Simon Harriyott

Making people nervous

A couple of my colleagues have brought up the subject of this weblog in conversation with me this week. I knew at least one person from work has been reading, as our network's IP address shows up in the server logs, but I didn't know who, or how many. Anyway, the first conversation was brief and friendly. The second conversation was different, in that I was asked for assurances that the details of the top-secret work I'm doing remain top-secret, and that my colleagues wouldn't easily recognise themselves from what I've written.

To clarify, I have some mental guidelines I use when posting:
  1. Not divulging company secrets
  2. Not slating anyone
  3. Not intentionally annoying anyone
  4. Generally not mentioning people by name
I use the word generally, as I've mentioned names when they're clearly not going to mind, like Robert Scoble (who thrives on it).

I hadn't given the "easily recognise themselves" much concious thought, and it's an interesting point. I almost totally agree. As an example, the last post I wrote before this discussion starts by mentioning a conversation I was having with "a couple of colleagues", and I then went off on one about the finer points of the word "reuse". Clearly the two colleagues know who they were, and can identify themselves. Equally clearly, the others in the room can identify them too, as they weren't talking, and we were. The point of the post was about reuse, not about the colleagues - it doesn't matter who I was talking with, it was just a handy way to start the paragraph.

As you can tell by reading what I've written in the past, I don't give a whole lot of thought to what I write, and so I won't promise that phrases like "a couple of colleagues" won't happen again. What I can promise though, is that I won't give out any company secrets, I will ask permission before posting any company related announcements, I will not slate my colleagues, and I won't mention a colleague's name without their permission. I will also delete any risky comments.

More importantly, if anything I write upsets anyone, or someone is mentioned in a way that they are unhappy about, I will change it at their request.
17 February 2005