Business 2.0 says that blogs will become mainstream in 2004 (and they’re probably right), and with the massive number of “clutter” blogs out there (so say our critics), it may be a good idea for blog-format publications to follow a written or unwritten code of conduct or code of ethics in order to maintain, and perhaps even increase desirability among readers and prospective readers. The code should also foster a positive network among bloggers, who are very inter-connected, whether they mean to be or not.
Not everyone should be expected to follow the code of conduct or code of ethics, whichever it may be. Just as we all slip from time to time in our adherence to other rules or guidelines (take the 10 Commandments for example), I’m sure that we will slip from time to time from strict adherence to a blogger’s code of conduct or code of ethics. However, it may be a good idea for certain practices to be encouraged in the blogosphere, just as they are in the rest of the world.
“Why should we have one of these in the first place?” you ask? Well, there are actually some people out there who are paid for what they’ve written on their blog in one way, shape or form, and once blogs do become just as mainstream as say, a newspaper or a magazine, bloggers will likely join the ranks of other writers, such as journalists (there was at one point a prediction that bloggers would eventually replace journalists by 2007, which may not happen, since most publications have adopted publication formats similar to blogs or added a blog to the mix, but blogs have certainly changed journalism forever).
Could blogging become a profession? It certainly does have the potential to become one, but as long as no standards exist for it, more clutter will be created and blogging will become less, rather than more credible. Some bloggers may be concerned over this, while others likely will not be concerned at all.
What is the future of blogging? Will it become saturated with first-person ego-driven rants published in diary format, or will it become a new and more convenient way for information to be delivered to the public by the public without a gatekeeper to decide what news is fot to actually reach the public?
While it is ultimately up to bloggers all around the world to determine the destiny of blogging, some may feel that some sort of code should exist to promote a sort of civility among bloggers and non-bloggers, alike.
While I have no personal preference as to what the entire blogosphere decides, I have decided to propose a Bloggers Code of Conduct or Bloggers Code of Ethics (call it what you will) to promote civility and intellectual honesty in the blogosphere. I do feel that both civility and intellectual honesty are two necessities in the blogosphere if it is to remain a credible source of information.
I have created seven guideliness to accomplish this purpose. They are:
(1) Misinformation and/or false information shall not be published or permitted in the blogosphere.
(2) Posts or comments should remain civil, however, if someone does flame you in any way, shape or form, they should expect to be flamed in return in the form of a post or comment and they should not complain that they are treated in the same way that they have treated you. Libeling anyone should be refrained from entirely.
(3) Information in a post shall not be stolen from a source or plagiarized. If information from a source other than your own is used, that source shall be cited.
(4) You have the complete and total freedom to express your views and opinions in any way, shape or form you choose, as long as no one is flamed directly or libled in the process. You should not expect everyone to agree with your views and you should expect discussion and debate of your views openly when they are posted.
(5) Posts that purposefully state something that cannot be proven about another blogger in order to increase traffic to your blog shall not be permitted.
(6) Bloggers shall do their best to adhere to good use of the English language, as to ensure a readable post by their readers.
(7) Violation of any of these guideliness shall constitute the violating blogger’s permittance of his/her fellow bloggers posting juicy posts detailing his/her violation(s) in full.
These are rather simple guideliness and by no means are they absolute, however, adhering to them would ensure more civility in the blogosphere, which would likely increase the respect of those who may be critical, whether they are fellow bloggers or non-bloggers who are on the outisde, looking in.
Please use the comments section to discuss this proposal, and feel free to amend the guidelines or add others that you feel may be a necessity. This is simply a proposal and I have no intention to work to see the guidelines implemented, but if someone else desires to, they are free to pursue that opportunity.