(Posts like this will go away once we turn off pagination.)
Edit: as long as this is at the top, I'll include the related links that users have helpfully been mentioning:
What Really Happened at Basecamp - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26963708 - April 2021 (15 comments)
Changes at Basecamp - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26944192 - April 2021 (762 comments)
Behind the Controversy at Basecamp - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26963975 - April 2021 (32 comments)
The 6 months free money is hard for anyone entering a strong job market to pass up.
A lot of comments seem to think 1/3 left because of the no politics policy. 1 / 3 left because it would increase their wealth or give them the summer covid took away last year.
How many people would leave your job now for 6 months salary? How many could get a job tomorrow if they did?
A few probably left because they want to change social policy. Many are probably staying but still want to change social policy. The head of marketing, products and the iOS team are not leaving because of social policy.
Probably, the founders believed that the toxicity of the internal culture had reached a point where it was extremely detrimental to the workplace. And, knowing DHH, it was probably not only a financial decision but a lifestyle one. He may have realized that the advocates that actively discussed and promoted political issues within the org was making his life and others in the company miserable.
Would you allow a Jehovah's Witness to be a significant part of your life if they proselytize you every day? I definitely wouldn't. Some of these activists probably think that's their right to do so; so let them walk.
I'd be really surprised if this surprised the executive team. This seems to be a super intentional and very professionally executed cultural shift / purge. Professional, because you give them freaking 6 months of severance and you don't call them out or force them out. If that isn't recognized as goodwill, you're blinded by your political disagreements to seeing how nice of a treatment that is.
The people leaving probably grew with the company, and contributed a lot to the company, so giving them 6 months of severance is recognizing that. But it's also telling them, hey we are making a cultural shift in our identity, and if that identity is no longer you, sorry, we'll treat you really well as you find a place that supports your identity.
This reeks of professionalism and GOOD management to me.
I have to admit there's a certain elegance in filtering out political people by banning public discussions of politics, though. I especially cringed at this bit:
> Jane Yang, a data analyst at the company, told me that restricting internal conversations would negatively affect diversity and inclusion efforts. For example, she said, the company’s profit-sharing plan gave more profits to people who have longer tenure — a group that is majority white and male. Making that discussion off limits internally could ensure that inequality in profit sharing becomes a structural feature of the company.
It's not like they had a rule that white males get more money, it's a seniority rule! It seems unreasonable to me to extrapolate that to systemic racism in the company.
That's exactly where systemic discrimination originates.
Hardly anyone wakes up in the morning and decides that it's a good day to oppress G people. They wake up in the morning having some amount of privilege, discover that it might be threatened, and their actions that day try to avoid reduction of privilege, even if it means treating G people unfairly. It's not anti-G people at first, it's just pro-self.
Over years this becomes a de facto systemic discrimination, generally without a rule that explicitly says "we don't want G coworkers". Instead there are rules that mean that everybody works on G holidays, the microwaves can't be used for "smelly" food (and guess what, all G food is "smelly" by default), and of course, rule is by seniority in the company which just happens not to have any senior G people in it. Somehow fewer G people get hired, and those that do are in low-status positions.
You can pick your own value for G; it could be gender or nationality or ethnicity or religion or skin color or whatever. It works the same way.
Right, so it's not that the rule is biased, it's just that there's general bias because of other things and this rule isn't compensating for it, which are two very different things.
Equality of result is, by definition, a way to bias things towards a different group, and as a proponent of equality of opportunity, I think that's not a good way to build a just society. That's why I'm against trying to "fix" rules that aren't biased in the first place (ie rules which people who support equality of result consider "not biased enough the other way").
The main concern seems to stem from making the discussion off limits. No "fixes" have been proposed. The first step to solving a problem at all is to admit that there is a problem. Being apolitical is privilege. For the unprivileged, simply defending ones rights and dignity is a political issue.
Why is this?
Because executives at various massive tech companies are getting massive bonuses connected to how many diverse people they hire. They give lavish salaries and large chunks of equity to people who they otherwise would not. Somebody who is getting offers like this is naturally going to have all of their incentives misaligned for joining a startup.
My company's back end code is Java and Python and we interviewed an engineer who I was willing to teach both of these languages to. She happened to be a black woman and only new PHP using the laravel stack. Zero experience doing front end coding and not really a standout when it came to databases and barely new cloud.
She asked for a large equity stake, but also wanted a salary of $195,000. We are not at all in the Bay area and this salary is completely ridiculous for somebody who also wants a lot of equity and has very few skills that connect to our code base.
She was hired at Amazon for some rather boring role on an internal team that helps the data centers meet energy efficiency requirements by building applications that are essentially dashboards for internal decision makers.
We actually talk on regular basis now because I give her some advice for learning Python.
She was simply negotiating based on her market value and her own fiscal priorities and made a sound well-reasoned decision.
If my company hits it big one day which of course is typically not high probability, people like you will show up and say that we are systemically racist. Ironically the twisted incentives at these massive companies are creating this issue. As long as women are significantly less interested in jobs involving things just like men are significantly less interested in jobs involving people we're going to have to admit that trying to bring things to 50/50 proportions is going to create weird incentives that will further create side effects.
That level of pay is reserved for absolute top talent with at least 15+ years of experience everywhere I’ve worked. Only a major corporation could afford to waste that kind of money on a junior level dev.
I my self am an immigrant that don’t consider me self a member of any minority and I can attest to this. I don’t experience discrimination in my day-to-day activities, nor on the job market. The only discrimination I experience is what I inherit from USA’s immigration policies. I.e. I have more restricted international travel and my visa is tied to my employer (which I would imagine would be far worse of an experience if I would belong to a minority).
And this makes sense given the sibling threads. Being from a majority group in a country where I have good access to quality education, health care and other services, as well as good job opportunities. This indeed gives me a privilege that I take with me as I migrate. Non-immigrants that have been rejected these opportunities don’t have it this good.
In my experience immigration status alone is not enough to put into a group that has increased risk of being discriminated against.
When we eventually settled she had a long backlog of health issues, which we had to pay out of pocket to the tune of dozens thousands, because the mythical European free healthcare is only for the extremely poor or the tax evaders.
So fuck people towing the line of "we help immigrants because they are resources" - there are few feel good resources that are ultimately discriminatory and capriciously allocated to the most noisy groups, leaving people in need screwed because activists don't fill their diversity quota cards below a certain melatonin concentration
This logic is kind of bizarre. You don't want to generalize, but only when it comes to putting people from one group into a different group for which you make generalizations.
The rule that “the people who have been here the longest should get a bigger share of the company” is unfair in a society which has a history of segregation that favored one group over another, and still is dealing with the aftermath of said segregation.
To justify: The favored group has more chance of being an early hire and therefore having better current benefits. On a large scale this leads to systematic discrimination which is not cool.
Aside from that being illegal out of the gate due to discrimination laws, who comes up with the formula? Is it revised? What kind of additional bonus are we talking?
Yes, the things you mention are hard to design/decide upon, but strictly speaking that's not an argument against the parent (ie it's not that bonuses based on race/gender are wrong because they're hard to do).
Literally no one said this.
Please try to stay in the actual conversation–it makes for a much healthier discussion.
Join any union in the US, and seniority is pretty much the only metric used to evaluate fair compensation and benefits.
I don't understand what you are asking for.
You really need to read up on how they operate before commenting about them like this.
"It doesn't have to be crazy at work" is a good read that explains where they're coming from.
Understanding that, this move is completely rational.
> > Jane Yang, a data analyst at the company, told me that restricting internal conversations would negatively affect diversity and inclusion efforts. For example, she said, the company’s profit-sharing plan gave more profits to people who have longer tenure — a group that is majority white and male. Making that discussion off limits internally could ensure that inequality in profit sharing becomes a structural feature of the company.
> It's not like they had a rule that white males get more money, it's a seniority rule! It seems unreasonable to me to extrapolate that to systemic racism in the company.
And the reply was:
> Hardly anyone wakes up in the morning and decides that it's a good day to oppress G people. They wake up in the morning having some amount of privilege, discover that it might be threatened, and their actions that day try to avoid reduction of privilege, even if it means treating G people unfairly. It's not anti-G people at first, it's just pro-self.
The argument here is that if we evaluate by a metric that benefits the in-group more then the out-group you end up with doing discrimination.
In the comment you are replying I’m giving examples of fair pay and fair accommodations in general. It is a respond to GP which misunderstands previous post that we should be paying minorities higher to adjust for the bias that is causing seniority benefits being unfair. But as I have said, that is simply not what I’m (nor anybody here is) arguing.
Yes. That's the point. The in group in this case has invested more time. They get more reward. What you're suggesting is rewarding those who have done less more than those who have done more.
Talk about a fucked up sense of equality.
a) Misunderstanding: I’m not suggesting that people get rewarded that have done less. That conclusion does not follow from: don’t engage in reward system that disproportionately benefits your ingroup. I see how you would arrive at that conclusion, but it is false. Not engaging in policies that disproportionately reward your in-group does not necessitate rewarding an out-group by a different metric. These are not two sides of the same coin.
b) False assumptions: Staying longer at a company does not equate having done more. It is entirely possible (and even quite common) that a new hire will contribute a lot more then established workers. A new hire brings with them a new perspective. They might not contribute directly, but they might be asking the right questions which gives more senior workers a better perspective etc.
If you are in favor of a revolution, all the power to you... But if not, then I’m sorry to say that our best option is the slow, painful and gradual correcting for our systemic biases for the next generations.
Trying to 'unbias' (meaning a calibrated, countervailing bias actually) at the other end of the funnel, where incidentally 80%+ are already super liberal, doesn't really get the same mileage.
If people are primarily upset about general societal things rather than clear cut workplace discrimination, I would submit they should focus their activism at those societal things.
And the most funny thing about it is that people propagating this system actually thing they fight for equality and against the abuse of power. While this is exactly how inequality and abuse of power is done.
Thoroughly middle of the road, PHP programmers who can't do front end at all, demanding large equity stake AND a salary higher than anyone else at company. They are just valuing themselves at market for a black engineer.
It's a shame, because in the chance my company (we are already doubling enterprise customers every 3 months) does well, some journalist will comment on how early employees are skewed towards white/male.
(I should note that founder/ceo is a woman who was so amazing when I interviewed that I took a pay cut for more equity, cuz she's a beast who I'm convinced will lead our company to success)
What’s the current gender makeup % of your engineering team, if I can ask? As well, what’s the non white makeup of the engineering leadership and overall leadership team? I found it got easier the less that ratio skewed towards 100%M engineering team and 100% white leadership team :)
Leadership team is mostly female, only 1 male, who is CTO. 1 is Latina, others white.
In the past, I joined a company where entire leadership team was Indian and male. I never would have thought to not work there because they didn't share my race. That would have been bigoted.
“ I never would have thought to not work there because they didn't share my race. That would have been bigoted.”
There’s a wealth of factors that go into a choice to work somewhere, and someone not choosing to work at your company because they don’t see themselves represented isn’t necessarily bigotry, but then also wanting an assurance of a safe space and not always knowing whether it will be. I wish I could tell you otherwise but I’ve had these conversations with a wealth of marginalized groups over my career and the teams I’ve built, so it’s not unusual. It’s not a “oh I don’t want to work with these people because I’m [x] and they’re [y]” matter the majority of the time. It’s more often “man, I’m going to be the only [x] on a team of 30 [y]s” which is often culturally uncomfortable for a lot of people.
And yes sometimes on occasion it is “man, I don’t want to be working with a company of 10 [y]s where I’m the only [x]” or “if the executive team is all or majority [y]s, do I know for sure there’s career advancement opportunities here?”
We do have a rampant amount of sexism, racism, etc in our field (just like many others) and so that is something unfortunately people sometimes suspect. I’m not at all saying that this is the situation at your company - far from it - just saying the choices for people are most often verrrrrry far from bigotry.
Not sure of your background but it’s also not too hard for a CIS white male to not sweat working on any other team composition (say, all Indian) vs the reverse, because hey - even if you’re paying a pioneer tax, you’re probably not paying it for long. There’s a lot of advantages that group has that are often taken for granted. :)
I disagree with catering to candidates own biases though.
If a candidate assumes my startup is bigoted because it's all white, despite talking to us, I don't want them here. Stereotypes are stupid, useless, and immoral, no matter who they are directed at. Imagine if I had a problem with all but 1 of my leadership team being female? That would be me making decisions about them based on their immutable characteristics. Fuck that.
Ideally the earlier you can intentionally focus on diversity the better. This also goes for leadership too - both for hiring other leaders and it’s an easy demonstration that the company’s commitment to diversity isn’t just for token representation purposes.
Anyway...yeah, nothing about catering to candidates biases or people judging you as bigots. I sense the anger here at that but hopefully you can see that’s not where I’m approaching it from.
I think you hit a very good point with the pioneer attacks and it's a higher cost as the team gets larger.
Funny enough I experienced the pioneer tax myself one time but for a different reason than ethnicity or sexuality:
Socioeconomic status. People can't tell by looking at me but within about two sentences they can very accurately HEAR via my speech patterns that I grew up in a lower socioeconomic class than 99% of US born programmers in the industry. I have a very rural dialect but I do work hard to have excellent grammar when I speak. Over the years I've worked hard to suppress the accent while at work and I'm sad to say that it's been very effective in reducing people's biases toward me. Of course that's just anecdotal it's not like somebody was scientifically measuring anything. And I'm fully aware it's a huge luxury to be able to hide what makes you different from people, as opposed to race/gender/etc.
> every discussion remotely related to politics, advocacy, or society at large quickly spins away from pleasant. You shouldn't have to wonder if staying out of it means you're complicit, or wading into it means you're a target. These are difficult enough waters to navigate in life, but significantly more so at work. It's become too much. It's a major distraction.
There's absolutely no reason to believe that there were any "ultra-sensitive trigger-warning micro-aggression seeking activists" at Basecamp among the employees. All we have is a blog post from someone who is overly sensitive to reasonable professional conversations and didn't want to deal with "unpleasant" conversations at work. It's a story told from that person's perspective and we shouldn't take it as absolute truth.
Never, in my experience, because the said activists tend to accuse anyone who disagrees with them of being a bigot.
This is objectively false. There is 100% undeniable proof of these types of employees being there, including one of the heads of data analytics:
> Racist capitalism is poison that has weakened every facet of society and been used to “justify” horrific crimes against humanity while destroying our planet. We need massive power and wealth distribution enshrined in national and international policies.
> Guess who tends to beta spray? Men. White men, in particular.
> If you are white or a man, especially a cis-gendered heterosexual able-bodied white man, do the fucking work. Learn about the characteristics of white supremacy, push through your discomfort, and reflect on how you show up in the spaces you have power. Be ready to apologize when you screw up (we all do!) and then do better. And whatever you do: do not demand that your friends or colleagues or employees or neighbors or acquaintances who belong to historically marginalized groups explain to you all the ways you perpetuate harm and how society got here. Pay an anti-oppression professional for training and coaching; don’t expect us to get you up to speed for free.
I grew up with a single father, who was prone to religious fanaticism. Plenty of fundamentalist, culty churches.
When I was a teen, my father met a radical vegan animal rights activist, started dating, and suddenly swapped out religious fanaticism for radical left-wing activism.
The smells in my house changed, and the people looked different, but fundamentally they were the same:
Awful, zero original thinking, dogmatic, controlling, self-righteous, and, yeah I'm going to say it, failures in life if measured financially or in career status.
The cars in my driveway shifted from rusty, beat up, old Ford's/Chevys to rusty, beat up Subarus/Civics.
I hate tribal thinking, and the aggressive conformists who flock to it.
Conversely, I love seeing well maintained older vehicles.
Absolutely nothing to do with the two leaders who spend a good chunk of time on social media telling the rest of the world how to run their business in the most in your face way possible.
In the work environment, I don't care if you want to save the whales or arm every teacher with an AR-15.
Do you do your job well enough that you don't personally impact me? You do? Good. Shut up about non-work shit and keep working.
Every single person I've ever seen who was a "passionate" "political" person is a fucking trainwreck in some area of the their life. How about your fix yourself first? Then once you've got yourself ironed out, you can try ironing out the rest of society...
A list of names that sound or look funny.
The amount of disdain I have for idiotic busybodies who would fuss and fret over such a thing cannot be overstated, or even quantified.
How about just ignoring the list? How about saying to someone, when they tell you about the list, "That's dumb. Grow up, <name>."
How about just going on about your day.
The fact that any human being would think a list of funny names should be a fireable offense is a testament to this new idiotic religion of Wokeness. A bunch of shitty people traded Christianity for another religion where they can be insufferable assholes, under the guise of righteousness.
Where. Have. I. Seen. That. Before?
Do you think that kind of aggressive tone would be suitable in a work place?
> Do you think that kind of aggressive tone would be suitable in a work place?
Apparently it is, since everyone from Steve Jobs to Bill Gates to Jeff Bezos have used a tone like that - and a lot... lot worse.
No it wouldn't be, but this isn't work, it's an internet comment section. You're literally providing his point that "there's a time and a place" for shit like this, and work isn't one of them.
Great PR recovery after, from what I can see is one of the worst management foul-ups I can remember. But then PR is one thing that JF and DHH are good at.
In fact, send me a link to your company's Careers page, because I want to work for a company that's got their shit together so thoroughly.
Don't start saying it was all due to the people who left - there were a number highly respected, long standing and apparently extremely hard working employees in that list. And they are probably prevented from giving their views due to severance terms whilst DHH in particular will no doubt be blogging about it again within days.
To me banning politics from company chat feels vague and confusing at best. Another post from a few days ago got this from a worker:
> “How do you talk about raising kids without talking about society?” the employee said. “As soon as I bring up public schools, then it’s already political.”
At worst it feels like you are being silenced. In technology topics of diversity and inclusion tend towards the political (it doesn’t have to be; but it most often is as witnessed on HN). Does this mean if you feel like the company is not being inclusive that you cannot speak up?
Tonnes of companies deal with issues like these in a better way IMO. Options include a code of conduct which prohibits escalating emotions in a political debate (i.e. by talking about genocide) while allowing (and even encouraging) talks about DE&I. Reprimand people that are found to use hostile language in public forums. Provide channels (echo chambers) where people can opt into and have a more heated debates (without breaking the CoC). Etc.
I'm struggling to imagine what kind of political thing you would say about school. I can't share my thoughts on the school board, pedagogy, common core, racist school names, etc? Doesn't seem like an onerous restriction and I can't recall ever having a work conversation that would've violated it.
These can all be interpreted as political issues, and I think very reasonable to talk about. The policy is so arbitrary that it ends up being that you can't talk about things that the founders don't want you to talk about.
I get the sentiment, but the execution is chilling.
In the absence of clear policy, it comes back to trust, which needs to be earned and can be lost. I don't work at Basecamp, so I don't know whether they "deserved" to lose trust and my opinion doesn't really matter. But the evidence appears to show that trust was dead, whoever killed it.
We all saw what happened, and we're talking about it because most of us think things could have gone a little better.
I have never worked in a place where we don’t discus these things periodically.
I don’t have kids but I have witnessed my peers in previous jobs say stuff like: “I wished school hours would be more accommodating to those of us that work shifts.” Which is a political statement about the strict nature of how we run schools.
Just to pick one thread of many to pull on, any management team that actively encourages intra-mural political discussion should think through possible consequences. It's difficult to take such rights away, as Google's experience has shown multiple times. 
If you don’t check the behaviour it can take over like cancer. The gossipers and narcissists hide behind activism and the activists support them as one of their own because they align with the activists goal. People who do not want to deal with these people eventually leave for places without such policy and you are stuck with all the bad actors.
Why not spend the time to build channels for constructive political discussion? The workplace does not exist in a vacuum. You cannot isolate work from politics these days.
There are precisely one set of actors behaving toxically in this whole fiasco, and it's the founders.
> I'd be really surprised if this surprised the executive team. This seems to be a super intentional and very professionally executed cultural shift / purge.
Hahaha, what? In which universe are you inhabiting? No piece of evidence supports this theory. All the evidence clearly points at this being a hasty and unplanned reaction to a hasty and unplanned emotional outburst at an employee by a founder.
It's a lot more likely that the 1/3rd that left both left because they were unhappy with the policy, and because they thought they could get jobs elsewhere. I would bet there are some people who stayed behind who didn't believe they could find a job this good soon but who also disagreed with the policy. Which, I get it.
6 months free money is not as much as you'd think; a new job hunt takes 3, even for talented, in-demand people.
Basecamp was a company built on reputation, and people joined on that and then the leaders just flushed that all away. Its not surprising that opinionated and outspoken people - the kind of people Basecamp courted - left.
It was about "what do we tolerate", "who do we welcome", "who are we as a company"? They didn't like their employees defining this for them, because it forced them to think things they didn't want to think about.
On the contrary, as far as I can tell (i.e., based on information released by founders and employees), they didn't object at all to being called out on it. Everybody at Basecamp, the founders included, thought the list was wrong and inappropriate.
What they did object to was the discussion being escalated to genocide and that there appear to have been employees who refused to climb down from that.
It does become impossible to have a constructive discussion, particularly about sensitive or controversial matters, when some people involved want to escalate to the most extreme position imaginable. It tends to mute other viewpoints.
This used to be well understood on the internet, and is the reason Godwin's Law is explicitly stated (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law#:~:text=Godwin'....).
it feels like a problem with the discussions participants listening and speaking skills.
if someone immediately jumps to a negative extreme then its likely they feel quite emotionally distressed about the topic. if you notice someone is emotionally charged about a topic (either yourself or a participant) then we should seek to discover the shadow conversation that is being had. what is the true source of the emotional distress.
instead we see it as weakness and press harder.
removing politics won’t solve that.
It can be pretty frustrating when people debate in this fashion about work-related matters. E.g., nowadays I find it particularly tiresome when people frame technical discussions (such as one database platform or front-end technology versus another) in moral terms. It's incredibly unhelpful.
It has the potential to be even more disruptive for non-work matters (though the original "Best names ever" discussion was very much work-related).
Still, whilst I'm not especially critical of the position DHH and JF have taken - though initially I found myself back and forth on it - I do of course wonder if a more nuanced resolution that alienated fewer people (I don't mean on twitter and other social media, which is mostly just noise: I mean at Basecamp) could have been found than something that feels like blanket ban, even though it's not really.
Perhaps they tried - I don't know.
i suspect, a lot like becoming conscious of the impact the food we choose to eat has on things external to our local context (climate, animal welfare etc), technology decisions choices could be seen through such a lens.
as Frederic Bastiat wrote, there is “that which is seen and that which is not seen”.
Where do you work? Can I join?
More seriously, if you (have nothing better to do than) look through my comment history you'll find a discussion from a few weeks or months back where I chided somebody for saying (I paraphrase), "if you're patching directly in production you're doing it wrong." Granted doing so is far from ideal, and not something I've ever done with any kind of regularity, but occasionally it's the quickest way to resolve an issue whilst you follow proper process with a more involved investigation and fix.
I've found this varies a lot by company I've worked for: it doesn't happen where I work now much at all, but other companies I've worked at many technology choices are either "right" or "wrong". I just don't have the energy or patience for it these days.
in that case, yes. people get dogmatic about the strangest things. depending on my level of give-a-fuck i sometimes dive in deeper, “why do you think this is bad?” etc.
sometimes theres a decent learning opp either for me, discovering a new way that something can cause problems or for them, learning to apply some nuance to their beliefs.
And that's quite a long way from what I'm talking about, which are technical discussions that are more day to day concerns for many software developers in the industries and types of application I've worked with (e.g., desktop software tools and web applications/services in sectors such as telecoms, life science, payment processing, retail systems, data analytics).
Other companies are able to handle peer conversations without making such a broad and vague category as politics taboo. Like you can enforce a code of conduct and treat speech of genocide as being in violation and issue a citation for a minor offense and terminate repeated or hard offenders. You can also enforce stricter speech standards on open channels and announcements while allowing workers to have free conversation in their own opt-in echo chambers.
Nuking all political dialogs just feels like a bad HR policy.
I think this is what the policy amounts to though, right? They're banning political discussion on their shared work Basecamp, but not anywhere else, and are even encouraging it in other private and opt-in channels, as well as employees' personal blogs, social media, etc.
That's not actually what they've said though, is it? They're moving responsibility for DEI back into HR (they call it People Ops). I have pretty mixed feelings on HR as a company function and choice of profession, but that's far from a ban on DEI initiatives.
(I don't dispute your comment that committees have been dissolved.)
 The original "Changes at Basecamp" blog post literally says, "The responsibility for DEI work returns to Andrea, our head of People Ops,": https://world.hey.com/jason/changes-at-basecamp-7f32afc5
> What they did object to was the discussion being escalated to genocide and that there appear to have been employees who refused to climb down from that.
The topic brought up was the Pyramid of Hate, and I'm going to presume linking the list of names to one of the base levels of bias. DHH is the one who escalates that point to say, well this must be a fireable offense since it is on this pyramid with genocide on the top, which is really completely ignoring the point of the pyramid and not at all what employees probably said. An employee actually tries to explain this, that "dehumanizing behavior begins with very small actions". DHH ignores the point and completely unprofessionally and unethically (imagine the CEO of your company doing this) publicly shares some old chat log of the employee participating in making fun of the names, as if this employee wouldn't be aware of that and probably regretful of it.
So yes, an employee tried to explain what might be wrong with DHH's thinking and yes he did not like it at all and responded inappropriately and he was the one who wanted to "escalate to the most extreme position imaginable."
Here is the full-text from the article that described what happened:
"But Hansson went further, taking exception to the use of the pyramid of hate in a workplace discussion. He told me today that attempting to link the list of customer names to potential genocide represented a case of “catastrophizing” — one that made it impossible for any good-faith discussions to follow. Presumably, any employees who are found contributing to genocidal attitudes should be fired on the spot — and yet nobody involved seemed to think that contributing to or viewing the list was a fireable offense. If that’s the case, Hansson said, then the pyramid of hate had no place in the discussion. To him, it escalated employees’ emotions past the point of being productive.
Hansson wanted to acknowledge the situation as a failure and move on. But when employees who had been involved in the list wanted to continue talking about it, he grew exasperated. “You are the person you are complaining about,” he thought.
Employees took a different view. In a response to Hansson’s post, one employee noted that the way we treat names — especially foreign names — is deeply connected to social and racial hierarchies. Just a few weeks earlier, eight people had been killed in a shooting spree in Atlanta. Six of the victims were women of Asian descent, and their names had sometimes been mangled in press reports. (The Asian American Journalists Association responded by issuing a pronunciation guide.) The point was that dehumanizing behavior begins with very small actions, and it did not seem like too much to ask Basecamp’s founders to acknowledge that.
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."
The pyramid is intended to show that its foundational to hate.
Thats then being immediately taken out of context to equate stereotypes with genocide as a straw man argument. In this thread.
Nobody here or at Basecamp made such an argument. Its entirely made up to shut down discussion.
Thought is also the foundation below that. In fact, thought is much more requisite to hate rather than making fun of something.
Shall we update the pyramid and show that thought is the foundation to all hate so we can show it whenever someone thinks?
The thing is, that is not very far at all. You were not involved in the situation at all.
Some employees have been critical on social media of the policy changes. None of them has suggested that DHH or JF thought it was OK that the names list existed. Again, all available evidence suggests that nobody who is still at Basecamp or who was there formerly, including the founders, thinks the names list is OK.
What exactly are you questioning here?
Because you evidently don't know any more than I do yet, based on that same body of information, you seem willing to insinuate a much shakier conclusion though you lack the courage to state it explicitly (because I think you know that it's not backed up by any evidence). You're not adding anything to the discussion other than noise.
Not at all true - they dealt with it extensively internally, agreed it shouldn't have happened, etc. But folks kept analogizing the list of funny name to genocide.
I think its been properly debunked multiple times in the comments here to say its untrue. Just wondering where it comes from that people keep commenting it so strongly.
Not if you're one of the injured parties.
If you don't believe me, well, DHH himself agrees with this: it's a problem when you acknowledge the pyramid of hate, as he does.
What's at issue is that he acknowledges all of this, then refuses to recognize any wrongdoing, dresses down employees in public, and claims that "political talk" -- about the company, about whether these practices are correct, about whether this is an inclusive and equal place -- is banned.
1) that the list was a mistake and that they've learned and moved on.
2) that "I was dismayed to see the argument advanced in text and graphics on [Employee 1’s] post that this list should be considered part of a regime that eventually could lead to genocide. That's just not an appropriate or proportionate comparison to draw"
3) that "the vast majority" of the names in the list were in fact of Anglo-Saxon or white background.
So he acknowledges, apologises and de-escalates. And points out that there is nothing racial about the list. What should he have done more, or differently?
Two other details I find interesting:
- In the post you linked to, DHH specifically talks about the Asian names on the list.
- The only attributed statements I've seen from any non-founder employees are from Jane Yang.
Might well be, and yet this doesn't mean the "white men" are always wrong. If the vast majority of the names in the list belong to Western whites, and only a few to Asians, does it make sense to claim the list is racist? I don't think so. And why should someone admit (and thus confirm) a non-existent but very serious moral failing, just to appease an angry employee? With all that it entails: once something has been confirmed to be a moral failing, the same judgement automatically applies to all similar instances. We're seeing where this is going.
To your question, I think it is the consequences of closing such a discussion that he leaves unaddressed. Does the company still value your opinion? Do you matter?
I honestly think, as DHH hints, that being able to 'rehumanize' might avoid even having to ask these questions.
It seems he clearly proved that those opinions matter, if he recognized the mistake, recognized the validity of some of the points made, and apologised.
What I've observed in this and other well known instances of "social justice" protests (I hope it's the best neutral term to describe them) is that there seems to be no endgame accepted by the protesters. No apologies are ever accepted without an explicit or implicit transfer of power to them. An example of an explicit transfer of power is setting up some commission or bureaucratic structure where the protesters or people they trust will be enrolled; and resignations represent an implicit transfer of power (the recognized power to make someone lose their job, which is not a small one).
Compare this with normal workplace dynamics. You can complain inside your workplace for many work-related reasons (workload, bad management, pay, etc.). Your complaints can be openly discussed, legitimately rejected, or acted upon. But in any case a change in the hierarchy or in the company structure is not something you expect. It can happen (very rarely) or not, and you might be satisfied with the responses or the changes or not, and if you don't like the answers after a while you might decide to move somewhere else. You don't consider unacceptable that the company doesn't see or address your point of view. At some point the discussion ends and that's it. This is not what happens on social justice complaints, and I think it's toxic (in the workplace, but in general everywhere).
What DHH neglects to address is that he's claiming the power to silence. "we had to close down this channel" or "discussions are being moved".
I like your idea of comparing this to a normal workplace dynamic. What if you get the rare change you wanted to see, but in exchange there is a new policy: no more discussions like this? Yes, your ideas about devops or whatever were fine, we're making a change, and now please never discuss our product development process again.
At the very least, does the change you 'won' feel genuine?
It's unprofessional, shouldn't have been done, we're stopping it, if people recreate it that will have appropriate consequences. Done. What's the point of even mentioning this trivial thing again?
I'm not even saying it's a cynical play, it's extremely easy to forget to reflect on it and just think you're doing the right thing all along. The outcome is still the same though.
They're not necessarily ethnic, some people just have funny names:
In your opinion just how genocidal are these articles on the pyramid of hate?
The first list you posted has a bunch of "funny" East Asian names. That stuff was racist in "Sixteen Candles," there's no excuse for it in a modern workplace.
I'll be frank- and I know that I'm risking the mistake of reading just what I want to read-, I think that those "counter to creating an inclusive workplace" and the general tone ("serious collective failure" etc.) are just nods to the social justice culture, and are meant to appease and concede some ground to the opponent. I don't think (also because it is clearly stated elsewhere in the same post) that there was anything intrinsically racist in that list, or anything that made it substantially different from those examples above. Apart from the obvious difference that these are customers, and it's not nice to secretly make fun of them.
That still looks like 3 months free money. That is a considerable offer no matter a person's politics.
Occam's razor is most of the people who left did so because they didn't like management, because that is the normal reason people leave jobs. However, it is very noticeable that if someone was looking for a reason to leave for any unrelated reason, this was the perfect opportunity.
1) Employees left for ideological reasons.
2) Employees left out of self interest.
There are reasons I believe it’s predominantly 1, but neither explanation is more convoluted. Misuse of an excellent thinking tool.
Seems like someone enjoying a break, and glad to have timed it to get a huge severance package.
Remember, it's not 6months pay to sit in prison, it's 6monrhs pay to do anything they want, including a hobby project, child rearing, a busoner idea, education... plus a few hours a week of job searching.
If you're a developer, that's enough runway to launch a side-business. After all, job-searching is hardly time-consuming (it takes so little time that people do it while already employed in a full-time position).
Yeah, some folk will sit at home binge-watching netflix for 6 months. I can all but guarantee you that I will have a product at the end of six months if I was unemployed for six months.
At the end of the time I'll have a new job and a product (whether the product actually makes money or not is irrelevant. Getting a product to sell is the first step).
Super tangent on the thread but if you want a product that people are interested in you might think about using a process like Nathan Barry's Authority or 30x500. Not that those are the best or only ways to make a product, of course, but they're at least a direction to take to figure out what people want, need, and buy.
Where is this? At Senior level in London it can take days once you're good and ready.
I personally have a lot higher requirements for a new position than "a job that pays more than my current one". E.g. working on something that is worth doing, together with great people.
This takes a lot longer than "days" to find.
Basecamp is fully remote isn't it? So it could be anywhere.
That sounds really long. It never took me more than 2 months from an initial contact to an offer (whether accepted or not) and sometimes less. I've seen people hired in less than a month - in fact, I've seen many times people hired before they left the previous job. Of course, it's just my personal anecdata but 3 months sounds really long. Any hard data to back it up?
And they can literally land in the company they want to work at in a week.
What people say on Twitter is hardly courtroom testimony. It is evidence, sure, but I wouldn't give it a whole lot of weight. Probably even less weight for being "incredibly vocal".
But even then...if you are a senior person that has been somewhere for the better part of a decade, you have surely both made and seen bad decisions made before. If you think that there is trust and mutual understanding and collaborative work is possible, you work through those.
(Not everyone in tech solely cares about money. And the ones that do siphon their way to certain gravitational points and/or do the jump ship every 2-3 years to negotiate a new salary and not a raise...)
Surely some of the employees left for ideological reasons, but 6 months of salary just for changing jobs is a difficult incentive to ignore.
Anyone who was considering changing jobs would have a hard time saying no to 6 months of free pay. The publicity of this situation also makes them attractive targets for other companies looking to hire out of the situation.
If you read "Shape Up", you will realise there is a _lot_ of slack at Basecamp (I know, I've implemented it myself in one company), and a lot of space to think things through. Tons of autonomy.
6 months pay is not a good bargain for a great job.
It's a superb bargain for a job that has suddenly become very uncomfortable.
Of course putting 50% aside is huge but I think 20% is achievable and will still create in one year a couple of months to live without a job.
I find myself sometimes hearing people saying things like this “if my company will give me X salaries I will leave” but few will actually do it. I always push back saying how about in the next 6 months you put aside some money and take 1 month unpaid vacation. I listen the arguments why they will not do it and realise people say will leave job if compensated but mostly they dont walk the talk as there are other risks/loans/friends/promises that keeps them there.
But, finding a job I want to do for many years probably takes a significant portion of that 6 month period.
Now, if I was already half-way out the door? Or also felt strongly about the no-politics stuff? You bet I'm taking the money and not looking back.
You do know that’s not the just world fallacy at all, right? You might be thinking of the fundamental attribution error...
I think that's a big mischaracterization of what happened.
For one, it seems a lot of the issue was about the 'funny names list' and heated debate around that. It wasn't people going to war over liberals vs conservatives. It seems DHH took particular umbrage at someone brining the Anti Defamation League's Pyramid of Hate into the conversation.
Secondly, Basecamp had allowed the creation of a Diversity and Inclusion committee with at least a dozen employees joining. DHH and Fried decided to unilaterally dissolve it. If you're going to give employees your blessing for a D&I group then just axe it with no discussion or warning, some people will be put off.
Then there's the fact that employees found out about this group of changes via blog post. That betrays a lack of empathy/care for employees when implementing a set of big changes.
Lastly, saying 'no politics or societal issues' because you, as the owners of the company felt uncomfortable, is a recipe for ruining the culture of a company like Basecamp. For some employees, they can't get away from politics and societal issues because it affects them every day and their very existence has been politicized. More savvy leaders could've established a better climate of respect and politeness around any 'political' discussion rather than a heavy handed and clumsy edict.
This wasn't about a bunch of people endlessly bickering about politics at work, it's about company owners who took a manageable issue and turned it into a public crisis. Companies several orders of magnitude larger manage to accommodate employees having political conversations without making messes like this.
What a lame excuse for politicizing everything.
Government policies may be unfair, unconstitutional, or discriminatory to different groups of people. But that’s not politicizing people’s “very existence.” That sort of rhetoric is just a way to dial up the temperature of political debates by equating any negative impacts with existential harm. People have a right to freely debate things like who the government will let into the country, what benefits it will provide to whom, etc.
 Except unborn children, whose very existence has literally been politicized.
People are being killed by gun violence, police violence, gang violence. Isn't it fair for people affected by these things to feel their lives have become political footballs?
Their presence in a country they’ve entered illegally is the subject of political debate, but that’s not equivalent to a threat to their “very existence.” Calling it that is an attempt to emotionalize a basic function of sovereign nations: policing their borders. It’s something every country does—including the countries from where these undocumented immigrants came.
> People are being killed by gun violence, police violence, gang violence. Isn't it fair for people affected by these things to feel their lives have become political footballs?
If you’ve been killed by gun violence or police violence or gang violence, then you’re dead. If you haven’t, then you’re debating government policy, not the fact of your “very existence.” Even mundane government policy has life or death implications. People running red lights kills six to ten times as many people each year as mass shootings. But framing a debate over stoplight timing in terms of peoples’ “existence” would be a way to shut down rational policy debate.
As an Asian person, I’m much more likely to be killed or attacked by a repeat offender than by the police. But that doesn’t mean I can shut down a discussion of eliminating bail by saying it’s a “threat to my very existence.”
Putting those semantics aside, the point was, some people's lives are affected by politics (I'd argue all are) and you can't expect them not to talk about their lives, including the effect of policy and politics on them. Well, you can, but apparently 2/3 of your workforce will decide that's not cool and leave.
Of course people’s “lives are affected by politics”—often very significantly. That’s a very different statement than saying people’s “very existence is politicized.” That’s just a rhetorical device to exaggerate the personal impact of political issues.
Unless it’s your family/friends who have been? “How was your weekend Mary?” “My husband/kid was shot in the back by police”
I find it sad how your arguing how people’s existence can’t be political or if they are it “doesn’t matter” because they unborn or dead while neglecting people who would still be affected daily like family or a mother who wants to get an abortion but can’t/has to deal with the assholes out front protesting
Is any talk of bail or parole reform an existential threat that denies people's right to exist?
And no? I don’t think I gave any indication it would?
About 80 / year police shootings of unarmed individuals.
There were about 19,000 homicides last year.
1 in 55 people people are on parole or probation.
So even if we make the ludicrous assumption that people on parole or probation have exact same rate of violent crime as non probation or paroled you still end up with 345 homicides by people on parole or probation.
I assume a rate 2-3x the base rate for population would be a completely reasonable assumption, giving us ~10x more homicides by people on probation/parole.
The point is if police shootings rise to being an existential threat, than criminal justice reform is at least a much of an existential threat.
and the rest of your comment is conjecture and assumptions with no facts to back them up
To make it for home a little more, I'll ask, where would you go if you got deported?
Like I guess you could argue it's the difference between ethnic cleansing internally and invading a neighbor to engage in ethnic cleansing, but that's sort of not a hugely important distinction.
Which would seem like a very important distinction if it was my existence.
It's not the same as being dead, but it's analogous to being imprisoned or incapacitated.
This thread was in part, but not solely, about undocumented immigrants, and sure maybe they have a place they can legally be sent to. But the same argument has been used for racial separation ("No, we don't want to subjugate black people, we just want to have a white ethnostate where the black people will be forced to move". The part not said aloud of of course, being what happens if someone wishes to stay where they have lived their whole life).
So yes, I think the distinction between "will be kicked out by force" or "will simply be shot in the street" can be a lot more tenuous than you're suggesting.
But even still, if we're discussing any group that isn't undocumented immigrants (or even potentially citizens whom the president wanted to strip that right from) the question of "where do they go" becomes even more important, because there usually isn't a place they can go.
I think what you're actually asking is if I feel that it is just to enforce immigration laws on people already in the country, and generally speaking no, I don't think deportation is a just punishment for trying to be a productive member of society but overstaying a visa or similar.
Deportation isn’t a “punishment.” It’s restoration of the status quo ante in response to someone entering illegally. If you build a house on someone else’s land, they can force you to tear it down. That’s not a punishment, it’s just undoing the effect of the illegal act.
I'm not, using common definitions. They just happen to usually be the same because culture and ethnicity are often very tightly coupled.
The factors you're talking about (border sovereignty and determination of citizenship/residency) are all related to being a "state" and have relatively little to do with being a nation, which is just a shared culture. A nation state is the term for a state, the political entirely, whose population shares a broadly homogenous culture. If you choose to define the US as a nation-state, then it blunts the "nation" portion to the point of redundancy, as the culture of sharing a government is enough to define a nation. Do a bit of research here and at a minimum you'll find that the US being a nation state is widely disputed. But we can agree to disagree because again, everything you're talking about is political determination related to statehood. Nation is irrelevant.
> Deportation isn’t a “punishment.” It’s restoration of the status quo ante in response to someone entering illegally
This is weak semantics. A goal of retribution is not a requirement for some act to be a punishment. It is simply "the imposition of an undesirable or unpleasant outcome upon a group or individual, meted out by an authority as a response and deterrent to a particular action or behavior that is deemed undesirable or unacceptable". Defacto it is a punishment. But this again doesn't matter even if you choose to find it not a punishment, it is still unjust. It may also be a return to the status quo, but so too is, for example, returning someone to prison for a parole violation, and I think you'd be hard pressed to define that as anything but a punishment.
> If you build a house on someone else’s land, they can force you to tear it down.
I'm dubious of this. You likely could not compel me to tear it down. You could sue to cover the costs, but if I had no money there are limits on what you could do.
I'm contending that deportation is similar. It, at a minimum, is not a just way to "restore the status quo".
The country of which you’re a citizen and where you’re legally allowed to reside?
Their ability to live safely is coupled fully to their ability to live safely in the us. Immigration was one, but not the only, example GP mentioned.
19,000 people killed last year
0.6% of the population is trans according to wikipedia.
So we should expect 114 trans murder victims if they had the same rate of being a victim of homicide at the standard population
Looks like they're safer.
Also I said about as safe. Your risk of being involved in a homicide is ~1%. You'd need to be at a much higher risk of being killed before this impacts your overall safety.
> Except unborn children, whose very existence
To use your same disingenuous measure of argument, no their existence isn't politicized, whether or not they are "persons" (or alive) is. Fetuses quite obviously exist, everyone agrees on that.
The HN guidelines suggest you steelman the arguments of people who you respond to. I don't think you're doing that if your entire argument boils down to a weak rhetorical disagreement about how precisely to define "very existence". Since certain forms of discriminatory policy are politicizing people's very existence.
I also don't think people ever widely suggested Muslim people's existence had been politicized, so that's simply a strawperson.
But you're arguing that deciding whether or not a fetus or unborn child is a person is not an existential issue, but when someone can choose to get gender reassignment is.
One is very literally an argument about personhood and the right to terminate and the other is about children's and parents right to choose appropriate medical care.
The differences are that regulating abortion harms a third party, the woman, while allowing gender reassignment doesn't.
To expand on this - If a trans person has a coworker who consistent and deliberately mis-genders them, there's no way for the person to have a discussion about it that's not political.
The same is true for people in same-sex relationships. You can't just mention your spouse like a straight person would without it being political.
I'm in those shoes. I still won't interview anyone who left their previous company over an inability to keep their religious/political beliefs away from work.
It's a double whammy if the person in question left because they couldn't proselytise to their co-workers.
How will you be able to tell why they left without interviewing them?
But is it the characterization that other company HR teams / managers will believe?
Exactly. These didn't use to have to be rules -- it was simply part of Professionalism and social courtesy. That wasn't that long ago, it seems.
Nonetheless, if something of a political nature did come up, either as a distraction that was affecting my colleagues (e.g. they're part of a minoritized group, or empathetic to one, and something is going on), or something the company was doing was at odds with my own political values; I would hope the company would accommodate the need for _some_ level of discussion.
An outright ban ala Coinbase, and now Basecamp, would send an extremely troubling message - and would prompt me to begin the motions of seeking employment elsewhere. A generous severance package would make it a much easier decision.
Corporate lobbying is going to stop just being for the owners
Though generally, it seems this kind of ban (of union discussion or pay) would be unlawful in the US,
> For example, your employer cannot prohibit you from talking about the union during working time if it permits you to talk about other non-work-related matters during working time.
.. This is a comical generalization of an entire industry which spans beyond US..
I have worked in plenty on companies (big and small) where politics was simply left outside of business and everyone was fine with simply discussing the actual system design, infrastructure and data models.
Employees were simply not permitted to attempt to convert others to Christianity or initiate flame wars regarding abortion laws.
There is a time and a place for politics and a business setting is just not it.
I think this is a great move by Basecamp and I hope more companies follow. At a minimum, their stance is now crystal clear and there will be high cohesion between employees and management.
How do capture gender in the database?
That's a political debate. Do you care that you can't correctly store 'foreign' names? Political.
Do you offer Catalan too when you translate to Spanish? Political.
Do you include disputed territories on your countries lists or allow people to enter 'other'? Political.
Privacy protection? Political.
Systems are shaped by political debate and in turn shapes it. Your decisions will have a political dimension whether or not you like it.
And that is before considering all of the internal cultural and behavioural issues that are inherently political.
As for Basecamp, I think they've set themselves up for further conflict and turmoil. If I was there and hadn't quit yet, I'd consider it now because such a huge departure will destabilize oth.the company and internal culture for a long time.
I suggest you read up on the politics of the use of names in the context of slavery in America as a starting point for understanding why names has a long history of being inherently political.
There are quite a few that don’t interact with global customers and literally never have to even discuss those things.
E.g. I had a contract to do a communications system to relay debug mapping data from an autonomous submersible. For a military research institute. It was inherently political because I had to consider if I was ok with working a project that might end up being used in armed conflict in the future my code certainly wouldn't).
Or when I worked on code to maintain the quality documentation for a systems integrated that delivered backend systems for the police. I had no problems with that, but I might have if it'd been somewhere where the police had a worse reputation than in Norway where I did that job.
I've worked on billing systems where we had to decide on anti-fraud measures. Sounds non-political, until you realise it often involves broad blocks that stereotypes behaviours based on factors that very easily ends up effectively profiling users.
I could list many more. I've yet to work on a single software system where the higher level architecture did not involve consideration of political issues whether explicitly, or implicitly. I'm sure there are some, but I think there are far fewer than you imagine.
Pencils can be used to write manifestos that result in countless deaths. Is the pencil manufacturer responsible for that?
I worked for a company that had train control systems as a product. How do you suppose that was political? Do you think we should have spent more time considering that maybe we shouldn’t have been making trains safer because we could accidentally save the next Hitler?
It’s a name, it’s generally not hard to change, and if it makes someone happier why not main is shorter to type! But people still push back against it for.. reasons
It's pretty simple, actually
Person A: We need to do thing X
Person B: Why?
Person A: Because I am morally superior to you, and I say so
You really don't understand why person B would push back against tacitly accepting that they were the moral deficient? It's the same reason people dislike vegans who say "for moral reasons", they're asserting that everyone around them is immoral, and people find it obnoxious.
“Because it reminds people of slavery which is still fresh in the minds of many and makes some uncomfortable”
“Oh, Ok” changes it and moves on with her life
Another way of looking at it is “why not?”
Well, "main" is like "mainmast" of the sailing ships that brought the slaves over.
See, once you start this game, it never ends. The master in "master branch" was never anything to do with slavery - and everyone knows it. No one in the world equated committing to master with endorsing slavery, but that is what you are accusing them of. Same as master bedroom and master's degree and mastering a skill and countless other examples. And why is "master" problematic but not "owner"? After all the common term was not "slavemaster" but "slaveowner" remember. Shall we do branch owners or code owners or file owners next?
Why not leave it as it is then? Why step onto a never ending treadmill of arbitrary changes for change's sake?
Anyway I'm not trying to convince you here (I get the feeling that that would be pointless) I am merely explaining to you the behaviour you have observed but don't understand the motivation for.
If you won’t do so that’s fine, but be honest why you won’t, your arguments keep changing first it was their “moral superiority” And now “where will it end/its change for changes sake” which both sound like excuses to me
What are you implying that my "honest" reason is, of course you are insinuating that I am a closet racist. And it is just change for the sake of being able to demand a change, if you are being honest, you get a vicarious thrill out of the power you get and the sense of superiority it gives you and you won't stop, and we both know it.
You keep jumping to extreme conclusions and assumptions which is kinda hilariously sad as that's what you accuse "the other side" of doing
What you are missing - because I never mentioned it, and I should never have to mention it - is that I actually am a BAME or a POC or whatever. Not only does the word "master" not make me feel uncomfortable, noone ever bothered asked me if it did before starting to agitate for this change. Now you may be one too, I don't know, and feel free to change it to anything you want in your own repos if a word upsets you so much (and you should rid yourself of all other problematic words too, like "owner"). But don't kid yourself that you're doing it for the benefit of the wider BAME community. And don't kid yourself about your reasons for telling everyone about it.
> don't kid yourself about your reasons for telling everyone about it
You really seem to have a hard time grasping that there was nothing more to it other then being raised as a concern by POC so i just did it and moved on with my life. The only reason i mentioned it was to use it as an example of how hard it can be to escape politics entirely in the workplace and this entire conversation has really hit that point home.
Also does a single POC represent their entire race? Isn't that itself racist to think that way? In any population you'll find people who can claim to support literally anything.
Where you've taken us: You shouldn't call your main branch master
Except this isn’t how the fantasy plays out in real systems. This breaks builds, readmes, packaging, etc and takes a non-trivial amount of time to fix.
What are some of the few?
The idea that any organisation can be apolitical is fundamentally flawed. At most you can enforce the (political) choice of pretending you're not political by shutting down discussion of it and leaving it exclusively in the hands of the executives and board. This appears to be the avenue Basecamp has taken. They are free to pretend that's an apolitical choice, and we're free to point out that it's bullshit.
Obviously, but that isn't my argument. My argument is that when you create a culture that approaches political decisions from a profit perspective, it is easier to make a profit.
> And in many cases there isn't going to be a choice that maximises profit without taking into account the PR effect of choices, which again devolves into politics.
This is wrong. You are conflating understanding a political position with believing in a political position. Understanding a political position doesn't require you to believe in it.
Will it? I feel like I've had dozens of conversations about the coof (most recently, about getting the shots and related stuff - I had some bad side effects to mine that caused me to miss a half day of work) without politics being a part of it. Do people not even try anymore?
Just the very idea of bringing up vaccines is "political" to those that think vaccines are a means of the state to control the population. You don't think it's political, but it is to someone. And that person, under the guise of a "no politics aloud" policy could seek to silence you from any references to the benefits of the vaccines, it's side effects, etc.
My understanding is that these people did not leave because they were not allowed to discuss something innocuous, they left because they were not allowed to preach their belief system at work.
> you'll still occasionally discuss things like municipal broadband or the Affordable Care Act.
And if the woke crowd were able to "discuss" something without calling everyone who refused to join their belief system names, then this wouldn't be a problem.
That’s more true of a highly politicized workplace if you have the “wrong” opinions.
As someone who hires I'd have zero issue with a talented person who also felt passionately about not working with people who enable racism or toxic environments. That's part of how you build good companies.
This sounds like I agree with what the founders did here. I don't at all. But I understand why they did it, and I don't disagree with their intentions.
I would note as a follow up to this re: leadership and culture; 30 people left Basecamp today. DHH is hanging out on social media like it’s no big deal, back to talking about Apple. You know what’s consistent between the start of this incident and today’s behavior? The derisive and dismissal treatment of people that have been a part of his company for many years.
People with strong opinions have strong opinions about a lot of things, and are good to bounce ideas off of
Mind you, I'm friends with people who are fans of gun rights, free speech, and ensuring abortion access
I love a good debate with someone who disagrees with me in good faith, but that other sort of person is just exhausting and counterproductive to debate anything with.
They can probably still make a fizzbuzz, which puts them far above most candidates
( You might ask what are the two twists in the original fizbuzz task:
- you have to know about the existence of modulo operator and how it can be used to test for dividibility. If you don’t know that one trick then fizbuzz is a lot harder for you.
- If you are the kind of person who translates the human sentences of the task description to code word by word then you can get into a kind of garden-path situation where you have to backtrack once to succeed. What do I mean by that? You read “For every number dividable by 3 print fizz”, you write “if i%3==0: print ‘fizz’”. Then you read the next sentence “For every number dividable by 5 print buzz” and you type “elif i%5==0: print ‘buzz’”. Then you read “for every number dividible with both 3 and 5 print fizbuzz” and you might translate that to “elif i%3==0 and i%5==0: print ‘fizbuzz’” but that of course would never execute, you have to move the translation of this last sentence to be the first condition checked for it to have a chance. Not anything I would call really challenging, but it requires a certain way of thinking to recognise that this is a problem and to solve it.
It's sad that Fizzbuzz is used at all. At present, using Fizzbuzz selects for people who either (1) Are math nerds or (2) Are already in the "in group" and possibly read HN. That probably makes a small contribution to the lack of diversity in tech.
Implementing fizzbuzz successfully requires someone to have the most basic understanding of cause and effect, the ability to reason from that understanding, and the ability to reason abstractly. Nearly all forms of programming require that. So yes, fizzbuzz selects people in the "in group"- the in group of people who are actually potential programmers.
It would be like testing if someone knows about a "crankshaft" in a job where they'll be exclusively working on Teslas.
Yeah completely agree. Not all things people call "programming" are the same. Only jobs that require someone to think in this way should have tests filtering for it
That may be true, but as a web dev, I use the modulo quite frequently. Just yesterday I used it to implement some code where the client wanted to insert ads after every sixth paragraph in a page body, but not if there would be two paragraphs or less left on the page after the last ad. I can't imagine what kind of goofy hackneyed solution I would have ended up with if I didn't know about `%`.
Before CSS had :even and :odd pseudoselectors, we also commonly used it to zebra stripe tables.
Web dev isn't typically as math-y as, say, game dev, but I'd encourage anyone getting into it to at least learn the modulo beyond basic algebra stuff.
2. It's an exceedingly easy exercise meant out to weed out those who plan to learn to code on the job and hop to a new one when they are busted.
With that change they also got rid of the D&I committee established with employee participation. If you're gonna tell your employees 'you have a seat at the table' on something sensitive like D&I, then eliminate that group with no warning, people are gonna feel some kind of way about it. Even Palpatine didn't dissolve the Imperial Senate right away.
If I worked with a colleague from Iraq can they report me to HR for having been in the military and bombing their country?
I’m sure we can think of lots of cases where it is or isn’t easy to say yes to “report to HR”. It’s a tough topic and the answer to it changes over time and based on geographic social norms.
Depends on how you frame this. Describing it as "sudden change of company culture", "lacking leadership communication" or "wanted to change fields and took the opportunity" can both be valid and inoffensive to either side.
On the other hand, there's a chance your hiring manager will feel similarly strong about politics, especially in SV, so even your framing might work.
Money is a funny business. I'm convinced that anyone who's a skilled software engineer makes more money than they ever imagined after 5-6 years of working at a regular tech company. All the RSU upside, bonuses yada yada.
Folks who worked at Basecamp are top-notch programmers with close to a decade or more of experience. I'm certain that their motivation to work is driven in large part by craftsmanship, taste etc. Not to mention that social aspect of work -- building rapport with peers you consider intelligent/admirable; consistent record of work; crunch-time camaraderie, all of those things make up for their worth in 6 months of free money. 6 months isn't that long. Like someone else on this thread said, getting a new job, interviewing, building up trust in new team takes time.
I'm convinced that social policy at Basecamp, more than 6 months of money, influenced many people to leave. Particularly people with a lot of capital; cultural, intellectual or even financial. Personally, I'm glad. I want to live in a world where people take responsibility everywhere and not shy away from topics meant to drive morality/politics forward.
This is a problem given that politics is not universally agreed upon and if we can not work together with different politics then we can not have a pluralist society, which increasingly seems impossible as both "sides" of this debate want to sort people with differing politics as "immoral"
It has zero to do morality or “being responsible” or “making the world a better place”. It’s about pushing one particular political viewpoint with the end goal of grabbing power to benefit their group.
From the Verge;
> While Basecamp does not publish diversity statistics, it is still, like most tech companies, majority white and male, employees said. But the idea of worker-led efforts on diversity issues got a frosty reception from the founders last year, employees told me. They were allowed to work on the project, but did not feel as if the founders were particularly invested in the outcome.
> Nonetheless, the DE&I ( Diversity and inclusion) council attracted significant support. More than a third of the company — 20 out of roughly 58 employees — volunteered to help. They began examining Basecamp’s hiring processes, which vendors the company works with, how Basecamp employees socialize, and what speakers they might invite to one of the all-remote company’s twice-yearly in-person gatherings.
So, assume "examine how employees socialise" means "consider events where people go beyond who their usual contacts are, to enable more mentoring". Rather than, "spying on me and building a graph of contacts".
In terms of the guidelines, I am not a guideline lawyer as perhaps you are. When I think of the strongest plausible interpretation I often turn to Occam and accept the plain language meaning. For example, if a goal of the committee were to encourage mentoring, then the article could have said that.
In terms of strongest plausible interpretation of what I wrote, I did not write "spying on me and building a graph of contacts." I'm a person who is appreciative of privacy and would be annoyed by a group of colleagues who decided to "examine" me in any way. As I think about it now I can feel a wave of revulsion and annoyance toward a posse of busybodies who must not have enough actual work to do that they have time to "examine" me. Maybe you like being examined; me I still think people who volunteer to do that are creepy.
Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith.
Please don't complain that a submission is inappropriate. If a story is spam or off-topic, flag it...
Did they manage to setup a tribunal and a committee of public safety?
The people who can most afford to not put up with <whatever> are always those with the best career prospects. If you aren’t certain that you can get a job somewhere else that matches even the newly-worse conditions of your present job within the cushion provided by the offered buyout, then a buyout isn’t attractive.
If you try to form an 'issue group' at an arbitrary company, to take on the executive team, and make demands with excessive intellectualizations that 'making fun of names' lead to 'genocide' - you're not going to get offered severance, you're going to get fired immediately.
The kind of leverage that people here on HN seem to think they have is a little bit bizarre.
People deserve to be treated with dignity, of course, people should not be making fun of people's names, it was stopped, and for the most part, that should have been it. Antagonizing almost any further is going to be seen as lacking in legitimacy and probably not acting good faith.
I think 90% of companies would be 'much less open' than Basecamp even with their new policies, 9.5% would be about the same. The rest, a grab-bag of different views, mostly at smaller companies. The bigger the company, the more the actions will be based purely around legality, caution, and the companies will to maintain some semblance of positive image.
It’s putting up with terrible leadership that seems to want to keep their heads buried in the ground and not have to deal with anything.
It's not terrible leadership, I think it's just poorly communicated.
edit: Excellent point below that the severance agreements probably included a non-disparagement clause, which would restrict what those who took the deal would feel safe disclosing publicly.
People seem to be making this way more complex than it is.
My guess is that some of this has been building and the 6 months of severance simply put it into high gear.
They cut a fitness benefit, wellness allowance, farmer's market share, and continuing education allowances. However, they paid each employee the value of the benefit for the year and they created a 10% profit sharing plan. https://world.hey.com/jason/changes-at-basecamp-7f32afc5
It's unclear how much money the 10% profit sharing is worth, except that now it's 50% better for the 2/3 of remaining employees. (edit: Yes, this is an oversimplification.)
> it's 50% better for the 2/3 of remaining employees.
Only in a very simplistic view.
Basecamp runs very lean, ~58 people before this incident, which for the number of customers (large) is a small amount.
Basecamp is going to need to replace ~100% of those people. That means hiring costs, costs for hiring the wrong people, and lack of productivity.
This will most likely cost them more money than they "save".
I've read a bit more about the background to this now, and they hired someone in December who immediately went on an internal advocacy campaign for their personal politics. So, all of this, is the cost of hiring a "wrong" person.
Having to replace (currently) 30%+ of your org increases that risk, in addition to the initial costs of hiring all those people and getting them up to speed.
Given that they seem to view politic discussions and committees as non-productive and that most of the people that left did so because these were important to them, they'll probably account for parts of their work and their leaving as "lack of productivity" and "hiring the wrong people" already.
EDIT: From a company perspective - not judging either way.
All the people that left that I knew were incredibly talented and productive people, they are going to be a nightmare to replace.
So, the message that is very easy to take from this (since the employees know they work for a profit maximizing firm) is that Basecamp's own expectation of its future profitability was that the 10% profit sharing was likely to be less expensive than the benefits it replaced.
So, yeah, its quite possible that explains some part of the departures as much as the workplace speech code. But its all part and parcel of the same thing: "We're taking away your amenities, more tightly restricting your behavior, and exposing your to more risk" is quite a package.
> It’s unclear how much money the 10% profit sharing is worth, except that now it’s 50% better for the 2/3 of remaining employees.
Assuming the 1/3 that left, including many highly placed, had no role in producing profits. Which would be kind of weird.
And assuming the fact of the mass exodus has no impact on the perception of Basecamp and its product independent of the actual impact the employees had on profits, which would also be weird.
Or that they thought providing a monetary benefit, which each employee is free to spend as they wish, is a more attractive packet and/or better due to the reduced management overhead. Also, depending on how much the benefits cost them and how many employees used them, this might still be a better option for both sides.
Sure, that's also an easy to reach interpretation. Unlike the other, not one that explains people being more likely to accept a buyout because of the change, so not relevant to the discussion, though.
The benefits are a minor annoyance. They were likely dwarfed by the switch from Chicago to SF wages for the whole company, + the profit share.
This is about the policy and the way it was announced.
If your employee gave you the individual cash value of your gym membership, it would be based on their corporate discount and the fact it was pre-tax. You would have to dip into your own pocket to renew that membership as an individual, as it would come after tax and be more expensive (joining fees, contract lock-in...). And what a shitty cop-out to call it paternalistic, as if the whole post didn't reek of paternalism.
A 10% profit share between 50 people is replacing a solid perk with an unpredictable annual bonus.
There was no corporate gym membership, it was just "Here's $100, spend it on fitness".
> A 10% profit share between 50 people is replacing a solid perk with an unpredictable annual bonus.
Basecamp was a phenomenally profitable company. The profit share was brought in after I left, but I'd have taken it over the other benefits if it had been either/or.
That can't bode well for the company.
Citation needed. Did you talk to all of them? I have only seen people say the opposite.
Companies and their cultures are not equivalent. Many of those people will have joined Basecamp because of the culture and the mission. They will have joined for reasons other than money. Many of them could have got jobs at FAANGs but didn't because they believed this culture was a better fit for them.
You have no data on why people left, you only have guesses you're trying to turn into data.
Many of the replies to your comment are equally of the hand wavey "see, social policy isn't the thing here" type, when social policy is absolutely 100% the thing here.
I've never seen such a disappointing thread on HN as this one.
A couple scenarios:
1) Employee A leaves Basecamp and says "I'm leaving for the severance package, not the policy change", and actually takes the severance
2) Employee B leaves Basecamp and says "I'm leaving because of the policy change, not the severance", but actually takes the severance package.
Employee B will both get the social virtue points of standing up for something AND collecting on the nice severance package.
Employee A may experience social blowback if they explicitly stated they weren't incensed by the policy change.
I would expect to see more Employee B's than Employee A's publicly.
Taking money that is offered is well respected across pretty well all political groups, especially those that are in charge of hiring
Taking money isn't controversial with anyone other than extreme Marxists.
My sense is that DHH is just a terrible boss.
Note the "changes"  are not just "no politics" but also "no more committees" (of any kind at all; that is, no authority or responsibility except individually along line-of-report hieararchy), no more 360 degree reviews (no way to formally give feedback to your boss), and no more bringing up past decisions you disagreed with (!). Basically, no more employee input in anything, and a new focus on "insubordination" (they're not using this word, but these policy changes are like -- do your job, don't tell us what your opinion is about anything else in the company especially if you don't like something).
They also introduced a 10% profit-sharing plan though, which could be real money?
I don't think the people leaving -- some of whom had been there for years -- are doing it for money. I think that's not usually why people leave a place, especially when leaving without another job lined up.
I don't think it's really about the "no politics at work" policy either.
I think it's probably mostly about not trusting or respecting or feeling respected by the boss.
Interesting. I've read everything posted officially about this by the two founders as it unfolded and I've been super impressed by how well-considered these new policies are. As someone with several decades of experience as an employee, manager and then founder in both large and smaller orgs, I felt these changes were in the best interests of all stakeholders. With the myriad potentially conflicting sensibilities in today's workplace the only fair and sustainable approach is to focus on the work and the customers.
As an employee, these policies would make me feel more respected and safe. I guess the fact that you see it as a sign of a "terrible boss" and I see it as a sign of enlightened leadership is an indication how divided perspectives on workplace etiquette currently are.
* I don't believe any enlightened leadership posts publicly about wide-spread and company affected policy changes before informing and/or discussing with your staff. That's disrespectful to the people you serve.
* no enlightened leadership leads to a situation where 1/3 of your staff leaves on contentious terms. If that leadership was that enlightened, they either wouldn't be leaving or would never have been hired. It's indicative of leadership problems, cultural problems, and possibly a hiring problem.
* I don't believe at all that enlightened leadership discards its values the moment that they become difficult to uphold.
* If the new policies weren't in reaction to the leader being called to be accountable to the people he served and the mission he told them they were on, I'd probably be more agreeable to your point. In a vaccuum a safe place for people of all politica and creeds (short of outright hate) to work together is what you want. What I don't want is an unsafe space where no one feels they can question the leadership or hold the company to its values.
That being said, I totally respect your coming at this from a different angle and I agree that there's certainly more than one way to look at this (as the reactions in this thread indicate).
To be fair to them the world has changed a lot in the last few years.
I used to talk politics with friends and family but I've have had to stop over the last couple years because because of how divisive it's gotten. I now avoid those conversations because I don't want to lose family or friends. I'm center left and people who preciously were slightly left of me would probably consider me a nazi, and people who used to be slightly to the right of me would consider me a communist.
I could see the same changes happening at work. And conversations that used to be ok escalating into insanely heated situations.
Perhaps this is not an enlightened view, and I would not have used the word “serve,” but employees serve the leadership, not the other way around. This is a company, not the government. As a citizen, the government serves me. As an employee, I serve my employer.
Leadership is all about serving the people you're shepherding. There is a responsibility and a stewardship that comes with wearing the crown, and it's not always for everyone. =)
If you've never experience a spittle-inflected rant disrupting a meeting, because some individual felt it their duty and privilege to engage with everyone on their particular viewpoint ... you simply don't know how disconcerting this can be. I have. I don't care much about my co-workers political views. I'm always happy to have a beer and discuss things after work (well, virtually these days).
But making people uncomfortable because you feel entitled to push your world view at work, makes you more of a liability to the company than an asset. Which in the case of Basecamp, the owners may have addressed well for all concerned.
Didn't that used to be the point?
White/male/straight is the social default. Just consider movies and games: if a character is a woman, non-white, or non-straight, let alone trans, that's considered the director/developers making a political statement. And it only gets worse if they don't at least "behave" like white/male/straight characters.
The same is true for workplaces. A woman in an otherwise all-male team is far more likely to be accepted if she masks her femininity and acts like "one of the guys". A Black person will be more accepted if they "act white". Queer folks better just not mention anything related to their sexuality even if it would be normal for straight/cis folks. And if they get any jabs targeted at their identity they better just laugh it off and not "cause a scene" and upset anyone.
Rather than focusing on the differences we could focus on common ground and the value of inclusion. It’s not necessary to focus on differences and vilified existence of white/male/strait people.
Some people are LGBTQ+, and some people are political
Some people are non-binary/femme, and others are political.
Having engagement people who's idwntity is political is valuable when you consider how much of the population is non-white, non-straight, people of color.
See, we can both play this game. It doesn't nothing for us. It's literally the core reasoning behind Basecamp's "no politics at work" move.
Another thought I had was that they wanted to slim the company down. In that case, you look at what you want to keep and what you want to lose. You make it easy for those who you want to leave to make that decision. If there was a faction that loved a hypothetical free breakfast, and these folks caused discontent and discomfort among others, elimination of that breakfast, and a way for them to bow out gracefully, thinking that they took the W, would be 4D chess for the stakeholders.
You may lose some people you'd prefer to keep, that's always a risk. But if you have a way to cluster the people you are reasonably happy about parting with, by noting common behaviors (the hypothetical breakfast model above), lowering their interest level for staying (removing the thing they like), while providing an incentive to leave (a pretty good severance/buy out), this is a win for most people.
I've seen various really bad takes on Twitter, that miss almost all the (fairly obvious) nuance of these moves. The bad takes seem to cluster about the "attack" on peoples "rights" to talk societal and political issues at work. And some sort of joy at seeing a company "suffer".
I don't think these are even in the right ballpark. There's lots of missing information, and we can speculate about it, in a way that resembles blindfolded dart playing.
However, the management response is pointed, and as they seem to be fairly specific, one could (likely far more accurately) speculate what caused them. And why they are being considered.
The bans on political/societal talk likely originated from conversations that made some folks quite uncomfortable, or unhappy. They were likely sustained after being advised to stop. Rather than allow such talk to disrupt the organization, the owners had to make a decision. So they did, and provided a mechanism for the most vocal folks to ease their way out.
Or at least it looks this way to me.
Hmm... Does (or should) "Disagree, but then commit" contain a corollary of "...and let's look at it again in X months/years"?
I mean, if you do argue for something, say some particular technical solution, but the decision goes against you, and you do actually accept and commit to the outcome... Is this commitment eternal?
If, say, you're still convinced the programming language / framework / style you originally advocated would be a better fit for your team / department / company, are you bound to shut up forever or can you raise it again at some point in the future? And if you can re-raise it, then when -- is there some general waiting period for stuff like this, or should it perhaps be an explicit addendum to every decision?
N.B: Not asking for myself, just a hypothetical that I find interesting... OK, come to think of it, perhaps actually asking for myself after all: I haven't been turned down on any such suggestion... Yet, but am thinking about raising one. And if I get a "No" at first, how long do I go on nagging / wait before I remind everyone of it?
You mean the company who is flailing in the market, losing employees and generally considered a bad place to work?
>"See, I told it wouldn't work" is about the most immature and unhelpful attitude to have - no matter how correct it may be.
Blame free post mortems are vital for an organization to grow and improve with time. If you cannot review past bad decisions and learn from then then you will be forced to repeat the same mistakes while your competitors evolve.
>but it undermines everything if someone keeps harping on a prior decision.
If accepting a mistake was made and then publicly coming up with a plan to not have it happen again undermines your ability to lead then you are a horrible leader.
We're seeing shortages of chips made on everything from 30 year old processes to cutting edges fabs and that demand is likely to be relatively sticky going forward. Intel's going to have to try even harder than it is now to fail and it's going to take decades for the dust to settle, if it ever does (hello Intel Business Machines).
Even if I kind of disagree with how it unfolded, I still sympathize with leadership if they've given people options, generous out-terms etc..
Then why where a significant portion of their employees - the only stakeholders (apart from literally Bezos) - extremely vocal in their disappointment the minute it went out?
If you have a group identity that does not match the founders, these policies will feel as if they are trying to silence you and your input when new policies arise that don't take your group identity into account.
The only fair and sustainable approach is to see humans as entire beings and not robots on a production line.
That doesn't mean the work and customers are forgotten, in fact it's exactly the opposite.
Short version is that the 6 month salary, even the 3 month salary offer is quite nice. I can understand why so many took the offer up.
Woke environments can, and often are toxic to those not interested in engaging in such discussions. I worked at one of those before, where one had to tread carefully, lest some "colleagues" be triggered into spittle-inflected rants about the president at the time ... thus wasting everyone's time and energy. That was actively frustrating and annoying.
It sounds like there was a self appointed DE&I committee that had proposals for every area of the business. That doesn’t strike me as a healthy dynamic.
There’s a reason successful employee co-ops are rare and kibbutzim don’t exist anymore in anything close to their original form.
To the extent that "A long-standing group of managers called "Small Council" will disband — when we need advice or counsel we'll ask individuals with direct relevant experience rather than a pre-defined group at large."
To me this reads like a game-of-thrones-esque political maneuver, to make sure there are no loci of power that might challenge the bosses. The bosses will talk to you one-on-one if they think your opinion matters, you have no reason to be talking to your peers about anything, just keep your head down and do what you're told.
How you distinguish between "a group of people getting together to collaborate on something of importance to the company" (which the owners said DE&I was!), vs "an unpermitted committee"... I don't know if "no collaborating across reporting lines" is an intended or an unintended thing here, unclear.
If THAT strikes you as a healthy dynamic, I hope you get to experience it and find out sometime, and if it works for you, good on you. It didn't for 1/3rd of basecamp though -- I don't think it's about one specific policy, it's about this attitude toward employee involvement.
The reason they gave for removing these was that peer reviews were overly positive to the point of pointlessness. You could still give feedback to your boss without 360 degree reviews.
Not all the people who left worked for DHH, who is the CTO.
OTOH, if the CTO is a terrible boss, there’s a very good chance that the rest of the C-suite is suboptimal, since executives generally aren’t picked at random, so there is probably some correlation across the group. And, then, down the chain of management, for the same reasons.
Maybe 5 years ago. Now it seems that a lot of tech companies see outspoken/activist employees as a liability, even if they are accomplished.
Too much of a liability.
Who is “we”?