For Georgia “GAP” Popplewell, Managing Director of international blogging project Global Voices, the e-mail she sent to the community mailing list announcing that free iPhones would be given to all contributors seemed like a harmless enough April Fool's prank. Certain members of the community, however, failed to see the humour, calling the prank, “lame”, “heartless” and “something only a person with a sick, warped sense of humour would do.”
“It's a cruel joke,” said one contributor, who admitted to being so excited by the e-mail that she tossed her 3-year old Nokia into a nearby lake before reading the critical second paragraph.
“I always knew GAP was an evil person,” said another, “and this heinous act confirms it. Now what I am supposed to do with this expensive calfskin iPhone case and Bluetooth headset I ran out and purchased?”
Another contributor said he knew deep down that the message was a fake, but a medical condition that renders him powerless in the face of e-mails offering free merchandise prevented him from seeing the truth. Several other contributors admitted to being afflicted with a similar ailment, including one person who commissioned 250 iPhone cases from a collective of indigenous weavers in his community that he planned on selling to his colleagues. “I would have made 1300% profit on those cases,” said the contributor. “GAP owes me big time.”
Yet none of the GV contributors we talked to claimed to know the identity of the community member who issued the death threat that forced GAP to leave her Trinidad and Tobago residence and seek refuge in an undisclosed location by noon on April Fool's day, though one person said that it “sounds like something somebody on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) team would do—but don't tell anybody I said that!”
When interviewed on the matter, MENA editor Amira Al-Hussaini said “I don't wish to point fingers, but if I did, I'd point them in the direction of South Asia.” In a statement issued on the forum of the newly established web site www.serves_gap_right.org, the South Asia team formally denied any involvement with the threat, hinting that it was most likely to have originated somewhere closer to GAP's home base, “like perhaps Latin America or—*cough*—the Caribbean.”
Contributors from the Global Voices regional and language teams yet to be accused of being involved in the threat have since set up another web site (www.we_didnt_do_it.org) in addition to a fund to help GAP cover the cost of her stay at the luxury resort where she is rumoured to have taken refuge. The fund, however, was disbanded after it was discovered that payments were being funneled into someone's private PayPal account.