C.O.B.E. Revised: Form-Based Duties in Blog Ethics
Pondering why codes proposed in the past really havent taken hold, I spent some time reevaluating Jonathan Dubes Code of Bloggers Ethics and the six standards proposed by Rebecca Blood. What I discovered was that these codes were grounded in the function of blogs rather than in their form.
The Blogosphere has a nearly endless variety of bloggers with an endless variety of purposes for blogging or functions for blogs. Dube and Blood base their codes largely on values associated with the journalistic function of blogs. If their codes are used, then bloggers will have more credibility and be trusted to a higher degree by the public, but this view may be too limited.
One thing bloggers have in common is the form of the blog (time-stamped posts, comments, blogrolls, links, etc.). This is the blogospheres common denominator and thus any proposed code of ethics should prioritize the values and duties associated with the rhetorical form of blogging. After reviewing the new communication technology ethics scholarship and the comments posted on this study from this perspective, I have come to consider interactivity and the struggle to build human relationships and communities in blogging environments to be core, form-related duties in blogging.
This revised version of COBE reflects this shift of emphasis.
● Post to your blog on a regular basis
● Visit and post on other blogs
● Respect blog etiquette
● Attempt to be entertaining, interesting, and/or relevant
Promote Free Expression
● Do not restrict access to your blog by specific individuals or groups
● Do not self censor by removing posts or comments once they are published
● Allow and encourage comments on your blog
Strive for Factual Truth
● Never intentionally deceive others
● Be accountable for what you post
Be as Transparent as Possible
● Reveal you identity as much as possible (name, photo, background info, etc.)
● Reveal your personal affiliations and conflicts on interest
● Cite and link to all sources referenced in each post
Promote the Human Element in Blogging
● Minimize harm to others when posting information
● Promote community by linking to other blogs and keeping a blogroll
● Build relationships by responding to e-mails and comments regularly
NOTE: A PDF of a revised version of the paper that resulted from this study will be posted here as soon as possible.