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O'Reilly's blogger code of conduct is just silly.

I don't normally follow blogosphere drama, or any drama for that matter. The real world isn't highschool. When someone calls you a 'pooface', you ignore them. However, one particular online drama has gone just plain silly, and I feel impelled to comment.

It's gone too far. People have lost their minds.

This bloggercode of conduct draft by Tim O'Reilly is somewhat funny, silly, and downright useless.

Gerard points out the silly flaw in this code of conduct, albeit in an extremely long, verbose way, that the technology and means already exist to prevent "meanies" on the Internet. It's called the "Delete Button".

I'm reading Code 2.0 by Lessig, and he points out that the reality of "cyberspace" is that code is law. Code. Programming. Not a document detailing rules of how to be nice on the internet. He's right, too.

All of this came about becuase some poor (and surely helpless) blogger came under attack with anonymous death threats and such. Standard net citizens call the sources of these things 'trolls', and ignore them.

Is it really possible that an A-list blogger has never seen a troll before? Really? What? Can it really be that they cannot delete comments on their site?

While I feel sorry for this person becuase she clearly has never been exposed to trolls before, and may not understand how to deal with them, I'm pretty sure the best way to deal with this situation is *not* to create a lame, unenforcable "Blogger code of conduct" when in reality the code of conduct in question is meant to be applied to, well, commenters.

Despite that misnomer, it's still silly. The badges are even sillier (yes, O'Reilly created badges for this). The badges are set to indicate the kind of "meanness" you should expect on the comments.

Is that what we've come too? I thought everyone know the internet was full of stupid people. If you didn't know, well, then, I welcome you to the Internet. People will talk about raping your mother, killing your kittens, and try to get you to click on links taking you to goatse or lemonparty.

Look at any website that allows subscriber content: Slashdot, Digg, any web forum, etc. You'll find morons, wannabe pundits, trolls, etc. Some people shouldn't be allowed online. This includes Kathy Siera, who was the source of all of this lame drama.

Here some of are the rules, and my comments:

  • When we believe someone is unfairly attacking another, we take action.

    Read O'Reilly's draft. He suggests that we ask them nicely to "publicly make amends". The technology exists to block and delete comments. What else do you need?

  • We do not allow anonymous comments.

    Why is this a part of the code? Showing a badge to indicate "We don't allow anonymous comments" is superfluous. If your blog doesn't allow anonymous comments, then it will be indicated in some fashion when you try to submit (or even before). No social code is necessary. This item goes so far as to require a valid email address. We all know how well *that* works, and there certainly aren't entire projects dedicated to anonymous, fake email addresses.

  • We ignore the trolls.

    Wow, I'm glad that was in there. "Ignore the morons" seems like such a hard concept it needs to be documented.

I can't wait to see how this pans out, mostly becuase I enjoy people being stupid. People freaking out and making drama about something so stupid can't possibly go well, especially when many of those people are "important" (I use the term loosely) and have lots of money to throw at the situtation.

grok for apache log analysis

I recently made a small change to my rss and atom feeds. I add a tracker image in the content. It looks like this:
<img src="/images/spacer.gif?path_of_a_blog_entry">
Any time someone views a post in an RSS feed, that image is loaded and the client browser happily reports the referrer url and I get to track you! Wee.

This is in an effort to find out how many people actually read my blog. Now that I can track viewship of the rss/atom feeds, how do I go about analyzing it? grok to the rescue:

% grep 'spacer.gif\?' accesslog \
   | perl grok -m '%APACHELOG%' -r '%IP% %QUOTEDSTRING:REFERRER%' \
   | sort | uniq -c | sort -n
<IP addresses blotted out, only a few entries shown>
  1 XX.XX.XX.XX ""
  9 XX.XX.XX.XX ""
  10 XX.XX.XXX.XXX ""
  10 XX.XXX.XXX.XX ""
  27 XX.XXX.XXX.XX ""
Each line represents a unique viewer, and tells me what the reader was using to view the feed.

Yay grok.