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April 10th, 2007


Did anyone see the story in Monday’s New York Times about a blogger’s code of conduct? Last week on the Brian Lehrer’s show I called in and said I was against regulating behavior in the Blogsphere. But now I am rethinking my original reaction. I actually like the idea of a carefully worded set of principles and guidelines. Not everyone has to agree. But if you come to my place, I’m allowed to set some standard of civil behavior. Nu?

Is it too late to bring civility to the Web?

conversational free-for-all on the Internet known as the blogosphere
can be a prickly and unpleasant place. Now, a few high-profile figures
in high-tech are proposing a blogger code of conduct to clean up the
quality of online discourse.

Last week, Tim O’Reilly, a
conference promoter and book publisher who is credited with coining the
term Web 2.0, began working with Jimmy Wales, creator of the communal
online encyclopedia Wikipedia, to create a set of guidelines to shape
online discussion and debate.

Chief among the recommendations is
that bloggers consider banning anonymous comments left by visitors to
their pages and be able to delete threatening or libelous comments
without facing cries of censorship.

A recent outbreak of
antagonism among several prominent bloggers “gives us an opportunity to
change the level of expectations that people have about what’s
acceptable online,” said Mr. O’Reilly, who posted the preliminary
recommendations last week on his company blog ( Mr. Wales then put the proposed guidelines on his company’s site (, and is now soliciting comments in the hope of creating consensus around what constitutes civil behavior online.


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