13 April, 2007

NYT: call for civility in the blogosphere

Many of you may have seen it since it was printed April 9, but the New York Times ran a story about a group that is seeking to come up with a code of conduct for writers of blog posts and blog comments. The topic is central to the mission of UAE community forum, and we've had recent posts on the subject.

Here's the NYT article. Here's a snip:
Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. Wales talk about creating several sets of guidelines for conduct and seals of approval represented by logos. For example, anonymous writing might be acceptable in one set; in another, it would be discouraged. Under a third set of guidelines, bloggers would pledge to get a second source for any gossip or breaking news they write about.

Bloggers could then pick a set of principles and post the corresponding badge on their page, to indicate to readers what kind of behavior and dialogue they will engage in and tolerate. The whole system would be voluntary, relying on the community to police itself.

“If it’s a carefully constructed set of principles, it could carry a lot of weight even if not everyone agrees,” Mr. Wales said.

The code of conduct already has some early supporters, including David Weinberger, a well-known blogger (hyperorg.com/blogger) and a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. “The aim of the code is not to homogenize the Web, but to make clearer the informal rules that are already in place anyway,” he said
I think one of the women pictured for the article is Secret Dubai. Just kidding.


B.D. said...

I totally agree with this idea. It is an issue of civility, not free speech. One can express any viewpoint, without being overly crass or profane. I think that is all that this is about. A code that uses labels, so the blogger can label or flag his/her site as conforming to this or that code would be very useful.

I also agree totally that the owner of any blog has the right to delete any comments. It should, however, be done in such a way that readers are aware this is happening and for what reasons.

The fact is, immature people, some with their own agendas can effectively destroy constructive dialog and debate. Why should they be allowed willy-nilly to do so?

I think there is a place for blogging that should fall somewhere between responsible journalism and a free for all. Such codes of conduct would help to elevate the quality of blogging.

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