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Thread: Guy gets fired for publicly criticizing employer and disrupting his workplace

  1. #1
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Default Guy gets fired for publicly criticizing employer and disrupting his workplace

    Thought I'd save Dread the trouble of posting this story

    Most of you have no doubt read the story of the Google employee who wrote a memo criticizing the cultural and political climate at Google. The memo also contains a long and deeply flawed discussion about gender disparities in various industries, where the author--and his supporters, on social media--draws far-reaching and poorly justified conclusions about the expected and appropriate gender distribution in tech, based on superficial one-sided analyses of a small subset of ambiguous research into human sexual dimorphism and gender roles as they pertain to the tech industry.

    As a memo, half of the text is almost exemplary at least wrt language and time. As a basis for a discussion about organizational culture, it's interesting. As a text that is currently being peddled by many supporters as science, it is decidedly sub-par and as a formal policy document it's on extremely shaky ground.

    Here is the text in all its glory:

    http://gizmodo.com/exclusive-heres-t...-RelayMediaAMP

    Some of the content seems to be missing but is referenced elsewhere.

    The employee seems to have been fired, although details are sparse. I can't speak towards the legality of the termination and I'm ambivalent about the decision to fire him.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
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    Resiste et Mords! Steely Glint's Avatar
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    "Pardon him, Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature."
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    The guy either wanted to take a stand for principal and knew he would be fired, or he was just stupid and didn't pay attention to google's actions in the past. They are all aboard the censorship train. (Ranging from major international issues like China to crazy petty minor issues like actions against Dennis Cooper).

  4. #4
    There are a lot of different shitty things all happening at once in this story. Which makes it all really shitty.

    Google/Alphabet is a true from birth workplace. They really push that work here, live here, play here, make it your own type of workplace mindset. But Google is a big company that is subject to PR nightmares. Sometimes you get an employee that finds the artificial boundary of being yourself, and sometimes the company has to act on it. Sometimes Google takes the easy way out and fires whoever caused the current headache for HR, instead of helping their employees grow and mature. On the flip side, for an employee to send this much effort on something he shows a very clear bias and cherry picking on...thats not the type of employee a company like Google would want to begin with. Whats the famous job interview story about Edison serving soup to job applicants and instantly deciding not to hire them if they added spice before trying it?

    Also the current atmosphere of women in tech is blown totally out of proportion via various media and social outlets. Yes, there are more men than women in tech, yes women deserve protections in such (or any) workplace. BUT, the current push to put more girls in tech/STEM tracks is just that, current. Most of those girls are still in school, and even after that will require years accumulating various skills and experience before they match the already existing applicant pool of men that are already established in the industry. This country is looking at decades before the gender problem gets corrected. Running around with pitchforks now is pointless, maybe even counter productive.
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

  5. #5
    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    He embarrassed his employer and made it impossible to assign any female to work with him. If you have a controversial concern, speak to your boss in private. And if you are going to air it in public, you better be sure you're on solid footing empirically.
    Hope is the denial of reality

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    Stingy DM Veldan Rath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    He embarrassed his employer and made it impossible to assign any female to work with him. If you have a controversial concern, speak to your boss in private. And if you are going to air it in public, you better be sure you're on solid footing empirically.
    I'm thinking he didn't care...and wanted out with a bang.

    Or, he's was stupid enough to publish thinking there would be no blowback...reason enough not to want him on my team.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    He embarrassed his employer and made it impossible to assign any female to work with him. If you have a controversial concern, speak to your boss in private. And if you are going to air it in public, you better be sure you're on solid footing empirically.
    Also depends on what avenues are considered appropriate for discussions like this. A lot of companies now have internal discussion forums. If he forwarded this with the intent it leak to the media then absolutely that's crap. You shouldn't be sabotaging your employer. If on the other hand google encourages people to comment and speak out about diversity efforts etc than it may have been appropriate.

    In either even Google is well within their rights to fire the guy because you can be fired for your political perspectives.

    Pushing all that aside I think the guy has a potential point.

    Are differences in ability to do certain tasks due to cultural (nurture) or biological (nature). Clearly there are defined differences between men and women in terms of their capability for heavy manual labor. Is it sexist to suggest there may be behavioral differences as well? Are men more violent due to their cultural upbringing or is it due to testosterone and puberty? No one is saying "durrr men good at computers woman good at sewing so don't hire women" however if women choose not to get into certain fields due to their choice drive by biological realities - is this a societal problem?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    however if women choose not to get into certain fields due to their choice drive by biological realities - is this a societal problem?
    woman until recent times haven't been given the option of true choice for a career path. To say that previous "female" career paths where driven by their biological reality is your standard level of lewk stupidity.
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

  9. #9
    Resiste et Mords! Steely Glint's Avatar
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    There's absolutely no evidence of any 'biological realities' that somehow make women less inclined to want or able to do computers, math, or anything else STEMy. There is plenty of evidence of attitudes like those of the guy in the OP being widespread in STEM - especially in IT, for some reason despite programming being considerably less difficult than, say, hard sciences - which might make the prospect distinctly off-putting, though. So, is it some mysterious "biological difference" that we've never seen evidence or even have a hypothetical mechanism for, or is it that the tech industry is full of fucking assholes who think you need to possess some sort of god-like level intellect unobtainable by woman in order to do a bit of Java?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    woman until recent times haven't been given the option of true choice for a career path. To say that previous "female" career paths where driven by their biological reality is your standard level of lewk stupidity.
    Sure - so you are suggesting there is insufficient data to draw conclusions. I assume you are therefore interested in science looking into the matter?

  11. #11
    Let sleeping tigers lie Khendraja'aro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    woman until recent times haven't been given the option of true choice for a career path. To say that previous "female" career paths where driven by their biological reality is your standard level of lewk stupidity.
    The fun part is that the very first programmers had quite a number of women among them.

    The very first programmer is Ada Lovelace. A woman.
    First compiler? Created by a woman.
    ENIAC programmers? Women.
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    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    Sure - so you are suggesting there is insufficient data to draw conclusions. I assume you are therefore interested in science looking into the matter?
    Sure. My newspaper had a few biologists and psychologists take a look at the memo and found some things that are true, some things that are false, and a couple that we just don't really know yet, I'll find it back.
    Keep on keepin' the beat alive!

  13. #13
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    So... what was in the skit that was awful?

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    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/201...biology-sexism

    I could see why Lewk would sympathize. Same uninformed take on diversity.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  16. #16
    I was fired by Google this past Monday for a document that I wrote and circulated internally raising questions about cultural taboos and how they cloud our thinking about gender diversity at the company and in the wider tech sector. I suggested that at least some of the male-female disparity in tech could be attributed to biological differences (and, yes, I said that bias against women was a factor too). Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai declared that portions of my statement violated the company's code of conduct and "cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace." My 10-page document set out what I considered a reasoned, well-researched, good-faith argument, but as I wrote, the viewpoint I was putting forward is generally suppressed at Google because of the company's "ideological echo chamber." My firing neatly confirms that point. How did Google, the company that hires the smartest people in the world, become so ideologically driven and intolerant of scientific debate and reasoned argument? [...]

    In my document, I committed heresy against the Google creed by stating that not all disparities between men and women that we see in the world are the result of discriminatory treatment. When I first circulated the document about a month ago to our diversity groups and individuals at Google, there was no outcry or charge of misogyny. I engaged in reasoned discussion with some of my peers on these issues, but mostly I was ignored. Everything changed when the document went viral within the company and the wider tech world. Those most zealously committed to the diversity creed -- that all differences in outcome are due to differential treatment and all people are inherently the same -- could not let this public offense go unpunished. They sent angry emails to Google's human-resources department and everyone up my management chain, demanding censorship, retaliation and atonement. Upper management tried to placate this surge of outrage by shaming me and misrepresenting my document, but they couldn't really do otherwise: The mob would have set upon anyone who openly agreed with me or even tolerated my views. When the whole episode finally became a giant media controversy, thanks to external leaks, Google had to solve the problem caused by my supposedly sexist, anti-diversity manifesto, and the whole company came under heated and sometimes threatening scrutiny.

    -James Damore

    So much for this being a learning experience.
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

  17. #17
    Stingy DM Veldan Rath's Avatar
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    Well seemed like google didn't care until it got out.

    Has anyone here actually read all of the memo and not rely on internet hub bub?
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  18. #18
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Of course. Why would you think otherwise?
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
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  19. #19
    Local talking head LittleFuzzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veldan Rath View Post
    Well seemed like google didn't care until it got out.

    Has anyone here actually read all of the memo and not rely on internet hub bub?
    You did notice how Minx linked to the full memo there in the OP, right?
    I stopped reading about halfway through the memo myself, when I got tired of the well-meaning statements of principle not coinciding with what he was actually saying. By that point I'd read enough to reach a conclusion.
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  20. #20
    Stingy DM Veldan Rath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    Of course. Why would you think otherwise?
    See above.
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  21. #21
    Local talking head LittleFuzzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veldan Rath View Post
    See above.
    I object to your equating that with "relying on internet hub bub" I read the memo. I didn't read a synopsis of it, or rely on some commentator's condemnation. I read the arguments he was making and how he was justifying them and when I became convinced by his own writing that it was a bunch of crap relying on a slick and professional presentation I made my judgement and stopped. The crux of it for me was his acknowledgement that there is "substantial overlap" (actually pretty much total overlap in both directions) between the populations in their range of behaviors/attitude but his suggestions completely flew in the face of what that meant. He was aware of that piece of information but didn't have the slightest clue what its implications were and how it turned his entire memo into a specific kind of ecological fallacy. This of course also completely ignores the extent to which the behaviors and attitudes he refers to are nutured expressions of gender rather than biological expressions of sex, and as such hiring behavior by companies is a perfectly acceptable addition to the mix of influences affecting gender expression.

    And I take it back, I read more than half. I stopped around the recommendation for psych safety over diversity.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/201...biology-sexism

    I could see why Lewk would sympathize. Same uninformed take on diversity.
    So let's review her points:

    "1) Fatigue
    It’s important to appreciate the background of endless skepticism that every woman in tech faces, and the resulting exhaustion we feel as the legitimacy of our presence is constantly questioned."

    This is cute. Why would women feel that their is skepticism? Could it possibly be that diversity programs are to blame? Like Clarence Thomas wrote about his early law career - when you give preferential treatment to people via things like affirmative action (or deliberately trying to recruit a specific gender) it follows that any rational person would have the thought in the back of their head 'Did this person get here on their own merits or was it due to the helping hand of people who want to have diversity.' NOTE: Weather they got help to get the position is immaterial, it is the perception of it that drives the reality of the question.

    "2) Women’s resistance to the “divide and conquer” strategy
    The manifesto’s sleight-of-hand delineation between “women, on average” and the actual living, breathing women who have had to work alongside this guy failed to reassure many of those women — and failed to reassure me. That’s because the manifesto’s author overestimated the extent to which women are willing to be turned against their own gender."

    I don't quite understand her argument here. I mean if most women aren't as physically strong as men and I run across a female body builder - I'm going to know she is strong. I don't believe women can't be bodybuilders simply because the average woman isn't inclined to do so.

    "3) The author cites science about “averages.” But Google isn’t average.
    I called the manifesto’s citations to findings about “average” women a “sleight of hand” for a very specific reason: While he dutifully includes that limiting language when making the citations, the policies he goes on to advance in the memo have no mathematically rigorous connection to those averages. He is deploying these dispassionate facts to argue for ending Google’s attempts at creating a fair and broadly welcoming working environment."

    This is silly. Averages feed the pipeline. You get a smaller pipeline your 1% best isn't as good. If personality traits, perceptions of the field etc make fewer women choose to go into google like positions than that will impact it. Furthermore she compares google % of women in tech jobs to.... what? A pure vacuum. How does google compare to twitter? How does it compare to Apple?

    What careers people decide to go into will play a huge part in the gender %. Look at construction:

    https://www.nawic.org/nawic/statistics.asp

    "In 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 9,813,000 people working in the construction industry. Of these, 872,000 of them, or 8.9 percent, were women."

    Guess what - the average woman doesn't want to be in construction, therefore they hold a fewer % of the jobs.

    "4) Race
    It is striking to me that the manifesto author repeatedly lists race alongside gender when listing programs and preferences he thinks should be done away with, but, unlike gender, he never purports to have any scientific backing for this. The omission is telling. Would defenders of the memo still be comfortable if the author had casually summarized race and IQ studies to argue that purported biological differences — not discrimination or unequal access to education — explained Google’s shortage of African-American programmers?"

    This is essentially an ad hominem attack. Liberals just can't seem to help themselves.

    "5) The author says he’s open to diversity, yet no real-world diversity-enhancing program meets his standards
    Many defenders of the manifesto have eagerly, and, as far as I can tell, earnestly, pointed me to the manifesto writer’s frequent claims to support diversity in the abstract, as if these are supposed to be reassuring. (“I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists. ...”) They are not reassuring. The object of his memo is to end programs at Google that were designed, with input from a great many people who are educated and focused on this issue, to improve diversity. If those programs are killed, absent a commensurate effort to create replacement programs that have plausible ability to be at least as effective, the result is to harm diversity at Google.

    He does make some recommendations, but they range from impotent (“Make tech and leadership less stressful”) to hopelessly vague (“Allow those exhibiting cooperative behavior to thrive”) to outright hostile (“De-emphasize empathy”)."

    Perhaps he values diversity of thought something liberals despise.

    Furthermore cooperative programming is a thing from what I understand.

    "In the end, focusing the conversation on the minutiae of the scientific claims in the manifesto is a red herring. Regardless of whether biological differences exist, there is no shortage of glaring evidence, in individual stories and in scientific studies, that women in tech experience bias and a general lack of a welcoming environment, as do underrepresented minorities. Until these problems are resolved, our focus should be on remedying that injustice. "

    Actually no it isn't an injustice that should be fixed. If company A is acting in a discriminating matter against women it is not up to company B to hire more women to 'fix it.' Hire the best person for the job, period. Anything different than that is asinine and probably illegal.

  23. #23
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    What a load of unmitigated nonsense.

    The persistent male attitude that women, on average, don't really belong in fields like physics, biology, chemistry, medicine, engineering, mathematics etc, predates affirmative action by millennia--and always with the same pseudoscientific justifications, that women are, for biological reasons, cognitively and psychologically unsuited to work in those fields, and more suited to work in "female" fields, such as taking care of children. In light of that, it appears highly unlikely that skepticism caused by affirmative action would contribute--independently of pre-existing underlying bigotry--to even a tiny portion of the discrimination women face in these fields. It's more likely that the increased presence of women in the workplace has made an increasing number of men--and women!--more aware that women are just as competent as men (or, because the world is what it is, almost as good as most men).

    I give you an F, Lewk. It appears you may be biologically unsuited to participating in rational discussions.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
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  24. #24
    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    Like I said, a Lewk, but with no filter.
    Hope is the denial of reality

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    What a load of unmitigated nonsense.

    The persistent male attitude that women, on average, don't really belong in fields like physics, biology, chemistry, medicine, engineering, mathematics etc, predates affirmative action by millennia--and always with the same pseudoscientific justifications, that women are, for biological reasons, cognitively and psychologically unsuited to work in those fields, and more suited to work in "female" fields, such as taking care of children. In light of that, it appears highly unlikely that skepticism caused by affirmative action would contribute--independently of pre-existing underlying bigotry--to even a tiny portion of the discrimination women face in these fields. It's more likely that the increased presence of women in the workplace has made an increasing number of men--and women!--more aware that women are just as competent as men (or, because the world is what it is, almost as good as most men).

    I give you an F, Lewk. It appears you may be biologically unsuited to participating in rational discussions.
    Actually I've never stated that women, on average, don't really belong in those fields.

  26. #26
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    How does that make what you said in this thread particularly intelligent?
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    How does that make what you said in this thread particularly intelligent?
    "Don't really belong" is not at all the same things as a biological predisposition to be more inclined/able for a type of work. Averages are just that, averages. One should always hire/promote the best candidate. The issue is if there is an imbalance in gender in a field what do you do? Do you spend a lot of money on diversity programs? Do you weigh women applications higher than male ones? Do you require hours and hours of training to make the place more welcoming? Or do you just say 'hey maybe not as many women want to do this line of work... or on average are as likely to be good at it.'

    Here's the thing though. Even if there ISN'T a biological predisposition to being better/worse at tech jobs doesn't even matter for this story IMO. Merely bringing it up shouldn't mean someone should be canned. It should be discussed openly without anger, vitriol or hyperbole.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    It should be discussed openly without anger, vitriol or hyperbole.
    and when that is attempted we get morons like you who think a line like this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    'hey maybe not as many women want to do this line of work... or on average are as likely to be good at it."
    is a perfectly sound position to have and repeat. No matter how many times people point out how wrong it is.
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

  29. #29
    Resiste et Mords! Steely Glint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    Here's the thing though. Even if there ISN'T a biological predisposition to being better/worse at tech jobs doesn't even matter for this story IMO. Merely bringing it up shouldn't mean someone should be canned. It should be discussed openly without anger, vitriol or hyperbole.
    Tell you what, Lewk, when you get into work tomorrow try circulating a memo saying that a certain proportion of the people you work with a biologically incapable of doing their job and see what it gets you.
    To ends unknown, by means unworthy, to answer wishes long dead and gone
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    Tell you what, Lewk, when you get into work tomorrow try circulating a memo saying that a certain proportion of the people you work with a biologically incapable of doing their job and see what it gets you.
    Again moving goal posts. No one has said 'biologically incapable.'

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