Monday, 16 April 2007

Civility or censorship?

The Easter break in combination with other obligations for the course, didn't allow to me to be active the last weeks, but I'm back again to the blogosphere, where a great debate is held lately, and John's post gives a clear idea about it.

Tim O'Reilly, a publisher who is credited with coining the term "Web 2.0" and Jimmy Wales, the creator of Wikipedia, have begun working to create a set of principles to shape the online discussion. Driven by the death threats against Kathy Sierra, O'Reilly argues that a code of conduct for bloggers seems absolutely necessary in order for everyone "to celebrate the blogosphere". Two badges were also created, to be displayed by the sites that want to link to the code.

The "Draft Bloggers' Code of Conduct" that was posted to O'Reilly's Company's blog, has received more than 300 comments, with contradictory viewpoints, a fact that poses the question how anyone could persuade even a fraction of the millions of bloggers to embrace one set of standards.

Other bloggers, in their own blogs have condemned the code of conduct, arguing that such guidelines have nothing to do with civility and that they are mole like an act of censorship. Indeed, the reason that blogs and all the other new media have become that popular so fast is because they are open to everyone. It is this openness that the idea of a code of conduct clamps down on.

Robert Cox, president of the Media Bloggers Association, commented: "I don't see it as practical in any way and it misses the point in both what is important and what is going to work. It is like a circle of trust and the trick is to being in the circle more valuable to bloggers than being outside of it".

I strongly agree that the offensive and bullying speech should by no means be applauded, but on the other hand, as Shel Holtz says, "some people are jerks, and will be jerks online". It's true that the mask of anonymity favours such attitudes but human values cannot be contained within rules. Civility is a trait, and as a trait cannot be enforced.


John Moates said...

Civility in blogs. That would be hard to maintain don't you think. I'm going to have to agree with Shel on this one. Unfortunately, there are people on this planet who are just not nice. Whatever you do, there are always going to be mean people and for no other reason than just to be mean. Oh well...Loved your post.

Nguyen Thu An Ha said...

Hi Evi,

here another link for the whole conduct thing

I guess the issue of 'bullying, harassment, flaming, etc on the net was just another wya of transforming the exisitng behaviour from the 'real world' onto the cyberspace. people still behave badly whenever they're. But regulating the whole WWW is a bit hard to achieve...I think only individual community itself can control the members and perhaps by rejecting misconduct in each community then hoepfully there will be a pressure of the whole to 'get' those bad guys....just a thought