What rules should bloggers live by?

I’ve kind of been following the brouhaha over Tribe.net founder Mark Pincus and what he wrote about an old classmate, Murry Gunty, and how a 15-year-old decision by the latter seems to have turned into an exercise in old vs. new media. After much back and forth, it turned into an article in the Washington Post, followed by a heartfelt post from Mr. Pincus alleging that the article was unfair to him.

What’s interesting to me is not what Mr. Pincus said about Mr. Gunty, or whether — as Jason Calacanis says — taking shots at old classmates is what blogs are for, etc. I find it interesting that some of the commenters on the Pincus post take him to task for what he did because they think it was wrong to use his real name, since it unnecessarily exposed him to ridicule. Interestingly enough, one of those commenters is Mike Arrington of TechCrunch.com and another is blogger Don Park.

Some people seem to feel that using his name was just “reporting” and is therefore permissible, and that he should be exposed because he’s a cheater (or whatever). I would have to agree with Mike and Don and others though — I don’t think Mark’s point was advanced at all by using a real person’s name, and if anything it detracted from his argument and diverted the conversation away from his main point.

That’s not good journalism, nor is it good blogging. It’s what we in the old media refer to as a “drive-by.”

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