Whether an April fool or not, the El Paso incident has provoked some healthy discussion. Adam Maguire stated:
In the first negative development for blogging in Ireland, news is coming out that the El Paso Times is facing legal action for unsavory comments
I’d be of the complete opposite view. I think what happened (if it did happen) is a very good thing for Irish blogging. It isn’t negative at all just like Elton John being libeled was not a negative thing for tabloids. It might be a negative thing for bullies but not for bloggers and not for blogging.
To push for more freedoms and abilities online we need to know what our boundaries are. The (hypothetical) El Paso incident shows some of the boundaries and I think many could agree with Suzy that if you act like a dickhead then be prepared to be tackled about it. Bernard unfortunately discovered how restrictive the boundaries are even when he and many others felt he was in the right. We can work on pushing these boundaries so non-dickheads like Bernard can be afforded greater protection if groups with more money than morals want to prevent transparency.
I think it is good that bloggers can be taken to task for what they say on their blog and I also think that if we want more people to give official recognition to blogging (Christ I sound like a SFer) then like the Digital Rights Ireland libel document created for bloggers and web publishers, then perhaps us bloggers should also have a document created for those that have been hurt and damaged by comments on blogs. A guide on how to have defaming remarks removed from blogs and websites. Why should we hide this information from the general population?
I’m happy to be answerable. I think we’re not quite there yet for a blogging version of a press council or even some voluntary code or a union but I do feel that with bloggers able to take criticism and take complaints then something like this should be made available. We blog about transparency every day, we should help those that feel wronged. Or am I gone all Stockholm syndrome.
Meanwhile… That El Paso reply today reminds me of a joke about comedic timing which I can’t remember now but it goes something like:
A”The most important thing about telling a joke”
B”The most important thing ab…”
B “..out telling a joke who?”