A Small-Town Paper, Freaking Out Over "Cyberstalking," Abandons Journalism

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92 Responses

  1. Adam says:

    Hitler analogy in the lede? Wow, they don't waste time in Gold Bar.

  2. Oomph says:

    "The update also suggests that the Chronicle staff got my email, but rather badly misunderstood my intent"… Oh come on now Ken, you saucy little temptress, everyone knows that "I read with interest" is the internationally recognised euphemism for 'I totally support and agree with everything you said'. You must have led them on…

  3. John Ammon says:

    My first Graphic Design job out of college was at our local "newspaper media empire", I can tell you from experience it usually does have it's share of nutbags, some really great people too! But also the nutbags, and more often than not, the nutbags are running the show, sadly enough.

    Also, that site made my brain hurt, as if millions of web developers suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced

  4. They must not show "The Front Page" in j-school any more. More is the pity.

    Papers are supposed to write at a sixth grade level, as I recall, the better to get the "facts" out in an easily comprehended format I suppose… or to make it more likely your bird will learn to read by staring at the bottom of its cage. This sounds like somebody misconstrued that as "write like a sixth grader."

  5. Grifter says:

    I love the button at the bottom, with its hilariously misplaced semicolon…

    "Gosh it;s a swell read!"

  6. John Ammon says:

    How about this little gem they've got right, smack in the middle of their front page:

  7. Troutwaxer says:

    More has now been posted at the Gold Bar Reporter site. (Go beyond the front page and click on the "News" link for some interesting hints. I'm not gonna quote it here – some whack-job almost-lawyer might conclude I'm conspiring against his client and add my name to the maw-and-paw-suit.) It looks like the usual small-town frictions have boiled over into the local paper and the local paper is panicking. What I can tell you fer-sure is this is the biggest kerfluffle in Gold Bar since Wilbur Hannigan's goat ate Grandpa's false teeth!

  8. John Ammon says:

    Oh, and Gold Bar is only a 5 hour drive from me, just in case you want some in-person investigative reporting Ken :P

  9. darius404 says:

    It's odd, John: I can't seem to find either of those pictures on their website (aside from the urls you provided). I even did a Google search for both images, and found the pages they supposedly come from; yet I don't see the images on those pages. Maybe it's just something with my browser. Do they still show up for you, on the respective pages?

    The pages I tracked the images to: http://www.skyvalleychronicle.com/ for the first one, and http://www.skyvalleychronicle.com/BREAKING-NEWS/PHOTO-OF-THE-DAY-BR-They-hunt-at-night-1127082 for the second.

  10. aczarnowski says:

    Do the writers have to pay the editors for multiple sentences per paragraph there? Maybe they could toss some of their extra commas into a slush fund to help cover the costs?

    Thanks for digging into it seriously because the issues you raise are serious. But, man, a few good editors at that place would help. A lot.

  11. John Ammon says:

    @darius404 – I think they're rotating ads, they're probably randomized, because when I went to the second link you posted, which pulled up this one >_<

    http://www.skyvalleychronicle.com/?t=banner_click&bid=585&bref=breaking_news_display

  12. Nicholas Weaver says:

    It does sound like the town itself has a problem with vexous litigants, including Miss Block, spending ~$100K/yr in lawyers:

    http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2019717703_goldbar20m.html

    It also doesn't help that, thanks to bad computer security and bank complicity (dont' get me started), the town lost ~$200K to computer hackers.

  13. Dan says:

    Ridiculing a small town newspaper is kind of remedial for Popehat readership. That makes it no less fun, but still. So what if it looks like a late 1990s high school online newspaper.

    This ad is particularly absurd: http://www.skyvalleychronicle.com/999/images/ban201105231400421062675767.gif

    And if you really want to know who runs the paper, why not order the LLC documents from WA SOS? https://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/OrderDocs.aspx?ubi=602843864 (Though these could be dead ends that only reveal LLC officers, not true owners) They used a Canadian proxy registration service as the administrative website contact.

  14. Ken says:

    Nicholas:

    That detail would be an excellent example of a fact that would be helpful in a responsible article about the situation.

  15. TexasAndroid says:

    I wonder if this is just about to go all Streisand Effect on them. With Ken@Popehat blogging about it, its likely getting a order of magnitude more attention than it was yesterday, and it could easily go viral in the next day or so. :)

    Time to break out the popcorn and watch the fun ensue. :)

    Hmm. Maybe I should submit this post to Reddit, and see if I can do my own little bit to push it towards viral status. :)

  16. Josh says:

    Typo in the first sentence, I think you mean "local newspapers can display".

  17. Shane says:

    OMG, Goldbar and to think I almost bought a double wide there. The funniest part (at least to me) is that half the damn town floods every time the crick (see what I did there) rises. I am astounded that they even have their own paper, guess the yuppies need some drama in their lives since this was the only place that they could get a house that didn't cost 6 children's education at Harvard.

  18. John Ammon says:

    A quote from my friend on the story:

    Sounds like that "news source" is owned and operated by a single menopausal woman.

  19. Matthew Cline says:

    Wait, so vexatious litigation is a form of cyberstalking? Who knew!

  20. Bear says:

    Waitaminnit…

    I'm looking at the seattletimes.com piece. The "entire city general fund" is only $500,000, but hackers managed to steal $450,000 from it…

    …and no one noticed until someone else busted the perp in Oregon?

    Better: That was apparently _after_ they recorded the employee embezzling money.

    And the local gabrag is only worried about a "cyberstalker"?

    -POPCORN-

  21. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Bear: Yeup. The litigants may be douchebags (e.g. this article is MUCH better from the original small town paper on another one of the litigants losing an appeal http://www.skyvalleychronicle.com/GOLD-BAR/APPEALS-COURT-RULES-FOR-GOLD-BAR-IN-RECORDS-CASE-1176771 ), but there is clearly also some INSANE mismanagement involved.

  22. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Oh, and Miss Block reportedly owes the town $8K in legal fees for skipping a deposition:

    http://www.skyvalleychronicle.com/FEATURE-NEWS/GOLD-BAR-CAN-T-GET-A-BREAK-BR-First-burdensome-records-requests-then-lawsuits-now-big-time-thieves-steal-450-000-1178894

    http://www.skyvalleychronicle.com/999/news/Judgment%20Summary%2011-2-09706-.pdf

    It sounds like if Miss Block was really such a thorn in the paper's side, the public record Miss Block has established should be enough to provide a much more reasoned response.

  23. AlanH says:

    Ahh yes, Snohomish County (not Snoqualmie County, btw): our own slice of hillbilly heaven just 45 miles from Seattle.

  24. Ken says:

    Nicholas: you would think, wouldn't you, that if the paper believed its "cyberstalker" was someone it had reported about repeatedly, it would report that to assist readers in assessing the situation.

  25. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Yeah, something doesn't make sense here. It sounds like there is a town which has a few real douchebags going into a war of court & words with other douchebags, but there is no problem in naming douchebags, especially in this context.

    The lack of names is really strange.

  26. tsrblke says:

    Ken,

    Pretty sure you saying you were a member of the 1A guild is what set them astray on your email ;). I mean after all 1A is specifically to protect *journalists* right. So you must have been offering to help these poor journalists whose 1A rights were under attack right?
    (In case anyone's snark meter is off, Snark fully intended here)

  27. Lizard says:

    "With Ken@Popehat blogging about it, its likely getting a order of magnitude more attention than it was yesterday, and it could easily go viral in the next day or so."

    I'm waiting for the first lawsuit over "malicious calling attention to", in which local issues of concern to a dozen people because the target of today's Two Minute Hate, thus making it difficult to do business as usual because, suddenly, everyone's watching. (I'm thinking, oddly, of the incident where a Maine state senate candidate's Warcraft hobby was used in attack ads, and quickly gained national focus and mockery on Colbert. Two decades ago, it would be unlikely that a small local election would ever had been noticed; when it became national news, it very likely helped the candidate win, albeit by a tiny margin of victory. I'm sure someone, somewhere, will decide that tipping the balance of power in any conflict by turning the local into the global is, somehow, worthy of a lawsuit. There's all sorts of petty little small town squabbles that explode out into the wild now, which makes it harder for the petty tyrants that dominate small town politics to keep on with business as usual, when the people reporting on them or criticizing them are utterly out of reach of their payback.)

  28. Waldo says:

    "There are three possibilities: (1) another former federal prosecutor wrote them, (2) they have lost their shit too thoroughly to comprehend an email, or (3) they are deliberately lying about my email in an effort to intimidate."

    Number three was my first thought. Although, on further reflection, I probably should not rule out number 2 completely.

  29. Josh C says:

    I believe you skipped a fourth possibility: sheer negligence.

  30. flip says:

    This newspaper needs to learn that there's a difference between cyberstalking and criticism. I've been harassed online and off, and so I understand that you can totally freak out about it; but these guys are OTT for a newspaper.

    Strange that they didn't post info about what exactly the cyberstalking entailed. "Employees have been receiving death threats" is far more convincing than a ramble about people who are disturbed. Talk about biased reporting. These things aren't news, they're clearly opinion.

    Regarding the Gold Bar article on the Sky Valley page…. one wonders whether the editor is MIA, or the writer is the editor. How does that escape notice? It really smacks of someone who isn't a journalist…

    On another issue: is it normal for newspaper websites to have their domain info set to private? Or not to have any info about the staff? On all the local newspaper sites for my area they have at the very least staff info and names.

  31. John Ammon says:

    @flip – To me, lack of personel info indicates very few personel, most likely, one crackpot.

  32. Matthew Cline says:

    Nicholas: you would think, wouldn't you, that if the paper believed its "cyberstalker" was someone it had reported about repeatedly, it would report that to assist readers in assessing the situation.

    Hmmm, maybe the newspaper thinks that if it names the person then that person will sue them for defamation, and that if they provide enough details so a reader can easily identify that person it would legally be the same as naming them, so their vagueness is an attempt to avoid being sued?

  33. nlp says:

    At the beginning of the post, where the writer from the Chronicle was wringing his or her hands about the horrible evils the paper had undergone, I thought that Deborah Frisch had, for some reason, felt threatened by the Chronicle and was using her standard approach toward redressing her grievances. I was disappointed to learn that this was a simple spat.

    I suspect that if anyone at the Chronicle had ever encountered Ms Frisch, the current situation would be regarded as kindergarten level stuff.

  34. flip says:

    @John

    To me, lack of personel info indicates very few personel, most likely, one crackpot.

    I agree. How likely is it that a small town newspaper will really have its staff not known amongst the people? I mean, I can think of several names for reporters or editors for my local ones, even if I don't know who the CEO is or the chief editor. Most newspapers want you to know at the very least, the names of the people who cover certain topics, so that you can better direct your news/PR to them.

    Is the Sky Valley an actual hard print paper? Or is it only available online? If the latter, it suggests (combined with the other info) that it's just another site with a newspaper layout. This would also explain the rather strange ads. Like this one:
    http://www.skyvalleychronicle.com/999/images/ban201203182238071914640576.gif

    Interesting: a google search for the general Sky Valley phone number provided on their contact page also seems to be for "Sky Valley Mystics".

  35. John Ammon says:

    @flip – Deeper into the rabbit hole we descend!

  36. John Ammon says:

    @flip – Also, they spelled "booyah" wrong >_<

    (unless they meant it to be pronounced "boo-yeah" ಠ_ಠ )

  37. flip says:

    @John

    Sadly I'm in the middle of doing some work, otherwise I'd do a little more snooping around. It would be worth looking at the Gold Bar Reporter site as I noticed that the phone number/Sky Valley Mystics was mentioned there…

  38. Ygolonac says:

    I kind of wonder the Chronicle lunatic(s) followed the Renton PD's little kerfluffle with the anonymous cartoonist from last year?

    http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattle911/2011/08/04/police-search-for-video-cartoonist-who-mocked-cops/

    If so, I expect they missed the actual, important points.

  39. AlphaCentauri says:

    I wouldn't read too much into the delayed response to the $450,000 theft. These types of thefts are very common. The victimized local governments and small businesses don't understand that they are on the hook for the losses, since they see it as a bank error (and since the bank is on the hook when the victim is a non-commercial customer). They were probably calling the bank arguing about why the money wasn't in the account and not believing it was really gone. For more toe-curling stories about this type of fraud, check out Brian Krebs' blog:
    http://krebsonsecurity.com/?s=cyberheist&x=0&y=0

    As far as the anonymous registration: Yes, it's inappropriate. But a small organization like this probably doesn't have a legal department advising them on every little matter. When a domain registrar offers proxy registration as a free service and tells them it's to reduce spam, people who don't know much about domain registration tend to choose the service. They aren't thinking that a business needs to have a physical address and a public email contact either way, or that it could be difficult to prove ownership of their own domain name in a dispute.

  40. kayfox says:

    As for credibility: The fact that none of the articles seem to have bylines is whats getting me. Most respectful newspapers have bylines, so that the reporters are somewhat accountable.

    Also,
    http://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/search_detail.aspx?ubi=602843864

    No officers, fun.

    http://bls.dor.wa.gov/LicenseSearch/lqsLicenseDetail.aspx?RefID=1147624

    Camping on alot of names for newspapers much?

  41. John Ammon says:

    Not to mention no source links in most of the articles as far as I can see, that's just bad form.

  42. Chris R. says:

    Based on the first paragraph of a run on sentence I think they should be banned from journalism.

  43. flip says:

    @Alpha Centauri

    They aren't thinking that a business needs to have a physical address and a public email contact either way, or that it could be difficult to prove ownership of their own domain name in a dispute.

    I have nothing against using the privacy function, particularly as I use it myself. There are a number of reasons why the privacy setting is useful, not just preventing spam.

    Besides, there's nothing stopping them from using the privacy function, but posting contact info on their own site.

    @Kayfox

    Some places I know have feature articles with bylines, but their more mundane news items are written with a company tagline. But this has always been something I've seen for online companies, not newspapers.

  44. James Pollock says:

    You guys all missed the point. The cyberstalking in question is that pictures of the owner of the skyvalley paper have showed up on "isanybodydown.com".

  45. Bear says:

    @ AlphaCentauri • Dec 3, 2012 @4:49 pm: "I wouldn't read too much into the delayed response to the $450,000 theft."

    It wasn't so much a delayed response that caught my attention. The phrasing of this paragraph made it sound as if they hadn't _noticed_ before the Oregon deputies discovered it:
    "Now that the employee theft case is before county prosecutors, Beavers has been dealt another crisis: After an arrest in Oregon, Clackamas County sheriff's deputies discovered Gold Bar was a victim of a financial fraud ring. Hackers raided the city's bank accounts and stole $450,000."

    Heh. If I were Block, I might argue that I _had_ paid but the town's accounting is so bad that they couldn't tell and now the money was stolen.

    (And I nominate James Pollock • Dec 3, 2012 @9:04 pm for "Winnah of the Thread".)

  46. kayfox says:

    @flip,

    Some places I know have feature articles with bylines, but their more mundane news items are written with a company tagline.

    This is usually because the article is supplied by a news service of some kind, like a city news service or a wire service like Associated Press.

  47. Anony Mouse says:

    Man… the free rag in my town is pretty much run by a single dude and his name is everywhere on it. He's on the masthead (three or four times), on every byline, on the staff box…

    Hell, my step-brother works for a really dinky little paper (the town's so small it's only published once a week) and they have a full staff info box in every copy, listing everyone from Editor-in-Chief down to practically the janitorial staff.

    Of course, it'll just be weirder if Ken's guess was wrong and it isn't Block. Maybe whomever is behind the Sky Valley Chronicle is freaking out… about themselves! (cue dramatic/spooky/shocking music here>

  48. flip says:

    @Kayfox

    This is usually because the article is supplied by a news service of some kind, like a city news service or a wire service like Associated Press.

    Not entirely true. I worked at one such place where we wrote smaller articles with no bylines, and features with bylines. This was for a web publication (not a newspaper), but yes, for newspaper sites more than likely they're coming from another news wire: but again, locally those newswires are usually given the byline and I assume the same is done in the US? In my brief browse at Sky Valley, I never saw any news wire being given credit.

  49. Oomph says:

    "did we mention the FBI is about to be contacted regarding an issue that has to do with this case? Ya'all have a nice day now, hear?"
    Sooo… they complain about being cyberbullied and then (oh so subtly) threaten to call the FBI on nasty Mr. Popehat. I assume that their next step is to hire Mr. Blade III as council.

  50. Lizard says:

    Of course, "contacting the FBI" and "having the FBI actually give two shits" are not synonymous. That's like me writing to the White House about my neighbor's barking dog and then claiming "The President has been informed about this matter, so you'd better tell Yappie to shut up."

    What's that Shakespeare line? Something like:
    "I can call forth demons from the briny sea!"
    "Well, so can I, and so can any man. But do they come when you do call for them?"

  51. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Wowwww, that update is, umm, wow…

  52. Anglave says:

    Look out, the FBI is "about to be contacted"!

    Winner of the "most ridiculous threat" award.

  53. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Unless you are friends with Shirtless FBI guy, then it is a real threat…

  54. John Ammon says:

    Oh wow, I just read the update… Anyone getting a major case of déjà vu?

    I think the Carreons moved to rural Washington and Tara is running the local newspaper now >_<

  55. Josh Stegmaier says:

    Are we sure this is an actual newspaper? At this point, I'm convinced this is a high schooler's Livejournal. They probably just thought "The Sky Valley Chronicle" made them sound smart.

  56. John Ammon says:

    @Josh – They appear to have a lot of legal documentation about themselves and their name, I would use the term "newspaper" quite loosely in this scenario, but yes, they do appear to be "2 legit 2 quit".

  57. Lizard says:

    Maybe I'm just lacking testosterone, or something, but I've never understood the mindset of people who insist on picking fights (physical or otherwise) with people who can clean their clocks, especially when they're in the wrong and they know it. The little guy who stands up to the big guy when the little guy is in the right is admirable, if tactically deficient; the little guy who stands up to the big guy when the big guy is in the right is a putz.

  58. John Ammon says:

    I would clarify that based on my limited knowledge of the situation, I don't think that either side in this small-town kurfuffle is in the "right", I think they're both being morons and they probably both need to learn a harsh lesson.

  59. Fritz says:

    More, please.

  60. Mcnugget says:

    I live outside Seattle. I drive a crappy car that I never lock. Gold Bar is the only place that my car has been "broken into". My *UNLOCKED* car's door handle was destroyed (I guess to "break-in" to my unlocked car). Once inside they took my totally rad totally broken radio/tape player that stopped working about a year prior when it decided to eat the bon jovi cassette I was playing. Probably out of shame. Then it wouldn't release it. So it sat inside my tape player in my car mocking me. Umtil they stole it. I hope they re-spooled it and got hours of enjoyment from it. They destroyed the dash of my car to get out something that I don't even think is worth enough to pawn. That is the logic and mentality of everyone in Gold Bar.

  61. Bear says:

    RE: that freaking bizarre update (Chron's, not Ken's)- "Why do think the line above was even slipped in?"

    So… they just admitted that they inserted a deliberate falsification into a "FEATURE NEWS" article (labeled as "news", not editorial/opinion).

    IANAL yadda yadda ad infinitum, but I've gotta figure that admitting to falsifying "news" reports isn't going to help them in any sort of defamation suit (no matter who files one). Unless they can find a way to get this into Leesfield's Florida court. What kind of attorney wouldn't be telling his client to STFU at this point (and no Carreon/Blade references; that's too easy)?

  62. AlphaCentauri says:

    Once upon a time, when someone had an episode of mental illness, their friends and family tried to shield them from public spectacle, so they would have a better chance of getting on with their lives when they recovered. But blogs and youtube are letting people document every detail for posterity. His rantings sound very much like someone with paranoid psychosis, like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. He goes on and on for paragraphs about persons and events he isn't able to name or explicitly describe.

  63. Bear says:

    Question for the actual lawyers: Is insanity a defense in a civil suit? Maybe that's what the Sky Valley Imbecile Chronicle is shooting for.

  64. Matthew Cline says:

    What it the world is a "tank town shill"?

  65. Dark water says:

    Billy Joel's initial draft of "Uptown Girl"?

  66. gramps says:

    Matt– Tank Town, according to the on-line dictionary, refers to a small town, a railroad term for someplace with nothing to offer but a water tank to replenish the boiler.

    I think the term as used by the "journalist" is an attempt to insult Ken. It looks to me like the literary equivalent of bringing a knife to a gunfight. He knows not who he faces…. Taint will be snorted.

  67. flip says:

    Re: the update.

    If the editor/author is reading this… you just confirmed my suspicions. There's no way this is an actual newspaper run by an actual journalist. Any editor would have canned a writer for posting that. This has to be the work of one person, or at the most one person with no oversight.

  68. darius404 says:

    @flip

    It could be a small group of people who know each other personally. A handful of people who share a similar mindset or outlook, and want to "report" on things they consider important. Whoever it is, and however many there are (likely no more than a few), they seem sort of paranoid. It wouldn't surprise me at all if there was more than one person, if they're family or close friends.

  69. V says:

    @gramps
    I don't imagine his intended readership living in small towns would take too kindly to someone using that term.

  70. flip says:

    @Darius404

    It could very well be. Either way there's no editorial oversight.

  71. Joe Pullen says:

    Where did you toe pickers and yam heads learn to do intelligence work, amateurville?

    Bwha ha ha. If this person knew the truth about the combined information intelligence gathering skills of this group I think they might just faint.

    Also, I wonder who they are referencing with the “sister” term – Anne Block? Do they think Ken is somehow affiliated with her? Someone over there has an overactive imagination better suited to writing fiction than acting as a reliable news source.

  72. Lizard says:

    Slightly OT, but the weird-ass slang in the "update" makes me hear it in the voice of a Bugs Bunny impersonating James Cagney in a 30s gangster flick. "You toe-jam pickers better listen up, see? You ain't in amateurville here, see? You're just a bunch of yam pickers, and you'll amscray if you knows what's good for you!"

  73. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Joe: The problem is although this group has insane intelligence capabilities, it IS popcorn-driven. And although this small town bru-ha-ha is crazy, it looks to be low on the popcorn factor.

    If you want popcorn, lets look back at Charles "chuckles" Carreon…

    He got a stipulation to delay his response to the complaint, but according to him, Levy did NOT stipulate on an extension on the motion to award costs & attorneys fees on Charles the Coward's ducking of service:

    http://ia700801.us.archive.org/13/items/gov.uscourts.cand.256701/gov.uscourts.cand.256701.docket.html

  74. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Although, I don't know, there may be some good popcorn in little ol Gold Bar…

    E.g. some sock puppet created an Anne Block wikipedia page, that was then cited in the paper: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Requests_for_undeletion/Archive_75#Anne_K._Block

    which then resulted in an against the paper complaint http://skyvalleychronicle.com/FEATURE-NEWS/GOLD-BAR-WEBSITE-CARRIES-UNTRUTHFUL-ARTICLE-ABOUT-NEWSPAPER-AND-CITIZENS-BR-Falsely-claims-Gold-Bar-Mayor-and-former-mayor-are-ghostwriters-1109011

    And it certainly sounds like Miss Block qualifies as the "won't stop until medicated" Pro Se litigant: http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2017434837_goldbarreporter06m.html

    So it looks like a cage match between a bunch of poo-flinging chimps: with Miss Block and her friends on one side and the local "paper" on the other. Fun to watch from behind a sheet of lexan, but not much fun to activate the Intelligence Crew around here, since both are well, reprehensible and seemingly deserving of each other.

  75. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Oh, and it looks like the "Gold Bar Reporters" have noticed, and well, their poo is only slightly less entertaining than the Sky Valley Cronicle's flinging feces:

    http://www.goldbarreporter.org/

  76. Lizard says:

    "Ken is right, the SVC has turned into a livejounral for a disturbed teenager and their names are Crystal Hill and DEM Pennington."

    The disturbed teenager has two names? That's pretty disturbed, all right.

  77. Chris R. says:

    This story has everything, yams, stalkers, shills, loading docks, former federal prosecutors turned rogue, and the FBI. I see lifetime movie!

  78. mojo says:

    Wow, man. Barney Fife on a nasty mix of crank and mescaline.

    Seriously weird.

  79. John David Galt says:

    That's what I thought of, too. If the paper had just drug-tested its editorial staff, this whole thing might have been prevented.

    Although it is fun to watch the fur fly, if it's not yours.

  80. SA says:

    Good gods, each of the first three paragraphs is a single runaway sentence. The second paragraph is a doozy: 925-some characters before that poor tortured sentence's misery is terminated.

    If they'd rolled a d3 for each word to determine capitalization, it'd almost pass for an entry by Ms Cox.

  81. Narad says:

    Slightly OT, but the weird-ass slang in the "update" makes me hear it in the voice of a Bugs Bunny impersonating James Cagney in a 30s gangster flick.

    I was instead reminded of The French Connection and Poughkeepsie.

  82. Daniel says:

    I am a relatively new reader of this blog, and not a legal professional. However, is it my imagination or are FOI's increasingly being abused in order to harass and intimidate, and if so, how is it possible to mitigate this. The goings on in Gold Bar, combined with this blog post, are what prompted the question: http://www.desmogblog.com/2012/12/06/freedom-information-laws-used-climate-sceptics-rifle-through-scientists-daily-emails

  83. Brian says:

    In fairness, the author at some point likely ate at least one yam, which made him, for a brief moment, a person with yam inside his head, or a "yam head," as it were. In light on this fact, I believe a apology & retraction is appropriate, in order to avoid defamation & federal criminal cyberstalking charges.

  84. Brin says:

    Please let people still be reading this thread… I know I am late to the game, but I found another "article" on their site that addresses this whole cyberstalking/bullying whatever

    http://www.skyvalleychronicle.com/FEATURE-NEWS/SNOHOMISH-COUNTY-MAN-DENIED-RESTRAINING-ORDER-OVER-EMAIL-HARASSMENT-ISSUE-br-Judge-cites-technicality-1200098

    And I would like to say that my old Livejournal was MUCH better written than their posts!

  85. Lizard says:

    a)My Transformers fanfic was better written than their posts.

    b)I'm not following the alleged logic that "Since you replied, you aren't being harassed", as most people being stalked/harassed used to have less hostile contact, and, generally, it seems to me that to be granted a restraining order, you *should* show you made reasonable efforts to resolve the issue without the law getting involved, but given the paper's reporting, I doubt we're getting the whole story, here.

    c)Every email system I know of has filters. It should be trivial to just send all those "harassing" emails into the trash, unseen.

  86. flip says:

    I wonder if Mr Wright is actually the author of that hack piece.

    @Lizard

    The logic is that if you were scared for your life, you wouldn't reply to emails. If you replied, that means you're not scared, therefore it's not harassment but merely a conversation (or at least a heated exchange).

  87. Lizard says:

    @flip — As I said, it tends to be transitional — someone starts off not scared, or believes they can resolve the issue, and it is escalated to the point where they are in fear. Obviously, to determine this, you look at the timing of the email, the content, at what point someone does stop responding, etc. This is, presumably, why we have human judges to make such rulings.

  88. Scott Jacobs says:

    Flip, you don't have to be afraid to think there's a threat.

    Me, personally, I react to threats with anger and further challenges, but that's only because life has taught me that cowering does no good, but charging forward solves most issues.

  89. Dan Weber says:

    a)My Transformers fanfic was better written than their posts.

    I was 90% sure that that was you from the old a.t.t. Now I'm sure.

    Also, I really liked your fanfic. I love how I keep on running into authors of stuff I like here. Small world.