Essays on tech by J. Angelo Racoma

Do Bloggers Really Need a Code of Conduct?


I don’t think so. I think what bloggers need is a healthy dose of common sense, which is mostly what the bloggers’ code of conduct that Tim O’Reilly has proposed (full text here, and a wiki/editable version here). I’m siding with Tony here, in saying such a “code” will not be much help in solving the problem.

A Code of Conduct for most bloggers doesn’t have much a point because the blogosphere is self-regulating. If you act like an ass, people will know, and for the most part, will readership will decline. If it doesn’t, that probably means they won’t care a whit about any rules of conduct anyway. Secondly, even if one did have an audience who might care, if you broke it what really happens? Nothing.

Humans are social by nature, and whatever social attitudes and actions that we have in real life will inevitably reflect in the online world. There will always be miscreants who will ruin the experience for the rest of the population.

Still, as Abe says, there’s nothing wrong with asking people to be nice and responsible. Being an avid blogger, I think the best way to handle this is to put up the “code” as a _guideline_ that good bloggers can refer to and adhere to, instead of _rules_ that you should follow or else.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s not the code _per se_ that is flawed, but it is the fact that we are hoping a code will solve everything that is the problem. We look outside for solutions, when it is within we should find these. Again, social media inherit humanity’s social nature. We can start looking for solutions from there.

Author: J. Angelo Racoma

J. Angelo Racoma is a technology and automotive journalist and blogger. See more of his work at e27. Follow him via Twitter at @jangelo.

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  1. Sir – the Code of Conduct is purely that – a code that allows for self-regulation. Unlike professional codes of conduct wherein professional organizations can kick you out, the blogosphere’s is purely for self-regulation. At least you know what is expected of you. I think this is more akin to Netiquette than anything else.

    Common sense, as has been said, is not too common. The thing is – what or who dictates Common Sense? Is it written somewhere? What is Common Sense to some may not be to others.

  2. Hi,

    I think there should be a common and widely accepted code among bloggers. Otherwise, the freedom that we have will be prone to abuse. We have in our disposal such a powerful tool, thus, proper use is only expected.

  3. I think for long time bloggers , they sort of know the self-regulation. What about newbies? The new code of conduct should just be a guideline

  4. If it were to become a code, who would enforce it to those who’ll not follow it? What would be done to those who will not follow it?

    We should instead come up with guidelines that will remind all bloggers to behave themselves.

  5. Bloggers should select which ones to enforce on their blogs. Readers should be guided.

    Why do you think that most online fora and/or bulletin boards require you to register before you can comment? Owners/moderators are doing something correctly – why can’t the bloggers do the same? Have some set of code to act as reference.

    Again, this is not to say that ALL bloggers are required to follow – it is OPTIONAL but it is a start.

    And oh, guidelines? IMHO, it is the same. :p Who will enforce the guidelines? What happens if someone does not follow your guidelines? :)

  6. Old or new – the code of conduct applies. More so for the old, imho. I mean, the old bloggers should know better and should be the ones crafting the code/guidelines expected of bloggers and readers.

    When we were started connecting to the Internet in 1994 (yes, I was first before Migs Paras! hehehe), educating people about proper netiquette is a must. Why can’t we have something concrete, something written for bloggers/readers, right?

    Again, just like professional organizations’ code of conduct, if you don’t like what they use, then don’t subscribe.

  7. Well, that’s my position on blogging as NOT journalism. Call it citizen journalism but I think it wouldn’t be journalism as has been defined by the field.

    For one, that. The code. Journalists have a code they follow. Whether mainstream media follows that code or not is up for discussion (I don’t really equate journalism to mainstream media since MSM, is polluted by capitalism and politics). But would that constitute the failure of journalism? I think not. A lot of journalists still follow the code. And that also gets them shot and killed by fascist governments. :p

    Blogging is a medium. It’s the way the blogger engages people that’d define him/her as a journalist or not. We’ve all had our fair share of reading trash posts filled with poorly researched, riding on buzz and meme, or purely opinionated discourses.

    While I’m not saying that blogs are substandard wells of information (for a good chunk provides just the opposite), The majority of the whole blogosphere in general is still just personal and opinionated discourse that fall way short as good editorials.

    As for the code, regulation (whether by self or with an enforcing body) entails a set of rules.

  8. The “code of conduct” is just another way of people imposing their morals on others. New bloggers make blogs as an extension of their RL diaries or as their main journal. Censoring people from writing what they feel in their blogs is almost on the way to violating people’s right to self-expression.

    I agree with the post. If someone is acting like a jerk, no one will read his blog anyway. But that only applies if the blog is written for an audience. Blogs that are written as personal journals should just be left alone and if people find something offensive, they could just leave and not read it.

    “Your freedom to swing your hand ends where my nose begins.”

  9. Pingback: baratillo @ cubao » Blog Archive » Rights, privileges, duties, responsibilities, and codes

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