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I think the accusation that I’ve “stalked” fellow blogger Abbie Smith have been made one too many times. But I’m not sure. Is this the point where I lay out the exact sequence of events of what happened between us? What do you think?
OK, here’s the story.
Abbie Smith had created an informal group of people who were to eventually become known as the Slyme Pit, mostly Mens Rights Activists, who had come together to object to feminist writings by various bloggers and others, especially those writings that criticized rape and abuse, stalking and harassment, etc. The Slyme Pitters are mostly techies or self styled skeptics, mostly males, who had been enjoying their sexist cultures and apparently did not like others speaking of alternatives to the basic patriarchic pattern. She created this community on her blog, on two or three blog posts here at scienceblogs, which were removed.
Meanwhile she started up serious on line harassment campaigns against at least one graduate student, IIRC an undergraduate student, and a couple of senior academics. It was pretty nasty.
So, as a member of the academic community I took it upon myself to write a polite letter to the chair of her department, where she was working towards a gradate degree. In this letter I, I informed him of the outline of the situation and suggested he might advice his graduate student to tone it down. This is something that happens now and then. Senior people sometimes have conversations about junior people when the junior people are outrageously out of line and victimizing their peers or those that they may even be senior to (the undergraduate/recent graduate, for example).
I wrote the note to her chair and not her advisor because I did not know what kind of relationship she might have with her advisor. It is quite possible for grad student to have access to the advisor’s email, for example, depending on how they are employed. Also, I was concerned that Abbie might be as manipulative in her academic position as she was on her blog; for all I knew her advisor was one of the slymepitters. So I figured I’d step back one level and write it to her department chair. That is one of the few important jobs department chairs do: deal with problem graduate students. I also cc’d the dean/president’s office (can’t remember, anyway the head of the school Abbie was in).
Within about 48 hours of me emailing this, I received an email from an on line person known as Gunter. Gunter is one of the slymepitters. He offered me a deal. I would apologize to Abbie for sending this note to her advisor (to whom I sent the note was already being gotten wrong) or he would publicize the email. You might wonder how some guy with no association whatsoever with Abbie’s department got a copy of an email I sent to the chair and head of the college.
Wondering about that, I sent a second email, this time just to the head of the college and the council, asking if it was their practice to distribute emails concerning their students to members of the public, or was this something, perhaps, that the chair of Abbie’d department had done.
I got a very contrite note back from the college. Abbie shut up, herself, thereafter. But members of the slyme pit, which has just recruited a new member or two, continue to turn this series of events … what I just described to you … into an accusation that I’ve stalked/harassed/whatever Abbie Smith.
So, that’s what happened.