Hey, Interactive Fiction Community, or what remnants of it remain here:
Conrad Cook is a blackmailing asshole.
He has accused me, on intfiction.org, of being Jacek Pudlo, and demanded
that I give him my interview correspondence with Mr. Pudlo as proof that
I am not--which seems a little odd, since surely if I had written the
answers as well as the questions, then coming up with both sides of the
conversation wouldn't be very difficult.
I wish to state, categorically and for the record, that I am not, and
have never been, Jacek Pudlo.
I also wish to apologize to Jacek in that I *did* forward the email
thread to Conrad Cook, because although I am aware that I hold Jacek and
his work in much more esteem than the rest of the IF community, I really
would rather *not* be thought to be him. Although I would have prefered
to merely scream "publish and be damned," I did not, and am experiencing
some regret over that.
Note that my reply to my blackmailer on intfiction.org does NOT mean
that I will be moving my IF-related correspondence activity over there.
If you cannot cope with Usenet, you do not *deserve* text adventures.
However, all denizens of these august newsgroups be warned, lest it be
*you* that Cook's accusatory madness fixes on next: he is a blackmailing
> Note that my reply to my blackmailer on intfiction.org does NOT mean
> that I will be moving my IF-related correspondence activity over there.
> If you cannot cope with Usenet, you do not *deserve* text adventures.
I don't blame you for saying such a thing - you got mixed up in a very
ugly thing, in a very ugly, public, mud-slinging way. But I would like
you to reconsider Int-Fiction. It's no worse that RAIF, in that Conrad
might just as well have posted his accusations here; and I for one
miss your posts for the entertainment value.
In article <9a1baa84-fe8e-4e54-bcd8-ff7fe08fd...@k10g2000yqk.googlegroups.com>,
Peter Pears <peter_pe...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>> Note that my reply to my blackmailer on intfiction.org does NOT mean
>> that I will be moving my IF-related correspondence activity over there.
>> If you cannot cope with Usenet, you do not *deserve* text adventures.
>I don't blame you for saying such a thing - you got mixed up in a very
>ugly thing, in a very ugly, public, mud-slinging way. But I would like
>you to reconsider Int-Fiction. It's no worse that RAIF, in that Conrad
>might just as well have posted his accusations here; and I for one
>miss your posts for the entertainment value.
That particular comment was somewhat tongue-in-cheek. I understand the
reasons people have fled the newsgroups, and the advantages in interface
that a web forum brings. Really, I do. Nevertheless:
I may start reading intfiction.org, but my heart still belongs to
In rec.games.int-fiction, Adam Thornton <a...@fsf.net> wrote:
> I may start reading intfiction.org, but my heart still belongs to
Sadly, the heart of Usenet belongs to whoever is willing to stick
around in a newsgroup and keep talking. There's no guarantee this is a
bunch of people you want to hang around and talk to -- or, indeed,
anybody at all.
-- "And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
Now, the reason this is so interesting is that I did *not* blackmail
Adam Thornton. I blackmailed *Jacek Pudlo*.
On Jan 30, 8:35 pm, a...@fsf.net (Adam Thornton) wrote:
> I also wish to apologize to Jacek in that I *did* forward the email
> thread to Conrad Cook, because although I am aware that I hold Jacek and
> his work in much more esteem than the rest of the IF community, I really
> would rather *not* be thought to be him. Although I would have prefered
> to merely scream "publish and be damned," I did not, and am experiencing
> some regret over that.
"Publish and be damned," huh? Which email of mine is this man angry
> --Now, one thing you can do to effectively deny this claim is to
> forward to me, as quickly as you can, the raw email exchange between
> you and "Jacek" for his interview of you.
> Since it's intended for publication, and since it was *your*
> interview, I'm sure there's no privacy issue involved there.
> The existence of such an exchange would support the counter-claim that
> you're not him. I'll post the outcome of this exchange to
> intfiction.org either way.
> Please respond quickly with the email exchange if it's possible. I
> don't want to cause you trouble if I'm wrong.
Or, this one, to Jacek Pudlo:
> I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to cut you some slack.
> I'll wait a full week before I email Emily Short and tell her that
> you're really Thornton. You have that long to write her, as Jacek
> Pudlo, a full apology for your unspeakable ungentlemanly behavior.
> Specifically the insult, but also anything else on your mind. And
> this will be a full apology, to qualify: no putting responsiblity
> back onto her.
> You can BCC me a copy of it so I know you've followed through; and
> then, I won't tell her.
> I think it's only reasonable that she know her trusted friend is the
> same person who has driven her off r.a.if, and thinks he's right in
> doing that.
--Now *that's* blackmail.
Or, is he angry at this one, later in that correspondence with Pudlo:
> Ah, but I think we've said some interesting things about the IF
> I'll wait for a week, and then, since you've insulted my interview,
> I'll prove you wrong and publish this bit of interactive prose myself.
> ps - Actually, since you've indicated no intention to accept the
> offer, or even think it over, I'll publish Tuesday.
The relevant terms that Thornton is getting emotional over, blackmail
and publishing, are from my interaction with Pudlo. Not Thornton. If
Thornton were not Pudlo, he wouldn't be expressing himself in these
--Frankly, if Thornton weren't Pudlo, I don't think we'd be getting
this (put on) rage at all. Thornton wouldn't be so remarkably stupid
about "someone showing up at PRIF and pretending to be him." He
wouldn't be going out of his way to say that Pudlo might be a psycho /
he's not that bad / he's in Europe. He wouldn't be talking about
emailing me a picture of his penis. He'd just say: Well, it's not
Hell, it looks that way to me. It looks very much like that.
> Now, the reason this is so interesting is that I did *not* blackmail
> Adam Thornton. I blackmailed *Jacek Pudlo*.
Slandering someone by posting on a public forum that he is a notorious troll, and then sending him an email saying that you will only stop the slander if he submits certain emails to you is *not* blackmail? You have a truly warped view of the situation. The only thing your current post proves is that you are possessed by a remarkable need to interpret any data at all as supportive of your Jekyll and Hyde theory.
Let me repeat -- although I feel I am insulting Adam by doing this and thus implying that there is any need for it -- that Adam Thorton is not Jacek Pudlo. It's not just that you are accusing a valued member of the community without any proof whatsoever. It is also that the personality of Adam and the personality of Jacek are so radically different that they could only coexist in a person with a severe case of dissociative identity disorder. Which I certainly hope you are not going to attribute to Adam in an ad hoc attempt to save your wild hypothesis.
Please stop this. You are mistaken, and you are damaging people.
No, they're not different personalities. One is mean. That's the
And the notion that the accusation is prima facie lunatic *and that*
it's too dangerous to air in public is a bit peculiar.
You want to talk personality? Have they demonstrated different areas
of competencies? They have different personal philosophies -- but do
they express them in mutually incommensurable terms? Does it not seem
to you that Thornton on intfic is playing the fool a little too
precisely? -- Rather than challenge a point directly ("What makes you
say anyone drove Emily Short off r.a.if?") he begs ignorance in
exactly the right way to raise the point -- "I haven't been reading
r.a.if" -- so he can't be Pudlo -- "so I didn't know that Emily
claimed Pudlo drove her off usenet."
These are troll strategies.
You tell me, Victor. You live in the Netherlands, or something. Does
"Jacek"'s voice sound more Swedish or American to you?
Does English seem his second language? --Does he write American or
I can't tell, but I seem to recall that you can. Based on spellings
...I just don't get how everyone is so shocked. Did we imagine that
the troll does not post to the internet under his real name? That he
isn't actually into i.f.? That he does not do real work that he wants
to take real credit for? Or that when he drops the troll mask he is
less intelligent, less clever, less inventive--?
Or was it, we were expecting the member of our community who is the
troll would be mean like "Jacek" is? If he were mean in his normal
self-presentation, why would he need the troll mask?
Well, anyway, I've said what I have to say, and I'm well aware I
didn't make any friends on this one. I encourage people to look at
old posts and draw their own conclusions.
(If this post shows up doubled, my apologies. Either Google or my
connection is acting up)
Conrad, since you hate Pudlo so much, I think you'll understand it if
I put it in these terms.
Somewhere, Pudlo is having the time of his life. He's the centre of
attention, he's the reason you've publicly accused a member of the
community, he's howling with laughter as you try to rationalise what
you did (basically, you seem to be on an anti-Pudlo crusade, which is
sorta fine if you have nothing better to do, but your methods are so
extreme you don't even seem to realise what you're doing).
And he never had to lift a bloody finger.
I don't think Thornton is Pudlo, though to be fair I'm not a close
member of the community - I'm fairly recent and I've yet to met any of
you face to face (which I'd like to, very much, someday). But whoever
Pudlo is, he's thanking you for doing what he does best - sowing
hatred, re-hashing old issues, and in this case even having a
sacrifical scapegoat: you.
I hate Pudlo with a passion myself. I try to ignore him, and sometimes
I let my emotions get the better of me and I feed the troll, with
probably better intention than grammar.
But I'll be damned if I let him control my life to the point where I'm
going to try tracking him down and making public accusations on the
grounds of "It seems so clear to me".
Also, I changed the title of the thread back. Not because I'm calling
you an asshole - but because you were digging yourself even deeper.
Even if you *meant* the asshole to be Pudlo, it really, really sounded
like you were calling Thornton an asshole.
Nevermind me, just changing the title's thread back to its original
form. It's not a very nice title, true, but Conrad's "suggestion"
reflects so, so badly on him, on top of everything else, that I think
we'd best agree to sweep it under the carpet.
>Now, the reason this is so interesting is that I did *not* blackmail
>Adam Thornton. I blackmailed *Jacek Pudlo*.
So, let's start here. I'm going to be quoting from some of Conrad's
other posts here, with no particular regard for the niceties of
message-ids and thread structure.
>"Publish and be damned," huh? Which email of mine is this man angry
>This one, to Adam Thornton:
>> It looks to me like you're Jacek Pudlo, and I've posted that to
>> Please respond quickly with the email exchange if it's possible. I
>> don't want to cause you trouble if I'm wrong.
Yes, that one.
I responded as quickly as possible with the email exchange.
This was wrong, of course.
I should not have given private correspondence to my blackmailer.
Regardless of its content, or the esteem in which I do or do not hold my
correspondent, that was extremely poor form on my part, and is the one
part of this exchange for which *I* feel some regret.
It also utterly failed to satisfy Conrad Cook, who went full steam ahead
with his accusations, and tried somehow to blame me for not responding
quickly enough. Which, to be fair, did take me several hours. I don't
check my mail often when I'm at work, and once I got home from work, I
spent some time with my wife, and cooked dinner, and played some Skyrim,
and only then got around to checking my mail again.
I hate to break it to Conrad and the IF community as a whole, but it's
not actually at the very top of my list of priorities these days.
The whole sordid story, minus the Pudlo/Cook interview, can be found at:
"I have responded to Conrad's blackmail attempt by:
a) calling him an asshole
b) sending the demanded correspondence, for which I apologize to
It appears it was a successful blackmail attempt, as, although I hold
Mr. Pudlo and his work in rather more esteem than the rest of the
community, I do not wish to be identified with him.
I am not Jacek Pudlo.
I would cordially invite Conrad Cook to suck my hairy nutsack."
The offer still stands.
Your other letters, to Jacek, which I have excised from this post, since
they were not to me and are not my problem, are *also* blackmail. Which
seems a strange thing to be proud of, unless, of course, you're an
>--Now *that's* blackmail.
Indeed it is. As was your letter to me.
>The relevant terms that Thornton is getting emotional over, blackmail
>and publishing, are from my interaction with Pudlo. Not Thornton. If
>Thornton were not Pudlo, he wouldn't be expressing himself in these
I think most halfway-educated humans are familiar with the concept of
blackmail, and many of them are aware of the Duke of Wellington's
response to attempted blackmail: "publish and be damned!"
>--Frankly, if Thornton weren't Pudlo, I don't think we'd be getting
>this (put on) rage at all. Thornton wouldn't be so remarkably stupid
>about "someone showing up at PRIF and pretending to be him." He
>wouldn't be going out of his way to say that Pudlo might be a psycho /
>he's not that bad / he's in Europe. He wouldn't be talking about
>emailing me a picture of his penis. He'd just say: Well, it's not
Let me assure you, my rage is not a put-on at all.
Now, I will freely grant that it is disproportionate. It is nonlinear.
I am far more outraged than, honestly, an inept blackmail attempt from a
bum--oh, I'm sorry, you prefer "hobo", don't you?--a hobo ought,
rationally, to make me.
An interesting thing about picking fights with total strangers is that
you don't get to act all surprised and victimized when not only do some
of them fight back, they unexpectedly escalate, for reasons of their
Perhaps I have episodes in my past which make the threat of blackmail
particularly irritating to me. Perhaps I'm merely having a bad
day/week/month/year/decade. Perhaps I'm taking all the rage from the
rest of my life which I cannot express in the relevant contexts because
of the consequences I would face there, and delivering it to you
because, hey, you fucking started it, you asshole.
Of course, some of the reason that I'm particularly incensed by Conrad's
blackmail is that it is, in fact, a superficially-plausible
explanation. I am one of the few people in the IF world who openly
admires Pudlo's work, and who, mostly, gets along with him.
That doesn't mean, though, that I don't think Jacek's an asshole--well,
that's too broad a term: Jacek is gratuitously cruel, and gratuitous
cruelty is a quality I do not find admirable, and which makes me very
uncomfortable to be around. He has said many things to me that have
gotten under my skin, although in general, in aesthetic matters, he has
usually been right. I find it valuable to have critics who don't
sugarcoat their criticism, and sweetness is not a quality Pudlo
possesses. At least in his dealings with me; perhaps he's lovely to his
aged mother and small puppies.
In short: telling the world that I'm Jacek Pudlo is a fairly-effective
way to threaten me in this community. I've spent twenty goddamn years
here, after all. Almost everyone in the IF world only knows me through
my games and my Usenet posts. There is a particular persona, a
particular identity embodied in that corpus of work, and I very, very
much resent an attempt to confuse that identity with someone I really
don't want to be thought to be.
In short, you *are* attempting to harm my name and reputation, and since
that's pretty much all I have in the IF world, I am going to object most
To forestall your immediate objection, Conrad: any cruelty I manage to
inflict upon you is *not* gratuitous.
>Hell, it looks that way to me. It looks very much like that.
Your delusions only become my problem when they begin impinging on my
Let's move on to a couple more of Conrad's posts.
> No, they're not different personalities. One is mean. That's the
> only difference.
I, of course, would beg to differ. And being Not Mean At Least To
People Who Haven't Earned It is one of the things I try to be.
> And the notion that the accusation is prima facie lunatic *and that*
> it's too dangerous to air in public is a bit peculiar.
What the *FUCK* are you talking about? I've aired the accusation
everywhere I am able to, you fucktard (apologies if anyone out there has
developmentally-disabled loved ones, and double apologies if they are
employed in the sex-worker trade; I'm using "fucktard" here as a term of
art, with no disrespect implied to either the actual retarded or to
prostitutes, both of which categories, unlike Conrad Cook, have much to
offer society). The only reason I haven't spammed Facebook and Twitter
with it is because I categorically refuse to get accounts on either of
those. I want the *ENTIRE INTERACTIVE FICTION WORLD* to know what a
horrible, horrible person you are.
> You want to talk personality? Have they demonstrated different areas
> of competencies? They have different personal philosophies -- but do
> they express them in mutually incommensurable terms? Does it not seem
> to you that Thornton on intfic is playing the fool a little too
> precisely? -- Rather than challenge a point directly ("What makes you
> say anyone drove Emily Short off r.a.if?") he begs ignorance in
> exactly the right way to raise the point -- "I haven't been reading
> r.a.if" -- so he can't be Pudlo -- "so I didn't know that Emily
> claimed Pudlo drove her off usenet."
I'm pretty sure what I claimed was that I don't read intfiction.org:
"Did she post here that she had been 'driven off' raif? Since I *don't
read this fucking site*, I didn't see that; I figured, like all the rest
of the old guard, she finally gave up on Usenet, which makes me very
Now, if Emily *did* post to raif, "screw you guys, I can't handle the
trolling, fuck off, I'll be on intfiction.org," then I missed it. I
*also* haven't been tracking the newsgroups all that much, honestly.
Other priorities. But what I was trying to convey was that it seemed
plausible to me that Emily had written a "Why I Left Usenet" post on
intfiction.org, which I hadn't seen because I don't read
intfiction.org. Although I guess I'm going to have to start now. Let
me point out for the record that I *also* resent you having forced a
sufficient reason upon me for me to start caring about Yet One More
> These are troll strategies.
Sure, buddy, whatever you say.
And then, finally, there's
> ...I just don't get how everyone is so shocked. Did we imagine that
> the troll does not post to the internet under his real name? That he
> isn't actually into i.f.? That he does not do real work that he wants
> to take real credit for? Or that when he drops the troll mask he is
> less intelligent, less clever, less inventive--?
> Or was it, we were expecting the member of our community who is the
> troll would be mean like "Jacek" is? If he were mean in his normal
> self-presentation, why would he need the troll mask?
Well, I must admit: I probably *am* less intelligent, clever, and
inventive than Jacek. I am also, certainly, less mean.
But as to why I'm shocked? I'm shocked because a perfect stranger
walked up to me and blackmailed me out of the blue. Until yesterday,
all I could have told you about Conrad Cook was that he was some IF
dude. I mean, here's our first
On Tue, 31 Jan 2012 15:19:47 -0800 (PST), Peter Pears <peter_pe...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Also, I changed the title of the thread back. Not because I'm calling
> you an asshole - but because you were digging yourself even deeper.
> Even if you *meant* the asshole to be Pudlo, it really, really sounded
> like you were calling Thornton an asshole.
Also even in Conrad's own viewpoint he is blackmailing someone, and does not
care who gets hurt in the crossfire. Which I consider pretty shitty behaviour. I'm not a fan of Pudlo at all - he was an annoying arse. However I don't see how resorting to such shitty behaviour would do anyone any good at all.
-- Andy Leighton => an...@azaal.plus.com
"The Lord is my shepherd, but we still lost the sheep dog trials" - Robert Rankin, _They Came And Ate Us_
> Adam, as far as I'm concerned, I offered you a way to effectively
> refute the accusation I made against you.
> It was not blackmail because
> 1. I did not offer to refrain from giving out information, contingent
> on you doing something; and
> 2. What I asked for was the exchange in rough form **of a
> correspondence that was already published and public**.
> I did not go over this correspondence thoroughly because there was a
> three hour delay, and what would have disproven the accusation would
> have been an immediate response.
> Going over it now -- it looks to me like I'm an asshole.
> I deeply apologize for calling you Jacek Pudlo. A name I wouldn't
> inflict on my worst nightmare.
> --But it's something of a mystery to me, if you think he's such a bad
> character, why you permitted him to interview you and thereby raise
> his status off contact with you. If you wanted to be interviewed,
> there are any number of people you might have turned to, who do not
> (for example) posts gloating that Paul Allen Panks -- who I never
> crossed paths with -- killed himself, or baiting people into saying
> the man wrote shoddy games.
> I simply do not understand this.
> In any case, I owe you a public apology. I'd say in fact I owe
> something more than that, and, your vulgarisms quite to the side,
> consider me good for some kind of honest favor. -- Tell me to go fuck
> myself if you like. I'll be good for it a couple years down the line
> if you decide to collect.
> But now look --
> It seems clear that nobody believed me anyway (which in retrospect I'm
> grateful for), and there was no social damage to you.
> Meanwhile, I've worked myself into a position here. And I want to use
> that position to disadvantage Pudlo as much as I can.
> So I'm going to push the false accusation that you're Pudlo for
> another day, or so. Disingenuously. I feel free to do that, in that
> you've been pretty nasty -- justifiably so, but still -- and because
> no one believes it, but it's gotten everyone's knickers in a twist.
> --Which is *trolling*, yes, I know.
> I'll post a full public apology and retraction by tomorrow.
> ps - Honestly, I regret it. And I don't take it lightly.
So, Adam -- you're right on all accounts. Your recent post about me,
going over my emails to you -- was entirely correct.
I admit, this is very shaming to me. And I could quibble about what
"blackmail" means, but in its nature, what I did was wrong -- it was a
kind of a mugging -- and it failed to take into account your well-
earned status in the IF community. And I was thoroughly fucked up on
this one from start to finish.
I just don't like Pudlo. I don't like that he's mean for the sake of
being mean. I don't like the fact that he gloats over a bad IF
writer's suicide. There is to my mind no amount of cleverness or
intelligence that makes this acceptable. R.a.if is a wasteland now,
and I have a hard time thinking this is not directly because of
So... I hope you'll grant that I have not had bad intentions during
this thing. I just fucked up.
ps - And it is *very* peculiar to me that Pudlo gets a pass at
intfiction, but the moderators came after me for saying that a guy who
got a pass was you, Adam. --Even with the understanding that I got it
wrong, it's not comprehensible to me that misidentifying you as him is
worth banning, whereas the actions and the behavior I falsely
attributed to you are not worth banning.
Anyway, if the moderators at intfiction are around, I'll ask them
kindly either to delete those two remaining threads, to add this
retraction to them, or otherwise to take steps to ensure that some
newbie searching the archives some months from now does not read my
accusations and become confused.
Sorry for the drama, guys. Believe me, I know I came out of this with
shit on my face.
> ps - And it is *very* peculiar to me that Pudlo gets a pass at
> intfiction, but the moderators came after me for saying that a guy who
> got a pass was you, Adam. --Even with the understanding that I got it
> wrong, it's not comprehensible to me that misidentifying you as him is
> worth banning, whereas the actions and the behavior I falsely
> attributed to you are not worth banning.
The difference is that Pudlo talks about IF, and slams authors in the course of criticizing their work.
You went after a respected figure in the community with a completely unprovoked, outrageous slander and refused to back down.
intfiction.org is for discussing interactive fiction. That's something that Pudlo for all his faults manages to do. He does descend into personal insults but only after half a dozen people pile on and do the same to him. His behavior here is as Adam says gratuitously cruel but he is different there.
You don't seem ready to accept that what you did is much, much worse than anything Pudlo has ever done. You have besmirched the reputation of an innocent man. You were so persistent in your efforts that anyone unfamiliar with the two - and intfiction.org has a lot of new faces - might very well think there was something to it.
Fallout from something like that can last for years and you can't simply wave it off and say "oops, my bad."
> Anyway, if the moderators at intfiction are around, I'll ask them
> kindly either to delete those two remaining threads, to add this
> retraction to them, or otherwise to take steps to ensure that some
> newbie searching the archives some months from now does not read my
> accusations and become confused.
I will do whatever Adam wants. I don't give a damn what you want.
I do plan on lifting your ban in the next 72 hours, provided you can drop this and never mention it again.
On Feb 1, 8:19 am, Ben Cressey <bcres...@gmail.com> wrote:
> You don't seem ready to accept that what you did is much, much
> worse than anything Pudlo has ever done. You have besmirched
> the reputation of an innocent man. You were so persistent in your
> efforts that anyone unfamiliar with the two - and intfiction.org has
> a lot of new faces - might very well think there was something to it.
I think I understand.
You're saying that, if Pudlo had mocked Thornton's death (God forbid)
in public, and followed up with subtle allusions to it on your forum,
*then* you'd ban him for up to 72 hours.
And presumably that includes the deaths of other good IF writers, and
important people in the IF community.