[Air-l] an Ess-ian Q: when does the personal becomes public?

Charles Ess cmess at drury.edu
Mon Sep 5 10:28:13 PDT 2005

> Totally agree. Private convo is private convo.
Hear, hear ...

It may be helpful to recall that a useful guideline in such matters are the
_expectations_ of the authors/speakers.  It is certainly true, as Barry
pointed out, that the boundaries between the private and the public are
often ambiguous and shifting - but one way of drawing at least an ethical
line in the sand is to consider these expectations.
So - presuming many of us would _expect_
> side comments over dinner and in informal groups
to be private in the sense that publishing them beyond the immediate circle
of conversants would indeed require permission, then a prima facie position
would be: indeed!  

Another way of getting at it might be a version of the Golden Rule and/or
(feminist/Habermasian) perspective-taking: how would I feel if someone did
this to me - i.e., published such ostensibly private comments without my

Either way, I'm with Barry and Paula.  Indeed, I'd be p***ed.  And you can
quote me (smile).

It _is_ interesting that this has come up on the same day that Bernhard
Debatin raised exactly the question: is anyone doing anything regarding the
ethics of blogs?
To my knowledge, no.  We had a brief discussion of this on the ethics
working group a few months back, but only some preliminary considerations.
One of the points was that the AoIR ethical guidelines were oriented towards
_research_ ethics - whereas what seems to be going on here are questions
about ethical issues within blogging as such.
Certainly interesting and important ones!

See you in Chicago -
-- charles

Charles Ess

Distinguished Research Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies
Drury University
900 N. Benton Ave.              Voice: 417-873-7230
Springfield, MO  65802  USA       FAX: 417-873-7435
Home page:  http://www.drury.edu/ess/ess.html
Co-chair, CATaC: http://www.it.murdoch.edu.au/catac/

Professor II, Globalization and Applied Ethics Programmes
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway

Exemplary persons seek harmony, not sameness. -- Analects 13.23

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