Misogyny has to be one of the ugliest things on the web. I like to consider myself to be intelligent and rational and fair minded. I pride myself on having friends that are the same. And yet, this is the internet. A place where all of us, no matter what we look like in the outside world, can pride ourselves on being better than everyone else in every way.

The BBC is reporting on death threats received by a prominent female blogger. Basically, Kathy Sierra was due to attend a conference until a bunch of random asshat trolls started offering up death threats. Link to the story i her own words is here.

Now, here’s the thing and this is what makes it especially abhorrent to me: if I receive an e-death threat or a threat of any kind I will laugh it off. I am a man and that is what we’re supposed to do. Even more than that, I am totally unknown outside of a very small circle of people. Not in a mysterious “only special people know who he is” way, but in a “who he?” way. And in general, I don’t care for your threats, threaten away if that’s what gets you off.

However, for Kathy – a prominent known blogger – the reality has to be different. Her face is known, her location is often known and, worse, the community that she is a part of is the community that is attacking her. You lot are all intelligent enough that I don’t need to spell out why threats of rape, beatings and death can be scary to a woman.

Robert Scoble has taken a week off so that his post on this subject remains at the top of the page.

The trolls, the abusive men, are no doubt basement dwelling nobodies who want to feel relevant and are no doubt scared stiff by the fact that there is now a police investigation in place. But that’s just tough on them, isn’t it? If I ran up to a stranger in the street and described, graphically, what I wanted to happen to them I would be beaten and/or locked up. So why should internet trolls be any different?

We need to stop this sort of thing – it is pathetic and it is dangerous.


Posted on 27 March, 2007, in News, Rants and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. So you regularly receive death threats, then? 😉

    Personally, I can’t imagine that it is a “we” who are doing this, I would suggest that it is a “they.”

    I wouldn’t want to align myself with that kind of person, even by association.

  2. I’d have to do what I have done in the past and try my hardest to track down the person by the IP they used to post and see what I could do about locating them and having them either charged or…

    Its worked before on something smaller. It can be a lot of work, though, and proxies do cause a bit of trouble some times.

    Still ridiculous, though.

  3. Ray, are you going to become an MP? 😀

  4. Also regarding death threats. Seriously there’s no protection legally for such kind of speech. People can debate all they want in the comfort of their armchairs, but ultimately the law says it’s illegal and it is in most parts of the world.

    If the person(s) behind this can be found, they can receive stiff jail terms.

  5. Can and SHOULD.

  6. disgusting. I hope they are caught and punished. When women are not treated right, all humans aren’t being treated right. Sure, a guy can laugh off these threats, but they still are wrong, directed at a woman or a man.

  7. Coo – this seems like a hot topic. 🙂

    Rik – no one has threatened me yet. But, speaking as a total nobody, I would shrug it off.

    Hari – MP? no heavy lifting. office hours. travel expenses. Not a bad idea…..

    As you have all said, this is despicable and while I agree that it is a “they” doing this, rather than a “we”, as long as we stand by and do nothing, they will continue. As Hari pointed out, this is not a free speech issue – it’s the same as shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre.

    And, as Alison says, these threats are entirely wrong, no matter who they are directed at.

  8. Strange, I posted a comment that should have been first and it never went thru. Tried again and it said it looked like a duplicate. Arrghh!

  9. Really weird – it thought that comment was spam, but allowed your second one through….

    Maybe it was that Gnome threat that did it!

  10. I guess so. How can I be spam.. I own the damn server this resides on.. 😉

  11. This is truly disgusting – there’s no other word for it. What kind of sick people would do this sort of thing?

    I’m just catching up on my feeds now that I’m back from Seattle and one of the first articles I read was this… Shocking. The culprits should be found and shot.

  12. Welcome back from the wilds mate – and yes, this is disgusting, but I doubt this will be the last occurrence.

  13. That’s true… Although, for what it’s worth, I’d like to be optimistic and think that the same will not reoccur in the Blogosphere.

  14. talk about extremes… tsk tsk

  15. Well, there you go – it’s why we should always be wary of extremists.

  16. This all went down before I started blogging, but it sucks to hear about such things. Nobodies will do anything to feel like somebodies. It really sucks.

    Mark@tool vinyls last blog post..Tool – Opiate Review

  17. I think you are right, it is just outrageous for me.

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