Monday, February 22, 2010

Blogging While Employed - Where is the line?

In reply to the following comments at the Swash Zone post "THE RACIST BIGOT WHO TEACHES AT LONG BEACH CITY COLLEGE":
Octopus - 2:57 PM, February 22, 2010
Octopus - 3:37 PM, February 22, 2010
Capt. Fogg - 4:17 PM, February 22, 2010
(You only need click on the first link; the others are the next two comments, in order.) ((The original post was deleted in October, 2011. The links now go to my recreation of the post, via web cache and e-mail records.)

I'm sorry if I offended anyone or spoke out of turn as regards whether or not one should contact someone's place of employment for actions they take online. My issue isn't so much with Professor Douglas' legal rights (though perhaps an argument can be made on those grounds, as well), but with the morality--and just as important--the effectiveness of doing so.

I maintain that potentially criminal acts (harassment, threats of violence, ...) should be handled by the legal profession, and acts that impinge on your use and enjoyment of one's google blog should be handled by reporting such acts to google. It isn't that I'm opposed to reporting abusive acts by immoral actors; it's only that I believe we should report such acts to the officials and agencies who are empowered to act on the reports we make.

Where bigotry and other morally repugnant acts are concerned, I'm all for sunshine; publicize the nasty things that people say and do as much as possible--which, by the way, is one of the reasons I'm opposed to moderating such things away. Sometimes it's good to confront and be offended by the things people say and do, and to see that as many other people as possible are offended right along with you. Rather than hide bigoted blog comments, I say highlight them, repeating them as many times as it takes for people to get good and pissed off at the people that post them. (In fact, if the lawyer's don't object, I'd suggest posting all of the threats and other nonsense received via e-mail, as well.) I'm all for blog posts, letters to local media--including the LBCC college newspaper--with full quotes and context, tweets, facebook posts, submissions to "Worst Person in the World" segments, and any other means that uses sunshine and/or moonglow to highlight the bad acts Donald Douglas and those like him engage in.

Long Beach City College is not responsible for anything their employee, Donald Douglas, posts online, any more than the places any of us work for are responsible for our online posts and comments. He's not speaking on the college's behalf, and they cannot--and should not be able to--control his private thoughts and actions. (again, just as I wouldn't want anyone on this side of the aisle stifled from speaking by our employers.)

I absolutely believe that LBCC ought to be paying attention to the things Donald Douglas posts, because in using his position as an LBCC associate professor of political science to bolster his internet credibility, I believe he is harming their "brand," but that is up to them to research, determine, and deal with.

I understand that some feel justified, but I just don't agree that complaining to his college superiors for acts that are not in any way related to his job is ethically correct or practically productive. If there is a legal case for harassment or threatening behavior, the college will find out about it soon enough, and I suspect that that is where the ethical SOP's would come into effect.

I feel kinda bad that we disagree, Oct, (& Fogg, & rocky, ...), but I just can't go with you on this... I don't think it's right, and I don't think it'll work, besides. I hope we can continue to act in concert where we can, but this ain't one of those times...

Submitted for moderator approval 2/22/10, 5:25 PM (or so, IM blog time)
UPDATE - 2/23/10 - This comment was posted at the Swash Zone blog for 18- 24 hours, and then removed by the blog owner, for content. This is the first instance where a comment of mine did not appear / was removed from a liberal blog.)

UPDATE - 10/15/11 - The whole blog post was deleted from THE SWASH ZONE sometime in the last few days. I re-created what I could of the post from the web cache and my own records here, but 12 comments originally appended to the post were lost...

1 comment:

ex DLB said...

Repsac, have to say I admire your stand on this issue. I hope it doesn't strain your relationship with the Swash folks.

Admittedly, I don't know the degree of Douglas' harassment. I've always viewed him as the clown that LGM made him up to be. Though, I do have some concern for the guy. I could see him ending up like the "IRS kamikaze" in TX someday.

I'd rather not see employers policing the on-line activities of their workers in any way. Maybe the Google should institute a Troll Police.

Good luck to ya!