On debate and blogging

Oliver Kamm writes in the Guardian that “parasitic, political blogs tend not to enhance but poison healthy debate.”

Well, I’d point out here that debate tends “not to enhance but poison healthy debate.” That’s the nature of the beast. Open debates, especially, tend to degenerate into incoherence, particularly on the internet, where anyone can enter a conversation, and anonymity enables trolling.

Despite that, I’m not sure what to make of this proposal to have codes of conduct for bloggers. All bloggers already have implicit codes of conduct for themselves, manifest in the way they blog and moderate comments and so on, and their credibility and readership derives from that. I’m skeptical of a formally stated code of conduct, and don’t think it would serve any purpose. Except for debate.

(IHT link via email from Arun Verma.)