There has been some ugly stuff going on in the blogosphere this week. Today has been a day that some bloggers are hoping we will all use to address the issues raised: cyberbullying, cyberstalking, cyberabuse, cyber-hate-speech.
Some people are not blogging at all today in response. I'd rather blog some resources and say this:
I don't believe we can institute an enforceable blogger code of conduct that is applied to all bloggers across all subject matters. I don't believe we should even try.
I do believe that each blogger and site owner should set policies and practices in place that refuse to accommodate or tolerate cyberabuse. I believe each blog or site owner is entitled to draw their own lines and enforce them. It's your web site, you can delete crap if you want to.
I personally believe we should always draw the line at hate speech, sexual harassment and threatening speech. Even if we don't think the troll will actually act on those threats. The potential for action is not the point.
I also believe that we should do our damnedest to not conflate disagreement with abuse. But again, I do believe people will draw line sin different places. And in their own online spaces, it's their right. If you don't like where a blogger draws her line, don't read her.
If you think something crosses a line into a legal issue, then contact law enforcement and find out if you're right. Or contact a lawyer. Learn your rights and protect them.
If we've been laissez-faire until now (and we all probably have been at times), then now's the time to take it more seriously and stop the blogosphere from devolving into a racist, misogynistic, homophobic, just-plain-hateful space.
If you'd like to catch up on this issue, here are some links:
Original Kathy Sierra post about receiving death threats
Lisa Stone's response on behalf of BlogHer
Lisa Stone's original post on What do you do when you're cyberstalked, taunted or abused online?
Margalit with a great list of actions.
Where do you draw the line?