Jason’s posted a survey that asks questions that we really need to know the answers to…
Would you feel more comfortable reading a blog that had an icon showing they subscribed to a blog ethics standard that said they would not mix editorial and advertising?
Remember how tough it is to get an icon that identifies that you’re ethical if you’re NOT ethical. Heck, you can download one over at http://www.ethicalblog.org/ right now if you’re unethical. Ever notice how some sites display the “Valid” icons for CSS, DHTML, XHTML, etc? Try clicking on those icons and see just how compliant they are… There’s no easy CGI method for evaluating someone’s ethics. I think it’s entirely ethical to write about something for money if I’m very up front about it, but some people don’t think that that’s ethical.
It’s like the “Free” debate that you can have with Richard Stallman anytime you’re bored; mention how RedHat’s Fedora distribution is free, and sit back for a lecture on what the word “free” means.
If bloggers have to post a disclosure, then why not all journalists and writers? Fox News says that they’re fair and balanced, but are they?
There’s no easy answer to this other than for the reader to QUESTION THE SOURCE. If you believe I’m doing something unethical, you can let me know… all of my contact information is over there on the right side, and my phone number is scattered throughout entries here, you can comment, or you can reply on your own blog and trackback to any entry here. That’s the thing, in this wild west that is the Internet, and the blogosphere specifically; the whole place is setup as one big peer review… if someone’s a slimeball, it’s easy to find that out…
Don’t accept a WikiPedia article as fact, and don’t accept anything you read on a blog or see on TV as fact if it’s the only source of the information. The term Citizen Journalism has been mentioned in relation to blogging… so do it… verify your source. Take some responsibility when writing your entries, and some when reading others’ entries.
Relying on the Better Blogging Bureau to sanctify what is legitimate is a cop out.