Posted March 27, 2007 8:04 am by with 6 comments

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For the past year or two, bloggers have put up with mainstream media articles that suggest we’re nothing but a crazed online lynch mob looking for trouble.

Well, the focus is about to shift somewhat, as it appears those that comment on blogs are starting to wield an unhealthy amount of power. I’m not talking about the average blog commentator – who provides value, even with criticism – I’m talking about the disturbing news that some high-profile bloggers are starting to receive death threats.

Kathy Sierra has actually had to cancel all of her speaking engagements as she is now too scared to leave her house, after being bombarded with death threats by a cyber-stalker. Kathy shares vividly what she has had to endure over the past few weeks, on her own blog.

Kathy is not the only blogger fearful of attacks, Robert Scoble (and his wife Maryam) also receive similar threats – Robert’s taking a week off from blogging, in support of Kathy – and even blog superstar Michael Arrington has been a victim.

I really don’t know what the answer is, but hopefully Kathy’s openness will spark a large enough of a debate, that a solution will be found. It’s one thing to have someone criticize you, or even throw some abuse you way, but it’s another – completely wrong – thing to face death threats.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Kathy.

  • Anonymity is an issue. I’d love to see services like OpenID take off to the point where reputation and identity are both handled by credible entities only. Anonymous comments would still be allowed using an “ID key,” but there would be a way to trace back to the actual commenter in the case of abuse.

  • Anonymity transforms cowards into brave people. Of course the internet isn’t necessarily as anonymous as some people like to think.

  • It is a very sorry situation indeed.

    In your opinion, how feasible, or far away, is the widespread establishment of services like OpenID Aaron?

    Sounds like a great concept.

  • It’s again the old thing: internet privacy. Should we act under a nickname or should we act under our real name/address/phone?
    It’s very complicated in this modern days.

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  • This is a sad time, that people can not share their thoughts without this kind of threat. I truly hope we find a solution to this growing problem.