Monday, 15 April 2013

Dealing with the "Dealwithit" Fallout - Part One

A sad lesson.

Well, it's not even that long after that whole twitter debacle that the most likely unsurprising news has come down the pipe that the man at the center of the storm, one Adam Orth, is no longer employed at Microsoft. Orth's resignation came less than a week after his comments about how people would need to simply put up with an always-online console, which escalated into a twitter argument with Bioware designer Manveer Heir.

Said argument quickly exploded across the Internet, earning the attention of most of the gaming media. As someone in a position of decent influence at Microsoft, many thought that Orth might be privy to information regarding the upcoming next generation Xbox. Many gamers were also incensed with Orth's seemingly flippant attitude towards the entire affair, which included him asking why he'd ever live in a place that didn't have decent Internet connections available. That comment was latter brushed off as a joke, with Orth saying he meant no offense. By that time though the damage had been done.

Whether or not Orth was forced to resign or if it truly was his personal choice is a matter of debate. Certainly most of the circumstantial evidence points towards the former scenario being the more likely of the two. After all, even if Orth was unhappy where he was there are certainly better ways to hit the old dusty trail than potentially breaking your NDA's and making yourself look like a less than idea person to hire.

My thoughts are as follows: did I think that Orth would be leaving Microsoft over this? Yes. After it blew up the way it did it seems to me like there was little wiggle room in the matter. If he was forced to leave, should he have been? That's a more difficult question to answer.

While I vehemently disagree with what Orth put forth on twitter, I don't believe that he should have lost his job over it, if indeed it's what caused him to resign. At the same time though I can't fault Microsoft for wanting him out either, given that at best he's caused a major PR blunder that the company now has to work to overcome, and at worst he's accidentally tipped their hand over something they wanted to keep quiet so they could put their own spin on it.

All in all it's been an incredibly difficult situation, and pretty depressing to. I won't deny that I think Orth was way off the mark with his comments, but at the same time he was just a guy. It's not like he was advocating anything nasty, he was just presenting an unpopular opinion about a hobby. People have as much right to get mad at him about it as he had the right to make the comment in the first place.

I think though that at it's core this is another one of those lessons in not saying anything that could potentially damn you in the eyes of your employer, especially not on a public website like twitter where anyone can (and will) stumble across what you've said and take it mainstream, whether you intended it to be there or not.

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