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Defending Ingrid’s Honor

John on July 9, 2008 at 2:43 pm

Earlier this week someone sent me an e-mail alerting me to this site. The site was ostensibly created to collect pictures of various ODM bloggers, the idea being to put a face with the name of some of the web’s most well known watchbloggers.

Within a few hours of setting up the site, the blogger in charge had received pictures from a high school yearbook (or junior high?) which his source claimed were photos of Ingrid Schlueter. Obviously, I don’t know if the photos were real or what proof was offered that they were. In any case, I looked at the photos and they didn’t depict anything objectionable. Just kids on a cheer squad who seemed to be having fun posing for the camera.

Then things got ugly. The same source sent in another yearbook photo which he claimed was Ingrid’s high school boyfriend. The blogger then announced that this individual was known to be a partyer in high school.

Within about 48 hours the blog’s author received a letter from Ingrid’s lawyer demanding that he “cease and desist” and remove the photos. The actual threat involved a “tort of false light” which is different but related to a defamation claim. It suggests that the photos may have been real but that she was unhappy with the spin being put on them. The blogger took everything down by the time specified in the letter and, presumably, that was the end of it. The same day, Ingrid announced a pause in blogging which may or may not be related to this incident.

So how to parse this…

First off, the idea of collecting photos of the watchbloggers doesn’t bother me at all. And if you want a photo of Ingrid, there are some already on the web to choose from. Does posting high school photos cross a line? Well, God knows I wouldn’t want someone posting my high school photos on their blog, especially not if their intent was ridicule. Still, I’m not sure that in itself warrants legal action.

But obviously we’re in different territory when we start posting unverified claims of alleged high school antics. First of all, the person making the claim was anonymous and apparently wanted to stay that way. I don’t care for anonymous sources, especially when they’re making accusations. In general, they’re best ignored (Until I received an e-mail today demanding I write about this situation, that’s what I intended to do). There are many things that can be said about Slice and about Ingrid’s style of attack. One thing that can not be said is that she makes her charges anonymously. She deserves the same consideration from others.

Secondly, going after somone for their behavior in high school seems like the very low road to me. And this is not to suggest I beleive any of these particular accusations. Frankly, I don’t. But let’s face it, we all did things in high school we’d be embarrassed to read about online. It’s just a low blow. Offsides. Foul. Let’s not go there.

I haven’t talked to Scott about this, but I know he’d agree. We certainly disagree with Ingrid on plenty of things, and she has cast aspersions on the two of us in the very recent past. Still, disagreements are one thing but this sort of anonymous muckraking of someone’s distant past is quite another. So I’m siding with Ingrid on this one. And I’d like to think that, were the shoe on the other foot, she’d do the same for me.

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