Re: How nosy are you?

Subject: Re: How nosy are you?
From: Andrew Plato <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2003 12:36:54 -0700 (PDT)

John Posada wrote:
> I've noticed, in myself, more and more of a tendency to do quick scans of
> documentation on other people's desks, around printers, and even in garbage
> cans for any hints of anything going on around me that may impact my
> documentation.

> Do you find yourself doing this? Is it wrong to do this? Is it a good thing
> to do? How far do you take this? Do you let others in your company know
> you're doing this?

This reminds me of the Foundstone flap that just came out. One of the VPs of
Foundstone got caught telling his employees to spam newsgroups praising
Foundstone's products and services. On the surface, its no big deal. A lot of
companies do something like that. However, openly admitting it and encouraging
others to do presents the perception of desperation and false advertising.

This is a similar issue. Snooping around and learning the lay of the land is
something everybody does, but admitting you do it is bad. Your intentions may
be honest, but the perception is sinister.

Furthermore, openly admitting to snooping through the trash could be construed
as a security breach and get you terminated. There are reasons, sometimes, that
people on a team are not given all the details. In a secure environment,
employees should only have access to the information they NEED to do their
jobs. Technical writers should pay close attention to this concept, because
often times, the information that tech writers work with is highly
confidential. Misuse or inappropriate distribution of that information (like
posting it on TECHWR-L) can be considered a security breech.

So if snoop, do it smartly. Keep quiet and don't announce it to your
co-workers, let alone the entire Internet that you're doing it.

Andrew Plato

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