The Stones of Time is on my side

Blogocide has been trying to understand what happened at MeanKids, attemping to determine if the accusations are fair, and asking how to avoid similar problems in the future.

I commented at the site and was asked for my opinions, both reproduced here with minor spelling corrections.

Few people have actually asked for my side of the story and opinions of events. When they did, I happily explained what I could and trusted that the questioners would remain objective and not use my words out of context. To that goal, I haven’t yet been let down. While I’m impressed that there really are people interested in the objective truth, I find there simply aren’t enough of them.

In the original Blogocide post, “Idid” described their own observations after watching the (4/2/2007) CNN segment involving Chris Locke and Kathy Sierra:

…In so many ways the mistakes made by real psychotics on the internet will likely lead to increased detection and arrest… but we should be aware of the dangers of “false positives” due to miscommunication and vilification of innocent social critics… possibly “Not Safe for Work” social critics with somewhat warped views on what is funny and acceptable and what is not.

Even the dreaded “Joey” made clear attempts to explain himself on Kathy’s blog and that he meant her no harm. He’s just joining the chorus of crude anti-shiny frat boys. It ain’t pretty but it probably wasn’t intended to strike fear in the target… it was intended to make the usual audience laugh.

Humor is typically about exploring the borders of what is and is not socially acceptable. …

Idid’s characterization is suitable and fair. My comment was never intended to be harmful and was, in fact, taken out of context. Other comments I made on that same thread included an attempt (although lame) to write a story of love and beauty, inspired by a one liner quote from Kathy, and finding obvious innuendo in a crayon drawing.

In response, I then left the following comment:

Seriously, had I known she misunderstood my comment back on 3/15, I’d had asked for it to be deleted and apologized. No harm was ever intended. But given where things ended up, and the strange twisted path the drama took, I can now only explain and analyze. I think far more harm has subsequently been intentionally created but I don’t dare try to figure out why.

Internet Bullying. Nice framing of criticism, indeed.

I have come to realize that nearly every blog author who posted regarding the Sierra situation each did so through their own conditioned viewpoint. Each distorted, twisted, and changed the focus for their own needs or to fit whatever they considered was the problem on the Internet. The entire reaction is a subject worthy of book.

Few blog authors were objective and asked questions. Even after commenting on many blogs, it was my experience that most simply discarded or deleted what I wrote or further attacked my own explanations without bothering to ask additional questions. That brings up a sort of irony: so many bloggers complain about the bias of real-world media without inspecting their own. It is a very sad situation; but nonetheless, it is part of the wonders of free speech.

Thus, it was to my surprise to find that Idid left a reply asking for more information (portions omitted for brevity):

Unfortunately you are destined to be tied to the noose comment. Your statement that there was another Kat named Jane and that you also extended Kat to Kathy puts you in a really tough place.

I’d like to hear more of your view of the mean kids experiment…

..I like to try to understand all points of view.

Idid’s pun is correct. But I know exactly what I meant when I wrote my comment to Kat and so I replied (spelling corrections made and additional emphasis added):

I do know the intention of the comment I wrote. I live with complete honesty; always. My comment may have been ill conceived and placed in the wrong place and seen as directed at the wrong person, but those things are what it was. Stating this explanation now is not an ad-hoc attempt to cover my fanny. If I did wrong, I’d jump out the window myself and save the executioner his bullets. As an aside, (please don’t think I’m OJ stating it this way) even if I did intend it toward the real Kathy and not the fictional Kat (which I hate typing, Kathy comes off the fingers better), I still don’t see the implied “death threat”. That said, I would never have written such a comment to a real, actual person; but I can understand some confusion.

My confusion starts when Unclebobism was closed. When MeanKids died, someone could have mentioned that Kathy was complaining and partly over something I wrote (as well as the original post) instead of never bringing it to my attention. I really had no idea of the history between Kathy and Frank (far before MeanKids too). But there is no doubt in my mind I would have apologized right then and there (on 3/15) had I known of the misunderstanding. It wasn’t hard to track me down and never hid my other blog locations nor email addresses; so perhaps you can understand my confusion and new suspicions.

I don’t know who made the original post with the objectionable combination of graphics; as a blog viewer, I did not find it threatening in anyway to anyone and it lead me to read more of Kathy’s writings where I soon discovered she mixes a type of new-age rhetorical spirituality with computer science. Some of her writings, in my opinion, are very open to satirism: “code like a girl”, “beauty drives the computer industry”, and it wasn’t hard to find the innuendos in a diagram titled “canyon of pain”. If I were paranoid, I’d say it all feels like a darn setup. I’m not paranoid, it was a strange collection of odd synergies mixed up with childishness and, frankly, fun between people I was enjoying interacting with.

If you must call me “mean”, feel free to do so because sometimes I am — but only with blunt words when people put out meaningless rhetoric. I’m not mean by use of physical means and my avatar was that of a three toothed harmless person with a giant, friendly smile.

Either way, Alan (or his hacker?), if he made the postings (I have no way of knowing) is being unfairly singled out because of the original framing and linking of everything at MeanKids and UncleBobism together with a very nasty, but separate threatening comment. No one condones real threat messages; but those pictures are now part of the hysteria and are unfairly superimposed on a real threat. I dread some gun-ho prosecutor going after me or Alan all to make a political name for himself because this story has gone so far out of control and the center of so much attention.

MeanKids wasn’t misogynous and far more posts were made about men (I actually generated a list to verify that point). The M-word *never* crossed my mind. Though, while the Maryam post may have been mean spirited with graphic sexual language, my take on it was that there was a deeper point about the usefulness of some quotes such as, “it’s all about the content” which now appears to have gone unnoticed. If the M-word applied, it *may* have applied to that particular post since the issue was a female one (pregnancy). Or maybe it’s me. Maybe I just don’t read between the lines like others claim they can? Then again, if Dick Cheney were to blog about the medical care he receives at tax payer expense, I could imagine a similar post made about him. Naturally, Maryam isn’t at the same social level as Dick Cheney; so yes, bringing her up was was unfair and mean. (I’d even consider apologizing to her on the behalf of others unknown for that posting.)

Has anyone looked at the original photograph, recently identified by the original photographer, showing a humorous self-portrait wearing the actual underpants on her own head? I think if people stepped back and took a look at that interesting photograph, they might even realize that whoever used it to edit a PR shot of Kathy may have done so in the spirit of the photograph, and not as a threat. I’m just saying, I don’t know either way: but calmer heads need to prevail.

Personally, I enjoyed both MeanKids and Unclebobism. The criticism and satirical nature were thought provoking and lead me to study many technology bloggers I never heard of. The Dick Cheney artwork was brilliant. I learned many new things there (words, metaphors, people). Sometimes I even disagreed with the original posting after reading more about the person being criticized. For instance, after a quick review of some of Dave Winer’s blog postings, even though I thought he sounded like he alone invented the Internet, I also found him an interesting writer discussing useful topics. Oddly, I’m not a critical judger of individuals, only their specific works. But I admit to be entirely lost when Frank hit the chopping block — Frank is beyond my ability to understand.

It was nice having one site with so much opinion and being exposed to magical technology thinkers greatly helped me jump back into the Web 2.0 world — which I’ve avoided since retirement.

The experience was enjoyable; but, in retrospect, simple guidelines or more communications could have helped. So would more intellectual honesty and less group-think or fear of complaining on a blog which, duh, complained.

Ironically, it may have been the labeling of yours truly by Frank which helped set the tone for Kathy’s accusations and may be the part of the puzzle which I don’t understand.

Finally, I must add this: author’s who write with less childlike magical thinking might also find they receive less childish criticism of their works. Really, rhetoric always gets humanity into trouble…

61 Responses to “The Stones of Time is on my side”

  1. Bert Bates Says:


    Below are a few responses to your essay. (“J:” – quotes from you, “B:” my responses.)


    J: My comment was never intended to be harmful and was, in fact, taken out of context.

    B: You later state that you made a “typo” and “Kathy” was supposed to be
    “Kat”. Let’s say, for the moment, that we accept that explanation. Based on your “typo”, are you saying that you were taken out of context? Your post said “Kathy”, that WAS the context of your post.

    J: My confusion starts when Unclebobism was closed. When MeanKids died, someone could have mentioned that Kathy was complaining and partly over something I wrote (as well as the original post) instead of never bringing it to my attention.

    B: A fact that should have been in Kathy’s original post, but wasn’t, was that Kathy did in fact, ten days before she made her post, write to both Jeneane and Frank expressing her concerns and fears about the posts and comments in question.

    J: I did not find it threatening in anyway to anyone and it lead me to read more of Kathy’s writings where I soon discovered she mixes a type of new-age rhetorical spirituality with computer science.

    B: This commentary seems completely gratuitous in this essay, but that said, I’d like to know how you came to that conclusion. It seems to me that you’re guilty of practicing exactly what you decried earlier in this essay. You said “That brings up a sort of irony: so many bloggers complain about the bias of real-world media without inspecting their own.” How much did you study Kathy’s work before you decided you were up to the task of “satire”?

    J: MeanKids wasn’t misogynous…

    B: I’d like to hear you review the posts and comments made about Maryam and explain in detail how those don’t fall under the definition of misogyny. Based on your use of the terms “rhetorical” and “misogyny” I wonder if you’re using the same dictionary the rest of us are using.

    J: So would more intellectual honesty and less group-think or fear of complaining on a blog which, duh, complained.

    B: Quoted from the Corporate Anti Hero blog (

    “Jeanne Sessum seems upset that associating with people who make death threats (however minimally) has led to her being associated with people who make death threats.”

    J: Finally, I must add this: author’s who write with less childlike magical thinking might also find they receive less childish criticism of their works. Really, rhetoric always gets humanity into trouble…

    B: A little background information might be in order. (And frankly Joey, almost all of this information is readily available to anyone who cares to do even the tiniest amount of research.) Kathy has studied learning theory for years. Sun Microsystems formally recognized her as one of their top three Java instructors, worldwide. This evaluation was made based entirely on customer (student) reviews of her teaching. Kathy founded, one of the most successful technology sites on the web.

    The CPU blog was started, in part, to share and teach the theory behind the slew of bestselling technology books that Kathy has co-authored. Let me emphasize that we’re not talking about new-age, feel-good books, we’re talking about hard science kinds of topics like Java, HTML, and software design patterns. These books aren’t bestsellers because they sling rhetoric, they’re bestsellers because when people read them they actually learn something. Finally, I would speculate that Kathy’s blog didn’t have a technorati ranking of around 60 (before the meankids showed up), because it slung rhetoric. I would speculate instead, that her blog was popular because people were actually able to apply the principles she wrote about.

    In conclusion, I’ve recently been accused of being passive-aggressive. When I researched that phrase, the definition that might apply is that I might not appear angry, when if fact I am. So, let me be clear, I am extremely angry Joey, at you and your brethren. It took Kathy several years of hard work to establish her blog. Her writings are based on years and years of study and practice. Kathy never asked to be included in your hateful games, and you and yours give real satire and criticism a bad name. Over the years, Kathy and I have taken a lot of healthy, thoughtful criticisms of our books. What meankids and unclebob coughed up doesn’t qualify for anything more than mindless, cruel, hateful bile.

  2. Joey Says:


    I’m happy you finally wrote.

    However, what bothers me with your comment, Bert, is your lack of bringing up the subject of “death threats”. Nowhere do you mention, even if it were all a misunderstanding, that you or Kathy “were scared”. Not once. It is disturbing because if I were in the position of a husband defending his wife from death threats, I don’t think I could avoid mentioning the original claims to rage — not for a second.

    I also found your own passive aggressive concerns self evident — the only time you even mentioned “death threats” was in an underhanded attack on Jeneane and by copying someone else’s text. Passive and aggressive. I’d agree.

    Your comment appears focused mostly at anger over criticism, not “death threats”. If all of your name dropping is a true indication of the reception Kathy’s publications receive, then that alone grants me an even larger license to criticize and I don’t necessarily need your guidance on the best way to do that. You are more than entitled to criticize my criticism; however, what you wrote strongly suggest you are finally acknowledging the true reason for your rage at MeanKids: criticism.

    Further, if you have so much understanding of the brain, you should understand the difference between a typo and using formal versus informal names or even mentally transposing names. Writing this, I want to call you “Ernie”. I never once said I made a typo, rather, that I often referred to “Kat” as “Kathy”. I’m not sure where you dug up the term “typo”. Was that an accidental or intentional typo of your own?

    Granted, on 3/15 Frank should have informed me of your complaint and I wish that he did. But by 3/26, you and Kathy knew darn well I wasn’t anonymous, was over a thousand miles away and at home at the time. In fact, you knew quite a bit more about me.

    Lets be honest here, Bert, you knew exactly who I was on 3/15 and beyond. You visited and continued to visit my other blogs, especially my personal family blog starting on 3/15. I hope you enjoyed looking at pictures of my step-kids and young grandchildren. I’m not sure what to make of the obsessive interests you took of my wife in our photo albums.

    Prior to 3/27, my family blog contained detailed contact information including my name, address, and home phone number. Again, you knew this as early as 3/15. I trust you weren’t the one who placed anonymous calls to my home. At any time, you could have contacted me or even had law enforcement do so on your behalf, since, after all, you and/or Kathy accused me of making “death threats” and claim to have involved the police.

    Please don’t act like you didn’t know who I was on or by 3/26 when Kathy portrayed “Joey” as some anonymous entity who she claims may have created the pictures which bothered her. Please don’t further act like you didn’t realize who I was until I left a comment explaining the context of my comment on Kathy’s own blog on 3/26.

    I’ll easily stipulate that Kathy may have one anonymous commentator from her own blog who may have threatened her; and surely you’ll continue to claim there were even more people to be scared of: fine, just correct the misrepresentations you and/or Kathy already stated regarding me and others from MeanKids and UncleBobism.

    I will repeat myself: You’ve known who I was since 3/15 yet decided to portray me, intentionally, as some frightful anonymous entity on 3/26 and beyond. What else are you not being forthright with? You and/or Kathy played with language, distorted the facts, and created a masterful work of marketing when either of you juxtaposed an entire collection of criticism with the nasty emails you may (or may not have) received elsewhere.

    All I ask is that you and Kathy post a retraction and clarify, in a truthful manner, your previous statements and accusations and stop using the emotional mumbo-jumbo to improperly merge criticism with any real death threats you may have received. Continued misrepresentation does a disservice to both criticism and people who actually receive horrible death threats.

    The truth will eventually come out. That much I’m certain of. I’m kindly begging you to end the game you are playing. Please clue in before this entire things gets so out of control that you are left with no face-saving means to escape intact with your dignity.

    Note that I continue to ask that you not release my full name, address, phone number, or email address regardless of anything written above.

  3. Joey and Bert (Kathy's Business Partner) Trade Views! « Blogocide Says:

    […] Read Joey and Bert’s exchange. […]

  4. Bert Bates Says:

    One thing at a time Joey.

    First off, my responses in this thread do not constitute all of my feelings about this situation. I never indicated that they did. I would ask you not to claim to know what I think or what I feel.

    Your guesses about our adversion to criticism are laughable. First off, what was happening at meankids and unclebob really stretches the meaning of the word “criticism”. In most people’s books, ad hominem attacks don’t really qualify as criticism. Secondly, our books and Kathy’s blog have been criticized over and over again, any real criticism coming from meankids or unclebob wouldn’t have ruffled a feather.

    It’s true that sometime in mid-March Kathy, who was very concerned, started trying to track down who was responsible for which posts and comments. Various connections gave her clues that allowed her to find your website, but that proved nothing. Since there was so much posing going on at meankids there was no way to determine who contributed what. In fact, we still don’t know who authored all of those comments and posts because the authors are hiding behind their anonymity.

    In fact, let me quote directly from Kathy’s post: “They posted a photo of a noose next to my head, and one of their members (posting as “Joey”) commented “the only thing Kathy has to offer me is that noose in her neck size.””

    On a site like meankids, using a name like “Joey” proves absolutely nothing about who “Joey” really is. Can you see that in the cruel, twisted circuses of meankids and unclebob your true identity was well hidden?

    Just for the sake of clarification, can you tell me what facts Kathy or I misrepresented, or what facts we distorted.

    I will repeat to you, we still don’t know who authored all of these so-called “criticisms”.

    So, these sites were created. In the past, Kathy tried ignoring your gang, that didn’t work. Then she tried cajoling them, that didn’t work. She tried writing to them with her fears, and that didn’t work. So now you cry “foul” when Kathy outs a commenter “posing as “Joey”?”

    Are you really crying “foul”?

    Finally Joey, just as a show of good faith, I’d like to hear a little more about your real criticisms of Kathy’s work. Where exactly do you find “new-age rhetorical spirituality” in Kathy’s writing?

  5. idid Says:


    Just to help with terms: a commenter on a blog site is not a member. A commenter on an open blog is a “commenter”. Membership implies a level of agreement/ownership wit the blog’s posts. You are a commenter here, as am I. No membership is required.

    Joey should answer for the comment. I know he has tried to explain it on Kathy’s post and wanted her to understand his intention. She didn’t seem to buy it and mentioned that lied about it.

    Joey seems pretty open about his involvement and intent.

    I hope you guys can discuss this and if necessary agree to disagree. Do you really want him to criticize Kathy’s work at this time?

  6. Chris Davis Says:

    I am a late comer to this, not having anything to do with meankids or unclebob or anything else…but I find it fascinating how Bert is representing things. In particular let’s examine this exchange:

    J: MeanKids wasn’t misogynous…

    B: I’d like to hear you review the posts and comments made about Maryam and explain in detail how those don’t fall under the definition of misogyny. Based on your use of the terms “rhetorical” and “misogyny” I wonder if you’re using the same dictionary the rest of us are using.

    As I understand it one person said somethings that were pretty awful in my opinion and I would agree to being misogynistic. Does that make the entire site misogynistic?

    My point to Joey throughout the aftermath of all of this series of of events is that taking down the sites was the wrong thing to do. Rather than the community speaking up and saying that this was not acceptable behavior, the message is that it is ok…just don’t do it in public. It also leads to the lack of space for the development of shared and mutual understandings. Unless you write for O’Reilly and they turn on their PR machine to get you on CNN.

    I find it interesting that Bert finds himself better situated to understand Joey’s intent and context than Joey himself. Maybe Bert can explain why Joey should lie about the context and intent to his posts? Joey has made it clear that he does not like Kathy’s writing style, and he has questioned her motives in all of this, so why would he claim that his post was something other than what Bert claims it to be?

    What does Bert give up if he accepts Joey’s explanation? Does that weaken the argument that Kathy is a victim? I would think that the threatening posts to Kathy’s web site would sufficiently address that issue. This reminds me of Anakin Skywalker when he says that if you are not with him, you are against him. Life is seldom so black and white, and it raises a flag for me whenever someone tries to makes it appear to be so.

    Does someone have a watch? Has it been 15 minutes yet?

  7. Joey Says:


    Truthfully now, my identity was never hidden. You know this well because you yourself had no trouble finding me on 3/15 and continued monitoring me every other day until 3/28. I mean, I have the logfiles to show that. But certainly, I won’t deny your point that you couldn’t tell who was writing what, not entirely.

    To me, rightly or wrongly, it isn’t what you say, it is what you omit to say that I find interesting. But you are correct, if I were to finely parse Kathy’s original post, then either your or my evaluation could be reasonable interpretations of it. The specific non-specificness of her post was magical and can’t easily be refuted without an equally valid counter argument also present.

    I’m neither a marketing person nor graceful with language. I’m direct and to the point; a weakness in your world, I suppose. But let us not mince words; we have different views of the intention of Kathy’s post. Leave it at that, can you?

    If you’re asking me to clarify my satirical criticism will you and Kathy also clarify your charges and accusations? You want the person who posted the horrible comments on her blog, not the people who satirically criticized her work or the marketing PR surrounding it. Will you make an effort to clarify that point?

    We each have to live with our own mistakes. I’m comfortable with mine and was once prepared to even say I was sorry for the mistaken interpretation which was beyond my control to predict. While apology is now difficult, it is not entirely out of the question especially if you are prepared to do your part.

    I have extended the olive branch many times now. Each time it is ignored or toss back in my face. I’m extending it again by proclaiming that I live a fairly open book life using as much honesty as anyone possibly can: I know what I meant when I made my comment to Kat and stand behind it even if I partially look like a fool doing so. It is/was the truth.

    Best of Luck,


  8. Joey Says:

    Actually, Chris, in the original text above, I had no trouble making the distinction between a specific post versus an entire blog being classified as misogynistic, to wit:

    MeanKids wasn’t misogynous and far more posts were made about men … Though, while the Maryam post may have … If the M-word applied, it *may* have applied to that particular post since the issue was a female one (pregnancy).

    I guess Bart didn’t read the entire paragraph.

    Remember that scene from Star Trek II just before Khan destroyed the USS Reliant? OK, after that, what did Kirk say? ;)

  9. idid Says:


    Who is “Kat” (also referred to as “Jane”)?

    Was this another regular commenter in a comment thread that day?

    Or is this the “Kat Herding” faux persona you we’re referring to?

    It would make sense that when the police were mentioned that documents would be destroyed/deleted in an effort to protect one or more people from prosecution. Efforts were made to appease Kathy/Bert but they didn’t help alleviate all her fears due to other e-mails, comments, etc.

    Bert in all good faith would like to insure that thi snever happens again and maybe insure that someone pays for Kathy’s current suffering.

    Time will heal and hopefully Kathy can recover her will to sell her ideas and join the conversation once more. I think she could if she:

    1) Doesn’t seek out ugly criticism. Most celebrities avoid reading career damaging reviews and don’t open attack critics… it fuels negative press.

    2) Has all comment moderated to prevent trolls from taking the stage.

    3) Has her e-mail prescreened by a co-worker or friend to also eliminate trolls.

    4) Surrounds herslef with friends and positive business people.

    She has a “brand” and should rightly advance her ideas under that brand and protect her sensitive, artistic nature from people and text that impact her state of mind.

    I wish her well as I’m sure you do Joey. She seems like a truly nice person who might not be ready for such a public life. Business doesn’t have to be so public.

  10. Bert Bates Says:

    Hi idid –

    I appreciate your interest in making distinctions – in this case the comment in question was next to a picture. While I suppose there is a small assumption on my part, I think it’s not a huge stretch to infer that a comment coupled with a picture is most probably a post.

    Chris: As you say, the sites are gone now, and the web caches give us only incomplete views. That said, both Kathy and Maryam were the targets of several misogynistic attacks, and although I can’t prove it this second, I honestly believe that there were other targets as well.

    Chris and Joey: To be fair I might have missed an apology from Joey. What I remember Joey saying was that he didn’t mean to threaten Kathy, that in fact he meant to type “Kat” – in effect a weird typo. In any case, the end result was, in Kathy’s words: “They posted a photo of a noose next to my head, and one of their members (posting as “Joey”) commented “the only thing Kathy has to offer me is that noose in her neck size.” ”

    Remember, we didn’t know who “Joey” was – we didn’t know for sure at the time, and we didn’t know even ten days after Kathy wrote to Jeneane and Frank with her fears. I suppose it’s conceivable that the site owners did a mashup using a couple of pictures and a commenter’s comment…but if the commenter didn’t intend that wouldn’t said commenter speak up? I certainly wouldn’t want a comment like that mis-attributed to me.

    As far as what do I give up? Understand that Kathy never did anything to this crew. She tried everything to resolve this situation. Some people say, just ignore it – well that didn’t work. She tried to cajole them – that didn’t work. She tried to write to them, and that didn’t work. I’m sorry, but after that, all that Kathy did was to post facts about certain people’s involvement in these horrible sites (information that anyone could have found on the web), and they all cry “foul”. I think I’d accept an honest apology, but to my knowledge, all we’ve gotten is an apology for some wildly improbable explanation for what happened. These folks scared us to death, and effectively shut down Kathy’s blog. I don’t think a sincere, reasonable apology is a lot to ask.


    Until after Kathy made her post, even though Kathy visited your site, we had no way to positively connect you with those sites. We suspected you, but we couldn’t prove anything.

    Her post was non-specific because WE DIDN’T KNOW WHO WAS THREATENING HER!!! Kathy’s attempts to resolve the situation behind the scenes proved fruitless – in fact it wouldn’t be a stretch to infer that unclebob was some sort of retaliation for her having the audacity to write to them with her fears.

    Joey, at the time Kathy made her post, she clearly laid out all the evidence we had. We didn’t know who was behind which threats, and the fact that they all came in such close time proximity, and the fact that the meankids stonewalled us led us to be afraid of you all.

    Here’s what I think you’re asking me to accept:

    – You intended your noose comment for the fictional “Kat” character, not Kathy.
    – You did intend to “satirize” Kathy’s work. (I can’t remember now, was it you who did the “canyon of pain” analysis?)
    – You didn’t know what either “Kat” or Kathy’s faces looked like when you made your noose comment.
    – You didn’t speak up when the site owners did their mashup of your comment with those pictures.

    Did I forget anything, or is that more or less your side of the story?

    My sense is that your olive branches have all been tied to that story.

  11. Joey Says:

    Bert, you still have it mixed up and it’s going to take me a bit to figure out what exactly you’re trying to say. “mashup” is a bit confusing to me and since I was never told of anything except being called a “comment pig” once, I have no idea what you think I was supposed to speak up to.

    However, Bert, I’m noticing some revisionism going on at Frank’s and I’m wondering what sort of a role that’s playing in both of our confusions. I do have some logs of all this stuff. I’ll sort it out in the morning. You probably have my email address, if you’d like to take some of this conversation to the private side, I’m open to that as well.



  12. idid Says:


    You write “I don’t think a sincere, reasonable apology is a lot to ask.”

    Frank apologized.
    Chris apologized.
    Jeneane is upset becuase she wasn’t involved.
    Alan is probably afraid of being prosecuted for exercising very poor judgement (that’s my opinion based entirely upon reading Kathy Sierra’s blog and reading Alan’s blog of last year.

    I have no facts to help you but I would like to see Kathy’s fears calmed. It’s going to be OK. The whole mess was handled poorly… it was not a cabal of crazy, people intent upon frightening your dear friend into a state of terror.

    I hope you can help Kathy see that overtime and help her return to her normal life. It’s very sad for all involved. It’s spread general paranoia to the whole internet without a lot of well grounded facts. Misinterpretations of some very bad behavior.

    There are no real villians in the wings. Just a lot of scared and concerned people.

    I wish you and your friend all the best. I blog and write anonymously to protect my family from any concerns about my extensive commenting on the internet. They don’t trust anyone. Too much trauma in early life.

  13. idid Says:


    Sorry to hear about your cat. Hang in there. This will blow over eventually.
    You’ve made reasonable attempts to clear your name. Those that know you won’t be swayed… those that don’t may come to know you more clearly… those that can’t forgive or forget will have to live with that unresolved angry.

    Everyone you know will die. What happens before that moment determines the value of their life.

    Make yours a good one and accept that you can’t please everyone. You might even piss some off along the way… apologize and move on. Don’t get sucked into their illness and accept their pain as being yours.

    You said you were sorry… you tried to explain what the noose comment meant…

    Only some lives are damned… and most often by that person’s own misperceptions of the world. A feeling of helplessness defines the permanent victim. Take pity on them and maybe they will get better.
    If not… avoid them.

  14. Paul Ritchie Says:

    Bert, as for apologies, how about one from Kathy to Chris, Frank, Jeneane and Alan?

    Kathy complained to various mainstream media organizations about weeks of nasty comments, intimidation and whatever else. What was known publicly all happened in the space of 10 days and nothing at all has been seen about the nature of these other negative messages.

    At some stage too, the famous email from Memphis Two became public knowledge and the comment therein:

    “Whoever furgled with Kathy Sierra clearly had a pattern of escalation as
    evidenced by a trail of now-defunct blogs. Kathy hollers like a stuck
    pig as she wonders why the trolls escalated to magnitudes which she
    could no longer control. The answer is obvious: she fought the LOL. The
    LOL won. She flew off the handle trying to silence criticism of her
    books, and this is what she got. This is what the Internet was founded
    on. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. ”

    All the LOL I’ve seen flying around CPU is absolutely nothing compared to the rough and tumble of the genuine LOL – where a picture of a man hanging himself in his hallway because of the same sort of treatment Kathy received has been captioned with its very own LOL and “hope he’s insured.”

    That might seem to you to be crass in the extreme and terribly distressing, but to people on the internet who aren’t trying present any images or facades, that’s the cutting edge of creativity. It’s basic human nature at its most undeniably obvious. Laughing at death, as Kathy should well know if she’s done any sort of research at all into “cognitive science” in which she claims to have had an interest for 45 years.

    The picture, as everyone involved instantly knew, was a set up. The guy didn’t actually hang himself, he just wanted his tormentors to think he had to engender remorse on their part. It was a spectacular failure.

    Whilst scanning comments in Kathy’s blog, I saw more evidence of typical internet behaviour; the IMMA KILL YOU message, signed by

    That, in case you and Kathy are unaware, is another meme. It is borne of Japanese anime and for those who know, it is also hilarious. In the context of the events of March, that particular message was particularly hilarious.

    If one is going to present oneself as an expert in Java technology, then it is reasonable to assume that one would be au fait in a very broad range of applications in which Java technology is used and by whom and where such people congregate and about how they interact.

    Not in the protected and cloistered world of self congratulation and blind and sycophantic supporters can one gain universal respect, but in the realm of the unwashed hoards whom, like children with new toys, long to pull it all apart to see it how it works and to immerse themselves in its minutiae will the mantle of “expert” be respected. I therefore have scant regard for her credibility in general and her street cred is unquestionably non-existent.

    For Kathy to have so fundamentally misconstrued the nature of the human race outside of her enclosed world of crayon enhanced graphics and “positive messages” displays in glaringly obvious light as serious divergence between her reality and actual reality.

    She is obviously intelligent and articulate, however, so cancelling the SXSW speeches reeks to me of “publicity stunt” and is surrounded by the sort of dishonesty I usually associate with Watchtower magazines.

    I watched the interviews and listened to the radio interviews and people don’t laugh when they’re terrified. They generally fire up or break down in tears. Kathy laughed.

    I blogged my reaction to the unfolding events, and at Chris Locke’s request, I deleted my first blog because he regarded it as being open to misinterpretation of the sort which would further inflame a situation which he didn’t want further inflamed.

    When I saw the accusations leveled at him in particular and Frank, Jeneane and Alan, I started posting sanitized versions of what I really wanted to say: That Kathy has outright lied insofar as being unable to make comment because apparent crimes were being investigated. Her subsequent email suggesting she would withdraw her legal claims if she received an apology was bizarre and naive in the extreme. Citizens cannot withdraw legal action if their initial notification to law enforcement was of a crime. “I witnessed a murder, but I’ll withdraw my report if the perpetrator apologises???” Get real.

    The subsequent hogwash sickening. Kathy swimming in a global outpouring of sympathy yet the reputations and careers of four people had been unjustly besmirched and not even an attempt at an apology or anything approximating one from what the evidence of her own words proves is a lying parvenu.

    It’s way too late now for Kathy to come clean about what really happened but an apology would go a long way to repairing the damage she has caused with her dishonesty.

    And Bert, for goodness sake stop boasting about the “bestsellers”. 5000 printings of a book qualifies it for the title “bestseller.” You can get books of that size printed in Sri Lanka for $3 apiece. You can buy yourself a reputation for $15,000 – and you can lose it for free by being dishonest.

  15. Joey Says:

    Yes, Idid, you are so correct. People are arrogant enough to think any of this matters — when and on what time scale? Think of the required importance of the life of someone who will be remembered in a hundred, a thousand, or what about a million years — assuming humanity proves itself viable. The million year time-scale continues: *tick* *tock* *tick* *tock*

    You reminded me of the death of my grandfather and the importance of what he taught me when I was a teenager, lessons that have guided my entire life. Lessons about truth and honesty which I continue to live by.

    You also continue to show me there are good people out there and that the A in A-List Blogger doesn’t have to be mean “Type A personality”.

    I’ll finish the replies in this thread shortly and have a new post bringing up additional questions for others to work out.

    Thanks for the inspiration. I’m a small player and incapable of speaking alone to defend myself in the face of so many good manipulators. It is tempting to just give up and walk away.



  16. idid Says:

    It is impossible to defend yourself against a wholesale propaganda campaign. Know when you’ve lost and seek to limit the damages… that’s what Frank is doing. Limiting additional damages. Let the dust settle and clean up the debris.

    The post was a virtual car bomb and Kathy felt totally righteous in her wrath. You don’ tmatter to her. You’re not a person… your a thing… one of “them”.

    The “other”… the feared cabal who wants to see her harmed.

    She tried so hard to get you all to stop. I can see that she didn’t even register on your radar and you didn’t know she was upset. You might have suspected that she’d be offended but absolutely panicked? I doubt it. You’d have to be a monster to nehave in such a fashion.

    “Hey Look! Monsters!”

    Who Ya gonna call? Tim O’Reilly?

    So, try to understand that this was like an “act of God” but it was totally mismanaged by humans. You were just sprayed with the schrapnel of the outraged victim’s car bomb. Did you know qa victim could be so effective at getting even?

    Remember the cornered rat… the mother bear with it’s cubs… the totally hopeless blogger that knows how to Create Passionate Users. Knows how we learn…

    Nothing is more effect at motivating people to action than… wait for it…
    F*E*A*R. Un-huh. Use it wisely.

  17. Bert Bates Says:


    I appreciate you looking into this.


  18. Bert Bates Says:


    It’s amazing to me how you can twist the logic around so that the person who was minding her own business can become the bad guy, and the avowed perps. can become the victims.


  19. Joey Says:

    I’m sorry. I’ve been with my cat all day. Her diabetes is killing her and it’s clear I’ll need to put her down soon. It is a difficult decision to make: taking a life. Oddly, I accept the right of persons to make decisions for their own quality of life. I simply can’t make it for a small creature who has been only my friend for the last 15 years. Yet, I could easily make it for myself; and without her, all the easier.

    So in some ways, today, I’ve been rather resentful of this entire situation and how it interfered with her life too. And as much as I might like too, I’m not going to accuse others for the pain waiting just around the corner in something called: tomorrow, the unknown country.

    All I know is what I’ve already said. The confusing parts are still confusing and I know if I try to speak about them, they’ll continue to be taken out of context and used against others. I still intend to try. But you people known as my fellow humans need to have some damned dignity instead of trying to spin things around and then complain that others are spinning things around.

    The real victims are the people (and critters) who are actually dying, not the ones acting like they are scared that they might.

    Get over your god damned selves.

  20. Shelley Says:

    Alan will not be prosecuted. No one will be. It’s time to end this foolishness.

    Bert: where’s the police report, Bert. After all, Kathy is too afraid to leave her home. She is too afraid to leave her home, right Bert?

    Where’s the report on the police you all called, Bert? After all, the Times report said this was under investigation. Who by, Bert? Who did you call?

    The one comment that was left in Kathy’s weblog was made by a man who left his real email address and later came in and apologized. Why nothing on that Bert?

    Why no mention that the person who posted the noose photo was a woman, and she did so based on a joking request made by Kathy herself. Why nothing on that Bert?

    You continue, Bert, and this is going to backfire against you. From what I can see, the people who have a legitimate reason to take anything to the courts, are the ones you are continually harassing, and the ones who were erroneously associated with death threats, and whose lives and potentially careers have been impacted.

    As for working this thing through, threats of a lawsuit based on sexual harassment (who the bloody hell thought up that one–idiot), are not ‘trying to work things through’ — that’s an antagonistic move. Considering also that the posts and weblogs were taken down, what the hell more do you want.

    More links? More posts? Want to keep the noise going? What the friggen heck do you want Bert? Seriously?

    It’s unfortunate both sites were taken down, because looked at in the whole, the first was harmless, and I’ll bet the second one was, too. That one post on Maryam, yes that was ugly. And the person who wrote it deserves to be slammed for it. But it wasn’t a threat and it wasn’t illegal.

    Without the context of the photo and the comments in the other weblog, we’ll never know what that was about. How interesting that the only part saved on that was the photo, with all else carefully cut out.

    This is an obscene misuse of this environment to control people’s actions and viewpoints, and promote the perceived victim, at the expense of the less powerful.

    Let’s see, how much is it worth to demonstrate you can take a weblog into the Technorati Top 50, eh, Bert? Interesting use of words, isn’t it?

    Sorry about your cat, Joey.

  21. Joey Says:

    Oh Bert,

    I’m starting to really feel bad for you because each time you write, it becomes evident that you slowly massage your story to take some new comment someone else made and stretch it in strange ways to amend your “facts” — and you omit many other facts.

    Eventually, Bert, your web of deception is going to give way to the gravity of reality.

    I have now identified some legitimate holes in the entire timeline of events, holes you are trying to exploit in your comments here with your suggestions of conspiracy and retaliation. But your attempt to imply retaliation goes a long way to demonstrate your/Kathy’s actual intent of being pissed off at MeanKids, not scared. To be fair, my next post will address what happened between 3/15 and 3/26 and it won’t be entirely kind to you.

    We communicated briefly in email. My last reply was a request for Kathy’s 3/15 communications. You have yet to reply, not even saying you can’t or won’t provide them. Should I wait a day more before exposing my theory and facts?

    Will you provide a copy of the Email thread from Kathy? What about a copy of the so-called police report, which no one can appear to find? Honestly, Bert, I hired a lawyer. She can’t find one. All she can find is a summary report mentioning the word “Harassment” which doesn’t appear related to Kathy.

    I warned nicely, Bert, to clarify this situation. If you don’t and anyone from MeanKids ends up being unfairly charged with a crime, I assure you depositions will take place. I’m tired of being nice here. You have crossed the line by not being honest.

  22. Bert Bates Says:


    I am making every attempt to have a response for you, concerning Kathy’s letter, later this afternoon.

  23. Joey Says:


    Luckily, this thread hasn’t yet proved Godwin’s Law and I hope it continues to be useful before reaching that point.

    In that light, I don’t want you to take my previous comment as a legal threat or posturing; rather, it is obvious: if people end up in court, depositions will, as a matter of due process, take place. Statements made in the legal system are far harder to retract and walk away from — that applies to everyone involved.

    My agenda is as follows:

    I’d like to see the reputations of innocent people properly restored.

    I’d like to hear the voices of those currently afraid to blog speaking again. All voices are good, including Kathy’s and Alan’s.

    I’d like to know that important social issues are discussed on their own merits, not based on misunderstandings which in the end, diminish the issues.

    I’d like to not be tied up with point-vs-point discussions within circular logic keeping us all from more important aspects of our lives.

    I’d like to know my family can drive to Canada and I’d not be arrested at the border because, given the post 9/11 insanity, my name might unknowingly and unfairly be on a watch list.

    I’d like to know that anyone can read a book and able to criticize it, regardless of how they select do so, intelligently or not, and not be attacked by other “mean kids” simply for doing so.

    I’d like you and Kathy, as well as others, to find a graceful and truthful way out this new mess created by the media storm which now makes it difficult for truth to find its way out.

    I’d like you to realize that neither my comment nor the posts at MeanKids or UncleBobism were meant as a threat in any way.

    I understand that you may feel Kathy’s letters to MeanKids weren’t handled properly; I’d really like to understand those letter since I was never made aware of them and they directly relate to something I did. I’ll keep them private (and any actual personal data confidential) if you wish as long as I can still, fairly, summarize their content.

    If I have any facts or understandings wrong, I’ll honestly correct them.

    I hope I don’t sound arrogant in any of the above. Who am I to hope for anything, right? :)

    Thanks, really, I know you don’t have to discuss any of this with me but appreciate your willingness to do so even in light of previous comments.


    ps: (minor edit just performed; can’t believe I left out an important item–duh;)

  24. Tim Towtdi Says:


    “It’s amazing to me how you can twist the logic around so that the person who was minding her own business can become the bad guy, and the avowed perps. can become the victims.”

    Your right. I’m sticking my nose into an area where I have no business being involved. I have received this message fro all parties involved and will cease to write on this situation.

    Be advised that I will delete my blog. I have done this 3 times before. It’s a signature trait of my blogging life. I get to about 100 posts and then just delete the wholw mess and start all over again. It’s like a young writer throwing away his first novels until he gets one that satisfies his own standards for “making a contribution”.

    It’s clear that my recent work has failed to serve the needs of anyone in this situation and I’ve obsessed with trying to pull out the truth from the facts that are available. Even to the point of be disingenous to see how someone would react… like giving Kathy advice on her future and then
    open defending the “perps” as you term them.

    I don’t believe in taking sides and sometimes you have to at least take a stand. Or stand for something…

    Maybe I’ll do better in my next blog at making a contribution and spent less time “stirring up shit” as my wife calls it.

    “X is to ponies as civility is to fucktard.”

    X is shit and the fucktard is probably me. It hurts but I deserve it. I haven’t been a good friend to anyone in this mess. Just an obsessed observer.

  25. Joey Says:


    To be entirely fair, some of Kathy’s statements are also being taken out of context by the main stream media. Even my original text was incorrectly duplicated when the LA Times improperly inserted Kathy’s last name into it. How the this story grew and was retold through so many different perspectives proves that reality may well have more than 11 convenient dimensions of space and time. It really has to make you wonder just what “in the news” is actually true.

  26. Bert Bates Says:

    Thanks Joey, Thanks Tim.

  27. idid Says:

    Damn… Bert. “Tim Towtdi” is “idid”. WordPress has “users” and I use Tim Towtdi to leave comments on “” because “idid” is blocked there.

    I know it makes it confusing and would likely drive a jury crazy with all these “pseudonyms” but hey… that’s life on the internet if you want to be heard. You route around the auto-censorship functions and create new identities as it serves your purposes.

    All the words are mine and I’ll own them. “idid” = “tim towtdi” for the purposes of this thread.

    How can anyone tell the good guys from the bad guys? By their words. Once you identify a really bad guy… then you need to map the “identity” to “meat space”.

  28. Bert Bates Says:

    Thanks Tim / Idid,

    I assumed that you were one in the same, but I didn’t want make that assumption public.

  29. Bert Bates Says:

    Shelley and Paul,

    I’ve no interest in being your editors. I’ve no interst in engaging with you until you get your facts correct.

  30. A.J. Liebling Says:

    I’m not really A.J. Liebling. (He’s dead.)

    But I did email Joey earlier today. I suggested he seek a third-party arbitrator. Not necessarily a dispute resolution service, but somebody from the press (or with enough cred in that-portion-of-the-blogosphere-whch-still-cares-about-this) to speak to all parties and write out the version of events so that both parties can say that it looks like a reasonable telling of the story. This being America, you have freedom to tell your version of the story over and over to new scribes.

    This is all very fascinating, and I’d like to see it written up, for an audience beyond this comment thread.

  31. Joey Says:

    I’d like to call for a truce. Bert was kind enough to provide some additional information, privately. I thank him for doing so. He didn’t have to. I also thank the other people involved in the affair for their own blog posts today. The puzzle is coming together now.

    I know I don’t have clean hands in the situation; but I hope that my combined insider and outsider perspective can help bring understanding, if not some peace, for everyone involved. I won’t promise lack of bruising, only to honestly assembly the parts.

    Based on all I’ve seen, I think there’s a way to understand how events unfolded without the need for additional name calling or finger pointing.

    Must first rest to refresh my last three working neurons.



  32. Shelley Says:

    I would take anything passed to you in private with a grain of salt, Joey.

  33. Rogers Cadenhead Says:

    I like Kathy, Bert. I’ve admired her accomplishments as a fellow Java author and enjoyed her blog. I was alarmed by her post about being subjected to threats and misogynistic abuse.

    In retrospect, though, it seems pretty clear to me that when Kathy posted her now-famous blog entry, anger and fear led you both to combine two things — her anonymous, criminal tormenter(s) and the non-anonymous, non-criminal, mostly harmless stuff that went on at Mean Kids.

    I might have done the same thing in your position.

    But it’s time to cleanly separate the two. Your unifying theory of how it’s all combined continues to damage the reputations of Locke, Sessum and Paynter, and it’s been fed to the mainstream media which will happily continue to pass it along if you encourage it. They never did anything to justify this ongoing smear.

  34. Paul Ritchie Says:

    Well said, Rogers. All I want is an apology from Kathy to those innocent people. I can forego the facts if their reps are restored.

    Bert said:

    “Shelley and Paul,

    I’ve no interest in being your editors. I’ve no interst in engaging with you until you get your facts correct.”

    Paul says:

    Bert, if people aren’t getting facts correct, it’s because certain other people are being economical with the truth. I thought I made that perfectly clear – and several times.

    Here’s an easy question for you: What have you both learned out of all of this?

  35. Shelley Says:

    The ‘truth’ in this little movie was left on the cutting room floor right from the beginning, Bert.

    Rather than backdoor emails, I’d say bring this into the public eye, but you know, the public has moved on. Other than discussing this from a historical perspective, no one really cares who did what.

    Oh Blogher will bring it up at their conference in Chicago, but that’s because it’s good publicity.

    But it was wrong to tie the four and the happenings at both sites into any allegation of a threat that was based on comments at Kathy’s weblog. No amount of words will magically make this less wrong. No matter how tacky the photos and the words, there was no direct threat against Kathy at those sites.

    No amount of discussion about ‘lines used and colors accentuated in order to make the images more chilling’ is going to play to anything to anything but the more gullible.

    A truly gracious woman admits her mistakes. A truly smart woman admits her mistakes even faster.

  36. Joey Says:

    CNN News Alert:

    Kurt Vonnegut, whose novels included “Slaughterhouse Five” and “Cat’s Cradle,” has died at 84, his wife tells The Associated Press.

    Time to go cuddle up with a good book. ‘night.

  37. Slouching towards Golgonooza » Blog Archive » Code Red Says:

    […] doing anything more than being satirical or humorous in admittedly tasteless ways. The truth seems increasingly murky, and nobody, including Sierra, comes out of it […]

  38. Bert Bates Says:

    Oh all right, one more time

    Tell me please what statement(s) Kathy made that weren’t a matter of public record?

  39. Tim Towtdi Says:


    If I could wish anyone to write a novel about these events it would have been Vonnegut. He could help us all see the flawed humanity and comedy of errors and manners this has become. And help it retain the structure of tragedy. You know how Vonnegut would end all this: you’d be tried and convicted for internet death threats by a young aggressive White House approved US attorney modeled on a young Rudy Guiliani (who becomes a US president based upon making the internet safe for women).

    Regarding Bert’s request for “statement(s) Kathy made that weren’t a matter of public record”: did you infer that she made statements off the record?

    Bert would play prominently in the Vonnegut novel. He’s a part of the tragic sequence of events. Not much humor in that guy.

  40. McD Says:

    Crap… Tim Towtdi is the user account I use to be able to comment at (Dave Winer’s “mirror” blog of “idid” is linked to my blog. But my commenting tag is “McD”. “McD” was not available on as an account.

    Sorry… I’m sure the multiple personalities based upon one person will have the jury totally confused. Anonymous blogging will become illegal in Vonnegut’s book. We’ll all register and devaint personalities will fail the license test. That would be bad becuase we’d loose some really great bloggers and only have Rogers Cadenhead’s Workbench to read.

    Vonnegut would love the names “Rogers Cadenhead” and “Rex Hammock”.

  41. McD Says:

    PS> The only reason I refer to Dave Winer is becuase he reads anything that has his name in it. He wrote the original blogging tool and put in code to alert him whenever he’s mentioned. If Kathy had such a service she’d know what blogs to avoid by filtering for the keyword “fucktard”.

  42. Joey Says:

    I’ll have some thoughts tonight. Waiting on one last email from the good Mr. Bert which can, hopefully, fill in the last holes.

  43. Joey Says:

    Mcd: I found an icon of Dave Winer inside my Nikon D2X’s prom. He is far more powerful than you ever imagined :mrgreen:

    (Thu Apr 12 18:34:45 EDT 2007 remote system update received: smile.gif converted to mrgreen.gif by unknown source from IP: =

  44. Joey Says:

    Tim, I’m trying hard not to infer anything. I presume all statements made in the public are public statements {grin}.

  45. Better Living through Software » Blog Archive » Imus, Locke and Bigots Says:

    […] though, I want to address this comment from Rogers Cadenhead (who isn’t a perp, just defending what he believes […]

  46. McD Says:


    I got a note from a good friend “Miranda” regarding interacting with a hostile commenter:

    “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.”

    I looked into he free attorney option and found that it’s bullshit. You can however do what Dave Winer does and ask for free legal advice.

    Miranda doesn’t blog and recommends that no one do so without the advice of counsel. Miranda isn’t an attorney… she’s just knows some retired judges who believed in the rights of people in legal difficulties.

    Basically, she’s old school. YMMV.

  47. McD Says:

    Regarding Imus… I used to listen to him while commuting. His views on life and people we’re pretty obvious. I loved listening to his show because it good the juices flowing… made my rusty mind rev’ up. But Imus lost his station in my market to a sport talk format anyway.

    I’m not surprised that his callous disregard for people has finally caused him to be accountable for being hateful. Now, if the same standard could be applied to a few other radio personalities I would be overjoyed. Radio has become a cesspool of hate and fear mongering. I listen to downloaded content or buy audio books to keep myself alert.

  48. Joey Says:

    McD, Ha. We’ll see. Perhaps Bert and Kathy made so much money that they won’t need a free attorney ;)

    Anyway, let Bert be anxious for a change. His story doesn’t hold up. He knows it. But I have better things to do today than worry about a very small, sad person playing a damage control game.

  49. Joey Says:

    [redacted] This comment is deleted (by the author) simply for setting a bad tone and is on file at Central Authority.

  50. Joey Says:

    [redacted] This comment is deleted (by the author) simply for setting a bad tone and is on file at Central Authority.

  51. idid Says:

    Joey, Joey, Joey…

    This story just descends lower and lower into some pit of grief.

    Add lawyers and some angry people and you ALWAYS loose sight of the truth.
    The “truth” gets packaged according to the needs of the parties involved. It becomes a game that is enacted out in a court room or as a negotiation.

    I don’t have a “side” in this situation… just a desire to see it resolved as a fellow “misobserver” of the “meme”.

    MY GUESS IS: Your role in the whole affair is escalating because you’re trying to close it. Someone doesn’t want it closed. They want someone to pay. Some other party is holding back information to protect their interests. As a person with some assets (house, car, etc) I can well understand not volunteering to see this brought to trial. Don’t make villians out of those people as well… they are reacting with some experience of the world. The legal system can be abused and claims of damaging are pretty easy to document.

    How very, very sad. Good luck and don’t let it become too personal to you. It’s probably just business or VERY personal to someone else.

  52. Joey Says:


    I don’t know who you are yet I’ve come to respect you. You appear to have a good heart and better intentions.

    I admit to being tossed and uncertain of the right path. I’m not involved in any meaningful communications with others so, yes, not knowing their desires makes it all that much harder and I do understand what you are saying about others inadvertently becoming collateral damage. That’s not my intention at all and your point is well taken, if not shockingly true.

    In my defense, life has taught me more than once that real bullies only respond to stronger bullies. They simply abuse kindness from others and I am the type of person who stands up when I see real abuses taking place.

    I would never hide from law enforcement and the claims of me being anonymous were entirely fictional; yet, there were claims of active police investigations and further claims of my personal information being turned over to them. Thus, I did hire an attorney. I consulted others too. I can’t help but “be in that space”, if you know what I mean.

    It turns out police reports and claims of active investigations were grossly exaggerated. Bert himself admits nothing about me was ever turned over and he, in his own strange way, doesn’t see me as a threat {?}. So in that respect, I’m off the hook (that’s his pun, not mine). But others are not, because as you say, “they want someone to pay”. But pay for what? Criticism and satire? Criticism that has a history going far back, way before MeanKids. True, none of that has anything to do with me.

    But Bert now says that I’m “safe from prosecution” with the strong undertone of “as long as I do what he wants”, though not in those precise words.

    So I should be nice? Fold? Walk away? Be silenced? Especially when I hold parts to the puzzle that need to be brought out?

    Is there no justice in the world?

    I’m asking, honestly.

  53. Joey Says:

    Truth is lost? Who knows.

    I barely started revealing the actual outline of events. I may still, just not today. To my surprise, there are good available summaries outlining what *really* happened. If a few can see it, then I’m done. What’s that saying about a horse?

    There are far more important things in the world needing actual attention. So if you reading this *still*, you’ve reached the end.

    If it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college… — Lewis Black

  54. idid Says:

    Where are these “good… summaries” please.

  55.   Fear in The “Sphere” - Code of Conduct? by Sirthinks’ Place Says:

    […] After reading much of the brew-ha-ha between the principles in this matter, I have come to the conclusion that there was an attempt to hurt Kathy’s feelings. This agreeably is wrong, but not illegal. For whatever reason, and I don’t believe for a minute that it was out of fear or there would have been police search warrants instead of geeks doing web searches Kathy and Bert Bates (Kathy’s business partner) have gone to great lengths to make it appear that the “mysogeny, parodies, and off-colour jokes were threats on Kathy’s life. What they have accomplished is the creation of an even bigger non-issue, issue. If they really wanted it to go away, would Bert Bates keep entering into debate with Joey? […]

  56. colinwheeler Says:

    Wow, what a story.

    Joey, good for you for appologising.

    It is a real pity that this stuff has been dragged into the main line media who will spin the whole situation in a way that will get people to sit up and pay attention with little regard for the truth. A pity also that so much information has been destroyed. Being from across the ocean, I have not caught any of the actual coverage.

    One would hope that if one thing comes out of this situation it should be that despite the fact that things can get out of control in public forums (I do not about this and have by mistake perpetrated a couple myself) we at least have our freedom to speak in these forums and make ourselves heard.

    Good luck for the future and my sympathies for your cat.

  57. idid Says:

    Yo fear in the “Shere”:

    Implicit in your analysis is the idea that the “mean kids” hoped their subject would read their “reindeer games” and be hurt. I don’t think that’s a fair assumption.

    Take a group of friend sitting around and trashing the head cheerleader. They wouldn’t say those things to the cheerleaders face becuase they intend no harm. I don’t think the mean kids intended to freak Kathy Sierra out. They were writing for their audience… which was admittedly small and enjoyed being nasty. That was the editorial tone of the site… a place where they could talk trash about the “happy, shiny” people who, frankly, are selling a like of positive thinking and “brain-based” marketing/training religions.

    Once the world world showed up to view the bad behavior it was gone! At the request of the target and to protect the players from being tried in the press. Yes… this became a “main stream media” event. And the people involved seem to have enough experience dealing with the effects of main stream new to know that “truth” is NOT the fundamental force behind news. Sensational-ism is what drives the news… the drive to gain the highest audience at all costs. Show what appears to be a “bondage” image and claim the intent to sexually intimidate a blogger for being a female.

    Kathy took that “story” and made it CNN worthy news. It was a defensive approach to getting even, IMHO. And it worked with an effectiveness that has completely contaminated the event for anyone to ever unravel.

    Why? Because lawyers, the police and money became the driving force. Bert continues to drive for dialogue with the key players in an effort to gather damaging statements, IMHO. There is no desire to see the issue closed with some grace or understanding, IMHO.

    Of course, what Bert claims to be seeking is an apology for everyone involved.

    Bert I apologize, in advance, if any of this hurts Kathy. Frankly, I’d prefer she doesn’t read it. I hope she’s reading “Chicken Soup for the Soul” or something intended to help a victim recover.

  58. Joey Says:

    Thanks, Colinwheeler, I appreciate your reply.

    While the blogosphere did take the entire situation and explode it beyond what it was, there were a few good reporters who did ask fair questions. The two who stand out and redeemed, for me, the rest of the blogosphere: Liz Tay for her early article in CIO/Computerworld and Jim Turner’s fair analysis at One by One Media. Rogers Cadenhead certainly deserves mention for also asking questions, early, when everything started.

    Each deserves further respect not just because they talked to me, but because they didn’t pass on my own emotional bias and could somehow filter out a plausible truth based on what was given to them by so many upset people, on both sides, I presume.

    I do have some records and haven’t released them. Most of them simply show that the environment of comments at MeanKids was hardly similar to the characterizations of meanness: it was very dynamic and we even talked about recipes and cooking. However, as a site viewer at the time (and not an author), I generally only made copies of threads which I commented in and never bothered to copy the original posts. I wish the sites hadn’t been removed, there was nothing illegal about the posts in question. But some reconstruction was possible and I’ll outline that shortly.

    The removal of the sites wasn’t a criminal conspiracy either, it was done out of frustration from, I believe, not fully understanding Kathy’s “complaint”. She was far from clear in her 3/15 emails to Frank. Oddly, Bert would only send me a copy of the first email, not the followups, and will likely offer an additional explanation for what was meant when Kathy suggested Frank should keep the posts up, further proving the miscommunication of intent.

    Thanks again for visiting,



    {Mon Apr 16 15:29:11 EDT 2007; edit for clarity by author–if that’s possible!}

  59. A.J. Liebling Says:

    Joey, Jim Turner’s series appears well-put together, but as it’s missing Frank’s April 11th revelation (Kathy emailed him on March 15th and clearly had no problem with your comment) leaves it a bit wanting.

    You need a real journalist to tell this story.

    To compare with the *other* story of ill-speech which has interested the rest of America, every crude utterance of Imus and his co-horts over the years was reproduced. Just as well, we endlessly watched Michael Richards’s eruption on video. We read Mel Gibon’s comments over and over. We– well, not me– shelled out unthinkable amounts of money to hear the Borat and Sarah Silverstein on the big screen say things we think they oughtn’t. Yet the evidence of MeanKids and UncleBobism has been curiously swept away.

  60. Joey Says:


    Frank’s writings, at times, are too intelligent for me to decipher; but I’ve come to respect the person behind the words and can’t imagine he would be part of a grand master plan to “retaliate and attack” Kathy. If her 3/15 claims were as forceful as she projects, I suspect Frank would have been direct in expressing his concerns.

    It is easily evident, to anyone who looks, that Frank and Jeneane are not vicious people.

    Frank releasing those emails helped shed light where it was desperately needed. However: Bert has disclaimers when discussing the intention of those very emails — a point which demonstrates bad communications were part of the problem. Good communications do not require retrospective explanation.

    Sarah Silverman and “Borat” should run for public office in 2008! We so need a Comedianatic Party!

  61. idid Says:

    “Yet the evidence of MeanKids and UncleBobism has been curiously swept away.”

    Those sites we’re evidently deleted as a legal defence. One of the Mean Kids deleted his personal blog and claimed all his computeres were hacked thus throwing the potential authorship of anything on meanKids into dispute.

    Kathy scared these guys every bit as much as she was scared. And so it goes. Why were they scared? Because they can’t afford the legal fees to defend any kind of legal attack… generally speaking. read Chris Locke’s blog and his financial woes will become evident.

    It was just easier to shut down anything potentially damaging and have that be the best defense. Whta more could they do… now they just want to ride it out and hope it blows over. Unfortunely, character assassination takes years to recover from. That’s why it’s so effective in politics.

    It’s surfaces in blogging quite often and many bloggers detect it’s use and try to help create a more balanced view of the facts. Shelley Powers is rather famous for such campaigns to speak truth to power… Kathy Sierra will also need a lot of time and effort to regain her credibility with a large segment of the blogging community. IMHO, her post was not thought out well and has the appearance of malice. Just rubbing the existence of people like Doc Searles (as an example of a party identified) up against the troll’s language was over reaching in any sense of justice. I’m waiting to see if she ever considers an apology to be appropriate or if she moves forward in the courts.

    I’m sure Bert just wants the “old Kathy” back. So, do her readers. Time heals.

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