Now what do I do about THIS?

Posted by: Barbara

Now what do I do about THIS? - 02/06/00 04:06 PM

This weekend I received e-mail from a woman who is one of the organizers of an upcoming convention; she wanted to know if I was planning to attend. I said no, I wasn't. The first half of her next e-mail was about the convention, but then she wrote this:
The second reason would be to have the opportunity to meet you face to face. You see, I've made an interesting discovery. You have a 'twin' of sorts. This is not major, but you need to be aware of it.

I run a listserve on writing technique and one of our members has your same name. Not a problem, certainly, but we have discerned that she has a tendency to inflate her reputation somewhat and has made some
claims about her skills and accomplishments that are clearly impossible for normal mortals.

Here is the tricky part. There are members of the group that have gotten the impression that she is the one who put up your website and wrote your books. At this point I'm trying to politely and carefully find out if 'our' Barbara Paul is now or ever did actually 'claim' them. If she did, you will get full notification complete with any documentation we are able to collect..

I'm hoping that she didn't actually do something as foolish as to claim your website and reputation as hers. But while I've not met her personally, her own reputation precedes her. It is possible.

Although I don't suspect that she would be a bother to you professionally, you need to know that this situation exists. She is a Georgia gal who just enjoys having people in her small pond think she is a big fish. As more information comes in, I'll keep you informed.

Sorry to be the bearer of odd news. I'm not in Louis's class as a detective, but we'll get the job done. Just no Tasmanian Devils, please!
Obviously this is no major disaster in the making; it's just some woman puffing herself up at my expense. But I will admit it's a small thorn in my side. I'll wait to see what my correspondant turns up, but I do want to put an end to it.

The most obvious solution would be for me to subscribe to the mailing list myself and there make it clear there's more than one Barbara Paul in the world. But that strikes me as firing off a cannon to kill a gnat.

Are there any strategists around here? I'm open to suggestion.

[This message has been edited by Barbara (edited 02-06-2000).]
Posted by: David Dvorkin

Re: Now what do I do about THIS? - 02/06/00 05:37 PM

What an unfortunate situation.

Maybe the best thing to do would be to join the mailing list and just watch for a while to see what she posts. Then you could politely step in and step on if appropriate.
Posted by: PH

Re: Now what do I do about THIS? - 02/06/00 08:23 PM

I second David's suggestion. I did the like myself in a couple of Genie topics where I felt I needed to know what was being said, without contributing to the conversation except (very infrequently) to correct egregious misstatements before too many people took them at face value.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Now what do I do about THIS? - 02/06/00 09:26 PM

Subscribe and lurk? Yes, that might be a good compromise. Thanks for the suggestion.

Already I feel like a spy.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Now what do I do about THIS? - 02/06/00 09:29 PM

Yes, I agree. I think I'd be dying to know what she was saying and if I could lurk, I certainly would.

As for "what to do" - well, maybe I should ask our resident lawyer to check in here....although, unless she is actually trying to profit from pretending to be you, I'd say there probably isn't any legal recourse.

[This message has been edited by Kay (edited 02-06-2000).]
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Now what do I do about THIS? - 02/07/00 03:16 AM

Originally posted by Barbara:
I'll wait to see what my correspondant turns up.

So probably the best advice at present is to do nothing and see what evidence there is. Then ...

Originally posted by Barbara:
The most obvious solution would be for me to subscribe to the mailing list myself

If it's a real listserve - i.e. if it runs on listserv software - then it's quite possible that it has WWW archives that you can look at, like those for opera-l. If that's the case, then you probably wouldn't even need to subscribe - just do a search for barbara paul and see what it comes up with.

(If you do the same in the opera-l archives, by the way - just type barbara paul into the "Search for" box and hit the "Start" button - you turn up quite a few mentions of Caruso, Farrar and co. (only the first one is unfavourable!), with a bit of noise from performances where Barbara Bonney and Paul Plishka appeared together.)

(Footnote to Operatic Jeopardy players - this facility can be quite useful: it solved Jon's Nordica question and Barbara's Jeritza one for me!)
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Now what do I do about THIS? - 02/13/00 10:17 AM

Update. The archives of the mailing list in question are restricted to subscribers, so I wasn't able to do any searching myself. The woman who wrote to me couldn't find anything, um, "incriminating" when she searched. So she has offered to forward any pertinent future message to me.

And that may well be the last I ever hear of it. Tempest in a teapot? I just don't know.