Tuesday, July 08, 2003

A bad sign for the Sydney Morning Herald

Tim Blair relays an interesting little tidbit
Incidentally, the free speech advocates at the Sydney Morning Herald who are so furious at the Ken Park ban might ask their management why this site is blocked at their workplace. Do I have to show up at Balmain Town Hall and read to the poor journalists?
It strikes me that blocking Tim’s site is a symptom of some seriously dysfunctional management at the Sydney Morning Herald. After all, I can read both the SMH and Tim Blair here in the American Midwest and I don’t even have a solid understanding of domestic Australian politics.

This sparked a memory for me of my misbegotten youth working at dot-coms (what can I say – I am gen X). In my experience sites being blocked it is a symptom of fear by the people in power. It never failed that before a company would release bad information the network would be blocked against sites such as FuckedCompany. This actually served as an excellent canary in our digital coalmine. At a friends company they always knew when layoffs were coming because access to job search sites was blocked. Evidently the company had a bit of a dog in manger attitude – they wanted to lay people off but not have anyone get a different job.

I never understood this – does the management think that the internet was only accessible from our desks? In many ways their blocking a site made it forbidden fruit – twice as sweet. The end result was that the employees knew a blocked site meant that the management was afraid of it – and it must be a must read for any employee. I hope that the employees of the SMH learn that lesson and start to read Tim Blair regularly from home. They might start to realize that their management has been blocking Tim out of fear – because he is right!


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