Re: ethics, morals in documentation?

Subject: Re: ethics, morals in documentation?
From: "MMdeaton" <mmdeaton -at- mmdeaton -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 5 Apr 2001 11:29:29 -0700

Regarding Anon's discomfort with his company's plans to provide code to a
pornography site:

Our personal opinion about someone's business operation, assuming the
operation is legal, does not change the fact that the consitution guarantees
free speech, even to those with whom the majority of people may disgree and
whose publications or speeches one finds offensive. Anon's management has
obviously decided to benefit from the porn company's need for code, although
they do not want to be publicly associated with their own actions.

For me, the issue would be not whether some porn company is going to use my
employer's code, but whether I want to work for an employer who seems to be
a bit hypocritcal. Does this action by my employer instill confidence in me?
Does it cause any doubts about what other behaviors I dislike or disagree
with they might engage in?

I would not work at a company that supplies products to a porn company on a
direct or custom basis. I would not be comfortable in an environment where
the ownership felt this was a business they wanted to support.

If I work at a company that sells a software product on the open market
that some porn company might buy off the shelf, I do not hold the ownership
responsible for who buys the software and what they do with it. If I did, I
would never have been able to work for Microsoft!

Lastly, this probably is an ethical dilemna, but I think to characterize it
as a "moral" issue makes some global, and therefore false, assumptions about
what is moral that doubtless would not hold up in all cultures and amongst
all religious philosophies.

Anon needs to follow their own ethical standards and do what is right for

Mary Deaton
(206) 323-0701
Fax: (413)254-4116
News and Opinion at Communicating Technically:


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