Update: Hi this is roy from the year 2013. The post below was written in 2004. I was a DICK back then, it seems. so I apologize. I am keeping this up here so people can see that everyone can be a dick sometimes, and it is ok to admit it and say you’re sorry. Sorry again Rory!
Before I start this post, let me just say I respect Rory, I think he is a very funny and intelligent guy and does a great job co hosting the .Net Rocks show. In fact, he is even going to be one of the judges in the upcoming contest that I have planned (for which prizes will be given worth more than 1200$!)
No. This post is not meant as something against Rory, but on something a bit bigger; How Microsoft handles Community.
The thing that got me riled up was reading Rory’s blog post about him being at the MVP summit even though he is not an MVP. I’m going to ask the Microsoft community leaders a question and I bet I’m not the only one who was asking himself that:
“What the f**k??.”
Now that that’s out of my system, let me continue on a mellower note:
By letting people into the MVP summit who are not in fact MVPs, you cheapen the MVP tag (yeah just as Rory feared in his post). I do think less of this because I think (and let me be blunt) that if Rory could have gotten in, so could I. So could many other people who help day in and day out in newsgroups and articles (I was never a newsgroup dude though, and there are plenty more worthy than me in that area) this is somewhat of a slap in their faces saying “Sure, you did great things, but he’s really funny!”. If you wanted to let him in there, just slap an MVP on his shirt and let him in so as not to offend the other people (which would be a sign of just how easy/hard it is to get an MVP)
Even Rory, in his post acknowledged the fact that this might not look good:
“I thought there might be some resentment about a non-MVP/RD attending. If I were an MVP, then I might feel that it cheapens the experience..”
Well, maybe you shouldn’t have accepted. If it made you feel uneasy, maybe you should have taken it as a sign. And here’s a thought, maybe some people at the summit felt the same way, but who’s gonna say something to your face? You’re a great guy and everyone loves you. They just don’t think you should be there, because, well, you’re not an MVP.
I bet that if Rory got in, so did many other people who in fact, should not be there according to the “rules”. And what are rules if they are broken and accepted by the community that tries to uphold them? A joke. They make you look bad, Microsoft.
Frans Bouma received his MVP a bit too late to attend, so he didn’t. And guess what, I think Frans’ being there would have made a lot more sense. I wonder what he felt reading Rory’s post on this.
You say that you only give MVPs to people who deserve it, you hold events for them you make them part of the “private club”, but the MVP award is slowly starting to seem to me as nothing more than a popularity contest. Rory’s MVP should be coming real soon now, I bet. He’s really popular. And yes, I do wonder, if anyone offers me this award, will it really mean anything, or will it just mean that I’m popular?
As an epilogue, some of you might find this post distasteful, some might think this is all about sour grapes (and I admit that’s about 10% true because I do want to become an MVP), but consider the message behind this post. It holds true no matter what. The thought even crossed my mind that writing this might make my chances of actually getting an MVP much smaller. If that indeed is the case, I wouldn’t want it anyway. Hopefully, it’s not.