Guardian: how did they get from this, to that?

Here’s the story. Damien Mulley blogs his reaction to the proposal that bloggers should sign up to a code of conduct in the wake of the threats to tech blogger Kathy Sierra. It’s a four letter word response. Next, it seems, another blogger misconstrues Damien’s post (presumably because of the proximity of the terms Code and ISO) as an attack on his product. Then it gets picked up and replicated by the Guardian’s Organ Grinder blog. Damien replies, tersely. A bad, and not very funny, version of Chinese whispers? Surely Damien is due an apology, at the very least!

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • joeCanuck

    “Surely Damien is due an apology, at the very least”.

    Yes indeed, and Ms.Kiss should be reprimanded for such a shoddy piece of work.

    WRT Damien’s point of view, I agree that we should look after our own conduct and people can sue etc. My view might change, of course, should there be a rash of cases where blog host’s are successfully sued and the highest courts uphold that.
    (No, I don’t have a blog.)

  • Mick, your link in the Organ Grinder comments doesn’t seem to be working.

  • The Dubliner

    A storm in a laptop.

    “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.” – Kathy Sierra

    Virtual death threats… oh dear. I wonder why she seems to think that they have any substance? Most likely, they were said to alarm her and her posting how alarmed she is will have the effect of soliciting for of them and not less.

    Why do people not take advantage of anonymity this medium offers, anyway? I’ve read people saying “I’m not anonymous” as if it confers a moral superiority upon them or renders then comments more valid, but I just think “What a putz!” It is very easy for people to libel others via this medium and very hard to seek redress. It is a far smarter option to keep the virtual and real apart.

  • merrie


    One of the death threats included Sierra’s home address and social security number. In those sorts of circumstances most people, including yourself o brave one, would likely be afraid.

    Like you, I opt to remain as anonymous as possible on blogs such as this and I was really annoyed when some Slugger participant kept referring to MissFitz by (apparently) her first name. Why do this when MissFitz had very clearly not displayed her first name in any of her posts.

    [Where is MissFitz nowadays? I miss reading her usually interesting posts.]

    In Sierra’s case anonymity was not really an option, as part of her blog entails selling her books and tech services.

  • The Dubliner

    Merrie, I’m not desmissing her sense of fear – she feels afraid, obviously.

    A US social security number is often used as an authenticator (i.e. apply for a loan or a credit card and the financial institution will ask for your number) associating it with your name and address, putting it on records, putting those records on file for shared access by other financial institutions and credit scoring agencies. In addition, you can reverse trace by doing simple searches from sites that offer that service over the Internet. So, given her name is in the public domain, anyone with a little knowledge and access to a modem can get the rest of the info.

    There is nothing to show that the threat is no-internet based i.e. the colour of her front door wasn’t posted (the broken wing mirror on the left side of her car*).

    Anyway, threats are illegal even over the net, so she can report them to the relevant authority. But she really sounds like she needs to quite the net due to her nervous disposition.

    *Purely invented, lest such detail actually exist.