Check out David Armano's terrific piece on shaping conversations at the Innovation & Design site. This is one of the most important issues of our day. How do we deal with conversations in a networked world? What are the rules of participation? What is the role of civility?
As we open source and open up our lives, what are the rules? In business, in education, in politics, in health, in journalism and the media, we as individuals are demanding a major role in designing our products, services, experiences, lives. This is a good thing. But what are the responsibilities of individuals when they participate? What are the responsibilities of those who manage those conversations (i.e., folks with blogs)?
We need to have this conversation about conversations, especially as we move toward a conversation economy. We now have a call from Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales for a code of civility in the blogosphere.
Personally, I don't think we need a special code of civility online--we just need to follow society's general code of civility. Alas many people don't (especially when they are posting autonomously).
But for people who need to know how to manage nastiness on the web, check out Michelle Conlin's piece, Managing The Menace of Online Mobs.