Dictating to Bloggers

So many people are eager to tell bloggers what our “responsibilities” are. Take this statement, for example:

I believe that blog owners do have a responsibility: to edit things out that they don’t want appearing. It’s part of the job of keeping a blog.

Excuse me, but who exactly are you to tell complete strangers what their responsibilities are? And since when is blogging a “job”? Of course, there are bloggers who are on payroll somewhere. For the majority of us, however, blogging is a hobby. It’s something we do in our free time because it entertains us.

The only responsibilities that I recognize as a blogger are the ones I choose for myself. If I feel like censoring, I will censor. If I don’t feel like it, I won’t. And I’ll be damned if I allow some stranger  to explain to me that the way I choose to spend my free time should follow some weird rules she dreamt up in her free time.

The funny things is that blogging is the only hobby I’m aware of that attracts so many censors and rule-setters. Can you imagine a skier or a stamp-collector being approached by officious do-gooders, telling her how to do her “job” of skiing or collecting stamps?

18 thoughts on “Dictating to Bloggers”

  1. The counterpart to this attitude is when people turn up on Facebook, with the posture, “You have to accept me because I’m here!” They’re so used to using pressure tactics to get their way that the fact that Facebook has a blocking mechanism escapes them.

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  2. But didn’t I read on your blog recently that you consider yourself the new source of news – you seemed to take great pride in being one of those who are destroying print journalism. If you consider yourself the new wave of journalism, then you do have an obligation to behave like a professional journalist.

    Unless I’m not allowed to have an opinion in your universe.

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    1. ” then you do have an obligation to behave like a professional journalis”

      – You mean lie, plagiarize, sell myself out to political and corporate interests?? No, thanks. Not interested. I want to destroy print journalism, not emulate it. Those folks have disgraced themselves in so many ways that nobody should try to follow in their footsteps.

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      1. Wait – your DIARY is going to replace print journalism?? LOL. Where you lash out at, hurl bizarre insults at, and ban people who disagree with you? Furthermore, most of your posts that are not about your personal life are reactions to something someone else wrote, and consist of your declarations that they are wrong based on your personal experience.

        Keep dreaming.

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      2. I find it amusing for the time being. And I don’t often read print newspapers anymore, but I have hardly replaced them with blogs. I read and comment on blogs for entirely different reasons. Bloggers are not journalists (although some come a lot closer than others) especially when they behave like spoiled children and when they whine about criticism.

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  3. “Can you imagine a skier or a stamp-collector being approached by officious do-gooders, telling her how to do her “job” of skiing or collecting stamps?”

    Absolutely! They might not use the word “job,” but people on the ski slopes, at stamp collecting conventions, or writing in skiing and stamp collecting magazines will tell each other that they are doing things wrong. The difference with bloggers is that they are on the Web, so the officious do-gooders can tell the world how they think it should be done.

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  4. Well, I’m not sure about the blogger as that depends exactly on the agreement they have with the webhost or site owner. Generally, however, the person who owns the website (which most bloggers do) is responsible for the content on that site. Many webhosts have a TOS that forbids certain content (hard porn, violence or racism etc) so posting such content would be violating those TOS. On top of this, in most countries, certain content is illegal – for example porn depicting minors. There too, the site owner is responsible – even if they weren’t the one posting it. If one of your visitors leaves a long comment with such content, then it would still be you who is accountable (if you’re the site owner).
    Further, if you have any ads such as Adsense, they also have guidelines to what can or cannot be published.

    But the visitors definitely do not have any say in what you can and cannot put up. Should a blogger publish something illegal, then the visitor could report it to the webhost/ad network or the police but as long as you stay within the law, everyone else can go f*** themselves.

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    1. Jodie :
      No matter what you do, there is someone to tell you that you’re doing it wrong.

      This. Someone somewhere in the blogosphere once wrote “Even if you posted about what you had for breakfast this morning, someone would show up to tell you that you are lame/offensive/wrong/whatever.”

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      1. The obvious solution is a closed blog, a real diary, or just telling your friends about your breakfast. Most bloggers are proud of how many readers they have, but they are shocked and complain when someone doesn’t think they’re the cat’s pajamas. They are looking for sycophants only. Don’t you think that’s an unreasonable expectation?

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    2. Agreed. Case in point: I read this post shortly after reading an email complaining that I do too much moderating of comments in my blog and that I’m “sensoring” my readers’ opinions.

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  5. Even as independent hobby bloggers, I think we do have responsibilities, to ourselves no less than to those who read our blogs. Among them are to dig for relevant facts, to present them accurately and to provide links to sources relied upon for those facts. Where relevant facts seem to undercut our positions, we have a responsibility to say so and/or to explain why they don’t. Often, some facts are supportive and some are quite the contrary. When our opinions are not immediately distinguishable from assertions of fact, we have a responsibility to make our opinions readily distinguishable. We also have a responsibility not to distort the cited opinions of others. We are not the “mainstream news media” and it would be embarrassing to be thought of as though we were.

    Accepting these responsibilities may seem to necessitate modifying our stated positions. If so, perhaps we have a responsibility to rethink those positions. That is a growth process which, even without the other rewards blogging confers, seems well worth the effort.

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