Onward!

Glad to see that Kathy Sierra and Chris Locke are getting along and have made a joint statement and appeared this morning together on CNN (I, and several others who were filmed for this, were cut out). I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to say this morning for a week and it just comes down to sadness. I’m having a tough time getting back into blogging, which is why I broke my silence with an April Fools’ joke. In a lot of ways it isn’t fun anymore. It’s a business now. Might explain why I like hanging out on Twitter more lately (no anonymous jerks named “Joey” get into my account there).

Attacks are part of this business. And mobs are too. I’m sorry that four people had their names dragged through the mud for something that Maryam and I believe they didn’t do. It makes me very worried about my comments. Am I responsible for what people write here? I’ve come very close to closing my comments up. It makes me realize why many well-known bloggers don’t have comments anymore. It’s hard enough taking responsibility for what I write here, much less what other people write. I have turned on some moderation (new posters are held until I can approve them).

Regarding attacks. There are few things that’ll quickly attract a crowd: a fight or an pileup on a freeway or a mob breaking windows. This story became some of all three.

Bloggers know this. In fact, some blogging businesses even use this knowledge to build an audience. They pick on people on purpose to try to attract an audience, which they can then sell to advertisers. In the case of MeanKids (one of the sites that attacked my wife and Kathy) it wasn’t necessarily about business, but they did want to attract a crowd around attacks on other bloggers.

This is all well and fine. If we all were machines.

I’m not. Kathy’s not. My wife is not. It’s very hard to not focus too much energy on attacks. In the past few weeks hundreds of people have come up to me at various events and said “I love your blog.” I don’t know that I can name more than a few of those people (I have business cards, though, heheh) but I can name tons of people who have said something nasty about me over the same time period. Something wrong when we give those who hate us more time and emotional energy than those who love us. Guilty as charged.

Over the past week I’ve received tons of emails from people online who gave me tons of details of attacks. Lots of bloggers hate them, but know they better not speak out against them. Kathy, last week, got MORE attacks AFTER she wrote that post than before. So, bloggers, if they are in this for the long haul, learn they should keep their mouths shut. That said, they certainly don’t appreciate the attacks. We ARE human, after all. And don’t like hearing the constant banging of stones on our screens from those who think we deserve a good stoning.

My frustration over the past week is there really isn’t much any of us can do. It doesn’t matter if you’re silent. It doesn’t matter if you are loud. The attacks will come and come often.

One thing, though, that I won’t support: more rules or laws or, even, more “guidelines.” I value my freedom of speech. This is not a “theory” for me. My mom grew up in Nazi Germany where free speech wasn’t allowed. My wife grew up in Iran, where free speech still isn’t allowed. You’re definitely not allowed to attack the government in Iran, even today.

UPDATE: Matt, in my comments, notes that death threats are not protected speech and are already against the law. He’s right that I shouldn’t tie that kind of speech to those issues. The problem is that some people are calling for expansions on those already-existing laws to other kinds of offensive speech online. That’s what I’m resisting.

I’d rather put up with a few rotten strawberries on our meme shelf than go with a system where we all need to be “nice” to each other.

That said, there’s some things +I+ am going to do.

1) Reward people who teach me something and/or uplift people and companies rather than tear them down. If you read my Link Blog you’ll see I don’t point to attacks and only link to the best of tech blogging/journalism.
2) Work harder on my video blog to expose to you companies and people who are trying to improve our lives.
3) Watch more Galacticast (yesterday’s version was funny).

Really, the only one I can control is myself. That’s how I’ll get back to having fun again. In the meantime there’s always Twitter. Where all attacks are 140 characters or less. Ever notice that a good flame is hard to write short?

PS: I’m still bummed out that Kathy isn’t blogging. I love her blog and put her stuff up on my link blog frequently and often.

UPDATE: This post leaves James Robertson exasperated. Um,  I think he missed the point I was trying to make. There’s a huge difference between laws and written-down-guidelines and morality and manners. Yeah, I wish people wouldn’t attack me. But I sure don’t want to see some sort of set of guidelines or, worse, laws. Should we go with the 1950’s version of politeness? Or todays? And, are we going to be able to attack our government after such a set of guidelines gets written? How about Robert Scoble? (Not if I write it, think about that one for a moment!)

Comments

  1. Scoble – you must never stop blogging or whatever it is you are doing. The knowledge inside your head affects a lot of people and is a great influence on a lot of companies (especially start-ups) around the globe.

    It sounds big, but why am I sitting in Copenhagen with an ugly feeling that it won’t take long before you stop blogging if you didn’t influence people from all over.

    I don’t get this whole flaming-issue. Why do anyone want to attack Maryam, Kathy, you, me, my employer or whoever, if it’s not in a reasonable and argumentative way? We don’t want to or need to agree all the time, but whatever happened to a great discussion as a way of solving issues, rather than blogging about how you want to end the lives of (female) bloggers?

    It’s beyond my level of reach, but it must _not_ affect you and the job you do in delivering news and help for the tech community outthere!

  2. Scoble – you must never stop blogging or whatever it is you are doing. The knowledge inside your head affects a lot of people and is a great influence on a lot of companies (especially start-ups) around the globe.

    It sounds big, but why am I sitting in Copenhagen with an ugly feeling that it won’t take long before you stop blogging if you didn’t influence people from all over.

    I don’t get this whole flaming-issue. Why do anyone want to attack Maryam, Kathy, you, me, my employer or whoever, if it’s not in a reasonable and argumentative way? We don’t want to or need to agree all the time, but whatever happened to a great discussion as a way of solving issues, rather than blogging about how you want to end the lives of (female) bloggers?

    It’s beyond my level of reach, but it must _not_ affect you and the job you do in delivering news and help for the tech community outthere!

  3. Death threats or threats of harm in general are not and have never been protected speech. People making these threats should be criminally prosecuted. Linking these threats to a freedom of speech issue puts real freedom of speech issues at risk.

  4. Death threats or threats of harm in general are not and have never been protected speech. People making these threats should be criminally prosecuted. Linking these threats to a freedom of speech issue puts real freedom of speech issues at risk.

  5. Matt, you’re right. I wasn’t trying to make that link and have updated my post. The problem is that several people were trying to get new rules that expanded on our already-existing rules against death threats.

  6. Matt, you’re right. I wasn’t trying to make that link and have updated my post. The problem is that several people were trying to get new rules that expanded on our already-existing rules against death threats.

  7. WHEW!! good thing you’ve decided to get back into the fray (of your own little universe, that is)… because you know, if you dont post, then the death threateners win.

  8. WHEW!! good thing you’ve decided to get back into the fray (of your own little universe, that is)… because you know, if you dont post, then the death threateners win.

  9. If we are to ever learn how to teach our children to deal with these issues in a non violent manner, they have to * read* our posts here and on the other forums showing us dealing with the issues and attempting to change them. That you and others posted about this issue, and let others post their views shows children that this is the proper way to handle problems of all kind.

  10. If we are to ever learn how to teach our children to deal with these issues in a non violent manner, they have to * read* our posts here and on the other forums showing us dealing with the issues and attempting to change them. That you and others posted about this issue, and let others post their views shows children that this is the proper way to handle problems of all kind.

  11. Robert,

    I know you updated your post to reflect that you’re not trying to tie free speech to threats of violence but it’s more than that. You and every other influential speaker out there should call for the prosecution of these guys. I know you support it, but a lot of the talk from you and others sounds more like “I won’t stand in the way of prosectution”, instead of “let’s get these guys”.

    The jerks that are out there threatening, menacing, harrassing, intimidating, etc. should know that they’re the top targets. Too many people are afraid to passionately pursue these guys for fear of degrading free speech.

    My opinion… it needs more passion.

  12. Robert,

    I know you updated your post to reflect that you’re not trying to tie free speech to threats of violence but it’s more than that. You and every other influential speaker out there should call for the prosecution of these guys. I know you support it, but a lot of the talk from you and others sounds more like “I won’t stand in the way of prosectution”, instead of “let’s get these guys”.

    The jerks that are out there threatening, menacing, harrassing, intimidating, etc. should know that they’re the top targets. Too many people are afraid to passionately pursue these guys for fear of degrading free speech.

    My opinion… it needs more passion.

  13. Tom: oh, I +am+ passionate about prosecuting “Joey” or whoever wrote that hate speech against Kathy. It’s just that I’m pretty sure that we’ll never know who it is, unless he identifies himself for some stupid reason (criminals are rarely smart).

    But, there’s enough of a mob going, and enough attention on this one, that I’m not sure anyone would be served well by me yelling and screaming for a head on a stick.

  14. Tom: oh, I +am+ passionate about prosecuting “Joey” or whoever wrote that hate speech against Kathy. It’s just that I’m pretty sure that we’ll never know who it is, unless he identifies himself for some stupid reason (criminals are rarely smart).

    But, there’s enough of a mob going, and enough attention on this one, that I’m not sure anyone would be served well by me yelling and screaming for a head on a stick.

  15. I agree with Shelly about the Cute Kitty thing. What? I don’t believe CNN did much of a job with the piece. They can’t compete with the bloggers in this arena.

  16. Good to have you back buddy! You hit two big points with me in this post (and raised a question I hope you can answer):

    1. Not only are flames hard in 140 characters, the general temperament on Twitter is much more positive (at least for now). While I’m sure there are flame wars going on, they’re not in my neighborhood and anyone who practices that sort of behavior will not make it onto my friends list.

    2. More rules is not the answer. I understand Tim O’Reilly’s motivations in talking about guidelines but suppression of speech, even with the best of intentions, is still a road that leads to totalitarianism hell.

    3. Can you explain the difference between “frequently” and “often” please? (sorry – couldn’t resist)

  17. Good to have you back buddy! You hit two big points with me in this post (and raised a question I hope you can answer):

    1. Not only are flames hard in 140 characters, the general temperament on Twitter is much more positive (at least for now). While I’m sure there are flame wars going on, they’re not in my neighborhood and anyone who practices that sort of behavior will not make it onto my friends list.

    2. More rules is not the answer. I understand Tim O’Reilly’s motivations in talking about guidelines but suppression of speech, even with the best of intentions, is still a road that leads to totalitarianism hell.

    3. Can you explain the difference between “frequently” and “often” please? (sorry – couldn’t resist)

  18. Robert,

    Reality has a scale from the most sublime to the most vile. We cannot pretend the vile does not exist. But we can do our best to ignore and delete it as appropriate.

    I hope you recapture the enthusiasm for life and the b’verse that could well be termed “scoblelizing”. You’re boundless love of the people of the web will return by connecting to people. There is much to love here despite the trolls and people who relish in working others over in text.

    Move towards the light. Life is good. Enjoy the addition to your wonderful family.

  19. Robert,

    Reality has a scale from the most sublime to the most vile. We cannot pretend the vile does not exist. But we can do our best to ignore and delete it as appropriate.

    I hope you recapture the enthusiasm for life and the b’verse that could well be termed “scoblelizing”. You’re boundless love of the people of the web will return by connecting to people. There is much to love here despite the trolls and people who relish in working others over in text.

    Move towards the light. Life is good. Enjoy the addition to your wonderful family.

  20. This reminds me of something that I was taught as a sales rep : people have the unfortunate habit of focusing more on – and talking about – where ‘people have done me wrong’, than on the things that have gone right. You see the same thing reflected in the news. The plus side is that problems get the attention they need for resolution. Downside is the possibility of discouragement.
    It seems the same goes here : ‘one bad apple spoils the barrel’. The threats are one more signal that things are out of control : but we can’t have it both ways.
    Blogging is often an exercise in discipline as much as a pleasure. I’m not surprised many posters find ‘a change is as good as a rest’. Getting out more is hardly a bad thing. That said, the stimulation of net dialogue is addictive.

  21. This reminds me of something that I was taught as a sales rep : people have the unfortunate habit of focusing more on – and talking about – where ‘people have done me wrong’, than on the things that have gone right. You see the same thing reflected in the news. The plus side is that problems get the attention they need for resolution. Downside is the possibility of discouragement.
    It seems the same goes here : ‘one bad apple spoils the barrel’. The threats are one more signal that things are out of control : but we can’t have it both ways.
    Blogging is often an exercise in discipline as much as a pleasure. I’m not surprised many posters find ‘a change is as good as a rest’. Getting out more is hardly a bad thing. That said, the stimulation of net dialogue is addictive.

  22. Boo hoo. You’re having a hard time blogging? Seems your having a hard time not staying quiet for a measely dman week!

    How is it hard to flame in 140 characters? Particularly death threats: “I’ll ****ing **ll you!”

    22 characters.

    I could even do some quite elaborate sexual threats in 140 characters.

    “I’ll ******* **** your ****** *** with a ***** and **** your **** while I **** you **********ing *****!”

    That’s well under 140 characters.

    But, no, Twitter is special and pure and the greatest thing!

  23. Boo hoo. You’re having a hard time blogging? Seems your having a hard time not staying quiet for a measely dman week!

    How is it hard to flame in 140 characters? Particularly death threats: “I’ll ****ing **ll you!”

    22 characters.

    I could even do some quite elaborate sexual threats in 140 characters.

    “I’ll ******* **** your ****** *** with a ***** and **** your **** while I **** you **********ing *****!”

    That’s well under 140 characters.

    But, no, Twitter is special and pure and the greatest thing!

  24. I love what McD said: move toward the light. Be the change you want to see in the world (Ghandi). Myself, I am always hurt by negative comments (everyone is, if they are human), but I try to move on in a positive way. Meeting you and seeing how you courageously live your life in public has been a high point of the last couple of years for me. I have always aspired to that, and you point the way. Don’t let the b*****ds :-) grind you down.

    I’m bummed that Kathy stopped, too.

  25. I love what McD said: move toward the light. Be the change you want to see in the world (Ghandi). Myself, I am always hurt by negative comments (everyone is, if they are human), but I try to move on in a positive way. Meeting you and seeing how you courageously live your life in public has been a high point of the last couple of years for me. I have always aspired to that, and you point the way. Don’t let the b*****ds :-) grind you down.

    I’m bummed that Kathy stopped, too.

  26. You’re welcome, Guy. See: I like to think we can be realistic, gritty, down-and-dirty AND funny and optimistic.

    If you take my above post or any other of my posts any other way, you simply have no sense of humor or are too thin-skinned for this world.

    Move towards the light, see the light, be the light… My Ass!

  27. You’re welcome, Guy. See: I like to think we can be realistic, gritty, down-and-dirty AND funny and optimistic.

    If you take my above post or any other of my posts any other way, you simply have no sense of humor or are too thin-skinned for this world.

    Move towards the light, see the light, be the light… My Ass!

  28. How is Maryam holding up? I was hoping she would never see those comments.

    I remember Kathy pinging me when they put those up there (that blog, meankids.org was erected in my honour, I’m afraid, because I got defensive and shut down conversation on my blog – I escaped relatively unscathed with a few photoshopped images that were not so bad).

    CNN did a horrendous job, but what’s new? Kitty? Ugh. I was surprised to see the Rageboy registered trademark. They didn’t really let Chris say much, either. I think they really wanted to paint a picture of kathy as a victim. Those multiple shots of her being upset really clinched it.

    Journalism is so not responsible. Especially mass media. It’s so very sensationalistic.

    Give my best to Maryam.

  29. How is Maryam holding up? I was hoping she would never see those comments.

    I remember Kathy pinging me when they put those up there (that blog, meankids.org was erected in my honour, I’m afraid, because I got defensive and shut down conversation on my blog – I escaped relatively unscathed with a few photoshopped images that were not so bad).

    CNN did a horrendous job, but what’s new? Kitty? Ugh. I was surprised to see the Rageboy registered trademark. They didn’t really let Chris say much, either. I think they really wanted to paint a picture of kathy as a victim. Those multiple shots of her being upset really clinched it.

    Journalism is so not responsible. Especially mass media. It’s so very sensationalistic.

    Give my best to Maryam.

  30. and then there is Goebbels,
    What would this conversation be without that comment?

    Well, it helped avoid the shock and horror when people realized that twitter isn’t a magic spell of de-twit-erizing. Face things as they are, or be resigned to the world being a cold and capricious place.

    Journalism is so not responsible. Especially mass media. It’s so very sensationalistic.

    Of course it is. If it wasn’t, then no one would watch. Face it, people can wring their hands over how “bad things are today”, but if they really wanted things different, then Jim Leherer would have been the highest-paid, most watched newsperson on TV.

    And yet, Geraldo and the rest smoked him.

    Why? Because we like sensationalism. Hell, the blogosphere is JUST as bad. How many times has Robert worded something a bit more provocatively to attract more attention?

    How much attention would his, or Kathy’s, or anyone’s posts on this mess have gotten with dry, calm, non-sensationalist wording?

    Not as much by a long shot, that’s for sure.

    Sensationalism gets you attention. if you don’t get attention, then nothing you write is read, and the quality of it is rather meaningless. For as much sensationalism as there is in MSM and the “blogosphere”, there’s just as much real news and analysis going on. But, if you don’t get the eyeballs, then who cares?

  31. I hope if Twitter continues to grow (and I still haven’t figured out why I would want to use it all that much) it finds a better reason to exist than that flames are hard to do in 140 characters.

    Maybe this would be a good time to revisit the whole anonymity issue. The suggestion has been made that threats were made by people who are anonymous with the implication that ending anonymity would solve a lot of problems, and it most likely would. On the other hand the RIAA hasn’t had too much trouble tracking people down who would clearly rather remain anonymous. At the same time we mostly celebrate new technologies that allow people with oppressive governments to engage in free speech as long as they can keep their identities from those governments. Sort of reminds me of the gun-control debate, with members of the pundocracy saying, in effect: “Guns should be outlawed, but I should be allowed to have one to defend my swimming pool.”

    In the 90s I purchased a domain with the intent of setting up a web site as a cautionary tale about people who put too much personal information online. The plan was to have the proud author expose his family and friends to the world with cameras showing the layout of the house, where the secret back door key was kept and where the children caught the bus in the mornings. The idea was to warn people, though humor, about the potential dangers. Only problem was that my exaggerations couldn’t keep up with the real world. I couldn’t make it blatant enough, beyond what thousands of people were already doing, so that people would get the joke.

    I don’t have a hard statistic, but my guess is that the vast majority of blogs are done anonymously, or at least mostly so. Yet in the past you have criticized anyone who does such a thing as somehow less legitimate than people who put their names out there.

    My opinion remains that for a professional journalist you either have to use a real name, or establish a permanent pseudonym under which you write. But for the rest of us, I advise to avoid the 3AM phone calls and graffiti on your walls and stay anonymous until you get an invitation from CNN at which point maybe you want to “go professional”. I read hundreds of blogs without regard to knowing who wrote them. I judge strictly by past performance, and from time to time performance drops off and I “switch channels”. There DOES seem to be a correlation between consistency and those who are at least making some money doing this work, but other than that I really don’t think there is anything WRONG with posting an anonymous blog.

    PS: I still don’t know the story behind the story here. Threats are rare (in my experience) on technical blogs, and abundant on political blogs. I think the best thing that can be done about it has to do with sentencing future offenders to jail time rather than letting them off with warnings and restraining orders as seems to be the norm.

  32. and then there is Goebbels,
    What would this conversation be without that comment?

    Well, it helped avoid the shock and horror when people realized that twitter isn’t a magic spell of de-twit-erizing. Face things as they are, or be resigned to the world being a cold and capricious place.

    Journalism is so not responsible. Especially mass media. It’s so very sensationalistic.

    Of course it is. If it wasn’t, then no one would watch. Face it, people can wring their hands over how “bad things are today”, but if they really wanted things different, then Jim Leherer would have been the highest-paid, most watched newsperson on TV.

    And yet, Geraldo and the rest smoked him.

    Why? Because we like sensationalism. Hell, the blogosphere is JUST as bad. How many times has Robert worded something a bit more provocatively to attract more attention?

    How much attention would his, or Kathy’s, or anyone’s posts on this mess have gotten with dry, calm, non-sensationalist wording?

    Not as much by a long shot, that’s for sure.

    Sensationalism gets you attention. if you don’t get attention, then nothing you write is read, and the quality of it is rather meaningless. For as much sensationalism as there is in MSM and the “blogosphere”, there’s just as much real news and analysis going on. But, if you don’t get the eyeballs, then who cares?

  33. I hope if Twitter continues to grow (and I still haven’t figured out why I would want to use it all that much) it finds a better reason to exist than that flames are hard to do in 140 characters.

    Maybe this would be a good time to revisit the whole anonymity issue. The suggestion has been made that threats were made by people who are anonymous with the implication that ending anonymity would solve a lot of problems, and it most likely would. On the other hand the RIAA hasn’t had too much trouble tracking people down who would clearly rather remain anonymous. At the same time we mostly celebrate new technologies that allow people with oppressive governments to engage in free speech as long as they can keep their identities from those governments. Sort of reminds me of the gun-control debate, with members of the pundocracy saying, in effect: “Guns should be outlawed, but I should be allowed to have one to defend my swimming pool.”

    In the 90s I purchased a domain with the intent of setting up a web site as a cautionary tale about people who put too much personal information online. The plan was to have the proud author expose his family and friends to the world with cameras showing the layout of the house, where the secret back door key was kept and where the children caught the bus in the mornings. The idea was to warn people, though humor, about the potential dangers. Only problem was that my exaggerations couldn’t keep up with the real world. I couldn’t make it blatant enough, beyond what thousands of people were already doing, so that people would get the joke.

    I don’t have a hard statistic, but my guess is that the vast majority of blogs are done anonymously, or at least mostly so. Yet in the past you have criticized anyone who does such a thing as somehow less legitimate than people who put their names out there.

    My opinion remains that for a professional journalist you either have to use a real name, or establish a permanent pseudonym under which you write. But for the rest of us, I advise to avoid the 3AM phone calls and graffiti on your walls and stay anonymous until you get an invitation from CNN at which point maybe you want to “go professional”. I read hundreds of blogs without regard to knowing who wrote them. I judge strictly by past performance, and from time to time performance drops off and I “switch channels”. There DOES seem to be a correlation between consistency and those who are at least making some money doing this work, but other than that I really don’t think there is anything WRONG with posting an anonymous blog.

    PS: I still don’t know the story behind the story here. Threats are rare (in my experience) on technical blogs, and abundant on political blogs. I think the best thing that can be done about it has to do with sentencing future offenders to jail time rather than letting them off with warnings and restraining orders as seems to be the norm.

  34. Identity. How many attackers do you find if they provide a verifiable identity?

    Any fool with a pseudonym can make himself feel tough by tossing out insults. Would he (or she) do the same if you could identify them?

  35. Identity. How many attackers do you find if they provide a verifiable identity?

    Any fool with a pseudonym can make himself feel tough by tossing out insults. Would he (or she) do the same if you could identify them?

  36. I would. But I’m not a pussy.

    I readily admit this is essentially an online persona though. Real life is more conducive to true conversation. Online conversation almost requires more pronounced behavior to be effective.

  37. I would. But I’m not a pussy.

    I readily admit this is essentially an online persona though. Real life is more conducive to true conversation. Online conversation almost requires more pronounced behavior to be effective.

  38. Any fool with a pseudonym can make himself feel tough by tossing out insults. Would he (or she) do the same if you could identify them?

    Doesn’t seem to stop the TV pundits much.

  39. Any fool with a pseudonym can make himself feel tough by tossing out insults. Would he (or she) do the same if you could identify them?

    Doesn’t seem to stop the TV pundits much.

  40. @macbeach, I don’t think calling for an end to anonymity is really the issue — I wrote a post about it over the weekend here. The issue isn’t what name people use to comment and/or blog; the issue is whether or not there’s accountability behind that name.

    I used to comment here as DrumsNWhistles; now I use my real first name. Either way readers had a way to find me, via the email/contact link on my blog. They could also rely upon the fact that someone knew me to be a real person by virtue of the fact that I had valid data on file with my web host and registrar.

    And to Robert: The issue is trust. Who or how to know who to trust. Not legislation; not more court cases. Just developing some core level guidelines about whether or not a blog is trustworthy. I wrote a set of blog principles (self-adopted) when I entered the payperpost fray. They’ve been helpful to me in many ways. Whether they are to anyone else, I don’t know. But they help guide ME on decisions I might make about what to say or how to say it.

  41. @macbeach, I don’t think calling for an end to anonymity is really the issue — I wrote a post about it over the weekend here. The issue isn’t what name people use to comment and/or blog; the issue is whether or not there’s accountability behind that name.

    I used to comment here as DrumsNWhistles; now I use my real first name. Either way readers had a way to find me, via the email/contact link on my blog. They could also rely upon the fact that someone knew me to be a real person by virtue of the fact that I had valid data on file with my web host and registrar.

    And to Robert: The issue is trust. Who or how to know who to trust. Not legislation; not more court cases. Just developing some core level guidelines about whether or not a blog is trustworthy. I wrote a set of blog principles (self-adopted) when I entered the payperpost fray. They’ve been helpful to me in many ways. Whether they are to anyone else, I don’t know. But they help guide ME on decisions I might make about what to say or how to say it.

  42. @john welch — the difference with the pundits is that there is still a way to hold them accountable. Just because we don’t — well, that’s another story entirely.

  43. @john welch — the difference with the pundits is that there is still a way to hold them accountable. Just because we don’t — well, that’s another story entirely.

  44. The ‘cute kitty’ comment bothered me a lot, because I think such comments trivialise women, and are part and parcel with the more salacious or intimidating comments that have been the focus of this affair. That CNN and others don’t see the irony is discouraging, and it confirms my feeling that the issues being dealt with are cultural rather than specific to the blogosphere.

  45. The ‘cute kitty’ comment bothered me a lot, because I think such comments trivialise women, and are part and parcel with the more salacious or intimidating comments that have been the focus of this affair. That CNN and others don’t see the irony is discouraging, and it confirms my feeling that the issues being dealt with are cultural rather than specific to the blogosphere.

  46. I guess fate would have it that Scoble’s appearance on CNN was an April Fool’s joke, after all.

    See how the Kathy Sierra poll is going (via flic)

  47. Now you understand why fewer and fewer people go into politics. They have to deal with the same stuff…in spades!

  48. Didn’t this case involve known “anonymous” accounts being hijacked by unknown “anonymous” posters? I don’t see how anything would be different if it was “rageboy” or Chris Locke.

    Also, aren’t MS Gamertags getting hijacked because of non-anonymous user ids and blogs?

    Solve one problem, create another.

  49. I guess fate would have it that Scoble’s appearance on CNN was an April Fool’s joke, after all.

    See how the Kathy Sierra poll is going (via flic)

  50. Now you understand why fewer and fewer people go into politics. They have to deal with the same stuff…in spades!

  51. Didn’t this case involve known “anonymous” accounts being hijacked by unknown “anonymous” posters? I don’t see how anything would be different if it was “rageboy” or Chris Locke.

    Also, aren’t MS Gamertags getting hijacked because of non-anonymous user ids and blogs?

    Solve one problem, create another.

  52. Goebbels:

    Didn’t this case involve known “anonymous” accounts being hijacked by unknown “anonymous” posters? I don’t see how anything would be different if it was “rageboy” or Chris Locke.

    No, this case was about possibly one account being hijacked after a site was created as a place for ‘sarcasm and insult’. The one responsible for the threats and images has not yet been identified, at least, not publicly.

    “Solve one problem, create another.”

    I disagree. But until we stop shrugging and saying “Ah, such are the ways of the Internet”, no problems will be solved and it’ll just sit there until the next time it runs out of control, which it surely will, particularly in the arena of politics.

    Amy Gahran has a great post up on this topic — everyone should read it. Snark at your own risk

  53. Goebbels:

    Didn’t this case involve known “anonymous” accounts being hijacked by unknown “anonymous” posters? I don’t see how anything would be different if it was “rageboy” or Chris Locke.

    No, this case was about possibly one account being hijacked after a site was created as a place for ‘sarcasm and insult’. The one responsible for the threats and images has not yet been identified, at least, not publicly.

    “Solve one problem, create another.”

    I disagree. But until we stop shrugging and saying “Ah, such are the ways of the Internet”, no problems will be solved and it’ll just sit there until the next time it runs out of control, which it surely will, particularly in the arena of politics.

    Amy Gahran has a great post up on this topic — everyone should read it. Snark at your own risk

  54. The issues of personal safety, free expression, and acceptable online conduct are getting partially obscured by look-at-me efforts at personal validation and even personal assertions of superiority. Someone who went by dunkin’hunk one day might call himself Bob the next day and expect to be regarded as a profile in courage.

  55. The issues of personal safety, free expression, and acceptable online conduct are getting partially obscured by look-at-me efforts at personal validation and even personal assertions of superiority. Someone who went by dunkin’hunk one day might call himself Bob the next day and expect to be regarded as a profile in courage.

  56. “No, this case was about possibly one account being hijacked after a site was created as a place for ’sarcasm and insult’.”

    Whether it was one or more than one that doesn’t change the fact that a non-anonymous id wouldn’t have solved the problem.

    “I disagree.”

    And? You want to go on a non-anonymous crusade. Fine. Pursue it. But don’t proclaim that it won’t create issues. PayPal exists solely to ambiguate an identity from its true source. There are reasons for it. GamerTags ARE being socially engineered because people have lots of non-anonymous info out there. If you want to promote the lack of anonymity, you should at least take the responsibility that comes with that direction, be aware of the resulting issues, and try to address them.

    I have no interest in a non-anonymous internet. Particularly if it’s because a few people were offended and insulted.

  57. “No, this case was about possibly one account being hijacked after a site was created as a place for ’sarcasm and insult’.”

    Whether it was one or more than one that doesn’t change the fact that a non-anonymous id wouldn’t have solved the problem.

    “I disagree.”

    And? You want to go on a non-anonymous crusade. Fine. Pursue it. But don’t proclaim that it won’t create issues. PayPal exists solely to ambiguate an identity from its true source. There are reasons for it. GamerTags ARE being socially engineered because people have lots of non-anonymous info out there. If you want to promote the lack of anonymity, you should at least take the responsibility that comes with that direction, be aware of the resulting issues, and try to address them.

    I have no interest in a non-anonymous internet. Particularly if it’s because a few people were offended and insulted.

  58. Unbelievably, when I read about Kathy’s experience, and related my own, men, a professional journalist mocked it and a college professor joined right in.
    Blog swarms exist all over the place, on just about every subject, and I don’t think Kathy, or I are targets, it’s anger directed towards women and a locker room mentality; any woman would serve the same purpose for men so inclined.

    Incredibly, another man who posted where I was reading felt that Kathy should not have publicized who she felt was responsible for the threats until she was sure- his brother had actually
    told me online that I’d better watch out, that my name sounded like edible pantywear to him. This man writes and discusses Kathy’s incident as if that had never happened.

  59. Unbelievably, when I read about Kathy’s experience, and related my own, men, a professional journalist mocked it and a college professor joined right in.
    Blog swarms exist all over the place, on just about every subject, and I don’t think Kathy, or I are targets, it’s anger directed towards women and a locker room mentality; any woman would serve the same purpose for men so inclined.

    Incredibly, another man who posted where I was reading felt that Kathy should not have publicized who she felt was responsible for the threats until she was sure- his brother had actually
    told me online that I’d better watch out, that my name sounded like edible pantywear to him. This man writes and discusses Kathy’s incident as if that had never happened.

  60. Goebbels,

    Where did you ever get the impression that I wanted a non-anonymous internet? I would STILL be anonymous if I hadn’t been outed by an irresponsible, vindictive ‘someone’.

    I want an accountable internet, whether or not anonymous.

  61. Goebbels,

    Where did you ever get the impression that I wanted a non-anonymous internet? I would STILL be anonymous if I hadn’t been outed by an irresponsible, vindictive ‘someone’.

    I want an accountable internet, whether or not anonymous.

  62. Robert, I have always believed that good always comes out of bad. The good here is your renewed commitment to pursue the positive… those stories that improve lives and rewarding people who teach you something and/or uplift people and companies. To me this is the opportunity for the silver lining. This represents improved integrity and credibility and in the end gives you more loyal readers and us as readers more inspiring stories (what my marketing model supports).

  63. Robert, I have always believed that good always comes out of bad. The good here is your renewed commitment to pursue the positive… those stories that improve lives and rewarding people who teach you something and/or uplift people and companies. To me this is the opportunity for the silver lining. This represents improved integrity and credibility and in the end gives you more loyal readers and us as readers more inspiring stories (what my marketing model supports).

  64. Sorry… busy day and late to this ….

    Maybe I am just old and cranky, but I do not like the idea of laying down quietly, on the basis that bad people might choose to attack otherwise.

    One of the great things about the net, since about 2003, is the resurgence of positive thinking, including blogging. Thats not a PollyAnna point – there is a renewed business vigour that is creating new and genuine value, and its predicated on real people working together and that means, self policing the bad people. Thats not the same as censorship, and I believe we all need to get over that hurdle.

    Anyhow, welcome back Robert!!

  65. Sorry… busy day and late to this ….

    Maybe I am just old and cranky, but I do not like the idea of laying down quietly, on the basis that bad people might choose to attack otherwise.

    One of the great things about the net, since about 2003, is the resurgence of positive thinking, including blogging. Thats not a PollyAnna point – there is a renewed business vigour that is creating new and genuine value, and its predicated on real people working together and that means, self policing the bad people. Thats not the same as censorship, and I believe we all need to get over that hurdle.

    Anyhow, welcome back Robert!!

  66. I never read all of the original crap involved. Just caught most of it second hand.

    I’m troubled, Robert. Over the fact that I’m MUCH more concerned about the posts – not the comments. About how a SECOND site was started up SOLELY because the FIRST was shut down due to the inability to be moderated.

    Those are facts from what I can tell. The posts, however assinine and sophomoric, were legal. However much they crossed a line of morality that I think we ALL can agree to, were still freedom of speech.

    And oddly enough, that included the POSTS about your wife.

    And yet, the people running the sites… note the plural, because the second one would NEVER have come up without the first being shut down… the people running them are simply not innocent until proven guilty, but innocent of everything?

    They bear SOME responsibility. At the very least – the responsibility of being a poor judge of human character, and of poor management of their sites.

    Sorry, I haven’t seen three of them say ANYTHING like that yet.

  67. I never read all of the original crap involved. Just caught most of it second hand.

    I’m troubled, Robert. Over the fact that I’m MUCH more concerned about the posts – not the comments. About how a SECOND site was started up SOLELY because the FIRST was shut down due to the inability to be moderated.

    Those are facts from what I can tell. The posts, however assinine and sophomoric, were legal. However much they crossed a line of morality that I think we ALL can agree to, were still freedom of speech.

    And oddly enough, that included the POSTS about your wife.

    And yet, the people running the sites… note the plural, because the second one would NEVER have come up without the first being shut down… the people running them are simply not innocent until proven guilty, but innocent of everything?

    They bear SOME responsibility. At the very least – the responsibility of being a poor judge of human character, and of poor management of their sites.

    Sorry, I haven’t seen three of them say ANYTHING like that yet.

  68. DaveD: I agree with your sentiments. I just thought enough “punishment” had been handed out for the people involved that I didn’t need to rub salt in the wounds. And all three have apologized to me and Maryam directly, so I know they feel awful about the part they played in this whole thing.

  69. DaveD: I agree with your sentiments. I just thought enough “punishment” had been handed out for the people involved that I didn’t need to rub salt in the wounds. And all three have apologized to me and Maryam directly, so I know they feel awful about the part they played in this whole thing.

  70. No one should propose standards of accountability that would not apply to web users of all ages and levels of knowledge and experience. No one should demand the production of personal information without addressing the likely consequences of the exposure of that personal information to the universe of web users, some of whom even use automated information-gathering tools to assist them in their hunting. Yes, responsibility is important.

  71. No one should propose standards of accountability that would not apply to web users of all ages and levels of knowledge and experience. No one should demand the production of personal information without addressing the likely consequences of the exposure of that personal information to the universe of web users, some of whom even use automated information-gathering tools to assist them in their hunting. Yes, responsibility is important.

  72. No. I’m sorry, I have to comment a second time – now that I’ve read Chris Locke’s non-apology for anything. Since he hasn’t posted much, nor allows comments, let me post here:

    “Thanks to Tim O’Reilly, Kathy and I began exchanging email last Wednesday. I think it’s fair to say we were both surprised by the results. On neither side was there any evidence of the acrimony that has been so widely attributed to both of us. By the next day we were speaking on the phone — for nearly two hours. If you had overheard our conversation, you would have thought us old friends. While some publications were speculating about various permutations on men who hate women on the web — including the suggestion that anything I could possibly say was “hysterical masculine self-pity posing as righteous indignation” — Kathy and I were swapping industry war stories… and laughing! You had to be there to believe it.”

    Okay. And this means… what? That you believe Kathy views you as a friend of some sort? How self-centric of you Chris! Way to speak of empathy!

    And that’s only the intro….

    “It’s true we laughed, but not at the core issues. No one was laughing about the offensive words and images that were posted to the blogs I was involved with.”

    So you AREN’T friends. But I thought you were after that self-flattering first paragraph. BTW“Some of the things that were posted about her were admittedly frightening, and far beyond tasteless. The post about Maryam Scoble was cruel and disgusting. These postings prompted the decision to delete both blogs (and not, as has been reported, Terms of Service violations, which were assessed retroactively).”

    Ah. But One would think deleting a SINGLE blog would be enough. Not for you I see. Continuing on with this phantom olive branch….

    Careers and reputations have been seriously injured by a rush to judgement that was often sadly short on evidence of crime or culpability.

    Yep. Now we are getting to your self-centered view of all this. Kathy was actually hurt… emotionally. She actually posted images and more. And you? You pulled the site – after the damage was done. Then had the audacity to say it was YOU who was wronged.

    Still waiting for some words to the effect that YOU opened that second site with the intent to carry on what the first site became….

    “Misogyny is real — and vile. Violence against women is wrong. It must not be tolerated. This issue should be explored and discussed, not swept under the rug, not rationalized away.”

    You came close here. But here’s the key question – WHEN did you shut down YOUR site. You know the second one you simply had to start up because that first one was shut down? Before, or after? If you have to ask what I mean – then you really don’t have a clue.

    “At the same time, we need to look closely and carefully at the implications for free speech. The First Amendment allows and protects language that many find noxious.”

    That pretty much answers my question. I could uote more of your ego-centric ramblings, but I’m sorry – you make me sick. You think you can have somebody POST – POST!!!! – pictures and words like they did on your site – and somehow frame this as First Amendment issues?

    Hey, buddy…. I can call you that right? After all, you and Kathy are bestest of buds after that 2 hour phone call you both laughed through.

    Hey bud, I’m sorry, but I am STILL waiting for something – anything? – that says you might atually feel you did the slightest bit wrong.

    Robert, delete this comment if you must. I haven’t posted anything until tonite about this whole shameful debacle. (I sent a private email to one blogger. But no posts.)

    My previous post was out of frustration on things. This? I read what you linked to… after waiting for days to hear SOMETHING out of Chris’ mouth that would make me believe he atually “gets it”. And was promptly upset.

  73. No. I’m sorry, I have to comment a second time – now that I’ve read Chris Locke’s non-apology for anything. Since he hasn’t posted much, nor allows comments, let me post here:

    “Thanks to Tim O’Reilly, Kathy and I began exchanging email last Wednesday. I think it’s fair to say we were both surprised by the results. On neither side was there any evidence of the acrimony that has been so widely attributed to both of us. By the next day we were speaking on the phone — for nearly two hours. If you had overheard our conversation, you would have thought us old friends. While some publications were speculating about various permutations on men who hate women on the web — including the suggestion that anything I could possibly say was “hysterical masculine self-pity posing as righteous indignation” — Kathy and I were swapping industry war stories… and laughing! You had to be there to believe it.”

    Okay. And this means… what? That you believe Kathy views you as a friend of some sort? How self-centric of you Chris! Way to speak of empathy!

    And that’s only the intro….

    “It’s true we laughed, but not at the core issues. No one was laughing about the offensive words and images that were posted to the blogs I was involved with.”

    So you AREN’T friends. But I thought you were after that self-flattering first paragraph. BTW“Some of the things that were posted about her were admittedly frightening, and far beyond tasteless. The post about Maryam Scoble was cruel and disgusting. These postings prompted the decision to delete both blogs (and not, as has been reported, Terms of Service violations, which were assessed retroactively).”

    Ah. But One would think deleting a SINGLE blog would be enough. Not for you I see. Continuing on with this phantom olive branch….

    Careers and reputations have been seriously injured by a rush to judgement that was often sadly short on evidence of crime or culpability.

    Yep. Now we are getting to your self-centered view of all this. Kathy was actually hurt… emotionally. She actually posted images and more. And you? You pulled the site – after the damage was done. Then had the audacity to say it was YOU who was wronged.

    Still waiting for some words to the effect that YOU opened that second site with the intent to carry on what the first site became….

    “Misogyny is real — and vile. Violence against women is wrong. It must not be tolerated. This issue should be explored and discussed, not swept under the rug, not rationalized away.”

    You came close here. But here’s the key question – WHEN did you shut down YOUR site. You know the second one you simply had to start up because that first one was shut down? Before, or after? If you have to ask what I mean – then you really don’t have a clue.

    “At the same time, we need to look closely and carefully at the implications for free speech. The First Amendment allows and protects language that many find noxious.”

    That pretty much answers my question. I could uote more of your ego-centric ramblings, but I’m sorry – you make me sick. You think you can have somebody POST – POST!!!! – pictures and words like they did on your site – and somehow frame this as First Amendment issues?

    Hey, buddy…. I can call you that right? After all, you and Kathy are bestest of buds after that 2 hour phone call you both laughed through.

    Hey bud, I’m sorry, but I am STILL waiting for something – anything? – that says you might atually feel you did the slightest bit wrong.

    Robert, delete this comment if you must. I haven’t posted anything until tonite about this whole shameful debacle. (I sent a private email to one blogger. But no posts.)

    My previous post was out of frustration on things. This? I read what you linked to… after waiting for days to hear SOMETHING out of Chris’ mouth that would make me believe he atually “gets it”. And was promptly upset.

  74. Karoli:

    If you can’t attach someone to some identity, you don’t have accountability. If you can attach someone to some id, you don’t have anonymity.

  75. Karoli:

    If you can’t attach someone to some identity, you don’t have accountability. If you can attach someone to some id, you don’t have anonymity.

  76. hi,

    I did see you in CNN (the online video). I dunno about the TV version since I don’t get CNN on my TV. Who has time to watch TV anyway?

    Here’s the link to the video: javascript:cnnPlayListVideo(‘/video/tech/2007/03/30/louie.ca.blog.blackout.kgo’,’3′)

  77. hi,

    I did see you in CNN (the online video). I dunno about the TV version since I don’t get CNN on my TV. Who has time to watch TV anyway?

    Here’s the link to the video: javascript:cnnPlayListVideo(‘/video/tech/2007/03/30/louie.ca.blog.blackout.kgo’,’3′)

  78. sorry about the link to the last one:

    Go here: http://www.cnn.com/TECH/

    Under the video tag click on more video. Your video appeared on: 1:50 pm March 30, 2007 under the title: “Cyber Threats Spark Protest” (1:36 min video).

    It’s lame that I can’t link to it directly. Sorry!

  79. Yes, I am a new commenter and yes, I am using an alias instead of my name . . . because I am female.

    I wanted to recommend the book: Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft, PhD. The byline of it is “Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men”

    I think if everyone read that book we could begin to truly shift the misogny and abuse. But right now all cultures are continuing to aid in “The Making of an Abusive Man” (which is the title of chapter 13).

    The annominity of the internet is not the issue. It is one small tool that amplifies an issue that is rampant throughout our country. I use the term “our country” intentionally because it literally does not matter what country the reader is in. The issue of the control and abuse of women is international.

    # Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.
    # [In the US] Seventy-eight percent of stalking victims are women. Women are significantly more likely than men (60 percent and 30 percent, respectively) to be stalked by intimate partners.
    Stats are from: http://www.endabuse.org/resources/facts/

    If anything, I think the anonymity of the internet is helping out the issue in a great way! What we are seeing in the Internet Community is actually more VISIBLE because the anonymity is allowing the writer to voice their thoughts and desired actions in a public way. That sort of sickness goes on all the time but up until recently it has only been occuring behind closed doors and the backseats of cars where no one heard the screams. The outcry of rage at that kind of behavior is what NEEDS TO HAPPEN to make change happen.

    Thank you to you Robert and everyone else who is being loud about it. And please seriously take a look at the book. It is a gem and will help anybody and everybody to be there more fully for people like Kathy and the rest of us. With the stats being one out of every three women in the world experiencing some form of abuse – chances are you know many of us – even if you are unaware of it!

  80. Yes, I am a new commenter and yes, I am using an alias instead of my name . . . because I am female.

    I wanted to recommend the book: Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft, PhD. The byline of it is “Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men”

    I think if everyone read that book we could begin to truly shift the misogny and abuse. But right now all cultures are continuing to aid in “The Making of an Abusive Man” (which is the title of chapter 13).

    The annominity of the internet is not the issue. It is one small tool that amplifies an issue that is rampant throughout our country. I use the term “our country” intentionally because it literally does not matter what country the reader is in. The issue of the control and abuse of women is international.

    # Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.
    # [In the US] Seventy-eight percent of stalking victims are women. Women are significantly more likely than men (60 percent and 30 percent, respectively) to be stalked by intimate partners.
    Stats are from: http://www.endabuse.org/resources/facts/

    If anything, I think the anonymity of the internet is helping out the issue in a great way! What we are seeing in the Internet Community is actually more VISIBLE because the anonymity is allowing the writer to voice their thoughts and desired actions in a public way. That sort of sickness goes on all the time but up until recently it has only been occuring behind closed doors and the backseats of cars where no one heard the screams. The outcry of rage at that kind of behavior is what NEEDS TO HAPPEN to make change happen.

    Thank you to you Robert and everyone else who is being loud about it. And please seriously take a look at the book. It is a gem and will help anybody and everybody to be there more fully for people like Kathy and the rest of us. With the stats being one out of every three women in the world experiencing some form of abuse – chances are you know many of us – even if you are unaware of it!

  81. ““At the same time, we need to look closely and carefully at the implications for free speech. The First Amendment allows and protects language that many find noxious.”

    Can we stop associating this with Free Speech? Free Speech is only relevant when the govt is involved. The govt is the only entity that has controls on how it can or can’t limit speech. A private entity can do pretty much whatever it wants in regards to regulating speech. Scoble, for example, is well within his “rights” to decide what can and can’t be posted here. If he doesn’t want “noxious” speech on his blog, he can regulate that. And he would NOT be infrining on anyone’s free speech rights if he were to do so.

    So, any private citizen can bring up a site and allow or disallow any comments they want.

    Where the problem comes into play is when we start talking about inacting laws to regulate comments and anonymity. (And to his credit, Scoble is against that.). Now, when that speech begins to infringe on the rights of others (i.e. death threats) then the govt (read:law enforcement).

    I’m curious why at the very first perceived threat Sierra didn’t shut down comments until she got to the bottom of it?

  82. ““At the same time, we need to look closely and carefully at the implications for free speech. The First Amendment allows and protects language that many find noxious.”

    Can we stop associating this with Free Speech? Free Speech is only relevant when the govt is involved. The govt is the only entity that has controls on how it can or can’t limit speech. A private entity can do pretty much whatever it wants in regards to regulating speech. Scoble, for example, is well within his “rights” to decide what can and can’t be posted here. If he doesn’t want “noxious” speech on his blog, he can regulate that. And he would NOT be infrining on anyone’s free speech rights if he were to do so.

    So, any private citizen can bring up a site and allow or disallow any comments they want.

    Where the problem comes into play is when we start talking about inacting laws to regulate comments and anonymity. (And to his credit, Scoble is against that.). Now, when that speech begins to infringe on the rights of others (i.e. death threats) then the govt (read:law enforcement).

    I’m curious why at the very first perceived threat Sierra didn’t shut down comments until she got to the bottom of it?

  83. Interesting how you just now have become aware of the ‘death threat phenomenon’. Maybe if you ‘got out a little’ you might see this is old news.

    I have to wonder just how geniune your ‘crusade’ is, really.

    Many of us deal with death threats becuase of our opinions on a daily basis, and not just in the last few months. Maybe now people will wake up and see the Truth. Then again maybe they will see this as a vacous attention getting PR stunt.

  84. Interesting how you just now have become aware of the ‘death threat phenomenon’. Maybe if you ‘got out a little’ you might see this is old news.

    I have to wonder just how geniune your ‘crusade’ is, really.

    Many of us deal with death threats becuase of our opinions on a daily basis, and not just in the last few months. Maybe now people will wake up and see the Truth. Then again maybe they will see this as a vacous attention getting PR stunt.

  85. Mark gets it right, here:

    Interesting how you just now have become aware of the ‘death threat phenomenon’. Maybe if you ‘got out a little’ you might see this is old news.

    As I wrote on my own site (the second post is long but seems like helpful remedial reading, under the circumstances), the content of the original offensive posts isn’t particularly shocking to people who’ve spent much time taking part in genuinely freewheeling online communities. Or spent time with Internet-enabled adolescents, for that matter. What’s stunning, though, is the fact that self-identifying Internet professionals – like Robert Scoble, for instance – can be surprised and outraged that such nasty speech goes on outside their own comments threads.

    Mr Scoble, I thought you acquitted yourself poorly in your original post on this matter; shows of sympathy may be well-meaning (and of course I don’t doubt the sincerity of your concern) but the self-importance and hermeticism on display on this blog were and are pretty remarkable. I’ve no strong opinion one way or the other about Kathy Sierra and her blog but the fact remains that her very public reaction seemingly (seemingly!) had more to do with the belated recognition that this sort of stuff happens all the time than with the specific utterances in question.

    Invocations of Nazism in a blog post like this one, Mr Scoble, should be called out just as contemptuously as similar invocations anywhere else. You sound surprised that your blogging – which is, after all, your primary source of notoriety and apparently business contact – isn’t ‘fun’ anymore. No offense, mate, but you used to shill for Microsoft for a living (which today’s AppleTV post suggests you’re embarrassingly happy to do for free), and now you play Web-tech Pollyanna for the copious-free-time set. It’s always been a business.

    Worst, you write:

    I’m sorry that four people had their names dragged through the mud for something that Maryam and I believe they didn’t do. It makes me very worried about my comments.

    Shouldn’t that make you very worried about Kathy Sierra’s blog post? That’s the mud-dragging you’re referring to, right? Shouldn’t you be considerably more worried about your own post, and the conversational bubble you apparently live and work in?

    Danah Boyd’s response to all this is fairly sensible (her troubling telling of a troubling story from her past notwithstanding); that shouldn’t come as a surprise, since she reads this sort of thing all the time. It’s her responsibility as a public intellectual and as a citizen of the wider (digital) world. As a figure in online business, you have related (though not identical) responsibilities. Perhaps that’s part of your shock last week: finding out you’d been shirking them.

    Good luck.

  86. Mark gets it right, here:

    Interesting how you just now have become aware of the ‘death threat phenomenon’. Maybe if you ‘got out a little’ you might see this is old news.

    As I wrote on my own site (the second post is long but seems like helpful remedial reading, under the circumstances), the content of the original offensive posts isn’t particularly shocking to people who’ve spent much time taking part in genuinely freewheeling online communities. Or spent time with Internet-enabled adolescents, for that matter. What’s stunning, though, is the fact that self-identifying Internet professionals – like Robert Scoble, for instance – can be surprised and outraged that such nasty speech goes on outside their own comments threads.

    Mr Scoble, I thought you acquitted yourself poorly in your original post on this matter; shows of sympathy may be well-meaning (and of course I don’t doubt the sincerity of your concern) but the self-importance and hermeticism on display on this blog were and are pretty remarkable. I’ve no strong opinion one way or the other about Kathy Sierra and her blog but the fact remains that her very public reaction seemingly (seemingly!) had more to do with the belated recognition that this sort of stuff happens all the time than with the specific utterances in question.

    Invocations of Nazism in a blog post like this one, Mr Scoble, should be called out just as contemptuously as similar invocations anywhere else. You sound surprised that your blogging – which is, after all, your primary source of notoriety and apparently business contact – isn’t ‘fun’ anymore. No offense, mate, but you used to shill for Microsoft for a living (which today’s AppleTV post suggests you’re embarrassingly happy to do for free), and now you play Web-tech Pollyanna for the copious-free-time set. It’s always been a business.

    Worst, you write:

    I’m sorry that four people had their names dragged through the mud for something that Maryam and I believe they didn’t do. It makes me very worried about my comments.

    Shouldn’t that make you very worried about Kathy Sierra’s blog post? That’s the mud-dragging you’re referring to, right? Shouldn’t you be considerably more worried about your own post, and the conversational bubble you apparently live and work in?

    Danah Boyd’s response to all this is fairly sensible (her troubling telling of a troubling story from her past notwithstanding); that shouldn’t come as a surprise, since she reads this sort of thing all the time. It’s her responsibility as a public intellectual and as a citizen of the wider (digital) world. As a figure in online business, you have related (though not identical) responsibilities. Perhaps that’s part of your shock last week: finding out you’d been shirking them.

    Good luck.

  87. @58

    “Weakness can be provocative by enticing others into adventures that they otherwise would have avoided.”
    – Donald Rumsfeld, 1977

  88. @58

    “Weakness can be provocative by enticing others into adventures that they otherwise would have avoided.”
    – Donald Rumsfeld, 1977

  89. Goebbels, I suggest you get a life, rather than live vicariously through Robert. You think you come off as tough and clever, but your continuous negative comments just show how pathetic you are to keep demanding attention here.

  90. Goebbels, I suggest you get a life, rather than live vicariously through Robert. You think you come off as tough and clever, but your continuous negative comments just show how pathetic you are to keep demanding attention here.

  91. @55

    Well said LayZ. I’m never had the priviledge of being a citizen of the USA (cf the cool allusion to Casablanca). But even I can see that the First Amendment is a completely ridiculous and irrelevant point to bring up. Yet again and again it is.

    Just having the First Amendment, which I happen to think is a great idea, part of what makes America great as an example to other nations, disn’t guarantee that the culture of the USA was going to be great or is going to be great in the future.

    The First Amendment didn’t produce Louis Armstrong, Saul Bellow, HL Mencken, Terrence Malick or whoever you would choose. Sure, it helped allow them not to be persecuted. But it couldn’t produce them. Fortunately, other positive forces in the culture meant that America and the world were enriched by such as these.

    Now, I’m not sure Kathy Sierra would ever have risen to quite those heights.

    But it is absolutely outrageous for people to be angrily quoting the First when the one certain result of the current debacle, right now, is that Sierra has been forced out of the much feted ‘blogosphere’.

    Your culture stinks, people. It is leading to anyone anywhere with a grudge being able to shut down all the good people, one by one. And you are seriously calling that Freedom of Speech!

    Well, God bless America. You’re going to need it.

  92. @55

    Well said LayZ. I’m never had the priviledge of being a citizen of the USA (cf the cool allusion to Casablanca). But even I can see that the First Amendment is a completely ridiculous and irrelevant point to bring up. Yet again and again it is.

    Just having the First Amendment, which I happen to think is a great idea, part of what makes America great as an example to other nations, disn’t guarantee that the culture of the USA was going to be great or is going to be great in the future.

    The First Amendment didn’t produce Louis Armstrong, Saul Bellow, HL Mencken, Terrence Malick or whoever you would choose. Sure, it helped allow them not to be persecuted. But it couldn’t produce them. Fortunately, other positive forces in the culture meant that America and the world were enriched by such as these.

    Now, I’m not sure Kathy Sierra would ever have risen to quite those heights.

    But it is absolutely outrageous for people to be angrily quoting the First when the one certain result of the current debacle, right now, is that Sierra has been forced out of the much feted ‘blogosphere’.

    Your culture stinks, people. It is leading to anyone anywhere with a grudge being able to shut down all the good people, one by one. And you are seriously calling that Freedom of Speech!

    Well, God bless America. You’re going to need it.

  93. Discussion of free expression, as in what forms and terms of expression one would choose to accept, not accept, or editorially control, should be ongoing. Constitutional freedoms of speech and of the press are narrower issues, but they pertain to the subject of accountability and do bear discussing; after all, there are calls for prosecution, civil actions, and even legislation that would purportedly leave no one in a government’s jurisdiction anonymous on the Internet.

    Jurisdictions must be specific by nation or nations, state, province, or locality, but the Internet generally cannot be. No legislature will arrive at a cure for all Internet misconduct.

    Confusion and dishonesty over Internet identity persist year after year. Generalizations about cowardice and having something to hide never aid discussion, and those generalizations are usually self-serving on the part of those making them. Ironically, not many individuals who make the generalizations give us all the items of information we would need to vet them thoroughly; those items include full name, address, contact information, and references. We all draw a line somewhere, don’t we. And why is that?

    There are persons in the world who are denied access to the Internet by governments. Otherwise, anyone with Internet access can proceed to use the web to blog or for other purposes, quitting temporarily or permanently as desired or deemed necessary. Speaking out against crimes and incivilities, and discussing strategies for safety and for management of discourse, can help to render efforts at harm less effective, especially if we clarify thinking on identity/anonymity issues. It’s not all hopeless.

  94. Discussion of free expression, as in what forms and terms of expression one would choose to accept, not accept, or editorially control, should be ongoing. Constitutional freedoms of speech and of the press are narrower issues, but they pertain to the subject of accountability and do bear discussing; after all, there are calls for prosecution, civil actions, and even legislation that would purportedly leave no one in a government’s jurisdiction anonymous on the Internet.

    Jurisdictions must be specific by nation or nations, state, province, or locality, but the Internet generally cannot be. No legislature will arrive at a cure for all Internet misconduct.

    Confusion and dishonesty over Internet identity persist year after year. Generalizations about cowardice and having something to hide never aid discussion, and those generalizations are usually self-serving on the part of those making them. Ironically, not many individuals who make the generalizations give us all the items of information we would need to vet them thoroughly; those items include full name, address, contact information, and references. We all draw a line somewhere, don’t we. And why is that?

    There are persons in the world who are denied access to the Internet by governments. Otherwise, anyone with Internet access can proceed to use the web to blog or for other purposes, quitting temporarily or permanently as desired or deemed necessary. Speaking out against crimes and incivilities, and discussing strategies for safety and for management of discourse, can help to render efforts at harm less effective, especially if we clarify thinking on identity/anonymity issues. It’s not all hopeless.

  95. @62″there are calls for prosecution, civil actions, and even legislation that would purportedly leave no one in a government’s jurisdiction anonymous on the Internet.”

    I can’t speak for other countries, but here in the US there are already laws against threatening people with death or harm, as well as using the internet for predatory purposes. So, we have sufficent speech regulation on the internet, as I see it. Anything short of breaking a law, the govt doesn’t need to get involved. And if they do, the it becomes Constiutionally risky. The last thing we need is MORE regulation or laws. Although there are some that like to think so, or wish that it were so, there are no laws protecting you from being offended or getting your feelings hurt.

  96. @62″there are calls for prosecution, civil actions, and even legislation that would purportedly leave no one in a government’s jurisdiction anonymous on the Internet.”

    I can’t speak for other countries, but here in the US there are already laws against threatening people with death or harm, as well as using the internet for predatory purposes. So, we have sufficent speech regulation on the internet, as I see it. Anything short of breaking a law, the govt doesn’t need to get involved. And if they do, the it becomes Constiutionally risky. The last thing we need is MORE regulation or laws. Although there are some that like to think so, or wish that it were so, there are no laws protecting you from being offended or getting your feelings hurt.

  97. This past month has taught me some very valuable lessons, the big one= like attracts like.

    I really like your new stance here, to focus on what is good in the blogosphere. I’m definitely going to take a page out of that book.

    I’m glad you’ve decided to continue onward.

    Hazel.

  98. This past month has taught me some very valuable lessons, the big one= like attracts like.

    I really like your new stance here, to focus on what is good in the blogosphere. I’m definitely going to take a page out of that book.

    I’m glad you’ve decided to continue onward.

    Hazel.

  99. I am writing under an alias because of the nature of the topic. I have had people harassing me on my blog and my comments are on modertion.
    I don’t think using abusive language even if it is not a death threat is freedom of speech. In real life would you associate with nasty unreasonable people? It is possible to disagree in a polite way and we need a code of behavior for blogging otherwise sensitive souls are going to never come here. If a person wants to abuse say a film star he can’t get near him but it is so easy to abuse others through comments. for no reason at all! its sick and i think we are to some extent responsible for the kind of comments we allow.

  100. I am writing under an alias because of the nature of the topic. I have had people harassing me on my blog and my comments are on modertion.
    I don’t think using abusive language even if it is not a death threat is freedom of speech. In real life would you associate with nasty unreasonable people? It is possible to disagree in a polite way and we need a code of behavior for blogging otherwise sensitive souls are going to never come here. If a person wants to abuse say a film star he can’t get near him but it is so easy to abuse others through comments. for no reason at all! its sick and i think we are to some extent responsible for the kind of comments we allow.