Tuesday, March 27, 2007

This is really bad...

Anyone that reads this blog knows that I'm an avid reader/fan of Kathy Sierra.  She has, as far as I can tell, done nothing but good.  Her work is always positive, never negative.  It is creative, well thought out, interesting, useful, helpful.  It is something to aspire to.

But some people cannot have that.  They have to tear down, ruin things, destroy for whatever reason.  And it happened to her in a really bad way.  I was stunned when I first read it - disgusted better describes it now.  Here is someone trying to be helpful to the technical community at large - with really good ideas and the passion to spread it and something like that happens. 

I've written about anonymity in the past.  I have not entirely changed my mind on that topic - but I have to admit that something like this makes me think about it.  I believe there are classes of people that need to be anonymous - people being persecuted by oppressive governments for example.  Perhaps people with something to reveal but fear for their job/family.  But anonymity in this case - just makes it harder to prosecute the people that need to be.

As Seth Godin wrote this morning - "Isn't it sad that misogyny is so common that there's even a word for it?" 

It makes me sad and very mad.  I hope she comes back...



Blogger Mark J. Bobak said....

Wow....I'm speechless. That is just so far over any imaginable line that I just don't know what to say.


Tue Mar 27, 09:31:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

absolutely disgusting and sad

Tue Mar 27, 09:50:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Robert said....

I would like to see the human garbage who is behind this put away for a long time at hard labor...but on the other hand:

"If there is no God, then all things are permissible"


Tue Mar 27, 10:15:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

... then all things are permissible ...

now there is a context switch i could never have anticipated....

Tue Mar 27, 10:18:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Bill S. said....

Shocked and stunned would be an understatement. While I don't frequent Kathy's blog, thanks to you I have been exposed to it and had an opportunity to read some of her posts. Her ingenuity, generosity, and integrity are a fresh breeze. While I am a staunch advocate of anonymity, I too find this profoundly disturbing. Something needs to be done, but it should not be a knee-jerk reaction that only creates a more venomous environment. It needs to be addressed with care, so that criminals like this can be prosecuted without endangering those who require anonymity for protection from people like this.

I hope that Kathy is able to come back from this - I am not sure that I would.

Bill S.

Tue Mar 27, 10:23:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Per said....

I am reading her Blog on a regular Basis, and I hope, that she won't stop writing her really interesting Blog because of this. I cannot understand how someone can do something like it...

Tue Mar 27, 10:36:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Robert said....


(So I'm a shameless name dropper)... the quote "If there is no God, then all things are permissible" is attributed to the Russian writer Dostoyevsky. If this statement is true (and I believe it is). And since our 'instinctive' reaction to this evil is revulsion (i.e. this ought not to be... this is wrong... this should not be permissible). It argues that there is a God. The Supreme Lawgiver with Whom we have to do. If not... then who is to say this is 'wrong'? (I'm afraid my interpretation of the logic of this argument may not be air tight, but you get the idea.)


Tue Mar 27, 10:37:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

For robert, why would I need a supreme being to know such a thing is wrong ?
Being harrased by loonies is far from being a sinecure(it is stressful,dangerous and all).
I can empathize with Katy eventhough I don't believe in God(I am an agnostic).

I find it a little shameless to use such an event to do some proselytism about God's existence.

And it is not because some famous writer writes something that it is true you know...

I apologize to Tom for diverging from the subject. I don't want to start a beliver/atheist flamewar on this blog, I think anyone has the right to believe whatever he wants. It is just that I just can't stand proselytism, especially in that kind of context.

Tue Mar 27, 12:47:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Jim said....

Lets all give her support.

Anyone have any ideas on how to curb this behavior? I am not looking for ways to silence discourse, but even people who disagree can have civilized and passionate discourse. The attack on Kathy was far from civilized.

Lets focus our energies in fighting this bad behavior.

Tue Mar 27, 12:52:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I have read Kathy's blog a couple of times based on your recommendations. It often went right over my head but did seem to be well intentioned and perhaps even inspirational to many.

I read Kathy's most recent post and it is deeply disturbing. I have no idea who the people are who were mentioned in there.

I am sure there is no shortage of lawyers who would be happy to take a swing at going after the responsible people. That type of tactic might be more effective than anticipating that law enforcement types would actually do anything.

The comments by Robert and trying to put some kind of religious spin on this whole thing don't wash and seem somewhat creepy IMHO.

Tue Mar 27, 12:57:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Alberto Dell'Era said....

Really bad indeed. I do agree with what She said, that it's the threat itself that inflicts the damage, whatever the real intentions are.

Tue Mar 27, 01:53:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Robert said....

To Anonymous, etc.

Do you think the actions by the lowlife in threatening and saying those things to Kathy is wrong? evil? immoral? not nice? 'uncivilized'?
If so where do you get your understanding of right and wrong?
If there is no God (no absolute, objective Lawgiver (i.e. standard))then your opinion of such things is just as legitimate as the opinion of the scum that wrote those things to Kathy S. If you are to *judge* the actions of this coward as 'wrong' then you must do so by comparing his actions to a standard. What standard? A standard subjective to yourself? That 'feels' right to you? No. There in order to judge these actions as evil there must be an *objective* standard outside ourselves. God and His Law. Without this it is just 'survival of the fittest'; and anything goes.

Tom, if apologies are in order, I apologize for my sermonizing... but you started it by suggesting (rightfully) that the actions of this human garbage were in fact 'wrong'.


Tue Mar 27, 02:13:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Robert said "then who is to say this is 'wrong'?"

well - we are, by ourselves. because we are human.

Tue Mar 27, 02:31:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

bloggers should log IP addresses of anyone who posts comments on your blogs. you can track back to the ISP and go from there with the police.

odds are its some loser who lives in his parents basement.

Tue Mar 27, 02:55:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

you can track back to the ISP and go from there with the police.

only if they are seriously stupid.

anonymous proxy server

go to www.google.com, plug that in, surf away completely anonymous - many are in places far and away from your country and your countries reach (plug in your country and the statement will hold true)

Tue Mar 27, 03:00:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

There is a simple way to build an ethic standard without resorting to any Sacred Text:

"don't do to others what you don't want others to do to yourself"


"my freedom ends where your one begins"

than use logic and deduction, and you'll have your ethic code of conduct - aka distinction between "good" and "evil".

Tue Mar 27, 03:01:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Nelson said....

News travel fast...

Tue Mar 27, 04:12:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Nelson said....


Tue Mar 27, 04:14:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Nuno said....

I've been saying it for years: anonymous posting should not be allowed anywhere on the Internet.

That goes for Usenet, blogsphere, wikisphere, whatever.

Sure folks have a right to not divulge their name: use an alias instead! But to allow the use of the irresponsible "anonymous" and/or proxy remailers is to open the door to every boofhead out there. And they are there, believe me. This is just one more example amid many.

Free speech and voicing one's opinions doesn't necessarily imply the right to anonimity: with the privileges of democracy come the responsibilities and duties attached to it. Nowhere is it said that one has to remain anonymous in order to retain democratic rights.

Tue Mar 27, 06:09:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

"if apologies are in order, I apologize for my sermonizing... "

You should be sorry Robert. We certainly don't tune in here for your religious nonsense.

Your comments can be perceived as really offensive to us atheists.

Do you really think that some man in the sky created you and that his son was a zombie? --Be that as it may, I am certainly not going to question your moral judgment for it.


Tue Mar 27, 08:50:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Did anyone actually read Joey's responses to Kathy? And the entire comment in context.. ?

I find it interesting how this is being blow out of context so quickly. Religion brought into it.. The validity of anonymous Internet posting -- when the person who posted the comment has actually being trying to respond back.

15 mins of fame i guess..

Tue Mar 27, 09:02:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Sidhu said....

I came to know about Kathy's blog from Tom's blog only. Otherwise I have gone through 2 of her books Head First Java and Head First HTML. Really good effort made by her to teach things in an entirely different and interesting way.

As Tom said logging IP addresses cant really help. There are n number of anonymous proxies and tools for fake IP addresses. Tracking IP addresses is of no use. Here only ethics can help. And if someone crosses that limit dont really know, how to go about it ?


Wed Mar 28, 01:24:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Fahd Mirza said....

I started reading Kathy's blog on your recommendation,and when I saw there what happened to her, I was shocked and stunned.

I hope she comes back and blog again.

Wed Mar 28, 04:05:00 AM EDT  

Blogger baki said....

Hi Tom,
Could you send us blogs that you read regularly?

Wed Mar 28, 04:30:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....


who do you think makes these threats? People who are seriously stupud.

Wed Mar 28, 09:10:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Could you send us blogs that you read regularly?

Baki - You can find Tom's list of favorite blogs (in no particular sort order) on this page:

This meta-blog entry

There is a link to it part-way down Tom's main page, right under the "Effective Oracle by Design" graphic.


Bob Shepard

Wed Mar 28, 09:27:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous RobH said....

well - we are, by ourselves. because we are human. <- EXACTLY (have you read "His Dark Materials"?

On similar thought tho, the internet lately has become this faction of "this vs that", Microsoft vs Apple, Nintendo Vs Sony, Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD, its filled with "fanboys". Every seems to like to pick a side and hope to win so that "I told you so" can be throw out.

I have seen many posts in regards to comments made by "Burleson vs Lewis" fanboys that would probably not be much different than those made against Kathy.

It's immature, ignorant and unintelligent. But sadly, at some point I'm sure we've all added fuel to the flames of some flame war of this vs that. Heck, many blogs/posts and news stories are just bait to get it going.

Wed Mar 28, 10:01:00 AM EDT  

Blogger gandolf989 said....

It seems to me like it is a childish prank gone awry. As someone once said, you can not negotiate with children or terrorists. And whoever is behind this seems to be both.

Wed Mar 28, 10:04:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I would be interested in hearing ideas as to the root cause of the sort of sick behavior exhibited against Ms. Sierra.

- Ethan

Wed Mar 28, 01:55:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

... I would be interested in hearing ideas as to the root cause...

I would theorize misogyny, jealously, and a desire to create controversy (draw attention)

Wed Mar 28, 02:00:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Perhaps the "Burleson vs Lewis" comparison is somewhat overstated and way off target here.

There's nothing wrong and much to be admired in people that prove things, always question authority, and regularly review postings and opinions.

Publishing things and revising information without any accountability lacks scientific rigor at the very least.

Wed Mar 28, 04:25:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

"I would theorize misogyny, jealously, and a desire to create controversy (draw attention)"

Misogyny is one of those words that comes with a load of definitional baggage but perhaps this is not the place to define it.

- Ethan

Wed Mar 28, 05:47:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

I have a link to a workable definition for Misogyny in the original article.

Wed Mar 28, 06:20:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous RobH said....

Perhaps the "Burleson vs Lewis" comparison is somewhat overstated and way off target here.

I disagree, my point was exactly that it is related, its THE BEGINNING of how these things start. It creates a divide between 2 groups that only grows over time eventually leading away from intelligent discussion.

If you read some Burleson vs Lewis posts, you will see comments made not by the poster, but comments from others that start by calling one or the other all kinds of names (or calling Burleson or Lewis names).

Its only a fine line before someone responds with something over the line.

Wed Mar 28, 10:00:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

"We certainly don't tune in here for your religious nonsense...
....Do you really think that some man in the sky created you and that his son was a zombie?

Isn't it sad that the word misotheism is also required in our language?

Thu Mar 29, 06:15:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous RobH said....

its disturbing that we have a word for "maintains the subordination of women by men"

Thu Mar 29, 03:07:00 PM EDT  

Blogger fteter said....

This comment has been removed by the author.

Thu Mar 29, 05:08:00 PM EDT  

Blogger fteter said....

This comment has been removed by the author.

Thu Mar 29, 05:13:00 PM EDT  

Blogger fteter said....

I keep adding comments and deleting them. I'm so angry my "inner redneck" keeps coming out...

Thu Mar 29, 05:18:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Here's Kathy talking to the BBC:

"These people are interested in rage and they think that if you aren't enraged then you are part of the problem.
It seems that they hate my optimism. They think I am poisoning peoples' minds with my positive outlook.."

She's doesn't appear herself to be putting this down to a feminist issue or misogyny.

Fri Mar 30, 05:48:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

She's doesn't appear herself to be putting this down to a feminist issue or misogyny.

Read the original blog pointed to above. Read the comments on that blog written by others as well....


.... Noose. Sex. Hatred. Misogyny. Willing to commit a federal crime. Anonymity. ....

Fri Mar 30, 07:55:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

The page is blocked from my site because of prohibited words.
(Probably a good thing too by the sounds of it!)

The BBC article ends:
"They think I am poisoning peoples' minds with my positive outlook," she told the BBC News website.
Such nihilism and anger have led her to consider hanging up her blogging software for good.


Fri Mar 30, 08:50:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Robert said....

Yes, Nihilism.
If there is no God then Nihilism is the only 'logical' (and honest) conclusion. Without God, any ideas of ethics, hope, altruism have been smuggled into the equation; stolen from a worldview in which does God exist (most likely from Christianity). Without God, then at the end of the day it is all just pure subjectivity, chaos: Nihilism. At which point anything goes... "without God then all things are permissible". I do believe in God. The God of the Bible. But at least the Nihilists and thier ilk are being somewhat honest and rigorously logical with the facts as they see them. To say we believe in some 'standard' of right and wrong and yet not believe in God is to be fooling ourselves.



Fri Mar 30, 10:15:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Not a redneck but having to censor myself here. First for the anger I feel at this poor woman hiding in terror. I have dealt with something similar in the past causing my family to move. My second point of anger is the introduction of theology into this discussion. It angers me to no end the arrogance and ignorance of the holy crowd who think I cannot be moral because I am agnostic. Your attitude is no better than those who chose to attack Kathy.

The world is full of nasty, nasty people. It seems to be getting worse because we can sit at our desks, feeling safe in our anonymity. Here's a challenge to the totally tech savvy - find a way to track these idiots - then provide their location to the authorities.

Fri Mar 30, 03:50:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

This is top page news on cnn.com. Go take a look for yourself.


Fri Mar 30, 04:12:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous drShop said....

WooW =)

Thu Aug 02, 06:24:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

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Mon Jun 23, 02:44:00 AM EDT  


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