India Uncut

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Friday, January 28, 2005

A clarification

Update (May 27, 2005): I'm replacing the protagonist's name in this story with [bleep]. He's moved on, and I don't see why his past should haunt him forever.

I thought the [bleep] affair would be over with his apology, but there are still matters left unresolved. I get emails every day asking, "But what about the credit-card fraud he is alleged to have committed?"

Well, here's the rub: my tone in that post was, I now realise, too harsh. I stand by what I set out to do: bring to public attention a mechanism on [bleep's] site that I thought was suspicious. It offered you any domain you wanted to buy, including, as this screenshot shows, for sale. And I think you would agree that you cannot sell what you do not own, as Ravages points out in this post. However, my tone was too harsh. So let me make amends now:

One, I should not have speculated on what that mechanism could be used for. I should simply have pointed it out and allowed people to come to their own conclusions.

Two, the words. "credit-card fraud", should not, need not, have been used. No credible alternate explanation came to mind or has been offered since, but I overdid my journalistic zeal by speculating on it. What was in the public domain, that mechanism, spoke for itself, and I should have let it.

I do not buy the point that we should not report crime without evidence. As responsible citizens, we should report any suspicious activity that we come across, and I will continue to believe in that. Otherwise, no crime would ever get reported.

However, in my zeal, I went overboard. I am sorry for that.

I stand by everything else. I am delighted that my fellow bloggers and I took collective action to expose a plagiarist and to protect our intellectual property. We will continue taking a zero-tolerance policy towards such theft. And we will continue to report, as responsible journalists and citizens should, any suspicious activity that we come across. But we will put the facts out there, and let those facts speak for themselves. I, and I alone among the group of bloggers who took this action, crossed that line with my zeal. It is a lesson learned.
amit varma, 1:01 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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