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Vulgar Comment On Newspaper Site Costs Man His Job

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the sticks-and-stones dept.

Privacy 643

DeeFresh writes "ReadWriteWeb has an article up today discussing an incident in which a school employee lost his job after leaving a comment on the website of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper. After the school employee responded to the newspaper's poll of 'the strangest thing you've ever eaten' with a feline-inspired vulgarity, Kurt Greenbaum, the site's director of social media, tracked down the commenter's identity through his IP address and reported him to school officials. When confronted, the school employee resigned from his job."

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Pussy. There, I said it. (5, Funny)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30154942)

I say everyone on /. should head over the St. Louis Post Dispatch page and post variations on the word. There must be 100 words in the English language for it, so let's get started....

Re:Pussy. There, I said it. (-1, Redundant)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155064)

Re:Pussy. There, I said it. (-1, Troll)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155178)

Why did you bother crossposting it on the FP? You're already modded up.

Re:Pussy. There, I said it. (-1, Offtopic)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155282)

Why did you bother crossposting it on the FP? You're already modded up.

Why am I modded funny? What the fuck is going on here?!

Re:Pussy. There, I said it. (4, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155202)

I agree. This isn't some Orwell-inspired conspiracy to silence freedom of expression, this is a valid objection to the use of equipment in an educational institution being used inappropriately. Yes, censorship and coalescing of power in the hands of the government/corporate complex is a huge problem faced by the general population of western nations, but lets identify the problem rather than burning down the house to kill the termites. I don't agree with the idea that social taboo as a means of behavioral regulation is a bad thing. Telling teachers to behave in a manner that highlights to children how we would like the future generation to conduct themselves is not OMG CENSORSHIP, it's the process by which tribal savages become productive farmers, who become orderly towns people who become civilized nations. Take a walk out to the streets in a large city these days, and the behavior you'll see makes the marauding Vikings look positively gentlemanly.

The outcry about this really highlights in my mind the fact that society today has decided that finding common morality is a bit too hard to bother, and apathetically defaulted to a state of total moral disintegration. It's not censorship to think that civilized people should act, well, civilized. To all of you who think that it's some kind of social repression to frown upon people who make a habbit of unashamedly expressing themselves in a vulgar and crass manner, I suggest you go see the movie Idiocracy, because it's about YOU.

Re:Pussy. There, I said it. (1, Interesting)

zerosomething (1353609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155220)

On the clock or not. This is misuse of the papers resources and authority in tracking the guy down and reporting him because Kurt Greenbaum is too much of a pussy, or maybe just doesn't like pussy, to deal with it.

Naughty words, or not. (2, Informative)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155172)

I have eaten many different animals (or at least parts of them), including rattlesnake, crocodile, alligator, iguana, turtle, and many different molluscs, arthropods, echinoids, and whatnot from sea or river. I have also eaten squirrel, bear, dog, and cat.
So, I can say I have eaten pussy, and you can interpret or misinterpret it any way you want. Oh, and woof-woof, too.

Re:Naughty words, or not. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30155382)

You eaten that much, and still haven't eaten the best of all: human flesh!

Re:Naughty words, or not. (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155478)

You're missing out...

Re:Pussy. There, I said it. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155318)

So what's the word? Catshit? Pussy?

Belgium?

Your comment was informative (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30155448)

English isn't my first language so I while I read and write it pretty decently (enough to get the point across at least) wordplays aren't that obvious to me. I first thought "Uh... So did he kill a cat and eat it or what?" until I read your comment. :D

What a (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30154944)

Pussy

Re:What a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30154964)

You are an asshole.

Re:What a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30155126)

    If you can't tell the difference between an asshole and a pussy, you need some help....

    pussy pussy pussy pussy pussy! :)

TOR (1, Informative)

mrpacmanjel (38218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30154958)

Time to start using TOR: http://www.torproject.org/ [torproject.org] .

Here kitty, kitty!

Re:TOR (3, Interesting)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155112)

Time to start using TOR: http://www.torproject.org/ [torproject.org] .

Here kitty, kitty!

Yeah, it will come handy for e-fooling around while on the clock using work assets <sarcasm>

Your personal freedoms and right to anonymity end when you use equipment that is not your own (but your company) and you are doing it while on the clock for purposes other than those tasked to you while on the clock.

At home (or out of your company's equipment) and while off the clock, certainly, protect your privacy and right of anonymity.

While on the clock and/or using your company's assets, sorry dude, you have no right to that.

Re:TOR (1)

Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155142)

You assume he was on the clock. People do have breaks, and thus, what they do on their time is their business, no matter who owns the equipment.

Re:TOR (1)

div_2n (525075) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155208)

Wrong. The Supreme Court has already ruled that anything done on company computers absolutely IS the business of the company. There is no such thing as "your business" on a work computer. Period.

If he had a personal laptop there with his own cell wireless or used a personal cell phone, no problem.

Re:TOR (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155324)

If he had a personal laptop there with his own cell wireless or used a personal cell phone, no problem.

You beat me by a few minutes, but to expand on this even if he did commit this act on his iPhone or a phone tethered to a personal laptop he still would have done it on school property during time when he is being paid by the district to do his job.

Re:TOR (2, Informative)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155234)

People do have breaks, and thus, what they do on their time is their business, no matter who owns the equipment.

Wrong.

I work for a school district in the Technology department and everything that you do on our laptops, in or out of the district, you can be held liable for. It does matter who owns the equipment because if you cause damage to a network using a laptop that belongs to us, we can be liable. Using your analogy I could plug in my thumb drive and watch Debbie Does Dallas on my lunch break on my laptop that belongs to the district, which would be a violation of the agreement I and everybody else signed when they received network credentials.

Many school districts also have you sign a bunch of legal forms claiming that you can be held liable for actions you perform outside of work and after hours. Get a DUI? You have to report it. Where I work, if you get a speeding ticket you have to report it to your manager. I agree, though, that's bullshit.

Re:TOR (1, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155422)

If I'm the principal of the school whose employee is using school assets to post sexual vulgarities on the Web, my job is in danger. I'm one flash mob away from being the lead story on the local evening news or the O'Reilly Report, and no amount of union tenure is going to save my ass, or the asses of my family whose mouths I'm charged to feed.

Once the activity became public knowledge, there is only one way this could end.

Should this Kurt guy have blown the whistle, or kept his mouth shut? Dunno. Depends on how you feel about whistle-blowers. Maybe he has kids in that school...

Re:TOR (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155366)

You don't have to get into a discussion of rights, the situation described is a tiresome overreaction regardless of any of that.

Mod parent up for common sense. (3, Interesting)

Pollux (102520) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155488)

The issue to debate here is not whether someone should lose their job over posting a vulgarity on the internet.

The issue to debate here is whether someone should lose their job over posting a vulgarity on the internet while at work.

And if anyone would RTFA, they would have noticed that he made the post twice. The first time, they just deleted it w/o a second thought, but he reposted it. Again, he did it while at work.

And, does anyone know what else was he doing on company time?

You're fired GPLDAN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30154976)

You're employer just saw this and you're fired.

Re:You're fired GPLDAN (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30155004)

He's taking over yours, since at least he can spell.

Resigned? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30154978)

If you were pressured to resign, you didn't resign. You were fired. Be honest.

first Pussy? (3, Insightful)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#30154984)

And yet Greenbaum seems to show no remorse...
Asshole.

What? (5, Insightful)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 4 years ago | (#30154988)

How bored was this guy? He worked at a newspaper and decided 'Hey, I don't like that comment, let me track down who it is, where he works, and report him?' What is this, the second grade? There are two real options, delete it as being offensive or leave it. Maybe a third option if it was a threat of some kind, which you could report to authorities. But really?

Re:What? (3, Informative)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#30154998)

RTFA

he did delete the comment and the guy from the school kept posting the same thing multiple times

Re:What? (4, Informative)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155248)

According to TFA, it happened...twice.

Mod parent up and GP down (-1, Offtopic)

csartanis (863147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155308)

nt

Re:What? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155284)

So? Delete it multiple times, and block that IP for the rest of the poll's duration. ...still anonymously.

Re:What? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30155482)

Twice.

He probably thought it didn't get through the first time.

Re:What? (1)

cabjf (710106) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155196)

It was probably part of his job to act as an admin to comments on the site. Also within that, it would be his job to block IP addresses of repeat offenders (at least temporarily to account for non-static addresses). In doing so, it's not much of a stretch that he might do some sort of look up on the address, either because he was interested in knowing where it came from or maybe to see if it might be a repeat offender.

Re:What? (3, Informative)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155302)

Not a stretch, no, but an abuse of power.

It's not a stretch that someone in the law enforcement would randomly want to run a background check on Barak Obama, but don't try it [wsbtv.com] .

Re:What? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155274)

I agree.

It was an anonymous poll.

Part of the playing field in an ANONYMOUS poll is the ANONYMOUS part.

If you see a post you don't like, you are free to delete it.

Unless you find something that makes you suspect illegal activity is taking place, tracking down the submitter of a certain poll result is absolutely unjustified.

Kurt Greenbaum, you are stupid, puritanical scum (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30154990)

Not only that, but he's a fucking hypocrite. He called this guy's employer up with the goal of having him fired, and when cornered over the issue said:

"Yeah, you caught me! I made him log on to his computer at work, visit STLtoday.com's Talk of the Day, read the item, type a vulgarity and hit the "submit" key.

Interesting perspective. Thanks for your contribution.

Oh, I didn't say he was fired. I said he resigned.

"A vulgarity"? You mean the word pussy? OMFG WHAT WOULD JESUS THINK IF HE SAW THAT WORD? Guess what? People have sex.

P.S. Forced to resign is much the same thing as being fired, especially since in this day and age he could probably have been sued for sexual harassment over such a comment, thus completely ending any future employability.

Using the word 'pussy' on school time is simply not that bad. Of course, I can't attach these comments to the article itself, because comments are disabled there now even though the story is only three days old. Perhaps that's because most of the comments go something like this:

YOU are the director of social media? tools to be leveraged to get businesses closer to their customers?

what an awful story and it's even more embarassing that you squawk about it after the fact.

Kurt Greenbaum is scum, and I will do my best to avoid their website in the future.

Re:Kurt Greenbaum, you are stupid, puritanical scu (2, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155036)

He didn't know it was an employer but probably thought that maybe some student. Still an asshole and idiotic thing to do tho.

Re:Kurt Greenbaum, you are stupid, puritanical scu (2, Informative)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155374)

He didn't know it was an employer but probably thought that maybe some student. Still an asshole and idiotic thing to do tho.

Anonymous trolling is "an asshole and idiotic thing to do". Embarrasing someone for trolling might be as well, but at that point it's just eye-for-an-eye.

Re:Kurt Greenbaum, you are stupid, puritanical scu (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155396)

He didn't know it was an employer but probably thought that maybe some student. Still an asshole and idiotic thing to do tho.

It was idiotic for the guy to do it in the first place. He should have just taken a formal reprimand and continued his job. Either he was looking for an out from that job or he had a lot more to hide and he didn't want the district digging through his access logs.

If we catch wind of a student commenting on a website with inappropriate comments, they have their permissions revoked and a call home to the parents. I don't always agree with this, but it does handle the kids who vandalize Wikipedia or troll Slashdot. Yes, I know who you are. Stop.

Re:Kurt Greenbaum, you are stupid, puritanical scu (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155460)

He made a funny comment that "the strangest thing you've ever eaten" is pussy. It was funny and we all have sex anyway, and it's not like he made the comment as a school employee. Jeez.

Re:Kurt Greenbaum, you are stupid, puritanical scu (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155502)

He made a funny comment that "the strangest thing you've ever eaten" is pussy. It was funny and we all have sex anyway, and it's not like he made the comment as a school employee. Jeez.

I agree, but I could see that maybe Kurt thought a student was doing it. If I see a comment coming from a school IP block that is inappropriate, I'd assume it was a student and I wouldn't hesitate to e-mail their IT department about it.

I'm also playing devils advocate here. The guy who was fired should have actually tried to defend himself or just take a formal reprimand instead of resigning, unless if the school forced him out. Maybe he has a history of misconduct?

As people in the comments have said, we're getting third-hand information.

Re:Kurt Greenbaum, you are stupid, puritanical scu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30155072)

"A vulgarity"? You mean the word pussy? OMFG WHAT WOULD JESUS THINK IF HE SAW THAT WORD? Guess what? People have sex.

Oh no, this is all just a misunderstanding. The gentleman simply had cat for dinner. A Japanese Bobtail to be exact.

Oh, and this is a great reason to give those pushy salesman why I don't subscribe to their yellow Post Dispatch.

Re:Kurt Greenbaum, you are stupid, puritanical scu (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155250)

Using the word 'pussy' on school time is simply not that bad. Of course, I can't attach these comments to the article itself, because comments are disabled there now even though the story is only three days old.

I wonder if 4chan will catch wind of this. Kurt just opened a whole can of worms in this case. If he really thinks that one person being inappropriate is bad, imagine every AC from /. trolling his comment section.

Puritannical? (0, Troll)

ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155314)

From TFA

In his defense, he probably thought he was simply tattle-telling on a naughty student who would learn a valuable lesson about internet anonymity and would have to sit through a week's detention or something of the like.

From the sound of things, the guy was crapflooding the site. If you're responsible for moderating a forum, and you're being crapflooded from the local .edu, then why not call the admin up and complain? Probably just some kid with too much time on his hands.

And there is nothing to suggest that he particularly cared that the word was. He was an admin, he was being crapflooded, he complained. I consider that a much better solution than, say, blocking an IP address (which might well be shared.)

  He was in no way responsible for the action that was ultimately taken.

Re:Kurt Greenbaum, you are stupid, puritanical scu (2, Funny)

xtracto (837672) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155468)

Excuse my ignorance but, isn't a pussy a small cute hairy mammal?

No place for this kind of crap in America. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30154996)

Kurt Greenbaum should be ashamed. There is no place whatsoever for that kind of behavior in America.

Somebody simply wanted to freely express himself, and Kurt interfered. Absolutely pathetic.

Re:No place for this kind of crap in America. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30155204)

Freely express yourself on your own computer - not one owned by a public institution - much less spam the same repeated vulgarity. Your right to free speech ends where protecting my business at large begins. Question? Would you allow a pedophile to spam the Disney website with vulgarity under the umbrella disguise of free speech? Good luck with your idealism. Whereas the internet was once the wild wild west, the times have long since past you gun toting spammers by with responsibility in the name of commerce. Much like a parent reprimanding their children into adulthood, this is nothing more than growing pains for some. Take your holsters elsewhere.

Re:No place for this kind of crap in America. (2, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155332)

Would you allow an anonymous poster to spam the Disney website with vulgarity under the umbrella disguise of free speech?

Fixed that for you. We don't jump to conclusions about people or their motives around here (well, I don't).

Feel free to block the person's IP, but unless illegal activities are suspected, tracking down the culprit is absolutely unjustified.

Re:No place for this kind of crap in America. (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155476)

Your right to free speech ends where protecting my business at large begins.

Your right to free speech ends (at least in the US [wikipedia.org] ) when it's no longer a public institution taking action. While the government can't censor you (though possibly could if they defined the posting as 'obscene'), no private entity is required to allow you to say what you want for any reason.

The U.S. Supreme Court has never interpreted the First Amendment as having the same power to alter private property rights, or provide any other protection against purely private action. When considering private authority figures (such as a child's parents or an employee's employer), Constitutional free speech provides no protection. A private authority figure may reserve the right to censor their subordinate's speech, or discriminate based on speech, without any legal consequences.

Re:No place for this kind of crap in America. (1)

Random Walk (252043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155458)

Au contraire.. it's probably one of the few countries where there is a place for this. In Europe, Greenbaum would now face a lawsuit because of privacy violation (I'm sysadmin in Germany, I am well aware that I would probably lose my job if I did what that Greenbaum guy has done).

Pay back (5, Interesting)

headhot (137860) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155002)

Some one should track every thing Kurt posts and report back to his boss and wife.

Re:Pay back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30155186)

Ironic Justice. I like it.

Re:Pay back (5, Funny)

csartanis (863147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155358)

Did Kurt Greenbaum rape and murder a young girl in 1990? Heh, just kidding!

Re:Pay back (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155386)

That sort of "pay back" would be just as bad as the thing that he did. Better if his employer simply reprimands him for violating the anonymity inherent in the poll he administrated.

Just because he could did not mean he was justified in doing so. The correct action would have been to delete the offensive content, then either (A) remove the anonymity, so that the anonymous user couldn't continue to post or (B) ban that IP for the rest of the poll (or permanently, it's your decision).

Punishment way out of proportion (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30155006)

So a guy loses his job and ability to pay bills and a mortgage because of a harmless blog post?

That seems pretty damn harsh. Yeah, the guy was silly for posting from a traceable work IP, but the consequences were waaay out of proportion with what was done.

Oooh, someone said "Pussy". Quick, somebody get the internet fun police! There's Immorality going on!

Kurt Greenbaum is a pussy who should be ashamed of himself. Nobody needs you being internet police man, just piss off. Pussy.

Every post he makes should have as many "Pussy" replies as possible for a week.

I see a lot of weak people here in the story... (5, Insightful)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155008)

Wow! I'd say that Greenbaum should be reprimanded for not performing his duties. I wonder where - in the St. Louis Dispatch policies - it states for employees to track down the ip address of those making offensive (but not illegal) posts and then contact the work.

OTOH, why the heck did the teacher resign at first being contacted? I wonder how much more there is to the story than we're seeing.

Lesson learned: When making anonymous posts, use either a proxy, an anonymous posting service (COTSE.NET), someone's open WiFi connection, or a friend's computer.

Re:I see a lot of weak people here in the story... (1)

wkurzius (1014229) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155326)

OTOH, why the heck did the teacher resign at first being contacted? I wonder how much more there is to the story than we're seeing.

You're probably right. He either didn't bother putting up a fight (which he probably would have won if he was a teacher because of his union) or was on his way out already.

Srsly? (-1, Offtopic)

smitty777 (1612557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155014)

Come on /. - maybe a stretch to call this news. Aren't there more pressing things going on in the world?

Re:Srsly? (0, Offtopic)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155048)

Maybe you should try the many current events news websites out there if you want more pressing stories. This is slashdot, not CNN.

He resigned (2, Insightful)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155018)

It's not fair that they tracked him down, but if he resigned then he gave up without a fight.

Re:He resigned (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155100)

'Resign, or we will make it so that you'll never get another job in education.'

Fight da man, weekend warrior Byron.

Re:He resigned (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155110)

Since all our information is 3rd hand, at best, it is rather difficult to say whether he resigned or whether he "resigned".

Some resignations are without incident; but a fair few, particularly in the immediate vicinity of unpleasant happenings, are basically firings by other means. In particular, given that teachers can often be pretty hard to fire because of union issues, it wouldn't wholly surprise me if(either because they are puritans, or because they already wanted to get rid of the guy for other reasons) admin informed him that he could either resign quietly, or resign himself to having the remainder of his tenure be one long march through hell in absolutely every legal way available to them.

Might sound harsh (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155020)

but a school employee who can't defend his free speech rights should not be working in a school in the first place...

Re:Might sound harsh (2, Insightful)

malkavian (9512) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155316)

The problem with working in education is that your right to free speech is almost non-existant.
Say something that some jumped up "think of the children" zealot doesn't like, and you end up having your right to be in the presence of "impressionable children" questioned. While they're questioning, you frequently end up not being allowed to do your job "just in case".
With the option of quietly quitting, having all the hassle, but being able to get a place elsewhere, or having your name plastered across the media (news outlets just LOVE to play with this kind of story) and never being able to work in the profession again, you know what's on the cards as soon as this comes up. It's a hard and gruelling task, to go through those inquisitions.

There's another comment still up there. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30155024)

It says, "San Diego, that's German for..."

Which, if you look online, is supposedly German for whale vagina.

I think it's a hoax, anyway.

What a pussy! (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155026)

For resigning, they would have taken that contract of out my cold dead hands! As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure I would do the same with the IP-logs from that Greenbaum. Take them from his cold dead hands... The poll was asking for it. *yay finally an internethero*

Surely informing the school runs against (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155038)

"""
We will not share individual user information with third parties unless the user has specifically approved the release of that information.
"""
    -- http://www.stltoday.com/help/privacy-policy [stltoday.com]

Re:Surely informing the school runs against (0)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155096)

Someone's IP address is not individual user information if you're simply contacting the owner. An IP address is not a name, an age or someone's home address. If it's a school network IP address you're simply reporting the use of an IP address for something and passing the responsibility for taking action onto the school.

Re:Surely informing the school runs against (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155450)

It is a piece of invisible data attached to my post. Sharing that with anyone, even the IP's owner (who isn't me), violates my privacy precisely because that data was intended to be invisible.

"I work for XX" is absolutely a piece of individual user information. "Hey, XX works for you" is as well.

Pussy, pussy, pussy (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155054)

Of course, "eating pussy" must be taken metaphorically here, otherwise it WOULD be strange to say the least. But how can anyone be "forced to resign" (which is what happened) for such a comment? Americans always mention how proud they are for the freedom of speech in the US. Well, freedom of speech my ass! You pussies!

what right does this man have? (1)

hellfish006 (1000936) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155056)

Why did he feel the need to go and report him to his employers for righting something mean about his article? The man who resigned was stupid to do that, and should have called the schools bluff. And then when the school did fire him he could take both the newspaper and the school to court. This is ridiculous. cue the THIS IS AN OUTRAGE photo

He got it coming (3, Informative)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155058)

Not that I agree with the guy losing his job, but he should have known better. Posting vulgarities while on the job and/or using work-related assets (computer, e-mail, internet connectivity), and/or when representing the company, that's a big no no. This is specially true if you work in an educational institute.

Now consider the following (bold text by me):

http://www.stltoday.com/blogzone/the-editors-desk/the-editors-desk/2009/11/post-a-vulgar-comment-while-youre-at-work-lose-your-job/all-comments/ [stltoday.com]

By mid-morning, a number of folks had commented about their experiences with Bird’s Nest Soup, octopus, cow brains and rattlesnake. Then, while I was in our 10 a.m. news meeting, someone posted in reply a single word, a vulgar expression for a part of a woman’s anatomy. It was there only a minute before a colleague deleted it.

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. About six hours later, I heard from the school’s headmaster. The school’s IT director took a shine to the challenge. Long story short: Using the time-frame of the comments, our website location and the IP addresses in the WordPress e-mail, he tracked it back to a specific computer. The headmaster confronted the employee, who resigned on the spot.

So we have an individual who was using work assets to make not one, but two vulgar posts. It kinda makes you wonder how intent was this guy in checking that web page over and over (like many slashdoters do), re-posting the vulgarity as many times as needed... not the type of activity you are supposed to be doing while on the clock (after all, they give you a paycheck for work, not because you are pretty or something.)

The school was in the right in asking the guy "what are you doing, ON THE CLOCK, with OUR COMPUTER ASSETS, posting the same profanity several times?

It is also worth noting that the school didn't fire him, but that he quit on the spot... or so says the story, but that's irrelevant anyways. The guy had it coming.

Now I can't way to see the juvenile posters making this a case of libertarian freedom of speech vs 1984'esque police control and the war on terror.

He got it coming (2, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155130)

He got it coming

Isn't that the point? Huh huh. Heh heh.

Anyway, how do we know it was a vulgarity? He could have visited Vietnam. Or Korea. Something like that.

Re:He got it coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30155134)

the word pussy is a vulgarity? lol "ew sex, no I cant go near that, its vulgar!" what is this guy 5?

Re:He got it coming (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30155146)

I agree. This would've been an injustice if he posted that from home and this happened. But, being on the clock and aggravated by the nature of his employer, he had it coming.

Re:He got it coming (5, Insightful)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155200)

Nah; I don't need to sully any of that. He resigned (we obviously do not have all of the information, because I honestly doubt that the conversation went "you said pussy twice!" and the guy went "GAH oh noes I quit! D:") because "concerned citizen" noticed that this was coming from a local school IP address. Now, this could have two variations: if it was an elementary school, it would seem strange. If it was either a middle or high school, well, it could have easily been from any student who felt like trolling.

So, Mr. concerned citizen forwarded a message along the lines of "this e-mail address from your IP address said "pussy" twice on my website". If it had been any student e-mail, that would be the end of it because the teachers just do not have student e-mail addresses on file (usually). If it had been the headmasters e-mail address, Mr. concerned citizen would have been duly ignored.

And then Mr. concerned citizen writes an article celebrating his ability to turn someone in for saying "pussy" twice. It's slightly difficult (and disturbing) to believe that Mr. concerned citizen had the local school IP address memorized to the point where a brief glance at the e-mail alert tipped him off that this was a serious issue.

It will be a delight to see if this becomes a normal thing. You know, adults posting on a not-child oriented website and being punished for using naughty words. I'm sure the teacher wasn't on a lunch break, or wasn't waiting for 1200 copies to print, or wasn't waiting for his students to finish a test, etc. Almost as atrocious as someone replying to slashdot on the clock, with their employers computer assets.

But maybe I just find the idea of being tracked to your job by a hypersensitive journalist a little off putting. Suppose he decides that he should moderate out disagreeable posts? He's well within his rights to do so, as a moderator.

I just find it ridiculous that the adults have greater difficulty coping with foul language than the kids. Seriously, it's a word. Delete it and warn him if you really feel threatened by it; you don't contact the organization it came from. How comical it would have been if he had called them instead..."Hello Mr. Rumples, I have a serious issue to address. You see, someone from within your school said pussy....twice. On the internet."

Re:He got it coming (5, Insightful)

intheshelter (906917) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155206)

"Now I can't way to see the juvenile posters making this a case of libertarian freedom of speech"

- And who can blame them after your juvenile post blathering about "being on the clock". Jeez, wake up and realize that nitpicking about being on the clock was never the point of this discussion. The point was why the hell was that asshole tracking commenters down? What kind of a dickhead reports someone for posting on the very message board that he left open for comments?

Don't want comments, shut down that functionality. If you do want comments either moderate them or just deal with a few vulgar posts. And whatever you do, don't post the question "what is the grossest thing you've ever eaten" and not be smart enough to see the comments that are coming your way.

While the posts were a bit juvenile and the guy shouldn't have done it during school hours, they aren't noteworthy enough to cost a person his job. The most juvenile act in this story was the vindictive way the guy was hunted down. Sorry, but put it in perspective and realize it's just one little word.

Re:He got it coming (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155278)

after all, they give you a paycheck for work, not because you are pretty or something.

Teachers are underpaid, and the vast majority take their work home with them, for hours of grading after school.

Not that I necessarily disagree that he shouldn't have done this, but this more a question of using company property (which is obviously a bad idea) than using company time (which cannot be surmised from his posting on the Internet.)

Re:He got it coming (4, Insightful)

SleepingWaterBear (1152169) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155310)

It is also worth noting that the school didn't fire him, but that he quit on the spot... or so says the story, but that's irrelevant anyways. The guy had it coming.

Ok, we're all agreed the guy was an idiot idiot for posting at all. But he 'had it coming?' Really? Suppose instead he'd made two posts to slashdot in that time - a clear misuse of school property - would he deserve to lose his job then? What if he'd posted and reposted a critique on some sort of scientology blog - would he deserve to lose his job then? It seems to me that the reason this guy lost his job is because he violated the ridiculous community morals of a small town, not because of anything to do with misuse of school resources.

At one point in my life I seriously considered becoming a teacher, but I realized that doing so would likely place me at the mercy of the sorts of unthinking bigoted responses we're seeing here. This attitude is at least part of the reason our public education system is failing - the work environment is so unpleasant that (with the exception of a few saints) no one with another option for a career would do it. Would you really want to work beside people who are so shocked by a couple one word internet posts that you can't work with them anymore?

Re:He got it coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30155322)

"Now I can't way to see the juvenile posters making this a case of libertarian freedom of speech vs 1984'esque police control and the war on terror."

Wouldn't take much effort (well, if the police or DHS had reported this guy to his employer it wouldn't anyhow). Sure, the guy is an idiot. But assuming that he was sitting there spamming reload so he could repost is a bit of a leap - how do you know he didn't make the first post, go back to his paperwork or w/e he was meant to be doing, then check back on the page X minutes later to repost it? Not hugely likely, given that the guy was screwing around on work time anyhow, but surely he would have had better things to do with his time than hammering F5 like a retarded monkey. Both scenarios are just as (un)likely.

Anyhow, they asked a stupid question, they got a stupid answer. Go figure. You remove it, you see it again. Oh what a fucking tragedy. Block the IP your site like any reasonable individual, or track the guy down and try to get him disciplined/fired? Come on.

FWIW, I completely disagree with his posts. Those (sadly, too few) pussies that I have been up close and personal with have been quite pretty. Horses for courses, I guess.

Now I can't way (sic) to see the juvenile conservatives making this a case of "Gays shouldn't be teaching in our children's schools".

Re:He got it coming (1)

csartanis (863147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155390)

Pussy.

Re:He got it coming (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155430)

Posting vulgarities really isn't a big no-no but it is considered unprofessional. Especially that it was an anonymous post. He was doing it when no kids were watching him do it. If left quite no one would have gotten hurt. A most he should have a warning/stern talking to. I am sorry but the children hear much worse with their own communication with each other even back in them good old days before internet.

Re:He got it coming (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155456)

You are like some kind of god damned cartoon.

Or the school did. (2, Insightful)

Alpha Soixante-Neuf (813971) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155466)

The school’s IT director took a shine to the challenge. Long story short: Using the time-frame of the comments, our website location and the IP addresses in the WordPress e-mail, he tracked it back to a specific computer. The headmaster confronted the employee, who resigned on the spot.

Why do people assume the teacher quit because he thought he'd get fired? If I had a boss come to me at the end of the day and say the IT department has spent all day stalking someone who anonymously used the word "p*ssy" as a joke about eating and now it's been discovered that I am the culprit with any kind of incriminating tone I would quit too.

"We reserve the right" (5, Insightful)

tacarat (696339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155124)

We reserve the right in our sole discretion, but do not assume any obligation, to refuse to post, remove, or edit any messages or postings sent to the Site.

We reserve the right to suspend or terminate your access to and use of this Site if, in our view, your conduct fails to meet any of our guidelines. We also reserve the right to change these terms at any time.

Well, fire Greenbaum. STLtoday.com didn't reserve the right for him to track people down and harass them through their employer, nor did he use the agreed upon remedies outlined in the terms of service. I guess even the editors don't read those things.

Re:"We reserve the right" (3, Funny)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155340)

...nor did he use the agreed upon remedies outlined in the terms of service. I guess even the editors don't read those things.

Editors : we are altering our Terms of Service.

Pray we do not alter them any further

Employee should sue under EEOC (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155136)

1. the Quit/Fired employee says that he was eating Chinese food and typing the only word for cat that he could think of at the time was pussy.
2. Get a litigator and sue both the school and the St. Louis Dispatch for discrimination. The St. Louis dispatch is obviously discriminating against Asians and people who like to eat Asian food.
3. Profit.
Great embarrassment among school administrator and paper.

Eating a pussy is cool, but eating pussy is not? (5, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155144)

Still on the site is the story of how some guy killed and ate a cat (is that even legal?), but that is ofc fine, however the guy posting an innuendo obviously went too far!

Re:Eating a pussy is cool, but eating pussy is not (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155320)

There's no law against eating felines, at least in most jurisdictions. Ironically, in some places the laws probably do prohibit cunnilingus, or at the very least, did until recently. You're only upset about it because some people keep them as pets and you are culturally conditioned. Get hungry enough, though, and you'll go looking for a furry little pussy to snack on too.

Re:Eating a pussy is cool, but eating pussy is not (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155398)

you'll go looking for a furry little pussy to snack on

I prefer shaved pussy in both contexts.

Fago8z (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30155170)

Would this journalist protect his sources? (5, Funny)

carou (88501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155232)

Clearly, the standards of journalistic integrity are going down.

Re:Would this journalist protect his sources? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30155276)

I see what you did there, you cunning linguist.

So Freaking What! (2, Informative)

realsilly (186931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155236)

I'm so sick to death on hearing/reading/learning of people who post something on the internet and lose their job over it. Regardless of whether the post was fictional or real, the man was not posting anything about the school he worked for. He kept the language to not use profanity, and whether someone reads it as 'pussy' or 'cat' doesn't freaking matter. There is no excuse for our society today for making people lose their jobs because of their personal life. A job is what the average person works for 8 hours a day usually away from home.

I don't have to read the comments. The guy posted with an anonymous name. I call Shenanigans.

Conversely, here is my message to the world. If you're going to post on the web with all the knowledge we have today about how it is used against us, then you subject yourself to scrutiny, right or wrong, you do.

Pussy is no more vulgar than teabagger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30155268)

And yet that cunt Kurt Greenbaum has no problem using that in his dross reportage.

Comment On Newspaper Site Costs Man His Job (1)

cmcmark76 (1648681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155312)

So, now that he is out of a job, perhaps he has need of the following hints on how to get a new job: http://www.helium.com/items/1556072-job-loss [helium.com] Another starving writer experiment post! Thanks!

pussyy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30155400)

pussy...

oh wait, I don't have a job

Blame not Kurt, but the schools headmaster? (1)

this1guy (1638697) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155434)

As far as I understand Kurts blog posting, he didn't threaten the school, but merely informed them of the repeated breaches of the sites policies by one of their IP addresses (which is the usual policy, I guess). It's not clear how the confrontation between the "offender" and the headmaster went - perhaps he was just looking for a reason to quit? Perhaps the headmaster put a lot of pressure on him? I cannot tell from the posting. But all in all I think Mr. Greenbaum is the least to blame in this constellation.

He ate a cat!? (1)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 4 years ago | (#30155464)

That's disgusting.

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