Blahblahblah ethics and rules and summat, but does this apply here?
DISCLAIMER: I know, I know, this really isn’t my cup of tea, and I’m supposed to be either lulbashing others, or write moar on teh animu, but well, this seemed interesting, and related to all the dorama that’s happening around.
DISCLAIMER PART TWO: This article is meant to provoke thoughts and such. It is also really long and boring. Anyone who is allergic to thinking and long articles should stay away. By clicking to see more, you agree to not hold me responsible for anything that happens after you read it.
Usually, I wold ignore such things and focus on animu (I hear Claymore is a pile of awesome and stuff), but seeing as we tend to drum up dorama as of late, and seeing that people would love to beat back on blogs and stuff and literally wanting America and the Internet to be like Singapore and China in terms of free speech, this post is meant for everyone who owns a blog, writes for one, and people who read and comment for blogs.
Well, isn’t this a pretty pile of drama we’ve jumped into. Death threats and Photoshopped pictures of people doing unmentionable things to people. While I’m glad the animé blog community (I refuse to use the horrid term ‘blogosphere’)
has not sunk to such lows, it seems elsewhere, people are abusing the tenets of free speech to hurl hate.
It’s a lot worse in Singapore, where I live, since we don’t really have this concept of free speech until the Internet Age arrived. And it’s quite obvious we cannot handle such freedom, either.
Free speech isn’t about being able to say pretty much anything, it’s about being able to express yourself in a responsible manner, and being mature enough to handle the responsibilities of doing as such. Unfortunately, all of us seem to be abusing it to slander and make people scared for their lives.
It’s a terrible thing, really, when one has to fear for his or her life just because people are pretty gosh-darned insensitive and pig-headed. Something I’ve been looking forward to ever since I was 15 being abused as such, and thus giving my Good Government more proof to show that freedom of speech is bad for us. It’s not only sickening, it’s also one of the worst things that could happen to humanity. Sure, people might tell me there is freedom of speech in Singapore, but I digress.
I’m probably not well-known and people like me are probably the butt of a many a joke in the World Wide Web, but, darnit, I’m not just someone who likes kiddie stuff, I’m a global citizen, a human being, and most of all, I am sentient. Being sentient means I am free to express my opinions wherever I want, whenever I want. Being sentient means I am not a sheep, waiting to be herded to the next pasture (although sometimes I tend to want that, being Christian and all). And most important of all, being sentient means I have the ability to think properly and choose what I want to do about any given situation. And to do that, I want to be able to access information, unfiltered by anyone or anything. It isn’t fair treating human beings like animals. Modified, maybe, so that it doesn’t outright incite negative emotions in people, but hiding your true intentions under a veneer of niceties ain’t gonna cut it.
We can’t handle the truth about ourselves, the world, and the community around us, that much I know. But it isn’t fair to lie to one another just because of that. The Internet is not a social situation, and we aren’t in one. While the basic tenets of being nice to one another still stands, sometimes, the truth has to be told.
With that said, I don’t feel altogether comfortable with the blogging code of conduct. Not that I’m averse to being responsible or anything, but it’s too similar to pretty much the stuff I’m exposed to everyday, and I’m not a fan of anything that restricts freedom of speech.
Points of dissentation:
We define and determine what is “unacceptable content” on a case-by-case basis, and our definitions are not limited to this list. If we delete a comment or link, we will say so and explain why. [We reserve the right to change these standards at any time with no notice.]
While the words before make some sense, this doesn’t. This turns the blogger into some sort of petty tyrant who forces people to consent to their rules, or be forever persecuted. That’s not being nice.
The words before this bit of information goes on about ‘Civility’. Since when is the Internet ‘civil’? We are talking about a meeting of clashing opinions here. Harsh words will be said, egos will be bruised, and people will get mad. Conflict will almost invariably occur, and people will say harsh things about one’s mother. The flaw in being sentient is that we will never see eye-to-eye with one another. The only thing we can do is take responsibility for our words and actions and learn some conflict resolution techniques. And if the other side does not want to listen, well, it’s safe to assume he won’t change.
2. We won’t say anything online that we wouldn’t say in person.
Again, I say, this isn’t some social situation. The internet allows us to say whatever we like, whenever we like, as long as we take responsibility for our words and action. Keeping pent-up emotions inside us isn’t healthy for us. And letting it all off in one go is not all that healthy to our standing. Plus, I don’t think we want to lie to people.
3. If tensions escalate, we will connect privately before we respond publicly.
Not applicable at all. Especially if the perp is hellbent on screwing you over massively. Also, while we may be sentient, we unfortunately retain some of our animal behavior. And a lot of people see that as another mans to attack.
4. When we believe someone is unfairly attacking another, we take action.
When someone who is publishing comments or blog postings that are offensive, we’ll tell them so (privately, if possible) and ask them to publicly make amends. If those published comments could be construed as a threat, and the perpetrator doesn’t withdraw them and apologize, we will cooperate with law enforcement to protect the target of the threat.
One thing I’ve learned from people who actually run their own servers: Do not try to anger anyone on the Internet. Who knows, that poor man you’ve just angered has a botnet and WILL DDoS you to oblivion, or knows people who can do such a thing, and much more. If he’s out there to screw you over, fight back by thanking the poor fool for pointing out your mistakes. And then brace for DDoS or crapflood. By dealing with the problem in a manner that makes you look good, it’s better for your position than trying to privately contact the person in question. To put it bluntly, GG, fool. You’ve given him an avenue to attack you. Plus lawsuits take a long time to resolve and since most judges don’t understand the nature of the Internet, it might take a long time. And going to the police will make you look weak, especially if they can’t find anything illegal about it. Not that I have anything against the judicial system or the police or anything.
6. We ignore the trolls.
Ignoring doesn’t completely resolve the situation. In fact, it just makes the situation like the ex-wife you don’t want to mention at a social situation, and the Internet isn’t a social situation.
7. We encourage blog hosts to enforce more vigorously their terms of service.
When bloggers engage in such flagrantly abusive behavior as creating impersonating sites to harass other bloggers they should take responsibility for their clients’ behavior.
I believe parody is protected by law. Somewhat. Also, hosts are not directly responsible for what their users use their hosting for.
The current Code feels less like something I want to follow and more like something my country would put out.
In it’s place, I would like to suggest this revised Code of Conduct (pulled mostly from the Talk Page of the original Code Of Conduct) :
1. We will take responsibility about what we say and post.
This does not directly apply to content made by others.
2. We strive to be respectful in our disagreements with others, by focusing on issues rather than personalities.
Often our posts are built on an important disagreement. In our posts, we will try to address the issues underlying the disagreement rather than the personalities involved in the disagreement. If our differences of opinion can’t be resolved, we have the option to agree to disagree.
3. We give others the benefit of the doubt.
Posts to blogs are often made “off the cuff,” in a short period of time, and with minimal editing. Many perceived disagreements often stem from misunderstandings. We will try to extend the benefit of the doubt before taking offense.
4. We permit anonymous comments, but prefer that people identify themselves.
After all, name or not, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the quality of the discussion.
5. We reserve the right to delete any post.
The blog owner is under no obligation to let anybody use the owner’s bandwidth for their speech. The blog owner’s site policies do not prevent you from shouting your opinion on any corner, or using the hundreds free or cheap services that are available (starting with your local street corner, which might actually reach a larger audience than most blogs.)
6. We reserve the right to have an opinion.
We reserve the right to have an independently formed opinion, and should be given the right to explain our position on said opinion. Healthy criticism is encouraged.
7. We will respect copyright, and give credit where it is due, when possible.
As long it does not violate the terms of ‘fair use’.
8. We are only human (and admit it.)
- We will try to follow these guidelines, but will sometimes make mistakes. We will take responsibility for our own actions.
(Kudos to Kirk Job Sluder (kirkjobsluder at gmail dot com) and the sensible people who want to amend the Code of Conduct.)
As a parting shot, I would like to say this: Living in a country where freedom of speech is almost non-existent made me more appreciative of free speech and responsibility than ever before.
Drm note: I know this doesn’t apply to the animé blog community as much as it should, but with all those Harutards running around and stuff, well, let’s just say that people should learn to read about stuff outside this community, yes?