With the exception of a few horrendous examples of gay people fearing for their lives, I'm not aware of danger of PHYSICAL attack as a result of this fiasco.
The AM hack exposed the personal information of 32 million subscribers, about 3.2 million of who are women. It is a statistical certainty that at least thousands of these people have been subject to abuse, and as much so that some of them will experience more abuse because of the hack. Take these statistics and multiply them by 3.2 million.
Furthermore, Wired reports that a PI firm has created a site which permits anyone to search the AM data easily, without having to know how leaked data dumps are usually shared.
And if you were in the slightest hearing me as suggesting that would be good thing, then I've got it badly wrong.
I appreciate your straightforwardness, and lack of hostility. Looking back in the thread I see something like "AM hack response == puritan lynch mob" >> "It's OK for us to challenge people [like this]." Though not written explicitly, the [like this] seemed like a clear implication, which is why I did hear it as a suggestion the hack/doxxing is acceptable.
But suppose this hack had been of the identities of people watching child pornography?
Having reviewed the AM user statistics linked above, it's pretty clear the vast majority of users were never able to realize an affair, or even to communicate with a potential partner. 90% of the users are men, suggesting 81% are heterosexual men and 9% are heterosexual women (~10% of people are gay). That gives a 9:1 ratio. In light of that, the analogy ought to be "people who registered potential intent to consider watching child pornography." Creating an Ashley Madison account is apparently tantamount only to admitting the potential intent to consider an affair, which (most likely) never occurred.
Nevertheless, assuming the direct analogy is valid, the result of such a leak would be to make criminal convictions for those people extremely difficult to obtain. The mob cannot deliver justice - no matter the crime - because mob justice is arbitrary and irrevocably severe. Thus, I say that the extralegal doxxing of child porn watchers is also likely to result in a worse overall outcome than allowing the legal system to proceed by its usual means.
And yet, it is arguable, that a WATCHER of child porn is less destructive to real children - especially if that porn is CGI generated - than an adulterer who destroys a family.
Maybe so (if and only if your 'especially' become 'only'), but then again you've intentionally chosen to compare the least and most extreme cases of child porn and adultery, respectively.
The fact is, a large plurality of men and women do commit adultery. A large plurality of marriages also end in divorce, which is almost always quite traumatic for children. Sexual frustrations are often cited as contributing to both adultery and divorce. A more sexually flexible society would probably exhibit greater family stability when compared to our rigid one.
Overt racism will probably get you booted out of most circles...to dismiss my treatment of an adulterer as the behaviour of a lynch mob but condone similar treatment for an overt racist shows a failure to think.
You now say you're treatment of an adulterer is considerably more mild than the remedy forced upon us by the AM hackers, in which case your point is somewhat valid. I say 'somewhat' because the scourge of racism, which is mathematically guaranteed to result in inferior group performance*, has been enormously more impactful on modern civilization than adultery.
However, the actual, real life treatment of "adulterers" (actually, potential attempted adulterers) that is occurring is doxxing without regard for circumstance, followed by a multifacted mob reaction against arbitrary victims singled out from their 32 million counterparts. That is not comparable to excluding your local racists from conversation.
*Consider two partially overlapping Gaussian distributions. The number of samples greater than a set value in the sum of these distributions is always greater than the number above the threshold in either distribution taken alone, for any finite differences in mean and standard deviation.