A Bloggers Code?

Tim O’Reilly published a noble, but ultimately misguided bloggers code of conduct. Don’t get me wrong, I think he has some good ideas. Great even. Yes, I’d love for people who write comments in the vein of “u suk” and the rest of the punctuation and grammatically challenged lot of internet trolls to get a life, sign their name, and in general, play ball.

It’s never going to happen.

I might not be so jaded had I not experienced the lunacy that some members of the nancies.org boards display. Stupidity. Incessant stupidity. And then shock when we lock their account and ban them. I could publish a book with some of the quality emails we’ve received over the years.

There’s no law, either case law or on the books, that is going to enforce said code. So it’s about as good as your land rights when a big corporation has bought off the local town. Hello imminent domain. Basically? You lose.

So it comes down to a very simple concept. Since the dawn of the keyboard interface, there’s been this AWESOME key in the upper right hand corner. On new keyboards, there are TWO of them. It’s the delete key. Combine the power of the delete key with the mouse and look what you have? EDITING.

Now there is a larger issue here that relates to the reason the code was created in the first place, and that was that someone did something actually illegal and made a death threat against a great writer/blogger, Kathy Sierra. The continued to make various threats and posted her SSN and home address on her blog. Full details from her blog It’s not a first amendment right to say something on someone else’s blog. Freedom of speech does not mean that you can take a crap on someone’s front lawn and call it art.

Regardless, I think everyone needs a little more restraint. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face in a public space, you shouldn’t post it on their comments. There’s so much unguided hate on the internet and there’s no good reason for it. Have good discourses. Engage one another but not in the sense of throwing punches. And if all else fails?


  1. chris says:

    You really ought to publish something like a compilation of trolling and hate mail. Sometimes, that's the most valuable weapon against stupidity: a mirror.

    Sift through them for some common themes: the ALL CAPS letter, the personal hatred letter, the "I win teh interweb" letter, etc.

  2. Tiff says:

    The BCoC is, of course, ridiculous. But perhaps it is naive of me to hope that this whole sordid mess will encourage bloggers to consider actually enforcing the "no assholes" policy? There's this stigma about deleting comments- any comments at all- because it supposedly defeats open discussion blahblahblah. But open discussions won't happen if the assholes don't face some sort of social ostracism for not observing the niceties. It's not censorship, as you so rightly point out. It's *manners*.

  3. John Athayde says:

    Some of the best, actually, aren't the prototypical ones. The best ones are the run on sentence in which the user berates us for something they view as SO simple they can't believe we screwed it up and yell and scream and then say "oh but I love your site and visit it like 8 times a day. so add more stuff more often!"

    Eight. Times. a Day.


  4. chris says:

    I think it would be funny if someone developed a class to turn the text padding and bg the same color as the text, like some government blackout kinda thing... like the old wddg site or somethin (no offense) :D

  5. Bammetje says:

    ??????, ???????. ??? ????? ??? ??????? ?? link ??? ?? stupidity.gr, ??? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ?????????? ???? ????. That's some fine piece of work you're doing here, lad. ????? ?? ??? sucsbribe ????, ??? ?? ????? constantly up-to-date. ???? ???????? ??? ?? ?? ?????? ??? ??????????.

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