Bloggers React to the Blogger's Code of Conduct
Posted on April 9, 2007
The big discussion today in the blogosphere is about a proposed Blogger's Code of Conduct. It is currently the top story on Techmeme. Tim O'Reilly has posted a draft of the Blogger's Code here on Wikia. Tim O'Reilly says the "code" is a draft based closely on the BlogHer Community Guidelines. The code was devised following the recent blogger death threats. There is a sheriff type of badge for blogs that adhere to the code's guidelines. There is also an "anything goes" badge for blogs that will not follow the guidelines. This badge contains a stick of dynamite about to explode.
There has been a backlash against the code by many bloggers and against the idea of badges for blogs. It is most likely that bloggers that choose to ignore the code are not going to post any kind of badge at all or they might alter the badges like Duncan Riley did here on a post at 901am.com.
Some parts of the code like not being libelous, not stalking and not infringing on copyright are things that we all hope reasonable bloggers are going to follow whether or not they have agreed to a code. There are also already laws that make many of these activities illegal. It is the parts of the Blogger's Code of Conduct about anonymous comments and trolls that are the most controversial. A lot of blogs allow the posting of anonymous comments and some bloggers talk to the trolls. Robert Scoble admits to sometimes feeding the trolls. Ensuring that commenters are who they say they are is also not an easy thing to do even if you wanted to. Zoli notes that commenters can hide by "just registering with bogus credentials."
The New York Times has an article about the Blogger's Code of Conduct. Jeff Jarvis points out that the code gave the Times an excuse to use "World of Nasty Blogs" in a headline. The article includes a photograph of the founders of BlogHer.org, where a similar code of conduct has been helpful in building that community.
Nicholas Carr has a funny response about how the "Civility Enforced" badget could be used. Boing Boing argues that freedom has been traded for politeness. More coverage of the code can be found on Techmeme.