Blogging Code Of Conduct

Yesterday I wrote about threats in the blogosphere and really had no idea how bloggers could approach the situation with a viable solution. Some have dug up the old call for a “code of conduct”:

Among those calling for a bloggers’ code of conduct is Tim O’Reilly – one of the web’s most influential thinkers. 

He told BBC Radio Five Live that it could be time to formalise blogging behaviour. 

“I do think we need some code of conduct around what is acceptable behaviour, I would hope that it doesn’t come through any kind of [legal/government] regulation it would come through self-regulation.”

Shelly Powers responds:

There is a code already: it’s called humanity. There could never be any form of legal regulation, because the internet is ubiquitous. What laws transcend borders, such as murder, terrorism, or child pornography, already have laws and regulations in place regardless of the form of interaction. 

We do not need a ‘code of conduct’ other than respect for each other and a sense of fair play. Oh, and people learn to think before reacting–to read what’s sometimes behind the words, rather than only the words, themselves.

A Blogger Code of Conduct has been brought up for the blogosphere as a whole and even locally. Virginia bloggers have debated codes of conduct in the past. The problem with developing a code of conduct is that those who will most likely sign onto such a code already voluntarily follow it. Such a code does nothing other than create a voluntary level of bureaucracy in what should be an independent and free form of discussion on the web, whether political, technical, local or about your cat. Anonymous and pseudonymous bloggers would still be free to voice their opinions and violate such a code.

Perhaps the greatest code of conduct is simply a sense of community among bloggers. Whether or not you agree with one another’s opinion, if you are able to relate to one another as fellow bloggers or simply fellow human beings, you are less likely to find yourself decending into petty fights and threats that turn to calls for such codes. Gatherings like Sorensen and the Bloggers United Conference and especially meet-ups like the one recently held here in Richmond can go a long way to helping one feel like they’re part of something other than the internet (the purpose of which seems to be solely to anonymously denouce something as utter crap). Putting faces to names and sites make this more human and, ideally (if you have a soul), make one less likely to find themselves unreasonably aggressive toward one another.

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