A while back, I noticed that a fresh 'best web development language' war broke out, this time between Java and PHP. I tuned out when it got ugly but noted that the war got started when a Friendster engineer posted about the Friendster's switch from JSP to PHP along with some throwaway comments that many Java geeks interpreted as insults.
I didn't know that the engineer was Joyce Park (hey, a fellow Korean-American blogger) and that she got fired recently for blogging until I read the Red Herring article (aren't they supposed to be dead?).
The problem here is that most bloggers just don't realize that they have a powerful tool in their hands that could cause serious damages whether intentional or not. If Joyce said what she posted to engineers she met in person, all there would be a heated discussion. But posting the same on her blog created a big wave of controversy among geeks with Friendster as the center piece.
Although everything she wrote was indeed public information and the change in file name extension (.jsp to .php) made it clear to any geek that Friendster switched from JSP to PHP, Friendster could have paved over inquiries about the switchover with silence just as Google did with Orkut's use of ASP.NET. But Joyce pushed Friendster into the middle of PHP vs. Java battlefield when she wrote in a post titled Friendster goes PHP:
… we can now stop being a byword for unacceptably poky site performance…
What I don't understand is how she failed to see the consequences of her post. The flamebait title and comment along with her being an employee of Friendster made it a perfect slashdot fodder. Not only has she not seen it then, she doesn't see it even now.
I am not saying Friendster was right to fire Joyce. I think they overreacted and opened a supersize can of whupass on their own face. But I think it's more important for corporate bloggers like Joyce to learn how to protect their employers from their blogging activities. Pointing angry fingers at Friendster points in the wrong direction IMHO. We need more learning and less lashing out.