Tuesday, November 08, 2005

(Retitled and Edited for Second Thoughts) - Blog War

Royce over at Iowa Libertarian makes the case against Professor Wallace Hettle for his actions against Paul Deignan at Purdue University in Lafayette.

What would a UNI prof have to do with a Lafayette PhD student?

Therein lies the tale. See, Paul Deignan left some comments on BitchPhD about Judge Alito. BitchPhD had been blogging about his record and whether or not to filibuster, from a liberal perspective. BitchPhD didn't like the tone of the comments, particularly this one:
"The question of the day, 'Can pro-choice activists be drawn out into a rational discussion of the Alito nomination and issues even more to the core?' The answer goes to determining character and capacity."

She banned him from her comments, which is her perogative. I don't agree with banning unless it's an egregious case, because I think debate should be open. Also, it didn't appear she banned other commenters who were far more inflammatory but agreed with her point of view, such as this one:
got any slaves?
or is your state not allowed to protect the "right" to own slaves?
marky | Email | Homepage | 11.02.05 - 10:21 am | #

or this one:
I'm sure Paul is very familiar with two clicks ... two clicks of his heels. Sig Heil!
mskate | Email | Homepage | 11.02.05 - 10:25 am | #

The comments can all be found here.

If it had ended there, it wouldn't be anything more than a standard blog tiff between people with diametrically opposing viewpoints on a political blog.

But it didn't.

Instead, a reader of BitchPhD's blog, Wallace Hettle decided to take it out of cyberspace and into real life:
Troll boy is a student of the highly relevant field of mechanical engineering.

The moron is trolling under his real name from a home page which lists the names of his advisors. So I emailed them, as this behavior is thoroughly unprofessional.

BTW, I have a PhD and actual tenure. And I happen to know many profs who work from home, like myself.

I've read some of Dr. B's scholarship and it is superb.

Maybe Paul can come back after finishing HIS dissertation--if he finishes.

Anyway, Paul, I'm going to make an acquaintance with the admin. of your engineering school tomorrow, but I'm logging off for tonight.

Wallace Hettle
Actual Professor
Google Me
University of Northern Iowa

From what I can construct on Deignan's blog and Bitch PhD, it appears Hettle did contact Deignan's superiors, with unknown ramifications on Deignan's pursuit of a PhD. Deignan then began tracking Hettle, who kept coming over to Deignan's site. Emails were exchanged. It escalated, and now Deignan is suing for libel. Yikes.

My take: Hettle was absolutely and totally out of line for going to Deignan's advisors over a comment on a blog that wasn't even directed at him. Particularly as his own reply appears far more snarky than the comment he originally objected to.

I mean, seriously - "Actual Professor"??? "Google me"???

Hello, kettle? Pot's on the phone. He's got a news flash for you.

If this is accurate, however, I'd say my sympathy for Deignan is about gone:
The most salient part of this fool's threat (which was also made in a now-deleted comment on my own blog) is that he intends to find out my identity and publish it, notwithstanding my obvious desire to remain anonymous.

Hettle shouldn't have gone to Deignan's advisors, but you don't threaten to "out" a blogger just because she banned your comments. Why blame her for Hettle's actions? This has surpassed "out of hand."

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