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June 12, 2005


Hmm, Microsophist's page now has the title "Ex-Microsophist" and all the content is gone. Quick, grab the Google cache (although this is missing all the trenchant comments).

It doesn't explain if he/she is an ex-(Microsophist) or an (ex-Micro)sophist--meaning did he fall-or-was-pushed to stop blogging, or did he leave Microsoft?

Interesting realization--if someone stops blogging without posting a final message, and you only read them via RSS, you won't notice.

Posted by AdamBa at June 12, 2005 09:38 AM

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Yeah, I noticed that he'd vanished last night, when I tried to return to a post of his that I'd bookmarked. Only managed 9 posts (thankfully all still in my RSS reader) - maybe easier just to join forces with mini-microsoft?

Posted by: Jonathan Hardwick at June 12, 2005 12:49 PM

Maybe it has something to do with Microsophist's more visceral approach (compared to mini microsoft's) and the comments that were added to the posts? I mean come on, what do you think is going to happen when the first post is about how they think that Bill and Steve need to be forced out - and shortly after you have someone making derogatory comments about a very senior VP? Keep that up and you'll get fragged....

Posted by: anonymous at June 12, 2005 03:30 PM

The Google cache is missing the most recent post he made, which was just a review of his reactions to recent comments in which he praises anyone who agrees with him and calls everyone else an idiot.

While Microsophist is/was right on many points about current problems in MSFT culture, I feel that he spent too many posts lambasting Bill/Steve and being depressed about the situation -- Mini tends to do a better job of suggesting improvement, especially in recent posts. And his most recent entry was full of vitriol and me-versus-them behavior that I'd expect more from a Slashdotter than from a Softie.

I'm sincerely hoping that he didn't get outed and canned... but I'm suspecting that he was.

Posted by: Ryan Myers at June 12, 2005 03:55 PM

Heres a question (and yes, I would probably get a more direct answer from Mini himself but I'm asking it here to get your responses first) - Mini has made it clear that his manager knows about the blog. Its not clear to me how he can go about it legitimately - he's essentially saying 'Hey I really think theres too many dumb hires and they need to get canned'. Certainly, all the people he'd want fired would not agree with this statement. Not only that, but you're indirectly saying that the people who were in charge of getting all these people hired were making poor managerial decisions. Anyway, the point I'm getting to is that you can probably argue that the blog has the potential to hurt morale even more and create ill-feelings among the ranks and thereby hurting the company either by way of the posts or even the comments themselves (they are automatically posted without review). So how is a microsoft manager able to ok this? And also, wouldn't the manager have had to do a lot of talking with HR to get their buy off as well (thereby revealing mini's identity to people in HR?). Please don't get me wrong, I enjoy readint mini's posts and the comments it garners but I was just thinking about how his manager handles the situation and how the whole thing could be legit in the eyes of the company.

Posted by: anonymous at June 12, 2005 04:05 PM

Anonymous: it's entirely possible that Mini told his manager and his manager simply said fine, go ahead. This gets them some rear-covering both ways; Mini has his manager's "approval", but his manager has really only approved his blogging in a general sense, so he can't be held responsible for specific posts (and certainly not for comments). This does not mean that his manager's manager would approve, but his manager may not have passed the information up the chain. Remember Microsoft is a collection of individuals, not a hive mind.

Why would his manager approve it? Well, it's possible he agrees with him that there is too much deadwood in middle management and Microsoft is trying to do too much (note that if Mini is a leaf-node employee--nobody reporting to him--then his manager would not be considered "middle management"). It's also possible that his manager values Mini as an employee (given the quality of his writing and the perceptiveness of his insights, I would be surprised if Mini was not good at whatever it is he does). Or maybe his manager is a libertarian. Who knows. Keep in mind that while Mini is carping about the kinds of things that people at most companies carp about, he is NOT revealing ship dates, trade secrets, etc.

And perhaps Microsophists's manager, or someone up the management chain, for whatever reason didn't like his blogging and decided to terminate the blog and/or his employment. Could just be luck that Mini-Microsoft has more progressive management.

Microsoft has no official blogging policy, so Mini's (and Micro's) manager would be winging it. The company is still evaluating the impact of blogs. But if you believe, as I do, that Microsoft's most important goal is keeping its workforce happy, productive, and growing, it's hard to argue against blogs. Consider Gretchen Ledgard's recent rant against Hiring Managers. Yes some people said it was unprofessional and she was a naughty, naughty girl, but then think of how many candidates interview at Microsoft solely due to Gretchen's blog.

Same thing with a blog like Mini-Microsoft's. Sure he MAY hurt morale (although I doubt he is going to hurt the morale of the employees we want to keep), but there are also people who are going to come work for Microsoft because they appreciate the fact that Microsoft lets people blog about what they want.

I suspect, by the way, that Mini knows Micro's identity, and thus we may get some scoop from him.

- adam

P.S. For convenience I refer to both of them as "he", although of course either or both might be women.

Posted by: Adam Barr at June 12, 2005 10:17 PM

I'm more worried from the fact that Microsoft can erase blog in a Google owned site. This rices a lot a questions about freedom of speech.
I can only hope Microsophists did this voluntary (and makes me wonder why would he do it).

Posted by: Ivan at June 13, 2005 12:37 AM

Some talk that Microsophist bought the farm because he was blogging from work - anyone hear that?

Posted by: anonymous at June 14, 2005 08:35 PM