Blogger cancels conference appearance after death threats

Kathy Sierra, a well-known blogger and author of books on web design and programming, has abruptly cancelled a speaking engagement after a rash of death threats began appearing on her blog as well as others. "As I type this, I am supposed to be in San Diego, delivering a workshop at the ETech conference," Sierra wrote Monday on her blog. "But I'm not. I'm at home, with the doors locked, terrified." In a telephone interview, Sierra accused some of her fellow bloggers of conducting a terror campaign against her. She also said that the police are investigating. On her blog, Sierra posted examples of the threats, such as a person encouraging others to slit her throat. Sierra points to another blog that hosted a photo of her next to a noose. Near the photo was the comment: "The only thing Kathy has to offer me is that noose in her neck size." Sierra said that she has not been involved in any blogging feuds, which are common. She suspects that the threats, which began appearing a month ago, are examples of the bitterness women with high profiles often must confront in the technology sector. However, news of the threats against Sierra spread rapidly in the blogging community and triggered a wave of support for her. "I have been an avid reader of Kathy Sierra's brilliantly insightful blog for sometime now," wrote Sam Sethi on the Vecosys blog. "Like many I am both angry and in shock at the death threats." "The people involved in this should be ashamed," wrote David Parmet under a blog posting titled "Kathy Sierra rocks." Although Sierra, a former computer-game developer, was too concerned about her safety to appear at the ETech conference, she said that she thought it important to speak out on her blog. "It's better to talk about it than just disappear," Sierra said. "People now are sharing their stories of being bullied and threatened."

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