Kathy Sierra has cancelled her appearance at eTech because of death threats she has received online. I am shocked to see this happen, and I am particularly shocked because some of the people who brought me to blogging in the first place are connected. I have seen a rise in mysogynistic nastiness recently, from the casual asides on lonelygirl15's youtube comments to attack blogs like Violent Acres, but this is way beyond that, and we need to help track down those making the threats.
The history I know is that Chris Locke and Jeneane Sessum began commenting on some of Tara Hunt's posts, particularly this one, and when the conversation got heated, and 'mean kids' were discussed, Chris (and some others) set up meankids.org as a place to comment without being deleted. It became a place to post ad hominem rants.
In a post there attacking Jay Rosen's Assignment Zero, Frank Paynter pointed to the unclebobism.wordpress.com blog that Kathy mentioned specifically as making threats. Paul Ritchie mentions specifically being invited to unclebobism as the successor to meankids, then posts links to his vandalism of Kathy's Wikipedia entry. (Some links are to Technorati caches of deleted posts).
Thats what I have found out, hopefully those who know more will talk about it too.
When I am at conferences like eTech, I always pay extra attention to the female speakers, because I know how much extra work they have had to do to get up there in this field. I can't believe it has come to this.
Update: Chris and Frank have posted, distancing themselves from the comments. However, if "You Own Your Own Words", how about identifying the 'owners' of the threats and nasty posts on the blogs they administered?