Employment, editorial policy and the Art of Googling

Ntp 20 July 2007 83

Yesterday we at Riot central received an email from a Canberran who discovered he was infamous in a minor way that I’m sure he wishes had never occurred. Entitled “Clemancy” he had a “serious favour to ask.”

Stating his name (which I feel no need to mention) he went on to say that “unfortunately if I google my name the top hit is an archived post of yours”… being about …“a narrow brush I had with the law. The issue is that I have had prospective employers ask me about this incident because they have googled my name. Regardless that I didn’t get convicted”… well he was placed on a good behaviour bond… “and it being a small and insignificant bust in Canberra, I can’t get a job with your post coming up as the top hit on google

I’ve worked very hard to get my life on track since the ordeal of my trial and am hoping you will help me out by removing this post.”

Now in general we are against removing posts and have informed the requestee as such but what do you think? And what of his being googled by potential employers; have you ever googled an applicant or been googled as an applicant? What do you think of the practice and is it wide spread?

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83 Responses to Employment, editorial policy and the Art of Googling
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The Turd The Turd 4:17 pm 25 Jul 07

And…just to bring it back to the original context of the thread ( well one of them anyway)
I google all potential employees and if anything evil comes up then they dont get the job. Simple as that. I work with vulnerable clients and we cant afford to hire anyone who might exploit that vulnerability in any way. Sorry. If I have to chose between someone with absolutely nothing and someone with a minor dope charge Ill still go with the cleanskin just to be on the safe side.

Pandy Pandy 7:53 am 24 Jul 07

Chances the dunny wall has a wee bit more wisdom than what you wankers ever will. S4anta

Pool room!

S4anta S4anta 11:47 pm 23 Jul 07

For Pete’s sake. Editorial decisions ought be left up to the people who actually get to moderate and decide what goes up, what path to take etc. More importantly let those decisions be made by the people who balls are on the line if it blows up in their face. I love your style boys, but stop teasing the rabid idiots, bottom dollar one of you arse clowns thought this would happen.

As a reader, and more importantly as a person who has a significant easy to find past on the web, I say leave it up. I have been on the receving end of both positive and negative sides of google searches, and its simple, you stuff up, or do something that hinders you some way, deal with it. Perhaps counter this information by being up front about it at some point prior to them having to sneak around your back like a dirty rank and file voter in an ALP conference.

and dont get me started on people using google as a means of making judgements on people. Dont write anything on the internet, or associate your name anywhere near it, unless you are happy to have someone write on the nearest toilet wall. Chances the dunny wall has a wee bit more wisdom than what you wankers ever will.

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 5:40 pm 23 Jul 07

Pah. I get turned down for Govt jobs for both having the same name and birthdate as a member of ArmsCorp, and founder of International Signal and Control, while being an innocent guy.
You try explaining that the only reason you ever knew about the Other Guy was because they ask you in for further questioning when you complete even basic security clearance paperwork.

I have a friend who can’t get hired in any Govt department or anywhere even slightly media-related thanks to an unfortunate incident of birth, and being related to a certain casualty of East Timor information policy, though.

Being turned down for a minor brush with the law should be easy by comparison. Besides, its only an alleged offence, so are you CERTAIN its only for that reason they’ve turned you down?

Also, I don’t think we’d be having this converstaion if this were the CT or any other media outlet.

Maelinar Maelinar 9:01 am 23 Jul 07

Well that was the first step backwards.

hehe the hemp buyer strikes back, I crack me up.

CC, before I start, you are a tool and I’m not going to bother to pick out ALL of the flaws in your arguments.

On the topic of familiarity, a number of us, whom I will call the core of posters, do know each other with a reasonable enough level of acquaintance.

I dread encountering the tech forums you post on, it has already given me the cold jitters of somebody walking on my grave.

Pandy Pandy 5:24 pm 22 Jul 07

Not convicted at the beginning of the post. The guy who I do not know got slapped on the wrist only.


Jazz Jazz 8:18 am 22 Jul 07

Frankly i think the idea that we as a society can condone the expunging of past deeds with just a nice email is frightening. Already our court systems let people go with not much more than a slap on the wrist, which many here cry and rally against every time we see a ‘soft’ verdict

To me it is teaching our children that there are no consequences for your actions.

Jazz Jazz 8:12 am 22 Jul 07

Pandy, you are an idiot.

The guy was found guilty and put on a good behaviour bond in place of a criminal conviction being recorded. how exactly does that make ED a hypocrite?

Pandy Pandy 9:15 pm 21 Jul 07

So a guys innocence is not protected, but the ISP hosting addresses are mangled to protect contributors to RiotAct?

Ed you are a hypocrite if you do not expunge the post.

Deano Deano 2:20 pm 21 Jul 07

but remember that a lot of what you contribute to this enormous medium stays there…

I can vouch for that – Google brings up stuff on me dating back to 1992 – ancient history in the Internet timescale.

chester chester 10:53 am 21 Jul 07

I’m not sure how doable it is but if employers continue to find out about this from Googling (and I can think of at least one place the original post from here might be found unedited), it might be possible to “bury” the “bad ” sites with search results that paint a more positive picture.

Multiple googlebombs or something. If it’s possible, I bet somebody’s already done it and the instructions will be lying around somewhere.

Meconium Meconium 2:40 am 21 Jul 07

Jazz, you’re right, those comments were for chester. I made a mistake, but I’m not going to ask you to correct it for me… 😛

Warning, RiotACT readers: These forums are public, like much of the rest of the internet. Hide behind your screen names by all means, but remember that a lot of what you contribute to this enormous medium stays there…


chester chester 9:33 pm 20 Jul 07

No Meconium, this minion is happy to submit to the rule of the benevolent despots who insist the quality of the board is reflected in the quality of the posts. It makes her feel safe. This place is a little too Wild West for me to take in more than small doses or short bursts.

I initially thought the person concerned here turned up as an informant/source. But after rereading the original post, I think I can guess what sort of scenario unfolded. An ABC story about some minor matter that wouldn’t rate a mention in a larger city, is reported here. This spawns a bunch of ill-informed opinion that’s now popping up when this guy’s name is searched in Google, resulting in a bunch more ill-informed opinion.

Something along those lines?

If so, I have to revise my earlier opinion and say this is probably a matter solely for the editorial board to decide by reviewing the original material in-confidence. Hopefully they’ll have the wisdom to see it’s not the Googling that’s the problem but the quality of what’s found there. And to act accordingly.

sepi sepi 9:19 pm 20 Jul 07

Good decision to remove the name.

TAD – I think most people would think of no conviction recorded as not being a conviction.

Re the Brutality and rudeness of the site – I have wondered if that is why less women seem to post here. Who knows?

Jazz Jazz 7:11 pm 20 Jul 07

Meconium, thanks for the vote of support.

I think you meant to address your comments to Chester, not TAD.

TAD TAD 7:09 pm 20 Jul 07

No I don’t interpret your post that way.

Just don’t confuse my postings with Chester’s in the future

Meconium Meconium 6:35 pm 20 Jul 07

TAD, I don’t think the high readership to sign-up ratio is due to a clubhouse atmosphere here. I was originally attracted to the RiotACT because I wanted up-to-date and inside information about the city I live in. I haven’t found another online source on Canberra as valuable as this one.

Criticise the site for being “brutal” and “clicky” [sic, I think you mean ‘cliquey’] all you want, but this is just what happens when people of different beliefs, agenda and politics come together for discussion. You of all people would know that, having seen many forums across the net.

There are casual readers of this site because information useful to Canberrans appears from time to time, and doesn’t always require comment. If you find this source useful, or if you want to chat about Canberra issues alongside us, then by all means, join us! The more the merrier.

As for your “controversial material” hypothetical, that’s a question for the editorial staff – I’m not one of them. But I have faith that Nik, John and others have a good understanding of the fine line between free speech and libel, and over the past year or two I’ve been following the RiotACT, I think they’ve shown good judgement and done a good job.

I hope you didn’t interpret this post as being too knee-jerk “needlessly defensive”; it’s merely my take on the state of the Riot.

TAD TAD 5:10 pm 20 Jul 07

What has obviously happened was that the defendant had a finding of guilt but the judge has ordered that the conviction not be recorded as per the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005.

s17 Non-conviction orders—general
(1) This section applies if an offender is found guilty of an offence.
(2) Without convicting the offender of the offence, the court may make either of the following orders (each of which is a non-conviction order):
(a) an order directing that the charge be dismissed, if the court is satisfied that it is not appropriate to impose any punishment (other than nominal punishment) on the offender;
(b) a good behaviour order under section 13.

Now that being said, the conviction is recorded on the defendant’s criminal record and should he be before the courts again it is there. The record is also on police indices. The only difference is between this and a standard conviction is that when getting a criminal history check for employment, visas etc, that conviction is not disclosable.

First time offenders usually get this for their first court conviction as long as the matter is relatively minor.

jemmy jemmy 4:40 pm 20 Jul 07

TAD, according to the ABC story he was not convicted. What’s the difference between being not convicted and not having a conviction recorded?

chester chester 4:23 pm 20 Jul 07

Chester, that collective lack of insight that you are commenting on is interesting given that 25,000 people read this site a month, and there is absolutely nothing to stop any of them registering to make comment. Maybe that just means we are all stupid and uninformed.

No I wasn’t suggesting that. And some others in this thread have become needlessly defensive. What you do is your business. I just pass through from time to time on my way elsewhere.

But a couple of things I’ve noticed. A high number of go nowhere threads that aren’t “notices” but that produce little or no discussion. Threads (that I haven’t participated in) that degenerate into personal abuse over trivialities.

I don’t know what your participation/sign up rate is compared to your overall readership but my impression is it’s low and, whether you like hearing it or not, I think you probably turn a lot of people off by seeming too clicky and too brutal. I know it’s a problem that at least one forum I’m a member of also suffers from. We’ve had to make a conscious decision not to put off new users by being overly familiar and chummy. But we know we don’t want to be a clubhouse.

But maybe that’s what the majority of your membership wants. I still can’t tell whether you all want to be a private clubhouse, “individuals”, Crikey, a non-real time chat room, a community blog or what.

What would you do, for instance, if some really controversial material that you knew was ridgey didge fell in your lap? Would you print it? What if that had repercussions for your source? Is anybody prepared to print it if they think it’s in the public interest but could have legal ramifications for them personally? I’m genuinely interested to know.

What I do know is that this thread exploded with posts compared to most around here, that everybody has an opinion because, in my experience, everybody’s got their skeletons in the closet and can relate to finding themselves in this position.

And because most people have made the effort to justify their position, it’s one of the more interesting and entertaining threads I’ve read here. It’s the fact you’ve never properly addressed these sought of issues before I find astonishing. But it certainly seems to have touched a nerve as I’m think even the die hard individualists would have to admit.

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