Neil Remington Abramson commented as follows (reproduced with permission):
My dentist died earlier this year. I really liked him, and so I booked in with the dentist he sold his practice to when he knew he was done, My experience with the new dentist was a bit of a disaster.
I was getting two crown replacements. First, the freezing wasn’t enough, Second, the first temporary crown the dentist made didn’t fit and he had to make another – never saw this before. Third, there was a lot of bleeding and, as they rushed to get a laser to stop it, the assistant informed the dentist I was on blood thinner and it seemed news to him. So, he didn’t review my file, or the filing system is poor but my previous dentist never had this problem. Fourth, he informed me I had bitten my tongue, and badly. It bled all morning and was not healed fully, four days later. Curious – this has never happened to me before, so I assume other dentists make sure it doesn’t.
So I hope the two crowns fit. Will see in a few days. And I am thinking of finding a new dentist. So I started looking for internet reviews of dentists around here. My previous dentist scored an average of 4.5 and I’m surprised it was so low, of 5. This new dentist got 4.2, and I found one really close at 4.9 so I guess that’s the one I will choose.
My question is this – should I review the new dentist and write all these complaints for all time in a permanent Internet record? Is that an ethical thing to do, or is it just the revenge of the person who feels badly treated? Perhaps I should just figure she was having a bad day and let it go. Forgive, as Jesus would say.
One of my favourite restaurants, now closed, was the Cordon Bleu Caffe, a French place in North Vancouver. If you looked up its customer reviews, many would not want to go to it. I went anyway and it was a fine place, but I bet those reviews contributed to its failure. I notice my GenY kids really take Internet reviews seriously.
And I’ve read reviews of myself on http://www.ratemyprofessors.com. You’d better stay out of my classes, because even though I get fine course evaluations (3.8 & 3.9 out of of 4 the last two times) the ratemyprofessors reviews are not exactly stellar. I guess it is primarily an outlet for every student who was dissatisfied, while most who were pleased didn’t bother.
So, is it ethical to write these reviews to permanently smear someone based on one negative experience? Or is it just petty and revengeful? The Canadian way used to be not to complain and just not go back. It was the Americans who were the loud complainers, often threatening to sue. Has our Canadian culture improved or devolved, now that we have an anonymous means to permanently hurt those who have impermanently dissatisfied us?
It’s interesting though. Clearly it’s regarded as ethical in this Internet age to permanently smear. So many things ok at one point in history become questionable or worse later. Kierkegaard would say we need a higher value than ethics and argues for faith in God.
A higher value than ethics, because when the ethics change, you are responsible for actions no longer deemed acceptable. But had you acted differently at the time, you would have been held responsible then. Catch 22 – no ethical justification now, for what you did then, which you thought was ethical then. Cultural Revolution stuff.