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The Tech Revolt (californiasunday.com)
59 points by minimaxir 53 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 65 comments



Protesting Chinese censorship, I get that. But they lost me at "protesting projects with ICE". I happen to think that immigration and customs enforcement is a net positive. Those people deal with human trafficking, seize a ton of dangerous drugs (2370lbs of Fentanyl alone in 2017), and send a lot of people who shouldn't be here back to where they should be (or to jail if they've committed other crimes).


ICE is a hugely complicated issue. Eg, I can see a political thread that illegal immigrants should be allowed into the country, and a notionally separate thread that the most vulnerable should be supported by the government (eg, medically, minimum income, etc). How are these two threads expected to interact? To me, at a strategic level, they are mutually exclusive. Not mentioning all the very well discussed stuff like humanitarian issues, effect on the jobs market, fairness, long histories, etc.

I don't see how protesting in the tech sector is a fair and reasonable way of of resolving these issues - too many people involved are not part of the tech sector. Resolving such issues fairly is one of the reasons the West has a complicated systems of public voting and it seems a bit naive of the political system to try and force change at the corporate level. It also hopefully won't work as corporations are stripped of power by Ye Invisible Hand of the Market finding companies that will just do what is asked of them. Corporate political activism annoys me, I don't want to be told what is moral by a corporate entity or its non-representative employees.


Yep. Some simple numbers. There are about 12M of illegal aliens in the US today. Between them they pay $11.6B in taxes (approximated). The math is just not very complicated, particularly if you consider that public schooling for a single kid in the US costs about $10k/yr.


~$1000 per head in taxes really isn't a lot; just the federal tax rate on a full-time $7.50 minimum wage comes out to $1,500 in taxes after marriage deductions, and with state and local taxes that could rise to over $2000.

For reference the simplistic average rate for the American household of $10500 spread over an average household size of 2.5 comes out to around at $4200 per head, which yields $50.4B in potential taxes over an equivalent sized population.


That's what I was pointing out, essentially. And that's just the very tip of the iceberg of how much it costs to de-facto have no Southern border.


I happen to think that immigration and customs enforcement is a net positive.

I guarantee those people would be as well if they were effected by it personally. If you're not personally doing the kind of jobs an illegal immigrant can do for less, then you can only benefit - it lowers the cost to you for many things in your life. As a bonus, you get to pretend that makes you a good person.

An episode of South Park addresses this brilliantly, though people conveniently only remember the first part. Time travellers from the future come into South Park and take all the menial jobs. The blue collar americans yell "they took our jerbs!" Randy - a geologist - admonishes them as racists, until he finds out his own white collar positionhas been given to an alien, and then he too is complaining about how they took his job.

The day the wealthy Californian tech companies start hiring illegal immigrant developers at a lower cost is the day the echo chamber changes its tune.


Have you heard of outsourcing? Or the term Offshoring? Or Tech Companies using H1B Visas?

I mean it is already happening, perhaps you just missed it.


Sure, and there is resistance to that too.


> I guarantee those people would be as well if they were effected by it personally.

That argument goes both ways. If your family was impacted by violence, corruption, and poverty wouldn't you pack up and look for a better life?

Don't forget we caused many of these problems.

See: https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/index.html


That argument goes both ways. If your family was impacted by violence, corruption, and poverty wouldn't you pack up and look for a better life?

Absolutely, and I would never deny it.


Not just production. You also compete in consumption. The rent is higher and there is more traffic.


It's a mixed bag. There are projects in ICE that are necessary, and there are people administering programs where children are separated from their parents and thrown in cages. If you want nuance, fine. But ignoring the evil they're doing because other parts of the org aren't doing evil isn't really the standard of behavior we should have for our (my? I'm assuming about you) government.


It's my government, too. I'm a naturalized citizen, so you're assuming correctly. But please, can we stop the "cages" propaganda? Those photos were from the Obama years and they were debunked again and again ad nauseam. https://www.businessinsider.com/migrant-children-in-cages-20...


That article is just debunking the use of specific photos. Further in the article it explains conditions are virtually the same but now include children separated from parents.

> Though the photos are nearly identical to those from 2014, there is one key difference between them: the 2014 photos showed only children who arrived at the border unaccompanied. The 2018 photos also show families that have been separated from one another.


Yes, generally when you go to jail you should expect to be separated from your children. That's how jails work. Children, by definition, don't go to jail. So unless you're suggesting sending people back without a court hearing (which as of today would be illegal), or jailing the children along with parents, or releasing them into the US, I see a dearth of available options.


I wasn't commenting on the options and treatment of asylum seekers to the US, I was pointing out that your own article shows it isn't ""cages" propaganda" and hasn't been "debunked". The separation part for families is not to be expected because, like the article you posted mentioned, it is unique to this administration.


I'd agree that ICE is an important part of the government and that illegal immigration is a problem, but that doesn't excuse other things that ICE has done such as separating children from their parents: https://www.npr.org/2018/06/19/621065383/what-we-know-family...


Those parents are in jail. That's what detainment is. If people go to jail domestically, then the kids go back to their home or stay with relatives. In the situation ICE has to deal with, those aren't options. This makes me wonder what other countries do in this case. According to the NPR article, there was separation under the Obama administration, but the policy was changed to allow families to stay together.


> According to the NPR article, there was separation under the Obama administration, but the policy was changed to allow families to stay together.

I don't know where you got that from, but it's not in the article I linked. The article specifically states:

> The Obama administration established family detention centers that kept families together while their cases were processed.

Other sources tell me that the Obama administration did separate some families in extreme cases such as a parent carrying drugs.

But all that is besides the point. I've made no claims about Obama. The point here is that ICE has done things that were worth protesting against: systematically and needlessly separating children from their families.


> According to the NPR article, there was separation under the Obama administration, but the policy was changed to allow families to stay together.

I don't know where you got that from, but it's not in the article I linked. The article specifically states:

> The Obama administration established family detention centers that kept families together while their cases were processed.

Whoa. You just repeated what I said while pretending I didn't say it. (A bit of partisan bias?) If they established family detention centers, that means there was a need for such new facilities. Unless the establishment happened at the oath of office, this would corroborate what I said.

https://www.factcheck.org/2018/06/did-the-obama-administrati...

Jeh Johnson, DHS secretary under the Obama administration, told NPR earlier this month that he couldn’t say that family separations “never happened” during his tenure. “There may have been some exigent situation, some emergency. There may have been some doubt about whether the adult accompanying the child was in fact the parent of the child. I can’t say it never happened but not as a matter of policy or practice.

Brown told us that while the Obama administration “did separate some families,” it also tried to detain families together. In 2016, a court ruling limited how long children with their parents could be in family detention centers. That ruling confirmed that a 1997 settlement applied to both unaccompanied and accompanied minors, as we’ve explained before.

“At that point,” Brown said, “family detention dwindled and most families were released into the US, either on their own with a notice to appear or under Alternatives to Detention, which could be an ankle bracelet or a supervised monitoring provision where they had to check in with ICE regularly until their immigration court hearing.”

From the original NPR article cited:

Child immigrant shelters. Within three days, children are supposed to be transferred from immigration detention to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

For 15 years, ORR has handled the "care and placement" of unaccompanied migrant children. Until recently, that usually meant minors who crossed into the U.S. alone. Now it also includes children who have been separated from their families by authorities, including much younger children.

On a call with reporters on Tuesday, a Border Patrol official said that it's a matter of "discretion" how young is too young for a child to be separated from their parents. In general, he said, the age of 5 has been used as a benchmark, with children younger than that called "tender-aged."

The CEO of Southwest Key, which operates 26 ORR shelters, tells NPR the children at his facilities range from ages "zero to 17."

I never said that under the Obama administration that there was mass separation. Evidently, practices of separation existed in some situations under previous administrations, evidently going back at least 15 years, and there were policy changes to have less separation. This is what I stated.


The kids were brought by their parents. Not ICE. So ICE has to solve the situation without giving incentives to people to continue coming. Not an easy situation to solve. Don't forget the policies must also have the effects of deterrents.


You are correct in saying that we shouldn't forgive what they've done wrong but also shouldn't discard the organization as a whole as evil. I'd say that this evil falls squarely on the legislators who have ignored it for as long as they have. It's a problem that needs to be addressed not used for political advantage.

We need ICE (maybe not in it's current form) but we need someone to protect our borders. How we protect our borders is up to legislators to determine. This doesn't mean that individuals doing this aren't responsible as well but it's also a systemic problem at this point.


> I happen to think that immigration and customs enforcement is a net positive.

But is it a net positive at the margin? Protests by the tech community won't get rid of ICE. They might make it less efficient, forcing it to spend some of its budget on, say, migrating to new tech platforms. Seizing drugs is (hopefully) a higher priority for ICE than locking up children, so a reduction in available budget should lead to a reduction in the latter, not the former.


You could be right!

Of course, it might also just lead to ICE having an easier time getting a bigger budget next year so that they don't have to let any services slip. Or maybe they just cut back on cultural sensitivity training. Perhaps something else entirely! There's really no way for us to meaningfully predict outcomes from where we are. We may as well be generating random numbers.

Your hypothesis is intriguing. I would love to see data.


I happen to think that immigration and customs enforcement is a net positive.

You might want to take stock of recent news coverage of what the ICE has been up to recently. And not just recently - over several decades actually.

It's really quite horrible in fact.


All law enforcement will eventually devolve into abuse. That is what the phrase “monopoly on violence” means.


That is what the phrase “monopoly on violence” means.

Actually that's not what it means.

And there's no evidence that decentralized agencies of force (where these can be stable for any length of time) are any likely to devolve into abuse.


State coercion is an abuse on individual liberty, plain and simple. It’s just that the State has legitimacy and the monopoly on violence. So it will not be construed as abuse as such. We all collectively give up some rights for collective safety. The real check on the monopoly of violence is the 2nd amendment. That’s the only reason that LE is not totally out of control in the US.


State coercion is an abuse on individual liberty, plain and simple.

It's not, but if you prefer to believe that it is, hey, that's your right.


EDIT: "are any less likely ..."


You have to wonder if the key ingredient in this is the fact that tech jobs are booming. There's so much written about the job market, you tend to feel confident that you're in high demand.

I know a lady who was working for a startup that folded. She got told, then walked down the hallway in the same building, got hired by another startup. Boot camp grad.

There's even a person mentioned in the article who refused to work at Amazon, which I guess pays over $200k. Some people would do it out of principle regardless, but many more would find it easier to protest if they had high confidence they could find another job in that bracket.

I've seen sexual harassment suits happen in finance, and it hasn't led to any form of mass movement. People just get paid off and let out the back door.

In addition you have to ask about the effect of that hiring cartel being broken.


You're right. It's also because we live in 1st world conditions, and once your basic needs are met, we strive to address the higher ones, like fulfillment and meaning.

I've worked with programmers who live in 3rd world countries like the Philippines, and notice a huge difference in the way they treat their job. When I give them a boring task, they don't ask what is this for, or why am I doing this? They just do it - on the flip side, they don't care about the product, or the company mission. I'm not saying this because it's good or bad, but this is just what I've noticed.


You're right. It's also because we live in 1st world conditions, and once your basic needs are met, we strive to address the higher ones, like fulfillment and meaning.

I live in the first world, in a city of about 100,000. According to numbeo it's a bit cheaper to live here than Seattle, but much more expensive than Dallas. I earn just under $60,000 USD as a developer, which is considered a good salary here.

I think you drastically over estimate the first world as a whole.


interesting. Sometimes I wish I was more like them, and things didn't bother me if they seemed boring or pointless. Seems like an innately selfish view, but one i'm having trouble rectifying.


After serving in the military (Air Force air traffic controller, so military lite) I align more with the 3rd country workers mentioned. Take the task, complete it to the best of my ability, move on to the next task. I don't care about the mission or domain. Im paid well, work from home and have relatively little stress compared to 11 years in the military. Searching for more meaning out of my work would create undue and unnecessary stress trying to find that unicorn role, which in reality doesn't exist.


I think the ‘find the unicorn role’ thing is a generational thing. So many of my peers (early 30s) are striving for the side hustle that will bring them millions while they chill on the beach. What happened to just going to a decent middle class job, doing your work, then going home and living your own life? It seems to me social media has created so much of this. It’s social media where people find the need for one-up-manship that leads them down these ridiculous paths.

Perhaps I’m delusional because I’ve been comfortable in my low stress, check out and go home, type of job for some period of time. I just don’t feel any desire to chase some kind of meaning in my work. Most of my coworkers seem to have the same outlook.


We are in the same peer group, of early 30s. Luckily, most of my peers don't have this line of thinking, although they do put great deal effort after hours into our line of work - data science / machine learning. They all want influence someone, somewhere - who are they attempting influence, I don't know.

I will admit I also an outlier for my age group. Have been married over a decade had kids in my early 20s without any debt (GI Bill helped here). Probably could have a bigger nest egg saved but traveled quite a bit before and after kids. This has resulted in different goals, and career trajectory than my peers. Both of our children will be out of the house when we are 46.

I 100% agree with you that social media has warped people's views of life. My social media presence is LinkedIn (and I guess here), just a page with one post. None of my hobbies I post about or share online, only through in-person interactions. Nor do I have smart phone, so I don't take pictures to share, thus we discuss what visiting a Nepalese village was like, instead of scanning a bunch of photos. In my opinion this creates a better relationship dynamic. I am sure there are things Im missing out on due to the extra step people need to take to invite me (a phone call) but I gladly trade it for the reduced information overload from a smart phone.


> What happened to just going to a decent middle class job, doing your work, then going home and living your own life?

I don't think that job exists any more. Or if it does, there are fewer and fewer of them out there.

I have a reasonably well-paid, low-stress developer job working on a product I believe adds value. But I don't get to go home and just switch off: I get emails at all hours of the day and night, and if the service goes down at 4 am (which has never happened yet) then I need to deal with it.

I'm not sure there are many jobs that pay middle class wages but only require 9-5/M-F levels of responsibility.


Counterpoint: "lazier" people might tend to look for smarter designs/automations more naturally. Can be valuable.


Neveragain.tech is silly to me because they pledge:

> We refuse to participate in the creation of databases of identifying information for the United States government to target individuals based on race, religion, or national origin.

But then you have people signing it who work for companies like Google and Facebook that obviously already have built huge databases to target individuals based on race, religion and national origin to show them ads.

If the US government really wanted to go full fascist, these companies have conveniently collated all the data for them.

It's like saying "I'm happy to work on building nuclear bombs, as long as you pinky-swear you'll only ever use them for digging harbours."[0]

[0] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Chariot


[flagged]


It fascinates me that "virtue signalling" is used as such an easy dismissal of people's opinions because they dare to actually talk about them.

The whole point of taking a stand on an issue is to inspire others. If you, as an individual, quit your job because of ethical concerns you know full well that losing one developer is not about to make the company change course. But talking about leaving, why you left, and what you want to change, is the way of spreading that message to others. To dismiss that as "virtue signalling" is baffling. Or just extremely lazy.


Slightly rambling here: I think the charitable interpretation of "virtue signalling" is that the person sees "bragging", "showing off", or "holier than thou."

In contrast, there are some people out who use it to mean "that subject is taboo because it makes me uncomfortable."


If anything this is a set of stories about putting actions behind your words- people resigning over or refusing to comply with policy they disagree with. This is nothing like the implication you're trying to make.


This seems a good time to point out that a few of us been organizing a revolt against HN. I wish it wasn't so, and the drama is mostly uninteresting. Suffice to say, expressing concerns about HN on HN is a quick way to end up beheaded.

If you're looking for an alternative: https://www.laarc.io/

You may find the site a welcome change of pace. We just had our first Show post today.

There is a good chance that this account will be quickly banned, this post killed, and this account marked as "uncommentable", meaning this is the last comment I am likely able to post under this handle. But you may also know me as sillysaurus.

I've missed you guys.


Why the revolt over HN?


I can't speak for the OP, but I've been frustrated to find that any time a controversial topic comes up on HN (say, sexism) it is immediately flagged off the homepage. A small cohort of HN users get to dictate what the site at large discusses, and I'm not sure that's for the betterment of the industry.


???

So is this basically a revolt by the more political oriented people? I mean, the people who want to discuss the political type controversial stuff and not so much tech and science?

Just wondering why I never heard of it until I read that comment?


It's interesting, I just checked it out (I'd never heard of it before) and a number of the usernames seem familiar, and are not who I'd think of as more political-oriented people. The topics are actually more technical and arguably interesting than what shows up on HN these days.

I think it may just be that beyond a certain size, online communities break, and you get crap. And laarc is effectively a splinter off HN of users who got fed up with the content here.


> Just wondering why I never heard of it?

Because it gets flagged off the site immediately.


In fairness though, if you want a politics version of HN, you can just make your own. I think there are a large number of flags required to get a post removed from the front page. So, to me, it sounds like there are a lot of tech, math, science types who are just not interested in posts that they feel "pollute" the stream so to speak.

I mean, again, if we're being fair, those guys should get as much of a say as you do.


I think the core contention is that tech, maths and science do not live outside of politics - they're all political topics. Books have been written about the politics involved in science.

> those guys should get as much of a say as you do.

Absolutely agree. But the flagging mechanism means that a small number of users make the choice for the rest, who never see the story in question.

I'm not suggesting I have an easy fix, community moderation is one of the biggest problems out there. But I'm not sure the current approach is the best one, that's all.

EDIT: and you might notice it happening now. This story has slipped down to 23rd on the front page, despite having far more upvotes in a shorter space of time than the stories that surround it. Soon it won't be on the front page any more.


>But the flagging mechanism means that a small number of users make the choice for the rest...

That's the thing though, "a small number of users" made the choice to put the post on the front page in the first place. It only really takes a tiny fraction of the daily user count to promote a submission to the front page, and, to my mind, YCombinator is just kind of saying, "well, since there's no way to downvote a submission, we'll have this flagging mechanism." I think that's a reasonable compromise.


Upvoted because, even if I don't really care for what you think about HN, there's something interesting about someone getting so enraged with HN that they go through the trouble of building an identical-looking clone.


The core framework of HN, Arc, has an open source variant and it's not hard to deploy a strict HN clone. https://github.com/arclanguage/anarki


What is the rationale for the HN revolt?


I'm interested in seeing whether we begin to see more unionizing among tech workers and therefore more collective action. It'd be like the incidents detailed here but to the Nth degree.


Big companies have this thing called “segregation of duties” which protects the company from organized labour. You can organize all you want, but the job has been cut up in to so many pieces, it’s easy to replace whoever forms a union.


It'd be hard for someone like a Google to function well if their software engineers all walked, regardless of how they are split up across departments. This kind of technical talent is extremely hard to find, making it to more difficult for the company to replace them if they do get fired for forming a union.


That's why solidarity mattered, historically.


Can't have solidarity if you coworkers all speak different languages than you.


Never to be mentioned: All of the engineers who won’t work at Google because of what they did to Damore.

Techies aren’t as politically mono cultural as this (and most other pieces) would have you believe. Many would happily build something for ICE as another example.


I guess they are working at Palantir instead.


I'd be surprised if there's a statistically significant number of engineers making a stand because "company fired engineer hired to do machine learning because he demonstrated an impressive ignorance of statistics and applied that knowledge to make a public ass of himself".

Sure the number is nonzero, but I'd look beyond you're own bubble if you think that's a population worth mentioning in a discussion about larger trends.


It would sure be nice if researchers who work on machine learning were less ignorant of statistics! But singling out one employee for this seems rather disingenuous, doesn't it?


Are there many (any?) jobs where you can go and publicly announce that you're not only unqualified but extremely proud to be so and not suffer consequences?




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