Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Blog Ethics - follow-up

My apologies to Martin Kuhn, a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina, for letting this drop to the bottom of my e-mail pile.

I'd written in December about how Kuhn had started a project that, in his own words, seeks to determine what ethic (if any) is at work in the blogosphere. Also, I am trying to uncover any "duties" bloggers think they may or may not have and to whom.

He now has posted his six-point proposed code on his Blog Ethics Analysis 2004 site. It's elegantly simple and in many ways intuitive. There are a couple of rough patches, however:

-- Avoid restricting access to your blog by certain individuals and groups and never remove posts or comments once they have been published. (With the explosion of comment spam, this is problematic. This needs more thought and work. While one could argue that even spammers' work should be left up to expose it to public scrutiny and, I'd hope, ridicule, a person's blog is also part of that person's space. Spammers invade that space. Yet, as we pull back from the absolute of everything stays up, we start grappling with that question of where do we draw the line and what defines comment spam? (No, "I know it when I see it" is not good enough.))

-- ... Cite and link to all sources referenced in each blog post, and secure permission before linking to other blogs or web content. (So I would have to seek permisson from all those on my right rail? That's a nightmare. And what is the difference between that rail and a friend coming to me and asking for some reading recommendations? That's how I conceive of that list. And can you imagine some bloggers, such as Liz Donovan at Infomaniac, having to seek permissions for their sprawling collection of wonderful resources (it's not clear that all have been mentioned in her blog). This one needs a little more thought and work. It is one of those invitingly simple statements potentially fraught with complications.)

Martin has a paper available (PDF). I look forward to reading it.


At 3/27/05, 5:46 PM, Blogger Martin said...

Hi Douglas,

Hope all is well. I appreciated your comments on the original version of this code. I am still wrestling with it and have now posted a revised verison at

I would love to read what you think.

Martin Kuhn


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