Thursday, July 15, 2010

On being an MVP - 2 years later

I got all retrospective today after helping out a fellow MVP.  What does it mean to be a Microsoft MVP?

First, being an MVP is an interesting thing (to say the least).  It is an honor, don’t get me wrong, to be recognized as both a knowledgeable person as well as someone who gives back to that same IT community.

I am not the type of MVP that constantly waves the Microsoft flag and touts it virtues.  I struggle with the software just like everyone else.  I am just willing to help others with their struggles.

Really, that is it.  A total nutshell.

Well, at the same time I get to interact directly with folks (and I hope) to make better software.  I, sometimes, find it hard to keep my opinions to myself.  Whether or not those opinions cause change is not my decision – I only own the viewpoint.

I am now in the software business myself, so I really understand how both good and bad software happens.  It is surprisingly easy to recognize where one feature team stops and another starts when you look at a large and complex software product.

Yea, it is kind of cool.

One other thing that I have fallen into is forum moderation.  Yes, I am a TechNet forum moderator for two products now.  That is totally different.  Some days it is a pleasure and others it is a chore.

My perspective on forum moderation is simple and goes back a long way.  Some of us old folks knew the days of UseNet and BBS.  Back when folks were online and it was a small group of folks.  And (the most important part) we were all civil to each other.  Flame wars were few and far between, but at the same time they were elevations of the art of argument (not debate, not that civil, but at the same time – no name calling).

Why did I feel compelled to write this?  Sometimes I just need to write this stuff to clear my head and move on to the next project.  We all need a little dusting every now and then.