I'm tagging myself with a meme called "comment on the O'Reilly list of Proper Netiquette."
I'll let people know right now that a Code of Conduct for blogging is the second-to-worst type of wankery.
Commenting on a proposed Code of Conduct is the worst type of wankery.
Go here for A Good Citizen's Guide to Not Making Death Threats on the Web.
On Rule the First:
I'll take responsibility for my own words. Comments, though, no fucking way. That doesn't mean I won't enforce my own standards on comments. It just means that if I fail to catch something libelous and it sits on my blog for a few days, then a statement saying I take responsibility for all comments means I'm now the world's biggest idiot. A farfetched scenario, maybe, but this is a farfetched world.
I don't care about the "Civility Enforced" standard. Civility is too often a code word for a load of placating bullshit that masks an inability to stand for anything. Civility is letting Vice President Cheney spin more lies about an al-Qaeda/Saddam connection without calling that mutherfucker on his treacle.
Which obviously means I won't ever disavow ad hominem attacks. It's a weak logical fallacy, I know, but really good ones become pearls of wit.
"He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin."
That's Hunter S. Thompson right there. When I make ad hominem attacks I don't come anywhere near that level, but you can't get better without lots of practice.
If I delete a comment, I don't owe anybody an explanation. Thankfully, I don't have enough readers to worry about it.
On Rule the Second:
"We won't say anything online that we wouldn't say in person." Gibberish. Say to whom? My boss? My mother-in-law? My friends in the Marine Corps? My old roommate? This doesn't make sense for a reason I will get to later.
On Rule the Third:
Eh. Since most of the blogosphere is about publicly commenting on things, this is impossible. So what if you do decide to talk to a person privately and they don't respond? Are you then suddenly, magically, justified in writing a post?
There is a thin line between "misrepresenting" and "lying through your fucking teeth." People who do the second aren't usually interested in a dialogue toward conflict resolution.
On Rule the Fourth:
If you're offended by something you see on the Internet, ask for all the amends you want; just don't expect them.
Threats, though - that's a matter for law enforcement. No argument there.
On Rule the Fifth:
Anonymity or even pseudoanonymity is a necessary element to the free exchange of ideas.
I understand that some people will use anonymity to be absolutely horrible to other people.
There's always a price.
Easy for me to say, I know. But I don't think I'll ever be surprised by the extent to which human beings can act like absolute shits toward other human beings.
But anonymity also ties into the second rule. Sometimes there are things a person might need to express that they wouldn't say "in person." Maybe it's a personal experience and they're using the Internet as a kind of catharsis (Livejournal is filled with examples). Or maybe they're living under a repressive regime and wish to make political statements that they wouldn't dare say publicly, not even to their friends or family.
Point is, anonymity is not the problem; people are the problem.
Getting rid of the former won't fix the latter.
On Rule the Sixth:
I don't have very good troll radar, because I don't ever get trolls. I'm blessed with a small readership. But yeah, ignore trolls.
That's a wrap.
And, unlike Corvus, I obviously use lots of blue language.
But that's only because vulgarity so often proves my point.