The current owner of SPAM-L, a long-time anti-spam discussion mailing list, announced on September 3rd that long-time subscriber Rich Kulawiec's ability to participate in the list has been terminated.
This appeared to be in response to Rich's caustic and threatening comments made to a fellow subscriber, an employee of a company called Marketo. After receiving negative feedback regarding the comments he made to the Marketo employee, he responded with a statement, made publicly to the list, that included the phrase "summary execution." Here is an excerpt from one of his posts on August 24 (emphasis added):
"Morever, I think my remarks were extraordinarily forgiving and magnanimous: as you may recall, I'm on the record advocating the death penalty for spammers, so my *preferred* solution would be the summary execution of every single Marketo employee. However, in the interest of collegiality, I've generously refrained from asking them to make that happen, and have only asked that they take the basic steps that everyone in civilized societies takes when they're doing something wrong: stop it, admit it, apologize for it, and make it right. That's a pretty massive concession on my part -- more than collegial, it's damned generous."
Discussion on the list suggested that the list owner felt that this was "the last straw," saying that Rich had seemingly violated the list's rules for collegial behavior on multiple occasions.
What say you, internet community? Were Rich's comments appropriate? Was removal from the list in response appropriate? Personally, I do think that his comments merited this result. A line was crossed; the conversation seemingly turned from a simple disagreement to a potential threat of physical violence. I know that I am not the only person who wondered if that Marketo employee (or other employees) should be concerned for her safety after what could be perceived as a veiled threat.