June 24, 2003


The entertaining virtual War of the Moxies may have led to a sinister real-world problem. Well, more than a problem. Moxie Pop, accused of stealing Moxie.nu’s identity, has now lost her job. Jim Treacher explains:

A week ago today, the president of her company got a fax from a blocked number, claiming to be from a potential client who would never do business with a company that employed someone like her. She wasn't allowed to see the fax, and that's all the HR person would tell her when she was made aware of it last Thursday. She was fired that same day, without even a chance to clean out her desk. She's still in shock, but she's trying to find out the details of the fax, whether there's any way to find out who sent it, and what she can do about it.

Jim makes many sound points in his post, mostly along the lines of “Calm down, you freakin’ morons! What the hell, someone has a similar name? Let’s all kill each other then!” And so on. By the way, the person who sent that fax? You ain’t right. Anybody who supported such an extreme response? You ain't right neither. But you know that. The unusual feelings you are experiencing now are called "guilt" and "shame".

Posted by Tim Blair at June 24, 2003 01:46 PM

I just want to clarify before people jump in here ... what my company did wasn't wrong. They weren't the cause of this -- moxie.nu's fan/friend/whatever who went by the nick "NP" is at fault.

That is all.

Posted by: Moxie Pop at June 24, 2003 at 02:07 PM

If you were fired because of some bullshit fax, then the company was wrong. I think we might all want to fax the company and tell them we won't ever be doing business with them given their lousy handling of this issue.

Posted by: Tim Shell at June 24, 2003 at 02:13 PM

Nope, I disagree. I did violate company policy (along with everyone else who's ever checked their Hotmail at work :P) and I have no problem with what they did. It was a great company, and it still is.

What this NP person did, however, is absolutely illegal (not to mention immoral, etc.).

Posted by: Moxie Pop at June 24, 2003 at 02:23 PM

Technically, your company was in the right, since you used their network for non-work purposes during business hours. But... it's still ridiculous that they fired you for an anonymous fax and a webpage.

You're right, though, that whoever sent that fax is truly in the wrong. Unless they really are a customer who won't be coming back (which is, admittedly, a slim chance). Then they're just stupid.

I never mentioned this situation on my blog, I just thought it was silly. Now I wish I'd taken your side.

Posted by: Matt Moore at June 24, 2003 at 02:34 PM

Matt: The fax was anonymous and from a blocked number, sent the same morning as NP was on right-thinking.com telling me to watch my back. That's just a *bit* too much of a coincidence for my tastes :)

Posted by: Moxie Pop at June 24, 2003 at 02:47 PM

How did np find out where you work? That's just too damn creepy.

Posted by: Claudia at June 24, 2003 at 03:33 PM

Claudia: I have no idea ... I can see how they could figure out my name or where I live, but not that. But hey, that's for the cops to sort out, right? :)

Posted by: Moxie Pop at June 24, 2003 at 03:35 PM

SO did they sack you because of the fax (which is a real twat act)or was it because you checked your hotmail at work (which is bit of a twat act)?

Posted by: Toryhere at June 24, 2003 at 03:56 PM

N.P. sounds like a nasty bit of work, and doesn't read like a customer of a company.N.P. might consider,if discovered, his/her employer might not care to retain N.P. any further on the strength of the above.

Posted by: d at June 24, 2003 at 04:02 PM

Obviously the humanoid behind Moxie.nu thinks highly of herself. She shouldn't. Her website/blog is a piece of dung.

Posted by: Wallace at June 24, 2003 at 04:02 PM

Am I the only cynical, nasty old SOB that suspects that there is less to this than meets the eye. I find it difficult to believe that some random person can, by means of a single fax, convince the management of a business that (a) they are a genuine, significant customer, and (b) that they are going to take their business elsewhere because of the online activities of a minor functionary.

Maybe there was a fax, and as a result of it, management investigated the extent of MP's posting, leading to this result. In which case, the person who sent the fax is clearly scum, but it changes the story a bit, doesn't it?

I'm prepared to fly solo on this one, too: I'm finding the Eva Peron act across multiple weblogs just a little nauseating. Maybe it's perverse, but I'd feel a little more sympathetic towards someone who wasn't trying so hard to milk it for all it's worth.

Posted by: Mork at June 24, 2003 at 04:14 PM

Mork - If my place of work got an anonymous fax that pointed my boss towards my blog I'd get fired. Hell, maybe that was why I got fired.

Posted by: Matt Moore at June 24, 2003 at 04:37 PM

No doubt, Matt, but that's slightly different to what's been represented here.

Was she fired because of lies that someone told in a fax, or because her employers became aware of existing facts (ie, the fact that she ran a blog from work, etc.)?

That's my only question.

Posted by: Mork at June 24, 2003 at 04:40 PM

Moxie Pop - yea, I agree it's related to this ridiculousness. I just hate that that's true.

Posted by: Matt Moore at June 24, 2003 at 04:47 PM

Mork - I think we agree, now that I actually read your whole comment. It still sucks to be fired, even for a good reason, because of an anonymous fax. Whoever sent it deserves to rot.

Posted by: Matt Moore at June 24, 2003 at 04:49 PM

Um -- did she actually "run a blog from work"? I don't recall that detail being mentioned.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 24, 2003 at 04:58 PM

Well, she said she checked Hotmail etc., which from the employer's POV may be the same thing (that is, personal use of Internet)

Posted by: mark at June 24, 2003 at 05:22 PM

Wait, no she didn't. My bad.

Posted by: mark at June 24, 2003 at 05:24 PM

I still cannot believe this was all over a friggin' blogname; gives me a weird, Archduke Prince Ferdinand/WWI vibe...

Posted by: Herr Flynn at June 24, 2003 at 05:32 PM

Flynn - good analogy. I was shocked to learn that the whole twentieth century could be shaped by the death of that dude in seventh grade.

Posted by: Matt Moore at June 24, 2003 at 05:41 PM

Ferdinand was in seventh grade? (Sorry -- couldn't resist...)

Posted by: Harry at June 24, 2003 at 05:51 PM

I'm prepared to fly solo on this one, too: I'm finding the Eva Peron act across multiple weblogs just a little nauseating. Maybe it's perverse, but I'd feel a little more sympathetic towards someone who wasn't trying so hard to milk it for all it's worth.

I'm assuming this was about me? I mean, yeah, you have a good point, seeing as how I've been posting about it on my website constantly.

Posted by: Moxie Pop at June 24, 2003 at 06:11 PM

I like to watch.

Posted by: Big Ramifications at June 24, 2003 at 06:26 PM

Its hard to believe that anyone could be fired because of an anonymous email. If this had happened at my place, the email would have been shown to me, then probably torn up. HR would never have acted on such a basis. I don't think anyone could be fired summarily for misusing email at work - do you have a law stipulating that an empoyee must be warned three times before action against him/her can be taken? And how could they refuse to show the email? She should be looking at her legal options.

Posted by: dee at June 24, 2003 at 06:52 PM

For those who think this sort of thing never happens, I ran across a comment on this post by "Trigger." Apparently I'm not the only one.

Posted by: Moxie Pop at June 24, 2003 at 09:35 PM

I suppose it depends where you are, but generally you don't have to be warned n times before getting the old heave-ho. The anonymous, or pseudonymous, fax probably wasn't the only basis for the decision. I'm guessing the person with firing authority had his/her attention drawn to Moxie Pop's blog, didn't like it, verified somehow that it was hers, and used it as a pretext for dismissing the poor lass.

There probably IS grounds for legal action, though. It takes exquisite care to be sure all the little details are correctly handled in a firing.

Anyway, as for Moxie.nu: loser, whether she was directly involved in the fax attack or not.

Posted by: Harry at June 25, 2003 at 02:36 AM

Getting canned as a result of an anonymous fax is not out of the realm of possibility at all, especially if one works in an “at will” state. Hell, I’ve known of people who were fired on Monday for telling an off color joke during a barbeque that was hosted at their own house on Saturday.

Even if she did not send the fax personally or have anything personally to do with the sending of said fax, this hole that calls herself moxie.nu, bears the responsibility via her preposterous claim to a common word within the English language and the rallying of her cliquey Jr. high school girls (and boys) club to whence they proceeded to cluster MoxiePop like a plastic fuck doll.

To sabotage one’s livelihood, or be part and parcel in anyway, as a means to “one up” another over the use of a common word in the title of their blog (how many “pundits” are there out there?) is to admit that you are the lowest of life and deserve any karmic retribution that comes your way. It appears as though the hole moxie.nu is already suffering some karmic come around as she is quickly becoming pariah of the blogosphere. More power to karma.

Posted by: Daniel at June 25, 2003 at 04:01 AM

Whether it is technically justified to fire someone for checking hotmail at work, or surfing, etc., it is a rare occurrence. MOST individuals I know with internet access surf and check hotmail at work ... that means if they anger management in some way, there is ALWAYS an excuse to fire them.

Put it this way, if I was fired because of an anonymous fax, I would not be taking it lying down, and would at least demand a bit more detail. A lawsuit could also be filed based on the comparison of other employee surfing habits, something which could perhaps be obtained via subpeona. Selective enforcement of regulations is grounds for a lawsuit.

Bottom line - if the firing isn't fought, then MoxiePop is an idiot OR she was a loser/slacker who was on her way to getting canned anyway because she sucked at her job/showed up late, etc.

Maybe she could get a job in the sex industry - she seems to love posting pics of her tits on her blog enough ...

Posted by: Bill at June 25, 2003 at 05:13 AM

About blog-related firings. (Link via Treacher.)

I didn't tell anyone at work about my blog, I registered it through a third-party, etc. But the fax brought it to the company's attention, and poof, I'm gone. Does this mean only the unemployed should run blogs? Of the people here who have blogs or personal sites or anything, should there be some sort of reasonable expectation that a psychotic stalker won't tell the president of your company about your angsty poetry on LiveJournal, or your political ramblings on your blog, or your entries where you bitch about work on your personal site?

Posted by: Moxie Pop at June 25, 2003 at 06:19 AM

This entire free-for-all doesn't have all the t's crossed and i's dotted. Before writing this comment, I went back and read all the threads MoxiePop has referenced, and the threads from the flame wars, on this and other sites. A few things do not sit right:

The assertion that the posts by "np" were harassment. The posts were no more, or no less, abusive than posts by MoxiePop and those of others. In fact, less so. They never threatened physical harm, to shoot anyone, or that someone die of any horrible disease. Publishing already public information is not harassment. If it can be found with a Google search, it's public.

There is a basic lack of understanding of what a restraining order does. The ability to prohibit someone from posting comments which you do not agree with, would be an impossibility. And in the paragraph above I made the point it is not harassment. No attorney would touch this. Dead-end.

However, there are some serious matters brought up by this which most people are ignoring. The following are terms which are pretty much standard in every ISP's Terms of Use Agreement. Posting the IP address of another internet user and asking for information regarding that IP address it creates a situation where the Agreement is violated. If the condition arose that "np" sustains any damages because of the post, it would create serious consequences. As we have seen with MoxiePop, these consequences can extend into the real world.

-Prohibited Activities. You may not use the Service in a manner that violates any applicable local, state, federal or international law, order or regulation. Additionally, You may not use the Service to:
-Conduct, participate in, or otherwise facilitate pyramid or other illegal soliciting schemes.
-Take part in any fraudulent activities, including impersonating any person or entity or forging anyone else's digital or manual signature.
-Invade another person's privacy, stalk, harass, or otherwise violate the rights of others.
-Post, transmit, or disseminate content that is threatening, abusive, libelous, slanderous, defamatory, incites hatred, or is otherwise offensive or objectionable.
-Restrict, inhibit, or otherwise interfere with the ability of any other person to use or enjoy the equipment or the Service, including, without limitation, by posting or transmitting any information or software which contains a virus, lock, key, bomb, worm, Trojan horse, cancelbot, or other harmful feature.
-Collect or store personal data about other users.
-Use an IP address not assigned to you.
-Violate any other policy or guideline.
-Resell or redistribute the Service to any third party via any means including but not limited to wireless technology.

So just about everyone (not everyone, but a whole bunch of people), on each/every side, has in some way violated one or more of these terms. Perhaps, people need to be a bit more concerned with the things they just throw out into the "make-believe, anonymous" world of the internet ad think about what their own ISP would do if they saw some of the really nasty, threatening comments which were made.

Additionally, as many people have pointed out, every employer has internal policies and procedures regarding internet use. As long as they are published and given to the employee, they can be just about anything, including immediate dismissal. There is no requirement for 3 warnings, probation, etc. These extreme measures, for any of you who don't follow these things in current news, are necessary because of the high costs to employers of productivity lost to time spent surfing. Regulation of employee internet activities has become its own market segment. Who knows what the fax said? Perhaps it was an innocuous alerting of her employer to MoxiePop's violations? This would be logical, if the time-line outlined by several people is true. The company received the fax on June 16, but MoxiePop was not fired until June 19. If this was the case, you'd better believe the sysop was logging her every keystroke. In which case they would have volumes to back up her firing. If it was a "prospective customer", can you blame them for being concerned if they saw the flame wars that were going on with MoxiePop right in the middle? And she's working for a company you are going to buy software from. Would you be concerned? I would. MoxiePop has admitted she violated her companies policies. This is another dead-end.

I'm not leaning toward either side here. But I really don't think we're hearing the full story. Did MoxiePop sign any agreements to not sue the company? Did she receive severance pay? Both of these would make her plight significantly less dramatic than what has been presented.

However, what if it was not a "prospective customer"? What if MoxiePop was targeted? Why is "np" being blamed? For posting comments which did not go with the flow of supporting MoxiePop? Come on people! There is a thing called the First Amendment. Everyone (including me) is guilty of waving it around when we are restricted, but we have to remember, others have rights also.

But more importantly, another inconsistency is the two different IPs and ISPs which are given for him/her. This doesn't sit right. Everyone is so quick to assume it is someone associated with Moxie.nu or Dawn. Has everyone forgotten the stalker ex-boyfriend MoxiePop has been so worried about in the past? Why has he not been mentioned or blamed? If he is the nutcase MoxiePop claimed, it would not be beyond him to do something like this. If I were MoxiePop, he's the first one I'd be looking at. Has she done anything to determine if it was him? Has she even considered it was him?

In any case, everyone needs to take a step back, take a deep breath and re-evaluate how out of proportion all this has gotten.

Posted by: hard look at June 25, 2003 at 06:54 AM

hard look: Posting my full name, where I live, where I work, who my family is, and threatening me by telling me to "watch my back" doesn't fall under the first amendment any more than "I'm going to kill you, you fucking bitch" does. Threats and harassment aren't covered under the first amendment.

NP posted my personal information several places and the site owners have been kind enough to delete those posts. That is harassment. Taking that information offline and calling me at work and faxing a fake memo to my work, that's harassment as well. I looked into California law, and they have some of the best (most strict) laws regarding internet stalking and harassment.

If all this is a figment of my imagination, if I wasn't really fired at all, if NP never existed, if the fax was never sent, well then my local cops will most likely want to have a word with me, won't they? And if I'm just a liar and making all this up, I'm most likely going to either get a little jail time or a massive fine for wasting their time, won't I?

Posted by: Moxie Pop at June 25, 2003 at 07:25 AM

Hey Moxie...

I know some folks in that neighborhood. Email me *everything* you know about what happened, anything at all that might be a clue, and I'll find out who sent it.

I'll explain more in email...send me that info, though. jimk at right-thoughts dot us

Posted by: JimK at June 25, 2003 at 08:56 AM

Kick ass and take names, JimK.

Hard look: You seem to have mystically turned up to make that same post at every blog that gets this issue brought up. What's up, bucko? Fax machine broke, can't do it that way anymore? You sure SOUND just like NP.

Moxie: I STILL think you need to kick your company's ass, since they can't really fire you for things you do on your own time unless it demonstrably hurts their business. (They own the time they pay for, not you. Your blog never identifies you as their employee or them as your employee, so the boss may have been using that explanation, but was wrong to do.) If you think they're just great, that's fine, but I'm ready to flip through the classifieds in Soldier of Fortune at your word. :)

Posted by: Aaron at June 25, 2003 at 09:50 AM

Did the nekid cat fight ever happen? Pictures?

Posted by: Razor at June 25, 2003 at 02:04 PM