For those who are interested, here’s the letter I received back in August from the person’s lawyer who harassed us about being on the editorial board of O-Zone. I’m curious as to whether others think this is something I should be concerned about.
Dear Mr. Bryant,
I represent the interest of Crazy Internet Person. Please be advised that Mr. Crazy Internet Person (CIP) does not wish to have any contact with you or by you through a third party. To that end, this letter serves as notice that you immediately cease and desist communicating with him either directly or indirectly in any manner. Furthermore, you and your associates from your journal/blog should refrain from disparaging my client in any manner or contacting his employment, work colleagues or family members.
If you fail to heed this notice to cease and desist I will advise my client to take the appropriate legal action.
I trust there will be no further need to contact you in this regard.
Some facts: We never contacted this person. Contact was always initiated by him. He approached us initially asking to be on the editorial board of O-Zone (a very strange request for anyone who knows how journals are founded). When we politely informed him, we began receiving harassing emails from him expressing outrage. He was convinced that I had some personal vendetta against him despite the fact that in a two year period he had posted all of two or three comments on my blog and I initially had no idea who he was. He felt that somehow I was trying to undermine his chances at tenure by not putting him on the editorial board and that somehow he deserved a position on the editorial board because he had written some posts on object-oriented theology, despite the fact that none of us were familiar with his work. He then proceeded to harass, under an assumed name, one of the members of our editorial board on the grounds that they don’t belong there. After this we did contact his chair (the only time I’ve ever done such a thing), both out of concern for his crazed behavior and to get him to desist. All other avenues had been exhausted at that point, though this is not an action I generally approve of.
After that all communication ceased for about a year and things got quiet. Then I navigated to his blog one day because someone mentioned a post he’d written. Within minutes I received a strange and threatening email from him, despite the fact that I hadn’t commented. I asked him to quit harassing me and that was that. The next week I received the letter above. I did not respond at all, preferring to have him out of my life altogether. The following week I received the same letter again via certified mail. Since then, whenever a discussion about the tone of SR/OOO online arises, he pops up and makes self-righteous remarks about how awful we all are (and incidentally, me and O-Zone weren’t the only objects of his harassment). As a consequence, I chose to finally speak publicly about this yesterday because this just continues and continues; though I suspect that I now be hearing from his lawyer again.
I hate talking about this sort of stuff publicly as I think it makes me lo Nonetheless, I wonder can he really take legal action over any of the things outlined in that letter? Note that I haven’t talked about him at all publicly since all of this stuff unfolded. This is the first time I’ve mentioned it.