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10 page anti-diversity screed circulating internally at Google (gizmodo.com)
151 points by cszerzo on Aug 5, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 149 comments

My interpretation is that the author is cheifly concerned with two points: that biology impacts performance, and that dissenting views in Google are at time met with hostility that is more political reflex than it is critical countenance.

The first point should be obviously true, however we live in a time were identity politics on the left tries to shout down any but the hard line reaction to biological determinism. Both extremes are false and saying so should not be controversial.

"There are differences between the sexes." This is a statement about populations not individuals. It is also not a claim of causes only the current state of affairs.

Of all the coworkers I've had in tech, women make up a strong majority of the top 10. Yet of all the women I've known most weren't driven to excel to the same level of most men I've known. Whether you blame culture or biology for that sexism play A role, not the ONLY role in creating the gender discrepancy we see in the fields of STEM and executive management.

First you say this:

>> for that sexism play A role, not the ONLY role in creating the gender discrepancy

Then you say this:

>> Yet of all the women I've known most weren't driven to excel to the same level of most men I've known.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt in that I'm going to assume that it wasn't your intention to make a disturbingly sexist remark in a discussion about sexism.

You can replace women with African-American, and what you wrote sounds an awful lot like the racist drivel that came out of the South for 200 years. If anything, the author of the memo's attempts to argue that there is some biological basis for discrimination only serve to weaken his position. Furthermore, this 'biological differences basis' for discrimination eventually leads us to eugenics if taken to its illogical extreme. And yes, people have taken it that far in the not so recent past.

In the cases where what you wrote is even partially true, that some women (appear on the surface) to be less ambitious and less driven than men, did you ever stop to ask yourself why?

I've worked in tech my entire career, and I've witnessed appalling sexism. I have watched with my own eyes while women suffered humiliations like being told things like "no one invites you to meetings because you can't keep anything secret". Then there are things like code reviews. At work we recently had to institute a 'no abusive code review' policy because a small cadre of the men were using the code review process to hammer several of the few female engineers we've managed to somehow convince to come work for us. Like most places, our workplace policies are required largely due to behavior that was originated by men.

It seems like it's awfully easy to forget that women are half our species! How can anyone in their right mind think that sexism, unconscious or otherwise, is okay? How can anyone think that it's because 'women are less driven to succeed'? How can anyone think this when half their DNA comes from a man and the other half from a woman?

As a gay man (a gender/sexual minority), I can actually relate to how awful it feels to be treated like a second class citizen simply because of something that I do not feel like I can change (my sexual orientation). I'm not sure how much money it has cost me, but at the very least it has cost me the difference in filing single vs. filing jointly for the first 17 years of my marriage. Women pay similar costs when they're paid less over the course of their career, and/or when they're denied promotions for 'being ambitious'.

The attitude that underlies your comment -that you could actually believe that what you wrote is true and somehow justifies unequal treatment- is utterly, totally, and exactly why we need the programs the author of the now infamous memo argues against.

At the risk of sounding sexist, I will say that conflating race and sex as being roughly the same level of difference is a little bit intellectually dishonest. I'm not going to sit here and argue about what those differences are, but sex hormones most certainly affect behavior and emotions far more than skin pigments.

I also appreciate you sharing your story, but I personally find it a bit uncomfortable that these sorts of posts need to be qualified ("As a gay man..."). While I understand you were trying to support the point you were making, this sort of thing feeds into the notion that some opinions occupy a privileged position within our society, which feeds such "screeds" as this. It's almost hypocritical in a way, because I imagine that the anger and "otherness" that oppressed or minority groups feel is not unlike what the author of such a rant is feeling. Basically when it comes to cultural discourse, you're wrong, evil, the enemy, or ignored.

>> At the risk of sounding sexist, I will say that conflating race and sex as being roughly the same level of difference is a little bit intellectually dishonest. I'm not going to sit here and argue about what those differences are, but sex hormones most certainly affect behavior and emotions far more than skin pigments.

It is just a simple fact that the 'biological differences' argument has been used to justify great evils like slavery, eugenics, and sexism. Pointing out that 'biological differences' is a suspicious argument, and for good reasons, is not the same as conflating race and sex.

>> I also appreciate you sharing your story, but I personally find it a bit uncomfortable that these sorts of posts need to be qualified ("As a gay man..."). While I understand you were trying to support the point you were making, this sort of thing feeds into the notion that some opinions occupy a privileged position within our society, which feeds such "screeds" as this. It's almost hypocritical in a way, because I imagine that the anger and "otherness" that oppressed or minority groups feel is not unlike what the author of such a rant is feeling. Basically when it comes to cultural discourse, you're wrong, evil, the enemy, or ignored.

As a gay man, I have had real financial consequences (and other consequences) in my life as a result of millennia of other people's opinions about something I don't feel like I can change.

I feel like there is a reasonable and direct parallel between that and my expression of empathy toward women who experience real financial consequences (and other consequences) as the result of millennia of other people's opinions about something they also can't change.

>> because I imagine that the anger and "otherness" that oppressed or minority groups feel is not unlike what the author of such a rant is feeling.

The author could have chosen a better argument. As it is, the biological differences argument is fraught with peril. I'm sorry if the author of the rant is experiencing a feeling of alienation and otherness - it's terrible when anyone is oppressed, including men.

But it's important to remember, that, for most of recorded history, the oppressor of most men has been other men. Not women.

> because I imagine that the anger and "otherness" that oppressed or minority groups feel is not unlike what the author of such a rant is feeling.

No one is going to kill OP for his opinion, or try to rape his opinion out of him, which is something that still happens to gay people.

Fair point. Job loss is non-trivial, albeit nowhere near as bad as rape or murder.

> How can anyone think this when half their DNA comes from a man and the other half from a woman?

This looks like a throw-away comment but betrays a bit of ignorance about basic biology. Men have anywhere from 2x-10x more testosterone than women (lots of individual variance) [1], which has a huge effect on personality. Just because most of your DNA is inherited 50/50 does not preclude huge differences between the sexes. This is even more obvious when looking at other, non-human species [2].

[1] http://www.hemingways.org/GIDinfo/hrt_ref.htm

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_dimorphism

A 2011 Norwegian documentary series had an episode called "The Gender Paradox"[1] that examined this very issue in depth with interviews with evolutionary biologists, neuroscientists, psychologists and sociologists. It arrived at the conclusion that employment disparities increase in many professional fields due to natural divergent proclivities when socio-economic opportunities become equal for the sexes.

ON AVERAGE in Norway (one of the top 5 most equal countries), females prefer more people-oriented fields such as medicine and males will favor more systems-oriented fields such as engineering. Again, this is ON AVERAGE. There are major overlaps in many fields (e.g. arts and research sciences) - and in some fields there is virtually none (e.g. nursing vs sanitation). This is not controversial amongst scientists who do their best to suspend ideological or wishful thinking.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5LRdW8xw70

Let's take gender, race, food preference out of the equation. Say a person with qualities A and another person with qualities B both interview at a company. Turns out that at the company (and in the industry in general, type Bs are a minority), and there's a movement to hire more of type Bs.

If type A did better in an interview than type B, but the company ended up hiring a type B because of the whole diversity thing, is that considered a bad thing? Wouldn't that be considered preferential treatment? Why are there company initiatives or programs for B but not for A.

As someone who is of type B, I feel offended that there are 'initiatives' that help me get jobs at companies. I dont need my hand held or the job given to me just because i'm the only B applicant in a pool of 10 applicants

It doesn't make any sense in the context of an arbitrary type A and B free of historical baggage. The idea is that we type As have, on balance, experienced more "luck" and preferential treatment in our favor than type Bs because we are type As, so some artifically injected disfavor pushes the overall system closer to balance. It's fighting unfairness with unfairness in the opposite direction.

I was born to well-employed, college-educated parents in a stable marriage, moved to my childhood home specifically for its excellent school district, had plenty of quiet space and encouragement to do homework, funded through a top-5 university, etc. I've capitalized on those advantages and done quite well, but I didn't earn them. I don't mind when some of the competitive power I merely inherited is transferred to someone who inherited none. Probably they worked even harder, they just started lower.

Except historical baggage is exactly that; historical. It doesn't mean everyone in that group has experienced it the same way or at all.

This is the fundamental problem with policies based on group identity rather than individuals.

The white kids with single mothers in the trailer park who have fought for a chance to apply for these jobs might like a word with you.

Yes and luckily for them, they don't have to additionally suffer from systemic racial discrimination, which the equivalent member of a minority group frequently would have.

Nowhere does it proclaim "If your X your life is hard, if you're Y your life is easy." What is said (roughly) is that for two people otherwise equivalent, if one is X and the other is Y, that in general, in current society life is additionally harder for Xs - and this is due to for historical reasons.

I'm not sure your observation of of "white trash", "redneck", and "trailer rats" not suffering from systemic racial discrimination is an accurate one. I for one can assure you that people know how to suss out the difference and it starts at a young age.

It's not clear to me what you're saying. Unless I'm misunderstanding you, "redneck" isn't a racial group.

No-one is arguing that class-based discrimination doesn't exist, as it certainly does.

> that in general, in current society life is additionally harder for Xs - and this is due to for historical reasons.

In general, yes it is. But you aren't hiring people in general, you are hiring individuals. If you are trying to combat *ism than applying generalizations to individuals is exactly what you should be avoiding.

I hear this argument frequently and it's flawed.

Negative effects are applied in generalities across most aspects of society. Academic research has consistently shown this. Countering effects are also applied in generalities across society.

It is impractical (and not quantifiable) for every instance to be brought forward via an individual lawsuit. While note a perfect analogy, it has similarities to a class-action lawsuit.

We all know it isn't a perfect solution, but it's still better than doing nothing.

In an ideal world, negative effects wouldn't be applied in generalities across segments of society. But that is only very slowly changing.

Yes, one problem with affirmative action is that accepts some collateral damage in the form of individually unjust outcomes, even if it makes the world as a whole more just.

I think another reason we want to hire B is because if we have only As we are more susceptible to group think. It is good to have people of many different types to prevent that.

Is that really true though? Where I've worked, almost everyone was from an upper class or upper middle class background, grew up in a handful of superzip suburbs like Atherton/Scarsdale or high COL cities like NY, stable family life, attended a top tier university, had similar cultural interests or hobbies, read the same news sources, even had similar vices. They looked like a Benetton ad, but all acted exactly the same.

Is hiring Bs who are exactly like your As, except in superficial characteristics like appearance, really bringing in diverse points of view?

My last team was pretty diverse as far as country of origin (India, China, Brazil, Canada, Turkey, UK, many parts of the US), culture, ages, etc. I know some came from rural and some for lack of a better word 'white trash' upbringing. I will say we were mostly men though. It was a great team and I miss them.

Many people who speak about diversity in tech don't actually have experiences in engineering so they don't understand that race and gender are not that important in engineering. Engineering is very multi-cultural and people care more about nationality than race/gender. There is a huge diversity of nationality and cultures.

My impression when reading this was that the author intended it to be taken seriously. It is written with a decidedly "academic" tone. However, it is very light on actual research and evidence. Author says "Humans are inherently cooperative" is a bias on the Left. Where does this come from? More unsourced claims that strike me as suspect: "Respect for the strong/authority" is a bias on the Right. Women have more "Extraversion expressed as gregariousness rather than assertiveness. Also, higher agreeableness."

So the gender differences he talks about are very obviously coming from this meta-study:


He uses a lot of the same terminology as the paper, references big-5 personality traits etc, as well as the same personality dimensions like people-object axis.

The left vs. right stuff is clearly coming from Jonathan Haidt's Moral foundations theory:


The author of the "manifesto/screed" is drawing pretty clearly from good research, but isn't linking to it or discussing it in context

Note however that Gizmodo say

> Two charts and several hyperlinks are also omitted

The links that were removed are probably relevant. Some passages in the text even have quotation marks around them where I assume that links to sources were removed.

Yeah, what was up with that? I was really disappointed that stuff was omitted and assumed it was why some of the author's claims seemed so bold. Is there a link to something closer to the original around?

I think it's this one, but the links don't seem to work: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3914586-Googles-Ideo...

Edit: Here is the PDF with working links: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3914586/Googles-I...

> However, it is very light on actual research

No, the research exists in some cases, but the content of an internal informal document obviously doesn't require a rigorous (redundant) academic format. If you can't Google, it probably wasn't intended for you anyway. The comment about women ranking higher (in general) for agreeableness is statistically true. However, the reasoning for why is up for debate and has been well considered...

A neuroscience/evolutionary theory in plain english: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewvqEqIXdhU

Turns out when software engineers try to do psych and sociology research they don't tend to know what they are talking about. These are real fields with real expertise and the author of this thing thinks that he has figured it all out.

Really it's debatable that people work together? I get bias but seriously this is like saying I have a Left bias because I think the Earth is round.

It seems to be saying that left bias is "people prefer to cooperation over pure self-interest/working on their own." Obviously sometimes cooperation is in your self-interest, but its the difference between thinking that employees will do what's best for the company and employees will do what's best for themselves. The right bias is that they are primarily self-interested while the left is that they see the groups interests as a priority.

>Microaggression training incorrectly and dangerously equates speech with violence and isn’t backed by evidence.

This is something that's part of "training" at Google?

In my experience, this is standard "training" almost everywhere.

Simple response to his thesis: there used to be more women in programming... back when it was harder.

Wasn't there a period where "programmer" was the job of turning a flowchart from a "system analyst" into machine code? Basically a living compiler that didn't require a formally specified high-level language?

Yes, my mother mentioned offhand that she did it for a couple years. Didn't seem phased that it was programming - she considered the flowchart makers as the really smart ones... I can see that argument both ways.

was it harder before? Are you sure? I think your response doesn't change his argument, before tech was less relevant for the economy, so it was less stressful and had less status. That is why it wasn't interesting for men to get into it and preferred other jobs with more status and stress (and bigger salaries). But now the top companies are tech companies.

Less status, absolutely. But much harder. We work at such a high level of abstraction,we don't need to care about our resource usage much, we don't need to care much about what the machine is doing, we don't have to write everything ourselves because there are thousands of powerful libraries available for free.

So yes. Before, programming was hard, and low status. Now it's easy and high status, and men think that women aren't there because it's too hard. No, they were there when it was hard.

I don't think that's completely fair.

Before the list of software contractor was smaller, so the few places you could work in was NASA and Military.

Now the variance of jobs is much greater, so not all jobs are NASA level hard.

> men think that women aren't there because it's too hard

Who thinks that? Hard is something relative. The author says that men could be more prepared to tech because a biological predisposition that makes tech easier positions for them (better abstract thinking and more tolerance for stress, for example), while women are more prepared for other things likes taking care of others (because they are better in socializing and empathy). As tech became more competitive the women just left it for other things while men get into to get more status.

If you think that programming is a more stressful job than traditionally female jobs like nurse, teacher, or childrearing, then I've got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

Yes I think so. I have been a teacher and CS engineer so for me it is clear that CS is more stressful. Nurse is something I couldn't do and when I always ask them why are they nurses they say they feel great when they help people and they know they cannot help everybody. I don't know anyone in CS who feels great when writting software.

You can keep the bridge you bought in brooklyn.

I might have to disagree with you on two things.

I know plenty of people who are in CS for the challenge. They absolutely love writing software.

Also, nurses do what they do because they feel great helping people but in no way is that easy. Working in terminal care is extremely mentally taxing as many to all of the people they work with are preparing to/going to die. In the same way, nurses in the ER/ICU have to deal with people dying that are in no way prepared to die and that is also extremely mentally taxing. In regard to being physically taxing, much in the same way that people in CS have to deal with deadlines and long stressful working hours, nurses can often end up with up to 18-20 hour shifts with their off-hours and off-days classified as on call hours that they will usually get called in to work for.

Nurses definitely are in the field because they enjoy helping people but that in no way means that they have an easier job than people in the CS field.

I don't think nurses have an easy job. I don't think I could do it. I am saying people have different skills, for some of them is easier to be a nurse for others to be a CS engineer. I wouldn't enjoy to be a nurse the same way another person wouldn't enjoy to be an engineer. What I am saying that there could be biological reason why some people suits more for one job or another. And gender is only one expression of the ADN and can be linked with those biological reasons.

We should respect all the jobs and understand that all of them required different skills and also that different people have different skills. And we should try not to force people into jobs or discrimine (either negative or positive) because of the gender or height or race or whatever. We should evaluate the skills and give them something they will enjoy doing and will do great.

What kind of teacher? What did you teach?

Would playing piano be harder if you had to make your own piano? If the level of playing expected of you remains unchanged then yes, certainly.

That to me sums up the difference. It is now vastly easier to write and run a program. But that doesn't tell the whole story. Programming careers realty do have a red queen race quality to them.

I really couldn't compare it to fields I haven't worked in. But I do think that programming certainly can reach hellacious levels of stress and complexity.

> back when it was harder

Is this true?

Or is it the old "machine code is harder" idea?

How many people here programmed assembly language in middle school, but would have been stumped (or at least strained to the max in comparison) if made to read say, the Design Patterns book?

> programmed assembly language in middle school

The kind of assembly programming you do in middle school is a far cry from the difficulty of designing and maintaining an entire program in assembly.

This is so true. Twenty years ago the best programmer I ever worked with was a women, and I only thought of her as the best programmer that I'd ever worked with.

Something has changed since then and I am unable to perceive or explain what it is.

I'm not sure if this is what you're talking about but my reaction to this whole "diversity debate" is that I think it's a simple result of tech (software) having become (MUCH) more people-centered. My impression is that 20, 30, 40 years ago software, like most engineering, was almost entirely associated with systematizing - but with the rise of the Internet, mobile, social networks and the increased emphasis on product development and presentation, tech has increasingly become not just people-centered but is itself now seen as an endeavor central to the interests of all modern citizens of society. This explains why there are more women now who are interested in tech, and also why there are so many non-technical women who want to break other women into tech.

Which language/tools were they using? Serious question. I highly doubt your statement.

And what do you believe his thesis is?

While some of the points are worth exploring, and have actually with Google's own research (aka psychology safety and Google's project Aristotle on what makes a great team), much of this essay becomes immediately discredited by creating suspect on the premise of questioning employment opportunities for women.

I thought about this a bit but let's say it was indeed a factor of employment and advancements over some men in roles.

There is signifant research on the benefits of a diverse culture.

Decades of research by organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers show that socially diverse groups (that is, those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation) are more innovative than homogeneous groups.

I would argue that it isn't a problem that diverse members are indeed advanced because of ONE of the factors being their contribution to a diverse group. That doesn't negate the necessity that they must also be good at their job.

Furthermore, great engineers are people oriented. Anyone can learn how to write code, but it takes skill to hone in on necessary insights that deal with people, interaction, and the nature of finding solutions that I suspect are meant to help people.

> Decades of research by organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers show that socially diverse groups (that is, those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation) are more innovative than homogeneous groups.

Can you point to the two or three best studies showing this? It seems really hard to study objectively--how do you measure innovativeness? how do you control for all sorts of potentially confounding variable?

> I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership. Many of these differences are small and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population level distributions.

What are your opinions about this? Do you think biological differences leads to social differences (not only gender but race, height, etc)? Do our "intelligences" [1] differ based on our gender? [2]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_multiple_intelligenc...

[2] https://www.elsevier.com/connect/can-brain-biology-explain-w...

I often ask people who talk about this two simple questions:

- Is the extreme sex disparity in the prison population in the United States a result of a massive system of anti-male oppression or a result of population level sex differences between men and women.

- How do you interpret the experiences of trans people on hormones who experience their personalities change after taking hormones.

I'll admit it is a bit of a cheap shot, those are carefully chosen to cause cognitive dissonance, but that's an effective tool for getting people to clarify their opinions.

Of course there are gender differences..but the only relevant question in this context you or anyone should ask is whether those gender differences justify lower participation of women in technology.

If you're a capitalist, if you believe in exploiting the market to the benefit yourself, you would be stupid and shortsighted to not find a way to utilize women and minorities in any way possible to serve your business.

Say you discover that women and Indians are biologically incapable of working more than 3 hours at a stretch without taking a tea break. Use that tidbit of knowledge to maybe place women and Indians closer to the breakroom. Don't brush their individual idiosyncrasies under the carpet. Use them.

And once you start using them to benefit yourself, realize that companies like Google are doing exactly that by promoting policies to bring in and retain women. It's not altruism - it's pure business.

> you would be stupid and shortsighted to not find a way to utilize women and minorities in any way possible to serve your business.

> companies like Google are doing exactly that by promoting policies to bring in and retain women

The problem is that they do it in the extreme. They want to achieve 50% of male and 50% and currently that distribution is not real, there are much more men that women in technology. So they have a positive discrimination for women to get a position even when there is a man that fits better, so they can achieve the 50/50.

If you want the best people and the pool of candidates is 70/30 you cannot have the best candidates with 50/50. You should have like 70/30 that is something proportional to the pool of candidates.

This leads to the question why there are less women than men in technology. Is it discrimination, oppression, a free choice?

>> The problem is that they do it in the extreme. They want to achieve 50% of male and 50% and currently that distribution is not real, there are much more men that women in technology. So they have a positive discrimination for women to get a position even when there is a man that fits better, so they can achieve the 50/50.

Yes, but women are 50% of our society. Why would it be wrong to try and make a company represent society? The world is absolutely full of utterly brilliant women.

> The world is absolutely full of utterly brilliant women.

... Brilliant women who aren't interested in programming. Why not?

If they're turning away from programming because of sexism, we can and should be fixing that.

If they're turning away from programming because women are less likely to be interested in systems thinking, and thus fewer women find programming as interesting as men do then its fine. Let the women who want to program be programmers. Let the women who want to be lawyers, or mums, or doctors do that instead.

The research suggests that both of these things are happening. If you talk to girls thinking about careers they say "programming is for boys". Also, men and women have very different interest distributions. And one of the clearest ways people express their personal interests is via their career.

You could also ask the same question about a career with an inverse gender distribution like nursing. Why are only ~10% of nurses male? Some of the effect size is probably sexism, but probably a lot of it is that (statistically) fewer men are as interested in caring for other humans as women are. Any sexism found should be fixed. But if the difference is due to expressed preference, its fine and we should all chill out.

No one should be forced to become a computer programmer just to satisfy some notion that companies should be 50% men and 50% women. No one should be forced to become a nurse just to satisfy some other notion that there should be equal numbers of men and women in nursing.

It's also not wrong to say 'maybe we should try to make our company more representative of society'.

>> But if the difference is due to expressed preference, its fine and we should all chill out.

The problem is that systemic prejudice causes long-term harm to human society. Women whom make less simply because of their gender have access to fewer opportunities. So do their children. They retire with less. It goes on and on...

For many people this issue isn't something that can be summed up as simply as perhaps you would like. It has real, long term consequences.

> Women whom make less simply because of their gender ...

My understanding is that most of this effect is caused by:

- Women taking breaks in their career to start families

- Women preferring jobs that give them more time to spend with their children. Jobs that have better benefits often have worse pay (Eg lawyer vs schoolteacher.)

- Society values traditionally feminine jobs less than traditionally masculine jobs

I'm not sure how pushing for more women to become programmers will help address any of these issues.

The north countries of Europe are consider as the ones where there is more equality between men and women, and on those countries the ratio women/men in some careers are more far from the 50/50 than in others with less equality between women and men. Why is hat? Some researches think it is a cultural issue others think it is a free choice, people feel more free and chose careers that suits more for them.

50% of our society is below the average height, why would it be wrong to try and make the basketball represent our society?

Maybe short people don't want to play basketball or they are just not good for it because of biological reasons.

First off, if you found those population differences they wouldn't be usefully predictive when it came to your actual employees. The effect sizes are too small and other individual factors much too large.

Second, those differences wouldn't "justify" anything, they would only explain that a disparity would exist in a perfectly just world.

Mainly though, you say "of course there are gender differences" when that's literally not an acceptable thing to say publicly right now. Especially as a corporation. And the evidence showing irrational sexism and racism in tech is even better than the evidence around sex differences.

The question is how to tell how much each factor contributes, because one we want to correct and the other is just a part of the human condition. Since we can't ask the question right now, that's probably step one.

As to just letting the market sort it out ... I find it completely unconvincing that that would ever work. I think that's a naive view of how culture, human social organization and human rationality work. Not even mentioning the fact that serfdom and slavery are very efficient structures from the market point of view.

The right topic isn't biology, it's history.

Historically, for millennia women were treated as property of men. This was justified with all sorts sexist jabber. The same is true of race; ou can read all sorts of racist nonsense from the era of slavery. E.g., the Cornerstone Speech, in which the vice-president of the Confederacy said straight out: "Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition."

The important thing to note from this is that people will justify the status quo, whatever it is, in terms of what is "natural". They are not really rational, but rationalizing.

For the last hundred years or so, we've been struggling our way out of that long era of institutionalized sexism and racism. If we don't fuck it up, we might be truly out of it in another hundred years. Until we have ripped up its roots, then questions of biology should be ignored.

Why? One good reason is that historically those arguments have proven incredibly wrong over and over. There's a whole host of things that women supposedly couldn't do that they now do just fine.

Second, we should learn a lesson from the long history of rationalizing the status quo. People who do well by the current system will tend to argue to maintain the system. Whenever we find ourselves arguing like that, we should be very suspicious.

Third our enormous history of discrimination by gender and race entirely confounds attempts to answer questions of what is truly innate. If we want to get any sort of real answer, we need to build a world with no remaining trace of bias. Only then can we start to see the nature that might exist behind culture.

Fourth, and most importantly, it doesn't fucking matter. If men turn out to be naturally, as a group, less good at math than women, does that mean we should stop training men on math? No. We should train men more at math, because math is a valuable skill, humans are very plastic, and nobody should be denied an opportunity just because somebody reduced them to a single bit, and then condemned them to ignorance. It's dumb, it's unkind, it's wasteful.

TL;DR: Let's focus on the well-documented historical distortions of massive gender and race bias, not subtle, possibly imaginary gender and race differences that have been used over and over to justify that bias.

watch this: https://youtu.be/cVaTc15plVs?t=1851 (even better if you see it all)

biology comes before history, history can be a consequence of biology

> If men turn out to be naturally, as a group, less good at math than women, does that mean we should stop training men on math? No. We should train men more at math, because math is a valuable skill

This is what scares me of this society. If someone is bad at something lets force him/her to improve at the things he/she is bad at. Instead of focusing on the things a person is good at and try to put them on the next level and make a difference that way, let's focus on the bad things and get a mediocre individual.

I love maths, but are you saying art is not a valuable skill compare with maths? Should the great artist bad at math study math and give up in art?

You might think that not training someone at something that he/she is bad at is stupid, but some people like me think the stupid thing is to no to focus in what make someone special and good at.

And finally, why do you think there is a bias? Couldn't be the reason that there are not more female CS engineers that they choose freely not to be because they just don't like it? The answer is in the video I put before.

This is basically a long exercise in missing the point.

That I think one skill is good does not mean all other skills are bad.

Your basic notion seems to be that even though most historical bias has turned out to be totally unjustifiable, maybe the exact amount of bias we have today is perfectly justifiable by facts that we just don't know yet.

I can't say that's impossible, but I can say that a) it's not a smart or useful argument, and b) it totally ignores the actual harm done by today's bias in favor of worrying about what might happen if we're just too good to everybody regardless of gender.

Maybe you're the one guy in the world who spends a lot of time arguing in favor of gender bias not because he benefits from it and has soaked up society's pro-bias conditioning. Maybe you're the one pro-bias dude who comes upon it for purely intellectual reasons. But per Occam's Razor, you can guess which way I'm betting.

I am against any bias, I want to asses people by their skills. What I am saying is that some skills are in our genes and we cannot/shouldn't change that (not even with positive discrimination).

And you, instead of taking a look to the video I put in my previous comment, you decided to call me stupid. Great, do you know how I try to cure my stupidness? Reading and watching videos of people who knows more than me.

Food for your brain: how created a prejudice first about the other in our conversation?

Yes, I will not be watching any videos. I don't like videos. If you have a point, feel free to make it.

I also didn't call you stupid. Sorry if I was unclear. I am suggesting you are a bigot.

The video is called Hjernevask [1] and it is a Norwegian documentary. Norwegian is one of the highly gender equal countries [2], for your information. The reporter is interviewing Norwegian social scientists about their theories of gender and social constructionism. The documentary generated much public debate in the country.

I knew you weren't calling me stupid. I called you stupid because you weren't able to spend 1 minute to check a reference and decided to throw up all your speech without even knowing what I was talking about.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hjernevask

[2] http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal....

Yes. It is the is-ought [1] distinction. People differences may be a biological fact, but this factual knowledge does not informs us what to do with it. We can do then anything: amplify it, suppress it, or don't care

"Natural"[2] - if it has any meaningful definition at all - is not an ethical category. Evolution is not normative.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Is–ought_problem

[2] For example for a naturalist everything is natural :)

Absolutely. It maddens me how few people can see this point.

I don't think the author denied any of that history. The fundamental question posed is why do we see 50/50 male/female in tech as some kind of gold standard to known we've reached gender equality, and why does that discussion often revolve around getting more underrepresented segments of the population to participate in tech.

Fundamentally the whole gender equality thing is about whether any given individual feels that they can live their life to its full potential. If those potentials were to differ in the large between men and women then that is fine.

Alternatively what if the problem had a lot more to do with how ingrained the drive for status is in men compared to women? That women are underrepresented because they're more likely to want work-life balance and they're competing with a horde of men willing to be miserable for years to attain status. The problem in that case isn't that there are too few women, but that there are too many men.

> why do we see 50/50 male/female in tech as some kind of gold standard

This isn't even a hard question. The short version is, "duh, history". The slightly longer version is that many, many other fields have shifted from "no women" to "50/50" over the last century because patriarchy is finally starting to fall apart. Tech is a weird exception:


Maybe you could read a book or take a class before opining much more on this?

> what if the problem had a lot more to do with how ingrained the drive for status is

You mean what if our organizational cultures are so fucked up as to reward status-seeking behaviors rather than more healthy ones? Organizational cultures that derive from patriarchal dominance hierarchies? The answer is to shift to more healthy and inclusive models of working, which is why modern diversity/inclusion programs do much more than fix hiring. Which fits nicely in with a lot of organizational improvement efforts that have nothing to do with bias reduction, because it turns out that raw primate dominance behaviors are a pretty terrible way to organize knowledge work.

How would we ever know if men actually were worse than women at math? There will always be a sufficient number of confounding variables as to have plausible deniability, not that it really matters. I think the line for when we're grasping at straws (or when we have enough evidence to draw a conclusion) is different for different people, which is why there is debate over such stupid things in the first place.

I doubt we ever will know. But we certainly won't know until we eliminate the effects of the enormous confounding variable of our centuries of sexism.

The point is that will literally always be a confounding variable.

I and many others are working for that not to be the case.

I get that, but when can you possibly say that centuries of sexism no longer have any effect, or centuries of trying to shift back to center have swung the pendulum in the opposite direction? Equality of outcome?

When people treat the topic with the same sort of dry, academic interest that is now used for discussions like, "What was the most popular card game in 1850?"

Things change. E.g., there were many "important" theological and political questions in the middle ages that now seem impossibly distant, almost meaningless.

Gender is already becoming less meaningful. Maybe it will never become meaningless, but at the very least we can take it from "primary determinant of social status, acceptable behavior, allowed work, and economic outcome" to "about like eye color".

Amazing. Thank you for writing this.

I recommend this documentary which goes into that question


I already saw it and that is why I am asking people here. And thanks so much because I was searching for it and couldn't find it. This is my favorite part (her response): https://youtu.be/cVaTc15plVs?t=1851

How can they not? It's an optimization problem, of sorts, from an evolutionary psychology prospective.

I recommend to all gender warriors on either side of the debate to read this talk given by Baumeister, which later became a book by Baumeister + Tice. It has a lot of insights into origins of the differences between men and women.


One should not discount the additional biased inherent in the discussion, by the way. This is the corporate world and people are talking about selling their time or money. Perhaps one answer to all this is to opt out of the full-time corporate treadmill, start your own business or be self-employed.

Makes me actually respect Google! Would have not expected them having such an open culture that lets controversial viewpoints survive.

Do you think the person who wrote this will survive (not being fired)?

I surely hope so. I think people should be allowed to discuss things like this in an open and civil manner, no matter how wrong or flawed their arguments are. As long as they are not openly hurting or disrespecting their coworkers, I don't see the issue with a document like this exploring ideas. When we promote "challenging ideas" and discussion, it applies to everyone, not only those we agree with.

That you don't see the harm doesn't mean there's harm. If you would care to do a little work, you can find plenty of people explaining what the particular harm here is.

You might also try studying history; you can find many examples of people civilly discussing absolutely horrific ideas that resulted in enormous harm to people. That civil discussion enabled the harm.

I am scared of your response, do yo mean we cannot discuss things because of the consequences? even if we try to improve and fix things with the discussion?

It depends on the discussion.

If you would like to civilly promote your notion that black people aren't really human and are only fit to be slaves, then no, we can't do that. If you bring it up I will tell you are an asshole, and if you persist, I will shun you and tell everybody else to shun you.

You are free to say terrible things. I am free to exercise freedom of speech and freedom of association in response. Your freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences.

If you are scared of that, then maybe take some time to think about the opinions you're so excited to share. Maybe they're harmful to others.

So... In this article we have a person talking about the positive discrimination in a company and how it can harm the company. This topic can harm some people even when the author doesn't want to. You can think he is saying terrible things (like some people thinks indeed), so you are not open to discuss with him about the topic?

> then maybe take some time to think about the opinions you're so excited to share

I am not going to shut up if I think I am right and it is the best for everybody even if my opinion hurts some people. I shouldn't do it indeed.

> so you are not open to discuss with him about the topic?

Am I personally interested in discussing this guy's bad ideas with him? No, I have better things to do than try to get him to examine the prejudices that he's so energetically hiding under a mountain of justification. History suggests that most bigots will literally die before they'll change their opinion. And from what I've seen, those who do change don't do it because of reasoned discussion; they instead have an emotional epiphany of the impact of bigotry.

> I am not going to shut up if I think I am right and it is the best for everybody even if my opinion hurts some people. I shouldn't do it indeed.

How brave! If you look at the US's historical record, you can find a great number of (white) people arguing that the institution of slavery is the best for everybody even if it hurts some people. Try the Conerstone Speech, for example, or the Texas Declaration of Secession.

Of course, you aren't that brave. Like most pro-discrimination people you comment from the shadows.

Im honestly a litte off foot here. Is this irony?

Can somebody tell me that this ment seriously?

In case its not irony, the harm never originated from the discussions- the "discussions" the had on eugenics and various other horrid things, where the same thing we have today. People wrapped in echo-chamber bubbles, glueing "evidence" to the wall of these echo-chambers.

Its actually easy to identify such discussions. They are not aimed at research for a remedy. As in a real, root cause remedy. They want to wrap it in a social construct, or declare it a fact, so it can be put on a podest. These discussions end not in further research, but in "we have the facts/rules figured out, now lets make history" atrocities.

Such pseudo discussions happen on the left and on the right side. You know that you are in one, if you cant press a certain point without hostility. "So what is the root cause?"(Repeat in left discussion) "What can be done to fix that?" (Repeat in right discussion)

It is definitely not irony.

If you have evidence that harm never once originated from people saying words, I'd love to see it. Otherwise, I think you're making an assertion that you'd like to be true.

Discussions have effects. That's why we have them.

Words are not actions. Even if you are linguist and coders, you must realize that the code is not the execution.

Humans aren't computers. Words and actions are not always distinct. Indeed, they mostly aren't distinct. If words didn't have an effect on the world, we wouldn't have evolved language.

Sorry, i violently reject your opinion. I found it to be the source of some of the utmost terror in totalitatiran regimes, where "Words" are equal to "Traitorous actions" and thus punnished.

And i found that behind this kind of thought, usually a anti-democratic yearning for a opion dictatorship lurks.

Still, violently rejecting does not include preventing you from uttering it.

My opinion is one that is also shared by American law. There are many crimes of speech. E.g., fraud, conspiracy to commit murder, and harassment.

But sure, anonymous coward. You can read my mind, and it's just what you always hated! Funny coincidence, there.

Speech is not action and you can't decide if a particular idea is positive or negative without discussion in the first place.

Censoring free discussion is actually harmful.

Some speech is action. That's why we have crimes like incitement to riot, fraud, harrassment, criminal threat, and conspiracy to commit murder.

If somebody has an, honest reasonably considered question that they would like to raise after having done at least a modest amount of work to answer themselves, sure, let's talk about it.

But most speech isn't like that. It's persuasion, advocacy, negoiation, action. Indeed, the Google manifestbro was quite clearly advocacy. It wasn't a question. It was a ten-page screed meant to convince. In specific, to convince people to act differently. Those actions will have real-world consequences. It is entirely unshocking that people who would be harmed by those consequences will vigorously object.

Nobody is talking about censorship here: https://xkcd.com/1357/

We are talking about one person saying something and then other people exercising their freedom of speech and freedom of association in response. The guy certainly has the right to claim that women are biologically inferior. But his coworkers have the right to tell him that a) he's wrong, and b) he's an asshole. And Google has the right to say, "Thanks for your service; see you later."

That's freedom. If you don't like it, well, you have the right to say so.

Inciting violence and making criminal threats would not be "civil discussion" then, which is what we're talking about... so I'm not sure what point you're making.

That part was responding to your erroneous notion that speech and action are totally distinct. Some speech is action.

If you aren't clear on some other point, feel free to ask.

Speech is not action.

Free speech means most speech is protected, however there are specific instances of unprotected speech, such as inciting lawlessness or libel/slander. This speech can and is prosecuted, but it is still not action.

Keep asserting that buddy. But I'm telling you now, each essay I write is intended to change something in the world. If I didn't intend it as an action, I wouldn't bother writing it.

So, are you saying the manifesto writer should be censored, shunned, fired? Should Gizmodo and Google censor all such similar writings and videos from internal and external applications?

Is this article violence?

Is this article publishing hate speech?

Should the manifesto writer be locked up?

Do you see what I'm asking here?

Such drama!

I am saying that manigandham's total separation between speech and action is incorrect.

I think Gizmodo and Google and this guy are all welcome to keep publishing whatever they want to. I think everybody else should also feel free to exercise their freedom of speech and freedom of association in response to that speech and publication.

I'll be interested to see how Google handles it, but there's a good case to be made for them firing him. See, e.g., this post from a senior recent ex-Googler: https://medium.com/@yonatanzunger/so-about-this-googlers-man...

Diversity always seems like a silly objective.

Of all things, why focus on race and gender? How about hairstyle? Why not height? Maybe I feel like my weight is not represented fairly!

I'm just poking fun. Those aren't real questions.

The author promotes the only diversity that matters: diversity of thought.

Anything else should at worst a proxy to get some.

"The only diversity that matters": says who?

You brought up height and weight, but there actually are situations where they matter. For clothes, obviously, but this also comes up when flying, or anywhere that space is a premium.

And yep, it matters even in the Air Force:

"Out of 4,063 pilots, not a single airman fit within the average range on all 10 dimensions. One pilot might have a longer-than-average arm length, but a shorter-than-average leg length. Another pilot might have a big chest but small hips. Even more astonishing, Daniels discovered that if you picked out just three of the ten dimensions of size — say, neck circumference, thigh circumference and wrist circumference — less than 3.5 per cent of pilots would be average sized on all three dimensions. Daniels’s findings were clear and incontrovertible. There was no such thing as an average pilot. If you’ve designed a cockpit to fit the average pilot, you’ve actually designed it to fit no one."


Most of your post is talking about clothing size. I don't know what to say about it.

Why does any diversity except thought matter?

After all, that is the argument I have for racist diversity: "different perspectives".

If I can get those perspectives without being a racist, why bother?

Where do you think different perspectives come from?

As a hypothetical example, if you're designing a chair someone very large or small may have a different perspective than someone of average size.

So the causality in that case is different body results in different lived experience results in different perspective.

This isn't to say you can't learn these things in other ways (such as doing user studies, or previous experience) but it's not as easy to notice what you weren't paying attention to.

Another example might be targeting the Chinese market without being from China. It's not the only way, but think about the amount of travel and study required to get a similar perspective.

Meanwhile you have lots of people who already have the knowledge you're looking for.

I think we split based on gender and race because those are clear discriminators. Height or hairstyle are more fuzzy, and probably biologically less relevants to adapt to the environment.

Probably height is more relevant for leadership than gender: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1368430212437211

How are those less clear discriminators?

I am sure I could find a study showing that attractive people have a better shot at getting the job. Height is attractive.

When I said clear discriminator I mean they are binary: either make or female, either black or white. Height or attractiveness are more diffuse for some people you can be tall/attractive but not for others. Gender and race are clear.

In my opinion height or attractiveness play a role in the society (a big role), but it is easier to talk about gender or race because the clear distinction, bigger represented groups and historical reasons.

>but it is easier to talk about gender or race

It's intellectual laziness.

The only response to his post that matters are from the women in tech. Do they appreciate it? What's your guess?

What does that even mean? You have to be a women in tech to have your opinion valued? Your statement is far worse than anything written in this manifesto.

What I'm saying is either this rant will put women off to tech or bring more in. Their decision to pursue this industry is what matters. Do you think this will be looked at positively by women currently outside tech?

Anecdotes but women in tech I spoke to dislike the diversity initiatives as they get seen a token employee who is only there because she is a woman and not because of her skills.

Kind of needlessly degrading.

what makes you say something like this?

This is not merely sexist. Amidst his rambling "evolutionary psychology" argument he also protests racial diversity programs.[1] And his explanation for that? It's buried here:

"Left tends to deny science concerning biological differences between people (e.g., IQ and sex differences)." (emphasis mine)

So women are bad at programming because of evolution and non-whites/asians are bad at it because they're dumb. According to science. Does dressing this up in pseudo-academic prose make it any less racist?

[1] "Stretch, BOLD, CSSI, Engineering Practicum (to an extent), and several other Google funded internal and external programs are for people with a certain gender or race"

How is that racist?

Racist is "I think all Mexicans are dumb, so I won't hire any or even give them an interview. I hate Mexicans."

Racism is not "Groups of humans evolved dramatically different physical characteristics, vulnerability to health conditions, ability to consume foods like lactose, and countless other characteristics. There's some evidence to suggest they may have different distributions of skills required to do this job well. Even if there are no innate differences, there are certainly cultures that prioritize learning the skills we require more than others.

I wouldn't be surprised to see different groups represented at different rates vs. the general population at this job. However, I'm smart enough to realize there are extremely skilled and extremely unskilled members of every group, and I'd gladly interview and hire from any."

There is a long history of seeking pseudo-scientific explanations for racist beliefs. See for example, phrenology and eugenics.

I am actually glad that you concede that "cultures" can affect learning, not merely evolution. While most people usually use that term to blame minorities for their disadvantages (i.e. culture means "their" culture), it also means that you implicitly accept that living in a (shared) culture with systematic racism and discrimination over several centuries can perhaps negatively affect skill acquisition as well.

Of course. There's rarely a single cause for anything.

But in today's world, real systematic discrimination in hiring and employment isn't likely to be the main driver at places like Google. When you're selecting for individuals several standard deviations above the mean in ability, even very slight shifts in the population mean dramatically affect the number you'll find at such a threshold. This is a touchy third-rail subject, one we'd probably do well not to discuss much, but when the alternative is constantly being told that you're racist or prejudiced, people will naturally want to fight back.

If the city police or local factory had extremely lopsided racial representation, I'd be much more inclined to believe it's due to prejudice. Any average person can do these jobs. Even if there are differences between groups, all groups would have a huge number of people around the average range.

And I'm not saying this out of some attempt to claim supremacy, justify prejudice, or advocate for eugenics. My family is from Portugal. If I had to wager, I wouldn't bet on Portuguese being at the top of the heap intellect-wise, on average. Look at who's winning the Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals--it's not people like me most of the time. Still, we should treat every person as an individual, with respect and dignity.

I guess I don't understand this passionate need to immediately call statements sexist/racist simply because they relate to sex and race. Like, is the statement true or not? If not, why not first call it false (something we can all discuss), and then make inferences about the speaker's moral intentions (inherently speculative)?

Why did you say women are bad at programming because of evolution and non-whites/asians are bad at it because they're dumb?

I read his paper 3 times, and from what I can tell, that claim didn't exist until you made it.

This is why we can't have honest conversations. By all means, disagree with things that he is saying, and engage him on any points that you feel need to be corrected. But don't disagree with things he quite obviously isn't saying. That doesn't get us anywhere.

> I read his paper 3 times, and from what I can tell, that claim didn't exist until you made it.

I literally directly cited the "paper", as you call it. Specifically "evolutionary psychology" and "IQ" explaining the gender and race performance gaps, respectively.

Strawman bump

Hold on, do you deny that IQ has a strong heritable component and that there's a well-documented IQ difference between different populations? Cause that's all he's saying, while also emphasizing that these statements mean little when referring to specific individuals.

Lots of problems connecting IQ with race and heritability, well researched. See for example:

the "heritability" of IQ - the degree to which IQ variations can be explained by genes - varies dramatically by socioeconomic class. Heritability among high-SES (socioeconomic status) kids was 0.72; in other words, genetic factors accounted for 72 percent of the variations in IQ, while shared environment accounted for only 15 percent. For low-SES kids, on the other hand, the relative influence of genes and environment was inverted: Estimated heritability was only 0.10, while shared environment explained 58 percent of IQ variations.[1]

[1] https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/05/why-peo...

This is evidence that we should invest more in early childhood enrichment and healthy food for the poor, so everyone can reach their potential. Genetics determine the capability of your engine, but you still need to feed it with gas.

It doesn’t justify lowering the bar for hiring, creating quota systems, or engaging in positive discrimination.

Anyone who says that this guy's opinion shouldn't matter should consider that he likely interviews female candidates, sits on hiring committees that evaluate female candidates, decides whether or not female engineers get promoted, etc.

I'm sorry, but you're mischaracterizing what he wrote and by doing that making his point. There's no "genetic predisposition" for not liking tech, but there are biological differences between the sexes that affect a great many things and he's arguing that career choice might be one of them - which seems a pretty boring observation to me to be quite honest. I think it's weird that you've extrapolated that to conclude that he'll be discriminating against women in hiring decisions.

This guy is saying he would hire the best candidate regardless of gender or other byas. He wont promote women over men just because they are women, he will look at the individual skills and select the fittest for the position.

Note: He is also saying that leadership and tech skills are more frequent in men than in women and that the biology could be the reason.

I once heard a scientist (female) in this area that it is stupid to think that the brains of males and females are the same when clearly the evolution make males and females so biological differents that the brain cannot be the only exception when it is the more complex organ in our bodies.

Probably would of been a good idea to have references to all those claims.

they were there but gizmodo removed them

I can understand the authors point of view but he presents several points as fact but provides no links to data supporting those points so they come across as stereotypical generalizations.

That women and people of color have been historically discriminated against and in many cases still are cannot be denied, especially in my personal experience, women of color. I have seen this both in tech and outside of it.

Is there a biological or chemical component to people excelling in certain fields? I have no idea but people must be judged as individuals not on any conceived notions of gender or race. I am a white guy and there are tons of women and people of color who are brighter than me or better than me at what I do. They should not be denied a role over me because an interviewer does not like their gender or ethnicity. If they are better than me they should get the position, period.

On the other hand, I am white with two white sons. I in no way agree with hiring practices or college admission policies that would put my kids at a disadvantage based on the color of their skin or gender. If my kids want to go to an ivy league school, and they invest the time and effort to to attain entry they should be granted it. I would be furious if they were declined in favor of another student if that student had worse grades and entry test level scores but were chosen based on the color of their skin. I would be very resentful.

If there is an issue with interviewers showing bias, we need to address that, not establish quotas which disadvantage others. A good solution should never involve pulling others down, a good solution lifts everyone. Bad solutions spread resentment.

We need to stop judging others on what they are and focus on who they are. I don't claim to be smart enough or educated enough to know the solution but i do know what it should feel like, it should feel like a good thing to all individuals. All individuals, not parties because we are all unique and should be treated and judged as such.

Edit: Personal story. I was in charge of hiring for a role in a non tech position. I interviewed several people for the position. My favorite was a black woman, she was awesome; smart and driven. I was over ruled by my director in favor of a decidedly less intelligent attractive white woman. His choice was fired after 6 months for poor performance and inappropriate behavior. Racism is absolutely alive and well in hiring. I think the solution needs to be addressed on the hiring manager level though, not by artificial quotas. By the same token that black woman was absolutely discriminated against.

I don't have the answers and all of the above is just the opinion of one person.

> but provides no links

The Gizmodo foreward say they have removed several links and a couple of graphs. I think I also recall googlers saying that the manifesto had links to various papers etc.

This document conveys its message poorly and comes across as far less neutral than I think it's intending to be.

It raises some valid points, but it kind of feels like an extremely hamfisted interpretation of a recent blog post by Scott Alexander: http://slatestarcodex.com/2017/08/01/gender-imbalances-are-m...

I don't think Google's official response to it is very good either, though.

"Not writing as well as Scott Alexander" is a pretty high bar you're setting there.

While the document may have been influenced by that post, and while both authors seem to have a similar "non-feminist left" political position, it has a different focus: Acknowledge people's natural strengths, weaknesses, preferences and accept diversity of political views vs. influence of sexist microagressions on gender representation.

Yup, definitely sounded like a SSC reader attempting to channel Alexander.


Can you please expand on the moving to Singapore part?

Somebody should explain this guy that companies hire individuals. And these individuals can be men or women, just like they can be tall or short, fat or thin.

He covers that right at the beginning:

> you can’t say anything about an individual given these population level distributions.

His screed is instead concerned with distribution across populations (such as Google's).

Somehow I don’t see a guy who says that women “in general” aren’t as technically capable giving similar weighting’s to a woman who went to a women’s college to a man who went elsewhere.

I think it is clear that he complains the company promote women over men to increase the diversity and that the company should look to the individual skills. That the reason of the difference in the diversity could be biological and not gender bias and that the company should study this as a possibility too. Not ignore it and try to equally the number of females and males in the company

It's hard to have a serious discussion on merit based employment in a culture of "rest and vest" where employees literally do nothing.


If you haven't, read and listen to this excellent podcast:


The gender issues from this paper have been pretty well hashed out, but one really interesting thing, he makes the point about being conservative at a tech company. I actually think this is a bit misleading. I know a large number of tech people who would consider themselves libertarian (fiscally conservative), but NOT socially conservative. So, at least from my experience, I have to interpret his comments about conservatives vs. progressives as about social conservative, in which case I would say he does himself a disservice - a lot of the modern American social conservative movement is explicitly about exclusion and is anti-diversity. So, I think it's fair to say, if you're socially conservative and subscribe to the modern platform (believing LGBTQ individuals don't deserve full rights, for instance), it may be expected to feel a bit uncomfortable at a tech company, just like I would probably feel uncomfortable working for a defense contractor.

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