Hate leads to suffering 16:05 on Tuesday

Dark face

The whole deeply saddening story about Kathy Sierra’s threats, how the meankids.org site came to be and all the discussion around these recent events bring to me the question: How many years does it take to learn you need to read what you write before hitting Send? For me it probably took around six years since I started using email.

And not only read, but read with the eyes of others, read with the expectations of others, with the biases of others, with the sense of humour of others, within the supposed context of others and the frame of mind and feelings of others.

This goes for email. And it goes for posting to the internet, whether on blogs, comments, discussion forums, twitter or mailing lists. When you send email from person to person, the damage is usually easy to fix. When you post online, especially anonymously, it gets harder. You might “own your own words”, but in both cases — in every and all communication to be accurate — you should take responsibility along ownership. We have to take responsibility.

There aren’t many things I do not tolerate, but supporting hate is one of them, whatever your excuse is — so called “humour”, “critique” and “freedom of speech” included.

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