Saturday, May 16, 2009

Notes from a Bystander

There’s been some interesting developments in the Reno blogger community lately, regarding first amendment rights and freedom of speech. It all started in an obscure corner of the world; women’s soccer at UNR. As the lawyers gathered, Ryan Jerz weighed-in with an opinion of it on his blog. Since Ryan’s interest in sports far exceeds my own, my initial reaction was something like, “I can’t believe he follows women’s soccer (?).” It was easy to pass it off as just another quirky interest of a fellow blogger.

But, it soon turned into more than that. The hyper-active soccer coach filed a defamation suit, of the harassment type, against Ryan, forcing him to take down his post. Bob Conrad wrote a 4 part post on the whole ordeal, and AG and LB have also written about it. Their posts and the comments sections make for some thought provoking reading.

There are a handful of bloggers that have been a lot of help to me over the past several months, and Ryan Jerz has certainly been at the forefront of that. There have been times when it appeared that Ryan was promoting my blog more than I was. I sometimes wonder how it is that I’ll ever be able to return the favors. It’s clear to me now that I missed an opportunity. Not that I could have offered any legal advice, or gone into high dungeon about the proper role of a free press in a free society. But, a simple note of support would likely have been welcomed, and certainly would have been better than nothing.

I don’t blame Ryan one bit for being disappointed in the general lack of response. The term “blogger community” is probably overstating what we have here. There are some loose-knit bands and temporary alliances, but no real community. In an effort to keep the conversation from fading away, I’d like to point out that along with freedom of speech issues and other high moral principles, there are some basic human principles to consider as well. Two of them would be giving back for what one has received, and sticking up for one’s friends.

It’s true the landscape has changed. It’s also true that we have it within our power to create what we wish, and one person can not build a community by himself.

1 comment:

Ann Onn said...

Ryan has been super supportive of me and my blog, too. When he thought we would be helpful to his cause, he was giving us more credit for what we were capable of than we were giving ourselves.