Search Engine Roundtable Code of Ethics

Aug 30, 2005 • 10:52 am | comments (11) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Blog Administration

Most people I deal with on a daily basis with this blog include industry experts, search engine engineers, search engine PR people, journalists, bloggers and even spammers. It took a really long time to earn the trust of all the different types of people listed above. I have no journalistic background, no schooling in professional writing, nor in the PR industry. Over the past month, C|Net was blacklisted by Google, it was widely discussed. I do not have all the details about the real reasoning behind it. I know how both sides "feel" about it, but I would never publish those thoughts here. Let me get into what code of ethics this site stands-by when writing entries at this site.

Search Engine Roundtable Code of Ethics: (1) We try to cover public forum threads and quote from public information within those threads. (2) We will never quote anyone without explicit permission in the following cases: -- Phone conversations require explicit permission to quote -- Email conversations require explicit permission to quote -- IM chat conversations require explicit permission to quote -- In person conversations require explicit permission to quote (3) We will quote any publicly posted and available content from forums, content sites, blogs and so on. (4) Anything said during a public presentation at a conference (not at the bars or in the hall ways but rather, what is said on the podium) is quotable as well.

Basically what it comes down to is a deep consideration of respect towards the industry and the people within the industry.

Often I wish I can write about something presented to me X days before it comes out. Often I wish I can write about something I heard from Matt Cutts or Tim Mayer or Jim Lanzone for the respect search engines. Often I wish I can write about something found by a fellow blogger or a journalist before they do. But I don't.

I thought it would be a good idea to clarify this code of ethics for the Search Engine Roundtable for the readers, guest writers and for anyone else who might not have known. Respect is what is at the core of it all.

Previous story: AdSense in RSS Feeds Broken At Least in Apple's Safari



08/30/2005 06:16 pm

Excellent set of guidelines, Barry. It's both a practical and respectable approach.


08/31/2005 06:47 am

Barb received, penance underway, apologies all 'round. I shall attempt to live up to your code. Can't promise I won't use 'anonymous' sources, though - not sure what your personal feelings are on those.

Barry Schwartz

08/31/2005 10:56 am

lol - I do not expect anyone to "live up to" these rules. I just never started this blog to be a reporter. And this post had nothing to do with you. I have been meaning to write this up for months.

Lee Odden

08/31/2005 02:49 pm

I am guilty of using a comment or two of yours Barry without asking first. That said, I think if it was a problem, I'm sure you would have said something. Your post makes an excellent point though, and I will ask in the future.

Barry Schwartz

08/31/2005 03:19 pm

I don't remember ever thinking that Lee. No worries.


08/31/2005 03:23 pm

Very nice to put the "unwritten rules" down on paper Barry. You've done a very nice job earning everyone's respect, and it's a tough thing to do. I would think anon sources are okay in some cases Rand, as long as it was completely undecipherable to who the source was, and that they still gave permission to use the quote that way. Yours was definitely an honest mistake Rand, that could have really happend to any of us. Thanks for the good reminder;) It's often hard to remember that we deal mainly in information, and the value of that information is sometimes immensely high (much to high to give out to everyone), and despite the "give to get back" nature of the web, sometimes ya gotta just keep stuff to yourself, and laugh later when it comes out:) When in doubt, leave it out. We're all only as good as our reputation and credibility...this is a small industry.

Bob Gladstein

07/24/2008 04:11 pm

I think it's a great idea to have something like this in mind all the time, even if you don't take it to the point of publishing it. Just for clarification purposes, your fourth item -- "Anything said during a public presentation at a conference (not at the bars or in the hall ways but rather, what is said on the podium) is quotable as well."" Would that include questions asked of the person at the podium, including the identity of the questioner, and would that require their permission?


07/24/2008 04:13 pm

These sorts of lists always strike me strike me as strange.. Like the Customer bill of rights people publish.. If you are having to write down your ethics rather having them shown by actions, what is the point?? If your code says one think, but your actions say another, what's the point.. And no, I'm not saying that anyone here is doing that.. But we've all seen it (don't be evil - I'm a good Christian - I'm here from the Government, we're here to help all come to mind).. Personally I think this whole thing has gotten ridiculous.. Rants, even harsh ones, used to be taken with a lot of thick skin and a giggle, or maybe it's just because this particular one was aimed at people that are supposed to be off limits.. I don't get it..

Barry Schwartz

07/24/2008 04:17 pm

That is a very public setting. If they are willing to ask a question to a speaker during Q&A, then I think that is public. If it is after the session is over and they walk over to the podium and ask it that way, then no.


07/24/2008 07:30 pm

Then we'll have to disagree.. I'm of the opinion that trade shows and conferences are for sharing information and if you are speaking to someone you just met then you have no reasonable expectation that a conversation is private.. Besides, if you don't want something repeated then you either need to explicitly say so up front, or not say it.. Especially in a group setting like a trade show.. Not that this has all that much to do with the original post :)


07/25/2008 04:33 pm

As readers move (if we haven't already) from news reports written by professional journalists and edited by professional editors to news reports written by bloggers without necessarily any professional journalism experience, we're all going to benefit from bloggers publicly committing to explicit codes of ethics. In that light, three cheers for any bloggers willing to commit!

blog comments powered by Disqus