Get out your wayback machine, and set the dial to 1998. Let's say that a student with an unusual name is accused of something unsavory, only it's something that can't be proven in court. He's still disciplined for the offense by his college, but he feels that he was disciplined more severely than other students. So he complains about that.
But even in 1998, was it smart to complain to a small newspaper, which had a website? The content will be around for a while, and he'll always have his unusual name.
Flash forward to the present. Ten years later, the small story is still there. But now the story itself bothers him more than the original allegation and punishment, because it shows up on search engines. So what does he do? He complains again, this time to a large newspaper, which also has a website:
Ten years later, he just wants to get it out. . . .
He's a lawyer now, and that article–still among the first hits for ________'s [withheld in case he's innocent] name on Google–continues to hurt him personally and professionally, he said. So ________, at 33, has been pressuring SPU to help clear his name. . . .
With that popping up every time someone searches his name, ________ said he cannot escape the shadow of the accusation of attempted sexual assault, even though Seattle police closed the investigation and he was never charged. He's also worried what people will think after reading this article.
The story, and Mr. Unusual Name's plight, are so interesting that the story gets picked up by one of the largest sites on the web (scroll down).
Now what has Mr. Unusual Name accomplished? While I sympathize with him if he didn't do what he was accused of doing, maybe it's well past time to shut up. After all, it's going to take a lifetime of well-publicized good deeds to force the Wall Street Journal onto the second page of a google search for this most unusual name.