Bloggers Code of Conduct 1: The Reasons For

It has come to my attention (more than once) that a supposedly famous blogger called Kathy Sierra received death threats because of her blog. I say supposedly famous because I’d never heard of her, but I guess she’s famous in certain circles. Having read her postings, and the references she provided, I’m not 100% sure that any serious threats to her life were intended, but equally I’m not convinced I would have been able to shrug it off either.

At the very least, she was subject to a campaign of serious abuse and intimidation, and that’s just not on. Similarly, two people who I know — both influential figures in the web industry — had a relationship which broke down acrimoniously (and briefly very publicly). I’m not going into details, but I’m not convinced that washing that sort of dirty linen in public is appropriate either.

Then again, you get sites such as those set up by far-right organisations which publish names and addresses of political activists who oppose them in order that these people can be targeted for intimidation. That’s not right either. Although I have no doubt that there would equally be hard-left organisations who would do the same sort of thing to activists on the other side, and again that’s not right (no smart-arse comments about it being “left” please!).

Or there are the animal liberation groups who target people working in biomedical research.

And It’s wrong, wrong, wrong.

And it has been suggested that bloggers should abide by a code of conduct. Hmm.

…shouldn’t this apply to any medium where information is published or transmitted, rather than just blogs?

If it’s intended only to cover websites, that’s one thing. Not entirely sure I would agree, but the web is a different medium so maybe it needs different rules. But if it is bloggers and bloggers only that are expected to comply, then what does this mean for other websites? Wikis? Forums?

Of course, I believe that it’s for the law enforcement bodies on the whole to carry out the appropriate enforcement, but the problem with the internet is that people will just go and get their sites hosted in some country where the same laws don’t apply.

So how do we cry foul? Any code of conduct would be voluntary anyway, so what’s the point? Other than making some people occassionally think twice about what they post? The people who’d sign up to a code of conduct wouldn’t be the ones who were causing the problem in the first place…

But if we were to have a code of conduct, what should it look like?

One Response to “Bloggers Code of Conduct 1: The Reasons For”

  1. ThePickards » Blog Archive » Bloggers Code of Conduct 2: Discuss responds:

    [...] accessibility, and ranting and general stuff by the web chemist « Bloggers Code of Conduct 1: The Reasons For Bloggers Code of Conduct 2: [...]

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