Will wonders never cease

Those of you who have been following the soap opera that is (or was) my relationship with Experts Exchange will get a kick out of this. Heck, you might get a kick out of it even if you’re not intimately familiar with all the details.

Back in 2009, I was introduced to Craig Kelher, who had recently been hired by EE as its QA manager. Those of you who have been around EE long enough to remember the days when EE’s marketing staff was bigger than its development team will remember that the idea of hiring a Q&A team was a welcome improvement. The problem, of course, was that the development staff was building systems designed by the marketing department — a group that had no clue when it came to how EE worked for users, or how users used EE. The result was systems that functioned, but didn’t really work very well.

As one of EE’s Admins, part of my job was to help staff identify and prioritize what most of us called “bugs” — even if, in the technical sense of the word, they weren’t, because after all, they did what the marketers had asked for. Unfortunately, Mr Kelher’s department was on the receiving end of the complaints, a circumstance that didn’t exactly endear me to him.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. Mr Kelher, who has now been promoted to “Director of Quality Assurance & Community Relations”, sent a message to my non-Badger account asking “I would like to discuss a few things with you, including the Impact Award for 2016. Do you have some time to have a video call?” Since Netminder hasn’t been able to participate on the site since late July, I didn’t reply, because I don’t see how the opinion of someone who was rather abruptly terminated would matter to the people who terminated him; had I suggested any specific member to receive what I considered the most important award EE hands out, my merely suggesting it might well have disqualified that individual.

Last Wednesday, things got even more surreal. Another message appeared in my inbox: “We would like to honor your service on Experts Exchange with the Impact Award for 2016. Please let me know if you are willing to accept this award.”

The Impact Award was officially created and first awarded as such in January 2010 to reward someone whose contributions to the site during the previous year weren’t recognized in other ways (most points, most answers, most articles and so on). Netminder doesn’t really qualify (after all, he was fired halfway through the year), and ericpete hasn’t done much of anything for years, so he doesn’t qualify either.

I spent a lot of years trying to provide a pipeline through the firewall between the users of the site and its various development and management teams. Based on their actions of last July, those activities were of no value to the current regime at EE, and since then, most of my contributions, however meager I might think them to be, have been dismantled, diminished or suppressed to the point of irrelevance.

The words “incredulous”, “dumbfounded” and “flabbergasted” come to mind.