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Every time there is a MVP renewal there are always some tweets or posts from people not being re-awarded, but this New Year re-awarding cycle was different: a few vocal and prominent community members didn't get re-awarded. Most of them were MVPs because of their OSS projects, so conspiracy theories started about Microsoft dropping his support to Open Source, and the bashing game started.

Contributes to the community because you like it, not because of the incentives

You should contribute to the community because you love doing it. Not because of the incentives MS gives you with the MVP program.

I love doing what I do for the community (books, articles, my blog, speeches, managing a user group, organizing UG meetings) and I would do the same even without the MVP program, because I love sharing my experience and my knowledge and my passion.

Everybody should do the same, for the same reasons.

If you do it for getting the MVP logo on you business card you'll be disappointed: the benefits MS gives to MVPs are almost nothing compared to the effort put into becoming and maintaining the award. What I think is the real value of the MVP is being able to help product teams with your observations of what is the real world outside Redmond.

Of course the MVP program has its problems (which I'll explain later), but they are not relevant if you do your contributions to the community for the sake of it, and not for becoming a MVP.

What is the MVP program

A lot has already been said about the MVP program, and how people are evaluated: basically it boils down to filling a report with all the things you did to contribute to the MS community: speeches, books, articles, blog posts, user-group activities, forum participation, OSS contributions and so on. And the the MVP lead of the region will evaluate your contributions compared to all the other candidates. So if you fill in this report without care (like Keyvan that said he added in 5 minutes only the 25% of his contributions) or your contributions are less compared to the other candidates, you are not getting the award.  And it's also probably true that, since MVP leads are not technical persons, they might not be able to give the right importance to contributions to a famous .NET OSS library. Probably this should change, especially now that the strategy of Microsoft is moving more and more to OpenSource (in the DevDiv at least).

It is also true that MVP, Most Valuable Professional, might not reflect the new meaning of the program: maybe it was when it was created in the '90s, but now nothing proves a MVP is someone that adopts the best practices and his a great developer. As said a few lines above, MVPs are people that contribute to the community. Maybe the name should be changed to "Community Champions" or something similar.

Disclaimer: Before becoming a MVP I had attacked the program for lack of transparency. Since then, the transparency increased a bit, and despite my attack they awarded me anyway, so this proves personal opinions are not taken into account when awarding MVPs

posted on Friday, January 6, 2012 12:35 PM

Comments on this entry:

# re: Do community because you like it, not because of the incentives

Left by tugberk at 1/6/2012 1:25 PM

Addition to that I really don't understand the notion of viewing the MVP Recognition as a job. I see some people tweeting, saying, writing something like this: "So, I am a MS MVP now and the burden on my shoulders has become heavier. bla, bla..."

Why? You doesn't have to fly, jump off the top of Empire States building or anything. Also, MS doesn't pay you. You just do what you have been doing with enthusiasm and passion. If you don't feel the same enthusiasm and passion at some point, drop and quit it.

MVP program is a great idea but it is great as an idea. MS is so old-fashionedly carrying out this program and it pisses a lot of people off. In my country, there are some MVPs who are well-suited for this program's *idea* but I see some people who have no idea whatsoever what they are doing and getting this recognition anyway. As this part indicates, I can easily tell that there is do separation between doing something and doing something *right*. This is one of the points that MS needs to consider.

I am not going to write about OSS contributions and how they affect this program because it makes this much longer :) To sum it up, IMO, MS does not take OOS contributions into considiration. Some people like (there is no particular order) Phil Haack, Scott Hanselman, Damian Edwards, David Fowler tries to break that wall for MS but as cooperation, MS is failing on OSS part. Hmm, I said I wasn't gonna write but, ops :)

As a result, as you say, if you do it only for the blue logo, then you are one miserable human-being, my friend. Nothing further than that.

Good blog post!

# re: Do community because you like it, not because of the incentives

Left by Keyvan Nayyeri at 1/6/2012 2:10 PM

The problem is, even with those 25% I was qualified for be an MVP, but they just count things rather than considering the quality and efforts.

Besides, it's not the job of a person to list what he has done to get an award. Where in the world it is done for awards?

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