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College Papers Won't Rewrite History For Alumni

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the you-broke-it-you-bought-it dept.

Privacy 221

Hugh Pickens writes "The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that as college papers have begun digitizing their back issues, their Web sites have become the latest front in the battle over online identities. Youthful activities like underage drinking that once would have disappeared into the recesses of a campus library are now preserved on the public record, and alumni are contacting newspapers with requests for redaction. Unlike with Facebook profiles, that other notable source of young-adult embarrassment, the affected parties can't remove or edit questionable content. In 2007, a Cornell University alum sued the Cornell Chronicle over a newly digitized article from 1983 that reported he had been charged with burglary while a student at Cornell. The alum found the article after Googling his name and claimed that its new presence online was causing him 'mental anguish' and 'loss of reputation.' But a California judge threw out the case after determining the report to be accurate. Some student papers, like The University Daily Kansan, have found a middle ground by adding the noindex meta tag so that the documents stay online, but search engines such as Google do not index them. 'I thought that would be better than kind of like sticking it to [the alum] and saying the paper is always right and we can publish anything on the Web we want,' says the paper's editor."

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G o a t s e (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28073219)

Re:G o a t s e (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28073575)

You really do love Vista don't you.

Now run along you little scamp!

Hackers. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28073257)

Was the best movie of all time.

Re:Hackers. (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073823)

I wAS iT tWICE, aWSDOME@!

once something has happened no unhappening for you (4, Insightful)

randuev (1032770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073299)

isn't it obvious, that once something has happened it cannot be erased from history of this light cone? the only thing you could possibly do about events in your past is to provide an alternative version preferably as soon as this happened. i have plenty of record online under my real name, of course there are some things that are embarassing to me ages ago, but plenty of time has went past :)

Just like email recall (4, Funny)

sigxcpu (456479) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073341)

Although some email clients pretend to have such an option, I have never seen it work.
You always get these bogus messages saying that someone is trying to recall the email. Which just makes things worse.

What you really need is a TOTAL RECALL option.

(Insert your favorite 1984 quote here.)

Re:Just like email recall (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073467)

exchange server allows it. your shitout of luck if it's across the internet though. really if your a twit when your young the best course of action is to admit you were an idiot and say you've learnt from your actions.

it's rather retarded to think some 50 yo CFO who has had an outstanding career is any less capable because he was arrested for drunk and disorderly 30 years ago. frankly i find such things refreshing knowing the big guns are human as well.

Re:Just like email recall (1)

davidphogan74 (623610) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073513)

He may have also invoked the Streisand Effect by attempting to get it removed. Who'd have noticed until he got upset?

Re:Just like email recall (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28073533)

But if it's an 60 year old draft dodger, with a drink problem? Would that mean he's still good enough to be commander in chief?

Re:Just like email recall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28073875)

Next you'll be telling Ike jokes.

Grow up asshole

Re:once something has happened no unhappening for (3, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073591)

isn't it obvious, that once something has happened it cannot be erased from history of this light cone?

As even the summary mentioned, the problem is not that it's archived: it's instantly searchable.

Just for fun, I found a picture about myself drunk in 3 minutes with Google. Of course I know what I was looking for, and anyone else has no chance whatsoever to identify me now, but there you go.

P.S. I'm not even registered on any social networking site.

It happens, so what (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28073711)

A print of this [xkcd.com] has been taped to my wall.

Everything we have done has been done because it seemed good at the time for the motives we had at the time and to those personalities we were then.

If I ever meet a company that chooses not to hire me because they can google my political/religious/ideological views, find out that I partied a lot in college or something like that, it isn't a good company to work for anyways. I am sure that even the folks in HR realize that people change over time and them being able to find my LiveJournal account from my teen years doesn't mean that I am still that angsty. But I also see no reason to be embarrassed that I was like that at the time.

Human Resources (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074393)

Human Resources may be concerned about legal liability.

If they hire you for a delivery driver and you got charged with drunk driving 5 years ago and later got the charge and arrest sealed, you can deny it on your employment application.

But if HR finds out and the company hires you anyways and you get drunk and hurt someone on the job, the company is in deep water.

If HR fails to do due diligence and hires you anyways and you get drunk and hurt someone on the job, the company is in deep water.

The question is - what is due diligence? Answer: Whatever a judge or jury says it is. To avoid the possibility of a court case, they may choose to Google you and at the first sign of trouble toss your application.

Hopefully, there will be some court rulings in the next few years that would in most cases clear an employer of negligent hiring if a person has a history but does not have a conviction, currently-pending charge, or other current court supervision like deferred adjudication, recent civil judgment, or current restraining order.

By the way, it's not just campus newspapers that people can search. It's also mainstream newspaper archives [google.com] .

Re:It happens, so what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074403)

Have fun working at Starbucks! The rest of us square, boring, EMPLOYED mold-conformers will be living it up, if you don't mind.

Re:It happens, so what (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074717)

being able to find my LiveJournal account from my teen years doesn't mean that I am still that angsty. But I also see no reason to be embarrassed that I was like that at the time.

Your hope [youtube.com] is duly noted : )

Re:once something has happened no unhappening for (0, Offtopic)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073841)

I'm on social networking sites, but not under my real name. Even my on-line resumes are scrubbed.

Re:once something has happened no unhappening for (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074055)

Indeed, when one ones had to go to a specific archive and physically look at pages upon pages, one can now enter a name and maybe a date and have results upon result in a matter of seconds, from anywhere on the planet.

It turns a "why?" into a "why not?"...

Re:once something has happened no unhappening for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28073779)

He should have politely requested they remove it. When they did not spend the money to do enough investigation into their actions they rethink their position. Having a private detective dig up enough stuff and making it publicly available online should do. It's the nasty option but less it can be a more anonymous one.

One good find on the way they mismanage federal funds would be gold.

Re:once something has happened no unhappening for (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074015)

I have never done anything that would be the least bit embarrassing.

Since I've changed my name.

Simple Solution. (3, Insightful)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073349)

Don't want your stupid college actions preserved forever? Don't do stupid things!

Re:Simple Solution. (3, Insightful)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073375)

The problem for alums like this is that tweens don't often think as clearly as their 30/40 iteration would wishes.

Re:Simple Solution. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28073417)

FYI, "tween" refers to pre-adolescents.

Re:Simple Solution. (4, Informative)

Philip_the_physicist (1536015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074105)

FYI, JRR Tolkien first used it to mean those who were no longer teens, but under the age of 33. Unless you can find an earlier reference, I think the GP is using the word more correctly.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074531)

It's interesting to discover that Tolkein had his target demographic identified and even a name to assign to it.

Though, it's not so much a 'demographic' as a social strata he helped create: the 'trapped between' permanent adolescent. The kind who can speak elven, etc.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074179)

No, the problem is that they don't have enough money to donate to the school to have the records revised much more quietly, or to hire an editor who's a friend. It's much easier to get such material trimmed via "editoral trimming" by a friend on staff than via an outright request.

Re:Simple Solution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28073393)

That's a stupid comment if there ever was one. I mean, as kids, you're supposed to know that you're doing something stupid? Stupid is as ... bah.

Re:Simple Solution. (4, Insightful)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073595)

That's a stupid comment if there ever was one. I mean, as kids, you're supposed to know that you're doing something stupid?

If the guy cited in the summary were a minor I'd agree with you. However, if he were a minor the paper couldn't print his name. But a college age kid doing burglary? Yeah, he should know he's doing something stupid.

Re:Simple Solution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074509)

Well the argument just isn't about burglary, it's about "stupid" things like getting drunk etc.

Re:Simple Solution. (4, Insightful)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073413)

Optionally, make the adult world understand that stupid things done at earlier age do not mean that they are guaranteed to repeat said stupidity at a later age...

The thinking these days seems to be that we are robots, with set behavior cut in stone at a early age, with no ability to alter that except when guided by trained professionals in a controlled environment.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073637)

If you have to pick between someone that did a bunch of stupid stuff at university and someone who didn't, who are you going to pick? These are not kids we are talking about. They are 18+ years old. When the hell are they going to grow up and take responsibility for their own mistakes/actions?

Re:Simple Solution. (4, Insightful)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073713)

And would not the first step towards taking responsibility, being honest about what one have done, rather then to try and cover that up?

I would say its not important if the person did something stupid or not, as long as the person understand that what one did was stupid and do not plan to do so again if the chance presents itself.

And i would not say that x number of years living is adult or not. Life is a continual learning experience, and i would say that adult comes when one can show that one have taken to heart the values and expectations there is of an "adult" in society, not when some amount of years have been accumulated.

One yardstick i would want to use tho, is that of harming others. if someone can grasp that a action have the potential to harm someone else, and therefor refuses to do so, i would say the person is adult, or at least behaving as one. This based on seeing kids tormenting animals, insects and each other, because they can, and because the tormented reacts in a potentially amusing way. Yes, there are times and places where harming others are, if not needed, the only available option. But if the person approaches that time and place with reluctance, and stops when the minimal harm needed have been performed, the person still to be seen as a adult. Or at least, that's my opinion on the subject.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074549)

And would not the first step towards taking responsibility, being honest about what one have done, rather then to try and cover that up?

That would be why, having the 'unfortunate history' may make it hard to get an interview, but if it's later discovered you covered something up, you can be instantly fired on the spot, even years later, if HR wishes it so.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073851)

Depending on the sensitivity of the position, I might take the person that did a bunch of stupid shit and that can intelligently discuss the lessons learned from those mistakes.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074287)

Maybe when they realise Google reveals all.

18 is adult but not mature (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074495)

Most people's brains mature in their early- to mid-20s. It's one of the reasons why for so long in America you couldn't vote until you were 21.

An 18 year old is a legal adult and should face the consequences of his actions at that time but he shouldn't have to carry that albatross his entire life.

If someone is digging up misdemeanor-or-less level dirt on you more than 5 or 10 years old, that says more about them than you. If it's low-felony-level dirt, anything more than 10-20 years past the end of your parole should be forgiven assuming you've been a good boy.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

rastilin (752802) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073639)

Optionally, make the adult world understand that stupid things done at earlier age do not mean that they are guaranteed to repeat said stupidity at a later age...

I suspect the adult world already understands that, after all, they were once Uni students as well.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073733)

And yet one feel the need to hide ones non-adult actions from said adults.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073811)

True. But, I think the fundamental issue is supply/demand. There are just more people able to do a job than there are (desirable) jobs that people are willing to pay good money for.

So, if you're applying for a coveted position, and you are one of 50 resumes, and all of them are qualified, but you are the only one that has a record 20 years in the past, what do you think will happen?

Sure, if there were one candidate that stood head and shoulders above the rest stuff like this would get overlooked. But usually that isn't the case.

Same thing applies to standardized testing. Sure, everybody knows that it is imperfect. However, when you have 1000 applicants for a med school opening you need to have some way to throw out applications. Standardized testing is as fair as just about any of them.

The real solution is to find better ways to employ people so that there are more openings.

For school applicants this is easy - build/accredit more universities. There is no reason that everybody who wants a college/medical/legal/whatever education and is willing to pay for it shouldn't be able to obtain one. Sure, if you want a scholarship there can be some evaluation of merit, or if you want to apply to some elite program. However, the problem with schools is one of poor supply management.

For jobs things are harder - you can't just pay people to do things that nobody really wants. Arguably the government can create demand for jobs that truly do benefit the public (infrastructure, blue sky R&D, etc), but there are limits. I think that at some point the whole system of wealth acquisition by working or owning capital will probably need to change (and I'd hardly consider myself a socialist). I'm not sure we're there yet, but at some point automation will get to the point where nobody actually needs to work - and then how do you decide who gets to eat and how large a population is too much? Some resources will still be scarce, but labor will not be - so how do you decide how to allocate the resources that are avaiable. It could be utopia or a nightmare depending on how the world ends up being governed...

Building schools can be foolish (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074515)

You don't build more med schools unless there will be jobs for the graduates. Ditto other specialized schools.

It's one thing to build liberal arts schools and other where people don't expect a job in a particular field when they graduate. It's quite another to build a professional or trade school knowing good and well there is no need for one.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074599)

There is no reason that everybody who wants a college/medical/legal/whatever education and is willing to pay for it shouldn't be able to obtain one.

Certainly!

Further, there's no reason why anybody who wants to be a rock star and is willing to pay for it shouldn't be able to attain that goal.

The problem with the above is that society only needs so many rock stars, and so many MDs. And so many EEs, etc.

We can't just educate our way to prosperity.

Re:Simple Solution. (2, Interesting)

Eivind (15695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073859)

Indeed -- I belong to those who think this is entirely okay.

What's the problem ? That people can now sometimes see -evidence- that you're just human, which includes doing some things in your teenages which you likely wouldn't with 30 ? It's not as if this wasn't always the case, and anyone who's not an idiot knows it.

If you where really much more of an idiot than the average Joe, then well, sucks to be you. But I -really- don't think it's much of a problem that acting like an idiot carries some risk that people in the future will learn that you acted like an idiot.

Re:Simple Solution. (2, Funny)

Main Gauche (881147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074477)

Optionally, make the adult world understand...

Ok, hold on a sec.

*Waves Anti-Idiot Wand +5*

There, that should do it. Keep in mind about 3% of the population probably made their save.

Re:Simple Solution. (2, Insightful)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073437)

Don't do stupid things? Don't be human!

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073943)

If I manage to refrain from committing criminal acts such as burglary, I'm not human?

TFS is misleading to compare this to activities like getting drunk - we're talking about reporting of criminal matters, and this college paper is no more guilty than any mainstream paper that publishes such information.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074435)

Obviously, no. What I stated rather plainly was that stupidity is part of being human - there's just no way around that. You want to penalize people for being human, sure, but forgive me if I'll not accept your viewpoint as much more than, well, stupid.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074791)

You want to penalize people for being human, sure

Straw man. My point was the issue of penalising people for burglary.

but forgive me if I'll not accept your viewpoint as much more than, well, stupid.

Ah, you have no argument, so you resort to an ad hominem. That's surely a sign of intelligent debate.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

AlexBirch (1137019) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074131)

I think we should do a class-action lawsuit against kdawson for mental anguish.

Re:Simple Solution. (4, Insightful)

owlstead (636356) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073439)

That's true of course, but a bit too simple. Often these kind of public stories can punish somebody much more than the original sentence, even if there was one. Personally, I know that I've made mistakes in my life (although none too serious). I would not want that each of these results stay online forever. This is however something you'll have to deal with nowadays.

Still, I would like that public institutions would think twice before (re-)publishing stories with names in them. Especially when it is with publications that are not easily verified such as student papers, where the articles have not been written by trained individuals. It might be that even the authors may have problems with that; even though the articles may provide a nice insight in the institution, the writers themselves probably weren't writing articles for the whole world to view. That law student that made a prank article about canabis probably did not want the whole world to browse his comments now that he/she is a full grown judge.

Removing the indexing does seem to be a nice middle ground. And we should train the current students (including those in lower classes) that anything you publish today will be become available forever. There's no such thing as a limited number of copies anymore. Some person will always scan something and put it on the internet, now or later on.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073693)

Still, I would like that public institutions would think twice before (re-)publishing stories with names in them..

So archived newspapers (including microfiche), court reports etc all have to be "redone" now. This is public information that was published publicly, there is no expectation that it would become private after some time.

If our mistakes are serious enough to become a matter of public record... Then well its there for all to see.

Re:Simple Solution. (2, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073913)

This is public information that was published publicly, there is no expectation [my emphasis] that it would become private after some time.

See, you talk about "expectation", but the Internet- or anything like it- wasn't on anyone's horizon in 1983 (I doubt that even the academics that used it knew it would be so important and all-pervasive 25 years later).

What you say is technically correct, but doesn't account for how the Internet changed the implications of something being "public"- and *that* is what people would not have expected back then.

At the time, reports would have appeared in newspapers and been prominent for a short while. They would have remained "public", but without any simple way to search them, let alone easily available to any random person with a cheap computer, they wouldn't have been found without good reason and some work.

My point being while you can argue whether or not "our mistakes [being] serious enough" should warrant them becoming "a matter of public record", but you can't deny the fact that after 25 years the Internet has changed the fundamental implications of something being on the "public record", even- or especially- things that became public before the Internet was a factor, in ways which wouldn't have been considered back then.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

reddburn (1109121) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073807)

I agree - an accidental Google search can reveal some startling things that - a decade ago, before the mass digitization of the world had started to really archive stuff - would have no longer mattered. The problem is that instead of viewing information gleaned from mediated sources with a judicious, reasoned eye, we've become accustomed to playing "Gotcha!" -- even on those who are themselves ultimately inconsequential.

To anyone so very concerned about a loss of social status based upon decades-old infomation, as well as those who believe that the petty actions of a long-gone teenager define the character and worth of a fully grown and emotionally developed adult, I offer the following:

Choose a dozen random 18-20 year old American males. Place them two to a room in very close quarters, with little supervision by those they consider authority figures. Watch for a year and see how many have defaced or destroyed something extremely valuable, gotten into a fight, stolen things from public venues for fun, played laser tag with a nail gun, or done any of the other infinitely stupid things we've all heard friends talk about.

At that age, the tribal instinct is so strong that it really only takes one strong voice and the sight of more than one follower to begin a cascade of events leading to something asinine, dangerous, illegal, or all three. More interesting is that these young men are evolutionarily likely to bond best with one another precisely because they are engaged in a dangerous or arduous endeavor: they're at the same stage of development (albeit much farther along) as members of tribes from time immemorial who are kicked out to go kill stuff together until they're grown up enough to contribute more than dead animals.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073839)

And funny enough, that's the age of soldiers in most parts of the world...

It also reminds me of a psychology experiment about prisons...

bingo: http://www.prisonexp.org/ [prisonexp.org]

Re:Simple Solution. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28073483)

Thanks for the advice, Mr. Perfect. Unfortunately, that superficially perfect suggestion is actually rather stupid.

Young people need to be able to do stupid things within a context of safety and forgetting in order to learn about themselves and the world. If someone's every action will be on record for the rest of their life, then they will feel unnecessary pressure to stay neatly within the lines and remain naive and unworldly for fear of the consequences. It would stifle their creativity, their adventurousness, and consequently their outlook on the world and everything affected by that.

Re:Simple Solution. (2, Insightful)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073745)

I'm not so sure that burglary should be mandatory behaviour for students. I'm pretty sure that most people know that burglary is a stupid thing to do, and are aware of the consequences.

Besides, the relatively harmless (in the long term) stupid stuff isn't exactly newsworthy. It's only if you do something really stupid that you get such mental anguish causing and reputation destroying stories in the newspaper.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073755)

And don't forget all the revolutions.
If all the humans were to be recorded and punished for every criminal action they make we would still live in a feudal environment. In order to progress we have to make mistakes and hopefully learn from them.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073967)

And don't forget all the revolutions.

If all the humans were to be recorded and punished for every criminal action they make we would still live in a feudal environment. In order to progress we have to make mistakes and hopefully learn from them.

Of course, if the majority of people were living under a system of law that punished them in such a way- effectively permanently oppressing them- they'd have little to lose by supporting the overturn of the regime that supported it, making revolution *more* likely.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073803)

The record is only a issue because the existing adults makes use of said record to judge a person before they learn to know that person and see if said person have learned anything from those past experiences.

Hell, its not only the past record of the person itself that's sometimes used, but also parents and gand-parents (or even further). This may become so heavy a weight, that the person will change surname and move away rather then face the weight. All this because we humans seems to assume we know a person based on recorded actions, not from direct experiences with said person.

This is why, even tho a ex-prisoner i supposed to have done his dept to society, he will be regarded as a lesser human by others ones the background comes up. As such, the person have no real chance of rehabilitation, as he is not given a fair chance to prove himself.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

QuestorTapes (663783) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074119)

> Young people need to be able to do stupid things
> within a context of safety and forgetting in order to
> learn about themselves and the world.

I have problem with this statement: which stupid things and what context of safety?

This was a burglary. What about rape? What about felonious assault resulting in permanent damage? What about repeated drunk driving convictions?

Some parents have let underage kids drink at home becuase it's "safer". Sometimes that has backfired, resulting in fatalities. What is the "safety" part of being in a school environment, which I would argue is far less safe than a parental home environment?

> If someone's every action will be on record for the
> rest of their life, then they will feel unnecessary
> pressure to stay neatly within the lines and remain
> naive and unworldly for fear of the consequences.

That's an interesting assertion; I would want to see actual analysis of real-world data before I accept it as a proposition. But just to look at one point:

> If someone's every action will be on record for the
> rest of their life....

I would agree that not everyone's every action should be on record for the rest of their lives, but the truth is, long before public databases and the internet, people's actions tend to be remembered if they are embarassing or illegal or unethical. You've never been able to pick and choose which parts of the public memory are preserved.

Anyone who in their forties and fifties is still called by a childhood nickname, or introduced to new people by their friends as "the guy I told you about, who got drunk and stripped naked in the quad, and we duct taped him to the statue of Thomas Jefferson" will understand what I mean.

> It would stifle their creativity, their adventurousness,
> and consequently their outlook on the world and everything
> affected by that.

I would suggest that neither "creativity", nor "adventurousness" is a universal good nor a universal bad. Some killers, rapists, assorted psychopaths sociopaths and assholes (the guys who created Enron, Bernie Madoff, the guys running AIG) are very creative. Any number of brutal criminals are adventurous. Those are not necessarily good things.

I would agree that creativity and adventurousness should be encouraged, within certain educational and parenting contexts. And even some business contexts.

But I would argue that indescrimate petty crimes (and serious crimes), drug and alcohol binging, and casual sex are not desirable nor should they be in these contexts.

(Got my asbestos shorts on...)

Re:Simple Solution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074237)

"It would stifle their creativity, their adventurousness, and consequently their outlook on the world and everything affected by that."

You're right.

But when we're talking about *crime* versus creativity and adventurousness, I don't have a lot of sympathy.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074595)

"Young people need to be able to do stupid things within a context of safety and forgetting in order to learn about themselves and the world. If someone's every action will be on record for the rest of their life, then they will feel unnecessary pressure to stay neatly within the lines and remain naive and unworldly for fear of the consequences. It would stifle their creativity, their adventurousness, and consequently their outlook on the world and everything affected by that."

Your statement is self contradictory. You propose that people should be able to do things without "fear of the consequences". Tell me, how do they learn that some actions are good or bad if they are isolated from the consequences of those actions "within a context of safety and forgetting"?

Your attitude is what is 100% wrong with the recent attitudes toward raising children - protecting them from the consequences of their actions. Have fun raising your kids - you won't know you've fucked up until they are grown and it is too late.

Not so simple solution (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28073519)

You may notice that it only said that he was *charged* with burglary. Not convicted of it.

Perhaps the problem is that not many people understand the difference? I know I'd be upset if I was falsely accused of some crime and the accusation (but not the exoneration) was easy to find on Google...

Mind you, I don't know this guy. Maybe he was convicted. I'm just trying to point out that it might not be as cut & dried as it seems. I mean, even the article summary only repeats the accusation and doesn't tell us whether or not he was actually convicted of the crime. I'm guessing he wasn't, or he probably wouldn't sue. But, who knows? I mean, I'd have to RTFA for that...

Re:Not so simple solution (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28073641)

If you follow the links you'll see the guy is a lawyer, so he must be guilty.

Re:Not so simple solution (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074709)

If he's a lawyer, I'd think a burglary accusation would just show early adoption of "professional" ethics.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

davidphogan74 (623610) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073523)

Or have a really, really funny story to tell about it.

You're Awesome. (5, Insightful)

reddburn (1109121) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073691)

Don't want your stupid college actions preserved forever? Don't do stupid things!

Thanks for your "insightful" words (great job, mods)! I'll be sure to relay that information to myself as a 19 year old the next time I'm twelve years in the past.

Re:You're Awesome. (-1, Troll)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074051)

Thanks for your "insightful" words (great job, mods)! I'll be sure to relay that information to myself as a 19 year old the next time I'm twelve years in the past.

What does a twelve years old have to do with anything? We're not dealing with minors here.

Re:Simple Solution. (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073735)

What do you remember better from you past, the good actions or the stupid ones? I still lough my ass off every time, together with my old friend, we remember the crazy stuff we did.
We are humans, we aren't perfect and to develop a creative mind you have to explore. If you want a perfect human just get yourself a drone.

Re:Simple Solution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074439)

Of course! It's so simple!
And remember, only those with something to hide have something to fear!
Wait...

Alumnus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28073427)

I think the word you're looking for when you say alum is actually alumnus. Alumnus is the the singular and alumni is the plural.

Uhm... (1, Interesting)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073521)

In modern America, college papers write you?

Hello to my fan Barbara Streissand (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28073529)

So you can judge what this is all about for yourselves:

The offending issue of the Cornell Chronicle [cornell.edu]

Re:Hello to my fan Barbara Streissand (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28073555)

Hint: "Blotter Barton"

They did actually find $474 worth (in 1983 dollars) of stolen goods from him.

Lessons to be learned:
1. Don't do +10 burglaries and get caught if you don't wanna get in the news.
2. Don't sue the paper for libel, when you actually did the crime, to get the information censored. It will have the opposite effect, moron!

Re:Hello to my fan Barbara Streissand (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073679)

So who would get the job.

Department of Public Safety officials have charged Kevin G. Vanginderen of 603 Winston Court Apartments with third degree burglary in connection with 10 incidents of petit larceny and five burglaires on campus over a period of a year. Safety reported recovering some $474 worth of stolen goods from him....

Or the guys with the cool plane on the front cover.

engines such as Google do not index them... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073553)

Google indexes everything, its just you dont get to see the results.
The noindex meta tag could really be called "the noshowresults meta tag"
Customers get to see all the web, consumers dont. So yes all the fun you had back in the 1970's 80's will come back to haunt you, if your boss pays for a real search.
Google could also select to remove all or some works too.

Re:engines such as Google do not index them... (1)

FourthAge (1377519) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073919)

How do I use this "super search" service, and how much does it cost?

Re:engines such as Google do not index them... (1)

KORfan (524397) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074473)

I believe that Lexus-Nexus can handle that for you. You'll have to contact them for their price structure.

[citation needed] (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073993)

Google indexes everything, its just you dont get to see the results. The noindex meta tag could really be called "the noshowresults meta tag" Customers get to see all the web, consumers dont. So yes all the fun you had back in the 1970's 80's will come back to haunt you, if your boss pays for a real search.

Are you saying that Google will make available "noindex"-excluded information if people pay for a search?

[citation needed]

And I'd like to hear about the legal implications of retaining and showing information that the owner has specifically and explicitly requested not be indexed via a widely-accepted mechanism that Google themselves use.

money talks. (1)

sparkeyjames (264526) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073635)

You can best bet that if the person had made multimillion dollar donatations to the University that that article would disappear and never EVER see the light of day again.

Re:money talks. (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073689)

Many college newspapers are independent corporate entities from the college they report on. So a multi-million dollar donation to the University would mean squat to the paper. (You've have to buy the head editor a latte or two to get that kind of pull)

Easy Solution (5, Funny)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073705)

In some Native American cultures, you have one name before you are an adult, and another after.

Name your kid "John Smith" while in College, and legally change his name to something unique right before graduation.

Re:Easy Solution (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073765)

Lol, you are a genius.

Re:Easy Solution (2, Funny)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073771)

If I got to choose, I would like my Indian name to be "Runs With Scissors"

Generalized Solution (1)

PleaseFearMe (1549865) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074033)

Or just change your name whenever something bad about you appears on Google.

Re:Easy Solution (1)

idlemachine (732136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074443)

Would that I had points to mod this insightful.

If static identity becomes an issue to us culturally, I can guarantee that we'll move to more fluid forms before long. That there are historical precedents just makes it more inevitable.

Re:Easy Solution (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074747)

In some Native American cultures, you have one name before you are an adult, and another after.

Name your kid "John Smith" while in College, and legally change his name to something unique right before graduation.

Like "The Doctor"? :)

returning the favour (1)

shooteur (1559845) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073729)

I guess while the PHBs scour other employees facebook, twitter and myspace pages for dirt, the employees can read up on their PHBs dirt in return.

So what? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073861)

What's the problem? Does anyone really think he es the only one who really had fun, and did some stupid things when he was young? Guess what: The guy that's offering you a job, probably had a more crazy youth than you. If someone is really searching in your past for shit to dig up, you're not the ass. HE is! Do you really want to have to do with such an ass?

Have some self-esteem, self-confidence, and stand by yourself. You drank. You maybe smoked some stuff. You maybe had sex with X. You maybe stole something and peed in the pool. So what? The only one who has a right to judge you, is you. And you are the one who defines who is allowed to judge you. If you allow others to control what is OK for you, you will be controlled for the rest of your life.
Maybe you like that. But I don't. :)

At least there is some consolation (2, Insightful)

Coeurderoy (717228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073865)

At least there is some consolation in the fact that having done something stupid in your past, will drive away the idiots...
At least the ones who believe that you couldn't possibly evolve, and that what you did at 18 defines what you'll be able to do at 30 away.

Of course it does help if you also did a couple of interesting stuff in the interim....

how is this different (1)

wintermute000 (928348) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073881)

How is this different from the general issue of data retention across any internet connected source?

e.g. say you did prank X in uni and it got reported by the normal paper. Said paper article can be found in google. What's the difference between that and the campus news? Why should the campus news be 'expunged' from the record just because its a campus news not 'normal' news?

not a prank, a CRIME (3, Interesting)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073979)

We're not talking about mooning the dean of students, or something "fun", if silly/stupid.

The guy was arrested for burglary. It is necessary for him to respond, for the rest of his life, in every job/dating/whatever situation to "what happened?". If the charges were unfounded, then a copy of the record should take care of it. If not, then he should have to explain how his head was so messed up that he could put his victim(s) through the hassle of dealing with their missing stuff, and how, if at all, it is different now, such that he is fit for whatever situation in which the question comes up.

Re:not a prank, a CRIME (2, Insightful)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074521)

The guy was arrested for burglary. It is necessary for him to respond, for the rest of his life, in every job/dating/whatever situation to "what happened?".

Actually, no. Assuming he did his time and repaid his debt to society, he shouldn't be punished for a crime for the rest of his life.

If you really believe that one should have to answer for a crime (and, presumably, be denied employment/housing/etc. because of it) for the rest of one's life, then why not just institute life sentences for every little crime?

Alum ??? (1)

ZyBex (793975) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074151)

Singular is Alumnus. And what's wrong with "student" ? Damn latin descendants!

Uh... greetings from Portugal...

Face it, life has consequences (4, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074213)

Personally, I don't even think that they should use the "noindex" tag, either.

Perhaps at some point, someone will get it through their thick skulls that choices often have consequences, and these consequences can come back to bite you in the ass years, even decades later.

Every generation has its wild years, but I believe it really became institutionalized with the Baby Boomers, who ran rampant through the 60's and (largely) would like the rest of us to forget that ever happened. From the relatively trivial use of minor drugs, to trying to murder police officers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathleen_Soliah) - one cannot escape the consequences of their decisions.

It seems that today our entire culture wants the government system to warp into a giant "fix my situation" agency, meant to redress the grievances of individuals' pasts - even if self-inflicted. Like to have multiple piercings, tattoos, and wear purple hair? Don't be shocked if the investment bank that had the awesome paying job that you were perfectly qualified for decides to balk once they meet you. If you live below sea level in some crappy tenement, perhaps you should pay EXTRA attention to hurricane warnings looming over your city? If you decide to party your high school years away, and pop out babies while you're a teen - surprise! Odds are that the REST OF YOUR LIFE WILL SUCK (and odds are good that your babies' lives will suck TOO - congratulations, you've managed to ruin more lives than just your own!). Are you poor? Odds are likely that you dropped out of school, are a drug/substance abuser, or made some other shitty life choice that you're paying for now.

I know it's very passe and old fashioned to suggest anything but the modern vogue of heedless narcissism, but there's a REASON our formerly-successful culture praised hard work, self-restraint, delayed gratification, and self-reliance: because these qualities, instilled early, are key indicators toward a LIFETIME of moderate comfort and security. No, that might not mean that you get to have all the fun you want, fucking/smoking/partying your way through your teens and twenties. But if you don't want to spend the NEXT 40 years of your life digging ditches, cleaning drains, or working the fry baskets at McDonald's, you *might* just want to take the long view, champ.

Re:Face it, life has consequences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074483)

I know it's very passe and old fashioned to suggest anything but the modern vogue of heedless narcissism, but there's a REASON our formerly-successful culture praised hard work, self-restraint, delayed gratification, and self-reliance: because these qualities, instilled early, are key indicators toward a LIFETIME of moderate comfort and security.

The best predictor of one's income potential is his parent's income. Not "hard work, self-restraint, delayed gratification, or self-reliance". You can be as heedlessly narcissistic as you want--if daddy's got it made, chances are, you will too.

Re:Face it, life has consequences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074551)

That is accurate for the uber-rich. However if you come from a modest background, your intelligence and work ethic will play a role in whether or not you climb the ladder.

Not an easy question (1)

chazzf (188092) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074359)

The standards at college newspapers are not always as stringent as those at major market newspapers. Thinking about the one at my alma mater, it did not employ an ombudsman, rarely fact-checked articles and didn't use tape recorders at interviews. I can think of three situations during my four years where it libeled a student or member of the administration. However, being a small paper with limited circulation and footprint, not much was done about it. Ditto, that matter, for an alternative weekly which accused a fairly prominent administrator of improper sexual conduct using anonymous sources (pretty weaselly actually--"rumours going around etc..."). A quick google-check shows that the Internet is perfectly unaware of any such accusations. What happens if that issue ever gets indexed online? He already got quietly forced out of his job.

A better simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074371)

Have a name like Bob Johnson or Susan Peterson.

Then go nuts!!!!!

Re:A better simple solution (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074569)

Actually, that doesn't always help. I know someone who has a very common name that is also the name of a convicted career criminal. He's had at least one boss who called him into the office after "finding out about his past." It took him a while to explain to the idiot boss that he wasn't the only person with that name.

Shifting paradigms (1)

rlseaman (1420667) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074609)

As with politics, it is the cover-up that does the real damage. That said, the real issue here is that the school papers in question are in effect republishing these articles many years later. Did it occur to them to even hold a staff meeting on the ethics of - in effect - posting billboards full of stale information about individuals no longer associated with their institution?

In the past it was easier to find information in recent newspapers than in the back issues. Now it is often easier to find information from ancient sources that have been fully archived, than from the recent volumes that may be kept wholly proprietary to paying customers.

  • The old paradigm was that information ages, that new information is worth more - and the publishers used this fact to sell physical copy. The old copies were burned or filed in the library stacks, never to be seen again.

  • The new paradigm is that information ages, that new information is worth more - and the publishers use this fact to sell electronic copy. The old copies are free - including index.

Surely the best response for fretful alumni is to put their efforts into coming up with good explanations. Society will be better off with a more nuanced attitude toward "youthful indiscretions" than having the family lawyer threaten or bribe your alma mater.

Good luck sweeping actual criminal charges under the rug. It is truly sad, however, that there are those who want to squash their own youthful opinion pieces. Wouldn't a response like "I was young. My opinions today are..." be suitable to almost any occasion?

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