Recently, I wrote a post for DeafDC.com in which I discussed the concept of ethics as it might apply to the deaf v/blogosphere. You can read this post here.
This post generated considerable discussion and some interesting comments. I want to take a moment to thank all of the individuals who read this post, and especially those who did leave comments.
Trying to summarize the whole concept of ethics into a short 1100-word blog was challenging, since ethics is such a broad topic, which can cover so many different things.
However, I would like to take this opportunity to explain a bit better exactly how I define ethics.
In my original post, I asked whether not we need a “Code of Ethics” within the deaf v/blogosphere. I went on to state:
Ahhh…I can sense the outcry amongst the Deaf Community – “Rules??? We don’t need no bleeping set of bloody rules!!! It’s my v/blog, and I will do as I dang well please!!!” Whoa…slow down. I’m not talking about establishing the “Ten Commandments of the Deaf V/Blogosphere.” I don’t like rules any better than most of us.
As expected, a couple of people did indicate that they didn’t like the idea of setting up rules governing our v/blogging behavior.
I wish to clarify…
I do not support the idea of setting up a “do and do not” list that tells us what we can and cannot do in our vlogs and blogs.
I’ve seen plenty of those lists everywhere, and in most cases I don’t like them.
I don’t believe in a law of memorization – learn the proper list and obey it, and all will be fine.
I don’t believe that everything is black and white, right or wrong, simple and clear cut.
I don’t believe in the creation of a list of rules where every letter of the law is expected to be strictly adhered to, to the point where people lose all sense of reasoning behind the laws, and obedience becomes the highest virtue.
We are human beings, we are not robots.
However, like I said in my post…I do believe that if you are going to put your thoughts, your opinions, and your feelings out there on the internet for the world to see, whether it be via sign language or the written word, that you are responsible for the outcome of such actions.
In another words, you are responsible for the consequences.
This is why I state
Thus it is my humble opinion that as a community, those of us within the deaf v/blogosphere should have an inherent sense of ethics, and strive to maintain a high standard of morality.
I now want to go on record as having said this not only to my colleagues in the deaf v/blogosphere…but as a High Priestess, I also say it to members of the pagan blogosphere as well.
But if we are going to examine the definition and application of ethics to our v/blogging activities, then we need to have some understanding of what ethics is.
Defining ethics isn’t that simple…it actually can be a pretty tough task. Basically, you’re talking about that elusive, subjective concept that supposedly makes us “civilized.”
Let’s see if I can break down the general definition of ethics to make it a little easier to understand:
- The discipline dealing with what is good and bad or right and wrong or with moral duty and obligation
- A group of moral principles or set of values
- A particular theory or system of moral values
- The principles of conduct governing an individual or a profession; standards of behavior
- Character or the ideals of character manifested by a race or people.
When we look at this definition, we can see that the concept of ethics is formed around the concepts of morality, behavior, and character. Another definition of ethics found on the web basically tells us that ethics is:
A set of standards that tells us how we should behave.
I would now like to offer up my own perspectives on the definition of ethics:
Ethics are not rules.
Ethics are not laws carved in stone.
Ethics are not a “do and don’t list” forced upon a group of people, who are then told to either “follow this list or you’re going to hell.”
Ethics are beliefs. Ethics are values. Ethics are standards.
Ethics is that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you’ve done something good for yourself or for someone else. Ethics is that guilty, sickening feeling you get in your stomach when you know you’ve done something wrong.
Ethics is that little guy who sits upon your shoulder and tells you what you should do. Sometimes he’s dressed like an angel. Other times he looks more like the devil.
An ethical structure is not a line with a beginning and an end. It is more like a sphere, with different parts that fit into each other like a puzzle. Each part is important; each part influences and is influenced by the other parts.
A Code of Ethics is a living, breathing document that is meant to change over time as you change – as your perspectives, your values, your morals, your standards, your principles and your behaviors change.
A Code of Ethics is different from a legal code. You cannot enforce it like you can legal laws or hard rules. You can only offer it up as a gift to yourself and to others as living tool, with the hope that someone will find such ethics to be helpful on their journey to a better life.
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