It's never worth accommodating the easily offended, especially on the Internet.
I'm glad you presumably had a good relationship with your father when he was alive. It might be worth remembering that this type of thing can be really rather painful and/or awkward for people who had fathers that weren't very nice people, were never around and they can't contact or came from a family with two mothers.
No one's saying people shouldn't talk about Father's day, but hijacking your user's reminder lists and sticking in stuff they can't get rid of because you think it's cool is just not a very nice thing to do.
Those answering "just get over it" are clearly not interested in building applications that people enjoy using.
One reason for drawing the distinction between what feels like a public versus private space is based on the private information that is contained within gmail, versus the non-private information on the frontpage.
An additional reason that gmail may feel like a different area than the frontpage is that Google doesn't often make modifications like today's (I don't use the chat functionality often so I am not sure if they have done other modifications similar to the call reminder today). Users who were offended by today's reminder but not by today's frontpage doodle might have found the doodle offensive if Google had never modified the frontpage logo, or modified it less frequently than they currently do.
That said, as someone with pretty unhappy history with his father, I think what Google did here is fine. But really, not every emotional appeal is a fallacy.
In this case, the particular emotional appeal seems either insincere or unreasonable. Are people who have bad or deceased fathers offended by the very notion of Father's Day and the marketing around it? I doubt it, but even if they are, I think it would be entirely unreasonable, and rare enough for Google to risk or ignore.
Remember, anyone can choose at any time to be offended by anything, whether or not other people would consider them reasonable. People can also feign being offended to attempt to bring attention and credibility to an otherwise legitimate argument. Anyone who publishes any text on the Internet is liable to have someone claim the text to be offensive. I don't think any reasonable person would see this reminder and think that Google was mockingly telling them to call their abusive or dead father.
The reason it's important to talk about the emotions is that the emotional calculations change when the space or message is a personal one as opposed to a public one. It's the difference between someone coming up to you on the bus and asking you if you've called your father and a poster on the side of the bus asking if you've called your father. When you put your message in someone's personal space, you don't get to just say "eh, it's probably only a small fraction" because you're specifically communicating with specific people.
It is important to understand the emotional components of software.
> Are people who have bad or deceased fathers offended
> by the very notion of Father's Day and the marketing
> around it?
In the same way, the general idea of Father's Day is different than talking specifically to someone about their father. At that point, it is no longer impersonal (or easily dismissed as, "They are just talking to other people / people with happy father memories").
> It's pretty clear that Google doesn't know your father
> or your family situation, so their little reminder is
> a lot different that Bob Barker actually showing up at
> your house.
> Also, I don't get this assumption that your GMail is your
> own personal space.
* You may not 'own' it, but that doesn't mean there isn't an expectation of it being a semi-private space. You are leasing the use of your Gmail page from Google at the price of the ads being there. What if your landlord went door-to-door in your apartment complex telling everyone, "Call your father!" When your landlord shows up at your door, you don't know that he's going around to everyone. How would you not see that as personal?
* "Call your father" is a command, which is a lot more personal than "Father's day is coming up, you might want to call your father for free using our service!"
> There are ads on every single page
Do you not own your (purchased or gifted) copy of (e.g.) a newspaper? There are ads on every page.
> Google has a long history of sending out blanketed messages
> (e.g. new Labs features).
Your newspaper analogy is the most inconsistent yet. Of course you own your copy of a newspaper, and of course there are ads. But a newspaper is not your "personal space," and in fact, I'm sure most newspapers had Father's Day ads.
I think discussion of the emotion of the situation is entirely appropriate.
Not making a point but one way to not see the doodles is to use a custom background. It makes the Google logo plain.
That's pretty callous. I wouldn't say that to someone who was abused by their father.
But I could be wrong. It was the "get the fuck over it" part that tipped me off. Again, could be wrong.
Google contextualizes their services to their audience, Android isn't about making phone calls, it's about 'open source'. Why? Because they need a bunch of developers to have an emotional reason to turn down the app store to write Android apps. Now that they have a competitive platform they can drop that rhetoric and focus on contexualizing Android to everyone who isn't a developer.
In human beings emotionality will trump rationality about 99% of the time, the remainder will be labeled heartless and ignored.
For an in depth discussion about PR/Sales/Marketing.
There's a great way for the complainers to get rid of the message, stop using a service provided to you for FREE. Pay for your own server, own web interface, own backups, etc then there will be no "Call Dad" button. Until then deal with the fact that most fathers, sons, and daughters like each other and it's a good day to catch up.
The really great part is that later today my kids will be using Gmail to video conference with me. Kudos to Google.
I don't think you should diagnose people like that over the internet. Anyway, it is not a crime to have daddy issues and it certainly shouldn't be used as an argument not to post tickets.
> If I was her father I'd be glad she didn't call
This made me angry reading it. This is a really hurtful statement and telling of your personality. I won't use this statement to diagnose you, but please reread what you said there, and ask yourself if it was necessary.
> stop using a service provided to you for FREE
Gmail isn't "free", it gathers information for targeted advertisements. Facebook isn't "free" and even it was completely free that doesn't dictate we can't complain about insensitive actions or privacy violations.
> deal with the fact that most fathers, sons, and daughters like each other
Because OP on the ticket didn't like her father? It is a weird fact to force me to deal with, just for using a "free" service.
> the really great part...
That isn't a part of the story at all, more like a weird gloating I don't understand how it fits in.
To me this _is_ a mistake. It is a feature that made Gmail less usable today for some. Who did this feature benefit? Those that didn't care about their father enough to forget to call and need the call-to-action? I bet your wonderful kids wouldn't need a reminder so what did you get out of this feature to give kudos?
I would say that filtering out the Google Doodle or generic Happy Fathers Day greetings is easier than something that looks like a personal reminder to call dad on your personal contact list. One that is difficult to remove.
In my opinion saying "Happy fathers day" or having a Google Doodle is one thing. Putting it like a reminder in a personal setting, when you for example don't want to speak with your abusive father, is another.
Also my point was more aimed at 'joshuafcole' who seems to think grieving over the loss of a father or the loss of a childhood due to an abusive father means that you're not "well adjusted". It's an overly broad blanket statement that expects people to deal with life events like robots in exactly the same way. Events that it sounds like 'joshuafcole' never dealt with, so he probably doesn't have the best idea on the repercussions every scenario presents. So my retort was the overly-broad generalization that people who need a reminder to remember it's Father's Day must not be "well adjusted" or really love their father.
Just bookmarking this for the next time someone insists that the folks on hacker news are an egalitarian bunch who would never tolerate casual sexism.
Moreover, the original request was a completely reasonable one: "I don't know how to turn this feature off: I've tried this and this, but it didn't work. What should I do?" When you ask a technical question and receive irrelevant, sexualized and emotionally condescending comments in response, I think that's prima facie evidence of sexism.