This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 1, 2010 8:45 AM. The previous post in this blog was Ron Wyden is killing little old ladies. The next post in this blog is Still on the fence. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

The verdict

With advice from our readers, we've decided to grant the request of the fellow who signed his full name on some intemperate comments on this blog a few years back, and now worries that they might cost him a prospective job. We've removed his last name from the comments in question, but are not in any way shape or form adopting that as a policy that anyone else should rely on.

His full name may linger on the internet somewhere -- perhaps on the Wayback Machine and elsewhere -- but my experience with Google has been that sooner or later, it will disappear from there. And that's where prospective employers are most likely to find it.

Anyway, thanks to the readers who helped us chart this course. Oh, and by the way, the comments in question started here.

Comments (10)

Too bad. His potential employer should know that he posts comments on blogs while drunk and/or stoned. Just think what will happen if he continues to do so from his potential employer's computers. Then people will say, why couldn't we have discovered that he already did this. Then they might find out that, in fact, his comments were "whitewashed" from this site at the individual's request.

I took a quick look at all of the many comments posted in response to the "original request," and I don't think anyone took the position that everyone posting comments should be required to use their real and complete name.

Of course, people with names like Jones or Smith would have an obvious advantage over people with unusual names.

But if everyone was required to use their real and complete name that would clearly tone down the rhetoric and demagoguery that clutters most websites.

Thanks to the rally to restore sanity, I am not very outraged over the possible damage this verdict may inflict upon imaginary people in hypothetical situations. Then again, I am sober at the moment.

Does it really provide this person cover? Reason I ask is if Google has the comments with full name, the person's comments still remain available to the public. But if it helps, so be it.

Thanks, Jack.

This is why blueoregon's recently implemented policy of requiring a Facebook sign in with a real name has transformed it into a mind-numbing, dumbed-down, insiders-only dead end. People have legitimate reasons not to use their real names besides just to rant or make rude comments without consequence. I do not want my employer or any potential employer ever to have any knowledge whatsoever of my politics--period. I should be able to say something publicly without risking that. It's not a good situation but it's a situation caused by the era we're in.

"Transformed it"?

Elizabeth - My employer has some whacked ideas about what we do and say on our own time and if I was planning to find another job working for "the man" again, potential employers could be an issue. My solution, I have 2 FB accounts. One in my real name where old friends can find me but I post nothing and a second one under my pen name (and yeah I am minorly paid and published) where I can be free. I do however watch profile pics on that account - as in it's not likely to be my face. My point is that with creativity there are ways around anything.

Here's a suggestion for bojack and all other websites that post comments.

Provide readers with the option to filter out comments from those who use a verifiable name, versus those who post their comments anonymously.

Even though Ben Franklin, along with many others, have used pseudonyms over the centuries, it's not as if some former KGB agent is going to push you out the upper floor window of a loft in the Pearl District, or some Mexican cartel is going to dump your beheaded body in the Willamette River if you post an intelligent comment online.

And, just maybe, some enlightened employer will be inspired to hire someone who posts intelligent comments online.

Wow. How sad that this person feels his comments might threaten his future employment.

A strong opinion is a beautiful thing. I don't generally like it when people malign others for their opinions, but I could care less if it's done in an obviously over-the-top manner in an internet debate. All that talk about empty skulls just sounds like rhetoric on whiskey to me. Pity a world where an employer cares about such things.

And really, really pity a world where the job market is so bad that people would so fear the repercussions of their youthful blabber.

So sad. Thanks for taking care of him, Jack.

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