A blogosphere code of conduct?


Today's New York Times contains an article about the attempts of some bloggers, including the women behind BlogHer.org, to formulate a code of conduct among bloggers and commenters to "clean up the quality of online discourse."

Among the hot topics under discussion include the tricky issue of whether or not to ban anonymous posters, and whether it's OK to delete incendiary comments. Is it censorship or civility? The article notes that many of the ugliest comments target women, but I am not certain where that data comes from. It seems to me, from my own stroll through the blogosphere, that nasty comments are flung at anyone and everyone simply because anonymity provides a measure of safety. There aren't many, if any, repercussions to saying mean things online.

The women behind BlogHer, a community of women bloggers, have developed their own code of conduct that "embraces the spirit of civil disagreement" and simultaneously states that it "declines to publish unacceptable content," including comments.

At AfterEllen.com, we strive to create an environment in which it's OK to discuss touchy topics such as sexual orientation, gender, race and class. Sometimes comments and discussions veer into the "taking it personal" territory, which is both natural (these subjects are, of course, highly personal) and problematic (if people start to attack each other). What do you think should be in a code of conduct?

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