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I've been blogged...

By a strange coincidence, I just ran across the blog of a guy who used to work at the same company I'm still at.  Specifically, a page that was about me.

Now I've read plenty of threads here that are like, "There's this guy at work..." and sometimes people joke about how that guy might be somewhere blogging about you.  Now it appears it's really happened to me, except that I've never blogged about the guy or had any problem with him whatsoever.

But now I find he's made three posts about me, two of which were rants about my eating habits, and one was a rant about my lack of interest in using his preferred toolset in place of one which was already available and in use, not to mention snooty comments about my preferred programming language.

At first I thought it was just a big coincidence, and that maybe this was somebody writing about incidents that resembled incidents I was familiar with.  But then I did a whois on the site, and connected the dots to find, yeah, this was a former employee.  Weird.

So, I keep being tempted to like post on the guy's site, except that that would be silly since the posts in question are over a year old, and it seems like it would be unprofessional to sink to his level.  If he still worked for the company, I'd also have been tempted to point out to HR (or at least his supervisor) that I don't appreciate people from other departments whining about my department's choice of tools to the world at large while spilling details to the net about internal projects.

Ah well.  I guess I just wanted to vent.  There probably isn't a damned thing I could've done about it then or now that wouldn't have made things worse.  Indeed, if I hadn't run across the site at all, I could've just continued on remembering him as a friendly, competent guy who I had a few short conversations with on that particular project, and if I'd ever run into him again I'd have been civil, and even friendly.  Sheesh.

Okay, let the unrealistic revenge-fantasy advice commence.  :)

Not sinking to the same level
Thursday, March 11, 2004

if he didn't mention you by name, then suck it up big guy....

why should you allow your opinion of him to be affected by his opinion of you?

FullNameRequired
Thursday, March 11, 2004

You can't post something that juicy and not link to the blog ...

I want to see the car crash ...
Thursday, March 11, 2004

He didn't mention me by name, but he was specific enough that other employees of the same company wrote comments on the posts.

When I rant about something, I don't do it in a way that allows such trivial identification of the person(s) involved, and definitely not the company involved.  And I describe things in general terms that make it sound like it could be anybody anywhere, whereas this guy literally has posts describing what I had for lunch on different days and what he disliked about it!

(And no, I'm not gonna provide a link.  That would be sinking to his level..  duh.  I'm sticking with the theory that I can maintain a thin veneer of moral superiority by making it as difficult as possible for anybody to be really sure of who I am or who he is.)

Not sinking to the same level
Thursday, March 11, 2004

>You can't post something that juicy and not link to the blog ...

Absolutely agreed!!

It is an interesting thing though isn't it. I mean I doubt you would have much legal recourse, even if he did post your name (unless he was being seriously defamatory).
Surely we all have a right to have a whinge about someone, something, some tool.

But I agree, it wouldn't be nice finding such a negative blog about yourself.

I think fullnamerequired is right, the best you can do is 'suck it up' and be thankfull he didn't use your name.

I wonder if he did use your name, and a potential employer googling your name came across it....things are so much more complex then they used to be.

Aussie Chick
Thursday, March 11, 2004

On the same note.
I have a blog, and my full name is used as the title, so after reading a few posts there is no doubt that I am who I am.

It is doubtful that anyone I know will ever stumble across this blog, but who knows maybe a potential employer will, then hire me but keep an eye on the blog all the same.

I say all kinds of stuff in it. I don't think it is out and out mean, usually just a rant, and I never name names, but again it is obvious who I could be talking about. Maybe there is just something wrong with keeping diary-like information online, and yet I enjoy it, I do keep a 'work-from home/university student/startup" theme, and alot of the other things just become on topic.

It doesn't seem wrong, but I guess who hasn't had a whinge in the lunchroom about the boss. Is more 'wrong' then that?

Aussie Chick
Thursday, March 11, 2004

"I have a blog"

Found it.  ;)

Almost Anonymous
Thursday, March 11, 2004

The great thing about the net is that you have a right of reply in these things. Start your own webpage and respond to the allegations if they really bug you.

But really, does it matter? So he wrote some stuff about you. You yourself said you had to do a bit of work to track down and confirm it was really about you. What's the chances of some random person finding out? Slim to none.

Revenge seems a bit over the top anyway. Out of the three posts, we have the two eating habit ones: you didn't deny them, so I'm assuming they're true, and hence not in need of revenge.

The third is just an op-ed piece about your choice of tools. Big deal. There are thousands of web pages that praise tool X and say that people should use it instead of tool Y. It's nothing personal about you, it's about the tools you're using. Don't take something personally when it isn't, life's easier that way. :)

Sum Dum Gai
Thursday, March 11, 2004

I'd confront this guy and let him know that you made him.

The impression I get from these discussions on blogging about coworkers is that you're supposed to either create an employment policy fiasco and get the person terminated, or you are supposed to blog in retaliation. I think either is disproportionately risky in terms of possible backfiring.

If you are recognizable to anyone other than the blogger from the description they post of you, then this kind of thing  is just plain rude. I handle most rudeness 1 on 1, not by going and telling the local authority figure.

I'd handle it the way I would hand someone shoving me in public or mouthing off at me for no reason. Confront the behavior and demand cessation. If that didn't work, then you do have more risky alternatives.

Bored Bystander
Thursday, March 11, 2004

I'd find the other 4 people that read his blog and tell them he's full of it.

not Elephant
Thursday, March 11, 2004

Sheesh. Be a man. Suck it up.

Don't post back unless you have something incredibly funny to say that defuses the whole situation.

> could've just continued on remembering him as a friendly, competent guy who I had a few short conversations with on that particular project,

And you still can!

Manly Man
Thursday, March 11, 2004

Actually, the tools rant was one of the nicer ones; he actually used the word "competent" in reference to my team, and by implication, myself.  In contrast, the rants about my eating included a statement that implied he would like to see me dead and out of the "gene pool".  (The worst he said about the tools thing was to accuse my team of being apathetic for not wanting to invest company resources in something that wasn't an actual requirement.  But I digress.)

In any case, I don't argue for the most part with the portions of his posts that deal with the facts of the incidents.  But his online editorializing, when I was right there to talk to in person if he had a problem...  that just ticks me off.  If I'd had a problem with him, I'd have told HIM, not the rest of the freaking world.

Further, as best as I can tell, the issues he had with me are based entirely on my failure to be like "everybody else".  I apparently had the sheer unmitigated gall to not only have different taste in food and programming languages, but also lacked the good taste to hide my preferences from persons with attitudes like his.  Sheesh.

The irony, I'm finding, from reading his blog, is that unbeknownst to each other, we both promoted the same unpopular technology for a particular purpose, for similar reasons. (Except it appears that my arguments for it carried the day, as I actually had some specific arguments for why the technology would be more suited to our customers' needs, as opposed to just ragging on the popular technology.)  And, as I find out from reading his blog, his eating habits aren't particularly mainstream either!  (Pot, meet kettle.)  Amusingly, the more I read his blog, the more I find things that we AGREE on about work or the world in general, despite some definite showstopper differences of opinion.  Funny the things you can learn, huh?

As for identification, the only reason I had to do any tracking things down was because it was my first visit to his blog.  There were plenty of pages that listed the company name, I just didn't enter the site via one of them.  All I did was get a whois to find out his real name (which also was on the site, but it was easier to get with whois), and then look him up in an employee database to make sure he was an employee, because I didn't recognize his name right off.  (I had, after all, only had one or two conversations with him in his whole time there.  He left the company last year; I'm guessing voluntarily but who knows.)

Had I seen his resume on the site, or one of the posts identifying the company, I'd have known right away who he was, and anybody who worked in the same part of the facility would've known who I was.  And apparently did, because there was at least one other person from the company who posted comments, unless the guy likes to comment on his own posts under pseudonyms.

So it's not merely that I'm identifiable from his posts -- it appears I was in fact identified.  True, not by a "random person".  But oh well.  I'm discovering his rants section has many more nasty things to say about many other people who I still work with (or at least pass by in the halls each day), so I guess I shouldn't feel singled out for his special rage.

Anyway, what happened to all the wonderful fantasy revenge advice people used to post here?  I already know what the sensible and responsible thing(s) to do (and not do) are; I posted this for help in therapeutic venting.  :)

P.S. to the guy I'm talking about: You see, THIS is how you rant about a fellow employee online.  You say "a technology" or "a language" being used for "a reason", rather than naming the specific things involved.  You don't name the freaking company.  You don't describe the application, the meetings, or the contents of the people's lunches.  Thank you.

Not sinking to the same level
Thursday, March 11, 2004

It sounds like you need to change your diet and start using a different toolset.

You must be extremely sensitive if you can't handle someone criticizing what you eat.  I'm not sure that is something worth "getting revenge" over.

chris
Thursday, March 11, 2004

>> rather than naming the specific things involved.  You don't name the freaking company.  You don't describe the application, the meetings, or the contents of the people's lunches.

You *do* if you're a narcissistic blogger developing a "following" by trashing people that you deal with in real life. Like your "friend".

Sorry. I have a problem with "masturbatory" blogging, the twits (like this guy you originally posted about) who vent online and create their own little personality cult.

Bored Bystander
Thursday, March 11, 2004

I would add replies at the appropriate places in his blog, and also point out to him areas where you dispute his interpretation of events.

Also, you shouldn't automatically dismiss the possibility of a libel suit. If you're identifiable and defamed, there's no reason why a suit couldn't be mounted. Obviously it would depend on how badly you were defamed and other things appropriate to the jurisdiction you're in.

People get new swimming pools out of careless paragraphs in books all the time.

x
Thursday, March 11, 2004

Aussie Chick - you have been outed (CT) :-)

Hope your meeting on Friday with the Librarians goes well.

DJ
Thursday, March 11, 2004

Hey.

I was wondering who did the search the google search for RefMate.

The meeting got called off two hours before it was supposed to go ahead, has been rescheduled for Monday. I only got 3hours sleep last night I was so busy.....

Aussie Chick
Friday, March 12, 2004

"Also, you shouldn't automatically dismiss the possibility of a libel suit. If you're identifiable and defamed, there's no reason why a suit couldn't be mounted. Obviously it would depend on how badly you were defamed and other things appropriate to the jurisdiction you're in."

I'll give you one reason: to sue over this sort of trivial bullshit is what's wrong with the legal system.

Boo-hoo, someone hurt his feelings, and now people are telling him to sue over it. Get over it! Didn't you people learn in kindergarten "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me"?

I think it's sad that someone can't even express an opinion without people crying lawsuit. Whatever happened to people just working their problems out for themselves, without getting a judge involved?

Sum Dum Gai
Friday, March 12, 2004

The possibilities of winning a libel suit in the States on something like this are near zero. I doubt if you'd even win it in the UK, which is Paradise for the rich libel-suit-wielding bully (maximum compensation has now been fixed at around $200K, which doesn't normally cover legal costs, so ordinary people genuinely defamed by big media organizations don't normally stand a chance).

How about trying to grow up instead?

Stephen Jones
Friday, March 12, 2004

I am dying to know exactly what he said about your eating habits.

Kyralessa
Friday, March 12, 2004

Update: I showed the site to some folks at work, and we all had a good laugh at the other bloke's expense.  Mission accomplished.

Not sinking to the same level
Friday, March 12, 2004

This situation brings to mind one of my favorite aphorisms: "Beware the toes you step on today . . . they may be connected to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow."

Someday that guy will apply for a job at a company where you work . . . and THAT will be your revenge, my friend.

Tim Keating
Saturday, March 13, 2004

At least give us a link to the blog so we can decently decide whether you've been wronged... or just laugh.

Mr Jack
Thursday, March 18, 2004

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