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I have got a blog where I write, among other things, about politics. It is a very strongly opinionated blog where some content could be mis-interpreted as being racist or things like that.

I'm afraid my colleagues or boss might google my name, find out my opinions and cause me trouble at my workplace. Maybe it is better to remove my blog, but on the other hand I do not want to remove the only space where I have some freedom to express myself.

How can I insulate myself from reaction of management and HR with regards to my political blog?

P.S. I'm not involved in any political party (I've never voted) or any organization, I just write bluntly what I think about.

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    Can you share if your blog has a decent sized readership? Does it have a moderated/unmoderated comments section? Does it get linked to elsewhere? That would help with understanding the scope and effort you will have to exert to insulate yourself as the owner/facilitator of potentially inflammatory content. – dfundako Jul 31 '18 at 17:46
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    A country tag might be helpful. – Carsten S Aug 1 '18 at 14:37
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    Can you clarify how unique your name is? I mean, if your name is David Smith, you're probably fine. If it's Quintilius Featherstonhaugh-Cholmondeleyson, then I'd say you've got a problem. – Dawood says reinstate Monica Aug 1 '18 at 20:59
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    @CarstenS the OP has in their profile the location of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Politics in that country (which I share) are by nature controversial unfortunately. – CalvT Aug 2 '18 at 17:06
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    Can you work on rewording your blog to eliminate ambiguity? – Carl Witthoft Aug 3 '18 at 14:22
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Unless you are willing to make a political blog your fulltime job, take it down or publish under a pseudonym.

At this point in history, we are seeing entire careers ended for things as tame as an intemperate or ironic joke, or an insult. Case in point An intemperate joke

Just type in "lost job after post" in your favorite search engine and find plenty of reasons why you should lie low.

So be careful. While you may not run into consequences from government for exercising your free speech, there are other things that can happen, including twitter mobs, gang-stalking and worse. (Thanks to Keeta for mentioning this)

The only way to completely protect yourself is to take it down.

Other ways are to keep politics out of it, post under another name (as above) or to make the tone extremely bland.

Otherwise, you are out of luck

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Masked Man Aug 1 '18 at 4:34
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    There's also the chat-room for this discussion. It would be great to continue there. – user44108 Aug 1 '18 at 11:42
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    The controversial post notice on the question also applies to answers. There's already a chat room created for this answer, please take the discussion there. Remember the Be Nice policy applies inside the chat room too. – Masked Man Aug 1 '18 at 14:23
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It is a very strong opinionated blog where some content could be mis-interpreted as being racism or things like that.

Emphasis mine. If you can already see it being interpreted as something offensive, you should remove it. I'm all for having different opinions but if you can already tell it will offend someone then why would you risk keeping it up? There is a chance that nobody will ever find it but why take the risk at all?

As of writing I don't know where you are located so I don't know about certain laws but some places are more strict about (even perceived) hate speech. Britain has some anti hate speech laws while some states in the US can fire you at will for no reason (or for differing political beliefs possibly). Research the laws in your area to see if your job is in danger if this blog is found.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Masked Man Aug 3 '18 at 3:46
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I've seen and heard numerous times advice along the lines of "Don't post anything to the internet you wouldn't want your grandmother to see". I'd extend that to your boss and your future employer.

It's up to you what you want to post and we can't tell you where to draw the line, but that is the perspective you should consider before posting. You can't control how other people are going to react to what you write, as long as you are prepared to deal with their reaction, write what you want.

It's worth noting that it is becoming more prevalent for HR and/or hiring managers to do a quick Google search on potential employees, so I would assume that your writing will be seen.

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When you post something on the Internet under your real name, you always risk that it will be used against you in a different context. Remember that "freedom of speech" only protects you from government persecution. It does not protect you from people judging you. It can even be dangerous. There are crazy fanatics on all edges of the political spectrum who harass and threaten people they disagree with.

So do not post anything with your real name when you are not willing to stand by it.

If you don't want your internet activity to be linked to your professional or private identity, publish under a pseudonym. Also make sure you don't inadvertendly leak too many personal details which can be used to identify you if linked together.

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    And companies will fire you, because people will attack "John Doe, who works at SOMEBIGCORP", implying that SOMEBIGCORP shares Doe's opinions. – RonJohn Aug 2 '18 at 9:21
  • @RonJohn or simply because someone making that link causes sabotage against the company's property, mobs assaulting their staff at home, and worse, whether it's true or not. – jwenting Aug 2 '18 at 11:22
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Most companies are worried about being associated with you. Maintain a separate profile for work and personal.

As with anything in life, you play a gamble by maintaining controversial topics. It's not unheard of for someone to be let go of once a news story gets out. So you are gambling by a little.

But I think your best bet is to maintain separate profiles and don't share in between those spaces to avoid any association with the company. It's best to remove any link now if you have any doubts.

(It's an old saying that you should never discuss sex, politics, or religion with anyone you don't want to start an argument with.)

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    Yes, I do not mention my blog on the CV, but googling my name leads to it easily. – J. Doe Jul 31 '18 at 16:32
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    @J.Doe Then yes, that is a link. If you can google search your name and find where you work and the blog, then that is considered crossing over from your personal and work personas and should be disassociated asap. – Dan Jul 31 '18 at 16:35
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Do not just remove your blog. That will make people look for cached copies.

Remove your blog, but also make sure that the pages are no longer indexable by Google or by the way back machine. Modify the robots.txt file or the sitemap.xml to do do this.

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    As long as you do it before a public scandal it will just fade out over time. Cached copies are a problem when you need to quickly delete something, but when you remove it before anything happened people will probably not search for you in caches. – allo Aug 1 '18 at 9:47
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    Don't forget copies at the Wayback Machine! – RonJohn Aug 2 '18 at 9:21
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    @RonJohn, Mark something unindexable with the robots.txt and even the Way back machine will remove from public view all the previous versions it already recorded. – Stephan Branczyk Aug 3 '18 at 8:44
  • One more hint: to make it even more so, overwrite the pages (if they are static pages) with garbage ("lorem ipsum..."); this way it should not only kill the old stuff, but also actively overwrites it. Doesn't help against the waybackmachine, of course. – AnoE Aug 3 '18 at 13:01
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Let's go step by step. You presumably want to keep your blog up and avoid having it connected with you as an employee. Right now, someone will take your opinions as racist and write to your company about it; alternatively, someone will Google your name and figure you're not worth keeping around.

I don't advise just taking your blog down. That would leave caches and archives that might come up. It's safer to replace it with something that can't easily be traced to you.

Pick a pseudonym that isn't easy to associate with you. (D. Joe is right out.) From now on, that's your blog identity. Go through your entire blog, and change your name everywhere. Make sure no trace of J. Doe remains.

Consider doing a cosmetic makeover at the same time. On the one hand, it won't look like you're just changing to a pseudonym. On the other hand, if someone has been taking time to become angry, and the blog's changed, that person is likely to notice the cosmetic change while possibly missing the pseudonym change, and you don't want that person digging through archives.

If you're using a custom domain name (like JDoe.org), changing it is going to be more of a pain, but you can do it. Your registrar may offer a way to keep the administrative contact private. Take it.

If the blog URL contains part of your name in it, things get more difficult. You need to move the blog to a safer URL. You've probably got readers by now, so see if you can put in redirects to the new URL, warning your readers that the redirects will go away. (As long as you've got the redirects on a URL findable by your name, you have a pointer from you to the blog.) Eventually, replace the redirects with innocuous content, possibly a statement that the blog has been removed. That will eventually hit the caches and archive.

At that point, starting with your name and going to your blog is going to be difficult. You can't get the old pages out of archives, so don't worry about them, and that's the only link. Someone coming across your blog will be offended, but won't know where to go from there (unless they decide to search archives, which you can't stop).

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The blog is already cached so the damage, if any, is done.

I write a blog too and have similar issues. Not only is a contrary opinion a problem, but also I blog about things that are "irrelevant" to my job. For example, I have written articles for economics magazines. This is completely irrelevant to my work as a software engineer, so someone I do business with might think, "Is this guy wasting his time on economics instead of writing my software?" I also write about gaming which is even worse.

I think the pseudonym thing only carries you so far. At some point you need to define your identity and who you are. In the end that is more important than getting along with the loser who owns the company you work for and their HR flacks. If you go through life worrying about the liberal crazies in the HR department, it does not benefit you.

Stand up and be proud of who you are.

Gravitate to those who appreciate you and your ideas.

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    the irony of this answer being posted under a pseudonym is pretty strong. – Kate Gregory Aug 1 '18 at 14:54
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    -1, worrying about (and attempting to somewhat manage) what your boss & HR thinks of you will bring provably tangible benefits of not being fired, regardless of whether you think they are losers or not. If you want the job, don't give them ammo to deprive you of it. If you don't, find one you do. All in all, terrible career advice. – nurgle Aug 1 '18 at 15:48
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    @nurgle A career is more than job. Working at a position where you are hiding secrets about yourself from your co-workers and employer to avoid being fired is not a positive career direction. A person should define who they are and find a path in life that is consistent with that identity. – Socrates Aug 1 '18 at 16:03
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    Have you ever heard about a novel concept of 8 hours work and spare time? – Rui F Ribeiro Aug 1 '18 at 19:53
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    @RuiFRibeiro I am not suggesting that the OP inject his politics into his workplace. I am just telling him that trying to hide his blog or keep secrets from his employer is not the best path to take in life. – Socrates Aug 2 '18 at 16:23
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It seems I must provide a non-opinionated answer.

  1. Free speech is a human right, write whatever you want on your blog.
  2. Employers pay for your work hours and have absolutely no say what you do outside those hours.

If your speech is so free it violates the blog site EULA, you try another one, or self-publish. By no means feel pressured by anyone here to "take down" anything.

If you break the law outside work hours and your employer learns of it, he may employ another, barring rights negotiated by union or insurance policy. That's what you risk, and if so you get another job. (Cue Scott Adams panel about how important your job is.)

I do think those two last restrictions of your freedom are sensible, but they are the only restrictions you should care about. And at some points in history, even those can and should be disregarded, if the motivation is the progress and welfare of the majority or a suffering minority.

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