Sunday, April 22, 2007

Responsible Commenting

Last week I read about a blogger getting threats to her life by people commenting on her blog. Kathy Sierra who writes at (a fantastic blog with some great insight into user interaction) received several life-threatening comments along with some ugly sexist insults. I suggest that you visit her blog to read the details. We get hundreds of comments on Sportingo every day and for the most part they are insightful, add value to the debate and present a supporting/opposing opinion or correct facts.

But a small amount seem to cross the line and turn personal and ugly. Sexual or personal insults that have nothing to do with the article or other comments add nothing to the debate.

As a founder of Sportingo, a site which encourages civil conversation among sport fans around the world, I feel it is my responsibly to tackle the issue of inappropriate commenting and take a clear stand about what we want, and most importantly what we do not want to see in comments.

We (that means all of us, blogers, writers readers) want to be treated with respect. We want to be listened to and listen to others, we want to argue, voice our opinion and raise controversy. We want to keep the right to our opinion, and we don't want to be censored, but we do want and expect to be treated with respect and dignity even if people find our opinions disturbing.

I realise that 'free speech' proponents will yell 'fool' and call this post an attempt at censorship. I also realise that the line between keeping a civil discussion and censorship is a very fine one. But sexual insults and life threats have nothing to do with censorship - they are plain wrong. Calling someone a c**t just because she wrote that her football team is going to beat the team you support is plain wrong.

We need to set our own borders, define a set of morals and apply some plain common sense, and then go out and state our opinions, get a conversation going about what we as a global society of bloggers/ writers/ net citizens feel is the make-up of a responsible conversation. But most important let's make it clear that we will not accept members of our community abusing our fellow citizens. And we will stand up and use our keypads to state our disgust.

To encourage this dialogue I set up a site My friend and very talented designer Udi Bobrovsky designed a button which I urge you to put on your blog, forum or website which shows your support for this issue. Please visit the new site and give me your suggestions on what else we can do to support this initiative and improve our community.


Simone ( I will exercise for comments) said...

I think you have taken the first step to helping alleviate the problem. Awareness is the beginning.

Thank you.

I have posted the sign on my blog.

gidibao said...

I agree with you.

I've translated it in Italian... please feel free to use it ;-)

All the best

gidibao said...

I's sorry for the broken link

check this


I have put your sign on my blog. I would like to see a blogroll for this. :-)

Ze'ev said...

Hi blue butterfly, thanks for your support and I hope you can help spread the word

Mariana said...

I love the idea, but please:

Please, make one in spanish!!!
I can help you with the traslation.

Visit me at:

Kisses from Mariana

surf98/dgeorge said...

Great idea I have added one of your banners to dgthekneelo, it's fine as long as it doesn't get pompous. (Characterized by excessive self-esteem or exaggerated dignity; pretentious: pompous officials who enjoy giving orders). Creating a bigger problem from people thinking it cool to offend.
Good luck and very best wishes,
david george (aka dgthekneelo)

Commentaire Responsable De Soutien

BOBXNC said...

Great idea for the site. I will blogroll it and add the banner on my blog. I have adopted a Code of Conduct for my site. It seems to have helped. It would be great if your site could lead to a uniform CoC . We need something to bring civil discourse back.

Paula the Surf Mom said...

Thanks for this... we are having issues like on a local level where I live in North Carolina... seems that we have some rather fascist folks here that will come to your house a 'pay you a visit' if you blog about a subject they feel is inappropriate and you never seem to know what might be deemed inappropriate to them.

I will be adding you widget to my site as this is a cause I whole heartedly support.

K said...

I guess bloggers need to develop a comment policy that shall not discourage people from commenting yet shall be serious about not tolerating abuse.

Anonymous said...

Responsible blogging and responsible commenting go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, some bloggers, like some newspapers, think ink (keypad) is cheap and they can do with it what they want. With no controls on honesty on the internet, there will never be anything put on most blogsites that everyone can completely trust.
Like web forums, blogging has become a sleazy form of you said/I said/we said; and who said what first.
Tommy O.

Anonymous said...

BeachHuggers of the Outer Banks supports "Responsible Commenting" on blogs/forums and websites.
And, believe us, we know how irresponsible/inflamatory/libelous and slandeous people, including bloggers can be.
Visit our website anytime. We support your efforts.

CJWriter said...

I was very pleased to come across your initiative. I support you wholeheartedly and hope that your support grows every day.

The appalling behaviour of people online has gone unchallenged for too long, and I think your initiative and Tim O'Reilly's Code of Conduct are great. Hopefully they'll be the start of something that will catch on everywhere.

I've written about this on my site if anyone would like to have a look.
Exploring netiquette

~ Swan said...


I think this is a wonderful idea and would love to support it with the blue 'daisy' logo. However, with the white background, it just doesn't fit my site.

Could you either provide a way to edit the elements of the logo, or at least provide one with a border, so that it doesn't look like an eyesore on non-white backgrounds?

Thank you!
~ Swan

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JG said...

Since you have a button in English and Italian, a button in Spanish would be nice too. If you're interested in making one, here's my suggested translation:



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leonore said...

Done pasting it on my main blog...I am also a victim of that kind but more subtle. I knew who wrote nasty messages on my chatter box because they left a trail. I just ignored and removed the chatter box instead.
Some people are...

Static Brain said...

It's a great idea. I posted a comment policy on my blog because people were being racist, and obscene. Just because a person doesn't agree with another's viewpoint doesn't mean they have the right to abuse that person. It isn't censorship to take out foul or abusive mean spirited remarks.

vikas Gupta, Sabarmati, JNU said...

I am going to use the button. Thanks.

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