More IT war stories

Off the Record blog will help you find your inner Dilbert

Off the Record, the real-world slice of life that graces the last page of InfoWorld, is one of our most popular columns. I know this from reader surveys and from all the e-mail I receive about it. As reader Roland Sickenberger put it recently, “It’s my favorite part of the magazine, kind of like a ‘Dilbert come to life’ thing.”

It wasn’t always this way. When we launched Off the Record in August 2005 — and asked readers to submit “war stories from the trenches where IT and business intersect” — we weren’t sure it would succeed. We liked the concept of providing a forum where IT pros could recount their battles with the forces of malign cluelessness. We just didn’t know if readers would participate.

Indeed, the first few months were rocky. Submissions were scarce, and we had to call friends and plead for their best tales of inept bureaucrats, hostile users, and professional hucksters. But eventually, things got rolling. Today, we get more submissions than we can use, as InfoWorld’s editors select and publish just one story per week.

That magazine-centric approach is too constricting in a Web 2.0 world. So, welcome to the Off the Record Blog, where readers can post their real-life tales anonymously. (We’ll review the entries first for appropriateness, spam, and so on, but that’s all.) If you submit a story, we encourage you to anonymize it enough to protect the innocent parties — changing names, for instance — but keep the essential events and lessons learned intact.

As in the past, InfoWorld editors will select one entry per week for print publication (garnering its author a $75 Amazon gift certificate). Plus, you can continue to submit your stories to OffTheRecord@InfoWorld.com.

So gather your juiciest anecdotes and go “on the record” with Off the Record. Your audience awaits.

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