Tuesday, 2007-March-27 at 11:50 4 comments

Creating Passionate Users: Death threats against bloggers are NOT “protected speech” (why I cancelled my ETech presentations)

Please proceed to the site and read this post.

I never heard of Kathy Sierra before this, nor any of her attackers. However, I must add my voice and say explicitly:


I will not be shutting down the blog over this. Instead, I would rather speak up and speak out. If we hide in our holes, people who do these things will be emboldened, perhaps even carry out their sick fantasies.

You may disagree with someone, maybe even dislike them. That does not mean you start planning her death or making sick sexual (or other) threats against her. I say again, if you have a problem, call your local mental health agency and get help. Do not let this turn you into some kind of serial killer or something. Get help now!

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  • 1. Charles Duggleson  |  Wednesday, 2007-March-28 at 05:52

    I think there’s more to this than a casual reading is likely to surface. Sierra is not completely innocent in this posting. There are some aspects that are being twisted and put in a certain context to heap shame on some people she doesn’t like.

    Check out Burningbird for a more balanced view (also see “Joey”s four responses in Kathy’s original thread). There’s more to this story. The truth will out.

  • 2. lnxwalt  |  Wednesday, 2007-March-28 at 08:31

    Charles, take a look at the absolute *venom* of some of these things:

    What kind of sick person writes that kind of personal attack? What kind of sick person creates the graphic that looks like some kind of sexually-motivated serial killer’s victim?

    I will agree that disagreements abound online, and due to the fact that we do not meet face-to-face, it is easy to let things escalate until they go far beyond anything that would be accepted in the real world.

    Maybe they dislike the woman’s writings. Maybe they dislike her point of view. Fine. Then they should say so as often as they feel it is necessary. But getting personal and sexual was over the top.

  • 3. Charles Duggleson  |  Thursday, 2007-March-29 at 04:37

    Re the links:

    1) That has nothing to do with her (Kathy). At best, she could be trying to use it as some sort of “pattern of meanness.” But it’s a loong leap to go from gross, juvenile “fat-pig” jokes to death threats.

    2) Perhaps in some ways I’m still too naive, but I really don’t get the hubbub over this shot. How can one suffocate with a sheer panty over your head? Crude and sexist are apt labels, but I’m not getting death threat with that. Is it a play on some kind of pop movie I missed??

    3) Loooong after the fact. There’s tons of weirdo trolls out there, I’m sure this one had nothing at all to do with the original offenses; just piling on for shock effect.

    But don’t get me wrong, I hear what you’re saying. I’m not a fan of ad hom stuff just for the sake of it (though I have been guilty of being unfairly mean once or twice). I’m even uncomfortable with some of the slag Michelle Malkin or the salamander-that-walks-like-a-human Ann Coulter get — but I look the other way because their kind of trolling is unconscionable, truly reprehensible.

    From what I’ve seen to date, the various opinions and opines of Maryam and Kathy may be boring, trite, droll, insipid, etc, but they didn’t warrant real savaging.

    But publicly poking fun at people you don’t like is the North American way and it comes with the territory. There’s heat in the kitchen, you’ve got to expect that to one degree or another.

    Publicly drawing a line from ridicule to death threats, however, is not cool unless you have some serious evidence to back that up.

    There’s several layers/issues to this whole mess and it’s playing out kinda weird, so I’ll do my best to shut up about it for the time being.

  • 4. Charles Duggleson  |  Thursday, 2007-March-29 at 04:41

    p.s. I used to visit the site from time to time, not regularly, but now and again. The M Scoble bit was not at all typical of what was posted there. It was a lot of silly inside jokes in fact. Please note that very soon after the maryam bit was up, Frank tore down the site.

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