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Disclaim This!

Robert Scoble: I also know of at least one IBM blog (that I won’t name, cause it’s one of my favorites to read) that has broken at least one of these guidelines. I wonder what kind of conflict that’ll cause over time?

One of my early managers once shared with me the following piece of advice: if you don’t get your hand slapped at least twice a year, you aren’t pushing the boundaries hard enough.

Apparently, my employer wants me to create a disclaimer.  I’d like one that expresses something like the following:

The opinions expressed here represent the thoughts of 0.0003% of the employees of IBM.  Before taking it as anything more than that, you might want to consider checking with the other 99.9997% of the employees first.

But even that seems too wordy for my tastes.  I’m looking for suggestions.


“The opinions expressed here represent the employees of IBM (margin of error of 99.9997%).”

Posted by Antone Roundy at

What about:

Hey, I’m Sam Ruby, and on this blog I do not represent my employer, IBM

Would that be enough?

Posted by Mark Wubben at

The opinions expressed here represent 0.0003% of the employees of IBM. Some portion of the other 99.9997% may disagree.

And maybe add ‘If you think you have a problem, please check.’ But probably not.

Posted by max at

I’m Sam Ruby.  Ruby is not spelled “P-a-l-m-i-s-a-n-o”.  He speaks for IBM.  I don’t.

-rich

Posted by Richard H Schwartz at

IBM publishes blogging guidelines

IBM encourages employees to start blogging and publishes a set of guidelines. I encourage everybody to read them carefully. They don’t only apply to IBM bloggers but they can be useful for almost anybody who publihes on the internet, be it as a blogger or as a comment writer. What...... [more]

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at

AssertNotEquals("Sam Ruby","IBM");

Posted by Zohar Melamed at

Hmm, my old boss said “if you’re not missing at least two flights a year, you’re spending too much time in airports.” Similar principle?

Anyway, does your employer want you to put a disclaimer on your own, personal Web site (i.e., this one), or somewhere else? If it’s here they’re interested in, I’d have serious second thoughts; it sets a foreboding precedent.

IHMO, they don’t have any business telling you what you put on your personal site, unless you talk about your employer on it; you don’t seem to much, Sam, but even then, I think it would be reasonable to just put a disclaimer next to those particular places where you talk about them.

Otherwise, they’ll think they have a right to tell you what to put on your personal site. And to say how you speak in public about non-work affairs. And how to vote. And so it goes...

Of course, IANAL, etc.

Posted by Mark Nottingham at

Mark said: “IHMO, they don’t have any business telling you what you put on your personal site, unless you talk about your employer on it; you don’t seem to much, Sam, but even then, I think it would be reasonable to just put a disclaimer next to those particular places where you talk about them.

This is spot on.  The text of the guidelines says: “<i>Use a disclaimer. Whether you publish a blog or participate in someone else’s, make it clear that what you say there is representative of your views and opinions and not necessarily the views and opinions of IBM. At a minimum in your own blog, you should include the following standard legal disclaimer language: "The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions."</i>”  Note that “should” != “must”.

Posted by James Snell at

Hmm...that fraction is six sigma :) - [link]

Posted by Davanum Srinivas at

Sam Ruby gives his part of IBM's new blogging guidelines

Sam Ruby: “One of my early managers once shared with me the following piece of advice: if you don’t get your hand slapped at least twice a year, you aren’t pushing the boundaries hard enough.” I had a quote all picked out for the beginning...

Excerpt from Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger at

Well I’m not working for IBM but I read the guideline.

.  2. Blogs, wikis and other forms of online discourse are individual interactions, not corporate communications.

I fully agree, and I think putting a blog on an official IBM page is at least questionable.
It remembers me of “user-specific” homepages of individual Scientology members...  :)

Well, the first and last time I signed a NDA changed my view of the world a bit.

If you blog, your are responsible not only for the content - you should think
about control of your blog.
I started a help-line:
  waaah-i-left-IBM-and-they-removed-my-blogs-without-a-notice@hello-penguin.com

My standard disclaimer would be something like:

“The opinions expressed here are mine and/or of the hacker who defaced this page”

Posted by Stefan Traby at

Begin
100 Long discursion on standards with cultural and political commentary breaking said rules, even invoking Scientology and snarky asides mentionning weasels, corruption, apartheid, risk aversion litigation, tradition, modernity and the like.
200 [snip]
300 “There are already far too many emails emanating from corporate accounts with noxious disclaimers, clogging up mailing lists everywhere and causing comprehension problems. They are a public nuisance and there is no reason to add further disclaimers to the mix.”
400 [snip]
End

Posted by Koranteng Ofosu-Amaah at


2. Blogs, wikis and other forms of online discourse are individual interactions, not corporate communications.

This seems like a weird guideline. I guess I must be tainted by Microsoft where product teams use blogs to announce features (e.g. the IE team) or engage in conversations with customers about product pricing (e.g. a conversation and its results).

It seems IBM is saying that it is OK to blog and say you work for IBM (which seems redundant since you are already doing this) but is not encouraging treating blogs as a way for IBM as an entity to have conversations with customers, partners and competitors.

Posted by Dare Obasanjo at

Come join Microsoft.

Posted by Microsoft rocks at

I’m with Mark. This is your site, not theirs.

If your blog was published at (say) blogs.ibm.com, then sure: a disclaimer like that could be quite appropriate. But not here.

If you “absolutely must”, then James' language is Just Right(tm). I’d put it in small words just below your nav bar on the right (not a link!).

Posted by Greg Stein at

Check out my disclaimer. :-)

“The opinions expressed here are my own delusions. My employers would at best shake their heads and sigh, at worst severely repudiate the content, should it ever manage to appear on their radar. ”

Posted by Michael Kaplan at

The truth is allways simple.

Write:
My Name is XXXX. I work for IBM as a XXXXX.
I do not own IBM. And IBM does not own me.

All extern links on this website are supposed to lead to legal websites with legal content. The linked websites were reviewed only once as they were linked.

I am not responsible for you and your action.
Do not use any information from this website to cause damadge or illegal action.

--End--

Use the disclaimer as an oportunity to promote your
website and explain the nature of it.

In Germany you are forced by law to publish your name, adress, disclaimer, tax-numbers etc.

Posted by Martin Reise at

I don’t see what the big deal is WRT asking you to put a disclaimer. Seems like some have suggested Big Blue shouldn’t play Big Brother tell you what to put on your site, that you should have it but bury it in mice type or not make it a link. I think if you’re going to bother to put one at all you have to ask yourself who the information is for. In this case, it serves you, IBM, AND your readers. I won’t cover the first two cases because they’re obvious, but I will add that I think the disclaimer serves your readers - especially the new ones who stumble here for the first time and don’t know who you are ('About' should really be 'About Me'), who you work for, or after reading how you are such a high profile IBM illuminatus might actually have trouble drawing the line between your opinions and interests and IBM’s positions or directions. After all the radical simplification/Web Sphere/view source meme has huge implications for your employer. So, whatever you decide to say and however you decide to say it, +1 for placing it prominently enough where someone can actually spot it (like your flamebait warning). P.S. flamebait and illuminatus are not in your spellchecker’s dictionary and as long as we’re designing your blog, I think it’d be cool if this  ;)  were an emoticon. DISCLAIMER: Opinions are like a******s - everybody’s got one.

Posted by Christian Romney at

Please note:
1. Exactly one of the following two statements are false.
2. “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.”
3. Both of the preceding two statements are false.

--------------------------

It’s a little wordy....

Posted by Sam Greenfield at

Making noise....

"One of my early managers once shared with me the following piece of advice: if you don’t get your hand...... [more]

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Some Thoughts On IBM’s Blogging Guidelines

... [more]

Trackback from Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life

at

I’ve never received any request from my employer to add a disclaimer to my blog, but I decided when I launched it to head any such requests off at the pass rather than wait for them to come in.  So my site carries this disclaimer:

"If you think anything I write here represents the opinions of anybody but myself, you need more help than I can give you. The opinions are all mine, folks. Nobody else’s. ESPECIALLY not my employer’s.

If that’s too hard to understand... well, I’m sorry. There’s only so much I can do. I’m not a therapist, and I’m not a miracle worker. (Unless you consider staying employed in this economy a miracle.) I wish I could help you work through your delusional belief that I’m speaking for anyone else but myself. Honestly, I do. But in the end, that’s a monkey you’ll have to get off your back on your own. Sorry."

So far it seems to have done the trick :-)

Posted by Jason Lefkowitz at

“IBM doesn’t do cat pictures.”

Posted by Mark at

Note that “should” != “must”.

Looks like someone needs to re-read RFC 2119...

Posted by Mark at

Considering one of the comments above was about Sigma 6, I was thinking along the lines of “The chances of opinions on this website being completely inline with IBM’s is a lot less than a failure on an aircraft”, but its too 9/11’ish for comfort. So replacing aircraft with aliens - “The chances of opinions on this website being completely inline with IBM is less than that of an alien landing in your back gardern right about... now.”

Mark’s cat one is spot on, so on a related note echoing the difference between personal and corporate blogs - “This is the place where I can rightfully say m**********r.”

Its fantastic news that IBM are encouraging employees to blog. Seeing IBM from both the outside and the inside, its a great pity that the real knowledge and experience is distorted by the “marketing front-end”.

Posted by Isofarro at

The ‘big’ IBM blog announcement

I’m a little bit late to the party on ‘big’ IBM blogging announcement. Being an IBMer and a blogger, I’m obliged to opine. My reaction? “meh..” So the ‘big’ announcement is that its ‘OK’ for IBMers to blog. Very profound. (although to be fair, the company never directly claimed this to be the “biggest corporate blogging initiative ever") ... [more]

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at

Big Blue Breathes

While the blogging world+dog has gone in a frenzied chase after its latest whipping boy - IBM’s guidelines for blogging - it would be a wee bit interesting to try and figure out how else could it have been drafted. As I had commented on Dare’s post...

Excerpt from Meticulously Underthought at

Thou shalt breathe

While the blogging world+dog has gone in a frenzied chase after its latest whipping boy - IBM’s guidelines for blogging - it would be a wee bit interesting to try and figure out how else could it have been drafted. As I had commented on Dare’s post...

Excerpt from Meticulously Underthought at

Big Blue Breathes

While the blogging world+dog has gone in a frenzied chase after its latest whipping boy - IBM’s guidelines for blogging - it would be a wee bit interesting to try and figure out how else could it have been drafted. As I had commented on Dare’s post on the... [more]

Trackback from The Other Meticulous Poison

at

“This is my blog and not theirs. So whose opinions do you think these are?”

“It’s my blog, not the company website. Do the math.”

Still too long?

Posted by Anonymous Coward at

Some Thoughts On IBM’s Blogging Guidelines (from: Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life)

[link]- ¦  Comments James Snell posted IBM’s blogging guidelines today in his post Blogging@IBM. Some have heralded this as another triumph for...

Excerpt from Scoble's Link Blog at

Quotable quote for the day

“One of my early managers once shared with me the following piece of advice: if you dont get your hand slapped at least twice a year, you arent pushing the boundaries hard enough.” — Sam Ruby. Technorati tags for this post: blog quote work manager...

Excerpt from stillhq.com at

On AMD, Apple, Intel, IBM and The Great Game of Chips

I posted this 10 days ago in my internal IBM Blogcentral joint but thought it might deserve a wider audience.The Great Game of ChipsThe Low End Theory in HardwareOn Mobile Phones in NigeriaThe Great Game of ChipsRobert Russell points to rumours of...

Excerpt from Koranteng's Toli at

The IBM disclaimer

Over at Sam Ruby’s blog there was an interesting and fun discussion about IBM’s expectation that it’s employees who blog will add a standard disclaimer to their blogs.Since this blog is hosted by IBM at developerWorks I figure I am already covered,...

Excerpt from Extreme Blue at

Hi, I’m doing a research project on blogs in the Raleigh/Durham area.  Would you please e-mail me?  Thanks!

Posted by Holly at

¿Quién? ¿Qué? ¿Por qué? ¿Cómo?

¿Quién?Xavier Vergés Farreró, cosecha de 1965, barcelonés, honrado padre de familia, ingeniero, ciclista... Según algunas opiniones y miradas, tirando a raro. Según mi madre, muy majo.¿Qué?Desarrollo de software (metodologías ágiles, python,...

Excerpt from X de Xavier at

Hi Sam,

Just wanted to tell you that your useful wiki page about atom vs rss has been ù$*`ùed by a bad guy.

Yours,

Ed.

Posted by Edouard at

Blogging at IBM: Encouraged Across the Entrerprise

In 2005 IBM made it a point to encourage all employees to engage in the practice of blogging. Offering some humor, one IBM blogging expert was asked to create a universal disclaimer for IBM blogs. " The opinions expressed here represent the...

Excerpt from Corporate Blogging Policies | BlogRisk at

I only found this blogposting after 3 years... I removed my disclaimer in an update frenzy some while ago. Today I noticed that some comments of me were published in a business magazine with my role and employer and private weblog (!) all besides it.

So I decided to quickly search for that disclaimer again since all those nude pics should not be linked to my employer (wow... I got 100 hits extra... just kidding). I liked the “The opinions expressed here are mine and/or of the hacker who defaced this page” so I placed it and decided to use the disclaimer but replaced IBM with “my employer”, so that the immediately linkage of people reading my PRIVATE weblog would in any way not enter their consciousness unless they would try really hard meaning that they do have a brain and they do understand the disclaimer.

I made it like this: “This is my private weblog, started long ago (1999) before I joined the company I work for. So the opinions expressed here represent my thoughts and opinions only and not the opinions of my employer or any of its employees. since this is my personal weblog I will make no linkages or publications about either my employer, its products and services or any of the customers I work for.”

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"if you don’t get your hand slapped at least twice a year, you aren’t pushing the boundaries hard enough." http://bit.ly/6V0RtN

Karl Dubost “if you don’t get your hand slapped at least twice a year, you aren’t pushing the boundaries hard enough.” [link]... 20 minutes ago from identi.ca - Comment - Like...

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