No Stinking Badges

Where is my Easter Bonnet?

While some may see the blogosphere and the behavior of its participants as a new phenomenon, it isn't difficult to find an appropriate predecessor model. That model is found on the streets of any metropolitan area and it is called traffic and the prevalence of road rudeness...or in its extreme...road rage.

Granted, personal attacks and snark on the internet are not likely to lead to fatalities, but if computers had wheels, it certainly would.

The problem on the highway or the internet isn't going to be resolved through a badge system. Did anyone attend Easter mass yesterday and witness the value of not the crucifix behind the altar or the statue at the entrance; I'm talking about the pretty new Easter outfits...complete with bonnets and bow ties. These are the outfits worn by the same people who also attend Christmas mass every year without fail...and then get into their shiny clean vehicle and race out of the parking lot without ever yielding to the old woman walking to her car that is parked in the back row because she forgot that it was Easter Sunday and foolishly arrived at the same time she does each and every Sunday.

Read more on the relationship between blog civility and Easter

Posted by Daniel DiRito at April 9, 2007 6:05 PM

Gerard, I love can edit my comments anytime. I look forward to each of your essays, and am truly enriched by them.

Posted by lij at April 9, 2007 9:06 PM

Depends what your blog is for. In sheer coincidence (I only just now read of the O'Reilly initiative), I wrote about commenting rules the other day. My rules are best for my purposes; I'm not so immersed in blogging life as to think them suitable for everyone else, a la "One Size Fits All" Communism.

(BTW, Gerard--I tagged you on the Thinking Bloggers meme, if you're into that kind of thing. See here.)

Posted by ZionistYoungster at April 10, 2007 6:47 AM

Gerard, you are perfectly correct, again. If anyone thinks that they can regulate commenters, they must be smoking some very strong tobacco..

Posted by Adam Ciulini at April 10, 2007 8:43 AM

You (collectively) can be rude jerks in my comments, but I reserve the right to make fun of you. :)

Posted by Alan Kellogg at April 10, 2007 9:26 AM

I agree with you, Gerard, to try to regulate the last and most free marketplace of ideas is stupid - not to mention impossible. I also agree with lij: You can edit me anytime. Your place or mine?

Posted by askmom at April 10, 2007 10:23 AM

Apropos of civility, I still think the Wolcott cats deserve extradition to a more civil environment. Where's the ASPCA when you need 'em?

Posted by Connecticut Yankee at April 10, 2007 3:59 PM

"waxing and waning slush of trolls that come by every once in a while when the barren and self-sloshed metro-sexual Boston Marriage beard of Vanity Fair needs....their various bile sacks filled to the bursting point. Once here they pound their little fingers to nubs entering their deepest hatreds.....balding little metro-sexual neuter who dispatches his hard-core unemployed in this direction is meanwhile at his home suckling his cats and writing yet another scroll of infinite dullness"

This is so succinct a characterization of the modern "castrati" (your word, I think) as to boggle my mind. What else but this perfect contempt fits the banal and vapid malaise that passes for our "culture".

I gotta tell you, Gerard, by the time I got to the end of this little piece of yours I was grinning like a cheshire cat. Love it!

Posted by John Hinds at April 10, 2007 4:34 PM

Thanks, Gerard. You nailed that one. The thing that makes the blogs fun is to watch us all exhibit our limitations for all to see. Made me laugh on a day when I needed one.

Posted by robohobo at April 10, 2007 9:26 PM

Well, I have a little different take:

Regulation and censorship of the Internet can and must occur: on the individual level. And in the blogosphere, on the individual blog level.

As evidenced by Mr. Van der Leun herewith.

Lesser, more inverted, if not uninhabited, weenies will disable comments.

And the truly faint of heart should find other, less wild and crazy, venues to vent their creativity: like writing for instruction manuals for say, appliances.

On an completely different subject, I am traveling and don't have time for such indulgences today; however, I have a post coming up for Mistaaah W on the subject of pedicures, or more specifically my history with pedicures, that he won't want to miss.

Posted by Webutante at April 11, 2007 4:58 AM

Yes, moderating comments is the way to go. I started with open publishing and reviewing within a few hours. I have since decided that moderate first is the answer. I have a very liberal policy--no abuse and you have to have at least a personal, if not original, thought. So far, on my very minor blog, I have blown away one comment because it was nothing but links, even though I might have agreed with the point of view. I find it hard to imagine all the junk you see daily.

Posted by Bill at April 11, 2007 6:20 PM

Perhaps she was merely unused to getting death threats? Did you miss that part? And just to let you know, there are guys out there that hate the idea of women in the tech field. They get angry over it. You can ask any woman who's done tech support and she can tell you a story or two about the guy who would not speak with a woman tech or tried to get her fired. And, since this also isn't picked up, the comments she got were basically pornographic. Perhaps it might be time to reconsider how porn degrades women.

Posted by Teri Pittman at April 12, 2007 1:21 PM

All this time and we still see this free speech/First Amendment thing. They can get their own blog; this one doesn't belong to them. There's no free speech being suppressed. It's such a simple concept.

And this thread has nothing to do with porn degrading women; that's not what it is about. No hijacking a thread, now!

Posted by norm at April 12, 2007 8:29 PM

Teri: Michelle Malkin talked about it a bit. She has received far worse, mostly because she is in the political arena (rather than the golden city of hi tech) but death threats and pornographic smears are just the same.

This woman had too weak a stomach for the public arena. Also:

First and foremost, porn is a form of prostitution - that is, of women (and men.) It is then, a form of prostitution that seeks to sell itself to the largest audience for the smallest cost and time consumption. Or, to put it another way, it seeks to degrade as many men (and then in response, women) as possible for a single hour of footage or photograph or story.

As per comments, a blog is a private space. Freedom is of press, of speech and of assembly... I don't see freedom of commenting. IF you want to speak freely, get your own blog, punks.

Good words up there, too, Gerard.

Also, you are authorized to make me say 'IM IN UR [x] [y]'ing your [z]' where x,y and z complete the sentence in an amusing way.


Posted by RiverCocytus at April 13, 2007 7:49 AM

"Either EDITED or EXPUNGED..." how hard is that to understand?"

Oh come on Van der Leun, you say that as if you think those who propose these codes or who are continually 'offended', understand the general concept of 'Principles', much less how to apply them - and live by them? Puh-lease!.

Confronted with the prospect of having to apply a principle, they experience a small panic attack. The immediate visceral response felt by your masterfully described MetroSexual is not their more comfortable 'Whatever'; 'Whatever' is just their preferred response to whatever standards someone with standards expects they should understand, but when it comes to what they should actually and independently do to conform to something the group is going to conform to... oh my, then every possible variant scenario pops into mind, and they really don't know what is the right... er... proper thing to do.

"what if it's meant embracingly? But what if something's nice but said by someone who doesn't celebrate diversity? What if...."

The endless lists and codes is the frantic run through their minds experience whenever they venture out of the well worn paths of GroupThink.

No Principles? Lots of lists. No peace.


Posted by Van at April 13, 2007 8:46 AM

Well, Teri, I have done tech support, and I have never once run into a guy who "would not speak with a woman tech"*. I've run into my share of men who seemed a little uneasy or uncomfortable with techie women, but none who refused to work with me, certainly none who were angry about it, much less any who would emit LEGALLY ACTIONABLE DEATH THREATS at the very sight of a woman who is so techie that she actually writes about... marketing, user-interface design, and similarly hard-core technical topics.

What I'm wondering is why none of these people seem to have any sense of history. It's not as though these things haven't been hashed out before, even if we ignore the dark ages before we all sat down at our computers and started typing.

Tim would do better to mount a software development effort to create comments software that, say, reaches the usability level of 70s-era conferencing packages. In this case, the kind of techno-fixes that improve social space would at least help (although they'd do nothing about the nutbar attacking Kathy Sierra - but then nothing short of police action will. A "code of conduct" and a kewl GIF certainly won't.)

* A customer did try to get me fired once. I ate his liver with fava beans and a nice Chianti.

Posted by jaed at April 13, 2007 6:38 PM