Codifying the Blogger Commandments

A Long Prologue

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In my last post I pointed somewhat obliquely, to the “norms-market-architecture-law quadrilateral” as expounded by Lawrence Lessig. The first wall of this quad, is well norms. A person may ask as to the efficacy of a voluntary norm controlling activity. Well it does, and quite effectively, which may be explained through the following illustrations.

Illustration 1 (Real World): Employees will not generally smoke even in private smoking areas when they are surrounded by a considerable population of non smoking co workers. The shackle here is quite simply anticipated social ostracism.

Illustration 2 (Web World): HEY WHY DONT WE ALL TYPE IN CAPS. Quite simply because it is a matter of netiquette (net + etiquette), where typing in CAPS is perceived to be shouting.

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Instant publishing through web blogs has brought “immense power” (even though I am years away from world-wise domination.. sigh). It was only a matter of time before self regulation would be decried as reasonable check on the abuse of this “awesome power” (Okay stop thinking I am exaggerating the power of web blogs, sample defamation, any person with a blog, can defame anyone).

This self regulation expresses itself in Tim O’Rileys, “Bloggers Code of Conduct”. The code presently contains 7 canons on which bloggers should tread. These range, from, taking responsibility for content on the blog to encouraging blog hosts to strictly enforce their terms of service. Though these canons are only starting point for the discussion and they are the first draft and are open for modification. I see the draft as being an influential document which will shape the content as well as form of blogs even in its voluntary form by prescribing norms. So go ahead, start hacking the 1st draft of the blogger constitution.

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