Sing it with me, to the theme from TV's COPS: Bad blog, bad blog, watcha gonna do–.
Many thanks to Ann for starting up the conversation around the blog honor badges I threw together last week. There's some great conversation beginning to happen about this topic (check the comments on Ann's post) from both sides (hate mail to me, etc.)–.
Yes, mail arrived even from the dark side, who seem to take these honor badges as some type of threat. Go figure, eh? You know who you are.
One of the biggest questions surrounding this blog honor concept is, "Can't anyone, even non-honorable blogs, simply display the badge?"
The answer is yes, they could. The follow up to that is then, "Why not have a credible source like MarketingProfs back up the badges and then only administer them to people who have "passed" the requirements?"
Right, like a TRUSTe for bloggers. I get that line of thinking, and I certainly considered it. But then I realized one important thing, and that is–
The institution of a police force for bloggers, which is essentially what would need to be done, is counter-minded to the main reason why blogs are so successful in the first place.
In other words, blogging removed the gatekeepers of content and put the power of expression into the hands of everyone, without rules. Wouldn't the 'Blog Police' be an indictment of that fact?
Furthermore– How do you enforce "honor"? Can one person/company/group/deity objectively enforce standards and rules across millions of blogs?
I'm not sure it's possible.
Like any good community, the enforcement of its policies really only work through self-policing. Look at Web forums like http://www.earnersforum.com, and/or any other community you see out there online today. These forums maintain themselves through the participation of evangelical-minded members who help to enforce rules and policies, with zest and immediacy.
Sure, it's going to be tougher for us as bloggers to self police, well, not just tough, frankly, impossible. The point of the blog honor badges was/is to help that process begin; to assist honorable bloggers to begin to show their unity.
Where we go from here is up to all of us, together.
I'll leave you with one of the comments from Ann's post from Claire, which I think sums up my thoughts nicely.
"There are gazillions of blogs now, and like everything else, the relevant, honest ones will rise to the top. The rest will die away. The truth will always out, and smart people will avoid interacting with fakes. "
Take the first step (it's free).
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