Our friend and colleague, Kathy Sierra, pulled out of her talk at the Etech conference, because she has received death threats, and threats of sexual violence. She talks about it in this post on her blog. It’s an ugly story:
In the past, Kathy has told us about jerks who have said nasty things about her and her work. And some of them sounded pretty over the top. But I could never have imagined the kind of sick shit these assholes have spewed. They’ve crossed the line into criminal behavior, and we hope that law enforcement (Kathy has properly brought them in) finds these people and takes them down hard, and soon. This isn’t about free speech. It’s hate speech. Hell, it’s not speech at all; it’s threats of bodily harm. That’s a crime.
Kathy mentions several other bloggers (well-known, apparently) who participated in some fashion (perhaps innocently, perhaps not; things are unclear) on the sites where these threats were posted. At the very least, all of these people must cooperate fully with law enforcement to catch the criminal(s). If they do not, and if they don’t make it clear that they are helping out, they are part of the problem, and should be ostracized by the tech community. In any event, they should be investigated by law enforcement to discover if they were part of a criminal conspiracy to make these threats.
People who cross the line from rational behavior to criminal behavior should not get a pass because they’ve done it on a blog, or on a forum. Take ’em down.