Good news, guys--they're making the Internet nice now!!! Or at least, some people are trying to, by endorsing bans on anonymous commenting and doing things like encouraging people to cite at least two sources before passing along breaking news or rumors. It even made the New York Times!
I see no downside whatsoever to taking a medium that thrives on being flexible, responsive, and unmoderated and implanting some good old fashioned rules to make it more like the media establishment it was created as an alternative to. I'd even like to propose some additional rules!
1. If you don't have anything nice to say, post a picture of a bunny.
The second part of this maxim used to be, "Then don't say it at all," but this is the Internet! Everyone's got to chime in on everything. However, why say, "This is a stupid article, you're ugly, and I hope you die," when you can just post this:
2. If you still have to say something mean, at least make it look like the bunny said it.
That way it will at least look less harmful.
3. Cite sources for EVERYTHING!
I too am in favor of weeding out all the nasty rumors that get spread on the web. It's not fair that the Internet can accuse Lindsay Lohan of falling of the wagon without citing at least five sources--don't these gossip blogs know that the President makes national security decisions based on this type of information?!?!
This type of accountability needs to be taken right down to the MySpace level so that there's no way to get any of these crazy untruths out anymore. If you want to tell me what you had for lunch on your blog, I want to see a frickin' receipt.
4. Ban Anonymity.
People should not be allowed to say things anonymously anymore. I mean, come on--when in history has an anonymous quote ever made an impact on anything? I can't think of a single example. And look at papers like The Washington Post and The New York Times--they've giving voices to the anonymous for years (some people have even gone to jail to protect their identities), and look what's happened to them--circulation's going down the toilet!
5. Take responsibility for the comments people post on your blog.
Some are suggesting that each blogger should take full responsibility for the comments posted on his blog, including any offensive, copyrighted, or objectionable material contained in them. I couldn't agree more! After all, you wouldn't think of hosting a dinner party without walking around and monitoring your guests' conversations, would you? The same thing should apply to your blog!
Let's all follow my rules and make the Internet the nice, happy place it was originally intended to be.