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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

My view

I've already posted this in comments on Scoble's blog, and Shelley has picked up on it, so I may as well repeat here what I believe the blogosphere should do as a result of this incident. Scoble asked for opinions and here's mine.

"How about making an example of the people behind meankids and unclebobism to show that this behaviour - I’ve read the posts about Maryam and others now too in Google’s cache - is not tolerated, and blackball them.

No conference invites, no comments on their blogs, comments from them deleted onsight, no links, no dinners, no meetups, nothing. Excise them (Locke, Paynter et al.) from the commumity."

That is, zero-tolerance of abusing women online.

I should add that I made that suggestion in response to not just what was posted on meankids and unclebobism about Sierra - but also what was posted about Maryam Scoble and others too. Not death threats, which I don't believe were made by anyone on those sites, but abusive, perverted, but ultimately pointless attacks made against women in the tech industry.

Even if the two main players (Paynter and Locke) deny that they themselves made the attacks, they provided the platform and turned a blind eye until the complaints came (and in fact it looks like Locke never deleted unclebobism, Wordpress did).

That should not be tolerated. I hope this is the end of Paynter's and Locke's participation in the blogosphere.

(Update Paynter is innocent here - he did delete meankids right after the Maryam post was made.) I don't care that Paynter has since posted an apology to Sierra regarding meankids, the site he started. The post attacking Maryam Scoble was made on March 16, long before this storm broke and the apology was forced from him. Paynter clearly endorsed that post, or he would have deleted it much sooner.

You'll note that I haven't mentioned the other two "accused" - Jeneane Sessum and Allen Herrel. Sessum was not involved in Locke's unclebobism site and I'm not sure what her involvement in meankids was. All that I can tell is that she worked with Locke on the satirical Kat Herding blog.

Regards Herrel, the avatar picture used on unclebobism is Herrel's picture. Herrel did briefly appear to claim a case of ID theft before deleting his blog. That's a long way short of proof that he was involved at all - anyone can steal a picture. Hunt as since stated in the comments to a post on her blog that she has IP evidence, but I don't believe that (my response is on Hunt's site).

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Locke may have deleted the content before WP nuked the site completely:


(Not that I condone his involvement, which as far as I can tell was to set up the attack site and cheer its participants on until someone stood up to them, at which point he tried to wash his hands and claim innocence.)
"attack site" - see, you have the first, the very first, thing wrong. And from there your errors compound.

Kids was not an attack site. It was, in part, about attack, about the web and the kind of thing it can do, the meanness that is so easy it becomes second nature to those decrying meanness. Viz., your very post, Dan G.

There is hate speech, and there is the representation of hate speech, and the two, though easy to confuse, are coming from entirely different places. Give this some thought before you "attack" again.
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