The Scoring Game

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, December 16, 2009, 11:30 PM | comments: 0

I've been known to post "+1" and "-1" in various places on the Intertubes, and some have asked what that's all about. Others assume it's in reference to Digg or some other voting system on some various Web site. That's not the case.

When I started at in early 2006, they already had established something called The Scoring Game. The rules were fairly simple (Johnny Malloy can fill in anything I've missed, as chair of the rules committee):

  • You can give someone a +1 or -1 for virtually anything.
  • Only one score can be given for any one thing.
  • You can't score in response to a score.
  • You can't participate until you've been scored.
  • Scoring someone before being scored voids that score and starts you with a -1.

I think when I left, or was laid-off anyway, I was sitting at a comfortable +3 or more. Considering some of the negatives I got for various instances of dicketry, that's pretty solid. My proudest one came out of fixing a strange configuration problem with our app the day before we were supposed to deploy. Oddly enough, I gave Scott Guthrie at Microsoft a +1 that day for helping me (he's a VP overseeing much of the developer product now). Typically, people outside of the company only got -1's for sucking, especially a certain CRM vendor.

I think the lowest in-house score went to the IT department, especially one guy, who lacked a can-do (or will-do) attitude. Our chief architect's score was really low as well, but not because of anything job related. Had something to do with bicycle shorts, as I recall. The highest internal score probably went to one of our dev leads, all of whom had a habit of doing really smart things to compensate for everyone else's dumb things.

It was just something stupid and fun to do. We had an internal wiki page where we kept track of the current scores as well as all of the incidences of them being awarded. Shortly before the layoffs, apparently HR wasn't cool with it, and it had to be moved to some external location. Sure, some of it was of questionable taste, but it was a fun morale thing for us. Unless you were way in the negative.

I enjoyed The Scoring Game.


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