Hippocratic Oath for Content Creators

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The Text

"I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will be truthful in content creation. I will not willingly distort or misrepresent reality.

I will create content and engage others in the hope of improved understanding. While there might be multiple reasons for me to create content, my overarching intention to keep conversation open will keep my other intentions in check.

I will be sensitive to the human proclivity to engage in motivated reasoning. While creating content, I will be aware of the fact that I am just as likely to be guided by unconscious self-interest as anyone else.

I will engage in the principle of charity when interpreting opposing arguments. I will apply the strongest possible interpretation to the argument I am addressing, independently of how it comes across to me.

I will engage in the principle of humanity when interpreting motives. I will recognize that if I had experienced the same circumstances as the person I am disagreeing with, I might have made similar arguments.

I will conduct myself with intellectual humility. I will operate under the caveat that I could be wrong about the ideas I put forth. In contributing to conversation, I accept that my opinions are not the final word.

I will have evidence for the propositions I put forth, and will present it readily when asked.

I will be clear on the difference between verbal and factual disputes. If I am using a word that has competing definitions, I will acknowledge this and will define my usage.

I will be explicit in my political orientation. If asked, I will state any current intellectual commitments I may have.

I will recognize that, in our current information ecology, accusations have the power to ruin reputations and livelihoods. If I believe such an accusation to be warranted, I will acknowledge the power I am exercising and will publicly justify why I am using it. If I am mistaken, I will retract immediately, apologize and make recompense.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy similar goodwill from others. May I always act to preserve healthy dialogue, and may I experience the joy of adding to a robust public conversation." (https://areomagazine.com/2019/07/09/hippocratic-oath-for-the-culture-war/)


Peter Limberg and Conor Barnes:

"Could there be a Culture War equivalent to the Hippocratic Oath? One that chieftains of the memetic tribes could affirm? It would prove beneficial if journalists, authors, bloggers, and professors alike took this oath, but any social media user could take the oath, by pledging their name and accepting some sort of e-badge.

How could such an oath be taken? Podcasters and YouTubers could release an episode reading the oath. Bloggers could dedicate a post to it. Twitter influencers could add a link to the declaration to their profiles. The point is to publicly announce commitment to the oath’s principles.

Below, you’ll find our first version of the oath. We welcome suggestions for modifications and optimizations. What matters is that content creators commit to behavior their followers can hold them to. People who take this oath should feel the pinch of conscience before they call for somebody’s head. Psychological studies and the analysis of universities with honor codes has demonstrated the utility of this type of commitment. By taking the pledge, creators would put skin in the game. Many of us claim to want peace and civility. In the Wild West of social media, we not only have to practice and preach civility, but we have to encourage good behavior towards each other.

If even a small percentage of players in the culture war took such an oath, the virtue being signaled could make non-pledgers conspicuous, causing a cascade of commitment. We do not need 100% commitment, or even 51% commitment. All we need is an intransigent minority of peacemakers, who are sovereign actors, stubbornly peaceful, and whose behavior will provide a tacit model for those who don’t participate. Those inclined can start using this version of the oath on whatever platform they deem appropriate." (https://areomagazine.com/2019/07/09/hippocratic-oath-for-the-culture-war/)