Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Jewish bloggers blog about blogging about Jews

The blog world is self-referential. The Jewish world of blogging even more so, in part due to the laws of Lashon Hara (gossip, literally evil tongue). Religious considerations aside, when a blogger identifies themselves as Jewish, commenting, anonymously or otherwise about people, communities, and events becomes even more charged, in part because they can be seen as a representative of the Jewish community as a whole.

In 2005 Mobius of Jewschool created the Jewish Bloggers Campaign for Responsible Speech Online. A number of prominent bloggers sport the widget signifying their adherence to the principles of the campaign, primarily that:

"they be mindful before pressing the “Publish” button and that they ask this consideration from their site’s contributors — both other bloggers on their site and visitors. Ask yourself before posting, “Is what I’ve written a kiddush Hashem (a santification of God’s name) or a chilul Hashem (a desecration of God’s name)?” If it’s the latter, consider revising your remarks to preserve your point, while minimizing whatever harm you may do to your fellow. In other words, attack the idea, not the person, and do so tactfully and respectfully.

This campaign may not save the Jewish world from autocannibalism, but it may make the Jewish blogosphere a more welcoming, informative and enjoyable forum, and perhaps encourage some greater degree of Jewish unity despite the differences between us. B’ezrat Hashem (with the help of God), it shall be so."


Gil Student from Hirhurim sports the widget, additionally, he has sections on blogging protocols, and also on blogs and Lashon Hara.

Similarly, Daled Amos published a repeat of an article on the Chazon Ish's advice for columnists, which can be applied equally to bloggers.

It seems that bloggers agree, blogging is a powerful tool, and one that should be used with discretion. Even more so for Jewish bloggers, who feel that they as Jewish representatives have to be careful what they blog about.

A sampling of Jewish blogs shows that Renegade Rebbetzin feels stifled by the fact that she can't post 99% of what she feels. A few months ago Semgirl and Michelle had a flare up about what constitutes responsible comment moderation about others in ones' personal blog.Treppenwitz talks about how one of the considerations of bloggers should be to play nice with others on the internet.

Finally, as a cautionary tale, Alex Taylor of Kulam Yachad talks about how it feels to be denigrated in the blog world.

3 comments:

Mobius said...

actually, jewschool and jewlicious didn't collaborate; i came up with it and ck said it was 'cute' but that there was no way he'd put the chofetz chayyim on his blog

AnnieGetYour said...

Thanks for the correction, I'll fix that.

rabbi without a cause said...

A great and important idea. I'll be adding the widget, too.

I wonder if the Chafetz Chaim ever thought he might see his name side-by-side with the word "widget".