Last week there were a lot of words written about the threats made to Kathy Sierra and her reaction to them. Unfortunately many of the word accused people behind the offending sites before allowing them to put their side of the story and they were subject to some of the same kind of behaviour, the mob mentality hiding behind an internet persona, that Kathy had complained about in the first place. But over the week, things have been looked at, more information discovered and today we have something that seemed unlikely a week ago. Kathy and Chris Locke jointly present statements after multiple conversations over the week and a CNN interview that aired today. Read both statements, but here are some key quotes for me. First from Kathy:
I do believe that Chris, Jeneane, and Frank did not make the specific posts and images that I found threatening, and I believe they were not responsible for the threatening comments on my own blog. However, Chris and I (and others) still strongly disagree about whether people who are respected and trusted in our industry (like the three of them) are giving tacit approval when they support (though ownership, authoring, and promoting) sites like meankids and unclebob. This is about trust and leadership in our community, and whether those who are looked up to have a (non-legal) responsibility to the community whose trust they’ve earned for the things they promote.
It’s true we laughed, but not at the core issues. No one was laughing about the offensive words and images that were posted to the blogs I was involved with. The material Kathy quoted on her site was hurtful and ugly. I do not excuse it or think it should be excused. Some of the things that were posted about her were admittedly frightening, and far beyond tasteless….
Misogyny is real — and vile. Violence against women is wrong. It must not be tolerated. This issue should be explored and discussed, not swept under the rug, not rationalized away
And both agree that this episode should not be used to as an excuse to curb free speech, to shutter the thoughts and expressions of millions online through legislation and ordered control but should be used a further open up the debate about behaviours and ethics and morals about what you should do online, not just doing things because you can. The fact that these two people, who were at the core of the storm that surrounding this issue, can talk and agree on some things whilst acknowledging where they disagree give me hope.