Blog Ethics and the Star Wars Kid

Filed as General on May 28, 2003 11:16 pm

by Duncan

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On May 20, the Blog Herald commented on the Star Wars Kid Video Blog charity and issues in relation to exploitation, ethics, transparency, irony and morals. In the week since we have received numerous emails, had a number of public comments on this site, have had debates with others on other blogs and, to use the old phrase, opened a can of worms.

This article will not recap the posting on the Blog Herald, as they remain for the world to see. The can of worms relates to acceptable standards in blogging and blog ethics, do we need them, should bloggers and blogs be held to standards, and if we have minimum levels, what should they be.

One of the most interesting comment streams was from the site of One Mans Opinion.

Along with giving a well written and thought out defence of Andy Baio, Dustin (Oneman) makes the follow points:
Nobody at the moment seems to be able to define just what it is bloggers do or, indeed, what characteristics mark a particular website out as a “blog”, as opposed to some other species of online communicating
Blogging may be like journalism, in some ways, but blogging is not journalism.
Blogging is a new phenomenon, regardless of its precedents, and ambiguity of form and function is welcome in new forms of social interaction. Maybe in any form of social interaction. But ambiguity makes some (maybe most) people uncomfortable. They try to resolve it by comparing what it is they do with more “fixed” categories, in this case journalism.

Emma, from Notes on the Atrocities goes further in placing blogs in a social context, and their role in society.

Posts on the Web Master World forum discuss legal issues for the Star Wars Kid to stop the distribution of the video.

The issue of Blog Ethics is not a new one.

MVP99Z discussed the use of other peoples names in other blogs on kuro5hin

John Adams spends an entire entry on the subject at The Master Pen

Many other sites have also considered various aspects of standards and ethics for blogs.

For once :-) this writer will not preach from the pulpit.

Freedom of choice, expression and opinion are fundamentals in a democratic society, and as such we must defend this right.

Hence, standards should not be imposed on blogs, however ethical practice and standards should be encouraged.

Saying this we welcome all comments for and against. For it is as a collective in which we should attempt to reach consensus.

There is also a Star Wars Kid video poll on the main page of the Blog Herald and link to a stream copy of the video. Although being vocal on the subject of displaying the video, and at the risk of being accused of hypocrisy, we are willing to concede that the Star Wars Video is out there, is highly popular, and people are looking for it, and they have been looking for it here, and in all honesty we are tired of replying to emails from people looking for the link. View it if you may, but please take time to think about the humiliation and hurt it is causing him, and should you be inclined give some feedback to the Blog Herald.

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  1. By John Adams posted on May 29, 2003 at 5:18 am
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    Thanks for the link, ed. I agree with you that ethics should not be imposed on bloggers. (Honestly, I don’t see how they could be.) But I think it’s up to everyone to do their best.

    Just like in the real world, eh?