Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Lesson #1 for bloggers: Do not be too self-righteous

We bloggers are a curious breed. When a fellow blogger comes under personal attack from others, we jump to her defense in droves. However, bloggers also do not react lightly to other bloggers’ attempt to proclaim and carry the flag of righteousness.

At times, the so-called pioneer bloggers take themselves a bit too seriously.

Following the Kathy Sierra incident, Tim O’ Reilly proposed bloggers build a new code of ethics, which other bloggers would vote for and then display a badge on their web sites.

100% ethical, huh?

Imagine The New York Times, Economist, BBC and others propose a similar thing. It smacks of hypocrisy.
The big papers know that nobody is infallible.

Many A-list bloggers still are not ready to give up the control & influence they once had.

Who is to guarantee that a badge-owner will always stick to the ‘code’?
Moreover, would people stop reading blogs that won’t have the badge?

I am shaking in my boots.

Premier Media blogger Jeff Jarvis is not happy with it. Referring to a mainstream media outlet (NYT) quickly picking up a failing of new media, he angrily says:

How could it (The New York Times) pass up a juicy opportunity to make us all look like the louts they all too often think we are?

Geeks are Sexy have the best response to O’Reilly’s novel Pr exercise:
O’Reilly trademarks “Ethics 2.0″

(O’Reilly also coined the ‘Web 2.0’ term)

Eric Berlin is not happy with the so-called code calling for ‘turning off anonymous commenting’, rightly calling it ‘a fundamental right and privilege of every blogger to decide on his or her own’.

Eric has rounded up response from some big bloggers as well:

Mathew Ingram:
“I think codes of conduct should be a personal matter, rather than a quasi-legislated thing.”
Mike Arrington: “The code of conduct and the mass of bloggers lining up behind it scares me a lot more than the hate comments and death threats I’ve received in the past. I won’t support it.”
Tony Hung:
“Bloggers don’t need a code of conduct, because it isn’t the content of blogs that are in the question. What’s being called into question is the cowardly personal attacks that are sent by email, and left in the comments sections of blogs.”
Andy Beal:
“…any attempts to define or restrict blogging, will ultimately suck the life out of it, and kill much of the momentum we have going on.”
Even Robert Scoble who famously decided not to blog following the Kathy Sierra incident disagrees with O’Reilly:
“I do find disquieting the social pressure to get on board with this program.”

A Round up of existing codes for Bloggers
A quick search of Blogging codes on Google turns up the following:

Cyber Journalist’s code of ethics
Rebeccablood’s Weblog ethics
EFF: Legal Guide For Bloggers
A working blogger’s code

Leave self-righteousness to the those in religion and politics.

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