Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Misconduct...

A bloggers code of conduct? Oh no, say it ain't so. Say that the self-appointed web gurus who want to banish our vile and abhorrent behaviour by making us all sign up to a set of rules are just having a laugh? They're not? Oh dear.
What appeals to me about this whole exercise in bashing out a few words every morning to start my day is that anything goes and I decide the rules. If I step out of line and start to get abusive? Well, those libel laws will always keep me in check, won't they? And the comment box will always give the disgruntled and offended the opportunity to launch a counter-strike. But that ain't good enough for the self-appointed 21st Century bastions of morality Jimmy Wales (founder of unreliable font of non-wisdom Wikipedia) and Tim O'Reilly (the inventor of the irksome phrase Web 2.0. I am now coining Web 4.5 before anyone else does. Funny career path that, isn't it?) who have already drawn up a draft document containing 7 points that the brain dead and those lacking in common sense and self-determination will, come Tim and Jimmy's glorious day, be able to sign up to. According to Tim O'Reilly, this self-censorship/self-governing gibberish is conducive to free speech, not damaging to it. But I say, because I can, it's my blog, that any form of censorship - however, initially, it appears to be working for a greater good, is a terrible, terrible thing. Introducing a code of conduct is the first step en route to the end of quite possibly the only truly democratic media that has ever existed. Do we want the web to follow China's model? Because who's to say what's right and what's wrong and which version of the truth is the right one? Certainly not two blokes that use the word blogosphere and that want to bring about the day when people aren't allowed to comment anonymously! I want no part of enforced civility. I want to be part of an online community where common sense prevails and is allowed to flourish and develop and grow, rather than be stifled and strangled by people that think they're in charge. Giving and receiving comments is a wonderful thing - indeed, it's the foundation of this whole interactive shindig. And y'know what, I've read the seven points and they're not disagreeable - in fact, it's stuff that those of us with one iota of civility have been doing since day one. But rules is rules and I baulk at anyone having to comply with prescribed behaviour and a right way of doing things. Trolls, flamers, abusers, libellers? Yes, they're a nasty bunch. But so what? We're not in the wild west here - in the end, the truth will out and fun will, once again, triumph. And it doesn't need a code of conduct for that to happen.

6 comments:

Stephen Newton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen Newton said...

I’ve always argued that we should take responsibility for what we write and I’m suspicious of those who use anonymity. But I don’t think a code of conduct would achieve anything. If you want to do bad things you’ll ignore it.

These codes tend to be put up by people who like to talk about freedom, but don’t like the look of free people.

And then there are the hypocrites. If you check out the anonymous Prague Tory blog you’ll see a ‘voluntary code free zone’ banner prominently displayed on the right. But when I named the author as Dominic Fisher he angrily emailed that I’d breached something called ‘netiquette’.

In any case, that the web is a bastion of unrestricted free speech is greatly overstated. As you say, we’re subject to defamation laws just like the big boys (I’ve been threatened with libel action myself and wear that as badge of honour).

Dave W said...

Comment deleted? Was it abusive, I wonder?

Stephen Newton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave W said...

LMFAO! Round here it's ponce, you nancy.

Stephen Newton said...

All right then. Fuck off you ponce