You may know by now what Kathy Sierra, a wonderfully smart blogger at CPU, has gone through. She has been the target of disturbing and sexually loaded comments, images with death threats.
She is a writer I greatly admire. She and her team has done more with her books and her blog to raise the level of discourse in IT than anyone in the recent past. It is a loss to see her withdraw because of a few people who are psychotic, demented and cowardly to exhibit their perversion online anonymously.
All social interactions have a code of conduct, explicit in some cases, implicit in many others. Freedom of speech is useless if the responsibility that comes with it is not recognized.
If you would not say something to a person directly to their face, don’t post it as a comment. It is cowardice that deserves nothing but scorn and complete exclusion from decent communities.
A comment on Tim Bray’s blog, captures the state of affairs succintly: “The Internet used to be a university. Then it became a shopping mall. But now, it’s a war zone.”