Thoughts on teaching, technology, learning and life in an era of change.
Natural blogging selection ~ no need for etiquette
May 2nd, 2008

I just commented on a post by Darren Draper regarding a set of rules or standards for education bloggers. I felt a sense of unease as I read terms like normative view, rules, standards and proper mentioned in the same stream of consciousness as healthy discussion. I do not sense that the discussion is healthy. The discussion throughout the edublogosphere in some orbits feels mandated. It seems as if a creed or set of commandments is being established by an edublogging hierarchy. I have commented elsewhere regarding my concerns that the ‘edublogosphere’ is being steered by the few and the rest must follow in its wake. I sense that now in particular.

Anyway, I reproduce my comment on Darren’s blog below for your reading pleasure.

Hi Darren,

How are you? An etiquette for the manner in which we publish and write online certainly has some merit. We can be sensible and fair.

Yet, I hope that adopting a normative view does not result in an education blogging environment that is antiseptic and possesses a “white picket fence” look and feel.

When it comes to my own writing I endeavour to do the right thing according to principles I have developed myself over time.

I do believe in etiquette. I even occasionally send emails to the staff at school regarding email etiquette.

Yet, I feel the blogging environment is different. Do we all need to adhere to a ‘set of rules’ or ‘standards’ and set a ‘proper’ example? What does the word ‘proper’ actually mean? Will the edublogosphere determine whether or not one’s blog is proper? Who will measure the suitability or rightness or appropriateness of one’s blog? Is that not up to the blogger?

There are times when I wish I had a completely anonymous blog where I could truly vent my spleen and express my frustrations with the environment that I occasionally find myself transecting. As it is, my blog is public and I am constrained by that fact. Yet, my humble blog still affords me an outlet and even a hint of ‘anarchy’ given the constraints of the workplace. I feel ‘free’ when I blog. There are no rules other than the principles that reside in my conscience.

One hopes that to be accepted as an edublogger one does not need to adopt a normative approach together with a set of rules or standards determined by others and thus be considered ‘proper’.

Some online writers may even consider the development of a standard ‘edublogger etiquette’ not an as an advancement but as a retrograde development.

Sure, do the right thing. Be fair, be reasonable, acknowledge others, and do not rip off the works of others. Surely we can figure that out for ourselves and simply allow the dynamics of the net and natural attrition to filter out the bloggers who do not do the right thing, whatever one considers ‘right’ to be.

If a blogger is not setting a ‘proper’ example according to one’s own principles then why subscribe to their blog? Simply unsubscribe. Natural blogging selection.

Best wishes, John.

My dear readers, please feel free to comment. Tee hee!

3 Responses to “Natural blogging selection ~ no need for etiquette”

  1. Keep Twitter Free! [of rules] Says:

    [...] post has a similar theme to my previous post. My thoughts were concerned with the dread of those who seemingly wish to manage or mould the world [...]

  2. Graham Wegner Says:

    I’m not sure that there is “no need for etiquette” – just that it shouldn’t be imposed by others. Self regulation and governance is the big advantage the web has over the everyday world of work and institutions. Keep it free and open – all online tools can be subverted to the user’s desire so all this attempt to control what is essentially uncontrollable could be better redirected into more productive avenues.

  3. John Larkin Says:

    Hi Graham,

    You are right there. I should have added to the title as follows ~ no need for etiquette rules.

    I agree with you that ‘self regulation and governance is the big advantage the web has over the everyday world of work and institutions’. Writing online can be liberating and enjoyable and if there were external rules it would take away some of that enjoyment.

    Thanks for the comment, cheers, John.