Considering content

This is my personal social media account which contains my views, not those of my employer. I do post and comment on aspects of my work as a scientist and teacher, which may have their origin in aspects of my employment.  I am required by my employer to “Ensure that content could not be considered derogatory, offensive, sexually explicit, defamatory, harassing or bullying towards others or discriminatory on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation or any other irrelevant factor. ”

While I would hope that all my posts would never contain content anywhere near that description, there are aspects to the requirements that are subjective (specifically the terms ‘ considered..’ and ‘..any other..’). My reflection on the terminology is that it is, to some extent, understandable, since defining everything that ‘is offensive’ would make a long list (which would probably change as soon as it was completed!).

I consider it the case that over the last few years the views and opinions being discussed in the wider community are becoming more polarised, but I also believe it is important to challenge some of those views (even in a little known blog like this one!). Therefore my blog posts should be considered with the following in mind:

  1. Commenting (either negatively or positively) about an opinion expressed by an individual, organisation or group should not be taken as a comment on any other opinions or viewpoints those parties may hold or express.
  2. Linking to other webpages should not be taken as an indication of my approval of the opinions or viewpoints held or expressed by the creators of that content.
  3. Opinions and content are my own and are posted without the consent or review of my employers and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employers or colleagues.
  4. I do not review, or give opinions on, individuals or groups. However, I consider that reviewing and discussing the material, concepts and ideas presented by individuals or groups in a public space is relevant to social media, especially where data, scientific publications, rationality, subjective viewpoint or opinion would provide a counterargument. This may include discussing well sourced information that some groups or individuals may find argues against their viewpoint.
  5. Where a counterargument is given it should not be considered as offensive, but as an alternative viewpoint: the validity of which should be judged on it’s merits (or lack of them) by the reader.

It would thrill me if I thought that the posts in this blog had informed readers and help them to think around the subjects I’ve discussed. It would distress me to think I had offended my readers. My concern is that we are in a period of our history where these two, at times, may overlap.