The Blogger Code

Tim O’Reilly published an early draft of a Blogger Code Of Conduct over the weekend. Many, including Jeff Jarvis and Mike Arrington, have come out against it, and I’ve got to do the same.

One of the major reasons blogging originally took off was the spirit of lawlessness it inspired. Bloggers were able to comment on things in real time, in whatever form and length they chose, and commenters were able to do the same thing. It inspired a free-flowing conversation piece that takes place in the public eye instead of the walled gardens of email, thus enabling anyone who stumbled across something they found interesting enough to comment on the ability to jump into the conversation with total strangers. If you’re following a comment thread that you find to be degrading or useless, you’re able to ignore that conversation and focus on the things you DO enjoy.

O’Reilly’s code of conduct, while a good idea in spirit, will only kill the true spirit of blogging and the freedom that comes along with it if people adopt it. Yes, I always claim responsibility for my own words, but anyone who thinks people should claim responsibility for the words of people who participate in comments on their own blogs is out of their mind. Yes, I will moderate comments to a certain extent on this blog (as I have done in the past), but there’s a huge difference between separating the wheat from the chaff and taking responsibility for what people write on your blog.

It doesn’t surprise me that O’Reilly is promoting this thing. After all, his conferences are built on the exact same credo: invite the people you like and shut the rest of the outside world off.

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One thought on “The Blogger Code

  1. 3. We connect privately before we respond publicly.

    If I followed this point from O’reilly’s page alone, it would take me days to comment on pages. To me, it takes away one of the most valid points of your argument:

    …enabling anyone who stumbled across something they found interesting enough to comment on the ability to jump into the conversation with total strangers.

    I used to comment on strangers’ blogs quite often. Had I taken the time to email them first, I would have most likely lost my original response to their blog and the comment would not have been as fresh and uncensored. Besides, if I emailed them first, why not just include my first response comment in the email and skip the commenting on the blog all together?

    We are censored to death in this world already… blogging, for me, is one of the last places I can go and say what I want and how I feel without adhering to someone else’s rules.

    In his post, Oreilly makes one good point. I am always willing to say in person what I say on my blog, even if it’s not all peaches and cream.

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