Fool Disclosure: Time to be absolutely clear

Internet | Accountability
April First re-introduction: Today is my birthday, I am once again a prime-number age after what has been my longest stretch away from being in my prime, six years. (You do the math). My sister just gave me the best gift ever, a mechanical fifty-year calendar paperweight, which may outlast this operating system, if not social security. Also recently the National Review Online has had some problems understanding what content here is self-parody, so I thought I’d help out by republishing a foolish little piece I wrote on January 24th. According to my new paperweight, I spin the wheel and find out that it was a Monday.

At the last two Berkman Center conferences on online media, David Weinberger’s disclosure statement for his blog has been regularly referenced as a model of sanctimony for disclosure statements. I thought I’d try to match it. I stand by every other word.


No one pays me to write this blog, and for good reason. If you read it, you wouldn’t pay me either.

This blog is not edited. I wish I had time to edit it, but I need to sleep and to get up for work the next day. I work for a software company in Cambridge that I don’t have to name, but it involves business process software and nothing I write about, which involves open-source community software. These will stay separate markets for at least the next two years.

I don’t really have any expertise in any of the subjects I write about. Though I write about subjects that other people should know about.

Much of what I write should be taken with a grain of salt, or better yet, a whole sea of it. I have provided you with most of the links for checking out the source, in the unlikely case that I haven’t. Sometimes I will provide links to references which were available at my local library, but may not be available at yours. Authors never send me free copies of their books, which is what sends me to the library in the first place.

To repeat: I don’t know jack. I did meet Jack Shafer of Slate at Harvard, on a conference on the ethics of transparency and disclosure. We had some food on Harvard’s dime at the Faculty Club. I still owe nothing to Harvard because I went to a rival in the Ivy League that is not the lock company in New Haven. I dated a girl once who left me for Harvard. More recently I dated a Harvard girl who left me for that lock company. On one of our dates we went to my favorite restaurant in Harvard Square, Casablanca, which is convenient as it’s my favorite movie, too. Partial Disclosure: I go to Casablanca for the waters, and I stick my neck out for nobody.

I am fiercely dispassionate about politics because I know politicians. However, I did campaign for John Kerry. No I did not work for Kerry, no money exchanged hands, unless you count the money I gave them. This was truly a volunteering position, which I did in order to blog about it more. There was some sort of never-disclosure agreement I was shown during the volunteer training, but no one asked me to sign it, so I didn’t. As with my candidate, I was for the war before I was against the war. I am not sure about the $87 billion dollars though, since I can make few judgments on money larger than a dinner bill for about ten people. I did vote for Kerry and other Democrats in the highly competitive races in Brookline, Mass, because I’ve been told that I ever pulled the lever for Republicans, my right arm would fall off. Full disclosure: that’s my friend’s Alex joke, and we also got rid of voting machines here in favor of optical-scan. If I had to do it all over again, I would have blogged for Kerry and been on the take, and increased my blog’s popularity at the same time.

I am not on any advisory boards, unless you count my synagogue, where I am the secretary, and I’m supposed to do more than give advice. I have made it aware to them that I write on this blog, and I do at the peril that this will cut into the time I need to prepare the meeting notes of the Board. I occasionally mention the great things I experience by being a member of this institution, and that is both true and because we need the publicity for new membership.

For anything else, just read my blog, there are only 150 posts over the last year to pore through. Be happy that this is not Instapundit, who blogs 150 posts a week. The owner of Instapundit has also used the sea-of-salt defense by explaining that his site is not called InstaNews. I have never met the Instapundit and I don’t care to. And anything else you might want to know about me and my contacts, there is the great and all-knowing Friendster.

Actually, this is not really a blog. I have invented a whole new terminology for online media, and I am working with some really cool open source projects which envision online media “beyond blogs,” but I am not going to corrupt my disclosure statement by naming them so obliquely.

I mention the above only because the great Rabbi Hillel, in summing up his ethics, said: “If I am not for myself who will be for me?” Full Disclosure: He followed that with “But if I am only for myself, what am I?” Hillel has not worked in two thousand years so I am not giving him any business. He was only one of several famous rabbis at the time in the Holy Land, so you are free to follow the teachings of other of his contemporaries. That I call it the Holy Land may reflect some bias of mine, but I’m not going to go there, though the last time I did go there on a trip was partially paid for by what was then the UJA and is now the UJC. As for other organizations which are known by three-letter acronyms, I cannot confirm or deny whether I have any connections with them.

In short, I have nothing to disclose but disclosure itself.