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Democratizing the Microsoft MVP Award


Democratizing the Microsoft MVP Award

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Tony Davis
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Democratizing the Microsoft MVP Award
Liz Laurents
Liz Laurents
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great idea to "democratize" the MVP process ... and then you want to restrict voting to people with MSDN subscriptions? what are you guys thinking?
Jeff Moden
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Heh... you beat me to it, Liz. I was thinking that very same thing.

--Jeff Moden

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Jeff Moden
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Voting by the general public smacks of a popularity contest rather than a public service award (which is what being an MVP is really all about). If you really want to turn it into a democratic process, then start up an SQLServerCentral.com MVP award or a PASS MVP award.

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced ree-bar and is a Modenism for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. -- Red Adair

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GilaMonster
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I would rather not see a list of requirements, weightings or things like that. Having such a list being known makes it possible for people to 'game' the award. For people to blog/answer forum questions/write articles/etc not because they want to help out the community, but because they are checking off items on a requirements list.

As for weightings, imagine what would happen if someone stated that posts on the MSDN forums are weighted 3 times what posts on any other forum are?

There will always be people complaining that they deserve the award and weren't awarded, that someone was awarded and didn't deserve it, etc. It's human nature. There is no change that they can make that will make everyone happy. Is it perfect as-is? No, definitely not. I got a good example of that Jan this year. Does it work well enough? Well, I suppose that depends who you ask.

Gail Shaw
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GilaMonster
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Jeff Moden (2/6/2010)
Voting by the general public smacks of a popularity contest rather than a public service award (which is what being an MVP is really all about).


Agreed. While many MVPs are popular, it shouldn't go the other way around. I know some MVPs that work tirelessly in the local community, but if I mentioned names I doubt anyone here would have heard of them. Doesn't make them any less deserving.

In addition, complaining that the Microsoft MVP award is administered and judged by Microsoft employees is just a little odd.

Gail Shaw
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Andy Leonard
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Interesting thoughts Tony!

Recently, MVP nominations were opened to the public. Anyone can now nominate someone for MVP at the public MVP site - you can even nominate yourself.

:{> Andy

Andy Leonard
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Steve Jones
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Andy Leonard (2/7/2010)
Interesting thoughts Tony!

Recently, MVP nominations were opened to the public. Anyone can now nominate someone for MVP at the public MVP site - you can even nominate yourself.

:{> Andy


Actually they've been open for a few years. There just wasn't an "easy" process to do it. I nominated a few people in 2006/2007, before I had the award.

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Steve Jones
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I've debated this with people a few times and I tend to agree with Gail. Publishing a set of criteria (xx forum posts, yy blogs, zzz speaking engagements, etc) would lead a lot of people to "game" the award. As it is, I see some people that make an effort to earn the award with a year of hard work.

I think there's nothing wrong with that as the MVP is a yearly award, given for your community service over the last year. In practice that's hard to rank, and I think that overall the people running the award do an OK job. What's very interesting is that a few of my MVP admins from MS haven't been SQL people. So they don't necessarily judge my technical expertise, at least not themselves. They may get help, or may not (which might be good for me Smile ).

This is a Microsoft award, and I think they handle it pretty well. They get some community support and advocation for their products, those that do the work get some rewards from MS, but it's loosely coupled. You don't have to continue to provide support or work for MS, and they don't agree to give to xxx as an MVP. The awards change at a whim.

The one thing that I've heard suggested, which would be interesting, is that maybe we ought to limit the number of MVP awards you get. Either consecutively or in total, allowing more people to participate in the program. There are a lot of very qualified, very talented people that don't make the cut, sometimes because there are just some others that do more.

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sqlvogel
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I was a SQL Server MVP for 5 years, 2004-2008.

I think that "democratizing" MVP selection online would devalue the programme. Online elections are too fickle and open to influences that have nothing to do with the quality and consistency of contributions that the award is supposed to represent. The knowledge level of those seeking help in many online communities today is often very low indeed - surely much lower than 5 or 10 years ago. Smart people know how to find the answers without asking: they Google or read a book; they don't post. Put bluntly, I wouldn't trust most online communities to choose who is expert and who isn't. I don't believe Microsoft would either.

Also, not all MVPs are awarded primarily for their online contributions. MVPs who organise user groups and conferences would probably be at a disadvantage if voting online was a criterion for selection.

The MVP is Microsoft's award. They invest considerable time and money in the programme as a way of engaging with community influencers, getting feedback and refining plans for future product development. If it became a community beauty contest then I suspect it would be less valuable to them and their support for it would wane.
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