Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/04/10/burn_the_blogna_carta/

Wales, O'Reilly censorship charter porked by blogosphere

'Dirty, but the pig likes it'

By Christopher Williams

Posted in Law, 10th April 2007 10:00 GMT

The Victorian blogging code mooted last week by Jimbo "Wiki" Wales and Tim 2.0'Reilly has been given short shrift by web users.

After threatening a set of rules to clamp down on rudeness last week, O'Reilly posted a first draft on Sunday.

The code would introduce "badges" to show how a site complies with the webby duo's take on freedom of speech, which includes a sinister move to "not say things online we wouldn't say in public". Several responses to the charter point out that such a policy would gag those living under despotic regimes, and corporate whistleblowers.

In his first post O'Reilly proclaimed: "Setting standards for acceptable behaviour in a forum you control is conducive to free speech, not damaging to it."

Peter, a commenter on O'Reilly's blog, said: "Reminds me of some of the things America has done at its worst. Commies. Terrorists. Anonymous commenters. This makes me angry." His is one of dozens of overwhelmingly negative responses to the self-appointed web manners duumvirate.

The initiative was dreamed up by the pair in the wake of the teacup storm over marketing wonk Kathy Sierra's no-show at a tech conference run by O'Reilly. She cited death threats from blog commenters.

Wales and O'Reilly would also make it unacceptable to include content or links to pages which:

- is being used to abuse, harass, stalk, or threaten others

- is libelous, knowingly false, ad-hominem, or misrepresents another person,

- infringes upon a copyright or trademark

- violates an obligation of confidentiality

- violates the privacy of others

Legally astute readers might note that there are already laws covering all these issues, whether real or online. The sixth and final commandment says: "We believe that feeding the trolls only encourages them - 'Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig likes it.' Ignoring public attacks is often the best way to contain them."

Which, we guess, means The Reg breaks the code on a daily basis. Terribly sorry, m'luds. But didn't you acknowledge them by making your badges in the first place? How very meta. ®