The Editrix has a moral dilemma, and calls upon her Gentle Readers for assistance


The Cluebat of Janeite Righteousness

So we heard from the Young Person whose article was Cluebatted in this post, long ago when the world was young and the Cluebat of Janeite Righteousness still metaphorical. She has apparently graduated and is in the process of getting a job, and to her alarm found that Googling her name (a pastime of potential employers in these degenerate times) brings up…that post, in which she does not come off especially well. The Young Person apologized graciously, assured us she has mended her sophomoric, smart-alecky ways, and begged us to remove the post.

We really like the post in general, so we’re not inclined to remove it, especially as it is an important part of the Legend of the Cluebat. However, the link to the article no longer works, and having once been a smart-alecky 19-year-old ourself, we’re inclined to redact her name from the piece; but the Young Person herself commented, and should those posts be removed? Should the mentions of her name by commenters be redacted?

Also, our experience in SEO tells us that it won’t make much a difference anyway. The Internets are forever, Gentle Readers. (Remember that next time you drunk-Facebook. We’re just saying.) The Wayback Machine sees all, knows all, and we can’t change it. However, it probably won’t HURT to remove it.

It’s a dilemma, Gentle Readers. Let us know what you think.

P.S. There will be REAL POSTS later tonight, we swear.

62 thoughts on “The Editrix has a moral dilemma, and calls upon her Gentle Readers for assistance

  1. Sarah

    Well, I think the author of the article said it best in her own comment: “I stand by my remarks, especially the one about it being a “chick-flick” and “waifish” because I was referring to Miss Knightley, who looked as if she was in desperate need of a sandwhich.” She stands by her remarks, so she should continue to stand by them and they should remain on the site.


  2. Janefan

    I wish all publicly available examples of my very poor college journalism would *poof* too! Sorry, but especially since it was “journalism” (as opposed to, say, a personal blog) it’s out there and hopefully she’s at least learned to proofread since then.

    I’d leave (broken) link and change her name to initials, or “NAME REDACTED AT REQUEST OF WRITER” only if I were feeling generous. If she’s trying to get a job in the media, she really needs to learn that what you write publicly and attribute to your name cannot be denied/deleted later when it becomes inconvenient, unpopular, inaccurate, etc. If she’s trying to get a job in a different field, maybe it would be kinder to cut her a break.

    If a prospective employer asks about it, she should take the opportunity to point out how much she’s learned and grown as a writer since then.


  3. Baja Janeite

    I would take her name off. Life is too short. She obviously learned her lesson, and it is a good lesson to the reader who “knows more at 20 than she will ever know the rest of her life.” (Where did I read that?)


  4. I can’t imagine how leaving it up could possibly endanger anyone’s employment prospects. Who hasn’t published something online that they later regret? Most people are willing to forgive the mistakes of youth. Furthermore, as the young lady’s comment on the post is much more potentially damning than the post itself, I do not think you are responsible, Mags. As you said, “the Internets are forever.” If she voluntarily put it up there, than she has to live with the repercussions (though I still maintain that there will be none). That’s life.


  5. Susan

    I say be sporting & take it down. Then hold it over her head if you should ever need it. (One never knows.) Alexa. Repercussions can indeed arise & I’m surprised that you seem surprised. How very cavalier not to consider the possibility & be a bit kinder.

    Cheers & best wishes.


  6. Erin

    I vote that you go ahead and remove her name. If potential employers look hard enough, yes, they’ll probably still find it, but there’s always the possibility they won’t. It would be unkind to let something so trivial affect this girl’s future, especially since she admits to knowing better now. The original post will be just as hilairous (possibly more so) with the name redacted.


  7. Trai

    I’m in agreement with Janefan. I’m 19, so right about the age said Young Person was when she wrote that article and comment. I’ve never personally posted something so damning as that (and if I did, I would not to use my full name), but I agree that since she “stood by her opinions”, it should be left as is. She DID stand by her opinions at the time, and I agree with what Janefan said–use that to point out that she has grown and changed since then. As a Young Person myself, if I was faced with an unpleasant piece of writing like that one, I would do just that, and then work my damnedest to prove that I have changed.


  8. freda

    Leave it as it is. I really hate people who won’t take responsibility for their actions/words, then Creep and mooch -asking for a free pass when their actions come back to bite them in the arse. After reading her comments in response to the clue-bat, it appears that someone who is doing post-graduate studies should have had far more intelligence than to post such a rude comment. I would have agreed to redact her name if she had stood up for her POV without belittling the other posters, but no, she got down and dirty.
    Finally, her comment:”I find it very disrespectful to make judgements when you are ignorant to all details.”, nails it shut as far as I’m concerned. She was ignorant of Pride and Prejudice, Old English, Jane Austen and probably a lot more, but still felt it was ok to write a review of the film.

    Taking responsibility is something too many people fail to do.


  9. AprilFool

    I knew there was a reason why I decided to post under “AprilFool” – so I can be foolish! I say edit out the name, leave the post. (Not knowing which post.)


  10. OMG let it stand. If a future employer is not going to hire you because of a comment or post you made online as a teenager that states your opinion and is not political, sexual or defamatory, do you really want to work for them? Geesh. If I was made accountable for my spelling and grammar mistakes I will be unemployed the rest of my life.


    • I completely agree with the above comment. I don’t think this is as particularly damning a piece of evidence as a drunken Facebook post (with pictures!), so she shouldn’t worry about it. I read the original post and though it doesn’t paint her in the greatest light, it’s still nothing illegal or morally offensive (just irritating and rude).

      I will say this though – her inability to do a bit of simple fact-checking (Jane AUSTIN – come on!) does not bode well for future employment. Lets hope it was just a typo on her part?


  11. Julie G.

    I say remove it, or redact her name. I shudder to think about my sophomoric ideas. Luckily, they aren’t preserved on the internets.


  12. Wow! Keep the comments coming–this is really interesting to read.

    I have to say my first reaction was, “Ah, why not remove it.” Then I realized which post it was, and thought, “I want to keep the post, but I’ll just redact the name.” I was on vacation so I made a note to deal with it when I got home. Perhaps I was mellowed by the fact that I was on vacation. 😉 After I thought about it a bit, I realized that I, too, had made some mistakes in my youth, mostly of a financial nature, and it took me years and years to clean them up and they have had lasting ramifications, yes, including on employment. I thought, “Would have been nice if I could have just e-mailed somebody to clean up my youthful mistakes for me.” There is something to be said from learning a lesson from your mistakes, and having to take responsibility for them and dealing with the fallout. You learn that lesson WELL, believe me.

    I’m also coming from the What Would Jane Do? place. Because even though the Young Person said dopey things about Jane Austen, she still deserves to have me ask myself that question, as this blog is in Herself’s name. What would Jane do about this Young Person’s dilemma? I think she might come down at least a little bit on the side of personal responsibility; but at the same time her novels definitely discuss the fact that people can learn and change. And the Young Person’s e-mail, unlike her comments on the original post, was humility itself, though I have this nagging feeling that the request was still kinda arrogant. Thus my dilemma. I still haven’t made up my mind.

    I can tell you this much: the post and comments will stay. The question now is whether I redact the name. I am leaning towards doing so at this moment.


  13. Lynne

    I say leave everything as is. I base that decision entirely on what Ms. Mancuso commented on the post, because she reaffirmed what was Cluebatted in the original post. Let it be part of her learning curve to be more careful with her words.


  14. S

    Geez, people talk about her needing to take responsibility as if she had run over someone with her car. She said some ignorant things when she was young and foolish; should that potentially be allowed to ruin chances of employment if she does, indeed, come across an employer who would care about such a thing? Yes, she said she stood by her opinions THEN, but that was also when she was young and foolish. Those of us who said all of our young, foolish things before the internet was invented ought to have a little more compassion here – we never would have ended up in this position. Keep the post and the comment, but what really is the harm in removing her name at her request? In fact, what is the benefit to anyone at all in leaving her name there? It in no way enhances the post. It seems like people feel she needs to be punished for her supposed arrogance, but believe me, if that is one of her failings, life will find ample ways to punish her. But what is her real offense, after all? It is not a crime to be ignorant, nor to not like Jane Austen (though I personally have always seen it as a character flaw), and at the very least she has evidently provided people here with a great deal of amusement. You could thank her by removing her name from the post.


  15. I would definitely NOT remove her name. As she wrote in her comment, she had been in journalism for six years when she wrote the article. She should have known by then that everything you write will be around (or haunt you) forever. (And she should have learned to check her facts in those six years.)


  16. Allison T.

    My vote is to leave the name on, for the sake of learning that what you type matters.

    I doubt if it makes that much difference in the real world of employment–I can’t believe that there are that many employers who bother to Google prospective employees, nor one who would care what the Young Person wrote when she was 19.

    Besides, I didn’t like it when she called us “middle-aged Austen whores.”


  17. A. Marie

    What a fascinating debate. Thank you, Mags, for opening the question to the readership.

    Although I respect the opinions (and the charitable impulses) of those who have voted for clemency, I vote for letting everything stand as it was written. Actions have consequences, and although I was lucky enough to have a parental and educational background that knocked that concept into my young and foolish head, those not so fortunate need to learn it somewhere. And I personally find this Young Person’s contacting Mags and asking to have the evidence removed almost as distasteful as her original actions. It’s not a good omen for how she’s likely to behave in future employment, is it? (“Gee, Boss, that XYZ Project I was working on has bombed. Can you take my name off it? It isn’t going to look good on my resume.”)


  18. I forgot to add: her job search is not in the media/journalism field.

    Also: if she had not responded, I would have redacted the name without further fuss.


  19. Maria L.

    The quality of mercy is not strained.
    It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
    Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
    It blesseth him that gives and him that takes….

    But maybe she doesn’t like Shakespeare either.

    If she sounds more intelligent in her recent communication, I say, why not remove her name. If she were looking for a job in journalism, I would hesitate. But as it is, it isn’t really important in the annals of cluebatting and in these difficult times, I would hate to hamper, even indirectly, a young person’s chance of gainful employment. She must stand on her own from now on, in a world that sometimes does not forgive glib stupidity (and appalling writing) so easily. She will have learned a lesson – or not- only time will tell.

    So anoint her with some well-deserved snarky screen name, and keep the post and her even dumber response. And tell her the Janeites don’t care if she still doesn’t like Austen, but we do expect her to be intelligent about it.


    • I thought of that passage from Measure for Measure, too. I also thought of Edward in Sense and Sensibility, trapped in an engagement with Lucy Steele due to a foolish decision in his youth. Elizabeth Bennet gave Darcy another chance, too. Or think of Emma, trying to make up for her poor treatment of Miss Bates.

      I believe in redemption. If we don’t believe in redemption, why are we reading Jane Austen?

      Keep the post, but change the name.


  20. Kelley B

    I work in HR and we have never googled anyone to see if we shouldn’t hire them. But I admit that I don’t work in the media so they may have a different practice. My thought is controversy = attention and attention = readers. In these trying times of competing media outletts they may be more inclined to hire her if they think something she writes will stir people up. Leave it as is. Otherwise, where does it end? If enough people disagree with my comment and I end up looking foolish will you then remove my comments/name/post as well?


  21. Kelley B

    Okay totally didn’t see your comment about her not looking in a media-related field. That just enforces my earlier argument. Leave it as is. If she is a food fit for a job, so long as she hasn’t committed any recent felonies and passes her drug test, she should be fine.


  22. Like the Young Person in question, I once served as editor for a college daily newspaper. It is possible to go nearly mad in the attempt to meet relentless deadlines–unremitting deadlines–while attending classes and completing assignments to a desired standard. We have all committed errors in moments of exhaustion. I am firmly in the camp of clemency. Redact or remove, and move on.


  23. On first instance, I would have agreed with all those who are in favour to show some mercy, but then of course I had to see which was the “review” that had started all and I’m afraid I cannot feel so merciful. She was pretty insulting in her reply and add to another very insulting intervention from some fellow from De Paul. So what do I say. Sure, Mags, you maybe can erase her surname from your blog entry, only the surname not her firstname, and then her comment stands as she posted it, with full name, no deletion at all.


  24. Baja Janeite

    I just don’t understand such punitive attitudes from fellow Janeites:

    Elinor…forgave, pitied, wished him(Willoughby)well-was even interested in his happiness-and added some gentle counsel as to the behavior most likely to promote it.

    Lady Russell,in spite of all her former transgressions,he(Wentworth) could now value from his heart.

    Willoughby and Lady Russell and many other Austen characters did not deserve grace, but they received it. Why? It is because Elinor, Wentworth,the Bennets, the Westons, etc. had good hearts.


  25. Sarah

    Has anyone else Googled her name to see what she was so upset about? The blog entry does not appear on the first page of results, and it is midway down the second page. And the part that Google catches and quotes on the search page with her name in it is not the blog post but her own comment. It doesn’t appear anywhere in the first 20 pages of Bing or Yahoo results (then I stopped looking). I have no idea if any or all of the previous results on Google are actually about her or about someone with the same name (and the employers won’t know if the blog post on here is actually her or not), but they include lots of social networking sites, videos and photographs, and information about a divorce case. I am sure there is far more damaging information in the other search results, whether or not they’re actually about her or about someone with the same name. I find it hard to believe that an employer would not hire someone because of Google results that could be about someone else with the same name.


  26. Kira

    I think that the young person is probably overreacting as an google search on her name shows many different results, and also clearly shows that there are many people of the same name. The post is not shown until the second page.
    However not only potential jobs google people, so does friends, coworkers and potential boyfriends – in fact I find that much more likely than a job.

    That said I think that the name should be removed if the person asks for it. It is the nice thing to do, even had she not been young when she made those statements I would still think so.


  27. Mer

    We’ve all been that smart alecky 19-year-old . . . and then that suddenly mortified 20-something. I say remove or redact. It’s a mere peccadillo – I don’t think removing her post would be teaching her that she can be irresponsible in the future and just expunge it with a button (this didn’t, after all, involve life-or-death situations or sums of money, etc.). If anything, I believe she’ll be more cautious in the future about tossing glib and hasty words around online. Keep the post for the annals, if need be, but remove her name in graciousness. The age we live in is unforgiving enough.


  28. Allison T.

    Mer’s comments at first inclined me to be more kind, but then I went back to the YP’s vitriolic response in which she referred to a book that she hadn’t read as “garbage,” and changed my mind.That’s not just being smart-alecky.


  29. Susan

    Ladies–I’m so disappointed in the mean comments.

    I was an editor for 20+ years & I can say, without a doubt, many of you are very mean.

    I’m with Baja Janite & Mer.

    And I definitely will not link either of my blogs here because of the attitude of so many of you. I hope that all of you so very perfect folks out there never need a do-over.



  30. studentjournalist

    As editor of a student newspaper, I must say that YP was horribly ignorant of the ramifications of printing something that is under-developed and flippantly careless of factuality. I have known students who were involved in libel suits over things that they published in student publications.
    That being said, I do not think that the subject matter is deserving of such harsh censure. That may seem a strange thing to say on an Austen blog, but really if you were to ask yourself what Jane would do, she would probably have a good laugh and not think anymore about it. I should like to think that the young person in question has learned her lesson–and if she has not, she will certainly find herself in deeper trouble than she does now.
    To be clear, I do not understand why she is so concerned about the post, as it seems to me that it would be a cause of little more than an intra-office joke (much as certain things about me have resurfaced amidst hilarity in my workplace.) She should not be concerned, but we also should not be so unforgiving. Let the post stand, but use her initials instead.


  31. You know, I think this is a problem that will become more pervasive as people realize the permanent nature of the Web and think about things they’ve put out there. The fact is that you can redact her name, but are you sure it would help? The comments are pretty much out there, now. Her comment on the original post was pretty ugly, but she was, despite her protestations, feeling defensive and most of us lash out when we are under attack. Harsh lesson? Maybe. You can go either way, Mags, but it may not matter much. Is the original article she wrote still available? Well, yes and no. The DePaulia appears to have let its domain expire, but I can still view a cached version of that on Internet Archive, too. You are kind to consider her feelings. I had someone ask that their comments be deleted from a blog post I wrote on my education blog about UGA’s reputation as a party school. He was embarrassed that it looked as if he thought college was all about drinking, and rightly so, and because it was damaging thing to have said, not to mention youthful ignorance, I redacted his comment, but because I had replied, I put a notice about a comment having been redacted in the place of his comments. He’s lucky. The post he commented on isn’t archived. I think the article that she wrote is more potentially damaging than an Austenblog picking it apart. It wasn’t ready for publication, it’s riddled with errors, and it’s still out there if you know how to find it.


  32. Allison T.

    Gosh, wow! Yes, indeedy, it is apparently terribly “mean”–notice that word of someone else’s, please; not “right” or “wrong” but the high-school oriented “mean”–to retain material published in a public forum for public view and comment, even if the writer has changed her mind thereafter! Or–oops! am I mistaken?–is it the American Way to revise things that people wish they had not said, nor written, nor communicated of their own free will in a public forum? I had hoped that such revision was confined to a hideous Brave New World in which writers could trash books that they hadn’t read and summarily dismiss criticisms of their lack of knowledge thereof on the grounds that people who objected were therefore objectionable.

    Nay! Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted? Is truth to be so manipulated for the convenience of the speaker who regrets the follies of her past? It is true that we all wish to have our youthful (or middle-aged whorish) follies so conveniently expunged, upon application to the printer, but, alas….

    The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on
    Nor all your piety nor wit
    can lure it back to cancel half a line
    Nor all your tears
    wash out a word of it.

    Deal, YP.

    Beg for forgiveness or redemption from your future employer, but do not seek to rewrite your past–it is what has made you what you are today.


  33. Hunsford Parson

    As a MMAAW (Male Middle Aged Austen Whore) and an on-and-off reader of this blog, I’d like to voice my opinion, if I may:

    I’m sure Caroline Bingley would change the font size of Young Person’s name to maximum size and do her best to increase her comment’s page rank on Google, whereas Jane Bennet would probably delete everything as requested.

    Be kind, Mags, take the middle way & edit the name (and all quotations of it, incl. those in this discussion). Yes, the Young Person was mean. So what. You can show your greatness by being kind despite that fact.

    Hunsford Parson

    PS: While I’m at it, I’d like to nominate Baja Janeite & Mer for the kindest-austenblog-posters-award.


    • Mer

      “Mer” is a high school and college English teacher. I am a harsh grader and a red pen wielding and passionate defender of all things Jane . . . but I also understand the fearless (and sometimes thoughtless) teenage brain. Fortunately, they do grow up! I have had the delight of seeing kids that were still sophomoric at 18 and 19 turn into well-rounded, thoughtful, conscientious adults. Granted, it’s not that way with all of them, but I’ve noted enough instances to believe in second shots (and to hope that my high school teachers would be kind enough to disregard the ramblings of teenage me!). 🙂


  34. LauraGrace

    After reading the post and a few comments, I was leaning toward mercy. Then I decided to refresh my memory of the original post. Her article was certainly annoying her hostile response was so inappropriate—she should have laughed, cringed, taken the criticism at the time and made a note to check the facts next time. But then, we all get defensive when we’re faced with criticism. Particularly the scathing tho’ righteous criticism that proceeds from the Tongue of Mags.

    So I almost decided that it should be left as is. I saw the “personal responsibility” side: she she should live with her choices, plus it’s probably not going to be so horrific to a potential employer—who may, in fact, be on the side of the poor student being FLAYED ALIVE by Middle Aged Austen…ites….

    But then I realized that leaving it up would be something Lady Catherine would do. Jane would laugh and graciously remove it, I believe. If the Young Person has changed, why not let her erase and undo what she can? If she hasn’t, well, a potential employer will find that out soon enough anyway.

    Here’s a thought, though. Ask for an addendum to the original post, written by the Young Person in question, in which she apologizes, states how her feelings have changed and how she has matured. A record of growth, I would think, would be just as important and helpful as no record at all—or a record “buried” on the Wayback Machine.

    This would be most impressive to a potential employer, especially given that a common interview question is typically along the lines of, “What do you think is your biggest mistake—and what did you learn from it?”. Think about it; people who hide their mistakes/lie about them and say they can’t think of any mistake are completely questionable.

    Take advantage of the mistake. Growth and maturity is not something to hide.


    • Oh, LauraGrace, I *like* that idea. A LOT.

      This would be most impressive to a potential employer, especially given that a common interview question is typically along the lines of, “What do you think is your biggest mistake—and what did you learn from it?”. Think about it; people who hide their mistakes/lie about them and say they can’t think of any mistake are completely questionable.

      Ah yes, behavior interviewing!!! I got laid off in 2003 and the state sent me to interview skills training and it was SO GREAT. They taught you how to answer those behavioral questions: just answer it honestly, and then explain what you learned and how you grew from it. That’s what they want to hear. The person who interviewed me for the job I have now later told me I was the best employee she ever interviewed. It goes against the grain to be honest in a question like that, but you really have to be. (And it helps to think of something ahead of time so you’re not all “Uhhhh…..” in the interview.)

      Also, I cheerfully offered the URL of my website to the same person to look over before she hired me. 🙂 (At the time, it was just Tilneys and Trap-doors…no AustenBlog yet.)

      a potential employer—who may, in fact, be on the side of the poor student being FLAYED ALIVE by Middle Aged Austen…ites….

      I thought of that, too…they might end up having something in common! “OH GOD I HATE JANE AUSTEN I WAS SO GLAD SHE GOT EATEN BY ZOMBIES YOU STAND UP TO THOSE MIDDLE-AGED AUSTEN WHORES GRRRRRL” There ARE people out there like that, you know.


  35. A couple points I’d like to address in the ensuing discussion:

    Those of you who stated that you doubt human resources would be checking for something like this, think again. I have never worked in HR, but I’ve had employers specifically request that I use my Facebook account to check up on prospective interns. (I declined.) I also, incidentally, once had an employer request that I use my Facebook account to check up on prospective jurors in a pending case going to trial (I was working for attorneys, not a company being sued). Where the rest of us view Facebook and similar sites as merely harmless social networking opportunities and the chance to inform our entire pool of acquaintances that we are eating a sandwich for lunch, many prospective employers view these sites as one more tool in checking up on future employees.

    Second, some have pointed out that the post in question does not appear until the seventh or eighth page of Google results. That might be true now (I didn’t actually Google her name at the time of this comment), but things can move up relatively quickly. I’ve had it happen to me. A family friend posted something was slightly embarrassing about me four years ago. Back then, it was on the fifteenth or sixteenth page of Google results. A year ago, it was on the ninth page. Five months ago, it was the first result on the second page. (I asked the friend to take it down at that point.) The more often a person’s name is Googled, and the greater number of times a particular link is clicked, means that result will move up in the ranks. Given the number of comments on this entry, I think there’s a good chance that the post may already be rising.

    Furthermore, despite the conflicting results that come up for her name (someone mentioned that there may be others who share her name), I’m guessing that a prospective employer would have more information at his/her fingertips than we do. For example, Googling the person’s name in conjunction with her college, the newspaper’s name, the student’s official title at the paper at the time, etc. would probably yield the most relevant results to that person. And this type of Googling might mean the post is further up in the results than it would be if only the person’s name is used.

    Mags has noted that the Young Person is not applying for a journalism or media job. I’m not sure that information affects my thinking on this. Fact-checking, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and research are qualifications relevant for many jobs for a college graduate, not just journalism/media positions. The fact that she was in too much of a hurry to employ these skills when writing the article in the first place, and then too defensive and angry to employ them in her comment to the post will likely attest to her potential success or failure as an employee.

    I come at this having worked on my own college newspaper as both writer and editor (not so very long ago). I can certainly understand the time pressures involved in such a setting and even the temptation to slack off sometimes and write shoddy articles for the sake of just getting it done, but at the end of the day, personal accountability and the desire to put out one’s best equals success. If as a student editor, Young Person allowed herself that much slack, how much slack will she allow herself on the job with no one else keeping her accountable?

    I’m guessing Jane would laugh it off and take it down as others have suggested, but since you asked me, I think the person’s name should be redacted or changed, but by no means should the post be completely removed.


    • Michele K.

      Dear M,

      With all possible sympathy and due respect, I would strongly suggest that you write a public apology, and nicely request that the editors post it.

      Given the current state of posts on the matter (and the enduring problem of Google caches, even if changes are made), it is too likely that the damage has already been done. I understand that you regret your actions, and wish to smooth things over. Perhaps, however, admitting to public failure is a more mature stance to take.

      Please consider: if employers still manage to track down this thread, and find that you are attempting to cover up your tracks, they will think even less of you. Given the amount of debate this thread has sparked, this does not seem like an unlikely outcome. As such, with your public protest, it is now more likely that your future employers will believe that you lack integrity and maturity. They will thus be less willing to employ you.

      However, if you show that you are able to handle a PR crisis maturely, they will perhaps believe you are mature, and have courage to face up to your mistakes. You would present a better image of yourselfif you graciously accept public embarrassment.

      (In fact, if you show yourself willing to take such action, I believe more people – employers or otherwise – would appreciate such honesty, and forgive you for your rash words more readily.)

      Thus, it is perhaps better to let things stand, and being wiser now, choose to respond more appropriately, while you are still able.

      I understand this is a difficult thing for you to handle. You may not appreciate my frankness, but I do ask that you seriously consider my suggestion. I wish you the best, and hope that your future employers will think better of you, next time.



  36. Maria L.

    After reading all the comments I am coming down firmly on the side of clemency, if only because this young lady has inadvertently inspired such an interesting discussion.


  37. A. Marie

    In looking over all the comments, I notice that the majority of examples from Austen’s work have been drawn from P&P. I think that the closest analogy to our YP may actually be Emma Woodhouse. (Mr. Knightley in Ch. 18 of Vol. 3, on the Smith-Martin betrothal: “You are materially changed since we talked on this subject before.” Emma: “I hope so–for at that time I was a fool.”) Notice, however, that Emma doesn’t try to go back in time and alter the record or pretend she wasn’t a fool; she simply owns up to having been a fool and resolves to do better. For this reason, I agree with Mags that LauraGrace’s suggestion of asking the YP for an addendum is an excellent one.


  38. Michele K.

    Dear Editrix,

    As a new reader, I would like to express my admiration for your clemency and sensitivity, as well as the contents of your fine website. It is my fond belief that Austen rules, in spite of her antiquated language and neatly-trimmed settings ( – minor faults, surely).



  39. AprilFool

    I have now read the original post and all its comments.It is a most entertaining thread! I think I’m still in favour of editing out the name, though plenty of valid points have been made for both sides. I especially liked the “moving finger” quote – it’s spot-on!

    When I was 19, I knew everything. “Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now . . .” I suppose the YP would have a great deal of difficulty believing that we middle-aged Austen whores were ever as young as she was back when she wrote that review!


  40. GardenGirl

    I’m iffy on removing the post or her name – I would think a new comment might be appropriate.

    Any employer attempting to find information about me without making some pretty large assumptions based on the One Other Person in the world who seems to have my unusual name is going to have trouble. So will I lose a job because someone made a spoof Facebook page for me? Or because the One Other Person is a religion they might not like? Or with the One Other Person have difficulties because of my outspokenness?

    Really, I think she could plausibly deny that she is the same person mentioned in this Austenblog post.

    Aren’t censorship & anonymity issues interesting?!?


  41. Okay, at first I was inclined to forgive her. We’ve all been 19 and not known what we were talking about. But her follow-up comment was terrible. I can see where she would be horrified by the thought that a potential employer would see this and think that her excuse (“I had very limited knowledge of the background, and I had to whip out a review in 15 minutes to make print-time”) would reflect poorly on her future work. The classifying of one of the greatest novels in the English language (not to mention one of the best movies of 2005, it was nominated for four Oscars) as “garbage” is also pretty awful. And I guess she has to hope that her future boss is not a “middle-aged Austen-whore.”

    If you’re in the mood to be charitable you could remove her name from the original post, but I’d leave her comment. She posted under her real name, even repeating it in her comment. Does she really expect you to scrub all mention of her name from the site especially when she put it there herself?


  42. I’m completely on the fence and glad I don’t have to make this decision. However, I have had a marvelous time reading everyone’s comments.

    Good luck, Mags. And this has been a good reminder to watch what I say…


  43. Marloes

    At first I was inclined to forgive her, because every teenager makes mistakes (thankfully mine aren’t on the internet!). But then she started calling people Austen-whores for no reason. If you are that rude to other people you shouldn’t be forgiven, you should be heartily ashamed of yourself that you couldn’t deal with critism like that. And every college graduate should now that, not only Journalism majors. Hell, I am a major in literary studies and would get whipped if I would write like she does, even for a student newspaper!
    I hope for her she’s changed. It’s suspicious that she is trying to cover her tracks.


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