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Blog Ethics Reviewed

TechCrunch fired an employee and put its UK branch on hold. But that’s not the whole story. The real stink of it is they deleted a post that was made by the disgruntled employee after he was fired.

Coincidentally that reminded me of a conversation that I was following over at Copyblogger. A commenter criticized the writer and accused him of possible plagiarism:

Methinks copyblogger is running out of ideas and pulling out the self-help books. So here’s another tip. Recycle all those textbooks that are collecting dust in your bookshelves.

The writer reacted with sarcasm and calling the commenter “snarky”. The commenter replied by saying that copyblogger could call him whatever names he wanted to, but in his opinion he had read similar information elsewhere and asked why there were no links to the original source(s).

So the next day I went back to read the reply but all of the comments had mysteriously disappeared. In my opinion the commenter was not rude and he asked a legitimate question. A reasonable question deserves a reasonable response and I see no reason why the comments were deleted.

Now I don’t know if the allegations were true (and I guess we will never know), but I can’t help but wonder where all this is headed. Have our fragile egos become so enlarged that we are ruling our blogs like tyrannical despots? Rulers of our petty little kingdoms, only allowing comments that should happen to agree with us and expunging the naysayers?

Or even worse, shutting off comments altogether like some a-listers have. I can’t help but appreciate the irony. When they were unknown bloggers vying for our attention they thrilled at the number of comments they received. But after they made the grade our opinions were no longer of any interest to them.

They have a word for that — it’s called hypocrisy. It’s called arrogance. It’s called spouting propoganda. It’s a sermon from the mount, a monologue vs. a dialogue, a speech vs. a town hall meeting. (You get my meaning).

Is this Iran, perhaps? I hope not. The Blogosphere is (or was) the ultimate expression of freedom of speech, and when we start interfering with that we are doomed for sure. Remember the word “transparency”?

But in my view this poses an even larger dilemma. With the increasing pressure to produce posts every day I’ve often suspected that many so-called pro bloggers are looking beyond the internet to printed materials for their inspiration, but they are not referencing their sources as they should be.

And that is wrong.

Similar reading: On The Importance of Linking

Filed under: blog bloke, instabloke, blog, blogging, blog ethics

Written December 14th, 2006 by | 6 Comments | Filed under: Blog Tips ,

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There are 6 Comments so far to “Blog Ethics Reviewed”

  1. Hey there. I deleted that guy’s comments because they were anonymous, rude, and I thought unobservant, since I do have an attribution link to Change This, which in turn provides attribution to the scores of psychologists and researchers who have contributed to these basic concepts from Psychology 101. My application of those principles to traffic generation is novel as far as I know.

    The post was on the front page of Digg that day, and whenever that happens, I get tons of anonymous garbage comments which I kill in moderation. This guy got through, but was no more helpful than the other Digg retards.

    After seeing your post, however, I went back and noticed that the Change This link went one level higher than the “needs” section, which has been corrected. In the future you might show the courtesy of an email before you use the word “plagiarism” so lightly.

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  2. Sorry, that should be Changing Minds instead of Change This. See, mistakes happen without any evil involved, don’t they?

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  3. Thanks for that clarification Brian. If I understand correctly you admit that your inspiration came from outside sources and I’m happy to see that you have corrected the oversight.

    It’s possible you may have overreacted and there are better ways to deal with arbitrary commenters. And btw, please don’t be shooting the messenger. I merely reiterated my understanding of the conversation.

    One more thing. At least you got a link from yours truly, but where’s mine. An oversight perhaps?

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  4. After a heated exchange Brian and I have agreed to come to an amicable compromise. Who knows, this could even be the beginning of a beautiful friendship :-)


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  5. Dear Blog Bloke,
    How disappointed I was to get to the end and have you ask where you link was. That changed the entire story that I just read.

    Now I wonder about the purpose behind the story in the first place . . . ambibuity, credibility . . . . I’m distracted by possible double meanings in the comments. All caused by remarks about linking. I thought his was about conten. No link is worth unraveling credibilitiy of a message.

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  6. Hi Liz. I’m not sure if I follow you. What double meaning and link were you referring to? Could you elaborate? It’s a Sunday morning and I’m not the brightest kid on campus right now. :)

    If you have some insights into the matter I would love to hear them but I want to handle it sensitively as I’m reticent to dredging up old wounds again. What I want most is to end this on a positive note if possible.

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