First of all, NTodd has decided to ally himself with the "uncivil" set that the Code seeks to address. He writes, "Look, civility is great and shit, and nice people are nice and assholes like me are assholes."
Let's remember how this current round of "wow, the blogosphere is a shrill place" got started -- with threats of sexual assault and death on a prominent technology blogger. NTodd may be a fucking potty mouth, but I don't think any reasonable person (so this excludes Althouse and her ilk) would consider him part of the problem. It's true, Todd has more than once suggested doing unholy things to and with my mother, but in the context of our friendship and his other writing, I know to take it all in stride and I don't delete his comments. If being juvenile was a deletable offense at Candleblog, there would hardly be any comments at all.
- ...saying things nicely doesn't make your point any more righter if, say...you're advocating genocide. The Final Solution didn't really solve the Jewish Problem because, well, there wasn't one 'cept that invented by some whacked people. And remember, Godwin's Law is suspended, so I can engage in such hyperbole.
Flip side is that I can say "give motherfucking peace a motherfucking chance, motherfuckers" and my point is still pretty goddamned compelling. Could I say it without swearing? Sure. So?
There is a misconception, hinted at in the Times piece yesterday, that the freest speech is that which is completely unmoderated -- anything goes. But in the context of a blog that is, say, trying to foster a discussion about technology, who's free speech is being served when bloggers and commenters are shouted down and threatened for what they write? What about Kathy Sierra's freedom of speech? She's stopped blogging because of the shit thrown at her. As O'Reilly said in the Times piece, "managed civil dialogue is actually the freer speech."
Again, I'll reiterate that we're talking about an opt-in code that amounts to little more than a graphic displayed on your blog that states your commenting policy. When it comes to the law, any attempt to legislate moderation of speech is generally a terrible idea, but that's not what this is.
Why is this so hard to get behind? If it was an anti comment-spam code, I doubt bloggers would be up in arms. This is no different.
And by the way, NTodd does agree with the basic tenets of the code...
- I get that civility is more than knowing which fork to use and not saying 'fuck' all the time. Stalking, threats of violence and other not-entirely-nice things are not civil, and I wouldn't do that shit.
Nobody is saying you would, NTodd. But "that shit" is fucking rampant out there in the woolly blogosphere and it sucks -- just as much as comment-spam -- more if you're the one getting the death threats. So what's wrong with saying "that shit won't fly on my blog?"
Here's the rub: what would a "code" of "civility" do to prevent such things? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. ничего. Fucking squat.
Well, it certainly wouldn't force a change, but if enough bloggers signed on (a diminishing hope, from the reactions I'm seeing), it could have a net positive effect on the general culture of blogging, as I tried to point out in my earlier post.
I have a "support EFF" button on my blog. That button declares my support not only for the Electronic Frontier Foundation itself, but also for my general concern with copyright, privacy and free speech issues online. It's a badge that states my alignment with a certain set of guiding principles. Visitors to Candleblog can see that, and know that I'm hip to the work being done on warrantless wiretapping and frivolous DMCA takedown notices. Those buttons are common in the blogosphere and they have helped to shape its culture. That's the hope here.
You want to be civil? Great. Be fucking civil. You want a civil blog? Moderate your goddamned comments, post rules about conduct in the threads, whatever.
Yes, that's exactly what this code is about Todd, bloggers stating their commenting policies. It's just a little bit organized in an effort to show some solidarity. Nobody is forcing anybody to do, say or think anything. There is no Blogger's Code Board set up to punish those who don't toe the line. Please get off your high horse -- you might fall and hurt something.
- ...the point is that the code solves no problem and then only becomes something to lord over those who don't have the Good Blogkeeping Seal of Approval, allowing people to ignore legitimate arguments because they don't conform to a particular, civil form.
This is poorly reasoned and a little intellectually lazy, pal. People will read or not read blogs based upon the content, not based on any particular badges or seals or whatever. If your blog doesn't have an EFF button, I don't automatically assume that you are in favor of warrantless wiretapping and frivolous DMCA takedown notices. People are smarter than that.
And Todd is the second blogger I've seen compare the "Infamous Scribblers" Hamilton and Burr to "uncivil" blog commenters. It's a weak comparison. Hamilton and his ilk were nothing, if not substantive. The same cannot be said for the commenters who called for the rape and murder of Kathy Sierra.
PS, fuck off and die. :)
UPDATE: NTodd responds in as shrill a manner as he can muster. Note to NTodd: you need to go back to Bitch School.