Tuesday, 10 Apr, 2007 Offbeat

Attempt to control the blogosphere wakes up howls of protests


Web gurus, who attempt to banish unethical behavior within the blogosphere, faced howls of protests. The debates began after the attempt to create a code of conduct, which has the goal of getting rid of offensive comments.

The protests were inevitable as two Internet giants thought of joining forces and propose a certain set of guidelines, which are to become filters for abusive and offensive comments from blogs. Ironically the offensive comment filter proposal faced abusive comments from the blogosphere.

Thus the answer to the attempt was more that offensive – images of excrement. An idea to "troll feces, specifically designed to create a special group of self-satisfied, smug, condescending dingalings looking down their noses" was likened by a blogger whose nickname is bynkii.

910am, which is a media site, characterized it as "weapons of mass stupidity" and warned the public not to read on a full stomach.

The starting point of the offensive messages, mentioned above and more, was a set of rules regarding the concept of civility to the world of blogs and bloggers. The set of rules was developed by Tim O'Reilly, the first one to introduce the phrase "Web 2.0" and Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia's founder.

The two have posted a program, comprising seven points, that, according to Mr. O'Reilly and Mr. Wales, tries to address the abundance of offensive comments on the web, at the same time keeping the free spirit of the medium. The first point in the code states that anyone who signs up to it should be responsible for removing abusive comments from their blog.

In order to back up the code another proposal came up. This implies a so-called "civility enforced" badge, meant for marking the sites that subscribe themselves to the guidelines. In addition another badge was proposed, that is an "anything goes" badge, the goal of which is to denote those sites that did not subscribe to the set of rules.

The guidelines over an offensive behavior have woken up wide debates. Thus Dan Gillmor, the representative of the Centre for Citizen Media, said that there is no need of the code of conduct. Mr. Gillmor mentioned that bloggers need only one simple rule, and that is to be civil.

The media site 901am outlined the fact that civility is subjective. "... controlling what people say and do on blogs can only be a recipe for the decline of the medium and the introduction of totalitarianism online" it said.

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