Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
"Post-Columbine" managment techniques

By RadiantMatrix in Culture
Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 03:24:20 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Those of you who remember "that other site's" Jon Katz writing his infamous Voices From the Hellmouth article are probably tired of hearing about "post-columbine" stories in the media. You know the ones: new, tough policies on almost anything that even looks violent in the schools, blaming various forms of entertainment, etc. The public is being told, in effect, that since the Columbine incident, we have to protect our kids from themselves.

If you're like me, you probably feel for those still in school who are affected by this portrayal, and the new policies that result. Well, now it is coming to real life. Both my company, and that of a close friend of mine, are instituting "Post-Columbine Management" policies. I kid you not.


While this is not the official term, it has been made clear that the reason for these policies is concern over Columbine and "similar recent events." So what steps are being taken?
  • Monitoring of DNS logs will be expanded to search for sites with "potentially violent" materials. This includes visiting Bud K, an online catalog of collectors' swords, knives, and related items.
  • EMail will be scanned at random for threatening messages.
  • FPS games are no longer allowed (we are allowed to play games, since work is done on deadline basis).
  • If any "potentially violent" materials are found, whether by means above, or by accidental discovery, there will be a mandatory counselling session to "evaluate potential threats."
  • Everyone will have a counselling session once per quarter, again to "evaluate potential threats."
These policies mean that we can no longer have our network games (a great morale booster!), I have to take home the decorative daggers and such that are in my cube, as well as my Quake2 figurines.

While the events of Columbine certainly brought up lessons to learn, it seems that we are learning the wrong ones. Columbine should teach us that social castes are damaging, and that we aren't paying enough attention to our children. Instead, we are learning to "evaluate" those under our control -- children or not -- to decide if they are violent, and to remove freedoms out of naive fear.

Is there anyone else experiencing these things?

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Poll
Violence in the workplace should be prevented by:
o Spying on Workers 6%
o Increasing Morale and Reducing Stress 87%
o Providing Counselling 5%

Votes: 72
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Voices From the Hellmouth
o Bud K
o Also by RadiantMatrix


Display: Sort:
"Post-Columbine" managment techniques | 32 comments (28 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
Morale (3.66 / 30) (#2)
by Signal 11 on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 08:40:30 PM EST

This company will get what it deserves. They are being exceptionally unprofessional and I would go as far as to say degrading with their policy.

Management in this case is being reactionary and not very "forward-thinking", to use one of their buzzwords. The result will be that morale will drop, people will be less motivated to do their work, and more deadlines will be missed. If this company works with web design/media they're going to watch their creative talent uproot and leave if this is enforced for any amount of time.

But, if you must, refer them to the FBI's own report on Columbine. In it, the FBI chastises schools for zero tolerance policies, broad generalizations about the media, and over-reactions to minor things. I myself have been victimized by these kinds of politics in the workplace. People may know what you mean, but if you're above them on the totem pole they sometimes use unscrupulous methods to take you out of the competition. Sadly, many managers feel the need to respond to every issue, when the correct thing to do is simply watch and listen. Like Lao Tzu said - "running a kingdom is like cooking a fish - don't overdo it"

Cheers,

Signal 11


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

Re: Morale (1.09 / 22) (#5)
by Didel on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 09:41:34 PM EST

ahh crap. the Karma Whore shows up on kuro5hin. There goes my morale.

[ Parent ]
Re: Morale (3.30 / 13) (#12)
by Louis_Wu on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 03:53:25 AM EST

Fine point of distinction: a karma whore says things which are designed to increase her karma, while Signal_11 says things which happen to increase his karma. They both say things, and karma increases in both cases, but one does it to get the goodies of karma, and the other does it because he's walking someone through removing a drink from the CD-ROM tray (that is, he's bored, and cogent discussion is better than talking to blondes who don't know how to make directories).

Of course, now I will be accused of karma whoring, as I have defended an accused karma whore. (Your honor, the defense rests.)

BTW, how do you 'whore karma' in Scoop? I don't know how to find the current value of my mojo, and I wouldn't know what that number meant in any case. And I believe that the term would be 'mojo whoring', not 'karma whoring'.

Louis_Wu
"The power to tax is the power to destroy."
John Marshal, first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
[ Parent ]

Mojo Whoring (3.36 / 11) (#20)
by pwhysall on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 07:36:13 AM EST

is exceptionally difficult, because it's hard to get excited about something that can never be greater than 5.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Re: Morale (1.78 / 14) (#10)
by RadiantMatrix on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 03:25:32 AM EST

Hey there, Signal 11, I see you've joined the rest of us who miss /.'s good conversation! I think you and I exchanged a few ideas over the years: in case you care, I'm Proteus (1926, thank you!) there.

Now, <stern voice>no "mojo whoring" experiments, ok?</stern voice>

Just kidding... :P
--
I'm not going out with a "meh". I plan to live, dammit. [ZorbaTHut]

[ Parent ]

Re: Morale (3.50 / 4) (#29)
by mwa on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 02:49:24 PM EST

The FBI report (PDF) on threat assesment it here.

[ Parent ]
Been Done To death. (1.91 / 12) (#3)
by Noviota on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 09:04:48 PM EST

This has been done to death. I voted -1.

The main thing that came to mind reading this was.

"Join the war against violence.
Help us stamp it out by any means possible"


Noviota.
De Novo. Iota.
Starting Afresh. Very Small.

Protecting the Workplace?! (3.50 / 10) (#7)
by TheDude on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 10:59:07 PM EST

(Doh - I feel dumb. Chose Editorial instead of Topical comment. If you read the other one already, there's nothing new here.)

I voted +1 only because trying to implement something like that in schools is bad enough, but trying to do so in the workplace?! The pointy-haired kind are trying to make their workers more unhappy?? Aren't workers unhappy enough nowadays? I hope these types of policies don't get implemented into any more companies. Those that have done so already should be looking for another job in a few months-years, depending on how long their employees will let themselves be controlled. Well, maybe this will become commonplace in offices....you can't smoke in businesses, you can't wear certain clothes, you can't try to pick up a co-worker, you can't be human. What's wrong with not allowing people to play Quake, or visit Smokedot? People have little enough freedom as it is now, why not just take away all freedoms?
--
TheDude of Smokedot
Drug Info, Rights, Laws, and Discussion
Visit #smokedot on irc.smokedot.org

Some of those policies are rational. (3.63 / 11) (#8)
by Speare on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 12:18:05 AM EST

I would disagree with the 'post-Columbine' moniker you associate with some of the workplace policies. Some of them are common sense, while I would agree some of them do go too far. Most of these are common, and not limited to the post-Columbine era.

I'm an executive for a small startup. That means I had to be involved in the writing of the official employee manual, and while we're hoping to be a pretty laid-back company, there are some rules.

The common rules are common sense.

  • Dress code: you must be dressed. Period.
  • Weapons: not at the office. Period.
  • Harassment/coercion: not tolerated. Period.

We have at least two employees who would love to bring in various genuine antique swords or warhammers, and with the nature of our company, that could even be construed as appropriate occasionally [as artwork related to the company's products]. However, liability is a big bear. Anything beyond Nerf(tm) is verboten, and demonstrations of 16th Century crossbows will have to be done outside the office environment.

About the netgames: if FPS netgames are out, I suggest you go for RTS (real time strategy) games like Command and Conquer's kin. Still lots of cube-to-cube fun.


[ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ]
Re: Some of those policies are rational. (3.60 / 5) (#11)
by RadiantMatrix on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 03:27:52 AM EST

I would disagree with the 'post-Columbine' moniker
I would not have used it if it hadn't been explained that the events in Columbine were a "major factor" in the decision. Something about "setting the example for the kids" was mentioned in the same context.
--
I'm not going out with a "meh". I plan to live, dammit. [ZorbaTHut]

[ Parent ]
Re: Some of those policies are rational. (3.66 / 3) (#17)
by h0tr0d on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 06:44:17 AM EST

Sometimes that no weapons policy can work against you. If, for some reason there should be an incident that occurred at your place of business and an employee can provide proof that their possession of weapons might have saved someones life or prevented injury it is the company that could be in trouble. I have yet to see this happen on a first incident but it has occurred on subsequent ones. The employer was served legal documentation stating that if a similar incident were to occur in the future and the company had not revised it's weapons policy to allow the employees to protect themselves then they would be served with a wrongful/neglegent death/injury lawsuit.

I'm not saying that weapons should be allowed. I'm just stating that all options need to be very carefully reviewed. Some of the companies that I have worked for have opted to not include any form of weapons policy at all. That way they are not explicitly giving permission nor are they denying it (I wrote the policy manual for one of these companies). In my experience I have found that most employees assume that there is a no weapons policy since most, if not all, of their previous employers have had one. None of them thought it enough trouble to check the policy manual, they just went on their assumptions.

Just some food for thought. Good luck!

-- It appears that my spleeing chucker isn't working again.
[ Parent ]

Oh please no. (3.80 / 5) (#19)
by pwhysall on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 07:32:23 AM EST

I'm really, *really* sure that the right to bear arms IN YOUR CUBICLE is one debate we don't need to have :)
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]
HR people (1.77 / 9) (#9)
by sergent on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 02:00:00 AM EST

HR people (well, the ones I have met) are so clueless, it's not even funny.

Re: HR people (2.60 / 5) (#14)
by squigly on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 04:14:08 AM EST

The HR people where I work (a large multinational) are good at their job. Their job doesn't let them have anything to do with computers, or trying to prevent employees from killing each other (except for not hiring violent employees).

Professionals shouldn't need careful monitoring. Its a workplace, not a childcare centre.

--
People who sig other people have nothing intelligent to say for themselves - anonimouse
[ Parent ]
Counselling, you could go to jail (3.62 / 8) (#13)
by andrewmuck on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 04:09:24 AM EST

once the thought police get control they don't like giving it up. 13 yr old jailed after being told to write a scary story.
Time to be very very careful, what you say and do.

cya, Andrew....

Some good ideas, but mostly bad (3.75 / 8) (#15)
by khym on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 04:33:12 AM EST

Monitoring of DNS logs will be expanded to search for sites with "potentially violent" materials.
Gathering information like this to look for overall patterns might be a good thing...
This includes visiting Bud K, an online catalog of collectors' swords, knives, and related items.
maybe even including that (a very small maybe)...
If any "potentially violent" materials are found, whether by means above, or by accidental discovery, there will be a mandatory counselling session to "evaluate potential threats."
But that's going way to far. If you establish an overall pattern of "this person seems rather unstable and over-focused on violence", then that could be cause for an impromptu counseling session. But taking any *one* of these things as an indication that a person might be dangerous. At a private business, the equipment being used is own by the company, so the company has the right
EMail will be scanned at random for threatening messages.
This doesn't really make sense. If you're threatening someone inside of the company, they can report you; if you're threatening someone outside of the company, they can report you to the postmaster of the company, and/or the police. How exactly is scanning examil gonna help?
FPS games are no longer allowed (we are allowed to play games, since work is done on deadline basis).
Now that's gotta take the cake. Do they think that playing an FPS will send a person who's already dangerous over the edge? Seem that if someone is out for blood, playing an FPS would help them let off some steam. That people who play FPS are more likely to be dangerous? Even if there were true, it would have to be so statistically insignificant as to make it a useless indicator. Besides, people will keep on playing these games at home. What if you visit a cowoker at home, and see DOOM running on they're PC; should you report them to the boss?
I have to take home ... my Quake2 figurines
Now that's gotta be the hight of stupidity. I mean, is just looking at going to make you go postal? Better take home those Rambo and Xena figurines too!

Or maybe FPS and Quake figurines are supposed to indicate the type of people that might be violent? If that's so, are you (and everyone else who was known to play FPS) going to undergo a counselling session, even after you remove all traces of offending stuff from the office?
Everyone will have a counselling session once per quarter,again to "evaluate potential threats."
Now this makes sense. A once a quarter counselling, I could easily take that, and there's some chance that it might be able to weed out some of the violence prone people.
... I have to take home the decorative daggers and such that are in my cube, ...
A "no weapons" policy might make sense, if the weapon could do more damage than any of the ordinary stuff that's already laying around the office. But if the daggers were no sharper than, say, a letter opening knife, then it would be pretty stupid to make you take them home.

--
Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
Re: Some good ideas, but mostly bad (4.66 / 3) (#28)
by Kaa on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 02:44:10 PM EST

Gathering information like this to look for overall patterns might be a good thing...

Ahem. I call it witchhunting.

a counselling session once per quarter

Now this makes sense. A once a quarter counselling, I could easily take that


Makes sense? Makes sense?!?! [jumps up and down wildly waving arms] This place seem to think it owns its employees. Why should I even talk to a counselor of theirs, especially if he is effectively an inquisitor, whose task is to sniff out suspicious tendencies? Have these assholes ever heard of such concept as "privacy"? My brain is my private territory, thankyouverymuch. Unless they will accept me smiling at them and suggesting to discuss the comparative advantages of Pikachu and Jigglypuff, any place that tries to force counseling on me will learn what "violent" really means! [stops jumping up and down]

Really, I believe these guys are waaaay out of line here.

Kaa
Kaa's Law: In any sufficiently large group of people most are idiots.


[ Parent ]
Re: Some good ideas, but mostly bad (none / 0) (#30)
by RadiantMatrix on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 04:38:21 PM EST

My brain is my private territory, thankyouverymuch.
My biggest problem with it is that the implication is "every employee is potentially dangerous." It's one thing to offer counselling to someone after they, say, scream at the boss and drive off (4 hours early) angrily -- quite another to make everyone go through counselling.

On the flip side (and my g/f is going to kill me if she reads this), our counsellor is quite lovely - lots of the staff are happy to see her quarterly. :)
--
I'm not going out with a "meh". I plan to live, dammit. [ZorbaTHut]

[ Parent ]

Re: Some good ideas, but mostly bad (none / 0) (#31)
by Kaa on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 09:50:30 AM EST

My biggest problem with it is that the implication is "every employee is potentially dangerous."

Well, I that doesn't bother me all that much. You don't give root access to random lusers, and I, for example, can be quite dangerous under the right circumstances. Instead, the wrong thing about this is that there is an underlying assumption that everybody is guilty unless proven innocent. And, of course, their belief that they can examine my personality at will, as if I were a pinned insect under glass.

I think the "Nancy Reagan defence" is quite appropriate here. Just say NO.

Kaa
Kaa's Law: In any sufficiently large group of people most are idiots.


[ Parent ]
A couple thoughts (3.25 / 8) (#16)
by ghoti on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 05:47:47 AM EST

Thank you for this article, this is really very interesting, and scary, too.

I didn't, however, quite get the point they are trying to make. This is a company we are talking about, not a school, right? So how will these measures set examples for kids?

To me, these are extremely offensive and patronizing measures. I don't think I would tolerate them in a school my kids attended (okay, I don't have kids, but if I had ...), but I am sure I would not tolerate this kind of behaviour towards employees in a company. This is like the supervision in a jail. They treat you like criminals! So if I were in your shoes (and I know this is a lot easier said than done) I would try to avoid that these measures actually come into effect. Talk to your coworkers, talk to your boss, threaten to quit. Aren't there any rules as to how far a company can go?

I just think that these measures are an insult to any grown-up person, and I can't see how they could have any positive effect on the workers, not to mention the children. These are just make-believe efforts to fight something a company can't fight. And the measures are unacceptable, in my opinion.

<><
Re: A couple thoughts (2.75 / 4) (#22)
by bugeyedbill on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 09:46:29 AM EST

To me, these are extremely offensive and patronizing measures. I don't think I would tolerate them in a school my kids attended (okay, I don't have kids, but if I had ...), but I am sure I would not tolerate this kind of behaviour towards employees in a company.

Why not? Companies are fascist environments anyway, you do what you are told or you are out. So what difference does it make if they institute these kinds of policies, they already exist for most Americans. At least with public schools, there is some measure of accountability due to the public for the way their kids are treated. With private corporations, there is no accountability for the way people are treated, except for maybe the dent turnover costs make on profits.

[ Parent ]

Gotta be good for morale! (4.66 / 9) (#18)
by h0tr0d on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 07:11:08 AM EST

Instituting a policy like this has got to do wonders for employee morale. Let's see, my employer requires me to sit with a counselor once per quarter. Does this mean that I'm allowed to actually benefit from the visit and release some of my tension (most of which comes from stupid policies like this)?

Patient(employee): Dr. I am so stressed about having to tip toe around my boss, who is a blooming idiot, because he thinks everything I do is violent (hacking a kernel, using bash, fscking, defragging, killing processes). Etc, etc, etc.

Counsellor: Oh, I'm sorry, but your not allowed to do that. I'm an employee (or under contract) of the company and therefore everything you say or that I perceive you would like to say will be reported to your immediate supervisor.

-- It appears that my spleeing chucker isn't working again.

I grow tired of columbine anything... (3.33 / 6) (#21)
by Renstar on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 09:39:27 AM EST

mainly because all these "solutions" tend to ignore the real answer to one question. All the news shows are like why, why, must be the games, must be the movies but the real problem, I know for a fact because I deal with it EVERY day. The people they killed were the problem, not the kids who killed them. Maybe not those 7 or 11 or however many specifically, but the people who insist on chastizing the ones who don't conform to society.

Here is a link to an onion article. It is funny, but funny casue its true funny and that ain't funny. As the silverchair song Suicidal Dream goes "The people makin fun of me, for no reason bur jealousy..."

The liberal media neglects to place teh fault on the tormentors. Shooting people was the wrong way yo handle it but when all other ways are exhausted and no one listens to you while assholes just get off on what they do...someone needs to be woken up and for somereason, even columbine failed to do it.

Wake up society....



This will sound a bit strange (3.60 / 5) (#24)
by blixco on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 11:00:28 AM EST

...especially if you know me. But here's the deal: while you're at work, your time is not yours. The resources that you are using are not yours. The games you play are not being played at your leisure. Everything at work is an asset, and assets include liability.

Part of being employed is understanding your employers stance and environment. Yeah, it'd be nice for "morale" to allow Quake3 tourneys every day, but all it takes is one guy losing a game and going psycho on his co-workers. That one guy costs the company their reputation, millions in lawsuits, and millions in lost business. Your employers don't want their business to be as notorious as Columbine...granted, brand recognition would soar, but not for the right reasons.

And not to say that folks who play FPS games are more prone to violence than folks who use Excel, but from a pure courtoom perspective, a nut who shoots everyone after playing Quake is a nut who lost it playing Quake, while a nut who loses it after working on Excel is just a nut.

Sorry to say it, but we're driven by lawsuits here...liability is King. If you don't like the environment, you can probably appeal for changes, but ultimately you'll be happier somewhere else....until the new employers start to crack down on the same issues.

Something you don't seem to know: employers *cannot* act in ways that are "rational" or sensible to you. They end up too exposed to lawsuits if they do. They're not like us, these businesses. "Clueless" HR people are driven by clueless lawsuits, and that's that. And it sucks, but there's not a damn thing you can do about it.


-------------------------------------------
The root of the problem has been isolated.
Humans are just animals... (3.16 / 6) (#25)
by Bloodwine on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 11:03:14 AM EST

We are a species of animal... nothing more... nothing less. People like to be arrogant and think that we are well-above other species of animals, but the truth is that we are just a part of the food chain.

The problem is that at no time in history (not that I would know for sure... i've only been around since 1977) has humanity been so constrained to not act naturally. We are imprisoning ourselves to a mental zoo.

If someone engages in a mating ritual to try and attract the opposite sex... well, that's not right because it's sexual harassment.

If someone shows aggression... well, let's get that person into therapy! There is something wrong!!!

If someone hurts someone else's feelings, then it is only right to sue them! That is the civil, evolved way of handling disputes. Bare-knuckle brawls are barbaric!

By tightening the collective collar on humanity, more and more people will snap and feel a need to act out all of his/her bottled-up primal urges.

Most mammilian parents (especially mothers) spent alot of time with their offspring when they are in early development. That's not right... because that prevents the momma bear from working her job and socializing with other bears.

There is middle-ground. Even though we are animals we don't have to act like wild beasts, but we also don't have to deny our feelings and instincts.

When I was in grade school I got in several fist-fights. And in the typical-male fashion most of my opponents became good friends. I don't harbor any needs to throw on a trenchcoat and blow people away. Well... except for SUV drivers who talk on their cell-phones and swerve into my lane. That (childhood fights) can't happen nowadays... you'll end up in therapy and will forever be "broken". We were all children once... and unfortunately most people can't remember what it was like, because they are too busy pushing their adult ideals on children.

An episode of South Park I watched recently illustrates my point. Cartman is sent to juvenile jail for a "hate crime". "What does him being black have anything to do with it?" <-- exactly... children don't have the prejudices until they are taught them by us.

Re: Humans are just animals... (3.00 / 2) (#26)
by fester on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 01:20:44 PM EST

This is an extremely immature way to look at life. By calling yourself an "animal" you have absolved yourself of all responsiblity. Thus, any of your actions can be rationalized by calling them "instincts." And that disturbs me quite a bit. The ironic thing is that by claiming people are nothing special (just a part of the food chain) you've actually proven the opposite: we are set apart. When was the last time an animal came to you and said "Frankly, I think we are all part of a great big cycle of hunter and hunted" ? Hmmm.

[ Parent ]
Re: Humans are just animals... (3.00 / 2) (#27)
by Bloodwine on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 02:34:44 PM EST

On the other hand, when have you seen other animals just run around and destroy other animals for fun, not food?

When have you seen other animals run around and kill off their offspring because they don't want to deal with the responsibility?

Do animals run all over the place and rape each other?

I stated that we should find the middle-ground, where there are in-fact responsibilities and consequences, but not forget that we are slaves to desires, emotions, and urges. Living in denial of those urges only cause more pain and trouble.

[ Parent ]
Re: Humans are just animals... (none / 0) (#32)
by gas on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 01:02:41 PM EST

Many predators kill just for fun. It probably started to be fun because it's good practise for when it really matters. Many other animals kill (some of) their children when food gets short. Even rape is common in some other species.

Note that "lots of animals do it" does not justify anything. It does not get nicer to be chased, bitten and clawed to death just because it happens a lot...


[ Parent ]
"Post-Columbine" managment techniques | 32 comments (28 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!