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Bloggers code of conduct

April 10, 2007

Looks like Tim O’Reilly feels bloggers needs some parameters on conduct. His original post discussed this at length. And Blogging Wikia has produced something similar. I’d like to explore this one issue further.

First we are talking about comments here. Comments. When I have a discussion with anyone in person they don’t necessarily know me. They see a physical presence but may know absolutely nothing about me. Only the physical presence is my identity. Blogging only exists in a two dimensional form with text and its meaning as an identity. The written idea dominates our thought of who this person is. This exchange of ideas would be as valid whether we knew or did not know the person. I have a difficult time seeing why there is a need to not allow anonymous comments.

Advertising. We see it everywhere. In large part this is their opinion or comment on their product or service. But aren’t corporations anonymous just by their size and inability by any individual person to converse with the ‘owner’? Even when we think we see something we ‘know’ they can still remain anonymous.

Tim mentions accountability via identity changes how people behave. Maybe, maybe but why does that matter? People in public places, hockey games for example, are not known but that doesn’t dissuade them from being boors at times. How can a valid email address indicate that accountability is valued? Wikia makes the point that they discourage aliases in emails as vain. People who drive vehicles are not really anonymous (license plates are viewable) but doesn’t bring accountability and changes as to how they behave?

Blogging by its nature brings us the viability and energy of dialogue and comments. Speakers Corner in Hyde Park was the historical concept of this. But blogging takes this a few steps farther. These blogs give everyone a ‘free speech zone’ without the confines of geography or time. They also add the ability to take the time to think and comment. Are good ideas invalid because they are anonymous?

It seems some people eventually arrive at the point were they need to establish a codex of some sort. It makes them feel secure. Gives them ‘laws’ to blame. Some can’t stand the unorganized and have an aversion to chaos. Where are the police when we need them? Next on the agenda – the blog police.

There are blogs where the owner maintains the right to post the comment. For some it is a means of controlling spam. The blog is their domain and they can handle it as they wish. With TV you can turn it off anytime to keep the drivel out of your life (sorry we haven’t had TV for years so we turned it off permanently). The same with blogs, you don’t have to read them if you don’t want to. Only you can judge the merits of whatever is written by whoever.

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