The internet is full of freaks and weirdo's and unfortunately I have come into contact with my fare share of them, but that is one of the pitfalls of using the Internet and especially if you regularly use forums and discussion lists. While i am not a fan of Facebook, at least this a medium where you have control over who you speak to and who can speak to you, if someone annoys you then you can block them, and only the people you know and trust can read your ramblings.
The other big problem you have on the Internet is that it is a very poor communication medium due to people misinterpreting things that are written and inserting their own perceived emotions or intentions into electronic communications which then often causes them to react in a confrontational and often aggressive way, which invariably spawns an argument. We have all been guilty of this at some point, and I am certainly no exception and as anyone knows me well is aware, I unfortunately get sucked into these things far too often even against my better judgement and good intentions.
When these things happen the best thing to do of course is to walk away and not get involved, and preferably just try to ignore the other person or persons, sadly something I am not very good at due to an unabated need to defend myself to the bitter end, which is usually a fruitless endeavour when dealing with people who simply will never admit they are wrong, will never apologise or are simply plain ignorant.
A recent unfortunate incident spawning from an utterly ridiculous misunderstanding that blew all out of proportion causing smart and intelligent people who should know better to behave like degenerate teenagers, also resulted in the following allegation which I found particularly odd.
"You often treat the folks on "list name removed" as your own private support team makes me very frustrated. You are the reason that
I've unsubscribed from "list name removed" twice over the years - at one point, over 50% of threads on "list name removed" were you trying to get help on various configuration and coding issues."
Now aside from the fact that "asking questions" to get help from your peers is exactly what a discussion is for, I knew this wasn't true as I simply do not have that many questions to ask as I am very competent in what I do as I have been doing it for a long time and I am not a developer anymore and have not been for many years, so I simply don't have coding issues. So in my quest to defend myself against this accusation, I decided to go and dig up some evidence. It was of course no surprise to discover that the above was not true, and after checking the list archive I discovered I had actually only posted 3 questions in total this year. I passed this information to the accuser to see what his response would be, and this is where it gets a bit spooky.
he responded with
"Go back to 2005 - which was when I unsubscribed because of the volume of threads you started, asking for help."
Now I wont sink down to the same gutter level by naming and shaming him, but I do know who this guy is and he is a respected member of one of communities I am also part and a generally smart (albeit big headed) guy in the programming world, but I am not friends with him and have never had any personal commination with him before now, so why on earth would someone I barely know have such a vivid memory of something I did 6 years ago or go to the effort of searching through 6 years worth of emails to find this information?
Now I have to say I actually found this quite disturbing and a bit creepy for someone to be this obsessive, I don't even know what I did 6 years ago, and I would imagine most people don't know.