Code of Ethics and Conduct

In the interests of preserving the objectivity and integrity of the writing on this blog, I've come up with a Code of Ethics and Conduct, which covers the posts on this blog as well as my policy towards comments and commentators. I've adapted these codes from drafts by Jonathan Dube, Rebecca Blood, and Tim O’Reilly.

Code of Ethics

I commit to the following with respect to entries in this blog, and to my wider participation in the wider blogosphere:

To Be Honest and Fair with respect to gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
  1. Never plagiarizing.
  2. Publishing as fact only that which I believe to be true
  3. Identifying and linking to sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability.
  4. Making certain that blog entries, quotations, headlines, photos and all other content do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
  5. Never distorting the content of photos without disclosing what has been changed. Image enhancement will only be used for technical clarity. Montages and photo illustrations will be labelled.
  6. Never publishing information I know is inaccurate -- and if publishing questionable information, I will make clear it's in doubt. Questionable and biased sources will be noted as such.
  7. Distinguishing between advocacy, commentary and factual information. Even advocacy writing and commentary should not misrepresent fact or context.
  8. Distinguishing factual information and commentary from advertising and shunning hybrids that blur the lines between the two.
To Minimize Harm to Individuals
  1. Showing compassion for those who may be affected adversely by Weblog content particularly when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
  2. Being sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
  3. Recognizing that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of information is not a license for arrogance.
  4. Recognizing that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone's privacy.
  5. Showing good taste and avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
To Be Accountable
  1. Admitting mistakes and correct them promptly.
  2. Writing each entry as if it could not be changed; adding to, but not rewriting or deleting, any entry, although I reserve the right to correct typos.
  3. Inviting dialogue with the public over the content of this blog and my conduct.
  4. Disclosing conflicts of interest, affiliations, activities and personal agendas.
  5. Denying favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence content. When exceptions are made, I will disclose them fully to readers.
  6. Being wary of sources offering information for favors. When accepting such information, these favor(s) will be disclosed.
  7. Exposing unethical practices of other bloggers.
  8. Abiding by the same high standards to which they hold others.
Code of Conduct

I consider the blogosphere to be a frank and open public conversation, that allows for personal expression and constructive dialogue. But frankness and openness does not mean that lack of civility should be tolerated. To this end, I commit to the following principles:
  1. I take full responsibility for my own words and for the comments I allow on my blog. Unacceptable content will not be allowed, and comments that contain it will be deleted. Unacceptable content is defined as anything included or linked to that:

    • Is being used to abuse, harass, stalk, or threaten others
    • Is libellous, knowingly false, ad-hominem, or misrepresents another person,
    • Infringes upon a copyright or trademark
    • Violates an obligation of confidentiality
    • Violates the privacy of others
      "Unacceptable content" will be defined on a case-by-case basis, and definitions will not be limited to this list. If I delete a comment or link, I will say so and explain why. Spam posts are the only exception to this principle, and will be terminated with extreme prejudice. [I reserve the right to change these standards at any time with no notice.]
    1. I won't say anything online that I wouldn't say in person.
    2. In case of personal conflicts, I will connect privately before responding publicly. If I encounter conflicts and misrepresentation in the blogosphere, I will make every effort to talk privately and directly to the person(s) involved – or find an intermediary who can do so – before publishing any posts or comments about the issue.
    3. When I believe someone is unfairly attacking another, I will take action, up to and including cooperation with law enforcement.
    4. Trolls will be ignored, as long as they don't veer into abuse or libel.
    The Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct will be permanently available through a link on every page of this blog. Updates and changes will be clearly marked, if and when necessary. I will continue to allow anonymous comments, until and unless this indulgence is abused.


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