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Blogging vs. Codes of Conduct

I guess since my blogging habits developed on LJ, with forays into the comments sections of places like slashdot, I'm a little spoiled and a little jaded both on blogging/commenting social conduct, and how to keep a good coherent and interactive blogspace.

At some point when I'm coherent, I expect to take this and subject it to my usual deconstruction. Despite the air of self-righteous arrogance some of the phrasing has, a lot of the principles are ones that I actually do use in keeping the comments here cleaned up.

I don't believe any one person's blog is a forum for pure free speech. The entire internet may have a lot of free speech, but I think of each individual blog as a monarchy. Your right to free speech in my LJ extends exactly as far as I say it extends, not as far as you say it extends. That's how it's always been. It's a courtesy on the part of blogs with comments sections with very liberal rules to allow all kinds of comments and not keep an eye on them, but any blog that goes so far as to remove spam comments is censoring pure free speech.

There's a very delicate art to encouraging open discussion and debate while attempting to keep the whole effort readable and even marginally healthy to be in. I'm attempting to learn that art, and recognize the hallmarks of the comments that I think are entirely wrong-headed and clue-negative but are still a valid and vital part of the discussion, and distinguish them from the comments that are deliberately inflammatory and either contribute nothing to the discussion or are phrased too offensively to do any constructive good to the debate in progress. It takes a lot of practice to learn, and takes active work to maintain.

I believe that online accountability is a good thing to foster civility (I'm far less likely to go and be a complete dick in someone's journal if they can follow my username back to my journal and be a dick right back to me) but that anonymous commentary has an irreplaceable part in almost all online debate.

The Blogger's Code of Conduct as drafted is a little more permissive than the standards I keep in this journal, actually. If I feel someone's in my journal being a dick, I don't necessarily explain if I delete something. I don't even inform someone that I'm taking their comment down, if they're being that bad. I don't call upon someone to apologize. I just take whatever it was that they said away, and if necessary, ban their happy ass out of town.
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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