Edited Out of History
By webmink on Jan 16, 2007
Now here's an interesting difference in corporate styles. I remember when I left IBM in 2000, the (extensive) mentions of me on IBM's web pages were gradually edited away until today, six years later, there seems to be only one or two left that date from my pre-Sun days (doubtless they will also get expunged now). This one's interesting - my job title has been changed to Sun even though I was still at IBM on the date I gave the talk (7 months before I gave my notice in fact).
When we started blogs.sun.com, we had a long discussion about what we should do when employees left. The conclusion we all reached, supported strongly by Jonathan Schwartz who attended the meeting, was that they should simply be left in place, merely closed for further changes. Our view was that, if the blog text had been acceptable when it was published, there was no reason a change of employment status should vary that. Not to mention the desire by Tim to preserve URIs. Interestingly, one of Jonathan's motivations for this was also so that people could pick up where they left off when they rejoined Sun! Going one step further, Sun now has a blog aggregator for alumni.
So it's with some surprise that I see IBM's former Fellow, "Father of Websphere" Don Ferguson, is already in the process of being airbrushed out of history. His blog already redirects to the home page for IBM's dW bloggers (he's still listed as I type this) despite the cached version showing no signs of being any less defensible than it was a month ago. You can see an older version in WayBackMachine. It seems that, now he works for Microsoft, his views are retrospectively unacceptable. Or is there another explanation?
Update: IBM has responded to this controversy by re-instating Don's blog, with the addition of a comment to say he no longer works at IBM. Jolly good, hope it's now a policy since URL-rot is a problem we all hate!