Saturday, August 28, 2010

Blogging with Boundaries

Last week, I read a post Code of ethics for Blogger written by Saroj, one of the most prolific bloggers. I started to write a comment on her post, which got way too long; thus decided to mail the same to her. But I kept thinking about the whole post - thus this one.

As the title of her post suggests, she wrote about whether one should write opinions freely on blog or not, or there should be some code of ethics to be followed while writing a blog post or commenting on a blog. She even mentioned about how people stay anonymous so that they can freely express their opinions about personal as well as professional life on their blogs without getting judged by people in their professional circle.

Now this got me thinking. The first question was - why do we blog? Talking about personal blog strictly, we blog to express our opinions, or to share what we experience, or to vent out and rant about various things happening around us and such. Apart from these reasons I (and few of you) write about people as well. If you read me regularly, you would know that I have written quite a few posts on people, bloggers and pseudonymous blog identities. But my intention behind writing those posts is never to hurt anybody. I merely express my views there. I do get replies too - a contradicting one from bloggers who disagree with me. They even write a post as a reply to me or a bashing one :P. But it's all done in a fun way. We enjoy this game of bashing being played on our respective blogs.

This again brings me back to the topic of blogging ethics. Saroj and a few of her readers in the comment form mentioned about people being fired from their jobs due to what they wrote on their blogs or updated as their status on social sites like facebook and twitter. Now, ain't these sites supposed to be a part of our personal life? Firing a person because he insulted you in 140 characters is a bit harsh on the employee. But I may react the same way if I were the boss. Well, you may never know!

It is fine to blog about your thoughts (even WITH your real name), but I feel it is wrong to defame somebody. Especially when that somebody happens to be in the position of power to fire you from your job. As they say, bosses do not have a sense of humour. In fact, I have had a similar experience a few days back when a blogger misquoted me and then denied doing so completely. She had copied lines from my post and said that she never aimed that post at me. Well, blog about me - I do not mind. But my problem was with the interpretation that she made of the meaning behind my post.

I write about blogs, bloggers and people only when I know what I am talking about. I make sure I do not hurt the sentiments of people. If people are extra sensitive and they feel bad about my post which is never aimed at a specific person, then well, God can only help you! But once you blog about something, then I somehow feel that you should not delete it. After all, you write what you feel about a particular issue or a situation or a person. It is your personal opinion and you should respect it first.

The post is too heavy already I guess. Kavita, a blog friend asked me whether I am planning to write a fiction or not. Well buddy, I do not usually prefer to scare people with my write ups. But I will for sure try and write one soon (don't promise when). 


  1. Personally, I may just stop blogging completely if am asked to follow some ethics or boundaries! We follow enough guidelines around, it's better to be loud and expressive at least on blogs! And as the saying goes 'We can never please everyone' .. though with me, it's mostly 'anyone'! ;)

  2. Honesty is what i see in all your post.You never try to be politically correct or impress others.That's why i love reading your blog .

    Thanks for considering my request buddy !

  3. Agree with the observations in this post. A blogger writes with a free mind and at times may get inclined to write anything without thinking of the implications it will bring for him/er. A good self-tab on your thoughts can help you do away with such undesirable situations.

  4. We blog because we love to. Who cares what people think, as long as we enjoy writing :)

  5. hmmm.. got nothin much to say on this. but yeah, i agree with u . i remember one thing that happened a while ago. one of my friend had got into an IIm and was abt to quit work. but he hadn notified at work. on facebook, i commented on one of his status and that comment went something like, "don worry, u shall soon be off at the IIM. ". and he immediately deleted it and messaged me on my phone that I shudnt put up such things on facebook, coz his manager keeps checkin his facebook and the rest of the employees'. and he hadnt yet told them that he is quittin work!!

    di, i remember readin ur fiction. u did write right?

  6. A mention on your, am flattered beyond words:-)
    I still haven't gotten around to responding to all the comments to the post( will do so later today).
    Coming back to the topic: I have done some research on it and even though blogs are personal, we can be held accountable if the post is injurious to a person. Blogs are personal but the anything that is open to public has the same ethical lines as when writing for a newspaper. However, celebrities are an exception.

    I read your email and it helped a lot but I still chose to remove the post.

    Of course a blogger who purposefully twists what you write would annoy me no end but such people are always around. The best is to ignore.

    Am a boss too and I have often wondered how I would react if I read a blog written by an employee painting me as a bitch?
    I guess I would be upset, but I wouldn't fire them. It is after all a personal opinion and you cannot force people to like you:-)

    Thanks for mentioning my little blog here. Am honoured:-)

    And sorry for ranting here...

  7. Read yours and Saroj's views and I still feel that blogging has been devised for complete freedom to express your views..about anything and everything...

    Just one thing to follow..language and incorrect references...I guess that's what makes it all go wrong...

    If one is unhappy about something or someone one has the freedom to express that unhappiness but with the above two conditions :)

    Yes..nothing comes for free na ? :)

  8. This reminds me of a particular post that i had written before the lok sabha elections and had to delete it immediately as my friend read it and told me to delete it as I had criticized the politicians very badly.

    Its our prime responsibility to maintain the p's and q's everywhere. Using cuss words just for the sake of sounding cool is a strict no no. N yes no criticizing boss log too...if they r really bad criticize wen u chat wit ur frnds or meet them...dnt put it on a public platform.

  9. excellent point.
    i prefer freedom of speech.
    In German Parliament is going to pass the law regarding facebook , twitter uses of employees and companies as to fire a employee
    now a days companies are using the social networks which is our personal life.

  10. Life tells me that I will be crucified for any written or spoken word that is a bitter pill to swallow for the person who thinks it is the truth that he has refused to accept.

    nice post...the truth!

  11. True, there have been instances where people have been fired or guaged depending on what they post on social networking sites or blogs. Thats one reason why I never write about my work or things at work!! Who knows. Its right when you ask its our personal stuff, yet it happens. So best thing is to show restraint and check what we post. A harmless review of a movie could cause disaster!!

  12. I really feel that ranting abt boss or company in harmful manner is wrong ... I can understand that its an individual's opinion, but just for the sake of ranting, ruining the prestige of an institute {unless there's a mall practice} isn't good either... after all there's something called tolerance ... that can be shown in some cases... {hah I sound like the HR in the company} ...

  13. aditya said it very well: We blog because we love to. Who cares what people think, as long as we enjoy writing..absolutely agree with that..of sure most bloggers do not cross the limts and stick to their own..i have not come across popular blogs involved in mudslinging..maybe there are i far so good..have only seen good neha, kavita, saroj...hey the list will not stop...

  14. the thing is a lot of people visit our blogs...and most of them are from far off places...hence there are bound to be unwanted posts...and stuff like that but the recent trend of people being fired for Facebook statuses and blogs is wrong...because I think everyone is entitled to express his opinion...the only thing is we should be careful in how much information slips out because of it...I am sure people from IT would understand what I am saying

  15. There are these unwritten rules for writing for the public domain and if we comply with these, we shouldn't have a problem. But what really is, free-dom of speech?!

  16. I follow the rules of basic decency and will never write any blog post if it is to please any one.
    I have never posted any comments which will annoy a blogger as much as no one has --yet--abused me on my writings.

  17. Well said! I believe, one needs to follow a certain code of conduct on the blog and in the comments... even if it's your own personal domain. Of course it violates one's freedom of speech... but if it has negative repercussions... caution is needed!

  18. "They even write a post as a reply to me or a bashing one" Oye! Who were you referring to?? ahem ahem ;)

    You know about two days back my husband and I had a very fierce discussion about a certain topic and he said I should write about how I felt about it in my blog. I told him I wouldnt be able to write so radically as I was a bit wary about the reaction from the readers(I still am, because of which that post is still in my drafts :P). He quickly pointed out though that I should be writing what I feel should be addressed and NOT based on how others may infer from what I'm writing.

    I'm yet to make my mind up, but I totally get what you're saying. Its important that we draw a line somewhere..we have every right to voice our opinions about people and issues but not at the expense of others' sentiments.

    Excellent post!

  19. @ Deeps, you were the one who replied to me on your blog..there are others who bashed me - in a friendly manner of course :P

  20. blogging is all about individual freedom but really there is no prize for maligning and giving incorrect references.

  21. It's actually up to the individual. One must decide where the line needs to be drawn. After all, it's his/her blog!

    Keep blogging Neha :)

  22. bingo!!!
    always a hairline difference between fact and fiction so carry on writing fact or fiction! at least you are not boring!!

  23. well i will maintain what i said in saroj's blog.
    don't blog tweet or update about personal life online, especially when u think they won't read about it. (their friends could find it and pass on the link)
    commenting about someone especially something negative online is as risky as posting a classified ad in the paper.

    as for me, i don't write about people in my life, and don't tell them i blog either.

    it just complicates things . better to write the frustrations on a piece of paper and then burn and flush down the toilet:)

    but its a different thing to write about bloggers, since they can blog back about you.

    but to each one their view.

  24. Very sensitive topic, there, Neha. I believe in a policy of 'Live and Let Live' per se. Even in my daily interactions with people, I don't step into their space, and neither do I like it if they step into mine!! Same goes with Blogging. I think its Ok to rave, rant and vent, and also for people to read and sympathise or ignore. But I am against hurting the blogger, for what is strictly a personal opinion!!!!

  25. Blog with conviction and stand by it but then it is also important to understand that freedom of expression is not that completely free at the expense of others always.

  26. As long as both sides know the fun part and where the line is drawn, then all is fine. :)

    Blog is our personal space to write what we want - to take offense on what I write in my space is a big No to me. Of course, I take care not to hurt anyone's sentiments.