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Condemning the abusive threats made towards Kathy Sierra

I just wanted to add to strong feeling in the blogosphere in condemning the awful threats that have been made towards Kathy Sierra.

Blogging has been kinda slow here recently, this time the ‘excuse’ is the contract work at Orange is zapping all my time. It’s a good project but billing on an hourly rate doesn’t really allow me to blog freely during the working day. At the moment when I get home after traveling, my evenings have been cook -> spend time with Sofia -> sleep.

However I wanted to take a minute out before the day begins to agree with the observation that a nasty streak of anonymous personal abuse – especially towards women – has become systemic in the blogosphere. And must be stopped. We all need to pull together to call bullshit on those who are doing it and those who are supporting it.

Creating ‘mean’ sites in the name of ‘art’ is bollocks and those of us aware of such sites (and persons behind such sites) should do what we can to put them to an end – either via our private channels or publicly if necessary.

Being critical vs being vindictive

Now, I myself have been known for making one or two harsh remarks in the past – under my social nickname of dotBen. I want to make it clear that the ability to point fair criticism towards others – criticism that does not form a personal attack – is an important tool + right we all have. But it’s a responsibility bestowed upon us that we must use carefully and thoughtfully.

In the light of what has happened to Kathy we shouldn’t take an equally wrong leap backwards and loose the blogosphere’s amazing ability to hold people to account and call bullshit on what is wrong.

But I hope most normal, sane, people know that bloodening people’s heads in photoshop or threatening to decapitate them and ejaculate down their throat is not ‘fair criticism’ or ‘holding people to account’.

It’s disgusting, mean and sick.

I also want to send my best wishes to Robert and his wife Maryam who have also received threats from the same source. Robert is going to be taking a week off from blogging.

Published in News Thoughts and Rants


  1. Ben,

    You aren’t digging deep enough. After being at the end of this and watching Kathy being deeper in this, we have to watch how we treat one another as human beings online.

    Think back to Les Blogs 2 and know that Mena was feeling this same pain. We taunted that and it was wrong. Dead wrong.

    Swarms of mean kids aren’t cool. Anywhere.

  2. Steven Steven

    Tara. It was not the “same pain”. Mena Trott was unhappy that someone had bluntly (rudely?) criticised her speech. Kathy Sierra has been subjected to sustained, menacing, personal abuse. Big difference.
    Ben didn’t threaten anyone at Les Blogs or anywhere else. Emotions are understandably running high over the hounding of Kathy Sierra. At times like this it’s important to keep a sense of perspective.

  3. Hi Ben,

    Its been a while and I hear things are going well. I like the new blog by the way and your pic is pretty cool.

    Now to the reason I commented. I have held back for a while about this issue as Kathy wanted the endless media cycle to just stop and so in support of that I said nothing.

    Having said that, the main stream and blog stream media have moved on and I would like to say I support your thoughts generally Ben and I hope that Kathy persues those who were involved criminally.

    If she were my daughter (yeah I sound old but I am not) I would find those responsible – enough said you get the meaning.

    All that being said I disagree with her stopping to blog, I think that its easier for me to critisise her on this issue since I am not being threatened but I think its a dangerous precident for her. It says she can be intimidated and that will only give those people more reason to hassle her.

    People like that are no different then bullies and you can’t allow bullies to bully you.

    I hope she is well and I have in the past had direct one-to-one communication with her and I found her to be insightful and pleasant. I am sure its safe to say I would never agree with all, some or even most of what she says… who knows but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect her and her opinions.

    Oh well. Sorry for the blog post that is a comment.

    Be well Ben. Let us know when you are back in the UK


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