Freedom of speech; the ‘blogosphere’ and death threats (edit)

 This came to me via library2pointzero

 I do not know Kathy Sierra- I don’t follow a lot of tech blogs- but the story told here is disturbing. Anonymity certainly lends people fearlessness, but not credence.

Was there a death threat? Reading through the comments, including Joey’s, I am not so sure.

What I am sure of is that there was immoderate language, posturing and self-importance. And a degree of nastiness that, whilst it fell short of actually threatening death, could certainly make someone feel threatened.

And why the hostility? Some of it is from clubbability I’ve no doubt- idiot men preserving areas for themselves. Me, I’m happy to leave tech to whoever can do it and make it work for me.

Clubbability aside, threats of violence are beyond the pale. Using violent metaphors is a tricky area too. There’s a difference between using an ‘icon’ ( though since when was a noose a standard icon of criticism) and an (un)thinking use of imagery.

Freedom of speech is not freedom to threaten; especially when that freedom of speech is used to limit the freedom of others. Whatever constitutional rights are granted, they have to be balanced against (i) the safety of others and (ii) the ability of others to exercise the same right

And as for the blogosphere- including the biblioblogosphere- both terms conjure up a rather cosy image of all people together, forging a new way of thinking and being. Well, like good old BBSs, mailing lists and message boards, it isn’t.

I hope and trust that Kathy- and any others so targeted- get support from the law and from blogging companies, where appropriate. If no threat is found, at least it is to be hoped that people will attempt some degree of civility.

And that noone tries to defend this behind tired ‘it’s a joke’ machismo. If Joey et al don’t understand the hurt they seem to have caused, fair enough- they do seem to be making some attempt at putting things right.

Criticism of the seen-to-be pompous is one thing. Merely sneery stuff, well, it’s cheap and easy, and generally pretty pointless.

Anyone for conkers?


2 Responses to Freedom of speech; the ‘blogosphere’ and death threats (edit)

  1. les says:

    Like most people on the blogosphere, I hope the people involved in the misogynistic diatribe are at least feeling bad about this and hopefully caught. Well put argument to.

  2. Pete says:

    It seems that some of them are feeling bad. The spammers and trolls won’t, but then that’s what you’d expect.

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