Frankly, I have nothing to say about the latest example of Kos being an idiot that others haven’t already said better; others like Shakespeare’s Sister, Echidne, Feministing, Aimai, Majikthise, and I’m sure many others. (Updated to add: Such as Kip, and Chris, and Stephen.) (And Pandagon).
But I’ll say it anyway:
1) One can think that a “blogger code of ethics” is a stupid idea without thinking that death threats are no big deal.
2) There is no reason to accept that anyone should just have to put up with death threats as the cost of stating an opinion in public. Talk about lowered expectations! What next — should voters who are harassed at the voting site not complain, since they should have expected that sort of abuse?
3) It’s true that no blogger code of ethics will solve the problem of anonymous online idiots making threats.
But it’s also true that Kos’ view, if taken seriously, would actually make the problem worse. The only means most of us have of fighting back against these sort of attacks is to publicly call out the threat-makers. If people have to worry that fighting back will lead to one of the world’s most popular bloggers calling them an idiot in public, then that’ll be one more reason to just let it pass. And the standards of discourse on the internet, already disgustingly low, will be driven even lower.
As it happens, the threats against Kathy Sierra came in part on a online discussion board; in an environment like that, group social norms make a difference. If virtually everyone responded to posts that imply violence by saying “that’s disgusting! What’s wrong with you?,” threats like that won’t disappear entirely — but they will become less common. Contrariwise, if everyone responds to these sort of controversies the way Kos has here, by in effect calling people who object to such threats wimps and idiots, that will have the effect of encouraging threats.
4) Let’s not forget, it seems clear that female bloggers have to deal with more of this crap than male bloggers.