The Most Important Issue Of All Time! Blogger Civility

I can only chuckle at stories like this:

Is it too late to bring civility to the Web? The conversational free-for-all on the Internet known as the blogosphere can be a prickly and unpleasant place. Now, a few high-profile figures in high-tech are proposing a blogger code of conduct to clean up the quality of online discourse. Last week, Tim O’Reilly, a conference promoter and book publisher who is credited with coining the term Web 2.0, began working with Jimmy Wales, creator of the communal online encyclopedia Wikipedia, to create a set of guidelines to shape online discussion and debate.

The irony of Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia, whose online project has been used innumerable times in the most uncivil and unethical ways, preaching civility and control is the funniest thing I have read all day. I read the article and NO MENTION of Wikipedia's role in outing, false vicious attacks and general misbehaving is discussed. Here's my suggestion for Mr. Jimmy Wales, take care of the huge mess in your own house before you start doling out advice please.

The next person we hear from is Dave Weinberger of the Harvard Berkman Center. This is a Center that hired a person who admitted to trying to buy off bloggers, and she still preaches about blogger ethics. Amazing. Davve Weinberger's endorsement means something to who? Means nothing to me. I suggest Mr. Weinberger get his own house in order before preaching to others.

But the piece de resistance of hypcrisy in the article comes from Richard Silverstein, who dedicated a good part of his time to outing me and my professional life and being generally very nasty about me, now complaining about people being nasty about him. Hilarious.

As for the proposals themselves? Obvious and inoffensive. I tried my hand at this kind of thing way back when. My reward for trying? I was ridiculed, shunned and then outed.

I read these things now for the amusement value. Fool me twice shame on me.

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    Still a good idea (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Lora on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 11:13:42 AM EST
    Regardless of BTD's issues with who is promoting the idea, generally accepted guidelines for blogs is still a good idea.  Not rules -- I believe each site should be responsible for their own rules -- but something to point to for beginners or to help enforce site rules.  And...keep it simple.

    IT was a good idea when I promoted it too (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 11:16:38 AM EST
    Where were they then?

    Where were they when I was being outed?

    Where was Jimmy Wales, Weinberger et al?

    Where were they when Silverstein was doing it?

    Some people do not have the standing to discuss this issue. Wales, Weinberger and Silverstein are three such people.


    FTS! (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Che's Lounge on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 11:20:56 AM EST
    Civility is OK by me. I truly admire some of the more creative ways people find to make their point while skimming the treetops of incivility. But to the Christofascist extremists, civility is viewed as weakness. Just sayin'. They are training with guns while we sit and type.

    And I guess I don't use Wikipedia enough. Seems clean from my very limited experience.

    Not all are inoffensive or harmless (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by jerry on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 11:24:53 AM EST
    We define unacceptable comments as anything included or linked to that:

        * is being used to abuse, harass, stalk, or threaten others
        * is ... ad-hominem, or misrepresents another person,

    What are the well defined definitions of abuse, harass, stalk, or misrepresent?  Is that just being a person that dissents?  Often times on many blogs, there will be a variety of people that dissent, some more strongly than others, some with better reasoned and argued statements than others.  Often times, depending on the blogger and the environment, all of these people will be derided as "trolls", dehumanized, and their arguments dismissed, and even their comments altered or deleted.

    Will all posts with ad-hominem to be deleted?  Or is it okay to just delete ones offensive to the blogger?

    We ain't all so good talkers or riters, and sum uv us (bloggers and commenters) are taking time away from school or work leaving little time for refinement.

    I see this code of ethics mainly as a way to permit bloggers to delete anything they don't like and help them create a better echo chamber for themselves.

    I do think the answer to ugly free speech is more free speech, and I value the ability to see people out themselves....

    (And the wikipedia is crap and Jimbo Wales is a charlatan and a magician.  Magician because he has turned crap into gold.)

    Of course (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 11:30:52 AM EST
    The subjectivity inherent in all of it is the point of contention.

    That and it will not work.


    Awww. (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Edger on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 11:53:46 AM EST
    The conversational free-for-all on the Internet known as the blogosphere can be a prickly and unpleasant place.
    It breaks my heart, that some people can't stand to be called on their incivility. Usually the same ones that get uncomfortable with body counts.

    You know my attitude. They get what they give.

    BTD? (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Edger on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 12:09:04 PM EST
    Look in your inbox at yahoo. Apologies for the OT.

    Edgers personal gudielines (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 01:30:36 PM EST
    http://www.talkleft.com/story/2007/1/25/25427/2495For the record (none / 0) (#60)
    by Edger on Thu Jan 25, 2007 at 02:17:12 PM EST ......

    Anyone who wants me or others to be constrained from saying things that insult so that they will NOT feel constrained from doing things that kill, is trying to draw equivalence where there is none, and deserves absolutely no respect, civility, or any kind of tolerence whatever.

    Thanks! n/t (none / 0) (#18)
    by Edger on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 01:35:11 PM EST
    btw, ppj (none / 0) (#20)
    by Edger on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 01:38:06 PM EST
    You going to fix the broken link, or do I have to do that for you?

    edger (none / 0) (#31)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 04:02:05 PM EST
    There is no link, just a quote. The url shouldn't have been copied.

    But please feel free to put up a link if you desire.


    Heh. (none / 0) (#33)
    by Edger on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 04:06:29 PM EST
    Did it all by itself, huh? :-)

    It's here (none / 0) (#22)
    by Edger on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 01:42:37 PM EST
    with it's full context.

    Context always is important. Right, ppj?

    It was just an oversight on your part, I know.

    Myopia? ;-)

    Or... (none / 0) (#23)
    by Edger on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 01:44:42 PM EST
    ...myopia? I'd have that looked at.

    Now, Edger (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by squeaky on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 01:48:21 PM EST
    Don't start getting your trolls mixed up....

    Sorry - It's the blinders. (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Edger on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 02:31:22 PM EST
    They all smell ( I mean look ) the same in the dark. Especially the malkinoids. ;-)

    Works for. What is there, is there. (none / 0) (#32)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 04:03:41 PM EST
    Hey, it's gotta be important: (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by scribe on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 11:58:14 AM EST
    the article is above-the-fold, columns 2 & 3 (counting from the left), on page A1 of the print edition of today's New York Times.  I think it even beat the 10 dead US and 6 dead Canadian soldiers yesterday....

    I mean, they wouldn't put it there if it wasn't Important, right?  And they wouldn't print it if it wasn't true, right?

    BTW, BTD, the link preceding the block quote is self-referential.

    look, something shiny! (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by Sailor on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 12:54:55 PM EST
    This is just a meaningless distraction by the MSM.
    Their sense of outrage about incivility is nothing compared to my sense of outrage about the true obscenities going on.

    And what about a code for folks who use the public airwaves and/or run purported news shows?

    rush, coulter, o'lielly, beck, cnn, faux, msnbc exult in racist, homophobic, misogynistic prattle and then add blatant lies and and half baked smears to it.

    I've been censoring discussion here (5.00 / 4) (#19)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 01:36:13 PM EST
    since I started this blog.  Profanity isn't allowed because it triggers the soft-ware censors at law firms which can (and once did) result in this site being banned by them.

    Name-calling and personal attacks by commenters against other commenters are deleted when I become aware of them.

    Trolls aren't allowed and chatterers are limited in their number of comments.

    Racist and hateful remarks are deleted.

    The bottom line is this is my blog and I consider it like my living room and I insist the discussion be civil.  I am not the Government and I am under no obligation to allow free speech that offends me or that in my opinion lowers the level of discourse on the site.

    Other blogs are free to establish their own rules.  

    You happen to set the best example (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 01:41:25 PM EST
    I am the poster boy for blogger incivility.

    And I found I can live here by following your rules.

    How hard is that?


    And I am so glad that you do! (5.00 / 5) (#25)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 02:13:33 PM EST
    You offer the best example -- yourself -- and I appreciate it every day.

    A raasonable set of rules. Surprising (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 02:58:44 PM EST
    that the NY Times front page article did not include any comments by you, Kos, BTD, etc.  

    I for one am shocked (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 03:16:47 PM EST
    like Claude Rains . . .

    Found it! Lots of good quotes from that (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 03:28:12 PM EST

    I do expect better of the NY Times.  


    The Time (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 03:35:49 PM EST
    for one, will take what comes. :-)

    Can't locate that one. (none / 0) (#34)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 04:43:10 PM EST
    As Follows: (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 05:49:08 PM EST
    Captain Renault: We are very honored tonight, Rick. Major Strasser is one of the reasons the Third Reich enjoys the reputation it has today.
    Major Heinrich Strasser: You repeat Third Reich as though you expected there to be others!
    Captain Renault: Well, personally, Major, I will take what comes.

    A paraphrase. (none / 0) (#36)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 06:26:11 PM EST
    Zactly (1.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 11:17:48 AM EST
    Which is why Jimmy Wales should not be leading the charge. His site is one of the biggest problems we have.

    Jeez, BTD. Way to go on the attack. (none / 0) (#1)
    by Gabriel Malor on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 10:57:46 AM EST
    Wow, BTD, that was hella unfair. Did it never occur to you that Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia is concerned about net civility because of his experience with his online encyclopedia? There's no indication that Jimmy Wales himself used Wikipedia in a "most uncivil and unethical" way. Rather, that action lies with his users. And yet, you tar him because of their acts. How would you like to be held accountable to the acts of the commenters here at TalkLeft or over at DailyKos?

    You also snark that he should "clean his own house" but ignore the fact that Wikipedia has institued many rules and policies to combat abuses. Might that experience give him a unique view as to the usefulness and practicalities of net civility?

    It's ironic that mere discussion of a proposal for civility leads you to make these rude attacks.

    For the record, I don't see much need for rules of net civility. Sites are welcome to create and enforce their own rules of participation and inter-site communications can take place at the discretion of the participants. Creating "rules" for internet participation seems like a method for allowing some group of people to judge others' manner of communication.

    The idea of rules of net civility also goes against the principles of free participation that I particularly enjoy about the Internet. Each participant is free to take part in whatever manner pleases him, without fearing the imposition of rules beyond those laws which govern every conversation between people (that is, libel laws, IP law, and that type of thing.)

    If I was the proprietor (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 11:15:18 AM EST
    of a site like Wikipedia, I would expect to be held accountable for how it is used.

    I am not and therefore am not held accountable in that fashion.

    But even if what you say is true, then the article AND Jimmy Wales should be upfront about the problem. Instead we pretend that Wales is just some Wise Old Man of blogging and has NOT in  fact had serious issues beyond civility in his online project.

    You must be kidding me with your comment.


    Classic ad hominem. (3.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Gabriel Malor on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 11:27:20 AM EST
    The point is, you didn't say a thing about the merits (or lack of merit) of rules of net civility. Instead you attacked the people discussing rules of net civility. That's a classic adhominem. Moreover, it looks like you did it just because you're pissed off about your own experiences with Wikipedia. One would think that would make you more receptive to discussion of solutions to that type of problem.

    The point is I did say things about the merits (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 11:40:04 AM EST
    LONG BEFORE Jimmy Wales and Dave Weingberger and Richard Silverstein.

    Point is you seem not to know this.

    Point is I was making a point you do not like to hear. About THEM.

    As for the idea, as I WROTE, it is obvious and inoffensive. So much so that MY GRFOUP that did this LAST YEAR had practically the same suggestions, but with something BETTER, an enforcement mechanism.

    That you are not familiar with my involvement and history and how Wales and Silverstein  were involved is obvious. Do some research and then get back to me.

    Right now your stridency is rather uncivil and insulting to be honest.


    Web Civility & Easter Bonnets (none / 0) (#16)
    by Daniel DiRito on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 01:22:19 PM EST
    Where is my Easter Bonnet?

    While some may see the blogosphere and the behavior of its participants as a new phenomenon, it isn't difficult to find an appropriate predecessor model. That model is found on the streets of any metropolitan area and it is called traffic and the prevalence of road rudeness...or in its extreme...road rage.

    Granted, personal attacks and snark on the internet are not likely to lead to fatalities, but if computers had wheels, it certainly would.

    Read more on the relationship between blog civility and Easter Bonnets...here:


    "Making the World a Better Place" (none / 0) (#37)
    by leoncarre on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 09:58:11 PM EST
    Silverstein writes for Tikun Olam "To Make the World a Better Place"...  how exactly?  or to make the world a better place for whom at the expense or suffering of who else????  

    Wales likewise has a mission of social change through the people's encyclopedia...
    "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing."
    The sum of all human knowledge?  Remember when Wikipedia claimed to be as accurate as the Encyclopedia Brittanica.... it took EB six months to accumulate the data to answer the charge... Wikipedia lost.
    The limits of human knowledge to be found on Wikipedia are the limits of its anonymous contributors.. these are known as "edit wars"... months of editing in and out pornography, flames, garbage, personal attacks....
    Slanderously inaccurate biographies, private information, outing??  What's the limit?

    My conclusion: beware of those who come to "do good"

    Eric Hoffer:
    True Believer: "Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements"

    Interesting donations (none / 0) (#38)
    by MPetrelis on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 02:00:22 AM EST
    As a blogger with strong opinions, I'm concerned about O'Reilly's proposals and discovered he's donated $2,000 to Sen. 'White N-word' Byrd. Read about it my blog.