From: Mimi Kahn
Subject: AOL Is Trying to Silence Us Again
Date: 25 Aug 1995 18:12:45 GMT
Organization: Megabyte Press

AOL is trying to silence us again -- this time me rather than James Egelhof.

Not long ago, in context, I posted something about how an early beta version of the AOL Web browser had reduced my hard disk to a mass of lost file clusters, lost directory clusters, and cross-linked files. At the time, all I got from AOL's Windows beta staff was, "Well, it didn't happen to ME." It *did* happen to others; beta testers *do* talk among themselves.

(I can now admit to being an AOL beta tester because I've resigned from beta and from AOL as a whole.) (Maybe that should have been "AOL as a hole.")

Later, of course, the beta staff *did* recognize the problem, but didn't know what caused it. Ultimately, they found a buggy .DLL file that, as I understand it, didn't allow files to be properly written to the disk under certain circumstances, causing chaos.

Well, lo and behold, who should appear in my mailbox but Gene Steinberg, that self-proclaimed AOL Mac guru and author, who accused me of not knowing what I was talking about -- *many* things could have caused my problem, etc. -- and giving me the same old AOL line of bull -- *he* hadn't heard about it, therefore it hadn't happened.

I wrote back with further details of what *had* happened and asked him please not to write to me again.

He did, of course. He demanded "written documentation" for my assertions and talked down to me as though I were a little child -- or merely a female. (I *am* a female -- one who has run UNIX and Novell networks.)

I responded: "What part of 'Don't write to me again' don't you understand?" and referred him to the Windows beta team *by names* for further substantiation of what I had said. I reminded him that he was a *Mac* person, and that this was a *Windows* problem, which was perhaps why he hadn't heard of it. And I told him again to stop writing or I would be forced to write to TOS at AOL, charging him with harassment.

So good old wrote a letter to, charging me with lying on the Internet and insulting him by e-mail! Gene apparently wants me to lose my Internet connection.

I sent the whole thread to,, and Hooked.

But doesn't this seem to be the sort of attempted intimidation AOL is so good at? Rather than improve its deficiencies, AOL tries to harass and silence its critics.

Another regular here commented to me last night about the increasing number of personal attacks leveled at me recently -- that I must be really getting to them for this to occur.

I guess we *all* are getting to them. So watch out for even more of the same as AOL tries to survive with the exodus of its dissatisfied members to the Microsoft Network and the Internet.

Good ol' boy Gene Steinberg notwithstanding, I think these are positive signs.


Charter Member, The Lunatic Fringe
(the rest home for the psychologically interesting) --

Subject: Re: America OnMafia
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 19:52:37 GMT

Kiralynne wrote:

>America Ondrugs does in fact use a very heavy hand on its critics within
>their system. I am concerned they may reach out and harm critics outside
>their system.

Employees of AOL, and under their AOL accounts, in fact have made attempts against Netizens outside the 'big house.'

This is evidenced by's attempt to threaten someone's (ok, I forgot exactly who, Egelhof? Finley?) ISP with legal action over an anti- AOL WWW page.

This is also evidenced by's numerous e-mails to different postmasters (including mine), wherein he calls newsgroup flames "libelous."

AOL has always claimed these individuals (I'm sure those two aren't the only ones) were not acting as AOL representatives when they committed those acts but I doubt that would stand up in court, if it came to that.

From: (Haydie)
Subject: Re: America OnMafia
Date: 17 Oct 1995 11:06:12 -0400
Organization: Widomaker Public Access Unix, (804) 221-8070

In article <>, Mimi Kahn wrote:
> wrote:
>> This is also evidenced by's numerous e-mails to different
>> postmasters (including mine), wherein he calls newsgroup flames "libelous."
>MEE TOO!!!!!1!

Pleez add me to ur lizt of peeple jean hatez.

>He also accused me of insulting him (I guess by telling him not to write
>to me any more) and of lying on the Net (when I described in detail what
>an early beta of the AOL Windows Web browser did to my hard drive and the
>lack of response I had from AOL when I tried to report the bug -- which was
>acknowledged and fixed only *much* later).

---------------------Begin Included Text-----------------

Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 19:26:54 -0400
The message you forwarded to me was sent prior to the time you said you
didn't want to respond to any questions I had with regard to your public
campaign against America Online (such as demands that the service be
boycotted that are used as part of your Internet signature) and your use of
inflammatory and threatening language against that service.
[In other words, he felt that he had every right to respond to every message that had been sent to him before I finally got fed up and said "stop bothering me!" Got news for Gene-- when someone says "Any further contact will be considered harrassment" that means *any contact from that point on*. Also, I think it's quite curious that Gene sees my .sig as *demanding* a boycott and sees my language as threatening...]
I am certain AOL's Terms of Service people are aware of your campaign against

If you continue to make misstatements in public about me, how could you
expect I shall not answer to correct the record (at least in public)?

For the record: I consider your statements about me and America Online to be
harassment and of a treatening nature, and I ask that you not speak of me
publicly nor send me private e-mail any further.
[He tries to turn the whole thing around.]
If you continue to attempt to harass me or others from this service, I shall
see that the administrators of your Internet provider are notified as well.

Forwarded message:
From: (Haydie)
Date: 95-09-13 18:10:23 EDT

What part of harrasment don't you understand? This is the third time you have contacted me after I plainly told you that your emails to me were considered by myself to be harrassing and that you should not contact me via email any further.

On Tue, 12 Sep 1995 wrote:

---------------End of Included Text------------------

Incidentally, Gene only Cc:'ed my administrator after I added the Cc: to TOS (in place of the Bcc:).

>> AOL has always claimed these individuals (I'm sure those two aren't the
>> only ones) were not acting as AOL representatives when they committed those
>> acts but I doubt that would stand up in court, if it came to that.
>I strongly suspect that AOL encourages this behavior. I complained to AOL's
>postmaster about Gene's harassment (his refusal to stop sending me e-mail
>even when asked to several times), and I didn't even get the courtesy of a

Really? Come to think of it, I didn't get a postmaster response, but I finally *did* see Gene stop mailing me and posting as well. Then again, I guess I knew some people higher up in the AOL food chain...

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --
                      BOYCOTT AMERICA ONLINE
Censorship * Excessive Pricing Schemes * Unfair Employment Practices
* Inadequate Features * Poor Customer Service * False Advertising *
     Net Leach Philosophy * Frivolous Legal Threats to Critics

In a recent e-mail Gene Steinberg said his speculation in Time was
based on the fact that posters had written to his postmaster.

From: (Mimi Kahn)
Subject: Re: Come back to the five and dime, Adam Bailey, Adam Bailey
Date: Thu, 09 May 1996 03:29:57 GMT
Organization: Megabyte Press

On Wed, 08 May 1996 18:53:08 GMT, (Richard Cretan) wrote:
>Miller and Winterer are wavering in their allegiance
>to AOL -- but still not overfond of their teammates in
> you heard? We abuse killfiles and we're BIGOTS!

Hey, you're obviously a Man of the World, Richard, so tell me this -- if using a killfile to preclude dealing with a pain in the neck who won't stop writing to you (and he still is -- I see the messages flash by on their way to the trash) is "abusing" that killfile, what's the proper use of a killfile?

Or do you just *have* one and clutch it to your ear like a security blanket?

(As for Miller, all I can say is that Gene Steinberg must be his mentor. You know, the Use of E-Mail as an Offensive Weapon 101.)


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