Study of Weblog Ethics

While doing some digging around in Technorati, I found Weblog Ethics Survey Results, a research project by undergraduate students in the School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Andy Koh, Alvin Lim, and Ng Ee Soon surveyed 1,224 bloggers' views of four areas of ethics: "truth telling, accountability, minimizing harm, and attribution." They asked bloggers to categorize their weblogs as personal or non-personal and used those categories to foreground their analysis of the data. From their article:

This study explored ethical beliefs and practices of two distinct groups of bloggers--personal and non-personal--through a worldwide web survey. Over a period of three weeks, 1,224 responses were collected and analysed.

Our findings show that these two groups are distinctively different in demographics, blogging experiences, and habits. We also found that there are significant differences between personal and non-personal bloggers in terms of the ethical beliefs they value and the ethical practices to which they adhere.

Non-personal bloggers are typically older males, with more formal years of education than personal bloggers.

Non-personal bloggers tend to have more readers, update their weblogs more frequently, and spend more time on their weblogs.

Their study is making the rounds, but I would have thought more people would link to it. But it's summer, I guess. Susan Herring made an interesting comment that links the study by Koh, Lim, & Ng to some of the BROG studies. While I think Koh, Lim, & Ng have done some fine work here, I must say I'm a little surprised that Jonathon Delacour's thoughtful essay on weblog ethics, which touches on the fact that some people write fiction or creative nonfiction on their weblogs and that a journalism-based set of ethics is too restrictive for them, isn't cited (especially as it's the #1 Google hit for "weblog ethics").