You can’t police the blogosphere with process and systems. Nor should you.
I completely understand where the Blogger Code of Conduct is coming from, the sentiment is a worthy one, but it won’t work.
Those that decide to support the Code of Conduct are already abiding by its basic tenets: Be nice. Be smart. Be reasonable. Be open.
Those that don’t follow those basic rules of engagement just won’t follow the Code. If the Code were to reach critical mass, people could make judgment calls on which blogs they would read and participate on based on whether the blogs followed the Code or not, but it’s unlikely to reach that critical mass. And people can make those judgment calls without a Code already; let’s give them a bit of credit.
Many of the Code’s ideas make complete sense. Why wouldn’t you follow them?
But to try and implement a system and process for blogger interactions is impossible. Since the beginning of time people have been communicating as they saw fit – rightly or wrongly. There’s a place for dealing with issues of Free Speech, hate speech, etc. and I completely support smacking people around who abuse the rights we should cherish so immensely.
I read what I want to read. I hang out where I want to hang out. I socialize with who I want to socialize with. And I make decisions on what I personally publish, knowing full well that every single word I write sets the tone for how people perceive me. If you don’t realize that you should stop blogging completely.
When you blog, you put yourself out there. Often forever. Online content doesn’t disappear.
Systems and processes like the Blogger Code of Conduct are typically implemented as a knee-jerk reaction, the result of something done by a very small minority. Yes, there’s a ton of absolute garbage online. Hate speech. Flames and personal attacks. Death threats. It sucks. And if it’s against the law, it should be stopped. But ultimately a huge percentage of people already follow their own Code of Conduct, and it’s generally a decent one. The anonymity of the online world and the security of being behind a computer do increase the number of jerks, but it’s still such a small percentage. Just look around at all the great bloggers, great communities and open conversationa that people are having.
A Blogger Code of Conduct won’t stop the jerks. Ignoring them is your best bet. And if they take things too far, find out if you have legal recourse, get help and go after them.