Posted by Tim Ireland at April 18, 2007

Category: Humanity

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Posted by Tim Ireland at April 17, 2007

Category: Tony 'King Blair

Chicken Yoghurt – Strangely Browne

Still busy. With you shortly.

Posted by Tim Ireland at April 16, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

so here’s Dave with a thought or two. See you soon, folks.

Posted by Tim Ireland at April 13, 2007

Category: Anne Milton

I’ve seen some shocking effrontery from the local Tories in the past… but this little stunt takes the cake, chews it up and spits it back out in your face.

Posted by Tim Ireland at April 13, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Tory blogger in comment censorship shock.

Gosh, I wonder where Paul Uppal got the idea that it was OK to delete negative comments from his blog and then lie his arse off about it? Maybe Praguetory – the author of the majority of the (few) remaining comments – has an idea.

Posted by Tim Ireland at April 12, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

The new Iain Dale microsite is now live… come and chew some cud with us!

Of particular interest is this static article, which gets to the guts of the anonymous bullying issue everybody is (finally) talking about.

This measure should keep the majority Dale/Staines material off the front page of Bloggerheads, but key items will be brought to your attention here from time to time.

Cheers all.

Posted by Tim Ireland at April 12, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Having seen this recent post on the subject of conduct over at Harry’s Place, I thought that this blast from the past deserved a mention.


Posted by Tim Ireland at April 11, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Jonathan Freedland – The blogosphere risks putting off everyone but point-scoring males: Predictably, Wales and O’Reilly have now felt the wrath of the blogosphere themselves, their idea torched by net users who detected an assault on their free speech… Yet it would be a mistake to dismiss Wales and O’Reilly too quickly. Their specific remedy might not be sound, but they are right to see a problem. Nor is this some techie issue, of interest only to a few hardcore web nerds… Ah, but this free-for-all is democratic, say the devotees. Any change would be censorship. But imagine that public meeting. Would that constitute a democratic debate, or a shouting match in which the loudest, most intimidating voice wins? Surely the more democratic encounter is the meeting properly chaired, allowing everyone their say and ensuring no descent into bar-room brawl. That’s certainly how we operate in the real world, so why should the virtual realm be any different?

Imagine that public meeting he mentions with debates being ‘won’ by one or two loud and intimidating individuals, each cleverly disguised as a dozen loud and intimidating individuals and you stand a good chance of coming to grips with the current problem.

The new Iain Dale microsite should be ready to roll tomorrow. Three static articles for newcomers need to be fine-tuned first and, yes, one of them deals with this matter specifically.

Posted by Tim Ireland at April 10, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Can I just take a quick moment to enjoy being ahead of the curve?

(*self-satisfied grin*)

OK, I’m done. Let’s move on…

I’ve identified some behaviour that is well out of control here in the UK and suggested some corrective measures to the people primarily responsible for the recent decay. They’ve responded directly or via proxy by misrepresenting my position and claiming that I’m bringing tablets from on high and/or calling for fascist measures. If you’ve swallowed this propaganda whole, it may surprise you to learn that I’m apprehensive about a formal code, not least because an informal code already exists (it’s called ‘etiquette’).

That said, let’s take a look at this recent development and see what’s on offer…

New York Times – A Call for Manners in the World of Nasty Blogs: The conversational free-for-all on the Internet known as the blogosphere can be a prickly and unpleasant place. Now, a few high-profile figures in high-tech are proposing a blogger code of conduct to clean up the quality of online discourse. Last week, Tim O’Reilly, a conference promoter and book publisher who is credited with coining the term Web 2.0, began working with Jimmy Wales, creator of the communal online encyclopedia Wikipedia, to create a set of guidelines to shape online discussion and debate. Chief among the recommendations is that bloggers consider banning anonymous comments left by visitors to their pages and be able to delete threatening or libelous comments without facing cries of censorship… Mr. O’Reilly said the guidelines were not about censorship. “That is one of the mistakes a lot of people make – believing that uncensored speech is the most free, when in fact, managed civil dialogue is actually the freer speech,” he said. “Free speech is enhanced by civility.”

O’Reilly Radar – Call for a Blogger’s Code of Conduct: I was quoted in a BBC article a few days ago and a San Francisco Chronicle article on Thursday calling for a “Blogger’s Code of Conduct” in response to the firestorm that has arisen as a result of Kathy Sierra’s revelation that she’s been targeted by a series of increasingly violent and disturbing anonymous comments on her blog and on a series of weblogs that appeared to have been created for the purpose of celebrating cyber-bullying… In a discussion the other night at O’Reilly’s ETech conference, we came up with a few ideas about what such a code of conduct might entail. These thoughts are just a work in progress, and hopefully a spur for further discussion.

OK, here’s what Mr O’Reilly has so far:

1. Take responsibility not just for your own words, but for the comments you allow on your blog.

Well said. Iain Dale and Paul Staines… are you paying attention? One of my major concerns has been what you breed under comments. This is worth repeating; If you run a weblog that contains a significant level of political discussion, you really should have some form of comment registration in place or be ready to moderate your arse off. If you don’t do either, you lay fertile ground for anonymous bullies who seek to limit free speech by undermining and intimidating those they don’t agree with (while simultaneously screaming about their right to free speech).

2. Label your tolerance level for abusive comments.

Psst! Iain! It is implied that you should also follow your stated policy, not use it selectively to engage in self-serving censorship.

3. Consider eliminating anonymous comments.

Iain Dale tried this for a few days and didn’t like it. Staines would never go for it. Both regard the number of comments they receive to be a key indicator of their popularity.

4. Ignore the trolls.

Generally a good policy, but sometimes trolls deserve a public slapping. It is certainly not constructive behaviour to actively use (and thereby encourage) trolls to avoid pertinent questions.

5. Take the conversation offline, and talk directly, or find an intermediary who can do so.

Problematic in the extreme. I fail to see how this can be done when the perpetrator usually insists on remaining anonymous… and is generally the type of person who fears an open and honest discussion.

6. If you know someone who is behaving badly, tell them so.

Done. But the relevant comments got deleted (after being classified as ‘abuse’) and resulted in a stream of abuse from anonymous contributors to the blogs in question (see: #1, #2 and #3). The only measure left was to create a focused information channel that made ongoing reports on an ongoing situation; this was quickly misrepresented by anonymous bullies as an example of ‘cyber-bullying’.

In another recent example, I told the superiors of the anonymous bullies what was going on, and they didn’t give a rat’s arse.

7. Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say in person.

A good rule, but… do you behave differently when you’re behind the wheel of a car? Most people do… it’s human nature. I think the best we can expect is a reduction in highly damaging behaviour by approaches/improvements somewhere between #1 and #4. (Me personally, I have a rule that’s not far from #7 in this draft… never put anything on your blog that you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of a newspaper.)

In closing (for now), I’m extremely happy that this long-overdue conversation has gone mainstream… but you should watch out for those who seek to poison this conversation as they do many others. Their main weapon will be to portray aspiration as a proposal for regulation.

Posted by Tim Ireland at April 10, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Poons shows you how to apply.

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