No, not me. (But would it surprise you?)

It seems that Friendster, who had no policy at all on employee blogging, has fired Joyce Park. You may remember her from such debates as Java vs. PHP. Or maybe her book. Or maybe mod_pubsub (blog).

Take a minute. Go read her blog. See what you can find that's so offensive to the company that they had to fire her.

I'm really resisting the urge to say what I really think about Friendster's current and past management. I think it speaks for itself.

Do you think they'll add a "bloggers need not apply" banner on their jobs page? I'm guessing not. Why? Because "you can work on social networking, but you cannot blog" just doesn't sound right, does it?

Now, pardon me while I got figure out how to cancel my Friendster account. I suggest you do the same.

Wow, that was easy! The image at the right (larger version) is what it looks like to cancel your friendster account because they fired an employee for blogging.

Just in case you wondered.

Related Coverage:

Posted by jzawodn at August 30, 2004 06:17 PM

Reader Comments
# dk said:

Unfortunately, a lot of companies are not nearly as open about discussing anything employment related as Yahoo! is. What's worse, there are often no set rules or regulations to follow if you wish to continue maintaining your blog.

While I haven't followed the whole story, it wouldn't be very far fetched for Friendster to have claimed their methods of implementation were considered a "trade secret", and by having Joyce post that they were using PHP (vs JSP) violating a non-disclosure she had signed. Mind you this is all speculation as I said, I haven't followed the entire story.

I'd also wonder how this would affect another aspect of the company. I believe that Friendster is a privately held company so this question would be of valid interest: Would such posts to a personal blog violate an SEC pre-IPO no comment requirement if a company were looking to go public?

on August 30, 2004 07:37 PM
# kasia said:

You would think someone would have mentioned that to her in the past two weeks since her post...

If her post was a problem to the company, the company should have talked to her about. She was an employee excited about her work, not an enemy.

on August 30, 2004 07:44 PM
# Troutgirl said:

You may have noticed that Friendster's file extensions switched from .jsp to .php. There's also this:

Generally by law, once a company makes something publically available information, they cannot claim an employee violated any kind of confidentiality agreement or trade secret.

on August 30, 2004 08:00 PM
# Dave said:

Rumour has it that Friendster has had to tighten their belts. One might speculate that Blogging was merely a convenient pretext.

on August 30, 2004 08:02 PM
# Joost Schuur said:


on August 30, 2004 08:03 PM
# Lee Wilkins said:


We will stick by you

what happened to you sucked huge rhinoceros penis

on August 30, 2004 08:10 PM
# Philip Tellis said:

22 tabs open in Mozilla, not including the two obligatory MySQL ones! Man!

on August 31, 2004 01:50 AM
# Dirk said:

That's really bad news. I see the blogging thing as a pretext. Troutgirl, will you talk to a lawyer about that?

on August 31, 2004 02:56 AM
# Brian said:

I just cancelled my account.

on August 31, 2004 03:05 AM
# McGroarty said:

A thought -- if people are canceling accounts over an action between Friendster and its employees, then this is a demonstration of why a company could have problems with employees blogging about the company.

Joyce seems to have moved some small measure of PR out of the hands of the company, and into her own - or even into this weblog's.

on August 31, 2004 05:10 AM
# Ryan said:

Well, I say STFU. They have all the right to terminate her. No employee should say anything about their job or company on publicly accessible blogs.

Was she really thinking it was cool and alright to talk about what she did at work publicly?

on August 31, 2004 05:54 AM
# Kenneth said:

I think and are cooler anyway.

Now I need to dig out which email address I signed up to friendster with...

I think if everyone reading this cancels, she'll get a job. It's that simple. Maybe not with Friendster, they appear to have fallen off the cluetrain, but some company will get it.

on August 31, 2004 06:49 AM
# Jeff Ray said:

My Friendster account: CANCELLED 8/31/04

To the post of "RYAN": You DO have the right to talk about your job and what you do to anyone you choose as long as you are not disclosing confidential information. The woman we are talking about did not share anything that was not public already. If anything, she helped spread the word about Friendster. I often find new products and services from reading Blogs that I would not have found otherwise. I understand the company may disapprove of such a Blog for whatever reasons- but make it easy, TALK TO HER ABOUT IT! I know of people doing alot worse things at work and they were SPOKEN TO about the situation- not terminated immediately!

I know what I will be adding to my Blogs!

on August 31, 2004 06:59 AM
# Ross Mayfield said:

While this is a very tasty meme, lets keep in mind one thing: we will only get one side of the story.

No company will comment on the termination of an employee because its standard practice and creates legal exposure.

on August 31, 2004 07:30 AM
# Lion Kimbro said:


on August 31, 2004 07:40 AM
# Kaishaku said:

Having not read TroutGirl's blog before (although after looking at it I may start), I believe I can be objective. I read both articles and can find no fault with what she said. As TroutGirl herself said in the above comments a switch from JSP to PHP is appearant by the file extensions, so the argument for firing her seems rather specious.
IMO, she should take it as a blessing in disguise. Whatever the company's real reason for firing her, I think she is probably better off finding something else.
Good luck TroutGirl, we are all pulling for you.
As for Friendster itself, I never really used it so I won't miss it.

on August 31, 2004 07:42 AM
# Bill Bradford said:

Just cancelled my Friendster account as well. What a BS reason to let someone go.

on August 31, 2004 07:43 AM
# TDavid said:

Correction here. Actually the file extensions aren't definitive proof that an extension is being parsed in a particular language. You can pretty much parse any extension for anything on Apache.

Want to run PHP on .HTML extensions? No problem.
Want to run PHP on .tdavid extensions? No problem.

Now if an employee comes out and says: "We are using PHP vs. JSP" that's arguably identifying something that isn't necessarily public information.

With that said, and as Ross wisely points above we don't know both sides of the story, I think this would be a trivial thing to fire anybody over. I'm thinking there is more to this story ...

on August 31, 2004 08:27 AM
# Justin said:

Think of it this way. Marketing types / executives that "don't get it" want to have a big name behind them when talking with investors. Say "Yeah we spent 2 million having oracle engineers down here working on our java front end." They think that these big names will help them get money. Then maybe they will give them a peak through the server room door and show them all the flashing lights.

When you have some tech on the inside telling everyone else that we went with PHP because java did not cut it.. maybe mysql vs oracle or something.. This might be a slap in the face. I know it sounds funny because several years ago linux / php was unknown to most.

I think general Investors / Venture Capitalists want to relate to these big names and they can sleep at night. When they hear you bet the farm on PHP they don't understand. It's like when I suggested we use mysql for some internal projects instead of MS SQL. Basically it does not look good was what I was told. Stupid eh. Ironic that the company I was working for had to lay off 50% and is now starving for money.

Maybe this is a blessing and not a bad thing :)

on August 31, 2004 08:46 AM
# Randy Charles Morin said:

Cool, I cancelled my account. That was easy and it felt good.

on August 31, 2004 09:22 AM
# Randy Charles Morin said:

Jeremy, update your post and tell everybody to put Troutgirl as the reason for cancelling their accounts.

on August 31, 2004 09:24 AM
# Adam Rifkin said:

Sigh. Thanks for the insights, Jeremy.

on August 31, 2004 09:30 AM
# Steve Friedl said:
on August 31, 2004 09:49 AM
# Ron said:

I'll wait until I hear the whole story. There is obviously something else going on. Maybe she was fired for blogging, but what was her attitude about it? Maybe she was being a jerk within the company about it. Maybe the company asked her, many times, not to do it.

One thing that is important to understand about situations like this, is that companies are not free to talk about why employees where fired. Employees are free to say any damn thing they want.

Why do we always assume the ex-employee is in the right, and the company is in the wrong? I have seen several employees fired for horrible things, only to have them go out and lie about it, while the company has to remain silent for legal reasons. I don't know what CA is like, but in WA employees have huge rights about what an employer can say about there terminations.

Just a different perspective.

on August 31, 2004 10:02 AM
# Barry Schwartz said:

I'll just add. Wow. RSS feed shows "Fire for Blogging" that click to this entry took forever, or it felt like it took forever. :)

on August 31, 2004 10:06 AM
# Ryan said:

You are all prematurely cancelling accounts. You haven't heard the whole story. All you have heard is one side of the story.

They won't come back crying to you to sign back up. You are all the losers here.

on August 31, 2004 10:08 AM
# wil said:

Let me echo what's been said here, though in the very minority: she was fired for blogging. Or so she says. Why does everyone believe this? Surely, if you knew how companies worked, you wouldn't believe this crap. A person needs to be given a first formal warning, then a written warning, and then fired, especially for something so small such as blogging.

There must be more to the story, which she is not telling us, and the company is doing wise not to disclose. She's obviously pissed, and this is her revenge. Way to burn every bridge you have. Potential employers: do you really want this girl to work in your company? I sure wouldn't.

on August 31, 2004 10:21 AM
# said:

Tighten their belts? Rumor has it that they just built out a large new data center.

on August 31, 2004 10:59 AM
# jim winstead said:

i think one bit of context that some people are missing is that jeremy (and others who have mentioned they cancelled their friendster accounts -- myself included) know joyce (troutgirl) at least well enough to take her account at face value. and in some cases, have had enough dealings with friendster-the-company to find her story entirely credible.

as far as an escalation process before getting fired, i don't find it at all strange that a startup (in california) would not follow such a procedure. employment agreements in that sort of situation are generally at-will, in my experience, and the management is often clueless enough about the potential liabilities of firing someone that they do not worry about creating that sort of paper trail.

on August 31, 2004 11:08 AM
# Bill Humphries said:

One has to wonder, since Ryan does not provide identifying information, if he's a PR flack. :)

In any case, I find and LiveJournal more useful for networking than Friendster, Orkut, or Tribe.

on August 31, 2004 11:10 AM
# Josh said:

I signed up for a Friendster account, just so I could cancel it and put "For firing your employees for blogging" as the reason. That felt good.

on August 31, 2004 11:27 AM
# shepd said:

Well, I just cancelled my account in protest. Not that Friendster was particularly good anyways, it totally sucked after the company's President turned into a #1 jerk.

on August 31, 2004 11:31 AM
# Vlad Bogdanov said:

Yeah, it does feel like Ryan is phony. Why would he hide his personal contact anyways?

I find the story behind the firing quite believable. A small company doesn't always choose to prescribe to the standard legal procedures in this matter. I'd worked for a startup / .com company before and know firsthand that firing an employee is as easy as quoting Donald Trump's infamous "you are fired" quote.

Props to TroutGirl. Wish her successful future employement. I probably would have cancelled my membership with Friendster if I had an account to begin with ;-)

on August 31, 2004 11:38 AM
# Scared Poet said:

Wait a minute... maybe I'm not 100% clear on the whole open source GNU thing, but once a company uses an open source product (like PHP) to develop their product, doesn't that preclude them from claiming it as a trade secret? After all, PHP is far fromproprietary, or "secret." And anyone who can read a URL can figure it out.

on August 31, 2004 11:40 AM
# Mike Weeks said:

Like posts above note, a .php extension doesn't make a php site. Nor does using opensource software prevent a company from having "trade secrets".

As if trade secrets are important at all here, legally. They're not necessarily important at all.

What is important is what is contained in a company's NDA or employee agreement. I used to work at a law firm, where it was quite clear that if you have any complaining to do, it was when you sign a confidentiality/inventions/ND agreement, not *after* you get fired for violating it.

Either way, until anyone knows what is actually in the company's agreement that she signed, then it doesn't matter what is 'public knowledge' or not. What matters if any content is in violation of that agreement, public, or not.

on August 31, 2004 12:00 PM
# Jake said:

Now it's on

Friendster fires developer for blog

on August 31, 2004 12:46 PM
# Rimantas said:

Oh yes, file extensions.
Sure they mean nothing. Friendster used to have their soft written in Greek language, just slapped on some .jsp extensions for fun. Later they switched to Roman numbers and changed extension to .php just to keep God from killing kittens. And yes, that was done carefully enough - server signature was forget to spit out "Server: Apache/1.3.31 (Unix) PHP/4.3.8".

My point is - sure it is easy to have any extension you want, but that consipracy theory just has nothing to do in this case.


By the way I just stumbled across the (sic!). Some alternative? :)

on August 31, 2004 01:04 PM
# Mike Benedetto said:

I find myself agreeing with Ryan (and I will give all the evidence of my identity that you demand). There is likely to be more to the story than we've been told -- most companies, even crazy startups, aren't in the habit of dismissing first-rate employees without warning or unambiguous evidence of misconduct. This isn't necessarily to say that Joyce is being untruthful. But for all we know, the real reason is that one of her higher-ups had it in for her and seized on this as an excuse -- something that can happen in a variety of basically good companies. (Haven't you ever had a friend fired for a trivial reason, and been sure there was really something else going on?)

And even if this isn't the case...what good is this going to do? Will it hurt Friendster in the slightest if a few hundred people decide to cancel their accounts? As far as I can tell, the only people who will notice will be your friends, who will be unhappy that you've shrunk their personal networks and skeptical of your ethical need to do so.

Don't be so hot-headed. If you feel that you must do something, keep your membership open and send Friendster a letter stressing the importance of respecting the freedom of speech. If they don't respond to your satisfaction and you still feel strongly in a few days, then pull the plug.

on August 31, 2004 01:31 PM
# Ryan said:

First of all, I am not affiliated with friendster in any way or form. Second of all, I don't like friendster myself.

Seriously, who in the right mind gives away millions of dollars in funding for a simple php website. Crazy VCs! I don't even have a friendster account. Kenneth recommended these two websites that are similar to friendster: and

The above websites look much more open and welcoming than friendster's main page.

on August 31, 2004 01:50 PM
# Torley Wong said:

I haven't really used my Friendster account... or anything. It's kind of confusing, with all these competing services that aren't exactly interoperable and kind of makes me scratch my head at any perceived "standard of unity".

Oh well -- I don't like the sound of this "Fired for Blogging", it makes me uncomfortable and points to something darker, perhaps Leland Gaunt-ish, in Friendster's domain. :(

on August 31, 2004 02:44 PM
# terry chay said:

Could some of the outrage be because we know Troutgirl?

As for knowing the switch from JSP->PHP, it extended far beyond the extensions (pardon the pun). Netcraft headers show it. Their job site for the last six months has shown it. I and others knew long before we ever signed an NDA with that company what was up. The only speculation was _when_.

The only news to me from her blog posting was that Friendster had tried so hard to get it to work in JSP/J2EE. But this falls under common sense as Friendster's site proudly displays their funding and I've a good sense to guess how much many tens of millions can buy.

I hazard to guess that some of us posting do not live/work for a tech company in the Valley. If you did, you'd be familiar with the "at will" contracts and if you've been here and worked with enough startups you've been on the s**t end of that stick not to be surprised. I've overheard a few things about Friendster (not from Troutgirl) to make what happened even less surprising.

Let us consider the facts that anyone would know. Friendster was dog slow, now it runs acceptably fast. Friendster was hiring PHP developers like mad and their headers and URL show their servers now report using PHP as an application server. Troutgirl is a well known PHP author and was an employee of Friendster.

Given the problems Orkut is now having with scaling, I'd hazard a guess here to say that her performance wasn't the reason for her firing even without knowing her personally.

Bias disclaimer: I barely use Friendster--I only have 3 friends in Friendster and Joyce is one of them. I work for Plaxo which others consider as a competitor--though I don't know anyone at Plaxo that feels this way.

on August 31, 2004 02:50 PM
# TDavid said:

Terry - Netcraft header's aren't necessarily 100% accurate either. For example, I pointed that URL Troutgirl used to one of our dedicated servers and a specific domain and it didn't even identify the correct version of PHP running on the server.

Bottom line is that the server can/will return whatever it is programmed to return and just because PHP is running on the server doesn't mean that some other scripting language isn't being used to parse the pages.

(BTW, I'm not disputing that Friendster switched from JSP to PHP, I am disputing the notion that this is "public knowledge" by looking at the page extension or using the third party Netcraft program).

Therefore the notion that using a third party program like this to claim it's "public knowledge" is clearly fallable. Troutgirl should at least be forthcoming in acknowledging this distinction when she tells her side of the story that she feels she was wrongfully terminated.

Perhaps this is just an anal-retentive technicality, but it is worth at least considering in that there is more to this story than meets the eye.

on August 31, 2004 03:15 PM
# Joe said:

Some of you folks are missing the point.

Yes, Friendster can choose whatever policies they please, and fire employees for saying boo. It's legal. However, no one is under obligation to do business with a company that treats its employees like shit. People speculating that there might be something in Troutgirl's employment agreement that serves as justification ignore the fact that a company needs no justification, in the absence of a contract that ordinary technical employees generally never have.

For that reason, the only way to get companies to cut employees some slack and to have a humane workplace is if companies that don't treat employees well pay a price. "Legal" is a minimum standard; we can and should ask for more than that from those we do business with.

So, don't do business with Friendster. Don't assume that there is another side to the story unless and until someone in a position to know offers a credible story.

on August 31, 2004 04:28 PM
# L said:

Well duh, if you sign a non-disclosure agreement, of course blogging about your work is going to violate that. Contracts, people. Read before signing.

on August 31, 2004 04:31 PM
# Chris Shiflett said:

TDavid - you're right, but I don't see that it changes the concern. If this were a Microsoft employee saying, "our security practices are horrible," then I would understand. Even though it's public knowledge that Microsoft has serious security problems, having an employee state such in public is crossing a clear boundary.

Joyce's case seems much different. Did she really confirm something people were unsure about when mentioning the switch to PHP? I don't think anyone was wondering whether Friendster was using PHP file extensions and returning the new server signature as a misdirection technique. Obviously, if Friendster felt that using PHP was a secret, they would have taken steps to make the file extensions and server signature remain constant during the transition. So, I think it's pretty irrelevant to even be considering this a secret.

Was it because she acknowledged the poor performance of Friendster after it had been improved? This at least seems more realistic than considering the use of PHP to be a trade secret.

Of course, regardless of how justified the termination was (to take Friendster's side for a moment), it reflects very poorly on the intelligence of a company that would dare cite such a ridiculous reason for terminating someone. Even if it's true, make up something. Get your lawyer to make up something nice and generic. Even if there were no legal boundaries crossed, this makes Friendster, as a company, look really stupid.

Also, after meeting Joyce at OSCON, I'm inclined to believe that she speaks the truth. I have no doubt that Friendster cited blogging as the reason for her termination.

on August 31, 2004 04:35 PM
# Chris Shiflett said:

> "Legal" is a minimum standard; we can and should ask for
> more than that from those we do business with.


on August 31, 2004 04:38 PM
# Mike Weeks said:

But Joe, isn't the assumption that the company is doing the "treating like shit" based on a judgement of her posts as being within the limits of her confidentiality agreement ? Catch-22 there.

I have seen a lot of NDAs, inventions clauses, and confidentiality agreements in this here Silicon Valley, being in software myself, and a lot of them have more stringent phrasing than would prevent me from blogging *anything* about the company, let alone any technology decisions being made (or *failed* decisions, in the case of Java and Friendster).

Now I have no idea what their terms of employment are, but I really don't think anyone can make any judgements about whether it was a wrongful termination without knowing it. I also can't imagine that her talking to CNET about it makes her case any better.

Getting fired sucks MAJOR, for sure. But this stuff should cross your mind when you sign the damn thing, not *after* you get in trouble for being in violation of it.

If she's NOT in violation of it, then she has every right to sue for wrongful termination. If that actually IS the case, and it's so clear cut according to all of the blogsphere, think of what a huge victory it would be, then.

Question is: Is she so sure that she was not in violation that she would try it in court ? Now that would be interesting.

on August 31, 2004 04:44 PM
# Ryan Schultz (Quiplash) said:

Cancelled my Friendster account today :-) thanks for the heads-up Jeremy. My post about it is here:

Friendster fires employee... for blogging

Thank you for giving me a good reason to finally end my Friendster addiction!

on August 31, 2004 05:12 PM
# Flemming Funch said:


on August 31, 2004 05:30 PM
# jeff said:

I cancelled my account eons ago. I didn't find useful at all! It was slow and misleading!

on August 31, 2004 07:15 PM
# Mike Benedetto said:

So, don't do business with Friendster. Don't assume that there is another side to the story unless and until someone in a position to know offers a credible story.

Which they can never, ever do for reasons of liability. Joyce is the only one who can make any kind of public comment on the subject of her termination.

Again, let's not be silly. Some acquaintances of mine were once fired from the company they founded by its investors, and a mutual friend thereafter refused to do any business with that company even though (a) it did some terrific things subsequently, (b) our friends had apparently been making exceedingly unwise decisions, running the company into the ground, (c) lots of other people he knew and liked had a financial stake in the company and would suffer if it failed, and (d) our friends, who knew the whole story, didn't bear the company ill will. Good sense was lost on him -- he would make his ethical point regardless of the inconvenience to him or the cost to others.

I fear many of you are impulsively following the same path. Judging a company on the basis of one person's evidence is a foolish thing to do. Is this no-blog policy (if it is one) reflective of an incoherent or hostile corporate philosophy? Or is it just one person's boneheaded decision that they're fighting over at Friendster today? We don't know, and I don't consider it ethical of us to assume the worst instead of continuing to judge the company by the most important criterion, the service it provides.

on August 31, 2004 07:47 PM
# A said:

Hey Joyce says on her blog that she loved her team. Why don't we show the team that she loved a little respect by not trying to put their jobs at risk. Let's keep our Friendster accounts and just write emails to Friendster letting them know how upset we all are.

on August 31, 2004 11:28 PM
# Elentar said:

Friendster's users are no doubt full of many people like me, who had created an account and linked to friends some time ago and simply stopped using the service when it got old. I've kept my account around until now just because I could, but I've closed it in support of this cause.

This is not about getting Joyce her old job back or a new job somewhere. This is not about punishing Frienster through the removal of accounts, either - we won't make much of a dent in that regard. But with mainstream media watching blog sites constantly for breaking news, we _will_ see this story become a headline in the mainstream media, and Friendster will have to deal with the negative image they created.


on September 1, 2004 09:24 AM
# Ryan said:

Friendster fires developer for blog

Blogger Firing Inspires Friendster Boycott

Friendster Fires Employee For Blogging

Social networking site Friendster sacks employee over blog,39024667,39123618,00.htm

Developer Fired For Blogging

Fired For Blogging
Friendster irks bloggers by canning engineer

on September 1, 2004 09:42 AM
# Scott Johnson said:

If I was the one being fired for mentioning that Friendster had changed from JSP to PHP, I would be filing a lawsuit. I am not that person, but I knew of the change based on the simple fact that the URLs changes from .jsp to .php. This is public information. She needs to fight this. Friendster is being evil, and something should be done about it.

on September 1, 2004 10:25 AM
# Niall Kennedy said:

How could you fire a lawsuit in California, an at will state? If a company wanted to fire someone for a bad haircut they could do that without recourse, right? There does not appear to be any case of defamation here.

Unless you have an employment contract or written promises to the employee there is no need for "good cause."

on September 1, 2004 12:05 PM
# Ed Hall said:

I've little doubt Friendster is entirely within their legal rights in firing her. But that sound you hear is that of resumes being updated and polished. Even ignoring the negative PR, the hit in morale to Friendster's technical staff should be palpable.

Perhaps management has drunk the post-dot-com kool-aid and believes that good web developers are a dime-a-dozen. I think they're in for a rude shock.

on September 1, 2004 12:16 PM
# said:

Look at all the negative publicity this woman has caused with her last blog post.

Would I want her to be working for my company?

on September 1, 2004 12:39 PM
# Ryan said:

Look at all the negative publicity this woman has caused with her last blog post.

Would I want her to be working for my company?

on September 1, 2004 12:40 PM
# Timboy said:

Ryan - Her post was a pretty dry recounting of the facts. So, do you mean that the mere fact of the firing and the reason given by the firing company should have been kept secret by everyone including her? If a company fires me, and says that it's for reason X, in your world am I not supposed to repeat that to my friends?

I'm trying to think of a metaphor that doesn't seem overdramatic, but I can't, so I'll just go with it: saying that Troutgirl's post is to blame for negative publicity for the company is like saying that videotapes of police violence show that the videocamera is evil, because it leads to bad PR for police...

on September 1, 2004 01:12 PM
# Marty Morrow said:

hey troutgirl - if you want something to do for the next few weeks while you sort through your many offers, sign up as a developer in our community - we're launching a huge project friday and need many talented developers.

on September 1, 2004 01:48 PM
# Mike Weeks said:

My question continues to be: has she looked over her confidentiality agreement, and found that she was *not* in violation ? Or did she just assume she was in the clear ? That seems to be the real issue here.

From my experience, it doesn't matter if a confidentiality agreement says 'you are prohibited from telling people that the sky is blue'....if you sign it, then people will have to find out the color of the sky from someone else. Or, you risk getting fired. My lawyer friend explained it to me this way:

Agreement signed by employee: Don't tell people blah, x, y, or z about bing, bang or bong. If you do, you'll get canned.

Employee, on blog one day: So today I was blah-ing the x, and I can't believe how big that y was!

Management: dude, you signed the thing saying you wouldn't do that. now, you're sacked.

ex-employee: damn! where's my free speech! so unfair! I'm calling the papers!

While I certainly support the ability for the ex-employee to call the papers, I don't know if I have all that much sympathy for the person.

as vague as the agreement might be, if I sign it without contesting, then, well, I still signed it, right ?

on September 1, 2004 01:49 PM
# Ed Hall said:

I've got to wonder at the Prussian Army school of management some posters here seem to subscribe to. Sure, she probably broke the rules. But is the likely cost to the company greater than that of firing her? Given that the cost of the latter is:loss of her specific knowledge of their system;loss of morale for their other developers;costs of finding and hiring a replacement (though perhaps they were downsizing anyhow, so this might not apply);Negative PR costs (I mean, if they thought the blog was public enough to make an issue of it, they certainly must have expected her firing to be publically discussed);
did she damage the company enough to out-balance these costs?

I don't think so. Only a management that feels that its authority must be unquestioned and that making public examples is the way to enforce this is likely to feel otherwise. One must question whether such management has other disfunctional aspects that it is attempting to compensate for...

on September 1, 2004 03:09 PM
# Friendster-Less said:

Friendster's created a black hole for themselves in the very medium they depend on by alienating the very people who would be the core of their entire community. Thanks, troutgirl, for telling people like me who happen by and way to go, Jeremy, for supporting her. It'll be viral negative PR in action as everyone tells someone not to join.

on September 1, 2004 05:46 PM
# Steve Magruder said:

Wow.... I recently unsubscribed from Friendster as I have found to be better in almost every way. Now I have an additional socially conscious reason to have done it. Shame on Friendster.

Further, it makes me wonder about all my postings on the net, blog or otherwise... do they have any effect on my employability? Should they? It's almost as if the generation in their 20's/30's today have had their thoughts on many subjects mass-published, and now they have to be accountable for every little thing they've said.

This may be one of the unintended consequences of net use... society's ability to tolerate many views "outside the mainstream" hasn't caught up with the free-speech laissez-faire of the Internet.

on September 1, 2004 07:52 PM
# Sam said:

"now they have to be accountable for every little thing they've said."

no, people are being held accountable for saying stuff that they agreed they wouldn't say.

here's a hint:
it's not called censorship.
it's not called tyrannical evildoers.
it's called signing a contract, then violating that contract.

I know that if a Google employee were to blog about their technology that violated their agreement, then they'd fire them as well.

This stuff happens every day,'s just with bloggers, you'll see the complaining more.

on September 1, 2004 09:09 PM
# Anonymous coward said:

I know of a certain , big , I.T. corporate, that "hides" it's PHP sites by serving up .JSP extensions, and locking down what picks up about the site.

Methinks troutgirl blogged about the tech without getting prior clearance about it.

on September 2, 2004 12:20 AM
# Robert Worrill said:


People, this is why you need unions.

on September 2, 2004 01:33 AM
# Goober#_015475145465 said:

Well it's bad enough they fired this very intellegent person for something so small. Their loss if you ask me but she's suffering as well. Now this backlash in the very community in which they're trying to sell their product..... nice work guys.

She may or may not have violated the NDA, but if they'd thought about possible repercussions maybe they'd have taken more sensible measures. Too late now.

Damage control, damage control.... too late, we're sunk.

on September 2, 2004 09:38 AM
# GC said:

Hmm ... Done. Friendster has fallen off the cool list.

on September 2, 2004 11:13 AM
# Steve said:

Cancelled. Friendster sucked lately anyway. I don't know any active members anymore.

on September 9, 2004 08:00 AM
# alisha berger NY POST REPORTER said:

Saw the news about troutgirl Joyce Park and would like to write about her for a NY Post article about corporate blogging policy. Does anybody know how to find her? Thanks!

on September 22, 2004 10:29 AM
# Satya said:

This is only one of millions questionable employment pratices. Good thing in this case she gets job offers more than the other poor people.

PS. anyone know if there are still any corporate programmers who haven't cancelled their friendster account?

on September 24, 2004 09:32 AM
# cipring said:

pls. notify the following.. u r not qualified to open the friendster..

on October 7, 2004 11:14 PM
# Laurent said:

Well, I just cancelled my account in protest. Not that Friendster was particularly good anyways, it totally sucked after the company's President turned into a #1 jerk.

on November 16, 2004 11:23 AM
# Curt said:

I just got a call this morning from Minnesota Public Radio telling me they would not be hiring me (I was the lead candidate) for a journalism job due to my blog. I wonder if anyone else has been eliminated from being hired because of their blog?

on December 22, 2004 11:22 AM
# KC said: describes one of the first instances (several years ago) I've heard of in which someone got caught blogging and got fired for who they wrote about (co-workers). It ain't going away.

on January 10, 2005 04:28 PM
# Ballenger Motorsports said:

Account cancelled. Not really a useful service in my mind anyway.

on February 9, 2005 06:12 AM
# joana paula santos said:

my friendster account has been invaded by someone whose very demonizing person, i just want to know how to get back my account coz taht person almost ruined me...

on March 7, 2005 03:31 AM
# Claire said:

People amaze me everyday

on March 19, 2005 12:30 PM
# dur said:

dumazz... perhaps they were testing the 10 second theory?

or maybe they jus didn't like yur punk azz...

or maybe u shud work whilst @ work


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# arschficken said:


on May 28, 2006 11:38 AM
# arschficken said:
on May 28, 2006 11:39 AM
# Article XP said:

This is only one of millions questionable employment pratices. Good thing in this case she gets job offers more than the other poor people.

on November 3, 2006 04:58 AM
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