Although there is no clear cut Code of Ethics for online blogging, the responsibility to post ethical entries and dialogues still hold. The Weblog community, as an influential and reliable group of writers, must at all times maintain the decency of all their blogs and their corresponding published entries.
CyberJournalist.net, in an attempt to spread an ethical code accepted and followed by all bloggers, modified the Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics to reflect the following for online blogging:
- Be Honest and Fair
Simply put, this implores bloggers to ensure that all the information they are posting are accurate. The facts should be well presented (without distorting its real context) and all pertinent links should be stated. In cases when the authenticity and correctness of the information is doubtful, it is imperative to inform the reader. If photos are included in the post, put captions to explain their meaning and relevance. Never take opinions and post them as facts.
This also covers the blogger's conscientiousness in guarding that their, and other people's work, are free from plagiarism.
- Minimize Harm
Practice care when mentioning names and events. If your entry is discussing a rather controversial topic or person, be careful with what you are saying. Always consider the affected party's possible reaction and strive to dampen the blow, if not to eliminate it.
A person's privacy should always be held in high esteem. Using the quest for information and the truth to barge into other people's private business is in bad taste.
Work to showcase compassion and empathy to any individual you are writing about who is affected by grief and misfortune.
- Be Accountable
Take charge of the consequences of your publishing. If you have made a mistake, accept it and work immediately to resolve any conflict it might have caused. Own your entries and any reaction they may invoke.
If people have questions about your information, promote a healthy discussion and be open to other ideas. The new learning you might discover may ultimately lead to the improvement of your data.
Every person has their own measure of what is ethical and what is not. The above list may not cover everything that a blogger should maintain to effect the integrity of the blogging population. It is important to note, however, that ethical is primarily a question of how others are treated and affected by our actions. Therefore, the subjects of any blog entry should be given respect and portrayed in the most objective light as possible at all times.