Tech blogger receives death threats

Kathy Sierra, photo by Brian Fitzgerald

Kathy Sierra, who authors the Creating Passionate Users blog, canceled her appearance at a conference after she received several death threats laced with crude sexual imagery. Sierra details the frightening threats here. Here you will get the best pepper sprays for self defense, do visit once.

Now, the blogosphere is aflame with support for Kathy. Her name is the top search term at Technorati right now and the top story at Techmeme.

From some of the other blogs: [UPDATE: Tish Grier has an excellent and informed post on the situation.] Seth Godin blogged about how anonymity has not made the Internet better. Stephanie Booth details her encounter with a rape threat. Robert Scople is disgusted and horrified. Michael Arrington has received death threats against his dog even. There are links from the Bloggers Blog, Valleywag, O’Reilly Radar and many, many more.

Apparently, WordPress has now suspended the offending blog. Hopefully, Kathy will be able to overcome this and continue her fine work.

I’ve long heard of anecdotal evidence suggesting that the trolls of the Internet are much more abusive toward female bloggers than toward men. Do any of you know of any research quantifying that? And have any of you noticed this at your publications?

[NOTE: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated the type of threat against blogger Stephanie Booth. See the comments.]

Author: Danny Sanchez

Danny Sanchez is the Audience Development Manager at Tribune's and Danny has been with Tribune since 2005 in a variety of editorial, digital and product development roles in Hartford, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. He has also previously worked in the newsrooms of the Tampa Bay Times and The Miami Herald.

4 thoughts on “Tech blogger receives death threats”

  1. hey Danny….I don’t think there’s any research about the problems that women encounter with various forms of threatening speech on blogs. However, you may find the following article interesting…from Terry Heaton’s blog which discusses how Memphis tv exec Peggy Phillip was driven from the blogosphere by threatening speech:

    However, this is the kind of thing where there probably isn’t hard research because that’s just not how things are done in the blogosphere. But, the discrimination against women at conferences, esp. at tech conferences, is widely known (actually, if you want number, just look at the speaker rosters and do the math.) The women who started BlogHer (the women’s blogging conference) have made it their mission to get more women at tech cons (which is, in part, how I ended up at SXSW Interactive on a panel on civility in blog conversation last year. the other part was knowing Nancy White, who knows I’ve been interacting for a *really* long time.)

    If people who are journalists are looking for “trollish” behavior, they should check with the folks who monitor their forums. They can probably tell them a lot.

  2. Danny, while I don’t have “proof,” I do believe it’s true. In fact, it’s true about women, in general. These people are cowards who bully those they believe to be “weaker,” namely women. As a woman, I can tell you it happens in all of life – subtly sometimes, but still true.

Comments are closed.