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James Damore has filed a class action lawsuit against Google (techcrunch.com)
502 points by willwill100 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 1003 comments



Honestly, this whole thing is just ugly. I read what he wrote. It was (mostly) ugly but contained a lot of truth.

Before you downvote/call me a Nazi, I'm a mixed race woman in tech.

I definitely see people hired just because of their minority status. I also see people hired who are minorities but also great at their job. It's not a binary pattern. But those who are hired just because they are a POC or female, yet are terrible at their job stand out. People notice it, but few say it.

Our company recently hired a black woman as a "Software Engineer" who can't write a SQL statement. She has a "taken some tutorials" level of programming skill as far as I have noticed and produces things very, very slow. People notice this, and it makes them angry. I'm sure the other engineers talk about this even more when I'm not in the room. Our boss is proud of how much he is "making the team diverse" yet it's only going to cause problems for the team.

I like to think I was hired based on my skillset, not to improve the numbers. I've worked hard to get here. People likely forget or don't care how "diverse" I am when I am working because I produce. And I fully support bringing in diverse candidates, it's essential to get those viewpoints, so long as they are a qualified candidate to start with.

I do think that men and women are biologically different and, it likely does contribute to a lack of interest in tech from women. Almost all of the women from my social circle are smart, pragmatic, driven and successful yet have zero interest in a technical career. They excel in their given industries but ours they want no part of. I don't believe intelligence is more prevalent in either gender, but I do believe there are some traits that shape who we are.

That's something that's rarely addressed, for fear of being ostracized.

As far as his "conservative white male" discrimination claims, I've seen that too. My boss specifically requested candidates that are not middle-aged white males. But it's nowhere near the same level of discrimination that people of color or women have endured for decades. Perhaps the reason people don't feel sorry for conservative white males is that if they are rejected by one company they can keep trying and will find an "old school" company that will hire them. We have not had that luxury, for blacks and women it was 100 nos for every 1 yes. It's not that way for white guys, sorry.


I read what he wrote. It was (mostly) ugly but contained a lot of truth.

Many of the media interpretations of what James Damore wrote were very biased, and effectively amounted to hit pieces. His use of terms like "Trait Neuroticism" were direct uses of psychological terms which just sound bad as everyday English. Evolutionary Biology also tends to have a "dismal" feeling to it, like Economics can.

One can't take fields like Evolutionary Biology and Economics as morally prescriptive. In that direction lies madness, clearly. However, to then take a knee-jerk ideological stance towards science and declare that everyone must be equal inside is just the West's version of Lysenkoism.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysenkoism

As is usually the case, reality is complex, requires a nuanced understanding, and might sound depressing if you give it a pessimistic read:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blank_Slate

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n691pLhQBkw


+1.

Most of the pieces about the memo didn't take time to highlight that "neuroticism" and "agreeableness" refer to Big-5 personality traits, not the everyday understanding of the words.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Five_personality_traits

Most of the pieces didn't distinguish between descriptive and normative statements.

Most of the pieces didn't distinguish between statements about distribution of something within a population, and statements about all members of that population.


Except the Big Five has been debunked as being too lexical for biological differentiation.

Basically its lexical nature introduces perceptual bias that skews any factor analysis for biological structures - i.e. behavior between genders, for example. The way Damore uses it to support his hypothesis wasn't correct.

>And that is what the Big Five represents: a consistent model of how humans reflect individuality using language, no more. There were no considerations of findings in neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, experimental psychology, observations of behavior of people or animals in real situations – none of this was used at the research stage leading to the development of the Big Five. In this sense we can say that the Big Five does not represent the structure of temperament or the structure of biologically based traits, even though lexical perception reflects some elements of it.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3903487/


Except the Big Five has been debunked as being too lexical for biological differentiation.

Thanks for that. I find that reaction much more informative than the name-calling sent at James Damore.

In this sense we can say that the Big Five does not represent the structure of temperament or the structure of biologically based traits, even though lexical perception reflects some elements of it.

Well, one should expect that something based on self-report surveys to be about that disconnected from underlying biology. "...lexical perception reflects some elements of it" -- where {it} == {underlying biology}

As per usual, the reality of what goes on inside us is probably more complicated than our mental model of it.


Sure, which may be fine for the burden of proof for a personal opinion.

Incorrectly using evidence to support your opinion as you broadcast it at work, and not listening, discussing, or considering critical feedback (like this) is a different matter. Especially when it means incorrectly classifying your co-workers and trying to change how your work fights social biases.


Incorrectly using evidence to support your opinion as you broadcast it at work

Sorry, but while your observation is interesting, there is nothing incorrect about citing such evidence.

Especially when it means incorrectly classifying your co-workers and trying to change how your work fights social biases.

Exactly how did James Damore go about classifying specific co-workers? [Citation Needed] Seriously, cite James Damore and show how he "classified" anyone in particular.


Sure - The example in context to this thread is right here in Damore's memo:

> Women, on average, have more:

> - Openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas...

> - Extraversion expressed as gregariousness rather than assertiveness...

> - Neuroticism...

Damore supports this with a link [1] to a Wikipedia article, which immediately says:

> On the scales measured by the Big Five personality traits women consistently report higher Neuroticism, agreeableness, warmth (an extraversion facet)...

Damore incorrectly uses this information to make the broad statement that "Women have..." instead of "Women self-report...". This is incorrectly classifying your women coworkers as being, among other things, more neurotic than their male counterparts.

You may think, "So what?", but this is being used in an argument about how a company fights social biases, and this is incredibly relevant because lexical self-reporting is open to the same biases that are being fought. Damore, intentionally or not, glosses over this, but more importantly was not receptive to this type of feedback, hence the broadcasting.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_differences_in_psychology#...


This is incorrectly classifying your women coworkers as being, among other things, more neurotic than their male counterparts.

Just because there is correlational evidence for the general population, it doesn't automatically follow that any given explictly selected population (such as Google's employee population) follows the stated correlation. Does he say so explicitly, and can you honestly rule out a speculative reading of his memo? I asked you for James Damore citing any particular coworker as having any particular quality. Still, the best you can do is to nitpick words and impute motives.

Also, what's particularly wrong with sensitive, agreeable, and warm people? I'm quite sensitive, though I'm only agreeable and warm in certain contexts. I could see how all of those traits could be of great benefit to developing many of Google's apps. Your implication that those traits are somehow bad also smacks of bias.

Given all the above, it sure seems like I could purport to read between the lines and say that you have some kind of vested interest in a particular reading of his memo, but my doing so would be falling into the very kind of irrational projection I'm self-referentially citing. So am I wrong in making this kind of projection? If I'm wrong for doing that, then it would seem you're wrong for your projections as well. If you say I'm correct about the projection, well, I'll take that just as well.


Do you have evidence to the contrary? Because it seems the part you are projecting is the nitpicking, because it is nitpicking to question if Damore thought this information was relevant to his 23,000 women coworkers in his memo criticizing the hiring policies at Google. If he didn't think it was relevant to the women at work, then why would he even include it in his argument about the hiring policy of his coworkers?

You asked for a citation from Damore's memo, and I provided it. Anything you personally feel or think about yourself is anecdotal evidence and not really relevant. If anything, how you personally feel about this new information (that you requested) can be analyzed for confirmation bias.


> relevant to his 23,000 women coworkers in his memo criticizing the hiring policies at Google. If he didn't think it was relevant to the women at work

Considering the question is about (lack of) representation, it is very much about the women who are not coworkers.


You asked for a citation from Damore's memo, and I provided it.

Its interpretation as evidence for what I asked for is pretty stretched and tortured. Thanks for that!


I think you may have it backwards. I'm not sure if you read his memo, but it was actually Damore who was inviting discussion and listening to feedback. He was not met with anything resembling constructive discussion, but instead was fired and publicly shamed, in most cases based on fabrications of statements that he did not make, and that did not reflect his intent. Even this techcrunch article is full of them unfortunately.

Until the people who dislike what he had to say are willing to have an honest conversation about things he actually did say, progress here is impossible, and further backlash and resentment against minorities is inevitable.


As someone on HN once said, we won't discuss the core of the problem not because what he said is untrue, but because the outcome of discussion may hurt peoples' feelings, and this is not the right thing to do...

I see their point, but there is a way of discussing it in a way that would minimize this risk. On the other hand, if you have some assumptions and consider their negation offensive, it's very difficult to have any form of conversation.


Google's primary business model, is literally to build the worlds best, most gigantic person-classification engine, and classify people with it. To sell shit.


> Except the Big Five has been debunked as being too lexical for biological differentiation.

Has the Big Five model been actually debunked? Or, rather, has it received criticism.

But, yes, your focus on the content of the memo itself is a breath of fresh air in this overall debacle of a discourse.


1. Whether or not the Big Five are appropriate for the analysis or not, or whether they're ultimate truth or not, doesn't really matter for the point I and GP were making: Damon's terminology is jargon from differential psychology and easily misunderstood. ("Women score higher on neuroticism on average" does not mean "Women are too neurotic to work as engineers in big companies", or whatever.)

2. I think it takes more than one article (which has been cited once, by the author themselves) to unseat the Big Five.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3903487/citedby...

3. As an aside, note that the article finds significant sex differences (p=0.00) in 10 out of 12 items on its proposed scale, STQ-150, if I'm understanding it correctly.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3903487/table/p...


1. And my point is that even with it's correctly understood, it is still incorrect. I agree that the entire document was overly vague and open to interpreters inserting their own ideas, usually tied to their own political identity.

2. Appealing to number of citations is an appeal to popularity (fallacy) because it avoids criticizing the content. It's also not "unseating" the big five, just demonstrating how the big five is incorrectly used as biological factor analysis. There are other applications is psychoanalysis the big five can be use for.

3. If you read the paper, you'd see that Table 3 is used in conjunction with other data to prove their hypothesis on projection-through-capacity bias.


So your point is that, even though the reporters neglected to explain (or understand) the term neurotic, they were justified because the ultimately correct explanation is that it's meaningless in context?

In that case, the only proper response is to report that the word neurotic is not scientific.


In that case, the only proper response is to report that the word neurotic is not scientific.

I think that's a discussion worth having. That would've been a lot better than just firing the guy!


No, my point is that worrying about the semantics of the word neurotic is a pointless exercise because even when correctly understood in the case of the big five, it's still incorrectly used scientifically by Damore.


But it's disingenuous to the point of the memo, to the point that it's _deliberately_ misleading to the general public... Leading to the moral outrage.


How was it deliberately misused for moral outrage? I thought the context here is that people flat out misunderstood it, not deliberately misused it. In either case, whether by Damore or the public, deliberate or not, it was definitely being misused. Splitting hairs by whom is the pointless exercise.


I agree. It seemed to me that Damore's memo was nevertheless fallacious, though nevertheless totally unworthy of the criticism that he received. Unlike in fields we are used to, psychological results have remarkably little prescriptive power given the inherently complex and malleable nature of social structures, and it's still pretty much up in the air how much or little effect nature has on preferences and to what extent a social arrangement is able to affect/has affected/reinterpreted/transformed those preferences without effecting a change in overall happiness/satisfaction.

It also saddens me that a number of Damore's suggestions to make the workplace more "nurture-trait-friendly" got overshadowed by those dubious extrapolations. It seems interesting and fruitful to me to explore the work dynamics and psychology present in more "nurture" fields and see how well they translate to software development and collaboration.

There is a silver lining to all this for me: it shows that whereas women used to have little voice in the public sphere, "American women" as a class now have a sufficiently loud voice that even its less-well-thought-out ideologies have traction and influence in civil society (along with all that entails, including having possibly self-proclaimed representatives and "thought leaders").


There is a silver lining to all this for me: it shows that whereas women used to have little voice in the public sphere, "American women" as a class now have a sufficiently loud voice

There is nothing good about someone who has a "sufficiently loud voice" -- if that loudness comes not from principle and merit, but from emotional toxicity.


The way I see it is that the feminism movement of old basically won - women voices are being heard and treated as equally important in the society. But like many movements, instead of dissolving after successful accomplishment of its mission, it transformed into a form that tries to perpetuate its own survival and status of importance.


I would disagree with that. Women still face plenty of discrimination in society


This is true. Asians face plenty of prejudicial discrimination as well. I would say that everyone faces some form of it. My mother always says, "Living well is the best revenge."

After awhile, onlookers catch onto the fact one is spending all of their time moving the goalposts.


You’re a hundred percent right. Living well is the best revenge.

Short people, ugly people, fat people, disabled people... The list of discriminated against populations is practically endless and you can’t let it tear you up or drive you crazy if you’re one of them.


You should give an example


"American women" as a class now have a sufficiently loud voice

Why is it important that they have a sufficiently loud voice "as a class?" This seems backwards to me. The whole point of liberation is liberation to be treated as an individual not as a member of a class based on something contextually irrelevant like your biological sex.


I agree that it is backwards, but it's heavily ingrained in US politics that decisions revolve around classes. Politicians make decisions thinking about which class they will benefit, which class (and their representatives) they will receive support from, etc.

Empowering the individual is a noble goal, but that is a separate battle with a different front.


I agree that it is backwards, but it's heavily ingrained in US politics that decisions revolve around classes

I think it's made to seem that way by media coverage and political propaganda(especially from the left) more than it actually is. The problem is that it's easy to analyze something by arbitrary groups but in doing so often if not usually miss things (indeed this was one of Damore's key themes in his original essay).

The rhetoric may be actualizing, but I still think it's more a case of bad analytical generalizations than actual decision-making. Although, it's getting worse, as the whole drama with Jordan Peterson last year over pronouns demonstrated. At the core of his concern seemed to be he growing number of increasingly narrow and increasingly arbitrary suspect class definitions (or whatever they call it in Canada).

The original concept of a suspect class in the US was codified to serve as a legal guidelines for determining whether discrimination had taken place. The idea was to balance the ideal of democratic freedom to enact laws with the political reality that some clearly identified recognized groups (mainly Black Americans) had not been allowed to participate in the democratic process that produced the laws under which they had to conform. Many of those laws were shown to be prima facie discriminatory and evidence suggested plenty more were intended to be discriminatory in practice. And by virtue of minority status, they'd be unable to effectively challenge those discriminatory laws through democratic means. Women classified as a quasi-suspect class by virtue of historical disenfranchisement, despite their not being a minority.

But, it has been at least century since women were granted the right to vote. "Women as a class" have been one of the strongest political factions in the United States for decades. Roe v. Wade was 1973, a decade before any Millenial was even born. Pandering to women is pervasive in US politics on both sides.

The narrative that women had no voice, political will, or influence until Last Thursday is persistent and massive historical revisionism.


Just because a media outlet might have been aggressively attacked his memo, doesn't mean his arguments are valid. He cherry picked various pieces and came to conclusions that weren't causal. At the end of the day, his perception of what is happening at Google is just that, perception.

My guess is that he will be settled with to avoid the annoyance or simply destroyed in court.


> Just because a media outlet might have been aggressively attacked his memo, doesn't mean his arguments are valid.

Many media outlets aggressively attacked his memo, but the argument isn't "his arguments are validated because outlets attacked his memo"; it's that the response to his memo was malicious and slanderous, and this is wrong even if his arguments are bad. Bad arguments should be met with good arguments, not hate and slander.


The topic matter was above the IQ of the vast majority of the protesters so we got a mob rule, peasant like response.


Did James Damore ever claim that women overall have lower IQs than men overall? [Citation Needed]


You claim that there is a pattern of bad diversity hires, but your anecdotes are just as easily explained by confirmation bias: You see an incompetent male engineer, and you write him off as an idiot and forget him. You see an incompetent woman, and she becomes evidence that there is a problem with diversity programs. You remember evidence that supports your narrative.

Obviously my statement is not evidence either. I only wanted to point it out because this is so often overlooked when it comes to these issues. This is an arena where our cognitive biases are especially pernicious, and any discussion needs to address them.


It depends on whether the incompetent male engineers are just as incompetent as the incompetent female engineers. For instance, she mentioned a female developer who couldn't write SQL queries. Are the incompetent male developers at that same level of incompetence?

Of course taking this into account cannot completely eliminate selection bias, and the sample size either way is probably too small to be all that meaningful. It sounds like the attitude of her manager towards the incompetent developer is actually the most significant point here: this incompetent developer is being retained and in fact praised by her manager for diversity despite the obvious issues. Does the manager treat incompetent male developers the same way? The implication of the post is clearly "no", but again selection bias is possible.


Yes.

In deep corporate America, there are plenty of people who have virtually no responsibilities beyond a few basic configuration tasks. They are still unable to perform many of these tasks without significant help from coworkers. And we cover for them.

Every incompetent coworker I can think of was a man. I do not think this is confirmation bias, I think it's basic statistics, because most of the engineers those employers hired were men.


I meant for my question to be directed specifically towards the person making the claim about her specific coworkers at a specific company. This company has hiring practices that are not necessarily reflected across all of corporate America, and the claims being made are about those specific hiring practices and the effects that they have.


From what little the OP has said about her company I am willing to take a wild guess that she does indeed work for a large coproration (lip service paid to diversity, incompetent people hired to demonstrate it)- where you can expect this sort of thing to be very common.

I don't know about corporate America in particular, but corporate anything is a big pile of useless dipped in incompetent, where all the work is done by contractors who are also useless and incompetent. Because there is noone in the damn org that knows how to hire a competent techie in the first place.

So for me the OP's experience is more simply explained by working for an organisation that doesn't know how to hire engineers, not anything to do with diversity drives.


In a way that was my point, I just wasn't really good at relaying it. Of course there are many incompetent male engineers but it's more noticeable when they are a "diversity hire".

I don't present my situation as anything more than anecdotal, it's just what I've noticed. And to answer your question no the manager does not treat male developers the same way, they're held to a higher standard. In fact the "middle-aged white male" has to be above average at this particular company to be kept on.



> she mentioned a female developer who couldn't write SQL queries

I'd wager a third of the nodejs "developer community" could be described that way. The key thing is was she hired to write sql queries?


Yes, that is part of her job, but it wasn't covered in the interview process from what I've been told.


I've worked with plenty of tech and related people who didn't understand basic technologies we expect in a given field.

I tend to reserve judgement until their effort can be judged. If he or she is slow but learning and improving, I'd accept (and probably raise with a manager) that the hiring process is flawed and try to help him/her.

If its just utter idiocy, I'm less forgiving.

I literally had a business analyst come to me - the new guy at the time - on her last day after several years of working in the org and ask me what her email address is.

Or the BA who insisted she didnt need to write a clear and specific spec for a feature, because she could just open up dreamweaver and put some buttons on a page.

Those sorts of people I have zero fucking time for, and will drink merrily when they quit/are fired.


Unfortunately, they tend to be promoted quickly. For being so brilliant, you understand.

And then they're your boss. Or your boss's mate.


Does she even bother looking at the docs or would that also denote how useless she is?


Well, she is learning it now and I wouldn't call her "useless". But her level of experience and knowledge is far below "software engineer" and if she were a guy she couldn't get away with it.


you'd be surprised. i worked with people who would write simple json structures by creating a class in java and then serializing it and printing it to the console to copy and paste. most of them were promoted out to management


Actually, there is a certain wisdom to promoting incompetent people in this manner. At least then you know that they're nowhere near anything they can use to do real lasting damage.


> they're nowhere near anything they can use to do real lasting damage

Except, make 'technical management' decisions like "we should use mongodb because it's web-scale".



> and if she were a guy she couldn't get away with it

I think this is untrue. I know a lot of male "sofware engineers" who are totally incompetent and remain well employed.


Presumably the OP meant "remain in that role in the company"; not necessarily intending to extrapolate to all positions at all companies.


The best C++ programmer (someone who does real magic in the machine) I know has said that they can't think in SQL. Different people have different skills and mindsets.


Strikes me as a distinction without a difference -- incompetence means you are incapable of performing a task.

One could speak of someone having more skill than another, but if both skillsets have no value, it doesn't really matter.


>> It depends on whether the incompetent male engineers are just as incompetent as the incompetent female engineers. For instance, she mentioned a female developer who couldn't write SQL queries. Are the incompetent male developers at that same level of incompetence?

Oh yes. Especially if you work in, say, a big financial corporation- the kind of large, monolithic organisation that isn't a technology company, per se, but uses technology (as only a large monolith would). In that kind of place, you can expect the majority of "technical" employees to be largely uninterested in, and therefore fairly clueless about, technology (i.e. they're just in it to jump over to tech management roles down the line). So, software engineers who can't write SQL queries are a thing. A common, inescepable fact of life, indeed.

I would not like to say whether I'm speaking of personal experience with such organisations. It wouldn't be proper.


This can definitely be the case. There are lots of sh--ty white male programmers working in the industry.

I have met plenty of white men who have masters level CS education, have worked for Google and other top name companies, and can't produce a line of useful working code to save their lives.

The reasons why corporations frequently hire people who don't actually produce anything are varied and complex, but it happens, a lot.

If someone is incompetent and also happens to be from a minority group then everyone starts complaining about how they are a "diversity hire" but with incompetent white males they just shrug and go "that's the way it is." In other words, it is so common with white males that no one even notices.


>If someone is incompetent and also happens to be from a minority group then everyone starts complaining about how they are a "diversity hire" but with incompetent white males they just shrug and go "that's the way it is." In other words, it is so common with white males that no one even notices.

You could be right this is definitely a possibility. I did not intend to suggest that all white male programmers are awesome, certainly not the case.


And I'd add that there's evidence (and plenty of anecdote) that the men who most object to diversity are not so good at what they do. Which makes sense; they are the ones who have the most to lose from an increased talent pool. [1]

Personally, I'd be very interested to see Damore's code. We already know that he lied about both a PhD and being a chess master. [2] I would not be shocked at all to find out that he's not good at programming.

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

[2] https://chess.stackexchange.com/questions/18271/is-james-dam...


> We already know that he lied about a PhD

No, he did not lie about this. You are lying about it. His linkedin listed him as having been part of a PhD program and people took it to mean he had a PhD. There is absolutely no evidence he ever intended to mislead anyone about this.

So, please stop spreading lies.

    ====
PS I know because I actually saw the linkedin profile before he edited it. It did not say he had a PhD. It clearly listed that he was in the program for 2 years, which any person reasonably familiar with PhD programs would immediately suspect meant that he had not finished. And indeed, I followed up by looking up what publications he had, and while his name was on a couple of papers he had clearly not published a dissertation. So, to anyone who wasn't deliberately looking to discredit him for malicious or self-interested reasons, as Business Insider's Natasha Tiku almost certainly was, would not have been fooled for a second by his profile nor would they have believed that Damore intended to fool them.

Note the business insider article you linked uses these weasel words:

James Damore, the fired Google engineer who wrote the now-infamous memo on diversity at the company, has removed mention of PhD studies in biology from his LinkedIn profile.

The removal comes after Wired writer Nitasha Tiku confirmed with Harvard that Damore has not completed his PhD.

He then goes on to call out the "Right-wing argument" appealing to his credibility because he had a PhD.

If you read carefully, you'll see that they frame as if it was this embarassing thing that they'd shamed him into doing, to encourage lazy, non-critical readers to reach the same conclusion that you did, while using the technically correct words to avoid defamation liability. But, careful analysis of the facts shows that I am correct. He did not lie about the PhD, others either lied on his behalf without his knowledge; or were confused by careless/overly-optimistic reading of the LinkedIn profile.


I saw the LinkedIn profile too; I looked him up when the story first broke. I saw it and said, "Damn, a PhD in systems biology, he should know better than this." People who don't finish their PhDs either a) don't list the PhD, just leaving it as a Master's, or b) are explicit that they don't have the PhD. (E.g., "ABD in Systems Biology.)

So at the very best, his resume was misleading because he was incompetent at putting together a resume. That doesn't jibe with the theory that he's so very brilliant. The fact that he quickly edited it when called out confirms even he saw it as misleading; that he didn't comment or apologize suggests it was not a simple mistake.

Ah, and now that I go look for images, it did not list him as being part of a PhD *program". it just said "PhD, Systems Biology" under education:

http://static6.businessinsider.com/image/598b0f3776084a30198...

I'm glad to hear you weren't misled by that thanks to your expertise, but there's no denying that is misleading to a general-audience reader.


So your argument goes like this:

1. Damore truthfully specified he's a PhD student

2. You (I assume innocently) and others (some innocently, some maliciously) misconstrued this as a claim that he has a PhD degree

3. Despite Linkedin information being completely true and whole error being contained in your bad reading alone, you and others called Damore a liar.

4. Damore removed that true information to avoid further confusion

5. You construe it as a proof that Damore was a liar, since if he removed completely truthful information that some people misread and used it against him, he must have intended to mislead from the start, and that's why he specified his PhD student status exactly as it truly was.

6. This also proves Damore was incompetent, since he wrote his Linkedin page in a way that a hostile or inattentive reader was able to misunderstand his page where it suited his preexisting notions, which would never happen if Damore was any good at writing Linkedin pages, as it is known that well-written (or merely competently written) Linkedin page is impossible to misread or misinterpret, no matter how much you try.

7. This is further proven by the image, since Linkedin design and forms do not allow to distinguish incomplete PhD study in progress from a finished one and display merely a length of the study but not the completion status, clearly Damore intended to mislead by using the only options available in the Linkedin interface.

This sounds like extremely tortured logic aimed at arriving at predetermined conclusion that Damore is a bad person. Looks like you're continuing to mine for something that explains why Damore is a bad person (failing at the premise he's a bad programmer above), to avoid addressing what he said on merits - since if he's a bad person, he can't be right on merits, obviously, no bad person has ever said anything true.

Note, you don't have to address it if you don't want to, but if you do, personal attack is not the best way to go, even if a very common one.


That is not my argument.

My argument is that if in LinkedIn's education section you list a school and a degree -- which he did -- people take that to mean you have the degree. Ergo, he falsely claimed to have a degree he didn't.

Could that be an accident? Might it just be incompetence? Maybe. But given that he also falsely claimed on his resume to be a chess master, I think the simple explanation is that he lied about both.

That he then quickly removed things when called out with neither explanation nor apology fits in with the "lies to make himself look good" narrative. A person who had made an innocent error generally feels bad about the error and says so.

Your thing about LinkedIn form design seems to be pure fiction. I just checked: you can enter any text you like, including no text at all. People without a degree don't have to put a degree in. I spent an entire 3 minutes looking at examples, and people fill in all sorts of things, including "PhD Candidate" and "PhD Student (incomplete)" to make it clear they are not claiming the degree.

This is not a personal attack; this is me pointing out facts of his behavior and reasonable inferences.


A person who had made an innocent error generally feels bad about the error and says so.

That's what he did! That is, that's what he did when someone finally got around to asking him about it in an environment where he trusted that he'd be given time to say his side in an unedited manner, which does not include any of the hit pieces you have linked. I believe it's mentioned in his interview with Jordan Peterson, which is the first public interview he gave.

Again you are blaming him for your own error.

This is not a personal attack; this is me pointing out facts of his behavior and reasonable inferences.

First, it is absolutely a personal attack. You're attacking his character and coding ability, which are not relevant to the topic. Ok, technically, you're passively suggesting it via speculative commentary but it amounts to the same thing.

Second, your inferences aren't reasonable, and they're unreasonable in exactly the manner that one would predict based on consumption of inflammatory and deliberately misleading propaganda aimed primarily at smearing Damore. For example, you inferred that he "didn't say anything or apologize," apparently relying on entirely on hostile bloggers to convey that message to you on his behalf. Remember that until this blew up, he was a private individual. He has no platform of his own and no way to offer any response that your chosen sources did not provide to you. So it is completely and utterly unreasonable to hold him accountable in such a way.

Furthermore, the fixation with LinkedIn is unreasonable. LinkedIn profiles are notoriously unreliable and many are neglected and incomplete, since many members are not actively seeking employment (yet retain membership for the social networking). If you had looked at Damore's whole profile rather than just the image, it was clear that not much effort had been put into it. This is consistent with his story that he had not been actively seeking employment when Google offered him an interview based on his Chess playing.

Which brings us to the chess issue. And yes, it seems that Damore stated on his resume that he's a FIDE Master, a term of art that it seems clear that he misused. Specifically he wrote "FIDE Master in Chess (>99th Percentile)". Other claims about chess-playing on his resume seem to check out as far as I can tell[0][1]. So yes, it's an interesting question why does he say that on his resume. I have not found an explanation, but can certainly think of others not mentioned in that stackexchange link, such as he misunderstood proper use of the term. Obviously a mistake, one that shouldn't be made, but nothing like the dishonesty you're accusing him of, especially when you give him no opportunity to explain himself.

Meanwhile, in this obsession with minor errors in an inexperienced young person's first resume or linkedin profile(errors that are easily cleared-up in a phone interview if you actually care), you are apparently giving a pass to someone who anonymously leaked a co-workers' fair and well-reasoned internal posting to outrage media to encourage hit pieces and start a witch hunt. ... which ultimately resulted in the employer being hit with a ton of negative press and a high-profile lawsuit.

So, no, your inferences are not remotely reasonable or appropriate by my estimation.

[0] http://www.uschess.org/results/2003/nya/?page=WINNERS&xsecti...

[1] I don't know what "Board 1 and Conference Champion" means, and "Rise of Nations" is a PC strategy game.


I look forward to you pointing out his actual apology to me. I've read a fair bit about Damore and haven't seen it. Your notion that he didn't have a platform is just bizarre. Anybody who works at Google should know that it's not hard to publish things on the Internet. It takes all of 90 seconds to get a Twitter account, and not much longer to set up a blog. He could have also put a note on his LinkedIn profile.

I made no error in parsing his LinkedIn. He may have made an error in writing it, but the common interpretation for what he wrote is that he was claiming a PhD.

I'm glad you finally admit he did the same thing on his resume. Again, there could be an innocent explanation for it, but the reasonable inference is that he said what he meant. If he would like to correct the record on this topic, he's welcome to publish something explaining.

His character and coding ability are both relevant to the topics at hand, his advocacy and subsequent lawsuit lawsuit. The former speaks to his reliability; both speak to motivation. As does, now that you mention it, the fact that the interviews he gave were to right-wing antifeminists.

I also think it's hilarious that when talking about his apparent resume fraud, he's a delicate "inexperienced young person", but when coding and opining on diversity programs he's a brilliant genius who has never done a thing wrong. You're straining at gnats and swallowing camels here.


I just wanted to respond and say how interesting your final claim is, that his fair and reasonable internal posting was leaked to outrage media.

The irony is that in the lawsuit damore filed, he outright names a bunch of people who work at Google and have said various levels of innocent comments. He's leaked out internal information to outrage media in order to punish and start a witch hunt. I've already seen combinations of images containing information about said named employees float around the more witch hunt-y side of the internet.


You need proof to file a lawsuit. A lot of it, especially if you claim must prove a pattern of behavior that is pervasive. If he didn't specify it, you'd say "well, there are no evidence of any specific behavior, only nebulous allegations, and we all know Damore is a liar, so he probably invented all this to justify his poor performance and hate for women". People say it anyway, but now know it's not true, because there is evidence.

Also, there's a bit of difference between "Let's discuss whether diversity is done right in Google" and "I will keep hounding you until one of us fired. Fuck you" (real quote), "We are at a point where the dialogue we need to be having with these people is ‘if you keep talking about this shit, i will hurt you." (again real quote), "We should be willing to give a wink and a nod to other Silicon Valley employers over terminable offenses" (trying to make your opponents unemployable), “You’re being blacklisted by people at companies outside of Google,” and, of course, "How do you let people know you don’t take their ideas seriously? … No-platforming fascists does scale. So does punching one on camera." and "Get in touch with your friendly local antifa" - this one is especially juicy as a lot of people insanely called what Damore did "violence" but then turn around and literally endorse actual physical violence.


You manage to selectively quote the worst offenders in the filing while also ignoring the more benign comments (incl. one that called out Breitbart as being pro-Nazi, which I would hope you would agree that they are trash).

You also ignore the selective censorship of usernames going on, when he could've censored all the names to ignore igniting any potential witch hunts. Can you provide an explanation for this? He could've shown the pattern without putting other people at risk.


> My argument is that if in LinkedIn's education section you list a school and a degree -- which he did -- people take that to mean you have the degree. Ergo, he falsely claimed to have a degree he didn't

People that read that are wrong (at least sometimes), since Linkedin shows degrees-in-progress and completed degrees the same way. Not ideal interface, for sure, but that's what it is. People that do not know that make mistakes. It's their mistake.

> Could that be an accident? Might it just be incompetence? Maybe.

Surely, it may be incompetence - not understanding how Linkedin profile works. But it's not Damore's incompetence.

> That he then quickly removed things when called out with neither explanation nor apology

If people misunderstood what was on his Linkedin page, and undeservedly called him a liar and attacked him for that, and he removed the controversial item despite it being true - I think demanding apology from him for you misunderstanding him and falsely calling him a liar is taking the entitlement thing too far. If somebody owes an apology, it's people who called him a liar despite him publishing completely true information - but of course I do not hold by breath for that.

> fits in with the "lies to make himself look good" narrative.

Surely it fits your narrative. The problem is it is not true.

> A person who had made an innocent error generally feels bad about the error and says so.

Nobody owes you feeling bad for telling the truth and you misunderstanding him. It would be nice if people who did the misunderstanding felt bad and did not blame others for their mistake, but I recognize this is not how the Internet works. If you misunderstood something, it's other guy who should be feeling bad for not working harder to prevent any chance of you making a mistake. The other guy is always responsible, he's clearly either a liar or an idiot for letting you to misunderstand him.

> Your thing about LinkedIn form design seems to be pure fiction. I just checked: you can enter any text you like, including no text at all.

That misunderstanding thing happened to you again. I haven't said you cannot enter free text in Linkedin. I said the form does not have completion status for education. Yes, you can hack around that by adding various text to a degree program name or any other field. If Damore knew in advance there would be a mob of hostile attackers scrutinizing everything he ever did under a microscope to find even a tiniest flaw and blow it up out of proportion, he would probably do it too. But he just wrote true facts about his educational record, without thinking about being extra defensive and using tools given to him by Linkedin. Linkedin provides tools to set beginning and end time for educational record, and program name, but does not have a setting for "incomplete" or "in progress" status.

> This is not a personal attack; this is me pointing out facts of his behavior and reasonable inferences.

You "reasonable inferences" - which, as far as blaming others for your misunderstanding goes are not reasonable at all - are what is the personal attack, since they seek to impugn Damore's character without addressing his actual arguments. That's the definition of personal attack.


No, LinkedIn does not "shows degrees-in-progress and completed degrees the same way". LinkedIn lets you type what you want. And in the examples I've looked at, most people are very clear about how it turned out. If they are in a PhD program, they say so. If they left with a Master's, as Damore did, they either claim the Master's or are explicit that they didn't finish the PhD.

That is exactly what people do on paper resumes, which also let you type what you want. Why? Because falsely claiming (or even giving the impression of claiming) an academic degree is a giant no-no. People get fired for that.

You repeatedly ignore that he also falsely claimed to be a chess master. Is your theory there that it was also just an accident, forced by software? That the word processor somehow made him put "FIDE Master in Chess (>99th Percentile)" and that he as a computer expert just couldn't figure out any other way to use the tool?

I'm not the one fitting a narrative here, pal. I see your DARVO.


> No, LinkedIn does not "shows degrees-in-progress and completed degrees the same way".

It does.

> LinkedIn lets you type what you want.

It also does, it doesn't contradict the previous sentence. As I said, Linked in does not have data item for degree being complete or not (I am not sure how familiar you are with data modeling, but situation of having a model for some property and deriving it from ad-hoc texts in unrelated data items are very different). Some people do extra work by using degree name or other fields to work around this, some don't bother. Neither are liars.

> That is exactly what people do on paper resumes, which also let you type what you want.

No, that's a very different case. Paper resume is completely freeform. Linkedin has set of forms, some of which are free text, which you can use - if you want to - to cover for shortcomings in other places, like use degree or program name to express completion status. Some don't bother to because they think it's be clear from context. Sometimes it is not. It happens. It'd be good to recognize that.

> Because falsely claiming (or even giving the impression of claiming) an academic degree is a giant no-no. People get fired for that.

People get fired for all kinds of things, like expressing unpopular opinion, as it turns out. But there's world of difference between claiming the degree on resume (which didn't happen) and somebody misreading ambiguous output of a site.

> You repeatedly ignore that he also falsely claimed to be a chess master.

Why I should address this unrelated claim before we address the one at point? If you admit you were wrong on the Linkedin part - and recognize the fact both claims are personal attacks, since they have little to do with the claims Damore is making or you were making - we can consider the chess thing. Before that it's just a distraction - what about this? what about that? what about that third thing? forget that I didn't prove the first two, what about the fourth thing? Nope, won't work this way. You have to substantiate every one of your claims, not just bring a new one once previous one was questioned.

> I see your DARVO.

You are implying that you're somehow a victim here? Nice one. So far you are the one denying the facts (as in, ones about Damore's performance) and personally attacking him (as in, bringing irrelevant claims about his character to discussion about his factual claims), and of course claiming that somebody here is "offender", without any proof of offense made - unless you consider you misunderstanding Damore's Linkedin profile as "offense" to you and you being "victim"? That'd be rich. The fact that you have a nice acronym in your pocket doesn't change any of that.


The claims of "falsely claimed a PhD on LinkedIn" and "falsely claimed to be a chess master on his resume" are not "unrelated". They are closely related examples of the same behavior. If he's a liar on his resume (and he is), it is much easier to believe that he's a liar on LinkedIn.

Spare me the condescension on data modeling. LinkedIn barely has a data model; it is a modestly structured version of a resume, with a bunch of free text fields. It is not a "very different case". People will often ask for "a resume or a LinkedIn link" in job applications because they serve the same purpose. LinkedIn will automatically render your LinkedIn profile in resume form. They are in practice the same.

And in either case, if you say "PhD, Systems Biology, Harvard" in the education section, reasonable people will believe you claim to have a PhD. That's how I read it. That's how many people read it. And if you did a user test, I'm sure that's how most people would read it. That anonymous Damore fanboys now claim they'd read it differently is not proof of anything about the wider world.

You can claim that it was a mistake on his part (and others have), or that his documented social ineptitude (as his fellow students talked about) mean that he just didn't understand the social implications of what he wrote. But then you would have to grapple with the other lie on his resume, which is why you are spinning so vigorously away from it.

I am not denying any "facts" about Damore's performance. I agree he worked at Google and didn't get fired for a while. I agree that he claims his performance was great. Those are facts. As I said at the beginning of this thread, I'd like to see that for myself. People who lie on resumes are not trustworthy sources for their job performance.


People get fired for that.

I call bullshit. Show me three examples of people "getting fired for giving the impression of claiming they had a PhD on LinkedIn" when there's a plausible case to be made that it was an innocent mistake with at least equal blame on the reader.

I just looked at my LinkedIn profile, which I haven't updated in at least 2 or 3 years, probably more. For reasons I don't know, it lists two entries for my education.

    [UNIVERSITY XYZ]
    Bachelor of Arts, Computer Science, [Second Major]
    [YEAR] - [YEAR + 4]
    
    [UNIVERSITY XYZ]
    Bachelor of Arts, Computer Science
    [YEAR] - [YEAR + 4]
I do have two BA degrees that I earned concurrently. I really have no idea why it shows one entry with both degrees and one entry with a single degree. Did the LinkedIn database change at some point in the last 15 years? Did I really fill out the degree fields redundantly?

Damned if I know. Did I intend for it to be confusing? Certainly not, I'm sure I just filled out the forms with what I thought the program could work with and would make sense. Maybe I used some Wizard-style Q&A format that they don't use anymore. I really have no clue at all. But there it is, ready for someone to screencap and use to embarrass me if they wanted to, mocking my apparent inability to create a properly formatted LinkedIn profile.

I also note that there's nothing filled in for "description" or "activities" or anything like that. When I was young and did not have much of a resume of relevant accomplishments in my work history, I often included, on my paper resume, an honor society membership and an elected treasurer position I'd held for two semesters in a student group. These seem like details I would have added to LinkedIn, had the interface had a section for it(as it does now). But there isn't anything there. Did I remove them? Did I just never bother to add them? Or was the "activities, etc." field added to the schema after I created my profile? Certainly, the javascript-based interactive editor available now, was not the editor I used when I originally created my profile.

What I do know is that I've never directed anyone to my LinkedIn profile. I've never encouraged an employer to review it and the only interactions I've had come from former co-workers and recruiters. At this point I consider it more of a professional obligation than anything else, and log in every so often mostly to check messages and update endorsements.

I also know that I've seen work histories that look really weird, often when people work in multiple positions at the same company for years but that company also changes ownership multiple times. So you have a bizarrely fragmented presentation of a story I know to be fairly simple. Something like "was hired entry-level, switched departments, got promoted, and is now Senior Account Manager for Whatever domain" winds up looking like a career with 5 different positions on 4 different teams in 3 different companies. I consider that to be a decent indication that many people either don't spend a lot of time on their profiles, or else find the interface cumbersome enough that they're unwilling to deal with it long enough to convey a real resume-style work history.


People get fired for resume fraud all the time: https://www.google.com/search?q=fired+for+resume+fraud&tbm=n...

There is no plausible claim that the reader is to blame here. If you show his entry, sans name, to 100 people asking them what degrees he claims, I'd be that at least 90 would say he had a PhD and a BS. Just as people looking at his current LinkedIn profile would understand he now claims an MS.


Yeah that's another point. It's a category error to apply interpersonal social expectations to a "man vs media+internet mob" scenario.

When you mislead an individual in real life and that person suffers actual consequences from that mistake, apology and forgiveness help repair the relationship.

A media hack writing about this has not suffered a real interpersonal offense over the issue, nor have any of the self-righteous audience passing judgment. As these people have not suffered any actual harm they are not owed an apology, nor would an apology given under such circumstances function as it is supposed to. There is no interpersonal relationship to repair in the first place.


He published his resume to the world on LinkedIn. I suppose he could try to track every reader down individually, but that seems like quite a challenge. Which is why published errors usually are followed by published corrections with explanation and/or apology. Even media hacks do it, so presumably Damore could manage.


He did not invite the entire world to look at that LinkedIn profile for any material reason. You're playing fast and loose with the term "published" and holding Damore to absurd standards that you obviously do not even adhere to yourself. If you held yourself to the same standard you held Damore, you would not have published the reckless, incredibly unprofessional, and possibly even defamatory comments about his coding ability. When called out on it you would have apologized and maybe done some soul-searching about why you felt so comfortable engaging in such careless slander of a young engineer you have never met and know almost nothing about.


What comments about his coding ability do you claim are slanderous? I said I wanted to see his code, and would not be shocked that it's not very good. I stand by that. Maybe it's good, maybe it isn't.

Anyhow, publishing something on the web invites anybody to look at it whenever they please. Putting a profile on a site specifically made for people to evaluate your professional standing is very much inviting people to look at it when they want to know who you are. That is literally the purpose of LinkedIn.


https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disingenuous

S: There are lots of sh--ty white male programmers working in the industry.

wpietri: Personally, I'd be very interested to see Damore's code. We already know that he lied about both a PhD and being a chess master. [2] I would not be shocked at all to find out that he's not good at programming.

You brought up Damore after the parent mentioned "shitty white male programmers". You speculated that you'd expect to discover that he was a bad programmer.

I'd like to see what wpietri's home life looks like. Based on his comments in this thread, I would not be surprised to discover that he's a terrible parent and has a bad relationship with his children.

Would you not find that a completely offensive and uncalled for personal attack? But I didn't lie! It wasn't an attack! It's not technically slander or libel or defamation, and technically is what matters. I just stated what I wanted to see and speculated based on some reasonable inferences. Oh, you don't think my inferences are reasonable? Prove it.


Your analogy is poorly done, I'm sorry to say. Feel free to try again.

But no, I wouldn't think it offensive if it were relevant to the topic at hand. Which it isn't in your imaginary version. And if you're upset about the "shitty white male programmers thing", take it up with the person who wrote it, but it wasn't me. I just said I wanted to see his code so I could see what kind of programmer he is.

Regardless, if that's the best you have, I think we can conclude I said nothing that is either slander or defamation. You accusing me of doing so, ironically, appears to be defamation. I look forward to the effusive apology you apparently believe due in such situations.


> But no, I wouldn't think it offensive if it were relevant to the topic at hand. Which it isn't in your imaginary version

None of your criticism of Damore was relevant. You just jumped on a bandwagon of hate. You picked up a pitchfork and joined a witch hunt. Gaston held up a picture of The Beast and told him he was coming in the night to get your children, and you joined the mindless mob.

I know that I will not be able to convince you now, because your mind is stubbornly closed. Your ego is too sensitive to admit that you have no valid justification for your denigration of Damore. All I hope is that someday, you'll be able to recognize a witch hunt for what it is and resist the urge be swept up in the pathetic, cowardly, petty hate-mongering.


From the complaint:

"23. Damore was diligent and loyal, and received substantial praise for the quality of his work. Damore received the highest possible rating twice, including in his most recent performance review, and consistently received high performance ratings, placing him in the top few percentile of Google employees. Throughout the course of his employment with Google, Damore received approximately eight performance bonuses, the most recent of which was approximately 20% of his annual salary. Damore also received stock bonuses from the Google amounting to approximately $150,000 per year.

24. Damore was never disciplined or suspended during his entire tenure at Google.

25. Based on Damore’s excellent work, Damore was promoted to Senior Software Engineer in or around January 2017—just eight months before his unlawful termination by Google."


Sounds like he was pretty good, but I wonder about this part:

> Damore received the highest possible rating twice, including in his most recent performance review, and consistently received high performance

How are these ratings done, by the team/manager or externally? IME when it's done by the same team then reviews are more about politics than performance.


so let me get this staright: when Damore is being rated politics have an effect on ratings and promotions

when Damore speaks out against politics affecting hiring and promotion, he is wrong

I'm fascinated how one can reconcile both beliefs


Sorry that was terribly worded, I meant politics/political in the personal sense, who's friends with who, etc.


Yes, I'm sure Damore claims he was excellent. But claims of excellence do not correlate perfectly with actual excellence. And neither do promotion packets; I'm sure we've all worked with somebody who did better on paper than was justified.

So I'd still like to see his code. And talk with some of his coworkers.


You're just mining for something by now. It is clear that you implication that Damore was a sore loser that covered his lack of performance by blaming diversity has no connection to reality. Damore had performance completely satisfactory by Google's standards, and achieved significant praise from his peers, so whatever would be your evaluation of it, he was not in a loser position, had no reason to be sore for anything and had no reason to blame diversity for anything related to performance or its perception by others. Time to leave this horse, it's dead.


The guy appears to have lied about a PhD and being a chess master. So it's entirely reasonable for me to be skeptical of his claims in a lawsuit that he was an A+++ top performer. And even if those claims are correct, I still would like to look at his code and hear from his coworkers. He wouldn't be the first person to get promoted beyond his actual accomplishments.

Also, sweeping assertions like "had no reason" assume facts not in evidence. We mainly don't know what happened at Google. Or why he didn't complete his PhD. We have only heard his side of the story, and only part of that.


It's OK to be skeptical. But when evidence is presented that it's not the case, and you are doubling down by denying it, it's not being skeptical anymore. It's refusing to accept the facts since they don't fit your preconceptions.

> We mainly don't know what happened at Google.

We don't, beyond public evidence (including one in the lawsuit and outside). But that evidence we do have, and it does not align with your presumption that Damore was poor performer, unless you accept a completely invented premise that all his peers in Google somehow colluded to fake his reviews and performance evaluations, but he was still unhappy and decided to push the diversity angle to achieve... I don't know what, getting fired from a job where everybody, according to you, were going out of the way to make him happy? I don't think this is a workable hypothesis, and certainly not one that bears minimal skeptical scrutiny.

You can't be called "skeptical" if you only mistrust evidence which does not fit your preconception, but accept and even invent one that fits one. That's not skepticism, that's agenda.


I am not presuming he is a poor performer. I am saying that the quality of his performance is open to question, and I would like to evaluate it for myself. It could be good, and I would not be surprised, as most people hired at Google are pretty sharp. It could also be bad and I wouldn't be surprised, for the reasons mentioned.

> all his peers in Google somehow colluded to fake his reviews and performance evaluations.

Oh, do you have copies of those? I would like to see them, too thanks. Otherwise, you don't have much in the way of evidence that those exist. You have a proven liar about performance making claims about performance. He could be correct in this case, or he could be lying again.

> all his peers in Google somehow colluded to fake his reviews

Have you ever been part of a performance review process? Even the best-designed ones are imperfect and political. Sometimes not-very-good people get promoted. Sometimes very good people don't. I have heard a number of stories from Google pals of people energetically trying to manipulate the process.

When it's my job to read performance reviews and promotion packets, I take them with a grain of salt. I look at work output and actually talk with people. Which is all I'm saying I'd like to do here. Maybe Damore really is competent. Maybe he isn't. I'd like to see for myself.


>You claim that there is a pattern of bad diversity hires, but your anecdotes are just as easily explained by confirmation bias: You see an incompetent male engineer, and you write him off as an idiot and forget him. You see an incompetent woman, and she becomes evidence that there is a problem with diversity programs. You remember evidence that supports your narrative.

If you just base it on what you see, yes. But if you're partial to top brass interviews and conversations about getting this or that person to pad diversity, and of talk about overlooking skills since "we need more X", then no (of course that would still be partial knowledge of the overall state of the market).


Googles hiring process has had books written on it. People study for it. When you see someone there that is incompetent you are going to ask why they got through. Diversity hire is one obvious possibility.


> you write him off as an idiot and forget him

Not really. I have a lot of faith in our engineering staff so I wonder how he got hired and how he avoids getting fired. The uncomfortable truth is that if he was an employee that "looked good" I would know the answer to those questions.


As I said before, my response is not data, I know that. But what you just wrote is exactly how confirmation bias works: If he fit your narrative, he would confirm your narrative. That is why these discussions need to be about data, and not "what everyone sees and no one talks about."


My point is more that the anecdotal stuff matters -- by being ham-fisted in your attempts to address diversity you reduce inclusiveness.


Your faith in your engineering staff is beside the point. Bias is human nature. Unless you're actively structuring your processes to exclude or minimise it then you're certainly suffering from it, the only question is how.

It's not specifically gender or racial bias either. We ran a study of 700 candidates for a role, running regular hiring against blind assessment and found that the major difference for that role in that organisation was socio-economic... they'd been excluding great candidates who went to less prestigious universities.


Diversity based on outward appearance is one of the most convoluted and ridiculous movements ever. We cannot spend decades trying to show that appearance is absolutely meaningless to talent, skills, and motivation, and then regress right back to it to show off "diversity".

Also nobody ever seems to ask: diversity of what exactly? What's the target? Life experience? There is no qualitative score for that, nor is any single person's life more or less interesting and influential than anyone else.

The only thing we can objectively and accurately measure is merit, motivation, and results, and we should use those metrics alone for hiring and advancement, in addition to fighting subjective bias (like removing names and photos from resumes) and making sure there's equivalent opportunity for anyone to try. After that, it would be best if just let people do what they want to do and move on.


I think many companies aren’t promoting “diversity” to support an ideology, they do it because it has specific PR and legal outcomes that help their image. Companies with high diversity metrics get praised in the press. Companies with low diversity metrics get negative attention. Diversity metrics are also a solid defense in real courts and the court of public opinion when race/gender/sexual harassment claims come up.

I don’t know to what extent this is true, or even how to measure it, but it would help explain why “diversity” initiatives seems so illogical some times, which has perplexed me too.


That seems to me like an idealogy of its own, but what exactly are diversity metrics measuring then? Appearance and other unchangeable physical traits? How unfortunate since they have nothing to do with interests, abilities, or character.


Yes.

> Appearance and other unchangeable physical traits? How unfortunate since they have nothing to do with interests, abilities, or character.

As GP pointed out, companies aren't really after that.

When a company does not discriminate on race or gender, it generally stays silent about it, because "not actively discriminating" is just normal hiring on merit. When a company boasts about their diversity program, there's a strategy behind it. Maybe it's because the management believes increasing diversity beyond the industry distribution creates a better working environment (as you indirectly point out, the connection here is speculative). Or maybe they know it's good PR, and also a diverse workplace creates a nice CYA for the company in case of a disgruntled employee filing in a bullshit harassment lawsuit.


> but what exactly are diversity metrics measuring then?

Perhaps a willingness to have a dialogue

Much like how when debating the advocacy for a higher education degree I have heard people defend the effort as evidence to accept direction and a capacity to see something through to the end

I think there is merit in what of my own opinion I recognise in your commenting critically of diversity efforts

gp> Diversity based on outward appearance is one of the most convoluted and ridiculous movements ever.

Namely, that you think people should be met with openness and that contemporary diversity efforts seem to restrict that openness

But I feel that is using individual logic on systems

I think the proponents of diversity efforts would most likely support individual openness as well because they also recognise the systemic structures that currently restrict that openness

Like how a degree implies broad connotation about your ability to be a professional in a field when only representing a fraction of what real experience you will utilise in that profession

These diversity efforts seem to be implying generalised correlation to identify inequalities that are restricting universal openness and modifying their behaviour to remove the identifier

Or perhaps they are showing they are willing to use legal measures if exclusive minds refuse to recognise the data supporting "The only thing we can objectively and accurately measure"


I think you're missing the point of the "diversity movement". The point is that some classes, e.g. women and minorities face discrimination that's baked into the selection process, even when they eventual selectors are not showing a preference. You might try to hire based only on "merit, motivation, and results", but any measure of those things is going to be imperfect. If those measurements are themselves biased, then your selection will be biased, even if you didn't want it to be. The goal of diversity policies is, in part, to break through and counteract those biases.

Jon Stewart gave a post-retirement interview in which he talked about this issue in the comedy world. He initially wrote off criticism of the lack of diversity in the writer's room for The Daily Show, since he always told people that he was interested in hiring more women and minorities. He eventually realized that the channels along which people came to the job was already selecting for white males, and that more diverse hiring required rethinking those channels.

https://youtu.be/p1H7KxPlbQw?t=42m32s


I didn't miss that point, it was clearly stated as fighting subjective bias and making sure there is equal opportunity. Measuring performance is pretty objective, but yes it should also constantly be improved.

That has nothing to do with diversity based on appearance nor will those policies help.


Which policies don't help? There have been a broad array of diversity policies attempted over the years. Do you have any evidence suggesting that they all fail?

Here's [1] an overview of a bunch of programs. It includes data on how they've affected employee composition and discusses why certain things fail or succeed. The first success it cites is voluntary diversity training. The sort Google has. The sort that James Damore attended and then got angry about.

[1]https://hbr.org/2016/07/why-diversity-programs-fail


Policies to force diversity based on outward appearance and other unchangeable and meaningless physical traits do not help.

As said before: remove any selection bias, then hire those who can do the work, want to do the work, and have shown to do the work well before. Then measure performance and promote using the same objective processes. That's it.

Perhaps we can boil down the issue as the difference between making hiring as fair as possible, or making hiring ensure a certain outcome. The first option is good since it produces fair results, but the latter is actually what's happening in most places.


They don't help what? You haven't really responded to my point. And how to you plan to "remove any selection bias"? These efforts are there to counteract the selection bias that already exists. You say we should make hiring as fair as possible, but that, right there, is a big part of the goal of diversity policies.


We're miscommunicating. We both agree that hiring practices should be fair and objective as possible... what I'm saying is that is the goal itself, and a racial/ethnic/skintone/appearance-based diverse group may or may not be the outcome, but the outcome will be fair if the process is.

Diversity-based policies currently are only focused on the outcome, but the outcome is not what should be designed for. The outcome should just be what it will naturally be (whether it's "diverse" or not) and we should only control for selection and opportunity. This is what diversity-based policies do not help since you cannot work backwards from the outcome, you must start with making a fair process and just let people do what they want do beyond that.


> diversity of what exactly is the target? Life experience?

Clearly not when every company recruits from the same 10 schools.


Surely you can agree that every student is an individual and just because they go to the same college does not mean they all have the same background?


No, but I would argue it makes them less diverse than their physical traits. Especially considering that college is a formative time for most people.


If it's not about physical traits (which is good) then why does it matter? You realize every company does in fact discriminate for talent? (which is also fine).

We all want smartest, more capable and most reliable people, not a mix of smart and average and dumb just to "represent". Picking the top schools aligns for that, as long as your competitive enough to hire them.


I challenge your characterization of anyone who's not from Stanford or an Ivy as dumb

However, if that's what you want to believe then more power to you. Hire whoever you want. I'm just agreeing with OP that the target of diversity programs is decidedly not to get diversity of life experience -- because there are much better ways to attain that than hiring by skin color or gender.


No, but in-state tuition has to contribute significantly to where you go to college.


Only if you go to a public, state school.

Otherwise, in-state tuition probably can't be a factor.


> Also nobody ever seems to ask: diversity of what exactly?

https://www.bis.org/review/r160531e.pdf asks literally "Diversity of what exactly?"


Diversity in any non-job-related axis along which candidates have historically been excluded.


Diversity, even based on outward appearance, has real-world advantages for companies. Or at least, lack of it can lead to making serious errors that can lead to underserving or even insulting customers.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/07/01/google-apolog...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/08/09/faceapp-spa...

https://www.rt.com/viral/400927-robots-racist-sexist-bank-lo...

http://www.businessinsider.com/samsung-huawei-smartphone-bea...


> As far as his "conservative white male" discrimination claims, I've seen that too. My boss specifically requested candidates that are not middle-aged white males. But it's nowhere near the same level of discrimination that people of color or women have endured for decades. Perhaps the reason people don't feel sorry for conservative white males is that if they are rejected by one company they can keep trying and will find an "old school" company that will hire them. We have not had that luxury, for blacks and women it was 100 nos for every 1 yes. It's not that way for white guys, sorry.

But why does that make it okay? I absolutely believe that you're right in that there has been worse discrimination over the decades and that maybe old white men can find jobs elsewhere, but that doesn't make discrimination okay. It's not okay when those "old school companies" discriminate against any minorities and it's not okay when some discriminate against old white men.


I don't think OP said that it made it OK. (It doesn't). I think OP was saying that people like her had to fight through worse - not to say it doesn't matter, but to place it in perspective and context.

Say 100% discrimination is the KKK lynching people. Say 50% discrimination is redlining and refusal to hire. Then what are white males facing? Maybe 10%? Yes, it matters. And also yes, it's not in the same league as what other groups have had to face.


> Perhaps the reason people don't feel sorry for conservative white males is that if they are rejected by one company they can keep trying and will find an "old school" company that will hire them. We have not had that luxury, for blacks and women it was 100 nos for every 1 yes. It's not that way for white guys, sorry.

More recent studies don't show any bias against women in callback rates. In fact, some show slight bias for women (and if you're willing to look at non peer reviewed sources, more than a slight: https://talent.works/blog/2018/01/08/the-science-of-the-job-...)


another study supports this claim:

"The trial found assigning a male name to a candidate made them 3.2 per cent less likely to get a job interview."

"Adding a woman's name to a CV made the candidate 2.9 per cent more likely to get a foot in the door."

source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-30/bilnd-recruitment-tria...


“We built our castle 300 miles away from where they live, but if any of them make it here we are 3% more likely to let them in the door. The men live in a village 1000 yards away, but we’re 3% less likely to let one in, so it’s fair.”


Or, to look at it this way: We cut our cake up to 10 pieces. You keep eight of them and I keep two of them. You eat one piece and I eat two pieces. And then I'm the glutton because I ate more pieces than you did and you can't argue with the numbers.


do you have any proof of this claims? and if they were true how and in what you way would this matter if we were to compare one individual to one individual instead of treating people like herds.


I didn’t make a claim.


I hate the fact that you need to state "you're a mixed race woman in tech.". I'm not blaming you, I'm blaming the outrage culture instilled in big part by a bigoted academic clique.


In any discussion of a social problem there are apologists. There are only so many ways to signal that you’re not a shill. It’s not a great solution, but we don’t have better.

I agree on the data thing. I think when you get down to the bottom of things, lumping people under a label and treating them as a cohesive unit is part of the problem. If that’s true, getting permission from a small cohort of that group is still bad, because you’re assuming if these three people are okay with it then it’s okay.

It’s that incident with Chevy Chase and the n-word that started this line of thought for me. I don’t care if Richard Pryor said it was okay. He is one voice. Don’t act surprised if other people don’t agree. Being surprised means you’ve already decided all black people are the same and a sample size of one means you’re okay to do something.


There are only so many ways to signal that you’re not a shill. It’s not a great solution, but we don’t have better.

Or, people can learn to read and act on the content of an argument rather than immediately trying to discredit someone with appeals to popular bigotry.


If we were discussing the merits of React vs Angular, sure.

But in general, telling someone they've been a jerk all their life leads to certain existential crises that they will do just about anything to avoid.

People don't just get defensive, they get cruel. There's a whole group of tricks that are basically gaslighting the person. They take an aggressively "reasonable" stance and trying to convince the person they're crazy and it's all them.

Because this happens often enough that many of these 'overtures' are obvious, it makes interacting with moderates a waste of time. I've seen person after person get DDOSed by a handful of people throwing walls of text at them but really just tangenting the conversation off into oblivion.

So when someone who is actually in your group takes a moderate position, unless you know them personally, you can't know if they're really a moderate or just a troll. That's not to say you spend effort on people at the extremes, it just means you are hesitant about overly-moderate people the way you are about people asking you for help on a street corner. You've tried it before and it's a scam so often you don't even want to make eye contact.


Stating this fact is the only way this comment could possibly be noticed. I wouldnt be surprised if lieing to this extent is the only way that these anecdotes could ever see the light of day. Though it doesnt change the validity of the points made


I've been accused of lying about it before to get attention. Realistically I only state it as a precaution because lately some of the things I've posted on other venues get an immediate comment calling me a Nazi and I want to avoid all the explanation and just get to discussing the issues.

I would prefer it if all of us could leave gender/race/religion at the door and talk but that's now the how the internet works now.


> bigoted academic clique

Ah, everybody's a bigot but the actual bigots


mordern feminsts professors hold fringe ideas about human nature that are far too extreme to the point that it contradicts current scientific findings while also being caught using what can only be called authoritarian methods. A group that holds strong ideas, refuses to change them and uses authoritarian policies to shutdown debate is, in my opinion, bigoted. One of the most recent examples in memory is the Laurier university Case you check it out here: https://globalnews.ca/video/3867811/extended-excerpts-from-s...

more about that incident: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/wilfrid-lau...

this is the same university that gave away a pay raise based on gender: http://nationalpost.com/opinion/christie-blatchford-pay-rais... That ended up in some female professors that were hired in the same time as some male professors having a higher pay after the raise even though they were paid the same before it.


>> I do think that men and women are biologically different and, it likely does contribute to a lack of interest in tech from women.

Then there must be a biological difference between women from different cultures that's also contributing, because I've only observed this "lack of interest" in Anglosphere women.

From my experience, for instance, Indian women have no such problem and are in fact strongly represented within the IT profession and I've worked alongside several of them. Women in my country of birth (Greece) have no such problem and about two fifths of the Greek programmers I know are women. In the British universities I studied and the British workplaces I worked in the last few years, on the other hand, women are about a tenth of all programmers I've met.

So because it's a bit absurd for Anglo women to be so specifically genetically programmed to stay out of the IT professions, I'm going to assume it's not a genetic, but a cultural thing going on.

Btw, I've discussed this with a female Indian software engineer I was working with and she explained that in India, working in IT is seen as an office job and so more suited to women. Traditional gender roles, innit.


There is plenty of evidence that there are genetic differences in how the brain is build up between men and women [0]. Several studies have also found that as early as 3 year old children will develop differences in their cognition; boys will develop better spatial skills at that age compared to girls, on the other hand the girls will have a better memory recall than the boys. This development can then be traced all the way into adulthood with a variety of skillsets (not only spatial tasks but eye-hand coordination, motor skills, reaction times, recollection, processing speed and verbal skills) [1]

Now this doesn't mean women are incapable or bad at copmuter engineering or anything in IT. Quite the opposite, women are just as capable and can be just as good in IT as men, there is no reason they can't.

If what you say is true and indian culture views IT as an office job and therefore a woman's job, then I don't see how that contradicts the assertion that there are biological cognitive differences, women can do the same job, they are just less inclined to be interested in it. On average.

So while gender roles may play a role (pun intended) in the distribution of gender in the IT job, expecting a 50/50 representation is entirely fictional, there will be a bias towards one or the other based on simple cognitive development tendencies.

---

0: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00429-017-1600-2

1: doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2013.10.011.


I'm Eastern-european, and not fully aware of the US cultural issues. I participated at a company (US) "principal scientists summit", and the issue of women in tech was brought up. As the lady presented the data, and how we're making progress on hiring more women but there's still no equality, I asked the (innocent/legitimate, I thought) question "how are we doing compared to graduation stats". Seemed natural to me to look at that data in order to figure whether we're getting increasingly worse "return on investment" by focusing exclusively on hiring, but it was immediately spun off into me being somewhat sexist for suggesting that "we don't have a women-hiring problem". Which is not what I meant to imply at all! And from there on, there was sensible tension in the air, with some people taking to take my side without making "career-limiting" statements. It's crazy how taboo some subjects are, at least in California...

(it's secondary, but FWIW, I'd debate that the Damore memo contained a lot of truth: yes it contained some truth, but it contained more/deeper falsehoods and wrong conclusions, IMO. So it's a bit unproductive to focus on the "truth" part. OTOH it's horrifically unproductive and wrong to fire someone for expressing a misguided, but not inherently evil/malicious p.o.v.)


I think a reasonable person can find snippets of what he wrote distasteful. But it’s more like uncomfortable. I agree there is truth in it.

It’s very obvious to me that the negative reaction was greatly amplified by the ever-outraged and ever-posturing social (media) justice contingent.


> I do think that men and women are biologically different and, it likely does contribute to a lack of interest in tech from women.

I don't think anyone believes in the opposite, that biological difference in gender plays exactly zero part in lack of interest in tech from women. The memo was suggesting this could play a part, but not whether if biological differences are significant or even meaningful.

To the best of my knowledge, we can't disentangle biological from cultural biases across gender. Hunting down biological reasons isn't productive and threatens gender equality initiatives, hence the massive backlash.

Should we question the ideals of gender equality in the workplace? That's probably the discussion the memo wanted to inspire, but it only led to out cries of "sheeple better wake up" and "hell no."


The really sad part is you have to preface your comments with this "Before you downvote/call me a Nazi, I'm a mixed race woman in tech." Somehow this gives you legitimacy in the eyes of others, not the power and logic of your argument. It speaks to the left's misguided philosophy of "free speech so long as we approve what you say."


Stupid question, just to get a sense of the context of your testimony: are you working for Google or a similarly prestigious organisation? I can certainly expect “a "Software Engineer" who can't write a SQL statement” in some of the company I worked for a decade ago but I’d be confused to see those at Google. I saw one at Facebook (middle-aged white male) but he left the company after ten days and anyone’s reaction was a really confused: “How did he…?”


No, I don't want to name my company for obvious reasons but it's not Google or Facebook, not in the same league. It's an organization with around 400 engineers in it total, so not a small shop, but not a giant household name either.


Wouldn't it be more expected at google? I didn't think they had a lot of traditional databases, so it's not a relevant skill for them. They've also got a fair few low level guys working in c and the like that I wouldn't expect to know much about sql.


yes, but we use SQL in our job daily, if only for validation, but also we write a lot of scripts for reporting, migration etc. It's pretty crucial for the job and we've turned away several candidates for not being strong enough in SQL/TSQL


>As far as his "conservative white male" discrimination claims, I've seen that too. My boss specifically requested candidates that are not middle-aged white males. But it's nowhere near the same level of discrimination that people of color or women have endured for decades. Perhaps the reason people don't feel sorry for conservative white males is that if they are rejected by one company they can keep trying and will find an "old school" company that will hire them. We have not had that luxury, for blacks and women it was 100 nos for every 1 yes. It's not that way for white guys, sorry.

Its not that way for white guys to receive hundreds of Nos?


> I definitely see people hired just because of their minority status.

How do you know that they were hired just because of their minority status?


Because the hiring manager personally told me that was why he hired the person and why the white guy and Indian guy was not getting a call. More than once. And one of them even said that this was a direct order from their manager. They were told to improve diversity metrics. When you tell a direct report to do something, you should not be surprised when they do it.


Because there are explicit examples of this with supporting evidence given in the lawsuit.


No, there aren't. There are alleged examples and supposed evidence of lots of things in the lawsuit, but that isn't one of them.


Yes, in paragraphs 174 to 198, but specifically 179 to 181.


Nothing in 174-198 is supported by evidence in the filing (this isn't unusual at this stage, since that's not generally required in an initial filing, but your claim was of evidence), except 188, which is part of an allegation of adverse politically-motivated job treatment, not hiring based on race/gender.

So, no, there are no examples with evidence of people hired just for minority status in the lawsuit filing.


Yes there is, there's an email embedded in the paragraphs I outlined.

You might think that's not direct evidence, but it's evidence that supports the story in the paragraphs I outlined.

It says explicitly in paragraph 179: "Upon information and belief, the Google employee was not selected due to the fact that the hiring managers were looking solely for “diverse” individuals, and as a Caucasian male, the Google employee did not help fill their mandatory (and illegal) quotas."

And then "the Google employee’s former director initiated a “Diversity Team Kickoff” with the intent to freeze headcount so that teams could find diversity candidates to help fill the empty roles. Google was specifically looking for women and non-Caucasian individuals to fill these roles."

I think _you_ think that _I_ think this is damning proof and that the case is settled, and I've never claimed that. I just said that there are examples of people being hired because of their diversity status, with supporting evidence.

I'm not saying the evidence is true, or that it's directly related, but it _is_ "supporting evidence".


> Yes there is, there's an email embedded in the paragraphs I outlined

Yes, at 188; I addressed it. It's evidence provided for something, but not the thing you claimed.

> It says explicitly in paragraph 179: "Upon information and belief, the Google employee was not selected due to the fact that the hiring managers were looking solely for “diverse” individuals, and as a Caucasian male, the Google employee did not help fill their mandatory (and illegal) quotas."

Yes, that's an allegation. No evidence supporting this allegation is included (and, further, it used the “on information and belief” language which indicates that the party filing the lawsuit does not have first-hand knowledge that the allegation is true, but expects to have evidence—e.g., attained through discovery—to prove it should the case go to trial.)

This is perfectly normal for a lawsuit complaint, of course, but does not support your claim of examples (or even an example) with evidence in the filing.


I really don't mean to be obnoxious or disagree just for the sake of saving face or whatever - I really just don't understand how you can claim that those passages are not an example of someone being denied a team position because they were explicitly favoring minority-candidates instead.

I understand that it's not proof of it, like I said, and I understand that there's no direct evidence supporting that claim.

What I'm saying is that the email they embed there is supporting evidence of the narrative outlined in those paragraphs.

And I don't understand how you can say "no evidence supporting this allegation is included" then.

At this point, I'm not sure how to phrase myself to get my point across either - english is a second language, so please excuse me.

I'm quite certain that we are in agreement - what we probably disagree with is my distilling this down to the single sentence that I did initially.

But even that is a sentence distilled in good faith on my part, I don't feel that I misrepresented it that badly, and it's the kind of sentence I'd use around the dinner table until someone wanted to dig further into it.


>Before you downvote/call me a Nazi, I'm a mixed race woman in tech.

That maybe one of the saddest statements in the history of modern discourse. It’s not your fault for saying it, it’s that you needed to say it.

We have reached the point where identity matters more than content. This is the exact opposite of the MLK dream as I understood it.


>Before you downvote/call me a Nazi, I'm a mixed race woman in tech.

No offence but I think it's kind of harmful to everyone when you make arguments based on your race and gender.


The issue is that if that statement had not been included than OP would have been accused of being privileged and thus disqualified from having an opinion.


Exactly, I'm not using it to bolster my statement, rather to prevent being called a Nazi


> Before you downvote/call me a Nazi, I'm a mixed race woman in tech.

Why would it matter that you are "a mixed race woman in tech"? Your comment should be judged only by its content, not by its author's race or gender, right?


Of course, that's how it used to be, but posting this without my profile picture next to it would bring out accusations of being sexist/nazi etc if I didn't clarify.


I’ll violate my usual practice of not commenting explaining the reason for downvotes, to say this:

Preemptive comments of this type, which reflect the posters hostile prejudgement of the likely responses, are IMO, contrary to the letter and spirit of the HN guidelines including the rule of presumption of good faith, frequently (as in this case) involve preemptive violations of the guideline against commenting on downvotes, and contribute to a hostile atmosphere rather than productive debate.

If you are going to post something, with or without a disclaimer about your own background, do so without commenting about how you expect people to react in comments or votes. If there are responses you take issue with, take issue with them when they exist.


That would be true for the content of a comment about whether .NET is dead or not. But then for that type of comment, you might judge it differently if the author is a user of Microsoft dev tools vs if she primarily works with open source tools.


>People notice it, but few say it.

Of course. They'd get fired.


Kudos for such a well balanced piece. At the end of the day, it should be who can get the job done, that is all. And that is how companies will stay robust.


"It was (mostly) ugly but contained a lot of truth."

That's just it; it really did not. It contained a lot of things that people who aren't members of those groups he targeted think are plausible.

"I do think that men and women are biologically different and, it likely does contribute to a lack of interest in tech from women. "

And what, specifically, would those differences be?


And what, specifically, would those differences be?

The balance of the evidence, is that there are some biological differences in preferences. Both biological and cultural factors are at play. As groups, women and men are about the same in terms of average IQ, however, men tend to have a higher population of the extreme outliers. (Both extremely smart men and extremely stupid men.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n691pLhQBkw

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTWSoM1_6KM


Is there any evidence that this is biological, as opposed to cultural?


In short, yes. You should look up the book which is cited in this video, and you should listen to the discussion of the prologue:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n691pLhQBkw

Since the human brain and its interaction with culture is very complicated, more research is needed. But a fair reading of what we have so far would seem to indicate: it's both.

Beware of ideological just-so stories that make you feel good. Also, if it sounds messy and complicated, it sounds like actual biology and psychology.


It looks like there is only indirect evidence, and no direct evidence. In fact, the whole discussion smells far too much of "correlation means causation" to get anything useful out of it.

There are some great weasel words like: "there is good evidence ... play a role ..."

Without a hypothetical mechanism, this is all quite speculative.


>> Is there any evidence that this is biological, as opposed to cultural?

> [Plenty]

> It looks like there is only indirect evidence,

And there go the goalposts, red-shifting into the sunset.

> "correlation means causation" / "there is good evidence ... play a role ..."

Well, remember that Damore's claim was that there is evidence that we cannot categorically rule out biological causes for the skewed representation, in addition to discrimination.

For that claim, even much weaker evidence than what exists would have been sufficient.


Damore’s claim was that the evidence justified specific corporate policy responses, including rejecting several of Google’s public core values.


Nah. His claim was that there was enough evidence to question policies (secret policies that were in violation of those public core values and probably also the law) that are based on the completely unfounded assumption that discrimination/bias/oppression is the only possible cause for unequal representation.


It's more like Damore's claim was that specific corporate policy were based on the assumption of the opposite. Also, he did not reject Google's core values, unless you take a biased and imputational reading.


> It's more like Damore's claim was that specific corporate policy were based on the assumption of the opposite

No, while that was a supporting claim, the conclusory claims everything in the manifesto are offered to support are that specific policy changes are justified.

> Also, he did not reject Google's core values, unless you take a biased and imputational reading.

As an example, empathy is a core publicly-stated internal value of Google which Damore explicitly called for de-emphasizing. There's nothing “biased and imputational” about reading Damore’s words to mean what they explicitly say.


> everything in the manifesto are offered to support are that specific policy changes are justified.

No. The main reason he gives for policy changes is that the policy isn't working. Numbers haven't budged, despite measures getting ever more extreme and likely illegal. He then suggests that maybe, just maybe, the policy is based on a false assumption. And then delivers some evidence that this could be true. And then presents some ideas of what policies might have a better chance of working.

> empathy is a core publicly-stated internal value of Google which Damore explicitly called for de-emphasizing

Where? I've searched a bunch of places and can't find this, for example:

https://www.google.com/about/philosophy.html

I also googled "google values" and none of the posts so far have had "empathy" in them, though it could be that I haven't searched enough. Anyway, empathy is not a value. Empathy is an emotional capacity. His criticism of empathy is, as far as I can tell, based on the thesis of Paul Bloom's recent book Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion. [1][2][3].

"Brilliantly argued, urgent and humane, AGAINST EMPATHY shows us that, when it comes to both major policy decisions and the choices we make in our everyday lives, limiting our impulse toward empathy is often the most compassionate choice we can make."

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Against-Empathy-Case-Rational-Compass...

[2] https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29100194-against-empathy

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/06/books/review-against-empa...


There is quite a distance between:

"We cannot rule out biological causes" and "We should base our HR policy on this speculative research".


"We should not base our corporate policy on the completely unproven and highly unlikely assumption that oppression is the only possible cause of unequal representation"

There, fixed that for you.

Also, the research is not at all speculative, quite the opposite. It is immeasurably more solid than the blind assertion that unequal representation is caused entirely/solely by oppression/discrimination etc., for which there is very little evidence overall, and virtually none that holds up to any sort of scrutiny.


Given that there is no known mechanism, characterizing it as "the opposite of speculative" seems rather naive.


Sorry, I can't parse this. Are you saying that until we have a complete understanding of how the brain and mind work, all psychological research is essentially worthless?


On the contrary, I'm saying that speculative research probably isn't suitable for crafting HR policies.


So you agree with James. Glad we could clear that up.

Background: there is little to no evidence for the assertion that discrimination/oppression is the sole cause of the under-representation of women in tech, but that assertion is the basis of the HR policies that Damore criticized. In fact, the evidence that it is even a contributing factor is at best scant/anecdotal.

The evidence that Damore cited is incomparably more solid.


ok what about this "Sex differences in brain size and general intelligence (g)" (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289616...)

"Abstract

Utilizing MRI and cognitive tests data from the Human Connectome project (N = 900), sex differences in general intelligence (g) and molar brain characteristics were examined. Total brain volume, cortical surface area, and white and gray matter correlated 0.1–0.3 with g for both sexes, whereas cortical thickness and gray/white matter ratio showed less consistent associations with g. Males displayed higher scores on most of the brain characteristics, even after correcting for body size, and also scored approximately one fourth of a standard deviation higher on g. Mediation analyses and the Method of Correlated Vectors both indicated that the sex difference in g is mediated by general brain characteristics. Selecting a subsample of males and females who were matched on g further suggest that larger brains, on average, lead to higher g, whereas similar levels of g do not necessarily imply equal brain sizes."


I assume you are presenting this as another example of indirect correlational evidence, with no hypothetical mechanism.


The study examined female and male brains, found that males on average had a higher general intelligence score and a higher standard deviation. The study also found that male brains had on average higher surface area and size even if you control for body size. The study found that brain size in both genders on average leads to a higher g.

I don't understand how your criticism "indirect correlational evidence" applies to this study, could you maybe elaborate on how you would improve this study?


I presume you are offering this study as evidence of differences due to sex.


Yes isn't it?


No, it's evidence that they are correlated, not causal.


so you believe that physical difference between sexes in size of the brain, is not due to sex? what would you say this is caused by?

I would like to point out that saying this changes are due to evolution not sex is unvalid because then nothing will be due to sex, not saying that you think that but just getting it out of the way.


Well hell, the Newtonian laws of motion had no hypothetical mechanism for gravity for a rather long time. We're still in the early days of figuring out Homo sapiens. Don't get your knickers in a bunch, yet. It looks like you're uptight about something.


Nothing to get your knickers in a bunch about, is what I'd say about it. (Note, that term can refer to golf pants.)


a - Women have a higher capacity at empathy (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19476221)

b - higher capacity of empathy might be in part to biological: "Testosterone may reduce empathy by reducing brain connectivity" http://www.psypost.org/2016/03/testosterone-may-reduce-empat...

c- people who have a higher level of empathy might be interrested in fields which need a higher level of empathy, or seek to join fields that directly interact with people [ I don't have a source for this one. It seems logical to me, but it is unproven. if you know a study that proves or disproves it. Please link it]

d - higher levels of women interessted in other fields leads to less women interrested in tech


You know what makes me even angrier, social injustice


After your first two paragraphs, you mostly allude to the truths contained in Damore's document.

Could you elaborate a little more about its "ugliness"?


EDIT: Deleted this comment as it was downvoted for not agreeing with the hivemind.


If you're going to delete your comment, delete it, but what you left here violates the HN guidelines. Please don't do that.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


I watch a fair amount of Microsoft technical videos, and just off the top of my head I can think of 3 people who are very likely to be diversity hires.

Although at the same time and despite being pretty far right on the political spectrum, I think there is some truth to the idea that big companies "should" hire visible minorities over and above those that are fully qualified, but it shouldn't be done at the expense of legitimately qualified people, or that it causes significant harm to product quality.


I don't think minorities should be hired to be "visible", that doesn't sit right with me. Hiring minorities and even people from different economic backgrounds, country of origin etc is good for getting different perspectives and different ways of approaching problems.

The hard truth is if you only hire white guys from Stanford you've got a ton of overlap in their background and the way they think. If you only hire black women from Somalia it's the same. You're going to have significant similarities. Making teams more diverse is extremely important and beneficial as long as all are otherwise qualified.


There is nothing but debunked studies to back up your last statement as a generally applicable one. Obviously, it depends on the job.

Designers, sure, it's very eqsy to think of examples where diverse backgrounds improve business outcomes. But let's not pretend that there is any difference in business outcomes if Foxconn's assembly lines snapping iPhone parts together are entirely Chinese hands vs if they were to equally represent all members of the united nations.

Asserting that there is a benefit needs to be seriously qualified, as it can certainly be everything ranging from a benefit, to negligible, to an actual handicap.


> Almost all of the women from my social circle are smart, pragmatic, driven and successful yet have zero interest in a technical career. They excel in their given industries but ours they want no part of. I don't believe intelligence is more prevalent in either gender, but I do believe there are some traits that shape who we are.

That's most definitely a cultural thing, and I believe its what diversity programs try to address.

> As far as his "conservative white male" discrimination claims, I've seen that too. My boss specifically requested candidates that are not middle-aged white males. But it's nowhere near the same level of discrimination that people of color or women have endured for decades. Perhaps the reason people don't feel sorry for conservative white males is that if they are rejected by one company they can keep trying and will find an "old school" company that will hire them. We have not had that luxury, for blacks and women it was 100 nos for every 1 yes. It's not that way for white guys, sorry.

I get that, but I think your boss was still wrong to think and phrase of it that way. No one should be disqualified simply because of their race or age. Give more points to minorities? Yes definitely. But reducing points because you're of a certain race and age just sounds icky, and is probably illegal.


If the points are fungible (and they absolutely are) then what is the difference between giving extra points to <people not like x> and giving fewer points to <people like x>. How are they not functionally identical?


This isn't quite the same thing, but i've always found it annoying how it's generally okay to say, for example, that Chinese people are good at math but it's not okay to say that any other group is bad at math, even though the former claim is a relative claim that is presumably understood to be comparative to other groups of people, who are (on average) worse at math.


Why is it annoying? If I'm addressing a team of 5 people, I would much rather say that person A is amazing at math than tell 4 others that they suck at math.

Social skills are a thing, even if they're logically equivalent statements.


lots of folks are against that. Positive discrimination is a thing.


>That's most definitely a cultural thing, and I believe its what diversity programs try to address.

If it's a cultural thing, why is one version (attitude/culture) towards it considered better than the other (and thus one has to be "addressed")?


> That's most definitely a cultural thing

If it is a cultural thing, then surely the correct response is not to mandate gender balance in corporate hiring practices, but to alter the education and socialization of girls. Whether it is cultural or biological, the results are the same: fewer women have the interest to excel in specific fields. App Camp for Girls might be a better approach than diversity hiring.


> I do think that men and women are biologically different and, it likely does contribute to a lack of interest in tech from women.

The history of women in tech completely contradicts your belief. The lack of representation is a real problem, we can debate how to fix it, but to claim it doesn't exist is baseless and harmful.

https://hackernoon.com/a-brief-history-of-women-in-computing...


It doesn't. At all.

The issue is that it doesn't matter. Women might be less interested in tech, as in if you took 100 men and 100 women and measured their interest the men might be higher.

That doesn't mean no women are interested in tech, or that those who are interested are less competent.

I do think the idea of "less interested" is shallow and ignores every other explanation. For example, women are a majority in health care but a minority of doctors. Why?


That's shifting rapidly. Women are very close to 50% of medical school graduates as of 2015. [1]

[1] https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/medical-school-gra...


Not only this, but women still dominate nursing and many other healthcare professions, and women are increasingly preferred for certain specialist roles (e.g., OB-GYNs).

Nursing is one of the best all-around careers in the US when you take all factors into account (barriers to entry, pay, potential advancement, availability of jobs in both urban and rural areas, lack of ageism, long-term stability, etc.). Certain specialist nurses like CRNAs can make $150k+. Nurse practitioners also have a higher median salary than software developers in the US according to the BLS.


Women reached parity in law school graduation about two decades ago, but still lag in practicing law, becoming partners and becoming judges today so it may not be changing all that rapidly just based on that single statistic.


I don't have experience in law, but maybe those stats just need time to change. People that graduated from post-parity need time to reach the level of seniority needed.


> I do think the idea of "less interested" is shallow and ignores every other explanation. For example, women are a majority in health care but a minority of doctors. Why?

It's not that shallow. Using your example, the interesting things become visible when you dig down into different types of work done in the medical profession. Scott Alexander has a very convincing piece on the whole topic:

http://slatestarcodex.com/2017/08/07/contra-grant-on-exagger...

The issue of interest is tackled in section IV of the post. If you scroll down to the end of the section, there are interesting charts there, showing gender distribution of doctors among medical specialties. The distribution happens to align nicely with the theory of differences in interests, explored in that section.


>The issue is that it doesn't matter.

It does matter. As technology becomes more deeply embedded into our society the assumptions made by the people that designed that technology get amplified and hardened. Have you not heard the story about the soap-dispenser that wouldn't recognize black skin? It's a minor annoyance now, but it won't be when the technology is responsible for more critical stuff.

https://mic.com/articles/124899/the-reason-this-racist-soap-...

>For example, women are a majority in health care but a minority of doctors. Why?

Becoming a doctor requires an immense amount of capital and free time. There are structural barriers that prevent women from accessing this capital and free time as easily as men can.


> There are structural barriers that prevent women...

There is also a long history of "men are doctors, women are nurses".


There can be positives of hiring to increase diversity which aren't related strictly to their performance in the role they occupy.

Two such arguments for this kind of policies:

- by giving them jobs which they wouldn't otherwise have the skills to fill you are trying to break the "cycle" (more on that below)

- having different viewpoints in a team can be beneficial beyond the skill set those people should bring according to their role (ex. for developing apps that don't just cater to the hipster young)

Another thing to consider is that the way you measure performance may be biased, resulted from decades of privileged groups having the leadership role in that domain/area and having developed it in certain ways that caters to their skill set.

For the "breaking the cycle" part, I mean that systematic discrimination results in people of certain origins simply not having the opportunity/chance to have developed the skills to be competitive with the privileged classes. And no, you can't just fix this by giving them a "chance to learn", some of the negative impacts on these groups of people are permanent and happen in early life. Obviously trying to handle this problem in the workplace is just a "hack", it's too late already but it does have the benefit that now those people get included in a social environment that they would normally be cut out from, get payed more than they would otherwise and, hopefully, this will trickle down to their children and grandchildren so in a few generations of doing this we don't actually need to be doing it anymore.

I'm not saying that all of this means I'm convinced affirmative action is doing more good than bad, just that I see it has possible benefits.


have the benefit that now those people get included in a social environment that they would normally be cut out from, get payed more than they would otherwise and, hopefully, this will trickle down to their children and grandchildren

Irish immigrants started out from a culture, where the typical peasant was 1/2 to 1/4th as wealthy as the median pre-Civil War American Slave. There was a period of time when ethnic Irish political machines helped to place the party faithful into cozy government jobs. This was beneficial, up to a point. However, there is a point where such subgroup politics becomes so corrupt, the leaders of that group keep their people in deliberate isolation to maintain their power.

The IQs of many ethnic immigrant groups to the US can be shown to have increased after several generations. The Polish and Italian immigrant groups' IQs increased from 85 to over 100 over the 1st half of the 20th century. There seems to have been a reversal of such trends for African American communities starting in the 60's. There are also studies of the African American children of US armed forces personnel in Germany. Their IQs are the same as other children growing up in Germany. My conclusion is that the leadership of the African American community and the influence of the US political Left, by glorifying a toxic subset of their ethnic culture, is holding the group back, in cultural isolation, in such a way as to harm the prospects of their children as strongly as lead in the water of Flint Michigan.


>The Polish and Italian immigrant groups' IQs increased from 85 to over 100 over the 1st half of the 20th century.

Yes, because of improved living conditions, and better food compared to the old country - not because of political leadership.


not because of political leadership

In part because of leadership -- chiefly thought leadership, a part of which came in the form of assimilation. The power of human capital -- culture -- should not be underestimated. If it's just access to resources like improved food and living conditions, then every group would progress at the same rate. If it's just access to resources, then giving people resources would automatically make them richer. However, there are a number of Africans who advocate stopping aid to Africa. Africa is full or resources, and Japan has very few. Why is Japan so much wealthier?

Most of the answer is human capital.

If the cultures of the Polish and Italians were not encouraging their younger generations to better their fortunes through education and business, then the cultures would have lowered the material wealth of the groups and held them back, in much the same way that the early Irish immigrants to the US lowered the quality of life in their slums.

http://a.co/auz0JmV

In this, there is much hope. If cultural transmission can raise up the 19th century potato famine Irish to the 1st world mainstream, there is basically nothing it can't accomplish. (However, culture runs deep, below the level of the conscious mind. It can't be transmitted by simple edict.)


Disregarding the Flynn effect, the slow integration of Irish and the Catholics into American society prior to the end of Jim Crow and the fact that the US Black community and US mainstream left were lead by a black President who went to Harvard Law and Columbia, which toxic culture are they supposedly glorifying?


US mainstream left were lead by a black President who went to Harvard Law and Columbia

I voted for Obama. However, in retrospect, he was part of the shift of the American left into an authoritarian version. Those collegiate "progressive" protesters who say, "F your free speech" are part of this unfortunate shift.

which toxic culture are they supposedly glorifying?

Urban thug culture.

https://www.amazon.com/Black-Rednecks-Liberals-Thomas-Sowell...

There is a genteel African American culture. I've known people from that thread of American culture. It valued learning, rationality, responsibility, and manners. Also, not all Black Americans are too crazy about Obama's legacy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phPXTWJhnYM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6IJV_0p64s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKAaOzeIbwE


He doesn't have a choice really. With the PR mess he got himself into, no big company will ever hire him. Imagine the possible headlines "Microsoft hires the James Damore, the male supremacy advocate fired from Google". Nope, regardless the technical skill or his actual personality, his public image is forever ruined.

So he realistically has a choice between becoming a paid speaker for fringe ultra-right organizations, trying to sue Google and retire off the proceeds, or leaving tech and becoming a noname blue collar or a freelancer forever hiding his face.

I hope they will settle for an amount sufficient for retirement and the dude's life won't get ruined due to a stupid political game he didn't even realize he was playing.


You must be from US.

As a European, I find all these things very absurd. Like the guys with the "dongle" joke that both got fired [1], and if I remember correctly, so did the woman reporting them.

Maybe you should all start by treating each other with more respect, whoever it is. And don't go witch-hunting.

[1] https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/03/how-dongle-jokes...


I actually lived in Germany for a few years before moving on to North America, so I can somewhat compare. IMO, people in US are generally more competitive than in Europe, but in the current political climate this unfortunately leads to more backstabbing and more dirty play.

Europe has its holy cows as well. Try publicly questioning the Syrian refugee program or come up with scientific evidence that nationals coming from war conflict zones have a higher chance of becoming criminals - you'll get crucified the same way.


> Europe has its holy cows as well. Try publicly questioning the Syrian refugee program or come up with scientific evidence that nationals coming from war conflict zones have a higher chance of becoming criminals - you'll get crucified the same way.

Boy, and don't even begin to mention that refugee programmes in Europe are probably the least effective way to evacuate people from a warzone (and that the majority of people coming in are likely not in fact refugees).


Looking at the numbers here in Sweden, it is interesting how close the numbers really are. About 55% of people get asylum, and of those about 66% are refugees from wars.

So according to this government, that majority of people coming in are not refugees, or at least not refugees that qualify for asylum. The majority of people that get to legally stay is however refugees. Naturally people from both side of the political spectrum disagree with how the government assess applications, and it should be noted that party in power is currently the social democratic party.


Or try questioning most problem with the population coming from recent (last 30 year) immigration, or the benefits of colonisation, or the existence of any slave trade that's not European.


And don't go witch-hunting.

Sometimes old cultural artifacts go away in the "mother country" but persist in "the colonies." Seems like the witch-hunting mentality is something that's stuck around in the US, infecting both the political Right and Left.


And now as the colony is culturally (among other things) the most powerful/dominant actor on the stage of the world, the mindset is infecting the "old world" back.


It happened with traditional music.


So you're telling me that in Europe, if a male coworker cracks a dongle joke in the presence of female coworker, and if she complains to the HR, then nothing would happen to the male coworker?

Or maybe you mean to say that in Europe all men are so sensible that nobody cracks dongle jokes in presence of female coworkers?

Or maybe that majority of the European women would not complain to the HR if someone did crack that joke because they are not stuck up?

Because lemme just make it clear, they didn't get fired for the dongle jokes, they got fired for the shitstorm which arose because of their jokes and how people on twitter were rallying to fire those guys.

Also, the woman who caused the shitstorm was also fired from her company due to the counter shitstorm which ensued.

Maybe you mean to say that in Europe, a company wouldn't fire someone if a shitstorm is created due to an employee's juvenile actions, because I am pretty sure that it is incorrect too.


Here's the European interpretation: It's a fucking dongle joke! Why the hell would anyone feel offended by a fucking dongle joke? Seriously.

And yes, we have no trouble saying "fucking" without censoring it. And if there is a "nipple slip" on live TV, we don't make such a big deal out of it. It's a fucking nipple, get over it.

So to answer your question: 1. We see no problem in dongle jokes 2. If someone would see a problem with it and complain, those complains would be ignored (because we see no problem) 3. If those complains would go public, we would treat that person as "Ah, some idiot has a problem with such a simple joke, weird." 4. But if somehow, there would be a public shitstorm where everybody seems to be losing their mind, the company would not fire an employee over a fucking dongle joke, get serious.

So how such a thing can escalate like that, is beyond any of our (European) comprehension.

If you reread my explanation above, you will see I make no difference between different groups of people. That might already give you a clue of what is going wrong.

And if you would treat each other with more equal respect (men, woman, blacks, whites, ...), maybe you wouldn't be so uptight when someone makes a simple joke.


> 1. We see no problem in dongle jokes

Who is 'we' here? You think most Americans have a problem with dongle jokes? Or you mean to say that most or all Europeans don't have a problem with dongle jokes.

> 2. If someone would see a problem with it and complain, those complains would be ignored (because we see no problem)

This is when you end up with Uber, where these complaints were ignored and they eventually ended up with Susan Fowler incident.

The company fired the woman who complained because their servers were getting DDoSed.

Look I know what you're saying, it isn't that a day passes by when someone on the Internet, Europeans don't remind Americans (And many Americans remind themselves) that Americans are very prude compared to Europe.

But what you're not doing is understanding the problem here. The problem isn't the 'prude American culture', rather, there is a civil life culture, and then there is a work culture. The complaint feminists have made is that work culture needs to be more welcoming to women.

So the question is 'What constitutes as welcoming work culture?'.

Saying "Hurr hurr, we are Europeans, we don't have problems like that" is just sidestepping the issue.

Are European workplaces completely welcoming to women, as European feminists would like it to be? If not, then how are you dealing with it?


> This is when you end up with Uber, where these complaints were ignored and they eventually ended up with Susan Fowler incident.

Sorry, but Susan Fowler did not complain about 'dongle' jokes, this was a serious case of sexual harassment. Not seeing the distinction between the two is a serious problem.

> Are European workplaces completely welcoming to women, as European feminists would like it to be?

From my personal experience, the women I worked with were a minority in tech, and they actually enjoyed working in a male dominated environment. They told me guys are more up front, and they preferred that over working in woman dominated environments where there is a lot of backstabbing going on. I worked for a lot of female managers, and they were very good at their job. Probably because women are socially softer than men (=men have more ego).

That's what I mean with respect. We will treat women as co-workers, not as people to have potentially sex with, and not with 'oh my god, there's a woman in the workplace, let's act totally different than we normally do not to scare her away'.


I'd agree that's absurd, but what Damore did was worse from a company perspective.


I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a fast 7 figure settlement. Conservatives/Populists groups are literally salivating for discovery to nail google on other things.

EDIT: Also reminder some googlers kept politically motivated blacklists, if those blacklists were on company computers, Google will be hammered for it. Discovery could go wrong for Google in a million ways.

https://www.inc.com/sonya-mann/google-manifesto-blacklists.h...


> EDIT: Also reminder some googlers kept politically motivated blacklists, if those blacklists were on company computers, Google will be hammered for it.

Since they were G+ blocklists, they were obviously on company computers. OTOH, it's not clear (despite the lawsuits characterization, which is pretty directly contradicted by the posts and emails offered to support it) that these were motivated by ideology rather than disruptive manner of expressing that in the workplace. Moreover, it's not clear they they were, in fact, used for any problematic purpose.

> Discovery could go wrong for Google in a million ways

Which is why there won't be a settlement; it's clearly a politically motivated suit aimed to hurt Google as badly as possible; if Damore and the other individually named plaintiff were seeking to maximize the probability and magnitude of personal recompense, this would be a direct action. A settlement with no admission of guilt, no discovery, and just a go-away cash payment that’ll mostly be assigned to the attorneys won't achieve the goals for which they are filing the suit.


OTOH, it's not clear (despite the lawsuits characterization, which is pretty directly contradicted by the posts and emails offered to support it) that these were motivated by ideology rather than disruptive manner of expressing that in the workplace.

Given how a lot of the other provided examples were claims of supporting Trump being blatant asshattery, I don't think they necessarily do contradict it.

Moreover, it's not clear they they were, in fact, used for any problematic purpose.

Some of the examples have managers acknowledging that being on the lists makes work more difficult and interferes with promotions / transfers. And saying that well, if that bothers you then you shouldn't support [things that Trump supporters are accused of supporting].


> Which is why there won't be a settlement; it's clearly a politically motivated suit aimed to hurt Google as badly as possible; if Damore and the other individually named plaintiff were seeking to maximize the probability and magnitude of personal recompense, this would be a direct action. A settlement with no admission of guilt, no discovery, and just a go-away cash payment that’ll mostly be assigned to the attorneys won't achieve the goals for which they are filing the suit.

Nope. Think about that. You think a guy who got fired after a few years of work experience would rather make a company look bad than gain financial security?

The reason we are hearing about the lawsuit is because he did try for a settlement, with terms much like you deacribe, and Google refused. You only go to court as a last resort, and that's what this is. That's also why we are only hearing about it now instead of when it happened. Months of negotiation did not go anywhere.

That's my theory anyway. I have no knowledge of this case, but I have seen this happen many times.


> You think a guy who got fired after a few years of work experience would rather make a company look bad than gain financial security?

No, I think Damore is savvy enough to be aware of (and, given his participation in right-wing media after the memo blew up, whether or not this was in his mind in advance, has likely since been counseled by others even more aware of) the fact that his route to maximizing financial returns from this affair lie in maximizing the media impact and his centrality to it, not maximizing the lawsuit payout.

> The reason we are hearing about the lawsuit is because he did try for a settlement, with terms much like you deacribe, and Google refused.

Pure speculation, both as to whether he attempted at settlement and what the terms he requested were if he did.

> You only go to court as a last resort, and that's what this is

That's obviously not a universal truth.

> That's also why we are only hearing about it now instead of when it happened

Damore filed an NLRB complaint almost simultaneously with his firing (it was subsequently withdrawn) and immediately started his intent to file a lawsuit; we know from the details of the law suit and the Damore camps own description that they spent the intervening time gathering stories to support a class action. You are spinning a fantasy out of speculation.


Spinning a fantasy? Please.

We are both speculating, that's all.


I would not call my self a conservative/populist, it is hard to to determine this terms especially through the atlantic. the political compass [1] calls me social liberal if that's of any worth. But sure as hell, I hope Google pays up for what they did. Firing him is a clear act of bigotry.

[1] https://www.politicalcompass.org/


> Conservatives/Populists groups are literally salivating for discovery to nail google on other things.

This is probably a discussion where painting with a broad brush muddies the waters. Specifically because we're talking about distinctions between individuals within the group you're calling "conservatives".

Also, I get the impression that you're conflating conservatives and populists on this issue. Is that intentional? Because populism and conservatism seem pretty orthogonal to me.


Really, because "We have emails from coworkers saying they won't work you anymore, we have numerous news stories that paint this in a terrible light, we have internal emails that show we spent a stupid amount of time dealing with PR issues from this, etc..." sounds like a pretty good argument for why he got fired.

or do you mean google settles? maybe. I kind of wish they would just let their lawyers run wild with this though.


This is true. If the memo wasn't enough, him immediately going to right wing YouTubers like Stefan Molyneux, Jordan Peterson, Mike cernovich, Joe Rogan, Dave Rubin, Steven Crowder, etc. is suspicious. [1]

Generally I wouldn't have minded if he went to right wing outlets, as long as he had also gone to left wing outlets. I was willing to listen to his reasoning. But it became clear after the memo came out that he didn't engage with left wingers and maybe he was indeed just appealing to the right.

[1] I don't want to use "right wing" in a disparaging way. I think classical liberalism is perhaps right of center today. I think some of the right wing narratives make sense, but with big caveats. The far right is just a slip away, though. And they would hunt people like me down...

Edit: I don't mean right wing in a disparaging way. I enjoy Joe Rogan (his interviews with NDT and Lawrence Krause are a lot of fun), Dave Rubin (his interview with Faisal is fantastic) and Jordan Peterson. But they are clearly classical liberal, which is arguably right of center today.

Maybe I was extreme in saying far right is just a slip away. I think similar things can happen on the left too of course. Let just not go to the "far-*"...


If people "on the left" won't allow him to speak, where exactly do you expect him to go?

It's like the people on the right saying Edward Snowden is obviously a traitor/spy because he went to Russia. Uhhh... something very obvious is being ignored there.

Also, come on ... Joe Rogan is definitely not right-wing. Jordan Peterson and Dave Rubin do not self-identify as right-wing. And your [1] just seems a little extreme. "The far right is just a slip away from the reasonable right, therefore the reasonable right is dangerous?" But you don't apply that same idea to the left? Why not?

The real pattern here is that he went to the shows that would have him as a guest for reasonable discussion.


> If people "on the left" won't allow him to speak, where exactly do you expect him to go?

Adding to this; we should bear in mind that while nobody specific speaks for "the left"'s moral judgments, at least some people literally won't allow him to speak.

Secondly, he was never trying to be a martyr and we shouldn't expect him to be one. He was posting a controversial opinion on a message board marked for controversial opinion. He was clearly putting in a solid attempt to be objective and to employ facts and evidence. He has some academic exposure to the fields he was talking about.

He didn't expect to be targeted the way he was; he likely wasn't trying to set himself up as a hero of free speech; and he doesn't have to do a walk of shame through hostile talk shows to justify his intentions if he doesn't feel like taking the (unjustified) heat.


He sent out a company-wide memo on a very controversial subject pretending to be an expert.

I don't know what he expected, but that was stupid.


> If people "on the left" won't allow him to speak, where exactly do you expect him to go?

Damore himself said he wanted to go on friendly media to do interviews, not that other media wouldn't have him.


"The far right is just a slip away from the reasonable right, therefore the reasonable right is dangerous?"

I'm pretty sure this is textbook slippery slope fallacy


This has nothing to do with being right or left. It is simply a human decency thing. A manager and company is responsible for everyone and after he shared such views with his name you could never keep him and have him working along side women. Google did exactly what they had to do. It is not complicated.


This is the heckler's veto. Free speech is a cultural matter, not just a protection from the federal and state governments.


Google is a private company. They have no obligation and having an employee that does not get along pretty obvious has to go.

Why also nobody is going to hire him.


My hotel is a private company and I've found my guests and employees prefer not to interact with black people. Glad you support my right to refuse black guests.


But now you're getting into the "free speech for me, not for thee" part. You're basically saying that Damore is entitled to free speech and protection, but that Google and his former co-workers are not. Remember, who you work with is part of the freedom of association which is a component of free speech.


This is a strawman I'm very hard pressed to find anyone in HN at least who would deny Goolgle's right or another other party's right of writing a rebuttal to his claims. A free and open internal debate is exactly what Damore was trying to start. Firing to me at least is not speech, it's an inherently violent act.


It's not a strawman if plenty of people in this comment section are making the exact argument. And if I can't fire an employee for being hostile to my other employees, then I do not have freedom of association.


You do not have pure freedom of association. Both a set of laws and our culture do not allow you to refuse to do business with people.


Yes. However, none of those laws prevent you from firing someone who is creating a hostile work environment for your other employees.


[flagged]


“Hostile work environment” is a legal term of art in employment anti-discrimination law; it only applies when the hostility is a mechanism of discrimination against protected class, which “racists”, as such, are not.


That's my point. Nor are "people who are offended by challenges to their political beliefs". Ostensibly his crime was "creating a hostile work environment for women and minorities", but this is clearly not defensible to anyone who read his post. He was fired for challenging (an anti-white, anti-male, anti-conservative) political orthodoxy, and that's illegal in California.


> Ostensibly his crime

To my knowledge, Damore has not been accused of any crime.

> was "creating a hostile work environment for women and minorities",

No, only an employer can do that. Damore might have engaged in actions in the workplace that, in context, made it an unacceptable risk that by continuing to employ him Google would risk creating a hostile work environment for women and/or other protected classes.

> He was fired for challenging (an anti-white, anti-male, anti-conservative) political orthodoxy, and that's illegal in California.

Advocating change to corporate, rather than public, policy does not seem to be even remotely “political activity”, which is what California law actually protects, not that the California law would be valid if and to the extent it required corporations to undertake actions prohibited by federal law.


> To my knowledge, Damore has not been accused of any crime.

It's a figure of speech; I wasn't referring to a legal crime.

> No, only an employer can do that. Damore might have engaged in actions in the workplace that, in context, made it an unacceptable risk that by continuing to employ him Google would risk creating a hostile work environment for women and/or other protected classes.

I agree. I'm just trying to make sense of the parent's claim that Damore's behavior constitutes a "hostile work environment".

> Advocating change to corporate, rather than public, policy does not seem to be even remotely “political activity”, which is what California law actually protects.

My argument is that Google made inferences about his public policy beliefs based on his "memo", and fired him for those inferences. In other words, they inferred that he was conservative, and fired him because they felt his conservatism was too much a threat. Whether or not his speech is protected under California law is up to the courts.

Never mind that firing someone for innocuous (if misguided) corporate policy improvements is still morally indefensible.


> My argument is that Google made inferences about his public policy beliefs based on his "memo", and fired him for those inferences.

Well, it's your assertion. I don't see an argument supporting it.


There is more than one way to use the term. Anyway, your last three responses have been gratuitously pedantic. I'm not interested in debating formal definitions, so I'll be ducking out.

EDIT: Removed snarkiness.


You've been breaking the site guidelines badly, such as in this comment and in https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16060531. If you continue to do this we will ban you. Please read the rules at https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and fix this.


Fair enough. Sorry, I didn't see your previous reprimand since it was posted several days after my comment.

I corrected my previous comment.


Thanks! Much appreciated.


freedom of association is incidental to my initial response. I was speaking about freedom of speech they are different things.


Google is trying to run a company and having someone like Damore does not help that cause.


Firing someone is speech? A whole lot of laws disagree with you about that.


Firing someone is part of the right to free association.


It's limited. You don't get to fire someone for being black, or Jewish, or male, and crucially in California, for political speech you disagree with.


Wait, Joe Rogan is considered a right wing youtuber? I listen to his show all the time and I'm a pretty big liberal and while he sometimes does the whole "everyone is sooooo PC now" thing, he also talks negatively about Trump, the GOP and right wing politics constantly.

I also listened to the James Damore episode, and while I thought James did a good job of making his point and Joe did an AWESOME job of interviewing him while not taking sides, it felt like James was pretty disingenuous and lacked a general understanding of how to behave in a workplace as well as how to treat other people.


He absolutely is not. He’s (moderately) liberal. The absurdly polarized social media scene has moved the window.


Yeah I think it's unfortunate that Rogan gets cast that way. His interview with SargonOfAkkad is pretty telling in that regard. He pulls no punches there and says pretty emphatically that he doesn't identify with a lot of what he says.


As I mentioned, I don't disparage "right wing". I actually enjoy Joe Rogans podcast, and also Dave Rubin and Jordan Peterson. All three of them are solidly classical liberal, which is probably right of center today (individualism vs. collectivism, equality of opportunity vs equality of outcome, etc). But AFAIK, damore never came to the young Turks, Chapo trap house, which are leftist podcasts. I could be wrong.


> All three of them are solidly classical liberal, which is probably right of center today

Pretty much all of the mainstream “right” and “left” in America are takes on classical liberalism, with different ideas about concrete context applies. The far-right and far-left (including the alt-right as part of the far-right, for this purpose) aren't.


Would you go on the Young Turks if you were him? It'd be like walking before a firing squad.


I would go on a 1 on 1 interview with Cenk Uygur.


And you've watched the one he did with Sam Harris?


Yes. What is wrong with that interview?


Well, it has been a few years, and it's a very long interview, so I hope you understand I'm not going to be very specific.

These are the things that I came away with after watching it, to the best of my recollection: - Cenks inability to be charitable towards his guest - Cenks inability to let his guest make a point without challenging it repeatedly, and please note the that the word "repeatedly" is key - Cenks way of deflecting analysis of an apple by saying "but what about this orange?!" - Sams amazing patience and calm

Anyway, that's how I remember feeling after having watched it years ago. And I've never watched Cenk before or after that interview, so I have no other points of reference for his character or abilities as an interviewer.

I'm not going to go watch it again, so there's nothing to discuss here - it just amazes me that anyone would want to be interviewed by Cenk, considering how negatively I viewed his interaction with Sam.

So, I guess I should not have engaged you at all, because I have nothing to discuss, and no factual arguments to make.

I would delete my first comment if I could, but I can't.


I remember finishing that interview thinking that Cenk was the most intellectually dishonest host I had seen in a long time. Sam's patience from beginning to end was extremely impressive.


Okay, but running to Molyneux is instant confirmation of the things people thought about him.

and actually yes, do some prep work and go on a show that will be hostile. Not crazy, but potentially hostile. Someone who will reject the ideas and force you to defend and/or clarify them.


Uhh, he had The Entire Internet doing that at him 24/7, why do you think there needs to be more?


I think he didn't do much to defend or clarify his arguments and instead took exactly the path his detractors (myself included) expected from the minute we read his "poor oppressed conservative" portion.


Well, whether you disparage it or not, grouping Joe Rogan and Milo together doesn't seem very accurate.


Do you think any of those would have had him on?


I doubt he got many invites.


> All three of them are solidly classical liberal, which is probably right of center today

Classical liberal just seems like yet another rebranding by people who don't want to just call themselves conservatives. I've yet to hear a "classical liberal" who doesn't seem like yet another libertarian/conservative.


Which is why I stated that they are right of center... I agree, classical liberalism is basically right wing / conservative / libertarian. America generally is right wing, going back to it's founding.


I've consistenly voted Labour / Labor for all my life, and my poliics haven't changed. I still believe in looking after the elderly, children and the ill, and negotation. I loved Milliband. But the left (at least Labour in the UK) has been siezed by a hard left group called Momentum, that supports far-left political violence, is often openly hostile to people based on skin color and gender. Classical liberals haven't changed, the far-left has just taken over left wing politics.


Small edit: "and negotation" should be "and collective negotation"


Jordan Peterson especially sounds like every traditionalist Catholic I know. Which is fine, but at least they wear their stripes proudly.


Most of those "classical liberals" are now branded "leftists".

Anyway, what's the definition of classical liberal, conservative? It's a mishmash of random "single issues" thrown together.

The definition changes as it's convenient for the optimization game of politics, as parties, groups, power structures try to maintain their relevance, try to get more voters, more support, more donations, more allies, and so on.

No internal consistency, no moral foundations, no logic, no principles.


GP is asking you how you concluded that Joe Rogan is right wing podcast.


I'm sorry but I need to call this out. There is no difference between equality of opportunities and equality of outcomes for any significant population size. The latter is a direct consequence of the former; and anyone that believes we are close to having equality of opportunities in America is wilfully ignorant.


That sounds like absolute nonsense.


So was he disingenuous, or did he lack understanding? Pick one.


Are you operating under the belief that humans can only assign a single emotion to another...?

I said that he was a bit disingenous about some thing and then said that he "lacked understanding about...", yet, sure, cut that off, rip out the context in the interest of being snarky to a complete stranger. Why not?


Any living male with a pulse is generally considered to be "right-wing", particularly if they ask questions or exhibit any skepticism towards mainstream liberal culture.


If you spend a lot of time railing on "SJWs", and comparatively little time advocating for an alternative path to a more egalitarian social order, I think you can be considered right wing. Supporting pot legalization doesn't erase that.


"If you spend a lot of time railing on "SJWs", and comparatively little time advocating for an alternative path to a more egalitarian social order"

I mean, if you want to debate, I'm happy to do so, but I'd prefer the debate be rooted in reality and not hyperbole.


What hyperbole are you objecting to?

On net, do you think Rogan's political commentary favors the status quo or a more equal society?

Imagine you think fire trucks are an eyesore, so you start an advocacy campaign trying to ban them from the road. Someone might accuse you of not caring if people's houses burn down.

You might reply that deep in your heart you are 100% against houses burning down and you're just weighing in on the way fires should be fought.

And maybe you're being honest that in your heart of hearts you don't want houses to burn down. But that's only relevant to you. From everyone else's perspective, your politics are pro-houses-burning-down.


"What hyperbole are you objecting to?"

Your entire first post.

1) He doesnt "spend a lot of time railing on SJWs".

2) He absolutely talks, with almost every single guest, about how to potentially change the world for the better.

3) I never indicated that I thought he wasn't right wing because of how he felt about legal pot, yet, you throw that in there anyway, i guess to belittle an argument I never made? Fun...

So yeah, two sentences and every single point is either incorrect or not useful. That's not exactly how one starts a useful debate.

Also wow that is an atrocious analogy.


[flagged]


So, just to see if I follow:

You make really bad claim that has 3 parts and all 3 parts are either made up, exaggerated or irrelevant.

I explain, part by part, how these things are made up, exaggerated and irrelevant, and at the end of my post, marvel at how poor your followup analogy is.

Your takeaway? "Who gives a shit about that point by point argument he just made to me? I'm going to totally ignore that! The one interaction we've ever had, where he made point by point critiques of my argument, has shown me that he "sure does like to make strong claims without offering even a shred of argumentation.""...?

I'm curious how a human brain is capable of producing that kind of logic? It is just simply a case that you're lashing out because you're embarrassed your initial point was made to look so bad? I'm not getting what's happening here.

hsod 5 months ago [flagged]

Your incredulity perplexes me. I offered a simple premise (that Rogan is vocally more anti-SJW than in favor of an alternative path to social justice) and a simple conclusion from that premise (that Rogan can fairly be considered right-wing).

You seem to disagree with either the premise or the conclusion, but rather than making an argument to that effect you have made 3 (three!) meta-posts about it, all while waxing on about the virtues effective debate.

Maybe you disagree with my premise, or maybe you disagree with my conclusion, but your posts so far amount to a whole lot of grandstanding and a vanishingly small amount of argumentation. Your insistence on talking about me and your meta-view of my argument rather than the argument itself reveals a lot more about you than it does about me.

I still stand by the argument (both premise and conclusions) I made in my original post. I wish our conversation could have been about that, as I think it would have been much more interesting.


We've banned this account for repeatedly violating the HN guidelines with uncivil personal attacks and by using the site primarily for ideological battle. Those things are not allowed here, regardless of your politics, how right you are, or how right you feel you are.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


[flagged]


You've been breaking the HN guidelines egregiously too. If you keep doing this we will ban you. Please read https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and post civil, substantive comments or no comments. That means no flamewars, no snarky dismissals, and no tedious tit-for-tats. And no personal attacks, which you stooped to shamefully in this thread.

I'm not banning you just this minute because your comment history doesn't show that you've been using HN primarily for this sort of battle, and that's the test we apply. But if you keep breaking the rules, we definitely will.


[flagged]


So it sounds like you agree with me that he lacked an understanding of how to behave in a workplace?


I agree only in a sense similar to how people in a wheelchair lack the capability to access public spaces in the same way as non-disabled people do.

It's funny how even in a highly logical technical community the conversations on certain topics are the same as you'd find elsewhere.


To be clear, your analogy is that this fellow lashing out at certain groups of his coworkers can be attributed to their mental disorder you've diagnosed and you've then decided that this is the same as a person in a wheelchair being unable to access certain areas? I'm understanding this correctly? You're sure this is an analogy you think is passably decent let alone one that can be be followed up with you mocking other people afterward...? What are we hoping to accomplish here?


> lashing out at certain groups of his coworkers

Please explain where he was "lashing out" and who those "certain groups of his coworkers" were. Try to be specific.


Ah! The old obtuseness defense. Fun.


You misspelled Socratic Method.


I wonder if you have any inkling of how you're demonstrating my point.


It's not about being politically correct, it's about not implying that your female coworkers don't deserve their jobs.

before someone says "He didn't do that, you obviously never read it", I did and I still believe it's a conclusion that he leads the reader to. Not sure it was intentional.

Also the whole "too neurotic for leadership" bit. WTF was he thinking with that.


I read Demores paper and I didn't get the impression that he thought that about female co workers. To me his main point seemed to be that women by number arnt as interested in tech as males are. On your second point it's easy to look back on the paper and pick at the way some of it comes across but I don't think he ever imagined it becoming the published and the political hot potato it became. Maybe he would have been more careful with the wording if he could have seen into the future, unfortunately we don't have that skill yet.


Totally agree. How in the world could you have Damore on a team with women after the memo is out and people know he wrote it?

I have never bought into this is some social political thing but rather just basic human decency. Never understood how the right wing got a hold of this and my only guess it was Damore or someone from the right wing that wanted this rather obvious HR issue as some social political issue. It is not in reality. Any company would have diciplined Damore including firing. A manager is responsible for everyone including the women.


Google expects people to work with people who openly hate white men. Just take a look at some of their twitter feeds. Damore expressed no such opinion of women he just has a broader explanation for under-representation in tech other than sexism.


Google is a for profit company. Damore obviously did not help that with his views of women and Google did as any company with a brain would do and get rid of him.

Why on Earth do you think a former Google engineer is sitting at home unemployed? You would never want him on a team that had to get something done.

There is so many reasons to fire him and it is California so Google did not even need a reason.

But the more interesting thing is how did the become a right wing thing? Who was able to pull that off and use this as something to gen up the right wing? Is it not a bit manipulative of the right wingers? Do they not see it?


A company with a brain hires a lawyer to look at the issue when an employee expresses concern that the company is breaking laws with their hiring practices. Firing someone who expresses those concerns makes the problem infinitely worse as we are seeing.


> Why on Earth do you think a former Google engineer is sitting at home unemployed?

Because he's busy - see the title of this post.


Or maybe the "left-wing" like tech crunch just flat out lie about him repeatedly. I don't appreciate any the right wing youtubers you cite, but judging by the quality of this article, I'm glad he had other opportunities to speak. In this instance I do think the left wing is stifling expression and I can't abide by that, if you think I'm exaggerating, read the memo he didn't publish but request internal criticism of, and he was fired for it by google.


> Generally I wouldn't have minded if he went to right wing outlets, as long as he had also gone to left wing outlets. I was willing to listen to his reasoning. But it became clear after the memo came out that he didn't engage with left wingers and maybe he was indeed just appealing to the right.

Have you watched any of his right wing outlet interviews? Literally on every interview he mentions "Nobody from left reached out to me, only the right wing outlets reached out to me". I'd definitely recommend watching his Dave Rubin interview (even though you think he is a right winger).

If you were him, you'd rather go out and present your side, than to be portrayed in whichever smear light the media wants to portray you.

There are people who lost the narrative from both left and right (like Milo) and that is definitely worse than losing the support for only one side.

Also, hypothetically it sounds great that you show up to both sides on a divided issue like this, but that isn't possible anymore in the polarized society we live in (a great example of this is you classifying Dave Rubin as 'right wing', just see how many people are calling you out on it).


It's no different than moderate Muslims having no social refuge other than where Salafist-Jihadists (eg: al-Qaeda, Isil) roam freely -- modereate conservatives have no social refuge other than blatant racists and sexists, neo-nazis, and other generally unpleasant undesirables.

This is the danger of progressive supremacy and the only way out of this hell-hole is encouraging true diversity and inclusiveness -- diversity of thought that includes right-wing conservative viewpoints in addition to those of the left.


I would argue they made that bed for themselves.


Yes, it is good and valuable for a society to be tolerant of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. The limit to tolerance is being tolerant of intolerance.

The left has intolerant people as well. "No matter what side of the argument you are on, you always find people on your side that you wish were on the other."

However, somehow they aren't running the party like they are on the right.


> The limit to tolerance is being tolerant of intolerance.

This is nonsensical. Tolerance is the region between what you like and what you fight. There are lots of obviously bad things you shouldn't tolerate (like murder), and lots of mildly distasteful things you should.

Someone else being less tolerant of something than we think they should be isn't some special category of evil. As with anything else, you have to decide whether a particular case is bad enough that you must fight it, or ambiguous enough that it isn't worth the conflict.


The left has intolerant people as well...However, somehow they aren't running the party like they are on the right.

The intolerant left seems to have Berkeley buttoned up.


This is a minor aside, but I don't think Joe is a conservative. I think that he said during the midnight election comedy stream that had he not promised to vote for Gary Johnson when he came on the show, that he would've had to pull the lever for Hillary. He doesn't like social justice stuff, but other than that, he's kind of a big hippy.


and denies the moon landing. That doesn't make him right wing, but it sure makes him a less credible person.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2007/02/26/jo...


He denied it 11 years ago you mean, by that blog post. He has changed his stance, as seen here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mmlmxamw_k

You should listen to his episode with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, they talk about the mindset of denialism quite a bit.


I had no idea, thanks!


He mentioned in one of his interviews that very few left wing outlets would even invite him to interviews.

Of the ones that did, it was heavily edited to present a certain bad narrative of him.


The fact you'd like a gay liberal as right-wing is disconcerting but I agree, and independently, came to the same conclusion that is is strange how many shows he popped up on so fast.


If the memo wasn't enough

I read the memo. If one is familiar with the research and evolutionary biology, there is nothing in there to react that strongly against, unless one takes a biased, insincere reading of what he actually wrote.

him immediately going to right wing YouTubers like

Those were the only people who would talk to him without trying to make it a hit piece, same as Bret Weinstein.

Stefan Molyneux,

Not sure what Mr. Molyneux is, but given his Libertarian bent, he really doesn't fall in with the mainstream North American right. I'm really skeezed out by his past calls to his audience for "de-fooing" which reads like a cult leader asking his followers to isolate themselves from society and listen only to him.

Jordan Peterson

Terms himself a classical liberal, but also terms himself a conservative, which isn't contradictory. He's been kinda "adopted" by a northern Native American tribe. People who try to paint him as "Alt-Right" aren't actually listening to what he's saying, and are effectively in an evidence-free cloudcuckooland. (He isn't anti-trans. Rather, he's against some nefarious anti-science and compelled speech tactics employed by activists who claim to speak for all trans people. He has received numerous letters from trans people in support of his message.) I have yet to see genuine criticism of him which stands up to scrutiny.

Mike cernovich

Don't like this guy, or his politics. Why do you lump this guy and Molyneux in with people like Jordan Peterson? Doesn't make any sense to me, except as a poison pill.

Joe Rogan

Would have passed perfectly fine as a liberal in the 90's. I think the far left doesn't like him simply because he won't play along with their politics. I find him refreshingly honest and highly intelligent. (Yes, he was a moon hoaxer at one point, but unlike a lot of stupid people, he had the wherewithal to listen to arguments and change his mind.)

Dave Rubin

Terms himself a liberal, also a "classical liberal." He's made a turn towards Libertarianism. He strikes me as sincere in wanting to give everyone a chance to be heard. I think he has intellectual integrity, and as such, he's willing to change his mind. His sincerity and intellectual integrity are the best things he has going for him, though I judge him to be just at a layperson's level intellectually.

Steven Crowder

I don't think Mr. Crowder is as funny or as smart as he thinks. I think he falls down a bit in terms of his intellectual honesty and in his scholarship. (Or course, he uses the "comedian" card to get out of that.) I think his effort to expose Antifa was creditable, but I wish he did a better job of having substance. All of these topical comedians are 10X funnier when they have substance. Colbert used to be funny, and it's because he had that.

etc. is suspicious. [1]

Given that you grouped all these people together, I find your list very suspicious.


> I have yet to see genuine criticism of [Jordan Peterson] which stands up to scrutiny.

I don't believe Peterson is alt-right, but I do think there's a fair case for dismissing him as a source for anything but his specific field of clinical psychology. His sudden rise to the position of "public intellectual” (on the back of his alarmist and widely disputed take on Bill C-16 [1]) is troubling when his unwavering single-minded crusade against what he considers a global cabal of “postmodern neo-Marxists” colours nearly every view he has [2][3].

Examples of this can be seen in his bold proclamations against feminists, Disney films, the concept of white privilege, but also in his occasional habit of linking to junk-science blogs to inform his position rather than peer-reviewed research (such as when he propagated the debunked[4] claim that contrary to what nearly every climatologist, atmospheric physicist, geologist, glaciologist and oceanographer has been telling us, Earth's climate sensitivity is actually trending towards zero [5]).

He’s also demonstrably not one to allow gaps in his knowledge to get in the way of proudly displaying his confirmation biases [6][7].

So as a trained clinical psychologist, I’m sure he knows what he’s talking about when he stays in his own lane, but for an academic and supposed advocate for scientific rigour he seems remarkably lax in applying the same care and scrutiny to his positions on social issues.

1. http://sds.utoronto.ca/blog/bill-c-16-no-its-not-about-crimi...

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankfurt_School#Cultural_Marx...

3. https://twitter.com/jordanbpeterson/status/79568716336716185...

4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFDnxMp0Hw8

5. https://twitter.com/jordanbpeterson/status/92041514135884595...

6. https://twitter.com/jordanbpeterson/status/95073630669433651...

7. https://twitter.com/jordanbpeterson/status/95077370882567372...


Never knew joe organ was right wing. I've been listening to his podcasts which seem pretty good.


He's not "right wing". Hating SJWs and the extreme left isn't right wing. People are complicated and labeling someone as right wing to invalidate someone's every position is as bad as what the right does to the left.

He is if anything fairly moderate with a slight libertarian streak, especially when it comes to drugs.

I don't agree with lots of his positions and he's definitely not some really smart guru, but I like that he's an average guy with an open mind who lets speakers of all viewpoints express themselves in a very welcoming way. I mean hosting Jordan Peterson and Brett Weinstein, both on the 2 ends of the political spectrum and making it a very intellectually stimulating dialogue is a breath of fresh air in today's gotcha media. You know CNN and fox have an agenda when they bring opposing viewpoints on their show, trying to invalidate their ideas. In joe rogan's podcasts that never seems to be the case, instead discussion leads to more moderate viewpoints rather than debates and winners. Only really see that on PBS lately.

That said, I do find many of his guests abhorant and just skip a fair bit of his podcasts.


Those activities may not make someone right wing, but they're at risk of slamming into the right half of the bulkhead if there's turbulence. When things get heated, it makes them hard to tell apart from people who are awful and also use that kind of rhetoric.


He's not, but if you're a gallon of gasoline, the remotest spark can seem like a huge threat to your very existence, which is what I took the overreaction to the memo to be. He spoke his mind, with citations, and he was torched for it, and the left wing outlets except for Joe Rogan and Dave Rubin had no interest in letting his real story come out, because the overreaction, the firing and the ongoing assault on his character is shameful if you ask me.


> the left wing outlets except for Joe Rogan and Dave Rubin had no interest in letting his real story come out

Which ones did he ask to speak on?


I don't think he is, a gave a couple reasons why here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16099356

But this has been a big topic of debate on his podcast subreddit as well. I think it mainly comes from the guests he has on, but Joe has written on Twitter about how getting left leaning guests on to talk politics is just a lot harder. Russell Brand is great and all, but no one else really seems interested for whatever reason.


Christ. He isn't, and for the love of god, stop reading things that people on the internet tell you and immediately accepting them as fact.

Even what I just said, that he isn't, you should go look up, investigate, and see what YOU think.


Just like Trump seems stuck in some kind of info-loop with Fox News, Damore seemed to get most of his memo ideas from those youtubers in the first place.

He's got a footnote in it about how complaints about gay rights are just an attempt by Marxists to undermine capitalism for goodness sake! In an internal corporate communication about how to better deal with diversity. The mind boggles.


I wondered what you were ranting about so I skimmed Damore's memo :

>Communism promised to be both morally and economically superior to capitalism, but every attempt became morally corrupt and an economic failure. As it became clear that the working class of the liberal democracies wasn’t going to overthrow their “capitalist oppressors,” the Marxist intellectuals transitioned from class warfare to gender and race politics. The core oppressor-oppressed dynamics remained, but now the oppressor is the “white, straight, cis-gendered patriarchy.”

Hard to do not roll my eyes when reading this. Even though I feel that there is a fringe a the feminist movement for which being a white male is a crime, this is just a fringe and I don't think it has anything to do with socialism other than these are 2 things that Damore hates.


You haven't been on the Internet in the past few years, have you? :). The fringe, while a small minority, has also been the loudest part of the feminist movement in this decade, and it's the impact of that fringe that can be seen responsible for such overreaction to Damore's memo.


Well, most of Damore's memo is not that shocking indeed although :

- there are parts like this quote that made me go in one second from 'this is reasonable' to 'ok I see why he got fired'

- some parts are just stupid .. even though neuroticism is the right term and is not negative, it is had deep negative connotations for many people (not to mention that the big 5 is not exactly an uncontroversial model). Just don't use these words when arguing about a sensitive topic.

And yeah, there is a fringe of the feminist movement. Like all fringes, it is the loudest part of the movement. I think it is toxic to feminism (although that's just a feeling, hard to quantify the influence of such a fringe). I just try to ignore it, I don't really know how to argue with extremists tbh.


What word should he have used? Negative connotations or not, "neuroticism" is the accepted term for the Big Five trait he was referring to. Should he have made up his own name for it?

If he had, internet armchair scientists would be ridiculing him for being so uninformed about the topic that he didn't know the proper terminology.


> He's got a footnote in it about how complaints about gay rights are just an attempt by Marxists to undermine capitalism for goodness sake!

This is, of course, a standard right-wing talking point about modern gender/race/etc. equality movements.

It's about as accurate as calling neoconservatism a Communist conspiracy because some notable early figures were anti-Stalinist ex-Trotskyites.


marxists.... peterson?


Your comment is too brief to parse properly but yes Peterson talks about "Cultural Marxism" on his YouTube channel and so does Damore in the famous memo.


The way I read these actions weren't "running to the right" rather "fleeing from the biased leftist media." For one, Rubin is left leaning, so is Peterson, though because they're generally fair, they get consistently mislabeled, but that's also how I imagine it must feel in his situation.

Let's say you're a shy/introverted engineer working at Google. You are going to a bunch of diversity events because it's an easy way to progress in your career. You find things you disagree with, or think are potentially illegal, but overall agree with the end goal: more women / PoC at Google, and so put forward an analysis that supports the same goal, even asserting that diversity is a good thing, but indicating that Google's methodology is problematic, and possibly illegal. You shop it around, including to HR, who rejects it, get lots of constructive criticism and feedback from peers, revise it, and continue hoping you eventually do cause a good change in your organization.

Someone then sees it, gets angry, and proceeds to leak it to the press. A few days later, nearly every mainstream news organization has an article calling you a woman-hating sexist, calling your memo a "screed" and treating you like some kind of Nazi. Peers you've never spoken to start sending you threatening and hateful messages, not having even read your work, instead relying on clearly defamatory claims made by "news" organizations, totally misquoting what you've said, and even putting words in your mouth. Then you're fired for "perpetuating gender stereotypes" when you've explicitly drawn a line in your work between societal expectations on gender expression and biological predisposition due to sex, that is, you're fired for something you didn't actually say or do, and it's final, there's no appeal.

You're this young guy here, with such negative publicity, and stuck in a part of the country that's 90% leftist or left-leaning, being called all sorts of horrible things by thousands of people you don't even know. You check Twitter and see your name is associated with some of the most hateful words you could imagine.

Now, in this situation, do you respond to CNN who has just printed their 17th hitpiece on you, and hope they'll be fair to you, because you're not assertive enough to deal with the confrontation required if they start putting words in your mouth or asking leading questions? Or do you seek to tell your side of the story from people who are already presenting the story in a more neutral way?


He did an article in the Guardian where he revealed his autism. It was very surprising considering the dreadful opinion piece the Guardian had done on the memo before that.


> YouTubers like Stefan Molyneux, Jordan Peterson, Mike cernovich, Joe Rogan, Dave Rubin, Steven Crowder, etc. is suspicious. [1]

Some of these aren't like the others.


Um, guilt by association much?


It's really sad that we have people still arguing about the intent of his memo when his actions afterwards make it quite clear what his stance actually was.

And to make sure that people know: He's a liar. Even if you ignore him intentionally misrepresenting his PhD status, he boldly lied about his FIDE chess master status.


I agree that he is at significant disadvantage when it comes to getting hired at Microsoft or Apple or other megacorps, but nevertheless, there are still plenty of companies that will hire him. There's more to this industry than just FAGMA megacorps.


> So he realistically has a choice between becoming a paid speaker for fringe ultra-right organizations

Isn't that what he's been doing through his twitter account where he muses whether people join the KKK because they have cool titles? Or his interviews with people like Milo?


But can he sustain that? Or is he something of a ‘flavor of the month’ that people will stop carrying about in a year or two?

Is this just an attempt to extend his relevance a bit longer?


The right-wing media is very good at picking up flavor-of-the-month figures and giving them sinecures; this practice is well-funded by wealthy right-wing activists as a reward mechanism.

As long as Damore doesn't publicly stomp on any critical bit of right-wing orthodoxy I'm sure he'll land safely in right-wing media, regardless of the outcome of any legal cases he's involved in.


If his settlement is 7 figures, he can retire off of that.


Certainly. But it doesn’t seem like he has a case to me.

He’s basically trying to get a new protected class created to protect actions that clearly constituted creating a hostile work space based on long established precedent.

Whatever you think of him it seems like a REALLY big hurdle.

And that’s assuming no ‘mandatory binding arbitration’ issues from his work contract.

Even if he wins this could take a very long time (and trips up and down the levels of courts).


> He’s basically trying to get a new protected class created

No, he's not; none of race or sex discrimination (both under federal and state law), nor political coercion (under California state law) are new protections.

> to protect actions that clearly constituted creating a hostile work space based on long established precedent.

That would be a problem in a direct action suit over his firing, but what he has actually filed is a class action alleging a pattern and policy of discrimination on three different prohibited bases. While there are challenges in doing that, they are different than the challenges in a direct action.


I don’t think he has a chance of proving he’s being discriminated against because he’s a man (way too many guys at google) or white (same issue).

I think his only hope is persecution for his ‘belief’, which isn’t a religion and this would be a new protection (IANAL, unsurprisingly).

I didn’t see the class action bit. I wonder if he can even find enough people to join him to be certified as a class.

He has a giant ‘don’t hire me’ target on him now (weather you think just or not)... will people want to throw their lot in with him and risk the same label?


If the class action settlement is 7 figures, the lawyers might able to retire on it (but probably wouldn't, even if they could), but even the lead plaintiff is unlikely to see enough personally to retire on.


>Isn't that what he's been doing through his twitter account where he muses whether people join the KKK because they have cool titles?

That was just a joke, stop pretending he is a neo-nazi.


I'm very tired of this "joking" thing. Neo-Nazis (and historical Nazis before them) use jokes to cover their actual, earnest beliefs, and then go "it's just a joke bro" to shield themselves from criticism from those who disagree while gaining earnest support from those who agree. From the Daily Stormer style guide:

"The unindoctrinated should not be able to tell if we are joking or not. There should also be a conscious awareness of mocking stereotypes of hateful racists. I usually think of this as self-deprecating humor - I am a racist making fun of stereotype of racists, because I don't take myself super-seriously.

"This is obviously a ploy and I actually do want to gas kikes. But that's neither here nor there."

I admit that he's almost certainly not playing by the alt-right's playbook - but he should be smart enough to realize that he's playing into the alt-right's playbook, and if he's not that smart, he doesn't have any business getting a job at Google or Microsoft. There are absolutely ways to express the points he's trying to make without letting yourself be turned into an alt-right poster-boy (and they're also more effective at convincing his ostensible target audience, namely senior decision-makers in large tech companies).


> I'm very tired of this "joking" thing. Neo-Nazis (and historical Nazis before them) use jokes to cover their actual, earnest beliefs, and then go "it's just a joke bro" to shield themselves from criticism from those who disagree while gaining earnest support from those who agree. From the Daily Stormer style guide:

So basically your whole argument is that no one is allowed to joke because that's what nazis are doing?

Let me quote his whole tweet:

>The KKK is horrible and I don't support them in any way, but can we admit that their internal title names are cool, e.g. "Grand Wizard"?

There are no shades of gray. This joke isn't even remotely offensive. The only reason why anyone could think otherwise is their prejudice against Damore.


> So basically your whole argument is that no one is allowed to joke because that's what nazis are doing?

No, that is not my argument. This is about the second time in one week where I've posted "x was a bad idea in context", and someone else has replied with "So, your argument is no one should be allowed to do x ever?", so clearly I am being very bad at communicating. As with last time, I'll try to explain my position in a little more detail in the hope that it will help.

My position is that, if you are already at risk of being an alt-right poster-boy (thanks to having been forced to do interviews with alt-right YouTubers because nobody else would interview you fairly, or something), and if you are not actually a supporter of the alt-right position, it is probably a good idea to avoid doing and saying things that give the further impression that you are and want to be an alt-right poster boy. (If you do want to be a supporter of the alt-right position, by all means, more power to you, but then arguments about joking are moot - you're an intentional and happy member of the alt-right and we can continue discussions having established that. But for now I'm assuming that's not the case.)

This is a different position from "Don't tell jokes," or "Don't tell jokes about the KKK," or even "Don't tell jokes that make it sound like you support the KKK," or even "Don't make non-joking commentary that supports certain things the KKK is doing."

A brief aside there - I don't understand how that tweet is a joke. I think it's meant earnestly, and I think it stands up as a piece of earnest commentary and I think it does him and his position a disservice to read it as a joke. The internal title names are cool. That's why they picked them. The KKK wanted, and still wants, to attract membership, and cool-sounding titles are something that pushes people from neutral to excited. This isn't a particularly novel observation, but it's certainly a true one. (And the KKK isn't alone; plenty of secret societies of varying levels of racism have done similar things through history.) The job of smart, non-KKK-sympathizing people is to recognize that this is a tactic, and to go find some other less racist outlet for your desire to be called "Grand Wizard," like tabletop gaming, instead of expressing approval for the KKK's marketing tactics.

This is also a different position from "That joke is offensive." I did not claim that the joke was offensive, nor did anyone else, and I think "Actually, that's not offensive and you're wrong because you were offended" is a terribly fallacious rhetorical strategy when nobody has claimed to be offended.


> Neo-Nazis (and historical Nazis before them) use jokes to cover their actual, earnest beliefs,

Did they? Can you provide any evidence that the Nazi party used "jokes" to hide their beliefs? I can't quite see that, somehow. To the contrary, they were quite open about their beliefs.


Did your read the memo? It is hardly a far-right opinion piece...


He'd be a bleeding heart CA liberal in Texas. I'm with you.


The memo might not be, but his public speaking record since seems to be further right than that.


There are many companies with very opinionated managers who are hiring developers: Breitbart as a large website comes to mind, so do some libertarian cryptocurrency companies. His reputation probably limits his research but I can see how his fame might convince some people to reach out to him at the same time.

I was once identified as a chartered statistician, presumably sympathetic, by a fringe group (fun people collecting Nazi memorabilia, something that happens to get you in jail where I was at the time). Several members reached out to me to draft or sign op-eds on things like homosexual parenthood, sexuality transmittable disease and ethnicity, etc. They were clearly well financed and they had an opinion to defend (which actually makes the job easier). I refused because they didn’t have any data to support their claim so I wasn’t sure what I could do other than discrediting myself instantly (I was not very politically savvy at the time). I had a clear feeling there was a path from paid drafts to signed papers, to book deals that would have made me rich.

Whether James Damore is willing to go there is a more difficult question.


He can get a job in any republican state, people will probably silently agree about the things he said, or the media painted him to have said.


I would imagine he could pretty easily get contracting work at a place that doesn't care.

Or create "Not James Damore Consulting, Inc." and hire himself out through that.


I notice none of those options include "admit he was wrong and apologize". I'm sure he doesn't have to work for a top-tier tech company either.


It sounds like you're suggesting he both lies, and acts with disingenuity. I don't think it's reasonable to ask him to do that.


I would assume that any apology would be backed up by some king of statement about what he has learned since the memo.

At the very least he should have learned how important soft skills are and that his idea of what makes a good engineer was woefully incomplete.

If he hasn't learned anything, then why would anybody hire the guy?


But out of the things he could have learned, which ones would make for a good public apology? If he goes public, and says - "I honestly apologize for my mistake, I never realized you people could so violently overreact to what's essentially politely expressed feasibility comment backed by scientific consensus, and that in the process you'll so maliciously misrepresent me and lie about my intentions and the contents of my memo" - how will that sound to the crowd? Because that's what his mistake really was - not realizing he's not dealing with rational people.


That's not an apology, that's being a passive-aggressive nerd.


That's exactly my point. I can't imagine any way of him saying the truth about the memo situation that wouldn't also sound passive-aggressive at best.


just do what politicians do. apologize as vaguely as possible without calling yourself wrong.

"Mistakes were made, and I want to move on with my life....", no details -- just pandering. He won't necessarily be dishonest if he limits the context of the apology.

(I don't think one should apologize for opinions and ideas that go un-enacted. Knee-jerk reactions to opinions you don't like tend to blow them up, and that's why James Damore is a name we recognize now. Isn't that opposite to everyone's intention of minimizing his point of view? Ironic.)


Does that even work, though? We all comment critically here when we see politicians or company CEOs pulling fake-apologies. But since fake-apologies happen, I guess they must be buying the performers something...


I bet it would work in a smaller setting, like a hiring interview where the scandal came up. It wouldn't be worth doing something like now and in public while there's attention on him.


The key is to be sincere. A fake apology would be a terrible idea.


Well then doesn't he deserve what he gets?

Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences.


I guess in that sense, everybody deserves whatever they get.


Well no, if someone went crazy and tried to murder him over this that would be a pretty inappropriate response.

I do get your point though.


Has that worked in the past?

I've never made a fuckup of nearly the same magnitude, but the times I made a mistake in public apologizing always made things worse.


Has what worked in the past? Admitting you were wrong and apologizing? Sure it's a good way of resolving conflicts if you were actually wrong. People grow and change throughout life, I don't think that being a knucklehead in the past necessarily means you're a knucklehead now.


Admitting you were wrong and apologizing in public, specifically.

An individual can be reasoned with, placated. You can make reparations, promises that the other person will believe because of a precedent of mutual trust and forgiveness.

However, you can't do that with an angry mob.


The angry mob is irrelevant. There are more individuals watching quietly than people making their positions public. The mob will chill when their friends ask them to post-apology. I have been on all sides of this phenomenon: the chiller, the chillee, the apology. It works.


The mob is big enough that they are not necessarily even friends with each other. People who ask the mob to chill risk being mobbed in turn. Punishment of non-punishers is how mobs sustain themselves.


The angry mob is the reason people like James Damore get fired while his openly white-male-hating coworkers are free to post their opinions on Twitter with no consequences at all. They are not at all irrelevant.


It doesn't work in the case of moral panics like this.

Apologizing only convinces the people who are called for his head that they were correct. Usually it will lead to further sanctions.


Yes. 100% it has worked. I've fucked up in the past, apologized, and made things much, much better.

Edit: I feel some might be reading this wrong. I'm did not say it works 100% of the time. I said that I'm 100% certain it has worked because it's worked for me.


You’ve apologized to an angry mob. When?


The problem is, in our society, there is NO option to say you were wrong and walk it all back. Once it's out there on the internet, you are crucified for life with it. Its sad because the "crime" doesn't fit the punishment.


Brendan Eich seems to be doing ok now. The furor that severed his relationship with Mozilla doesn't seem to have impacted Brave, and that was just a few years ago.


By doing ok, you mean he is no longer a CEO of company with hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue that he helped create, but instead he is running a startup that hardly anyone heard about. At what point you’d say he no longer does ok? When he’s homeless?


He's still an executive in tech. When I read news about Brave the controversy over Eich's Proposition 8 support doesn't dominate comments sections the way it did in 2014. That controversy seems to have had limited impact on Eich or Brave in later years. I would have liked to look at the later impact on someone in tech lower-level than Eich who faced the outrage machine, but his was the only name I could remember.

After some more searching, I remembered the blowup over a "big dongles" joke at PyCon in 2013. I found the name of one of the men involved. I don't want to name him here, but it looks like he's still gainfully employed in tech, using Python.

I agree that social media outrage can be overblown and vicious. I don't want to minimize that. But it fades[1]. "Crucified for life" seems inaccurate.

[1] Even justified outrage fades; did #kony2012 even trend through the end of 2012? But the viciousness while every angry person knows your name can be astonishing. That's why I use a nym here and on Ars Technica that has no direct links to my professional or IRL identities, and why I usually skip commenting or reading about the outrage du jour. I must be feeling lucky today to write even this much.


Mozilla isn't exactly in the best state, even before he left, so maybe it's turning out better for him. Not to mention that Brave just launched a ICO.


From Wikipedia:

Some of the activists created an online shaming campaign against Eich, with online dating site OkCupid automatically displaying a message to Firefox users with information about Eich's donation, and suggesting that users switch to a different browser

Never heard of this. This is unbelievably unethical.


why do you think that he is necessarily wrong. After I read his memo, I would say it is debatable, not wrong. In fact you're attitude is a very clear sign of the silence culture being pushed.


Ehh...I was replying to a post that didn't consider the fact that he might actually be wrong, come to terms with his wrongness, and admit it and move on. Whether or not he's wrong is perhaps an unanswered question -- I don't really know enough about the memo to say one way or the other -- but he should consider that what he did was wrong.


Well nobody on the other side did anything close to "considering that what they did was wrong".


Do you actually think that would get him anywhere?


> I hope they will settle for an amount sufficient for retirement and the dude's life won't get ruined due to a stupid political game he didn't even realize he was playing.

"Ruined?" Because he might have to take a non-tech job? Please.

He went to a diversity training event which should've given him a clear idea of Google's stance on the issue. Then he published an internal memo arguing against that stance. He knew the game he was playing. He just played it poorly.

Regardless, he'll be fine.


Actually, someone else released his memo externally.


"Then he published an internal memo arguing against that stance."


Feedback was explicitly solicited, and he published it in that forum.

If the company doesn't want views that might contradict current policy, it should not solicit feedback.


He should have made a better argument then.


"We have a verdict, and darn it, we will find a crime to fit that verdict."


Asking for feedback doesn't mean allowing the employees to make discriminatory statements contradicting the company's policies and degrading its image (whether hurting the image of the company was intentional or not).


> "Ruined?" Because he might have to take a non-tech job? Please.

There are more tech jobs than those at Google, Facebook, etc.


> Nope, regardless the technical skill or his actual personality, his public image is forever ruined.

I predict he'll be able to find a nice tech job eventually, and the biggest barrier he'll have to overcome is this lawsuit. There are plenty of companies who aren't so sensitive to this kind of PR and and flap around his hiring will die out quickly.


> no big company will ever hire him

Palantir or Peter Thiel will just have him well.


ironically if he had a union he likely would've had the protection of a grievance process and not been subject to summary termination, regardless of how sexist his views were


I see no irony here. The anti-union feeling is prevalent in SV and has little to do with this affair.


the irony is that the subcultural current with which damore sympathizes is generally pretty anti-union as well, but being represented by one probably would've provided him some protection.


I don't think it's about keeping a job any more.


[flagged]


Yes, that's the spirit. Let's burn the witch.

Unless i missed something, the guy never advocated violence or gender discrimination, or making anyone's life miserable. He expressed opinion on scientific explanation. You may find it very stupid, but what in your mind makes you think it's OK to destroy a man's life for his opinion, and then i suppose pretend to be someone with high moral grounds.


His mistake was assuming that people would be able to have an abstract, intellectual discussion of the subject. Unfortunately colleges and universities have spent more than a decade churning out graduates who have been taught that a good tool to attain power and status is to have an emotional, overreaction to anything that let's them assert cultural dominance over someone.


It's never okay to destroy a man's life, but he made a poor choice to have his life destroyed.

I don't know why he did that. People do stupid things all the time.

Centuries of gender discrimination, in a field that is very publicly plagued by it, in a world that is still broken with it, what was Damore thinking?

Everyone has the freedom to act, but no one has freedom from the consequences of the act.


That is a very strange notion of freedom (albeit pervasive). Everybody has the freedom to shoplift but no one has freedom from the consequences of shoplifting.


In a strictly literal sense, which might be the best for getting everyone on the same page, that is true.

No question that Damore made mistakes; most sane people would never have let an opinion like that touch paper during office hours, and google will hopefully review the terrible idea of having a 'controversial opinions' forum.

However, his mistake is the debate's gain - the response is clearly disproportionate on several levels. This is an opportunity to identify the people calling for his life to be destroyed and convince them that their definition of various -isms is calibrated a little too high. Or failing that, to try and get some moderates into positions of power rather than the hard left.


> It's never okay to destroy a man's life, but he made a poor choice to have his life destroyed.

Did he leak the memo to the press to cause the outrage? No he didn't, so he is not responsible for the PR whirlwind created by it. Those who leaked the internal corporate communication are responsible and they should be fired.


I largely agreed with the memo. I have coworkers and friends who fell on either side of the camp, but more in the agree camp than disagree. Should we just purge half the developers in Columbus for Silicon Valley wrongthink?

edit: looks like thenayr updated his post a couple of times since my reply. When written only the first two lines were present.


(1) Your anecdotal evidence is literally worthless. You need to provide some statistics that 50% of developers support him. I can easily self select 100% of developers who disagree with Damore.

(2) If you agree/disagree with Damore that's great. It's your right as a person to have opinions and no company can criticise you for that. What you can't do however is publicise these issues on any forum. It's simply not a topic that has any merit being discussed in a professional environment.


In resp to 2)

He wrote the memo in response to an event he attended where they asked for feedback. Are you saying that you can't provide feedback on a topic that a talk is about if you come to the "wrong" conclusion? I've attended diversity events and have seen opinions expressed in the open, to executives even, that were far less progressive than Damore's interpretation. I think this is just a coastal thing, having topics like diversity be verboten seems silly if we are also having meetings about, setting up programs for, and shifting our non-tech->tech career plotting to favor diverse candidates.


If you agree that one's opinion is "anecdotal" then why do you even bother expressing your opinion?! Unless you think your opinion is more relevant than OP's.


Do you really mean to suggest that someone holding contrary views cannot express them on any forum?


The differences between men and women are a legitimate topic of scientific inquiry, and therefore discussion. It should certainly be reasonable to explore whether differences in traits leads to differences in preferences or interests such as occupation.


Of course it's an important and legitimate topic of discussion.

Just don't discuss it at work. It's called professionalism.


> don't discuss it at work

Even after attending a work event on that very topic, which specifically asked for feedback and further discussion?

Or should discussion be restricted to only one viewpoint?


Does that include diversity training that focuses on implicit and explicit consciousness bias differences between men and woman?


That was really what did it for me. I read the document and I'll be honest, I didn't really hear the dog whistles and I didn't get particularly worked up about it. I thought it kinda read like pseudo-science and that was about it.

But then the dude appeared on Mike Cernovich's show and was all over r/the_donald and I was like, "oh this is who this guy is." I hate to judge someone by the company they keep but this guy's company was particularly bad (imo).


So guilty by association ? That's healthy...

What's truly sad about this is that he is the first I've heard of to propose actually fair measures we could take to promote gender diversity in IT, such as using more socially involved methods such as pair programming. Instead we get positive discrimination.

This depiction by tech crunch is an insult to reporting, if you read/listen to the primary source, there is no hate, no sexism, no racism, he just saw unfair stuff and spoke out about it.


Yeah, even if you look at the comments here damning Damore, it's obvious most commenters didn't bother to read - hell, to even skim the primary source.

The memo was as polite scientificly-backed and clearly written as it was reasonably possible without turning it into an academic publication. The only mistake he made (while at Google; I was really surprised by the on-line crowd that he found itself with after being ejected from his workplace) was not realizing that he's not dealing with a rational audience, in Google or elsewhere.


I was kind of hoping more of hacker news though =/ This does not bode well...


It's not just "association" as you put it. r/the_donald was singing is his praises. They're a pretty toxic bunch and I've found that I have very little in common with many of them (mostly because I find their views to be <insert any negative adjective>). So when they're the only people I see coming to someone's defense I assume that person said or did something pretty bad.

Mike Cernovich is the same way. He's looking to push a narrative to further his own agenda. An agenda and narrative I find gross and offensive. So he thinks Damore fits into that narrative. That is a not so subtle hint to me that Damore is saying something gross and offensive.

It's not the best way of judging things for sure but I don't think it served me poorly here.


You give too much power to these toxic groups, I recommend just ignoring them completely. The alternative is basically giving them the ability to censor what you read, litmus or not, seems unwise. I know nothing of Cernovich sorry. It certainly served you poorly here. His infamous memo is the best, most scientifically literate proposal towards more diversity in IT, its portrayal is truly discouraging.


It didn't censor what I read though. I read the memo fully. I thought it wasn't particularly interesting. Then I saw who did. I'm not sure what you think I missed.


Well his sum up suggests two things: If we are to be truly free and diverse, we shouldn't expect perfect representation everywhere (ie. may be it's not a problem that 50% of lumberjacks aren't women), and to make engineering more diverse, the current approach (positive discrimination) is unfair, we should instead embrace gender differences and modify methodology in IT to be more female oriented, he suggests pair programming based on psychological research indicating women are more people oriented, and men more thing oriented. There is no value judgment there, just a sound, scientifically literate approach to change.


I'll put it another way: if you found his memo non interesting, you are not interested in science, in making the workplace more diverse, in being fair and open, and you will have no part in whistle-blowing.


I found it not interesting because it didn't feel very scientific like you said. It sounded like a high schooler's argument and was cited like one. Your condescending tone is appreciated.


Well I think those things are important and interesting. Your appreciation of "sounding like" is failing you and us on our road to inclusivity.


> I hate to judge someone by the company they keep

This is literally the way we (as humans) are built to test veracity. Only in a few cases does this litmus test fail.

It's a good test, just like "follow the money". It can be abused (joe jobs, false flags), but works a vast majority of the time.


It's a demerit to him that he accepted their support, but it is also a demerit on the entire rest of society that the only ones who offered him support were the alt-right.


I'd be interested to know whether more liberal media/shows extended invitations to him (that he declined?), or whether it was only conservative platforms that allowed him to present his case.


The Guardian interviewed him. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/16/james-dam...

When the memo came out, the Guardian reported that news outlets contacted him and Damore went with anti-feminist youtubers for a more friendly reception. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/aug/09/james-dam...


Thanks for the info.

> Damore went with anti-feminist youtubers for a more friendly reception

Maybe understandable, but disappointing.


> But then the dude appeared on Mike Cernovich's show and was all over r/the_donald and I was like, "oh this is who this guy is." I hate to judge someone by the company they keep but this guy's company was particularly bad (imo).

I got the impression that he accepted those interviews because they were the only ones that would be conducted fairly. Especially considering he was subjected to at least one hostile and unfair interview.

We can't have a world where you can destroy somebody by endorsing them. This turns every undesirable into a perfect hitman.


>> I got the impression that he accepted those interviews because they were the only ones that would be conducted fairly.

An exact opposite bias doesn't cancel out into fairness.


I'm not sure how many people have the PR-savvy needed to avoid that kind of problem.

So even if the consequences of not avoiding that landmine are awful, I'm not sure it's fair to castigate him for that.

(N.B.: I haven't looked carefully into how he handled that affair, so my comment might be misinformed.)


Most people have enough sense to not post something so inflammatory in an office system where it can be accessed by random coworkers. He could have been more nuanced about it but the controversy seems intentional and deliberate and he absolutely deserves the whole shitstorm he's facing.


I don't know where exactly I heard it, but: email like it might be read aloud in a deposition.


The fact that literally nobody else is famous for doing something so breathtakingly stupid tells us that basically everybody else is not as stupid as this guy.


He also lied about having a PhD (he was in a program, but did not finish). This makes it difficult for me to take him seriously as someone motivated by an insistent search for truth.


He never lied about having a PhD. He was in middle of his PhD program when he decided to drop out and join Google -- nowhere in his his LinkedIn page, did he falsely indicate that he finished his PhD.

Da'More must have completed at least course work and research required for master's, however, and Harvard gave him master's instead.


Until he was asked about it, Damore's LinkedIn "Education" section said "Harvard University / PhD, Systems Biology / 2011-2013".

After, he changed it to "Harvard University / Master of Science - MS, Systems Biology / 2011-2013".

The fact that his old profile said PhD, in place of the MS degree he actually had, does look to me like falsely indicating that he had a PhD.

http://www.businessinsider.com/james-damore-removes-phd-stud...


Sure, I see where the confusion might arise.

I guess most folks don't take Linkedin seriously -- my LinkedIn profile there is also outdated. When I dropped out of college to work a few years in industry, I indicated years I attended, relevant course works, and matriculation status in my resume, but, LinkedIn is just a social networking site for business -- and only recently it's transformed into a job search site. IMO, it's a stretch to say Damore's LinkedIn page was intended to mislead potential employer or the public.


source please (as in when he lied) ?


He previously had "PhD, Systems Biology" on his LinkedIn profile under his Harvard section - which I get that, to other academics, probably means "I was working on a PhD between these years," but sounds very much like "I have a PhD in Systems Biology from Harvard" to anyone from the outside. (I have an incomplete master's degree personally, and I'm careful to write "BS and coursework towards MEng" on my resume and not "MEng" for exactly this reason.)

I've seen the LinkedIn with my own eyes, but if you prefer to trust media sources: https://www.wired.com/story/james-damore-google-memo-harvard... http://www.businessinsider.com/james-damore-removes-phd-stud...


In my academic experience, saying "Harvard University, PhD, Systems Biology, 2011-2013" without having finished would be seen as dishonest. I have a PhD, but before I finished I always said "anticipated" or "expected". It's possible that Damore did this inadvertently, but it seems like too convenient of a mistake to leave out his MS degree, just say PhD, and leave the claim up for years.


In this instance I really do not trust media sources, there is too much disparity between the reporting and primary source. I'll accept your having seen that, but, with the same caveat you point out. Indeed that is indelicate.


That's the spirit. Let's make people un-hireable not based on their skills but on their personal opinions. 0% chance that that would backfire.


Skills matter. Personal opinions matter, too, when you broadcast them to an entire company.

Stop with the false dilemma; it's not an either/or choice between acceptable skills and acceptable behavior.


Can you specidy why exactly his memo was such a huge fuck up?

He didn't want to make a statement, he wanted to get to the bottom of what he was wondering about on the internal discussion forum. He also has autism, maybr he was trying to learn or check if his observations are true or not.

Then, the media spun this story as to why he's such a sexist without even specifically saying why or trying to debunk his observations, with, you know, arguments or studies.

He isn't a writer, he doesn't know how to perfectly write something that is divisive without offending anyone. He didn't work on the memo for months to check that his language is perfect and represents everything exactly the way he views it.

His memo could have been a good start to find gender biases in tech and actually improve them instead of ostrachzing people outright who dare to talk about the issue.


> The dude literally let himself be paraded around by the alt-right and neo-nazi groups as a hero.

Explain how this is James' fault.

> When alt-right Twitter agrees with your world-views, you're doing something WRONG.

Alt-right Twitter agrees that murder is wrong, the national debt is concerning, and that sexual assault is supremely immoral. What does that make you, if you define yourself by disagreement with them? It is not James Damore's job to disavow all the people you disagree with on other matters, no matter how legitimate your disagreement.


> Alt-right Twitter agrees that murder is wrong, the national debt is concerning, and that sexual assault is supremely immoral.

Alt-right Twitter seems to believe that murders were only committed by Hillary Clinton's death squads, and that random violence in America's big cities doesn't exist (until two seconds later when apparently people are so terrified of violence in America's big cities that we need all sorts of invasions on civil liberties so people can walk outside ever).

The national debt is a good thing, and if you oppose it for the reasons alt-right Twitter does (it has the name "debt" in it, and debt is bad, right?), that's a sign of a pretty flawed world-view.

Alt-right Twitter thinks sexual assault is so immoral that cultures that are successfully calling it out and reforming are bad cultures, and cultures that are ignoring it and electing people who deny credible claims are good cultures. It just so happens that the first group of cultures are left-leaning and the second are right-leaning - what a coincidence!

If those are your three examples, I am absolutely happy to define myself by disagreement with all of them.


[flagged]


> You're joking, right?

No, I'm dead serious, the alt right is not literally reptilians, they hold the vast majority of common moral opinions. The body of things that you and they could agree on is enormous, you can't dismiss somebody simply because the alt-right doesn't disagree with them.

> These guys elected the sexual-assaulter-in-chief.

So did I, and millions of others. The alt-right is a supreme minority in the United States, they do not have the numbers to elect the President, this is hysterical.

thenayr 5 months ago [flagged]

I don't give a shit what you believe if your entire platform is built upon "White people are discriminated against and jews are bad".

EDIT - Ah, Trump supporter, that explains it.


Would you please stop posting flamebait to Hacker News, regardless of how right you are? This thread is awful already, but you've managed to make it significantly worse.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


[flagged]


A recent article on Quillette actually addresses your assumption quite well: http://quillette.com/2018/01/05/empathy-gap-tech-interview-s...

Basically, the assumption that there's a single kind of "smartness" that generalizes equally across technical competence, social competence, and awareness of political trends is not a valid assumption. The number of non-neurotypical people that work in tech fields should make this clear.

It's also unfortunate to see such glee at the idea of someone's life being ruined and happiness at the thought of a large megacorporation's large amount of resources being able to do it.


> I am glad that his life is ruined

There’s nothing toxic about that!

As for whether or not he knew what he was doing...he may have written this thing, but he did so in an area that was designated for that sort of thing. He wasn’t the one that started emailing it to the entire company. So it’s fair to say he thought he was just having a discussion in the topic with whatever this skeptic group at Google was, and other people decided to turn it into a national political issue to get him fired for it.


If it's internal then don't write shit that will get you fired. I think forwarding it is a shitty thing to do, but he should have kept in mind that potential.


Maybe he had faith in Google being managed by smart people, who understand the necessity of not policing internal feedback.


>I am glad that his life is ruined and that he is toxic and non-hirable.

step back and listen to what you just said.

Why are you glad about that? You're aware that he's still a human that can suffer, like us, right?

This guy isn't a dictator. Find some balance here.


I'm about as left wing as it gets, but I don't want to see the guy ruined. Retributive justice is how we get the drug war working with the broken prison system to create an underclass.

I want to see James Damore understand the impact of his words and learn from it. I don't want him thrown out of society for a single really big mistake and a poor handling of the consequences.


I want to see James Damore understand the impact of his words and learn from it.

It's quite evident from reports in the news media, that there was tremendous emotional impact. The fact that so many people could be so extremely triggered is very telling, but it doesn't actually speak to James Damore being some kind of villain, or his words being somehow horrible. If a whole bunch of adults stop behaving like adults and start exhibiting striking intellectual dishonesty, I think this is very revealing indeed.

I ask this as a member of the Left, who wonders: When did the Left stop being the side of free speech and intellectual honesty? When it finally felt powerful enough in the culture to have become corrupted by that cultural power.


Out of curiosity, what lessons would you like Damore to learn from this?


So you're saying it's impossible to be analytically intelligent but politically inept?


he could be CTO of Breitbart


Or Cambridge Analytica or Project Veritas or Fox News or Sky or the Wall Street Journal or Heritage Foundation, it's not that small a pool, off the top of my head.


This actually seems like a very realistic outcome.


Gab.ai would hire him in a minute.


> due to a stupid political game he didn't even realize he was playing

If he didn't know exactly what he was doing he deserves whatever happens to him for being so oblivious to the world around him.


Perhaps you should read up a little on Autism Spectrum Disorder. James Damore almost certainly tends to the autistic, and it can lead to both some insensitive statements not intended the way they were taken, and being unable to recognize some of the social situations he was put in.


If that were true then wouldn't James Damore have recanted or apologized at some point, once he realized it was offense? This isn't making an off-color remark in passing.


Bearing in mind he has no reason to apologize for "the memo as a whole", how should he approach this? He's already said many times he was not saying what people are claiming he has said. It hasn't worked. Should he release a version 2 of the memo with the benefit of maybe someone else to help him edit it? How would that be received by his critics or the press?

Is there really anything he can say or do that will redeem his public image after he's been slandered on a global stage based on a internal-only memo that someone leaked to the public likely with the intent of ruining his life?

There is a point at which there is really nothing you can say to make a situation better, and you are better off just not saying anything further on the matter.


I guess I don't get your point about him being on the spectrum and how that means he accidentally may say offensive things. If that were true, as you say, wouldn't he have realized that in something like this?


I would think so, but I don't speak for everyone on the spectrum. I can't imagine someone in 2017 thinking "hey, lemme write an anti-diversity memo at Google, that'll go over well".

From the impression I've gleaned, Googlers seem to strongly believe what is said in Google stays in Google and people there believe their coworkers are generally open-minded, extremely intelligent individuals. He may have believed he was in an environment where this was not as much of a mistake as it very obviously, in hindsight, was.


Autism is not an excuse. Damore has openly sympathized with white supremacist groups. The common practice of diagnosing and pathologizing white men that have been radicalized by white supremacy and seek to shape institutional policies around white supremacy, prevents us from fully engaging with the harm they cause.

Autism does not cause you to be a bigot.

https://twitter.com/mjg59/status/931599879238967296


I don't agree that Damore has "openly sympathized" with white supremacist groups. Unless you consider admitting "Grand Wizard" is a pretty cool title to be... "sympathizing". (It's a pretty cool title. Reprehensible humans have that title, but it's a cool title.) The fact that he didn't anticipate how badly this post would be received by the public though... a clear symptom of his presence on the spectrum.

As a fellow member of the spectrum, I can fully see where Damore fits on it. In some ways I agree with his actual points (not what the media has claimed they are), but his presentation was poor, and insensitive to how it would be received. And a good chunk of his memo was just... not good. He never intended it to be public, and it certainly wasn't fit to be (I believe he considered it a work in progress, and was looking for constructive feedback), but someone angry at him decided to make him a public figure overnight by leaking it and ruined his career.

He obviously made some very poor choices on who to associate with afterwards, not realizing the political implications that came with them. He failed to see how free publicity provided by certain parties would associate him with them.


I hope the Google lawyers make an example out of him and he gets nothing.


The problem is Google at all levels publicly misrepresented his arguments. Google replied with a knee jerk reaction publicly.

If anything Google will settle because the proof of misrepresentation is in James's favor.

Sure there are lots of things you could and Google could have argued. But they chose to respond to what had to be either a different paper or their emotions.


No that just isn't how life does or should work.

You make mistakes in an industry and you own the impacts to your reputation. He has done serious harm to the work of so many by his actions and absolutely deserves to own the consequences.

And let's be serious here he has zero chance of winning against Google.


You seem unfamiliar with the power of litigation. The case won't be about "him being fired", but about showing there is any pattern for bias in Google with respects to the three stated criteria. And if they can show that bias exists, then still without making this about him, specifically, the court can be asked to apply punitive measures against google (which their client "happens to benefit from, being part of the group that Google has demonstrated bias against").

Initial filing for a court case is crucial for establishing what we're actually sueing over, and this will be an interesting one, because the chances of his legal team winning this one are definitely non-zero.


Explain to me where Google asks when you are hired whether you are white, male or conservative. I have worked for a dozen Fortune 500 sized companies now and not once has it ever come up. He wasn't fired for any of those aspects anyway. He was fired because he chose to act in an unprofessional manner.


Regardless of our personal feelings about the matter, the sad fact is, it might be as simple as the lawyers finding female Googlers who have public statements remotely anti-male who were not fired.

I am not a lawyer but that, while trivial, might be enough for a court to rule against Google.


That and also There was also google managers talking about having personal blacklists on twitter.

It's why I think this google will settle with Damore for a very high amount, because discovery will not be good for them.


Ethnicity and gender are on their job application form.


No it isn't. Try applying for a job:

https://www.google.com/about/careers


I did, it asked me. Was I being given a "personalized" application perhaps?


> And let's be serious here he has zero chance of winning against Google.

Don't be so sure of that. Federal law prohibits firing an employee who is trying to improve working conditions. And that's what he is claiming he was doing with his memo.

And there are a number female SJW Google employees who have made really vicious, public, anti-male statements and no one batted an eyelash. So I think his claim of gender-based discrimination is quite supportable.


In a jury trial there are few certainties. The other questions are who else joins the class and what gets discovered.

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