Like many other bloggers, I have problems with the idea of a Blogging Code of Conduct. While I’ve heard that there’s a discussion of such, I haven’t read O’Reilly’s article or anyone else’s take on it yet. With many millions of bloggers on the web, who would set the guidelines and what percentage of those who sign up would make it legitimate?
A code of conduct isn’t really useful unless there is some sort of enforcement of it, whether it’s self-enforced, like the NASD (National Association of Securities Dealers) in the USA or enforced by a government sponsored regulatory body. These methods also come with inherent problems, especially given the open nature of the internet. Without some means to force compliance in some sort of meaningful way, what’s the use?
If the goal is to legitimize bloggers by silencing or punishing those whose views offend or conflict with the majority, then we’ve got other problems. That’s no better than what governments like China are doing to their bloggers.
Blogging is still a young form of discourse. It has matured a great deal in the last few years, but in the world at large outside of the internet, it still has a ways to go before being accepted like mainstream print and television media have. Given some time, these things will work themselves out. Why deal precipitously with a problem that’s most likely only temporary anyway?