A Reply From John Umbaugh

Also seeing one of my posts was
John Umbaugh. You may remember I got an unsolicited email from someone
saying his name was John Umbaugh, a student in Michigan working a
school project. The email asked several personal questions so I decided
not to respond directly to the email but rather to post about it. Well,
John heard of the post and sent a follow-up email which I post below.

Hello. The other day somebody
drew my attention to your entry
(http://seto.org/mt-diary/2006/10/open_letter_to.html) about my blog
project. I wanted to leave a comment, but I see that comments have
been disabled for that post. In any case, I still want to give you a
response that – hopefully – addressed most or all of your questions.
Below is the text of the comment that I composed.

I’ll also post this on my blog
site in case others might have similar
concerns. Thanks!

-John

Hello!

If
he were for real, he probably would have come to my site and got it
from the link I have on the right side of the page.

In
fact, I don’t remember how I obtained your email address, but it’s
been my experience that often people prefer one over the other – or,
in the case of blogs with multiple authors, there are several emails,
and I have mistakenly emailed the non-primary contact, if there is
one.

If
so, he would know my full name because it across the banner at the
top of this page.

Sometimes
people use pseudonyms or even complete alternate identities
for their blogs. Sometimes it’s even a fictional blog with fictional
characters. Rather than leave it to chance or to my own judgment, I
wanted to have blog authors characterize their own identites to me.

In
fact, if he has come to my site questions three and four are also
strange.

Well,
if in the case the participant’s email was different, I thought
that these would facilitate matters. Also, it was my intent that my
call for participation would be circulated to other blog authors who
might be interested. I know that I’ve gotten at least a few other
interested authors this way.

In
today’s environment of epidemic identity theft, question five is none
of his business. If he wants to give ranges of ages (e.g., 20 to 29, 30
to 39, etc.), I might answer that. But my actual birth date? Shirley
you
jest.

Birthdates
are in a sense more reliable than ages because, if for
example I do testing three months from now, on average one fourth of
the ages will be inaccurate by one year (assuming that authors were
honest with me in the first place about their ages!). That was my
rationale.

The
bottom line is, if this were a sanctioned study of the University of
Michigan I would think John would need to get what is known as Informed
Consent.

Perhaps
indeed I did not
provide as much material as I should have on
this matter. I have posted my method here:
http://citym.org/blog_author_feature_extraction.pdf .
I think this
explains in a fair amount of detail why I need the
information. As
far as safeguarding the information – well, I
certainly won’t be
distributing it to anyone, if that’s what you mean.
In terms of this
being a “sanctioned study” of the University of
Michigan – this is
simply my class final project, not an “official
study.”

And
finally, neither his email address nor
his website is hosted by the
University of Michigan.

I
_do_ have a Michigan email (you can search for my
last name “umbaugh” on the umich directory for confirmation:
directory.umich.edu), but I find it much more
convenient to use gmail
for my mail, and my personal site for hosting the
material.

In
order for me to give this type of
information I have to trust and
believe John is who he says he is and will
use the data for the purpose
he states. But since I don’t trust
unsolicited emails, especially ones
that ask these types of question, I will not
be answering John. If you
are out there John, sorry, but I decline to
participate.

OK!
Have a good day!



John Umbaugh
citym.org | qwer.us | gamesresearch.com


Have a Great Weekend, Everyone – Aloha!

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