Bloggers Code of Conduct – Please NO!

by Conversations with Dina on April 1, 2007

in Blogs & Blogging,Social Software Social Networks,Uncategorized

Heh .. Johnnie .. I’m with you in feeling ranty! As a response to this, a comments policies and guidelines are ok if you believe you need them, but a Bloggers Code of Conduct???

What will it achieve – perhaps nothing. What will you do if someone violates the bloggers code of conduct
- delete their comments, report them – that’s something you can do
without such a formal code isn’t it? Who will enforce this Code of
Conduct across blogs? Will bloggers that do not share this ‘code of
conduct’ be
ostracized? Will not this ‘moral’ responsibility grow to have legal
ramifications?
Will spammers and trolls and death threat issuers from non-US countries
be prosecuted? Will you be able to stop them? Will you only encourage
people to look for different and more sophisticated ways of piling on
their vile – it
is after all a human condition, and not a blog condition.

It seems to me, culturally, it is a very North-American thing to think up.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love some aspects of North America and
have met some of the finest folks there – but this operating out of ‘fear’
is
one aspect I have written about earlier, that I find goes beyond
protection. Perhaps it’s the phrasing of it that gets to me – ‘Code of
Conduct’ implies rules and regulations, implicit in this is that there
is only one way ahead. I don’t like that.
It will make us guard our words. It will give credence
to the power games played out in the blogworld by providing yet another
weapon to divide those who have it and those who don’t. It will foster
a culture of fear. In the worst case, it will breed litigation,
insurance, liability.


Why
formalize something we’re doing anyways – if you’re proud of your space
(your blog in this case) you’ll protect it the way you feel best.
Banning anonymous comments for instance, is a personal choice – in my
case, I have deleted comments that are vulgar, lewd and allude to
physical threats. The others, I prefer to debate with. If others do not
wish to, ignore them or take the ‘fight’ to your space, or theirs.
There is a strong self-regulating aspect to this medium, and the recent
events are proof, with different angles and facets to the story emerging.

My
biggest fear in having a ‘formal’ code of conduct is it will take some
of the ‘human’ out of the blog. It will raise entry barriers to
participate in blog conversations, where few exist. It may even force
more bloggers to shut down all conversations in comments, because a few
are violating their freedom to comment. It will defeat the
self-regulatory and self-correcting nature of this medium. One of the
delights of blogging is it so reflects human behaviour – it gives us
the space to share freely our humility, our pride and our
infallibilities, our opinions and counterpoints, our failures and
successes, our rituals and dreams, our conflicts and resolutions. It
lets us debate and converse with others freely and intuitively. It may
reflect our professional views, but it is as far from
‘corporatization’ as any medium is today. Will not shared standards
and practice bring about ‘corporatization’ in some form or other?

There’s my long rant! Unlike Johnnie’s pithy post.


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