How To Burn Your Bridges At Work

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2006-10-274

There are many ways to quit a job, and here is one unusual (and terrible) way to do so. I found myself lurking on Reddit seeing if anything entertaining would catch my eye. Well one submission did (note: unfortunately, I had to take down the referenced hyperlink as the original letter is no longer available from the source, my apologies!).

In particular, a Wikipedia editor went postal thanks to how the founder allegedly runs the company. He ranted and raved about his work environment and posted it on the web.

So some disgruntled admin over at Wikipedia harps about his work environment and basically rips on his co-workers. His message is incredibly long and rambling and earnest. It’s one of those things that morbidly fascinates me. Don’t ask me why but I’m one of those huge fans of train wrecks, and as usual I can’t help but be attracted to the absurd drama of it all.

I wondered if this was but another lame hoax. Given that too many details and names were dropped and internal procedures described in color, I’m guessing it’s genuine.


Assuming this is authentic, I wonder if the writer of the resignation letter realizes that he may have just blacklisted himself with all that bridge burning he was doing. I commend him for having the cojones to call Wikipedia a bunch of jerks, or admitting what losers some of them are, but last I heard, a meltdown didn’t help with career advancement (I doubt he can stay anonymous) even if the work you do is non-profit, voluntary or out of the goodness of your heart. Is this expose caused by reckless bravado or misguided courage? Don’t let it come back and bite you. A lot of people don’t realize that when their emotions get the better of them, they could be doing a whole lot of damage with respect to future job prospects.

And Wikipedia is so seamless and useful, I can’t imagine the power tripping inside it. I really can’t. (Italics = Sarcasm) Amazing organizations or projects run by people with some measure of intelligence and ego and entrusted with great responsibility, don’t a happy, peaceful, playground make. Tell me something I don’t know.

Wikipedia in all its glory was inspired by the concept of the wisdom of crowds, which today governs the whole social bookmarking fad in Web 2.0. Perhaps internally, it also demonstrates the concept of the madness of crowds.

Anyway I wish whoever it is much luck. He can always get another job as the fall guy or surprise us all and be instantly promoted to the top of the food chain.

So what do you think. Is this guy daring or diva? Guts or nuts?

Copyright © 2006 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

George Chernikov October 28, 2006 at 3:45 pm

You know, I must admit I read that open letter with the same kind of morbid fascination that the author of this blog probably did. It reminded me of the post-mortems that software developers sometimes do for their games that failed miserably.

I must say that if even half of the accusations contained in that letter are true, then Wikipedia must be in for a pretty tough time. I read recently that the founder of Wikipedia quit the crew and is looking to set up his own version of it – only this time, it will feature professional, recruited and knowledgable editors (and he’s got the funding to do it).

I did not pay that article much attention back then, but now that I’ve read this letter, I wonder if the two are connected? We have a former admin blaming fellow admins for being overly arrogant, and we have Wikipedia’s founder setting up an alternative encyclopaedia where editors-in-chief will be professionals. Ho-hum…

P.S. To Silicon Valley Blogger, thanks for checking out my blog and for your feedback!

Susmita Barua November 17, 2006 at 10:45 am

I love Wikipedia and the many users who take time and trouble to add contents and browse them. Now if the problem is the adminstators.. don’t know how they are recruited for how long and on what basis? Can users be part of the solution here?

Any user or administrator receiving 3 or more serious five star complaints of abuse from others can be safely denied access at least for a period of a year…or something like that to keep the health, sanity and knowledgebase of Wikipedia in a sound state of harmony.

Afterall this is something totally new we are creating and experimenting with. Those coming from very conventional academic background and facing unorthodox views for first time may go crazy in merciless editing. Likewise some may fill up pages with irrelevant, unsupported and out-of-context material. It is the task of majority to keep a tiny abusers off ground and find a decent way to do it.

Leave a Comment