Community, Editorials

Thinking Through the Code of Ethics

I have to admit I was surprised how well the code of ethics has stood up over 11 years.  (Here’s a link to the current rendition).  Sure, there are things that I’d like to re-visit, but I was glad to see that most of the key elements were things that would still apply today.

The one that was called out that stuck in my mind on my own review was this:

Protect co-workers from data systems.

It was called out in the comments too.  I can rationalize all sorts of ways of interpreting this, but I think it’s clear that it’s purpose is too muddy to have it really considered going forward.  It would be a nice thought to say that you’re protecting co-workers from the complexity of the underlying data systems (make them easy to use and access) but honestly, depending on how you do that, you could actually be causing problems (you could be so sterilizing the information that they can’t manipulate it as they need to).

I found myself trying to come up with the right words for empowering the stakeholders and helping them learn from the data assets of the company.  But I can’t seem to find the right words, and… I don’t know if it’s too specific.

This is something that flies in the face of what I suspect was the hidden intent of the original – that statement above.  To protect the data from the users.

The reason I believe there should be something in here about this is that so much of the work we do is now about facilitating information flow from the information systems to the end-users of that information.  But in a safe, controlled, managed way.  It seems like that should be a key objective – providing for that type of access while still respecting the other objectives (and indeed regulations and laws) that surround data protection and use.

That’s about the only other element I think I would add in there.  Interestingly I did look to see what others have written.  I’m happy to say this one is the shortest… and possibly the most “informal” but I like that it points out the various stakeholders and that it’s been originally, and now, based on comments and feedback from so many in the community.

I sit and stare out the window a bit trying to imagine what the next 11 years will bring that we should consider.  What do you think?

I shared on my Twitter (@swynk – would love to have you follow if you’re inclined)  about predictions of a “knowledge tsunami.”  First, what a perfect name for it, because when you see the knowledge growth graph in the post, you’ll see what it’s all about.

Second, I firmly believe it’s on our collective shoulders to enable this – to make it possible and feasible and workable and effective.  All ethically.  Morally.  Functionally.

Is that expecting too much?  Is that outside the purview of what you anticipate?  Should other things be thought of as part of the Code of Ethics?

Would love to hear your thoughts…