Monday, April 09, 2007

Blogging etiquette

Since Tim O'Reilly proposed a Bloggers' Code of Conduct, quite a bit of discussion, including a New York Times story: “A Call for Manners in the World of Nasty Blogs.” (This is a hot blogging topic, if the list of links on Memeorandum is any indication.)

Jeff Jarvis objects:
...O’Reilly only set us up to be called nasty, unmannered, and thus uncivilized hooligans. Except for Tim, of course. He’s the nice one. Me, I feel like the goth kid with premature tattoos skulking down the hall.
...They treat the blogosphere as if it were a school library where someone — they’ll do us the favor — can maintain order and control. They treat it as a medium for media. But as Doc Searls has taught me, it’s not. It’s a place. And when I moved into the place that is my town, I didn’t put up a badge on my fence saying that I’d be a good neighbor (and thus anyone without that badge is, de facto, a bad neighbor). I didn’t have to pledge to act civilized. I just do.

The New York Times points to Blogher and its code of conduct, which was the inspiration for O'Reilly's. Ronni Bennett of Time Goes By, also a Blogher contributor, is also dubious about the code:
Censorship is a trecherous undertaking. Once imposed, it doesn’t take much to go from banning individual words to opinion, books and soon, ideas. And then it has arrived at groupthink.
...Next thing you know, there would be lists of "dangerous territory" blogs. I would be proud to have Time Goes By among them.

One commenter on Blogher's posting on the Times story notes that bad behavior is by no means limited to blog postings, but is just a sign of "...a real decline in civility in Life In General - it's not limited to blogs. The fact that a public call to behave is necessary for supposedly grown humans is very sad."

Hear, hear. Bad behavior is encouraged and applauded these days, on television, radio, and now blogs. Some of this started with shows like Jerry Springer's. It continues with reality shows and sports coverage. But it's also a result of society in general. It seems some children are taught they are the center of the universe. No wonder they grow up to disdain others.



  • Thanks for the link, Liz - and for the commentary. This has all gone way too far for something that blown way out of proportion.

    By Anonymous Ronni Bennett, at 3:57 PM  

  • Thank you for your post. I'd just like to note that at BlogHer we see a difference between setting transparent guidelines for community participation within our own community vs. trying to come up with a code for the entire blogosphere to theoretically follow or not. That distinction was not drawn very clearly in the article, but you can see more of our thoughts on that distinction at my blog:, and from Lisa on a BlogHer post (in the comments):

    By Blogger ElisaC, at 7:29 PM  

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