Tim Bray starts with
Let's assume that you're reasonably competent, reasonably coherent, and reasonably mature. Cynicism aside, a substantial majority of the people in the workplace qualify ...
and gives ten reasons why blogging is a good idea.
Sam points out that it’s not always a good idea, but gives an example of how, even when it isn’t, people can cope …
One of the things Tim recommends is some sort of policy. Given that I want my community to get into this, and given that the dividing line between professional blogging and personal blogging is non existent, we may have to think carefully about how blogging fits into the Janet acceptable use rules. While blogging ought not to fall foul of
the creation or transmission of material which is designed or likely to cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety;
one could imagine that some might argue that the minutae which can appear on personal blogs might have a problem with
deliberate activities with any of the following characteristics: wasting staff effort or networked resources, including time on end systems accessible via JANET and the effort of staff involved in the support of those systems ...
I note that the Imperial College information systems policy has this too:
Whilst the Defamation Act 1996 appeared to significantly limit the liability of universities and colleges acting as ISPs for the publication of potentially libellous statements by staff and students on their websites, a recent court case makes it clear that such institutions are obliged to take some steps to monitor information content in order to get that liability protection for such acts, and that, once they are apprised of third party defamatory content on their servers, they must take all reasonable steps to remove or deny access to it. Failure to do so will, under the current law, open them to liability.
All this means that before we roll out blogging as a service for NCAS (which we are considering), we’ll need some sort of clear guidance (i.e. a policy), and some mechanism of ensuring that we can shut down anything defamatory. While shutting down wont be a problem, monitoring it in a meaningful manner might be.
(The only sad thing here is that I might be the person who has to write the policy …)