The A-List – Does ‘A’ Stand For Asinine?

The N.Y. Times is running a piece on the blogger code of content and I ran across this bit of foolishness;

Robert Scoble, a popular technology blogger who stopped blogging for a week in solidarity with Kathy Sierra after her ordeal became public, says the proposed rules “make me feel uncomfortable.” He adds, “As a writer, it makes me feel like I live in Iran.”

What? An unenforceable code of conduct that is designed to be freely adopted makes him feel like he lives in Iran? There are so many things wrong with that statement that it’s best to leave it alone. Maybe Scoble should stick to blogging about technology.

For more stupidity look to Mr. O’Reilly,

Mr. O’Reilly said the guidelines were not about censorship. “That is one of the mistakes a lot of people make — believing that uncensored speech is the most free, when in fact, managed civil dialogue is actually the freer speech,” he said.

I’m sure that totalitarian governments would agree. First off, stop talking about censorship. This is not about a government censoring the press or its citizens. This is about common sense and editorial control. I’m certain that if Scoble or Mr. O’Reilly exhibited some common sense in this matter I’d be a lot less hostile right now.


  1. It always grates my nerves on how people talk about countries outside of North America/Europe without ever having been there.

    If there is one thing I dislike about the internet, it is how it gives a voice to people who do nothing but spread misinformation. And not that they do it deliberately – it just happens that being “loud and wrong” is the best way to go.

  2. DG

    Brings to mind one of my favorite quotes,

    Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn’t mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar. Edward R. Murrow

  3. timethief

    As for you remarks about Iran I assume that you are aware that Robert’s wife Maryam is Iranian. And I’m interested to know if you read the comments that Robert got on his blog post and most particularly Kathy Sierra’s.

    The bottom line is really about taking responsibility for what we say and do. Most bloggers do that. Codes of Conduct never have any impact on the majority they merely express what is appropriate or not. There will always be a minority of irresponsible people who view being anonymous as a means of getting away with abuse or crime.

    In the Kathy Sierra situation no one has owned up to the implied sexual assault and death threats depicted by the images which were posted on a group blog. That means someone did get away with a crime.

    Although I don’t believe a code of ethics would be effective I do think the subject is worthy of discussion.

    As for me I have always moderated my comments here at wordpress. This is because at Blogger I experienced online troll who I brushed off and ignored at my own peril. He stalked me down and I was lucky enough to have neighbours who were on top of the situation or he would have carried out his threats of sexual assault.

    My comment policy runs against the grain of those free speech folks who say post everything and then everyone will know what an ass a troll is.

    The way I see it I’m the hostess of my blog and what I do not allow in my home and on my property I do not allow on my blog. Therefore, I do not post any comments that contain personal attacks, expressions of hatred or racist commentary – period. They are spam and that’s how I treat them.

  4. DG

    >>The bottom line is really about taking responsibility for what we say and do

    Exactly, and a blogging code of conduct is not a means to achieve that.

    >>Robert’s wife Maryam is Iranian

    That makes his remark even more inappropriate.

    >>free speech folks

    Free speech does not mean the freedom to say anything you like. It never has. Some of those ‘free speech folks’ would do well to learn that.

    The badges are just silly. The ‘anything goes’ badge just seems like an open invitation to raise hell. The ‘civility enforced’ badge seems to put the onus on the blog owner and might allow for legal recourse. Sort of like putting up a ‘beware of dog’ sign. In court that simply proves the owner of the dog knew the dog was dangerous. Are blog owners that adopt the badge of civility going to monitor their blogs 24/7? How long before blogs sporting those badges become targets?

    In short, did Tim stop to think for even a split second before embarking on his civility venture?

  5. The ‘Codes of Conduct’ is nothing more than bandwagon jumping to get some attention, especially for old media joints that have a particular dislike of blogs (just like everything in life, there are good blogs, and crappy blogs).

    I’ve never argued that the threat wasn’t wrong. But it isn’t a matter for bloggers to take – it is an issue for the police (ie all death threats, no matter through what medium, should go through them).

    Personally, I’m not advocating ‘free speech’ everywhere here. I run some popular forums (1 million+ posts), and I am absolute *tyrant* when it comes to moderating. But you know what? It’s *mine* and I can do whatever I want. If you want to moderate your comments – go ahead! I couldn’t care less. Its your blog (site), so do whatever you want.

    We are intelligent enough to know that there is no ‘professional’ blogging organization that you can be kicked out of. We know that ‘enforcing’ the code of conduct is impossible. All this is is a quick attention-grab in an attempt to be the stalwart of online fairness. And really, that should be the point.

  6. vince

    One of the points about blogging is that anyone can do it. The code idea smacks of the privately educated, honour code and all that …. . Whats needed is a engine which filters the blogs. Then the control reverts to the reader where it should belong, the current system pitches all sorts of content at you. Then with content likely/guaranteed to cause offence, the blogger can take measures to protect themselves.
    It is unlikely that the new yorker style of content will create a stalking scenario. While stupid and insensitive comments about religion it is all but certain to do so.
    Say what you like, but remember that you are in the biggest street on the planet, shouting very loudly indeed. Expect rotten tomatoes, and if writing content that you couldn’t shout in a busy main street, worse.

  1. 1 The A List Does ‘A’ Stand For Asinine? | The Hottness

    […] post by the hottness […]

  2. 2 The Plague of Mis-information - Tech Soapbox

    […] 10/04/2007 Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn’t mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar. Edward R. Murrow Via digitalghost on The A List – Does ‘A’ Stand For Asinine? […]

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