The past few days seem to have been quite interesting in the comments section of the the Mini-Microsoft blog. Ex-Microsoft employee, Robert Scoble jumped into some comment threads where some of his former bosses were being criticized (start here) and it quickly devolved into a flame war. In the aftermath of that flame war, Mini posted an entry entitled Bad Mini, Scoble's Exit, and Truthiness - Links which also led to another series of interesting comments from Robert. The most interesting of which seems not to have been posted but is instead referenced in this excerpted comment by Who da'Punk (aka Mini-Microsoft)

Okay, okay, hold on... things are getting heated again. I've got about six posts in the queue, including Mr. Scoble's "Goodbye I won't ever be commenting here again," comment. So, please hold on to your "Grr, Scoble!" comments because he won't be following up, let alone perhaps reading them. You'd be much better served submitting your comments to his blog or writing your own blog entries and linking appropriately.
In the meantime, I'm certainly thinking about Scoble's parting strategic comments:

* The Mini-Microsoft blog's impact has come, been done, and is past.

* The blog serves now to harm Microsoft more than help it.

* The blog is, specifically, being used by the anti-Microsoft crowd and competitors to harm Microsoft.

All good points, and some, worth putting up a pivotal post about.

But not today. Go have fun.

I find it hard to disagree with Robert's above points. The Mini-Microsoft blog has served as a place for Microsoft employees to discuss what riles them about the company in an anonymous setting that is free of recrimination. From my perspective, this has been both good and bad. It has been good to have a forum where people can discuss some aspects of the culture that have been taken for granted but were actually harmful such as The Curve without fear of being attacked for questioning the status quo. Although, it would have been better for this discussion to happen internally there are a number of social and technological reasons why this is difficult.

On the flip side, the Mini-Microsoft blog is a forum where disgruntled employees pour out their bile on the fellow employees and the company as a whole. I've seen character assassination, racism, sexism, fear mongering, unfounded allegations of sexual misconduct, information leaking, and more in the comments section of the Mini-Microsoft blog. However you slice it, it reflects badly on Microsoft that the people posting these comments appear to be Microsoft employees. What is even more interesting is when you consider Robert Scoble's allegation below

Anonymous bloggers are never as credible as ones who stick their names on things.

Why does it bother me? Cause Mini is being used by non-Microsoft employees to hurt Microsoft. I've learned that a lot of the posts here that you're reading aren't done by Microsoft employees.

Yet you are taking it on face value that everyone is being straight up with you here. They are not.

I didn't realize this until after I had left Microsoft (it's funny how people tell you stuff when you aren't a Microsoft employee anymore). I'm not willing to expose my source, though. But I believe him.

That competitors would astroturf the Mini-Microsoft blog or use it as a recruiting tool when competing against Microsoft for a candidate doesn't surprise me. The surprise is that both Mini-Microsoft and Robert Scoble seem to be taken aback by this. I guess I'm more cynical than most.

The bottom line is that I agree with Robert that in its current incarnation Mini-Microsoft does more harm to Microsoft than good. If anything, it does point out the need for a better internal forums for frank and open discussion but I definitely think it's time is past.