Kathy Sierra, the Private Public and the Anonymous

Dave Cormier, Mar 28, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

There's way too much reaction to the Kathy Sierra post to attempt to capture, though this blog is doing a pretty good job. I have several reactions. First, the real problem - I reiterate - is a society (and an A-list blogosphere) that has long tolerated such behaviour. Where was Stop Cyberbullying when Juan Cole was getting death threats? Where was Safer Internet Day when those really vile posts on Ann Coulter were making the rounds? And second, as Dave Winer writes, the mob mentality is getting out of control. They are tramping around looking for scapegoats - ban anonymous posting, they write, or shut down or block these websites. As though that would solve the problem. It won't. The problem is that it is still socially acceptable to demean women, still socially acceptable to casually propose violent acts, still socially acceptable to engage in character assassination, and still socially acceptable to attack certain minorities (you read Rageboy and you realize that he still thinks it's OK). I agree with Scoble, "We have to fix this culture." But not just internet culture. Culture, generally.
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