The Blogger’s Code of Ethics

Wickersham’s Conscience tries to adhere to the Blogger’s Code of Ethics. If you think WC is falling short, you should call him out.

Oh, and if anyone thinks WC does anything but advocacy, they probably shouldn’t hang out here.

Be Honest and Fair

Bloggers should be honest and fair in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
Bloggers should:
• Never plagiarize.
• Identify and link to sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability.
• Make certain that Weblog entries, quotations, headlines, photos and all other content do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
• Never distort the content of photos without disclosing what has been changed. Image enhancement is only acceptable for for technical clarity. Label montages and photo illustrations.
• Never publish information they know is inaccurate — and if publishing questionable information, make it clear it’s in doubt.
• Distinguish between advocacy, commentary and factual information. Even advocacy writing and commentary should not misrepresent fact or context.
• Distinguish factual information and commentary from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.

Minimize Harm
Ethical bloggers treat sources and subjects as human beings deserving of respect.
Bloggers should:
• Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by Weblog content. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
• Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
• Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of information is not a license for arrogance.
• Recognize 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.
• Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects, victims of sex crimes and criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.

Be Accountable
Bloggers should:
• Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
• Explain each Weblog’s mission and invite dialogue with the public over its content and the bloggers’ conduct.
• Disclose conflicts of interest, affiliations, activities and personal agendas.
• Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence content. When exceptions are made, disclose them fully to readers.
• Be wary of sources offering information for favors. When accepting such information, disclose the favors.
• Expose unethical practices of other bloggers.
• Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.

4 thoughts on “The Blogger’s Code of Ethics

  1. Where’s the simple “be fair” requirement? You should have called Pete Kelly and asked him about his kid. Not a fun call to make, but a call someone needs to make. If Pete doesn’t want to answer questions about this fine, but you make the call anyway and simply note that he failed to talk. Likewise for calling the kid and/or his attorney — no matter your opinion of any of them. It’s the responsible thing to do. Granted, a sitting state senator should have put this all on the record and issued a statement about his view on Erin’s Law when this first came up. But just because he failed to behave in a responsible and transparent way doesn’t mean you should do likewise.

    • For what it’s worth, WC had no response to an email to Senator Kelly’s office the day before the article went up. Please review the three disclaimers at the top of the blog post.

      I not, too, that if Senator Kelly wants to respond, he knows how to find WC.

      Does WC now have authorization to chastise you for your often wholly one-sided articles?

      /WC

  2. I got to your blog from a citing on Hack Wilson’s page on Wikipedia. It leads to a conclusion you made about his physical characteristics being caused by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in a blog post reviewing the book Fouled Away. You wrote, “First, although Parker dwells at length and many times on Wilson’s odd physique, he never connects the dots between Wilson’s hard-partying, hard-drinking mother and Wilson’s large head, tiny feet, short legs and broad, flat face.” but when I looked at the FAS page on wikipedia those don’t seem to be listed as of FAS. Wikipedia says they typically have smaller heads, a smooth philtrum: The divot or groove between the nose and upper lip flattens with increased prenatal alcohol exposure;Thin vermilion: The upper lip thins with increased prenatal alcohol exposure (I can see this is possible). Small palpebral fissures: Eye width decreases with increased prenatal alcohol exposure. I don’t know if these features were present enough to make that conclusion.Also I feel like hitters need good eyesight which is something that is normally detrimentally effected by FAS. What do you think? Am I interpreting the wikipedia FAS page wrongly? Sorry for the copy and paste from wikipedia I think I broke the rules there myself.

    • Thanks for your comment. WC suggests consulting WebMD instead of Wikipedia. Read the whole article. Then read Fouled Away. Have a look at the various images on the Web of Wilson. WC is not a doctor or clinician, but still thinks that his informal diagnosis is pretty likely.

      /WC

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