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Monday, April 16, 2007

Take code of conduct and insert

There's been a proposal for a Bloggers' Code of Conduct. I can only endorse Shuggy's response, which has the crispness which the circumstances demand.

Actually, tell a lie, I can do a little more than that. Clause 2 of the draft code says:-

'We won't say anything online that we wouldn't say in person.'

Well, excuse me, but Mr Grumpy exists precisely in order to enable his alter ego to say things that he wouldn't say in person.

Apart from anything else, I am British. If I subscribed to this clause, I would presumably have to confine my blogging to remarking on how unseasonably warm the weather is for the time of year, and asking my readers whether they had any holidays planned. Interested, anybody?

Item: my last post described an elderly gentleman from North London as having made a twat of himself. Would I describe him as a twat to his face? Certainly not. That would imply a global judgment of him as a person, and I am quite prepared to believe that he is kind to animals, an assiduous recycler and a devoted husband and father. As it is, however, all I know of him is contained in the few sentences he has placed in the public domain of the Guardian letters page. I could have paraphrased my reaction by saying that they display the fruits of a lifetime spent in the service of an intellectually and morally bankrupt cause, but I rather doubt whether I would say that to his face either. So what? The important thing is that it is true. And by the way, if he wants to tell me what he thinks of me, I welcome comments...

Item: if I met someone socially and discovered that he was a divorced father, I wouldn't steer the conversation into a discussion of the possible relationship between single parent families and gun crime. But that is exactly what I did to none other than Shuggy recently (in this and subequent posts), and if he was offended it didn't stop him giving as good as he got. The rules of engagement are clear to both sides: no quarter is given, but we keep well on the right side of abusive. Political blogging is not for exchanging strokes, it's for debating ideas - as Shuggy would no doubt agree.

I have my own unwritten code of conduct, thank you very much. Frail child of dust that I am, I doubtless go over the top from time to time. For anyone who finds my conduct unacceptable, the solution is very simple, and I wish you Godspeed to more anodyne regions of the blogosphere.

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