Monday, May 19, 2008

Cautionary Tale of Leaving the "Track Changes" Unaccepted. Or, I Never Metadata I Didn't Like

Posted by Alan Childress

From the law-tech website The Connected Lawyer comes an abject lesson in leaving metadata or similar residual thoughts intact when sending a document to a client, opposing counsel, or partner down the hall. (Our posts here, here, and here -- and Legal Ethics Forum here and here -- on the inconsistent ethics737931_winter_footprints rules in varying jurisdictions over mining metadata and inadvertent disclosure.)   In this particular case, it was a business plan of a start-up sent out without accepting Word's "Track Changes" (way more stupid than forgetting to scrub true metadata), leaving splayed some marginal comments for readers to enjoy, like:

  • “When you talk through this point on your slides, make Chanukah jokes, he is Jewish and will get them.”
  • “I’d delete this section since we don’t have these features on the roadmap and haven’t figured out how to code this unless you believe the investors won’t catch this.”
  • “VCs are typically stupid when it comes to this section so be prepared for a dumb question blizzard.”

The Connected Lawyer links and credits this post, which in turn links lots of other cautionary tales and examples. (Originally the above problem was noticed by this VC/venture capitalist.) We have some other classic horror stories in our own prior post on the subject.  Here is a resource of bad examples, good examples, and how to remove Track Changes in MSWord.

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