Pathological behavior online.
In both cases, persons have assumed the identities of others, and have used those identities to say hurtful, heinous things.
I am sick beyond words over this whole episode. Kathy Sierra may not be on my top 10 list , but nobody deserves this filthy character assaination.
I really feel for Herrell, and hope he comes back to blogging soon.
Read Joey deVilla's post on communities gone dysfunctional. Read Nancy White's essay: Hate, Threats, and the Culture of Love. Read Ronni's post and the comments,discussing the court of public opinion.
Turning to the other:
Eliot Stein's actions are impossible for me to understand. Why would any person do what he did to a dying woman and her teen-aged daughter?
Just hours before her death, “Cathy Seipp” suddenly seemed to undo decades of hard work with an oddly written letter posted on the Web site, www. cathyseipp.com. In what came off as more bizarre rant than heartfelt apology, her supposed “very last blog entry” called her years of journalism a “shoddy,” “despicable” and “irresponsible” career as a “fourth-rate hack.” Her political stance? All a mistake.
The fiery, unwavering supporter of George W. Bush supposedly said she'd done a complete 180 in the past year and was now an implied supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. What was even more perplexing was that “Seipp” was taking mean-spirited potshots at her own daughter, Maia Lazar, whom she called an “obnoxious” and “arrogant” wanna-be “skank” who was “mentally ill.” Throughout the letter, the one person whom “Seipp” seemed most sorry for ever having offended was Maia's 10th-grade journalism teacher, who had frequently clashed with mother and daughter. Finally, “Seipp” said she was probably to blame for her own illness — the “venom” she'd spewed for years was responsible for her terminal cancer.
Friends were horrified. They quickly realized that the letter was the work of an infamous character known as “Troll Dolls” who'd positioned himself as the blogger's archenemy and bought the domain name www.cathyseipp.com years earlier (Seipp's real Web site is www.cathyseipp.net). Troll Dolls is really Eliot Stein, a 54-year-old former online talk-show host and stand-up comedian
“He's a genuinely weird dude [who wrote] a rambling, odd, mean, totally cruel series of posts ... designed to trick well-wishers, as Cathy lay dying, into reading a torrent of rage and bitterness against her,” Rob Long, an L.A. television writer and longtime friend of Seipp's, wrote in an e-mail. “Just immensely cruel. It was easy to ignore when she was alive, but as she died it became intolerable — thousands and thousands of people wanted to reach out to Cathy and her family in the days surrounding her death, and this guy tricked, perverted and deeply hurt them. And for what? A years-old grudge?”
Eliot Stein cannot see that his behavior is reprehensible.
That, Stein said, was the last straw. He later crafted his fake Seipp letter and posted it on his Web site, knowing full well that she was dying but still alive.
“They thought that because this is the Internet they could say whatever they want whenever they want, but they met someone with an expansive education, a pioneer of the Internet with an incredible sense of humor,” Stein said. “They picked the wrong person to mess with.”
When asked if he himself might be accused of abusing the freedoms and power of the Internet to attack someone, Stein said his actions were justified by Seipp's history of “character assassination.”
No, Mr. Stein. Nothing would justify your actions. You can read more about Stein at his website: http://www.eliotstein.com/.
I rather agree with Luke Ford:
But disagree with him in another sense. Stein is free to say what he wants, but is Stein's use of the URL, cathyseipp.com, without ramification?
Something about these incidents remind me of the "Medical Pathetical" saga last year, in which Moof (and Flea, many others) was taken in by a faux blogger. That was sad, hurtful and sick, but not...violent or vile.