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eG Ethics code for online writers

Fat Guy

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(Note: for a list of eG Ethics code signatories, please see here.)

eG Ethics code for online writers

(signatory form and badges follow the code)

The internet allows anybody with access to publish globally and instantaneously. This technological advance has changed the world for the better, but overall consideration of ethics has not kept pace with technology. In addition, while there is a free and casual attitude about much online writing, many online writers don't realize that they can be held accountable for theft of intellectual property, defamation and other acts.

The eG Ethics code, propagated by the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 not-for-profit public charity dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts primarily through online media, provides guidance for online writers: bloggers, those who post on message boards, and others who write online in any capacity. The code is particularly focused on those who write about food, however it may be helpful to any online writer. While the code is in part informed by the ethics of print journalism, it was drafted with the specific needs and realities of the online world in mind.

Signatories to the code indicate their acceptance by filling out the web form below and displaying a badge on their websites or, if they are individuals posting on message boards, linking to the code in their signatures. Adoption of the code is purely voluntary, and the eGullet Society will not serve as an enforcement or adjudication body.

The code follows.

eG Ethics code for online writers

Readers have the right to expect:

Original content. All content is the original creation of the author except when clearly attributed, such as by quotation marks, citations and credits.

Respect for intellectual property. All text, photos and other media from outside sources is republished only with the explicit permission of its owner or as authorized by an applicable license (e.g., Creative Commons), with the exception of brief quotations from written works in the context of discussing those works.

Links where credit is due. Where the creator of content referenced on this website has made it possible to link to that content, a link is given here. Where the content is not directly linkable, as in a book, a full citation or link to a general information page will suffice. In general, links are favored over reproduction of content.

Disclosure of comps. Where a free or discounted product or service has been accepted, a corresponding disclosure is made.

No quid pro quo. Before accepting an invitation for a free or discounted product or service, the author advised the provider of that product or service that favorable coverage would not be provided in exchange for the comp, and that all reports on the product or service would represent the author's actual opinions.

Disclosure of conflicts of interest. Where the author has a relationship with the subject of coverage beyond a casual or typical customer relationship, that relationship is disclosed. Financial and employment relationships, including those of close friends, associates and family members, will also be disclosed.

Disclosure in the first instance. Where disclosures are required, they are made in the original entry on the subject. Repeated disclosures will not necessarily appear in subsequent entries in the same series. However, where separate discussion of the same subject occurs, reacknowledgement is made with a separate statement or by linking to the original disclosure.

Fact checking. The author of any factual statement has made a good-faith effort to confirm the accuracy of that statement. Statements of opinion, however, are just that.

Corrections. Where factual errors are discovered or reported, corrections will be made promptly by editing or in a subsequent entry.

Faithfulness to the historical record. Except where overriding legal or ethical concerns prevail (such as when remedying an invasion of privacy), substantive changes and corrections will be made in such a way as not to distort the historical record: by noting "edited to add" or the equivalent, or by making clarifying statements later without changing the original.

Fair comment (for website operators). This website allows registered users to comment on the content contained herein. Free and fair comment will be permitted so long as it is civil and conforms to this website's terms of service, including this document.

Terms of service (for website operators). This website abides by a published list of rules that cover, among other things, participatory conduct, use of anonymity, and consequences for violations of the terms. It can be found by clicking the "Terms of Service" or equivalent link on any page of this website. Anyone posting on this site agrees to these rules in the act of registering to participate. Further, this site may operates on a platform (such as Blogger.com or WordPress.com) that has a separate terms-of-service document. This site adheres to those terms.

Revision. This version of the eG Ethics code was adopted Tuesday 12 May 2009. This code will be revised, updated and clarified from time to time. The latest version of the code along with elaboration and discussion can always be found at eGullet.org/ethics.

To become a signatory to the eG Ethics code, please submit the following form:

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If you are a website operator or otherwise have the ability to do so, please display one of the following signatory badges linked to eGullet.org/ethics or to a page on your website reproducing the code and linking to eGullet.org/ethics. Note that the current version of the code will always reside at eGullet.org/ethics so it is easier to keep your website up-to-date if you link to the code here rather than reproducing it there. If you are not able to display the badge, please state your signatory status using plain text and, if possible, a link to eGullet.org/ethics. If possible, to conserve our bandwidth, please copy and upload the badge to your own image-hosting service.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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