An Elitist Code of Conduct for Bloggers

An Elitist Code of Conduct for Bloggers

Summary: Earlier this week, Tim O'Reilly and Jimmy Wales published their Codes of Conduct for Bloggers. But they both got it wrong. The solution to the uncivility of the blogosphere is a Elitist Code of Conduct for Bloggers.


A journalist from a mass circulation Bulgarian newspaper called me today seeking my response to Tim O'Reilly and Jimmy Wales' suggested codes of conduct for bloggers. I gave him my ideas on why most bloggers behave like wild animals, explaining that they spent far too much time in front of their computers, didn't get enough exercise, had extreme libertarian tendencies, were bullied at school and had gotten out the habit of reading a print newspaper over their breakfast. The journalist listened politely to my uncivil rant and then asked me a rather blunt question:

Mister Keen, are you an elitist?

 Nobody, not even a journalist from a mass circulation Bulgarian newspaper, has ever asked me this probing question before, so I was speechless. For a moment, at least. And then I had a flash of inspiration, that eureka moment which generally brightens up my afternoons. Yes, I am an extreme elitist, of course, which is why I'm such an unsuccessful blogger (I wear my yellow Minus 100 ZDNET badge with appropriate shame). But that wasn't my epiphany. No. I suddenly realised that the Bulgarian journalist had solved the great problem of the day -- why bloggers behave like wild animals. In good dialectical fashion, the answer lay in the question. I realised that the solution to the uncivility of the blogosphere is to transform bloggers into an elite (or, at least, elitists) too.

So, in response to the O'Reilly/Wales democratic code of conduct, here is my elitist code of conduct for bloggers. If you want a civil blogosphere, then it needs to be civilized. Bloggers need to acquire a touch of class. They need to be transformed from savages into gentlemen (give me another day and I'll turn this idea into a musical -- My Fair Blogger). So here we go -- the first true elitist code of conduct for the blogosphere:

1) Only post or comment if you have read at least 10 (ten) analog books about the subject. Cartoon or picture books don't count. Nor do books by left-wing libertarian bloggers or right-wing libertarian talk-show hosts.

2) You are allowed to invent aliases, but these must be wittily aphoristic references to great philosophical or fictional works in the western canon (including Asterix & Tintin).

3) Machiavelli dressed up in the full regalia of antiquity to write The Prince and The Discourses. Bloggers should also be required to dress up when they write their posts. No blogging in boxers and t-shirts.Shoes and socks to be worn on all occasions.  Female bloggers should always wear a bra and panties.

4) No multi-tasking while blogging. That includes talking on the phone, instant-messaging and e-mailing, flossing your teeth, chewing gum, eating pizza or self stimulation.

5)  If you must swear or question your ideological opponents' ancestry or sexual proclivities, do it a foreign language (anything except French). The more obscure the language, the more civil the discourse. Dead languages like Latin and Ancient Greek count double. In honor of my journalistic muse, Ancient Bulgarian counts triple.

6) Write your blog posts or comments out in long hand before transcribing on your keyboard. Write with a silver or gold fountain pen on papyrus. Use ancient Egyptian ink.

7) BBB -- Bathe Before Blogging. This will guarantee a much cleaner and more gentlemanly blogging discourse. I would also advise shaving. Bloggers with beards tend to be particularly prickly.




Topic: Software Development

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  • I have to agree with Keen here:

    I have to agree that O'Reilly has gone a long way only to show that he has no idea what he's talking about - or something along those lines.

    I also think that Keen's article is direct and straight to the point - in a roundabout sort of way - and will confuse most readers.

    Nice one.
  • My Fair Blogger? Let's all sing along....

    The screed, indeed, stays mainly in the feed! ;-)
    David Grober
  • great article !!!!!!!!!

    great article !!!!!!!!! if i wanted to be a gentleman i would hang with the PC crowd i blog so i can be crud and rude as the next guy
    SO.CAL Guy
  • HELLO!

    LMAO! LuVed your post. Wish someone would have asked me if I were an elitist! I would say of course not, didn't you read my latest rant about them???
    As for research; if ur too tired or lazy to look them up, simply type in your statement of the latest thing you've heard, or what you logically believe to be the truth, and I'll guarantee you there will be fifteen to twenty people who will sarcastically point out ur mistake and what the real scoop is. After which, u need only to hit a website or two to find out the REAL truth.
    Elitists seem to be soooo proud of their intense years of schooling, but it's sad to see they never took a class in common sense.
    Good Job! Have a great day, Zena
  • ЦСКА е номер едно.

    Да му еба майката на Тим О'Райли, педал смотан. Яде лайна по цял ден и гуши пари.
    Петър плет плете, през три пръта преплита. - В тоя стил се селф-брандва като гуру. Ама е мъдуру, не гуру.
    Did I say something obscene? Who knows...
    as i'm wearing vintage sneakers and diesel jeans.
    You should come up with a Texas Rangers badge of your own for certification of blogs.

    Out of curiosity, what's the name of the newspaper that contacted you?
  • Two notes with your proposal:

    1) I would prefer if the bloggers shower beforehand. Bathing often involves a certain amount of wallowing in one's own filth.

    2) What is the Code's stance on monocles?
    Third of Five
  • And a code for shock jocks

    Armor virum que cano

    What someone must tell me is the difference between radio talk back and blogging? Both are usually driven by badly dressed males and how much they can either attract or annoy extreme right or left wing viewers (or MSvsApplevsUnixvsLinuxvsAMDvsIntel etc). The same of course applies to their TV equivalents.

    The radio/tv media of course only have the indirect method of using ratings to chart their success and the rising pay packets of the authors. ZDNet on the other hand has the direct method - more clicks and posts - more money. And that appears to be the difference. Of course some people work for free - the net equivalent of local cable and community tv.

    The problem with a Code is that it's not a Law and if our experience with journalism so far is anything, then a code isn't going to really help.

    The best defence against bloggers is not to read them or feed them. Ooops I just fed another blogger.

    And the Latin quote isn't really relevant, just wanted to feel elitist for a little while ;-)