Summary: After thinking about content management of a weblog from the risk management angle ... was also stimulated by J Walker to view blogging from the the ethical angle as well [which would be a consequence of a writer's remembrance of the public venue which is traversed by any weblog]. In her archives Jill Walker evaluates a set of principles [from Rebecca Blood full details here]. These are important considerations.
I wrote a few days ago that when my daughter starts using the web, I want her to learn to protect her anonymity and to not feel obliged to tell the truth. Rebecca Blood's six rules of blogging ethics (excerpted from The Weblog Handbook on her website) remind me that that's not quite right. Rebecca's rules are:
1. Publish as fact only that which you believe to be true.
2. If material exists online, link to it when you reference it.
3. Publicly correct any misinformation.
4. Write each entry as if it could not be changed; add to, but do not rewrite or delete, any entry.
5. Disclose any conflict of interest.
6. Note questionable and biased sources.
These are good rules, though perhaps not applicable to all kinds of blogs. I've written about rule 2 before, and like it, though it can be taken to ridiculous extremes. I'm less happy about rule 4. Yes, it makes sense to have nice trustworthy archives. Ted Nelson would love this rule: in Xanadu (a hypertext system he's been arguing for since the 60s) every version of every document would be permanently available. But I like being able to edit blog posts after they've been published, and you know what? I think most people do. Online newspapers do. After-editing (is that the correct English term? Etterredigering in Norwegian; it means that editing and proof reading is done continuously after the initial online publication) has become standard in online journalism, certainly according to Terje Rasmussen. Jouke Kleerebezem made it explicit for a while, though he's removed the tagline now - it still says "launch-and-learn publishing" but it also used to say "corrections are generally made within 36 hours". [Update 09:41: Torill replies. I'll ditto everything she says. (Well, in in that post, anyway ;) Kids safety is separate from blogging. Btw, Rebecca does add to the "don't change" rule in the full text - she has lots of comments to each rule - she writes that incorrect information should be fixed or marked as incorrect.] posted: 2/11/02 23:13 |archived
This brings to the fore the [how frequent?] conflict between weblog-as-public-statement and weblog-as-knowledge-acquisition device. For me, with my investment in knowledge-making as supported by klogging, it surfaces the conflict between the responsibilities that apply to the blogger because s/he is communicating in public versus the experience of forming knowledge via the agency of a publiclly scrutinized learning process which occurs within the envelope of a [series of] weblog entry(ies).