ISTE 2010 – Backchannel code of conduct

iste2010logoFor its upcoming conference, ISTE has put forth its “backchannel code of conduct.” In short, it reads:

  1. Be nice
  2. Be clear
  3. Be open

There are more details, but that’s the short summary. Sounds pretty good to me.

What do you think? Is there anything that you’d add to the list? Is it a good idea for ISTE to have a code of conduct for the backchannel?

11 Responses to “ISTE 2010 – Backchannel code of conduct”

  1. Isn’t a set of rules for back channel chat sort of an oxymoron? Like a well organized spontaneous gathering?

    I guess it does beg the question of just what has happened in the past to encourage them to put these guidelines forth?

  2. Memories of Danah Boyd’s experience at Web2.0? From her blog post, “spectacle at Web2.0 Expo… from my perspective”:

  3. The flipside is that the back channel can be hugely useful. At GLS a while back, there was a wonderful exchange of links going on during a talk that benefited all. “Here’s a link to him speaking”, “Here’s his website”, “Here’s a PPT of a similar talk he did on slideshare”, etc.

  4. They’re addressing me. I was incredibly sarcastic, although perfectly polite, about a keynote in 2008 that I thought was a waste of my time, my airfare and my energy, and I let people know that. I used no rude words, just a good dose of caustic humour.

    Fact is, if you provide a great conference where speakers are atuned to what the audience or participants are saying and thinking, you don’t need to provide rules for a backchannel or, at least, the backchannel keeps its members in check.

  5. Should read ‘attuned’. Maybe one of the rules should be that you check your spelling first 😉

  6. ‘Be Critical’ — particularly in the large keynote events — is crucial for the backchannel. And while while snarkiness in the backchannel can occasionally go a bit out there on the edge, I’d rather see a critical though occasionally snarky backchannel actively thinking and questioning what’s being presented rather than a nice, but pandering, backchannel sticking to the rule of “be nice”.


  7. The problem with snarky or sarcasm (or whatever you want to call it) is that at some point, someone goes too far with it and crosses a line and my opinion of the person providing the “criticism” is negatively affected. They start to look like an a#%-h%@#. I have respect for someone who respectfully expresses a thoughtful opinion. I have no respect for a&%-h@%&s. That would be my definition of a troll.

  8. @KJ

    Isn’t that the beauty of the Net? If you make a fool of yourself, you do it in front of everyone. And your social capital drops, less people pay attention to you, and you have to deal with it.

    Whereas if your comment is snarky, but valid, it’s actually a crucial part of the discussion — whether or not you come across as a butthead.

    But rules like “be nice” are so vague as to be meaningless. I can only imagine what Hunter S. Thompson would have had to say about ISTE in his own irascible way; and I could only imagine that plenty of folks following the backchannel would have cringed at all the truth he exposed.


  9. And often our tolerance of what we consider acceptable behavior is based on how much we agree with the opinion. If someone is a butthead but we agree with the opinion, then it’s “exposing truth”, but if we disagree with the opinion, it’s “not being nice”. Our opinions of others says as much about ourselves as it does about the target of the opinion.

  10. I think maybe “be professional” would be more appropriate than “be nice.” Criticism is professional. Sarcasm is not professional.

  11. That’s the best delineation, I think, David. A couple of years back I actually ended up sending an email to the speaker in question with what I thought went well and what I believed could have been better. We had a dialogue which was, hopefully, constructive.

    I think there’s a belief that speakers don’t have to put up with criticism, whether humourous or straight, sarcastic or ironic. Fact is, when one accepts to talk in public one should make every effort possible to engage with the audience through the technologies where they are already hanging out, as well as in the physical spaces where they hang out.

    THAT is the other side of conference etiquette that too many speakers miss out on, by flying in and out for their 45 minutes of broadcast. The etiquette goes two ways – not speaking to your audience or listening to them is as bad as, I’d say worse than, the occasional random piece of sarcasm.

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