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  • Ethics, Anonymity, and Public Service

    I missed the recent brouhaha on the fisheries forum, but it raised a question in my mind... The two quotes below from that thread exemplify the situation surrounding the gist of my question(s) (Bold emphasis mine).

    Under what circumstance would any public board member or nominee, deem it appropriate to anonymously post opinions or engage in debate on an internet forum about subject matter even remotely related to his/her nomination or position? Is this even remotely scrupulous, regardless of what is posted? Does this not, at the very least, create potential for the appearance of impropriety? Is there ever any legitimate reason do this? I can think of no reason other than to play dirty backdoor politics. To me this kind of behavior is extremely unprofessional and unethical. What am I missing?

    Allow me to shed a little light on this situation, as it's somewhat unusual. Many members do not use their real names on this site, and it's our policy to respect that. Sometimes they reveal their name to the community and later wish they hadn't. We respect their rights to privacy in those cases as well. None of that constitutes censorship or a cover-up on our part. We're simply respecting the wishes of our members concerning their personal information.

    This site has long enjoyed a politically-neutral posture for the most part. While each of us operating on the administrative side of the site (admins, moderators and the site owner) have opinions on many of the topics posted here, and are not restricted in any way from posting those views, the site itself maintains a posture of neutrality when it comes to politics. This includes the operations and appointees of the Board of Fisheries, the Board of Game, and other such organizations. In short, there is no agenda in this situation other than honoring a member's request for privacy.

    A word of advice, if I may. Anyone out there who may consider appointment to a position in fisheries management, game management, or any other political position would do well to decide in advance what they want to reveal about themselves on this site, and the potential fallout for doing so. Some choose anonymity and others will choose transparency. It's an individual decision, and this site will respect either choice.

    -Mike

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...9-BOF-Nominees
    To Brian and Michael,

    If I ever get appointed to the Board of Game or Fish, you have my permission to let people quote me from this forum using my real name .

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...9-BOF-Nominees
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
    The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It

  • #2
    Ethics, Anonymity, and Public Service

    Originally posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    I missed the recent brouhaha on the fisheries forum, but it raised a question in my mind... The two quotes below from that thread exemplify the situation surrounding the gist of my question(s) (Bold emphasis mine).

    Under what circumstance would any public board member or nominee, deem it appropriate to anonymously post opinions or engage in debate on an internet forum about subject matter even remotely related to his/her nomination or position? Is this even remotely scrupulous, regardless of what is posted? Does this not, at the very least, create potential for the appearance of impropriety? Is there ever any legitimate reason do this? I can think of no reason other than to play dirty backdoor politics. To me this kind of behavior is extremely unprofessional and unethical. What am I missing?

    Great post.

    I'd ask <name removed> the same questions. But he seems to be under the protection of this website.

    So likely he won't answer.
    Last edited by Brian M; 02-06-2016, 18:01.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by iofthetaiga View Post
      I missed the recent brouhaha on the fisheries forum, but it raised a question in my mind... The two quotes below from that thread exemplify the situation surrounding the gist of my question(s) (Bold emphasis mine).

      Under what circumstance would any public board member or nominee, deem it appropriate to anonymously post opinions or engage in debate on an internet forum about subject matter even remotely related to his/her nomination or position? Is this even remotely scrupulous, regardless of what is posted? Does this not, at the very least, create potential for the appearance of impropriety? Is there ever any legitimate reason do this? I can think of no reason other than to play dirty backdoor politics. To me this kind of behavior is extremely unprofessional and unethical. What am I missing?
      You raise a good question. In the situation that arose in the Fisheries Management Forum, a member who chooses anonymity via his username apparently posted his real name in one or more of his posts in the past. It's possible that at the time he posted his real name, he had no inclination to serve on the BOF, much less knowledge that he would be nominated to do so. At that time, he saw no risk in posting his real name. Circumstances changed, however, and it's possible that someone might try to use some of his comments against him in an effort to demonstrate issues that might remove him from consideration. So in this particular case, the member was not a public official at the time he posted his name.

      As we have all seen, the Internet can be a cruel place at times, primarily because not all people approach issues (or each other) with kindness and respect. All have a seat at the table here, unless they violate our rules to the point where they have to be removed. Thankfully, that rarely happens here. But in this case, I think I can see both sides. On one hand, you have a person who may or may not have said something they didn't mean, or which could have been misunderstood. Or who knows? Perhaps they just thought about it a while and changed their position. On the other hand, there is at least one individual who wants to expose what he believes is an inconsistency or a flaw in that person, that casts a shadow over his nomination. I understand that too. In the end, the only thing this site can do to resolve the conflict is to respect the wishes of the individual who wants to protect their privacy. Perhaps it's not the best decision in terms of figuring out what position that person takes on the issues (an important thing to know, by the way), but the alternative for this site is to open the door to similar attacks on other members.

      Finally, we know that there are many public officials on this site, and we encourage their participation, whether or not they choose to remain anonymous. I don't see anonymity as an ethical question so much as a privacy question. If anything, the private person, in choosing obscurity, is relying on sound reasoning as the basis of his arguments, rather than leveraging his position to make his point.

      I'm sure our system here has flaws, and that there are other ways to handle things like this. We try to write our rules in a way that allows folks to speak freely, and I can say that in the 20 years this site has been online, I think this is the first time something like this has come up. Hopefully it will give all of us something to think about when it comes to the transparency / obscurity question.

      Mike
      Michael Strahan
      Site Owner
      Alaska Hunt Consultant
      1 (907) 229-4501

      Comment


      • #4
        Ethics, Anonymity, and Public Service

        Sorry Mike but I disagree.

        He opted to use his real names on these boards, and splitting hairs as to when he did or did not sign his name, is splitting a mighty fine hair.

        I could toss up a litany of paragraphs, but what's the point? The site has opted to remove pertinent posts illustrating the positions of a potential BOF member, and still calls itself an "information" site.

        'Nuff said.
        “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
        "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

        Comment


        • #5
          Ethics, Anonymity, and Public Service

          Originally posted by AlaskaHippie View Post
          Great post.

          I'd ask him the same questions. But he seems to be under the protection of this website.

          So likely he won't answer.
          I think you know better. Neither Brian or myself see eye-to-eye with him on some issues. We are not protecting anything but his privacy, at his request. If anyone has questions for him, I encourage you to contact him directly.
          Michael Strahan
          Site Owner
          Alaska Hunt Consultant
          1 (907) 229-4501

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Michael Strahan View Post
            I think you know better. Neither Brian or myself see eye-to-eye with him on some issues. We are not protecting anything but his privacy, at his request. If anyone has questions for him, I encourage you to contact him directly.
            He voided that request when he signed his real name here.

            It's not his privacy that he wants protected. It's his arse.
            “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
            "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by iofthetaiga View Post
              I missed the recent brouhaha on the fisheries forum, but it raised a question in my mind... The two quotes below from that thread exemplify the situation surrounding the gist of my question(s) (Bold emphasis mine).

              Under what circumstance would any public board member or nominee, deem it appropriate to anonymously post opinions or engage in debate on an internet forum about subject matter even remotely related to his/her nomination or position? Is this even remotely scrupulous, regardless of what is posted? Does this not, at the very least, create potential for the appearance of impropriety? Is there ever any legitimate reason do this? I can think of no reason other than to play dirty backdoor politics. To me this kind of behavior is extremely unprofessional and unethical. What am I missing?

              You our asked a number of questions there IO. Let me see if I'm getting your drift, because w/o the actual spoken or written words you are referring to, it's hard to make a judgement.
              If it were ME, I would not likely have any qualms about ananimity or not regarding my position on something of public concern. Why? Because what I would post is what I would STAND BEHIND. Since I value truth, I don't have a problem posting my positions.
              I can only assume, since it has yet to be spelled out by the mods why they did what they did ( deletion etc) that he must have requested those posts be removed by the mods. The request could be legit or not. Maybe his kid posted under his name. Maybe he was hacked! Maybe his wires got crossed in the interweb tubes.
              And maybe he opened his big mouth and realized he may have stuck his foot in it! We can only speculate can't we?
              I know one thing tho. He's more than welcome to post on this forum as far as I'm concerned. Nothing like watching,seeing, hearing, right from the horses mouth!
              Are we on the same page, OI?

              Ahhh... So edited. Mike has clarified. It WAS at his request. (To save his arse).
              Last edited by Brian M; 02-06-2016, 18:30.
              Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine! :whistle:
              WWG1WGA! QANON

              Comment


              • #8
                My reason for posting this was not to question this site's positions/policies, or even single out an individual member. Yes it's well known that civil servants frequent the forums. But for a public servant to read for his/her own information, is far different from wading into contentious public debate, to argue and voice opinion, and perhaps practice dirty politics, while maintaining anonymity is what's unscrupulous. I don't know what the answer is, but the practice should be infuriating to the public.

                If I were to find myself serving, or considering serving on a fish or game board, or any other public position, I would either remain completely mum on debate the subject of which is relevant to my Board, or I would come out publicly and own my statements and position and live with them. There doesn't seem to be any other scrupulous way to go about it.

                My impression (perhaps incorrect?) is that there are lots of players here in Alaska who don't live by those same values.
                ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
                I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
                The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by cod View Post
                  You our asked a number of questions there IO. Let me see if I'm getting your drift, because w/o the actual spoken or written words you are referring to, it's hard to make a judgement.
                  If it were ME, I would not likely have any qualms about ananimity or not regarding my position on something of public concern. Why? Because what I would post is what I would STAND BEHIND. Since I value truth, I don't have a problem posting my positions.
                  I can only assume, since it has yet to be spelled out by the mods why they did what they did ( deletion etc) that Skwentnaman must have requested those posts be removed by the mods. The request could be legit or not. Maybe his kid posted under his name. Maybe he was hacked! Maybe his wires got crossed in the interweb tubes.
                  And maybe he opened his big mouth and realized he may have stuck his foot in it! We can only speculate can't we?
                  I know one thing tho. He's more than welcome to post on this forum as far as I'm concerned. Nothing like watching,seeing, hearing, right from the horses mouth!
                  Are we on the same page, OI?

                  Ahhh... So edited. Mike has clarified. It WAS at his request. (To save his arse).
                  First, in the discussion that I had with the member in question, he did not ask for the post to be deleted, nor did he ask for me to edit his past posts which he attached his name to (which has not been done). He expressed concern that the posts quoted did not accurately/fully reflect his views on fisheries management and also noted that the posts he attached his name to had nothing to do with the quotes being used to paint a picture of his views. In fact, he stressed that he wasn't asking for the posts to be deleted. That was a decision that Mike and I came to ourselves. What he said to Mike, I cannot say - but that was the content of my conversation with him.

                  Also, it has most certainly been spelled out why we did what we did. I made that clear in my first post on the matter.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Maybe I should have waited a few weeks before raising the subject... I really wasn't intending it to be about the one individual being argued over.
                    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
                    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
                    The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      And now you're removing his username from the discussion??

                      Wow.

                      He's "not being protected" by the site....


                      He must have some pull.
                      “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
                      "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Brian M View Post
                        ...he did not ask for the post to be deleted, nor did he ask for me to edit his past posts which he attached his name to (which has not been done). He expressed concern that the posts quoted did not accurately/fully reflect his views on fisheries management and also noted that the posts he attached his name to had nothing to do with the quotes being used to paint a picture of his views. In fact, he stressed that he wasn't asking for the posts to be deleted. That was a decision that Mike and I came to ourselves. What he said to Mike, I cannot say - but that was the content of my conversation with him.

                        Also, it has most certainly been spelled out why we did what we did. I made that clear in my first post on the matter.
                        My apologies; I stand corrected.

                        What can I say? I'm recovering from surgery, and am probably not firing on all cylinders. Good thing I'm not running for public office!

                        -Mike
                        Michael Strahan
                        Site Owner
                        Alaska Hunt Consultant
                        1 (907) 229-4501

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          So when is AOD officially endorsing him?
                          “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
                          "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by AlaskaHippie View Post
                            And now you're removing his username from the discussion??

                            Wow.

                            He's "not being protected" by the site....


                            He must have some pull.
                            Mike, not using his name was the entire point of what went down. It is painfully obvious which Board of Fish nominee we're talking about. We've asked people to not link his name to his screenname here. We didn't ask people to dance around it. Folks can do their own searches and come to their own conclusions. W

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Brian M View Post
                              Also, it has most certainly been spelled out why we did what we did. I made that clear in my first post on the matter.
                              Guess I'll have to go back and read your posts a third time. Maybe YOU thought you were clear on it, but obviously some of us dunderheads didn't pick up on it.
                              In my above post I should have put quotation marks around Mike' quote..."...at his request." Unquote
                              That is the first time I recall getting THAT information. But maybe I missed it before. At any rate, it's kinda at the crux of the matter.

                              On on another note, I would like to comment respectfully on Mikes quote below.

                              "As we have all seen, the Internet can be a cruel place at times, primarily because not all people approach issues (or each other) with kindness and respect. All have a seat at the table here, unless they violate our rules to the point where they have to be removed. Thankfully, that rarely happens here. But in this case, I think I can see both sides. On one hand, you have a person who may or may not have said something they didn't mean, or which could have been misunderstood. Or who knows? Perhaps they just thought about it a while and changed their position. On the other hand, there is at least one individual who wants to expose what he believes is an inconsistency or a flaw in that person, that casts a shadow over his nomination. I understand that too. In the end, the only thing this site can do to resolve the conflict is to respect the wishes of the individual who wants to protect their privacy. Perhaps it's not the best decision in terms of figuring out what position that person takes on the issues (an important thing to know, by the way), but the alternative for this site is to open the door to similar attacks on other members."

                              My opinion/view on this paragraph is its more pc run amuck. Almost as bad as not allowing govt to review public Facebook posts of immigrants.
                              Mike, the crime is in NOT, -letting people post. It's NOT, -
                              in LETTING people post.
                              If you were to refuse Skman to post his rebuttal, his 'misinterpretations, his excuses, his reasons etc etc. That, my friend, would be unfair.
                              To take Skman words attributed to HIM off the public domain, where he posted it himself is just a mistake, in my mind. It's a disservice to the good of the public. As long as he has the opportunity to defend himself, there should be no interference.
                              Your site, my humble opinion.




                              Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine! :whistle:
                              WWG1WGA! QANON

                              Comment

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