Kathy Sierra, Jeneane Sessums, handling hate, and being an a-hole

It was one thing to see Kathy Sierra’s moving post about feeling threatened and at risk online; another to find out people I know and like were linked by her to these activities.
Blogher’s Lisa Stone has a strong post that both supports Kathy–and comes out against hate speech–and shares her discussions with Jeanean Sessums, whom Kathy calls out–but who says she did not write abusive or threatening posts.
Lisa writes: “For the record, I deeply disagree with the premise of sites like meankids.org and others, and am surprised by the women and men who recommended and linked them from the beginning. To me, these sites are the FuckedCompany.com of the blogosphere, a place where bitter cowards who don’t have the courage to own their snark hide and spit.”
Susan sez: Lisa’s post is both spot on and diplomatic in articulating firm beliefs and qualifying Jeaneane’s postion, but I have to say I find it hard to condone hate speech and hateful behavior in any form.
IMHO, the bloggers I know who got involved in posting on these sites were about as mean-spirited and low as the Valleywag writer who went looking in Craig’s list for personals posts from a local tech developer, found them, and *outed* the guy.
As Liz Lawley writes: “Why does it not surprise me that a site set up specifically to foster online bullying would eventually lead to this kind of awful result?”
People, there’s an easy gut check on your own behavior:

  • Would you want someone to repeated the same behaviors and focus them on you?
  • If the answer is no, and you’re not an asshole, why go there?

This is blogging’s own Stanford Prison Experiment and and it’s both humbling–and it sucks.

Latest Comments

  1. Betsy Devine says:

    I never visited meankids.org. And it’s awful that some used it to post hate-speech about Kathy Sierra, somebody I admire–not least for pushing back loudly against what was done to her. But I’m sad that friends like Jeneane and Frank Paynter have been dragged into more than their fair share of the shame here. My guess is that their “involvement” in meankids grew out of their longtime affection and support for its founder Chris Locke.
    I agree with you that hateful speech is–well–hateful. And I have very mixed feelings about the whole “edgy” web-chic where folks talk “transgressive” and nasty becomes the new funny.
    Betsy sez–Susan’s gut check is a good one.

  2. Bert Bates says:

    Thanks Susan,
    I think your analogy is a good one.

  3. Midsouth Mouth says:

    Thanks for the interesting blog!
    I share some of yoru interests.

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