Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Anything Goes?

It appears that I'm not alone in worrying about the language that can appear on weblogs, including my own

The BBC reports that "Readers should be warned when they are reading blogs that may contain "crude language", a draft blogging code of conduct has suggested."

"The draft says people should not be allowed to leave anonymous comments.

Blogs which are open and uncensored should post an "anything goes" logo to the site to warn readers, the code suggests.

Readers of these blogs would be warned: "We are not responsible for the comments of any poster, and when discussions get heated, crude language, insults and other "off colour" comments may be encountered. Participate in this site at your own risk."

At the heart of the issue is the degree of freedom afforded to people who want to comment on blog posts."

Many readers, I know, disagree with my efforts to maintain a "polite society" here but then I'm encouraged by the silent majority who still value intelligent restraint. At least one benefit of not running an anonymous 'Blog' is that three people approached me on the beach this morning, walking my dog, for a chat, with ideas for Westgate and I certainly believe that allowing an "anything goes" policy here would be destructive.

You may have noticed by the way that comment moderation was turned-off again over the Easter weekend. I'm hoping it can stay that way and once again, I welcome all comments as long as the house rules on bad language and personal comments involving real people and not anonymous characters, aren't broken.


Michael Child said...

Something that has occurred to me is that I can’t see what is to stop people pretending to be real people that they are not. Any sort of code that involved an end to anonymity would presumably need some way of proving that one is who one says one is, perhaps there is some way of linking ones identity to an ip address. I certainly like being able to chose the page the link that is my name goes to so its appropriate to the comment, that I wouldn’t be able to do apart from using the “other” option.

Anonymous said...

Its been said here before. Its very easy to slag someone off when you dont give your name. it takes more guts to throw stones at someone when they know who you are.

If readers want intelligent discusion they come here for a chat if they want the opposite even a hate filled rant they go to one of the others. Its easy.

Call me Bill if you like.

Anonymous said...

Thanet blogs are like Thanet pubs.
Some you can visit and there is a good chance of being glassed or insullted by some angry thug and others you can take the wife and kids to without worrying about the language. Most know which is which by now.

DrMoores said...

That may be a little unfair in regard to most Thanet pubs and weblogs, although I grant you that a few, at least, are a celebration of bad taste!

Anonymous said...

A couple of 'posters' suggested to One Voice on Thanetonian that he moderates his tone and makes peace with you in order to express his alternative views. His reply would indicate that he will keep away from Thanetlife! Your relaxation on comment moderation seems to confirm that that is the case.

Doctor Doom said...

The issue of anonymity and blog contributions raises many questions.

Generally newspapers only allow anonymous contributions to their comment pages if a name and address is supplied, but not for publication, which seems a fair compromise, though perhaps a little impractical for blog sites like this.

Realistically anyone can use any name or pseudonym and a throw-away email address and who would know any different?

Some of us, myself included, use a pseudonym because on occasion our views, while expressed politely and without malice, may prove controversial and possibly have repercussions for our employment, social status, residence or even personal safety.

I am in the education sector and my observations about the teaching profession previously expressed here on Thanet Life, for example, would have been far less forthright (or more likely not made at all) if I had been obliged to identify myself before doing so.

Those of us who stand for public office obviously renounce such right to privacy in expressing their views. Those of us who prefer a degree of privacy but nonetheless have experience and views possibly deserving of wider dissemination should not be denied that opportunity because a tiny minority of cude and malicious blog contributors abuse that freedom.

Lord Lucan said...

Like, Doctor Doom, I value my anonymity for a number of reasons. There is likely to be a much more honest and frank exchange of ideas and commentary with such a facility. I think that most readers and contributors to Thanetlife accept its 'Editorial Policy' and WHEN PEOPLE SHOUT a mild admonition from the 'Doc' has often sufficed to calm over-excitement! It is also interesting to see contributors taking others to task when comments become a little personal. Good to see comment moderation off again, Dr Moores.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lord Lucan. Anonymity has its benefits. I might not always agree with what the Doc says or his politics but I do support his right to keep to an adult standard of behaviour which separates this blog from others.

Thanks for turning the moderation off.

tony flaig bignews said...

Its seems to be a very British thing to regulate what, when and how we express ourselves and admittedly some of us are without a doubt borish.

However the opportunity to express ourselve without hinderence, is one to be protected at all costs.

Now those of us who put our names to these Blogs, like Simon Moores and David Green should and do have the right maintain them as we feel fit.

Its a question of good taste, judgement etc in my case I'm inclined to allow most things the only exception I've made myself is where a couple of morons were threatening violence and advertisers placeing spam.

I'm not too keen on anonymous contirbutors mainly for this reason that I feel if you cannot attach your name to your views it shows a lack of conviction.

However there are occaisions when to comment using your own name will have repercussions on your employment.

As to the colour of language, some prefer to express themselves using 4 letter words and why not, I wont myself in case some readers wilt over their Keyboard, though I often adopt an abrasive style I can't help it.

I would say that I have seen nothing on local website in terms of Language that would challenge the average child.

So to organised censorship I Say ......... (self censorship)