A blog, the combination of two words – web & log – is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consists of discrete entries and usually, but not always, provides a forum for allowing readers to make comments. There are millions of active blogs on the web today. Travel blogs, like this one, are one type of niche blog.
I have seen a lot of things occur as I’ve been blogging, but it really seems like things have hit a fervor’s pitch lately on the blogs and discussion forums. There’s really one one blogger I really hate, and yes, I know, hate is a strong word. The blogger I hate the most is the one who doesn’t allow comments to be made on his or her site. Now, I’m not talking about occasionally moderating comments, or even not publishing a few comments here or there. I’m talking about the bloggers who allow zero comments. Yes, you know who you are!
If you’re going to write an informational blog that never takes sides or points fingers or discusses specific people, including other bloggers, then maybe allowing comments isn’t really essential. But, in my mind, when you start writing about others, especially other bloggers, you better be willing to accept comments and respond when appropriate.
As for moderating comments, every blogger has to have their own policy. However, my policy is that I only moderate two types of comments 1) those that may incite violence of any kind and 2) those that contain hate speech or threats (against me or any other person). I allow all other comments to be published (now, it may take a few hours or many hours to publish them depending on my timezone, but they’ll all get published.)
The type of behavior I describe above does exist, sadly. And some people seem to thrive on making outrageous statements under the shield of anonymity or by using “screen names”. You may even think you’re being creative by using different names on different sites, but just remember, you’re not really as anonymous as you think you are.
The Blogger’s Code of Conduct is a proposal by Tim O’Reilly for bloggers to enforce civility on their blogs by being civil themselves and moderating comments on their blog. The code was proposed due to threats made to blogger Kathy Sierra. The idea of the code was first reported by BBC News, who quoted O’Reilly saying, “I do think we need some code of conduct around what is acceptable behavior. I would hope that it doesn’t come through any kind of regulation and it would come through self-regulation.”
O’Reilly and others came up with a list of seven proposed ideas:
- Take responsibility not just for your own words, but for the comments you allow on your blog.
- Label your tolerance level for abusive comments.
- Consider eliminating anonymous comments.
- Ignore the trolls.
- Take the conversation offline, and talk directly, or find an intermediary who can do so.
- If you know someone who is behaving badly, tell them so.
- Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say in person.
I think these are great rules and agree that some self-regulation may be in order. I can name a few people who like to behave badly when they’re using screen names – I wonder if they’d be willing to say the same things out loud at say, a seminars?