Destructive Comments

What does one say? Where does one begin? You probably have heard that Kathy Sierra did not go to ETech due to death threat comments, along with "disturbing threats of violence and sex posted on two other blogs" against her. And as she noted, these posts included ones by "prominent bloggers." She wrote:

I do not want to be part of a culture--the Blogosphere--where this is considered acceptable. Where the price for being a blogger is kevlar-coated skin and daughters who are tough enough to not have their "widdy biddy sensibilities offended" when they see their own mother Photoshopped into nothing more than an objectified sexual orifice, possibly suffocated as part of some sexual fetish. (And of course all coming on the heels of more explicit threats)

I agree. I don't want to be part of such a culture, either. I prefer to read blogs like Kathy's, blogs that are positive and helpful. We cannot undo what has been done. But we can follow her advice:

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 put these people on a pedestal. Do not let them get away with calling this "social commentary", "protected speech", or simply "criticism". I would never be for censoring speech--these people can say all the misogynistic, vile, tasteless things they like--but we must preserve that line where words and images become threats of violence. Freedom of speech--however distasteful and rude the speech may be, is crucial. But when those words contain threats of harm or death, they can destroy a life.


Chris Locke's response to Kathy Sierra's initial post.
Kathy Sierra and Chris Locke: "Coordinated Statements on the Recent Events"
Nancy White: Hate, Threats and the Culture of Love
Kim Cameron: One very sad story
Mitch Ratcliffe: Identity rape and mob mentality
Tim Reilly: Call for a Blogger's Code of Conduct
Richard Koman (Silicon Valley Watcher), About that Code of Conduct (a response to Tim Reilly)
Richard Koman (Silicon Valley Watcher), Blogger Guidelines and a Call for Censure (a follow-up response to Tim Reilly)
Fractals of Change, Anonymous Cowards and Infamous Scribblers (an interesting post noting the "uncivil" and "pseudonym[ous]" discourse of the U.S. founding fathers)
Jeff Jarvis (BuzzMachine), No Twinkie Badgers Here