Accountability is a funny word.
Like most ideas it creates a two way street. In a vacuum we would love for all decisions to be made like the world acted like a meritocracy, but life does not work that way. We wish that people who held positions of importance would be removed from those positions when they start to slip, but again there are always many more factors that are in play the general public does not know about.
In addition, there is the social contract that those who demand accountability to leaders, do not cross the line and keep the institutional legitimacy our complex society needs to function in place.
A fellow SBNation blog LAGConfidential floated the idea today that we should be finding United States Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati's email from his job as a professor at Columbia University and inundate his inbox "respectfully" to voice frustrations over the stagnation of United States Men's National Team Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann. (Authors note: I grappled with the idea of linking to this piece, but ultimately I decided not to given the gravity of the firestorm I believe the piece will create. If you want to read the whole think please find the piece on your own. I will not be giving it more traffic.)
Please, I ask of you, do not do this.
The justification for finding an email only put online so that people can discuss his role as an economics professor at an esteemed university was that six years ago Gulati may have responded to a few people.
Despite this being a wildly stupid idea in 2009, the article fails to remember six years ago was a lot different of a time in terms of the internet.
In the past six years, internet harassment has grown exponentially, and has become a greater problem than we ever realized. In the past year alone, we have read countless articles of people online needing to go to the police for threats on their lives because of how interconnected the internet is, and how accessible information has become. In the past month alone, Chicago-based reporter Julie DiCaro was forced to stay home from her job because of harassment she received on twitter after reporting facts about the Patrick Kane rape investigation. Due to Twitter, scenes like this have become commonplace, especially in the "post-Gamergate" fallout on the platform.
This also does not account for the fact that in 2009, the amount of fans living and dying on the results of the USMNT was much less than it is today. Suggesting that doxxing the USSF president so that a large group of passionate fans email him, again mind you "respectfully," is a naïve idea that can only end badly.
Doxxing anyone is not okay in 2015. Doxxing anyone was not okay ever. Do not find Sunil Gulati's personal email address and send him your insane ramblings about how Jurgen Klinsmann should not be the coach of the USMNT. Frankly it is pathetic.