An “open letter” to an unspecified party

Yesterday, I felt the need to send the email below to a VirtualAcorn-list subscriber. I said (as quoted in the message) that I may publish this as an “open letter” to an unspecified party, and without any further comment but, in retrospect, I feel that some commentary would be appropriate – see after the quoted message.

Note: The only changes I’ve made between sending the email and publishing it here are for the purposes of formatting,  along with a specific phrase being redacted in a couple of places, and the correction of a couple of typos/spelling errors. Those redactions and corrections are highlighted in red.

Urgent notice: You are now subject to a provisional
and open-ended ban from posting to the
VirtualAcorn mailing list.

The reasons for this ban are:

1) You posted a "REDACTED" in a number of
threads on the list which was inappropriate, and
based on a method of reading and replying to messages
on the list that is, shall we say, "problematic" and
less than ideal. As such, your "REDACTED"
merely served to spread F.U.D. about the list to its

2a) You sent a private message to me that I found
upsetting and highly annoying.

2b) You compounded that by sending a letter that not
only dismissed out of hand my complaint about the
above message, but also raised a complaint yourself
about an unrelated matter and, by refusing to respond
to any reply, I consider that refusing to acknowledge
any points subsequently made, and therefore refusing
the right of reply.

Consequently, I have decided that if you feel it
appropriate to insult and offend me, you should not
be using services for which I pay and then provide as
a free service.

Since you have stated that you will not respond to
any reply, you should note that as well as sending
this email directly to you, I may also publish it -
without directly identifying you, in deference to
your letter of 5th July, 2015, being marked "in
confidence" - and without any explanation or context,
in the form of an "open letter" to an unspecified

Please note that the right is hereby reserved for any
future correspondence on this subject or any related
matter to be published, in part or in full - which
may include your identity - regardless of whether it
is declared to be "in confidence". I am willing to
acknowledge and accept that your previous letter was
sent in confidence, and to therefore comply with that
-  but do not expect the same consideration for
future correspondence. Do not reply if you are
unwilling to accept that condition.

This ban will remain in place for the foreseeable
future, and is not open for discussion, per se.
However, any correspondence you choose to send on the
subject - such as a full and frank apology - will be
read and may result in a change in that policy, and
either a lifting of the ban, or opening the way for
further discussion.

A summarised version of this message has been set as
the rejection message on the mailing list to serve as
a reminder if and when you attempt to post to it.

Vince M Hudd, Soft Rock Software -

Despite what I’ve said above, I am pondering whether I need to comply with the “in confidence” nature of the letter, since the subject of the letter is none other than me (with a couple of third parties mentioned, but not named). As such, I may decide to publish it after all, but with the writer’s identity (and those of their associates) redacted. Alternatively, I may choose to publish an open letter in reply to it.

The bottom line is as stated in the above email. VirtualAcorn Users is one of a number of mailing lists provided on the domain. While the cost of hosting the domain is not significant (the is hosted separately from the .com), it is still a cost – and one which I incur in order to provide a set of mailing lists for the benefit of RISC OS users. As such, I simply cannot accept receiving hostile communications from someone who uses that service – who benefits from costs I incur. I therefore decided banning them from posting was the appropriate course of action.

The letter I received is what I would describe as a pseudo (or perhaps faux) legal threat, and – as I said in my emailed reply to the sender in response to their earlier email (as mentioned in point 2a in the letter) – this sort of nonsense makes me wonder why I bother. It was separate, unrelated correspondence from other RISC OS users that reminded me.

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