I tend to agree with Laurence Haughton who wrote in the comments area of Jeff Jarvis' critical post at BuzzMachine:
The big question for any organization (or individual) is how specific, measurable and accountable are your pledges, mission statements, codes of conduct? Where's the bar? How can you tell when you've fallen short? Who is going to tell you, "You need to pick up your game."
The Bayosphere pledge -- to be accurate, complete, fair and transparent -- is a reasonable place to set the bar. It would be better if accompanied by tools that enabled the readers to score submissions on how well they meet those standards.
What others are saying:
I think this is a reasonable pledge. One real difference between a citizen journalist and someone who isn't is whether they make such a pledge or at least agree to adhere to principles like this.
Dan Gillmor has a right to ethically challenge the ethically challenged and any others who might want to sign on to his Bayosphere as armed and badged "community journalists." ... I agree with Jeff (Jarvis) that a pledge is superfluous.
I like Jarvis' two worder: Be honest.
But I think I prefer: Be responsible for your own actions.
How to enforce that and encourage lots of participation? That's the rub.
Keep in mind that Gillmor posted the pledge with the caveat that he wants suggestions on how to make it better. "This is not the end of the conversation about our pledge, but the beginning," he says.
Jarvis suggested that the pledge be discussed in a wiki, which Sean Bonner did. And to Gillmor's credit, he expressed no objection and says he's watching "with interest."
Aside from the basic concept of a pledge, most criticism seems to be directed at the line that reads, "I work in the community interest." That's different from the measurable benchmarks of fairness, thoroughness, accuracy and transparency.
The "community interest" issue reminds me of a discussion this week on a Benicia, Calif., schools bulletin board about whether it is in the community's interest to debate certain aspects of the local public school system's fiscal crisis. Some participants called for a hiatus from the debate in the interest of unifying behind fund-raising efforts, others (myself included) argued that debate can be a constructive mechanism of creating an informed populace and building toward consensus.
What one side believed to be in the "community interest," the other did not. That criteria may be far too subjective to include in a pledge, especially if the oath ever is coupled with a rating system.
Side note: Ironically, a school board member correctly noted Wednesday that the debate about the merits of debate was misplaced. It belonged not on a bulletin board intended for dissemination about school district information, but on one of several other local forums.
If you don't come at an issue with an open mind, and don't leave the topic thinking there might still be more ways to come at it than are being pushed by one advocate or another, you're just not trying hard enough.
Amy Gahran, I, Reporter's co-editor, elablorates in the comments section with words about transparancy.