Searching for BobbyMax

Running a technology message board is a bit like running a lunatic asylum, with one difference: The patients in an asylum are sometimes curable. [Ed. note: I believe the politically correct term is Madhouse.]

Take the furor over a regular poster on the Light Reading Message Boards who goes by the name of BobbyMax, a curmudgeonly prolific message-board participant who has become the shockjock of the Light Reading message boards

"Will everyone just please ignore BobbyMax," wrote BBoa in October 29 on the Light Reading board.

What is it that irks so many readers? It's probably BobbyMax's formulaic and machine-like posts, which, appearing nearly daily, are almost always negative and critical of every company and individual in the telecom industry. Maybe it's his flouting of spelling and grammar rules. Or perhaps that some of his posts border on hate speech?

Nah, he's just annoying.

Typically, BobbyMax posts in hit-and-run style, nailing an assailant with invective and then ducking off the boards from many hours, if not days. His negativity is pure and repetitious. He hates and is skeptical of everything. Here, for example, are the subject titles of some or his rants: Then, my personal favorite: "Mired in anger and mirage," you don't say? This "Dr. Gea" post marked the beginning of a new phase for BobbyMax, in which he lashed out at his critics. Previously, he ignored any attempts to debate or cricize his writings. Here he flings some at a reader named AAL5:

"Dear Dr. AAL5: Your hate mail campaign has not stopped. I do not mind if you express your ideas. You should be AAL2/3. Please repent your birth and existence in this world."

In researching BobbyMax's post, I've been able to find one single case of a reasonably "positive" post, in which he lauds next-generation Sonet technology: Next Generation SONET Saves Cost.. In that post he even goes as far to commend two vendors: "I think that Nortel and Alcatel have the best quality next generation Sonet nodes," writes BobbyMax.

BobbyMax was unavailable for comment, and he hasn't responded to repeated requests for comment on the Light Reading message boards.

So who is BobbyMax? Inquiring minds want to know. And one of the most persistent questions from Light Readers is: "Could you please tell us who BobbyMax is?"

It's against Light Reading's own privacy policy to divulge the identities of message-board users to the public, but I'll tell you it's 99.9% likely that BobbyMax is hiding behind a generic Hotmail address anyway, so it don't matter.

Sleuthing reveals few real secrets. Rarely responding to criticism, BobbyMax reveals little about who he (or she) is on the boards. The global disdain for emerging technologies and startups leads many to believe he is firmly ensconced at an RBOC or incumbent equipment provider.

But several, more eccentric theories abound. One is that BobbyMax is the product of an Artifical Intelligence (AI) experiment at Bell Labs, gone horribly awry. Another theory is that he is the creation of Light Reading editors, for the purpose of generating message-board traffic. Light Reading management categorically denies creating BobbyMax, and we point to the fact that his frequent postings and rantings would require the hiring of a full-time "BobbyMaxer," for which we have neither the resources nor the patience.

What is clear, however, is that BobbyMax has pissed off a lot of people.

"Dear LR readers, The 'Ignore author' feature is meant for the likes of BobbyMax," writes jim_smith (the post is here). "Use it."

Other readers prefer he stay.

"I have to say that I enjoy BobbyMax's ranting quite a bit," writes Aleksander Zawisza in an email to the editors. "I don't agree with his bitterness towards engineers from '3rd world countries,' but I find that his views embody the worst of what some of us sometimes think about the industry's downfall."

In another peculiar twist, a reader wrote in to point out that a friend of his had a "similar name" to Bobby Max. His friend is angry that some people in the industry have confused him with BobbyMax. He said his friend is considering hiring a lawyer to stop BobbyMax from posting under that pseudonym.

It's almost as if BobbyMax is some sort of Doppleganger... a spirit representing the bad Karma of an industry in the toilet. His negativity breaches that of even the darkest pessimists. In BobbyMax's world, no new technology is relevant, all executives are cynical and criminal, and the industry has little hope but to descend into an abyss of permanent bankruptcy and depression.

No, things just aren't that bad. My phone still works. And this message board is a fine tool spurred by the telecom revolution.

Beware of BobbyMax. Maybe he's sitting next to you? Or perhaps he's your CEO. Ignoring him -- yes, now that's probably the right move.

- R. Scott Raynovich, US Editor, Light Reading
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gea 12/4/2012 | 9:21:40 PM
re: Searching for BobbyMax You didn't mention that brilliant series of spoofs of BobbyMax, sometimes entitled "BoobySpeaks"!
gea 12/4/2012 | 9:21:40 PM
re: Searching for BobbyMax Bobby!
By not coming forward aren't you more or less admitting that you KNOW you are crazy?
Why not contact LR and let them ask you a few questions...I'd be fascinated to read an interview with you. And if you let them post a photo of you, I'll send you a crisp $1 Bill!

Reindeer 12/4/2012 | 9:21:39 PM
re: Searching for BobbyMax How about any article of the wity and business savvy dave77777...
Reindeer 12/4/2012 | 9:21:39 PM
re: Searching for BobbyMax How about any article of the wity and business savvy dave77777...
yikes_stripes 12/4/2012 | 9:21:38 PM
re: Searching for BobbyMax I just read some of Bobby Max's posts and he reminds me of my brother. He lives in a small cabin in Montana. I think he works for ILX Lightwave.
optobozo 12/4/2012 | 9:21:37 PM
re: Searching for BobbyMax Dear Lightreading,

You mention that you are 99.9% sure the big BM is hiding behind a generic Hotmail address. Is this the same hotmail account that the mud-slinger used?

gea 12/4/2012 | 9:21:37 PM
re: Searching for BobbyMax Yo Reindeer! I've been meaning to ask you...
Why does your favorite coffee-fetcher (Dave7777) drive you so batty, anyway? I still think he's some 17-year-old kid who read Gilder's Telecosm (before they threw it of the shelves!)
Reindeer 12/4/2012 | 9:21:36 PM
re: Searching for BobbyMax gea - "Yo Reindeer! I've been meaning to ask you... Why does your favorite coffee-fetcher (Dave7777) drive you so batty, anyway? I still think he's some 17-year-old kid who read Gilder's Telecosm (before they threw it of the shelves!)"

Hi gea! dave77777 drives me so batty because he cannot make proper coffee even given his excellent database management expertise on his Amiga loaded with 8K RAM, 8-inch floppy disk, and amber monitor.

I have nothing personal against dave77777 or anyone else on this board. My posts are typically based on humour (or try to anyway) and not serious.

Some posters, dave77777, have little to no sense of humour and honestly thinks people take these postings seriously.

dave77777, if you are reading, and we know you are, please get my new friend gea some coffee as well. Biscotti gea?
lastofthebohicans 12/4/2012 | 9:21:36 PM
re: Searching for BobbyMax What better way to validate his/her posts
than to have an eponymous article.
Three cheers for Bobby (or Booby) Max !!!

For those of you keeping score at home:

BobbyMax: 50
LR Staff: 0


let-there-be-light 12/4/2012 | 9:21:34 PM
re: Searching for BobbyMax Say what you want Scottie, Bobby Max gets a free LR T-Shirt (with very few coffee stains on it) shipped to his home every week!

Hardly anyone generates more hits on this web site than he does.
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