My Comments Policy

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One of the positive outcomes of the Kathy Sierra case, in my view, was Tim O’Reilly’s Call for a Blogger Code of Conduct. I say positive not because I agree with it all or plan to adhere to it – I do not, for many of the reasons Tim cites and Luis discusses – but rather that it triggered some thoughtful reflection on what, precisely, we are and are not responsible for.

It would be presumptuous of me in the extreme, I think, to attempt to impose my own thoughts and views on you all, but I thought a little commentary on my own policy would not be out of line.

So here it is, in plain English. The only thing that I ask of you – and receive virtually 100% of the time – is respect for your fellow commenters. That’s it. I’m not terribly bothered if you treat my words with something less than total respect, although I wouldn’t mind it if you did, but you will treat each other with respect or your comments will be gone. That’s it. I don’t care, particularly, whether you agree or disagree with me or any of the other commenters here, but I care greatly how you do it. There are bloggers out there that believe strongly in Free Speech and no censorship, and I can both understand and sympathize with that position. Just don’t expect such freedom here; this is my house, such as it is, and just like with your parents, my house = my rules. Besides, it’s not too hard to be respectful if you try – I promise.

This policy is admittedly trivial to enforce around here, because of two factors. First, my B-list status lowers the potential audience and thus incentive for would-be trolls. This is a huge positive for me, although not for our advertising revenue. Second, and more importantly, you all consistently demonstrate the ability to disagree passionately but respectfully – an exceedingly rare combination in my experience. For that, you have my thanks.

Questions or problems, let me know in the comments. Respectfully.


  1. I’m not much of a blogger myself, but I’m vehemently opposed to the code of conduct as proposed.

    That Tim O’Reilly is a major proponent of it makes me wonder if I should stop being a customer of his company’s technical manuals.

  2. I was also puzzled by O’Reilly’s push for the code – I don’t know the guy from a bar of soap, but what I had read of/about him would not have led me to believe that it was his style to risk the loss of freedom of speech.

  3. Don’t insult yourself, you are definetely not B-List. I can say you are way up high on my A-List of folks I read. It is the Tim O’Reilly and Kathy Sierra’s who convict folks in the court of public opinion, who aren’t charitable or moderate/supress alternative opinion that are B’s at best…

  4. Danno: lots of folks are. as for Tim’s involvement, i don’t know but would suspect that it was colored more by his desire to defend a friend than curtail free speech.

    Ric: as described above, i think Tim had the best intentions here. i don’t intend to subscribe to the code of conduct, but i respect the motives.

    James: kind words are much appreciated, but according to blogebrity i am 😉 as for Tim and Kathy, i’ve got a lot of respect for both of them, and although i think the code of conduct reaction is not something i’ll subscribe to, i felt terrible about what happened to Kathy.

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