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Kathy Sierra: Tim O'Reilly's Take on Regulation

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Chris Vallance | 04:44 UK time, Wednesday, 28 March 2007

In a much longer interview about Web2.0 (which I'll post part of here shortly - and will run on the next Pods and Blogs) Tim O'Reilly, the founder of O'Reilly Media the company behind E-tech, and one of the web's most influential thinkers reacted to events surrounding the threats to Kathy Sierra supporting calls for self-regulation and a bloggers code of conduct.

Tim condemned what had happened to Kathy, "Obviously what happened with Kathy Sierra is dreadful and the people who do those kind of things are truly despicable..those people should be incredibly ashamed of themselves."

Supporting calls for a code of conduct to prevent incidents like this Tim said, " I do think we need some code of conduct around what is acceptable behaviour, I would hope that it doesn't come through any kind of [legal/government] regulation it would come through self regulation."

But Tim was clear, rightly so in my opinion, to draw a distinction between the medium and the message: bad bloggers do not make blogging bad. In Tim's words, "The fact that there's all these really messed up people on the internet is not statement about the internet it is a statement about those people and what they do and we need to basically say that you guys are doing something unacceptable and not generalise it into a comment about this is what's happening to the blogosphere."

I think that's spot on. The issue of a code of conduct is more complex. Good manners and decent behaviour are also in a way codes - perhaps formally reminding people of these in a formal way would be no bad thing. But communities enforce behaviour in less formal more organic ways too. The reaction to this incident will, I think, make many would be trolls and flamers think twice. In their myriad of posts supporting Kathy bloggers have already laid down some new rules of behaviour.

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