The Blogosphere: Beyond Manners

A call for manners in the world of nasty blogs.

The blogosphere should not be a free for all place where nastiness is the rule. Moreover, rules for the blogosphere should go beyond pure manners and strive for standards abandoned by mainstream media.
It is important for example to stress the difference between politeness and censorship. Censorship is when we try to hide or supress facts and well crafted arguments and points of view that challenge ours. I don't consider supressing an ill intentioned information or willful propaganda as censorship. I don't consider supressing insults as censorship.
Secondly, arguing is an art that has rules and ehtics and any argument that does not follow some basic logic and honesty about actual facts is not an argument. Propaganda is based on flawed logic and a disregard for facts.
Thirdly, moderation is not a middle of the road position, Aristotle defined it as a point somewhere outside a line formed by the two extremes and not the middle of the line joining the two extremes. True moderation is creative.

Today's political correctness has corrupted the rules of arguing and informing about facts, and the ethics of information and communication. Today's political correctness considers fairness as giving voices to all sides, even though some of them may be lies and pure fabrications and dangerous rethorics. Otherwise how did we come to be poisoned by the Malkins, the O'Reillys, the Hirsi Alis, the Coulters, the Bin Ladens, spitting their hate and their propaganda on mainstream media. On the other hand, today's political correctness in the US leftist and 'liberal' blogopshere condemns censorship except for the criticism of Israel which it censors as 'antisemitic'. Today's political correctness has corrupted our view of the world to the point of putting propaganda and truthful information at the same level obscuring real information in a web of lies and unleashing hate where dialogue should be fostered by objective and respectful information.

Mainstream news outlets have their commercial imperatives, their political allegiances, their corporate interests, and sometimes their hidden political agenda. We, in the blogosphere, have only our conscience to guide us. We should practice freedom of expression with conscience. We should be open and forward coming about our political agenda. We should be ready to offend when it is justified to offend and we should refrain from offending when the only result of the offense is to offend and nothing else.

As a blogger, I encountered some serious problems with some commentators visiting my blog. Insults, manipulation attempts, distortion attempts, propaganda attempts. I finally decided to moderate, and, when not moderating, to erase any comment that does not respect the basic ethics of communication, information and arguing. It was a difficult excercice in the beginning but from the practice emerged some simple rules. No lies, no propaganda, no disrespect, no insults, no faulty logic (this one is tolerated to some point when it is only due to weakness of the intellect and not ill intentioned, after all we are not machines, we are also humans with emotions), and most of all, no manipulation of the information we, bloggers, slave to put on our blogs.

UPDATE: Francis Pisani from Le Monde has a post and a summary of the new code of conduct for bloggers that is being prepared under a wiki form and can be found as a draft that can be commented on this blog.

Main points of the code of conduct:
1) We are responsible of all material published on our blog, posts and comments.
2) We should never publish things online that we cannot state in person.
3) Conflicts should be resolved in private (by email) before becoming public.
4) We should act if somebody attacks unjustly another person on our blog. In private first in order to convince him of changing his wrongful attitude.
5) We should not permit anonymous comments.
6) We should ignore trolls.

From The Guardian: Web Gurus try to banish bad behaviour from the blogosphere.


Amre El-Abyad said...

hope you are not refering to my rejeted comment, in which i was imply trying to make an objective point. If you check the "fanonite" blog you will see that i have been making this argument for several months before i even got know Naj

Sophia said...

I was not referring specifcally to your comments. You left so far two comments on this blog that were rejected. The first one was rejected because it was a charge on a religion and the second because it was a personal message and I don't publish personal messages when they are not intended to the owner of this blog.

Since March 29th 2006