Idiot of the Day: American Family Association confuses people’s names and sexual orientations

The auto-replace function can save you a lot of hassle when writing or editing a paper. You want to change all ampersands to the word “and”? No problem. You realize you’ve left a letter out of someone’s last name? Easy as pie. You think people with descriptive last names actually embody those names? Umm, yeah…

The American Family Association, according to their website, is for people “who are tired of cursing the darkness and who are ready to light a bonfire.” Does that mean there will be s’mores? If so, I’m all in. Oh wait, they’re also attempting to take us back to the “better days” when people appreciated “traditional family values” — you know, like sending your “crazy” daughter to a mental institution because she thought for herself, or imploring your local pastor to “heal” your gay son. It’s that kind of organization. Nevermind about the s’mores then, you’d probably poison them to get rid of “radicals” like me.

Anyway, for whatever reason (their attempt to be PC I guess?), the AFA website has an auto-replace set up to replace all instances of the word “gay” with the word “homosexual.” Nice attempt guys, EXCEPT that Gay in not an uncommon last name (as for Gaylord, would that become Homosexual Lord? because that would be awesome). So when Tyson Gay won the 100 meter Olympic Trials this past weekend, the AFA website ran the headline “Homosexual Eases Into 100 Final at Olympic Trials.” Whoopsies.

I mean, I know they’re anti-gay, but do they really want to be anti-Gay? What did Marcia Gay Harden ever do to them? Furthermore, what if this goes further? Will Lewis Black now be referred to as “Lewis African American”? Will Mr. Green from the board game Clue now be referred to as “Mr. Dirty Hippie Tree-Hugging Environmentalist”? Stop the insanity AFA!

[Thanks Boing Boing!]

As if the chance of accidentally sending love letters to your boss wasn’t enough, new study finds 1/3 of IT admins read your work email

It is always embarrassing to have private information about yourself shared in a public manner. For example, if you share a secret with a friend, who then gets drunk and regales everyone at a party about the time you [insert highly embarrassing "secret" here], that really sucks. Or how about the time you accidentally reply to all to an email thread, and badmouth one of the recipients? Yikes, that could be painful.

In my six or so years of working in offices, I have *luckily* not had any highly embarrassing slip-ups, but I have had friends make such mistakes and even heard about large-scale accidental email sharing. For example, my department had an internal address that included the 10 or so of us in editorial. One coworker sent accidentally sent an email intended for his girlfriend to the internal address instead of hers — understandable because we each sent at least 30 emails per day through this address, but also pretty embarrassing for him. He asked that we just delete the email without reading it, but being naturally voyeuristic, of course we all read it! An even more damaging story comes from an employee many years ago who actually sent an email to his girlfriend over the wire (i.e., out to journalists with real news stories). It’s bad enough getting called out for having a pet name of “snookie bottom” by your coworkers, but having hundreds — if not thousands — of people know this would probably be pretty damaging to one’s ego (and most likely to one’s career as well).

Because of stories like these, I have always avoided sending personal information via my work accounts. The chance for mis-sends is high, and I prefer to avoid explaining to a future employer about why I was let go from a previous job for inappropriately using work email.

Seems like I had the right idea about this, as we now have another reason to not use work email for personal interaction: In a recent survey conducted by tech company Cyber-Ark, 1/3 of respondents (all senior IT employees) admitted to using their admin passwords to read confidential or sensitive information. What this means is that if you have managed to draw attention to yourself by either being too attractive, too important, or too annoying, the chances are pretty good that admins are reading all your email. And if you fall into the annoying category, they’re probably not only reading your email, but they’re trying to find a way to use it against you.

So leave off the work emails kids, or your next job may not only have no work email, but will probably require you to ask “Would you like fries with that?” about 500 times a day.

Thanks to Josh for sharing this with me from Techdirt.