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On the dangers of writing about other people online

When I made this page, I had experienced a few socially-uncomfortable events caused by my writing about people on the Web.

I wrote a page about singing Dubliners in a Kilkenny pub in 2002 and I mentioned an acquaintance by first name, and that he was from Dublin himself. I mentioned the name of the pub where it happened, and the town.

Down the road from the pub, John the pharmacist, recognized my friend and mentioned that he'd read about him online.

At that time I was getting a few hundred page-views per month. One might have thought there wasn't much chance of anybody recognizing anybody else in my work — but it happened.

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The second was more significant and affected more people — but, in my heart, I feel that its net effect was positive, at least for me....

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• The third and most recent (that I know of) was purely embarrassing. I wrote a bit about a job that I did, going cross-country from Kilkenny to Limerick on a job with a cleaning company. We stopped on the way and smoked a joint — I disclosed, naively — accidentally implicating a man who was effectively my supervisor on that job.

The owner of the company saw the page. It was embarrasing. I also made some negative implications about said supervisor — or at least one could have read my words that way, before I was able to expand on the topics, which I never did....

I don't even want to link to that page. It's not well-written and the story is embarrassing. One or the other, okay, but not both.

I don't mind embarrassing myself. But I'm afraid of embarrassing anybody else without a serious reason.


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