La paralysie du blogueur [fr]

[en] Every now and again, I forget to use my blog as a backup brain. Blogger paralysis ensues. Time to give up on the long, well-researched, heavily linked posts that I'm not writing anyway, and go for more simple stuff.

Ce n’est pas la première fois que cela m’arrive, de loin pas. [Mes soucis de santé]( et le stress ambiant y sont certainement pour quelque chose, mais ce n’est pas tout. Je vois que je commence, encore une fois, à souffrir de la « paralysie du blogueur ».

C’est ce qui arrive quand on oublie de traiter son blog comme un [cerveau de sauvegarde]( et qu’on commence à se dire « oh là là, il faut que je prévoie du temps pour bloguer… » ou qu’on a de grandes idées de billets qui prendront des heures à écrire, pour lesquels il faudra faire de la recherche, et que l’on agrémentera de force liens.

Ça, c’est le moment où il faut laisser tomber ses prétentions et simplement bloguer les choses au fur et à mesure qu’elles nous viennent, même si on ne le fait pas aussi bien qu’on le voudrait. Tant pis si tous les liens n’y sont pas. Tant pis si ce n’est pas aussi complet que cela aurait pu l’être. Tant pis si c’est un peu brouillon. C’est aussi ce qui fait la différence entre un blog et un magazine.

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WordCamp 2007: Lorelle VanFossen, Kicking Ass Content Connections [en]

[fr] Lorelle VanFossen explique comment avoir du bon contenu.

*These are my notes of [Lorelle’s talk](, as accurate as possible, but I’m only human. There might be mistakes. Feel free to add links to other write-ups, or correct mistakes, in the comments.*

[Lorelle]( if you want to make money, invest in transportation. We order stuff on the internet and want it *now*. We should have all got a copy of her book today, but transportation has broken down (UPS) and they aren’t here!

WordCamp 2007 Lorelle Van Fossen

Problems with blogs: so many blogposts look like they were written in 10 minutes by people who

– can’t type
– can’t think
– make you think they were released for the day by an institution.

If you want someone’s attention, you need to show them something they’ve never seen before, or in a way they’ve never seen it before.

Look for the missing subjects. Find the missing pieces. Not everything has been said, and even if it has been said, it can be said better: cleaner, more efficient, or in a new perspective.

Do we really need another “how to install WordPress” article? Before you start writing, do a search. If there are many copies, point to the good ones, find a new angle, don’t regurgitate.

Write about what’s missing. There is always another way, always a better way. We’re trained in school to not ask why. As bloggers, we’re asking why. Ask the whys.

1994: website about travels and stuff… a kind of blog before a blog.

Be an editor for your blog. When is the last time you generated a really good sitemap, looked at what you wrote, what you think you covered and you didn’t? *steph-note: I need to do more of that. More editing. But so much screams to be written!*

Unless you blog the news, read your feeds at night, sleep on them, think about it. You don’t have to be first out the gate, because other people are first out the gate, no matter how hard you try.

When you jump right in, you’re in a panic to get the stuff out there, you’re just processing and not thinking. And people who read it are the “panicked to get the information” ones. Wait, and you can be the sane voice a few days afterwards. The perception of your audience will also change. (Reader psychology.) The calmer the reader, the wiser they think you are.

2006: tagging; 2007: relationships

What’s the difference between a website and a blog? Comments, conversation, relationships.

[Liz Strauss]( gives out Successful Blog Awards. She’s started a series on blog strategy building. When you write your blog, you blog for one person: you. *steph-note: totally agreed.*

A successful blog is a blog you arrive on looking for information, and it gives you a feeling of “home” — safe, has the info I want, looks like me. (We like comments which say “You’re right! I agree with you!”) First impression to go for: this is the place that has answers I need, it’s familiar and safe. Blog for you and to you. *steph-note: gosh, I really need to work on CTTS*

How do we know when a blogger is faking it (audience):

– factual information that’s wrong, when we know better
– too many ads and affiliate links
– excerpts and no added value — blog-quoting
– people that just re-post their twitters

Dead Sea Scrolls: scraps containing journal entries or info about people’s everyday lives.

Our blogs are note on our boring everyday lives for the future, at the least. Write for the future.

Playstation fake blog: top search results are about the fake blog, not about the playstation itself.

I don’t get any comments! Tips:

– too many people are still writing for their eighth-grade teacher. Complete sentences, complete thoughts, complete ideas — complete essays. Doesn’t leave any space for response. Don’t finish the idea. Leave things out on purpose.

Don’t respond to every comment, but make your readers think that you do. Blog your passion, your ideas, show that you care, say thank you (don’t fake it, though). Avoid “Now, what do you think?”. Doesn’t work.

Be with your readers like an old married couple — let them finish your sentences. Blog about what other people are blogging about. Blog about their conversations, and add stuff. Don’t challenge people to blog about something. Be linky. Comment on other blogs, but intelligently. Make people want to see your blog! We all do it. It’s our job to help our fellow bloggers continue the conversation. Comment in a way which will help the conversation go further. *steph-note: un poil didactique, là.*

*steph-note: Lorelle giving a shout-out to a bunch of people from the WP community who are in the room.*

Help each other, share connections, blog about each other, comment on your friends’ blogs…

Lorelle has been under WordPress since pre-1.2.

“I lived in Israel 5 years. I know about terrorism, so I know how to handle comments on my blog!”

Lorelle doesn’t care about stats. They’re not important for what she does. She’s been doing this too long, doesn’t care anymore.

Write timeless stuff. One of her posts from two years ago was dugg over Thanksgiving.

Q: fictional blogs. Good or bad, when it’s not clear? Blogotainment.

A: if people know, it makes a difference. disclosure.

Q: could too many guidelines/rules turn us into the traditional media?

A: has a lot of rules for her blog (ie, doesn’t blog about politics, personal life, dad dying, being sick…) — she has very focused blogs.

Q: Fighting comment spam?

A: Akismet, Spam Karma, Bad Behavior.

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"Pouvez-vous nous faire un site?" — rôle du consultant [fr]

[en] I'm regularly asked by potential clients to "make a website for them". This is not something I do -- if it is the only thing expected from me -- because I think that it is often a recipe for unsatisfaction. I see myself as somebody who is mainly going to educate my clients about "the internet", and accompany them in setting up a solution for their web presence which keeps them as autonomous as possible.

This post is mainly a reproduction of a document I made for a client, explaining the difference between a "service provider" and a "consultant", and the advantages of hiring the services of a consultant, even if what you want is "a web site".

Il y a quelque temps, j’ai été contactée dans le cadre d’une appel d’offres pour un site internet. Cela m’arrive relativement régulièrement: “Nous n’avons pas de site, pouvez-vous nous en faire un?” L’attente du client, dans ce cas, est généralement la livraison d’un site clé en mains pour lequel il aura fourni un certain nombre d’informations au prestataire de services (exigeances ou souhaits concernant le graphisme, la structure du site, le contenu), avec un minimum de formation pour pouvoir s’occuper du site par la suite, ou un contrat de maintenance.

Personnellement, je n’aime pas du tout travailler comme ça. Je préfère apprendre à mes clients comment pêcher (ici: mettre en place une présence internet) que de leur donner une caisse de filets de carrelet (ici: un site internet bien emballé avec manuel d’utilisation). Même si on peut argumenter que je ne suis pas une [pure consultante](, c’est quand même le conseil et l’accompagnement qui sont au centre de ma démarche, dans une optique “comprendre et apprendre internet”. Ça convient, ou ça ne convient pas, mais c’est comme ça que je travaille en ce moment.

Suite à une première rencontre avec le client où j’ai expliqué tout ça, j’ai résumé sous forme d’un document écrit les principaux éléments de la discussion. Comme je l’ai déjà fait (voir: [Musique: bénéfices d’une bonne stratégie internet](, je reproduis ici avec quelque modifications (anonymisation en particulier) ce document.

#### Consultant ou société de services

Le rôle d’un consultant est d’accompagner le client dans une démarche (de changement ou de résolution de problème). A ce titre, il peut être appelé à fournir des services, mais ce n’est pas là son rôle premier. Il vise à ce que le client soit autonome à la fin du mandat. C’est un investissement dont les résultats resteront sensibles sur le long terme.

La société de services fournit un produit fini, souvent avec un contrat de maintenance. S’il faut apporter des modifications au produit après la fin du mandat, il faut faire à nouveau appel à la société de services (et payer en conséquence). Le client reste dans une relation de dépendance, un peu au coup par coup.

Cette distinction est certes simplificatrice. Dans le cas qui nous occupe, on peut dire que le “problème” auquel on veut remédier est la non-utilisation d’internet comme canal de communication, et que “créer un site” est la solution proposée. Mais ce n’est pas nécessairement une solution suffisante, car les attentes quant à la résolution de se problème ne sont pas juste “avoir un site”, mais à un plus haut niveau (stratégie de communication tirant parti de ce qu’internet peut offrir, peut-être une certaine autonomie par rapport à ce média généralement mal connu, également).

En l’occurrence, l’appel d’offres lancé par l’organisation concerne principalement la livraison d’un produit fini (un site internet), dont une partie du contenu et des caractéristiques ont déjà été élaborés de façon interne.

En tant que consultante, je ne livre pas de produits finis comme le font les sociétés de services, à moins que cela ne soit dans le cadre d’un mandat plus large. Le risque que le “produit fini” ainsi livré tombe à côté des attentes réelles mal identifiées est en effet trop grand. Je considère que cela ne rend pas service au client (qui court de grands risques d’être insatisfait en fin de compte), et par extension, cela ne me rend pas service non plus en tant que professionnelle.

#### Un consultant pour une démarche internet

On peut se demander — et c’est compréhensible — s’il est vraiment pertinent d’utiliser les services d’un consultant pour la mise en place d’un site internet. Ce n’est effectivement absolument pas nécessaire si tout ce que l’on désire est “un site”. Cependant, il faut être conscient qu’en abordant les choses ainsi le site en question risque fort d’être insatisfaisant, ou de le devenir dans un futur plus ou moins proche.

En effet, un site internet, au contraire d’une brochure imprimée, n’est pas véritablement un produit qui peut être “fini”. C’est un espace, un lieu d’ouverture sur l’extérieur à travers internet, et qui est en évolution permanente. Faire évoluer cet espace (ne serait-ce que pour garder à jour le contenu pour refléter l’évolution de la vie de l’organisation) demande l’acquisition de certaines compétences à l’intérieur de l’organisation.

De plus, internet n’est pas simplement “du contenu imprimé accessible par ordinateur”. C’est un média à part entière, avec ses caractéristiques propres, sa culture, ses règles, et sa technologie. C’est un média très mal connu du public non spécialisé, d’une part parce qu’il évolue très vite (rester “à jour” demande donc un investissement conséquent), et d’autre part parce qu’il est très jeune (les personnes de plus de 25-30 ans n’ont en général eu aucun contact avec ce média, même passif, durant leurs années formatrices).

Faire appel aux services d’un spécialiste de ce média lorsque l’on décide d’y faire ses premiers pas permet:

* de comprendre réellement ce qui est en jeu, et donc d’être plus en contrôle de ce que l’on va y faire, et de ne pas naviguer à l’aveugle;
* d’adapter l’utilisation de ce nouveau média à la culture spécifique de l’organisation, y compris à son degré de confort avec un outil peu connu, et donc potentiellement déstabilisant et inquiétant;
* d’avoir un interlocuteur qui peut “faire l’intermédiaire” entre l’organisation et les sociétés de services auxquelles elle ferait appel;
* d’acquérir une plus grande autonomie par rapport à ce média et une stratégie de communication en évolution.

#### Forme possible d’un mandat

Voici par exemple comment le consultant pourrait accompagner l’organisation dans le cadre de la mise en place d’un site internet:

* soutien pour la gestion du projet à l’intérieur de l’organisation
* formation technique et “culturelle” des personnes gérant le site, y contribuant, et des décideurs
* assistance technique et stratégique en cas de difficultés
* accompagnement durant la préparation, mise en place du site, et même après
* réponses aux questions
* coaching rédactionnel
* interface (“traduction”) avec les prestataires tiers
* aussi possibilité d’agir comme société/fournisseur de services (=”mettre en place le site”, avec un outil de gestion de contenu léger rendant les mises à jour possibles de façon autonome), mais pas obligatoire
* …

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Blogging 4 Business Conference [en]

[fr] Notes de la conférence Blogging4Business à laquelle j'assiste en ce moment à Londres.

So, unless some miracle happens, I’ll be blogging this day offline and posting it tonight when I get back at Suw’s. There seems to be no wifi provided for conference attendees unless you are willing to shell out £25 for a daily pass. (Actually, it seems there were a certain number of passes available.)

I would honestly have expected an event titled “**Blogging** 4 Business” to be “blog-aware” enough to realise that providing free wifi to connected people will encourage blogging of the event. Granted, most of the people I see in the room are taking paper notes (not that there is anything wrong with that) — this doesn’t seem to be an audience of bloggers. But wouldn’t it be an intelligent move to encourage the blogging public to “do their thing” at such an event?

I missed most of the first keynote and panel, spending time in the lobby chatting with Lee and Livio of [Headshift]( (my kind hosts today), and [Adam](

**Panel 1** incomplete and possibly inaccurate notes (they’re more snippets than a real account of what was said, partly because I don’t understand everything — audio and accents)

How do you respond to crisis online? (cf. Kryptonite)

Ged Carroll: In the 90s, faulty lock was broadcast on consumer TV. Mistake: didn’t tell the blogs that they were monitoring what was being said in that space, and that they were working on a solution (they *were* in fact acknowledging the problem, but hadn’t communicated that state of things to the public).

Moderator (Paul Munford?): how do you prevent something like that from being so predominently visible (search etc.)?

Darren Strange: owns his name. Same if you type “Microsoft Office”, his blog comes up pretty quickly too. Blogs attract links, good for search engine ranking.

Question: brands need ambassadors, OK, but where’s the ongoing material to blog about Budweiser?

Tamara Littleton: brand involvement in the site keeps things alive and happening. Reward ambassadors with merchandise.

*steph-note: on my way to London, I was reading the Cluetrain Manifesto (yeah, I’m a bit late on that train) and was particularly inspired by the part about how most of traditional marketing is trying to get people to hear a “message” for which there is actually no “audience” (nobody really wants to hear it), and so ends up coming up with ways to shove it into people’s faces and make them listen. This idea is kind of trotting in the back of my mind these days, and it’s colouring what I’m getting out of this event too.*

Question: transparency is a big thing… “creating ambassadors” (*steph-note: one “creates” ambassadors?!)… where is the space for disclosure?

Tamara Littleton: it’s about creating an environment, not saying “if you do this you’ll get that reward”. Rewards could be access to information about the product. Invite people to take part in something.

Ged Carroll: two types of rewards: merchandise etc, and also reputation-ego. Doesn’t have to be tangible.

Darren Strange: trying to have non-techie people try new releases of Vista, etc. Installed everything on a laptop, shipped it to the people’s house, and gave it to them. “Take the laptop, use it, blog if you want to, write good or bad things, or send it back to us, or give it to charity, or keep it, we don’t really care.” Huge debate about this. Professional journalists will be used to this kind of “approach”, but bloggers are kind of amateurs at this, they don’t know how to react. Disclosure: just state when you received something. *steph-note: and if you’re uncomfortable, say it too!*

**Panel: Lee Bryant, Adam Tinworth, David ??, Olivier Creiche**

*steph-note: got wifi, will publish*

Blogging 4 Business

Lee presenting first. Headshift have quite a bunch of nice products in the social software department. “It aint what you do it’s the way that you do it, and that’s what gets results.” (Bananarama)

Concrete business use cases.

Olivier talking now. “To blog or not to blog?” Simple answer: blog. Serious Eats. Citrix: a lot of knowledge disappeared when people left the company — a lot of knowledge out there that is only waiting to be gathered out of people’s e-mail boxes. Used Movable Type for that.

Another case study: AEP, also wanted to prevent e-mails from being the central repository of company knowledge (e-mails are not shared spaces!) Start small, experimental. Need to find the right people to start with. Another one: Arcelor/Mittal merger. Decided to communicate publicly about the lot of stuff. Video channel. Wanted to be very open about what they were doing and how, and answer questions. Good results, good press coverage.

David: allowing lawyers to share their knowledge and expertise, not just in their offices. Blogs, RSS, wikis allows time-critical sharing of information. *steph-note: like I’ll be publishing this as soon as the panel is over…* Catch things on the fly and make them available over a very short period of time.

Adam: starting to roll out business blogs just to allow communication. Bringing about profound change. *steph-note: very bad account of what Adam said, sorry — audio issues.* Other problems: educational issues. Best to not force people to use this or that tool, but open up. Share. Get people inside the teams to show their collegues what they’re using.

Question (moderator): a lot of evangelising going on in terms of blogs. Do blogs/wikis etc deliver on the promise of breaking down barriers, etc, when it comes to internal communication.

Lee: not a simple black/white situation. It comes down to people. Big problem: people bear a high cost to interact with communication systems and get no feedback. But with social tools (lightweight), we get immediate feedback. Integration with existing corporate systems.

Question: is social media the end of communications as we know it.

Lee: every generation of technology sees itself as a ground-breaker. But they’re all layered on top of each other. We have technology that delivers on the initial promise of the web (equal publication, sharing, etc) *(steph-note: yay! I keep saying that!)*

*steph-note: more northern English please ;-)*

David: now, using the web to create communities of practice, getting lawyers to communicate with people unthought of before.

Question: how do you deal with outdated material.

Lee: with mature social software implementations, any piece of information gathers its own context. So what is relevant to this time tends to come to the surface, so out-dated material sinks down. More about information surfacing when it’s time than getting out-dated stuff out of the way.

David: social tools make it very easy to keep your content up-to-date (which was a big problem with static sites).

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Disturbed About Reactions to Kathy Sierra's Post [en]

[fr] Comme cela avait été le cas lors de l'affaire SarkoWeb3, la blosophère s'est maintenant emparée de la triste histoire des menaces reçues par Kathy Sierra, telle une meute affamée et sans cervelle. Hypothèses présentées pour faits, coupable car non prouvé innocents, noms, déformation d'information, téléphone arabe, réactions émotionnelles trop vite bloguées et sans penser... tout y est.

Encore une fois, je suis déçue des gens.

Since I [read]( and [posted]( about [Kathy Sierra’s latest post](, and stayed up until 3am looking at blog post after blog post pop up on [Technorati]( and [Google Blogsearch](, I’ve been growing [increasingly uneasy]( about what I was reading in the blogosphere.

Like many other people I suppose, I was hit with this “tell me it ain’t so” feeling (denial!) that makes one sick in the stomach upon reading that Kathy had cancelled her ETech appearance out of fear for her safety. My heart went out to her. Of course, I felt angry at the people who had cause her such fear, and I also felt quite a bit of concern at seeing known blogger names appear in the context of this ugly affair.

And then, of course, there was the matter of getting the word out there. I [blogged it]( (and blogged it soon — I’ll be candid about this: I realised it was breaking news, heck, I even [twittered it]( before [Arrington did](!), and although I did use words like “horrible” and “unacceptable” (which are pretty strong in my dictionary, if you are familiar with my blogging habits), I refrained from repeating the names mentioned in Kathy’s post or demanding that the culprits be lynched.

One of the reasons for this is that I had to re-read some parts of Kathy’s post a couple of times to be quite certain to what extent she was reporting these people to be involved. Upon first reading, I was just shocked, and stunned, and I knew I’d read some bits a bit fast. I also knew that I had Kathy’s side of the story here, and though I have no reasons to doubt her honesty, I know that reality, *what really happened*, usually lies **somewhere in between the different accounts of a story one can gather from the various parties involved**. So I took care not to point fingers, and not to name names in a situation I had no first-hand information about, to the point of not knowing any of the actors in it personally.

In doing this, and taking these precautions, I consider that I am **trying to do my job as a responsible blogger**.

Unfortunately, one quick look at most of the posts coming out of Technorati or Google Blogsearch shows (still now, over 15 hours after Kathy posted) a [collection]( of knee-jerk reactions, side-taking, verbal lynching, and rising up to the defense of noble causes. There are inaccurate facts in blog posts, conjectures presented as fact, calls to arms of various types, and catchy, often misleading, headlines. I tend to despise the mainstream press increasingly for their use of manipulative headlines, but honestly, what I see some bloggers doing here is no better.

Welcome to the blogmob.

The blogmob is nothing new, of course. My first real encounter with the mob was in [May 2001](, when Kaycee Nicole Swenson [died (or so it seemed)]( and somebody [dared suggest she might not have existed]( The mob was mainly on MetaFilter at that time, but there were very violent reactions towards the early proponents of the “hoax” hypothesis. Finally, it was demonstrated that Kaycee was *indeed* a hoax. This was also my first encounter with somebody who was sick and twisted enough to make up a fictional character, Kaycee, a cancer victim, and keep her alive online for over two years, mixing lies and reality to a point barely imaginable. I — and many others — fell for it.

Much more recently, I’ve seen the larger, proper blogmob at work in two episodes I had “first-hand knowledge” about. The first, after the [LeWeb3-Sarkozy debacle](, when bad judgement, unclear agendas, politics and clumsy communication came together and pissed off a non-trivial number of bloggers who were attending [LeWeb3]( There were angry posts, there were constructive ones and those which were less, and then the blogmob came in, with hundreds of bloggers who asked for Loïc’s head on a plate based on personal, second-hand accounts of what had happened, without digging a bit to try to get to the bottom of the story. Loïc had messed up, oh yes he had, but that didn’t justify painting him flat-out evil as the blogmob did. In Francophonia it got so bad that this episode and its aftermath was (in my analysis) the death stroke for comments on Loïc’s blog, and he decided to shut them down.

The second (and last episode I’ll recount here) is when the whole blogosphere went a-buzz about how Wikipedia was going to shut down three months from now. [Words spoken at LIFT’07]( went through many chinese whisper (UK) / Telephone (US) filters to turn into a [rather dramatic announcement](, which was then relayed by just about anybody who had a blog. Read about [how the misinformation spread and what the facts were](

So, what’s happening right now? The first comments I read on Kathy’s post were reactions of shock, and expressions of support. Lots of them. Over the blogosphere, people were busy getting the news out there by relaying the information on their blogs. Some (like me) shared stories. As the hours went by, I began to see trends:

– this is awful, shocking, unacceptable
– the guilty must be punished
– women are oppressed, unsafe
– the blogosphere is becoming unsafe!

Where it gets disturbing, and where really, really, I’m disappointed and think bloggers should know better, is when I read headlines or statements like this (and I’m not going to link to all these but you’ll find them easily enough):

* “Kathy Sierra v. Chris Locke”
* “Kathy Sierra to Stop Blogging!”
* “Kathy Sierra hate campaign”
* throwing around names like “psychopath” and “terrorist” to describe the people involved
* [“Personally I am disgusted with myself for buying and recommending Chris Locke’s book…”]( and the like
* the assumption that there is a unique person behind the various incidents Kathy describes
* taking for fact that Chris Locke, Jeneane Sessum, Alan Herrell or Frank Paynter are involved, directly, and in an evil way (which is taking Kathy’s post a step further than what it actually says, for the least)
* …

In [my previous post](, I’ve tried to link to blog posts which actually bring some added value. Most of the others are just helping the echo chamber echo louder, at this point. Kathy’s post is (understandably) a little emotional (whether it is by design as

I’d like to end this post with a recap of what I’ve understood so far. (“What I’ve understood” means that there might be mistakes here, but I’m giving an honest account of what I managed to piece together.) I’m working under the assumption that the people involved are giving honest accounts of their side of the story, and hoping that this will not unravel like the Kaycee story did to reveal the presence of a sick, twisted liar somewhere.

– Kathy has been receiving threats. Some in the comments of her blog, some by e-mail, and some in the posts and/or comments of meankids and unclebobism, sites which have since then been taken down.
– Meankids was set up by a bunch of people (including Chris and Frank at the minimum). It was closed after going overboard, and the same people opened Unclebobism as a replacement. (Details about exactly what went in internally are not clear. See posts by [Kevin Marks](, [Frank Paynter]( and [Chris Locke]( for source information.)
– Stowe says this [doesn’t fit with the personal knowledge he has of Jeneane Sessum and Alan Herrell]( Other people like Lisa Stone also report phone contacts with Jeneane, and [it seems she is not directly involved in the acts Kathy describes]( (though it definitely seems she had something to do with the two sites meankids and unclebobism, if only in [linking]( for the second). **Update:** Chris gives details on her (indeed) [very minimal involvement](
– Frank Paynter [apologized early on]( on Kathy’s blog, then explains that this whole thing is [an experiment in anarchy gone overboard](
– [Chris Locke]( denies being directly responsible for any of the threats Kathy mentions, and owns up to two direct comments about Kathy on unclebobism.
– Alan Herrell seems to have shut down [Raving Lunacy](
– Kathy ends her post with “I have no idea if I’ll ever post again. I suspect I will. But for now, I have a lot to rethink.” — this seems to point to her taking a break, not abandoning blogging.
– “Joey”, the author (?) of one of the threats Kathy received, comments on her blog: [one](, [two](, [three](, [four](, [five](; he says the threat was not towards her but some other person he called Kathy (?!). See also [Brent’s response to the first comment]( I have to admit some skepticism here. He could be a simple troll. But again, not to be dismissed without taking a good look.
– **Update 28 May 2007** Alan Herrell reports being victim of identity theft. E-mail made public by [Doc Searls](
– **Update 29 May 2007** Jim Turner gives a way better account than I have here of [what we can make out of the story for the moment]( — part 2 is due to follow and here is part two: The Sierra Saga Part 2: Big Bad Bob and the Lull Before the Kathy Sierra Blog Storm.
– **Update 1 April 2007** Jeneane Sessum publishes a few words [about the whole mess and her name being dragged in the dirt](

Please, Blogosphere. Keep your wits. This is a messy ugly story, and oversimplications will help nobody. Holding people guilty until proven innocent doesn’t either. (Trust me, I’ve been on the receiving end of [unfounded accusations]( because somebody didn’t hear my side of the story, and it sucks.)

The problem with bullying is that perceived meanness isn’t the same on both sides. Often, to the bully, the act is “just harsh” or “not to be taken seriously” (to what extent that is really believed, or is some kind of twisted rationalisation is not clear to me). To the bullied, however, the threats are very real, even if they were not really intended so. Bullying is also a combination of small things which add up to being intolerable. People in groups also tend to behave quite differently than what they would taken isolately, the identity of the individual tending to dissolve into the group identity. Anonymity (I’ve blogged about this many times, try a search) encourages people to not take responsibility for what they say, and therefore gives them more freedom to be mean. Has something like this happened here?

If you have something thoughtful to say, then say it. But if all you have to say has already been said out there ten times, or if you won’t take the trouble to check your sources, read carefully, calm down before blogging, avoid over-generalisations, and thus avoid feeding the already bloated echo-chamber — just go out for a walk in the sun and let the people involved sort themselves out.

The word is out there, way enough, and I trust that we’ll get to the bottom of the story in time.

**Update: I’m adding new links which actually add something to this story to [my first post]( as I find them, so check over there for updates.**

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Death Threats in the Blogosphere [en]

[fr] Kathy Sierra, blogueuse réputée, fait l'objet de menaces de mort (et d'autres menaces à caractères sexuel) laissées sur son blog et sur un ou deux autres blogs gérés par d'autres personnalités connues de la blogosphère anglo-saxonne.

A bout, elle a annulé ses conférences prévues aujourd'hui à ETech et est enfermée chez elle. Une enquête de police est en cours.

[Kathy Sierra]( is somebody whose blog posts I never miss, because they’re always really really good material, and very though-provoking. I was about to head to bed when I saw a new one of her pop up in Google Reader. Just a quick nice read before I go to bed, I thought.

[Not so.](

In her latest post, Kathy Sierra [reports that she has been receiving increasingly disturbing threats]( (death threats, and of sexual nature), to the point that she has cancelled her appearance at ETech and has locked herself up at home.

Many, many years ago, during my first year of discovering the internet, I received an e-mail containing quite graphicly described rape threats. I received two e-mails in total. The e-mails were anonymous, but it seemed clear from the wording that the person sending them knew at least something about who I was. They were for me, not a random send.

I started suspecting all my online friends, wondering which one of them was the nasty e-mail sender. I wasn’t too worried as I had been very secretive about my name and exact location at the time, but still — it was *not a nice feeling at all*. A few days, later, through an abuse complaint to Hotmail and a little sleuthing on my part, I managed to find out who it was. I played dead, nothing else happened, I left it at that and life went on, with no particularly averse consequences for me.

In this case, the threats Kathy has been getting have been left in the comments of her blog, or even published on other blogs managed by known names in the blogosphere.

> For the last four weeks, I’ve been getting death threat comments on this blog. But that’s not what pushed me over the edge. What finally did it was some disturbing threats of violence and sex posted on two other blogs… blogs authored and/or owned by a group that includes prominent bloggers. People you’ve probably heard of.

Kathy, being her smart self, perfectly understands how threats like those she received do their damage.

> Most of all, I now fully understand the impact of death threats. It really doesn’t make much difference whether the person intends to act on the threat… it’s the threat itself that inflicts the damage. It’s the threat that makes you question whether that “anonymous” person is as disturbed as their comments and pictures suggest.

> It’s the threat that causes fear.

> It’s the threat that leads you to a psychiatrist and tranquilizers just so you can sleep without repeating the endless loop of your death by:

> * throat slitting
> * hanging
> * suffocation
> and don’t forget the sexual part…

> I have cancelled all speaking engagements.

> I am afraid to leave my yard.

> I will never feel the same. I will never be the same.

Unfortunately, understanding how it works is not helping her alleviate the damaging effects of those horrible threats.

Was all this intentional? Was this somebody (or a group-effect) taking “play” too far without realising they had crossed a line into (a) illegal and (b) really damaging behaviour?

I don’t know the people involved here — neither directly, nor really indirectly. I’m not sure who sides with who, who hates or despises who, or what the history is. Reading Kathy’s post gives some ideas, but no real answers. I sincerely hope the person/people behind this are found out. What’s going on here is utterly unacceptable.

And Kathy, hang in there. We want to see you back amongst us.

Selected posts on the topic (updated as comes):

– [Way Way Over the Edge]( by Tim Bray
– [What is Wrong with Internet People? (or: Kathy Sierra vs. the Internet Creeps)]( (and also [The Downside of Having a Web Presence (or: Kathy Sierra vs. the Anonymous Web Thugs)]( by Joey deVilla
– [Death Threats Against Bloggers](!9592F3DEF41537A3!3314.entry) by Maryam Scoble
– [This is Unacceptable]( by Michael Arrington
– [Thank you Kathy Sierra, and Best Wishes!]( by Sean Osteen
– [Taking the Week Off]( by Robert Scoble (how much of this is a knee-jerk reaction? I personally don’t think it’s a good idea) **Update: check out [How Awful](**
– [Kathy Sierra Death Threats]( by Stowe Boyd (with some insider info)
– [Kathy Sierra Getting Death Threats, Internet Reaches New Low]( by Josh Bancroft
– [Patriarchy exists and we’re kicking its ass]( by Liz Henry
– [Disappointed]( by Shelley Powers (**context here!** *Yes, Shelley, some of us would really like more of this context thing…*)
– [Creating Passionate Users: Death threats against bloggers are NOT]( by John P. Daigle
– [Blogger Gets Death Threats]( by Frederic (comment on blogohysteria, the [blogmob I’m just noticing now](
– [Misogyny and anonymity]( by Seth Godin
– [Death and rape threats are criminal]( by Kevin Marks (more background information here)
– [Mere Anarchy]( by Frank Paynter (background on unclebob and meankids from one who set them up)
– “Joey” comments on Kathy’s blog: [one](, [two](, [three](, [four](, [five](; does this shed light on some horrible misunderstanding, or are they just [lies]( See also [Brent’s response to the first comment](
– [Safe havens for hate speech are irresponsible]( by danah boyd
– [It’s Awful. Yes.]( by MJ (about harassment)
– [re Kathy Sierra’s allegations](, by Chris Locke (his side of the story)
– [Mind Killer]( by Baldur
– [Memo to Kathy Sierra and Chris Locke: Shut Up]( by Jerry Bowles
– [Women as targets of violence online]( by Stephanie Quilao
– [The threats of death and sexual assualt]( by Eric Rice
– [The Unsinkable Kathy Sierra]( by Tara Hunt who has first-hand information
– [In defense of Chris Locke]( by Nick Denton (a bit ironic IMHO as the first VW post contributed to putting Locke’s role forward)
– [Was Kathy Sierra’s Life Threatened?]( by Lewis Green
– [Anonymity, Interpellation, Truth, Ignorance, and the Stakes]( by AKMA
– [Are Scoble & Sierra Wrong To Stop Blogging?]( by Piers Fawkes
– [A message to the techblogging elite]( by Michelle Malkin
– [Getting past the bottom of What Went Wrong]( by Doc Searls
– [I had Death Threats in High School]( by Chris Pirillo
– [Alan Herrell on The Meankids Mess]( by Stowe Boyd (Alan Herrell reports being victim of identity theft)
– [Kathy Sierra interview in MacWorld](
– [The Sierra Saga Part 1: Dissecting the Creation of the Kathy Sierra Blog Storm]( and [The Sierra Saga Part 2: Big Bad Bob and the Lull Before the Kathy Sierra Blog Storm]( by Jim Turner (good account of the facts so far, exact as far as I can say)
– [Intention, pain and webs]( by Tom Matrullo (background info on by a contributor)
– actually, [head off to Google Blogsearch]( or [Technorati]( for the latest.

**Update:** a little information about the [background to meankids and unclebob]( can be found on the blog linked to in this comment (look through the February archive too).

**Update, 28 March 2007:** please read my second post on this topic too — [Disturbed About Reactions to Kathy Sierra’s Post](

**Update, 30 March 2007:** for various reasons, I need to take a little distance from this whole sad affair (reasons like: not letting issues that do not concern me directly eat me up — and don’t make me say what I haven’t said with this, thanks). If I do bump into interesting links, I’ll keep adding them here, but please don’t expect this to be a complete list. It never was intended to. And it’s going to get spottier.

– (
– [Kathy Sierra—When Blogs Attack]( — with a poll
– [Not looking for sympathy or anything]( by Dave Winer: Everyone played a role in this, the people who stopped blogging, the people who threatened their friends, the people who called it a gang rape, and yes indeed, the mean kids. But they’ve paid enough. It’s time to welcome them back into the blogging world, and in a few weeks, ask them to reflect on what they learned. These are all intelligent and creative people, who have acted badly. But they didn’t deserve what they got.
– [In the Matter of Kathy Sierra]( by Ronni Bennett
– [It’s all about Control]( by Shelley Powers
– [I Own my Own Words, indeed]( by Tara Hunt (apology re [here](
– [Kathy Sierra, Meet Chris Locke. This is CNN.]( by Joey deVilla (Monday 6-9 Eastern)
– [Just a Few Words]( by Jeneane Sessum
– [Coordinated Statements on the Recent Events]( by Kathy Sierra and Chris Locke: Kathy Sierra and I (Chris Locke) agreed to publish these statements in advance of the story which will appear tomorrow (Monday 2 April 2007) on CNN, sometime between 6 and 9am on “CNN American Morning.” As used in the somewhat Victorian title slug, above, “coordinated” is meant to signal our joint effort to get this stuff online, not that we co-wrote the material you see here, or had any hand in prompting or editing each other’s words. We hope something new comes through in these statements, and that they will perhaps suggest more creative ways of approaching the kind of debate that has been generated around “the recent events” they relate to.

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PointBlog: ça traîne en longueur, et Ginisty aux abonnés absents [fr]

[en] If ever you're in France, at the Festival de Romans, and you bump into Christophe Ginisty, would you do me a favour and remind him that his company (Pointblog SàRL) still owes me money for an article I wrote roughly a year ago. Thanks in advance!

Il y a un an de cela, [Cyril Fiévet]( me contactait pour savoir si j’étais toujours intéressée à contribuer au [magazine Netizen](, produit par la [société Pointblog SàRL](

J’ai accepté avec plaisir, j’ai passé deux bonnes journées à suer sur mon clavier (littéralement, j’avais un crève du diable et une fièvre du tonnerre), et le résultat a été publié dans le [numéro 2 de Netizen](

Restait à me faire payer (parce que oui, la gloire et tout c’est bien joli, mais c’est encore mieux quand ça permet de payer un peu le loyer et les croquettes du chat). D’abord, mea culpa, j’ai tardé — car je n’avais pas réalisé que Cyril m’avait envoyé par mail des choses à imprimer, remplir, signer, renvoyer, etc.

En juin (je crois, faudrait que je re-fouille dans mes mails pour être sûre), donc, motivée en partie par le [lavage de linge sale]( qui a fait un peu le tour de la blogobille à l’époque, j’envoie un timide e-mail au rédac’ chef du défunt hibernant méditant magazine, histoire de savoir si j’ai une chance de voir un jour la couleur de ces euros durement gagnés.

Un forward ou deux plus tard, aussi bien [Gilles Klein]( que [Christophe Ginisty](, qui dirige la société Pointblog, réagissent par mail pour me demander des détails pour qu’on puisse régler l’histoire. Très bien, donc.

C’est là que j’ai réalisé que je n’avais pas encore renvoyé les papiers. Je l’ai donc fait et j’en ai informé Christophe Ginisty par e-mail.

Puis, j’ai attendu.

Vous connaissez la chanson?

“J’ai attendu attendu elle n’est jamais venue…. daï daï daï daï tagada tsoin tsoin… daï daï daï daï…”

J’attends toujours.

Faut dire qu’entre-temps, j’ai quand même relancé Christophe une ou deux fois par mail, puis par courrier recommandé-signature-etc. (vous vous souvenez peut-être…). Ai aussi tenté de l’ajouter sur Skype (même si je suis une timide du combiné, avec Skype je m’en sors à peu près), mais sans résultat. Si [je ne savais pas mieux](, je me demanderais s’il n’était pas par hasard mouru.

Donc, chers amis lecteurs, si jamais vous allez au [Festival de Romans]( et que vous y croisez [Christophe Ginisty]( “Photo pour le reconnaître.”), vous voudriez bien lui rappeler que sa société me doit encore des sous, siouplaît, et qu’il doit y avoir dans une pile quelque part mails et courriers de ma part à ce sujet?

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Lancement du blog de Josef Zisyadis [fr]

[en] The site (blog, of course!) of my first political client, Josef Zisyadis is now live. Interested to see where it will go!

Il y a quelques mois, un ami commun a proposé à l’équipe de [Josef Zisyadis]( de faire appel à mes services pour la mise en place d’un blog. En effet, Josef Zisyadis et son équipe désiraient utiliser efficacement internet dans le cadre de sa campagne pour les élections.

On s’est rencontrés, on a parlé, on m’a proposé un mandat (payé), je l’ai accepté. On a organisé quelques demi-journées de [formation “De l’importance d’une formation blogs, en vidéo.”](, de réflexion stratégique, de bataillage avec [WordPress]( et divers serveurs. J’ai trouvé Josef Zisyadis et les membres de son équipe tout à fait réceptifs à ce nouveau média et je pense qu’ils sauront en tirer parti.

Donc, aujourd’hui — enfin, cette nuit — nous avons rendu le [blog/nouveau site]( public. Comme vous pouvez le voir, cela fait déjà un petit moment qu’il est alimenté de billets et de contenus divers. Vous noterez également qu’il contient le contenu plus “classique” d’un site internet (question que me posent souvent mes clients: “mais si je fais un blog… je peux aussi avoir un *vrai* site?”): une page de [contact](, une [biographie](, une page [Presse/Caricatures](, etc. Aussi, pour les amateurs, une collection de [textes divers](, [poésies]( et [recettes de cuisine](…

La navigation dans le site n’est malheureusement pas tout à fait aussi bonne qu’on l’aurait souhaité (et même, qu’on ne l’avait prévu): une incompabilité d’humeur de dernière minute entre le serveur hébergeant le site et [K2](, le thème WordPress (entendre “le look”) que nous avons utilisé comme base pour le design du blog. On va tenter d’y remédier, mais pour le moment, ce n’est malheureusement pas aussi bien que cela pourrait l’être, mais au moins on en est conscients 😉

Comme je ne pouvais pas être présente à la conférence de presse donnée aujourd’hui, j’ai préparé une petite séquence vidéo. J’ai demandé à [Thierry aka James]( s’il pouvait me filmer — et il a fait même plus, vu qu’il m’a “fait parler” à coup de questions. Résultat: une interview d’environ sept minutes, où je parle de [mon implication dans le projet Z-blogue et de l’utilité des blogs en politique](, de façon générale. Donc, merci Thierry, et filez écouter (y’a pas grand-chose à voir) la vidéo si vous voulez en savoir un peu plus!

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Steph+Suw Podcast: First! [en]

[fr] Suw et moi avons enfin enregistré le fameux podcast-conversation dont nous parlons depuis notre première rencontre, en mai 2004. C'est en anglais et c'est assez long, mais on s'en est pas trop mal sorties pour une première!

Each time [Suw]( and I meet, we talk about recording a podcast together. [We met for the first time in June 2004](, and if I believe the [Podcasting and Beercasting Thoughts]( I wrote a little less than a year later, that was indeed when we first started talking about using audio to record conversations.

I’m definitely sure that we talked about it at [BlogTalk 2]( I don’t think Skype was in the air then, but we talked about hooking up our phones to some audio recording device, and left it at that. At that time, people were getting excited about “audioblogging” (did we already talk about “podcasting” back then? It seems a long, long time ago) and we agreed that were audio really became interesting was in rendering conversations. (See the [Podcasting and Beercasting Thoughts]( post for more about that.)

Anyway, now we have [Skype](, and [Call Recorder]( (which reminds me, I need to write up a post about the ethics of recording audio conversations), and we finally got round to doing it. It’s a bit long-ish (40 minutes — not surprising if you know us!) and has been slightly edited in that respect, but honestly, it’s not too bad for a start.

Here is roughly what we talked about.

– [San Francisco](, web geek paradise
– City sizes (see this [London-SF superimposition map](
– Segways
– The cat/geek Venn diagram ([Twitter error message](
– I really want a Wii
– IRC screen names
– The difficulties of pronouncing S-u-w
– When geeks name children: A unique identifier or anonymity?
– Stalkers and geoinformation
– Perceptions of security
– Giving out your phone number and address, and personal boundaries
– Airport security ([background…](
– Risk and expectations of risk
– Death, religion, and the medical industry
– Naming our podcast… something about blondes, apparently
– Clueless marketeering from the Fabric nightclub in London
– The repercussions of having a blog that people think is influential (even if
you don’t think it is)

Let us know what you liked and didn’t like! [View Suw’s post about this podcast.](

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Bloggy Friday 2 février (dans deux semaines!) [fr]

[en] Meeting of local bloggers in Lausanne, Friday 2nd February.

Eh oui, le temps file. Avant d’aller s’amuser à [Lift](, venez nous rejoindre pour le premier deuxième Bloggy Friday de l’année.

Au risque de me répéter (comme chaque mois) le [Bloggy Friday]( est l’occasion de se manger une bonne fondue (ou autre chose) entre blogueurs de la région, le tout dans une ambiance informelle, détendue et sympathique.

C’est ouvert à tous. Il suffit d’annoncer sa venue (ici ou bien sur, je compte les participants et je réserve le bistrot (Café de l’Evêché), et le tour est joué!

Le Bloggy Friday de janvier février (arghl!!!) aura donc lieu vendredi 2 février à 20h00 au Café de L’Evêché, à Lausanne. Je me réjouis de vous y voir!

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