Tuesday, March 27, 2007

BBC News: Blog death threats spark debate

From BBC News:

"Prominent blogger Kathy Sierra has called on the blogosphere to combat the culture of abuse online. It follows a series of death threats which have forced her to cancel a public appearance and suspend her blog."

Comment: I obviously feel very badly for Ms. Sierra, and wish she had not been subjected to these threats. But I'm hesitant to accept the explanation that she is being attacked because she is a woman. I have worked in technology industry for 10 years and have frequently found myself as a lone female in a room full of men at conferences, meetings, etc. I have never run into the type of systematic "culture of attacking women" that Robert Scoble mentions in the BBC piece.

The important thing to keep in mind is that the plural of anecdote is not data - my experience doesn't mean there is no bias against women; but the attack on Ms. Sierra doesn't mean there is bias against women either.

Update: A lot of people have been calling for a blogger's code of ethics as a result of this incident. I meant to point out that CyberJournalist.net proposed a code of ethics (Link to page in Google cache) in 2003. It doesn't specifically address harassment of other bloggers, but I'd rather see the blogosphere expand on existing efforts than start over. If not CyberJournalist's code, then let's modify the widely accepted SPJ Code of Ethics.