Thursday, April 12, 2007

Blogosphere civility code

After reading (and, I'm afraid to say, adding to) the Blogger Code of Conduct that Tim O'Reilly and others are formulating, I am reminded of a column I wrote a few years ago, about beaked whales. Not a whole hell of a lot is know about beaked whales, ironic considering their size (up to 15 tons, I believe) but not at all ironic considering their habitat, which is the deep, open oceans of the world.

My column - written after a species was described in more detail than is common for beaked whales - was a small mourning for the demise of the ocean - or at least that small part of it - as a great unkown. I like the unmapped and uncharted places just because of what they represent: a great frontier.

In the same way, the Web is a place for exploration, a world that isn't fully known and that has many odd corners. Most of the time I spend online, I spend at mainstream sites or at blogs that are written by typical, but interesting, people.


Although I prefer to carry on civil conversations, such as they are, online, and I prefer to spend my time in places that wouldn't raise anybody's eyebrows, I do not think my predilections should be codified for others to fall in line with.

What am I talking about? Well, here's part of O'Reilly's draft of a code of conduct:
Don't say anything online that you wouldn't say in person.
The next time you're tempted to vent your anger or frustration online, imagine you're talking to your mother. Or if you have no respect for your mother, imagine you're talking to a big, mean dude that you met on the street. Or simply imagine the person you're speaking to as a real person, standing in front of you. Would you say what you're saying to them if you were in the same room?
Is he kidding? That's almost as good as "If you didn't bring enough for everyone, you can't share with anyone." What the fuck. Is the Web a fucking grade school?

I understand the serious nature of what has spurred all this talk of codes of conduct, but give me a break. Or better yet, don't. Go ahead, fuckers, spend your time cooking up your little book of rules, and let's just see how many people bother to read it.


lulu said...

All I have to say is that when I first read this post I thought you said "baked whales"

Alasdair said...

Oh, those are good! I like them broiled, though. Of course, it is better to eat soy whale, which gives you all that delicious whale flavor, but none of the saturated fat (or, you know, guilt).

Josh Gesler said...

I hope your mother isn't reading this!