The response to her inquiry a few minutes later?
Did one of the authors of this paper steal your boyfriend in grammar school by any chance? As to your question "Am I missing something here?", I would have to say professionalism, scruples, and a LIFE!
So maybe he is the woman's best friend and he has an odd way of teasing her. Perhaps he knows the authors and feels the need to defend their academic honor. Or perhaps he's provided yet another example of why we as a profession so often chose to struggle alone rather than revealing our challenges or struggles in front of others. In any event, I sincerely hope the listserv moderates call him out and give the original author some positive lovin'. Odds are they won't.