I decided to write a few rules and guidelines for people wanting to comment on my space. I've modified a November 2005 blog entry on blog etiquette so that you have the rules in brief, followed by a brief summary of my personal blogging code of ethics:
- Speak you mind, be funny or serious... disagree with me if you like, I want to hear from you.
- Show respect. No swearing or abuse of other comments please.
- Do not advertise a commercial product in my comments or trackbacks without my permission.
I've recently been involved in a couple of incidents regarding blog behaviour... and I thought I'd clarify my position.
Firstly I believe we need to respect one another's spaces. I've seen people jumping onto other people's sites and coldly advertising their own space, or opinion on a totally off-topic subject. I don't believe it is right to behave in this manner. Blogs are unique in the sense that they are personal diaries/forums on a public domain; a visitor might argue that they can say what the heck they like... free speech and all that. Similarly a blogger might say they can delete indiscriminately any comments they don't agree with.
I would say that we have freedoms... but each of those freedoms carries a responsibility. If you are going to comment on someone else's space, you have to recognise and respect it as their territory; on the other hand if you are going to open up a subject on your space that will be open to the public domain, you have to recognise people's right to publicly disagree, otherwise what's the point?
My advice when we are visitors would be to (where sensible) keep comments relevant to the topic at hand, or just introduce yourself/chat generally. You should never really start a new debate on someone else's space, it's rude... especially if your topic is not related to the general theme of the space you are commenting on. I'd also say that it is of absolute importance to not use offensive language or insults when visiting someone's space. Again, you are on their turf... so you should treat them peaceably. You don't walk into a strangers house and start mouthing off!
My advice to bloggers managing their own sites is to allow/encourage sensible conversation and debate. If you have put your handiwork up for public scrutiny, you should expect it. If you don't agree with a comment made on your space... it is equally bad manners to delete it. If it is personally insulting or offensive... or it has abusive language... then fine, delete it; but for pities sake, don't just delete someones opinion just because it's not in line with your own... if you are going to do that, select PRIVATE or PERSONAL on your blog settings... because frankly you waste everyone else's time if you dictate your opinion without giving a chance for democratic response.
I hope everyone visiting here and reading this believes I live by this simple code. My hope is that it might give you food for thought as you visit other blogs, as well as policing your own.