pornography on the computers

Leslie Kay lmk2 at garnet.berkeley.edu
Sat Jan 29 13:48:53 EST 1994


In article <2icfu4$7qn at mserv1.dl.ac.uk>,
Kate McCain  <MCCAINKW%DUVM.BITNET at net.bio.net> wrote:
>Karen (and other readers) -- it is not that I think it is simply an
>abuse of computers.....  I think that flashing downloaded pornographic
>(female) images when a female coworker walks by IS a serious problem and
>needs to be dealt with.  

I had this problem in a place where I worked as a programmer.  The boss
had a screen saver that was a naked woman.  I told him I was offended and
he took it away.  Admittedly not all people will respond like this, male
or female, but it is a first step, and the guy might be chagrined enough
to at least do it when you're not around.

>what is private, etc.  As an observer of computer labs and similar "public"
>institutions that try to cope with a wide range of student "activities,"
>much of it illegal or at least insensitive and piggish, it seemed to me that
>a broader, less "argumentable" decision would deal with the immediate problem
>from one perspective.

When trying to limit what one can do on a publicly owned computer, one must
be willing to live by ones own rules.  That means no newsgroups that aren't
directly related to work, no email back and forth to friends, no games for
when you're stuck and need a minute to let your mind do something else.  I
think I'd rather tell the guy his pictures offend me and try to deal with
it directly than make a rule which would avoid dealing with it directly
and would come back to bite me.  

In the same place where I worked there 
was a manager who would stand in the aisles near everyone's cubicles and
talk very loudly and at great length about all manner of personal things
to her underlings.  They didn't like it but couldn't tell her to be quiet.
The rest of us were having trouble getting work done and telling her to
keep it down (politely) didn't work.  Someone finally complained to the
boss, and instead of dealing with her directly he made a rule that no
personal conversations were allowed at work!  That meant no phonecalls home
and no quiet conversations.  Of course it didn't work because no one could
follow those rules.  The problem was never solved.  The point is that if
you try to make a rule to address a problem instead of dealing with it
directly and trying to solve it that way first you might not like what you
get and it might not work in the end.  That doesn't mean that I don't
believe in rules against sexual harassment, but if that is what is going
on here (which I'm not sure about, since he's obviously trying to avoid
anyone seeing his pix) then it must be addressed directly.

Leslie Kay
lmk2 at garnet.berkeley.edu

 Certainly the collection and display of pornographic
>pictures is an inappropriate, insensitive activity that should be stopped.
>The challenge is to find a way that does not escalate the conflict.  How much
>enegry should be spent on this, anyway?
>
>If you see yourself as engaging in vindictive conduct, for goodness sake,
>don't indulge in it.  When I have succumbed to my darker impulses it has
>almost always come back to haunt me in ways that I regretted.  I would
>favor an attitude of community improvement and general concern -- with the
>caveat that if one or another of these twirps keeps doing it then I would
>have ample evidence for stronger proceedings!  Actually, I am more disturbed
>by the apparent lying and trying to get the other student in trouble, then
>simply in the pornographic pictures.  The latter is juvenile, the former is
>at least somewhat sociopathological. Maybe I am too old after all, but my
>general inclination is to join in with these juvenile activities until the
>students feel so ridiculous that they stop -- along the lines of -- "oh,
>isn't that interesting... where do you get those pictures?... do they really
>substitute for having a real girlfriend...?   But then, I haven't been grossed
>out in years.  My husband says I must be immune.
>
>Sigh. About two weeks until the big 50.  Can I quit being an adult then?
>
>Kate McCain                      "Die Gedankexperimente sind frei!"
>College of Information Studies
>Drexel University
>
>mccainkw at duvm.ocs.drexel.edu





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