The Sierra Saga Part 2: Big Bad Bob and the Lull Before the Kathy Sierra Blog Storm

Before I continue with my address of my following of the Kathy Sierra incident, I wanted to alert everyone to the fact that Kathy has closed comments on her post and has provided an update of her current state.  I had an internal debate as to whether, given her comment and reasoning behind closing comments on her post, I should continue with writing this series. After much thought, I am going forward in spite of perhaps causing more stirring of the pot, because at this point it would not be fair to all involved if I discontinued.  With that in mind, I am going to move forward with my dissection that led to this saga.

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As part 1 of the saga ended, The MeanKids.org site was torn down.  The parties could all walk away and heal.  It’s obvious to all concerned that "Sierra was upset", as she demanded the site be taken down.  Chris Locke imparts that he decided to go to the next step:

With Mean Kids gone, I thought I’d have another go at it. After all, we were mostly having fun posting totally surreal stuff about nothing particularly relevant to anything or anyone.

This does not mesh with the earlier statement that Frank imparted about trying to moderate "misogynistic postings", but it does track with the fact that they all have denied making any such postings at meankids.org, or at the next site he refers to above, UncleBobism.com (not currently available for violating WordPress TOS).  In my mind, and in my experience using WordPress, a application I am very familiar with, only designated authors can post using the WordPress platform, and this would be the case even if they were using a third party blogging editor application.  Misogynistic postings were made on meankids.org, and at this time we have no idea who authored them.  Sierra refers to the meankids.org postings, but indicates no over the line posts at first:

"At first, it was the usual stuff–lots of slamming of people like Tara Hunt, Hugh MacLeod, Maryam Scoble, and myself. Nothing new. No big deal. Nothing they hadn’t done on their own blogs many times before."

I have no idea what date the picture on meankids.org was posted.  A month had gone by between the February invitation to write and I don’t know the chronology or number of postings.  I do know that on March 15, a post I consider over the line was published.  I have perhaps a lower threshold than the people visiting the site or their readers and authors. Don Park at Daily Habits has a cache of the post, but I wouldn’t suggest reading it until you are ready.  Even Don had to take the quotes down for his own purpose.  This may explain more about my own distaste and  reaction of first learning of the meankids.org site.  Maryam is my friend and it cut me deep.  Meankids.org came to its resting place on March 16.

We know that UncleBobism.com was in existence on March 19, as referenced in a post by Frank Paynter referencing a comment by Joey.  Frank again references the new UncleBobism.com site on March 20.  In that post he also refers to 2 separate links to UncleBobism posts although there is no reference as to the author of the post nor is it referenced as to the creator of the site.

On March 21, Jeneane Sessum posts for the first time about the UncleBobism site.  In her original post of that day she asks her readers:

"The web’s newest solution to twittering is, not twattering, well maybe, depending — but also UNCLEBOBISMS. Join those of us who know better but do it anyway."

There are two updates to this posting wherein Jeneane tells of her hospitalization, and that she never had the opportunity to join or logon to the UncleBobism site and she was merely referring to a post about Twitter (you knew that Twitter had to come in here somewhere). It is confusing to me the opening paragraph of her post whether this is a quotation from the referred to post or whether it is her own writing about her thoughts about Twitter.  In my own opinion given how learned I am about the female species(sarcasm), I have never ever heard a woman talk about shoving anything anywhere unless of course they were referring to me.  This is not a female quotation.  I can find no other reference on her site of either meankids.org, or UncleBobism.  I also should disclose that Jeneane is in my feedreader of blogs I read everyday, and I did click on the link in my own vanity thinking that she was somehow making fun of the BoB Awards, an award we founded here.  My ego stroke didn’t last as I found it was not a link to the awards.  Yes, we all check what is linking to our sites.

Finally with reference to Jeneane, Chris Locke adds an addendum to his post to affirmatively state:

Jeneane Sessum is being hounded over this whole affair, which is not right. I think she posted only once, but it was something trivial, if I recall correctly.

Chris Locke does not go into any further details of the authors or the parties that are authoring the site.  He does tell us in his response to questions that he had decided to give MeanKids another shot.

I am not able to glean much in the case of Alan Herrell.  As is stated on Doc Searls’ site Alan Herrell has had his site hacked and his identity stolen.  I have read and read the email and have nothing in it that tells me anything about dates, times or any other significant information. It did cause me to pause after reading it.  Alan states in his email:

How did this happen? When did this happen? shit doc, i don’t have a fucking clue. I thought i was pretty sharp. I guess not.

I paused only because I remembered that in the vile photograph of Kathy that she posted, the title of that post also did not capitalize the letter "I".  This is only circumstantial at best.

His landing page at Lemur Zone, gives us nothing that can help us.  I say that except for one fact.  Alan is a web designer by trade apparently as his tagline reads "lemurzone design – HTML with Attitude!!"  To me this is significant, not because I don’t think a web designer can be hacked, I have heard of worse stories than that from people I believe to be very brilliant web people.  Alan is a blogger.  He is vain, egotistical and narcissistic, just as I mentioned I am above, and having a tech background makes him even better at tracking and keeping tabs on everything written, linked to, or tied with his sites. Unfortunately for Alan, this occurred at a most inopportune time.  I know  there is a theory that the two things could be related, but theory in my mind cannot replace fact.

Getting back to Sierra’s post, we find that on March 24, Sierra tells us that the meankids.org site was already taken down. and that she found a different blog,  Bob’s Yer Uncle.   On that post, is the now infamous picture of Ms. Sierra, having been photoshopped to have a thong over her face.  The next two days are silent on her blog.  This silence is the last all the parties will hear for some time related to this issue.  On March 26, the Blog Storm arrived.

There are many holes and I tried not to make too many assumptions.  I would be happy to fill in holes and make the record more complete, but unfortunately, this may prove to me impossible. Most of the evidence, for lack of a better word, has been destroyed.   It will take someone far more brilliant than myself to do the technical forensics behind getting information needed to answer the unanswered.  The true mystery here is their is across the board denial of everyone to any wrongdoing.  The culprits are ghosts in the machine I suppose.

Coming Up:  The Sierra Part 3 and Epilogue:  Who Are The Real Culprits?  Where Do We Go From Here?

Tags: Kathy Sierra, Meankids.org, UncleBobism.com, , Maryam Scoble, , Hugh MacLeod, Don Park, Jeneane Sessum, Alan Herrell, BoB Awards, Chris Locke,

Comments

  1. Mary says:

    What about Alan Herrell’s web site? http://www.lemurzone.com/

    “Rotten Little Monster” is the title for a cat’s photo and at the bottom we find “Obligitory Cat Photo”.

    What does that mean?

  2. Joey says:

    Thank you for doing the research. You’re one of the few people who have tried to outline the events as factually as possible. There are a few points not entirely correct, but the essence of your outline is in good form. I thank you not only in my own defense, but also because converting criticism into a claim of a death threat is intellectually dishonest. Please don’t think I am discrediting or belittling Kathy’s original horrible postings on her own board.

    I can’t and won’t speculate on motivation since there’s no way to factually back that up. All I know is I have too have a history of criticizing magical thinking and anti-science, though not always in adult and professional ways. It is common for people who don’t like criticism aimed at them to attack their critics. Did Kathy do this? I can’t say, only the facts and she can; but humans have been using such techniques since they first started using clay tablets…. After a score of millenia, it still isn’t right.

    Yes, I am regretful this entire thing has gotten so out of hand. Good people are now being hurt because others won’t do the obvious research.

    Again,
    Thank you,

    Joey

  3. Kurt says:

    @Mary: Well, if you’re looking for hidden meanings in the lemurzone site, you might also notice that the alt text for the cat photo is “Dead cat and Live lemur”.

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