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Mind your manners online April 10, 2007

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Essays, Social Media.

Civility or censorship? When you’re civil, should you also be constructive? And when you’re both, should you also be bound by a code of behavior? Some big-time bloggers want best practices for the blog to rein in the hooligans who tar the blogosphere. Yippee, at last we’re keeping cyberbullies at the gate.

Hmm, do we need to rewrite the rules and redraw the lines and treat blogs as another medium? Manners and courtesy are real honorable. I observe them and I expect my kids to, whether we are in the blogosphere or in our neighbourhood. You don’t need a code of conduct. I live in Singapore, by the way.

Sure, some of us are not there yet. But I’m really not sure about this plan to monitor online behaviour. The key threads are fixing anonymous comments and the ability to delete threatening or libelous comments without a fight. It’s open for embroidery.

This is a scary move that erodes the spirit of the Web and civility itself. As prominent blogger Jeff Jarvis notes, if we treat the blogosphere like a school library where someone can maintain order and control, we surrender its incredible gift of freedom.

The Web is not a magazine or newspaper or radio show or library. It’s a place. It’s our place. And we will behave in it as we do on our other place. Most of us are good and adhere to the rules of civilization. Some don’t. The difference is that our place called the internet and the blogosphere is judged according to the worst of us.

Jeff Jarvis, Blogger, Buzzmachine

Do we need a seal of approval after what’s been happening to blogger Kathy Sierra? The code of conduct stemmed from death threats posted on her blog, prompting her to cancel an appearance at a Tim O’Reilly conference because she feared for her safety.

Publisher and big-time blogger O’Reilly is leading the cybercivility charge. And guess what, he’s up on BBC and New York Times. Of course the Times couldn’t resist a front page story since it confirms their assertion that it’s a nasty world of blogs and cyberbullies.

O’Reilly has posted the draft of the code on his website and is soliciting comments.



1. Pizza and netiquette at Berkman « webs@work - April 27, 2007

[…] online when it’s something we know anyway? Please, the Web is no library as I said in my earlier response to a proposed code of […]

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