Recent blogosphere activity is driving a logical maturing process for the blogosphere  Did we really need the Kathy Sierra situation to raise awareness of why anonymous comments, trolls, cyberbullying, and harassment are wrong?

Last week, Tim O'Reilly, a conference promoter and book publisher who is credited with coining the term Web 2.0, began working with Jimmy Wales, creator of the communal online encyclopedia Wikipedia, to create a set of guidelines to shape online discussion and debate.

Chief among the recommendations is that bloggers consider banning anonymous comments left by visitors to their pages and be able to delete threatening or libelous comments without facing cries of censorship. ...

Mr. O'Reilly and Mr. Wales talk about creating several sets of guidelines for conduct and seals of approval represented by logos. For example, anonymous writing might be acceptable in one set; in another, it would be discouraged. Under a third set of guidelines, bloggers would pledge to get a second source for any gossip or breaking news they write about.

Bloggers could then pick a set of principles and post the corresponding badge on their page, to indicate to readers what kind of behavior and dialogue they will engage in and tolerate. The whole system would be voluntary, relying on the community to police itself.
I'm more than willing to sign up to a common set of guidelines -- it would certainly help with the 5-10 anonymous but legitimate comments that appear here each week.  But one proposal would make bloggers responsible for the comments on their site -- the quickest route to seeing all blogs go 100% moderated in comments.  That, to me, stifles the conversation, and is inconsistent with what we've seen in the last 25 years of online forums.

Link: NY Times: A call for manners in the world of nasty blogs >

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