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Monday, May 02, 2005

A threat levelled at Sir Humphrey's

Very early this morning, I wrote this:
On a similar note, Lyndon Hood of Sensitive Flowers has posted a response to my post of several days ago. Also see Peter Cresswell's post on the same topic. Lyndon Hood cared so much about Sir Humphrey's he apparently downloaded HTML copies of my post and Adolf's types of media bias post onto his Macintosh (or Safari has shocking security flaws). Safari must pre-fetch links from locally-stored HTML pages, because surely thats the only way such information could turn up in our Statcounter logs (maybe Bernard or Aaron could help me out with that?). Whatever the reason, I'll have to be careful when I use Safari from now on.
For whatever reason, Mr Hood has decided to level a threat at Sir Humphrey's:
I'll take your word for it. I don't quite recall everything I did and didn't download or for that matter what browser I was using (Mostly I'm in Firefox but Safari is still set up as the default browser).

Only - I know you had a reason and the point is taken, but I don't appreciate having stuff collected from your logs published beside my name.

I promise I've no mind to sue you, and this probably isn't covered by the Privacy Act anyway. But it's a bit like web-defamation: do you want to be the test case?

Of course, now you are allowed to say I was obviously mooching around you blog looking to see if I'd raised a reaction.

Nice doing business with you,

L.
Comments please. In particular, what exactly does Hood consider to be defamatory about the initial post? His use of a particular web browser? The use of his name? My theorising that either he downloaded two of our posts or that Safari has a major security flaw (or both)?

UPDATE @ 12:35AM: After receiving various emails (thanks by the way), the consensus is Lyndon Hood is trying to stir a storm in a teacup. In the interests of moving forward we will leave him to his ranting, and continue posting more interesting articles on other topics.

Posted by Antarctic Lemur | 5/02/2005 08:37:00 PM

18 Comments:

Blogger ZenTiger said...

As the resident moderate here (I'm not angry, you haven't seen me when I'm angry):

AL, I think (my impression only) the point he was making was simply to keep any information derived from system logs private, or at least publish the information but without a specific tie in to a user name.

I think his comparison to the defamation issue was nothing more than a "bad" comparison (?)

Having said that, your observations are valid about Safari and generally about questioning why people may want to download posts, but they get slurped by newsfeeds and syndication tools in any event, and those issues are hardly a major privacy breech.

Given that L. Hood posted fairly vigourously in defence of Fighting Talk, and posted under his name here, versus the kind of information you mentioned, I don't really see much of a big deal out of any of this (for both sides).

I think the initiation of this comes from Matt Nipperts original blog which more or less did a pretty good job of abusing all people that blogged, and was definitely living up to the blog sites name of "fighting talk."

I am not surprised at the reaction it received, and even that a few people (like PC) may have been enraged enough not to take in the finer points.

My personal impression was that this post reflected Matt's perspective of blogging, the scope of which was too narrow to encompass all bloggers. It reflected more on his reasons and personal choice not to blog more than why other people blog.

It looked like he'd had a hard day, and decided to go out with a bang rather than a wimper. And why not? At least it got every-one nice and upset and ready to defend their right to blog! Good stuff, unless you take it all too seriously.

Which is why any equally passionate response should be taken with the same grain of salt!

I kind of thought L Hood's defence of Matt dealt against the very points Matt made, just as much as the others, but that's probably just my interpretation.

Which brings me back to the original point. We've all had a good rave, every-one can lick their wounds and get back to some serious blogging, which seems to be read by a reasonable number of readers (which might be a good rebuttal to Matt's post??).

The outcome of the questions to this particular post I would suggest are:

1. It is a reasonable suggestion to keep specifics of stats private as far as pointing a name or IP address to it . I think we should take that comment on board.

This may become null and void in a case of serious abuse / threats etc, but even that would likely best be handled via courts, emails or a pissing contest.

2. We should consider if we need to use any creative writing licenses re download and usage issues, or if the standard copyright is adequate.

3. Our readership base is increasing, and whilst it might somethimes be necessary to call a moonbat a moonbat, we should set an example and encourage posters to focus on the topics and not the individuals to lull the looney left wing fringe into making stupid comments so we can expose the flawed thinking oops, I mean to encourage a wide ranging debate where readers will be suitably informed and able to draw sensible conclusions.

--Well, you asked for comments!

5/02/2005 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

The logs aren't actually published anywhere, so it looks like he's unhappy about the innuendo, moreso than anything else.

5/02/2005 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Quick question AL: After my big blog - did we actually publish anything, or did L Hood's comments come following an email???

I do recall your comment earlier (last night I think) to be careful not to mention any specific IP addresses, so I presume you are on the same page as me in any event.

5/02/2005 09:17:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Zen: We are indeed on the same page. Hood's comment is the only one on the original "Blogging around" post. As you can tell from that post, my use of Hood's name was only after he'd already posted a retort on Fighting Talk and to illustrate what I thought an entirely dubious feature of Safari 1.2.

And I would add to your first comment that we should consider banning profanity (by the authors at least) as it lowers the tone of the blog, and I agree direct insults should be avoided.

Lucyna: I assume the innuendo you speak of is breach of copyright? I did not in fact think or write that, nor does it concern me really. So long as attribution is given if anything we write is used elsewhere, though you guys may differ on that. Zen is correct in that we should put up some sort of copyright notice.

On a related topic, Adolf has already approved the Pajama's Media thing, what do you guys think?

5/02/2005 09:32:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Thanks AL, in that case, my interpretation may be wrong, and I am not sure what he meant!

RE: Pajama's Media thing: I confess I haven't read it yet. Will do so shortly!!

5/02/2005 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

No, no, the innuendo that he might have been doing something bad. That can be enough for some people.

As for Pajama's Media, I did need to think about it, and I'm not sure. So, ok. Oh no .. the preeesssurrre!

5/02/2005 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Lucyna: innuendo of what? Surely most people are aware tremendous amounts of information are stored about them whenever they visit a website or download anything? And thats excluding cookies!

It is appropriate netiquette not to reveal network information about a person, but the possible Safari security problem or Hoods activities both warranted further note I think.

If you're interested, the only reason Hoods name was obvious was because Statcounter recorded two 'referrals' like this:

file://users/name/media-bias.html
file://users/name/sensitive-flower.html

(they aren't the real page names, im just summarising)

These stood out like a sore thumb amongst the NZPundits/Kiwiblog etc referrals.

I assume Safari does some sort of prefetch of links, which would have triggered Statcounter to record Hoods details. Either that or Safari has a major security problem with the way it cache's pages, but anyone who knows OSX knows that is not where the Safari cache is located.

5/02/2005 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Hey, AL, I'm not saying you said he did anything bad. Maybe innuendo was the wrong word, what about impression ... feeling ... bad vibe?

I say just don't worry about it and move on. Oh my, now where have I heard that before?

5/02/2005 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger Bernard Woolley said...

Recently I was on the end of a legal threat related to a posting and action I took online. Luckily, the legal threat was dealt with by a return legal threat which resulted in a mutual stand-down. This may not work in all cases, and I certainly wouldn't want to test it again.

I am much more careful now for a number of reasons - including avoiding personal conflicts because frankly they are a waste of time. For websites to be valuable, they should focusing on providing interesting information and commentary and steer well clear of personal argements and insults. Anything else is a waste.

As someone not directly involved with Sir Humphreys, but has been watching for a while, I agree with ZenTiger - your resident moderate - that the site would benefit from focusing more on the issues and steering clear of personal comments especially about others in the NZ blogosphere.

Cheers Bernard

5/02/2005 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Well no impression was intended... i just found the whole episode quite fascinating.

I'm disturbed someone would stoop so low as to threaten legal action, possibly as a joke, but obviously we/I can't afford to take it that way.

Still as Bernard says, storm in teacup.

5/02/2005 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger Bernard Woolley said...

Oh, and you can't assume that it wasn't someone setting up Lyndon for a fall - baiting you on. After all I could create a user on my system with a similarly named file with a link that could present in almost identical fashion. You have to take all that sort of information with a grain of salt. The legal case I mentioned came about entirely because a user was purposely baiting others.

The moral I learnt? Always take the high ground and keep yourself clean. Reminds me of a quote - "Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig likes it!"

Cheers Bernard

5/02/2005 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Good point Bernard.

5/02/2005 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Lucyna: "Let me repeat for the slow of mind:" could be construed as a personal attack ;-)

Remember TS thinks an axe attack sends an appropriate political message.

5/02/2005 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

If that's a personal attack, then I'm a right wing loonie .. oh, wait ...

5/02/2005 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

I think its pretty much given we are all right wing looneys. I thought that was a requirment to be part of the vast right wing conspiracy?

Thanks Bernard for your feedback. Words to live by! (the pig wrestling in particular)

So I am suggesting we kick off on May 3rd hardened and prepared for the trollsome moonbats out there (just a general term for non-right wing looneys, no offence intended) and get our blog site up to Pajama standards (assuming they have standards, because I still haven't got around to reading those documents!)

Have a nice day.

5/02/2005 10:52:00 PM  
Blogger sagenz said...

i think you need to get dog biting men on the case. a serious case of someone taking themselves too seriously

5/03/2005 03:31:00 AM  
Blogger Lyndon said...

Oh, forgive me.

First up, when I said I wasn't threatening to sue you or anything, I meant it. I'm sorry if that upsets you.

What bothered me goes like this: The log keeps personal information for the purpose of counting vistors and so on. I consider publishing the actions of particular individuals as recorded there an abuse of the information. So I complained.

I didn't mean to imply that it was at all defamatory. I just mean to say that like defamation (in principle the keepers of the blog could be named in a suit about a comment, for instance) this issue hasn't been tested.

I was assuming you might be familiar enough with the issues to read it that way. In retrospect, it was just hopelessly ambiguous.

Thanks for making me famous.

L.

5/03/2005 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Lyndon, thanks for clarifying.

I think we have taken your comments on board (or reaffirmed a policy) regarding privacy of site statistics.

It also looks like my assumption about the defamation point simply being a comparison was also correct.

So hopefully, no harm done to all and we can get on blogging.

I don't know about being famous. As Matt pointed out, not that many people read blogs ;-).

Still, being talked about by a few people is better than not being talked about by all people...

Still, I suspect you'll get a few more visitors to Fighting Talk from time to time. Now's the time to stick in an advert and rake in the dosh.

We will. That's the advantage of being right wing capitalists.

The first left wing looney that comments "And we socialists simply tax it all" gets a flame.

5/03/2005 02:59:00 PM  

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