Popular Blogger Cancels Tech Conference Appearance Due to Death Threats

Bloggers receiving death threats? Can’t happen, right? After all, blogosphere denizens are all intelligent, thoughtful people with intellectual capacities and moralities far beyond most mortals, correct?

Well, think again, because a programming instructor/blogger from Colorado by the name of Kathy Sierra cancelled her appearance at the O’Reilly ETech conference in San Diego after receiving astoundingly horrid death threats via e-mail and postings at a number of rather debased websites.

What follows is a disturbing tale as the creator of the “Head First’ series of books about computer programming posted Monday at her “Creating Passionate Users” blog (h/t Instapundit). However, the reader is cautioned to proceed with care, for her account is raw, vulgar, and extremely shocking:

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.

How disgraceful.

Those interested should continue here. But be advised: this is some very disturbing stuff.

*****Update: Mitch Wagoner of Information Week weighed in:

The sort of language used against Sierra is outrageous, unacceptable, and, unfortunately, it's become normal on the Internet. Name-calling is routine, and death threats aren't particularly unusual. It's hard to read any public forum on the Internet without coming away wanting to wash your hands.

Internet users as a community need to take a stand on this one. We need to let Sierra know that she has our complete support, and we need to let the people writing these vile messages know that their behavior is simply unacceptable.

Moreover, the owners of the forums where these threats were made need to take a stand. They need to cooperate with police in investigating the threats, and help bring Sierra's attackers to justice.

Hear, hear!

Noel Sheppard's picture