Off the record
Mark Rittman had some interesting comments this morning (not that he isn't interesting other times of course). At then end of his blog he mentioned the responsibility of confidentiality and trust placed in people that do this blog thing right now. The concept is "if you are talking to someone that has a large public readership - is what you are saying to them 'on record' or 'off record'".
To me, it is all off record unless I ask your permission. Just recently, I wrote about Trust, in there I named a person I had a conversation with (Kathy Sierra) and quoted an email from her. Prior to doing that I asked for her permission. I had to wait for a couple of days since she was away at a conference without connectivity - so that blog sat in my folder for a while before I printed it. In that same one, I quoted Gunnar Bjarnason - and he knew I was going to (right after he said that quote to me, I told him I want to put that into the blog and he said that would be great).
For me, it is a two way street. I've been quoted a couple of times on dbdebunk, most recently with this posting. Each time however, I knew it was coming and on an earlier one - I even got to say "if you are going to make that public, I'd rather it be said this way" and he obliged, since he was quoting an email message that was otherwise private (he contacted me, not the other way around). I also had the choice in that case to say "no, don't publish that". Fabian does have a printed policy on commentary you send him however.
That is more than professional courtesy, that is the way it has to be done. I've some emails that would be "fun" to print, but would never do it. What goes around, comes around as they say and I sure wouldn't like everything I've ever said (or typed, email to me being a form of conversation) posted.
So, yes, I agree with Mark that what is said to someone should be "private, not for the blog" unless you ask first - or make it known that the question you are asking the person is going to be written about. Just so they know and are not surprised.
Even something as simple as "what company did I talk to", I ask permission first. Anyone could have a valid reason for not wanting others to know.
So, now you know, if you ever end up sitting next to me at dinner at a conference, or on a customer visit or because I'm there to fix a problem you are having and we talk - it is off the record. The concepts might come through - if you say something "deep" or teach me something new (and I'll try to attribute you - if you let me) but the confidentiality, it is there.
On an unrelated note, it was fun to watch what OOW did to the hits on the blog:
while I don't expect it to remain at that level - it was neat to see that event cause such a spike.