Bloggers Code of Conduct

Tim O’Reilly proposes a Bloggers Code of Conduct

The code of conduct comes in the wake of death threats sent to Kate Sierra, who as a result cancelled a public appearance and suspended her blog. Sending death threats to someone is obviously unacceptable behavior and measures should be taken against it. Having said that, I am not so sure a ‘bloggers code of conduct’ is the right measure to combat this problem. First, to what extent is the problem exclusive to the domain of blogging and the blogosphere? By having a specific ‘bloggers code of conduct’ it gives off the idea that it is ‘blogging’ that is problematic. Blogs obviously have a facilitating role, but the key question is whether it is a crucial facilitating role (I think probably not, death threats have been made without the use of blogs). Instead of making this into an issue of bloggers and blogging, I suggest it is probably more a general free speech issue, and we already have plenty of (legal, social) instruments to regulate unacceptable speech.

One of the more controversial parts of the code of conduct is that it does not allow for anonymous comments, and it reminds me of the controversy surrounding the required registration for blogs in China.  Perhaps we can compare arguments in these two debates – what arguments were used to argue against registration for blogs in China and do these arguments hold up when it comes to disallowing anonymous comments on blogs?