I quoted this before. Perhaps people will pay attention this time. Warren Ellis, on Microcasting, Message Boards And Social Networks over at Die Puny Humans:
The argument against this is usually that the net was intended to be a free conversation space, and that gating off spaces goes against its intent. Obviously, I don't agree. And further, I think the evolution of the net has outpaced early intents. There are people out there who freely admit that most of their time on the web is spent attempting to fuck up the flow of message boards. Pro trolls, would you believe. For those of us who want the net to effect cultural leverage, I think it's way past time to acknowledge that not everyone has a useful opinion and putting up a message board isn't an invitation that you want to deal with children's shit. If someone wants to sit down with you and your friends, they need to prove in some basic way that they're not going to spill their beer down their fucking shirt fronts.
I have a feeling that you can't talk about social networks without talking about social skills. I have a feeling that maintaining the net as a communications system over the next few years is neither about technology or policy -- it's about basic pub etiquette.
Right. Basic etiquette for the Uppity-Negro.com Tavern and Vegan Grill:
- Tell people who you are.
Not saying you have to use your real name, but at least include a link to your web site, or LiveJournal, or give some way for people to find out a bit more about you. Pseudonyms are fine, anonymity is not. If you need clarification on this point, ask. Politely.
- Keep in mind that you're in public.
Can't remember where I read that you shouldn't post anything on the 'net that you wouldn't want published on the front page of your daily newspaper, and the analogy doesn't hold up well under too much examination, but basically, yes. This is a public space. An archived, searchable public space. Meaning that if you say shit about someone, there is the distinct possibility that they're going to see it. And since my name is splashed all over this place, I do feel some responsibility for what's in the comments. It reflects badly on me if other folks act a fool here and I let them, you know?
- This is a fill-in-the-blank friendly space.
Queer-friendly, women-friendly, size-positive, whatever. I don't want anyone -- well, except maybe het white male conservatives and libertarians -- feeling uncomfortable. Obviously, this includes material in the comments. If this strikes you as so much political correctness, yes, you're absolutely right, blah blah thought police blah blah "no free speech," now fuck off.
Any questions? Comments?