Normally I don't comment on web stuff as I tend to not care, but of late there's been this whole brouhaha over the Web Code of Conduct, that I just can't resist. I know I said I'd be telling you about Puzzle Quest, but it's just going to have to wait. Again.
Without getting into it, two folks, namely Tim O'Reilly of Web 2.0 fame and Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia fame decided that there needed to be a Web Code of Conduct. A lot went into the thinking that all of us on the InterTubes needed to be told how to behave, but recently there have been a number of cases where bloggers, mostly female, have been harassed and sometimes threatened in the comments sections of the blogs they write for. Deleting these comments have caused some people to cry that their freedom of speech was being abridged, blah, blah, blah so Waled and O'Reilly decided that there needs to be a code of conduct so that folks reading a site know what they can expect in regards to comments and such and that folks writing for sites can feel like they can do what they need to, to keep things civil.
I can't think of a more complete waste of time.
Let me explain my own personal code of conduct in regards to this site so that we're all on the same page. I get to do this all free of charge as long as I don't do things expressly forbidden by Blogger. Not sure what those are, but I'm sure pirating copywritten content or posting porn has something to do with it. I can tell you that whatever they frown upon, I don't do it as they've never had a reason to bug me. Now, Blogger rules notwithstanding, this is my site and I can do whatever the fuck I want. I post when I want to and what I want to. I don't want to post copywritten material or porn, so I get to post what I want. If I wanted to post those things, I could get my own host and go from there. That's beside the point though. No one tells me how often I have to post, or what I have to post about.
Similarly, I don't tell people what they have to comment on, or how often they have to comment. I've never had to delete anyone's comments, mostly because the people who comment are friends of mine, but also because I just don't, thankfully, attract asshats. If someone were to come here and start talking shit. I'd tell them, via the comments, to knock it off and delete the offending comment. If they kept it up, I'd keep deleting the comments and, if need be, disable comments altogether. By the way, me deleting someone's comments has nothing to do with the commenter's first amendment rights, as the first amendment states " Congress shall make no law...or abridging the freedom of speech." I am a private citizen with a private site. I can deny you the ability to comment on it all the live long day. The government has nothing to do with it and as such, your first amendment right is just as happy and healthy as it was when we started this discussion.
Now, if, for whatever reason, I started just deleting comments all willy-nilly for no reason but to be a dickhead, you could just stop coming here. It's that simple. No one is making anyone go anywhere on the web. If you visit a site and you feel like the moderators/owners are deleting your comments just to dick you over, then stop going there. Another option is to objectively look at what you're writing in your comments and see if they're as benign as you think they are.
So, in a nutshell, here's my personal code of conduct: I won't be a dick to you and I expect you won't be a dick to me and the people who come here. If you do, I'll do whatever I can to keep you from continuing to to do. If you think I'm being a dick, please bring it to my attention. I'll keep an open mind, but if I don't think I'm being one, you can feel free to leave.
There, wasn't that simple? Now, your personal code of conduct is that you only post in your underwear and you insist on posting pictures of you in your underwear and anyone who doesn't comment in iambic pentameter gets their comment deleted. I probably won't spend a lot of time on your site, and I certainly won't be commenting, but I'm not going to tell you that you have to do things differently. If I don't like how you run things, I just won't show up.
To think that the Web needs some overarching policy telling people to basically, act nice, is stupid and ultimately useless. Anyone who would take the time to write a death threat in a comment thread obviously is not in their right mind. I mean, how many death threats have you ever made in your life, much less one that you took the time to write and then read and still felt it was a normal course of action? I have a feeling that someone who would take the time to post a death threat isn't going to be swayed by a code of conduct, nor are they going to react to the deletion of their comment with "Oh, well I was being a bit silly so I guess they were within their rights." I also think it's ironic that Wales is working on this policy when there's editors at Wikipedia selectively deleting entries on webcomics just because said editors don't feel like the webcomics are noteworthy enough. Talk about needing a code of conduct.
The bottom line is that if you're a dick at someone else's site, it's their site so they can prevent you from acting like an asshole to the best of their abilities. If you feel like you've been wronged, then fucking don't go back there. And Christ, if you run a site, have some fucking balls. Delete comments with impunity! Call people out for being jerkwads! Wield a banhammer! What fun is running a site if you can't arbitrarily muzzle someone? Bones, you're banned! Greg, you're banned! Linda, I know you don't comment but you're banned! Banned, banned, banned!
Ugh. Sometimes people can be so stupid. They really should consult with me first.