“You’re not paranoid if they’re really out to get you.”

Not true: You may really be a bit paranoid anyway.

Late last night, I briefly posted a message repeating a concern expressed by the well-regarded Rev. Colin Coward, who feared for the safety of a human-rights activist in Uganda who had not been updating his blog or social-media accounts recently.

Within minutes, however, I decided that the post needed more evidence of a real problem — and I discovered that this Ugandan activist had just updated his Facebook wall at the same time as I was posting. So I deleted my post. By then, however, copies of my brief post had been distributed by RSS newsreaders around the Internet.

Lesson learned: Don’t accept a person’s concern for someone else at face value even if it’s reasonable and well-intentioned. Ask the third party directly.