If this month’s push for a blogger’s code of conduct works, it could transform blogging as we know it. It could make blogs behave. But one of the strongest pushes for user self-regulation the internet has ever seen also could mark the end of an era—one of the most openly expressive and creative periods we’ve ever seen.
Bloggers are up to their headphones in code talk. But maybe you’re not. The code, proposed by prominent internet guru Tim O’Reilly is housed on its own wiki page, where a pack of editors are still tearing it apart and putting it back together.
Once a cohesive, take-it-or-leave-it set of rules, bloggers now can choose among them and announce the new policies to their readers, deciding whether they will, for instance, discourage anonymous comments, pledge not to post anything they wouldn’t say in person, or ignore “trolls”—those low-level life forms that spew vermin like it’s what they had for breakfast, most likely because they had terrible childhoods.
Bloggers could take this on alone, of course. Many already do. But what the code offers is some bulky backup. Whether it actually takes off hangs on the integrity of the online debate that’s shaping it. It’s hard to keep a global network of people who’ve never met—especially the stalwart, at times stubborn, breed of man that is the blogger—focused on one goal. But the results are important. As blog readers or just as citizens, you have a stake in this.
The code could help bloggers slough off the form’s reputation for attracting creeps, jerks and idiots (sorry; is that uncivil?). It also can take us one step closer to fulfilling the internet’s greatest promise: to be the greatest, most productive forum for the exchange of ideas ever created.
There’s just one assumption in this that bothers me: I’m not sure that what’s kept blogging down can be so cleanly cut from what’s built it up. Blogs came on so strong so quickly that few really knew what hit us. But wow. Think about it. These simple webpages give us commoners a way to be heard, not just on a street corner but around the world. Go ahead, they seem to say. Go on and on about anything you want. No one’s going to shut you up. Blogs are pushing everyone toward an era of unprecedented engagement. That’s empowerment. Best of all, admission is free. These things have darned...
SOURCE : The Financial Express