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DHH: Let It All Out (hey.com)
98 points by ZephyrBlu 16 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 20 comments

What a completely self inflicted wound.

Leaving aside the efficacy of the new policy changes, would any of us have cared if they’d just done it internally? Would we know about this list of customer names if they’d not drawn attention to themselves?

I’m honestly having a really hard time understanding why they thought that first post was a good idea, especially given the internal context. The only explanation I can come up with is that they’re just addicted to the attention of being industry “thought leaders” and thought that this would let them get public kudos for going in a brave new direction. Instead all they got was an eminently predictable PR fiasco and a glowing write up in ... Breitbart. Whoops.

People say this, but this 100% would have been leaked by people unhappy with the decision, and they would have had to address it anyway.

I think you could make the argument that it still is better not to post it publicly because even if it gets leaked it still is better for the company, but I do take the other side on that. Companies should be transparent about their values.

I disagree here. This list has been around for a decade and we never heard about it, surely if all it took was one disgruntled employee then we would’ve already had an expose on it.

No, what makes this a real humdinger is the repeated reinforced narrative that something bad is happening at Basecamp. Starting this drumbeat of negative press was entirely optional and self inflicted. It also appears that they could’ve done more internally to defuse the situation and basically went in the opposite direction.

> they would have had to address it anyway.

The standard corporate denial would’ve been way more effective if they’d not just drawn a huge amount of attention to themselves.

> Companies should be transparent about their values.

Ah, but this wasn’t transparent, at all. It was really a form of subtweet, we now know. You don’t get transparency credit when you’re being passive aggressive towards unnamed workers.

Having a list of "best names ever" is always inappropriate in a professional setting. But unless it is purposely being done for, say, racist reasons this is really just people being silly. The appropriate action is to tell people to delete it and not to do that again then to move on. End of story.

It's sad and scary that we've reached a point as a society where this can even begin to become such an issue and where a company like Basecamp can be dragged into the current inquisitionist atmosphere. Best wishes to DHH and team.

I keep wondering, not even the fucking pandemic has managed so far to set some people’s priorities straight.

Yep, instead of setting priorities straight, the pandemic has instead become a tool to wield against each other in service of preexisting priorities. I'm sure I am guilty of it too. It's just an unfortunate side effect of how our society has divided ourselves up into highly dogmatic and rigid tribes.

More time indoors and online to get caught up in this drama?

"My belief is that the key to working with other people of different ideological persuasions is to find common cause in the work, in the relations with customers, in the good we can do in the industry. Not to repeatedly seek out all the hard edges where we differ."


For context in chronological order:

- Basecamp's initial policy change by Jason Fried: https://world.hey.com/jason/changes-at-basecamp-7f32afc5 (Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26944192)

- DHH's post on the changes: https://world.hey.com/dhh/basecamp-s-new-etiquette-regarding...

- DHH's follow up post: https://world.hey.com/dhh/mosaics-of-positions-ae6d4d9e

- Article detailing insider account of this policy change: https://www.platformer.news/p/-what-really-happened-at-basec...

And then this is DHH's response to the article.

> And investigative reporters are not only completely within their right to cultivate and use such leaks, I'd say they're obligated to do it! So it's only right and fair that when this is turned at Basecamp, at least when evaluating the reporting, we take it on the chin.

It surely takes some balls to say this.

It's easy to say because it's entirely beyond their control.

> Hansson’s response to this employee took aback many of the workers I spoke with. He dug through old chat logs to find a time when the employee in question participated in a discussion about a customer with a funny-sounding name. Hansson posted the message — visible to the entire company — and dismissed the substance of the employee’s complaint.

This is not how any leader should behave. It's a childish passive aggressive bullying power move by the most powerful person at a company. It's disrespectful to that employee by the person at the top of the ladder. That sends waves of signals to everyone else and that alone to me would be a reason for DHH to resign because how are employees supposed to work respectfully with each other if their leader is so openly disrespecting another employee who is in a huge power imbalance to him.

That's extremely poor behaviour to say the least.

At first I thought the same as you. But, after reading the OP, his response doesn't doesn't seem as bad as it was made out to be. IMHO.

Yeah, that didn't come off as dismissive in the least. It's a thoughtful ~500 word response.

It sure is, which I believe is why they decided to implement this policy. They realized even they can get dragged down into toxic behavior (name calling and accusing others of bad behavior publicly). Its better to eliminate the possibility altogether.

You should read the original text pasted in DHH's post. I read it twice and I have no clue how the text can be described as such, or prompt a visit to HR.

And yet there was a prompt visit to HR. The text is also clearly redacted, so we actually don't know what the original said.

Yes, because the histrionic employee decided to do it. HR, external lawyers, dismissed it.

Having read the letter they reported it's clear the employee is fucking nuts.

Cui bono. Who does HR and external lawyers serve?

In general, they serve the company but not necessarily the human leaders inside the company. Plenty a CEO, even a founder, has been shown the door (when justified) after investigations like this.

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