This is the rule

It is 2008—just participating is no longer acceptable. Everyone needs to add value.

So, any lurkers out there care to comment add value?

John Head: UPTIME - Who’s WRONG about the PSC Blog server?


  1. +4 (there we go, dont say no one adds value to your site)mark#
  2. Does this count?Mac Guidera#
  3. I refuse to be goaded into creating a reply…
    …sorry, I just won't do it.

    Oh wait… NVM
    Dave T#
  4. OK, I'll bite. I just shook my head when I read that…

    The arrogance and condescension would shock me if I hadn't suffered it myself.

    What gives any member of this (or any other) community the right to criticise others for their input?

    He doesn't know what resources/time/energy/money/access others have available to be involved. The author of that comment happens to work for a sizable American corporation with resources and skills to spare - thats great, and I'm pleased that he feels he can offer a server for others to use.

    Good for him. But he has no right to climb on his soapbox to tell others that participating isn't enough.Stuart McIntyre#
  5. "What gives any member of this (or any other) community the right to criticise others for their input?"

    I thought you Brits understood irony.Nathan T. Freeman#
  6. Yes, that line stopped me in my tracks while reading the post too. I thought of commenting on it there, but in the end decided to let it go.

    Now you ask, I'm not 100% sure exactly how John defines "participate" and "add value", but by my definitions, the participants are not those just lurking. I'm a participant, but don't add much value. I help out now and again, and I'll answer the odd question in a blog post if I know the answer. The vast majority of people using domino aren't even doing that.

    I read that and thought, why doesn't he just tell 90% of the people in the community to fuck off. If you can't run a server for someone, or host a user conference or donate code to Open NTF then just fuck off. We don't want you. How dare you just participate. It's 2008 for crying out loud, we don't need people just participating. We don't care if you've got a shitty manager that'll bust your balls for writing a blog, or even commenting on one. We don't care if you're busy with your family and friends outside. Boo hoo, you've got a new baby and work up to your eyeballs. Tough shit, if your not adding value, just Fuck Off!!

    My opinion is that whatever you can give to this community is fine. If all you can do is read some blogs, fine. If all you can do is keep your skills up to date and keep working on Domino, fine. If you can comment back on something you found interesting, even better. You actually spent some time and money just going to a conference? Fantastic. Maybe you found out about a product that you told your boss about and are thinking of buying. Are you "adding value"? Not by my definition. Are you participating in the community? Yes. Do I think that's acceptable? Abso-fucking-lutely I do. If we had 10 times as many people just participating, I'd be ecstatic.

    We should be welcoming everyone to the party. If you want to come play we'll be here. Grow they pie. If we had 10 times the participants, we'd have twice the number of people adding value, and 100 times the people lurking. And 1000 times the customer base.

  7. We’ve read it all wrong. John’s posted a comment, and apparently it wasn’t about people contributing to the community or not, it was some ad hoc career advice:
    I am not trying to tell people how to be part of the community. I am saying that in the new world of a recession and one of the worst job markets in my lifetime (and most likely my parents), you can't just sit on the sidelines

    Mea culpa.Ben Poole#
  8. I am a lurker.

    It is the concept of "adding value" that keeps me in lurker mode. I don't want to participate by regurgitating what others have said (Planetlotus is a real outer for this!).

    But whilst I lurk on the web, I am an evangelist in real life. Most of my time is spent working on large Domino projects (some for ISSL) where I constantly spread the good word, and add value to my customers.

    I'm out there every day, talking up Domino, Quickr, Symphony etc, but the thought of being judged by my web output is offputting, and prevents me from linking my proto-blog to planetlotus.

    So, I'll continue to add flippant comments on blogs, do what I can online and "add value" by looking customers in the eye and telling them we can do it with Lotus and it will be great.Peter Smith#
  9. So am I right in thinking that any erstwhile lurker who read a (hypothetical) puffed-up, arrogant, narcissistic blog post by a (hypothetical) puffed-up, arrogant, self-appointed judge of community spirit and, provoked into righteous indignation, responded to a (hypothetical) second blog post pointing out the puffed-up, arrogant, self-pleasuring nature of the first blog post … would suddenly be 'adding value' and be welcomed by the (hypothetical) puffed-up, arrogant, self-aggrandizing author of the (hypothetical) first blog post as a valuable member of the community? Cool. Handy to know.

    "It is 2008—just participating is no longer acceptable. Everyone needs to add value." … right, let's just pull that apart a little shall we …
    "It is 2008" Er, thanks for telling us what year it is … which has bugger-all to do with the next two statements, despite the idiosyncratic punctuation.
    "Just participating is no longer acceptable". Acceptable to whom? And why should I care? And who says?
    "Everyone needs to add value". Really? Even the people that don't feel they need to add value? Even the people that prioritise their family/health/sanity over short-term ASWism? They're all wrong? So even the ones you've never met (most of them) need to bow to your superior wisdom? Wow - truly you must be an amazing guy to know so much about the lives and needs of so many people.

    Julian Woodward#
  10. Okay, here's my 2 cents (a couple years ago it would have been worth 8, but as you know, the dollar's a bit weak of late).

    When I read John's post, I barely even noticed the "add value" phrase, because the premise of the post seemed to me to be a description of one aspect of what PSC - not John - brings to the community as part of how it views its role as an IBM business partner. As an employee of a fellow business partner, some of what he said sounded familiar: for example, BleedYellow is a "gift" from Lotus 911 to the community… it doesn't make us any money, at least not directly. But it provides a highly visible, real-world implementation of Lotus Connections (and Sametime) - real data entered by real people. Sure, it doesn't showcase what an internal deployment would look like. But it does display what it looks like when members of a community choose to use Connections to interact with one another, so potential Connections customers can look at that and get a decent idea of whether it would add value to have the same tool in-house. So it's very possible that IBM gets more revenue as a result than if that site didn't exist. And, who knows, maybe we get more business because its visibility gives us additional mindshare… but as a partner, we need to do what we can to make sure we're holding up our end of keeping that relationship mutually beneficial, and BleedYellow is arguably one of the most visible ways in which we do that. PSC hosts blogs for some prominent IBMers (and others). Different approach, same goal.

    So I didn't interpret his comment about adding value as a criticism of any individual's participation in the community; I viewed it as a statement that partners rightly take seriously the need to contribute as much as they can to IBM's pursuit of market share. To begin with, the context of that post was that the stability of PSC's blog hosting had just been attacked elsewhere by someone who had no metrics to base the attack on. Perhaps John was overly defensive in his response, which may account for the tone he used that is now getting blown way the hell out of proportion, but if I saw someone misrepresenting the availability statistics for Lotus 911's hosting, I'd probably do the same thing… and, if history is any indication, probably much less politely.

    That isn't to say that I don't harbor some hope that my individual community interaction is occasionally valuable to others. If I didn't, I wouldn't bother; I'd go back to being "just" a lurker. 'Cause there's absolutely nothing wrong with lurking… imagine if there were 100,000 Lotus-centric blogs: forget "signal-to-noise"… it'd be cacophony. And, as some have mentioned here, just like "squawkers", lurkers add value by keeping their respective employers and clients happy with their Lotus investment, which ultimately keeps a roof over all our heads.

    But feel free to chew on this tasty bit of irony: absent any insecurity about how much value I add and where that fits into my own priorities, would I find anything offensive about John's statement to begin with? If a part of me didn't wish I were considered more valuable, would that phrase have seemed even remotely directed at me? Or would it have just rolled right off, because I have my own sense of what value I add and am perfectly content with that?

    Perhaps I, too, am simply puffed-up, arrogant, and narcissistic, but that's my take on the matter, for what it's worth.Tim Tripcony#
  11. …would I find anything offensive about John's statement to begin with? If a part of me didn't wish I were considered more valuable, would that phrase have seemed even remotely directed at me? Or would it have just rolled right off, because I have my own sense of what value I add and am perfectly content with that?
    Would you? I guess not. Would others? Possibly. Do I personally? Nope, I’m too much of an ASW already. But the point still stands. And it has nothing to do with irony (a term that’s being bandied about far too frequently).

    As for all this guff about attacking PSC’s SLAs and the like… what utter BS.Ben Poole#
  12. @10 - Tim, I responded on John's site because I found John's comments offensive. I didn't take it as a personal attack, I took it as an affront to the people I know in the community who I feel add tremendous value simply by participating. Not everyone can afford to build applications for an African charity or host services for public consumption. Some provide value in other ways, and some people measure value without a monetary component at all.

    I appreciate John clarifying what meant about adding value and he and I are in complete agreement in. I have no clue what the incongruous jump to the career advice track is about, though.Charles Robinson#

Comments on this post are now closed.


I’m a software architect / developer / general IT wrangler specialising in web, mobile web and middleware using things like node.js, Java, C#, PHP, HTML5 and more.

Best described as a simpleton, but kindly. You can read more here.