Blogger’s code of conduct

BBC News: Weblogs ‘need content warnings’.

Readers should be warned when they are reading blogs that may contain "crude language", a draft blogging code of conduct has suggested. The code was drawn up by web pioneer Tim O’Reilly following published threats and perceived harassment to US developer Kathy Sierra on blogs. The code begins: "We celebrate the blogosphere because it embraces frank and open conversation."

The draft says people should not be allowed to leave anonymous comments. Blogs which are open and uncensored should post an "anything goes" logo to the site to warn readers, the code suggests. Readers of these blogs would be warned: "We are not responsible for the comments of any poster, and when discussions get heated, crude language, insults and other "off colour" comments may be encountered. Participate in this site at your own risk." The draft will now be assessed and amended by bloggers around the world.

I agree about the anonymous comments, I’ve seen that abused on message boards. WordPress allows comment moderation and a list of disallowed words, which is great. However, the places you’d most need an "anything goes" logo are probably the least likely to post it. "Civility enforced" is a nice idea, and you should be able to have a heated discussion without personal attacks, but where each site draws the line of what is civil or uncivil, and what is deletable is personal taste.

The code of conduct, and the accompanying comments, are an interesting read.

Update 16th April

Tim O’Reilly posted a follow up post, also worth reading.


  1. I read knitting blogs, which generally means G-rated or PG-rated content. I truly do not enjoy R-rated language so I choose not to see R-rated movies. It would be helpful to me if a blog had a notice “raw language may be used”, so I would know to avoid that blog. I am not suggesting “policing” but a voluntary system.

  2. I think a lot of this will blow over. The two named blogs in the Sierra dust-up were known as being done by people who liked to push the envelope. Heck, one of the was called “mean kids”. The ratings would be nice, but . . .

  3. I’m not much for using bad language, but I don’t think anonymous comments should be disallowed. It’s not that I have a problem with people having my e-mail; but some blog hosts – like blogger or sites like livejournal only allow you to comment non-anonymously if you are a subscriber/member.

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