I think Joe Brockmeier and I tend to have a lot in common on the subject of comporting oneself, as his recent ZDNet blog entry shows. In that entry, Joe looks at this subject from the practical point of view: How will an employer view your flamefests? But the larger question is not just about the employer’s ability to see the talent behind the sharp tongue — it’s about how that job interview reflects the general acceptance level for specific behaviors. I recently wrote this as part of a note to a small group, asking for some moderation in their tone, to curb harsh and unproductive flaming. Notice the similarities:
I firmly believe that when people disagree, we can do it with civility and courtesy. Interaction by computer isn’t an excuse to act in ways that, if we did them face to face, would shame us or those who know us. The Internet has a vast and unforgiving memory — when we act out badly, the results take on an extended shelf life.