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Archive for the ‘Ethics’ Category

All Monkey Business

I was chatting with this guy I know for some time (lets just call him Mr. Smarty) about the current economic situation and how that is affecting the IT job market. He then mentioned that there was a job opening in his team that was filled recently. It was filled by a contractor/consultant (person who is not fulltime employee) who was already working in their team. But the surprising part was the contractor submitted Mr. Smarty’s name as the person who referred him and they split the referral bonus between themselves. Impressed by the contractor’s performance, the manager of the team had made an offer to him and when the contractor accepted it he filled Mr. Smarty’s name as the employee who referred him.

I was shocked. How does this even qualify as a referral? To qualify for an employee referral bonus you should be referring someone whom you know to your manager and not someone who is already offered a job by the manager. Mr. Smarty was totally justifying the situation by saying that, the money that was assigned as a referral bonus for this position would be wasted otherwise, but at least this way both he and the contractor get to keep some of it. I tried to reason with him but he was not finding anything wrong. It may have been fine, if Mr. Smarty had referred before the manager offered the job. But I don’t know the policies of this company so don’t know if that would qualify for the bonus either. The point here is not if it was legal or illegal but feeling OK about some money earned in the wrong way.

On asking how the manager didn’t object to any of this, I realized that the manager was even bigger swindler. Sometime back there was another opening in the team. It was filled by a person referred by a contractor who left the company after referring his friend. This manager had the new employee fill an existing employee’s name as a referee so that the manager can later get the referral money from the employee. The manager had to do this because he didn’t want the money to be wasted and a contractor or the hiring manager cannot get the referral money directly as per rules.

I know these are not big crimes (or even crimes) compared to some recent scams and money launderings we have been hearing. And I don’t know whether we should call these people “smart” who know how to make something out of any situation or simply people who have no conscience left and are ready to make money out of any situation. Depends mostly on whether you think it is ethical or not.

I was further discussing with this Smarty that although I don’t disrespect him for doing that, I personally feel it is unethical and would never do it. Different people can have different principles and morals standards. What is fine for one person could be wrong for other. Depends on your circumstances and situations you faced in life.

For example, if you find some money lying on the road and no one is coming to pick it, you may think you are lucky and just pocket it, OR leave it there thinking it is not yours and should not take it OR take it but donate it somewhere coz leaving it there may land it into someone else’s pocket who thinks he is lucky and so instead use it for good cause. OK this example does not relate or is no where closer to the two incidents above but just to demonstrate different people may have different morals.

In both of the above cases the only party that was wronged was the company they worked for and the amount of referral money may be trifling for the company. But I was still trying to justify to this Smarty why I thought it was wrong. So I asked him if he would do it knowing that if someone found out about it, he/she would definitely bring it to HR’s attention. Mr. Smarty thought for sometime and said that, if that was the case he would check the rules of the company first. Then why didn’t he bother to check it before? Now isn’t this same as you wouldn’t mind doing any crime as long as you are 100 percent sure you wont get caught, but if there is a smallest possibility of anything going wrong you would refrain from doing it? I don’t know where I am getting at by rambling about all this. It doesn’t affect me directly. Yet I feel bothered by seeing someone doing things that don’t fit in my moral standards. You’ll never know when everyone around you starts resorting to such means and the only alternative left for you to survive in this rat race is by adopting the same approach.

This same smarty gave one more example. One of his friend (lets call him A) was seeking a job in company C where another friend of Smarty (lets call him B) worked. A asked Smarty if he knew anyone in company C who could refer his resume. Now A didn’t really need someone to refer him, he could have posted his resume against the job opening on the company’s site, but he was just seeking to make some buck out of this situation. So Smarty introduced both of them and B referred A in his company and got some referral bonus when A was selected. But surprisingly B shared that with A and with Smarty. These people have just turned this into some quick money making business. And they don’t find anything wrong in it. All parties are perfectly fine. So in this case A instead of being just thankful that he got the job thinks he was smart enough to land the opportunity and tries to milk his share out of B’s gain. B on the other hand thinks instead of letting A fend on his own let me help him by referring him and get something myself out of the situation. Coz referrals by employees stand better chance of getting selected than regular job applications. Mr. Smarty on the other hand finds it perfectly alright to milk his share out of this since he played the middleman, coz if it was not for him none of A or B would have got anything. Playing a go-between person in business and getting commission for that is OK but turning a simple referral scheme into money making business is simply beyond my comprehension.

But wait Mr. Smarty is not Mr. Smarty for just this. It seems there is a scheme run by some cellphone service providers, that if you refer a friend, you can both make 25 dollars each. But it should be done within one month of the start of new subscription. Now Mr. Smarty is has made over 200 bucks like this, referring subscriber after subscriber. And may be the service provider might be OK with all this as long as they are getting new subscriptions. Maybe they had this calculated before introducing the scheme. But it is remarkable that people are using it to their advantage. Now some people would not bother to hunt down friends or acquaintances starting new subscription just to earn 25 dollars. But people like Mr. Smarty are doing it and find nothing wrong in it.

This has become a really long ramble. But these and many such instances that I come across make me wonder if there is just no limit to what this opportunistic society may turn into a money making business. Some may think turning into Mr. Smarty is the need of the hour and some may just adhere to their standards till forced to let go. Where and when we fail our own resolve will just indicate our level of fortitude.

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More On Blogging

This time I don’t want to suffix the name of this post by Ethics or any other word. Coz I don’t think anybody has any say in what ethics one should follow. One can only hope and the most one can do is do what he or she thinks is the best policy.

This is just my view of the whole Chyetanya – Barkha drama.

In the past couple of days I read a lot of blogs which mentioned that Barkha and NDTV filled a lawsuit which lead to a blogger removing his post in which he had criticized her. I really don’t know if this is true. It could very well be true but there are certain things that come to my mind right now

During the Mumbai attacks a lot was written about her. A lot if remarks were made stating she has no moral and all the allegations that she caused casualties. And she also came up with a response to all the comments. But then why didn’t she sue any other blogger? Why did Barkha and NDTV decide to sue just this one blogger?

If you read the original post by this sued blogger, he did not write any horrible or defaming remarks of his own. He has just quoted Wikipedia. Then why hasn’t Barkha sued Wikipedia? Why didn’t barkha go after the bigger fish?Why did Barkha and NDTV decide to sue just this one blogger?

The blogger just mentions that he is unconditionally removing his post and is giving his apology. I did not find him say that this is in response to any lawsuit. There could be many reasons for him removing the original post. It could be a lawsuit or any other thing. I don’t want to list the other thing that are coming to my mind right now but if you think hard there could actually be many other reasons why he wrote it. Then what leads us to conclude that Barkha wanted to sue just this one particular blogger?

After the Mumbai attacks not just the bloggers but a lot of people condemned the reporting policies through various medium. And she responded to all the remarks, but then she just decided to sue this one blogger? I really don’t get it. Barkha cannot be that dumb or threatened by just this one blogger. Or maybe she had to take some personal revenge with him or maybe he wanted to take some personal revenge with her. See now even I am jumping to conclusions about people I don’t know. But jokes apart and no offense to anyone in particular, I tried searching a lot yesterday to find any reference to any lawsuit endorsed by NDTV or Barkha herself. But all I found was different blogs with links to read here and read there and see his views and she has written better etc etc.

I may be wrong but I feel this whole thing is like those junk forwards we get. With details of how a boy got electrocuted while talking on a mobile phone while it was charging. That you should not microwave food in plastic containers. That you should not drink water from non reusable bottles. That some girl somewhere is sick and need money for operation. While you would follow a lot of these out of caution, a lot of these are hoax. But most of us just forward them thinking we are doing community service. I personally don’t fwd anyone of these unless I have verified that these are not hoax and most of the time end up emailing the friend who forwarded me this asking him/her to do research before sending such stuff to me. I think most of my friends have got the point by now and have stopped mailing such stuff or at least to me.

So coming back to Barkha’s case, she might have sued him and I don’t know if she is required to declare in public that she is suing so and so. But I hoped I would find something on at least the NDTV’s site. I might have not searched enough, or I might have not searched with the correct search criteria. But I did not find anything on any news site. So this is humble request to everyone or anyone who might read my blog and is interested in wasting anymore of their precious time in taking the search forward, if they actually happen to find anything then can they please let me know?

Updated: Did some more blog hopping to find this cache of what was posted on NDTV’s site .
This link here says Barkha did send a legal notice to the blogger. I dont know how true it is since anyone can actually create a fake profile. It could be Barkha herself but then still who knows.

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I am no guru on this subject. I just started blogging myself. There is no set of rules which can guide you what you should blog about and what you shouldn’t. How much is okay and how much is too much. And even if there is any such thing I don’t think many would like to follow it. But like all other things in life, blogging should also have some ethics right? I am not posting any list of blogging ethics which I think every blogger should stick to. This is just what I am thinking about the blogging experience so far.

Lately I have been doing a lot of blog hoping. I don’t know when I got addicted to reading blogs but I think it must have been almost 2 years now. I find it really marvelous, this superb concept of blogging your heart out. Whoever came up with this idea of having a space to blog is simply brilliant. It’s amazing how within a few years all the people confiding in their personal diaries came out and filled every nook and corner on the internet. Blogging also helps in getting others point of views as against just writing to oneself in the diary.

I don’t remember why exactly I decided to start this blog. I didn’t even keep a diary. My only diary was my husband who listened to me every evening, about every small thing that happened during the day. And then there were some thoughts which just kept lingering in my mind. I think I was too tired to keep thinking to myself. It is after all nice to find out what others have to say about your thoughts, total strangers giving their opinion.

People who don’t entertain comments on their blog are rare. I am sure everyone who blogs loves to hear back from readers. Those who don’t just choose to keep their blogs private.
But there are few others who have rules for the comments. They entertain only the good ones. And delete bad ones. Fair enough. It’s your personal space and you are free to do whatever you want. …err.. whatever? Really? Can one really trick oneself into believing that he or she can get away with anything they post on their blogs?

I read some bloggers who have a very huge readership. Anything they post is responded with zillions of comments. All their views are seconded and it includes really strong views about whatever is going on in the world currently. All personal attacks they make on people whom they don’t deem fit to deserve an honorable space in the world, are responded with more personal attacks. People use all the bad words they can think of to express their discontent. Venting is okay, as long as you are not attacking anyone with abuses and more importantly overdoing it again and again. Though I love these blogs, their style of writing, I get scared to post a comment if I beg to differ. I am not sure how it will be addressed by the blogger.

Shouldn’t bloggers realize that anything they post has the power of influencing the audience? And hence have to be more careful what they write about. Shouldn’t bloggers take difference of opinions as much gracefully as they entertain likeminded views? Isn’t it rude to simply tell readers to not read if you don’t agree? They cannot declare that this is my personal space and I am free to do whatever I want to. Nothing is personal once you hit the publish button. The moment you publish something you invite others to read it. And people who feel strongly either for or against are sure to comment.
Deleting rude or obscene comments is one thing and saying “Get lost” to people who don’t agree is another. There is a fine line between freedom of expression and personal attack. And that goes for both the bloggers and the commenters. Don’t you think?

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Pirates of Blogosphere

Steal (Definitions from http://www.dictionary.com) :
1. to take (the property of another or others) without permission or right, esp. secretly or by force
2. to appropriate (ideas, credit, words, etc.) without right or acknowledgment

When extended to written content on the web is called Plagiarism. Although plagiarism is not a criminal offense it is no different than stealing. People copy content all the time, intentionally or unintentionally. I wonder how different these people must be in real life. Do they limit stealing to only contents on internet? Or extending it to everything? One can even sympathize with actual thieves who may steal to support their family or something like that, but not with bloggers who pass others content as theirs. Coz blogging is totally optional. Nobody is gonna kill you if you don’t post anything on your blog.

I recently came across once such person who very conveniently is passing others materials as hers. She is also modifying it a bit to suit her. It is amazing to what level she has gone. She is copying movie reviews, poems, dreams and also weird things about oneself.

Why do I care? 2 reasons.

One she copied material from a blog I read regularly.

And second, I started blogging recently. It would be really annoying if anyone copied my thoughts and ideas and post as theirs. Not that I think I write so well that such trolls are dying to copy my content.

But I have faced one such thing myself when someone created a fake profile on Orkut.com and posted my photos as hers. She was using my picture as her profile picture. She was making friends using my face. I was horrified at that time. I had not even uploaded those photographs anywhere. She had flicked them from one of my friend’s online album. We could not find who he or she was but all my friends supported me in reporting the profile as bogus. I also sent threatening messages to the profile owner saying I have reported it to the cops. Apparently it worked and the profile was deleted within minutes.

I think bloggers who rip content from other sites and do not even acknowledge it should be stoned with messages. With increasing incidents of such plagiarism, even the punishments for such people should increase. It is not enough to just write one post about them. People should openly point such things out and put links on their blogs highlighting such blogs. So that readers and bloggers can monitor them and ensure that such things are not repeated. If it is publicity they seek, lets give them one, but in a bad way. Let them get traffic directed from our blogs till they bring down all the copied posts and apologize.

So here is the first pirate, Ms Mansi –  Salty Sea Breeze

Edited to Add: The above blog has been removed now. Try an original one now Ms Mansi.

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