The volume of debate over Tim O’Reilly’s Code of Conduct is overwhelming. It’s nice that Tim has stepped up to try to contribute a solution, but I don’t think any code of conduct is going to drive people to be more or less civil on the internet or elsewhere.
The knee-jerk reaction regarding civility is to ask “Is it really that hard to be a peaceful, civil human being?” The honest answer for most of us is likely yes, it takes some varying degree of work because of the daily annoyances/challenges that test one’s patience and can easily trigger negative reactions to someone or something — it takes some effort to drive one’s reactions toward a positive path when in some cases they can easily snowball down a negative, perhaps even hateful, path.
One the other hand, there are lines that most people simply do not cross. Their moral integrity instinctively prevents them from even thinking of crossing those lines — they tacitly operate by a code of decency. This is definitely not because of a blog badge they’ve posted or internet code of conduct to which they abide by.
A couple posts about this topic that I agree with are Dave’s and Shel’s. Basically, they subscribe to the school of thought that civility can’t be imposed. It seems the thought behind the code of conduct is a guideline for civil behavior, tho’ it teeters between imposing and enforcing civility. That’s all well and good, but this leads to the opening statement of this blog entry — I’m not at all convinced that the people who abide by the code do so because of it and I am certain that it’s not likely to modify the bad behaviors of the perpetrators.
As for me and my blog, we’ll continue to live in our happy land of the unpopular while continuing to make daily tourist visits to the highly populated areas. It’s kind of like living in the country where you exchange friendly waves to the few other drivers on the road vs living in [insert your least favorite major city] and run a much higher risk of getting flipped off and honked at just for being — I’m not saying that doesn’t occasionally happen in the country, but you get my gist. I hope.