How bad are the trolls?
by Josh Bernoff
By now many of you are aware of the threats that Kathy Sierra is receiving on her blog Creating Passionate Users -- sufficiently nasty that she has decided not to present at the ETech conference as originally scheduled. Steve Rubel and Seth Godin have already weighed in on the issue along with dozens of others.
I don't know Kathy but I feel for her -- partly because I suffered an onslaught of criticism myself in the wake of a post I did on Apple iTunes. If you want to read hundreds of nasty, nasty comments, look here. And this doesn't even include the worst and most personal ones, which I moderated out. The whole experience left me shaken, and it's not even a shadow if what's happening to Kathy. People said I should be fired and I should be shot, and I brushed it off figuring, that's what people do on the net, because they can.
As a researcher, I deal with this partly by stepping back and asking, "how big is this problem?" And you can help with that. A smarter guy would set up a poll but I'm just looking for an unscientific sampling. So please comment here and if you wouldn't mind, answer these questions in your comments:
1. How bad are the worst comments on your blog?
a. death threats
b. really nasty
c. pretty bad
d. Not so bad
2. Do you ever take them seriously?
b. No, but I'm thinking differently after today
3. Have you considered giving up blogging as a result?
Then tell us your story.
Update (March 30): LA Times coverage of the issues here. Quotes me, but comes to no conclusion, since there is no simple solution. I'm concerned more high profile bloggers will turn off comments.