Whilst making my way around the net today, I came across a reference to the "Blog with Integrity" pledge. After reading the pledge closely, I knew it was something I wanted to associate myself with.
I treat others respectfully, attacking ideas and not people. I also welcome respectful disagreement with my own ideas.
I believe in intellectual property rights, providing links, citing sources, and crediting inspiration where appropriate.
I disclose my material relationships, policies and business practices. My readers will know the difference between editorial, advertorial, and advertising should I choose to have it. If I do sponsored or paid posts, they are clearly marked.
When collaborating with maketers and PR professionals, I handle myself professionally and abide by journalistic standards.
I own my words. Even if I occasionally have to eat them."
I always present my honest opinions to the best of my ability.
I like the whole concept of this pledge, but I especially like item #2---and I'd like to briefly explain why; we bloggers (both posters and commenters) seem to have no trouble defending our rights to freedom of speech, but on more than one occasion, I've seen freedom of expression abused, as lively debate has been used as opportunity to allow politesse degenerate into personal attack and as people have used the right to an opinion as an excuse for insensitive and hurtful words/posts. This suggests the blogging community needs to work harder to help fellow members see the difference between engaged discussion and debate, and irrational hate-mongering. Yes, I believe blogging should be about beautiful, positive, and happy things. However, I think it can also be a potentially wonderful way for people to learn from one another and think critically about a number of relevant social issues. In order for meaningful exchange to occur, some things may need to change in the blog-o-sphere. To this end, here are my thoughts:
1) Blog commenters who come across posts they disagree with should have the right to express "respectful disagreement" with IDEAS or arguments or opinions that may be expressed by fellow bloggers. If said commenters have expressed themselves in a "respectful" way, then, in disagreeing with a fellow blog poster, they should have the right to be free from other bloggers (esp. friends and family of said blog poster) "bad mouthing," attacking, or otherwise berating them.
2) Blog posters who post on topics that are some what contentious or debate-ridden should have the right to be FREE of personals attacks by anonymous posters spreading hateful name calling or personal threats, etc (provided that they themselves have avoided needlessly clouding issues/topics/debates with inflammatory statements designed to personally humiliate, offend, or belittle other people who hold positions contrary to theirs).
3) I very strongly believe that bloggers who open the door to contentious or very loaded topics have an obligation to readers to "welcome respectful disagreement with [their] own ideas."
I find it especially problematic when we vintage bloggers bemoan an appalling decline of elegance, tastefulness, and beauty in the appearances of people in the modern age, but then choose to ignore how our online words or "actions" may be conveying a level of social "ugliness" that makes any talk of elegance, tastefulness, and beauty redundant. Let's not just look the part. Let's walk the walk and blog with integrity.