4.11.2007

Barking about a Blogosphere Code of Conduct

Recently, the BBC reported on a call for an official Code of Conduct on blogs. After literal death threats to Kathy Sierra on her blog and other accounts of cyberbullying, it begs the question- what ARE the standards in blogging? Should there really be a 1984 style censor? Should we create a tattle committee? What would be the consequences of violating the Blog Charter? Who would be in charge of the WORLD WIDE WEB? Would you be able to sue if someone in Peru said something that was inflammatory on your site?

If only there was a way we could “moderate” comments or contributions to blogs. I think I’m on to something- what if we could delete comments made that were offensive or inappropriate? If we could moderate, this blogosphere would be a much better place- full of rainbows and Care Bears.

I say this facetiously, but I am being serious. It is a hassle, but I do moderate my comments. Strangely enough, I have had this topic on my mind all week, and I had an offline conversation with Athol about this very thing. For now, my site is small enough that moderating makes sense- I usually check email frequently and it’s not hard to push “publish” or to simply ignore it. Athol noted (similarly to my husband) that perhaps females blogging are up against a bigger challenge simply because the validity of their very voice is sometimes questioned. Surprisingly, I have already had several attempts of non-Realtors (and possibly Realtors) anonymously posting articles bashing the industry or using offensive language.

This being said, I would love to NOT moderate. Besides the offensive material or inappropriate comments that do not parallel my goals for the Realtor Wives blog (promoting the industry, discussing tools of the trade, etc), there are other comments that I am avoiding, like the dork from high school who found the site and wants to say “hey, girl!” OR the BIG FAT JERK who parks in our paid-for-parking-spot every day and laughs from his office as I growl and wonder if his mortgage customer service is anything like this daily disturbance in my life.

Moderation aside, I don’t think this “Code of Conduct” will change anything those of us in the Real Estate world are doing, namely because there is the little thing called the “Code of Ethics” that all Realtors are subject to which is an incredibly high standard that is above most major corporations’ code of conduct. So, there’s no need to worry about this potential “Code of Conduct” that could upset the blogs about Phish, celebrities or personal lives because the NAR Code of Ethics supercedes all actions online by most people who read this blog. Seriously, even if the “code” was enforced and a “red light, yellow light, green light” censor button was put on every blog indicating its censorship level, no magical candy colored button is going to stop someone who feels compelled to comment on why I’m an idiot for blogging about… say… magical candy colored buttons. So let’s all just moderate and relax :)

1 comment:

Athol Kay said...

I don't think that simply being a woman diminishes your point of view to the majority of men. At least I really hope thats the case. It doesn't to me at any rate.

However there are a small cross section of men who are not entirely stable out there. It's a whole lot easier to play out dark fantasies by leaving comments etc than actually performing them in person.

Those sort of comments need to be instantly dealt with and ideally with minimal overt reaction. Those sort of comments are actively seeking reactions of fear, panic and submission. So don't give them what they want.

I don't think we need a blogosphere code of conduct, or that one is even possible without destroying the freedoms of the internet in the process. Just report crimminal threats to your local law enforcement. Failing that the FBI.