Dancing With den Bestes
1. Don’t answer his email. It might look quite civilised, but in fact he is hoping that you will reply in a way that gives away your IP address. He will then do a reverse DNS lookup and post your details on his website. SdB apparently doesn’t think that this is a really twatty thing to do, but you might.
2. Be aware that he has a tendency to try to rewrite history, particularly the history of conversations he has had with people who are too polite to post private email, in a really self-serving way. I note that he is now talking smack about me, for example and I must say that this, well it ain’t the way I remembered it. However …
3. Remember that living well is the best revenge. A simple corollary of this is that maintaining an anime blog is the opposite of “living well” and thus the worst revenge, so if you are in a pissing match with someone who does spend all his time protesting to the Internet that he really does shut his eyes when the naked cartoon children are on screen, honestly, then all you really have to do is sit tight and wait for history to rack up enough points on your side. If you read den Beste’s version of things then he whupped my ass realll good with his mad crazy usenet flamewar skills but the facts are that three years later, nobody really mentions his name without adding the word “shorter”.
that is all.
Update: Oh look, he posts private email too (see link in comments)! The ethics of anonymous posting are perhaps a matter for debate but on this there is surely a social convention, isn’t there? Just a couple of points:
1. I think I actually come off quite well in the posted exchange; you’ll note I’m being reasonable and conciliatory while den Beste is posting links to loony rants about Jacksonianism. There was a reason why he did that, btw; he needed me to follow a link from an email he sent so that he could check the IP address in his referrer logs against my mail headers and thereby post the name of my ISP. This is why I warned above to not reply to his mail.
2. (there is actually another piece of information which is highly relevant to understanding that exchange, but I am not going to publish it on the Web because I have too much respect for the third parties involved)
3, and most hilariously. SdB is not actually telling the whole truth when he says “I did not respond any further”. Actually, a couple of days later, he sent me an email whingeing that I kept spelling his name wrong – it is apparently “Shorter Steven” not “Shorter Stephen”. I am reminded of Charles Pooter, who left with quiet dignity but tripped on the mat on the way out.