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My good name

  This morning, Stephen Maloney, posting as SILKMALON@aol.com, brought this
  mailing list into a personal dispute in which he attempts, in public, to
  speak ill of myself and my employer, BBN Corp.  I had previously told him
  that I was (as he requested) discontinuing further "dialogue" with him, but
  he seemingly saw fit to "go public" with his disagreement.  Hence this one
  Background:  Romanus Berg posted a note called "ISDN Tariff Trick" which
  reported that Farallon, a well-respected maker of data communications gear,
  has added support for "Data Over Voice" to its ISDN products.  I replied in
  this group that other vendors also do this, including Ascend, Motorola,
  Gandalf, Cisco, etc.  I also vouched for its usefulness, noting that I have
  used it for years.
  Mr. Maloney, refusing to identify himself beyond his AOL screen name, wrote
  me a rather nasty personal message saying that I had committed some kind of
  fraud against the telephone company and that BBN had violated its contracts
  with the phone company by using ISDN DOV.  He insinuated that he'd "tattle
  on me" (my words) to BBN's corporate law department, since my activities are
  in his opinion illegal.  I wrote back and explained in some detail that this
  is not a secret, that NYNEX knows about it, and that it's legal.  He refused
  to accept this and badgered me, growing more strident each time about how
  important he was and how he was gonna tell on me, etc.  He also mumbled some
  silly stuff about how my commenting on this topic proves that BBN is still a
  bunch of MIT kids doing government contracts, and unprepared for the
  commercial world.  He says,
  >my original point, which seemd to go right
  >by mr. goldstein, is that companies like bbn need to be careful about
  >representations in about how they form contracts with service providers. 
  In case anyone's curious, there are not normally *contracts* with RBOCs.
  They are, or at least they are still in Mass., under *tariff*.  A tariff is
  a different thing, which legally takes precendence over a contract.  So we
  never negotiate contracts with NYNEX or the other RBOCs.  We simply elect a
  tariff, pay the bill, and the regulatory agencies worry about the rest.  I
  think that's significant background for people worried about legalities.
  Now many of you list readers know me from my postings here and elsewhere.
  For some background, I'm a Senior Consultant in BBN Systems and
  Technologies, Professional Services.  I've been in that dept. for two years.
  Seventeen years ago I became BBN's Telecommunications Manager, and worked
  daily with New England Telephone.  I then spent some years at another large
  company before taking this job.  I've never worked on government contracts;
  my fast-growing (and still recruiting) department is totally civilian.  Most
  of our work is IP-centric involving corporate networks, and I do a lot of
  that, but I also am the Resident ISDN Weenie and a general-purpose dial-in
  guy.  I've seen some movies and been to flea markets at MIT but never took a
  class there.  (I majored in Government, but I play an engineer on TV.)  I
  think my clients like me.  We (BBN Prof. Svcs.) do *very* profesional work,
  which I can summarize as "we don't just spit back Data Communications
  Magazine".  (Nothing against the magazine business, which I worked in well
  before BBN, but we wouldn't be worth the money if we just told you what the
  press trends were.)  Okay, that's the end what now sounds like a plug.
  >however, the fact that i raised this question does not give bbn, its agent 
  >mr. goldstein, or anybody else for that matter license to harrass or libel.
  >certainly, free speech in this society has long been limited by libel and
  >slander standards -- in fact, such restrictions are essential to free speech.
  Indeed!  And I haven't libeled anyone.  Indeed I kept my replies to Mr.
  Maloney *private*.  He's the one who brought this to the list!  Now the
  definition of libel requires a third party.  I can call somebody a jerk, a
  coward, a thief, a brigand, a rapist, a putz, a pencilneck geek, an
  imbecile, Hitler reincarnated, a castrato's ghost from a mediaeval Boys'
  Choir, or anything else, for that matter, privately, and it's not libel,
  whether or not it's true.  Not that I did, but anything private isn't libel.
  Go public and it's a different story.  (Truth is however an absolute
  defense.)  Hell, on abUsenet, some people (not I) do it in public anyway,
  but given that medium nobody seems to care.  I am not averse to stating
  opinions on abUsenet, here or elsewhere, but I do usually wear a "standard
  disclaimer" and I do know about libel law, not to mention its spoken cousin,
  >mr. goldstein has the right to his opinions, and his responsible for his own
  >actions. in feely slapping bbn's name to his comments, he draws in his
  >employer. i'm not sure his employer is aware or would agree. for this reason,
  Well, I don't claim to speak *for* BBN.  Since we're a consultancy, we tend
  to have opinions all over the place, sometimes tailored to our clients'
  needs.  I can think of some really interesting debates that you could stage
  just between BBNers!  Official Corporate Opinions are rather rare, though we
  do think The Internet Is Swell. :-)  I do write from the BBN.COM domain, and
  I did help set up some ISDN Data-over-voice dial-ins at BBN.  It's become a
  "production" thing, internally at least, so I don't personally get invovled
  much any more, as others have learned the ropes of getting orders through
  NYNEX.  I'm submitting this reply over such a call! Essentially all of our
  employee and local-client residential ISDN lines are set up for DOV (aka
  "DOSBS").  It's not a secret, or anything to hide.  At least not from NYNEX,
  our local telco.
  >i have forwarded mr. goldstein's remarks to his corporate counsel, and asked
  >whether mr. goldstein's "style" and position is the bbn's. as president of my
  >technology firm, mr. goldstein has gone some distance to convince me none of
  >my company's offices ever nationwide will ever do business with bbn when
  >there are other options.
  I suspect his firm is unimportant, but then he won't tell what it is.  This
  type of remark is so childish anyway.  Perhaps he's the Stephen Maloney from
  Devonrue Ltd., which puts out some modeling software and apparently consults
  to the NRC on fire safety at nuclear plants, but maybe not.
  That Mr. Maloney uses a different AOL screen name, though it's possible to
  change them at the drop of a hat.
  >i have also instructed mr. golstein on several occasions to stop sending
  >e-mail to me. he refuses, and now seems to be extending his personal agenda.
  Actually, he kept sending me *questions* which I replied to, and in any case
  I kept it *private*.  I have no particular "personal agenda" here.  As a
  consultant, I tell people what I think.  I also give "free advice" in fora
  like this because a) I'm a nice guy, b) I like to see my name in print, and
  c) it's good publicity for my consultancy, classes, publications, etc.
  A stream of private e-mail invective, calling me a criminal, etc., seemed to
  warrant a reply, so I defended myself and my position.
  >if mr. goldstein is incapable of acting in the professional manner one would
  >expect from bbn in a forum such as this, then i recommend certain guidelines
  >be established for this forum.
  I didn't bring it to this forum.  Maloney did.  I'm only writing this one
  note in order to set the record straight.  Prior to his note, I never
  mentioned him in this forum.  Perhaps he confused my *personal* mail to him
  with stuff sent to the forum.  Maybe he thinks my replies to him went to the
  group.  I know better than to pollute the list with that kind of stuff.
  >if someone has a differing view to what i just wrote, i'd be interested in
  >discussing it.
  Personal advice:  Don't try to discuss anything with Stephen Maloney.
  Now back to the ISDN discussion, already in progress.
  Fred R. Goldstein     k1io    fgoldstein@bbn.com   +1 617 873 3850
  Opinions are mine alone.  Sharing requires permission.