I’ve been Threatened with Legal Action (CC: @Unity_MOT and @bloggerheads)

As of Friday 3rd February, my main worry for this site was that I had not been blogging frequently enough. You know how it is, work gets on top of you, you move house, you decorate, you get to know the local area (Hackney, since you ask, lovely) and on top of all that I have a Masters to study for: blogging just slipped down my priorities list.

That all changed, briefly, on Friday. A past commenter – who, out of undeserved politeness, I will allow to remain anonymous for the purposes of this discussion – e-mailed to ask me to remove a comment from an old post. To maintain my erstwhile commenter’s anonymity I cannot link to the post or the comment, but I will say it was a post mocking one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen and the comment in question was written in support of this “dumber than a bag of hammers” event.

I informed my commenter that I more of less only remove comments which are libelous (which I don’t believe I’ve had to thus far) or abusive etc (which has occurred here) and that I considered the matter over with. Anyway, I told him helpfully, his comments were in the cache anyway, so there is no way he can completely erase his internet trail. If you think you might regret saying something really stupid, the last thing you should do is write it down on the internet where it will stay forever.

Next came the boring part, a blogger was issued with a vague legal threat. My commenter was applying for a government job and doesn’t want anyone to be able to find out he holds ludicrously silly beliefs so get his own way he has taken to bullying people on the internet. Pfft, I thought, but held fire just in case. I e-mailed Tim Ireland and Unity for advice and in short was recommended to respond with a brief “fuck off.” All’s well that ends well as they say, crisis over.

My goodbye e-mail was along similar lines to those suggested but a little more verbose:

Hello [Redacted],
 
Please forgive my late response.
 
First of all, may I say that I do not respond well to bullying. Threatening to pursue “legal remedy” is just that, bullying, and there is now zero chance of my helping you.
 
Sadly (for you) and happily (for me), after seeking advice with regard to your legal threat, I am now confident that it was completely specious, empty and vexation and, as such, your comment will be staying put.
 
Please consider this email a request that you cease and desist any further attempt to contact me about this matter; I will regard any further attempt to intimidate me as harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
 
In short, I refer you to the reply given in the case Arkell vs Pressdram.
 
Yours Sincerely,
 
LO
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