Wednesday, April 11, 2007

In Polite Company People Never Talk about Religion, Politics, Sex, or Money

This is the cover page of a party invitation that I once sent out for a themed dinner. When the invitee opened the card, he or she was assured that it wasn't going to be polite company, if the event was held at our home. That's why I'm not very sympathetic toward last week's "A Call for Manners," which was described in The New York Times. It's true that blogspats can get pretty nasty, particularly when they involve accusations of racism or misogyny or -- even worse -- disinhibited commentators who enact verbal fantasies of rape and violence. But I'm not a fan of ratings systems or seals of approval, even though I very much admire BlogHer, which was one of the very first venues to spread the word about this blog in its early days.

Update: In response to a justifiable concern from an astute commenter that the BlogHer guidelines may have been unintentionally misrepresented, I'm linking to them so that readers can judge for themselves. Of course, it's also important to say that I have my own guidelines on posting and moderating and publishing comments, so I understand the importance of ground rules in Internet discourse. Nonetheless, as I said in my original post, I distrust such formulations when they are presented as ratings systems, which thankfully BlogHer has not done. To trace the misunderstanding, check out how the "badge" concept was first associated with BlogHer in a paragraph the O'Reilly Radar.

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Blogger ElisaC said...

Hi Liz! Just want to clarify that while we're flattered that some folks are pointing to our community guidelines as good model, we are not working with anyone on creating any kind of sweeping code or codes for the blogosphere.

They've added many elements to their code that are nowhere to be found in our guidelines, including the concept of "badges."

In fact, at BlogHer we see a difference between setting transparent guidelines for community participation within our own community vs. trying to come up with a code for the entire blogosphere to theoretically follow or not. That distinction was not drawn very clearly in the article, but you can see more of our thoughts on that distinction at my blog:…, and from Lisa in the following ComputerWorld Q&A:

We think every blogger has the right to set their own rules. What we don’t think is that a single one-size-fits-all code for the blogosphere or internet ever could or should work.

8:07 AM  

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