Blogging Code of Conduct

There has been a lot of talk recently about the possible need for a “Blogging Code of Conduct” and there have been a number of events in the media recently highlighting bad behaviour by some people towards others.  (The recent incidents with Kathy Sierra  come to mind).

I was quoted in a BBC article a few days ago and a San Francisco Chronicle article on Thursday calling for a “Blogger’s Code of Conduct” in response to the firestorm that has arisen as a result of Kathy Sierra’s revelation that she’s been targeted by a series of increasingly violent and disturbing anonymous comments on her blog and on a series of weblogs that appeared to have been created for the purpose of celebrating cyber-bullying.

Tim O’Reilly – First Discussion on Blogging Code of Conduct

We’ve drafted a code of conduct that will eventually be posted on bloggingcode.org, and created a badge that sites can display if they want to link to that code of conduct.

Draft Blogging Code of Conduct

And the latest story on the BBC about a blog being taken down…

A British diplomat’s blog offering his thoughts on Thailand has been withdrawn after insults and accusations were posted on it by members of the public.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6548653.stm

I can’t quite see the need for such a “code of conduct” and defiantly not for a badge.
(Though I would respect other peoples use of it if they so choose).
But there is nothing in there that isn’t common sense already.
I mean, “Hey!, it’s my blog”. I can post what I like, about who I like, when I like.
I don’t force anyone to read it.
But it’s not like I am going to say anything that is likely to upset someone because it’s not in my nature.
And I don’t allow anonymous comments on my blog and that is for spam reasons, not to prevent any old Tom, DIck or Harry from posting on my blog.
I also moderate all of my comments. If someone posts something I don’t agree with, then I remove it, (in fact I just plain delete it).  And that has nothing to do with restricting free speech. I had one guy object before and I just pointed out to him that it was my blog, my website, and I could do what I bloody well liked with it. I told him that I was not stopping him from commenting on my blog, I was just not letting him do it on my own blog using my own resources. I don’t have a problem with him making what ever comment he likes on his own blog.

If someone does have a blog and they post material that’s is illegal, then don’t go back there.
Same goes for someone who insists on making personal attacks of any kind.
They can talk to themselves and post what they want, they’ll soon get bored.

IMHO, it is nothing more application of common sense, and anyone who objects to my methods on my blogs, obviously doesn’t have an ounce of common sense anyway…

As to the incident with Kathy Sierra, that just beggars belief…

I’ve reproduced the draft code of conduct below.

We celebrate the blogosphere because it embraces frank and open conversation. But frankness does not have to mean lack of civility. We present this Blogger Code of Conduct in hopes that it helps create a culture that encourages both personal expression and constructive conversation.

1. We take responsibility for our own words and for the comments we allow on our blog.

We are committed to the “Civility Enforced” standard: we will not post unacceptable content, and we’ll delete comments that contain it.

We define unacceptable content as anything included or linked to that:
– is being used to abuse, harass, stalk, or threaten others
– is libelous, knowingly false, ad-hominem, or misrepresents another person,
– infringes upon a copyright or trademark
– violates an obligation of confidentiality
– violates the privacy of others

We define and determine what is “unacceptable content” on a case-by-case basis, and our definitions are not limited to this list. If we delete a comment or link, we will say so and explain why. [We reserve the right to change these standards at any time with no notice.]

2. We won’t say anything online that we wouldn’t say in person.

3. We connect privately before we respond publicly.

When we encounter conflicts and misrepresentation in the blogosphere, we make every effort to talk privately and directly to the person(s) involved–or find an intermediary who can do so–before we publish any posts or comments about the issue.

4. When we believe someone is unfairly attacking another, we take action.

When someone who is publishing comments or blog postings that are offensive, we’ll tell them so (privately, if possible–see above) and ask them to publicly make amends.
If those published comments could be construed as a threat, and the perpetrator doesn’t withdraw them and apologize, we will cooperate with law enforcement to protect the target of the threat.

5. We do not allow anonymous comments.

We require commenters to supply a valid email address before they can post, though we allow commenters to identify themselves with an alias, rather than their real name.

6. We ignore the trolls.

We prefer not to respond to nasty comments about us or our blog, as long as they don’t veer into abuse or libel. We believe that feeding the trolls only encourages them–“Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig likes it.” Ignoring public attacks is often the best way to contain them

We also decided we needed an “anything goes” badge for sites that want to warn possible commenters that they are entering a free-for-all zone. The text to accompany that badge might go something like this:

This is an open, uncensored forum. We are not responsible for the comments of any poster, and when discussions get heated, crude language, insults and other “off color” comments may be encountered. Participate in this site at your own risk.