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I’m really sickened and saddened that popular blogger Kathy Sierra has been the subject of threats of death and sexual violence. I debated whether to write about it because I didn’t want to give the person making the threats a wider audience.
But the issue has become the subject of scores of posts and has made it to mainstream media, so I decided to offer my two cents and my support of Sierra.
She has made the issue public in a post that she says may be her last. It would be a shame for the blogosphere to lose her voice, and, while I can understand wanting to take a bit of time off, giving up on blogging would be letting the bastards win.
I hope the police quickly identify the person responsible, and that Sierra can once again find peace of mind.
The strange part about Sierra being targeted is that she is not controversial, does not write about politics, and, unlike a lot of bloggers, including this one, is always civil. The threats against Sierra, whom I’ve never met, are absolutely unacceptable on every level.
She implicates some very prominent Internet personalities, including Chris Locke, a co-author of the ground-breaking Cluetrain Manifesto. While most bloggers are rallying around her in support, some say she is over-reacting, or that this kind of abuse simply comes with the territory of being well-known.
Sierra and several other bloggers claim that the Internet, and the blogosphere in particular are misogynistic. I don’t think that’s the real issue. Bloggers are equal opportunity nasty, and that’s definitely one of the things wrong with the blogosphere.
As Jim Minatel points out, “This is not a blogging problem. It’s a people problem. yes, blogs and the internet as a whole empower previously hidden jerks to spread this kind of lunacy in annonimity with the click of a button like never before possible. But this isn’t something wrong with blogging, it’s wrong with someone’s brain.”
Anonymous comments, nasty comments, personal comments should not be tolerated by any blog or any blogger. The right to comment on blogs does not need to include threats, name-calling, or incitements to violence.
“If you want to do something about it, do not tolerate the kind of abuse that includes threats or even suggestions of violence (especially sexual violence). … Do not let them get away with calling this “social commentary”, “protected speech”, or simply “criticism”,” Sierra said on her blog.
It’s pretty clear that Chris Locke is not a nice guy. But, as Nick Denton commented on Valleywag, “if it was a crime merely to be considered a prick, the jails would be full.”