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Repairing / Establishing Online Reputation? 564

Posted by kdawson
from the footnote-the-resume dept.
illini1022 writes "I'm currently a senior nearing graduation from college. With studies focusing on power and energy I believe I have set myself up extremely well for post-graduation employment. I have one concern. The top search result on Google for my full name is a blog posting regarding an article about a pedophile that happens to bear the same name as myself. The blog also originates from a city I lived in during one summer (specified on my resume). Upon closer inspection, it would become quickly apparent that the subject in question is not me. The person of interest was in the military, and I have never been. However, I fear this unfortunate coincidence might cost me chances at employment with companies I'm now applying to. I have absolutely no issue with any employer finding anything I've put on the Internet; I have been careful to protect my reputation. My concern is with an employer mistaking me for someone else, and disqualifying me from recruitment. I've attempted to contact the blog owner to no avail. What are my options? Am I overreacting? Should I attempt to set up my own site that would steal the top Google search from this blog posting? I appreciate any insight/advice."
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Repairing / Establishing Online Reputation?

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  • Short answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:04PM (#26891069)

    Am I overreacting?

    Yes. Any employer worth your time is either a) not going to be doing something as petty as e-stalking you, or b) doing it properly, and making sure that the person is really you.

  • Make a decision. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Alarindris (1253418) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:05PM (#26891083)

    I believe I have set myself up extremely well for post-graduation employment.

    I disagree. You can't think for yourself.

    You've got 2 options.

    1. Do something.
    2. Do nothing.

    If you do something, like put up your own website, things may improve.
    If you do nothing, things stay the same.

  • Not to Worry (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Wovel (964431) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:06PM (#26891103) Homepage
    Any employer that would disqualify you soley based on blog postings from a Google search is not a place where you want to work.
  • by taustin (171655) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:07PM (#26891117) Homepage Journal

    Ask yourself if you really want to work for a company that would assume that anyone with your name is you, even if - in your own words - "it would become quickly apparent that the subject in question is not me." If they're willing to do that, they'll be willing to assume you're to blame for anything anyone accuses you of to cover their own ass, and a host of other sins that employers commit ever day.

    Think of this as an IQ test of a potential employer. If one brings it up, point out to them, in detail, how easy it would have been to determine this wasn't you, then walk out of the interview and be thankful you've dodged a bullet.

  • Re:Not to Worry (Score:4, Insightful)

    by karvind (833059) <karvind@NOsPAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:09PM (#26891161) Journal
    Agreed. And there are more reliable ways to do background search than randomly putting your name on Google. Because it is equally likely that if there is a Nobel Prize winner with same name as yours, they wouldn't be thrilled either.
  • For one thing... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:10PM (#26891195) Homepage

    You should've put your real name on the Slashdot article. That probably would've topped the Google search in and of itself, displacing the pedophile article.

  • by Slashdot Parent (995749) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:11PM (#26891209)

    If you have a very common name, then seriously, don't worry about it.

    Even if it's not a very common name, I still wouldn't worry too much about it. Most employers will be doing a criminal background check, which is a lot more reliable than some random blog posting.

    Lastly, if you find yourself getting into a pattern of great interviews followed by curt rejections, you might consider being proactive and having a humorous, but prepared statement that you can give during an interview about online reputations, mistaken identity, evidence that the pedophile in question could not be you, as well as how much the situation has taught you about protecting your own reputation, and by extension, the reputation of your employer. Most anything can be spun into a positive.

  • by sandysnowbeard (1297619) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:13PM (#26891251)
    You're paranoid and overreacting. I know that doesn't help you very much, but run through the logic, man:

    Being falsely accused is something we all fear. I understand how you feel, I bet it makes you terribly anxious. But you can quickly demonstrate you're innocent, right? If you're innocent, you shouldn't be worried about it, right? Furthermore, if they're interested in you enough to Google you, they're probably going to be interested enough to click that link and read into it. Just think about it...
  • Re:Short answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:15PM (#26891303)

    I disagree to some extent, it is relatively common for HR to look into those sorts of things quickly. But I don't think that they can legally use somebody else's actions against a prospective employee.

    It's often part of the screening to do to make sure that they're not going to be embarrassed by web information. I don't think the practice will continue into the future, especially in light of the fact that it's going to be increasingly difficult to avoid candidates that are completely clean or non-existent online.

    But honestly, many employers do have a prescreen which would catch both that as well as the lack of a criminal conviction. It would be potentially dangerous legally to use wrong information of that nature in a decision to not hire.

  • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:15PM (#26891317) Homepage

    Should I attempt to set up my own site that would steal the top Google search from this blog posting?

    Of course.

    You want the top search on your name to be you, not some low-life with your name. Carpe webium.

  • Michael Bolton (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Viking Coder (102287) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:16PM (#26891327)

    From Office Space: Why should I change my name?! He's the one that sucks!

    But seriously...

    Add a middle initial: "J."

    Rocket J. Squirrel
    Bullwinkle J. Moose
    Michael J. Fox
    Homer J. Simpson

  • by merreborn (853723) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:27PM (#26891521) Journal

    Think of this as an IQ test of a potential employer. If one brings it up, point out to them, in detail, how easy it would have been to determine this wasn't you, then walk out of the interview and be thankful you've dodged a bullet.

    Unfortunately, in reality, if any employers do see this as an issue, they'll never bring it up. They'll just refuse to interview you in the first place, or fail to make you an offer after your interview.

    If you ask, you'll get a vague response like "We don't think you're a good fit".

    Most employers will never give you specific reasons for turning down your application, largely as a CYA move.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:27PM (#26891523)
    Applicant: "Yes, ahhemmm. I was calling about the resume I submitted. Just in case you got the impression that I was a child molester I wanted to let you know that I am not. There was a man with the same name as me who happened to live close to me who was the actual molester. It wasn't me!" Yes, use it as a reason to call, great idea!!
  • Re:Short answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cro Magnon (467622) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:30PM (#26891581) Homepage Journal

    I agree that anyone who does this is an idiot. But, in this day and age, many people have no choice but to work for idiots.

  • by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:31PM (#26891593) Homepage Journal

    The Streisand Effect applies if he were to try and draw attention to what he sees as the negative portrayal of himself.

    If he simply minds his own business and creates a personal website about himself with no reference to this other hypothetical blogger, it should have no such effect.

    An employer who Googled indiscriminately might then find both, and wonder which is the person applying for the job in question.

  • Re:Short answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Samschnooks (1415697) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:35PM (#26891669)

    But I don't think that they can legally use somebody else's actions against a prospective employee.

    Let's say you're correct and they do use it. How do you prove it? They can always find a reason not to hire you. My favourite: your skills don't match.

  • by Scorpinox (479613) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:38PM (#26891715)

    I have a similar problem, a google search for my name reveals over 40,000 hits to a gay porn actor. Seriously. My issue is that I simply can't build any reputation as a good blog writer, website designer, etc. because anything to do with my name is buried under gay porn. So far I've been using a pseudonym, but it's hard to get taken seriously doing that.

  • Re:Short answer (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HartDev (1155203) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:39PM (#26891735) Homepage
    I wouldn't think that drawing any attention to it at all would be a good a idea. Like what was said before, any employer with their spit will double check to make sure that it was not you in that blog, just think of all the people with the Last name Smith, if they were worried about name association the Smiths of the world would be in really bad shape, or maybe in really good shape.....probably bad since that is more readily remembered, but still I would not worry, and if they blame you wrongfully you can alway sue! The all American dream! But in all seriousness, no worries.
  • Re:Short answer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:43PM (#26891811) Journal
    Indeed, this poor lad is looking at the subject the entirely wrong way. He seems to be going to employers and saying, "please! I am good! help me out! give me a salary!" Serve the man. Bow to the establishment. Be a tool! Etc.

    Finding a job is really negotiation. You go to the company and let them know, "I am capable of this and this, which will be useful to you." A good company will see that and desire your services. If not, that's ok, you can find someone who will. Because you actually are capable, and have knowledge that is valuable in this world.

    You need to know that you have true negotiating power, and that you're looking to make a deal; your not looking for an apprenticeship or servitude.

    That is the proper way to look for a job.
  • Re:Not to Worry (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gillbates (106458) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:44PM (#26891833) Homepage Journal

    The problem isn't that they'll automatically disqualify you. The problem is that they might not have time enough to interview every candidate, or do a full background search. These days, if a Google search shows a connection to something undesirable, they'll just move on to the next resume.

    It's not a rejection, per se. It's just that someone else with nothing potentially undesirable got the interview, and they liked that person so much they hired them. Maybe the would have hired you, had you gotten an interview.

    I wouldn't want to work for an employer that was so impersonal that they only did keyword scanning to select resumes. But now almost every employer does just that. Sure, I disagree with it in principle, but the interview and application process is an almost infitesimally small part of the job experience. Who cares if there's a nut in HR? Maybe the other people who work for the company are nice people; maybe management is more focused on their current employees than potential ones. There are a lot of explanations for why an otherwise good company might not call someone for an interview who could be mistaken for someone else, someone bad.

  • Re:Short answer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dogmatixpsych (786818) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:50PM (#26891961) Homepage Journal
    My philosophy is that if an employer really is looking for petty reasons not to hire you, that's a good sign that they are not the best place for you to work. I want to work at a place where they really want me to work there. I encourage a robust hiring process but if a company is looking for stupid reasons to rule me out, then I'll go find a job somewhere else. Granted, this approach may not always work, depending on the industry, but for me it's a completely reasonable approach.
  • Re:Short answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Squid (3420) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:57PM (#26892103) Homepage

    With high unemployment and thousands of people applying for every job that opens, they don't really have to give you a reason why you never got a call. If you suspect there's something funny going on, that they're tossing your resume aside for illegal/unethical/just-plain-dumb reasons, you'd have a heck of a time proving it.

    It's only illegal if they get caught, seems to be the basic ethical guideline many companies use. And once caught, they pay the fine and are more subtle about it next time.

    And is it just me, or is it common practice that HR in most companies is staffed with the "unfirables" that no other department wanted? Owner's spouse or relatives, owner's ex-spouse with Clauses In The Divorce Papers, owner's golfing buddy who happens to have Pictures Of People Doing Stuff, owner's fling-on-the-side, owner's child-by-fling-on-the-side, etc - that if they had enough technical clue to understand concepts like "name collision" they probably wouldn't be in HR?

  • by funkify (749441) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:00PM (#26892179)

    If you're THAT worried about it and can't control the Google hit, why not adjust your own name for resume purposes? Does the pedophile have the same middle name as you? Are there any professionally-acceptable variants of your first name? Or could you use your middle name instead of your first name?

    You could just use an altered name for resume purposes and through the hiring process, and then upon being hired clarify your preferred name, even explaining why.

  • Re:Short answer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by D Ninja (825055) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:00PM (#26892187)

    But I don't think that they can legally use somebody else's actions against a prospective employee.

    And how is he going to know whether they did use the information or not?

  • by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <shadow.wrought@gmai l . com> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:01PM (#26892211) Homepage Journal
    It is an opportunity to stand out. How he approaches that opportunity is up to him. Just because you would do so poorly is no reason to believe that he would.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:02PM (#26892233)

    You specified "full name" in your post. Unless by "full name" you meant "including my middle name too" (which would be a huge and unfortunate coincidence), consider just using your middle name on everything job-related. For example, if your name is "John Gordon Rivers" then just call yourself "Gordon Rivers" on your resume, cover letter, cv, etc. They won't need to know your real first name until you start to fill out the formal paperwork (which probably won't be until after they've already hired you). And if they ask at that point, you can just tell them that you go by your middle name (a pretty common and unsuspicious practice). If they google you at that point, they'll be far enough along in the hiring process to actually take the time to verify that it's not you.

    Of course, this could be a problem if your middle name sucks. But just add that to the list of things to resent your parents for.

  • Re:Short answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:07PM (#26892345) Journal

    >>>it is relatively common for HR to look into those sorts of things quickly

    Precisely, and in my experience a lot of the HR persons are little more intelligent than a typical elementary ed major. They will see the name, see the city, and ASSUME that the resume in front of them is the same person as the pedophile. The next place your resume will land is the trashcan.

    As one HR person explained to me, even a HINT of negative attitude and/or background is reason to withdraw a candidate from consideration. After all, they have thousands of other people they can choose from. They don't need you.

    As to the fix:

    Change the city on your resume to something else. For example if the location was Teterboro New Jersey, you could just say "New York". Or if it was Glen Burnie Maryland, just say "Baltimore". Pick a city that doesn't match the pedophile's city and therefore won't trigger a google hit.

  • Re:Short answer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:10PM (#26892417)

    Finding a job is really negotiation. You go to the company and let them know, "I am capable of this and this, which will be useful to you."

    I've seen this sort of suggestion before. But it only works in Dreamland, unless you're the kind of guy whose name gets mentioned in industry magazines. You can't "go to the company and let them know" because you, as an outsider, can't get to anyone in the company who cares (unless you happen to know someone there). You're stuck with going through HR. HR only has a very vague idea of what the company wants, and they get tons of resumes. So to cut them down, they use various techniques which have little to do with how good you are. Whether googling your name is among them probably varies, but some of their other techniques are just as bad (keyword matches on the resume... ugh).

    You need to know that you have true negotiating power, and that you're looking to make a deal;

    You don't have true negotiating power, though. You might be the absolute best thing for the company ever, but they don't care. They're not willing to go through the effort to even find you. They'd rather hire a series of looks-OK-on-paper screw-ups passed on to them by HR than to consider that their whole hiring process might be borked.

  • Re:Short answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NinjaCoder (878547) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:16PM (#26892559)
    The OP is a near-graduate. The economy is tanking.

    And your advice is what? If the company's HR monkeys can't do their job properly then the whole company is fucked in the head, and don't deserve him??

    I also graduated in the middle of a downturn; it sucks that zillions of shiny happy ex-students are chasing every opportunity - I totally believe that some HR bod will bin the CV/resume based on a 20 second google, after all there will be another dozen in the file next to his.

    It's not so much that the company is looking for stupid reasons not to hire, but they are looking for ways to whittle down the short list of people to call for interview.

    It sucks to be a graduate, with debits, and missing out on opportunities.

  • Long answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz (762201) * on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:17PM (#26892579) Homepage Journal

    First of all, do you really think that (mis)identification as a "pedophile" will be regarded as "trivial" by a potential employer? I rather doubt it, myself.

    More generally, there's no incentive for the alleged pedophile to do anything about this, if that's who posted the blog. On the contrary, the more people's lives the registration system inadvertently damages, the more likely it is that it will be reformed.

    As long as it is maintained in such a way as to pillory teenagers, as long as it violates any sensible interpretation of ex post facto, as long as it confounds the identification of actual child molesters with consenting, informed people pursuing normal sexual concourse, as long as it is a manifestation of a line in the sand that consists of nothing but arbitrary age - it really does need to be reformed.

    Unfortunately, it is a legislative and voter's freebie, an issue where people think last, if at all, about the broader implications of what they are supporting. The public is very easily manipulated on these issues, and I, for one, can't think of a solution to that which doesn't involve an IQ test, a constitutional comprehension test, and a formal disqualification from voting and serving as a lawmaker or judge if the individuals tested can't meet a reasonable standard of competence.

    This is the root problem with most democracies. Any two uninformed twerps can outvote an informed expert on the subject at hand, in an environment where expertise is a rare commodity. It's self-destructive for the host society, visibly and obviously flawed at the most basic level, and yet, the problem is rarely addressed. We don't let unqualified drivers direct a car on our streets or install plumbing, but we let any drooling idiot exert a considerable level of control on everyone else's actions though the mechanism of the law. Pitiful, really.

  • by Conficio (832978) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:28PM (#26892793) Homepage

    Your story seems like a bummer, but it is also an opportunity to do the right kind of looking for a job.

    I envision, this is the kind of scenario you have to fear if you send a resume to HR of a company or even a recruiting sub contractor. They farm out a web screen to someone who has little interest other that fulfilling their daily work quota. To that person (or the computer algo replacing him./her) your interests do not matter much. So you land on the pile to ignore.

    Luckily for you, the "post resume on .com or .com/careers" scheme has a success rate of 1 in 10,000, because they have so many "matching" resumes they need a quick and cheap way to select some quality one's. hence the outsourcing or delegating to a computer, and with the described handicap, your personal success rate might be worse.

    The real world job finding success happens through networking. So go to your library (or the next online book store), look for the keywords "job networking" and "Informational interview" and really learn to play that game. That way your resume comes from a real person to a person in the company, and the Internet search is at least done by someone who has to answer to someone she knows personally (= higher chance of verifying that it is not you in that article). Also, you will enjoy it much more, because you learn from every network contact you make and your chances of success are more in the 1:100 range.

    And never stop playing the networking game, even when you are happily employed. You might switch roles from time to time and refer contacts that are looking to open positions you are aware of.

  • Re:Short answer (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:39PM (#26893009)

    Maybe the OP should include a cover letter that mentions this and provides a quick and easy way to verify it wasn't him.

    Whatever you do, DO NOT DO THIS.

    The last thing you want to do is draw attention to potentially harmful information. Even if you are doing it to explain that it really wasn't you. All you will have accomplished is to highlight it.

    A web page promoting yourself is never a bad thing to have. Keep it simple. Keep it professional. Keep it truthful. Update it throughout your life (a neglected site says very negative things about you!) It may generate contacts that lead to job offers, although it is by no means a substitute for a real job search.

  • Re:Short answer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by duguk (589689) <dug AT frag DOT co DOT uk> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:44PM (#26893113) Homepage Journal
    Just avoid the problem entirely - change your name. It's not expensive.

    Hell, its the same anyone else would do if someone else started using your email address, isn't it?
  • Re:Longer answer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by INT_QRK (1043164) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:51PM (#26893219)
    No. In fact, do you want to hear a real horror story? When I went to renew my driver's license a couple of year's ago by mail I was told that I had to come to my state's version of the DMV for an unspecified problem. When I came in to renew it turned out that my very, very, common first and last names, (several pages of some variation of my name (first, last, last-and-initial(s), etc.) in metro book alone), and date of birth (OK, what are the odds there?), matched a "hold" that was put on that name and DOB from another state. It seemed that I had to clear my "record" in that other state before my current state would renew my license. No matter that I have never been in that state. So, I contacted the great state of X, and found out that someone got a ticket in 1991 after being stopped and found driving without a drivers license. He evidently paid the fine back in 1991, but never did apply and pay the $130 "reinstatement fee." X would not clear the hold on the name, and the old record showed no social security number (the guy had no license!). My state would not issue me a new license until the "hold" was cleared, and said that I could either just can pay the reinstatement fee in X for the dude or take it to court in to prove that I was not the person in question, ostensibly, I suppose, by proving my whereabouts being somewhere other than X on the night of whatever in 1991? (I was in fact in Europe and the Middle East all of that year doing Uncle Sam's business!) I checked on lawyer's fees for my area, about $150-300 per hour, and after stewing and cursing at the walls, did the math, and went ahead and paid the $130 fee on line using Mr. Visa on the state's web site -- very efficient transaction! So, here are 2 important issues relevant to the issue of identity protection in general, which is really what this is all about: (1) GIGO: bad data widely distributed and readily available can be a very, very, bad thing -- and, as more and more databases are interconnected, a process accelerated due to homeland security and other factors, there will be more and more of these horror stories, many much worse. Use your imagination! (2) The idea of a national ID card, indexed to a single identity number (like SSN), will eventually become more and more attractive as more people get burned, some perhaps tragically. If the other person with my name from the other state had given an SSN, and that SSN was the index for the "hold" instead of my all to common name coincidentally paired with a DOB that we evidently shared, then this wouldn't have been MY problem. I understand, somewhat, some people's queasiness about the idea of a national ID. On my part, I am for such a card, if for no other reason that it might potentially make identity theft (or government mis- identity) harder -- if done well (aye, there's the rub!). I sure hope my namesake doesn't end up on a no-fly list, or worse.
  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:53PM (#26893241) Homepage Journal
    "Yes they do credit checks all the time. "

    Err...who in their right mind puts a SSN on an job application?!?!

    Hell...I don't know that I've ever seen them ask for a SSN on a job application, and they need that to do a credit check.

    I don't give that out until I'm filling out employment forms directly concerned with SSN taxation needs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @05:01PM (#26893355)

    Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences.

  • Re:Long answer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Count Fenring (669457) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @05:23PM (#26893747) Homepage Journal

    As long as it is maintained in such a way as to pillory teenagers, as long as it violates any sensible interpretation of ex post facto, as long as it confounds the identification of actual child molesters with consenting, informed people pursuing normal sexual concourse, as long as it is a manifestation of a line in the sand that consists of nothing but arbitrary age - it really does need to be reformed.

    I certainly agree that the punishment side of those laws is panic-driven and needs change. I'll even go so far as to say that corner cases tend to be dealt entirely too harshly, and reexamining these situations with an eye to a more nuanced sentencing policy would do us a world of good.

    But how is the current place where the age-line is set (in most places 18, with a 16-21 law in place) "completely arbitrary?" We restrict sexual congress to people within a certain age-range because past that point, there is a power/developmental differential. Granted, there is no magical "every case is attached to this point in time" specialness of 16 (or 17, etc). But it's placed there, generally, for non-arbitrary reasons, that being that in the large majority of cases, that's the most sensible place to draw the line. Just because a decision is made on heuristics doesn't make it arbitrary.

    Furthermore, what's the solution that DOESN'T involve some sort of semi-arbitrary decision? You have to place the age of consent somewhere. Strict 18 is too draconian; it fails over too large a subset of cases. On the other hand, strict 16 would be bad legislation over the largest subset of cases. And, if you're one of those "Oh, it shouldn't be based on age, it should be based on maturity," well, how is that going to work? Every time you go down to the high school to pick up some 16 year old tail, are you going to give them a thorough mental competency exam?

    There's plenty of things that need reform about our sex-offender laws; in general, the "lines in the sand" aren't the problem.

  • Useful Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sherriw (794536) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @05:25PM (#26893791)

    I see this post has fallen into the typical /. answers along the lines of - any employer who would disqualify you based on Google hits isn't someone you want to work at. This is a shortsighted response. Any HR department worth it's salt finds out AS MUCH as possible about a candidate before hiring. If it's illegal they can always give another reason why they didn't hire you.

    You're not over-reacting at all- if someone doing a cursory Google search of your name could misconstrue you with this pedophile, you really should do something about it. Like:

    - Set up your own website which includes your latest resume, info about you and examples of your work if appropriate. If you are not web-development savvy- use an online profile site like linkedin or blogger or something. Put the url to your online portfolio ONTO your resume. So people know the best channel to take in order to find your legit online info.

    - Change the city on your resume that this other guy was in, to the next closest city. If an employer asks about that resume entry during an interview- you can explain the situation.

    - Politely ask the blogger if they would be willing to take down the blog post or add some info about the pedophile that would make it OBVIOUS he's not you. Like middle name/initial or age, or birth place. Many bloggers have old posts they are no longer so fired-up about and would be willing to take down if it was causing someone like you to possibly get a bad-rap for nothing. Last resort- put a comment on the blog post with a link to your online portfolio- saying this guy is NOT John Doe from Yourtown[link to portfolio].

  • by Medievalist (16032) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @05:27PM (#26893817)

    I have the same name as a convicted serial killer and rapist. But this has been much less of a problem since Texas executed the bastard.

    My advice to you: change your middle name and make a point of using it on all your written correspondence. Make sure the first letter of your new middle name is the same as the old, so that your college records etc. will still match up.

    Google first to make sure your new full name has no similar problems. It's better to have your name get billions of conflicting hits than few or none; if it has no hits, and tomorrow someone of that name commits a heinous crime, you're back at square one.

    HR drones will type whatever name is boldface at the top of the resume. MORTON GIGER THROCKGRISTLE III is what you want, not M. G. Throckgristle.

  • Re:Long answer (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz (762201) * on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @06:24PM (#26894743) Homepage Journal

    But how is the current place where the age-line is set (in most places 18, with a 16-21 law in place) "completely arbitrary?"

    It is arbitrary by its very nature. On the one hand because there are many young people who are informed and able to give intelligent, sensible consent to various types of sexual activity. On the other hand, it is arbitrary because there are many people in their twenties and older who are uninformed, irresponsible, and literally, in the very most precise and intended sense of the term, utterly unable to give informed, reasonable consent. But they're over that ridiculous age line, aren't they?

    When the question comes up, the individuals - not the parents, not the state, not the feds - should be able to settle the issue by demonstrating their informed state (anatomy, contraceptive practices and effectiveness, emotional comprehension, etc.) and their ability to understand consequences of sex itself, records like sound, photos and video. These are some of the things that actually bear upon the idea of informed, intelligent consent. Age does not do so in any dependable manner, and so it is a terrible criteria to use.

    But it's placed there, generally, for non-arbitrary reasons, that being that in the large majority of cases, that's the most sensible place to draw the line.

    And what this actually does is disenfranchises all the outliers; it is the very definition of tyranny by the majority. Person A at age X may be not be ready for sex. Person B may have been ready for years at the same age X. Person A may be seen as protected, but person B has been, pardon my profanity, fucked.

    Furthermore, what's the solution that DOESN'T involve some sort of semi-arbitrary decision? You have to place the age of consent somewhere.

    No, you don't have to "place the age of consent" somewhere. Why must you have an age of consent at all?

    There are perfectly good and reasonable criteria that will do a much better job. I can easily come up with a basic set: Is the person sexually mature in the physical sense? That's something a physical examination will answer a definitive yea or nay to. Do they understand the relationship between some sexual activities and reproduction? Do they understand what STDs are? Do they understand the role of contraception? Do they understand the financial and social consequences of becoming a parent? Do they understand the social consequences of recorded materials becoming public? Do they understand the role of consent? Do they understand that information in these areas changes constantly?

    This is the kind of thing that qualifies or disqualifies someone in a realistic, socially useful and productive manner without pretending that the number of years they have been alive somehow magically imbues them (or not) with the resources they need to be responsible, safe sexual partners who are able to give something we can legitimately call informed consent.

    well, how is that going to work? Every time you go down to the high school to pick up some 16 year old tail, are you going to give them a thorough mental competency exam?

    Determining that your partner can provide informed consent should certainly be part of any relationship startup, as it were. Even one night stands. It'd be nice if people could take a formal examination and carry a card that says they passed same and simply show you said card, but even today, yes, you bet, it's your responsibility to ensure that any "tail" you go after is emotionally mature. Otherwise, one day, you'll wake up next to someone who asks you some form of "what was that thing you did to me last night?" and the nightmares will begin.

    in general, the "lines in the sand" aren't the problem.

    No, you're quite wrong. They are the root of the problem, legal

  • by Hordeking (1237940) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @06:32PM (#26894853)

    You could just ask the blogger nicely to remove the offending post.

    If he is rude about it, you can always claim he's slandering you. After all, he won't be able to prove he's not accusing you of being a pedo, even if there really is a pedo with your name. =P

  • Re:Long answer (Score:2, Insightful)

    by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@@@justconnected...net> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @06:35PM (#26894907)

    As a teenager (17):

    Bull. Shit.

    Age is irrelevant; a 30-year-old with the mind of a 12-year-old would still be legal (unless I misunderstand)

    If somebody isn't competent to have sex at 16, they won't be competent at 18-and-a-day.

    No discussion. If you disagree, you aren't remembering yourself at 16, and your peers.

    The problem is, one of these people is legal to fuck, and one isn't. With dire consequences.

    Should we card people before we take them home?

  • Re:Short answer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by duguk (589689) <dug AT frag DOT co DOT uk> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @07:16PM (#26895485) Homepage Journal
    I've never been asked for my previous name on a normal application form; only for a CRB check - this is in the UK though. It might be different for you, or the poster.

    At least (if they don't ask) on first application they wouldn't discard his application form based on a Google of his name, an interview gives the chance to correct the company before they make this silly mistake.

    If he's really this desperate that any company he applies for will discard his application, changing his name seems to be an option he hasn't considered - and no-one else has considered too. It might be the best choice based on the evidence, and certainly better than most of the suggestions here.
  • Re:Long answer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Starayo (989319) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @07:17PM (#26895507) Homepage

    Age is irrelevant; a 30-year-old with the mind of a 12-year-old would still be legal (unless I misunderstand)

    Agreed.

    My aunt is in her late thirties and has a mental disability. She could in no way give informed consent.

  • Re:Long answer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Toonol (1057698) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @08:03PM (#26896061)
    I disagree. I do remember myself, and my friends, at sixteen. I remember how competent and adult we thought we were.
  • Re:Long answer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Count Fenring (669457) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @09:23PM (#26896749) Homepage Journal

    No, you don't have to "place the age of consent" somewhere. Why must you have an age of consent at all?

    Because otherwise, you've put yourself in the position of creating a brand new set of standard for sexual eligibility based on intangible criteria, and putting into place a system that can, in literally millions of cases per year, accurately judge cases on the basis of those criteria. All while not utterly bankrupting the judicial system.

    None of the "reasonable criteria" you propose are remotely objective, and each of them is only discoverable through fairly extensive psychological testing; if at all. Sorry, but it fails at being a possible solution. You can't actually add that much overhead to the justice/regulatory system, even assuming that you can magically produce fair, comprehensive, and utterly unbiased tests for sexual maturity. Tests that meet the majority's standards for decency, which, by the way, fall pretty solidly in the "don't fuck teenagers if you're over 20" category.

    It's not that age stands in for maturity/education, it's that age is measurable and rigidly defined. You can base laws on it, and expect them to be understood and (in the main) obeyed.

  • by kwilliam (919560) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @02:01AM (#26898997) Homepage

    Dude, you just missed a chance to make the #1 Google result for your name a Slashdot article that explains the situation.

1 1 was a race-horse, 2 2 was 1 2. When 1 1 1 1 race, 2 2 1 1 2.

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