We Can’t Let Blogging Go Down This Road

So, I’ve been reading through the comments on the Kathy Sierra situation.  While most of them are extremely supportive and loving, there are some that also shock me at their callousness and lack of caring.

For example:

DexterCornell:

“I
really think you would have a much better life if you did not take
yourself sooooo seriously. Sure, what these people wrote was infantile
and weird, but I don’t see how you intend to help yourself by taking it
all straight to heart. Unless you’re manufacturing fodder for a
lawsuit, which is what this sounds like (never-ending emotional
distress, etc.) Sure, it’s not a pleasant interaction to have with
someone, but if this is honestly the worst thing that has even happened
to you, you must have led an awfully sheltered life thus far. I’ve been
threatened with death, too — by a guy a lot more earnest than these
nitwits — but that doesn’t even make my top 100 of unpleasant life
experiences to date.”

and

Ano Nemoose:

“Grow a spine. Honestly.. the internet is full of trolls, as you pointed out. Get over it.”

also

Berislav Lopac:

“After reading Kathy’s post in a bit more detail, and all the comments, I have a clearer picture what just happened.

1. Kathy was participating in a forum frequented by people who criticised her in the past. Fine.
2. Some of those people used offending language. Check.
3.
Other (or the same) of those people used language that included covert
or open death wishes or even threats. Hm, worrying, but that’s Internet
for you.
4. In combination with the slitthroat comment on her own
blog, Kathy had all the right in the world to get scared, and she did.
Completely understandable.
5. She blows the fear off by posting about it on her site.
6. Everybody immediately gives her support (good) and chastises the commenters (bad).

I
know that this support is what she personally needed, and I hope she
feels better for it, but this is a lynch mentality. This is how wars
start; believe me, I saw one.”

Now, these comments disturb me because people seem to think that, “Oh, it’s the Internet, not a big deal.”  I would definitely disagree.  I think that one of the problems with the Internet is that is gives us a look into people’s true feelings because they feel safe in their anonymity.  This causes any number of problems…as illustrated here.

They also seem to say that, “Well, that happens.  I’m sure it’s not as bad as you think and it’s something to just get over.”  Why should the people that are spewing these hateful things at Kathy be allowed to just continue on?  I am referring not to the commenters above but to the original offenders.  Why should Kathy be the one to change when she has done nothing but her job?!?  Oh yes, those hateful programmers and marketers…they must be stopped!


Then, one of the offenders chimes in:

Joey:

“Here
is my entire post that Kathy so handily clipped out of, you tell me if
this is a threat to her and keep in mind, I’m speaking to a different
Kathy!

# Joey Says:
March 15th, 2007 at 5:15 pm

Darn,
I ruined so many posts today ALL OVER THE WORLD! Something is wrong
with being retired and realizing you had a long, hard day!

Do
any of you twits hang out in chat rooms (non-twitter;) anyplace? I need
to kick back and talk to actually enjoyable people instead of the
twerps I was with today. Don’t ask: basically, it ended up that they
wanted …. M O N E Y trying to sell, you guessed it: H A P P I N E S S.

Why didn’t they get it the first time when I said “retired”? That usually is followed by “fixed income”.

…And then my baggy pants fell down at the meat market.

The only thing Kathy has to offer me is that noose in her own neck size 😉

REMINDER:
THE ABOVE IS A QUOTE and not a new threat of any sort. It is an attempt
to establish context. If you still want to kill me, fine, where do I
go? TELL ME, where do you want to kill me at? I’m tired of this. I’ll
jump off a bridge, name it. What do I have to do to show you Kathy is
playing a game with you?”

Then, he follows it by saying:

Joey:

“Karma,
I’m retired. That means I’m a useless, probably toothless old man. I
was simply criticizing someones silly books and all this happened
because I found the format of her books insulting to people who were
serious about learning.

Also, Karma, I never posted a noose
picture. PERIOD. I did see it and I didn’t think twice of it. It was an
innocent noose up against a black background. So what, there are noose pictures and diagrams in newspaper comic strips every day. Check the real world. A standard icon is not a death threat
in its own right. There was utterly no intention to suggest a death
threat by anyone who used the graphic, whoever it was. There was
nothing to suggest death related terms except the text which indicated
her publications were silly.

Could it be that whoever used the graphic meant her published ideas were dumb?

How do you go from criticism to death threats?

All I did was criticize her book. Can I repeat that again? All I did was criticize her book.

Go in peace, I can see how useful talking here is going to be.”

I’m sorry, but the defense of, “I was talking to someone else” was ridiculous enough.  But then, we just jump right off the deep end by saying that a noose does not suggest a death threat and it was just criticism and that the graphic meant her published ideas were dumb!  Sure, I’ll bet that’s what Saddam Hussein was thinking on the gallows when he looked at the noose, “Hey, these people must think that the way I ran Iraq was dumb.”  Riiiigght.

Now, I can understand “Joey’s” attempts to backpedal.  He’s against a wall and wants to find a way out.  And sure, maybe what he says is true…sort of.  I know of many things that have been said on blogs, chatrooms, forums, etc that were said tongue in cheek and not literally.  Would they have carried the same weight with Kathy had the other elements (emails, etc) not been happening?  Probably not.  But that doesn’t change the fact that he said them and should be accountable for them.  The reality of this new media world is that we are more transparent than ever, but with that transparency comes responsibility. We need to realize that on the other end of these glowing boxes are real people and the things we say affect them. 

I truly hope and pray that this is resolved.  I pray that Kathy can move on with life as usual. 


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We Can’t Let Blogging Go Down This Road

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