Identity rape and mob mentality

Allen Herrell, one of the accused attackers in the Kathy Sierra controversy, has written a long email to Doc Searls explaining that his entire online identity has been compromised. If true, and I believe it, because I have known Allen for many years, it appears there have been many more victims here than Ms.

Allen Herrell, one of the accused attackers in the Kathy Sierra controversy, has written a long email to Doc Searls explaining that his entire online identity has been compromised. If true, and I believe it, because I have known Allen for many years, it appears there have been many more victims here than Ms. Sierra.

I am writing this from a new computer, using an email address that will be deleted at the end of this.
I am no longer me. My main machine despite my best efforts has been hacked, my accounts compromised including my email. and has been disconnected from the internet.
How did this happen? When did this happen? shit doc, i don't have a fucking clue. I thought i was pretty sharp. I guess not.
just about every online account that i have has been compromised. Most importantly my digital identity and user/password for typepad and wordpress. I have been doing damage control, for my clients. How the fuck i got to be part of this mess is revolting.
The Kathy Sierra mess is horrific. I am not who ever used my identity and my picture!!

I am sick beyond words over this whole episode. Kathy Sierra may not be on my top 10 list , but nobody deserves this filthy character assaination (sic). 

A lynch mob mentality has come over the Blogosphere. Kathy Sierra has ever right to be angry about the messages directed at her, but her allegations appear to have been misdirected and misinformed, because they relied on simplistic analysis of the sites and assumed that appearance and reality were identical. And she's making it worse, writing today:

You're damn right I'm *linking* these folks to these posts. You're wrong about their involvement. The posts and comments were NOT made by--as you said--heinous trolls. Whoever made the posts was a registered member, and they *know* who made the comments -- he was one of their participants. I never said Jeaneane was the one creating the noose picture or comment. I said she was a participant in and "celebrated" and encouraged meankids.org. I believe that when prominent people encourage this kind of behavior, they don't get to wash their hands of it, ethically.
I should be more clear, though, that while *someone* broke the law with the noose photo/comment, I'm definitely NOT suggesting that anyone else did anything legally wrong.
But I think Hugh put it better than I can:
--You might not be the guy raping the cheerleader, but if you're the one standing by saying, "go go go!" you share some responsibility.--
Not legal, but ethical. I don't believe any of these folks should be able to create these forums, *celebrate* them, send people there, and actively participate... and then claim complete innocence. If you hand someone a loaded gun. and encourage them to shoot...

The rape metaphor applies to everyone involved who had words and images they find deplorable attributed to them. But it is far more important to understand that the rape claimed attributed to them probably didn't happen wasn't their doing in the first place. The gun shoved in Chris Locke, Jeneane Sessums, Frank Paynter and Allen Herrell's hands is as likely to be illusory as not. We need proof, not accusations, just like in the physical world.

Trolls created the impression of a crime and sat back to watch human nature show its worst side. They are still enjoying it.

As Chris Locke explained in his email to me yesterday, he took the offensive postings down "shortly after it appeared." Nevertheless, Bert Bates, Kathy Sierra's Head First Java co-author has commented on this blog, saying "By definition, these 'posts' were made by the author(s) of the site - it IS a small circle of candidates." When you factor in the possibility that accounts were co-opted, according to this definition, anyone who has ever had their email address spoofed is responsible for the content of the messages sent under their name.

As I wrote yesterday, we need to acknowledge that the Blogosphere, such as it is, is just another human place full of people, some of whom are completely sociopathic and sick. Acting as though this place was a friendly little town until yesterday is missing so much of the reality and challenges of transforming media and society.

Let's stop the mock horror at the soiling of a purely imaginary blog utopia and get back to dealing with the reality of this world we live in. Somewhere, someone is responsible for threats made against Kathy Sierra.

Unless it can be proved that the people accused are actually involved, based on solid analysis of the facts, there is no benefit in continuing the witch hunting. Things will get better when we let reason, not raw emotion, take over.

With that, I'll end on the positive idea Allen Herrell concluded with:

I liked being who I was warts and all.
I have over the course of my time online met some of the brightest people that I would never have the abilty to sit across from to break bread or share coffee with from around the world. How wonderful is that.
In 1997 I wrote that I believed that the internet was the most important invention of the human race. I believe it even more today as I write this.
It will probably some time before I attempt to join the great conversation again, but, Please don't let bastards grind you down. 

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All