Big boys discuss Bloggers’ Code of Conduct

Several months ago, there was a debate in Singapore blogosphere about coming up with a Code of Conduct. While a few of us supported it, the majority of our fellow local bloggers and readers opposed it. The idea ended up being stillborn.

It was reported today that Tim O’Reilly, the guy who coined the term “Web 2.0”, and Jimmy Wales, the creator of Wikipedia, have teamed up to draft a Bloggers’ Code of Conduct. The Draft Code can be viewed and edited on (you guessed it) Wikipedia.

I’m not going ga-ga over this just because a couple of Yanks have proposed it. But if even our generation’s prime proponents and facilitators of free speech are talking about a Code of Conduct, I think it deserves a second look. I’ve looked through the Draft Code. Personally I think it is fair, but its scope is rather narrow. It seems to be focused mainly on readers’ comments rather than the blogs themselves.

Author: Gerald Giam

Gerald Giam is the Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC. He is a member of the Workers' Party of Singapore. The opinions expressed on this page are his alone.

4 thoughts on “Big boys discuss Bloggers’ Code of Conduct”

  1. a code of ethics also need an enforcement mechanism; if a code is adopted by a professional society, for example, violations can lead to expulsion and loss of license to practise; if Media Development Authority puts one together, it can probably forbid access to communication facilities and web servers; if ICANN adopts one, it can probably cancel the domain registrations of any website owners who violate the code, but it would need a large administrative establishment to collect and evaluate code violation information in order to make such decisions fairly

    all in all, it seems not a simple job

    asiayouthmedia.com

  2. Let me state categorically that I do not support any government agency drafting or enforcing a code of conduct/ethics for bloggers.

    Admittedly, what ever Code that the blogging community comes up with will not be easily enforceable. I guess peer pressure is the strongest enforcement mechanism possible. I don’t think I’d like to see any stronger measures.

  3. Like I said before, drop the whole Code of Conduct, rename it Blogging Guidelines and Information, educate people that there are legal implications even in the blogosphere. I think that would be more successful.

  4. Gerald,

    My view is that the circumstances why Tim O’Reilly call for a code of conduct among bloggers are slightly different from what a couple of us have discussed months back before them.

    Their situation started from a prominent blogger Kathy Sierra getting death threats, while our situation is more to help moderate the extreme views or advising young bloggers how not to get into trouble.

    In any case, the best way to start a code of conduct for bloggers is to have a meeting among the bloggers to discuss this, rather than online discussion (which seems not to take off in anyway).

    Recent experiences with the media socialists and the specialist bloggers during the gathering in Nexus Conference 2007 demonstrate that collaboration on issues like code of conduct are better facilitated if a face to face meeting is done among all of us, the for and against camps.

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