Threats, Freedom of speech, and rules in cyberspace

Tim O’Reilly’s statement that crazy people on the internet is a reflection of the nature of the people, not the internet, drew a thumbs up from me: “The fact there’s all these really messed-up people on the internet is not a statement about the internet.”

Ostensibly, it is the anonymity the internet affords that emboldened the vicious ones to so threaten Kathy Sierra that she dropped out of a conference. Savvy internet users know that no one is really anonymous on the internet. Threats are crimes that carry penalties. While I also agree it is time to professionalize what bloggers do to the extent that journalistic codes of ethics should apply, I do not believe threats come from lack of professionalism. Threats come from criminal behavior, and protection from threats is one of the useful things we hope our government would actually do for us.

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