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I missed this coming out a few days ago.
Nutshell: In response to the death threats and the blogosphere’s (over) reaction to them, Tim O’Reilly (love his books) is proposing a code of conduct. Much handwringing and blogsturbation.
To me it all just seems like such a complete waste of time. If you don’t want people to be assholes then delete their comments. If you don’t like when people are assholes, don’t read their blogs, don’t go to their conferences, don’t participate in their memes.
Nice civil people don’t get press. It is that simple. Bloggers love attention and love links. If you are polite and civil you aren’t going to get that kind of traction that quickly.
In the blogging world, every week is sweeps week. When bloggers smell blood they go for the kill. And if they don’t smell blood they’ll jab a vein to get the bloodletting started.
Smart stuff from the feedback:
One technical suggestion, employed by my employer: letting users flag inappropriate comments, which then become click-to-see. This lowers the visibility of the trolls, without censoring them.
Anonymity certainly has a place, but that place needs to be designed carefully. Voting and peer review are pre-Internet examples of beneficial anonymity. Sometimes it is desirable for people to be free of fear of reprisal or stigma in order to invoke honest opinions.
Tim still contends:
But I believe that civility is catching, and so is uncivility. If it’s tolerated, it gets worse. There is no one blogging community, just like there is no one community in a big city. But as Sara Winge, our VP of Corporate Communications pointed out, it’s not an accident that “Civil” is also the first two syllables of “civilization.”
I guess my point of view is that to codify things is just another delay in exempifying things. There is no hope of enforcement since the internet is decentralized. Sort of like Ghandi said that we must become the change you want to be in the world… maybe then for bloggers:
Write your blog the way you want the internet to be.