A terrible idea

My god, the idea of a blogging code of conduct is a terrible idea. Jeff Jarvis explains why in technicolor prose, far better than I could.

I try to be a model of civility, both in my writing and in person. I’m sure I don’t always succeed. But I’m glad I live in a society where others are free to write and speak as they please, subject of course to long-established laws on libel, slander, incitement to violence, etc. Part of the wisdom of the US system is that these laws are post priori.

I lived in Britain for many years, most of them working as a journalist. I weathered a number of libel actions, which are both more frequent and bear greater financial penalties than in most other countries. I never had to face a preliminary injunction halting publication. It can happen in a wide variety of circumstances, although in practice its use is pretty restrained. In the US, except on the grounds of national security, that could never happen. Phew.

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