Will your blog comments come back to haunt you?

Here’s an interesting email, from someone I know a little (he is a graduate student here at Berkeley) who has commented on my blog in the past with some fairly anodyne political views:

I am going on the academic job market this year and some people have told me that it is unwise to have your name on the web with political comments linked to it, right or left. I have changed my blog to just have my intials, […], so I can keep writing, but I am wondering if you could do the same [on comments].

This gives rise to two thoughts in my mind.

First, I am not very comfortable about re-writing the past in this way. For a start it is futile, as search engines keep archives, and you can get back-copies of this website (going way back) at www.archive.org. But even (perhaps especially) if it were not pointless, it feels like trying to censor history.

Second, can it really be the case that employers are less likely to employ someone who has expressed balanced and reasonable political opinions? Frankly, I don’t think I’d want to work for an employer that was expecting someone who does not have opinions about the world we live in, and is not willing to express them.

Anyway, I changed his comments. But I don’t think it will do any good.

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