(AP) Online -- The Pentaquark Debate has reached the courts. Charges were filed today against a poster to an internet "bulletin board" accused of stalking an Illinois resident whose mistake had been to participate in the bulletin board's discussion.
It all began innocently enough. Thirty years ago particle physicists determined that there ought to be an exotic baryon composed of two up quarks, two down quarks, and an anti-strange quark. Some agreed and some disagreed, but the squabble only really began during the USEnet days, when crosspostings between alt.particle.subatomic.5quark and alt.particle.subatomic.4quark became too annoying for either side to swallow. Thus was formed alt.science.subatomic.highenergy.accelerator.theory, or ASSHAT. Members of the ASSHAT group thus had their own haven in which to debate the matter. Soon enough the pro-Four contingent took to calling the other side "Penties", soon augmenting this with other choice phrases as they took up a majority position. Penties returned fire with the term "Foursies", and the battle was on.
All-around smart guy Stephen Hawking has commented on the debate, noting:
"As both a PentaQuark fan and as someone far smarter than you, I must say that I don't understand these Four-Quarks people. Any substandard genius (that is to say, any genius who is not me) who has seen anything about quarks can produce the calculations showing that Four-Quarks never had a chance. They don't even use the anti-quark, for My sakes! But, they insist that their books about other universes prove it really is Four-Quarks by a long shot. As if that matters! If I weren't so busy on the next MC Hawking album I'd do a drive-by."
Pro-Four ASSHATters responded with a wide variety of creatively unprintable but ultimately irrelevant statements of disbelief.
Penties and Foursies didn't confine themselves to USEnet, of course. Regular ASSHAT contributor and 4-Quark supporter Edgar Allen created a website designed to poke fun at Penties, www.lookatmyfeces.com/u5v4d.html. This inspired Harry Wang to create an even more extreme site, QuadraQuarker.Net, now featuring a BBS largely composed of ASSHAT members.
These served as negative examples to a person called "Neo2000" who created 5-v-4.Net, reviled by QQ.Net BBS denizens as a haven of Pentie filth whose existence must be suppressed. Links from 5-v-4.Net to QQ.Net are redirected to pornographic sites, and Harry Wang . . . who claims to have been harrassed by Penties . . . nonetheless supports BBS member harassment of Neo2000.
In 2003, the debate heated up with the presentation of possible proof of the pentaquark by SPring-8 researchers. This addition to the pentaquark canon provided fodder for continued debate and, perhaps more importantly to some, continued spewing of childish vitriol. Then, in 2005, 5-v-4.Net had posted proof that a former Foursie debater and Other Universe (OU) author was carefully constructing his OU statements to support Four-Quarks in the debate instead of analyzing the OU on its own merit, leading to even more recriminations and vitriol.
Though one can skim over the messages of the various ASSHAT groups and see a progression of hostility, it isn't clear how all these ASSHATters let things get so bad. Nonetheless, even after pro-Penta supporter Shatner Johnnies was banned from the QQ.Net BBS the Foursies continued to stalk him all over the internet. When Mr. Johnnies returned fire by contacting QQ.Net's advertisers, something long-snapped in the minds of QQ.Net posters was pulled once again. With their collective searchings, they dug up all sorts of personal information on Mr. Johnnies, including satellite photos of his home. It was decided by the group that someone would visit, and visit they did.
Though no one was seriously injured in the altercation which followed, police were called when gunshots were heard and the QQ.Net BBS member was charged with trespassing. The court date is set for Natunda, 35:3:5.