Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Blogs need content warnings.

Just read this story over at the BBC about a group of bloggers trying to stick content warnings all over the blogsphere. Lead by Tim O'Reilly, these moral guardians are coming up with a code of conduct for bloggers which includes this:

We are committed to the 'Civility Enforced' standard: we will not post unacceptable content, and we'll delete comments that contain it.

Missing of course the entire point of who decides what is unacceptable and why the fuck should those that disagree on that standard have to bow down to it? It's just another case of the power hungry human mind trying to control others and it stinks.

I'm no fan of moral relativism and neither am I a fan of those I strongly disagree with over topics such as religion, terrorism, superstition, and so on, and I strongly object to their right to even hold their opinions as I think all opinions must submit to evidence and the right to hold them is lost when the evidence tells you that the opinion is simply wrong. But part of discovering that evidence requires opinions to be stated and part of countering opinions requires an open forum for discussion. In other words, even those I most strongly disagree with should be free to write whatever they want in their blogs. So called unacceptable content will disappear when the unacceptable opinion does and killing the opinion is the sole responsibility of the evidence and not of some bunch of moral crusaders using dangerous terms like "Civility Enforced" and setting rules regarding what is and what is not acceptable to discuss.

Co-founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, is backing the plan and he had this to say.

"The question is: Do we allow people to use our blogs as places to embark on threatening behaviour and really abusive personal insults?

"You don't have to insult people to be frank."

But who decides what constitutes threatening behaviour. I've had quite a few people wish that I was dead – does wishing count? Not to me. You can wish all you want, I'm pretty comfortable that you're not about to find a genie to make that wish come true. What if someone tells me they are going to kill me? Guess what – there are already laws to deal with that sort of thing and that makes the threatening angle of this code of conduct just plain fucking stupid. If someone is threatening you then they are most likely already violating a real law and that by some, such as governments and their law enforcement agencies, might be considered a little more seriously than a violation of some stupid code drawn up by whiners with nothing better to do than try to make themselves feel important and who already have the ability to delete or moderate anything posted on their own blog.

So what about insult? Two words – Muhammad Cartoons. It is the insulted party that decides to be insulted and they can decide that about any petty little thing they choose and with as much ferocity and absence of self control as their unreasonable nature can allow. The blogger has no control over the attitudes or actions of others and as such is not responsible for them in anyway. I say god doesn't exist – do you have any idea how many people on this planet find that insulting? It's in the billions. Do I give a shit? Not at all! If they want to be insulted that's up to them. If they think they have a right not to be insulted I'll agree only in so far as they have a right not read anything that they find insulting and if they do so by accident then that's just one of the risks of trying to interact with the world.

When I first launched this blog I had a line of text at the top that read as follows:

If you are easily offended, fuck off.

Perhaps that should be the text of the abusive content banner they want blogs that might offend someone to display. Of course that means on every blog because you can't please all of the people all of the time.

If you enjoyed this article please feel free to digg it down below.


Theo said...

Hehehe... what did the Thought Police think of your suggestion? Can't imagine the Xtian blogs signing up in their droves!

chooseDoubt said...

How about if I changed it to "Jesus says 'If you're easily offended, fuck off'"?

(After all, he already says "If you think critically go to hell")

vjack said...

If only warning labels do for blogs what they did for album sales in the recording industry! Just think of the hit counts!

I agree with you. Just another example of the morality police needing to put their Jesus in our business.

Louie said...

I added this to the bottom of my own blog recently: 'If you're offended, I suggest you f*ck off and visit everythingisn'tpointless.com'

Perhaps they should just have a register of offensive bloggers and have us shot now?