April 10, 2007


Bloggers debate need for code of conduct (Brad Stone, April 9, 2007, International Herald Tribune)

Is it too late to bring civility to the Web?

There's something disgraceful to all of us just in having to ask the question, nevermind the answer being so uncertain.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 10, 2007 12:57 PM

I can perhaps see how it's disgraceful, but are we supposed to be even slightly surprised that a world with no rules doesn't produce perfect behavior? No one with a decent understanding of the history of Western thought (or its theological & philosophical underpinnings) would be surprised by the state of discource on the internet.

Posted by: b at April 10, 2007 1:16 PM

Garbage in, garbage out.

Present company excluded, of course.

Posted by: Bartman at April 10, 2007 1:59 PM

I note the irony of OJ's posting on this, given that he regularly flings accusations of "racism" at anyone who objects to illegal immigration....

That said, this is yet another issue where the solution is boringly simple: basic manners. Explicit threats of violence (and especially threats of sexual violence directed at women, as in the Kathy Sierra case) are bad manners on the Internet or anywhere. No one should need a Code of Conduct to know that. Similarly, we don't need to cram "gender diversity training" down the throats of elementary school kids via Heather Has Two Mommies or whatever, we just need to teach kids not to pick on other kids for any reason.

Posted by: PapayaSF at April 10, 2007 4:19 PM

By irony you mean consistency. Nativism is of a piece with the hatred whackos express on the web.

Posted by: oj at April 10, 2007 5:18 PM

Papaya: No. The PROBLEM is that too many people don't behave with "basic manners". So you can't say the SOLUTION is "basic manners"--you're mixing up means & ends. How do we get people to act appropriately? The complete wrong answer, unsurprisingly, is to have no enforcement of rules.

Posted by: b at April 10, 2007 5:25 PM

Wanting immigration to be legal and not illegal isn't "nativism."

b: I'm not saying blog owners can't enforce rules. I'm saying that we don't need some explicit Code of Conduct with silly little badges for people to put on their sites.

Posted by: PapayaSF at April 10, 2007 7:33 PM

Yes, that's the convenient way of dividing the racists from the mere sticklers. Most Americans just want the millions to be legalized. Nativists oppose it.

There's a fairly standard recipe for them too = a person of the Right who professes a belief in Darwinism.

Posted by: oj at April 10, 2007 8:20 PM

Most Americans just want the millions to be legalized.

Love how the anti-anti-illegal immigrationists make these sweeping generalities, which always seem to support their position, without any attempt to show they are valid in the real world.

Wanting immigration to be legal and not illegal isn't "nativism."

Immigration is already legal, with many and varied and complicated rules. The problem arises when people decide that not only don't the rules don't apply to them, but they have "special needs" which requires that they be have priority over those who followed those rules.

Now if you want to say that the rules we have are wrong, and need to be changed, or made more fair (by whatever standard constitutes "fair") and that those who try to play by the current rules are suckers, fine. But the anti-anti-illegal immigrationists aren't saying that. They are absolutists who insist that no rules be applied and that those who broke the old rules not be held responsible (whether employer, enabler or "immigrant"). If anything, those who broke the old rules are to be rewarded by being immune to the new rules.

The purpose of the namecalling ("nativists", "xenophobes") is to shut off debate so the anti-anti- doesn't have to be bothered to defened the indefensible and the incoherent. And why shouldn't they? They're just applying the lessons which the Islamists and the Leftists and race-baiters repeatedly show is a winning strategy. It's the politics of the future, and eventually even the Stupid Party will figure it out.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at April 10, 2007 9:42 PM

To the contrary, it's what every poll shows, including the "surprising" one mentioned in the earlier post.

Your artful avoidance of the divider reveals all. We are indeed saying that they should be admitted through a simple and legal procedure and that amnesty be granted so that the rest are no longer illegal. That satisfies those whose concern is the law. It doesn't those whose concern is race or religion.

Pointing out nativism/racism is not an attempt to shut down debate, just clarify it. Racism is entirely defensible rationally, as are abortion, homosexuality, and the like. It is Reason that is the source of the evil here. Racism is merely an effect.

Posted by: oj at April 10, 2007 10:58 PM

One interesting side note: it's entirely fitting that the discussion about civility on the Internet should gravitate towards the immigration question, because those are the comments that are most frequently deleted (well, other than daniel duffy's--but he's a cottage industry). Folks just can't help slipping into racist talk when the topic arises.

Posted by: oj at April 10, 2007 11:02 PM