Blogging Code of Conduct

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?

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11 Responses to Blogging Code of Conduct

  1. Valentin says:

    Blogging Code of Conduct ????

    Ok, maybe my wretched english is even whorse that i imagine and blogs are not mostly equivalent of personal diary book.

    But what I strongly belive is that blogs are personalized variant of a forum. There for, a blog is also about building a (personal) community. Ones don`t like what you post, won`t return. Period.

    If one blogger go to far on what he post, there are outthere the hosting rules (about racism, adult, whatever…).

    Who entitle X or Y to decide rules on MY blog ? Is mine, I make the rules, I have control … Is my private property, is my V.R. home.

    You are simply right, Ray. Count on me to back-up your opinion.

    As about X and Y, those who lauch the idea of this code, probably they have to much free time. Allow me to recomand them : “go read a book !”.


  2. ray says:

    Hi Valentin. I agree that the bad blogs will be punished by lack of readers. Of course, there will always be a certain number of visitors who will be looking for something that is negative or vicious. Nothing we can do about that, though. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Mike says:

    It’s lame. O’Reilly knows it’s lame. But it gets people talking and linking and that is never a bad thing, right?

  4. ray says:

    Good point, Mike. Maybe I should try stirring up more controversy on this blog…

  5. Court says:

    Great points. I think that blogs should have their own code of conduct. I think I’ll write my own and post it on my blog, so that my readers know what to expect. I am very much against having a universal code of conduct though because that would be super boring and would take away some of the freedom of blogging.

  6. ray says:

    Hi Court. I think you’re on to something. Having a voluntary code of conduct can enhance the relationship and also increase the level of trust between blogger and readers. We really have the beginnings of this already with privacy, disclosure, and comment policies. These create a sort of contract with our readers so they know what to expect from us. A code of conduct page might be a good addition. Thanks for your great comment!

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  8. Hey there,

    Great post. I recently posted something similarly due to a comment I had to moderate. Since my blog deals with issues a bit more personal i have to be careful that if i am close to disclosing something regarding someone else I protect their anonymity. Just because I want my life broadcast does not mean everyone else does too.

  9. ray says:

    Hi notfearingchange. That just underscores the importance of letting readers know what to expect from us. Is this a responsibility on our part as bloggers? That’s a very good question to ask. Maybe the topic for another post… Thanks for your comment!

  10. It takes away from the creativity of bloggers and it seems as if the whole Web 2.0 party that O’Reilly has been screaming from the mountaintop is morphing into a propietary standard instead of open and free so we encourage originality.

  11. ray says:

    Hi Latimer. I worry about the same things. First the talk about standardizing technology, now the talk about standardizing content.

    Most people don’t seem to be aware of the continued spread of attempts to control free expression in the Western world. This isn’t a right wing or left wing thing, either. There are quite often shrill voices from either side crying for someone to be silenced when an offensive comment is made. We have to remember that there is no inherent individual right to be protected from comments that may offend us.

    Although people like Kathy Sierra have a right to live without death threats, there are already legal means of dealing with the situation. The problem isn’t that we bloggers are an unruly crowd that needs to be regulated. Thanks for your comment!

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