Fetch the Smelling Salts!

Apparently, we uncouth bloggers are giving some folks the vapors:

Readers should be warned when they are reading blogs that may contain “crude language”, a draft blogging code of conduct has suggested.

The code was drawn up by web pioneer Tim O’Reilly following published threats and perceived harassment to US developer Kathy Sierra on blogs.

The code begins: “We celebrate the blogosphere because it embraces frank and open conversation.”

And then goes on to tell us all to shut the fuck up, because we’re just prolls who should accept our place and thank the media outlets, all six of them, for allowing us the pantomime of free press they sell us.

But here’s the thing: if you’re reading this right now, you’ve already decided for yourself if you’re going to be offended by my loose language and run to the swooning couch and have Mammy fetch the smelling salts, or read through to the end to see if I make a valid point or not. And that’s all the bloging ethics we’ll ever need. Read my words or don’t. Agree, or don’t. You can agree and leave a comment to that effect or disagree and call me names. And maybe I’ll respond and maybe I’ll delete your trollish rants. But it’s up to me to decide because it’s my fucking website. I pay for the bandwidth, I own the domain. You don’t like my perspective? Go start your own blog and call me names on it. Maybe I’ll read it, maybe I won’t. But if you don’t like what I write, you’re under no obligation to read it. That goes as much for me as it does for Atrios or any of the big dogs in blogland. And the thing is, we all figured this out pretty quickly, on our own, years ago when we started this blog stuff in the first place and we didn’t need a manual or some policy board to tell us how to run our sites. We just made up the rules as we went along. seems to be working good so far, so what’s the problem?

The problem is that the Internet is a free medium and that scares the shit out of some people. It means unpopular opinions that might have some validity have an opportunity to get heard and to spread and become popular opinions, all without gatekeepers or some authority figure giving the thumbs up. It allows for culture to be spread and evolve organically, in the hands of anyone with a desire to contribute, not just the monied elite who, for most of human history, were the arbiters of taste and expression. Now that it is no longer so, there is fear that we, the unwashed, foul mouthed masses will have a say. And that, my friends, means the end of the way things used to be.