Strong opinions, weakly held

Levels of candor

I was just thinking this morning about the various levels of candor I employ when I think something potentially offensive and consider talking about it, stated as the questions I ask myself. (The calculation is different if privacy is the issue.)

  1. Would I say it on my blog?
  2. Would I say it in front of my grandmother?
  3. Would I say it on Twitter?
  4. Would I say it at an all hands meeting at work?
  5. Would I say it in email?
  6. Would I say it to my mother?
  7. Would I say it to the coworkers who I know well?
  8. Would I say it to my close friends (in front of their spouses who I know less well)?
  9. Would I instant message it to a close friend?
  10. Would I say it to my close friends?
  11. Would I say it to my wife?

You can infer from this that I am not as funny on my blog as I am in other settings. The other thing you can deduce from that list is that I’m a bit cautious about what I say when it’s going to live forever on a hard drive somewhere.


  1. You never know when a future (or even current) employer is going to stumble across something you’ve written on the web. And you never know if they are going to take it badly. Then again, you can look at it as weeding out potential employers who may be a bit more uptight than you’d like.

  2. I find that I am very cautious about what I write online due to the inability to retract information once it is published. There are far too many websites and services on the Web that cache old content (for example the Way Back Machine).

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