This post is mostly for the benefit of my fellow MIT alumni.
Remember Jonathan Monsarrat?
If so, then you may have gotten the same impression of him back at the ‘tute that I did, to wit, that he gave off creep vibes.
Judging from what has been written about him online since then, he’s done other things to reinforce that vibe, but this just about takes the cake… He has recently filed a lawsuit against several people, including Ron Newman whom many of you probably also know, alleging that they defamed him in discussions that took place in various forums on LiveJournal almost three years ago.
The lawsuit is clearly baseless and doomed to fail if it makes it to trial, but it seems likely that JonMon isn’t so much interested in prevailing in court, but rather in scaring people into removing their LiveJournal postings by raising the specter of an expensive legal defense.
Ken White has put up the Popehat signal asking for pro bono legal help defending against this attempt to suppress people’s free speech.
I’ve known Ron online for over two decades. He’s a good guy, and if he ends up needing financial help defending himself against this suit, you bet I’ll be contributing to his legal defense fund.
If there’s anything you can do to help — whether it’s providing pro bono assistance yourself, hooking Ron up with somebody who can provide such assistance, or just kicking in a few bucks to his legal defense fund if one is set up — then I encourage you to do so. And if you’re an MIT alum, make sure to mention it when you help…. It’s important to let people know that JonMon’s conduct is considered neither normative nor acceptable to most of the MIT community.