K. Lehman at Ed Tech in the Classroom pointed me toward a movement (and article) about Timesraising the level of discourse in the blogosphere. All of this discussion seems to stem from the Kathy Sierra incident. Considering the awful things people felt completely comfortable saying to and about Kathy online, you had to wonder what kind of people these folks were. My contention is that they are probably normal folks who feel empowered to be mean when they’re online. I’m not sure what it is that comes out in people online, but I have noticed that people tend to say things online that they would never say in person. In many cases, commenters level the equivalent of verbal abuse upon people they don’t even know. I have to wonder if they would say the same things if instead of commenting on a blog, they were in a lecture hall discussing an issue or at a town hall meeting. I don’t think most people would. I would like to think that the majority of people out there are pretty decent folks. But for some reason, they sometimes act like they’re 9 and back on the school playground again. I fully support a Blogger Code of Conduct, and when it is developed, it will be implemented here (I already have policies regarding comments that I strictly adhere to).
Do I feel this is censorship? No. If that person wants to post what he said, he or she is free to do so. But I am free not to have it on my site that I pay money to maintain. I have no problem with someone who disagrees with me. I have a big problem with someone who can’t do it in a civil manner and then expects me to keep their inflammatory and abusive remarks online or else I’m “censoring” them.
By the way, I have installed a new spam plugin called Spam Karma. I want to warn you that until you build up karma through the plugin, your comments might not immediately post. It doesn’t mean they won’t appear — they will simply be moderated.