In the wake of the recent furor over proper blog participation behavior, Tim O'Reilly has posted a draft of a Blogging Code of Conduct. Based closely on the Blogher Community Guidelines (I'm not surprised that women are leading the way in this regard), O'Reilly has posted the suggested code on a Blogger's Code Wiki where you can make suggested edits and weigh in on the discussion. His key points:
- We take responsibility for our own words and for the comments we allow on our blog.
- We won't say anything online that we wouldn't say in person.
- We connect privately before we respond publicly.
- When we believe someone is unfairly attacking another, we take action.
- We do not allow anonymous comments.
- We ignore the trolls.
Some people aren't really down with O'Reilly's suggestions, though:
. . . the BCC has the potential to stifle discourse within the greatest free forum of ideas the world has yet seen. How long do you think it would be before people begin confusing ideas with which they disagree with abusive language? How long before pandering politicians conclude that the internet cannot police itself and come up with some sort of regulatory body like the totally corrupt and politicized FCC?
Of course there are jerks in the world and many of them know how to use computers. But, the vast majority of the small minority of people who leave racist, sexist or misogynist remarks on blogs are commenters, not bloggers.
What we need–each of us bloggers individually–is a policy for comments, not a pledge to always be politically correct in what we write. For example, I have a policy on all my blogs of deleting anonymous quotes and soon as I notice them. If you’re not willing to identify yourself and stand by your remarks, then I don’t care what you think.
Some legitimate concerns, and frankly I'm a little squeamish myself about how the law of unintended consequences might go into effect here. But I think that whether or not you subscribe to a web-wide code of behavior, most bloggers would agree that this situation has created a need for individual bloggers to consider creating and posting their own code of conduct. O'Reilly's policy at least gives all of us some good ideas to consider.