Kudos to Kathy Sierra

Kathy Sierra is awesome for standing up and sharing what happened so that others can learn and prevent it in the future.

The recent situation involving Kathy Sierra is horrible: she’s received death threats to the point that she doesn’t feel safe even speaking at conferences. Her post is scary.

Many folks are saying things like “this is the underbelly of the blogosphere”.

No, it isn’t. It’s the underbelly of humankind. This stuff has happened forever, to all kinds and sorts of people, in all walks of life, for thousands of years. It wasn’t right in prehistory. It wasn’t right in Greek and Roman times. It wasn’t right when the major religions blossomed. It wasn’t right in Medieval times, it wasn’t right during Enlightenment, and it’s not right now.

This is the Social Web. This is the point where the distinction between what’s going on offline and what’s going on online isn’t important anymore. Posting an anonymous comment is the same as yelling at someone across the street. The only difference is that its recorded for others to see.

And you know what? That might be a good thing. The silver lining is that this behavior is public, and the community is pushing back on itself. The right things are being said. “This is unacceptable.” “This is wrong.” “This is bullshit.” We won’t stand for this.

That’s what a strong community does. It condemns bad behavior publicly, loudly, and absolutely. Kudos to Kathy for saying what happened, and for having the courage to fight back.

Published: March 26th, 2007