08 April 2005

XML CEOs: Please promulgate your corporate policies in re corporate blogging misconduct

Ref If a blogging platform prohibits blogging abuse, then the employees in an XML Corporation should demonstrate that their employees meet the standards which apply to any other blogger.

I'd like to see the XML CEOs either get together, or have an informal online discussion among themselves to inter alia:

  • Review ways to demonstrate that XML Platforms' corporate bloggers will as a minimum meet the standards applied to any blogger;

  • Outline specific standards of conduct that their employees should meet;

  • Suppot a neutral forum for the public-bloggers to discuss particular blogging practices alleged to have occurred by specific corporate bloggers; and

  • Ensure meaningful, graduated sanctions apply to employees who engage in online flaming, comment-spam, or other conduct that brings discredit not only upon the corporation, XML platform, but also the blogger themselves and the online blogging community.

    Generally, employee standards of conduct are incorporated by reference in employment contracts. Those firms that publicly assert they are against spam need to show by example that their employees meet that standard; are not engaged in conduct that would contribute to the spam problem; and that the XML CEOs are not expending effort on problems that their own employees are contributing.

    It makes no sense to celebrate the new tools which can combat online spam and abuse, all the while the employees are contributing to the problem.

    At this point, I have a sour taste in my mouth. I have heard many corporate CEOs talk about the spam summit, issuing public statements saying they oppose spam, and their employees also issuing statements in their own blogs that they sympathize with bloggers who are suffering.

    Yet, I find it outrageous that while all this effort is expended to combat a problem, that despite the bugles and sirens leading the public to rally around a solution, there's an element within the corporate blogging community that thinks the rules don't apply to them.

  • What is giving employees in XML platforms the green light that it is OK for them to commit online abuse, flame bloggers, and spam comments in blogs?

  • What sanctions should be imposed on corporate bloggers when they spam blog comments?

  • What tools should be created to identify these corporate blog spammers?

    There is also something called the peering system. XML platforms that want to exchange information with other platforms can contract for peering relationships.

    These peer contracts involve prohibitions against abuse and misconduct. Yet, peers also have the discretion to not impose sanctions for violations of the peering terms.

  • Can some peers become so important for content that no amount of employee misconduct would shut down a peer?

  • Should corporate bloggers who have access to the peering system be held to a different standard of conduct?

  • If a corporate blogger who regularly posts and establishes peering relationships for an XML platform engages in misconduct, spamming, or blogging abuse, should there be higher sanctions on that employee?

  • Should peering agreements specifically address the problem of corporate blogging abuse?

  • Should peering agreements be terminated if an XML platform has an employee that uses a public blog to spam, abuse, stalk or otherwise annoy other bloggers?

    In the online world, people can say what they want. Often times, corporate officers do not want the absolute truth to come out. Yet, bloggers can sometimes figure things out.

    Indeed, sometimes bloggers can discover things that the CEOs would not want the corporate board to discover because the CEO has not developed a credible plan, is not aware of the problem, or hopes to delay the release of the information until after a critical budgeting decision is made.

  • Can CEOs be held liable for fraud for knowingly engaging in actions that would dissuade release, knowledge, and communication of problems related to performance?

  • Is it material that an XML platform cannot perform as advertised?

  • Should corporate boards be given the power to by pass officers when the bloggers are giving information that otherwise contradicts what has been presented to funding presentations and road shows?

  • What sanctions should be imposed on XML CEOs when they engage in a course of conduct, or encourage their employees to spam, silence, or otherwise harass bloggers who are discussing issues related to product defects or missed schedule milestones?

  • Should an XML platforms' performance relative to schedule milestones always be included in compensation packages?

  • Should compensation or other consideration be returned if it is discovered that XML CEOs have engaged in a course of conduct that would directly or indirectly cause corporate bloggres to harass, annoy, or spam public blogs with the hopes of dissuading public discussion of material issues related to platform performance?

  • If an XML Platform has failed to meet contractual milestone objectives and fails to perform despite rigorous testing, should the contract awards issued to the "independent testers" be revisited?

    Materiality relates to information that is important for a decision. The current statutes give wide latitude protecting business leaders. This is called the business decision rule.

    However, not all decisions are well informed. Rather, some are deliberately reckless and knowingly made despite known problems. Sometimes, important information needed by the corporate board, outside investors and the public proves wanting.

    At worst, business people may engage in actions that actively dissuades analysts, the public, media or outside parties from commenting on public issues. Prior restraint is not lawful. But there are many ways to silence critics, even when they are correct.

  • What provisions should be made to ensure that corporate bloggers are not engaged in an effort to dissuade public discussion of issues which the XML CEO does not want outside investors, potential buyers, clients, or the corporate board to learn?

  • Should corporate bloggers [who are engaged in an effort to shut down public discussion of material information related to an XML platform performance] be subject to discipline under the 1933 and 1934 Securities Acts for committing fraud on the market?

    Corporate officers have little credibility when they fail to know their platform. They also lose credibility when their employees engage in spamming.

    It is very suspicious when employees working on XML platforms engage in spamming, blog abuse, or other actions at odds with the clear goals of a spam summit.

    It is noteworthy that blog spam occurs at the same time the XML CEOs meet to discuss tools to combat the very conduct their employees continue to engage.

    It is of interest when blog spam occurs at the very time that problems are surfacing that should have been discovered; and this adverse and arguably material information is surfacing at the same time that important funding, acquisition, and contract decision are issued.

  • Do the current Sarbanes-Oxley rules and Private Securities Litigation Reform Act [in re forward looking statements] adequately cover the issue of corporate bloggers who are engaged in spamming, abuse, and harassment with the hopes of shutting down debates, discussion, or public knowledge of material issues?

  • Do the securities laws need to be revisited in re corporate blogging; or will only time tell in caselaw how the existing statutes will apply to corporate bloggers who engage in misconduct, abuse, or harassment?
  • Ref If a blogging platform prohibits blogging abuse, then the employees in an XML Corporation should demonstrate that their employees meet the standards which apply to any other blogger.

    I'd like to see the XML CEOs either get together, or have an informal online discussion among themselves to inter alia:

  • Review ways to demonstrate that XML Platforms' corporate bloggers will as a minimum meet the standards applied to any blogger;

  • Outline specific standards of conduct that their employees should meet;

  • Suppot a neutral forum for the public-bloggers to discuss particular blogging practices alleged to have occurred by specific corporate bloggers; and

  • Ensure meaningful, graduated sanctions apply to employees who engage in online flaming, comment-spam, or other conduct that brings discredit not only upon the corporation, XML platform, but also the blogger themselves and the online blogging community.

    Generally, employee standards of conduct are incorporated by reference in employment contracts. Those firms that publicly assert they are against spam need to show by example that their employees meet that standard; are not engaged in conduct that would contribute to the spam problem; and that the XML CEOs are not expending effort on problems that their own employees are contributing.

    It makes no sense to celebrate the new tools which can combat online spam and abuse, all the while the employees are contributing to the problem.

    At this point, I have a sour taste in my mouth. I have heard many corporate CEOs talk about the spam summit, issuing public statements saying they oppose spam, and their employees also issuing statements in their own blogs that they sympathize with bloggers who are suffering.

    Yet, I find it outrageous that while all this effort is expended to combat a problem, that despite the bugles and sirens leading the public to rally around a solution, there's an element within the corporate blogging community that thinks the rules don't apply to them.

  • What is giving employees in XML platforms the green light that it is OK for them to commit online abuse, flame bloggers, and spam comments in blogs?

  • What sanctions should be imposed on corporate bloggers when they spam blog comments?

  • What tools should be created to identify these corporate blog spammers?

    There is also something called the peering system. XML platforms that want to exchange information with other platforms can contract for peering relationships.

    These peer contracts involve prohibitions against abuse and misconduct. Yet, peers also have the discretion to not impose sanctions for violations of the peering terms.

  • Can some peers become so important for content that no amount of employee misconduct would shut down a peer?

  • Should corporate bloggers who have access to the peering system be held to a different standard of conduct?

  • If a corporate blogger who regularly posts and establishes peering relationships for an XML platform engages in misconduct, spamming, or blogging abuse, should there be higher sanctions on that employee?

  • Should peering agreements specifically address the problem of corporate blogging abuse?

  • Should peering agreements be terminated if an XML platform has an employee that uses a public blog to spam, abuse, stalk or otherwise annoy other bloggers?

    In the online world, people can say what they want. Often times, corporate officers do not want the absolute truth to come out. Yet, bloggers can sometimes figure things out.

    Indeed, sometimes bloggers can discover things that the CEOs would not want the corporate board to discover because the CEO has not developed a credible plan, is not aware of the problem, or hopes to delay the release of the information until after a critical budgeting decision is made.

  • Can CEOs be held liable for fraud for knowingly engaging in actions that would dissuade release, knowledge, and communication of problems related to performance?

  • Is it material that an XML platform cannot perform as advertised?

  • Should corporate boards be given the power to by pass officers when the bloggers are giving information that otherwise contradicts what has been presented to funding presentations and road shows?

  • What sanctions should be imposed on XML CEOs when they engage in a course of conduct, or encourage their employees to spam, silence, or otherwise harass bloggers who are discussing issues related to product defects or missed schedule milestones?

  • Should an XML platforms' performance relative to schedule milestones always be included in compensation packages?

  • Should compensation or other consideration be returned if it is discovered that XML CEOs have engaged in a course of conduct that would directly or indirectly cause corporate bloggres to harass, annoy, or spam public blogs with the hopes of dissuading public discussion of material issues related to platform performance?

  • If an XML Platform has failed to meet contractual milestone objectives and fails to perform despite rigorous testing, should the contract awards issued to the "independent testers" be revisited?

    Materiality relates to information that is important for a decision. The current statutes give wide latitude protecting business leaders. This is called the business decision rule.

    However, not all decisions are well informed. Rather, some are deliberately reckless and knowingly made despite known problems. Sometimes, important information needed by the corporate board, outside investors and the public proves wanting.

    At worst, business people may engage in actions that actively dissuades analysts, the public, media or outside parties from commenting on public issues. Prior restraint is not lawful. But there are many ways to silence critics, even when they are correct.

  • What provisions should be made to ensure that corporate bloggers are not engaged in an effort to dissuade public discussion of issues which the XML CEO does not want outside investors, potential buyers, clients, or the corporate board to learn?

  • Should corporate bloggers [who are engaged in an effort to shut down public discussion of material information related to an XML platform performance] be subject to discipline under the 1933 and 1934 Securities Acts for committing fraud on the market?

    Corporate officers have little credibility when they fail to know their platform. They also lose credibility when their employees engage in spamming.

    It is very suspicious when employees working on XML platforms engage in spamming, blog abuse, or other actions at odds with the clear goals of a spam summit.

    It is noteworthy that blog spam occurs at the same time the XML CEOs meet to discuss tools to combat the very conduct their employees continue to engage.

    It is of interest when blog spam occurs at the very time that problems are surfacing that should have been discovered; and this adverse and arguably material information is surfacing at the same time that important funding, acquisition, and contract decision are issued.

  • Do the current Sarbanes-Oxley rules and Private Securities Litigation Reform Act [in re forward looking statements] adequately cover the issue of corporate bloggers who are engaged in spamming, abuse, and harassment with the hopes of shutting down debates, discussion, or public knowledge of material issues?

  • Do the securities laws need to be revisited in re corporate blogging; or will only time tell in caselaw how the existing statutes will apply to corporate bloggers who engage in misconduct, abuse, or harassment?
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