Kos thinks women (well, specifically Kathy Sierra) whine unjustifiably about being harassed online, which is not a big deal, apparently. Bitch PhD explains to him that he is being an arse, as do quite a few Kossacks.
Kos and Bitch are both right about the unpracticability of some universal blog civility code, as I ranted about a bit in the previous post. However, unlike the proposed highly prescriptive Blogger’s Code, a simple statement that a blogger declines to publish unacceptable content (lifted from BlogHer) makes it clear that they are asserting their right to control their own publication as they see fit.
It has always totally bewildered me that anyone should use the “free speech’ mantra in this context, for that very reason, and interestingly it’s always the private-property cheer squad that seems to squeal the loudest about exercising their freedom of speech on someone else’s blog, which indicates to me a fundamental incoherence about their world view in general.
It also strikes me that many bloggers who proudly flash their libertarian comment anarchy credentials are simply too lazy to adequately monitor their comment threads. Bitch PhD alludes to this as well. Time on the comments threads is what it takes to ensure that abuse and cyberbullying comments are simply not allowed to stand. If one doesn’t have the time to do that, then perhaps one should either not blog, or at least not allow comments at all.
Choosing not to allow someone else’s comment on one’s own space is not censoring them (they are always free to say it on their own blog), it’s simply not publishing them. A commitment to the principle of free speech does not mean forgoing one’s right (and responsibility) to shape the content on your own web publication, including the comments made by readers (different bloggers will obviously have different thresholds for “unacceptable” and will explicate those thresholds as they choose).
In the end, no publisher is obliged to publish unacceptable content. Our comments policy here has been amended to make this explicitly clear.
Categories: ethics & philosophy