Again: if you are part of a conversation (in this case, a group blog) and a party to a conversation says things that are objectionable (racist or sexist or otherwise offensive) what is your responsibility?
Should Robert Scoble keep silent for a week in support of Kathy Sierra?
So, since she doesn’t feel safe. I’m going to stop blogging in support of Kathy, who I consider a friend and someone who’s voice would be dearly missed here. I’ll be back Monday.
I don't think so. He'd be better off spending the week talking about the dangers and burdens of misogyny and racism.
And I am sorry to confirm what many women online already know: Kathy Sierra is, literally, one among countless women assaulted like this online. I have no idea how many women have emailed and telephoned me about attacks via IM, IRC chat, message boards, email and blog comments. These attacks use language that describes detailed rape, dismemberment, profanity and indescribably sick images. The goal? Abuse and humiliation of women.
Chris Locke has said publicly that he feels no responsibility to confront those who are behaving objectionably:
The core ethos was acronymized to YOYOW -- You Own Your Own Words. This has remained a guiding principle for me ever since. I will not take responsibility for what someone else said, nor will I censor what another individual wrote.
Locke did take down both MeanKids and UncleBobism when Sierra objected.
So Locke is saying he won't censor even the most offensive material, but he will delete whole sites in response to complaints.
It doesn't seem to have occured to Locke that there's a third way: objecting and rebutting the offensive speech (or writings) of others.
Ronni Bennett thinks that Sierra also behaved badly, by smearing the proprietors of MeanKids and UncleBobism
But let’s take a closer look at Kathy’s post than many who support her apparently have: I can’t remember when I have read, aside from ignorant political wingnuts, so many aspersions cast, acts implied and innuendo as in Kathy’s post.
As far as can be determined from the few facts she relates, the attacks on Kathy were made anonymously. However, she has tried and convicted Chris Locke, Jeneane Sessum, Allen Herrel, Frank Paynter and, to a lesser extent, Doc Searls without a shred of proof that they were involved.
I don't disagree with Ronni in this respect: Sierra's post borders on guilt by association. But I do disagree in this respect: where were the voices that said, "Dude (or dudette): you have gone too far."
AKMA makes a point congruent with Ronni's:
In this way, anonymity cuts more directions than one: It enables a mysterious assailant to terrify Kathy, but it also provides the grounds for Kathy suggesting that Frank, Chris, Jeneane, and Allan are complicit with a would-be murderer. That’s a pretty serious allegation; she has interpellated them as co-conspirators. That wouldn’t fit with what I otherwise know of them, but more important, I don’t see evidence for that charge. Again, crudity that’s congruent with death threats may be worth condemning, but it’s not the same as participating in those threats.
But I wish he had said something about the responsibility a person has, on hearing hateful speech.