Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Code of Conduct

Several weeks ago Sermo, the physicians' posting site established posting requirements for its participants, as did Medscape Connect, another physicians' web site before that.  Medscape's has been around long enough to see the individual I regard as the most in need of having to go through a moderator posting much less frequently and others who had been routinely verbally abused by wingnut ideologues returned, some of them in need of a little restriction as well.  The Islamists who used to post stuff that I do not think their patients would want them seeing have not returned but neither have the very delightful Muslims who tried very hard to teach the rest of us the principles of their faith.  

Sermo's Code of Conduct reads as far more stringent and far more enforceable than Medscape's.  There have been individual physicians suspended for infractions well under what Medscape tolerates and the flagrant violators of civility have been few.  What the managers noticed, quite correctly, is that people who were personally attacked, myself among them from time to time, give themselves a holiday from posting.  I did that for two weeks not long ago and many more times deleted notifications from my discussion list.  In tracking their data, they concluded that certain individuals deterred discussion to an extent that they had to be shelved to maximize engagement of the physician community.  

While there was some negative reaction as a form of censorship, I think of this more as going through an editor, which is true of most publication.  It is not the ideas that are being scrutinized but the effects of how they are expressed.

Derech Eretz Kadmah L'Torah.

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