MVP Code of Conduct

I wanted to let everyone know I'm now an ex-MVP (my award wasn't renewed this year). I'd like to thank whoever it was that nominated me last time. It was fun while it lasted and I enjoyed meeting all the other MVPs at the summit.

Unfortunately your community participation rate over the past year (in any of the communities including VSIP and ASP.Net) is well below the required level. Even if we were to look beyond the MVP code of conduct concerns I don't believe we could justify reinstating you based on participation.

I'm curious to know what exactly the MVP code of conduct involves. Can any current MVPs comment on this? I don't remember seeing anything in my welcome pack.


  • Hmmm, I didn't get renewed either, but I didn't have that in my notice. It seems like if there were other issues then they would have simply let you know that separately, and before this time. I have no clue what they're referring to by the way.

  • The only violation of conduct that I've heard is sharing the login information for the MVP private newsgroups with non MVPs.

    Other than that, I can't recall reading anything.

  • I've to say: I really don't know what they mean with code of conduct.

    I was surprised to get renewed this april as I didn't participate that much in the community as I had done last year, but apparently that didn't make a difference. I think it depends on the lead you have: if s/he thinks you should be MVP because you are standing out in the community, you will get rewarded.

  • Hello Jamie,

    Perhaps you could ask your lead (no ex-lead) about that. Maybe you had inadvertently done something that an MVP wasn't expected to do.

  • Hmm, what is the MVP code of conduct?

  • Not that I have any say in the matter, but I'd give you a lifetime MVP award for TestDriven.Net.

  • I think the whining about the MVP title is a bit over the top. The MVP title is an award for doing community work. Sure there are people MVP who I think should never have gotten the title in the first place. But perhaps they did great community work. What people often forget is that the MVP title isn't a title given to people who are very GOOD at what they're doing, it's a title for people who do extensional community work and/or are community 'icons' or are recognizable in the community, thus not because they're member of the top 10 of the C# coders in the world for example.

    So a person who runs a large usergroup is likely getting an MVP title even if that person perhaps can't program his way out of a wet paper bag.

  • It would be interesting to know all the criterea to beconme an MVP

  • To be honest, I'm with Microsoft on this one. It seems to me that the four salient events were:

    Jamie releases TestDriven.NET free for everyone to use
    Jamie is made an MVP
    Jamie then makes TestDriven.NET non-free
    Jamie's MVP status is removed

    Personally I think it was very bad behavior, taking a free product and starting to charge for it. (Most other products that have developed along similar lines continue with the free base product and charge for 'Professional' or 'Enterprise' editions with extra features.) Starting to charge for a product the community supported and advocated is like a slap in the face for that community, and I can see why Microsoft don't want the MVP badge to be associated with that.

    It could be that they don't want to give visibility to a product that competes with a small portion of TFS, or it could be that (as Roy Osherove says) they don't like him introducing features to the Express editions, but I think that they just don't like the way he treated his community of users.

    Now there's no indication there ever was a free version, and although you can download the latest version you're expected to pay for it unless you're a trial user, a student or an open-source developer. If you object to the new licensing, there's no way to download the previous, free version that doesn't have the new licensing terms.

    Please note that I don't object to paying for software, and I don't think the asking price of $95 is too much. What I object to is the 'bait and switch' approach of getting a community advocating a free product and then robbing the community of that free product.

  • All previously available versions of TestDriven.NET were removed from the site under duress. Have you any idea how damaging *not* having an RTM version available for download is for a product? Believe me I wish TestDriven.NET 1.0 was still available on the site.

    If you read the 'personal' license agreement you will perhaps agree that calling it 'bait and switch' is a little disingenuous. Yes I'm requesting that professional developers consider purchasing a commercial version. However nobody is holding a gun to your head!

  • A: If the product Testdriven.NET not being free is the reason it's even more lame than I thought.

    But let's wait what MS has to say on this, as I want to know what the MVP Code of conduct means and they haven't reported back yet.

  • Btw:
    "What I object to is the 'bait and switch' approach of getting a community advocating a free product and then robbing the community of that free product."
    This is really a silly remark. If a person releases a free tool T and later on makes that tool T commercial, no-one is robbing anyone as the person has no obligation to anyone to keep it free. None.

  • My guess is that the MVP code of conduct is not a set of written down guidelines or rules, it's merely a personal interpretation of how some individual MS employees (with a say in that person's award) EXPECT an MVP to behave or not to behave. Very subjective indeed.

  • Support for Jamie on the "bait & switch" comment. This is a really silly and emotional attack that is totally unwarranted. Even it is was the intention - the free product produced value while it was available, and you could still use the old ones. And what is wrong with developing it and giving it for free while it is a low-to-mid value tool and then charging for it when it is more mature and high-value?
    Who else has an inovative tool like Test-Driven anyway? Shades of it in places, but nothing that puts it all together like that.
    Thanks for the hard work Jamie!

  • Jamie, I just want you to know that many of us don't share the sentiments of A. There's no expectation that a free product will be free forever. To expect this is plain silly.

    If somone complains that your charging for it, how much do you wanna bet they depend on your app to make money for themselves?

  • Per Scott Allen's research:

    "Because the MVP Award is an award-based program with criteria based on past contributions, Microsoft has no expectations of MVPs beyond the expectations of courtesy, professionalism, code of conduct and adherence to the community rules that we ask of all Microsoft community members."

    Wow. Not only does that make no case for Jamie's dismissal, but it makes 'em look even worse for renewing certain people who break just about every one of those rules.

  • Dude, this is so wrong on so many levels and I'm sure this isn't the last we hear about this. I for one do not agree with MS on this and think it's a travesty.

  • I'm a bit on "A"'s side on this one. Maybe he was a bit harsh, but still:
    1. Jaimie went against a Microsoft licence (providing an addin for the express version of VS)
    2. Test Driven is not a free (community) tool anymore.

    This goes against what I see the MVP award being and it still is a Microsoft award to give. If they don't agree with what he has done, why would they give him THEIR award?

    He was awarded when he played by the rules, now...

    I dunno, this sounds like everyone is rooting for the "underdog" just because - without thinking of the facts.

  • @M: I don't agree that we're not thinking about the facts.

    Fact: Jaimie still offers the free version of his tool (well, he had to temporarily pull it due to high bandwidth, but as far as I know it's still offered).

    Fact: There's nothing in MVP land that says you're not allowed to sell products and make a living. The MVP award is for contributions to the community, whether that's a book, a blog, or a free or commercial tool.

    Fact: While the express products lack the extensibilty OOTB to support add-ins, I have yet to find any license agreement or otherwise that says writing them is verbotten.

    For a community driven initiative like the MVP program, it should support community driven initiatives like TestDriven.NET.

  • One more thing on the subject (as I'm posting stuff here there and everywhere about this). Mark Miller (whom I greatly respect) recently was awarded the C# MVP. Where's Marks free contributions to the community? He's a bang hot developer and DevExpress pumps out great stuff. He's done various presentations and whatnot at conferences. So should he get the award while Jaimie doesn't? I think they both deserve it, but it's not a perfect world.

  • It's Microsoft's program... why is everyone complaining about the fairness of it??

    Does MVP status get you a bigger raise? Does it mean your any smarter than the 10 other guys down in the trenches who don't have time to contribute to the community all year long?

    No. It's an award given out by Microsoft. And while the criteria are slightly fuzzy, it's THEIR award, and they can do whatever they want with it.

    Whether you have it or not, if you have a good product, what's the difference? If you know you're a contributor to the community, who cares if you are awarded an MVP? Do you need an MVP to validate your credentials as a developer? As a human being?

    What's done is done. Move on. Everyone.

  • Next year: Spend more unpaid time preaching the Microsoft religion... :-P

  • Jamie, you have my sympathies as you know. You were treated badly, to your surprise but not so surprising to many of us.

    There are lots of folks who provide free and non-free software that runs on Windows and works with Microsoft products. We foster communities, help people, etc. but we aren't part of the "Microsoft community." So lets be our own community.

    BTW, now that you're out of it... puhleaze publish the API you used to get TD.Net to run under C# Express!!! Just as an item of purely theoretical interest, of course. ;-)


  • Hi Jamie.Still not enough info regarding this case but I requested this from Microsoft.
    Regarding this case so this is not so simple. I think this is more mistake of some specific employees in Microsoft and you should ask MVP community for support and Microsoft for explanation (i already did) because it seems like some from Microsoft is persecuting you and this is against Microsoft internal Msvalues inside. Even this could be considered as discimination based on your opinions that some specific person in MS doesn't like and Microsoft could be prosecuted for this.
    When you would find any cases when other MVPs were awarded with similar participation as you and you don't then this is a case for a layer as discrimination when the email you got could be considered as a VERY important prove (because this complaint could not be send by anybody, but only by you because you've got this email as ex-MVP and you were treated this unfair way). So by law you have all chances to prosecute Microsoft and ask for excuse or even better ask for changing internal MVP award system and to fire those MS employees who are behind such discrimination. I believe Microsoft is fair company but some employees are hinding behind this giant but the law and anti-discrimination principles are on your side. Any company can't run any competitions or awards or anything that would be discriminant, especially in US not. If you reside in US then try to contact your lawyer.
    This would even help Microsoft to fire out bad employees who can behave according to MSValues and should read them every day.

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