Right of reply

Right of reply

From time to time, I have been known to be critical of companies, products, policies, publications, and even people (although I do try to “play the ball, not the man”). If somebody objects to what I write here, what can they do about it? They have several possible options.

  1. Post a comment in direct response to the allegedly objectionable post.
  2. Contact me by email to point out any inaccuracies or any other perceived unfairness in my post. If I consider the objections valid, I will amend the post and/or apologise as appropriate. If I disagree, I will explain my position. Such correspondence will remain private if requested.
  3. Contact me by email, requesting equal-exposure right of reply. If I consider such a request reasonable under the circumstances, even if I disagree with the objection, then I will either append the reply to the post in question, or create a new post containing the requested reply, verbatim and in full.
  4. Those with their own blogs, sites, newsletters or other media can of course use those to reply. Those without such facilities can raise objections using media controlled by others, such as discussion groups and other online forums.

None of the above options apply to obvious trolls and other spammers; they have no rights at all here.

I guess it’s also possible to threaten legal action, without first trying any of the above. That hasn’t happened to me yet, but if it does, it promises to be quite entertaining. I take an extremely dim view of those who use legal threats to suppress free speech and other legitimate activity. The gloves will be off. Any such threats will be deemed “correspondence for publication”, to be reproduced in full, with commentary (probably laced with heavy sarcasm).


  1. ralphg

    It appears to becoming standard practice that all correspondence relating to law suits are printed publicly. This is partly a reaction against the “can’t talk against it, it’s in front of the courts” hedge.

  2. From time to time… ~snicker~

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Steve Johnson dart boards at the Desk.

    From out here the bidirectional love/hate relationship between you can be pretty entertaining. But you do seem to be getting harsher the last few years, and it’s interesting to note that in that time your focus has changed. The “Bug Watch” years were a lot more light-hearted, while nowadays you write with more grump about business practices & decisions.

    Just kidding about the dart boards, tho…

    The urinals, on the other hand… 😉

  3. Earl, I’ve actually settled down a bit in my old age. Those who were around back in the CompuServe ACAD forum days will probably remember me as very critical indeed of Autodesk business practices & decisions, and that was in an era when Autodesk was less anti-customer than it is has been lately.

    Bug Watch wasn’t really a forum for making those kind of criticisms, although I did stretch it in that direction once or twice when those things needed to be said. I made a deliberate effort to not only be completely objective about what I wrote in Bug Watch, but also to balance out the inherently negative nature of a column that is based on stuff that doesn’t work properly. I did this by praising and defending Autodesk when it was deserved, which it was on many occasions. There were still those who struggled with the idea that there could ever be anything negative written about Autodesk, but hey, you can’t please everybody.

    Funny you should mention urinals in this context. Back in the dark ages, I once remarked that being an Autodesk customer was like being a fly on a urinal. Sooner or later, you’re going to get pissed off.

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