One of the major reasons blogging originally took off was the spirit of lawlessness it inspired. Bloggers were able to comment on things in real time, in whatever form and length they chose, and commenters were able to do the same thing. It inspired a free-flowing conversation piece that takes place in the public eye instead of the walled gardens of email, thus enabling anyone who stumbled across something they found interesting enough to comment on the ability to jump into the conversation with total strangers. If you’re following a comment thread that you find to be degrading or useless, you’re able to ignore that conversation and focus on the things you DO enjoy.
O’Reilly’s code of conduct, while a good idea in spirit, will only kill the true spirit of blogging and the freedom that comes along with it if people adopt it. Yes, I always claim responsibility for my own words, but anyone who thinks people should claim responsibility for the words of people who participate in comments on their own blogs is out of their mind. Yes, I will moderate comments to a certain extent on this blog (as I have done in the past), but there’s a huge difference between separating the wheat from the chaff and taking responsibility for what people write on your blog.
It doesn’t surprise me that O’Reilly is promoting this thing. After all, his conferences are built on the exact same credo: invite the people you like and shut the rest of the outside world off.