Privacy and blogs

One of the issues with the Web is that blogs are often meant as a way to communicate with one’s friends, but it’s hard to keep jerks from finding them and using them against you without relatively inconvenient systems like password protection (that make it hard to show your entries to a new person).

Which is of course one of the things that makes LiveJournal great!  The Friends system makes it easy to add and remove people’s access privileges.

Actually, part of my personal philosophy is that you shouldn’t do anything that you can’t defend, and that you should be willing to do and defend any actions that are morally right even if they are unpopular. As I think Confucious said, “the quality of a man is determined not by what they do when they are being watched, but how they behave in private.”  If you have made a mistake in the past, it should not bother you to freely admit that you’ve been in error if you have in fact learned from your mistake.  People have the right to change their minds, and it is OK, for instance, for you to have smoked marijuana in the past even if you are straightedge now.  Otherwise, people wouldn’t be able to grow and develop, they would be locked into whatever morality (or lack thereof) their parents chose for them.

The only problem is that privacy is necessary in oppressive, non-Libertarian societies where people will interfere with your life even when you’re just minding your own business, and they will try to enforce their morality upon you.  If I were gay in a society that lynched gay people, I probably wouldn’t come out on my blog despite this personal philosophy.

How do you folks feel about my personal philosophy?  Should I be embarrassed of it, or does it make sense? 😉

6 thoughts on “Privacy and blogs

  1. Well, for one thing, somehow your text came out as black-on-black.

    Also, there are just some things that I think are better left private. Inside jokes that could easily be misconstrued are one of them- even if you can defend it by explaining away the joke, it’s bothersome to have to do it constantly, and other people might not ask for an explanation before getting mad over it. It’s nice not to have to explain everything. So that’s the main reason I use friends-only. I also tend to use it when there’s a seriously good reason for cutting certain people out of a conversation- say I’m talking about an issue that I know one of my friends is going to leap on and never let go, and I want them to leave me in peace, or I’m talking about someone on livejournal who’s just a jerk, and I don’t want them to either comment on my entry or start harassing me on email. So yeah.

    • Oops.

      Whoa, trizippy yo! OK, remind me to strip the HTML when I cut and paste text in the future, that came from me copying Arthur’s quote from the Daily Jolt. Sorry about that!

  2. well if your personal philosophy is worth being embarassed about then mean untrustworhty people will find your LJ read this and then publicly mock you until you are too shamed to ever set foot outside again

  3. I agree with the part about being able to acknowledge past mistakes, personal development etc. But, as you pointed out, people grow, which means that everyone has done something in the past that they no longer find defensible. The problem is that you also reach a point where you make peace with what you’ve done and it becomes the past–and I don’t think you should have to defend yourself to anyone and everyone who happens upon your livejournal.
    But not everything is about the past either, sometimes there are also people (ahem, you know who I mean) with whom your relationship has changed (you stopped being friends, broke up etc) who would use that information like a weapon. So there’s that dimension to it too. It’s a pity you can’t just block certain IP addresses or users from viewing your site.

    • An experimental life

      About not having to defend yourself to everyone… if there has been a significant change in your worldview, you really should write up something about it, your reasons for changing your mind might be useful to other people. Also, then you can just point people to that link if they ask why you have changed. The great thing about this format is you really only have to explain things once. I hate explaining things multiple times, which might make me a bad teacher.

      Also, people who want to use your past against you have no power if you have made peace with the past. If the past doesn’t embarrass you because you know you’ve learned from your mistakes, then they’ll get tired of bugging you because they see it has no effect. You can ban people from commenting in your livejournal, even if you can’t ban them from looking. And if they talk shit about you in their journal, who cares? If you’re being open and honest, hopefully anyone who is worth having as a friend will see that you are reasonable and the person stuck in the past is diseased. Although there are many things I have done in the past that I would do differently today, which I am ashamed of in a way, I know that I am a better person now, and I do not allow my past to define me. It’s evolution, baby. I’m making some kind of progress, I think. I reserve the right to be wrong sometimes, to make mistakes, because if you don’t take risks then nothing will ever change, everything will just decay and rot where it is. It’s experimentation. My life is experimental, it hasn’t reached a conclusion of any kind, and I don’t expect it to for a long time.

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