April 09, 2007

"Blogging Code of Conduct" - WHO ENFORCES IT?

Sigh. Who enforces:
blog conduct image

Just amazing. A "Draft Blogger's Code of Conduct"? An article in the New York Times?

This has gone beyond navel-gazing and into [redacted due to conduct violation]

Funny quote from Shelley Powers: "Yes, they actually created badges"

I am simply shouting to the wind here out of frustration with the failure of blogging to provide any defense whatsoever: WHO ENFORCES THE CODE-OF-CONDUCT?

Any hand-waving about "the community" means "The A-listers will freely bully and abuse anyone below them, because nobody else has the power to call an A-lister to account". Look at the incentives for all the pilot-fish and hangers-on around someone with influence to join in an attack. And the disincentives for anyone else to risk retaliation by standing up for the target (unless the target has a comparable power, where it's a case of choosing up sides).

A system which runs on attention-mongering, demagoguery, and too many infamously abusive tin-pot egotists accountable to nobody but a handful of other BigHeads, is not going to be reformed because some self-promoters got the vapors and then decided to milk the publicity for all it's worth. You can proclaim peace-and-love all you want, the people who gain by advocating war-and-hate, or are personally nasty as a character trait, won't care, except to the extent that they can posture over it.

But nobody is going to hear that either :-(.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in cyberblather | on April 09, 2007 08:11 AM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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The badge is definitely over the top... as to the rest, well, at least it will make a good essay.

Amusing (bemusing?): O'Reilly's blog not only won't print properly in Firefox (you lose all but the first page of the post, but then you get all the comments--but if you want to cut & paste you have to do the post & the comments separate), it's one of those rare over-achievers that won't print properly in IE either (text gets cut off at the BEGINNING of each line, which is a new one for me).

There must be some kind of logic in a print publisher having the most print-resistant blog I've ever seen...

Maybe I should design a badge? "Online Reading Only Zone"?

Posted by: walt crawford at April 9, 2007 12:00 PM


Guess they decided they DID need some "stinkin' badges"!

Posted by: Michael Walsh at April 9, 2007 12:26 PM

Perhaps this is the beginning of a natural polarisation of blogs into 'blogs as invitations to converse' and 'blogs as holier than thou journals'?

Someone will soon no doubt create a name for this new sanitised class of blog from which the blogs of the 'great unwashed' are miraculously removed.

If only we could create a 'TNT user's code of conduct' and put badges on all our own websites to signify solidarity with the cause, perhaps we might then reduce suicide bombing? We simply have to demonstrate that we will no longer accept the abuse of TNT. It's just got to stop! And we can start by prohibiting users of TNT from remaining anonymous.

Posted by: Crosbie Fitch at April 9, 2007 12:47 PM

You might appreciate Armando's take on the hypocrisy of the people involved.

Posted by: Lis Riba at April 9, 2007 01:00 PM

The sentence on the badge is written in the passive tense, so the only sensible answer is "no one enforces it". 90% of the feedback I've read to this stupid thing is negative - won't work, can't work, shouldn't work. It'll blow over in a week, except for the permanent damage to Tim's reputation.

Posted by: Michal Migurski at April 9, 2007 02:11 PM

Your railing about "popular" bloggers mirrors to me the sorts of popularity power struggles I saw in high school. Yes, it's dumb, and that's why it doesn't deserve your attention.

Posted by: EM at April 9, 2007 06:15 PM

Me going to the bathroom was also an A-Lister conspiracy....

Posted by: hugh macleod at April 9, 2007 07:51 PM

Where is my Easter Bonnet?

While some may see the blogosphere and the behavior of its participants as a new phenomenon, it isn't difficult to find an appropriate predecessor model. That model is found on the streets of any metropolitan area and it is called traffic and the prevalence of road rudeness...or in its extreme...road rage.

Granted, personal attacks and snark on the internet are not likely to lead to fatalities, but if computers had wheels, it certainly would.

The problem on the highway or the internet isn't going to be resolved through a badge system. Did anyone attend Easter mass yesterday and witness the value of symbols...no not the crucifix behind the altar or the statue at the entrance; I'm talking about the pretty new Easter outfits...complete with bonnets and bow ties. These are the outfits worn by the same people who also attend Christmas mass every year without fail...and then get into their shiny clean vehicle and race out of the parking lot without ever yielding to the old woman walking to her car that is parked in the back row because she forgot that it was Easter Sunday and foolishly arrived at the same time she does each and every Sunday.

Read more on the relationship between blog civility and Easter Bonnets...here:


Posted by: Daniel DiRito at April 9, 2007 07:55 PM

Isn't it amazing, Seth, after all these years and all that water under the bridge, how much we actually agree :-)


Posted by: Susan Getgood at April 9, 2007 09:12 PM

Hi my name is Tim O'Reilly and I am an Internet sheriff.

Posted by: Tim O'Reilly at April 9, 2007 10:50 PM

Well, you know what they said about Wyatt Earp...

...he makes me burp.

Posted by: anon at April 10, 2007 05:32 AM

A week prior to the Kathy Sierra thing, I made my own Blogger Code of Ethics, which I think was a little less severe:



Posted by: Yehuda Berlinger at April 10, 2007 05:57 AM

This is my 'Blogger Code of Ethics':

"This site respects, and will help you uphold, your human rights to life, privacy, truth, and liberty."

Succinct and positive.

Developed on the hoof here: JOHO the Blog!

Posted by: Crosbie Fitch at April 10, 2007 06:55 AM

The thought occurs to me, that the number of bloggers [out of Lord knows how many millions] who define and experience the blogopsphere strictly in terms of the A-List and A-Listology [people like yourself] would number tops, a couple of thousand.

Which is about the same number of folk as the high school I went to ;-)

Posted by: hugh macleod at April 10, 2007 08:22 AM

Hugh, perhaps you haven't noticed all of the post-mortem apologies that have been offered to the four bloggers named in this whole "Kathy Sierra incident" by, shall we say, high-traffic bloggers. Not that it matters, because the damage is already done. It's like the New York Times vilifying someone on the front page for a week, and then printing a retraction on page D-59.

BTW, on balance, I thought you had the best advice of the bunch in the thick of the mess: Just ignore the detractors. It's a big internet out there, and if someone wants to make a "[name] sucks" site, let 'em. Doesn't mean they'll magically attract readers just because they figured out HTML.

But, as Seth has repeatedly pointed out, there's a big difference between mosquito bites and being stomped on by an elephant. If you're really blind to that, wow.

One last observation in general: For all of the fuss about "badges", I have yet to find a blog that actually adopted either of them. Is this because the "code" is in "draft" status? Or are we once again standing atop Mt. Molehill?

Posted by: Ethan at April 10, 2007 10:02 AM

If you've ever seen a reindeer after 5 million mosquito bites, you might reconsider an elephant stomp...

I did a quick search for 'reindeer sucked dry by mosquitoes', but no joy.

Although one of the best equipped animals to handle frigid Siberian winters, reindeer are not as prepared to battle these voracious, blood- sucking insects, especially since they arrive at a time of the year when the deer are between coats and their bodies are not protected sufficiently. To assist the deer, Alexei and his wife, Ducia, must spend several hours each day digging up large squares of peat, cutting green logs, and stacking evergreen boughs - the ingredients for inordinately smoky fires. When the mosquitoes swarm, the deer forsake any natural aversion to fire they may have to stand in the dense smoke. Reflecting the pecking order of the herd, alpha males claim the thickest billows of smoke, sometimes disappearing from sight. The rest of the animals crowd in downwind as best they can. This process is effective in combating the mosquitoes, but so too is a good stiff breeze. When the wind does pick up, the deer will trail off to forage but when the air grows still again the herd comes running back to the corral expecting smoke. In years when the mosquitoes are especially bad and breezes especially few, the deer may not eat enough and some weaker animals will be lost.

Posted by: Crosbie Fitch at April 10, 2007 10:19 AM

"Hi. For my $2000-a-day basic consulting rate, I will be excluded from the conversation..."

Nice work if you can get it.

Posted by: hugh macleod at April 10, 2007 08:10 PM