What’s appropriate for this blog?

Concerning my post about funneling my $600 check from the U.S. government to Amnesty International, I've received quite a bit of feedback.

Some of it is a response to my position on U.S. policy, like

"Jay, you're a dumbass. "

"The world is safer with Saddam out of power. "

"there are lots of people out there who do concur with your views"

That’s fine.  I know people are polarized on these topics, and expect that any discussion would generate a lot of attention, some of it quite heated.  However, it’s not really what I wanted to post about.

Some of it is a response to my decision to give that money to A.I., like

"sponsor 20 little poverty stricken palestine children with your $600 instead of donating it to an organization that hates America

"buy 600 dollars worth of fast food or grocery store gift certificates and every time you see a homeless person give them enough to buy a couple meals"

"That's an impressively selfless thing to do with such a large chunk of money."

This was my real purpose – to talk about what I see as a creative way to take action to support my principles. 

Some is specifically about my decision to post this on my blog, which is hosted by Microsoft:

"Wrong forum Jay"

"I commend your courage to put this on your blog"

"You are bound to take a lot of flak for this courageous post "

"Microsoft lets you do this with their resources on their time?"

"people ... consider it to be leveraging the Microsoft megaphone for a personal political view"

This is something I’m worried about.  I do want to speak out about what I believe in, but I also want to do the right thing as an employee of the company.

I’m considering creating a second, personal blog where I can talk about stuff as me, not as a rep of Microsoft.   I wanted to the opinion of my readers on this, first.

If I move this topic to a personal blog, am I letting myself be bullied by people who don’t agree with me?

When I created my blog, I decided that it should include some personal content.  I’m not a robot, I’m a human.  I want you to see that, and to see the humanity of all of us at Microsoft.  I want us to all see that Microsoft the organization is a collection of humans, with feelings, desires, and mistakes.  This post is part of that plan. 

Anyway… would anyone object to this sort of thing being moved to a different blog?

Comments (23)

  1. Haacked says:

    Keep it here unless you’re forced to by Microsoft. Software is not written in a vacuum. You’re not a robot.

  2. Keep it here unless you’re forced to by Microsoft. Software is not written in a vacuum. You’re not a robot.

  3. bill b says:

    Don’t move it to another blog. What intrigues me about blogs is it like having lunch or talking around the water cooler with a fellow colleague. Without the occasional personal comment I might as well just read documentation and Knowledge Space articles.

    I like reading the personal thoughts on non technical subjects, even if I don’t agree. It gives me the whole picture of who you are. Hopefully helps spread tolerance.

  4. MartinC says:

    Unless your employers rules don’t allow personal posting of this type, then I say keep it where it is & if people get upset then can choose to either continue to read or unsubscribe as they see fit.

    Blogs aren’t a PR device for employers – let those who want to read purely dry techie stuff stick to their MSDN RSS feed and stay happy in their little uncontraversial sandbox.

    I don’t subscribe to peoples personal blogs, but I’m perfectly happy to mix in a bit of personal views with the technical content to mix it up. Heck, even if you happened to be a big supporter of the republican chimp I wouldn’t be unsubscribing or asking you to stop posting about him..

  5. Karl says:

    I agree, don’t move it. It would be good to check with MS that such posts are acceptable (and from what I know they are) and to inform them of the fact that you plan on posting more. If they have a problem with that, they can let you know and then you can make alternate plans..but if your concern is to do the right thing as an employee of your company, you really should check with them (not us) about what they think that is…

  6. Jeff says:

    Keep it on this blog unless Microsoft doesn’t like it. Some people are stupid, but I think most of us are smart enough to realize these are your opinions and not Microsoft’s. Although we all don’t agree with you I love reading people’s take on things more personal, even on technical blogs.

  7. I thought the "plan" with blogs.msdn.com was to let you post whatever you want here(to some degree at least)? So, please continue 🙂

    Ok, since I agree with your last post I may be biased here. But I’ve read at least one political post on blogs.msdn.com which I didn’t agree with, but I think the poster should just continue to post here anyways…

    And with a company the size of Microsoft it would be strange if all of you had the same political view.

    Please continue to post whatever you want!

  8. Don Newman says:

    Blogs are almost by definition a personal forum. If you feel uncomfortable with the feedback of people saying that you shouldn’t post personal opinions and experiences, prefix the subject of those ones with something to identify it as personal.

    If the MS blogs became nothing but dry technical information I would probably stop reading them and find the info on my own by way of Google when needed.

    As for not posting anything personal at all, if people can’t be open minded enough to allow you to have your own opinions that may be different than their own, then maybe you should take the same viewpoint and not listen to their opinion that those kind of posts don’t belong here.

  9. brianbec says:

    I would recommend that political topics be in a separate blog for a couple of reasons. First, just size. Politics is, by nature, controversial, so political topics are going to generate a vast amount of material as people opine and debate and refute and rebutt. Second, political topics are different in kind from technical topics. It’s possible for anyone to take a bit of code and run it through a compiler, or to take a bit of math and check the calculation. It’s not possible to check this or that political opinion except against a vastly, perhaps infinitely larger body of usually polarized other opinions. Political assertions are not subject to independent verification in the same way as technical assertions. So I guess this latter reason boils down to one of size, also.

    Wrong kind of thing to post at MSDN, in my opinion.

  10. Brian says:

    Move it to a separate blog. I want info from MS from gurus like you, not some of this social commentary.

  11. Your Conscience says:

    Sure, lets burn some more microsoft resources discussing whether it is appropriate to burn microsoft resources.

    Get a job.

  12. M. says:

    Keep it – as long as long as your employer doesn’t object. Good to see Microsoft folks are human too. I’m biased though, as I agree with your last post 🙂

  13. Jay,<br>

    I think you should exercise your right to free speech and leave it here. As long as you don’t post anything that I disagree with. (Kidding.)<br>

    On a serious note, I think you should give pause to writing inflammatory statements about your country on the company website. Making statements like "The US is the #1 perpetrator of terrorism world-wide" is patently reprehensible. If one were to follow that logic then we would have to conclude that our beloved men and women that serve to protect this country are in fact simply terrorists.

  14. Scott says:

    See the problem is your not solving the correct problem Jay. Don’t worry, it’s a common theme among Microsoft employees and we’ll help you through it. We say we want a secure OS, you give us rounded candy-coated buttons. (just teasing) 🙂

    The problem isn’t that you POSTED your personal opinion. The problem is that you included it in the main blogs.msdn.com and weblogs.asp.net aggregate feed. That’s how I found the first post and that’s how I found this post. There are lots of personal posts on the main feed, but for the most part they are pretty benign. They include the "gee look what my kid did this week" or the "hey look at me I’m on vacation" posts. Lately the "hey look I bought HALO 2" posts are in vogue.

    So lets say you went to a site looking for technical information and instead found a few posts about how someone was going to donate money to a pro-life organization. Or if you went to the grocery store and found out they were selling less food and more exercise equipment? That’s great that they are selling exercise equipment, but it doesn’t really solve your problem and it creates noise.

    So I guess my final thought on the matter is: The BLOG is yours, but you SHARE the main aggregate feed with everyone else.

  15. Matt says:

    Take this to another blog…you are a MS employee as are many (myself included) who read this. Your comments should not be construed as representing MS.

    I don’t want you to "feel bullied".

    If I had a personal blog about my utter joy over last week’s election results hosted on a MS server, would the Leftists out there ask me to take it down or take it to a personal blog? Almost assuredly…

    End the double standard before it even starts.

  16. I agree with Scott. The BLOG is yours, but everyone see it.

  17. steve says:

    As a fellow employee, while it’s all good and everything about wanting to be a human being and so forth, the grant of a blog on company resources isn’t a blank check to write whatever you feel. Would you feel comfortable if I had some long, impassioned blog entries on the evils of abortion and homosexual marriage? There are plenty of of free blog sites like http://www.blogspot.com where you are free to express your humanity to your hearts content. Doing this here seems to fly in the face of company policy regarding political expression under the company aegis as well as an unintended bait-and-switch tactic. I encourage to take it to another blog.

  18. Roy Green says:

    part of me says, yea, create a personal blog, since it is only logical, but there’s the anti-bully in me that says, no, don’t be bullied. Why should they (or I) care where you express your opinion? If they don’t like it they can ignore it, or they can simply counter your opinion in the comments.

    Of course, if someone with authority at Microsoft said, "uh, we have a problem with this," then by all means separate it out.

  19. Sean Chase says:

    Jay I have a personal blog for stuff like politics. My geek blog is on my business Web site and you have to figure with the divided opinions politics bring it’s just not worth it. If I were a Microsoft employee, I’d definitely move politics to another blog for PR & CYA purposes. Especially given the "msdn" URL.

  20. ace says:

    perhaps it was not necessary to mention bush administration, you could say that due to tax refund you had chance to donate 600$. anyway, keyword is that you are not robots, that without mistake there is no improvement, and even if there are different political oppinions in your environment that will not cause more bugs in your software. 😉

    to tell there was some tension in the air (and you can still feel it), but you (and actions like yours) are those actions which are going to help ms or us to make less bugs.

    if someone question you say the word of eternal us president (his name is universe, as borhes tried to describe him): "do i contradict myself, very well then i do contradict my self. i am large i contain multitudes."

    "song of myself", whitman

  21. I would personally move it over to another blog. Not because your views are controversial or imply MS’s perspective. When I read MSDN blogs, it’s for MS Development perspective and insight. I’d prefer not getting the noise.

  22. Concerning my post about funneling my $600 check from the U.S. government to Amnesty International , I’ve received quite a bit of feedback. Some of it is a response to my position on U.S. policy, like &quot;Jay, you’re a dumbass. &quot; &quot;The world

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