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be careful about what you post on the net

A long, long time ago I was a member of a public discussions network called FidoNet.

It was exactly like Usenet - only that the nodes (the servers) of the network called each other using modems and exchanged the messages. So, the communication was almost exclusively by phone.

Well, this network was really cool - like in this forum, you could talk with a lot of interesting people there.


There was one discussion area (or group) about jokes, where people posted jokes.

So, I posted some jokes myself. Some of them were dirty jokes, but not very dirty.


Well, lots of years later, I have searched for my name on Google, and I found out that a lot of people saved the FidoNet joke posts to files, and put the files on the web!

There were files with hundreads of jokes put on the web.

Those files were saved from the FidoNet jokes group, and also contained the names of the authors, etc.


So anybody who searched for my name, could find my name near some jokes, and some of them were dirty ones.

I have worked hard to contact every webmaster who put up such files and asked them to remove my name.

It was very tough. I did this every month for an year, until I have cleared my name.


Now, at that time, there was no archive.org, and no Google (Altavista were the kings of search), so I guess there is no trace, now.


Be very careful about what you post on the net under your real name. It may come back to haunt you later!

Celmai Taredin Parcare
Sunday, September 28, 2003

Ummm, so it was ok to post this stuff amongst a small tribe of anorak wearing, pipe smoking, jesus sandal wearing short folk with either curly bushy hair or receding hairlines; but not the general populace who'd likely never heard of you?

Simon Lucy
Sunday, September 28, 2003

Yes, it was ok. They were techies, and were obviously not my employers!

Also, at the time I posted the jokes, I was younger and didn't care so much about having a job, etc.

Now I care.

Celmai Taredin Parcare
Sunday, September 28, 2003

I think it's a sad reflection on the society we live in when you have to worry that sharing a joke amoungst friends could get you fired (or not get hired).

Sum Dum Gai
Sunday, September 28, 2003


Go read this thread:
http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=73857&ixReplies=38

where some people google on job *applicants* - that's right, you could be losing jobs before you're even called because some people think it's appropriate to judge you by what they read about you (or others with the same name) on the internet.

Philo

Philo
Sunday, September 28, 2003

If you think that storing dirty jokes is a sad reflection, what about the fact that every piece of data about you is now stored on corporate databases and indexed via your social security number. Right now, every major transaction I've made, my credit history, my medical history, my grocery shopping habits, my movie renting habits, the cable channels I've ordered (and Pay-per-View shows I've watched), my marital history, my driving record, and my tax returns are all available for a moderately enterprising person to scour. It's a brave new world we live in and I haven't even started mentioning the really paranoid stuff yet.

StickyWicket
Sunday, September 28, 2003

I always google a job applicant.  And I never would care that they wrote some dirty jokes on the internet.  Hell, if they were a programmer, I'd expect it.

Anyhow, googling an applicant is usually very interesting.  You often find an interesting history of articles, code snippets, advice...  Any programmer worth hiring will leave a trail.

bread crumbs
Sunday, September 28, 2003

Well "Bread Crumbs", what do you do if they give themselves cute names like "Bread Crumbs" when posting online? Or if you want to trace the writings of "John Smith" or someone else with a popular enough name?

Does "John Smith" get a chance to explain that the reason he has no history online is because he posts under the name "Frodo"?

Does he get the chance to explain that the "John Smith" whose distasteful jokes you've read in alt.tasteless isn't him?

Robert Moir
Sunday, September 28, 2003

I googled my name recently. The oldest reference was dated January 1997. That's pretty scary. I suppose I should be glad that I spent my teenage years pre-internet.

Celia Redmore
Sunday, September 28, 2003

Google my name and I am quite proud of what comes up. Although I wouldn't have the faintest idea of what "Group Theory and its application to Knot Theory." is.

Now tell me, how accurate can googling names be when I am pretty sure that my name isn't too common and I can find another one in Sydney with the same name?

Chris Ormerod
Sunday, September 28, 2003

http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=74076

Since this is the current thread, I thought I'd post this link here...

Mark T A W .com
Sunday, September 28, 2003

This sounds like the urban legend that when going into an interview, the interviewee gets cut off and starts honking and flips the other guy the bird. Well, as it turns out, this is who he is interviewing with. The moral is to "be careful about who you yell at on the road."

I guess the real message is: "be careful what you do" and I would bet we are all for that. In my opinion, the Internet has increased the ability to be anonymous (hence "m" and not my real name).

m
Sunday, September 28, 2003

Even Bill Gates has his early posts stored for posperity in Google Groups.

If he is big enough to ignore this stuff you should too.

Thanks.

Tim
Sunday, September 28, 2003

If anybody out there just Googles, sees something offensive about a job applicant, and tosses their resume in the trash, I hope they get hit by a bus while getting their expensive lunch.  No, wait,  I hope they just die peacefully and self-satisfied in their old age and go to Hell for all eternity afterward, that'd be even better.  This really burns my ass.  I know it's common, and there's nothing I can do about it.  The fact is, I'm starting a job search now!  - pity me - and I just might spend a few extra months or years unemployed because of two things:

1)  I have a very uncommon (though basically Anglo) first name, an extremely common middle name which I only rarely use and generally do not even bother to include as an initial, and a rather rare last name.  In fact, I'm the only person with my first name at the University I research at - a rather large public state school.

2)  A certain couple consisting of a man with my first and last name, apparently without a middle name or initial, and his wife, who reside in a Southern state I've never even driven through, let alone visited, spend every single day in the courthouse.  If they're not taking the stand in their own defense over abandoning their small children for days at a time, drinking in public, or getting in barroom fistfights, they're filing frivilous lawsuits against any neighbor of theirs, the local police department, or any store they've ever set foot in.  Apparently they just like to hang out in court.

So would you hire "me"?  Maybe you wouldn't.  But rest assured, if you're a man of any honour at all you'll give me a chance to explain that I'm not "me". 

My mother always told me to use my middle name on EVERYTHING.  I didn't really think it was necessary.  Now I know why. Thanks, mom!

Trollumination
Monday, September 29, 2003

Finally I've managed to overtake Lucy Simon in Google.

Lucy Simon, btw, is the sister of Carly Simon. 

This might seem a small thing to you, but when you have a family name like mine such things assume gigantic proportions.  A Boy named Sue indeed, he had it easy.

Simon Lucy
Monday, September 29, 2003

If your name comes up in a bad way, you could try diluting it by flooding the net with random posts and pages with your name, or maybe write a bot to do it...

Jim
Monday, September 29, 2003

While the women of honour have no obligation at all towards you?

Trollumina
Monday, September 29, 2003

Gosh Rovert,

Got any dirty jokes you're dying to share so that we can bump up your karma points?

bread crumbs
Monday, September 29, 2003

I have to say, I googled once about a prospective hire, the morning before he came in for the interview. 

Unfortunately, I "hit" right away - and found out that he was the creator and contributor of a site dedicated to the joys of nude sunbathing at a local beach.

Now, I have nothing against nude sunbathing, but it is a bit distracting to meet someone for the first time in a formal situation like a job interview, and find yourself thinking...wow, he's really tanned....and I bet he has no tan lines....

datajunkie
Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Heh - one thought that just occurred to me is that at least one conventional standard about private life affecting work is inverted.

Generally, a woman who runs a webcam service or is a stripper in her private life runs the risk of not being hired if the hiring manager knows or finds out. But if that hiring manager is a geek? Instant hire. :)

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, September 30, 2003

I have a lot of archived posts from Usenet (feel free to search on my name; that is my real one).  I'm not proud of all of them.

But you know what?  That's part of who I am.  I'm not ashamed that that's who I was back then.

If an employer doesn't want me because I once posted some embarrasing things to Usenet, I don't want to be employed there.

The Pedant, Brent P. Newhall
Tuesday, September 30, 2003

I'm sure a lot of interviewers also hope YOU don't do a search on THEM....

Rick
Tuesday, September 30, 2003

I've done searches prior to hire to get a sense of the netetiquete of the person.  Can't remember a single bad one , but few people got + for excellent technical posts.

tekumse
Tuesday, September 30, 2003

I googled my name and the first thing that comes up is a paper I co-wrote.  Pretty neat in my opinion.

C++ <fan>
Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Holy cow, who's worried about googling someone. Isn't that kind of like doing a background check? Obviously you realize that what what you see may not be the person you are googling. I always try and use an email address. If the person has a common name I use my googling skills to narrow the results. But if someone has been a programmer then they had better have at least posted questions to some newsgroups. They should have created some websites. I want a programmer who enjoys their work, it's not just a 9-5 job. I've written some things I wish I could take back. If an employer can't look at the date of some of my questions and figure out that I've learned something since those posts ... then I'd not want to work for such an employer anyhow.

Me
Thursday, October 02, 2003

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