A code of conduct for the Web?

I heard a story on NPR about call for a “Code of Conduct” for the World Wide Web. The idea has been floated and debated by some influential tech bloggers. Proponents claim it would restore civility, accountability, and the confidence of bloggers who get heaped with offensive and threatening messages. Critics call it censorship.

I rarely get legitimate comments (those that aren’t spam) on this blog, but last month someone submitted a comment that I interpreted as a veiled threat. I wasn’t sure if I should post it or not. It’s never been my intention to censor people who want to post here, but that intention failed an early test. I’ve written my share of vitriol aimed at public officials, celebrities, the Boston Red Sox, and other scoundrels. But I decided not to post that comment or any future comments that I consider abusive to me or (the few) others who use this blog. Here’s why: I maintain this site for fun and at my own expense. When it stops being fun, I will stop posting. For now, that will stand as my code of conduct for Adam’s artificial habitat.

Published by Adam

Adam's artificial habitat is my official website and blog. I write as often as I can, so it is the best way to keep up to date on my goings-on.

3 replies on “A code of conduct for the Web?”

  1. I suppose as it gets easier to learn the details of stranger’s lives people will take it. Maybe it’s like a participatory reality TV show. Sure you write about your life so friends and family can read it, however it is just entertainment to some. Except now instead of yelling at a screen comments go straight to the star of the show.

    Certainly a stranger can comment on a public post, just as they could comment on a conversation you have with a friend in a public space…like an elevator. Except in person, as in butting into an elevator conversation, it can be rude and a little crazy. Apparently not online.

    (Go Sox)

  2. So you are saying that you can write what ever you want, but people who want to comment cannot?? I would say that’s the definition of a hypocrite. But hey guess thats the joy of living in a democracy! Guess I’ll need to start my own blog to comment on your posts!!

  3. Yes, that is pretty much what I am saying. Except that right now anyone can comment but I may not publish it. I don’t publish the majority of comments I get because they are robotically-generated nonsense loaded with links to porn sites designed to boost search engine rankings. That’s not what this site is for. Nor does this site exist to subsidize insulting remarks by total strangers. As the proprietor of this site, who takes sole responsibility for its maintenance, I reserve the right to make those judgements.

    As for hypocrisy: If I demanded the right to be published on other privately-maintained blogs and didn’t reciprocate then I would be a hypocrite, but I am making no such demands. I care not a whit whether others publish my opinions on their websites.

    Good luck with your blog.

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