The Oracle Ace Program is changing the way members have to report their activities. Oracle Aces (which I’m using to generically refer to Aces Associates, Aces, and Ace Directors) have long known that they need to keep contributing to the Oracle community at large. Aces regularly have to let the program know of their outreach activities. How we notify the program is changing and with change comes the inevitable complaints that always proceeds any change. I waited until I reported my activities and read a few comments from other Aces before writing this blog post. These opinions are my own and not all Aces may agree with me.
When I first started hearing some of the grumblings, I was a bit concerned. There are some well known Aces that have decided they have had enough with the program. Its never a positive to see good people leave. They don’t like the new method of reporting activities, or they don’t like that they have to produce more content than they are currently able to do in order to generate enough points (more on that in a bit). For those who do not report their activities or do not contribute enough, they will lose the current Ace standing. Some of these Aces say they will still contribute to the community just like they always have, but they do not see a future in the Ace program for themselves. To me, it is a bit bothersome when an individual you know of and personifies “Oracle Ace” no longer wants to be part of the program simply because the reporting requirements have become too much work, and for no other reason.
That being said, the new reporting mechanism has made things much more transparent. In the past, there were loose guidelines as to what was needed to become and stay and Ace. Now, our contributions are given a point value and you need to have a certain number of points to maintain your standing. Write a blog post, and its X points. Give a presentation at a conference, and its Y points. Add them all up and make sure your over the threshold for your Ace level. Transparency is normally a good thing and the new changes have provided just that. My feeling is that this level of transparency is a good thing and will only help the program going forward.
The program has maintained since they announced these changes that the first go-round will be used to potentially adjust the points for certain activities. It looks to me like points do need to be adjusted in a number of categories. For example, to maintain Ace status (Ace and Ace Director), one would need a minimum of 10 presentations at conferences. Getting an abstract accepted is challenging with the level of competition for the few speaking slots available. Even if you could present two papers at a conference, you’d need to speak at five different conferences over the course of a year. That’s a lot of travelling and a lot of work to present 10 different papers. I’d like to see the points in this category increased. Another one that could use a bump is book authorship. If you wrote one book, you would not maintain your Ace status. Writing a book requires a VERY LARGE commitment! It can take up to a year writing that book and you may not be able to do much else.
One does not have to produce content on one media type. You can do a combination like write blog posts, author a book or chapters in a book, be a technical editor of a book, create a podcast, write articles, present at a conference, and participate in the Oracle Communities. And there are non-content activities as well such as volunteering for a user group, organizing a meetup event, tweeting or being a cloud trial participant.
I think that overall, these changes are good and I do welcome them. But as with any change, there is going to be bumps in the road.