Mena Trott 1, Ben Metcalfe 0

Last December, Six Apart founder Mena Trott gave an infamous speech about online civility where she called out one of her critics in the event's IRC backchannel, an audience member using the pseudonym dotBen:

Who is dotBen? All day yesterday you've been an ------- to the people who've been in this town and I want to know why don't you, why, what the ----?

DotBen turned out to be Ben Metcalfe, at the time a technologist at the BBC, who stood up and said that candor is more important than civility.

Yesterday on his blog, Metcalfe got an anonymous comment in response to one of his posts:

Yes google can shove it. And you can go ---- yourself.

Metcalfe called out his anonymous critic for incivility:

Dude, you're not quite as anonymous as you think. And if you want to chat ---- like that without even putting a name to the remark, then I don't feel to bad about giving our your IP address:

Hmmm a quick google (it was google, this time!) and I notice you once tried to add to the Wikipedia Entry for Xeni Jardin and have been trolling the Phoenix Arizona entry (which I notice is where you are from).

Sure, you could be on a dynamic IP but seeing as the only instances of this IP address that I can find is more trolling (like your comment here) it looks like this is you ...


Some time ago I decided to do what I could to bring the Mena/Me thing to a close - because it's just time for everyone to move on. However I'm 'breaking silence on that' I guess with this because what you're written here on this post is not actually accurate.

I didn't call the anonymous person out for incivility - if you go through my blog there are plenty of comments with people writing far worse then that to slag me off. In fact my blog is often banned by corporate firewalls because of the language I let people use on their comments about me.

I called him because he didn't state who he was: "You want to chat shit like that without even putting a name to the remark", not because he was being uncivil.

Before you say "well dotBen was an anonymous handle" - it's not and was not at the time. I've been known as dotBen (and even run a business called dotBen Interactive Systems) for many years -- it's just that Mena didn't know who I was (regardless of whether I wrote as dotBen or Ben Metcalfe).

I've done my best to let the Mena/Me thing lie for sometime - it's time for everyone to move on especially with it being almost a year on now. But what you've written here in your blog post is not actually an accurate representation of why I did what I did on my blog and I feel it needs to be addressed.

It's a shame you couldn't have asked me directly for an explanation - which I would have been happy for you to quote on your post.

Does anyone want to hear comments from an old radio guy about what it was like actually working at stations as, variously, and announcer, salesman, programmer and engineer? I'd sure like to share my adventures. Lot of them funny and/or serious/funny. :)


Hal Evans


It's not clear from your post what you did "to bring the Mena/Me thing to a close."

I suppose a public apology would have done it.

Is that what you did?


A public apology might not have done it in this case.

Hal, I am interested...

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