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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Kathy Sierra: 72 hours on

Little new has come to light but the general opinions and thoughts of people have become clearer.

One thing I'm seeing is continued confusion over what actually happened and who is involved. It seems quite common for people to think that this is only about Kathy Sierra - not so.

There was a horrific attack made on Maryam Scoble posted to meankids.org - this, in particular and rather understandably, upset Robert Scoble. That entry was posted by a member of meankids using the name "Rev Ed".

A commenter going by the same name left sexually abusive comments on the second site, unclebobism, but these comments were not directed at Sierra. He did call Sierra a "crack whore", however. Rev Ed, by the way, used Alan Herrell's picture as his avatar.

Furthermore, there was at least one racist post made at meankids - look at the title of the post.

What was was directed at Sierra was picture of her with a noose next to her posted on meankids, and on unclebobism a digitally-altered image of her suggesting sexual violence was shown. Who actually made and posted those images remains unclear (there's no record of the meankids.org image, and posts to unclebobism aren't credited), which brings me on to...

Who was responsible. We know Paynter founded meankids.org and Locke was one of the bloggers there. We know that Locke objected to Paynter's moderation, possibly of the Maryam post, so that once meankids was closed Locke started unclebobism. Beyond those two, the only other blogger we know for sure who was on unclebobism is Paul Ritchie. Ritchie, incidently, is proud to have vandalised Kathy Sierra's Wikipedia entry. He seems to be a bit of a nobody really though.

"Joey", who blogs as the Angry Phuqe, was only involved insofar that he left a comment on the noose image post, possibly referring to the "Kat Herding" character invented by Chris Locke and Jeanene Sessum.

Alan Herrell is a tricky one. We know his image was used as the avatar for Rev Ed, but Herrell himself issued a denial of involvement.

Jeanene Sessum, the fourth person mentioned in Sierra's original post, doesn't seem to be involved at all. She has denied ever being part of unclebobism or any other group blog and no search engine cache searches have shown any kind of link between her and meankids. Pending further evidence, she's innocent.

Then we have the reactions: the "get used to its", the "outraged" (waves) and the "I've had it worse"s.

Finally we have some ideas for what should happen next. Robert Scoble calls for sexist posting to be stamped out. I've called for sexist bloggers to be ostracized. Finally, we have the Stop Cyberbulling Day tomorrow.

What happens next? Well, while Sierra has updated her blog post, she is yet to blog again. Will she? I sure hope so - bullies must not win. Scoble will also post again in a few days. What will his reaction be after silently observing the conversation for a week? And what of the people involved? Will Locke and Sessum post again? When will Paynter post about something else? And will Herrell ever return to the blogosphere?

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I don't know any of these people, but became curious when I first saw one of the stories yesterday or the day before. I went to Jeneane Sessum's Allied blog, and saw an enthusiatic reference to MeanKids. As best I can recall, the phrase was "MeanKids, yeah!". This appeared directly above her message about being sorry that Kathy's life had been threatened. The juxtaposition was striking. Today the endorsement of MeanKids is gone. I'm not nominating Ms. Sessum for Innocent Bystander of the Year.
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