In the light of events post-Kathy Sierra, harassment towards bloggers seems to take back seat because people tend to forget what doesn’t concern them. Worse yet are the smaller bloggers that have yet to make any name in the public. The best they can do is try and ignore it and hope that it goes away, but for what the net is worth, some things can be downright scary for them.
A friend of mine, Sharina has that problem right about now. For the past month, her search results pointing to her blog has been inundated with lewd references to her. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was a one off thing or that it’s just some random words strung together. However, what does scare her is the fact that the searches have been very specific, targeting her name, what she does and till recently, her sibling’s name as well.
To date, she has removed all instances of her picture on her blog as well as links to close personal friends and family. Which is the best that she can do for now considering she is still willing to go on unfazed by this incident.
The thing is that things like this aren’t just isolated events. There are more people out there that experience the same thing, almost always women who blog. The anonymity of the net makes it hard to trace the perpetrators, what’s worse are the people who hide behind the mask of free speech making these derogatory and lewd remarks. There is wide gaping chasm between responsible free speech and twisted stupidity and you don’t have to pass your ACCA examination to see which side things like this are on.
So what can you do when bloggers like this feel harassed by people on the net? I don’t know. Legally and technologically, it’s a pretty big thing to go about searching for the identity of the people who commit such perversions. The Kathy Sierra case was big enough because she was the target of a death threat as well and being a big name in the technological world, people would definitely take notice. So what off the smaller folks of the blogosphere? Is there anything that can be done for them?
Events like what Sharina goes through while small has the capability to escalate into something bigger and more sinister. Are we willing to turn a blind eye towards things like that until after something goes horribly wrong? What do you do? How do you protect people this way?
I leave your thoughts in my comments.