Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Blogosphere's code of conduct?

(via Wiebke Abel and other sources) The blogosphere has exploded once more in collective cries for or against a proposed code of conduct for bloggers. Tim O'Reilly has made a call for the imposition of a self-regulatory set of rules that bloggers will post under. The proposed code is:

  1. Take responsibility not just for your own words, but for the comments you allow on your blog.
  2. Label your tolerance level for abusive comments.
  3. Consider eliminating anonymous comments.
  4. Ignore the trolls.
  5. Take the conversation offline, and talk directly, or find an intermediary who can do so.
  6. If you know someone who is behaving badly, tell them so.
  7. Don't say anything online that you wouldn't say in person.
Rather sensible rules that I would otherwise follow, but I would never label the "abuse toleration" level, or something like that. However, the reply has been quite amazing, from the reasoned to the trollish shouting and gnashing of teeth. "O'Reilly wants to take away our freedom!" you can hear the thousands of keyboards shouting in unison.

While I think that a code of conduct is superfluous, I'm rather amused by the response. The blogosphere, new as it is, is finding its own way, establishing rules and social norms. I think that it has worked reasonably well so far, with all levels of content available, with a similar range of opinions on offer. I don't think that I need a label to know that certain blogs are distasteful, I will just move on and never come back. However, even the suggestion of such a rule is anathema to the libertarians that see the blogosphere as the last refuge of the politically incorrect. To some of these people, even a kind suggestion that they are being a bunch of tossers smacks of repression and oppression. It's political correctness gone mad!

The bottom line for me is, the Internet is full of people. People do stupid things from time to time. Get over it.

"Ye can take away my keyboard, but ye cannae take away my FREEDOM!!!"


Scott said...

There's quite an interesting article on this by Jonathan Freedland in today's Guardian:,,2054180,00.html

Andres Guadamuz said...

What an excellent piece by Freedland, thanks!