Kathy Sierra hate campaign

I was horrified to read overnight of the online hate campaign and death threats conducted against Kathy Sierra, author of the Creating Passionate Users blog, to which I am subscribed.

Kathy is paying a huge price for being generous with her expertise and visible on her blog and at conferences. Now she says she is:

supposed to be in San Diego, delivering a workshop at the ETech conference. But I’m not. I’m at home, with the doors locked, terrified

Kathy goes on to say:

I have cancelled all speaking engagements.

I am afraid to leave my yard.

I will never feel the same. I will never be the same…. I have no idea if I’ll ever post again. I suspect I will. But for now, I have a lot to rethink.

Slagging people off online is one thing but when you get to this level of intimidation, and purposeful cruelty something much more sinister is being perpetrated.

There is no excuse for some of the things which were posted about Kathy. None.

One of the people Kathy references in her post about this campaign is Cluetrain Manifesto co-author, Chris Locke. Chris’ response is here.

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14 thoughts on “Kathy Sierra hate campaign”

  1. There’s not much you can say to comments like that, it’s a shame what some sick twisted people will do to other individuals. Some off those comments I wouldn’t even consider saying to my worst enemy.

  2. This so plays into the schema of government to, sensor and control the web and blogosphere. Several laws making their way through various governments purport to protect individuals from abuse only to force the requirement on ISP’s to maintain ‘record keeping’ as to the origin and identities of those who do post content on the net.

  3. Well like everything else, services can be tracked to a degree. It’s more important how that information is used rather than actually having that information.

    Anyway it’s easy for people to make statements and hide behind their computer screens, but to be honest it’s just sad. To wish for someone to be murdered let alone to detail it is sick and I hope this person has the ability to catch these people and bring legal action.

    The Internet is all about Freedom of Speech but this was not it, you don’t have the right to decide who should live or die no one does.

    A Nice Quote to remember though:

    I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

  4. thats shocking, just goes to show what kind of people live in our world. And tell me if i’m wrong, but these guys can continue doing what they’re doing without fear of prosecution, etc…..

  5. OK, can someone point out exactly what this poor lady is supposed to have done to deserve this kind of treatment? I have these images in my head of her posting all sorts of terrible things to deserve this but I’m not seeing the evidence.

    This just doesn’t add up in my head.

    However, nothing justifies this kind of treatment. It only takes a few bad eggs to spoil things for everyone. If we could all just behave ourselves online there’d be no need for insane record keeping or anything like that.

    Mind you, people on the net are usually less anonymous that they think. I do hope these wastes of DNS get their just ‘rewards’!

  6. In my opinion, every one who believes in Freedom of Speech should fight these behaviors without conditions. It’s a shame to use the open space of blogs and the Internet to threat people of death and rape. I read Cathy’s blog every week and am just shocked by the violence of the comments she received. This goes far beyond bad taste and jealousy, I hope these people will be found and prosecuted.

  7. There is more of this happening than even I realised. I have been involved in e-learning for a number of years in Australia and have been an active contributor to the forum/community provided by the Australian Flexible Learning Framework.

    Recently I found that I discussion I had begun was being hijacked by another member of the community, who posted many derogatory comments about myself and other members of the community. I could not believe what I was reading. As I began the discussion and had never come across this person before, I tried to guide them into an agree to disagree mode, and repeatedly requested that they refrain from insulting others, this was to no avail and in the end I reported the matter and asked that the management team step in. They did and the member was suspended.

    Less than 24 hours after that happened I received an email, from a person who claimed they were a Department of Education and Science and Training representative, it came from what first looked like a DEST email and had DEST letter head.

    The email advised me that due to ‘my’ inappropriate behaviour, legal action was being taken against me by the plaintiff and I would be served within 24 hours.

    Already feeling intimidated by the posts on the forum, I freaked, I could not believe this was happening to me, what had I done, why was DEST involved, my world turned upside down.

    I did not sleep, I got another email, telling me I should go on the forum and apologise.

    It was the second email that triggered suspicion, spelling errors first and then as the cursor hovered over the email address, a different email address appeared – a sharpmail account.

    I googled and what did I find, a site that allows you to register for free and create a fake email address and fake email.

    It was bad enough wondering why DEST was going at me, but now it was scary, someone who knew what was happening in the forum, had created a fake identity, sent fake emails in an effort to deliberately put fear into me, to bully me and stalk me.

    I guess the best part is that they were pretending to be a representative of the Commonwealth of Australia, thus in reporting it to DEST and sending them the emails, DEST is now investigating in the hope of tracking down exactly who is responsible.

    The results of the investigation will be interesting and I hope will be soon.

    Now on the forum we have a new member, who refuses to identify themselves and states that they will not in their posts. They use an eye for their icon and their profile reads, Pay Attention, you are playing with fire’, in my mind this is someone who is wishing to continue bullying myself and continuing the fear factor.

    Like Cathy, my brain has not stopped, I wonder why I am the target, I wonder what will be next, I wondered if I should continue to post, I wondered what this would do to my professional credibility, so many things running around my head and right now suspicious of every email, every phone call, I have even found it hard to check emails for fear of what may be waiting and answering the phone is a no go zone.

    I have decided that I am not going to be bullied, so I am continuing to post and I am also trying to ensure all is known so that others may not suffer the same fate, it is time that these cowardly people, realised, that they will not get away with this, and those of us who are trying to help others with our knowledge and skills as well as learning ourselves from the engagement and sharing in the community, have zero tolerance for bullies and especially those who follow a path that is CRIMINAL.

    Am I scared, yep a little as you really do not know what you are dealing with, but I have been bullied before and hidden under my doona for fear of everything around me, impacting on my children, my family, relationships, job everything in my life. I will not let that happen again and if my stance helps just one person it is worth it.

    Cathy deserves none of what she has been dealt, no one deserves this. It is criminal behaviour and all need to understand the impact this has on peoples lives. You are never the same, I know that, you lose faith and trust in all.

    If my case can help Cathy in anyway, then I am happy for her to contact me, I know all too well how she is suffering and am here for her.

    If anyone wants to check this out and find me, go to http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au and go to the community networks, you will find all discussions and can follow, my contact details are there.

    It is time we stood up for our colleagues and peers and friends. This can not be allowed to continue, so please all get behind Cathy, I know I am, she has my full support and my thoughts are with her at this time. Being in constant fear can destroy you, we need to make sure that Cathy knows she is not alone, that people care and will be her voice and protectors.

  8. Unfortunately, when men feel threatened which is any time you point out their obvious shortcomings, they react by making threats of rape, death and of course calling a woman a whore.

    I always hope one day these guys will get a clue and realize we are all equal and all entitled to our opinion but unfortunately, some idiot keeps reproducing with them and creating the next generation of creeps.

  9. Yea that’s what I think when a Women disagrees with me, I plan how to Rape them.

    That’s extreme sarcasm. To pigeon hole all men I think it quite unfair and doesn’t benefit your comment and I like the way you assume all the comments came from Men. Got prove to that? You do realise there’s a lot of sick women out there not just men.

  10. @thebigman87 – of course, given that Sonyab602’s comment is anonymous – it could just as easily have come from a man!

  11. Check my blog.

    Check my links back through my work and through to my community. We are disgusted with this type of online behaviour.

    We support those that have fallen victim to these perps. and try to grow positive accord otherwise.

    Web 3.0 will eliminate this problem.

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