Blogger code of conduct? Two words – Fuck off.

I see because of this Kathy Sierra hoopla people are talking about blocking annoymous comments on blogs, shutting down their blogs for a week and also some people want a blogger code of conduct. Defamation, libel and assault laws work and work well. If someone defames you, sue them, if they libel you, sue them, if they threaten you, ring the police and let them handle it. Remember, a death threat or a threat which makes you think you will be harmed, is assault. Use existing laws. If a blogger attacks you on their blog, then don’t link to them and have everyone else remove their links to them. Ignoring is best in the blogging world. Don’t feed the trolls. If you think the threats are serious then call the police. If you feel defamed, call a lawyer.

When I see companies starting up codes of conduct I think ISO certification, I think of these astroturfing “plan english” campaigns which charge organisations A LOT to write better documents. What happened to Kathy Sierra was horrible but this hysteria does nobody any good and it is sickening to see business people pitch their products at such a moment.

Follow netiquette, follow good manners, be civil, or don’t. I really hope that something like this doesn’t spawn some elitist bully-boy standards or code body that does nothing more than charge an admin fee and bully people into signing up. That’s what unions are for. Freedom of speech should not be cut back on because of a few assholes. Why on earth do we need to impose guidelines on ourselves online when we don’t need to offline? A blogging community won’t tolerate people like those that attacked Kathy and will de-link from them and will just shun them and then don’t need a checklist to do so.

If you want to sign up to a code of conduct and cut off your own balls, work away, but why not just sign up to the press council instead?

24 Responses to “Blogger code of conduct? Two words – Fuck off.”

  1. What he said.

    And for a bit of tautology on Twitter.

  2. John says:

    My blog, my part of the internet, my rules. If I don’t want to link to someone I don’t. If I don’t want to publish a comment I don’t. If someone posts abusive stuff about me so be it. If it wanders over the legal line I reserve the right to sue or report stuff to the police.

    I also reserve the right to publicise people who make offensive posts, ridicule them and if I’m feeling really nasty take a wander over to their ISPs upstream providers, their hosting company, their hosting companies providers etc.

    But your comment “Don’t feed the Trolls� holds true. What was happening to that lady was nasty, but posting that article probably massaged egos and other parts of the anatomies of the clowns involved. Far better if she had said nothing and handed the whole lot off to a third party be that the local law enforcement agency or her solicitor (lawyer).

    Then carried on as if nothing had happened.


  3. Twenty Major says:

    Exactly right.

    Quite what somebody not blogging for a week will do to people like that is beyond me.

    Oh, and I’m going to kill you, you cunt.

  4. Justin says:

    Well said. In Ireland, we seem to have a tendency to demand new bureaucracy, of all things, to regulate whatever issues arise; this “code of conduct” idea is a perfect example. In many cases, a bit of common sense will do the trick…

  5. Pat Phelan says:

    I couldn’t have said it better myself, common sense and if that doesn’t work your not coming in, end of story, no need for bloody mass hysteria

  6. Tony Zeoli says:

    I agree with your comments. By closing posts and shutting down comments sections, blogs wouldn’t be blogs. Unfortunately, this whole unfortunate affair has shone a bright light on the subject of personal safety for the blogging media. Blogs are meant to create debate and propel discourse. If we begin to turn them off without giving readers the ability to post what they feel at a moment’s notice, then we’re giving in to the whims of the few and not the wishes of the masses. “DiY” media becomes “Die” media. Die for dead, because without the comments from readers, blogging holds only a modest level of interest for readers. It becomes only one point of view, and that’s not what is or was the intended use of the technology.

    Regulation then spurs innovation, and the cycle goes round again. Something esle will come to the forefront and change the paradigm. A dark soul will plant a similar seed and we’ll all be talking about this again.

    Best course of action: let the authorities deal with the mad and let the bloggers and responders be free to post and comment accordingly.

  7. squid says:

    what did she do to piss them off?

  8. Twenty Major says:

    She failed to appreciate the brilliance of Captain Purplehead.

  9. MJ says:

    If I closed up shop every time some waster called me names or made jokes at my expense, I’d be able to take a holiday. This hupla is because it’s an A-lister.

    Now, maybe Kathy has a nervous disposition but the sort of guys who waste time with false names and photoshop are not the guys to be blindsiding you at 3 am on Grafton street with a broken bottle and a bladder of warm piss. Those are the real jerks you have to worry about (I guess it’s when the Irish Blog Awards call last orders!).

    It’s headline grabbing. But the best thing anyone can do is ignore these idiots. Honestly….

  10. that girl says:

    Damien – who in particular is calling for a code of conduct? You didn’t link in your post – most of the comments on that stream are supportive and moderate…I agree that formalising a code is ridiculous because it will never work. But I am also interested in the number of women I know who have attracted unwanted attention on and offline because of their internet activity. Activity that has made them feel unsafe and activity they have had to report to the police. I have personal experience of this…so there’s definitely a gender issue here too which can’t be brushed away with platitudes.

  11. Ken McGuire says:

    Bang on the money Damien. Whats the point to blogging if you’re going to be restrained by codes of conduct – if you can’t be yourself?

    The words ‘way out of proportion’ spring to mind…. Blogging celebrities throwing their weight around?

  12. Twenty Major says:

    I have personal experience of this…so there’s definitely a gender issue here too which can’t be brushed away with platitudes.

    Well, it would be easier to threaten and intimidate a woman, wouldn’t it? Not making light of it but the threat of a man against a woman is far greater than that of a man to another man or a woman to a man.

    It’s surely an issue but it’s not something that’s ever going to change.

  13. M Buckley says:

    Tony Zeoli wrote:

    “Blogs are meant to create debate and propel discourse.”

    Perhaps. Bloggers wear so many different hats that it is difficult to generalize.

    The blogosphere interests me greatly. I have worked as a journalist and enjoy seeing the democratic outpouring that blogging has allowed in recent years. Having lived with the idea of “House Style” I don’t have much problem with codes of conduct on the net. Bloggers and posters choose to frequent the sites where they are most comfortable. On some satirical sites it is actually bad form to be over polite.

    As for elitism, as Damien analyses the current situation, there will always be undemocratic elites forming in every part of society, real and virtual. It seems to be how human beings organize social and public spaces.

    I have a particular interest in anonymous posting. When I started a blog almost a year ago, I was surprised at the number of anonymous comments posted, sometimes by characters who seemed to enjoy the wind-up. I came to enjoy it, as Anonymous is one of the oldest writers we have and is, in fact, the spirit of anarchy. At one point I was even repremanded by “Anonymous” for running an undemocratic blog, which still amuses me considerably.

    Some people get really worked up by what they read or see in blogs.
    I continue to wonder why.

  14. that girl says:

    I think all of these points are justified but for some people it’s the issue of whether the threats or what ever will transfer from on to offline .. it begins to take on a different hue at that point. Most women I know won’t discuss this stuff online because it feeds the unwanted attention which in turn hides the issue..this isn’t a new issue (particularly for women)…difficult one to allude to without getting the “you were asking for it because you were out in public” response…

  15. Twenty Major says:

    difficult one to allude to without getting the “you were asking for it because you were out in public� response…

    From who?

  16. Thaedydal says:

    Na na na na na , na na na na na,
    I am soo getting you back for that D.

    The thing is a blog is a pretty personal piece of cybereality
    ad unlike internet forums there are no mods or admins to stand up on the behalf of the person being textually abused and saying we don’t like that type of thing around here. Nasty comments in a blog can be like somone graffiting your house.

    Also a blogger as to be the admin of thier own blog for the most part and while many people have grasped the learning curve on adding thiers to thier sites and the plug and play of spam filtering iding and blocking ips from a blog may not be in everyones skill set.

    Ireland is a pretty small place and all it takes sod all info for a person to be identifible and tracked down.

    While strangers making comments has never bothered me as the likely hoods is that I am scarier then they are in person this does not mean everyone else does or should feel this way.

    A community/soctiey is judge by how it treats it’s most vonerible members.

    I don’t think a code of conduct is needed put rather that a person may need some support when others act uncivily.

    There are still some rather nasty attitudes towards women in what is seen as ‘blokes things’ and this covers tech/gaming/interweb arenas.

    Many people are prefering bogs or journals that have the function to have semi private posts as an option as a result.

  17. Dan Sullivan says:

    A blog is no more personal that talking to yourself in a public space.

  18. lexia says:

    My first reaction to this hoop-la was that it was sick. People blog to the ether. When you blog it’s in a public space. Bullies are everywhere. The web is nothing different, except that the veil of anonymity protects web bullies a little more than the RW.

    Adopting a code of conduct in personal blogging would stifle any kind of free speech. Codes of coducts in companies – that’s a different thing entirely. They have NDA and company policy to adhere to.

  19. […] I’m writing this post in direct response to a post written by Damien Mulley, columnist for the Sunday Tribune in Ireland. Damien is well respected within the Irish blogsphere and is responsible for creating the Irish blog awards. Ok, so it’s a small country with a few people when compared to the countries that most of our readers live in, but his view (and those who commentate on his blog) is undoubtedly valuable to this debate. […]

  20. Captain Purplehead says:

    How did I get dragged into this debate. I was reading and agreeing with what you said, Damien and then Twenty Major alludes to the fact that this might have happened because she didn’t appreciate my site. Is there a reason for this comment?

  21. Blurred Keys says:

    Guardian gets it wrong, shocker

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