Tim O’Reilly’s well-intentioned, but incredibly naïve, suggestion to create a set of guidelines to shape online discussion and, ultimately, bring civility and manners to the web has about as much chance of success as the proverbial snowball in hell. (Click for article in NY Times.)
O’Reilly, along with Wikipedia Founder, Jimmy Wales, are asking bloggers to, among other things ban anonymous comments left by visitors to their pages and delete threatening or libelous comments without facing cries of censorship.
Had this dynamic duo suggested such a set of guidelines say, two or three years ago, I’d give it a better than 50-50 chance of success. But, with 60 million-plus bloggers around the world doing and saying whatever they please, the chance of even a small percentage playing by Messrs. O’Reilly and Wales’ new rules is slim to none.
The genie is out of the bottle as far as online boorishness, poor manners and inappropriate postings. In fact, the Blogosphere reminds me of the Old West where lawlessness reigned supreme and the quickest gun (or, in the Blogosphere’s case, the quickest typepad) won the day. So, hats off to O’Reilly and Wales, but the guys with the Black hats can’t and won’t be controlled.