Bloggers: Manners, Please?
If you're a regular consumer of the blogosphere, you've no doubt come across far more hateful and hurtful comments than those uttered by now-unemployed shock jock Don Imus. Moderators on various sites do filter some of the worst vitriol (Slashdot is a great example), but there are sites where everything goes.
Tim O'Reilly, publisher and Web 2.0 visionary, and Jimmy Wales, founder of
But critics charge that the foul-mouthed Web vandals will continue to post their venom. And some bloggers worry it borders on hampering free speech. I spoke with Jeff Jarvis, blogger and professor of journalism, who said the Internet is like a town, complete with the town drunk, and unfortunately the town racist.
"There are thousands of hours of radio and TV, there are 70 million blogs and most of them are wonderful. Just because there's one twit in the lot doesn't condemn the whole," he told me. The best option, he said, is to avoid reading any of the miscreant postings.
Lisa Stone, one of the leaders behind BlogHer.org, says each site should be responsible for its own content. While O'Reilly and Wales say they based their code of conduct on the BlogHer.org guidelines, Stone says her group has never talked to the men, and she doesn't agree that a blanket set of rules would work for the different blogs and sites.
"Saying that one code of conduct would work for all people is like saying one religion would work for all people or one kind of blue jeans would work for all women," said Stone. "I tell you that's not going to fly."
In many ways the Internet is a reflection of the real world, complete with all the good, the bad and the ugly. The question is should it be policed in the same way.
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