I should put pictures of myself on the web. And so should you!

A friend of mine (who shall remain unnamed to protect the guilty) wrote the following.

Suggested edits to Bradley C. Kuszmaul's Picture Policy.

Deletions in []. Additions in {}.

I believe that putting people's pictures on the web is a [bad] {very good} idea.

Placing pictures on the web {is incredibly useful} [has very little use]. {It can help make one rich.} It [doesn't help deal with email faster, or to find the right web page easier (it] {doesn't} actually slow[s] things down.) It {has and will continue to} [doesn't] contribute to scientific progress {i.e. Akamai research.}

Some have argued that you can gain a competitive edge when you attend research conferences because you will know all the big-name researchers on sight. Bologna! {The advantage is actually that you will no longer have to care who the big-name researchers are.} [This position argues in favor of putting everyone else's picture on the network except your own. (After all] {Moreover, with Akamazation,} the big-name researchers [don't] have {loads of} time to cruise the web to memorize your face {!} [, so the only people who will know you by sight because of your web picture are people who you probably don't want to know!) ]

Some argue that there is a social contract {and thank god for it}: If you want everyone else's picture on the web, then {all you have to do} [you] should {be that you} put your own on the web. Well, I [don't] want everyone's picture (and related videos) on the web, so I [don't] put mine on.

There {could be} [is actually] some harm to putting your picture on the web. You can become the target of various forms of harassment and discrimination. {The solution - put someone else's picture on the web (or pictures of your family pet, etc.) along with any videos you have on hand, just put it on now!} [For example, in early December in the Boston Glob, there was an article about "Cruising the Web for Babes" by two Glob reporters who were acting like immature morons. The thesis of the article was that they could find the email addresses of hundreds of good looking women by cruising the web sites of the ivy league colleges (especially the women's colleges.) What a great idea! Not! Fortunately, they didn't have much success.]

Some have argued that women and minorities especially should put their pictures on the web so that other women and minorities will see examples of people like themselves who are doing whatever it is that they are doing. It is argued that these examples of success are needed to encourange, for example, women to study electrical engineering. This argument has some merit. Each of us must decide for ourselves how to factor this issue into the decision of whether to put our pictures on the net.

I [don't] put my picture on the web {and you should too}.

Bradley C. Kuszmaul (bradley@mit.edu)

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