At the invitation of Josh Trevino, I am signing onto and endorsing the Online Integrity Statement of Principles.
I do so with two minor caveats:
First, the principle that, “Persons seeking anonymity or pseudonymity online should have their wishes in this regard respected as much as is reasonable” is somewhat vague. My practice is to link to blog posts, inasmuch as possible, identifying the author’s name. There are several bloggers who sign their posts pseduonymously who I nonetheless refer to using their known public identies. Duncan “Atrios” Black, Barbara “Maha” O’Brien, Richard “Wretchard” Fernandez, and others come to mind. That strikes me as “reasonable,” however, given that none of them any longer make a secret of their identity.
Second, I would note that the name of this document is rather broad given it scope. “Online Privacy” would seem more apt than “Online Integrity,” since there are a whole array of other ethical principles that are not touched upon. The Statement of Principles of the Media Bloggers Association, which I helped craft and also endorse, goes further in this regard.
Update: Chris Bowers will not be signing it.
I have a very strong sense that pledges of this nature are used to tear people down who refuse to sign them, rather than to uphold the principles of whatever the pledge may claim to be upholding. I do not need the online ethics police to tell me how to act ethically online, and I certainly do not need the online ethics police to imply that I am unethical for not signing their “pledge.” Isn’t that the real implication here–that I, or whoever else refuses to sign their pledge, isn’t into “online integrity?” For that reason, isn’t this pledge a means to try and de-legitimize anyone who does not sign the pledge?
While others have indicated their intention to use it in that manner, it’s certainly not my motivation. I do think that establishing some norms for the blogging community is useful, however, and such documents and the discussion about them helps advance that goal.
Further, I read the statement that “Violations of these principles should be met with a lack of positive publicity and traffic” as saying that we should not link to posts that do this, not that we should shun blogs or bloggers. I did not, for example, link to the sites that divulged Michelle Malkin’s home address even when discussing that incident. One site, which briefly linked to that information and later de-linked it upon thinking better of it, continues to get regular linkage here.
Incidentally, while I would not have done it myself, I do not think Malkin violated the letter or spirit of the Statement by posting the official contact information of a student group that was widely available on their own websites or publications. That people used that information, from whatever source, to harrass the students is deplorable but not Malkin’s responsibility.