Saturday, March 31, 2007

The public in publishing

This past week, the blogosphere was abuzz with something disturbing. Death threats, sexual harassment and cyber-bullying of the lowest kind.

Visit blogger Kathy Sierra’s site and you can read about some of the things she’s been through. It’s not funny, not a dark sick joke. It’s just plain sick.

Personally, I think that if you commit a crime you have to accept the consequences. However, that’s difficult when the perpetrators hide under a veil of anonymity.

Something that’s all too common out here.

I’ve always believed that you have to stand behind what you write (or say, for that matter). How can the blogosphere purport to be an honest or ethical place if we don’t adhere to that principle?

Though it’s not at all the same situation, this made me think about the student from Birchmount Collegiate in Toronto, who was accused of suspended for posting a personal attack on a school administrator on Facebook.

Details of what he said are sketchy and hard to verify (the comments were taken down). A student protest supporting him turned violent (reminiscent of the ‘60s).

At first I thought the punishment was an overreaction. Students always bitched about their teachers or principals in private. And that’s to be expected.

The difference now? In the past his comments would have been part of a private conversation.

But as soon as a conversation becomes public (i.e. you publish and distribute your thoughts), it takes on a different tenor. And if slander or threats are involved, it becomes a lot more serious than blowing off steam.

1 comment:

Dayngr said...

it's not as difficult as you think. I'd bbet people would start snitching each other out pretty quickly if the FBI was involved which is entirely possible since internet crimes usually cross state lines.