I'm not sure what people expect, exactly. Is pg supposed to give up all his worldly goals and possessions and live as some sort of equality monk? Should he know of and contribute to every one of the many groups and organizations involved in gender equality?
And what exactly is wrong with the "I have black friends" defense? Are you trying to say that pg is friends with someone in spite of his supposed hateful nature? That he's somehow looked past the person's "shortcomings"?
It seems to me more people are interested in being internet bullies than achieving true social justice.
If you look at the comments below, the anti-PG crowd seems either to a) not care about YC's contributions to women in tech, or b) adopt a "so what" attitude. So what that YC has a disproportionate amount of women in high places and funds a disproportionate amount of female founders? I don't care, instead I'm gonna pick out some logical flaws in his arguments. (As an aside, there's few things more tedious than a nerd on the Internet concerned with "logical flaws" in peoples' "arguments".)
"Leftists may claim that their activism is motivated by compassion or by moral principle, and moral principle does play a role for the leftist of the oversocialized type. But compassion and moral principle cannot be the main motives for leftist activism. Hostility is too prominent a component of leftist behavior; so is the drive for power. Moreover, much leftist behavior is not rationally calculated to be of benefit to the people whom the leftists claim to be trying to help. For example, if one believes that affirmative action is good for black people, does it make sense to demand affirmative action in hostile or dogmatic terms? Obviously it would be more productive to take a diplomatic and conciliatory approach that would make at least verbal and symbolic concessions to white people who think that affirmative action discriminates against them. But leftist activists do not take such an approach because it would not satisfy their emotional needs. Helping black people is not their real goal. Instead, race problems serve as an excuse for them to express their own hostility and frustrated need for power. In doing so they actually harm black people, because the activists' hostile attitude toward the white majority tends to intensify race hatred."
I think the aim of making the tech industry friendlier to women is better served by continued outreach efforts, rather than making an example out of individuals arbitrarily.
But good job applying it to all leftist activism. By quoting the Unibomber. Because the Unibomber has done so much more for the cause of women and blacks than have left-wing activists.
That is to say, I'm not interested in going all anti-leftist and turning things into politics. You have me mistaken.
Judge the quote on its content, not the messenger. The only instance in which shooting the messenger is valid is when we rely on the messenger's credibility in evaluating the opinion, which is not the case here, at least for me.
In other words, it's content that wouldn't look at all out of place on a right-leaning website's "This is why liberals are bad" section.
> The conservatives are fools: They whine about the decay of traditional values, yet they enthusiastically support technological progress and economic growth. Apparently it never occurs to them that you can’t make rapid, drastic changes in the technology and the economy of a society without causing rapid changes in all other aspects of the society as well, and that such rapid changes inevitably break down traditional values.
Dr. Kaczynski is an anarchist who opposes virtually all political establishments.
Much unlike the other one which implies that leftists are all about power as opposed to what they say they are.
"Psychological assessment of the unabomber"
Here are the first few parts of the text
>"Dr. Sally C. Johnson's psychological report describes Theodore Kaczynski, the confessed Unabomber, as a man whose early brilliance was ruined by paranoid schizophrenia.
>"Johnson made her evaluation after interviewing Kaczynski, his family and people who knew him, analyzing psychological tests, and studing of the Unabomber's journals which document over 40 years of his life."
>"She cites "an almost total absence of interpersonal relationships," and "delusional thinking involving being controlled by modern technology" as examples of his illness."
below is a commentary by Paul Cooijmans on the report itself
you might as well read that if you are lazy
If so, this would have been a likely explanation for his chosen direction.
The problem is with priviliged upper middle class white PC police, that are nothing like MLK -- and their "rage" is all show off and conforming to the social norms of their peer group.
Q: How many times was Dr. King arrested?
A: He was arrested 30 times.
Or go read Letter From a Birmingham Jail: http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.h...
It was a letter rooted in anger: http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/16/us/king-birmingham-jail-letter...
In it, he writes: "Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word 'tension.' I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth."
And of course part of what helped MLK's public standing was that there were much more radical people than him. Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam shifted the Overton Window enough that MLK could look reasonable.
My point here is that social change is never comfortable, never easy, and certainly never welcomed by the bulk of the privileged group. Asking activists to be quieter and nicer is pointless; they already know what that gets them, which is being ignored. Which they've already had a bellyful of, or they wouldn't be activists.
People forced Paul Graham to confront the issue. And as he's a visible leader of the startup community, they're forcing everybody to confront it. Will that alienate some number of people? Sure. Would they have been advocates for change anyhow? Nope.
Ask yourself: what did those "more and more resentful" people look like in the civil rights era? Now ask yourself: is that the group you'd like to be remembered as being a part of?
The number of arrests have much more to do with the type/style of protest that they engaged in than it has to do with some nebulous concept of "social behaviour". The reason why MLK and his followers were confident that their tactics would lead to success is because they could force arrests for plainly absurd and not anti-social actions. Force arrests while "behaving well". Instead of getting arrested for smashing police cars, or firebombing businesses owned by racists, they got themselves arrested for things like sitting in a restaurant.
Perfectly as in "perfectly good in my books", not perfectly legal or Mother Teresa like.
In fact in my very next sentense I lament that they present him as much more timid for how dynamic he was.
Heck look at the last part of the post and you can see how certain subjects are a complete mindfield with one badly phrased term being pushed thru the descrimination door when not intended. Fact that so many people were asked by PG to check out the draft before posting is testiment to how much overhead is now placed upon those who will at best descriminate individuals to to that individuals actions and then after that individual proving the point many times over and given fair appeal. In short the types of people who only judge the guilty on a person by person basis based upon the actual 100% facts now spend more of there time treading other peoples minefeild that it becomes a overhead and distraction to the tasks at hand. Hell 19 people checked thru that draft (many women as well and no I have not counted how many women compared to men checked the draft as it is irrelevant too me, though some will I bet now). 19 people, that is a lot of people to have for a internet post, I bet even top News Papers have never had that many editors checking a post before (lawyers maybe) and that is all due to people being offended for things that were not intended. It is a mindfeild, it is a overhead and it is a measurable expense many people now have added to the time sinks in there lifes. Innocent non-sexist descriminating people are the ones that suffer, but hey the good `person` always suffers, is that not true :(.
"Thanks to Sam Altman, Alexandra Cavoulacos, Adora Cheung, Tracy Chou, John Collison, Patrick Collison, Danielle Fong, Kevin Hale, Aaron Harris, Elizabeth Iorns, Carolynn Levy, Jessica Livingston, Claire McDonnell, Kat Manalac, Kathryn Minshew, Kirsty Nathoo, Geoff Ralston, Garry Tan, and Olga Vidisheva for reading drafts of this." Would be nice if he added "And no lawyers were harmed in the process of this checking" Just for some sainity of this whole area and would highlight the whole overhead aspect in many other area's of life we see today. Patent Trolls, PC bullying and the like, its a time TAX nobody needs and yet we live it, least the honest good people do.
PG went on the defensive -- and attempted to dispel critiques with a negative attitude and a logical argument.
This isn't a problem you can logic away. What he needed to do was write from the perspective of social conscience, even if it's not logical, even if it's not strictly absolutely statistically true. He needed to prove that he is coming from a genuinely positive point of view, so that we can see that his great influence is not aimed simply toward the neutral or equal, but in fact good.
He failed to do this, and therefore he receives criticism. The arguments against him are focused on the wrong things, because they're not very self-aware, but they're fundamentally correct in the big picture.
There's a difference between simple absence of evil, tactless neutrality, and genuine good. We like to hope our idols and influences are as far toward the good as possible.
Trying to defend yourself or setting the record straight is almost useless when everyone's already made up their mind before entering the debate, especially here where there is this odd presumption that PG et al are money-grubbing fools willing to sacrifice their morals. No benefit of doubt is given. I've met PG briefly, have been to Startup Schools and can say that all the YC folk I've met seem like genuinely great people. Unfortunately, I don't have a citation handy.
This place as usual reads like a den of rabid pussycats.
Well, guess what? pg is his own person. He's just a guy who invests in startups, not some sort of idol upon whom you can project all your transformational, social-justice dreams for the tech industry.
Is there racism and sexism in tech? Sure. Is that pg's fault? No. Has he done things to mitigate this? Sure. Are the "social justice jihadis" appreciative of this? No.
The cashier at the local taco shop speaks to people in Spanish or English depending on whether or not they look Mexican. Is that a problem? I don't think so.
Let's say you give a Hindi greeting to an Indian guy who's second-generation American and doesn't speak Hindi. What's the worst that can happen? Well, if he's a SJW he'll spread your name on the internet as a "racist asshole". But if he's a normal person, you get past the misunderstanding quickly, and plus he knows that you know enough about his culture to have learned its language, and he might even appreciate that.
Our primate relatives are racist and sexist. What makes us think that we can not be?
Pretending to ignore race/sex differences out of some misguided attempt to be polite or "color blind" or "culturally neutral" does no one any good.
By "racist", I mean "actually despises others because of their ethnic background", not "has the odd awkward or confusing moment of ethnic / cultural misunderstanding".
Similarly, by "sexist", I mean "actually dislikes or has contempt for the opposite sex".
Of course the bar for these words has been raised to the point where the political Left can call someone a racist because they do not support a specific affirmative action policy, or a sexist because they disbelieve certain cooked-up statistics about the alleged "pay gap" between men and women.
I don't think we can assume that is the case if we are using the "power + prejudice" definition of racist or sexist. As far as I can tell, this is the prefered definition of racist and sexist among social justice warriors. If to be racist you must be prejudiced and have power over those that you are prejudiced against, then there are some people who literally cannot be racist.
Typically this definition seems to only be used to shield SJWs from 'friendly fire'.
That's because it's easy. The "sexism-accusers" don't have to do anything themselves to fight sexism. Anything concrete I mean.
It's enough that they voice their anger and point their finger to this or that scapegoat (and ocassional real offender), and they can feel good, nay, champions of equality.
Plus, they have all their similar minded peers to high five, usually all people of upper middle class upbringing, that are oh so sensitive and oh so beautiful souls that even overhearing a guy telling a "dongle" joke in private to his friend can make them feel enraged -- until is time for their fair trade coffee break that is.
That leaves pg to prove a negative.
I'm one of those rage-queens you so happily deride here. I know it myself. I became one after I complained about a manager openly discriminating against gay employees and having everyone involved in the complaint, except for the manager in question, mysteriously being let go in the three months that followed.
Plenty of those "sexism-accusers" probably have similar stories so, pardon my language, but go fuck yourself for pretending we're all just some spoiled middle class rage warriors.
>Plenty of those "sexism-accusers" probably have similar stories so, pardon my language, but go fuck yourself for pretending we're all just some spoiled middle class rage warriors.
No, those are different people you describe -- actual humans.
The pg-incident style outrage is not done by this kind of people, but by finger-pointers and "champions for the cause" with ideological blinders.
In my experience, it's mostly the overpriviled that champion such things -- the actual victims and women who try to empower themselves and move things forward pick fights that actually matter.
>I'm one of those rage-queens you so happily deride here. I know it myself. I became one after I complained about a manager openly discriminating against gay employees and having everyone involved in the complaint, except for the manager in question, mysteriously being let go in the three months that followed.*
Which sounds valid, but is quite different, I think you'll agree, to the kind of pg-gate/dongle-gate/upper-middle-class-drama incidents people make a fuss about.
I think you just proved my point. So sexual discrimination is bad, but telling people to "fuck themselves" because you disagree with their viewpoint is OK?
How about a manager telling that to a female employee he disagrees with?
Or do you have double standards for the workplace compared to online discussion? Would swearing/harassing at women/gays/etc online be OK to you then?
When you're in a situation like that your world divides into a) people who really treat you just like anyone else, b) people for whom what you are is a positive/item of interest, c) people who have some aversion for you but would like not to and d) people who just displaying like what you are.
The easiest way to recognize type c) is actually that the first thing they say when you say you're gay is something like "I'm totally OK with gay people. My friend/brother/xxx is gay."
I don't dislike these people at all; they're usually sweet and I can tell they're working on their issues which I respect very much.
From what I had read so far Paul was a type c) when it came to sexism, so when this issue surfaced I really hoped his essay would convince me that he was a type b) or maybe even an a) but, given all the experience I've had paying detailed attention to dynamics like these because they have such a disproportionate influence on my life, I came away fairly confident that Paul is still firmly a c) with one foot cautiously on type b)
That's why given that this is the topic of this discussion I don't think I'd be doing anyone a favor of I pretended I felt Paul came off scot-free in all of this.
So yes; that makes me one of those "sexism accusers" you just called finger-pointing, ideologically blinded, upper middle class, oh so sensitive, fair trade coffee sipping, feel good armchair activists.
In that case I do the same as when a male colleague makes a smart-ass joke to a female colleague about making them go get them a coffee, which is calling them an asshole for what they just did.
(And no, you're not getting a pass by saying you were only talking about the real armchair activist any more than saying you only hate the real faggots would.)
That's where you are wrong.
Paul might be the worst sexist pig for all I know -- but nothing of what he (actually) said in the interview, his response post, and his general conduct with YC and women founders, has given any reason at all for him to NOT get scot-free for "all of this".
It's inventing reasons to accuse PG in "all of this", when none exists, that makes you a finger-pointer.
And by how fast you turned from champion of tolerance to your "go fuck yourself" to someone in conversation, you only cemented this.
The founder of an accelerator which has a reputation (earned or not) for being fratty and exclusionary and who runs a forum that's widely criticised for quickly silencing discussions on gender issues and being a bit of a hotbed for sexism spends several weeks coming up with an essay.
The end result of all that hard work is something that's decidedly defensive, demonstrates that neither he, nor anyone in his inner circle, has taken the trouble of properly reading up on the literature surrounding gender issues, doesn't go much beyond the "it's good for business angle" and replies to comments  in a way that demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of internalized oppression, one of the most basic concepts when it comes to discussing systemic discrimination.
So because given all that I don't agree that PG now comes out looking like a saint I deserve to be described in the most derogatory terms you could think of; but me using a swear word invalidates my argument?
You know what, that's a classic 'tone argument'  from derailment bingo . I doubt you've ever heard of it and judging from what I've read so far PG probably hasn't either, which is sort of my point.
And to reiterate once again; I very much appreciate what PG is doing and that he's taking positive steps in the right direction. That doesn't mean that I can't simultaneously believe that he has a long road ahead of him still.
 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7039270  http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Tone_argument  http://mlkshk.com/p/9FOI
The quality of the idea, execution, and team is what should matter. Not the color of skin, not gender, sexual orientation, accents, or anything else. But here we are...
We can't pretend that SWM are the only ones who can create a good product, and if our tech heroes happen to fuck up or say something that isn't right, I don't think it helps to ignore it.
I find that most good intentioned movements have more than their fair-share of the equivalent of fair weather fans. They don't understand the core of what the movement is about, they don't take the time to understand the best way to accomplish positive outcomes, and they use an as-seen-on-tv / mimicry approach in their activism without the fundamentals to support it. It's like putting up a simple search engine page layout, copying Google, without the engine behind the scenes to power it.
The critics I've read aren't saying pg has a hateful nature. They're saying that he hasn't fully accounted for his unconscious biases.
Given that everyone's friends have actual shortcomings, it doesn't seem a stretch to say that people are friends with people they imagine to have shortcomings because of an unconscious bias.
I've seen a lot of Twitter rage that is rather like this one: https://twitter.com/monteiro/status/416728196503973888
I'm not saying Graham should drop everything until every last bias is gone. I'm saying he shouldn't act as though sexism is a solved problem at YCombinator just because the percentage of female founders is up and it has women as partners.
I believe the standard request is:
> "If there was just the pro-activity line of attack, if it was like, "OK, yes, women aren't set up to be startup founders at the level we want." What would be lost if Y Combinator was more proactive about it? About lowering standards or something like that? Or recruiting women or something, like any of those options?"
Edit: He is willing to do more about the problem generally, and I give him credit for that.
Edit: @antics, I just reread the stream of angry @paulg tweets from Dec. 28th and have no idea what you're talking about. Maybe I missed tptacek's tweet both times. Please don't attack me over it.
Insinuating yourself into a discussion you have not been following carefully to accuse another party of hubris is pretty much the apex of bad discussion behavior. It is not in good faith, please don't do it.
Jacob is doing a fantastic job at making people of all types feel welcome, which I believe is more likely to make the Django developer community thrive (as it already is).
Also, the footnote mentioned where pg writes that he enjoys that startups can freely discriminate is worrying. It does not mean that pg is a sexist, but he is a role model and we would expect him to be more sensitive.
I don't know anything about this Django contributor aside from the tweets I've just read, but the phrasing and verbiage are very similar to the sjws I've had experiences with similar to what I wrote above. It makes me wary. SJWs do not have my best interests in mind--99% of it's a show to demonstrate how pious and dedicated they are to being a morally superior person, and it seems that a lot of times that demands you ignore and steamroll over the very disadvantaged people you somehow have self-appointed yourself the designated speaker for. SJWs complain about marginalizing, othering, and silencing voices of minorities, but they're quickly becoming some of the biggest offenders.
and thinking that the second one (in response to some people telling him he was factually wrong about pg, and should maybe cool down) in particular marks him as a toxic passive-aggressive douchebag. Do you think these are fine, too?
I didn't know he was head of Django, which I don't use, but wouldn't go as far as assuming his personality leaks out to the project. It may well be that he's doing great things in Django, people often compartmentalize.
Seems a lot better than your own name calling.
except for (preferably white) men, apparently: "ah right, yes, I forgot about the poor oppressed men. I keep doing that, why can’t I ever remember?"
Death threats from random anonymous people on the internet don't mean much more than that you have really pissed someone off. They're not to be taken literally.
Re pg's footnote: The discrimination example he brings up is based on real-world constraints, not some arbitrary prejudice. There is a place for enforced equality quotas, no child/woman/minority left behind and other social safety nets. Startups is not such a place.
(context at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6825924)
UPDATE: Read up on the thread. Very sad to see how people, and Joyent in particular, came down on Ben. WTF. For what it's worth, here's Ben's response. Reading that, it's pretty obvious he's the only adult involved in that whole fiasco. Seriously, W.T.F.
In fact I recommend IT jobs to everyone. The social inabilities that goes with programming is a repellent for everyone, but c'mon, we get to travel everywhere in the world, sit all day and watch gmail all the time. There couldn't be a more luxury job.
So a problem is, articles about sexism don't match the observations I've made on the field.
Edit: Added the last sentence and figures about my experience.
I wouldn't, at least not compared to many other high ranking fields where women are respected to a larger extent. I would even say that if you, as a women, want a career in technology you have a better chance with a degree and experience in another field.
We all make mistakes, sadly though the mistake is often badly phrasing or being snap-shot sampled in a way that allows a different, wrong perspective upon what was said and intended. It is a form of PC over compensation which you get and had/have with the race card. Heck even talking about such subjects without being 100% behind the offended party can be deemed by some mindsets as being as guilty as the deemed offender and easily mis-labeled.
Another way to view this and see how it happens is take TSA for example or traffic wardens. The mindset people have is that from a efw bad examples all TSA and traffic wardens (meter maids they are called in some parts - lets say meter people now or as I prefer traffic wardens and avoid misconception of sexual biased even if not intended and I'm typing this extra overhead just to avoid a non intended issue right there :|). So TSA and traffic wardens, they are often looked down upon and pre-judged or any action deemed persecution, even when they are just doing there job and are not like the few examples that get passed on. You can get equaly good and bad news about say a traffic warden and people will remember the bad and apply that to all people with that job title after reading a few examples. It is how news works sadly and the mindset of the populus that take this news in, biasing the bad against all and the good only to a individual. I won't even try to understand that but that is how it is for most people. People sadly just love to label and bias bad news - heck even saying that is a bias/labeling mindset train of thought and is that wrong or am I just being honest about I see many situations happen which need not of happen.
That all said whilst it is good that the bias some people have towards women is being tackled, I do worry as somebody who treats people as people that a unfairness is arrising for women with regards to IT at the stage that a bias in favour of women arises in many areas now from training access, special progroms only available to women with no man equivelant and the like. These are to compensate the deemedbias in the past. But to new people into this World growing up in such situations who are unaware of a bias being needed, will grow up seeing a bias against them if they are male and with that create the bias all a new for a whole new generation and all due to them being descriminated against due to them not being a women.
DISCLAIMER: Just so we are clear I'm being totaly pragmatic and honest and and bias against or for any gender is not my intention nor will it ever be so if you read into it otherwise then it is your unopen closed mindset that is reading words in a different voice than intended. Though please do point them out if grammer or badly worded, though not intended I'd like to learn how to avoid the whole issue so replies like that greatly welcome and apprecieated.
It is not all bad. One of the classic phenomena of witch hunts is when the hunt comes back to bag an original instigator. This is rich in irony and entertainment value.