Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

No sleep for me tonight. Time to take care of one of the causes.

I wasn’t going to give space to the Winerlog/Winer issue, but circumstances have changed. The issue has gone beyond the boundaries of these two individuals, and is now impacting on me as well as others.

As mentioned briefly at Dave Winer’s Radio Blog, Dave and the Userland folks found a Yahoo Group for Zaphod, the entity behind Winerlog. It seems that Zaphod, rather than creating a personal email, created a Yahoo Group and then attached this email to his weblog. People — including myself — have sent correspondence to Zaphod, thinking we were sending private emails, and only this week finding out we aren’t.

As you can imagine, this has caused difficulties for more than one person. And from the tone of Dave’s posting, the difficulties will continue.

Tonight I sent the following email to the Yahoo Groups Abuse organization detailing the problem. It goes as follows:

    • exact copy:

The leader of this group — who calls himself “zaphod” — has deliberately misled people into thinking that the email address of the Yahoo Group was an email address for the individual, associated with this weblog.

(The weblog used to be located at, and is now at

People have sent this person private correspondence, which was then — without their prior knowledge or approval — posted into the public Zaphod group.

This information was to some extent negative about a specific individual, Dave Winer, and a specific company, Userland. Both the individual and the company received information about these postings and read many of them Thursday resulting is some very serious consequences — personal and professional — against those who unknowingly posted to Yahoo groups.

I was one of the people who sent a couple of the email messages, though mine were fairly innocuous — luckily. However, I’m outraged at the duplicitous nature of the individual in question, Zaphod, and the abuse of a freely available group communication system such as

At this time, the public does not have access to the group but this could change at the whim of the individual. In addition, I’ve asked for access from Zaphod to see if my material has been posted, but he has not responded. Nor has he responded to others asking the same.

If the information contained in the group is released difficult consequences will occur for several people, the extent of which you can see outlined in the weblog posting at

We need your help, and quickly. The best approach would be to destroy the group and all postings. However, barring that, please allow each individual in the group a chance to have their email messages removed before the group is allowed access by the public.

We need expedited handling of this issue.

end of exact copy

In case you’re curious about the emails I wrote, they are as follows:

Hi Zaphod the mysterious

You show my site at it’s old address — Burningbird has moved to BTW, you might be interested in some of the postings a bit earlier in the week…

Have fun in the new year 😉


Regarding RDF: Jeff Barr of Syndic8 created a wikisite to comment on this, as well as provide everyone a copy of the letter. Jeff gave me permission to post a link to it at my weblog at However, people are most likely tired of hearing about my weblog on your weblog, so you should probably post to the WikiSite directly (Jeff will probably be cool with this). I’m trying to generate some buzz for Jeff — he deserves it.

Interesting: Do a Google on Dave+Winer+RDF


Among the items posted at the group was Dave’s phone number. He mentioned this in yesterday’s weblog, then pulled it when he started receiving calls from the “Hate Dave” crowd.

This issue has gone beyond the bounds of decency, respect, civility, and is now bordering on the criminal. There is no word in the English language that expresses by disgust of this individual who calls himself Zaphod.

I would ask that Dave re-consider negative actions against those who innocently posted information to the group. Ultimately, this adverse action will impact negatively on Userland. I know that it’s difficult and believe me when I say that I am now just as angry as you are when it comes to this issue, but take your anger out at Zaphod, not the individuals.

Everyone makes mistakes.

Dave, you wanted to take this issue to the lists, but that will only continue the harm. We need to stop this thing now. Let’s stop this whole thing now.

As for me, in the last few days, I’ve been so disappointed at this behavior, and so angry, that I’ve strongly contemplated giving up weblogging. However, I’ve met too many people I like within the blogging space that I’m not going to be giving it up, not even because of an issue as ugly as this.

I’m asking my weblog readers to get involved in this issue. First, write Yahoo Groups and repeat the request to destroy the group. Second, if you link to Winerlog, ask yourself this question — how good do you feel about having that link now?

Third — be very careful from this point on what you put into an email attached to a weblog. Don’t put anything into the email that you wouldn’t like to see public. Because of the actions of Zaphod/Winerlog, we’ll have to exercise more caution, and less trust, in our communications.

And this saddens me beyond what I can say in this posting.


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