There is an article in the Financial Times on weblogs, but it will not be available free much longer. It’s by Patti Waldmeir, an American correspondent, and is entitled A stretch in the virtual stocks for the global village gossip. Thanks to Robin Bonthrone for the reference.
The main interest in the article is the danger of publishing personal or confidential information online, and at the same time it suggests to employers that they should not be too quick to sack an employee who goes too far. It starts from the well-known example of Heather Hamilton (dooce – but look at earlier entries than today’s for the real flavour). It also mentions the danger of webloggers being dishonest in order to avoid problems.
bq. But the issue is not just whether we are wasting time or bandwidth: the bigger question is about freedom. Politicians are far less free than normal people, says Jonathan Zittrain of Harvard Law School’s Berkman Centre for Internet & Society, because their every utterance is searched and scrutinised for infelicities. To satisfy that scrutiny, they must always be their public selves, without the luxury of lapsing into private bad behaviour.
bq. Bloggers risk the same peculiar loss of privacy, he says: when every idiocy uttered is permanent – and searchable – individuals may have no choice but to present a sanitised public self in place of the real one. The result is much less freedom; only the man without a blog can be free to think as he pleases.
As a self-employed person, I don’t risk being sacked. But as someone offering my services, I don’t want to make a bad impression. This is not a private and personal weblog. Of course I don’t mention clients and jobs, but it would be in my interest not to offend other translators either (and that includes on mailing lists, UseNet groups and elsewhere).
One thing, for instance, that I promised myself when I started here was not to make fun of bad translations. It seems to me that if I show up a bad translation done by someone else, it reflects badly on me too, and it also makes non-translator and customer readers associate the very process of translation with errors. And every time I mention a mistake, someone is going to be offended, probably for quite mistaken reasons. But this doesn’t stop me from doing it. In fact, it’s inevitable I’m going to comment on language peculiarities from time to time. I suppose the problem may be not criticizing enough rather than criticizing too much.