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Bloggers Propose Code of Conduct 199

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the manners-maketh-man dept.
akintayo writes "The New York Times reports that in response to the recent brouhaha, some technology bloggers have suggested raising the level of civility on tech blogs by implementing a code of conduct. Kathy Sierra, a technology blogger and friend of O'Reilly was subjected to threats and insults from readers and other bloggers. In partial response, O'Reilly and others have proposed a code of conduct which could include restrictions like the outlawing of anonymous accounts."
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Bloggers Propose Code of Conduct

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  • by ZiZ (564727) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:01AM (#18672461) Homepage
    Jeff Jarvis takes it apart [buzzmachine.com] better than I could.
    • by dsanfte (443781) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:05AM (#18672475) Journal
      Coles Notes Summary:

      It won't work because the internet can't be policed, and those who would self-police aren't the problem anyway.

      As an aside, while the writer in your link has a good point, he could have made it in a paragraph. Stretching it out for three pages is sheer pedantry.
      • by uhlume (597871) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @05:10AM (#18672733) Homepage

        As an aside, while the writer in your link has a good point, he could have made it in a paragraph. Stretching it out for three pages is something we like to call a "blog".


        "There. Fixed that for ya."
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        It won't work because the internet can't be policed

        That's what you think and wishing it will not make it true. The internet can be policed, censored, controlled and even shut down. You are not in control of it.

        The Internet WILL be policed. It WILL happen. Do not kid yourself thinking otherwise.
      • No, it's not pedantry. It's called writing. You should look up pedantry since he actually displayed none.
      • by quantaman (517394)

        Coles Notes Summary:

        It won't work because the internet can't be policed, and those who would self-police aren't the problem anyway.

        Actually I think it could work.

        Humans are social creatures, we like to conform to community standards and feel shameful when we don't. One of the problems with online dialog is that local community standards no longer apply, this leads to a lot of people feeling that there aren't any standards at all, thus they no longer regulate their behaviour. If a code of conduct (or multiple codes) was established that a majority of people could agree to then there would be a community standard and I feel a lot of peo

    • by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @05:22AM (#18672781) Journal
      Actually, methinks both are blinded by their own "I'm so great because I have a blog" ego trip.

      E.g., Jarvis seems to think it's some media agenda or conspiracy to judge all blogs by the worst examples. Guess what? So is everyone else that can be squeezed in one category. Big surprise that it applies to blogs too.

      E.g., one thing I remember being told in the army was that, basically, when you're in uniform, pay attention what you're doing, because people won't go "oh, Moraelin is drunk again and making a nuissance of himself", they'll go "oh, great, so that's what the _army_ is doing." Every single soldier or cop will be judged by the actions of the worst soldier or cop.

      Same here. Once you fought to be seen as some monolythic "blogosphere" that challenges all the traditional sources of information in some virtual two-front Schlieffen Plan... Guess what? You _are_ seen as a monolythic entity and judged by the worst examples. Whop-de-fucking-do. Big surprise there.

      The traditional media faces the same problem, which is why they all try hard to maintain a facade of impartiality or of only reporting. Yes, I'm sure someone can jump in with a "hah, the media and impartial, that's rich. Well, I remember <insert anecdote when they weren't impartial>," Well, that's the whole point. The worst fuck-ups are taken as representative of the media as a whole.

      And _especially_ die-hard self-proclaimed advocates of the blogosphere are quick to latch on every single media fuck-up and fashion a battle banner out of it. Well, then don't be surprised if it's a two way street, then.

      From there, both are equally deluded in some utopian view of it, if in different directions. Basically:

      - O'Reilly: guys, we need to police ourselves and become some kind of utopia where everyone plays nice, is responsible, etc. (Yeah, right.)

      - Jarvis and the like: nooo, people are smart enough to see who's right and wrong on their own, check the credentials of every blog page they read, know who put their real name behind their opinions, etc. (Yeah, right. As if I have the time to check if, say, Jarvis himself exists or is his real name.) And the unspoken rules that exist for a real community, surely work flawlessly for an anonymous online group. No, really, they'll start working any day now. (Equally: yeah, right.)

      The former is bogus because it obviously can't work, the latter... for the exact same reason. I'll point out at what Penny Arcade called The Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory [penny-arcade.com]. There'll always be someone who thinks that "anonymity + an audience = an oportunity, nay, a _duty_ to be a complete fuckwad."

      One fact that all the "it'll work like a real community" utopians miss is that, medically speaking, about 1 in 30 people are sociopaths. (Well, in the USA at least. I don't know what the statistics are for other countries.) Most are kept in check IRL because, while they might completely lack empathy and consideration for their fellow man, they do realize that there are consequences for their actions. There is a name and a face on each such action, and that might come back to bite them in the ass. So they proceed to be normal members of society, for lack of a choice. Take away the "action => consequence" feedback, and they revert to being the assholes they always wanted to be. Even if you got them to maintain a name and a face attached to their blogs, they'll use sock puppets and astroturfing for their trolling.

      So neither of the two extreme point of views even work, or have anything even vaguely resembling the world-saving qualities that their advocates claim.

      So choosing between the two is like having to choose between an enlightened dictatorship utopia, and an anarchist utopia. Those too have had their own share of apologists, and whole tomes written about how and why they'd work better than the current society models. Too bad they don't work in practice. Well, now we see basically the same extremes appli
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by malkir (1031750)
        Absolute genius, I couldn't agree more. Why does it all have to go down to "we can't follow the route we're running!", why aren't we just living life? The imaginary problems we've dreamed up for entertainment are only there because they tend to touch raw human emotions and are grasp ones attention much more effectively, I hope we don't always have to live in societal "fear" of our oddly 1984-ish dystopian realm. Don't label me as an Orwelli-zealot just yet, think about it. Good post, Moraelin.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          The imaginary problems we've dreamed up for entertainment are only there because they tend to touch raw human emotions and are grasp ones attention much more effectively, I hope we don't always have to live in societal "fear" of our oddly 1984-ish dystopian realm.

          You think someone receiving death threats, and consequently cancelling speaking engagements and their blogging activities, is an "imaginary problem"?

          Yes, the problem is sometimes overhyped. But that doesn't mean it's not really there and peop

          • Those weren't real death threats, and she over-reacted to what's basically a 13-year-old with a big mouth. If somebody calls me a big fat jerk and I go and shoot myself in the head because of it, is the person that called me a big fat jerk suddenly guilty of some massive conspiracy to create chilling effects? No! I'm just a moron, in addition to being a big fat jerk.

            There is absolutely no reason for this woman to believe that these are actually death threats. She has more chance of getting killed for looki

            • by why-is-it (318134)

              There is absolutely no reason for this woman to believe that these are actually death threats. She has more chance of getting killed for looking at somebody the wrong way in the wrong neighborhood,

              You would know this how?

              More importantly, she would know this how? Maybe it's just me, but I can understand why a woman might take threats of violence more seriously than a man.

              When I was still a PFY, a senior SysAdmin informed me that when working on a user-related problem, there is no way to determine if it

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            You think someone receiving death threats, and consequently cancelling speaking engagements and their blogging activities, is an "imaginary problem"?

            No, I think that person has a real problem - they are unable to separate fact from fancy. Their fantasy of being of enough importance to receive a death threat that someone would actually carry out is the problem here (in the particular case of what's-her-name who didn't like the picture of panties over a woman's face.)

            Yes, the problem is sometimes overhyped.

            • The only problem with your comment is that, apart from a few high-profile people like politicians and movie stars, your reasoning could be applied to pretty much all death threats... including the ones that are actually carried out.

      • Reasonably effective solutions already exist. It would be nice to think that providing real world consequences to trolls and griefers would help, and it would, but it is unworkable beyond current laws. Sure, the internet has its share of anonymous "fuckwads" as you put it, but things only get bad if nobody does anything, and the trolls and griefers are allowed to disrupt things enough to get their kick out of it (like in World of Warcraft).

        Wikipedia has effectively solved this problem as well as it can be s
        • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @06:54AM (#18673115) Homepage Journal
          Do you think it's surprising that the New York Times, which, like all newspapers, has been getting its narrow ass kicked by these "uncivil" blogs suddenly wants to "clean up" the most unbridled and successful mode of mass communication ever devised? Or that the very thing that has again given life to political discourse and has given voice to an entire generation of social commentators displeases a newspaper that let down the Nation by being complicit in the phoney-baloney run-up to the War in Iraq, and that it was thousands of political bloggers who were right about Iraq being a huge mistake while the "Newspaper of Record" didn't bother to question the prevarications and canards it was being fed by the Administration?

          I'm calling "bullshit" on this entire "uncivil, nasty blogs" meme that this little officious prick Howard Kurtz has been peddling. There is a lot of righteous anger in this country, in this world, right now, and sometimes it manifests itself in the word "fuck" being used as in "fuck-ing war" or "fuck-ing economy" or "fuck-ing chimp cocksucker who inhabits the White House and has less regard for the Constitution than the paper that sits on the bottom of his fuck-ing birdcage". You know, like that.

          So if the medium that has been most endangered by the energetic, sometimes rude, crude or nasty medium that happens to be the last best hope for liberty and democracy decides that something is wrong and has to be changed, I say "Fuck them, and fuck that effete worm Howard Kurtz".

          Claro?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by drinkypoo (153816)

            I'm calling "bullshit" on this entire "uncivil, nasty blogs" meme that this little officious prick Howard Kurtz has been peddling. There is a lot of righteous anger in this country, in this world, right now, and sometimes it manifests itself in the word "fuck" being used as in "fuck-ing war" or "fuck-ing economy" or "fuck-ing chimp cocksucker who inhabits the White House and has less regard for the Constitution than the paper that sits on the bottom of his fuck-ing birdcage". You know, like that.

            A-FUCKING-

            • by Omestes (471991)

              Every one of us shares the blame. Just to take a step back towards a prior part of this conversation, how many of you are aware that Bank of America was one of the very last major supporters of apartheid? How many of you out there bank with them, knowing that the only thing that make them withdraw their investments in corporations and assorted institutions supporting apartheid was the fact that their customers were starting to leave them over it? How many of you still bank with them knowing that you were su

          • much to this point about print media taking every chance it gets to knock blogging. another example of it was the way Time/CNN wrote up Edwards blogger's spat

            "But bottling the lightning of blogger authenticity is not easy. Many blogosphere activists suspect anyone signing on with a campaign of selling out. And in the era of drum-tight message control, campaigns are not inclined to tolerate the independence bloggers need to maintain their credibility."

            ...as if print media had that much discipline, as if it

            • by PopeRatzo (965947) *
              Of course the print media is going to knock blogging. Most people are now turning to the internet for news and editorial opinion. Blogs are kicking the print media's ass. I don't know if there are any metropolitan daily newspapers that are making any money, but I doubt it. The recent story about my hometown Chicago Tribune and the L.A. Times getting sold for pennies on the dollar tells a big part of the story. Desperation can make people testy.
        • by quixote9 (999874)
          I like this idea. One of the really neat things about Slashdot is being able to set you browsing level. I set mine high, so I miss lots of good stuff (including my own priceless contributions) but I don't have to slog through a bunch of highschoolers getting their jollies either. Blogs without lots of readers can't employ Slashdot's system entirely, since it relies on the wisdom of crowds, but just downgrading anonymous comments would solve the problem of having to read the occasional real drivel. And i
      • by metamatic (202216)

        One fact that all the "it'll work like a real community" utopians miss is that, medically speaking, about 1 in 30 people are sociopaths. [...] There is a name and a face on each such action, and that might come back to bite them in the ass. So they proceed to be normal members of society, for lack of a choice.

        I thought they just moved to Washington DC.

      • (Yeah, right. As if I have the time to check if, say, Jarvis himself exists or is his real name.)

        You're too lazy to evaluate the veracity of a news source yourself, therefore you want someone else to evaluate them for you.

        But who will evaluate the evaluators? At what point do you yourself take responsiblity for deciding who to trust?

    • The old saying "live by the sword die by the sword" may hold some relevance: Here these bloggers are being attacked by anonymous agents because these particular bloggers are _NOT_ anonymous while posters can be. The solution to some of this may lie in *everyone* becoming anonymous and not the opposite (that everyone be a registered poster -auth issues). Thus no-one would have any axes to grind against a known party. Moreover, no one, even these technorati or whatever they indulgently call themselves, wou
    • by cyclop (780354)
      I fully agree. And I also would like to know how this disgustingly politically correct "code of conduct" becomes enforced, in their opinions.
  • Godwin's Law? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by egnop (531002) <`slashdot' `at' `dagevos.org'> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:02AM (#18672465)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:02AM (#18672467)
    I have never understood the need for anonymous posting anyway!
  • by user24 (854467) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:04AM (#18672473) Homepage
    "Mr. O'Reilly said the guidelines were not about censorship. "That is one of the mistakes a lot of people make -- believing that uncensored speech is the most free, when in fact, managed civil dialogue is actually the freer speech," he said."

    really? "managed dialogue", eh? hmmm...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      also, in an entirely off-topic comment, what's the point in subscribers being able to see future articles if any old regular member can just go and look at the firehose? (oh, yeah, unlimited comment history. woopy fucking doo)
      • what's the point in subscribers being able to see future articles if any old regular member can just go and look at the firehose?

        The firehose is full of shit - like journals. resubmitted stories, etc.

        I guess you can make the same argument about future articles, but at least there's less crap to wade through...
    • by dsanfte (443781)
      Not saying I agree with our friend O'Reilly, but there is one condition where his point could be considered valid:

      Presidential speeches broadcast live, on all networks, every time.

      Such live broadcasting gives the president a direct-to-the-home propaganda line, completely sine criticism or fact-checking. Given that a significant portion of viewers may not stay tuned for the after-event punditry, if there even is any, we've basically gotta take it on faith that people understand enough about the issues to jud
      • by user24 (854467)
        sorry, cultural wall here. I'm from the UK, I don't get what you're saying.
        "Presidential speeches broadcast live, on all networks, every time."
        you mean they are, and it's bad, or do you mean they're not, and they should?
        • by dsanfte (443781)
          They are, and it's bad.

          It gives the president an unopposed propaganda mouthpiece to a captive audience with no context, perspective, or chance for independent verification of what is said.
          • The pundits talk for 30 minutes before the speech about what he's likely to say - or in many cases - exactly what he's going to say if they get a copy of the speech ahead of time, and then for an hour after his speech pundit dissect and critique every expression and phrase.

            After the speech, if any part is in error, the errors are trumpeted via media outlets loudly.

            I want to hear the president's point of view - even if I disagree with what he has to say, or about the principles on which he stands, I think it
          • by Kelbear (870538)
            But it's the viewer's fault if they take the speech and absorb it at face value. For example, the last presidential address I watched was immediately followed up by a democratic rebuttal (which unfortunately, I believe to be written in advance since it speaks primarily on broad terms and references no details, making it an opposing speech rather than a direct rebuttal to the statements made).

            The address itself gets taken apart the next day all over the media and is a simple google away for anyone looking fo
    • by user24 (854467) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:23AM (#18672555) Homepage
      just for those that don't get it, here's the expanded, collectors edition of my "hmmm":

      who does the managing?
        as a subset of that: can we trust them? what about potential abuse? etc.
      how does restriction produce greater freedom?
      how can you get more free than uncensored?

      and now the special features, aka rambles:

      one of the things i love about /. is that it doesn't delete the trolls/flames; it's uncensored, but it works.
      Of course, it only works because of the millions of users willing to forsake their right to speak for the greater good... how this would work with mom 'n' pop's blog site that some viagra spammer is targetting, I don't know. Actually. I do. It wouldn't

      I've had the feeling for a while that net communication would work a lot better if *everything* was anonymous. In the truly anon sense; "user24" is not anonymous. My internet footprint is massive.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bheer (633842)
        >how does restriction produce greater freedom?

        I think the point O'Reilly's trying to make is that the problem with unrestricted speech is that the noise can drown out the signal. Think of Monty Python's "spam" skit. If there were greater civility more ideas would be exchanged, and online exchanges would be more productive. Imagine how much /. would suck if each message had 40 goatse/troll replies.

        That said, while I do agree with him about civility, I think he's worrying about unrestricted speech when th
      • Who does the managing? Whoever runs the individual blog, fer chrissakes. RTFA etc.

        Can you trust them? Depends on the blog. For the most part, no, and you need to check other sources. This can be thought of as "living in the real world".

        If you don't understand how restrictions produce freedom, consider having the shit kicked out of you everyday by someone free to do so, or never being able to be heard because everyone else shouts you down, or losing all your savings, pension, property etc because someone was
  • Anonymous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by asninn (1071320) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:21AM (#18672541)

    From the slashdot summary:

    In partial response, O'Reilly and others have proposed a code of conduct which could include restrictions like the outlawing of anonymous accounts."

    From TFA:

    5. We encourage anonymous comments.

    Apparently, this was only recently added [wikia.com] by an anonymous prankster, but it shows why it's important to link to the specific revision of a wiki page you're discussing in addition to the "latest trunk"...

    In any case, I'm not sure how requiring the use of a valid email address is going to help. Anyone who wants to make a threatening or otherwise comment will just use dodgeit or a similar service to do so - you could ban them, I suppose, but good luck to you finding them all. And even if you do manage to, trolls will just create hotmail.com addresses; sure, you could ban hotmail as well (although you'd probably already be hurting some legitimate contributors that way), but then, trolls would use simply move to other free services. Do you need an alternate email address to sign up for Google Mail, Yahoo or so? I'm not sure, but even if you do, a troll could just use a hotmail.com address (or, for that matter, a dodgeit address or so) to create a GMail address, for instance. Ultimately, requiring valid email addresses (and I'm assuming you actually mean working ones, not just well-formed addresses, as some sites do) will not hurt trolls; it will make their job more difficult, but anybody who's already wasting his life on something as idiotic, useless and unproductive as trolling likely won't care much.

    Of course, this is symptomatic of a bigger problem: a code of conduct, by definition, is a convention that is voluntarily followed - but those that agree to follow it are precisely those who're not a problem, anyway, and for whom a code of conduct is wholly unnecessary. The trolls, on the other hand, will simply disregard any aspect of it that is not guarded by technological measures.

    If you really want to weed out trolling, the best idea is to a) delete obvious troll comments; b) possibly require approval for comments prior to them being published (I personally don't think that this is throwing out the baby with the bathwater, but it would solve the problem, at least); or c) implement a moderation system like Slashdot's - if you have a sufficient userbase where the trolls are outnumbered by the "good" folks, it should work quite well. Oh yeah, and in any case, d) grow a thicker skin, stop worrying and learn to love the bomb. Stop running around like headless chickens after some troll managed to scare you - calm down and think sensibly and move beyond fear.

    • by rucs_hack (784150)
      Slight problem with the outlawing of anonymous accounts.

      You see, contrary to popular opinion in the States, other countries have the internet too, and whad'ya know, they aren't all subject to US law (unless they have oil and get invaded..).

      The other problem with this is that it speaks only of the current technology. Who knows what will replace the blog and other online personal platforms in the next few years? You can bet it won't be the current big players. It'll be some kid, beavering away on his pc at ho
    • GNAA is trolling, this is not.

      learn the difference next time you get mod points.

      this post brought to you by the "damn, I wish I had mod points" association (DIWIHMPA)
    • by nwbvt (768631)

      "In any case, I'm not sure how requiring the use of a valid email address is going to help. Anyone who wants to make a threatening or otherwise comment will just use dodgeit or a similar service to do so - you could ban them, I suppose, but good luck to you finding them all. And even if you do manage to, trolls will just create hotmail.com addresses; sure, you could ban hotmail as well (although you'd probably already be hurting some legitimate contributors that way), but then, trolls would use simply move

      • by Ash-Fox (726320)

        I've seen plenty of services that already require that (or if you give a .hotmail address, they then require you to also supply some sort of credit card information so they can verify who you are).
        Such as (I can't think of any)?
        • Ash-Fox wrote:

          I've seen plenty of services that already require that (or if you give a .hotmail address, they then require you to also supply some sort of credit card information so they can verify who you are).

          Such as (I can't think of any)?

          Yeah, my thought exactly. I knew of one or two a long time ago, but that went by the wayside when nearly everyone started using webmail services.

          Allow me to ask the question though: what if you really, really wanted to know you have a real person on the

          • by Ash-Fox (726320)

            what if you really, really wanted to know you have a real person on the other end of the wire. How would verify that?

            I think the question you're asking is, "how can we verify the identity of the person on the other side with low false-positives?"

            In response to that. I can imagine a system that on registration to ask people to sign a file (that they have to download) with dynamically generated content, including a header that says something among the lines of "This is a file for www.blah.com sites" (so you c

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      In any case, I'm not sure how requiring the use of a valid email address is going to help.

      Because by spending sufficient quantities of taxpayer money, it provides a first step towards tracking down the individual who left a comment.

      The government loves this kind of shit and willfully leads people towards fear to keep them in line. As a result, well-meaning individuals will do their job for them by demanding that we give up our liberty for temporary security and the government only has to look incompetent,

  • Been done before. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WgT2 (591074) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:26AM (#18672567) Journal

    Code of conduct?

    There's already a great one: The Golden Rule [wikipedia.org]

  • by jkrise (535370) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:31AM (#18672585) Journal
    O'Reilly and others have proposed a code of conduct which could include restrictions like the outlawing of anonymous accounts."...

    Anonymous Cowards in Slashdot have been the single largest source of valuable information and dialogue, in the single largest technology forum (Slashdot) over a large period of time.

    No wonder I didn't RTFA.
    • It is not only desirable but essential that anonymous posting be allowed. It represents protected political speech. Had the revolutionary treasonous personages that founded the United States not been able to publish under pseudonyms then we would likely have been under British rule for a while longer than we were. It was essential to preserver in day to day life while propagating the injustices of each locality to the whole of the advent nation. In current perspective where shield laws and whistle-blower la
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by penix1 (722987)
        Oh, get off your political soapbox. The owner of any media has always had final say in what goes in that media. If a blog wants to ban anon posts, that is their choice. Find another blog that doesn't if you don't like it. Or better yet, start your own then you can allow all the vitriol you want.

        A code of conduct won't work for many reason but anon political posting isn't that high on the list. Many sites either don't allow anon or allow the user to filter them out (/. included). When it comes to civil dialo
      • Tjp($)pjT wrote:

        It is not only desirable but essential that anonymous posting be allowed. It represents protected political speech. Had the revolutionary treasonous personages that founded the United States not been able to publish under pseudonyms then we would likely have been under British rule for a while longer than we were. It was essential to preserver in day to day life while propagating the injustices of each locality to the whole of the advent nation.

        And how can you expect the Pentagon 'Media

    • Anonymous Cowards in Slashdot have been the single largest source of valuable information and dialogue, in the single largest technology forum (Slashdot) over a large period of time.

      Have they? Not IME.

      I'm having a bit of a crisis of conscience at the moment, because I find my long-held views on various subjects such as privacy and free speech are coming into conflict.

      On the one hand, I have always felt that anonymity on the Internet was over-rated. In real life, most of the theoretical advantages

      • by doom (14564)

        On the one hand, I have always felt that anonymity on the Internet was over-rated. In real life, most of the theoretical advantages -- particularly in the areas of political free speech and whistle blowing -- don't add up to much in practice, because the authorities can often track down the author of a comment if they are willing to try hard enough. On the other hand, we see widespread examples of pseudo-anonymity being abused every day: spammers, phishing e-mails, breaking privacy/defamation/data protecti

  • Don't loose the anarchistic nature of blogging !
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:53AM (#18672671)
    I recall when this story broke originally that she started blaming various bloggers for the threats with zero evidence, among them some fairly prominent names,

    Note that there's a big difference between a known blogger "insulting" you and an anonymous one writing threats.

    A blogger's code of conduct? "We won't say anything online that we wouldn't say in person." Yeah, might as well shut down the entire Internet.

    The great thing about it is you can say what you want. It's a double-edged sword, but trying to turn it into a butter knife will simply result in everything becoming numbingly dull corporate-speak.
  • How this will go: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jedrek (79264) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @05:14AM (#18672753) Homepage
    1. A code of conduct will be created.
    2. The code will spread as a meme between blogs.
    3. Some of the more popular bloggers/blogs will pick up on it and implement it, adding a bit graphical/text certification.
    4. Typepad/Wordpress/Moveabletype will implement the code as a feature.
    5. Boingboing will rally against it.
    5a. Slashdotters will bitch about it.
    6. It'll stay around as a tool - like creative commons, trackbacks, pings, etc. Some people will use it/live by it, others will rally against it, most will ignore it.
    7. Everything will go back to normal.

    Just like with everything else...
    • by Tim Browse (9263)
      You forgot 3a - someone will moan about the colour scheme of the steenkin' badges, and someone else will make different versions in all the colours of the rainbow, so they can fit into your website's questionable aesthetic (which will usually include small fonts and for bonus points, poor contrast text colours), thus diluting the design/effect of the badges, but the important thing is that your website looks cool with those badges, isn't it, and maybe someone will start making pointless egocentric Code of C
  • A blogger, considered journalist or not, is still posting stuff on the internet. True that if the site I'm posting on is one of recognition and esteem, then my words might carry the slightest bit more credibility but if I'm posting on a blog just anywhere then it might be yet another episode of Bigot vs. Bigot.

    If my words make sense, convey logic or beauty or are simply pleasurable to read, then the stuff I post on the 'net is worthwhile. This is however a property of the content of my post, and no Blogger
  • by Qbertino (265505) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @05:19AM (#18672777)
    It's that simple (see headline). I do feel sorry for her and the shock she's gotten from some sick person photoshopping her into some porn scene or something and I really like her books (I got two of them myself) but there is one thing you should be prepared for when going public, be it as a popstar, a politician or a professional writer and blogger, and that is exposure.
    There are a measurable amount of sick people out there who get a hard-on from doing stuff like this. It's a perfectly normal state of things - like the slugs in your garden. Not very nice to look at, but in some way part of the ecosystem. In a way I feel sorry for these people.
    • If I hadn't used up mod points, I would assign one. Nowadays people seem to think that they have a right to consequence-free celebrity. Why do they want celebrity? Fame, money, sex. But they don't want to pay the price. They want to be famous on their terms. They want their pictures on hoardings and their blogs quoted in the NYT, but they also want complete privacy.

      The consequence of celebrity is, unfortunately, that some people will think they have rights over you. In fact, the ranting of an anonymous psyc

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The most prominent and usual argument I have seen for non-anonymity is that it raises the level of civility and constructiveness in a forum, because people are personally accountable for their statements.

    But what mechanisms actually lie behind this? Surely the concept of accountability for unconstructive or insulting posts relies on the mechanisms of fear and status. If someone doesn't care about status, then it is all fear - you are fearful that posting the insulting comment will result in negative experie
  • by pla (258480) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @05:42AM (#18672847) Journal
    Let's see, for this site I'll use the name... (consults the AD&D naming tables) Pedro AxeLayer. I live at 123 main st, in whatever town the site's owner lives. I, by some amazing coincidence, have the same phone number as the site's local police.

    I will make an account on a site to give myself "persistant" in-context credibility (as with "pla" here on Slashdot), but I simply don't give out my real contact info. I don't even give that to most companies with whom I do business - They need a way to bill me and nothing else.

    Now, I harbor no delusions that I have "real" anonymity - Of course someone sufficiently motivated could track me down IRL. But I can sure as hell make it difficult, as well as providing myself a layer of plausible deniability for most purposes ("Someone with the same username as my email address insulted your favorite sports team? Why, what a coincidence, Mr. Boss! I'll have to contact the site admin and see if they can get that username revoked, ASAP!"). Anyone who chooses to befriend me here on Slashdot does so based entirely on what I say. Not my name, race, age, gender, location, height, or weight. And I consider that a "good" thing (though for the record, I don't count as unusual in any of the preceeding list).

    As for bloggers... I've said it before (and lost karma) and I'll say it again (and probably lose more karma) - Who cares? Make all the rules you want. It still won't make you "real" journalists (With some notable exceptions, of course, but the rest of you angsty teens and cat-lovers, don't kid yourself - No one cares what Fluffy dragged in today).
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @05:44AM (#18672853) Homepage
    I generally don't like Michelle Malkin, but she's gone through much more of this than Kathy Sierra. You have a lot of this in the political blogging world directed at women who take conservative or libertarian views. In fact, with Malkin, add in everything that was done to Sierra, AND a load of racism from even mainstream liberals like those at Wonkette who've been known to make racial sexual slurs against her.

    But hey, that's ok! Bitch brought it on herself, right?

    Seriously, this is like only noticing that racism is a problem, when a "nice, pretty black women" gets in trouble with the KKK.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by demon driver (1046738)

      this is like only noticing that racism is a problem, when a "nice, pretty black women" gets in trouble with the KKK.

      I absolutely agree.

      The thing is, though, you can't root out racism and sexism by politely appealing to racists and sexists (or to those who don't give a damn about racism and sexism in their blogs' comments) to adhere to some do-gooders rules.

      The rules will only be held up by a minority of dreamers within the large group of people who already know how to behave. Those who don't, won't care.

      This "code of conduct" might well be - like it might be expected of people like Tim O'Reilly - just an attempt to impr

  • by symes (835608) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @05:48AM (#18672863) Journal
    I would welcome a site which outlawed anonymous accounts and might even join one. I also like the idea that I can post anonymously, send anonymous emails, blow whistles and so forth. I really don't think that there's much fruitful discussion in arguing whether some such site should or shouldn't allow anonymity - there's a market for both perspectives and people will go where they feel most comfortable.

    In the academic world, for example, discussion is mostly open and the discussants can be easily identified. This doesn't mean that some junior academic shouldn't be allowed to post about some prof's misdemeanors anonymously on caughtintheact.blogspot.com or wherever. What would be wrong is to have blanket regulations outlawing anonymity across the interweb - that would both undermine civil liberties and be unworkable.

  • Morons (Score:3, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @05:52AM (#18672885) Homepage Journal
    Just disable anonymous, non-registered commenting while setting up your blog and thats that.
  • We define unacceptable comments [wikia.com] 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.
    • deliberately misconstrues the posted matter with the purpose of quarreling
    • is overly quarrelsome or intended to cause strife through quarreling or objecting.

    This is a cynical attempt to harass and threaten people who prefer to post anonymously. It follows a knowingly false article [typepad.com] which misrepresented

    • by julesh (229690)
      To be fair, "published comments [that] could be construed as a threat" is more than a case of just hurt feelings. In many jurisdictions, you'll find that making such comments is a criminal act, therefore notifying the police is an appropriate response.
    • I agree with you -- now, just point out the part of that 'offensive article' (and, I think you're lying when you say you've never seen one so offensive) which is a threat.

  • by Pento (115091) <gary@pe n t o .net> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @06:09AM (#18672955) Homepage
    Richard Kyanka has, what I think, a better reaction [somethingawful.com] to the situation.
    • This stuff doesn't shock me anymore, including the threat against his two year old daughter.

      I had a friend in DC who was in the Secret Service. A good portion of her job was keeping track of suspicious, sick, or threatening mail sent to the First Family (Clintons at the time). The level of filth was astounding, everything from disgusting love letters to explicit and detailed threats aimed at Chelsea for instance. Many of these people apparently have been sending letters for decades, have been thoroughly inv
  • FTA: But as with every other electrically charged topic on the Web, finding common ground will be a serious challenge

    Most topics on the web are electrically charged, that's how they're transmitted from computer to computer. Generally speaking, the connections between the computers carry a common ground so it shouldn't be that hard.
  • While the comments posted against Kathy Sierra are despicable, I really feel that they are quite empty threats by a lonely, angry, frustrated, and upset individual. I understand Kathy's cause for alarm given as we live in times of media sensationalism that has encouraged copycat criminality. Yet I urge her and everyone to proceed slowly and methodically because we may travel down a slippery slope that we will be unable to recover from. If history is any indicator, look at George W. Bush, the passing of t
  • There's nothing more you can do to strip away anonymity than to track the IP address of posters, because there's nothing more that gmail and hotmail and yahoo will do for you.

    They can't... they have no more idea who randomstalker@freemailservice.example.com is than you, unless you think the IP address of the public terminal they used to set up the account is useful.
  • Just as long as bloggers think they have the freedom to spread lies about other people, and have their readers believe every word of it, they deserve no special protection.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      YOur statement applies to all media, next time apply 2 brain cells to these rout responses you have, m'kay?

  • Every day, the hateful rants of Limbaugh, Hannity and Savage are broadcast far and wide across America. These guys regularly denounce half the populace as traitors, as terrorists and worse. Michael Savage, in particular, is known for calling anybody to his left a "lizard" who should be exterminated. Of course, these same people are regularly featured on network news programs. Their writings appear in our major newspapers and magazines. They have million dollar book deals. They're media darlings and celebrit
  • This is a cut and paste of what I said at digg.com:

    Here are Oreilly's 7 rules:

    "We take responsibility for our own words and reserve the right to restrict comments on our blog that do not conform to basic civility standards.

    We are committed to the "Civility Enforced" standard: we strive to post high quality, acceptable content, and we will delete unacceptable comments.

    We define unacceptable comments as anything included or linked to that:

    * is being used to abuse, harass, stalk, or threaten others
    * is libelou
  • Whenever I see talk of banning anonymous comments, I wonder "What corporation or industry is behind this idea?"

    Think about it.

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