Friday, July 22, 2005

Use this post to complain about the blog

Hi, all:

People started to complain about my having openly considered disabling anonymous posting. Feel free to complain about that here.


I, for one, can only post annonymously. I am a "probationary employee" who can be fired on a manager's whim. Thanks for keeping annonymous posting available for those of us who can't afford to be retaliated against.
I have mixed feelings about anonymous posting. On one hand, it allows people to post freely without fear of retribution. After being here for 24 years, I think this fear is exaggerated, but then I've had pretty good luck with bosses. On the other hand, this blog has become a forum for personal attacks on particular people cloaked in the veil of anonynimity, which I find disgusting.
On the balance, please leave anonymous posting open, but the readers need to take everything with a grain of salt. I've posted offensive things just to see what kind of a reaction I get. Pretty funny sometimes.
Yes, I tend to forget that there are still managers at LANL who would retaliate against people for contributing to the blog. I may just have to continue to accept the bad with the good.

To be fair, most posters have attempted to be ethical. It's the ones who don't even try that bother me. I should try to remember what someone once told me:

"There is one sure formula for failure – trying to please everyone."

I believe that it is time to end anonymous postings. They are being used to hide personal attacks.
...and the posts will drop to 3 a week. Anonymous posts are necessary.

Keep in mind that some of the people calling for an end to the blog or an end to anonymous posting, could very likely be members of lab management; whom have had the blog get under their skin.
Are you out of your $%#! mind? Without anonymous postings, the value of the blog is zero. Only a few retires such as yourself and Holian can feel free to post on the blog over their signature. Far too many LANL managers are retaliatory. Some are much more sublte about it than others. Yes, indeed, there have been a few personal attacks. This is known as colateral damage and is acceptable.

If you are not convinced, then make a trial run: eliminate anonymous postings and comments for about a week or two and take a look at the quantity and quality of the postings and comments and look at the number of visitors.
Why can't people just get a Blogger account and post then?
Of course, LANL mgrs do not want the BLOG to be anonymous! They want it to go away. The BLOG is obviously very effective.

Complain, no; Concerned, yes. I think you only need to look at the "Letters to the Editor" feature of the on-line bulletin to see what eliminating anonymous postings will do. It now seems that the accepted discussion at LANL is either the - Proper merging technique or another concern by a person who chooses to ride a bike to work.

I agree that some of the postings may be percieved as a personal attack. Even so, they are still created by an individual and are a small window into how that person actually feels. Many people do not feel comfortable speaking in public, and many more do not feel comfortable stating what they feel or think due to past experiences with outspoken individuals who have a better ability to communicate or debate.

I would ask that you do not eliminate the anonymous post capability.
doing away with anonymous postings kills the blog... I know of several lab managers (in IM specifically) who have tried to find out who has posted stuff. Retaliatory, vindictive, and parr for the course. And nothing new for IM.

I can afford to put my name on my posts because I do not currently work for the Lab.

I would like you to keep the anonymous posting for lots of people who can post no other way.

I would like anonymous posters to be as professional in what they say as they would be if they had signed their names and their reputations were on the line.

Come on Doug. You go dude!!
Got em runnin' scared! You found the answer to retaliation, revenge
and retribution LANL style. I am please that so many folks are reading the Real Story.
Doug - Maybe it is best to just encourage people to use their names. Given the absolutely surreal events of the last few years, I can certainly understand why many people fear the management at Los Alamos. - Scott
Retaliation at the Lab is real.

But it's obvious that anonymous posting allows a number of problems. For example, one of the posters above says that he has posted offensive things just to see the reaction. This is called trolling and is not a useful part of a discussion.

I choose not to leave my name because I don't want to be the subject of personal attacks by anonymous posters who have shown themselves only too ready to do this rather than apply analysis to their situation to generate possible solutions.

That's what I've posted about before, working toward solutions, although I've mostly given it up. I find it remarkable that scientists, whose life's work is analysis and developing solutions to problems, choose primarily to whine and attack. I suspect that the blog represents a minority of Lab scientists, but there's no way to prove that.
I am amazed at the circular nature of this discussion. Any rationale person can read the blog and realize much of the recent postings are nothing but personal attackes. These are not constructive, nor, for the most part are they thrue. After this bile spills across the blog, then Doug asks if it is important to continue anonymous postings. It is not suprising that the spewers of hate immediately chime in "Doug, keep up the good work and allow me to spew!".

Doug takes the time to post many news stories - serious topics. However, almost always the first post is a sarcastic comments, often attacking someone. Poster 04:47 claims with glee that he/she posts offensive things to get a reaction -- the classic actions of a bully. This is exactly what the blog has become - a school yard wall for graffiti.

Taken on the whole, the blog is no longer constructive. It is hateful, and the vail of anonymos makes this a wonderful dumping ground. The blog will continue because the spewers will clammer for a place to practice their trade.
Regarding the previous comment: I think that it is an exageration to say that "Any rationale person can read the blog and realize much of the recent postings are nothing but personal attackes (sic)."

Yes, there are some personal attacks. BUT, these are only a small fraction of the posts and comments. And, in many cases, the BLOG is the only outlet that LANL employees have to complain about some of the very stupid decisions of LANL management. Indeed, this Chief of Staff and Morale Officer business is scandalous!

The BLOG is a source of a lot of very valuable information. For instance, there a lots of links to media (newspaper & TV) articles. These are quite valuable.

We need to keep the BLOG and we need to continue to alloy anonymous postings and comments.
The bottom line is that any lab manager who is fair and above board has nothing to fear from any blog. The others, and there are many, hate the blog because it gives anonymous criticism a chance to thrive. Bottom line is that there is no uniformity across the lab in the quality of managers and TLs. The vindictive ones retain their jobs because there is no recourse for those who have been victimized. Ombuds is a total joke. And even direct reports (with documentation) are brushed aside.

The blog offers a small avenue toward possibly exposing and changing bad management practices. There are too many (and yes they seem to be mostly women) in "power" who use their jobs as a way of controlling others and getting some perverse satisfaction out of it. The school marm syndrome? They know that nothing will be done no matter how many complaints are made.

Lockheed should shake them up a bit.
Who is naïve enough to think that the retaliation of a vindictive person would be swayed by knowing with certainty who posted the criticism? If postings are deemed unjustifiable offensive or personal, then the owner of the blog can remove them.
From Anonymous at 7/23/2005 10:11:09 AM

"Ombuds is a total joke."

The LANL Ombudsman is a lawyer.
What's wrong with the Blog. Wow, just look at the next posting on the main blog page. Terry Lowe, DL of STB was asked about the present university connections, and bammmmm the comments on the blog are all about Terry being a lap dog of UC and that he should dust off his resume. What a joke -- attacking Terry for his comments is inappropriate. Terry is in charge of university connections, and is an appropriate spokesperson. The fact that the DRC committees have more than 30 members of the national academy is ample evidence that the present university connects do not "reflect" isolation like the LM/UT team says. However, Terry made a statement in the press, and now on the blog it is "time to bash a UC manager".

There is nothing useful about the blog anymore because a few (I think it is a few) people just want to call names and say ugly things. congratulation Doug, you really have a nice long term impact.
I think 11:33 missed the point.... all I meant was the blog ia a WAY to expose them.... and the fact that IM-1 "managers" have tried to find out WHO is posting stuff about them only proves that they will be vindictive (no surprise)... therefore the anonymity of the blog is crucial since they are already conducting a witch (how appropriate) hunt. Sometimes the only thing left is a blog.
Anonymous said:

"What's wrong with the Blog."

How brave, Anonymous. How about leaving your name so that we can have a real discussion?


12:03 only proves that this blog, in its current incarnation, has had a useful impact. Those who are in positions of power/authority, and who are known bad actors, are both scared and desperate. Good. (How does it feel guys & gals?)

While I agree that there have been a number of unprofessional posts, anonymity is the only way to maintain effective pressure against the bad actors. I'd be more in favor of some sort of moderation, but that would be labor intensive, and might require additional support for you.

I note that many (but not all) of the managers that I work for have not been attacked in this forum. I know that those few in my organization who are subject to intense scrutiny have lost the respect of many, if not all, of their subordinates. So while the attacks might be a little too brutal, they are not inaccurate.

Were you trolling for pernicious managers?
Comment to 7/22/2005 04:47:30 PM:

Posting offensive things just to see what kind of a reaction you get is a totally inappropriate use of the blog. We would be better off without carpetbaggers like you. Such postings seem designed to destroy credibility of the blog, but hopefully readers will recognize them for what they are.

you can't have it both ways -- when someone challenges the blog, or heaven, challenges you in anyway, your response is "How brave, Anonymous. How about leaving your name so that we can have a real discussion?". Doug, people post anonymously commenting on the blog for the same reason some feel the need to be protected from LANL management.

Consider some mature reflection -- is it really a good thing that you promote personal attacks? I suppose you think you are "protecting" free speech, but it is not. Consider the recent attacks with vile innuendo directed towards the COS in T division and then towards Alan Bishop. Guess what - an informal survey of T division believes that Alan is doing a very fine job. The COS is working on some changes that are rejected by a few, particularly T-4. The blog has crucified the COS unfairly, and cast venom on any person that would possibly be paid more than some PhD. I believe the vast majority of staff understand the complexity of the jobs in the lab, and also realize that just because a manager asks them to do something they don't like does not make them a villian. Unfortunately, the blog is not somewhere to "debate" a manager or manager's decision because of REAL privacy actions, and all the background information that is not publically available. So....the attacks rule the day, and the few
smile with glee. This is not something positive for the lab.

I am not a manager, just a TSM looking for LANL to be a place to do outstanding work. I hated Nanos, and am glad he is gone, but not forgotten. I also believe that I have many obligations for my employment at LANL -- some of these means I have to put up with things that are different than ten years ago. This does not make all the cast of characters in management the enemy.
Everyone should have their filters turned to high when reading this blog,
but, frankly, I love how the anonymous nature can bring out tidbits that
would never make it out any other way. If you have no ability to spot the
sh*t from the shinola, then you shouldn't be working at a nuclear weapons
lab, right? Hold steady, watch your temper, and post away! If nothing
else, there is great entertainment value in the blog.
10:11:16 PM has a well-centered perspective. I wish every reader were so well adjusted.
I have used my name in posts and I have also posted anonymously even though I am retired. The fact is that Los Alamos is a small community centered around LANL and many of us know each other in professional roles where we would not want the other parties to know our personal opinions. There is a lot I cannot say attached to my name.
Also, I have seen a hugh amount of retaliation in my day, both at LANL and in the community. I don't think many people will be able to sign their posts. They will just have to quit posting. Consider some of the nastiness that has happened on the Los Alamos County Council and on the Los Alamos School Board. Council and School Board members could never sign their posts, yet plenty of them work at LANL. The same probably applies to politically active people throughout northern New Mexico.
But I find it deeply disturbing that there are so many attacks on IM and other support divisions and their employees and on women and Hispanics. I see an ugly side of LANL when I see people griping that women doing the COS positions are overpaid and that anyone at LANL who isn't a technical employee is a drain on the system with the exception of some underpaid secretaries.
It is painful for me to read this garbage, but on the other hand, I think it shows that scientists are clueless about what it takes to run a competitive institution. It is important that we know what some of this lopsided people think deep down in their souls. It explains a lot of the nastiness I have seen at LANL.
Oddly enough, I think some of the personal -- I mean one person-- attacks are enlightening. It is helpful for people to know which managers have done dirt, so they can watch out for them. I also think that managers who supervise some of these truly evil COS's should pay attention to what they read here. Of course, that assumes they didn't hire the COS strictly to take the nasty stuff off their own shoulders.
It is actually helpful to find out which individuals are causing problems. What bothers me is the racial and gender attacks and attacks on entire divisions.
Perhaps the way to go is to continue anonymous postings but to delete anything racist or sexist or categorizing an entire group as useless. Perhaps you should try removing the most egregiously insulting posts, now that Nanos is gone.
The blog was originally formed around the idea of delivering LANL from Nanos and giving out information about the contract change. I believe the blog contributed significantly to Nanos's disappearance and deserves lots of credit for that.
The current director is trying to get along with the staff and soothe the wounds of the past few years, so there isn't a lot to be said about him. And there won't be unless he changes mode.
The LANL bid is still important, but most of the machinations are behind the scenes right now. The result is that many of the posts are devoid of content and are focused on hate mongering. Sad but true.
But the need to share information anonymously has not gone away for long. Even now, I have learned that LM is hiring a staff among the current employees at LANL and have heard that that staff is a mixed bag. This is very important information that we could not get anywhere else. Nor could such info be posted other than anonymously.
I see the ugly posts. I hate them. I read the blog less because of them, but I never quit checking for news. This is the only place where we can get some of the more delicate info. It has to be anonymous or it won't appear. Don't take away anonymous posting in spite of the jerks who make it disgusting.
I support anonymous postings that further the discussion. I do not support ones that amount to vindictive personal attacks. Having been a victim of a "drive by blogging" I can tell you that anonymous personal attacks usually do not provide constructive feedback. They merely hide homophobes, sexists, racists, and those that have an aversion to non-technical staff. At the end of the day, posting personal attacks diminish the credibility of this very important communication channel. If your goal is to improve the lab, personal attacks are not the way to go. The blog's guidelines clearly state that personal attacks will not be posted. Maybe a tighter enforcement of this guideline will solve the problem.
If ther are "attacks" against IM, it's for a reason. Just because the postings are anonymous doesn't make the content false. If you actually READ what was said you'd know why the IM postings are all anonymous.

Getting rid of Nanos was a start but that doesn't mean there are not other management areas of the lab that need to be cleaned up or changed.
I'm a manager (GL) and I read this blog faithfully; and post here too -- anonymously. Believe it or not, retaliation is alive and well within the management community.

I find the blog useful in several ways: current news not available via official means, a sense of the "pulse" in the Lab, and as a means for venting in the face of senseless edicts.

I believe UC reads the blog but just gets defensive and blames the employees. If LM/UT isn't reading this blog and developing plans to win back the employees, they are missing a tremendous opportunity.

I support keeping the blog anonymous. Enlightened managers can gain a perspective not available through official channels (UC's filters). Employees have a way to blow off steam and/or offer constructive comments to improve LANL operations.

The fact that the blog is so public is unfortunate; and an indictment on UC. If UC woke up one morning and decided the employees weren't the source of all their problems, they might create an internal forum for healthy debate. If that were to happen, the blog might not be necessary. Until then, this is our only venue.

My vote, Doug, is to keep the blog alive and anonymous. There's lots of water yet to run under our bridge and retaliation is alive and well in Los Alamos (the Lab and the town).
I'll just repeat what I posted back on 4/30:

In my opinion, any post that is nothing but a personal attack should be killed if posted anonymously. If you want to ream someone a new orifice, at least be honorable enough to put your name to it.

I have no problem with anonymous posts with inside information or content that could affect someone's career, of course (though even in these cases, signed posts certainly carry more weight than anonymous ones).
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