Where I disagree with Shelley … and others

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I would write about Kathy Sierra’s post. I’ve read a LOT of blog posts and a lot more comments and nothing I’ve read has caused me to change my mind. And believe me, I’ve considered this all very carefully. All of that pondering is why it has taken me this long to write this post, the one I wanted to write the very first night as I read email after email saying we shouldn’t blog about this, we shouldn’t link Sierra, we shouldn’t “feed the trolls”, we shouldn’t attach ourselves to the post because Kathy named names… because Kathy over-reacted…

Bullshit. Excuse me, but that’s the way I feel.

To the people who have felt the need to post things like “oh nobody should get death threats but I get them all of the time and I just shrug them off” (inferring somehow that Sierra wasn’t strong enough because she couldn’t – or was just trying to stir up trouble…) – bullshit.

If you choose to accept this type of treatment, then that’s your decision but do not ever hold someone else to your standards when it comes to something this serious. If you truly are afraid, for your physical or emotional safety then it is your right to say something and to do whatever it takes to feel safe. If you’ve never felt that type of fear then you have no right to say “well I deal with it, so should you.” I’m also tempted to say it is your responsibility as a citizen to speak up, to stop this before more people are hurt. But that’s going too far. Not everyone feels the need to protect others.

To the people, who said that Sierra made unfounded accusations or has caused harm to innocent people by pointing fingers – bullshit. (And I’m just linking Shelley here, though I could link dozens more, because it was her post that I replied to first when all of this started and because I think she will understand that I still respect her and have had some good discussions with her in the comments at Blogher. I’m not sure others I could link to would understand. Trust is important, and I do trust Shelley.)

Kathy didn’t make unfounded accusations nor did she do harm to innocent people. What she said in her blog post was true and I don’t consider those she named to be innocent.

a group of bloggers including Listics’ Frank Paynter, prominent marketing blogger Jeneane Sessum, and Raving Lunacy Allen Herrel (aka Head Lemur) began participating on a (recently pulled) blog called meankids.org.

This is true, none have attempted to deny their participation in meankids.

The “Bob’s Yer Uncle” site was supposedly started by Cluetrain co-author Chris Locke (who, along with Jeaneane Sessum, also authors the Kat Herding Media site) and included most of the same members as meankids.

Also true.

I don’t know which particiant actually made the picture. It may have been Joey, or Chris Locke, or perhaps Allen Herrel… the same Herrel (or someone pretending to be Herrel) who added these frighteningly misogynistic comments on a different Unclebobism post: (***images w/ Herrel’s name attached to them***)

True because she clearly said she doesn’t know and Herrel OR SOMEONE PRETENDING TO BE HERREL.

I do not want to be part of a culture where this is done not by some random person, but by some of the most respected people in the tech blogging world. People linked to by A-listers like Doc Searls, a co-author of Chris Locke. I do not want to be part of a culture of such hypocrisy where Jeneane Sessum can be a prominent member of blogher, a speaker at industry conferences, an outspoken advocate for women’s rights, and at the same time celebrate and encourage a site like meankids — where objectification of women is taken to a level that makes plain old porn seem quaintly sweet.

(Of course, Frank and Jeneane are among the people who make outraged posts about the lack of female speakers at tech conferences. If THIS is what a woman has to put up with for having visibility in the tech world…)

These are her feelings about the type of community she does not want to be a part of. She does not say that any of these people sent her death threats, made the particular post with the noose or added the sexually violent images and text. She says they “celebrate and encourage” a site like meankids… and they most certainly did. And meankids WAS offensive and full of misogynist behavior, long before the attack on Sierra. ***Harrell did write to Doc to say he’d been the victim of identity theft, that doesn’t let him off the hook in my eyes. If it’s true, and I have no reason to believe it isn’t, then it simply means he didn’t write the comments that Sierra clearly said could have been posted by “someone claiming to be Harrell”. He was still involved with the community, just as the others Sierra mentioned were.

Kathy did not ever say anything that wasn’t out there for all of the world to see (and in some cases still available thanks to Google.) I have no respect for sites like meankids and I will not read the blogs or link to the participants of these sites. Nor will I support their personal or professional endeavors as long as they encourage and/or participate in this type of site.

I’ll be back again at some point to blog about sites like the defunct meankids. Until then, I respectfully disagree with many of you.

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    I keep thinking about those videos on YouTube — the ones where the kids get up on stage and say horrid things about their classmates? Of course that wouldn’t happen face to face.

    And then I think about domestic abuse and how long it took for people to realize that yes, it shouldn’t be this way. Men and women should be believed when they say they’ve been beaten, abused, threatened. Finally after so many years of denial, people started waking up to the idea that it shouldn’t be tolerated.

    Why then, is there this kind of excuse-making for this? It shouldn’t be tolerated. It should be talked about. It should be talked about and worked on until we, as a society of people who talk to each other in this medium, figure out that it’s not okay to cross certain lines.

  2. Bravo.

  3. Hell YES!

    I’m glad that she named names because there is responsibility to take, morally and ethically!

    I have a bad feeling about our community right now.