Monday, April 9

Does LCB need a Code of Conduct?

In light of the stunning news of Kathy Sierra's terrifying experience with death threats and other horrid comments made on her blog, Creating Passionate Users, I'd like to raise the question of whether we need to draft and post a code of conduct.

Some time ago, I posted some basic guidelines for commentors in the FAQ under the question "What can or can't be posted to a comment?". I'd love feedback from any and everyone.
Is this statement strong enough?
Does it include everything it should?
Is is alright to leave it in the FAQ?
Should I put a link to it from the sidebar?
Are there codes of conduct for other blogs we should consider? (I've seen and like Blogher's and the O'Reilly proposed blogging code of conduct)
Should I just wait for the O'Reilly code of conduct to be finalized and use it?
Is this a tempest in a teapot and I should just forget about it?

To date, because we have had an invitation-only author team, posts have not been a problem regarding inappropriate language or threats to others. I have pulled down two posts written by authors for content that was misaligned with LCB's purpose (but unoffensive) and another for being more "novel" in length than "blog post". The only comments I have removed from LCB have been obvious spam or inadvertent duplicate comments.

But as we move toward a more open contribution model, (i.e., The Big Question) the chance of conduct offenses will rise. As blogmeister, it's helpful to have a previously published policy to point to when informing a contributor that they are in violation of that policy and I'm taking down their contribution.

I look forward to reading your thoughts. (I promise, none will be pulled down!)


Harold Jarche said...

I don't really think so; but Johnnie Moore and others have said it better than I could.

Dave Lee said...

As I've read through some of the commentary on the Wikia site where the O'Reilly draft is being discussed and a number of blogs I've come to a personal stance that a code of conduct in general is unworkable and very much against the spirit of blogging.

However, I think that it might be adviseable for individual blogs, like any group, to overtly state what the behavior norms for the group/blog/community are. if content is off topic for the blog, then it'll be pulled. If you threaten anyone, it gets pulled. etc.

The key here is that each space/group/community/blog sets what's apppropriate for their space and then take responsibility for enforcing it.

jay said...

Code of conduct? No. No. No. No. No.

Rules are only made to be broken. We don't need people trying to "game the rules." (I saw this on The WeLL years ago.)

The one rule is: Don't be a jerk.

If you break the rule. you're out. Dave's choice. That's what a blogmeister is for. End of story.


Harold Jarche said...

a counterpoint to Jay; make your one rule positive - "Be civil".

Yah, I think one rule is plenty.

Anonymous said...

Be Civil is probably not enough.

I have sort of a long comment over on Q2's blog.

Anonymous said...

Kathy's situation is most unfortunate, but please; No code of conduct. Besides, many of us are members of various organizations that have a code we're expected to follow - plus the one we expect of ourselves.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that 99 percent of us know how to conduct ourselves in this professional forum:Read and learn and engage to promote thought and healthy debate...Be respectful... Treat others as we want to be treated...

A code of conduct or even one rule to deal with the other 1 percent of jerks or uncivil folks (or whatever we want to call them) would probably do nothing to dissuade them from their actions; most likely they fully intend to insult, disrespect, offend or shock.

I agree with Jay that ultimately it's Dave's call, as blogmeister. Except for the occasional person who goes off on a tangent unrelated to LCB's mission, the people affected won't be surprised.

Then we don't have to spend time developing a code of conduct that most of us already adhere to in principle.