Genii Weblog

Weblog Ethics

Fri 8 Aug 2003, 12:37 PM

by Ben Langhinrichs
Jonathon Delacour recently posted a discussion about  weblog ethics, and especially about the hot topic (in the blogosphere) of editing and modifying posts after they have been posted.  It is an interesting topic in general, but I thought it might be good to lay out my own rules for this blog.  I will start with the list of rules that Rebecca Blood outlines in her WebLog Ethics article, and modify them as I see fit.

1.   Publish as fact only that which you believe to be true.
I can live with that as is.  If I publish it here, it may be my perspective on the truth, but I won't deliberately mislead.

2.   If material exists online, link to it when you reference it.
This is a good point.  I do my best with regards to this, although I don't quote a lot.

3.   Publicly correct any misinformation.
This I will do if it makes sense.  Again, I don't want to mislead anyone.

4.   Write each entry as if it could not be changed; add to, but do not rewrite or delete, any entry.
I don't really agree with this.  This weblog is meant to provide inside insight into the ongoing process of software development and thinking here at Genii Software, but this is a commercial site, and I would rather edit and make posts better, particularly where I am following rule #3, than leave them alone.  In particular, tutorials (see the right hand side), are subject to modification if I realized I was less clear than I could have been, or if I find information that contradicts statements I made, or if I simply find a better way to express the information.  They should be treated as living documents.  In general, I will not edit posts simply to make me look less stupid after the fact.

5.   Disclose any conflict of interest.
I am in it for the money.  There, satisfied?

6.   Note questionable and biased sources.
All sources are questionable and biased.  Ed Brill is a great guy, but he works for IBM, and I don't plan on disclosing that every time I mention his views or quote him.  Bill Gates has some pretty valid points as well, but again, he is biased.  Unless I am quoting something I have serious doubts about myself (thus expressing my own bias), I would not claim to do this, and I doubt I would quote such sources anyway. Caveat reader!

OK, I hope that clarifies things.

Copyright 2003 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

36.1. Tom Duff
(08/08/2003 05:29 PM)

You're in it for the money? You've sold out???

I'm crushed...


36.2. Ben Langhinrichs
(08/08/2003 05:59 PM)

Sorry to disappoint. <grin>

36.3. Gerco Wolfswinkel
(08/09/2003 12:07 PM)

Meet Ben L, the naked capitalist :-)

36.4. Ben
(08/19/2003 01:38 AM)

I think people sometimes take things a little too seriously. A blob is a blog. It's your webspace that you've paid for and I don't see any reason why you can't write what the heck you want.

Disclose any conflict of interest? Note questionable and biased sources? How rediculously pompous and egotistical. The vast majority of blogs (with obvious exceptions ;-) are written by dull people with dull lives and nothing of interest to say. Creating weblog ethics is a joke, simple as that.