The HN community is divided on divisive topics. It would be surprising if it weren't; any large-enough population sample is going to reflect divisions in the society at large. (Societies, actually; HN is mostly international, and the people posting here are coming from wildly different assumption sets.)
Unfortunately, each side seems to think the community is dominated by their enemies and that the moderators are secretly suppressing theirs. That's not true, but alas that does not matter, as you can see in the subthread below. One side is sure that we're politically correct thought police; the other side that we're misogyny- and white supremacy-enablers. The irony is how united they both are in that sort of logic. None of it has anything to do with what we actually think, believe, or do.
Raising a dupe flag of an article that has been demoted for any reason doesn’t make sense to me. That means each story has only one chance, no matter the source, rather than seeing it through. If someone comes in, doesn’t see the article on the front page when they think it shouldn’t be there, they will naturally resubmit because they can’t see the conversation occurring.
This does mean that a hot story will get a big discussion yet many readers never see the thread. But that's true of every thread; it follows from the structure of the site. The way around this is to use HN search to find the discussion, or links like https://news.ycombinator.com/active and https://news.ycombinator.com/lists. Edit: or just look at the second page!
I did learn about /active, which might be better than the front page for my purposes. I probably wouldn’t have said something if I was looking there instead.
I think this is emblematic of how tyrannical some of the people subscribing to the prevailing Silicon Valley viewpoint are.
I once would have thought that this would have been somewhat obvious.
I don't think either were particularly strong positions or poorly spoken.
It probably doesn't help that the automated rulesets here aren't kind to downvoted first posts by new users.
Note that this is different from people being flagged or down voted by members because of content. I can imagine it's very frustrating, but they are different behaviors. In one, specific action has been taken by members; in another, one has been caught by automated anti-abuse measures.
Why invoke the "tyrannical" rhetoric in respect to clicking a "flag" link on a website? It's not that big of a deal. Not everything is an attack by the Silicon Valley elite, all sorts of interesting topics get booted off the front page and there is always someone with a particularly strong opinion in the comments who has to exclaim why their personal issue is the bane of the HN hivemind (a hivemind that underpins a decentralized conspiracy to destroy free speech in order to avoid confronting the unavoidable conclusions of your air-tight argument). Sometimes stuff just gets flagged, it happens on both sides of every controversial topic ranging from blockchains to booth babes.
It is also disingenuous to say this happens to articles on the prevailing viewpoint to the same degree. Articles on Damore and Fowler was plentiful, and they were not voted off the frontpage. The sin of oppressing critical viewpoints in the valley falls squarely on the social justice warriors.
Something along these lines is often-cited, but isn't supported by the guidelines or by comments by the moderators.
From the guidelines:
> "On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting. That includes more than hacking and startups. If you had to reduce it to a sentence, the answer might be: anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity."
Discussions on contentious issues very quickly devolve on HN: it's not built to support them well, and many members recognize that. You're right, these are important issues and they should be discussed, but HN empirically has not been proven to be a good place to do so. And rehashing the same arguments time and again is almost the definition of not interesting.
Your posting via a throwaway account is anecdotal evidence of this. That's not a judgment, that's just a reflection of how it is. Likewise your assumption that curation on HN is due to "an ideologically possessed social justice minority": that's not a assumption that engenders the foundation of good faith that discussion on contentious topics desperately needs. Regardless of other factors at play that make discussions like this difficult (and I agree they're myriad), this is one that is destructive, rather than constructive.
And please don't confuse this stance as normative. Hopefully we'll figure out better ways to use things like online forums for working through issues, but we haven't done that yet. Want to have better, deeper discussions on difficult topics? One thing you can do yourself is conduct yourself in a manner that makes that possible. Build a reputation with a regular account so people can trust that you're engaging in good faith, and assume that people are behaving reasonably for reasons that may not be clear to you or you may disagree with before deciding that they're unreasonable.
I think there needs to be a punishment function for ideologically motivated flagging and maybe even other actions done by such a minority, so that it cause the articles to stay on the frontpage longer when brought back in order to dissuade the behavior.
That said, bringing up again "ideologically motivated flagging" ignores other reasons people may be flagging, such as the belief that such discussions aren't constructive on HN, independent of one's ideological or political position. And the mods do punish those that abuse flags and votes and submissions and comments. (And many who are so penalized think it's applied unfairly to them, from every ideological persuasion. Or that it's done ideologically rather than for incivility or other abuse.)
Here's how I'd break down my position in a nutshell:
- These are important topics.
- These are topics I think need to be discussed.
- HN empirically has not been a place where such topics have been interestingly and constructvely discussed.
∴ Such topics are for the most part best discussed elsewhere (i.e., not HN).
What I read from your comment is that you think these topics should be discussed (which I agree with) and should be discussed on HN, which I don't because I don't think that HN is structurally fit to handle such discussions.
So, with that, I think there are two questions that I would like you to address:
- Do you think HN as it is now is the place to constructively have these discussions?
If you answer yes to this question, then you and I disagree, and as I noted upstream, I think the evidence is on my side. If you answer no, the next question is
- Do you think HN should be a place to constructively have these discussions?
If you answer yes, what would make HN a place where such discussions could take place? There are certain things I think are criticial to being able to discuss contentious topics constructivelly. Those include being able to identify over time the people you're engaged in discussion with. This doens't mean know absolutely: pseodonyms are fine. However, you can't get very deep into a discussion on contentious issues if you aren't able to take others on good faith, and you can't do that without establishing some kind of reputation. Repeatedly using throwaways works against this.
Likewise, there needs to be a common understanding of civility. The definition of civility isn't universal, and changes from forum to forum (both online and in real life). There's quite a bit of disagreement on HN of what constitutes civil behavior, which again makes it difficult to dig into contentious discussions constructively: a shared understanding of civility allows people to engage on equal footing. This isn't a failure of any one group or perspective. It's just a reflection of human nature. This isn't different from real life: there are some topics you discuss with your family, others with your friends (and different groups of friends), others at work. Each has their own norms that allows those different topics to be discussed constructively.
It also means that that each point shouldn't be relitigated again and again. That sucks all the air out of the room and gets in the way of people having interesting discussions on a whole host of other interesting, non-contentious topics which HN explicitly has as a goal. This is really no different than if every discussion boiled down to a language flamewar or similar repetition. It's not healthy for the forum.
This isn't an exhaustive list, but I think it captures some of the important characteristics that make constructive discussion on contentious topics possible. You may disagree.
HN, for better or worse, isn't built like that. It wouldn't be HN if it were substantially different. I'd love to see a forum that makes such discussions possible. I don't expect (nor necessarily want) HN to be that place.
Each of these is getting longer than the last, so I'll try to refrain from commenting more on this, at least until I find a publisher. ;)
I see your point about the fitness of a platform for challenging the prevailing viewpoints in Silicon Valley, and for making sure that people can develop rapport and reputation that makes them accountable. Those are all great points.
We would agree fully if HN banned all articles on contentious topics or unapologetically allowed all viewpoints with all the mess that brings.
Where I think we differ is what the right action is when highlighting a viewpoint that cause social dissonance. My opinion is that giving the stage only to people that shout the loudest when opposing viewpoints speak is a terrible choice, as in general the most extreme people are the loudest and I doubt those represent the majority. We gave the stage to the extremes in communism and fascism, and it didn't end so well. We do not need to repeat that experiment again.
To associate viewpoints with your real identity that regularly involve a spectrum of mob justice and workplace dismissals seems foolish in the current climate. If you doubt such a climate, I'd ask you to examine the post which you un-deaded, observe that it is now re-flagged and re-dead, and I'd ask you honestly if you as a moderator think that is justified.
Even on my primary account wherein I substantial reputation, I would not touch threads like this with a ten foot pole, let alone express my honest opinions. My livelihood is far too important to risk even over a topic which I consider as worthy of discussion as this.
I'd also address your statement that this is "the same argument time and again". This (OP) is material evidence coming out that adds critical depth to an issue that thus far has been painted as very uni-directional, and is, in my opinion, going to influence the next N years of tech workplace culture in dramatic ways. If HackerNews can't handle this well, why can't we take this as impetus to think deeply about that? (With the additional datapoint that discussions "on this topic" that support the status quo seem to be maintained, whereas those that oppose it vanish, so I might suggest the topic itself spawning unproductive discussions isn't the problem)
To be clear, I'm not a moderator. My comments are a reflection of what I've seen on HN with respect to what works and what doesn't.
First story, at least in my feed. It has made most of the news sites, since the story keeps getting flagged off the front page, expect more submissions of the same topic because people aren't aware of existing discussions.
Marking a submission as a dupe of a previous post that was flagged away is just wrong.
I think we need to do everything we can to highlight injustices in the power applied to force only one viewpoint to be heard. In addition to this social justice warriors need to receive negative social and life repercussions for their tyrannical actions.
You realize this is exactly a description of 'social justice' and it is exactly this that is the problem
- blacklists of workers that have the wrong viewpoint
- explicit race and gender discrimination
- using power to enforce that no one can express an opposing viewpoint
All actions that hurt those that are affected in material way.
The consequences of my doing this are so mild, I just don't accept that this is worthy of serious condemnation. If you want to think the worse of me for doing it, be my guest - but nobody's going to get packed off to the Gulag, nobody's going to get sacked, nobody's going to get sent to Coventry. In fact, even once flagged, the discussion is still there. It's just not on the front page any more. Even once flagged, there are numerous other venues where this discussion could continue! And indeed, part of the reason I click Flag is to encourage this discussion to take place in those other venues rather than here.
Meanwhile, you advocate real-life consequences with material repercussions for those whose ideology you oppose.
Screenshots, without evidence of provenance, of anyone saying
anything are trivial to create; they aren't evidence just part of the accusations.
After watching how aggressively my comments were marked dead, I turned on "Showdead" and came to the realization that the dead comments were far often more substantial than those allowed to persist; at the very least it may be worth others doing the same if they want to keep trying to utilize this platform.
You can discuss things that aren't on the front page. You aren't entitled to have what you want to discuss features on the front page, OTOH.
I don't know if you're aware but articles can move off the front page because people (like me) flag them (as I did). If enough people flag it, off it goes.
Sometimes the article sticks around, and obviously mine was a minority voice. Sometimes it disappears, probably because, I expect, most people are like me: we've seen this stuff discussed before, and the discussions are, on average, poison - or, worse, repetitive and dull.
So, flag. Flag, flag, flag. (That's what I think to myself, anyway. Actually, I only get the option of flagging it the once.) I make no bones about this, and I won't apologize for my actions, because I have nothing to apologize for. I vote according to my principles and mine alone. If these principles happen to be shared by others, great. If not, that's fine too. Democracy in action.
(Well... I do admit that I give the discussions a quick skim, just on the off-chance I might see tptacek in action. My guilty pleasure! There's also the chance that somebody might actually, you know, make a good point, but I don't worry too much about that because my experience is that the risk is very low...)
I am sure this feels pleasant as long as your viewpoint is in power. Tyrannies rarely stay that way though, so good luck.
It's pretty rich to go on about censorship and then pull a move like this. If we don't ban you, then comments like yours destroy the site, but if we do, you can do the "help help did you see he just repressed me" bit from Monty Python.
In this case the article was marked as a dupe, but this specific article was not posted twice and previous articles on the subject was quickly voted off the frontpage by people like you despite high interest. This didn't happen to articles critical of Damore, so this seems to be exclusively a social justice tactic.
Edit: explained better why talking about voting is relevant as an analogy
Sometimes multiple articles relating to a particular issue are posted. When these links don't attract much discussion, this isn't much of a problem. But when they do, it's probably best to try to centralize the discussion, lest the entire front page get filled up multiple copies of the same stuff.
This has happened before in the past and it's a bit dull if it's something in which you have zero interest.
Marking a submission as a dupe serves a different purpose: it provides a pointer to the "canonical" submission for a given discussion, and not just for those that have spent some threshold of time on the front page.
You may very well disagree with the effects of HN curation in general or for this submission in particular; however, I think it's valuable to recognize that marking submissions as dupes and flagging/downweighting are independent.
> "Pour one out for Asian males. Get screwed by affirmative action in education, media representation and now employment but can't get screwed on dating apps."
Asian men constantly get grouped as a single entity when it comes to tech and aren't considered an added element of diverseness within the industry despite Japan, China, Korea, India, etc. being quite different from one another.
Then you look at industries where Asians are under-represented and you can read articles from actors like Steven Yeun who talk about how they rarely get offered roles and when they do, it's often for roles that stereotype their ethnicity. For example, I just watched Annihilation and the only Asian actor they had in it of course had a broken English accent despite the fact that in real life, the actor actually has a British accent.
Pull up an article on diversity in the U.S., and chances are if you search "Asian" in the article you'll get 0 results.
I've always looked up to tech because it's a realm where we Asians are judged by our skill level and output, not the color of our skin or how attractive we look. It's a realm that rewards people who study hard and work tirelessly to refine their craft. And so it's absolutely frustrating to hear that we're too successful and that people scale back our representation despite the fact that they never happens for us in other industries.
The cost of raising agenda above both principle and truth comes at the cost of a massive amount of people and freedoms, and their pretty statements about caring about any group of people don't hold water. (I'm looking at you SJWs and Aryan Supremacists)
Your last paragraph is an explanation for why "tech" is becoming increasingly under attack by the diversity industry.
As an immigrant who came to the US from a poor Eastern European country just a few years ago I feel the same about being labeled as "white". It blows my mind that for many people a guy of British descent who was born in the US and a woman from Russia who speaks very poor English are both just "white".
Both have "white privilege".
And so the poor, under-educated W. Virginian who claws his way up to being a self-educated programmer will be disregarded by Google along with the wealthy Connecticuter.
That simple fact bothers me immensely.
No one should be judged or labeled by their skin color or ethnicity.
But see https://nypost.com/2017/11/17/apples-diversity-chief-lasts-j...
No one should be judged or labeled by their skin color or ethnicity
Agreed, and that includes “all X are the same”.
Combatting discrimination isn’t about some platonic abstraction. It’s about money, wealth, jobs, health and criminal justice outcomes.
And when economic concerns are implicated (e.g. advancement into leadership roles), I definitely have seen the media address Asians. E.g. https://www.law.com/americanlawyer/almID/1202779428743/.
My impression is that current "anti-discrimination" attitudes actually reinforce the existing categories, even more strongly and explicitly than had been done before. There's a lot more labeling and "reasoning" through labels going on in places where it seems very counterproductive.
counting on the white establishment, political right OR political left to give us any kind of a leg up or break is foolish in the extreme. this google episode is a perfect example of why. because we are merely 5% of the US population, we are treated as naive pawns by two sides in a larger game of ideological chess.
i contribute financially to asian-interest causes i deem worthy, but i'm under no illusion of this changing in my lifetime. the american social fabric is configured heavily against us and will be for at least one more generation, likely another 2.
and how many hispanics, women or blacks do you see in movies or tv?
google is multi-national company with billions of users so it makes sense that they value having people of different skin colors and gender.
with a more diverse workforce maybe things like this would not happen
There's a lot of people still operating under the assumption that the older meanings of the terms are in use, because most people have better things to do than to stay up-to-date on this sort of stuff when they've got lives to lead and their own problems, not to mention the fact that there's some deliberate obfuscation that tends to go on.
The MLK quote is such a red herring. It's a nice statement, but what one guy said 50 years ago doesn't define a culture or society.
You misunderstand my point entirely. I am not "advocating" for that position today. Nor am I not advocating for it. I am staying neutral on the "ought" in this series of posts.
I am saying that when I was 10, that was the "left-wing" position. Many people still think it is, because they don't keep up with all this stuff. As you are rather handily demonstrating, it is not today. (I was a bit concerned when I mentioned it that people would just be contrary and deny the patently obvious fact that it is no longer an acceptable left-wing position, but now I don't have to worry about that.)
I will also say that the prickliness you've been programmed to fire back with, as evidenced by the rest of your thread, is a non-trivial part of the problem. You've been left unable to understand what anyone is actually saying, instead of what you think they are saying, as evidenced by your reaction to what I wrote. You may prove me wrong by replying to this without bulldoggedly arguing about whether implicit bias exists. Should you succeed I promise to acknowledge that.
In fact, the 70's and 80's were all about embracing blackness.
If i were prickly, i'd be making insinuations about you personally.
I think what we're looking for is that it's just another attribute, no different from whether the person has blue or green or brown eyes, or what style shoes they're wearing.
In a conversation with my boss the other day, a newly-hired AWS engineer came up. I've met him just once, and helped him get situated because his desk is near my team. I realized that although I'd interacted with him to that degree, I had absolutely no recollection of what his race was (describing him was a logical part of that conversation). I think this is what's sought.
The ideal answer is not to completely drop any diversity effort, but on one side (the "revolutionaries") to recognise where they turn into zealotry, and on the other ("the entrenched", of any type) to accept they might have to lose something to gain something.
That's pretty much the story of Asian Americans (and Jewish Americans, for that matter).
Do you think model minority or "Asians are good at math/science" stereotypes have any impact here?
For instance all of the following are categorized as white Americans; my German colleague, my French colleague of Iranian descent, my Iranian colleague, my white american colleague from Colorado, and my Iraqi colleague.
Silicon Valley recruits outliers from around the world. Applying US demographics to an industry where ⅔  of the workers are immigrants does not make sense.
Good for him. Google is now excluded from the "dream" companies I'd want to work for.
I was interviewed by engineers who were all just recent college grads, no managers, tech leads, or anyone I felt were probably more qualified to interview me. The environment felt toxic. Most people I talked to looked unclean, like they just got out of bed to work. Had red eyes like they were tired. And the workplace was just not as clean as I was hoping. There were a set of dirty plates in the conference room I was interviewed in, and no one bothered to remove them the entire time.
From people I have talked to, my experience was pretty unique, and most people have had good interviews there. But even as an outlier, I don't like the chance of it being exactly like my experience. Things like this really put stuff in perspective for me though. I still went through the entire process, but in the end, rejected the offer. I wouldn't want to work in an environment like Google's, it feels toxic, and engineers feel like they are overworking themselves to death.
I've come to the opinion that, unless you're a "famous" engineer, or very senior one, that can command a lot of respect and autonomy, most of these "dream job" companies are going to feel a lot more like a well paying sweatshop. At least, that's been my experience as someone with only several years in the field.
I really think you should stay in such a company for 1-3 years, build your cash cushion (i.e. stage 1 booster) and then lift-off (make your own startup using connections you made).
If only it were possible to access the data Linkedin has on employee flows. You could get an idea on which companies are actually enjoyable places to work at versus ones that people are fleeing.
I've just completed an onsite at Google MV and this stood out to me, too. This is Google's famed incredibly tough bar to pass? Out of six companies that I interviewed with in the area, Google's interview was the easiest.
I was also shocked at the lack of social skills from the interviewers. Most seemed to be 40-year-old college grads who had never left the Google campus. One interviewer arrived 20 minutes late, badmouthed the company and apologized in advance because I would probably get rejected.
It really lowered my opinion from "wow this is famous Google I'll be with superstars" to "oh maybe I'll tolerate it for childcare benefits and comp but with an expectation to shift offices in a few years".
I worked for a FTSE 100 company and unless you had passed a hard 3 day residential course you could not interview anyone.
I made it to the 3rd round of interviews with Google back in 2012. Maybe if I had told them I was black, I would have gotten the job.
In other fields, hiring can probably be done by ways that try to heavily reduce bias, and get similar increases in diversity without, from what I can see, the negatives of quotas. Some orchestras for instance have used "blind auditions" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_audition) for quite some time, with a noticeable increase in diversity as a result. I see in the Wiki that some tech companies are experimenting with this approach. I'd strongly prefer this sort of system over what Google has (if the details described in the lawsuit end up being true).
If I apply to Google in the future, I will probably include it.
I know my craft and I'm good at what I do. Code that I wrote as an intern was in use for many years (to the best of my knowledge, it still is) at a former employer.
It seems to me that ship sailed years ago. They are a giant corporation reliant on one monopoly product to fund everything else.
Employees usually are stuck with some tiny part of a component in a system. The office perks are nice, but are you really going to do interesting work there anymore?
So...I think it really depends where you work. That's true of all big companies as far as I can tell.
You'll pretty much never see a more one-sided presentation of a situation. It may bear out or it may not.
Yeah, reality probably falls somewhere in the middle, but the default narrative is already slanted incredibly far the other direction.
What is claimed sounds like a completely crass method. Whether you like Google or not they typically do things in a fairly data driven method even with their hiring.
It is also blatant discrimination that as others claim would be fairly easy to prove in court. This would be stupid.
For Google to be both crass and stupid seems unlikely.
Obviously, interviews aren't that great indicator of success, especially in a company that tries to hire the best according to their criteria, so the overall medium-term effect might be small, but they do risk losing those people that could knock them out of the ring in the future, and making those people forever negative towards them. But maybe that's already taken into account and weighted in their internal decision tooling and they are fine with that.
I think pretty much every company has employees who would say that there are definitely people who get promotions and bonuses for reasons that are not related to "world-class" work.
There's an obvious case of discrimination and OP said he no longer views Google as a dream job.
What kind of question is that? Maybe you should rethink it. Why would being discriminated against like this make me feel better if maybe some other white man gets a job? What are we fungible?
(1) A big if. I haven't seen any hard evidence yet.
If that's too far removed from the actual job for you, how about if someone at Walmart acted in a sexist way in an interview. Would you condemn all of Walmart? Would you automatically assume there is a culture of sexism? Or would you at least entertain the possibility that Walmart employs thousands of managers, so it's not crazy to imagine that some of them might sometimes act in sexist ways, even without such a corporate culture?
You need more than a few instances to prove a claim of "this must be a cultural thing", IMO.
If the recruiter's accusation is indeed true, then we should ask questions about whether it is endemic to the entire organization. Though given the company's size—especially its growth through acquisitions (such as YouTube)—it's likely that the behavior is constrained to a single manager or department.
In it, he argued that women were essentially worse at logical tasks than men, and further that this made them poor engineers.
That's not a diversity memo, that's a sexist screed.
No he didn't. He said they were inherently less interested in STEM, and speculated about a few personality characteristics from psych research that might explain why, but all of that is irrelevant. Damore explicitly said that you can't judge individual competence from a probability distribution, even if the distribution of competence of each gender were different (which they largely are not).
Here's a broad overview of the literature covering what Damore got right and wrong: http://heterodoxacademy.org/the-google-memo-what-does-the-re...
Turns out, he was right that women seem to have different interests. I suggest reading about the things vs. people hypothesis. You can get more women into STEM subfields that deal with people if you highlight those aspects. Hiring quotas and some of the other measures Damore was arguing against would indeed have no effect on gender diversity given these facts.
The other is that is it often given such uncharitable descriptions that people who have read it simply can't believe the hate levied at it comes from actually having read the thing. I've actually talked this whole topic through for hours back and forth with someone who is very against the memo, but even they they would call it a sexist manifesto. That sort of thing comes across as off the cuff criticism by people who haven't read the thing.
If he's made direct statements rejecting biological determinism it should be easy enough to cite them — and it'd be useful to do so to avoid distraction when his supporters try to rehash the arguments in favor of that position.
Keep in mind that this is only one side of the story. There is little evidence to support the complaint. It's too early to draw conclusions.
It appears it was more than one. Possibly it was two.
Based on Reddit stories for a while, it seemed that even settin foot in the US was a near guarantee one would then be tasered, have their money taken by police officers, and then detained by agents from an unknown 3-letter agency and shipped to Guantanamo.
It's possible, though we have no way of knowing, that what's in this story is a case of a lone manager with an axe to grind. It's also possible that the attitude is pervasive.
It's likely best to withhold judgement and keep asking questions.
Please consider not working here, if you have other options (which you almost always do)
Many of us have been there, and it is not worth that feeling in your stomach every morning, because it drains the life out of you, can cause all kinds of physical and emotional problems.
Go take a job somewhere else, where you might earn less - but will be less miserable - or maybe even happy.
I left Google a few years ago, and I did love working there, but unfortunately my experience was similar. I was on one of the non-software engineering ladders. The group I was part of grew very rapidly the first few years I was there. We were poaching the absolute best people from the best companies to come work on our team. It seemed like there was a new former principal engineer from MegaCo joining us weekly, and it was fantastic to be part of such a team.
But how people got promoted was sometimes a mystery, at least at first. Everyone knew who was the most productive, the most valuable. Yet the promotions too often appeared random. Because we were on a narrower, more specialized engineering ladder the promo committees consisted of the same handful of very senior engineers each time. After a while, it became clear to us that the people that worked with those engineers on the promo committee in their day-to-day ended up having their promotions approved. Those that didn't had far less chance.
This might not sound all that bad - if you're doing high-level work you should be engaged with high-level people. But it ended up becoming a patronage system: people would volunteer their support and time for the pet projects of those on the promo committee and in return they would get promoted. Engineers who weren't comfortable with such an arrangement ended up jaded and underpayed.
I saw one engineer who left a very, very senior position at a well-known company especially hurt by the realization that they would have to participate in this charade to move up. He/she had attempted to get promoted the right way a few times and failed. Under pressure from their significant other, they played the game and it visibly hurt their sense of pride. The promo committee members took turns jerking them around with various tasks for a year or so, but he/she got their promotion. The rest of us took notice.
I got the sense that this system was more comfortable to those who came to us from academia. I barely have a college degree myself so maybe I can't relate.
The process took a long time -- much longer than the first interview or any of my other friends. And every time I talked to the recruiter I could tell something was up. At the end the recruiter confessed there was issues at the hiring committee and a unusual event of a manager getting involved. They seemed to indicate there was a fight about me being accepted. I have a unique skill set and am very qualified to work at google. I have over 15 years working the full stack. I write drivers for Linux, and design big cloud deployments -- I have the history and the background, so I would not be a gamble on any front. So I thought it odd that there would be an issue at this level, it was only later that I figured I was not diverse enough when a intern I helped train -- who happens to be diverse did get into google.
Anyways, with all the politics going on I am wondering if it is even worth responding to a current recurrent request.
My questions for you xxcode are the folllowing --
It sucks, but are there teams I can try and get on that would not suck? Somebody at google has to be doing good things and just be excited about working on the project they are working on.
I have a good job in Texas. It pays me $150k a year. I sometimes get bonuses and have a fairly good thing going with stock (not options, but stock). Is the money good enough at google to make it worth while?
Will living in CA/MV negate any gains in pay and benefits?
Is there any way to work at this company and avoid the entire diversity thing? I just want to write code and build awesome software that people enjoy using. Diversity -- while I care about it -- is not something I want to actively take cycles out of my life to solve -- there are fare more passionate people who are better equipped to think about these issues, I would rather write software.
Please don't think I am a horrible person. We here on this planet once, and writing code what I want to do with my life -- not everybody has to be a warrior for social justice.
Per a recent news article (don't have it handy, but it was on HN so someone will probably post it), moving from SF -> Austin, holding salary constant, is a de-facto raise of $66,000 per year due to lowered cost of living.
And this is in _Austin_ which, I'm led to believe, has a very high cost of living relative to Texas. If you're somewhere else in Texas making $150k, your de-facto raise relative to California is even higher
Meanwhile, working at Google or another name brand company in SF, your total compensation is going to be anywhere from $200k to $300k. Working at a regular tech company in SF, depending on seniority, it's going to be $100k-$180k. Without giving specific numbers, I was making around $150k as a software engi with 6 years experience in SF, and I took about a 10% pay cut when I moved to Texas.
In short, if you're making $150k/yr in Texas, anywhere, you are doing better in terms of overall life (money after adjusted for stress/QoL), and if you're making $150k/yr in Texas outside of Austin, you are probably making more money in absolute terms than the typical Google employee. Please, do yourself a favour and stay in Texas
Edit: To add, a major part of why I moved out of California was because the politics was omnipresent and unavoidable. I have so many horror stories, things I would not believe to be true if I didn't witness them first-hand. And this is at regular normal tech companies. Companies that don't have the budget to spend on politics. Companies that risk their existence by spending money on things outside of their core business (read: the software they're building).
If you're like me, and you just want to do the job you're good at, do it right, and make a good wage, then California is not for you. It's not avoidable, it will drive you crazy. Maybe California will sort itself out five, ten years from now, but right now people are silently leaving in droves over it.
Please, for the love of reasonableness and moderation, stay in Texas and help us keep this place focused on the craft, instead of getting distracted by orthogonal social issues
I would recommend joining a smaller group at google, and also one which has engineers who haven’t all been around at google for 5+ years.
Overall, it can be fun at times but relatively unfulfilling. Google pays above market though. I think if it paid market, almost 50% of tech staff would leave.
Product managers at google are also very political and if they are not, they get pushed out etc. I had one PM who always passionately argued about the user etc, and was eventually pushed out because he was not internally ‘aligned’. The product he was arguing against got cancelled this Friday after 2 years of work
it seems luck (as in being the right person on the right project) plays a large factor (not the only factor, of course).
Google already suffers from a lack of junior people (see the post from a few days ago from a Xoogler complaining that the work he was doing was not deemed promo worthy), so it's not necessarily a surprise that the hiring bar for junior engineers would be lower - they're junior engineers.
And this law suit alleges that Google discriminated against non-diverse candidates at the most junior level anyway.
Both factors may make a significant difference in the judgment of "working at Google" (I don't imply anything, either negative or positive).
Working at big companies like Google is not for everyone. Unless you have material reasons for staying--such as funding care of aging parents--wouldn't you be happier and more successful by taking your own advice?
p.s., I don't work at Google and don't ever want to.
Please don't blame employees that are complaining about stressful working environments - their plate is already full.
This isn't a field worker complaining about back-breaking labor conditions and wage theft, this a professional engineer at a top company who I certainly would not want on my team (I'm also a software engineer) if they're as checked out as they say, both for their sake and mine.
I've worked with plenty of checked-out paycheck/stock-vest campers, and their effect on team morale is palpable, and the damage they do during their remaining tenure is usually pretty severe.
That's a normative statement, which I personally agree with, along with the rest of your post, so this is by no means disagreement with anything you said. But it's really easy for people to rationalize away normative statements.
I prefer something a bit more direct: Nobody else is going to save you. Whether or not it "should" be your job to manage your own happiness is an interesting philosophical discussion that happens to have absolutely no bearing on your life, because in your real life, it's on you.
If you are that unhappy with your job, do something. Nobody else will.
I wish you the best.
Generally, I think it's good policy to be very guarded on the internet and/or change accounts often. There are all kinds of awful people out there, and you can't control who you may come across.
Google makes so much money from ads, it doesn’t know what to do. Like Microsoft, so much middle management that from customer pain to engineers, requirements are loaded with a ton of personal agenda and political gain.
Once companies significantly outgrow the Dunbar-number range, political processes are the only way to manage things, and it infects everything.
For me, my quality of life is worth the tradeoff, and I turn down headhunters from them AmaGoPleBook seemingly constantly. If you want to pursue your actual work, as opposed to refining your skill at signaling games, move to a smaller shop.
 Another reason to keep debt low and personal commitments fluid - turning down a six figure raise because it would make life hell gets harder with both.
If an engineer isn't doing well on their 80% project, a 20% project might be frowned upon, that is true.
> Why did Google abandon 20% time for innovation?
> In 2012 the firm began requiring engineers who wished to work on individual projects to run their proposals by their managers first. This was a significant change from the firm’s previous policy.
> In 2013 it was reported that managers had clamped down on staff taking ’20% time’ so as to avoid their teams falling behind in Google’s internal productivity rankings. Managers are judged on the productivity of their teams—Google has a highly developed internal analytics team that constantly measures all employees’ productivity—and so time spent on ’20% time’ projects would impact this.
2013 Google sounds like pretty much every other major company, in this area.
Sure if you can get everything expected of you done in 32 hours, you can spend the remaining 8 on something else.
So the question you have to ask yourself is this: Is the difference in pay between these two jobs really worth it?
The times when I asked myself this question, the answer was always really clear.
(ex-Googler, have yet to read anything genuinely surprising in the past few weeks)
It's ironic, because Apple fans were painted as carrying the sledge hammer of inconvenient truth, not acting like the grey drones who oppress all differences of opinion in the 1984 commercial.
Oh who am I kidding, it must be Russians.
I read an article describing the fenomenon, I can't find it now but there's plenty of interesting results if you search Google.
I'd be surprised if people were selling HN accounts for this purpose, it's much easier to reach a larger audience, and have more impact, on a general social media site than HN. I wouldn't suspect the practice is likely to happen here.
A screenshot of an email from Allison Alogna to "Team" stating
> Please continue with L3 candidates in process and only accept new L3 candidates that are from historically unrepresented groups.
Another stating in part
> And we should only consider L3s from our underrepresented groups.
It also tells us that this wasn't the first time the plaintiff had issues with his manager over this topic. He had the same issues with the previous manager, the previous manager was found by internally by Google to have retaliated against him for his complaints, and Allison Alogna was hired to replace that manager.
From the article:
> In a statement, Google said [...] it has a "clear policy to hire candidates based on their merit, not their identity. At the same time, we unapologetically try to find a diverse pool of qualified candidates for open roles[...]"
You can't have it both ways. You're either based solely on merit, or on merit and how non-male and non-white they are. Which is discrimination.
EDIT: Sorry -- Finding pools in "diverse" areas is fine, but dropping resumes in the bin when they are not "diverse" enough is not.
I hate that "diversity" has been politicized like this and I feel like it's one of the failings of the left's identity politics bent that will come back to bite them.
Getting minorities in your company to win some diversity points is great, but missing the actual benefit to society. The goal should be, for society, to equally encourage minorities to get STEM degrees and jobs so that companies don't have to play this stupid "look how diverse we are!" game.
And it won't happen overnight.
Companies should just hire on merit; be completely blind to their workforce's background. They should enforce this neutrality like they enforce neutrality toward anyone's religion. "I don't care as long as you can do your job". If they are concerned about monoculture, then advertise and advocate in areas that they think will improve that. But just leave hiring to merit.
Eventually diversity will trickle-up. It shouldn't just be up to companies.
EDIT : Yes, merit can be an ambiguous term. And I should have also stated they can hire based on "fit", which is another ambiguous term. But sorry, if your devote beliefs restrict you from using any electronic devices, then no, you aren't getting the web developer job. It's not a good "fit".
Actually yes, you can. There are 2 steps in recruiting:
1. Find people who want to apply
2. Have them go through a hiring process to select which one you make an offer
You can seek diversity in step 1 and be completely merit-based on step 2.
If your step 1. is mostly ask your (currently overwhelming white male) engineers for referrals, of course you'll get a bunch of white dudes. You have to find other channels.
Diversity shouldn't be excluding people who happen to be part of the current majority, but enlarging your pool of candidates.
Also, the whole idea of hiring "merit-based" is a bit naive because you're not hiring people on a single objective metric. There are a bunch of metrics, most of them judged subjectively: technical abilities, adaptability, communication abilities, person easy to work with, and the list goes on.
So while Google definitely screwed up by trying to take the easy path to a more diverse workforce, you can seek diversity without excluding white dudes.
What are your feelings on blocking all non diverse applications in step one and allowing only diversity candidates to proceed to step 2?
So how do you fix this? One way is what you suggested: "companies ... should be completely blind to their workforce's background. This is doable in the interview process; for example a test which results in an offer if passed. (Though normal interview processes are not like this.)
But recruiting is more difficult, because right it involves humans reaching out to other humans who they judge to be a good fit. So being truly merit-based there requires some correction of one's own intuition.
I mean, if recruiters were really instructed to "purge the hiring pool" of non-diverse candidates then that's obviously pretty blatant. But I just wanted to note that being 100% merit-based is not easy.
It is fine to try and attract a diverse group of applicants, but after they apply, the basis of hiring should be who is qualified.
I've seen plenty of excellent computer engineers who started out as physics majors, or astronomers, or music majors...but they were universally white men (mostly because I've only ever been around white men in this business).
If a black woman came to me with a background in East Asian linguistics, would I naturally associate her with the success stories I've seen, or would I think she's unqualified and needs to get more experience elsewhere?
I suspect the latter.
Really? And you would not think that of a white candidate?
Frankly, I would be intrigued by anyone with a background in East Asian linguistics who taught themselves programming, and would be very careful not to quickly discount them.
Whenever the demographics of a company do not match the demographics makeup of society at large, then the company is legally on the defensive. And the fines can be BIG
Sounds like someone above the manager is responsible for this and the manager is carrying out orders. You don't get a historic paper trail like that by not being told to continue on.
Any sufficiently low quota is equivalent to exclusion (ie a quota of 1 is pretty much like a quota of 0, which really means "nobody"). The very notion of quota implies exclusion (of those who are "past the quota").
Both of those are illegal.
The current Department of Labor on affirmative action  clearly paints a very different picture that more accurately reflects the current meaning:
For federal contractors and subcontractors, affirmative action must be taken by covered employers to recruit and advance qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.
And here’s the dictionary entry for “affirmative action:”
efforts to make education and employment available to people who have traditionally been treated unfairly, for example because of their race or sex, by giving them some advantages over people who have traditionally been more powerful
This actually seems more likely, since it lines up with what Google has said previously - that they do not alter the hiring bar for anyone, i.e. that interview/hiring committee is independent, but they do ask recruiters to focus on finding diverse candidates, and they have also said they coach diverse candidates about what to expect from interviews.
I think how this will play out depends on whether this applied to all recruiters in the company/all recruiters filling a set of specific roles, and/or if non-diverse candidates could still apply to Google and get into the funnel.