NICK McCARVEL, SEATTLE
MY ADVICE: Let's hope your editor meant this as an integrity test for the new guy. Your ethical instincts are excellent: It's wrong to deceive the readers, and that's what your editor asked you to do.
Some well-known people have been nailed for such antics, even going as far as posting under assumed names, a widespread practice known as sock-puppeting.
For example, the chief executive of Whole Foods Market used a fake identity to criticize competitors. It can be tough for the new guy to challenge an order from his supervisor. But you might say that you would feel more comfortable posting honestly and suggest that candid comments from Nick-the-New-Intern could be a fine spark for reader discussion.
UPDATE: The editor left the magazine, apparently for unrelated reasons, but McCarvel doesn't know what those reasons were.
My school has a monthly pizza sale. Parents buy pies from a pizzeria and sell them to students for $1 a slice. I bought a whole pie at the pizzeria and offered slices for $2 to kids at the end of the long line, but a school counselor stopped me. She said that it was unethical and I was "taking advantage of people." I thought I was providing a service based on the idea that "time is money." Who's right? BEN GAMMAGE, SAN DIEGO
TIME MAY BE MONEY, but how much, really, for a student who is not paid to attend school?
Were pizza a necessity of life (as many teens, and adults, believe) and in short supply, you might have been been guilty of what some call profiteering, as your school counselor charged.
But there was plenty of pizza, so you didn't exploit anyone. And pizza does remain a luxury, so nobody was forced to buy your pricier slices.
So your actions were not unethical, but they were poor social policyif that's not too fancy a way to describe undermining a pizza party.
Your counselor's concern was valid. The dollar-a-slice deal made possible a school-wide pizza party, affordable fun for everyone. Judging by the long line, it's something people enjoy.
You turned it into a two-tiered systemkids with money don't wait; kids without money doshifting it from a we're-all-in-it-together event to something less community-oriented.