Huckleberries "Ethics Fest" was a good cross section of local bloggers. Over time a lot of the old timers had moved on, the tone had gotten so contentious the editors at the Spokesman Review felt the need to tone it down. We gathered at Dave Oliveria's request to discuss what, if any, controls should be applied to Huckleberries Online.
Though coming from all ends of the spectrum, the consensus was the lack of civility was the most offensive issue being faced. Editor Steve Smith was there to educate us on the responsibilities of individual bloggers, the paper's stand on the issues and legalities, both present and forthcoming, of which we should all be aware. As the world of blogging grows so will the attempts at and inevitability of closer scrutiny and regulation. He was also there to listen to what we had to say.
That being said, the conversation kept coming back to civility. Attack the message if you will but not the messenger. One current commenter is the cause of the most consternation. He, she, it seems determined to throw all civility to the wind. Whatever his intent, it isn't appreciated. While everyone enjoys a high spirited exchange, I was heartened to know that each and every person in attendance found his degree of mean spiritedness and lack of civility offensive and over the line.
I knew most who attended and was pleased to meet a few new folks. I was especially glad Katrina, Notes on a Napkin, was included. She is refreshingly young and very astute. A good counter balance to the likes of me. Everyone had concerns and everyone contributed.
Editor Smith left feeling comfortable with the prevailing attitudes. Blogmeister Oliveria, I think, left feeling he isn't out there alone. His commenters and bloggers have his back. And those of us in attendance, again, I think, left feeling we are still part of an ever evolving local community, the whole of which draws its strength from the sum of its members.
I'm not in agreement with a lot of the politics and opinions of some of those who attended. But we do know one another. We talked to one another; we heard one another. We shook hands, looked one another in the eye and laughed together. That's how adults behave at meetings. If I didn't believe it could be that way on a blog I'd give it up.