Why I'll Never Sign Up for Any Blogger Code of Conduct

Dave Taylor, The Intuitive Life Business Blog, Apr 09, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Why is it that any time some problem occurs, somebody wants to make a rule. That sort of response is legion in organizations (especially mine). But the thing is, it never works - it is an attempt to respond with simplicity to what is inherently a complex problem. Sheesh, even spam filtering requires Baysean filtering, and that's a logic that is well beyond the scope of any code of conduct. As Dave Taylor says, "I don't want to pin anything down because I want to retain editorial flexibility." Right. Good behaviour isn't defined by rules, it is limited by them. Or as I commented on Clarence Fisher's blog, if you behave decently, you will already follow something like a code of conduct (but intelligently, adapting to complex circumstances), and the code won't change your behaviour. If you don't behave decently, then the code of conduct isn't going to stop you, and rather just gives you 'the letter of the law' as a technicality to duck behind if someone calls you on it ("well, it wasn't in the code, so I assumed it was OK..."). Good conduct has always been a matter of education, a matter of character, not a matter of legislation.
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