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Goodman Gives Thumbs Up for Blogger Code

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When Jimmy Wales and Tim O’Reilly get on the front page of the New York Times… it’s news… to everyone else. There’s been an outpouring of feedback on the proposal for a blogger code of conduct in the wake of rounds of blogger nastiness.

Goodman Gives Thumbs Up for Blogger Code
Goodman Gives Thumbs Up for Blogger Code
Goodman Gives Thumbs Up for Blogger Code

I’ve never been one for codes of ethics, especially not codes that emerge suddenly from particular actors in emerging industries. In search marketing I’ve written in the past that a "benign anarchy" can be better than a cartel-like phony codification / certification process.

That said, I like that they’re talking about certain levels or standards that we could voluntarily adhere to. I think that critics like Russell Shaw are missing the point.

Just think about the clumsy treatment here of the Kathy Sierra affair, or about the lower-quality comments that wind up on this blog, for example. A recent one was "too many dumb bloggers," left of course by an anonymous coward.

Would requiring registration and identification of commenters cut into the free-flowing spontaneity of the blogosphere? I kind of doubt it. If many of us agree to agree that commenting login systems really aren’t that much of a burden, then we’ll partly solve the problem of anonymity that allowed someones to attack Sierra on seemingly respectable forums.

It would also discredit fake attacks meant to impugn a third or fourth party.

I probably wouldn’t adhere to the certification that required me to fact-check sources in a certain way. Yes, I like facts. But part of the problem with journalism is that a quote taken out of context looks nice but can be highly misleading. The blogosphere can be incisive without that particular standard getting in the way. That part of it should be voluntary.

There’s really nothing wrong with a voluntary code of standards for bloggers. I’m glad O’Reilly and Wales sparked the debate, at least.

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