Taking the week off

I’m physically ill after reading what happened to Kathy Sierra. Maryam and several others here at PodTech asked me about it and are concerned since the same sites that are attacking Kathy also mentioned me and Maryam. Maryam is really freaked out about it. So am I.

She doesn’t feel safe. I don’t either after reading Kathy’s post. I, like Mike Arrington and other bloggers, have gotten threatened and I’ve just ignored it. It comes with the territory, or so they say. But what Kathy is going through is just totally disgusting. I note that only one of the four that Kathy specifically mention has apologized. That itself is disgusting. Those people are NOT my friends and I don’t support that kind of blogging or commenting and remove such attacks if left here against other people (I leave attacks against me up, but that’s cause generally most people here are pretty cool, even if they think I’m a jerk).

We’re putting ourselves out there in ways very few people do. We should be safe from death threats and other sexual attacks and stuff, especially from other bloggers.

So, since she doesn’t feel safe. I’m going to stop blogging in support of Kathy, who I consider a friend and someone who’s voice would be dearly missed here. I’ll be back Monday.

The Internet culture is really disgusting. Today when I was on Justin.TV the kinds of things that people were discussing in the chat room there were just totally disgusting and over the top.

We have to fix this culture. For the next week, let’s discuss how.

And, Kathy, Maryam and I love you and are there for you. Don’t let these jerks get you down.

It’s this culture of attacking women that has especially got to stop. I really don’t care if you attack me. I take those attacks in stride. But, whenever I post a video of a female technologist there invariably are snide remarks about body parts and other things that simply wouldn’t happen if the interviewee were a man.

It makes me realize just how ascerbic this industry and culture are toward women. This just makes me ill.

796 thoughts on “Taking the week off

  1. This kind of action is very disturbing.

    One problem with the internet is that it empowers people more than they would be in a regular environment. You are hidden, except the rare few, like Robert, who are willing to put themselves out there for everyone to see.

  2. This kind of action is very disturbing.

    One problem with the internet is that it empowers people more than they would be in a regular environment. You are hidden, except the rare few, like Robert, who are willing to put themselves out there for everyone to see.

  3. I’m glad to know that you feel for her,but honestly, I want to say this…
    Every man who has a daughter should be thinking about whether or not he wants his little girl to go through what you, Kathy, and your wife are going through. … and then he should think about this –it is not enough to not be part of the problem, men must be part of the solution.

    For the blogosphere, I have to confess that I have no idea how to stop these sorts of things. It happens in the hard sciences, happens in the medical field, happens in media, … in just about every male-dominated field career-wise. I tend to see it as something endemic to the world we are living in.

    I hope every woman who is being intimidated, threatened, beaten, raped, or otherwise hurt by violence from men FIGHTS BACK. Every time a woman doesn’t fight back, men continue to think they can get away with their misogyny and they do. Every time a woman fights back, a man gets a new thought in his head that maybe he is not going to get away with it and he’ll think twice about trying again on someone else.

    Whether those guys were going to try to get her or not -I have a few words about that. If they were, they out to be put behind bars and really have their stories plastered all over the media. You notice men all shout and moan or groan when they see a guy getting kicked in the groin in a video? Ever wonder that women don’t have the same universal response when they see in a theater a woman getting beaten or raped? The media and images in our world have taught us to accept social violence in our midst. It isn’t okay though. You deserve to feel safe as a human being. So does your wife. So does Kathy. So do I. So does every single one of you readers.

    If I had the money to do it, I’d make advertisements all across the country for the IMPACT/Prepare, Inc/model muggers series of self-defense classes. I wish every woman in the US had the access and ability to take these classes. They’re limited by money of course and haven’t got the funds to bring those programs everywhere, though I’m told that the organization has flown the course to various places, campuses, etc. to teach the course in an intensive program over a couple of days. There are classes for men and women (separately, of course) and teens. For a woman or teenager to know he or she can set boundaries, can defend herself, and can escape a potentially life threatening situation is a powerful feeling. It is really quite possible (I’ve seen the demonstrations and known a couple of women who took the programs). I encourage every woman to find one of these classes and take all of the classes like this that she can afford to take. It is worth the piece of mind. I’m sad that Kathy Sierra is terrified and I would be in her shoes as well. To find out that anyone wants to hurt you is an awful thing and disrupts the trust our society is built upon. I encourage you to encourage your wife to take a self-defense class of some sort that would help her regain a sense of empowerment. Her safety and Kathy’s is more important than a blog.

    I don’t know whether or not Madison Avenue can sell much with images of men being hurt or treated like the weaker sex object, but I doubt it. Another guy I know told me once that America made images of women in underwear okay for a 100ft tall billboard and it’s one of the most disgusting things he’s ever seen a civilized society do. I used to wonder if people could refuse to use sexually degrading images in their advertising. If they can and they don’t.. what does it say about them? I found out that people can and they don’t and I decided that most people must be pretty good at not thinking about what it says about them. I do know it bothered me a lot when a few Linux users made some non-penguin icons that were about sexual aggression towards women and depicted exaggerated and exposed body parts on women. My disgust at that notwithstanding, … in all honestly, I can’t say I’m wise enough to know whether my friend is right, but one thing I know… it isn’t freedom of speech when people use threats or violence.

    One danger of the cyber world… the imagination gets going and sometimes it goes someplace bad. Bad and good.. this stuff is difficult. There’s a reason philosophers have been debating it for centuries. To Kathy, I’d say: You can choose how you respond. You don’t have to hide. You don’t have to shrink away. You have every right to fight back. I’ll respect your choice if you choose not to, but I really hope that you do fight. For you and your wife, I also encourage you to look at the options that give you control. I’m generally interested that for example slashdot does a prtty good job of marking posts for their ..uh, flammability?… it does come with part of the territory that people won’t like things you say and they’ll generally attack if they’re the kind of people who think that this is the right thing to do, but attacks shouldn’t come in the form of sexual violence. I guess the attacks get personal when youput too much of a personal self up, but I really don’t know. I can only wish you and your wife the best solace that you can find and inspiration to find the best solutions for this problem, because it really is a problem.

  4. I’m glad to know that you feel for her,but honestly, I want to say this…
    Every man who has a daughter should be thinking about whether or not he wants his little girl to go through what you, Kathy, and your wife are going through. … and then he should think about this –it is not enough to not be part of the problem, men must be part of the solution.

    For the blogosphere, I have to confess that I have no idea how to stop these sorts of things. It happens in the hard sciences, happens in the medical field, happens in media, … in just about every male-dominated field career-wise. I tend to see it as something endemic to the world we are living in.

    I hope every woman who is being intimidated, threatened, beaten, raped, or otherwise hurt by violence from men FIGHTS BACK. Every time a woman doesn’t fight back, men continue to think they can get away with their misogyny and they do. Every time a woman fights back, a man gets a new thought in his head that maybe he is not going to get away with it and he’ll think twice about trying again on someone else.

    Whether those guys were going to try to get her or not -I have a few words about that. If they were, they out to be put behind bars and really have their stories plastered all over the media. You notice men all shout and moan or groan when they see a guy getting kicked in the groin in a video? Ever wonder that women don’t have the same universal response when they see in a theater a woman getting beaten or raped? The media and images in our world have taught us to accept social violence in our midst. It isn’t okay though. You deserve to feel safe as a human being. So does your wife. So does Kathy. So do I. So does every single one of you readers.

    If I had the money to do it, I’d make advertisements all across the country for the IMPACT/Prepare, Inc/model muggers series of self-defense classes. I wish every woman in the US had the access and ability to take these classes. They’re limited by money of course and haven’t got the funds to bring those programs everywhere, though I’m told that the organization has flown the course to various places, campuses, etc. to teach the course in an intensive program over a couple of days. There are classes for men and women (separately, of course) and teens. For a woman or teenager to know he or she can set boundaries, can defend herself, and can escape a potentially life threatening situation is a powerful feeling. It is really quite possible (I’ve seen the demonstrations and known a couple of women who took the programs). I encourage every woman to find one of these classes and take all of the classes like this that she can afford to take. It is worth the piece of mind. I’m sad that Kathy Sierra is terrified and I would be in her shoes as well. To find out that anyone wants to hurt you is an awful thing and disrupts the trust our society is built upon. I encourage you to encourage your wife to take a self-defense class of some sort that would help her regain a sense of empowerment. Her safety and Kathy’s is more important than a blog.

    I don’t know whether or not Madison Avenue can sell much with images of men being hurt or treated like the weaker sex object, but I doubt it. Another guy I know told me once that America made images of women in underwear okay for a 100ft tall billboard and it’s one of the most disgusting things he’s ever seen a civilized society do. I used to wonder if people could refuse to use sexually degrading images in their advertising. If they can and they don’t.. what does it say about them? I found out that people can and they don’t and I decided that most people must be pretty good at not thinking about what it says about them. I do know it bothered me a lot when a few Linux users made some non-penguin icons that were about sexual aggression towards women and depicted exaggerated and exposed body parts on women. My disgust at that notwithstanding, … in all honestly, I can’t say I’m wise enough to know whether my friend is right, but one thing I know… it isn’t freedom of speech when people use threats or violence.

    One danger of the cyber world… the imagination gets going and sometimes it goes someplace bad. Bad and good.. this stuff is difficult. There’s a reason philosophers have been debating it for centuries. To Kathy, I’d say: You can choose how you respond. You don’t have to hide. You don’t have to shrink away. You have every right to fight back. I’ll respect your choice if you choose not to, but I really hope that you do fight. For you and your wife, I also encourage you to look at the options that give you control. I’m generally interested that for example slashdot does a prtty good job of marking posts for their ..uh, flammability?… it does come with part of the territory that people won’t like things you say and they’ll generally attack if they’re the kind of people who think that this is the right thing to do, but attacks shouldn’t come in the form of sexual violence. I guess the attacks get personal when youput too much of a personal self up, but I really don’t know. I can only wish you and your wife the best solace that you can find and inspiration to find the best solutions for this problem, because it really is a problem.

  5. Whatever sympathy you feel for Kathy, try to feel a little MORE for those “subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, including arbitrary, prolonged and indefinite detention, for expressing their free speech rights and for using the Internet to communicate about democracy and human rights matters,” which happened to Wang Xiaoning for advocating political reform in China.

    Yahoo and its Chinese partner “turned over details to prosecutors that helped identify him to authorities.” And why should you care? Because Wayne Crookes is suing a wiki that published UNDISPUTED FACTS and POLITICAL OPINION about them. He demanded, and also is now demanding of google, yahoo, pbwiki, myspace and others exactly the same kind of identifying information that Chinese officials demanded about Wang Xiaoning and for exactly the same reason: to harass and harm critics of his political actions.

    The primitive laws in Canada do not, unlike the US or UK, exempt political comment and opinion. So there’s no bar to a Chinese politician or Russian appartchik calling themselves “defamed” in British Columbia and filing similar suits to get similar information.

    When you come up with a solution that protects both Kathy and Wang Xiaoning, and denies Crookes of all kinds, by all means discuss it. Until then it’s a bizarre delusion that lack of anonymity solves all problems. If that were so, why would we have secret ballots?

  6. Whatever sympathy you feel for Kathy, try to feel a little MORE for those “subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, including arbitrary, prolonged and indefinite detention, for expressing their free speech rights and for using the Internet to communicate about democracy and human rights matters,” which happened to Wang Xiaoning for advocating political reform in China.

    Yahoo and its Chinese partner “turned over details to prosecutors that helped identify him to authorities.” And why should you care? Because Wayne Crookes is suing a wiki that published UNDISPUTED FACTS and POLITICAL OPINION about them. He demanded, and also is now demanding of google, yahoo, pbwiki, myspace and others exactly the same kind of identifying information that Chinese officials demanded about Wang Xiaoning and for exactly the same reason: to harass and harm critics of his political actions.

    The primitive laws in Canada do not, unlike the US or UK, exempt political comment and opinion. So there’s no bar to a Chinese politician or Russian appartchik calling themselves “defamed” in British Columbia and filing similar suits to get similar information.

    When you come up with a solution that protects both Kathy and Wang Xiaoning, and denies Crookes of all kinds, by all means discuss it. Until then it’s a bizarre delusion that lack of anonymity solves all problems. If that were so, why would we have secret ballots?

  7. Whatever sympathy you feel for Kathy, try to feel a little MORE for those “subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, including arbitrary, prolonged and indefinite detention, for expressing their free speech rights and for using the Internet to communicate about democracy and human rights matters,” which happened to Wang Xiaoning for advocating political reform in China.

    Yahoo and its Chinese partner “turned over details to prosecutors that helped identify him to authorities.” And why should you care? Because Wayne Crookes is suing a wiki that published UNDISPUTED FACTS and POLITICAL OPINION about them. He demanded, and also is now demanding of google, yahoo, pbwiki, myspace and others exactly the same kind of identifying information that Chinese officials demanded about Wang Xiaoning and for exactly the same reason: to harass and harm critics of his political actions.

    The primitive laws in Canada do not, unlike the US or UK, exempt political comment and opinion. So there’s no bar to a Chinese politician or Russian appartchik calling themselves “defamed” in British Columbia and filing similar suits to get similar information.

    When you come up with a solution that protects both Kathy and Wang Xiaoning, and denies Crookes of all kinds, by all means discuss it. Until then it’s a bizarre delusion that lack of anonymity solves all problems. If that were so, why would we have secret ballots?

  8. sorry to post a comment anonymously again, i mean under a false name. but thats again becoz of the nature of the post. i am from another country and here too women get vile comments. i always thought western men respected their women, guess i was wrong. well, there should be a bloggers code of conduct because i for one get very disturbed when i get abuses for no reason at all! it is so easy to reach people thru comments and these people might be sick psycho’s and serial killers. they need to be stopped.

  9. sorry to post a comment anonymously again, i mean under a false name. but thats again becoz of the nature of the post. i am from another country and here too women get vile comments. i always thought western men respected their women, guess i was wrong. well, there should be a bloggers code of conduct because i for one get very disturbed when i get abuses for no reason at all! it is so easy to reach people thru comments and these people might be sick psycho’s and serial killers. they need to be stopped.

  10. I like how Kathy can just name a bunch of names and become the single arbiter of who and who isn’t ruined online simple because she’s scared of an anonymous person. What was done to her was horrendous and offensive, but her response is also offensive when it unfairly attacks certain individuals simply because they owned the site someone posted it on or – worse – attacks all males for it. Just because she is a woman doesn’t mean the person attacked her because she was a woman. Maybe she’s just a jerk and this person doesn’t like her. Or maybe this person is mentally imbalanced and doesn’t need a reason to be an idiot.

    I want to be on her side, but her response was grossly unfair and seemingly excused because – hey, she’s a woman. You can’t claim that you’re being attacked simple because of your gender and then paint the opposite sex with one fat stroke of the brush.

    As for identifying yourself when you post something. Are you insane?! I don’t want every idiot with a blog or a website having my personal information. Not even my real name. Not any more than they want me to have theirs. And what about all those people who are just lurking and see my information? I don’t know who they are, but they can tell who I am and hunt me down.

    Society has some crazy people. Most people have intenret access. Thereby, the internet has some crazy people. I’ve suffered death threats several times. Mostly because of people I banned from my site for offensive behavior and harassing other people. I didn’t make it an internet-wide holocaust just because they threatened to kill me and pasted my own residential address in an email to me and I certainly didn’t color all females as bad and evil (they were all female as most members of my site are). And I most certainly didn’t go out on the internet and name individuals who own the connections these people were posting through in a way that would give people on the internet the everlasting impression that THEY were bad people and somehow involved.

    Seriously, how would you like to be one of these guys who ran one of the websites and just because you didn’t immediately delete something, you are lumped in across the entire world in an everlasting format that will never be removed or corrected as someone involved in sending a woman a death threat? At some point, the rights of these other individuals must be considered. Whatever their reaction or reaction speed to the offensive postings may have been, they were not the ones who actually posted the material.

    So I’m sorry this sort of thing happens. But this reaction is not a way to get me fighting on your side. In my opinion, everyone involved is an ass and the whole thing really disgusts me. I’m not about to lose my free speech and anonymity because of some asshole supposedly living in spain threatened a woman and because some woman freaked out and said she was never coming out of her bathroom or logging into the internet again because someone made a picture of a noose next to her face from a book cover or whatever.

  11. I like how Kathy can just name a bunch of names and become the single arbiter of who and who isn’t ruined online simple because she’s scared of an anonymous person. What was done to her was horrendous and offensive, but her response is also offensive when it unfairly attacks certain individuals simply because they owned the site someone posted it on or – worse – attacks all males for it. Just because she is a woman doesn’t mean the person attacked her because she was a woman. Maybe she’s just a jerk and this person doesn’t like her. Or maybe this person is mentally imbalanced and doesn’t need a reason to be an idiot.

    I want to be on her side, but her response was grossly unfair and seemingly excused because – hey, she’s a woman. You can’t claim that you’re being attacked simple because of your gender and then paint the opposite sex with one fat stroke of the brush.

    As for identifying yourself when you post something. Are you insane?! I don’t want every idiot with a blog or a website having my personal information. Not even my real name. Not any more than they want me to have theirs. And what about all those people who are just lurking and see my information? I don’t know who they are, but they can tell who I am and hunt me down.

    Society has some crazy people. Most people have intenret access. Thereby, the internet has some crazy people. I’ve suffered death threats several times. Mostly because of people I banned from my site for offensive behavior and harassing other people. I didn’t make it an internet-wide holocaust just because they threatened to kill me and pasted my own residential address in an email to me and I certainly didn’t color all females as bad and evil (they were all female as most members of my site are). And I most certainly didn’t go out on the internet and name individuals who own the connections these people were posting through in a way that would give people on the internet the everlasting impression that THEY were bad people and somehow involved.

    Seriously, how would you like to be one of these guys who ran one of the websites and just because you didn’t immediately delete something, you are lumped in across the entire world in an everlasting format that will never be removed or corrected as someone involved in sending a woman a death threat? At some point, the rights of these other individuals must be considered. Whatever their reaction or reaction speed to the offensive postings may have been, they were not the ones who actually posted the material.

    So I’m sorry this sort of thing happens. But this reaction is not a way to get me fighting on your side. In my opinion, everyone involved is an ass and the whole thing really disgusts me. I’m not about to lose my free speech and anonymity because of some asshole supposedly living in spain threatened a woman and because some woman freaked out and said she was never coming out of her bathroom or logging into the internet again because someone made a picture of a noose next to her face from a book cover or whatever.

  12. i just don’t understand where all the viciousness comes from. i mean, the internet is the internet – every day, i come across rambling morons on their virtual soapboxes, from the peanut-brained losers with veins bulging out of their foreheads because *OMG STARBUCK’S A GIRL ON THE NEW BATTLESTAR !BLASPHEMY!,* to the crass and nauseating insensitivity i find in the comments under every article about the latest human rights abuses and war crimes… no matter who you are and what your opinions are, you can’t go onine for thirty seconds without finding someone or some site dedicated to trashing all that you hold dear and venerating that which strikes you as evil incarnate…
    and yet, all day every day, i’m online and i’m reacting and i’m disagreeing, but it’s never crossed my mind to threaten any of these people. to go to the trouble of photoshopping something crude, to stalk the typists behind the blogs, etc… i mean, this must happen millions of times an hour to people all over the world… and i can’t figure out what it is about those certain people who read something they don’t like and instead of moving on, funnel all their focus and all their thoughts into this psychotic crusade against the offending voices… they just have this urge to CREATE all of this unspeakable ugliness and assault their enemies with it, from behind the shield of their computer, and i can’t fathom for the life of me why they think that these methods will get anyone to listen, or change, or do anything besides create more paranoia, disillusionment, fear, social implosion…

    i can’t figure out what you, or kathy sierra, or your wife, says that provokes such a reaction. it probably doesn’t even matter; people like that are just primed to explode at any random trigger that happens to catch their eye – it’s probably a lost cause trying to make logical sense out of it. people who do things like that don’t relate to the hurt and sadness that follow that sort of behavior. and i guess that makes them even more scary.

    i wish it didn’t have to be like this, for you or for anyone else. keep working for something better – there are many of us out there who are doing the same, in many different ways, and we appreciate every little thing that keeps these things from being swept under the rug.

  13. i just don’t understand where all the viciousness comes from. i mean, the internet is the internet – every day, i come across rambling morons on their virtual soapboxes, from the peanut-brained losers with veins bulging out of their foreheads because *OMG STARBUCK’S A GIRL ON THE NEW BATTLESTAR !BLASPHEMY!,* to the crass and nauseating insensitivity i find in the comments under every article about the latest human rights abuses and war crimes… no matter who you are and what your opinions are, you can’t go onine for thirty seconds without finding someone or some site dedicated to trashing all that you hold dear and venerating that which strikes you as evil incarnate…
    and yet, all day every day, i’m online and i’m reacting and i’m disagreeing, but it’s never crossed my mind to threaten any of these people. to go to the trouble of photoshopping something crude, to stalk the typists behind the blogs, etc… i mean, this must happen millions of times an hour to people all over the world… and i can’t figure out what it is about those certain people who read something they don’t like and instead of moving on, funnel all their focus and all their thoughts into this psychotic crusade against the offending voices… they just have this urge to CREATE all of this unspeakable ugliness and assault their enemies with it, from behind the shield of their computer, and i can’t fathom for the life of me why they think that these methods will get anyone to listen, or change, or do anything besides create more paranoia, disillusionment, fear, social implosion…

    i can’t figure out what you, or kathy sierra, or your wife, says that provokes such a reaction. it probably doesn’t even matter; people like that are just primed to explode at any random trigger that happens to catch their eye – it’s probably a lost cause trying to make logical sense out of it. people who do things like that don’t relate to the hurt and sadness that follow that sort of behavior. and i guess that makes them even more scary.

    i wish it didn’t have to be like this, for you or for anyone else. keep working for something better – there are many of us out there who are doing the same, in many different ways, and we appreciate every little thing that keeps these things from being swept under the rug.

  14. hat is all this hubbub about?

    Terrorizing of net users is nothing new.

    The wars go on for at least a decade now. Only, people just are not interested. People do not care. People do not give a damn about others being terrorized by “netizens”.

    And it is NOT a matter of anonymity!
    ************************************

    All the doers PROUDLY give their names. Their names, their addresses, their jobs ARE KNOWN. And they joyfully go on harrassing other people.

    Just look at the “discussions” about “real name” (or “realname”) in the usenet. Go ahead and look for yourself. DO IT!!!

    And do look at how people are attacked, who are victims of their ISPs, which censor their email. Tiscali does censor their clients’ email! How about that? How about a big company tramping peoples’ fundamental rights? What happens? The VICTIMS are attacked by terrorist “netizens”.

    And do look at how people are attacked who warn because of the Nazi shit “Java” and “Java script”.
    How about that? What happens? The warners are attacked by terrorist “netizens”.

    We are facing a broad and extremely dangerous attack by trojan internet attacks initialized and legalized by German politicians like Schaeuble and his
    partners of the SPD gang.

    What happens?

    Anonymity is the only way for the victims of these Nazi breeds to survive.

    If anonymity were destroyed, go ahead, and kiss Hitler’s ass, twice daily.

  15. hat is all this hubbub about?

    Terrorizing of net users is nothing new.

    The wars go on for at least a decade now. Only, people just are not interested. People do not care. People do not give a damn about others being terrorized by “netizens”.

    And it is NOT a matter of anonymity!
    ************************************

    All the doers PROUDLY give their names. Their names, their addresses, their jobs ARE KNOWN. And they joyfully go on harrassing other people.

    Just look at the “discussions” about “real name” (or “realname”) in the usenet. Go ahead and look for yourself. DO IT!!!

    And do look at how people are attacked, who are victims of their ISPs, which censor their email. Tiscali does censor their clients’ email! How about that? How about a big company tramping peoples’ fundamental rights? What happens? The VICTIMS are attacked by terrorist “netizens”.

    And do look at how people are attacked who warn because of the Nazi shit “Java” and “Java script”.
    How about that? What happens? The warners are attacked by terrorist “netizens”.

    We are facing a broad and extremely dangerous attack by trojan internet attacks initialized and legalized by German politicians like Schaeuble and his
    partners of the SPD gang.

    What happens?

    Anonymity is the only way for the victims of these Nazi breeds to survive.

    If anonymity were destroyed, go ahead, and kiss Hitler’s ass, twice daily.

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