I have spent the day reading about ethics. Enthralling, I know. It’s for my final summer course, and I’m so ready to be done and enjoy myself this summer. So I’ve been working hard to finish it all up, and it got me thinking today. Am I ethical in my decision-making? Are you?
I gave my presentation about Facebook and that ethics hoopla earlier in the week, and now, my research paper is about ethics in editing. It’s relevant to me, because I’ve been editing all summer for internships and other projects, and I’m taking an editing course in the fall. I’ve been trying to stay completely ethical the whole time. I use Track Changes when I edit. I don’t change plot, purpose, or main ideas. I simply correct grammar, reshape sentences sometimes, and make more paragraphs when they get too long. But sometimes, I’m tempted. I don’t like what they’re saying, or I don’t think it’s relevant. I’ve been known to cut sentences out, because they just don’t work.
Is that ethical?
I write on this blog without asking people’s permission sometimes. I tell stories that I wasn’t given explicit permission to tell. I muse on things that are above my pay grade. I make funnies about television shows whose writers and cast have no idea I exist. I put up links to music videos once a week without asking if it’s all right to do so (although they are official YouTube videos, so it’s really only benefitting the artist).
Are those things ethical?
I also read today that there is a difference between morals and ethics. That’s interesting to me. It reminded me of a line in Pirates of the Caribbean. Ethics, by definition, is a code that people are supposed to follow. It’s a set of rules. Morals, on the other hand, “are more like guidelines than an actual code.” I probably didn’t get that quite right, but if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know what I’m referring to.
It’s a lot to consider.