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Online Ethics - What Say You?


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#1 cre8pc

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 09:20 PM

Was there ever a time when accepted behavior was something everyone participated in...as in, we all knew what was acceptable or not?

I can't remember. :)

One of the basic underlying House Rules we hold fast to here at Cre8 is "Don't attack the person or company". Rather, vent all you want about practices but without the intent of slandering a person.

Twice, recently, two or three of us from the Moderating team had horrendous experiences with our web hosts that we shared in the "Back room". None of those companies will be getting any business from anyone on the staff here. We chose to not go public with our experiences because, however fun it would be for a few minutes to cuss out hosting companies with no brains, we knew in the end it wouldn't prove to be helpful and could possibly bring the forums trouble.

It's our way of keeping some sanity here. But, in a social environment and one that hopes to educate and inform, I sometimes wonder if we do the Community an injustice by not blowing the lid off unscrupulous businesses.

To some extent, we do share opinions. Google takes heat for example. But, its rare you'll find a particular person thrown to the wolves here.

Blogs seem to stretch and push ethical boundaries with the freedom of speech belt.

More and more I see bloggers purposely communicating to people they dislike by writing negative blog posts about them. It becomes a "he said, she said" piece. If you're written about in a highly hateful manner, what do you do? Anything?

Another example is one I found where not only the person is slandered and ripped to pieces in a blog, but their employer is as well. The post contains links and its obvious the intent is to show the company and person in a bad light.

There are some things, in my mind, that are off-limits. I don't write about the inside workings of a big national company my spouse works for because I would never do anything to risk his employment there.

Blogs are now being used for revenge.

Is this okay with you?

I'm curious to know what you all think and feel about where blogs are going...social communication devices as well.

Is it hurting or helping us to have so much freedom to express ourselves?

#2 A.N.Onym

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 09:35 PM

I think you can write about your negative experiences and knowledge (supported by facts and provided for by links) as long as your contribution is aimed to help your readers by informing them.

Say, someone in our industry cheats. Wouldn't you warn your readers and colleagues about the practice or a company, if it is alive and well, like Network Solutions? (Btw, I heard rumors they hired a really savvy SEO lately, so they should be improving, hopefully.)

The same concerns about awful hosting providers. Not only you help your readers by them not stepping in the same trap, but also provide the other part of the coin: you share about positive experiences, when they happen, too (it's part of free speech, also). So it's fair, IMHO.

If your information bears no constructive essence to your readers, then it's useless and is more like tossing gas into the fire. Even if we forget about the possible legal consequences here.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 07 July 2008 - 09:42 PM.


#3 cre8pc

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 09:40 PM

The key there is "supported by facts".

If someone writes somewhere, "Kim Krause Berg is unethical" and doesn't back it up, the words are still out there and someone will believe it just because it's been said. Kinda like those stupid tabloid magazines :)

This caught my eye...

Personal privacy violation

A woman claims her life has been ruined by someone who set up a Facebook website page in her name describing her as a vice girl. The forged profile featured her photograph, correct date of birth, middle name and mobile number, listing her job as ‘prostitute’.


No facts. People responded to this fake profile.

#4 A.N.Onym

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 10:41 PM

Well, it's a completely another matter of trusting the sources. If friends of the woman contacted her, wouldn't they recognize the FB account as fake?

#5 Respree

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 12:28 AM

On the whole, I actually feel good about our policy about not attacking other companies, even if they really deserve it. Being human, the temptation to resist is, admittedly, sometimes great.

As moderators, I think we have to not only take the higher ground, but a responsibility for the content created here. If someone said, "Don't use Kim Krause's services, she is incompetent," the post would immediately be removed, as it breaks our rules against attacks against moderators and their businesses. The same would go if someone attacked one of members' business. We would be guilty of hipocracy, if we allowed posts that were designed to deter customers from a business or damage their reputation. I think even a seemingly honest comment like, "I had a horrible experience with XYZ Hosting," could easily snowball into an avalanche of similar comments. The reality could as easily be that, taken as a whole, XYZ Hosting has a very high customer satisfaction rate, but only the would-be thread only attracted people who agreed with the subject, "Don't Use XYZ Hosting, They're Horrible."

So if one were a potential customer reading the thread, would the thread be a service or disservice to the people reading it? No real way to tell, in the hypothetical example above.

Plus, I don't think we don't want the attract the unsavory lawyer types, itching to file a defamation case, do we?

I think we've made the right decision with our policy.

My two cents. :)

Edited by Respree, 08 July 2008 - 12:30 AM.


#6 Jem

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 04:35 AM

If a company rips me off offline, I don't sit and stew on it explaining to people that I couldn't possibly warn them about the bad service I received simply because it's "unethical" to tell all - it would be setting my friends and family up for a potential fall that could ultimately be avoided. So I rant about them. I tell everyone I know "don't go with XYZ, they'll rip you off". To me, the same applies online.


In November last year a friend of mine was landed with a several hundred dollar bill by her host, for apparently hacking into their system and executing DoS attacks. My friend only just understands updating her wordpress blog and using an FTP client, there was no way on earth she'd successfully hacked anyone or anything. The supposed documentation that showed this so-called hacking was put forth, and any idiot could see that my friend was clearly not at fault. A little investigating uncovered a whole stream of people who had suffered the same fate by this host, and had actually coughed up the money.

Had these people not talked about their hosting troubles, I'd have never discovered the pattern of blatant fraud which led me to write a series of blog entries on the company. Sure, I ran the risk of being prosecuted for libel but the risk, to me, was worth saving other people from this companies clutches. The company folded in April due to unrelated legal issues and I have a 'portfolio' of complaints from ex-customers, one of which has been charged tens of thousands of dollars.

An employee from the company contacted me a couple of weeks ago and released information about the company, including a statement that basically said he didn't understand why the customers had been charged for any malicious activity on the server because the company weren't charged by the data center for it.


Anyway, whew, bit of a tangent there... I honestly believe that word of mouth is one of the strongest ways a business can grow. That must mean that it can and should be used in the reverse?

That said, I have no problems in a forum being kept free of naming and shaming. If a person has a problem with a company they can take it up with them in their own time, on their own space.

#7 bwelford

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 08:27 AM

I agree with our policy, although it's tough to accept after a horrendous six days.

My website and one of my blogs went off-line six days ago with error messages being displayed indicating too many connections to the website. The behavior was erratic since simple HTML pages would occasionally display while others were displaying the error message. Such behavior would persist with the same HTML pages displaying correctly and others always displaying the error message.

The hosting service allows communication on technical problems only by their web form. You can also call them by telephone but you will get very little useful information by doing so since this is covered by a different group who are only message takers.

Since first reporting the problem I have kept them up to date with information from Google Analytics to show that the site was almost completely shut down. From them, I have had e-mail responses indicating that
  • since the problem was intermittent (not true) they were having a problem finding it
  • the problem must be caused by script issues of my making setting up too many connections on the website
This is a website that has been running for years without problems and there have been no recent changes in coding.

Finally they have closed the ticket on the issue, citing the script issues on the website as the explanation for doing no further work. I have now moved to another host and all is running correctly again. When I have the time, I will certainly be commenting elsewhere on this sorry mess. I gather others have experienced similar wholly inadequate service.

#8 Wit

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 01:48 PM

I'd appreciate it if we were warned about online companies in time. If only in a members only-forum. After all, that's what online buddies do.

For instance, I woulda liked being warned about Re*******ly. That way, I could have pulled out in time.

This goes especially for companies that really tend to rip people off -- be it either because of incompetence or ill will. I understand that Cre8 doesn't want to become the web police, but members-only rants backed up with facts would be welcome here.

#9 cre8pc

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 02:12 PM

I would have LOVED to have socked it to Re....fly for the absolute sheer hell they put me through :)

How do web site properties offer space for valid customer complaints and protect themselves from slander lawsuits or whatever?

General question:

If you find your good name being used somewhere in a negative way, what do you do? Do you have any recourse?

Another point to ponder:

I have a client whose name is his domain and I'm battling a situation where someone with the same name has an Amazon wish list and some kinky things on it, and it comes up very high in rank for searches on his name. It's not his wish list and he's upset that people might think it's him.

Is there any recourse?

#10 cre8pc

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 08:08 PM

This out today by Marty Weintraub:

Reputation Crisis Management

Depending on the SEO skill level of the villain, their determination and the authority of the site on which the damaging diatribe was published, the offending results can be buggers for businesses to cleanse themselves.

Enter the SEO sharpshooter specialist, focused on attaining organic prominence as quickly as possible under pressure. The objective is to push the nasty content as far down the SERPs as possible and, if necessary, debunk the credibility of the damning editorial.


Unfortunately, when SEO's decide to slander other SEO's, it becomes a true battle because the SEO becomes the weapon of choice.

#11 bwelford

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 08:54 PM

As Marty says, the high road is always the best road. If your company has already established its open response to the market place, then Google will already be rewarding such dialogues with beneficial PageRank. It's always useful to be mounting a counter-attack from a higher position.

#12 A.N.Onym

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 11:13 PM

Kim, in the second case, I'd think that:
- creating a wish list of his/her own would be adequate, perhaps with more details about himself to make it easy to identify the person (no numbers, tho).
- creating profiles or name-focused pages on strong sites, such as wordpress.com, digg.com, myspace.com, facebook.com, online journals, friends' blogs and other sites might push the Amazon page a bit lower.
- linking from these or other pages *and from his site* to his/her own wish list on Amazon would help, too. If his wishlist gets significantly more incoming links, then it'd be chosen to show at all or be the #1 of the 2 from Amazon for the query.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 08 July 2008 - 11:14 PM.


#13 SEOigloo

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 02:50 AM

Kim,
I think this is such an interesting issue, and I'm really of two minds about it.

I am definitely against attacking individual people on blogs or forums with the exception, perhaps, of political situations wherein debate of this kind is considered typical fare. Even there, I would hope that one would attack the policies and actions of people rather than simply writing rude things about their person, their family, etc.

On the other hand, a case like Jem points out illustrates how blogging about truly wretched company policies is actually a public service. I have written several blog posts along these lines after having really unacceptable experiences with large companies. In many cases, the reputation manager has then appeared on my blog with a response, an apology, etc. Had this level of watchful care been put into customer service, I wouldn't have been blogging about my bad experience, but I believe that with some companies, the only way to get fair treatment is to make a public declaration of dissatisfaction. It doesn't say anything very good about such a company, if less care is being put into initial good service rather than after-the-fact damage control, but my concern is that victims of unscrupulous or awful companies have some way to voice their experiences. Blogging provides that medium.

That being said, I fully support Cre8asite's policy. This is probably not the right place to be panning crummy companies. A personal blog would be a better choice for this, I'd say.

Miriam

#14 Jem

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 05:30 AM

Marty Weintraub does raise some good points. In fact, it is my good ranking in google that I count on to spread news of dodgy companies.

Miriam mentioned that she has blogged about companies and received an apology - this reminded me of the time I blogged about a shoe website. The website was not very accessible and I was having problems. The CEO himself came and left me a comment, apologised for the bad experience and promised to get the developers to solve the problems. Sure enough, they were fixed, and I think their website is better for it.

#15 egain

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Posted 10 July 2008 - 07:53 AM

Think Miriam raises some valid points, however I think there is a way to phrase things, and a place to voice such comments.

At the end of the day, if the concern is a valid concern, and not one purely based on personal perception, then there is a place for it. Random rants aimed at organisations doesnt do anyone any good

#16 glyn

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 06:41 AM

Is it hurting or helping us to have so much freedom to express ourselves?


Is a blog accountable to anyone? I read a blog article which says "Crea8 is bad". Yes, that is a negative, but who's writing it...who are you exactly? Probably no-one, maybe someone. I can only imagine their are companies that are writing negative blogs and articles, paid for by competitors seeking to increase the negative press on a company (just look at political spin to see this kind of dirty writing). Does the average internet user take what they read as fact, irrespective of the source?

If you go and respond to an inflamatory blog posting you can actually send a negative message to your customer. I therefore think that whenever you respond to these types of communication there should be a balance between the perceived damage (usually "oh my god this is terrible", words of an internal stakeholder) and the actual damage (as guided by company research on current customer perceptions).

For example, if someone writes something about a company complaining that it is not eco-friendly, and the company has conducted research and knows that its customers have in fact a high opinion on this policy, responding to an ad-hoc blog post may actually make some stakeholders question their opinion ("I thought they were good on eco, but now I'm not so sure"). Therefore I think the main thing is for businesses to develop close relations with their customers to frame better what is only likely to become more prolific in the future. And also to provide a transparent way for any complaints to be handled and reporting on the outcomes. Companies need to be truthful with their customers if they want to survive. No longer are we stupid, corporate reporting is key.

It's interesting to note that a company mentioned in this thread stopped trading (thus dead wood gets cleaned out eventually).

It's when a customer feels the company is un-approachable that they start to vent their anger, so it's our job to capture that and turn that around to something positive.

I would not be surprised if I saw extra steps in place in the future to make bloggers more accountable on what they write. In the meantime I think knowing your customer and communicating with them is the way forward.

For all the others they can enjoy the rest of the web landscape....
-_- http://it.youtube.co...h?v=5SFnvLC83ew :angel:

Glyn

#17 IncrediBILL

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 10:55 AM

IMO there's a big difference between reporting on severe hosting problems vs. attacking a company over a single event or two. I've reported on 3 hosting companies that have multiple shared servers that are hacked or multiple infiltrated accounts and the situation with these companies has been going on for years in some cases.

I feel compelled to let people know about these situations because their very livelihood is at stake.

What happens for instance when Google, SiteAdvisor or some other service identifies your site, or the entire server, as being infected with malware or loaded up with thousands of hidden spam links (the new BH SEO hacker trick)?

Your site is flagged, your customers are warned to stay away, your business is ruined.

Trying to get your site out of all these black lists can sometimes take months to correct, if ever.

Many customers are just told to "change their FTP password" by the host and without someone posting about the seriousness of the situation with the host that customer is doomed to keep repeating the problem over and over because the FTP password isn't the problem, it's the infected server.

Would you let people know about this serious situation in advance or just sit idly by and watch innocents get hurt?

My ethics compel me to tell people about the problem otherwise I become part of the problem if I do nothing.

#18 cre8pc

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 01:38 PM

Doing nothing can mean you're a coward.

Doing something can bring on more abuse.

According to Online Negative Reputation Case Studies - That’s Never Been Easier, people would rather keep spewing.

The websites discussed offer anyone anonymously to post a rant on other people or companies - be it a former boyfriend or a place of work.


As to someone writing about me or these forums in a bad light, it happens. It's happening now. I was just called a "bully" by a member of these forums.

Do I say who it was? Do I give it more power by paying attention to it? Does it matter what they think?

Another thing I think about is reputation management and our children. When someone writes badly of us or our companies, our children are also subjected to this hatred.

According to some of the new sites going up, it's okay to rant about the ex-boyfriend or an employer and try to cause them harm and public shame.

It's not okay with me.

For those who feel it is okay, how is hurting people on purpose, for spite or revenge, a good thing?

#19 iamlost

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 03:48 PM

This is a conversation that will continue for quite some time as the limits of offline grind against the digital data minefield that is contemporary online.

Another recent article on the subject:
Reputation, skepticism and social media

I mention this because this power of the pen has been wholesale transferred to bloggers. With Google in the mix, anything we say about a person or brand creates a digital trail of commentary that is somewhat-permanently associated with that brand or person. For better or worse.

It's one thing when it's right - or at least a valid representation of an experience - but what happens when it's wrong?
...
Still, it raises an interesting question:

Can social survive skepticism?
...
Can we be people first and job titles second? Or do affiliations always lead and ideas follow?

And, if we open ourselves up to believing in that authenticity, how do the real spinners and pimps fit in?

While we are unable to define 'privacy' online how can we possibly protect 'reputation'? I suspect it will be a painful journey before we come to terms with 'data'.

#20 send2paul

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 01:12 AM

Hmmm. Interesting. Let's begin.....

I think the "online ethics" in terms of legal stuff is a bit of a gray area, (still), internationally. In the "offline world" there are definite paths and procedures regarding identifying slander - and definite paths to take to resolve these issues. Not so online. Yet.

Glyn raised a good point earlier on - "Does the average internet user take what they read as fact, irrespective of the source?" Sadly, in the business world where a rumour/remark about a company can start a wildfire of blogs, Diggs, Stumbles etc, I don't think it's the "is it true or not?" principle that is concerning here - it's the fact that for a brief moment in time, (due to the individual blogging platforms and social networks SEO capabilities), the remarks about a company are quickly thrown up in the air.... stick together for a short time.... get seen by everyone..... and then drop back into the www mire. (Except, of course for "Cache Land" :)). However, the damage is done.

In the case of where I had a major beef with a company and had facts and figures, (which weren't going to find me in any litigious situations or expand my dealings with them if I hadn't settled the dispute with them already!), and I felt that I was doing some kind of social justice by letting the public know so that others wouldn't suffer the same grief I had with the company, then I may well blog/Digg/Stumble about it. I have to say though - only if my job/income/reputation online business/livelihood depended on this would I, (or should anybody else, really?), be forced into action. I think IncrediBILL nailed it a little earlier - "I feel compelled to let people know about these situations because their very livelihood is at stake." And, as you say Kim, once these remarks start effecting family and friends, (where your online business/persona is your livelihood), it may well be time to take some action?

I Like This Idea As A Preventative Measure
Yura, (so used to calling you Yuri! :spambuster:), - creating your own wish lists/Digs, Stumbles etc to "Outdo" the bad guys. And from one of your own posts Kim: "Enter the SEO sharpshooter specialist, focused on attaining organic prominence as quickly as possible under pressure. The objective is to push the nasty content as far down the SERPs as possible and, if necessary, debunk the credibility of the damning editorial."

As a preventative measure for ALL companies who are concerned about "Online slander" etc. The idea of employing someone, (or be it part of their SEO person's job to do), to protect the image/online standing of a company, is an excellent idea, (does it happen already?). It wouldn't be just about promoting the company, it would be protecting the company. In the "what-shall-I-promote-next" affiliate marketing world, a person would research a potential product to promote in many simple ways. Using Google and the product name, (XYZ for example), I would search for "XYZ review", "XYZ law suit", "XYZ legal trouble", "XYZ bankrupt".... and then go search Digg, Stumble Upon etc for similar things. ("Google Alerts" is also a good, (free and not time consuming at all! :emo_gavel:), way of keeping track of yourself on the net to some degree).

The creation/protection of a company's online persona as a preventative measure, (and as a continuous process policing those social network areas/ search engines etc), could do so much to counteract any random acts of "hate", or online slander by a mere individual.

As regards these forums and the rules that we have here.... I agree with no "no personal attacks". Ultimately, from an SEO point of view, (using my earlier analogy of things being thrown up in the air and sticking together...) -

1. How far up in the air would one post/thread here at Cre8asite go? (Would it be worth it anyway?)
2. What would it stick to, (other future blog posts/Diggs etc - and would we want to be associated with comments and assertions made there)?
3. How long would it stay up in the air?
4. What would be the fall out when it came crashing down?
5. "Cache Land" - at what point on the future would this post/thread resurface to cause Cre8asite acute embarrassment/legal wranglings?

Blogs and other social communication devices are not policed. What goes in them is pretty much up to the user. As regards the topic of this thread, the effect of the content of blogs etc can be devastating - far more than in any other medium. This is the root cause of concern in my opinion. However, how this issue is tackled is a whole new can of worms.....

#21 A.N.Onym

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 12:03 AM

There's a huge difference between washing dirty linen in public (slamming an ex-boyfriend) and preventing further fraud to happen (outing a mischievous company).

Btw, I am pretty much against doing the first, but would warn other people, *if their livelihood depended on it*.

#22 IncrediBILL

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 01:09 PM

When someone writes badly of us or our companies, our children are also subjected to this hatred.


Some people and companies never get written badly about whatsoever. Perhaps those people or companies getting written badly about should change the behavior that incites others to write badly about them and it won't be a problem, or as much of a problem.

Avoiding a reputation management problem can be as easy as resolving a customer dispute vs. telling the customer "I'm sorry, there's nothing we can do.". OK, there's something the customer can do, spread the word and chase off other customers. It's really in the hands of the people.

According to some of the new sites going up, it's okay to rant about the ex-boyfriend or an employer and try to cause them harm and public shame.


Maybe the ex-boyfriend beat the girl, perhaps a picture of the bruises and a warning to the next potential date are warranted.

Maybe the boss was a real SOB that yells, screams and humiliates employees and others should know as they might seek more suitable employment opportunities elsewhere.

Obviously, the potential for good with such reporting services has a downside for being abused, but does that mean it shouldn't be done?

I'm reminded of a quote: "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few"

#23 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 01:41 PM

ethics are ethics regardless of the medium, i think. how one acts and/or reacts online should be no different than one acts and/or reacts in the "real world". granted, online actions and reactions can spread far and wide very quickly, but the essence of the thing is still the same. would you act and/or react that way amongst your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, acquaintances, etc? if your actions and reactions would affect them in a way that would cause you to reconsider those actions and reactions, then you should probably reconsider the online actions/reactions as well. same difference, as my sister loves to say.

A few wise sayings from various cultures/religions/what-have-you:

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

An it harm none, do what you will.

Through the law of karma, the effects of all deeds actively create past, present, and future experiences, thus making one responsible for one's own life, and the pain and joy it brings to him/her and others.

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. All is really One.

No one is my enemy, none a stranger and everyone is my friend.

#24 EricFerrer

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 04:37 PM

On account of the raw power that it can generate, I believe that all media can be potentially evil. I think it is wrong to vent any bad opinions or feelings about people / organizations in public even if it is done with the intent to inform (without the intent of slander). Blogs fall into this category as well -- so do mass emails.

Media in general tend to pretend being clinical (politically correct) when they publicize otherwise slanderous stories of people. I think that it is wrong to do so. I know, --this is against the very grain of free speech and all of that we hold sacred in modern society -- but I feel that it is wrong and we should do something to correct it. When you watch tv, listen to the radio or pick up any newspaper, there are tons of items that bring down someone's reputation. Of course, the media maintains that it is done with the intent of informing and not to capitalize on the sensationalism of slander and character assassination. Except in the case of celebrities and political figures you do not even need that lame excuse -- their intimate personal details automatically becomes everybody's business!

No, there is no recourse to anyone whose good name is used in a negative way. Even if they are blessed with unlimited amounts of time and money, what's published never dies -- it lives eternally. More so these days. Information is captured in minute detail, categorized, cross-linked and archived for posterity -- and so are our characters! Each of us is put into distinct little pigeon-holes with clearly labelled tags, displaying all the putrid venom that's ever been published about us -- a mixture of truth and lies.

We do need to keep people informed, all people have a right to know. I just don't think that anyone should be given the right to single-handedly publicize anything bad (shameful, vicious) about anybody. It is more like a task for a body of people, perhaps a legal body that decides with impartiality that indeed some piece of information is factual and that people should be informed.

That said, I am in total agreement with Jem for publicizing the host company racket and thereby bringing it's downfall. Jem has acted in good faith here. We should also admin that it's just as easy for a rival company or any other person to fabricate such stories and publicize them with malicious intent.

I think in some ways this indicates the decline of ethics in modern dog-eat-dog society. Companies don't usually have any scruples about ripping me out, so why should I? I am afraid I have not contributed much toward an answer, Kim -- simply emphasized that it's a contemporary dilemma.

Just my two cents.

#25 cre8pc

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 09:25 PM

Avoiding a reputation management problem can be as easy as resolving a customer dispute vs. telling the customer "I'm sorry, there's nothing we can do.".


This is a good example of a business Code of Conduct standard. Some companies have entire policies specifically written for this and this action you describe is one of the suggested ones.

I wonder what recourse anyone has whose company was written about negatively for the sole purpose of revenge or retaliation. Cases where the writer had no actual business dealings or personal experience with anyone at the company but is trying to get some sort of negative attention drawn to it for personal reasons.

What are the choices then?

#26 EricFerrer

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 10:31 AM

Not much I am afraid -- if the statement is true. One may plead invasion of privacy but I am not sure how well that'll hold for a company -- knowledge of which is in the public domain. Besides there is little one can do about opinion (what cannot be proved true or false).

#27 iamlost

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 11:45 AM

Ave, Domina:

When it comes to the end - they will neither stop nor retract - what is left is the law and the profit/loss balance of proceeding.

And that is a three-fold consideration, (1) a legal opinion of the strengths and weaknesses of filing a libel or slander suit (Note: this is specialist law), (2) an opinion on the person's ability to pay damages should any be awarded, and (3) opinions on how a suit will further affect your reputation.

Generally speaking a suit of merit against a company or wealthy individual is worth the hassle, against a relatively poor fanatic individual usually not - unless a judgement will allow you to request the removal of prior claims and to be pro-active in future against publishing sites.

And the damages part is only awarded if the libel/slander caused you monetary damage - mental anguish rarely considered until and unless you can show material harm. So, it becomes critical to document work loss or job termination, etc. because of the comments.

There is an increasing tendancy to demanding rights without accepting their accompanying responsibilities.
And though ignorance and incompetence, hypocrisy and self-righteousness, surround us...
:infinite-banana: :infinite-banana: :infinite-banana: :infinite-banana: :infinite-banana: :infinite-banana:
the bananas shall protect us...
:infinite-banana: :infinite-banana: :infinite-banana: :infinite-banana: :infinite-banana: :infinite-banana:
Illegitimi Non Carborundum

#28 cre8pc

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 01:34 PM

I wrote about this thread and topic in my blog yesterday...and asked more questions :infinite-banana:

Is it within my rights as a citizen of the Internet to complain about someone I take issue with, for whatever issue I believe they violated?

In the whole life scheme of things, is it more valuable for me to manipulate public opinion or ponder the beauty of flower petals?


There's an example in Sphinn, where Li Evans put up a video about very basic SEO tips. The first person to leave a comment wrote a lot of sentences about how inaccurate the video is, but gave no examples!

Another commenter left a snide remark for Li - also negative.

I viewed her video and took notes! I found no inaccuracies...though she may have said "alt tag" instead of "alt attribute", I can't recall. Big crime if she did, right? NOT!

She went to the trouble of making a video and putting up a text version so that accessible needs users can also get the content.

This is one of the key things that's driving me nuts about SM. It's far more common to write something negative than say "thank you", or "nice job", and mean it. Some people feel it's their calling in life to "tell people the truth" but Truth is relative and in some cases, benefits from being backed up with facts.

Do we NEED to manipulate public opinion?

#29 storyspinner

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 01:49 PM

It's tough sitting on your hands, not saying anything, or utilizing the form of communication I've come to love, to point out certain things. Let me say, really really tough.

There's this saying, "don't feed the trolls". I think to a degree it rings true.

But there are instances where the truth does need to get out to the public. For example the case of Kryptonite bike locks. This person was trying to contact Kyrpotnite first, to no avail, about their bike locks being able to be picked by a ball point pen. The guy was a bike messenger and understood how this could affect his fellow messengers in big cities.

Finally he just put together a video and put it in a forum. The rest they say is history - Kryptonite landed on the front page of the NY Times for not listening. They were disgraced and the company has pretty much not recovered from the debacle.

But.... thousands of bike messengers who depend that their bikes are not stolen by using locks, are very thankful for that video.

So now the question becomes, was this the right thing to do? Destroy a company, save livelihoods. Kryptonite might not agree with the view of the bike messengers, but does it matter?

:offtopic: Yes, you got me, I said Alt Tag ... doh! *slaps forehead* (and i'm not meaning to be mean like that little icon is, i'm actually laughing!)

Edited by storyspinner, 16 July 2008 - 01:50 PM.


#30 Jem

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 02:13 PM

I personally think there's a bit difference between outing a company for terrible service or awful products, and ripping into someone for no good reason. If someone posted a video that I disagreed with I wouldn't insult them... I'd find a better video or leave my reasoning for why I felt it lacked that certain something. That doesn't necessarily mean individual people aren't open to criticism if they themselves do wrong though.

#31 cre8pc

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 02:35 PM

Good example Li!

The Kryp. video seems fine to me because he first made an attempt to go directly to the company. That's key!

Then, with no satisfying resolution or response, he made a video, which backed up his claim. It wasn't like he said, "I hate this company and you should too" and walking away with nothing to back it up.

Trolls that have an agenda are dangerous to the industry and a social Internet. They're so clever that many people are unaware they're dealing with a troll, which is someone who never has your best interests in mind.

#32 iamlost

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 02:40 PM

One reason I partake very little of any social media (other than as a marketing objective) is that they consist of human beings who as population levels grow splinter into smaller self-identifying groups. This is nothing new - as villages turn into towns neighbourhoods emerge, typically to a maximum between 3000-5000 before redividing.

Grouping is normal human behaviour. Part of group identification is with members and neutral to against non-members. Turf and territory are real online and off. And member/befriended support is as often unthinking and automatic.

Many companies originally (before sexual harassment et al became de rigor) had rules against internal romantic relationships because when they went bad, which much like divorce was half the time, staff would split into sides and productivity would plummet as rancor built. Of course the same happened when two 'comers' went after position or direction. Corporate politics is politics is human us-them group dynamics.

Social media is as full of spite and cliques and gossip as any junior high school.
And the truths and half-truths, the lies and damn lies and statistics hurt just as much in a SM comment or blog rant as in those hallways long ago.
And trying to stop them is about as futile.

As others have said, there is a great gulf between voicing a wrong, 'whistleblowing', for cause with supporting evidence, especially after other options have been exhausted
AND
emotional personal attacks without coherent supporting evidence.

What I call the 'have you stopped beating your wife' approach and others 'tabloid journalism' (yes, oxymoron is alive and well). This latter is what I am concerned with in this post. It is adolescence at it's worst and those who write, those who publish or forward via link or republication, and those who believe auto-magically because of 'like' or 'group' or plain ignorant stupidity should quite simply 'grow up'.

But some won't. And there is little that can be said or done to cahnge that.
So: silence in public, rebuttal in private with friends, let time do it's thing OR go to court.
Sad state of affairs. Normal human state of affairs.

#33 cre8pc

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 08:56 PM

Here's another example...

A blog post went hot at Sphinn.

And nobody knew who she was writing about when they sphunn it. The post was about a painful and person matter.

What does say about social media...the industry...voting on blog posts?

Edited by cre8pc, 17 July 2008 - 07:58 AM.


#34 storyspinner

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 09:20 PM

I think it says a lot of sad things about our industry, Kim. :)

#35 bwelford

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 12:27 AM

I'd given up on Sphinn anyway, but I went in to Desphinn that item. What a mess. :(



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