Tim O’Reilly has posted a draft code of conduct that bloggers would voluntarily accept and promote. This all stems from the Kathy Sierra/Chris Locke issue from a couple of weeks ago. The New York Times is all over this as well.
I’ve mostly stayed out of this fight, but as it has gone on I’ve been more and more disappointed by what I’ve seen. I feel bad for Kathy Sierra and said as much. But she and others have milked this event for all its worth, and then some. And whenever someone, no matter how much I respect them, tries to tell me what I can and cannot do by defining “civility” around their own ideals, I tense up. It feels like a big angry mob is arming itself to the teeth and looking for targets, and I need to choose whether I’m with them or against them.
I’m not turning off anonymous comments, I’m not going to always try to talk privately with someone before i write, and I’m also not going to allow a mob to decide what types of words constitute “unacceptable content.” And I’m certainly not putting a badge on my site that says whether I comply or not.
The code of conduct and the mass of bloggers lining up behind it scares me a lot more than the hate comments and death threats I’ve received in the past. I won’t support it.
Maybe this means I won’t be invited back to Foo camp this year. Maybe it means the bloggers who think this is a good thing won’t link back to our blogs. Maybe I’ll just get a bunch of hate comments from the civility crowd. But I’m not going to do something just because I’m scared about what will happen if I don’t.
I will point out that Tony Hung’s idea of having a simple statement around a blog’s comments policy (allowing anonymous or not, deleting trolls, etc.) isn’t a bad idea. If a standard emerges around that, I’m willing to take a look. But it can’t be a black or white, you’re with us or against us, kind of thing.