Saturday, November 24, 2007

Is Lurking Ethical?

Hey Ethical Bloggers,

I added a Google newsfeed below and called it Ethical Blogger News. An interesting essay showed up from the New York Times: "In Defense of Lurking" (on the Web). Here is Virginia Heffernan's argument:

Which brings me to my lurking problem. I can’t tell whether lurking is a devious violation of Web ethics or a return to luxurious nonparticipatory reading. I do know it seems indulgent. When I lurk, I relax, fall silent, become a cosseted 19th-century baroness whose electronic servants bring her funny pictures and distracting tales. I have no responsibilities. I’m entirely on intake.


In participatory media, is it OK to sit on the sidelines? Is lurking ethical?

26 comments:

Roomar said...

Yes, Lurking is like reading the newspaper in your pajamas. What harm is there in that?

Pete said...

I believe lurking is ethical, yes. Even if there is a barrier you have to overcome to see the truth, it's exactly as roomar said. There's no ethics breach when you're reading something, just not having others know you're there.

-Pete (http://asyouwantit.blogspot.com)

PS: Sorry roomar if I'm stealing your thunder a bit xD

k_fayg said...

I've become more of a lurker than I'd like to admit. Mostly on facebook...they just make it so easy. I mean the "wall-to-wall" feature, hello?!

The irony is that nosy people drive me crazy...I'm going to do better. ha. The the bottom-line question is, why do we care so much that we resort to lurking?

Me said...

of course lurking is ethical. posting on the web is like strolling thru the park - you know you are in full public view. virginia is thinking too much. enjoy it.

Bix said...

Hello there. New here :)

Are you asking, is lurking valued? or valuable? Yes, I think it is. It's valuable to the person reading (or viewing/listening) and to the person whose work is being received.

Midwest to Question Mark said...

Lurk more. It's good for you.

Proud Army Wife said...

I agree with Roomar. I read blogs, not to be intrusive but to learn different things, maybe gain some insight on an issue or just to see what other vegie eaters cook, because hey I dont know everything.

Now considering a lot of blogs can be publicly viewed then people should expect others to read/glance. If you are worried about others reading, maybe set your blog to private so you have your own diary or journal. (using the word you in general, not pointing at anyone directly)

I dont see what the harm is, when you post blogs there is a chance people will read if there is something you dont want others to see then set your privacy settings or dont post that info.

Respectfully,
Celeste M

Clarissa said...

If I understand what the term lurking means, of course lurking is ethical! I ditto Roomar's sentiment.

CD Santa said...

Of course it is. I shouldn't have to post or comment or participate if I don't feel like it. Just like how I don't send a letter to Hugh Laurie every time I watch House.

Ralph L. said...

In the case of a weblog I have no problem with lurking. But, in a group where participation is key and expected, I think lurking is just plain in bad form. I'm not sure if it is unethical, but I don't like it.

Ralph

(http://onlinechristiancoffeehouse.blogspot.com)

George Davis said...

There's no rule of ethics that compels one to participate by offering opinion at every turn...Presumably all media is participatory: blogging allows a feedback other media do not.

George
http://underthedishwasher.blogspot.com

Laidback5454 said...

I would offer that lurking is ethical and add that it is a by-product of what we all need to do to form logical opinions. I'm talking about research.

In order to make judgements that then translate into actions that we all take, one needs to do research so as to not make errors. Correct?

If you are reading up on politics you wouldn't just read Salon.com and MoveOn.org would you? THAT would be ridiculous opinion forming.

Just the same, you wouldn't read just what's printed on RushLimbaugh.com either, right? Two sides of the same community of political opinion.

For myself, I add other items on the web like RealClearPolitics.com as a way to get as many Articles to read as possible before calling a horse, a horse, as it were. Another option would be to add the DrudgeReport to what you read, along with CNN and FOXNEWS. But, you get the idea.

Culmination? Lurking is necessary. Participation, as you say, may be thought of as 'required' responsibility. But, un-informed participation would be a waste of everyone else's attention.

And, the one thing I have seen.. is too much of such a thing - no matter what the topic of discussion. All you get from it is character assassination and mis-direction. We could all use a break from that. Wouldn't you say?

I'm out....

Muse said...

I don't see a problem with lurking. I know i don't want every reader to comment on my blog, comments are welcome but blogs are public for reader consumption. Feedback is optional

Chris Foley said...

I remember the early days of the web when conferencing sites such as The Well and Cafe Utne were just beginning the social networking movement that would eventually spawn MySpace and Facebook. In those early sites, it was traditional to lurk for weeks, even months, before understanding the lay of the land enough to leave a posting.

Back then, it was difficult to join an online conversation, many of which felt culty and exclusive. However, with those unwritten rules, you knew that those that participated in the conversation were dedicated to following it over the long term.

How things have changed. Nowadays you find a group and immediately start posting away.

By the way, great blog--this is my first time visiting.

bigA said...

YES,LURKING IS ETHICAL,DEEP DOWN THEY WANT OUR ATTENTION.I WRITE ABOUT IT ON MY BLOG,THESPINNIGEARTH.BLOGSPOT.COM

Anne Cressy said...

Better to lurk than to speak when you have nothing constructive to say. We, as a society need to listen more...which is what lurkers are doing.

http://onenessisus.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

No.

Carter said...

Well there is certainly nothing wrong with it. There are a lot of blogs I visit where I don't post any comments, but instead just peruse articles and the public's response. It can be an enriching, not just an entertaining, experience.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

I really shouldn't be here....in fact, I'm heading back to the shadows... I feel so exposed. :)

Trevor said...

Lurk.

K. said...

If you think about it, no one really wants every person who happens upon their blog to leave a comment filled with bad punctuation and too many emoticons. That said, some people would rather have some sort of confirmation that they've been heard, even if the comment isn't particularly scintillating.

Charmaine said...

I admit to being one of those mentioned in the last post. I am just so grateful to find anyone has actually read my blog, let alone bothered to comment on it! So come one come all and lurk a lot! All comments gratefully received :-)

And yes lurking is ethical - I know, I do it all the time!

http://charmainezoe.blogspot.com/

gmpopp said...

I mean I think lurking can be ethical, but depends on how they got the information. If itis not supposed to be public, then no it isn't ethical. Alrough I do believe that lurking is not a good thing.
-GMPopp-
P.S. I'm doing this for a class :-D

HardWearJunkie said...

To lurk is to read. Bloggers should not be insulted that they have lurkers. Bloggers should rejoice that they have readers. Rejoice, I say.

However, sometimes a blog subject requires an answer, back and forth arguments, and general answers to a thorny questions. Thus, lurking isn't that much helpful due to the silent nature.

--HardWearJunkie

tods said...

Lurking's, definately ethical
wat harm does it do?

In my native language we have a saying that states, there is a message in silence.

the term "lurking" is tricky & biased i'd rather call it browsing.

to be honest it kinda sends shivers down my spine that athird party is tracking ur every move.

MizB said...

I think the whole concept of lurking is bogus. Blogs and other sites are cluttered enough with poorly-written posts by ignorant or belligerent people. Reading to one's heart's content and commenting when there's really something to say is the way to go.