Code of Conduct

A whole lot of people have weighed in on the silliness that is Tim O’Reilly’s proposed blogger code of conduct. Of all the commentary I’ve seen, the one I was in greatest agreement with was this by Matt at Signal Vs. Noise.

Rules and laws passed in the wake of a high profile incident tend to suck. The Patriot Act was not good legislation, and this is not reasonable code of conduct. I have no intention of adopting it. I already police the comments, ask commentors not to be ad hominem to each other. Offendors are rebuked, and thus far none have ever insisted on continuing. If they are ad hominem to me, I just make fun of them. The notion that some drive-by asshole and I are equally culpable for his/her infractions is silly. The notion that I need to delete content that is “knowingly false” is absurd. Now, I am required to be telepathic and be able to tell when they are knowingly false, as opposed to just being wrong or perhaps even dumb.

By even writing this, I am violating rule 3, “We connect privately before we respond publicly.” I’m not asking Tim O’Reilly for permission to disagree with him and emailing him first. You don’t need my permission to disagree with me as some have recently – quite vocally and vehemently. I’d prefer everyone instead agreed with my wit and brilliance, but this world is imperfect and I can’t expect everyone to hew to my high standards.

All in all, it’s a half-assed, knee-jerk response to a short-term situation. Plenty of communities online have dealt with issues like this over the last 20 years without this code of conduct. Between the “Web 2.0” name heavy-handedness and this, Tim O’Reilly seems to be eroding his thought leader status lately.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

4 thoughts on “Code of Conduct”

  1. It’s really more a group of suggestions than an actual code….

    I love starting the day with a Pirates Of The Caribbean reference!

  2. Ken Kennedy says:


    Maybe you haven’t been keeping up, but IMO, it’s gone way past suggestions. You don’t have a draft spec for suggestions (
    . You don’t reserve a domain, and create pro and con badges for suggestions. I agree with Dave 100%…this is knee-jerk, and over the top. A good idea taken WAY too far.

  3. Ken Kennedy says:

    OK…more coffee this morning, and I’ve grokked the Pirates reference that you clearly pointed out. LOL! Sorry…it was a bit of a hot-button. My bad! See, I’m civil. Sometimes!

  4. J Wynia says:

    I’ve got a much simpler code of conduct that works everywhere, including online: Don’t be a Jackass.

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