Monday, April 09, 2007

On A Code of Conduct for Blogs

The conduct of people writing and commenting on websites and blogs was mentioned in a post today from Mike Silence at his KNS blog. His headline sums up his approach to the topic neatly: "Code of Conduct for bloggers is a bad idea."

There are many ways to allow or not allow comments, anonymous or otherwise. There are sites I go to not only for the info they offer, but for the comments. MetaFilter and Nashville is Talking always have comments that are immensely entertaining to read. Some national sites have informative posts and the comments are pure drivel.

Some folks loooove to pick fights and get nasty in comments. Some don't. Heated arguments, those that don't dip into childish name-calling, can be informative too. What I've found is that you can pretty much determine the standards of writing and commenting just by reading thru a few posts, without ever bothering to read Site Rules page.

So the idea there should be some "standard code of conduct' in place is just inane and also a sign that the person or persons who operate a site are pretty clueless. There have been comments I have deleted myself on these pages, usually when someone decides to get nasty and mean in attacks on other people who leave a comment. You wanna leave a comment that rips me, have at it. I do not worry about it, because I run this site. I have all the power to delete or not delete.

Sometimes folks have used coarse language in comments here which I don't use on this page. I may cringe a little, but I leave those comments in. Usually, they are funny, but if someone were to start hurling invectives at others for no reason -- well, like I said, I run the page and I make the rules. And just like in much of life, the rules are not written down. You cross a line and get smacked, well, you learn from it hopefully.

So if you feel the need to establish a 'code of conduct' for your web site, then do it. Rules on posting can vary from site to site, depending of the person or persons who run the site and that makes sense to me. But to expect others to do likewise is a fool's dream. People create groups of like-minded blogs all the time and there is no reason to demand all blogs fit into one category only.

It's like that old joke when the guy goes to his doctor and waves his arm up and down and says, "Hey doc it hurts when I do that." And the doc replies "Then don't do that." If you are contstanly shocked and dismayed by the comments you read regularly on some site, then maybe don't read them or (over)react to them. If you have something to say, say it. If you can't make a coherent comment, that's your tough luck.


  1. I posted this on Silence's blog that although I have a Terms of Use, I don't have a Code of Conduct.
    I think that limits blogs personally.
    When we become to rigid, I think we lose the essence of the free spirit of our blogging homes.
    That's just me.
    The only time I really cringed on my blog is when a neocon called me stupid. Other than that, it's really fair game as long as people are respectful to my commenters and don't get nasty.I say that in my TOU.
    I think a TOU and a COC are two different things.

    Can I still cuss in your comment section. :)

  2. an old friend always told me, "Cuss like you fucking mean it!" heh heh

    and that's a good point about terms of use ... i haven't stated it formally, but pretty much anything someone offers on these pages or in an email about these pages can get used (or abused!)here.

    that's a rule i should place prominently on the page ... i'm jes' a little slow sometimes :)

  3. I think the whole Code of Conduct thing was brought about by several incidents, including death threats (this one in particular--from MetaFilter

    Then, of course, I read the bit on BoingBoing yesterday ( where Tim O'Reilly ( wants to set up a code. I see nothing wrong with this as long as its voluntary.

    He says:

    We've drafted a code of conduct that will eventually be posted on, and created a badge that sites can display if they want to link to that code of conduct. ... We also decided we needed an "anything goes" badge for sites that want to warn possible commenters that they are entering a free-for-all zone. The text to accompany that badge might go something like this: "This is an open, uncensored forum. We are not responsible for the comments of any poster, and when discussions get heated, crude language, insults and other "off color" comments may be encountered. Participate in this site at your own risk."

    The blog belongs to the blogger. We all set up our ground rules. If some want to set up the same ground rules, I don't see a problem. As long as this all stays “community” based and not law.

  4. james2:31 PM

    Well &^%$ me.