The Strange Kathy Sierra Saga

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:

Online threats seem very common. We should all work against online threats, but we should all remember they are very common. I have never understood why the Kathy Sierra incident was seen as unique and unusual. I suppose she did a good job of advertising it, as she had an extremely popular blog:

I have been trying to determine how to continue talking about the Kathy Sierra incident without whipping a dead horse and without adding to an already overzealous echo chamber, or to provide fodder for the angry mob. I have seen many talk about this issue, and I have seen some very good ideas and opinions and have seen some very poorly written articles that do not add anything to the conversation other than to fan flames or to hop on the bandwagon calling for prosecution or the heads of the accused. I think that needs to be the distinction. People are innocent until proven guilty and some adhere to that thought while others do not think that is an option. They want to have a person to burn at the stake. I have tried to take the information I have, make it presentable and to allow people to be informed about the situation and be objective in the approach. I also feel that in order to prove someone guilty, you also have to know who are the accused innocents.
Since the last time I posted Part 2, we have seen CNN’s coverage of the situation, a very poor account and a unfair reporting of the entire situation. This is nothing more than sensationalism on the part of the MSM, but at least they highlighted “Cute Kitty” for us. We have also seen that Kathy and Chris Locke have met, and have come out with a joint statement regarding the CNN coverage. Robert Scoble returned to his blog and has moved onward, and even Maryam Scoble has shown me that I was not wrong in my thoughts on her class and grace. Since my last post, I have had a chance to speak to Chris Locke by telephone and have had a better look into the situation from his point of view. I have exchanged emails with Jeneane Sessum and have spoken through email to Joey and to Frank Paynter via phone. Where it warrants, I can add information gleaned from those conversations to fill in gaps and holes in what has not been reported for facts they were able to provide. Anything else they may have said may be more construed about their feelings and emotions, and do not lend more or less to the discussion.
I would like to continue my objective approach as I talk about the people involved in this saga. In Kathy’s original post, she of course names some people she felt may have been responsible for the problems. She does not divulge any other people that might be involved, but her comments allow some to come forward. Paul Ritchie is one such person that admits to being a player in the blog and in the blog. We find on February 15, 2007, he posts about Chris Locke’s project,, and about the new site on March 20. It is interesting to note the Paul reveals that their are 7 people involved in the “new” meankids site. He seems to know the number of people or authors, but does not tell us those involved. He has since had his own multipart posts regarding the matter and to better understand his position I would ask you read his account.Â
Joey seems to be another large player in the site and He admits to being the Joey, Kathy refers to in her article and has some knowledge that I have corroborated with Chris Locke in my phone conversation. Joey has told me that he was not an author in the site but only left “lame comments” and read the articles there. He did have authorship rights in the site. The Kat referred to in the comment singled out by Ms. Sierra was in fact pointed toward Kat Herding, and the “Jane” referred to in the comment made by Joey is in fact Chris Locke himself, as his nom de plume was Jane in their exchanges. We have all heard by now the Saturday Night Live parody at work here. We also know that Chris Locke is an author in the Kat Herding site, and was referred to other times as Kat. Joey explained to me more than once that between the time of his posting of comments taken out of context, and the time at which Kathy Sierra posted her article, had she or anyone else contacted him previous, he would have immediately apologized for the comment and cleared up any confusion. He is sorry that Ms. Sierra took this comment the wrong way, and does offer his apology to her in the regard. He indicates that he did not author the post as revealed by Kathy but does admit to commenting and that his comment is also being taken out of context. Joey was invited by email along with others to author by Chris Locke and Frank and believes that any of the respondents were given author privileges. He stated that on March 25, he and others received an email from Frank regarding Kathy’s issues and emailed a response but did not hear back from Frank. Frank sent the email to all of the authors.
So all of the accused have been discussed here, but one named person is conveniently absent, Alan Herrell. Alan provided an email to Doc Searls, and has not come forward nor has he been able to be reached by me. Doc indicates he has tried to contact Alan without success. I would very much like to talk with Alan as his missing piece to the puzzle I feel is a major factor. I’m not sure if he has recovered his identity or if he is back in the saddle, but I invite him to let me update this post. We have no idea if he is the Rev Ed (I always see this as revised edition) on the site. I do note the blogroll indicates an Ed Hominem.
I have not talked with Kathy Sierra, as I feel she has been clear on her thoughts. She is scared, does not feel safe and feels threatened. I do not intend to heighten and already hypersensitive situation. I would be happy to speak to Kathy about this and would also update my post if she herself provided other information.
I was able to visit each of the sites related to the blogroll and have seen most of the posts and the cache of what I could read. Only circumstantially we may get a feel into those others possibly involved as authors, or commenter on the site that may have been contributed. When I spoke to Chris via phone he had said that their were “10 authors, give or take 1 or 2″. I have no idea if we have a complete list of authors, but I think that some of the people that were authors that have not come forward are still available for comment. It is clear that Frank and Chris are not going to provide any further names to be dragged into the fracas and perhaps that is better for everyone. It does not help Kathy close the loop on her fear however, I do not believe that the list of authors has been revealed in a complete form. There are others that have not come forward. I don’t feel Alice Cooper has any hand in talking bad about Kathy Sierra or anyone else, but I could be wrong. I would invite the others on the blogroll as linked to above let us know if they were or were not authors. Mr. Cooper feel free to call me directly.
Shelley Powers in a response to comments on her own site and post reveals that the original picture that is shown in the Kathy Sierra post is found on a Flickr site. I’m not sure how she found that as I have not been able to keep up with all of the comments and blog posts as I was able to in the beginning. Perhaps Shelley could shed some light on how she found that picture or who provided the information. I have not been able to compare her information to mine but would also invite her to share what she has developed.