Ben Langhinrichs

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February, 2007
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Genii Weblog


Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Thu 8 Feb 2007, 08:30 PM
I know that people have a right to do as they like on their own blogs, but I dislike those people who act as if they accept comments but then simply don't allow comments that are even vaguely in disagreement.  If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the blogosphere.  I should think that they would be enlightened by examples such as Ed Brill of IBM, who freely allows comments that might be quite negative about either his employer or his blog, or Brian Jones of Microsoft, who puts up with a fair amount of grief in his quixotically optimistic quest to carry the banner for Microsoft's Office Open XML.  But alas, control seems more important than honesty for some blogs, and their blogs suffer for it by resembling public relations engines rather than true blogs.

So, here is a bit of an experiment.  I recently posted comments on a couple of weblogs regarding the Office Open XML issue, and IBM's role in particular.  The comments have not appeared.  I don't think I was too harsh or out of line, but perhaps I misjudged the tolerance.  So, if you have a minute or two, try reading Jason Matasow's posts Open XML - ISO/IEC Standardization and the ironically snarky Snarky Comments.  Jason Matasow is a senior director in the Microsoft standards group, and the about page for his blog says the following, with my added emphasis on the last line:
About Matusow's Blog

Blogging opens the door for conversations. Conversations with people I would never have come into contact with any other way. The issues that interest me the most are at the intersection of business, technology, policy, and intellectual property. I am fascinated by the multitude of approaches that exist within the realm of the software community. Please let me know when and why you disagree with my points of view.
Also, try reading Jonathan Murray's post IBM vs. ISO and Open XML.  Jonathan Murray is a Worldwide Technology Officer for Microsoft, and in this post, he talks extensively about customer choice, actually using the words "customer" or "customers" fifteen times.  He also makes it clear that he believes IBM is solely responsible for the difficulties Microsoft is having getting through the ISO process.

But all that aside, here is the experiment.  Read these posts, and respond to them.  Positively, negatively, whatever.  Just be courteous and reasonable.  I am just curious whether only my comments are suppressed, or whether these gentlemen are really open to listening to "customers" and knowing when people disagree with their points of view.  We'll see.

Update: As Ed has pointed out, my responses, and many other people's, have finally shown up on Jason Matasow's site.  So, as my sixteen year old would say, props to Mr. Matasow.  Since other people's responses have shown up on Jonathan Murray's post, I have to guess he didn't see fit to include my comments, but just in case, I'll repost them.

Second update: I reposted, and this time the comment showed up on Jonathan Murray's post.  I'm glad to see both gentlement are open to some dissension.

Copyright 2007 Genii Software Ltd.