Tech writer and prominent blogger Kathy Sierra announced on Monday that she would be suspending her blog and cancelling her scheduled presentations at the ETech Conference because of online threats of violence made against her.
In a post to her blog, named Creating Passionate Users, Sierra said she had become too fearful to leave her house. During the past four weeks, she had been the target of abusive messages on two other blogs, as well as receiving death threats on her own blog, she explained.
Sierra included, in her account, screenshots of derogatory images and comments believed to have been made against her on the recently deleted blogs, meankids.org and unclebobism. Also included were the names of prominent bloggers that she believes to have been connected with the offending blogs.
Among those named was Chris Locke, also a prominent blogger and co-author of business titles Cluetrain Manifesto and Gonzo Marketing.
While he admits that he "does not like" Sierra, Locke claims no responsibility for the threats Sierra said she was receiving on her blog.
"If Kathy Sierra was receiving 'death threats' in anonymous comments to her blog, they did not come from me or, to the best of my knowledge, from anyone I know," he said.
Locke was a founding member of both meankids.org and unclebobism, which he said began as a bit of fun. In time, however, the community's sarcastic environment and objection to censorship lent itself to the appearance of what Locke said to be "some tasteless posts".
The site was taken down when Sierra's objections to posts on unclebobism came to light, Locke said.
"Evidently, there are some people who don't much like her [Sierra]," he said. "The same could be said of myself or indeed of anyone who blogs much. It comes with the territory."
"I will not take responsibility for what someone else said, nor will I censor what another individual wrote," he said. "However, it was clear that Sierra was upset, so it seemed the best course to make the whole [unclebobism] site go away."
"I think her response, as it pertains to anything I personally wrote, was unjustified -- but highly effective -- character assassination," Locke said. "As a result, I'm sure I'll be explaining for years to come that I'm not really an axe murderer and child molester."