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Write And Wrong Wcbhm09


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Write and Wrong: A Framework for Ethical Blogging

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  • 1. Write and Wrong: A Framework for Ethical Blogging By Wade Kwon Sept. 26, 2009 WordCamp Birmingham
  • 2. How can bad ethical decisions harm your blogging?
      • Hurt your credibility. (90% of your value.)
      • Being liable, legal ramifications. (Libel, slander, invasion of privacy.)
      • Can hurt your access -- behind the scenes, products not on the market -- they won't trust you again.
  • 3. Conversely, how can good ethical decisions help your blogging?
      • Readership trusts you.
      • Referrals.
      • You can influence the conversation.
      • Good karma. :) (More likely that people will credit and treat you well in the future.)
      • Positive impact -- makes the web a better place.
  • 4. What about Perez Hilton? Why is he so popular?
      • smacked him.
      • Bad hair.
      • Hasn't built up much trust currency, people aren't rooting for him.
      • Sensationalism vs. quality -- bad stuff can be popular, it's human nature.
      • It's possible to be controversial and credible at the same time.
  • 5. Have you considered consequences of your blog posts?
      • All the time.
      • (Mike Evans) I'm a lawyer, I don't put anything that's not factual out there. Can still have edgy headlines -- Chinese drywall that smelled like rotten eggs had title "Who farted in my house?" Violated Mother's rule against using word "fart."
      • If I'm writing about someone, I generally give them a chance to respond or comment.
  • 6. Have you considered consequences of your blog posts?
      • Punking of Techcrunch by Facebook. FB pushed out feature that every photo had a "eFax this photo" but only enabled it for Techcrunch employees to bait them.
      • Techcrunch published internal Twitter documents. Who are the stakeholders? What are the ramifications?
  • 7. Have you considered consequences of your blog posts?
      • Controversy around "deep linking," what's the best way to credit sources? It was silly, they didn't understand the web, linking is fine. The more links the better, cite original sources.
      • We all find out about news from RSS readers, Twitter, Facebook, Google News, Digg,, emails from friends.
  • 8. Have you considered consequences of your blog posts?
      • Some sites put information behind a login form so they can track their users, maybe encourage them to subscribe.
      • Google Analytics is free stats software. See also: Woopra, Stats plugin (both .com and .org).
  • 9. What are good practices in social media?
      • Be authentic.
      • Give credit.
      • Separate facts and opinions.
      • Be transparent.
  • 10. What are good practices in social media?
      • Full disclosure -- no one really expects you to have a neutral point of view.
      • Responding, being part of the conversation. Not talking to people, talking with people.
      • Apologize! Humility. No one is perfect.
      • Put in corrections.
      • If you're getting paid for anything, put that at the top of the post. (Disclosure, transparency.)
  • 11. These overlap a lot with the "ethics walk."
    • First level: gut reaction. That's a terrible place to make ethical decisions, it's hard to think of all the ramifications.
    • Second level: rule obedience.
    • Third level: reflection and reasoning.
  • 12. The "ethics walk."
    • Gather people and talk to them, don't do it by yourself
    • Name the stakeholders, anyone who has a vested interest in the story.
    • Ask questions, like how you got the documents, why are you hesitating, what kind of harm could be caused, do other folks have the docs.
  • 13. The "ethics walk."
    • Brainstorm options.
    • Be accountable.
    • Be transparent.
  • 14. How to post corrections?
      • <del> element is an HTML tag for corrections. (Conversely, <ins>.)
      • &quot;New video post, with a note from the old one linking to the correction. People really appreciated it and I got a lot more traffic.&quot;
      • If BIG mistake, change title, put &quot;Updated:&quot; at top.
      • Blog posts with revision history, wiki-like. (After the Deadline plugin.)
  • 15. How to post corrections?
      • &quot;We err on putting the correction up top.&quot;
      • If there's a privacy concern, you've named someone who should not be named, take it out, don't strike it out.
  • 16. How to post corrections?
      • GigaOM strikes out, NY Times puts corrections at bottom of articles. When you write the correction you don't repeat erroneous information, also triple-check because you don't want to correct the correction.
      • Alabama law says if you correct it within 5 days of a demand there are no punitive damages.
  • 17. How to disclose affiliate links like Amazon?
      • Say something about the links.
      • Put it somewhere on the site.
      • Whether it touches the editorial side -- would you have written about this normally?
  • 18. Today’s slides
  • 19. Thank you!