There is a post on Doc Searls’ blog with an email from Alan Herrell who appeared to be the person behind many of the attacks on Kathy Sierra on the meankids.org blog. It seems that the posts published under his name or credited to him were published by someone involved in stealing Herrell’s digital identity and posing as him. Here is an excerpt:
I am no longer me. My main machine despite my best efforts has been hacked, my accounts compromised including my email. and has been disconnected from the internet.
How did this happen? When did this happen? shit doc, i don’t have a fucking clue. I thought i was pretty sharp. I guess not.
just about every online account that i have has been compromised. Most importantly my digital identity and user/password for typepad and wordpress. I have been doing damage control, for my clients. How the fuck i got to be part of this mess is revolting.
The Kathy Sierra mess is horrific. I am not who ever used my identity and my picture!!
I am sick beyond words over this whole episode. Kathy Sierra may not be on my top 10 list , but nobody deserves this filthy character assaination.
Searls said he has known Herrell for years and believes him based on his relationship with him over the years. That being the case the attack on Kathy Sierra, Mayram Scoble and others becomes more and more insidious.
“This is the Social Web. This is the point where the distinction between what’s going on offline and what’s going on online isn’t important anymore. Posting an anonymous comment is the same as yelling at someone across the street. The only difference is that its recorded for others to see.
And you know what? That might be a good thing. The silver lining is that this behavior is public, and the community is pushing back on itself. The right things are being said. “This is unacceptable.” “This is wrong.” “This is bullshit.” We won’t stand for this.”
Granted the Web resembles the offline world more and more and the distinction starts to fade and, yes, the online community is pushing back (and may be in an even stronger position to push back than ordinary citizens are offline for various reasons) but this is still horrendous. I think I agree with Porter and at the same time, I still feel ill. Maybe I am clinging to this notion of the Web as a happy place …
Update: Denise Howell has posted her thoughts on her ZDNet blog, Lawgarithms. Worth reading!
Update 2: Kathy Sierra and Christopher Locke have published statements about this incident in anticipation of a story which appeared on CNN yesterday (
anyone see the segment on YouTube/Google Video by any chance? could you post the link in the comments? found it!). Kathy accepts that the three well-known bloggers she initially mentioned and who established the meankids.org blog did not post the threats but she still feels they are responsible in some way for content published on that site.
The debate over the 2007 SA Blog Awards has been pretty intense. I had an opportunity to chat to Jonathan Cherry, the co-ordinator/facilitator of the SA Blog Awards for the last three years running about much of the criticism that has been levied against the voting process, the judges and the alignment of the stars when the nominations were announced. Jonathan made an effort to explain some of the processes in a comment on Wozafriday but I don’t think the good stuff has gotten out just yet.
What I understood from a fairly lenthy chat with Jonathan (and to the extent this is wrong, it is all my fault, I wasn’t taking decent notes) is that rather than being an annointing of the top blogs in the various categories in South Africa (and the top SA blog), the Awards are intended to be a showcase of local blogs or blogs by locals. The blogs that ‘win’ are not intended to be represented as the best blogs in South Africa but rather a best of the bunch on show. As Jonathan pointed out, there are some blogs in South Africa that have the most amazing content and yet they were not nominated by enough people to rise to prominence (obviously Wired Gecko is one of these blogs … kidding!). I am not referring to any blog in particular because I still think that visibility in the local blogosphere determines whether enough people are going to give your blog the thumbs up and get you on to the shortlists.
All this criticism about the whole process and we are missing the point. Events like the SA Blog Awards are meant to boost our collective profiles in South Africa and help us to a point where blogs become a firm part of the mainstream consciousness in our little dorpie. This morning’s segment on SABC 2‘s Morning Live is an indication that the Awards are having their desired effect.
In short, the SA Blog Awards is no about you, it is about us and showing the rest of the country what awesome content we publish.
(yes, I know this post doesn’t address all the issues raised – such as the voting process and how the process is judged – so if you have some productive suggestions to improve the whole thing for next year, speak to Jonathan)
There are two stories in the last week which bring home the cold, hard fact that many of the so called children going through schools today are not children, rather they are sociopaths. A sociopath is defined as "a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience." To take it a little further, antisocial personality disorder, according to Wikipedia, is the following:
Antisocial personality disorder (abbreviated APD or ASPD) is a psychiatric diagnosis in the DSM-IV-TR recognizable by the disordered individual’s disregard for social rules and norms, impulsive behavior, and indifference to the rights and feelings of others. The World Health Organization’s ICD-10 diagnostic manual uses dissocial personality disorder instead. The concept psychopathy (not to be confused with psychosis) generally denotes a related but more severe personality disorder.
Sociopathy is sometimes claimed to be a less formal synonym for this disorder based on terminology from an older edition of the DSM. Various experts have co-opted the terms psychopathy and sociopathy inconsistently to mark differences in meaning they believe are theoretically important although there is a consensus that both terms refer to personality disorders with prominent norm-breaking and socially disruptive behavior.
The first story is about a scary discovery made by a teacher at Paarl Gymnasium. He came across three students who were described in IOL as doing the following:
A teacher caught a girl, 14, being sodomised by a matric pupil, 17, while she was providing oral sex to a grade nine pupil aged 16 on the school premises, Son said.
Said the 16-year-old: "We were making a ‘sandwich’ when the teacher arrived. She was in the middle, I was in front and my friend was behind her."
The three students were expelled.
In the second story, the following video emerged from a class at a school I understand to be Grey High School. What seems to have happened is that the teacher was trying really hard to do his job and found his class less than interested in what he was trying to do and instead, they were intent on doing whatever their dear little black hearts inspired them to do. The end result is yet another distraught teacher who perhaps went a little too far in expressing his feelings about the situation. Listen for the noises the students are making while the teacher tries to talk.
What really blows my mind is that these students don’t seem to care what they are doing to this teacher. They have no apparent grasp of the notion that their teacher is a human being who is trying to do his job. Another interesting point which was made by a commentator on the post on Jo’blog is the following:
Did you hear them baiting him at the beginning? It was clearly a setup. A kid just *happens* to be recording the video as all the other kids cause shit and the teacher loses it? And then at the end of the video, the boy in the next seat says “can you bluetooth that to me?”. They knew what they were doing.
These students just give rocks. They do what pleases them with no regard for the consequences of their actions. They have no sense of responsibility. These are not children. They are sociopaths and I am not looking forward to this generation stepping up to the plate in a decade or so. Imagine one of these delinquents becoming President. You think George W Bush is bad?