Tuesday, April 10, 2007

No Misbehaving

There have been howls of protest as web gurus try to banish bad behaviour, from the blogosphere.

I have to confess that I do not feel strongly about this. I guess because I am not a fan of bad behaviour.

Perhaps it was inevitable. When two leading internet pioneers came together this week to propose a set of guidelines that would filter out offensive and abusive comments from blogs, they were met by a torrent of offensive and abusive comments.

The text that has got the collective bowels moving of these and many other bloggers is a draft set of rules on introducing the concept of civility to the blogosphere. It is the combined work of Tim O'Reilly, inventor of the phrase Web 2.0 to describe the next generation of interactive communications, and Jimmy Wales, founder of the communal encyclopaedia Wikipedia.

They have posted a seven-point programme that would attempt, they say, to address the plethora of abusive comments on the web, while preserving the free spirit of the medium. Point one of the code is that anyone signing up to it would commit themselves to a "civility enforced" standard to remove unacceptable comments from their blog.

Unacceptable is defined as content that is used to abuse, harass, stalk or threaten others; is libellous or misrepresentative; or infringes copyright, confidentiality or privacy rights. Anonymous postings are also to be removed, with every comment requiring a recognised email address, even if posts are made under pseudonyms.

Point six encourages bloggers to ignore "trolls" making nasty comments that fall short of abuse or libel. "Never wrestle with a pig," is the advice. "You both get dirty, but the pig likes it."

To back up the code, they propose a "civility enforced" badge marking sites which subscribe to the guidelines, and an "anything goes" badge to denote those that do not. The proposed guidelines can be interactively amended by web users, until a final version is agreed.

The draft guidelines have prompted wide debate with varying responses. Dan Gillmor of the Centre for Citizen Media, a group devoted to grassroots media attached to Berkeley's graduate school of journalism, rejects the need for a code of conduct. He says bloggers require only one simple rule: be civil. To define unacceptable behaviour is to create a monster, he says, as "Who'd be the judge of it? The government? Libel lawyers? Uh, oh."

901am says the idea is the preserve of rabid feminists and professional victims. "Civility is subjective, and controlling what people say and do on blogs can only be a recipe for the decline of the medium and the introduction of totalitarianism online."

Quotes from Howls of protest as web gurus attempt to banish bad behaviour from blogosphere by Ed Pilkington of the Guardian Newspaper.

I can see how opinion may vary over what are unacceptable comments. I guess it becomes tricky when someone other than myself, can decide what comments I post on my blog.

I would prefer it if comments were not anonymous, but I recognise that some people are fearful of identifying themselves.

Jeff Jarvis has an interesting take on this, in his no twinkie badges post, he has some strong views.

Labels: , , ,

Even though my own blog is on a controversial subject matter and has unrestricted posting rights, I don't think I have ever received a really abusive response.

When it comes to things like death threats, I would imagine that there are already laws in place to criminalize such acts.

So, I guess I come down on the side of doing nothing.

Thank you for your comments. I have not received abusive comments per se.

Someone sent me chunks of text from the Bible, which I found irrelevant.

I have also had someone carry an argument, from another blog(no names mentioned), which has nothing to do with me. I guess the person felt, that as I had the blogger they had a problem with on my sidebar, they could carry their anger onto here.
I suspect this is much ado about nothing.

We all want to retain the right to delete comments to our own blogs if we find them inappropriate. We just interpret "inappropriate" differently.

Claims of totalitarianism assume that whether one embraces the "standard" for her blog will determine what comments she accepts or deletes. I think the cause/effect relationship more likely runs in the other direction: her attitude about what comments she wants to accept or delete will determine whether or not she embraces the "standard."

Isn't that what blogging is all about? Doing things the way we want to do them, rather than having someone tell us how to do them? Marching to our own drummer? :-)


Thank you for your comments.

Yes, I struggle with others having the right to tell us, what content to post on our blogs.

Nevertheless, I am not a fan of bad behaviour, and all the attacks that she experienced.
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

<< Home

page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Copyright © 2006-2010 Nia dark and Lovely All rights reserved. I am an
  • Amazon associate
  • Items purchased after clicking a link on this site generate a small commission