Sunday, May 08, 2005

Why Pamela Jones Deserves to be Outed

There's been a firestorm of controversy raging on the Yahoo SCOX boards since Friday, May 6th. That's when Maureen O'Gara (or MoG as she's known to her fans), that hard-hitting investigative journalist, published her latest Pulitzer prize contender titled "Who Is Pamela Jones?" (see http://www.clientservernews.com). I'll leave it to the gentle reader to follow the link and read for themselves the artful, witty, and modest way Maureen followed the elusive trail of nefarious Pamela Jones, that trouble making gadfly of hard working SCOX and publisher of "super" blog Groklaw (www.groklaw.net).

Sarcasm aside, there is an important reason why PJ, or Pamela Jones, should be publicly identified. PJ, through Groklaw, has made herself a high-profile celebrity through her actions on her blog. She's had tremendous help from the community in finding evidence, publishing court documents, and providing eye-witness accounts of the ongoing SCOX vs. IBM court case. The facts of the case are of tremendous value to the Linux community.

PJ, however, has done more than just report the facts of the case. She's editorialized. She's injected her opinion into the Groklaw documentation. And she's made some pointed observations about the players in this drama, one of whom is our own gentle MoG. I have no problems with PJ voicing her opinions. She has her First Amendment rights just like anyone else. The problem is that she wants to hide while she does it, and that's not right.

As long as PJ was just reporting the news an argument could be made that she should remain anonymous. But when PJ leads (at times) the pack with her commentary against very public figures such as Maureen O'Gara, Laura Didio, and Rob Enderle, then what's good for those geese is quite appropriate for that gander. No one who is for Linux and against SCOX thinks twice about publicly excoriating SCOX supporters. And it's real easy to do so because all the targets are very public people. Their pictures are on the web as well as their personal and professional information. Noticeable by her absence is PJ.

It's obvious I am no fan of MoG. I strongly disagree with what MoG publishes, but I restrict my comments and opinions to her published work. Unfortunately I'm in a minority when compared with the hard-core Linux faithful. MoG has been hounded by the Linux fanatics with Groklaw's tacit approval to the point where she wants PJ's blood. And if I were in such a situation I would want the same myself.

If PJ wants to run with the big dogs then she's going to have to do so under the same rules of engagement all the other players are forced to use; as a publicly known figure, and not some name on a blog. If she can't (or won't) play, then she needs to go back to just reporting the facts of the case and keep her opinions to herself. But considering what she's said and how long she's been saying it, it's way to late to turn back now. I hope Maureen is successfully in her pursuit of PJ, and if there's anything I can do to help, I will.

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