Brad Stone of the New York Times has made a call for civility on the Internet, asking for a code of conduct. Some think it’s coming too late but others are saying that things like libel - are libel, and that it is never too late for some manners. You can find more information on this code in Wikia and Tim O’Reilly’s Radar.
The Style section of the Times on Sunday had what I consider a related piece - The Rise of the Takedown. This article considers how Internet bitching is a form of heckling and that heckling is on the rise – in all places. It is the heckler’s hour. Everyone has a voice and everyone is a star – therefore no one is above aggression. And sometimes the aggression is the point of it all.
I agree that there seems to be a certain anonymity when you write online, even if your name is attached. People write things they will not actually say. I’ve even heard of ingratiating meetings at openings, with all kinds of oozing warmth thrown about and plenty of time to do it in, all of it to result later in a really negative response to the show online. The negative response doesn’t alarm me so much as the almost (or outright?) calculation of it.
... But then, who actually talks about the work at an opening, right? The second code of ethics is “We won’t say anything online that we wouldn’t say in person.” That’s a tough bill to fill!
Code number five asks for no anonymous notes. The only reason I wanted anonymous notes here is just because it’s easier than signing in sometimes and I would never change that unless I absolutely had to. People should own their words but sometimes you just want to talk. For the most part, I understand.