I know what my problem is. It's that there isn't anybody, or any group of people, that I really "hate." (Well, other than terrorists trying to kill me, the people I love, and other innocent people for absolutely insane reasons.) There are groups so clueless that I feel sorry for them, and other groups whose aims are so counter to what I believe that I despise those aims, and hope they fail, (like Yankee fans, for example - kidding!) but that's as close as I can get to "hate." I'd have never been able to generate the required face redness and raise my voice and blood pressure properly toward Emmanuel Goldstein, for example, during the Two Minutes of Hate in Orwell's 1984.
So I've kept my little underexposed corner of the blogosphere civil, kind of the way I'd hope that political and current affairs discussions should be between people who respect each other. I've had a few trolls leave comments that didn't belong or were unnecessarily contentions or vile, and I've deleted them. I've had to ban a couple, but nothing too severe. If, after reading my posts you don't know what's expected of you then "Don't come around here no more."
As I lamented yesterday civility, unfortunately, seems to be going out of style rapidly. And now a couple of guys have decided that what we really need is a blogosphere code of ethics. These gents have come up with a plan to enforce civility in the blogosphere, and you too can have a badge to mark your level of honor. The New York Times discusses their proposal.
Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. Wales talk about creating several sets of guidelines for conduct and seals of approval represented by logos. For example, anonymous writing might be acceptable in one set; in another, it would be discouraged. Under a third set of guidelines, bloggers would pledge to get a second source for any gossip or breaking news they write about.
Bloggers could then pick a set of principles and post the corresponding badge on their page, to indicate to readers what kind of behavior and dialogue they will engage in and tolerate. The whole system would be voluntary, relying on the community to police itself.
“If it’s a carefully constructed set of principles, it could carry a lot of weight even if not everyone agrees,” Mr. Wales said.
Mr. Wales and Mr. O’Reilly were inspired to act after a firestorm erupted late last month in the insular community of dedicated technology bloggers. In an online shouting match that was widely reported, Kathy Sierra, a high-tech book author from Boulder County, Colo., and a friend of Mr. O’Reilly, reported getting death threats that stemmed in part from a dispute over whether it was acceptable to delete the impolitic comments left by visitors to someone’s personal Web site.
But the question has to be asked, where do these guys get off thinking that they should be able to impose a code of conduct on the internet? And whether it's "acceptable" to delete comments? It's my blog, I paid for it, I'll delete them if I want. Big Brother, indeed. FIAR at Radioactive Liberty addressed this "plan" soundly, and in a less polite way than I would - but that's his right.
how do you make a moron understand that freedom of speech means they have a right to a forum, but not that they have a right to my forum? They’re already too stupid to grasp the notion that I have every right to scoop up the dog s**t they leave on my lawn. How is a “Code of ethics” going to stop their light speed, full throttle stupidity?
The Brad Stone article goes on to describe several bloggers who have been on the receiving end of death threats and other sorts of illegal activities. An attempt is made to deliberately conflate illegal activity with undesirable behavior. This is a common tactic of Socialists.
It reminds me of the Leftist Sow that wanted to outlaw spanking, and kept saying how wrong it is to beat an infant, as if spanking an unruly child, and violently beating a newborn baby are in any way similar. Socialist Swine always take an already illegal activity, and equate it with a legal but undesirable one. It’s an underhanded tactic to get reasonable people to agree that something must be done, but it isn’t the criminal behavior that’s the target.
At The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler is another splendid response. I can't do justice to this eviscerating fisking, you'll have to check it out yourself. Both FIAR and Emperor Misha at those two sites pick out the following for particular ridicule.
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. “Free speech is enhanced by civility.”
"Managed civil dialogue is actually the freer speech?" Daniel Henniger in the Wall Street Journal today tries to put some lipstick on it.
The censorship claim is often made by political Web players who want to be "free" to use whatever means will achieve the end of driving their opponents over the cliff. Consider the Congressional Black Caucus. Its affiliation with Fox News to conduct presidential debates was fire-bombed recently on "progressive" Web sites. Example: "Guess it takes a whole lot of grease to fry CBC's chicken." Scared, the three major Democratic presidential candidates pulled out. Censorship? Try doublespeak. The strategy of deploying charged and hyper-aggressive language is now evident: First intimidate one's targets, then coerce them--into conformity or silence. And do it always under the banner of free speech and democracy.
I don't think those candidates were scared, other than being scared of losing support from the vaunted "Netroots." Still, rather than enforce a code of conduct, why don't we just require all bloggers read this book, and this one, before being allowed to run a blog. Come to think of it, there are quite a few others who might find the information useful.