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Death threats against bloggers are NOT "protected speech" (why I cancelled my ETech presentations)

As I type this, I am supposed to be in San Diego, delivering a workshop at the ETech conference. But I'm not. I'm at home, with the doors locked, terrified. For the last four weeks, I've been getting death threat comments on this blog. But that's not what pushed me over the edge. What finally did it was some disturbing threats of violence and sex posted on two other blogs... blogs authored and/or owned by a group that includes prominent bloggers. People you've probably heard of. People like respected Cluetrain Manifesto co-author Chris Locke (aka Rageboy).

[UPDATE: Comments have now been closed [3/28/07, 6 PM] after someone posted personal data mixed with inaccurate information. It is the only comment I have removed from this thread. I wish to thank everyone for their support, but honestly--the high visibility and coverage of this one post has led to more trouble for me. Now, even people who had never heard of me are expressing hatred and creating new problems (posting my social security number and address, horrific lies about me, etc). I do want to clarify that I still do NOT know who made the photos and the posts from the two sites--the noose photo, not shown here, as well as the photo below--or who made the threatening comments on this blog. There is no evidence that the blog comments and the posts are by the same person or persons; and it is open to debate whether the photos (including the one not shown here--of the noose and my head) are threatening, or merely vile. The people I've named here as being participants on one or both of those sites have not denied their involvement with the sites (as owners or participants), but all have denied making either of the posts in question, although it was someone who had author priviliges on the blog, not a random commenter. This whole debate will have to continue elsewhere now. While I'm happy the topic is being discussed so vigorously, the more my name and this post is brought up, the more abuse I get in email or other blogs--and now that my address has been posted... Yes, I should have known that when I posted, and had I known the firestorm that would be created, I probably would have stayed silent. But my words here still stand. This is everything I know--and don't know--about the situation.]

[Note: This post includes disturbing language and a picture beyond anything I'd normally say here, so some of you might not want to continue reading. But I felt it was important to be specific about as much as the police investigation will allow.]

It began just over four weeks ago, when something shifted. It started with death threat blog comments left here (which some of you may have seen before I deleted them) including:
Comment from:

Name: siftee
Email: siftee@yahoo.com

fuck off you boring slut... i hope someone slits your throat and cums down your gob

We all have trolls--but until four weeks ago, none of mine had threatened death. (The law is clear--to encourage or suggest someone's death is just as illegal as claiming you intend to do it yourself).

At about the same time, a group of bloggers including Listics' Frank Paynter, prominent marketing blogger Jeneane Sessum, and Raving Lunacy Allen Herrel (aka Head Lemur) began participating on a (recently pulled) blog called meankids.org. At first, it was the usual stuff--lots of slamming of people like Tara Hunt, Hugh MacLeod, Maryam Scoble, and myself. Nothing new. No big deal. Nothing they hadn't done on their own blogs many times before.

But when it was my turn, somebody crossed a line. They posted a photo of a noose next to my head, and one of their members (posting as "Joey") commented "the only thing Kathy has to offer me is that noose in her neck size."

My first reaction--and probably yours--is to think, "Of course he doesn't actually mean it." But the "funny" thing about crossing the line from criticism to suggestion of death is that your mind starts to wander:

* The guy who wrote this is anonymous (to me... I'm sure the people behind the site know exactly who made that comment and who posted the photo). I have no way of knowing just how disturbed he might be.

* Normally sane adults don't cross that line, especially when they know they're breaking federal law.

* The (apparently) same person made several sexual comments about me as well... for example, analyzing my "Canyon of Pain" graphic and turning it into a metaphor for what I want sexually (you can imagine).

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

I started to slide down a very bad path (and I'm showing you only a snippet of what was actually posted and sent to me), but held it together until two days ago, March 24.

On that day, the meankids site was down and a new "replacement" appeared, unclebobism.wordpress.com. The "Bob's Yer Uncle" site was supposedly started by Cluetrain co-author Chris Locke (who, along with Jeaneane Sessum, also authors the Kat Herding Media site) and included most of the same members as meankids.

And then I found this:


That pushed me over the edge.

Was the photo itself meant to be a threat? The police believe so, yes... especially when taken in the context of the other posts and comments. A pattern of intimidation is clear, and it worked.

I don't know which particiant actually made the picture. It may have been Joey, or Chris Locke, or perhaps Allen Herrel... the same Herrel (or someone pretending to be Herrel) who added these frighteningly misogynistic comments on a different Unclebobism post:



I do not want to be part of a culture--the Blogosphere--where this is considered acceptable. Where the price for being a blogger is kevlar-coated skin and daughters who are tough enough to not have their "widdy biddy sensibilities offended" when they see their own mother Photoshopped into nothing more than an objectified sexual orifice, possibly suffocated as part of some sexual fetish. (And of course all coming on the heels of more explicit threats)

I do not want to be part of a culture where this is done not by some random person, but by some of the most respected people in the tech blogging world. People linked to by A-listers like Doc Searls, a co-author of Chris Locke. I do not want to be part of a culture of such hypocrisy where Jeneane Sessum can be a prominent member of blogher, a speaker at industry conferences, an outspoken advocate for women's rights, and at the same time celebrate and encourage a site like meankids -- where objectification of women is taken to a level that makes plain old porn seem quaintly sweet.

(Of course, Frank and Jeneane are among the people who make outraged posts about the lack of female speakers at tech conferences. If THIS is what a woman has to put up with for having visibility in the tech world...)

Most of all, I now fully understand the impact of death threats. It really doesn't make much difference whether the person intends to act on the threat... it's the threat itself that inflicts the damage. It's the threat that makes you question whether that "anonymous" person is as disturbed as their comments and pictures suggest.

It's the threat that causes fear.

It's the threat that leads you to a psychiatrist and tranquilizers just so you can sleep without repeating the endless loop of your death by:

* throat slitting
* hanging
* suffocation
and don't forget the sexual part...

I have cancelled all speaking engagements.

I am afraid to leave my yard.

I will never feel the same. I will never be the same.

To all of you were meant to be at my tutorial today at ETech, or my keynote tomorrow, you have my deepest apologies. If you want to do something about it--do not tolerate the kind of abuse that includes threats or even suggestions of violence (especially sexual violence). Do not put these people on a pedestal. Do not let them get away with calling this "social commentary", "protected speech", or simply "criticism". I would never be for censoring speech--these people can say all the misogynistic, vile, tasteless things they like--but we must preserve that line where words and images become threats of violence. Freedom of speech--however distasteful and rude the speech may be, is crucial. But when those words contain threats of harm or death, they can destroy a life.

I deeply appreciate all the support y'all have given me here. It really sucks that so few can do so much damage.

I have no idea if I'll ever post again. I suspect I will. But for now, I have a lot to rethink.

[UPDATE: In comments, Frank Paynter -- owner of the meankids.org site -- expressed that he was both ashamed and sorry for his participation in both sites. Kathy believes Frank when he says that he was not the one responsible for the specific posts and comments in question.]

Posted by Kathy Sierra on March 26, 2007 | Permalink


Wow - that just sucks. I just found your blog recently and it is an amazing read - very thought provoking.

It's a shock to read about all that hassle you have to endure - I wonder how that type of stuff even gets crossed over into this subject matter. Strange.

Some people are mighty sick that's for sure.

Posted by: Andrew | Mar 26, 2007 2:00:18 PM

I'm really sorry to see that this happening. Not cool.

Posted by: Robby Russell | Mar 26, 2007 2:01:23 PM

This post leaves me no faith in humanity. I do not blame you one bit. Your blog is easily in the top 3 blogs I read with any regularity, it would be a shame to see it go, but you should not have to tolerate death threats. So, if you never post again, I want to take this opportunity for helping me write better software.

Posted by: Nicholas schlueter | Mar 26, 2007 2:02:01 PM

er, i meant, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for helping me write better software.

Posted by: Nicholas schlueter | Mar 26, 2007 2:04:43 PM

It surprises me how hateful and absurdly childish supposed professionals can be.

I have never commented (but lurk) on this site before, but this really got to me. There just isn't an excuse for these comments and photos. None.

I'm sorry you have to live through it.

Posted by: Trey | Mar 26, 2007 2:05:30 PM

OMG this is terrible. I am speechless. I wish I was some monster hacker that could trace the blog entries through IP. This is just criminal. I wish I can say a million more things but I guess that is just the kind of effect that is desired, so I'll just say this: don't let this get you under. Be safe, stay protected and know that you have a massive support group out there that will help you in any way humanly possible. Just ask.

Posted by: Adeleida | Mar 26, 2007 2:09:52 PM

Well crap.

For once their is an enlightened soul who understands how people think, what they want in their software, AND has the ability to translate that knowledge into written words, only to be silenced through threats.

I have never met you or have heard you speak, but I am certain that I can type these lines of praise without concern for accuracy...your writing alone proves it to me.

Thanks for your efforts and I sincerely hope that this has a positive outcome that includes your blogging again.

Posted by: Andy Broyles | Mar 26, 2007 2:10:00 PM

Way, way out of control. The community needs to rally around: http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2007/03/26/Kathy-Sierra

Posted by: Tim Bray | Mar 26, 2007 2:16:31 PM

Words fail me. No one should have to live through that - and no one should be allowed to get away with doing it.

Posted by: Joanna Young | Mar 26, 2007 2:16:35 PM

Your response to this viciousness is prudent. Take the time to cope and regroup and I hope you come back stronger.

I have always enjoyed your blog and admired your generosity. I can't imagine why anybody would wish you harm.

The nature of these attacks demonstrates both the depravity and ignorance of their authors, and is a stark contrast to your record.

Posted by: Don | Mar 26, 2007 2:22:41 PM

I hope that you get this whole situation solved. How could anyone do something so mean to such a nicer person?

Posted by: Ethan Poole | Mar 26, 2007 2:30:37 PM

Hello Kathy;
I am sorry that you have had to go thru this. Honestly, I've heard of cyberbullying, evne in the blogsphere, but this is way over the edge. I do hope that with the help of the police (and I believe the feds get involved with this at some point too) that those who have issued those threats will not only be brought to justice, but some item of legislation will protect bloggers and the like from this before something wrong happens.

You have my prayers and support, as well as that of my team at Mobile Ministry Magazine.

Posted by: Antoine of MMM/Brighthand | Mar 26, 2007 2:31:30 PM

This sickens and disgusts me. I'm so sorry that you've been made a target. I've read your books and on-line postings and always found them to be inspired. It would sadden me to have an intelligent voice silenced, but I can understand why you'd want to stop. You have my support and best wishes. - MOD

Posted by: Michael | Mar 26, 2007 2:33:25 PM

I am so sorry about this. I hope you keep blogging and speaking. Best wishes to you and your family.

Posted by: Yatima | Mar 26, 2007 2:34:25 PM

Wow. What a terrible experience. I hope you can take some comfort in the support of your readers.

Posted by: TimCost | Mar 26, 2007 2:38:23 PM

I'm shocked and appalled. I've been reading your blog for sometime and it's by far one of the most interesting, inspiring and useful of any I've found. It will be a pity if you choose not to continue, but I understand your feelings. Is there not way to track down these people?

Posted by: Roy | Mar 26, 2007 2:38:33 PM

This totally sucks. I understand your fear and frustration. Hope this will e brought to a stop soon, so you can continue blogging, I really appreciate your posts!

Posted by: Theo Lagendijk | Mar 26, 2007 2:38:39 PM

This is terrible. I hope the police find who's behind this and give them what they deserve. Be strong, and I hope you come back soon.

Posted by: Kingsley | Mar 26, 2007 2:39:35 PM

This is truly disturbing material. The originating site now has been pulled down. And that's good. Because sentiments like these should never see the light of day. Shame on those behind it.

Hang in there Kathy.

Posted by: Joseph Thornley | Mar 26, 2007 2:40:53 PM

I don't understand. It is not acceptable for ANYONE to act this way. But I especially cannot understand why you (Kathy) are the target of this. It's not like you are a controversial figure that is likely to bring out the hate mongers like Ann Coulter or even Michael Moore would.

I love you writings here, I hope that you can find a way to keep it going!

Posted by: Rob Lambert | Mar 26, 2007 2:40:59 PM

I discovered your blog a while a go and your insights are so great. I can't understand why somebody would do such thing to you and attack you so personally.
Good luck

Posted by: Javache | Mar 26, 2007 2:41:08 PM

Hey Kathy,

You rock!Those who would stoop to make such anonymous comments are cowards. They type big but would never dare to say that to your face.

They should not only be expelled from the blogosphere, their computers should be confiscated and they should be banned from using them for a period of decades.

Hang in there.


Posted by: Glenn (Customer Service Experience) Ross | Mar 26, 2007 2:42:11 PM

So sorry about this and I will do my best to get this post seen by other people...

Chin up, remember the vast majority of us think you're great :)

Posted by: Jon Leighton | Mar 26, 2007 2:47:00 PM


Hang in there. I've been a victim of cyber-bullying in the past thanks to my rather high-profile position in a user community meeting a serial troll. But never have I heard of it to this degree.

I enjoy your blog and your ability to communicate complex ideas in ways we can all understand and apply. I truly hope you keep blogging--but even more than that, I hope the authorities catch and prosecute the people responsible for the threats.

Best wishes,


Posted by: Tim Courtney | Mar 26, 2007 2:50:03 PM


I've recently been the target of several personal attacks on the Internet by (of course) anonymous people, but your experience makes all that pale in comparison. Reading your post affected me physically--I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach. I don't know what to say to make you--or me for that matter--feel any better, but I didn't want to be silent in response. Just know that there are normal, mature, professional, respectful people out there reading your words, and that we're on your side. I don't know what it would be, but if there's ever anything I can do to help just let me know.

Charlie Wood

Posted by: Charlie Wood | Mar 26, 2007 2:50:18 PM

Now THAT's f-ed up! You have my deepest sympathies!

To be honest, I'm quite speechless. Are these people mad? I hope they are brought to justice.


Posted by: Winsmith | Mar 26, 2007 2:52:02 PM

Like so many others have already said, I hope you hang in there, Kathy.

This site is a total inspiration. As disgusted as I am with the people who think that this sort of thing is acceptable, I hope you can overcome the bullying. This industry needs more voices like yours, not less.

Take care,

Posted by: Joshua Marshall | Mar 26, 2007 2:52:46 PM

It's a real shame!

Hang in there Kathy.

Posted by: herbert | Mar 26, 2007 2:53:56 PM

Sorry to hear you are having this problem from a very sick tiny minority. You are in my prayers.

Posted by: Charles Cook | Mar 26, 2007 2:54:19 PM

Gosh, this is truely sad. You do great authoring and you're a wonderful teacher and you do not deserve this. I think you've done the right thing by calling in the police. But if you miss out on your talks, start to malfunction, don't get out on your yard, then they have won. You can't let people control you like this, its your life and you've come this far. You can't stop now. I hope you recover soon and get back in the game. May God protect you.

Posted by: Nash | Mar 26, 2007 2:54:25 PM

Hey, Kathy!

Very sorry to hear that these creeps are making you miserable. Do whatever you need to do get re-centred, feel safe and recharged. I'm sure that all your fans -- of whom I am one -- will all stick by you and greet you warmly when you feel ready.

As lots of people have already said (and I'm sure even more will say), hang in there!

Posted by: Joey deVilla | Mar 26, 2007 2:54:30 PM


That sucks, I'm so sorry that happened, I sincerely hope it doesn't stop you from blogging or speaking. Take care of yourself, do what you need to do to feel safe...

And I'm glad you're calling in the police, blogging about this openly, and I consider that extremely brave & awesome. You are kicking MAJOR ass just by doing that.

Also, I went and looked immediately at what Jeaneane had to say, as I do know her from Blogher and consider her a colleague, a friend, and a fellow feminist. My immediate reaction was, "Jeneane would never support that kind of stuff!" Apparently she was not part of that blog, and says:

"Update 3: Let me be more specific -- I did not join or logon to uncebobism. I did not add myself to the blog. When i linked to the blog in this post, it had a witty post about twitter. By the time I got out of the hospital, the blog was gone and I had not read it in days."

I'd definitely like to know who authored those threats and derogatory sexual comments.

Thanks again for going public with this, and calling it out in public, instead of letting it be backchannel secret gossip that other women like me might never find out about until we become the recipients of this sort of thing. You rock.

Posted by: Liz Henry | Mar 26, 2007 2:55:30 PM

Just wanted to add my support, it would be a great shame if you stopped writing not just because the world would be worse off for lacking your insight, but because it would be a great shame for such bullying tactics to hang over you and stop you from doing what it appears you love.

I really hope that someone can get to the bottom of this and make it stop and I really hope that you can then move on and live the life that you want to.

Best wishes and my prayers are with you.

Posted by: Adrian Sutton | Mar 26, 2007 2:55:56 PM

Pretty sad statement about the shape of the blogging world right now. I saw you speak at SXSW last year, and I like the Headrush books. But I had never been to your blog before. I'm not sure how anything you say can create such a strong emmotional reaction in anyone. Clearly these people just get off on talking shit on blogs because they don't have the guts to say something in person. Very sad.

Posted by: Ed Shull | Mar 26, 2007 2:56:51 PM


Posted by: Rene Visco | Mar 26, 2007 2:56:58 PM

I always look forward to when I can read a new article on your blog, because I know it will be a great read. It would be a loss seeing it go only because of a bunch of idiots.

As Tim Bray wrote, this story needs to be dug out and brought out in the open. Apologies are the bare minimum we can demand if any semblance of decency can survive in the blogosphere.

Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Ugo Cei | Mar 26, 2007 2:57:07 PM

Dear Kathy,

As all the others who have responded, and as every other living, thinking, caring being should, I am deeply saddened to hear what you have experienced. I simply do not understand why people have to take their misery out on others -- and I understand even less, why you of all people. Your generosity and dedication to your readers is just admirable and cannot be praised enough.

As much as I enjoy reading your blog, which has taught me many things, I fully understand if you wish to stop being a presence in the blogosphere. Whether you decide to keep writing posts or not, I am sure that we are many that will support you any way we can. What has happened to you is simply outrageous and should stopped for the sake of you and other potential victims.

Somehow I have a feeling, that we shall hear from you again. I can understand that you have fears, but I suspect that your way out of them will be through writing.

All the best

Posted by: Mikkel Bo Rasmussen | Mar 26, 2007 3:00:49 PM

Though I have never commented on your blog, I always enjoy reading your articles. They are very insightful and make me think.
This story makes me angry and sad. Hopefully you'll grow even stronger.

All the best,

Posted by: Carsten Poetter | Mar 26, 2007 3:01:20 PM

Shocked and dismayed... I too have valued your posts and I really hope that you will recover from this and continue on.

I don't quite know how to phrase this well, but I hope that you can shift your focus away from those few terrible people and let the positive comments here help to bolster your spirits.

Best wishes for recovery and healing...

Posted by: Michael G | Mar 26, 2007 3:01:56 PM

Kathy, I am terribly saddened to hear what you have gone through. Your blog has been a shining light for many of us, and I am sorry to see anything stop you from writing... but safety comes first. Best of luck, and I hope the instigators of this are caught and punished.

Posted by: Ben Langhinrichs | Mar 26, 2007 3:02:49 PM

Dear Kathy,
I'm horrified by this. I just don't understand why people are like this.

Continued blogging? That's obviously your call. It would be a great loss to the community if you didn't post again. I'd like to add my thanks for all the wonderful postings you have given us. Your blog is the one I eagerly check daily.

Take care.
Kindest regards
Steven Lilley

Posted by: Steven Lilley | Mar 26, 2007 3:03:32 PM

I read your post awhile ago and tried to go back to work but I just feel sick. I absolutely love your blog and I read it very regularly. I'm just shaking my head; what is wrong with people?

Be strong; this will pass.

Posted by: Jim S. | Mar 26, 2007 3:03:43 PM

Absolutely unbelievable. My stomach physically lurched when reading this. I am so sorry you are in this horrible situation.

Your blog is by far the best one I read, and I hope it doesn't go away... but moreso I hope that you remain safe and strong.

I can't believe anyone would do this.

Posted by: Gordon Withers | Mar 26, 2007 3:04:58 PM

Liz -

I urge you to look a little deeper into Jeneane's activities surrounding this. Do a few searches, follow a few links. See what questions have gone unanswered.


Posted by: Bert Bates | Mar 26, 2007 3:05:43 PM

Kathy, what police did you turn this into? What was their response? Did you turn this into the FBI, or your local police department?

That comment is from a Spanish IP address. It doesn't look it's connected at all with the other part of your post related to Jeneane, Alan, Frank, and Chris. Are you implying that they're responsible for this?

I think a lot of people need to be very careful right now, about what they say, and how they react.

Posted by: Shelley | Mar 26, 2007 3:05:59 PM

Hi Kathy,

That completely sucks. I had no idea there were sites like that. I'm so sorry some disturbed people have written those things. That is completely unacceptable.

I hope you'll take all neccesary precations. I also hope that you will keep writing with your usual courage and insight.

I read a book that speaks to very similar situations called The Gift of Fear. It might be useful to you.

Take care and know that you have a supportive community,

Posted by: B. | Mar 26, 2007 3:06:46 PM

Dear God, Kathy.

We're all behind you. I, for one, hope they find this sick bastard and throw the book at him.

In the meantime, I have some REALLY big dogs you're welcome to borrow.

Posted by: Mary Beth Sancomb-Moran | Mar 26, 2007 3:07:22 PM

First, this kind of behavior doesn't belong to the tech world...hell, it doesn't belong anywhere. Don't let crap like that get you down, though. There are idiots everywhere.

Second, the obligatory macho comment: whoever he is, he's welcome to come and tell it to me in person. And I'm just shy of super heavyweight class.

Posted by: Stan Schroeder | Mar 26, 2007 3:11:39 PM

Kathy, that really, really sucks. I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this.

I wish we could raise a mob of friends/people who love you and this blog, and inflict some kind of psychological (and physical!) protection and reassurance around you, sort of the opposite of what these vicious cowards have done.

Hang in there!

Posted by: Josh Bancroft | Mar 26, 2007 3:11:51 PM

Kathy, I'm sorry to hear about this. You're a brilliant and awesome ass kicker in so many ways and it sucks that some a$$holes are ruining your life and our participation in it. You have made such a big difference in the way I think about writing software that it's just ridiculous. I hope you can get back to sharing yourself with us and I hope the person(s) behind this get arrested for it.

Posted by: Chris Norris | Mar 26, 2007 3:12:29 PM

Am completely shocked. Just hang in there!

Posted by: John Orford | Mar 26, 2007 3:14:12 PM

Don't know what to say that I haven't already said. You have my number if you'd like to call and talk about any of this. I made my bed by my association with MeanKids and BobsYerUncle. I'll sleep in it. But as I've said before, I'm sorry and ashamed about what happened to you. People crossed boundaries that I wouldn't cross.

Posted by: fp | Mar 26, 2007 3:15:31 PM

I concur with all above and especially Tim Bray. This is unacceptable. Free speech does not cover threats to a person, that's why it's illegal. Let's hope for your, and all our sakes, that this sick person(s) are caught and punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Posted by: Tris Hussey | Mar 26, 2007 3:16:32 PM

I have been stalked on the Internet for something that I blogged, albeit with another byline, and I do know how real the agression is. I did not get death threats, and that does cross the line in any jurisdiction, but I did get the blunt mysogeny and the raw agression. I knew who my stalker was, I also knew that the threat was real, appropriate measures were taken, and I know that you will need the support of your family and professionals to deal with what is indeed a very real threat.

On the grand scale of things, this is very unfortunate and totally unacceptable, it is however necessary to continue the fight which is nothing more than a fight for human rights and dignity. Learn to deal with your fear, do not let them win, but let them think that they have won.

Posted by: Dannie Jost | Mar 26, 2007 3:18:28 PM

It's a sad story, you have my deepest sympathies. Be strong!

Posted by: Johan F | Mar 26, 2007 3:18:49 PM

This is so many colors of wrong. I adore this blog, and Kathy's voice. May it return stronger and better than ever.

As a side comment for the designers out there: give the web a "no violence here" or "play nice" or "safe place" banner(s). Something bloggers can put on their own blogs in support of Kathy and others that are attacked by violent trolls. Sort of like the Take Back the Night Marches or the yellow signs that go on businesses as Safe Places for kids.

Another commenter mentioned the fabulous book authored by Gavin de Becker titled Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence. Particularly useful is Gavin's JACA model of threat assessment:

J = Justification (does the threatener feel justified in his behavior?)
A = Alternatives (has the threatener reached the end of his perceived alternatives to violence?)
C = Consequences (does the threatener seem unconcerned about the consequences of his violent act?)
A = Ability (does the threatener have the ability to carry out a violent act?)

I urge every woman to buy Gavin's book. Even if your life is sunshine and butterflies at the moment. Frankly, it's the kind of book you should read before you ever need it. Consider it emergency response training.

But back to my original point: Kathy, you are a gift. Stay safe. You are loved by more people than you can possibly know. We will do what we can.

Posted by: S.E. August | Mar 26, 2007 3:19:45 PM

Wow. This is staggeringly screwed up. Simply vile. I hope you do continue to blog; count me among the many who would continue to read with interest and enjoyment. Stay safe but don't let this make you a prisoner.

Posted by: Michael Houghton | Mar 26, 2007 3:19:48 PM


I too felt physically ill when I read your post. I hope the police investigation discloses the culprits, and I hope you can get some sense of personal ease soon.

What a sad life your stalker must live, if the only thing he knows to do to feel empowered is to attempt to destroy things of power and beauty that he can never hope to achieve himself.

Don't forget that we are all here and that we care. I know that even a million well-wishers can't take away the fear caused by a single deranged moron, but I hope it can at least make you feel a little less alone.

Stay strong.

Posted by: Pamela | Mar 26, 2007 3:22:07 PM

I'm really sorry to hear all this stuff Kathy. You are an inspirational and excellent blogger, (and one of only two blogs that is tagged with 'brilliant' in my feed-reader :) I hope that you find the strength you need to transcend this horrid nastiness.

Remember that it requires comparatively little effort or skill to be mean, crass and to criticize than it does to be brilliant. This behavior is definitely indicative of callous and cruel people - but almost certainly dull and lazy people. Otherwise they would offer some constructive argument on your work, as opposed to 'you are a poo-poo head.'

You're not(a poo-poo head.) I hope you feel better soon.

Posted by: Gordon | Mar 26, 2007 3:22:32 PM

Echoing what's been said above a hundredfold...

Your site is the one I show to managers and clients as a plain-speaking education on how to REALLY help users. I appreciate the clarity of thinking and illustration of concepts that you provide. I've never heard of the people you mentioned. I'm glad that the authorities are involved, and I hope that helps you to feel safer. The positive side of the community is obviously rallying around you. Too bad there isn't JUST a positive side.

Hang in there and do whatever it is you need to do to take care of yourself and your loved ones. I hope to see more from you when you're ready.
-- Lisa Hoppes

Posted by: Lisa Hoppes | Mar 26, 2007 3:22:49 PM

This is probably the most horrible thing i have ever read about online abuse. I am a big fan of your work here on your blog, because it makes me think about things in positive new new ways. It makes me so sad to see positivity met with such negativity.

Posted by: Kwotem | Mar 26, 2007 3:24:28 PM

Kathy, if you leave now, you are just giving all these cowards exactly what they want. You are giving them victory. Please, don't punish people who likes you, and just ignore these pitiful morons hiding behind anonymity. This is by far the best course of action.

Posted by: David Brabant | Mar 26, 2007 3:24:30 PM

Just wanted to add my voice to the many offers of support here. What has happened to you is absolutely appalling and makes me feel so angry and worried for you. I just hope that in time you recover because we will all miss your posts. You have indeed created some passionate users.

Posted by: Archaeogeek | Mar 26, 2007 3:25:29 PM

Wow. I hope that the people responsible are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I also hope and encourage your to continue blogging, speaking, and engaging the community.

Posted by: Edward O'Connor | Mar 26, 2007 3:27:48 PM

Kathy, all I can say is, hold onto your loved ones for support, and keep your chin up. You're right to be angry, and you're right to be afraid. But don't let that fear run your life, either. It just gives the people who do this kind of crap more power.

Posted by: fiat lux | Mar 26, 2007 3:28:31 PM

As Tim Bray says, out of control. You know that old saying that you heard alot in kindergarten: "If you don't have something nice to say, ...".

What point is served by this? If that's the highest effective level of their communication, then it is pathetic.

As mentioned in some of the other comments, criticize away - that's your right and obligation. But please, if you want anyone to actually listen - drop the threats. It is childish, boorish, and illegal.

Posted by: John Minnihan | Mar 26, 2007 3:28:51 PM

I've always believed this is a self-correcting community. Well folks, we need to correct this absolutely unacceptable, abusive, illegal and heinous behavior.

Kathy, your community is with you. Your abusers will not win this one, oh no, unless they are ready to take on the rest of us, who greatly outnumber these sick and twisted people who are obviously jealous of your success.

Keep being yourself, don't stop and let the bastards EVER win.

Posted by: Molly E. Holzschlag | Mar 26, 2007 3:29:00 PM

This came as quite a shock, Kathy. Your blog has always had such a positive and upbeat spirit, and like another reader commented, nothing terribly controversial that anyone would want to silence or shut down. I can only fathom that it (whether "it" is an actual intention or just a sick way of thinking) stems from severe psychological issues pertaining to self and to women. The initial playful bashing on the forums probably escalated to the point where someone felt green-lighted to "go one further" and get away with posting the sick shit that was already in his head.

Defeat the prick. We're behind ya.

Posted by: Keith Handy | Mar 26, 2007 3:29:55 PM

Your voice in this culture is important and obviously and evidently powerful. Powerful women are provocative to some, through all times they have been punished for that. I want to reward you and your brilliant insights, you are fucking amazing combining psykology, socialogy, tech, business and politics. I will do my best to make swedish media shine some light on this violent incident towards freedom of speach in the Web 2.0 era.

Posted by: Elin Alvemark | Mar 26, 2007 3:30:31 PM

Kathy, I am very sorry to hear this. Thank you for having the courage to let us know about this terrible situation, it is really sick. I truly hope that these people are caught and that you can feel safe again. I had no idea about this blog "underworld".

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your daughter. I have so much respect for you and what you have accomplished. Don't let the haters win. I hope that this will only make you stronger and that you will come back better than ever!

Posted by: Mark | Mar 26, 2007 3:31:19 PM

As someone who thoroughly enjoys the work you champion and your sense of humor, my stomach churned when I saw that horribly Photoshop'd image of you. I can't imagine what your reaction was or how I would have felt if I saw something like that of me (well, I can imagine how I'd feel, and it's not good). And as someone who thoroughly enjoys sitting in on your presentations, I feel awful that this louse is keeping you from gracing ETech. Hope you can stay strong and continue on in your work and life without this hanging over your head, and it is great for you to have all of this support in your comments. Best to you ...

Posted by: Justin | Mar 26, 2007 3:32:43 PM


Your apology means a lot to Kathy and to me.


Posted by: Bert Bates | Mar 26, 2007 3:32:46 PM

Kathy, your wisdom and generosity have brought benefit to countless people in their work and life. Only the best wishes for you to have happiness and continue your excellent example.

Posted by: Ryan Singer | Mar 26, 2007 3:34:36 PM

Never has the disclaimer above the comment form been as telling:

"Y'all are our invited guests, but if you're being rude and obnoxious we'll let the bouncer toss you. So please, stick to debating and criticizing ideas rather than personal attacks."

Seems pretty clear to me, but I guess it's hard for some to get into their heads...

Posted by: Emil Stenström | Mar 26, 2007 3:34:48 PM

Just wanted to chime in to tell you that I love reading your blog; I thoroughly enjoyed seeing you speak at SXSW, and I'm sending good karma and protective vibes in your direction...

Posted by: Steph Mineart | Mar 26, 2007 3:34:56 PM

This is just awful. But I did want to let you know what a fantastic, wonderful blog you have. I love reading it and get excited everytime I see a new post on my bloglines account.
You write beautifully and have such refreshingly honest and funny charts/visuals. I have many posted on my cube wall and I tell people about you and your blog all the time.
Please keep writing!

Posted by: Brent | Mar 26, 2007 3:35:15 PM

That's horrible. I was sitting here this morning at etech wondering what happened (I was signed up to see your tutorial). I thought, maybe she got sick, missed her flight, etc. I never thought that someone would threaten your life. That really sucks. Take care, and be safe. I hope you decide to continue blogging.

Posted by: john d | Mar 26, 2007 3:35:50 PM


Like everyone else I am saddened by your departure from the blogosphere. Your blog is one of my favorite and I have recently started loving some of the books in your Head First series. Sorry this had to happen to you, it shouldn't happen to anyone.

Good luck with everything.

Posted by: Eric A | Mar 26, 2007 3:36:31 PM


As all the others I am shocked and angry.

Of course you need to take time to work this out, but please also know that there are so many out here that you have such a positive effect on.

Selfishly, I hope that you find the strengh within your self to come back to blogging soon. You will certain be missed until you do.

Posted by: Earl | Mar 26, 2007 3:36:41 PM

I've been reading your work off and on now for about a year and I love it. I hope you come back soonest.

Posted by: CR Haynes | Mar 26, 2007 3:36:52 PM

Hi Kathy,
Long time reader, first time poster. I really hope that the police get to the bottom of this and prosecute those found guilty. People can stoop so low, be so unkind, it really does make you wonder. Hope that you get over this and will return to your old self once again.

Posted by: Serdar Kilic | Mar 26, 2007 3:37:35 PM

I'm sorry to hear that. Your blog is wonderful, and I too add my voice to the many offers of support mentioned above.

Posted by: Tim | Mar 26, 2007 3:38:20 PM

This is a disgusting turn of events. But please don't stop writing. Good that you've made this public. Slimeballs hate the light.

Posted by: B.L. Ochman | Mar 26, 2007 3:42:40 PM


First, hang in there. What you just did was very brave and courageous, and you have my full support.

Second, while I have not received nearly the level of cyberbullying that you have, I too have been the object of a particular individual's advocations of violence (including rape and sodomization) on their blog (the offending posts were subsequently removed but can still be found in at least one search engine). Even a single individual doing this made me afraid enough to avoid the vicinity of events (including two "conferences") that this individual was/is likely to attend (and has attended). I cannot imagine what it must feel like to have *several* individuals do so, especially in an apparently coordinated fashion. Yikes. And ((hugs)).

I applaud your courage, and thank you for going public with your experience. We must shine as bright a light as possible on these cockroaches (no offense to actual cockroaches), provide them no rock to hide under, and publicly hold them accountable for their crimes.

Please let me know how I can help in any way.

Tantek Çelik - http://tantek.com
Chief Technologist

Posted by: Tantek Çelik | Mar 26, 2007 3:45:12 PM

What a bunch of twisted SCUM BAGS.

Kathy, nobody should have to go through that, offline or online. Just assume that you're not going mad and that 99.9% of your readers are behind you. The other .1% are twisted bastards. That's the FIRST time I've used bad language online!

Posted by: Paul Walsh | Mar 26, 2007 3:46:44 PM


I saw you speak for the first time at SXSW and love what you have to say about speaking with passion. I hope those responsible are found and subjected to the force of law.

keep strong.

Posted by: Rachel | Mar 26, 2007 3:48:30 PM

Hi Kathy,

Sorry to hear about this. It makes me very sad. There are some sickos out there. This shows you the dark side of "fame" and "success."

Back in the 80s and 90s, when I was selling a lot of copies of "A Whack on the Side of the Head" and "A Kick in the Seat of the Pants" [creativity books], 98% of my mail was great. But there was the 2% that would send me the strangest stuff.

I remember one in particular in which the writer had gone through my book and torn out all of the pictures, and then cut the eyes out and pasted the pictures on cardboard. This was the accompanying note: "These people look dead. Do you like dead people, Roger? Do you like death?"

That's one reason that I've typically used my PO Box as my mailing address.

Kathy, my thoughts are with you.

Posted by: Roger von Oech | Mar 26, 2007 3:49:06 PM

I concur with everyone that says these violent comments are unacceptable behavior. Your blog is important and entertaining and I hope there is some way to make the psychopaths go away so you can continue writing.

I would join a militia to protect you and your family if I could. But I bet there are thousands of people that would send you money so you can buy a pack of scary dogs or something.

And take inspiration from the woman in
this story
She was quite courageous.

Posted by: Rob Nelson | Mar 26, 2007 3:49:16 PM

Kathy - you are truly wonderful. I strongly believe in Karma and you have put out immense amounts of positive Karma to me and your other readers and we appreciate it profoundly. These abusive folks have taken on some incredibly bad Karma and I would not want to be anywhere near them in a lightning storm! I hope you can feel our love and prayers.

PS - how about a very big cute looking, but super protective dog that you take with you when you speak? That would be awesome on so many levels - seriously. And think of all the positive neuron firings that would take place with such a cute dog (with very big teeth) ;)

Posted by: Matt Jaynes | Mar 26, 2007 3:50:22 PM

This is just wrong. This / these guys) have a problem, and I have encountered this irrationality from one of them before, so if its him, I am NOT surprised. I note none of the names mentioned have denied responsibility, and claimed horror at their names being used this way.

Hang in there Kathy ... its a small step, but everyone should unsubscribe from any blogs of these people. Your blog is too valuable, and whomever is responsible is obviously a weak coward.

Posted by: Colin Henderson | Mar 26, 2007 3:51:31 PM

I really don't know how to say it right but I'm sorry for what are you going through. Their shamelessness is absurd. Take all the time in the world but I'm sure you will put this behind. Going public means you're definetely stronger than those people threating anonymously.

Take care

Posted by: Lawrence Oluyede | Mar 26, 2007 3:51:32 PM


Every obnoxious act is a cry for help - and I hope the person instigating these threats finds some soon.

Selfishly, I (and probably a hearty "we") hope you post again, but if you don't - it's understandable.

You've made a difference - I'm sure you'll continue in some manner to do so. You've created a community of passionate users, teaching us all so much along the way.

Stay contagious - whether online or offline.

Posted by: Mike Sansone | Mar 26, 2007 3:51:37 PM


I just got back from one of the worst customer service experiences at Best Buy and my blood was "just off the boil" already. Then I read this and it pushes me over the top.

Whoever these worthless, chicken, spineless, gutless freaks are they should be hunted down. There is no reason for any such behavior. One thing is for sure, when you get back to the comfort level of being able to go to conferences, the community around you will make sure of your safety. Granted, I can only speak for myself, but I highly doubt I'm alone in my thinking.

Hang in there.

Posted by: Kevin Behringer | Mar 26, 2007 3:52:49 PM

Dear Kathy, you are in my thoughts and I send you all my love and best wishes. I hope that you are able to carry on writing for the people who love and appreciate you and that the scum who have been threatening you and creating these sick websites get what they deserve very soon. Yours aye, Jess x x

Posted by: Jess | Mar 26, 2007 3:56:35 PM


I am still new to blogging. I have long read and enjoyed your blog, and occasionally posted comments on it. But I had no idea that there was such a dark side to blogging too.

I wish you all the courage you need to see this ordeal through, all the love from family & friends you need to keep you going and all the determination you need to get back to blogging again when it is over.

We are all thinking of you in your hour of need.

Graham Hill, Köln, Germany

Posted by: Graham Hill | Mar 26, 2007 3:56:44 PM


I am really sorry to hear about this, it is not something anyone should ever experience.

I have been a long time reader of this excellent site and you have enlightened many people and myself with your thoughts and ideas.

I hope the police will get to the button of this, and return your life to normal. As many people have already said you have my full support and I will gladly offer any help you might need.

Thomas Baekdal

Posted by: Thomas Baekdal | Mar 26, 2007 3:56:55 PM

I've been a passionate reader of your blog for a long time- this is the first time that I'm posting a comment.

All of us who come here so often *love* your work and admire what you do- don't give up, we'll do our best to support you. Let's hope these awful individuals receive punishment for what they've done.

Posted by: Greg | Mar 26, 2007 3:57:50 PM

This is horrible! It's easy for me to say, but don't let this bastard grind you down.

Posted by: Chris Nixon | Mar 26, 2007 4:01:07 PM

It is endemdic over at youtube to the point of attacking children and people with disabilities, and of course, the favorite target of lowlifes everywhere - outspoken women. Many people on youtube have crumbled under the attack. Not everyone has emotions stunted by single-person shooters.

The excuse given over and over again by these troglodytes is it is 'just the internets' and one should 'grow a .

What I want to know is why is it the least evolved among us that get to determine net culture and rules. I would like to see prominent net leaders and business people (I'm talking to YOUTUBE!) - take this crap on. And all you Dads I'm talking to you too.

It is not freedom of speech. Agressive enforcement of established sign on aggreements should be enough, but theydon't do it. Yes I know people can just start up new accounts.


And I ask you where is all this hate coming from...people's boy children mostly...and why is that?

Go home tonight and talk to the young men and boys in your family about this. Tell them if they want to grow up to be men worth knowing they won't engage in this. Put a face to the pain they cause and ask how they would feel if their mother or sister was on the recieving end.

Attacking strangers 'for the lolz' is a pathetic pastime.

Posted by: Cityzenjane | Mar 26, 2007 4:01:18 PM

My god, Kathy. That's just beyond the pale. I hope what Molly said about this being "[...] a self-correcting community" is true; I also applaud your courage for posting this obviously fraught and difficult entry. Ugh. My faith in humanity is taking a hit today.

Posted by: Jessica Beck | Mar 26, 2007 4:05:30 PM


I was shocked to read your most recent post. I'm so sorry for what you've been going through - especially after all you have offered the world through you blog. I'm always amazed at the helpful, positive, original, createive, and well-written posts you consistently create. I completely understand why you would stop wirting but I hope you know you will be missed.

Thanks for all the encouragement and inspiration you've provided us. I hope we can now return it back to you.


Posted by: Matt | Mar 26, 2007 4:05:45 PM

More clues? He seems to be one of the posters at MeanKids and has contributed:

a vandalized Wikipedia page
Unencyclopaedia page

I really don't understand hate. I got threats just before I entered uni. What's the point, really?

Posted by: Tiara | Mar 26, 2007 4:05:46 PM

Kathy, I was outraged to hear about what you've had to go through. Be strong -- my thoughts are with you.

Posted by: Aral Balkan | Mar 26, 2007 4:05:53 PM

Absolutely ridiculous. Kathy, you add much value to the community - through your blog, your work, and your plainspoken talks that help to foster not only best practices, but also dynamic community dialogues.

None of us can 'talk away' the fear that comes from these threats, but we're all waiting here on your side. Not to mention, unwilling to let misogynistic bullying win.

Posted by: Christine Herron | Mar 26, 2007 4:06:46 PM

It’s an absolute shame, if not ironic, that such a brilliant person, who so thoroughly understands and is able to explain the intricacies of computer user behavior, has fallen victim to the antics of such a disturbed computer user. Kathy Sierra has taught me how to become a better software developer, and I have always looked forward to reading her insights. How anyone could find reason to hate her for what she does is beyond me or any other sane member of the human race. Unfortunately, that’s not who she is dealing with. Should Kathy choose to permanently withdraw from the blogosphere as a result of these events, I think we would all understand. However, she will be sorely, sorely missed.

I suspect that much anger and outrage will be expressed in the blogoshere over this topic. And as strong as my emotions are over this, I will not offer a call to action or an opinion of what should happen. Rather, I will suggest that Kathy has many friends in this community and that our demonstration of support for her is much more helpful than any witch hunt or mob action. Let law enforcement do there job, while you, as a friend of Kathy Sierra, send her your love and support.

Posted by: Sean | Mar 26, 2007 4:06:56 PM

Kathy, I'm heartsick to read this! I just discovered your blog last week, and I have been so impressed. I've been going through the archives and sending links to my friends. I hate that this has been done to you.

Sending tons of fellow feeling and outraged support your way.

Posted by: LauraJMixon | Mar 26, 2007 4:07:34 PM

someone mentioned a 'tiny sick minority' - I encourage you to go to see a youtube firneds video and the THOUSANDS of sick comments she got.

Things have shifted people and you are not seeing it - This is horrible but in no way an isolated case...Whatever you think of the creative merit of this video or it getting featured - consider the comments - take the time to read a big dose. When someone gets featured this is what they have too look forward to:


Posted by: Cityzenjane | Mar 26, 2007 4:08:29 PM

Kathy, bringing these issues out into the open here is an amazing display of courage.

It makes me wonder how many other bloggers, and also how many other women in technology, have faced similar problems and have tried to deal with it by themselves.

We need to shout from the rooftops that this sort of behaviour is not ok. I've been seeing personal attacks in the comments of a lot of tech blogs recently (although not scary ones like this). I can't fathom what sort of mind makes the jump from "I don't agree with your position in that article" to "I'm going to start insulting who you are as a person", let alone going to the extent of the harassment which you have experienced.

Lots of people are wishing you strength. Clearly you've got plenty of that already. Instead, I'll wish for change.

Posted by: Craig Ambrose | Mar 26, 2007 4:10:16 PM

Dear Kathy,

Unfortunately, whatever I might say won't help a whole lot but I do feel I need to show my support. The blogosphere, both bloggers and lurkers, and geeks of all shapes and sizes support you!

Posted by: Ivan Brezak Brkan | Mar 26, 2007 4:10:38 PM


I wish you and your daughter all the strength to cope up with this and fight back.

Reading about such things makes me believe that evolution has been selective in evolving 'humans'.

Don't let 'them' win. You have our support in whatever way we can.

- Rise

Posted by: Rise | Mar 26, 2007 4:12:11 PM


We read your blog religously and appreciate your wisdom and passion. You've brought a lot of people together and shared some amazing insights into business, community and the online world. You're adored by many.

What a terrible experience, but by going public, you've rallied the troops to support you and fight cyberbullying.

We hope to hear from you soon.

Posted by: jasmine | Mar 26, 2007 4:12:14 PM

Kathy - Adding my voice, concern and support to the growing community who is outraged at what has happened to you. Do what is best for you but please don't stop Passionate Users. On another note, I find it difficult to fathom that Jeneane would be part of this malicious, evil beyond spam.

Posted by: Toby | Mar 26, 2007 4:13:56 PM

I am outraged at this behavior. The blogosphere is not not going to tolerate this, I promise you that!!!

-Jeff O'Hara

Posted by: Jeff O'Hara | Mar 26, 2007 4:14:11 PM


That's horrendous. I am so sorry.

Regardless, your ability to bring passion, creativity and clarity to technology is unique and undeniable. I look forward to supporting you and your blog (if only by reading your blog) in the future.

John Ebbert

Posted by: John Ebbert | Mar 26, 2007 4:14:41 PM

Oh, I am so sorry . . . there are sick, sick people out there. I'd be scared, too . . . although I (selfishly) hope this doesn't make you decide to stop blogging, because I enjoy this one so much--you make me think, and that's a good thing. I guess some twisted individuals are just too threatened or insecure or just ill or something . . . Hang in there!

Posted by: --Deb | Mar 26, 2007 4:16:23 PM

Kathy, so very sorry and sad to hear about this. This is so disappointing. Yours is one of the most enjoyable and spirited blogs around, and you are one of my very favorite speakers as well. I hope this blows over, as much as possible, and you're able to feel okay again.

Posted by: Raymond Brigleb | Mar 26, 2007 4:17:07 PM

Hi Kathy

The thought had crossed my mind that this could happen and I am really sad that this has happened. I think that not only will your life never be the same but it sends out warning signals to other women. I had someone post something really nasty as a comment on my blog - a mildly rude comment under the name of my partner and it has been sitting in the back of my mind for the last few days since it happened. This was someone who knew my partners details - name, email etc and was being horrid. That scared me. I can't even begin to imagine the fear you must be going through.

I hope that the support that you have get from those who care helps you to feel a bit safer and that you will be in a safe space soon.

Good luck.

Posted by: Niqui Merret | Mar 26, 2007 4:17:16 PM

I just found this site along with your HF Java book which I found great and helpful (even motivating when I had none). As with others, I find all of this disgusting and well, others have expressed it better. All I can say is hang in there and I appreciate what you have done.

Posted by: Leo | Mar 26, 2007 4:19:38 PM

I am so sorry...

Posted by: Ola | Mar 26, 2007 4:19:56 PM

Dear Kathy,

Whether online or offline, the results of abuse are the same and I am glad that you have involved law enforcement.

We haven't met yet in person, but I have always greatly admired your work. I hope that are ways that the community can assist you in any way that we can, and that you will continue to make such an outstanding contribution. In the meantime, please focus on staying safe and sane in the face of this madness.

Thoughts and best wishes,

Andy Clarke

Posted by: Malarkey | Mar 26, 2007 4:20:14 PM

Kathy, I just came to your blog for the first time through a link on another blog, urging everyone passing through there to stop everything and read this post.

You've been offered comfort many times over, and I can see that you are highly respected and cared for within your community. So I will only note that this ghastly experience has caused your supporters to rally around you, and I congratulate you for having inspired so many good people to take your side. I do hope you'll continue blogging when the worst of the anxiety is over. I look forward to reading your past posts and to reading your thoughts as this situation unfolds.

In the meantime, peace and strength to you and your family.


Posted by: VictoriaB | Mar 26, 2007 4:22:14 PM

This is my first visit to your blog, linked from a post by Seth Godin. Echoing the sentiments of all of the above, it's not right that your life should be irrevocably altered by an anonymous coward who is desperately in need of a lobotomy. In any case, I've added your feed to my RSS newsreader. Clearly you have some important things to say, and I want to hear them. Just wanted you to know that this horrible event has brought you at least one new reader.

In the interest of regaining some peace of mind, you might consider getting a well-trained dog. Put a PayPal donation button on your page and I'll bet there are enough other readers, like me, who are angry enough to contribute just on principle!

Posted by: GeezerGeek | Mar 26, 2007 4:23:08 PM

This is too sick. I'm glad you are taking care of yourself and have the police working on this. You're one of the good guys, someone trying to accomplish something good in the world. You're blog is the best there is, from my perspective. Have courage.

Posted by: Virginia | Mar 26, 2007 4:24:06 PM


This is awful. I'm sick to my stomach after reading about this experience. I can totally understand your discomfort about continuing to blog. I can totally understand you wanting to stay in your house, safe. I can absolutely understand your concern about what your daughter has been subjected to as well. It's absolutely unforgiveable and I am disgusted by the people who did this and others who perhaps have done this to others.

I hope that this police investigation is completed quickly and successfully and results in as many arrests and convictions as it takes to get the offenders off the street and off the web.

I hope that you will return to blogging at some point. I will miss reading your spirited, witty posts. Like many others here, I have appreciated the wisdom that you have shared with all of us. I hope that you will feel safe soon.

Posted by: Dianne | Mar 26, 2007 4:25:20 PM

Kathy I'm so sorry to hear about this. Your writing has encouraged and taught me to think in very positive ways about software, and I'm outraged to hear that someone has decided to intimidate you like this.

I wish I could say it's some crank and to not let it get to you, but I think going to the police is the best step. I sincerely hope the law brings this person or people to full account, and that you can live and work without fear.

Posted by: Todd Sieling | Mar 26, 2007 4:25:58 PM


I'm so sorry that this happened. I feel attacked by this so I can't imagine how much worse this must feel for you. Love and support from us in Cleveland,


Posted by: Daniel Steinberg | Mar 26, 2007 4:27:10 PM


If and when you're ready to return to the blogosphere, I'll still be here, as will countless others who turn to you for your uncommonly good sense. I would not be where I am today professionally without your wit, your wisdom, and the much needed kicks-in-the-pants to take of my blinders and really *look* at my business and my relationship with my customers. I owe you a debt of gratitude that I'll never be able to repay. And while they might not ever realize it, I think our customers would probably thank you as well for all of the positive change you've helped to jumpstart within our organization.

Be well. Be safe. And don't let the bastards get you down!

Posted by: Amie Gillingham | Mar 26, 2007 4:27:14 PM

I am so sorry this has happened to you Kathy. I agree with Glen that these creep(s) are a bunch of slimy cowards. Don't ever forget that your blogging has enlightened thousands of people. You're a brilliant woman and super educator. We're all behind you!

Posted by: Robyn Rebollo | Mar 26, 2007 4:28:25 PM

I'm not really sure what to say. This makes me sad and angry. The line hasn't been crossed here—it's been obliterated.

My thoughts are with you. Sorry you have to experience this.

Posted by: David Armano | Mar 26, 2007 4:28:55 PM

...holy crap. I'm sure I'd be even more outraged if my brain actually could get my head around this happening. I mean, you've shown me that it has happened but I really don't want to believe this could happen.

I add my voice to the people who love reading your work, who share it with friends and who sit for a while digesting what you've written after I've read it. Your viewpoint and voice is a great asset. But please, take care of yourself as yourself.

Posted by: Colin Morris | Mar 26, 2007 4:29:24 PM

Sorry you're having to deal with such unnecessary and dark "humor".

It's disturbing how anonymity can encourage then becomes a vehicle for assault. But daylight is such a powerful force; thanks for being the light here! These 'little' witticisms should be certainly be revealed to their peoples mothers, sisters and daughters etc.

Happy Mothers Day.


Posted by: TidalSoup | Mar 26, 2007 4:29:38 PM


This just makes me ill.

I'm taking the rest of the week off of my blog in solidarity with you.

If you don't feel safe at blogger events, neither do I.

Neither does Maryam.

If you want to talk, you know where to find me.

Posted by: Robert Scoble | Mar 26, 2007 4:29:53 PM


I'm terribly sorry this happened. ANYTHING keeping you from your great work is an injustice to us all. I hope the police turn up results just as soon as possible.

In the meantime, for those of us that are insatiable CPU fans, what about creating a subscription model for your blog? Surely trolls like this won't offer up a credit card number for a subscription login! You don't have to charge a lot -- just something to authenticate a reader to a tracable identity.

Or maybe, if you want to go to speaking engagements, you can just ask your loyal readers here to show up in black suits and sunglasses. I, for one, would happily stroll through a conference floor as your personal escort. I'm sure a number of readers would consider playing bodyguard to be a privilege.

Posted by: Nathan T. Freeman | Mar 26, 2007 4:30:21 PM

I'm a big fan of your and was so sorry to hear about the terrible threats. I support whatever you choose to do and only wish you peace and strength. I certainly hope they catch the people who wrote those terrible things and press criminal charges.


Posted by: Michael Longfellow | Mar 26, 2007 4:30:22 PM


I just want to add my name to the list of people who wish you well and hope that this will all be over soon.

Take care


Posted by: Joe | Mar 26, 2007 4:31:34 PM


This is a remarkable blog - and your remarkable personality comes shining through it. Creative, passionate, client-centered, warm, funny, are all qualities which come through clearly. I am so very sorry that you have encountered Evil in this way. I pray for your actual safety and also that you will feel safety.

I support your response to the Evil. Count me among those who will look forward to your return to posting. I am not even in your field, and yet this is the only blog I look at daily.


Posted by: WayneM | Mar 26, 2007 4:32:15 PM

Okay, not acceptable behaviour.
I write this as someone you don't know, another anonymous joe on the 'net, but I greatly admire your work and this blog, I've have been for the.. well since the beginning mostly.
Keep on doing it, keep on enjoying it and don't forget why you love what you do because of one distraught idiot.

I expect obnoxious from Locke but this is bordering freaky, and I say that as someone who gets his freak a few times a month.
I'm all for getting you a big mastiff or amstaff dog and would like to contribute in whichever direction if possible.

Keep safe and well.
Robert Renling

Posted by: case | Mar 26, 2007 4:32:39 PM

That sucks...I just started reading your blog and I am disappointed that a few can ruin it for the many! Good luck.

Posted by: Su | Mar 26, 2007 4:32:46 PM


I have been reading your posts the last year or so and always find they stimulate thought and generate ideas. I am horrified that for the want of a better word "idiots" are prepared to post this filth. The shear number of comments on your blog today is testament to how the vast majority of people think. I know it must be scary but you are an inspiration to many, especially women like me, who are new to blogging and want to be heard not abused. You deliver a fantastic service and you can't let these bXXXXXXX win.

Posted by: Katie Ledger | Mar 26, 2007 4:33:17 PM

I promise this won't be a long post (mostly because I don't have time to write everything I want to say). But I had a lump in my throat while reading this post. Yours is not the first or the last that has been posted about the treatment of women writers online, both in "traditional" news media and "blog" media. As the only female staff member at Ars Technica, I have had my share of threats and whatnot as well over the years. Explicit rape threats, people hunting out my phone number and making repeated threatening phone calls throughout the night, people showing up at my door (by the way, my address is not listed anywhere online or offline), of course e-mail, real mail with oddball things inside, and my head was photoshopped onto a photo of someone being raped.

And then yes, the minute you point it out, you're "getting your panties in a wad" over a "joke" and "can't take the heat."

It's disgusting and unacceptable, but people allow it to go on. Other people--guys, women, anyone--who see or hear this kind of thing going on shouldn't just stand by and say "well I'm not involved." You're not, but your silence tells us that you don't care.

I've thought about quitting many times. Right now I'm on an upswing, but that only means that the next downswing will be even worse. Every time it happens, it chips away at your sanity.

Anyway, I'm sorry.

Posted by: Jacqui Cheng | Mar 26, 2007 4:33:38 PM


Don't let the minority bully you. You do great work and I for one really appreciate being able to learn from you through this blog and the podcasts of your speeches at different conferences. If you came to Australia to talk I'd be there.

I hope this isn't your last post. It would be a shame to end on such a sad note, and I look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

Posted by: Gareth | Mar 26, 2007 4:34:25 PM

It is good to see all the well deserved support you have. There is no excuse for this type of behavior and it is my wish that they are caught and dealt with so that you can continue doing what you love and recover from the fear which is not easy.

Posted by: Peter | Mar 26, 2007 4:35:01 PM

I am shocked and am deeply sorry to hear about these events. You are a great speaker and author. Take care of yourself, and thank you for posting on this topic to highlight the scum that is out there. Your post is a brave act and we, your readers, thing you are a great person.

Posted by: Ozten | Mar 26, 2007 4:36:05 PM

I hope the people responsible actually do something about this. I truly enjoyed your blog and book. I wish you good luck on whathever you decide to do.

Gustavo Beathyate
Lima, Peru

Posted by: Gustavo Beathyate | Mar 26, 2007 4:37:18 PM


A long time ago I was stalked for a little while (it's a bit of an odd situation considering that I'm a male and that rarely happens). I don't really talk about too much and funny enough, I guess the only people who know about it besides my wife and some close friends are now the people reading this comment. ;) It was honestly one of the more painful times of my life and I empathize with what you are going through right now, though my experiences obviously don't compare.

I think you are a fabulous voice in the community and I will be very sorry if you end up leaving because of this. Your book and blog have been an inspiration to me.

I hope and pray that you come back - but if you don't I wish you well and thank you for everything you have contributed for us.

Posted by: Justice~! | Mar 26, 2007 4:37:22 PM

Best wishes to you at this hard time, Kathy. Forgive me for stirring any controversy, but I really think this stuff should lead us all to reflect on the thorny issue of pornography. Many argue that it should be as highly protected as any other form of speech, but those who have had any contact with people who are affected by it know that it is highly addictive and incredibly oppressive to women. I really believe that liberated women and informed citizens should be fighting against it rather than what often happens, where it is tacitly accepted and even somewhat supported, at sites like Boing Boing, which are very popular in the blogosphere. I really think if people understood the consequences of this more, they would realize that supporting or condoning pornography is antithetical to their interests.

Posted by: Carl Youngblood | Mar 26, 2007 4:37:34 PM

Yikes. Fresh from the hatery-- horrifying.

We at etech this week hope you find some relief, some justice, some light during this dark experience.

Posted by: greg biggers | Mar 26, 2007 4:37:45 PM

Kathy - don't let the bastards grind you down. No-one should get away with this, and I suspect that they won't either, thanks to your frankness.

As I write this I am even *more* shocked that there is not a response of any kind on any of the related blogs that you mention, nor on Blogher and so on.

And there I was thinking that we're all such a good bunch, all us lot at do's like SXSW who just want to have a good time and get along. I had no idea that you might have been dealing with this while speaking at SXSW just a couple of weeks ago.

Please do post again, and soon.

Posted by: Ian Lloyd | Mar 26, 2007 4:39:33 PM

when an elephant passes on the road, the dogs shout fearing the size of the elephant - Don't you let those dog barkings let you down. You rock! keep rocking! Don't let others giggle by letting yourself down. Keep writing! We love your posts.
- Deeps

Posted by: Deeps | Mar 26, 2007 4:42:22 PM

Sorry to hear it. There are a lot of sickos out there with nothing better to do. Don't let their words turn you into a prisoner. Hope they catch the bastard soon.

Posted by: Diana | Mar 26, 2007 4:42:47 PM


My God... I'm almost speechless with anger at the idiots who did this. This is so far beyond the line that it's not even funny. Please hang in there, do what you feel is best for yourself and yours.. but report this to the police. I don't care if this results in the jailing of Locke, Paynter and Sessums... If they were involved in this or in enabling it, they should pay. The posters should pay. To allow some %^#%#%^ to get away with this is intolerable. This kind of thing simply cannot be tolerated at all.

I hope you eventually return to posting. I totally understand if you don't. Take care.

Posted by: rick gregory | Mar 26, 2007 4:42:59 PM

Add me to the list of people who are peeved at the pathetic slimeballs who do this sort of thing. It's not new (I was the target of death threats in zinedom 20 years ago, before we all moved to the internet), but it's no fun when it happens. Do what you need to do, and know that the vast majority of us out here are good people, with no patience or tolerance for the idiots.

Posted by: Mike Gunderloy | Mar 26, 2007 4:45:44 PM

Utterly stuck for words... what the hell is the matter with (supposedly intelligent) people? For god's sake. I am very sorry you've had to go through this, and hope everything works out well for you.

Posted by: Ben Poole | Mar 26, 2007 4:46:05 PM

I just wanted to tell you how much I love this blog and your work, Kathy. I went to digg to submit this blog post, but someone beat me to it. Hopefully, we can get more people to notice this appalling, inexcusable behavior and have these juvenile jerks ousted from the tech community.

Take whatever time you need, but I really hope (selfishly that) you come back to us. I'm not even a software developer, just a nonprofit accidental techie with an increasing love of ui, and I find endless inspiration in this blog. It's gotten to the point where my news reader has all of these old, unrefreshed posts from you in it because there's too much useful information for me to know what to do with. :-) My deli.icio.us could easily be populated by your blog posts.

I just visited today because I wanted to pass on a link to yet another friend. I was so shocked, saddened and incensed by what I found. Please know that you have way more faceless people out there, like me, who support you and the work you do through this blog and by the presentations you give. You're a stellar example of what it means to be of service in this world. We need voices like yours out there.

Posted by: NotAwesome | Mar 26, 2007 4:46:09 PM

I am shocked and saddened to hear what you are going through and admire your courage for speaking out. I just wanted to add my name to this growing list of people who hopefully prove that there are still more good people than bad in the world.

Posted by: Sharon | Mar 26, 2007 4:47:06 PM

not only should you take them to civil court, if you do feel threatened, you should talk to your local Law Enforcement department

Posted by: Alex Piner | Mar 26, 2007 4:48:21 PM

Hey Kathy, Keep strong and don't stop doing what you're passionate about simply because a few mindless individuals (there are a lot of them in the world) don't like it. Hope to read another one of your great posts again soon.

All the best,


Posted by: Theo Tonca | Mar 26, 2007 4:50:27 PM

I am absolutely dumbfounded by this.

I am at a loss for words, and have no idea what I would do in your situation.

All I can tell you is that I stand with you, shoulder to damn shoulder against the filth and mysogyny that you've born witness to. And if there is *anything* that I can do to support you, then I will. I can only begin to imagine what it's been like for you.

All of us who are standing up and claiming our identities as thinking women are putting our heads above the parapet. Not one of us should be subjected to the moronic outbursts of a pathetic few scared, ignorant, weak minded bullies who seem to think they have the right to abuse.

I hope the number of messages here is heartening. You are not, by a long, long chalk, alone.

Posted by: Cait Hurley | Mar 26, 2007 4:52:09 PM

Vile. Grotesque. Horrifying. Incomprehensible.

Kathy, as I read your post, I could feel your fear, and the fear began to well up inside me. I was moved to the point of tears, and I can't begin to express in words how sorry I am that you have to endure such a thing.

I truly hope you don't give up blogging. Your blog is a precious resources, and it would be a tragedy to lose it. Please know that you have friends out here who will not tolerate this kind of crap and will stand with you in pushing back against it.

Stay strong.

Posted by: Jeff | Mar 26, 2007 4:53:28 PM

Absolutely outraged that this has been happening, and completely amazed at the strength you have to post about it. Even now, you still inspire. Hang in there.

Posted by: Mack Collier | Mar 26, 2007 4:53:44 PM


I'm so terribly sorry to hear this is happening. I feel helpless myself, but I'm doing what I can to spread the word in the hopes that awareness will help.

Best of luck - and thanks for sharing this info, rather than hiding it, so hopefully people can work on a solution.

Posted by: Don MacAskill | Mar 26, 2007 4:54:50 PM

I'm so sorry to hear about this. I really don't know what to say. I posted on my blog, and I am really glad to see the support for you here, on Twitter, and in my reader. I just hope that the conversation thats about to happen turns productive.


Posted by: Jame Deville | Mar 26, 2007 4:54:50 PM

Sorry to hear you have to go through all that. I find hard to imagine what could be going through your head right now and there is probably little I can say that would help. I hope it gets better and you find it enjoyable to go out in the world again as soon as possible.
Be well.

PS: love the blogs, been reading them for a while now. Would love to hear any of your speeches.

Posted by: Yann | Mar 26, 2007 4:55:02 PM


Be strong.

Trust law enforcement. They know what they're doing.

We'll work on fixing the culture of the internet.

If you need help of any kind, ask.

Posted by: Christopher Mahan | Mar 26, 2007 4:55:19 PM

Tech t-shirts aren't sexy enough

I followed some link off some Gnome blog, and honestly, I wasn't quite sure about this blog after reading this. Sure, it made sense, but it also sounded... I don't know... A bit silly.

The "Dumbness of Crowds"

Another link from another gnome blog, but this time, I loved your post! It just made so much sence! I have since used that post to back up my argumentation in at least one discussion.

Code like a Girl

I found that post among the "Past favourites", and I was stuck. Ever since, this place have been one of my favourite blogs. Almost every new post makes me go "isn't that obvious?" only to follow up with "well, I still don't do it". The posts are great fun to read, while also making sometimes difficult issues seem simple.

I've never heard of any of the people you mention in this post, so I guess I'm not part of the blogosphere. Still, I wanted (like LOADS of other people, apparently) to tell you that I hope this will have a happy ending, give you my support, and - if you won't post anything more - thank you for this time.

Posted by: Robin Sonefors | Mar 26, 2007 4:55:35 PM

Just another voice from the wilderness expressing his disgust at what's happened to you.

Do what you need to do to feel safe, and let the cops come down like a ton of bricks on whoever they can find.

Wishing you strength;


Posted by: Light & Dark | Mar 26, 2007 5:01:08 PM

I can't wrap my head around it. I really, really can't.

Other than news, I ready two blogs daily - and yours is the first. I've never commented, but I do print them out and post them around the office. :)

I just can't fathom how some people's minds work (don't work?).

Hope you're doing OK.

Posted by: Diana C | Mar 26, 2007 5:02:16 PM

Hi Kathy,

I found your site via some other sites that shall remain nameless, and yet - I'm happy to let anyone hang out at my site. I doubt I have that much interesting material for them. Having not spent a lot of time at your site, I can't see a lot of objectionable material which others might find contentious. If they found it contentious, what should they do? Tell Tim Berners-Lee (Sir Tim, if you please)?

I don't mean to sound unconcerned, but if you appeared in public to speak in the capacity which you appear to be an expert in, to an audience with which is interested in the subject matter,.... personally, I'd go for it. Can I speak on the topic in your place?

Probably not the kind of response you wanted, but my deep seated sense of justice pushes me to a philosophical decision to always give a clear and concise testimony, regardless of the consequences.

All the best,

Reckless Ricardo

Posted by: Richard Sheppard | Mar 26, 2007 5:02:34 PM

Kathy, it is impossible for me to imagine what would cause anyone to threaten you in this manner - or for that matter, what could cause anyone to develop even a mild dislike for you. That it appears to have originated from some of the blogosphere's "stars" is all the more baffling. It would be a terrible loss to all of us to have your voice silenced. I know it is probably small comfort, but you obviously have many thousands of supporters against this handful of detractors. There just is no way to explain or account for such aberrant human behavior. I hope all these messages of support can provide comfort and courage through this ordeal.

Posted by: Wayne Kovsky | Mar 26, 2007 5:04:08 PM

I don't condone violence against women nor this type of reprehensible anonymous threatening activity.

Certainly there are many routes for ensuring your personal safety at conferences and in your personal life.

Just remember that if you are going to stay home and avoid the public for a while to not watch Oprah or eat chocolate.

Posted by: John Umbrax | Mar 26, 2007 5:04:37 PM

This is sickening, shameful, sad and horrifying and, until today, I would have thought unimaginable.

Thinking of you, Kathy -- from New Zealand. Kia kaha

Posted by: Blondini | Mar 26, 2007 5:05:53 PM

I don't even know what to say. I just read about this in shock. This is so sad to read about. I don't even know how to react.

Posted by: C.C. Chapman | Mar 26, 2007 5:06:15 PM

I am absolutely appalled at your situation, Kathy. I saw you speak at SXSW last year and was very impressed with what I heard. I understand that some people may be less impressed with your research and the impact it has on your books, or maybe they're just jealous of your success, and that's all fine and well, but to take something like that and twist it into this is just beyond the pale. I hope that whoever is responsible pays the price and that your sense of safety can be restored.

Posted by: ralph | Mar 26, 2007 5:06:31 PM

I wanted to join the chorus of support for you. You are a terrific blogger and the community will lose something important if you have to stop posting. You have to take care of yourself and do what is right for you though, and if that means not posting, so be it. I am completely shocked and so sorry that you have to go through this. I sincerely hope that you can find a good resolution for these problems.

Posted by: Christy Tucker | Mar 26, 2007 5:06:40 PM

I hope you can find strength, and courage over time to continue or this person/group will have won. I am really sorry. It sent chills through me reading this. Please do not let them win. All my prayers are with you and let me know if there is anything I can do or rather we can do.

Posted by: Cindy Li | Mar 26, 2007 5:07:29 PM

Kathy: hang in there. We love you, love your posts. We care about you and we want you to come back to the blogosphere. Hang in there. Utterly stuck for words but wanted to tell you that you matter to us and we want to see you back and your contribution to the 'sphere is immense.

Posted by: Leila Boujnane | Mar 26, 2007 5:07:39 PM

Kathy, this is terrible. I hope someone exposes the creep so that we all know who he is and can make sure that he doesn't get away with doing this. There's no excuse for it. Trolls always save their worst vitriol for women, too. Kudos for having the bravery to go public with this.


Posted by: Cory Doctorow | Mar 26, 2007 5:08:49 PM

I'm very sorry you're going through this. I've had two similar (but much smaller-scaled -- I'm not that important!) attacks, one because of a blog post that resulted in an anonymous hatemonger sending a life-threatening letter to my house, another on my wiki, where someone advocated I should be s***mized to death, and then insulted my children, too. People who say "sticks & stones etc." and that "words can never hurt me" forget that it's a child's version of whistling in the dark. In a nutshell, this is serious stuff and it's no surprise that you feel violated. But you're ok, and you'll still be ok years from now when the sickos who did this have made a TOTAL ruin of their lives. (That they're already partially ruined is obvious.)

I'm also really sorry because I used to know that blog crowd a bit, a couple of years ago. After I realized how unwell that whole group was, I left. Well, I was kicked out, too. They don't like independent thinkers, I can tell you that.

You're obviously an independent thinker, and a brilliant and popular one at that. That's why they hate you.

Have you gone to the police with this, by the way? I would. And I'd get a lawyer.

Posted by: Yule Heibel | Mar 26, 2007 5:09:31 PM

Another long time reader, first time poster here. This is really terrible. I hope the police bring those responsible to justice and you can put this behind you. I've always looked forward to reading your posts, you have great insight.

Take care,

Rich L.

Posted by: Rich L. | Mar 26, 2007 5:11:24 PM

Just last night I commented to a friend how blogs help to civilize the world. What a reality check. It is nice to see so many speaking out against the jerks. In their actions, I'll continue to hope.

Thanks for taking a stand and sharing the documentation of what isn't cool or legal to do. I have so enjoyed reading your viewpoints and would hate to see them disappear forever.

Posted by: Mary Hunt | Mar 26, 2007 5:11:45 PM

Kathy. Just to let you know that we love and support you. May those s****rs burn their fingers.

Posted by: mimo | Mar 26, 2007 5:12:33 PM


These attacks are criminal and shocking. I hope that, when you feel safe again, you decide to continue to provide your great insight, wit and leadership in our blogging community.

So many people are in your corner.

Posted by: Sherry | Mar 26, 2007 5:14:18 PM

Dear Kathy,

It would be a shame if we lost your voice to the harassment of pseudonymous thugs enjoying their toxic disinhibition. I hope the torrential support you're beginning to receive will give you a renewed sense of just how widely you and your work are appreciated, and help you feel you'd be safe at any tech conference.

Thanks for going public with this, and for going to the police.

Posted by: Chuck McKinnon | Mar 26, 2007 5:14:18 PM

I have been reading your posts for some time and have just enjoyed & learned so much. I am just sick about this and I really don't know how you must be feeling, I can only imagine.

One must take steps to protect themselves and you are wise to do what you need to do.

It is truly sad to be a reader and feel so powerless to help, to not be able to make a difference when something like this occurs. Individually we can only try to make a difference in our realm of influence.

You are in the prayers of many this day and for many days to come.

Posted by: Deanna McNeil | Mar 26, 2007 5:14:19 PM

Hang in there Kathy, so sorry you even have to think about any of this crap.

Posted by: Kelly Fowler | Mar 26, 2007 5:14:52 PM

Hi Kathy,

I had another read of your posting, and feel that my response was callous. Please accept my apologies - it obviously isn't very helpful at the moment.

Kind regards,


Posted by: Richard Sheppard | Mar 26, 2007 5:15:33 PM

Kathy - I wouldn't presume to offer advice in this situation, but I'll say this: IF you decide to exit the blogosphere, we will all be poorer for it, but I don't think any of us would blame you.

Whatever you decide, I hope you'll come out the other side a stronger (perhaps more wary) person. All the best to you and your family ... and like a few other similar sentiments above - I hope the bastards are found and punished.

Posted by: Ric | Mar 26, 2007 5:15:50 PM

Like so many others here Kathy I write to offer my support to you. In an attention economy I think you've been brave to speak out about this situation and I sincerely hope that those behind this appalling situation are swiftly brought to justice.

Posted by: that girl | Mar 26, 2007 5:15:55 PM

Fwiw I've enjoyed and appreciated reading your blog entries. I'm amazed there are people as sick as that out there and hope you get through it ok. John

Posted by: John Drummond | Mar 26, 2007 5:16:45 PM

Just want to add my voice to the chorus - I LOVE your blog and read it religiously. Please stay safe and take time to regroup, but please come back to us soon!

Posted by: Lynda De Lacey | Mar 26, 2007 5:17:02 PM

Regardless of wheher you decide to post again, just remember that you are in the right, and the creeps who threatened you are in the wrong. Take care.

Posted by: A Guy | Mar 26, 2007 5:17:05 PM

Is there an opposite of "LOL"?

Lemme add my voice to the support you deserve: Kathy, this seriously saddens me. I hope for your sake that this turns out for the better. You are in my thoughts.


Posted by: Andrew Kasper | Mar 26, 2007 5:17:39 PM

Hi Kathy,

There is nothing I can say that someone hasn't already said in support of you. I just wanted to add my voice to the others here. Its my sincere hope that you recover and that your experience is the catalyst for greater change on the web.

Posted by: Leslie Camacho | Mar 26, 2007 5:20:11 PM

Kathy, your articles are brilliant, and this completely disturbs me. I wish you all the best as you get through this.

Posted by: Michael Neale | Mar 26, 2007 5:20:17 PM

Sorry to hear about this, Kathy :(

As somebody who has moderated forums, comment areas and other third party public feedback areas for years, I've seen all kinds of hateful crap and it's always from somebody trying to hide behind anonomity.

The only way this stops is by making sure third party areas on websites are moderated. As long as it isn't moderated and the courts do not hold the website owner's responsible, we'll continue to see this type of BS.

Posted by: TDavid | Mar 26, 2007 5:20:20 PM


You have my support. I was registered to attend your tutorial and Tara Hunt's tutorial today, but I cancelled when you cancelled.

You can still provide lectures, presentations, and workshops--digitally. You can even create a series on community and distribute the series via YouTube. I believe you now have more reason than ever to experiment with other channels for content distribution.

Regarding the issues you are confronting now, I have but one piece of advice: don't let the bastards get you down. Becoming a recluse by isolating yourself from the rest of the world is not smart; it's cautious. Threats are only effective when you allow them to be effective. You are stronger than your abuser(s). Don't let them win by giving into the pressure. Show them you mean business.

Posted by: Morgan Ramsay | Mar 26, 2007 5:21:21 PM

Hi Kathy,

I hope those people are caught soon. What they have done is inexcusable. Stay strong.

Best regards, Andrew

Posted by: Andrew Monkhouse | Mar 26, 2007 5:25:07 PM

Kathy, you are respected and loved by many people. Know that we are all here to support you and provide what comfort we can. If there is anything that we can do as a community, let us know.

You should never have to endnure anything like this and as a community of bloggers, we will not tolerate this.

Posted by: Ian Muir | Mar 26, 2007 5:26:16 PM


I can't even pretend to understand what's behind this.

You have a huge amount of love and friends and support in New Zealand.

on behalf of the Webstock community

Posted by: Mike Brown | Mar 26, 2007 5:26:17 PM


I'm so sorry that anyone has put you and your family in this position of fearfulness and feeling as though you must hide to be safe.

Please take some small comfort in this growing list of people whose hearts are aching a little bit today as we hear of your situation.

We can't do very much, but we can do this. We can rally around you and let you know that if you ask us to help in some way -- we're ready to do that.

I hope this nightmare comes to an end soon for you and your family and I'm so sorry that a few cruel and sick peoplehave robbed you of your peace of mind.


Posted by: Drew McLellan | Mar 26, 2007 5:26:44 PM


@$#%#@$% this makes me mad. On your behalf. On behalf of geekstresses everywhere!

I hope your sense of safety returns, and soon, as well as your real safety! What a nasty bit of business!

If you ever are in the Bay Area, you know you have a safe place to hang out and get a good homecooked meal, and wireless internet ;)

--Kimberly (who still would staple your books to her body!)

Posted by: Kimberly | Mar 26, 2007 5:27:08 PM

Another long time reader of your blog here wanting to express some support in this trying time. Hang tough.

Posted by: Donnie Lam | Mar 26, 2007 5:27:36 PM

Really sorry and angry about this. Love reading your blog. Hope karma works swiftly on the mean folks. Hang in there.

Posted by: Gary Capell | Mar 26, 2007 5:27:52 PM


We're just stunned about this, and enraged at the scum who would do this to you. We hope that law enforcement takes them down hard. And we expect that any of the people you named above will cooperate fully in identifying the criminal(s). It's the least they can do. If they refuse, they should be ostracized by the entire tech community, at the least, and perhaps charged as part of a criminal conspiracy.

In the meantime, of course you have our love and support. Anything you need, just ask. You know how to reach us.

Tom and Dori

Posted by: Tom Negrino | Mar 26, 2007 5:28:13 PM

Outraged and disgusted. May the sick bastard(s) who perpetrated this be brought to justice.

There are few bloggers as generous as you, Kathy. This is completely senseless.

Posted by: Bill Kinnon | Mar 26, 2007 5:31:25 PM

Please don't go. We need your voice. I'm surprised that all of those you mentioned haven't publicly and profusely apologized even if they were not directly responsible, but enablers who encouraged personal attacks at any level. They should also be scurrying around like the insects they are figuring out how to PREVENT sh*t like that from happening in the future. But great job on calling them out. You're stronger than you've given yourself credit for. (p.s. I have large barking dogs, and a husband who's very scary if you want to stay at our house).

Posted by: Norma Vela | Mar 26, 2007 5:33:26 PM

Kathy, so sorry to hear about what you are going through. I would hate to see such a valued and respected source of inspiration and education gone forever through this unfortunate occurence.

I hope that you are finding your faith restored via the sheer volume of support that is pouring out on this blog. See...there are thousands of people who love and support you - compared to the miserable few who try and project their warped view of the world upon others.

Neither you nor your daughter deserve this. Find the strength, and continue making a positive difference to the world!

Posted by: Devan | Mar 26, 2007 5:35:16 PM


I've been reading for a long time without commenting, and want to start commenting now, to show how utterly repugnant I think this behavior is, and to ask that you let all of us know if there's anything we can do to help. I'm shocked and disturbed to read that you (or, well, anyone) could be so horribly abused like this.

- Chris.

Posted by: Chris Ball | Mar 26, 2007 5:35:37 PM

so many sick puppies in this world who thrive on controlling by instilling fear. The only way to fight them is to not fear them. Easier said than done, I know.

Posted by: Todd | Mar 26, 2007 5:36:10 PM


What you had to go through is just terrible. I hope people's support (online and offline) and time will help you get through this. As a man, I am ashamed that another man (regardless of his age) could write something like that. I hope he will be found and discovered soon and punished appropriately for his crime. I will try to see this as a lesson that all the male geeks online need to learn -- how to treat all women with proper respect. Afterall, women are our mothers, sisters, girl friends, grandmothers, and co-workers.

Kathy, I hope you will get well and feel better soon.

Posted by: Kempton | Mar 26, 2007 5:37:20 PM

Kathy, I have to add my voice in supporting you. You are loved. It is horrifying that this has happened to you, but because of your courage and willingness to be transparent, we now know about it and will not allow it to grow and spread. This community will not tolerate it. Please come back when you can.

Posted by: Diana | Mar 26, 2007 5:37:35 PM

I cannot imagine why a blog like this one could possibly be the subject of so much vitriol. This is the ONE blog I recommend people to read if they can only read one. It is thoughtful and thought-provoking. It has so much good content far beyond the scope of software development or writing books. It is just so sad that some people will do completely awful things - just because they CAN. I hope these folks are tracked down and exposed and that the rest of the web world turns their backs on them.

Posted by: Lou | Mar 26, 2007 5:41:49 PM

While I've never read your blog before, I want to express my solidarity with you in this situation. No one deserves to go through what you've gone through. I can't imagine what you're going through but I have to encourage you to try to not change your life because of this creep. I know rape victims go through similar situations where they are afraid and feel like hiding and no one can blame you for feeling the way you do after this but if you change the way you live your life, this fuckhead has power. He has power over you only as long as he can change your behavior and make you live in fear. Kathy, you have the power to overcome him. It's inside you and it's something he can never take away. Try to live your life as normal as possible even though that must sound incredibly hard right now. Stand up to this creep and if that seems too hard remember that you have the shoulders of hundreds of people to help you up.

Posted by: Eric | Mar 26, 2007 5:42:00 PM


I went thru this as well, being harassed and then having the nauseating phone calls from perverts who got my name and number online from this creep.

I hope the laws have finally caught up with these types of miscreants, but even a few years ago there wasnt much a cop or even detective could do about it.

It finally stopped after a few months, and I couldnt tell you why it stopped, or started for that matter. But it was scary for me, and your problem is definitely a few notches above mine in scale.

I wish you luck, and hope they can catch these idiots who are doing this to you. My instinct though tells me there are too many places to hide for trolls such as these. :-/

My only answer was to take my stuff down. Somedays I do miss it, but in the end, the irratation just wasnt worth it. So yes, I let them win.

I dont really see what other choice I had.

Posted by: Lauri | Mar 26, 2007 5:42:35 PM

Very sorry to hear about these troubles. I wish you and yours all the best.

Posted by: David | Mar 26, 2007 5:43:25 PM

Kathy, I can't believe people actually do stuff like this. All the best.

Posted by: Fred Oliveira | Mar 26, 2007 5:44:03 PM

Hang in there Kathy. I think what you're going through is just unreal and unwarranted. I enjoyed your keynote at SXSW and the thought of not even having the chance of catching the next one really irritates me.

Posted by: drew olanoff | Mar 26, 2007 5:44:10 PM

Kathy, this is just sickening and disturbing.

As a tech guy, a husband, and a father of two young girls, let me say that my thoughts and whatever actions I can offer are with you.

This is just wrong. You are an incredible talent. Be brave.

Like Cory said, I hope the creep(s) identity is made public and then gets exactly what's deserved.

- Stuart

Posted by: Stuart MacDonald | Mar 26, 2007 5:45:50 PM

Simply stunned, Kathy, reading this account. Incredible. I've been a reader of your words for a long time. Love your writing and your thinking. So sorry you've had to experience this awful thing. Keep a stiff upper lip as we say over here. Hang in there as you say over there. Best wishes.

Posted by: Neville Hobson | Mar 26, 2007 5:45:54 PM

God that sucks!

What kind of mindless troglodyte would do that - you have given so much to the programming community! I can't think of any reason anyone would hate you unless it's jealousy. Hopefully the guy's ISP can pass on the relevant details to the cops & before long he'll be Mrs Bubba.

Posted by: Matt Moran | Mar 26, 2007 5:46:45 PM


This is disturbing to just read about - to be the victim of such an attack would be more frightening than I could imagine and I can understand your distress.

This was a personal, misogynistic and violent threat by vicious minded individuals.

Thank you for speaking up so that others may also speak up. It takes tremendous courage to speak out.

Take heart - there are many of us who are offering support you and sending you our positive thoughts.

Take care,

Posted by: Darlene Fichter | Mar 26, 2007 5:47:07 PM

Honestly, this seems a tad bit dramatic. It's probably someone with self-esteem issues that you pissed off, and is now reveling in the response. Lame-asses like that love creating fear.

Hey, look at the bright side, you have a whole new readership now.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 26, 2007 5:48:06 PM

Kathy, I want to add my name to the chorus of supporters who are deeply disturbed by the threats against you. I hope we will hear your voice again, but understand that you must make the best decision for you and your family.

Posted by: Connie Reece | Mar 26, 2007 5:48:42 PM

I'm really sorry to hear about this. Putting yourself, and your ideas out there takes guts. Unfortunately with the web we get both the best and the worst of society. I offer you all of my support. Stay strong.

Posted by: Jim Kidwell | Mar 26, 2007 5:49:38 PM

I am very disappointed to read about this. It is a warning that we have, today, online celebrities, but without the wealth celebrity brings to, among other things, afford protection and security.

The man's actions are out of control, as Tim Bray says, but equally, we live in an environment that at least partially condones, and even encourages, such attitudes and behaviours. As you point out, I think. The problem is more than just one person, more than just one website, and will not be resolved simply or easily.

I add my voice to the hundreds offering support and condemning the actions of the anonymous person harassing you. I hope they person is found and convicted, but more, I hope you find something like the peace of mind you had before.

Posted by: Stephen Downes | Mar 26, 2007 5:50:08 PM

It's a testament to how well you're holding up, despite these horrific personal attacks, that you still enabled comments and trackbacks to this post.

I am so sorry this has been happening.

Posted by: Mark Siegal | Mar 26, 2007 5:50:28 PM

Kathy, sorry to hear of your troubles. This sort of cyber bullying you would expect aimed at our children (but not less tolerated). I understand your concerns, as I would probably feel the same way. Hope the investigation goes as it should.

Posted by: Rick Garcia | Mar 26, 2007 5:50:47 PM

We never met. But I love your blog. Which is kind of besides the point because even people with crappy, pointless blogs should be safe.

I thank you for taking this to the police and to the public. I'm heartened at the oupouring of of support and I hope that it gives you some comfort.

I know people who are terrified to post anything anywhere that might be traced back to them. I hate the thought that they've made a wiser choice than those of us who want to participate in open, online exchanges.

Posted by: Michael Markman | Mar 26, 2007 5:51:46 PM

BTW - you should carry on with your speaking engagements. If this prick should ever muster enough courage to do more than snipe at you anonymously from the safety of an online forum, I'd love to see him disappear under a crowd of your fans' flailing fists & feet. Don't let one asshole mess up your life.

Posted by: Matt Moran | Mar 26, 2007 5:51:48 PM

Kathy, you are so brave for coming out with this and being so honest and frank. I can't imagine what you're going through. Stay strong and know that there are lots and lots of good people out there that are behind you 100%.

This kind of thing is horrible and needs to stop. Hang in there!

Posted by: Keith | Mar 26, 2007 5:51:48 PM

Kathy, I read your blog religiously. I value you and the things you write about. I hope this all gets sorted. Please let me (everyone) know what we can do to ensure that stuff like this doesn't happen ever again.

Posted by: Blue | Mar 26, 2007 5:53:42 PM

Kathy, I wish you strength, solace, fortitude, and a gobs and gobs of safety. And justice and comeuppance for the basta-- illegitimate children. Just adding my voice to the chorus of support here. I once got an anonymous (and, I believe, random) death threat on a phone machine. Bizarre. Nothing as pointed and horrid and continuous as what you got. Know that your supporters far outnumber the detractors. And aren't afraid to put their names to their comments.

Posted by: Susan Kitchens | Mar 26, 2007 5:55:58 PM


As horrible as this is, and as sick as I am about it, the only thing worse would be having your voice silenced.

You bring such clarity, insight, energy and unique perspective to what I love to do - creating remarkable software, and the world will be a darker place if the acts of some cowardly, disturbed individuals result in your light being dimmed.

Take care of yourself, and I applaud you for sharing your pain.

Posted by: Dave Churchville | Mar 26, 2007 5:58:34 PM

Hang in there, you have many people who support you and a tiny minority of twits who know they can intimidate you. Be brave, this will pass, you will not be hurt.

Posted by: tom paine | Mar 26, 2007 5:58:45 PM

Ok- I may have a different opinion than most people here. I think you should continue writing and not alter your behavior at all. Same for public speaking events. You have a great many friends, supporters and fans. Just look at this thread! Your success, though, has brought out some of the loonies. Have a friend screen your comments and simply delete the offending, foolish ones. The less you know about them, the better. Let them (your friends) take some of the emotional burden from you. Same for email. Come up with a guide for what needs to be shared with "authorities" and do that, when necessary. But, everything below that threshold can be handled by your friends - at least until this blows over. The people that perpertrated these obscene events are adult manifestations of the bullies we all encountered in grade school. The likelihood of harm, I hope, is very very tiny. After all, forensic analysis would easily identify the people that used words to hurt you. Many public figures get exposed to this type of behavior. The Internet just makes it easier to commit foolishness. I'd make a point of not linking to, writing about or in any other way stearing attention toward these aging clowns. Stay focused on the things that bring you joy and safety. Stay close to friends.

Posted by: David Geller | Mar 26, 2007 5:58:56 PM

Ick. That's ugly and despicable. I'm sorry that you have been subjected to this kind of threat and the fear it engenders. The conduct is just too warped to comprehend. I hope that law-enforcement agencies can uncover the perpetrator(s) and put a stop to it.


Posted by: orcmid | Mar 26, 2007 6:00:31 PM

Having little to add, I can't do more that help make this list of comments as long as can be, express my disgust over this, and my sympathy for you.

My idealism about how the web could be a great place has just been hit – hard.

I'm so sorry for you. Take care, be strong, stay safe.

Nils Geylen
Antwerp, Belgium

Posted by: Nils | Mar 26, 2007 6:00:42 PM


Hang in there, I hope you are doing better. My thoughts and prayers are with you and I hope the pathetic hoodlums suffer the severest consequences.

I think your work is amazing and after hearing you speak at SXSW I was looking forward to learning from you once again at Etech and I am looking forward to learning from you in the future.

~michael galpert

Posted by: Michael Galpert | Mar 26, 2007 6:01:42 PM


Words fail me - after reading such vitriolic spew aimed at you and yours...

I just want to add my voice as a long-time reader to say thank you for bringing this to light - stomach-turning as it is. And please keep blogging.

We'll all hope that the bastard is caught and that you can return to resting peacefully soon.

Meanwhile, light and goodness is flowing your way. From thousands of us.

Posted by: Janet Johnson | Mar 26, 2007 6:01:44 PM

*hug* :(

Posted by: ecila | Mar 26, 2007 6:03:59 PM

Why would anyone hold anything against you? Jealousy and resentment therefrom, I suppose. Sick, just sick.

Don't let them keep you down, Kathy. I'm sure you need a break, but you can't let them win.

Posted by: Sterling "Chip" Camden | Mar 26, 2007 6:04:53 PM

Hi Kathy,

I'm shocked to hear this. Its really stupid how supposed adults and professionals can act like teenagers (even the teenagers I know don't act like this!).

I guess they're threatened and lack the necessary communication skills to deal with their emotions in an adult way.

I attended your work shop at webstock in New Zealand and it changed the way I think. So much so that my Masters research is now largely based around what you talked about.

Thank you so much for the blog and the workshop/speaking. Don't let the buggers get you down, we call it the "tall poppy syndrome" in NZ....

PS you're welcome back to NZ anytime

Posted by: chris | Mar 26, 2007 6:08:02 PM

This is beyond troubling. Intimidation has no place in society, whether public, private, political or professional.

Posted by: Yvonne Adams | Mar 26, 2007 6:08:28 PM

we will miss you a lot! My husband and I used to talk about the new approach you give to learning, usability, business...and we admire all your job...We have learnt reading this blog and some books you have recommended more than in any workshop or course...

We wish you the best!!!!

Posted by: alicia | Mar 26, 2007 6:14:01 PM


I dont know you, but I am pretty familiar with the class of scum that think posts like that are funny, or worse, not funny. And the class of people just above them that apparently don't have enough moral charater to police their own blogs and expose vile excuses for humanity like the one(s) harassing you.

This world we live in has hundreds, maybe thousands, of moral attrocities committed daily. But your fear strikes a place close to home for me.

If there is something I, or any of us kindred outraged masses, can do for you and your famility, to make you safe, please let us know.

It's not such a great day to be a member of the human race.


Posted by: Jozian | Mar 26, 2007 6:15:33 PM

I'm sorry there are mean, stupid people in the world, but I think you're going way overboard. The reason people do stuff like this is because they can get a rise out of you. You've paid them off, in spades.

It seems to me that you've led a bit of a sheltered life, too, if a bunch of idiots posting stupid things on weblogs can unman you so much that you cancel speaking engagements and sit in your house, afraid to leave. It seems to me that perhaps the problem is that you've become far too dependent upon and emotionally invested in the online world, and perhaps don't have enough of a foundation in and investment in the real world.

So, while on the one hand, I'm sad for you (and for your children! What kind of a lesson in courage are you giving them by canceling your trip and staying locked up in the house?) that these idiots have gotten inside your head so thoroughly that you've made yourself into a shut-in, on the other hand, I really think you're being immature about the whole thing, and abrogating your responsibilities as a parent, to boot. My 69-year-old mother at no time in her life would've reacted so fearfully and cringingly; she's been threatened with death to her face (as have I, as has anyone who hasn't led a sheltered life) as a petite thirtysomething woman running a restaurant, as a government employee, etc., and she never went all wobbly and weepy and stayed shut up in the house. She dealt with it, as should you, and moved on with her life.

So, either toughen up your tender sensibilities, or, yes, quit writing. 'Blogging' isn't some noble cause, and you're not part of some 'community'; you're just writing online. If you're so fragile, fearful, and weak that you haven't the wits to realize that you're encouraging the bullies by allowing them to mess with your mind, then you should definitely stop writing and seek therapy.

For the sake of your children, I hope you can toughen up and show them that the way to deal with idiots isn't to cringe and hide, but to ignore them. Because right now, you're giving them a lesson in cowardice they'll never forget.

Posted by: Roland Dobbins | Mar 26, 2007 6:16:34 PM

We are with you, Kathy. You won't go through this alone. There is simply _no excuse_ for such disgusting behavior. People who does this should be shamed and isolated to the full extent of the blogosphere. It can't be tolerated, and we need to send a message that the perpetrators are not welcome in our community. We are better than that - we have to be better than that.

Stay strong....


Posted by: andy carvin | Mar 26, 2007 6:16:50 PM


As a long-time Internet user, I am sickened (but, sadly, not surprised) to read about what happened. I think the broader culture clearly objectifies women, and the blogosphere -- with its say-anything-no-reprisals-no-consequences nature -- amplifies that trend. As a volunteer rape crisis counselor, and a survivor of real-world sexual assault, I know only too well what violation feels like.

You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by: Tammy | Mar 26, 2007 6:17:31 PM

That's terrible news, Kathy -- but I'm glad you spoke out about it. That kind of thing is (or should be) unacceptable, and hopefully publicizing it will help stop it from happening.

Posted by: Mathew Ingram | Mar 26, 2007 6:18:07 PM

Kathy, this is just awful, but I can't express my admiration enough for your decision to go public and expose what's happened. It's stunning that people like this feel that there's enough anonymity on the web to allow such clearly misogynistic behavior to flow forth -- and that there are people we likely consider to be mentors or role models or visionaries in the industry who harbor such beliefs and save them up for the times they feel they're writing anonymously.

While meankids.org has that most odious of domain registrations, an "anonymous" one (DomainsByProxy), it's clear from its redirection to Frank's site that he's the man with the logs and whatnot; from his comments, I assume that Frank has cooperated with whichever authorities are involved and shared what he has from those logs so that the person or people involved can be found and roasted. (And if you haven't, Frank, I'm sure we'd all love to know that too.) Similarly, I'd hope that Photomatt has been able to share the info from his wordpress.com logs for the Uncle Bob site... and again, I'm sure we'd all love to know if he hasn't.

Hang in there, Kathy; I've enjoyed reading you from the moment I found the site (and your books, from the moment I found them!), and I hope that you don't let them win this one.

Posted by: Jason Levine | Mar 26, 2007 6:18:47 PM

that is seriously just disgusting. This blog has been continually smart and inspiring, and I'd hate to see you go because of some pack of creeps like that.

Posted by: Paul McEnany | Mar 26, 2007 6:21:27 PM

Add me to the incredible list of supporters you have here. I'm very sorry for the terrible things you and your family are enduring and hope you are able to recover some sense of safety and return to a normal life soon. Your writing, perspective, wisdome, and amazing ability to communicate are peerless... your blog is one I look forward to reading daily. I do hope you are able to continue writing and presenting publicly in the future (although I could understand if you choose not to). It would be a terrible loss to the community if this disgusting behavior was the cause of that loss.

Posted by: Amy | Mar 26, 2007 6:22:26 PM

I am horrified. I hope you're going to be okay.

Posted by: Mimi Herrmann | Mar 26, 2007 6:22:49 PM

Kathy - my thoughts are with you during this extraordinarily difficult time. No one should ever have to deal with this.

Is there *anything* we can do to help in some way? Could we take up a collection for bodyguards or a high-tech security system? Buy you a top-of-the line Taser? Have meals or groceries sent so you don't have to venture out for food if you don't want to?

Even if it's small, please let us know how we can make your life easier while the police conduct their investigation.

Posted by: Josh Kaufman | Mar 26, 2007 6:27:04 PM


I almost cant believe that this actually happened - why do people have to be so negative..? I've experienced a few negative comments on my site from someone I know in real life, but he leaves them under a fake name.. (so cowardly).

Anyway I wanted to let you know that the posts on this site are really insightful and helpful to me in my life - the one about becoming an expert has had quite an impact on me.. I call it 'pushing through the pain barrier' to get better at something - i never realized it but now I am aware that its normal to struggle to get better at something and the struggle is worth it, even though it causes short-term uncomfortableness..

You know, what you have to offer is valuable to people like myself - so please dont let this ordeal hold you back!

Posted by: Paul - a fan of this blog | Mar 26, 2007 6:30:30 PM

Damn. Damn damn damn damn damn damn damn!

Some people don't deserve to be part of a community. They should be shunned. I don't care how "A list" they are, as far as I'm concerned anyone who participated in actively or passively or even permitted this behavior simply does not exist any longer.

I hope we hear from you again, Kathy, but if we don't you can always be proud of your positive contribution to the world.

Posted by: Rob McDonagh | Mar 26, 2007 6:31:17 PM

Kathy, do what you need to do. People who understand support and validate any decision you need to make, short or long term.

Sexual violence makes me sick to my core, as does anonymous libel and threat (no matter at whom it's directed), which I've experienced for years, on a much smaller scale. I've cried in bed for days. Sometimes that is just totally necessary.

Ultimately, I've found it wasn't about how many people did or did not say they supported me. People who haven't experienced it just can't know. It was how I felt about what I was doing and how I chose to personally navigate my work. I hope you can find a grounding place and ways to feel safe.

Posted by: B | Mar 26, 2007 6:32:03 PM

Not much to say that hasn't been said already. *horrified* I second all of the positive comments here, and hope you find the strength you need from within and externally (we're here for you girl) to come back. I'm so sorry for what you're going through. We all are. If there's ever anything I can do for you, in any way, just say the word - you have my email. Hugs girl. Take good care, k?

Posted by: Lisa McMillan | Mar 26, 2007 6:37:29 PM

For once I am speechless. I can only say how sorry I am that this has happened and that I'll pray for you (and for the efficiency of the police).

Posted by: Cyndi L | Mar 26, 2007 6:38:37 PM

It's the passionate people of this world -- the tall poppies, the exceptional ones -- that the disgruntled most want to take a swipe at. You shine, and someone feels like they have to put your flame out.

Good news is you've got an army of people here ready to help you get that flame back. I hope you feel better after reading all these comments.

Posted by: Roger Nesbitt | Mar 26, 2007 6:42:21 PM

Thank you for speaking so openly and frankly about this Kathy. That must have taken a lot of courage.

It's appalling that this person has poured out such hatred and violence on you. I hope the law find this slimy creep and hang him out to dry.

It was a great privilege to meet you in New Zealand last year. You have brought a great deal of light into the world with your blog. May this darkness prove short-lived.

Posted by: Miraz Jordan | Mar 26, 2007 6:44:08 PM

Kathy - Hang in there and know that we are all with you during this difficult and uncertain time. Be strong and resolute that good will prevail.

Posted by: jJ | Mar 26, 2007 6:45:36 PM

Hello, Kathy,

Rest up, and do what you need to do -- if that means not posting again, then so be it. This type of violence (and yes, IMO, this does fall on the spectrum of violence) is unsettling, to say the least. In the face of it, you need to do what's right by you and yours.

And, if/when you decide to re-engage in the blogosphere, we're waiting to hear what you have to say. But come back on your terms.

And, fwiw, I'm sorry that you have to deal with this --


Posted by: Bill Fitzgerald | Mar 26, 2007 6:45:37 PM

I just want to chime in to agree, this really sucks, and I really enjoy your blogging. Hope you'll be back.

Posted by: Jonathan Weber | Mar 26, 2007 6:46:26 PM

Sorry to hear this, Kathy. I hope you stay safe. We don't want to lose your presence in the blogosphere due to some pricks who clearly have no life of their own.

Posted by: Patrix | Mar 26, 2007 6:51:27 PM

Dear Kathy,

Please don't let your fear stop you from enacting your life. You have a gift, and it is wrong to let it be vetoed by a coward with nothing but anonymity and a psychotic power trip. Accept the support of the people I see answering here who can make your life safer, and keep working to get your wise voice heard.

I had never heard of you until there was a link from Making Light, but I can tell there is much wisdom here already, and that you have much more to impart. The most important advice I got when I feared for my life was not to take irrevocable steps in the first forty-eight hours. It takes a while to gather strength and gain perspective. Please give yourself that time in the safest place you know.

Posted by: Dan Hoey | Mar 26, 2007 6:53:33 PM

So sorry to hear this. Hopefully it will get better over time. Stay strong.

Posted by: Chris Eidhof | Mar 26, 2007 6:53:37 PM

Kathy -

The threats are shocking and I hope you can come to some resolution that allows you to feel safe and whole. Please count me as one more fan taught and inspired by your writing. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself so far and we all hope you'll be able to continue.

You have friends in Boston,


Posted by: Josh | Mar 26, 2007 6:55:13 PM


I don't know what else to say. You have my sympathy, you have my love, you have my support.

Posted by: Michael Vanderdonk | Mar 26, 2007 6:57:08 PM

Love your writing, always look forward to a new entry appearing in Google Reader, but up until now, never felt compelled to post a comment. Really sorry to read this post. Hang in there, for every asshole out there I'm guessing theres 100,000 people who appreciate your work!

Posted by: Paul Dixon | Mar 26, 2007 6:58:45 PM

I can only begin to imagine how you must be feeling but I offer you and your family my total support. It was an honour to attend your workshop at Webstock last year and a huge inspiration as are your posts on this site.

I have often marvelled at the cameraderie and good will of the on-line community and I'm convinced it will prevail. In the meantime stay safe and know we're here alongside you.

Posted by: Peter Asquith | Mar 26, 2007 6:59:34 PM

(First time poster, long time reader, &c.)

Dear lord, I'm sorry this happened.  I hope everything turns out okay, and best of luck to you in getting this resolved and tracking them down.

Posted by: XtinaS | Mar 26, 2007 7:00:45 PM


I'd like to join those holding your hand to give strength. I am sorry to see you join the crowd of internet victims. I have no doubt, and it is clear to me that there exist a limit to freedom of speech. History has proven over and over that the borderline between a word and an act is extremely thin. If an action against this violence is not taken now, someone WILL get hurt.

No one can hide infinitely behind freedom of speech. Violence is as low as humanity (or lack thereof) can get. It is sad that the nature of the internet allows such bastards to hide and escape the punishment they deserve, and it is sad that the good guys miss good talks, workshops and other sessions from you because of this. I wish the offenders will be spotlighted and you will get a rest so your life can get back to normal.

Hang on,


Posted by: Matan | Mar 26, 2007 7:02:01 PM

Kathy, you have the support of more people than you realize. When atrocities like this are allowed to happen, then there are ten times as many people who will want to see it stopped. Stay strong and be that role model that you have been for so long. We'll all be here for you.

Posted by: Bryan Veloso | Mar 26, 2007 7:02:49 PM

Unbelievable. Trolling and spamming are one thing, this was something else entirely. With any luck, he/she/they will be prosecuted.

Posted by: Todd | Mar 26, 2007 7:09:11 PM


Your blog is one of the best on the net. I hope they catch and prosecute these monsters for this outrage. Take the time you need and I hope we see you back.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" [attributed to Burke]. So far you are doing something by crying out and getting help - kudos. I hope and pray you find the strength to triumph over this and over them.

Posted by: Bruce | Mar 26, 2007 7:14:17 PM

Ms. Sierra,

This is disturbing on so many levels. I am deeply sorry there are individuals in this world that can somehow justify this sort of behavior in their minds.

Please know that these people (whomever they truly are) do not in any way represent or speak for the rest of us (your true fans).

While so very sad for we readers, our loss is nothing compared with what you are facing. Stay brave, stay strong and (if things work out so you can) please come back and teach us even more than you already have.

If there is anything at all we readers and fans can do to help you, please just let us know.

Behind you 100%.

Larry P

Posted by: Larry P | Mar 26, 2007 7:15:00 PM

Please don't stop posting, Kathy. You've become a regular on my feed and I really enjoy your insights.

Death threats are never a fun thing, but if you let them get to you they have won. I hope the police sort out this all out for you and things get back to normal as soon as possible.

Anonymity on the net needs to be changed. One of the co-founders of the wikipedia is setting up something similar but where people have to provide their real names and proof of their credentials before editing content. If that works, who knows what else will.

Posted by: William | Mar 26, 2007 7:15:40 PM

I have not gotten death threats but have has some pretty nasty stuff hurled at me by a blogg writer with no sense of humor. Numerous posts were written on the non subject and it even got media coverage. I have discovered that bloggers can be very cruel and nasty.

Posted by: Teresa Boardman | Mar 26, 2007 7:16:45 PM

Dear Kathy, thank you for being public about something that must be so personally devastating. It is heartbreaking to read all this, but I'm sure your courage - that you are showing all of us - will prevail. It is incredibly unjust that those work so hard and deserve their success are the first-in-line to be targeted. Don't let them silence you.

Bon courage and take care.

Posted by: steph troeth | Mar 26, 2007 7:18:17 PM

Disgusting, pathetic, and cowardly. Terrorizing anyone is not a right and deserves only exposure, condemnation, and appropriate consequences. Your courage (even if you're not feeling much of it right now) is incredible. Fortunately, there are way more of us than there are of them, and always will be. Every last one of us is in your corner.

Posted by: Melle | Mar 26, 2007 7:20:35 PM

I've been a reader of your blog for a long time- this is the first time that I'm posting a comment.

I just wanted to add to the responses already posted and express my apologies for what you have gone through. I sincerely hope that you will decide to continue spreading your gifts and this blog to all of us for years to come.

Trevor Harwood

Posted by: Trevor Harwood | Mar 26, 2007 7:22:33 PM

Kathy, I want to express my sympathies, support and encouragement for you in this crisis. I hope you recover from this incident and return to blog. You are a great inspiration to everyone in the technology field. Best wishes.

Posted by: Krishna Kumar | Mar 26, 2007 7:22:56 PM

Hrm. perhaps filters don't like my language. Resubmitting from earlier - sorry if this is a duplicate post.

Bullshit like this makes me so angry that it's difficult to post a coherent comment - - I am so incredibly sorry to read about this, Kathy.

Yet another LT reader/FT poster - - I was compelled to comment on this because it hits pretty close to home for me. A member of my immediate family was a victim of sexual violence by a stranger, and I also received (offline) death threats once myself, so I have some idea of what you're going through (I only say "some" because I'm a guy, and I think this is one of those things that is just different for men and women, no matter how far we've progressed.) I know that something like this can create a fear that plugs straight into the legacy brain and makes it really tough to engage in rational thought.

It sounds like you're handling the particulars of this exactly right - taking it seriously and getting law enforcement involved quickly. My only other advice would be that you now also take prudent steps to protect yourself personally. This could include things like installing a security system, taking a self-defense class, taking a firearms class, getting a dog and training him - whatever works best for you. Aside from the immediate practical benefits, these things also help you work through the paralysis that fear can bring with it - in fact getting back to krav after years away, and getting my beautiful german shepard were the two most positive, tangible benefits that came out of my experience.

I know it's easier to say these things than to do them - - I don't know if this helps, but I just read your post the other day about getting a mammogram after putting it off for a decade, and I think it's probably a bit like that - - the only real relief from the fear comes from facing it down, head-on.

It feels woefully inadequate in the face of something like this to sit here and type advice into cyberspace. If there is anything at all that we can do for you - just say the word. Seriously.

Last - to the pervert/sociopath reading this: how pathetic do you need to be to try and prove yourself by terrorizing a lone woman and posting creepy shit about her around the net? If you want to prove what a big one you have, pick on somebody your own size. My real world location is easily findable 24/7 via link below, and you don't scare me in the least, asshole.


by the way - I generally use pseudonyms online because I greatly value my own overall privacy, but some things need to be said in the daylight, and this is one of them. Delurking just to prove I mean it.

Posted by: Paul Bryant | Mar 26, 2007 7:24:14 PM

Your blog kicks ass! Keep on kicking.


Posted by: Kick Ass | Mar 26, 2007 7:27:24 PM

This is truly horrifying. I'm so sorry this is happening to you. I'm sure this will blow over but I know how it feels. I recently had someone get me fired from a job for some comments I made in one of the online communities in which I participate. The comments were taken totally out of context, edited and sent straight to my then supervisor. I was accused of publishing hate literature which, for those who know me well, is completely out of character.

I of course, appealed my dismissal and upon further review, it was decided that they didn't have any hard evidence that I was a hate monger but I was still dismissed "without cause" and received a severance package.

So believe me when I say I understand how horrible it is when your online life can have such a huge and negative impact on your offline life. I hope things get better for you.

Posted by: Crooky | Mar 26, 2007 7:28:02 PM

Dear Kathy

Even in the light of this, you have managed to inspire us with this post. Stay strong, stay passionate, stay safe.


Posted by: Mel | Mar 26, 2007 7:28:51 PM

I read this post earlier today and got so mad I had to go out for a long walk (and it was raining, too).

I'll echo what others have said: we love you and we are all here for you, whatever you decide. But we will miss you terribly if you decide to stop blogging. Terribly.

I also want to shout a huge BRAVA to you for speaking out about this. I know so many of us public (and even not so public) women in tech and blogs get harrassment and threats all the damn time and we just keep quiet about it because that's what we're supposed to do, that's the price of being female on the internet. Even if it gets scary we're just supposed to grow a thicker skin....or be less public just to make it stop (waving hand). You are a role model to us all for standing up and saying NO. NOT ACCEPTABLE. I admire you so much for that.

Your post is a rallying cry to me. I need to stand up. We all need to stand up. It is long past time this nonsense stopped.

Posted by: Laura Lemay | Mar 26, 2007 7:29:48 PM


As with everyone else, my thoughts and hopes are with you. I would like nothing better than to see a prosecution and conviction for such evil. A strong word, but one I feel that suits.

The folks who did this need to have a large wake up call, and then realize that they must look in the mirror every day of their lives, knowing what they did.

Stay safe, and be well. Remember, as long as you have your integrity, they will never win.

Posted by: Stevie R | Mar 26, 2007 7:30:05 PM

What a horribly complicated situation this is :(

I hope that you guys are able to catch the idiot responsible for sending death threats. The owner of meankids can easily provide logged IP addresses. If he can't then his web host can. If the web host can't then the next switch can.

They'll get traced.

Good luck and please don't stop writing because of them. We're all here to help in any way we can.

Posted by: garg | Mar 26, 2007 7:30:07 PM

Take heart Kathy:

I hope the authorities delve into this and hold the responsible person(s) accountable.

I hope to continue reading from you; but more importantly I hope this situation is dealt with in a manner that leaves you reassured of your safety.

you have my (and a whole lot of others) support.

Posted by: Franklin | Mar 26, 2007 7:32:35 PM

Hi Kathy,

During 2003/2004, I was stalked on my livejournal, two of my email accounts, my phone, my home, my favourite hangouts and my workplace. I used screen snapshots of my journal and stacks of emails with ips traced in the court case. I am more that certain the police advised you to start a log book. And, it sounds like you are getting help to cope with the fear. The courts are getting better at acknowledging online documentation and organization is key.

The wisest thing that I was advised was to not give anyone the power with fear. Easier said than done, but just give it time. Though the police told me to cancel my journal, get an unlisted number and stop living the same patterns, I refused on some of it. Though it was a small community of 100 or so on my journal, I slowly used the experience to write it all out and to eventually help some others when they were bothered. I told the police that I would not give up my whole life and my online space. Eventually the courts along with the constant tracking and organization heeded peace.

It was one of the most violating experiences. You are right you will never be the same, but I think it is absolutely effective to speak up about why it is unacceptable online or elsewhere to stalk or cite hateful, harmful things against another human being. I also think, as a blogger, that it is healing to speak up.

This year I finally started posting publicly again. I will alwsys look over my shoulder and still shudder when the phone rings with call display listing a blocked number. Only you will know when the timing is right for you to venture online and to what extent. This is your space and your community. When you are ready, they will hold up your freedom to write, to challenge and to inspire. Rest up.

But most of all: thank you. The more people who tell of their experiences and define what is acceptable, the better this community will be for all of us.


Posted by: Heather | Mar 26, 2007 7:34:14 PM

Kathy - It occurs to me, scrolling through nearly 300 comments, that a lot more light surrounds you than darkness. Keep fighting these criminals and they will never win.

Posted by: Kevin Dugan | Mar 26, 2007 7:35:18 PM

This is outrageous. Please know that many good people around the world are wishing they knew what they could do to help right now.

My thoughts are with you.

Posted by: Brett Terpstra | Mar 26, 2007 7:35:30 PM

Sadly, this isn't the first case of harassment or death threats I've witnessed online. It's happened a few times in the political blogosphere, but I have to admit, I didn't expect to see this kind of behaviour from tech bloggers (or even their readers), especially not directed at you of all people.

But, then again, the most deranged men will always find the least confrontational women to pick on, and with the convenient perceived anonymity of the internet, there's no low they won't stoop to. I'm glad to hear that you've involved the police and that you're fighting back; it's been done before, the police do take these things seriously, restraining orders get issued and charges do get pressed, so don't let the sleazebags win.

I know it's a traumatic experience, but you will recover, and we will all be here to welcome you back. Take it easy for now, and keep it in the back of your mind that nothing is more demoralizing to these jerks than to see you right back where you were before and to see that their intimidation hasn't worked.


Posted by: Aaron | Mar 26, 2007 7:36:30 PM

Take heart, Kathy! I am sorry to see that you've gone through this. I remember a professor telling me a few years back that Southern Gothic is the dark underbelly of America. I'd say it's anonymous misogyny on the web, actually. Misogyny is just so pervasive - seeing the new Vanity Fair cover (with the Sopranos feature) made me think to myself: if THIS is our universe, I am truly in the wrong one! I do NOT accept it. I just can't. Anyway, just know that lots of good people love and support you, and are rooting for you!

Posted by: Sara Ost | Mar 26, 2007 7:40:44 PM

Wow. I don't really need a reminder that some people really, really suck... and yet here it is anyway. I hope it helps you in some way to know how many of us are disgusted and outraged by the posts of a few little-brains.

Posted by: Andersen Silva | Mar 26, 2007 7:41:50 PM

I read bloggers that I love and bloggers that I hate and there's no way that I'd ever corss the line that you've described. I consider myself a "passionate user" of life and have very strong feelings about varoius things, but nothing (NOTHING!) excuses the type of behavior you've described and endured.

I happen to really like your blog and admire your writing so from a purely selfish standpoint, I hope you hang in there. But I wouldn't blame you for quitting because I know what fear can do to one's health.

On the flip side (and I know this is easy for me to say, not being in your shoes), if you quit, THEY win. Some idiots would have silenced one of the clearest voices of software development "reason" on the planet, and that would be a shame. But again, I'm not in your shoes and I don't envy you in the decision you must make.

I wish you well and I hope that things work out to where you can continue to share your wisdom with those of us that are still sorely lacking -- We're thankful!


Posted by: Tom McDonald | Mar 26, 2007 7:43:14 PM

Lot's of strength to you!

Posted by: SvP | Mar 26, 2007 7:43:17 PM

i hope you feel better kathy.

if it's any consolation you do have the greatest blog of all time (and i'm not just saying that to be nice, it's actually true!). it's like the michael jordan of blogs.

Posted by: kid mercury | Mar 26, 2007 7:43:30 PM

We're with you, Kathy. Thanks for standing up and telling what happened.

Posted by: Jay Rosen | Mar 26, 2007 7:43:38 PM

What you report is revolting behavior.

There is one detail that did not ring true to me.

You mention Jeneane Sessum [Alied] by name.

I've known her for a couple of years, and that is not the kind of person I know.

I went to her web site, and my understanding is Jeneane did not participate. She had one link to a site that was taken down. That's the kind of thing any of us in the blogosphere might have done, quite innocently.

In your (well deserved rage and fear, please take care to not hurt someone who is innocent.

be well.


Posted by: Ron K Jeffries | Mar 26, 2007 7:45:54 PM

What a horrifying thing to have to go through! Your words are so inspiring and valuable, I can't imagine not being able to read them anymore because of someone so twisted and awful. Hang in there. The majority is behind you!

Posted by: Jane | Mar 26, 2007 7:45:57 PM

Hi Kathy,

There is never an excuse to treat another human being like you've been treated.

Like Shelley above, I too think people need to be careful about what they say about all this - it's important that innocent people don't get associated with what those bastards (more than one?) specifically did.

No one deserves to live in fear - most especially for speaking their mind. I don't thing blogosphere culture (well the tech/marketing blogosphere culture) condones this kind of behavior - it's never acceptable. I'm sorry Kathy.

Posted by: Karl Martino | Mar 26, 2007 7:48:05 PM

Stay strong, Kathy. As you see from all of these posts, you have a tremendous amount of support. The spineless morons who wrote those hateful things will not get away with it. We all hope that you get back to speaking and posting soon!


Posted by: Brad Dielman | Mar 26, 2007 7:48:46 PM

I am glad that you were forthright enough to come out and say what's going on. It needs to be said and heard. Just because people are on the Internet and can be anonymous doesn't mean it's okay to say anything and everything their minds desire. I am praying for you and your family, that you can get over this and move on. I pray that God would rend justice to those who have been abusive to you.

Posted by: suni | Mar 26, 2007 7:48:57 PM

I've read your blog for more than a year and find your posts to be so full of insight and interesting ideas that I'm always amazed. But it's your tone that has always captivated -- your ability to convey a complex idea with pictures and a positive tone.

Success begets jealous, envious people who, in their desire to justify their own failures, take aim at those most successful. I was truly shocked to see some of the names you mentioned in this post as participating in the meankids.org travesty...and agree that it's hypocritical to support organizations, communities and companies that hold up these people as someone to respect.

Like the other zillion commenters here, I add my voice to those who are outraged...whatever I can do, I will do. Losing your voice to online bullies is not acceptable.

Posted by: Karoli | Mar 26, 2007 7:51:30 PM

I have a lot of thoughts on this but, basically, if you're this strongly affected by these actions on these websites you should take legal action.

As much as I'm glad to see your community rallying around you and various participants being publically shamed, you should make them pay as serious a price as possible for such actions because you're positioned to do so.

Many people get attacked in this manner and don't have the resources to fight back. You could make a difference in changing that and it might help your traumatic stress in the long run to know you've taken real action.

Posted by: Clyde Smith | Mar 26, 2007 7:52:35 PM

There are folks that can find this guy(s). I hope you have hooked up to that particular department at the police station. If not there then the county level, or whatever avenues within Wordpress. They know who this poor excuse for a human being is and I know they have their own security team. Everyone leaves a trail to follow, it just takes a good investigator to figure it out. Good luck.

Posted by: Comedy Plus | Mar 26, 2007 7:55:30 PM

I get so angry with losers who can use photo edit and the anonymity of the internet to intimidate a woman.

Posted by: Charles Edward Frith | Mar 26, 2007 7:58:01 PM

You and your family are in my prayers. You inspired me to start blogging and I never miss reading one of your posts.

Posted by: Dee | Mar 26, 2007 7:58:14 PM

I do not know you or your blog or any of your body of work, but I think you, as a human being, deserve to be treated as such. My thoughts are with you tonight.


Posted by: Alex | Mar 26, 2007 8:00:39 PM

Hi Kathy-Found your post today through Seth Godin's blog and I've been reading your blog for many months.

I am so sorry that this is happening to you. It shocks me that (supposedly) intelligent adults have participated in this. And MeanKids.org? "Kids" is right, though most children I know have much more empathy and sense of right/wrong than those bloggers have.

Please take good care of yourself and do what you need to do to feel safe.

We all support you! It is time that this ridiculous (and accepted) culture of hate be stopped. You are brave to speak up about this. The Blogosphere needs to change NOW. Hopefully something positive will come out of everything you've had to go through.

Keep shining the light — darkness hates it!

Posted by: KG | Mar 26, 2007 8:01:04 PM

Be comforted and encouraged, knowing that so many of your readers care (almost passionately :-) about your well-being. My prayers are with you.

Posted by: Judy Harper | Mar 26, 2007 8:01:24 PM

everyone in the blogosphere should never tolerate this kind of behavior.

we stand with you, and you are not alone.

Posted by: Colin Rule | Mar 26, 2007 8:04:22 PM

Kathy: HANG IN THERE! Your reaction to these sick idiots is completely understandable, and their behavior is inexcusable. I hope you won't let this kind of thing stop you from expressing yourself and sharing your knowledge and perspective. "Siftee", "Rev ED" and the others will be outed online. It would be a shame if their childish, disgusting behavior stopped you from doing what you enjoy and do so well.

Posted by: Eric Weaver | Mar 26, 2007 8:10:33 PM

I've truely enjoyed your blog for a while now. With a 4-year-old ruling my time, I don't often get much chance to do more than look at your wonderful illustrations, but I get a lot from those. I hope you'll find a way to keep sharing your insights and stay safe.

I'm shocked and saddened that you've been a target of such sickness. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by: Jennifer | Mar 26, 2007 8:14:10 PM

I'm sorry to hear about this Kathy. :(

This post was echoingly painful because it reminded me of some choices I've had to make that were similar. In these situations, the choices must be very personal to the woman - and the results really depend on you and who these creeps turn out to be (12 years old? Or empowered adults? etc). People with a past that includes violence are more sensitive to violent movies...those of us who are commenting here can't really know all the facts behind why you would stay home and cancel your events. Hopefully law enforcement has all the details.

The Gift of Fear book is a great recommendation because it puts a matrix around the craziness of stalkers. I would also recommend a model mugging course (where you physically attack the guy in the padded suit). Understanding what it *feels* like to defend yourself while freaked out gets at the core of the feelings you are talking about here: canceling, needing to stay home. It feels better to take action than wait scared. But only at your own time, your own way.

You've got a strong community around you, so take what you need to recover, and my hope is you will come back blogging Sierra-style, which means a lot to me and all these good folks.

Hang in there,


Posted by: Betsy Aoki | Mar 26, 2007 8:20:11 PM

oh, this is so sickening :-(

i think that like everyone else writing in, i wish there was some way i could help, and some way we could stop this horrible act from ever having happened.

good luck Kathy


Posted by: lb | Mar 26, 2007 8:22:39 PM

Kathy, I cannot tell you how shocked and horrified I am by these attacks. You should have the police hunt down the perpetrators and bring the full weight of the law upon them.

I think your blog is one of the best on the internet.

Be reassured that the people (I use the term loosly, they are probably male, but are certainly not men) who do this are spineless cowards. They are not worthy of your notice. Attention is what they crave.

Let law enforcement professionals deliver them their just desserts.


Posted by: Andrew Price | Mar 26, 2007 8:22:57 PM

Kathy, you know we all support you, also that words have no meaning now but you can count on us...

best regards from a chilean reader


Posted by: //jorge | Mar 26, 2007 8:24:39 PM

Hi Kathy

Another long time reader and occasional commenter who was sickened by this news. I can't believe the idiocy of some people. Take the time you need to feel safe and I hope these morons are brought to justice.

Since I know you love a good diagram, I thought you might like this one from Penny Arcade (http://www.penny-arcade.com/). I think it sums up the situation perfectly (NSFW-language):


Sending strength and good vibes your way and hoping this doesn't silence you for good.

Theresa Cunnington

Posted by: Theresa Cunnington | Mar 26, 2007 8:25:48 PM

I've read your blog for a long time now but never commented. This story just leaves me speechless. Please take good care of yourself and allow yourself enough time to feel comfortable again before blogging. Your well being is the most important thing in this matter. This is just disgusting, abusive behaviour and makes me feel physically ill. I hope this is resolved soon so you do not need to continue to live in fear.

Posted by: Will Cannings | Mar 26, 2007 8:27:15 PM

Kathy, what those people is doing is beyond the pale and criminal. And their threats cross state lines. I'm hoping you are bring in all the police help you can get. And I'm hoping that you know that people would help you wherever.

You should never be afraid for a second in your own house. If you feel that badly, though, I would imagine that there are blogging friends of yours who could put you up as the investigation goes on. I know you have fans on the East Coast, and we will help you in any way you can. Just say the word.

Posted by: Frank Roche | Mar 26, 2007 8:29:19 PM

Kathy ...

I admire your courage in posting about this and can only imagine the fear you're experiencing. You've been such an inspiration to everyone in this field. Take your time to find your centre again. We'll be here to welcome you back.

All best thoughts and wishes to you!

Posted by: Kate Trgovac | Mar 26, 2007 8:29:22 PM

I'm really sorry to hear this is happening to someone who is contributing so much to the community.

Please hang in there and don't let them win!

Is there anything we can do to help?

Posted by: Vic Stachura | Mar 26, 2007 8:29:42 PM

I too am sickened by these freaks
Perhaps my contact in the cyber crimes division of the FBI could be of assistance to you.
It is possible that those who are sending you these threats have in fact broken laws and should be locked up with other asexuals.

Posted by: nimble2 | Mar 26, 2007 8:32:55 PM

I don't do this...write to others' blogs. But, I read them and have read yours for a long time (and bought a book!). This situation, however, has really upset me. First, you're brave to have confronted it so forthrightly. Second, you raise a point that we (all of us who are in favor of free speech) struggle with: when is it too far. This...was too far.

I've never used the word "limit" in this context. But, maybe...just maybe, there are limits. I hope you stay active. I wish we could figure out how to deal with this sort of thing. Maybe your experience can generate some ideas. Odd how cyberspace can form a community of strangers, huh. Stay strong.

Just a random physicist,

Posted by: Chip Brock | Mar 26, 2007 8:33:15 PM


My thoughts and prayers are with you and hope you bounce back soon. I also pray that the blogosphere will unite and utilize their talents to track down these weasels. If you ever are in Indy and need a bodyguard, don't hesitate to give me a call.

God bless,

Posted by: Doug Karr | Mar 26, 2007 8:34:18 PM


Sorry for this turn of events. Be prudent, be safe, I pray.

I think your admonishment above the comment form, to discuss ideas, not people, is the key to turning things around. My feeling is that anything about a person is unacceptable.

I worry that saying crude and violent things injures the spirit of the person speaking (ala 'Angel and the Badman'). Saying evil or evil-sounding things makes evil a part of one's life. Which then makes doing something more evil even more likely. If nothing else, you cannot develop a healthy respect for co-workers and team-mates while thinking, saying, and doing hateful things.

Unfortunately, you are probably correct -- this part of your life may be over. Even if you move, change your name, you would need to cover all contacts with friends and family to really evade a determined stalker, and may need to change careers. As you say, the threat has already done terrible damage.

Best wishes for the days ahead.

Posted by: Brad K. | Mar 26, 2007 8:38:17 PM


Can you send any suspicions you have about the nature of these attacks to me? I'll keep in strictest confidence within a group of people who may be able to help.

Frank Krasicki

Posted by: krasicki | Mar 26, 2007 8:40:52 PM

Kathy, I wanted to add the following....

There is a special circle of hell set aside for those that wish violence on others.

There is a difference between criticism and hate speech.

The kind of behavior you've been subjected to is NEVER acceptable and I feel terrible for you.

It's behavior that should be discouraged by all of us.

In any blogosphere we participate in - tech - political - business - regional - or otherwise.

Posted by: Karl Martino | Mar 26, 2007 8:42:23 PM

Kathy -- I am completely disgusted to hear about this. I hold you and your blog in the highest regard. Don't let the bozos get you down. Take the time you need and know there is a group of people here who admire and support you.


Posted by: Matt Dickman | Mar 26, 2007 8:45:09 PM

Thank you Kathy,this may be just the heads.up that the rest of us geekgirls need to take into account. Your post on Twitter now wholly justified. Time to wrap up.
Love and support form South Africa

Posted by: Max Kaizen | Mar 26, 2007 8:46:03 PM

Kathy, this is just so awful. I don't know what to say. You have given so much of yourself, and now THIS? Awful awful awful.

Posted by: Donna Papacosta | Mar 26, 2007 8:46:16 PM

Dear Kathy, Thank you for sharing this painful event in such a brave and open way. My heart goes out to you. You are such a bright light and it angers me that you have been violated in this way.

There is no room in this world for hate or for anything that takes away a person's ability to reach their full potential.

As I struggled with how to offer you words of support and encouragement, I kept thinking of Elie Wiesel. Here is a quote from him that challenges each of us to stand by your side:

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."

Posted by: goodwitch | Mar 26, 2007 8:47:47 PM

(Duplicate posting; sorry about that, I put the previous one in the wrong thread)


You are taking this entirely out of context. I am "Joey". You have my IP address and I'll gladly give you contact information. You have nothing to fear from me and are going overboard with your claims of, well, whatever these claims are.

If you look at the context of things, you'll notice I was replying to "Jane", who is also a "Kat" and I called her "Kathy" (in the third person) in that posting. If you checked the logs, you'll see there were many times I referred to "Jane" as "Kat" and possibly "Kathy" too.

Again, let me repeat: My reply was to Jane or Kat, not you. The posting you are referring to was in no way a threat of any sort. There was no language in it which hinted at or intended or remotely suggested a threat to your life -- or anyone's.

I did not create nor post any of the graphics you are referring to. But even so, you are taking them out of context because we criticized your books and a crayon drawing. While I'm not entirely condoning it, they are still just pictures and were not labeled with words that could possibly be extracted to imply a death threat.

I'm sorry if someone else was sending you nasty email -- truly, that is always horrible. No one at either site had anything to do with that. I do not know who would even consider or encourage that sort of behaviour. IT IS WRONG. But certainly you've been doing this a long time and have received one or two nasty emails by now.

I even checked server logfiles for the the IP address you mention as sending you very nasty email -- it never even shows up in my logs. Not even the parent IP address. So there is no connection between your unknown one piece of hate mail and our postings or comments.

And I'm sorry if you *really* feel scared becomes someone sent you a nasty email and we criticized your books.

But at this point, I don't believe you are scared. The way you are handling this, I believe you are angry at the criticism and not scared of postings or comments from the site.

No rational person could possibly be "scared" from my one line sentence which wasn't even directed at you. Further, it wasn't even *sent* to you. It was on a board *you* visited and took out of context.

Again, I'm sorry if you received other emails from other sources that were not nice. People in this world are pretty screwed up. But in my eyes, you are also acting out of line and are now practicing the same type of intimidation you are complaining about. I thought you said you wanted a better world? Consider setting an example.

I don't deny I have my own faults; but I would never, ever hurt or call for the hurting of anyone. No matter what I now think of you, I still and always will wish you only good will and nothing but good will.

I even hope you write more books! They are a joy to criticize.

Best of Luck,


Posted by: Joey- | Mar 26, 2007 8:49:14 PM

Kathy, I sent you a personal note, but wanted to publicly share my support as well. The distateful comments and blog posts are so far over the line that it just saddens me. Take care of yourself and know that there's still good folks in the community; let us know how we can help.

Posted by: Kevin C. Tofel | Mar 26, 2007 8:52:44 PM

Hi Kathy,

I found this page through a link from Tantek's blog today. I am shocked and awfully sorry that you have to go through this.
Don't let these sickos keep you off blogging and speaking publically. I know, this is easier said than done, given how you must feel right now. They want to silence you, don't give them what they want, keep inspiring the community with your blog. I'll keep you in my thoughts, I'll keep checking back, and I hope to read from you as soon as you recovered.

Posted by: Monika | Mar 26, 2007 8:52:59 PM


Keep fighting this. This is intolerable, and not acceptable on any level. You have my support. I have seen much support for you throughout blogs this evening, including my own. God Bless.


Posted by: Rebecca | Mar 26, 2007 8:53:18 PM

I am speechless. I am frightened for you. This also makes me quite aware of what can happen to me too. I am a much, much smaller blogger who lives in a much smaller town so the potential to get some wacko to find me won't be terribly hard (if they try hard enough). I have tried to not disclose as much of myself online because I was quite aware of being "out in the open". This post has heightened my fear, though thankfully, I have not received any nasty comments or emails (yet). But on YouTube, I was getting some awful comments that I ended up removing and eventually have disabled all comments and ratings for the purpose of "canning" such trash from polluting what I try to do. I don't visit YouTube at all, because I am aware of a lot of sick stuff hosted there but due to its popularity, I continue to post my videos because most people will visit that than other tech video hosting sites.

As I've said before, my objective for my blog is also to help others and share my enthusiasm for technology and Palm devices in general. So, I can somewhat relate that we are doing positive blogging to help others only to be targeted by some sick minded individuals. It's very unfortunate that there are some sad, sick, cowards who hide behind the anonomity of the internet to promote hatred and all the other sick fantasies and whatever crap they want to terrorize others. This is terrorism, obviously in a different form. Whoever they cowards are, are trying to silence the web, to create mass chaos and terror in the internet and undo everything good that the internet should and has done, to share helpful information, ideas in a "positive" way.

I sincerely hope that these sick cowards will be tracked down and severely punished. I hope that the blogging community can come together to bring down this kind of terrorism before it gets worse. It's crazy how we are now fighting many different forms of terrorism every day. We as a blogging community MUST stand up and fight this NOW! Or, this can get very nasty and horrifying very soon.

Thanks for bringing this to light. I sincerely do hope that you will get through this and hope that you will come back to show these cowards that you are not going away that easily!

Wishing you all the best regardless of what you do.

Posted by: May C | Mar 26, 2007 8:53:21 PM

Kathy, sending lots of good thoughts your way. Keep strong, you'll get through this.

Posted by: Rebecca | Mar 26, 2007 8:56:00 PM

I blog under a fake name "Purpleslog" for just that reason...thought I have not gotten anything like you have gotten.

Posted by: PurpleSlog | Mar 26, 2007 8:57:04 PM

Hi Kathy,

I'm always a little dumbfounded when I stop by your blog and read something that you've written, because your posts are always so wonderful. I can only aspire to be as good a blogger as you are, and I find a great deal of inspiration in what you write, to try to be better.

You have a lot of folks out here supporting you, and returning the positive thoughts that you've been sharing so freely with us.

This kind of behavior aimed at hurting you, and hurting women isn't acceptable. It's sad. It's pathetic. It's not part of the web that I want to be part of, either. I hope that we haven't lost your voice in the blogosphere, because your's is one of the voices that makes the web a better place.

Posted by: Bill | Mar 26, 2007 8:57:57 PM

Joey, thanks for the information, but it's not accurate. The noose photo was next to Kathy Sierra's head, not Jane, not Kat, or anyone else. Your comments about the noose were on a post that had a noose next to Kathy Sierra's head. The google cache of that exchange is linked to below, and it includes the set of comments on the post which was ABOUT Kathy Sierra, and where ALL of your comments were ABOUT Kathy Sierra, not Jane, not Kat, or anyone else.

The context of the threat is clear.

Kathy is not scared because "someone criticized her books". She's scared--among other things--because of a sequence of events which included your comment about a noose in her neck size, on a photo of her with a noose.

At least you're taking ownership of the comment in question. We don't know who posted the photo of the noose next to her head, but at least we know who wrote the threatening comment.

Posted by: Bert Bates | Mar 26, 2007 9:04:33 PM

My thoughts are with you, Ms. Sierra.

Posted by: Sumana Harihareswara | Mar 26, 2007 9:05:55 PM

Kathy, we are, as a community, diminished by the actions of a few. Stay strong and be certain that there a many more who love and value your views, ideas and opinions than those who would see them silenced.

Posted by: Gavin Heaton | Mar 26, 2007 9:07:57 PM


This is just terrible. I can't imagine why people do such hateful things.

I hope that you can feel safe before too long. And I also hope that you'll continue to post to this blog.

Posted by: Bernard Farrell | Mar 26, 2007 9:13:48 PM

"My first reaction--and probably yours--is to think, 'Of course he doesn't actually mean it.'"

Actually, my first thought was, "This should be reported to the FBI, which I've heard does a good job of tracking down and prosecuting those responsible for criminal cyber-threats like this if they're domestic."

Posted by: David Gaw | Mar 26, 2007 9:18:18 PM

Wow, that's nuts. It's so sad.

I hope you work it out and come back out and play soon. There are infinitely more good people in the world then awful, and it seems lots of them like you.

Best wishes.

Posted by: Mick Liubinskas | Mar 26, 2007 9:18:39 PM

I know that ultimately this makes me part of the problem, but seeing things like this makes me want to hit someone. I'm glad you are taking this to the proper authorities, and hope it is resolved safely for everyone and that you continue to contribute your worthwhile thoughts - as well as any that people may feel are not worthwhile.

Meantime, keep in mind that if you do decide to make a public appearance there are a lot of us out here who've got your back.

Posted by: Trent | Mar 26, 2007 9:18:51 PM

The world is definitely getting stranger by the day. I'm not blaming anything in particular, but I've noticed an entire generation of kids who will do anything — ANYTHING — to become a YouTube phenom, even if it means taping two girls beating the snot out of each other in plain daylight. And that's just the lighter side of their dementia. I'm 45 and when I was young, I wanted to have a good time and enjoy myself. Purposefully inflicted injury is not my idea of a good time. That crap freaks me out.

I'm sure you're taking appropriate steps with your local police (which are never a help, until AFTER you get injured), but please don't live your life in fear. We respect and appreciate your work, and the psycho writing this tripe never does. That we know.

Posted by: Zaine Ridling | Mar 26, 2007 9:20:42 PM

When we give in to fear, we are then controlled by those who wield fear. Don’t let yourself be controlled by these idiots; step out and show them you have no fear. While this is the first time I have ever run across you or your blog, a quick perusal through it shows me that these threats have no basis in reality. They are the product of a sick, demented mind who will only grow stronger every time you give in to their fearmongering.

Stand up, be strong. Surround yourself with friends for protection, and taunt these piles of steaming bovine excrement until they show their hand and can be dealt with by the authorities.

Oh, and BTW, nice site. I like.

Posted by: René Kabis | Mar 26, 2007 9:20:48 PM

Kathy -
I'm surprised this happened and yet hopeful you will leave your house again, and this will be some story you can tell at a later time with a lesson perhaps or some amusement. I know that it seems a far reach given where you are now, but one can hope.

I wanted to meet you and selected this conference as one way I could hear you up close. You are highly sought after speaker.


Posted by: Nilofer Merchant | Mar 26, 2007 9:21:49 PM

Best wishes.

I know I should not longer be surprised at the number of asshats in the world.... sigh.

Posted by: Adrian Howard | Mar 26, 2007 9:27:20 PM

This is horrible
You have giving so much to the world
and don't absolutely deserve this treatment.

I thank you for all you teachings and thoughts...
things will work out for the best.

Posted by: elviejo | Mar 26, 2007 9:27:21 PM

This is terrible. Definitely the best of luck to you and anyone else going through the same situation.

Posted by: Roger | Mar 26, 2007 9:30:41 PM

I thought I'd offer some help here. I'm a former co-founder of a company that provides IP intelligence technology (Digital Envoy - www.digitalenvoy.net). Although I'm no longer working there, I could get some IPs run in short order.

So Kathy - if you want to ping me with all of the offending IP addresses that you have, I can have them run through and figure out where this person (or people) are located. The one IP address I picked out from the above shows that the person was likely from Spain. This would be useful for anyone investigating these folks but would also be useful in pulling in the right authorities into the investigation.

Feel free to drop me a line and let me know.

Posted by: Sanjay Parekh | Mar 26, 2007 9:31:37 PM

One more voice to add to a chorus of many. This is abhorrent schoolchild-like bullying and as unacceptable on T'Interweb, as in the playgroud, as in person.

I personally doubt the bravery of anyone who posts threats on a website or bullies in cliques, I suspect they wouldn't have the guts to even speak to you in person. You have already done the finest thing you can by outing their unacceptable behaviour.

Post again soon, your writing is a pleasure.

Posted by: Andy Croll | Mar 26, 2007 9:32:10 PM

Jeneane; Has anyone noticed how loudly she doth protest? Or how many times - on her blog, in replies to posts on her blog, on posts in this blog - she says "which police?" a bit too often and desperately. How many times has she said "I was in the hospital" as if that would make a difference... unless she were comatose. And how many times in those same varied locations she implied, subtle but not too subtle, threats of her own - amid gobs of conflicts in her commentary.

Finally, look a bit more closely at the original shocking threats and postings against you, any second year psyc major would say they were "textbook" hostile female, not male, in origination. The police, any police, have probably already told you to expect that. Hmmm.

Posted by: ken | Mar 26, 2007 9:33:06 PM

There is a good chance you can land these sickos in a straight jacket where they belong if you pursue the right authorities. These days, the digital trail is pretty thick, they CAN be traced back. Dont let the fear stop you from turning the system that they think gave them such right to anonymous hatred against them.

Posted by: anon | Mar 26, 2007 9:35:05 PM

That is just so terrible, I haven't posted a comment on your site before... I've just browsed it for the fantastic articles that you write. Hopefully whoever is doing these things will have the guts to come forward and apologize (if it was just a joke). I truly hope things get better, it would be a shame for you to stop writing because of some idiot.

Posted by: Vann | Mar 26, 2007 9:35:51 PM

I've been following passionate users for a few years now, and it means the world to me when I see a (1) next to your RSS feed. I've never posted a comment, but reading your articles inspire me and my desires to grow my design business with a passion and respect for my clients.

I send you all the best in dealing with this crisis. I trust integrity and strength will prevail, and your impact on the web will grow in the aftermath of this tragedy.

Best Regards,

Posted by: Andres | Mar 26, 2007 9:37:16 PM

Kathy I found your blog via a post made on 9rules.com

Not only is this pathetic, but it is down right disturbing. You should not be made to fear for your life by these internet users. I hope that the police are involved.

Posted by: Rose | Mar 26, 2007 9:38:45 PM

I am dumbfounded at the hatred directed at you. What do these people think? Why all these threats? What is the reason behind this? To say I'm confused would be an understatement...

You have a great blog and you've given us so many tremendous pointers that saying "thank you" won't cover it. I just hope that, somehow, an investigation gets to the bottom of this.

Posted by: Ted Laskaris | Mar 26, 2007 9:40:11 PM


I wonder if you're even to afraid to turn on your computer. Either way, I want to add my voice to the hundreds of others and let you know that you're in my prayers. You write a great blog. Take care of yourself.

Posted by: tim | Mar 26, 2007 9:43:55 PM

I was shocked when I read the vile, sick, demented comments that have been directed at Ms. Sierra.

I hope the authorities are able to track down those psychopaths and put them away.

I feel incredibly sorry for her and it's heartbreaking that Ms. Sierra, an intelligent, accomplished woman, was driven off the public stage as she was.

Posted by: Jim Caruso | Mar 26, 2007 9:47:13 PM

Kathy, you are so strong to face this publicaly, and I hold you in the highest esteem and regard for coming forward at this time. You are already on your way to overcoming this challenge, and I stand with you. This too shall pass, and you will be even stronger for having suffered through it. Thank you for sharing your pain and allowing us to reflect in our own ways on what this means.

Posted by: Jeffrey Keefer | Mar 26, 2007 9:47:34 PM

I'm very sorry to hear you've been threatened.

It's unfortunate that blogs and forums also give voice to people who don't deserve to be heard.

Posted by: Rimian Perkins | Mar 26, 2007 9:47:41 PM


You were an excellent speaker at Linux.conf.au 2007 and I was inspired by your ideas and your presentation. I apologise on behalf of my gender, which seems to have far higher proportion of nutcases and nasty people than the female sex. The fact that 'Joey' can turn around and candidly deny doing what he obviously did just makes it worse. These people - let's say these men - are delusional, psychotic and irrational, and nothing can excuse their behaviour. It is not your fault at all.

I wholeheartedly support you through this terrible time, and I know that you will eventually survive and grow stronger and come back into the full sphere of interaction in time. Helen Razer here in Australia went through a similar terrible ordeal, and has recently come back into the media stronger than ever.

Take care, have fun, and be well,


Posted by: PaulWay | Mar 26, 2007 9:52:05 PM

I have been your blog for a long time. I wish you well and hope the police will clear those criminals from the online community.

Posted by: Jay Feng | Mar 26, 2007 9:55:54 PM

There's nothing more I can say here. You will continue to believe what you want, I see. Bit I will try:

Saying "Kathy" for "Kat" on that particular thread was, obviously, unfortunate. I have copies of the entire site and can easily show where I've done that before.

I am utterly amazed at how this "story" is being spread around so many blogs as if it were "real news".

Kathy overreacted because I was criticizing her books and drawings. Prior communications with her indicated she was angry, not scared, over the criticism of her books.

My guess is that she doesn't like Chris Locke and thought "Joey" was him. I assure you, Joey is not Chris Locke but I am not prepared to say who I am here (on this board) with 300 people ready to *KILL ME*. You folks are over the edge here and *I* am the one scared now. Nice work, Kathy, turning criticism of your book into this mess. Very good.

While it might help my case, I will not post any private email because at this point, if she's really called some law enforcement, they are my a portion of my proof of innocence.

I am contacting a lawyer (to find out if there is even a way to verify if charges are filed) in the morning and asking anyone reading this to kindly stop spreading misinformation. At this point, I'm the one who feels the need to protect myself. I beg you. What's going on here is wrong. Please use your own critical minds.

I don't know why Kathy's using me as an excuse for not attending her meeting. I am not the one who emailed her and she took what I said out of context. Period.

Again, I wish you all peace. But please stop making or believing false claims.

Posted by: Joey | Mar 26, 2007 9:56:26 PM

I just happened upon your blog--and your horror story! It's nice to see that you truly do have a wonderful support system in your readers. That must provide a lot of strength during this terribly trying time--I hope it does anyway! My best wishes to you, and I hope you are able to find that "safe" feeling again soon!

Posted by: Robyn | Mar 26, 2007 9:57:23 PM


Trying to turn this around and saying 300 posters here are threatening you is pure bullshit.

Posted by: steve | Mar 26, 2007 10:03:43 PM

"But when it was my turn, somebody crossed a line. They posted a photo of a noose next to my head, and one of their members (posting as 'Joey') commented 'the only thing Kathy has to offer me is that noose in her neck size.'"

Sorry Joey, I must have missed something here. Could you explain that again please?

Posted by: ken | Mar 26, 2007 10:03:45 PM

The careers of the culprits are now over -- and Joey's as well, once his identity is exposed, in due time. Karma's a bitch. And Kathy will return!

Posted by: Karma Stinks | Mar 26, 2007 10:06:19 PM

Kathy, I'm so sorry this is happening. It's absolutely disgusting.

It'd be a shame if you stop speaking and writing, but if that's what it takes for you to feel safe then it's for the best. I hope you come back. :(

Posted by: Raena | Mar 26, 2007 10:14:05 PM

Kathy, I'm so sorry this is happening. It's absolutely disgusting.

It'd be a shame if you stop speaking and writing, but if that's what it takes for you to feel safe then it's for the best. I hope you come back. :(

Posted by: Raena | Mar 26, 2007 10:14:08 PM

Here is my entire post that Kathy so handily clipped out of, you tell me if this is a threat to her and keep in mind, I'm speaking to a different Kathy!

# Joey Says: March 15th, 2007 at 5:15 pm

Darn, I ruined so many posts today ALL OVER THE WORLD! Something is wrong with being retired and realizing you had a long, hard day!

Do any of you twits hang out in chat rooms (non-twitter;) anyplace? I need to kick back and talk to actually enjoyable people instead of the twerps I was with today. Don’t ask: basically, it ended up that they wanted …. M O N E Y trying to sell, you guessed it: H A P P I N E S S.

Why didn’t they get it the first time when I said “retired”? That usually is followed by “fixed income”.

…And then my baggy pants fell down at the meat market.

The only thing Kathy has to offer me is that noose in her own neck size ;)

REMINDER: THE ABOVE IS A QUOTE and not a new threat of any sort. It is an attempt to establish context. If you still want to kill me, fine, where do I go? TELL ME, where do you want to kill me at? I'm tired of this. I'll jump off a bridge, name it. What do I have to do to show you Kathy is playing a game with you?

Posted by: Joey | Mar 26, 2007 10:14:23 PM

As a woman in the IT field reading about this worries me. I wish you the best.

Joey - You don't see anything threatening about that picture and the comments with it? I can't see how anyone could look at them and honestly see it as some overreaction to criticism about books. Oh, and I doubt 300 people are threatening you.

Posted by: Helen | Mar 26, 2007 10:15:58 PM

After reading this, I feel unsure of what to say. But I want to add my voice to the sound of support. Kathy is writing some of the smartest stuff in print or on the web; but more than that she's a real and good person, as I'm certain her friends and family will attest.

To her fans, of which I am one, she is friendly and accessible. A true class act. That makes these already horrific comments even more inflamatory and sickening.

I hope that your voice isn't silenced by this, Kathy. For every one creep making these statements, there are hundreds of loyal fans who love you. We're all disgusted by this.

Posted by: dangross | Mar 26, 2007 10:17:04 PM

Kathy, we love you, and we love your writing, your brilliant ideas, and most of all, your courageous spirit.

This is really awful, and no one deserves something like this, least of all you.

I can't believe something like this can keep you down for long, because that spirit will conquer you in the end, just as it already conquered us.

Still, be sure and take your time, and do what you need to do to be safe and feel safe. Work with the law to get to the bottom of these threats. We can only hope that whoever made them is sent up the river, and publicly identified and humiliated, as they deserve to be.

We're all behind you, ready to help in whatever way we can.

Posted by: Charlie Evett | Mar 26, 2007 10:17:57 PM

Kathy, Your insistence on passion in technology is an inspiration to us all.

I hope you can continue your work.

Posted by: Graham Coleman | Mar 26, 2007 10:19:41 PM

"I was replying to "Jane", who is also a "Kat" and I called her "Kathy" (in the third person) in that posting." -- Joey

Whoops. Yeah, Kat is a nickname for Jane. Right. Of course. What were we thinking?

Posted by: Karma Stinks | Mar 26, 2007 10:21:40 PM

I am a fan of your books. I infrequently visit your blog, but I love it, whenever I drop by.
I am appalled by this bizarre turn of events.
Here's hoping that the police catch these vermin and manage to return your peace of mind and that you will be able to bear this out and make a comeback.

Posted by: Indraneil | Mar 26, 2007 10:25:52 PM

I really think you would have a much better life if you did not take yourself sooooo seriously. Sure, what these people wrote was infantile and weird, but I don't see how you intend to help yourself by taking it all straight to heart. Unless you're manufacturing fodder for a lawsuit, which is what this sounds like (never-ending emotional distress, etc.) Sure, it's not a pleasant interaction to have with someone, but if this is honestly the worst thing that has even happened to you, you must have led an awfully sheltered life thus far. I've been threatened with death, too -- by a guy a lot more earnest than these nitwits -- but that doesn't even make my top 100 of unpleasant life experiences to date.

Posted by: DexterCornell | Mar 26, 2007 10:29:44 PM

Sorry to learn about these incredibly disturbing incidents. I'm only one person in a voice of thousands who are apalled at the depths some people will go to, to hurt other people for no apparent reason. Whether intended or not, the language and threats being used against you are extremely unfortunate, disgusting and clearly show the person(s) using them are mentally challenged and possibly psychotic. I hope and pray for your safety and my girlfriend and I will make sure to use any mental energy we can summon to try and block those hurtful words from impacting your life. I know there isn't much anyone can do until these people are caught and brought to justice, but we as a community can support you from afar and hope that you will not be physically harmed in any way.

Peace be with you.

Tony Z.

Posted by: Tony Zeoli | Mar 26, 2007 10:31:50 PM

Ignore the bullies. Sure, they crossed the line, but they are nothing but mean pranksters. At least I hope so.

Keep the head up - your blog is one of the most inspirational ones out there.

Posted by: Yuri | Mar 26, 2007 10:32:41 PM

I don't know you, and I'm not familiar with your blog -- I found a post on Adam Greenfield's Speedbird mentioning your situation. I just wanted to stop by and say that such repugnant, repellent, sickening, violently antisocial behavior is, thankfully, rare in the blogosphere. Even a little is too much, and I'm sorry that those assholes went after you. Be safe and well.

Posted by: Vidiot | Mar 26, 2007 10:35:08 PM

Joey: stop defending your hurtful speech.

You just want to make people feel bad through your speech. It's deplorable. And I'm not threatening you. I just hope you apologize to Kathy, realize you said some things that are hurtful, and learn to be less of an a##hol#.

Add light to the world, not darkness, and all will turn out well. You certainly aren't bringing light. Hopefully you can figure out why what you said is so hurtful. It's hurtful to me, now that you pointed it out to me.

I would NEVER bring that kind of imagery into my speech. Something is SERIOUSLY WRONG with someone who does. Go see a shrink and figure it out. Don't take it out online.

Posted by: Robert Scoble | Mar 26, 2007 10:37:47 PM

Karma, I'm retired. That means I'm a useless, probably toothless old man. I was simply criticizing someones silly books and all this happened because I found the format of her books insulting to people who were serious about learning.

Also, Karma, I never posted a noose picture. PERIOD. I did see it and I didn't think twice of it. It was an innocent noose up against a black background. So what, there are noose pictures and diagrams in newspaper comic strips every day. Check the real world. A standard icon is not a death threat in its own right. There was utterly no intention to suggest a death threat by anyone who used the graphic, whoever it was. There was nothing to suggest death related terms except the text which indicated her publications were silly.

Could it be that whoever used the graphic meant her published ideas were dumb?

How do you go from criticism to death threats?

All I did was criticize her book. Can I repeat that again? All I did was criticize her book.

Go in peace, I can see how useful talking here is going to be.

Posted by: Joey | Mar 26, 2007 10:40:16 PM

you should explain it to the police now before you're forced to make an explanation.

Posted by: J J | Mar 26, 2007 10:41:43 PM

Kathy, I hope all this gets sorted out and you get back in business. Your contribution is enormous and it would be a great loss to see you go. My thoughts are with you.

Posted by: Ryan Allen | Mar 26, 2007 10:42:59 PM


So many have said what I wanted to say about your ideas. Thank you your for the courage to say them. Thank you for writing them down, they work beyond the world of computers, I use them in persuading the public about Personal Emergency Preparedness. I hope when you find your safe place, you will write again. You have a lot to say and it needs saying.

Like many, if there was any way to give you comfort to find security in the world, I would give you my magic pill (alas there isn't one). Please ask your many supporters if you need help. If your speaking out can prevent someone in the future from enduring this torture, you can take some strength from this very bad time.

My question for the owner of meankids, why did you have to wait for the postings to not only step over the line but fall to the bottom of the Grand Canyon of threats before pulling the site? Apologizing is a start but it should have never reached the stage where you needed to apologize. Refusing or pulling death threats is not censorship, it is civilized behaviour. Telling the person making the death threat is not tolerated is respectful behaviour towards the person threatened and the person making the threat.

Kathy, I sincerely hope this will not have lasting effects and you can feel safe to do your fun activities. I am glad you have a secure zone to stay in and find comfort. It's the pits when your house is definitely not a secure place to stay.

As many others have said, take care of yourself and your family.



Posted by: maryb | Mar 26, 2007 10:43:28 PM


I'm so sorry to hear about this. It makes me sad to hear what happened and how it has affected you. Best wishes to you and come back soon!

As a previous commenter stated, there are a lot of good people out there...sometimes, it's hard to see past the a-holes.

- Calvin

Posted by: Koolio | Mar 26, 2007 10:45:04 PM

>All I did was criticize her book. Can I repeat that again? All I did was criticize her book.

No, you didn't just do that. You went over the line. I just read, and re-read, what you wrote. You need help if you think all you did was criticize her book.

Here's criticism: her book sucks.
Here's hate speech: The only thing Kathy has to offer me is that noose in her own neck size ;)

The little smile at the end doesn't help one bit.

Posted by: Robert Scoble | Mar 26, 2007 10:47:24 PM


You poor, old, retired man(?) With or without teeth, we wish you were a few more years north of retirement where, maybe, you couldn't even remember which letter comes after the 'A'. How macho is it for someone your age to 'play' with the kids in the sandbox? Wow, really amazing. And your ego... everybody knows what you are and that's bad enough. The problem is that collectively you and your children have created a monster and one or more is still out there not quite as exposed as you are.

Adios, harmless old man... sniffle, sniffle.

Posted by: ken | Mar 26, 2007 10:47:52 PM

Courage dear heart, courage.

Take courage in your family, take courage in your friends. Take courage in the many posts of support that you have received.

You have shown courage in going public. Please don't stop.

Find the courage to move forward, to move through, and finally to move on.

You are a luminary and a visionary and the software development community will suffer a huge loss if we loose you, but you are also human, and if your departure means healing for you, then heal.

Like many, I am saddened to read this blog entry. I too am disgusted at what some people find acceptable to post on someone's website. I have no idea what are going through right now. But I hope that the outpouring of love and support that has appeared in the comments helps.

I hope you can find the courage to heal and the courage to move on from this horrific crime committed against you.

Posted by: Chris Johnston | Mar 26, 2007 10:51:35 PM

I'm trying to figure this out.

So, "Joey" claims he wasn't threatening *this* Kathy, but rather the other one?

Um.... how exactly does that excuse anything?

Posted by: A Woman who doesn't want to be harassed, too. | Mar 26, 2007 10:51:53 PM


How horrible for you. As someone who's received (credible) death threats from readers before, I absolutely sympathize. It's a terrible moment when you realize that some people are incapable of civilized disagreement.

Some thoughts, however:

1) The first thing that one should do when confronted with threats is assess their probability. Is this person likely to actually try to harm you physically? While the likelihood is not zero, it is likely very small. The comments made are utterly disgusting, but they likely exist only within the imagination of the idiot who posted them.

People on the Internet -- and this pretty much goes for the blogosphere in general and trolls in particular -- are very good at talk, and extremely poor at action. It requires no effort for this fool to post these things...but even if they *were* motivated to actually confront you IRL, it's probably beyond their resources and almost certainly beyond their motivation.

This doesn't relieve the emotional distress you're feeling, of course. But keep some perspective -- trolls very, very rarely are anything but trolls.

And, to put it bluntly: if you stop blogging because of this, if you don't step back and look at this rationally, then you've let these virtual terrorists win. Fear can cloud determination and rationality -- especially if, as seems to be in your case, it's not just fear for yourself but your family.

DO NOT LET THEM WIN. In the end, these aren't murderers. They're stupid school bullies. And as somebody who kicked the living hell out of a couple of bullies in my time, I can tell you that the thing bullies fear most is lack of fear.

Good luck to you.

Posted by: Joshua Ellis | Mar 26, 2007 10:52:04 PM

The whole problem I'm facing her is that Kathy has framed this "event" as an example of an "internet death threat". Look at all of the Blogs carrying the "story" and you'll see that its has become a topic of the day. Sure to win an award.

Kathy new all along there was no threat to her. She selected the framing.

Had Kathy honestly framed it as "book critics are attacking me", this wouldn't get any air time.

That's the last I have to say. And please, whatever you do, don't twist anything I posted here tonight as some sort of additional threat. Yes, I'm angry, but I words are a fine enough defense.

Hail your own human gods as you please.



Posted by: Joey | Mar 26, 2007 10:52:33 PM

...just adding a note that I hope will let you know your efforts and blog are appreciated. Hope you see this through successfully.

Posted by: vivek | Mar 26, 2007 10:53:02 PM

Kathy - I first heard you speak at your ETech tutorial in 2005. I've referred to it ever since as "mind-blowing" and "life-changing"... I always find your writing and presentations to be enlightening -- and you have a special knack for putting things in simple terms (your WTF keynote at SXSW was brilliant). I was really looking forward to attending your ETech tutorial today, so I was very disappointed to hear you wouldn't be here... After reading this, of course I understand completely. I just want you to know that you have plenty of loyal fans -- people like me who value your work, your perspective, and the many contributions you've made to our industry. Thank you for everything you've done -- And please come back when you feel comfortable again. :-)

Posted by: Scott Markle | Mar 26, 2007 10:53:39 PM

Grow a spine. Honestly.. the internet is full of trolls, as you pointed out. Get over it.

Posted by: Ano Nemoose | Mar 26, 2007 10:56:42 PM

Don't worry, Kathy! this kind of 'dirty opposition' is everywhere. But they're always anonymous losers with a severe lack of balls. Personally I've been 'email threatened' by ex employers/contractors! But nothing happened because again, the kind of people that proceed that way have no guts to do anything harmful face to face. Take it as a signal that you're doing GREAT, and by the way you've been divine as usual at SXSW's opening remarks, I've listened the entire podcast! Well, keep following your bliss, and a lot of hugs to you from Argentina!

Nano Taboada.-

Posted by: Nano Taboada | Mar 26, 2007 10:57:04 PM

"Had Kathy honestly framed it as 'book critics are attacking me', this wouldn't get any air time."

Excuse me... did I mention eGO? The above comment "poor old (read harmless, please) toothless man" would have merit only if the critic carried weight in the real and credentialed world of publishing audiences and/or critics.

You are the idiot you met when you were born, enjoy it.

Posted by: ken | Mar 26, 2007 10:59:52 PM

Kathy, I am sorry that you are going through this... it is not cool...

I can tell you that with just a little bit of computer forensics, the sick bastard(s) will be identified...

Don't stop blogging, don't stop speaking... we support you...


Posted by: C. Enrique Ortiz | Mar 26, 2007 11:01:22 PM

siftee@yahoo.com has not be very inconspicuous.

siftee (david) is a 31 year old expat. Brit living in Barcelona. He's a web designer. He likes The Arctic Monkeys. He prefers Spanish chics.

He runs this website: talkconmigo.com

Picture of David: http://www.consumating.com/profiles/siftee

Thanks, Google!

Posted by: Sleuth | Mar 26, 2007 11:03:15 PM

since when the world became so sick

pls don't stop blogging

Posted by: naren | Mar 26, 2007 11:03:59 PM

As someone who has been stalked on line by a crazy stalker for over 4 years now myself, I completely understand how these words that people type out can affect you.
I know the fear, the anxiety, the wondering if any of the threats will ever happen.
The police where you live are taking you seriously, I was laughed at over and over again.

"Death threats over the internet because of your blog? Haha ha."
Maybe some good will come out of this and the rest of us who are being laughed at for asking for help from the police, will finally be taken seriously.

I'm so sorry you have to go through this too.
Blog url with held.

Posted by: kat | Mar 26, 2007 11:09:11 PM

Thank you for your efforts and bravery in blogging, both generally, and also about this incident. Stay strong....

Posted by: jeff in Chicago | Mar 26, 2007 11:10:04 PM

This time next year, I hope you'll remember your bridge climb (you probably know yo just missed her 75th birthday) more than the last couple of days.

Posted by: martin | Mar 26, 2007 11:12:25 PM

I feel angry just thinking of the cowardly rats who pull this kind of crap. I wish they felt less safe in launching their pathetic little threats. In fact, I get so mad that I am tempted to cross the line they crossed, and more. I guess that is the irony of the situation. Decent people have to stay on the right side of the line. Indecent people do not.

Kathy, I don't know anything about you. For all I know, I hate every political position you take. But you don't deserve this.

I will not say what those cowards deserve. Have to stay on the right side of that line. But man, it's hard.

Posted by: Chuck Hardin | Mar 26, 2007 11:13:52 PM

Hello Kathy and readers,

In trying to express my rage and unrest towards these violent events made to Kathy, I created a small graphic called "Zero Violence Blog". I've posted it in my blog hoping people will download the images and include them in a small post relating to freedom of speech, and expressing the support Kathy must be needing today. If you feel like doing so, please head there or ask me and I will e-mail the logos directly to you.

I hope you are moved enough as to try to express yourselves and do something now, before violence spreads wider into our blogging lives.

(As for Kathy: I hope you keep blogging as you have amazingly done up until now. I add my name to the long list of your supporters and I'll be thinking on your safety and happiness. Thank you)

Ron E.


Posted by: Ron E. | Mar 26, 2007 11:14:55 PM

Kathy, Bert...may clarity come quickly, followed by swift resolution. Reading about this...hurts. It shakes our faith, causes us to question our place in the world, disrupts our connection with humanity. It takes time to restore, I know...we'll be here for you.

Posted by: Dave Seah | Mar 26, 2007 11:18:16 PM

This is sick, and I hope the idiots responsible for this get fixed. You're an awesome blogger, and you've the complete support of the internet community. Please don't stop blogging.

Posted by: Utkarshraj Atmaram | Mar 26, 2007 11:18:41 PM

Dear kathy, you are my favorite blog editor. Creating Passionate Users is my favorite blog. I am so sad with this kind of things bad people involved you. But be strong. Do not leave of fighting. Me and a lot of bloggers from Brazil are supporting for the best end.

Posted by: Nelson Corrêa | Mar 26, 2007 11:19:31 PM

This totally sucks !!!

Please Kathy do not let these whackos silence you and kill your passion for what you believe in, stand for, and do.

You make people rock, without you a lot off us will stop dancing.


Posted by: Johannes de Jong | Mar 26, 2007 11:19:48 PM

Simply unbelievable what is happening to you. Stay strong, we are with you - even over here in Germany!

Posted by: Florian | Mar 26, 2007 11:24:51 PM

Ms. Sierra,

My wife directed me to this blog entry, and frankly, I don't know what to say.

Bloggers who focus on crime stories are a very small bunch in comparison with political or tech bloggers, but still, "crime bloggers" are writing entries about TRUE CRIME. I've been at it for almost 3 years and was one of the first to just call myself a "crime blogger." I've often blogged about people accused of murder -- even though they were free on bail or had not yet been arrested.

That means that myself and others who are interested in crime stories are frequently writing about people who aren't just "mean," but could possibly be balls-to-the-wall PSYCHOPATHS. And I mean psychopath in the clinical sense, not in the way that word gets bandied about in pop culture.

The point? Neither I nor anyone else I know in the crime blogging community has EVER encountered anything as vicious and frightening as what you have, Ms. Sierra.

I hope some of the folks like Frank Paynter, who are seeing how wrong this situation really went, read that, even though there's a huge number of trackbacks and comments here. I've been writing about PSYCHOPATHS, MURDERERS, for at least 3 years online, under my real name, and even though I've received death threats, I've never seen anything like the story told in this blog entry.

I've been frightened enough to jump at every sound in the night, but those were always my own mind working on me as I delved into some terrible story about serial killers. I have to say I don't blame you, Ms. Sierra, for the fear you feel -- and if you feel anger as well, I sure wouldn't blame you for that. Your story has made me angry, in fact.

And death threats over the Internet, I believe, are now federal crimes. I'll double-check, but I think laws have been passed in the last year or so that mandate time in a federal pen for this sort of thing.

I hope so.

Hang in there.

Steve Huff

Posted by: Steve Huff | Mar 26, 2007 11:26:05 PM

Me again. Look, bottom line. What you don't know here is that Kathy has a history with Chris and others. I'm not speaking for them, but simple Google searches show they often criticized her magical thinking approach to reality. Each time, to her displeasure. Look it up.

She knew that at least 3 of those former critics were at the new satirical site. SHE KNEW THIS. She was simply trolling (her word) for some way to get even. Well, she did get the site shut down as well as various other's wordpress accounts. Score! Congrats ;) Why's she still complaining?

There is also the fine detail matter that her time line of images is wrong on her post. It will take me a few hours to sort it all out, but I'm certain I can prove that an image she claims scared her was posted far after she started contacting people at the site. Now she's reframed the timelines so that it appears she bumped into everything at once and it scared her. Other events don't line up either. What she's making sound like happened in a few minutes was over the course of days.

You're being manipulated. I'm sorry. There's no other way to put it.

At this point, since Kathy is claiming to have involved the police, I am asking her to post the name of the police office and phone number here on the blog. My lawyer and I will call and find out what's going on.

This mess is just wrong. And you're all falling for it.

Really, it is now time to call the bluf. I've spoken with an attorney pal just a bit ago. Put up or shut up. Please let me know who I should turn myself into for arrest. I volunteer to do so because I am utterly certain the record will show Kathy is intentionally lying. And once it does, I suppose my own lawyers will start to make money.

I don't mean to brag. But I'm retired and that means I do have a little bit of savings which I'm willing to use to get to the truth here. Kathy, I don't want to have to end up suing you; but if that's what it takes to ensure others can freely criticize books, so be it.

But first step is first. If I'm a fugitive, I'd like to turn myself in. Please provide the name and number of the officer you filled your complaint with.

That is all. This is amazingly insane.


(Nothing in this letter is intended as a threat).

Posted by: Joey | Mar 26, 2007 11:29:05 PM


We've been following your blog for sometime. Also your Head first series is a big hit in Chennai (& India). We support you from Chennai, during this troubled times.

Dont be afraid. We can fight against this together.

Posted by: Muthu Ramadoss | Mar 26, 2007 11:29:32 PM

Sorry to hear about this Kathy. I'm one of the countless readers of your blog that are always excited about what you post. It's always interesting, well thought through, and usually useful somehow to me. I hope you'll be back blogging soon.

Posted by: Magnus | Mar 26, 2007 11:29:58 PM

first, i think it's important to distinguish between a death threat and somebody using threatening language. nobody threatened to kill or harm you.

second, death threats are usually sent directly to the person being threatened. this was not the case, here. you actually had to go trolling the internets to find comments you found unsavory.

third, we're not completely helpless in these situations, as you've shown by letting us know about what's going on. for any sites that actually make any money, we can use our collective influence to pressure advertisers not to run ads on these various sites, etc. we can get in touch with people who run the sites and express our outrage. there are a million ways to fight back - we can be as creative as we want.

fourth, policing the internets is not a worthwhile investment of your time. leave that to our terrorist government and the NYPD. i'd suggest just ignoring what others have to say about you.

fifth, there are companies out there that will help you 'clean up your reputation' and all that -> see TechCrunch for details, or just google for them. they'll send the necessary threatening letters.

sixth, by actually showing that you're concerned about what others are saying about you on the internets, you're just feeding the fire - just like those law school girls. it's a master PR ploy for the terrorists every time. why does everyone repeat the same mistake?

seventh, if you feel threatened, call the cops. call the fbi. hire a private investigator to find the person you think is threatening you. ask us for money and we'll send it to you. together we'll pay who we need to pay to get the identity of the terrorists. no need to give in or give up, we just have to stick together.

Posted by: Peter | Mar 26, 2007 11:30:26 PM

When I first heard of this I didn't believe it was true. But now reading this makes me realize that there are are a lot of unstable people out there in the big world. And Internet just brings them closer.

I think that if Frank Paynter really means what he says he should help you (and the police) to get the people that made this. There are limits to what you should be allowed to do and/or say as a human being. I hope they get caught and that you can find some level of peace to get back to a more normal life. The tech world needs people like you.

Don't (ever) do unto uthers what you wouldn't want them to do to you.

Posted by: Henrik | Mar 26, 2007 11:32:24 PM

I'm stunned, lost for words. You're one of our (the World's) best bloggers and we love your work. We really hope you keep going but totally understand how difficult this is for you. What can we all do to help? I feel strongly that I need to do something to help but can't think what that might be.

Posted by: Shawn Callahan | Mar 26, 2007 11:37:14 PM

I'm really sorry to hear that you were taken for such a target practice, and that it caused you so much pain and distress. Unfortunately, such things are all too common in some parts of the Internet, and while I have long ago stopped paying attention to them, taking them as necessary evil that accompanies the freedom Internet provides, I can understand that it had a profound effect on you.

Posted by: Berislav Lopac | Mar 26, 2007 11:40:20 PM

So, "Joey" claims he wasn't threatening *this* Kathy, but rather the other one?

I'm sorry I didn't make it clear. "Jane", "Kat", "Kathy" are all personas. They are not real poeple. The "Kathy" and "Kat" that I and "Rev Ed" (as your Kathy references in her post) are not real people. They were personas intended to be picked on and the people behind the personas entirely didn't mind. They were cartoon characters.

Your Kathy knew that. She's known it all along. She knows exactly who "Kat" is and even references her in her post.

I don't see other errors or omissions I need to correct here.

I've told you all I know but haven't yet posted a complete breakdown of Kathy's original posting errors which clearly shows her game. I'm working on it; but it is bed time and I am an old man who needs sleep.

Good night.

Posted by: Joey | Mar 26, 2007 11:40:23 PM

Time to turn out for a good cause.

I am sorry that you have had to endure this. I hope that you can. It is a horrible thing.

It puts the lie to the idea that opportunity (aka 'freedom' aka 'license') will gradually improve the world.

Evidently every generation has its dysfunctional people, good homes produce jerks, and the internet and anonymity allows us to see where one or two of us may be coming from.

In the meantime, it can be a bit of a shock to see how such things can get to us. I guess the responses to your blog show that your response is widely and easily understood.

May you heal gently: may the heels eventually find their way home.

Posted by: Jeff Oliver | Mar 26, 2007 11:41:31 PM

Every so often, I'm linked to one of your posts by a friend or colleague and what you write is nothing less than astounding with a dash of intriguing.

Know that you have the community's support through all of this; and I hope a large amount of e-hugs reach you properly. :)

This is ghastly, and I'm really left speechless at the amount of idiocy and complete lack of forethought that some people have.

Posted by: Peter Gordon | Mar 26, 2007 11:45:31 PM

How wrong. How absolutely wrong.

Glad you've gone to the police. Glad you're making this as public as you can. Horrible. Despicable.

What are you telling your daughter? Knowing your writing, you're telling her the truth. Take care and be well, and all my best thoughts to you.

Posted by: Senia Positive Psychology | Mar 26, 2007 11:49:10 PM

I believe the threats etc. were just ways to intimidate you out of competing for top dog in the blogging popularity game. It's a sign they were taking you as a serious threat. I'd say don't let them intimidate you, but I haven't been threatened like that so I'll just say stay strong and consider this as a compliment - you were that good, they couldn't take you out any other way. Yes, I'm cynical, but also completely serious.

Posted by: wolf550e | Mar 26, 2007 11:49:53 PM

I had to kill my online comic strip because I had a stalker who didn't get the clue that I just wasn't that interested in him, so I get where you are coming from. Why did I stop it? Because the cops told me to! He was leaving comments all over it emailing me, sending "gifts" through mutual acquaintances even after I had told me that I was no longer a single woman. So my site is dead and a part of me inside died that day.

I'm still mad - not at the stalker, but at the cops for not taking the issue seriously and making it my fault for having it in the first place. In other words, because I am a woman, I am not allowed to voice anything lest I incure the wrath of a man.

Posted by: mamid | Mar 26, 2007 11:50:59 PM

Women deserve the same rights as men in all the fields of public and private life. No more, no less. Please don't take the easy road and make this general thnking that all of us men are like this.
Not all of us are like that.
You have the support of most of us to do what you do, even if we may disagree at some point.
We can even learn from the idiots, at least, what not to do. Carry on!

Javier Marti

Posted by: Javier Marti | Mar 26, 2007 11:55:41 PM

Dear Kathy

I would like to begin by stating that i disgaree with peter in bits. Its true you were not threathened directly. but a threat is a threat. and sadly like you, I learned to fear threats via the e-mail. even if you are not directly attacked, your mind does begin to wander as to who,why and when.

I, for once, am glad you took the trouble to talk about this. People much younger of age grow up everyday and discover the net unaware of such tracking and threathning.

I hope you find Justice and more importantly,Peace of Mind.

Posted by: metagrape | Mar 26, 2007 11:57:30 PM

I've had death threats to myself too on social networks. That was the price of fame and visibility. Don't let it get to you. It comes with the territory.

Best to ignore death threats. Being affected only gives them power. I know that's hard to do, but that worked for me.

I want to threaten you with a long and happy life! :)

Posted by: LongLife | Mar 27, 2007 12:00:31 AM

After reading Kathy's post in a bit more detail, and all the comments, I have a clearer picture what just happened.

1. Kathy was participating in a forum frequented by people who criticised her in the past. Fine.
2. Some of those people used offending language. Check.
3. Other (or the same) of those people used language that included covert or open death wishes or even threats. Hm, worrying, but that's Internet for you.
4. In combination with the slitthroat comment on her own blog, Kathy had all the right in the world to get scared, and she did. Completely understandable.
5. She blows the fear off by posting about it on her site.
6. Everybody immediately gives her support (good) and chastises the commenters (bad).

I know that this support is what she personally needed, and I hope she feels better for it, but this is a lynch mentality. This is how wars start; believe me, I saw one.

Posted by: Berislav Lopac | Mar 27, 2007 12:05:12 AM

This is horrible. I'm sorry you had to go through this.

Posted by: tony | Mar 27, 2007 12:05:33 AM

This is getting ridiculous. There appears to be a horrible absence in common human decency in the blog-o-sphere recently. And this goes beyond anything of compare. I am so sorry you are suffering from this. You are not alone, my own colleague suffered from similar attacks this very weekend.

It's important that you posted about it. I hope this is the start of the end of this type of thing.

Posted by: David Gratton | Mar 27, 2007 12:06:46 AM

Am so sorry to hear this. For me this blog is a shining light for how things should be and is so positive and creating. That people have to tear it down and try to unmake it is both unnerving and disheartening.

I cannot say that I blame you for your reaction Kathy. And if you never post again: thank you very much for all of it. The inspiration, the acknowledgment, the validation that a voice from the fringe can be heard.

I will miss very much hearing your observations on what it is we do. But it is not worth this

I will read any book you create or join any 'gated' community you would start.

best wishes and really really hope this can be made to go away so that the plethora of us that relish this site can continue to do so!

Posted by: Jeff Sherwin | Mar 27, 2007 12:08:27 AM

This is what gives rise to walled gardens.

Posted by: Giles Bowkett | Mar 27, 2007 12:11:17 AM

I attended your speech at last year's RailsConf Europe in London, which was one of the two presentations that still make me think - and stay passionate about the stuff I'm passionate about (which is software testing).
In fact the other one was Dave Thomas' talk about ... risk and how do deal with it. I wish this kind of risk you're facing now would have never become real for someone.

Posted by: Stephan | Mar 27, 2007 12:15:19 AM

Craig Ambrose said "It makes me wonder how many other bloggers, and also how many other women in technology, have faced similar problems and have tried to deal with it by themselves."


I wish I could say this attack on Kathy surprises me. It doesn't. I wish I could say it was an isolated incident. It isn't. I wish I could say that incidents like this are always taken seriously. They aren't.

I'm delighted to hear that the police are acting on this. I'm even more delighted to see that the community is saying 'Enough!' Let me join my voice to this.


Enough of this. Enough of everything like this.

Kathy has done nothing to deserve this. Whoever you are who did this, I trust that you will enjoy the view from your prison cell window. I hope you will learn that the community, RL and VR, disapproves of your behaviour.

Kathy: I'm very sorry this happened to you. All I can do from here is say that I give a damn... and I do.


Posted by: Jennifer Vesperman | Mar 27, 2007 12:16:00 AM

Death Threats are not protected speech, "Roger that"

For some reason you have become high profile, and hit a nerve in the primitive reptilian brain space of a few individuals.

You are not alone, lots of people get death threats, so get even, and get some extra protection. You may want to get a weapon and some good training. Lots of Libs do it, just ask Di Fi, she owned a gun when under threat as mayor, and had a concealed carry permit. Just get good training. She had one (before she had secret service protection), you should too.

If you think you get weird hate mail, consider what the person who put the Mohammad Archives together is getting.
zombie of zombietime.com

Our family has offered zombie whatever protection he/she deserves and we can provide.

Posted by: Econ-Scott@Hotmail.com | Mar 27, 2007 12:17:09 AM


Posted by: Pro-Anti-Drama | Mar 27, 2007 12:19:12 AM

I have been a fan of yours since I first saw you speak at SXSW last year. This is my first time posting here, but I wanted to let you know that your online family supports you. In all of my selfishness, I hope these people don't deter you from blogging. I really enjoy your writings.

Posted by: David H. | Mar 27, 2007 12:24:19 AM

Kathy, the attitude and behaviour of these trolls is sickening and tragic. I'm sorry you've been subjected to this. Take the time you need to calm yourself and take whatever precautions you deem prudent. Then screw your courage to the sticking place, and continue. Because to do otherwise would be to let them win, and that would be the greater tragedy. Take comfort, you are not alone.

Posted by: Carl | Mar 27, 2007 12:24:44 AM

Kathy -- I'm so sorry you experienced this and I wanted to add my voice to the chorus of support. Your writing has had a big influence on a lot of people. I hope you keep blogging ... you make a positive difference. This post is is a powerful example of that. It's being felt across the blogosphere and the vast majority of the comments I've read are supportive of you. I can't help but hope that this raises awareness of the issues to the point where not only will people be less inclined to make statements like the ones attacking you, but other people who may have remained silent previously will call them out.

Posted by: jennyw | Mar 27, 2007 12:32:35 AM

Hi Kathy,

These cowards will get what's coming to them. In the meantime, stay strong and take comfort in the company of your loved ones. And remember - the cyberworld is a place where sick, pathetic degenerates love to feel more important than they are in the real world. Anonymity brings out the worst in these losers but they have no power over you.

Take Care,

Posted by: Antoine | Mar 27, 2007 12:33:47 AM

When bullying happens on the play ground it is wrong. When I heard of internet bashing kids in high school I was outraged: the internet must not be that kind of place. Same reason virtual child porn on second life should be illegal.

This whole business you just posted is sick, wrong and devout of humanity. As the internet is another subset of interactions, once again these are social based and should be under social scrutiny.

Wordpress has blocked the page. Good.

Action to shun these people out of the social network called the Internet. At home they must not have any friends...

(angry and hurt right now)

Posted by: marco | Mar 27, 2007 12:35:04 AM

Peter, I thank you for posting a rational, reasonable post in the midst of this fire. It is impossible for me to keep up with these posts. I hope rational minds prevail. Where I fueled it, I'm sorry. Emotions are hard to avoid when hundreds of blogs are passing a misleading story about me. Yes, I get the irony of it. Still, from my perspective, the only thing I did to Kathy was criticize a book and a hand drawn diagram. Nothing more except defend myself. It's not right. My criticism of her didn't and never would had achieved this level of world attention.

Again, I'm sorry. But if she's called the cops, I insist that a police officer's name and number be provided so that I might do the right thing and turn myself in and let the justice system see my innocence, with a good lawyer, and a counter-suit ready.

I have gone to many of the back-link blogs and asked them to come here and read our messages. Again, there's no way to handle defending myself alone.

I only ask you use your critical thinking and rational thought processes instead of cult of personality training.

This is getting out of hand.



Posted by: Joey | Mar 27, 2007 12:36:31 AM

I wish you the best to go through, get the police to jail this person and feel the relief. I wish it for you but also for all of us enjoying your writings.

Posted by: Loïc | Mar 27, 2007 12:40:00 AM

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

Don't let them win! The programming community needs you! Badly! ;)

Posted by: Peter | Mar 27, 2007 12:41:04 AM

i did not know you nor your blog, but you have all my support in this tough situation.
we are all on your side.

Posted by: gianandrea facchini | Mar 27, 2007 12:42:06 AM

All the best, Kathy. Reading your post made me really sad, I hope everything turns out for the best.

Posted by: Henri Weijo | Mar 27, 2007 12:46:01 AM

I wish you a lot of strength. Things like that are terrible.

Posted by: John Mueller | Mar 27, 2007 12:46:38 AM

Hi Kathy,
The people who have put anonymous comments are the ones who dont have the courage to speak up.. Kathy you are one of the gems in this world.. Head first books are the most interesting technical books I have ever read.. I read those books eventhough I dont have to learn anything and still it gets into my brain.. So it would be really bad if you stop writing or teaching because of this. I sincerely hope the people who have done this will be rightly punished.. The world is with you kathy..

Posted by: Ananth | Mar 27, 2007 12:52:31 AM

And we love your books and your insights that you present here. You are one of the few bloggers whose posts I treasure most.
This perpetrated act of "terror" must NOT be tolerated in the name of free speech. It goes way beyond the limit of personal freedom and can hurt a person very deeply.
How do we punish those trolls? Should we Google bomb them? I feel like I am sick of it.

Posted by: Ajit | Mar 27, 2007 12:57:01 AM

This is a side of the internet, and blogging, that I fortunately rarely come across. I hope you reclaim the balance in your life.


Posted by: keith bohanna | Mar 27, 2007 12:57:45 AM


I am a big fan of your writing - I am currently deep into your "Head First Java" book and have as a consequence, recently starting reading your blog.

The world is full of sick people - it's a fact of life unfortunately. I am horrified by what has been written and what you are going through. Whatever happened to "live and let live"?

Stay safe, look after yourself and eventually this moron will get bored and go away.


Posted by: Mike | Mar 27, 2007 12:59:10 AM

This is sick, completely sick. I wish all the best for you, hope you will recover. This is a sad moment for the blog community. Best regards from Romania!

Posted by: Gabi Aanicai | Mar 27, 2007 12:59:42 AM

This is terrible, very sorry to see this happening Kathy. Shocking. Hang in there.

Posted by: Jon | Mar 27, 2007 1:10:08 AM

Hi Katy,i'am an Italian blogger. I didn't know about your situation but i'am with you: in Italian blogosphere there isn't this fury,blog still remain personal diary even if they are a new potent form of communication. I think that blogs still remain a personal diaries and it isn't not accetaple every offence: in real life and in Internet.

Posted by: Dario Salvelli | Mar 27, 2007 1:16:07 AM

All the best, Kathy. I get both mad and sad when I read this. Wish you a lot of strength!

Posted by: Martin Jonasson | Mar 27, 2007 1:18:23 AM

It is really unfortunate that a handful of sick people can do so much harm in an open environment like the Internet. Free speech is to be protected but Kathy is right, this has nothing to do with free speech.
Please Kathy, hang on.
Best regards from Paris

Posted by: Philippe | Mar 27, 2007 1:19:12 AM


Let me add my voice to the chorus of support for you. It's almost unbelievable that this kind of behavior can occur.

Be well.

Posted by: Eugene Chan | Mar 27, 2007 1:20:34 AM

I'm compelled to add my voice to the abundance of support you have here. I am sickened by what has happened. I am also outraged, because these actions have threatened to silence one of the best.
You have done the right thing in exposing this situation; do not doubt that. I can only hope that the support network that has formed around you will be a comfort and help you find justice.

Posted by: Christine | Mar 27, 2007 1:22:22 AM


I am not your lawyer. Regardless, I'm telling you: Shut the f*** up, idiot. For your own sake. You're in deep. Clamp it.

Posted by: Donald Smith | Mar 27, 2007 1:23:33 AM

I am sorry to hear that sad story. For a while I have been thinking in the same direction concerning the German "blogosphere", and particularly many so-called "A-listers".

Oftentimes, they are annoying, egocentric and love to mock others. Indeed, this has to change. It is a bad side-effect of people with nothing better to do leveraging a technology hype to score speaking engangements and all that.

Let's re-focus and think about the direction online social living should be like (but also, let's not fool ourselves: the online world is not the better version of the real life and I am sure offline celebrities have been living with these threats for a long time).

Posted by: Philipp | Mar 27, 2007 1:25:33 AM

Pretty sh!tty stuff all round. Here's hoping you feel a bit better today, Kathy, and that the a-holes behind all this are suitably dealt with. Victimising someone for being a woman is pretty disgusting.

Posted by: Brian Turner | Mar 27, 2007 1:28:42 AM

Hello Kathy,

In the jungle, only the strongest survive. You are very strong. Stand firm, chin up.

I know how you might feel : I also got death threat twice over the last 2 years. Just because of some of my contributions on some discussion forums out there on the Net. First, you get terrified. It's so scarring, especially when the guy is just a hundred miles away. Then, you start realizing those are just words. So you take all measures to protect yourself and your family, and the things do settle by themselves.
Fact is, in the past we all could have been victims of such of threats in our neighborhood. Today, the Net is the neighborhood.

Take a couple of weeks "off", relax, enjoy the real life.
And, please, come back, stronger than ever, for our own satisfaction : we all love your posts.


Posted by: Marc Duchesne | Mar 27, 2007 1:28:56 AM

Hi Kathy,

Don't let that ppl make you live a life of fear. Great ppl usually get attacked by other ppl who are jealous of their situation/money/personality/family/etc.

I really enjoy reading your blog. You are in the right path and in no way you can give them this amount of power over you. Just live your life the same way it was before this situation. If in some way the authority thinks they must receive some kind of punishment, ok, it'll be done. If not, just think on all the ppl who support you, and that like your work. There's a lot of us :)

I wish you the best luck!

Best regards from Chile

Posted by: Roberto Alamos | Mar 27, 2007 1:35:42 AM


Stay safe, Kathy. You did the right thing in posting this. There is a culture and a community here that will stand up for you. May those who have threatened you be rooted out and dealt with seriously. I wish you and yours peace and protection.

Posted by: Easton Ellsworth | Mar 27, 2007 1:36:58 AM

VERY upset to read this.

We actually have received several calls for security for several Speakers and Authors over the past year in response to threats.

Posted by: Security | Mar 27, 2007 1:41:26 AM

This makes me sick. I am so sick of asshats on the internets that think that because they're safely sitting behind a keyboard, they can toss out all forms of normal behavior.
Yet another disgusting event in the blogosphere that makes me hate it that much more.

Joey and the handful of other jerks in the comments here (Peter with the "terrorist government," the "grow a spine" anonymous coward, etc.) just make it even more sickening.

Kathy, I'm a first-timer here too, but I'm no stranger to sickos on the internets. (Nothing like this crap, though!) I am so sorry you were picked as a target for the mentally deranged. I'm glad you DID write about it because a serious discussion about this kind of crap is way overdue, and those who post such vile things NEED to be outed when possible. Not so threats can be returned (I'm lookin' at you, Joey--you've got some imagination), but so the perpetrators are shamed (and shunned) in public.

I've got a daughter too, and I know EXACTLY what you mean about protecting her from seeing this stuff. Those who don't get it are obviously not parents (or have forgotten in their old age), and are probably emotionally retarded as well. (I certainly HOPE they aren't parents themselves!)

Don't let these losers get you down--they want to drag you down to their level of misery and self-loathing. That's what all trolls and internet attackers are about.

Posted by: Beth | Mar 27, 2007 1:47:00 AM

Kathy, you have my deepest sympathies. But you mustn't fear. This is probably some kid sitting in his parents' basement. Perhaps he "designs" clan-like sites (i.e. image slicing, phpBB etc) and took offence at something you wrote. Who knows?

You're right to post this and right to involve the police, and I hope the toe-rag involved gets brought to justice - but you must carry on with life as normal. What's the alternative? How long will you hide?

Look at national leaders - they are getting constant threats, yet the most popular ones appear exposed and available to the public. If you're going to a conference, surround yourself with people you trust.

You must ride this out or you'll go to pieces. I wish you strength.

Posted by: Mark | Mar 27, 2007 1:51:31 AM

Kathy, I'm so sorry to read about this. This is terrible! I thought the womens movement had come a long way and that we were all at least nearly equal now. Though I knew the tech world was a bit behind, I never would've expected something like this. I thought our little subculture had at least evolved far enough to leave sex and violence behind and just insult someone's code instead. Apparently, there's still a bunch of Neanderthals running around with slide rules claiming they have IQs above 5.

Posted by: Mackenzie | Mar 27, 2007 1:57:04 AM

Hey Kathy, don't let them get you down. I got a death threat by phone from an infamous left-wing journalist who's friends with an ex-CIA officer who sent me e-mails saying he knew where I lived, all because of my blog. Let's just say I wasn't exactly amused. I hope you notified the proper authorities. But don't let them get you down!

Posted by: Seixon | Mar 27, 2007 1:58:14 AM

Horrible. Truly horrible. But we have to believe that the good on the net outweighs the bad (as we have to in the 'real' world) or we'd never share, never communicate, never enjoy all the good things that have come out of this interweb thingyumyjig. The new friends, shared thinking, fresh connections and generosity.

I hpoe these people get what they deserve and that you find the strength to get through it. Please keep posting.

Posted by: gemma | Mar 27, 2007 1:58:52 AM

What a sickening and revolting situation. I hope the people behind these posts are found and punished.

It's funny how we all feel connected to someone just through their writing. Best of luck Kathy. Our hearts and thoughts are with you.


Posted by: Pierre | Mar 27, 2007 2:07:10 AM

Hi Kathy,

I learned about what had happened from some members of Linux Australia.

I feel your pain, but I have a proposal. I could create a blog on blogspot.com in my name and add you as a team member.

The comments will be moderated by me, so they'll get to me 1st.

Do let me know if this would help.

Posted by: Wei-Yee Chan | Mar 27, 2007 2:08:51 AM

Kathy. This is horrific. I have been subscribing to your blog by RSS for months and have found it to be one of the best sources of advice & wisdom.
Please remember that there are more of us, the good guys, than them. And we're on your side.
-- Steve

Posted by: Steve | Mar 27, 2007 2:15:38 AM

Those who did this are just pathetic... It is a real shame that people with so much time on their hands can find nothing better to do than insult and threaten others!They are pathetic and don't deserve the time of day but deserve to be put in a deep dark hole.

You should keep blogging! Keep going and fight these people.

Posted by: Thomas | Mar 27, 2007 2:15:40 AM

Hi Kathy,

Just like everyone else, I am very sorry you are having to go through this. Clearly whoever is responsible for these posts has a sick mind.

I wish there was some action I could take to help. ...I am sure they will catch this guy sooner or later. When they do, they will post his name on the internet, and google will punish him for the rest of his life.

Posted by: Toby | Mar 27, 2007 2:21:27 AM

With all due respect, Kathy, I hope you don't give in to these a**holes. These types of people really dig fear, they love showing off to their "friends" (if they have any) that they managed to scare another person.

Words don't kill people, people kill people. I would set some "spam"-filters on your weblog though.

Posted by: Vincent | Mar 27, 2007 2:23:40 AM

When you are the best at what you do, and when you
are female and that best is in what is predominantly a
male world, there are always the very small, scared males
who are going to behave in this way.
It is not the first time I've been ashamed of being male and
had to apologize. The difference this time is that there is a
very selfish reason - your's was the blog I most looked forward
to reading.
God bless and please come back soon.

Posted by: Ciaran McCabe | Mar 27, 2007 2:29:11 AM

Hey Kathi... I can't imagine that it helps right now, but e-hugs a plenty from a long-time reader and lurker in sympathy for what is a truly dysfunctional situation.

I've been meaning to comment for ages, and now I'm sad that it's under these circumstances that I'm finally doing it.

What has happened is a truly pathetic example of the worst that human nature can bring to bear - a combination of juvenile malice, pack behaviour and a complete disregard for the consequences.

I only hope we'll see you online posting again at some point - the world would be cheapened by the absence of your attitude, and incredible insight.

Posted by: Kevin Powe | Mar 27, 2007 2:31:59 AM

sorry kathy, i really meant no harm

Posted by: siftee | Mar 27, 2007 2:37:52 AM

This is by far the most disturbing post I ever read... and to read it at my favorite blog (by far!) is even making it worse........

Be strong Kathy we all support you here (as much as we can sadly...)

Posted by: Yonatan Ben-Nes | Mar 27, 2007 2:38:21 AM

Do not go away, your voice is far too important to the community. Sounds like a FBI case to me. DOubt the pond scum is local to you.

Posted by: Jim Lane | Mar 27, 2007 2:44:30 AM

Kathy I'm so sorry to hear about what's been happening. I am a huge of your work and I know you'll get through this.

Posted by: Tom Nixon | Mar 27, 2007 2:46:49 AM

Kathy I'm so sorry to hear about what's been happening. I am a huge of your work and I know you'll get through this.

Posted by: Tom Nixon | Mar 27, 2007 2:46:50 AM

Kathy, it would be so sad to lose you as a blogger, you help me kick ass on an almost daily basis and your blog has pride of place on my google home page. I love seeing posts from you because they make so much sense and you share the same passion I have for creating and maintaining web applications. I hope that the police are able to find who made the threats . It must be incredibly frightening for you but thank you for having the courage to write about it.
I can see that you have masses of support from the community and the people that enjoy your writing.

All my best wishes, dan.

Posted by: Dan McLaughlin | Mar 27, 2007 2:48:07 AM

Had to offer my support, for what it's worth.

It's a sad shame what has happened and I want to say I'm a fan of your writing.

I hope that you can continue to blog soon.

Kind regards,

David (in Scotland)

Posted by: David Airey :: Creative Design :: | Mar 27, 2007 2:50:01 AM

I have been a victim of bullying in the past, and indeed at present as well. It is horrible, and given what has been said to you, terrifying. Remember that these people are just bullies, they do it because there is something lacking in themselves, so they compensate by taking it out on others. I wont say ignore it, because that wont help you. Please take some time off, but please also find some way of coming back. Your articles have been a source of great inspiration to me and it would be a shame if this forced you to stop.

Posted by: Pete | Mar 27, 2007 2:51:15 AM

Psychopaths will always exist, and will always go at people, that stand above the crowd. Luckily, with my knowledge of the Internet, no one is 'safe' - even the most hardcore hackers out there aren't. And most hackers aren't psychopaths per se, so with any minor effort, 99% of all people on the internet can be traced down (and let this be a warning to you freaks out there). The downside to all this is that it seems that the law enforcers around the world can't quite cope with this technology. As a result, cybercrime still prevail to some extent.

But all the comments here suggests that people stand up against this collectively, and that warms me, and is one of the beautiful aspects of the Internet. We are all with you on this.

My suggestion: make people register, in order to post on your blog. Moderate every comment - perhaps sifting posts through a filter that cancels out certain words before they apply for moderation. I know it's cumbersome, but regard it as a 'lock on your door'. This won't solve 'external' criminal behaviour, but at least the culprits loose a powerful aspect of control and the psychological satisfaction of delivering a direct threat.

Posted by: Massimo | Mar 27, 2007 2:53:17 AM

Stay safe, get well, be strong.
Best wishes and prayers from London.

Posted by: Nigel James | Mar 27, 2007 2:56:42 AM

Currently I own the following books which you were a part of making:

SCJP Sun Certified Programmer for Java 5 Study Guide (Yes, I am a SJCP for Java 5)

I must say when I first tried reading the Sun J2EE tutorial it was so mind-numbing I found myself dozing off most of the time. Yeah...that's right book in hand in front of the computer. I don't think I would have ever stayed awake long enough to assimilate anything. So, I was happy to find the following books at Barnes & Noble.

Head First Servlets and JSP
Head First EJB
Head First Design Patterns

So I knew exactly who this blog was referring to when I seen the little logos at the top. I recognized you from the intros of those books. I really enjoyed reading the books written in your format. It took the pain out of reading. If for no other reason I feel your methods are sound.

The only reason I ever read this blog was because it came up on my little RSSOwl News Reader thing. As far as your blogs I can't say I have ever read one before tonight. But, I believe that your books were very well received. So much that you have some kind of novel sized blog here. LOL I myself fear very little when threatened but I understand your reaction. Personally I have found nobody cares about threats over the internet. People try to act hardcore with the keyboard but fighting online is like racing in the Special Olympics; even if you win, you're still retarded. I think this has got around to enough people that the people writing those blogs won't have the readers they once enjoyed. Simply remember F.E.A.R. is False Events Appearing Real and it can help you battling the demons you find out there.

Stay safe and keep writing...


Posted by: Xenohacker | Mar 27, 2007 2:56:51 AM

Dear Kathy,

I wish you well and hope the police will be able to catch the people that did this against you so that you can continue living your life in peace and without fear.

What has happened to you is a shame. I am very sad to see this. Hang in there and please do not let a few mad people silence you.

Posted by: Mike | Mar 27, 2007 2:57:23 AM

Originally I was a great fan of your Head First books and I following the link to your site on a whim when I was bored one day. It was one of the first blogs I'd read and it inspired me to write better software!

I look forward to reading your blog posts and it's a real shame that something like this happened to as a great a person as you. It doesn't even make sense that you were targetted! I mean, you inspire people to write better software for Pete's sake! How could that tick someone off?!?

Know that my thoughts are with you during this time from an inspired soul all the way from Cape Town in sunny South Africa!

Posted by: Antoine Fortuin | Mar 27, 2007 2:59:45 AM


So, let's be really clear. You and your friends like Rev D spend your time having violently misogynistic on-line conversations where your comments about murder and extreme sexual abuse are aimed at what you call "personas", as opposed to "real people". Is that right? (That's a rhetorical question, by the way).

And then... you wonder why no-one takes anything you say seriously; and why people don't like you. Amazing. Truly amazing.

By the way, as you consider your "good counter suit", you might want to reflect for a while on what your complete lack of credibility might mean for you in the context of a trial.

You and your friends do seem quite proud of everything you have written, though. So, in the future, I'd suggest you start posting on the Internet using your real names. It will really help your voices be heard in the wider world. Wouldn't that be nice?

Posted by: Simon Brocklehurst | Mar 27, 2007 3:01:39 AM

hey kathy. Stay Safe. Its a cruel world out there and sometimes we must be pro-active in keeping ourselves and our family safe. We will pray for you.

Posted by: ezine | Mar 27, 2007 3:07:42 AM

I kinda know how you're feeling right now, it's a real shame that people get their kicks from doing things like this, but stay strong and don't let these sick people stop you from doing what you want to do.

Posted by: AppleVenus | Mar 27, 2007 3:08:08 AM

Was there a death threat? Reading through the comments, including Joey's, I am not so sure.

What I am sure of is that there was immoderate language, posturing and self-importance. And a degree of nastiness that, whilst it may have fallen short of actually threatening death, could certainly make someone feel threatened.

If there is to be criticism, of books or anything else, it should be done in a suitable manner. Not ad hominem (no pun intended), but looking at the ideas. However much of a f***wit we think someone is, that should remain in our heads. Idealistic I know, but it'd avoid some of this playground shite.

Posted by: Pete Smith | Mar 27, 2007 3:08:36 AM

you'll get through this! just don't give up!

Posted by: tess | Mar 27, 2007 3:08:41 AM

Ooooh, I'm so annoyed. Is there anything more pathetic than an anonymous bully?

Posted by: James Cherkoff | Mar 27, 2007 3:10:46 AM

Hello Kathy,

I've never heard from you before, but what Patrick wrote about this in his blog (werbeblogger.de) brought me here. I must say: Unacceptable. I hope the culprits are found and fined. There's flamings and there's death threats (or sexual harrassment), and there's a *very* visible line between the two. Everyone who crosses it, suffers delusions of being untouchable, and is accountable in full.

All the best, Julian

Posted by: Julian | Mar 27, 2007 3:11:22 AM

This is sick and sad. I don't get why people even act like this. Either they are deranged or have nothing better to do in their sorry excuse of a life.

If you find someone has a boring blog simply stop reading it, instead of starting death threats ffs.

Hang in there, and I seriously hope this thing will end in a good way for you, and bad for someone else.

Posted by: n3wjack | Mar 27, 2007 3:12:01 AM

This shouldn't be tolerated in our society. I totally agree with Feld Thoughts - Trust in communication is key - the internet and blogs should be non anonymous.

I recommend we stop stupid nicknames and photos and demand real names and photos. Why should the online world be so secretive? You share with us all - who you are, that is a brave thing you do. I believe and clearly many others agree it should be respected and demands full identity disclosure. I for one only ever look at mybloglog profiles with photos. If you can't show your face what does that say about you. I am inspired from now on I am going to always disclose my full name and photo - If we all did we could change the landscape over night! That would expose the misfits for who they are.

Posted by: Jackie Shervington | Mar 27, 2007 3:20:59 AM

Sounds like you're just a dumb bitch who needs to learn to keep her mouth shut. If we were muslims then I'd gouge your eyes out with my fingers and skull fuck you.

Posted by: Nigger | Mar 27, 2007 3:23:51 AM

Better watch your back on the streets whore... Be a pity if you turned up in the gutter where you belong, with a machete shoved in that self righteous little cunt of yours...

Posted by: Hitler | Mar 27, 2007 3:25:46 AM

Hi Kathy,

Though it may seem small comfort, I'd like to drop a line to say that I am a regular reader who loves and enjoys your blog. I hope this awful, awful person finds fitting justice/retribution/etc, and that you make a speedy recovery to your (otherwise very positive) self.

Sadly, it just takes a few rotten schmucks like this person to make other people's lives hell. Stay strong, have faith and (hopefully) soon, this too shall pass.

Posted by: Idan Gazit | Mar 27, 2007 3:32:36 AM

The last thing you should do is post this kind of stuff here as it will let whoever is doing this know that they are getting to you which will probably a) give them satisfaction (a sense of control) and b) make them do it more.

Just try to ignore it - looking at the comments above you have a lot of support. People don't need a reason to throw mindless threats and insults at people and people with a brain (like yourself) will go mad trying to add meaning to it.

Trust me on that one :|

Posted by: Pete | Mar 27, 2007 3:32:52 AM

I'm speechless. How can someone possibly act like that? I attended a conference of yours at GUADEC 2006 and loved it. I love your writings. It's a shame so few can do so much damage.....

Posted by: sílvia | Mar 27, 2007 3:35:34 AM

And I agree with Joey's non-lawyer; he's not his own best defense. Immoderate, misogynistic language (or misanthropic for that matter) doesn't stand well for you.

Posted by: Pete Smith | Mar 27, 2007 3:36:44 AM

I visit this blog every (work) day in hope of finding yet another brilliant piece of insight into software development and am seldom disappointed. To have your voice silenced by this kind of assaults is terrible.
It's a sad world where such behavior can thrive like it's doing, but all we can do to let it happen is to do nothing.
Where's the "call for action" to sign? What can I as "measly" reader to do stand up to these people?

Posted by: Jonas | Mar 27, 2007 3:38:00 AM

When we allow the monsters in the world to terrorize people, they become the rulers and we live in fear. They would like nothing better than to live in a monsterocracy. It's times like this when we appreciate whatever protection modern civilization provides. And it's our nature (at least the vast majority of us) to create the benevolent protection of the rule of law.

I wish you a happy, safe, and relaxed outcome where the good guys win and the bad guys lose and go away.

Posted by: Bruce | Mar 27, 2007 3:43:08 AM

Kathy, you are a very bright and beautiful woman.
Don't take these stupid things too seriously. I would take this the same as a bad horror movie, where you have one or two nightmares afterwards. I understand those idiots tried to disturb you and they succeeded - but I would continue to walk my way, no matter what others are saying and doing. Psychologically I would think that beauty and technology sometimes creates some kind of "fuse-blow" in male heads. So you are right not to ignore it, but since it's plain (stupid) fantasy, there's probably nothing more about it. Delete it, as undesired comment and be done with it. Nobody tries to harm you - is my estimation of this situation.

Best wishes for your upcoming book (I'll buy it!).


Posted by: Curt | Mar 27, 2007 3:44:00 AM

all the best kathy!

Posted by: howard | Mar 27, 2007 3:49:00 AM

Kathy, I am so sorry you are having this experience. As I just blogged on BlogHer, I returned from a day of extolling the virtues of blogging to journalists at Berkeley to read about your personal hell.

Does it help to know that you are not alone? I hear from women every week who are being assaulted like this. Your high profile only exacerbates it. I also go into detail about BlogHer's community guidelines and rules for editors. I won't go into excruciating detail here but am linking my post: http://blogher.org/node/17319. We are working hard to create a community where people aren't abused like this.

Posted by: Lisa Stone | Mar 27, 2007 3:50:54 AM

I'm saddened and horrified to read your latest post. I had no idea this was occuring and kind of wish I could go back to that. This is the last thing you(or any person for that matter)should have to endure. I have received so much insight and joy from reading your writing and I'm confident others have as well. Please take care of yourself and know that you are loved and cared for by your readers.

Posted by: Johblogs | Mar 27, 2007 3:53:19 AM

It's not a lot but i want to give you my solidarity: from italian passionate readers ;)

Posted by: Sid | Mar 27, 2007 4:04:09 AM

Without excusing your stalkers in ANY WAY, you've got to toughen up. You make these extreme statements about "never leaving my yard again". Um, freedom isn't free. Sometimes you've got to tuck a gun into your purse and maybe into your jeans and then go out and live life. As Roy Batty says in Bladerunner, "It's a terrible thing - to live in fear." As soon as you start hiding out, they've already won.

So get angry, get armed, get friends if you can. But go right on living your life. Otherwise, these criminals win. It's really that simple. Be brave or be a slave. There's no middle ground.

Posted by: Rendwich | Mar 27, 2007 4:05:05 AM

absolutely wrong, keep up your good spirits Kathy and hope to hear more from you soon

don't let them win by burrowing down into the shadows

Posted by: Dallas Freeman | Mar 27, 2007 4:05:35 AM

As an educator in the field of Information Technology I have valued your blog not only for your insights re IT and software development but the fact that so much of what you say can be easily translated to education in general. Many of your posts can almost be translated to remove key words and apply words like teacher, student, education.

I hope that this crisis does not slow you down.

Posted by: Wati Wara | Mar 27, 2007 4:08:51 AM

We have Akismet to fight for Spam comment, what can we think of to solve Threathening comment?

Posted by: Pin | Mar 27, 2007 4:09:59 AM

Kathy, I hope you're counting the love. I tried to read through all the responses, but didn't make it.

You don't let DRM silence you. You don't let antiquated business practices silence you. Don't let jerks silence you.

Your life is your own, and you're free to do with it what you want. But your gift is so valuable to others. Turning it off would mean a loss for hundreds upon thousands of people.

Please keep on keeping on.


Posted by: Yehuda Berlinger | Mar 27, 2007 4:14:52 AM


Posted by: Jeneane Sessum | Mar 27, 2007 4:14:54 AM

Kathy - we all draw great inspiration from your work -you're the best - keep the faith.

Ian W.

Posted by: Ian Waring | Mar 27, 2007 4:19:47 AM

All caps woman seems to have let the cat out of the bag...

Posted by: Hmm | Mar 27, 2007 4:28:48 AM

There has always been a tinge of sickness around the edges of the internet. We saw it back in the BBS days, and on Usenet. We see it almost daily on IRC, and we find it in the comments on a lot of blogs and forums. We find entire sites devoted to it - some with hate-filled communities all their own.

I've had people like this come after me. I'm a 40-something guy, and us guys are supposed to jut our steely jaws forward and tough it out. But let me tell you - somewhere inside we feel the same things. A yawning fear. A disappointment in, and mistrust of, all our fellow human beings. The world turns to quicksand, and it doesn't solidify quickly! I can say that sooner or later most everyone does get past it. I only hope you find a way to do that quickly.

I don't know if this meanness will ever end. I like to hope that it will at least subside, as we all learn to handle ourselves in this increasingly connected online world that bridges reality and fantasy more immediately than anything we've built so far. I like to hope that these are just our Network Terrible Teens.

I do think we can all do a little more about it. Seeing Ms. Sierra (who really is one of great the treasures of the web) kicked in the gut like this, I find this a good time to ask you all: don't point and laugh at the snarkiness-that-borders-on-psychotic. *Don't* join in. If you have no idea who the Sick Commenter is, the best advice is the old advice: Don't Feed The Trolls. If Sick Commenter is a friend or acquaintance of yours: let them know it's not cool.

If you're tempted to make personal attacks on the internet - even mild ones - reconsider, please. Remember what you saw here. Remember that what goes around, comes around. Argument is good, argument is great - but argue concepts and opinions and facts. Cheapshots at other human beings are *never* a sign of class or distinction; they say more about the speaker than about the target, every single time.

Ms. Sierra (I don't think I've earned a right to call you by your first name): I wish you the best of luck. I won't presume to offer advice on how to handle this, but I sure *hope* I'll be seeing more of your writing, here on the web or elsewhere. You're one of the good ones - no matter what you do next!

Posted by: Bryan Lockwood | Mar 27, 2007 4:29:46 AM

boring. the examples given are not good enough, stay in your house, your obviously too thin skinned to walk out in public.

have you seen what they say about casey serin & his wife.

ill post this over there.

i guess u will contrive this as a threat and have lezbollah hitwomyn matyr themselves.

(a wordplay on lesbian suicide bomber hitpersons sounds like a serious deaththreat...)

Posted by: nycbitterrenter | Mar 27, 2007 4:30:36 AM


You appear to be insensitive to the idea that even a misinterpretation can result in legitimate harm. I believe Kathy Sierra was genuinely hurt by her perception of the allegedly abusive comments and their context to the extent that she cancelled her speaking engagements as well as other public appearances. The tutorial pass for the ETech Conference 2007 costs an estimated US$500. With probably more than 500 registrants who were rescheduling their busy lives to attend Kathy's workshop on a Monday morning, I seriously doubt, Joey, that she would risk destroying her career and reputation over an alleged vendetta with people whose value to society is yet to be determined.

That said, I don't believe anyone without complete access to the evidence should judge the character of any participants in this conflict. The websites were removed from public viewing, the cached versions are difficult to follow, and all we have is the word of a widely respected author against the word of a retiree who spends what should be his vacation opining through useless, meaningless discussion channels. For some people, word might be enough for a conviction and an execution, but for me, word alone is insufficient evidence for consideration.

Unfortunately, the best you can possibly do, Joey, is exhibit compassion. Were you a public figure, how would you react to a, real or imagined, threat against your life? Your family? Instead of proclaiming that Kathy Sierra is somehow engaging in a conspiracy to defraud her clearly large and loyal community for mere attention, perhaps you should be considering issuing a sincere and profound apology through the proper channels--regardless of who's right or wrong about this or that.

Posted by: Morgan Ramsay | Mar 27, 2007 4:31:35 AM

I'm reding you from Italy. I never commented your blog, now I think I will. Don't give up. You're a courageous and clever woman, and you have a lot of support. From every part of the world. Take your time, stay calm. We are waiting for you.

Posted by: Federico Fasce | Mar 27, 2007 4:32:36 AM

I'm sorry this is happening to you, but don't forget that their real point is most likely to gain readership. By publicizing their sites, you give them hits. If you're really worried, which perhaps you have reason to be (after all, even crazy people can blog) I'd call the police and my lawyer and see if you can't hit them where they live.

I hope you keep posting. You're one of my favorites

Posted by: Audrey | Mar 27, 2007 4:39:36 AM

Thats shocking, We all are with you our dear.

Posted by: Fahd Mirza | Mar 27, 2007 4:46:41 AM

Hello dear,

I think you are being a little over too sensitive about this. The only thing you should do is smile gracefully at these people. Putting people behind bars because they hate you for your popularity or whatever reason is and never will be a solution.

I like your writing so dont get crushed over few posts and some sick photos, because in the end they only make you stronger.

Be well.

Posted by: jboss | Mar 27, 2007 4:47:20 AM

Dear "Hmmm", above - no, all caps woman is a moronic, idiotic, lowlife troll pretending to be Jeneane Sessum. And therefore 95% likely to be a man. Whether he was actually involved with the original stunt or just a misogynist a**hole getting his jollies at the expense of the two women is hard to tell.

Posted by: Seth | Mar 27, 2007 4:55:31 AM

This is the first time I've heard of you, today via twitter and only because of what's happenend to you. How sad is that? I'm so sorry you are going through something so awful, I'm afraid it just reinforces the knowledge that the trend in society is downwards towards scum level in some quarters. I hope that things improve for you - rapidly, and I hope I may soon be reading your blogs and learning from you. I'm sure you have massive support, good luck.

Posted by: Vivdora | Mar 27, 2007 4:55:37 AM

Having been a party to all that went on at both Meankids and Unclebobism, and observing the fallout therefrom, one thing is as clear as crystal to me:

You are going to use the publicity of being an innocent victim of a hate crime to sell more books and dishonestly and unfairly besmirch a literary rival.

I have to hand it to you, Kathy, you know an opportunity when you see one. It's just a shame you have to resort to lies because you've seen an opportunity to get rich quickly.

I would take this opportunity to remind you about how those who rise quickly on nothing but hot air fall well below their point of origin, but I think you might consider that as my threatening to rob you after the checks start rolling in.

Well, I live in Australia and I wouldn't waste one cent on you, your books or trying to bring you undone. I am, however, going to enjoy watching yet another flash-in-the-pan fade into nothingness just like Helen Darville.

You might also care to write to Liz Tay and remind her that Mediawatch has eyes in every newspaper and mine are on her and I have an active account with the ABC.

You should also take up writing for The Watchtower. That's about how honest and objective your work is, Kathy. It gives me a headache which worsens with every line I read.

NOT Anonymous - Paul Ritchie,

Posted by: Paul Ritchie | Mar 27, 2007 4:59:05 AM

Holy crap! I'm so sorry. It's amazing what anonymity can do to people.

Posted by: Scott Gentzen | Mar 27, 2007 5:00:58 AM

TO: Kathy
RE: Hmmmm

Looks like you've encountered some real sociopaths. Perhaps as far as being psychopaths. In our youth they were referred to as bullies.

In my youth, my Mother used to tell me to ignore them. That they'd go away. Maybe they did as kids. However, these days, as adults, the stakes are considerably higher. And the dedicated socio-psychopath is not something to be ignored.

Whether this lower life-form is in the blogosphere and/or prowling the streets of you community, action needs to be taken. However, my thought is that long-term cowering is not the answer. Never has been. Never will be. Short-term, i.e., until you're mentally and physically prepared to deal with these slugs, and they ARE slugs, yeah.

Nor is 'body armor' isn't the answer either. As some famous US general put it and has been proven time and again in history, defensive war is the warfare of defeat.

Maybe it's my military experience. Maybe it's my christian belief. Maybe it's both. But whatever it is, it works.

Everyone of us needs to be prepared to meet the proverbial 'evil day' when it comes. Whether in the blogosphere or at our own front door.

Keep up the good work....

....we're all excited.


[Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto | Mar 27, 2007 5:02:49 AM

Dear Kathy,

I have been reading your blog for a little over a year. I find myself interpreting some of your ideas and comments into ones that I can apply in my own life and with clients. I am horrified to read your post yesterday about the death threats, the abusive language and all of the other disturbing elements of these "communications" against you. It seems that sometimes people become the absolute worst version of themselves on the internet, taking offensive liberties and feeding into the scariest aspects of violence directed at women. This is *unacceptable*. I think your bringing these actions to the attention of the public, through your blog which obviously reaches many, many people, you are declaring the unacceptability of this harassing violence. This is the step that many others might not take but I believe that it is a needed step in order to stop this violence. And, make no mistake, these actions are violent. They are intended to harm, intimidate and harass. I admire your work and your courage. Take good care.

Posted by: Elizabeth M. Johnson | Mar 27, 2007 5:05:50 AM


I haven't ever commented here before, but your posts have alternately inspired me, shown me new things, shown me old things from a new perspective, and just plain brightened my day. Your writings are intelligent, innovative and caring, and that makes them worth their words in gold to me.

I feel compelled to comment this time. I've encountered violence in my life before, and witnessed as friends struggled with the effects of same. One way threats, and especially misogynistic threats, work is through their ability to isolate. As you withdraw, you also withdraw from the support of your community. I'm geographically very far away, but I hope that you can connect with supportive people around you to make it feel safe again for you to continue your work.

I don't want to yield the blogosphere to the people who make violent threats. *Your* contributions, and millions of other constructive, usefull, valuable posts are why I read blogs. Not them.

The world around us is filled with images of the 'inevitable' path violence supposedly takes. In the past, when my head was filled with the images of losing, it really helped me to (re-)read the book Her Wits About Her: Self-defence Success Stories by Women. It's good to realize that there is nothing inevitable about it, that fighting back does work.

Take care of yourself. It's something important that you can do right now.

Best wishes,


Posted by: Sarah de Vries | Mar 27, 2007 5:06:03 AM

Kathy, be strong. A great number of people are thinking of you and grieving that this has happened. We all look forward to the time when this is behind you and you can delight us again with your down-to-earth observations.

Posted by: Barry Welford | Mar 27, 2007 5:09:10 AM

Now, I hadn't heard of Kathy before this. Nor had I heard of the other 'celeblogies' mentioned here. None of this has made me want to buy any of their works (Kathy included- I don't fall into the market for her books.)
As publicity for them all it's good and bad in about equal measure.Perhaps worse for Kathy, cos if it *were* a stunt and it went wrong, people'd turn pretty quickly- I've seen such things happen on other forums.
I'm minded not to think it's a publicity stunt.

Posted by: Pete Smith | Mar 27, 2007 5:17:07 AM

TO: Kathy
RE: Interesting....

...in going to confirm your report, it seems that WordPress has removed UncleBobisms from the blogosphere.

Not sure of the implications of that. Was the operator at fault? How so? Failure to remove materials that violated WordPress' TOS?

Not enough information....

TO: Paul Ritchie
RE: You Were There?

"Having been a party to all that went on at both Meankids and Unclebobism, and observing the fallout therefrom..." -- Paul Ritchie

Was that image there?

Who posted it?

How long was it there before the person who operates/sysops the UncleBobisms blog removed it? If they removed it?

Did the sysop make comment on it?

Did the sysop have a disclaimer?

What were the sysop's terms of service?

Enquiring minds want to know?


[Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. -- George Bernard Shaw]

P.S. What's your beef with WatchTower?

Posted by: Chuck Pelto | Mar 27, 2007 5:21:32 AM

I'm speechless!

That a life can be ruined by a few people with evil in their hearts is shocking. It makes me ashamed to be a human and sad for the future of our species and planet

Kathy, your blog is outstanding. Your insight and wisdom on this important subject is commendable. May you have the strength to overcome this difficult time and may those who made the threats be brought to justice.

I wish you a speedy recovery and look forward to you continuing your outstanding work.

Posted by: Rob Scherer | Mar 27, 2007 5:22:40 AM


Don't let the bastards get to you. Yeah, I know it is easy for me to say.

Anything us, your readers can do?


Posted by: Jay | Mar 27, 2007 5:26:14 AM

Kathy, Good for you for speaking out about this. I hope those responsible are feeling ashamed of themselves.

Best Wishes

Posted by: Steve Pashley | Mar 27, 2007 5:31:19 AM

I couldn't read all this. It's too disturbing. I can see how it can freak you out and, unfortunately, I think you did the right thing staying home. I am sure it would have been a great seminar!

I am new to blogging, mostly a reader, too timid to blog myself.....yet. But I admire you and the others who take the time and consideration to share thoughts, information and daily life with us. I hope this does not dissuade you from continuing.

There are bad people out there. Please try to move on and continue your muse! We stand behind you and support you.

Posted by: LGF30022 | Mar 27, 2007 5:34:27 AM

It's ironic that your experience comes at the same time that people are talking about how employers increasingly see a lack of personal branding as a negative when hiring.

BTW, I linked to this story (and Doc's analysis of it) from today's IT Blogwatch, but I redacted all the names of the alleged perps.

Posted by: Richi Jennings | Mar 27, 2007 5:39:00 AM

Everything as already been said so I'll be short. Your blog inspired me a lot doing mine. I'll really miss you.

Good luck and come back soon.

Posted by: Dan | Mar 27, 2007 5:45:15 AM

I've long valued your posts. They've raised questions that I hadn't asked, and reminded me of things I'd forgotten.

I also value this posting you made today. That instead of hoping it would go away, you said outloud that hatefulness is not the same as critique.

Thanks for your words - all of them.

Posted by: AmyS | Mar 27, 2007 5:50:02 AM

Kathy --

I was so sorry to hear about your troubles yesterday. I'm a long-time lurker on your blog, but I think this is the first time I've ever felt I HAD to comment.

Hopefully this outpouring of support that I've seen posted over the past few hours will be of some comfort to you -- you've taught and helped a *lot* of people, some in ways you probably don't even realize.

I'm one of those.

I stumbled across your blog one day while I was browsing the net for training-related ideas, and have been a loyal reader ever since. Even if I can't see a direct correlation to my corporate training position, each and every post always teaches me something and really makes me think -- which I don't see as ever being a bad thing.

But you've probably helped me even more, personally.

I'm agoraphobic.

For me, even walking out of my front door can be nearly impossible at times. When I can be rational about it, I *know* how unfounded my fears are -- but when I'm facing that front door, there are times it's *really* hard to be that rational.

I've been very fortunate -- thanks to my kick-ass therapist, an understanding employer, and the wonders of modern medication, I've been able to keep my job so far. Most people aren't that lucky.

Your posts about fear, they've really been a big help to me. While your posts were talking about the fear of users, and how to deal with it, your words really resonated with me about my own fears.

I struggle every day with how to be afraid -- but live my life anyway -- and re-reading your words always gives me strength.

Thank you, Kathy, for the help your words have been to me -- I hope that, in time, you'll heal enough to come back to us...

Caroline Lundy

Posted by: Caroline Lundy | Mar 27, 2007 5:54:28 AM

I've not read your blog before, but having just seen the report on the BBC website, I am appalled by what is happening to you. You have my full support and the best of luck for the future - you CAN and WILL beat this!

Posted by: Grant | Mar 27, 2007 5:57:17 AM

Kathy don't let these idiots get you down.

The sane are on your side.

Best of luck

Posted by: finn | Mar 27, 2007 5:59:12 AM

And now it's 'real news'

Posted by: Pete Smith | Mar 27, 2007 6:00:16 AM

Hi Kathy,

Many times i wanted to leave a comment here but never did until now. This really sucks big time, as a passionate reader of this blog I can only say to you that what I have learn from you, reducing fear is the killer app.
Do not worry about fools it's a waste of time. I have learn that many of this A-people are just fools (high on their own supply).

By all means don't let fear run or your life or take you away from what you like. Barking dogs rarely bite.

Be strong!!!

Be happy and wear a beautifull smile! Wish you all the best! know that!

Posted by: 777 | Mar 27, 2007 6:00:43 AM

Kathy, I didn't realize until right now (someone sent me the cache of MeanKids.org and pointed out what they wrote about Maryam) just how vile that site was.

There is ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE for anyone to write such hurtful, vile, things on the Internet.

I want a personal apology from each of the people involved. It is the most hurtful things I've ever read on the Internet about us.

All of the people involved are TOTAL SCUM. I'm really, really, hurt by what they wrote. They need to apologize, and apologize now. Publicly, and admit who wrote that and take responsibility for it.

Posted by: Robert Scoble | Mar 27, 2007 6:01:28 AM

Shocking, and very little we can do about it. Here in the UK banter, slanter, bullying and other forms of intimidation and suggestions of violence are very popular, not just on the web. Problem is that the authorities don't take it serious (enough). There should be a way to ban these criminals from the net forever.

Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Walter | Mar 27, 2007 6:04:48 AM

Sweet Jesus, posts like that are unacceptable in the extreme.

I hope that Frank Paynter has done everything possible to trace the details of where these offensive postings were made from and turned the details over to the police and relevant abuse teams.

Stand strong Kathy, stand strong. Whether you carry on blogging or back down (which in my opinion would be letting these sad, twisted bastards win) is your choice.

Posted by: David Precious | Mar 27, 2007 6:09:11 AM

Utterly horrible. I echo the comment from Charlie Wood, merely reading about what you've had to go through felt like I'd been punched in the stomach.

I sincerely hope you will continue posting on your blog. I don't know of any blogger capable to fill the void if you don't.

Be strong.

Posted by: Niko | Mar 27, 2007 6:17:13 AM

I'm in the UK and just wanted to let you know you have my support as a fellow woman blogger. I am disgusted, and sincerely hope this gets sorted - how, I don't know? - ASAP. I also hope you feel able to leave your yard soon. Hang in there!

Posted by: jen | Mar 27, 2007 6:18:58 AM


I am so sorry this has happened to you. You have expressed my deepest fear about being so "visible" online. You are brilliant and strong -- hang in there.

Posted by: Debbie Weil | Mar 27, 2007 6:21:33 AM

I've been reading you for a year or more, but haven't posted before.

I just wanted to let you know that there are a lot of people out here that you don't know about that appreciate your intelligence and generous spirit.

These awful comments are deplorable and completely undeserved. Hopes and/or threats of violence are never acceptable.

Posted by: Joshua Herbert | Mar 27, 2007 6:23:39 AM

Dogs who bark loudly seldom bite.
People should care less about what others think or fantasize about, even though some of them are disturbed enough to /speak out/ their fantasies publically. I feel sorry for them; also, I do feel sorry for the author of this blog.
Fear of death is deeply rooted in us, humans. Although, I'd like to point out, it is inevitable and definately _not_ something to be afraid of. It is funny how some cultures (especially of western civilisation) frown upon even mentioning death, as if not admitting that death exists would erase the fact that ALL PEOPLE DIE sometime in their lifetime, thus ending it. I do not know a single person who has lived forever. Yet, even though avoiding topic of death might seem to lessen the fear of it, it quite the opposite - just look - some nut with a loose tongue (and somewhat perverted imagination) says some WORDS and posts a PICTURE, and you're trembling in fear, ready to betray YOURSELF and WHAT YOU DO - because you find even the thought of death THAT terrifying (I have faced death threats while lying on the ground with some five guys kicking me in the head - now that's a threat - yet I'm not afraid of dying), while there's nothing to be afraid of.
Right now, somebody who posted all these threats is having a spiritual orgasm, because people like that usually feed upon emotions of their victim; they are sore persons, who have hate locked inside them, which they are unable to understand, manage and let out - I am willing to bet that they do not have the guts to kick a rat. I say - deprive them of this, let them know you are not afraid to be who you are, not afraid to speak what you think and feel, so basically they can go and * themselves.
I'm not saying that you shouldn't get the persons responsible - I wish you give them prison time; I'm just saying you shouldn't be afraid.
Be strong, and may the inner force be with you.

Posted by: passerby | Mar 27, 2007 6:24:08 AM

This is a message of solidarity - Kathy don't be intimidated, don't give up, don't be scared.

The internet can give a channel to sad misogynistic people with nothing but hate to grind in their mills - but it can also allow people to reach out to one another in situations like this and say "I am with you" - and so I am doing just that as are many many thousands of others.

You are not alone.

Posted by: jolph | Mar 27, 2007 6:30:50 AM


I have enjoyed your many books. You have truly changed the way that I learn technology. The Head First series of books are always at the top of my MUST READ list that I provide to associates.

I was hoping that I would get the opportunity to see you speak sometime in the near future. Now, because of a few mindless idiots, it doesn't look like that will happen. For that I am truly sorry.

I'll keep you in my prayers.


Posted by: Steve Daly | Mar 27, 2007 6:31:13 AM

I hadn't ever visited your site before, but a link from an article on the BBC website led me here. You have my heartfelt sympathy for the childish behaviour directed towards you. Freedom of speech is all very well, but threatening someone - violently and sexually - is not. Most white men in the UK probably agree with the laws surrounding freedom of speech regarding terror suspects - as far as I am concerned this instance is no different. If you threaten someone on a night out you would be arrested. Why should these people think this is acceptable?

Posted by: Rachel | Mar 27, 2007 6:33:06 AM

You should visit our corner of the blogosphere. I sincerely doubt that anyone would be foolish enough to carry out threats against a group of people that often and openly write about and photograph their prowess with firearms.

My lawn, my house, my safety, are all in my hands, by arming myself I do not grant anyone the power to take those from me without great resistance.

Posted by: Ahab | Mar 27, 2007 6:33:18 AM

I stumbled on your blog from an article posted on BBC. Now that's freaking amazing.

As for the entire issue, there's a saying in my country:

"The dogs bark, the caravan passes".

The attacks made on you however are not in my opinion gender biased. I think they have more to do with the niche blog/ personal blog debate. The gender was indeed used as a basis for attacks, but it was not the root cause. You must be aware that initially blogging was related to the idea of online journals and the "old school" bloggers see the apparition of niche/business blogs as some sort of invasion.

As for the content of the blog itself, I must admit that it is pretty interesting, although I'm not a big fan of inspirational speeches. Different cultural backgrounds I guess. I do however strongly support the idea of blogging to present the reader base some useful information, rather than personal experiences.

Hope things work out well.

Regards, George

Posted by: George | Mar 27, 2007 6:34:19 AM

Another day, another blog tantrum. I'm not for sympathy tourism so forgive me if I come across as uncaring.

Of course, nobody likes to be threatened and in that respect at least I empathise with you. However, to believe you are being threatened because you are a woman in a male-dominated world of technology comes across as whiny in the extreme.

You, like thousands of others like you, are being victimised because you open yourself up to an inherently insecure format, while at the same time expecting the security that other formats have traditionally provided.

I am expected to believe that you are sat at home, doors locked, with you presumably shivering in fear of your life. I'm struggling to believe this because the real solution is much more simple -- stop chasing celebrity by writing a blog. There are millions upon millions of blogs already and as much as this may hurt your ego, should you stop writing, there really won't be any tears.

Hell, I could have threatened you in this post, which would, I presume, add to your fear, and yet you've taken no steps to prevent me from adding to your fear, such as blocking comments. Do you see where I'm coming from yet?

You might argue that you refuse to be bullied into refraining from sharing your views with the rest of the world. If that is the case, great, but you can't then realistically expect not to have to deal with Internet idiots. You, it seems to me, want to have your cake and eat it too. Not in this lifetime I'm afraid.

I will stake everything that I own, that, despite all of this apparent fear you proclaim to have, you'll still be blogging this time next year, unharmed and unashamedly, as you should be.

Though hopefully, by that time, the BBC News team will have realised that someone getting threatened in a blog is hardly newsworthy material!

Posted by: MazY | Mar 27, 2007 6:35:42 AM


Holy Shit!!

Hope the cops catch these creeps! Amazing how evil some cowards will act when they are protected by anonymity.

Damn- good luck! And, yes, don't be defensive, by all means go on the offensive against these scumbags!

Posted by: atheist | Mar 27, 2007 6:35:43 AM

This is totally wrong and over the edge. I just started reading your blog recently and consider it a great asset to the community. Some people do not realize there are lines and that those lines exist both off and on line. These are the same people who cause problem in all societies. A real shame that they turned their warped minds on you.

Posted by: Michael | Mar 27, 2007 6:37:59 AM

It happens and you shouldn't care much. See the case of Eric Raymond (from over half a year ago) - http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=290.

Posted by: WhoMe | Mar 27, 2007 6:40:40 AM

Hi Kathy,

Inspired after reading and following your blog, I started my own blog just a few days ago. On one hand where the net opens the doors to so much information, knowledge and education, the other side of it is too dark. The comments are apalling, shocking and at the same time unforgivable. I earnestly hope that you come back to the blogging world sometime soon.

Warm Regards,
Madhura Kanekar

Posted by: Madhura Kanekar | Mar 27, 2007 6:42:20 AM

I don't see a real crime here, Kathy. No one cheated, duped, or fooled you. You seem to be playing the role of the victim, looking for sympathy.

In matters like this, you should consider taking responsibility. This means owning up to the fact that there are people who don't like you out there. Do you think everyone likes your books? Your thoughts? If so, this is a remarkably ingenuous viewpoint.

You need to step back and think how you want to deal with it. One way, your current path, is declaring yourself a victim and bringing massive attention to a few ugly posts. Guess what? That is giving positive reinforcement to the people who made the ugly posts.

That will not make things better. Unless of course your ultimate, often unconscious goal, is to further play into being a victim.

Think about it, decide what you really want. Your current path, playing the victim, gets no sympathy from me. You were not cheated, duped, or fooled. It is time for you to decide how strong, how responsible, you want to be in life.

Posted by: info | Mar 27, 2007 6:43:32 AM

MazY: Hear hear :)

Posted by: Hmm | Mar 27, 2007 6:44:35 AM

Just remember that being as you say "frighteningly misogynistic" (I'd say it's just gross-out humor and nothing to be worried about, but I digress) IS in fact protected speech, and if you don't want to be part of an internet that thinks so, don't let the door hit you on your way out.

Posted by: Androgynous Crowbar | Mar 27, 2007 6:45:36 AM

Like many others here I've been reading this blog with interest for a long time, but this is the first time I have posted. Kathy - I would just like to say please don't give up what you do. Your posts have been extremely helpful to me and many of my colleagues, not just at work, but with the fun stuff in life as well, and to think that the kind of people who made the hateful posts are winning in this world is wrong. Having said that, what you have gone through is a very personal experience and I totally appreciate any decision you make in regards to whether you post again or not. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for many hours of fun reading, thinking and most importantly motivating me to act passionately about my work! I wish you all the best. Take care.

Posted by: Daniel | Mar 27, 2007 6:48:58 AM

Kathy - I've just blogged about your story, hoping to help spread the word. I wish to offer my solidarity on this matter. You are not alone! I too have received some threatening comments (though nothing on your scale!). In my case, the situation isn't so bad as I'm anonymous (at least I hope I am!) which is why I decided to leave the two abusive comments live on the site (I've included them again in today's post - see my URL) - I merely edited them. It's important to make people aware of these issues and thank you for that :) -

all the best,


Posted by: lenina | Mar 27, 2007 6:50:57 AM

I'm horrified. Shocked too, but unfortunately not surprised as this sort of bullying and sinking into hateful depravity of the "me" generation has been evident in the community for some time now. Others have spoken more eloquently than I can of their support for Kathy and their admiration and respect for her, her blog, and her books - I can only echo those comments.

However, comments only go so far and many of us may feel the need to *do* something. Someone mentioned setting up a PayPal account for donations toward a dog - I'd like to go further and suggest that Kathy or one her friends set up a 'fighting fund' on her behalf. Legal action costs money, hunting down internet felons costs money. Those of us who feel powerless could donate whatever we could to help her fight this. Every $1, $5, $10, $100 helps. I know - my partner and I are still dealing with a legal case where it has already cost us nearly $100K and where, even if we are victorious, we will get nothing back.

For this reason alone, I - and my blog - will remain anonymous. But my thoughts are with you, Kathy, in this awful time. I cannot imagine what it feels like. But I'm a great believer in karma... Hold you head up, be strong - for your daughter and for yourself.

Posted by: Anon | Mar 27, 2007 6:53:32 AM

@Info, you seem not to have read Kathy's post. She understands that there are differences of opinion -- its what makes the blogosphere good when it is good. What she is saying -- and what the law is saying -- is that the horrible posts she has been subjected to cross a line from disagreement to threat.

You repeat the phrase "You were not cheated, duped, or fooled" as if that creates some meaningful category, but it doesn't. It's just your attempt to draw some phony boundary that excludes legally actionable threats as a meaningful category. You don't seem to understand that what those people have done is not merely annoying, it's potentially criminal.

Kathy, my God -- what can I say that would be at all useful? Nothing, really, but please please hang in there. We need you, and if there's anything we can do, we'll do it.

Posted by: Clay Shirky | Mar 27, 2007 6:53:38 AM

Hi Kathy,

I've never read your blog but came across your story on the BBC News website. I found it shocking, but more so once I had actually read the abuse you've been subjected to.

Sadly there are ignorant and vexatious people everywhere in life, and the blogosphere is no exception. In fact, the internet creates greater opportunity for anonymity and the resulting breakdown of inhibitions, so arguably, abuse is more likely to occur online than in real life. (This is not to condone it, of course - merely an observation.)

I find the hateful comments and images directed at you disgusting and reprehensible. It is common sense that one person's right to free speech ends where another person's right not to be victimised begins. (I doubt, in fact, that the perpetrators value free speech as highly as you do, but use it merely as a supposed defence for the expression of their prejudices toward women.)

Having never received any such threats myself, I can only imagine how difficult and debilitating the experience must be for you.

I hope that you will take some comfort in the outpouring of support shown here, and know that these backward individuals do not represent the majority.

I hope the police are successful in their investigations and are able to bring the perpetrators to justice. There needs to be a clear message that abuse and threats of death will not be tolerated, regardless of where they occur.

Finally, I hope that you find your feet again, are able to continue your blogging, and more importantly, a normal life. You've found a new reader in me.

With best wishes,

Posted by: James Whale | Mar 27, 2007 6:55:36 AM

I don't know you, or why people are so angry with you, but they have clearly crossed the line. Saw this on digg, and came to look into it. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers. No one needs this kind grief.

Posted by: Joel Bradshaw | Mar 27, 2007 6:56:14 AM

I have to be honest i have never been to your site before today or even heard of you to the fact .

But my family lost a 12 year old boy the other week to bullying his only way out was to hang himself he was pushed beyond all realms of sense and we lost him due to it ..

What is happening to you in my eyes is the same as what happened to our young star .

Do not let these E-Bullys win let the world know there name shame them because at the end of the day this is what they deserve they sit at there computers writing all manner of inane diatribes listing what they think of you and your blog ..

And then go beyond any human sensse by writing that kind of rubbish and what gets me the most is people actually add to this by joining in on these said blogs adding there two pence worth .

There is enough hate in this world without others having to add to it they should take a step back from the computer and put them selfs in your shoes what would they be thinking if i was saying all these things to them im sure they wouldn't like it ...

Posted by: Kevan Hodgson | Mar 27, 2007 6:56:27 AM

Dear Kathy,
I'm so sorry to hear that this has happened. There's absolutely no excuse for what these people have done - I was particularly horrified by the photo you posted, some people are just plain sick. I very much doubt these people would actually have done anything, they prefer to be cowardly and post things about you online and they don't have the guts to take it any further. My thoughts are with you. K x

Posted by: Kelly | Mar 27, 2007 6:56:56 AM

This must have been a very nasty experience and I hope that Kathy gets over this and returns: CPU is one of my favourite blogs.

I hope that the broad suspicion, mine included, that this is the handywork of jealous idiots turns out to be the case. I support calls for the blogging community to come down hard on this sort of behaviour in the future and I think the ball lies firmly in the court of the largescale community blogs, particularly those with a technological focus where comments in poor taste are relatively common and where users abuse their veil of anonymity.

I understand how Kathy must feel but I have to say, especially now that the eyes of the mass media are here, that I do disagree with her comment:
"I do not want to be part of a culture--the Blogosphere--where this is considered acceptable."
I fear this is the overwhelming point that the mainstream media are going to take from this episode. I think, as has been proven by the overwhelming majority of the feedback, that the blogging community does not condone this sort of behaviour.

Posted by: James Holloway | Mar 27, 2007 6:57:35 AM

Death threats or not. It still doesn't disguise the fact that this blog isn't very good.
Tell someone something often enough and they will believe it.
Maybe if you didn't think you were so important you wouldn't be 'attacked'(excuse the use of word).
Pulling out of a PA proves this.
If you stopped, took a step back and didn't take yourself so seriously then maybe you would gain the respect you so obviously crave from others.

Posted by: Mark | Mar 27, 2007 6:58:37 AM

Kathy, hang in there!

We're all behind you on this one. Hopefully the police will manage to come up with something.

Good luck, we're all watching.

Posted by: Owen Cutajar | Mar 27, 2007 6:59:10 AM

Kathy, I love your books and your blog. I am really furious about these attacks.

All the best.


Posted by: Peter Reinhardt | Mar 27, 2007 7:05:38 AM

It may not be much, but I've created an online petition, "In Solidarity with Kathy Sierra." You can sign it here: http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/petition-sign.cgi?KSierra

Posted by: Roy Jacobsen | Mar 27, 2007 7:12:45 AM

Kathy - I'm so sorry for this unthinkable pain you've gone through. You mention that truly great software doesn't have uninterested users but both ends of the spectrum - those who love it and those who loathe it. It's clear you're a great blogger and a great woman. Thanks so much for what I've already learned from your shared wisdom. I hope you make it back when you're ready, but if not I wish you the best in your next endeavor. Regardless, I'm praying for you and your family.

Posted by: Larry Baxter | Mar 27, 2007 7:15:03 AM

This story is shocking. I'm devastated...

Kathy, you have to be strong. No evil, as dark and hideous as it can be, can even touch the light that is in you. There is nothing more powerful than this. Let all that is pure and good in you take control of the situation. No one can control you. You are free and strong. There's no more place for fear.

My thoughts are with you.

Good luck

Posted by: Frank | Mar 27, 2007 7:15:10 AM

Kathy, threatening and abusive behaviors happen way too often on the net (and other places.) And it is time they stopped.
You will most likely receive apologies, denials and many other responses. Don't let that deter you in following through with a legal case. If they are innocent, the investigation will reveal that. If the investigation doesn't reveal it, then they will have a chance to tell their side at trial.
But they and everyone else needs to know that using abusive language and making threats on the net is just as serious as if they are face to face with someone. And in some ways it is worse- because at least face to face, you might have some idea how stable the person is. So hang in there. And they are the ones who should think about taking time off from blogging. Not you. Be strong and hang in there.
While you are talking with investigators, you might want to check into a protective/restraining order.

Posted by: HSH | Mar 27, 2007 7:17:38 AM

I have been a regular reader of you site for the past few months. I really enjoy the interesting perspective that you bring to creating software. Hopefully the guilty parties will fess up to their actions and you can get on with you life.

Posted by: Brian | Mar 27, 2007 7:19:34 AM

fucking fascist bitch.

Posted by: Orwell | Mar 27, 2007 7:20:56 AM

There certainly is "Safety in Numbers" given the nearly 600 comments published and expressing support for you... Next time hire a body guard since your popularity has soared to almost Bill Gates status. How's that for revenge? You certainly proved yourself capable of handling spin! Stop playing the Damsel in Distress you are far too competent. As for the guilty party or parties...they are idiots and have now contributed to your success. Honestly, I had never heard of you prior to today but Thank You for successfully demonstrating a previous point I wanted to make. Earlier commenting on the pet food recall, I discussed consequences of human power as the driving force in the Blogosphere. My point being human involvement creates a parallel universe to physicality. My advice: Work on your resume, if they read this Iams will want to hire you to spin the current Pet Food Crisis in America. :)

Posted by: Tonya J. Thomas | Mar 27, 2007 7:21:12 AM

I am new to the Blogosphere so I am unfamiliar with your blog. These attacks are truly sickening. It feels the same as when I watched news coverage of a gang of thugs attacking a defenseless old man. Or that creep who attacked a 100 year old woman. The more these @#$@#$ (expletive deleted)push the more we should push back and make them crawl back under the rock they came from.

Posted by: R' Lynn | Mar 27, 2007 7:22:45 AM

Kathy, take heart from the support everyone here is showing you and find the path forward that works for you.

I suspect that this may be a glimpse through a doorway into a world of hate and evil, one that is all too familiar to public figures and celebrities. The difference is that they have the resources to isolate and protect themselves.

Posted by: Jonathan | Mar 27, 2007 7:22:51 AM

What I found to be the really bad thing in here and on other blogs is not Kathy's post, there are always some wired people out there.

What is really bad in my opionion are the many posts from other women writting "this happend to me too".

Posted by: Tim Toron | Mar 27, 2007 7:24:07 AM

I am a Lotus Domino coder, have never been to this site before following a link from Protein Wisdom. All I have to say is,


I'm too busy working (and living life) to read tech blogs, let alone contribute hate and fear to the universe in this manner. I assume all these shining lights have real jobs where real businesses depend on their skills and professionalism. I have been coding for ten years and I have never worked with anyone whose life was so utterly devoid of joy and accomplishment that they would need to do this sort of thing.

Kathy, taking a break is a great idea. Calm down, get your bearings, and come back soon. You're in my RSS reader now. I look forward to reading your posts.

Don't let these demented junior-high-schoolers keep you down!

Posted by: Michael_The_Rock | Mar 27, 2007 7:25:24 AM

BRANDENBURG v. OHIO, 395 U.S. 444 (1969)

"Freedoms of speech and press do not permit a State to forbid advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action. Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 , overruled."

Vile, but protected.

Posted by: Ben Masel | Mar 27, 2007 7:26:17 AM


Here's wishing you luck finding a way to beat these bastards.

It seems to me that it is perfectly acceptable for you to beat them by deciding to go play in some other place where they cannot affect you (I mean, somewhere other than the blogosphere). That would be a shame for us, but screw that; you should think of yourself first.

One more thing: in case you thought otherwise: the bastards are in the minority. Most of us reading this are behind you, and would be whatever we thought of your blog.

Because you don't do that sort of thing to other people, no matter what you think of them. Not unless you are some sort of criminal psychopath. (I would have thought that this last was too obvious to bother mentioning, but on reading these comments, apparently not.)

Posted by: Andy | Mar 27, 2007 7:27:05 AM

Death threats are nothing new in the blogosphere. I have gotten them and so have lot of my close bloggers mates. You express an opinion some arsehole is going to take ott exception and threaten you.

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge | Mar 27, 2007 7:27:34 AM

As the Googled King of [the word] Blogocombat, I pause now to ingest this as fodder for the foodless thought. Vulgarity has no place in the blogosphere, etc. Strong expression, yes.

Beyond Negative is the vile, violent, vainglorious vendettacized villainy. We recognized it even in anarchy states like the Wild Wild West. If you say F a lot, you have a miniature brain, everyone knows that, even your typical Harry Potter worshipping Junior High drone.

Blogs and death have many conclusive connections, and we should at least be glad that some criminals expose and incriminate themselves online, in blogs and forums.

True Blogocombat is text vs. text, and never person against person. Who "owns" an idea? If we rest assured in the web karma, we know our fears and enemies are illusory.

With dignity, we can remain strong in the face of any attack, mental, textual, digital, or physical. As the 101 year old granny said to the gangbanger who beat her up: "I'm not cowering in a closet. I'm not changing my routine or my bank. Everybody knows where I am and who I am. Bring it on. See what happens this time." or words to that effect. I know I have the "bring it on" accurate.

So that's all. We cannot be intimidated. We can sue and argue and get what laws we need on our side. The legal battle is almost always the best, trusting in the underlying benevolence of the State and its mechanisms.

Posted by: vaspers the grate aka steven e. streight | Mar 27, 2007 7:31:35 AM

Olá Kathy Sierra, don't leave those messages to affect its professional career, the world java he/she needs you, I am its fan I have its books, and I learned enough with them, the quality and the simplicity that you write they are unquestionable. Its books are quite recommended here in Brazil. I am studying for SCJP through its book. A lot of force on that moment that you are passing. What do those people want it is that you really abadone the career, more you a warrior is and won't she leave that to happen ne?The well always wins the evil.
A fort hug. of Brazil.

Posted by: Camilo | Mar 27, 2007 7:33:18 AM

Kathy, I'm sorry for what you're going though, and I hope they find the people who did this and hold them responsible.

Posted by: Josh | Mar 27, 2007 7:34:46 AM

Kathy, I'd like to extend my sympathy and best wishes as you deal with this harassment and loss of the sense of personal safety you should be able to take for granted.

No one should be terrorized and abused verbally the way you've been. It's so much the worse that you are an outspoken advocate for humanizing technology and the Internet. It is almost as if that fact is threatening to some who would rather hide behind mechanized identities and tear others down rather than owning their own humanity.

The violent harassment of woman in all contexts is also a tragic indictment of our human culture, and Tantek's story suggests that sexually violent intimidation targets men as well. It is a symptom of something deeply disturbed and repressed in our society, in all human societies, I suspect.

Do what you need to do to take care of yourself and let us know what we can do to help.

Posted by: xian | Mar 27, 2007 7:35:27 AM

The whole concept of blogging and commenting has developed its own weird etiquette that has unfortunately given people the feeling that they are unaccountable for their actions and statements.

I know I've been rude about complete strangers in the past (apologies to Angelina Jolie's agent, for one) whilst writing online - far ruder than if I were face-to-face with them. But these people have clearly crossed a line, and should face some real legal consequences.

I worry that episodes like this will result in knee-jerk responses and censorship (that we're living in a post-Janet's breast world of media sensitivity is utterly ludicrous in my opnion) that can only damage the democracy and freedoms of blogging.

Hang on in there Kathy - don't let the b*stards grind you down.

Posted by: Daniel | Mar 27, 2007 7:35:39 AM

I am so sorry that these people have caused such a response from you. They are wrong. You are valuable not just to us but to God also. Though I can't fully relate to the threats (I've not received them and pray I don't), but I know I'd react the same way.

I'm proud of you for getting the police involved. If you want to chat about how you are dealing with it internally, feel free to drop me a line.

Praying for you.

Posted by: rob | Mar 27, 2007 7:35:48 AM

Hey. Take it easy. There are some really stupid and idiotic people in this world who's sole aim is to bully others. Try not to let it hinder you from sharing your thoughts, which is what a blog is for. Let them eat cake!

Posted by: Twisted Saint | Mar 27, 2007 7:39:44 AM

...someone (or someones) is trying to run you out of town. Or trying to indoctrinate you into a death cult or a BDSM fun group. Perhaps they're waiting for you to bite, after you've had "the messengers and messages" live inside your brain long enough. Read More via flic.

Posted by: flic | Mar 27, 2007 7:39:58 AM

Kathy - I can't pretend to know what you must be feeling right now, and I can't give you any solution other than the obvious things... But for what it's worth, I've come to cherish the insight you've brought to the table, and I would miss it if you decided not to share anymore.

Posted by: Cam Beck | Mar 27, 2007 7:40:00 AM

Simply because we enjoy the right to free speech does not mean we all need to listen. Those who hide their contemptible actions behind rights and liberties are too weak to take personal responsibility for their behaviour. The meankids are not funny, they are not cool; they deserve our pity but not our ears.

Posted by: Rob | Mar 27, 2007 7:42:58 AM

I know that this comment thread is already pretty lengthy, but I did want to say that I've been following your blog pretty regularly for several months, and I think what you have to say is amazing. I work for a suburban public library, and I've been able to implement a number of your ideas in my day-to-day work.

I apologize so much that you've felt demeaned, objectified, and threatened -- and you are right, the blogosphere shouldn't be this way. Not at all.

Thanks so much for what you contribute to making the blogosphere the kind of place that it should be.

Posted by: Chris Warren | Mar 27, 2007 7:43:15 AM

I was on the train last night and a girl was crying on the phone to numerous friends saying she'd been getting calls and texts from someone, really horrible stuff and death threats, saying she'd be shot when she came out of work in a restaraunt (in UK, Moss Side). She was in a terrible state.

I just wanted to tell her that:
a) it wouldn't happen
b) they are cowards
c) she shouldn't talk to them
d) she should contact the police
e) they've already won
f) to ignore them - her 'self' is nothing to do with them

I thought of the Joni Mitchell lyric 'I gave him power over me'.

I think you're wonderful Kathy. Don't let them get you down.

Then I thought 'When people tell me what to think and feel, I often think "it's easy for you to say that"'

Bless you Kathy

Posted by: Pete | Mar 27, 2007 7:43:42 AM

To the people coming to defend what was said about this woman and to her -- you can tapdance all you like around the issue, defend it with criticisms of her blogging, etc -- and you still can't get past the fact that she was able to cite most of the threats she referenced.

I haven't read another entry in this weblog. I've never heard of Kathy Sierra before I read this entry. I have no reason to post here other than to say what I said many comments ago: I've been writing blog entries about murderers, alleged murderers, rapists, serial killers, pedophiles, you name it, for at least 3 years, and no threat I've received, no criticism I've received (one person even started an entire blog they intended to devote to hating me) has come close to what Kathy Sierra wrote about here, and to some degree backed up with links and screen caps. How'd she dupe anyone by saying, essentially, that people are writing downright psycho things about her, and in the process making overtly sexual and homicidal suggestions? I followed as much of what she linked or posted as I could, and there's just no getting around that.

I don't care if Ms. Sierra is a sucky tech blogger, or a wannabe, or any of the other ridiculous criticisms mentioned in these comments in bizarre effort to defend what's been done to her. That is irrelevant. If your next door neighbor is a boneheaded jackass who irritates you on sight, you still don't have a legal right to harass him, leave little effigies of him hung on his front doorstep, etc. Such actions in the real world are perfectly analogous to what Ms. Sierra's written about here. I'd suggest the people who are trying to turn the argument back on her are guilty of NOT GETTING IT. Who cares if she's not a very good blogger or any of that? (Again, I'm referencing some other comments above, not anything I've read). None of that justifies what she's written about and documented here.

And if Ms. Sierra is talking to law enforcement, then she's very smart to not tell anyone at all. It's laughable for some people to whine here about her not being open about that; why would she? If I were her, I'd want to snag the people who are putting fear into her life in such a grotesque way. The way to do that is to not say word one about it publicly from the moment she first talks to a detective or FBI agent.

I personally don't read much in the way of tech blogging. If Kathy Sierra isn't "very good" at it, I'm mystified as to why she speaks at conventions and has books in print. That said -- the bald facts appear to be that someone has posted words and images that are inherently threatening and frightening in reference to her, and I hope she's able to do something legally about it. There is, in the end, NO EXCUSE.

Posted by: Steve Huff | Mar 27, 2007 7:45:25 AM

Hugs! Don't let this bring you down!

Posted by: Amayita | Mar 27, 2007 7:51:39 AM

I'm not one to shy away from poking fun at people and their twaddle. However there is a line demarking back-of-the-classroom snide and Low Art.

Every once in a looong while, you come across a blogger with a futile desire to effect change in the meatspace. But let's face it, for most of us, for the non-business-oriented at least, this blogging stuff a barely veiled, desperate call to matter to someone/s (or to more than the usual suspects). Like the gods who only have power when people believe in them, some need attention to bring meaning. And for some of the some, the miserabler, the merrier, y'know?

Trick of it is, in my view, sniping has to be somewhat commensurate. Porridge, f'zample, is a grumble-level offense; it is not scream-worthy, generally. Now I can see how porridge every blinkin day may at one point or another evoke a lung-bursting, fibreglass powderizing wail. But whatever your offences Kathy, you're not daily porridge. Breathe deep.

These attacks are nothing but a pile of fetid opportunism.

They're...disturbing. They can unsettle your mind, these low-artfully-expressed fantasies. But were you reeeally threatened? From the sliver I've seen, along with the fact that you know who the perpetrator(s) is/are, I can't say there's reasonable reason to duck life as you would normally live it.

Fair enough, the Art is so far over the top, so inappropriately out of control, you can't help but wonder if there's a temporary shortage of medication in that artist-as-blogger's habitat. And if there is a shortage, well, sure, anything could happen. I guess. In which case, not even a moat and drawbridge would keep you safe from the truly mad. And then you're not paying bills because you're afraid of anthrax-laced letters and such.

Pretty soon, you're as mad as the original offender and just as homeless (ah, the better to get you on their hometurf, my dear). And online tipjars make me spit. No, this isn't working out for anybody.

I know it can be difficult to stifle in an irrational fear. We've all got at least a couple. We know where they're buried and we have to keep an eye on the tombstone from time to time, knowing they can have zombie-like persistence.

But you go on and live, Kathy. Don't imprison yourself. By the looks of things here, you have plenty who'll watch your back.

Posted by: Charles Duggleson | Mar 27, 2007 7:53:21 AM

Kathy -- Please don't let a couple of malicious losers keep you from doing what you are obviously so passionate about, and what we are all so passionate to read. There's a dark side to passion, and it's horrible that you are being scared and threatened in this way.

Please hang in there. And let us know if we can go beat anyone up for you.

Posted by: Sara Brumfield | Mar 27, 2007 7:53:35 AM

I too am glad the police are taking you seriously, that you're taking it seriously, and I am saddened to see this crap that was left not only at your front door, but around the whole neighborhood. Pathetic mentally-ill wankers playing Photoshop games online with others' lives sucks royally.

Hang in there. It'll get better.

Posted by: gordsellar | Mar 27, 2007 7:53:41 AM

They do say don't let it affect your life, but

my experience says that there are words that can effectively break your bones and affect the rest of your life negatively and

there is nothing I can do to "not let it affect my life."

We are a culture learning the hard way (as all cultures do that have the capacity to learn) that words can be as
destructive as anything else. The pen often is mightier than the sword, and not necessarily in a
"good" way.

Posted by: Judy Hawkins | Mar 27, 2007 7:54:11 AM

Kathy, it saddens me deeply to see this. My thoughts are with you and your family.

I'm sorry to see there are people citing free speech or saying it'll just blow over. I pray it does blow over, but that doesn't justify what this has done to you.

You've done an outstanding job raising the issue of communicating and designing for passion. I'd understand why, but I'd hate to lose CPU.


Posted by: Simon | Mar 27, 2007 7:56:48 AM

I'm disgusted by what you've had to endure the past few weeks, but I'm very glad that you've chosen to share your experience with the blogosphere. It takes courage to share such a personal and terrifying experience and I hope you find strength in both telling your story and in the support you are receiving from your readers and your co-bloggers.
I was attacked at knifepoint entering my home two years ago and as you said in your post, these experiences truly do change you forever. But I hope that you find that with the bad comes good. A terrible experience can expose your greatest strengths.
You are in my prayers.

Posted by: C | Mar 27, 2007 7:56:56 AM

I'm yet another person who's been introduced to your blog from another site. This is just beyond awful.

If I could add my voice to the chorus...Do whatever you feel is best and safest for you and your family. I hope the police not only find these drooling idiots, but publish their names and faces so we can all have a laugh at their expense. All the best to you, no matter what you decide.

Posted by: Karen Mohler | Mar 27, 2007 7:58:49 AM

That sucks. I greatly enjoyed your keynote at OSCon, and hope that you'll be back in circulation soon. Unfortunately, any idiot on the planet can start a blog or make disgusting comments, and many of them do. It's nothing new -- I remember Usenet. I also remember when I turned off anonymous comments on my Livejournal after getting death threats from people who accused me of child abuse when I wrote about my kids using Linux.

I'd wonder what ever happened to polite discourse on the Internet, but I strongly suspect that Gandhi's comment about Western civilization applies: "I think it would be a good idea".

Posted by: Steve Savitzky | Mar 27, 2007 8:01:16 AM


You make the world a better place-- for your daughters and for women in technology-- by doing good work, encouraging good work, and being vocal about it.

This is horrifying and depressing. I'm glad you're calling it what it is-- outright misogyny.

Good luck with the investigation. I'll be thinking about you.

Posted by: Melody | Mar 27, 2007 8:01:23 AM

Well, while I agree and can't say I blame you for being frightened etc. I don't for one second believe the cowards who posted crap like that have the balls (or anything else for that matter) to follow through.

For whats its worth...Hope the police nail 'em though....

Posted by: Tim Waters | Mar 27, 2007 8:01:30 AM


When I read your post, I actually felt afraid for you. This is completely unacceptable behavior and I hope whoever is responsible gets caught and punished. It is a sad world where one of the best blogs around can disappear because some people need to release their anger behind a mask of anonymity.

Posted by: Natasha | Mar 27, 2007 8:01:38 AM


This is absolutely horrible and I really hope Kathy that after a little bit of time you come back as the blogosphere will miss your voice and wisdom. I wish you all the best.


Posted by: Cord Silverstein | Mar 27, 2007 8:04:53 AM

Those who use violent sexual slurs and threats are simply 13 year old Harry Potter worshippers and Grand Theft Auto player haters. Period. Why fear, when fate shines on the Good and Noble. There IS karma. Every philosophy, aside from idiot Nietsczhe of unmemorable name spelling, agrees.

Sometimes, people attack the occult and "nazis", then become what they attack.

Posted by: vaspers the grate | Mar 27, 2007 8:07:17 AM

Kathy, you are the best and this morons are useless. You do a great work!! Your books are among the best I've ever read, and you must show these people that you are much, much, MUCH more than them!! I support you and I hope that you and your family will be OK, and that this horrible situation will be ended soon. You are not alone. Remember that.

Posted by: Adrian | Mar 27, 2007 8:09:20 AM

I'm a consumer protection (and bankruptcy) attorney, and I know something about personal privacy. Please for the love of god, DO NOT USE PO BOXES AND THINK THAT MAKES YOU SAFE.

"That's one reason that I've typically used my PO Box as my mailing address"

PO Box renter information is subject to the Freedom of Information Act. All one need do is go to the post office, fill out a form, and request the renter's information. And they will get it.

For a bit more you can get a private version of this through commercial services (example: UPS Store - not a plug, just the only one I know by name).

As for the meat of this - the pure evil - there isn't much more I can say. It's all well and good to urge Kathy and other victims not to give in to the terror but I'll wager none of those saying that have been victimized in that way. It's just not that simple. You have to protect yourself, and your loved ones, first and foremost.

Kathy you are in my thoughts and prayers. I am taking my practice blogs dark for a week in solidarity with you.

Posted by: Sheryl Schelin | Mar 27, 2007 8:09:50 AM


I love your books and your blog. I have no idea why people would attack you like this, but hate is irrational. Just count me as one more who's on your side!

Posted by: Headrush Fan | Mar 27, 2007 8:10:06 AM

speak to this guy, he had a similar problem that is probably still going on. He has gone through the legal system. His trouble was from someone who gave a name though.

Posted by: Jim | Mar 27, 2007 8:10:08 AM

I share your outrage and am VERY sorry that you've been forced to endure this. The degree to which violence against women is condoned in this world is shameful. To have a woman who is a strong public figure be instantly reduced to the role of Victim is a sign of how ingrained this "story" is in our society.

I hope you can find the courage to continue your life as a public figure.

The more women and men who stand up to this sort of violence, backed by legions of fans and friends, and bolstered by the law that protects us against this hatred, the sooner these hateful criminals can be unmasked and brought their just desserts.

The more outrage we show against every person who hates women, the less acceptable and normal this hatred will be.

The more women who refuse to be victims, the less girls who grow up assuming they must be victims.

You have my support, and the support of thousands in the world of blogs and, I would hope, the support of all your friends. If there is anything any of us can do to help you be and feel safe, or to help find these hateful people and bring the full force of the law against them, just let us know. Your fame goes both ways; it makes you visible and a target, but it also gives you influence and control in this world.

Apologies if this sounds preachy. This stuff really hits a nerve for me. I do NOT want my daughter to grow up in a world where women are considered to be "asking for it" when violence is perpetrated against them.

Posted by: Nik | Mar 27, 2007 8:11:30 AM

I am sorry to hear about your recent unfortunate experiences. I have seen your site on the BBC website and I find all this extremely horrifying.

It is a shame that I've been introduced to your brilliantly written blog this way. Rest assured that I will be a regular reader from now on.

I hope everything settles down soon for you.

Good luck...

Posted by: Adil | Mar 27, 2007 8:13:02 AM

It's either some middle or high school kid who is overjoyed at the response he got, or some adult living in his mothers basement also overjoyed at this response. With a few nasty comments, he turned someones life upside down. I would continue my normal life, and just be a bit more vigilant.

Posted by: buzz | Mar 27, 2007 8:18:49 AM

As a society of all of us involved in the Blogsphere have a responsibility to ensure mature debate. Criticisms are one thing but personnel abuse at that level is not on, in particular, when that abuse is posted anonymously with implied threats. I just want to add my voice of support at this side of the Atlantic ocean. I know what you are going through must be horrible both for you and your family but please remember you have the overwhelming support of the vast number of mature and sensible Bloggers worldwide. Whatever you feel is right for you, right now, you have our support. And at a time of your choosing make somebody's day and come back to Blogging. After all, we can’t let them win. Can we?.

Posted by: Parnell | Mar 27, 2007 8:20:04 AM

And another perspective. I honestly don't mean to sound insensitive or mean (after all if this had happened to my wife or daughter I would be all over the police, which I guess given what I'm about to say makes me a hypocrite. So be it.) but this kind of crap has been going on LONG LONG LONG BEFORE blogging, da web or any of the other social networking mechanisms recently created.

Those of us old timers like myself who were using usenet before there was a web browser have seen these sort of threats a million times. I can't help but think now that technology has matured and people like Kathy MAKE MONEY typing their thoughts online that it SUDDENLY has become a big deal. I mean really, have you never heard or seen this happen before?

Again, part of me doesn't understand why all of a sudden everyone is surprised, worried and upset that ANONYMOUS comments are acting like 12 year old petulant children. This has been going on LONG before the word blog even came to be a word...And I've never heard, even once of someone making an anonymous threat online and then it being carried out.

While my sympathies go out to you Kathy, I think you and the rest of the world had better get used to this kind of thing...

The only surprise I have is that this has become a big deal...

Posted by: Tim Waters | Mar 27, 2007 8:22:37 AM

We are really big fans of your blog. I really hope you make it through this nonsense unshaken. You give us hope and passion to keep at it each week.

Posted by: Jobe Roberts | Mar 27, 2007 8:22:48 AM

I support you 100%. I understand your fear. However now they have won. These guys are pissing themselves laughing they have scared you. This is the world we live in. Don't mistake it there are people out there who will do these things to us simply because they feel like it. In blog land we can often be removed from the reality of life. While I feel these guys should be locked up and have the key thrown away, I am a little peeved that people are so shocked by this. Please don't let the fear win. I am afraid it is what governments do but obviously your personal experience is different for you, but is it so much more than when Bush told us 'he has weapons of mass distruction' scale. The truth is the free speech without respect allows for the denigration of all you hold dear to your heart. Free speech without respect allows the peddling of hate. We live in a world of hate. It is our responsibility to stop giving into this. For these people you are not a person, you are an image, a web page, a thought, and perhaps even a threat. But you are not to them like they see themselves. They haven't learned to look beyond their own hateful experiences. I am not making excuses. I am doing a miserable job of trying to support you and the millions of other people who give into fear. Don't do that please. ... the culture of fear is very debilitating.
With hope and support to you and your work whatever your philosophy is.

Posted by: warrior | Mar 27, 2007 8:24:55 AM

You rule. You help me and lots of others to rule. Even if you never post another word, that won't change. I don't know what to say, apart from giving you my support in a measly blog comment, whatever you decide to do. Take your time. I have a feeling the bad guys are louder but vastly outnumbered by the good ones.

Posted by: Martin Olsson | Mar 27, 2007 8:25:37 AM

Im very sorry to hear this .I hope you keep up your good work.Someone is jealous of you and a total bloody coward to boot.Dont let them win.

Posted by: Ina | Mar 27, 2007 8:27:00 AM


I got'cha back girl! You are easily in my top three, one of the best bloggers I've read. I'd also hate to see you quit but I do understand. It's a difficult choice. If you stop now they win with foolish acts of simple stoopidity. If you go on you put yourself at risk, and for whom? I'd like nothing more than to see the people responsible come foward, admit their wrong doing and stop the madness so we could all get on enjoying your writings. It's a shame how so few can cause destruction that reaches out to so many. Locking yourself indoors and retreating from the world will only worsen situation as the people involved will see how easily they can reach out and harm you with only words and fake graphics. The best way to fight a bully is to not give them what they want, your fear. You know as well as your family, that everything posted is childish. Whoever believes or follows along is equally as childish. Those people don't even matter. You have to look at it as an indirect compliment, they hate you so much because they either fear you or want to be you.

The world needs more people like you but you owe us all nothing more than what you've given. Your situation makes me rethink my own blog. I have very few daily visitors but have recently started growing a little more for reasons that I'm still puzzled by. While I attempt to post entertaining and informative articles like you I'd hate to see the same thing happen to me. I don't know how I would react. I too have family and children so I definitely feel your pain. Whatever way your heart guides you I am sure you will have the full support and understanding of your entire community of thousands (millions? I don't have access to your stats) or readers. Keep ya' head up and remember you have to keep on living.

Posted by: Cliff | Mar 27, 2007 8:28:24 AM

Dear Kathy,

This is one of the most disturbing blog posts I think I've ever read. The only good I get out of it is the support I've seen for you throughout the blogosphere in addition to the number of comments posted.

My advice is to keep blogging. You're one of the best and it would be a complete tragedy if a couple of "dirtbags" silenced you.

My only hope is that the blogosphere will pull together and stomp out behavior like this sooner rather than later.

If you ever need anything, don't hesitate to ask.

Your insight is more valuable than you think.

Best Regards,

Mark Krupinski

Posted by: Mark Krupinski | Mar 27, 2007 8:37:25 AM

Truly disgusting. I'm sick to my stomach after reading what you've had to endure. Please take the time to track down and prosecute these people -- society doesn't need them. This should *NOT* go unpunished ... it's despicable.

Posted by: Chris | Mar 27, 2007 8:37:25 AM

I'm a big fan of your books, blog, and overall message. A creative female perspective in the world of software development is desperately needed. I'm sorry that cowards hiding behind anonymity were so threatened by your refreshing message that they felt the need to lash out with violent threats.

I hope you continue to write, your voice would be deeply missed if you left.

And I own five of the headfirst books and recommend them to anyone who asks where to get started with java, html, etc.

Posted by: Jon Marston | Mar 27, 2007 8:38:25 AM

I’ve been in the computer business in some form or another for a tad over 45 years, and I've had a presence on the Internet since -- well, Gopher and FTP were the main protocols for interfacing with sites, email addresses had complicated chains of routing instructions, and there wasn't an Internet Explorer! When I started programming for a living, there were close to equal numbers of men and women, and we treated each other with respect.

There may have been a glass ceiling, but in the ranks of “middle management”, you were as likely to find a woman or an African American as you were to find a white male.
What happened? How did the “geek culture” become so male-dominated? How did the Internet turn from a university to a shopping mall, and then to a war zone? How did Americans come to practice cyber-terrorism on an American high-tech icon like Kathy Sierra?

Posted by: M. Edward (Ed) Borasky | Mar 27, 2007 8:39:33 AM

I am shocked and saddened and angered to hear this. The world is fully of evil, nasty people who rear their ugly heads from time-to-time.

Your writings have always been helpful and insightful, and I hope that this doesn't silence you.

Posted by: Andrew | Mar 27, 2007 8:39:39 AM

Here's the thing:

I'm really sorry that you feel fear and you're not enjoying life right now. I really am. If I could click my fingers and take that fear away from you right now, I would.

However, this is a public medium and people are going to be critics. Sometimes they will say and do things in order to get shock value that are not meant to be anything other than stuff to get shock value. I do not believe your life is in danger, but I do believe there are people out there who don't like your work and have a hard time vocalising that in a mature way.

These attacks are not about you. They're not about your gender, they're not about your work. They're about people having a problem with somebody who is well-known in their particular field. This is about them and their attitudes, not about you. Your life is not in danger.

I hope you keep writing, and I hope you are able to start rolling with the fact a few people out there are going to have problems with you - if you can't, you need to go and look at what real celebs have to put up with online, and decide if you've done too good a job at becoming well known in the industry.

I doubt these were real death threats. I know they hurt, and nobody likes to feel the pang of anonymous, juvenile, hurtful criticims and threats. However, that's just the way the world works around the Internet. It's not the blogosphere - it's fame.

I hope you carry on, and if you don't, thank you for the work you've put in to communicating effective usability and communications. You'll be missed, but if you do walk away I'll be disappointed in your ability to really understand how notoriety can come back and hurt you.

Either way, I hope you find it within yourself to be able to resist the fear you have right now and you get to enjoy life some more somehow.

Posted by: Paul Robinson | Mar 27, 2007 8:41:09 AM

I can only echo how saddened and goddamn outraged I am on your behalf. I hope there is some measure of comfort and affirmation in the number of people who are equally disgusted by these petulant, hostile, and frankly sick displays.

Building online community is hard, but it shouldn't be dangerous. We're here in the trenches with you, and we support you.

Posted by: Mary Elizabeth Williams | Mar 27, 2007 8:46:25 AM


I'm working with PBS Teachers (www.pbs.org/teachers) to raise awareness about what happened to you and to encourage educators around the US to spend time this Friday talking about cyber bullying. We're also encouraging everyone else with a blog to participate by writing or posting video about cyberbullying, whether it's something they've experienced, resources they want to share, an open letter to their member of Congress, etc. Anyone who participates is encouraged to tag it "stopcyberbullying" so we can aggregate it and discuss it at http://stopcyberbullying.ning.com. More info at PBS.org here.

Posted by: andy carvin | Mar 27, 2007 8:49:28 AM

Dear Kathy,
I'm very sorry you are going through this.
Many people have written advice here, but please allow me to add from my own experiences. I was sexually abused when I was a child and I had no one to help me until much later. So, this is from personal experience.
1 Find someone you trust and allow yourself to be vulnerable. I'm not talking about just unloading or blowing off steam although that is part of it. Too much unloading can magnify problems and make solutions seem small. Unload and brainstorm. Some people say, "get counseling" which is good advice, but often it does not have to be a professional. (I went through 5 professionals before I found one that had the common sense to help me, so don't be afraid to fire someone either.) Realize you can be strong but feel weak. I don't know how old your daughter is, but try not to unload on her. My mother did that when my Dad died (I was 17) and I felt like I would break. Don't hide it from her either. That can be just as bad.
2 This one is big and difficult. Don't make this more or less than it is. You have your health. Your child is safe. You are actually no less safe than you were before, you're just far more aware of the nuts out there. Make a calm place and think about it. Think about first how you are blessed. Think about what they have taken from you and how to get it back.
3 Realize that you will feel safe again. Realize this is terrorism. Think about ways you are unprotected and what you can do to "close the gaps" without bowing to fear.
4 Changing who you are doesn't work. I thought this was something I went through because I was so young, but I've seen grown women do this too. When this happened I tried to be someone else I wasn't. Truly, it made things worse. It was another layer keeping me from acknowledging my feelings. It kept me from connecting to those who cared for me. Be as real as you can be. I'm not saying wear you heart on your sleeve. You know there are people out there who are not worthy to share yourself with. Some of them wrote those posts.
5 Realize you have more supporters than enemies. Realize that even most of your detractors are not enemies, they just don't agree with you. Realize your enemies are not everywhere, not omniscient, and don't have a clue. Probably the main fuel behind the comments is jealousy, not anything wrong with you. There is probably a great deal wrong with them. This doesn't mean they're harmless; this means NOTHING is wrong with YOU!

I've enjoyed your blog. Not many out there have the chutzpa to say, "We're intelligent, so let's act like it!"
I'll pray for you.

Posted by: Tammy | Mar 27, 2007 8:49:38 AM

Don't let this stop you. I can understand how disturbing and scary this can be, but the likely hood that you are dealing with something else than an immature internet bully is close to zero. Don't let this get to you. Keep up all the good work!

Posted by: Johan Thelin | Mar 27, 2007 8:50:02 AM

Although this is my first visit to your blog, I get the feeling you are a respected and valued individual. Why then should there be a need to intimidate you in such an unacceptable way, causing unnecessary paranoia and fear. I just can't understand why someone would do such a thing, when there is no benefit for anyone (except perhaps a prison sentence), and the consequences are far more severe for the author than just the usual article flaming.

I do hope they're caught. I haven't had time to read the whole article through, but theres defiantly a real problem with people like this nowadays.

Posted by: Woolie | Mar 27, 2007 8:50:03 AM

Kathy, I just want to add my voice to the support you are receiving. It is absolutely disgusting the way you have been treated, and there is no defence or excuse for it. I am very close to someone who has been the victim of cyberbullying, and though it was of a less sinister kind, it affected her beyond measure and had a massive impact on her life.

There is more to be said – by all of us – about acceptable behaviour in the blogosphere. The internet has brought us new freedoms: it does not absolve us of our basic human responsibilities. Clearly some people need to learn that.

Good luck to you.

Posted by: dominic dawes | Mar 27, 2007 8:53:12 AM

>>... I do not want to be part of a culture--the Blogosphere--where this is considered acceptable...

This activity is NOT acceptable in any civilized culture. Let law enforcement do its job, and please return to your regular, informative online persona as soon as you can.

Clint Bradford
Riverside, CA US

Posted by: Clint Bradford | Mar 27, 2007 8:55:14 AM

People like these really exist... it's sad that they were introduced to the gene pool. May any one who intends to catch that sick fella be able to do so.

Kathy will never be the same, but I really pray that this criminal gets caught sooner.

Posted by: Ian Mallari | Mar 27, 2007 8:57:27 AM

From Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged":

"In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst."

Posted by: Paul Holser | Mar 27, 2007 9:00:06 AM

Paul Robinson,

The thing is, there's really no way to know, is there? If I had to bet, I'd bet that these entirely inappropriate comments weren't actually intended as bonafide death threats, that they're just actions of people with severely impaired social and emotional skills.

And yet, and yet. There are stalkers in the world, there are those who get obsessive and violent. As somebody who was stalked for years by somebody who left me hundreds of voice mails in the middle of the night and broke into my apartment, I'm inclined to be sympathetic to those who want to err on the safe side. Maybe Kathy is taking this too seriously, but what are the odds that she's right and does need to be concerned for her safety? 1 percent? 10 percent? What's an acceptable margin of error when your safety is involved?

Posted by: Francis Hwang | Mar 27, 2007 9:00:45 AM

Kathy - I'm so sorry. You're my #1 inspiration and influence because there's always humanity in your work. This nightmare scenario points out how many are so completely cut off from their own humanity that they are compelled to destroy it in others, especially women (and God help us - young girls). I think you are 100% right to trust your response to this threat and make your safety and security your first priority. I hope something good comes out of this hell that you're going through; like personal zero-tolerance for involvement with any sites, owners or organizers who support or enable violent, hateful and misogynistic threats. Whether its intended or unwitting it doesn't really matter anymore does it?

Posted by: mary | Mar 27, 2007 9:01:24 AM


As a member of this larger "community" that you mention I just want to say I'm sorry all this has happened to you. I honestly believe people are generally good. However, there is always going to be that element of evil, and I do believe what this person(s) has done is evil, out in the world.

I just wanted to comment and in some small, as a grain of sand maybe, let you know that I do not think this is acceptable behavior and I support your right to live and work in peace. God Bless and good luck in the wild ride called Life that we are all on.

Posted by: Jason | Mar 27, 2007 9:03:14 AM

As a fellow female blogger, I too have had a few idiots post rude and demeaning comments, but nothing like you have had to face. You have my complete support. Don't let these little terrorists ruin your life. Be cautious, but don't let them win. IP log them, then turn that info over to the police. Even anonymizers can be tracked back if necessary.

Posted by: Renee | Mar 27, 2007 9:07:32 AM

I've nothing unique to add, but I just want to "second" all the messages of support that people have posted. You've a lot to consider in making your decisions on how to respond to that crap, but from a purely selfish point of view I hope that you keep blogging - I'm a regular reader, and I get a lot out of reading your stuff.

Good luck with everything.

Posted by: Paddy | Mar 27, 2007 9:07:44 AM

This is weird. I was skimming through your blog, and there's not much in the most recent that's...y'know...feminist. Or any kind of "[progressive cause]ist." That's the kind of stuff that I've found usually gets the death threats.

Anyway, no matter what they were responding to, I'm so sorry this happened to you.

Posted by: Katie | Mar 27, 2007 9:08:10 AM

Nooo! Why are you feeding the trolls?
Where are so many idiots that simply are jeallous of what you are doing. And now they feel pride because of you doing what they wanted you to do - stop being successful! :(

Don't feed the troll. End of the story.

Great, amazing blog!


Posted by: gcse maths revision | Mar 27, 2007 9:08:33 AM

It's all been said...so I dont want go on...
...except to let you know how sorry I am for what has happened... and (for what it's worth via cyberspace), to add my support to the hundreds who got there before me..

God bless...

Posted by: Chris Pickett | Mar 27, 2007 9:08:48 AM

Well Cathy, there are a lot of weirdo's out there. I say flip em the bird and just keep doing what you do.

These people have nothing worthwhile to offer they just troll around looking for people to upset.

Posted by: Tideswellman | Mar 27, 2007 9:09:20 AM

Your use of the phrase "death threats" in this post is an insult to people who have actually been threatened. You were the subject of a single anonymous e-mail from someone who found you "boring," and some sophomoric jokes from a group of old hand bloggers making fun of other old hands. Nobody has called you at two in the morning warning you to stay home. Nobody has thrown rocks through your physical window.

You have the right to be disturbed and upset by anonymous people insulting you publicly. You can cancel your speaking events because you don't want those people to harass you-- that's perfectly understandable. But don't call it a "death threat". That's drama whoring to the utmost extent, and you're crying wolf to the detriment of people who might one day actually be threatened.

Posted by: Shii | Mar 27, 2007 9:09:37 AM

Well, it's clear you've suckered in a lot of people who just don't know any better.

Like I said before, it's a marvellous PR campaign you've launched and no doubt you'll get very wealthy very quickly because your adoring fans have been taken in completely by your peculiar brand of codswallop.

You have learned the lesson of never giving a sucker an even break to absolute perfection.

Posted by: Paul Ritchie | Mar 27, 2007 9:14:10 AM

I hate men who treat women this way. There are some women out there, as well as men, who I don't like (to put it mildly) but I don't go around verbally abusing them or making death threats. Only mindless morons do that.
Don't give up Kathy, don't let these imbaciels get to you. Don't give them the satisfaction.

Stay strong,


Posted by: Alan Barrow | Mar 27, 2007 9:17:49 AM

Kathy, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. This is a hugely frightening scenario for you to endure, and one that has no place in our real or virtual worlds in 2007. I sincerely hope that the police do take this seriously and deal with the individuals involved in a suitably strong manner.

I have really enjoyed your blog postings and writing in the past, and hope that you can come through this a stronger individual. Good luck, Stuart

Posted by: Stuart McIntyre | Mar 27, 2007 9:24:19 AM

As another female fellow 'techie', I know we are a rarity and definitely in the minority. I am sorry to hear that you have had to go through all this nonsense.
I hope that you will stay strong and I wanted to say that I admire what you are doing.
Best Wishes and good luck,

Posted by: Jennifer from Scotland | Mar 27, 2007 9:26:29 AM


They have targeted you because you are a leader. A person of influence who changes the way people think. This is a great and wonderful thing that threatens the weak and attracts the attention of people with mental health problems.

I'm remind of three quotes. The first two are from the West Wing:

Q. How do you spot a leader?
A. They are the one with arrows in their back.

If they are shooting at you, you know you are doing something right.

The last is from Ghandi:

First they ignore you,
then they ridicule you,
then they fight you,
then you win.

Don't let them or anyone stop you carrying on your important and much valued work.


Posted by: Chris Tregenza | Mar 27, 2007 9:29:05 AM

Hi Kathy...

I don't even know where to begin. This seems beyond words. I terribly sorry this has happened to you. I am so disgusted that I had to look up how to spell 'disgusted.' I truly wish there was something I could do to help you.

I have loved Creating Passionate Users and am pained by the idea that you may not blog again. I hope that there's a space where you can feel safe enough to come back. Unil then, you and your family are in my and my family's prayers. And will continue to watch for updates in my reader.

You have our support and our caring.

Posted by: Dawud Miracle | Mar 27, 2007 9:30:08 AM

This is the ultimate of sick and perverted behavior. Such a coward to attack someone in such a brutal manner.
How can freedom of speech take priority over a person's personal safety and peace of mind???
Kathy my prayers go out to you and your family.

Posted by: Buster | Mar 27, 2007 9:30:32 AM


DO NOT! Cancel your life, this is what he wants, do not allow yourself to be intimidated. He will be found,the police and feds no how to do this as we all know.

Love and luck to you, from one female blogger to another.

Please do not let this ignorant Man intimidate you.

Heather Paulson

Posted by: Heather Paulson | Mar 27, 2007 9:30:39 AM

I am appalled by these threats, Kathy. It's not the first time I've heard of bloggers - particularly women bloggers - being threatened like this. Of course, that just makes it worse. If there's anything I can do to help, please let me know.

Posted by: zonker | Mar 27, 2007 9:33:32 AM


Posted by: whoopee | Mar 27, 2007 9:35:30 AM

Kathy, you have my support. I respect and appreciate you for bringing this out in the open - giving your community a chance to show our support. Just let us know what we can do to help and you'll see us rally behind you.

Posted by: Brandon | Mar 27, 2007 9:37:32 AM

Dear Kathy,

I only read about the threats against you today on the BBC World homepage. I don't know much about you but you have my fullest sympathies and I totally understand how you must be feeling, since something similar happened to me some years ago, but not in a blog but in a bands forum. There was one poster, who couldn't take constructive criticism concerning his art and soon started to attack me personally, at first only name calling etc. Later another poster joined him, he felt supported and floodposted, inventing horrible stories about my life, then threatening to hack our server and last but not least, threatening to kill my cats, the kids of my mate and let me have been raped and thrown into a gutter to just mention some examples. I'm using the internet since 1996 and at that time people were very unaware of what should become out of it and gave away information on their life, job etc. All that information was used and since me and my spouse had a webpage showing our work as a design network, of course also phonenumbers and addresses were shown there. Although I'm living in Spain already for some years, I'm still German citizen and finally could save enough evidence to report that guy (he lives in Germany). I engaged a lawyer and presented all the hate, sexist emails plus the posts. The case went to court, but was dismissed because of the minor importance. That guy even falsely accused me of tax fraud to be able to report me too. Sadly the court didn't see it necessary to hear me personally about the whole matter, but at least let the guy apologize and promise not to get near me in future, neither via mail, phone or personally. After I received the protocol of the trial, I learned that that guy was totally disturbed, because he'd lost both legs in a car accident and had always been on heavy medication for depression since then...I've learned a lot out of that episode: Not to give out personal information anymore. I was frightened too for some time and depressive, because those invented stories hurt a lot and to start my mail program every morning just to find up to 100 insulting and threatening emails really was no fun.

I hope you overcome your fear! And the provider of that blog web certainly knows who the person is and the police or a court should be able to force them to show their logs and data concerned. Have a go at that guy and fight back!

Posted by: triominodelux | Mar 27, 2007 9:42:57 AM

Francis Hwang:

I think it's quite clear from the comments made elsewhere by the people involved that this was a particularly bad attempt at satire. It was distasteful, crude, crass, unfunny, pathetic, juvenile and stupid. It was not however a real attempt at planning a threat towards Kathy's life or well-being.

I accept however, that just because no physical harm was done, it doesn't mean emotional harm was avoided. She is clearly very, very upset. I genuinely wish there was something we could do to fix that, but in truth all we can do is wish her well.

I think it's terrible that she feels the way she does, but I think at the same time we have to accept that the A-list bloggers are as vulnerable to this type of attack as any celebrity.

Just a month ago another famous blonde woman was turned into an article of derision, her sexuality derided, her life mocked by the blogosphere AND the mainstream media: her name was Anna-Nicole Smith. What these pricks did to Kathy is not as hurtful as what was said and done about ANS a month ago, some of it done by Fox News and CNN!

I don't get why so many people got to bask in the smug humour of that horrendous and sordid little bout of intellectual msyognistic onanism yet can somehow feel outraged that a blogger is subjected to much the same kind of treatment.

You can play it one way, or play it the other, but you can't have it both ways. Just a month ago Scoble was posting a chart suggesting he might be Anna-Nicole's kid's father - oh, how he laughed! - yet when Kathy is violated in as crass a manner he decides to give up blogging for a week in "outrage". There is only one phrase to describe that: condascending, patronising faux outrage. He is not Kathy's friend, he's just hoping for trackbacks.

I hope Kathy is able to continue blogging, and I hope she quickly feels safe in her life and is able to continue her life as before talking about those darned users. :-)

I don't think these kinds of attacks are going to go away until society in general thinks about how we want to treat each other and realises we can't just cop out when it's somebody we don't like/admire: it has to be equal status for all.

I think it might be a quicker route to resolution for Kathy to realise that these threats were not real. The threat was a crass joke interpreted in a very understandly real way. The rest of us however have a duty to realise that just because we choose to be anonymous sometimes, it doesn't mean we are absolved of our responsibility to each other as human beings.

Kathy, if you're reading this, I hope you realise I'm not having a go at you or the way you feel - I'm just hoping you can see this for what it was and that the issue is bigger, and therefore less directly threatening, than you feel it is. I doubt this was as personal an attack on you as you think: you just happened to be in the line of attack. I hope you blog again soon. Good luck, and keep well.

Posted by: Paul Robinson | Mar 27, 2007 9:43:30 AM

Your blog has been a constant source of insightful inspiration ever since I read your post: "Angry/negative people can be bad for your brain". And while these personal attacks are bad for yours and our brains, I hope that you do continue with your blog and your great work. I hope the law catches up with these idiots and that their conviction gets a lot of publicity.

Hang in there,


Posted by: Jono Fisher | Mar 27, 2007 9:48:06 AM

Kathy, You know the truth! we are all big fans of you!! Don't give up on the 100000s of us, because of these lowly cowards. If you wish, I guarantee that each of your fan will be more than willing to do enact word to word of the sentences used by these brainless animals. I really wish all the 600 commentors storm their blogs and threaten them... but that will not be exact opposite of what you have potrayed. All you need is to post for help, I am willing to fly over from the eastcoast for you!. Seriously!

Posted by: mani | Mar 27, 2007 9:50:39 AM


Somehow I doubt you're still reading these (truth telling: I didn't get through all 600+ before writing this...) but I wanted to add my voice to the tidal wave of support that you've seen.

I don't know if this perspective helps, but I think you've touched on the why of these people before in your posts...

1.) mob mentality (ie - all of us is stupider than one of us). Pair this with some level of anonymity and the cycle runs far, far furthur than any "sane" adult would take it. I'm reminded of the Jewish gentleman who wept upon seeing one of the Nazi defendants brought into the courtroom at the Nuremberg trials. Not for joy or relief, he later recounted, but because he realized "that could have been me...I am capable of equal atrocity." We all have the capability for evil within us, these folks showed it.

2.) The physics of passion...if nobody hates you, you're not doing a good enough job. Again...these folks stepped WAAAY over the line. But you're prominent. Out there. These folks see your excellence (yes Kathy, your excellence!) and gave in to a typical reaction - jealousy. Not having grown up (see #3), or learned how to look inside they lash out in (horrible, bestial) schoolyard fashion.

3.) (my own observation) Adult != grown up. We all relapse into childishness at times. While there is no excuse for what was done (the posts were in immature, thoughtless, sadistic fun. Right. And the damage was real) these folks have:
a.) some real, unresolved s**t that they need to grow through. (as they've taken the "drag someone down so I can feel better" to a whole new...low)
b.) they're genuinely sick. (doubtful, but possible see #1)
c.) they're otherwise reasonably decent people who were swept away and let things get out of control.

Regardless, they hold culpability for their actions. They chose to do what they did with deliberate malicious intent to intimidate.

Frankly, while my first response was an offer to round them all up in a minibus and drive them to your house for a personal apology...I don't think I could convince them to come. (and threats of force wouldn't be exactly appropriate in this instance...)

My anger flared on your behalf with visions of the above storming off to demand an apology played. But once the initial rage cooled, I saw that change and healing on their part would never come that way. And healing on your part would (probably) not be helped by childish adults offering a sullen apology.

You've helped me become a better, more thoughtful developer. You've set some of my past thinking on it's head and kicked my butt quite soundly in many of your posts. And I've positively RAVED about you to just about everyone who would listen.

(some of them even still talk to me!)

Thank you, Kathy. I've never been in your shoes (on your skateboard?) so I won't presume to ask you to "please don't stop!". I have children (3 of them). Fear is powerful.

You're worth healing. You're worth protecting. You're a gem, Kathy Sierra. Please don't forget that - whatever you decide to do.


Posted by: Aaron Backer | Mar 27, 2007 9:51:59 AM

wow that is truly awful, abhorring + disgusting*

frightening to think these are fairly big names + as U point out associated w/ Top Gurus in the Web Biz*

Beyond the Pale really*

Peace Kathy*


Posted by: BillyWarhol | Mar 27, 2007 9:52:42 AM

This is just a quick note of support. Your story is shocking, horrifying, and disturbing. I wish for you strength and courage.

-- Scott

Posted by: B. Scott Andersen | Mar 27, 2007 9:53:32 AM

Good for you exposing this stuff, Kathy. Evil happens in the dark, and you shone the light of accountability on these people. All bloggers should take responsibility for this kind of stuff appearing on their sites through editing and community tagging. Although bloggers are sophisticated smart adults, it is like a larger myspace where there are dangers and people need to begin applying values and standards to their sites.

Posted by: Jim | Mar 27, 2007 9:53:58 AM

Hi Kathy,

Just a quick note to wish you the very best. We all hope you continue to post, find some security in your friends and family, and know we will stand behind you always. Joli

Posted by: Joli B. | Mar 27, 2007 9:54:58 AM

Everyone has already said it, and I'm not that eloquent. Just wanted to say I hope you don't lose faith in the fact that most people are decent. Your blog is a joy to read; I really hope you continue it.

Posted by: Mitch Wheat | Mar 27, 2007 9:57:46 AM

Kathy -- My thoughts and prayers go out to you and yours. Keep fighting the good fight. I hope you can rejoin the conversation in the sane part of the blogosphere soon.

Posted by: Tim Walker | Mar 27, 2007 9:59:21 AM

In this high-speed, interconnected world, there is no way to tell the difference between "real" death threats, from complete, driven psychcopaths, and sick "jokes". I can well imagine, were I in Kathy's position, reacting in much the same way she has.

Take care, Kathy. I'm a big fan of your blog and hope you'll be able to resume writing it in time. Hang in there.

Posted by: Bob Shepard | Mar 27, 2007 9:59:56 AM


as what everyone's been saying, this is truly terrible...

you can dislike a person, disagree with him/her, but threats of violence--esp. of sexual violence towards a woman--constitute a level of intimidation that should not, under *any* circumstances, be tolerated out in this new landscape...

I sometimes think it is part of the "dark underbelly" of the blogosphere--as was, at the time, the nature of certain newsgroups--to want to push women out, and make these places only for certain types of dysfunctional males. Some of those folks feel a need to be territorial, to reproduce the male-only bastions of the past...

And it is up to the males who do not support this kind of action to be part of the solution...to not back down or just say "boys will be boys."

this is not about "boys" it's about men with serious problems needing some serious "guidance."

I know, too, how it can make you feel. It happened to me, too (although without the graphics--the words were enough.) I never knew who the people were who wrote the comments. For me, it blew over...in time.

But this is far more serious. Far more frightening because of the details.

And, if left unchecked, could effect so many other women across the various 'spheres out here...

Take care of yourself...will put you in my prayers....

Posted by: tish grier | Mar 27, 2007 10:01:12 AM

Whether it was going on before or after the Internet came along is irrelevant. People should not have to put up with threats and abuse of this sort. Or their apologists.

Posted by: Neil | Mar 27, 2007 10:02:54 AM

Unbelievable. Creeps. Threatened bloggers are not a foreign issue, unfortunately.

Posted by: Curt | Mar 27, 2007 10:06:20 AM


I'm just writing to add another voice of support. The story you tell here is so disturbing and upsetting; it really turned me sideways over the last 12 hours. Your writings, and the spirit you bring to them, have been very important to me over the last year or so. I hope all this resolves somehow. And I hope to keep reading your work for a long time to come.

Posted by: Ian Wilker | Mar 27, 2007 10:07:08 AM

For those interested in a different take on this whole sordid affair:


Posted by: Anon | Mar 27, 2007 10:10:48 AM

Of course, as I take pains to make plain in my post on this thread, it could all be a HOAX or for you tykes out there HOSE.

A PR Stunt? Lame. A reality? Shame.

Posted by: vaspers the grate | Mar 27, 2007 10:13:18 AM

Kathy, I have never commented here before, but I do so today to send you my support. This is what happens, in one form or another, to way too many women who dare to participate in male dominated fields. Thanks for your posts, your intelligence, your professionalism, thanks for making this known, loud and clear.

Posted by: irenekaoru | Mar 27, 2007 10:13:32 AM

Victimization is an art!

Posted by: flic | Mar 27, 2007 10:14:04 AM

If you have an online death threat: contact your local FBI office (go to fbi.gov and search for your local office, a duty agent will take your call!!!!

The offender can be quickly tracked down and the FBI will pay them a visit. Online death threats are taken very seriously. Note that no court order is needed in such situations to electronically locate the person making the threats via an online service:
"A service provider may divulge the content of communications without a court order or other appropriate legal authorization in certain specific moments of emergency. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2511(2)(a)(ii)(B), this can happen in an emergency situation that involves immediate danger of death or serious physical injury to any person.

Posted by: GovPros | Mar 27, 2007 10:15:01 AM

If you discover who indeed sent you the image, please let me know. Someone directed me to your site because they spotted that image and recognized that it was a badly photoshopped version of one of my photographs (the original seen here: http://flickr.com/photos/lasadh/215601837/ ). I hold a copyright on that image and reserve all rights on it and whomever it is that is using my image (or any parts of it) is in serious violation of copyright law and believe me, I will do anything within my power to exercise my rights against this person, particularly because they are using it in such a threatening manner.

I'm sorry you're dealing with these threats. :-(

Posted by: Lasadh | Mar 27, 2007 10:15:21 AM

I think you are over-reacting to this threat. It is to understand nothing at the blogosphere to take those threats seriously : the guys who threatened you would never dare to confront you in public... It is like insults, people who insult you in their comments would never dare tell you in the face what they really make of you. Just go on with your life and your blog. Stopping to publish is exactly what the author of the threat is aiming at...

Posted by: michel | Mar 27, 2007 10:19:29 AM

I read about what happened on Feministe.com and Pandagon.net, and I had to come over to say I'm apalled. Apalled that any human can think they have any right to threaten another. Apalled at anybody who could think that women are paranoid when stuff like this happens. Apalled that some gutless creeps feel that women don't have a right to do what the hell they want. Apalled that they would use such cheap, evil tactics to intimidate. Apalled that even one person believes technology to be the realm of men.

I am apalled that any of this could happen.

I'm just a random lurker on feminist blogs, but this made me speak out.

Posted by: Anne | Mar 27, 2007 10:20:46 AM

Rat bastards!!!

Don't stay home-- if you can't go to ETech, then go to a friend's or relative's house. Anyone motivated enough to make death threats and crude photoshop 'jokes' probably knows where you live. I am outraged on your behalf, but don't let your fears override practicality-- if someone is stalking you, then announcing that you are in a known location is not a smart idea. Presumably the police are telling you that.

So sorry to hear that these cretinous excuses for humanity are hurting and intimidating a fine, bright, generous soul like yourself. This is not the time to sit alone-- if I knew you as a friend, I'd come visit right now. Get your friends over, or go over their places, visit a relative, get out among people, with or without an escort. The safest, most positive place you can be is in a room full of people who support you and stand up for you!


Posted by: Strata Chalup | Mar 27, 2007 10:20:52 AM

I'd hazard a guess and say that these threats are from the pre-pubescant and loners. Unfortunately it seems the web is infested with them lately, especially since they have anonymity on their side.

Hopefully the Police will get to the bottom of the situation soon.


Posted by: Andy Moore | Mar 27, 2007 10:23:01 AM

Just adding my voice to the chorus of support. This is horrible.

I teach my students every day that intelligence without kindness is merely a weapon. Intelligence with kindness is a gift.

Thank you for always being willing to share your gift. Shame on those who would settle for merely using a weapon.

Posted by: Chris Lehmann | Mar 27, 2007 10:23:19 AM

How else would you expect 13 year old Grand Theft Auto player hater castratos and Harry Potter worshippers to behave? As gentlemen? Intellectuals?

Cyber vandalism is everywhere, but it's generally easy to evade or erase. A captcha, BTW, is only good for severe spambot campaigns. Comment moderation with delayed posting is the more civilized and effective approach for abusive comments by human agents.

"The future is already here. It's just not evenly distributed. Yet."

Posted by: vaspers the grate | Mar 27, 2007 10:24:59 AM

You are a gift to us all. Your voice is valued and loved. Choose not to be silenced by this.

Posted by: Kent | Mar 27, 2007 10:26:08 AM

You have my full support. I am sure you don't feel it, but you are a highly talented brave women.

These sick people who even contemplate such things hide behind anonymity. I can only imagine that they are in dire need of a straight jacket and decades of psychiatric help. (not that that excuses their behavior) I hope they get prosecuted.

Best wishes.

Posted by: jim | Mar 27, 2007 10:26:14 AM

Sending lots of love and best wishes your way, Kathy. Wishing you strength and courage ... and good law enforcement protection.

Posted by: John Koetsier | Mar 27, 2007 10:31:17 AM

I have never read any of your blogs, know nothing about you at all, but i still want to say:
hang in there, no one deserves what you've received and as you can see, the number of ####s who want to send you death threats are vastly outnumbered by the number of strangers who wish to support you :)

Posted by: Joel | Mar 27, 2007 10:32:21 AM

Kathy, your blog is easily tops in my not-so-short techie blogroll. Even if you never write anything else here, reading each one of your insightful posts has turned us into better programmers and designers.

You're not supposed to stand such insolence when you're being so nice to everyone by sharing your stories, and your life, in a sense.

The ones responsible are in for hard times, I figure. One does not pull stunts like this without a serious backlash. The internet is not for kids anymore, mean or not.

And, really, free speech has got nothing to do with that.

Love from sunny Brazil!


Posted by: Rodrigo Webler | Mar 27, 2007 10:34:29 AM

[UPDATE: In comments, Frank Paynter -- owner of the meankids.org site -- expressed that he was both ashamed and sorry for his participation in both sites. Kathy believes Frank when he says that he was not the one responsible for the specific posts and comments in question.]

He should be ashamed. They should all be ashamed to post at sites like that. People laugh but Thumper had it Right with a capital R. It's things like this that make me wonder why humans consider themselves the top of the food chain. My mind won't quit on this but I'll stop expressing my opinion to just say I'm so sorry and I hope you can somehow regain a sense of trust and peace. My prayers are with you and your daughters.

Posted by: Marsha Kamish | Mar 27, 2007 10:35:42 AM

Ms. Sierra:

I am a trauma survivor: I am fully service connected disabled from PTSD: Vietnam.

I am most grieved to see you hurt by this vicious hate crime, and want most for you to be unscathed by it, though it sounds as if you sense this may not be the case.

If that is so, please know that a great many people survive trauma, and go on with fulfilling lives; I am one of them. You are wise enough to be noting this possibility, and you took prompt and effective action; these are your strengths which have not been taken from you.

I do pray my words and the sympathy behind them be to your good.

Posted by: johnieB | Mar 27, 2007 10:36:20 AM

I hope u have google ads on this site. I'm starting a blog today -- and I hope ppl hate it.

Posted by: Nancy | Mar 27, 2007 10:37:32 AM

Horrifying--not just what has already happened, but that the same vileness has entered this comment thread--at least two more death threats and a bunch of hateful comments from "tough guys" and some jealous delusionists who apparently think this is a publicity stunt. Score one for Hobbes.

The only comfort I take from the thread--and I hope you do too, Ms. Sierra--is that the good far outweighs the bad. I'm a stranger, but I wish you well.

Posted by: Nicholas Mycroft | Mar 27, 2007 10:40:56 AM

While I've not had ANYTHING to do with the site in question, let me say that I'm ashamed of the culture that allows for this sort of foolishness. We've all sorta laughed off the crazy, but you don't realize how much it really affects you until you get it directly. (I recently was called a modern day slave trader because I help companies and consumers connect)

Kathy, I completely support any decision you make about your future participation, but would be sad beyond belief if I couldn't read your thoughts anymore. You're posts have influenced my thinking and my discussions and my work more than once. (Perhaps more than 100000 times!)

Hang in there, don't let the crazies win.

Posted by: Jake McKee | Mar 27, 2007 10:44:26 AM

Found you through Creative Destruction.

If Joey's telling the truth (Is he a retired old man? Is "he" a man at all? Who knows) he's just about my contemporary, maybe a few years older. Old enough to know better than to post comments about necks and nooses, that's what I say. (From one "old" person to another, Joey, try growing up.)

Whoever these people are, they're potentially dangerous. Please please be careful and don't get hurt. Everything else can be and will be mended.

Posted by: Susan | Mar 27, 2007 10:46:33 AM

I am shocked.

My thoughts are with you, and I wanted to toss my voice into the chorus of support that you have received.

If you change your mind, about attending the conference, and need a donation for a bodyguard, let me know.

Posted by: tsykoduk | Mar 27, 2007 10:47:09 AM

Kathy, thanks so much for shining a light on this issue. There's a line between a difference of opinion, lively debate, occasional swearing, and hurt feelings (or hurt pride) - and malice, spite, hate speech, and deliberately intimidating and ugly language.

Adults know the difference.

I've posted about this on my blog and really appreciate your raising awareness of such uncivil behavior, no matter whether the person's intent was to "joke" or actually to frighten. I do hope that when this is resolved by the authorities that you will write online again - you are a great resource to so many of us and, selfishly, it would be a shame to lose you just because someone has low impulse control, anger management issues, friends who enable/encourage such bad bahavior, and a copy of Photoshop.

Posted by: Jennifer Warwick | Mar 27, 2007 10:49:02 AM


I was just shocked and sad for you when I read your post and the one from Hugh. It took me a few minutes to actually believe this. I am not sure what else to say than I am like so many other people with you in this horrific situation.

Yes, you will probably not be the same again. Take some time off to think about all this.
I am convinced that you will demonstrate some great resilience and that you will bounce back from these hard times.

Posted by: tk | Mar 27, 2007 10:49:25 AM

Dont know you, got over here from Majikthiise. I do, however know quite a bit about the situation youre in, having worked with several battered women before. As a male, it nakes me really annoyed that heads like that should be allowed to
threaten participants in discussions. This is the worst example I have seen in the context that it was done in public.

To Joey and the Australian guy: What you did was way over the line and amounts to sexual battery. I hope you get in jail. 6 months would be about right, for rapethreatening. And mr. Australian, who says bring it on: We have friends all over the place, mate, so tone it down.

Posted by: MK | Mar 27, 2007 10:51:06 AM

I'm horrified by what I just read! I enjoy reading your blog although I haven't had as much free time to keep up with everything so I was as shocked as I was disgusted upon seeing this. You have my empathy and understanding. I hope there is a way to catch these sickos before they actually do something to someone.

Management Consultant

Posted by: Product Development | Mar 27, 2007 10:58:54 AM

Kathy, I am currently co-authoring a book about the Florida recount (election year 2000). My co-author was in her 60s at the time. She received over 20,000 death threats when the Florida recount was declared. Those e-mails and phone messages were turned over to the FBI for investigation. She had constant 24-hour police protection. Regardless, she was determined to finish the recount despite these threats because, in her mind, nothing less than American democracy itself was at stake. In my book, my co-author is a genuine American heroine.

I talked about your situation earlier today with my co-author. Her take: You should NOT have canceled her keynote address at Etech. Yes, it is scary and intimidating. Yes, it takes courage to stand up to bullies and thugs. But quitting means letting them win. And if that happens, then all of us loose.

Posted by: swampcracker | Mar 27, 2007 11:08:11 AM

I think this is awful - Personal attacks like that are living out a really weird fantasy on these guys parts. No doubt they sit actually glued by waste products to their chairs knee deep in bottles of urine gleefully reading each post while they scratch their lice infected beards. That may seem like I am making this up but really that is the reality of what those guys are like. They go on long binges they live in trailers stealing wifi and electricity I am not joking - I used to deliver pizza and there were at least three guys on my route like that. I do not know if that helps but I doubt if they could move to their doors much less actually carry out the threats. Personally, I feel sorry for them living such pitiful lives - they need someone that would actually care - of course a little dental care and maybe sunlight would help to..

What we need one of the guys with lots of Dot com money to finance a real Jay and Silent Bob team who can track down these "greifers" put them in shipping crates and send them to Iraq to be forced to wear "F Muhammad" t-shirts.

Posted by: Ted Sbardella | Mar 27, 2007 11:09:28 AM

How awful! I'm very sorry you've had to go through this, but hopefully they'll find and put these people away. It just makes you wonder sometimes doesn't it?

Find your dream home in New Mexico via Albuquerque NM Real Estate

Posted by: Albuquerque Realtor | Mar 27, 2007 11:10:00 AM

Hi Kathy
Saw your problem on the BBC and was totally appalled by the way you've been treated. Please stick in there and keep Blogging, we have to beat the ignorant and the scum of this world.

Lots of love


Posted by: Dean Finnie | Mar 27, 2007 11:16:38 AM

Its a dark time for whole blogsphere. Stay brave Kathy. Things will get all right soon.

Posted by: Arpit | Mar 27, 2007 11:21:28 AM

Don't put you life on hold for this! Read Gavin De Becker's book "The Gift of Fear" that teaches how to manage situations like this. Gavin rightly states "True fear is a gift. Unwarranted fear is a curse. Learn how to tell the difference." Another book that can help on the side of safety and awareness is by Ed Lovette and Dave Spaulding titled "Defensive Living" which provide an easy to learn approach to improving awareness as you go about your daily routine and will keep you safe. Take care and never give in and never surrender.


Posted by: Kevin Pirkl | Mar 27, 2007 11:21:29 AM

I haven't read your blog before, but just read your story and wanted to give my support. I'm sorry this has happened to you. It truly sucks when a few psychos dictate the way others have to live their lives. Peace.

Posted by: Clare's Dad | Mar 27, 2007 11:25:23 AM

I have only read one of your articles to built context and didn't see anything provocative. Actually they were surpisingly insightful.

There are several possibilities and perhaps many are so (for each participant). Good old traditional bullying, smearing competition, sexual frustration, or just for a laugh.

I have had many threats made against my life online and threats of violence. Just today someone threatened to beat me up. Well admittedly it's not that same, I'm a big guy, and I'm brave, I always call their bluff.

Threats of violence online are very easy to make but almost never carried out. It is always possible for people to make these kinds of threats towards you and to stay anonymous. It's also very easy to photoshop some images and post on a forum, so from what I can see no one has gone to an extreme effort. I've seen 14 year olds do worse.

My advice is to not let it scare you or play the victim. In fact best thing is to ignore it as much as is reasonable, and try not to name people who you aren't 100% sure are responsible (as your readers might try and take revenge).

If you stop blogging and withdraw they will feel victorious, but if you are too aggressive you risk escalating things.

Posted by: Orakio | Mar 27, 2007 11:26:16 AM

Get some f***ing manners campaign

Posted by: j0nz | Mar 27, 2007 11:28:12 AM

For once, there exists a little booklet by Foucault that one can read with pleasure: Fearless Speech. As transcripts of lectures he gave on the topic of parrhesia (telling the truth, or, roughly, the freedom to speak), they are infinitely more readable than his more labored works.

But, if you want the Cliff's notes version, it simply delves into the history of one of the most dearly held rights in ancient Athens - the right of citizens to speak the truth.

Trolls have existed for a long time, and they will exist for longer still. The Internet didn't create them, but it gives them a "safe" space to be trolls - they don't run the risk of getting a bloody nose from behind the anonymity of the screen. From this, it is obvious that trolls are cowards.

Do not be afraid of cowards. Stand up and keep doing what you have been doing, and do it that much more loudly. That is the only power any of us really have, after all. To live and think as we are, unapologetically. Living in fear means that the trolls have won, because they have taken away the very rights that make you equal to them - the right to speak and influence, and be a citizen.

Posted by: A. Turner | Mar 27, 2007 11:28:43 AM

Hi Kathy,

You should not let these people make you feel down, there are millions of people that love you and what you do. You have taught so many people and you have made a big change in the landscape of tech books with you style of writing, that you can not let these pundits get what they want, that is silence you.

As we say here in Brazil, "We're Brazilians and we never give up", so, keep up the good work that you have always done. Cheers!

Posted by: Maurício Linhares | Mar 27, 2007 11:28:56 AM

I once had a friend tell me this story:

He had just met a spiritual teacher, and was invited by the teacher to join him for dinner that evening (in their culture, there's some seriously high marks of courtesy in that gesture).

So he goes home, and while getting ready to go to dinner, some "friends" of his call, and start slamming the teacher, saying he's a bad man, a devil, a fake, etc.

He hangs up the phone, and gets a call from the spiritual teacher's host, asking him why he's late... and that the teacher won't start serving dinner until he arrives (again, highest of courtesies).

So he thinks to himself:
- on one hand, I've got people slandering this man, which is a sign of bad character
- on the other, I have a man showing me the highest levels of courtesy and respect.

He went to dinner without another thought.


Kathy, your blog is my all-time favorite blog. I've read what you wrote, and you have always exhibited the highest of character.

Then, I see what "joey" and the others have done.

No matter what any of them say, their character shines through, as does yours.

I will forever be one of your fans. I hope you can continue to write, because thousands of us out here love you immensely.

Many blessings to you.

Posted by: Adam Kayce : Monk At Work | Mar 27, 2007 11:30:25 AM

Kathy.. just ignore them. I know it makes you angry. I've suffered from that kind of stuff myself, and you must ignore them. Make fun of them if you prefer :)

Keep writing and working.

Posted by: Buanzo | Mar 27, 2007 11:31:45 AM

Kathy --

Your blog and your ideas are such an inspiration to so many people. What is happening to you is appalling and very very sad. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Posted by: Anastasia | Mar 27, 2007 11:33:57 AM

I feel for you, but why are you so scared? If you won't leave your home, the guy has already won.

Anyways, I wish you luck, and hope you can get past this.

Posted by: stderr | Mar 27, 2007 11:37:39 AM

I just read your story on the bbcnews.com. This is horrifying. I hope that you are able to find out who these criminals are, and they are justly punished.

Posted by: Joyti | Mar 27, 2007 11:41:44 AM

The internet is like life - it contains light and darkness and all points in between - sometimes I think they should just switch it off. But I would also think carefully before saying things such as "I will never feel the same. I will never be the same" because it doesn't suggest a great grasp of perspective. It could even be seen, out of context where I read it in a news feed, like a particularly unfortunate sort of attention seeking. Having read your post I absolutely understand that you are both extremely upset and have every right to be at this time - but 'i will never be the same' - do you really believe that? If you do then perhaps you do indeed need a break from blogging or indeed the net. Because it strikes me that there is otherwise a danger that you start to mirror the out of scale behaviour and responses of those who would seek to persecute you. just a thought. peace.

Posted by: Lord Wednesday Hovis | Mar 27, 2007 11:42:04 AM


Reading this post gave me chills; it'll take a while for this to sink in. Spam comments are bad enough, but this is an escalation of horrid proportions.

I hope the positive support you're getting here outweighs the negative impact this has had on your life.

Posted by: Carolyn Manning | Mar 27, 2007 11:42:32 AM

I can't imagine my favourite blog to disapear from the net. :-(

Sorry for what happend - if I only had a power to make it better...

I just hope that the sites that have contained the stuff on you will not loose their logs by accident.

Posted by: Przemyslaw Rudzki | Mar 27, 2007 11:49:29 AM

I was linked here and never have even heard of you before today but as a concerned stranger, I recommend getting yourself a concealable handgun and practice firing it..You will feel safer knowing that creep will go down wimpering if he ever comes near you.
Teh Squeaky Wheel

Posted by: Californican | Mar 27, 2007 11:50:55 AM


We support you!! we are with you as well as our prayers!!!

Posted by: Ashok | Mar 27, 2007 11:52:26 AM

Scary, scary stuff: way over the line, and definitely not part of mainstream blogosphere "culture." Stay safe, take some time off -- but really hope you do continue blogging.

Posted by: Dunl | Mar 27, 2007 11:57:27 AM

I'm so sorry to hear this. It's shameful behaviour from a group of people who do not deserve the respect they so often get from others in the blogoshphere. These fools have without a doubt proven themselves to be a complete and utter waste of everyone's time.

Disgusting and sad. Don't let these hack jerks ruin your life Kathy. You'll be going strong long after the turds have been flushed :)

Posted by: Kate | Mar 27, 2007 11:58:18 AM

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself... which is exactly what has happened. I'm deeply saddened by this atrocity and sorry that this has happened to you. You have helped so many people and given so generously to the online community and for that I'm appreciative. I hope that you can find the resolve and courage to stay on track with your life and goals. Stand strong and do not let them win.

Good luck.


Posted by: Shawn | Mar 27, 2007 11:59:19 AM

Kathy, I was stalked online by a man who started out by making an oblique threat against me -- pointing out how easy I would be to find and telling me that I was lucky that HE wasn't a dangerous guy or who knows what might happen to me.

He followed up with hundreds of threatening emails and phone calls to my home.

The police took it very seriously.

What struck me about Joey's comments was their similarity to my stalker's comments when I began taking action against me: he minimized what he had done, stated repeatedly that he had NEVER threatened me, demanded that I provide information about my activities with the police, and threatened to sue ME for defaming his character. Told me over and over again that I was a crazy drama queen who the police would never take seriously.

Chillingly similar.

You'll feel real fear at first, because you have no way of knowing the commenter's state of mind. You'll want to withdraw, cancel, hide.

This will pass as you take more control of your life by taking legal action. Don't let people intimidate you or imply that you're the crazy one for taking this stuff seriously. I know exactly how you feel right now because I was in your position a few months ago.

Best of luck to you. It will get better. And the police do take this seriously. Don't let anyone tell you you're overreacting and that these threats aren't really threats.

Posted by: jen | Mar 27, 2007 11:59:35 AM

Hi Kathy,

I read your case on BBC News and don't know what to says exactly. I'm a new comer on blogosphere and enjoying blogging. Nice, so nice. Will you accompany --or guide me-- in this loving culture? So nice, Kathy, so don't drop out. Threats spread everywhere..., not only within the culture.

Salam from Indonesia.

Posted by: j.rizal | Mar 27, 2007 12:00:09 PM

I've read all of your blogs, they are so helpful! Stopping what you do would be a huge mistake. Don't let this moron stop you, you’re stronger than that.

Posted by: the_lotus | Mar 27, 2007 12:01:06 PM

Dear Kathy - I'm reading this via a link on Ze Frank's blog. I can support "jen"'s comment by saying that the police *do* take this sort of thing seriously, even if the online stalking doesn't include death threats or threats of any sort. I sure the fact that your attackers' posts *do* will inspire greater vigilance in tracking them down. I hope they pay mightily for what they're putting you and your family through.
I can only imagine what you must be going through right now - I hope you feel safe again soon.

Posted by: Marianne | Mar 27, 2007 12:05:54 PM

Hi Kathy,

Publicly admitting that a harsh comment is able to injure you so effectively is going to do nothing more than attract more criticisms and potential actual injury. You like charts...this would fall into the category of a self-fulfilling prophesy, or a reinforcing feedback loop.

Your "passion" certainly seems to have been diverted into fear. Personally, I believe that the appropriate response to "I'd like to slit her throat" is "someone needs to take their medication" or maybe even "just try it buddy!".

Seriously, this fearful, bleeding, poor-me crap has got to go...unless you're hoping to use it to help take your blog to that next level or promote your next book entitled "how to convert personal attacks into personal notoriety"

Posted by: Khater | Mar 27, 2007 12:08:38 PM

Kathy, believe me, I've been through a similar situation and the fact of the matter is that you just cannot let these guys win. I don't presume to know what these slimeballs are like in real life but I will tell you this: They do not deserve a second thought from you. You are better than them and will already amount to so much more than they ever will even have dreams of becoming.

You've got to be strong and try not to let them phase you. If you let this stop you forever, then you let them win and their threats are successful. Don't let that happen! Granted, you will be scared and shaken up for awhile, that's allowed. But after awhile, you've got to shake it off and keep going.

I'm sure I speak for all of us sane readers when I say that I look forward to your return and wish you nothing but the best.

Posted by: AustenW | Mar 27, 2007 12:10:27 PM

You simply cannot take this kind of thing seriously. I am a prolific (to say the least!) poster on slashdot.org and I have received everything from death threats to rude suggestions. People have told me where I can do, and what I can do when I get there. But the fact is that every single one of them was, to say the least, full of it. If I took them seriously I would never do anything with my life but hide in my house and check up on police reports.

Take the flames, threats, and all of that junk for what it is: confirmation that you are important. Only those who make a lifestyle out of defacement and threats will waste their time attacking the noninfluential simply because their blog permits comments. The others will only attack you once you become significant. Anyone who is substantially in the public eye will at some point become the target of the classless and clueless. If you need verification of this fact, all you need do is check out the STEPHEN KING KILLED JOHN LENNON guy (http://www.lennonmurdertruth.com/) - I have fond memories of his propaganda-covered van trundling around Santa Cruz. He actually accosted Mr. King when he was in town for a book signing once, but he was harmless enough and the cops got rid of him rapidly in any case.

I realize that you have been through a small ordeal, but you don't need to make more of this than there really is. There are lots of idiots out there, and on the internet, no one knows you're a dog.

Posted by: Martin Espinoza | Mar 27, 2007 12:10:55 PM

Dear Kathy;

I was heartbroken to read about what's happening to you. I can feel how distraught you are through your post here. I am so sorry you're going through this.

Kathy, you're in my prayers. If you choose to pack up your blog and go home, go for it. You owe no one out here anything. When the 'blogosphere' learns to censure itself appropriately, they can have the privilege of bloggers like you contributing to it again. Good for you for taking this seriously, by the way. I have been witness to someone not taking it seriously and I would rather be a fool a thousand times over than dead.


Posted by: Merry | Mar 27, 2007 12:11:57 PM

This is very sad, but it was only a matter of time that the same John Hinckley type whackos who stalk movie stars would make their way to the blogosphere. Fame, no matter the source, always attracts the unstable. And the anonymity of the Internet makes it so much easier.

To those doing this: If this is not a joke, get some help. If it is a joke, you are one sad, sad individual.

It's a shame this is happening to you Kathy.

Posted by: John | Mar 27, 2007 12:12:22 PM

Cathy, please accept my support, I have seen comments from 'males' like this but not so repulsive and frightening. My advice to you, is to stand up to these scumbags who are trying to frighten you. Surrond yourelf with friends who will help to protect you physically and mentally. These scumbags are probably 'premature males' who still live with their parents. Try and take your mind off it (although I know this can be hard). The best bet is to inform your local police force, FBI, etc (although I'm sure you've done that) and sit tight. We the blogsphere are right behind you in this case.

Lets hope the authorities catch these scumbags so you can get back to living a normalish life.

All The Best, And Chin Up, Don't Let These People Scare you.


Posted by: William Tildesley | Mar 27, 2007 12:12:38 PM

Hi, my wife is a big fan of your Head First Java book. She is at the end of a two year program for computer programming, and credits your book for it. Her passion is for J2ME. I know all too well through her experiences in school and at her former employer about how some jerks in the tech industry treat women. I just wanted you to know that some of us guys in this industry don't act that way. It's sad to see someone like yourself who is such a great influence and inspiration for people like my wife to have to fear for her life and run. I would point out that my wife was a former musician, and came across the same types of characters in that prefession too.

Posted by: Kurt Lambertz | Mar 27, 2007 12:12:38 PM

This is so sad--but no surprise to me. I am relatively new to dipping into the blogosphere deep enough that these guys notice me--but it is happening. The misogynistic stuff, the homophobic stuff.

But, more than that, my experiences have led me to believe that Web 2.0, Digg, the netroots, etc. is creating a mob mentality where these geeks are becoming mean and doing mean things. I am going to blog on this later today. But I have previously blogged on my personal experiences with this (which pale next to this) and my theories on it: http://girlinshortshorts.blogspot.com/2007/03/digg-dictatorship-of-proletariat.html


Posted by: Becky | Mar 27, 2007 12:16:20 PM

I hate to tell you, but they have already won. The fact that you have changed the way you live your very life is exactly what they were after. Just like a terrorists job is not to kill or harm people, it is to cause fear in people. Don't let these spineless little cowards scare you. Call them out into the light and watch them shrink back into the darkness...

Posted by: Mister W | Mar 27, 2007 12:22:10 PM

I can't believe this. I truly hope that you *will* post again at some point in the future. I've learned a LOT from your blog here, so THANKS from where I'm standing, it has been really inspiring. All the best...

Posted by: Mike | Mar 27, 2007 12:31:17 PM

I really enjoyed your books and it beggars belief that anyone could treat you this way.
It's not just women in the technical field, Rachel North (a survivor from the London bombings in '06) gets some pretty nasty flak from blog readers.

One thing I'd like to say is that you WILL be the same again. Death threats are pretty nasty and you will find a way to put them behind you.

I suppose in the days before blogs, crazy people were more easily ignored because they'd be yelling to themselves about crazy stuff on the street. Now, they have photoshop and internet access... the only thing that hasn't changed is that they think they have the right to make people feel awful.

Posted by: kelly | Mar 27, 2007 12:34:41 PM

It makes me ill to hear about the way you've been treated. Honestly, I've never heard of you and am new to the blogging world. But... It's this kind of stuff that makes me stay away from the Internet and keep my life out of the light from millions of prying eyes. What ever happened to respect and kindness to others? Do unto others as you'd have done unto you? It's a shame that some people feel they are above others, without morals or conscience.

Posted by: JT | Mar 27, 2007 12:34:43 PM

Hopefully with the help of the site owner the police can track this down. Making terroristic threats is a felony. And that includes over the internet.

And Martin Espinoza (12:55) is WRONG. It is NOT a 'small ordeal.' Klebold and Harris wrote about what they were going to do before they did it. So have others who have carried out crimes. Maybe 99.9% of trolls are just that, but in amongst the trolls are the ones who have every intent of carrying out their threats. So this has to be taken seriously and I hope that the police catch and then press charges against the person or persons responsible.

And you are very strong for having the fortitude to post this. People should pay attention to it. I hope you continue blogging (though I've never visited your site before and came via a link from Althouse) because if you don't then those people will think they've 'won' and move onto their next victim.

Posted by: Eli_Blake | Mar 27, 2007 12:37:01 PM



Posted by: REV ED | Mar 27, 2007 12:38:10 PM

flic writes that this might be part of a "BDSM fun group". BDSM is about consensual acts. This was clearly not anywhere near the same county as consensual fun. Please don't confuse the issue like that. This was sick, non-consensual, disgusting, and threatening.

To those who say Kathy's blowing it out of proportion, writing "I hope someone slits your throat" is a threat. Plain and simple. Period.

I've emailed you my IM and phone number. I want you to know that I'm here for you, if you want to call or IM. I'm glad to see all the support here for you, and I hope that the twisted jerks responsible are appropriately dealt with.

Posted by: Anna | Mar 27, 2007 12:39:24 PM

I sort of stumbled into this, and am not familiar with the context of it, but it is completely appalling just on the face of it. I am sad to hear that you must endure such ridiculous and unfounded hatred. What possible reason do they feel they have for engaging in such indefensible and detestable behavior?

Posted by: squirrel | Mar 27, 2007 12:39:50 PM

Just thought I'd post a short message to show my support as well, don't let these people discougage you, you rule. It's sad that some people do this and I can't frankly see why it should come to this. Hope you're feeling better.

Posted by: Cosmin | Mar 27, 2007 12:41:35 PM

Hello Kathy-

I never read your blog before today, since I was sent here from SEO Round-table. People really respect you and it is unfortunate that some people (probably a man) cannot do the same. I guarantee there is a way to get you back to the blog community, even if you have to morph into an alias.

If you were a MAN, this never would have happened to you, and surely I respect your choice to opt out, perhaps for always, but even still DO NOT LET THIS FEAR LIVE INSIDE MUCH LONGER- these bloggers are a small few that need to have their mommy turn their computer off at night!

Good luck- and again many will anticipate your return.

Posted by: Erika | Mar 27, 2007 12:41:53 PM

Kathy -

I've been reading your stuff for quite some time and remember you from the Lingo SIG in LA, 2-Lane Media, and from Virgin Sound & Vision.

Please keep your head up and know that we support you.

Posted by: Jim Ospenson | Mar 27, 2007 12:43:22 PM

Hi Kathy. I just wanted to tell you I have never been to your blog before, but it looks very interesting and I look forward to delving into it more in depth. I am so sorry you have had to go through this the past month. People can be so cruel and heartless when they believe they have the curtain of anonymity to protect them and their pathetic fantasies. I wish I knew what to say, but just know that I am thinking of you.

Posted by: Tricia | Mar 27, 2007 12:45:33 PM

Hey Kathy,

I hope you're coming through this okay. It's a horrible experience and one I've suffered from (death threats against me, my family and even my dog - that's to a project I was only the tech director on, but foolishly chose to engage with a web audience)

The internet is full of sad pathetic small people who resent the smart clever articulate and successful ones. So not only do you confront them daily you have the temerity to be a woman as well – and since their mothers kicked them out they’ve probably not had much female contact.

Sites like meankids which exist for the sole reason of being nasty under the pretense of being funny are a sad reflection of the limits of some peoples creativity.

I know this will stay with you for a long time. I know how long it took before I felt able to mention my family on my blog again (I changed jobs and country and now post on a totally different site – for unrelated reasons but it put things back into perspective) but I really hope that this doesn’t stop you writing and helping us out here in creating more passionate users.

Posted by: OffBeatMammal | Mar 27, 2007 12:48:54 PM

"Now she's reframed the timelines so that it appears she bumped into everything at once and it scared her. Other events don't line up either. What she's making sound like happened in a few minutes was over the course of days.

You're being manipulated. I'm sorry. There's no other way to put it."

joey - you couldn't POSSIBLY maker yourself look more idiotic than you already have and like another poster here alluded to - you're digging yourself deeper with every letter you type. The plain fact is WHAT YOU AND YOUR SILLY LITTLE MATES DID WAS WRONG - WHO CARES ABOUT THE SEQUENCE OF EVENTS.

You've been called on it so bloody well grow a pair and own up to it. None of your little blog cronies can help you now, in fact, I think they'll all run for cover in every direction very quickly.

Posted by: Kate | Mar 27, 2007 12:49:04 PM

wow. this is so disheartening. i hope you can recover, how very scary for you, and sad for the entire blog world. best wishes.

Posted by: riotgrrl | Mar 27, 2007 12:51:40 PM

This is terrible! I just want to say that I've really enjoyed reading your blog and I hope that you are able to feel safe again soon. I hope whoever did this gets caught in the very near future. Best wishes!

Posted by: a regular reader | Mar 27, 2007 12:52:00 PM


What a horrible experience. Please know that you have a ton of supporters out here who wish you the best.

Thank you for all you do and please let us all know what we can do to support you at this time.

Posted by: Ben Katz | Mar 27, 2007 12:55:13 PM

I honestly don't get it. Why are they attacking you? It's hardly controversial stuff, just thought-provoking. God there are some freaks out there. Serious women-haters. What a foul, lowlife, retarded freak posted those horrible messages to you.

Don't let the bastards grind you down! They are the ones who should be afraid, as I am sure they will caught very soon.

Posted by: Emily | Mar 27, 2007 12:55:58 PM

This is terrible. You are an amazing person, well loved and appreciated. Don't let these people get you down.

Posted by: ben | Mar 27, 2007 12:56:27 PM


My heart goes out to you hon. I've never read your blog before, having just stumbled onto it from a link from slashdot.org but I have to say that after seeing this I am both enraged and sad.

I am enraged that the internet has become the sort of place where people feel so protected by anonymity that they can say these sorts of things, with the obvious intent to do (at least) emotional harm. Accountability is what the world needs, and the internet has given them a pass on it.

It is, in the simplest of terms, wrong.

I am very sad that they got to you. I cannot imagine what could have possessed them to target you so in the first place, and further how it could have possibly seemed like a good idea.

I would encourage you to keep blogging however, as these posts are obviously meant to cow you. Don't give in, the vast majority of people are appalled at this and stand ready to defend you.

Posted by: Geoff | Mar 27, 2007 12:57:01 PM

Here's hoping those responsible are identified, arrested, incarcerated and sentenced to the Federal pen. Downtime in a Federal prison would pull some antisocial wingnut back to reality VERY quickly.

Posted by: Very Sorry | Mar 27, 2007 12:58:55 PM

Well I have two really different thoughts on this. Generally these threats come from poorly endowed men who cannot otherwise express their shame about their member and its associated lack of action. I've been running sites for five years and have had many worse threats than this. I laugh at them all, but my size and gender make that easy for me to do. There's no way I can know what it feels like to be a woman in this situation. In situations where I think there may be a real threat, I generally egg the person on till they make a mistake in their rage by not spoofing emails properly or using appropriate proxies. Then I let them know I know who they are exactly and they can stop now cause they can't hide behind their keyboard anymore.
On the other hand I have to say if you let stuff like this stop you from doing what you want to do, then they win. Simple.
Simply take extra precautions...go and find some big ugly guy to hang with till you feel safer...buy pepper spray or a gun.

Posted by: RickO | Mar 27, 2007 12:59:31 PM

Kathy, the virtual world and the real world are similar in that they are enormous depositories of woman-hatred, where lots of men use women virtually and in real world for their violent fantasies. Women have giant targets painted on them, and lots of messed-up men take potshots at us. I am so sorry you had to be the subject of all of this.

Posted by: Rhea | Mar 27, 2007 1:00:15 PM

I see this is most serious!! No one should make that sort of mean threats, no matter what they think!

If they continue to trouble you, you may send me an e-mail, and after you pay me the fly ticket from Sweden, I'll fly to wherever they are, and show them my judo skills.

This is no joke
Ive got the orange belt!

Posted by: doddo | Mar 27, 2007 1:03:39 PM

I just heard about you and your 'trouble' via Slashdot (please sorry my English) and feel like... best thing you can do is not to care about -if you 're able to-. I know it sounds very easy to say when you're not the target of a maniac but it's the only thing I could say. Just think the real intention of that 'man' is to fear you, big trouble for him/her/whatsoever if you don't. I'm sure you'll overcome this pain soon.

Greetings from Spain.

Posted by: Qaldune | Mar 27, 2007 1:03:39 PM

As someone who reads and enjoys your writing on a regular basis, I'm very sad that someone has posted things which have gotten to the point where you no longer feel safe.

You have my sympathy and my best wishes, and I hope you do decide to continue speaking and writing eventually.

Posted by: Cameron Sorden | Mar 27, 2007 1:05:08 PM

I am absolutely appalled to read this - these "people" definitely crossed the line. I am so sorry you are being put through this, and I look forward to the day one of my favourite blogs restarts.

Posted by: dwlt | Mar 27, 2007 1:07:55 PM

Wow. It looks like the supporting replies which you are getting are coming in faster than you will be able to read. The sheer number alone should encourage you that there really is mostly good in the world, unfortunately with a few scumbags.

Hang in there. Last December a crazy guy came into our offices (without any prior threats) and killed 3 of my friends and colleagues. It was traumatic and terrible ... especially for their families ... but I can say that hearing from all the good people afterwards helped me realize that a vast majority of people in the world are good people, and it is a world worth enjoying.

Posted by: Jeff C. | Mar 27, 2007 1:11:38 PM

I disagree.

No line was crossed.

Being e-threatened is not being threatened at all.

Anonymous death threats are a joke. Now perhaps if a person who knows you and has access to you makes a threat I would be sympathetic but having a random user threaten to kill you is not a big deal.

Posted by: anonymous | Mar 27, 2007 1:12:49 PM

This thug's IP originates from Madrid, Spain.


go there and punch in the IP.

I don't see that IP on any of the current proxy lists, so this is probably his home location.

Being a whiny little euro'tard, he would probably have to use his fists or a knife if he travels to the USA to commit a crime ... if he is even up to that.

Just buy a 20 gauge shotgun, and kill the little idiot if he appears in your front yard.

Posted by: Kristopher | Mar 27, 2007 1:13:13 PM


As many have already said, this is both shocking and appalling. As an avid reader of your blog for many moons, I find your voice refreshing, informative, enjoyable, and very useful in my daily service. It enrages me that there are people out there who do anything they can to crush all that is well and good in the world. Unacceptable!

I like to think that there is a special level of hell for people who do this type of thing.

You will make the choice that works best for you, but it is my hope that you will not let your voice be silenced by the tiny brained folks. Stay true to yourself. Don't give in to hate.

I believe in you.

Warm regards,


Posted by: Jason Suggs | Mar 27, 2007 1:14:41 PM

If there is a sad side of the Internet it is that it gives a voice to cowards and weak men.

Posted by: Tony | Mar 27, 2007 1:15:21 PM


You're posts are awesome, inspiring and insightful. You've had to endure a great deal but I really hope that together we can call stop these people. We have to show solidarity against these people - we can't bend at their whim. Someone needs to do something about them. No one who contributes such a great deal and asks for so little in return should be forced to endure what you've been through - don't forget that for every idiot who threatens you, you have an army of people who are behind you.

Yours supportingly,

Posted by: Neil | Mar 27, 2007 1:22:02 PM


Come back soon. Clearly we all feel your horror. I hope you can put it behind you and show these malcontents that you are above their idle threats.


Posted by: Nate Pagel | Mar 27, 2007 1:22:09 PM

i hope you have the courage to continue blogging. your posts have giving so much to all of us, and the 'sphere wouldn't be the same without you. if not, thank you, and you'll be missed.

Posted by: chad | Mar 27, 2007 1:22:44 PM

I've read Cluetrain and liked it and, prior to the slashdot posting, I've never heard of you, so, if anything, I'm biased toward Locke.

With that said, I just read Locke's take on all this and I'd recommend disregarding everything he has to say on the matter...he's obviously in CYA-mode. I'd do _exactly_ what you're doing...take cover and stay down. Let the FBI take Locke's harddrives for a spin and track down the criminals...it's not your job to determine whether the posters are actually dangerous or not.

If Locke's actually a responsible guy and not just the cookie-cutter marketing icon his book cautions against, he'll do the right thing and hand deliver anything he's got to the FBI. The same goes for any hosting/telecomm companies out there. It's not "cool" to shield felons from prosecution.

I look forward to becoming a reader of yours once this gets settled and you feel comfortable taking your career off-hold.

It remains to be seen whether I'll buy the next gonzo something or other.

Stay safe. I hope all these support comments give you some comfort.


Posted by: Fred | Mar 27, 2007 1:23:58 PM


Sei que muitos não vão entender o que escrevo, mas quero escrever em português mesmo, para que vejam que não é somente aí nos EUA que te adoram.

Não desista da sua carreira por causa dessas "ameaças". Esse tipo de gente é movido pela inveja.

Você é muito querida e seus livros são ótimos! Continue fazendo seu trabalho. Não desista.

Posted by: Josenaldo Matos | Mar 27, 2007 1:24:08 PM

This is truly awful Kathy, but please don't let the pathetic actions of a few small-minded individuals keep you from living your life and doing what you do. You have helped so many of us become better programmers - I know your books have aided me greatly in pursuit of my career. Thank you, and put these pathetic losers behind you.

Posted by: Brennan Wilcox | Mar 27, 2007 1:24:36 PM

People like that are like cockroaches. Shine a light on them, and they scurry under the walls.

Posted by: Matt | Mar 27, 2007 1:25:35 PM

I'm in the same boat as Emily. I've been looking around, trying to figure out what triggered this. Not to justify what they're doing, but just to know where they're coming from.

I can't find a thing. I can't find a thing besides the fact that you're a woman, and to be honest, you're brilliant.

And that might be the scariest thing of all.

Posted by: Karmakin | Mar 27, 2007 1:26:36 PM


I have been an anonymous reader of your blog for some time and thoroughly enjoyed your insight in every post.

I haven't read any of the other comments on your post. I just want to extend you my deepest sympathy and support and hope you can get over this horrible situation.


Posted by: Alvaro | Mar 27, 2007 1:28:20 PM

Has anyone considered the possibility that fascists and other advocates of a "Panopticon" Internet where every post is immediately traceable to a torturable and thus killable body, are spreading these bogus "death threats"? There's nothing they'd like better than to characterize anonymous posters as guilty by definition, and require iris scans (or worse, fingerprints, which can be printed onto gloves and then used to frame you) to access the Internet anywhere. It should be obvious to any student of power that the less powerful always lose in a scenario where the more powerful can single them out. And that we tolerate a certain degree of crime and a great deal of dissent simply in order to avoid handing the reigns of absolute power to tyrants.

This is just another case like that. Anonymous posting gives us a lot of whistle-blowing on corporate and government misdeeds, a lot of intelligence on war zones, a lot of anonymous sources who could not post at all if their names were known or even knowable. It also gives us more than half of Wikipedia, judging by a few casual edit counts and reviews of user pages (most do not list the real names of the contributor). I think there's a case against widespread anonymous proxy use by parties engaged in non-political discourse, but I don't think there's a case against anonymous posting.

Those people engaged in actual death threats ("I will...") should be pursued via the usual legal methods if the person who feels threatened wishes to. Those merely hinting ("You should...", "I wish...") are mere bullies, and it would be better to ignore such people.

Those who wish to seriously discuss the rules by which a discourse can both allow for anonymous and blind-credentialled parties (those backed by some third party as reliable but without revealing their "real names") and be respectful of individuals whose names are raised in the discussion, are welcome to join the openpolitics yahoogroup or review the "open politics in force" audit criteria for contentious wiki-based political debating.

Posted by: Craig Hubley | Mar 27, 2007 1:30:01 PM

If this number of people cannot persuade the conference to put up some protection, then we really are all talk and no action, are we not?

Dear O'Reilly ite:

In light of the incidents surrounding your speaker Kathy Sierra, I wish to offer a tactical manuver.

Could your people please hire or put up a coupla thick necked guys to escort her from her home to speak and participate in this conference? This is a move that Camille Paglia made in the 80's when she received torture and death threats. They guarded her. They were paid to guard her. They had weapons.

A woman like her could not be so intimidated and kept away from full participation.

Thank you for listening.

Kim McDodge

Posted by: Kim McDodge | Mar 27, 2007 1:32:48 PM

While I do think people posting those kind of "threats" are morons, I think such a reaction over this is... totally pathetic. Way too much attention given to morons. I can't believe someone on earth would actually pay attention to this, seriously.

Posted by: Ozh | Mar 27, 2007 1:34:34 PM

TO: All
RE: Does This Guy Sound 'Familiar'?

Check out...



[Know your enemy and know yourself and you shall never be defeated. -- Sun Tzu, the Art of War; mandatory reading at Benning School for Boys (a.k.a. The Infantry School)]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto | Mar 27, 2007 1:36:16 PM

Very screwed up, I don't come here often but I do love your articles and would hate to think of someone doing these things!

My hearts out to you.

Posted by: Vince | Mar 27, 2007 1:40:14 PM

Kathy, I'm an infrequent commenter at best, but I've followed your blog for some time. I'm impressed by the originality and thought in the "Head First" books; you've taught me more than just about programming. Know you've made a difference, and I'm grateful for it. Never underestimate the value of your contribution to the world. Those who care are greater than those who would see you fall.

Posted by: Tom | Mar 27, 2007 1:42:25 PM

I have a lot of old versions of tracking software, but the point I am trying to make is that you need to get some software that targets the user who sent you the bad stuff, find out the ISP, report the abuse to them in a factual way, say, this seems to be coming from this IP, if it is, can you do something about it. It does work. I don't think that threats are acceptable, however everyday people are saying something as a figure of speech that can be construed as a threat out of context, the threats you are receiving have no context, just a cowardly reaction, it's time to call out the cowards, and the only way that will happen is to keep reminding them they are cowards.

Posted by: Ricardo Carrasco | Mar 27, 2007 1:47:37 PM

I understand that you might be scared or might believe someone is out to get you...but you are over reacting. If you can't see that you probably shouldn't blogging...
or any other journalistic pursuit.

Posted by: sailor | Mar 27, 2007 1:51:47 PM

My thoughts are with you. This is horrible!
Yet, I wish you did not give these hurtful vandals so much attention... this is almost praise of their success. I would suggest removing their words, internet names and images from your post. We understand how hard this must be, so keep this post up, but give these disrespectful, hurtful people pseudonyms and remove any ounce of credit/recognition to them on this site.

Posted by: Dave | Mar 27, 2007 1:54:25 PM

Hello - I dont frequently read your posts, apologies for that, but I absolutley agree with your actions in respect of these postings you have recieved. Utterly inappropriate.

Good Luck

Posted by: Austin | Mar 27, 2007 1:56:37 PM

Click on my name to see a lot of very good reasons not to blog. I'll always support anyone's decision not to blog, and certainly not to blog under their real name.

All that said, it's certainly true that "death threats against bloggers" who do reveal their names "are NOT "protected speech". All of the comments listed are reprehensible and disgusting in the extreme. It should be very easy to pre-filter such posts - when more than eighty per cent of the sentences contain a swearword, it should at least be flagged for someone to look at before it appears for all to read. Images are more difficult, but, not impossible, if people participate in vetting them.

All sane persons would like to live in a world where no one thinks such things, let alone utters them. But they do. Sadly no degree of punishment is likely to change such behaviour. I'd say the main reason to track them down is to offer them psychiatric help.

I suspect, though, that the posters may well all be bots, immune to punishment unless one can find the author and prove that they knew how their software would be used.

I suspect that such posts will increasingly be used as weapons, that they are as inevitable as spam, and that the development of artificial intelligence and its legal application to advertising and politics is such a grave and vile mistake that we'll spend several generations in terror of non-living entities telling us to be afraid of them, in increasingly subtle ways, letting them control our behaviour as these posts have altered Kathy's. It is a different thing to say that a post should not be traceable to a NAMED body as to say that it must be traceable to one of a pool of bodies. That too is a credential. One could do that with insurance. Maybe the best move here is to sue the blog technology companies for doing such a poor job filtering, and force them to create such insurance so they'd have a motivation to improve these technologies.

That's little comfort to Kathy though. As she said, it's the threat itself that did the harm. If that threat can be issued by a no-body, as it might have been here, then, no-bodies are telling some-bodies what to do. Personally, I wish she'd go to public events anyway and demand that the "blogging community" (whatever that is) support her in a campaign to radically improve filters and credentials technology on the Internet.

Posted by: Craig Hubley | Mar 27, 2007 1:58:08 PM


I've been reading your blog for the past year and wanted to join the chorus of support for you. I can't imagine what would drive someone to threaten you like this and your response is perfectly understandable. Hopefully the police investigation will have some results. I hope you can take strength from your readers and eventually be able to post again. Your insights have been helpful and amusing and definitely worth reading. All the best to you!

Posted by: Shawna S | Mar 27, 2007 2:07:11 PM


I have read the BBC News Website in which prominent blogger Kathy Sierra [of the Creating Passionate Users Blog] has received death threats and personal attacks on her blog.

I myself have declared myself in solidarity with Kathy Sierra and other blogger in combating this hatred against her and other women in the blog world.

You can disagree with a person politically but to do character assassination leaves much to be desired. Except for sports [The Football/Soccer Games of USA VS Guatemala and Portugal VS Serbia on the 28Th of March 2007], guest writers, and/or a news emergency from alternative political parties, I am taking the rest of the week off from my blog as a show of solidarity for Kathy Sierra and Free Speech.

Posted by: Roberto | Mar 27, 2007 2:09:56 PM

Hi Kathy,

I've already translated your post for my Blog in Germany.

What can I say? I'm with u!!

All the best,

Posted by: Chris | Mar 27, 2007 2:10:07 PM

As these comments attest, you've got a lot of passionate followers and if you weren't doing something that matters, people would be indifferent.

I saw you speak at the last panel at SXSW and I learned alot from your excellent tips. The folks at ETech will definitely miss out.

My sympathies are with you and I hope you'll soon be able to put this behind you and continue creating passionate readers.

Posted by: Alex | Mar 27, 2007 2:11:17 PM

How cruel. Hang in there, Kathy. You do a good thing here.

Posted by: John | Mar 27, 2007 2:12:34 PM

This is retarded, I cant believe I just wasted 10 minutes reading that crap. Why would you take this crap seriously? Its just some guy you'll never meet making fun of you. You say your used to people talking about you and making fun of you. So why all of this whining over some random guys internet joke?

I sure wish I could flake on my work and speaking arrangements everytime someone sent me something threatening or derogatory. Looks like you both need to grow up and find something else in your life to do.

get back to work and stop whining, there are litterally billions of people who have it harder than you ever will.

i wouldnt worry until someone threatens you directly. all this crying and whining probably isnt helping the situation.

grow up and get back to work. you make me more sick than whoever posted that crap about you.

Posted by: Mark | Mar 27, 2007 2:13:44 PM

how sad. best wishes to a quick resolution to these troubles.

you do great work, btw...

Posted by: mike | Mar 27, 2007 2:14:58 PM

How very disappointing that there are people out there smart enough to turn on their computer but so stupid as to behave this way. Unfortunately as mentioned several other places that evil does exits on this world (probably always has and will) My wife had a similar experience, though it was in real life and not through a blog. The only way she was able to regain a feeling of control was to take matters into her own hands, in her case it was a 32cal pistol (www.kel-tec.com) she now carries everywhere she goes. It is sad that she had to do that is a "civilized society" but those are the facts. I recommend you go to your local gun dealer, get something nice for yourself and then go and practice using it until you are comfortable. I do not know the area you live in but most areas have great gun clubs and instructors. You may even be able to get your local police to help you train, as they do in my area. I feel bad even having to post this but for my wife it was the difference between "hiding" in the house and having a productive life. Remember we have a second amendment to help protect the rest of our rights especially the Life and Liberty parts......
Good luck and God bless you!

Posted by: Variable | Mar 27, 2007 2:16:11 PM

As a parent of four teenagers, probably the mitigating factor for me (if I was in Kathy's circumstance) would be the fear for my children's safety. Kill me, harm me, mame me, but leave my children alone. Even though the threats appear to be directed only at Kathy, as a parent, the underlying threat, the unspoken fear that I would have is "what about my kids?" I believe for the time being, Kathy took the right action; to retreat. Retreat is not surrender. It is defined as to withdraw, retire, to gather your forces to regain your strength, to assess the battle field and the enemy in order to cut one's losses, in order to fight another day. And under the circumstances, a tactically smart move. And for Kathy, there will be another day(s).

Posted by: Robert Hegyes | Mar 27, 2007 2:19:22 PM


I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I'm just writing to say how much I support you & feel for you during this. You have many more supporters than you do enemies.

Stay strong & don't let this stop you from doing what you do. I've been there and you have to keep pushing through; it's the only way to stay sane.

Take care of yourself.

Posted by: Feisty Nikki | Mar 27, 2007 2:22:12 PM


Breathe. I know it's easy for me to say - but if you let it get you (why do I say "it" - 200% chance that "it" is a he), if you let him get you, he already got you.

Don't blog if you don't want to. Don't do anything if you don't want to. But try not to let the fear get you. Because that's what HE wants to do. Get you with the fear.

The only person you can control is you. I bet you know that already.

I'll say a prayer for you. And wish for you. And hope for you.

Because we're all connected. We're all fearful - right?

This guy just gave you a big zinger - when I saw the photo - your photo - my heart raced! I can only imagine how I would feel if it were my photo.

I would be scared. I would have fear. But I hope I could make it go away.

Because if I didn't - he would be controlling me. And the only person I want controlling me - is me.

No fear. Just breathe.

Remember everyone that loves you.

And forget him. And his fear.

No fear. Breathe. Breath.

Peace. Love.

No, I'm not a hippie.

I'm a 20 year software woman.

Yah, I'm in marketing - how'd you guess?

Good luck. You'll be okay. You already are - just remember.

Posted by: Erin | Mar 27, 2007 2:24:09 PM

Imagine being the owner of a twisted and tortured mind that spends its time imagining and considering vile and threatening scenarios. (we might have compassion for those living a hellish mental existence).

This also can be a wake up call to me and us all to spiritual issues about ones own death and suffering in life and how to interpret and concieve of such things. We are all mortal in flesh and are yet capable of being wounded in a non material way (psychologically and spiritually/creatively). It is up to me to choose whether I have been mortally wounded or not and if I can heal. Attachment to life or conversely fear of death is not something we are normally familiar with or consider; fear is a natural survival mechanism that discourages us from self destructive or threatening situations. It is information: A scuba diver does not become fearful if his equipment fails in deep water, he is prepared, and has been trained to moderate his fear. He considers his options and assesses the situation and options and then acts or he certainly may die if fear overcomes him. Long lasting fear, if allowed to fester and be left unresolved or avoided can remain a life degrading force. This must be gone through and resolved unfortunately or it will persist and continue to drain you.

I recommend thinking about this as a very VERY unpleasant education about those who try to gain various negative power and positive psychological benefits (adrenalin, dopamine... rushes) from the infliction of pain and suffering and a state of fear in others. They are likely addicted to certain anti-social behaviors and control and that provides biochemical benefits, all at the great cost of others. This is why this behavior is illegal and a criminal offense. When seen in this light, the art of not being a target (using martial arts of the mind and spirit), defeats their attack and robs them of a willing victim or any lasting benefit. My recommendation is to live your life and be aware of this type of person in the world and deal with them appropriately. Anyone who stands up and shines will be attacked by the lowely ones which is why I choose to not be too prominent.

There are many elders who teach psychic protection using Shamanic psychology techniques. They also teach how to overcome fear of death and other negative emotions so we can live life more fully. Bhuddism is also a place to look for useful education about this.

In closing (I thank you for your patient consideration): there will always be a duality of many good people and few bad people, good people help others and derive emotional and biochemical benefits from positive interactions, bad people are usually people who have been badly victimized themselves in the past and are now re-enacting the behavior because they have no way to create positive interactions.

Love always,


Posted by: ShannonB | Mar 27, 2007 2:24:55 PM

I think people who find that threats via the internet should be taken with a grain of salt have not recently investigated, been party to, or been exposed to the reality of the world.

No threat should be ignored. If they were, people would stop making them. But plenty of people have been harmed by threats that were acted upon. And I'm sorry - I'd rather be safe and cared for than chalking it up to "oh, whatever! the guy was bored."

If Kathy had not posted this information, and had Kathy been stopped somewhere and hurt physically, what would you naysayers have said if she posted about it after recovery? If she wrote "I just didn't take them seriously. I thought it was a poorly endowed chump with too much time on his hands. It looked like harmless satire." I think we'd be hearing a few people say "Silly silly girl." What's most ironic in my potential other reality is that the same people who say "you're exaggerating" would also say, if she were harmed, that she deserved it for not taking it seriously.

The point is that there's no point in trying to convince everyone of the real and potential danger. Some people just enjoy feeling safe in their worlds when they see someone be afraid in theirs.

Cheers to you, Kathy. Even if it turns out to be a teenager with neglectful parents, hopefully he'll realize to what extent a prank can go sour. Everybody meets the world with a different history - damage is damage. A threat is a threat. I don't care if it's signed by Mickey Mouse or sent via a foghorn.

Be safe, and live safely. Don't stop, but be aware. As you have been.

Posted by: cmr | Mar 27, 2007 2:28:51 PM

You'll have to excuse me for not posting on your blog. I just found out about this incident about a couple hours ago and had to look for your blog.

The people who wrote those death threats are so cruel and are scums of this earth. These scums lack respect for highly educated and talented women.

Kathy, please don't let the heartless trash affect you! I hope you will continue with your Head First Series work. Don't let the handful of disrespectful and ignorant people affect what great work you have done.

I am very grateful that Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates created the Head First Series books. It helped me learn Java to the point where it is second nature. I used to be a C and Perl Programmer. I have struggled with Object Oriented Programming and Java for a very very long time. Your series of books has really helped me gain a better understanding of what I had been struggling with for years. Out of all the technical and non-technical books I have ever read in my life I think the Head First books was probably the best set of books I have ever read. I have many friends who enjoy these books as it gives an exciting and fun-filled flavor to the learning process of Java Technologies.

Hopefully one day you can publish books of the following topics: J2ME, J2EE and Web Services!

Posted by: Will | Mar 27, 2007 2:29:04 PM

Dear Kathy:

I read about your plight at Scobelizer. I've linked to this post.

A number of female bloggers, who write sex blogs, have been also severely harassed.

I don't understand why people do this.

I hope you get all the support and good advice you need at this difficult time.

Posted by: Viviane | Mar 27, 2007 2:30:10 PM

According to the BBC news article, Kathy said:

She said she was questioning whether she would ever post again, saying she did not want to be a part of a blogosphere where such threats could be made.

Take a look at yourselves. Read your own messages.

I'm sure many of you also visit rawstory.com, where a headline today reads:

Noose tightens around embattled US attorney general

I can't believe you folks are supporting the calling for the end of anonymity. That is just wonderful.

You want a world of peace and love yet I sit here unable to make phone calls because of all the nasty callers.

Do I need to worry about my family now?

Take a look at the game you are playing here. You are creating followers doing bad things in your name because you want to stop others from doing bad things in other names.

I implore you to end this and correct the lies.

Posted by: Joey | Mar 27, 2007 2:31:22 PM

P.S. I was very pleased to see Steve Huff post two comments here. When I read your blog post, I immediately thought of my favorite crimeblogger and web sleuth.

If he finds your fears legitimate, they are. He, like myself, are very aware of the dangers of the world. He, like myself, knows than a threat, real or implied, is impacting. If you don't act one, you don't act on two... there just might come a time when the jerk decides to act on one of his own. Stop them first.

Posted by: cmr | Mar 27, 2007 2:32:55 PM

This is horrible. I am so sorry that you have experienced this...cruel abuse. The blogosphere is almost borderless...boundaryless. All we have is our willingness to be kind. We can block some spam. We can edit some comments. But as people are not so, well, embodied on the net, this kind of cruelty is that much easier to accomplish.

I hope that you will continue to post...but more than that, I hope to God that you are safe...and that whoever this person is will be cought.

Peace and All Good Things to you.

Posted by: Tripp Hudgins | Mar 27, 2007 2:33:44 PM

Kathy, I'm sorry to learn about this. Hope that you stay safe and receive all the support that you so deserve.

Posted by: Wilson | Mar 27, 2007 2:36:35 PM

(I haven't read any comments.) The internet will always empower nutcases. But only to a point. Very few of the nutcases could ever get physical. But some could, so what do you do? Hide? I would suggest at the very least that people get into an exercise program and take some sort of martial art, if even just a little bit. A little physical confidence will go a long way towards alleviating the fear that some nutjob might actually appear at your door. Because if he does, you'll know you really are not helpless. Very best of luck.

Posted by: Don | Mar 27, 2007 2:38:17 PM

Don't let 'em win. Don't empower them. You can't live in fear. It's what they want. Don't give it to 'em.

Posted by: MicroMuncher | Mar 27, 2007 2:39:17 PM

This is simply horrible. It makes me wonder whether there's any hope at all for humanity. Why would someone do something like this? They are conscious and afraid of their own inadequacies and vent out their frustration at you, probably because they're jealous.
I certainly do hope you post again. Don't let them win.

Posted by: kayliz | Mar 27, 2007 2:43:42 PM


I read about this via SEOMoz, and my heart goes out to you. I hope you are able to get it all settled and continue blogging for all the world to see.

Posted by: Eddie Walter | Mar 27, 2007 2:45:23 PM

Wow. How very sad that someone with courage and integrity and some just plain darn wonderful ideas becomes the target of some teenagers. Yup - I'm SURE they're the same teenagers who prowl 'n post on craigslist - same juvenile attitude. Kathy, hang (sorry! - hope you laughed!) in there! We love you and support you and totally understand your horror and need to regroup and rethink.

You put it all out there, your heart and best intentions, only to be threatened. Yikes!

It's so sad that one or two idiots ruin it for everyone else...

Just remember there are multitudes of us software folks out here who love your blogs and books - and be gentle with yourself - get angry, throw rocks in the pond, ride your horse, breathe deeply - we love you!

Posted by: Thia | Mar 27, 2007 2:48:51 PM


I can't imagine what it took to write the post that you have, with the images and everything that has happened. You are facing up to your tormentors in every way.

Like many others in the last couple of days, I'm de-lurking to add my first comment to your site despite having been a reader for a long time. I've also used my real-world name and url together for the first time. Anonymity allows experiences like yours to happen and I always stand by what I say.

I wish for peace and safety for you and your family. If that means ceasing to post and keeping a lower profile as a result then I guess we will just have to hide our disappointment and say that we understand. This is your place, not ours, and you must what seems best for you.

Thinking of you (and hoping you have help with moderating all these comments!!) and marvelling at the positive and heartfelt response from all your passionate users.

Posted by: Lorna Mitchell | Mar 27, 2007 2:51:35 PM


Don't let them win. Don't go. For us honest respectful people, some also members of the blogospere, you will leave a void when you go. Please stay. You make it worth being part of the blogosphere. There will always be morons that can't handle free will or free speech.

Take a break for as long (hopefully short) as you like, but please do come back. It's a better world with you in it.

All the best.

Reginald a.k.a. SwitchBL8

P.S. Read my post on the subject as well, if you like.

Posted by: SwitchBL8 | Mar 27, 2007 2:52:24 PM

This is disgusting. The misogynistic, violent, sexual threats you have endured for two months are beyond the pale. The darkest corners of the blogosphere have been revealed by this episode, and with any luck, the rats who lurk there will scurry off when confronted by the bright light of your decision to go public.

This morning, I feel embarrassed and sad - embarrassed that the technology (blogging) that has opened the Web to so many has been abused in this fashion. Sad because of your claim that you'll never be the same as a result of this. I suspect we've not heard the last about this - from you or the authorities who are investigating.

While I don't know you Kathy and have never before read your blog, I wish you the best and, if possible, a quick and speedy recovery from this nightmare.

Posted by: Neal G Moore | Mar 27, 2007 2:55:37 PM

What a pretentious cunt you are. Stop wasting the police's time because the internet was mean to you.
SANE adults don't lock themselves in their houses because someone on the INTERNET said a few bad words. Get a fucking grip.

Posted by: The Internet | Mar 27, 2007 3:00:57 PM

Hi, well i not your usual blog fan, and i got this link from the BBC in the UK. And i and disgusted that these individuals posted such horrific threats, well guys it take balls to say it to this young girl in the flesh , and since you hide in the shadows of the Internet you have none. I bet their parents are real proud of them in the real world, but i wonder do they no there dark side of the child?, i bet they do not. But lass you are never alone with the friends in the real world and those good people who, and i hope i am one back you 100%. So stand up, kick them where it hurts and lets make those boys with no balls cry.

Posted by: Clive | Mar 27, 2007 3:07:42 PM

Translation of Josenaldo:


I know that many will not understand what I write, but I wanted to write in Portuguese all the same, so that you will see that it is not only American readers that love you.

Do not stop your career because of these "threats". This type of person is motivated by envy.

You are very dear and your books are awesome! Please continue your work. Do not stop.

Posted by: Josenaldo Matos | Mar 27, 2007 1:24:08 PM


Sei que muitos não vão entender o que escrevo, mas quero escrever em português mesmo, para que vejam que não é somente aí nos EUA que te adoram.

Não desista da sua carreira por causa dessas "ameaças". Esse tipo de gente é movido pela inveja.

Você é muito querida e seus livros são ótimos! Continue fazendo seu trabalho. Não desista.

Posted by: Josenaldo Matos | Mar 27, 2007 1:24:08 PM

Posted by: Graham Coleman | Mar 27, 2007 3:09:50 PM

Ah, the brave trolls are out in force on these comments today, showing themselves for what they are with their 'real email addresses' and their 'real identities', I see.

Joey, the worst bullies are the ones who take the subtle jabs and then drive the knife in at just the right moment, while proclaiming their innocence and re-writing reality.

That dog ain't barking at me.

Posted by: Karoli | Mar 27, 2007 3:10:34 PM


Kathy, I have nothing wise or witty to say here. I only wanted to offer my support in your efforts to spread the word about ending web-violence towards others.

I hope only the best for you.

-- robbie

Posted by: Robbie Coleman | Mar 27, 2007 3:10:59 PM

To "The Internet:" there's no excuse for the kinds of language you're putting out here. I wish you had the bravery to sign your name and address to your posts and tell us where you work.

Posted by: Robert Scoble | Mar 27, 2007 3:11:59 PM

What these misogynists have done is horrible and must not be tolerated if we are to have anything resembling a healthy society or community.

Kathy, some have been pushing for you to return to blogging, but I don’t think it’s for any of us to say what you should do in response to the situation. The choice is completely your’s.

Having learned much that I value from your blogging, I would certainly be very appreciative of your continued contributions if you choose to return to this, but I would also entirely respect your choice to withdraw from the work if that is your choice.

My thoughts are with you, and with all the countless women who’s voices have been constrained or silenced in this world plagued by misogyny.

I remain grateful for the many wonderful things you have shared. Thank-you!

Posted by: Grant Neufeld | Mar 27, 2007 3:13:29 PM

I'm a second-year Computer Science student at university, and they use your Head First Java books in our intro CS course. I only just heard of your blog and this situation today on digg, and recognized your name from my old textbook.

I'm totally shocked at this. I used your text in a class (it was really helpful) and just spent a good while reading around your blog. Nobody in their right mind would question your knowledge and writing based on merit.

The misogynistic psychopaths posting this tripe are NOT representative of Comp Sci. I don't know what it feels like to receive obscene death threats on public forums. I do know that it makes me sick to my stomach that supposedly-educated people in my field would post that.

So I guess I'm writing to say that I respect you. I liked your book. Whoever was doing this is insane, and they should be punished to the full extent of the law for it.

The Comp Sci community is behind YOU, not misogyny. I wish you the best of luck resolving this, and I hope you're back on the blogging and conference circuit as soon as it's over.

Posted by: Marco Carmosino | Mar 27, 2007 3:13:29 PM

Kathy, I'm so sorry to hear about your plight. The Internet has long been a haven for narcissistic anarchy, and many bloggers like to believe that the Internet is some kind of new frontier that's not a part of the real world. But I never dreamed that the irresponsibility could go so far.

I hope that the police solve the case soon and that the result will make you breathe freely again.

Posted by: Rohan Jayasekera | Mar 27, 2007 3:15:21 PM

This is unbelievable. As I think many folks did I did a search for your website after reading about your case on the BBC. The reason I came was because I wanted to know what you were blogging about that was so offensive, so controversial that people were sending you death threats. I am ASTONISHED to see that people are making death threats against someone who runs an informative technology website. What on earth is there to threaten someone about that?

I totally sympathize and while I'm sure you have nothing to actually fear from these childish idiots, I can totally understand how difficult it is to just brush this sort of thing off. I have long been convinced that, while it is an amazing medium that has given freedom of expression back to the people in many amazing ways, due to anonymity on all fronts the internet also tends to bring out the absolute, slime-bottom WORST in people as well. Hearing about this -- violent comments and threats made against a woman who has done nothing controversial at ALL -- clinches it for me. I'm really sorry you have had to have this happen to you. Seems like some people really do just suck.

Posted by: K | Mar 27, 2007 3:18:42 PM

I picked this up on Slashdot today and it is very disturbing to see this kind of behavior in a technical community. Personally, I think that anyone who behaves like this doesn't belong in any tech community or business. After all, if what matters to a tech worker is gender and not ability or intelligence, it's not that that person has a problem with females but that he/she/it has a problem with anyone who is not them. All the same, the content is very telling of the respect that the posters have for Kathy.

If they thought you were stupid, they would have stopped at stupid and let that speak for itself. If they thought you were incompetent, they would have stopped at incompetent and let that speak for itself. That an argument degrades to this point is proof that the side that stoops to this is out of coherent, intelligent, on-topic points to make. They know that you are smart and able and they insult you because they don't like that you are smart and able and don't agree with them. It makes them look stupid.

I know that it is tempting to stay inside where you are protected but there is a very big problem with doing that. They are trying to intimidate you to shut you up and unfortunately, trying to protect yourself by locking yourself in and shutting up means that they have succeeded in their intimidation. Not only will they think that it is a method that works for you, but a method that will work on others as well. Please don't let success be the moral of the story for them.

I understand that you are concerned for your safety, as I would be. But I am not one to back down in this situation because it teaches the offenders that acting this way gets them what they want. I refuse to let people who behave like that prosper through their behavior-- I would never let them get what they want from me. I have stood up to people like this who have threatened my life in person in order to intimidate me. It just proves that I have bigger balls than they do.

If I were in your position, I would start tracking the people, reporting them to the police, and instead of skipping the conference, I would get escorts at the conference. People in the community WILL help you. They WILL protect you. They WILL come to your hotel room and escort you to the places that you want to go to. There are people who respect you and respect your opinion and want to see you participate who greatly outnumber the psychos who want you to crawl into a hole and hide. They are willing to protect you and help you and they are willing to go out of the way to make sure that you are not hurt.

People who do things like this anonymously over the internet do it because they think that they can get away with it. Seriously, trying to anonymously beat up a girl over the internet? That takes machismo.... Show them that they can't get away with this. I know that it's hard and I know that it's painful but put on your game face and get out there. Otherwise, they will never stop.

Posted by: Jen Larkin | Mar 27, 2007 3:20:21 PM

Posted by: Italics Corrector | Mar 27, 2007 3:23:50 PM


No need for fear.

Civil court. Lawsuit. Judgement.

Only great big belly goddess of destruction laughs.

Posted by: mAndrea | Mar 27, 2007 3:24:13 PM

Some people are just sick and jellows. They cannot do anything good in life and they envy whoever is able to do something.

Thanks God there is the POLICE and the LAWS. Get some good lawyers and send these people to jail, where they will find some good pals to entertein themselves...

Posted by: Shocked User | Mar 27, 2007 3:24:29 PM

I am a 21 year old woman who has been working at a web application development company for about a year now. Your blog has taught me a great deal about the industry, and been a great comfort for me through the intimidating process of beginning a career. On several occasions I have sent articles you wrote to the president of our company, and I know he took them to heart.

I am sickened that this is happening to you, and as a budding blogger I feel frightened that people can be so cruel in this environment.

The fact that these remarks were made online does not undermine the seriousness of them. True, the internet provides us with a certain anonymity, and unfortunately people sometimes take advantage and indulge in behaviors online they would never exhibit in "real life." Regardless, when online behavior lowers itself to this degree, people should be held accountable. Yes, we're online, but in the end words are still words. Also, the fact that these people took advantage of digital media and their knowledge of it in order to create disturbing graphics really shows how exchanges online can sometimes be more harmful than an old-fashioned personal confrontation. The people involved here should be sent to jail. If anyone acted this way in any other public forum they would be taken to a correctional facility of some kind immediately.

I am so sorry to hear that you have had to endure this, and please know that if you leave the blogging community you will be sincerely missed. I am sorry I did not comment before now to thank you for your words of wisdom, comfort, and inspiration.

Posted by: Meagan Fisher | Mar 27, 2007 3:26:26 PM

None of what you listed are threats.

Posted by: Worm | Mar 27, 2007 3:30:24 PM

Holy shit, this is insane.

I'd expect stupid bullshit like this on /b/ or something, but in the greater Internets? Hell naw.

Especially against you Ms Sierra, I've always thought of, I don't know... a cotton candy puppy dog or something when I read what you have to say.

I can only hope that it was a really bad joke gone completely awry and that there is no actual animosity towards you. The lulz have truly failed us here.

Good luck.

Posted by: Danno | Mar 27, 2007 3:32:06 PM

Good luck resolving this issue. The madness of few should not interrupt the life of the righteous.

Posted by: Nate Westheimer | Mar 27, 2007 3:32:07 PM

Look Kathy I don't know you or your work. Judging from the comments of your readers I imagine you are a warm caring individual and it seems you have a following of smart caring real-type folks. Now here's the real deal. People who put themselves in the public eye for whatever reason they choose open themselves up to the masses. As you are seeing maa'm, all of the people out "there" are not nice. While some of us have had home training, some have not. I also think that being a mature lady like yourself you know that schoolyard trash talk and uneducated rants are not death threats. I do however sympathize with you for freaking out a little. Kathy, most people that read blogs are at least smart enough to read (we would hope)and so we would assume that they could at least debate with you rather than slam you, but alas some folks don't have anything better to do than lash out at vulnerable people like yourself. Please try to get it back together. Not to be mean but if the ramblings of a bunch of morons affect you that much..stop putting yourself in the public eye:)Because while I disagree with the filth that some cowards posted towards you, I must defend their right to say it, especially in your blog which you operate for the sole purpose I would think for the exchange of thoughts and idea's from strangers.

Posted by: Jon | Mar 27, 2007 3:34:54 PM


Posted by: GREESY NIGGER | Mar 27, 2007 3:36:52 PM

I am beyond shocked by all this!

I was tickled that I had found The Gapingvoid and was delighted when I came across your link as well.

I had no idea that the blogs were a place of such mindless hatred. I have been reading blogs to be entertained and to learn, and boy, did I learn something.

You are in my thoughts and prayers. I wish you well.

By the way, I think your blog is fantastic!

Posted by: Rhonda (RKR) | Mar 27, 2007 3:41:23 PM


Somedays I'm just embarrassed to be a human being.

None of what you listed are threats.

Posted by: Worm | Mar 27, 2007 3:30:24 PM

And Worm, nothing that you posted is correct.

Posted by: Scotty | Mar 27, 2007 3:41:29 PM

From reading her account very carefully, she seems to be interpreting adolecent comments along the lines of:

"I hate her, I wish she would die."

...and interpreting these disparaging remarks as death threats. At first, I was very sympathetic, but after doing a little reading and rereading I'm not so sure. At second glance, it seems like you're being hysterical seeing how you actually know these people, some who are high profile authors and bloggers who seem to have nothing but contempt for your work.

I suspect you might be knowingly spinning these extremely adolescent remarks as threats to get revenge by having the blogosphere gang up on these guys.

Don't get me wrong. Anybody who makes truly threatening remarks should be dealt with legally, but the more I read, the more it doesn't seem to be the case here. It sounds like you have some really juvenile critics who wish death upon you the same way kids used to wish death upon Leonardo DiCaprio 10 years ago.

Seeing how a few of these people have outed themselves, I think holing yourself in your house is probably going a little overboard at this point.

Posted by: Steve | Mar 27, 2007 3:43:16 PM


I own several head first books; it's a really good series, written at a high level of intelligence.

I'll sign on to what others above have said -- don't let the unsocial oafs lock you into a jail -- fight back and lock them into jail!

You've obviously got enough evidence to figure out whodunnit. Consider assuring that the police forensics teams comb through the servers which hosted the trash.

As an example of oafish stupidity, I offer for everyone's inspection "The Internet", who has posted directly above. My advice for "The Internet" is that the real Internet is never anonymous, and never will be. When you signed into typepad, you left your IP address in a log. When you posted on this webserver, ditto. If I were in law enforcement, I'd have your home address in a half hour after correlating the posting times to the two locations with your ISP's own logs. Believe me, you do not want a search warrant served on your home and all your computers confiscated and trashed by the forensics guys.

If you think the real Internet was bad to Kathy and it's time to just "pile on" the bad behavior, think of how personally bad it might become to you and moderate your speech, especially to a person who has been harassed and has brought the police into the matter.

Posted by: unclesmrgol | Mar 27, 2007 3:45:19 PM

TO: All
RE: Voices from the Nether World [Down Under(?)]....

"Like I said before, it's a marvellous PR campaign you've launched and no doubt you'll get very wealthy very quickly because your adoring fans have been taken in completely by your peculiar brand of codswallop.

You have learned the lesson of never giving a sucker an even break to absolute perfection." -- Paul Ritchie

...Who Talk a Lot, But Never Answer Questions Put to Them

I think it's pretty obvious, at this point, that Ritchie is a troll. And, considering the information I found at that other site which discusses the attributes of a sociopath, he's showing a key indicator that he's of the same ilk as that cretin who published the interesting Photoshop image.

TO: Paul Ritchie
RE: When You Say....

"You have learned the lesson of never giving a sucker an even break to absolute perfection." -- Paul Ritchie

....do you mean that Kathy hasn't published a similar image of whomever it was put her image up? Say with one of those plastic ball-gags in his mouth?

Maybe it's because she isn't the sort of slimy lower life-form that he is. Don't you think?

RE: Information

I'm still waiting to hear your response to the questions I asked of you earlier today. However, after this latest piece of tripe from you, I have doubts as to your veracity.


[The Truth will out.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto | Mar 27, 2007 3:46:16 PM

Kathy, I'm absolutely gutted to hear about what you're going through. We've never met, but you've been an inspiration to me ever since I stumbled across CPU about a year ago. All I can do is send you warm, happy thoughts and hope you'll find the strength and support you need to get through this horrific experience and feel good again. You rule! :-)

Posted by: Lori | Mar 27, 2007 3:47:04 PM

The problem, "Joey" is that when "meankids" take anonymity as permission to write things like "the only thing Kathy has to offer me is that noose in her neck size" and it is coupled with anonymous e-mails that read "i hope someone slits your throat and cums down your gob" you spoil it for the rest of us.

If anonymity is jeopardized, it's by people like you... who think it's some kind of legitimate "criticism" to write posts about people implying they should be hung or posting pictures that are misogynistic and threatening and then whining about how *they* are really the ones being victimized.

Even worse, you clods aren't even funny. If you're going to be insulting, at least have some wit.

You claim to be a retired gentleman, well, act your age. Your cloak of anonymity is not shielding political discourse--it's shielding your irrational hatred for a woman who writes lousy books. You can cry all you want about the order in which your hateful words were printed, or grouse that Kathy is using this as a publicity stunt. If she's being opportunistic (which I doubt, even with the "evidence" you've presented) then it's time to smell the coffee, my friend: you and your ilk gave her the opportunity.

But such is the way of the internets I suppose. See ya in the funny papers.

Posted by: A Nony Mouse | Mar 27, 2007 3:47:28 PM

It is really a shame that this has happened to you.
I've been a victim of violent sexual comments on my own blog, so I have a slight idea of how you feel, but unlike you I was not "famous" and I was only identified by a nickname on the blog, so I knew I was "safe".
Just remember the passionate readers of your blog and books outnumbers by very far the disturbed people who knows of your existence, so if there is anything the community can do to support you, just let us know.

Posted by: Vanessa | Mar 27, 2007 3:51:13 PM


I respect and appreciate the work that you do in your field, and i am so sorry that you have had to face such a dark and traumatic experience. I respect and applaud how you have approached this situation, though. You took the threats seriously, took actions to protect yourself, and set about shining a light on this darkness that was threatening to bury you. I hope that you will be strengthened by the support that is behind you and that this dark situation will bring about a positive end.

You are in my prayers.

Ben Barber

Posted by: barberboy | Mar 27, 2007 3:51:18 PM

"I guess my relatively high profile suited her purposes better than the truth."
- Chris Locke, AKA 'Rageboy' , 3.27.07

'Nuff said.

But here's some more: I'm sorry you're experiencing this kind of problem. Unfortunately, bullies and assholes are way too much a part of the human experience. But me thinks thou dost protest too much...about the wrong things. You had plenty of other good & worthy targets without bringing someone as high profile as 'Rageboy' into your sights. This makes your motivations suspect. As it is, my guess is that you'll get a nice spike in your traffic from this and that there will be some residual traffic carrying forward as you continue your blogging.

Posted by: Kevin Johansen | Mar 27, 2007 3:52:36 PM

Threatening physical harm is not OK, and is not a legitimate exercise of "free speech." And people who "put themselves in the public eye," as Jon, above would have it, do not thereby consent to behavior which is dangerous and illegal. Talk about blaming the victim!

Ideas are one thing. Threatening harm is something else again.

Posted by: Susan | Mar 27, 2007 3:53:17 PM

What scares me, is that there are people out there who think this is OK. Not just one person hiding by themselves, but people. I guess there has long been violence against women and sexual violence against women, so maybe it's not so surprising that it is in the web world too. Not surprising,... but shocking, horrifically shocking. I wonder - were these guys brought up in an environment where this was normal? Why do they hate women so much? And how do we live in a world where they do?

Posted by: Louise | Mar 27, 2007 3:55:41 PM

I agree with Jon. Distributing this wierdo's work via your blog and playing into the infantile games of MeanKids and giving the wierdo the attention he doesn't deserve by quitting ETech shows us that you DO need to have a re-think about whether you want to stay blogging and presenting.

I'm blase - the veteran of too many flame wars in newsgroups and in gaming forums have made me thickskinned and impervious to dire threats. And I'm sorry, I just don't see this sort of thing as real stalking. Delete the posts, register the IP address, notify the cops if you must, and then move on. Very little here made me pause for concern for your physical wellbeing, and frankly, attention on pixel stalking diminishes the issue of women who are being stalked physically in real life. Yes I've read Dibbells Rape In CyberSpace, but at the end of the day, you choose how to react, how much power to give this wierdo and how much he can ruin your life. Seek counselling to gain back your power and release fear, then make a decision - can you stand the heat in the kitchen?

Posted by: Laurel Papworth | Mar 27, 2007 4:00:20 PM

TO: PaulWay
RE: 'Pal' Joey

"The fact that 'Joey' can turn around and candidly deny doing what he obviously did just makes it worse." -- PaulWay

These are other indicators of a sociopath, patholgical lying and comes across as 'charming' too. See web-site I mentioned above. It does a great job of listing the various indicators.

So that's 2 for Joey and 1 for Paul Ritchie.



Posted by: Chuck Pelto | Mar 27, 2007 4:07:32 PM


I just saw this via Carla's post on ONLamp.

It's not okay and I'm glad you had the courage to open up the subject.

Hang in there, we'll be thinking of you.

Jess, Steve, (and Lena.)

Posted by: Jessica Boyd | Mar 27, 2007 4:08:27 PM

She's faking it.

Posted by: Wor | Mar 27, 2007 4:09:12 PM

TO: steve
RE: No. It's Not BS....

"Trying to turn this around and saying 300 posters here are threatening you is pure bullshit." -- steve

...it's something else. And another indicator that Joey could be a sociopath. It fits their MO.

That's 3 for Joey.


[Know your enemy.... -- Sun Tzu]

P.S. Maybe we should get Dr. Helen in on this analysis?

Posted by: Chuck Pelto | Mar 27, 2007 4:12:42 PM

Hi all!! Just for the record (in response to Susan) I do not "blame the victim" but as I pointed out when you offer yourself out to the public, please don't be so naive as to believe that everyone is nice. When people lash out like this they are merely pushing the buttons of a lady who obviously has had a somewhat sheltered life. Please don't flame me for that comment, or say I am being mean to Kathy, quite the contrary. I feel for her situation. I don't know her at all or anything about her, but I can hazard a couple guess's. I would say she is a nice, caring, loving woman who does not have that much experience in dealing with the darker side of life. I would guess that she is NOT a barroom fighter or a mercenary or police officer. She is IMHO overreacting a bit but to back you up a little let me tell you that I work in health care, and I am taking a very casual poll among my nurses here and almost all of the females agree with you. The men I work with and the police officers on duty here have something else to say completely. Myself I do not worry or listen to the rants/trashtalking or schoolyard threats posted by someone to scared to post their real name, but Kathy that in no way reflects on your choice to hide. You have to absolutley do what you think is right. I feel sorry for you and if this is really the first time you have ever encountered hate mail, sexual comments about your person etc..then you should consider yourself a lucky woman indeed. As far as the legality of all of this..for goodness sakes folks don't you bloggers represent what is the last bastion of free speech we have left? I mean aren't you allowed to say whatever you want about anything you want? Don't we all want it this way?

Posted by: Jon | Mar 27, 2007 4:16:47 PM

dont care

Posted by: alex | Mar 27, 2007 4:19:57 PM

TO: All
RE: The Epitome of REAL Hatred

"dont care" -- alex

Not only of Kathy but of all of us.


[The opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto | Mar 27, 2007 4:25:54 PM

Wow i just read the post on the BBC website and im stunned, slightly scared that this kind of thing can happen.............absolutely disgusting behavious and i hope that it does not deter you from blogging

grace and peace

ally "supersimbo" simpson

Posted by: ally simpson | Mar 27, 2007 4:33:41 PM

More and more I hear people making remarks along the lines of how this world is too much geared towards rationality and that we should be in touch with our emotions. Look out for people writing or saying something like ´society is so rational, I am more in touch with my feelings´.
Daily experience teaches me otherwise: emotionalism is the trend and rationality, logic and reason are frowned upon as if it is a mental afflication that should be treated.
This unfortunate incident with blogs is rather the rule than the exception. Remarkably since Yahoo closed its discussion option with the news articles, it seems to have spread throughout the internet.
I am sure I miss most of what is going on here but I understand the besides Kathy other victims are Chris, Joey and Jeneane.

In general I can only say that if you want to bring a message or opinion or content in general across, expression like ´dipshit´ or ´crackheads´ or calling for nooses (no matter who it is actually referred to) reflect negatively on one´s credibility.
Sometimes I point these things out and at best I am called a wise-ass and sometimes I am deemed to be crazy or creepy.
I feel an opinion that is not accompanied by such noise is more valid intrinsically.
I also know that is not how it works. Reasoned arguments are always defeated by shouting and name calling.

Posted by: Erwin Blonk | Mar 27, 2007 4:33:57 PM

I am strongly contemning such activities. Kathy, I would like you to continue your writing. If you stop writing means, you are setting up a wrong pattern to social 2.0. Communities controlling/optimizing the whole web culture , not by few idiots.

Kind rgrds

Posted by: saran | Mar 27, 2007 4:34:48 PM


Having a father-in-law who just retired from 30 years in law enforcement, I do see your point. He's been threatened, beaten up (worked in the jail), and dealt with some of the worst dregs of society you can imagine.

But when he busted a (repeat) druggie (again), and the man hollared out "I'll get you...I'll come after your family!" even this hardened officer told me he slept with a gun under his pillow for years.

Most of us don't have the skin built up to deal with that much hate/rage/etc. Petty snideness (Kathy mentions this) and potty-mouthing is one thing. No big deal.

This was something else entirely. Yup, it's common. Yup, people are mean and stupid and thoughtless and cruel. But I'd suggest you moderate your expectations appropriately.

Because, frankly, most of us...in the IT industry...aren't exposed to that level of poison. It's not "usual", nor common, nor acceptable.

Additionally, while it's perhaps understandable and ignorable by 12 year old fanboys...but by ostensibly adult A-list bloggers?

Hmf. Then again, we've got folks like OJ Simpson, Dennis Rodman, and other noteable examples.

Celebrity/fame/success does not confer wisdom nor niceness. But that does not mean we don't hold high-profile folks accountable for doing something that's black-and-white wrong and a prosecutable offense.

end of line.

Posted by: Aaron Backer | Mar 27, 2007 4:35:27 PM

I teach children.
In school we teach them that words are more damaging than actions, as they stay with the person for much longer.

Anyone need to go back to school?

Posted by: Chris | Mar 27, 2007 4:35:34 PM

They are just sad little wimps... who, lets face it, probably don't have any friends.

It's crazy, but these days there is a lot of negativity around anyway, and of course the internet makes for an easy target... you see I bet most of these jerks would never even look at you in public... now that said, it sounds like the US does have some weirdo's - I guess the higher population means there are more of them... not to say there aren't anywhere else... it's just sad jerks have nothing better to do...

Posted by: David S | Mar 27, 2007 4:44:34 PM

Jon said "I mean aren't you allowed to say whatever you want about anything you want? Don't we all want it this way?"

Free speech is one thing, as Kathy herself pointed out, hate speech is something else entirely.

Your right to free speech stops when it intrudes on the rights of others. You and I are free to praise or criticize Kathy, and even make snide or loving remarks about her if we choose...but we don't have the right to threaten her well being or cause her concern for her safety.

Posted by: Andy Broyles | Mar 27, 2007 4:53:19 PM

I don't care if this is protected speech or not. I love the constitution and love protected speech...


It is also completely protected speech for us to stand up and say this is not acceptable. It is not acceptable to have people do this, say this, post this, or act this way. Legal or not, we as a community can come together and shun those who would make excuses for it, or be associated with it. Because civilization demands it.

(And no, I'm not weak skinned, and yes -- I BBSed. 18 years ago. I've been on the WWW for 14. It wasn't acceptable then, and it isn't acceptable now.)

Posted by: silvermine | Mar 27, 2007 4:59:05 PM

I'm so sorry you have to deal with this Kathy. I'm disgusted that people would do this, and that others would think its OK, or acceptable. Stay strong!

Posted by: Lorissa | Mar 27, 2007 4:59:10 PM

I wouldn't worry too much about these people. You can't lock yourself up and let them win. I would simply report them to the authorities and make sure that you follow up with them (the authorities)

Threats are common when you have a subject that people are interested in. Opinions are like belly buttons...everyone has one. Those who choose to use such behavior are not with any values of any kind. Yes, take them seriously but don't alter your entire life for them. This is exactly the response they were hoping to get. Just something to think about. Smile the day has to get better :)
Robert Laibach

Posted by: Robert Laibach | Mar 27, 2007 5:01:32 PM

I wouldn't worry too much about these people. You can't lock yourself up and let them win. I would simply report them to the authorities and make sure that you follow up with them (the authorities)

Threats are common when you have a subject that people are interested in. Opinions are like belly buttons...everyone has one. Those who choose to use such behavior are not with any values of any kind. Yes, take them seriously but don't alter your entire life for them. This is exactly the response they were hoping to get. Just something to think about. Smile the day has to get better :)
Robert Laibach

Posted by: Robert Laibach | Mar 27, 2007 5:01:37 PM

I don't know what more I could add but to say that you have my support, and I never even heard of you before today. Just remember these two things. Do what is right no matter the consequences. And remember that fear can drive you into a hole and hide you away for the rest of your life, or it can drive you to change the world.

Posted by: Zer0mass | Mar 27, 2007 5:04:16 PM

My god. I can't comment to everyone. But I am somewhat anonymous now simply because "coming out" would be impossible! It is not hard to figure out who I am and if law enforcement looks, they'll easily find me. I am not hiding. I simple don't want you very angry people to send me another 2,000 emails.

If someone posts who in law enforcement was called, I will contact them. In the mean time, I've hired a lawyer who will find out what reports are where -- if they really exist.

I do not hate women. I do not hate women who writes. I criticize in various people who write bad books that border on magical thinking and anti-science.



Keep in mind, I state categorically that I'm not the source of Kathy's email or (her) blog postings.

You folks haven't even seen the timelines of any of this. I've preparing that material for my lawyer or law enforcement, who ever knocks on the door next. I'm planning on posting it all someplace in the next 48 hours.

Given threat of legal actions for my one and only taken out of context comment posting, I'm still not that worried because I did nothing wrong.

Kathy and you and supporting blogs have spun this situation beyond recognition where there are so many splinter groups of protesters and lines of thought (womans rights, how male geeks treat women, anonymous posting, blog rules, anti rape, anti stalking, pro kathy, etc.) that I don't think you understand what you've created here.

I am innocent of Kathy's claims yet this entire thing is spinning so far out of control that it isn't reasonable to think I could be arrested just because some DA wants make his mark.

I will say again, Kathy is confused. She is setting up and framing and distorting reality. I have plenty of logs and copies of post to back that up.

Stop making me another victim. I'm not going to keep saying I'm sorry because you folks have now crossed too many lines.

Kathy is around the web posting in other places, why isn't she here answering questions? (Or did I miss them?)

You're being a made fool of; whatever happened to Kathy had nothing to do with her being "scared". It is about her being angry at being criticized.

Kathy is very good at manipulating language. I suppose I'm left with no choice but to post my time lines as soon as possible.


When the timelines come out, will you have an open mind and REVIEW THEM like the critical thinkers you are supposed to be?

And what if I'm right? Ask yourself that now, please.

Wow, this posting will look much like spam. I'm sorry. No other way to state various points in a small text-area html form.

Posted by: Joey | Mar 27, 2007 5:08:05 PM

Hi, Kathy. I just wanted to add my sympathies and support. I can't imagine what you're going through. And as you tell the story, yes I would have taken it as a threat, too. When criticism turns personal, that hurts and destroys relationships. And when it turns to threats of violence, that's unacceptable and illegal. I hope you are able to resolve the situation and go on with your life. Please let me know if there's anything I can do to help.


Posted by: Tim King | Mar 27, 2007 5:09:31 PM

I am disgusted and morally outraged that anyone would be treated this way - in any forum, for any reason. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one.

Yours is one of the VERY few blogs I regularly read. I regularly refer to your posts, and you have helped me improve my skills, given me ideas, and helped me solve problems. For all of those things, thanks. Thanks even more for the laughs, the excellent writing, the way you break things down into easily digestible bits, and your insight. If this was your last post, I am saddened.

Remember that when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro - you just met a few pros, I'm sorry to say. The good news is that it appears you have many more supporters than detractors. Don't fear for your life. Put the fear back into them. Stand up tall. Be vigilant, but don't let them take your power away. I imagine that these guys have more to fear than you, given the ferocity with which the community of supporters has come to your defense.

Take heart!

Posted by: lisainc | Mar 27, 2007 5:16:36 PM

I knew some crazy people who would do stuff like this (however offline) just for fun. We then caught them and explained that we know who they are. They never did anything similar again.

There are pretty many idiots around in any country of the world, and their hiding in anonymity allows them to say more, but NOT DO more. We in (not me personally thanks God) Russia suffer much from aggressive racists/nacists much thanks to their identities being hidden on the web. But when words turn into cruel actions it is possible only by them being "covered" by Russian political "elite" (do the last two words go together?). But these guys though being idiots share ideology and desire to kill, while those doing that in your case are evidently mere idiots at anonymic play, not capable or really even willing to do real harm.

Anyway, just don't stop here. Go on. Not as if nothing happened, it's impossible, but go on. Do what you intend to do. A couple of idiots are not going to stop you.

P.S. Thank you for all your ideas in your blog. Hope to see you return to us faster.

Posted by: Nikita | Mar 27, 2007 5:17:14 PM

Chuckle, did you every consider that I'm angry too? You have every right to make them. I'm not calling YOU a sociopath. When I insult people on this board, I insult *EVERYONE EQUALLY*. Maybe you hadn't noticed?

Well, fine, you win. No more posting from me here. You set the stage. I handle this via the real media and lawyers.

Goodnight Gracie. You win. I'm shutting up.

Posted by: Joey | Mar 27, 2007 5:17:33 PM

"I guess my relatively high profile suited her purposes better than the truth."
- Chris Locke, AKA 'Rageboy' , 3.27.07

'Nuff said.

But here's some more: I'm sorry you're experiencing this kind of problem. Unfortunately, bullies and assholes are way too much a part of the human experience. But me thinks thou dost protest too much...about the wrong things. You had plenty of other good & worthy targets without bringing someone as high profile as 'Rageboy' into your sights. This makes your motivations suspect. As it is, my guess is that you'll get a nice spike in your traffic from this and that there will be some residual traffic carrying forward as you continue your blogging.

Posted by: Kevin Johansen | Mar 27, 2007 5:18:33 PM

TO: Joey
RE: Anger?

"....did you every consider that I'm angry too?" -- Joey

Another indicator?

You keep piling them up, compadre. Maybe you should go check that web-site.


P.S. I'm not 'calling you a sociopath'. I'm saying your showing a LOT of indicators that you could well be one.

There is something of a difference.

Don't you think?

Posted by: Chuck Pelto | Mar 27, 2007 5:20:19 PM

Just wanted to add my voice of support to you and thanking you for all the great stuff you've done for the internet and to helping people do good stuff so far. You are absolutely right this stuff is simply not acceptable - anywhere. Period.

Posted by: miles thompson | Mar 27, 2007 5:24:46 PM

Hey, this is the first time I've read this blog - and I found this post very, well, stunning. I think it's great that you tell us about you're feelings and I completely share your opinion towards freedom of speech. Thank you for this shocking, yet wonderful post!

Posted by: Kevinin | Mar 27, 2007 5:27:39 PM

If you're so innocent(and I am trying to believe so), then you should join us to condemn the crime committed against Kathy. Do you think everyone involved are innocent in this case or just YOU are innocent? Do you think anybody crossed the line at all?

Posted by: To Joey | Mar 27, 2007 5:31:02 PM

I can't resist, sorry:


I understand the irony. But do you?

Posted by: Joey | Mar 27, 2007 5:37:34 PM

TO: Joey
RE: Actually....

"I understand the irony. But do you?" -- Joey

I do. But, based on your continuing behavioral indicators, I suspect you haven't a clue.

And therein lies the sorrow and the pity.


P.S. Did I see someone (above) saying you claimed to be a 'retired gentleman'?

"I'm retired. That means I'm a useless, probably toothless old man." -- Joey

You come across more as a sophomoric adolescent than a wisened retiree. Sounds like another incidence of 'pathological liar'. That, as I mentioned earlier, is an indicator of a sociopath.

Maybe you should have taken your own advice and put this unfortunate business behind you, as you indicated when you said, "Well, fine, you win. No more posting from me here. You set the stage. I handle this via the real media and lawyers."

Another indicator. Actually, two. Waving 'lawyers' at me is another SOP of a sociopath; they like to go for malicious lawsuits when someone IDs them properly.

You should quit while you're ahead, youngster....

Posted by: Chuck Pelto | Mar 27, 2007 5:46:15 PM

Stop feeding the trolls.

Posted by: G--- | Mar 27, 2007 5:53:26 PM

Kathy, I so look forward to reading your blog, and have used lots of your ideas in my own presentations and teachings. I would feel a great loss if you stopped blogging. It's a terrible thing if a few sick jerks can shut you down. I understand your fears and hope the forces of civilization will quickly put them to rest.

Posted by: Phil Roybal | Mar 27, 2007 5:55:10 PM

I would have been too scared to leave home, too. These guys were probably Nazis in Hitler's Germany in a previous life.

Posted by: Sophia | Mar 27, 2007 5:55:52 PM

Hi Kathy,

I am not a member of the blogging community, just a computer guy with the occasional time on my hands to spend exploring the blogosphere. And then I found your story.

This is disgusting, and these are extremely sick people. And in the big picture things like this are not going to go away until we as a people make a serious commitment to doing everything we can personally and socially to encourage a climate of kindness, caring, decency, and healing.

That said, I have some comments that suggest some of the blame may fall on the blogging culture itself - even though I admittedly know little or nothing of that culture. But a paragraph in your post gave me some clues I'd like to follow up on.

You said:

"I do not want to be part of a culture where this is done not by some random person, but by some of the most respected people in the tech blogging world. People linked to by A-listers like Doc Searls, a co-author of Chris Locke. I do not want to be part of a culture of such hypocrisy where Jeneane Sessum can be a prominent member of blogher, a speaker at industry conferences, an outspoken advocate for women's rights, and at the same time celebrate and encourage a site like meankids -- where objectification of women is taken to a level that makes plain old porn seem quaintly sweet."

My thoughts are as follows:

(1) Respected!!!??? How come and by whom? Do the members of the blogging "community" not know the character of some of their leading figures? Or do they not care. Just who is it that gives these @holes respect, and what is their excuse for doing so. These are slimy creeps. What does it say about the blogging community that they are "respected" in that community. Rot starts at the top. Look to the leaders of the blogosphere - whoever those might be - those who set the moral and cultural tone of the community. (And if there are no such - I would question whether there is a "community" in any functional sense).

And didn't you say this Chris guy sometimes uses the handle "rageboy"? Hello? Is that a clue?

(2) Cliques, elitism and Junior High.

You casually used a term I find telling. "A-listers". I have heard the term A-list occasionally in celebrity news and the like. I take it to refer to a social elite. The kind of people who can get into an exclusive club without waiting in line. Well, I am far from the world of celebrity, exclusive clubs and social elites. I am probably an "X-lister" if there is such a thing. I can look at the phenomenon with detachment but not dispassion - rather disgust.

Now I'm going to speak about a paradox of the Internet.
It is true in a sense that on the Internet anybody can be famous. Democratization of content production and blah-blah-blah. But it is paradoxicaly also true that if everyone is famous, no one is famous. This has been called the "needle in a needlestack" problem which is a transform of the "drinking from a firehose" problem. I like to call it the "human bandwidth" problem.

Nobody can pay attention to everything. Most of us in fact, can pay attention to only a miniscule fraction of what is out there. So, we make choices. And without a "centering principle" to guide those choices, most of us choose our attention focus almost at random. So it's hard to be famous among more than a handful.

(I grew up in the era of the three TV networks and two major wire services. The "center" was undemocratic, tightly controlled, and all but inaccessible to the unconnnected. But you by God knew it was the center!)

But the human desire for recognition is strong. One of my teenage friends put a telling comment in her (handwritten) journal "I don't want to be invisible". Nor do the rest of us. So we seek ways to stand out. Some are successful - perhaps due to actual merit - perhaps due to being creepier than the next guy. I have no way to know. So the "A-List" is born.

But why use that particular term as a metaphor for merit, respect and high status? My criticism of the term and the attitude I infer from it is that it bespeaks an unhealthy concern with issues of status and fame. That it suggests that an "A-lister" is somehow of more value personally or intellectually than the guy or gal down the hall, down the street, or over in the next cubicle. Obviously, I think this attitude is demeaning toward the non A-listers in the audience.

It really is kind of Junior High. Don't you think? Clique, clique. Who's in the top clique? Who's invited to the elite parties. Blah Blah Blah.

And it turns out to be the case that the most bitterly persecuted social outcasts turn into the most raving/raging cliquers when they arrive in a social environment that allows them to be top dog. Think SCA, or SF fandom - or Paganism - or other geek-culture of your choice).

And why then should it be a surprise that the pimply faced kid who always hated the cheerleader that wouldn't go out with him can now get his revenge. The Internet provides one big dark alley. And those who suffered at the hands of the "mean girls" are out there waiting to get back.

And what does it say about a "culture" and a "community" that prides itself on being a leading force in shaping the new century and can't even provide the depth of humanity to help their own members grow up and be healed.

(3) Class issues

The underclass has always had problems analogous to this - but more severe. Deeds - not just words. Casual brutality has been all too common among the poor. But the priveleged have imagined that they were better than all that. That things like that happened among "those people". Surprise! Suburbia has just as many slimy things when you turn over the rocks as the inner city. But what was hidden from view in your gated communities now comes to light in the pitiless exposure of the universal medium.

(4) Final comments.

Can we as people find values that tell us personally and socially to respect and care for other people? In America the notion of a core set of values common to decent people began to fall into disfavor during the sixties. This has continued apace. Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. I would suggest that humanity badly needs to remember what it is that makes people justifiably precious in one anothers sight. And those who know, try to teach those who need to know. Individually - we all need to try harder to remember the humanity within ourselves. Socially, we need to create the shared and promolgated understanding that this is what is expected of a decent person.

Hope this helps,

Posted by: Steve | Mar 27, 2007 6:00:52 PM

"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, Or close the wall up with our English dead!"

So you're not english, but the sentiment is the same. Please! DO NOT let these vile idiots chase you from the so-called 'blogosphere'. If you capitulate to this kind of emotional blackmail, it will have a 'chilling effect' on the rest of us. And those *expletive* people out there will learn that you can silence a sooth-sayer with naught but an empty, childish threat.

Fight back! Return to the limelight! "What doesn't kill me, only makes me stronger."

Posted by: Tobias | Mar 27, 2007 6:01:10 PM

much ado about nothing.... but almost no one will agree, so share your agitations, it wont help as much as smiling indifference, or understanding what is virtual and what is real.... that would take a larger sense of self...

Posted by: ana ma roopa | Mar 27, 2007 6:02:09 PM

TO: G__
RE: I'm Not Feeding Him

"Stop feeding the trolls." - G__

I'm playing Whack-a-Troll with him.

And I'm beating the odds, as well as him.


P.S. Maybe he'll learn something from it. But I doubt it. Rather, I'm more certain that others here will learn to recognize the MO of a sociopath and be better prepared to deal with such when the encounter them in the future.

[The sociopaths are always with you.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto | Mar 27, 2007 6:02:36 PM

Joey's noose comment, which sounds a bit extreme, when taken in context of the rest of his comment sounds like the same stupid kind of jokes a certain breed of high school nerds used to make about dead babies, AIDS etc; a kind of anti-PC bravado for shock value, not meant seriously. I'd lay off Joey--there's a bigger issue here:

The RevED comments, and the siftee comments, and the weird gagged photo are OUTRAGEOUSLY over the top. What kind of criticism is that supposed to be? (Seriously, you "we were just criticising her books" people?) We're talking about opinions on SOFTWARE here, right? Nothing that delicate? What kind of psycho gets themselves that whipped up and viciously, violently personal in detail, just because of a different view of user interface design?!? THAT's what freaks me out.

Posted by: Spongefile | Mar 27, 2007 6:03:25 PM

I think people need to be equally clear that threats and attacks against "Joey" are just a reprehensible and worthy of denouncing.

I don't find his parsing of the incident compelling, but I do think we need to be wary of lynch mob behaviors.

Despite his seeming tone deafness and defensiveness, at least this "Joey" is responding to the situation instead of hiding from it, as the writers of even more egregious attack/fantasies about Kathy Sierra appear to be doing.

Posted by: xian | Mar 27, 2007 6:06:44 PM

much ado about nothing.... but almost no one will agree, so share your agitations, it wont help as much as smiling indifference, or understanding what is virtual and what is real.... that would take a larger sense of self...

Posted by: ana ma roopa | Mar 27, 2007 6:11:12 PM

Having been a victim of this myself, though not to the degree that you have, I completely understand how you feel. It's shit like this happening that keeps me blogging anonymously.

I hope the catch the perps and that you can recover from this as quickly as possible.

Posted by: EFL Geek | Mar 27, 2007 6:17:08 PM

TO: ana ma roopa
RE: Are You...

"much ado..." -- ana ma roopa

...spamming, here?

TO: All
RE: Enough...

....of this falderal, for the time being. I've business to attend to.

It's been interesting. Especially the discovery of that web-site with the list of indicators of a sociopath. Even more interesting seeing someone actually playing them out in virtual 'realtime'. It was a particularly intriguing to see the call for lawyers trotted out, just as predicted.

More tomorrow, if this thread survives the night.


[Psychopaths are untreatable in psychotherapy precisely because having a conscience is a prerequisite for being able to use psychotherapy, and psychopaths have no conscience in the first place. -- Sigmund Freud]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto | Mar 27, 2007 6:20:08 PM

The fact that anyone can say this kind of threatening is okay and you should just suck it up is proof that the patriarchy's alive and well. Even perfectly 'nice' men stand to gain when women live in fear, because we're more likely to go looking for protectors - and willing to let those protectors control us.

They get to have perfectly clean consciences while we get the message reinforced (we being 'women' that if we step out of line, if we speak up, if we make ourselves 'targets' we will be threatened - or harmed - too.)

There's a strong correlation between the apparent gender of posters (guessing by name) and the way they express support. (Of course, almost everyone telling you to suck it up is apparently male, or impossible to determine.) Women are far, far more likely to use words with 'horror' or 'disgust' or 'terror' as roots. (Where as men speak in vague terms of 'support' - valid, since they don't know what it's like, or /anger/ - a luxury of the powerful.) We know deep down in our guts the fear of the violence men have always held over women. We sympathize. As you are threatened, so too are we - the threat of the threat, the reminder of the patriarchy's grip on us. Many of us have personal experience with violence or threats of it - this, too, the personal experience and the personal /understanding/, is strongly correlated with women.

And then, of course, there are the accusations of doing this /for attention/. Of course; as we all know, women who attract male attention MUST be going out of their way to get it (and thus deserve whatever happens to them.) (Please note the preceding sentence should be read with the utmost sarcasm and snark.) No, indeed. Kathy is accused of this because she's not being a compliant woman and giving in to threats of male violence like a woman 'should'. She's standing up and saying something at the risk of making herself more of a target - and you complaining about it? These men are obliging. Kathy, I salute your bravery.

No, men. She's not overreacting. You, there? You are justifying this. Don't claim innocence. The terror of women helps you maintain your privilege and control. This should not be considered even vaguely acceptable. No "Boys will be boys."

To do so makes you complicit.

Posted by: Leti | Mar 27, 2007 6:23:27 PM

Keep your head up against evil and, simultaneously, watch your back. The blogosphere, sadly, is not always literate, gentle nor nice.

There is evil in the world and it has learned to use a keyboard. The problem of violence and/or threats is global and exists on and off the 'Net.

Visit an article I wrote on "Femicide: A Growing Stain On The World's Concience" at http://blogcritics.org/archives/2007/03/21/213751.php
along with my last comment there on my wife's death as the result of injuries received in an anti-American murder attempt.

Posted by: Howard Dratch | Mar 27, 2007 6:23:48 PM

OK, sorry, I'm back. I saw a good question. Thank you, "To Joey".

I don't have a yes or no answer. It is more complicated than that. Yes, we got carried away at meankids and parts of it was fun. Parts of it actual satire. Parts of it was mean.

To the extent that *anyone* seriously said or implied the direct harm of anyone: I myself would had yelled and screamed at them. It is wrong and I don't support it.

I'll be honest, I recall the "noose" as a seperate icon next to another image. But I'm reading out on the net now that it was a combined photo!? I'm confused but can only go with what I recall and I didn't see any harm, whatsoever, in an icon next to an image. To me, the combination said "the books have bad ideas", not "harm this person". *MY* mind doesn't work in killer mode. Note that I wrote (mentally said) "person" there too. My mind *doesn't* care what gender someone is.

Now if it was a real picture of a real execution by hanging, I'd had found that very distasteful. If it was an edit of someone people know with a rope around their next: it depends on the level of detail and graphics and especially the context. That's not the answer you wanted to hear, I'm sure. But if it pushed some line, especially a real legal line, you can bet your html I'd had objected, and I think others would had too.

I've tried not to speak directly for anyone else at the 2 sites. But obviously they had limits. Just not exactly the limits you demand because you've been told to interpret all of this as an attack against women.

Even Rev Ed's graphic's screenshot Kathy was so kind to inflame you with was directed at a FICTIONAL CHARACTER WHO DIDN'T EXIST. You may not like the words, but who exactly is he insulting? Aren't there more important assaults to protect against?

Here are some reasons I think people are upset 1) Kathy is their goddess and they have some 'need' to keep her a goddess, 2) Kathy framed this as a sort of hate/gender crime, 3) People respond to hate/gender crimes, 4) they missed her at her conference, and other reasons.

I have come to strongly feel this entire thing is a put on to attack Chris Locke.

In some ways, my wife and I are both laughing at all of this. Not to be funny or insulting, but because of the extreme reaction to 1 small icon, 1 picture, and a statement I shouldn't had said, but I stand behind my intentions -- they were not a threat to Kathy and do not comprehend how they honestly could be considered one.

As a matter of fact, my posting was weeks before she says she "blew up". Yet she names my name many times and ties me into all things evil.

There's a war going on in Iraq. There are real women being harmed all over the world; not just on the Internet. Awareness is great, I SUPPORT THAT. But not at the expense of other people, GOOD OR BAD.

I really appreciate your good question. I hope my answer is understandable. I am rambling because I need sleep badly.

But you folks want a good world. And this is what you've also helped produce. Someone is twisting reality around and pointing fingers in manipulative ways.

You don't know a thing about me nor all of the people I've helped in life. I'm *this* close to saying "SCREW HUMANITY 100%". Fine, I'm sure that'll make some people happy.

Yes, I appreciate the irony. But I'm not a public figure who's used to this. Kathy should be, by now.


(I *was* going to clean this up before posting, I just can't. I'm out of it without sleep. Enjoy my messy post once again. Sorry that I'm not a good and clear writer).

Posted by: Joey | Mar 27, 2007 6:24:01 PM

I'd just like to say that burying yourself is what bullies like. Stand up, go to events fight back and know that many stand behind you and are also sick of this.

Posted by: colm | Mar 27, 2007 6:25:06 PM

Kathy, this is an outrage. You rightly should not tolerate this behavior from others. I am glad you have the police involved. I hope they track down the anonymous sicko who posted that crap. I am grieved to think this could be your last post. Just know that there are many many more people who support what you are doing rather than trying to destroy anything good.

Posted by: Lance Fisher | Mar 27, 2007 6:29:00 PM

Kathy, I am appalled. I don’t know what else to say, as words seem to be part of the problem, at this point.

For my part, I’ve used it as a springboard to do a little consciousness raising with male colleagues, some of whom don’t seem to think this issue exists, or matters.


Posted by: Deborah Hartmann | Mar 27, 2007 6:31:23 PM

To those who claim there were no death threats: You're already disgracing yourselves by defending these outrages. Do you really need to compound your embarrassment by also being so wrong?

For the record, where death threats are crimes or torts, the threat doesn't have to be explicit. It can be implied. The question would be whether a reasonable person would consider him/herself threatened, and whether the source knew of should have known it would have that effect.

Ask yourself this: If you ran over your neighbor, Tony Soprano's, cat, and the next day there was a noose in your mailbox, is that a threat? A picture of a noose? An e-mailed picture? Sent anonymously? These are questions that would typically be decided by a jury. If your misanthropy is so out of control that a jury is deciding whether you've threatened someone's life, are you in enough trouble yet to start thinking about the consequences, if not the morality of your behavior?

Posted by: Leo | Mar 27, 2007 6:34:34 PM

I am so, so sorry that you have been treated this way. Your blog is a bright light amid the murk of the blogosphere. Not even being in your area of expertise, I have been able to apply your posts to my work. Thank you for sharing with us, and refusing to be destroyed by these horrible actions.

Your fan base will be here waiting. Be safe and strong.

Posted by: Katie | Mar 27, 2007 6:36:42 PM

Kathy, as a devoted fan who appreciates very much your unique approach and valuable ideas, I hope, hope HOPE that the losers that perpetrated this are caught and punished AND that you can put it behind you.

Posted by: Lorin Rivers | Mar 27, 2007 6:43:38 PM

I just read about this on Slashdot.

All I can say is, get over yourself. As a seasoned blogger you should know fine well that these 'threats' aren't serious. I see worse on popular web forums every day.

Don't make a mountain out of a molehill.

Posted by: What | Mar 27, 2007 6:48:58 PM


I learned much from your writings and I really wouldn't like to not be able to learn more. Your blog inspired me to start blogging (but I don't write well) and your posts made me think about how important user experience is. Thank you for all you taught me and I hope you'll come back to blog and teach more.

Don't let the bullies win.

P.S.: I apologize for my bad english.

Posted by: Wilerson | Mar 27, 2007 6:55:37 PM

Kathy, your blog is one of my favorites, and I have learned a lot from it. I hope the small-minded people behind these attacks learn the errors of their ways, and that you are able to return to what you do best.

Posted by: Andrew R. Freed | Mar 27, 2007 6:56:33 PM

I am very disturbed by this story. No one should be put through what you went through. That said, we know that the world is full of scared, insecure little men who channel their self-loathing into hatred of others, particularly women. These men and boys are cowards, but even cowards can be dangerous.

I hope the police catch these creeps. In the meantime, turn this terrible experience into a constructive lesson, i.e., sadly, it is a dangerous world. You might want to do what my wife and I do, which is carry pepper spray. Fox brand is the strongest on the market. Consider taking a woman's self-defense course. It will help increase your sense of self-confidence; there are simple things you can learn, starting with enviromental awareness and moving to things like gouging someone's eyes or kicking their knees, which could save your life. I strongly advocate such courses.

Good luck. Know that you are not alone, that most people are decent, even those who might disagree with you politically. It is unfortunate that the cowardly creeps exist, but being cowards, they can be dealt with if you know a little self-defense and have the right mindset.


Posted by: DurianJoe | Mar 27, 2007 6:58:00 PM


Just another voice saying "Don't let the terrorists win."

You've taught me all I know about marketing, and a big share of what I know about presentation.

Take a break, take a breath, help them catch this creep, and make it show up on Page 1 of newspapers across the country. But come back and share your wisdom, because you increase the REAL world's value every time you write.

Posted by: joelfinkle | Mar 27, 2007 6:59:05 PM


In case you missed my comment, I'll post it again.

You appear to be insensitive to the idea that even a misinterpretation can result in legitimate harm. I believe Kathy Sierra was genuinely hurt by her perception of the allegedly abusive comments and their context to the extent that she cancelled her speaking engagements as well as other public appearances. The tutorial pass for the ETech Conference 2007 costs an estimated US$500. With probably more than 500 registrants who were rescheduling their busy lives to attend Kathy's workshop on a Monday morning, I seriously doubt, Joey, that she would risk destroying her career and reputation over an alleged vendetta with people whose value to society is yet to be determined.

That said, I don't believe anyone without complete access to the evidence should judge the character of any participants in this conflict. The websites were removed from public viewing, the cached versions are difficult to follow, and all we have is the word of a widely respected author against the word of a retiree who spends what should be his vacation opining through useless, meaningless discussion channels. For some people, word might be enough for a conviction and an execution, but for me, word alone is insufficient evidence.

Unfortunately, the best you can possibly do, Joey, is exhibit compassion. Were you a public figure, how would you react to a, real or imagined, threat against your life? Your family? Instead of proclaiming that Kathy Sierra is somehow engaging in a conspiracy to defraud her clearly large and loyal community for mere attention, perhaps you should be issuing a sincere and profound apology through the proper channels—regardless of who's right or wrong about this or that.

Posted by: Morgan Ramsay | Mar 27, 2007 7:04:36 PM

Do whatever you need to do to feel safe. I hope someone turns these vermin in to the police, and soon.

Posted by: Emily | Mar 27, 2007 7:06:32 PM

People who do not understand what Kathy is going through have probably never been threatened. I have been stalked (in college) and when such things happen, it changes you. To live in the land of the free and yet feel imprisoned is a terrible feeling beyond comprehension. To tell Kathy to "get over herself" is reprehensible.

Kathy's behavior is not the problem, the people who have stepped over the line is the problem. If someone called her and wrote her letters, I believe it would be considered seriously. Somehow electronic communications have yet to follow up.

Kathy -- I am a teacher and I am serious about teaching students and blogging about online safety and ethics. We have spent far too long letting people "teach themself" how to use these electronic tools.

Just because we CAN do something doesn't me we should!

Kathy, I am so sorry and my prayers are with you! Keep blogging and do what is right!

Posted by: Vicki Davis | Mar 27, 2007 7:09:56 PM

Hi Kathy,

I am an avid fan of the Design Patterns book.... I have never been here but got an RSS from 37Signals and I am very disappointed and mortified with the whole situation.... I am sure that the creeps will pay their dues in some way! Good luck to you and remember that we are all with you... if you need protection, just send a shoutout to the community here :-).

Posted by: The Outlander | Mar 27, 2007 7:11:38 PM


you're probably not still reading comments at this point, but I thought it was important to echo what a lot of other female bloggers have said.

I too have had many nasty attacks (though no death threats) because of what I write on my blog - which is mind blowing, because, like you - I just write about marketing - not religion - not politics.

I think you are right to take some time right now and step away. Prosecute to the full extent of the law. But I do hope you'll consider coming back.

If the comments are any indication, for every 1 jerk you seemed to have touched about 100 people in a positive manner.

Just keep that in mind.

Posted by: Holly | Mar 27, 2007 7:21:51 PM

I can't believe this stuff surprises anybody at all. This IS the internet, people. Grow some thicker skin.

Posted by: what | Mar 27, 2007 7:26:23 PM

I can't believe this stuff surprises anybody at all. This IS the internet, people. Grow some thicker skin.

Posted by: what | Mar 27, 2007 7:26:23 PM

I think this crosses the line of "thicker skin" a while ago.

Posted by: ranee | Mar 27, 2007 7:35:59 PM


This makes me so sad that I feel sick. I've found your posts very insightful, and I hope to read more from you in the future.


Posted by: Sean | Mar 27, 2007 7:36:34 PM

Dear Kathy:

I actually have never read any of blog post...So sadly, this is the first one...You got all my support and any help I could possibly give you...

The dark side of the Internet is that jealous and stupid people can mess up with descent people...

I'm glad to see that a lot of bloggers are giving you the support you need to get trough this bad time...

A big hug from Lima, Perú -:)


Alvaro Tejada Galindo
Senior ABAP Consultant.

Posted by: Blag | Mar 27, 2007 7:52:58 PM

I wish I could say I was surprised, shocked, etc. But I'm not. I got my share back when it was just usenet and the web was a barely noticed new program called Mosaic. I got a number of men going after me, with several publishing my purported address and encouraging anyone in the area to "go shut me up once and for all." (It wasn't even the right address; I wound up contacting the police in her city hoping that nothing would happen to this other woman.)

Doesn't make it right at all. Perhaps with increased notice with a prominent woman being so victimized and not taking it silently, a greater awareness of this -- and it's unacceptability -- will develop. The Gift of Fear has already been mentioned, I'd also like to mention The Tipping Point.

In any case, stay strong, hang in there, and please do return when you choose to do so. In the end I stayed on, but thoroughly anonymized myself. Many of us have responded in different ways to this extreme, irrational, frightening, and thoroughly despicable behavior. In the end, these men are all hollow.

Posted by: Just Another Girl | Mar 27, 2007 7:59:24 PM

Is it possible to have positive spambot comments? Could there be nice spambots who flock to support, comfort, and praise a martyred blogger or even a genuine victim of online bullying?

Is it correct to imagine this, or something of this order?

Tinbasher, who pointed this fiasco out to me, got flamed by me on my blog, and now we are all fighting each other indiscriminately, which is good.

Am starting to doubt all the knee jerk supporters, but maybe I'm just getting gravied.

Where is a grain of salt when you really need it for a wound? (real or imagined)

Posted by: vaspers the grate | Mar 27, 2007 8:05:22 PM

Kathy, hope you will be fine soon. Stay strong! Just want to let you know that many people are supporting you.

Posted by: Uta | Mar 27, 2007 8:08:30 PM

Like the others, sorry to see this happen to you. As I read your post it reminded me of an incident that happened with Mary Jo Foley. I'm sure you're familiar with her. It wasn't as severe (at least I didn't think so), but it was inappropriate nevertheless. She had written a blog post that portrayed some facts incorrectly. I was among those who thought it was bad journalism on her part. She brought up the fact though that a commenter on a popular blog, talking about her article said, "I think she needs to be spanked." She was a mature woman and stood up to it, not letting it pass without comment. While I and others were critical of her analysis in the original post, I thought this kind of comment was inappropriate, and said so.

One way to stand up to these people is to do what you are doing: exposing the wrong-doing and who's doing it (as much as you can). The light can cause the "rats" to scurry away.

As I've run my own blogs (more than just the one I reference in my header), I've seen a few disturbed folks. I checked up on a fellow blogger last year who had posted some comments on mine, and he openly admitted he was bi-polar, my guess is untreated. Fortunately he didn't say anything personal to me, but he did say some vile stuff.

I heard a journalist say recently "there are some mentally disturbed/unstable people" out in the blogosphere. Indeed. There are dark corners of the internet. All you have to do is watch MSNBC to hear about child predators luring children through chat rooms. It makes my skin crawl.

I think there's a need for anonymity on the internet, but I think there needs to be a point where the veil is removed as well. You're right. Threats are not protected speech.

On the other hand you are in a sense a public figure. I'm sure it's tough. The cold truth is people have a right to discuss you amongst themselves, even if it involves sick fantasies, so long as they don't act on them. That's something every public figure probably has to endure. The point where it crossed the line is they addressed those sick fantasies to you.

I think blogging is a wonderful outlet for expression. I get to air my views and share knowledge, and not keep it bottled up in myself where no one will hear it. I have learned a lot through it. I hope you will find the courage to continue writing if you see this medium as a blessing to you.

Posted by: Mark Miller | Mar 27, 2007 8:18:07 PM

Stay strong Kathy. We are behind you. Reacting in fear to these death and sex threats will only embolden these bastards who have issued you the threats.

Posted by: Mick | Mar 27, 2007 8:18:41 PM

Dear Kathy you are one of my favorite authors, I read your blog regularly and also own some of your books, you have made IT literature fun to read. Don't let those losers get you down. I look forward to reading more of your writings soon.

Posted by: Devender | Mar 27, 2007 8:28:31 PM

I'm all for human rights and freedom, but with responsibility should be required to exercise those rights. Freedom of speech means being allowed to say what you want when you want. However, that freedom should only be granted when that person is responsible enough not to abuse it which is what has clearly happened here. Laws are required that enable the location of each internet user when required so that that person can be made to take responsibility for their words and actions no matter who or where they are (of course precautions would also be needed to prevent abuse of such a system).

Kathy, I know it's hard but try to ignore the idiots and continue with your normal life. I can guarantee you that for every moron out there, there are hundreds of good-hearted and good-minded people that will assist you and help you whenever and wherevever. Take heart because you are not alone.

Posted by: Adam | Mar 27, 2007 8:37:45 PM

This is why always walk out of the house ready to defend myself. In my country, journalists are murdered all the time. Bloggers are the next logical targets.

Posted by: Mike Abundo | Mar 27, 2007 8:39:10 PM

The filth and vulgarity shows just how low society has sunk since I was a kid back in the 5o's and 60's.

I shall pray for you and don't let the dregs of humanity (and I use the word "humanity" lightly in their case) get you down. Stay safe and God bless

Posted by: Very Rev. Fr. Gregori | Mar 27, 2007 8:41:29 PM

Kathy, be strong. A few days ago, you wrote this:

"Reduce my fear or guilt, and I'll be grateful. Help me do something that really IS scary, and I'll be grateful and exhilarated."

Carrying on posting in the face of this evil has to be scary, right? I hope all the support you've received from the blogging community can help you do that scary something. Please don't let the bullies win!

Posted by: Bluefluff | Mar 27, 2007 8:43:11 PM

Another first time commenter, chirping in to express my support and sympathy for you and your family Kathy.

I also want to thank you for adressing what has happened frankly, honestly and courageously. I'd like to think it's a step towards change.

Wishing you the best. :)

Posted by: Rachael | Mar 27, 2007 8:44:00 PM

This brings back horrible memories. When MsGeek.Org was an attempt to do a woman-friendly geek news site, we ran afoul of a bunch of preteen pimply faced crapflooders who thought it was very amusing to post gay porn photos on the PHPNuke-based board. I was able to track down one of them and I had his RoadRunner account pulled. The defecation then hit the rotary oscillator, and full-fledged war on the site was declared. After someone defaced the site and left an IRC daemon running on my shared server space for future deviltry my host told me I'd better shut the site down.

I moved MsGeek.Org to Blogspot and basically left it as my personal blog. It is no longer what it was intended to be. However, I'm still on the net and the bastards didn't shut me down. I hope these bastards don't shut you down. That will give them the victory.

Posted by: Ms. Geek | Mar 27, 2007 8:44:24 PM

Definitely crossing the line. I'm so sorry you are going through this and so glad to see so many people coming together in support. I hope we can help.

Posted by: Candace | Mar 27, 2007 8:54:49 PM

I'll say up-front that I have compassion for those who have been seriously threated, harmed, and scared by individuals through the net. But I have some things to say:

You sound like a modern day witch hunt. Every behavior I would expect from a sane human being (denying something they didn't do, being angry for being falsely accused, and consulting legal experts after the threat of legal action), you seem to twist perversely into sociopathic tendencies. Obviously, you are approaching this from a predetermination of guilt, and so your bias clearly shows. I'm not expressing support for Joey, but as you are not a judge or jury, I also refuse to approach it from your already prejudiced point of view. Have read most of the posts around the net on this, it seems clear that there is cause to question all around, so those who choose to ignore every other point of view for this one single point of view have already decided a guilty verdict. Luckily, our real justice system doesn't function like a band of internet vigilantes.

To Morgan Ramsey:
I disagree with your ascertation that Joey MUST show compassion in this instance. I don't have the information to decide one way or the other in the matter, but if Joey truly believes he is innocent of all charges levied at him, and better still, if he truly IS innocent of them and this is hyperdramatic fluff, then he has not reason to feel compassion for those who falsely accuse him. IN our society, as many of these postings prove, the reputation and well-being of one individual can be horribly perverted by a false accusation, since often the identity becomes public long before guilt or innocence is established legally. The accused remains suspect even after cleared by the law, as though the "got away with" something, and only those individuals with cases that are CLEARLY and COMPLETELY proved false even have a hope of coming through relatively unscathed, and those are so rare as to be unmentionable. Placed in the same apparent situation, as someone innocent of doing harm but disproportionately accused, I would feel little compassion for the person "victimizing" me with their charges.

And finally, in some ways it appears to me that others are no better than those they point fingers at. Many of these posts contain thinly veiled threats against the people they believe to be responsible. They will talk of hoping to meet one of them in a back alley with a 20gauge shotgun, and in another breath, point a finger and say that Joey is a guilty party. If he chose to overreact, he could see those as equally threatening. How is your threat against the 'perpetrators' any less vile than those against Kathy, especially when you can't actually prove that the 'crime' was committed in the first place.

I feel sorry for Kathy, that she felt threatened by an internet posting. I understand that fear can be a very real thing. But I also understand that being respected and well-liked doesn't prevent you from pulling the wool over peoples eyes. History is strewn with the memoirs of the beloved who, despite talent and drive, felt the need to engage in trickery to further themselves. I feel compassion for all parties involved, because in the end, it seems unlikely that the truth of it will ever be fully revealed on either side, and possibly both sides share equal parts villain and victim.

Posted by: AvanteGuarded | Mar 27, 2007 9:01:13 PM

Hello :-)

I'm sorry to hear that you have experienced such treatments from this person[s], I as well as everyone elses posting share the same feeling that this to be totally unacceptable, I believe they should be brought to justice for the damage they have caused.

I have to admit this is the first time I've visited your site, but from reading one or two of your blog enters, it strikes me that it would be a shame to stop blogging as your subject matter and interests are diverse and very articulately conveyed.

I would suggest that you don't let these people intimate you and stop you from doing what you love, but your it's totally understandable in the circumstances that you would wish to reduce your connection to the internet and the blogosphere, I just hope that you bounce back soon and it can be put firmly in the past!

Don't let them get you down, and please accept my kindest regards

Posted by: stefan burt | Mar 27, 2007 9:03:23 PM

Did anyone else see the half-assed apology from siftee in the comments?

Keep at 'em Kathy. Novolite te bastardes carborundum.

Posted by: Nine | Mar 27, 2007 9:04:35 PM

Kathy, I will pray for you that this turns out in your best interests. 'Nuff said.

Posted by: Kevin Hillstrom | Mar 27, 2007 9:13:24 PM

Dear Kathy,

I am very sad with this horrible incident. I hope nothing happens but, just in case, be careful. I really do not know what kind of sick people can make that things.


Posted by: Max de Mendizábal | Mar 27, 2007 9:18:43 PM


I hope the days ahead are filled with happier times. Nobody should have to be put through what these monsters put you through. I wish there was something I could do to lift your spirits, so please let me know if I can help.


Posted by: Eric Frenchman | Mar 27, 2007 9:21:36 PM

Ditto all the "you rock"ism. The behavior is criminal, no question about it. I've never read any of your stuff - zefrank posted a link on his site...

If this "sicko" is not found and arrested for this, then the perp is likely an info war (psypops) operative trying to scare you into silence for some untoward purpose. Spanish IP or not, contact the US attorney's office in your district directly to ensure the prosecution of this crime. Here in our district there is a cybercrime dept. E-mail me if you want help locating the right person in your district.

If you feel like taking the law into your own hands, get an attorney and file a civil suit against the "John Doe" perp and subpoena any recalcitrant known parties to bring the records to court or to a deposition depending on the law in your jurisdiction.

Don't let this intimidation tactic silence you. Hang in there. And no thank you, TimeWarner/Comcast etc., we don't need more internet regulation and censorship to protect us from a$$holes like this, we have guns!
Go Kat Go!

Posted by: lance | Mar 27, 2007 9:26:14 PM

I'm with Justanothergirl and Ms.Geek; you run a great blog, try not to let this get you down too far. Not minimising either what was said/posted, or its obvious (and understandable) impact on you by saying, there are legions of assholes in the world, and lots more who can become total wackos behind the anonymity of a keyboard (or even a phone). Alot of them are guys, who just don't like women. Try not to let them get the better of you,

Posted by: christine mcglade | Mar 27, 2007 9:27:46 PM

Kathy, I just want to thank you for all the laughter, inspiration, and courage you've shared with me and many others in this place, and to give you my very best wishes for a speedy and just resolution to this terrible set of events.

Posted by: Gardner | Mar 27, 2007 9:29:27 PM

Hello Kathy,

I just read your post about your online harassment. I completely know what it is like. I used to do a podcast and I have to admit, I really couldn't hack it. The amount of sexually harassing and threatening communications you get as a woman - it was very overwhelming and disturbing. I have to admit the first time I was called a cunt and a whore and other such things, I freaked out. After awhile, I realized that it was par for the course for a woman doing a podcast. Of course, if I were to speak out about it, I was just seen as being hysterical or overreacting. As far as the photoshopped sexual imagery goes, I really think these guys spend so much time online watching porno (and worse) and systematically desensitizing themselves they just don't have a clue anymore. When I think of the things that were posted in my forum - bestiality and death videos and all sorts - I really just had to get the hell offline. As a matter of fact, I don't know what I'm doing writing a comment on a blog and not living like a hermit in some cabin off in the woods somewhere. What I'm trying to say is I understand your reaction. I hope you are able to find some resolution to your fears and are able to continue your blog as your heart dictates. If it is any consolation (which I know it is not), I think any woman who achieves even the smallest sort of visibility on the web is in for this sort of thing. I was. I suppose the actual danger is very small - it is just some pathetic, ignorant misogynist trying to flex some muscle the only way he knows how.

Posted by: Erica | Mar 27, 2007 9:30:21 PM

What an awful thing for someone to do. I really hope you come through this OK, and whoever is responsible gets named, shamed and prosecuted.

Posted by: Phil White | Mar 27, 2007 9:34:11 PM

Kathy -

I'm also speechless and so sorry you're going through this. Your work in the community has made a significant impact on my life and while I, like many others, will miss your voice - I think a timeout with family and friends to support you through this is what's needed.

Law enforcement is the best immediate defense, to be sure. (I also have a really big dog you're welcome to borrow.)

For those of us online friends and supporters that are standing helplessly by, I've noticed many offers and even some concrete ideas for how we can help. I'd like to suggest a forum for this, a googlegroups forum - Bloggers Against Violence. Maybe we can come up with something that makes an impact online, gets the average user's attention, or makes this a primetime story.

Our thoughts are with you.

Vani Raja

Posted by: Vani Raja | Mar 27, 2007 9:38:08 PM

Kathy, so sorry that the scum of the earth has invaded your life. I hope that when things have settled down, you can sue these criminals into a richly deserved max. security federal prison. Hang in there!

Posted by: faux facsimile | Mar 27, 2007 9:51:21 PM

This has been a terrible turn of events for you kathy, but good on you for standing up and speaking out.

Keep brave.

Posted by: shayne | Mar 27, 2007 9:51:24 PM

Dear Kathy,

Found your blog by way of Sandra H. (http://internalmonoblog.typepad.com/internalmonoblog_the_webl/).

I'm the latest in a very long list of well-wishers so I feel as if I'm late for the party.

I've been a blogger for three years now, but never have I seen such outrageous and horrific things said about a blgoger. I can't even begin to imagine the fear that must be going through your head for you and your family.

I wanted to offer some support, because nobody should have to go through something like this without feeling like they're doing the right thing. I hope it helps a little and I sure hope that the cowardly reject who said and made those things gets what's coming to him (e.g., a prison cell, etc.).

Not to sure how well you are on your constitutional law, but in 1919 in the case of Abrams vs. United States, Surpreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes coined the phrase and created the concept of the "marketplace of ideas." Basically the premise was that bad ideas will fail, good ideas will succeed.

Ideas do not die. Nobody, no matter how badly they want, can kill your ideas. You have created something immortal, timeless and precious, and the courage you show by speaking still speaking further edifies what you have made. You are worthy of the utmost admiration, and you have definitely earned mine.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. You are in my thoughts.

Posted by: Dariush | Mar 27, 2007 9:51:49 PM


I think you're missing the point here, too. Not everything revolves around the posting of your comment and the noose picture. There is also the issue of the 'unclebobism' photo and the very disturbing anonymous e-mail from "siftee" that quite clearly threatens violence.

I don't have any bias for Kathy, I'd never heard of her before this. Like some others, I actually have a bias *for* Locke (from Cluetrain). I still find the whole affair reprehensible.

Here's the thing: you've done nothing to condem these other disturbing facts: the uncle bob photo and the e-mail. All you've done is defend your noose comment, conveniently ignoring the rest... all while hiding behind anonymity. For all we know, *you* are "siftee". For all we know, *you* are the one threatening and harassing Kathy. Maybe you aren't. But you keep focusing on the noose comment (maybe rightly so, since it was yours) when it's not the worst--and you have been ignoring the other threats, trying to make it sound like Kathy is taking things out of order and over-reacting. Sorry, I think an e-mail saying she should have her throat slit is a dangerous threat, regardless of the sequence of events. Get it?

Your "lawyer" threats don't add anything to your credibility. Although, I'll grant they make you seem more like a clueless crackpot than a sexist sociopath. Clearly you aren't Locke, because the Cluetrain left the station before you even got to the platform.

Either way, just keep digging your hole...

Posted by: Not Pal Joey | Mar 27, 2007 9:54:44 PM

What I read that Kathy labels as "threats" (and so many others commenting here also do) were actually vile thoughts of the writers, even expressions of hatred for her. However, none of them were statements of actions that the writers were planning/intending to actually perform. The worst were expressions of physical harm they would like to see happen to Kathy. But these are not actual threats, and just because there are some laws in some areas that classify them as such does not make them so. (This is tantamount to passing a law that Pi equals 3.) They are written statements of ugly wishful thoughts for whatever purposes those persons had in writing them. The posters of those messages did not actually say that they would find her and do any of those things to her, but rather just wished somehow that the harm would take place. Furthermore, these statements were all words (or images), not even verbally expressed in person, but rather typed (or images created) and sent via the Internet. To equate them with actual physical harm - cut throat, strangulation, rape, etc. - is to totally lose the difference between words/images and a physical action - ie. touching, hitting, beating, cutting, choking, raping, killing. That highly important distinction is what is being lost by Kathy and the majority of those commenting here.

Each person is responsible for his/her (hir) own emotions/feelings as can be reasoned by noting that the same words directed at different people (or the same person at different times or under different circumstances) will evoke different emotional responses. Different people being stabbed will all bleed and sustain (near) identical initial damage, given that the weapon was used in an identical manner - even here though everything is not completely identical because of individual body differences. For the relationship between emotions/feelings, physical reactions, behavior, thoughts and environment/situation, I recommend readings on cognitive therapy for Kathy and others who do not understand the concept that one's emotions are dependent on one's thoughts. I especially recommend this reading to a Chris who posted that he teaches children, "In school we teach them that words are more damaging than actions, as they stay with the person for much longer." This is a totally wrong idea to try to get children to accept as valid, valuing the harm from words as equal to or worse than that from knives, guns or bombs. A far better goal for Chris and concerned teachers and parents, would be to teach children critical thinking skills, which of course includes discerning between and understanding the interrelationships of thoughts, emotions and actions.

Now I will say that those who express their negative opinions of another's writings and or person and resort to statements of the type that were entered into Kathy's blog have little (?no) ability to reason logically and likely very poor self-esteem. If they had both of these, they would keep to the facts of the discussion and would not have such ugly types of thoughts about (wishing harm to) a person with whom they did not agree. I personally would have nothing to do with such people and would hope that others would not either - socially preference against this type of person, wherever s/he makes hir presence known, on the Internet or in person. The major characteristic that enables and emboldens posters to actually write such ugly things rather than merely think them is the anonymity that has become so favored by so many on the Internet - and using pseudonyms without any trace to one's actual identity is no different. Continuing to accept anonymity of posters by engaging in dialogue with them is what enables this type of activity to continue and even increase. I would suggest using software where the identity of the poster is verified by the blog or website owner first, via information provided when entering a comment. If a person does not want to reveal hir identity, then don't accept hir post - interact only with those who will stand behind their words with their personal reputations.

Internet anonymity is a hazard - as I wrote a couple of years ago: http://selfsip.org/focus/anonymity.html

**Kitty Antonik Wakfer

MoreLife for the rational - http://morelife.org
Reality based tools for more life in quantity and quality
Self-Sovereign Individual Project - http://selfsip.org
Rational freedom by self-sovereignty & social contracting

Posted by: Kitty Antonik Wakfer | Mar 27, 2007 10:01:06 PM

Christ, shut the fuck up you dumb slut. Nobody cares. Go whore for attention elsewhere.

As we all know, teh intarwebs = serios business.

Posted by: zomg | Mar 27, 2007 10:06:56 PM

Every day I take some time to read your blog because it is fantastic! It makes my starred label in google reader becomes so much more populated. Please, still writing.

Kind Regards,

Posted by: Marcos Silva Pereira | Mar 27, 2007 10:09:00 PM

Stay strong Kathy, you are an inspiration. I'm sorry you've had to deal with cowardly sickos.

Posted by: tomdog | Mar 27, 2007 10:21:24 PM

Cut the crap, Joey. Nobody here knows your email address or phone number. You are not being harrassed. Quit playing victim. And if you were really under attack, do you really think that asking for mercy here would help? My God, man, you still haven't had enough attention yet?

Posted by: Karma Stinks | Mar 27, 2007 10:35:14 PM

This blog is the reason i got into blogging, and reading blogs. found it accidentally. great work, no idea why people would be so violent. Cowards, all of them. 'Tough guys behind a monitor'

Hope things work out, will miss this blog if you decide to quit. :/

Posted by: shane | Mar 27, 2007 10:38:53 PM

I don't know you, but cipherpunk at LiveJournal mentioned this post. And I wanted to say that this is monstrous, that I hope the ones who made the threats get in trouble, and that you have my sympathy and support - for whatever those words from a stranger, may mean.

Posted by: Laura | Mar 27, 2007 10:49:17 PM


All I can say is "CONGRATULATIONS!!!". Only pure and unadulterated JEALOUSY can inspire those kinds of threats and insults from these "unimportant" few! The threats are empty and the insults simply cheap shots because that is the only defense against the "truth".

I suspect, like anyone you write to "inspire"...You did and I hope that you will continue to do so. Because I am willing to bet, "they" will continue to read whether they want to or not!


Posted by: submissiveshe4 | Mar 27, 2007 10:59:45 PM


Your anger and fear is palpable, and duly noted. You pay lip service to the others in this controversy, but above all your empathy for Joey is beyond question.

You seem to share Joey's penchant for ALL CAPS.

Who are you, really?

Posted by: Donald Smith | Mar 27, 2007 11:00:32 PM

NO to bullying!!!

Not at school not in the blogosphere not at home.
Keep up the good work. You are doing just fine.
Dont let a group of perverted peanutheads bully you.

Fight! and remember we are with you fighting too.
good you didnt hide and called the police.
good you have this blog and are writting about it.

thats the way to do it.
and keep your spirits up!

Posted by: goksu | Mar 27, 2007 11:01:49 PM

I disagree with your ascertation that Joey MUST show compassion in this instance. I don't have the information to decide one way or the other in the matter, but if Joey truly believes he is innocent of all charges levied at him, and better still, if he truly IS innocent of them and this is hyperdramatic fluff, then he has not reason to feel compassion for those who falsely accuse him.


The problem with bloggers, and this false notion of a secret society separate from the rest of the world called the blogosphere, is that there seems to be an inherent belief that proper interpersonal etiquette and standards of civility were extra baggage to be left offline. Reality check: the resolution of conflict necessitates compassionate, civil discourse wherein the participants offer concessions, not refutations, to move forward into tolerance or peace.

Arrogance compels both innocent and wrongdoer to avoid engagements that would progress their conflict to a state of resolution. The option they leave themselves with is self-destructive and damaging to all involved. The evasion of compassion is an irrational act that only the most socially inept, clumsy fools could embrace.

Put simply, compassion is not a matter of who's right or wrong or who's innocent or guilty. These are trivial issues that concern children. Compassion is a matter of grace, strength of character, integrity, and respect.

Posted by: Morgan Ramsay | Mar 27, 2007 11:03:01 PM

I'm not a blogger, but I am a human being. And absolutely nobody deserves the kind of treatment that you are enduring. All I can hope is that my insignificant little note here brightens your day, even the slightest bit.

Grab a pint - I'll let you decide whether it should be beer or Ben & Jerry's. I know it helps me.

Posted by: evan | Mar 27, 2007 11:09:14 PM

To "Not Pal Joey": The reason Joey does not need to defend or explain the other crap is because he didn't have anything to do with it.

Asking him to explain it is like asking someone to explain a burglary because they once picked up a coin in the house where the burglary occurred.

Additionally, if you read his first post you will find that he has acknowledged the other crap:

"I'm sorry if someone else was sending you nasty email -- truly, that is always horrible. No one at either site had anything to do with that. I do not know who would even consider or encourage that sort of behaviour. IT IS WRONG. But certainly you've been doing this a long time and have received one or two nasty emails by now."

Disclaimer: I do not know Joey. I feel sorry for Kathy (whose posts I admire so I also hope she comes back soon), but I also feel an injustice was committed against Joey when his winking emoticon ';)' was omitted from his comment in this blog, changing it from a tasteless in-joke (equivalent to 'I want to shoot Paris Hilton into the centre of the sun. lol') into an ugly threat.

As for the sexual interpretation of the chasm of pain, looking at it in context, it's actually a send-up of every overexcited, sex-obsessed, florid Freudian psychologist out there.

It's way too over the top to be in any way genuine, particularly when you note that Joey prefaces it with the comment "Taking up your deconstruction challenge..." and finishes it with ";)".

Kathy, I'm really sorry about the other utter crap that is scaring you terribly. I don't deny that there is lots of disgusting misogyny out there and that it's also disgusting that your high profile has made you a target for attack. I just really think you have nothing to fear from Joey.

Posted by: wendy | Mar 27, 2007 11:12:23 PM

Kathy, I've always found your writing funny and insightful. What's happened here is completely distasteful and wrong.

I hope you can be strong at this time, and as you can see, much of our love is with you.

Posted by: Alvin | Mar 27, 2007 11:12:42 PM

This is disgusting. I do hope that this guy is caught --and I do hope you find the energy and fortitude to get back to doing what you do brilliantly after this nutcase is apprehended.

Posted by: anant | Mar 27, 2007 11:40:11 PM

found a few things on a google search for "siftee":

November 1st, 2006 at 3:10 pm

hey fuckhead… if its not enough that we have to look at your site with not 1 but 10 (11 counting mt) fuck useless ads now you have to send out ads for your own sites as well??? fuck you mike cocksucker


November 1st, 2006 at 3:12 pm

p.s. mothafucka… i subscribed to techcrunh. if i wanted to subscribe to crunchgear i would have done it. don’t force this shit down my throat you useless pig-sucking fuckhead


November 1st, 2006 at 3:36 pm

ty get back to banging my mum… if all you’ve got to be hung up about is mistyped words then i suggest you get a life


November 1st, 2006 at 3:38 pm

all i’m saying, fuckwad, is that if i wanted crunchgear news i would have subscribed to their site. now fuck off

and there is a profile at this site:

didn't a commentor say the address for siftee was spanish? if so, this ties together.

and another site with a profile/info:


don't know if this helps at all. i read about your situation on another blog and thought i would come and offer you support!

Posted by: s | Mar 27, 2007 11:41:30 PM

Wow, that's out of line.

But, man, way to get totally played by whoever this was. You would have been better off ignoring it. Notoriety has its price: if you put yourself out there, this kind of thing is going to happen.

Just because you're a blogger doesn't make you any more human than the newsreaders, actors, musicians, and other celebrities who've been target to this kind of attack since long before the Internet existed.

Posted by: Andrew | Mar 27, 2007 11:54:46 PM

I echo many of the already spoken sentiments, and I completely support whatever choices you need to make for your own health and sanity.

I also want to say, as someone who worked as a paramedic for years, as well as in various activist causes, that one of the things that I'm feeling inspired about this situation is the incredible support, visibility and response.

In the past, without the internet, without an interconnected community of readers that can easily respond, something like this would ordinarily be invisible, and instead it becomes VERY visible- and the trail is readily traced back to folks responsibile, or to folks who know who is responsible.

That is an incredible amount of transparency. I know it may do very little for your own feeling safety and sanity, but I rejoice, thinking of folks I saw who had been assaulted silently, hidden in their rooms, with no one except paramedics and police to see what happened, and no way to get publicity, because what- the newspaper is going to publish it in any way that creates compassion and connection? No, they aren't.

So, my prayers and thoughts for you and a graceful resolution to this entire situation. And my appreciation for everyone who is helping to make this situation visible.The more visibility, the better.

Posted by: Mark Silver | Mar 28, 2007 12:09:13 AM

I run a large site and have had a number of very threatening things said over the years. More, my address and everything is publicly available. I just ignore it. Send the information to the person's ISP when I feel it is particularly warrented. And move on. I'm not sure that saying you wish something would happen to someone is the same as threatening to do it yourself, though. It doesn't justify the person, but if you could call the police every time someone said "I wish you'd die!" or "I can't wait to kick your ass!", they'd never be available for real emergencies.

Anyway, I agree with what someone else said above. Way to play into the person's hands and stir up a bunch of web-wide drama. They're probably just some idiotic adolescent in their mom's basement, picking on someone because they can. Chances are if it had just been blocked, ignored and the ISP contacted it would have gone away.

There is one person that has been harassing and stalking me on the internet for almost five years now. Emails, random postings on websites, even registered domains and registering email addresses with "killnamediediedie@blah.com" (where name is my name) and emailing me from it. Yeah, it sucks... but most people on the net are too fat and lazy to go get a coke from the fridge, much less hunt someone down and do whatever to them.

So yeah, sorry for your unfortunate situation but... wow. What a lot of attention you have gotten for yourself out of it.

Posted by: random person | Mar 28, 2007 12:26:20 AM

Nice job, random person.

What a loser post. It would have been better if you had just not posted.

Posted by: nice | Mar 28, 2007 12:30:47 AM

@Jon "I mean aren't you allowed to say whatever you want about anything you want? Don't we all want it this way?"

In short, no. No, you are not, and neither is anyone else. Just as your right to swing your fist ends just before it impacts someone, your right to say whatever you want ends before it hurts someone. Note, there is hurting as a side effect of helping and there is hurting to cause pain. It's very clear which side of that line we are talking about here. Intentionally hurting others is not acceptable behaviour in a civilized society.

Perhaps one could argue that the web, usenet before it and the internet in general is not a civilized place. There is merit to that statement. However, that ignores the fact that the internet is part of, not apart from, the societies in which it exists. Those societies are civilized. Civilized people can not tolerate the abusive, hateful, demeaning and misanthropic behaviour that prompted Kathy to take cover.

There are standards of conduct that must be maintained in order to preserve the cohesiveness of a healthy society. A society that permits "anything goes" will not stay healthy or viable for long. The health of the society is far more important than any perceived affront to one's personal freedom. A healthy society provides a place to work, play, entertain and be entertained without fear. And don't we all want it this way?

Posted by: carl | Mar 28, 2007 12:33:35 AM


Your blog has been one of the few I have been tracking with glee in this overblogged world.

As hard as it may seem, be strong at this time and don't let this get to you. If you need a change of scenery, come over to Seattle and let the beautiful scenery soothe you. Nice salmon dinner my treat :)


Posted by: Murat | Mar 28, 2007 12:44:35 AM

G'day from Australia,

I am a bestselling novelist, blogger, career journalist and internationally-published photographer - and I strongly deplore violence and cyber threats.

I've posted an edited version of the BBC story on my blog at http://david-mcmahon.blogspot.com/ and I hope this case creates an awareness of the need to eliminate The Threat Factor.

For the first time since I started blogging, I have carried an editorial declaration with my blogpost on this case - and I hope others follow suit.

Good luck, Kathy. But as a professional writer and advocate of free speech and women's rights, let me just say this to you - NEVER allow anyone to censor you. Ergo, don't back away from your blog.

In the words of Winston Churchill, ``Never, ever, ever, give up.''

Best wishes

David McMahon

Posted by: DAVID MCMAHON | Mar 28, 2007 12:59:49 AM

Hi Kathy,

I haven't really read your blog before but I just want to encourage to hang in there. Thanks for standing up to these anonymous criminals and outing them! Keep on Blogging, Don't Stop Believing!

all the way from Manila, Philippines,

The Pageman

Posted by: The Pageman | Mar 28, 2007 1:06:06 AM

Stay strong, your writing IS always an inspiration.

Posted by: milo | Mar 28, 2007 1:28:23 AM

Don't let those worse than low-lifes get to you - that's just what they want. You create, all they can do is destroy. If it's any help, the heroine of my novel, The Plot to Save Socrates, is named Sierra (that's what brought me to this page tonight). I of course didn't know your work when I wrote the novel a few years ago, but the Sierra in my novel succeeds against great adversities. You will too.

Posted by: Paul Levinson | Mar 28, 2007 1:32:02 AM


Recently discovered your site which I think is a great read. Disgusted as a fellow human being that you have faced such cowardly attacks. I fully support your decision and hope that in time you can return to blogging.



Posted by: Shane Twomey | Mar 28, 2007 1:35:33 AM


I hope you're taking some peaceful time off and not reading all 1000 of your comments here, but I'll post anyway.

First of all, my wife and I are huge fans - she's the one who asked for your "autograph" at the Radisson on the last day of SXSW - and our thoughts are with you in this difficult time.

I've been running web sites since 1994, and I've received a few death threats over the years. Nothing as bad as yours, but it's still frightening when it happens.

I don't think this is a new phenomenon, an Internet-only phenomenon, or something unique to the blogosphere. I think a small portion of humanity just happen to be irredeemably offensive and crude. Fortunately, as most of the comments here attest, people like that are few and far between. Unfortunately, when you're a celebrity on the Web, all of those people are a few keystrokes away from you.

Please remember that, along with the small number of weirdos and jerks, there are a boundless number of good, kind, generous people out there who are reading your wonderful advice and having a brighter day because of it, and who are willing to do what they can to help you.

I'm hoping you'll be back, stronger than ever, after this is over, because I've got websites to run and books to write, and I need your help to do it better.

Best wishes. Hang in there.

Posted by: Michael Moncur | Mar 28, 2007 1:37:49 AM

Kathy, I can well understand you're upset, more than upset, but death threats are not unusual, and they're not related to the Blogosphere. They are, unfortunately, more public there, but at the same time that makes it possible to trace and apprehend the miscreant. You have to, unfortunately, take them seriously, and I would hope that the investigating police have involved the FBI Cybercrimes Unit, which has a stellar track record of finding cyber criminals.

But like I said, death threats are not unusual - I received my first one after letting go a contractor, who then lost the lawsuit they'd started. At that point a kind security person who wasn't supposed to called me to ask me if I owned a gun. As one thing you can't do is let these people get the better of you I now carry one, sleep with one, installed perimeter protection, and look over my shoulder more than before. The truly disconcerting thing is that you don't know how long a person will hold a grudge - can be decades, that has been documented. The caution wasn't novel to me - I've lived and worked in Asia, in locales where we get executive protection, and a bodyguard is with you every day all day, and you are trained for this before you go, and told what the going price is, for ransom.

This is the world we live in, and it has caught up with you. My advice is to carry on as usual, but now take the security precautions that, unbeknownst to you, many others take. You now qualify for a carry permit, get one. Turn your home into a fortress. If I understand correctly you have children - there are plenty of security consultants who can tell you how to deal with their safety. You'll find local police and schools and local authorities well versed in what needs doing to protect you and your family. Consider yourself lucky you're not Hilary Clinton, who can't go to the corner to get a coffee without her entire Secret Service entourage, she takes up four rows of seats on an aircraft.

This is not the Blogosphere, it is simply the slightly warped society we live in. Don't give in to it, don't cancel engagements, carry on as usual. You can't lock yourself up, that won't stop the cooks and it will drive you crazy. And if it is any consolation, this person has made themselves very visible, so they will be located, and if they are within a Federal jurisdiction, they'll get caught, they're leaving traces. Take a deep breath, and get on with your life. And welcome to my world, I am sorry to say.

Posted by: Menno Aartsen | Mar 28, 2007 1:39:00 AM

It's horrifying to think how evil some people are in this world.

Please don't allow these criminals to get the better of you, don't let them take away your passion.

Keep blogging!!


Posted by: Sam Hardacre | Mar 28, 2007 1:40:26 AM

I dont think you are being 'attacked' because you are a woman in a male dominated society. Men get abuse aswell. Overall the people who use the internet, tend to be Very abusive and cross the line quite a bit; not only in the blogosphere but on boards of all types, and in online-communities of all types (myspace, youtube included)

If anything the internet really exposes just out over the line, and out of control People's basic morals seem to be. Almost no one is living each day to make the world a better place one action at a time... one day at a time... instead, it's the age of Self and Instant Selfish Gratification - which sadly includes the abuse of other human beings.

I think suggesting that this happens to you because you are a woman frankly, ends up missing the overall Bigger picture - that this IS a problem, and that it's a much Bigger problem than even you are suggesting that it is.

Here's to hoping people will finally do what it takes to clean up their mess...

Posted by: val green | Mar 28, 2007 1:46:30 AM

I've been a reader of your blog for a long time.

What strucked me the most was your passion for life, computers, people...

Don't let them lose those things!


Posted by: Martin | Mar 28, 2007 2:18:20 AM


I can understand how the hate messages got to you and you have my sympathy. But I suspect siftee is a mostly harmless sad-act who shouldn't mix Dos Equis with surfing. He might even argue he's misunderstood:

"sexy foreigner
Hi! i want to meet nice ladys, preferably spanish... i am a foriegner and a real gentleman Hola! quiero conocer señoritas amables, mejor españolas... soy extranjero y un cabellero!"

In between abusing people over their use of CSS and occasional cross-posting between blogs and demanding help for his dodgy SQL Server skills, he tries to find lurve on swinger and adult sites, it seems. The scary thing is that I think he might actually be over 30, rather than a 15-year-old pretending to be that age. If what Google has turned up is all the same guy, it's clear he has 'issues'. And not just with capital letters.

BTW Joey, is your full pseudonym Joey D. Croembozah? Just wondering if you are him, the Angry Phuque or both at the same time.

Posted by: Chris Edwards | Mar 28, 2007 2:18:39 AM

I am so sorry to hear this. My deepest sympathies.

I saw your keynote at OSCON and have read the blog ever since - you are an inspiration.

Posted by: Henning Møller Just | Mar 28, 2007 2:31:37 AM

@ those of you suddenly advocating, in effect, tracking people: "Laws are required that enable the location of each internet user"!

BAD IDEA. For every lone psychopath there are a hundred people who benefit from the net's anonymity to:

a) find out info about sensitive subjects
b) take a political stance in a country where that stand is life-threatening
c) reach out when abused without fear of retribution, etc.

I have been threatened/semi-stalked/harassed on the web too. Interestingly, the frequency of harassment dwindled to nothing as soon as I picked a gender-neutral username to post with.

So the issue here is maybe not "no more anonymity!" but why is it that disagreements with women on the web often end up with personal, sexual insults, graphic descriptions of rape and abuse, etc? As far as I know, this happens a whole lot less with male bloggers. When was the last time you read a post describing how male blogger X should be gang-raped because of his views on, oh, I don't know, the color of the new Zune?

Posted by: Spongefile | Mar 28, 2007 2:48:16 AM

Shock me shock me shock me with that deviant behavior!" From: Empire Records;
isnt it sad that some people are such cowards the only way they can get off is to threaten from a place where they are totally safe? and the only way they can draw attention to themselves is by being sick and insulting? that said i do think that we put ourselves in the line of fire when we become exposed on the web, and sadly it is often the one who seems polite and enquires in a harmless and friendly way where you are from and other details about you- who is truly dangerous. Few truly dangerous stalkers have been publicly and openly threatening but there are always exeptions - Its saddest for me that they have gotten what they wanted out of this though- your fear and having you back down from appearences- and all this attention..

Posted by: Wendy | Mar 28, 2007 2:51:33 AM

You have done the correct thing Kathy. You are a brave women and women across the globe look to you as a role model in a male dominated technology field.

Please never be afraid of such threats. I know you will come out of this much stronger then ever before.

You have all my support

and please if you require my help then please let me know..


Posted by: Stella Roy | Mar 28, 2007 3:03:34 AM

"I do not want to be part of a culture--the Blogosphere--where this is considered acceptable. " It is not. Period.

Posted by: avi | Mar 28, 2007 3:09:46 AM

These threats are totally unacceptable. Women should not be terrorised because they want to work in technology.

Posted by: leightoncooke | Mar 28, 2007 3:10:54 AM

Hey Kathy,

This is no joke or mockery : I used to be a useless mainframe developper in a niche market that 09/11 wracked havoc on : airline systems.

Thanks to your books (Head First series) and sites (java ranch) i've became certified Java professional and switch to the Java / New Tech exciting world. Finding this help and your contribution to the community has been a great support, when I needed it the most.

What I mean here is : your work has reflected positively on my carreer and therefore on my whole life for the past five years. And i'm sure i'm not the only one.

I am so devastated this happens to you but to be honest i'm not surprised. I guess this is just the drawback of becoming (and rightly so !) a star of the e-world. Being smart, intelligent, wit, discerning, human, does not only bring friends, sadly.

These are sad losers, desperate of getting up on the technorati scale. They just are dead jealous about your success and your amazing positive energy. They just wish they'd be able to write a blog that enlightens the whole new tech community, just like CPU does. Now they just whinge about you using this as a PR strategy. Not only are they vile e-scum sociopaths : they also are incredibly stupid !

So maybe you're right and you need to step back a bit and come back stronger.

We do need your work. But we need even more to know that you're okay. We owe you so much. take good care of yourself.

peace - cecil.

Posted by: cecil | Mar 28, 2007 3:12:01 AM

No one should have to put up with people like this. You can never tell if they are serious or not, so you have to assume they are. Yes, you have a right to disagree with someone, even call them names (though calling people names is pretty lowbrow). But threaten? No, that isn't free speech, that's assult. It's illegal for a reason. And I have news for you people out there that like to threaten others...your identity is not secret. You have committed a criminal act, and the police can track you down. You leave an electronic trail in cyberspace, and no matter how smart you think you are, this is a trail that can be followed.

Posted by: Joseph | Mar 28, 2007 3:18:50 AM

i'm glad your taking a stand .I wrote a post in your support .Chin up.

Posted by: johnsmith | Mar 28, 2007 3:21:56 AM

Kathy, I just want to wish you a lot of support from here in New Zealand. And I am sure I speak for everyone who met you at Webstock when I say I hope whoever is responsible for this is locked up as soon as possible.

Posted by: Steven Kempton | Mar 28, 2007 3:28:14 AM

These people are worthless.

Cyber stalking and bullying is a sad fact of life these days and it is something I (and others) will never get used to. The people who write things on blogs or elsewhere about others they do not know is actually quite sad. These pathetic little creatures have nothing better to do than think up ways to hurt people.

I am astonished at the level of abuse you have been subjected to, yet the owners of sites will say it’s free speech and if you don’t like it, ignore it. I’m sorry you were subjected to this, it’s a very sad day when someone feels the need to abuse another like this. And abuse is exactly what it is.

Do not let them affect you. Get on with your life.

Because you have one and they do not.

Posted by: skaya | Mar 28, 2007 3:35:32 AM

I cannot believe this - absolutely terrible.

Don't let the cowards win, your doing great work it would be a shame to stop it all.

Lets hope the authorities can track this person down.

Posted by: Stephen | Mar 28, 2007 3:38:41 AM

My turn:

This sort of thing is one of the aspects of humanity which I hate.
It also make me really livid.

What It also does show is that this is a really bad and vindictive world in which we live.

To have "death threats" made against you for talking about software and the programming of such, comes also to illustrate another point funny enough, in which a friend and I where talking about a few weeks back: That these kind of people (like those creatures that sent you the "death threats") and others like them, they only are able to do this from behind the "safety" and anonimity of an internet connection, giving their miserable, angry, vindictive egos a boost... to see people in fear. or people's feelings hurt or spewing out stupid pathetic insults.
It makes them feel good about their boring selves.

Kathy... don't even pay any attention to these people, they are just a bunch of stupid losers.. I like your site, pity I had to discover it through CNET news article about you getting "death threats"

Don't be scared, live your life as usual, go to you engagements, meetings, and shopping, etc, If you don't, then these losers have won.

Don't let them win Kathy, They have also tried me out too, over the years, Internet wise, and in the flesh too... (It was not "death threats", but other equally annoying and vindictive stuff for no reason at all) and they LOST!.

You do the same, and then you are the one whom is laughing, and even more so, because you have their IP address!!, So the Police will catch up with them. And besides, they are just full of air!. (I hope)

Chris. A Programmer (and other various things) from Australia.

Posted by: Christopher Jerome | Mar 28, 2007 3:44:46 AM

i am a female blogger and have gotten threats, resentment, rejection too... here is somethin that might help you... it saved my ass so many times... it never let me down 1x

say this each morning and night n whenever you have fear... anyone tryin to hurt you will be too scared or the situation will change where they will not be able to reach you... God willing...

SHAKIR Translation of Ayatul-Kursi or The Sign of the Throne:

Allah* is He besides Whom there is no god, the Ever living, the Self-subsisting by Whom all subsist; slumber does not overtake Him nor sleep; whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His; who is he that can intercede with Him but by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they cannot comprehend anything out of His knowledge except what He pleases, His knowledge extends over the heavens and the earth, and the preservation of them both tires Him not, and He is the Most High, the Great.


*Allah = God

also this:

Total Verses: 5
Revealed At: Mecca

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
YUSUFALI Translation: Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of the Dawn
YUSUFALI: From the mischief of created things;
YUSUFALI: From the mischief of Darkness as it overspreads;
YUSUFALI: From the mischief of those who practice secret arts;
YUSUFALI: And from the mischief of the envious one as he practices envy.

i'm tellin u it works.. it protected me from stalkers, people bothering, someone potentially physically abusin me... it works... jus remember to say it daily, nightly, whenever you have a bad feelin... memorize the sign of the throne and say it in your heart when you have fear... you will be protected


Posted by: mari sanam | Mar 28, 2007 4:06:52 AM

They are kids with adult bodies with nothing better to do. They are getting fame out of this which will only motivate them. If they were serious about this they would not present it online for people to trace back to them. Anyone can be someone else online and thats all they are doing. Again, kids minds adult bodies.

Posted by: Danny | Mar 28, 2007 4:09:58 AM

Very sorry to hear what happened to you, it came as a shock to hear that even bloggers are being threatened now. Just because you are female does not mean that they can say anything. People can be criticized but giving death threats is way too much.

Hopefully the police gets to the bottom of this and things will return to normal.

True Sri Lankan - A Sri Lankan Blogger.

I believe all Sri Lankan bloggers would like to express their support to you.

www.kottu.org - Sri Lankan Blog Directory

Posted by: True Sri Lankan | Mar 28, 2007 4:12:18 AM

Kathy, I am speechless (for once in my life I really can't talk) and am so so sorry for you. I wish I could do something to remove this devastating feeling of impotency from my brain - so that I can come up with something clever to say. But I can't. Maybe tomorrow I will have recovered sufficiently to deliver some comment that could help. Right now I am sickened.

Posted by: Jacoba Budden | Mar 28, 2007 4:53:33 AM


Posted by: flic | Mar 28, 2007 5:01:37 AM

Donald Smith:

Wow. You see some conspiracy where none exists. Joey hasn't taken any steps at all to hide when he posts, and if my post seemed skewed in favor of Joey, it's because my post was an attempt to highlight the fact that everyone here is heavily skewed against him. I am skewed toward rationality, which precludes me assigning blame without knowing all the facts.


You seem to be speaking as if this were the way people handle things in "real" life. How often to people in real life have compassion for victims that falsely accuse them? By and large, that compassion comes after the fact, but the first reaction is usually shock and anger at being singled out falsely. Lawsuits and counter-suits don't really seem "compassionate" to me, and if we were all able to come together compassionately and work out our differences, you wouldn't see so many of these bitter court cases. If you were accused of REAL violence, rape, murder, child molestation, how compassionate would you be to your victim as you watched your entire life destroyed? I'm not saying that Joey's life will be destroyed by this, but the basis of compassion during accusation is a false one. It doesn't happen in real life.

Posted by: AvanteGuarded | Mar 28, 2007 5:01:55 AM

I am appalled by this. I've always had an open doors policy with regard to my comments. I deliberately try to avoid moderating them out of respect for anyone visiting my blog. This is terrible though. You have my sympathies.

I once drafted up for want of a better description, a code of ethics for blogging responses. My ideas are in this old thread:


Please let me know what you think, if you have the time.

I hope this gets resolved peacefully for you.

Blessings and regards


Posted by: Nick Payne | Mar 28, 2007 5:04:21 AM

My main question that use and condone strong language is why?

What drives you to cloud whatever you want to express by the noise that is namecalling and swearing? You don´t think it strenghtens your opinion, do you?
If anything it makes it less relevant. Often, when I point this out to a fellow commentor, the response is ´I don´t f…ing care, go f… yourself´ or something along those lines. If that particular person does not seem to care, why bother voicing an opinion at all?

If I would express my views and counter disagreement at any point with aggressive speech or writing, it is clear I do not so much express my opinion but force my view on others (notwithstanding the option of it simply being ignored).

One of the surest ways to be confronted with namecalling, swearing and (thinly veiled threats) is to point out the pointlessness and counterproductiveness of just that. In the best case, you will be asked what made you the king of the moral high ground, the worst case I leave to the imagination. Replying to that without such language agitates the counterpart even more.

The question remains: why?
I think it is the feeling of being in power. It is feels powerful to swear. It feels even more powerful to disrupt other peoples live. It´s like vandalism, arson, bullying: it feels so good to influence anything. It shows you have the balls to do it, it shows you are not afraid. Actually it shows nothing but weakness, yet it does not feel like that.

So all you swearers and namecallers: more power to you, you are doing great, you are better than I. No guts, no glory. And remember: the feeling is shortlived, you have to do it over and over again.

Posted by: Erwin Blonk | Mar 28, 2007 5:08:36 AM

Just adding my support.... hope you keep writing.

Posted by: Wolf | Mar 28, 2007 5:13:04 AM

I'm so sorry for this bad apple blogger. Hang in there. We need to keep on hearing from you. You inspire us to use blogging. mj

Posted by: Margo | Mar 28, 2007 5:13:17 AM

Kathy, some support from a fellow 9ruler, speechless at the moment...

Posted by: Mike Papageorge | Mar 28, 2007 5:13:26 AM

I know how You feel. I'm sorry for You. I once felt the same way. Such horrors can come to everyone. It don't even needs a reason. A bored mind naturally tends to become evil.
All the best wishes to You! Be strong!

Posted by: Stefan Steinecke | Mar 28, 2007 5:20:36 AM

I just want to tell you Kathy that you blog is one of the best ones out there (and this is not a "the king is dead, long live the king"-effect). I am really chocked that these things happen, but as you wrote yourself - any good product should be hated as some (http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2004/12/if_some_people_.html)

Hang in there, and remember that you have more supporters that people that dislike you!


Posted by: Hampus | Mar 28, 2007 5:25:04 AM


I can't tell you how angry I am about all of this. But I wouldn't mind explaining it to Joey and his little crew.

Hang in there, and get yourself back to the 'Ranch when you can: you're deeply missed.


Posted by: Max Habibi | Mar 28, 2007 5:50:14 AM

I don't think i can add anything to whats already been said here. U r one of the very few in the blogosphere who i truly respect. My support is there totally.

Posted by: Prasanna | Mar 28, 2007 5:52:24 AM


You are an inspiration to women everywhere. Your intelligence, sense of humor and unique approach to things make you one of the most dynamic female figures in technology. I can’t begin to imagine what you are going through right now, but please don’t lose your passion. Take the time you need for yourself and your family, but continue your blog. If you give into terror, the terrorist wins. Work with the police to catch these people and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. Then take them to a civil court and sue them. I applaud you for speaking out. Even the threat of violence shouldn’t be tolerated. I look forward to reading your next blog!

Posted by: Modgirl733 | Mar 28, 2007 5:58:28 AM

Kathy -The shock must be horrific. But I know in my heart of hearts that you will rebound.

You are not a quitter. You will come away from this terrible period a stronger, wiser contributor.

Receding into fear won't protect you. There is no question that you must work to take care of yourself and your family but all true leaders suffer the pain. When emotions are at a peak everything blurs. Give yourself time to settle, but keep the faith. Protect you and yours, but don't let a few degenerates change who you are.

Kathy, you are about to teach your daughter the most important lesson of her life.

Posted by: Northwind | Mar 28, 2007 5:59:39 AM


I have not read many posts of yours but those i read were really refreshing.

I dont think that I can say anything more than all those eloquent people before me did. I understand how you would feel about receiving such vile threats and I really hope that you would get over this phase and reply to your tormentors in the way you are best at : blogging

Posted by: Badri | Mar 28, 2007 6:15:42 AM

what a bunch of crap. grow up, lady. i don't even know who the hell you are, and like more than 99% of the people in the world, could care less.

if you no likee teh internetz, maybe you should try
M O D E R A T I N G your fucking blog.


stay home. nobody cares.

Posted by: so what you whiny cow? | Mar 28, 2007 6:18:40 AM

Hello Kathy.
I´m a developer from Brazil and i just want to say one thing:
Your job is amazing, for sure, and if 10% of the developers were good as you internet it would not be like is today.

Posted by: Lucas Lacerda Gertel | Mar 28, 2007 6:19:33 AM

I am so sorry. I have enjoyed your blog ever since I discoverd it. I wish all the best for you and your family.

Posted by: Greg | Mar 28, 2007 6:21:31 AM

As a relative of someone who also recently received death threats, you have my understanding, as well as a hope you'll return.

You leaving the biospheres is our loss. And the blame lands on those who think that in type on the Internet they can say whatever they want and get away with it. Here's hoping they don't!

Posted by: Eric | Mar 28, 2007 6:28:24 AM

Disgusted to hear that this harrassment is happening. Keep strong.

Posted by: SjW | Mar 28, 2007 6:32:54 AM

I'm so sorry for what happend to you. I hope you come back from this stronger than ever! Looking forward to read your blog in the months to come.

Posted by: Chris Wicked | Mar 28, 2007 6:41:10 AM

Hi kathy

I am always collecting RSS Feeds and I only came across yours today, but regrettably for the wrong reasons.

But I have taken the time to read your articles and they are brill (I especially like "Code like a girl"). :)

So for that reason don't be phased by these chicken-s**t a***holes that think they are funny, because now I want to read more of what you say.

I particularly like what Rebecca said over at SEOMoz (calling them "spineless, soulless, inconsiderate, offensive assholes").

Theres always going to be idiots out there, please don't give up just because of them. Please don't!

Posted by: Debbie Harrison | Mar 28, 2007 6:48:50 AM


It's sad that this was the first post that I ever read on your site, and I'm very sorry to hear of your troubles. Chalk me up as another new subscriber to your RSS feed, and hats off for a very interesting blog!

Posted by: Dave | Mar 28, 2007 6:52:24 AM

Although I've never read your blog or even know who you are, I found this post from the drupal community. I'd like to say not to worry about it too much. I know there are a lot of fucking psycho's out there. In fact about 2 years ago I starting dating some girl, her ex boyfriend starting calling at 5 in the morning, telling in detail how he sold his guitar on ebay to buy a guy and how he was going to shoot me through the window from across the street. Saying things like, "What color is his hair, will it dye, or matte?". She told him to leave us alone, and he said, "I'll leave you alone, I'll leave you ALL alone". So needless to say it fucked with my head pretty bad. Had to get a restraining order, all that bullshit. Needless to say it's 2 years later and I'm still here. Moral of the story is, you seem like a successful person, don't like someone across the internet dictate who you are or how you should run you life.

Posted by: xamox | Mar 28, 2007 6:57:36 AM

I thought the underwear on the head picture was meant to mean you didn't know which way to put your underwear on, a common joke for blondes, not meant to be something scary.

it sucks you feel frightened, and that a bunch of things happened to make you feel that way. I hope no one is actually out to get you.

Posted by: sally | Mar 28, 2007 7:00:03 AM

My comments are at http://dukeytoo.blogspot.com/2007/03/kathy-sierra-creating-passionate-users.html

Kathy, my thoughts are with you. Please come back soon.

Posted by: Steve Campbell | Mar 28, 2007 7:08:12 AM

Please stay strong my thoughts are with you. I look forward to the cowards of these terrible events being caught and brought to justice. Please though don't give up on the blog, that is exactly what one of there aims must have been. I wish you all the best.


Posted by: James Knowles | Mar 28, 2007 7:10:11 AM

I read about these cowardly sons of bitches over on Shakespeare's Sister. I hope the authorities find them out and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

Most anonymous Net threateners, I suspect, are right-wingers. I also suspect the Royalist Party [aka GOP] lets them operate, even while officially disdaining them, in the belief that they help to prevent effective centrist and leftist movements--which might threaten the big shots' wealth and power--from emerging. I notice that they still haven't caught the criminal[s?] who mailed the anthrax letters to Democrats and journalists. Maybe the Royalist Justice Dept. doesn't WANT to catch them?

I think we will see law enforcement agencies move more effectively against these cowardly thugs after we elect a Democratic President and Congress. This is domestic terrorism, after all. I want to see Carnivore turned loose on these SOBs, and a few of them frog-marched out of their parents' basements. Maybe that will break the rest of them of sucking eggs.

How about it, thugboyz? Did it ever occur to you that your precious PATRIOT Act and related acts could be turned against YOU someday? Or did you figure your masters and enablers had the system so thoroughly gamed that they would never lose power again?

Well, they lost a lot of it last November.

They stand to lose more in 2008.

Enjoy "Club Gitmo", fascists! :)

Posted by: Ivory Bill Woodpecker | Mar 28, 2007 7:10:46 AM

That's why it's assault _and_ battery. The assault doesn't have to be physical. It just has to be a threat.

What a nightmare to become the locus of this chaos. I'm not sure local police always take "what happens on computers" seriously but this extended incident should be pursued. In fact, I would be indignant. How many guys get hauled away for internet kiddie porn because "they didn't fully appreciate the seriousness of what they were doing on the computer at the time". Why should death threats be any different?

How do you restore peace of mind? Maybe you don't for a while. You might be proactive and take some self-defense classes in the broad sense of overall security. Help work out the anger too.

Posted by: smchris | Mar 28, 2007 7:19:12 AM

From a previous post:
"what a bunch of crap. grow up, lady. i don't even know who the hell you are, and like more than 99% of the people in the world, could care less.
if you no likee teh internetz, maybe you should try
M O D E R A T I N G your fucking blog.
stay home. nobody cares."

The above is being grown up? Fascinating.
Apparently, being grown up means not caring and throwing insults. And of course thinking that it is normal and acceptable conversation.
I have a lot of growing to do, or so it seems. Yet I miss the logic in it.

Posted by: Erwin Blonk | Mar 28, 2007 7:20:48 AM

"meankids" are just that - mean kids. Old or young, they are juvenile in their need to feel superior to others to fill the voids in their own lives. How else to explain criticizing your incredibly insightful yet always accessible writing?

The sign of great writing is the ability to connect with people in a way that resonates with them for their own reasons. Like others here, I'm not a software developer, but I've been an avid fan for the last couple of months since a friend sent me one of your posts. I have your "How to be an expert" chart as my desktop picture and the article is printed out and posted on my wall for quick reference and inspiration. I read and re-read many of your posts for inspiration. You have helped me in more ways than you could possibly know, and I want to sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

You are a gifted thinker and writer. The ability to boil down complex situations and concepts into clear language with perceptive insight is truly a rare talent. I look forward everyday to seeing if you've posted a new entry.

For now, I'll read your old posts and pray you find happiness and a feeling of security and safety for you and your family soon. Until then, take all the time you need.

Posted by: Roy Johnson | Mar 28, 2007 7:26:38 AM

@"so what you whiny cow?"

Do your bravery and intelligence know no bounds? You're so proud of your comment you do it anonymously (no surprises there) and you demonstrate that you can't even read without it hurting your brain. If you read the post, you would realise that this blog is moderated. But, if you are who I think you are, you still haven't wrapped your head around CSS yet, so this whole blogging thing might be a bit beyond you.

Posted by: Chris Edwards | Mar 28, 2007 7:34:53 AM

Unless we're going to force everyone to stand behind what they say by creating universal ID's for all people who access the Internet, sometimes you simply have to grow a thick skin. My sympathies lie with you, but at the same time, I ask myself if it were me, what would I be doing?

I would call the cowards out, and say, 'bring it on.'

If they've broken the law, then by all means, let them reap the fruit of their efforts. But, likewise...

With regards to other bloggers hanging out on some site, is someone bad because they hang out on MySpace where porn and spam are common? That said, I dislike those kinds of people who never stand behind what they say and hide anonymously behind a screen name rather than their own.

Posted by: Sean Wilson | Mar 28, 2007 7:38:12 AM

If we divide the camps in pro and anti Kathy (much too simplified as this may be) I find that almost all the anti´s (especially the most vile among them) prefer anonimity and those in the pro camp are posting with e-mail addresses and/or websites/blogs.
The same is true for the quantity of strong language which is more prevalent on the anti-side (given the nature of this argument, however, this may not be significant).

Posted by: Erwin Blonk | Mar 28, 2007 7:38:57 AM


As I haven't been in your situation myself, I can only guess what you must be going through.

I will, however, offer the same advise that I gave to a freind of mine recently...

There are some really nasty people in this world who have nothing to offer other than pain and grief - the only way to fight them is with this phrase...

"I will not fail because of you - I will succeed despite you."

I hope things work out, as I find you blog both imformative and inspirational - keep up the good work.


Posted by: Bob Armour | Mar 28, 2007 7:39:19 AM

I have to say but it smells like link bait. I am with Michelle Malkin in that it is no big deal and you are making it out to be a lot bigger than it is to get people to link to you.

I would recommend you get over yourself and stop imagining you are the center of the universe, get a thicker skin.

Posted by: RealityCheck | Mar 28, 2007 7:44:48 AM


Punks will be punks.
Contact local authorities and the FBI.

These punks are very, very easy to track down.

First and foremost do what you feel you need to do to feel and be safe.

Posted by: 186 | Mar 28, 2007 7:46:15 AM

I learned about this from Jim Minatel, and am disgusted by it. We all wish that there was something we could do, immediately, to rectify the situation. There isn't a person in publishing who doesn't admire your work, and look forward to reading your blog. I hope this situation is resolved soon, and that you are able to enjoy your life, and yourself, again.


Posted by: Paul Boger | Mar 28, 2007 7:48:09 AM

So sorry to hear the idiots have got to you. They might like to note that their actions have got a lot of people on your side who, had they stuck to discussing views and ideas, might well have disagreed with you. I wonder whether, if you asked them, they could actually identify anything like an 'objective' behind their posts..?

Posted by: Guy Clapperton | Mar 28, 2007 7:49:29 AM

Hi Kathy,
1055 comments above say it better than I can. I just wanted to add my support. Keep safe. At a time when we need more passion, we'll miss you. Get back to blogging as soon as you can. Cheers from the UK.

Posted by: David Terrar | Mar 28, 2007 7:50:14 AM

Wow! Imagine how President Bush, VP Cheney, and Karl Rove feel! The get similar attacks! Even Tony Snow was attacked, and that was just because he got cancer and is the President's spokesperson!

At least you only got a small taste of it! And Arrianna Huffington didn't apologize either (she did remove the posts, just like Chris Locke did though).

I don't blame you for withdrawing! It would be tough to feel like that! Imagine the poor President having to "tough it out" for 8 years! And Cheney and Rove the same! They must have hides of iron!

If Hillary gets elected, she will face simlar attacks! Do you think she can handle it? I hope no one treats her the way they treated you, but the Pres has to take some pretty blunt attacks on his integrity, sexual practices, and character, and like you, we have to wonder if a woman should be exposed to such venal assaults!

Good luck in your recovery. If you need any help, just write and ask for it!. I am on your side. Really! No one should have to face this kind of cr**! Michelle Malkin gets it, too, so it comes from all sides!

Posted by: reallygone | Mar 28, 2007 7:59:59 AM

just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of people who are thinking of you today, and are so sorry that you're having to go through this.

Posted by: kate.d. | Mar 28, 2007 8:04:12 AM

Hi Kathy,

I have to admit to be a regular lurker on your blog but have never comment as I'm never quite sure I have anything worth saying. This time, however I had to. In life there are some really unsavoury people and I'm really sorry that you've had to come into contact with them through blogging. It is important to remember however that there are so many more of us who support you and can't wait to see you back blogging again.

Posted by: Michelle | Mar 28, 2007 8:05:54 AM

I hope you're preparing a good "press conference" appearance. We want to know what's going on.

Posted by: flic | Mar 28, 2007 8:08:28 AM


I really feel for you. No one should have to deal with these kinds of threats and personal attacks. I hope you do continue to blog (even if you take a break for a while). You have a lot of people supporting you and I hope you find some comfort in that. Take care.

Posted by: Melany Gallant | Mar 28, 2007 8:19:36 AM

Holy crap. I'm so sorry to hear about this. I hope all the support you've gotten is enough to counter the ugly you've seen, but you have to take care of yourself. Do what you need to do to feel safe. Good luck.

(sent through SEOmoz, and I'll probably post about it myself)

Posted by: Aimee Kuzenski | Mar 28, 2007 8:23:21 AM

I am truly sorry to hear this has happened to you. My thoughts are with you as you take the time to recover from the experience. I hope the recovery is a complete one.

Posted by: Michael Chermside | Mar 28, 2007 8:39:24 AM

TO: Kathy Sierra, et al.
RE: Interesting Juxtaposition

Anyone catch this article on Fox, today?


Seems like Mr. Stein is a similar form of sociopath as Kathy Sierra has encountered. The parallels are striking; web-based, Photoshop, politics, hatred and no remorse. Not to forget that the christian name of HIS target was Cathy as well. He could well have been one of the alleged contributors up on MeanKids, based on what I've been reading the last 24 hours.

My point here, is that sociopaths follow certain behavior patterns. Once you know them. You can recognize them and, knowing them for what they are, deal with them accordingly.


[Know your enemy..... -- Sun Tzu]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto | Mar 28, 2007 8:52:53 AM

I like others am offering you words of support not just because, I like, you, have had my life threatened--but because the freedoms of others stop where they defile the existence of another's self. Reading about what has happened to you brings the sick feeling of six years ago back into my stomach...the one that kept me away from my windows and brought me police protection to a high school graduation. Yes, I was being bullied, by a teacher no less, who didn't like what I, as a school board member, had to say. By the way, I am also a teacher.

Yesterday, I heard much talk about this on the radio, graphic descriptions of the pictures I have now seen on your post. The talk was good, because it went beyond threats into the power of cybergoading. We need to mediate the power of the internet and social networking for good, not for evil. How to do it....????

Doors close and windows open. I didn't know you before but this threat has brought you more prayers and positive connections than you will ever know.

Posted by: Dea C-C | Mar 28, 2007 8:57:29 AM

Some people are posting comments here in order to drive traffic to their own blogs. It's called blog-krulling, a strange non-obvious blogocombat gesture similar to clinking.

Posted by: vaspers the grate | Mar 28, 2007 9:02:05 AM


This is a sad situation and another illustration of the ugly side of humanity. Your blog is one the my favorites and a regular stop for me. It would be tragic if you stopped posting. You are a great writer and you should only stop writing on YOUR terms, not according to some sleazy, low-life loser who craves attention. Be strong and be proactive about you personal security. Carry what you need and is permissable under the law!

Those other blogs that allow this trash should be tossed on the scrap heap with all the other troll sites. But, don't despair, I believe there are a lot more decent people then there are haters and losers, and you've done as much or more than anyone to encourage and inspire the good people. You have a lot of supporters and I'm sure the authorities will track down this slime and deal with it accordingly. Please keep us updated, and let us know if the authorities drop the ball on this. Justice must be done on this matter. Stay strong, we've got your back!

Posted by: GLC | Mar 28, 2007 9:18:29 AM

Jesus! I hope they catch this nutcase.

Posted by: Beerzie | Mar 28, 2007 9:25:15 AM

I was equally horrified by the disgusting and disturbing comments anonymous people directed towards you. No one should have to deal with that stuff.

At the same time though, I feel your reaction is exactly what these sickos want. Their comments are designed to disrupt your blogging and your life. I highly doubt that these people actually intend to carry out any of their threats. The veil of anonimity that the internet provides allows people to be heartless and cruel... but 99.9% of the time those people would never dare say or do any of those things in real life. Chances are, they're fat twenty nine year olds with acne living in their parents' basement and playing World of Warcraft on Saturday nights.

For you to quit blogging, become a shut in, and cancel appearances because of some assholes on the internet is a shame. Personally, I'm glad you brought this issue to the forefront (as a blogger, I know how vicious some commenters can be), but I believe it's time you got back to doing the great work that made you someone famous and influential enough to receive such scorn. I sort of wish I could have your number of readers... even if it meant some impotent coward would make empty threats towards me. Don't let the bastards win!

Posted by: Adam | Mar 28, 2007 9:34:10 AM

Ms. Sierra, your Head First Java book is one of my favorite programming books. I am very sorry that there are bad people in the world, and that some of them noticed you. My thoughts are with you.

Posted by: BBlackmoor | Mar 28, 2007 9:41:36 AM

Read pretty near all these comments, followed a lot of the responses - and you are right. Those were threats. My heart goes out to you. Be strong.

Posted by: chris | Mar 28, 2007 9:47:38 AM

I am amazed that this has even been written.

I only found out about this today so don't know the background and what caused this to be written.

But I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the Head First Java book which helped me pass my Uni course.

Kathy, not all of us bloggers are nut jobs.

Posted by: rd | Mar 28, 2007 9:54:36 AM

That's a horrible thing for someone to do. I hope there is a way of finding out who did it. They need "internet exile" for people like that.

I wish you all the best on getting through this. I can't even imagine what you must be feeling right now.

Posted by: Jeanne | Mar 28, 2007 10:00:18 AM

Hi Ms. Sierra!!!

I'm brazilian, and your books is the best that i know!.
Finally, i admire so much you.
Tks for All!!!!!!!

Posted by: Denis | Mar 28, 2007 10:03:32 AM

Hi Kathy, I hope these idiots are caught and delt with immediately so you can hopefully return to a normal life. I saddens me to hear of an episode like this in what I consider to be a usually friendly community.

I'll continue to look forward to any future blog postings.

Posted by: Ant Cooper | Mar 28, 2007 10:04:12 AM

You are in my thoughts, my prayers, and I just need you to know that you have my support.

Jennifer W

Posted by: Jennifer | Mar 28, 2007 10:07:07 AM

I am with Michelle Malkin, boo frickin hoo.

Posted by: Al_Ja | Mar 28, 2007 10:09:38 AM

Well, you can describe people like that in simple terms;

Posted by: Taupist | Mar 28, 2007 10:13:03 AM



Posted by: THERAPIST | Mar 28, 2007 10:13:11 AM


When you have something amazing to say, please continue to say it. Adversity, danger, conflict are part of changing the way people think. I'm not saying it is good or that it is right, but often (sadly) it is a reality.

I can tell you about situations in the horse world where people protecting horses required police escorts (and not local, only state) to and from shows because they were protecting horses, not those with money. But they believed in what they were doing and that what they were doing was right.

I hope that you will continue to share with us your ideas, your innovations and your opinions. Changing the world is not easy, but you have an outpouring of support. Right MUST speak louder and stronger than wrong. Just must be mightier than unjust. The pen IS mightier than the sword.

PLease continue to post, think about why you started blogging in the first place. If you still want to help us create passionate users, we are here to listen.

Posted by: Jerri Gillean | Mar 28, 2007 10:13:14 AM

I came across this story at the BBC. My sympathies to you fro the abusive threats that you have recieved. I have not previously read you blog. Whether people agree with your views or not or like your blog or not is no excuse for making outrageous anonymous threats against people. Sadly this is all too symptomatic of the worst aspects of the web and the blogosphere in particular. People who are unable to make a proper reasoned argument resort to ad hominem attacks. Also the Web tends to thrive on the outrageous - people trying to get attention by being more outrageous than others. evryone wants readers and this tends to drive some to think that the way to do this is by being more and more outrageous. sadly this often works. Dont let these idiots grind you down. I hope the police take this seriously and soem action is taken aganist people who issued threats against you.

Posted by: BillDunc | Mar 28, 2007 10:14:22 AM

Hi Kathy,

I have been a regular to this blog for several months now, and I have had very fascinating reads. I am currently reading Head First, and I love it!

It is horrible that someone can say something so outrightly disgusting and disrupt a friendly techie blogging community.. My prayers are with you..

Best Regards,

Posted by: Ketan | Mar 28, 2007 10:23:32 AM

Hey Kathy,

I won't say anything new if I say how speechless I am when I read this. I just want you to know that you seem to have most of the blogosphere behind you, and a LOT of people would be sad if you stopped blogging.
Don't give the satisfaction of getting you down!
I really would like to say that I know how you must feel right now, but I just CAN'T know how you feel. It's just terrible what mankind can do to itself.

Posted by: Michael Siebert | Mar 28, 2007 10:24:50 AM

Another thing I wanted to point out is how cowardly, gutless, spineless and impotent minded some of your aggressors are. To post an insulting and inflammatory remark about some of the physical violations described is abhorrent enough... but the poltroons do not even have the courage to come forward publicly to make their point. "nothing.nothing.biz" what a joke that is - whoever you are you are a coward.

These people are showing themselves up for the weak fools that they are.

Posted by: Nick Payne | Mar 28, 2007 10:27:18 AM

TO: All
RE: Additional Thoughts...

...on sociopaths.

I think that the biggest obstacle to overcome regarding dealing them is recognizing them. After all, as is reported, they act like normal people, most of the time. Even better than normal people in many instances, as they are usually intelligent and frequently 'charming'.

You can only recognize them for what they are by the effect they have on others. As a number of sources I've looked at indicate, they leave a trail of destruction in their wake as they move on. So, in order to avoid being drawn into the games they play, you need to be able to recognize them early on, lest you get caught in their 'wake', like so much flotsam and jetsam.

That one web-site I mentioned (above) has an interesting and lengthy list of indicators you should become familiar with and learn to use.

Once you've noticed a number of such indicators in someone, you should become cautious in your dealings with them. This, in order to avoid becoming a REAL victim.

As for the internet and this instance of egregious anti-social behavior, a lot of us seem to be confused or shocked by it. We seem to have trouble trying to understand WHY someone would do such a thing. Likewise with serial killers or rapists. Why?

Our confusion stems from the unknown. Why?

I suggest that that is a question for psychologists. For we mere mortals who walk the face of the Earth, or travel the web, on a daily basis, recognizing a snake when you see it is sufficient to get us through the day.

Once you are over the confusion by recognizing the snake, you can move ahead with your life much more readily. However, in some instances, one needs to be prepared to 'deal' with the 'snake' in a more personal manner. [Note: I've been stalked myself for comments made on the web. They did a good job of describing my house. I reported it to the SYSOP and it was dealt with.]

So, as the Boy Scouts credo suggests, "Be Prepared". Mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.


[Here there be monsters.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto | Mar 28, 2007 10:33:11 AM

P.S. And, right on que, we have THERAPIST.

What a misnomer.

Posted by: Chuck Pelto | Mar 28, 2007 10:36:17 AM

This just breaks my heart. Despite all the good things that have stemmed from the Internet, there is this...

it offers assholes a much bigger podium. In the past, they could annoy just those who had the misfortune to be near them.

I wish you strength to get throught this somehow. Your blog has really been a treat for me, and it pisses me off that some mental midgets have such negative power.


Posted by: Paul | Mar 28, 2007 10:48:52 AM


I got to your blog almost accidentally, but after reading this I just can't keep quite. Don't let those paranoic idiots to influence your mind. You made a decision to stop blogging for now - everyone should respect that. I hope you will be able to return to your normal life soon - feds and police should be able to deal with the dirty scam like that. To me it also highlights the broader issue, which I have discussed with my friends and coworkers for quite some time - the culture of sexual and general violence and anti-humane behavior, that is being consistently cultivated and promoted by producers of video games, music, tv programs and multiple internet outlets. Unfortunately the harm is done already - I could speculate, that, given a choice, an average teen would go to see "300" or "Hills Have Eyes 2" instead of "Beautiful Mind" or "Dream Girls". I am not saying we have to stop making the former, but there is not too much to put up against it, to let kids, who grow up with violence in the media, know that there are other kinds of behavior, of self-advertising, that could make them feel strong and meaningful.
No matter what, Kathy, please keep your composure and don't let those psychopaths to ruin your life.

Posted by: Mike | Mar 28, 2007 10:52:30 AM

K, I've got your back.

Posted by: Rew Rixom | Mar 28, 2007 10:54:12 AM


Another long time reader...

The really sad thing about this is that by leaving the space, by silencing your own voice, the vermin win. I understand and appreciate why you did, I just wish there was a way for you to take comfort and support from the many positive comments expressed here. You have much more good you can do, please...

Maybe this will help. It was a fortune cookie signature from a friend's e-mail.

"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." -- Buddha

Your voice is too important to be silenced!


Posted by: David Moskowitz | Mar 28, 2007 10:54:15 AM

You've done the right thing to highlight the scary abuse. Your blog is brilliant, and I'm sure you'll be back up soon.

Posted by: Ian Duncan Smith | Mar 28, 2007 10:55:47 AM

Dear Kathy,

If you fold and close up shop, the bastards who are trying to intimidate and silence you have won.

In my opinion, what you should do in response is go on full out attack on these people, using the police, FBI and whatever other resources you can bring to bear.

Hire a bodyguard, do whatever it takes. But don't fold. You have been violated and you must take steps to see that those who violated you will pay or at least never dare mess with you again.

It SHOULD NOT be a matter of money, time, energy or emotional drain. It SHOULD be a matter of sticking up and going full out for someone very, very imporant to you; that someone is Kathy Sierra.

With appreciation and love,

- Andy

Posted by: Andy Long | Mar 28, 2007 11:11:35 AM

I'm so sorry that a crazy person could do that to you. I hope he gets isolated and treated ASAP. Please come back when you are ready, even if it has to be a closed website. You are a valued source of ideas for many of us.

Posted by: Tim Hicks | Mar 28, 2007 11:13:30 AM

Dear Kathy,

This is certainly an appalling situation and you have my deepest sympathies. I just learned about this situation today on the wwwedu list and understand your decision not to travel. I haven't read all of the comments, although I agree with Andy that you should not cave in and should continue to do your work.

I'm not sure if this has been suggested yet or not, but have you considered arranging for a videoconferencing hookup with the conference you were to keynote at? It wouldn't take much more than a webcam on your end, and they could handle the tech on theirs. Indeed, I think this would amplify your speech and give additional impact to your work in general, and situation in particular. If it's too late for this conference, then perhaps something to consider in the future.


Jeff Cooper
Education Technology Support Consultant

Posted by: Jeff Cooper | Mar 28, 2007 11:33:03 AM

Isn't the blogosphere just like the world? Some smart people, mostly mediocre people cranking the handle, some below-average people, some real mean arschlochs. The last ones are letting this blog shut down? It is like letting the madmen take over the asylum. Wherever you feel safe, blog from there. Don't let their misinterpretation of free speech takes yours away.

PS: I can see why so many people are moderating comments- that may be one way of moderating people on your own blog. A bit like putting a burglar alarm or a buzzer on the door, for access control. But can we really stop idiots brawling down the pub on a Saturday? I know none of these analogies comes close to death threats but I hope your police does a good job and finds these sick people. They should be locked up - and I don't mean a jail.

Posted by: FellowBloggeress | Mar 28, 2007 11:33:40 AM

We're here for you.

Posted by: Stephan Fassmann | Mar 28, 2007 11:51:18 AM

Sadly this is probably a retarded person or a 12 year old who doesn't know better, or someone who is deeply disturbed.

Now that the police are involved, it won't take long to catch whoever is behind it. I am sure that the FBI is monitoring all of the relevant websites and that tracking has been initiated with all of the ISPs involved.

Posted by: Mat | Mar 28, 2007 11:55:00 AM

This whole thing is getting more media attention than it deserves. The "Joey" guy has made his position clear on this very site and on other sites. I don't want to lecture anyone, but this is the way the Internet it. If you are going to post controversial comments, then you need to be prepared to take the heat. Yes, those types of comments may be unsavoury, but i would much rather people be allowed to post those sort of comments, than have some draconian law in place which stifles free speech. I do understand that some people may be made to feel afraid when people post remakes like those made, but you should not worry about the people who post those sort of comments. It's just a way for frustraited people to vent a speen at comments you have made. Have a law or a code of conduct in place will not stop people feeling the way they do about your posts. It will only serve to stop you seeing what people are like and how they react to your comments. The people to worry about are the nuts who DONT post threats on forums and blogs and follow through on them.

Posted by: Munsterhof | Mar 28, 2007 12:02:19 PM

Courage is not the absence of fear; it is moving forward in spite of it. I wish you courage and offer my support. If you choose to reutrn to the public stage and need assistance to hire personal body guards, let me know. I will spearhead the fund drive to make sure you have sufficient funds to accomplish your professional goals. There is no excuse for this behavior and we must not let it prevail.

Posted by: Gillian | Mar 28, 2007 12:04:58 PM

I'm gutted. I've always known there were some sick puppies out there but this is taking the biscuit.
As for the comment about a publicity stunt - your as bad as the sicko's.
I have a little blog about trying to go running, it's not big or mind blowing - I started it so I could look back and laugh about how hard I find exercise. Tonight it gets it's last update for a while, When I check here and the blogs re-started I'll re-start. It's a pretty pointless effort I know - I've only ever had twelve people look at it - but You have to do something and this is what I've got.
Feel safe - we're not all sicko's and a lot of people will be trying to find these people and find out what they are on.
Take care.


Posted by: James | Mar 28, 2007 12:09:45 PM

This is a crime?

quite honestly, I DON'T think that most people know that. A quick survey of all my friends that I saw throughout my day told me the exact same thing. I've had so many "DEATH THREATS OMG" happen to me that it isn't funny (well, actually, it is).

Seriously, it is no big deal. Don't over react. I've gotten death threats in person, and they haven't made me act any differently. Honestly, someone taking 5 minutes of time to photoshop underwear onto someones face is hardly something to be afraid of.

Thanks for making the internet one step shittier!

Posted by: random guy | Mar 28, 2007 12:11:48 PM

Dear Kathy,
As a Christian man, I would like to apologize for those inconsiderate and ignorant enough to go out of their way to inflict pain on someone. But more than that, I would like to give you some hard advice. I have been a victim of an incident to a lesser extent, but I know the feeling. The threats I received were directed towards my wife, which was worse for me, because I felt her pain. However, as I prayed about it, I came to the conclusion that if I reacted to this threat, I would give power to it. So my advice is simple and difficult. Don't give into it and don't take ownership of it. If you stop blogging, they've won. Please continue to show your strength by blogging. You have no idea the power you may give to others through your stregnth. I will pray that God gives you the protection of His spirit, and the courage to contiue your work. Who better to have your back? We face trials to become stronger and wiser. You will be one of those who survive to become "a light to others"! Hoping you return soon!

Chef Tad

Posted by: Tad | Mar 28, 2007 12:18:02 PM

Is Frank Paynter serious? He starts a site called "MeanKids", expects "creative art and criticism" from it, and then blogs how suprised he was when people posted *gasp* mean things on it. Doesn't sound like a very creative idea to me.

Stay strong Kathy. Good kids outnumber the bad eggs in our society and the good kids are on your side.

Posted by: A Good Kid | Mar 28, 2007 12:20:02 PM

Your uncompromisingly passionate wisdom is an inspiration to many. Those many are now hoping the best for you, and that can't cause anything other than good things. Hang in there.

Posted by: Taco | Mar 28, 2007 12:22:53 PM

Kathy, I can't imagine anything more horrific. I hope the police catch the faceless cowards who are doing this and they are prosecuted and made an example of to act as a warning for others.

Posted by: Ellee | Mar 28, 2007 12:23:27 PM

When language explodes.

At least the opinions of those that do not excercise control over their language are irrelevant. For the lack of control in expression is very likely a sign of lack of control over their thought processes.

What to do about it? They have freedom of moving air (I hesitate to call it speech). Others have the right, no, the obligation to pull up the windscreen.
And we must excercise equanimity where others cannot. Threats and even the actual excercise thereof is a sign of extreme weakness. Enduring them unwaivered is strenght. We should thank the trolls for giving humans to possibility to show equanimity.

Posted by: Erwin Blonk | Mar 28, 2007 12:23:51 PM


Hiding and giving up is what the anonymous bloggers WANT you to do. Don't. Let your light shine!

It should be a federal offense to post anonymously or use someone else's identity online.

Fight Anonymous Blogging

Posted by: Zenophon Abraham | Mar 28, 2007 12:32:08 PM

Get an attorney. One that is on YOUR side and take care of this. God bless.
rogrdodgr http://www.prepaidlegal.com/hub/sharonreeves

Posted by: rogrdodgr | Mar 28, 2007 12:33:34 PM

I posted before, but can't edit

Usually I don't post with any level of anonymity, but in this case I will. I speak reasonably, and make no threats, nor support them. Yet, I know that someone will construe my posting as supporting/making more threats. I am posting here anonymously, because all of you fanboys seem very ready to do illegalities yourself to protect someone who is in no danger("I wish I was some super hacker who could find all these people" was in a post up above). Really, I just don't want hate-spam from those of you who are just as bad as the trolls you hate.

Anyway, what I forgot was that you should go look at Maddox. How many death/rape/gangbang/torture/sexuality/familial threats did he get? Didn't he have pictures of him all over the page, state his name and publish a book too? Yes, he did. He took the threats just as you should, Sierra. Disregard them, make fun of them, whatever is easiest.

Sucks you got "threatened", I guess, and I don't support the fact that it happened. But seriously, get over yourself. Don't be such an attention grabbing whining you-know-what.

Posted by: randomguy | Mar 28, 2007 12:38:38 PM

Every decision you take is the best at that moment in time and space. I'm reminded of a saying from Mother Theresa called AnyWay stating in the last line: in the final analysis it is never between you and them anyway. Good will come to good people, looking at all these comments, I think most people consider you doing good.

Posted by: Renald Chi | Mar 28, 2007 12:39:44 PM


In the last part of your post you talked about how a death threat begins to work its evil just by its mere existence. I believe that the correct word for this is terrorism and I would suggest that you consult your local police about contacting federal agencies. With the Patriot Act, the federal government should have no problem tracking down the vermin and, in fact, locking them up for a long-enough time so as to ensure your safety, well-being and piece of mine. Who knows, perhaps there's even room in Guantanamo for them. One can always hope.

Please don't take NO for an answer. This is terrorism and you must realize that there are hundreds of thousands of us out here, ready to respond as necessary in order to protect and defend you. In this case, as in all terrorism cases, the best defense is to attack.

Go get 'em.

Posted by: Dean A. Nash | Mar 28, 2007 12:41:02 PM

Unlike many, I'd never heard of you until today, Kathy, but I am saddened to see a bright star on the Internet dimmed by the actions of some thugs. The odds are that these perpetrators were just monkeying around, but it's impossible to know for certain, so your fear is understandable.

But I agree with many who have said that if you stop blogging and stop speaking at conferences, then these thugs have won. And, sadly, they will just do it to someone else. So, take some reasonable precautions so you feel safer, and stand up to the punks--you've got a lot of people behind you online, and I'd bet that your friends will be willing to accompany you to various places. Talk with your local police about some security advice and keep moving forward.

And, in the meantime, sic the bouncer on "therapist" and his ugly post from earlier today.

Posted by: Bill Wilson | Mar 28, 2007 12:48:14 PM

You should not be forced to go through this sort of nightmare--reguardless of gender...

Don't give up! Stand strong! You WILL win this!

Posted by: Olivia Terrell (my real name--not anonomous) | Mar 28, 2007 1:01:21 PM

If you were accused of REAL violence, rape, murder, child molestation, how compassionate would you be to your victim as you watched your entire life destroyed?
I would be compassionate, and I have the experience to know that I have been compassionate. Empathy is a virtue that I refuse to let go. As I wrote prior, compassion is not a matter of right and wrong, innocent or guilty. Compassion is not a matter of whether you agree with the situation. That you feel wronged, down, beaten, or falsely accused are not mutually exclusive emotions.
It doesn't happen in real life.
So, who bestowed you with the gift of ominscience? Inquiring minds want to know. You are stating an absolute declarative generalization that will always be made false by the numerous exceptions the magic of humankind has seen fit to grant.

Posted by: Morgan Ramsay | Mar 28, 2007 1:01:24 PM

I personally think you're faking the whole outrage angle and imposing it in order to increase your exposure. This is a crude form of marketing that politicians excel at. Going by your example I should be contacting Interpol every time some goon on IRC tells me to 'go die' or makes a mock up picture of me. Your techniques don't surprise me, but the amount of sheep that are following you does.

Posted by: Paul | Mar 28, 2007 1:01:28 PM

Hi Kathy,

Writing to you from far away Israel.

I've never seen your lectures or read your posts, but the first things that these animals have accomplished is getting me so curious that I'll be waiting fro your comeback to the blogsphere and become a continuos reader.

So, for this, thank you Monsters, and now you can bark and go back to the holes you just crawled from. We'll simply not tolerate you messing around with our princesses...


Posted by: Meir Navon | Mar 28, 2007 1:03:35 PM


I never read your posts, but that does not matter at all.

I just want to send you my words of support. It is a terrible what you get through. I wish you all the best and hope it is all in the past soon.

Alex Na

Posted by: Alex Na | Mar 28, 2007 1:06:39 PM

Have you contacted the FBI? You should. I am not permitted to render an opinion whether the death threats are a crime, but I would strongly recommend that you contact the FBI. If they brush you off, the Department of Justice has a Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS). If you aren't already working with the FBI, the number for CCIPS is (202) 305-7469.

Posted by: 509th Bob | Mar 28, 2007 1:13:02 PM

Kathy, I have found your blog both stimulating and useful. I am sorry you are being troubled by some meatheads, but please don't let that stop you writing - you can always turn comments off if the no-brainers insist on turning up.

Posted by: Richard Oliver | Mar 28, 2007 1:16:36 PM

Kathy - You did the right thing to react. People living in their own sick twisted fantasy world should be locked up. The internet is no excuse for criminal behaviour.

Posted by: gg | Mar 28, 2007 1:17:02 PM

this is sick. I'm so sorry Kathy. You're such a gem to the blogosphere, and you deserve to be protected from such acts.

Posted by: Marcus Whitney | Mar 28, 2007 1:25:24 PM

Kathy, I am so speechless. You are right to stand up against this.....criminal behavior.

Posted by: Morgan Farmer | Mar 28, 2007 1:25:33 PM

I just don't see what in any of your blog entries should or could insight such rage. Your blog actually has useful information unlike 99.9% out there. Unreal, I hope you pull through and keep on blogging

Posted by: Baffled | Mar 28, 2007 1:26:23 PM


First I want to say that I wish my first foray to your site had been under better circumstances (I came across the link on another tech blog I read regularly). What people tend to forget in the modern world of blogs, wikis, and all things digital is that "the freedom to swing your fist ends at my nose." I have long lamented the decline of western civilization that unfettered consumerism and technology are bringing to us (and I am both a technophile and ardent supporter of free enterprise). Alas, I see no social solution or reversal to the many problems that too much FREE-speech is bringing us (i mean free here as in without thought or regard of consequences of that speech). I also find it ironic that the amendment in the Constitution was created to prevent persons from being persecuted for their thoughts, and now it is being used by some to provide cover for their own persecution of anyone they don't agree with or who doesn't agree with them. I hope you get this straightened out and behind you so that you may go on with y our life.

Posted by: Joel | Mar 28, 2007 1:33:42 PM

Kathy, you have a great voice. Please, keep it out there, somehow. This is a great blog, a great read, and you are clearly a gifted communicator. We will all be poorer for the loss of your voice.


Posted by: Jake - but not the one | Mar 28, 2007 1:36:25 PM


There are a lot of people (including me) who think this is a real shame. You have to be strong, we support you.

Best regards.

Posted by: Joel | Mar 28, 2007 1:42:51 PM

digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx digg suxx

Posted by: drwho | Mar 28, 2007 1:44:53 PM

Just hope you find the strength not to give up, not to give in to one or a few that should not, never, be given the power to silence a good voice like yours. Or any.

Posted by: Gaby Prado | Mar 28, 2007 1:58:51 PM

This is a crying shame. Sad miserable cowards have managed to use fear and intimidation to silence someone for what? Grins and giggles? Listen up people--WE ARE AMERICANS and we have fought wars over things like this. So allow me to take out my soap box for the following announcement: Hey jerks you get your thrills by picking on women? Why don't you show the courage of your brave words and show yourself/selves. Some of us on the internet know how to deal with bullies and bigots, like cockroaches you will all head for the darkness once some righteous angry light is shined upon your worthless carcass/carcasses. Lets show these effing S.O.B's what real AMERICANS do do those who are intolerant, those who would silence others, and those who use fear and intimidation just as a joke. I for one would have no trouble turning over any correspondence to any law enforcement outfit who would be interested in anyone sending or intimating death or bodily harm to myself, my family, or my friends. Or any author whose work I am now deprived of due to the idiot postings of COWARDS! Do you read that you spineless worthless watse of oxygen and time. And I live in the Pacific Northwest, and out here we have to tolerate a great deal, but we do know how to defend ourselves, so if you wish to speak about this in person, remember to come ready to defend your actions and your words. And do please remember the pen really is more powerful than any sword or any other weapon ever conceived. Free men cannot be ruled by force. In the words of Patrick Henry: "I know not what course others may take, but as for me; give me liberty or give me .." well you all know the rest.
Patrick Garrett

Posted by: garrettp | Mar 28, 2007 2:13:14 PM

Actually Chuck(le), "Therapist" can also be read as "The Rapist". Either way, I believe it is correctly pronounced "idiot."

I collect quotes the inspire me or help me frame things in a constructive way. Here are a few I found you might consider and hopefully they'll help you.

Again, we're all behind you. :-) Be strong and good luck!

Fear is the prison of the heart. -- Anonymous

Courage is the most important of all virtues, because without it we can't practice any other virtue with consistency. -- Maya Angelou

Within each of us is a hidden store of energy. Energy we can release to compete in the marathon of life. Within each of us is a hidden store of courage. Courage to give us the strength to face any challenge. Within each of us is a hidden store of determination. Determination to keep us in the race when all seems lost.
Roger Dawson --British Born American Negotiation Expert, Speaker, Author

Posted by: Roy Johnson | Mar 28, 2007 2:15:31 PM

Sorry if I'm missing something here, but where are the "death threats"? I see a lot of puerile, offensive and generally ignorant remarks, but nothing that constitutes a death threat. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not defending any of the remarks made against Kathy, and obviously I don't know all the ins and outs of the situation, but nothing presented here counts as a death threat, surely?

siftee's comment is just plain stupid - just the kind of crap that accumulates on any blog or forum: probably some (at least mentally) pre-pubescent guy who spends too much time at his computer. And I'd be the first to agree at the stuff posted at the other blogs was hugely distasteful and unforgiveable, but - and here's my point - it wasn't actually sent to Kathy. In fact, given the resulting furore, I'm guessing that she was probably never meant to even see it. Surely if you're going to actively threaten someone, then you at least have to actively let them know about it?

To be honest, I think there's a bit too much "righteous indignation" going on here without much foundation. Does anyone here *genuinely* believe that Kathy's life was actually in danger at any point? What happened to her was horrible, and there's no doubt that a lot of people behaved disgracefully behind her back and showed themselves up as being crass, ignorant a-holes - but I think we need to put into its proper perspective. Internet stalking is a real phenomenon, but the people who really suffer from it experience far worse than viewing someone else's blog and finding a poorly-photoshopped picture of themself with a pair of pants on their head.

This is more on a par with playground bullying. Stupid, senseless, and needlessly upsetting, but in no way dangerous.

Posted by: C. Thomas | Mar 28, 2007 2:16:52 PM

Didn't we do all this back in the eighties with USENET? Good advice from then is just as good now: sit on your hands, don't feed the trolls, hit the 'N' key, and the killfile is your friend.

And as for this 'celebrity', 'A-list' posturing nonsense: get some perspective, people. If it wasn't so funny, it'd be pathetic.

"Death of the 'net predicted: film at 11."


Posted by: Kay Dekker | Mar 28, 2007 2:20:05 PM

I've been reading the posts here by Joey, but also read the information posted on bullying online about sociopaths. He seems to be following every bullet point.

Posted by: Davey C | Mar 28, 2007 2:49:28 PM

wow. that is over-the-edge and distinctly pathological. Being reminded that guys like that are out there makes me want to get my deadbolt fixed, pronto.
Hang in there, you're a brave lady!
bobbie (ms.)

Posted by: bobbie | Mar 28, 2007 3:03:44 PM

I am not sure that you will read all the comments written here in support of you Kathy. I hope you do as every one is concerned about what has happend.

Don't let this stop you from taking part in the blogosphere, you would be missed! Always a shame that so few can wreck so much.

I have written a post to show my support!

Posted by: Bob Toovey | Mar 28, 2007 3:07:42 PM

Actually, Chuck, I don't know if "THE_RAPIST" is such a misnomer...

Posted by: Hey Chuck | Mar 28, 2007 3:14:33 PM

Buy a gun.

Posted by: jimmyb | Mar 28, 2007 3:20:40 PM

As noted before, if you stop going out, these sickos win.

Let them rage uselessly at their monitors, from their parents basements, surrounded by cheap pornography, empty soda bottles and fastfood wrappers.

You have a life, and a purpuse. Get out there and do it.

They, on the other hand, need to clean up their rooms RIGHT THIS INSTANT! Their mother, after all, isn't going to tell them again!

Posted by: Steve F. | Mar 28, 2007 3:21:33 PM

I just found your site, unfortunately because of this terrible series of incidents, but fortunately for me! This is a great blog, I will continue to read, and support your efforts. Hopefully you will continue to post -- the world needs you and others like you.

The depraved people responsible for these attacks are clearly mentally ill and should be treated as such, in a psych ward. They were probably abused by their parents and are just carrying on a sick family tradition.

I have personally witnessed the terrible effects of sexual abuse, denial and threats, and they can be permanent and debilitating to the victim. But discussing the issues and outing the perpetrators (where are the ISPs now to hand out home addresses? Perhaps the RIAA can help!) will help the sane members of our society come together and realize that we are really the majority.

Those responsible for such intimidation are the minority, and we can help prevent people from turning out like this if we treat mental illness early enough in life before they mutate into disgusting threat-mongers bent on destroying others' lives.

In solidarity,


Posted by: Damian Sol | Mar 28, 2007 3:27:29 PM

The popular conservative blogger and former investigative journalist, Michelle Malkin, had a post on this yesterday. She has long been a victim of stuff exactly like this.

Posted by: Stephen Oliver | Mar 28, 2007 3:52:38 PM

I thought the first "death threat" she posted was funny.

I think this lady needs to get over herself, people say some shit on the internet, cry me a river, build me a bridge and get over it.

Posted by: Lindsey | Mar 28, 2007 4:19:04 PM


No we're not. The web, and this blog, is a pretty international place.

@Dean A. Nash: "In this case, as in all terrorism cases, the best defense is to attack."

This is not a terrorism case(and sometimes attacking only creates more terrorists). This is a harassment case. All the war/Patriot Act/free speech limiting rhetoric that has been popping up here is scary, like it's all been waiting for an excuse to ooze out. (As the granddaughter of Germans who lived through both world wars, a fear of both irrelevant patriotic rah rah bravado and a turn towards stricter control in the name of "safety" is pretty well ingrained. I think the previous poster who said he's lived through a recent war might agree.)

@C. Thomas: "poorly photoshopped photo with a pair of pants on her head".

In the pic she's being gagged/suffocated like in a horror movie, and at first glance it looks like her head is being split open (before you see it's panties--and I'm not the only one to do a double-take). Does that not look deeply wrong to you?

I've seen some of the worst the web has to offer, and that pic to me IS crossing the line into bad creepville because it combines sex AND violence in a particularly psychopathic way. And again, Kathy blogs about SOFTWARE. If this is what you get for writing software books that don't please everyone, what do you get for blogging about more sensitive subjects?

Kathy, I doubt any measures will prevent this from happening to you again in some other form, because there will always be someone looking to be the shocker and the edgy-rebel against all the people expressing support. It won't even be about you anymore, it will be about riling up your perceived fan base.

But maybe it's been a good thing that there has been a catalyst to open a discussion on this subject. I at least am deeply tired of reading "SHUT YOUR WHORE SLUT HOLE" as a stand-in for actual criticism(or "satire"). Those who can't speak, only know how to hit.

Posted by: Spongefile | Mar 28, 2007 4:24:30 PM

Just when I thought it couldn't possibly get uglier or more upsetting, I read that post above by "Memphis Two".

The police need to nail these sick people. Anyone defending the kinds of posts we've seen, or denying that there was a hangman's noose, etc., is part of the problem.

Posted by: PKtm | Mar 28, 2007 4:30:16 PM

kathy that is NOT a noose, it's a pair of panties.

here's the orginal pic ..http://www.flickr.com/photos/lasadh/sets/72157594238235113/

Posted by: Michele | Mar 28, 2007 4:31:06 PM

Kathy -

Please don't give in. If you do, they win.


Posted by: Jeff Bonevich | Mar 28, 2007 4:45:13 PM

Kathy, it's obvious you have many supporters (myself included) but my advice would be to turn off the comments for awhile. Why enable these shitheads any longer?

Posted by: Crash | Mar 28, 2007 4:45:26 PM


Not to be a nitpicker, but ... the way I read the post, the noose photo & the panties photo are two separate things. Kathy just didn't include the former in the post.

Heck, I don't even wear panties and even I can tell a pair of panties from a noose ;)

Posted by: Boxers or Briefs | Mar 28, 2007 4:50:05 PM

Wow. I'm so, so sorry that this has happened to you and it just fuels me even more to continue fighting sexism and mysoginy in techno culture. You've probably never heard of me, but this past weekend I helped organize freEtech in San Diego, in response to the exclusivity, sexism and racism inherent in Etech and in the fact that it costs $1500. At freEtech we talked a lot about how sexism and racism function in techno culture and what can be done about it. Cory Doctorow, who's an editor of boingboing.net and is on the etech board, refused to post freEtech because it was too critical of Oreilly and he basically denied that there is a problem with sexism in techno culture, callimg our claims "baseless".

You can read about etech, read my emails to cory and read his replies here:

Hopefully we can all work together to make this culture more what we want to see, with less sexism, racism and homophobia. I hope that you can eventually find the strength and courage to continue engaging with this community, especially now that you've seen its problems. No wonder we have a huge problem with sexism in techno culture when the most famous people in that culture refuse to admit that there's a problem. Maybe next year you can come to freEtech and give a talk there.

Posted by: djlotu5 | Mar 28, 2007 4:58:34 PM


I don't know you from Adam but PLEASE do not EVER let this kind of stuff get to you. Even if the person/people get arrested they still win if you're scared. I have a feeling these people know you are an emotionally easy target and delight in getting a rise out of you. Be above it and be stoic. My neighbor accused me of stealing a radio from her car and promised "to shoot me when I least expect it." I went to the police station, filled out a report so it was on record but didn't sign it. I came back home and left a nice message under her door short and to the point "I filled out a police report where all I have to do is go sign it and they will arrest you. I don't want to do that and I won't do that as long as you keep to yourself, and in return I will keep to myself." I never thought she would do this (she was a gangsta chick - she'd whoop me up and down the street I'm sure) But nothing ever materialized from her end - perhaps the thought of being this/close to going to jail was enough to scare her or think long enough about me breaking into a car infrom of my house for all my neighbors to see. People suck. Some people, like 'Memphis Two' are downright frightening. But the reality is they are only words and those who love you will still love you and help you move on to the important things in life. We all make mistakes. We all have our weak moments. I sense 'Joey' is hurting immeasurably and never thought things would go this far. So at least take solace in the fact that I believe these people are now more scared of the mob mentality we humans are so prone to fall into than you have to be scared of a small group of bloggers.

Posted by: Dave K. | Mar 28, 2007 5:04:24 PM

imposition of order = escalation of chaos

While 'Memphis Two's post is generally just b*llsh*t (and probably cancelled for good reason by the morning), he is actually right on this point. Order can't be imposed, only inspired, if it's meant to work.

Posted by: Andreas Krey | Mar 28, 2007 5:07:09 PM

I had to leave internet blog life altogether for a while. I was semi popular. It was sort of fun. I made some friends and all of a sudden things went down hill. Someone decided they were going to mock my blog, my writings, my family, my pets. My blog was personal. I thought it was rude and it wasn't done for fun, it was mean and it was hurtful. It really upset me because I was suffering from depression due to a couple deaths in the family and being unable to walk for a while due to an accident.

I let it go but these people still kept attacking me and coming to my blog and pointing fingers at me for no reason. At first they told me that my blog sucked, then I had to take all the jabs because I let my feelings be known on the internet and if I didn't want anyone to comment I should not have a blog. The thing was, I didn't complain, they made it all up. I even made a joke out of it but they still came to make jabs at me. That wasn't as bad until they got even more popular and my little blog was being thrown around more and more and I had 15 minutes of fame that changed my internet life when the treats started. They found my house on google earth and offered up money for someone to kill my pets and beat the crap out of me. I left the internet. It was not worth it. My family and my pets meant more to me.

I am so very sorry you are going through this. I know the feeling... I cannot leave my name here and it is your choice if you want to publish this or not. I just wanted you to know that you were not alone. Even the nicest bloggers those blogs you've read for years can be mean people in disguise. Blogger abuse and bullying is a serious problem. It's about time someone stood up and shouted it out.

Sending many cyber hugs your way. Be safe, be loved and take care of yourself.

Posted by: rather not say | Mar 28, 2007 5:10:32 PM

For my two cents ...

... there are a lot of people out there who need technology to stay elite and unreachable to the normal so that they can lord it over us.

Your blog has (seriously) changed the way that I view software development and user interaction. Even if you decide never to blog again. Know that you have made a real difference.

Hope that this horrible episode turns up some good.

Posted by: Alan | Mar 28, 2007 5:12:06 PM

That photo is really, really disturbing. And I really hope that Memphis Two made up all that personal stuff (like your SSN). Otherwise the police need to track his sick ass down, and after the stalking charges are filed you need to sue him for slander. If that post is indicative of the other stuff you recieved, then I can see why you were so freaked out. That guy is a real sicko.

But at least, if you want to look on the bright side, he would be an idiot to do anything to you in person. Because believe me, if he can find info on you, the FBI and all the incensed people who are reading this can find info on him.

Posted by: holy cow | Mar 28, 2007 5:16:20 PM

I had my life threatened repeatedly when I was the GM of a major media site, publicly on our bulletin boards and privately in email. From that perspective I can relate to what Ms. Sierra is going through (btw, the way my incident progressed was: initial confusion borne of inexperience with the matter from the local police department, followed by involvement from the FBI, followed by an abrupt departure of the perp). There seems to be a fair amount of hysteria on both sides of this particular episode, though at the core, a debate about where the line protecting free speech should be drawn is always worth having. I think anybody interested in forming an objective opinion on this should take a hard look at the facts before jumping on either bandwagon. On the other hand, these accusations that Ms. Sierra has manipulated her situation to gain publicity and traffic seem way presumptuous, as well as mean-spirited, considering that she is undoubtedly in at least a partial state of shock. And even if there is a grain of truth in it, why begrudge someone who can find opportunity in misfortune. One thing I know is this: it's a good bet that any grown man who adopts for himself the moniker "rageboy" is an emotionally retarded sociopath.

Posted by: KMS | Mar 28, 2007 5:20:50 PM

THERAPIST, Memphis Two, and the rest of all you tough guys: Why waste all that testosterone on Kathy? Our Army and Marine Corps are looking for macho studs like you. Why, I'll bet you freeper studs would open the Mother Of All Cans Of Whoopass on the hajjis and end the war in a week! So c'mon, whatareya waitin' for? Your country and your divinely anointed Dear Leader need you! Recruiters are standing by!

Anyone? Bueller? BYOO-LURR?

*crickets chirping* :)

Posted by: Ivory Bill Woodpecker | Mar 28, 2007 5:22:03 PM

What Kathy has included in her post is not the whole story but rather the tip of the iceberg. If that were all I would just have put it off as some ignorable weirdo. Even the full load probably would not make me stay home, as the dogs that bark don't bite. But then, I'm six-something and not susceptible to the usual gender-specific threats.

There is a usenet tradition of not feeding the trolls. However I don't think that this applies to all kinds of misbehaviour. People obnoxiously dropping in with their personal favorite topic are best ignored. People promoting dubious or dangerous stuff need to be corrected. People doing sexual harrasment need to be stood up against. For ignoring them and letting them pass creates a culture that silently encourages this behaviour.

As it seems the sites hosting this venom were created by some rather popular inhabitants of the blogosphere. They also did not intervene when the sites, intended for higher deeds, turned into this, which amounts to tacit approval. I would not be surprised if Kathy skippd ETech for fear of running into those, or for simply not wanting to be with them.

While it is not rational to cancel ETech for fear, there are two things to consider: In that state of mind, the keynote may just not come out any good, independent of whether live or wired from home. And fear is...irrational. As a kid I once got shook up a bit by two street youths I was a bit too perkily to, and it took me some time afterwards until I would leave the house when I didn't absolutely need to. The heart doesn't really listen to ratio; peace of mind is achieved another way.

To quote from 'Legally Blonde': "If you're going to let one stupid prick ruin your life... you're not the girl I thought you were". But then, I would respect your decision if you don't consider leaving the blogosphere with its higher-than-expected ratio of jerks as ruin. Not that I wouldn't miss you, though.

Posted by: Andreas Krey | Mar 28, 2007 5:22:28 PM

I would say the "blogosphere" is the cesspit of the intranet and anyone who wastes any amount of time reading or writing "blogs" is a waste of cyber space in my mind.

So someone, either this "joey" character, if these people does actually exist, has done something wrong.

I don't know if this is real or a viral marketing publicity stunt.

I guess we'll never know the real story.

Good bye and good luck to you all.

Posted by: John Johnson | Mar 28, 2007 5:29:00 PM

Does anyone truly benefit from any of this? I seen so many of these flame wars over the last 12 years it's ridiculous.
The chronology is usually pretty much the same, things are said by either side, things escalate, readers from each side scream abuse for a while, and then it all just gradually fades away again. Neither side comes out smelling of roses. No one is enriched by the events, no one gains anything, no ones lives end up a little more fulfilled. Frankly, I'm getting a little tired of this kind of thing.

My only thought on this is this - What is it about Kathy that could have engendered such malignant spite from someone? I've been reading this blog now for about 6 months I guess, and I don't think I've read a single controversial statement on here. What on earth is there in this blog that ANYONE could find objectionable? I just don't get it.

Posted by: CodeMonkey | Mar 28, 2007 5:32:53 PM

That was a crazy past month for you. I think you are 100% right to get to the bottom of this and find out who is behind it and use the law to help.

But at the same time posting names, email address and ip addresses. That IP you posted could be dynamic and someone else could have it now and you have posted an IP for a computer who you don't know. Or if it is static it can be geocoded, now you have giving that persons location away.

I just don't think that this is the way to make your feelings clear on whats happened. If the police are actively looking into all of this, then maybe you should leave it to them. If one of the people you speak about is cleared and removed from enquiries then you could be in a police investigation for slander.

But what ever happens I hope you get to the bottom of all of it. :D

Posted by: David Rooney | Mar 28, 2007 5:33:33 PM

If that data Memphis Two posted is real, he should be reported to the authorities. Sociopaths like him will only quit their objectionable behavior when they suffer some adverse consequences for it.

Posted by: Ivory Bill Woodpecker | Mar 28, 2007 5:38:37 PM

TO: John Johnson
RE: The REAL Story

"I guess we'll never know the real story." -- John Johnson

Perhaps not. But it has been an interesting study in psychology.


[Understanding is a three-edged sword. -- Ambassador Kosh, Babylon 5]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto | Mar 28, 2007 5:43:32 PM

I was shocked to hear about the comments you rightfully contacted police about. Just the other day I refered a client to your blog as certain things would have been of value to him. Certainly I and my Company have benefited.

Free speech those comments aren't and Free Speech should mean you identify yourself and if your go over the line, pay the penalties.

Sexist comments directed towards anyone is inappropriate at best and no one should have had to put up with what you have.

Regards, From Canada

Posted by: Fred Cressman | Mar 28, 2007 5:59:19 PM

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