The American Society for Quality had an attorney send iSixSigma a cease and desist letter the other day for an article iSixSigma published back in 2001.
In the article, Charles Waxer wrote, “ASQ only started offering certification a year or so ago.” This was in fact true in 2001, but since we don’t include a dateline in our articles (because most of our content is “evergreen,” in other words, not effected by time), it appeared as though we were saying that was the current situation. Obviously, I was disappointed with the error and the article was quickly corrected.
This isn’t the first time that iSixSigma has been asked to modify some information we’ve published and it probably won’t be the last. Our editorial team works hard to investigate, determine and publish correct information. And, because we know that from time to time data does become outdated, links become broken and content requires updating, we are always reviewing our content.
So why am I writing this blog entry? It’s not as much the notification of the problem as it is the manner in which we were notified. ASQ involved their legal representative when a simple, friendly contact would have served the same purpose. Couldn’t find my phone number or email address? Try searching the ASQ membership directory. I’ve been there since 1999.
As a member of ASQ, the letter from their attorney bothered me on another level. I pay dues to ASQ for access to membership benefits like resources and information, to drive continued professional development, and to improve the resources ASQ provides to the quality community.
I do not pay dues to ASQ so that they can be wasted on trivial issues, such as paying an attorney to handle a matter that could have been resolved by a simple phone call.
One can only imagine how many emails, meetings and telephone calls culminated in that letter to iSixSigma from ASQ’s attorney? If another issue like this should ever occur, I would invite ASQ to try reaching out – business professional to business professional – with a simple, friendly request. If they do, I’ll appreciate them for helping improve our site and for not wasting my dues.