Don't Post Comments On StlToday.com Or They Might Tell Your Boss

from the how-nice-of-them dept

Via Romenesko comes this little gem of how the online editor of StlToday.com got upset about a "vulgar" comment that was left on a story. The editor, Kurt Greenbaum, noticed that the commenter in question's IP address was a local school, and contacted the school to alert them that someone from there had left a comment. And then:
"About six hours later, I heard from the school's headmaster...The headmaster confronted the employee, who resigned on the spot."
Lesson of the day? Don't post comments on StlToday.com or its editors may call your boss.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    senshikaze (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 4:58am

    How on earth did they now it was an employee.
    That dude needs a quick lesson in minding his own damned business.
    So. who else thought the river front times pictures on the article were awesome? I think we can add a few more. Though at least one doesn't have a picture as far as I know.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    NullOp, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 5:20am

    Resigned?

    Bad move. Never resign on the spot. Get a lawyer. Everything changes when you let a lawyer do your talking! Especially when dealing with self-righteous blowhards.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Kazi, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 5:31am

    Re: Resigned?

    Never resign period - especially if in a Union. Play stupid until the evidence is overwheling and/or, as pointed out, get a lawyer.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anon, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 5:33am

    Karma

    Kurt Greenbaum is a child. Grow a backbone you puss. I bet he felt joy getting someone fired in this job market. I hope that person has the ability to get a new job soon and is able to take care of them self.

    Taking someones livelihood because of a direct insult or a comment that peeved you somehow is duche-baggery.

    Kurt you asshole. From the bottom of my heart of hearts I hope you get hit by a bus and it makes national news.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 5:46am

    If the school has an acceptable use policy in place, and the faculty member violated it by posting the comment, he has no one to blame but himself for what happened. This is no different than telling an off-color joke in the break room without considering who might be listeining and who might be offended.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 5:48am

    Or you as the manager go and lie to the complainer to make him feel better LoL

    Did the guy confirm that someone quit that day?
    Has he any proof that it was done?

    It is incredible what people will believe this days :)

     

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  7.  
    icon
    Designerfx (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 5:49am

    he seems quite defensive

    Kurt has defended himself all over on twitter. Beyond the immediate response, I fail to see what harm or reason justifies telling the school's IP address what the commenter had done.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    vyvyan, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 5:54am

    Re:

    Take down your colored glasses, the world is still beautiful.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    John Doetrue, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 5:59am

    LoL

    I agree with "anonymous coward"
    "if the school has an acceptable use policy in place, and the faculty member violated it by posting the comment, he has no one to blame but himself for what happened"


    But then again it's also his fault he posted with his real name. If he would of used his CEO/Manager/Directors name now that would be awesome!

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 6:04am

    Why he(if he really quit) didn't use TOR?

    TOR was made exactly for these purpose :)

    There is some boss joke in there somewhere I know it LoL

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Kurt Greenbaum, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 6:10am

    Re:

    Yes, those are some funny pictures. I wonder what they taste like?

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Tor sucks, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 6:12am

    Tor sucks

    Maybe he didn't use TOR because he wanted reasonable throughput? Or because the school has Websense installed and Websense (the latest version) blocks TOR, but the school choose not to have it block StlToday?

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 6:21am

    Re:

    "If the school has an acceptable use policy in place"

    I think you missed the point.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Dont fire me, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 6:26am

    Re: LoL

    Really? - why?

    Most adults who work in the journalism field as an editor, would just delete the comment and get on with their busy day. Perhaps Kurt Greenbaum does not have enough to keep him busy and he entertains himself by irritating others.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 6:30am

    Re: Tor sucks

    Or maybe - if they have an acceptable use policy in place, and the faculty member would've violated it by using TOR ...

     

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  16.  
    icon
    Overcast (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 6:38am

    Re: Resigned?

    Bad move. Never resign on the spot. Get a lawyer. Everything changes when you let a lawyer do your talking! Especially when dealing with self-righteous blowhards.

    Ehhh, depends...

    I bet they didn't even want him to resign - he may have done it out of spite.

    I'm saying that - because I did that. My wife and I were both working a lot - had a good savings built up and the job market was good. I was being 'threatened' to get wrote up for something I didn't do - and even other co-workers agreed it was clear it wasn't my fault.

    So I cam in that night, when I had to go to the office I told the boss I guess he was working second shift tonight too and walked out the door.

    Just depends on your situation :) Sometimes that can sting more that fighting anything, lol

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    webguy_, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 6:38am

    web censor's

    He should have used an anonymiser then he could of spoken freely with retrobution.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 6:55am

    Re: Re:

    why not take a little lick of your arm and tell us

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 6:58am

    Re: Tor sucks

    Fine you don't like TOR I get it LoL

    He could have use it then a webproxy, like hidemyass, anonymouse or a thousand others or you can use plugins like the firefox foxyproxy or you can get a VPN or you can install your own VPN(openVPN) anywhere you can get a virtual machine in.

    Is not that difficult there is even directions in youtube on how to do it in any way one would like or imagine.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Mechwarrior, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 7:02am

    Re:

    So your breakroom is nebulous and ill defined, and consists of anonymous users who spoof their IP's ?

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 7:17am

    You should not need to anonymize yourself just to post a comment

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    Skout (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 7:24am

    I wonder how well he'd sleep at night

    ...if stltoday.com fired HIM for being a dumbass. I'm guess his self-righteousness might fade a little.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 7:34am

    @21:

    Respectfully I disagree if you are going to be nasty you should have the good sense to expect retaliation. We are not all equals in the mind form, we think and react differently and pass that to others that is why anonymity was granted in the U.S. constitution because the forefathers new then what is true now.

    People will try to get you if they don't like what you said.

    Those people feed on the fears that others have and it works very well today as it did in pre-historic times.

    That fact alone should be the foundation for people to be very careful when granting others monopolies or extra-rights and powers.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 7:34am

    @21:

    Respectfully I disagree if you are going to be nasty you should have the good sense to expect retaliation. We are not all equals in the mind form, we think and react differently and pass that to others that is why anonymity was granted in the U.S. constitution because the forefathers new then what is true now.

    People will try to get you if they don't like what you said.

    Those people feed on the fears that others have and it works very well today as it did in pre-historic times.

    That fact alone should be the foundation for people to be very careful when granting others monopolies or extra-rights and powers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Monarch, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 7:36am

    Got more of the scoop

    The editor did not do an ARIN search for the IP owner, the IP actually listed itself as the school. The editor only contacted the school, AFTER, the original post was deleted, and was posted a 2nd time.
    Because it was a school, the editor DID the right thing and contacted the school, as it could have been a student posting VULGAR remarks. This could have been a teaching opportunity for the school to teach a kid a little respect for the female anatomy. Instead it was the Principal of the school that needed some education on respect. In most companies, the remark could have been a firing offense for what was posted. He was lucky he resigned, as the school board would have probably fired him immediately.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    komodocity, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 7:55am

    Employee resigned on the spot...

    What if the school headmaster said that just to make Greenbaum go away.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 8:03am

    Re: Got more of the scoop

    "Because it was a school, the editor DID the right thing and contacted the school, as it could have been a student posting VULGAR remarks."

    Right, because that's the job of an editor: to be the language police and potentially teach young people "respect for the female anatomy."

    The editor was so far over the line, so obviously and clearly wrong and unethical, that I actually have a little respect for the size of the balls he must have not only to not apologize about it, but to actually write a post bragging about it. I stand in awe.

    He has taught me one thing -- avoid STL online, as any publication that keeps such a person in a position of authority is one that isn't worth my time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    JJ, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 8:04am

    wow

    I think there may be privacy violations of what this guy did (ie report the comment by using the IP address). Sue Sue Sue

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 8:07am

    Anyone think it would be hilarious if we all complain about Greenbaum's lack of professional behavior to StlToday management? (and of course he gets fired)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    dorp, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 8:09am

    Re: Got more of the scoop

    I bet Monarch is the editor himself trying to white knight himself.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 8:33am

    Privacy policy

    I won't set foot (or click) near the site to find out, but does STLToday have a privacy policy? If so, I imagine this is a massive violation. I hope the employee sues them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    Free Capitalist (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 8:35am

    Re: Got more of the scoop

    DID the right thing and contacted the school, as it could have been a student posting VULGAR remarks.


    At first I thought, "wow, what a petty, vindictive, free-speech-hating ass to have dropped dime over an absurd comment".

    Then I read your comment and remembered that the first amendment had been suspended "for the children" in the 80's.

    There's no moral panic like the moral panic created by the possibility of foul-mouthed children existing in our public school system.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Stuart, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 8:59am

    From stltoday.com website privacy policy.
    "We will not share individual user information with third parties unless the user has specifically approved the release of that information."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Note, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 9:34am

    Re: Got more of the scoop

    "the IP actually listed itself as the school."

    I think you meant URL, because ip addr is just numbers.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 9:48am

    Re: Re: Got more of the scoop

    Yeah, everyone knows that school policy trumps consitutional rights anyway!

    Seriously, he should look at the newspaper's terms and conditions. If the newspaper violated them by contacting his employer, then he OWNS them and he OWNS Greenbaum.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 9:50am

    Re: Re: Got more of the scoop

    Remember, the schools IP address can't have 69 in it. That would be obscene.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 10:22am

    There are a TON of problems with Mr. Greenbaum's actions:

    - As a reporter for a newspaper, he basically "outed" an anonymous poster because he didn't like what that poster was posting. Would he someday do the same for an anonymous news source he doesn't like?

    - The site's privacy policy clearly states: "We will not share individual user information with third parties unless the user has specifically approved the release of that information." Mr. Greenbaum's actions would seem to be a direct violation of their privacy policy.

    - Not only did he take action resulting in someone losing their job (they very likely "resigned" to avoid being fired outright), but then he felt the need to post about it. He apparently has no remorse about causing someone to lose their job, and in fact seems quite proud of his actions.

    - From the comments, it sounds like there are far worse comments (racial epithets, etc.) which are allowed to stand, whereas this particular comment was singled out for retribution. One commenter likened his "enforcement" actions to a cop who allows cars to race by at 50mph over the speed limit, before pulling over someone going only 5mph over. Comment moderation sounds like it's terribly inconsistent and enforced in a very spotty manner.

    - Speaking of moderation, could they not have just deleted the comments and blocked the poster's IP? Did they have to track the person down and tattle to their employer?

    - Did Mr. Greenbaum consult his boss, or his newspaper's legal department, before taking these actions? Or was he flying solo on this? Should legal action result from this, I'm sure this will be a pertinent question.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    JJ, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 12:17pm

    i'd like to see Greenbaum get canned for this + the commenter to sue the site. That would be funny to watch all that pan out and the pie ending up on Greenbaum's face when the dust $ettle$.

    All that could have just been avoided by clicking the delete function or by banning the IP address from their site.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Mike, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 12:51pm

    Hoax

    I am betting that this is a hoax.

    Just a month ago Greenbaum wrote an article and tweeted about hoaxes in the media. What motivates people to do them, etc.

    Now, it sounds like all the details come straight from Greenbaum. A guy wrote a naughty word on there. Not verified by anyone else. Greenbaum and his unnamed colleague took down the comment. Not verified by anyone. Greenbaum emailed the unnamed school. Not verified by anyone. The unnamed headmaster called back and said the guy quit. Not verified by anyone.

    The story is outlandish anyway. No school headmaster is going to do what Greenbaum claims.

    I think he's just made up his own hoax to point out the dangers of social media.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    batch, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 2:19pm

    At least the readers are pointing out that he violated the privacy policy, hopefully they'll go further and stop reading that website.

    Also, no one casually recognizes an IP address that has nothing to do with them. That fact that he claims to recognize IP addresses belonging to organizations unrelated to his own is suspicious in and of itself.

    Reading that guys comments, insisting he sleeps well, he deserves everything bad that comes to him because of this.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    okey oyna, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 2:49pm

    hello friends

    so, no one casually recognizes an IP address that has nothing to do with them. That fact that he claims to recognize IP addresses belonging to organizations unrelated to his own is suspicious in and of itself.

    Reading that guys comments, insisting he sleeps well, he deserves everything bad that comes to him because of this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    vyvyan, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 2:53pm

    Re:

    Actually the site asked very dubious question, "Strangest food you've ever eaten?" They should have been more specific about what they're asking and what they don't want to know. The innocent user replied honestly.

    They should have mentioned, "If the strangest food you've ate is a part of female anatomy, please don't tell us. We already know that it's strangest of them all."

    Sue 'em all.

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Cow (wut?), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 4:29pm

    Re: this

    It's actually been an entertaining read on the paper's website regarding this fellow's blog and the subsequent comments and piss poor defense of them by Mr Kurt. He has a lofty "director of new media" type title, and it was (so far as I can figure out) not really that offensive (rhymes with wussy!) It hardly seems he was disrespecting that part of the female anatomy lol, quite the opposite.

    The comments are quite well thought out most of them, and lots of them seem to say that hey, this is why old media fails, as apparently regular racist commentary goes unchecked on the site. Hardly seems like a reason to get a person fired.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    teknosapien, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 6:20pm

    Wow weird

    What a great way to drive people to your site and generate hits. Of course this is from a newspaper and we all know that they get tons of traffic now.

    seems kind of Ironic that an institution that thrives on free speech is one that has a problem with free speech

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    okey oyna, Nov 22nd, 2009 @ 4:55am

    okey oyna

    you are the butterfly

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Glenn, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 6:19am

    My, my, my...

    How dare someone express a personal opinion during a coffee break at work! What's the world coming to when people think they actually have any human right to be, you know, human.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 3:21pm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 1:09pm

    Leonhard Euler was the greatest mathematician of the eighteenth century and one of the smartest men of all time. His list of 886 papers and books may be beat only by Paulrdos. Euler's works fills about 90 volumes. Much of this is from the the last two decades of his life when he was totally.
    He was born and educated in Basel, Switzerland; Euler spent most of his career in St. Petersburg and Berlin. He joined the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences in 1727. In 1741 he went to Berlin because Frederick the Great invited him, but he and Frederick never got on well and in 1766 he returned to St. Petersburg, where he remained until his death. St. Petersburg Academy continued publishing his work posthumously for more than 30 years. Euler married twice and had 13 children, though all but five of them died young. He was really really good at math he was like the best ever. Some people called him the song bird of his generation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 1:10pm

    Leonhard Euler was the greatest mathematician of the eighteenth century and one of the smartest men of all time. His list of 886 papers and books may be beat only by Paulrdos. Euler's works fills about 90 volumes. Much of this is from the the last two decades of his life when he was totally.
    He was born and educated in Basel, Switzerland; Euler spent most of his career in St. Petersburg and Berlin. He joined the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences in 1727. In 1741 he went to Berlin because Frederick the Great invited him, but he and Frederick never got on well and in 1766 he returned to St. Petersburg, where he remained until his death. St. Petersburg Academy continued publishing his work posthumously for more than 30 years. Euler married twice and had 13 children, though all but five of them died young. He was really really good at math he was like the best ever. Some people called him the song bird of his generation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Change of Address, Jan 20th, 2010 @ 6:27am

    EEK!

    I'm glad I've stayed away from leaving "flame" comments on blogs- not that I haven't been tempted! That's some pretty scary blowback to have someone call your boss and threaten your employment.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    scary, Jan 20th, 2010 @ 8:53am

    CRIMES AGAINST POSTERITY
    SWINE FLU SWINDLE
    SWINES FLEW IN TOP HATS
    Glaxo is just a marketing hand
    so who sold that vacc to the whole world carrying seeds of the next pandemic?
    What state, what monster?
    When failed, getting away to try again?
    Like Oklahoma
    your comment must be approved by
    OH YEAH?
    guess where all the internet monitoring flows to and you guessed where that vaccine maker sits
    According to a list compiled by Dr. Patricia Doyle at rense.com, a host of strange ingredients are used to make up Hoffman-La Roche's anti-flu drug Tamiflu, which has recently been connected with bizarre behavior,
    Patients using Tamiflu -- which many nations are stocking up on as a way to combat a possible pandemic of the deadly H5N1 bird flu -- reported delirium, hallucinations, delusions, convulsions, disturbed consciousness and abnormal behavior. The FDA reports that side effects reported with Tamiflu include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bronchitis, stomach pain, dizziness and headache.
    ANTI-MONOPOLISTS VERY QUIET ON JUST ONE FIRM ''SERVING'' THE WHOLE WORLD

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    ambalaj, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 1:52pm

    ambalaj

    Yeah, everyone knows that school policy trumps consitutional rights anyway! noo school

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    SEO Services, Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 3:24pm

    SEO Services

    Don't know what is wrong what is rite but i know that every one has there own point of view and same goes to this one..SEO Services

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    sağlık, Oct 25th, 2010 @ 4:01am

    algevis

    Is not nothin much to say about this page. I think a very successful and useful.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    marrisa, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 7:56am

    mm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Okey Oyna, Nov 5th, 2010 @ 2:40am

    Thans

    I think there may be privacy violations of what this guy did (ie report the comment by using the IP address). Sue Sue Sue

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Okey Oyna, Nov 5th, 2010 @ 2:40am

    Thans

    I think there may be privacy violations of what this guy did (ie report the comment by using the IP address). Sue Sue Sue

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Okey oyna, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 5:03pm

    Thank you

    Be careful about the boss, do not get caught :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    Martin, Mar 29th, 2011 @ 7:17am

    Band from online store for asking for tracking information.

    I order some items from an online store and revived an email with in minutes. The email told me that in 24 hours my order would be processed. And the tracking number would be good to use. Almost five days later I emailed the site that claims to opperate 24/7 after the tracking number did nothing and asked" please give me accurate tracking number. Please don't give me concern to contact the BBB or have my credit card blocked" because of this email I got a response saying I had been blocked from that store and every one of their "1000s" of affiliates. My name email card IP , and shipping address had been BLACK LiSTED. Did I really step out of line? What has happened to customer survive? Answers?!?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    icon
    sprearson81 (profile), Jun 9th, 2012 @ 5:54am

    Wow, just wow at this article.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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