Is there a need for „Blogiquette“ ?

Frankly, I’ve never thought about that much. But Johnny gave it some thought, (in german) and easily impressionable person that I am, I started to think too. 

I instinctively tried to obey some sort of unwritten set of rules ever since I started to communicate online. Back then, the buzzword was netiquette, but it meant the same. The gist is that I’m aware that nearly instantaneous communications with complete strangers are prone to misunderstandings. I try to avoid these, so I’m doing my best to stay polite, and understandable. Sometimes, this extends to offline communications too, which probably make me look like a dolt, but that’s the price I pay…

..I’m straying from the topic. Johnny made a few suggestions for a blogiquette, and I wanted to comment some of them.

  • Respect others privacy
  • Give credit
  • Use your real name
  • Try to stay friendly
  • Honour your guests
  • Let others correct you where necessary
  • We all are individuals

Actually, most items on this list are plain common sense and common courtesy. That doesn’t stop people to act like jerks quite often, but there you go. What occurred me as I read these things, and the blog entry around them was that many things we do online actually clashes with the law.

As an example, take the many many flickr albums out there. As Johnny pointed out, many contain pictures of people who probably have no idea that they are there in public view. But no one actually bothers, and people do this kind of thing more and more. At least in germany, there are a number of cases where this is illegal.

But, isn’t that what we always wanted ? Freedom of speech ? To do whatever we want to do ? Isn’t this a new frontier ? The irony is that the average geek is at once highly possessive and also very generous. Code, words, music, etc will get shared freely. This blog is written on with the aid of numerous software that is free. On the other hand, we don’t want to give up our claim on these things: We want to be known as the author of these things, we don’t want others to boast with them.

On the other hand, there is also a good number of people like Stefan, who points out that people who write an email to a weblog should be aware of what they do. If their email gets published, it’s their own fault. To further that line of thought: If you go to a party and misbehave, it’s only to be expected that your face will be all over flickr tomorrow. Don’t cry foul afterwards.

Personally, I’m inclined to agree with Stefan, but I can see some issues: Society and it’s unwritten laws have become quite complicated by now. In earlier centuries, children have been well educated on these unwritten laws. There’s been some decline in this I think, and not everyone has been updated on them. 

In the end, I think we will have to accept the fact that privacy is a lost privilege. There are so many companies already, whose sole reason d’être is to find out things about us. My only consolation is that there are much more people who relish in finding out things about these companies. In a way, it’s the return of the small town, where everyone knows everyone else.

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