Saturday, 7 April 2012

How Dachis failed the Social Business test

[Image by Pablo X]

My post the other day on Dachis deleting blog posts of employees who left has led to quite a bit of Twitter conversations - not all of them equally pleasant nor a true example of Social (Business). I feel that this extra post is needed to bring some closure, and achieve some lessons learned. I'll show how the story has unfolded, and also

I wrote Is Dachis rewriting its own history because at that point I had found that certain blog posts were no longer present, and Dachis (Dave Gray, informed by Peter Kim) ensured me that no blog posts had been removed.
In the light of those contradicting facts, writing the post was inevitable

My conclusion to the post was

The only conclusion I can reach, is that all of Armano's and Devon's posts have been removed from the Collaboratory. The only mitigation I can find for that, is that such a statement is not a strict matter of fact, because the website has been redesigned and "messaging has changed" as Dave Gray put it - meaning that Dachis must have forgotten to include David's and Jevon's posts while doing so

An omission? Your words, not mine...

Here's how the story unfolds:

  1. I publish the post, and Dave Gray does it off as irrelevant: . @hjarche Oh please. Alert the media, a link is broken! @MartijnLinssen @dt @dachisgroup @armano @jevon #silly
  2. Dave then comments on my blog, contesting my findings and referring to it all as "broken links" that to the best of his knowledge were unintentional
  3. Then Peter Kim chimes in, telling how back in 2009 Dachis deleted all accounts of employees who left, as a consequence deleting all his posts. In addition, he assures me that "omission" is mine and my description only
  4. Peter also entered a second comment to my post in which he explicitly states that he misinformed Dave Gray

So, Dachis did delete all blog posts - hence my conclusion was absolutely right

There, all done. I got misinformed because Peter misinformed Dave, hence I wrote the post and reached the conclusion that all posts in fact had been deleted, Peter Kim of Dachis comments to my post confirming the fact that these posts have been deleted, thus sharing my conclusion, and also informing me that he misinformed me via Dave Gray.
Case closed, right? Wrong

A rather ugly conversation unfolds on Twitter in the meantime. Several people joined, but I'll stick to those where Dachis was involved

Dave Gray's reaction to my reply to his comment?

@MartijnLinssen yes you have convinced me that you are either vindictive or misguided @hjarche @dt @dachisgroup @armano @jevon @techguerilla

I choose not to be offended by that, and reply:

@davegray I was rather expecting you to apologise for unintentionally misguiding me @hjarche @dt @dachisgroup @armano @jevon @techguerilla

Dave then says:

@MartijnLinssen I had some facts wrong. But my mistake was thinking you wanted truth @hjarche @dt @dachisgroup @armano @jevon @techguerilla

and even assures:

@MartijnLinssen no. Unintentional byproduct of deleting employee accounts. Blog posts were not intentionally deleted. @techguerilla @armano

Then (over a dozen tweets have been exchanged to this wide audience) Jevon MacDonald joins in with a fun tweet

@davegray @martijnlinssen @hjarche @dt @dachisgroup @armano This feels like a family fight at Christmas dinner. Pass the gravy!

and matters settle down. Still, Dave can't resist:

@armano and apparently I am the family member who feeds the trolls :/ #lessonlearnedihope @jevon @martijnlinssen @hjarche @dt @dachisgroup

It takes David Armano to end the conversation:

@davegray @jevon @martijnlinssen @hjarche @dt @dachisgroup Dave, when are you going to stop feeding the trolls and settle down! :-)

The conversation lays low for a few hours, picks up again when Ian Fenn joins, and ends with David Armano inviting us all for Thanksgiving, me saying that I'll then bring the knife to slice the turkey, and Dave ending with a positive note saying that that would be very interesting (referring to David's invite)

Quite a drama, but the curtain has fallen. Or has it? Believe it or not, Peter Kim decides to write a piece about trolls and turds on his blog and ends with the advice:

Next time you see a heated online exchange -- whether you're directly involved or not -- be curious, not furious. What you discover may surprise you

That post puzzled me beyond oblivion, and images of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde very briefly crossed my mind

Last but not least, Peter Kim left a comment on Dennis Howlett's blog as well. It's in the same line of answering...
Alright. Apparently, this is how this story has ended, leaving us all with a few  burning questions:

  • If blog post deletion was unintentional, why the angry reactions from Dachis? And why persevere in those?

An even more burning question is this:

  • If blog post deletion was unintentional, will they now be restored? I'm sure David and Jevon have copies of each of those, and it would only take a few hours to put them all back up again

Last but not least:

  • What will happen in the future when an employee leaves the Dachis company?

How this story should have unfolded

From my point of view, let me tell you how this story should have unfolded in a Social World:

  1. I tweet about missing posts on the Dachis blog
  2. Dachis confirms that no posts have been removed
  3. I blog on the topic with the same post, as the contradicting facts only leave for two conclusions
  4. People from Dachis read my tweet, and answer "That would be the day" or "We're certainly not rewriting (our own) history"
  5. People from Dachis comment to my blog, somewhere along the lines of this:

Hi Martijn, nice title - fairly sure that will make for some good SEO ;-)

Thanks for pointing this out, we were absolutely not aware that blog posts were missing. Evidently, no one else was! In that light the statement from Dave (where he was merely relaying Peter Kim's information) is odd of course - let me explain. At the time they were having lunch and Dave asked Peter the question, who didn't do any online research but just answered from the top of his head - to the best of his (and all ours!) knowledge no post had been removed.

Well, it turns out we were wrong. We have done the research now, and we have found that deleting a blog account also removes all blog posts... Deleting blog accounts are just part of the process when an employee leaves the firm; all their accounts (Email, blog, Yammer, Basecamp, etc) get deleted.

Needless to say, that was not what we had in mind! We now have a few actions outstanding of course, most of which will probably get carried over this Easter period - bear with us please:
1. Do we, or don't we, restore all posts by David, Jevon and Oliver? Pro's and cons there, one of which being the exact date at which they got published - we'll probably run in to more after spending more time discussing this
2. If we don't, what do we do with the broken links?
3. What will we do in the future? Now we know that blog posts get removed when we delete an account, we might (and probably will) treat this differently.

Again, thanks for pointing this out, and our apologies for initially misinforming you about blog post deletion. Needless to say David and Jevon are well-respected ex-colleagues, and even if we wanted to rewrite our own history, in this online world that -as you just have pointed out- is just impossible

We'll keep you posted! Cheers, Dachis

A nice, balanced, mature and professional way of dealing with this, which would have me instantly satisfied and highly likely have me write another post about how fantastically Social Dachis' response was to this fairly nasty predicament - like I did once with Tamsen McMahon

United breaks guitars is on top of the list of social media failures involving traditional companies. Will this incident make it to a list of its own?

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