I am a Ph.D student, and I've been considering for some time starting my own blog as a hobby, to write mostly on philosophical/political topics that interest me; these are definitely not related to my field of research (at least, not most of them). As it happens, some of the topics I want to address are controversial, and much of what I would write could be interpreted as being offensive to one group or another.

Let's assume I want to look for a tenure-track position, and later on get tenure. Ideally, I hope everyone would agree that such a personal blog should not alter in any way my case for obtaining the position. In practice, I am concerned that the existence of such a blog could be used to attack my case for the position (and later on, my case for tenure) on the grounds that the opinions therein found are "offensive" or even "hate speech" (as might be interpreted by some very sensitive people in these modern times). More subtly, one imagines it could cause some decision-making persons to develop an effective bias against me, which would probably have a negative effect.

Thus my question in the title. I am looking both for personal experiences that people have had, and for some statistical data that may answer the question or a closely-related one (such as, does non-trivial political participation affect academic career? etc.)

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    See How detrimental is involvement in politics to a scientific career? and Academic freedom and unpopular or offensive views, both of which have very good and comprehensive answers. I'm not sure there's much more to say on this topic... – ff524 Oct 10 '16 at 6:05
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    You're unlikely to find statistics on this. If someone is passed over for a job because of their political views, that won't be written down anywhere. – user37208 Oct 10 '16 at 6:30
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    You may want to consider keeping the two things completely separate. However, for an example of a professor running a high-profile, extremely controversial political blog, see legalinsurrection.com. (Keep in mind this guy had tenure when he started his blog.) – aparente001 Oct 10 '16 at 15:18
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    You can anytime remove your formal identity from the blog, and use a "writer" name. – Nikey Mike Oct 10 '16 at 19:12
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    I do not see this as a duplicate of Hypercube's question; this question is specifically about running a blog about Lentes' political views, Hypercube's is about his/her political activism more generally. – Deleuze Oct 11 '16 at 11:37

Let's start with this: as a professor you will be in a position of power over quite a few people. Part of the job of being a professor is to responsibly manage a number of employees and respectfully interact with students. If you really did (recently) practice hate speech, then that does legitimately disqualify you.

However, when this becomes an issue you will probably never hear about it. Think about that from the position of the hiring committee: They have a number of applicants, most will be somewhat suitable for the job, but one will be stronger on one point and another stronger on another. So there are so many ways in which you can justify any decision. So when you do write down the justification, you will choose the one that will give the least problems.

  • I suggest you set up your browser to do automatic spell checking. – aparente001 Oct 10 '16 at 15:15
  • In practice, one never writes down any justification at all for decisions not to hire someone. – Tom Church Oct 10 '16 at 21:08
  • In germany an ordered list of candidates is made that does need justification. – Maarten Buis Oct 10 '16 at 21:20
  • To be clear, I am not really concerned about saying hateful things because I harbor no such opinions and find them absurd; I am, however, concerned that, per recent campus trends, some very easily offended people may find some different opinions so difficult to them that they label it as "hate speech". Having read the answers to the linked question, I am now convinced that, if I have such a blog, I have to make it anonymous. – Lentes Oct 11 '16 at 1:59
  • An anonymous blog is probably a waste of your time. The problem with anonymous blogs is that you will be convinced you are right, and they will be convinced you are wrong, and nobody will learn anything. It is usually much more productive to talk to people. They are usually much more reasonable than you think, and they may actually have a point. They may exaggerate a bit, but that does not mean the point is not there. Also be careful about blaming others for being offended. It is usually best to respect the feelings of others even if you don't understand them. – Maarten Buis Oct 11 '16 at 8:08

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