Ask your supervisor about this Tea Makers post

A number of people forwarded me a note from John Dube last Thursday, in which he outlined the CBC’s blogging guidelines. I didn’t write about it because Mr. Dube asked people not to distribute the guidelines outside of the CBC.

As a courtesy to him, I didn’t say anything.

Tod didn’t get that part of the memo, put a summary online, and a very interesting discussion ensued on his blog.

Myself, I was determined to spend the weekend drinking margaritas and enjoying the sunshine. I figured it would all blow over. Sure enough, come Tuesday, by the time the booze wore off, it was all revealed to be an elaborate hoax perpetrated by Jon “Cyberjournalist” Dube, the robot manager sent from the future to exterminate mankind and trigger Armageddon.

It was a kind of reverse Nigerian 419 scam where the employee would sacrifice little bits of freedom in anticipation of a bigger payoff. It’s very telling that there’s been no mention made of anyone acting on these guidelines. I’d be pretty embarrassed if I deleted this blog because of some “draft” that was circulated as law.

I guess they expected CBCers to ignore the memo anyways.

It was pretty clear to me that the document was a draft. For one, “CBC” is spelled wrong. I don’t know who wrote it, but their technical knowledge is a bit shaky. They’re afraid that blogs will be “channeled through CBC/Radio-Canada’s e-mail system.”

Let’s cut the crap here. These guidelines didn’t have anything to do with journalism or technology. And these ghosts of past Editor in Chiefs, offices of nonexistent Editor in Chiefs, and jumpy Cyberjournalists are just a smokescreen. This is a Human Resources and Industrial Relations thing, pure and simple.

Tony Burman knows how to spell “CBC.” Jon Dube knows blogs aren’t “channeled” through email. Strange that Tony’s been gone two weeks, and then this comes down the pipe. If I were a suspicious sort I would think that someone is slipping one in after Tony left and before the next guy gets in.

Someone who wants to hoard a nice juicy chestnut in their sunken cheeks for 2009.

Now, I’ve never identified myself as an employee of CBC/Radio-Canada on this blog, so I don’t have much more than a passing interest in all of this. Many of my readers may have made assumptions and extrapolations, but surely I can’t be held accountable for the conjecture of the deranged.

And regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I’ve taken down a few bits over the last month. Just deleted them altogether. I want you to know that this was not done lightly.

I was asked to do it.

We are bloggers, not beasts. It was done with compassion, common sense, and consideration. Counterintuitively, it felt right. It related directly to item #4 in the CBC Blogging Manifesto.

Look, I know that The Tea Makers isn’t sustainable. I realize that no manager will ever authorise it. I realize that it’s not a good model for CBCers to emulate. I realize that sooner or later I’ll have to come out with my hands up.

But you have to admit that The Tea Makers has done the CBC more good than harm. Some days, a lot of good.

Funny thing, that.

We put that Manifesto together not as an exercise in ass-covering, but because as CBCers who blog we decided to lead the way on some guidelines for the confused and some inspiration for the lethargic. They aren’t perfect, I admit. But I think they’re a better starting point than what I saw last week.

And in the same spirit of compassion, consideration, and common sense, I want to extend my services, expertise, and experience to the people in the CBC who are preparing the next draft of these guidelines and might want my advice. For free. On my own time.

Just ask.


  1. Anonymous
    Posted August 15, 2007 at 7:06 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Everybody pays better than the CBC.

  2. Ouimet
    Posted August 15, 2007 at 4:18 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Yes, I’d be curious to hear the rest of that story, 2:33PM Anonymous, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    If you feel safe telling it, post it here or send it to me.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted August 14, 2007 at 2:52 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Anonymous at 2:33 PM, you should write something more about this, with or without your name (another comment, or better yet e-mail Ouimet with a guest post.) It would make for very interesting reading, and there’s an audience here that is listening.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted August 14, 2007 at 12:33 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    A few years ago I was fired from the CBC for making disparaging remarks about my job/supervisor there on my blog. At the time it was quite traumatic, but at my new job (which fell into my lap shortly after I was fired) I earn 25% more for a little over half the weekly hours I worked at the CBC. Thanks, CBC!

  5. Johnny Happypants
    Posted August 12, 2007 at 4:16 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Check out

    Vosen character in

    Bourne Ultimatum

    Did David Strathairn study with our friend Dick?

  6. Allan
    Posted August 10, 2007 at 8:06 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    We think of a freedom as a right, and therefore the opposite of a rule, but a right is a rule. It is a prohibition against sanctions on certain types of behaviour. We also think of rights as privileges retained by individuals against the rest of society, but rights are created not for the good of individuals, but for the good of society.
    Individual freedoms are manufactured to achieve group ends.

    Louis Menand
    The Metaphysical Club

  7. Anonymous
    Posted August 10, 2007 at 12:54 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Duck that, it really is a bit bumper in a vannglass, duck don’t you think? Duppeditter indeed.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted August 10, 2007 at 11:31 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    And M Ouimet’s little link to its Norwegian vikin ancesters over there on the right could have been in one of the two official languages of Canada, re: the CBC blog policy being a hot topic in Europe these days because of the pleasure of CBCOvernight radio.
    Which M. Ouimet charaterized as :
    “CBC har ikke bestemt seg ennå”
    “Hvordan er det i din bedrift? Har du som ansatt lov til å uttrykke dine egne meninger på fritiden, uten at ledelsen i bedriften er informert om det først?”

    In bad Intertran English (courtesy of the FoxLingo extension plugin in Firefox), it said:

    CBC hasn’t appointed her ennÃ¥
    NRKs sandkasse for science, duppeditter, new the media and everything
    else as is urgent in life

    CBC hasn’t appointed her ennÃ¥
    10. august 2007 at Øyvind Sunshine ·

    We wrote about CBC in Canadian as savage ban appointed å blogge
    except leave først. Nå has it come a klargjøring at CBC.
    Sjefredaktør Esther Enkin say at Inside CBC (CBCs official blogg):
    In spite of the fact that document you reference dates back to
    duck was is distributing dates back to some stripe ice an early
    map shame proposed policies. Senile management had ash that they
    be accountancy blame April, duck they will be reviewed again.
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    convenient on.
    A bit bumper in a vannglass, but what of which these the rules
    actual became agreed? And it is the interesting å see what a
    lawsuit as lie at the back such rules. CBC- employed Paul Gorbould
    say følgende:
    IN really, really liker det ikke in spite of the fact that way
    this document came about. Dates back to wit: it was crafted behind
    closed doors, set on secret, conform any consultation conform in
    spite of the fact that people who know duck care most about it,
    conform any heed dates back to industry best practices, conform
    any transparency or public input. That’s finish pre- lock-out
    less, duck it coughed hide finish Web 1.0 policy that makes
    everyone look foolish. Duck that, set on my the public opinion,
    ice make merry do not damage than anything any CBC blogger has
    ever said or donate.
    More concerns ought følge IBMs example, they dispatched edged this
    humble at 320 000 appointed for around dates back to år afterwards:
    IBM today ice publishing an announcement on its Intranet cite
    encouraging all 320,000+ employees world wide dates back to
    consider engaging actively set on in spite of the fact that
    practice shame blogging. This move follows several years shame
    persistent grassroots efforts later an communicating community
    shame IBM bloggers.
    And IBMs blogging guidelines (pdf- file link) able a great time overføres
    at Norwegian affair.
    How is that in din concern? Have you as employed law at å be
    expressive of does not dine own convictions på the leisure time,
    except that conductorship in concern am informed about facts

    blogging CBC

  9. Allan
    Posted August 9, 2007 at 5:29 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Can’t find a blog advocating for the CBC, when there’s so much to discuss:

    Even unimportant people are important

    Am i stealing from the CBC?

    Elevator rides – the pleasant way

    Free gum shipment for Hour audience delayed. George walks Much better.

  10. Allan
    Posted August 9, 2007 at 3:37 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece


  11. Allan
    Posted August 9, 2007 at 2:09 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Former CBC employee Robert Mills has a few choice insults at his blog of delightful bits and pieces.
    But he adds little to understanding what all the hub-bub is about, other than repeating Cory’s janitor misinformation.

    Is there a difference between a personal view and a professional view?

    The aspect of union advocacy was settled a long time ago.
    Just ask your supervisor if you didn’t know that.
    But you may have to wait until this becomes actual policy because at this point the supervisors are as in the dark as anyone.

    It’ll start to be more fun when people begin reporting (accurately, we hope) on the initial approaches to superiors about this policy and hearing their responses.
    A memo will go out directing supervisors how to handle inquiries, and you can be sure that it will include which department and person to contact if the supervisors answers seemed too vague and convoluted.

  12. Allan
    Posted August 9, 2007 at 10:57 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Of course they don’t have such a policy.
    Name one Canadian organization that does.
    They don’t need to because current regulations covers all issues relating to an employees interaction with the public while performing their duties AND making representations after hours that give the appearance of being endorsed by their employer with or without first advising their employer.
    Everyone is allowed to post their resume on-line and inflate their accomplishments, just not lie of course.
    It’s been going on for a long time already, and if you ask your supervisor for permission to do so, the answer will be an automatic “yes”.
    Some people want to pretend that’s not the case, in order to alarm the less informed, and make the CBC look bad.
    Believe it or not, common sense can be found wandering in the Rotunda (or whatever that waste of space is)

  13. Paul
    Posted August 9, 2007 at 9:45 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    If anyone can find the CMGA policy on blogging, I’ll buy them a Coke.

  14. Allan
    Posted August 9, 2007 at 8:22 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    What’s the CMG’s policy about blogging?
    Can someone stop counting union fees for a moment and answer that?

    (at first, I had typed CMGA, but that’s the Canadian Mushroom Growers’ Association)

  15. Anonymous
    Posted August 9, 2007 at 8:07 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    or give up your staff job, come back as a freelancer. This will almost double your salary and free you from lock outs, layoffs and redundancies forever. You can fight the man.

  16. Anonymous
    Posted August 9, 2007 at 5:58 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The problem with Allan’s rant is that he believes you can win an ideological fight within the CBC and get the place to run more ethically. The strength of the CBC has never been the institution itself. It is a broken corporation. A network of pencil pushers who are wasteful, inept and prone to making costly mistakes. But what makes CBC sometimes great is the talent of individual employees. You can’t fight the man. You can only give up your golden staff job for life in exchange for a 90 minute commute to Carpet City in Agincourt.

  17. Dr Satori
    Posted August 9, 2007 at 5:53 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’m just glad no Canadian ever learned how to make their text blink using html coding – someone would have had to hire them instead of going to the United States – where they have electricity – and hire Jon Dube (is their no accent?). Cyberjournalist LOL (His travel pics make sweet desktops.)

  18. cbcfrank
    Posted August 9, 2007 at 5:38 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Allan may have missed some of his medication or his fibre, but his frustration is entirely understandable.

    We’re no longer about being the nation’s enclave of broadcasting arts and sciences as we have been in the past – this is all too passé. We’re now all about image and spin, and the mugs at the top will simply buy (co-pro) whatever flavour ‘stuff’ they figure they need.

    This is the easy way. Even parliamentary appointments to the role of president can get their heads around this. The far more difficult solution demands leadership that is intimately tuned in to broadcasting, like a Steven Speilberg who has production in his blood from childhood. That kind of leader makes a production facility produce, and with solid results. Guys like that are worth the millions they make because they get results. The present lot certainly try, but know nothing about that culture.

    Even hear at the Teamakers, much of the commentary comes from the journalism segment and some audience. Surely this doesn’t represent broadcasting in its broadest sense.

    Retirement can’t come soon enough.

  19. Kevin
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 7:13 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Dear Anons, if you want to know who Allan is, just look for a mail robot with an undelivered bottle of Haldol lodged in its underparts.

    Check the label and you have your man.

  20. Anonymous
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 5:34 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    TeaMakers ain’t going to have come out with her hands up.

    It will be either

    1) The Great Unsolved Mystery of the 21st Century
    2)Butch and Sundance jumping off the cliff and getting away with it this time.
    3)The Memoirs of Tea Makers published the day she retires.

  21. Allan
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 5:27 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The correction …

    Because you are not paying attention, CBC.
    You are maybe not used to having techno-geeks and web-wizards around, and you’re intimidated by them.

    (we here at Teamakers don’t care about being perfect, and we have even less interest in being phony, and we don’t sit and agonize over the details because we don’t pretend to be anything other than what you see – a bunch of fun people!
    You want carefully crafted bullshit, you know where to go)

  22. Allan
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 5:05 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    You want the truth?
    Can you handle the truth, CBC?
    And can you handle it, you pretentious wanna-be revolutionaries and champions of peoples rights, especially your own rights, to trample on those of others?

    Let’s try an analogy.
    A house with a family in it.
    A dorm room with a bunch of people living in it.
    A start-up company in Palo Alto.
    A book reading club.
    And so on.

    Does each person in those groups have a right to blog about the group, clearly identifying it, without regard to any of the other people in the group?
    What’s your answer?
    Or is it that you want to wait for a “policy paper” to be issued?

    When Ouimet says that Teamakers is not a good model. I have to disagree.
    But pulling this off is not for everyone, but it certainly set a very high standard.
    I do think it’s sustainable, but I’ll have to share that privately.

    You want to see an example of how low the CBC can go?
    You want to see the absolute worst blog that anyone can give to the public while claiming it’s a service?
    Can you guess what blog I’m referring to?

    Nothing says
    we’re lost
    we’re hypocrits
    we’re easily hoodwinked
    we not doing our job
    we’re irresponsible
    we don’t care if we harm the public
    we are untouchable
    … ad naseum


    Nothing shows more how disreputable and thoughtless and careless the CBC is than the people responsible for what goes on on that blog.
    If it was so good, so honourable, then Teamakers would look like The Toronto Sun, instead of the best goddamn threat to hypocrisy and lies and manipulation that the “high ethical standards” of the CBC has produced.
    Standards so high that they must do everything in their power to destroy Teamakers.
    The truth is not what the CBC is interested in hearing.
    Competition is unhealthy.
    If they delete a post and it turns up on Teamakers, destroy Teamakers.

    It tries to be honest, to ask the know-it-alls if they have really thought this through, why is mediocrity allow to be funded and showcased?

    Does the CBC have the courage and confidence to live with a Teamakers blog?
    Yes or no?

    Would the CBC prefer only to wake up each day to the same predictable, meaningless tripe of only John Doyle?
    What a high standard to aspire to, you utterly incompetent cowards.
    You put yourselves into disrepute by demanding that the status quo of intellectual discourse be adhered to for ever and ever.

    You’ve shot yourselves in the foot with
    Because you are not paying attention, CBC.
    You are maybe not used to having around, and you’re intimidated by them.
    And they see it, and they want to rule the world, with everyone groveling at their doors to “please help me o wise genius dork, I put a floppy in my computer with the sleeve still on. I’m just not as brilliant and smart as you geeks.
    You geeks who are looking at my private data.

    Where the fuck is the CBC’s head at?

    You know, that’s really bad language to use in public, Allan, and it’s going to turn a lot of people off and you’ll lose your audience.

    Sorry folks, but …


    Too much passion?

    Oh, please Mr. CBC, may I be allowed to send you an email to audience relations that never gets acknowledged and likely heads straight to Trash?
    I was only going to ask why it is that if you compliment Tod it always gets printed, but never a criticism. Instead, I’m directed to work overtime and contact Communications.
    While the public never finds out what’s really going on.

    That game can’t last forever.
    And that’s, and for many other reasons, why Teamakers must survive and be free.
    How else will George know what I think, and how much I care.

    And if you haven’t woken up yet, there’s way more to come.
    What you’re actually seeing here, believe it or not, is Allan practicing patience.

    I’m giving the CBC every friggen’ chance to show me what they’re made of, what they actually mean by “the high ethical standards that are the hallmark of the CBC. And I’m hoping beyond hope that they can show me that this phrase does indeed apply.

    If there are spelling mistakes or words missing, I couldn’t care less.

  23. goonie
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 4:56 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    frankly I’m starting to suspect Allan is a management plant, sent to discredit an otherwise worthwhile and important blog.

  24. Allan
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 3:17 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    No one has mentioned that this policy may have been deliberately leaked. I guess no one thinks that the people upstairs are that clever.
    I assume it was not deliberate, and that management long ago decided not to stoop to the level of people who blog about the CBC, most of whom are CBC employees at low level jobs with little to lose.
    If they’re unhappy on the web, they’re probably griping at work too.

    The release of the memo affords CBC management a timeline that they can bring forward in any court proceeding, but they still need to confirm that every employee got the memo, probably with a signature.

    Most, in fact just about all the reactions were laughable.
    Wait a year and you will be astounded at the ignorance and logic of the people who have been hired by the CBC.
    It never occurs to them that they are often simply saying “I’m quite stupid, and I work for the CBC.” A poor reflection on both parties.
    I think to myself, if that’s the caliber of thinking that is prevalent in the Guild, no wonder they got locked out. There’s not a voice of reason among them.
    “I won’t let my boss control my brain”, was just too much. Too much Star Trek, I think.
    And you think that no one controls your brain, eh?
    Teenagers with a vivid imagination.
    And of course, shouting me down and deleting my comments is bound to make the world a better place for the ignorant who want to stay just as they are.
    They’re saying that “at my age’ (pick any age) I know everything I need to and there’s nothing more to learn and all of my ideas and opinions are the only correct ones.
    And that qualifies as the definition of ignorance.

    Of course the document is a Human Resources policy paper.
    It is Human Resources that has the duty and authority to control discussion of CBC business outside the workplace.


  25. Enik Sleastak
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 6:20 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hear hear.

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