Bloggers’ Code of Conduct

Tim O’Reilly has posted a draft of a bloggers’ code of conduct. Let’s have a look at it.

We celebrate the blogosphere because it embraces frank and open conversation. But frankness does not have to mean lack of civility. We present this Blogger Code of Conduct in hopes that it helps create a culture that encourages both personal expression and constructive conversation.

1. We take responsibility for our own words and for the comments we allow on our blog.

We are committed to the “Civility Enforced” standard: we will not post unacceptable content, and we’ll delete comments that contain it.

We define unacceptable content as anything included or linked to that:
– is being used to abuse, harass, stalk, or threaten others
– is libelous, knowingly false, ad-hominem, or misrepresents another person,
– infringes upon a copyright or trademark
– violates an obligation of confidentiality
– violates the privacy of others

We define and determine what is “unacceptable content” on a case-by-case basis, and our definitions are not limited to this list. If we delete a comment or link, we will say so and explain why. [We reserve the right to change these standards at any time with no notice.]

2. We won’t say anything online that we wouldn’t say in person.

3. We connect privately before we respond publicly.

When we encounter conflicts and misrepresentation in the blogosphere, we make every effort to talk privately and directly to the person(s) involved–or find an intermediary who can do so–before we publish any posts or comments about the issue.

4. When we believe someone is unfairly attacking another, we take action.

When someone who is publishing comments or blog postings that are offensive, we’ll tell them so (privately, if possible–see above) and ask them to publicly make amends.
If those published comments could be construed as a threat, and the perpetrator doesn’t withdraw them and apologize, we will cooperate with law enforcement to protect the target of the threat.

5. We do not allow anonymous comments.

We require commenters to supply a valid email address before they can post, though we allow commenters to identify themselves with an alias, rather than their real name.

6. We ignore the trolls.

We prefer not to respond to nasty comments about us or our blog, as long as they don’t veer into abuse or libel. We believe that feeding the trolls only encourages them–“Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig likes it.” Ignoring public attacks is often the best way to contain them.

This seems like a nice policy, and one which could be adapted by local government for use on their blogs to make it clear to users what is acceptable and what isn’t.

O’Reilly also links to the Blogging Wikia, which looks like it could become a useful resource.

2 thoughts on “Bloggers’ Code of Conduct”

  1. Dave – it seems Tim’s blog has stirred up a lot of adverse comment in the blogsphere. In particular, I thought that Euan Semple’s comments (the Obvious were a bit cutting. I thought it was generally ok, though a little over-prescriptive.

  2. I agree, to be honest, that it’s a bit of a waste of time for the majority of blogs. But for those where there is a corporate necessity for ‘playing nice’ it’s a useful starting point.

    I’m not sure, though, how this differs from a policy on comment moderation…

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