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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.
A while back, I posted something I shouldn't have. It was a mistake. Don't bother looking for it, since I already removed it.

I wouldn't even bring it up now, since it's a little embarrassing, but the whole story makes for an interesting lesson in internet propagation.

A few weeks ago, a buddy of mine sent me something via email. I found it interesting, so I posted it in my blog. Other people saw it and also found it interesting... and, you guessed it, posted it in their blogs. People I work with read my blog, so they saw it, found it interesting and asked me about it internally.

Fast forward a couple weeks. I'm sitting in Redmond. I get informed that I've posted something NDA in my blog. Oh crap. Naturally, I offer to delete it immediately. I understand the significance of NDAs (and have no desire to piss off Microsoft) so it's gone, no problem.

Then we look at the trackback and see mostly Google indexing and a link to another blog. Uhoh...  Fortunately I know the guy and know he's a reasonable fellow, so I figure I'll just ask him about pulling it.

Except, I can't get a hold of him... I shoot him an email, but it turns out I don't have his phone number. Fortunately, I know someone else who knows him, so I call that person. (See where this is going yet?) That person, as it turns out, doesn't have his number either, but knows someone who knows him. They talk, and he calls the owner of the blog... explains the situation (as best as he can, since it's gone through 4 people at this point.)

The blog owner relays back to his friend that the post has been removed. That guy calls the other person, who calls me. Yay. I tell my friend at Microsoft that the post is gone. We hit refresh a few dozen times over the next half hour and the post is still there.  uhoh...

So I call my friend again, who calls the other person, who calls the other person. (While I respect people who respect privacy, I could have really used his phone number right about now... but I digress.)  Turns out, the blog owner had pointed out (and repeated) more than one of my recent blog posts and couldn't figure why in the world a blog post about User Group Best Practices would be NDA but he was happy to help out a friend. 

Eventually, we got it all straight. The correct blog post was removed, and life went back to normal. I got an email that night from my blog owner friend, who provided me with his direct number (no more telephone game!!) and also relayed the fact that he was out in the middle of absolutely NOWHERE (i.e. somewhere without internet) when all of this was going down and a family member ended up getting an aircard, at least partly so he could get on line and resolve this mess. 

So everything ended well (hopefully) and I learned a pretty valuable lesson. If you don't know whether something is NDA or not, and it's a little juicy, you're probably better off erring on the side of caution. (Why am I here on earth, if not to serve as a warning to others?)

Posted on Monday, April 21, 2008 10:28 AM General Interest | Back to top


Comments on this post: This is NDA (aka Oops, My Bad)

# re: This is NDA (aka Oops, My Bad)
Requesting Gravatar...
This has been my biggest fear with everything up at the Summit. D'Arcy is one brave man. It gets harder and harder to keep straight what is public and what isn't. Scares me enough that I often just don't blog at all because I can't remember what I can say. Even worse when I can't remember who's an MVP and under NDA and who isn't. Sometimes I think someone is and they aren't and sometimes I keep quiet to someone who is, but I didn't know they had been accepted into the program already.

All very cloak and dagger. Of course, I shouldn't use this as an excuse to not blog at all, still plenty out there that's obviously not under my NDA that I should be blogging about....

But it does get confusing.
Left by George Clingerman on Apr 21, 2008 11:47 AM

# re: This is NDA (aka Oops, My Bad)
Requesting Gravatar...
I've had that phone call/email from MS... once for me and once for another MVP who MS wanted to get hold of for NDA violation. Its a horrible feeling.

Thankfully both these times were not our fault. The 1st time I had asked AND got permission to post just apparantly the wrong person and the second time the other MVP was jsut repeating something posted on an MS site (which MS apparantly didn't know was posted yet).
Left by Zman on Apr 22, 2008 8:55 AM

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