Mena_trott_cofounder_and_president_of_siSixApart co-founder and president Mena Trott made some interesting comments about blogging and civility at LesBlogs this week in Paris (Dec. 5-6, 2005). Then, while she was still on stage, she and an audience member exchanged some contentious words. Stick to your guns, Mena. You’re a good thinker and a good writer and I happen to agree with your perspective on civility.

Read the text of Mena’s LesBlogs speech here on her blog.

Follow the blogging trail about the LesBlogs incident here on Technorati. Or watch the video of the incident. Unnerving if only as a reminder that nothing, absolutely nothing, is immune from being captured online.

But back to Mena’s thoughts on blogging and civility. Her point, really, was that what you say on a blog is permanent and that you’re accountable for creating that record.  Why stir up a controversy or create a negative record (which will show up in Google search results) when perhaps… it would be better not to. In other words, just because you can (publish anything instantly and effortlessly via a blog) doesn’t mean you should.

As she puts it in her follow-up post:

I think accountability and responsibility is about holding off
seemingly anonymous attacks, giving people the benefit of the doubt and
understanding that what you say online not only affects others but is
part of a permanent record — a record that, right now, is scary to
some watching from afar.