Following hot on the heels of Oliver Kamm’s criticism of blogging and democracy (see this post), there’s a heated debate going on about Tim O’Reilly’s ideas for a broad code of conduct for bloggers – and it’s even considered important enough to be a main story at The Guardian’s website. In principle I’m quite OK with this. I don’t have any explicitly stated commenting policy on my blog, but this is my space and I’ll decide what I tolerate being said here. If comments areÃ‚Â spiteful, racist etc.,Ã‚Â they just won’t appear.
O’Reilly’s original article on the other hand talks about a person who was victim of a concerted and spiteful campaign against her – would a code have been any good in such a circumstance? Would it have been respected, and actually assisted the individual concerned? I doubt it. In short, I’m OK with the idea of general principles, and I’m very much in favour of explicit blog comment policies. But I think we’re really misguided to think this is going to stop blogs being forums for hate at the margins.
I have said this for years. All the web needs to make it more civilised is for someone to teach the American right the difference between free as in liberated and free as in free of charge.
If we could only access the web via a paid for link which gave us a unique ID that had to be quoted whenever we sign up as a contributor / commenter the whole thing would get more civilised at once.
As a Guardian reader I’m afraid I lost my rag a bit with Jack Schofield for his airhead defence of “web liberty.” I know Jack is an arrested adolescent in regard to all things web or microsoft but if he wants to be taken seriously he needs to find a bit of objectivilty.