Velma Kelly and Matron Mama Morton asked that question in Chicago and I’m asking it again now.
I believe in humanity. I believe that for the most part people are inherently good and want to do the right thing. But I also believe that the online experience has helped foster the decline of basic manners, respect, and class. I could get in to a long-winded dissertation on why I think that is, but that is a subject for an entirely different audience and venue.
Unfortunately, we all encounter individuals in our communities (both physical and virtual) who thrive on destruction. Their only involvement within the community is to complain, criticize, and generally undermine the community. At no time do they make any noticeable contribution to the community. The reasons for criticizing instead of contributing vary by individual, but most often it is some derivative of personal insecurity – lack of self esteem, fear of failure, incompetence, inexperience, etc.
As virtually anyone who frequents msmvps.com knows, the last week to ten days have been a bit choppy in terms of reliability of the site as we try to work out what exactly is causing asp.net to peg the processor on the blog server. What most people don’t realize is what is involved with administering and maintaining the blogs:
1) msmvps.com is a pure volunteer effort.
2) msmvps.com is not affiliated with Microsoft in any way.
3) msmvps.com continues to exist due to the gracious generousity and sheer strength of will from a few key individuals.
4) msmvps.com generates a mind-boggling amount of traffic and has massive bandwidth requirements.
Since administering and maintaining msmvps.com is a volunteer effort, the blog server is at the mercy of our schedules (believe it or not, each of us actually have real jobs, families, pets, homes, etc. that require our attention). Additionally, since msmvps.com does not have any corporate sponsorship and is a free resource for multiple communities, when it is time for an upgrade, new features, etc. for the blogs – that expense comes out of someone’s pocket. Likewise, having the blog server on what has been dubbed “p0rn quality bandwidth” costs someone somewhere as well.
But apparently, a few members of the community have conveniently forgotten each of these points. They have forgotten that people are willing to share their experience and knowledge to help complete strangers and receive nothing in return – but also that there are people who not only share their knowledge and experience with complete strangers, but they are willing to pay real money from their own pockets to do so, and to provide other people with a free platform to do the same.
As mentioned above, there are those individuals who thrive on destruction – and one such individual recently had the audacity to suggest that the instability of msmvps.com doesn’t say much for the the technical ability of MVPs. This same individual stated flat out that it needs to be fixed, yet offered no assistance to resolve the issue. They did not offer to take several hours out of their day to sit on the phone with Microsoft PSS or even pay for that support call. They did not offer to volunteer their personal time to review server logs, find someone well versed in .Net to assist, or even to baby sit the server and restart services as necessary to ensure that msmvps.com was available to anyone who came looking for help. Surprisingly enough, they did not even offer to make a cash donation towards purchasing support from Telligent to help resolve the problem. No, all they had time for was to complain and criticize. It’s one thing to criticize the stability of the site – because that has been less than optimal – but to go so far as to criticize the people behind the scenes who give so much of their time, knowledge, passion and cash to provide community members with a free resource that is not cluttered with ads, not censored, and freely available to anyone who needs help is not only rude and unprofessional, but is very uncouth.
So what ever happened to class? Well, I’m here to tell you that there is hope. It can be found many places, including Fresno, California as well as certain posts in virtually any online community regarding SBS, security, or patching. msmvps.com would not exist without the unbelievable passion and self-less generosity of Susan Bradley. While she may call herself wacko, and emotional, and like all of the rest of us she can get a tad over-zealous on certain issues – she is a consummate professional and truly a class act, and in my mind her passion and contributinos to community sets the bar by which all other MVPs are judged.
Now if you will be so kind as to excuse me, I have to help a friend with a blog server . . .