Blogging ethics

My friends Bill Ritter and Chris Coulter set themselves up with a blog from Blogger. (Sorry you guys, I hope you’re not mad for me linking to you!) In a way, I’m glad someone else I know (locally) has one – maybe they can see the coolness factor of blogging? The satisfaction, perhaps?

I must’ve been mentioning this to a couple other friends while we were working, and the leader in charge of us said that blogs are stupid. To him, blogs are just bad political propaganda and dumb diaries. (I can’t remember clearly if that’s exactly what he said, but I believe that’s the gist of it.)

Personally, I find it a very convenient way to post about interesting articles, facts, truths, and spreading websites I’ve found very useful. However, in the wrong hands, it can spread a bad reputation to those new to blogs.

Rebecca Blood’s Weblog Ethics has six main points in her Weblog Ethics standards:

1. Publish as fact only that which you believe to be true.
2. If material exists online, link to it when you reference it.
3. Publicly correct any misinformation.
4. Write each entry as if it could not be changed; add to, but do not rewrite or delete, any entry.
5. Disclose any conflict of interest.
6. Note questionable and biased sources.

I feel that I basically followed all these rules right from the start. All of them. I’m fairly satisfied with the way I’ve been posting, and I hope others feel the same way. When I post, I try to imagine they’re going to be compiled into a book.

The Wizbang Blogger Code of Ethics wrote five, before finding out about Rebecca’s article above. A blogger must:

1. be honest.
2. be accurate.
3. be interesting.
4. always put forth their best efforts.
5. be responsible.

I don’t necessarily agree with these rules this person has setup, but I believe he makes it clear they’re more for himeself than anyone else. I can’t always be interesting to everyone, but I’ll try to hit at least a handful or two if possible. I think that he made the last one a good point: be responsible. If you post anything, think it over before hitting that publish button. (Rebecca basically made the same point as well in her standards, #4.) As a blogger, (for the most part) we’re not set to time restraints. We don’t have to post hastily, only to find out the whole post shouldn’t have been said. But at the very least, rather than deleting the entry, publicly retract your statement, apologize, and move on. These standards probably aren’t okay for everyone, but I’m sure they’re fine for the person who wrote them.

I really like Rebecca’s Weblog Ethics above. Even if you’ve been blogging for awhile, it’s good to read and re-think how you should be blogging. I know I’m going to reread my posts a few times over before publishing.

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Bryan Villarin

Bryan works at Automattic. He's also a cat whisperer. Sometimes…a photographer, and card magician.

One thought on “Blogging ethics”

  1. I like the rules.

    Although your right… Be intresting? I don’t think so. I mean sometimes I put things into my blog only for my self. If other people enjoy it then that’s great, but it isn’t there for anyone but my self first. I mean I don’t do anything that I don’t enjoy, just to do it (Is that wrong? I don’t know).

    As far as putting forth your best effort – Well… As I said above. This is for my self. As long as I can read it, and not have to go over it again and go “What the hell was I saying?” then it’s fine.

    If I’m putting something into my blog that I WANT people to read, so they know my view point on something or whatever, then I will put my best effort into it, but only under that one condition.


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