How to be unprofessional
This is a relatively short story, about a company called Blitz Research Ltd. It contains nothing but facts and thus cannot be considered as libel. It is in my opinion after you read this that you will reconsider doing any business with this company or the people related.
Blitz Research Ltd is a, New Zealand operated, business by a man named Mark Sibly. He also has some relationship, whether professional or not, to another person named Simon. Simon was given significant enough power with Mr. Sibly’s operations, that I assume he is directly related professionally. I will discuss Simon’s behaviors further down in the article. Mr. Sibly is a programmer who makes programming languages. His business ran off the idea of simplified game development, but seems to be directed elsewhere now. He’s probably best known for his “Blitz” series of game development products for the Amiga (not under Blitz Research Ltd) and later the PC.
Watching and reading about Mr. Sibly’s behavior, a pattern emerged. He gets bored with stuff he makes and does not attempt to evolve them one step further, but like so many programmer’s mistakes in the past, decides a whole new product needed to be made. The problem with this is, he’s running a business. When you run a business, you can’t throw your customers under the bus. This is exactly what Mr. Sibly has done repeatedly. He will start ignoring most bugs in his software and will proceed to act as if the old product was some kind of mistake. He also has grown a negative attitude of the people who still use and actively participate around his older software. This has led to comments quoted from him about them being, “code illiterates.” This, however, is not the only thing that makes him unprofessional.
The next thing is his relationship with Simon. Simon, known as skid or skidracer, is programmer as well. He was a moderator and server administrator for the Blitz product’s messaging boards. According to several accounts, he had been known to ban people and delete topics for saying anything negative about him, thus showing little to no restraint. This unprofessional behavior should have been dealt with by Mr. Sibly, but he let it go on and so anything Simon did also reflects on Mr. Sibly’s choices professionally.
In June of 2017, Mr. Sibly made the decision to close the messaging boards for his Blitz series of products along with his “Monkey X” product. He also opened source all of the code for these products. This showed intention to never work on or fix his older products that were paid for by his customers.
When the closing was announced, many people jumped in to download the websites because of the numerous information that had been posted for the many years the sites ran. Nicholas, out of haste that the boards would cease and leave so many customers out to dry, also downloaded the site for the sole purpose of giving back to the community. To him the community had taught him a lot and he was grateful and wanted to give back. Despite the closing having been announced and knowing that people would seek to acquire the site, Simon sent out an abuse report to an ISP, that he thought was Nicholas’ ISP.
Nicholas initially thought it was an automated system and thought it was funny that they forgot to shut off the systems. Soon after he realized that it was deliberately sent. He asked Simon as to whether or not a read-only copy of the sites would be available and stated that he would comply and stop downloading the site if so. Simon, in his unprofessional behavior, ignored his questions and badgered him to stop without reason. This compelled Nicholas to continue downloading, as there is no law against such behavior. He also stated that he would remove all email addresses as he did not want the community built around these products to get spammed. Simon later announced intention to make a read-only copy. It was too late, as the site had already been downloaded due to him not responding to the questions. Nicholas decided though, that he would now just leave it alone.
A little while later, Nicholas attempted to openly communicate the series of events that had occurred on a board, that is filled with people who hate the old community, as so many had mistaken what had happened. This was met wit with, ill informed, childish quips. Nicholas decided to make a last post and took his leave abruptly. He later read that Simon had sent in a “cybercrime” report to the New Zealand government and had mentioned it on that very topic that he had taken an abrupt leave from. His report was supposedly about the emails being used as a form of blackmail. Nicholas was bewildered as he had gone out of his way to not only say he would remove the emails, but also stated that if Simon made a read-only copy, that he too should remove the emails, along with password hashes, and private forums, so that hidden posts are not accidentally released.
Nicholas, not being a citizen of New Zealand, will have nothing done to him. He also has not committed any crimes and so he has nothing to worry about.
The moral of the story is, when you run a business, it does matter who you associate yourself with. Mr. Sibly, despite his constant need to make new products, could do well enough on his own. His professional relationship to Simon is proving to be a mistake that will hurt his business now and in the future. This, in a nutshell, is how to be unprofessional.