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Hotbed of Misinformation (tesla.com)
384 points by runesoerensen on Nov 15, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 196 comments

Came into this not knowing what to expect, and recently I’ve had some mixed feelings about Tesla, but wow what an awesome statement.

Honestly it was just so...authentic. They described very exactly what happened, what the accusations were, what the consequences were for those involved, what concerned them as a company, etc. It has none of the corporate double-speak that you would expect if this were Equifax.

From the post:

> that being a jerk is not allowed

This made me take it in a much more casual way, as they didn't load it with PR speak for sure. Gave much more credibility — like it wasn't written by lawyers.

> like it wasn't written by lawyers

Like it wasn't, but it was.

More likely a team of people including Lawyers, PR etc.

Tesla hasn't been in a more vulnerable position for a few years now and so everything they do must be perfect.

I doubt it. It sounds a little too much like Elon.

AFAIK he doesn't usually talk about himself in 3rd person:

> His email to Elon was about his commute and Tesla’s shuttles,

> We would also like to clear up the description of Elon’s prior email to employees.

> Elon’s full email is below:

It probably was deeply scrutinized before publishing, just to be sure it doesn't contain six lines that could have Musk "hanged".

That's good lawyers for you!

Except the author mentioned Elon in the third person, and I don't think he would intentionally misdirect like that.

Why? He could very well write it from the POV of the company, distancing himself - in this case using the third person is nothing unusual.

It stands against all reason and intuition that this would be the case. There is no evidence to support the theory.

How can we tell if it's authentic without independently knowing what the truth is? There are many, many people who are good at sounding convincing while being dishonest. Human beings have very limited capability to discern the truth based on presentation, and IMHO one of our greatest weaknesses is that most of us believe we're secretly good at it.

We can tell that the tone is authentic. The language doesn't hedge. It makes clear, verifiable claims about the facts of the situation. If they are lying, we will almost certainly find out in the trial process. An inauthentic message would be one that hedges and avoids making specific, falsifiable claims.

We perceive this tone as authentic because it makes claims that an uncertain or lying PR department wouldn't have the nerve, authority, or legal standing to make. In that way, it is an unforgeable signal. Of course it's possible to forge in the moment, but then it makes your situation 100x worse when you inevitably get called out later. Which is why people afraid of being called out later can't do it.

How do you know the tone is authentic? People who lie are very good at looking confident. That is how it works.

And being totally certain about whether fuzzy incident happened/not happened usually means you are aware of peoples bias toward looking confident - or that you jumped to conclusion without really investigating all the conflicting evidence.

Like I said, in my original comment, if you are a rational actor and you did mess up in a circumstance like this, you have two options: You can own up to it, or you can lie. If you're going to lie, you have two options: Use vague language and make fuzzy assertions, or confidently, directly, and clearly make counter-claims. If you were at fault, and there is a pending legal case, pursuing option two will inevitably lead to your exposure not only for the original wrongdoing, but for lying about it later. Any rational actor evaluating their options would play this through and realize this. Therefore, we can conclude either Elon is so divorced from reality that he doesn't care about the obvious negative consequences, or, that he is being authentic in his messaging here. And while Elon certainly may be off in his own little world in a number of ways, I personally don't think he's crazy enough to outright lie in a message like this.

It is blog post and email, most likely scrutinized by PR experts. Written to sound convincing, because it is the goal and the job of people writing it. Nothing wrong with that. It is not something sent to court, so your rational actor theories based on judge punishing them don't apply. It is also very general, so there is not all that much judge would punish them for, even if untrue. (Unless they would lie about dude being contractor, but there is literally zero reason to lie about that as it is mostly irrelevant.)

There is not much specific that you could make inferences from, but there are general claims truth for majority of lawsuits phrased as something specific (trials being expensive, tesla employing contractor).

The rest is words made to make you feel good for working for Tesla (little company fighting good cause surrounded by ennemies). Again, this does not prove anything related to lawsuit, but it is PR in action - if it is either insincere or cultish. Either way, it is PR nothing else.

> It is blog post and email, most likely scrutinized by PR experts. Written to sound convincing, because it is the goal and the job of people writing it. Nothing wrong with that.

Everyone above is on the same page here. This is PR. Why keep re-stating this?

> It is not something sent to court, so your rational actor theories based on judge punishing them don't apply.

Who claimed that a judge would punish lies in this piece? Those above you are referring to the "court of public opinion", not legal ramifications. If Tesla's claims here are disproven in court, this piece gives the media a lot of ammunition to use to lambast Tesla with later.

> It is also very general, so there is not all that much judge would punish them for, even if untrue. (Unless they would lie about dude being contractor, but there is literally zero reason to lie about that as it is mostly irrelevant.)

The piece makes several assertions that are quite specific. Number of people involved in the situation, circumstances of termination of the plaintiff and, importantly, asserting that the actions taken were right and just, leaving them no graceful way to backtrack later and claim that the actions on the part of the company were a mistake and the fault of some individuals who can be thrown under the bus.

> There is not much specific that you could make inferences from, but there are general claims truth for majority of lawsuits phrased as something specific (trials being expensive, tesla employing contractor).

There are specific claims made. No inferences required. See my point above for examples of claims that I think are particularly impactful.

> The rest is words made to make you feel good for working for Tesla (little company fighting good cause surrounded by ennemies).

So you are thinking this is a fluffy PR piece with language that doesn't convey much information but placates the reader? I'd like to see examples of what you're reading there that strikes you as platitudinous.

> Again, this does not prove anything related to lawsuit,

Nobody is claiming that this piece proves anything. It simply makes claims which will then need to be proven in court.

> but it is PR in action - if it is either insincere or cultish.

What about this piece strikes you as insincere or cultish? Nothing about this piece seems crafted to rally folks on brand loyalty or warped worldview.

> Either way, it is PR nothing else.

That's been established. Repeatedly. Everyone above you has agreed that this is PR. We're just saying that it's good PR.

This isn’t a stare down at your local pub. Tesla committed to stating as fact what happened. If they are lying about it, any judge will rake them over the coals. For lying. They would likely lose this case for lying. And let’s watch how the plaintiff’s attorney doesn’t turn around a file a defamation suit.

While you are right in that we tend to form opinions based on limited information, I'd say in this case it is likely to be warranted.

What I try to look out for are statements that are easily disproven by the other side if false. No highly paid PR person would release those, thus if they are there, they're likely to be true.

Now with those easily disproven claims in this press release as cornerstones of what is the truth, I can't come up with data points that would drastically alter my conclusion.

Now all that's left to do is hope that that isn't due to my limited imagination and wait for the opposition to make new claims or disprove the points made.

If it’s not true the lawsuit will be really expensive .

> How can we tell if it's authentic without independently knowing what the truth is

Well, if it is in a corporate press release you can certainly KNOW that it is NOT authentic.

First time hearing about this.

Seeing the first 5 bullet points was enough for me to pretty safely guess this is much about a lawyer out for $$ from Tesla.

Especially this:

The trial lawyer who filed this lawsuit has a long track record of extorting money for meritless claims and using the threat of media attacks and expensive trial costs to get companies to settle. At Tesla, we would rather pay ten times the settlement demand in legal fees and fight to the ends of the Earth than give in to extortion and allow this abuse of the legal system.

The lawyer apparently forgot that Tesla/Elon can easily hire a few dozen lawyers without any strain...


the lawyer in this case === Patent Troll Lawyers

Yes and as an ex branch secretary in the UK (head of a union branch) something looked off about this it was a good case why was not the UAW doing this.

> conflicting accusations and counter-accusations between several African-American and Hispanic individuals

So, they are blaming the minority groups for all of the alleged racism. Pretty bold approach in the current political climate.

Great response to the noise, I'm glad Tesla is getting out in front of this.

This part struck me as important:

"The trial lawyer who filed this lawsuit has a long track record of extorting money for meritless claims and using the threat of media attacks and expensive trial costs to get companies to settle. At Tesla, we would rather pay ten times the settlement demand in legal fees and fight to the ends of the Earth than give in to extortion and allow this abuse of the legal system"

There are bad actors out there who will fan the flames of the outrage machine for their own selfish ends. Jumping to conclusions based on hearsay and accusations is what they want, not what is reasonable.

It's just one sides statement.

Another view of their desire to "...pay ten times the settlement demand in legal fees..." is that they will use their corporate coffers to bury the plaintiff in paperwork.

Less loved companies like BP or Walmart would certainly get accused of doing so, even if they said they were preventing an "...abuse of the legal system"

Agree with this. It's important to realize that this is Tesla's PR team is fighting in the court of public opinion against this attorney that is gathering a lawsuit against them and anyone else that is using this event to spin some anti-Tesla news.

If a company can get some great mileage out of creating a better narrative, they have a shot at much better leverage before/during any potential trial.

I'm not making any judgement about Tesla (certainly better than post-Deepwater BP) or the lawyer, just saying it's a matter of perspective and incentives.

A big part of me is very happy that they would "fight to the ends of the Earth", but then again i'm also very sad that the only ones that can actually do that are the ones with a huge amount of money at their disposal.

What's interesting is that they are basically saying 'we are big enough and rich enough that trying to sue us is pointless if you are poor, because we can always outspend you ten to one' while still making it seem like a good thing, when other large corporations do the same, is perceived as a bad thing! In this case however, they seem to be doing the right thing, which is good, obviously.

I agree completely. It's a real shame modern justice is still pretty connected to status and wallet.

You mean the only ones that can; for every party that is able to fight, there's ten if not a hundred that simply can't fight back and are forced to settle. See also the RIAA / MPAA lawsuits over the odd downloaded mp3, and the patent trolls which Newegg fights against in courts.

Yes. My apologies for any misunderstanding on my side. What i meant is that i'm very happy Tesla has a policy to rather fight than ever give in. I'm sad that option is usually only available with lots and lots money.

That would describe just about any trial lawyer. Expensive trial cost is kind of build in property of the system, there is no trial layer able to make it cheap.

> The trial lawyer who filed this lawsuit has a long track record of extorting money for meritless claims

Not independently verified I would imagine.

> At Tesla, we would rather pay ten times the settlement demand in legal fees and fight to the ends of the Earth than give in to extortion and allow this abuse of the legal system

Sounds high minded but actually just a practical strategy to fend off future lawsuits. Has nothing to do with fighting the good fight or defending liberty justice and all.

Good on Tesla for standing its ground and making its case publicly. Musk's pushback is nuanced and important.

The establishment institutions outside of Silicon Valley in America — the media and Capitol Hill — have united recently to spin a decidedly anti-civil rights narrative about large tech companies. Some of it is valid, but much is not, and relevant complexities and subtle moral distinctions are lost on a general public which only has the bandwidth to digest memorable headlines and themes.

And what could be more complex and morally thorny than how to mediate social issues — particularly those involving race — in a highly visible tech company employing tens of thousands of people? Speaking for myself as a black tech co-founder, I agree with the cliffnotes of Musk's message entirely: those of well-represented groups should consider the challenges they never had to face, but no one from any group should have free license to be a jerk. And for god's sake: when you misrepresent facts to serve a handful of minorities you end up undermining all the other minorities.

>The establishment institutions outside of Silicon Valley in America — the media and Capitol Hill — have united recently to spin a decidedly anti-civil rights narrative about large tech companies.

I think progressives are under attack. Hollywood, entertainment, and tech companies.

I'm not arguing that bad behavior is acceptable and should be ignored.

I'm just saying that, for example, removing health care coverage from millions of Americans is more important and hurtful than a homosexual grabbing someone's junk. It's happened to me a couple times, but sadly I wasn't offered a several thousand dollar watch afterwards to keep it quiet.

I doubt, since the liberals run the media.

Also, it is extremely hurtful towards victims to say Hollywood is under attack, like they are the victims. Too many hypocrites there and shady things going on which doesn't mean the situation is dangerous regarding people being innocent and hung publicly.

You're being downvoted because you've fallen into a common but serious logical trap[1]

The validity of racial tensions in silicon valley companies is due consideration completely irrespective of sexual assault or healthcare. Both are problems, but the size of B has no bearing on the size of A.

[1] https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFalla...

I explicitly stated: "I'm not arguing that bad behavior is acceptable and should be ignored."

I am arguing that we're rearranging chairs on the Hindenburg. The question is, "Are we devoting effort to the issues in accordance with their size and impact?"

I'm asking you to give 1 100th of a shit that you do about a closeted gay celebrity's past sex life about the vast fucking tragedies that continue to happen today in the USA - let alone across the world.

But that's not nearly as fun as jumping on a bandwagon against a wealthy famous person, is it? You can even pretend to be a little bit of a feminist or racially sensitive.

The facts call out the hypocrisy:


— Nearly 4,500 children were married.

— Over 200 children married at age 15 or younger.

— About 90% of the underage spouses are girls; and among the youngest spouses (15 or younger), there are 13 times more underage brides than grooms.

— Children as young as 13 (and pregnant) were granted marriage licenses.

— Nearly 90% of these marriages were to an adult spouse, and between 30-40% of those adults were 21 or older, and sometimes decades older.

These figures shocked us, too:

— 13: Number of children under age 15 married to spouses more than 20 years older

— 25: Number of 15-year-olds married to spouses more than 10 years older

— 47: Number of 16-year-olds married to spouses more than 14 years older


I like the spirit of Elon's letter, but there is one part that bothers me:

>This doesn't mean there is a different standard of performance [for less represented groups] ...


>We have had a few cases at Tesla where someone in a less represented group was given a job or promoted over more qualified highly represented candidates...

Which is it?

I read 'standard' as implying a quality bar, beyond which there's space for flexibility.

Suppose we're giving out 100 promotions, and have 1000 promo nominations. You review the 1000 noms and find that there are 500 that pass the quality bar because your company is full of awesome people. So now you have to choose which 100 of the 500 to actually promote. You can do this in a number of ways, ranging from uniformly at random to doing a total stack rank and selecting the top 100. Or you can choose to try to correct systemic under-representation in management, which helps the company on a number of axes (including better recruitment of smart people from under-represented groups, providing a statistical bulwark against lawsuits, etc...).

(edit: It's worth keeping in mind that trying to do a full stack rank of your 1000 applications is going to be noisy as hell and an incredible amount of work, as there will be multiple (individually noisy) promo committees working on sub-sets of nominations. So it pays off to have a clear set of standards for promotion to a given level, even if you don't automatically promote everyone who meets that standard.)

Promotion is a touchy thing. As a manager, promoting your top performers seems like a no brainer, but sometimes if an employee is above a certain quality bar that warrants a promotion (as you mentioned), even though there are others who probably deserve it more, you sometimes have to spread the love around. Knowing who to promote (and who not to promote, knowing they'll still stick around) is a skill.

So I don't think that the promotion was necessarily done just because those employees are from underrepresented groups and just to hit some company diversity/equality metric, but I wouldn't know for sure

Also worth noting that a promotion is not just a raise, it is also a change of job. See Peter Principle.

There is even a igNobel winning publication suggesting that it might be more efficient to promote people at random... https://arxiv.org/abs/0907.0455

I’m not sure I agree with this statement at all.

Promotion is never a touchy thing when you set clear expectations for a persons progression - one that is measurable and comparable to their peers.

The individuals then know, directly or indirectly, if they are on the right path, and which one of their peers is ahead or behind. The incentive there is for them to either up their game, or stay where they are.

The only fear there is that the system / process can be gamed; but one almost always never picks the lesser of the two qualified individuals - you risk loosing the more qualified individual and the team no longer has any faith in the “system” and they too will loose respect and move on.

Perhaps I may not have the experience you do, but it’s something I would never stand for - I would love to hear examples of when and such a scenario would play out though as it’s something I may encounter at some point in my career.

What is measurable way to compare peers?

All the systems I’ve ever encountered are horrible: lines of code, hours spent coding, issues closed, bugs created, and so on.

Not all lines of code are equal. Not all hours are equally productive. Not all issues are equally difficult. Not all bugs are equally costly. And so on.


It's not directly measurable, but you know it when you see it. And sometimes that impact is negative.

“Impact” sounds like a qualitative metric, not a quantitative one, which is fine of course. But the parent asserted that promotions should be based on measurable data, which I’m still unconvinced is practical to do well.

How do you know it when you see it? How do you you aren't seeing BS?

Could everyone working at a company with more that 30,000 where there's clear measurable and transparent progression expectations and no-one has ever grumbled about not getting promoted please stand up.

doesn't work when like when I worked for BT in the UK where in systems engineering (67k head count division) there where only 18 or so promotions from level 1 engineer to level 2 engineer every 18 months or so.

you might have a lot of applicants of which maybe 600 got onto the short list (my boss commented if you get on the short list they know you can do the job)

What is the end result? You go up to someone who isn't a minority and tell them that even though they did everything right and were in the top 100, you choose a minority who was in the top 500 but not the top 100 over them due to their status as a minority? What will the impact of telling them that be?

Of course, no employer (that I have ever seen) is that open. We share a common expectation that the people who qualified but were passed over won't be told. Maybe an open ended promise of "next time". All this does is allow the same effects to be diluted to anyone who might have been impacted. So now even those outside the top 100, even those outside the top 500, consider there is a chance they were impacted by such an action. So while the impact is less than telling the person passed over, you now have more people feeling it.

And this does seem to be a damned if you do/damned if you don't, because even if you did create a top 100 ranking and used it to promote, that would be influenced by subconscious biases and other factors based on minority status and people aware of that who didn't get promoted would also be negatively impacted.

Isn't is degrading towards minorities? It's difficult to understand sometimes the American way of thinking, but in my eyes things like that only want to make the negative stereotypes stronger about some groups of people not being intelligent enough.

A business exists to solve problems for money, not run IQ tests.

Both? My guess is they don’t have a policy to favor anyone’s background but in practice it has happened unintentionally, and in hindsight it even backfired, when abused by subjects who used their ethnicity or gender to manipulate their way up.

I have a question: how is it that things like n-word and w-word and whatever-word became part of normal and formal speak in the english language (or is it the US only?) ?

I mean, how is the case that people don't just use "racial slander" or something like that, and instead use what seems to be like kindergarden teacher expressions?

Is this phenomenon present in other languages/cultures?

It's a PR trick to downplay it. Try how it reads like this:

>>At the time, our investigation identified a number of conflicting accusations and counter-accusations between several African-American and Hispanic individuals, alleging use of racial language, including the "nigger" and "wetback" towards each other and a threat of violence.<<

Maybe because I'm not American, but it sounds fine to me. Whoever wrote the text is not using those words, just reporting.

When there is a murder with a knife everyone says person A murdered person B with a knife, not "he m'd person B with a k-thing". How come people can cope with describing murder and violence and not slurs?

Because a slur is not a description of a slur, it is the slur itself.

You can argue about whether it's appropriate to use in different contexts, but pretending it's the same as the word "murder" or "knife" is a false equivocation.

There's a concept called the 'use-mention distinction' [0] that is very important here. It is fine to mention the word 'nigger' in the context of reporting speech, for example, but not fine to use the word, in which case it becomes a racial slur.

0. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use%E2%80%93mention_distinctio...

American puritanism, PC culture, and double standards I guess; I mean why are people fine with violence but not the sight of a nipple on TV? Why is fuck and shit bleeped out - but partially, so you still know what they're saying - but crap etc aren't? It's not to protect the children, they pick up that shit from school anyway. Same with "PG" swear words, I mean, flipping heck it's not like the gosh darn intent is any fudging different.

Racial slurs are a different category from "regular" profanity though. I think in this case they wanted to indicate it was two marginalized communities flinging racial slurs to each other?

If your not living in the USA, there isn't nearly as much of an emotional charge around such words, so it seems like not that big of a deal. About the level of saying 'fuck'. It's even in rap music all the time! Even up north in Canada people are not as sensitive about those words.

Then when you move to the USA, you start to see how much of an emotional reaction it gets there, especially in a place like the bay area. Thats why they used n-word. If they didn't you would get even more outrage machine generation. If elon musk put the word fuck every second sentence, not nearly as many people would care.

I suppose the difference is that in the case of words, the weapon is the meaning of the word. A knife, on the other hand, does not 'mean' murder or violence.


> You like downvoting handicapped people? This site is a perfect example. The disable peoples' opinions don't matter. We're to be seen, not heard.

I can assure you that any disability you may have has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the downvotes you received. (How the fuck would anyone else even know that you're handicapped? It's not who you are that matters, it's the quality of your comments -- or, in this case, the lack of quality -- that dictates how many Internet points you're awarded.)

In addition, I suspect that claiming you were downvoted because of a disability isn't helping your case any either.

I'm also a bit confused about the edit bringing disabled people into it. But FWIW I clicked the "vouch" button. I think that is what it's for (correct me if I'm wrong), I don't like seeing perfectly reasonable and constructive comments marked [dead], because no one can reply and often it sticks around for a bit and I've seen people write super constructive comments for months, unaware they've been shadow/hell-banned because of one ill-thought comment they made a while back.

Otherwise I think the mod-team is doing a GREAT job (seriously kudos).

But this is one of those warts on HN that I think is just sad. People spending effort contributing to the site, for weeks, but almost nobody reading it (except those with showdead enabled, what's the percentage on that btw?). If they're dicks that deserve to be banned, at least let them know. The occasions when its better to not let them know (aka hellbanning) are so extremely rare, only for extremely persistent trolls re-registering on new IPs, it should be done and decided manually by more than one person on the mod-team. Definitely not automatic thing after getting too many downvotes, that should just trigger a manual review.

yeah but why is it necessary to do this? why not

>> At the time, our investigation identified a number of conflicting accusations and counter-accusations between several African-American and Hispanic individuals, alleging use of racial slurs towards each other and a threat of violence.

Not all racial slurs are equal in everyone's eyes. What some people consider racial slurs, others say out of ignorance (less common, in today's sensitive reaction to them).

Consider "colored" compared to "nigger". Colored will definitely be seen by some as a racial slur, but to others it may be the appropriate for the time, not necessarily racially charged, correct terminology they initially learned. For that matter, "nigger" was a fairly neutral term originally, but changed over time, as the circumstances of the people it referred to changed and they preferred a different, less loaded moniker.

...does it really matter?

I prefer the companies tell it how it is, and not to censor information.

> I prefer the companies tell it how it is, and not to censor information.

At the risk of being equally pedantic...

Does that really matter? And is there a company on Earth that will tell you everything with radical honesty? Is there any value in that?

Does Tesla tell you how bad their batteries, plastics, or leathers are for the environment? No. They focus on the positive aspects of the product and the company. We prioritize and value what we need to know versus what we might like to know versus all of the other noise.

And there is a lot of noise. Far too much noise for almost any of it to be useful. In fact, this is a tactic that large law firms use against small ones -- they DoS attack the small firms with too much paperwork during discovery in hopes that the small firm can't use it effectively and exhaust client expenses just trying to read through the material.

I imagine it would just make it easier to build lawsuits against the radically honest companies and the only ones that survived would be the ones with the weasel words or diplomatic silence. Almost like a darwinism where the fitness function isn't relevant to any of the current economics that we observe or product features we care about.

I find similar arguments against "political correctness" similarly tiring and fruitless.

Ah. As a Brit I was trying to work out what the w-word was.

Anecdotally, as an American I've never heard it before.

Anecdotally, as a Californian, I've heard it before. Mostly in High School. Although another term was more common for Hispanic people.[1] I don't hear it anymore, but I imagine a large part of that is that I'm forced to interact with or be in audible range of people that would use that language far less now.

1: https://www.google.com/search?q=define+spic

Me too. All I could think of was wop but as no Italians were mentioned it didn't fit.

I was thinking "Wanker" but a) that's not racial, and b) I don't think it's that widely used in America.

I think it is more common in the US online at least now that the internet has made British slang more visible to the world.

It is a great source of pride for this ancient nation: http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/british-swearing-...

A combination of a very deep history of slavery and racism, and a civil rights movement to confront and dismantle it culturally.

You could draw a parallel with how Nazi symbols cannot be depicted in Germany (for the most part). It is not just about not offending little PC snowflakes or something.. it’s a campaign of de-Nazification. So too with racism here.

But that's an legal thing in Germany, not a convention. Also, because it's a codified law, you're perfectly allowed to use Nazi symbology in many contexts where US people would still feel they have to use the "n-word". The rules are a bit similar to "fair use" in copyright.

Splitting hairs. Laws arise from conventions. And people still use the n word in many non-racist contexts here. The first amendment blocks the codification if this in law but the principle is the same: shun the words and symbols that these systems of oppression were built on.

I think it seems easier to say "n-word" when you want to say nigger. People feel some sort of release from the offense of using the word and that it is some sort of excuse from being racist. Saying the word doesn't make you racist unless you use it with racist intent. But I also believe it is a way to try to eliminate such words from the vocabulary. Shit is usually stated as the "s-word" and fuck is "f-word" or "f-bomb". The implication is that you know the word and can fill in for the words not spoken.

I think it's high time that we stopped being afraid of these words. For example, I had to search for what the damn "w-word" was (I was thinking "wigger", but what do I know?)! African Americans can try and differentiate all they want between nigger and nigga, but they obviously stem from the same word so why pretend. It's a thing of power, I suppose. It's okay for one group to say it, but not another - a double standard and extremely hypocritical, but again, who am I to know.

EDIT: I am not focusing specifically on African Americans, as this is prominent behavior across many ethnic and racial groups. The group moves to restrict the usage of a word by bastardizing it in some way and making it normal in their group while shaming those outside who use it. This is what complicates race issues even more because non African Americans come away thinking "why is it okay for them to call each other this, and why would they?" Again, same goes for other races and ethnic groups.

In America, everything is weird. We're a conglomeration of nationalities and ways of thinking from across the world. Asking "is that an American thing to do?" to me is like asking "is the color Green in the rainbow?".

I am not even sure why a subgroup of a group got to decide that something was or is offensive and we all need to stop using it for ever and in any circumstance.

For example Trump got up and made a speech in front of a group of jews and made reference to how they were either good or tough negotiators. Certain jews called him out on that and were offended. Others thought it was great and a compliment. What gives the one group the right to decide it's defacto offensive and decide the political correctness? (I get paid for negotiation and I was like 'yeah!'.

When I was growing up it was common to refer to blacks as 'colored'. Nigger was derogatory. However now it's as if you can't even use it to refer to someone else saying it and many would take offense to either of us (as you did) even using it in a comment even historically. [1] I don't understand nor do I agree with that thinking.

[1] On the other hand if it was used in a play or a movie it would be seen entirely different.

> I think it's high time that we stopped being afraid of these words

There's a good talk on that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa18UJVKr5s (Part 1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8ZJ_g59Bqg (Part 2)

It's about 12 minutes total.

In areas of ancient Eastern Europe people were so frightened of bears that speaking the actual word for "bear" was extremely taboo [1]. I would guess that this sort of linguistic indirection/substitution has existed as long as spoken language. In the past the rationale was superstition and fear, now it's sensitivity and fear.

[1] http://www.pitt.edu/~votruba/qsonhist/bearetymologyslovakeng...

Interesting. This must be the origin of "he who must not be named"

Meh. The whole 'he who must not be named' thing is drawing on the idea in magical thought that by uttering the 'true name' of some evil entity, you somehow grant it power. So not mentioning Voldemort by name is a way of denying him that.

I think it's mostly a societal thing in the U.S. These words are so bad that we won't use them even when explaining what someone else said. They are so offensive that we can't even bear to repeat them!

I kinda get it. No "reasonable person" likes to use or even hear others use words like these. I think it's just "political correctness" that keeps us from using them under any circumstances whatsoever (although, personally, I think that is taking things a bit too far) -- such as in news articles.

That's a partial answer, but a more complete answer is that saying those words will get you labeled as a racist, even if you're repeating what someone else said. People are so terrified of this that they won't risk it. It's not just courtesy.

Indeed, good point.

I had to google "w-word", actually. Wiktionary says it's either "whore" or "wanker".

What I (non-US) don't quite get is why putting the word "nigger" in quotes is not enough. I mean, I can think of some reasons, I just feel quotes should be enough to distance oneself from the usage of said word.

Then again, the Dutch tend to curse with diseases (which is relatively rare, I think Spanish does it too). But it's mostly "old" diseases like typhoid, tuberculosis, pocks or the plague. Recent generations also tend to use cancer, which is frowned upon because many people know someone who suffered it (then again, heart attacks or strokes are similarly frequent and usually no big deal at all--I think that's related to the terrible suffering of chemotherapy) . I personally like to adopt even newer diseases like H5N1 or ebola, just for the ridiculousness of it.

The reason is that people (sometimes the audience, sometime the speaker/writer) have trouble understanding use/mention distinctions or, at least, differentiating the application of word taboos based on those distinctions, exacerbated by the fact that quotes are so frequently abused for emphasis (especially for single words and very short phrases) rather than quotation or use/mention distinction that audiences may take quite the wrong message from their use.

Good point. I still kind of wish that genuine usage of quotes would be fine, since it's almost always obvious from context. But yeah, what you said about use/mention distinctions, not everyone's strongest point (especially for the immediate emotional reaction, it's still a trigger word).

I know the feeling, in IRL conversation, I tend to speak such words at a somewhat lower volume :)

"n-word" is used in the UK too.

Sometimes one needs to be specific about the nature and severity of the slur used.

in what case is this specificness necessary? I can think of trials or police reports, but I imagine in that case one would have to use the actual words, lest confusion ensues.

Forgive me if I sound argumentative, I'm genuinely interested and trying to understand.

Saying something like "racial slurs" could potentially leave one wondering if this was something relatively mild, possibly even a mere misunderstanding that was blown out of proportion. Mentioning that someone dropped an n-bomb leaves no room for uncertainty.

It's like "sexual harassment." That phrase alone will have some people thinking "oh, the poor guy just said she looked nice today and she flipped out." If you say "he stuck his hand up her dress and told her to be at his apartment at 9pm," there's no space for that sort of misunderstanding.

It's a style figure; i.e. a choice an author makes, in order to convey their intent most clearly. It's artistic freedom to choose whether or not to use it. I don't see what purpose your insistence on delineated rules on when to use what words serves. I for one found the article more authentic in the way it was written, vs if they would have used 'racial slurs' or another generic term.

Political correctness defeats the purpose.

Oh yes it is very present. Just ask the jews and gypsies.

I don't think the parent was commenting about the existence of racial slanders, just the use of placeholders like "the n----- word".

Yes if your reporting factually the incident it does seem odd to bowderise in this way.

And for those of you who haven't worked on the factory floor the behaviour there differs a lot from the nice and fluffy offices most of us are used to

If you do ask the gypsies, by the way, they very much prefer to be called Roma or Romani.

The G-word :)

Not where I live! What word should we use now?

I dunno, why not ask them?

"Roma" should be a pretty universal endonym, though. If I remember correctly, it basically means "people".

Racial slur

I'm sorry, but from your tone your seem to be sitting on some sort of pedestal of moral superiority. The US is so bad and evil, yet everybody still wants to come here, start their startup and company and make millions. May I ask what superior country you hail from?

> "In fairness, if someone is a jerk to you, but sincerely apologizes, it is important to be thick-skinned and accept that apology."

I have a colleague who has "sincerely apologized" to me three times within the span of a few months. Some people just know how to play the system, and if management is not firm (which this passage indicates is the case in Tesla), these people will win out.

Then I guess that person isn't sincerely apologizing.

Yes obviously--the question is what will management do about it.

Why isn't it sincere? Do you mean that if they were sincere, they'd stop the behavior?

Unfortunately, I think human behavior and relations are far more difficult than that. To a significant degree behavior isn't subject to will, though we like to assume it is. Everyone I know makes the same mistakes over and over (different mistakes for different people); they would sincerely like to stop. IME, to survive in relationships we have no choice but to accept those things in ourselves and in others.

Of course, that makes accountability very complicated, but I think it's a fact of life.

My mother told me that "sorry" means "I won't do it again.". Maybe that's not exactly right, or standard, but I think it's pretty close.

"Sorry I stepped on your toes.". That was probably an accident.

"Sorry I did it again. And again." This is probably not an accident.

Great example. It's hard to know what are the exact intentions when someone speaks, but it's easy to judge by its actions.

> Do you mean that if they were sincere, they'd stop the behavior?


> Why isn't it sincere? Do you mean that if they were sincere, they'd stop the behavior?

Not trying to excuse any behaviour or anything, but it's indeed quite fathomable that even with all the best intent in the world you can't change your behaviour overnight, forever, with a perfect track record.

If it's a one time thing, then sure, accept the apology. But if that person is known to be a jerk often, and apologizes often albeit sincerely, I can't expect anyone to be that thick skinned, nor would I advocate for that

It's not even about being thick skinned: it might not bother me at a personal level, but I'm not letting a team malfunction as baseline where some members make a habit of abusing other members and will absolutely make an issue of it until management does something.

Mostly because it's illegal for an employer to operate a business that way.

Once is an accident, twice is a pattern.

Three times is enemy action.

My reading would be that it's best if you accept the apology (don't retaliate). But that doesn't mean you wouldn't mention it to HR or a manager. And it doesn't mean management wouldn't fire them if it's effecting the workplace culture.

Agreed, I dont have to accept apology. It has nothing to do with being thin or thick skinned, that is just attempt to make me feel bad about not being doormat.

It is professional to continue working professionally. That is about the extend of duty. The rest is on how I judge the situation to be.

It's always a matter of degree, though. If someone grabs a boob, then one time is way too many and they need to go. If they say "Hey guys,..." and someone expresses discomfort with the genderedness of the phrase, a few warnings are warranted; different people will have different feelings about whether such a thing is ever enough to fire someone, and that's valid.

The middle ground is where thickness of skin comes in, and while it's not on you to buy in to your employer's standard, it is on the employer to set a standard.

In that respect, I don't think Tesla has been very clear here. I have no idea from this article where the actual line is.

> genderedness of the phrase, a few warnings are warranted

Are you serious? You are comparing physical harassment against your body with freedom of speech? Wow... No, it does not warrant a warning. Otherwise we can get offended by random stuff and blame it on others. Plus guys and lads are used for all genders in some countries.

You don't have freedom of speech in the workplace.

> "Hey guys,..." and someone expresses discomfort with the genderedness of the phrase

Is "guys" still gendered? I thought it was used to refer to any group of people, male or female, pretty much since the days of "Friends".

Humpty Dumpty was half right[1]. Words mean what the speaker thinks they mean, but they also mean what the listener thinks they mean, which might not be the same thing. The essence of clear communication is to align these two viewpoints.

Guys is gendered if you think it is. I've lightly offended groups of women in the past - well after Friends started! - by referring to them as "guys".

Once is a miscommunication. To continue to call them guys even after they've said they don't like being called guys would be indistinguishable from intentionally causing offence, especially considering the ready availability of other words that serve the same linguistic purpose.

[1] http://www.bartleby.com/73/2019.html

I'm trying to bring back "cats". It's gender neutral, and implies coolness to whom you are referring to. And we are coming up on the 20's again.

I try to avoid it when I can because one female colleague commented on it (not sure if it was related to my uses or someone else's because prior to this I never noticed it, but she brought it to HR).

As a guy I feel like it's a "meh" issue, and most of the women I know agree and use the phrase themselves, but if it bugs someone it costs me zero to avoid it.

I agreed with the sentiment that sometimes unnecessary words are said and soon regretted, but I wish they mentioned that this cannot be the norm. You can’t say sorry once a day.

Oh that's about the same as sincere condolences.

Sincere means nothing. It has become an ISO word. :)

Sorry != Making Amends

Perhaps I'm simply naive, but I've never encountered the term "w-word". What is it?

In the context, mentioning Hispanic individuals, probably https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wetback_(slur)

How is wetback as a slur even remotely comparable to the N-word.

Are you serious or just trolling? Both are used by white supremacists to describe the respective ethnic minorities as a dehumanizing put-down.

"Both are used by white supremacists", except in this instance it's Blacks and Hispanics using it against each other, so I'm not sure why you brought whites into it.

A point of history, per se: in this case, the terms were originated on the white side as slurs, and later they are used by each group to offend the other.

I'm assuming its "wetback" -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wetback_(slur)

Yeah, I've certainly never heard of it referred to this way, and I had to backtrack a bit to figure it out. I think they did this to extend the same courtesy (hoping the context would be enough) to "wetback" as is afforded to "nigger", which makes sense if fairness is what they're going for. If they just make one of them "$INITIAL-word" but print the other in full, it might seem like they don't take the two slurs as seriously.

You're being downvoted because only I am allowed to say that word in full.

Now now, people have a right to put that opinion in the click of a button. I don't think I have any reason to shrink in the face of these strings, but it's alright for people to think I do.

It's best not to comment on voting if it can be avoided; I have made exceptions in the past, but I don't think I would make one for this.

Look at the parent poster's username, he is making a joke based off of an American pop culture reference.

I can't believe the pulp fiction reference went over my head. I didn't read the username, and I have heard things in this ballpark said both satirically and seriously, for what it's worth.

It's a shame the account will [probably] be put to rest so quickly, there's probably room for q_tarantino references elsewhere, as long as they are accompanied by further content to satisfy the "substantive" requirement.

Yeah, I want to see some "substantive" comment lest HN devolves into Reddit with novelty accounts and puns crowding out discourse.

I'll see what I can do.

I was wondering the exact same thing when I read that part.

I thought it meant "whore". Wikipedia has a redirect from "w word" to "prostitution": https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=W_word&redirect=n...

When I read the article, I thought it would be 'wog' but (after a quick google - hope that won't put me on any watch lists) it seems that's not really a word in the US.

If a person out of their own initiative want to accept an apology, that is fine. But expecting employees to indulge such behavior is not fair, or acceptable even.

The US has had: slavery, racial segregation, ethnic cleansing, forced depopulation, extrajudicial killings (e.g: hangings, lynchings), compulsory sterilization, racial profiling/police brutality, mass incarceration, with the latter resulting in loss of voting rights. Thanksgiving day 2016 was being celebrated while people at Standing Rock were being tear-gassed... and that is only domestically.

What enabled a lot of that has been racial discrimination. If someone that has been discriminated doesn't want to accept an apology that is fine. At some moment you need to draw a line and racial discrimination is a reasonable criteria for that.

South Africa, the country Elon is originally from, had institutionalized racial segregation until 1991. He should know first hand there difference between being a racist and being a jerk.


But what happens when employee is not accepting apology from another employee? Does not sound like team spirit. So do you fire another one? Dissolve that team?

That sounds very costly. If I was employer and had to abide by that, any work location would only have employees of single race and gender. Prevention is likely to be cheaper than dealing with the possible consequences. But then we immediately arrive second level of Allport's Scale...

What is more costly is allowing that behavior to become tolerated and normal, affect employees' morale, ruin the culture, affect the company's reputation, etc. It can also get the company sued.

Take a look at EEO laws.

You also seem to be forgetting the fact that people don't have to insult or antagonize each other in order to be successful. If anything that is neurotic behavior that is negatively correlated with career success.

You're reading a whole lot into the statement. And from the statement, it seems that he may have been referring to a conflict between two different minority groups each using derogatory language. If your employees are doing that to each other, asking them to accept apologies seems reasonable. What alternative course is there? Firing everyone on the spot?

Firing is not the only administrative action available to an employer. You can also issue a formal warning, send the employee to training, etc.

Then, if it happens again, fire the employee. All depending on what the impact was.

The weak point in this statement is equivocating explicitly racist harassment with “being a jerk.” You should not have to accept a “sincere apology” from someone who calls you a racial epithet. There is nothing careless or unintentional about that.

I mean, look how awful this policy sounds if we substitute more concrete language: “if someone calls you a n_gger on a single occasion, but subsequently offers a sincere apology, then we believe that apology should be accepted.”

Weird that Musk is doubling down on that, especially coming from South Africa. He should have instead clarified that Tesla is zero-tolerance on racism.

I think this "zero tolerance for all the things" is more dangerous than the things it targets in most cases.

I assume Tesla is a very high stress place (at least at times). I don't know if you've ever experienced a highly emotional situation but it's possible to get so upset you yell things at people that you actually feel absolutely terrible about later (and didn't realize you were capable of saying). I can imagine someone, in such a highly charged situation, saying something hurtful like that and then feeling absolutely gutted about it later. Of course you don't have to accept an apology in that situation but I personally wouldn't think much of the kind of person who would write someone off, permanently, for one such event when they never did anything like that before or ever again and sincerely appologized.

Straw man. No one said zero tolerance for all things. Just racist harassment.

Your argument is weak as well. Would this logic apply to physically assaulting a coworker as well, if the perpetrator is stressed and they’ve never done it before and feel bad after? No, of course not. There is a line beyond which zero tolerance should be the rule, and that line starts with calling someone a n_gger.

There are times when someone wants to cause pain to another, and chooses a response to inflict maximum harm. This could be a racial slur, but it could also refer to a death of a loved one or something else. Imagine someone telling another "I see why your son killed himself." It is meant to cause maximum damage, not meant to be racist/sexist/etc.

In these cases, I don't think there should be any difference in forgiveness between those who used discriminatory language and those who picked another means to attack. I'm not saying people should accept a sincere apology. I see such an attack as very bad regardless if it used discriminatory language. The intent, to cause maximum pain, is unjustifiable regardless of the tool used to carry it out.

Sounds like different lawsuit. New Yorker is hard to read as it tends to meld narratives and topics, but the lawsuit there is no “yesterday’s lawsuit”. NYer article includes: “On September 20, 2016, Vandermeyden filed a lawsuit charging Tesla with sex discrimination, retaliation, and other workplace violations.”

You know what? I believe every word Tesla said. Especially about attorneys specializing in extorting companies into settlements. I applaud their decision to not give in to extortion and fight the battle in court until the end.

Side note:

From non-USA perspective, guys, sincerely, you're crazy. Everybody is suing everybody for what often times seems total nonsense. No offense or disrespect meant, just an honest bafflement -- how can somebody get promoted, then leave, and then sue? Wow.

> What it comes down to is this: do what would make your parents proud. If you can't look someone you respect in the eye and explain what you did, don't do it.

That's a nice rule in general, although I think Elon is underestimating people's capabilities to rationalize past decisions.

Antidiscrimination, mobbing, harassment classes for adults are fine but I guess it goes back to families, kindergarten and primary school. Such behavior must be excluded not only from the literate mind but from the subconscious social behavior too.

Otherwise w- n- and other words will continue be part of entertaining back stage talk consumed with beer, sports, other unhealthy but fun things together with close friends and colleagues.

If you want to exclude racism from private groups of friends, then you'd better exclude gossip too. It's also harmful in much the same way - reinforcing people's negative views of others so they'll subconsciously or deliberately treat them badly. But unfortunately, even progressives haven't got themselve as far as not bullying or abusing individuals.

If someone gossips to you they will gossip about you. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but they will.

When does Elon sleep if he's writing cogent emails like this at 2:37AM ?

Musk apparently gets around 6 hours of sleep: http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-daily-schedule-2017...

Didn't know he has 5 kids! I struggle with 1 full time job and 2 kids.

With money, a lot of that struggle can be mitigated. He still probably doesn't have that much to spend with them.

True. I found this quote kind of sad "What I find is I'm able to be with them and still be on email. I can be with them and still be working at the same time ... If I didn't, I wouldn't be able to get my job done."

I don't know how much time he actually spends with his kids, but I suppose its comes with the territory of trying to change the world.

Does he write these himself? Whoever wrote that has a way with words.

I would love to know if someone vets these.

Pacific time, that's 11:27.

Scheduled emails muhahahahaha!

"Our human resources team also conducts regular in-person spot training sessions when an allegation or complaint has been made, even if the evidence is not conclusive enough to warrant disciplinary action."

I wanted to quote this too. Seems like a nice way to harass someone while pretending to be harassed.

That’s good. I guess it also works as unofficial warning

How do you like unofficial warning when you did nothing wrong? "Hey, would you please stop doing that you never did?"

IMHO failing to avoid engaging in bickering and name-calling is a professional blunder. Just being around and catching the wind means you didn't call yourself out in time. In this case - where nothing sanctionable really happened - a "retraining" that isn't really a warning, just a "gentle reminder", is fair.

I could see it being done generically enough that a person who was wronged sees something being done, a person who did something wrong sees an admonishment, but also someone who didn't actually do anything wrong sees it as a general 'don't be bad' message or thinks it is meant for someone else.

there's normally at least 1 level below a written warning which is quite a serious thing

No it's not. It just turns HR departments into ways to anonymously harass people. If the behaviour doesn't merit action then there's no need for HR "training".

The trial lawyer who filed this lawsuit has a long track record of extorting money for meritless claims and using the threat of media attacks and expensive trial costs to get companies to settle. At Tesla, we would rather pay ten times the settlement demand in legal fees and fight to the ends of the Earth than give in to extortion and allow this abuse of the legal system.

I wonder how your shareholders will feel about that.

This is good PR for them now. "Look we are clearly not at fault and will vehemently defend our innocence." In addition this claim is absolutely non-binding.

Also, if the trial lawyer in question is just trying to make a quick buck, this is a deterrent. If the goal is just a cash grab, why would this lawyer go through an arduous legal battle for a false claim when there are plenty of other lucrative cases that will settle out of court.

Perhaps I am wrong, but I can't see any downside to saying this. There is zero obligation to follow through. The outcome of this case is going to be a big story regardless of this statement. It's just solid PR and posturing with little to no cost to do so.

Winning in court would presumably be better PR than paying a settlement, so probably fine, even if all they care about is ROI.

By the way: Tesla's CEO is African-American. ;-)

> Everyone at Tesla, without exception, is required to go through an anti-discrimination course.

This is the literal bare minimum in a U.S. corporation in 2017.

> Our human resources team also conducts regular in-person spot training sessions when an allegation or complaint has been made, even if the evidence is not conclusive enough to warrant disciplinary action."

This sounds bad to me. Discrimination complaints are complicated and dangerous and should be handled by experts--which the vast majority of HR staff are not. The idea of a "spot training session" sounds like the sort of thing that could be easily misinterpreted by any of the parties as a "make this go away" conversation.

> We have also created a dedicated team focused exclusively on investigating workplace concerns, recommending corrective actions and assisting managers with implementing those actions.

This is more like it but the timing is vague--by this wording, this could have happened at any point, including yesterday.

> Regarding yesterday’s lawsuit, several months ago we had already investigated disappointing behavior involving a group of individuals who worked on or near Marcus Vaughn’s team. At the time, our investigation identified...

Oh jeez, please don't share the details of an internal employee matter that is subject to litigation...

- (me, but also Tesla's general counsel, probably)

> Our company has more than 33,000 employees, with over 10,000 in the Fremont factory alone, so it is not humanly possible to stop all bad conduct, but we will do our best to make it is as close to zero as possible.

Ok, but you are not getting sued for just random "bad conduct," you're getting sued for a failing to properly handle a specific (but relatively common, sadly) type of bad conduct.

> There is only one actual plaintiff (Marcus Vaughn), not 100. The reference to 100 is a complete fabrication with no basis in fact at all.

Yes, this is how class action lawsuits work.

> The plaintiff was employed by a temp agency, not by Tesla as claimed in the lawsuit.

Doesn't matter for workplace discrimination litigation. Contractors are legally the same as employees under certain conditions and this is one of them.

> The trial lawyer who filed this lawsuit has a long track record of extorting money for meritless claims and using the threat of media attacks and expensive trial costs to get companies to settle.

Well yes, you did say it was a trial lawyer.

Overall I think this letter is not great for Tesla. It seems like the sort of thing that will be useful for feeding the current race-based culture war in the U.S., but doesn't make Tesla look serious about preventing racist and discriminatory behavior among its workforce. Fewer words and more contrition would probably have been better.

>> Everyone at Tesla, without exception, is required to go through an anti-discrimination course

> This is the literal bare minimum in a U.S. corporation in 2017

Not in the slightest. It might as well say "drum circle", since there's no evidence that either are effective. The key is that there are supposed to be metrics and investigative procedures and protections for complaints, not some re-education mumbo jumbo.

I would imagine it'd be limited to companies large enough to have not only a dedicated HR staff or possibly even a particularly competent HR staff. There'd be countless companies in any country without any formalised course, let alone a specific one.

33,000 employees seems big enough to expect a company to be doing this right.

That said, this is a common growing pain for companies and many only take it seriously once a situation blows up in their faces.

I'm not sure what the "33,000" is in reference to. I was contesting, "This is the literal bare minimum in a U.S. corporation in 2017."

Is a corporation defined as a company with 33,000+ employees in the US?

I think we agree. My point is that putting people through a course like that is actually not much evidence that Tesla takes workplace discrimination seriously.

>> The plaintiff was employed by a temp agency, not by Tesla as claimed in the lawsuit.

>Doesn't matter for workplace discrimination litigation. Contractors are legally the same as employees under certain conditions and this is one of them.

It absolutely does matter when the lawsuit claims that the plaintiff was fired.

I disagree, but then again I’m not American therefore to my ears it does sound sufficient action.

This kind of stuff is such a distraction from the business and the goal of Tesla the company. Don’t believe me, in the last few years how many disastrous incidents have we seen derail companies and their founders? Companies shouldn’t need to hire full time employees that manage sensitivity training and certainly the ”tech” news that profits off the constant outrage is just fueling it all further. I fully expect this not to be a popular opinion, but everyday is some new incident or outrage. Get back to work!

> everyday is some new incident or outrage

Welcome to the age of social media. It's a two-edged sword. Your company can use it to get some viral sharing of your great new concept car, coverage of how many pre-orders you sold, or it could be used to organize boycotts or spread word of "a hostile work environment" (whether true or not).

And now the class-action attorneys can find their plaintiffs faster than ever before.

> This kind of stuff is such a distraction from the business and the goal

I bet if you ask Travis K if he would rather have hired full time "sensitivity trainers" or still be CEO, the answer would be easy. You seem to be arguing that there should be a third option, but that's a counterfactual world where civil liability is different than it is today in the USA.

Exactly my feeling. My conspiracy theory alt ego says this is a handy work of the entrenched companies that Tesla is aiming to displace.

This is a car production line where "engineering" language is the norm.

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