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Making a Vulgar Comment Now Gets You Fired?

New Yorker nobody knows you are a dog.JPGAs an editor of Above the Law, I find the headline below amusing. As a commenter on Above the Law, some of you will find the headline terrifying. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

A single vulgar word cost a man his job on Friday.

Well, that’s putting way too nice of a spin on it. It’s not like somebody put in a vulgar comment and then the secret police crashed his cubicle and then kicked him out on the street.
No, the blogger who noticed and deleted the vulgar comment called the commenter’s employer:

A few minutes later, the same guy posted the same single-word comment again. I deleted it, but noticed in the WordPress e-mail alert that his comment had come from an IP address at a local school. So I called the school. They were happy to have me forward the e-mail, though I wasn’t sure what they’d be able to do with the meager information it included.

Armed with the IP address, the IT people at the school quickly found out who posted the comment. The commenter was confronted and resigned.
Would I ever do something like that? No. Because I’m drunk with alcohol, not power.
Let me explain after the jump.


Here at Above the Law, we have the same information as this guy at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I suppose that with a little effort, we could also figure out where the haters, the sexists, the homophobes, and the racists come from.
But to figure it out, and then to take it to the next level of calling employers, I’d have to care. Which I don’t. Commenters make up a small percentage of the overall readership, asshole commenters make up a small percentage of the commenters, and I’ve got better things to do with my time than running around knocking down anthills looking for one ant. Just deleting some of the obviously offensive stuff takes up more time than I have to spare.
I don’t like all of the comments on the site, some of the “schticks” are pretty annoying. But — as many have pointed out — I’m a big boy. I don’t need to be a tattletale.
If I was easily offended and spent my days worrying about what other people think, I’d have my own office at 919 3rd Avenue by now. And I’d be making a lot more money. And my secretary would be fixing my clerical errors. And … (wait a minute, bad thoughts, bad thoughts. Good call on the road less traveled, Elie. Property ownership is totally overrated.)
Not for nothing, but as far as I know nobody has been fired for tipping Above the Law, talking to Above the Law, or interacting with Above the Law in any way. I aim to keep it that way.
I’d imagine that the good people at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch have a similar “who cares” outlook. But it seems that where this fired commenter went too far was that he re-posted the comment after it was already deleted.
Now that is something that would piss me off. If I’m going to go through all of the trouble to delete a comment, don’t re-post it. That’s just not nice. That makes me angry.
Post a vulgar comment while you’re at work, lose your job [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
Kurt Greenbaum – disgrace, douche, pussy [Legal Satyricon]

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