Move on People, Nothing to See Hear

Update: As is my custom, I rarely spell check my posts so when I noticed the title I was tempted to change it but then it occurred to me that it might be more meaningful as is so I’m leaving it.

Mike Arrington might have the most rational comment about the aftermath of the Kathy Sierra Incident.

I’m not turning off anonymous comments, I’m not going to always try to talk privately with someone before i write, and I’m also not going to allow a mob to decide what types of words constitute “unacceptable content.” And I’m certainly not putting a badge on my site that says whether I comply or not.

Of course he is talking about Tim O’Reilly’s Code of Conduct proposal, the well intentioned but unenforceable bad idea. One of the reasons why I started my blog was that I didn’t have to ask anyone what was acceptable and what wasn’t, the content or the way I went about creating it and everything that happened as an after effect. I realize that’s not what O’Reilly is proposing but that’s where it ends up, someone other than me telling me I don’t comply with some arbitrary set of guidelines and my badge gets taken away.

This may sound kind of arrogant but my blog is not a democracy, it’s mine and that means I can decide what comments I want to allow and what I won’t and I don’t even have to be consistent about it. I certainly don’t need some well meaning mob to make the rules for me, or require me to declare what they are. My recent Truthers post saw me turn off comments and delete one rant for no other reason than I wasn’t interested in giving the nut case any air time… the world didn’t stop spinning and the sun still rose.

As it goes I have only deleted comments when they are obvious spam, an egregious personal attack, or in the case above, written by lunatics. But I’ve never needed to state that policy, or adhere to it because I have a badge on my site. It just worked out that way.

It’s ironic that the pimped out “markets are conversations” catch phrase gets thrown around in these posts without recognizing that if the markets are conversations then the opposite holds true as well and markets only work when there is some critical mass of participants. If anyone doesn’t like this blog, the tone of my posts or the comments (from me or anyone else) then they are free to leave this market and join another. If enough people leave then my market goes away. If markets really are conversations then why not let the conversations behave like markets and leave them unfettered from needless and unenforceable regulations. Blogs are not public services or public properties.

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