Blogger Plan for World Domination

The Boss Man, Jim Bacon, extended something of an invitation to John Behan of Commonwealth Conservative in the comments section of my “Carnival” post. Basically, Jim rekindled the idea of a Virginia blogger conference and expressed interest in possible, but unspecified, cooperative efforts.

I’d like to suggest two interconnected things. First, I think there is a wonderful opportunity right now for Virginia blogs to lead the way in adopting, for lack of a better term, a “Code of Ethics.” Jim has done some good legwork on a couple of the things that would go into such a “code”: disclosure of potential conflicts of interest and civility guidelines. Other VA bloggers have also done some of this. Other items for this “code,” which I would envision as 10 or less bullet points, would deal with anonymous blogging, identification of sources, and corrections.

Secondly, I think there is also an opportunity for VA bloggers, perhaps through the mechanism of this “code,” to reach out to the mainstream media. Bloggers rely on mainstream media for a good bit of their commentary and also act as critics. Bloggers need to demolish the myth, fueled by many mainstream media types, that they are anarchists in pajamas. Adherence to a “code” might defuse some of the skepticism. And, while we’re at it, let’s invite some mainstream media types to at least the 2nd VA blogger conference.

I haven’t thought this all the way through, but I toss it out to Jim, John Behan, and other blog leaders for what it’s worth.


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Comments

  1. Scott Avatar

    What is the code of local mainstream journalism?

    The Richmond performing arts center debate, the SaveRichmond.com blog, and the way the TimesDisgrace, Richmond.bomb, and the way other local news entities have covered or NOT covered the controversy suggests that the ball is not in the bloggers’ court, but the local mainstream journalists.

    The old methods of disclosure, researching, and citing ‘sources’ are NOT holding up anymore in the face of corporate hegemony.

    Bloggers’ democracy is not mere anarchy, but a direct response to ‘Media General’.

  2. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    A suggestion on codes. A general code that states the objectives is better, among reasonable persons, than a specific code even if it is less than 10 bullets. Any code is insufficient for unreasonable persons.

    For example, the honor codes at West Point, VMI, Hampden-Sydney, The University and others (Washington and Lee?) as written and intended – not as challenged by legalizers – are simple guides of intent.

    Likewise, the motto of West Point is the ethical code of the Army, not the silly list promulgated recently of ‘I am a soldier’ etc. Duty, Honor, Country suffices for gentleman officers and is insufficient for all others.

    A Blogger code might be Full Disclosure, Honesty, Integrity, Accountabity and Mutual Respect based on Virginia Civility. Or variations on that theme… openness, honesty – which includes correcting mistakes, respect, gentility…

  3. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Will, I really like your idea of adopting a “code of conduct” that responsible blogs can adopt and, by so adopting, create an environment of trust and civility that will enhance the credibility of the bloggers and encourage comments and interaction by readers.

    Another topic for discussion would be cooperative endeavors. Are there certain topics — taxes, the level of state spending, transportation, etc. — that blogging teams can agree to pool their scarce time and resources to cover in more depth and, thereby, have a greater impact?

    Media outreach may be a good idea… I guess. On the one hand, it doesn’t hurt to get favorable press. On the other hand, readership trends are in our favor. If bloggers can work together to consistently create quality content and commentary on their own, the readers will come, regardless of what the MSM says.

    Scott, Don’t get me going. The coverage of critical issues on the part of all MSM in Virginia, not just Media General, has been pathetic. As the media conglomerates strive to protect their profit margins, they will invest less and less in editorial resources. The void in coverage of important issues will only grow. (However, I will say this: The T-D’s new publisher, Tom Silvestri, seems to be bringing positive changes to the newspaper. The op-ed page is addressing a lot more local topics than it used to.)

  4. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Jim, Yes, I agree with you. Keep the code simple and focused. People won’t bother to read it if it gets too long and legalistic.

  5. Jason Kenney Avatar
    Jason Kenney

    Must say that I like the idea of a “code” (and have been kicking it around myself as of late). I also like Jim’s talk on pooling of resources to create more indepth looks on topics. Instead of relying on the linking and conversational nature of blogs you just get all information in there right out the gate. I think it’s work like that which will make blogs something that can add to the conversation and appeal to a more mainstream audience as well as add to the debate.

    I’m also all for a conference of some sort, especially if any cooperation were to occur. I think face to face contact with people you are striving to work with goes a long way to creating good relationships that the internet just can’t match.

  6. Barnie Day Avatar
    Barnie Day

    I, too, endorse the ‘code’ idea. Long, short, formal, or back-of-an-envelope, I would hope that somewhere it would include the word ‘truth,’ as in ‘to tell the.’

  7. Steven Avatar

    Here’s a code of conduct idea, but lets call this, the bloggers ‘honor’ pledge.

    Of course, the General Assembly will need to draft legislation and a future tax to pay for it.

    With that said, I propose the wiring our personal computers to lie detector machines — and posting our blogs with the lie detector results.

    If you don’t tell the truth while posting a blog (including the use of pseudonyms, aliases, nicknames, pen names, noms des plumes, & maiden names), the lie detector will automatically send an electrical shock to that user.

    The shocking truth is in the blog pudding.

    ~ the shocking-blue dog

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