The process of building a Blogger’s Code of Conduct


My name is Amaia Soto and I am a student of Modern Languages and Management at the University of Deusto, Bilbao. In the subject web communication system I have beign requested to write a blog post reviewing three articles writen by Tim O’Reilly.

The author Tim O’Reilly was asked in several newspapers such as the BBC and the San Francisco Chronicle to propose a Blogger’s Code of Conduct in response to the dispute that Kathy Sierra had because some anonymous posted mean comments on her blog and the upsetting images that were posted on Chris Locke’s blog.

First of all, Tim wrote the text “Call for a Blogger’s Code of Conduct” where suggested some ideas in order to help to generate a culture to inspire individual expression and beneficial conversation. A week later, he created “Draft for Blogger’s Code of Conduct” specifying the ideas of the first text. Overall, these were the main tips to follow according to both texts:

1.We take responsibility for our own words and for the comments we allow on our blog.
“I will not take responsibility for what someone else said” wrote Chris Locke. According to the author this “not only tolerates, but encourages mean comments”. The Blogher’s community Guidelines mentions that posts can not include anything unacceptable and the author reinforces that rule with YOYOW-You Own Your Own Words. As well as this, a blogger should set standards for acceptable behavior on his/her blog.

2.Label your tolerance level for abusive comments.
Let readers know before they post comments what level of dissertation is expected. As Kaylea Hascall suggested to “give some easily deployed badges pointing to common set of guidelines.

3.Comments must suplly a valid e-mail address before counting.
Anonymous usually let themselves posts comments they would not post with their real identification.

4.Feeding trolls encourages them.“Substitute abuse for real dialog”. The response in public will arise controversy and that is what trolls are looking for.

5.Take the conversation offline, talk directly or find an intermediary.“We took the site down as soon as they got out of hand” this comment of Chris Locke was what most terrified Kathy. In this case, the author is the intermediary of Chris and Kathy and thanks to him, now both are in direct communication.

6.If you know someone who is behaving badly, tell them so.
If there is no thread, convince perpetrator to apologize. If there is, cooperate with the police.

7.Do not say anything online that you would not say in person
The author affirms that “there is no reason to tolerate conversations online that we would not tolerate in our living room”.

The third and the last text that the author wrote has the title of “Code of Conduct: Lessons learned so far”. Tim corrects here some of the previous ideas that after experience does not agree with and adds several advices. Nevertheless, is the article that has less relevance with the main topic as it does not centrate the attention on how to create a code of conduct for bloggers.

1.Poor choice of “badges” I proposed.
The writer proposes here more sites like the “Blogger Community Guideline”, on which great part of his work was based. “My goal here was to propose a system that would make it easier for sites to state their policies without having their own”.

2.The “Code of Conduct” needs to be much more modular.
“The advantage of a widely agreed-on set of rules of engagement with associated logos is that people do not have to read someone’s terms of service to understand what the policy is on a given blog”. “It is possible, though, that it will be very difficult even with a set of modular axioms to create the outcome we want through a set of policy statements”.
The author continuously invites bloggers to participate in the Draft of Code of Conduct

3.Mechanism is better than policy
Nowadays community moderation mechanism offer readers the option to flag comments they think of as unsuitable, for example, Ebay. The author is proposing to join in the moderation systems in the major blogging platforms and to let users configure if they want to see flagged content or not.

4.Constructive anonymity vs. Driven-by anonymity
Tim connects the Driven-by anonymity with a lack of civility. Anonymous often show a point of view that stands totally apart from their real personality. “Anonymous should be given only specific questions to answer, for example, yes/no questions”.

5.There are some nuanced legal issues to be looked at.
Actions that are thought to be done are much better dealt by lawyers rather than people who think that are able to do lawyer’s job.

6.There is a lot of strong feeling on the subject, but civility still matters.
The writer explains how he has being misunderstood: “I wanted to propose not some kind of binding code that bloggers would somehow be required to follow, but a mechanism for bloggers to express their policies”.

To conclude I would say that the author’s texts are trying to encourage a greater commitment on the part of bloggers. He expects the blogging community to examine themselves in order to check if they really are doing things properly. At the same time, he gives special importance to civility and politeness when dealing with deep feelings. His goal is to push bloggers towards a proper conduct and tone when writing posts.


·Tim O’Reilly, 2007a. Call for a blogger’s Code of Conduct. 13.11.12. Available at:

·Tim O’Reilly, 2007c. Draft for a blogger’s Code of Conduct. 13.11.12. Available at:

·Tim O’Reilly, 2007b. Code of Conduct: Lessons Learned So Far. 13.11.12. Available at:


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