April 05, 2004
Policy update

It's probably unnecessary, but after the Kos/Kerry kerfuffle, I've decided to update my Blog Policies page to cover the (in my mind unlikely) possibility that someone will attempt to make another party responsible for my words or the words of a commenter here. Feel free to borrow the idea, or to mock me for my hubris.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 05, 2004 to Administrivia | TrackBack

Good job on that, Charles. I like the bit about your blogroll. I sympathize with yu about updating the blogroll.

Posted by: elgato on April 5, 2004 8:20 PM

I like your statement of policy, Kuff — comprehensive, but in plain English. I feel about the same way about my own blog but have nothing so comprehensive or eloquent.

This isn't a criticism, but an observation: I do have, tucked away in the fine print on my blog, a sentence stating that "Unless otherwise advised, I'll assume that anyone who emails me is speaking 'on the record' and doesn't mind my posting here what they've emailed." A statement like that, or like yours to similar effect, is I think effective legal notice, even if it's probably "deemed" or "constructive" (rather than actual) notice — that is, it's good legal protection for you, and probably legally effective, even if in practice most of your commenters/emailers haven't, and can't reasonably have been expected to have, read it.

I just completed an email exchange — not entirely coincidentally, regarding the Kos Kerfluffle (or as Spoons called it, "The Passion of the Kos") — in which I was corresponding with a high-profile blogger/journalist. I thought it was an interesting exchange of emails, and I briefly considered publishing it; the other party hadn't asked me not to. I decided against it, however — in part because I had initiated the exchange, but mostly because I was almost certain that he/she hadn't read my online "emails policy," hadn't intended to be writing for publication, and might have been a bit more unguarded or sloppy in our email exchange than he/she usually is on his/her own blog.

I mentioned, in what I intended to be my concluding email in the exchange, that I'd been tempted to reprint, but had decided against it — and indeed, this drew a sharp and immediate howl of protest that doing so would be illegal or, at a minimum, unethical. I replied that I was pretty sure that reprinting our exchange without his/her permission wouldn't have been illegal; that I'm not sure whether it would have been unethical, but tend to think reprinting at least arguably would have been ethical (since I hadn't started the exchange with the intention to trick or trap my correspondent into writing something that would embarrass him/her); but that I agreed reprinting the exchange would simply be rude. In other words, while my published policy arguably would have permitted me to do so, it wouldn't necessarily have excused my doing so. Rights and manners often don't entirely overlap.

Heh — well, now you know why I don't have a longer email-republication policy on my own blog. I'd end up telling anecdotes like this one and it'd end up being 3000 words with 30 hyperlinks.

Posted by: Beldar on April 7, 2004 7:25 PM