Monthly Archives: March 2007

On The InterWebs, Trolls, and Kathy Sierra

First off, I am truly sorry to hear that Kathy Sierra has stopped blogging due to creepy, threatening trolls. Kathy, please do not silence your vital voice due to un-evolved sub-homo erectus scum (no offense to our ancestors).
My first response upon hearing the news via Twitter and then reading Kathy’s post on my mobile whilst driving to Las Vegas yesterday was to start singing old punk songs about self-defense and community unity. My second thought was “Let me at ’em with my steel toed panda shoes on…” My third thought was, “Hmmm… Self-Defense…Gun or karate?” Violence does not stop violence.
Here is my final response after a day of deliberation: Kathy, please keep blogging. The trolls win when you are silenced.
In March of 1998, Daniel Glass of Royal Crown Revue called me and asked, nee pleaded, that I take over the RCR mailing list. It was big and brawling. Old school punks plus hardcore swing dancers plus a bunch of tech geeks make for an interesting but at times explosive mailing list. I naively took it on and renamed the list “The Barflies Mailing List” after the RCR song. Up to 500 emails a day on subjects ranging from music to dancing to living to computers to bicycling to …. devolved into many of awful emails a day of 1 punk troll versus 1 swing-dancing-engineering troll plus their various factions warring.
In the first week of February of 2000, I took the list down and fled to Key West Florida and Nashville (Wahoo… BR549!) for a week. Upon my return, over 650 people hated me and not our 2 trolls.
In the 20/20 hindsight of 7 years, I can see that I should have trusted the community to fight for themselves and not let the trolls take over. Or maybe I should have IP banned the two trolls and let the community deal with the aftermath. What I know now is that I should have not taken the whole mailing list down.
Please, Kathy, report the event to the police (check), IP addresses and all. Ask the community of bloggers to help you (check). Wait for the community to rally and get the job done. Keep blogging about creating passionate users, as passionate users become passionate communities. Passionate communities make for an internet worth fighting for.