Some Thoughts On Kathy Sierra, Anonymity, Censorship, And Line Breaks In Blog Post Titles

Random thoughts on the Kathy Sierra scandal, anonymity, privacy, free speech, blogging, and the real world, in no particular order:
  • Vile speech like Kathy experienced is exactly that - vile. Heinous, disgusting, and wholly unnecessary.
  • It is not up to me, you, or the blogosphere to decide if what she experienced constitutes “protected speech” under the First Amendment. It is for the police, and the courts. Stop pretending you are Mr. Constitutional Law Superstar.
  • This kind of speech, and similar verbal (and visual) threats are widespread. This does not mean that her reaction is too strong. What if it were you? What if you had kids?
  • Gender is important. It’s not that we wouldn’t get infuriated if such threats were directed towards men - we would, and we should. But the truth is, to pretend that gender isn’t a factor in all this is to ignore a very real history of violence and discrimination that women have experienced, and do experience, even today.
  • What these assholes have to say is not worth listening to. But it is worth responding to.
  • This kind of speech is not symptomatic of the blogosphere, or even the internet. It is a human problem that spans all walks of life. Don’t believe me? Bring a tape recorder to work, or to the mechanic, or Wal-Mart, or high school. Ask your kids.
  • It is not censorship to speak loudly against thoughts you disagree with. But be careful of the tyranny of the majority.
  • The way we (bloggers, people, the media) treat celebrities is deplorable. Are we all really that jealous?
  • Those who have explained their roles in this scandal (Frank, Jeneane, and now HeadLemur) have not lost their reputations. You’ve strengthened them by being honest and open. The only people who assumed you were guilty never read your blogs in the first place.
  • Chris Locke, on the other hand, you have no one to blame but yourself. You are nothing but a child.
  • Free Speech depends on accountability.
  • Anonymity is an illusion.
  • Guns will not protect you.
  • No one else knows what will make you feel safe.
  • Mobs are dangerous. Let’s not forget, however, the most insidious silent mob of implied consent.
  • Michelle Malkin, and this pains me to say, is not very wrong this time. But she’s still falling into the “whose shit is deeper?” trap of comparing incidents of violence and threats. That gets us nowhere.
  • You control your own reputation. If you don’t - you lose, just like in business. Speak louder, speak truer, cry from the rooftops, own your identity. You wouldn’t let someone do it in real life - why would you online? Why would you just give up?
  • Blogging is Real Life.
  • Bloggers are Real People.
  • Ideas deserve respect.
  • If you think you have to be an asshole to get your point across, you’re missing something.
  • It might be funny to you to joke about black people, women, Jews, homosexuals, noobs, etc., but unless you’re willing to back up your joke with some serious discussion when confronted, it might be best to laugh on the inside.
  • You can’t hide behind masks.
  • Sharing openly is awesome.
  • The government has little to no place in all this, except to protect free speech. Not limit.
  • Have a heart. Use your head.
  • Sometimes it is enough to say, “I’m sorry.”
  • Sometimes you’re wrong. And that’s okay.
Oh, and line breaks in titles of blog posts are not cool.