Admins Respond to Edmond Wollmann
Several abuse admins have been willing to "go" public with their experiences with Mr. Wollmann. they rightfully grow tired of his spurious complaints and address morphing to thwart their mailfilters.
"Mr. Wollman's account at AzNET was cancelled due to multiple, seemingly endless complaints about his abusive behavior in Usenet." - Jack Bailey of Aznet
Click on the links to see the posts with full headers.
From: Nick Nicholas <firstname.lastname@example.org>
email@example.com (Steve Atkins) writes:
Hi Pam! <smooch>
I suppose I deserve this for not having had the time to answer your email with the same question. Now you've gone and dragged my favorite kook into nanae.
Eddie and the PBI abuse department go *way* back. Here is what Jason Barr had to say about Eddie's abuse of the abuse process:
> >He does this by sending many complaints about other
regular posters to
AMEN, Bro! I was ready to vote for Edmond Wollmann for Kook of the Year for 1998. If nominations were open, I'd be nominating Eddie for sure. He was KotM Jan 1998 (because of his first entanglement with PBI's abuse department), and Eddie was considered by many to be a shoo-in for 1998 KotY. I think he picked up a couple of BUAs and LMAs during 1998 as well.
His *thing* is abusing abuse departments. If he doesn't
get his way with complaints, he'll call up and harass the abuse department.
If they manage to avoid his calls (or direct him to cease and desist phoning),
he sends large numbers of duplicate complaints via email. In fact, that's
how Eddie first came to my attention: a complaint from columbia.edu about
the complaints they had been receiving from Eddie, as many as 300 per day.
They had already directed him to stop calling, and had also directed him
to stop emailing them with further complaints.
> >My impression, FWIW, is that a lot of ISPs who are
not familiar with
Unfortunately, Wollmann can be quite rational at times; he turns into a loon whe he doesn't get his way. And apparently he plays the loon well enough the he has made a lasting impression on *everyone* he's spoken to at PBI. I should add that he is now forbidden to talk to *anyone* at SBCIS other than our lawyer, and the only manner he is allowed to contact our lawyer is via legal service.
When complaints continued after SBCIS insisted that he stop, we took the unprecedented step of filtering and rejecting all mail from him; on many days 25-50% of the messages in the pacbell.net were unfounded complaints from Wollmann. Now that our complaint engine refuses messages from him *he* *returns* *the* *rejections* *to* *us* -- of course generating another rejection message.
He believes he the arbiter of what can be said in certain *alt* newsgroups, and he can be convincing enough that several ISPs have been fooled into accepting Wollmann's authority and taking disciplinary action against their customers. Pam raises a legitimate issue, and it is one with which I've had to become involved on several occasions when ISPs have taken Wollmann's cartooney threats seriously.
Hopefully, with the URLs to the deja.com archives, plus the ones Steve added, along with this message, that would constitute an adequate record for documenting Wollmann's extensive history of abusing the abuse process.
Last I heard, he had lost at least ten accounts, probably
a full dozen. I'm sure my old friend anonym(tm) can tell us what the current
count is. [Hey 'nymmie! Hope you're doing well!]
> >But some perfectly innocent people are having their
use of the net
Yes, Eddie is particularly famous for his sock puppets.
There's even a sock puppet FAQ featuring Edmo. After I had suspended Eddie's
pacbell.net account and was doing my own due diligence to see whether I
should restore access to his account, I discovered that Wollmann had not
one, but two active accounts. And from what my brief research could tell,
it seemed that the two accounts were being used as separate sock puppets,
yet giving the appearance of distinct identities while still praising each
"other". When Wollmann attempted to sneak back onto PBI several months
later, we found that he had again created two accounts.
> >This particular kook is such a chronic problem that
I can't help
These are all good ideas, Pam (thanks, Steve), and I think that you have here enough documentation and resources to put together a solid web page or two. When I first received your message, I knew that's how we should proceed, but I'm afraid I've been very, *very* busy since I left SBCIS. :) If you'd like to put together a "first draft" of a Wollmann Warning Page, then let me review it, I think we'd see a page a *lot* sooner than if you waited for me to draft one. Let me know off-line how I can help you proceed.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Nick Nicholas Mail Abuse Prevention System LLC Executive Director http://maps.vix.com firstname.lastname@example.org -------- "With great power comes even greater responsibility" --------
From: email@example.com (Policy
Manager, Pacific Bell Internet Services) Subject: Re: Anonym still aided
by irresponsible usenet admin Jason Barr to abuse alt.astrology groups
Date: 09 Apr 1998 00:00:00 GMT Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear alt.astrology denizens,
I apologize in advance for the technically off-topic subject matter of this posting. However, there's only so long a person can go watching his name be used as the subject header in a largely misleading -- albeit amusing -- Usenet thread without stepping in to make some clarifications.
And, to answer the unspoken question, it is *really* me, Jason Barr, Policy Manager for Pacific Bell Internet Services. (If you'd like confirmation, you're welcome to send e-mail to email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com.) I'm not just another sock puppet :-)
I decided to do a follow-up on this particular article because I think it captures in a tidy nutshell all of the delusions under which one of our former customers continues to operate.
On Tue, 07 Apr 1998 22:52:32 -0700, Edmond Wollmann <firstname.lastname@example.org
Clarification: Mr. Wollmann cancelled his accounts after they had been suspended pending an investigation of their alleged abuse. Our decision to suspend the accounts came *before* Mr. Wollmann's decision to permanently terminate them.
Mr. Wollmann's subsequent activities with regard to PBI
and myself, as well as his Usenet activities in general, only serve to
bolster the strength (to me at any rate) of the original allegations against
him. At this point he joins that small but distinguished class of people
whose business is no longer welcome on our service. Any new accounts Mr.
Wollmann attempts to create with PBI will be immediately terminated.
Mr. Wollmann seems sadly ignorant of the legal doctrine of "unclean hands." Essentially what it means is that a court will not grant relief to one who complains of being damaged if the complainant has himself engaged in abuse related to the cause of action.
What does this mean in practical terms? It means that PBI's Policy department is not going to act on the complaints of an individual who carries on a flame war, consistently trading insults with those who insult him, and then cries "off-topic" and "harassment" whenever *he* is insulted in return. Just because Mr. Wollmann apparently feels he has an unbridled right to be free from insult and criticism when he posts his astrological findings does not make it so. And just because someone is insulted and flamed in a Usenet group does not mean they are being "harassed."
And I reach this conclusion solely from watching the traffic on alt.astrology alone (which I have been doing for the past several months). My opinion that Mr. Wollmann is operating under some strange delusion is only strengthened by his behavior with regard to myself and this department the past several weeks. Day in and day out I receive unfounded "complaints" from Mr. Wollmann and his sock puppet named "Marsha." These complaints are usually no more than forwarded copies of the latest installment of the flame war which has ground on for months.
In the early stages of this e-mail bombardment, I would dutifully write Mr. Wollmann stating that I could find nothing in his complaints that would warrant any action on our part. As the complaints continued, still unfounded, I began to realize that Mr. Wollmann likely was simply forwarding *every* post that dared paint him in a bad light or insult his astrological prowess. It astonished me, to be quite honest. It got to the point where I would scan through the complaints, verify that there was nothing in them worth acting on, and move on to more important things... without issuing any kind of response.
The latest rash of complaints have claimed that Mr. Wollmann and his business are being "libelled." Since we are in no position to judge whether a statement made is factually true or false -- by law such questions are left to juries -- we will not act on claims of libel absent a court finding to that effect. If Mr. Wollmann wishes to pursue a cause of action against PBI or one of its customers, he's welcome to -- our registered agent for service of process is a matter of public record.
So, after many weeks of scanning through Mr. Wollmann's complaints, concluding that none of them were actionable, and moving forward, I began receiving phone calls from Mr. Wollmann on my personal extension at work. At first I asked him what I could do for him that hadn't been covered already. He demanded to know why we permitted anonym to continue posting. I gave him all the reasons outlined above -- essentially, I simply did not feel a violation of our Acceptable Use Policy was being commimtted. He was upset at this so I arranged to have my supervisor (who originally made the decision to suspend his accounts) call him back.
Then, some time later, I received another call -- again on my personal extension -- from a woman named "Marsha." She asked me why I never answered her e-mails. I asked her if she could be a little more specific as to what she'd written me about. She said she was wondering why anonym was being permitted to "abuse" Mr. Wollmann. I reiterated the above reasons. She then asked "Are you anonym?" Quite amazed, I answered, "Um, no, I'm the abuse manager for Pacific Bell Internet Services." I then asked her how she had gotten my number, and she replied, "From a friend." She began persisting with the same questions I had already answered, and I told her I was terminating the call -- which I did.
The following morning I received another call from Mr. Wollmann. No new territory was covered by his opening statements to me, except he demanded a name and number for my supervisor. I refused this request but offered to have my supervisor call him. Mr. Wollmann became upset and began using profanity. I notified him that if he continued using such language that I would terminate the call. His profanity continued and the words he chose... well... became more colorful than before. I hung up. He immediately called back and I let the call roll to voicemail. His voicemail message demanded the name and number of my supervisor. My phone then rang *again*, and again I did not answer it. This time it was "Marsha" leaving the voicemail, reiterating the same questions that she'd asked during the first call.
At this point I gave Mr. Wollmann a call back and notified him that if he continued to initiate contact with me via telephone, that I would be filing a police report against him for harassment. His attitude was something to the effect of "so what"... but before he could begin another tirade I terminated the call.
So, such is the history of an individual who continues to write me complaining about "harassment."
Kind of ironic, don't you think?
From: email@example.com (Policy
Manager, Pacific Bell Internet Services) Subject: Re: Who ARE these people???
Date: 14 Jun 1998 00:00:00 GMT Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org
Greetings alt.astrology denizens,
Pardon me for a moment as I once again clarify something for someone who obviously didn't read my clarifications the first time around....
When I see myself mentioned by name, I always consider it an invitation to respond.
On Fri, 12 Jun 1998 17:08:52 GMT, Edmond Wollmann<E@astroconsulting.com
Mr. Wollmann, I find it highly ironic that you would accuse someone else of having "too much time to do anything constructive" when, day in and day out, I have to wade through your daily onslaught of specious, groundless and hypocritical "complaints" forwarded to my inbox (all from different e-mail addresses of course, presumably to lend them the credence of having come from several different individuals). Not to mention having to remind you every so often that you are no longer welcome to contact me or any member of my department by telephone. And now I hear you've taken up harassing our technical support department by telephone over your silly flame war.
Who has too much time here?
And just in case you're unclear of why I used the adjectives above, let me spell it out:
Specious 'spE-sh&s having deceptive attraction or allure, having a false look of truth or genuineness. Why do your "complaints" appear to be true or genuine? Because you quote our AUP back at me and allege that it is "obvious" that the posts in question are being made to harass and denegrate you. In reality this is not obvious at all. In fact, when the posts are looked at in the context of the whole dialogue, they are just pieces in the larger picture of insults and harassment that goes *both* ways.
Groundless 'graun(d)-l&s having no ground or foundation. See my previous post on why your complaints have no foundation whatsoever. In summary, I take complaints from those with "unclean hands" with a very very large grain of salt.
Hypocritical "hi-p&-'kri-ti-k&l putting on a false
appearance of virtue or religion. In short, you paint yourself as an innocent
victim of gratuitous abuse and insults when all you want to do is have
reasoned, mature discussions. From what I have seen this is utterly untrue.
Believe it or not, when it comes to Usenet, I do not take complaints at
face value. I go into the group and look at the conflict underlying the
complaints before acting.
>and Jason feels important for a few minutes
This whole tiresome controversy does not really make me feel "important" at all. It actually makes me sad that I have to spend any time on it whatsoever. However, I do feel it necessary to occasionally post here to clarify PBI's position, even though I have a feeling I might as well be yelling at the sky.
As far as our legal problems go, I'm not exactly sure
what "hole" we've dug for ourselves in this case. PBI -- and all Internet
Service Providers, by definition of the term -- act as distributors, rather
than publishers, of material to the Internet, because they act as neutral
conduits for that material. Cubby, Inc. v. CompuServe Inc., 776 F. Supp.
135 (S.D.N.Y. 1991). Only in cases where a service takes affirmative steps
to regulate or monitor material *before* it is posted by its users (which
we do not) can that service be held liable for the material's content.
Stratton Oakmont, Inc. v. Prodigy Computer Services Inc. No. 031063/94
(N.Y. Sup. Ct. Nassau Co. 1995).
Mr. Wollmann is the only one who has abused PBI -- with
his repeated harassing attempts to contact me and my department against
my express wishes.
It is my job to interpret and enforce our AUP. Your opinion
of whether it has or has not been violated is of no consequence to me.
>All he does is post to harrass me-anyone with one eyeball can see that.
Anyone with one eyeball would still have the faculties
necessary to do a quick review of the history of this flame war and see
that you are equally -- if not more -- guilty of abuse than our customer.
>And the charter for alt.astrology.metapsych is being
clearly abused. If
Even if the First Amendment were to apply to ISP's (which it does not since their activities do not amount to state action -- please review your First Amendment law if you are unclear of what I mean by that), no one is being prohibited from speaking here. If anything, it is you who is trying to prevent all your detractors from taking issue with anything you say or post. How democratic and conducive to free speech is that?
I can only imagine what the poor postmaster at the ACLU is dealing with right now... presumably an endless onslaught of forwarded Usenet postings that have nothing to do with the important day-to-day work they do.
If anyone has any questions for me, please let me know.
------------------------------------------------ Jason Barr Policy Manager Pacific Bell Internet Services email@example.com ------------------------------------------------
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Steve
Atkins) Subject: Re: Abuse of the abuse process Date: 08 Jul 1999 00:00:00
GMT Message-ID: <email@example.com
On Thu, 08 Jul 1999 00:59:34 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Pamela
He's not a man. He's Ed Wollman. *Big* difference.
>He does this by sending many complaints about other regular
Yep. He's a complete and utter loon. In fact he gives
loons a bad name.
>My impression, FWIW, is that a lot of ISPs who are not
Well... if there's a choice of providers, move provider as the current one is so lacking in clue it's only a matter of time before they cross-connect the AC and the A/C and end up chilling the mailservers to death *anyway*.
Failing that, point the gentlemen running the abuse desk
at: http://www.xs4all.nl/~oracle/ed-w-con.htm http://www.paonline.com/rca/rob/Skeptic.htm
>This has been going on for some time, but what seems
to be increasing
If they can't afford a competent admin, you really don't
want to be their customer. It takes about ten minutes to confirm that Wollmann
is a complete raving loon. That's just due diligence.
>But some perfectly innocent people are having their use
of the net
Yep. And don't forget the kooks sock puppets.
>This particular kook is such a chronic problem that I
See the above.
>Some of us have tried to help by explaining to the ISPs
In *that* case you'd be far better off writing up the documentation just once, including the links that clarify Wollmanns clear need of medical help and slapping that up on a webpage, possibly including a canned "Wollmann is a kook, see this URL:" boilerplate letter too.
ObAlt.Astrology: Wollmann wouldn't know the difference between Pisces and Piskies. -- -- Steve Atkins -- email@example.com
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rebecca
Ore) Subject: Re: To those with a Conscience from the real Edmond Wollmann
Date: 13 Jul 1999 00:00:00 GMT Message-ID: <email@example.com
On Tue, 13 Jul 1999 13:45:24 -0700, Edmond H. Wollmann
One, Pacbell's AUP is with their clients, not with you. They interpret harassment to be something that a reasonable person could take as a real life threat. You come into a group (news.admin.net-abuse.usenet) where various people been threatened up and down for years, some trolls, some would-be serious, and some unclassifiable. And you're upset because people post into your group?
Whoever published your RL address -- possibly out of line. It would have been against the TOS of the ISP I know best. Pacbell defines harrassment pretty strictly. I've seen their definition posted here.
If you truly think you're being defamed and that what
has happened has cost you money, I'm afraid you need to take it to court,
not pester nanau. We've had people threaten some of us big time and so
all that's happened to you seems fairly minor.
>Black's law dictionary-Defamation="The offense of injuring
We ain't a law court, you idiot. That's the point you seem to be missing. Pacbell isn't responsible for what its clients post.
I told you again, politely, what you can do, and what you can expect nanau to do is absolutely nothing or be real rude because you seem to be less docile about being crazy than Archimedes Plutonium. You post into this group and expect us to feel that *you're* beseiged -- get over it. We certainly expect that you won't, but you've gotten the best advice on this.
You have a worthless charter given that you chose to made your group unmoderated.
I think you set it up to attempt to kill accounts and that it should be rmgrouped as a trap and public nuisiance. But I won't since you're doing great work in desensitizing ISPs to netcopping.
Again, even demons work for the good of the all, and have a nice time making Usenet unsafe for amateur netcopping.
-- Rebecca Ore