I’ve been in a bit of a flame war on an e-mail discussion list over the last couple weeks. I thought it was all rather silly, but my main combatant sent me a private message last night, off-list, that has really thrown me for a loop. Here’s the pertinent extract:
I am still restrained about this. My options if I want to be a real pain in politics are all off-list and they are real. I do not utilize them very often and I am not always 100% successful, but I do have a voice in circles that matter. That isn’t a threat, that is just to say I am acting with far more restraint than you seem to believe.
It is best to let it go with absolutely no more commentary. This will all layer over and blow away…. But it is not something to continue to pick at.
When I first read this, my gut reaction was, “He says it’s not a threat, but it sure reads like one.” He seems to be saying, “Shut up or else.” I shared it with a couple co-workers, two solid guys who don’t scare easy, and their first reaction was the same.
Now I find myself in a bit of a quandary. He’s gotten in cyber-fights with others on the list before, and now I have to wonder if he hasn’t stooped this low before. It seems like the other members of the discussion group deserve to be apprised of these tactics. But if I share this information, I would undoubtedly provoke him further, and perhaps he makes good on this mysterious veiled threat. This has clearly gotten out of hand, so I should just drop it. But if I do that, without explanation, it seems like he gets a pass, and his bullying is perhaps further enabled.
Or maybe I’m reading too much into this?