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Web and Internet Ethics For Beginners
What ethical rules do you wish everyone would follow?

 10:53 pm on Mar 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

So after 5 years of playing poker online for a living, I'm going to start to seriously transition toward web development as a new career. Poker has taught me that the difference between the professionals and the amateurs is that pros were fanatical about building their foundation in the beginning. Those who lay a good foundation to their game make it, those who don't die off. So I am going to take this same approach to web publishing. The first step, as I see it, is to get a comprehensive and rigorously thought out ethical base. For a lot of things, this is very simple to do and for a lot of you, you may think that this is very simple when it comes to the web as well. For those of us just starting out, the many lines between ethical and unethical behavior may not be so obvious however.

So please post the ethical codes (or just one or two important pieces to it) that you follow. What are some common ethical traps that a noob may be tempted to fall into? What are some things that other webmasters do that are unethical and make you angry? Have you any other "best practices" words of wisdom you wish more people understood or followed? What are some non-obvious ethical considerations which you think too many people ignore? Any common ethical rules with which you disagree? Anything tangential to this subject you would like to add?

I did search the forums a bit and found a few threads on very specific ethical issues, but not one catch-all. I hope this thread is appropriate and potentially helpful. I'm not going proceed toward any of my web business plans until I have a very rigorous ethical framework established in my mind, so I will appreciate even the smallest contributions very much.




 7:12 pm on Mar 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

What are some common ethical traps that a noob may be tempted to fall into?

Hidden text on a page, listing a bunch of keywords on a page instead of good content that includes the keywords, using the keyword(s) you want to rank well for as many times as possible on a page.
I'm not sure I would say that doing any of these things is unethical but they are certainly very common traps / practices that newbies often do. They are practices that usually do more harm than good to the newbies website.


 8:11 pm on Mar 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Don't say you have answered an email when you have not (it was lost in cyber space)

Don't write fake testimonials

Don't say something has shipped when it hasn't

Don't say your office hours are ... to ... when you are never actually in your office during those hours

Don't slam a competitors site


 8:47 pm on Mar 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

>>If the IT industry did that, it would be a LOT less profitable.

What is the IT industry to me, or me to the IT industry?

If the IT industry didn't do that, I as an individual would be MUCH more productive. (Top management even in IT industries can make a medieval monk seem high-tech...but they still choose IT equipment and software.) And that productivity would profit the IT industry in which I work.

Ethical behavior is a positive-sum game. Unethical behavior is negative-sum.


 8:52 pm on Mar 30, 2009 (gmt 0)



 9:33 pm on Mar 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Don't lie; don't steal.


 2:02 am on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

Great stuff, thanks to everyone. It seems that common sense is all one needs, which is reassuring and not always so obvious. The reason I want to pursue this line of work is because I enjoy creative writing, so stealing content would actually be counterproductive--even if I could get away with it. ;)

Keep them coming please, there's a lot more wisdom in a lot of your posts than what many of you may realize. I've seen this with poker--it's easy to forget just how complex simple things can sound to the amateur.


 9:24 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

Designing your product for monetization first, and people second will probably leave you with neither.


 1:22 am on Apr 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Don't pay for SEO unless you are sure they won't be using shady methods. These methods not only hurt others they can come back and hurt you. Problem is a lot of people just trust and have no idea what is being done.

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