Twitter's existential crisis a masterwork of fingerpointing

Twitter's founders are waging a behind-the-scenes war with Blaine Cook, the blogging service's former chief architect. The subject: Who's responsible for the service's perpetual outages. TechCrunch's Michael Arrington ran a series of leading questions about Twitter's infrastructure, attributing them to "people who say they’ve seen Twitter’s architecture." I don't think that's true, if only because I received a similar set of questions, before Arrington's post went up, from a source who identified himself as a "friend of Blaine." In their official response, Twitter cofounders Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone — they're the two one always forgets about, because they're not as interesting as Evan Williams — go out of their way to avoid naming names.

But it's clear they're talking about Cook, who they identify, rather insultingly, as "a former systems administrator." The post brags about "a recently enhanced staff of amazing systems engineers formerly of Google, IBM, and other high-profile technology companies." That, too, is an obvious dig at Cook, who's mostly worked at startups.

But the friend of Blaine who emailed us about Twitter's outage puts the blame on an "operations guy" at Twitter, whom he describes as a "fucking moron." He writes:

The whole story is that it takes more than just Blaine to keep Twitter up and running and whether servers are up, properly configured and not running hot definitely doesn't fall under the developers' responsibilities.

The other part of the dispute was whether Twitter needed to be rewritten in another programming language. Perhaps, but that wasn't the real issue in scaling, according to the Cook camp.

We're utterly unqualified to evaluate the technical arguments here. But the back-channel badmouthing that's going on here? We're experts at that, and we rate it utterly delicious. As fingerpointing goes, this Twitter battle takes the prize.