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Monday, April 02, 2007

Joint statements from Kathy Sierra and Chris Locke

Those following this story should read the joint statement issued by Kathy Sierra and Chris Locke (one of the people she cited as promoting the cyberbullying incident against her) over at Chris' site.

The quotes from Chris that resonates most with me:

"The material Kathy quoted on her site was hurtful and ugly. I do not excuse it or think it should be excused. Some of the things that were posted about her were admittedly frightening, and far beyond tasteless....These postings prompted the decision to delete both blogs (and not, as has been reported, Terms of Service violations, which were assessed retroactively)...

There is much more to say about this experience that can't be unpacked in such a brief statement. .... Misogyny is real -- and vile. Violence against women is wrong. It must not be tolerated. This issue should be explored and discussed, not swept under the rug, not rationalized away. At the same time, we need to look closely and carefully at the implications for free speech. The First Amendment allows and protects language that many find noxious. But there are forces in the world at present -- not least in the US -- that would leap at any opportunity to limit speech or even abolish certain forms of it. Crucial as is the current debate about hate speech directed at women, it would be tragic if this incident were used as a weapon by those who would limit free and open exchange.

Kathy says:

We've become so desensitized to vile comments on the net that many people can't comprehend why I would feel threatened. But if we dismiss every cruel, vile, sexually threatening comment as simply the work of an anonymous troll, we will no longer be able to recognize a real threat. ...

That said, Chris and I are in complete agreement that it would be tragic if this incident were used as a weapon by those who would limit free and open exchange. ...The overwhelming, incredible support so many have given to this issue makes me very hopeful, and the positive result of all this has been the conversation that's taking place right now, between so many people. This could be a very important moment if we stop, think, and talk about the kind of future we really want online, and make certain we don't give up something more important in the process.

As we move online to live we must also learn to get along in a respectful, civilized way. I often think that one of the greatest problems in schools today is those who are not willing to accept responsibility for their actions...there are so many excuses thrown around today it seems.

At the core of this debate is accountability for what one says online.

I am accountable to my family and my curriculum director all of who read my blog. It is important to understand that we will not always agree but if we say something, someone somewhere in our sphere of influence should be holding us accountable.

So where are those who are accountable in this case?

Right now, everyone denies any knowledge or any part in the images or threats posted to Kathy. Somewhere there are some people who are not accepting responsibility and are sitting back laughing at all the press that has arisen. They feel invincible.

You reap what you sow

I am a farm girl. When my daddy planted peanuts, he didn't miraculously harvest corn. If he was foolish enough to plant weeds, guess what, he'd get a field full of weeds!

Likewise, I truly believe that we harvest what we plant and indeed one day, these people who have done this act and who do any other acts of this type will indeed reap what they sow.

I know from my own experience being picked on and bullied for a long, tear ridden four years of my elementary/ middle school life, that by retaining my positive attitude, not attempting vengeance and learning to trust the good Lord to handle justice, that I have truly been most blessed. (and sticking to my beliefs and who I am!)

In this case, it may take years, but eventually, these people will reap what they have planted. ("Those who live by the sword die by the sword" also comes to mind. Also "If a man rolls a stone he best beware lest the stone roll back upon him.")

I'm ready for Kathy to start blogging again.

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