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How To Get A Code of Conduct Widely Adopted

How To Get A Code of Conduct Widely Adopted

Once again, thanks to the Tim O’Reilly and the New York Times, the meme about a “bloggers code of conduct” has reared its ugly head once again. Its not new. I blogged about it about a week ago, wondering, like today, whether or not it had its use in a self-regulating environment, and more to the point, whether or not a good comments policy is all that’s needed.

And it seems like most people do not approve, do not like, and do not agree with it, and some have even likened its usage to being in a virtual police state.

But, let’s be the devil’s advocate for a second [because I like thinking about all sides of the issue, particularly when the echochamber is reverberating on only one side].

How *could* Tim O’Reilly get something like these silly “code of conduct” badges widely adopted? With all the negative buzz surrounding the idea, you’d think that there’d be a snowball’s chance in hell that something like this would get taken up, right?

Hold on. There is a way.

Here it is.

1. Convince a few of your A-list friends with high pageranks, and healthy traffic numbers to get in on this scheme.

2. Prey on Take advantage of the the desire for links by beginning and up and coming bloggers to reward bloggers who adopt this code of conduct with inbound links.

3. For a limited time, offer to publish a list of ‘friends’ who have taken up the Code of Conduct issue, complete with Names, URL’s and descriptions of blogs on those A-list sites.

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It would be utterly Machiavellian, and it would work. While there’s no question that many of the early adopters and influencers would *not* be onboard, he could influence the next generation of bloggers who are up and coming who are dire for inbound links (and a sense of validation).

Its almost like a reverse Pareto Rule — he would be getting at the 80% rather than the top 20%; or, put another way, it would be a fiendish way of harnessing the Long Tail (and Fat Belly) when the head is clearly inaccessible.

What makes this interesting is that while its probably not the only way he could get wide adoption of his code of conduct, it is tantalizing because its something that would get instant traction right away.

And it would be so deliciously unethical that to try it would violate the spirit of Tim O’Reilly’s Code of Conduct.

Something for Mr. O’Reilly and the rest of us to chew on so that we might ponder the ethics of marketing a code of conduct on blogger ethics. ;)

View Comments (6)
  • I think it will go down this way naturally, even without any conscious effort on Tim’s part. The attention is definitely there, although lots of it is negative.

    My personal opinion (expressed in comments all around the place) would still (even if it meant not getting into the club) be the same. While I appreciate Tim’s work, especially what he’s done with defining Web 2.0, in this particular case I view him as the guy who comes into the chatroom full of nicks like “babypants17” and “usuck” and goes: why do you guys have to be so mean? Why can’t we have a meaningful discussion round here?

    It’s cute, but it doesn’t work.

  • Where is my Easter Bonnet?

    While some may see the blogosphere and the behavior of its participants as a new phenomenon, it isn’t difficult to find an appropriate predecessor model. That model is found on the streets of any metropolitan area and it is called traffic and the prevalence of road rudeness…or in its extreme…road rage.

    Granted, personal attacks and snark on the internet are not likely to lead to fatalities, but if computers had wheels, it certainly would.

    The problem on the highway or the internet isn’t going to be resolved through a badge system. Did anyone attend Easter mass yesterday and witness the value of symbols…no not the crucifix behind the altar or the statue at the entrance; I’m talking about the pretty new Easter outfits…complete with bonnets and bow ties. These are the outfits worn by the same people who also attend Christmas mass every year without fail…and then get into their shiny clean vehicle and race out of the parking lot without ever yielding to the old woman walking to her car that is parked in the back row because she forgot that it was Easter Sunday and foolishly arrived at the same time she does each and every Sunday.

    Read more on the relationship between blog civility and Easter Bonnets…here:

  • Interesting hypothetical. However, I think this would energize a more unified response from the Anti-CodeOfConduct crowd, with accompanying lists of bloggers that refuse to be intimidated and that the PageRank opportunities of this overall effort would end up dwarfing those that could be offered by the group trying to strongarm it.

    Like an elephant, the market is going to move where the market is going to move. And the PageRank will follow.

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