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The emails you're aware of framed it in those terms. Do you think a leaker might selectively leak with the intent to paint a particular picture?

As someone who has helped write policy, it is literally impossible to write up all policy in advance. You always end up weathering some angry insights in the comment section (we used to call it the peanut gallery). If you can write out all policy a priori, every CEO, economist, scientist, and psychologist can just go home now.

Why would your default stance be to believe a company over a leaker?

The company has millions to gain from the contract and hasn’t shown morals on this issue.

The leaker has so much to lose by releasing the documents, everything from their career to a significant portion of their life. You could call that incentive to deceive, but I call it incentive to be just about their leak.

Especially when it’d be so easy for the company to leak counter examples showing moral consideration if they did...

> Why would your default stance be to believe a company over a leaker?

Because Sundar Pichai has a strong public track record. Every CEO ends up with warts, but I have some sense of what he's about. The leaker, I have zero information on. Given known vs unknown, I put more faith in the known. Whether I by default believe or disbelieve depends on who's saying what.

Many of the Googlers involved in the campaign against Project Maven are engineers of high caliber and those I know of are fairly activist in general. While I haven't always agreed with those I've interacted with, they're high quality people with high quality records. The sort of Googlers protesting Maven are the sort of Googlers who made Google the sort of company people loved. And they've put their careers on the line to make a statement about what is and isn't okay.

Sundar Pichai's claim to fame was getting the Google Toolbar installer (and later the Chrome one) injected into the Adobe Reader installer. [0]

[0] https://www.quora.com/What-did-Sundar-Pichai-do-that-his-pee...

I don't know how accurate it is to say that these engineers have put their careers on the line. It could also be that they wouldn't be able to make these statements were they not secure enough in their jobs to feel their careers wouldn't be on the line.

While they definitely have above average incomes and probably some good financial security, there's a Damore factor risk: Public attention could render them unhireable if they come off as troublesome or likely to cause issues with future employers.

> Microsoft didn't even ask their customers for permission. They just automatically switched anyone who installed IE7 to Bing as the default.

Don’t worry everyone it’s different now!

I don't think they're believing anyone over anyone, but rather entering the discussion with a fair amount of skepticism.

The point is that in any discussion, both sides have biases, and you need to take both sides into consideration to get a fuller picture.

If they really believed this stuff, I don’t see why they would have had so many resignations over the issue. Had somebody brought up the ethical aspects when the project was being discussed, they wouldn’t be scrambling to limit the damage now.

A few people resigned and they're trying to limit the damage because people like being outraged at things that don't matter. It's the same thing that got James Damore fired.

AI-powered drone warfare doesn't matter?

What does matter in your world?

Fulfilling a military contract isn't the same as killing people with drones. Virtually every plane you've ever flown on is built by a company that also builds killing machines, but you don't see people making a hissy fit over it.

>Do you think a leaker might selectively leak with the intent to paint a particular picture?

Possibly. As I said "...that we're aware of." Anything beyond what we know is speculation. This is the information I have available. Let me ask you this; if there was real debate and concern beforehand, why is it only now that Google has decided to back out?

Because one very good policy is to not make policy in the heat of the moment. Write things down. Discuss with confidantes, counsel, etc. Sleep it on it. Change it. Sleep on it again. The bigger the issue, the more you think about before going public.

While selectively leaking certain emails and withholding other might color an issue it won't make a negative into a positive. And if the leaked emails aren't genuine I have not seen any claims to that effect. So either they are real and they paint a real, possibly distorted picture or they're false but as it sits right now they are the evidence that people use to build their opinion on. If there is an email trail that establishes a different narrative Google is of course perfectly free to release that too to offer some counter weight.

> we used to call it the peanut gallery

At some risk of proving your point:

At least you're honest about your contempt for the common man.

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