Go read Kathy Sierra’s latest post at Creating Passionate Users, then come back. It’s important.
That post made me feel sick to my stomach. It makes me both sad and angry when people use the shield of anonymity on the internet to do crap like make death threats and other cretinous behavior. It makes me wish that we could, collectively, inflict “good” effects on the world as easily as people like that can inflict “bad” ones, through words, as if by magic.
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This has been all over the Twittersphere, and I’ve included lots of posts on the topic in my linkblog, to raise awareness of the problem. I first heard about it from Stephanie Booth on Twitter, followed shortly by TechCrunch’s Mike Arrington. I started twittering about it, and now, at least, it seems to have become the story of the day. Robert Scoble is going to abstain from blogging for a week in “protest”. He’s one of the most transparent bloggers on the net, making details like his cell phone number, (rough) place of residence, etc. available for the world to see on his blog. Being as high profile as he is, he also gets his share of trolls and comments attacking him and his family.
My cell phone number is posted on my blog, I talk openly about my family our activities, and I can say that I’ve never had anything bad come of being so reachable. Only good things – opportunites, sometimes big ones – have resulted. Sure, I’ve got comment trolls, but I usually just ignore/delete anyone that doesn’t behave in accordance with “the living room rule” here.
My heart goes out to Kathy. This isn’t new behavior – there have been vicious cowards pretty much as long as the human race has existed. Hopefully, these are just idiot kids hiding behind internet anonymity, and not anyone planning actual physical harm (though harm HAS been done to Kathy even through mere threats).
I really, really wish there was something we could do to help/protect Kathy. I guess we bloggers should do what we do best – talk about the issue and raise awareness.