One of the saddest things I have seen in a long time…

I just finished reading Death threats against bloggers are NOT “protected speech” (why I cancelled my ETech presentations), having been led there from Taking the week off. Before I get to expressing an opinion about this, I just want to express my support for those who have been the victim of these attacks.

The kind of abusive, sociopathic behaviour demonstrated in the posts they are talking about really makes me sick. I have only been following the blog world for a little while, but I have been participating in and watching online interactions since the early 90s – including IRC, then ICQ, various more mainstream chat environments, and multiplayer games. Watching verbal abuse in chat rooms. Watching anti-social, racist, sexist, and just generally unacceptable behaviour is games like Ultima Online, World of Warcraft, and Halo, not to mention Saint’s Row (note that I am NOT criticizing these games per se – I am commenting on the behaviour of people in these games where they can hide behind thier characters).

It has always boggled my mind how many people abandon all civility and rational behaviour as soon as they think they believe they are protected by anonymity.

It has at times made me question human nature. Are these people representative of the world at large? Would they act this way in the “real” world if the thought they could get away with it?

I guess that last point is what scares me the most. It makes me wonder how much of “civilization” really is just a thin veneer – given the right (or wrong) circumstances, would much of the population resort to this kind of behaviour if there were no consequences, like we’ve seen in all those “post-apocolyptic” science fiction movies?

I would like to hope not – but this kind of stuff scares me.


I have been working in the world of technology for 25-odd years. I am an entrepreneur and consultant, focused on software solutions, social networking, and innovation processes. Currently, I am a Principal Consultant with T4G Limited, specializing in Portal Technologies (including SharePoint), software/systems development, service oriented architectures, and many other things which I will probably not remember until I need to use them. Prior to that, I was VP of Technology at Whitehill Technologies, Inc., where I spent almost 9 years helping to grow the company from a start-up to one of the most successful private software companies in Canada. Prior to that I worked on internet conferencing using early VoIP, and on large military communications projects. Before even that, I worked in satellite control, and remote sensing. Going way back to university, my focus was on theoretical physics and astrophysics. Currently my interests revolve around most aspects of software development, from technologies to management, and in the area of defining sustainable, repeatable processes for innovation within technology organizations. I also have a particular interest in Tablet PC technologies – I have been using one for several years, and I love it. On the personal side, I still have a strong interest in all aspects of science, especially physical sciences, as well as philosophy and comparative religion. In addition, I am into music, playing guitar (badly, I am sorry to say), and reading almost anything I can lay my hands on. I am also a member of the IEEE/IEEE Computer Society, and of the Association for Computing Machinery.

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Please keep in mind that any opinions, points-of-view, comments, or other content which I post to this site are mine and mine alone. They in no way reflect the views of my employer, my country, my dog, my cat, or anyone else you can think of. To paraphrase Monty Python, "That is the theory that I have and which is mine, and what it is, too."

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