Awl pal Simon Dumenco has put together a group called the Council on Ethical Blogging and Aggregation, which will promulgate standards about how to credit, quote and synthesize the writing of others. “The group will have neither carrot nor stick, but could end up with a kind of Good Housekeeping seal,” as David Carr puts it today in the Times. Dumenco himself suggests that the group will work their way towards “a set of perhaps a dozen-ish common-sense guidelines” about how one should blog. I was invited to join the list of signatories, and declined, but solely on the principle that any club that would have us as a member is something something. The membership, as well, was already too bigwig-heavy, including as it does the likes of David Granger and James Bennet and Adam Moss. I am not sure I want their seal of approval, particularly as these were for the most part the people in media who originally scoffed at bloggers. (Although that’s probably all just my contrarian streak.)
So while we’re sympathetic to their aims, for sure — who likes being ripped off? Who likes watching corporate blogs lumber and clear-cut their way through the Internet? — there is always something impossible about this sort of mission. It seems like the sort of thing that’ll end, at best, with in-fighting, or at worst, with some sort of Night of the Long Blog Knives.