I Will Not Lie, Cheat or Steal: A Draft Blogger Code of Conduct

We talked a lot about a blogger “code of conduct” at the Sorensen Blog Summit, but nobody offered one as an example, so perhaps we were describing an elephant to a blind man. Since I happen to believe a code would be a good thing for many bloggers, I thought I’d draft the kind of code that I envision.

My code has three basic parts: why I blog, how I will blog, and what I’ll do if something goes wrong. If my model were to be adopted, every blogger would have a different why, a similar how, and a slightly variable what. Here is my rough draft:

1. I blog under my legal name to stimulate discussion of important issues and media coverage of those issues. The opinions I offer on those issues are my own, arrived at from my own reading, research, and personal experiences. I do not seek nor will I accept any payment for expressing opinions without advance notification to my readers. Occasionally, I will post satirical material that will appear similar to my factual work, but this material will be easily identifiable.
2. I will always credit the work of others and provide links to that work wherever possible.
3. I will not knowingly publish information that is false or incorrect. Should I publish anything shown to be false or incorrect, I will offer a correction and an apology, if appropriate, as quickly as possible, in at least as visible a position as the original false or incorrect information appeared.
4. I will avoid personal attacks or unfair characterizations of the subjects of my published works and the readers who offer comments.
5. If I perform the work of a newsgathering journalist in the course of my blogging, I will endeavor to follow generally accepted codes of journalistic conduct, including shielding sources when the reason is explained.
6. I will not censor or edit the feedback I receive except for foul language or malicious intent. I will endeavor to be accessible to my readers and to respond to their complaints and suggestions.

A lot of summit bloggers seemed to think that a code was unnecessary because they believed their integrity stood on its own. While that may be true, a new reader might not know me from a drunken lout hollering on the corner. I would want that reader to have some means of verifying that, unlike the drunk, I’ll stand by what I was hollering the next morning.

It’s a draft. Questions, comments, suggestions, or gripes are welcomed.


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Comments

  1. Not Larry Sabato Avatar
    Not Larry Sabato

    I can do all but #1. Can I have a different #1 please?

  2. I can do #1.

  3. Not Larry Sabato Avatar
    Not Larry Sabato

    Not John Behan, we paged you on our site on Wednesday and never heard back. What the heck!!

  4. Barnie Day Avatar
    Barnie Day

    Respectfully, no thanks.

  5. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    NLS, your #1 would explain why you’re anonymous.

    Barnie, I’d be interested in knowing more about your objections or why you object. A multi-poster blog like Bacon’s Rebellion might have some different issues on a code.

  6. Barnie Day Avatar
    Barnie Day

    I always break for the First Amendment tent in foul weather. It’s been a comfortable harbor for a long time. Seems to be the roomiest, the strongest, etc., etc. Heck, you don’t even have sign or pledge or anything. They don’t even charge room-n-board. Think I’ll just stay there.

  7. Ben Kyber Avatar
    Ben Kyber

    Why should we try to fix what isn’t broken, Will?

  8. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Funny, I agree with Barnie Day. Free speech is free speech. We don’t need no stinking badges.

  9. The Jaded JD Avatar
    The Jaded JD

    1. People post anonymously or pseudonymously for a variety of legitimate reasons–and legitimacy may well be in the eye of the beholder, but in the eye of the author of the blog is where it finds ultimate judgment. Explaining why one blogs under a pseudonym may well betray the identity of the blogger, or provide at least a tool for those who would seek to out him from behind the curtain. I agree insofar as each blogger and commenter should not impersonate someone he is not (for example, there ought not to be any other Will Vehrs blogging out there, unless there’s another person named Will Vehrs, which most of us would find unlikely–and even then “first come, first served” issues lead one to wonder whether the late-comer should defer to the original), and that those who post and comment anonymously should at least use a consistent name.

    On the other hand, any conflicts of interest (like payment for blogging, in cash or kind), should be disclosed, as should prior personal or professional relationships that may lead to a reasonable perception of bias. This places control in the hands of the pseudonymous blogger: if he is unprepared to make the disclosure, he must eschew the topic. There is, perhaps, an overlooked connection between a source of information (particularly a politician) whose motive in providing the information is to surreptitiously introduce it into the public arena without attribution; because so many of these quasi-journalistic blogs are preoccupied with scooping news, and such blogs rise in fame based on their ability to scoop news, in some ways information can itself be an in-kind payment to a blogger. Since I don’t count my blog among the quasi-journalistic blogs, I don’t feel suited to propose a solution to that quandry.

    2. It’s not unheard of for a person, however sincerely but oversensitively, to mistake a policy disagreement for a personal attack, particularly when sarcasm or irony provide the foil for the rebuttal. Unless we can establish a standard for what constitutes a personal attack, it’s difficult to rule them out completely, because even well-intended bloggers could get caught up in the miscommunication.

    3. Blog liars and plagiarists should be excommunicated or ostracised (whatever you want to call removal from the blogrolls of all members of the ethical covenant).

    4. Editing comments is tricky. Editing feedback, whether positive or negative, is rude, but there is a gray area between “feedback” and “obscenity” that the broad statement in the draft doesn’t address. These could include the outing of a pseudonymous blogger, for example, which if done maliciously would fall under the proposal, but a pseudonymous blogger should retain the ability to enforce his privacy at least within the realm of his own blog–however innocent the intentions of the commenter. There’s also the issue of the blog qua public forum versus the blog qua personal journal. To an extent that a blog is held out as the latter, its author should retain ultimate control over the contributions of all commenters. This should be self-regulating: if a commenter feels that his comments have been improperly edited, he can always stop visiting and/or commenting on that blog, and to publicize the occurence on his own blog (if he has one).

    5. As alluded to in my #3 above, the only way any code of conduct is enforceable is if–like NATO–there’s a collective response mechanism. Penalties for violating the covenant could range from publication of the offense on all members’ blogs to removal of the offending blog from all the members’ blogrolls. But, because this sort of collective response obligation may impose upon the individual, dissenting blogger (and don’t we all crave our autonomy?), this feature makes the whole idea of the code of conduct unattractive.

    6. Because we’re autonomous, and because most features of the proposed code of conduct are self-regulating in the sense that anyone who doesn’t like what someone else is doing can unilaterally impose the penalties suggested in my #5 above, the code of conduct doesn’t really seem necessary. If A doesn’t like the way B runs his blog, A can do whatever he wants to do in response (hopefully within the realm of good taste) without (a) having his response watered down by a committee designed to find a compromise for collective response or (b) imposing such a collective response on less-willing members of the covenant. In short, each of us already has our own code of conduct, and if we don’t like someone else’s code of conduct or if someone else violates the principles of our own, we can individually do whatever we individually feel is appropriate. Accordingly, I line up with blueinthecommonwealth against an enunciated common code of conduct because I don’t see any added value to having one that outweighs the losses.

  10. Because there are no rules for anonymous bloggers, why bother spinning wheels on a code of conduct? It’s a silly gesture.

    Obviously, these anons don’t want to leave tread marks, but love to hit and run. That’s what make blogging interesting and different than it’s printed media counterpart.

    I agree with Barnie, the blue boy and JAB, it’s a matter of free speech. Let that sleeping dog lay…

    ~ the blue dog

  11. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Will, I think this is excellent. Upon first review, I couldn’t think of anything to add, change or delete, although I reserve the right to change my mind as others comment.

    A couple of interesting points emerge from this thread so far. First, I think it’s a distraction to frame the debate over a blogger code of conduct as a “First Amendment” issue. Government has nothing to do with this. Any code of conduct would be entirely voluntary. There would be no government oversight of any kind; indeed, I would join with Barnie and others in totally rejecting any government role in setting standards for the blogosphere. Similarly, this effort has nothing to do with “free speech.” No one’s freedom of speech would be curtailed in any way through the voluntary adoption of standards.

    Second, this code of conduct may not be appropriate for everyone. Clearly, there are many kinds of blogs, and political blogs are only one small sub-set. Even within that subset, many people publish blogs purely as a form of self expression. They are not concerned about building credibility, enlarging their audience and influencing the political process. They have no need for a code of conduct.

    Then there are blogs published anonymously or pseudonymously. Clearly, these blogs have a significant contribution to make. They provide a forum for informed insiders to share information and insights they could not share publicly. Insofar as they aspire to building credibility, they might consider adopting codes of conduct that embrace all of Will’s tenets except for No. 1.

    But I keep coming back to the issue of credibility. If bloggers want to win the kind of readership enjoyed by the MSM, we need to adopt standards and codes of conduct analogous to those of the MSM — as much to guide our own behavior as to reassure readers with boilerplate they’ll never read.

    Jaded JD raises a critical issue for anyone promoting a code. How can it be enforced? It can’t be — not in the sense that the government or even a professional board would step in. It can only be “enforced” by the social pressure of peer bloggers and the marketplace. People stop commenting in, and linking to, blogs that violate the standards — they are “ostracized” to use Jaded JD’s word. Bad bloggers will find themselves shunned, lonely and ignored.

    That’s essentially the argument that Shaun Kenney and Sheila Riley were making to me at the blogger conference: Trust the marketplace. Readers will gravitate to the blogs with credibility and ignore those without.

    I agree totally. At the end of the day, maybe this exercise is just about getting people to think about their own personal codes of conduct. To the extent that we as individual bloggers behave responsibly and with integrity, we can collectively elevate the blogosphere.

  12. Shaun Kenney Avatar
    Shaun Kenney

    I’ll chime in with the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra.

    This is one of the things we really didn’t address at the summit. Is it worth addressing the question what precisely – if anything – is wrong with the blogosphere today, and what will a code of ethics do to prevent unethical bloggers from doing that the current free-market system isn’t doing today?

    The best way to beat bad speech is with good speech, no imposed or self-imposed censorship.

    My US$0.02 for what it’s worth!

  13. Free speech today. Free speech tomorrow. Free speech forever.

  14. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    I appreciate the thoughtful comments here. I drafted a code without even researching existing models, as Steve Minor of SW Virginia Law Blog did:

    http://swvalaw.blogspot.com/2005/08/on-code-of-ethics-for-bloggers.html

    One reason I drafted a code is my personal difficulty with debating in the abstract. I’d rather have something tangible in front of me to reference. I like to know just what I’m really endorsing or rejecting.

    Blue, nothing is “broke.” The Virginia blogosphere is doing just fine without a code, but to address Shaun Kenney, occasionally there are charges and counter-counter charges about content that might be easier resolved if there was a code, or there are examples of “disrespect” for blogs that might not have as much credibility if there was a code. It’s not a crisis or even a big problem. I think Jim Bacon puts the role of a voluntary code best–it might give the bloggers who want/need it more credibility.

    I’m a pretty strong supporter of the First Amendment also. This code is only tangentially related. The First Amendment gets knocked around a lot these days and I don’t think it’s as much of a “given” as some of us think. I’d like those who reject a code to consider instead putting a “Free Speech Zone” or “Proud Supporter of the First Amendment” button on their blogs if they don’t accept a code.

    I see a basic incompatibility between being an absolutist on free speech and simultaneously criticizing anonymous posters or commenters.

  15. Not Larry Sabato Avatar
    Not Larry Sabato

    We’re adopting this on our site, in it’s current form. If Will decides to change it, we will probably adopt the changed version.

    To listen to Jaded JD talk against blogging ethics, while he smacked us around for no reason stinks of hypocracy.

  16. I think a modular, pick and choose, type of code would be particularly useful. The creative commons does a great job of providing a pick and choose format for copyright. I think a code of ethics could be modeled after that pretty well. Perhaps the most stringent version would not allow anonymous blogging etc. While the least stringent version could just say “I won’t steal.”

    Maybe?

  17. The Jaded JD Avatar
    The Jaded JD

    To NLS, I offer this rejoinder: my comments on this thread were directed towards an enunciated code of conduct subscribed to, and in some way enforced upon its subscribers. In fact, my #6 above is entirely consistent with my behavior regarding your blog: “If A doesn’t like the way B runs his blog, A can do whatever he wants to do in response (hopefully within the realm of good taste). . . .” If you’re saying removing a blogger with whom one disagrees, whether on policy or etiquette, from one’s blogroll is distasteful, how is that different from failing to add a blogger to begin with? And once you turn down that road, you’re almost obliging every blog to blogroll every other blog, or else the exclusion is to be taken as an insult.

    My rules for inclusion on my blogroll were published here–which Mr. Vehrs once called “run[ning] a pretty tight ship.” I explained the reason for removing your blog from my blogroll here, because I reckon anyone whom I delist should know why I’ve delisted him. As at least a couple people who read this site know, I don’t enjoy turning private disagreements public–especially not on other people’s blogs–but I’ll be happy to discuss this with you further off-line in email.

  18. James Young Avatar
    James Young

    Good effort, Will, and it was a pleasure meeting you this weekend. A couple of errant comments, though:

    1. I’m not sure anybody’s saying “it’s broke,” or asserting that this will “fix” it. We’re certainly not talking about “censorship” (no state action) but rather, standards. Many are ones that we all apply, one way or another, currently.

    2. The issue of anonymity: What I think this is attempting to do is differentiate/discriminate between respectable and disreputable commentary. There’s plenty in the blogosphere — too much, really — that is scurrilous. There is plenty more where craven carpers attack in anonymity those who attach there own name to their commentary, quite often slandering them in the process. I would suggest that we at least debate an ethic of transparency, which I would propose to be a matter of honor, which would per se render such anonymous commentary disreputable.

    3. I would add to number six a provision for removing BS commercial spams, like the sort I had to endure on my post about the summit.

    4. Barnie, good to meet you, too, on Saturday. I suspect our partisan differences to the contrary notwithstanding, we could enjoy a couple of beers together. That having been said, I don’t think we’re talking about the First Amendment, because it’s not an issue of government regulation, but rather, an issue of both demanding and voluntarily fostering a spirit of respectability, particularly since most of Will’s suggestions are, among this crowd, “Damn rights” describing their behavior already. I think JD’s comments recognize this point.

    5. Steve/Blue Dog — I don’t think it’s a silly gesture, for many of the reasons cited by JD. There is an on-line community, and we are setting standards, even if we don’t recognize that we are doing so. I would submit that we do so deliberatively, lest we dislike what arises naturally.

    I would also associate myself with Jim 6:22’s comments.

  19. subpatre Avatar

    We’re faced with irony at its finest. On one hand, identity-branded media squabbles for dwindling markets in a contest of mediocrity. On the other hand, there’s a squabble over identity branding by users of the best hope for diversity; a bright and shining hope made possible by pseudonymous posting.

    In a rare display, I’ll admit some non-Virginians contributed; but there have been anonymous posters before. They shaped the debate, and in doing so they shaped the world as we know it: Centinel, Brutus, Cato, John DeWitt, Montezuma, and others argued one side; the group posting as Publius, one-third Virginian, stood for the other.

    Without the liberty to debate under the shield of pseudonymity, there would be no protection of press, no recognition of free speech rights. Anonymity conceived our First Amendment; shame on those who mistrust it.

    Whether fear of identity theft, reprisal by an employer, multiple authors, security from extremists enraged over moral issues, retaliation against a business, realistic expectations of bias, or sensitivity to publicity; there may be more reasons, and more compelling reasons, for a blogger to obscure identity than to reveal it.

    We live in a nation (counting the Patriot Act!) of unparalleled freedom rising from our Constitution; which was written and published, then publicly debated by pseudonymous postings. Deficiencies exposed by these unnamed writers led to a consensus for modifications, one of them the first time in history to give these rights Constitutional protection:

    16. That the People have a right to Freedom of speech, and of writing and publishing their Sentiments; that the Freedom of the Press is one of the great Bulwarks of Liberty, and ought not to be violated” -George Mason (Virginia) Master Draft of the Bill of Rights

  20. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    Subpartre, that was a stirring defense of anonymous bloggers and commenters and I thank you for it.

    I want to make clear my position: anonymous bloggers are ok in my book,and maybe more than ok when they blog anonymously to tell the truth because if they revealed themselves, they would be cut off from viewing the truth. All my code of conduct would ask is that an anonymous blogger say this: “I blog anonymously because I face possible reprisal for the opinions I express.”

    As for anonymous commenters, all I have ever asked is that they pick some identity and at least stick with that identity through each individual thread. Where are the great anonymous names like Brutus, DeWitt, or Montezuma? I’d settle for “123” so I wouldn’t have to type “Anonymous 8:51.” But, even if they do just use “Anonymous,” I’m to complain about their lack of a name.

    Note the quality of this thread–not a single “Anonymous,” but plenty of anonymous names: Laszlo, JadedJD, Ross, and you, Subpartre.

  21. Barnie Day Avatar
    Barnie Day

    Well said, Subpatre. Very well said. Sooner or later, ideas stand or fall on merit–not on origin or authorship.

  22. James Young Avatar
    James Young

    Perhaps my comment is misunderstood, or perhaps I didn’t qualify it appropriately: I do not condemn all pseudo/ano-nymous bloggery, some of which can be and is justified for the reasons cited, especially Will’s. Rather, I condemn that substrata which engages in scurrilous/personal/libelous attacks.

    And shame on those who confuse condemnation of such attacks with “mistrust” of the First Amendment. I’d be willing to wager that my First Amendment credentials — in light of my professional activities — are at least equal to any of those posting here.

    But there’s the rub, isn’t it? Subpatre at least suggests my “mistrust” of the First Amendment. My record on it is public, and therefore, easily ascertainable. His or hers is … what? We cannot know, whether it is because of “fear of identity theft, reprisal by an employer, multiple authors, security from extremists enraged over moral issues, retaliation against a business, realistic expectations of bias, or sensitivity to publicity,” we do not know. For all we know, it could just be fear of being called to political account for inconsistency by those subpatre chooses to label “extremists enraged over moral issues,” a fairly disparaging and loaded term in itself.

    Moreover, what subpatre references are not “First Amendment” issues, unless the employer in question is the government. The First Amendment only offers protection against state action, not private response, and the fears cited and/or held by subpatre (or anyone else, for that matter) are the consequences — I would posit — that honorable men should be willing to face/accept/fight when they choose to offer opinions in the public square. The fear of such consequences — short of the threat of physical harm, which is, of course, a crime — should give them pause in expressing those opinions.

    There are many who rightly or wrongly decry the lack of civility in current American politics. The blogosphere promotes such incivility writ large. The standard I suggest is no more complicated than this: if you’re not willing to put your name on it, perhaps you shouldn’t be saying it.

    And Barnie, while I would agree with your last comment to a degree, wouldn’t you also agree that some ideas/comments are appropriately judged by the quality/reputation/character/history of the men and/or women who espouse and advocate them?

  23. subpatre Avatar

    McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission, and its dissent documents the honorable tradition of anonymous speech through American history.

    The practice of publishing one’s thoughts anonymously or under pseudonym was so widespread that only two major Federalist or Anti-Federalist pieces appear to have been signed by their true authors…” – Thomas, concurring

    In a bizarre inversion on integrity, Mr. Young excludes many of the nation’s Founders from the ranks of “honorable men….willing to….offer opinions in the public square“:
    Pacificus (Alexander Hamilton), Helvidius (James Madison), Publius (John Jay, Hamilton, and Madison jointly), Agrippa (James Winthrop), A Federal Farmer (Richard Henry Lee), Candidus (Samuel Adams), Cato (Gov. George Clinton), Cincinnatus (Arthur Lee), A Citizen of America (Noah Webster), A Landholder (Oliver Ellsworth) are just a few of these.

    Debating issues is always acceptable. Suggesting these men lack integrity or honor is so mind-boggling, so outrageous, it negates any point the author intended. But I digress.

    The crux of the issue -as claimed by Mr. Young-is the reputation, character, or quality of the person blogging. On the one hand is this pseudonymous poster with no discernable education, position, reputation, maturity, or character; on the other is someone willing to wager [his] First Amendment credentials, while simultaneously insulting those who created that Amendment. What’s the value of credentials so easily gambled away?

    Legal issues are no different between named and anonymous bloggers. There’s little difference in liability or consequences; either type of blogger can accept praise or admit mistakes. Either type can ‘stand behind’ their posts -whatever that means-as is done here with abundant hyperlinks.

    So why was our Constitution debated under pseudonyms? Despite his allegation, the debaters did have all those fine qualities Mr. Young claims are crucial, yet they deliberately concealed them.

    The Framers used anonymity because they possessed qualities Mr. Young’s so impressed by; the same reason the presidential title “Mr. President” was chosen instead of Adams’ proposalHis Highness, the President of the United States of America, and Protector of their Liberties

    Far beyond lip service, our Founders really held some truths to be self-evident, believing that all men are created equal. They deliberately put themselves (down) on a level playing-field with all citizens. They trusted that their article’s content would stand on its own merits; without the crutch of reputation or character. They were right.

    Rote memorization doesn’t guarantee expertise. Mr. Young not only misunderstands our Constitution, he has its principles utterly backwards.

  24. James Young Avatar
    James Young

    Subpatre asserts that “Mr. Young not only misunderstands our Constitution, he has its principles utterly backwards.”

    Well, here’s one of those pesky credentials: I, alone among those commenting (I suspect), actually have a Firat Amendment victory before the Supreme Court under my belt (Prescott v. County of El Dorado (2000)). Didn’t get to argue the case; Supremes granted cert., vacated, and remanded the Ninth Circuit decision. Subpatre, on the other hand, offers his obviously encyclopedic knowledge of the American founding (superior to my own, I must confess), coupled with an unfortunate misapprehension about the extremely narrow type of speech that I was criticizing (which, I assume, is still an activity protected by the First Amendment).

    Here’s the problem with subpatre’s construction: I didn’t “Suggest[] these men lack integrity or honor”; i.e., that all anonymous speech is pe se dishonorable. What I said (and I’ll say it again, since subpatre apparently didn’t get it the first time) was “I do not condemn all pseudo/ano-nymous bloggery, some of which can be and is justified for the reasons cited, especially Will’s. Rather, I condemn that substrata which engages in scurrilous/personal/libelous attacks.” Thus, I neither “insult” these men nor make any “allegation” against them; my comment was not directed at their activities, which subpatre would or should agree did not involve “scurrilous/personal/libelous attacks.”

    Here’s a for instance: the English authors of an ostensibly academic book on American conservatism write about a “bizarre ritual” occurring at a meeting of the Third Generation meeting at the Heritage Foundation days after Bush 41’s defeat in 1992. I suppose that one could just dismiss it as unlikely, but as one who happens to have been there, in the front row, my authority to suggest that the authors’ description bore almost no relation to reality enriches the context of my comment. That context is virtually nonexistent absent confirmable facts provided by not remaining anonymous.

    Furthermore, while subpatre offers an idealistic, almost pollyannish explanation for the Founders anonymity, the point that virtually every one of the men cited by subpatre was engaged in the Founding of a nation, as distinct from engaging in commentary in an established Republic which protects speech against government infringements seems so substantial and so obvious that I hesitate to make it, but there it is.

    We have no disagreement about the constitutional protection for and the value of anonymous speech. And perhaps, had subpatre been stung by the type of activity that was actually the subject of my post, he would recognize the distinction that I was making.

  25. subpatre Avatar

    After 100 words on the importance of credentials, a cursory look shows -at very best- a distant, feeble relationship to free speech. It has squat to do with anonymous publishing, and even less (if possible) with blogging ethics.

    There is recent case on anonymous publishing, the argument centered on the First Amendment. More important is the analysis and background on the Founders use and beliefs about anonymity, and the ethics involved.

    Of concern is that a credentialed expert appears A) ignorant of this relevant First Amendment case, B) knows little if anything of the reasoning for the Amendment, and C) fails to even glance over the references provided. The post illustrates that knowledge -truth, information, facts- and the credentials are unconnected. Content is what matters.

    Which comes full circle: our Founders believed posting anonymously leveled the playing field. Anonymity eliminates the fallacy of argument from respect, removes incentive to puffery and conceit, and encourages clear reason.

    Justice Thomas’ concurrence,
    ….anonymous speech has an expressive value both to the speaker and to society that outweighs public interest in disclosure

  26. James Young Avatar
    James Young

    Subpatre, ignoring the narrow topic upon which I focus — “that substrata which engages in scurrilous/personal/libelous attacks” — is doubtless useful to you, but doesn’t strengthen your attack, which is likewise weakened by your failure to acknowledge my comment that “We have no disagreement about the constitutional protection for and the value of anonymous speech.”

    Yes, I am guilty of all of which you accuse me, because I am not about to research irrelevancies that I don’t dispute, because they don’t address the topic at hand. I don’t research authorities on the Thirteenth Amendment when I am litigating a First Amendment case, either. Call me provincial.

    You persist in neglecting to explain why “scurrilous/personal/libelous attacks” have anything to do with “the fallacy of argument from respect,” or “the incentive to puffery and conceit,” or “clear reason.”

    Or why it is “clear reason” to throw around words like “ignorance.”

  27. Anonymous Avatar

    “4. I will avoid personal attacks or unfair characterizations of the subjects of my published works and the readers who offer comments.”

    The code should instead read as follows: I will intentionally refer to certain types of personal behavior when attacking persons I disrespect. If the subject of the attack has a gambling or anger management problem I will refer to it frequently.

    Jonathan S. Mark
    GoodbyeJim.com

  28. James Young Avatar
    James Young

    Jonatha, I thought the idea here was to change for the better, not institutionalize what already happens too frequently. 😉

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