I’m a pretty tolerant person, but there is one thing in this world that bothers me more than anything else: dishonesty. I am extremely trusting and will take what people tell me at face value. When I find that I’m being deceived, it really makes me angry and frustrated. When I suspect that I’m being deceived, I will do everything I can to find out the truth.
A couple of weeks ago, someone (Person A) had asked me to delete a comment from another individual (Person B) on one of my posts that had said some not-so-complementary things about another librarian (though they were not really offensive, so I wouldn’t have deleted them as a matter of course). The comment also said some very nice things about Person A. I thought that was strange and when I looked at the comment, I noticed that it was from the same IP address as the comment from Person A. That made me even more suspicious. So I sent an email to the address listed for Person B (there were also some comments on Person A’s own blog from Person B listing the same email address, so I was willing to believe it could be a real person). I didn’t hear back from Person B until last night, but the response was that this person not only didn’t write the post, but isn’t a librarian and has no idea who the person is that they were supposed to have been writing about. When I looked at the blog of Person A last night, I found that every comment from Person B had been deleted (though they’re all cached by search engines so nothing is ever really gone).
My first reaction was “I want to expose this person.” But I felt that I only wanted to do that because I wanted revenge for being deceived, and I’ve been making a concerted effort not to act in anger. So instead, I contacted Person A and asked if they could explain this. The response I got not only didn’t explain it but that person told me that they’d been as candid with me as they could and that they’d be contacting legal counsel to determine what to do next. Since I know that I didn’t do anything wrong, I’m not concerned, but I’m offended that instead of coming clean, this person decided to try and intimidate me. If there is a list of “what not to do’s” on the Web, this person did quite a lot of them in a very short period of time.
I have contacted the target of the uncomplimentary comment and let him know about the fraud, but I think I’m going to leave it at that. No one would be served by exposing Person A and the people who really needed to know it was a fraudulent comment know it. I don’t want to do damage to anyone’s career. I deleted the comment and have blocked their IP address. I also added an additional sentence to my comment policy at the bottom of my sidebar:
The author reserves the right to delete any comments she deems offensive, irrelevant, or blatant advertisements. Any fraudulent comments will be deleted and every effort will be made to publicly expose the perpetrator(s).
Next time something like this happens, I will publicly expose the person on my blog. It’s not so difficult to ferret out sock puppetry like this and anyone who does it deserves to be exposed as a fraud. Stand behind your own comments!
In spite of all this, I still believe that most people in our little library blogging community are honest and have good intentions. If that makes me naive, so be it.