been weighing in here with, “okay, this shit is fucked up.” The reason is that people understand that in fact there is something potentially far more serious at stake here than hurt feelings or popularity contests.

  123. Name Required
    October 21, 2006 at 1:31 pm

    The law suit would only be out of concern and to teach others a lesson Sun Runner. It’s a very difficult job, but someone has to do it. Unfortunately, those poor someone’s just never get any respect.

  124. 1984 Was Not a Shopping List
    October 21, 2006 at 1:33 pm

    I don’t think anyone was “diagnosing” anyone online. They simply said “get thee to a psychotherapist,” because Ann’s behavior seemed to be a vindictive punishment for disagreeing with her, indicating a rage out of keeping with with the “transgression.”

    If Bartow really has a lesson she wishes to impart to the blogosphere about anonymity or anything else, I hope she realizes that she’s not being very effective, largely because of her own (perhaps unwitting) rhetorical choices.

    There seem to be two likely possibilities:

    1) Ann is just this sort of vindictive person, flying into a rage and surreptitiously threatening people when she thinks she’s lost face through disagreement. Her anger, then, emerges in a self-destructive way, when she fears she’s lost face.

    2) Ann is misunderstood, because of a sort of dour online persona. Her arguments can be taken at face value, and she generally means the best for people.

    If case #1, she has plainly lost face through trying to save face, and should reflect that her desire for vengeance is self-destructive. She has achieved the exact opposite of the effect she wanted.

    If case #2, she has still lost face, and though a good person, has still achieved the exact opposite of the effect she wanted.

    In either case, the solution is the same: accentuate the positive, and find a new way to communicate, so that people will find your work obviously vital and good. She can, of course, do plenty of good things as a professor, though not a legislator or in private practice. No matter what, there will still be criticism. The criticism will still seem unfair, but it will also seem more obviously illogical, because it will be obvious enough that she’s a positive person.

    Oops, I guess that violates the “too much civility” clause.

  125. zuzu
    October 21, 2006 at 1:36 pm

    Ann, I’m glad you showed up here, because I want to address you directly on a few things.

    First, all of this could have been avoided had you just left well enough alone. As many, many others have said, the proper course of action when you realize that someone might be able to piece together a blogger’s identity using disparate pieces of information if one is obsessive enough to do the research is to not be the person obsessively doing the research. Drop it. Just walk away.

    This goes double when you are on record as being vehemently against pseudonymity. Because a message from someone who’s vehemently against pseudonymity stating that they know who you are is really seriously creepy and threatening. Triple when that person has fought with you over pretty damn trivial stuff indeed.

    Second, you could have avoided a lot of this by simply contacting me directly. I still would have felt that it was creepy and threatening, but at least I could have asked you how you arrived at this information, and more importantly, why. You keep trying to defend yourself with statements starting with “Well, I told Jill.” Telling Jill is not the same as telling me. If you wanted to control your message, you needed to get it to me directly, or not send it at all.

    Third, for all your obsession with and study of pseudonymity and online civility, you seem to be losing sight of something, which is that people who choose pseudonyms do so for reasons that have nothing to do with feeling safe to be uncivil. I’m not going to sit here and justify my pseudonymity to you or to anyone else. It should be sufficient that I choose to be pseudonymous.

    Finally, I am not at all put at ease by your continuing inability or unwillingness to comprehend that just because you believe that you have good intentions, that does not mean that the recipients of your information are being unreasonable when they feel threatened by your intrusion into their privacy and question your intentions.

    And, no, I’m not interested in getting a letter from your attorney.

  126. October 21, 2006 at 1:36 pm

    as per defamation: hoo boy. AB, if you’re -still- planning to write whatever it is you were going to write…

    i mean, i have no idea what you define as “defamatory,” particularly wrt what zuzu said in comments thus far.

    all i can tell you is that -at- this point i don’t think there is anything zuzu or anyone else could say that would do one tenth as good a job as you’ve been doing yourself, here.

    but, you know, on second thought: carry on. If they don’t teach “first rule of holes” wherever you are, i doubt any of us can impart the lesson successfully. Just drop us a postcard when you break on through to China, will you?

  127. Donna Darko
    October 21, 2006 at 1:53 pm

    In that case I’ll go on record and say:

    Ann Bartow is not psycho.

    Ann Althouse still is.

  128. RZA, GZA, Raekwon, Method Man, et al
    October 21, 2006 at 1:57 pm

    Dear crazy professor lady:

    Please stop sending us creepy e-mails with links to our credit histories.

    Obliged,

    The Wu-Tang Clan

  129. ginmar
    October 21, 2006 at 2:06 pm

    Ann, I’m online now and I’m pretty reachable. There’s no reason for anybody to go around me to one of my buddies. This thing started off badly and it’s going badly, because taking the route you’ve taken—twice?—gives off more than a little tone of a threat. I’m just poor white trash but even I got that your words to Zuzu and your actions needed to be passed by another party to see if they’d pass the smell test. Live and learn, okay?

    Also, dude, I’ve written about how my vibrator ran off to join the circus. If I’m blackmailable after that, it’ll be because I had a crush on Donny Osmond when I was 12. And wrote him a love letter. And left it in a school library book. Oh, wait, I guess nobody can blackmail me with that, either, much as I cringe.

    Here’s what you do: “Hey, zuzu, did you know that you can find blah blah about you online?”

    “Oh, really? Shit, i’ll hvae to do something about that.” Simple. You got any doubts, you just go, “Look, I know this looks weird, but, hell, it IS weird, so this is why I’m doing it, explain explain explain.” It works. It’s as simple as saying in France, “Hey, my French sucks, please excuse me.” Works like a charm, and everybody is happy. Now why didn’t that happen here?

  130. October 21, 2006 at 2:23 pm

    Ann,

    I don’t fault you for being on top of consequences of the internet and how difficult it is to stay anonymous. I can now see exactly why you requested an actual mail address. I actually see where you have been entirely consistent here. The problem is that people don’t know anything about what you intend when you essentially communicate in an “ixnay on the etinternay.”

    I will add that Google bombing someone requires you PUT THE PHRASE IN QUESTION into a HYPERLINK. This was never done. I also think we disagree on the term “terrible.” Can you really detect earthquakes of 0.0 on the Richter scale? Do you really need SPF5000 to go outside? I also think we have different ideas about right and wrong.

    In an online discussion you claim, essentially, that someone cannot be serious if they are anonymous. I lay my anonmymity at YOUR feet, willingly, out of RESPECT to you, so I could show you that behind the snark, and some of the jokes, that in our discussion on YOUR blog, I was being as serious as a heart attack. To demonstrate this seriousness, I outed myself to you.

    It then came through the grapevine months and months later where it was asserted that you made claims that actual, real world threatening behavior might come from me. This was unbelievably upsetting and shocking to me. I was told to just let it go. And I did until now. Even for one person that I don’t particulary care for to think that of me, and tell others these things makes me sick to my stomach. Especially when that person is a respected law professor who can use her position to imply she is an authority on these things.

  131. October 21, 2006 at 2:35 pm

    I will also add that this thingy is the reverse of the usual:

    AB=”X is offensive if someone says they are offended.”

    PP=”It was not intended to be offensive, and I think your framework for construing offense is shaky.”

    No we have:

    AB=”I didn’t intend to threaten you.”

    ZZ=”I was threatened.”

    AB=”Here is the framework behind my actions. It lacked ill will.”

    ZZ=”I don’t really accept that because you didn’t make your actions clear at all in the first place, making your explanations seem ex post facto.”

    I will say that I BELIEVE AB. But she doesn’t believe anyone else. And she uses the fact that people are anonymous to not believe what they are saying. And then tell people things that are not true about PP. And it makes him or her really, really sad. Like delete his or her blog sad. Is this finally getting through?

  132. October 21, 2006 at 2:49 pm

    zuzu, don’t blame you at all for the break—this is seriously fucked up. But I hope you return to blogging soon. You’ll be missed.

  133. October 21, 2006 at 3:38 pm

    131: nail, hammer.

  134. October 21, 2006 at 3:44 pm

    yeah, there’s been a lot of that about, i think: how such and such a thing was meant.

    just in general response to PP’s observation of how the usual transaction works; it’s not that i disagree exactly with (i suspect) his take on the situations he’s remembering, it’s more, well, yes, such and so is offensive to so and so if so and so is offended. “I validate your feelings.” doesn’t mean i’m gonna take your -prescriptions- seriously, necessarily. just: nu, okay, you’re offended. Now what?

    the other part of this is, as they say on a BBS i belong to,

    “If you’re walking down the street and someone kicks you, they have a problem. If you’re walking down the street and -everyone- kicks you, -you- have a problem.”

    but in general, the annoying thing about “but my intentions were good” is that, as here, beyond a certain point it isn’t really the point. Or well: it does matter when you say, “my intention is not to out so and so or to sue.” That is relevant. What -isn’t- is going on and on about you shouldn’t have felt threatened by such and such when everyone keeps patiently explaining -why- it is interpreted to be threatening; ambiguously creepy, at -best.- It’s not working; accept it, and deal. Or rather: first and most important, don’t expect different results if you keep doing the same thing. and: explaining your intentions -again-, is not going to change anyone’s mind in your favor here, i don’t think.

  135. October 21, 2006 at 3:57 pm

    But that’s not what we’ve been talking about here, and at best i just roll my eyes at the suggestion that accepting “Binky’s” scholarship and arguments online on an equal footing as Jane RealName from Well-Known University will inevitably lead down to some sort of slippery slope to who knows what-all. It doesn’t work like that, at least in my universe.

    Hey now! Them’s fighting words! I happen to be both Binky and Jane RealName from Well-Known University!

    (rimshot…)

  136. October 21, 2006 at 4:00 pm

    And for some reason, Feministe’s server dealy has saved an ancient post of mine as my homepage. Ergh… I’m really not trying to get everyone to read “ban pregnancy.”

  137. ilyka
    October 21, 2006 at 4:10 pm

    you seem to be losing sight of something, which is that people who choose pseudonyms do so for reasons that have nothing to do with feeling safe to be uncivil

    Thanks, zuzu. That’s exactly it. This is why I liked Hugo’s thread about it: Because instead of assuming he knew the reasons (and especially, assuming he knew the reasons and that they were bad ones), he asked people to share theirs if they wanted to.

    That is what you do if you’re really interested in studying pseudonymity and anonymity: You endeavor to learn more about it. And you don’t learn anything by trying to make every pseudonymous blogger’s circumstances fit your preconceived notions about why they’re pseudonymous.

    And just quickly on being helpful and solicitous of the welfare of others in general–it works better if you help by providing helpful information, such as how to mask an IP address, how to use anonymous remailers, how to register an anonymous offshore domain, etc., etc., instead of pointing out in exactly which ways someone’s identity and privacy have been compromised.

    If I want people to be more careful online, I drop links to tools that might help them to do that. I don’t run through my address book emailing each recipient a screen shot of the page in Sitemeter that details everything about their visits to my site. I can say “you should consider a proxy server” without saying “because I can totally see which firm you’re surfing in from.”

  138. October 21, 2006 at 4:18 pm

    Bwah! had no idea. that’s funny…

    “Binky” was the name of an old roommate as well as of course the “Life in Hell’ ref

  139. October 21, 2006 at 4:38 pm

    haha. I feel like we are in “Life in Hell” right now.

  140. October 21, 2006 at 5:44 pm

    So, okay, i finally bothered to go back for it, and it was this response at Stone Court that really made me quirk an eyebrow:

    >You can’t argue or bully people into respecting your privacy, it doesn’t work that way. Quite the contrary – by launching nasty personal attacks you may motivate them to expose you. You may view this as immoral, but they may see it as self defense. People see issues like this through a variety of life experiences. When someone has been threatened or stalked or abused, it colors her views about privacy (and whether the stalker or abuser deserves any) quite dramatically.>

    Of course, the question still remains what constitutes “stalking” and “abuse.” as I’VE always understood the concepts, well yes in fact someone who is already violating your privacy, among other things (which is what stalking at least IS), then, sure: by all means, “out” them. You don’t do it as a punitive measure, because you want to stamp out their very existence. You do that to make them stop bothering you. Because you feel threatened.

    Ironically of course what people are saying -now- is that they feel threatened -by Ann.- And while we already know her name, i suppose one might consider this entire little exercise a form of “outing,” in a way.

  141. October 21, 2006 at 5:51 pm

    on the other hand, i for one have been getting the strong -suggestion- if not stated perhaps in so many words, that Ann considers “nasty personal attacks” such as the one i had made toward Amanda as -abuse.- Which, if someone wanted to call that kind of verbal flameage abusive in some senses, i suppose i’d have a hard time really countering it, mutual or otherwise; but i just wonder, does that then fit the kind of “abuse” which AB thinks is -threatening?- As in, to the point of, my privacy thus no longer needs to be respected?

    For that matter, does that mean that in her view, the people who have said mean things to/about Ann herself are “threatening” her? by i don’t know calling her an “asshole” or whatnot? that that is “threatening?” i mean, like i say, to even consider that what zuzu had said was “defamatory” strikes me as exceeding odd; perhaps her definition of “threatening” differs from mine as well? I can but speculate, really.

  142. October 21, 2006 at 6:04 pm

    >Quite the contrary – by launching nasty personal attacks you may motivate them to expose you. You may view this as immoral, but they may see it as self defense.>

    …and, curiously enough, though AB implied that i might defend my flame of Amanda on the grounds of “she asked for it” (pretty certain i didn’t say it there, but i expect i may have done), and that further “she asked for it” is the classic response of batterers, stalkers, rapists, emotional/verbal abusers (constant barrage of criticism disguised as “for your own good,” gaslighting and so on), you know…

    it strikes me that the quote cited in 141 reads very much like at least -grounds- for “she asked for it.”

    As in, so and so launched a nasty personal attack against me; I’ve been hurt before; I now do what i can to protect myself, including disregaring this person’s right to privacy, because in my view so and so is a stalker/abuser and thus forfeits and such right (to privacy).

    therefore: no, it may not have been the nicest thing to do, but the person “asked for it.”

  143. Ann Bartow
    October 21, 2006 at 6:17 pm

    Zuzu,

    Fair enough on all counts. I’ve learned a lot from all this and I am sorry that it came at your expense. I agonized about whether to contact you at all, because we had sort of clashed a bit previously. Because of this I thought it would be better to get Jill’s judgment call on the matter. I really thought that if it was a bad idea to alert you, she would tell me and that would be that. I guess I deluded myself.

    Here is the thing: I get that some people don’t want to know that their anonymity has been compromised. How could I possibly not get that at this point, no matter how dense I have apparently been! But what I don’t get is WHY people don’t want to know. It is a head-in-the-sand approach to something important that is contrary to everything I do and think as a lawyer, scholar, and person. So I’ll try to be guided by the first part, but I’ll probably never understand the second.

    Zuzu, you do not strike me as a person who can be pushed around. The e-mail was July 5th. I thought you had just taken the matter under advisement, and that was that. You and I have argued with each other since then, and I didn’t think you were in any fear of me. I’m really sorry if you were.

    Finally, at note to all: At the risk of being a broken record no one wants to hear, please take seriously the limitations on the amount of anonymity that is available on the Internet. People seem to think that the lesson of Dooce is She Got Caught But It Can Never Happen To Me. But it can. People get dooced all the time. Take a Labor & Employment Law specialist to lunch and listen to her war stories (letting them pay if at all possible because they are probably rich, at least if they are management side) and your hair will either curl or uncurl, depending on its previous state.

    I’m sorry to fade in and out but I need to get off the computer now. I’ve never outed anyone, and I never would. If anyone wants GENERAL pointers on anonymity and trying to keep it, I’d be glad to help. I think there are plenty of good uses for anonymity. I also think there are a lot of abuses as well. For the record, I never thought Zuzu abused her anonymity. She has strong opinions (and some are wrong! ha!) but she is not typically nasty or insulting, and she has a great sense of humor.

  144. October 21, 2006 at 6:32 pm

    >Finally, at note to all: At the risk of being a broken record no one wants to hear, please take seriously the limitations on the amount of anonymity that is available on the Internet.>

    Thanks for sharing!

  145. zuzu
    October 21, 2006 at 6:45 pm

    Zuzu, you do not strike me as a person who can be pushed around. The e-mail was July 5th. I thought you had just taken the matter under advisement, and that was that. You and I have argued with each other since then, and I didn’t think you were in any fear of me. I’m really sorry if you were.

    I was, Ann, I was. The fact that you had done an unspecified search to find out my identity for an unspecified reason has been at the back of my mind in all of our interactions since then, and it’s never going to leave me.

    July 5 was only three days after this post, which drew out the flying monkeys. I was in terror at that point that I would be outed, Ann, that one of the flying monkeys would get it into his head to do the very thing that you did, publish the info, and start calling my place of employment.

    And then Ann Bartow, well known for her jihad against pseudonymity, not well disposed towards me because a difference of opinion over whether Go Fug Yourself is funny and whether it’s okay to think Tbogg is funny, drops her little bomb:

    I know who you are, Zuzu.

    Delivered through an intermediary, with no whys or wherefores.

    And a month later, you threaten to out BitchLab over at Alas and justify it because you were “very, very angry” over something entirely trivial and which you were wrong about. And Pinko Punko. And other creepy “I know who you are” comments combined with your anti-pseudonymity jihad. That’s when my blood started running cold.

    But let me ask you, why in God’s name do you think I’d have told you I was in fear of you when you were in possession of a piece of information, the exposure of which could have very serious real-world repercussions for me? Why would I hand you a loaded gun?

  146. October 21, 2006 at 6:53 pm

    You have a great site. I hope you are able to keep it going.

  147. October 21, 2006 at 6:54 pm

    Here is the thing: I get that some people don’t want to know that their anonymity has been compromised. How could I possibly not get that at this point, no matter how dense I have apparently been! But what I don’t get is WHY people don’t want to know. It is a head-in-the-sand approach to something important that is contrary to everything I do and think as a lawyer, scholar, and person.–AB

    I would say that it’s not that people don’t want to know, Ann–it’s that they don’t want your creepy little machinations over and over again. As others have said already: We know. We know. We know. Just because people choose to act in a way that flies in the face of what you would do, doesn’t mean they are burying their heads in the sand. It means they are making a different choice than you. And why do you think you make a good gadfly, in this respect? You don’t. You creep people out with the way you go about it, so maybe you should think yet again about knocking it off.

  148. October 21, 2006 at 6:59 pm

    Zuzu, I’ve just finished reading through all these threads and I’m unclear about where Ann Bartow threatened to out Bitch|Lab. If you’re referring to this, which you linked to in a previous post, I don’t see in that comment where Ann threatened to out her. She seemed to be pointing out that something B|L said about herself was contradicted by other statements she’d made at various times.

  149. zuzu
    October 21, 2006 at 7:03 pm

    Unfortunately, the original thread from Alas has been removed, but even though Amp took the post from that screenshot down, subsequent comments made it very clear that Ann was hinting that she knew BL’s real identity and was also hinting at exposing it.

  150. October 21, 2006 at 7:18 pm

    The one that started with, “Really, I mean you no harm, but…”

    always words to strike comfort into one’s heart i say

  151. October 21, 2006 at 7:19 pm

    BL herself has just written a blow by blow of what happened from her perspective, p.s. there were also emails exchanged, among other things.

  152. October 21, 2006 at 7:25 pm

    also, this will be from a biased perspective i expect, seeing as how i am a friend of BL’s, but having observed her be tagged as Teh Evol AntiFeminist/AntiWoman for a number of months, i really didn’t and don’t have much tolerance at this point for further suggestions that that is what she is.

    p.s. i’m not one either. also, we’re not the same person. i am however a professional hedgehog.

  153. Ann Bartow
    October 21, 2006 at 7:31 pm

    No, I wasn’t threatening to out Bitch Lab, and that is a whole other story that started when she e-mailed me, not the other way around. It’s complicated and would add pointless misery to this thread.

    Zuzu, the timing was exactly because I knew you were afraid, based on your post. I think I linked to it upthread. I thought you needed to know how you were vulerable. I thought you could delete some old posts and make it harder for Goldstein’s creeps to find you. I didn’t think of myself as a creep; again I’m sorry I got so many things wrong. I was totally on your side against Goldstein.

  154. October 21, 2006 at 7:32 pm

    Ann, to be believed, you must strive to never do this sort of thing ever again. You have to not fly off the handle when people don’t trust you, even for up to ten years afterwards. And then you’ll regain everyone’s trust.

  155. October 21, 2006 at 7:55 pm

    I went and read the post at B|L. She doesn’t say that Ann threatened to out her. And she doesn’t reproduce the emails.

    I get that Ann’s behavior freaks people out and I would believe that B|L may have thought there was an implied threat, but that’s not the same as Ann actually, intentionally threatening her. The distinction matters because threatening to out people is outrageous.

    The question is, which of these things is the situation?

    1. Ann B. has an unfortunate communication style that has made people feel like she might be threatening them with outing, even though that’s not her intention.
    2. Ann B. is a nutcase who threatens anonymous bloggers with outing.

  156. zuzu
    October 21, 2006 at 7:58 pm

    Violet, when you’re one of the psedonymous people whose identities are known to AB, and you see an exchange like the one that happened at Alas, there really is no functional difference between 1 and 2.

  157. October 21, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    there really is no functional difference between 1 and 2.

    From your perspective, no, there isn’t. And as a pseudonymous blogger myself, I would probably react the same way. I can’t review the thread at Alas, obviously, but if Ann and I were having a blog argument, and she privately emailed me to say, “Aren’t you really so-and-so at so-and-so,” I would definitely feel threatened. It would feel like a hostile act.

    But I do think Ann’s actual intentions matter in terms of how we evaluate Ann. It matters whether she’s really a nutcase or whether she’s just someone who doesn’t realize how her communications are affecting people.

  158. piny
    October 21, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    She does, however, give an accurate paraphrase IIRC. I understand if you don’t believe BL’s account without reproduced emails, but, well, it was like here: “You’re a disgrace to feminism,” combined with, via email, “I know who you are.” BL had at least as much reason to be freaked out as zuzu, and BL’s freakout was certainly known to AB, and therefore reason for AB to understand that you don’t talk to people like this.

    Violet, when you’re one of the psedonymous people whose identities are known to AB, and you see an exchange like the one that happened at Alas, there really is no functional difference between 1 and 2.

    And at some point, which we passed a good while ago, it becomes impossible to believe these, “Wow, you mean I come off as intimidating?” protestations of naivete from Ann. Which is why I have a lot of trouble seeing 1 as opposed to 2.

  159. October 21, 2006 at 8:13 pm

    piny, I didn’t say that I don’t believe B|L. I said that she did not say in the post that AB threatened to out her, and remarked she didn’t reproduce the emails (which means I can’t see for myself what was said).

    I consider threatening to out someone extremely offensive behavior, so I’m trying to sort out what happened.

  160. Ann Bartow
    October 21, 2006 at 8:20 pm

    Violet, I thank you for your effort to discern the truth. I have the e-mails, so I can rebut Piny’s claim with documentation if I feel I need to. But I wish we could let this one go.

  161. Amy
    October 21, 2006 at 8:27 pm

    I used to harangue my female friends

    Right, but those are your *friends.* As Sarah S. pointed out, unless you have a very good relationship with the other person, you need to consider how your intent is going to be perceived.

    I accidentally discovered that someone I “know” from various chatrooms is actually someone I know in life and don’t really get along with. I could have given him a heads up about it, I suppose, but I decided not to because, first, I don’t think he’s stupid. A jerk yes, stupid, no. The way I discovered his identity was because he mentioned our small town newspaper and linked to his website, which I’m aware of through mutual friends and which isn’t anonymous, and his e-mail address, ditto, which also happens to be extremely distinctive, I didn’t try it but I’m pretty certain that if you googled it his name would be one of the first things that would come up. He’d have to be an idiot to not know that putting out all that information under a pseudonym makes him identifiable, even if he’s playing the odds that the chances of someone he actually knows randomly happening to visit some of the same chat rooms and posting boards is low.

    The second reason is that we don’t like each other. We’re not friends. Some of the postings he’s made under a pseudonym would get him in trouble with his girlfriend and with other people we both know if they saw them. He knows that, and I know it. Now, how am I supposed to approach him, “I know who you are and I saw what you did,” in a way that wouldn’t seem creepy, stalkerish, and threatening? In some cases it’s just better to leave well enough alone and assume people know what they’re doing.

  162. the artist formerly known as be elle
    October 21, 2006 at 8:35 pm

    we can, of course, clear things up with permission from AB to reproduce those email. She owns the copyright.

    She does not have my permission to reproduce my message to her. I own the copyright. My message to he contains information about my health, which I stupidly shared with her. But everything else in that email, Ann? I will reproduce what I wrote since it isn’t troubling to me at all.

    Violet, it is not a threat. Ann is not stupid; she would never directly threaten anyone. Nonetheless, her actions are perceived as threatening because of the context: the revelations of knowledge of your real identity follow on the heels of a disagreement. In this case, her reveleation not only followed her sharp words to me at Alas, they also proceed even more sharp words and some damning claims about me as a liar who ought to “make my living doing something else.”

  163. piny
    October 21, 2006 at 8:43 pm

    No, she mostly said the same thing that AB says she was shocked! shocked! to hear from zuzu and so many other people: she freaked out, and was at the very least justified by AB’s phrasing if not by her intention. That was the warning, that was AB’s clue-by-four. BL can certainly take care of herself, and I don’t want to give AB the excuse to violate her privacy, so I suppose I’m backing off.

  164. October 21, 2006 at 8:49 pm

    >But I do think Ann’s actual intentions matter in terms of how we evaluate Ann. It matters whether she’s really a nutcase or whether she’s just someone who doesn’t realize how her communications are affecting people.>

    As far as I’m concerned, the only way to make any such distinction that matters is through her actions now. People are telling her in so many words–many, many people, through many, many words–how her communications are affecting people. And what she needs to do in order for people to not react the way they’ve been reacting. It’s really been quite quiet clear. She can either take the advice of what must be dozens of people by now–and clearly she already did to the degree of outright saying she does not, did not intend to out or sue anyone, which is a good thing, yes, and a step in the right direction–or not. If she does, well, great! If she doesn’t, well, armchair diagnoses or lack thereof are kind of irrelevant: people are still gonna keep reacting the way they’ve been doing. And will be right to do so, imo.

    It’s the -behavior- that matters here. Nothing else. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Full stop.

  165. October 21, 2006 at 8:51 pm

    we can, of course, clear things up with permission from AB to reproduce those email. She owns the copyright.

    She does not have my permission to reproduce my message to her. I own the copyright. My message to her contains information about my health, which I stupidly shared with her. But everything else in that email is content I’d be happy to reproduce.

    Let me be clear, Violet: it is not a *direct* threat. Ann is not stupid; she would never directly threaten anyone. Nonetheless, her actions are perceived as threatening because of the context.

  166. October 21, 2006 at 8:53 pm

    Since all she wants to do is email people, everyone can simply set up a filter to send her email messages of concern to the junk folder or directly to trash.

  167. October 21, 2006 at 8:55 pm

    and of course it would be outrageous if she’d come right out and said “Stop saying such and so or I’ll out you.” And of course, everyone would immediately recognize it as such, were BL (or anyone) to publish such an email, (that really -would- be outing of an acceptable type imo). and thus anyone who -did- wish to make it known that she -did- have that power and could, did she choose, wield it, would have to be terminally stupid in order to be -that- blunt about it. Frankly.

  168. October 21, 2006 at 8:57 pm

    relevant slippage

  169. Sarah S
    October 21, 2006 at 9:35 pm

    Ann –

    Here is the thing: I get that some people don’t want to know that their anonymity has been compromised. How could I possibly not get that at this point, no matter how dense I have apparently been! But what I don’t get is WHY people don’t want to know.

    Because it is patronizing, creepy, and rude. I don’t think it needs more explaination then that. I’m not sure what part of your calling as a scholar demands that you 1) assume people are don’t already know what you are saying and 2) that they want to hear it from a stranger (or from you) and 3) give you the right to pry and pick at people when they point out that they already know that and they find it creepy and invasive that you point it out.

    When I blog under a fake name, I know that my employer could fire me if they found me out. And I’m ok with that. I take this risk knowing full well what could happen. I don’t have my head burried in the sand, I’m betting the odds that I wont get found out. I might loose that bet. But I’m ok with that.

    What is really grating my cheese here is the part where you keep assuming we’re all too stupid to have really though this through, that you need to enlighten the masses or some thing.

  170. October 21, 2006 at 9:41 pm

    I don’t blog psuedonymously, so I can’t really be threatened with outing. I’m certainly hanging my butt out there, which was a decision made for a number of reasons, but which creates risks that I recognize.

    OTOH, I’m in IT; so when I’ve felt threatened by a troll, I’ve done a little research to find out physical proximity to me. Yes, many anonymous people can be pretty quickly pegged to real life; I’ve always seen pseudos as being a level of distance which simply makes it less likely that the checkout clerk will ask you about your sex life… So I don’t investigate the whereabouts or identities of pseudonymous commenters at my site who aren’t being threatening.

    Here’s the thing: I could probably hire a private investigator to find out all sorts of things about all sorts of people. I could follow someone home from a bus stop. In our every day lives, we’re not anonymous. Yet those who follow people home from busstops or randomly investigate them for no reason would be considered creepy.

    I think hence the disconnect. In all of our lives our public personas and roles anonymize who we are personally: most of us know that the creepy-creepersons out there may do weird things for which we will have to get restraining orders, and there’s no guarantee against them. The fact that there’s a layer of tech involved doesn’t change the fundamental fact that some people are malicious. I wonder if AB isn’t trying to burst a bubble that doesn’t exist for many of us? With the right connections, or payment to the people with the right connections, any of you could probably find out my high school Math marks. Why you would care to do so is what makes such an action scary. They’re not that interesting.

    Following people home from bus stops to SHOW them that somebody might follow them home from the bus stop? Is going to be seen as creepy as doing it with malicious intent.

    If I wanted to, I could find out with a little work where the radio and TV personas in my area live. If I were to do such a thing, of course my intentions would be suspect. This is not really that different.

  171. October 21, 2006 at 9:47 pm

    t still looks to me like Ann here is backpedaling like crazy, now that zuzu raised some stink. Yo, Ann, ever hear of email? Why is it so freaking important to send it snail mail? I don’t even send checks that way any more.

    I think I might have a mind like Ann’s where random facts about things I read seem to stick together into little cohesive bundles of info. And I know all about IP addresses, and user agent strings and whois and even shiny bright tricks with javascript that circumvent most proxies. The major difference was that I got the memo well before I toyed with the idea of outing someone who takes pains to stay private.

    I outed a not particularly bright spammer when he posted his screed on every blog I regularity read, but that was a spammer. so I say it doesn’t count. Heck, past fifteen days or so I don’t even want to keep commenters’ IP addresses lest I am required to turn that data over for some kind of legal subpoena. (I’m gonna have to learn me some MySQL for that, though)

    Anyway, it’s fairly easy to just pick a fake name out of the phone book to use instead of your own, I use an consistent obviously pseudonymous name because I don’t want people to think I’m pulling some sockpuppetry. And if it wasn’t for pseudonymous writers like Cato, Brutus, Centinel, and the Federal Farmer we might not have even gotten that Bill of Rights that includes Ann’s precious First Amendment.

    I do admit I do a little venting, but for me, being pseudonymous on teh tubes of Internet means never being rejected on a job interview because I am pro-choice and the reviewer is not. Or because someone thinks that anyone who isn’t a donkey or an elephant is a freak. I’d be pretty pissed if someone outed me because of the opinions I’ve expressed or because they were unable to counter one of my arguments.

    So, is this blog gonna publish a public “outing” policy? How ’bout Ann’s blog?

  172. October 21, 2006 at 10:06 pm

    I’m still trying to sort out what all this is based on. Feministe has a big readership, so when Zuzu says Ann Bartow has threatened to out her, that becomes “common knowledge” (with help from Atrios) and everyone in feminist blogland naturally wAnts to supports Zuzu.

    But what actually happened?

    It appears from this thread that Zuzu interpreted Ann’s email from July as a threat to out her. Ann has said it wasn’t that at all, and, well, you can read the thread.

    What other evidence is there against Ann?

    Here’s Zuzu’s paragraph from an earlier post:

    And she has. Congratulations, Ann, you guessed right. You know who I am, and where I work. And you’ve been very clear that you don’t like pseudonymity, and you’ve been just as clear that you don’t care for me. You’ve also made it clear that you’re not above threatening to out people you don’t care for when you’re angry. So, what’s your next move?

    I’ve followed all these links. The first one links to a post of B|L’s in which she criticizes Ann’s comment at Stone Court (the next link), and refers briefly to Ann’s knowing her real name and to the now-deleted Amp thread. The second one links to a comment thread at Stone Court, where Ann made some low-key and rather academic-sounding remarks about pseudonymity and its effect on blogular discourse, etc. The third one links back to B|L’s again, an earlier post with reference to someone (Ann) knowing her real name, though she apparently found the initial communication friendly enough that she thought Ann was being helpful. The fourth one links to the screenshot of Ann’s comment at Amptoon’s, which itself is innocuous.

    The only thing left is the full comment thread at Amptoon’s, which has now been deleted, but which, apparently, would prove everything if we could only read it.

    You know, I really don’t doubt that Zuzu and B|L have both felt threatened. But in unraveling this, I cannot come up with any evidence that Ann actually intended to threaten anyone.

  173. JM
    October 21, 2006 at 10:10 pm

    Exactly. It’s like if the creepy guy next door tells you that you need to have your window fixed because it would be a shame if someone crawled through it and brutally killed you. Most people would find friendly advice like that more scary than helpful.

  174. October 21, 2006 at 10:12 pm

    Sorry, I was trying to preserve all the links in that quoted paragraph. It’s from this post.

    The thing I don’t understand at all really is the business about a threatened lawsuit. What is that all about? Was Ann actually planning to have her attorney send a letter to Zuzu to complain about Zuzu’s comments?

  175. JM
    October 21, 2006 at 10:36 pm

    Violet, Ann herself admited that she threatened to sue zuzu (or at least let her know she was consulting a lawyer, if you think that’s somehow better) for defamation. Based on comments. Left. On a blog.

  176. October 21, 2006 at 11:03 pm

    and that the defamation apparently has to do with…well, basically, suggesting that Ann participates in creepy stalkeresque or at least disturbingly obsessive behavior.

    which, her subsequent actions SO DISPROVE, cause, check it!

  177. JM
    October 21, 2006 at 11:41 pm

    And the whole, claiming that they ONLY reason why you track down the identities of people, generally ones you’ve had a problem with, and freak them out by letting them know that you know who they are is because you’re so concerned about protecting their internet privacy?

    In no way contradicted by threatening legal action against them for their comments.

    Who would be bothered by something like that, someone paranoid, that’s who! no chilling effect here!

  178. October 22, 2006 at 1:10 am

    OK, I am seriously extending an olive branch here. I think we now know what happened, or at least everyone’s side. If people think this is a good time to cool off, I would second that. For all of my own crap with AB, I still think she’s posted about tons of important stuff, and she thinks a lot about a lot of important issues. Sometimes we all get caught up in our own business, and communicating electronically is not the best way to do things. At some level it’s a hugely expensive game of telephone (this is not to dismiss everyone’s issues). This is just a place to take a deep breath so Piny can post about Battlestar Galactica.*

    *joke?^

    ^maybe.

  179. October 22, 2006 at 3:50 am

    That’s all true.

    Not particularly tangentially, though, if we’re going to move onto more pressing subjects? Check out this latest piece from Olbermann.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15321167/

    We have lived as if in a trance.

    We have lived as people in fear.

    And now—our rights and our freedoms in peril—we slowly awaken to learn that we have been afraid of the wrong thing.

    Therefore, tonight have we truly become the inheritors of our American legacy.

    For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:

    A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.

    We have been here before—and we have been here before, led here by men better and wiser and nobler than George W. Bush…

    In times of fright, we have been only human.

    We have let Roosevelt’s “fear of fear itself” overtake us.

    We have listened to the little voice inside that has said, “the wolf is at the door; this will be temporary; this will be precise; this too shall pass.”

    We have accepted that the only way to stop the terrorists is to let the government become just a little bit like the terrorists.

    Just the way we once accepted that the only way to stop the Soviets was to let the government become just a little bit like the Soviets.

    Or substitute the Japanese.

    Or the Germans.

    Or the Socialists.

    Or the Anarchists.

    Or the Immigrants.

    Or the British.

    Or the Aliens.

    The most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

    And, always, always wrong…

  180. Ann Bartow
    October 22, 2006 at 4:34 am

    I think, or at least hope, that Amp will remember that after I posted the kind of hostile comment B/L preserved, I did post a short apology, and nothing more. Amp specifically asked commenters not to reply to B/L or me, and to stick to the topic of Tekanji’s post and aside from Belledame222 I think everyone did. I hope Amp will remember this. I e-mail him a more detailed apology.

    Violet, thank you. Pinko Punko, you too.

  181. KnifeGhost
    October 22, 2006 at 6:28 am

    and that the defamation apparently has to do with…well, basically, suggesting that Ann participates in creepy stalkeresque or at least disturbingly obsessive behavior.

    My understanding was that Ann objected to the implication that she used databases that aren’t available to the general public to track down zuzu. I can understand why she would object to that — if it’s not illegal, it’s certainly grossly unethical.

  182. October 22, 2006 at 6:33 am

    O.K.

    even so, if the ultimate goal was to keep her reputation from being sullied…well, no need to beat the life-challenged equine any more, i suppose: really, really didn’t work. Was my point.

    and Ann, “apart from belledame222” means -I called you out- in there. And you apologized. Humbly. You were just very very angry, so sorry. Apologies. To -me.- Never however to BL. Just a data point, you know, you might want to keep in mind.

  183. October 22, 2006 at 6:41 am

    …and the reason I am invested in this, again, apart from my friendship with BL and my general horror at what sure as shit looked to me like pretty much the same sort of thing (right-wing ‘stain) Patterico had just been rightfully taken to task about…

    is because there have been repeated insinuations from various quarters that not just BL but I, also (if we are not indeed the same person; that accusation has been leveled more than once as well, and certainly BL gets repeatedly accused of sockpuppetry; dunno who started that meme, but this little exercise does bring that perhaps unrelated phenomenon irresistibly to mind) am sekritly plotting to Destroy Feminism, somehow. “Concern troll,” “derailer,” “intellectually dishonest,” part of a “posse” (yee ha!) that just inexplicably wants to make trouble for these poor misunderstood souls. It: irks. The constant projection, that is. I mean, sometimes it’s just entertaining, but other times it’s kind of really not, so much.

  184. Ann Bartow
    October 22, 2006 at 7:37 am

    Insert in comment 180 after the words “aside from Belledame222” :

    “who correctly pointed out that my comment was out of line”

    Sorry Belldame222, that’s what I meant but not what I said, and now I apologize and clarify.

    I think everyone else stuck to Tekani’s post though, and I don’t remember any talk about “outing.”

  185. October 22, 2006 at 7:57 am

    Oh, terrific. Now Creek Running North just shut down because some asswipe threatened CC’s dog. Super. Yeah, we’re all -much- safer now. Fuck.

  186. evil fizz
    October 22, 2006 at 8:42 am

    Now Creek Running North just shut down because some asswipe threatened CC’s dog. Super. Yeah, we’re all -much- safer now. Fuck.

    Damnit! What the hell?!

  187. October 22, 2006 at 8:47 am

    exactly.

  188. October 22, 2006 at 9:05 am

    I’m randomly upset for reasons unbeknowst to me. I wondered why I couldn’t get to the site, but I thought that maybe I just sucked at life.

  189. Ann Bartow
    October 22, 2006 at 9:35 am

    Hi, I’m Ann Bartow and I’m just pointing out that any random idiot could pretend to be me.

  190. Ann Bartow
    October 22, 2006 at 2:52 pm

    I don’t know who posted that comment directly above, but it was a random idiot, rather than a particular one, e.g. me. I will not comment here any more, so if anyone uses my name please know that it is not me.

  191. Kija
    October 22, 2006 at 4:05 pm

    Many people post pseudomynously so that their comments are not attributed to organizations they are associated with even when such an assumption could be wrong. People don’t always agree with every position their organization takes. However, I believe if a person adopts a pseudonym, they should use it everywhere to promote intellectual honesty.

  192. dob
    October 22, 2006 at 5:49 pm

    This blogging can get people into a LOT of trouble.

    If you don’t want it out there, don’t put it out there.

  193. dob
    October 22, 2006 at 5:50 pm

    This blogging and other internet stuff can get you in a LOT of trouble.

    Don’t put it out there if you don’t want it read.

  194. October 23, 2006 at 1:23 am

    Thanks, Ann, I hope we’re cool now. It would mean a lot to me if we were. (This is not me not sticking to my guns, folks, this is me being bigger than I am).

    Zooze- miss ya already.

  195. j0lt
    October 23, 2006 at 1:07 pm

    Zuzu – I hope you come back soon.

  196. Beatrice Divina
    October 23, 2006 at 7:01 pm

    Zuzu, I’m so sorry to hear about this.
    Right now, I’m going through something similar. I’m active on a number of forums that support women who’ve terminated a pregnancy for medical reasons – either because of their own health, or because of a poor or fatal prenatal diagnosis. Unfortunately, there’s a number of unhinged people with (apparently) special needs children who interpret a termination for medical reasons as sitting outside their house with a knife waiting to kill their child. I am, sadly, not kidding.
    Anyway, one of these women has decided I am THE ENEMY. She’s collected everything I’ve ever published online in any forum under two pseudonyms, recorded information from my website registrations, and tried to contact people who know me online to ask for more information about me. Like my name. She’s published all the information she can gather on a blog that I don’t even participate in, despite the fact that the owner of the blog has asked her over and over again to refrain. She, like Ann, has no reason to do this, aside from sheer mean-spiritedness and the tendency to want to bully people she doesn’t agree with.
    My husband is an attorney, and I work for an ISP. I’ve tracked down her contact information and will be serving her with a restraining order. You may want to consider doing that with Ann. I’m not filing a restraining order because I care if she tells people who I “really” am – I’m doing it because no one should have the right to hold this sort of information over my head and threaten me with it.
    It shouldn’t happen to you, either.

  197. orange
    October 24, 2006 at 8:29 am

    I Know What You Did Last Internet

    OLD GUY: I know what you did last summer !

    TEENS: AIEEEE !

    OLD GUY: No, no, it’s cool. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve seen the marks on your car and stuff, and checked you out at the DMV server, and got your hotel database records. I mean, if I could do that, anyone could do that, and then they could find out what you did last summer !

    TEENS: AIEEE !

    OLD GUY: Hey, don’t worry, we’re totally cool. I’m just going to clean this giant hook off in front of you, okay ?

  198. piny
    October 24, 2006 at 8:46 am

    Ha!

  199. Dan Someone
    October 24, 2006 at 4:55 pm

    Nice pseudonymity you got here. Be a shame if somethin’ happened to it.

  200. October 24, 2006 at 9:36 pm

    So… just to throw a cup full of gasoline on a fire that people have almost finally put out, I’m curious:

    Various people have said that among Ann’s missteps was emailing the information about zuzu’s offline identity to Jill, and not to zuzu directly; that is, that the cloak-and-dagger involvement of a third party made the whole thing creepier.

    So… how could this misstep be corrected under these conditions?

    Suppose you:knew a pseudonymous blogger’s work email, which you had gotten because of something that may well be unintentional revealed in a post some months ago,knew that this blogger had recently expressed a great fear of being outted, and strongly suspected that this blogger’s employer was likely to read employee email on a regular basis, and that an email to her work address mentioning her blogging would have negative work consequenceshad no non-work email that would reach this blogger
    What now? I guess if you could find a way to guarantee that a comment be held for moderation, that might work, but I can concoct scenarios in which direct email isn’t an option without getting into crazyland. Of course, that Ann hasn’t brought this up as a viable defense probably means that (4) doesn’t apply in this case.

  201. October 24, 2006 at 9:38 pm

    Bleah – wordpress ate my ol and li tags…

Comments are closed.